The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 5 September 2013

Air Date: 
September 05, 2013

Photo, above: Tonto and the Lone Ranger.  Tonto was played by a Canadian Mohawk First Nations actor born on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation, near Brantford, Ontario, Canada, one of eleven children of a Canadian Mohawk tribal chief and military officer, Major George Smith. He took his stage name, Jay SIlverheels, from his nickname as a youthful star lacrosse player.

Silverheels raised, bred and raced Standardbred horses in his spare time. Once, when asked about possibly running Tonto's famous Paint horse Scout in a race, Jay laughed off the idea: "Heck, I can outrun Scout!" Jay Silverheels died in 1980, was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City in 1993. He was named to the Western New York Entertainment Hall of Fame, and his portrait hangs in Buffalo, New York's Shea's Buffalo Theatre. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6538 Hollywood Boulevard. First Americans in the Arts honored Jay Silverheels with their Life Achievement Award. He was married and the father of three girls and a boy.


Co-host: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board and host of

Hour One

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in re: Distrust of Obama motivating GOP opposition to Syria resolution Republicans' intraparty divisions on Syria reflect a GOP roiled as much by an overwhelming distrust for President Obama’s foreign policy leadership as by a rising isolationist wing that is capitalizing on this sentiment to exert greater influence on party decisions. The GOP’s unusually dovish opposition to intervening in Syria, as expressed by a vocal cadre of Tea Party-affiliated Republicans, has suggested a possible drift and retreat from the muscular, internationalist foreign policy that has defined the party since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. But congressional Republicans rejecting a Democratic president’s request for an authorization to use military force would not be unprecedented, and GOP insiders say their party’s hesitancy to back Obama’s Syria resolution is complicated.  Conservative activist Jon Fleischman, a California Republican who publishes the Flash Report cited three factors governing GOP sentiment on Syria, and foreign policy generally, at this juncture in the Obama era. “One is the [budget] deficit which now [calls] attention to the costs of military action,” he said. “The other is complete lack or faith or trust in Obama. Finally there is wariness of entanglement in the Middle East, without an understandable . . . [more]

Ed Royce, chairman of Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, is considering not writing his own authorization. If you put a war resolution in House Foreign Affairs, could it pass?  Might not actually get out of committee.   . . .   President has to convince min 150 out of 200 Democrats to get this through.  Cliburn of North Carolina says that 99% of the information he gets is that his constituency is opposed to entering war n Syria.

According to senior Democratic aides, the Syria war resolution will require 60 votes in Senate.  “Some reports have speculated that under the War Powers Act, the Syria war resolution could be brought to the Senate floor under special circumstances with only limited debate and requiring only a simple majority to pass. But Senate leadership has decided to treat the Syria war authorization, approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 10–7 Wednesday afternoon, like any other joint resolution. This means that it will be subject to a cloture motion, which requires 60 votes to pass, except in the unlikely event that all 100 senators give unanimous consent to move directly to a final vote.  “This joint resolution will be treated like any other joint resolution,” a Senate Democratic leadership aide tells The Daily Beast. “That means we’ll have to move to proceed to the measure, and without consent it could face a 60-vote cloture vote on the motion to proceed.”  This sets up an obvious opportunity for Rand Paul to do a real filibuster of the measure, and for all sorts of other fractiousness and delay. Did the White House know this before going to Congress?

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:   John Fund, National Review Online, in re: Democrats Dragooned into Line on Syria – the president relies on party loyalty, not policy arguments.  The Obama administration’s efforts to get Congress to pass an authorization for military force against Syria are going badly in policy terms, but they are looking up in political terms. Even as the administration’s arguments become more strained, the political imperative that Democrats must support their president or risk having him “crippled” for the next 40 months is being drilled into them. The same relentless message helped save Bill Clinton from being abandoned by his party in 1998 after it finally became clear he had committed perjury before a federal judge in the Lewinsky scandal.  Chris Mathews of MSNBC, who served on Capitol Hill for years as a top Democratic aide, put the party’s dilemma in stark terms on Wednesday: “I think the Democrats are going to be forced to sacrifice . . ."  I had lunch today with several top Congressional aides; none was sure that it faced certain defeat. Dick Durban, Carl Levin, Barbara Boxer, aren’t publicly supporting Pres Obama; they may vote favorably out of loyalty but asking them to lobby other Members may be a [step]  too far.  . . .    Will try to save the president the humiliation meted to Cameron.

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Tim Wilson, Dir of Climate Change Policy & the IP and Free Trade Unit, Inst of Public Affairs, Melbourne, in re: 
scandals emerge around Members of Parliament; Mssrs Rudd and Abbott to face each other imminently in a national election that starts Saturday morning. Abbott has perforce softened his image as well as promised to scrap the carbon tax.  However in one debate, he grew wroth with Rudd and complained, "Can’t he just shut up?" – which was endearing to the audience. This election campaign has been going on for three years. Will know Senate results in a few weeks, and House results that evening.

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Francis Rose, Federal News Radio, in re:

ICYMI: Op-Ed by Congressman Fincher and U.S. Senator Alexander (R-Tenn.) on “IRS Abuse Protection Act” to help stop IRS abuse of taxpayers’ First Amendment rights. The Op-Ed appeared today in The Tennessean and the Murfreesboro Daily News, and will run in the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle on Thursday and Jackson Sun on Sunday. Gerry Connolly will pursue the Inspector-General.

"Whistleblowers blow both ways."  See: FederalNewsRadio.  On the Hill:  199 against, and you need only 217 – they’re close to sealing the deal; the question is, do they even bring it up?

Op-ed: Act protects groups from IRS abuses, by Stephen Fincher and Lamar Alexander

Hour Two

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  .Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re: the FSB has issued its own document about the neurotoxin attack on March 19; UN wasn't permitted to inspect that site till21 August – just when the other attack was launched northeast of Damascus.  Was not a military sarin, if indeed it was sarin. CIA say: the US and the UK know for sure that Assad was not responsible; this is a Gulf of Tonkin//Twenty-first Century.  Its simply not true; it’s beyond shameful – it's dangerous.  On 30 May 200_ - I put on air on PR that ________. The Bush Adm persuaded people that Saddam was in bed with al Qaeda (not true) – so we destabilized the region and ended up putting Iran in charge of Iraq. The Sunni-Shia civil war has spread across the region, alarming the Saudis and the US AIPAC.  In Israel, the IDF and Mossad are dead-set against removing Assad.  Looks like chemical canisters from improvised rockets. It's not just one rebel unit. Note Turkey mtg (Hatay Province) attended by rebels and a CI officer: "an incident will occur to change the course of the war."

1964: Lyndon Johnson was facing election & worried about the hawkish Goldwater; two destroyers off Vietnam in Gulf of Tonkin. US black ops ran a high-speed craft near the destroyers; the NLF or some version of it challenged the American destroyers, but Johnson knew that no one had attacked a US asset.  Before the Senate, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was nonetheless passed.

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Charles Pellegrino, author and explorer, in re: Two super-Earths, one older and one younger than Earth. Kepler, staring at a small piece of the sky, has accumulated information about stars like our Sun.  Two thousand years ago was our Bronze Age and fewer than a billion humans; now we're almost 7 billion and looking at travelling off Earth. Crick found the structure of DNA (and was a Nobelist there); a polymath into deep oceans. space, everything.  Lithium accumulation rates in the galaxy.

