The John Batchelor Show

Thursday 9 January 2014

Air Date: 
January 09, 2014

Photo, above: White House renovation, 1948-1952.  See Robert Klara, author:  The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence,


Co-hosts: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board & Robert Klara, author. Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents. 

Hour One

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 1, Block A: Mary Kissel, Wall Street Journal editorial board, in re: Debo Adegbile, Esq, nominated to head DOJ Civil Rights Division. A son of immigrants from Nigeria and Ireland, Adegbile was raised by a single mother and experienced homelessness in New York City.  He received his law degree in 1994 from the New York University School of Law. He defended Mumia Abu Jamal, and worked for years at the NAACP.  Also, ____ was in ofc 48 hours, said, We don't need to protect taxpayers any more – rather, "I need time to review; we were going to reform Protect Taxpayers but we'll hold off."

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 1, Block B:  Edward W Hayes, criminal defense attorney par excellence, in re: traffic patterns in Ft Lee, New Jersey.  Are you flabbergasted that the New Jersey governor is a bully?  Lanes to the George Washington Bridge on the Jersey side were closed for a few days last fall; allegations that the governor or his staff was punishing the town mayor for having been politically disloyal.  This is a traffic tool I didn’t know existed in the Trenton toolkit. "Better than the car bombs." 

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 1, Block C: Robert Klara, author:  The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence, in re: The White House becomes wholly renovated – nay, rebuilt. Margaret Truman brings both a grand piano and a spinet to her room. She and a friend played fortissimo – she suddenly felt ill: the room was dipping and rising.  One evening, a leg of the spinet breaks through the floor, the beams, and the plaster below on the ground floor.  The floors were over 100 years old, the wood had never been properly sealed and had grown weak and brittle, unable to support the weight.  By and by, as pictures fell from the wall, the president borrowed a stethoscope, listens to the walls, find that the entire house is pitching and groaning.  Initially, the land was "plant goo" – a swamp; but the highest elevation in the district.  In 1814, the British burned the White House down; it was reconstructed – re-using some of the partially-burnt timbers, some sandstone from Maryland, and  insufficient engineering, By the Twentieth Century, significant additional weight had been added. Teddy Roosevelt found that guests on the floor bowed it; he called in McKim  (of Meade and White), who was given a few weeks in which to solve everything,  More jerry-rigging.  Then Mrs Wilson.  Then Pres Coolidge was told that the roof needed to be replaced; despite his frugality, e agreed to pay for a new roof – which was overlaid on top of the failing structure. 

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 1, Block D: Robert Klara, author:  The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence, in re: The White House is renovated. Truman wanted to spend some time in the renovated White House, but it ran over schedule and over He urgently wanted to give his wife, Bess, a small balcony on the south side of the White House.  Lorenzo Winslow, the architect, left a diary: Mr Winslow, while directing the rebuilding, travelled and had companions; one of his conversationalists was with a Mr Steed – who'd died years earlier, and was channeling the spirits of dead presidents to Mr Winslow. 

Hour Two

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 2, Block A: Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in re: Iran sanctions. The main concern of or regional allies: we already see Iran destabilizing Yemen; insurgency in Eastern Saudi run by Iranian agents, and throughout the greater region Iran engaged in support of Muslin Brothers, Hamas, Hezbollah, et al. If you lift sanctions, they'll take that relief and undermine other govts because the ambition of the Iranian regime is to be the hegemon.    Turkey: the US knew about gold and oil shenanigans: paying old directly to Iran for oil – while this Administration looked away for six months before revealing. It was a bi-partisan vote in favor of the sanctions, but this Administration's decision to [prevent] them.  Intent of sanctions is for them to go into effect only if the sanctions are not honored.   Sen. Menendez. 

Sen. Cruz: U.S. Must Cease Negotiations with Iran Until Concessions Are Made.

Majority of senators back new Iran sanctions, pressuring Obama.

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 2, Block B: Matthew Levitt, Washington Institute, in re: . . . It's only a matter of time before Hezbollah has to rejuvenate itself; does not want the Israeli air force anywhere at hand. May use older rockets, not the most sophisticated.  Iraq: Maliki overplayed his hand in suppression; withdrew a bit, allowed al Qaeda to move in and team up with the tribes, who are incensed at Maliki. Impermanent.  Teheran's vision for Hezbollah: Iran's Quds Force (reports directly to Supreme Leader) is obliged to be wholly engaged in Lebanon. Have maritime and longer-range rockets can do serious damage. Lebanese and Syrian Hezbollahs are not the same.  Refugees: Beirut has to acknowledge, huge number Of Sunnis have crossed the border: radical Palestinians combined with Syrian Sunni refugees – combustible. 

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 2, Block C: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Hamas sending flowers and bouquets to Abbas.  Kerry proposed bringing in 80,000 Palestinian refugees from 1948? No.  A hundred thousand have already returned.  Jihadists Islamist now control all the territory from the western gates of Baghdad to Aleppo in northeastern Syria.  Acknowledged all over the region.  Erasure of Sykes-Picot Boundaries of a century ago; rather, based on tribal groupings, not national frontiers.  Huge transformation under way.  Syrian opposition is pretty much collapsed. None of the familiar rules applies.  Pix of John Kerry in sober reflections with Abbas and others – does he know he's negotiating with ghosts – in a rear-view mirror?  Liberman: How cou  Gen Allen has 160 ppeople working for him; Martin Indyk has dozens – a huge investment. Yet blatant incitement from Abbas and crew; this thing isn’t working.  "John Kerry – busy at Versailles."

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 2, Block D: Emanuelle Ottolenghi, FDD, in re: €87 billion ($120 billion): Turk of Iranian parentage: suddenly made a lot of money in gold trade, married glam celebrity wife. With Babak, through Turkey managed the Iranian regime's efforts to sell oil to Turkey, use revenues to buy gold and launder funds and keep a lot of politicos. It's thought that the US knew of this for half a year before it said anything.  precious metals, shipping, hospitality – many industries deeply involved; all with silent approval of the Turkish govt, which was aware since April; likely tat Washington was, too.

Babak Zanjani: An Iranian in the Eye of Turkey’s Storm   Iranian authorities arrested billionaire Babak Morteza Zanjani Monday after a protracted public campaign against him that began soon after the June election of new Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani. Zanjani chairs the Sorinet Group, a holding company that includes a large cosmetics’ company in Turkey, an airline in Tajikistan, another airline in Iran, a bank in Malaysia, construction projects in Iran, and a number of other companies worldwide.

Zanjani is under European and US sanctions for helping Iran evade the oil embargo. He reportedly helped Tehran sell €17.5 Billion ($24 Billion) worth of oil and process payments through offshore banking in Malaysia. In a New York Times profile, Zanjani admitted to  . . .

Tehran’s Windfall   How much sanctions relief will Iran truly get from the interim deal signed late last year in Geneva?  In his recent appearance before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry was adamant that the Administration’s original assessment of $7-billion over six months was accurate and that other, much larger assessments, were “outlandish.” “We have red-teamed and vetted and cross examined and . . . "  [more]

Hour Three

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 3, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Iranian enrichment increasing, also Iran now has much more money out f disintegrating sanctions plus the Turkish gold/oil escroquerie.  Hamas taking advantage of PA's weakness, trying to worm is way in to the PA money.  As Fatah sees this, it fires some rockets to raise the temperature  For Iran: Geneva I is frippery; Geneva II is the focus: oblige Washington to support Moscow in propping up the Assad regime – above all want  to delay to buy time.   

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 3, Block B: Jonathan Spyer, journalist & senior research Fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center; in re: . . . Kurdish govt in northern Iraq; KRG looks like a state right now – you don’t see an Iraqi flag , have their Peshmurga, own currency and oil deals with Turkey. Same contiguous space as h Kurdish territory in Syria.  The Authorities controlling NE Syria are from a different Kurdish movement - political disunity. KRG – Barzini; Turkish, by PKK.   The frontiers from Versailles are no longer; map of borders dates to WWI, from end of Ottoman Empire. The historic losers in that process were the Kurds; shifting or weakening of the state borders redounds to benefit of Kurds.   Three states of tenuous legitimate existence:  Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.   

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 3, Block C:  Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, in re: THE AMERICAS   Nafta at 20: A Model for Trade Policy

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 3, Block D: Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: Egypt's Heroic Protesters Bear Responsibility for the Mess that Followed   The incoherence of Tahrir Square's activists: In the opening montage of The Square, Jehane Noujaim’s Oscar-shortlisted documentary film about Egypt’s Tahrir Square revolutionaries, we meet Ahmed, a twenty-something activist who explains the motivations for the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. “Egypt was living without dignity,” he says, “Injustice existed everywhere.” Ahmed tells us that he has worked since he was eight, and sold lemons to pay his fifth-grade tuition. “I lived my entire life under Mubarak’s injustice,” he says, as YouTube videos depicting police brutality . . .  [more]

Hour Four

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 4, Block A: Henry Miller, Hoover, in re: "The Trouble With 'Scientific' Research Today: A Lot That's Published Is Junk"

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 4, Block B: Olivier Guitta, Henry Jackson Society, London, in re: The Muslim Brotherhood Has Set Up Home in London - and Britain Should Beware

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Another perfect launch for the company.

Consider once again what has happened. While it cost NASA six years and $9 billion to build nothing before its Constellation program was cancelled, two private companies have built and launched two different rockets and unmanned cargo spacecraft in that same time period for about a third of that cost.

The contrast couldn’t be more stark. And that contrast will get even more stark as the flights of the privately built manned spacecraft by SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada unfold in the coming three years, while SLS and Orion sit around and do little but spend money.

NASA and the Obama administration have announced their support for extending ISS’s operations for more years to at least 2024. Obviously, Congress needs to agree with funds. Moreover, so do the Europeans, Russians, and Japanese, though they all have been pushing to extend ISS for awhile. Now maybe NASA will finally consider doing some of those year-long plus manned missions on ISS that are essential if humans are eventually going to go to Mars and beyond.

Thursday  9 January 2014  / Hour 4, Block D: James Taranto, WSJ, in re:, in re: Best of the Web Today: The Extreme 'Centrist'  What Mike Bloomberg has in common with Guns & Ammo.

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Hour 1:  Frost/Nixon. Alias. Mark Twain. Air Force One. 

Hour 2:  Hurt Locker. Eastern Promises. 

Hour 3:  Clash of the Titans. 3 Musketeers. Green Zone. 

Hour 4:  Green Zone. Frost/Nixon. Star Trek.