Monday 12 August 2013
Photo, above: Annual Perseid meteor shower in aurora.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: the al Qaeda conference call, as reported on the Daily Beast. We confirmed that Zawahiri was in contact with more than one of his subordinates in a complex comm. system that they used. The metadetails in some of the reporting are, in fact, structurally accurate. Confab included Waheshi, al Q in the Arabian Peninsula, used to be bin Laden's chief of staff. During the call, Zawahiri appted him to be global General Manager. Note that the US paradigm is of a diffuse, decentralized op with no central control – wrong! [more data; pls go to podcast]
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: virtual world network. All the details assembled: al Q is still the leader in global jihad, controls an army in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, North Africa – wherever there's a jihadist front, al Q is largely in charge, in contact wit eh emir of global jihad. Took over northern Mali for almost a year; also vast areas of southern Yemen. They're competent. The US line that they're sunk is inaccurate - they define the threat as immediate, on US territory – but the principal goal of al Qaeda is to create a global caliphate. [And they're doing well.]
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, and Lara M Brown, political analyst and author, in re: Cory Booker's Silicon Valley Friendships Started at Stanford Cory A. Booker has deep ties to Silicon Valley, ties so deep that they have raised questions about money and influence, particularly now that . . .
--For him to become a Senator, he'll have to put ownership in a blind trust. His tweets are folksy, charming. For Hillary's VP: usu want someone who's already been on the trail and knows his way around – for example, Sarah Palin had to learn on the job under klieg lights.
BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. – Technically the town of Bath, this Eastern Panhandle community is home to a colorful but struggling enclave of artists who bridge the liberal temperament of creative types with the more conservative practicality of businessmen. One store-owner summed up the confluence of those opposing worlds when he described West Virginians for a handful of Washington Beltway tourists. “For the longest time, you were born, baptized then registered as a Democrat,” he said, standing outside his coveted location across from the famous medicinal hot springs that has drawn dignitaries since the days of President George Washington. For 13 years, Mountaineer State Democrats have lost ground, mainly because national Democrats have not worried about support from Appalachian and Southern states since Bill Clinton left office. That is why a former Clinton supporter, state senator Evan Jenkins, switched parties recently to run against incumbent Democrat Nick Rahall in the Third Congressional District next year. “Back then, Clinton ran nationally on a lot of Main Street issues, like charter schools, community policing and welfare-to-work, that reflected West Virginia values,” Jenkins said. Jenkins is part of a line-up for next year’s midterm elections that could turn most members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation into Republicans. That includes flipping the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller over to GOP congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. For much of the past century, West Virginia generally was more Democrat than the nation as a whole in presidential elections, according to Kyle Kondik, a numbers-cruncher at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Jed Babbin, American Spectator, in re: Nidal Hassan; al Awlaki; president misidentifies citation. FBI and Army did nothing at Fort Hood so thirteen soldiers are dead – the problem isn’t collecting info, it's understanding and using it. We're giving up sources and methods, the heart of intelligence.
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution, in re: The American Spectator : Put On a Smiley Face. Obamacare and Harry Reid and that odd press performance on Friday. Harry Reid says unions should stop 'frightening' people about Obamacare Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday suggested that labor unions critical of Obamacare should stop "frightening people" with their criticism of the law and how its implementation might hurt their members' insurance. The Nevada Democrat also signaled his openness to employing the . . .
Newark Mayor Cory Booker pocketed 'confidential' annual payouts from law firm while in office Cory Booker pocketed “confidential” annual payouts from his former law firm while serving as Newark mayor. Booker, the front-runner in New Jersey's . . .
Cory Booker's Silicon Valley Friendships Started at Stanford - Cory A. Booker has deep ties to Silicon Valley, ties so deep that they have raised questions about money and influence, particularly now that Mr. Booker, the mayor of Newark, is running for Senate. Mr. Booker is an avid user of Twitter, talks about how tech can change governing and regularly taps tech billionaires for campaign donations. But there is more. As an article that David M. Halbfinger, Raymond Hernandez and I wrote on Wednesday explains, Mr. Booker was named co-founder of an online video start-up, Waywire, with a stake valued at several million dollars. The prize comes at a time when Silicon Valley is working hard to make more friends in Washington as it deals with issues from immigration and piracy to antitrust and privacy. So how did the mayor of Newark, a city far removed from Silicon Valley in many ways, make these friends in the first place? The answer is Stanford University, according to interviews with Mr. Booker’s friends in tech. He went to college there in the late 1980s and early 1990s, at the same time as many people who would become some of the richest and most successful tech entrepreneurs. “Stanford is the piece that is basically . . .
