The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Air Date: 
April 26, 2017

Photo, left: DPRK live fire exercise.
Co-hosts: Gordon Chang, & Daily Beast. 
Hour One
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block A: James Holmes, professor of strategy at the Naval War College and a former surface warfare officer, in re: The Korean troubles.   Japan warns citizens they might have only 10 minutes to prepare for a North Korean missile.   North Korea might be talking about building missiles that can reach the United States, but Kim Jong Un’s regime already has lots of missiles that can reach Japan. So the Japanese government is preparing its citizens in case a missile comes their way — possibly with less than 10 minutes’ warning.
The prime minister’s office issued new “actions to protect yourself” guidelines this week, including for the first time instructions on how to respond if a North Korean ballistic missile is heading toward Japan.
Three of the four missiles that North Korea launched March 6 fell within Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Sea of Japan, the body of water that separates Japan and the Korean Peninsula. North Korea later said that it was practicing to hit U.S. military bases in Japan.
North Korea showed almost two decades ago that it has all of Japan in its reach. In 1998, North Korea fired a Taepodong-1 missile — ostensibly for launching a satellite — over Japan and into its economic zone on the Pacific Ocean side.
The Japanese government’s advice isn’t exactly helpful, amounting to basically: You won’t get the warning in time, but if you do, then go to a strong building.
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block B:  Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, in re:
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block C:   Isaac Stone Fish, The Guardian, in re: Isaac’s recommendation favoring patience and negotiations with North Korea and China 
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 1, Block D:  Jerry Hendrix, USN (ret) and CNAS, in re: deployment of Navy assets in North Asia for the North Korea crisis; review of the Vinson Group, the Japan Self-Defense Force, the ROK Navy, and perhaps the Reagan Group can be surged.
Hour Two
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block A:  Scott Harold, full political scientist and deputy director, Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at The Rand Corporation, in re: Does there exist a climb-down from the present precarious situation anent North Korea?  Note that even China notices the DPRK can now threaten it rather badly; as it can Western US territores, e.g., Guam and perhaps Hawaii.  Danger of a miscalculation by someone at some point. Imagine that by 2020 DPRK have not several but dozens of H-bombs.  On 9 May a South Korean election; likely new president, Moon Jae-in, has made statements that are not comforting to many observers. 
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block B:  Bruce Bechtol, professor at Angelo State University and author of North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era, in re: the latest on North Korea.
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block C:  William Murphy, associate professor of political science, New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, in re:
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang, Daily Beast and, in re: Beijing’s eagerness to take over Lajes [] from the blimpish Pentagon, which wants to move to London for a better social life.  Meanwhile, North Korea stole a huge sum from the Bank of Bangladesh – and the US Federal Reserve  If China wants to coordinate with the US on the matter of DPRK, then bully.  If not, and since China provides 90% of DPRK’ trade and 100% of its aviation fuel, then start with sanctions on relevant Chinese banks that support DPRK, and move up the ladder to very significant sanctions that would, inter al., bankrupt Pyongyang.
Hour Three
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block A:  Josh Rogin, Washington Post, in re:  Trump Adm who’s an experienced Asia hand.  Middle East and Afghanistan, but not even appointment, let alone confirmation.  Today when all the Senators went to a swiftly-assembled SCIF to discuss the North Korean matter, still not clear to the rest of us whither this policy.   Tillerson’s earlier statement parroting China’s code phrases for leaving China alone to control the region.   Acquiescence to Chinese regional hegemony freaked out the neighbors. 
Asia team is missing in action  Nearly 100 days into his administration and amid a growing crisis with North Korea, President Trump has so far failed to install Asia policy officials in several key posts across the government, a situation experts say is hampering strategy development, slowing relationship-building with key allies and potentially dangerous if a conflict erupts.  (1 of 2)
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block B:  Josh Rogin, Washington Post, in re:  Trump’s Asia team is missing in action  . . . Japan is not happy with Trump’s deputizing China to solve the North Korea problem,  To Japan, DPRK is the short-term problem but China is the long-term danger.  (2 of 2)
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block C:  Monica Crowley, @MonicaCrowley ,in re:   Trump tax cuts for Republicans. President Donald Trump called for deep reductions in business tax rates and major changes to the individual tax system in a bid to invigorate his agenda as he nears the 100-day mark.
With Wednesday’s proposals—which include a 15% tax rate for all businesses, lower individual rates, a bigger standard deduction to benefit middle-income households and the repeal of the estate and alternative minimum taxes—Mr. Trump hopes to speed up economic growth and make his mark as a historic tax cutter.
Still, the sweeping tax plan departed in important ways from congressional Republican proposals and alienated Democrats, giving the president a narrow path to victory through Congress.
