The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 20 June 2013

Air Date: 
June 20, 2013


Photo, above: Ethiopia’s Contested Dam Project on the Nile River: in March 2011, when Egypt was consumed by domestic unrest, Ethiopia announced it would soon begin construction on a hydroelectric dam along the Blue Nile River, one of two main tributaries for the Nile. The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be one of the ten largest dams in the world at its estimated completion in 2017, will likely interrupt or limit the flow of water to Egypt and Sudan for several years, and could permanently alter the amount of water those countries are able to draw from the river.  For decades, Cairo has held sole authority over Nile water allocation under a colonial-era agreement signed in 1959 by Sudan, Egypt and the United Kingdom. Cairo has accordingly taken issue with Addis Ababa's dam and has launched a diplomatic and economic offensive to win the other Nile River Basin countries to its side in an effort to halt the project. Questions remain about Ethiopia's ability to finance the dam's construction but, given Egypt's dependence on water from the Nile, Cairo will use any tool at its disposal to stop the project, including military force if necessary. See: Hour 2, Block C,  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, on, "Earlier, several Egyptian politicians were filmed during a debate on the Nile waters row threatening to arm Ethiopian rebels to destroy the dam, or to suggest Egypt was boosting its military air power and could bomb the project.  It appears the politicians were unaware that their comments were being aired live."


Hour One

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 1, Block A:  Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management , in re: last night, Chinese interbank lending suddenly bolted u to 25%.  Problem is, Chinese shadow banking system and formal banking system are not really to separate entities – they're tied together.  WSJ said that he silver lining is that reform is coming, that PBoC is serious about reform; the trick s hat the Chinese have waited so log that they’ve painted themselves into a corner; real systemic risk of domino effect.  To try to rein in credit growth – even just dial it back – involves a high-wire act of not pushing banks into default.    Some say that this is all about  the Fed, that hot money went into China and now it's ebbing; there's a story there that's real, but it's not dominant; this is a home-grown story.  Rolling over bad debt has gravely stressed the Chinese banking system. Last few months, a carry trade: Chinese were borrowing in dollars, enter China in form of faked export receipts, . . .    construction steel, heavy eqpt, demand in China has fallen off – not enough financing in China to fund that.  Fed QQE may have caused some inflows, but the carry trade was icing on the cake. 

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Edward W Hayes, criminal defense attorney par excellence, in re: [Eddie played a part in Goodfellas]   Tony Soprano was a vulnerable mobster, also embodied the code. "I'm not sure they ever operated like that [hard-work and honesty ethos], but they sure don't now."  When  . . .  "Mafia cops" charged with multiple murders.  Umberto's;  Joey Gallo.  Govt has done a wonderful job of . .. .   Westies, Irish gang, were all junkies.  I represented a Mafia killer who was a genuine tough guy.  Some of these squat overweight guys'll beat you to death with a club.  Some mobsters were sensitive: you get a guy spent his whole life in crime, has an attractive child who'll be a lawyer – he comes in the office, starts to cry.  Wanna hear a good gangster story ?  --  Sorry, no time!

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Lara M Brown, political analyst and author, and Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: Washington is a town about separation of powers an checks and balances –  which is as the founders designed it – if you want something done, you have to work with other people. As a result, the Tea Party is disillusioned. The noise you hear abt Rubio is from paid pundits and bloggers whose faces are always on TV. 

GOP not fighting Harry Reid's effort to cut short immigration debate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters following a Democratic strategy . . . There was a mild uproar Tuesday when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would move to bring the immigration debate to a close as early as Friday, less than two weeks after it began  Senate immigration deal includes tougher border security 
Senators include stronger border security steps in the immigration reform bill.  
Republicans battle GOP colleagues amid drive toward immigration bill voteSenate immigration deal would double number of US border agents

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles: lined with old palm growth. Speeding Mercedes, Michael Hastings at he wheel; it speeds through a red before the crash.  Dash cam shows intense flames; water; coroner speaks of a badly-burned body. At a high rate of speed, doesn’t take much to go far unintentionally. In journalism, he did a profile of Stanley McChrystal that brought him down. Authority lies with civilian chief. Dash cam belongs to an LA free-lancer. Talk abt Jill Kelly or CIA in next article, paranoid? FBI comment: it’s a simple auto accident. 