The news on the Solar Twin: in 1982 and 1983, Francis Crick and I co-authored the "Genesis and Galactic Blight" theory about heavy element accumulation rates and the masses of planets forming around stars as the Galaxy ages (4.5 billion years ago in our pre-Cambrian with sulphuric skies). There was a sort of Goldilox period when conditions were just right for Earth-mass planets - and we were probably there at the starting gate, among the first ones. We predicted excessively active super-Earths for younger stars - and rocky planets probably no larger than Mars and the Moon and unable to hold into their hydrogen within the habitable zones, 8 billion years ago. (We published the theory in my book Time Gate, and I presented it again in Chapter 3 of Ghosts of Vesuvius.)  Say a planet formed 500 mil years after Earth did:  . . . volcanically violent; super-Earths.  Most stars are younger than us.  A civilization like ours:  if it had merely a 2,000-yr lead on ours would be significantly more advanced if it survived.  A younger planet might be a half-bil years each direction . . . more mass than Mars . . . . we should leave markers for them – send out a death cry with all out greatest music on it (Here Comes the Sun and Beethoven).

What I loved about Crick is that he never fossilized in his thinking. When I sent him some of my numbers and the reasoning behind them, he said, great - let's look at this; and even though what I was saying challenged one of his own pet theories, he laughed happily at our result and threw "Directed Panspermia" out. He seemed more excited about a specific "moment" in which Earth-like worlds that could form civilizations after about 4.5 billion years, had formed. (Of course, places like Titan and Europa can form as far back as 8 billion years ago, so they're the wild card in the whole game.)

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Sid Perkins, Science magazine, in re:  CHEMISTRY   SCIENCESHOT: HOW TO SPOT CRAPPY COFFEE     Researchers develop way to distinguish world’s most expensive cup from its imitators

ARCHAEOLOGY    ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER FIRST USE OF SPICES IN EUROPEAN CUISINE  Charred remains in ancient pottery suggest cooks in Denmark and Germany were spicing up dishes 6100 years ago.

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Steven Erlanger, NYT, in re: Africa Must Take Lead in Mali, France Says Once the situation is more stable, France wants African troops to do most of the work to wrest the north of Mali from the Islamists, as called for under a United Nations Security Council resolution. France is slipping into second-tier status even as the EU is slipping.  The French government  is 57% of the national GDP. Huge taxes for large social benefits; not enough profit to hire enough staff or do research. Last year, 82% of jobs are short-term contracts: hard to get married, get credit, buy a car. French corporate law obliges firms to keep regular employees on with extreme expenses, which companies can’t afford, so they hire on short-term contracts. French, having a high opinion of themselves – being on th Securty Council, having nuclear power and the bomb, are now rightly worried about  their future.

News Analysis: Stakes for France Are High as Hollande Continues an Intervention in Mali

Hour Three

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: The Lone Ranger, on radio form 1933 to 1954; Tonto was played by Jay Smith – stage name "Jay Silverheels,"  the moniker taken from white shoes he was wearing while playing lacrosse. Among Native Americans, he was known as a brilliant lacrosse player from Branford, Ontario, and Akwesasne on Cornwall Island and in St Régis, Ontario, right across the St Lawrence River from Akwesasne, a Mohawk Nation territory at Hogansburg, New York.  Part of Kanien'kehá:ka (pron: Gan-i-enkeh).

Bay Bridge finally opens on Labor Day weekend

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block B: LouAnn Hammond,, in re:  Syria and the threat of US Navy attack in response to neurotoxin attack; Senate in procedural move, toward a motion next week. We learn that the Senate is very close – president's supporters think they might win, but not so in the House.  US has had 2% GDP for years – bad for young people. One way to measure improvement is by car sales.   "Below scrappage" – when you take a car off the road, usu will replace it. When scrappage goes up, means people are buying new cars.  This year we may be as high as 16 million new-car sales. Tom Libby, a leading analyst, says sales run 6% above registrations.   GM up 15% m-o-m; Toyota and Subaru up. People tired of their 11-year-old car with no new info tech.   Nissan up 22%.  Honda up 27%.  Toyota up 24%.  Volvo down 13%.  Cadillac up 38%!

