The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 2 April 2012

Air Date: 
April 02, 2013

Photo, above:  Princeton women. See: Hour 2, Block C:  Catherine Rampell, NYT & Princeton alumna.


Hour One

Tuesday  2 April  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re:  Ansar al Shariah, Tunisia, Sept 14 took over US Embassy, raised the black banner of Al Qaeda.  Arms trafficking, supporting the organization internationally; are spread throughout Tunisia. Effective online presence. Afghanistan: Bill Ardolino of LWJ is embedded in Panjwai: the local governor asked for Americans to help  'The Taliban are worried about the uprising happening here': an interview with the Panjwai district governor; is consequently under threat. US special operations forces kill Panjwai shadow governor   Panjwai is where the Taliban were initially formed.   Afgh govt is not providng police or funds for non-Taliban to survive.  Shadow governor, in this case the Taliban rep, have begun murders.  Have recruiting industry in Pakistan.  Syria:  Head of "Free Syrian Army," the so-called rebels, is praising al Nusrah as "brothers." Was once caught on video celebrating a jihadist suicide bomber. Free Syrian Army commander praises Al Nusrah Front as 'brothers'     Throughout the country, not clear where al Nusrah ends and the Free Syrian Army begins. US to give $60mil in direct aid to the "rebels." Under Petraeus, this was somewhat better managed; now all the major rebel factions are fighting alongside al Nusah and object to the US designation of al Nusrah as "terrorist."

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:   Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, and Thomas Joscelyn, Long War Journal senior editor, in re:  Chechens in Syria. Chechen commander forms 'Army of Emigrants,' integrates Syrian groups  John Brennan said that the Arab Spring was he death knell for al Qaeda. The exact opposite is happening, of course, from the Mahgreb through the Middle East, into Central Asia; from the Sinai to multiple groups if n Iraq, down through Mali – the explosion is everywhere. Chechens are just one part of the global jihad. At a minimum, they share al Q ideology; at max, are under al Q command.   Syria is a failed state – a fertile ground of al Qaeda. Al Nusrah Front in Syria IS al Qaeda, openly.    Al Qaeda today has 10,000 fighters in Syria. this video is esp powerful; a spectrum: some guys are not very disciplines; others, like this, are excellent and disciplined. See:  It's an impressive army, and its coming for us.

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Tod Lindberg, research fellow, Hoover Institution, in re: Pres Obama's agenda: apparently there may be none. Lots of political activity, but underlying: nothing.    Gun control replaces immigration? Mmm, no.   Maybe he'll just focus n winning back the House in 2014; thereafter, maybe the real agenda might appear.  Tax reform?   The gap between House and president is unbridgeable right now.  This country was designed constitutionally to operate slowly; now, it’s not crazy to calculate that one of the two parties might say, "Do nothing till you hear from me" – and you'll never hear from him.

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Andrew Conte,  , in re: Remember those “free” songs and videos you downloaded from a file-sharing network? They might be costlier than you think. The Trib’s latest investigation looks at how peer-to-peer networks can invite hackers and how many users inadvertently give up their most personal information to the web. As the former “cyber czar” Howard Schmidt told us, potential victims are not limited to users, either, because your information might be shared by family members, friends and co-workers.

Hour Two

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Lara M Brown, Villanova, in re:   Baseball: David didn't win, but Goliath didn't, either.    Sequester? Gone silent.  Gun control? Unclear.  What's the president's mission?   Is the agenda, such as we see it now, the agenda for the whole term?  Maybe immigration reform; gun control unlikely to get a vote; beyond that, you end up with his saying, "I worked hard despite ht rascal Republicans."  Is this a Children's Crusade?  Pres Obama is best at campaigning, so he takes his success to campaigning for himself by accomplishing what he wanted the first term: winning the House back.

Jonathan Martin: "The preferred plot line for many in the GOP establishment for revitalizing their party goes something like this: They move to a more libertarian stance on key social issues -- particularly same-sex marriage -- and the Bible-thumping, evangelical wing of the party meekly complies, realizing times have changed. One problem with that scenario, however: The Christian Right, while a diminished force, doesn't like how that story ends at all."

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  .Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and Lara M Brown, Villanova, in re:  immigration and Marco Rubio.  Marco Rubio, beloved of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, is exactly what the president can’t stop – Pres Obama and Speaker Boehner can barely communicate.  Rubio would look good with an immigration win; that might discomfit Secy Clinton. Would Obama's White House lift a finger to help Mrs Clinton? 

 Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  Catherine Rampell, NYT and Princeton alumna, in re: ECONOMIX BLOG:  Women and Marriage at Princeton   What economics has to say about the pool of potential partners for educated women, after an alumna, Susan Patton, in a letter to the student newspaper, urged Princeton women to “find a husband on campus before you graduate." Traffic crashed the Daily Princetonian website.  "Young women today are bombarded with advice on career – but no one's advising you on that other major decision, how to find a life's mate."  The writer suggests that Princeton women will never again be surrounded by as many excellent, intelligent, educated males again in life, so during the four years in college is a smart time to choose a husband.  Criticism of her letter cited the dreaded "Mrs degree."   JB: I know of one marriage in my class; back then, people seemed to marry much later than they do now.  CR: The age now is actually at a fifty-year high.

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Jeff Bliss, The Bliss Index, in re: After furloughing its US workersFisker Automotive has hired a law firm for a potential bankruptcy, Reuters reports.  Kirkland & Ellis is advising the California-based maker of the extended-range plug-in Karma for a potential bankruptcy filing, which hasn't produced a car in about eight months and is losing interest from two prospective China-based buyers. Fisker declined to comment to Reuters.

Fisker, which has raised $1.2 billion in equity, has also had about $336 million of its $529 million line of credit with the feds frozen because of its failure to meet certain production mandates. Meanwhile, China-based companies Dongfeng Motor Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group have stepped away from a potential acquisition because of Fisker's loan terms with the feds. One payment on the loan is due in April.

In March, the co-founder and namesake, Henrik Fisker, resigned as executive chairman of the company. Mr. Fisker and the Fisker CEO, Tony Posawatz, were believed to have disagreed over whether or not the company could feasibly grow with its current cash situation. Also, coming soon to CA to avoid the Fisker crisis in future . . .

Hour Three

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Stephen Cohen, NYU, and author of The Victims Return, in re:   Moscow report on Cyprus and Missile Shield.  An Ailing Gorbachev Makes a Fierce Attack on Putin and His Restrictions    Mikhail S. Gorbachev, who contended that President Vladimir V. Putin had adopted “a ruinous and hopeless path,” was denounced by members of Mr. Putin’s party.

One voice in Russia now, Mikhail Gorbachov, blasts the Putin administration as having taken a ruinous and hopeless path.  Transfer from the Soviet monster of he 20th Century toward democracy – then a Soviet KGB Colonel took power.    This is an enormous controversy in Moscow.  Katrina vanden Heuvel and Prof Cohen paid a visit to Gorbachov for ninety minutes on a personl basis, Is unwell, has diabetes, has intellectual energy, but has gained weight.  He's 82 and expects to live til 90.  The move toward democracy began in the at 1980s under perestroika. As he sees it now under Putin, whom he initially supported, is undoing all the democratic reforms that Gorbachov put in place.  Many Russians agree, but not a majority. JB: Impossible to separate Putin's administration from the oligarchs, who put him in office. Russians know that it's a kleptocracy; but Putin has reduced poverty from 35% to 11%. The differential between rich and poor continues to grow, and it’s madly ostentatious – they live fabulous lives while many barely get by, or do starve to death, Putin now bemoans the lack of "social justice " – a more populist pubic demeanor. Putin grew up in a poor family in a communal apartment, and only because of State support managed to attend law school.  The oligarchs have now rigged the system against upward mobility, Putin introduced: "deoffshore-ization" – oligarchs send their capital and children overseas.

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  .Stephen Cohen, NYU, in re:  In Russia and Cyprus, gangster capitalism.  Nicosia, in headlines for banks's failures; ECB IMF, EU all rushing to "save" it.    Russian oligarchs, incl FSB, park or launder money in Cyprus, About a third of the banks's wealth is Russian; they've decided to expropriate about 60% of it in accounts over euro 100,000. Initially, Putin thought of bailing out the banks in exchange for some of the natural gas, but then Putin pulled back: if he's going to force Russians to bank domestically, he can’t.  Now he can force the oligarchical class to return the cash (and then also Russia can collect taxes); he hereby strengthens his position and asserts deoffshore-izaton.  He may be exaggerating the whole story as it may in fact just be what we call globalization, but Putting may be on the edge of abandoning his own party and creating a new one on the populist theme: Russia for the Russians.  I the ate 18990s, Yeltsin was ill; the oligarchy was fearful of who might be the successor, Putin had been completely loyal in St Petersburg so was put in power.  Putin's first degree was to give total immunity to Yeltsin and his family – but not to the oligarchs.  Putin was seen as the praetorian president but instead broke the power of the original oligarchs – the Yeltsin crew – and built his own – the Putin crew. Part of Putin's power is being able to balance these two.

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:     David Ottenwess, Michigan lawyer, in re: public corruption in Detroit. Thaddeus McCotter represented Livonia Michigan in Congress until last year; now, the conviction of two persons: Don Yow Chang, whose job it was to obtain 1,000 signatures on the petition to get Rep McCotter on the ballot. The petitions were deemed invalid,, although Rep McCotter always required that the maximum be obtained, 2,000. In this instance, three major problems; several had been photocopied, which invalidated both the original and he copy. Several petitions were designed by persons who did not actually circulate them.  Illegal.  Finally, some were submitted as cut-and-paste – someone took signatures from prior petitions, inconceivable that anyone would miss that illegal submission. Total of 136 were submitted to the Secy of State; of all those, only one was considered valid.  Don Yow Change had frontloaded all the bad ones. This is specifically sabotage of Rep McCotter. 

