The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Air Date: 
February 19, 2013

Photo, above:  Russia deployed warships off the coast of Syria to deter any military intervention by the Western states in the Arab country, a report says.  Citing a Russian diplomat, The Sunday Times said that Russia has sent five landing ships, carrying military vehicles and hundreds of marines, as well as combat vessels in the eastern Mediterranean recently.


Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio

Hour One

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Larry Kudlow, in re: the sequester: will the US grind to a halt? No – it's chump change.  The idea htat  a small spending cut will cause this is dumb.

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:   Gregory Zuckerman, 
Special Writer, Wall Street Journal, and author, The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History,  in re:

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . John H. Cochrane, Grumpy Economist, Hoover Institution, Cato, and Chicago Booth School, in re:  What's Holding Back the US Economy?  Growth is the most important thing -  a new normal of very slow growth is dangerous, Not one thing; comes from the sum of many little things.  Paul Krugman thinks all we need to do is borrow money and pour it back in. The rest of us  taxes, regulation, economic sectors dysfunctional and need to be cleaned out:  health care, financial mkts (Dodd-Frank), EPA, and so forth. The Fed is like oil in the car – they can mess things up but really can't make it l log forward. Financial side of the Fed is a different story. When it comes time to raise rates, then we'll see some real issues involving the Fed.  Three-and-a-half-trillion dollars will do more than fix potholes.  Growth is not abt housing – need high tech, bz investment, R&D, new processes, new products, for long-run growth. Horrendous inefficiencies in health care – the market, itself, is very protected, monopolistic. Researcher tried to get prices on hip replacement: most refused, but actual numbers vary by a factor of ten.  Eighteen per cent of our economy is for health care - and it isn’t working. Where's the Southwest Airlines of healthcare?  If we had a clear, simple, stable tax codes, things'd be a lot cleaner.

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Larry Kudlow, in re: Erskine Bowles said the public will weigh in on sequester when the lines extend at the airports. Kudlow says: TSA is a classic case of waste, fraud and bureaucracy. Bowles used to have a decent tax reform plan; he said none of that on CNBC today – no growth message, whatsoever.  $4.91 bil budget at NASA; the sequestration is $______. LK: Whole agencies cd be cut – Commerce, Education, chunks of Interior shd be turned over to states; Agriculture, with subsidies from the turn of the previous century.  It's not 1996 any more; we're in a spending crisis.

Hour Two

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: Al Nusrah, al Qaed'as affiliate in Syria: not just pirates, gangsters, cutthroats, drug lords – this is military. Fifty IEDs. This is not gore – it's effective asymmetrical warfare. Look at Long War Journal video: convoy -  detonation, aftermath, Syrian military.  Raining, clouds, flat landscape: a cascade across the landscape, turn over some trucks; cameras on both sides. No ground fire, just IEDs. Damage in this rain-soaked landscape. Saw people jumping out of trucks. Fighters from all over, incl Libya, Iraq, Chechnya. Impose shariah in towns along the Euphrates al Qaeda taking over parts of Syria – which is not a failed state, it’s about to become a breeding ground for al Qaeda.  They had to set the IEDs, have radio communication to set off he cascade, lure the convoy into the trap, detonate exactly, then attack the survivors? They also need tech expertise, and it wasn't cheap – an IED can be $100-$500 each.  "Allahu Akhbar; Nusrah! Nusrah!"  - the Dallas Cowboys of Syria right now.  Washington: look at this. Look what they can do!

American officials have not been granted access to senior al Qaeda-linked terrorists detained in Egypt. One of them has ties to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Al Nusrah Front claims suicide attacks in Damascus, al-Shadadi. Senior IRGC official killed in Syria 'was no less than Mughniyah': Hassan Shateri, who was recently killed in Syria, served as a senior official in the IRGC. He also had close ties with Hezbollah, a group he greatly aided during his time in Lebanon.

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Jed Babbin, former Asst SecDef, in re: Panetta, Hagel.  Panetta refused to plan for he sequestration, left a huge mess for Hagel, who may not be the right person to take over. Cd manage personnel, major weapons systems, all sorts of ways to manage this.

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re:  North Korea detonates a nuclear weapon the night before the State of the Union msg. Why? Who was there? Iranian nuclear establishment was in attendance; they’ve been collaborating for a long time. The "father of the Iranian bomb program" was there. Some say this as a smaller, more miniaturized bomb [in order to put it on a ballistic missile].   ICBM delivery is at hand for both North Korea and Iran; will announce they can hit any place in the world. JB: Head of Iranian nukes travelled to and fro under pseudonym, Hasan ____seini, in a govt jet w many people on board, mostly over Chinese air space. He knew we wee watching.  Khamenei: "If we wish to get a nuclear bomb, even the US can’t stop us."   Iranian spokesman says to TV: "Fordow will never be shut down – never never never. The Zionist regime would never dare."  If they shut down Fordow there'll be an ease in sanctions in gold[?] trade. High-stakes poker game. Letter to IAEA to incl centrifuges at Natanz – the feel vulnerable, come out w statements for which there no longer is a buyer.   IAEA requested to see Fordow [built in a mountain, recently mostly destroyed by persons unknown], were refused.  If Fordow is working well, Iran has a card to play in the negotiations in n Kazakhstan at the end of this month; if not, not.   Syria: Iran trying to strategize to save Assad; recent attack by Israelis in Syria, incl taking out a Quds Force general, Shateri, asst to top honcho.

