The John Batchelor Show

Monday 6 August 2012

Air Date: 
August 06, 2012




Monday 905P Eastern Time (605P Pacific Time):   . Congressman Kevin Brady (TX-08 [Houston]), in re: the fiscal cliff.  Jobs number last Friday. Some major media celebrate the jobs number – to low a bar. Worst economic recovery since WWII. Three years after the recession began we’re flying very low and slow. Nothing the Fed can do; it’s the fiscal issues that Main St businesspeople speak to me abt. Fed regulations, Obamacare – no silver bullet. Hard work and risk in Texas give us a reasonable business climate. Only three states have made back their jobs: Texas, Alaska, North Dakota – all heavily into energy. The US could become the largest energy producer in the world in the next few years.  Washington, the extreme environmental groups hold an outsized influence – far greater than they have among the American public, Shut down federal lands, higher taxes on energy produced in America but not on energy produced elsewhere.  We need to be producing more, exporting, and maximize this great opportunity.  Need to bld pipelines to connect energy to the markets. Oil and gas have added 150, 000 jobs while the Obama Administration has added a total of 35,000 jobs in green energy. The Northeast could be one of the greatest beneficiaries of the new grid.  The huge number of envtl lawsuits clogging the system right now: slowing energy exploration and production

Monday 920P Eastern Time (620P Pacific Time):   Charles Pellegrino, author, in re: Hiroshima Day, August 6.  8:15 AM, 1945, the Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima; 80,0000 people gone immediately.  Temperatures far above 5x the boiling point of water. Human flesh disintegrates instantly (cf, Pompei).   Uranium bomb, 12.5 kilotons.  Some survivors travelled to Nagasaki only to encounter the plutonium bomb, of 22 kilotons.   The US had waited for three days, heard only what it thought was "contemptuous silence" from the Japanese emperor so dropped the second bomb. Only later did the US discover a palace revolution had been under way, with demands to surrender immediately. What actually pushed the emperor and his cabinet into surrender was the three-day firebombing of Tokyo, 14-17 August, along with sighting of a huge fleet heading toward Japan..

August 9, Nagasaki. 

Monday 935P Eastern Time (635P Pacific Time):   .  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribue-Review, and Mona Charen, NRO, in re: why did Harry Reid say such an odd thing as, "I have a source who told me that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years." ? It's called "flooding the zone" – forcing everyone to pay attention to what I'm talking about.  No re-election is about the new opponent; it's always about the incumbent.  I don't see any energy for either Obama or Romney; what I do see is dissatisfaction with present conditions.  Last time I saw this was 1980.  Obama's campaign has just tweeted, "Romney Hood," as in, The opposite of Robin Hood.

Monday 950P Eastern Time (650P Pacific Time):   .Gregory Zuckerman,  WSJ, in re: the London Whale, Bruno Iksil of JP Morgan, underestimated his own losses, as it turns out was pressured to do so – was ordered to do so – by his boss Javier Martin-Artajo, who encouraged Bruno to put rosy prices on some of his positions.  Scary that they managed so much money that just one guy's positions' being pushed slightly higher could cause a widespread catastrophe. Iksel, thrown under the very luxurious JP Moran bus.

There exists a body of opinion that the US needs to fall off the fiscal cliff in order to be obliged to make wise decisions. The level of defense spending is over the top. This is management by crisis (better than leading from behind). When you manage by crisis, you make yourself vulnerable to the Black Swan.

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Something really strange happened in Tennessee last week. Democrats elected a fright-wing conspiracy theorist named Mark Clayton to be their U.S. Senate candidate—and the state party promptly disavowed him.

It’s fair to say that if this were a Republican Senate nominee, there would be wide public outcry. Instead, there’s just awkward silence. Clayton is a fringe figure, someone whose beliefs span talk about the new world order, an alleged NAFTA superhighway, and FEMA prison camps. He also is vice president of an organization that calls itself Public Advocate of the United States, which pushes an extreme social-conservative agenda with such a negative obsession with gay rights that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated it a hate group. Clayton’s political brand isn’t exactly making a broad comeback within the southern Democratic Party. So how did this happen?

