The John Batchelor Show

Friday 29 September 2017

Air Date: 
September 29, 2017

Photo: Golden Rice vs White RIce
Co-host: Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins
Hour One
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block A:  Liz Peek, Fiscal Times and Fox News, in re: DC economics and policy.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Henry Miller, MD, Hoover, in re: Golden rice.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block C:  Paul Gregory, Hoover, in re: Russian policy
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block D:  Dan Henninger, Wall Street Journal editorial board, in re:  Baseball (Cleveland), football, taxes.
We’ve arrived at a moment when some choices have to be made. After a lifetime watching America’s three main professional sports—baseball, football and basketball—I’ve decided I prefer baseball. 
Starting Tuesday, I’ll exclusively devote what’s left of my sports-viewing budget to the Major League Baseball playoffs. And not just in the hope that my hometown Cleveland Indians will overcome last year’s heartbreaking loss for the ages to the Chicago Cubs. 
Set to one side that the reason most Americans can sing the words to their national anthem is that for generations, every American attending a professional baseball game has stood to look at the flag while someone sings “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Many Americans think the last words of the national anthem are “Play ball!” 



Baseball is about baseball. The NFL and NBA seem to be about more things than I can process—some of them political, some of them personal. 

Baseball has an informal code of on-field conduct, which has held for a hundred years. The NFL doesn’t seem to have an enforceable code of anything. 
Last Sunday, after the New York Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught a touchdown pass, Mr. Beckham got down in the end zone and imitated a dog urinating on a fire hydrant, which the opposing Philadelphia Eagles (who won) took as mockery of their team. 
From Babe Ruth 90 years ago to Aaron Judge now, when you hit a home run, you run around the bases and into the dugout. That’s it. No end-zone antics that suggest the sport itself takes a back seat to a personality. 
After the Yankees’ Mr. Judge hit his 50th home run this week, a record for a rookie, his teammates had to force him out of the dugout to wave to the cheering crowd. 

For some years, the parsons of the sports press have pushed the idea that demonstrations of high-level athletic skill, the result of uncountable hours of practice, were morally insufficient. Athletes, the parsons intoned, had to “give back” by dedicating their status to solving the nation’s endlessly unresolved issues of race, gender and—the inevitable guilt trip they laid on pro athletes—income inequality. 
And so last September, Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback, reduced the parsonage’s moralistic hectoring of professional athletes to its absurd end by deciding that the pregame national anthem was the place to raise the issue of inner-city policing.
Only the innocent could feign shock that eventually Donald Trump, in his capacity as president of the United States, would go after the kneeling players about the same way you’d hear from a guy sitting in the high seats at a New York Jets game, who by the third quarter is on fumes: “Get that son of a bitch off the field!” 
Stepping down to the Trumpian moment, LeBron James tweeted, “U bum!”
Sportswriters sometimes use the phrase “lunch bucket” about a player who is mainly interested in doing his job well without drawing attention to himself. Other than someone like Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, you don’t see too many stars in the NFL or NBA described as lunch-bucket guys anymore. 
Most future stars of basketball and football are identified while they’re in high school. They often play in special leagues and receive constant visits from coaches at Division I universities. 
Once inside the university, these players live and practice in gold-plated facilities. They play on national TV and are talked about nonstop by analysts and the political commentators at ESPN. They get famous young. (Though let it be said, 90% of the non-sports NFL and NBA news was made by maybe 10% of the players, until now.)
The road up in baseball is different. Promising teenagers go from high school into baseball’s minor leagues. They play for teams in places like Delmarva, Clinton and Greenville. They travel by bus and play before crowds not much bigger than what they had in Little League. They rise from A ball to AA (say, the Trenton Thunder) then AAA teams, which are in places most people have heard of, like Toledo, Fresno or El Paso. 

