The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Air Date: 
December 01, 2015

Photo, left: 
Co-host: Larry Kudlow, CNBC senior advisor; & Cumulus Media radio
Hour One
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 1, Block A: Amity Shlaes, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Fdn, chairman, in re:  Why the Flat Tax Is More Popular than Ever  In his October 19, 1932, campaign, FDR making a speech in Pittsburgh: declared taxes a burden on the recovery from the Great Depression. Completely at odds with the New Deal and today's Democratic Party. Speechwriter: Sam Rosenman , "Tell them it's a giant misprint."    . . . Cruz and Rand Paul have flat taxes.   . . . Do you want to work that extra hour?  If you get time-and-a-half, you accept. Same for taxes: the last tax rate on the extra hour should be rather low.  If the top tax rate is 50 cents on the dollar . . .
People don't much care to be treated like rabbits in a cage.   Want to be autonomous, are autonomous.  / people are fed up with the IRS; even accountants can't figure out your taxes.  I'd take a 17% flat tax any time, but the polling on this is not great.  To make the case for flatter tax rates in general is to follow Reagan and Kemp: explain why rewards are better than penalties.  Disappointing in this is Marco Rubio; with Sen Lee has gone a different direction. 
. . . The simple levy hasn’t been this talked about since 1996.  More progressivity means more progress. Especially after 2008. That’s the Democratic tax philosophy seven autumns after the financial crisis. Voters are still frustrated by the arbitrary quality of the rescues and the uneven quality of the recovery. So Hillary Clinton proposes increases in capital-gains-tax rates for top earners. Clinton’s former fellow candidate Lincoln Chafee offered to raise the top marginal income tax rate to 45% from the current 39.6%. You can bet Bernie Sanders’s plan, when it comes, will redistribute even more dramatically. Republicans by contrast are heading toward the very un-progressive flat tax. The simple levy hasn’t been this popular since 1996, when Steve Forbes campaigned with the promise of a universal 17% income tax rate. Several of this campaign’s flat taxers are actually out-Forbesing Forbes. Ted Cruz is calling for a flat 10%. Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul also propose some kind of flat rate. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump pay their respects with plans that reduce the number of tax brackets.
Republicans—who are headed into yet-another televised debate tonight—are aware that voters feel rooked since 2008. But GOP candidates believe that even today voters don’t equate redistribution with fairness. And they are betting that voters desire a trustworthy government more than an arbitrary one. To understand the parties’ difference, recall the nature of progressivity. Under a progressive schedule, a worker pays a base rate on the first dollar earned. Rates rise like a staircase with earnings, so that the more the worker makes, the higher the tax on the last bit earned. A flat tax by contrast is proportional: top earners pay more dollars than low earners, but at the same percentage rate. Structuring a progressive tax schedule requires meticulous calibration by panels of experts. To voters, the process feels mysterious, in the same way, in fact, that the 2008 bailouts did: Some expert, somewhere, picks AIG over Lehman Brothers. Some expert, somewhere, decides that the top rate should be 39.6%, not 38%. Progressivity’s architects rarely finish their work—they just move on to new areas. For example, . .
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 1, Block B: Amity Shlaes, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Fdn, chairman, in re:  Why the Flat Tax Is More Popular than Ever.  Taxes are paid at every stage of production.  . . . 
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 1, Block C: Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post Right Turn columnist, in re: Jen is now the target for the businessman from New York. What have you  done??  I joined John McCain in being called a "dummy" by him – and I've got 300 more followers.  What triggered this? actual facts? Mmm – his holding CNN hostage for $5 mil for the next debate might be a ploy to get out of the debate.  I think he didn't care for that. Because there's not ore than a a paragraph to be said of the businessman from New York, on to Obamacare.  Entering the death spiral: coops failing, biggest players withdrawing, rising insurance costs.   Exactly the same number of people who used to postpone care for serious health issues stays the same: no extra refunds, and a lot of physicians have left accepting Medicaid.   Need market-based health care plans. JB: Someone I know searching fro a remedy for a well-known disease, finally found a provider, a health-care coop; It'd taken all year to find it, she signed up – and the coop failed that month.  LK: really, the GOP needs to speak much more of Obamacare – a disaster. Second, Medicaid: everyone's being dumped into Medicaid. It's pure govt plan. The VA health system, same. JR: Imagine what the Dems wd say if the GOP concocted a two-tier health system: one dreadful, the other for the rich.  Oregon Study. A gigantic cesspool of waste, fraud. We could do something really constructive with this vast sum.  Why aren't the Republicans talking about this?  LK: The pricing system bow being taken over by the govt - price controls that limit choice and investment The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is the root of his evil. Why hasn't the GOP moved to strike this out?  . . . There's been no accountability on Obamacare – why haven't we had oversight hearing?? Republicans could seize the high ground – and they have not!  JB: Jennifer Rubin, the highly-talented WaPo blogger -
Is Donald Trump too chicken to debate?  An excuse not to show up? /Obamacare is still a liability for Democrats; Obamacare is not sustainable. What has anyone else done to kill Obamacare? / Rubio’s winning edge might not be foreign policy.  / The ‘establishment’ comeback. Maybe outsiders don’t have the upper hand.  / Christie and Rubio battle for top dog in national security. Two credible commanders in chief.
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 1, Block D: Larry Kudlow, CNBC senior advisor; & Cumulus Media radio, in re:
Hour Two
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / 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: . . . Dana Rohrabacher, et al.   Mikheil Saakashvili, having an arrest warrant for him in George, now the "Ukrainian" Minister of Odessa. In his car, speaking with a close personal ally: "Misha – I'm worried that the Su-24 shootdown could lead to war."  MS: "Let the war begin. This suits us."  ["That fully is in our interests"]    SFC: We applaud Dana Rohrabacher, Bernie Sanders, Chuck Hagel.
President Barack Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday on the sidelines of the climate talks in Paris, their second such meeting in a month, discussing the fraught ongoing situations in Ukraine, Syria and the Middle East as a whole. According to a pool report citing a White House official, Obama expressed regret for the deaths of a Russian pilot and crew member after their plane was shot down last week after Turkey said they crossed into its airspace.
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 2, Block B: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies, NYU & Princeton. Eke: Am. C'ee for East-West Accord (; in re: The cut of electricity in Crimea last week said to have been done by Crimean Tatars and linked to Turkish intelligence, MIT.  A few weeks ago, photo of Obama and Putin in Turkey; SFC then said, watch out for [provocation] in Ukraine.  Now, a growing Euro-Russian amity based on combating ISIS.  However, powerful forces oppose this rapprochement, esp in Ukraine, which is governed by a rightist regime underpinned by the US.  The cut of Crimean electricity leads to catastrophe in hospitals.  Russia has cut coal to Ukraine; cannot cut gas because Ukrainians will siphon off gas that's supposed to reach Europe.  Poroshenko cut off all freight deliveries to Crimea – all within days of the shootdown of the Russian plane.  AS the cold war might diminish between the Moscow and the European West, it's being escalated in Ukraine. Shooting beginning again w heavy artillery.  "More than 35 tanks at the disengagement line, and rocket systems . . ."
Obama warns Putin on intervening in Syria's civil war - ; President Barack Obama warned his Russian counterpart Tuesday against intervening in ... ; Obama Says Russia Wants Out of Syria. Putin says, 'Nyet' ; Obama warns Putin on intervening in Syria's civil war
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 2, Block C: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies, NYU & Princeton. Eke Am. C'ee for East-West Accord (; in re: . . . Obama: "I have a coalition of 65 nations fighting ISIS [demonstrably inaccurate] so Putin may join but only on our terms." Russia has shown that it's military technology is now at leas the equal of the US's, and in some ways better  Putin's air force has done more in a few weeks to destroy ISIS than the US has done in 14 months.  This is because the US wasn't bombing ISIS, it was bombing Assad and his cohort. Tiny Russian subs in ht Black Sea shot missiles to ISIS central points – a huge distance with excellent accuracy. Russia also sent in the S-400 to Syria:  it has a range of 200 to 400 km, and the US has no idea how to counter it.   Russia can fire 80 missiles at once with excellent  accuracy.  JCB: The Royal Navy and French Navy deploying with the Black Sea Fleet; Mrs Merkel aligning herself with Putin.  We're not heading to war, we're at war. I fear that we may be on the losing side.  SFC:   The  structure of the intl order is breaking down.  News from Europe, BBC: US pres asks Turkey and Russia to reduce tensions – Putin has accused Erdogan of protecting ISIS because he does so much oil business with  ISIS. 
