The John Batchelor Show

Monday 26 August 2013

Air Date: 
August 26, 2013

Photo, above: What Does Sarin Do to People?  The "nerve agent" does not directly kill. Rather, within seconds, it turns our own nervous systems against us.


Hour One

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:

Last June, an al Qaeda (or its close allies) cell was mfrg sarin gas for attacks in Syria or Turkey; busted by Turkey & US, among others.  These same fellows have conducted attacks within Iraq: crude chlorine devices hurt a lot of Iraqis.    Al Qaeda in Iraq & the Levant (now riven in twain) headed by al Baghdadi, linked to al Nusrah in Syria.   Info links al Nusrah in Syria and al Qaeda in Iraq, both mfrg sarin gas, delivered by rockets that were not mass-produced. 

     Afghan military claims dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader killed in ISAF airstrike The Afghan military claimed Qari Zia Rahman was killed in an airstrike in Kunar, but the report is not confirmed. The wanted al Qaeda and Taliban commander has been reported killed in the past. Governor of Kapisa Province – large areas under Taliban and Hekmatyar's and al Qaeda's control. Chairman of Peace Committee accuses Pakistan's ISI of abetting violence.  Accurate.

    White House’s Statement on Syria Is Sharp Shift in Tone An Obama aide said that there was “very little doubt” that Syrian forces had used chemical weapons and that Syria’s promise to allow United Nations inspectors access to the site was “too late to be credible.”


Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Steve Lohr, NYT, in re: Needed at Microsoft: A Catch-Up Artist  For Steve Ballmer’s eventual successor, the challenges are many. Some of the same factors that helped Microsoft in the PC market are working against it as it tries to catch Google and Apple.  Questions for Microsoft as It Nears a Crossroad

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, & Lara M Brown, political analyst and author, in re:  In a corner of the state with the highest sustained jobless rate of his administration, President Obama on Friday intends to speak to young people about the importance of getting a college degree during what experts call a stagnant economic recovery.

Obama targets 'crisis' in college costs as part of middle-class push  President Barack Obama traded in Air Force One for.

Obama remarks on college affordability in Syracuse

Obama Back to Blaming Bush, Says Closing 'Income Gap' is ... Washington's . . .  deteriorating income levels for the middle class, an increasingly . . . 

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: Yosemite fire only 7% contained - Ridge winds are expected to increase, which could hamper firefighters' containment efforts. 'The weather is not going to be terribly cooperative,' an expert says.

Fire impacts Sierra, beyond - Some residents breathe easier, but Rim Fire continues to grow.

Bay Bridge drama, delays - At 5 times the original cost and 7 years late, it's been a rocky road for the new eastern span.

Mayor Filner to step down Friday; special election in the works - As San Diego Mayor Bob Filner prepares to resign amid accusations of sexual misconduct, would-be candidates are assessing their chances at becoming the city's 36th mayor.

Hour Two

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  John Fund, National Review Online, & David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re:  Members of Congress press for military action against Syria  As violence escalates in Syria amid reports the country’s government used chemical weapons on its own citizens, members of Congress on Sunday stepped up the drumbeat for a U.S. military response to the crisis.

Obamacare, immigration reform may make immigrants cheaper to hire than citizens  Two months after the Senate approved a comprehensive overhaul of the U.S. immigration system, confusion reigns over whether the reforms — combined with changes wrought by Obamacare — give immigrants an edge over U.S. citizens in the job market.

GOP poll finds strong opposition to government shutdown  A new poll done for Republican members of Congress has found huge public opposition, and solid opposition among Republicans, to the idea of shutting down the government over the issue of funding . . .   read more…

How to Stop Spitzer?  African-Americans might hold the key.

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, National Review Online, & David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re:  The Obamacare Lobbying Complex   Obamacare may cause disasters for many patients, deprive some people of their existing insurance plans, and prompt doctors into early retirement. But those who helped pass the law back in 2010 are reaping big profits from its implementation now that they have joined D.C.’s “lobbyist/consulting complex.”

A Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) will count the same as a citizen under ObamaCare[?], but cannot be subsidized. As a result of a peculiar writing of the law, it'd be cheaper for an employer to hire RPI's, who are not obliged to buy health insurance.

