The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 10 January 2013

Air Date: 
January 10, 2013

Photo, above: Jerusalem in a rare snowstorm.
Co-hosts:  Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Hour One
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Eli Lake, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, in re:  nomination of Chuck Hagel to be SecDef. Euphemism of the day: "He's not afraid to change his mind."
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re:  Forty-eight "pilgrims" – IRGC cuutthroats on a research mission - held by the soi-disant Free Syrian Army were freed. Not pilgrims, but killers, members of IRGC, some of them very senior, which is why Iran was so desperate to get them out. In the sub rosa Iran-US negotiations, Iran made their release a precondition, so the US put enormous pressure on the FSA – incl Qatar and Turkey – for which the FSA got a lot of goodies: money, food, munitions. Meanwhile, a former FBI agent named Levinson who was kidnapped on [Kish?] Island, is not released.
Overall, Iran demands the US leave the Middle East, bless Iran's nuclear program and call it peaceful, and not interfere in any way in Iran's violent domestic deeds.   "Stability" is not part of a violent, evil regime. Unfortunately, Pres Obama wants the current Iranian regime to win – he did nothing to help the uprising, and no US official has spoken a word with the opposition in years. Ahmadinejad makes no decision – all made by Khamenei.
Thursday 10 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: .Tim Wilson, director of climate change policy, & intellectual property and free trade unit, Public Affairs Inst., in Melbourne, in re:  the extreme heat in Australia.  Moving across the country – 37 degrees now, heading to Sydney.    Forests are tinderboxes – and we have arsonists. Victoria is the southeast, least fired; north and northwest are much hotter. When it was only Indigenous Australia, they sometimes lit fires to create firebreaks. Floods in Brisbane, fires, now a killer heat wave. For most people, it’s only a moment of adjustment; richer people have air conditioning. We had no advance warning of floods, but did of this heat wave.  Tasmania has a small population; services arriving from elsewhere in the nation.
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Lara M Brown, Villanova, in re:  gun violence, ____, and ____.  Gov Cuomo, in an over-the-top State of the State msg, decried guns. Politics: you  can talk about guns, then you can talk about everything else. Pennsylvania: favors guns. Guns are widely seen across the country as a way of defending oneself and family from an overweening govt. It’s part of how we see ourselves as a baton.  Climate change: Pres Obama has to contend with Ohio, PA, NY, TX, OK, Colorado  - explosion of jobs attached to shale oil; also with EPA.  He excels at dividing and conquering, but he has to be careful here.  The Bakken in the Dakotas and Montana, and Canada: we're importing less and producing more. He used to be a huge proponent of nuclear; backed away after meltdowns in Japan.  Cap and trade was tapped by Pelosi in Pres O's first term; it wasn't picked up. To solve the natl debt problem, make that your legacy, you have to be willing to work with OP and cut a deal. He grew up in Chicago: there are a winner and a loser, only.
Hour Two
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  .Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: snow in Jerusalem. Middle East ski report: Schools were closed, exciting – many have never seen snow in their lives. Sea of Galillee up 69 cm today and will be more with snow melt (Israel's largest water source). Gaza smugglers's tunnels have collapsed from the heavy rains. ["God finally shut down the tunnels."]  Jack Lew nominated to be Treasury Secretary: son of a middle-class Jewish family, is an observant Jew who adheres to religious restrictions. Served in State under Clinton. head of OMB; Pres Obama's chief of staff. Will be the first Jewish Sabbath observer in a Cabinet position.  Cairo: Abbas and Meschaal.  Syria: fifty tons of unenriched uranium.  When Israel took out the Syrian nuclear reactor, the fifty tons just sat there.  Syrians have addressed chemical weapons, but not the UEU.  Fear that Hezbollah and Iran have designs on the chem. weapons, even Russia has begun to worry and intervene (Chechnya could acquire them). Israel is re-enforcing its wall (at?) the Golan to keep out incursions of Syrian army.
