The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Air Date: 
August 15, 2012

Photo, above:  Naresh Fernandes - author of Taj Mahal Foxtrot, the story of Bombay's jazz age - paints a portrait of the musicians, the fans, and the music.


Wednesday 905P Eastern Time (605P Pacific Time): Charles Burton, Brock University, Canada, in re:  Bo Xilai in custody somewhere, charged with    .  Gu Kailai .  Charles Burton just returned from three months in China. People titillated by the crime but don’t think the truth has come out.   Every Party leader has very extensive holdings, incl abroad, so Party not eager for tale of what happened between Gu and Neil Haywood to come out publicly.  Chinese elite all profiting enormously from this; pretense of being heirs to the Revolution is visibly hypocritical, worse than the Nationalists/Chiang/KuoMinTang. In Dalian, where Bo Xilai was mayor, Burton found a strong reservoir of support for Bo, partly because Bo was responsible for physical improvements to the city, created parks and squares, subsidized housing, had people sing revolutionary songs, cracked down hard on crime, extended social benefits to 3 mil rural people in Chongching.   He appeared to care about ordinary people.  Of course, he and his family amassed great wealth fro overseas dealings. Among elites across China, however, Burton saw that Bo remained a villain because he represented a turn-back-the-clock Maoism and potentially stood in the way of political reform.  Burton saw a Chinese society that was split, as groups view Bo in different ways.  Bo Xilai in custody somewhere in China, charged with basically administrative malfeasance. Gu Kailai. Bo: the Huey Long of China? Huey Long was a threat to FDR – till he was murdered.

Wednesday 920P Eastern Time (620P Pacific Time):  Gordon Chang, in re: Authorities invaded Chen Guangchen nephew's home in Shandung Province, as he nephew is about to be tried for homicide. Very  scary; to intimidate any other possible activities - but there are too many, and too defiant.   We need to keep this issue alive, to have Western govts hold China to its oath not to damage Chen's family. It may happen than some dissent will coincide with China's collapsing economy.  Beijing tried to hold Chen's family's persecution simultaneous with Bo Xilai's trial to take world attention away from Chen, but that's not working. Announcement of new economic stimulus falls flat; Wen Jiabao announces that China will meet it goals – and people just stare at him. He's Treasury Secretary, Fed chair, everything rolled into one. The unelected leaders of China have no legitimacy, they've never been elected – and they're aware of it more than anyone else.

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Dr. Patterson is currently the Director of the Strategic and Military Space Division within Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory (USU/SDL), and is the Chairman of the annual American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics/USU Conference on Small Satellites.  Other roles include membership on the Technical Committee for the European Space Agency’s 4S Symposium, and the Scientific Program Committee for the International Academy of Astronautics  Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation.  Dr. Patterson also serves as an Industrial Advisory Committee member for USU’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department, as a Trustee for the Rocky Mountain NASA Space Grant Consortium, and member of the Issues and Programs Committee for the Universities Space Research Association. "

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Wednesday 935P Eastern Time (635P Pacific Time): David M. Livingston, The Space Show, at SmallSat Conference, and Dr Pat Patterson, Strategic and Military Space Division, Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory (USU/SDL), in re: Small sat conference annually at Utah State.  Small satellites. Functions have changed over the last 25 years: community has grown ten-fold into practical applications; today. Most of the spacecraft components and even the

Can procure subsystem, test 'em, and assemble them.  Is esp good for small countries having more modest budgets.  Think of a "satellite at geo sending a football game"; this is a large satellite. next down, small sats are usu smaller than a large refrigerator.  Smallest, nanosatellites, abt the size of a loaf of bread – can  be launched in swarms. Each of the three has a different type of mission.  Geostationary orbit is harder on the sat; therefore, we usu go 300 nautical miles from Earth; low-orbit launch s cheaper and after a year they de-orbit themselves.  Further, students can design, build and launch small satellites while  they're at university. Excellent hands-on experience!

Cubesats becoming so popular in all aspects of the satellite community, from major players to entrepreneurs.  Skybox Imaging, which plans on operating a swarm of nanosatellites, has been funded by venture money for $93 million. Tiny satellite can send useful information back to Earth. Govts, NASA, various agencies use SmallSats; public interest uses for them. Orbit heights and durations. Commercial/profitability of the industry; players supporting this growing segment of the satellite industry. Space Dynamics Lab at Utah State.

Wednesday 950P Eastern Time (650P Pacific Time): Michael Auslin, AEI, in re: Time for less jaw-jaw with China: Washington's dependence on dialogue could breed more misunderstanding. "China demands! that Japan unconditionally release 14 Chinese 'activists' just seized in the last hours."  All the talking the US has done hasn’t resolved one issue, and it seems to be getting worse - including between China and Japan, and China and Korea.  "Dialogue as an end of its own."  "The re-pivot, US reorientation of forces in the Pacific, has nothing to do with China" – an obvious lie from a US Undersecy of Defense, and everybody knows. US not willing to say upfront what we're worried about, which wd not only clarify things for China but would massively reassure our allies in the region.  China looks very carefully at the way in which the US has responded to everything, incl to China's continual testing and probing. Last big flare-up over Senkakus was in Oct 2010. Japan asked Pentagon to say clearly that US and Japan had common security commitments, but US has been weak.  All the smaller nations in S China Sea conclude that they can’t defend  their interests vs China, so they surrender!    New garrison in S China Sea. Conflict out of miscalculation – ships accidentally collide, someone fires in error. Entire nature of the balance there could shift.  If China wanted these issues to be solved – it would have solved them.

Wednesday 1005P Eastern  (705P Pacific Time): Alan Tonelson, US Business & Industrial Council Educational Fdn research Fellow, in re: Chinese investment in the US? Have state money to compete in a free, private economy; thus have an enormous advantage. Our guys don't complain unless they're the ones directly under attack.

Nebraska is keen for Chinese investors. In light of the dire economic circumstances of most American states, hard to blame governors for inviting capital from anywhere.  Just from a selfish standpoint, need to recognize than any Chinese investor has to have permission from Beijing, so companies will come in to compete as a state-owned firm against US private companies. Sovereign wealth funds came into US a few yeas ago to buy up American financial institutions –  do we want an economy [partly-devoured]  by foreign governments?  Nebraska probably expects overseas investors to bld new enterprises – but this is an ec system hostile to our values and completely corrupt, contemptuous of this country's laws and transparency. Someone in Washington needs to start minding the store!  Note that a Chinese investor irritated by a foreigner poured poison down his mouth.   State enterprises  in China are controlled by the Party, who appoints the managers. The only way to get ahead in China is to see the Party hacks be happy – piece them off.  Does Duval Patrick want to  be a business partner of the Chinese Communist Party?  US has n

Because the line between the Chinese private and public sectors is anything but bright, a bigger Chinese presence in the U.S. economy is exactly what we don't want.  In addition to the national security problems inherent in specific investments, more Chinese direct investment means more state capitalism, and often foreign government presences, spreading throughout our economy.  This development puts the American-owned private sector at a disadvantage for reasons having nothing to do with market forces, and is likely to result in even more misallocated capital than we already have.  Chinese investment is a corrupting influence economically, and could as a result be so politically

Japanese police are moving a group of activists who landed on disputed islands to Okinawa for questioning, amid a diplomatic row.

Wednesday 1020P Eastern (720P Pacific Time): Scott Harold, associate political scientist at RAND Corporation, in re: Hong Kong activists been vocal about reclaiming the Diaoyu Islands (Senkakus), managed to enter the waters around Senkakus and got arrested by Japan. China's recent rhetorical position has backed Beijing into a corner where it has to bark and snap or it'll be seen as weak by the Chinese public (inviting grave domestic political problems).  Hard to imagine how China can use force against Japan to liberate 14 people by force. No one really wants people to die because of some rocks in the sea. No obvious good pathway forward for Beijing, but that doesn’t mean that they'll send ships in. However, if they do, then Japan will invoke the mutual-defense treaty with the US and warships would roll in.  This wouldn’t serve what China wants. Are these provacateurs perhaps Chinese agents? Can’t be sure.

Wednesday 1035P Eastern  (735P Pacific Time): Jillian Kay Melchior, Phillips Fdn and WSJ, in re:  China's Catholics. PRC is an atheist dictatorship. A compromise worked out over the last seventy years with some religions. Permit Christian training because they’ve done a lot of community outreach, which makes it awkward for the state to intervene. Who'll win this struggle, Party of Christians?  So far, the Party tried to eliminate religion all together and has totally failed; can’t stamp it out so tries to co-opt it.  Children love the Easer bunny and Christmas; does the Party understand how powerful these are? What really converts people is the message of love, or of being kind to others. This is extremely exciting in China, compelling to both adults and children. (Note: Not taught in Party history are the Great Leap Forward or the famine that killed 40 to 70 million people.)  Party not too clear in the distinctions between Protestantism and Catholicism. Growth in academic study of Christianity in China.

Wednesday 1050P Eastern (750P Pacific Time):  Joseph Sternberg, WSJ Asia, in re: A123 batteries – a US company making batteries for electric & hybrid cars, incl GM, but no one's buying hybrid cars; cash shortage, s a big Chinese co will spend $400 mil for an 80% stake. Beijing govt will then step in and rip off the technology.  Company has received enormous sums of US govt/taxpayers investment. Is this really valuable?   We probably will not be selling them Apple.  IBM moved its PC line to China yeas ago – and that was shrewd because the market has changed so fundamentally. Selling PCs is now like selling tomatoes. "Is it worth buying?" is not asked by the Chinese govt.  Mitt Romney didn’t make a lot of money by buying everything indiscriminately.  Chinese buyers are the instrumentality of the Beijing govt.  CNOOC wants Nexen in Canada not as for supply as for the technology. Shale gas and oil sands in Canada haven’t proven that Canada has special technologies.  Can we sell Solyndra to China?  China is trying to pick winners – we're lousy a tthat, and China ain't much better. We have a vibrant marketplace because is]ts; rate. Sovereign wealth funds and govts entering will


Bhagwan Singh Gyanee, extreme right, who was the president of the Gadar Party from 1914 to 1920, delivering a lecture in the United States in the 1930s.

Wednesday 1105P  Eastern (805PPacific Time): Naresh Fernandes, NYT, in re: American Roots of the Indian Independence Movement - Bhagwan Singh Gyanee.

The Gadar Party ("rebellion," or "mutiny," in Urdu) received considerable support from the German Foreign Office, which arranged funds and armaments in a plot to incite a pan-Indian revolution (later known as the “Annie Larsen affair”) in 1915. The conspiracy was discovered by British and American intelligence, and led to the Hindu-German Conspiracy Trial of 1917, in which 29 party members were convicted in the District Court in San Francisco.

Alongside the Gadar Party was the India Home Rule League based in New York, founded by Lala Lajpat Rai, which advocated “home rule” for India. The I.H.R.L. produced a monthly journal from 1918 onward entitled Young India.  When Lajpat Rai left the U.S. in 1919, the editorship duties were handed off to Jabez T. Sunderland, a Unitarian minister who was a close associate of Rai and a longtime advocate for Indian independence. Another critical organization was  Friends of Freedom for India, which was closely associated with the Gadar Party and led by Agnes Smedley and Sailendranath Ghose. Their mission, according to its own membership ads, was “to maintain the right of asylum for political refugees from India” and “to present the case for the independence of India. Reached all over the world, including in Fiji and across the Indian diaspora.  The United States of India.  Fascinating how ideas flow among places – incl Martin Luther King inspired by Gandhi, who in turn had been inspired by Thoreau. 

Pres Wilson refused to take up this cause at Versailles, as requested: there exists a huge gap between the American people and those who rule them. Ordinary Americans greatly supported the Indian freedom movement, incl African Americans, esp W E B DuBois, as did the Irish.  See: The South Asian Digital Archive (Philadelphia).   See: Hajj to Utopia by an NYU professor.  The long, long reach of the idea of liberty, and now a hundred years later. See: Taj Mahal Foxtrot, the story of Bombay's jazz age.

Advocates for India’s freedom made much of President Woodrow Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” speech during WWI, which called for “a free, open-minded, and impartial adjustment of all colonial claims,” seeing this as a step forward towards decolonization and publishing praise for the president in Young India and various Gadar pamphlets. But even while most knew Wilson didn’t have India at the forefront of his mind when making such a claim, as historian Erez Manela puts it in The Wilsonian Moment, Wilson’s claim became part of their “rhetorical arsenal” for independence.


Wednesday 1120P Eastern (820P Pacific Time): Reza Kahlili, Washington Times, in re: Iran gives WMD to Hizaballah and territorial gangs; why?


Wednesday 1135P Eastern  (835P Pacific Time): Richard Epstein, Hoover, in re: Thomas Friedman, EPA, natural gas, hydofracking and the law. Rent-seeking governmental players.  Solar and wind power are excellent; no one knows how to store it.  

Wednesday 1150P Eastern  (850P Pacific Time): Fernanda Santos, NYT, in re: how hot is it in Phoenix during nine days of 110-plus? Very hot.


Wednesday/Thurs 1205A  Eastern (905 Pacific Time): Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: the Solyndra investigation claims a politician; also,$24 million recovered for taxpayers. More documents demanded by Isa. Hollow-point bullets for Social Security Administration.

Wednesday/Thurs  1220A Eastern (920 Pacific Time): Joshua Green, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: Mitt Romney and the LA comedian Rob Delaney, who's been joking on twitter at Romney’s expense,

Wednesday/Thurs  1235A  Eastern (935P Pacific Time): Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: the threat of Iran and Syria: are they capable of launching WMD against Israel and the West?

Wednesday/Thurs  1250A  Eastern (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. Henry Lejukole, Equatorial South Sudan Community Association of Des Moines Iowa, in re: the new fighting along South Sudanese border in Blue Nile State; refugee crisis; what's to be done; the diaspora and going home.

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Perseids at the Peak, 8/12-14.

Music (using New York City broadcast times)

9-hr: Crysis; Prometheus.  10-hr:  300.  11-hr: Batman Arkham City; I, Robot.  midnight hr: I, Robot; 300.