Wednesday 2 April 2014
Photo, above: Warlordism returns to China as generals swear an oath of fealty - not to the Chinese people, or the Chinese state, or Confucian morality, or the profundity of the Tao family, or even to Sun-tze's strategic philosophy; rather, to the imperious, shaky, deeply worried leader of a terminally corrupt regime. For a glimpse of other contemporary warlords, see Wikipedia Somali Warlords.
Eighteen senior generals of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) swore allegiance to their commander-in-chief, President Xi Jinping - a rare move that analysts say reflects Xi's strong hold on the military. But the analysts speculated that it also reflected the precarious atmosphere within the ranks as the party launches a high-profile anti-graft campaign in the PLA. During a study meeting on Xi's military philosophy last week, the generals made speeches vowing to study hard and implement Xi's thoughts on defence and military strategy. They included air force commander-in-chief Ma Xiaotian , the commanders of...more »
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-host: Gordon Chang, Forbes.com
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Stephen Yates, chief executive officer of D.C. International Advisory and former advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, in re: President Ma is unpopular – fundamentally, what the movement has been focused on in Taiwan is the democratic process. While the news coverage is going to cover citizens' occupying government spaces, what they're really asking for and is truly important is that they are demanding transparency. When people go to Taiwan they don't connect with the people, they just take a photo in Taipei with President Ma and don't see the people.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block B: Charles Burton, Brock University, in re: Army is becoming an army of Xi Jinping and he's beginning to look like Mao Zedong or Saddam Hussein. This isn't about being jailed or horse-whipped; this is about losing 14 million (?) dollars. We don't know any senior Chinese officials who don't seem to have untold riches in China or abroad. But these people have had their assets stripped and are in custody. The generals pledging allegiance is a show of fear, especially if Xi Jinping is going after [for oaths of fealty] the people, generals and businessmen whom he's [focussed on], instead of having them spend their lives in prison. Something is going on, it's very serious, it's spreading throughout the Party, and God knows where it's going to end.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block C: Anatoly Zak & Bob Zimmerman, in re: NASA cutting off communication with cosmonauts. Obama administration wants to focus on commercial space so we're not relying on the Russians anymore. Congress wants to bail on commercial space and focus on the space shuttle launch program.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 1, Block D: William Pesek, Bloomberg View in Tokyo, in re: Pres Ma needs to recall that he's running a democracy, not a precinct of Mainland China. Most Taiwanese students enjoy being Chinese but do not want any part of the Communist Party. He needs to shelve this trade deal with China and rethink it. However, there are lots of citizens who consider themselves as Taiwanese, but not Chinese. Taipei's architecture is comparatively drab, but the street life is more vibrant than that found in Mainland. Important for Taiwan to diversify its economy, e.g., trade deal with New Zealand. Beijing has 700-plus missiles aimed at Taiwan, ham-handedly disparages Taiwan, has thoroughly disingratiated itself.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block A: Charles Ortel, managing director of Newport Value Partners and Washington Times, in re: Japan has 'way too much accumulated debt and an ageing population that expects to be treated well in retirement. Not enough private-sector income – and a lot of angst. What they can do is not increase their consumption tax from 5% to 8% ; the Japanese govt is addicted to its own self-perpetuation. Tax to GDP is very high. Not interested in fostering productivity gains that are needed; rural sector has all sorts of aid. Need to streamline the govt, get serious, compete globally, diminish role of the underworld. "Tax yourself into prosperity" is absolute silliness. Zero growth; ah: Janet Yellin. Inflation gouges the bottom 60% of any nation; the components that go up are food prices and other basics. I see signs of inflation in the US, in Europe, maybe Japan. Should this occur, central banks will be less and less able to keep rates stable.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block B: Bruce Bechtol, author of The Last Days of Kim Jong-il and North Korea and Regional Security in the Kim Jong-un Era: A New International Security Dilemma, in re: North Koreans just did another test run for another provocation? Gave fair warning, then accidentally on purpose fired into the southern side – engendering a ROK (Republic of Korea) retort into northern sea plus a large number of F-15s armed to the teeth. Then DPRK had one of it drones crash in the south.
We can expect more violent activity any time from a week to a year hence. The crashed drone – seems to be designed to photograph, and so gauge the ROK reaction to the firing - is fairly primitive; the one exhibited in a parade was a copy of a US drone from the 1990s. There's so much air and auto traffic in and over Seoul that it's hard to keep track; need to make significant adjustments to air defenses.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Rick Fisher, senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs, at International Assessment and Strategy Center, in re: Recall Seven Days in May: US pres wants a peace treaty with the Soviets. Hero, Kirk Douglas, finds a military coup driven by senior officers. When senior military men take action, pay attention. In China; generals swore fealty – not to the Chinese people or state, or even the Party, but to Xi Jinping. Air Force commander-in-chief, commanders of China's seven military regions, head of nukes, and all major senior officers. Why? Great anxiety about the anti-graft campaign – roped in a large number of top honchos; Xi has shaken the firmament, now he's being shaken. Strong rumors of a coup attempt. "" – Mao. Curious that Zhu, just released from detention, was re-arrested three days later (with bladder cancer), yet he spent his career as a Party [stooge]. PLA Daily ran pages of speeches – something grave is up.
Did not expect that Xi would demand this sort of recognition from the military, nor that he'd attack them, seeking out factions. Good time for foreigners to be worried.
PLA generals take rare step of swearing loyalty to President Xi Jinping Eighteen senior generals of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) swore allegiance to their commander-in-chief, President Xi Jinping - a rare move that analysts say reflects Xi's strong hold on the military.
But the analysts speculated that it also reflected the precarious atmosphere within the ranks as the party launches a high-profile anti-graft campaign in the PLA.
During a study meeting on Xi's military philosophy last week, the generals made speeches vowing to study hard and implement Xi's thoughts on defence and military strategy.
Air force commander-in-chief Ma Xiaotian. Photo: XinhuaThey included air force commander-in-chief Ma Xiaotian , the commanders of China's seven military regions and the paramilitary police, the deputy commanders of the navy and second artillery force, the presidents of China's three top military academies and senior officers with the four PLA service departments.
The PLA Daily yesterday devoted two full pages to speeches. Qian Gang, a media researcher at the University of Hong Kong who once worked for the newspaper, said that type of coverage was rare.
Zhang Lifan , a Beijing-based political affairs commentator, said the loyalty check could also safeguard the generals' careers. This week, former PLA deputy logistics chief Gu Junshan was charged with a raft of corruption charges, while his former boss and ally, former Central Military Commission (CMC) vice-chairman Xu Caihou , was detained.
"It might be related to the recent anti-corruption campaign in the military and reflects some kind of nervous atmosphere in the military. Everybody in the military needs to swear loyalty [to Xi]," said Zhang. As CMC chairman, Xi is the highest commander of the nation's forces. Unlike his predecessor Hu Jintao , Xi quickly consolidated his military influence in late 2012, promoting dozens of senior generals. Last month the CMC ordered all military units to hang the inscriptions of five former and current top leaders, including Xi, in their meeting rooms. "[That aims] to make clear the top position of Xi and the generals are expressing their loyalty … through the newspaper," said Zhang.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 2, Block D: Gordon Chang, Forbes.com, in re: A property market dvpg rapidly in North Korea along the Chinese border no inhabitants of the apts; a ghost city). Illegal to own, so you bribe the bldg mgr. Deal only in Chinese yuan. Market price is $6,600; ergo, the cash is coming in from outside. Chinese want to control the Tumen river as it flows into the sea; to have an outlet from Heilongjiang, need to control the river.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block A: Monica Crowley, Fox, in re: Is a handful of Republican governors' travelling to Las Vegas to kiss the hem of a major donor what he GOP has come to? Yes, with George Soros donating to the other side, it's expensive. Also, the Republican Jewish Association was there with Sheldon Adelson. Many issues need to be discussed, incl foreign policy. Supreme Court has just decided anent maximum legal contributions.
Jeb v. Hillary? Politics as family business Michael Tanner. Governors Christie, Walker and Kasich woo billionaire Sheldon Adelson at Vegas event Christie, Walker and Kasich — as well as former Florida governor Jeb Bush . SCOTUS Strikes Down Cap on Aggregate Political Contributions
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block B: Jillian Kay Melchior, National Review Online, in re: My story on Nevada's navigators ran today in National Review and the Las Vegas Review Journal. We had to sue the Nevada Division of Insurance to obtain the navigator records. Here's what we found out:
- Eight navigators had criminal histories, including fraud, battery, theft, a kidnapping hoax and drug charges.
- Half of those navigators didn't disclose criminal histories on their applications, despite a requirement to do so.
-Before the open-enrollment push began, insurance commissioner Scott Kipper briefly approved conditional certification for some navigators before their background checks were complete, prematurely clearing them to access consumers’ confidential information, including Social Security numbers, home addresses, and financial records. See this.
In Illinois, a woman lost her navigator license because she was a terrorist bomber in Jordan; was sentenced to life in prison was released, lied on her application to enter the US, has lived here for decades, and was hired as a navigator in Illinois. Another navigator was convicted of forgery.
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block C: Bill Whalen, Hoover & Los Angeles Times, in re: Is the Legislature Rotten to its Core?
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 3, Block D: James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, in re: Best of the Web Today: 'The Debate . . . Is Over' Is it mission accomplished for ObamaCare? "This is President Obama's Mission Accomplished moment," Sen. John Cornyn of Texas tells Time.com. "Jimmy Fallon Mocks ObamaCare's 'Mission Accomplished' Charade," according to a Breitbart.com headline. While the host of "The Tonight Show" didn't say "mission accomplished" in last night's monologue, he was scathingly sarcastic about the White House's declaration of victory. On Monday Commentary's Jonathan Tobin observed: "It is entirely possible that we will look back on today's deadline and administration celebrations about enrollment as Obama's version of George W. Bush's infamous 'mission accomplished' moment after Iraq
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block A: Sydney and Violet: Their Life with T.S. Eliot, Proust, Joyce and the Excruciatingly Irascible Wyndham Lewis by Stephen Klaidman ( of 4)
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block B: Sydney and Violet: Their Life with T.S. Eliot, Proust, Joyce and the Excruciatingly Irascible Wyndham Lewis by Stephen Klaidman ( of 4)
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block C: Sydney and Violet: Their Life with T.S. Eliot, Proust, Joyce and the Excruciatingly Irascible Wyndham Lewis by Stephen Klaidman ( of 4)
Wednesday 2 April 2014 / Hour 4, Block D: Sydney and Violet: Their Life with T.S. Eliot, Proust, Joyce and the Excruciatingly Irascible Wyndham Lewis by Stephen Klaidman ( of 4)
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Hour 1: Quiet American. Robocop.
Hour 2: March of Penguins. The Grey. House of Flying Daggers.
Hour 3: Pirates of the Caribbean. Hotel California. Ides of March.
Hour 4: Jane Eyre.