The John Batchelor Show

Monday 3 November 2014

Air Date: 
November 03, 2014

Photo, above:  The black flag of ISIS flies also in Sinai, photo courtesy of and with gratitude to the Jerusalem Post.  See Hour 3, Blocks A & B, Malcolm Hoenlein's reports on the matter.  

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See also the ancient St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, which has been attacked by jihadists even as large groups of Christians were visiting. 

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Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes.

Hour One

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 1, Block A:  Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, & Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:  Suicide bomber strikes in Pakistan at border crossing with India  Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a recently formed splinter group of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, and Jundallah both claimed credit for the suicide attack in Wagah that killed more than 50 people.     Al Nusrah Front forces Western-backed rebel group to flee base in Idlib  The Al Nusrah Front has forced the leader of the Western-backed Syrian Revolutionaries' Front, Jamal Maarouf, to flee his base of operations in Idlib. Called him a Kharijite – an early group of Muslim who branded others as apostates. Groups throw it at each other fairly regularly.  . . . Obama no longer helping the Free Syrian movement – maybe; but it's no longer clear at all.  . . . The old Haqqani Network: South Waziristan strikes, among the Pakistani army.  US strikes are so few and far between that they’re ineffective, barely helps in the short term and not in the long term.  Meanwhile, Quetta, Peshawar, other cities: a significant jihadi presence having no attention from the US. 

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 1, Block B: Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, & Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re: AQAP continues to portray US-led bombing campaign as a 'Crusade'  In a pair of videos released in late October, two leading AQAP ideologues preached jihadist unity in the face of the US-led coalition's bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. One of the videos also included thinly-veiled criticisms of the Islamic State's declared caliphate.  AQIP routinely calls for a truce among jihadists in order to fight the US. AQIP is senior al Q leaders who report directly to the top of al Q, have seniority, whose head was ObL's protégé and is senior global admin chief(?); messaging is well sanctioned by higher-ups. 

Photo, below left:  Propaganda billboards are a common sight in Tehran but they’re usually devoted to ayatollahs as well as honoring “martyrs” of the Iran-Iraq war. There are a few anti-American billboards as well but they’re the exception and foreign politicians are almost never put on display. That’s why it caught the eye of Iran watchers when an Iranian website posted pictures of a huge mural in a busy section of Tehran that shows President Obama standing next to Shemr, a villain in Shia Islam. Below them is a quote: “Be with us, be safe.” The Guardian’s Roland Elliott Brown writes a fascinating explanation of this “high-context” propaganda and how it should be interpreted.

The bottom line? “Anyone who still likes Obama in the wake of tightening sanctions—or who advocates meeting American, EU, or International Atomic Energy Agency demands over Iran's nuclear program to avoid conflict—is a traitor to the faith. Obama, the state insists, is a ‘Hussein’ unworthy of loyalty.” 

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 1, Block C: Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: Nixon/China; Obama/Teheran.   H Kissinger visits Pakistan as  rue, actually went to Beijing to set u a 21 Feb 1972 meeting between Nixon and Mao.  We’re on the eve of a potential re-creation of that event as Obama wishes to go to Iran, set up by the senior advisor Valerie Jarrett.  He's wanted to for a very long time; had he been able to do so before now, would have long ago. Working ona strategic alliance wit the US since before he was [president. Has been sending all  kinds of people to confer, esp in Oman, If he can convince he Iranians to do this, he will.  For Nixon, there was a common strategic threat – the USSR – driving China and he US together; however, not much like that now.  The anti-Israel rhetoric emanating from the White House may suggest that Obama wants to convey that the US and Iran have a common enemy in Israel. "Opera, not statesmanship" – the gains of this vision are for Obama, only, not redound to the benefit f the US.,.  Further, I think Khamenei won’t go for it and be remembered as having made a deal with the Great Satan.  Nixon's trip constituted a strategic coup; what can Pres Obama get for this – simply, "Lookit me!"?  Yes. And he shares the ayatollahs's view of the world as the US being at the basis of everything that's wrong Obama thinks this will vindicate his foreign policy. There's a surrogate war in the Middle East between the Sunnis/Riyadh and Iran. Will infuriate Israel, the Kurds the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Egyptian, the Turks.  Just today Obama is cutting back investigation of the war crimes of Assad – who’s the single most important person to Iran right now.  There's a Molotov-Ribbentrop deal between Iran and Syria.  Neville goes to Munich? – he got peace in his time. Obama hops to land in Teheran and fly back to the adulation of a grateful nation; he's been driving toward this . Why on Earth would an American not support the 2009 uprising of the Iranian people against the lethal tyranny they live under? Because Obama wanted the regime to win, in order to consummate the deal he has in mind.   In 2009, when the citizens flooded into the streets across the country and begged for international support, we heard the aspirations of the Iranian people themselves, their calls to Heaven - and Obama supported the brutal regime.

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 1, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re:  - the history of the revolution can be divided into two sections – Mao & Deng – and now a third: instability and hostility to other countries.  Now we see Beijing lashing out widely and betrays a lack of strategic thinking – a ring of troubles for India in the south to Koreas in the north.  The Party civilian leaders are worried that flag officers and military have sworn allegiance to the Party, not the people.  We could see a general or admiral [deciding to take over].  Sounds like a South American junta on the horizon.  Currently this is not a communist revolution, more a corporate or mafia state.  Chinese generally believe that a one-party-state is no longer appropriate in the Twenty-first Century. Wen Jiabao.  Hu Jintao.  Hu will have to defend himself.  Fascism and Communism were pretexts for usurpation of state power: what'll happen if China gets saddled with a military junta? It couldn’t take on the Chinese people and its neighbors and the US.  Mao probably is directly responsible for more deaths than is any other person in human history [note: scholars tend to say about 70 million souls, Chinese people, all told]. 

Hour Two

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 2, Block A:  David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Senior Congressional correspondent, & John Fund, National Review Online, in re: In Louisville, McConnell: says if he's the new majority leader, he'll change the course of the country.  To do so, he'll have to hold on to a base – of the GOP, which has to be energized to succeed in 2016.   Harry Reid.   There'll be a window of six months to a year in which to press for changes.  If GOP wns tomorrow, the president will have suffered his second midterm shellacking, a rarity.  Dems who favor Keystone: Joe Manchin (WV) and nine others; it’s been bottled up only by Harry Reid.  underemployment is well over 16%.  Jobs are he soft underbelly of this economy – peoples' incomes have been stuck in neutral for a decade. Also foreign policy: ISIS and Russia.  Can the Republicans govern?  For years they've blocked the president's initiatives; can they just turn on governance with a switch?  . . . Thaddeus:  You've just said that 2016 shouldn't influence a GOP majority – note difference between being a majority and being in control.  . . .   Tea party base.

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 2, Block B: John Fund, National Review Online, in re: Reid on the Ropes  Even Dems tire of his strong-arm tactics.   . . .   TGM:  Oh-six was bad, but oh-eight was a disaster.  . . .  I told my constituents that I knew that I was responsible first and wholly to them.  . . . You think that the higher up you go in politics, the more independent you are – it’s the opposite.  [Thaddeus voted against TARP.]  . . .  didn’t want to give up their savings to Goldman so some [plutocrat] wouldn’t have to give up his yacht for a speedboat.  In the Wall St bailout, it wasn't that Mr Boehner misled us – it was Paulson who did.  Iraq: we [legitimately]] paid the price for it.  But [Pelosi, et al.] passed Obamacare on the eve of a redistricting; have damaged themselves for a generation.  Question: will the Democratic Party let the Democrats back in?

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 2, Block C:  Stephen Moore, chief economist, Heritage Foundation, in re: Wages haven’t changed in a hundred years (that is, six or more).  Looks as though GOP may take control of Senate – if they do, they'll have to stand and deliver.   About 4% of US workers earn minimum wage.  For the first time in this Administration, Joe Biden said, "We may be open to" cutting a deal on the Keystone XL pipeline. Of the last forty drugs introduced in the last decades. something like thirty-five were from the US.  Our corporate taxes are highest in the world – while Mr Harper in Canada is reducing corporate taxes there; also Ireland is at 12.5%  so a US corporation can cut its tax bill by two-thirds. Big question for tomorrow: how will unionized, blue-collar voters vote?  . . .   Candidates across the country. GOP looks as though they can pay defense but are unable to govern; they keeps saying, "Oh just give us a little more power."

 Oil Sands Crude Seen Reaching Gulf without Keystone XL Oil-sands crude will supply Gulf Coast refineries regardless of how President Barack Obama rules on the Keystone XL pipeline, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice said.  Developers of Alberta’s oil sands can use trains to reach the world’s largest refining market or the Energy East conduit to Canada’s Atlantic coast that TransCanada Corp. (TRP) is also proposing, Prentice said in an Oct. 31 interview at Bloomberg’s Calgary office.

Awaiting a U.S. decision on Keystone XL since 2008, Calgary-based TransCanada applied with Canadian regulators last week to build Energy East, a 4,600-kilometer (2,859-mile) link from Alberta to tidewater in New Brunswick. The C$12 billion ($10.6 billion) pipeline would be North America’s largest crude conduit, carrying 1.1 million barrels of oil a day without crossing into the U.S.  “The debate about Keystone is not a debate about whether, under the free trade agreement, Canadian crude can make its way to the Gulf Coast,” Prentice said, adding that the additional cost to ship crude by tanker from Canada’s Atlantic Coast is marginal. “It’s actually not that far from New Brunswick.”  About half of Energy East’s volumes will probably be exported from Canada to markets including the Gulf Coast, TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said last week. Using Energy East and crude tankers to get the oil to the Gulf will cost about $2 to $3 a barrel more than Keystone XL, he said.

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 2, Block D:  James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, in re:  “The environment has settled, and it’s bad.” We don’t know who said that, except that he’s a “senior Democratic Party operative” and he knows the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, who offers up the anonymous quote in a story he sums up as follows: “In conversations last week with more than a dozen Democratic strategists deeply involved in this campaign—a few who were willing to speak on the record—there was widespread pessimism about the party’s chances Tuesday.” He elaborates:

There were lots (and lots) of reasons given for the difficulties Democrats are facing: The Senate map. The historic trends of second-term, midterm elections—a.k.a. the “six-year itch.” Voter apathy. But the one factor that virtually every person I talked to cited as the biggest reason for the party’s predicament was President Obama.   This off-year election has become almost entirely a referendum on the president,” said one Democratic consultant involved in many closely fought congressional races. “It’s not just anger at [the Affordable Care Act]. He has become, rightly or wrongly, the symbol of dysfunction in Washington. That has led to a demoralized Democratic base, energized Republicans. And those in the middle have an easy way of venting their frustration, and that is to punish the president’s party.”

But there’s another way of looking at it. Maybe the Democrats’ problem with the election has nothing to do with Democrats, including the president. Maybe the problem is the election itself. That’s the brainstorm of college junior Jay Sullivan, who along with a professor has an op-ed in today’s New York Times entitled “Cancel the Midterms.” It’s an example of the kind of bold, outside-the-box thinking you can find only at some remove from the Beltway—in this case, some 250 miles’ remove, at the Gothic wonderland known as Duke University.

Tomorrow’s election won’t just be bad for the Democrats, Sullivan and the professor argue; it’ll be bad for the whole country. It is “almost certain to create greater partisan divisions, increase gridlock and render governance of our complex nation even more difficult.  Candidates, advocacy groups and shadowy ‘super PACs’ will have spent more than $1 billion to air more than two million ads to influence the election,” Sullivan and the professor note. Keynesians might approve of the economic stimulus, but the Duke duo deplore it as a failed marketing effort: “Less than 40 percent of the electorate will bother to vote.”

Hour Three

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 3, Block A:  Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: Netanyahu: Abbas adding fuel to fire in Jerusalem    Prime minister criticizes international community’s silence over Yehudah Glick’s attempted assassination, says Abbas inciting violence

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 3, Block B: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: US: Kerry won’t unveil peace plan in talks with Palestinians

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 3, Block C: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: Repair Time for (and Under) U.S. Capitol's Dome  Construction scaffolding surrounds the U.S. Capitol dome like a metal honeycomb. Yet this iconic symbol of freedom, built to host the men and women who enact America's laws, still gleams beautifully on a cloudless fall day 

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 3, Block D:  Jed Babbin, American Spectator, in re:  Benghazi, Russia, Israel, Ukraine, it's all the same to Obama and his White House brat pack.  Our C.S. President | The American Spectator

Hour Four

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 4, Block A: Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York, by Ted Steinberg (1 of 4)

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 4, Block B: Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York, by Ted Steinberg (2 of 4)

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 4, Block C: Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York, by Ted Steinberg (3 of 4)

Monday  3 November   2014  / Hour 4, Block D: Gotham Unbound: The Ecological History of Greater New York, by Ted Steinberg (4 of 4)

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