The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Air Date: 
September 24, 2019

from Baku, Azerbaijan, by courtesy of the Washington embassy of the Republic if Azerbaijan, and of
Co-host: Christopher Nixon, Cox, Liechtenstein Institute
Hour One
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 1, Block A:  Elizabeth Peek, TheHill and Fox News; in re:   Tomorrow, a conference with the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (effectively, the national sovereign fund).  Trump vs Pelosi.  Spontaneous market sell-off with Mrs Pelosi’s announcement of an inquiry; recovered before the close.  “Sprinkling fairy dust.”  Batting sites say that the Democrats will go full-bore toward impeachment.   American people probably won't like the Democrats’ blocking; PMI for manufacturing  and services: both picked up.   We’re still ’way above Germany, which is in contracting territory. The City economic Surprise Index:  results vs expectations – on an upward spike because peoples’ expectations  have constantly been surpassed. Low-income Americans are trading up in jobs 
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 1, Block B:  Elizabeth Peek, TheHill and Fox News; in re:  The ongoing matter of the nomination process; and how does the news from Mrs Pelosi suit the Biden campaign?    Note that Joe Biden’s son was being paid roughly a million dollars a year by a Ukrainian gas company, although the son knew nothing about the field.  Smells bad.  The winner here is Elizabeth Warren, “George McGovern in pants.”  Taking on the president is risky for Democrats.  Trump needs to resolve the trade dispute with China, or else show that it can be done. There are 535 electoral votes.
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 1, Block C:  Steve Moore, Committee to Unleash Prosperity; Economic Consultant with Freedom Works;  & Heritage; in re: The US economy: seven million jobs available right now, best economy in decades.  Last week, industrial production went ’way up – no recession in sight.
US uranium stocks perilously low*. Russia and China are putting nuclear power plants in countries they want to control.  Anyone truly concerned about climate change needs to favor nuclear power. Uranium is critical to US power and military y; our uranium industry has in effect been shut down – we’re getting it from Russia and Kazakhstan, both unreliable in a pinch.   I think natural gas and nuclear power will both be essential in the coming century.  And China is getting in this game.  We’re sitting on trillions of dollars’ worth of precious metals and rare earths, but cannot get them because of draconian regulations here.  Shooting selves in foot.
* Executive Summary
The U.S. uranium mining industry is in crisis today due to certain foreign state-owned companies and entities undermining free-market uranium through predatory practices. U.S, uranium production has also suffered from years of anti-mining regulatory and environmental policies that have left the domestic industry dormant. As of 2019, more than 99 percent of U.S. uranium supplies are imported, much of it from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. China is also ramping up its ability to supply more cheap uranium to the U.S. These are not friendly ally nations that America can depend on. Because of those foreign imports, and for a variety of regulatory and policy reasons, domestic uranium production and employment are at historic lows not seen since the dawn of the industry in the 1940s. The private industry on which the nuclear fuel cycle has traditionally relied is on the verge of collapse. Were the nation’s domestic uranium mining industry to disappear, could it make a comeback? If a comeback were possible, how long would it take and at what cost to our energy, medical and military needs? Despite the existence of vast uranium deposits in the U.S., domestic producers expect 2019 production to dip below one percent of what our nation requires to fuel its commercial nuclear reactors—i.e. less than the amount required to fuel even one  of the 97 commercial reactors that produce electricity, and enable nuclear and medical research in the U.S. It is dangerous to have the world’s largest network of nuclear reactors operating without some basic level of uninterruptable supply of domestic uranium to fuel them, rather than the near 100 percent import reliance now expected for 2019 and 2020. In addition, the nation is ultimately at risk of not being able to provide its mandated supply of domestic uranium for national defense and national security requirements. Western companies operating in free-market capitalism environments are not and have not been on a level playing field with state-sponsored companies and entities who are more interested in geopolitical advantage over the West, than in profitability. While we certainly believe in free trade, the increasing uranium market dominance from state-sponsors threatens not just the production of U.S. uranium, but also the prospect of a vibrant civilian nuclear reactor fleet—i.e. the entire nuclear fuel cycle. Civilian nuclear reactors provide critical baseload power that keeps the electrical grid stable. The U.S. can ill-afford the possibility of geopolitically motivated uranium fuel supply disruptions because nuclear energy provides 20 percent of the nation’s electricity, as well as 55 percent of our carbon-free power generation. Unfortunately, U.S. domestic uranium production has been reduced to three mining companies. Currently the total U.S. uranium workforce has been reduced to less than 400 employees from over 21,000 in the early 1980’s. In addition, the nation has lost considerable technical talent and expertise that has become increasingly difficult to replace. The uranium industry has capacity to produce significant quantities of uranium from mines idled and on standby, but the ability of the industry to sustain idle operations is severely limited by the following factors:
• State laws
that restrict the length of time mines can remain on standby and, forcing premature decommissioning of mining capacity.
