The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Air Date: 
November 12, 2014

Photo, above: The State Department has spent a week shepherding a dozen East Asian reporters, "emerging media professionals," around the US, culminating in a visit to a Cumulus New York radio program, where they were welcomed by the John Batchelor Show on Thursday November 12. A dozen members of the prestigious Edward R Murrow Fellows Program for Journalists, an annual tour for exceptionally promising young print and electronic reporters, have visited press, universities and conferences in four cities. The travellers hailed from Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia, Hong Kong, and the PRC. At the John Batchelor Show they spoke with the host, the technical staff, and the evening's co-host, Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China (banned in Mainland China) among other books. Their US tour ends on Saturday.


Co-hosts: Gordon Chang,, and Dr. David M. Livingston, The Space Show

Hour One

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Scott Harold, political scientist at Rand Corporation, in re:  Obama's pivot to Asia. APEC summit, then a one-to-one between Pres Obama and Xi Jinping. Several discussions; nothing on cyberdialogue, but yes on bilateral development.   Handshake between Obama and Xi was formal; between Putin and  Two others: PM Abe Shinzo with Pres Xi; PM Abe with Miss Pak, South Korean president. . . . Obviously no warmth 'twixt China & Japan.

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 1, Block B: Fraser Howie, co-author of Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise, in re:  the Chinese economy and the G20, including

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 1, Block C: Hotel Mars, episode n. Marcia Smith, Space and Technology Policy Group, &, in re: possible space policy; NASA budget changes as a result of the midterm elections.  Space policy in the Republican Senate:  probably do well – unless they decide to cut the budgets.  "No no – they won't." Sen Mikulski and   . . . Asteroid re-direct program:  NASA's next destination would be an asteroid?   -  will be a robotic probe . . .  Three priorities for NASA: Orion; space station & commercial crew; telescope.  Texas has a lot of pork in space.   Congress seems to have missed the notion that there's a global space race on at present.  And competition of Roskosmos? – China also bldg a major launch site on Hainan Island, while the US is doing so in Texas.  . . . Space policy needs money.

Philae is a robotic European Space Agency lander that accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft until its designed landing on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, over ten years after departing Earth.

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 1, Block D: Aaron Back, Heard on the Street, WSJ Hong Kong, in re:  Shadow banking in China: one day the state banks will probably have to bail them out.   A savings bank was paying 9 to 10%; sold at branches of ICBC, the largest govt bank in China. The money was lent to a coal company that went bust, then demonstrations, reputational damage to ICBC, and a shadowy emergency bailout (Shaanxi?)  There's an official and an unofficial banking sector; the unofficial is the Wild West. 

Hour Two

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 2, Block A:  Charles Burton, Brock University, in re: Gordon Chang's new article on China financing Russia's aggression.  Canada has a 15% corporate tax rate.  Concern about Chinese cyberspionage and increasing investment in mineral and natural resources; also Chinese conduct inconsistent to international norms of human rights. Relations currently at a low; China doesn’t much care about a more modest power such as Canada.  May be not a bad thing. In our governing party,  . . .    Justin Trudeau, whose father was a keen follower of Mao, favors economics and hang the human rights; centrists represent business interests; in our next election, the Conservative policy of trade/security/human rights may bolster chances for the Harper govt in the next election.  Downplaying of irritants.  . . . Spies, hostility.  Xi and Putin look like a romance: looks a bit difficult for them to trust each other, although Xi probably admires Putin's leadership style. 

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 2, Block B:  Walter Lohman, director of the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, in re:  Obama's trip to Burma. Ronhingya have been repeatedly – consistently – oppressed and sometimes brutalized by the Burmese junta.  Violence in the western state is unchecked; refugee crises; no transparency.  Tightened up in the last two years, were supposed to have released all political prisoners in 2013 but instead have added to the numbers.  "Tell the US that we'll liberate everyone, have a celebration, be sure all the big corporations and hoteliers invest, then tighten up the regime." In fact, all this did was soften things up so Beijing can move in. US has lost all its leverage, is trapped in its own little game.  Obama lifted sanctions faster than the junta expected, it never actually intended to reform, and now it doesn't know what to do.  US lifted sanctions in order to get TV video for the past election.

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Michael Auslin, AEI, in re: The APEC meeting this week will pit an American leader still smarting from electoral defeat against a Chinese leader more secure in power and prestige than his recent predecessors. It's up to Pres Obama to demonstrate a continuing focus on maintaining stability in Asia, and allies such as Japan are keenly attuned to any current signs of weakness.   In National Review Online today . . .    China is comfortable playing a long game, which the US is not. 

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 2, Block D: Rick Fisher, senior fellow at International Assessment and Strategy Center, on China's J-31 and articles:

On the Capt. Jim Fanell firing.   Conservatives reply.  _ WIl put the C130  Airbus out of business.    FC-31: upgraded stealth, cockpit, optical sensors, he equivalent of the F35 at 2/3 the price. New antiship Cruise missile, CX1 - "the fleet-killer." FM3000, a new SAM, based on a Russian model but this is fast and manoeuverable.  Peaceful rise?  Oh of course.  FC31 at $70mil, tops – a better plane at a lower price.  US has a lead, but we could lose our superiority very quickly.   These weapons are to protect the pre-eminence of the Chinese Communist Party.

Who;d buy one of these missiles? Argentines, Chileans – oops – the Monroe Doctrine.

