The John Batchelor Show

Monday 30 September 2013

Air Date: 
September 30, 2013

Photo, above: See FISA Court Renews NSA Right to Collect Data   Hour 1, Blocks A & B, Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, & Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor.   Also, Hour 1, Block D:  Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, "Concerning  the ACA, the smartest person in the universe – Verizon customer service of course – doesn’t know if the ACA websites will work."



Hour One

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, & Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re: From the Atlantic to the Hindu Kush, al Qaeda not only is back, it’s robust, aggressive, and able to fight simultaneously in many theaters.   Its general manager is based in Yemen; US policy has failed.  Contrary to what the Economist writes this week, it has not "rejuvenated," it's been growing steadily since 9/11. Expanded operations, number of jihadists, theaters.  Anent al Shebaab attack in Kenya: does this say that al Q's abilities are transnational and can strike well in Europe or the US? Yes.   As it expands its capability, this also bodes ill for us.  Nairobi: Bill- you've written that this was "a new and complex operation" – can it travel to Minnesota or LA? Yes, have been experimenting with that for a while. The elements that make al Q more threatening: al Hajjra planning ops in Kenya; the mall attack was basically a Mumbai-style job, maximizes the terror and casualties.    Some of the Kenya attackers apparently have US passports, enabling them to move invisibly in and out of Kenya Egypt, US.   An al Shebaab leader killed in 201 was found with documents previewing a London attack.

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, & Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re:  al Nusrah, AQ in Iraq and the Levant.  Al Qaeda's recruits have become more radical.  Al Nurah was known to be strongest in the north of Syria, but now controls a checkpoint on the Jordanian border.  The Free Syrian Army has in large part turned itself over to al Nusrah (which put itself under Zawahiri because its rival in Iraq is too strong). Liwa al Saeed is one of the largest brigades in the FSA; announced it's serving with 11 other groups, banded together, denounced the Syrian National Council and will jointly overthrow Assad and impose sharia in Syria. Two brigades in province of Ar-Raqqah swore allegiance to al Nusrah.  Exact opposite of what Secy Kerry announced.  Assad: most capable enemy is al Qaeda affiliates. The Syrian civil war has accelerated a little since the chem weapons event – they realized that the US wouldn’t do anything, was in effect toothless.

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, & Lara M Brown, political analyst and author, in re: the Kansas-Nebraska Act – allowing states joining the Union to decide whether or not to be a slave state – also divided the Republic and enraged the populace, somewhat similar to our predicament today.  The above-the-fold story tomorrow will be ObamaCare, has been the main fight since 2009. The shutdown is important but probably won’t last longer than this week; however, ObamaCare is forever,  It was taken to the Supreme Court; kicks in tomorrow.  The ACA websites look pretty shaky. Does the GOP want this delayed or defunded? Today abt 77% of Americans are frustrated with or angry at the govt.  Maybe the GOP should wait till the American people are heard. 

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re: the vicissitudes of the bill  ("a CR is the same as getting a temporary extension if you're grading papers").  Every Federal employee has to show up at work tomorrow to be instructed by boss; if they're to leave, they turn around and march out.  However, later on money always arrives to pay the employees for the downtime. Historically, there was always a clear path to one side or the other getting what it wanted; we're now at Plan C, which is in failure.  This could shut down with no solution in sight. If Boehner gave up the Hastert Rule, a deal could be agreed in an hour and a half.   ACA: the smartest person in the universe – Verizon customer service of course – doesn’t know if the ACA websites will work. HHS has been testing its IT structure for several months – but who'll stick around tomorrow, be exempt or nonexempt, who can work on it?  Eight hundred thousand out of 4 million people will be off the job?  No way to tell now. The Washington mood is tense, as this affects a lot of people's livelihoods – even those who stay on the job won’t get paid?

Hour Two

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent; Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, & John Fund, National Review Online, in re:  Vitter Rule ("no Washington exemption" amendment) - which denies Hill staffers and the whole Congress from being exempt from ObamaCare - was rejected.  Everyone is behaving predictably; does anyone have a plan?  Apparently not.  Shutdown is not the end of the story – just opens the door for further negotiations to re-open the federal govt.  One source says: will send over the same bill that he Senate jus defeated; House GOP will meet tonight . . .  This doesn’t really meet the definition of govt shutdown – parks, monuments, museums close, but most of the govt keeps on going  forward. Last time it shut down it wasn't the end of days; scare factor is much reduced.  from a negotiating standpoint, GOP has more leverage; however, at some pt the president will cease refusing to negotiate; then people will decide which side seems more reasonable.  Debt ceilings have more effect, can be a calamity.  We have till 17 Oct . .  .  The markets: a lot of cynicism on Wall Street and in the intl mkts – 2011 confrontation or the fiscal cliff that wasn't; but some of this is grounded in reality and some not. What Congress has is the power of the purse.   House may ask the Dem Senate to go to a conference committee.  Something is likely to happen between now and midnight.