Mrs Clinton's possible running mates: mayor of San Antonio, or . . .
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: news on the bullet train, San Diego to Sacramento: no bullet. Delay delay delay. Supposed to start in 2012, nothing happened. Problems with the construction co under contract; federal regs - but really, it’s fury from the inhabitants of the Central Valley, who vow to go down fighting. Of course, where they want to put the (few) express portions are areas right next to high-speed highways. Towns not happy to have such a train go through unless it stops there and drops off some revenue. Ron Tutor: as of Friday, he's supposed to build track for $989 million. State needs t obtain hundereds of parcels of land but is failing to do so.
The poor Swedes went down in 4-straight . . . so it's the Italians vs. the Kiwis for the right to challenge Larry Ellison's seagoing ego. Courts have said California needs to dump about 10,000 convicts from state prisons; everyone's worked up about that.
AFSCME strike news, Local 3299: Governor Jerry went to court and got a judge to order a 60-day cooling off period on the strike . . . The union's "Declaration of War" - The UC “implemented” their contract last week. That means that, given the long impasse with the union (AFSCME), they went ahead and made the changes. That means about 10,000 service employees will receive wage increases and the changes to the UC benefit program (including requiring employees to chip in a tiny bit for their pension) is now in place. It is a raise, not a takeaway, and not even the union calls it that. They just don’t like the shift in responsibility for the pension to being shared between the employer and the employee. They like it all on the employer but that ship has sailed. Remember that they agreed to a greater cost share with Governor Brown . . . the same union! The nurses and other unions have agreed to this with UC already – AFSCME has decided to make this their last stand. / This flyer is the union’s response. Saturday night, they showed up at the residence of the UCSF president in Tiburon. He was not home but his 13-year-old daughter was. There were three vans of union rabble-rousers and they had signs and bullhorns. They came onto the property and pounded on the door. They attempted to look in windows and were demanding that the occupants "come out and show yourselves." The little girl was terrified. She called the police and her parents and the mob was eventually dispersed. We don’t believe any charges were filed. This is terrorism . . . Right here in Marin County and perpetrated by union thugs.
Casey Jones Bliss on the fastest common rail usage (not mangnetorail): "Serious construction could start in 2014 — when 2012 had been promised. Experts say officials underestimated the challenges of the $68-billion project."
Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX proposes Hyperloop . . . "Enter Hyperloop, a supersonic model of travel put on the table today, designed for traveling distances 1,000 miles (at 760MPH) or less in essentially aluminum pods traveling through a vacuum-like tunnel. The nuts and bolts of the advanced, if not science fiction-like, technology have yet to be worked out. But for the everyday person, the point is to cut travel time between San Francisco and Los Angeles to approximately 30 minutes. Tickets are projected to cost $20 one-way." Comparable to the pneumatic tubes that used to carry message cylinders around the ceilings of department stores.
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Raymond Stock, Middle East Forum, in re: On their current trip to Cairo, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), two of President Barack Obama’s most persistent critics on everything in foreign policy from Syria to Benghazi, have found common cause with him at last. All three fear that the anti-American (and generally anti-human) Muslim Brotherhood (MB), whom they mistakenly see as “moderate,” will disappear from the halls of power in Egypt, our most important Arab ally. They also evidently worry that the MB’s leading figures, such as now-deposed (and arrested) President Mohamed Morsi—who had awarded himself powers greater than any previous ruler in Egypt’s history—will not be free to plot a return to power in an ancient nation that he had nearly destroyed in only one year. Echoing earlier White House warnings, the two senior senators suggested that we may cut off our $1.6 billion in annual (mainly military) aid, the very tie that binds our countries together, as it has for more than thirty preciously peaceful years. Not to comply with their demands, McCain and Graham said August 6, would be—as Graham put it—a “huge mistake." . . . [more]
Russian will step in to fill the military vacuum (using technology it stole from us); if US ceases funding Egypt, Russia and China will step in to have access to Suez, the Nile, and a warm-water port for Russia.
