The John Batchelor Show

Monday 25 September 2017

Air Date: 
September 25, 2017

Photo: Paris Café discussion about the time of the Crimean War.
Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes
Hour One
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Tom Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; & Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re:  Afghan govt cannot maintain control of large areas; “poisonous to govern there.” US will send advisors, who’ll be moved around a lot. What’s needed is better intell and more US air support.  Taliban will just wait till local US advisors are redeployed elsewhere then move back in.
Libya, Sirte:  . .  .  Benghazi defense Brigades, Benghazi Shura Council, other al Qaeda ops.
Mali:  Al Qaeda in Mali  “Group of Support for Muslims and Islam” – JNIM — attacked a UN force. 
Iraq:  IRGC and other Iranian proxies – south of Mosul and west of Kirkuk City is a pocket of remaining ISIS.  Despite losing s lot of turf, how may fighters does ISIS still have in Iraq? US body counts don't make sense in context. 
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Tom Joscelyn, Long War Journal and FDD; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: ISI religious ruling/fatwah – within ISIS an extremist faction arose, related to taqfir, calling other Muslims infidels because of heir apostasy/heresy.  Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.  Eventually, there are few men left standing. “If you don’t go along with us, then all remaining Muslims are in the ring of the dance.”  Looks like a power play; now become most problematic; rescinded 17 May fatwah. Have released two hours of lectures on the basis of that fatwah and why it needed to be rescinded. Even the chief mufti thought the extremist s had gone too far. Name?  Maybe former Baathists; the Delegated Committee has vast admin powers, used 17 May to expand its strength.
Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen: US conducting mil activities where we're technically not at war.
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Gordon Chang, Daily Beast and Forbes,com, in re:  Will Wang Qishan get another term Seven up, six down: if you’re sixty –eight or younger, you're eligible for another term. Wang is 69, but XI wants him to stay because Wang has been running the purge undercover of anti-corruption. To boot, that obliterates the age requirements so Xi, himself, can continue on.  If Xi consolidates power watch out, world.  Party talk is that he wants to “mobilize the masses” –last guy to do this was Mao, set China back for a decade and left huge scars; and created chaos.  China is now vastly more powerful than it was under Mao, and Xi is at least as ruthless.
Bannon went to ZhongNanHai*, center of power in Beijing. What did they discuss - laying groundwork for Pres Trump’s visit in November?  Is this Confucian?  No – it's Goldman.
Until Xi jails his family for mass theft, we can see that it's not a real anticorruption campaign.  GITIC (Guangdong)
FT:  Steve Bannon flew to Beijing last week for a secret meeting with the second most powerful Chinese Communist party official, less than a month after the former chief White House strategist declared that America was at “economic war with China”. According to one person in China familiar with the situation, Mr Bannon travelled to Beijing to meet Wang Qishan, the head of the Chinese Communist party’s anti-corruption campaign. The meeting occurred at Zhongnanhai, the Chinese leadership compound, after Mr Bannon had visited Hong Kong to give a closed-door speech at a big investor conference hosted by CLSA, a Chinese state-owned brokerage and investment group.
* Zhongnanhai (Chinese中南海; literally "Central and Southern Sea") is a formerly imperial garden in the Imperial CityBeijingChina adjacent to the Forbidden City; it serves as the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China and the State Council (Central government) of China, and also houses the office of the President of the People's Republic of China.
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 1, Block D:  Bruce Bechtol, Angelo State University and author, in re:  Kim Jong-eun threatens an atmospheric test hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific.  Have spoken of exactly this until recent weeks, but spoke of a fourth H-bomb test several years ago.  The test they just conducted was at least 100KT, probably closer 200KT, and possibly more. This truly bears watching.  [Egad.]  Is this a way that DPRK is poking China over the banking sanctions?  -- China is working with the US only superficially. Guess that any such test would be in the southern Pacific.  Likely to be a missile fired directly in to or above the ocean.
If we knew that North Koreans had put a thermonuclear device on a missile and were about to launch, should we try to knock it down? Yes! But THAAD is up to 85% effective. Can we succeed? Dunno. Would US tighten sanctions screws tighter. Probably?  We've just taken our most important steps to (surround) DPRK (by presidential Executive Order)  since  2005 – open season to Treasury and State to take strong steps and basically close down North Korean intl banking system.    A detonation wd lead to full-scale US sanctions [inter al.]
Hour Two
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:  David M Drucker, in Birmingham, Alabama, for Washington Examiner; and John Fund, NRO, in re: John Fund on the Senatorial vote: Graham-Cassidy (ACA).
VP is attending the eve of another vote:  Luther Strange incumbent (supported by McConnell, Pence, et al.) vs Moore (supported by Bannon, et al.)
Senate: GOP has at most 48 votes now, still negotiating with Murkowski; and Rand Paul is a fickle sell-out, might be persuadable.  Dems are the big stall because they want to replace Obamacare with socialized medicine.  It's the Canadian public health insurance system: forces everyone to stand in line and crushed innovation, Canada has an escape valve: the US.
Luther Strange, incumbent, appears to have closed a gap, but Moore seems to have the upper hand. If Roy Moore wins, GOP fears that deep-pocket donors will support the other GOP next year. Moore refused to follow Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and was removed from the bench.
This is about frustration with Washington.  Anti-establishment fervor in Alabama; taking it out on Strange.  Angry that Obamacare hasn't been repealed, the wall not build, etc.; blame it not on Trump but on the GOP establishment.  Roy Moore how simply is the outsider.   Byzantine appointments and corrupt bargains.  Trump is a little bit Teflon down here.  Who wins?  Fifty-fifty right now. Special general election in December. 
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block B:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, and John Fund, NRO, in re: Graham-Cassidy debate. How’d Mitch McConnell get in this much trouble?  Moore is charismatic but has almost zilch knowledge of policy on any topic. Strange needs a large turnout – 461,000 to win.  VP hedged tonight with soft remarks on Moore. President  about the same. If Strange wins, will have been he greatest endorsement of all time.
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block C: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Airstrike against Hezbollah weapons cache outside of Damascus, assassination  of Nasrallah’s bodyguard, presumably because he knew too much about the St Valentine’s Day murder of Hariri in 2005.  Iran runs Hezbollah, now is bringing in Hamas.  The Sunni Hamas becoming part of Shi’ite axis in Lebanon.  Even Secy Tillerson says that JCPOA needs to be revisited because of he violations. Note esp the preamble on Iran’s obligations to be a constructive citizen in the region.  Apparent Iranian missile test.  Macron wants to speak only of an extension. Which is unwise since Iran probably can strike Macron’s office in Paris.
Egypt: el Sisi at the UN spoke to Palestinian people: Important to take advantage of the moment and not lose opportunities (i.e., make peace with Israel). Also trying to bring together Hamas (in dire economic straits) and Fatah (of the PA). Saying that Hamas needs to cut its ties to ISIS, that the Raffah crossing will stay closed till they show they’re really fighting against ISIS.  Egyptian solders being killed by ISIS. Hamas met with official in Moscow Kremlin the other day. Russia ants to be a player in everything.
US mil base in the Negev, with qualifications.  An ongoing cooperative venture begun in 2009; new barracks opened with 40 US soldiers here. X-band radar; Iron Dome, Sling. Not a new base; rather, a new dorm constructed.  Alliance is moving forward, excellent on mil and security levels, and doing well on other levels.  Were there to be a vacuum, wd invite in other parties to exacerbate tensions. Concerns about Syria.   Southern Syria near Iraqi border.   Iranian transnational highway. 
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Indiana Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: the northern Judean desert west of the Dead Sea, between Jericho and Dead Sea: the Cave of  the Skulls, extensive excavations in 1960s.  Large caves complex, almost a vertical cliff, named after the seven skulls.  Found Hebrew documents and pottery and other material; beads wrapped in ancient textiles.  Part of Jewish pre-nuptial agreement from 140CE. Jews must have returned because also found coins from Third Century. Robbers do enormous damage – found cigarettes, coffee cups.  Elsewhere, near Jerusalem zoo, found 4000-yr-old  intact jars, Canaanite snack jars of decapitated toads prepared for eating.  Also sheep, goats, oxen,  horses, buried as offerings?
Hour Three
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block A:  Jed Babbin, American Spectator: in re, FIS court granted at least two search warrants, had to have agent swear that Manafort was known to have engaged in [illicit] dealings with a foreign power What was that?  Title XVIII – anyone who denies a citizen a Constitutional right is guilty of a crime. Samantha Power, not even a secondary consumer of intell — requested unmasking at the rate of one a day for a long time – extremely suspicious. Obama campaign decided it was so easy to  . . .  Unmask only when something is in writing, and can be done only based on his/her official duties, and only if the person’s deeds can be understood only if the person is unmasked. FISA up for renewal at the end of the year. FISA is essential to fighting terrorism and to protect against serious foreign intell ops.  Must re-craft FISA to make it impossible for a future Power to pull this.
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Andrew C McCarthy, in re: Msssrs Clapper and Mueller
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:  Jerry Hendrix, in re: US Navy subs
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Jerry Hendrix, in re: US Navy subs
Hour Four
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Andrea Wulf: The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Andrea Wulf: The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block C:  Nick Bunker, Empire on the Edge
Monday   25 September 2017 / Hour 4, Block D:  Nick Bunker, Empire on the Edge