The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 25 July 2013

Air Date: 
July 25, 2013

Photo, above: Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, who's been imprisoned in Evin Prison since 2006, has spoken in favor of tolerance; of separation of religion and state; of fraternity with Jews, "God's children," and against the regime, says it’s using religion as bullies as did bin Laden.  (See Hour 2, Block C, Mohsen Sazegara; also: Secularism in Iran)


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

Hour One

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Jim McTague, Barron's Washington, in re: Obama Vows to Bypass Congress on Infrastructure Projects  Pres Obama's speech is Groundhog Day.   Tax reform? He doesn't know how to fix the economy. Bernanke on the Hill: If you want the economy to grow, housing has to recover fully, which in turn requires the mortgage market to be fully cleaned up.  Although the Fed chairman made these remarks, no one in the White House was listening.  Ezra Klein. bold water-carrier for this Administration, offers Larry Summers's name as Fed chair nominee.  A "provocative" choice, considered reckless. Alternative: Janet Yellin, the SF dove.   Savers: as the stock market goes up, the value of your savings goes down.  We may be in for a bout of inflation . . .

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Edward W Hayes, criminal defense attorney par excellence, in re: "Weiner is a creep."  All of a sudden, Bill Thompson, Jr, (b. July 1953) is leading in the polls – a very decent guy, born in Bed-Stuy; former comptroller of New York, oversaw pension fund – which was hugely mismanaged, but "he's the only guy in the race who doesn’t make you want to throw up."   Bloomberg is supporting Christine Quinn, who's against stop and frisk, while Thompson is lukewarm for it. Stop and frisk refers to the police stopping anyone who looks suspicious to them; this is massively disproportionately done in Black neighborhoods. The biggest new group entering the NYPD are Hispanics, many of whom are young and come from the streets.  MK: "Bill Thompson didn’t fix anything."  EH: "This is New York, Mary."

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Tim Wilson, Director of Climate Change Policy & the IP and Free Trade Unit, Institute of Public Affairs, Melbourne, in re:  Australia Adopts Tough Measures to Curb Asylum Seekers  A policy to deal with a record number of asylum seekers would deny permission to settle in the country to anyone who arrives by boat without a visa. Solution is to send everyone to a processing center in Papua New Guinea. UNHCR objects; govt has not much to say in response. About 100 people a day are arriving. Australians are insecure about protecting and defending the nation. 

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re: "Phony scandals"  - tea party groups's applications stalled in some cases for years, preventing them from raising funds during election cycles. At the top of the deciding crew is Mr Wilkins, a political op for the Democrats.  When the president first heard of this in May, he was "outraged" – and now his press flack calls it "phony."

Noonan: Fortress IRS  “The IRS traditionally consults with the Treasury Department on tax administration aspects of administration budget proposals, and it is not unusual for a Treasury budget proposal to have its origin in IRS suggestions.  We are also quick to respond to the tax writing committees and their staffs when they want to access IRS experience.  Treasury Tax Policy is the voice of the administration on possible legislative changes . . . [more] Wilkins was a Hill staffer before he went into private practice, not unusual in DC but worth noting – he knows his way around the Hill.

White House pushback/damage control has already started  "On April 23, 2012, William Wilkins attended an inter-agency outreach meeting at the White House with the president and a range of senior-appointed officials from various government agencies," IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland said. "No IRS matters or tax issues were discussed. Wilkins did not meet with anyone else at the White House that day."  Separately, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told CBS News on Wednesday that there was "no evidence" that a political appointee had been involved in the IRS screening of tea party groups.

Hour Two

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Matthew Levitt, Washington Institute's  Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, in re: Hezbollah. A long history, thirty years, of thuggery and criminal activity, Hezbollah still hanging on in face of its "Syria problem."  Hard to claim a raison d'être of fighting Israel when Syria is killing Muslims right and left.  Nasrallah may be digging a hole he can’t get out of – huge political losses, esp in Lebanon, which is bitterly divided.  However, he's a charismatic leader, a strong orator, and there's no challenger to his power. Hezbollah hiding bodies of members who've been killed because bringing the dead boys home causes too much bad press – killed not fighting Israelis , but fighting fellow-Muslims.

 There Exists No Distinct Hezbollah 'Military Wing,' So Why Ban It?    Focusing on just one facet of Hezbollah is a political distinction of convenience that will limit efforts to target the group's finances, but the EU ban is still a useful step. By blacklisting Hezbollah's military wing, the E.U. took a long overdue step in the right direction: making clear to Lebanon's Party of God that it will pay a political price for continued acts of terrorism, crime and militancy. For decades, Hezbollah felt a measure of immunity given Europe's hesitancy -- until now -- to hold Hezbollah accountable for its illicit conduct given its political position within the delicately balanced Lebanese political system. But by listing only Hezbollah's military wing, E.U. member states made a political distinction of convenience.  . . [more]

Europe's Moment of Decision on Hezbollah By leaping over longstanding technical and political hurdles and announcing a ban, the EU has forced both its member states and Hezbollah to view the group's activities on the continent in a new light.  After months of often-acrimonious deliberations, senior European officials gathered today for a ministerial meeting in Brussels and announced that Hezbollah's military wing would be added to the EU's list of banned terrorist groups. The decision comes on the heels of two ambassador-level discussions over the past two weeks, and two previous meetings of the EU's CP 931 technical working group, named for Common Position 931, the union's legal basis for blacklisting terrorist groups. The ban is especially important because Hezbollah has resumed terrorist operations in Europe after years of financial and logistical support activities there. If history is any guide, failure to respond in a meaningful way would almost certainly have invited further Hezbollah attacks.

The Amia Center in Buenos Aires was bombed; some of the bombers were at a local phone booth calling New York repeatedly, with the calls being routed therefrom being routed back to Lebanon. There's been a Hezbollah presence in US for years, incl in New York.

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Eugene Kontorovich, Lawfare Project Fellow and professor of Constitutional law; working on, Justice at Sea: Piracy and the Limits of International Criminal Law, for Harvard, in re: the EU boycott of Israel.  The EU's deed is unprecedented: archaeologist, or ambulance drivers, or anyone setting foot in the West Bank is not entitled to EU funding that's applied to everyone else. Parts of Europe are occupied _ Cyprus, for example, but the EU hasn’t blacklisted Turkish businesses in northern Cyprus. Russia is occupying part of Georgia – the French Curt of Appeals in Versailles recently held that companies doing business in the West Bank are not violating intl law. What the EU has decreed is that the West Bank be Jew-free zones. .  Btw, there are tens of thousands of Palestinians working for Israeli firms.  This also applies to Golan Heights – where every Israeli bank does business.   Euros want to say, "We're just applying the rule of intl law" – but they exempt any Israeli entity that complies with European policy n "peace.' This is not intl law, it’s selective application of European polices.  One of he main anxieties of Israelis have is "intl legitimacy," which is being used to turns Jews against Jews. Is valid only if there are consistent regulations, but this shows that there's no standard, rather, tailor-made rules.  New demand could pp up anywhere  and at any time; this is a discriminatory policy, where the EU refuses to acknowledge that Hezbollah is in fact a terrorist crew.   Israelis born in  Jerusalem must list in American papers that they’re born in "Israel" because the US State Dept refuses to allow Jerusalem to be part Israel.

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block C: Mohsen Sazegara an Iranian journalist and pro-democracy political activist, in re:  Iran. In Evin Prison, Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has been imprisoned since 2006, has spoken in favor of tolerance; of separation of religion and state; of fraternity with Jews, "God's children," and against the regime, says it’s using religion as bullies as did bin Laden.  (See: Secularism in Iran)

    Rohani is close to Rafsanjani, has no power outside he Supreme Leader. Was deeply involved in the Buenos Aires attack.

. . .  a letter sent last week by 131 House members urging President Obama to “pursue the potential opportunity presented by Iran’s recent presidential election.” What “potential opportunity” is that? Hassan Rouhani, the new president-elect, they say, “campaigned on the promise to ‘pursue a policy of reconciliation and peace’ and has since promised ‘constructive interaction with the outside world.’”  Should we not expect American politicians (of all people!) to demonstrate a little skepticism when it comes to “promises” made by an Iranian politician? And how much research is required to . . . [more]  This is the work of the lobbying group NIAC.  NIAC is actively supported by the regime in Teheran.  Obama Administration can negotiate with any pols in Iran but must remember the people of Iran, who are the real enemies of that regime.   Sanctions have gravely affected the Iranian economy: riyal dropped and stagflation plus recession are rampant.  Food and medicines for Iran promised by ____. Attend to human rights of Iranians.

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Dennis Ross, Washington Institute, in re: Setting the Stage for New Peace Talks. 

Photo, right: In 2001, Siamak Pourzand, became a political prisoner in Iran. He committed suicide in 2011, in what was widely considered to be a protest against the government.  At the time of this picture: "Siamak Pourzand is under house arrest and banned from leaving Iran. His daughters [ Banafsheh and Azadeh] do not feel safe to go to Iran and visit their father. The picture was taken when Azadeh Purzand, Siamak Pourzand’s younger daughter, visited her father in January 2005. She went to Iran with great fear, and despite facing many difficulties, she successfully saw her father. The picture shows their first encounter, in which pain and grief are easily traceable in Siamak Pourzand’s face." [more: Siamak Pourzand]

Hour Three

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: review of the evening's news and analysis.

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Terry Anderson, PERC, in re: Transaction Costs and Environmental Markets: The Role of Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs guide the evolution of property rights, which in turn can lower the transaction costs of using markets to solve environmental problems (see: Oxford Journal's Review of Environmental Economics and Policy).

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: Robert Zimmerman,,  in re: Chicken Little report: Aerospace defense contractors Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon all show better than expected profits despite sequestration. It seems that each of these companies, finding  its profits from defense pork to be relatively flat or dropping slightly, worked harder to sell their other products to other customers, and were generally successful. What a concept!  The effort to bring Kepler back to life does not look good.

Hour Four

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas  (1 of 4)

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas  (2 of 4)

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas  (3 of 4)

Thursday  25 July  2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World by Evan Thomas  (4 of 4)

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