"You can 'prove' discrimination if the result of your action is some sort of quota [id'd by the govt], you’re discriminating."  See: Mt Holly [more]t Holy vs Mt Holly Garden Citizens in Action], living in terrible conditions for violations of housing code.   Last year, Magna vs Gallagher was before the Supreme Court; current nominee for Secy of Labor, Tom Perez, had the case withdrawn.  Same issue now before Supreme Court again.  Multipurpose weapon: not jus the Consumer Bureau looking at banks, or DOJ extorting, also Equal Oppty Commission has decided to outlaw criminal outlaw checks on racial grounds.


Hour Two

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  .Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, and Congressman Eliot Engel, Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in re: Delighted with the president's change in policy anent arming the Syrian rebels: to the Free Syrian Army led by Idriss, the ones we need to help; not ideal, but it's the best of the groups.  The US and NATO, other countries with an interest – Saudi, Turkey – there's too much at stake to allow the balance . . . A very difficult situation; Secy Kerry want to stir the pot, thinks he can get things going; more power to him, but it's [the same ol' people].  Kerry going back in a week to Pal Authority although they, with a debt of $4bil, rejected Kerry's offer of aid and [dissed him].  EE: At some point I imagine the Congress will cut off aid to them.  . . .   The price the PA is paying is: the Pal.-Isr. conflict is taking aback seat to Syria & Iran (the Iranians are watching closely, btw);   I think their dispute has moved to a back burner and the parade is passing them by.

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Andrew Tabler, senior Fellow, Washington Institute, in re: – Syria.  Policy change? A shift, a twist, not clear. Supreme Armed Council, largely-exiled coalition – did not use the words "lethal assistance." Do you see any way for them to create a unified group that could hold Syria together? Until now, all that kept 'em together was heir wish to push Assad form power. As for one political body with linear structure, no Stepping in to t hat milieu have been Arab Gulf and North Africans, arming some elements in Syria, some of the units have become most effective.  We need to work w the moderate oppo while destroying the [groups] on the far right. Time is short, but the war in Syria is long.   May 23 Pres Obama speech at Natl Defense University: "Every war must come to an end."  Russia: if we don’t arm people in their time of need against Assad, then all the incoming weapons will go to extremists.  Arming people w Kalashnikovs is difference from arming antiaircraft weapons, US has one part of its policy right:  need to stabilize . . .  transition to a stable majority – to Russians this means Assad staying on. I can say that he won the last election by 97% of the vote, so he'll absolutely win the next one.  Neighboring countries cannot bear the outflow of refugees.

Syria's Collapse and How Washington Can Stop It  Syria is melting down. The ruling regime’s attempt to shoot its way out of the largest uprising it has ever faced has killed over 80,000 people and displaced roughly half of Syria’s population of 22 million. If the current monthly death tolls of around 6,000 keep up, Syria will by August hit a grim milestone: 100,000 killed, a number that it took almost twice as long to reach in Bosnia in the early 1990s. This a full two years after U.S. President Barack Obama pronounced that President Bashar al-Assad needed to “step aside.”

Comparisons to the Balkans do not suffice to describe the crisis in Syria, however. The real danger is . . .  [more]

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  . . .  Khybar film played during Ramadan: viciously anti-Jewish.  Bringing in Malians and MENA Arabs to . . .  Egyptians looking at a serious situation; attempt to divert Nile waters could lead to a war [v: Egyptian parliamentarians's rough speech against Ethiopia and Sudan to an open mic].  In 2010, late one night, the provocation abt the Gaza blockade.  PM Erdogan welcomed Hamas leadership  Ankara; incitement training, 100,000 children and teens in summer camps being train in mil action. 

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Emanuele Ottolenghi, FDD, in re:  Iranian Elections and Regional Implications. EU & Hezbollah.  Leading reformist figure not in jail in Khatami.  Rohani is not a reformer; was a dissident cleric in the last years of the Shah; accompanied Khomeini to Paris when he was kicked out of Iran. Rohani joined the revolution was always n security and defense, World of clerical studies + intelligence.  During Rafsanjani presidency:  regime ordered slaughter of Jews and non-Jews in Argentine, murders across Europe; the executive committee, so to speak, in charge of deciding to carry out ops included Rohani, at least according to the Argentine prosecutor.  Close assoc of Khamenei – met him on a train in 1967 – and ______; in close proximity blt the mil & defense establishment of the Islamic Republic, which led to investment in nuclear. Rafsanjani is called the father of the nuke program.  Wd Rohani have either the power or the will to re-open discussions with the West on nukes? His election was because he populace wants a change but he regime feels no obligation to accede. A lot of clandestine nuke facilities that have been exposed were dvpd in his watch.  Washington understands that this vote has substantive meaning but is overestimating how much we can get out of this. Clearly the regime is under stress. Time frame is short for nuke negotiations.  If Europe doesn’t play swiftly we're back in the decades-long game.

