The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Air Date: 
April 09, 2013

Picture, above:  Ancient Germanii warriors, artist's romanticized version. Tacitus invented the notion of  Germanii as an identifiable class or race; in fact, he invented everything in the book for political reasons. It was a work of fiction. Hitler found it charming and utilized it to develop and support his racial theories and bloodthirsty ends,  See: Hour 4, below, A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs.  The artist's romanticized name is: Wulf Wodenson-Μολών Λaβέ.


Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio

Hour One

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio;  in re: Paul Krugman rearranged historical fact in respect of Margaret Thatcher. "Krugman is no longer a scholar; now he's a political hack."  Low taxes, free-mkt economics, stopped the general strikes the labor unions were usig in the 11970's to bring Britain to its knees. Starting in the 1980s, GB annual economic growth shot up to 3%, then 4%. Krugman tried to argue that it was in the 1990s under Blair (who also was  Thatcherite) that the significant recovery occurred– which is completely inaccurate.  Thatcher took over in May 1979 when Britain was broken: astounding poverty, not enough to eat, living  in darkness.  She and Reagan were great collaborators. Both followed Friedman and Hayek. Reagan never told Volcker to do anything.   They met at one or two mtgs: Reagan said, "You do what you think is necessary to solve and cure the inflation problem."  Reagan did not get help from Tip O'Neill, who opposed the Reagan tax cuts ab initio.  We politely went the Southern state Democrats ("boll weevils"), who voted for the tax cuts, spending cuts, and defense build-up. Reagan took top taxes from 83% to 48%. I think Krugman's agenda is transparent: he oppose limited govt, lower tax rates for incentive.  Go to CNCB website, last show segment tonight, to see the chart n GDP. There should be an ombudsman at the New York Times to confront Krugman about his overtly inaccurate numbers in his outrageous column. 

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 1, Block B:   Phil Izzo, WSJ news editor, in re:   the "swoon" of 2013: the jobs number last Friday -  88,000 is a nasty number. Doesn’t mean the swoon is here – number gets revised a lot, circumstances shift around.  This might be the anomaly.  LK: More job openings in February, which undercuts the 88K.  PI: More people are quitting – that's bullish.   . . .    When people drop out of the labor force, they rarely re-enter; becomes a structural problem such as they have in parts of Europe.  LK: Rogue trader in KPMG?  PI: Looks as though Herbalife was just one company for which there was insider trading [Skechers was the other –ed] 

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 1, Block C: . Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover, in re: Gov Brown called VDH to say that "California's problems are solved, VDH doesn't understand."  [Listen to JBS show podcast to hear a litany of what's really occurring in California, and it is not all encouraging.]  Elites reserve millions of acres for non-use for their own benefit.  The Left is upbeat about policies that do so much damage to the poor and the middle class. Test scores taxes, businesses leaving. Highest gas taxes in the US but 48th in highway maintenance.  Brown simply never answers. It’s disturbing.  Brown is aiming for Fresno to Corcoran high-speed rail because the elites in Palo Alto didn't want it anywhere near them.  Poor people in California are paying the highest electric rates in the world.    California's energy resources dwarf those of everywhere else in the US.  One per cent of our population pays 50% of the income tax; and it's based on 144,000 people.  Departures; $75,000 PA to $300K per annum. Apple just moved a plant to Austin; rumors that HP may leave.  Gov Brown castigated me for throwing peanuts at his good works, called me a "declinist" – I told him I was a farmer, but he ddn't much answer.

Politically, California is everything liberals want America to become. Democrats control every statewide elected office, they have two-thirds majorities in both legislative chambers, and the state Republican party is virtually non-existent. Problem is, the policy results liberal Democratic governance has produced aren’t pretty. But don’t worry, says Paul Krugman, all that is changing.  In his latest column, Krugman writes, ”Unemployment in California remains high, but it’s coming down — and there’s a projected budget surplus, in part because the implosion of the state’s Republican Party finally gave Democrats a big enough political advantage to push through some desperately needed tax increases. Far from presiding over a Greek-style crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown is proclaiming a comeback.”  Krugman does later admit that, “I’m not suggesting everything in California is just fine,” but he never identifies what the problems are in progressive paradise. Here are just a few:

1. California has the nation’s highest unemployment
  Krugman does mention that, “Unemployment in California remains high,” but he fails to mention just how high it is. In fact, California is tied with Mississippi and Nevada for the highest unemployment rate in the country at 9.6 percent.

2. California has one-third of all welfare recipients
    Krugman asserts that California’s “problems bear no resemblance to the death-by-liberalism story line the California-bashers keep peddling.” But he neglects to mention that California is home to one-third of all U.S. welfare recipients despite housing just 12 percent of all U.S. citizens.

3. California has the nation’s highest poverty rate
Despite all the welfare spending, California still somehow manages to have the nation’s highest poverty rate. Go figure.

4. California has the nation’s highest taxes
Krugman does mention that “serious studies have found very little evidence either that tax hikes cause lots of wealthy people to move or that state taxes have any significant impact on growth,” but he fails to mention that California’s taxes are not just high, but the highest in the nation.

5. California has the nation’s third highest income inequality
California’s already high taxes have failed to adequately redistribute income. Even before the Great Recession, California already had the third-highest income inequality in America (behind New Mexico and Arizona). And according to the Public Policy Institute of California, it only got more unequal during the recession: “Compared to the rest of the country, California experienced larger declines in income at the bottom of the distribution and smaller declines at the top — leading to the largest gap between upper and lower incomes in at least 30 years.”

6. California’s teachers are among the nation’s highest paid while its students are among the least educated
Krugman also claims that “decades of political paralysis have degraded the state’s once-superb public education system.” And it is true: California’s public education system is terrible. In 2011, the state’s eighth-graders finished 48th in reading, ahead of just Louisiana and Mississippi, and 48th in math, ahead of just Alabama and Mississippi. But California is not skimping on teacher pay. It’s teachers are the third highest paid teachers in the nation.

7. California has the nation’s highest energy prices
Krugman does mention the state’s blackout problems in 2001, but blames the entire incident on “deregulation” and “market manipulation.” But California’s failure to build new power plants, refineries, pipelines, and transmission lines is very real. There is a reason California has nation’s the highest gas prices and the among the nation’s highest electricity prices, despite sitting on billions of barrels of oil.

8. California’s budget isn’t balanced
Credit Krugman for noting that California’s budget is only a “projected” one, but he then fails to mention how unreliable California’s tax revenue projections have been in the past. A recent California Common Sense study showed that, since the recession began, the governor’s projections have overestimated revenues by an average of 5.5 percent. Apply that average to Brown’s 2013 projections and California’s budget would suddenly go from $1 billion in the black to $3.9 billion in the red.

9. California is deep in debt
Even if California’s current budget does produce a tiny surplus this year, the state is still deeply in debt. According to the state’s own auditor, California has a negative net worth of $127 billion, about half of which stems from “$57.5 billion in outstanding bonded debt issued to build capital assets for school districts and other local governmental entities.”

Other than that, California’s comeback is going great.

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  Larry Kudlow, in re: : Pres Obama neglects to hand in the budget on time.  $120bil in savings over 20 years?  Polls say: it's a reduction in people's benefits and much disliked.  Wants $600bil in addtl taxes – a 20% limit on tax deductions. 

Hour Two

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  Tom Joscelyn, LongWarJournal, and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD, in re:   The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant; Al Nusrah Front head in Syria is an al Q deputy. rebels in Syria so far are strongest; suggests that Syria will become an al Qaeda state.   Powerful enough to reach into adjacent states, incl Jordan. Control 25 km of border along Golan and Jordan. Jordan works w US intell & military, but it's only a matter of time.  US opposes Assad regime, along with the Syrian rebels; doesn’t really mean that the US is allied w al Qaeda -  which is so strong that it's comfortable announcing its policies and goals.  A US intell official says tat al Q is establishing bases in Iraq, rebuilding old alliances. Attacks increasing – suicide, bombs, et al.   "Note that this isn't really a merger -- Al Nusrah was al Qaeda in Iraq all along, that's what they are saying and what the State Department said in Dec. They simply used different names to confuse gullible Westerners...AQI created Al Nusrah, Al Nusrah answers up the chain to AQI, and AQI answers to Zawahiri.   Meet the new boss. He's the same as the old boss. Unfortunately."


Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: North Korea has completed preparations for a mid-range rocket launch tomorrow. It’s all totally military; zip civilian. A lot of the bellicose language about incinerating the US is almost certainly not a realistic threat; but if I were in South Korea or Japan, I would be very very worried.

The competition heats up: India is looking to privatize its commercial launch vehicles.

Also: Boeing is about to begin wind tunnel tests of its CST-100 manned capsule. This is good, but there is something about the pace of development of the CST-100 that seems mighty slow to me. Last September there were indications that Boeing might shelve the project, which were countered in November by word that they were instead considering increasing their investment.  The slow pace suggests to me that management has rejected the latter. It also suggests that while they haven’t shelved the project, they are not pushing it hard, which means that eventually it will die because it will fail to compete with other more ambitious and competitive efforts.