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 2, Block D: Stephen F. Cohen is Prof. Emeritus of Russian Studies, NYU & Princeton. Eke Am. C'ee for East-West Accord (; in re: Turkey shot down a Russian plane, not in self-defense since it occurred over Syrian air space, then called an emergency NATO mtg, did not [foolishly] invoke Article V. Who'll fight ISIS if not the Syrian army?   See The Nation editorial calling for US-Russian rapprocement – the new cold war.
Moscow: Turkey downed plane to protect ISIS oil trade -  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the plane ... Obama warns Putin on Syria ...  Erdogan has a trump card against Putin that would transform the Syrian warRussia has 'more proof' ISIS oil routed through Turkey, Erdogan says he'll resign if it's true  ;  Moscow says Turkey shot down plane to protect oil trade with ISIS -
Hour Three
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 3, Block A:   Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and Dr Lara M Brown, Georgetown University, in re: Donald Trump's Mocking of Reporter 'Not Worthy' of a Candidate, Chris Christie Says  Christie Would Tell Trump to 'Sit Down and Shut Up' ;Ted Cruz: Rubio & Hillary Are Disastrous on Foreign Policy  Ted Cruz (R-TX) fired on Sen. Marco Rubio's (R-FL) record on foreign policy Monday,
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 3, Block B: Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and Dr Lara M Brown, Georgetown University, in re: Star-Ledger Editor Throws Shade On NH Paper's Christie Endorsement
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 3, Block C: Robert Zimmerman, behind the, in re: Russia describes its planned first manned Moon mission To accomplish its first manned lunar landing, tentatively set for 2029, Russia will have to launch six Angara rockets. According to the source, the launches are planned to be carried out in pairs from the Vostochny cosmodrome (the Amur region in Russia’s Far East) and the Plesetsk cosmodrome (Archangelsk region in the northwest) with small intervals between the blast-offs. Under the proposed scheme, after the orbit placement, the complex with a total weight up to 70 tonnes will be docked with the manned spacecraft, after which it will fly to the Moon. A payload of 18-20 tonnes will be delivered to the lunar orbit by the end of the mission.
According to a preliminary plan, Russia’s first manned flight to the Moon is possible in 2029. One year ahead of that it is planned to conduct a flight around the Moon, the testing and qualification of space systems for the future manned landing. However, this project may become a reality only if the work to create a new-generation manned transport spacecraft, the Angara-A5 rocket, lunar boosters and other needed rocket and space technology and infrastructure is included in the draft Federal Space Program for 2016-2025.
The final draft Federal Space Program, however, has not yet been approved. This story is obviously a lobbying effort within Russia to get this lunar mission included in that master plan. What strikes me most about all this is the timing. The big national space programs, Russia, China, and NASA’s SLS, are all aiming for big lunar missions in the late 2020s. All will spend a lot of money for a very limited number of flights, mostly single stunts that merely demonstrate that they can do it. None of these programs will have much staying power on the Moon. Private space is likely aiming for the Moon as well, and will likely be capable of getting there about the same time. However, private space will be cheap and designed to go many many times (for profit). Watching this race between nations and private companies is going to be quite fascinating. And unlike the 1960s space race, which was a race between two different top-down government programs, this 2020s space race will be between bottom-up capitalism versus top-down government. I think in the end the governments will be very embarrassed. They will either lose, or act to squelch their private competition.
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 3, Block D: Norm Scheiber, NYT, in re:
Hour Four
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 4, Block A:  Patrick J Buchanan, author, The Greatest Comeback; political operative extraordinaire;  in re:
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 4, Block B:  Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re:
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 4, Block C: Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King, by Joyce Tyldesley (1 of 2)
Tuesday  2 December 2015 / Hour 4, Block D: Tutankhamen: The Search for an Egyptian King, by Joyce Tyldesley (2 of 2)
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