The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 21 March 2019

Air Date: 
March 21, 2019

Co-hosts: Sebastian Gorka, Salem Radio, and national security strategist at Fox News;  and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Hour One
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 1, Block A: Sebastian Gorka, in re:  Most NATO nations refuse to pay the 2% of their national budgets that they committed to long ago and have failed to pay for generations. “Who’d join a club where everyone but you refused to pay dues, and you’re left to pay the check at the end?”   The US president has increased the US defense budget by an increment greater than the entire German defense budget. China supports Venezuela [in its death pangs].  How about the “North and South Atlantic Treaty Alliance” so Brazil can join?
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 1, Block B: Sebastian Gorka, in re:  The American who now say thy espouse socialism have no idea what occurred in the socialist-communist nations during the Twentieth Century  . . .  Hitler murdered 6 million; Mao killed between 50 and 60 million. “On the road to Nirvana, the penultimate phase is formally called ‘dictatorship of the proletariat.’ They acknowledge that it’s a dictatorship.”
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 1, Block C: Bill Whelan, Hoover, in re: Beto O’Rourke. Can he stoke the [flames]?  Jury is still out.  What separates him from the crowd?   Is there a metric for hopping on counters? . . .
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 1, Block D: Bill Henderson, Hoover, in re: Alan Krueger [economist who was the James Madison Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research] was part of the debate on minimum wage. Unions pushing for $15/hr minimum wage, esp for franchises, on the theory that that would help workers.  Kruger’s thought on this:  When a minimum wage increased of 20% did not aversely affect fast food workers in New Jersey, but he held that $15 would almost certainly cost jobs‑ because the added expense to small businesses would definitely reduce the number of low-skilled jobs available.  Also, hours would be cut back; some would lose their job; restaurants looking for methods of self-service. 
Occupational licensing makes it hard for people to get on the first rung of the ladder. The licensure is part of the “the administrative state.”
Hour Two
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 2, Block A:  Dennis Ross, in re: The state of Hamas’s grip on Gaza; the future of PA leadership;  Israeli elections. Gazans rallied, chanted “We want to live!” over four days of protest.  Gazans protesting against Hamas’s brutality.  Hamas still has much power to keep people under their thumb, but this is a reminder that [it’s not Israel that created the problems].  Complete frustration and exhaustion from Hamas’s [maladministration]– a Palestinian set himself afire!  They also attacked journalists: “You're not telling our story” -  you’d rather build tunnels than tell what we’re undergoing.  
Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served for two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 2, Block B:  Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: Gaza and Hamas. The regrettable corruption.
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 2, Block C:  Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: Purim, first under an ancient Persian king, probably Xerxes: king searched and chose Esther as his new queen; she exposed Haman’s evil plot to murder all Jews; Haman was executed. The events are still celebrated with wild costumes, tri-cornered hats, food.
Recognition today by UNIFIL of six tunnels already crossed into Israel. Iranian-based cell found on the Golan, plotting against infrastructure.
ISIS was a significant threat in the northern Golan. Agreement that Hamas would be 60-80 km north of the border; not honored.
University misbehavior, where Jewish students have been maltreated. University  (SF State?) was obliged to back down; all students affected by discriminatory acts. 
Syria is ruined.  Reconstruction bill of $250 billion, Russia demurs, as do the Europeans. US wants not return to status quo ante, but stability with new leadership. 
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 2, Block D: General Ram Yavne, in re: Syria; Hezbollah’s secret cell on the Golan border; Lebanon. The cell represents a broader phenomenon: Iranians are making an independent effort . . .  Hezbollah gathering information in Golan Heights. Iranians are bldg mil capabilities without consulting Assad.  Because he’s dependent on them, he permits them to do this.  Efforts to separate Lebanon from Iran? The new govt is endeavoring to weaken Hezbollah; need a success-oriented policy of conditional support. Also, give more political backing to moderate forces. Otherwise, Lebanon is on its way to more Iranian influence, and Shi’a and even Sunni activity.  In other words:  Lebanon is a failed state. 

General Ram Yavne is the visiting IDF Military Fellow at JINSA. General Yavne has served in the IDF for 32 years. He served as the Head of the Strategic Division in the Planning Directorate of the IDF General Staff (J5) from 2015-2018. He previously also served as the head of the Regional Strategy Department, the senior intelligence officer in the IDF's Northern Command, and in other key intelligence positions. Brigadier General Yavne holds a Master's degree in Political Science and Bachelor's degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and History from Haifa University, and he is a graduate of both the IDF Staff & Command College and the Israeli National Defense College. He also received training under the auspices of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.
Hour Three
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 3, Block A: Eli Lake, in re: Iran sanctions/waivers.  Bibi visits the US.  Iran wants us to know that it’s bldg two new nuclear plants (info c0ming from Iranian nuclear energy agency). Provocation? Sure – that’s normal. The one place they've tried not to make noise is the Iran nuclear deal, which they think they can retrieve if a Democrat wins in 2020. Trump: extend the waivers to Taiwan and several other nations?   . . . No done deal that there’ll be no exemptions. If they don't get rid of exemptions by 2 May, they'll stay till after the 2020 election.
Bibi has a unique and special relationship to the US president. Now, Pres Trump even tweets that it's ’way past time for the US to acknowledge Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.  At some point in the long horizon, with a [stable] Syrian govt, Israelis might trade land for peace. Palestinians have little faith that the US is looking our for their well-being. 
Eli Lake is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI.
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 3, Block B: David Pollock, in re: Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait.  Iraq: After the Kurds in October 2017 to have a referendum on independence from Iraq – to secede from Iraq rather than have autonomy – which passed by an overwhelming majority Iranian militias fought; Kurds lost a third of their territory and half their oil, incl Kirkuk. The situation has now stabilized; Kurds are back more or less to where they were before 2014: still have autonomy  in a smaller region where 6 million Kurds live in relative stability. Are friendly to the US and resentful of Iranian influence in their territory. They’re worried about continuing American support. Have affinity with other Kurds, but are first focused on their own situation.
Hysterical worries about a pan-Kurdistan is misguided, with Erdogan as a [prime example]. Tumult after the referendum ; and acceptance of their situation and determination to make the best of it.
        Jordan: demonstrations are focussed on internal economics, not on foreign policy.   The govt, and King Abdullah, are [very pro-American].  The Muslim Brotherhood, despite Jordan’s economic problems, the Jerusalem matter, and Palestinian issues – despite all these, the MB has not increased its popular support in Jordan beyond its normal 25%. 
David Pollock, the Bernstein fellow at The Washington Institute, focuses on the political dynamics of Middle East countries. He is the director of Project Fikra, a program of research, publication, and network-building designed to generate policy ideas for promoting positive change and countering the spread of extremism in the Middle East. At the forefront of this effort is Fikra Forum, a unique Arabic-English bilingual online platform that promotes exchanges between mainstream Muslims and Arab democrats and U.S. decision makers and opinion leaders.
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 3, Block C:  Devin Nunes, Congressional Representative (R-CA 22nd District); House Intell Ranking member, in re: Lawsuit; House ethics. Concerning Tom Joscelyn, of LongWarJournal and FDD: a top-notch guy.   I asked Tom to walk someone who’s never heard of al Qaeda through how it formed, and what it’s become. ISIS basically emerged from al Qaeda; al Q still simmers in many places, is around the globe, incl Western Africa, the Mahgeb, and elsewhere. Affiliates all around. There will be a terrorist attack again.
Somalia, Mogadishu, a sad story of the Clinton Administration, Did the US recognize al Q that early? No - missed signals; of which in fact there have been many. The US govt misses signals, need to miss only one for a catastrophe. We need to use our counterterrorism capabilities that we've built up over twenty years – use them against terrorists rather then domestic political campaigns. I think we should not try to work with the Taliban in any way; were going through the same chapter of the experts’s handbook (which has failed). Tom Joscelyn isn’t political at all; he speaks of al Qaeda.  His background doesn’t jibe with a left algorithm which has been policing tweets for years and censors him.  It's totally ridiculous.  Devin is taking twitter to court for censorship. They get special deals: they have a special deal where they're supposedly treated as a public square, but they censor conservatives and even apolitical Tom Joscelyn. They’re a danger to American society because essential information is [silenced] – won’t even let us use phrases like “radical Islamic terrorism.”
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 3, Block D:  Chris Riegel,, in re: European markets.  An FT op-ed on big tech – FAANG, et al.  The EU regulators are looking to constrain it – break it up, or extract revenue. In the US, Elizabeth Warren has echoed these remarks. 
       The less govt interference in business, the better. Let the market/consumer decide – this is the art of creative destruction. As the govt gets in the middle, it creates more problems..  While Amazon employs 600K people and has 50% of the market, bricks and mortar still dominates. 
      J P Morgan and maybe Buffet are interested in joining with Amazon in health care: disrupts the monopoly in the hands of the insurers and the govt. It's 20% of GDP. 
The EU desire is to break up American, not European, tech! Also, to grab the tax revenue. In a time pinch, I recently bought a piece of luggage at Macy’s, got it immediately — and paid $200 more than I would have on Amazon.   . . .  Retail and tech bring jobs and opportunity – let the market pick, not government.   It's no longer a national stage, but a global stage.
Hour Four
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 4, Block A: Gene Marks, Washington Post, et al.; in re: Small-business America
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 4, Block B: Gene Marks, Washington Post, et al.; in re: Small-business America
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 4, Block C: Bob Zimmerman,, in re: Space
Thursday 21 March 2019/ Hour 4, Block D: Bob Zimmerman,, in re: Space