The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 12 September 2013

Air Date: 
September 12, 2013

Photo, above:  Milky Way supernova. See: Hour 4, Block C, Ken Croswell, Scientific American, on a newly determined distance to stellar debris in the northern sky ties it more firmly to an explosion observers saw in 1181.


Co-hosts:  Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board and Opinion Journal, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents

Hour One

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: John Fund, American Spectator, in re: Washington is agog and agape at the intl mess.  Mr Kerry has given us a few rich quotes: The Syrian weapons inspection and transfer must be comprehensive, verifiable and implemented swiftly. Budget ceiling. The Continuing resolution. "Every few hours the Russians find a new way to humiliate Obama" -   "ritual humiliation" that includes the United States.  The Syrian situation shifts every few hours. Clearly the GP won't close down the govt during a time of natl crisis. The ACA/Obamacare. The Syrian disaster will mean there'll be many more Dems pressing the WH to delay ACA till after the 2014 election.  Worried about another debacle. Mr Obama touted Mr Clinton's speech: "Mr Explainer has arrived."  Looks as though foreign policy and domestic policy are two different ships for our president.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: Rouhani, newly-elected president of Iran, on his way to the UN in New York with a "peace deal" for Syria (its client state) - talk his way into having the US accept it in light of the situation n Syria and Pres Obama's backing-down now.   Rouhani is authorized to give up 20% enrichment in exchange for continuing nuclear program – if the West removes some of the sanctions, which are crippling parts of the Iranian economy.  Anything can be sold to the public . . . will Israel jus roll over and accept  an existential threat to its existence? My opinion is that Israel needs to take action – once Iran has the bomb, Israel will cease to exist.   Saudi kingdom?  Analysis is that the US has left the region and abandoned its allies; ergo the proxy war all across the region as everyone tries to destabilize its antagonists. All the Gulf will continue to be aggressed upon by Iran, which sees that the US has left.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block C:  John Roskam, Institute of Public Affairs
, Melbourne, Australia; in re: Why Tony Abbott Won  Australian voters ignored left-wing elites.  The new Senate will be right-leaning – libertarian, disfavor carbon tax or govt regulation.  Similar to a situation were libertarians to hold he balance of power in the US.   The greens were trashed in this election. In Tasmania, where the Greens are in govt with Labor at the state level, they suffered major losses. It’s one thing to espouse green theory, quite another to live under it.   Young people are going either conservative or green; when they can’t find jobs, they decide that the left won't produce.  This election is called a generation change.  Another vote in maybe three years' time.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Eliana Johnson, NRO, in re:  Corey Booker's Harvey; called "faction" in some quarters.  Wazin Miller died in Newark, brutally gunned down outside a housing project; Booker has repeatedly said that he held the young man until he died in Booker's arms.  However, the police report says that someone else did this, and that the young man died at the hospital.  Why invent?  Booker straddles two different worlds: impoverished sections of Newark, and his old colleagues at Yale Law and the Ivy League. Needs street cred, esp among voters and donors.

 Cory Booker’s Imaginary Friend   The Newark mayor invented a street character for dramatic effect. Go back and listen to Cory Booker’s stump speeches over the years, and, as in those of any politician, you’ll hear many of the same stories. But Booker’s are more dramatic and heart-rending than most. They draw heavily on his experiences in Newark, N.J., where he moved in 1995 after his second year at Yale Law School. They have also helped to make him a political celebrity and put millions of dollars into his campaign war chest and Newark’s coffers.

Booker’s tales of his trials and travails on the streets of Newark, the city that twice elected him mayor, are familiar, and they have helped to breed an almost mythological aura around the Stanford, Oxford, and Yale graduate. He did, after all, rescue a woman from a burning building last year, sustaining burns in the process. But sources tell National Review Online that the central character in one of Booker’s oft-repeated stories — T-Bone, the drug pusher who the mayor has said threatened his life at one turn and sobbed on his shoulder the next — is a figment of his imagination, even though Booker has talked about him in highly emotional terms and in great detail.

         The tale is one Booker admits he’s told “a million” times, according to the Newark Star Ledger. Ronald Rice Jr., a Newark city councilman and Booker ally who has known the mayor since 1998, says the T-Bone story was “a fixture” of Booker’s unsuccessful 2002 mayoral bid against corrupt Newark political boss Sharpe James, perhaps for its symbolic value. In Booker’s mind, according to the city councilman, “It’s not so much the details of the story” that matter, but the principle that “these things happen, they happen to real people, they happen in the city of Newark.” Rice, a Newark native, says he doesn’t know whether T-Bone exists. But, he explains, “if Cory had to tell a story or two and mix details up for Newark to get the funding for it, I see that as something that’s taking tragedy and doing something productive for it.”  The T-Bone tale never sat right with Rutgers University history professor Clement Price, a Booker supporter who tells National Review Online he found the mayor’s story offensive because it “pandered to a stereotype of inner-city black men.” T-Bone, Price says, “is a southern-inflected name. You would expect to run into something or somebody named T-Bone in Memphis, not Newark.” Price considers himself a mentor and friend to Booker and says Booker conceded to him in 2008 that T-Bone was a “composite” of several people he’d met while living in Newark. The professor describes a “tough conversation” in which he told Booker “that I disapproved of his inventing such a person.” “If you’re going to create a composite of a man along High Street,” he says he asked Booker, “why don’t you make it W. E. B. DuBois?” From Booker, he says, “There was no pushback. He agreed that was a mistake.” Since then, references to T-Bone . . .  [more]

Hour Two

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block A: Congressman Eliot Engel  (NY-16), in re:  Syria.  Arleigh Burke destroyers are quiet pro tem; but what means of bringing peace?

        "I'm deeply disturbed by reports that . . . Putin has decided to supply Iran with the sophisticated S-300 anti-aircraft system and construct a second nuclear reactor at Bushehr.  If confirmed, this would be a clear indication that Putin is simply not serious about achieving a peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.  It's particularly disappointing that Moscow would pursue this dangerous course at a time when we're considering a Russian proposal to secure and destroy weapons of mass destruction held by another despotic regime in the Middle East.”  . . . The Syria Accountability Act of 2003, which I authored, is the landmark statement of American policy toward Syria, and imposed sanctions on Damascus in large part due to its chemical weapons and other WMD.  In March of this year, I introduced a bipartisan bill that would authorize the President to arm fully vetted members of the moderate Syrian opposition.  . . .

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block B: Magdi Khalil, Coptic political analyst, exec ed, Egyptian weekly Watani International;  columnist, Asharq Al-Awsat; in re: I Egypt,, Copts are said to constitute 10 per cent of the population; in reality, probably between 15-20%. Under Mubarak, there were 1500 attacks o Copts.  In a raid at Christmas 2010 the Copts ere attacks continued through 2011 and 2012. Unable to continue working, driven out, some people lynched.   Under the so-called Islamic Awakening, in 1978 after the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, MB began to attack Copts; Sadat tried to absorb this violence, also under Mubarak.   Islamists and jihadists are the main enemy not only f Copts but also for secular citizens in Egypt.  Copts tend to be extremely peaceful people, therefore easy targets for jihadists and Islamists, whose first goal is to empty their countries of non-Muslims. In 1948, they began to bomb Jews in Egypt; also temple and homes, till most Jews left Egypt. Then they began to attack Copts with the motto, "Today is Saturday, tomorrow is Sunday [and we'll be rid of all non-Muslims by then]."  The minorities – Copts, Jews, Ismailis, Druze – were the glue that held together the societies; with them killed or driven out, the space becomes unglued.

The Degradation of Christian Women under Islam: Muslim Persecution of Christians: June, 2013. "Meanwhile, in Egypt, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was urging Christian Copts not to protest Muslim Brotherhood rule, even though they would suffer under it most. Al Azhar, the world's oldest Islamic university, called on the new Catholic Pope, Francis I, to declare that Islam is a religion of peace." The degradation of Christian women living in the Islamic world continued in the month of June. In Syria, after the al Qaeda-linked rebel group conquered Qusair, a city of the governate of Homs, 15-year-old Mariam was kidnapped, repeatedly gang raped according to a fatwa legitimizing the rape of non-Sunni women by any Muslim waging jihad against Syria's government, and then executed.  According to Agenzia Fides, "The commander of the battalion 'Jabhat al-Nusra' in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam became mentally unstable and was eventually killed."  In Pakistan, Muslim men stormed the home of three Christian women, beat them, stripped them naked and tortured them, and then paraded them in the nude in a village in the Kasur district. Days earlier, it seems the goats of the Christian family had accidentally trespassed onto Muslim land; Muslims sought to make an example of the Christian family, who, as third-class citizens, must know their place at all times.  The rest of June's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not according to severity:  . . .   [more]

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Richard Stone, Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; also professor at Columbia Law School; in re: gala dinner on Tuesday 15 October 2013 at the Waldorf-Astoria in a fiftieth-anniversary tribute to the Conference.   This is a rare such event – "people go to enough events" -  but enough has been accomplished that it's important to have a dinner now.  Living memory of issues to understand how we got to a peaceful planet after the Cold War.  Trendline of the Conference (John Foster Dulles demanded that the Conference be formed) has led from more modest mandates to significant work in national and even intl security.  After creating the world, the Lord stood back and said, "It is good," not because he needed to compliment Himself, but to show that sometimes we need to stop and see what we've done.   Malcolm Hoenlein started in connection with liberating Soviet Jewry, as did Richard Stone; this began to prove that American Jews could come together and work for the benefit of Jews while being consistently loyal and patriotic Americans.   Call the Conference office 212 318 6111, or write to  or go to  This is a crisis-laden moment for Israel and the Conference.   We come together to celebrate what's been done, as well as to mention the Iranian nuclear program. Honorees include ambassadors, persons of enormous accomplishments – and Malcolm Hoenlein.  Reception at 6, dinner at 7; Tuesday 15 October 2013 at The Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.

Gala dinner, a fiftieth-anniversary tribute to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday 15 October 2013; reception at 6, dinner at 7.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Jonathan Schanzer, FDD, in re: Syria, Gulf States, Hamas.   Erdogan is bitterly disappointed by things shaking out so that he's not adulated for bldg a broader Arab coalition in Egypt, Syria, Tunisia – he invested heavily in Hamas and the MB in order to be the top patron of this bloc, which has just collapsed and crumbled.  For a spell, the White House called him more than any other leader but the PM of the UK.  he now finds that Mr Obama personally, is not a reliable ally. Talk of the town  in Doha: Tamim, the new emir, will take a quieter approach to foreign policy than did his father, Hamed. He'll keep funding jihadists, but more quietly. 

Hour Three

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Gaza, helo gunships, 2000-plus soldiers vs northern Sinai. Targets of the tanks: 6 soldiers were killed yesterday in two car bombs, so ten Egyptian brigades have been moved in. Under Morsi, terrorists in Sinai went from 1,500 to 7 ,0000. In Sinai, 600 guys training in terrorist ops.  Influx of foreign fighters, incl battle-trained Yemenis who follow fatwahs from home clerics.  First job of Egyptian govt is to protect its own borders, start by reducing influx of weapons (Sudan, Iran) and fighters.  North of Israel, Syria:  Geneva unclear.  Russians and Syrians have very high cards, John Kerry has no clarity of intentions.  The chem weapons arsenal in Syria is complex, Russians have all the sites and serial numbers; dangerous is VX as in binary storage.  Can’t be moved or destroyed during a civil war.  Iran is sending in huge numbers of weapons and fighters.  Syria has today added a nee condition: West must stop aiding he rebels. 