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Gordon Chang, Forbes.com, in re: Xi Jinping is the Big Boss now; who write his papers when he received his law degree, asks The Australian? Tsinghua University awarded a law degree to Xi although he did "A Tentative Study on China's Industrialization" for his thesis – while holding down two full-time jobs, How'd he write it? Plagiarism. Chen Xi, probably. Xi Jinping's law degree questioned as claims he was 'helped'A LEAKED document from China has raised embarrassing questions over the validity of a law degree awarded to its leader, Xi Jinping, in 2002 at a crucial moment in his rise to rule over the country of 1.3bn people. Analysis of Xi's unpublished dissertation for the degree, a copy of which was handed to The Sunday Times in Hong Kong last week, lends weight to claims among Chinese academics that he used others to help with his thesis. The contents of the work, A Tentative Study on China's Rural Marketisation, also appeared to have little to do with the discipline of law. Critics of the Communist party allege that Mr Xi, 60, was granted the post-graduate doctorate by the prestigious Tsinghua University merely to burnish his credentials for political leadership. Official records show that an influential faculty member at Tsinghua, Chen Xi, a contemporary of Xi's, soon afterwards received rapid promotion to high government and party rank. . . . [more]
Neil Heywood's widow is raising very awkward questions; Party looks bad, but so does she – who's paying her expenses? "I wouldn’t want to be writing insurance on her life right now."
Looks like Apple needs a new business model. Xiaomi, a company that had not sold a smartphone until September 2011, has just passed Apple in smartphone sales in China. At noon on August 12, Xiaomi Tech’s latest smartphone goes on sale in China. Priced at just 799 yuan ($130), the Android-powered Hongmi, or “Red Rice,” is expected to be this year’s smash. Even without the Hongmi, Xiaomi sells more smartphones than Apple AAPL +2.87% in China. The Canalys Q2 rankings put the Cupertino-based company in seventh place with 4.8% of the Chinese market. Xiaomi, which means “Small Rice,” is one notch above with 5.0%. . . .
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Iron Dome shot down a missile aimed at Eilat out of Sinai, a rogue failed state inhabited by gunrunners and killers for hire; smuggling running both directions. Two explosions heard, but Iron Dome intercepted. Esp Bedu Salafists' getting weapons from Iran and Libya, many intended for Gaza but stayed in Sinai. Egypt's strikes vs terrorists in Sinai will have long-term implications (600 Hamas operatives smuggling weapons and doing training; targeted a bridge over Suez Canal; product of post-revolution vacuum. Egyptian mil hit nightly by these guys – hit police stations, mil outposts, everything). Israel unable to help, as a strike might hit Egyptian army. Army is in bad shape, also concerned about heavily-armed pro-Morsi encampments. Situation is unstable and under grave financial deficits. Tzipi Livni has written an "angry" letter about housing, about unit being built in existing Israeli territory, land that is universally agreed will stay under Israeli control and which Palestinians do not claim. Abbas does anything to avoid achieving a peace with definite terms, borders, times. Palestinians speak of a hudna (short-lived peace); extol those who carry out terrorist attacks.
Israel on Aug. 11 published a list of 26 Palestinian prisoners set to go free within days -- some after spending more than two decades behind bars -- in the first stage of a deal that led to a resumption of U.S.-backed peace talks last month, Reuters reported. Palestinians expressing reservations. Two-day period in which people can go to court to challenge the list, esp families of those already murdered; we know for sure that many of those released will be recidivists.
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Brig Gen Hassan Degan is now defense minister of Iran; gave the order to launch the attack on US Marines in Beirut.
The Beirut Barracks Bombing (October 23, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon) occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen. The Islamic Jihad Organization claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Erdogan denies having been hospitalized. He had stomach cancer last year, was in grave condition. Faces challenges at home; reportedly is taking Turkish troops out of UNIFIL in Lebanon as there were kidnappings there.
Sudan's weapons to Syria (Syrian Free Army) and Libya. Tremendous competition for these sales. Increasing al Qaeda presence coming across border to join rebels, so secular wing is now weakened – lacking weapons or finances. Ergo, rebels fighting rebels. FN6s from China. Iran's defense minister. Female VP in Iran. Forty missiles from Benghazi lost. Arabs much clearer about their disappointment in the US. IAEA. US bringing 2,000 Syrians into the country.