• Nongovernmental organizations
that actively pursue litigation to force the closure of mines currently on standby.
• State and tribal governments considering uranium mining bans,
who have been emboldened by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent upholding of Virginia’s uranium mining ban.
• For smaller domestic uranium companies, the sheer cost of maintaining non-producing mines is not sustainable and will result in closures under current market conditions. Unless conditions improve dramatically or the federal government provides immediate assistance to create a level playing field, much of current uranium production capacity is at risk of being permanently stranded or lost, immediately jeopardizing U.S. uranium-dependent power generation and national security and national defense programs. Rebuilding production capacity and intellectual capital to support the minimum uranium industrial base needed for defense programs would also probably take decades.
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 1, Block D:  Andrew C McCarthy, NRO;  author, Ball of Collusion, and served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in re: Ukraine, Russia, and Trump. . . . Pelosi has been trying to steer clear of impeachment while her base wants it; once the machinery of impeachment in turned on, no one can stop it.  Holman Jenkins (WSJ) article headline: Ukraine Goes for Elizabeth Warren.  . . . You don't need a crime for impeachment, but it helps to have one.  A political offense in not as clean as a crime; here, Biden’s past will have to be brought in, which will not help him. 
Hour Two
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 2, Block A:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re:  Millenarians, Nancy Pelosi’s Ukrainian impeachment trajectory, and the Twenty-first Century American civil war.  Declarations that we’ll have to give up our energy; themes converge in the Messianic climate change tale.  Jeremy Corbyn taking people’s wealth away:  we’re already in the midst of a civil war that’s, inter al., economic.  Vast majority of globalist American elite have embraced overturning society because they think that’s where the momentum and power will be.  Most large US corporations, esp social media corporations, have lurched toward the revolutionaries.   Messianic, milennarian, apocalyptic – a religious movement. A powerful existential clash.  The SPeaker of the House will endeavor to remove the king.
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 2, Block B:  Michael E Vlahos, Johns Hopkins, in re:  The Twenty-first Century American civil war. Will Mrs Pelosi’s move speed up the civil war? Her demand for impeachment suggests Robespierre on Valium. Does this accelerate the clash?  She’s held back sternly and strongly, but now in a drugged way is embracing impeachment: in a revolutionary situation millenarians  take over.  Here, like the Jacobins, a hysterical [effort ] of purification.  The entire impeachment process in the modern age is about purification.   Have the president put to the stake to purify and transform the country. The Thermidorian reaction worked only because of Napoleon’s victories in the Italian campaign -   it won't happen today.
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 2, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Starship, Elon Musk: fins attached.  Been a year in construction; will have three Raptor engines, most powerful and efficient rocket engines ever made. Private programs compared to earlier, govt programs: in the 1960s. NASA functioned the way it should have.  Need to compare with the giant swamp govt boondoggle today, e.g., Orion. Orion contracts sent out willy-nilly to different companies, but Congress hasn't authorized any money. These contracts are all to help NASA lobby for the program.  Russia and China team up on lunar lander/orbiter projects, on a lunar lander and unmanned missions. The US is currently ’way behind. China is far in the lead. I don’t want a space program dictated by the govt; I want a chaotic, competitive industry.  This competes very effectively with Russia.
       NASA awards Lockheed Martin long-term Orion contract.  Australia signs on to Artemis.  Boeing pushing to kill Gateway, NASA boondoggle? 
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 2, Block D:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Japan find cause of its launch pad fire: in an exit hole on the mobile launch platform, by static electricity, exacerbated by [an oxygen tank?]  We never found out even what was damaged.  ESA asks for NASA help on ExoMars parachute problems.  Comet Borisov is now officially 2I/Borisov.  Launch in 2030, go near Jupiter, and catch the comet by 2045.  Cave pits in Martian northern lowlands.  May have ice – water!  Subterranean is more benign. Protected from radiation, more constant temperature.
Hour Three
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 3, Block A:  Rovshan Aghayev, First Deputy Mayor, village and region of Ismayilli, Azerbaijan; in re: the needs of the farmers in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus.
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 3, Block B:  Marco Catelani, vintner in Azerbaijan; in re: A Florentine winemaker originally brought in by Russians; now has hundreds of hectares of land, experimenting with his own sauvignons.  Wine in Florence and Azerbaijan
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 3, Block C:  Elnur Hasanov, Senior Specialist, Ganja Branch of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences; in re:  Archaeology, and the history of Ganja, Azerbaijan
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 3, Block D:  Elnur Hasanov, Senior Specialist, Ganja Branch of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences; in re: Archaeology, and the history of Ganja, Azerbaijan
Hour Four
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 4, Block A:  Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying, by Sonke Neitzel
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 4, Block B:  Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying, by Sonke Neitzel
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 4, Block C:  Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying, by Sonke Neitzel
Tuesday 24 September 2019 / Hour 4, Block D:  Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying, by Sonke Neitzel