The John Batchelor Show

Friday 14 October 2016

Air Date: 
October 14, 2016

Photo, left:  Today is the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party. Wikipedia: The Black Panther Party or BPP (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982, with its only international chapter operating in Algeria from 1969 until 1972.
At its inception on October 15, 1966, the Black Panther Party's core practice was its armed citizens' patrols to monitor the behavior of police officers and challenge police brutality in Oakland, California. In 1969, community social programs became a core activity of party members. The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country", and he supervised an extensive program (COINTELPRO) of surveillanceinfiltrationperjurypolice harassment, and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership, incriminate party members, discredit and criminalize the Party, and drain the organization of resources and manpower. The program was also accused of assassinating Black Panther members  . . .  
    Alice Faye Williams (January 10, 1947 – May 2, 2016), better known as Afeni Shakur, was an American political activistBlack Panther, and music businesswoman. Shakur was the mother of American rapper and actor Tupac Shakur. While pregnant with Tupac, Shakur was accused of conspiring with other Black Panthers to carry out bombings in New York. All these charges were dismissed, and she was released before his birth.
"Dear Mama," by Tupac Amaru Shakur
You are appreciated
[Verse One of three: 2Pac]
When I was young me and my mama had beef
Seventeen years old kicked out on the streets
Though back at the time, I never thought I'd see her face
Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place
Suspended from school; and scared to go home, I was a fool
with the big boys, breakin all the rules
I shed tears with my baby sister
Over the years we was poorer than the other little kids
And even though we had different daddy's, the same drama
When things went wrong we'd blame mama
I reminisce on the stress I caused, it was hell
Huggin on my mama from a jail cell
And who'd think in elementary?
Heeey! I see the penitentiary, one day
And runnin from the police, that's right
Mama catch me, put a whoopin to my backside
And even as a crack fiend, mama
You always was a black queen, mama
I finally understand
for a woman it ain't easy tryin to raise a man
You always was committed
A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how ya did it
There's no way I can pay you back
But the plan is to show you that I understand
You are appreciated
Hour One
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block A: Liz Peek, Fox, FiscalTimes; in re: Secretary Reset & the Bear. @LizPeek, @Fox. @FiscalTimes.  “…Among other fictions, the Times frequently repeats the meme that Donald Trump is in cahoots with the Russians. Wednesday, in fact, the supposed collaboration between Trump and Vladimir Putin occupies prime turf as the paper’s lead editorial. It’s time to pull the plug on this nonsense.
“The narrative that the Russians are trying to manipulate our election in favor of Mr. Trump has proved vital cover for the damaging emails released by Wikileaks that indeed show election manipulation – by the Hillary Clinton campaign.
“In a masterful sleight-of-hand, the Clinton camp has largely ignored revelations that they worked with the DNC to undermine rival Bernie Sanders or managed the media to boost Hillary’s campaign or lied about the private email cover-up; instead, they charge Russia with the leaks, hoping to divert attention from the real misdeeds. Cued by the Democrat nominee, the media and the Obama administration have climbed aboard.
“Not only has the spotlight moved from Clinton dirty tricks to Russia, which has now been officially accused by our national security chief of orchestrating the email seepage, it has also targeted Trump, who is suspected of nefarious ties to the Kremlin.
“Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton actually does have ties to the Kremlin – ties which, had they been reported with any honesty, would have become an issue in this campaign . . . ” /
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block B:  James McTague, Barron’s; in re:  Hound of Hounswell Bagged for the Flash Crash of 2010.   Fedspeak Recession. James @McTaguej. Barron’s.  “…Navinder Singh Sarao, 37, nicknamed the Hound of Hounslow, is wanted in America over allegations that he helped cause the 2010 Wall Street ‘flash crash’ from his parents’ home 3,500 miles away in Hounslow, west London.
He faces 22 charges, which carry sentences totalling a maximum of 380 years, over claims that he contributed to the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunging 600 points in five minutes, wiping tens of billions of pounds off the value of US shares.
US authorities claim Sarao made $875,000 (about £716,000) on 6 May 2010, the day of the crash, part of illegal earnings of more than $40m over a five-year period.
