The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Air Date: 
February 16, 2021

Hour One
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 1, Block A: Jed Babbin: @JedBabbin, @WashingtonTimes,  American Spectator, in re: The former State Secretary labelled the treatment of Uyghurs as genocide. Does Biden care?  No, but the Quad nations are becoming an alliance to contain China; first meeting will be important. It’s now in a condition where it needs to exercise its puissance—maybe join US Navy for exercises anywhere in the Indian Ocean or the Western Pacific.
Confucius Institutes: a brilliant idea from China—they invest in US universities, incl the fanciest, and influence the curricula. The investments are to prevent criticism of China. What Biden did last week was cancel one f Trump’s orders requiring schools to report if they're in bed with China. 
The US is still the big dog on the block; we have significant responsibilities, incl with the Quad— India, Australia, Japan, the US. Biden spent over two hours on the phone with Xi Jinping, but naught with Israel.  Biden personally doesn’t like Netanyahu. Biden is an overtly anti-Israel president.
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 1, Block B:   John Berlau, @jberlau,Competitive Enterprise Institute; author of  George Washington, Entrepreneur; in re: Fintech; George Washington used alternative monies, incl tobacco warehouse receipts.  Today, anything from cryptocurrencies to _____. Bitcoin is at $50,000. CNBC said it poses no threat to the dollar. Is the dollar under siege? Certainly, bitcoin is volatile. Ethereum is more used, but bitcoin can be used in fractionals.  Robinhood, an online trading site. Gamestop. A young man who destroyed himself when he thought he was in debt, but he was not. Everything needs regulation against fraud.    Young people: Warren Buffet owned stock before he could drive, and Carl Icahn was on Wall Street at 25.  Is this a shakeout stage of fintech? Yes, we’re still learning. Short sellers certainly are learning.   AMC was able to pay off some of its debts; reduced it by $500 million.
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 1, Block C:   Russell Berman, @RussellBermanSF,director of Stanford's Thinking Matters program; Hoover, in re: The pandemic, worldwide,.  German philosopher: we gave up liberty, commerce, sociability, in March 2020. Why?  Is this the right way to go about this in future? Where I worked, everybody went away.  We weren’t ordered to do that; we gave it all up voluntarily.  A rapid renunciation of the core values that make up our lives—freedom of assembly, of religious practice, even speech.  I recall the New York governor on TV telling me what I was going to do and what not. Yeah? Who are ya?    What’s frightening is how rapidly we did this.  Renunciation of fundamental freedoms – what makes us human is freedom.  In previous epidemics, we didn't shut the economy down. Why this time?   Absolute authority was given to notional scientific expertise, and never balanced by economics, [and all the other aspects of humanity].  The conversations should not have been solely about medicine, but abut all the other central factors.   The other aspect: the legislature should have been involved, and perhaps the courts when individuals th9ught their rights were being infringed upon.
In future, executive authorities cold declare emergencies for climate, guns, anything.  This time, the people who are worst affected financially—the poor—are the most damaged all ways. Penn Station was shut down by police power, but there’s not enough police power to shut down fifty million people.  Macron just decided against a continuing lockdown, partly because of resistance against it.  We need democratic legitimation of [these behaviors].  Robust debates in Germany, the UK, the Netherlands.  The difference between dissent and disinformation.
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 1, Block D:  Elin Suleymanov,  @ElinSuleymanov, @azembassyus, ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Washington;      Brenda Shaffer: @ProfBShaffer  @FDD; Georgetown; in re: Trilateral meeting, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey.   I hope one day it will expand to include Armenia.  Turkey: completed [negotiations?] on the Southern Gas Corridor. Also coming : railways automobile roads, toward a general cooperation.   Azerbaijan is offering Armenia a warm peace—a real opportunity to benefit from some of the regional prosperity. Turkey is an investor upstream in the pipeline; also, think of the millions in southern US with no heat—this underlines the importance of infrastructure. Real, physical infrastructure; basic to our safety such as electricity.  Azerbaijan intends to build smart cities in the liberated zone.  Because the area is devastated, we can make a leap, utilized new technologies. This is a major opportunity for international firms, including American, to enter commerce and build, in effect, a new country. This is the vision of President Aliyev. We march to the sound of good news.  