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . Tony Badran, FDD, in re: the Obama Administration has barely thought about or strategized about Syria. The main goal is to defeat the Iranian power in Syria. Assad may be there for years: as long as he can remain in power, Iranian power will be safe there.  Rebels still asking for a military advantage to neutralize weapons of Assad; that's leverage that the US has. The primary engine of the uprising s Syrian Sunnis, along with a patchwork. Danger of a cantonization of Syria on region, sectarian and ethnic line,  Can these pockets – esp if Assad & Alawites set up their own enclave – the US will be [in a pickle] because end of Iranian influence there is the US strategic end-goal. [Disagreement by transcriber.]  Fyodor Lukianov wrote: defeat of Assad is a defeat of Russia.  Russian freeloading on the diplomatic efforts by Brahimi. Oama Adm has no redline for intervention in Syria – not fixed-wing aircraft or chem. weapons. Panetta and Dempsey: both made very problematic  statements today.
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  William Kristol, The Weekly Standard editor, in re: Chuck Hagel, nominated to be SecDef. Last time anyone in the GOP trusted him was when he voted for John Bolton to be US ambassador to the UN(and the reversed himself).  Voted repeatedly vs sanctions on Iran, denounced the Jewish lobby, voted for the Iraq war then denounced it; and voted for major funding cuts to Pentagon.  Defense Dept has a lot more leeway than State does.  Huge agency, lots of latitude; it really matters who the Secretary f Defense is. This person is not the right man because the job, itself, is crucial. GOP has been fairly accommodating on Cabinet appts, were unprepared for Hagel appt  just on temperament and experience. GOP may mostly oppose him; they didn't want this fight. Brennan as head of CIA: hard to know what a WH intell advisor actually did. Big tradition of bipartisanship at CIA so I'm surprised by GOP resistance to him – he tried to reassure Muslim student here, and visited al Quds (Jerusalem in Arabic).  If you think a strong US is important in the world, you got to worry about these appointments. At east Clinton, Petraeus and others were people of real stature; not these fellows.  Hagel at J Street in 2009: "There's a shift in policy – Syria wants to talk and everything is on the table; we need to let up on pressure." Said similar things abt Iran and Hezbollah. Consistent obduracy. Al Jazeera purchase from All Gore? Yes, it is "both a propaganda and news service." Irony that he makes so much money from Qatar – not democratic, not green. Funny how many Democrats not very pleased by Hagel.  Schumer, GIllibrand, others, will have to decide if Hagel is {acceptable] or not.
Thursday  10 Jan 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Sinai – a maniacal no-man's land – could become a link between Israel and Egypt: both have strong interests in stabilizing it.  Attempt today to blow up a Coptic church in northern Sinai.  Egyptian military moved aggressively vs smuggling in August, then backed down out of fear of a domestic backlash; rockets from Sudan to Gaza – huge, 6meters long – are travelling over major Sinai roads.  Muslim Brotherhood uses doubletalk, but doesn’t have full control over the military. US cd use mil aid for leverage.  Mursi's response to he attacks that killed 16 soldiers was to use it as a power grab for himself.  Turkey just gave $500 mil.  MB and Khamenei  confrontation coming to a head over who controls the Muslim world? no – Egyptians hate Shiites.  Iranian Foreign Minister visits Cairo this week – they’re sort of feeling each other out. Supreme Guide of Muslim Brotherhood calls for jihad to reclaim Jerusalem – twice in a month.  Washington needs to be clear that Mursi can’t act this way forever.
Hour Three
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: Iran having more and ore nuclear development sites. Today Gul of Turkey strongly denounced it. Iranian flights cancelled because Iran cannot pay its debts. Importation of steel an coal: hope that he Europeans [honor] their obligations under sanctions.  have 30K people in espionage and spying domestically and internationally.   Sabotaging bank sites worldwide. Meanwhile citizens' not being paid for six or nine months.  M Ledeen thinks Obama Adm will not move against Ayatollahs.  Europeans allow US to pursue talks, but those are all delaying tactics by Iran.  Elections in Jordan: Transjordanian tribal leaders now openly expressing opposition to the king – and these were his most loyal supporters; Calls for king's uncle to take an important position. Natl Front for Reform? MB? Transjordanian opposition (incl student and veterans)? King refused to change some of the election laws. Has taken steps to democratization, but he needs to move well enough to hold stability. UAE has given hindered of mil in aid, but it's shaky.  Chavez: his supporters have claws in deep.