Jordanian tribal elections: municipalities; give the tribes a chance to control their own space. Very important.
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Making the Most of Limited U.S. Leverage in Egypt A military-aid cutoff would sacrifice a useful tool for pushing economic and political reforms PORTRAIT OF THE GENERAL AS A NOT-SO-YOUNG GRAD STUDENT What does General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi really think about democracy in the Middle East? From the moment President Mohamed Morsy promoted Sisi as Egypt's defense minister in August 2012, rumors have swirled about his supposed Islamist leanings. The army chief was said to be particularly devout, and the fact that Morsy passed over more senior generals in selecting him fueled claims that Sisi was a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. Even after he deposed Morsy, observers of Egyptian politics have wondered whether he hopes to use his newfound power to implement an Islamist agenda. A 2006 paper Sisi wrote while studying at the U.S. Army War College, titled "Democracy in the Middle East," has garnered much attention in this regard. Naval Postgraduate School professor Robert Springborg contended in Foreign Affairs that the document "reads like a tract produced by the Muslim Brotherhood," and "embraces a more radical view of the proper place of religion in an Islamic democracy." This view of Sisi as an Islamist may prove accurate, because little is known of the sunglass-sporting general who is now Egypt's de facto leader. But after thoroughly examining Sisi's paper I found little evidence of Islamism. If anything, the paper reflects the boilerplate, nationalistic rhetoric of Mubarak-era Egyptian officials -- not the theocratic rhetoric of the Muslim Brotherhood. The paper is not a strident manifesto, but rather reads like the sort of work graduate students routinely produce when a rote assignment is due. It weighs in at 11 loosely-spaced pages -- less than half the length of the paper that his deputy Sedki Sobhy wrote for the same assignment -- and is quite disorganized. Sisi penned this paper just as President George W. Bush's "Freedom Agenda" peaked. The previous year witnessed . . . [more]
Making the Most of Limited U.S. Leverage in Egypt A military-aid cutoff would sacrifice a useful tool for pushing economic and political reforms. Washington's confusion about the rapidly worsening events in Egypt is understandable. The Muslim Brotherhood's yearlong, stunningly inept attempt to consolidate total power has given way to a new military-backed government that appears inclined to do the same—albeit with far better arms. American policy makers are once again wringing their hands over what to do; specifically, whether to cut off $1.3 billion in annual military aid. According to U.S. law, foreign aid must be cut off to any country after a coup. So some worry that by not withdrawing aid from Egypt following what was, technically speaking, a military coup, Washington is sending the message that American law doesn't matter. Many also fear that continuing military aid will reflect—for the umpteenth time—a lack of American seriousness about promoting democracy in Egypt. While these concerns are well taken, they incorrectly depict military aid as a mechanism for showcasing American values, rather than what it actually is: a tool for maintaining leverage with the Egyptian military to cooperate in promoting U.S. interests. That's not to say that . . . [more]
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Bradley Smith, WSJ, in re: The Internal Revenue Service's scandalous targeting of tea party and conservative groups refuses to die, as one by one the administration's explanations prove untrue. We were told that the White House, like the rest of the country, learned about the program on May 10 through a planted question asked of then IRS official Lois Lerner at an American Bar Association conference. Turns out the White House knew earlier. We were told the targeting was the work of a few rogue IRS employees in Cincinnati. Then those employees insisted that they were being managed from Washington. We were told that no political appointees were involved, but now we know the scandal goes at least to the office of Obama appointee and IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins. We were told that liberal groups were targeted, too. But then the IRS's inspector general, whose report exposed the harassment, clarified that only conservative groups were targeted. Now the administration line is that the scandal is nonetheless "phony." That assertion is part of a Democratic counteroffensive contending that the tea party and conservative groups . . . [more]
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Amy Goodnough, NYT, in re: Colorado Presses for Uninsured to Enroll Colorado is embracing the health care overhaul, with a vast marketing push to educate residents about it. . . .
