The John Batchelor Show

Monday 14 October 2013

Air Date: 
October 14, 2013


Photo, above: 


Hour One

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re:  Green on blue death in Afghanistan: US ISAF forces are now regularly being murdered  (four attacks in the last three weeks) by uniformed Afghans, many of whom are in fact serving in the military or police – Taliban have carefully infiltrated and turned soldiers and police, sometimes with suasion, sometimes with coercion. 

Latakia, Syria: on 4 Aug, Syian "rebels" started a major push in the northeast – picked the two al Q affiliate and their allies to lead the offensive raided 10 Alawites/Shiite villages, laid waste to them, killing children, mothers, civilian men – 57 women, 14 children, 10 elderly men.   Was meant to send a msg and terrorize. All al Q hates Shia but some are especially vehement.   Internationally, there's no accounting of this sort of massacre.   A week later, head of the fighters released a video proclaiming victory. 

Al Libi has now arrived in New York . 

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD in re: Al Libi, taken to a US naval ship for interrogation; now in New York, having been indicted long ago for he East Africa embassy bombing.  START data base maintained by Homeland Security: 1 out of 16 al Q used to be selected for terrorist operation; today, the number is much greater. They’ve "advanced the ball" considerably.  Even before 9/11, running ops in the US was tough. Haven’t launched a mass attack against us on our soil, because of both our vigilance and a few strokes of luck. Libyan PM abducted – perhaps in vengeance for the US taking al Libi. Two aims: establish caliphates in many countries  while attacking the US and the West.  Pulling fighters from array of battlefields – Middle East, North Africa, Saharan Africa, SE Asia.  What happens overseas ultimately will turn around and bite us here at home.  Note Somalia raids, al Q corps.  Al Libi was serving al Q in Libya years ago. The black flags.

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Francis Rose, Federal News Radio; Lara M Brown, political analyst and author; Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: the ACA. Since March 2010, the Obama Adm has embraced and given too the American people the ACA as an example of digital progress.    Ezra Klein, who blogs for WaPo every four minutes, and Robert Gibbs, call the ACA rollout a disaster. Databases in COBOL (left over from the Kennedy Administration) that can’t speak with each other. How did the govt create this scale of catastrophe? A former Soc Sec Administrator has been warning about this since years ago – esp that the big problem is that Healthcare,gov is a shiny new portal to compile data and communicate with multiple sites all using different languages. A year's work is wholly incapable of organizing this.  During the last three years, fourteen thousand privacy breeches in the Veterans Adm, alone, in dealing with healthcare. Agencies aren’t communicating with each other online?  - no surprise; they can’t even do so well on the phone or on paper. Last week Sibelius [head of HHS] came to Pittsburgh, arrived confidently at arena with the head of the Steelers. Despite all the training and hoo-ha: no one was able to sign up. Dems must be happy that there's a big debate on debt ceiling and govt closure right now, since otherwise the whole focus would be on this mess. It’s good politics to get in front of a scandal but the Democrats aren't. Why?  They hope that in the next few weeks they can solve it – get fixed in six weeks what couldn’t be done in a year. Talk now is of scrapping the whole thing and starting afresh. 

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Eric Hanushek, Hoover (and Paul E. Peterson), Daily News, in re: Upgrade U.S. Skills or Pay the Price .  Quiz: two friends, on in Berlin (1AM) and Sydney (10AM), want to talk but cannot do so from (local)  or  9A to 4P (local). When can they speak?  Many US 15-year-old can't solve this, whereas most German kids could.  Turns out we're pay 225 times more now than decades ago; what are we getting? Not much, and it seems to be because of the quality of teachers.  In New York. the teachers union has pressured the incoming mayor to restrict and financially overwhelm carter schools.   

As if we needed more evidence, new data released Tuesday shows the disheartening level of skills of the American worker compared with those in other developed countries. An assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that U.S. adults are near the bottom of the 23 participating countries in literacy, numeracy and problem solving.  Although this is the first international comparison of adult math and reading skills, this is what we have been hearing about U.S. students for decades — without strong, meaningful action to correct the situation.  Indeed, today’s political consensus is no less broad than the one in place a quarter-century ago when President George H.W. Bush, flanked by the governors of 49 states, declared that “U.S. students must be first in the world in math and science achievement” by the year 2000.  The United States has never come close to reaching that goal, or virtually any other goal the nation has set for our children in the decades since. Looking at international assessments of American students, our students rank 32nd in the world in math, trailing Estonia and Iceland. They rank closer to Croatia than to Canada.  [more] See: Endangering Prosperity, a Global View of the American School.

Hour Two

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  John Fund, National Review Online; Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: “House Republicans have drawn a line in the sand and cannot back down from it - or else risk losing all credibility going into an election year." The notion of negotiation: Had the president and Harry Reid refused to negotiate, then would the GOP ha Craftily, the president agreed to speak, which created a radically different structure.  "Jammed" [Washington parlance]: a big bad deadline, where you have to take whatever the other chamber sends you or else worse things will happen to you. 

