The John Batchelor Show

Monday 26 March 2018

Air Date: 
March 26, 2018

Photo: A dramatic specimen of thick, wide vein gold in the shape of a swan perched atop matrix. The color and luster are very bright, with a brassy patina free from harsh chemical cleaning.  From Australia. See: Hour 3, Block C, Simon Mikhailovich, Tocqueville Bullion Reserve.
Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes
Hour One
Monday   26 March 2018 / 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: Lashkar-i-Toiba, funded and trained entirely by Pakistan’s ISI, stands formally accused of terrorism in Kashmir. Battled with Indian police and soldiers for five days, with five Indians dead. Pakis say, “It’s a local insurgency freedom movement” – which it pellucidly is not. It's global, nasty, operates only with full support of Pakistani govt.  Army in Rawalpindai, below it ISIS, and below that, directorates run by generals and colonels, all against India. Pakistanis keep Afghanistan and Kashmir in turmoil ostensibly to keep India away, but India almost surely is not at all interested in those places. US refuses to look at this because it doesn't want to muddy the waters — well, it doesn't want to be bothered. Even though it's insanely expensive in US funds, military, everything.
Syria . . . Al Q tries to poach men, esp commanders, from ISIS, which has lost territory but by no means is ceasing operations. Still global. Al Q probably still wants to do battle in the US; has been a bit tied up recently in a dozen other countries.   Zayman al Zawahiri called the US its primary enemy in part to paper over its several failures elsewhere.
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 1, Block B: Tom Joscelyn, Long War Journal and FDD; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re:  Al Shebaab,  . . . . Obama Adm thought it was more humane to kill the enemy troops than detain and interrogate them. In Grozny, jihadist recorded a vid, sent it to be played globally. In France, a fellow who had a criminal past and also had gone to Syria. 
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 1, Block C: Gordon Chang, Daily Beast and Forbes,com, and Josh Rogin, Washington Post, in re: China! Free trade, protectionism, tariffs.   China is not a trade partner, does not practice free trade, is a bad actor. “We’re overdue to confront China on this”    Too late to do this?  China has combined the state, the Party and the economy into one machine, uses it to take advantage of international trade, esp the US.   Trump Adm has identified this, calls it aggression.  Secondarily can we bring the rest of the world along?  . . . Putting tariffs on steel and aluminum first probably was the wrong order, alienated some.  However, there’ll  be a whole suite of actions, combines d with legislative actions, anent China, technology transfer, state-owned enterprises, et al.   This is a massively-funded, carefully-planned [war] by China.  Or response is an exception to the way we deal with countries.
Doesn't China’s effort to buy our tech acknowledge that it’s system can’t innovate? NO – it's making its own advances as well as stealing ours. A belt and suspenders mode.
The game is: may China buy into Silicon Valley and the tech sector?
Beijing is desperate:
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 1, Block D:  Claudia Rosett, in re: John Bolton: "’A Reagan Realist’ and a Brilliant Choice”  In Hollywood movies, the hero arrives just in time. Bolton has done that.  Bolton is very perceptive, sizes up what's going on in the world, looks for real solutions.  He’ll have a whole lot on his plate when he starts on 9 April; first: stopping the leaks.  He survived a season at the UN, saying, “If you lopped off the top ten stories of the UN, it wouldn't hurt a bit.“  The top ten stories are home to executive staff and the Secretary-General.
The job of policing  the world, on the US since WWII; when we stopped that abt a decade ago, very bad things happened.  Focus first on the lead offender. Obviously Iran is coming up soon. North Korea.  Does not mean we’ll be at war in May; rather, with a lot of worldwide hand-waving and [lip-flapping], [we may steer entirely clear of war].
NYT accused Bolton of being behind the DPRK nukes program. In fact, ‘twasn’t Bolton – it was North Korea, which went so far awry that Clinton couldn't guarantee the program.  In fact, Bolton called it correctly ’way back then. Had we followed his advice hen, we might not be where we are now.   He pointed out Syrian nukes, was blamed by the New York Times for overstating – then Israel had to bomb the Syrian/Iranian nuclear reactor designed to feed a nuclear weapons program.  Bolton’s whole effort has been to avoid wars.
