The John Batchelor Show

Monday 16 September 2013

Air Date: 
September 16, 2013

Photo, above: ancient minaret in Herat.  See: Hour , Block A, Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn.


Hour One

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: in Syria, chem. weapons suggest total war, mass destruction, that will beggar Syria for decades to come. House Committee on Homeland Security quotes a source: "Only 15-20%  of the Syrian rebels are extremists" -  I disagree; it’s more like 50%, and the moderates aren’t moderate; but at least half are obviously extreme. Jane's and the Pentagon agree on 50%. The cutthroats have made Syria a strategic priority: Shura Council (AfPak/South Asia) has dispatched top operatives to Syria under Ayman al Zawahiri, who directs the best from North Africa, South Asia, elsewhere, into Syria, which shows how important it is to al Qaeda.   Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant – another  major mil base seized by Iraq in the Levant and its ally, al Nusrah Front.  They storm bases with multifront assaults.  Al Nusrah: run by al Jawani. ISIL: run by al Baghdadi – cantankerous, has a hard time getting along with anyone and everyone, wants to be in charge of everything, while his lieutenants want to run their own show.  But they keep guns pointed at enemies, not each other. Most disturbing: al Q has forces in Syria where they hold territory – have schools running in some cities; in Eastern Syria, hold oil fields. Think of US counterinsurgency: we were going to clear and hold territory in Iraq.

Al Qaeda and the threat in Syria  Testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security, on al Qaeda in Syria and the threat it poses to the US. Al Qaeda affiliates and allied jihadist groups dominate the insurgency in the heart of the Middle East.

Taliban assassinate senior Pakistani Army general in Dir  Major General Sanaullah commanded Pakistani army forces in Swat; Lieutenant Colonel Tauseef commanded the 33 Baloch Regiment. Bother were killed in an IED attack in Upper Dir. 

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant overruns air defense base in Hama The al Qaeda affiliate assaulted the 66th Brigade's air defense base and ammunition depot in Hama. 

Taliban launch suicide assault on US Consulate in Herat  The Taliban assault team breached the security perimeter and fought with Afghan security forces and US special operations forces before being killed.  [more]

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: reformation and Counterreformation of the Church in Europe; Islam seems to be entering such a phase. In heart in northwesternmost Afghanistan, Taliban struck at 6AM. They announced the attack al over the Internet;  US military can't even get info up on two sites. Taliban ram a car through the main gate, breached outer gate of US consulate; hours-log firefight, seven attackers killed.  Main point: to remind Afghans that the Taliban will long outlast the presence of the Americans, and warns locals not to spend time with Americans.  Truck gets to main gate, blows up.  Security is layered to deal with exactly this sort of attack. "Heart – not a main city; like Benghazi."    Syria and Iraq are seen as one theater for al Q.  Upping sectarian violence in Iraq; target Shiite civilians, get reprisals.   Northern Iraq around Mosul is probably one of the least secure areas in Iraq; proximity to Syria, Porous border has helped al Q in Iraq Had the US stayed longer it would have been extremely helping. Al Qaeda Rising: Syria and Iraq.

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, and Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: Home of Naval C Systems Command, responsible for inventory at sea; geared more toward intellectual property security than physical security.  "Man down at the fence" – everyone on edge, this was just some idiot setting off firecrackers at the White House fence.  Stupid.  Washington overall in shock; looked like a full-scale alert this morning.   Everybody is still jumpy, esp post-9/11 anniversary last week.  Despite all the crisis atmosphere, the president made a speech on economics.  WH avoided using the word "pivot," so tried out "refocus" on the economy.  Took a lot of heat immediate because he dedicated a minute on the  shooting, spoke of it as a crime scene; then on to ObamaCare and strong words against the Republicans.  A bubble within the bubble: DC is a bubble, while the president was in a White House bubble even inside his own district, where his neighbors were under siege as he spoke of partisan politics.   Oversight Committee; also ______. IRS: Dave Camp has released info on Lois Lerner; his investigation is not working off Inspector General reports, which try to impugn the reputation of Mr George ("Whistleblower blow both ways"); rather, Ways and Means are straight oversight over IRS and will look directly at IRS e-mails and documents. Congr Sander Levin, Michigan; younger brother is Carl Levin.

