Thursday 22 June 2017
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal and Opinion Journal and Foreign Edition; and Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Ben Taleblu, FDD, in re: Iran’s use of ballistic missiles in the Syrian theater (“against takfiri”). Regime doesn't acknowledge the population’s enormous frustration and dissatisfaction, instead blames the attack on its parliament on ethnic minorities, here: Baluchi and Kurds. Cannot at this stage confirm that it was by ISIS. . . . Kermanshah is majority Kurdish; other ethnic minorities helped with this attack. Regime’s heavy-handed encourages more attacks. As ISIS tends to vanish, creates this other problem: US forces moving ever-closer to encounter with Iranian [stooges] and thence to encounter with Russians. Plan A ought to be actively to roll back IRGC influence. Is Russia using Iran to weaken US, and thereby strengthen Assad? Syria is an existential issue with Iran. Last time it fired these missiles was at the MEK. Mohamed bin Salman, 31, the dauphin and defense minister: keen on private enterprise. Those in Iran who are itching for a fight with Saudis will find a tougher opponent in the dauphin.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Mary Kissel, in re: Holman Jenkins in WSJ on Uber and the defenestration of Travis Kalanick, the CEO and founder. Bad male behavior; brought in former Attorney General to clean it up; many firings. Demonstrates that you can break up govt monopolies. GA-6 & SC-5. Now Pelosi is being blamed by Democrats for the two losses. Today’s Democratic party was dragged to the left by Pres Obama, and Nancy Pelosi is a creature of that.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Francis Rose, host of Government Matters, ABC7 in Washington, D.C.; in re: Veterans’ Administration. Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin has proposed the Choice Program; Congress didn't anticipate how popular it would be and awarded it insufficient money. Last week had $821 mil, down from $2 bil in March.
The whole federal govt: is gloomy, “what will happen to me?” OMB released a memo, “Reducing the size of the federal work force.”
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Jeff Bliss, California reporter; in re: The revival of LA and Hollywood sound stages. Sunset and Bronson: some studios haven't been fully occupied since the 1930s. Others operated till the 1970s and are being revived. Studios and sound stages restored. Streaming content! Govt breaks being returned by increased employment.
Elon Musk: wants to bore tunnels under LA for traffic. Need boring machinery to dig faster and cleaner than elsewhere. Also: Hyperloop – moving capsules with people in them in tubes just below supersonic speeds [below 768 mph]; around the state and maybe across the country. Jerry Brown’s bullet train isn’t working out; powerful people interested in Musk’s proposal.
San Bernardino, an inland city, key in mfrg. San Jose: want to create a downtown village in e heart of Googleland. These digital cabals are as big as Standard Oil once was.
The El Al Report, national airline of Israel
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block A: Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), in re: International Fund, peace process, endangered minorities.
The three recent attacks, vehicular in Finsbury and on Champs Elysees, and a suicide bomber n Brussels. These stories last one day and evanesce – we're getting used to it! Constant repetition of the same scene; shock, sorrow, 24 ours – “terror fatigue.” Hannah Arendt, the banality of evil. We're missing those who are motivated by twisted theology and using it to create violence and kill. As evil as ISIS has been to Yazidis and Christians, most of their victims have been entirely innocent Muslims. Public executions, mostly by ISIS but also by Iran and others, largely ignored by Americans. The 911 attackers and the lure of Western culture. Legislation: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan (who are only one story in the region); how to establish goodwill, trust, and continuity thereof, to create the [foundation] for peace? Once both peoples are benefitting from [working together?], it’s harder to separate.