NASA has now indicated that the first manned launch using a commercial space carrier has slipped by a year. The reasons are as yet unclear, though it is suspected that the main cause is the decision by the Obama administration to cut the funds of this program under sequestration. As Clark Lindsey notes, however, there is no reason that some of these private companies won’t go forward and fly other passengers on their spaceships, ahead of the NASA flights. Specifically, SpaceX and its Dragon capsule should easily be ready to go well ahead of 2017, and will likely be earning enough cash from its commercial launches to pay for development even if the NASA subsidies get delayed.

 Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Satyajit Das, ex-banker and author, Extreme Money, &  Traders, Guns and Money; works in financial derivatives and risk management; in re: Cyprus Woes Threaten East Europe GDP, Development Bank Says.   Cyprus's bailout threatens to slow eastern European growth through trade... The Cyprus bailout, in which international creditors forced losses on large depositors in exchange...    Russia Agreed to Restructure Bailout Loan to Cyprus, Putin Says    Russia agreed to restructure a € 2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) loan granted to Cyprus ... Russia, which rejected a bid from Cyprus for additional financial assistance last month,... Slovenia is next after Cyprus. Contraction of liquidity and then large-scale withdrawals. Bank runs in Italy and Spain?  First, need to show very poor financial results (live example: bad loans in Italy); shows that the €100K deposit insurance is only as good as the sovereign which is the ultimate guarantor.  Possible that the central bankers cannot turn off the spigot – so badly overleveraged that there exists no exit.  Right –and certainly no time soon. The Bernk said of $2.5trillion in debts: "No plans to sell it soon."  Das: Basically we're waiting for a spaceship from Mars to arrive with the funds to bail us  out.  Cyprus is the problem or a symptom? Symptom: If countries sign up to ECB assistance, they risk their depositors's liability down the road. No proper deposit insurance scheme or funds  exist to recapitalize banks – the notion of deposit insurance in Europe is all bogus.  East European and Russian funds are racing out to US and Germany.  Contagion is not solved, just moved a bit under the covers. 

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Jodi Schneider, Bloomberg, in re: Obama’s Budget Would Cap Romney-Sized Retirement Accounts.   Bush Debt Load Endorsed by Republicans Now Rejected.   What to Expect in Obama's Budget.  If the budgets passed by Senate Democrats and House Republicans offered up competing worldviews, then President Obama will add a third entry to the mix on Wednesday as the White House unveils its spending plan for fiscal year 2014.

Hour Three

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, in re: P5+1 (UN Sec Council + Germany) mtg in Almaty with Iran : total failure. Iran is pellucid: will not give up its nuclear program. Today Iran opened new uranium mines.  Consider a nuclear Iran to be their right; can enrich to 50%, mocked the IAEA, proposed kicking out IAEA inspectors. Mullahs hold that the world has to accept a nuclear-armed Iran, that Iran has the US in a checkmate. Total failure in Almaty; there is no road ahead; the Supreme Leader holds all the power; upcoming elections will again be frauds.  Have mastered the ability to arm their missiles, now have enough plutonium for seven nuclear bombs.  FORDOW:  it's now an empty shell because it collapsed internally in January. Another such site outside of Qom. Ten thousand centrifuges [hear podcast]; newspaper mocking the US for not allowing Iran to have a handful of centrifuges and now has 10K-plus; Obama cannot stop Iran's pursuit of the bomb.   

Iran is threatening to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in the wake of the failure of the latest negotiations between the Islamic regime and world powers.Since the United States and European countries are not in compliance with the treaty and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency, why should Iran be in compliance, asks Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security of the regime’s parliament.  “It is not acceptable for Iran to respect the NPT and the agency’s regulations but America and the West disregard its articles such as article 6 (mandating reduction of nuclear weapons) and article 4 (Iran’s nuclear rights),” Boroujerdi told Fars News Agency, an outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards. “Therefore there is no reason for Iran to remain a member of the NPT, and the parliament can review this status.”

     The world powers once again failed at Almaty, Kazakhstan, to get Iran to stop its uranium enrichment program and allow further inspections by the IAEA. The talks, which lasted two days, were held last week between Iran and the 5-plus-1 powers: the United States, Britain France, Russia, China, plus Germany. “The Americans … tell us to stop enrichment to the 20 percent level, but not only enriching to this level but to even 30 percent and 50 percent is allowed within the (IAEA) regulations,” Boroujerdi said. “America in the last 10 years insisted on Iran not having access to nuclear technology; however today, Iran after 10 years has reached full capability in the nuclear field, including extraction to uranium enrichment, and so therefore during these 10 years, America has been the loser and Iran the winner.”

