Wednesday 31 October 2012

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(Photo, above: This pair of images from NASA's Curiosity rover show part of a wind-blown deposit dubbed "Rocknest." At left is an unmodified shot, showing how the scene appears on Mars; the image at right has been white-balanced to show how it would look under Earth's lighting conditions.)

JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW

Co-hosts; Gordon Chang, David Livingston

Wednesday 905P Eastern Time (605P Pacific Time): Alan Tonelson, Research Fellow at the U.S. Business & Industrial Council Educational Foundation and author, The Race to the Bottom, in re:  Mr Romney has taken the stronger stand on Chinese [abuse] of norms, esp the undervaluation of the Chinese currency in order to undersell other nations. Romney will slap tariffs on Chinese goods until prices normalize; also will ban the US government from buying anything Chinese until security is established.  Pres Obama, in contrast, has basically rolled over and played dead. The Chinese economic system is fundamentally different from what our leaders have said – they've described a rapidly improving free trade economy growing ever more like ours. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, being deeply controlled by a small group of men, and is growing ever more so. China in the WTO does not get better over time. The outgoing Chinese leadership under Hu Jintao has taken the system a big step backwards, reasserted a great deal of state control over huge chunks of the economy.  House Select Intell Committee chastised China for abuse; its report on Huawei ad ZTE is an example of the new approach we need to take: we can’t prove relations between the govt and Huawei, but everything we know plus common sense show that there's enormous control by the govt over "private" firms, and this represents a real natl security threat to the US, esp in connection with cyber attacks and other military matters.

Wednesday 920P Eastern Time (620P Pacific Time): Richard Fisher, Senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs, International Assessment and Strategy Center, in re: Gen Ren Haitian (speaking with the authority of the Central Committee) has just finished an extraordinary rant in Australia: "US get the hell out of Asia, and Japan is bunch of fascists who bombed Darwin seventy years ago."  This is a sensitive period; staggering presumption, arrogance. Past summer, when a US thinktank suggested having a US port in Australia, the Australians did a back-flip in rejecting that to avoid annoying China. This general probably has destroyed those fair relations. In China, 7 of 10 generals will be changed; extreme disquiet at the top of the Peoples Liberation Army. Many in PLA want a more aggressive foreign policy, want Japan out of East China Sea, and to clamp down on the Philippines; have sold the trucks carrying North Korean ICBMs aimed at the US. Whole new group of hardliners on the Central Commission. The Global Times (subsidiary of main govt paper) boasted that China had tricked the Philippines out of Scarborough Shoals, and will eject Japan from the Senkakus (Diaoyutai).   The Chinese military, instead of bldg shelters for people, has built shelters for missiles. We don’t know how many nuclear weapons and missiles China has.  PLA is developing much more sophisticated joint force doctrines that almost surely include nukes, esp vs the US. It's not now their policy to initiate an all-out global war, but if we ever get into a shooting spat with China, China probably will swiftly use tactical nukes.  How can we reduce nukes for Russia when we don’t know what China is heading toward?

This striking image represents the chemical composition of Martian sand recently collected by the Curiosity rover. Analysis of it reveals that Martian dirt is similar to volcanic soil from Hawaii, containing crystalline feldspar, pyroxene and olivine. To create this image, the rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument bombarded sand samples with X-rays, which bounce off in different patterns depending on the sample composition, allowing scientists to figure out which chemicals are present and in what quantities.

Wednesday 935P Eastern Time (635P Pacific Time): HOTEL MARS, episode nAllan Treiman, MSL co-Investigator on the CheMin instrument, with emphasis on the implications of the CheMin XRD results for the origins of rocks and soils, Sr Scintist at the Lunar _____ in re: X-ray diffraction technique to analyze, for example, tiny soil samples. Compacted the technology from size of a refrigerator down to size of shoe box!   Found crystalline feldspar, pyroxine, olivine, and other substances  - characteristic of basalt lava rock. Similar to Hawaii atop Mauna Kea. Polagonia also in both places. We've known that Mars has volcanoes; has been geologically active, not as much as the Earth. Has a lot of impact craters but no plate tectonics.  More similar to Earth rocks than to lunar rocks.

Wednesday 950P Eastern Time (650P Pacific Time): Tyler Rogoway, AviationIntel,  in re: The J-31 during the "peaceful rise of China."  Biggest analogue we can see for eth US joint strike fighter. this summer saw photo of an almost identical craft.  High-low mixed craft strategy:  as US has tried to do with F-22 and F35 – heavy weight in less expensive craft that's cheaper to fly with a shorter range – and China may be replicating. However does China's J31 have a good engine?  May look like an F22 from the side, but they do lack design and production capability; looks like a derivative of MIG 29 motor , similar to Chinese WS10.  May be using commercially available, off-the-shelf Russian motor. front is exact copy of F35; done by espionage. Tens of thousands of docs hacked - Lockheed Martin, BAE – China has in fact sat in on supersecret virtual meetings by hacking.  Will be the craft that flies off their aircraft carrier. China's move to make a huge impact on the world's defense aerospace market, sell at a fraction of the Western cost.   F35V has to take ff and land vertically; Chinese copy won’t have that so will be higher performance, but will lack avionics.  If you can bld a J31 for half the cost of an F35, you have an advantage.  This isn’t a peaceful rise; it's an effort to intimidate the rest of the world with military aggression.

Wednesday 1005P Eastern  (705P Pacific Time): Richard McGregor, FT bureau chief and author of The Party: The Secret World of China's Communist Rulers, in re: 18th Party Congress, the once-in-ten-yrs change at the top. . Nontransparency – well, opacity and getter more so. "The CC system is rotten costly corrupt . . .   but also proved to be flexible and protean."  It's much more flexible than it looks to he West; the fact they've been able to slither around various crises is proof. High-wire act of the CCP, looking a bit unsteady. Corruption has corroded the system to where "reform is not possible"? Corruption greased he wheels at an expansion of 10%, not now at 7.5% or less. But now Chinese people learn just how much money has been stolen by each - $2.7 bil for Bo and Xi and others.  Even low-level cadres sport $100K watches. No independent body can investigate corruption because: once you start, where do you stop? Chinese general, 61 yrs old, standing two actors away from an actor who played Karl Marx: surmised to be about to have a powerful position. Is this serious, or lunatic?  Picking new top leaders is more secret than choosing a pope.  Positively Medieval.  Xi will be first among equals.   _____ had an anti-charisma bypass. The top leaders in China do not want a Western-style democracy. 

Wednesday 1020P Eastern (720P Pacific Time): Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, in re; North Korea's hereditary succession of power began a deadly purge. Badly-run currency reform led to the head of Central Committee finance group being executed. Lots of continuing purges of top officials. Kim Jong-eun may have learned this trick from Romania. In 1995, reported attempted rebellion by North Korean Sixth Army Corps; crushed and heads executed. Butchered them with mortar shells to terrify the top military leadership.  "Same old ghouls."  The military balk on its heels – it's been the most prominent, important group; now the Workers Party is ascendant. Kim Jong-eun's aunt is in grave medical condition.

Wednesday 1035P Eastern  (735P Pacific Time): Ann Marlowe, Hudson Institute, in re: Mercenaries in the New Caliphate. Cyrenaica shot through with jihadists, gunmen, men carrying the al Q flag/ No, by and large a more ancient and educated population, very much connected to the old king, King Idris, grandfather of Mohamad al Senussi. Has more Greek than Arab roots.   __murder never solved, considered that the perpetrators were behind the attacks in Benghazi, maybe only a few hundred strong but have sown terror in the hearts of most, who're afraid to stand up to them. "Libya is like Italy with machine guns."  Constant jockeying for power among rival city-states, similar to Italy in the Sixteenth Century. Each has its own conception of what its share shd be. Yesterday a crew from Tripoli invaded parliament: no one appted to cabinet from Tripoli. The one restaurant for 800,000 people. People not willing to stand up for their beliefs; a "tall poppy" syndrome: no reward for people acting on their conscience. In August I was shocked at the filth in Beghazi. In much smaller city, you find people cleaning up their neighborhoods, but burnt cars in the streets, trash in the main plaza. More women wearing the niqab, more are heavily veiled now – no law, no police, so more dangerous for women.  No longer omnipresent groups of men with weapons, but there's something wrong when there are relatively frequent gun battles in the center of the city. Libya has an air defense and jets; no longer the case that the skies belong to NATO. If there are drones there, it's with the agreement of the Libyan govt.