The Hill reports that “major lobbying firms such as Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, The Glover Park Group, Alston & Bird, BGR Group and Akin Gump – part of the military-inddustrial—lobbying complex — can all boast an ObamaCare insider on their lobbying roster, putting them in a prime position to land coveted clients . . . ‘When [Vice President] Biden leaned over [during the bill's signing] and said to [President] Obama, “This is a big f’n deal,”’ said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at the McCormick Group, ‘he was right.’”

     What many people view as Obamacare’s flaws — its complexity, the constantly shifting deadlines for implementation, its poorly drafted language — are manna for the K Street lobbying community. Assuming the law survives, its implementation phase is expected to last through 2020 — something akin to a lifetime in Washington lobbying contract terms.

     Republicans haven't the stomach for a govt shutdown; hope to use the debt ceiling, giving them a little extra time.  Irresistible stubbornness vs complete obstinacy. 

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Nick Summers, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re:  AOL co-founder Steve Case went from a corporate punch line, responsible for the worst merger in history (with Time Warner), to Washington’s conquering, bi-partisan hero for skilled-labor immigration reform. It is partly about America’s endless capacity to forgive entrepreneurs. It’s partly a reminder that billionaires write their own rules. But mostly, Summers discovers, it’s about Case’s refusal to internalize much, if any, fault for what went wrong.  [more]

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: @BBCWorld   Closing statements in Bo Xilai trial    Our humble red princeling standing before the court, blasts his colleagues –cronies – about his chateau in France;  court says: no mercy!  Why?  They’re all afraid of his knowing he skeletons in their closets.   He's been able to rebut charges, be the star of the show, and humiliate the Communist party, Of course, they'll put him in jail for decades.  Can’t kill him since they haven’t executed anyone since Mao; were they to do so, it'd send terror around. Rumor that Xi Jinping[?]  has just been removed from a plane as he was trying to flee.  Xi, the Central Committee, everyone, is afraid of Bo Xilai: he was openly campaigning for the Standing Committee (not the done thing) and threatened everyone. Also may have tried to implement a coup in March 2012.  . . .  What leaders feared was when Wang Liju ran to Kunming, who knew what was going on there? Scared the bejesus out of all the pols.   Tried to have the trial before the XVIII Party Congress, but internal dissension was too great.  It’s really Bo Xilai vs the Communist Party, itself; Xi is at the top of the system. All quite awkward. As long as Bo is alive he could end up being the next General Secretary – or the head of the next for m of govt.  See: Kerensky, who threw the rascals in jail – but didn't cut off their heads, and see what happened. 

Hour Three

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Kerry Says Chemical Arms Attack in Syria Is ‘Undeniable’   Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would hold the Syrian government accountable for what he called a “moral obscenity” that had shocked the world’s conscience.

      "Undeniable." Two battalions of American-trained units – mercenaries –  left Jordan into Syria, declared a "liberated zone." This was simultaneous with the initial use of chemical weapons.    . . . This can easily escalate into terrorism, globally,.  Israel, Jordan, Lebanon are all likely targets.  All-out war not necessary; threats from Iran and even Russia must be taken seriously.    (Samantha Power's tweet of this moment.)  Assad has Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea; this is not like Libya. Twenty minutes after Tomahawks land in Syria, Hezbollah attacks Israel.     Cell was busted in Baghdad with sarin gas; al Qaeda in the Levant and al Nusrah are now part of al Qaeda.  Kerry said "undeniable" – this was going far out on a limb.  US can take out the Syrian air force (a total of six bases there) in moments. You break it, you own it. 

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Gaza. West Bank. UN.  Until not long ago, Gaza was the center of the turmoil; Israel failed to dislodge Hamas, but now today: follow the money. Hamas is out of money – Egyptian patrons disappeared, Iran withdrew because f Hamas's failure to support Assad; Qatar is reviewing; Saudis are funding Egypt.  All worried about Hamas in Sinai. Also closing of tunnels and stopping the smuggling, which posed a threat to Egypt's security and economy.  Hamas is cut off from 'most everyone, although will approach Iran again; Iran will extract another pound of flesh.  Meanwhile, within Gaza, brave young people have come out against Hamas, speaking of corruption, torture, graft, at great personal risk.  US has helped facilitate talks between PA and Israel, then PA refused to talk directly with Israel.  Five sessions so far; Abbas made a speech saying "no progress." Is he setting the stage for his visit to the UN?  If so, would violate all existing understandings.   Palestinian lawfare.  Recip Erdogan: is he off his meds?   His talk about Egypt, claiming Israeli intervention and telekinesis . . . he rails against the West [because his stomach cancer has returned with a vengeance?]; he refers to his trip to Gaza, which he was warned not to do.  He's radicalizing the Turkish population. 

Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against civilians was a "moral obscenity," delivering the clearest indication yet that the Obama administration is preparing to attack President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the Wall Street Journal reports.  Said Kerry: "Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people."  New York Times: "Kerry's remarks, in a prepared statement he read at the State Department, reinforced the administration's toughening stance on the Syria conflict, which is now well into its third year, and he suggested it was moving closer to a military response in consultation with America's allies. 

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Matthew Klein, Bloomberg View, in re: Six Opportunities Steve Ballmer Missed at Microsoft

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Douglas, Quenqua, NYT, in re: Seeing Narcissists Everywhere A psychology professor has tapped into a rich vein of popular concern, concluding that people in recent decades have grown more self-centered and entitled. But is it true?

..  ..  ..  

Narcissism, in Wikipedia

Narcissistic personality disorders, in Wikipedia

..  ..  ..  

Hour Four

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast, in re: 
Assange Hearts Rand

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Nick Cowan, Reuters, in re: U.S. lawmakers travel the world on lobbyists' tab   U.S. lawmakers are once again taking advantage of their summer recess to race around the globe on privately financed tours to places like China, the Middle East and Scotland - trips watchdog groups cite as evidence that congressional ethics reforms are unraveling. [more]

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block C:   Steven Dennis, RollCall, in re:  Obama Will Consult Congress on Syria President Barack Obama will consult Congress on Syria, according to a White House official — something Speaker John A. Boehner has sought before any military action is taken. “We will be consulting appropriately with the Congress,” the official said in response to a question from CQ Roll Call about the president’s meeting this morning with his advisers to discuss options in response to reports of a possible massacre via chemical weapons in Syria. “Once we ascertain the facts, the President will make an informed decision about how to respond,” a White House official said. “We have a range of options available, and we are going to act very deliberately so that we’re making decisions consistent with our  national interest as well as our assessment of what can advance our objectives in Syria.” Boehner has previously called for the president to have “robust” consultation with Congress before military action in Syria, although he has nixed bipartisan efforts to vote to block military intervention. In July, he publicly endorsed the administration’s decision to provide military aid to rebels. And in June he spoke against allowing a vote on Syria military intervention.  [more]

Monday  26 August  2013 / Hour 4, Block D: LouAnn Hammond,, in re:  Who's laughing now? Tesla now outselling Cadillac, Chrysler and Porsche in California  Once derided as a novelty, Tesla’s Model S is now outselling many major brands in the Golden State, according to a report from the California New Car Dealers Association.

Tesla's non-existent, over-exaggerated 5.4 star rating.  Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, can't help himself. Musk pushes the envelope so many times with so many groups. Some of that pushing can be a good thing, sometimes it makes people think. Sometimes that pushing can bring you a reprimand from organizations you don't want to be reprimanded by; this time, it's the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.  After Tesla said today it got a 5.4 star rating from NHTSA, NHTSA sent out an e-mail; from the tone you can tell they're not amused with Mr. Musk's antics.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is committed to improving safety on the nation’s roadways and helping motorists make informed decisions about new or used vehicles they are considering.   The agency’s 5-Star Safety Ratings program is designed to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles beyond what is required by Federal standards. One star is the lowest rating; five stars is the highest. More stars equal safer cars.   The driving public should know that NHTSA does not rate vehicles beyond 5 stars and does not rank or order vehicles within the star rating categories.  The Model S is a 5-star-rated car and shares that distinction with ten other vehicles that have achieved the same rating under the enhanced program (implemented beginning with 2011 model year vehicles). In addition, the agency has well-established guidelines in place and we expect manufacturers and advertising agencies to follow those guidelines to ensure that accurate and consistent information is conveyed to the public."

However, "On background, NHTSA does not rate vehicles beyond 5 stars under its 5-Star Safety Ratings program.  Our rating system is based on a computation of probability of injury risk from frontal, side barrier, side poll and rollover resistance tests.  The Tesla model achieved a 5 star rating based on our criteria. To determine if specific vehicles have been tested or what their 5-star rating is see this."

..  ..  ..


Hour 1:  Crysis; I, Robot; Frost-Nixon; Hotel California.

Hour 2:  Frost-Nixon; I, Robot; India, Kingdom of the Tiger.

Hour 3:  Ancient Echoes; Schindler's List; Game of Thrones.

Hour 4: