Sunday 28 July 2013
Photo, above: Rafik and Lina Hariri. See: Hour 1, Block A, Michele Dunne, vice president and director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council; the distinguished and much-beloved Hariri was assassinated on 14 February 2005, when explosives equivalent to around 1800 kg of TNT were detonated as his motorcade drove past the St. George Hotel in Beirut. All foreign ministries and intelligence organizations worldwide hold that the explosives were set by Syrian operatives in conjunction with Hezbollah lackeys.
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Guest-host: Francis Rose, Federal News Radio.
Co-host: Jim McTague, Barron's Washington
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Michele Dunne, vice president and director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council, in re: Egypt on fire; who’s really in charge, whom does the Army support, is democracy dead in Egypt? Seventy-five or more dead in the last few days of demonstrations. While Morsi was still in place, millions of signatures asking for early elections; Morsi was a failed president who reneged on many promises. Instead, the military took advantage and put in place a new, civilian regime that's supposed to lead to new elections. Expect crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood and closely-aligned Islamist parties. Noor Party (Salafi) – more extremist than MB; nonetheless, went with the coup, hoped to become the new, popular Islamist group. Also a handful of secular parties across a swath of ideologies, but none is powerful. Military, police and intell are playing the major roles. US has sent confused signals – delayed sending F-16s; then declined to decide if it was or was not a coup (were it, the US would have to suspend aid); after all the violence, Kerry and Hegel called their Egyptian counterparts expressing deep concern. We'd clear it up if we'd observe US law and suspend aid till there are new elections. That'd mean that the US would not be complicit in whatever the military does during this crisis.
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Photo, below: Egypt's key youth group backs army.
Russia's Agriculture ministry offered to hold discussions on possible humanitarian deliveries of wheat to Egypt, a reversal of policy that Egyptian officials and traders interpreted as a sign of political support. Egypt, the world's biggest wheat importer, has less than two months' supply of imported wheat left in its stocks, ousted President Mohamed Mursi's minister of supplies said last week.
"We need to discuss questions related to humanitarian aid deliveries to Egypt with the world community ... There have been no requests (from Egypt) yet," Russia's Deputy Agriculture Minister Ilya Shestakov told a news briefing in Moscow on Monday. Shestakov's remark appeared to be a reversal of policy since Russia rejected a request from former president Mursi in April when he visited Moscow for help securing supplies of vital commodities on concessionary terms. Officials and traders in Egypt saw the proposal as a political statement to help support Egypt at a time that a military-backed interim government is taking over. "Politics has entered into economics here," a source in Egyptian government said.
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Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Gordon Chang, Forbes.com, in re: Japan’s elections and meaning for Sino-Japanese relations . . . if Japan’s economy surges while China’s fails, what does that mean? Abenomics seem to have worked – but the world is waiting to see if he can go the next step and reform the [partly-ossified] Japanese system. "Three arrows" in his quiver: Fiscal spending; aggressive monetary expansion; the third arrow in he quiver is reform. Will he be as good as his word in making deep structural changes. Jointed the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), which is a good sign. In order to stay in TPP will have to keep his word. Will develop the Japanese navy. China's economy is cratering, esp when you look at inflation. Also a lot of economically useless production; have 200%+ of GDP in debt (US is at 105% of GDP). Their liquidity problem is denominated in their own currency, RMB. China is claiming a big chunk of Japanese territory, which Japan is not about to hand over. China's parlous economic situation leads it to claim legitimacy via nationalism – and are aggressing against multiple neighbors, who are alarmed and displeased. To boot, as China announces its intention to take over the Ryukus and maybe Okinawa, the US perforce enters with its joint-defense treaty with Japan.
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Julia Sweig, CFR Senior Fellow and Director of Latin America Studies and the Global Brazil Initiative; author of Inside the Cuban Revolution: Fidel Castro and the Urban Underground, in re: US policy toward the Cuba/Venezuela/North Korea/Iran equation in an era of Snowden . Sugar-MiG imbroglio probably won't interfere with the present, slight thaw between Cuba and the US. In the ship stopped in Panama, found missile parts, plus MiGs giving off the odor of fuel, meaning they'd been used recently. "Maybe the whole refurbishment gambit was just an effort to maintain an old relationship."
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Todd Harrison, Senior Fellow for Defense Budget Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, in re: Military satellite systems and keeping space open for military business in times of tight budgets The major challenge he US faces in space at the moment is – it's not like the cold war, with two dominant players in stable competition – but now 40-plus nations own satellites in Earth orbit; threats emerging from all over; debris fro one Chinese test makes up 14% (3,000 objects) of everything we track in Earth orbit. Our space-based capabilities have not kept up with [reality]. Milsatcom has been left behind. Tech complex, an be transparent – users dunno where communications are coming from, and end-user may not realize till too late who was responsible for civilian communications. People forget that one of the key enabler for many systems are space-based. AF was launching a top-secret minispace-shuttle; are we far ahead of others or not? Technologically, we are; but think of the Maginot Line – it was tech advanced (underground trolley system, even had an air-filtration system) – but Germany invaded through Luxemburg and Belgium and totally bypassed ht Maginot Line. Our sats are protected from nuclear threat, but susceptible to jamming and many other kinds of attack. We have the technology but aren’t using it. Right now, Pentagon facing $52 bil in cuts next year; twin challenges: increasing threats and fiscal constraints. What we can do is create a middle tier of protection: won’t survive nuclear attack but can ward off cyber and jamming. Why don't we enter into long-term leases for commercial sats and transponders; buy the protection on the cheap? May need to rebalance the risks among users, focus on tactical, everyday, conventional operations.
