The John Batchelor Show

Monday 17 June 2013

Air Date: 
June 17, 2013


Photo, above: In Ireland at G8 meeting, Presidents Obama and Putin share an icy encounter over Syria. See: Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents.


Hour One

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: Change of president in Iran but not of policy.  Syria: al Q exploiting a failed state, while Surrounding region  . . .  Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in Iraq refutes what looks to be the overcall?????? of Zawahiri; he tried to subsume al Nisrah Front under his command into al Q in Iraq and the Levant; two days later, the actual head of al Q there refused, rather reaffirmed his fealty to al Zawahiri. This precipitated a chain of events in al Q; a 23 May letter from Zawahiri ruling that the two entities wd remain separate, report back in  a year. Al Baghdadi declined to accede to Zawahiri; confusing situation.  Two hundred Russian=made __; also 300,000 rounds of Kalashnikov bullets.  Will the US give them Manpads [shoulder-fired antiaircraft weapons]?  That'd be insane, and I doubt it, but I wouldn't be surprised.  Defense of Aleppo: have already set up Shari'a courts. In each insurgency, al Q either co-opts or crushes its opposition. Will the Syrian council keep this enormous amt of weaponry and materiel from al Qaeda?

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: US forces pulled out from Kunar Province; US thought, "Oh, we're causing the insurgency here; if we leave, it'll end" – and the opposite occurred. A five-month lag on al Q reporting by ISAF; just resumed reporting, now have reported having done ten raids in the last month.  US wants us to think that al Q has been defeated in Afghanistan; couldn't be farther from the truth.  Leyte, 1944: Krueger fought to get control of the battle space, same as Baghdadi is doing now.  If al Q had a losing hand in Syria Baghdadi wdn't really care about it; it’s a wining hand, the goose that lays the golden egg. Al Zawahiri has in stalled al Surri {?], a regional emir, supposed to oversee; we'll see in the next week who has the power.  Al Q has got all the local groups in Central Asia and most of the Middle East, brought them all under its umbrella. Morale is high because they know the US is leaving.

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Mohammed al Zawahiri rejects 'filthy market of democracy'     Mohammed al Zawahiri and two of his Egyptian jihadist allies have issued a statement criticizing the Democratic Jihad Party. "Jihad and Democracy are opposites and don't mix," they say.

Georgia closes 3 bases in Helmand after suicide attack kills 7 soldiers  Georgia's defense minister said that bases are being closed in response to Taliban attacks, handing the Taliban a propaganda victory. 

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi launches suicide assault at hospital in Quetta     A female suicide bomber killed female college students on a bus, then a suicide assault team struck a hospital where the wounded were taken.

Al Nusrah Front releases first official messages in 2 months      Al Qaeda's Al Nusrah Front has released four new messages, the first such productions in two months. The Al Nusrah Front and Islamic State of Iraq suspended their propaganda operations after a dispute erupted in early April. Ayman al Zawahiri ruled on the dispute in a letter and their propaganda operations have now been restarted

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Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, and Lara M Brown, political analyst and author, in re:   Snowden is a strange actor; not even confirms on his self-reported bio. Collection nodes on China, Russia, spying on the G8 – does the US pres have responsibility for Snowden? We think he's hiding in a Hong Kong safe house.  . . .   State Dept employee has now made public her claim that she's been bullied.  GOP sits on bruised ego failing to stun Dems in Massachusetts  (link here)

  Republicans have talked about pursuing a different kind of candidate since what seems like forever. Heck, the national party even convened a special, secret task force just for that purpose late last year, after losing key demographic groups such as women and Hispanics.  Yet, given exactly the kind of candidate they hire people to find out in the hinterlands, Republicans are oddly not engaged with helping him to cross the finish line in a special election that would significantly stun Democrats.    Gabriel Gomez is a Massachusetts Republican running to fill John Kerry’s vacated U.S. Senate seat; the 47-year-old political newcomer is within striking distance of wounding Democrats right where it hurts.

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Alexander Kazam, WSJ, in re: Citibike. Mr Orcutt was director of Transportation Alternatives, a group founded in 1960s to protest the car culture; eventually got fed grants, now have a big alumni network in city govt.   Despite the hundreds of miles of bike lanes blt recently, less than 1% of New Yorkers commute by bike. New York City has thrown hundreds, maybe thousands, of blue bikes on sidewalks, no requirement for helmets; almost everybody who wants a bike owns one, but it's so easy to steal private bikes that no one rides to work.

Hour Two

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: The rug is on fire everywhere, & this Adm keeps lighting more fires. Obama heading toward a record of foreign policy inconsistency parallel to that of Carter. Looks weak-kneed and [pathetic]. Too early to tell how Senate process will unfold; on Tuesday, votes on three or four different amendments, so we'll get a first real taste of action tomorrow. Rubio all along has treated this as a step-by-step process; at end of last week, Rubio seemed pleased with where things were, but has no illusion about immigration reform. In Kansas, Republicans are anxious about the immigration bill.

CNN poll says half of Americans think the president is neither dependable nor trustworthy. He's proven he can eavesdrop on all Americans, but not that he can secure the border. Rubio wants  Congress to change bill from one that delegates responsibility to DHS to one that details parameters, so one can see how it's working.

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden on Monday declared that he is determined to continue disseminating the truth about sweeping U.S. surveillance programs and said U.S. authorities will not be able to “cover this up” by jailing or “murdering” him.  In a live online chat on the Guardian newspaper’s website, the 29-year-old defense contractor who exposed the NSA’s massive spying program and fled the U.S., seeking asylum in Hong Kong, responded to questions from reporter Glenn Greenwald, as well as random readers who posted questions on the newspaper’s website as well as Twitter (#AskSnowden).  “All I can say right now is the U.S. government is not going to be able . . . [more]

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, National Review Online, and David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Dick Cheney's comments on res Obama concerning surveillance, privacy violations, IRS. He was "disappointed" about the silence on NSA; why has the president not spoken? The president runs a permanent campaign, where you speak on what you want to, not what your opponents want you to say. He thinks this will blow over, I fear that some Congresspersons are upset, there may be other revelations coming – may mean that the original  version of what the president said is the least-untrue. He rarely wants to talk about what he's doing, or explain rather put it aside, looks frustrated at being questioned.  Oddly, it's Republicans who have to explain what the programs are; Republicans make the case that the president doesn't want to make. Always mention that it's  the IRS that's caused citizens to react the way they have. A pattern emerges of the president saying he doesn’t know about something till he reads it in the press – maybe he's not that engaged.  If in the second term a president is perceived not to have juice with the public – "If  they don’t trust you, says the Congressman, I don’t have to listen to you" -  this now goes to the core of his leadership.  A major foreign policy initiative announced on a Friday by a subemployee, a flack? This is night at the improv.

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This is night at the improv.

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Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Peter Berkowitz, Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, in re: Why the Ten Commandments matter in a democracy: deep connection between religious faith, that morality, and limited govt based on the consent of the governed.  "Humans created in the image of God" – the claim that humans are part of Nature, unchanging Nature, which has an essence, that gives us our freedom, We're able to create things in the world, to know good and evil. Bible: what sets us apart from the rest of Creation is that we're fashioned in His image. Liberal democracy takes a different stand but both emphasize the dignity of the individual, inconsistent w being subjugated to another man's will.   Bible regards idolatry as a sin – leads to actions that disrespect other human beings, rendering yourself less able to respect fellow-citizens.  Not al humans are fated to fall prey to . . .  part of the genius of our govt is that it's built not to trust humans with power, so we severely, rigorously limit government.

