The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Air Date: 
February 02, 2016

Photo, left: Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton, laughing.  See: Hour Two, Block A, NATO-Russia Founding Act, May 1997, signed by Bill Clinton & Boris Yeltsin 
Co-host: Larry Kudlow, CNBC senior advisor; & Cumulus Media radio
Hour One
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 1, Block A:  Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution, in re: How did Mrs Clinton manage to win six out of seven coin-tosses?  Dunno; the Clintons can do anything about rules.   Her winning by four votes means she’s in serious trouble. She was shrieking last night, sounded unhinged. The main issues for voters are economy and jobs. She’s running on Obama’s coattails.  And as for Lenin from Brooklyn . .    . . .  Further, she’s embracing parts of Bernie’s agenda.  When you looked in her eyes last night did you see three letters; FBI?  Unh  . . . Anyway, the GOP came through yesterday showing a lot more strength.  That’s not just Republican genius; it's partly due to Mrs Clinton. 
Trump fever has broken. Cruz out-organized him. Here's what's next   Imagine trying to explain America’s presidential selection process to an extraterrestrial.
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 1, Block B:  Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution, in re: Cruz’s valedictory was vastly to long; in fact, Rubio conducted himself so well that he seems in effect to have been the Iowa winner.  . . . I think Trump will win New Hampshire, attract a lot of non-GOP voters.  I disagree; Trump and Cruz trading off states, while Rubio  . . . Florida.   OK; Jeb Bush drops out, but what happens to his superPAC?  Run Rubio or anti-Trump ads? Return it all to donors?  I don’t hear Trump speaking of business tax cut, on trade, recently. Trump is now too much into personalities- he needs to get back on his message. Marco Rubio has a strong message, as does Cruz.  In Iowa last night about 20% of the voters aimed at electability.  I interviewed Ben Carson on CNBC yesterday: Is inequality or joblessness worse?  He said that employment will cure both.
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 1, Block C: John Tamny, RealClearMarkets &; in re:   . . . I’m cautious about immigration: our system is broken for the moment so I endorse putting a temporary hold on immigration until we can be secure during the current war. Republicans have to talk about growth. They're talking about nothing.  The competition should be about who has better ideas to remove barriers to prosperity.  . . .  Consumers are increasing savings and reducing spending during December.  Low energy costs could form a terrific foundation for another twenty-year boom.  Ted Cruz has an economic plan with which I don't entirely agree but his heart is in the right place. Rubio does sometimes but o t a lot.  Trump’s “Make America great” was good, but even he isn't speaking of that now.  Ben Carson: The issue isn't poverty, it's growth, which solves all. Republicans tend to win elections when they talk about economic growth; otherwise, the mind wanders and they lose. 
    While oil is a crucial economic input, its value is derived from much more advanced "first order" economic goods.  That's why the richest and most advanced economies tend to import the inputs with an eye on pursuing advanced concepts that will further give value to the prosaic.  For pundits to then suggest that a recession for an industry sector defined by profit margins ranked #112th in the U.S. is for them to ignore simple economics.  More realistically oil's decline is itself the signal of a looming economic boom.  RealClearMarkets. / Ignore the Pundits, Oil's Collapse IS the Economic Boom
    The anti-immigration views of conservatives invariably require them to dismiss strongly held positions on private property, small government, free markets and trade, affirmative action, and many more.  As modern economic history has revealed pretty plainly, immigrants don't come for handouts but do cross the border for economic opportunity.  Border crossings were much more subdued from 2009-2014, which reveals the biggest irony of all.  Why the Anti-Immigration Views of Conservatives Are Anti-Conservative
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 1, Block D: Larry Kudlow, CNBC senior advisor; & Cumulus Media radio; in re: Japanese negative interest rates – baa-aad – means that you put your money in a savings account or into the Interbank flow, you can keep your ,money minus a fee, so you won’t keep cash but will invest in something.  Trying to induce esp banks and large institutions to use their money.  This is weak; monetary policy can’t solve this; fiscal policy can.  Lower taxes!!  Apparently even the Fed is now thinking of ripping backwards from increasing by 25 bps to negative interest rates. Good Lord! Investors look at this and say, “I’m so outta here.” Milton Friedman’s permanent hypothesis: if people think they have only a short time in which to operate, then they hang on to their money.  The Fed story is worse than muddled – opaque statement; people are befuddled – whazzis?  . . .  Important question about confidence; there could be some short-covering now, but I don’t think so.  Ninety per cent of consumers and businesses benefit from low energy prices.
The Night Donald Trump Became a Loser Trump’s campaign message, like his discount luxury brand, depends on a glittering sheen of success. How will the candidate — and his fans — cope with a bruising loss in Iowa? ;   If Only Hillary and Bernie Would Recall JFK , by Edward Paul Lazear,  The Wall Street Journal ; Kennedy knew ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Today’s Democrats prefer class warfare over prosperity.   What's Behind the Numbers?
