Thursday 16 August 2012
Photo, above: Tatarstan National Library, in to the heart of Russia, where Iran has carefully not yet stirred up Islamism. "The new National Library and National Bank of the Republic of Tatarstan form a concept for a New City Centre for Kazan. Besides offering all traditional facilities of a state library, the building invites citizens to explore and experience knowledge. It provides a home to all modern ways of accessing information, but its flexible setup allows for future forms of working with knowledge, too. The Library building has a gross floor area of 52.500 square meters and is situated at the Tukay square on the South-Eastern edge of the city centre. It is designed as a covered extension of the city centre. A multi-functional, 18 metre-high atrium serves as a portal between the library and the city and turns the building into part of the public domain, a place where the collective and cultural qualities of downtown spaces are combined. The entrance space can be meeting point, boulevard, gallery, living room, garden and educational facility at the same time. Embedded into a hill, the building continues the shape of the landscape and offers a park on top of the building. By linking the existing Hermitage Park, the new library park and the National Library to the adjacent Tukay square, this area transforms into a vibrant hub of Kazan city life. Consequently, Erick van Egeraat proposes to extend the proposed site and allow for the development of the Headquarters of the National Bank, for high-quality offices, luxury apartments and retail. The project is a cornerstone in the urban redevelopment of Kazan, the third Capital of Russia."
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Thursday 905P Eastern Time: Ilaria Maria Salla, La Stampa in Asia, in re: Chinese trade practices. Free trade is powerful, but we need fair practices, said Paul Ryan anent China and the Party apparatchiks who line their own pockets, steal our intellectual property and care naught for Western notions of transparency and accountability.
Thursday 920P Eastern Time: Ilaria Maria Salla, La Stampa in Hong Kong, in re: Chen Guangchen's nephew being prosecuted for intentional homicide as he was protecting his family from a break-in one night. Bald-faced lie: he defended his family with a knife as thugs broke in to his home in the dead of night looking for Chen Guangchen. Later, one of them identified himself as a policeman. Whole story of Chen the uncle is a huge embarrassment for the Beijing tyrants; they seem to think that someone has to pay for this enormous loss of face. If you look at what happened to Chen Guangchen before he escaped – ran away at night; and Ai Weiwei; and ___, a lawyer who defended Christians and now is serving time in jail. Elders in the Party, in their eighties and nineties, you can speak a bit more freely.
Member of the Politburo Xi Jinping, China's former Vice President Zeng Qinghong, China's Premier Wen Jiabao and China's President Hu Jintao clap after Xi Jinping is elected China's Vice President during the fifth plenary session of the National People's Congress, or parliament, at the Great Hall of the People on March 15, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Thursday 935P Eastern Time: Isaac Stone Fish, Foreign Policy Magazine , and Ilaria Maria Salla, in re: Bo Xilai. Who are true democrats who support free elections? No one knows. Hu seems to be slightly more liberal than some, but only the Party Secretary of Guangchou seems to be [the real thing]. Who are these seven to nine people who will control the fates of a billion people or more, are unknown to the world. They consider it to be their own business and no one else's – Communist Parties are the product of guerrilla revolutions and so are bathed in secrecy. Can get more info these days from Weibo, and there's more official news (propaganda). China is taking advantage of social media – the five-cent group [wu 3 mau3] – post messages in favor of the Party. During the Bo saga, control of what's allowed to be released, what false statements are circulate in order slowly to contaminate the data stream and mislead the public. ISF: My impression is that Xi Jinping transition may go smoothly; dunno if Hu will hold on to military commission. IMS: What can be done from the outside is quite limited; it's the forces inside China that can change the ethos; not in this transition, as there's not enough time.
Thursday 950P Eastern Time: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-review, in re: Paul Ryan as grad from Oxford, Ohio, in 1992; went also to North Canton, and to the iconic hot dog shop in Warren right outside of Youngstown, where he bought a chili dog for the yahoo reporter; he also hunts, fishes. Reminds you of guys you went to high school with. OFA out of Chicago is demonizing him from coast to coast, needs to succeed before the convention in a week. However, everyone's speaking of the vice-president's odd behavior, his remark in Virginia using unacceptable language. Ryan joked: "Hello Ohio – or. from Joe Biden, hi Nevada." Romney at events: always shakes pretty much every hand proffered. Will Ryan go after Biden for his unacceptable language? Yes, a growing conversation. Also incl AG Holder, and the language his aide Perez uses in public fora? (Al Smith in New York, the Happy Warrior.)
Thursday 1005P (705P Pacific Time): Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Iran threatens Arab nations: "The missiles aimed at Israel my go astray and hit Qatar." Mr Morsi, in removing Tantawi, takes on himself responsibility for running Sinai. Morsi has solidified his coup: taken over everything, incl the military and intelligence, and the press. Has fired many generals, replacing them with persons sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. He's a democratically elected leader who's carefully undermining democracy in Egypt. Egyptians request and get permission to use 5 to 6 attack helicopters to counter Sinai terrorists, and then troops 0 under Camp David Accords - then went way beyond the numbers agreed; This poses a danger to Israel. A significant force could be permanently stationed, in clear contravention of Camp David Accords. Question on Gen Sisi – his loyalty to MB, not the Egyptian state. US Congress will look and say, We're pouring billions of dollars into a state that may become a specific antagonist of the US. Egypt is legally responsible for keeping Sinai under control and is not doing it. Israel now spends 50% of its time focussed on the Egyptian border.
Thursday 1020P (720P Pacific Time): Congressman Eliot Engel (D; NY-17), and Foreign Affairs Committee, in re: US Role in the Middle East. Syria. Libya was on the world's radar screen, don't understand why Syria is not. Now we have al Qaeda in Syria; a powder keg. Assad needs to go; a blow to Iran. Who wd fill that void? I haven't met with the opposition but I don’t think it could be much worse than Assad – no-fly zones, bombs. The US, NATO, and the Arab League should be doing more. Chavez is supposed to b very ill, but is active n undermining democracy in South America. Reports that he's terminally ill with cancer but he – rather like Castro - may outlive us all. Correa of Ecuador and others are jockeying to take Venezuela's place in poking a finger in America's eye.
Thursday 1035P (735P Pacific Time): Elliott Abrams, Middle Eastern Studies Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, in re: Scandinavia and the Jews. The Turks told Morsi: you can get everything you want, go slowly. Morsi didn’t take tat advice, he cashiered a lot of official s in the first days. Their tool is the "need for more troops in Sinai." Sinai is no-man's land as jihadis have moved in in force. Now jihadis are killing Egyptian police and soldiers, so there was a little coordination between Egypt and Israel; but the confrontation coming up is that Egypt will want to install a huge army. Reports that no shot was fired and the confrontations may not have occurred as told. Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood. " In honor of Ramadan, people allowed to go from Egypt to Gaza, not the other way. I think Hamas is going to abandon Iran. If Israel strikes Iran's nuclear sites, not Hamas's problem; Hamas will probably go with the Sunnis. The attacks on Elat are not related to Iran. Washington? I don’t think they know what they’re doing,, Panetta met with Morsi and Tantawi: "They have a great relationship! Two days later, Morsi canned Tantawi; Panetta clearly had no intell. Merely makes happy talks, is clueless. Sharp clampdown on press freedom in Egypt, and moving on the judiciary, also. Shafiq got 40% of the vote – one of the moderates the US shd be supporting, The US needs to call Morsi on this. We're abandoning people who want a government under law – they look to us and get foolish statements about everything being OK. Do not cut aid the the Egyptian military immediately as some are favorable to the US; but we need to be sending much stronger messages to the MB and Morsi. Wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiment in Scandinavia: rendering kosher slaughter and circumcision illegal. Mayor of Malmö, esp. Obama says little about religious discrimination vs Jews in Europe or Christians in the Middle East.
Thursday 1050P (750P Pacific Time): Tony Badran, Research Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in re: Syria and Iran. Turks have 150,000 troops at the Syrian border. Kurds turned on by Syria vs Turkey. Anticipate a no-fly zone. US officials not happy with a no-fly zone; whenever Secy Clinton makes a statement, the White House and its surrogates immed pull her back. West create a safe zone for Alawis to attract them away from support of Assad? Highly doubtful; the regime itself my be carving out an Alawi enclave for itself if it loses the rest of the territory. Let's be clear: Assad and its sponsor Iran are enemies of the US. PKK may end up offering an opportunity for Iran. There was never a plan A – US and Russian interest in Syria are diametrically opposed. Unfortunately, the US has no meaningful policy in Syria; rather, the Russian veto merely became a convenient hook for the US. For Assad, if winning is regime survival . . . It may fragment; other regions/division within Syrian groups that there may be subsets – intra-Kurdish fights; Kurdish vs Sunni Arab conflicts. Primary concern is heat the fragmentation not leave islands for Iranian influence in Iran.