Based on the family unit, not the tribe or village. Note that dictatorships of the Twentieth Century have been hostile to family and religion, both of which risk offering an allegiance other than to the despot.  Liberal democracy avoids/stays away from regulating hearts and minds – government may not; but what hearts and minds think is irrelevant to government. How he heart  is disposed is relevant to how [the liberal democracy functions]. Need individuals inclined to respect individual freedom.

"The Decalogue and Liberal Democracy," Mosaic.  Scholars of politics and law continue to debate whether liberal democracy—that form of government grounded in the consent of the governed and devoted to protecting the rights shared equally by all—is rooted in moral preconditions. Since liberal democracy obviously rests on the fundamental moral premise that all human beings are by nature free and equal, the persistence of this debate testifies to nothing so much as the ability of intellectuals to cloud almost any issue.

Liberal democracy’s fundamental moral premise does, however, generate hard questions, both of the theoretical and the practical kind.  Prominently driving the former these days are certain ideas or schools of thought fostered in our universities and disseminated throughout popular culture.  For one thing, contemporary scientism limits all knowledge to that which can be formulated in terms of matter and the laws of physical nature.  For another, . . . [more]

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: Wang Jilei, editor of South China Morning Post, toes the line for Beijing – easily visible, strong editorial slant.  SCMP is not a free paper; one foot in Mainland China.  Snowden says, "I did not meet with the Chinese government" -  lie: Snowden gave to the SCMP papers with technical tails , including IP addresses – nothing to do with journalism; this is sending important data to Beijing.  In HK, 17% want Snowden to stay; ___% don’t know. C Y Leung says an apparatus has started to work . . .  statistics being manipulated. One reason Beijing wanted Snowden to speak with SCMP was to persuade HK citizens to support Beijing.  This smells very bad. 

China Everbright Bank defaulted on 6 June; others seem to have done so, too, Very tight liquidity; Min of Finance failed in an auction – the Ag Dvpt Bank of China also couldn’t sell all its bills at auction. Even the Ch govt can't raise money in the markets.  Ben Bernanke in May began to speak of tapering off – triggered a flow of money out of Asia into the US or a US proxy like Mexico. Chinese stock mkt hit a six-mo low on Thursday; "firing blanks."  First signs of failure, perhaps catastrophic failure, in Chinese economy, Snowden is good at distracting.

  Bad Omens in China: Banks Default, Debt Auctions Fail. On Friday, China’s Ministry of Finance sold only 9.53 billion yuan of government bills, far less than the 15 billion yuan offered.  It was the first failed Finance Ministry auction since July 2011.  To add insult to injury, Beijing had to pay 3.76% on the 273-day bills, higher than the 3.14% yield on similar obligations already in the market.

That’s the second failed Chinese auction this month.  The state-owned Agricultural Development Bank of China sold only 11.51 billion yuan of six-month bills in a 20-billion-yuan offering on the 6th. There’s evidently a funding squeeze in China.  Overnight rates in the interbank market skyrocketed to . . .  [more]

Hour Three

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Hassan Rouhani is a windbag whose job is to talk in circles and put the best-possible face on Khamenei.  Is he a moderate Twelver? ; "The moderate carries two sticks of dynamite, the extremist carries six."  Rohani was nuclear negotiator for years, he clearly wants the program to continue, will become a declaration of finality to the West. It does show that the Iranian people want a more moderate, a milder, regime. Read: Rouhani's statements in the past.

The immd conflict is Syria.  Pres Obama and Pres Putin spoke in the meeting in Ireland: a frozen chat; agreed on nee to end he violence in Syria, but naught else.  They seem to detest each other.  Expect little from the G8 Mtg. 

Israel: new PM of the Palestinian Authority (in huge debt); visited Temple Mount yesterday "to look at the violations" – of which there is non; wants to arouse Arab support of the PA, which no one anywhere takes seriously any re.  Genl disappointment.  Pres Perez, one of the founders of Israel,  is 90 years old today, big conference in celebration – Pres Clinton, B Streisand, and Pres of Rwanda, Paul Kigali; Malcolm will speak. 