Hour Two
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 2, Block A:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, and John Fund, NRO, in Doha; in re:  Omnibus, DACA, trade.  Last night’s Sixty Minutes, with an interview with an X-rated movie actress on what she claims was a personal relationship with the president, received very high ratings.  The only interesting part of the tale might be if it ever could be proven that someone threatened her.  Omnibus Bill:  green eye-shaders; for now, there are no spending cutters in positions of power.  . . .  A Supreme Court vacancy w0uld do a great deal to [resuscitate] Republican voters. 
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 2, Block B:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner, and John Fund, NRO, in Doha; in re: Secy Mnuchin: In these last hours, South Korea has agreed to buy more US cars and quit dumping steel in the US; in exchange will be exempted from tariffs.  Free=trade talk is an abstraction from one’s day job. The US public is evenly split on tariffs; GOP like them.  Confronting allies and demanding fairness (2% to NATO, as agreed long ago by treaty, and reduction of [sneaky] tariffs by allies].  Win-win. China will be confronted with a choice: either quit stealing IT and dumping mfrd goods, or the US will [disconnect] in significant part from trade with China.   . . . I think the president could do a better job of selling his positions (stop taking advantage of the US) to a wider [swath] of the American population. Ultimately, China has more to lose than d oes the US in a trade war.
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 2, Block C:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Iran called John Bolton “a pedophile,” “stupid,” “very stupid,” “corrupt.”  What??  They infantilize diplomacy because major actors no longer will look away from Iran’s predation.  Larry Flynt on front page of today’s Teheran Times. Iran suddenly facing new realities of this entire Adm, incl Trump, Bolton, and the excellent Nikki Haley.  What are America’s friends and allies in  the region saying about John Bolton?  Most like him; all want the US to have a consistent and defined policy.
Palestinian Days of Rage: on 30 March, begins “the Great Return March,” for which Hamas spent $10 million [that’d be Iranian money, since Hamas has almost none]; also in West Bank; part of a wider mobilization of the Muslim Brotherhood to take over the West Bank.  Seventieth anniversary of the Nakhba.  . . .  Trying force Israel to kill people so they can take it to the Intl Court or  UN.  Taylor Force Act punishes the PA for inciting and hugely funding terrorists, which exacerbates the PA’s displeasure.
MBS, Saudi Crown Prince, visited Washington, listened carefully to and answered questions, Visiting Hollywood and Texas, looking for investment to revitalize his economy; n explain his actions. Will explain that if Iran goes nuclear, he’ll be forced to.  Big chance president will [refuse to re-sign] the JCPOA.  Mireille K, an 85-year-old woman, a Holocaust survivor, has just been murdered by two suspects; govt identified it as an anti-Jewish attack She was stabbed eleven times by a Muslim neighbor.  This is typical of what happens as a result of incitement; recently a woman thrown out window; another also murdered.   Today Jeremy Corbyn began to apologize for anti-Jewish conduct.  What causes young Muslims to do these things? Who’s inciting them?
Monday   26 March 2018 / Hour 2, Block D:  Indiana Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Megiddo (Armageddon, from Har Megiddo, Mount Megiddo), 19 mi south of Haifa; was the ancient Canaanite state of Megiddo. Found a 3,600-yr-old royal burial chamber.  Found it because people saw dirt falling into [a hole].  Found piece s of ivory once atop a wooden box  that had disappeared; Also skeletons with gold and silver jewellery. Able to do DNA testing: Hurrians?.   Coins found in the City of David near the Temple Mount.   During brutal Roman repression, people hid their coins.  Found a bunch from the years 1 to 4;  paleo-Hebrew inscriptions. Year 1:  inscribed for the freedom of Zion; Year 4: for the redemption of Zion.   Coins found next to pottery and jars; a layer from the Hasmonean period, A time capsule of Jewish life.
Hour Three
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 3, Block A:  Monica Crowley, London Center for Policy Research; in re:  Over a quarter-century after Americans elected Bill Clinton, knowing what he was, they've elected Pres Trump. From a political standpoint, few voters care about personal pecadilloes.  Evangelicals will stick with Pres Trump as long as they think he’ll defend [their interests]. 