Television commercials have already run suggesting that buying health coverage through the state’s new insurance market, Connect for Health Colorado, will feel like winning the World Series. The market’s employees are traveling the state to explain how it will work, often in electric yellow T-shirts with the message, “Got Insurance?” In the coming weeks, 400 guides will be trained to help the uninsured sign up for coverage, with some targeting groups like Hispanics, gay and lesbian citizens, and even truckers. This is Colorado, five months before the central provisions of President Obama’s health care law take effect: a hive of preparation, with a homegrown insurance market working closely with state agencies and lawmakers to help ensure the law’s success. Gov. John W. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is a firm supporter, and the state legislature, controlled by Democrats, has not thrown up any obstacles. When the legislature voted to allow a state-based insurance market in 2011, Republicans . . .
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: Can Marissa Mayer save Yahoo? Marissa Mayer is determined to reinvent the doomed dot-com relic Yahoo! into a media company for the mobile age. She believes Yahoo's fortunes are tied to devices, and is refocusing the brand on creating personalized, habit-forming content that people view on tablets and phones. Shareholders are waiting, hoping advertisers respond. Bloomberg Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone spoke with Mayer about her relentless efforts to revive Yahoo's depleted ranks of researchers and engineers, especially for developing apps, and got her candid thoughts on why she wanted to be Yahoo's chief executive so badly. Mayer even shares the voicemail message she received informing her she got the CEO job. [more]
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re: Lerner's FEC Problem National Review Online (blog) - 10 hours ago An IRS source tells National Review Online that, within the agency, disclosing the information that Lerner appears to have provided is . .. Issa Expands IRS probe to the FEC. FEC chair requests probe of agency's ties with IRS. The IRS scandal's inconsistencies The White House should fully cooperate in the investigation. IRS official who oversaw Cincinnati exempt operations office during ... The IRS official in charge of the exempt organizations office in the Cincinnati branch at the time conservative groups applying for tax-exempt ...
A senior Internal Revenue Service official who until recently served as an adviser to embattled official Lois Lerner is leaving the agency, according to an IRS agent with knowledge of the situation. Sharon Light has “accepted a position with the American Cancer Society, leaving a critical vacancy in the Senior Technical Adviser team for the Director of Exempt Organizations,” Lerner’s replacement, Kenneth Corbin, wrote this morning in an internal e-mail to Exempt Organization employees. Light will be replaced by Cindy Thomas, a 35-year IRS veteran who ran the Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati throughout the 2-year period that conservative groups were targeted. “Cindy brings a strong background in EO Determinations and the history of the organization,” Corbin told employees. “And, since she is located in Cincinnati, she will provide a voice for the process and challenges faced in determinations work.” Thomas’s promotion will not be without controversy, given that, in November of last year, she signed off on the illegal release to the left-leaning ProPublica, of nine pending, confidential applications for tax exemption filed by conservative groups. One of those organizations, the Colorado-based Citizens Awareness Project, yesterday filed a federal lawsuit against the IRS over the release of its application. The targeting of conservative groups involved officials senior to Thomas, however. While heading the Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati, she repeatedly sought updates – to no avail – on the applications from officials in Washington, D.C. Now, accusing the IRS of obstructing his investigation, Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa is now claiming that IRS officials have “affirmatively prevented” Thomas, who recently provided closed-door testimony to congressional investigators, from turning over key documents. Light is the sixth senior IRS official to depart the agency in the wake of Lerner’s disclosure on May 10 that the IRS had inappropriately singled out the applications of tea-party groups for special scrutiny. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demanded the resignation of . . . [more]
Monday 12 August 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Robert McFadden, Soufan group, in re: Ali Soufan: How Al Qaeda Made Its Comeback
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You are subscribed to Large Image of the Day for NASA. This information has recently been updated, and is now available. Perseid Meteor This Perseid fireball meteor was observed in the skies over Chickamauga, Ga., on Aug. 11, 2013, at 2:14:49 a.m. EDT. It was also recorded by four other cameras in the NASA All Sky Fireball Network. The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks on Aug.11 and 12, 2013, filling the sky with streaks of light. The big meteor showers like the Perseids, and later the Leonids in November, are caused when Earth and its atmosphere travels through a region of the sky filled with left over debris lost by a particular comet. In the case of the Perseids, the small fragments were ripped off the tail of comet Swift-Tuttle, which orbits the sun once every 130 years. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/MEO
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Hour 1: Ten Commandments. Dark Knight Rises. Bourne Legacy.
Hour 2: Crysis. Tears of the Sun. House of Flying Daggers.