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block B: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent; Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, & John Fund, National Review Online, in re:  . . . the big concern in makets is the impact on employment: will employers send people to part-time? Even though the mandate ahs been extended for  a year; employers have to think long-term. Not even in a position to vet who’s eligible for a subsidy and who's not. 

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Marc Ambinder, Atlantic DefenseOne & author: Deep State, Inside the Government's Secrecy Agency, in re:  12/333 ("twelve-triple three")  - if an analyst is working on an overseas matter and uses a tool that puts a US national in the analysis, that's a violation of NSA rules.  FISA court.  Can the analyst apologize?  Yes, but needs to report only violation relating to activity while engaged in FISA authority.

Close the NSA's Reagan-Era Collection Loophole   Cancelling an executive order that Ronald Reagan made years ago could be a major step for the NSA to gain back public trust.  "NSA's foreign intelligence gathering authorities are enumerated in an executive order, 12-333, signed by President Ronald Reagan. These "12-triple 3" prerogatives include everything NSA does outside the U.S. border. After 9/11, NSA expanded these authorities at the direction of the White House, but when Congress stepped in to codify them, it did so under an expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governed NSA's domestic surveillance and which has historically been subject to much tighter scrutiny....The solution to this is rather simple: Congress could acknowledge the 12-333 authorities in a law, and fund them only if they're subject to a level of oversight that is appropriate."

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: the economies of the world are stutter-stepping. China reports hugely rosy scenarios. HSBC number still over 50, but decreased since 23 Sept, may be headed under 50 again . . . 50 divides contraction from expansion; sub-indices show something else – internal numbers are extremely sad; if they can't export their way out, they're in trouble.   Shanghai Free Trade Zone (about 20 miles wide) : rules just announced, trying to generate enthusiasm for China. Will open up the currency – very important – and there's a competition with an existing zone – the Chinhai Zone, which is now starting to stall. Shanghai uses its muscle to take bz away from the south. SCMP said fee FB, twitter and NYT access in hte zone – but so far not. Beijing fight 'twixt the liberals, who want free internet, and the others, who don’t. Infighting on how to open up China.  The frst thing Beria (head of NKVD) did was take control o the newspapers in 1945. Seventy years later, Stalin lives in Beijing.  – Not Stalin; Marx and Mao.  Cultural Revolution: self-criticism sessions reissuance of the Little Red Book, and chilling ideology. China is lurching backwards.  Mao learned a lot from Stalin, who disdained him; Mao had killed - caused 40 to 70 million unnatural deaths; no one else in history has killed that many people.    Tomorrow evening we could be at the same place as now . . .  although this was sort of our last effort, asking to go to conference.  

Hour Three

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Rep Devin Nunes (CA-21), in re: vote today to suspend or delay the individual mandate of ACA for a year; rejected by Senate; second resolution sent: same delay plus Vitter Amendment – also rejected 54-46.   Will now send to Senate the delay plus putting all WH and Congressional staff under ACA without subsidies, along with a motion to go to conference. Harry Reid said he'd reject that, too. Conference:  House and Senate meet together formally under arranged rules to determine the outcome.  The Continuing Resolution is the easiest way for both sides to beat up on each other.   Hard to implement the law:"Have to pass the bill to find out what's in it" – Nancy Pelosi.    In fifty minutes people can begin to enroll in ObamaCare – some GOPpers will try; not confident it'll work. It wasn't properly vetted to see if it'll work. People who had health care for their families are now being dropped. De-funding ObamaCare doesn’t stop it.  We're now mixing funding everyday govt programs with funding healthcare; this is a roll of the dice by  both sides. Not good.

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: David Sanger, NYT, in re:  Dueling Narratives in Iran Over U.S. Relations  Iran’s foreign minister said there was a “real chance” for a pact with the United States over his country’s nuclear program, but his deputy said Tehran would “never trust America 100 percent.”

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Michael Luo, NYT, in re: Watched boys who'd been trained in gun use through a one-way mirror; result was, in essence, that education is ineffective. Hid a .38 caliber handgun; ¾ of the children found it, only one told an adult - and was scorned by his peers for doing so.  CDC on statistics fatal gun accidents of children present about half the numbers who actually die from guns. In Behar Co, Texas, an infant was killed by his very young brother; then a year later, the same set of events in the same county: classified one as an accident, one as a homicide.  Natl Violent Death Reporting System.  Can it be ruled that in a house with children under six, there may be no gun? No. 

