The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 31 October 2013

Air Date: 
October 31, 2013

Photo, above: A typical rainforest scene in Daintree National Park, north Queensland, Australia. See Hour 1, Block D,  Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board, in Mossman Gorge, Australia,


Hour One

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 1, Block A:  Rep Devin Nunes (CA-21), in re: ACA.

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 1, Block B:  Kate Galbraith, NYT, in re:  The great London smog of 1952.

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 1, Block C:  Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, & Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index,  in re: A litany of the waterfall of irregular and highly questionable behaviors in Washington. Also: The Fed Security Mgt Act, the underpinning of all relevant federal activity, now outdated, seems to have been ignored; that is, appears to violate HHS security regs and the Security Management Act; it was certified nonetheless.

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 1, Block D:  Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board, in Mossman Gorge, Australia, in re: the Daintree National Forest, with spectacular birds, trees, rainforest. The oldest continuous living rainforest in the world: 110 mil years, with  200 special of plants; most of Australia's marsupials and birds, are here.  Also 12 species of amphibians and 8 species of reptiles. The Crocodile Express river cruise; not too far from the Great Barrier Reef.   Snorkel with hundred of species of fish, and next to a massive tortoise.  Aboriginal lands.  Cane-toad racing (q.v.).

Hour Two

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 2, Block A: Ambassador Dennis Ross, Washington Institute, in re: Iran, Syria destroying chemical weapons  Five IDF soldiers wounded by mortars as gangsters tried to move goods out of Gazan tunnels [this will be responded to strongly].  IAF bombing of Russian weapons depot in Syria.   Israelis are sending an unmistakable msg that when they establish a redline, they mean it:  not OK for Syrian/Iranians to transfer weapons that can alter the balance between Israel & Hezb in Lebanon.  Susan Rice's several points.   Iran & Hezb are so heavily invested in Syria.

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 2, Block B: Congressman Eliot Engel, NY-16, in re: Iran, Egypt, Syria.  Sanctions on Iran and Syria: he White House/Nat Security Council (Susan Rice), and the president are pressuring Congress to lighten sanctions on Iran as a confidence-building measure. If anything has brought Iran to the table, it’s sanctions.  The Royce-Engel Bill passed 400-20 on the floor.  If the Senate passes a sanctions bill, the Administration could play good cop-bad cop to get concessions from Iran.  Meanwhile the WH is demanding lessening of sanctions.  Senate bill wd cut exports by half (half-mil Bbl/day); also addresses the banking sector – Iran has terrible inflation, inter al. Sanctions plus credible threat of US force might get Iran to cut back on its nuclear program. Of course, Iran refuses to stop enrichment: "We have a right to enrich and it's all for civilian uses." 

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Note "Death to America" posters in Iran and Iran's lashing of Christians for celebrating communion!

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PM Maliki in Washington: We spoke with him in a private mtg. He came shopping for weapons, no transparency.



Congressman Eliot Engel welcomed the new Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer in his Washington office Tuesday.

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 2, Block C: Jonathan Schanzer, FDD and author, State of Failure, in re: Five IDF soldiers wounded by mortars attack as gangsters tried to move goods out of Gazan tunnels in the western Negev that the IDF endeavored to close.  This represents an escalation.  IDF responded with tank fire, killed one or two; Israeli drones circling over Gaza and perhaps even some naval bombardments.  Coordinated with Egypt, which also sends drones and closes tunnels.  Both nations consider this to be in their national interest. Hamas is courting new patrons (Qatar and Turkey dialing back): went hat in hand to Teheran; could get in Iran's good races only by an attack of the sort they did by mortar. Palestinians d not respect their own govt, so not useful for Israel to make a deal with the unloved (and unelected) Abbas. Mortaring IDF soldiers as they sealed a tunnel: might be endearing to Iran, but the strong Israeli response, if it continues for more than a few days, may not be what Hamas expected. It looks as though Hamas has miscalculated.  In a speech on the anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, PM Netanyahu.

Perhaps the greatest casualty in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s campaign against political challengers has been former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. “Fayyadism” was once hailed in Washington’s corridors of power — and by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman — as a refreshing alternative to the governing philosophy of other Middle Eastern regimes. The political culture Palestinian governance is not inherently problematic; it headed severely downhill only during the last 50 years.  The mismanagement that occurred during the Oslo peace process years is why Arafat and the PA came under fire from their own people.  Salam Fayyad made a refreshing entrance into the Palestinian political scene, and has been ultimately undermined by the very people who lie at the heart of the problem

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 2, Block D: Olli Heinonen, senior Fellow, Kennedy School, Harvard, in re: Iran. Two weeks of break-up time: Iran has enough new centrifuges and enriched uranium to make HEU for a bomb – from 3.5% [have 7 tons; can go to 90% in two months, for 3 or 4 nuclear bombs] to 95%?; still needs all the other components. This is the time line for the breakout used by [the Israeli spokesman]. All together might be up to a year.  Also: Iraqi facility, operational in 2014, core will be highly radioactive and so cannot be bombed.   Two: stop the expansion – no addtl centrifuges or reactor construction; we need to know what Iran as today: how much enriched U?; facilities where? and any activities related to Pn and reprocessing. These must bee the starting point of this negotiation.   History shows that Iran has not disclosed [this till now]. Important points need to be at the front end of the agreement. Sites IAEA had access to in past are nonmilitary, said to be civilian; never yet had access to military sites as well as the nonmilitary. Vital to have access to both to understand what’s been going on and what's there.  Need to decide what to do with current stocks.  Nuclear Talks with Iran: Diplomacy and Diminishing TimeThe Need for Speed in Negotiations with Iran

Hour Three

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Grim tidings from the Middle East: 5 IDF soldiers working to close a smuggling tunnel out of Gaza; attacked by Hamas with mortars. IDF moving with armored ground forces.  SA-8, Gecko; Russian mobile ground-to-air defense system; six-wheeled vehicle with amphibious missiles atop. по русски 9K33 Оса; manufacturer seems to be   Biden and Kerry pressuring Senate to back off from sanctions on Iran.  Teheran: mandate that any demonstration must say: "Death to America."  It's the banking sanctions that are most effective.

The SA-8 GECKO is a single-stage, solid-fuel, short-range, low-altitude, all-weather SAM system

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Sinai is he new front: jihadist say this is the next frontier against the Americans and the Zionists.   Egypt and Israel working together, Saudi helping, perhaps also Qatar. The al Nusrah-al Q gangsters of Syria are flowing into Sinai. Peace in the Middle East is an illusion.

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In southern Lebanon, tens of thousands of homes have a rocket inside:  the roof is built to open swiftly and close again!   Living room, bedroom, kitchen, and rocket room.  As IAF retaliates, it's accused of striking civilians.

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Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 3, Block C: Katya Kazakina, Bloomberg, in re: Banksy. Banksy’s Nazi-Doctored Painting Has Bids Topping $310,000. For the past month, Banksy’s provocative images have been appearing on buildings in Bushwick and Coney Island, Brooklyn, and in the Bronx, as well as on the front pages of newspapers. The artist has been announcing each project on his blog, “Better Out Than In,” which he described as “an artist residency on the streets of New York.”

“Most New Yorkers have been watching pretty closely what he’s been doing for the past 30 days,” Edmondson said. “There has been controversy. But it’s great to end on such a high note by giving back to the New York community.”

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 3, Block D:   John Markoff, NYT, in re: Military Lags in Push for Robotic Vehicles The United States wants to create machines that could be used in place of “boots on the ground” in conflicts.

Hour Four

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 4, Block A:  Kori Schake, Hoover; Shadow Government (Foreign Policy), in re:  a military coup in Egypt does constitute a military overthrow; Saudis and Qatari immediately gave substantial funds to al Sisi. Saudi Arabia's Unhappy. So What?

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 4, Block B: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, in re: ACA.

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, and Anatoly Zak, author, Russians in Space, in re: The shake up in the Russian space bureaucracy continues.  Unclear about how this re-organization will play out, and how it'll make any difference to Russia's space problems

Thursday  31 October 2013   / Hour 4, Block D: Robert Zimmerman,, in re: The first Earth-sized exoplanet, just discovered, makes no sense to scientists.  Kepler-78b is a planet that shouldn’t exist. This scorching lava world circles its star every eight and a half hours at a distance of less than one million miles – one of the tightest known orbits. According to current theories of planet formation, it couldn’t have formed so close to its star, nor could it have moved there. “This planet is a complete mystery,” says astronomer David Latham of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today. What we do know is that it’s not going to last forever.”

The planet itself is only 20 per cent larger than the Earth, with a comparable density that suggests its composition is similar as well.

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