The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Air Date: 
November 27, 2018

Photo:  An unusual group of large Great Andamanese communal huts, ca. 1886. Edward Horace Man (1846-1929). Permissions: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less.
Co-host: Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council under US Pres Donald Trump.
Hour One
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 1, Block A:  Elizabeth Peek (@lizpeek), Fox News, in re: General Motors vs. Trump.  The American economy is firing on all cylinders.  As GM announces its intention to close multiple factories and take away 15,000 jobs in the US and Canada, Pres Trump is threatening to cut off governmental subsidies for GM for electric cars.  The GM board exists because of governmental actions during the great recession; Pres Trump is very unhappy with the board.  It’s become politic all because Trump promised to increase jobs. As for subsidies for electric car makers, not clear that he can remove that.  What GM is doing is getting rid of some small-car product because consumers around the world have been favoring SUVs and trucks. I think their assembly line is set up to make the wrong kind of cars. Mary Barra, CEO, tried to explain the problem. I think there’s more to learn about this.  Trump says , “Bring  your Chinese mfrg to Ohio.”
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 1, Block B:  Elizabeth Peek (@lizpeek), Fox News, in re: Who’s the fairest of them all for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination?
Adam Schiff will investigate Trump, Khashoggi, everything. Democratic competition for impeachment?
Americans elected this government in order to break up a log jam and get something done.  We have four committees investigating some aspect of Pres Trump. Concerning MBS, there are lots of bad guys.  Iran again called for the extermination of Israel the other day; Saudis aren't choir boys, but are geopolitically important. Democrats need to have a policy platform more interesting than impeaching Pres Trump.
Hillary Clinton told Europe that unless it solves its migrant problem, there will be no slowing right-wing populism.  Is Hillary back as a candidate?   She’s not more powerful than formerly; in the #MeToo era, she has a full baggage train with her husband’s past with women. For years, the Clintons have funded her activities from Clinton Foundation donations, which are now down precipitously.  I think she’d like to run; wants the Democratic party to be so fractured that they turn to her as the central figure, But imagine Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, all the others, ceding space to her?  Highly entertaining.
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 1, Block C: Paul Gregory (@PaulR_Gregory), Hoover Institution, in re: The FSB posted a vid f three captured Ukrainskii naval vessel saying that this was a casus belli we generated at the direction of Kiyev. One is reading from a script; the men seemed to be under physical and emotional pressure to say this.
We know from radio intercept that this action was directed by Medvedev and Putin, himself. The bigger picture is that Putin has decided he can bolster his sagging public opinion numbers by giving a gift to the Russian people: “The Sea of Azov is now ours!”
Putin was trying to goad Poroshenko to cancel upcoming elections – a disaster, so he’s simply created martial law. What we see is that Russia can ride roughshod over Ukraine and he international order, which puts Trump in an awkward place at the upcoming G20.
Take the Sea of Azov, expand to control the Black Sea – from Bulgaria and Rumania to Turkey and Georgia; were he to gain control of he Black Sea, more advantageous than marching into Kiyev.  Putin’s millionaire buddy got the contract to build the kerch bridge*; Russia is blocking the water with a huge cargo ship anchored directly under the bridge – but the bridge is so badly built that it’s already sinking. 
* The new bridge that straddles the Kerch Strait between Crimea and southern Russia.
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 1, Block D: Tunku Varadarajan (@tunkuv), executive editor, Hoover Institution; in re: John Chau. Descended from African who arrived at the North Sentinel Islands 50,000 [30,000?] years ago and still are in a Stone Age state of existence.* No one knows how many, nor what their language is. The Indian government prevents all visitors from entering John Chau decided that the islands were God-forsaken and needed Christian conversion.  As the young missionary arrived by kayak, the Sentinelese killed him with bows and arrows. “Eyes on, hands off” is the Indian government policy to prevent the intrusion of deadly diseases such as even the common cold. John Chau was the first to set foot on the island since 2006; they’d run out of fuel and were promptly killed and their bodies sprung up like scarecrows. 
John Chau had an Instagram account filled with attractive pictures of him all over the world. A likeable fellow. Nonetheless, he wrote that the Sentinel Islands were Satan’s last stronghold.
*North Sentinel Island is part of the far-flung Andaman Islands in the vast Bay of Bengal. The region is home to five Stone Age tribes — which anthropologists believe to be the last of their kind and are dwindling in numbers.
Hour Two
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 2, Block A:  Jerry Hendrix (@JerryHendrixII), Telemus Group, US Navy [ret] and National Review, in re: In several hours, Pres Trump will meet in Buenos Aires with Pres Putin and Xi Jinping, president-for-life. “The Navy We Need”  discusses not just the number we need—355—but also the sub-question of what types of ships and how many. 
The US Navy is not what it can and must be to take on China and Russia combined. . . . My article made the cover of the National Review.   Importance of the frigate. The 1982 issue of the Atlantic – broken windows theory of law enforcement: as we specialize in large ships with deep drafts, such as Arleigh Burkes, Ticonderogas, aircraft carriers, we find that Russia and China are competing with us, they can get in to the Azov Sea, for example, where we haven't been going.