     Boroujerdi said the world must accept Iran’s right to uranium enrichment and remove sanctions, and should the regime’s nuclear activities be referred again to the United Nations, it has the right to quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which would mean that the IAEA would no longer have access to monitor Iran’s known nuclear sites.

Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday is to unveil two additional uranium-processing facilities in the central province of Yazd, according to the FNA news agency.

A recent analysis in Keyhan, the newspaper mouthpiece of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also referred to the West’s demands over the past decade to not allow Iran to have a handful of centrifuges for research. But it said now the West “has knelt” in front of Iran because there are more than 10,000 centrifuges enriching uranium.

     “During the last decade, the Resistance Front (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) and Islamic Awakening (Arab Spring), led by the Islamic Republic of Iran, have managed to defeat the power of Zionist Christians in four corners of the Middle East and have forced America to beg for negotiations,” the analysis said, adding that the future is bright for Iran and that America is hopeless. Also, Mashregh News, a media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards’ intelligence unit, said the Obama administration’s plan to contain Iran will continue to fail and that Obama knows that pressure for sanctions within the United Nations has peaked and that he does not have many cards to play. “Despite the sanctions, Mr. Obama has failed to persuade Iran to change course,” the report said, “and Iran has left no doubt about the direction of its nuclear program.”

Mashregh, which reflects the view of the Islamic regime, said Iran’s continuation of its nuclear program will help expand the country’s anti-American policies in the region, which would force the United States to leave the Islamic world, from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, and it would not be farfetched to conclude that in the near future, the region would be controlled by the Islamic movement.

     While Iran and the world powers haggled over the regime’s known nuclear sites, WND revealed exclusively on March 20 a secret nuclear site. Satellite images show a massive site 14 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, including two installations deep in a mountain at which, according to a source, the regime is in the final stages of completing its program of arming its Shahab 3 missiles with nuclear warheads. Part of the site has an array of missiles and over 385 missile garages for mobile missile launchers. Many American experts who have reviewed the images have expressed deep concern and have urged Congress to conduct a hearing on the Islamic regime’s nuclear bomb pursuit. The source, a high-ranking officer within the regime’s Ministry of Defense, warned that the regime has successfully bought time through meaningless negotiations in reaching an “Objective Force” where not only it can survive an attack but provide a meaningful response.

The source concluded that if world leaders think North Korea’s rhetoric is bad, they will experience daily uncertainty once the regime in the not-so-distant future arms its missiles with nuclear warheads where the instability in the energy market alone could crash the West’s economy.

“During the last decade, the Resistance Front (Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) and Islamic Awakening (Arab Spring), led by the Islamic Republic of Iran, have managed to defeat the power of Zionist Christians in four corners of the Middle East and have forced America to beg for negotiations,” the analysis said, adding that the future is bright for Iran and that America is hopeless.

Quake hits near Iran's nuclear city Bushehr, four dead   Two villages near the city of Khurmoj in Iran's Bushehr province were destroyed by an earthquake that struck the region April 9, IRNA reported, citing comments from an official with Red Crescent. The official said that the villages of Shanbe, population 1,746, and Sana, population 1,253, were severely damaged in the quake, which measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. 

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . Bret Stephens, WSJ, in re: Stephens: A Conservative Case for Gay Marriage

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 3, Block C:   Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Wall Street Journal, in re:    How Did Oswaldo Payá Really Die?     I Lost My Job Through the New York Times
 A journalist in Cuba is canned over a newspaper opinion piece.

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   Denis Berman, WSJ, in re:  Kentucky Is Favored to Win 2014 NCAA Title With Louisville Fifth.                     Louisville Wins NCAA Basketball Title as Pitino Makes History   Louisville Beats Michigan 82-76 in NCAA Men’s Basketball Final