First, the practical considerations. The Tennessee Democratic Party has been taking a beating in recent years. It holds just two of nine congressional seats, and the rigged system of redistricting promises to make that margin worse. The governorship, the state legislature, and both U.S. Senate seats are all held by Republicans. Incumbent Sen. Bob Corker, who narrowly won his Senate seat running against Harold Ford Jr. in 2006, has accumulated an intimidating multimillion-dollar war chest and a decent overall record. These dynamics meant that no credible, well-funded Democrat decided to get in the race in 2012. One additional benefit for fringe candidates—it takes only 25 signatures to get on the ballot. Clayton’s 20-point primary victory seems to be accountable to his last name. “The guy hasn’t even updated his website since 2008,” Sean Braisted of the Tennessee Democratic Party told me. “So the only logical thing is that he was the first name on the ballot.”

This is the same lame dynamic that led Alvin Greene to be South Carolina Democrats’ nominee against Sen. Jim DeMint in 2010. That particular spectacle was amusing, and occasionally entertaining, but it was essentially depressing for at least two reasons. First, because if voters really do pull the lever for the first name they see in such large numbers, it doesn’t speak well of our democracy—we look dumb. Second, citizens in the state have been denied a credible general-election contest. There is an overall cautionary tale with ramifications beyond Tennessee: this is what can happen in one-party states. The ideological polarization of the two parties means that there are fewer and fewer conservative Democrats or progressive Republicans. That, in turn, means that there are fewer Southern Democrats who can win statewide and Northeast and Pacific coast Republicans. Potentially credible candidates—like the Democratic mayors of Tennessee’s four largest cities—decide that it is not worth being a sacrificial lamb in the face of a presidential landslide. Add a low-turnout primary, and fringe candidates can get their 15 minutes of fame.

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Monday 1005P (705P Pacific Time):   .Taegan Goddard, PoliticalWire, and John Fund, National Review Online, in re: Romney  Hood. The economy. Harry Reid is a lot of fun re-elected for six years, has recently grabbed headlines by making accusations without substance – the CBS is similar to McCarthy, thereby keeping the issue of Romney's tax returns in discussion.  Reid dismisses questions. White House distances itself from the whole thing. Chuck Schumer is sharpening his long knives for Reid's position.  They stared with a tax on Bain Capital – "not someone you want in the White House." Pres Obama pivoted again tonight: "Romney is Robin Hood in reverse." Disconnect between stock market and unemployment rate. Stock market is partly an artificial bubble created by the Fed. ("The job of he Fed is to take away the punchbowl – and I just did.")

"Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida, the largest and most diverse of these highly contested states, are where the ad dollars have been concentrated, and that's been consistent this election season." Reince Priebus: Harry Reid Is a “Dirty Liar”

Monday 1020P (720P Pacific Time):   . continued. Vice-presidential speculation. Paul Ryan? Not. Pawlenty is a favorite of the Romney family.  There's also a theory that the least-spoken-of person is the likely candidate – he's the surprise.  Political Wire post: in the 24 hours before Sarah Palin was picked, her Wijkipeida page was edited 64 times. Will John Fund edit Marco Rubio's page now?  Portman? Ayotte? Chris Christie or Brian Sandoval.  Never underestimate the effect of the personal on the political.  Was completely vetted by McCain and press corps –no skeletons  in his closet, olny blandness.

Monday 1035P (735P Pacific Time):   .Paule Saviano,  From Above author, in re: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, hibakusha – atomic bomb survivors.  Book issued two years ago; since publication, have tracked down many more in Japan and in the US.    Are generally eager to speak of their lives, as few of us understand what they’ve been through. Each person I've photographed in the last four years – that one moment has shaped all the rest of their lives. Each succeeding moment is a new beginning. Mr Komine said his life began when the bomb exploded – his first memory, at age four.

Victims of firebombings in Dresden and Tokyo. After the second book, I went to Coventry and ____, Poland, the first firebombed city.   In Tokyo, all the wooden buildings caught fire, people spent all night in the river. The randomness of death. One woman in Tokyo got caught under a pile of people and survived only because she was on the bottom; everyone else burned.  I was urged to go to Coventry by the people I met in Dresden.  Some say Dresden was bombed in retaliation for Coventry. Survivors there were a lot older – the blitz was four or five years before Dresden. Stories were just ad bad. Michael Logan lost his entire family except for his little brother; was a war orphan, In 2008 went on a reconciliation tour to Dresden; was bitter his entire life till he went to Dresden, met people on the other side who'd had the same experience. There's no victory in war. Only suffering, no mater what side you’re on.  In March 1945, 100,000 people ere destroyed – firebombings far more destructive even than the nuclear bomb.  From Above – you look up – and, in a blink . . .

Monday 1050P (750P Pacific Time):   .Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:   Syria – 15,000 Iranian troops in country. The entire region.


Monday 1105P (805P Pacific Time):   .Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  Curiosity; Mars. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), CalTech.  Thrilling event late last night: Seven minutes of terror. Deploy chute. Skycrane.  Touchdown. A minute or so after landing,  64x64 pixel photo – "We've got thumbnail" ; a moment later, another image showing Curiosity's shadow on the ground.   Had to have its  own sensing eqpt to identify a relatively flat spot. Two pix today made news: one from Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter of parachute descending.    Another; showing heat shields dropping off below. Rover had in it a camera looking down. Can see a movie of the ground approaching, then dust being kicked up.  Rover will travel over to jettisoned rocket and inspect its own engines. Probably have telemetry saying where it went. Robot was sending out twitter messages!

Monday 1120P (820P Pacific Time):   . David Livingston, Dr Space, and Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  nuclear fuel; instrumentation, high-gain antenna. Unlike previous rovers, this is designed for a long visit; plutonium engine; keeps instruments warm at night. Has huge wheels to lend stability, and pleated, for all-weather terrain. Nominally, one Martian year (= almost two Earth years). Conservative approach to managing this venture. Cd have erred by holding back any problems, but they haven’t. Planning to climb Gale Crater. Martian winter was a factor for Opportunity and Spirit, which were running on solar panels.   NASA has launched and landed a Big Wheels toy!

Monday 1135P (835P Pacific Time):   . Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: 16 Egyptian soldiers KIA, what does Cairo say, what does Morsi do  

Monday 1150P (850P Pacific Time):   .  Aaron Klein, WABC, the fighting in Syria, the Iranin reinforcements, the Gaza Sinai fighting,


Monday/Tues 1205A (905 Pacific Time):   You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya by Christopher Goffard; 1 of 2

Monday/Tues  1220A (920 Pacific Time):   . You Will See Fire: A Search for Justice in Kenya by Christopher Goffard; 2 of 2 

Monday/Tues  1235A (935P Pacific Time):   Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribue-Review, and Mona Charen, NRO, in re: why did Harry Reid say such an odd thing as, "I have a source who told me that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years." ? It's called "flooding the zone" – forcing everyone to pay attention to what I'm talking about.  No re-election is about the new opponent; it's always about the incumbent.  I don't see any energy for either Obama or Romney; what I do see is dissatisfaction with present conditions.  Last time I saw this was 1980.  Obama's campaign has just tweeted, "Romney Hood," as in, The opposite of Robin Hood.  

Monday/Tues  1250A  (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. Gordon Chang,, in re: the witch trial of Gu Kailai begins this week, the PRC is on trial.

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Music (using East Coast broadcast time)

9-hour: The Pacific; Tora Tora Tora; Frost-Nixon.  10-hour:  Forst-Nixon; Game of Thrones; Tears of the Sun.  11-hour:  Riddick; The Kingdom.  midnight hour: Hotel Rwanda; Tomorrow Never Dies.