A New York Times review of hundreds of child firearm deaths found that accidental shootings occurred roughly twice as often as the records indicate, because of idiosyncrasies in how such deaths are classified by the authorities. The killings of Lucas, Cassie and Alex, for instance, were not recorded as accidents. Nor were more than half of the 259 accidental firearm deaths of children under age 15 identified by The Times in eight states where records were available.  [more]

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Claudia Rosett, FDD & Forbes, in re: Iran, the U.N.'s New Authority on Nuclear Disarmament   With Iran pushing toward nuclear breakout ability at home, while peddling what some have dubbed “charm” abroad, there were plenty of odd moments as Iran’s President Hasan Rouhani swept through the United Nations in New York last week. But for raw cynicism onstage, it’s hard to top his starring appearance Sept. 26th at the U.N.’s first-ever High Level Meeting of the General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament.

Hour Four

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, & Gene Countryman, KNSS, in re: Government Shutting Down in ImpasseSenate Rejects House Demands to Curb Health Care Law  The federal government will shut down for the first time in nearly two decades, putting 800,000 federal workers on furlough, after last-minute moves in both chambers of Congress failed to break a budget standoff over the health care law. About 15,000 Federal workers in Kansas. Air force base employee, McConnell AFB, wringing his hands. HHS Secy, former 2-term governor of Kansas.  A GOPper in Kansas supporting ObamaCare? In California, 500,000 Federal employees; will be disturbed in out many natl parks and a host of agencies.  The smoking lamp is lit: ObamaCare is live.

The first thing that keeps popping up (in the Bay Area) is that Alcatraz tours will shutter.  The Alcatraz tour is one of the most popular in all of the National Parks system.

▪       Also included, Muir Woods, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and Point Reyes National Seashore will be officially closed (though parts of those properties, especially the wide-open GGNRA, will remain accessible to the public. Overnight visitors at Yosemite and other national parks will be given 48 hours' notice to leave. 

▪       The Bay Area is home to one of the national passenger rail network's most popular operations, the Capitol Corridor trains. The rail agency says it will continue rolling through any "short term" government shutdown. 

▪       Of the 800,000 federal employees who could be furloughed (nationwide) with the impending government shutdown, 169,000 of those hail from California. In Silicon Valley, this means the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View could close and that's got more than a few union members fretting. (No word if Google's jets have been moved yet or if they'd be impacted...)

The same appears to be true throughout the state . . . Natl. Parks & Rec areas shutting down; military bases girding for pay questions and civilian worker furloughs; some federal offices closing.

In a shutdown, DC area will be hardest hit. “The across-the-board sequestration cuts earlier this year cost the region 26,500 net jobs in August, Fuller said. With furloughs and agencies not filling positions, the $42 billion annual federal payroll is down $2 billion from last year, and federal contracting is down $5 billion. “We’re really bleeding,” Fuller said. “A shutdown will have real costs.” Fuller, who made his calculations over the weekend thinking that a shutdown would be inevitable, projected that 60 percent of the area’s 377,000 federal workers would be deemed “nonessential” and would stay home. Likewise, he projected that the shutdown would affect about 20 percent of the government’s contractors, who receive about $75 billion a year from the federal government. And each person furloughed means less money spent at local businesses or vendors, he said. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said a shutdown would have a disproportionate effect on the Washington region, where the federal government’s presence accounts for one-third of the economy.”

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg, in re: Obamacare Exchanges Start as Questions Abound – A long enrollment season, complicated by a threatened U.S. government shutdown and a growing list of technical glitches, means it may be as late as April before it’s known how many uninsured Americans sign up under the law. Here’s a primer on what to look for, based on interviews with consultants, insurers, analysts and state and federal officials.  [more]

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: George Anders,, in re: Thanks a Lot, Mr. President! My Health Premium Is Up 114%    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. My health insurer, Kaiser Permanente, has finally calculated what our family’s new health insurance rates will be under the grotesquely misnamed Affordable Care Act . . .    [more]

Monday 30 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:  Paul Howard, Manhattan Institute, in re: government shutdown over health care and what the health care rollout  will mean for New York.  Estimates of what will happen to individual health insurance costs across the country under ObamaCare, and New York seems like a rare bright spot. After the exchanges open Tuesday, rates here will drop nearly 30%.

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Hour 1:  Thirteen Days.

Hour 2:  Ennio Morricone. Bourne Ultimatum. Dark Shadows.

Hour 3:  Brothers Grimm.  Hurt Locker. Dark Knight Rises. Frost Nixon.

Hour 4:  Frost Nixon.  Dark Knight Rises.  Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.