The John Batchelor Show

Friday 22 March 2013

Air Date: 
March 22, 2013

Map, above:   The Eurasian Union is said to be the brainchild of Vladimir Putin in the wake of his third term as the President of Russia. If realised, it would comprise a number of states which were part of the former Soviet Union: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. According to The New York Times, several candidates in Kyrgyzstan's 2011 presidential election have endorsed the concept. Tajikistan's government said they were considering the possibility of membership.

At a roundtable in Moscow organised by the ruling United Russia party, Russian political scientist Dmitry Orlov stated that apart from post-Soviet states, membership to the Eurasian Union could be expanded to include other countries that have been historically or culturally close, such as Finland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, China and Mongolia, incorporating them into a common state body where Russian would be the common language of communication and economic cooperation. According to Vladimir Putin, the Eurasian Union would build upon the "best values of the Soviet Union"; however, critics claim that the drive towards integration aims to restore the Soviet empire.


Hour One

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Dan Henninger, WSJ WONDER LAND, in re:  Francis, Man of the World

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Atoosa Abrahamian, Reuters New York, in re: Urgent care clinics are popping up in malls across the United States and private equity is helping fund an expansion, as more patients are insured under the Affordable Care Act.

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Michael Powell, NYT, in re: Jailed for 2 Decades in Rabbi’s Death, Unjustly

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Robert Cutler, Carleton University, in re: . . . However, three obstacles block the path from the EU's point of view. The first they call selective justice, which is a polite way of referring to the case of imprisoned former prime minister and presidential candidate Yuliya Tymoshenko while extending the concerns to the need to begin reforming the justice system overall against conflict of interest and corruption. The second is shortcomings of the October 2012 elections, where the Party of Regions (of which President

Yanukovych is honorary leader) won a major victory and now governs in parliament with the participation of the Communist Party and a handful of independent deputies. The third is the implementation of other administrative  reforms that the EU deems necessary in order to proceed, for example, to make unrelenting progress (it slowed in 2012) on public procurement and budget transparency issues. As Stefan Fuele, the EU's Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy said in February in Kiev, We have a window of opportunity to move forward. But time is short. However, the reply by Ukraine's ambassador to the EU in Brussels was to reject any kind of preconditions for the signature of the Association Agreement.   [compare]   . The EU is a big bureaucracy that does not always coordinate the actions of its various subparts. Nevertheless, it is impossible not to notice just a day or two ago the EU released a regularly scheduled report about its own European Neighbourhood Policy concluding that1 in general

overall Moldova and Georgia now have better cooperation with Brussels than does Ukraine, which used to be the front-runner in rapprochement with the EU. Today, Ukraine is caught between the EU on the one hand and Russia on the other. Russia wants Ukraine to join its Eurasian Customs Union (ECU) that already includes Belarus and Kazakhstan, with some other former Soviet states such as Turkmenistan also under pressure to join. But it would be impossible for Ukraine to join the ECU and to continue on a path of deepening cooperation with the EU.


Hour Two

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Terry Anderson, PERC and Hoover, in re: Risky Business in Indian Country Salt Lake Tribune. The  Wallopi people in Arizona signed an agreement with a development firm to build a glass skywalk out over the Grand Canyon. After it was built, the tribe abruptly abrogated the contract; the Supreme Court ruled that the tribe is a sovereign nation and can do so.Western First Nations own billions of dollars' worth of oil and gas; as the tribes occasionally break ironclad contracts with investors, they scare off future development.  Where there's poor governance on the res, it leads to impoverishment among the people and exceeding corrupt tribal leadership.

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . Henry Miller, Hoover, in re: Anti-Genetic Engineering Activism: Why the Bastards Never Quit, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (NY)

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  .Eric Traer, Washingon Institute, in re: In the sparsely decorated waiting area just outside the Kafr el-Sheikh governor's executive offices, a photo montage depicts the governor overlooking scenes from his Nile Delta province. The artwork is dedicated to "His Excellency, Governor Saad Pasha al-Husseini."  It's an awkward way to address Husseini, to say the least. The Ottoman honorific "pasha" was phased out after Egypt's 1952 revolution, and its aristocratic connotation hardly suits a man who only two years ago was living on the edge of the law as a top leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, then an outlawed Islamist organization that built its reputation on providing social services to Egypt's impoverished masses. The Brotherhood, however, has embraced the newfound trappings of power with gusto. "They were in prison two years ago," an aide to Husseini tells me. "They enjoy the cars and apartments they get as officials." Now that the Brotherhood has climbed to the top of Egypt's political heap, it is doing everything it can to stay there. Brotherhood officials emphasize that their string of electoral victories since Hosni Mubarak's ouster two years ago has given them "legitimacy" -- a word that Muslim Brothers reflexively invoke to defend everything from President Mohamed Morsy's mass appointment of Muslim Brothers to top political posts to his Nov. 22 constitutional declaration granting him total authority. But despite the Brotherhood's political power, it exerts virtually no control. Ever since Morsy's constitutional declaration and the rushed constitution-writing process that followed, a series of mass demonstrations, workers' strikes, and police-versus-protester clashes have plunged the country into near-chaos. Egypt's already weak economy is now in free fall, episodic instability has forced the military to assume control over three cities along the Suez Canal, and al-Gamaa al-Islamiya -- a U.S.-designated terrorist organization -- has deployed members to patrol the mid-Nile city of Asyu.  [more]

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Mark Blitze, Hoover, in re:  Liberals often object to conservatism for being anti-intellectual and giving into populist vulgarity. People who vote for conservatives and favor limited government, the argument goes, lack refinement. They enjoy guns, doubt heated claims about global warming, and listen without (sufficient) irony to country music. They occlude and diminish excellence of the mind. But are these objections valid? A closer inspection of the matter reveals that the conservative concern for liberty—particularly, a liberal arts education—is more conducive to preserving beauty and excellence than the liberal concern for tolerance and multiculturalism…

Hour Three

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Michael Vlahos, Naval War College, in re: Former Pentagon Lawyer Offers Pros and Cons of Drone Court  The speech by Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department’s former general counsel, offered a window into the thinking of someone who participated in the inner circles of Obama administration national security decision-making until recently.