“Clearly, we have a unique opportunity to do something major here,” said Gary Cohn, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council at the White House on Wednesday. “It’s our intention to create a huge tax cut, and equally as important, a huge simplification of the tax system in America.”
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 3, Block D: Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center, in re: tax reform
Hour Four
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block A:  Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes; and author, Liberty Risen, in re:  That memo, after accusing Mr. Gubarev, then recounts from previous memos a supposed trip Mr. Cohen took to Prague in late August to meet with Russian agents and devise a plan to cover up the purported Trump team’s role in the hacking.
Mr. Cohen calls the dossier “fabricated.” He has shown that he was in California at the time and has never been to Prague. He told The Washington Times that he has instructed his attorneys to investigate a lawsuit against Mr. Steele.
The fact that Mr. Steele acknowledges that he put unverified “raw intelligence” into his December memo casts further doubt on his research techniques for the entire 35-page dossier.
Although Mr. Steele portrays himself as a victim of Fusion and BuzzFeed, he acknowledges in his court filing that he provided “off-the-record briefings to a small number of journalists about the pre-election memoranda in late summer/autumn 2016.”
The narration of the involvement of Mr. McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a vocal critic of Mr. Trump, reads like a spy novel.
Andrew Wood is a former British ambassador to Moscow and is an associate at the Orbis firm. After the Nov. 8 presidential election, Mr. Wood met with Mr. McCain and David J. Kramer, a former assistant secretary of state who is director of human rights and democracy at The McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. By that time, Mr. Steele had written 15 memos for the dossier.
More than half of the country believes Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 presidential election, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll that found 56 percent of U.S. adults willing to sign on to the theory. Meanwhile, 39 percent of Americans say they think the Trump campaign worked with the Kremlin to get their man in the White House.
If you isolate the Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the percentage alleging collusion climbs all the way up to 60 percent.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans aren’t nearly as sold on the idea. Still, 18 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say that Trump aides helped Russia in its efforts to swing the race.
The poll also asked U.S. adults their thoughts on the Obama administration’s alleged spying on the Trump campaign. The results look exactly as expected. Among Republicans, 55 percent say it happened, while only 14 percent of Democrats believe the accusations.
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block B: Dr Lara M Brown, Associate Professor & Interim Director, Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University; @LaraMBrownPHD; in re:  Trump support in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.   / Are Wisconsin and Pennsylvania realigning with the GOP, or were Donald Trump’s victories in both states – and the accompanying Republican Senate wins last year – merely aberrations?
The answer will likely impact the fate of the country’s two major parties over the next decade.
Partisan realignments follow from significant attitudinal and behavioral changes by voter groups, or by a fundamental change in the make-up of the electorate. But rates of change can differ.
Most Southern states changed party allegiance quickly, as did West Virginia in 2000. It isn’t that Republicans suddenly won every election in those states. Some Democratic officeholders with the strongest grassroots strength held on. But when they left office, their seats flipped to the GOP, first in federal contests and eventually in state legislative races. (Democrats can still be competitive in some contests for state office.)
Of course, not all Southern states flipped simultaneously. The Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton presidencies delayed realignment in their home states, and downscale, white working-class voters in Louisiana and Arkansas retained their Democratic identification longer than white voters elsewhere in the region.
At some point, white voters in these states simply decided that the national Democratic Party had changed and no longer represented them. And those voters moved en masse to the GOP.
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block C: Robert Zimmerman,, in re:   PRC space program proceeds smoothly.   China has begun the refueling tests between its first unmanned freighter, Tianzhou-1, docked to its test space station, Tiangong-2.
Refuelling tests began at 07:26 Beijing time on Sunday (23:26 UTC Saturday), monitored from the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC). The refuelling process involves 29 steps and will take five days to complete.

To allow refuelling to take place, the propellant tube and coupling components needed to be perfectly matched after docking, with a margin error of less than 1 millimetre, according to Tianzhou-1 deputy chief designer Chen Qizhong.

The mission involving the Tianzhou and Tiangong spacecraft was designed to prove on-orbit resupply and refuelling technologies and techniques necessary for safe, long-term operation of the Chinese Space Station, which will be permanently crewed by at least three astronauts.

“After refuelling is completed, the residual propellant needs to be drained off. In order to identify security issues during the draining process, it needs to go through a number of tests and verification,” Bai Mingsheng, chief designer of Tianzhou-1, told CCTV+
The article also provides a great deal of information on the station and the freighter.  (1 of 2)
Wednesday   26 April 2017  /Hour 4, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re:   PRC space program proceeds smoothly.  (2 of 2)