Hour Four


Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs  (1 of 4) The Idea of Germany, from Tacitus to Hitler  Why is there a Germany? Part of the answer goes back to a battle fought in A.D. 9 in the treacherous marshes and dense thickets of Teutoburg Forest, near modern Osnabrück. As described by the Roman historian Tacitus, three Roman legions led by Quinctilius Varus had crossed the Rhine from Gaul, intent on incorporating the vast area known as Germania into the empire. They were ambushed and annihilated by German tribes under the command of a warrior named Arminius. It was one of the worst military disasters the Romans ever suffered. Some years ago, archaeologists discovered the site of the battle; the debris field was a mile wide and 15 miles long. Caesar Augustus, it is said, roamed the hallways of his palace, crying, “Quinctilius Varus, give me back my legions!” Henceforth, the Romans pretty much wrote off the area east of the Rhine and north of the Alps. The line of demarcation survives to this day as a cultural divide — beer versus wine, butter versus oil, Germanic versus Romance.  [more]

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs  (2 of 4)  . . .  So the victory of Arminius established certain facts on the ground. In his fascinating new study, A Most Dangerous Book, Christopher B. Krebs draws attention to another part of the explanation for Germany’s existence — the role played by Tacitus himself, through the influence of a small volume called Germania. Think of it as an ancient exercise in social anthropology. The Romans had been bedeviled for years by the motley tribes they lumped together as Germans. Tacitus set out to describe them.

In his telling, the Germans possessed “fierce blue eyes, tawny hair, huge bodies.” They prized freedom, scorned luxury and esteemed military courage above all else. They were a people of sturdy values for whom “good laws” were no substitute for “good habits.” In the land of the Germans, Tacitus writes, “nobody laughs off vice; and to corrupt and to be corrupted is not called ‘modern times.’ ” Pointedly, he observed that the Germans were “not tainted by intermarriage with any other nations” but rather existed “as a distinct unadulterated people that resembles only itself.” [more]

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs  (3 of 4)

. . .  Fast forward 14 centuries. Central Europe is a mosaic of fractious principalities, united by Christianity and a Germanic language, but little else. The literate elites, looking abroad to the advanced kingdoms of England and France, have begun to wonder: who are we? They know that a book called “Germania” once existed, but the text itself has been lost since antiquity. Suddenly, in the mid-15th century, book collectors pick up vague rumors: a copy may have surfaced in a distant monastery. And yes, it’s true!

Krebs, a classicist who teaches at Harvard, lays out the recovery of “Germania,” in 1455, like a detective story. But that is just the beginning. Tacitus’s book was exactly what nationalists had been waiting for. It tells a story of origins. It describes a proud, brave and virtuous people. In truth, its portrait was complex. The Germans were not one nation — Tacitus lists 50 tribes. They manifested plenty of appalling qualities. And Tacitus, who probably never set foot in Germany, clearly had an agenda: to provoke his own soft and decadent society. All this proved easy enough to ignore. “Germania” was received as the “golden booklet.” It was published and republished. An adviser to Frederick the Great, citing Tacitus, called the German people “still the same aboriginal and indigenous nation which has preserved its independence, its name and its language from its origin to this day.” Fichte, Herder, Grimm — they and many others repeated the main Tacitean tropes.

In hindsight, it’s clear where this is heading. Phrases from Tacitus like “not tainted” and “unadulterated” are picked up by 19th-century German theorists of race and superiority. The most popular German textbook of the time would refer to “the unmixed German blood which flows in our veins.” In a newly unified Germany, “Germania” was high on every reading list. Clubs sprang up to celebrate peasant virtues, physical prowess and Aryan superiority. The Nazis would leverage all this for their own purposes. In 1924, the young Heinrich Himmler read “Germania” while on a train trip. In his diary he evoked “the glorious image of the loftiness, purity and nobleness of our ancestors.” He vowed, “Thus shall we be again,” adding the ominous note, “or at least some among us.” The Nazi Party convention held in Nuremberg in 1936 featured a “Germanic Room” with Tacitean quotations. In 1943, Himmler sent troops to a palazzo in Italy where he believed the oldest manuscript of “Germania” was preserved. They didn’t find it. The manuscript made its way to Germany eventually — in 2009, for an exhibition marking the 2,000th anniversary of Arminius’ victory. [more]

Tuesday  9 April  2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich by Christopher B. Krebs  (4 of 4)  Tacitus writes: "And, beside the perils of rough and unknown seas, who would leave Asia, or Africa for Italy for Germany, with its wild country, its inclement skies, its sullen manners and aspect, unless indeed it were his home? In their ancient songs, their only way of remembering or recording the past they celebrate an earth-born god Tuisco, and his son Mannus, as the origin of their race, as their founders.

..  ..  ..


Hour 1:   Iron Lady

Hour 2:   Invasion; Ides of March

Hour 3:   I Am Legend; Infamous

Hour 4:   Valkyrie