The John Batchelor Show

Monday 22 July 2013

Air Date: 
July 22, 2013

Photo, above: "Arab intellectuals facing the challenge of change" - Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, and the leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 60s.  See: Hour 3, Block C, Eric Trager, Washington Institute and Wall Street Journal.

Was Taha Hussein a felool?  At the end of the 1940s, Sayyid Qutb attacked his intellectual colleagues with these words: “this generation of old intellectuals has abandoned their duty. Not only towards young intellectuals but towards their homeland, society, humanity and finally the literary consciousness”. After accusing the whole generation of established intellectuals of serving “imperialist propaganda” during the war, Qutb continued : “and then, when the war ended and Arab nations rose to fight imperialists asking for their rights, I found you all behind, not in the frontlines of the battle. I found you in dens of political parties, not in the national battlefield”. Addressing these words to a whole generation of writers, the one of Abbas al Aqqad, Tewfik al Hakim and Ahmad Amin, Qutb pointed out the most blameworthy one, Taha Hussein. For Qutb, Taha Hussein was guilty not only for national treason, but also for the assassination of literature. “The literature has died!” solemnly announced Qutb in July 1951. “It was killed by the ministry of Education. And where is the minister now? The minister is in France!” It was Taha Hussein who occupied the post of minister of Education at that time. In the fashion of bashawat of those royal times, he was accustomed of spending summers in European countries, accompanied by his French wife.


Hour One

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block A:   Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:  500 prisoners or more released from Abu Ghraib, the most secure prison in Iraq. 

       Global al Qaeda: Affiliates, objectives, and future challenges  Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, on al Qaeda, the nature of the group's central command and its relationship with its affiliates, and the future challenges the West faces in battling the terror organization.  [more]

      Are the Iraqi police incapable of contesting al Q?  Yes, rhe reality is that they needed our support for longer – intell, other support. The US decided to leave [bug out], and that was that.  AlQ senior leaders provide [moral support] . . .  different paradigm from what's held in US intel community. 

     "Al Qaeda, an intl terrorist network" -  "Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al Qaeda, broke out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail as comrades launched a military-style assault to free them, authorities said on Monday.  The deadly raid on the high-security jail happened as Sunni Muslim militants are re-gaining momentum in their insurgency against the Shiite-led government that came to power after the U.S. invasion to oust Saddam Hussein.  Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Other militants took up positions near the main road, fighting off security reinforcements sent from Baghdad as several militants wearing suicide vests entered the prison on foot to help free the inmates. [more]

Tunisian jihadist calls for clerics, youth to fight in Syria  The video was released by the Muhajireen Army, but is credited to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria.  US charges Belmokhtar with murder of Americans in Algerian gas plant attack The Justice Department charged Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the leader of al Qaeda's al Mua'qi'oon Biddam, or Those Who Sign in Blood Brigade, with eight terrorism-related charges.

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:   Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:  Tunisia has been sending fighters since the beginning of the Syrian revolution – 500 to 1,000, some in command positions.  Al Libi used to say: You guys want to talk about jihad; why don’t you come here and preach and fight? Then you'll now what you're talking about.   AQIM merged with real al Q in 2007(?); seeds for the group was yeas ago.  Tunisia has long been fertile ground – there was a Tunisian Combattent Group in Afgh vs the Soviets; was what we now call Ansar al Shariah. Clandestine ops using multiple brands.  All the same genl al Q pool.    The Muhajareen Brigade: run by a Chechen; thousands of members, have some Tunisian commanders.  US natl security apparatus: different pockets across the US govt get what's going on, but often not an adequate synthesis of the global situation to see how our enemies are moving pieces across the chessboard.  Absent this understanding, we can’t possibly succeed. The prison break today was a real big win for al Qaeda. Of the 500,some were n death row; leadership cadre now being restored.

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Lara M Brown, political analyst and author; Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: Not All Politics Are National; States Are Powerful  James Madison, a strong federal government advocate in 1787, couldn't have been any clearer in articulating the significant powers delegated to the states under the new Constitution. In Federalist 45, he wrote:  "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."   For a number of good reasons (from extending civil liberties to establishing civil rights to ensuring food safety and basic work conditions), the federal government's powers have grown substantially over the past 225 years. It's also fair to say that the federal government is unlikely to ever seriously relinquish these expanded powers to the states. Whether we live in Washington State or the state of George Washington's home (Virginia), we all live nationally.

       The vast majority of the laws under which each of us abides are state laws, not federal laws.

Still, we forget the nature of our government when we make all politics national. No one -- not even the inhabitants of the District of Columbia or the military personnel stationed overseas -- lives exclusively as a national resident.  People live in states. People work in states. People vote in states. People own property in states. People get married and raise families in states. In sum, the vast majority of the laws under which each of us abide are state laws, not federal laws. Unsurprisingly then, as James Madison explained in Federalist 46, "the first and most natural attachment of the people will be to the governments of their respective States."

       So, while many liberals aren't pleased with the new abortion law passed in Texas, it's also true that many conservatives are displeased with Colorado's new gun-control laws. But again, as James Madison reminds, "Truth, no less than decency, requires that the event in every case should be supposed to depend on the sentiments and sanction of their common constituents."

Both according to our Constitution and in common practice, state politics are more present in and more important to the daily lives of Americans.

WINCHESTER, Va. -- Strolling along the well-preserved downtown promenade of this Shenandoah Valley city, a visitor (or even an ill-informed local) might be surprised to learn that it was at the bloody center of America’s Civil War a century ago.    Both armies so valued Winchester as a military firewall and as an agriculture breadbasket that it changed hands more than 70 times. On just one day, battles and skirmishes saw it switch 13 times between Union and Confederate control.    From the beginning, our country’s history has been one of divisional strife, particularly in our politics. The only thing that seems to change is what the argument is about.    Washington’s media class spends much of its energy inciting political divisions or writing about them, dedicating great gobs of print, airtime and social media to chopping up Americans by race, political party, culture or religion.   For the media, it sells. But for Americans beyond Washington’s Beltway, it leaves them fatigued and wondering if this is the worst time ever. HERE FOR LINK

White House: No bailout coming for Detroit  The White House on Friday shot down the idea of providing a bailout to Detroit, which this week became the largest U.S. municipality to ever file for bankruptcy.  /  THE IRS SCANDAL Testimony Targets Lerner D.C. office intervened in tea-party test cases.  /  Eliana Johnson  /  HEALTH CARE  The Obamacare Battle  Democrats have to worry about 2014.

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: Report alleges Iran's president stole neighbor's land   Assaults owner, tells city his family holds ownership.  Years ago, ROhani made an offer on the land, the neighbor was unenthusiastic; Rohani and his family moved in, took a putatively short-term lease then eased in more and more cars, then physically threatened the guy and swore the municipality that the land belonged to Rohani.  Now the neighbor, Mr Yazdi, is out of his million-dollar house and in considerable physical danger.

Hour Two

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent; John Fund, National Review Online,  in re: Royal birth replaces all other news.  Does the Obama administration concern itself with Detroit Chapter 9, why not?

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent; John Fund, National Review Online,  in re:  Why are the Dems so interested in winning over Mitch McConnell?  Their choice against him is a woman who’s "a blank slate."   The Senate Minority Leader is a strong pol but his numbers in Kentucky are soft, and it's not too expensive to have a fight there.

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Julie Hirschfeld David, Bloomberg News, in re: FUNDRAISING WOES. VA Republican Ken Cuccinelli Suffers Abortion Backlash from Donors – The Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate, Ken Cuccinelli, has raised less than half as much cash as Democratic opponent Terry McAuliffe, with a prominent list of Republican donors sitting out this year’s most competitive U.S. political contest -- and in some cases switching sides. The financial disadvantage four months before the election illustrates the difficulties confronting an attorney general who is campaigning on an economic growth plan yet is best known for his opposition to gay marriage and abortion.

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: Police Say Sexual Favors Spur $1.5 Billion Glaxo China Sales   China's much-anticipated economic reforms could already be stalling. China's ten biggest banks will need up to $100 billion in the next two years.  Chiefly state banks with debt hidden by rolling over loans. Most Chinese banks are insolvent on balance sheet; saved by being liquid.  Now some becoming illiquid; suggests crisis time. The only possibility for a real bailout is: foreigners. We'd have the cash if we thought it was wise, but now even Paul Krugman is talking about China crashing.  Slo-mo crash since mid-2011. In June we nearly had a fast one, but Beijing poured a lot of cash into economy thence into riskiest investments, and so exacerbated the problem.  At the end of the 1990s, the US and Europe bought huge amts and so built up and undergirded the Chinese economy. In China's corrupt bz envt, pharma is among the worst. China now investigating only the foreign firms, is actually detaining foreigners.  Drives home the msg that investment in China is not always a good idea.  Shakedown!   

Hour Three

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Secy Kerry assembles six- to nine-month discussions.  Saeeb Erekat (PA, from Jericho, carries no authority), Tzipi Livni (former head of Kadima), and Isaac Molho (chief Israeli negotiator with the US & Palestinians over a decade; low-key & competent; will accompany the Min of Justice).  PM proposing a law requiring  a referendum on any final agreement. EU significantly joins Canada and US  and others in naming Hezbollah as a terrorist organization – although it separates the "political" wing from the military wing" – which in practice is bogus.  Distinction was made out of fear of terrorist retaliation against themselves. Hezbollah can still do bz and raise money. 

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: EU and its false distinction of a "military" and a "political " wing of Hezbollah.  Meanwhile, EU bans letting funds cross 1967 lines: 300, 000 Palestinians' jobs plus lots of academe. "No funding past the borders – West Bank, Gaza,  _____."  London Cable Car contract with the UAE: Can't sell to any Israeli firm. Mayor of London has now moved to invalidate the contract. There's a tale that John Kerry has used 1967 lines in his talk with the PA – a letter from Kerry asserting that the discussions will be based on 1967 lines.   Sinai: al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood. Ten attacks in Sinai despite massive bld-up of Egyptian military; the cancer has spread. EU can’t provide info in courts.  Major Iranian-Russian naval exercise in the autumn, Med and Caspian.   Concern that threat from Sinai  . . .   security assistance. More sophisticated eqpt.  Syria: a final warning by the Kurds to Turkey – a critical component of the current situation: Kurds are a major factor; PKK concerns in Turkey. Kurds moving to consolidate their hold in a region of Syria; have a lot of oil wealth, young men ready to fight.  Even reports of close assn of Kurds with Israel; will not align with Syrian army.

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Eric Trager, Washington Institute and Wall Street Journal article on 17 July, in re:  Sayyid Qutb was an Egyptian educator, writer and literary critic. He was also a founding theorist of jihadism and one of the few intellectuals that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has produced in its 85-year history. Qutb's ideas shaped the uncompromising approach to governance that led to Mohammed Morsi's recent ouster.

       Born in the Egyptian village of Musha in the southern governorate of Asyut in 1906, Qutb was raised in a religious, politically active home with strong nationalist tendencies. He was educated at Dar al-Ulum in Cairo, the same university that Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna had attended, and he worked as a teacher for the Ministry of Education after graduating in 1933. Qutb, who had reportedly memorized the Quran by the age of 10, initially took to the secular culture of Cairo's literary scene. But then he spurned both democracy and secularism, embracing instead a zealous moralism.

      In 1950, after spending two years in the U.S. on a government scholarship, Qutb returned to Egypt. His antagonism toward the West had hardened. America, and indeed much of the Arab world, embodied what he called jahiliyya, a Quranic term that connotes apostasy, immorality and evil. Thoroughly radicalized, he formally joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1953. A year later he was arrested, along with other Brotherhood members, during Gamal Abdel Nasser's crackdown on the group. For the next 12 years, until his execution in 1966, Qutb slid further toward militancy, formulating his distinctive brand of Islamism, which advocates violently toppling non-Islamic governments and replacing them with puritanical Muslim theocracies. His life and voluminous writings have inspired generations of terrorists, including al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, whose own writings frequently quote Qutb.

     But the anthropologist James Toth thinks Qutb wasn't all that bad. In "Sayyid Qutb: The Life and Legacy of a Radical Islamic Intellectual," Mr. Toth generously casts his subject as a "complicated" figure whose religious beliefs were "reasoned" and "credible." He dismisses the common portrayal of Qutb, in which he is "totally consumed by hatred for the West," as an "Orientalist" trope to rally public opinion against Islamism. He insists that Qutb's vision constitutes "a viable alternative to a Western-derived modernity."

    It's a bold but unpersuasive argument. Mr. Toth mistakes the internal logic of Qutb's writings for reason and fails to note that they rest on a series of bigoted premises. He claims that the West caricatures Qutb to justify its supposedly hawkish ambitions in the Middle East when, in fact, the opposite is true: It was Qutb who called his readers to arms based on a caricature of the West. And Mr. Toth ignores radical Islam's record of social brutality and economic failure, which hardly makes it . . .  [more]

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Michael Cooper, NYT, in re:  Cries of Betrayal as Detroit Plans to Cut Pensions  As the city works to spread the burden of bankruptcy, it has proposed cuts that would affect 21,000 pensioners.

Hour Four

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman and Jimy Soni (1 of 4)

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman and Jimy Soni (2 of 4)

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman and Jimy Soni (3 of 4)

Monday 22 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar by Rob Goodman and Jimy Soni (4 of 4)


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