The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Air Date: 
May 21, 2013

Photo, above: Diplomat says US special forces team stopped from going to Benghazi after embassy attack.  A team of U.S. special forces ready to head to Benghazi, Libya, after the assault on the American diplomatic mission had ended was told to stand down, according to a former top diplomat. Gregory Hicks also told Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that if the U.S. military had flown aircraft over the Benghazi facility after it came under siege it might have prevented the second attack on the CIA annex that killed two CIA security officers.  Excerpts of the interview with the former deputy chief in Libya were released Monday in advance of Hicks’ testimony on Wednesday before the panel. The Sept. 11, 2012, assault killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Nearly eight months later, Republicans insist that the Obama administration is guilty of a coverup of the events despite a scathing independent report that faulted the State Department for inadequate security at the diplomatic mission.  Hicks’ comments and the hearing are likely to revive the politically charged debate in which Republican lawmakers and outside groups have faulted former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible presidential candidate in 2016.


Hour One

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block A:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Sr Congressional correspondent, in No evidence 'yet' that IRS targeting was politically motivated

Online Article   Messrs Miller and Shulman telling us abt all they don’t know – don’t know who or why, they feel bad, are sure there was no politically motivated target. Unanswered questions.   The person nominally in charge is now taking the Fifth: "You just want to embarrass me," she said. Parallel scandals: DOJ hasn’t merely looked at 20 phone, lines, but watched two line into the White House, and some into Fox, specifically to snoop on James Rosen. Also on James Rosen's parents?? It never before occurred to us that we could get in trouble just for doing what we do: report.

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block B: Bryan Bremner, Bloomberg Businessweek, in re: Icelandic Banks: Iceland Gets Tough with Foreign Creditors of Failed Banks A new coalition government wants to fix the economy by demanding that creditors take a big haircut.  "BEWARE OF ICELANDERS BEARING SMILES" To finance tax cuts and mortgage write-downs, Iceland’s new government is seeking a 75 percent reduction in the amount owed about 100 creditors. Instead of launching an expensive bailout & charging taxpayers, they defaulted to creditors. A new govt, under the Progressive Party, will have to renegotiate with the bank creditors and as =k for a bigger haircut.  RBS, Deutsche, Goldman. Over $3 bil, initially, another $8 bil to figure out, New capital controls in 2008; krone down 40%.  Iceland doesn’t have enough hard currency to pay it al at once, needs cooperation from creditors.  JB: Iceland is very well run mostly – wonderful country, people are very friendly, not many; beautiful landscape, airline works perfectly, they're really trying to restore their credit. People selling things at airport counters consider it their responsibility to sell things to bring down the national debt.   The banks throwing money in [back then] knew it was too good a deal to be true; three Icelanding banks were recklessly lending, they grew to be ten times the size of the economy.

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: Eli Lake, senior national security correspondent, Newsweek/Daily Beast, in re: Exclusive: CIA Honored Benghazi Chief in Secret Ceremony. Part of why the State Department has taken the brunt of the political blame for the Benghazi attack, writes Eli Lake, is that clandestine services by definition have very little public oversight.  At a secret February ceremony at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the chief of the CIA’s base in Benghazi the night of the 9/11 anniversary attacks there was awarded one of the agency’s highest intelligence medals, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.  The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover[more]  They did manage to save all but two people in a total security meltdown, and there was that heroic rescue after the CIA realized no security was present, so they packed thier gear and rescued all but two, from dipl mission to CIA annex.