(Allegation that debt collectors were calling Don Yow Chang daily and he was dodging them.)  In 20089, his house was foreclosed; in late 2011 he was being pursued by his former fraternity organization saying that he owned them $25,000.  Don Yow Chang then asked to borrow $20,000 from Rep McCotter, who suggested he retain a lawyer and sort it out. Then David Yau Change suddenly bought a huge house and repaid the debt to the fraternity; his explanations are vague an unbelievable.  Investigation still under way; Attorney General may or may not have looked at Don Yow Chang's records.  TV4 on the case.  DYC can legally remain silent as long as he wishes; but former Rep McCotter is now getting unexpected calls with new information. 

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Adam Satariano, Bloomberg,  in re: Apple CEO Cook Apologizes for China IPhone Warranties  Apple Inc (AAPL). Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook apologized for the company’s iPhone warranty and repair policies in China after receiving criticism from state-run media over customer service in its second-largest market. Apple, in a change in practice, will offer full replacements of older iPhones experiencing problems, Cook said in a letter posted on the company’s Chinese website.

Hour Four

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  David M Drucker, Roll Call, in re: Rubio Says Process Counts in Immigration Overhaul  As fans of an immigration overhaul breathlessly follow the Senate’s “gang of eight,” it’s important to understand how crucial a robust regular-order process is to keeping Sen. Marco Rubio on board.  The Floridian, perhaps more than any other Republican, has the ability to deliver conservative support for a comprehensive immigration overhaul, or at least to prevent a fatal backlash, including among House members. But assuming that Rubio remains happy with the philosophical principles undergirding a deal that is still being worked out by the bipartisan gang of eight, the process by which actual legislation is moved through the Senate is just as important to maintaining the Florida Republican’s backing. [more]

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Dennis Berman, , in re:  Pitino: Ware in Good Spirits   Louisville's Kevin Ware has taken what he said would be the hardest step in his recovery -- the first one. The sophomore guard was back on the ...

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re:  James Hansen is retiring from NASA and will dedicate his time to global warming activism.  All that's really changing is that Hansen will no longer work for the government. The activism has been going on for a very long time.  Also, it's interesting how this New York Times article seems very unaware of this fact, which makes all of Hansen’s global warming claims very suspect. Might the Times not want the public to know this annoying detail?

Tuesday  2 April 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   Eric Trager, Washington Institute, in re: POLICY ALERT - Egypt Takes Another Step Toward Autocracy -- and Instability. Washington should tell Morsi that politicized prosecutions and other autocratic moves are increasing the risk of wider violence.  Egypt's prosecution of comedian Bassem Youssef for allegedly insulting President Muhammad Morsi and denigrating Islam is the latest indication of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government's undemocratic disposition. The move will likely deepen the non-Islamist opposition's mistrust of the country's political and judicial institutions, encouraging groups to continue seeking change through increasingly violent demonstrations rather than official political channels. Given Washington's interest in promoting democratic governance and stability in Egypt, the Obama administration should urge Morsi to pardon Youssef and end the crackdown on critics of the Brotherhood.

Youssef's case is not unique. According to the Egypt-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, four times as many lawsuits for "insulting the president" were filed during Morsi's first 100 days in office than during Hosni Mubarak's thirty-year reign. Although private citizens filed many of these suits, the Brotherhood has encouraged them by frequently depicting its media critics as remnants of the old regime. The group has also made politicized prosecutions even more likely in the future by pushing a new draft electoral law through parliament allowing the use of religious slogans in campaigns. Article 44 of the new constitution, ratified in December, prohibits "the insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets," and this can be broadly interpreted to insulate Islamist religious political slogans from non-Islamist attacks.  Morsi and the parliament have also worked to stifle media criticism by appointing a Muslim Brother as minister of information, using their control over state-run media to fire writers and editors who question the new government's policies, and hiring new editors sympathetic to the group's ideology. Meanwhile, the government has begun prosecuting wealthy anti-Brotherhood businessmen, potentially denying opposition media outlets and political parties vital sources of funding.

This pattern of prosecutions has validated opposition concerns that Morsi is undermining judicial independence. The irregular appointment of Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah is especially worrisome: Morsi used his November 22 constitutional declaration, through which he temporarily asserted virtually unchecked executive authority, as a pretext for selecting Abdullah rather than leaving the decision to the Supreme Judicial Council, as required by Egyptian law at the time. And last week, in another assault on judicial oversight, Morsi's office declared that it would not abide by a court decision ruling the appointment illegal.   [more]

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