The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 19 March 2012

Air Date: 
March 19, 2013

Photo, above:  In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a Syrian victim who suffered an alleged chemical attack at Khan al-Assal village according to SANA, receives treatment by doctors, at a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, Tuesday March 19 (photo credit: AP/SANA)  There is no confirmation of the claims made by the Syrian regime nor by the rebel forces that chemical weapons were used.


Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio

Hour One

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Larry Kudlow, in re: The progressive shift. “Today, liberalism seems to have changed. Today, many progressives seem to believe that government is the horse, the source of growth, job creation and prosperity. Capitalism is just a feeding trough that government can use to fuel its expansion.” David Brooks in The New York Times.

Cyprus shows why Europe needs deposit insurance. “The Cypriot confiscation of insured deposits should teach the euro area a lesson: European Union-wide deposit insurance ultimately backed by the European Central Bank can’t come too soon…The main lesson here is that the responsibility for deposit insurance should lie with the currency issuer… If a central bank's capacity to provide emergency liquidity and reserves to banks is constrained — as it is for the national central banks in the ECB system — then so is the credibility of its deposit insurance. In the case of a severe banking panic, central banks need the power to create money to satisfy the surge in demand for currency.” Evan Soltas in Bloomberg.

…But does Cyprus contain the kernel of a good idea? “This admittedly important detail aside, the new principle of imposing bank losses on creditors, including depositors, seems sound and worthy. For years, Europe has been paralyzed by the fear that any losses to any bank creditors anywhere would lead to continent-wide meltdown. Bank runs are socially and economically costly, but excessive complacency about the safety of loans made to financial institutions can be as well. Banks rely far too much on debt to finance their investments, making them far too fragile and prone to failure. Regulators should tighten the screws and make banks recycle their profits into debt reduction rather than paying dividends to shareholders. Improved versions of Cyprus-style haircuts will also make banks behave more responsibly” Matthew Yglesias in Slate.

Wonktalk: How the Cyprus bailout would work. Financial markets haven’t freaked over Cyprus, but we’re not home free yet. “Financial markets have been relatively stable Monday, not really panicking over international authorities' decision to force losses on those with deposits in Cyprus's banks…But the bad news is this: We learned over the weekend that European authorities still haven't learned something fundamental, namely, that with every decision they make, economic actors across the world will extrapolate and draw conclusions about what they will do in the future and act accordingly.” Neil Irwin in The Washington Post.

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:     Phil Izzo,, WSJ, in re: Secondary Sources: Cyprus Bail In, Sluggish Recovery, Japan  ; Secondary Sources: American Competitiveness, Tax Refunds, Trade Costs

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Larry Kudlow, in re: Rand Paul moves toward immigration reform.  Why?  And what does it mean for the GOP?

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a Tea Party Republican, on Tuesday became the latest to embrace a more welcoming approach, declaring to the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants that if they want to work in America, “then we will find a place for you.”

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Gopal Ratnam, Bloomberg, in re:  Obama Backs Unproven Missile Defense for Uncertain Threat  Obama, who was faulted by Republicans for cutting missile defense funding to $7.8

Hour Two

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Mary Anastasia O'Grady, WSJ THE AMERICAS, in re: Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:   Charles Ortel,   Washington Times, in re:  These are all foxes in the hen coop, and they're grinning at us.  Traders are always steps ahead of the regulators. End of day? When's that – London? New York? Hong Kong?  Tranches that couldn’t be traded in a reasonable time.  Old and new pricing models. And what about everyone globally trading against JP Morgan – the best of the banks too big to fail?  Mispriced and mismarked securities.

Harpooning the wrong whale? JP Morgan is just a small worry. Last Friday before a United States Senate Subcommittee, the smartest senior executive at JPMorgan Chase was definitely not inside the Dirksen Building hearing room. Safe for the moment in Manhattan, the captain of the good ship Morgan, Jamie Dimon, may well have mused these words of Captain Ahab regarding Moby Dick:  “From hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Ye damned whale."   Considering the spectacle he likely watched on this fateful “Ides of March”, Dimon could wonder whether his days as Morgan’s Caesar are now numbered, and if so, who might dare conspire against him.  All Friday, enormous trades carried out by Morgan’s “London Whale” were the focus of glaring media attention. Numerous  executives were subjected to a televised inquisition led by Senator Carl Levin concerning obvious questions.  Is JPMorgan Chase—a creature so comfortable in deep financial lagoons—now a veritable monster that has slipped outside human control?  If so, who in management and at board level deserve blame?  How should ineffective control of this financial behemoth be rectified? [more]   @wtcommunities on Twitter

 Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Ping Fu, Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu and MeiMei Fox  (1 of 2)

Honored in 2005 by Inc. Magazine as "The Entrepreneur of the Year,", Ping Fu describes herself as an artist and a scientist whose chosen expression is business. In 1997, Ping co-founded Geomagic, a software company that pioneers 3D technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed and manufactured around the world. Used for repairing vintage cars at Jay Leno's garage to digitally recreating the Statue of Liberty, Geomagic aims to enable design and production of one-of-the-kind products and services at a cost less than mass production.