* Toyota still besting Ford for number 2 spot. General Motors was up 15% month-over-month Aug 2013 from August 2012

* Volvo is down August over August (13%) and year-over-year (6%). Volkswagen was down August-over-August (2%) and year-over-year (!%) but Volkswagen has great group of brands to pull from including Audi, Bentley and Porsche, pulling the whole group up 4% month over month and year-over-year

   Reasons for uplift in sales:

* low-interest rates still in effect for automobiles still relatively low, though the average finance rate went up .10% from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2013. The average amount financed went down slightly from $26,692 to $26,526. The average credit score went from 755 to 749.

* new product in all segments of the automobile line-up

     Melinda Zabritski, Director of Automotive Credit for Experian, says the average amount financed for a new vehicle in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2013 was $26,526, the average credit score for a new vehicle loan in the United States was 749, and the average finance rate for a new vehicle was 4.46% in Q2, 2013. Zabritski said that Experian Automotive was able to break out the financing attributes for new and used vehicles in 45 of the States from its vehicle database. Information on the other areas, like D.C. is currently not available.

      According to R. L. Polk's  Lead Analyst for Polk's North American Forecasting, Tom Libby, "Historically sales have run about .6% above registrations, and through the first six months of 2013 (the most recent time period for which we have both registrations and sales), sales are about .56% above registrations.  So, yes, so far in 2013 the data are conforming to historical trends."

      Incentives are increasing on some cars, but not many. Toyota increased the incentive on the Camry.

     The price of a vehicle has gone up as well. According to, the average transaction price of a new vehicle for February, 2013 was $30,958. The average transaction prices for a new vehicle climbed to 31,252 in August, 2013.

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block C: Daniel Henninger, WSJ WONDER LAND, in re: The Benching of Uncle Sam

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:  Matt Fuller, CQ/RollCall, in re:  Twenty House Members to Watch on Syria Matt Fuller reports: As the White House and congressional leaders woo votes to authorize military intervention in Syria, certain lawmakers serve as important bellwethers — and potentially critical components — to the math of 218. Military action in Syria is, ultimately, a policy vote. But it is also, inescapably, a political one. Voting against Syria could forever mar a Republican as soft on defense, just as voting for it could brand a Democrat a war hawk. And how members vote could play roles in leadership elections down the line. Elections could be won or lost and legacies built or dashed based on this vote — and lawmakers know it. There are many votes that could be insightful gauges: Kosovo, Libya, perhaps even thefiscal cliff. But the last time the White House and Republican and Democratic leadership were on the same side of a key vote was the National Security Agency amendment from Michigan Republican Justin Amash. The NSA amendment pitted libertarian Republicans and liberal Democrats against establishment lawmakers concerned with national security. It came within seven votes of adoption. It was also the first time a majority of Democrats sided against President Barack Obama on a national security issue. And, as one Democratic aide put it, Democrats learned that “the sky won’t fall” if they vote against Obama.  [more]

Hour Four

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, in re: The Benching of Uncle Sam

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  John Tamny RealClearPolitics, in re: Monetary Follies: Friedman's Monetarism v. Friedman's 'Market' Monetarism  Taking nothing away from Milton Friedman's genius, his central planning conceit in the form of 'monetarism' was so thoroughly discredited from 1979-82 that even Friedman himself ultimately admitted it was bogus. Comical now is watching the two strains of this absurd religion fight it out over whether or not Friedman would approve of money's total perversion in 'quantitative easing.' (Forbes)