Sunni Muslim Salafists burn a giant poster, which features pictures of Russia's President Vladimir Putin (bottom R), Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (bottom L), Syrian President Bashar Assad (top R) and his brother Maher al Assad, during a protest in the port city of Sidon in south Lebanon (Reuters
Thursday 1105P (805P Pacific Time): Steve Cohen, NYU, in re: Russia. Moscow can’t hope for a gain in Syria. Russia; in policies of this magnitude, has to be supported by the Russian political aelt – he couldn't change course if he wanted to. The reason the Russian p=political elite takes this stand is: it sees the US on a longstanding course of regime change – Kosovo, Libya, e t al. US pursuit of democracy is extremely selective. Result of US policies in the Arab world is now chaos. Therefore, the US cannot be trusted, according to Russia. Recall that the US assured Medvedev that if Russia didn't veto a no-fly zone over Libya, the West wd go no farther. In fact, the US used the no-fly zone to bomb the daylights out of Gaddafi's troops. Russia now hold that Washington is a mendacious traitor "Enough is enough; no more," is the Russian view. Russian know that the CIA is arming insurrectionists vs Assad; Russian press speaks of "a third force" – someone who'd maintain Syrian govtl structure and not let it become an American client state. Russia has many tens of millions of Muslim citizens – were jihads to move toward Kazan, Tatarstan, the heartland, that would by a total disaster for Moscow. Syria is a surrogate for Russia's dealings with Iran, which has carefully not stirred up Islamism within Russia.
Thursday 1120P (820P Pacific Time): Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: Syria has thrown all the cards in; Assad needs Aleppo as a commercial center – but it's destroyed. He controls less than a third of the country. Iranian Guards Corps boasts of having transferred WMD into Assad's troops' hands for use in case the US or NATO enters Syria. Irrational actors. Gas masks for Syrian police against sarin – changes the nature of he fight. AS we go through with all this, Iran continues to bld its nuclear capacity for use in this battle. Put 5,000 twin centrifuges in Fordo. The resident of the US believes that by threatening a no-fly zone on the Turkish order Iran will be forced to the negotiation table, being a spectacular success for Obama. Not credible. Standard Chartered paid a huge fine for having $250bil in illegal trade with Iran. The key is not what we intend but how Iran perceives it. Obama Administration II: Obama says he won’t allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon, but will not say it won’t allow the capability. This cannot wait till November.
Thursday 1135P (835P Pacific Time): Richard Epstein, Hoover, in re: Obamacare quagmire, The Act’s potential disruptions are not just confined to people who are forced into the exchanges; it extends to all individuals regardless of how they procure their healthcare insurance. All that can be said with confidence is that, thus far, the ACA has not been able to defeat the law of unintended consequences. Whether this nation will be able to extricate itself from the ObamaCare quagmire remains to be seen.
Thursday 1150P (850P Pacific Time): Bret Stephens WSJ, what is Ryan's foreign policy, and what about defense spending?
Thursday/Fri 1205A (905 Pacific Time): Vince Harris, Buzzfeed, in re: Facebook and Twitter on the campaign trail, what is powerful, how to read FB, what about Twitter power?
Thursday/Fri 1220A (920 Pacific Time): Jonathan Macey, Hoover, in re: what about the OFA accusations against Romney of felony acts at Bain in reporting to SEC?
Thursday/Fri 1235A (935P Pacific Time): Isaac Stone Fish, Foreign Policy Magazine , and Ilaria Maria Salla, in re: Bo Xilai. Who are true democrats who support free elections? No one knows. Hu seems to be slightly more liberal than some, but only the Party Secretary of Guangchou seems to be [the real thing]. Who are these seven to nine people who will control the fates of a billion people or more, are unknown to the world. They consider it to be their own business and no one else's – Communist Parties are the product of guerrilla revolutions and so are bathed in secrecy. Can get more info these days from Weibo, and there's more official news (propaganda). China is taking advantage of social media – the five-cent group [wu 3 mau3] – post messages in favor of the Party. During the Bo saga, control of what's allowed to be released, what false statements are circulate in order slowly to contaminate the data stream and mislead the public. ISF: My impression is that Xi Jinping transition may go smoothly; dunno if Hu will hold on to military commission. IMS: What can be done from the outside is quite limited; it's the forces inside China that can change the ethos; not in this transition, as there's not enough time.
Thursday/Fri 1250A (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. David Weidner, WSJ, in re: the new above-average is average for the smart money on Wall Street.
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Summer thunderstorm clouds over Manhattan, July 2012.
Music (using times from New York City broadcast)
9 hr: Frost-Nixon, Inception, Ides of March. 10-hr: Green Zone. 11-hr: Inception, Frost-Nixon, Ides of March. midnight hr: Ides of March.