At an extradition hearing at Westminster magistrates’ court in March, the district judge, Quentin Purdy, ruled that Sarao could be sent to stand trial in the US.
Lawyers for the former bank worker and Brunel University student argue that his actions did not constitute a crime.
In his ruling, Purdy said: “The causes of the flash crash are not a single action and cannot on any view be laid wholly or mostly at Navinder Sarao’s door, although he was active on the day. In any event this is only a single trading day in over 400 relied upon by the prosecution.  latest unhappy projections for growth: vs Yellenspeak
Atlanta Fed sees US third-quarter GDP below 2 percent  The latest third-quarter GDP estimate was lower than the 2.1 percent increase calculated on Oct. 7, the Atlanta Fed said on its website.
GDPNow cuts Q3 growth forecast below 2%, but Nowcast boosts ... ; Atlanta Fed's Q3 GDPNow Estimate Falls to 1.9%
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block C:  Francis Rose in Washington, D.C.;; WJLA-TV, WMAL-AM; @FrancisRoseDC,  in re:  POTUS Pinnochio and the Eternal VA Scandals. @FrancisRoseDC, WJLA-TV, WMAL-AM.
‘Whole bunch’ of facts don’t support Obama’s claim that many VA bosses were fired over scandal; by Michelle Ye Hee Lee, The Washington Post, October 12, 2016
“I don’t want to, in any way, pretend that we are where we need to be but we have, in fact, fired a whole bunch of people who are in charge of these facilities.” — President Obama, town hall aired on CNN, Sept. 28, 2016
The Obama administration seems set on misleading the public about the number of people held accountable for the wait-time scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Secretary Robert McDonald has twice received Four Pinocchio rulings for claims about how many people his agency fired or proposed disciplinary action against.
Obama was responding to a question from the widow of Army veteran Barry Coates, who advocated for changes at the VA before he died of colon cancer. Coates had waited about a year for a colonoscopy at a VA hospital — and by the time he got one, doctors found that he had Stage 4 cancer and was terminally ill. The family later sued the VA over a misdiagnosis of hemorrhoids and reached a settlement.
We heard a lot of promises about reform and accountability but still, nothing’s changed. … When are we going to actually start holding these contracted doctors and the VA employees accountable?” she asked. Was Obama’s answer correct?
The Facts  The VA scandal unfolded in 2014 after whistleblowers alleged that employees at the Phoenix VA hospital manipulated patient wait-time data, leading to delays in access to health care and contributing to patient deaths. The VA Office of Inspector General later confirmed the allegations and found a systemic, years-long problem. Two years later, patients are still unable to get timely appointments with specialists at the Phoenix VA.
Congress passed the bipartisan Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 in response. The legislation, referred to as the “Choice Act,” allowed more veterans to seek private care outside the VA system, and authorized McDonald to expedite disciplinary actions for senior executive service employees….”
 We bounced the sharp critique off executives for two large veteran service organizations. Both said most of Miller’s points were wrong or unfair.  On his charge that VA routinely tolerates whistleblower retaliation and wait-time manipulation, “No, we don’t agree,” said Garry Augustine, executive director for Disabled American Veterans in Washington D.C. “We think the VA is doing good work in trying to reform things.”
Louis Celli, The American Legion’s director of veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation, said Legion staff visit 30 to 35 VA facilities yearly, speaking to patients, staff and other stakeholders to learn how VA, the government’s second largest bureaucracy, is operating and caring for veterans.  “Based on our data and analysis,” posted on under its “System Worth Saving” page, “the isolated employee behavior problems reported in recent media are the exception, definitely not the rule,” Celli said.
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block D:  Francis Rose in Washington, D.C.;; WJLA-TV, WMAL-AM; @FrancisRoseDC,  in re:  the Veterans’ Administration everlasting scandals.   “Miller’s big on this accountability thing. We’re all for accountability,” said Augustine. But “you just can’t fire people, whether in government or private sector. You’ve got to do due diligence. You’ve got to counsel and document [because] everybody has an option to appeal. And if managers haven’t done enough to make sure the firing will be upheld, it’s going to be overturned. That’s what happened to a number of them.”