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . Michael Vlahos, continued, in re: “People in Washington need to wake up and realize the legal foundations are crumbling by the day,” Mr. Chesney said. That realization seemed evident at Thursday’s confirmation hearing for John O. Brennan as C.I.A. director, which became a raucous forum for complaints about the expansion of counterterrorist strikes and the procedures for deciding who should die. Even if they are glad Mr. Awlaki is dead, many Americans are uneasy that a president can use secret evidence to label a citizen a terrorist and order his execution without a trial or judge’s ruling. Hence the idea of court oversight for targeted killing, which on Thursday, unexpectedly, got serious discussion from senators and Mr. Brennan.

First, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, who is chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she would review proposals for establishing such a court. Her remark got a strong second from Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent. “Having the executive being the prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the executioner all in one is very contrary to the traditions and the laws of this country,” he said. Mr. Brennan then made a striking disclosure: The Obama administration had held internal talks on the feasibility of such a court. “I think it’s certainly worthy of discussion,” Mr. Brennan said. “What’s that appropriate balance between the executive, legislative and judicial branch responsibilities in this area?”

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . Sid Perkins, Science, in re: SCIENCENOW The Early Bird Loses an Ovary Fossils reveal when ancient birds started producing fewer, larger eggs.   Giant Camels Roamed Arctic Realms  Moose-sized creatures were kin to today's ships of the desert. The long-lost cousins of today's camels once roamed the high Arctic, browsing open forests in regions that are near-barren landscapes today. That's the conclusion from an analysis of the fragmentary remains of an ancient leg bone unearthed on Canada's Ellesmere Island, which lies just west of northern Greenland. The find also adds to the tantalizing clues about how these moose-sized, presumably shaggy progenitors fit into the camel family tree—a lineage that today boasts only two species of true camels but includes plenty of South American relatives such as llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas. [more]

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, in re: "People have learned their lesson."  Or so we've been told by bankers and regulators.  But in his latest ProPublica/Dealbook "The Trade" column, Jesse Eisinger "demonstrates what a sham that is.  Bankers aren't acting cautious and chastened.  Risk managers aren't in the ascendance on the Street.  Regulators remain their duped and docile selves."

Hour Four

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 4, Block A: A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (1 of 4).

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 4, Block B:   A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (2 of 4).

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (3 of 4).   “Amy Greenberg's original and moving narrative of the U.S. invasion of Mexico relates the gradual loss of enthusiasm for waging what began as a popular war of conquest.  How peace ultimately prevailed is the most surprising part of her story.”  —Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought

“No less a warrior than Ulysses S. Grant had good reason to decry the war with Mexico as ‘wicked.’  In Amy S. Greenberg’s dramatic and deeply engaging political narrative, the reader gets the grit of the campaign and rich insight into the fascinating historical actors who stage-managed (or resisted) this all-important, under-studied war.  In these fast-turning pages, we see clashes among political opportunists, moments of eloquence and pathos-all under the rising sun of American power.”  —Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, authors of Madison and Jefferson

A Wicked War gives the U.S.-Mexican War a personal dimension and immediacy that has been lacking until now.  Amy Greenberg makes us live the war vicariously through the lives of the aging patriarch Henry Clay who lost a son in Mexico, the husband-and-wife presidential team of James K. and Sarah Polk, the lanky and somewhat disheveled Abraham Lincoln still learning about politics, and others.  This is a rare melding of great story-telling and analysis of an era that shaped not only the United States but the entire North American continent.”  —Andrés Reséndez, author of A Land So Strange

A Wicked War, with its emphasis on politics rather than military history, does for the Mexican-American war what James McPherson did for the Civil War with Battle Cry of Freedom, greatly broadening our understanding of the war. Certainly Professor Greenberg’s book will immediately become the standard account of the Mexican War, at last giving it an important place in the history of the United States. This book restores my faith in the merits of narrative history.”  —Mark E. Neely, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Fate of Liberty

“A well-rendered, muscular history of a war whose ramifications are still being carefully calibrated." —Kirkus Reviews

Friday  22 March   2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg (4 of 4). "The seldom-sung Mexican War emerges as one of America's most morally ambiguous and divisive conflicts in this illuminating history."  —Publishers Weekly

“Amy S. Greenberg’s new history elegantly unfolds the story of the war through the lives of five politicians . . . [Greenberg] immerse[s] her readers in the early 1840s . . . Gripping.” —Maria Montoya, San Francisco Chronicle

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Hour 1: Rome, Frost/Nixon

Hour 2: Ides of March, Call of Duty: Black Ops

Hour 3: Infamous, Inception

Hour 4: Iron Lady