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Liz Peek, The Fiscal Times & Fox, in re:  Fifth anniversary of the Lehmann collapse.  We measure Syria as incompetence, says Al Hunt about US policy on Syria. Larry Summers: withdrew his name from nomination for Fed head. Five Dem Senators on the banking Committee were going to vote against him no matter what (the left of the Democratic Party).  Pres Obama has held a very tight group of ec advisors and wished not to stay far, so preferred Summers. However, in the current melee to get Dodd-Frank up and running, Summers disapproved of the Volker Rule, and didn't want to punish bankers.  Furthermore, the Fed chair needs to be stable and nonconfrontational, not exactly Larry Summers.   Easier to explain why nothing's happening on immigration and other problems; can blame George Bush still, and is glad to speak against GOP. Looming confrontation on debt ceiling and continuing resolution on budget. Pres Obama evinces no respect for the other side of these arguments.   Affordable Care Act was an effort to bld his legacy; every bz leader in the country told him it'd be a disaster for jobs – and he didn’t listen or hear. His way of affecting unemployment is t raise wages – and so crush demand.  Larry Summers is gone, Assad is still here.

Hour Two

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Putin and Obama;  Summers and Obama; who Borked Summers.    The Fed meets this week; speculation about Yellen.  Obama and Iran. Defunding ObamaCare?  Seventy-nine Congressmen want to use the debt-ceiling talks to defund the ACA – "like Japanese Zeroes diving kamikaze into the destroyer ObamaCare that's leaking and sinking of its own accord," says the Wall Street Journal editorial. Doing this why? Because it feels good. 

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Bill Daley, Chicago, announced he'd run for Illinois governor, has dropped out; probably realized that 2014 would be even more challenging for Dems than was widely thought; he even thought that the Democrats may lose widely in blue blue Illinois. Illinois is so badly governed that the out Party may become the in party. If the govt shuts down I October, talks shifts to all the things not happening because the govt is closed, so people will be angry not at the Dems for mishandling events but at Republicans for shutting everything down. 

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: A newly leaked revised draft of the upcoming IPCC report suggests that the climate uncertainties have significantly grown since the last report in 2007. Most important of all, the new IPCC draft finally admits that the climate has not warmed as predicted and that the climate field does not know why.  They recognize the global warming ‘pause’ first reported by The Mail on Sunday last year is real – and concede that their computer models did not predict it. But they cannot explain why world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase since 1997.  They admit large parts of the world were as warm as they are now for decades at a time between 950 and 1250 AD – centuries before the Industrial Revolution, and when the population and CO2 levels were both much lower.

      The IPCC admits that while computer models forecast a decline in Antarctic sea ice, it has actually grown to a new record high. Again, the IPCC cannot say why.  A forecast in the 2007 report that hurricanes would become more intense has simply been dropped, without mention. This year has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons in history and the US is currently enjoying its longest-ever period – almost eight years – without a single hurricane of Category 3 or above making landfall. 

The worst aspect of this new draft, however, is how its conclusions completely ignore these admitted uncertainties.  In the new report, the IPCC says it is ‘extremely likely’ – 95 per cent certain – that human influence caused more than half the temperature rises from 1951 to 2010, up from ‘very confident’ – 90 per cent certain – in 2007. [Climate scientists Judith] Curry said: ‘This is incomprehensible to me’ – adding that the IPCC projections are ‘overconfident’, especially given the report’s admitted areas of doubt.

As I’ve noted before, though Curry favors the theory that the climate is warming, she is also a good scientist willing to honestly discuss the uncertainties of the science.  One last point: Most of these newly admitted uncertainties in the upcoming IPCC report were originally discussed in detail in the first IPCC report back in 1990. That 1990 report was an excellent and fair assessment of the overall knowledge of the field, at the time. Since then, none of the science has really been able to reduce any of these uncertainties significantly. All that happened in the ensuing years is that too many climate scientists and in the IPCC decided to make believe the uncertainties didn’t exist any more. Thus, later IPCC reports were filled with false certainty and an unreasonable insistence that the climate field understood what was going on.  These false certainties have now come back to bite that climate field, in the posterior. .  [more]. Voyager did cross out of heliosphere on 25? Aug 2013 Interstellar lines happened to be lined up with Sun's lines; Voyager now experiencing rays . . .  Peanut-shaped Milky Way: what does it look like? Hard to tell from inside; detailed survey of a particular kind of star at the bulge: Milky Way is a "bar galaxy" – its central bulge is kind of like a peanut. Was originally a spherical disc, grew into a bar, then the ends were squeezed into a peanut. Our home is peanut-shaped and has a bar. 

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: A positive reform in China's monetary policy?  Soon to have a convertible currency? Shanghai Free Trade Zone. See: Gordon's article in

Hour Three

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: al Qaeda recruits from all over are training inside Syria.   Some say that Assad is going to move chem weapons into Lebanon for HizbAllah; unlikely, as Israel would feel obliged to intervene, but might move them into Iraq (back into Iraq). A death in Egypt: Osama el Baz, an aides to Mubarak, an architect of the peace deal between Egypt and Israel.  Visiting in New York, he called on Malcolm immediately to recount that he'd seen jihadists training and was appalled. Also, JB is being dragooned – no, invited forcefully; no, artfully – to attend the Conference gala dinner at the Waldorf on 15 October.

