The John Batchelor Show

Monday 6 May 2013

Air Date: 
May 06, 2013

Photo, above:  comic relief: China decides it needs to have gravitas, so sticks its nose into Middle East policy, offering cash to Abbas, who smiles warmly.


Hour One

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block A:  Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:  Benghazi: early on the day of 11 Sept 2012, Ayman al Zawahiri's brother Mohammed led the assault vs the US embassy in Cairo, led to the US flag being torn down, the black flag of al Qaeda going up. Inspire magazine cites this and Benghazi as victories for al Q – but these incidents are not that.  Blue on green attack in Western Afghanistan: the sixth this year.  Last year, 42 such attacks. There are also many attacks classified by ISAF, where no one is hurt.   Did Benghazi prove a turning point for al Q?  Tough to say – it was growing in the Mahgreb anyway; and al Q is rebuilding itself throughout the Arab Spring countries, anyway. Mali: arms spilled out from Libyan coffers.  Five examples: Press reporting and sources point to five al Qaeda-linked parties as being connected to or responsible for the attack in Benghazi:  Mohammed Jamal al Kashef, an Egyptian, served as Ayman al Zawahiri's bodyguard in the 1990s and was communicating with Zawahiri in the months leading up to Benghazi. Some of the terrorists who attacked in Benghazi were trained in Kashef's Libyan camps. CNN reported this past weekend that 3 or 4 terrorists from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are thought to have participated in the attack, and may have been dispatched from Yemen to do so. CNN has previously reported that terrorists with ties to al Qaeda in Iraq were involved. Several outlets have reported that the Benghazi terrorists were in touch with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb shortly after the attack. They exchanged congratulations with AQIM leaders.  Terrorists from Ansar al Sharia Libya, an al Qaeda-linked group, took part in the attack.

Five different al Q-linked organizations attacked the US enclave in Benghazi, but this Administration can’t come out and say so.

Five U.S. Soldiers Die In Roadside Bombing In Afghanistan 

Afghan soldier kills 2 ISAF troops in latest green-on-blue attack  The two ISAF soldiers were killed in western Afghanistan. So far this year, there have been six such attacks, which account for 13 percent of ISAF's deaths.

Pakistani Taliban praise bin Laden by 'waging jihad for the Caliphate'  "We dedicate all our activities

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: Don’t expect Kabul to fall within a year of US departure, but will see civil war; Afgh security will fragment back in militias.  Taliban will want to show its strength; when & how is anybody's guess. Didn’t take Vietnamese army log to d=take Saigon, Hekmatyar and the other warlords in the south and east will work to re-take control of the south.  Ansar al Sharia is in many countries; in Cyrenaica now?  Intl network ships fighters around the world; tension between serving al Q's jihadi interests and also the need to focus on north Africa, incl Mali.   Egypt, Tunisia (Abu __ Tunisi), Libya.   A key suspect early on was a member of Ansar al Sharia posting real-time updates on social media; was detained then released.

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block C:  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, in re: One in four of us believes the economy will improve in the coming year; three out of four of us don't. main Street feels that Washington is so focused on gay marriage, guns, Internet tax, illegal immigrants – epic fights – but what about us? WE need jobs. And what's around he bend with Obamacare?  There's a line of demarcation between us and them – Americans and Washington.    Big hoo-hah over Friday;s jobs number -  the important storyis that not one mfrg job was created. Of the 119,000 jobs create, over 100,000 went to females between the ages of 20 and 24. Any hint here?  Not exactly a high-paying bunch.  Male, 20-24: 24% unemployment. Unemployment in Washington?  3.9% !

Nearly six months have passed since the last presidential campaign promises were preached. Six months of waiting outside of the bubble for the Obama administration to fulfill passionate vows inserted into soaring speeches that pledged to create a million new manufacturing jobs in this term, to help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and to invest in advanced manufacturing.  All were promises made by the president, over and over again, in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan.   The outcome has not matched the promises, not even closely.  Manufacturing has stalled in the last three months, with only pockets of growth in click here for link K

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Arif Rafiq, Middle East Institute, in re: Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, Pervez Musharref, all were candidates for election in Pakistan on Saturday, but Musharref has been declared ineligible, is under house arrest, and the country has moved on from his kind of politics. Voters who don’t favor the two-party politics are shifting mostly to Imran Khan. Sharif was PM twice in the Nineties, but both times were cut short; his rule was marked by a mix of free-mkt reforms and consolidation of power of PM's ofc. Went into exile to 2007, changed his approach to politics, become more reconciliatory.  Imran Khan has successfully changed from cricket celebrity to politician: internal party elections, leadership is from bottom up, in contrast to the hereditary politics of the other parties.  Popularity has catapulted. Probability of a surprise Khan victory rapidly increasing.  He'd probably try to combat corruption, increase the tax net, incr spending on education – but he may suffer naivete abt the militancy within the country. If he comes to power, he'll have a rude awakening.; Pakistani Taliban probably see him as a useful idiot.

