The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Air Date: 
November 19, 2014

Photo, above:  Today is the 151st anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address, a speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863.  He spoke at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. 


Hour One

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Cleo Paskal, Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources at Chatham House and author of Global Warring: How Environmental, Economic, and Political Crises Will Redraw the World Map, in re: China in the South Pacific. PICs cover about one-sixth of the Earth's surface.   Both Modi of India and XI of China have just visited. Pres Obama as in the neighborhood and has not visited, Adm Locklear visited Tonga in Mach – the Pentagon understands the issues.  Economic engagement would aloes be quite helpful. DC civilian policymakers are still getting ready to [study a map].  US soldiers fought and died all over this region. Many of the independent countries are still grateful for the US efforts in World War II, so the current American lack of willingness to engage is sad.   A woman from State said, "We already have too many balls in the air " – a complete misunderstanding of Pacific geopolitics.  Kiribati exclusive economic zone is the size of India.  We need to help these peoples economically, and in education and health care. 

India-Fiji Ties Can Go beyond Diaspora.

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block B:  Anne Stevenson-Yang, J Capital Research, & author, China Alone: The Emergence from, and Potential Return to, Isolation, in re:  analysis of Alibaba.   Government stats say that Chinese internal purchases have grown 400% - while companies hire people to buy, then return, merchandise to augment sales figures.  

Four Hundred Million Customers, published in 1940s.

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block C: Dr. David H Grinspoon, Astrobiology chair, Library of Congress; astrobiology curator, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, in re: . . . Philae: the comet's surface properties aren’t what we expected – dust, ice, and organic matter, but it was very hard where Philae landed, which is why it bounced. Tried to hammer in, couldn’t even break the surface.  Seems to have bounced at about one-third of descent velocity, one meter per second. Bounced height may have been a hundred meters or more, but very low gravity. "Dirty snowball" is what people call a comet; mostly water. Is this what brought us our oceans?  Yes, some portion thereof; yet we need to learn isotopes: Deuterium?   We know the hydrogen-to-Deuterium ratio on Earth. On Philae, that ratio is higher than predicted. If it’s a lot higher, that'd imply that this type of object would not be the source of our oceans.  Did find organics.  No report yet of amino acids.  On the Rosetta Orbiter there are instruments that can measure organics, as stuff comes off the comet.  Amino acids are relatively easy to make; what's complex are the proteins.  Yes, if this were headed toward Paris, you wouldn’t want to be in Paris.  Still, we have machines that probably could intervene.   landing on a comet is difficult, retrieving material also is, and you have to return to Earth with the sample still frozen!  Need to send a container so it doesn’t all evaporate away.  "Until Philae awakes."

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block D:  Michael Auslin, Director of Japan Studies, AEI, in re:  Shinzo Abe probably will dissolve the Diet on Friday and call a snap election on Dec __, which allows him to forestall a further decline in [public opinion].  He can maintain more seats in the parliament this way.  The economic turnaround form imposition of sales tax has not occurred; Japan has a plethora of small parties, which probably will pick up some seats.  PM Abe hops to lose 30 or 40 seats (has 280 out of 400?); were there too many more, he might face an intra-party challenge.  The only thing that will improve this is reform – the Third Arrow.  Meaningful structural reform: open up for competition; labor laws.  In 1995, when the LDP slapped on a sales tax increase which plunged the country into recession for a decade.  The TPP, the US-favored version:  beef and autos are still a problem.  Abe not unwilling to take on Japan's ag lobby.   He can press for TP, but needs a willing partner – needs to know that Pres Obama will put some political capital on the line.  GC: "If no willing partner can be found, then Japan needs to be dropped from TPP, as TPP is much more important than Japan."    Pacific Cosmopolitans: A Cultural History of U.S.-Japan Relations (from Harvard or Amazon)