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Jim McTague, Barron's Washington editor, in re: Gas prices headed higher, unemployment steady, but stock market is soaring . . . why? We're in QE64? Washington buzz says that in the long run it's time to get past this – how do you think? The economy is picking up, the misery index will lower; the stock market is up independently of the economy because the Fed window is the only place you can to better than lose money. The market it’s the only show in town –and dangerous. "Be fearful when others are greedy; be greedy when others are fearful." – Warren Buffet. This fall, we cd have a fiscal showdown that closes the govt; energy: we could have Jimmy Carter gas lines next year because of fed mandates for biofuels. Black swan: could be something hidden in plain sight, like a part of our economy that melts down, or brakes on the housing market; an unknown.
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block B: Ed Pinto, Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; former Executive Vice President, Fannie Mae; in re: Bernanke says the economy won’t recover fully till the housing market is straightened out; Fannie and Freddie are more involved in the market than ever; new legislation would reform them. Role of Fannie and Freddie is to guarantee 60% of mortgages made in the US; all together, abt 90% by the govt. Need to be wound down and liquidated over time, allow the private market to take over. We've run into excesses in the past. Last week, Bernanke said: fix the secondary mortgage market. Today, mkt is 90% controlled by the govt, lending standards are still liberal in down payments and interest rates are low because of the Fed. Better to return to a more normal level – 5.5%, e.g. Market then wd be more balanced. The liberal standards , esp at FHA: the govt guarantees practically everything, at near zero. Banks don’t bother to lend because the govt has [taken over the field.]
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Morley Winograd, Senior Fellow, University of Southern California’s Annenberg School’s Center on Communication Leadership and Policy; co-author, Millennial Momentum: How a New Generation Is Remaking America and Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics; in re: Detroit has one slight chance of success. The millenial generation sees Detroit as a “fixer-upper with good bones.”
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Dale Meyerrose, President, Meyerrose Group; first Chief Information Officer for US Northern Command and for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, in re: Manning, then Snowden. What will it take for the Federal government to pay attention to the insider threat? Who's paying attention to who looks at what? Who's keeping track of who’s allowed to see what? Is it time to rethink keeping everything secret and move to a risk-management strategy of intell?
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block A: Tom Fingar, Distinguished Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University; former deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and chairman of the National Intelligence Council; in re: Keeping secrets secret, and keeping eyes on the watchers of the secrets. Obama’s “see something, say something” strategy in the intell community won’t work.
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Greg Valliere, Chief Political Strategist, Potomac Research; in re: Obamacare is under attack on Capitol Hill. GOP on both sides of Congress trying to stop it. Is it a serious effort or an election ploy for '14? Do they even need to bother, or should they concentrate on recruiting effective candidates this time around instead of some of the weaklings they got stuck with before?
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Claudia Rosett, Journalist in Residence, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; in re: The EU recognizes Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; why won’t the UN?
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Ron Marks, Senior Fellow, George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute; former intelligence advisor to Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott; in re: The Homeland Security Department is empty at the top: 15 of the 45 top jobs are vacant or have an acting official holding the spot. Many have no nominee, including Secretary. Obama’s choice for DepSec has a cloud over him, caused by an IG investigation; but the IG is under investigation, too. Meanwhile, al Qaeda is ascendant in the Middle East and sniffing around for vulnerabilities.
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block A: David Hawkings, Senior Editor, Roll Call; author of “Hawkings Here” blog on RollCall.com; in re: Congress has another week in DC, then is headed home for the rest of the summer. What’s done, what’s undone - and any possibility of a replay of 2010 this August? Ron Marks, Senior Fellow, George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute; former intelligence advisor to Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Trent Lott; in re: The Homeland Security Department is empty at the top: 15 of the 45 top jobs are vacant or have an acting official holding the spot. Many have no nominee, including Secretary. Obama’s choice for DepSec has a cloud over him, caused by an IG investigation; but the IG is under investigation, too. Meanwhile, al Qaeda is ascendant in the Middle East and sniffing around for vulnerabilities.
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage Unabridged,MP3 - Una Edition by Frank, Jeffrey (2013) by Jeffrey Frank (1 of 3)
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage Unabridged,MP3 - Una Edition by Frank, Jeffrey (2013) by Jeffrey Frank (2 of 3)
Sunday 28 July 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Ike and Dick: Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage Unabridged,MP3 - Una Edition by Frank, Jeffrey (2013) by Jeffrey Frank (3 of 3)