Augustine and Celli also took exception to Miller’s claim that McDonald and his VA team botched implementation of the Choice Act. “Absolutely not,” said Celli. “The Choice Act was a temporary program that required massive infrastructure support.”
Lacking such infrastructure, and given only 90 days by Congress to launch a massive Choice program, VA had to hire third-party contractors to build private sector healthcare provider networks and to coordinate their use. It took a long time to “work out the bugs,” Celli said, and “it’s still not right.”
McDonald and Gibson have conceded mistakes in implementing Choice. One was VA ceded too much control to the contractors and has had to reclaim its care coordination duties to better serve Choice-eligible vets.
“A program that turns VA into a pass-through payer isn’t working,” Celli said. “VA is a healthcare provider, [and] being a third party administrator was never in their list of responsibilities. The community care programs they do have mastery over, they do well.”
When Choice began, said Augustine, vets would go into a VA facility, be told they qualified for Choice because the wait for VA care exceeded 30 days or they lived more than 40 miles away. Then they’d go home to wait for the third-party administrator to contact them.
“Sometimes that didn’t happen. When they finally got to the doctor, the doctor’s reimbursement was dependent on getting the [medical] record back to the third-party administrator so it could send to the VA, get reimbursed and reimburse the doctor. Doctors got tired of waiting so they started billing patients. It was a mess, and it still has problems.”
Hour Two
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block A:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re:  1984 posited Oceania (the US) and Eurasia (Russia) and East Asia (China). 
Us internal conflict has immobilized us with different visions of American identity and in its conflict they've toppled he great vision of American universalism, the Redeemer Nation that would unite the world, as promised by W Bush. Instead, failed wars have sapped American energy and bled out American authority; Americans want nothing to do with this global mission. Even lesser powers, such as Turkey, make common cause with Russia and China.
US capacity to orchestrate and manage relations with the Sunni world is coming apart; in East Asia, China has essentially won its maritime claims.  China is about to cement an agreement with the new Filipino president to kick the US out of the Philippines.    Further, France and Germany have lost faith in the US credibly to lead an alliance.
..  ..  ..
The strikes, authorized by President Barack Obama, represent Washington's first direct military action against suspected Houthi-controlled targets in Yemen's conflict.
Still, the Pentagon appeared to stress the limited nature of the strikes, aimed at radar that enabled the launch of at least three missiles against the U.S. Navy ship USS Mason on Sunday and Wednesday.
"These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. Navy destroyer USS Nitze launched the Tomahawk cruise missiles around 4 a.m. (0100 GMT).
"These radars were active during previous attacks and attempted attacks on ships in the Red Sea," including the USS Mason, one of the officials said, adding the targeted radar sites were in remote areas where the risk of civilian casualties was low.
The official identified the areas in Yemen where the radar were located as near Ras Isa, north of Mukha and near Khoka.
Shipping sources told Reuters sites were hit in the Dhubab district of Taiz province, a remote area overlooking the Bab al-Mandab Straight known for fishing and smuggling.
U.S. military strikes Yemen after missile attacks on U.S. Navy ship  The failed missile attacks on the USS Mason appeared to be part of the reaction to a ...
The Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election, U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.
Current and former officials with direct knowledge of the situation say the CIA has been asked to deliver options to the White House for a wide-ranging "clandestine" cyber operation designed to harass and "embarrass" the Kremlin leadership.
The sources did not elaborate on the exact measures the CIA was considering, but said the agency had already begun opening cyber doors, selecting targets and making other preparations for an operation. Former intelligence officers told NBC News that the agency had gathered reams of documents that could expose unsavory tactics by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Vice President Joe Biden told "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd on Friday that "we're sending a message" to Putin and that "it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact."
When asked if the American public will know a message was sent, the vice president replied, "Hope not."
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block B:   Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re:   1984 posited Oceania (the US) and Eurasia (Russia) and East Asia (China) [et seq.]