Before co-founding Geomagic, Ping Fu was Director of Visualization at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, where she initiated and managed the NCSA Mosaic software project that led to Netscape and Internet Explorer.  Ping has been serving on the NACIE (National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship) at the White House

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:   Ping Fu, Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds by Ping Fu and MeiMei Fox  (2 of 2)

Hour Three

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:   Max Holland ,,  in re: Benghazi a half-year later; also, new measures by literary stars such as Dennis Johnson.  Literature never warmed to Woodward - he used too many post-modern novel tropes and was rewarded as a journalist.

Six months after a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, survivors of the savagery that left four Americans dead the night of Sept. 11, 2012, still have not been permitted to tell their story in a public forum. So now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are threatening to subpoena them. Catherine Herridge, longtime reporter for Fox News, received Accuracy in Media's Reed Irvine Award for investigative reporting on that scandal. The White House is desperately trying to put a lid on the whole thing, hoping that no one is compelled to testify as to whether it is true, as alleged, that the president, in the midst of his re-election campaign, watched the four Americans die and then went to bed. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee, says while Congress has been exceptionally patient, "we're getting to the point where there's no other option" than to issue a subpoena to the survivors.  [more]

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . Mary Childs Bloomberg, in re: JPMorgan Whale Pushed for ‘Young’ Trader Who Later Took His Job  Bruno Iksil, the trader whose wagers cost JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $6.2 billion and led to his ouster, may have unwittingly helped pick his replacement. Henry Kim, then trading high-yield indexes for the market- making desk at the firm’s investment bank, is “very young and very talented” and should be considered for a post in the chief investment office, Iksil said in a Jan. 30, 2012, e-mail to supervisor Javier Martin-Artajo, according to documents accompanying a report last week by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:   Charlie Savage, NYT, in re: Former Pentagon Lawyer Offers Pros and Cons of Drone Court  The speech by Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s former general counsel, offered a window into the thinking of someone who participated in the inner circles of Obama administration national security decision-making until recently.

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Amy Chozick, NYT, in re: Boom Over, St. Patrick’s Isle Is Slithering Again

Hour Four

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Boris Volodarsky, independent intelligence investigator, in re: VLADIMIR PUTIN: Not So Happy About Cyprus.

      Russia’s well-connected kleptocrats have the most to lose here, and it’s not surprising that they called their friends in the Kremlin at the first sound of this story breaking. It’s just not going to help them much in this case: Putin and his cohorts can wail and gnash their teeth all day long, but unless the Russian government is willing to pony up and pay to bail the depositors, the Kremlin has precious little leverage over this decision.

     There’s also a chance that the tax will be revised further in ways Russia will hate even more. The Cypriot central bank governor is arguing that small savers should be exempted from the tax in accordance with EU-wide deposit insurance rules, which guarantee accounts under €100,000. That would likely mean an even bigger tax on the big fish. If this were to happen, expect more outrage from Moscow—again probably to no effect.

     The troubles of Cyprus and Greece offered Russia a once in a generation opportunity to build its influence in the EU. These two countries are close to Russia in culture and religion, and Russia is broadly popular in both. Like Russia, they are worried about Turkey. Like Russia, they are deeply suspicious of the liberal West. A close alliance with these countries would give Moscow much greater leverage over the EU, and many in the EU would be prepared to accept that role—if Russia would bear the brunt of Greek and Cypriot debt problems.

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Dennis Overbye, NYT, in re:  CERN Physicists See Higgs Boson in New Particle  Scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, say they need more data to understand how the particle works and what it means for the universe.

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Another computer glitch has put Curiosity back in safe mode.  The problem this time appears to be different from the previous computer issue that shut down Curiosity’s A computer. Since it occurred on the backup B computer now in use, however, it is a problem that cannot be taken lightly. 

Curiosity takes a panorama of Mount Sharp.  A white-balanced version, which isn’t as much like true color but looks better, can be found here.

Tuesday  19 March 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re: More fraud in climate science    Steve McIntyre, the man who demonstrated that Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph was a fraud, has now demonstrated that the work of a group of climate scientists attempting to resurrect it is even more fraudulent. It seems that in order to recreate the illusion of warming in the past four hundred years, the scientists, led by geologist Shaun Marcott, changed the dates on a series of ocean cores in order to get the results they wanted.  McIntyre found that Marcott and his colleagues used previously published ocean core data, but have altered the dates represented by the cores, in some cases by as much as 1,000 years.   Most significantly, the scientists made no explanation for changing these dates. It is as if they wanted to hide this decline, y’know?  The chart on the right, by McIntyre, illustrates the fraud. The black line shows the temperature numbers of the ocean cores used by Marcott. The red line shows the temperature numbers, as originally published in the scientific literature, for these ocean cores. The discrepancy here is so egregious that it screams at you. More important, as John Hinderaker says,
    [Read more]

Hour 1: Dark Knight Rises 

Hour 2: Game of Thrones, Tomorrow Never Dies, Dexter, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
Hour 3: Green Zone, Danny Boy, Downton Abbey, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
Hour 4: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Star Trek