Are Russia and China combining to face us? Hard for me to imagine a situation where we’d be fighting one country and not the other. They know that we’re stretched thin.  . . . Two MRCs: major regional conflicts. . .  . I hope that the conflict in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov clarify that Russia is, indeed, [acting aggressively].  Jackie Fisher drew down the size of the Royal Navy to rebuild it with more modern ships. That helped trigger the arms race before WWI; I fear that our [inadequacies] may do the same thing here.  The Constitution requires us to have a navy; an army was seen as more transitory. . . . We need to get 20 ships a year to reach 355.
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 2, Block B: Christian Whiton (@ChristianWhiton), in re: Jamal Khashoggi and national security. Khashoggi was writing for the Washington Post (intermittently), leading to a campaign by the WaPo against Trump as having evinced an inadequate response to the disappearance.  Khashoggi was committed to the Muslim Brotherhood.  WaPo was publishing his columns in both English and Arabic — bizarre. 
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 2, Block C:  Richard A Epstein (@RichardAEpstein), Chicago Law, NYU Law, and Hoover Institution; in re:  Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg are running for president – two billionaires. Current laws let you self-fund, but also may give $80 million to fund others.
The Supreme Court said, “No corruption here” – but corruption is always a temptation. No limitations on what you can spend on your own campaign, but lots of limitations on what others may give you, so expect a lot of billionaires to be running for office.
. . . When Bloomberg finds he doesn't have enough name-recognition, he’s liable to drop out, as he did before; Steyer will probably stay in to save the nation. Prediction is a dangerous game, but spectator commentary is always amusing.  In self-funding, the more you have, the more you can spend on yourself. Also: campaign contributions, and independent expenditures.  . . .  The Supreme Court [leads people to] put money into independent campaigns.  Can give money to a particular cause, not a candidate (although you may designate a candidate). When you have as much discretions as a president does, money always finds its way [to you].
There are two things that matter: liberty and property; everyone [here in the US] has liberty, while property is not [distributed equally]. 
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 2, Block D:  Richard A Epstein (@RichardAEpstein), Chicago Law, NYU Law, and Hoover Institution; in re:  Citizens United vs the FEC.   At what point are you a corporation, at what point an individual? Are these billionaires or corporations?
Citizens United was a corporation; the argument was that big corps would try to buy an election.  In fact, Citizens United was a $12mil corporation that only and exclusively made films to attack Hillary Clinton, did nothing else.
The New York Times is a corporation; it's the press. I write articles, am I the press? The Constitution was designed to protect speech . . .  This is core political speech.  The case seems to me to be lopsidedly simple.  . . . I think Citizens United will remain; some Democrats will start to have a change in sentiment, and I think all we can do is let everyone make unlimited contributions – then we have to worry about disclosure. The only corporations concerned are political corporations, since business corporations will merely alienate their customers. 
Hour Three
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 3, Block A:  Andrew C McCarthy, III, National Review; and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; in re: Whenever you interview a witness like Paul Manafort, the witness has to satisfy the prosecutor that leniency is in order; which ratchets up pressure on Manafort to say what the prosecutor wants. Note that Manafort may be encouraged to make things up, whereas the government can say that Manafort wasn’t truthful. As for the Guardian story that Manafort sneaked into the Ecuadorean embassy in London, the paper has backed up a little on it. Wikileaks says that the Guardian tale is fake and invented.
      If the story is false, it hurts the investigation – no crime, but desperation to manufacture one.
.. . Pres Trump is in a difficult bind: if he pardons someone, Mueller will extend his inquiry, and the Democrats will say that the president has abused pardon power, obstructed Mueller’s investigation, and thereby be liable to be accused of impeachable offense. Mueller knows that the president probably won't pardon anyone until Mueller’s report is in, so Mueller has no impetus to hasten. In fact, there need never be a report, ever.  
Mueller as federal prosecutor is to file either an indictment, or a report on . . .
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 3, Block B:  Andrew C McCarthy, III, National Review; and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; in re: When will Mueller report?
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 3, Block C:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  The landing on Mars. NASA has done it again! We’ve succeeded seven of the weight time we’ve tried. In____ will unfurl a seismograph, which look for Mars quakes, and a drill that’ll bore down into the surface 15-16 meters to measure the thermal envt under the surface. It has one-sixth gravity.  . . .  This proves the merit of cube sats.
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 3, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  Starship, formerly the BFR, now “Superheavy,” for the first stage and “Starship” for the second phase.  Space X has begun the licensing process with the FAA. Will be at Boca Chica, Texas.
Space Force: an internal turf war. Since this is just a reorganization of extant space staff andwork, the cost should be infinitesimal.
Hour Four
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 4, Block A: The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War, by Ben Macintyre
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 4, Block B: The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War, by Ben Macintyre
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 4, Block C: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam, by Fredrik Logevall
Tuesday 4 September 2018/ Hour 4, Block D: Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam, by Fredrik Logevall