The John Batchelor Show

Friday 30 August 2013

Air Date: 
August 30, 2013

Photo, above: September 4, 1804 - Bomb ketch USS Intrepid, fitted out as a fireship to destroy a flotilla of Barbary corsairs, blew up in Tripoli harbor before reaching her target.  Ten men, all volunteers and including her commander Lieutenant Richard Somers, were lost.  Commodore Edward Preble would later report that Intrepid was most probably boarded by Tripolitans and her crew, rather than give up their precious cargo of black powder, chose to destroy her before being able to abandon ship.  See: Hour 4, Block A, Michael Vlahos, Naval War College.


Hour One

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: John Fund, National Review Online, in re:  Britain, with no constiitution,  has rejected a call for action against Assad; the US, with 200 years of careful legislative success in asking Congress for assent to go to war – and with 80% of the population holding that Congress must be consulted – may be overridden by the Administration.   The conclusion that Secy Kerry offered is labelled not as according to US intell, but as a US govt assessment, suggesting that some intell agencies are not on board. Is this industrial poison gas or a home brew – "kitchen sarin"?

Document: U.S. Assesses Use of Chemical Weapons

This Time, Britain Decides Not to March in Step  Mr. Obama was left without a key ally after misjudging the politics of military action in the Middle East.

Analysis: With Britain Haunted by Iraq, a Lesson for Cameron

France Supports U.S. Call for Action Against Syria

English Mufffin renamed Freedom Muffin

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Sebastian  Gorka, FDD, in re:  A cardinal rule of going to war is that you don’t tell the enemy what you’re not prepared to do, as the enemy will drag you into exactly that situation. On a scale of one to ten, this is a pretty poor showing. A complete lack of overarching narrative or informing concept – that America's interests lie with this or that constituency. We have no clear message, we vacillate and leave the field to enemies. . ..  The famous criticism: America has treated its enemies as its friends, and its friend as enemies.  Now we  see America being rejected by the Western powers (except France); the world's only superpower finds itself without friends, including those who most wanted to be its friends.

By the time you read this America may be embroiled in another war in the Middle East.  Whether or not America bombs the Assad regime in Damascus cannot be a result of an analysis of Syria, its president Bashar al-Assad, or human rights abuses occurring within the country. The violence in Syria is inextricably linked to the events that occurred on 9/11, to the attacks on the 9/11 anniversary last year in Benghazi—an attack that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and his security detail—as well as to the Patriot’s Day bombing in Boston that killed three and wounded over 200. As we approach another 9/11 anniversary, the common factor behind these events is jihadi ideology and its direct impact on the national security of the United States. It is a factor we have closed our eyes to as a nation for far too long. 

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Marc Ambinder, Defense One (Atlantic), in re: The NSA's secret organizational structure revealed
"In the interests of transparency and in an effort to establish a basis for continued public exploration of the world of intelligence," senior Defense One contributor Marc Ambinder has pieced together a comprehensive map of the NSA's organizational structure- information that has never been available to the general public. Ambinder explains: "The NSA, with its triple mission -- break codes, secure data, collect signals intelligence -- has not made its structure public.  Even by the standards of U.S. intelligence agencies whose existence was declassified much later, the NSA's organization chart is largely impermeable to outsiders."  Read More

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Gordon Chang,, in re:  Zhou Yongkang, former security tsar linked to Bo Xilai, faces corruption probe.  Top Communist Party leaders have agreed to open a corruption investigation into former security tsar Zhou Yongkang, one of China's most powerful politicians in the past decade.  The move against Zhou - a retired member of the Politburo's all-powerful Standing Committee - could send even bigger political shockwaves through Beijing than the trial of Bo Xilai, who was widely considered a key Zhou ally.

Hour Two

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Rep Devin Nunes (CA-21), in re: Obama and Kerry Press Case for U.S. Action in Syria  President Obama said he was weighing a “limited” attack and Secretary of State John Kerry said there was “clear” evidence that Syria had used poison gas against its citizens in an onslaught that the administration said killed 1,400 people.


Assad knows now where we're going to strike so he's sending political prisoners and women and children to those places.  Secy of State has "high confidence" that it was Assad's soldiers who released chem weapons – that's short of definite.  Sen Kerry and Sen Obama used to insist that Pres Bush get UN approval before sending troops or missiles.  The plan this Administration has on the table is far from any plan I’d be willing to support. 

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: Stephanie Clifford, NYT, in re: Platinum Card and Text Alert, via Pawnshop  As banks zero in on more affluent customers and close branches in poor areas, pawnshops are stepping into the void to offer an array of services.

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Heather Mac Donald, Manhattan Institute (1 of 2), in re: The NYPD’s Hanging Judge As her ruling showed, Shira Scheindlin is patently ignorant about the realities of policing.

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Heather Mac Donald, Manhattan Institute 92 of 2), in re: The NYPD’s Hanging Judge As her ruling showed, Shira Scheindlin is patently ignorant about the realities of policing.

Hour Three

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Christopher Harmer, Institute for the Study of War, in re: The Tomahawk is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. Introduced by General Dynamics in the 1970s, it was initially designed as a medium to long-range, low-altitude missile that could be launched from a surface platform. It has been improved several times and, due to corporate divestitures and acquisitions, is now made by Raytheon. Some Tomahawks were also manufactured by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing Defense, Space & Security).  [more]

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, in re:   Chavez's Inflation Bites His Successor  Don't suppose for a minute that this mudslinging is merely about destroying Mr. Capriles. The ruling chavistas, led by President Nicolás Maduro, need a circus because there is no bread—and that's not a metaphor. At times in Venezuela, there really is no bread. Earlier this year there was, for a time, no toilet paper. Mr. Maduro knows he is in trouble. The "proof" of the allegations against Mr. Capriles's chief of staff, who is accused of running the sex ring, cannot be shown to the public, according to Mr. Maduro. He says that the "videos and photos" that the government confiscated in a raid are of "un-publishable orgies." Venezuelans will have to use their imaginations while trusting the courts—now controlled by the military government—and the government itself to get to the bottom of it all. Developments will be reported on television, which is almost exclusively state-controlled and where most Venezuelans get their news

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re: Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of over 200,000 people. The crowd had gathered to protest the dangerous state into which race relations had fallen in the summer of 1963. King’s memorable speech was part of “the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom,” and its solemn cadences ring as powerfully today they did 50 years ago. No one who heard it could forget its immensely powerful assault on segregation, the demise of which no respectable person—northerner or southerner—mourns today. No one should forget that King’s speech was a major catalyst in moving a still reluctant nation to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Freedom vs. Jobs The large praise heaped on the speech should not, however, blind us to the difficulty of reconciling the two major goals of the March on Washington. A campaign for both jobs and freedom will ultimately have to choose between them. King did not use the word “jobs” once in his speech. But he did insist that this nation redeem its promissory note to all citizens of “the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” And he keenly recognized that freedom and the universality of rights are necessarily paired. [more]

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Richard A Epstein, Hoover Institution, Chicago Law, in re: From Public Accommodations to Employment Relations When King spoke in 1963, he rightly stressed the removal of formal barriers that stood in the path of the equality of opportunity for all citizens. But executing this program turned out to be more difficult than one suspected. The first point to note was that in 1963 it was easy to dismantle the barriers to full and equal service in public accommodations, which was done quickly and effectively in the aftermath of the passage of Title II of the Civil Rights Act. It takes little ingenuity to sell train tickets to all customers and to offer them transport on fair and nondiscriminatory terms. Indeed, as I pointed out in last week’s column on “The Butler,” the initial application of Title II was needed to counteract the deadly combination of private violence and state domination that kept these systems of public accommodation effectively closed. [more]

Hour Four

Painting, below: The Attack Made on Tripoli on the 3rd of August 1804, by the American Squadron under Edward Preble: depicting the first attack on Tripoli harbor by the Constitution, the Syren, the Argus, the Enterprise, the Nautilus, and the Vixen (created 1805) under Commodore Edward Preble. Hand-colored engraving by J. B. Guerrazzi.  See: Hour 4, Block A, Michael Vlahos, Naval War College.

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Michael Vlahos, Naval War College, in re: Preble's Boys: Commodore Preble and the Birth of American Sea Power by Fletcher Pratt  (1 of 2)

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Michael Vlahos, Naval War College, in re: Preble's Boys: Commodore Preble and the Birth of American Sea Power by Fletcher Pratt  (2 of 2)

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:   Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re:

Friday  30 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Tom Moroney, Bloomberg, in re: ELDERLY WORKERS. Report: Mailman at 72 with America’s Longest Route7.2 million Americans who were 65 and over and were employed last year, a 67 percent jump from 10 years before. They work longer hours and earn more than they did a decade ago. Fifty-eight percent are full-time compared to 52 percent in 2002, and their median weekly pay has gone up to $825 from $502.   [more]

..  ..  ..


Hour 1: Gears of War 2. Dark Shadows.

Hour 2: Dark Shadows. Ides of March. CSI Miami.

Hour 3: Passion of the Christ. Miami Vice.  Argo

Hour 4: Ghost Writer. Call of Duty.  Hatfields and McCoys.