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Matt Wald, NYT, in re;   Atomic Power’s Green Light or Red Flag  As the current generation of reactors moves toward retirement, a project in Georgia and one in South Carolina may be the industry’s last best hope.

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Kirk Sowell,, in re: TERROR ATTACKS KILL 51 ACROSS IRAQ
U-T San Diego ‎- 13 hours ago 
photo Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a car-bomb attack Sunday in Basra, an oil-rich city about 300 miles southeast of Baghdad.


US strongly condemns "terrorist" attack on Camp Hurriya in Iraq

Kuwait News Agency‎ - 1 day ago


More deadly attacks in Iraq...Intelligence officials: Data collection thwarted terror attacks...NKorea asks to talk

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Mireya Navarro, NYT, in re: Bloomberg’s ‘Final Recycling Frontier’: Food Waste Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who's tried to curb soda consumption, ban smoking in parks and encourage breast-feeding, is taking on a new cause: requiring New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting.

Hour Four

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: Iran is ready to show more transparency on its nuclear programme, but will not halt its uranium enrichment, says President-elect Hassan Rouhani. 72

                  Rouhani's challenges

                  Rouhani 'proud' to be leader Watch

                  Global media cautiously optimistic

                                  Netanyahu issues strong warning

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Newsbytes: Polar Bear Population Growing Despite Declining Sea Ice  Exciting news about polar bears in eastern Canada: a new the peer-reviewed .... Does that mean “America's” polar bear populations no longer . . .

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Thomas Goltz, University of Montana; author; adventurer, in re:  President-Elect of Iran Talks of Easing Tensions with U.S.   Speaking for the first time since his election victory, Hassan Rowhani called Iran’s nonexistent ties with the United States a “wound” that must be healed.   From Inner Circle of Iran, a Pragmatic Victor   U.S. Seems Eager for Nuclear Talks with Iran’s New Leader

Monday  17 June  2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Devin Leonard, Bloomberg Businessweek,  in re:  News: Superman’s Lawyer Carries on Fight to Win Back Rights for Heirs   Marc Toberoff, a tightly wound man with thinning hair and an expansive grin, is an attorney who specializes in suing movie studios on behalf of artists and writers, Bloomberg News’ Devin Leonard reports.

For 11 years he has represented the heirs of the late Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, in a campaign to regain the rights to the original superhero from Warner Bros.

In 2008, Toberoff won an astounding victory for the Siegels, granting them 50 percent of Superman as he first appeared in Action Comics No. 1, meaning they would be entitled to a percentage of the U.S. profits from the movie “Man of Steel,” which opens on June 14 and stars the pensive British actor Henry Cavill. The legal decision meant that the family had claims to much of the intellectual property defining Superman, including his blue tights, red cape, secret identity and other traits.

       Toberoff, who is charging the family a 30 percent contingency fee, was expecting a nice chunk of the profits. And he hoped to perform the same service for the Shusters. United, the families would have had the right to block any Superman movie after “Man of Steel.” But several months ago, Toberoff suffered some unanticipated reversals. He is shaken but insists the struggle isn’t over, and he’ll be watching the new big-budget movie to see how closely it adheres to Siegel and Shuster’s original 1938 conception of the hero.   The battle over the rights to Superman has been going on for decades, and despite his recent setbacks, Toberoff is unusually qualified to cause trouble for movie studios. He won a court order halting the release of Warner Bros.’ “The Dukes of Hazzard” starring Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson in 2005, extracting a $17.5 million settlement on behalf of producer Robert Clark. The judge was unmoved by the studio’s pleas that the movie had to open in a hurry because Simpson’s allure might prove transitory.

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Hour 1:  Dark Shadows; Fast and Furious II; Person of Interest.

Hour 2:  Person of Interest; Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Shaolin.

Hour 3:  Green Zone;

Hour 4: