The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Air Date: 
July 11, 2017

Co-host: Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio
Hour One
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block A:.  Steve Moore, Heritage, CNN; in re: “Congress has no deal, has no policy.” Why not let people who choose to, just let go of Obamacare? Since it doesn't remove anyone from insurance rolls, Congress can then move on to a tax cut. Many weak-kneed Republicans who think it's better to do nothing than repeal. LK: I love Sen Cruz’s proposal.  SM: Allow people more choices. The big question is: will it be affordable? People pay $5,000 more per year for health insurance. “Am I allowed to say ‘wuss’ on air?”  “I dunno; I can’t even spell it.” If you have previous conditions, or you’re elderly or disabled, we’ll backstop you. Do the numbers: it’s cheaper than fiddling around with [what they’re discussing these days] . . . Three easy pieces*: tax cuts... Sen McConnell has a few billions of dollars from CBO estimates. My guess is he’ll spend some of it on Medicaid.  Note that all these figures are imaginary.   
* A corporate tax cut, cash expensing, and repatriation put us back on the prosperity path.  —Lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 15 percent. Grant immediate expensing for new business investment. And establish a small, one-time, 10 percent rate for the repatriation of offshore cash.
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block B:  Steve Moore, Heritage, CNN; in re:  Steve’s case for nuclear energy.  Trump: “We’re going to make America the next Saudi Arabia.”   . . .  We need LNG terminals. Our nat. gas is so much cheaper than from anywhere else in the world.
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block C:  Joe Rago, Wall Street Journal, in re: the issue is corralling the last ten or fifteen holdouts who’ve [sandbagged] this in the spring and summer.  All of them are wearing suicide vests; if anyone blows himself up, it's over.  Metaphorically, of course.  LK: Medicaid and Sen Cruz’s amendment: sent to the CBO weeks ago; new plan released this Thurs or Fri; next week, full stream ahead.  Debates on amendments; move to a vote. The delay of the recess to do other things. Health care is coming to a head in the next two weeks. After a lunch today, the prospects are improving. It's the moderates who are the problem at this point; if they refuse to let it on the floor that’s the end of it.  Nonelderly, nondisabled, childless adults were put on Medicaid by Obama Adm, and the states receive 90% of their cost /reimbursement, whereas elderly and disabled and children get 60%. This makes the former far more valuable to the states.  The Senate bill will fix this problem.  LK: What are able-bodied people doing on Medicaid without even a work requirement? JR: Medicaid for fifty years has encouraged (“incentivized”) governors to prioritize the higher payments.
Cruz Amendment: Any insurer who offers an Obamacare-compliant plan may also offer any plans it cares to.  Opens up the market; fewer hidden cross-subsidies. 
. . . As people grow healthier and earn more, they won't be returned to Medicaid; it’ll take over twenty years.   . . .  Not a consensus inside the GOP for pure repeal, so they produced a center-right bill. Not the cruel policy portrayed by liberal media.   The vote may be as soon as next week, but maybe following.  1332 Waivers: additional reforms possible, incl crossing state lines.
..  ..  .. 
The Cruz plan would allow insurers to offer plans in the individual insurance market that do not adhere to two major regulations imposed under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as long as they offer one that does.  So-called essential health benefits (EHBs) require insurers to cover 10 basic benefits, including maternity care, mental healthcare, and emergency-room trips. Community rating, the other mandate under Obamacare, requires that people of the same age in a given area be charged the same amount for premiums. That helps people with preexisting conditions not to be charged more for care.
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 1, Block D:  Larry Kudlow, in re: Jobs report [220K]: hours worked are ‘way up but wages are flat.  It's a good number but . . .   The Atlanta Fed: Q1 was 1.1%; average, economy still growing at only 2%.  There’s so much cash around; companies don't want to make a fifteen-year commitment till they see the tax rate.  Solution: Three easy pieces [see above].  If McConnell can't get the health-care vote, then go to taxes!  Fifty-three lost days if they take a summer vacation. Rumors that Gary Cohn, head of Natl Ec Council, might be the next Fed chair. [Ms Yellin leaves in Jan 2018.]  As economy grows at 2% and inflation comes down, I want the Fed to go very cautiously, not hawkishly: restrain its restraint.   What’s needed is a tax cut.
Hour Two
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:  Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus; American Committee for East-West Accord; author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin; in re: Pres Trump-Pres Putin mtg in Hamburg: attempt to reduce tensions; was successful. At the same time, the enemies of detente historically have waged a fight against it but nothing like this, Shorthand is Russiagate – as though Pres Trump were an accomplice of the Kremlin, Détente is about  natl interests; were Trump guilty of that, neither you nor I would trust such a discussion. The major media all had headlines meaning, in effect, Did Trump punch Putin in the nose for having interfered in US elections?   Kremlin elite think Trump has been so wounded by the media battle that Trump can’t possibly work in conjunction with Russia on any matter.  . . .  Btw, there’s zero proof that the Kremlin hacked the DNC computers; and the fact that Comey never looked into it means we have no remaining evidence. 
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block B:  Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus; American Committee for East-West Accord; author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin; in re:  Former Sen Sam Nunn issued a statement with European leaders, urging a joint Trump-Putin statement on terrorism an other essential matters.  Roosevelt managed a sort of detente; thereafter it was always Republicans who tried; each achieved something but was fiercely opposed by US forces. The Ike- ___ negotiations were aborted by U2 shoot-down, although Ike had ordered an end to those flights. Who ordered them continued?  Nixon was sabotaged by the matter of Jews in USSR, and subsequently by Watergate.  Reagan agreed with Gorbachev that nuclear weapons needed to be eliminated.  Today is unique – extreme tensions in Ukraine, Baltics, and Syria.
The bad news is that never has a détente been so opposed as it is in Washington today.    
Early on, Steve Cohen remarked with surprise that the candidate presenting himself as a conservative Republican was the sole one pressing for US-Russia détente: “Cooperation with Russia would be great, first and foremost against terrorism, and also in Syria.”
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus; American Committee for East-West Accord; author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin; in re:  Meeting achieved deconfliction agreement, cease-fires, etc. Far greater implications: Assad will stay for the foreseeable future (were he to leave, a vacuum would ensue and ISIS would occupy Damascus). Clear that Israel and Jordan had already been recruited by Russia anent the zones. Putin ad Netanyahu have a personal working relationship, have exchanged gifts Putin speaks Russian with Israeli foreign minister and they have a jolly time recalling their days in the Young Communist League.  Intl terrorism in pursuit of radioactive atrial is the greatest threat and only US and Russia together can stop that.
Ukraine: what was that discussion?   . . . Within two years, Ukraine/Poroshenko is threatening the very “red line.”  Jens Stoltenburg /NATO aggressively wants to include Georgia, Baltics, et ; in a speech, reproved Pres Trump. Minsk 2 .  Now Trump and Putin have bypassed Minsk 2; US dip will travel with Tillerson to Kiev, will be joined by Russian dips, in an attempt to defuse he Ukrainian crisis by bypassing Germany and France. The Normandy Group.   Several years ago Russia proposed a cyber treaty, which the Obama Adm refused. Now the Trump Adm is trying to move forward on a cyber treaty. Cyber is so closely related to nuclear – were there a cyberattack on a nuclear facility . . .    Obama said he’d inserted three cyber [bombs] in Russia’s digital infrastructure. Where??  What if Russia retaliated?  Trump’s effort to reopen the discussion is the third major success of the summit meeting.
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 2, Block D:  Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus; American Committee for East-West Accord; author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin; in re:  . . .  If in the 1970s, for example, . . .  Putin levelled sanctions on Europeans against agricultural imports. Obama expelled 35 Russians and confiscated a resort in Maryland and another that the Russian dips used, which the US claimed were nests for spies.  US owns two properties in Russia.  Putin now asks for the resort to e returned, or else Russia will seize the American dacha and a US warehouse, It’d be comical except that it’s a furtherance of bad relations.  If that comes at this moment of détente effort, it’ll merely hurt Trump. If Trump gives back the resort compound, hawks will say that Trump is under the thumb of the Kremlin.
Kremlin inner circle is abt 35 people; most believe that Trump is so politically wounded that he’ll never be able to do anything positive for Russia. Recall that Putin was very nice to Bush, who betrayed him. Eke Obama, with the betrayal in Libya. 
Hour Three
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block A:  Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, and Josh Rogin, Washington Post, in re: See Josh’s column in WaPo: Natalia Vesilnitskaya, Fusion GPS, a small but influential oppo research firm in DC founded by two former WSJ journos.  Contract with Baker Hostetler (law firm) to defend a Russian client whose lawyer was Natalia Vesilnitskaya, Fusion GPS.  Bill Browder, Hermitage Capital. Magnitsky law.  Skip to 2015: hired to do oppo research on the Trump campaign and the Russian govt, leading to the salacious hotel allegations, the Field dossier, which is the foundation of all the investigations [and is bogus]. Grassley investigating Fusion GPS as an unregistered foreign agent.  Fusion GPS is now small in the middle of the two biggest Trump-Russia scandals, in one case pro-Russian, in the other anti-Russian.  Fusion GPS is selling oppo research against both candidates, Clinton and Trump, each to the opposite candidate, at the same time. . . .  Is Vesitnitskaya working against or for Clinton, or against or for Trump?  She’s working for the Russian government. 
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block B:  John Bolton, AEI, in re: Russiagate, and Syrian/Middle Eastern conflicts.
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:  Bob Zimmerman,, and author, Capitalism in Space, in re: Europeans sending a probe to Mercury – bravo.  Ghana has a space program for students!  A shorter solar minimum.  Japanese space telescope failed after a few weeks; NASA and JACSA will create a replacement to be launched in 2021.  The stars and energy of the universe emit across the entire electromagnetic spectrum Need to be able to study it; Earth’s atmosphere blocks all X-rays, so we have to look from above the atmosphere. Right now we have Chandra, but others no longer are functioning. Theory: bigger galaxies absorb smaller ones; our Milky Way has done so for millions of years. Near us is the Magellanic Cloud.  We think the fastest-moving stars near the Milky Way come from the Magellanic Cloud.  Could be billions of such runaway stars. 
Tuesday 111 July2017 / Hour 3, Block D: Bob Zimmerman,, and author, Capitalism in Space, in re: Russian space news.  Annual UN Intl Astronomical Conf in Australia, with Space Generation Congress on the side.  Working group of young Australians to lead a discussion on the Outer Space Treaty and how to adapt it for next fifty years.   . . . Lunar base prototype being built by China. 
Dear audience: many thanks to you for your generous donations to, which allow us to continue reporting and also to eat. Much appreciated.
Hour Four
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block A:  H. W. Brands, Reagan: The Life
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block B:  H. W. Brands, Reagan: The Life
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block C:  Alan Furst, Mission to Paris [First Printing]
Tuesday 11 July 2017 / Hour 4, Block D:  Alan Furst, Mission to Paris [First Printing]