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Jim Snyder, Bloomberg, in re: Leaky Tank at Hanford Nuclear Site Roils Waste Cleanup: 177 containers, of which 149 are single-shell. Some of the pollution reached the Columbia River, "but not the radiation."  Hunh? Dozens of tanks have been thought to be leaking; pumped out most viscous material hoping to stabilize.  Some of this is the refuse from the original nuclear materials: the bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki – been stored since 1945!  "The Energy Department faces “significant technical challenges” in successfully constructing and operating the Hanford facility, the report said. Bechtel National Inc. was awarded a contract to design and build the waste-treatment facility in 2000. Since then, the estimated completion cost has tripled to $13.4 billion and the plant’s opening has been delayed until 2019, according to the GAO report.

Hour Three

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:   Stephen Cohen, NYU, in re: How Obama can avert another Cold War.  The four policies, from Clinton Adm, though Bush, now in Obama: NATO expansion.  Biggest mindset diff betw Russian and Am political class: US thinks every story began yesterday; Russians have a long memory.  US Magnitsky bill; Russians ban US adoptions, etc.  Biggest Russian complaint:  ______.  Need bold new thinking, incl basic assumptions, Agree cannot expel member countries from NATO, but US cd assure Russia that no new republics will be taken in; second; we promise he Russians that it'd be a demilitarized NATO: no new bases. But most of the new members have mil bases, which we cd demilitarize.  If Obama really wants to reduce nukes radically, he needs to consider this.  "Star Wars.  "This is not my analysis. Russians said that it all depends on concessions from the US in missile defense."  Many Americans sincerely argue that this is all abt natl security: a country that's democratic – Russia – is in our natl interests – wd be a true American partner. No evidence, but there's a logic.  US agitation has sometimes harmed democratization: looked as though it was a foreign project; US govt shd not be funding direct intervention in Russian life because it harms the result. 

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:   Stephen Cohen, NYU and the Washington Post, in re: Russia will send four additional warships to the Mediterranean for combat service, the Defense Ministry's press service announced Feb. 19, AFP and RIA Novosti reported. A military source said the ships could be used to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria.  Russia is an Islamic country: 25mil Muslim citizens.  Kremlin fears hat anything in the Muslim world ramifies into Russia. Arab "Spring": Russian narrative is that this is an Arab nightmare, destabilization of Islamic civilization that will bring to power the most extreme, terrorist forces – Egypt, Libya, Syria. US is far from the reality of the fallout, Russia is proximate.  Neither Moscow nor Washington knows how to create a post-Assad transition. Russia has terrific intell in that area. Because he Kremin again face the same problem it faced in Libya, cold it teach Washington? Probably not because the US never took Russia seriously as having wisdom in intl affairs. The US did betray Russia in Libya [after many broken agreements].   After a decade of DC actually lying to Moscow, the Russians no longer trust the US.

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:   Here's the Deal (Kindle Single) by David Leonhardt [New York Times Washington bureau chief]; 1 of 2


"Economic pessimism has a rich history. It stretches back to Malthus and the Luddites. It includes liberals who worry that the planet is running out of resources and conservatives who believe that eroding moral values will undermine prosperity. In this country, the skeptics pointed first to the Soviet Union and then to Japan and Germany as rivals on the cusp of surpassing us. After all of those other countries stumbled, the skeptics moved on to a new threat: China."

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:  Here's the Deal (Kindle Single) by David Leonhardt [New York Times Washington bureau chief]; 2 of 2

Hour Four

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Flavia Krause-Jackson, Bloomberg,  in re: Climate Change’s Links to Conflict Draws UN Attention

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Michael Smith, Bloomberg Markets, South American reporter, in re:  South Americans Face Upheaval in Deadly Water Battles

Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: NASA mission control in Houston has lost all communications with ISS. Communications are still possible each orbit for short periods with Moscow


Tuesday  20 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Consensus! A new poll of Earth scientists has found that a majority are skeptical of human-caused global warming.

Only 36 percent of geoscientists and engineers believe that humans are creating a global warming crisis, according to a survey reported in the peer-reviewed Organization Studies. By contrast, a strong majority of the 1,077 respondents believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.

This is fun to note, but this poll is as worthless in determining the climate of the Earth as every previous poll that said the opposite. What matters is the data. However, this quote about the poll is significant: One interesting aspect of this new survey is the unmistakably alarmist bent of the survey takers. They frequently use terms such as “denier” to describe scientists who are skeptical of an asserted global warming crisis, and they refer to skeptical scientists as “speaking against climate science” rather than “speaking against asserted climate projections.” Accordingly, alarmists will have a hard time arguing the survey is biased or somehow connected to the ‘vast right-wing climate denial machine.’

Another interesting aspect of this new survey is that it reports on the beliefs of scientists themselves rather than bureaucrats who often publish alarmist statements without polling their member scientists. We now have meteorologists, geoscientists and engineers all reporting that they are skeptics of an asserted global warming crisis, yet the bureaucrats of these organizations frequently suck up to the media and suck up to government grant providers by trying to tell us the opposite of what their scientist members actually believe

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