Vitter Amendment:  Congress managed to create a situation where it looks as though Congress is exempt from ObamaCare.   The president ordered that Congress get subsidies, which probably will be overturned in court. Vitter demands that Congress get exactly what everybody else gets. Poll: 92% of Americans think that Congress shouldn’t get anything better than the rest of us. The 8%?   They're friends and family of Congress.

Democrats Attempt to Reverse Sequester in Talks  (WSJ)"Senate leaders attempting to avoid a U.S. debt default remained at loggerheads Sunday and escalated the standoff by reopening the contentious issue of automatic spending cuts, damping hopes that some of Congress's most canny negotiators would break the impasse."

New York Times: "Senate Democratic leaders -- believing they have a political advantage in the continuing fiscal impasse -- refused Sunday to sign on to any deal that reopens the government but locks in budget cuts for next year."

Washington Post: "Rather than making concessions that would undermine Obama's signature health-care initiative, as Republicans first demanded, Democrats are now on the offensive and seeking to undo what has become a cherished prize for the GOP: deep agency spending cuts known as the sequester.

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent; John Fund, National Review Online; Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, in re:  The first eleven days in Washington State, nine out of ten are Medicaid enrollees.   Ezra Klein and Robert Gibbs, both warmly partisans of the Obama Adm, name ACA as a failure on an almost-unprecedented scale;  they ask that it be corrected right away.   In fact this couldn’t work even if the website did. Of the 27 million people to get new health insurance, almost half will be dumped into Medicaid; 585 of doctors won’t accept Medicaid A fraud the likes of which we haven’t seen since P T Barnum.  The markets? They're focused on DC budget battles.  Reporting points to a catastrophe on a scale for which we have no analogy.  In the same breath the Adm officials talk about the ACA they rush to point to the other dramas on the Hill.  Of 9,452 enrollments completed in Washington State, 5,900 were for newly-eligible, 2,600 for Medicaid, and 900 for____.  Washington State has to pick up a good deal of the cost and can’t afford it. 

GOP says fight over debt limit not just about spending  CONGRESS OBAMACARE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REPUBLICAN PARTY HEALTH CARE DEBT CEILING For House Republicans, the fight over the debt ceiling isn't just about fiscal reform. The battle that spawned a government shutdown is also very much about preserving the GOP majority's relevance in future policy debates.

GOP says fight over debt limit not just about spending.

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Dino Falaschetti, PERC, in re: Hidden Costs: The Precautionary Principle, and Risks of Clean Energy Policy  Policy makers and commentators frequently cite the Precautionary Principle to rationalize public support for clean energy initiatives. The Principle holds that preemptive environmental protection is warranted, even if the nature of threats is not yet clear. Such action is said to offer, as former Secretary of State George Shultz has put it, a kind of insurance policy against environmental disaster. Adhering to the Principle can cause more harm than good, however. For every $100 billion that the United States centrally directs to clean energy, GDP may decrease by over 0.4%. Compounded over a generation, this reduction approximates today’s per capita income gap between the United States and Italy. In addition, the physics of climate variation may be such that little benefit will come from slowing our rates of carbon emissions. And in any event, centrally directing resources to clean energy can fuel environmental degradation by encouraging inefficiencies in the production of energy, which can cause people to consume more resources for any level of energy-use and spend more of their shrinking budgets on economic necessities rather than environmental amenities.

In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely applied by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.(1)

(1) Principle 15, quoted from the United Nations’ report on the Conference on Environment and Development, Rio de Janeiro, June 3-14, 1992. Accessed June 15, 2013, from

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: The Big V's – verified user – are a problem for China new bosses an their kindred of Cain.   Weibo, the Chinese twitter, is controlled by Sino, the Party-owned company on NASDAQ. Has a bldg in Tienjin (near Beijing), large and filled with censors.   Xi spends a lot of time fretting oaout new media , declared the the Party has to "seize the ground" of new media, some of which hav e 50 mill followers. One was paraded in handcuffs, had to renounce his postings.  Party campaign to corral the Big V's. Ali Baba and Tensin are the two largest – are the Google, Microsoft, Playstation, Amazon, in China; will soon list in New York.  Trying to control the Net is like the old Soviets trying to control faxes.   Party can’t exactly control, but can intimidate with its 2 million censors!  Party bosses ant to de-Americanize the world: potshots at the US.  Hsinhua [sic!] agency issues corrosive commentaries to de-throne the dollar as the world's reserve currency.   China has a much bigger debt problem than the US does; being a tyranny, they can cover it up. Can’t have a world reserve currency that isn’t fully convertible; China has missed deadline after deadline in promises to make the yuan/RMB convertible.   Truth is, the Party dasn't do so because Chinese people would swiftly move all their cash out of China and collapse the economy. 

Each attack on Weibo further delegitimizes the Communist Party – the gang that attacks hither and thither before it gasps and expires.

Debt Ceiling: China Calls for World to Be 'De-Americanised' - IBTimes UK…

Beijing's "war on social media" is about to affect U.S. investors.  

Hour Three

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Bill Whelan, Hoover & Sacramento Bee, in re: California GOP Should Worry About Optics of Federal Shutdown   Of 435 Congressional seats, 91 have Hispanic members; top 8 are in California.  Mr Miller of the GOP in Cal looks to be safe – but his opponent will target him on immigration reform.  . . .  Gov of Idaho visited Hoover Institution today; said: "The one way to kill a bad law is to let it become a law."  Note there's a BART strike looming (Bay Area Rapid Transit, goes across the Bay in the East Bay).  Unions have been deeply unfavored in polls, so Gov Brown works behind the scenes, eke the mayor of SF – no one wants to antagonize the unions.  Wait till strike occurs and the populace is enraged before trying for a settlement. Dodgers won; "San Franciscans will only be more depressed."

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, and Gene Countryman, KNSS Wichita, in re: In Lawrence, Kansas, the official navigator for the ObamaCare program has a yellowsheet and an outstanding arrest warrant in a nearby county.  She's the one you’re supposed to give all your credit card and Social Security info to.  So far, zero persons have signed up for ACA in Kansas. 

Structurally: need a lot of healthy young people to sign up to prevent a "death spiral" financially, as the insurance companies say. At this rate, there'll be 1.3 million people signed up nationally by 1 Jan, which will not work.     An IT expert said: "They paid half a billion dollars to do this; I think I could have done it for $149 on GoDaddy."  Take care, compatriots: the Obamacare navigators are NOT vetted. 


Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Charles Blahous, Hoover, Mercatus Center and Real Clear Markets, in re: Obamacare's Financial Unraveling: Predictable, and Predicted (1 of 2) Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Charles Blahous, Hoover, Mercatus Center and Real Clear Markets, in re: Obamacare's Financial Unraveling: Predictable, and Predicted (1 of 2)

Hour Four

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Arif Rafiq, Middle East Institute & Foreign Policy magazine, in re: The Pakistan army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, will retire next month. Looking at his six-year tenure as army chief and what might come next.

After Kayani The man who kept Pakistan together is retiring. Now what?  The evening was temperate. The skies were clear. And the general's eyes began to fill with mist. On April 30, 2011, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, now the outgoing head of the Pakistani Army, struggled to hold back his tears as he stood before the Yadgar-e-Shuhada, a memorial dedicated to Pakistani soldiers slain in the line of duty, at the Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. Kayani's hands quivered as he saluted Pakistan's fallen warriors. He blinked nervously, pressed his lips tight, and swallowed back tears. It was a rare display of emotion by this normally stoic career soldier, a man often described as having an inscrutable poker face.  That evening marked the nation's second annual Martyrs' Day -- a commemoration inaugurated by Kayani not so much to remind Pakistanis of the sacrifices made in three wars with India but to mobilize national support for an enduring war within. It has been a decade-long war of Pakistani against Pakistani, Muslim against Muslim, and Islam against Islam. Perhaps more than anything, it has also been Ashfaq Kayani's war. Kayani, who issued a public statement on Oct. 6 confirming his retirement, has commanded the Army in its fight against the Pakistani Taliban for the last six years. His influence was so wide-ranging that Adm. Mike Mullen, while chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with him more than two dozen times. Soon, however, he will enter private life. And barring a post-retirement appointment to a civilian post, . . .  [more]

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Robert Langreth, Bloomberg, in re: Robot Surgery Damaging Patients Rises with Misleading Marketing – Robotic surgeries are on the rise, fueled by aggressive marketing by doctors, hospitals and Intuitive Surgical Inc., which manufactures the $1.5 million robot. Often misleading patients, advertising has hyped the advantages of robotic surgeries, often claimed fewer complications without proof, and ignored contradictory studies finding no advantage in some cases

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Mathew Schwartz, InformationWeek, in re: 5 Obamacare Health Site Security Warnings  Early shakedowns of the health insurance exchange websites show they are vulnerable to cross-site request forgery, clickjacking and cookie attacks, among other risks.

Monday  14 October 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Joshua Green, Bloomberg, in re: CEOs CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THE CAPITAL   CEOs traditionally have avoided getting involved in Washington politics. But a new survey by FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, found

that institutional investors now believe CEOs should be playing a bigger role in D.C. The combination of dysfunction in Congress and greater federal control over the economy in the wake of the financial crisis has led executives of companies large and small to personally press their case with members.  [more]

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