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Don Van Natta, Jr., ESPN Magazine, in re: Did Bobby Riggs throw his match with Billie Jean King to pay Mafia debts? (1 of 2)   Forty years ago in September, Billie Jean King struck one of the most decisive blows in women's fight for equality, and she did so with her weapon of choice: a tennis racket. In a ridiculously hyped match, Bobby Riggs, 55-year-old former tennis champ and outspoken "male chauvinist," challenged King, then 29 and coming off a victory at Wimbledon, to a "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match in the Houston Astrodome. To the winner would go $100,000; to the winner's entire gender would go bragging rights for years. Riggs had earlier that year beaten Margaret Court, the world No. 1, and a thrashing of King, then ranked #2, seemed all but certain. Oddsmakers favored Riggs, the 1939 Wimbledon champion, in an overwhelming tide. "King money is scarce," said another product of the era, gambling expert Jimmy the Greek. "It's hard to find a bet on the girl." Anybody who did bet on "the girl" would have seen a huge and unexpected payday, however, as King absolutely thrashed Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Everyone from announcer Howard Cosell on down could see that King was the superior player, running a clearly winded Riggs all over the court and forcing him into error after error.  But how? Perhaps the greatest women's tennis player ever, Serena Williams, has said she would lose 6-0, 6-0 to Andy Murray. Riggs was no Murray, but then again Williams is in a different time zone from King. How on earth could such a stunning defeat have happened?  The story, according to ESPN's Don Van Natta in a must-read story, is painfully straightforward: the fix was in, and the Mafia was in on it all. Hal Shaw, an assistant golf pro at Tampa's Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club, recently told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that he heard several notable Mafia figures, including Santo Trafficante Jr. and Carlos Marcello, discussing how Riggs would throw the match in order to pay off more than $100,000 in gambling debts. (For the conspiracy-minded: Marcello later claimed he had ordered John F. Kennedy's assassination. Everything is connected!)  According to Shaw, the Mafiosi determined that Riggs would decisively win the first match, against Court, in order to generate action on the second, against King ... which he would then throw.

       Shaw kept his silence for forty years, fearing reprisal. And a Mafia expert whom Van Natta consulted said Shaw's story has the feel of truth. But now, Shaw has decided to come forward. "It's been 40 years, OK, and I've carried this with me for 40 years," he said. "The fear is gone. … And I wanted to make sure, if possible, I could set the record straight — let the world know that this was not what it seemed to be."  The entire article is must-read, starting with the accounts of Riggs' early hustling days, where he'd "stay in the barn" — allow an opponent to gain false confidence by dropping a set or two in order to gin up more betting action. He soon found himself running with less-than-reputable crowds, and the leap from there to Riggs as Mafia pawn isn't hard to make. King, for her part, made for an easy mark for Riggs; his chauvinistic condescension was specifically geared to needle her. King was an outspoken supporter of women's rights at a time when women couldn't even get a credit card without a man's signature.  The event itself was pure hype. There's a trailer from a recent documentary of the match; think how over-the-top we'd all go with it today.

       Right from the start, Riggs appeared listless and slow. But King maintains that she doesn't believe he threw the match. "Bobby Riggs wanted to win that match," she told ESPN. "I saw it in his eyes. I saw it when we changed ends, and there is no question. I have played matches where players have tanked, and I know what it feels like and I know what it looks like, and he did not. He just was feeling the pressure."   Even as King was hammering Riggs, talk that Riggs was throwing the match was beginning. It's never really stopped since. Many supporters of Riggs deny the allegation, some angrily. Still, London betting parlors were so suspicious of the match, and Riggs' history, that they didn't even offer action. Was Riggs throwing the match to appease the Mafia? Or was he, as some have suggested, staying "in the barn" for a long con — throwing the first match to set up a highly lucrative rematch? (King refused any rematch.) We won't ever know; Riggs passed away in 1995. But he and King remained close for his entire life, and the match remains a singular moment in American sports. Maybe that's enough, regardless of its origins.  [more]

Thursday  5 September 2013 / Hour 4, Block D: Don Van Natta, Jr., ESPN Magazine, in re: Did Bobby Riggs throw his match with Billie Jean King to pay Mafia debts? (2 of 2)

..  ..  ..


Hour 1:   Ides of March.  Frost-Nixon.  Painted Veil.

Hour 2:  Persia. Red Dawn. The Missing.

Hour 3:  Hotel California. The Running Man.  Assassin's Creed.

Hour 4:  Assassin's Creed.  Argo. Quantum of Solace.