Hour Two
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 2, Block A:  Elizabeth Peek, TheHill and Fox News, in re: Why did Biden cancel the Keystone pipeline?  Virtue signaling. It won't increase carbon emissions, as shipping by truck and train will. A ridiculous action. It not only cancelled 11,000 high-paying jobs, plus many others downstream; and enraged Canada, our largest trading partner. That oil will be refined; preposterous not to do it in the US.  In Texas, wind turbine s (23% of Texas energy) froze. Couldn’t work. Wind power is intermittent, needs to be backed up by fossil fuels.  The turbines have frozen in Ukraine and in many countries.    Californian pay 50% more for energy than does the rest of the country; poor people thus have to pay a much higher percentage of heir income to survive. This is Obama three.
The $1.9 trillion aid package. Note the $350 billion to be sent to New York, Illinois blue states in financial trouble. The national economy is coming back well; only thing impeding it is the blue shutdowns.  Further, $1 trillion is from the last package is stull unspent.  Yellin used to be a n inflation hawk; now doesn't seem to care.
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 2, Block B:  Elizabeth Peek, TheHill and Fox News, in re: Democrats have asked the IRS to look in to non-leftist nonprofits.  This is not healing the nation.  Who killed Ashli Babbitt and why? Democrats can't let go of Trump.  It no longer feels like politic; feels like obsession Yes, but it keeps the spotlight off Joe Biden, who’s not an exciting [or even favorable] character. Trump unleashed serious criticism against the establishment, both right and left; and they can’t deal with it. When Trump no longer in headlines, how’ll they sell newspapers?
Tuesday 16 February 2021   / Hour 2, Block C:  New World Report.Joseph Humire @jmhumire, @securefreesoc, and Senator Maria Fernanda Cabal @MariaFdaCabal, in re:
Tuesday 16 February 2021   / Hour 2, Block D:  ew World Report.Joseph Humire @jmhumire, @securefreesoc, and Senator Maria Fernanda Cabal @MariaFdaCabal, in re:
Hour Three
Tuesday 16 February 2021   / Hour 3, Block A:  Joseph Sternberg:  @josephsternberg, @WSJOpinion; Political Economics column; WSJ editorial board; in re: Where is inflation?  Bitcoin is touching $50,000, but clearly not a currency, since you have no idea how much it’ll be worth tomorrow. Is it a good inflation hedge? Is gold? Stocks, bonds, property? Left economists, incl Larry Summers, warned that the $1.9 trillion might just possibly lead toward inflation. Yellin jumped up saying nay. All the other asset prices are flashing red. Something is going haywire.
I was taught that when the prices of goods go up, and wages go up, beware inflation.  Maybe; but economists know a lot less than they think they do. Inflation is seriously dangerous; ruinous for households. Be very careful in poking that bear. Not saying this is like the Weimar Republic but there are signs we need to heed.
Elon Musk’s Tesla: trading at a PE that’s [hardly believable] Interesting company, in that the firm is actually making things, and there’s real innovation, yet the market struggles.  When you recognize inflation, is it already too late? Yes. 
The longer you wait, the harder it is to change course.
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 3, Block B:  Joseph Sternberg: @josephsternberg, @WSJOpinion; Political Economics column; WSJ editorial board;  in re:  Boris Johnson has taken the dais at 10 Downing Street, with headlines on jabs [for vaccine]: everyone over fifty must get a vaccine. We want this lockdown to be the last, so everyone stay home.  Huge pressure on BoJo to continue lockdowns for a while.  This won't much be possible to do again. The nightmare scenario is if something goes wrong at this late date. A perilous moment.   Many people on the street now, clearly violating the strictures. People are exhausted with these unnatural measures.  
Arriving passengers whisked to a hotel. Have to pay 1750 to stay for two weeks. Seems awfully unfriendly. Why are we doing this to our travel industry, esp since only British citizens are arriving?
Italy has found SuperMario Draghi, former central banker, now Italian PM. (Is Alan Greenspan available?)
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 3, Block C:   Victoria Coates, @VictoriaCoates; Center for Security Policy; in re:  Rocket attack in Erbil, Iraq.  Killed a contractor and wounded a number of Americans. This is a test of the Biden administration by Iran.  The JCPOA is broken and gone.  The Abraham Accords are the great game-changer. Are they at risk now? There’s reason for concern. In future: the Cyrus Accords*.  Biden froze F35 sales to the UAE. Biden could squander the [good that was done].  Arabs no longer are giving Palestinians a veto over their foreign policy; the US is.
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 3, Block D:   Josh Rogin: @joshrogin; Chaos under Heaven;in re:  
Hour Four
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 4, Block A:  The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, by Edward J. Larson 
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 4, Block B:  The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, by Edward J. Larson
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 4, Block C:  The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, by Edward J. Larson
Tuesday 16 February 2021  / Hour 4, Block D:  The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, by Edward J. Larson