Zhuhai:  China's new CX-1 supersonic ASCM: See Bill Gertz on the new FC-31, an upgraded version of the J-31 fighter now flying at the Zhuhai Show.   FC-31 will be a real performance and price competitor to the F-35.

FT-1 mobile solid fuel satellite space launch vehicle: this can also be considered to be the basis for a mobile solid-fueled ASAT launcher.   

New things seen at Zhuhai:

- Y-20 60-ton capacity transport shown publicly at show for first time.  PLA NDU suggests 400 be built.   That would be basically 400 C-17s.  

- Y-30, a 30-ton capacity transport concept revealed.  Will be performance and price competitive with C-130 and Airbus A-400M

- FC-31 export stealth fighter, may be very competitive with F-35

New large long range air-to-air missile, likely in excess of 120+km, not sure if it is developed, but would be a new vital threat.  

- FT-1 solid fuel space launch vehicle.  A modified DF-31A ICBM that will  also launch ASATs for the PLA.  Or deliver some Szechuan ASAT with your Hunan Beef ?  

- New laser-based drone defense device--evidence of much more interesting work on energy weapons.  

- CX-1, perhaps the PLA's third Russian tech based supersonic ASCM.

- Several new air-droppable weapons for Airborne Forces, to include a light mobile air-droppable 122mm artillery cannon.  

- GPS-guided shell for 155mm cannon.  

- New unmanned vehicle duo, an unmanned truck and a small unmanned tracked gun. 

- FM-3000, a new likely Russian tech based very fast SAM.   

Hour Three

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 3, Block A:  Monica Crowley, Fox, & Washington Times Online opinion editor; in re: Hearings floated as Hill Republicans seize on Gruber Obamacare comments  The firestorm began when a video emerged showing Jonathan Gruber, a high- profile architect of the Affordable Care Act and one of its fiercest . . .

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 3, Block B: :  Monica Crowley, Fox, & Washington Times Online opinion editor; in re: Walker sets sights on Common Core, vouchers  Gov. Scott Walker plans to repeal Common Core and expand the voucher program.

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 3, Block C: Michael diCapua, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in re: This looks more than ambitious for China:  it can read like vaporware: "China also announced a target of expanding the share of zero-emission sources in primary energy, namely renewables and nuclear, to 20% by 2030. To achieve that goal, China will have to deploy an additional 800-1,000 gigawatts of zero-emission generation capacity by 2030, about the same as all their current coal-fired capacity and nearly as much as the total installed capacity in the U.S. energy sector today."

Here's the same construction that undermined Australia's carbon tax - uncoordinated caps are a gesture, not a remedy:  "It also means the United States is doing its part to contain warming to 2 degrees Celsius, though achieving that global outcome will require global ambition and commitments from all economies."

The new 114th Congress is not "on track," and this is more than a political squabble: there are more than a few votes in the Democratic Senate that resist the Obama admin EPA mandates on coal. "We’re on track to meet that goal while growing the economy and creating jobs, thanks to the historic fuel economy standards enacted during the President’s first term; the measures to reduce carbon pollution, deploy more clean energy, and boost energy efficiency through the President’s Climate Action Plan; and the leadership demonstrated by a growing number of U.S. businesses, who have increased their investment in clean technologies and pledged to phase down the potent greenhouse gases known as HFCs."

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 3, Block D:   Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Russia rolls Angara 5 to the launchpad  The competition heats up: Angara 5, the most powerful member of the Angara family of rockets, has arrived at the launchpad for its inaugural December test flight.  Russia’s eventually goal is to replace Proton with this rocket. Angara is also designed to be cheaper to launch, which makes it more competitive with SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

Hour Four

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 4, Block A: Christian Whiton, in re:   Stop romancing North Korea. Securing the release of American prisoners Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller from North Korea was not cost-free. It may also be an omen of the return of recurring efforts by U.S. administrations of both parties to negotiate deals with Pyongyang that inevitably fail. The United States supposedly does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea. After all, the arms proliferating, dollar counterfeiting, nuclear-armed dictatorship, which torpedoed a South Korean ship in 2010, hasn't accounted for all of the foreign nationals it kidnapped abroad to train its spies, and occasionally threatens America and its allies with annihilation. 

Christian Whiton is a former deputy special envoy for human rights in North Korea for the George W. Bush administration; is president of the Hamilton Foundation; a principal with DC Advisory, a public policy consultancy; and author of Smart Power: Between Diplomacy and War.

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 4, Block B:  Scott Stewart, in re: Analysis: How to tame the lone-wolf attacker  Out of six deadly terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinian lone attackers this month, three ...

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 4, Block C: Sid Perkins, Science Magazine, in re: ; ;

Wednesday  12 November 2014 / Hour 4, Block D: LouAnn Hammond,, in re: What is Tesla P85D and autopilot? According to Tesla's website, there are three models of Tesla and each differ depending on rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The 60kwH . . . the-nation/

Listen to the podcast below as John Batchelor, host of John Batchelor radio show, talks to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, Driving the Nation about the 2015 Tesla Model S D.  Remember the commercial when E.F. Hutton talks everyone listens? Well, just before the LA Auto Show in November Elon Musk has tweeted his newest and greatest – the Tesla D and autopilot. The “D” stands for dual motor, so those concerned with foul-weather traction now have an all-wheel drive option for the Tesla all electric car.  According to Tesla’s website, there are three models of Tesla and each differ depending on rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The 60kwH, according to Tesla Motors, starts at $4,000 for all-wheel drive and goes depending on the car.

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