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  .David Ze’ev, diplomatic and political correspondent at Israel Radio, in re: David lives just outside Jerusalem in Beit Shemesh; commute was easy because everyone stayed home. Israeli PM is lucky that his opponents can't coalesce around any candidate. [The ancient city of Beit Shemesh {"house of the sun" or "temple of the sun" in Hebrew} was originally named after the Canaanite sun-goddess Shemesh.] Netanyahu has many seats in Knesset; joined forces with another party to create a strong bloc, but are getting fewer seats than they had together when they were separate. Another Right party is a strong opponent; were they to join together, they'd all do well, but now seems to be  Amir Peretz (frmr def min) who stressed security, joined another party and brought Palestinians and Iran to the fore.  The PM, himself, has decided not to make a public issue of Iran, but deal with that with quiet diplomacy.  It's now devolving into personalities discussions. 
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . The Ragged Edge of the World: Encounters at the Frontier Where Modernity, Wildlands and Indigenous Peoples Meet by Eugene Linden (Mar 27, 2012); 1 of 2
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   The Ragged Edge of the World: Encounters at the Frontier Where Modernity, Wildlands and Indigenous Peoples Meet by Eugene Linden (Mar 27, 2012);  2 of 2
Eugene Linden is an award-winning journalist and the author of The Parrot’s Lament, The Future in Plain Sight, Silent Partners, and other books on animals and the environment. He has consulted for the U.S. State Department, the UN Development Program, and he is a widely traveled speaker and lecturer. In 2001, Yale University named Linden a Poynter Fellow in recognition of his writing on the environment.  He lives in Nyack, New York, and Washington, D.C.
Hour Four
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  space engineering with Apophis; Space X hired astronauts, private space guys.  The competition heats up: An official of SpaceX announced today that the company plans on its first manned launch by 2015, and that the astronauts will be its employees, not NASA’s.
    Back when the shuttle program was still alive and NASA astronauts could have applied political pressure to keep it running, some said they should, if only to save their jobs. They did not, and instead toed the party line and supported the shuttle’s retirement even though no replacement was even close to being operational.
    How’s that working out for you, guys, eh?
    The truth is that there is no justification any longer for the astronaut corp at NASA. They have no vehicle, and any future space vehicle is going to be built and operated by others who will chose their own pilots.
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Zimmerman, re Sun to be studied by NASA, and also the climates of moon and Mars for how sun changes climate on other planets.
   Pigs fly! A new National Research Council report honestly admits the possibility that the Sun might be an important factor in climate change. The article, from NASA, itself is a remarkably fair assessment of the field’s state of knowledge (which in truth is quite spotty since we really do not yet understand what is going on with the climate). This, as far as I can remember, is the first time in years, since the early 1990s before the global warming advocates took over the climate field and shut down debate, that an official article from a government organization like NASA has been so open about these issues and not toed the politically correct line that “fossil fuels and carbon dioxide are causing global warming and don’t you dare say anything different!”
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International, in re: (CNN) -- Joe Biden doesn't much like the NRA -- and the feeling is mutual.  But on Thursday the NRA will be coming to the White House to meet with Biden and his fast-track gun reform task force, formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and due to submit its recommendations by the end of the month.
Thursday  10  Jan 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Daniel Henninger, WSJ, in re:  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was on front pages and TV screens last week when he ripped House Republicans for not passing a Hurricane Sandy relief bill New Year's Day, the same day they were engulfed with the fiscal-cliff tax bill.  "There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering of these innocent victims," said Gov. Christie, "the House majority and their speaker, John Boehner." GOP Congressman Michael Grimm from Staten Island called the non-vote on Sandy "a betrayal," and this being New York-New Jersey, Republican Peter King of Long Island invoked "a knife in the back."
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Hour 1: Knight & Day, Mad Max
Hour 2: Tears of the Sun, Land of the Dead, Persia
Hour 3: Infamous
Hour 4: Starship Troopers, Land of the Dead
..  ..  ..