At least 15 people were killed in an explosion at an election rally in Pakistan's Kurram Agency on May 6, officials said, Reuters reported. At least 40 people were injured in the attack, which occurred at a gathering of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam religious party. One official said the attack was by a suicide bomber, but no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

With the nation facing difficult challenges, Pakistanis are looking for light at the end of the tunnel. Who can deliver?  Pakistan’s long election season, which has effectively spanned almost two years, will conclude less than a week from now. On May 11, over fifteen thousand candidates from dozens of political parties will contest close to 850 directly-elected national and provincial assembly seats. Between 35 and 40 million Pakistani voters are expected to take part in the polls.  These candidates and political parties have been holding jalson (large rallies) and corner meetings (small gatherings), cultivating ties with local influentials, spending millions of dollars on television and newspaper advertisements, developing catchy campaign songs, and issuing manifestos.

Over time, Pakistan’s single-member district system has deepened the intensity of retail politics and all that comes with it — including patronage, courting micro-constituencies, and promising deliverables like clean water, gas irrigation, and schools. Still, collectively, there is a macro-level election conversation that is taking place in the country. And in many ways, the terms of that conversation have been set by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI).  After a decade and a half of slumber, PTI reemerged in mid-2011, exploiting the country’s youth bulge and despondency with the established political parties. Two years later, despite some stumbles for PTI, the specter of Khan continues to haunt these parties, whose campaign discourse is replete with direct and indirect references to the ex-cricket star and his party.  Khan’s PTI has called for an inqilaab (revolution) to build a “new Pakistan” — a theme reflected in not one, but two of its campaign songs. Its recent television advertisements feature youth, women, and working class party officials who proclaim, “I’m a part of the change that will build a new Pakistan.”  According to Team Khan, the country’s major parties — especially its largest two, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — have colluded to loot and plunder Pakistan through muk mukka (underhand dealing) or befooling the public with their game of noora kushti (shadow boxing).

In a PTI campaign song, the famous Qawwali artist Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, sings“Challo, Challo, Imran Kay Saath! Chor, Lotaray Jayenge! Achey Sachey Aengae!”  (Let’s Go! Let’s Go With Imran! The crooks, the looters will go! The good, the truthful will come!)  The PML-N, which ran the Punjab province for the past five years, has tried to hit back at insinuations that it has collaborated with the PPP, which led the most recent federal coalition. It has attempted to turn the tables on PTI, claiming that Khan rarely criticizes the PPP (whose de-facto leader, President Asif Ali Zardari, is widely viewed as corrupt) and wittingly aides the PPP in its bid to deny the PML-N national power.  At a rally in the southern Punjab city of Layyah, the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, in a rhyming salvo, stated that the khilari (athlete) — i.e. Khan — and Zardari are on the same team. Nawaz painted Khan as an inexperienced spoiler and warned that a vote for PTI is the equivalent of a vote for Zardari’s PPP and a continuation of the hated status quo.

Hour Two

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . David M Drucker, Roll Call GOPpers column; Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International, in re: the conservative American Action Network (pro-Marco Rubio) have made a huge pro-immigration media buy. Key word: amnesty. At the same time. Heritage issues a report saying it'll cost $6.3 trillion; CATO disagreed [?]. This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Romney wd have needed 70% of the Latino vote to win; if Latinos go the way of Black voters, Republicans won’t have the White House for another generation of more.  Heritage (Ted Cruz-favoring) is not in a strong position.  Fault line erupt, the center-right say this is important. CATO plus Norquist worried that Heritage wd release a report whose projected numbers wd scare everyone: GOP Pro-Immigration Group Boosts Ad Buy   A Republican group that backs immigration reform is shifting its advertising strategy as it prepares for the Senate to take up the debate when it returns from recess this week.  The American Action Network, an issue-advocacy organization aligned with a super PAC and a Hispanic outreach arm, increased its current cable television ad buy from $300,000 to $500,000, the group confirmed to CQ Roll Call. The additional investment will be plowed into a national buy on prime-time cable television, targeting programs with high percentages of conservative viewers. The AAN also planned to run its spot Sunday morning during the Fox network broadcast of the public affairs show “Fox News Sunday.” The ad is scheduled to run through May 9, when the Senate Judiciary Committee is due to begin marking up the Senate’s “gang of eight” immigration overhaul bill. 

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  David M Drucker, Roll Call GOPpers column; Taegan Goddard, Political Wire, John Avlon, CNN, The Daily Beast,  and Newsweek International, in re: Too lose to call right now:Top South Carolina Democrat Accused of Racist Comment  South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian "drew GOP ire" when he told Democrats that he hoped voters voters would send Gov. Nikki Haley (R) "back to wherever the hell she came from," a comment many Republicans viewed as racist, given the governor's Indian heritage, The State reports.  Harpootlian said later he meant Lexington County, where Haley lived before becoming governor.  Haven’t seen this much DC interest in a local election in at least seven years. Bellwether? Republicans should win this going away, but now it's almost evening.  Sanford and his behavior in this campaign have made this what it is. He debated a life-sized cut-out of Nancy Pelosi, and so rendered the campaign national in character. "Jenny Sanford vs Stephen Colbert"  See: Retro Report!

The Block-and-Blame Game

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re: Benghazi – what did she know and when did she know it?  Thre StateDept employees

Mark Thompson, former Marine, Dep Asst Secy in State's counterterrorism bureau, incl mil liaison: anything done overseas involving mil was handled by Mark. Mark now presides over abt 20 people; always involved  in crisis response operations. Has been deeply involved in counterterrorism for many years. (In WW II: "When they get in trouble, they call for the SOB's"). Interagency response.

Gregory Hicks: the info shd have gone to Mark in Operations Center, but if it was instructed not to share info w Counterterrorism, everything changes.  If Secy of State or Undersecy of State for Mgt (Patrick Kennedy) says no . . .   Medical team headed by a Lt-Col. was available for Benghazi was ordered to stand down. By whom? Probably from Stuttgart HQ. Their care wd have been life-saving: one SEAL's wounds were deadly; the other cd have been saved. 

Currently: potential CIA whistleblowers are being threatened, polygraphed every whipstitch, being heavily bullied and told they'll be fired if they spill the beans.

Off-the-books op: NSC, maybe w Brennan, Susan Rice, maybe the president, using CIA and their allies to hire recruit fund, trained, armed and shipped al Qaeda fighters in Cyrenaeca to Syria. These are the worst cutthroats in the world, mercenaries from all over the world.   Attacks on the CIA annex: Ansar al Sharia. persons there are known and identified. Patrick Kennedy was gatekeeper of who might an might not go to Libya.

Jay Carney says that the WH told the facts on Benghazi, and that the Assad regime is a bad bad wolf.  Hooray for one out of two!    Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) Former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya: US Military Assets Were Told to Stand Down…

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  .Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: Oracle CEO buys up Malibu's best real estate (He already owns -- yes, owns -- the Hawaiian island of Lanai): Larry Ellison has bought nearly two dozen properties in the beach community during a decade-long spree, including at least nine homes on coveted Carbon Beach.  Fifty-four-year old PG&E cable blew up, exploded a bunch of houses – and didn't turn off the gas for ninety minutes!  Multibillion-dollar penalty recommended.

The unique landscape of Pepperdine’s Malibu campus reveals the delicate role of fire in the local ecosystemChaparral is a hardy little shrub—it has to be to survive in the drought-heavy, fire- prone landscape of Southern California, where it has made a home for itself on Pepperdine’s Malibu campus and all across the Santa Monica Mountains.   Fire is a natural part of the local ecosystem, which needs to burn once every 25 years or so in order to continue its natural life cycle. In the habitat around the Pepperdine campus, fire is occurring at a rate of once every seven years, an increase from once every 14 years in 1985. This adds pressure on the local chaparral and other indigenous species, posing a challenging outlook for native plants and animals.  “Pepperdine is situated in a narrow corridor that has the highest frequency of fire of the Santa Monica Mountains,” notes Stephen Davis, Distinguished Professor of Biology. “High frequency of fire degrades the environment, and native plants are being replaced by weeds.”   Davis has been keeping a close eye on the effects of fire on the Santa Monica Mountains ever since 1985, when he founded a long-term study that uses a 10-acre plot of land on the 830-acre Malibu campus as its “natural laboratory” to collect data and observe the regrowth of plant life following fire. Pepperdine, he says, is in a unique position to study the changes that have already taken place, while using data from the past 28 years to help predict what might happen to the Santa Monica Mountains ecosystem if the fire return rate isn’t curbed.  [more]  The California Coastal Commission Act will prevent changes. See: Kickstarter app on Malibu beaches – the hidden and secret beaches – which the filthy-rich Malibu residents go to great  lengths to hide (signs: No Trespassing; Visit only at low tide, etc).  Trick people with hidden access behind bushes and fake signs.