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 1, Block D: Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re: Benghazi. Plot thickens; more data. U.S. military sources serving in North Africa are challenging the latest White House claim that the administration is applying "all the resources" at its disposal to bring the Benghazi attackers to justice, charging instead that the Obama administration knows who is responsible but is not acting.  "They have let it slip by because of politics, and now we've taken all the correlation we had and dropped the ball because of risk (aversion) -- and now the security in Libya is more fragile than ever," one U.S. special operator told Fox News. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirms that U.S. forces have tracked the alleged attackers since October but have since lost the trail of some of them, as no one up the chain of command would authorize them to capture or kill the targeted militia members.  Sources who have worked in and around Benghazi since last October spoke out after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly said at a briefing more than a week ago that the administration was going after the suspects in the Sept. 11 terror attack. "From the beginning, the president has committed all the resources of this administration, of this government, to finding out who was responsible and to bringing them to justice," Carney said, as he faced a barrage of critical questions from the press on the heels of reports that challenged the administration's Benghazi narrative.  "Carney just said they want to bring those responsible to justice -- that's a big ole negative," said one special operator who watched the press conference with part of his team and disputed Carney's characterization of the administration's efforts in the wake of the attack. According to well-placed sources, the administration has known where some of the perpetrators are, based on information given to the Pentagon back in January, but no action has been taken to capture or kill them.  Further, sources said they are being restricted from any reconnaissance or advanced force operations to go after those responsible in the eastern part of Libya. 

Hour Two

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:   Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re:  #Rafsanjani disqualifed from #Iran race; ends brief hopes of heavyweight candidate supported by Green opposition.  Iranian Presidential Election Turning into a Circus   TOO LATE TO STOP IRAN'S NUKE PROGRAM?  [more]  Jalili totally beholden to the Supreme Leader, who wants Valayati – if Argentina will drop mass-murder charges against Velayati. Jalili is back-up; at the moment, looks as though Velayati will win. In the Gulf last November, Velayati met with Valerie Jarrett, chief personal advisor to Pres Obama, who interceded with Buenos Aires to drop the charges since Jarrett and Velayati were childhood friends in Teheran.

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Charles Pellegrino, author and explorer, in re:   Titanic Tycoon Wins Australian Dispute with Citic Pacific (1)
Clive Palmer, the Australian mining entrepreneur who's planning to build a replica of the Titanic, won a lawsuit with Citic Pacific Ltd. over 
Iconic Titanic artifact coming to USA - USA Today.  April 1912: Titanic.  How it damaged he confidence of a civilization that travelled back and forth from Britain to the US.   At a time when the US govt can get in so much trouble simply sitting ashore, let's have a look at an entrepreneur who's building a replica of Titanic.  On the original: the musicians. A rosewood violin, belonged to Wallace Hartley, bandmaster; lots of provenance.  Played lots of Irving Berlin and ragtime as the ship sank. Violet Jessup, who survived the sinking of Titanic and also of the blowing-up of its sister ship, heard the band playing "Nearer My God to Thee" going out over the water. Plaque in Boston at Symphony Hall, 301 Commonwealth.

An iconic artifact associated with the world's most famous ocean disaster is coming to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., this week.  The rosewood violin that belonged to the RMS Titanic bandmaster, Wallace Hartley, will be unveiled Wednesday at the Titanic Museum Attraction in the Smoky Mountains tourist mecca, where it will be on exhibit through July 27. It then will travel to a sister attraction in Branson, Mo., for display from Aug. 1-15, the museum owners announced today.  The violin is set to be sold Oct. 19 in England by . . . [more]

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: Brave dolphin named Ten, with colleague Spetz, found an old torpedo in the San Diego Bay. Miami Dolphins: NFL owners voted to day on where the 50th Superbowl wd be held – at SF, Levis stadium, to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in 2015.  Bay Bridge stops in Treasure Island (actually, Yerba Buena, the tunnel); the next span, the East span, wasn't damaged as badly in the big earthquake. Bolts corroded by  - water.  Hundreds of at-risk rods. Forget getting the whole thing fixed by Labor Day. Prop XIII: referendum said that homeowners's taxes can’t be raised willy-nilly; that discipline didn’t last long, talk of getting rid of watered-down version.  IRS scandal: local Tea Parties are filing suit in federal court vs the IRS, both for discovery and relief. Sunnyland!

The water isn't really a big story . . . unless you're Central Valley (at least, few are paying attention to it). The Bay Bridge is big because it's an expensive set of embarrassments.  Voting in LA for new mayor today . . . scion of political family vs. Clinton-backed candidate (female; would be first for LA). Growing talk that Brown might push to have Prop. 13 watered-down or repealed.  Calif.-based Tea Party group filed suit against IRS.  Obama and China's Xi will meet on June 7, 8 at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg estate in Southern California.  San Francisco gets Super Bowl Miami for bid expected to bring hundreds of millions to Bay Area.  Navy trained dolphins find old torpedo off Calif. coast

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 2, Block D: Carrick Mollencamp, Reuters, in re: Special Report: Subprime bond bounces back, leaving behind a subprime borrower.  During the crazy days of the housing bubble in 2006, bankers created a bond called MABS 2006-FRE1. The instrument gave buyers the right to payments on the subprime housing loans of nearly 2,000 borrowers, including Stephen Monzione, a professional wedding photographer in New Hampshire.  [more]

Hour Three

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:   Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover, in re:   Nixon Is a Fair Comparison Corner (National Review Online)

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block B: Kori Schake, Hoover, Defining Ideas, in re: “Obama’s Iran Gamble.” “The Administration thinks it can contain the Islamic Republic, but our intelligence suggests otherwise.” During the time of the Soviet Union, the joke among the proletariat ran, “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.” The diplomatic relationship between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken on the same farcical characteristics: The President pretends he will not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran, and Prime Minister Netanyahu pretends to believe him…  [more]

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block C: James Dao, NYT, in re: Criticism of Veterans Affairs Secretary Mounts Over Backlog in Claims  The secretary, Eric Shinseki, is being held accountable for his overwhelmed agency’s problem

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 3, Block D: James Glanz, in re: Landlords Double as Energy Brokers  Bland New Jersey buildings are commanding rents four times as high as Class A high-rises in Manhattan, but it isn’t the space that attracts. It’s the electrical capacity. The Cloud Factories: Part 1 | Part 2

Hour Four

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block A: John Bolton, AEI, in re:  Optimally, State’s inspector general (IG) should appoint independent reviewers, thus protecting against interference from above and minimizing fears of retaliation against State employees below. Equally important, the IG should be free to work with his Defense, CIA, and other counterparts to perform comprehensive assessments. Even accepting the Benghazi ARB tout court, we should remember that it examined only part of the story. Especially given the CIA’s important role in Benghazi, it is impossible to assess accurately what corrections are needed without including that agency in the review. Some CIA-related issues might have been addressed in the ARB’s classified report, but no one pretends its review was truly government-wide, as it ought to have been. And where, as here, the White House is involved, only congressional investigations can possibly be comprehensive enough.
Undoubtedly, these practical lessons from Benghazi constitute just a beginning. Their common theme is the need for nonpartisan, commonsense principles of presidential leadership and supervision over the executive branch. As more details emerge about Benghazi (and about the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing), broader conclusions will be drawn. By themselves, of course, no set of lessons can prevent an administration’s willful blindness to international terrorism, but these are a start. And, to answer Hillary Clinton’s infamous rhetorical question, that is what difference it makes, even now.

– Mr. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
  read this article online.

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block B: Peter Berkowitz, Hoover, in re: Benghazi, the Maghgreb, and the Middle East.

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block C: Michael Tomasky Newsweek/Daily Beast, in re: Incremental Goals Are Key in Kerry's Peace Quest  Real Clear Politics

Tuesday  21 May  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re: The uncertainty of science: Climate scientists have been forced to revise their climate models due to the unexpected refusal of the climate to warm since the late 1990s.  In related news, the certainty of some ignorant politicians: A Democratic senator used the Oklahoma tornado to rant against Republicans who have expressed skepticism about human-caused global warming. Update: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) followed up by blaming the tornado on global warming while pushing her carbon tax bill today.  The first story attempts very hard to keep the narrative alive that we are all going to die from global warming, even though the gist is that the warming has stopped and all the predictions of global warming scientists have been wrong. The second story illustrates the typically close-minded attitude of liberal politicians. The senator not only refuses to recognize the new data showing that warming has stopped, he has accepted the global warming narrative completely, including the entirely false claim that extreme weather is rising because of global warming.

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