Jeff Fortenberry represents Nebraska’s First Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee. He serves on three subcommittees with importance for our national and economic security: Energy and Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and State and Foreign Operations. In Congress, Jeff serves as co-chair of the Nuclear Security Working Group, co-chair of the Caucus on Religious Minorities in the Middle East, and co-chair of the Congressional Study Group on Europe. Prior to serving in Congress, Jeff worked as a publishing industry executive in Lincoln, where he also served on the Lincoln City Council from 1997-2001. Jeff also has significant personal experience in small business, public policy analysis, and economic development. Jeff earned a bachelor's degree in economics and two master's degrees, one in public policy.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: Eli Lake, Bloomberg View, in re: CIA; Pres Obama; Qatar. MbS (Mohamed bin Salman, age 31), the new Saudi dauphin: torture prisons in Yemen, but Saudi military failure in Yemen is not good. When he takes the reins of power, he’ll probably carry a real animosity toward Iran. Relations with Morocco, Egypt, the border regions, and Israel? Don’t need to assume that Qataris will evermore be in their present position; pressure on right now for a course correction. Pres Obama used Oman as a a back-channel to start the nuclear talks [sent Valerie Jarrett there repeatedly; Pres Obama repeatedly denied this even though her seat numbers are known]. Iran firing ballistic missiles into Syria — quite serious. Note that Pres Trump does not need the Iranian deal. Expect more intell activities, targeted sanctions, and other pressures to stymie Iranian [bad behavior]. US sells F-15s to Qatar despite the other tensions.
Eli Lake is a Bloomberg View columnist. 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 22 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block C: Omri Ceren, The Israel Project; in re: Iran and Syria. Iran fired ballistic missiles into Syria last week; Iran wants us to pay attention. Message to its neighbors, and that Iran can hit the US Centcom base. Iran can put any kind of warhead on them that it decides to. This was the fear of critics of he Ian deal: If you unleash Iran, it's almost impossible to put them back in a box. The UN SG today backed off criticism. May mean that Iran can send missiles all over the Middle East, which may be a harbinger of the fruition of our worst fears. One hopes the Trump Adm can bring them to heel. JCPOA: where do we stand on it now? We don’t know. When things begin to spiral, you see a loss of pretense, and choices narrow, Iran deal left the US with few options, and Iran is now operating in several lanes with ferocity. Puts the rest of the world, esp financial institutions, in a special way: Iran is not a safe bet – do not finance plane or oil deals with them. Do not assume that the late-Obama years will hold. Military analyst said to me There’s a rush toward the areas being liberated from ISIS rule, but US on one side and Iranian assets on the other where Iran wants to solidify its land bridge to the Med – the Shi’ite Crescent. As both sides progress, eventually our fire will cross with their fire. And Russia is on the other side. Scary. As ISIS is degraded and dispersed, someone will have to fill that space.
DoD speaking f rules of engagement; Iran kidnapped our sailors. Treasury looks at hundreds of Iranian entities for sanctionable non-nuclear ativites. State instructed to think how to approach orur allies: US no longer in hbte business of accommodating Iramn.
Omri Ceren is the Managing Director for Press and Strategy at The Israel Project. He is a political operative and an academic who has been involved in politics and journalism for over a decade, with a focus on Israel and Iran issues. Ceren is a Ph.D. Candidate in Communication at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Anna Borshchevskaya, Washington Institute, in re: Russia and Syria. Russian aircraft buzzes US warplane over the Baltic, then rolls to show that it's armed. Nonetheless, neither side wants a direct war; in fact, Putin knows that in air-to-air combat, he’ll lose. US shooting of SU22: Russia sees that the US and its allies are gaining ground and doesn’t lie that. Deconfliction lines are open. As ISIS loses ground in Syria, US and allies gaining ground and Putin wants to ensure that he and his allies take up that space. Room here for an accident. As ISIS retreats, leaves the remains of the Euphrates River valley, US forces are closer and closer to Iranian forces supported by Russia. If the US is shot at, the US will shoot back. Iran is depopulating Syrian regions and inserting Shi’ites. Meeting yesterday ‘twixt high-level US and Russian officials. Russia hit hard by sanctions on dual-use exports. How much pain is Putin willing to take? So far, a lot. MbS in Saudi: Putin emphasizes oil.
Anna Borshchevskaya is the Ira Weiner Fellow at The Washington Institute, focussing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East. In addition, she is a Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and was previously with the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the Atlantic Council. A former analyst for a U.S. military contractor in Afghanistan, she has also served as communications director at the American Islamic Congress.
The El Al Report, national airline of Israel
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, in re: Jared Kushner, and Mssrs Greenblatt (special envoy) and Amb David Friedman in Israel to confer with Abbas on payments by PA to people who’ve murdered Israelis. A point considered most important by Pres Trump. Abbas was upset, and may come up with a scheme to route payments through some nominally human-interest organization, but the fact remains that PA will keep paying jihadi killers’s families, and teaching small children to be jihadi-killers of Jews and Israelis.
Most Gazans now want the PA to take over, which will have angered Hamas.
UNESCO: 2 July meetings in Cracow, World heritage Committee; will declare that most-ancient Christian and Jewish sites must be identified only by Arabic names – declare that Christian and Jewish sites are Muslim holy sites despite no mention in Qur’an, and speaks of the historical State of Palestine— which does not currently and never in history has existed.
Hamas built tunnels under children’s schools. The New UN SG is . . . disappointing: the UN establishment rolls on, but he does not control the agencies.
Palestinian demanding a Palestinian right of return into Israeli territory, not Palestinian. Closer ties between Jordan and Israel because ISIS is targeting Jordan.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Emily Landau, Institute for National Security Studies (Israel), in re: Iran has fired ballistic missiles into Syria; US shot down a Syrian Sukhoi; many conflicts. Seems to be less between US and ISIS, more between US and Iran. US is pushing back. No longer turn a blind eye to Iranian provocations. Iran purportedly retaliated for attack in Teheran by ISIS, but it was also a statement to Israel and US that Iran will shoot. Note that Iran has most actively created the provocations.
China and energy rotes, keeping maritime passage open.
Emily Landau is a senior research Fellow at INSS and head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program, leading its research, conference outreach, and mentorship projects. Dr. Landau has published and lectured extensively on nuclear proliferation, arms control, and regional security dynamics in the Middle East; WMD proliferation challenges in the post-Cold War era; Israel's nuclear image and policy; and developments in global arms control thinking in the nuclear realm.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block C: Richard A Epstein, Chicago Law, NYU Law, Hoover Institution; in re: Offensive trademarks: Disparagement Clause anent “The Slants” rock band name, which has been judged (Supreme Court, 8 - 0) a name acceptable to be trademarked. Probably protects the Washington Redskins. If a word/phrase in fact is too offensive, can sue for defamation.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block D: Richard A Epstein, Chicago Law, NYU Law, Hoover Institution; in re: Gerrymandering: good ol’ fashioned partisanship. Begun by Mr Gerry (pron: guerry) in Massachusetts. Now Judge Ripple says that divvying up a voting area to favor one party is wrong Turns out that the party that gets to do the gerrymandering almost always wins; that it's a powerful action. Majority/minority districts. If you distort one district, you have to distort all of them A genuine mess. Certiorari; stayed the Wisconsin election pending Supreme Court decision.
We have blue cities; it's red in much of the rest of the country. Experts on this stuff know so much that a trial judge will be overwhelmed. “I don’t want any human being to design the districts” – let a computer decide, which takes the abuse out of the system.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to Pres Donald Trump; in re: Finsbury, Paris and Brussels attacks. Sigint and technical intelligence are all good, but human intelligence is what lets us stop an attack before it's executed. Paris: drove a vehicle into the center of the Champs Elysees. SWAT team showed up swiftly; bystanders were “normalizing vehicular attack!” While that may be new to Europeans, it's not at the grand strategic level – Israelis have lived with this for years. Guerrilla warfare of the present.
The Moroccan in Brussels wandered into a train station with a nail-laden bomb. “Look for the highest density of unarmed civilians; create the greatest mount of terror for the least investment.”
Georgia-6: Border security and ISIS defeat are still important to the voters here; even important to us in New York. Nov 8, 2016, election: people are still concerned about their safety. Nothing in that has changed since January 20. What’s worrisome is that Europeans and even Americans are responding to these attacks as though they were normal.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Prof. Brenda Shaffer, Georgetown University Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies; in re: Iranians cleave to a cultural-nationalist view. Until the Twentieth Century, Persian dynasties were Turkic. Pahlavi was Azerbaijani. Qadjars were Kurdish.
Iranian regime is arresting Kurds and Baluchis. Of the 31 Iranian provinces, three in NW Iran: E & W Azerbaijan, and Erdebil.
In early June there was a terrorist attack in Iran; ISIS took responsibility and was blamed, but regime is now moving against Baluchi (southern Iran) and Kurds (from the north). These suggest not an ISIS connection but provides an excuse for the regime to round up possible political opponents. Ethic minorities tend to speak their own language; some are Sunni. These groups tend to be clustered near the border. Turkmen at Mashhad, etc. Iran supports Christian Armenia rather than Muslim Azerbaijan because it fears a strong Azerbaijan. Fifty per cent of Iranian population is non-Persian.
Shirin Ebadi has a stellar human rights record vis-à-vis Iran.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com and author, Capitalism in Space, in re: Iridium!* What goes wrong with Big Space (Congressmen, SLS and Russia). Twenty-five kinds of launch spaces[?] out of French Guiana.
Iridium, which will soon deorbit its legacy satellites, is about to launch 75 of 81 of its Next satellites, using Falcon 9 Rockets. May use used first stages (consider cost, reliability, schedule). John Batchelor will speak with Matt Desch, the CEO, in coming days.
Big Space: a California Congressman wants to limit competition in solid-fuel rocket boosters. Oxydizer is ammonia perchlorate; there used to be two US companies that made it, but they merged and are struggling financially – owners are the Huntsman family of Utah. The proposed bill would force us to buy all ammonia perchlorate from Huntsman’s company.
SLS delayed again. Government in INaction. Forget 2018, push it back to 2019 – oops, try late 2018 or else 2020. Pres Bush proposed it in 2004; one unmanned mission, fifteen years, $38 billion. NASA could have bought 422 FalconX launches!
Roskosmos Soyuz capsules have been used since 1967; now are building Federation, a replacement capsule, due in early ‘Twenties. Circumlunar missions for tourists. A different Roskosmos division is trying to capture a large part of the small sat industry; up in July
* The Iridium satellite constellation is a satellite constellation providing voice and data coverage to satellite phones, pagers and integrated transceivers over the Earth's entire surface. Iridium Communications owns and operates the constellation and sells equipment and access to its services.
Thursday 22 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: Robert Zimmerman, BehindtheBlack,com and author, Capitalism in Space, in re: Ariana Space, once European big space, now transformed into a commercial enterprise doing well with big space eqpt. Subsidized in the past; now lowering prices and aiming to profitability. Have 53 launches scheduled over the coming five years with 28 customers; and 35 with other rockets.
Russians are in competition but don’t yet understand competition very well.
Cassini, Dr Linda Spilker - Cassini Project Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: revelations of Saturn and its moons, esp Titan. A spectacular success, like a lot of NASA’s planetary probes. Cassini is running out of fuel, has to end. No planned follow-up mission! Human race is moving out into the solar system
Kuiper Belt*: hypothesis of a ninth (tenth?) planet is disproven until it suddenly wasn’t disproven.
* While many asteroids are composed primarily of rock and metal, most Kuiper belt objects are composed largely of frozen volatiles (termed "ices"), such as methane, ammonia and water. The Kuiper belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets: Pluto, Haumea, and Makemake.