Hour Three

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: The FSA is jihadist Shia mercenaries crew enjoying no sympathy from civilian populations through out the regions, many of whom suffer.  Rockets hit bunkers, enormous explosion of munitions, warheads, ground-to-ground missiles from Iran.   The Syrian army's defensive capabilities aren’t that great right now, but can open border area with Israel and Jordan. Shell land on Israeli land, Israel has allowed to occur because it was unintentional. Clearly the attacks on the underground missiles had nothing to do with regime change. SCUD D missiles were given to Hezb several years ago.  Three game-changers for Israel, cannot allow to go to Hezbollah: 1. The ___ missile that can hit ships from 300km; 2. The SA17 antiaircraft missiles. 3. Advanced missile like Fatah 110, solid fuel & mobile launchers – makes it hard to take out.    Israel has acted on its red lines; the Obama Administration has not acted on its red line. Israel has bypassed Assad's Russian defense system, can bypass or counteract anyone else's. Not concerned abt Nasrallah's threats.  Assad probably still controls most of the chem weapons, but incr reports of jhadis' moving closer to chem weapons warehouses and depots.   Patriot missiles moved to Golan, Hezb threats vs Israel: wd he dare to wage war now? Not an all-out attack, as it wd not enjoy the support of the Lebanese people (Lebanese internal rifts), and are concerned abt depletion of their own capacity.

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Qatari proposal  - regurgitate Saudi 2002 proposal – anent land swaps . . . going nowhere. 

Xi Jinping offers an independent Palestinian state, pre-1967 borders, with Abbas standing there grinning.

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Fouad Ajami, Hoover, in re: Israeli Attacks on Syria Fuel Debate Over US-Led Effort New York Times (blog) The United States, Britain and France discussed the possibility of American-led strikes privately in the days before the attacks linked to Israel, ... 

Israel says 'no winds of war' despite Syria air strikes  

Syria Warns Israel of 'All Possibilities' After Strikes

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Reza Kahlili, author, Time to Betray, in re: IRAN WARNS TURKS ON REPORT OF AHMADINEJAD ARREST

Tehran demands Islamic unity in silencing WND story

Hour Four

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block A:   Eric Trager,  Washington Institute, in re: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's decision not to attend this coming Sunday's Coptic Easter mass was entirely predictable. Morsi, after all, declined to attend Pope Tawadros II's November investiture and, during his previous stint as chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party, Morsi visited a church on Christmas but made a point of emphasizing that he exited before services started. Yet because Morsi's decision comes on the heels of a Brotherhood fatwa prohibiting Muslims from wishing Christians a "Happy Easter," Morsi's coldness towards Christians reflects a central paradox of the Brotherhood's Islamism: despite its longtime promise to "implement the sharia" upon achieving power, the Brotherhood only offers specific interpretations of Islamic legal principles when it needs to justify its most intolerant impulses.

No 'Happy Easter': The Muslim Brotherhood's Bizarre Religious Intolerance  Egyptian President Morsi and his party only get specific on random religious decrees, not policy. [more]

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, NYT, in re: Brown-Vitter bank reform bill to update Dodd Frank. Ultimately, Eisinger agrees with Paul Volcker that if one major bank is failing, others are likely to follow and taxpayers will have to step in.  "So, taxpayers are implicitly on the hook for the financial sector, even with Brown-Vitter.  That's why we need the biggest banks to have truly clear and understandable balance sheet fortresses."

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Matt Wald, NYT, in re: In Two-Way Charging, Electric Cars Begin to Earn Money From the Grid  An experiment with two-way chargers allows consumers to power their cars and also send power back to their electric company.

Monday  6 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Henry Miller, MD, Hoover: GMO Crops Do Help Poor Farmers .Anna and Frances Moore Lappé are well known for their ideological antagonism toward agricultural biotechnology, so it is no wonder that every point in their April 24 letter on this subject is insupportable. Their assertion that genetic engineering of crops leaves "cash-poor farmers dependent on buying seeds, fertilizer and chemicals while providing uneven results, increasing weed resistance and undermining biodiversity" isn't supported by the facts. According to a just-released economic analysis by U.K.-based PG Economics of the impacts of genetic engineering in agriculture from 1996-2011, the net economic benefit at the farm level in 2011 was $19.8 billion, which translates to an average increase in income of $329 per acre. For the entire 16-year period, the increment in global farm income was $98.2 billion—49% of which resulted from lower pest predation and weed-related losses and improved genetics, while the remainder came from reductions in the costs of production. In 2011, just over half of the gains in farm income accrued to farmers in developing countries, 90% of whom are cash poor and small operators. Far from providing "uneven" results in the field, genetically engineered crops offer superior, more reliable pest and weed control, and therefore greater economic and food security. Those advantages are reflected by a "repeat index"—the percentage of farmers who choose to plant genetically engineered crops again after trying them once—that approaches 100%. But farmers who don't wish to embrace the new technology can simply purchase conventional seeds.

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