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block C:   Richard A Epstein, NYU and Chicago Law; and Hoover (via Defining Ideas); in re: insider trading ; article from Cato  “The Ninth Circuit’s . . .”  This past week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in Salman v. United States, an important case concerning federal securities law. At issue are the limitations placed on insiders who trade in the shares of companies on the basis of material, nonpublic information. The parties covered are not only those who obtain the information themselves, but the persons to whom they (as “tippers”) pass on that information, commonly called “tippees” . . .  (1 of 2)
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 2, Block D: Richard A Epstein, NYU and Chicago Law; and Hoover (via Defining Ideas); in re: Richard A Epstein, NYU and Chicago Law; and Hoover (via Defining Ideas); in re: insider trading ; article from Cato  “The Ninth Circuit’s . . .”  (2 of 2)
Hour Three
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block A:  Shawn Wilentz, Princeton, and childhood among Bobby Dylan’s coterie; in re:    (1 of 2)
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block B:   Shawn Wilentz, Princeton, and childhood among Bobby Dylan’s coterie; in re:    (2 of 2)
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block C:  David M Lambert, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Griffith University; in re: The First Australians  Our results show very clearly that Aboriginal Australian people living today are the descendants of the First People to enter Australia, who lived between 25,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Understanding the history of Aboriginal Australians, their origins and how their population changed over some 50,000-plus years has always been an enormous challenge.
Many Aboriginal people have their own origin stories. Gudjugudju, a Gimuy Yidinji Elder from the rainforest people around Cairns, says:
The story which has been passed down from generations tells of three migrations that have occurred over many thousands of years, one of us coming to this ancient land first, then another at a period after the last Ice age which saw the formation of the Great Barrier Reef, the other is of a migration out of Cairns that went back through the Cape into the Torres Strait to PNG and further.
Equally, scientific narratives of Aboriginal origins have presented different accounts. But these have been difficult to establish in part due to the difficulty and limitations of the science involved.
It’s also because of the social context that both science and archaeology work in within Australia.
The first few decades of modern archaeological research into Australia’s ancient past was conducted with very little to no involvement of Aboriginal Australian people.
This was followed by decades of debate over ownership of the past. Initial DNA research proposals floundered because little to no consultation was undertaken.
A new period of community based research with Aboriginal people was forged through the sensitive and highly consultative approach pioneered by geneticist Sheila Van Holst Pellekaan. Her work with Aboriginal people set the standard for later scientific studies in Australia.
We can now provide an example of work undertaken in partnership with Aboriginal Australian people from all parts of Australia, from the deserts to urban and regional centres. The details of the research are published today in Nature.
The First Australians  Our results show very clearly that Aboriginal Australian people living today are the descendants of the First People to enter Australia, who lived between 25,000 to 40,000 years ago.
There is substantial evidence of admixture or intermixing with Asian, Oceanic and European people within the last 200 years. But in the Aboriginal DNA is an ancient story of migration into this continent, far deeper in time than any other population group has so far revealed.
It shows ancient contact and gene flow between the ancestors of the First Australians and now extinct populations of Neanderthals and Denisovans. This is very similar to the gene flows reported between Neanderthals, Europeans and Asians.  . . .  (1 of 2)
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 3, Block D:   David M Lambert, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Griffith University; in re: The First Australians  (2 of 2)
Hour Four
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block A:  Morris Fiorina, Hoover, in re: Independents: The Marginal Members of an Electoral Coalition  Currently, the party balance in the United States is nearly even, roughly one-third Democratic, one-third Republican, and one-third independent, taking turnout into account. This means that to win a majority a party normally must capture at least as large a share of independents as the other party. Thus, independents constitute the marginal members of an electoral majority. We do not know nearly as much about this critical group of voters as many pundits think. The electoral movements of this poorly understood category underlie the unstable majorities of our time.  (1 of 2)
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block B:  Morris Fiorina, Hoover, in re: Independents: The Marginal Members of an Electoral Coalition  (2 of 2)
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block C: Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  Vector Space Systems to open Tucson facility   The competition heats up: Vector Space Systems has decided to build a rocket manufacturing facility in Tucson.
The Tucson-based company is expected to create 200 jobs locally within three years of beginning operations, at an average annual salary of $70,000. It could employ as many as 500 people within five years as production ramps up, said its co-founder and CEO, Jim Cantrell. Vector plans to invest roughly $19 million during the first three years, and possibly as much as $50 million over the next 15 years, according to Pima County officials. The total direct economic impact of the facility could be $290 million over five years, says an analysis by Phoenix-based Applied Economics completed for Sun Corridor Inc., the local economic-development agency. The company plans to build 36,000 square feet of office space and another 40,000 square feet for manufacturing south of Tucson International Airport.