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Jonathan Speyer, Global Research in International Affairs Center, Herzliya, Israel, in re: Israel's summer is not quite over. The late summer quiet in Israel is no longer reassuring. The apparently imminent U.S. attack on Syria has people on edge. There is a late rush to renew gas masks. The comments by a junior Syrian minister threatening an attack on Israel if Syria is struck have been well noted. Khalaf al-Maftah may be only a lowly deputy information minister. But there was also the Iranian, Hossein Sheikholeslam, who said that the ‘Zionist regime’ would be the ‘first victim’ of any attack on Syria.  People here notice things like that. They don’t necessarily dismiss them. A friend of mine is convinced that a limited call-up of reserves has already taken place. The evidence? There were ‘too many soldiers’ on the train heading north from Tel Aviv on Sunday morning. So it goes.  The quiet of the last two years always seemed like something of an anomaly. With the region ablaze around them, Israelis have . . . [more]

Are Non-al-Qaeda Syrian Rebels ‘Moderate’?   

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, in re: Mexicans Take On the Teachers Unions. Thanks to reform, teachers can no longer sell their jobs or give them to a family member.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Graeme Wood, Bloomberg Buesinessweek, in re: UNIVISION’S FUSION: WON IN TRANSLATION  Spanish-language TV network Univision is launching Fusion in late October, creating the network’s first English language programming, and, perhaps more surprisingly, a campaign to reach Hispanic millennials with cable news. Execs know the new format has to be completely different, not just in language, but also in tone, music, and attitude.  Will the cherished 18-to-49 audience tune in? Will Fusion reflect the success of the Hispanic American community in general and of Univision in particular, or will it portend a dangerous new era for the network, when its audience is not as linguistically captive—and not be as loyal?  the full story….

Hour Four

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Paul Kiel, Propublica, in re: TMax auto loans.   Auto-title lender TitleMax seems to be offering something that's too good to be true: loans for borrowers with "good credit, bad credit, or no credit" with zero percent interest. Why is TitleMax giving away cash for free? Because city councils across Texas have passed ordinances clamping down on the kind of short-term, high-cost loans TitleMax makes . This bait-and-switch locks customers into a loan, albeit with zero percent interest, that's due in full after 30 days. However, if they can't pay (which is the case more often than not), the borrower is sent to another TitleMax location outside of ordinance boundaries where rates can be as high as 310 percent and the loan can be renewed over and over again without restriction -- trapping consumers in a cycle of debt. One borrower allegedly renewed her loan 23 times, paid at least $10,800 in fees, and after all that still owed $3,961.

In the past two years, at least eight towns and cities in Texas have passed ordinances to curb the high-cost lending industry. This hasn't slowed down TitleMax's parent company, TMX Finance, one bit. It's opened more than 150 stores in Texas in that same time frame.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Chicken Little report: Another large satellite is about to fall to Earth. Current estimates suggest this could occur anytime between the end of this month and the start of November. When it does, the one-tonne GOCE will plunge rapidly through the atmosphere, burning up as it descends. “Some satellites take decades to come back after finishing operations; we will re-enter in no more than three weeks,” says Esa mission manager Dr Rune Floberghagen. Modelling work indicates that perhaps up to 25% of the spacecraft may survive all the way to the surface.   The odds of this debris hitting anything significant is very small. It can happen however.  It appears that Deep Impact is lost.  The competition heats up: Orbital Sciences has finished loading its Cygnus capsule and has closed the hatch for next Tuesday’s launch.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Ken Croswell, Scientific American, in re: A newly determined distance to stellar debris in the northern sky ties it more firmly to an explosion observers saw in 1181.

Thursday  12 September  2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Aaron Klein, WABC, in re: U.S. Demands Tests to Verify Syria Assent on Arms Deal  Secretary of State John Kerry began talks in Geneva on the Russian proposal to secure Syria’s chemical weapons, which the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, publicly agreed to Thursday. As Obama Pauses Action, Putin Takes Center Stage Public Editor: The Story Behind the Putin Op-Ed

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