Hour Two

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block A: Phelim Kine, deputy director in Human Rights Watch's Asia Division, in re:  the Hong Kong protests. The audience of one w-that determines democracy in China – Xi Jinping; now police move in with wire cutters to dismantle the demos.  After weeks of polite protest: there has been a minute amount of violence by actual representatives of Occupy in Hong Kong otherwise, extreme civility for over two months, incl with provocations by Beijing. A Chinese man in London said he was paid by Beijing to throw rocks through windows at Legco [pron: ledge-koh].  Occupy Central has been like nothing more than a vast art exhibit.  Police first cleared Admiralty; protestors removed barricades as required by the court; when police tried to remove other barricades, protestors negotiated with police, who recognized that they'd overstepped and ceased.  C Y Leung's shelf life has ended.  Aims of protest were democracy and universal suffrage; as public weariness with traffic block has grown, so endeth the street-demo part, but the moment continues. Note that there have been banner-protests all around China.  Were I a Beijing bureaucrat, I’d look around – Tibet: martial law; Xinjiang: terrorist conditions; HK: protests; Taiwan: ever more implacably opposed to Beijing suzerainty. 

Six arrested after Hong Kong protesters smash into government headquarters

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block B: Alan Tonelson, independent economic policy analyst; RealityChek blog, @AlanTonelson tweet, in re: the Y12, a 19-seat turboprop.  This California company plans to  use the panes to fly tourists over the Grand Canyon.  Signals a real threat to Boeing – the biggest obstacle to China's breaking into the world/US airline market is based on consumers's perception of safety.  Only 20% of Americans would consider buying a Chinese-made car because of safety concerns.  China plans to start test-flying a midsize jet to challenge the Boeing 737.  It then announced it'd upgrade its own jet offerings.  Boeing would not be facing a Chinese competitor this soon had it not helped: China used the lure of selling jets into the Chinese market and swapped technology transfer.  China threatened to buy from Europe – Airbus – and played Boeing vs Airbus.  Managed to get technology has stolen about $100 billion of US technology via cybertechnology.  Airbus is heavily subsidized by governments, so Boeing can’t drop its prices by much.  Not fair to oblige Boeing to compete against the Beijing govt.  Eximbank makes loans to Boeing, but at a level dwarfed by European and Chinese subsidies.  First China-Made Plane Coming to U.S. Skies  On Tuesday, on the eve of China’s 10th Zhuhai Airshow, California-based Coptervision placed an order for 20 Y-12s, a 19-seat turboprop.

“This purchase marks the first time for any Chinese-made planes to enter an advanced market, and the U.S. has the highest standards, so this testifies to the achievement of Chinese aircraft manufacturing,” said Li Xianzhe of Avicopter to the South China Morning Post. Avicopter is the general aviation subsidiary of the Y-12’s manufacturer, Aviation Industry Corp. of China.

Four of the Coptervision orders are for the Y-12F. This model, the most recent version of the Chinese workhorse, has not yet received FAA certification. The utility plane will get that “in half a year hopefully,” Li says. The balance of the order is for the Y-12E, certified in 2006. The Y-12 is the only FAA-certified Chinese civil aircraft, according to Li.

China, which hasn’t yet been able to make a car good enough for the American market, is now selling planes there. So is the Y-12 safe to ferry tourists over the Grand Canyon, Coptervision’s primary intended use for its Chinese purchases? The Y-12 has crashed numerous times outside China, but most of the incidents do not appear to be the result of problems with the craft itself. There is probably nothing so reliable in the air as a time-tested model.  The Y-12, the first plane the People’s Republic sold abroad, has been around since the 1980s. The first export was to Sri Lanka in 1986. Since then, Y-12s have been delivered to customers in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. More than 130 Y-12s have been sold abroad according to Zhao Lei, Avicopter’s director of sales of civil aviation aircraft.

And there's another factor in the Y-12F’s favor: although this is called a “Chinese” plane, the critical components are North American. The turboprops are from Pratt & Whitney Canada; the avionics are Honeywell’s; the propellers from Ohio-based Hartzell.  What did China add to the mix? “Chinese companies were responsible for the design of Y-12F’s undercarriage, and overall integration of the whole aircraft,” states People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official newspaper.

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Steven L Herman Southeast Asia Bureau Chief/Correspondent, Voice of America, in re: Aung San Suu Kyi has been refused permission to run for president of Burma. There's a clause in the Burmese constitution written specifically to prevent her from running.  Five million people have signed a petition demanding that clause be removed.  Street demos?  Some already in Yangon by university students anent the education law, but hey could escalate.  Carter Center will send election observers next year.  If Suu Kyi is prohibited from running, anticipate troubles. Rohingya [pron: ro-hinge-ah] and horrible human-rights violations.  If a sham election is held, will intl businesses abandon?  They’re mostly from countries that care  little for human rights – China, Japan.  Thailand: the coup was so quiet that even the BBC is silent.  The junta/generals: are they OK with ASEAN, G20? Sure, ASEAN doesn't [annoy its neighbors for simple impingements of democracy].    Generals are determined never to let Shinowats run the country again.  King in poor health.  Thaksin is no bargain, generals are not nice, crown prince not very good – gloomy future.  Thai elite and middle classes are OK with this; the population in the north and northeast are not OK with it.  Vietnam is Communist; Cambodia long ruled by Hun Sen; Thailand is not an outlier.

Nov 15, 2014
President Barack Obama walks towards Air Force One past honor guards and a group of representatives from Burmese ethnic groups before  . . . 

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block D:  Gordon Chang,, in re: At the last meeting a new axis coalesced: major Russian-Chinese business in major oil & gas deals, which protects Putin from sanctions – but China chiselled Russia down to such low prices that Putin is not entirely comfortable.  The World Island - Eurasia -  holds the grater par of humanity Russia's economy grew 1.3% last year, will grow zero this year.  Nonetheless, the populace won't challenge Putin on this matter.  India is moving closer to Japan, Vietnam, and the US.  US foreign policy is failing to see how close Russian and China are – grave consequences.  Asia and Europe in the Twenty-first Century; the US? nowhere.

Hour Three

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block A:  Monica Crowley, Fox, & Washington Times Online opinion editor; in re: Immigration gambit and the GOP House and Senate. President Obama seems poised to announce one of the biggest executive power grabs in American history. He is expected to declare unilaterally that millions of unlawful immigrants can stay in the U.S. without facing the consequences of violating immigration laws. Congress has not agreed on how to reform the immigration system, but the president has decided to ignore the Constitution and alter the law without new statutes. This is a slap in the face of the American people, who voted on Nov. 4 to change the way Washington operates.

The Constitution is clear: It is Congress’s duty to write the nation’s laws and, once they are enacted, it is the president’s responsibility to enforce them. Article II, Section 3, of the Constitution requires the president to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” This clause compels the president to enforce all constitutionally valid acts of Congress, regardless of his administration’s view of their wisdom. That is a duty, not an option.

Law-enforcement agencies have the power to exercise prosecutorial discretion—deciding whether to enforce the law against particular individuals—but this power must be used judiciously. As Doris Meissner, commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton administration, told her agency in a 2000 memo, such discretion is not . . .

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block B:  Monica Crowley, Fox, & Washington Times Online opinion editor; in re: We can also speak of the Keystone vote, and the prospects for Obamacare in the new Congress, after Gruber.  Easy targets for GOP reform, I am told are Medical Devices; Employer Mandate, and IPAB.  

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block C:  Banafsheh Zand, Iranian analyst, in re: Iran and drugs, prostitution and epidemics.

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block D: Emily Steel, NYT & Billboard; in re:   Times Square’s Biggest and Most Expensive Digital Billboard Is Set to Shine

Hour Four

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block A: Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives (Hoover Institution Press Publication) by Paul R. Gregory (1 of 4)

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block B: Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives (Hoover Institution Press Publication) by Paul R. Gregory (2 of 4)

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block C: Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives (Hoover Institution Press Publication) by Paul R. Gregory (3 of 4)

Wednesday  19 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block D: Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives (Hoover Institution Press Publication) by Paul R. Gregory (4 of 4)

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