The company already has several million in smallsat launch contracts, plus options for $160 million more once they begin producing rockets.
Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  'Asgardia,' the first nation in space, wants you!  Scientists want to form a new country with residents on Earth but a territory that consists solely of one satellite in orbit. Eric Mack explains why you may not want to give up your current passport just yet
Plans to create the first "nation in space" were unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. They are nothing if not ambitious.
The new nation will launch its own satellite in 2017 and dedicate itself to opening up access to space. The goal is to foster world peace, as well as protect earth from rogue asteroids and space debris. 
The new space country will be called "Asgardia," named for the city in the skies ruled by the Norse god Odin
We aren't talking about an actual orbiting city or space station where humans will live. Instead, it's more a scientific, legal and technological experiment being led by the Russian nanoscientist Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli, founder of the Aerospace International Research Center and newly appointed chairman of UNESCO's Science of Space committee.
"Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect -- to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born," Ashurbeyli said in a release.
A rather simple website for Asgardia launched after a press conference Wednesday to kick off crowdsourcing the new country's flag, insignia and anthem. It will also allow wannabe Asgardians to register their interest for citizenship. The idea is that once Asgardia has 100,000 people applying for citizenship, it is then eligible to apply to the United Nations for official nation status, according to Ashurbeyli.
Supposedly all Asgardians would remain physically in their current resident nations, but also be citizens of this other country with its sole territory in the galaxy being a satellite circling the Earth. It's the access to space the satellite represents that is really the point of the whole thing.
"The mission of Asgardia (is) to create opportunities for broader access to space, enabling non-traditional space nations to realize their scientific aspirations is exciting," said Professor David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University.
The way space works now is that there's something called the Outer Space Treatythat most (but not all) nations have signed. It essentially says that whatever country sends a mission to space is then responsible for that mission. So if NASA or an American company like SpaceX sent up a satellite that crashed into and destroyed a Russian satellite, Russia can hold the United States Government accountable.
In turn, this means the US Government has to regulate American companies working in space to avoid such international incidents.
So it's easy to see Asgardia as simply a way either to side-step the Outer Space Treaty or perhaps do an end-run around government regulations that are a key part of making the treaty work by forming a new government accountable to nobody but the space enthusiasts who formed it.
I contacted the space lawyer (yes, that's a thing) Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, who is editor-in-chief Emerita of the Journal of Space Law, and she told me that Asgardia is likely to have trouble in its quest to be recognized as a country.
"Under international law, there are specific criteria for an entity to be recognized as a nation. It must have territory and a population, and be recognized as a nation by other nations, among other things. Just declaring that a nation exists is not enough," she told me via e-mail. "There are (a) number of entities on Earth whose status as an independent nation have been a matter of dispute for a long time. It is reasonable to expect that the status an unpopulated object that is not on Earth will be disputed."
There's also at least one other independent nation in space that's already been declared and disputed.
In 1949, the American James Mangan filed paperwork with Cook County, Illinois, laying claim to all of space beyond Earth, declaring it the "Nation of Celestial Space" (also known as "Celestia") with himself as founder and representative. Mangan had similar designs on securing peace in space and quickly set about defending his claim by notifying the US, Soviet Union and a few other nations that his country had banned atmospheric nuclear tests. In the early days of the space race he would also send letters to the Americans and Soviets protesting their encroachment on his territory.
The world, including the United Nations, politely ignored Mangan's persistent requests for acknowledgment for decades. He passed away in 1970 and little has been heard from Celestia since.
Asgardia has the benefit of the internet to organize its claim to existence and perhaps raise funds for the satellite that would give it a physical territory in the universe and some basic utility for its "citizens" to rally around.
It still remains to be seen if the United Nations and the rest of humanity will see Asgardia as any more legit than Celestia, but that hasn't stopped over 4,000 potential Asgardians from registering their interest in under 12 hours.
­–et al.