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Rouhani offers to dismantle Fordow - which was to have been a major nuclear production center but mysteriously blew up in the presence of assembled North Korean scientists, who were caught inside the falling stone of the cave. Rouhani offers to dismantle this catastrophe in exchange for lifting the UN security sanctions.  The whole facility has not worked since the explosion, the nearby region in radioactive and villagers are in trouble.  Iran sees that Assad pays no price.   Europe today cancelled sanctions vs a major Iranian shipping line. 

U.S. and Allies Push for Strong Measure on Syria’s Arms   Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of France and Britain said that they would not tolerate delays in dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons.

U.N. Report Confirms Rockets Loaded With Sarin in Aug. 21 Attack  The report by weapons investigators was the first confirmation by independent scientific experts that chemical weapons were used in the attack outside Damascus.

Turkey Says It Shot Down Syrian Military Helicopter Flying in Its Airspace  A potentially significant escalation of long-simmering tensions between neighbors and former allies divided over Syria’s civil war.

Deal Represents Turn for Syria; Rebels Deflated

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Cheyenne Hopkins, Bloomberg, in re:  Summers Quit Fed Quest After Democrats Spurned Obama Favorite – Lawrence Summers’ withdrawal as a candidate for Federal Reserve chairman came after an unprecedented campaign to stop a Fed nominee even before he was announced, spearheaded by Democratic senators who took on a president of their own party. Possibilities besides Janet Yellin.   [more]

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Aaron Klein, WABC, in re: Chemical Arms Used in Rocket Attack in Syria, U.N. Confirms  The report by weapons investigators was the first confirmation by independent scientific experts that chemical weapons were used in the attack outside Damascus.  Also: Mideast summary.  Kerry to Israel: Grand Bargain over Syria – Pres Obama trying to morph that into a similar bargain with Iran.  Israelis and Arab regimes are nervous about this "peace deal" – direct talks between pres of the US and the new, "moderate" pres of Iran.   Military proxies operating widely are protected by Russia and Iran.  Beirut/HizbAllah: the losers are the Lebanese opposition – Christians, Druze (incl Walid Jumblatt) to protect vs HizbAllah; this grand bargain 'twixt US and Syria takes the Hariris and the Druze and throws them to the wolves.   Assad is very comfortable as a continuing world leader; sees chem. weapons' placement in hands of world community as a triumph; behid e cenes is destroying the rebels and taking the fight toward Turkey.  Assad claims that the chem weapons trucks are en route to Iraq via Lebanon. Unit 450, which protects the chem weapons, is being watched closely lest some of the rebels  - al Nusrah, Jihadia Salafia, et al. - may divert some of he trucks.  Jihadists have been streaming in to Jordan from Gaza and elsewhere; trained by US in northwest Jordan; now that Assad is winning, will they take a U-turn, loop back and attack Jordan, Saudi and Bahrain?  Riyadh right now is threatened by Syrian rebels and also by Iran: seven Iranian agents caught in eastern Saudi stirring up Shi'a in oil region; the men apprehended said that there are also Iranian gents in Bahrain doing the same thing.  Goal is to destabilize the Arab regimes that have been US allies; these feel betrayed by the current US Administration. 

Hour Four

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray,  in re:  Iran and US chess: diplomatic strategies over Syria.

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Jed Babbin, American Spectator, in re: If American diplomatic incompetence were a bespoke suit, Putin would be modeling it for the media. It was tailored for him by Obama and Kerry.  The American Spectator : Diplomacy of Dunces

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Patrick Chovanec, Silvercrest Asset Management, in re: WHAT THE SUMMERS WITHDRAWAL MEANS FOR INVESTORS  Larry Summers' preemptive decision to withdraw his name from consideration for Fed Chairman is likely to be the talk of the markets on Monday.  Barely a week after he emerged as Obama's likely favorite for the nomination, vocal opposition from key senators in the president's own party scuttled the idea, and put the nomination -- and the Fed's future -- back in play.  With all eyes on Fed policy, what does this latest turn of events mean for investors? 

Monday  16 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Lee Smith, Weekly Standard, in re: 1973 Yom Kippur War.

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Hour 1:   Clash of the Titans. Expendables. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest.

Hour 2:  Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man's Chest.  Starship Troopers. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

Hour 3:  Munich. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse f the Black Pearl. Call of Duty.

Hour 4:  The Artist.  Zero Dark Thirty. Assassins' Creed.