Hour Two
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 2, Block A:  Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies/History/Politics at NYU and Princeton. He is also a member of the Board of the recently-formed American Committee for East-West Accord (; in re: the new cold war. Russia, Syria, the Mediterranean Basin. Under Pres Obama, the new cold war turns to hardware. Lots of money, Russia: brigades’ being rotated, materiel pouring into Europe. The NATO-Russia Founding Act*, May 1997, signed by Bill Clinton & Boris Yeltsin  -  a road map “based on an enduring commitment . . . democracy and security.”   The new cold war: “This is a really big deal and the Russians will have a cow.”   Conflict zone now is from the Arctic to the Black Sea and to Syria. We haven’t seen this scale since the 1970s – or ever. We've never put our military force so close to Russia’s borders going back to the Eighteenth Century.   John Batchelor Show podcasts are travelling far and wide; hard to believe that we're into our third year of discussing this.  Pres Obama tries to hide from some of his decisions, but he can't hide from this one.  White House has resolved to quadruple its military power around Russia, probably the three pre-Baltics, at least; from $750 mil to $3 bil  It's permanent: a lot of heavy mil eqpt near Russia and a permanent combat brigade rotating among the three countries.  It was bogus ab initio, Yeltsin’s economy melted down, etc. At the time, observers knew there was a pre-nup attached to it.  Today the new cold war has become much hotter due to a Washington decision; also more dangerous than the preceding Cold War because we did not have our mil power on or near Russia’s borders.   . . .  Possibilities of warlike provocations now more likely.   The president of Kiev just spat in Merkel’s face. With no evidence, Turkey claims that Russia was flying over its territory, “and btw, we’re [Turkey] a member of NATO,” which could trigger Article V, a hot war. .
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 2, Block B:  Stephen F. Cohen, (2 of 4)
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 2, Block C:  Stephen F. Cohen, (3 of 4)
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 2, Block D:  Stephen F. Cohen, (4 of 4)
Tweet — Pentagon: “Russia Wants War! Look How Near They Put Their Country to Our Military Bases!”
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*  The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its member States, on the one hand, and the Russian Federation, on the other hand, hereinafter referred to as NATO and Russia, based on an enduring political commitment undertaken at the highest political level, will build together a lasting and inclusive peace in the Euro-Atlantic area on the principles of democracy and cooperative security.
NATO and Russia do not consider each other as adversaries. They share the goal of overcoming the vestiges of earlier confrontation and competition and of strengthening mutual trust and cooperation. The present Act reaffirms the determination of NATO and Russia to give concrete substance to their shared commitment to build a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe, whole and free, to the benefit of all its peoples. Making this commitment at the highest political level marks the beginning of a fundamentally new relationship between NATO and Russia. They intend to develop, on the basis of common interest, reciprocity and transparency a strong, stable and enduring partnership.
This Act defines the goals and mechanism of consultation, cooperation, joint decision-making and joint action that will constitute the core of the mutual relations between NATO and Russia.
NATO has undertaken a historic transformation -- a process that will continue. In 1991 the Alliance revised its strategic doctrine to take account of the new security environment in Europe. Accordingly, NATO has radically reduced and continues the adaptation of its conventional and nuclear forces. While preserving the capability to meet the commitments undertaken in the Washington Treaty, NATO has expanded and will continue to expand its political functions, and taken on new missions of peacekeeping and crisis management in support of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), such as in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to address new security challenges in close association with other countries and international organisations. NATO is in the process of developing the European Security and Defence Identity (ESDI) within the Alliance. It will continue to develop a broad and dynamic pattern of cooperation with OSCE participating States in particular through the Partnership for Peace and is working with Partner countries on the initiative to establish a Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. NATO member States have decided to examine NATO's Strategic Concept to ensure that it is fully consistent with Europe's new security situation and challenges.
Russia is continuing the building of a democratic society and the realisation of its political and economic transformation. It is developing the concept of . . .
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Hour Three
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 3, Block A:  Lara M Brown, George Washington University, & Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re: “The biggest takeaway from the Republican Iowa caucus is that a ground game still matters in politics, despite punditry predicting that celebrity had become the game changer in politics.
Cruz won the contest with 28 percent; his strategy was strong on traditional grassroots infrastructure that included using technology to tap into each voter’s psyche, door knocking and laying the groundwork for intense voter ID groundwork.” Same goes for Rubio. (1 of 2)
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 3, Block B:  Lara M Brown, George Washington University, & Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review & Pirates fan, in re:  ; (2 of 2)
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 3, Block C:  Robert Zimmerman, behindtheblack, in re:  Another 5 month slip of first Falcon Heavy launch   In the heat of competition: Amid a slew of SpaceX launch delays in the past month due to the introduction of an upgraded Falcon 9, Elon Musk noted at a student event in Texas on Sunday that the first demo launch of the Falcon Heavy is likely to happen in September, not April as previously announced. The article is mostly focused on the launch delays of the Falcon 9, which for some of SpaceX’s customers are becoming a financial problem. The company is obviously trying to make sure that further Falcon 9 launches are a success, but the unreliability of its schedule is clearly a reason satellite companies like Eutelsat have signed new contracts with Russia’s ILS or Arianespace. Even with the problems Russia has had with its Proton they have managed a more reliable launch schedule.
Then again, the Proton and Ariane 5 have been around for decades. Their companies aren’t trying to improve them in any way. The delays in SpaceX’s schedule are somewhat understandable in this context. Better to launch slowly with new designs then to have a failure that entirely stops things for months. Nonetheless, it might be wise for SpaceX to settle on the present Falcon 9 design for awhile, so that they can catch up and make their customers happy. Moreover, the further delay of the Falcon Heavy launch is definitely disappointing.
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 3, Block D:  Robert Zimmerman, behindtheblack, in re: An issue with Curiosity’s scoop  The unit at the end of Curiosity’s robot arm that scoops up sand and processes it through sieves experienced “an anomaly” on January 25, causing a halt in arm operations.
The instrument has been scooping up sand from the sand dune that the rover has been studying recently. So far there has been no details at all about the “anomaly”, so it is unclear how serious the problem is. In the meantime the rover has been using its cameras and other instruments to do other observations.
Hour Four
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 4, Block A:  James Taranto, WSJ, in re: (1 of 2)
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 4, Block B:  James Taranto, WSJ; (2 of 2)
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 4, Block C:  Jed Babbin, American Spectator, in re: Hillary’s Email Scandal Envelops the Intelligence Agencies | The American Spectator
Tuesday  2 February 2016   / Hour 4, Block D:  Ann Marlowe, The Tablet, in re: