The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Air Date: 
April 22, 2014

Photo, above: Ukraine's police and intelligence service accused Russia of staging a fatal shooting incident on Sunday in which pro-Moscow separatists were killed in the east of the country.

"Armed lawbreakers and saboteurs who are terrorising the local population around Slaviansk ... have turned to cynical provocation," the SBU security service said in a statement, describing the incident as a "staged attack". No group was present "other than the saboteurs and crime figures, supported and armed by officers of Russia's GRU" military intelligence, the SBU added. The Ukrainian nationalist group Right Sector, blamed by separatists for the shooting, denied involvement and also accused Russian special forces.

Russia has accused Ukraine of failing to protect civilians in the Russian-speaking east and has threatened to intervene on their behalf - as it did before annexing Crimea last month.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry noted that its police were unable to operate in Slaviansk since pro-Moscow gunmen took over the town earlier this month. But in a statement it said it had established that at least three men were killed in what it suspected might have been an incident set up by Russian agents. Separatists manning a checkpoint on a road into Slaviansk near the town of Bylbasovka returned fire, it said, after gunmen in four cars drove up and shot at them at 2:20 a.m. (2320 GMT).  [more]


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

Hour One

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Charles Blahous, Hoover, in re:  The Unfolding Fiscal Disaster Behind ACA Enrollment Figures , e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century (1 of 2) last week, LK and I spoke  of the Taylor Rule; next day Yellin said she might use the Taylor Rule – which now proposes 1.5%  However, she's still doing central planning and it's all chaotic.  Charles Blahous: The real cost of the Affordable Care Act. ACA is a vast entitlement scale parallel to Medicaid.  "A colossal fiscal disaster is unfolding before our eyes" – comparable to the original spending commitments under Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. As though the federal govt has taken on something that big and declined to finance it. An enormous federal expansion of spending.  It’s the subsidies that are worrisome.  The way Congress has handled such things in the past – we can look forward to its building upon the expenditures, with no viable plan to pay for it.  CLASS for long-term plans: if the Adm can’t certify that this'll be workable over the long term, it’ll have to be suspended (it was).  . . .  The Adm keeps issuing regulations that back off from previous plans.  The intended $128 billion not here.   Expect no deadline or payments because if you can show any kind of hardship whatsoever, you needn't make payments, or even buy insurance.  [text]

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 1, Block B: Charles Blahous, Hoover and Mercatus Center, in re:  The Unfolding Fiscal Disaster Behind ACA Enrollment Figures , e21, Economic Policies for the 21st Century (2 of 2)

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 1, Block C: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Kentucky and Mississippi Senate primaries, on the whole Tea Party challenge this Spring, including Wolf challenging Robertson in KS, if possible.

Polling today from the NYT number crunchers: keeping the Senate in Harry Raid's hands by 51/49 . . .

“I would never lead the charge for the radical personhood amendment. My opponent did. By the way, he is still sponsoring the federal personhood bill. His beliefs haven’t changed but his ambitions have,” Udall said to cheers. But Udall’s remarks seemed also tame compared to the fiery speech U.S. Michael Bennet made on behalf of his Democratic colleague at the Weld County Democratic assembly. Gardner late last month unexpectedly dropped his re-election bid and decided to challenge Udall. The top three Republicans in the race — state Rep. Amy Stephens of Monument, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck and state Sen. Owen Hill of Colorado Springs — then got out of the race.

Meanwhile, Gardner was getting his own applause at various GOP assemblies Saturday, when he talked about Udall being the deciding vote for Obamacare, and saying if the Colorado senator loses, Harry Reid can say good-bye to the Senate majority leaders

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 1, Block D: Terry Anderson, director of PERC (The Property and Environment Research Center), in re: “According to scientific research, the environmental costs of fracking are real but rare.”  Hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of income from fracking.  North Dakota: unemployment zero, taxes are rolling in; energy to drive the economy in other sectors.   Using the very rare risks of water contamination, that's not from well fracking, it's from leasing of methane into water courses, found only where work has been improper.  The EPA has signed off on fracking – if the EPA accepts it, it’s gotta be OK.  Keystone XL stands in the way of rational dvpt; anoter example of sing envtl hype too stifle energy development.  pipeline are extremely safe. Think of the rail crash in Canada.  I think Pres Obama sold out here in order to get $100 mil from the hedge fund owner, Tom Steyer.  [Billionaire hedge fund operator and “green” energy magnate Tom Steyer has pledged $100 million in the 2014 election cycle to help Democratic candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and who favor “green” energy over fossil fuels. Steyer claims to be a man of principle who has no financial interest in the causes he supports, but acts only for the public good. That is a ridiculous claim: Steyer is the ultimate rent-seeker who depends on government connections to produce subsidies and mandates that make his “green” energy investments profitable. He also is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. Go here, here, here, here, here and here for more information about how Steyer uses his political donations and consequent connections to enhance his already vast fortune.  But Steyer’s hypocrisy goes still deeper. Today, he is a bitter opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. That fits with his current economic interests: banning coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his solar projects. But it was not always thus. In fact, Steyer owes his fortune in large part to the fact that he has been one of the world’s largest financers of coal projects. Tom Steyer was for coal before he was against it.  A reader with first-hand knowledge of the relevant Asian and Australian markets sent us this detailed report on how  ]

Whatever the risks of hydraulic fracturing, they must be weighed against the benefits. When the Great Recession hit the United States and doubled unemployment rates, one unlikely state—North Dakota—largely escaped the downturn. North Dakota’s unemployment rate only jumped from 3 percent to just over 4 percent between December 2007 and June 2009. The main reason for North Dakota’s resilience was the state’s oil and gas production, which grew steadily during this period. In December 2007, average daily oil and gas production was 136,021 barrels. By June 2009, the average daily production jumped 58 percent to 215,073 barrels. Behind this explosion of oil and gas production was (and continues to be) the hydraulic fracturing of the Bakken shale play . . .  [more]

Hour Two

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 2, Block A: Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton prof Emeritus ;  author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin, in re: "The U supports the govt in Kyiv"  and two men found dead of torture in Eastern Ukraine.  VP Biden in Ukraine today: empty symbolism by the Obama Administration. NYT last Sunday, front page:  "Pres Obama has decided to give up on Pres Putin, wait for a future Russian leader, and meanwhile revert to the old policy of containment."  Lots going n that's nit being reported, many adumbrations, prefigurings, of civil war. Will that bring Russian forces across the border into Eastern Ukraine, and NATO forces across the Polish border into Western Ukraine. "100 paratroopers."   Kerry: Mounting evidence that separatists continue to take over buildings and hold captives.  . . .  The disarming as supposed to be on both sides; either side is. Lavrov argues that Kyiv has done nothing to de-occupy bldgs in Kyiv or disarm the seizers.   In Geneva last week everybody agreed that all militias shd be disarmed.  Preposterous to say that the US was controlling all the demonstrators n Kyiv I Jan and Feb, or that Moscow controls all the event in Eastern Ukraine; ergo, neither side can actually disarm all the tough guys running around in black masks on both sides.  Tails wagging the dog of war. Geneva had he only set of principle that both sides have signed on to.

Villagers’ final salute to their martyr killed at checkpoint shoot-out  The pro-Russian separatists were manning a checkpoint on Sunday morning when they were killed in mysterious circumstances  It was an unlikely final salute for a man hailed as one of the first martyrs of the separatist movement that has seized control of parts of eastern Ukraine. A dozen neighbours, dressed in casual jeans and jackets, fired three ragged volleys from their farmers’ shotguns on a sunny ridge above the village of Bylbasovka.

Almost the entire population had turned out to bid farewell to Sergei Rudenko, 57, who died in a shoot-out at a checkpoint just outside the village where he lived on Sunday. Mr Rudenko’s death is one of three that has set the separatist-controlled city of Slavyansk on edge. “He died to defend us. Glory to the hero,” said the village elder presiding over the burial in a cemetery on Tuesday.

Earlier, Mr Rudenko’s body had lain in the city’s main church with two others, Pavel Pavlenko and Alexander Siganov, who also died in what separatists here say was an attack by armed nationalists from Pravy Sektor, the far-Right group that rose to prominence in the pro-European revolution last winter. [more]

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 2, Block B: Stephen F. Cohen (2 of 4), in re:  NATO troops moving in to Estonia, Poland, Romania; ships to Black Sea.  Sending 450 paratroopers, will go into Western Ukraine, to provoke Russia? Last week, Polish foreign minister in Washington, said he had an agreement of forward-based NATO troops incl Americans in Poland – two armored brigades (15,000 men). When we began to expand NATO, had agreement with Russia that we would not forward-base the troops – but we built the infrastructure: air strips, barracks, maybe ______.  During the 45-year Cold War, after Stalin died it was dangerous but stable because of the great deal of secret, back-channel communication. Anatoly Dobrynin – "the secret infrastructure of stability."  American denial for decade, now we're in a cold war crisis and hear that Obama doesn’t want to talk.    Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania – each gets 150 solders. 

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Stephen F. Cohen (3 of 4), in re: Russia expelling a Canadian official; "Russia may ban fruit and vegetable imports from Poland."  Vote for federalism?  Components; all armed militias to be disarmed (hasn't happened); Ukraine is several countries trying to live under one umbrella so need a federal constitution; need new elections (presidential on 25 May, but Russia argues need parliamentary too); need a neutral govt having trade relations with both Europe and Russia.  federalism used in many arts of the world where peoples have different histories. Problem is that Russia wants a confederation where Russia can control it a lot.  Kyiv not willing to relinquish much power.  Russia is ready to do this; Kyiv won’t; Washington s still thinking about it. Germany is a unified state with a federal constitution.  Te only alternative to a federal constitution is a Ukrainian civil war – a horrifying nightmare.  Obama Adm "will treat Russia as a pariah state."  This is a way of saying a state is wicked; the discussion has already been poisoned by this position, Obama has not had good advisors on Russia since the beginning.  He's declined to see ne or two of America's most eminent statesmen.  Further, he doesn’t want to talk about Russia unless he's force to.  First time I felt anger: Obama decided we'll have a new cold war with zero public debate and huge, historic consequences. This discussion nowhere in the US but the John Batchelor Show – not the NYT, the television stations, the Wall Street Journal – none.   Even Putin was challenged on his policy by Russian media and by his own appointees! but not a syllable here.  This is a crushing defeat for democracy in the United States. A spineless American political class!

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 2, Block D: Stephen F. Cohen (4 of 4), in re: Germany.  Germany was among the first to pursue a policy of detente with the Soviet Union, which the US then followed. Germany gets about 35% of its energy from Russia.  A real debate in Germany on what constitutes an ethical response to current events.  two points of view, goo way back in history: 1. Russia is European, a sort of odd cousin; 2. the NATO POV, that Russia need to be punished.  All both among voters and at the highest level of the political establishment.  The Berlin-Moscow relationship: "A significant event in the history of Europe."

Germany's Steinmeier urges focus on de-escalation with Russia, not sanctions - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he wished as much emphasis would be placed on preventing an escalation of tensions with Russia over Ukraine as there is at the moment in threatening economic sanctions.  In an interview to appear in Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday, Steinmeier appeared to be referring to threats from the United States as well as from within Germany about the need for economic sanctions against Russia.  "I sometimes wish that the same engagement being used for the debate about sanctions would also exist when it comes to avoiding a further escalation," Steinmeier told the Sunday newspaper, according to excerpts released before publication.  "We've already exhaustively discussed the sanctions issue," he added, in comments the newspaper said were addressed at German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who has called for economic sanctions against Russia.  Von der Leyen was quoted telling Focus magazine on Friday: "We Europeans say quite clearly that if Moscow continues to destabilize (Ukraine), the third level of sanctions will be implemented."  The White House warned of heavier economic sanctions than those already imposed over the annexation of Crimea if Moscow failed to uphold a pact reached in Geneva on Thursday - or if it moved to send troops massed on the border into Ukraine.  Under the Geneva accord, Russia, Ukraine and Kiev's U.S. and European Union allies agreed that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe should oversee the disarmament of pro-Russian separatists occupying public buildings in eastern Ukraine.  "We believe that Russia has considerable influence over the actions of those who have been engaged in destabilizing activities in eastern Ukraine," U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice said on Friday. "If we don't see action commensurate with the commitments that Russia has made yesterday in Geneva ... then obviously we've been very clear that we and our European partners remain ready to impose additional costs on Russia.  "Those costs and sanctions could include targeting very significant sectors of the Russian economy."  On Friday, separatist leaders said Russia's signature on the Geneva deal was not binding on them. Moscow denies Western assertions it is controlling the Ukrainian activists.  Washington did not spell out what further sanctions it might place on Russia. With the EU, it has so far imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a small number of Russians, a response that Moscow mocked. But some EU states are reluctant to do more, fearing that could provoke Russia further or hurt their own economies, which are heavily reliant on Russian gas.

Hour Three

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 3, Block A:  Anna Nemtsova, Daily Beast, in re:

God Chooses Sides in Ukraine  Religious divisions contribute to the conflict, now marked by open bloodshed. But ordinary Ukrainians have little faith in the future.