Hour Three

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 3, Block A:   Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Gravesites from Fourth Century BCE being plundered for sale of antiquities; Morsi appoints  crew to, in effect, assist Salafists in grave-robberies.    -   murders in the last centuries.  Muslim Brotherhood opposes any markings; destroys ages-old memorials, incl in Saudi.  Collapse of economy limits available resources.  Khybar film shown on Egyptian TV during Ramadan, when people watch TV a lot: about the time of the Prophet when people challenged Jews; the Jewish tribes of Medina who were conquered were treated with extreme cruelty and were expelled in 642 AD.   Rohani was Secy of Iranian Supreme Natl Security Council, oversaw bombings in Buenos Aires, killed 85 and wounded hundreds. Middle Eastern psychosis  of blaming Jews for he considerable troubles in societies.  Erdogan claims that Turkey's protests are caused by Jews! He incites teenaged boys who then attack Jews because they've been prodded to do so.

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, special analyst for the Middle East at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in re: Most of Egyptian economy based n tourism – hotels, boats on Nile, etc., mostly belong to the military, hence this is touchy topic. Talk of army's  intervention if Egypt reaches "the abyss" – no one knows when. On 30 June, huge demo planned, millions protest regime of Muslim Brothers; army warned that if the MB uses violence vs the citizens, the army will intervene.  Tantawi team was all aged 75 or more; ne team is in early sixties; today the Egyptian army understands it's the only alternative to the MB, in which case Egypt will fall into uncontrollable havoc, no security, Americans put in jail so US will stop funding.  Morsi makes speeches to Islamists on diversion of Nile waters; 1920s treaty by Brits sends 85% of water to Egypt and 15% to Ethiopia;  obviously needs revision.  Morsi unwilling to attack Egypt's main problems.  This is time for the US to stand back and be silent; it did enough by helping Morsi into power.

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 3, Block C: The Israel Test by George Gilder (1 of 2)  "The Israel Test spoke to me with unexpected power. Apart from being brilliantly, fiercely written, its merit lies in clarifying, in a . . . "

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 3, Block D: The Israel Test by George Gilder (2 of 2)

Hour Four

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Michael Balter, SCIENCENOW,

in re:  Science Shot: Earliest Ear Bones Sound Off on Human Hearing  Two-million-year-old fossils from human relatives reveal insights to language development

Fossils May Pinpoint Critical Split Between Apes and Monkeys  Key evolutionary event eventually gave rise to human beings.

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Michael Balter , in re: How Long Did Neandertals Breastfeed ... - News - Science.    ScienceNOW Barium levels in the teeth of this Neandertal child suggest that it was partly weaned at 227 days after birth and ..

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: The competition heats up: At a briefing at the Paris Air Show this week Arianespace admitted that its planned accelerated upgrades to Ariane 5 are intended to counteract the competition from both Russia’s Proton and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets. Bravo competition. It energizes everything.

Update: This long article specifically discusses how Arianespace is scrambling to meet the competition. Key quote:

     A 3D printer intended for installation on ISS in 2014 has successfully proven it can work in weightlessness.  Three prototype versions of space manufacturing startup Made in Space’s 3D printer showed their stuff during four airplane flights that achieved brief periods of microgravity via parabolic maneuvers, company officials announced today [June 19].   “The 3D printer we’re developing for the ISS is all about enabling astronauts today to be less dependent on Earth,” Noah Paul-Gin, Made in Space’s microgravity experiment lead, said in a statement. “The version that will arrive on the ISS next year has the capability of building an estimated 30 percent of the spare parts on the station, as well as various objects such as specialty tools and experiment upgrades.” If this claim is true, this printer will do a lot to make interplanetary space travel far more likely. It will mean that travelers far from home will be able to manufacture the spare parts they need, on demand, should something break. This will save a lot of weight, compared to carrying pre-made spare parts

      We don’t need no stupid government: Planetary Resources’ Kickstarter campaign to raise money to build its Arkyd Space Telescope has reached its million dollar goal.

     The real cause behind the plane crash that killed Yuri Gagarin in 1968.

Thursday 20 June   2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Lou Ann Hammond,, in re:  NADA: Prices of Used Plug-in Electric Vehicles to Drop 30% in 2013

GM Makes Big Move Up in J.D. Power Quality Survey

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