Years spent competing and surviving against other skilled players teaches them they have to learn to be a member of a team before anyone calls them a star. 
Some might say baseball isn’t political because so many players are from Latin America. But maybe the Latin players are mostly bemused at what the U.S. considers social problems, compared with escaping from Cuba across shark-infested waters or getting out of a dirt-road slum in Nicaragua or the Dominican Republic. 
There is an expression in sports: Don’t leave it in the locker room. It means you are supposed to save your best performance for the game. With baseball, that’s still what you get. 
We live in a highly polarized country. If people want their sport and its performers to be an affirmation of their politics, feel free. I don’t.

Hour Two
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:   Professor Colonel Douglas Mastriano, Editor of Project 1721, and US Army War College; and Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins; in re:  Project 1721 began under Odierno for Eastern Europe and the Baltics. In 1700, Russia began the Great Northern War, took Estonia and ___; it ended in 1721 with the Treaty of Nystad giving control to Russia.   Sweden continued to contest till 1808.    Western European Union was prefigured in effect by the Third Reich; today, the EU is unready for a struggle over what it considers peripheral territories, which Russia holds as part of its patrimony since 1821.
There’s also a Western claim in the Baltics, subscribed to by the people there. 
Russia is beating a drum and in some circles winning. During the Soviet era, treatment of Estonians, Lithuanians was brutal.  “Create a buffer zone”? – you go live there, and good luck. No wiggle room here.
Draw a line from Baltics down to Ukraine: many are sympathetic to the West.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: Professor Colonel Douglas Mastriano, Editor of Project 1724, and US Army War College; an Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins; in re:  Hybrid warfare: the strategy of insecurity.  Maybe cause an uprising, or Putin can export a civil war.  It’d be suicide for him to go to war with NATO; can fight by starting trouble among the Russians in Latvia.  Top officers in the  Estonian navy, like their ancestors, live in fear of Russia. If Putin thinks we’ve got their back and if anything happens we’ll be there, then Putin will not move there militarily. In Poland, many militias are forming, creating self-defense organizations out of pure patriotism.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Professor Colonel Douglas Mastriano, Editor of Project 1724, and US Army War College; and Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins; in re:   “The biggest risk we have is empty security promises” – Lithuanian Minister of defense.  That is, NATO is not prepared.  Three Enhanced Forward Presences. Need a force three times this size.   Too big or too small wd be provocative.   Canada spends 1% of its GDP on defense while he US protects its Arctic Canada needs to step forward.  At present, Chechia, Netherlands, other small states, have brigades integrated into the German military. Turn the tables on Putin by amplifying this.  By this, NATO wouldn't be deploying near the Russian border. Partnership Interoperability.     
We’re missing out on the Information part: consolidate politics by nationalism.  ICBM. Modernize conventional land force.  Apply ec incentives (energy to Europe).  IO- interoperational campaign – propaganda -  which Russia is doing heavily to Russians in the Baltics.   Being bombarded by TV.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Professor Colonel Douglas Mastriano, Editor of Project 1724, and US Army War College; and Michael Vlahos, Johns Hopkins; in re:  Suwalki gap. Twenty-first Century version of the Fulde Gap of Cold War.  Russia has both the Kaliningrad and Byelorusian side.  Only land route to the Baltic states.  We have air land and sea routes.  Russia can use missile systems to close down everything but the land route.  Problem. If that gap is closed we'd have to push across Poland, which wd be difficult.  Rolling land. 
If the Baltics leave the mine-ban treaty, they cd mine the whole area. 
..  ..  .. 
Wikpedia: The current Lithuania–Poland border exists since the re-establishment of the independence of Lithuania on March 11, 1990. Until then the identical border was between Poland and Lithuanian SSR of the Soviet Union. The length of the border is 104 kilometres (65 mi). It runs from the Lithuania–Poland–Russia tripoint southeast to the Belarus–Lithuania–Poland tripoint.
It is the only land border that the EU- and NATO-member Baltic states share with a country that is not a member of the Russian-aligned Commonwealth of Independent States.
To the military planners of NATO, the border area is known as the Suwalki gap (named after nearby town of Suwałki), because it represents a tough-to-defend flat narrow piece of land, a gap, that is between Byelarus and Russia's Kaliningrad enclave and that connects the NATO-member Baltic States to Poland and the rest of NATO. This view was reflected in a 2017 NATO exercise, which for the first time focused on defense of the gap from a possible Russian attack.
Or put prepositioned eqpt on the __ Islands and wholly outflank any Russian move. Germans did this in 1916.  . . . We have a year or 18 months. We do have eqpt in Latvia. Latvia’s decision-mag process is gummed up by the high Russian population there.  Estonia and Lithuania have conscription. 
Hour Three
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Jeff Bliss, Pacific Watch, in re: Health crisis caused  by generosity, philanthropy: Hepatitis A (bad hygiene).  Began in the hobo camps of San Diego County. A fire in the camp, firemen responding were afraid of going there as there are no toilets. Huge camps.  Other municipalities send their homeless there: Here’s a bus ticket and a sleeping bag. Verging on epidemic. Outbreaks of Hep A in San Diego, LA, and Orange Co. Also Sta Cruz Co. in the north.  Fears for Bay Area. Governor Moonbeam wants to ban gasoline cars within ten years.  Statewide water tunnel: not going well – from the north to the south to deliver water. High-speed rail: it was finished last week?  Nope.  Obama gave $2.5 bil if it’s used in San Joaquin Valley, is used by October 2017, and many segments wd be completed [same timeline].  So the money has to be returned to Washington?  Good luck on that.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Jeff Bliss, Pacific Watch, in re: California universities: USC scandals, Berkeley campus fisticuffs, Berkeley hot-dog vendor unjustly treated by cops gets a Gofundme of $80,000.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:   Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne, in re:  security, transport, surveillance, comms.   Drones’s big limitations: Can't see in the dark. (Already can outfit ‘em w different lenses for different purposes.) [See video!]    University of Zuerich has created a new drones lens much more similar to that of an animal or humans. Lets the drone computer pick out key envtl features under very low light by looking for changes in intensity of light.  . . . Good for urban warfare, 2030 and beyond This of Mosul as standard. Dark urban landscapes small rooms. Packed with people and stuff. 
Deterrent warfare w nukes.  Russian lowest level of nukes was 2013, now rebldg.  New ICBMs.  Big mil exercise, Zapad (= West) just ended. If It were attacked by NATO; and also  . . .
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Patrick Tucker, DefenseOne, in re:  US forces in Syria in an extremely dynamic but information-rich environment.
Jeffrey Oregian(?) leads US air war in Syria for CENTCOM. Apply data we generate all the time to better use. An ISIS fighter put up on Facebook his photo next to a munitions dumps; DOD found it and blew it up.  Neurosynaptic chip:  functions by giving a wider spectrum of values to new data, rather like a neuron. Depends on what the entire network is saying.  Many new technologies comparable to this; big push to make computers smaller and cheaper.  To late for Moore’s Law to to work. Rather, quantum chips, and microchips designed for a specific task: break ‘em open to perform many more tasks. Will make trillions for entrepreneurs.
Hour Four
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com, in re:  Dreamchaser: Sierra Nevada initially got a different contract from NASA, but wants to bld Dreamchaser. Signed an agreement with the UN, where its Outer Space Office has put out a call for proposals to all member nations, emphasizing that poor nations get preference; for a seven-week mission of Dreamchaser – and what to do on it.
Ariana Space becoming Ariana Group. Awarded contract to an Italian mfr to bld more rockets.  Rocket Lab in New Zealand.  Cis-lunar station:  With Roscosmos to design a space station. Lockheed Martin announcement/  Looks as though Trump Adm will go with huge govt space. A stupid idea and will not help us get in space. 
Natl Space Council, resuscitated from the Sixties: a PR tool of the Trump Adm to sell Big Space.  Members are not experts but Cabinet members who know almost zilch. Rosetta crashed into (was directed to commit suicide) its comet with fab pix.  Smart One. 
“Kittens” in space orbiting Saturn.
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com, in re:  space
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: Sean McMeekin, July 1914: Countdown to War
Friday  29 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: Sean McMeekin, July 1914: Countdown to War