Protesters stormed Libya's national assembly Oct. 30, forcing the cancellation of a vote on a proposed coalition government named by Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan earlier in the day, Reuters reported. The mob, which consisted of civilians and former rebel fighters, numbered less than 100. Congress members negotiated with protesters to leave before resuming the vote, which was then interrupted a second time, leading to the postponement. Libya's new government is facing growing dissatisfaction toward the central government from both Islamists and regional power centers outside Tripoli.

Wednesday 1050P Eastern (750P Pacific Time):  Joseph Sternberg, Asian Wall Street Journal editorial board, in re:  property taxes in Hong Kong are politically motivated?   There's a bubble in HK:  7.8 HK dollars to one US greenback, so HK imports a lot of Bernanke's money; lots of it is pouring out of Europe US, Mainland, and buying HK property.  However, when foreigners buy property, there's a heavy tax. The new administration took power in the summer, is now hugely unpopular – China dictates policy. Nervous-making to HK people and potential foreign investors. Xi Jinping has family members with huge properties in HK, and he ain't the only one. HK is attractive to the brave Communist investors under Beijing because of its freely-convertible currency and actual rule of law (unlike in China). "It's not only wrong – it won't work."    Two years ago HK minions of Beijing tried to apply a stamp tax on real estate, but it was a mess. Trying to curry favor with HK with gimmicks.  Global Financial Integrity (Washington, D.C.) estimates $3.79 Trillion US dollars fled Mainland China last year.  . . .  When US interest rates go up, that'll prick the financial bubble. Note that US policy aid to be designed to help America is more helping the rich kleptocrats of China. Well done, Ben Bernanke.

Wednesday 1105P  Eastern (805PPacific Time): Reza Kahlili, in re:  negotiations go forward between Ali Akbar Velayati (Iranian foreign minister 1981 to 1987), speaking for Supreme Leader, and Obama for deal on nukes. Velayati chosen by Supreme Leader to be next Iranian president. Talks with Argentina to clear Velayati of having murdered Argentines in a 1994 bombing in Buenos Aires.   US has pushed Argentina into these talks: same person who represented Obama at secret talks in Doha, Qatar, to exonerate Iran of accusations of nuclear malfeasance. Pres Obama is forcing Argentina to clear Velayati's name at the demand of the Iranian Supreme Leader, apparently in order to appease Teheran and gain acceptance of his proposal to end sanctions in exchange for a "peace deal,"   Iran now thinks Fordow, the nuclear enrichment facility, is untouchable; there are at least four other such sites.

Wednesday 1120P Eastern (820P Pacific Time): Tom Henriksen, Hoover, in re:  rogue states and the presidential debate on foreign policy - what is to be done? Romney said: "We have to help the Muslim world with gender equality, the rule of law." Mr Obama is more disengaged.

Caption: Andromedid meteor shower. Coloured historical artwork of the Andromedid or Bielid meteor shower of 27 November 1872. Meteor showers, or shooting stars, are dust grains that enter the Earth's atmosphere and glow as they are heated up by air resistance. Although today's Andromedids are very weak (less than three meteors per hour) the shower of 1872 displayed several thousand per hour. The showers occur when the Earth crosses the orbit of debris produced by the comet Biela. Titled The Zodiac Lights (La Luce Zodiacle), from the Modern Illustrated Encyclopaedia (Enciclopedia Moderna Illustrata), published in Milan, Italy, in 1904.

Wednesday 1135P Eastern  (835P Pacific Time): Ken Croswell, author the Lives of Stars, on Andromedid Show returns and will again in 2018, what is it?

Wednesday 1150P Eastern  (850P Pacific Time): Bob Zimmerman, in re:  climate change and the controversy continues.

Wednesday/Thurs 1205A  Eastern (905 Pacific Time): Alan Tonelson, Research Fellow at the U.S. Business & Industrial Council Educational Foundation and author, The Race to the Bottom, in re:  Mr Romney has taken the stronger stand on Chinese [abuse] of norms, esp the undervaluation of the Chinese currency in order to undersell other nations. Romney will slap tariffs on Chinese goods until prices normalize; also will ban the US government from buying anything Chinese until security is established.  Pres Obama, in contrast, has basically rolled over and played dead. The Chinese economic system is fundamentally different from what our leaders have said – they've described a rapidly improving free trade economy growing ever more like ours. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, being deeply controlled by a small group of men, and is growing ever more so. China in the WTO does not get better over time. The outgoing Chinese leadership under Hu Jintao has taken the system a big step backwards, reasserted a great deal of state control over huge chunks of the economy.  House Select Intell Committee chastised China for abuse; its report on Huawei ad ZTE is an example of the new approach we need to take: we can’t prove relations between the govt and Huawei, but everything we know plus common sense show that there's enormous control by the govt over "private" firms, and this represents a real natl security threat to the US, esp in connection with cyber attacks and other military matters.

Wednesday/Thurs  1220A Eastern (920 Pacific Time): Richard Fisher, Senior Fellow, Asian Military Affairs, International Assessment and Strategy Center, in re: Gen Ren Haitian (speaking with the authority of the Central Committee) has just finished an extraordinary rant in Australia: "US get the hell out of Asia, and Japan is bunch of fascists who bombed Darwin seventy years ago."  This is a sensitive period; staggering presumption, arrogance. Past summer, when a US thinktank suggested having a US port in Australia, the Australians did a back-flip in rejecting that to avoid annoying China. This general probably has destroyed those fair relations. In China, 7 of 10 generals will be changed; extreme disquiet at the top of the Peoples Liberation Army. Many in PLA want a more aggressive foreign policy, want Japan out of East China Sea, and to clamp down on the Philippines; have sold the trucks carrying North Korean ICBMs aimed at the US. Whole new group of hardliners on the Central Commission. The Global Times (subsidiary of main govt paper) boasted that China had tricked the Philippines out of Scarborough Shoals, and will eject Japan from the Senkakus (Diaoyutai).   The Chinese military, instead of bldg shelters for people, has built shelters for missiles. We don’t know how many nuclear weapons and missiles China has.  PLA is developing much more sophisticated joint force doctrines that almost surely include nukes, esp vs the US. It's not now their policy to initiate an all-out global war, but if we ever get into a shooting spat with China, China probably will swiftly use tactical nukes.  How can we reduce nukes for Russia when we don’t know what China is heading toward?

Wednesday/Thurs  1235A  Eastern (935P Pacific Time): HOTEL MARS, episode nAllan Treiman, MSL co-Investigator on the CheMin instrument, with emphasis on the implications of the CheMin XRD results for the origins of rocks and soils, Sr Scientist at the Lunar _____ in re: X-ray diffraction technique to analyze, for example, tiny soil samples. Compacted the technology from size of a refrigerator down to size of shoe box!   Found crystalline feldspar, pyroxine, olivine, and other substances, all characteristic of basalt lava rock. Similar to Hawaii atop Mauna Kea. Polagonie also in both places. We've known that Mars has volcanoes; has been geologically active, not as much as the Earth. Has a lot of impact craters but no plate tectonics.  More similar to Earth rocks than to lunar rocks.

Wednesday/Thurs  1250A  Eastern (950P Pacific Time): Exeunt. Edward Wyatt, NYT, in re: flood insurance - who has it, who does not, and what about vacation homes?

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Music (using New York City broadcast times)  

9:00 hour:    Painted Veil; Star Trek; Gears of War.

10:00 hour:     Gears of War; The Expendables.

11:00 hour:      The Kingdom; Brake; Crysis;  

midnight hour: