The John Batchelor Show

Friday 19 January 2018

Air Date: 
January 19, 2018

Hour One
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block A:  Dan Henninger, WSJ deputy editor of the editorial page,  in re:  The economy is burgeoning, military matters are improving, yet polls show Pres Trump’s favorable ratings to be low. In the coming midterm elections will the GOP be punished nonetheless? It’d help if the president took a less devil-may-care attitude in some of his tweets.   Roaring economy.  [Editor heard from a fairly reliable source: almost all the polls except Rasmussen interview as little as 23% of Republican respondents, with 50% or greater of Democrats. If this is accurate, it suggests bogus stats.]
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block B:  Elizabeth Peek, Fox News, in re:  I’d vote for Pres Trump again above all because the economy.  How long will it take for the voters to decide that this is because of Trump’s policies?  I think it’s already starting to happen. It's 80-90% of American workers who are getting a tax cut.  Over 175 companies have announced that they're giving cash bonuses to workers and hiring new employees — 2, 200, 000 workers are getting bonuses so far.  S&P earnings could be as high as 20%; the big stock market rally does make sense.  Pres Obama spoke of corporate tax reforms for years and yet did nothing.  Mysterious?  ’Twas ideology and personality. In the economy and foreign policy he held a thin slate of achievements; even Obamacare was seriously flawed.  He had no private-sector experience or advisors.   Democrats cleave to the notion that only they and the govt can decide how to distribute funds even though they've been proven wrong in that time and again.    GOP needs to go out and sell the message that ”We’re delivering a roaring economy, lower taxes, fewer regulations. Wages going up.  The Democrats have taken the opposite tack.” Unemployment has not been this low since 14 February 1973. 
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block C:   John Tamny, RealClearMarkets & Forbes, director of Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks; in re: Amazon has narrowed the choice for a new auxiliary headquarters down to eight (?) cities.  Bezos skill to anticipate troubles.  Buying the Washington Post may be because of the regulatory climate: he may have wanted to pre-empt the federal enforcement that befell Bill Gates. Smartest purchase he’s ever made – no one wants to mess with WaPo. Were he to pick Pittsburgh, which is spilling over with tech from the universities, he’d revive the city and thereby further insulate himself.  Right now he has a de-regulating president; what’ll he do when the Democrats come back?  Even on Fox, rightists are claiming that Amazon and Microsoft, et al., are too powerful. Scary.  Bezos constantly experiments, knowing that the Amazon success is ephemeral. He just wants to be sure that it hinges on market forces, not the government. . . .  Regulators are people who couldn’t get a job in the first place. If they actually could see trouble coming down the pike, they’d be working in the private sector. . . . Silicon Valley is defined by 90% failure of businesses.  Crimson Tide:  Alabama sadly plays Mercer, which has lesser talent. Govt regulation is the equivalent of forcing Nick Saban to play for Mercer.  JB: “Make every team mediocre” – Forcing every team to win 50% of the time.
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  John Tamny, RealClearMarkets & Forbes, director of Center for Economic Freedom at FreedomWorks; in re:  Andre Agassiz, wrote Open in 2009.  Many lessons.  One of his anecdotes was abt govt regs; Agassiz was a child tennis prodigy; neither he no his trainer correctly picked tennis winners. If they couldn't see the future, how can bureaucrats? You see this in sports all the time. In free trade, competition makes everyone better. . . . China undoubtedly has raised our game, and we, its.  If you and I lived on a small island alone, we’d be poor; but if dozens of others showed up, each with his own skill, we’d be very well off. “Risk of competition” sounds like “the risk of wifi.”
Hour Two
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re: The Indo-Pacific in American war-fighting.  Immediately after Pearl, Japan sent the Kidō Butai ("Mobile Force") to raid the British fleet around India and the Indo-Pacific. Put quite a fright in Britons.   US national defense now decides to maintain stability, maintain free access to essential domains and deter aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re:  . . . India long was kind of alien to American diplomacy – India cozied up to USSR and other reasons; have developed better relations in the last twenty years.   Indo-Pacific is a kind of southern swath of Central Asia.  Relations now quite warm, esp mil-to-mil.  America’s strength is playing the Great Power card, esp in this Administration.  China doesn’t have the experience or the grist of Roman Legionary stuff; which the US eminently does.  Halford Mackinder and the World Island and the Outer Rim.  . . . . India is bldg as many carriers right now as China is. Symbolic measure of how much skin you have in the game. China’s bldg fake islands and running airstrips on them means nothing next to the [power of the US combined forces plus India — plus the forces of all the other nations China is rapidly alienating and enraging in the region].  If Germany spent as much of its GDP on mil now as it did in the 1980s, it could defend all of Europe by itself. Since so much of Europe does not devote 2% of its GDP to NATO, as they all swore to do, merely aggrandizes the position of the US.
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:   Gene Marks, Washington Post, in re:  Economy is gangbusters, 4% growth next year – and we need more labor. It isn’t there.  Manual laborers, truckers, hospitality, healthcare, shortages in all. Immigration discussion thereon.  Desperate for workers here legally; we need a system to make that possible without necessarily offering citizenship to all comers.  Three to 3.5% wage hikes in 2018. This an employee’s world right now.  Better training incentives, internships,  We're years off from these robots’ becoming reality.
Pawternity: paid time off to employees who welcome new puppies into their homes! Five or even ten days off.  [Egad.]
Factory production had risen for the fourth month straight as of last December. Outlook Q1 is good.  Apple’s returning hundreds of bil from the tax decrease will go to bldg a new Apple center. Tim Cook, no fan of the president, is proving Pres Trump’s theory to be correct
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 2, Block D:   Gene Marks, Washington Post, in re: Small business across the US.  The joke is that one day Jeff Bezos said, “Alexa! Get me the Washington Post.” . . . Northern Pursuit, Canadian Rockies.   Nevada has legalized marijuana, but cultivators are upset because the legislature is allowing retailers to grow their own smoke.  More cash to the legislators’s campaigns.  Connecting prisoners . . . WHYY website writes of Crystal Bush from near Philly who for $50 picks up family members of prisoners and drives them to visit their relatives in prison in central PA. 
Hour Three
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block A:  Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ The Americas column; in re: Andrei Manuel Lopez Obrador running for Mexican presidency as a crusader. 
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block B:  Mary Anastasia O’Grady, WSJ The Americas column; in re: Chile.
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block C:  Island of the Blue Foxes, Stephen R Bown
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 3, Block D:  Island of the Blue Foxes, Stephen R Bown
Hour Four
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block A:  Jeff Bliss, Pacific Watch, in re:  National flu epidemic.  Young people dying, 74 people under the age of 65 are dead (some in their 30s, as well as athletes); numbers rising; no known solution.  Run out of ER space and putting up tents in parking lots. H3N2 virus, which mutates very quickly. Tamaflu seems to help somewhat for some people  It's a very nasty strain; hits like a ton of bricks. Fevers, dehydration; awful.
Mudslides were facilitated by fires that removed vegetation; trees weakened by drought, more than a million of which died.  Kindling waiting for a fire. Worry about lightning in an isolated region. Rains expected tis weekend, more mudslides. 
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block B:  Jeff Bliss, Pacific Watch, in re:  Apple is repatriating $250 billion?  $350 billion? And pay a huge tax bill - $38 billion – and build a new campus for repairs? renovations? in a new city and hire 28,000 people. As Apple brings in new staff, all old staff have more valuable stock.  Apple employees who support Trump are likely to be fired – yet Trump has given Apple an almost-unimaginably enormous gift by the tax reduction. 
Tax refugees: dramatic change of Congressional seats – New York will lose one, some states will gain one or two.   California may lose one or two as population leaves to avoid the extremely high Cali taxes, housing prices, political outlook, and varied catastrophes. Outmigration measured by moving companies.   Major Hollywood losses to digital entertainment.
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block C:  Gregory Copley,  International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA); Editor-in-Chief of Defense & Foreign Affairs; in re:  US lost two decades in Global War on Terror, did not account for the global context nor develop larger strategy. This week’s Natl Defense Strategy from the Pentagon, 11 pages, is now a sophisticated doctrine and on track again. Info-Pacific theatre is now the number-one priority; stresses existing alliances and looks at the quadripartite US-Japan-Australia/New Zealand.   Never mentions China.  Expect strengthened relations with Taiwan.  Middle East: not confrontational, esp not with Russia. US working gradually to rebuild its position there, using understatement; very sober, modest highly-professional document. Turkey: mentioned in connection with new US approach to Africa, anent arms, et al., referring to “malign non-regional powers,” id est, China and Turkey.
Friday  19 January 2018 / Hour 4, Block D:  Gregory Copley,  International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA); Editor-in-Chief of Defense & Foreign Affairs; in re:  Natl Defense Strategy from the Pentagon: the ongoing problem of Iran. Under a Congressional law, every 90 days the president must reaffirm the Iran deal.  The JCPOA is an agreement among the five UN Sec Council members + Germany and Iran; meaningless except it was a tool to end the isolation of Iran.  Iran is the critical state in that region, key to Eurasia.  The prize in the center of the Heartland strategy is [favoring] Russia and China.  Unfortunately, Washington is still looking at it through old prisms, that it's one of the main state sponsors of terrorism.  Note that the global terrorist wave is Sunni – Saudis, Kuwait, Turkey, Palestinians.  Trump is building up what he did with North Korea; difference is that Khamenei is old and dying, lots of domestic jockeying, No one now with whom the US can seriously negotiate. President Rouhani is ready to deal, but how to do you get to him through the clergy? Saudi Arabia is falling apart, is committed to Wahhabist Islam and lacks the same authority that Iran has.