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 3, Block B:  Gordon Chang,, in re: Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest man, has now made it clear what he thinks of China's future:

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 3, Block C: Jamie Dettmer, Daily Beast and VOA, in re:  Battle-Ready Rebels in Ukraine  The pro-Russian shock-troops started by seizing buildings, now they’re running whole towns, making arrests, interrogating suspects and trying to intimidate the press.

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 3, Block D: Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, in re:   The Coming Collapse of India's Communists . . .  for the first time in their history, India's communists are staring at the prospect of extinction.

Hour Four

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 4, Block A:  Seb Gorka, FDD, Natl Defense University and Breitbart, in re:  In November of 2011 an article was published under Hillary Clinton’s name entitled "America’s Pacific Century." The piece laid the foundation for the administration refocusing its diplomatic efforts away from the Middle East and Europe and towards Asia.  According to recent press reports, the week-long trip President Obama will embark upon Tuesday to Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea will be less about assessing how well the “rebalancing” is progressing than aimed at reassuring America’s friends and allies that the US is still a global player and can be relied upon.  Given the events that have unfolded since the 2011 Clinton article, this will be a decidedly hard sell.

The pivot’s implementation has so far not resulted in the hoped-for strengthening of America’s position in the area. In fact, China, the most important potential regional spoiler, has since the announcement taken actions that have increased fears amongst America’s local partners.  The lack of a muscular US response to Beijing’s military actions around disputed territories, such as the Senkaku Islands, has led smaller and weaker nations to question the US commitment in the Pacific region and Japan to initiate its first military base expansion in 40 years.  The recent seizure of a Japanese vessel by China, ostensibly for a debt dating back to the 1930s – when Japan occupied large amounts of Chinese territory – demonstrates the historic longevity of grudges in the region and . .. [more]

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 4, Block B: Thomas H. Henriksen, Hoover and Guardian (UK), in re:  America Stands Accused of Retreat from Its Global Duties. Nonsense

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: SpaceX achieves controlled landing of Falcon 9 first.  647 SpaceX says it made two key strides toward the eventual reusability of the Falcon 9 rocket this week with the controlled splashdown of the rocket's first stage in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday and the successful first flight of a booster prototype from the company's Central Texas test facility. [more]

Orbital Evaluating Three Bids for Antares Engine; Says Amazonas 4A Glitch Is Permanent There are likely two possible causes of the problem with Amazonas 4A, and in both cases, the issue is isolated and will not affect any other Orbital-built satellites in orbit or in production. The satellite and rocket builder Orbital Sciences Corp on April 17 said the electrical failure on the Orbital-built Amazonas 4A satellite launched in March appears likely to result in a permanent reduction in the satellite’s capacity but that there is no risk of similar failures on other satellites in orbit or in production.  The company also said it is evaluating three bids — two Russian, one U.S. — to produce main-stage engines for Orbital’s Antares rocket. The engines being offered include the Russian-built, U.S.-modified engine currently used for Antares.  In a conference call with investors, Orbital Chief Executive David W. Thompson said [more]

State Senate Debates a Space Tourism Port The Senate is set to take up legislation today designed to pave the way for a space port in the state. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.    Credit Listen 1:13  Taber MacCallum of Tucson-based Paragon Space Development said the idea is to use a helium balloon to float a capsule with two crew and six passengers up to 20 miles, float along for a couple of hours and then use a steerable parachute to glide back to earth. Where the launches will take place is another question.  “It varies with the time of year. Sometimes . . .[more]

NASA Completes LADEE Mission with Planned Impact on Moon's Surface  Ground controllers at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, pron: laddee) spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m. PDT Thursday, April 17.

LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent into the lunar surface. The spacecraft's orbit naturally decayed following the mission's final low-altitude science phase.

During impact, engineers believe the LADEE spacecraft, the size of a vending machine, broke apart, with most of the spacecraft’s material heating up several hundred degrees – or even vaporizing – at the surface. Any material that remained is likely buried in shallow craters.  "At the time of impact, LADEE was traveling at a speed of 3,600 miles per hour – about three times the . . . [more]

Tuesday  22 April  2014 / Hour 4, Block D: John Bolton, AEI, in re: The "three-state solution" will not be achieved easily, but it at least has the virtue of being realistic and workable. Those who truly have the best interests of the Palestinians at heart should consider it.

John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.  read this article online.

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