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 3, Block B:  Captain Jerry Hendrix [USN ret], Director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security; in re:  The early days of measuring the president’s careful presentation to the world of his foreign policy. Strategic ambiguity: keep ’em guessing. Clear to  me that I’ve been looking at his method that he’d brought a lot of skill sets he gained in NY real estate in to the H.  North Korea, Euro allies and NATO< others: have become calcified.  Uses his skills to introduce ambiguity and hereby created trade space wherein he can manoeuver.  Intellectuals and media haven't recognized this, as a blind spot of willful ignorance.
Dear Leader has for the first time left his home and gone to China — due to China’s discomfort with pending negotiations; South Korea has offered to quit dumping steel in the US. NATO Secy Gen Jens Stoltenberg cannot make a speech today without asking all members to pay the 2% that they've committee to NATO and almost never paid. 
“Rules-based intl order” of Pres Obama: mystical sense that that’d make it better for everyone. Works until the moment that everyone breaks the rules except the US.  It's not only our enemies who’ve been setting their sights on us; our allies have made better deals for themselves, established local tariffs, etc.   Trump: we all have to have the same fair, flat deal.   Example of strategic ambiguity:  Trump had the Mar-a-Lago chocolate cake delayed till he could announce that the 59 missiles had landed in Syria.  Kept Xi Jinping on his back foot.
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 3, Block C:  Simon Mikhailovich, Tocqueville Bullion Reserve, in re:  President signed the Omnibus Bill.  Market has been reacting to immediate news of trade wars, fearing that’d lead to a recession.  But most market transactions are machine-led program trading.
High-yield companies go under typically because they can’t pay their coupons. Now, am observing debt service. In 2017, US paid $460 Bil in debt service, a record, in a year when interest was at its lowest [Yellin].  One-third of income tax currently goes into debt service, and we’ve lowered taxes and are entering a period of higher interest rates. If stock market goes down, could have a real crisis. Seventy-five per cent of Americans’s savings are in market asset, 25% in real assets. Last time US was called out on its difficulty in paying was the 1970s.  That was a soft default; dollar lost 60% of its purchasing power.  The day we detached from the gold standard was considered a day of infamy, although the alternative was default.
The reason every central bank has gold reserves is to have a store of independent purchasing power. Not a panacea.  Do people have enough in savings to withstand adversity?
For forty years we’ve been living and consuming beyond our means, we’re drowning in debt.  We need a plan!  Stalemate between credit, the stock market, and the American consumer.
..  ..  .. 
Gold has broken through the $1350, which is important. Debt service numbers: the math is starting not really to add up. If rate hikes go to 5%, then more than half of our income tax will go to debt service on the national debt.  High correction between income tax collection and federal income tax revenues.       If rates go up or income goes down, problems. 
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 3, Block D: Lou Ann Hammond,, in re:  New York Auto Show.  Jaguar, Lincoln, Cadillac, and Mercedes Benz, Jaguar sold by Ford to Tata (which also owns Land Rover and is bringing out the world’s first totally luxe SUV coupe).   The Hyundae Kona SUV is comparatively small with a great deal of cargo room.  Cadillac is going smaller to a mini-SUV, has a new engine.  Inside, very luxurious.  Lincoln Aviator: mid-sized luxury SUV, esp the Black Edition.  Mercedes Benz C-class coupe and convertible.  BMW is  competing in every segment in every car — electric, plug-in, limos, diesel. 
Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima have revisions.  Corolla Hatchback is kind of new.  I’m driving the Fusion now and love it – getting 35-40  mpg.
Hour Four
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 4, Block A:  Samuel Tadros,  Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom; in re: Trump and the media.
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 4, Block B:  Samuel Tadros,  Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom; in re: Trump and the media.
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 4, Block C:  Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World, by Adrian Goldsworthy
Monday 26 March 2018/ Hour 4, Block D:  Pax Romana: War, Peace and Conquest in the Roman World, by Adrian Goldsworthy