The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday June 6, 2017

Air Date: 
June 06, 2017

Photo: Omaha Beach cemetery
Co-hosts: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, the Great Voice of the Great Lakes.
Larry Kudlow, The Kudlow Report, CNBC; and Cumulus Media radio
Hour One
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution, in re:  Comparison of the emperor Claudius and President Trump.  Claudius was rejected by his class and widely reviled, yet his reign was overall quite successful. He was poisoned by a female rival.
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block B:  Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution, in re: This is the precise anniversary of D-Day  (June 6, 1945).  Europeans castigate the United States once again as cowboys and unworthies.   Merkel said there’s no moral difference between Russia and the US.  
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BBC: “Mrs Merkel's pointed comments about no longer being able to rely fully on allies were delivered to rapturous applause while on the campaign trail in the (conservatively) pumped arena of a Munich beer hall.” 
No German leader should ever deliver a speech from a Munich beer hall. —Thaddeus McCotter
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Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Larry Kudlow, and Steve Moore, FreedomWorks and Heritage Fdn, in re: Both are in Washington, had productive meetings all day.  Secy Mnuchin at “our little dinner.” Trump agenda has been derailed? No! And btw we're sitting n the Trump Hotel.  Dined with WH staff.  Delay tax cut? Not.   Apple wants to bring $250 billion back to the US asap.  I hope the tax cut can be effected before Labor Day. GOP must repeal Obamacare this year and the tax cut; with these, will be well set up for 2018. 
The British vote on Thursday?  I think PM May will do well, as a tough-minded law and order leader.  The matters of Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, Comey hearings, et al.: I don’t think any of this will work for Trump’s enemies.   Health care is one-sixth of our economy. Turn it over to Uncle Sam paying all, or to more choice? Competition is what drives down prices.   GOP need to be better salesmen and better communicator. I disagree with the CBO’s figures.   GOP has to have  a stronger response to break up the monopoly and mandates. How will they bring down premiums and make this a more open-market choice? This is not about compromise; it's a civil war.  In Arizona, your insurance premiums will go from $2,000 to $5,000. We have  a single-payer system: called the Veterans’ Administration. Disaster.  
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Larry Kudlow, and Steve Moore, FreedomWorks and Heritage Fdn, in re: the stock market is doing awfully well.  Stocks have outperformed expectations – might become euphoric. When Trump moved away from Paris accord: the war on business is over, and the war on fossil fuels is over.  Market really liked these.  I believe Secy Muchin is doing it exactly right.  . . . Prosperity.  We've heard from a lot of senior people today. The movement on taxes is much better than is reported. Does he Hill realize that speed is important?  Some do; need to add a dose of urgency.  Pres Trump has to be the great salesman he can be . . . and go on the road.  
Hour Two
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:   Gregory Copley, Defense and Foreign Affairs, in re:  Game of Thrones.   Saudi, Egypt, UAE and Yemen cut ties with Qatar, long-time , major supporter of terrorism.  Pres Trump in Riyadh told the Saudis that to work with the US it, wd need to stop support for terrorism (including its own).  US will try to retain its basing in Qatar to keep it from going all the way over to Iran, or Russia or Turkey, but the battle lines are drawn.
Egypt got punitive actin against the supporters of Hamas.  Also has brought together Egypt and Saudis.  End of Obama’s foreign policy.  Also end of the Obama front vs Pres Assad in Syria.   . . . Yemen will break into at least two parts.  Exiting from the alliance is Da’ish [ISIS], which Turley supported. A blow to Da’ish? Yes.  New bloc: Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and Iran – very uneasy bedfellows.   Secy Mattis on Da’ish: We’ll surround them and kill them. Suppiort and resupply of Kurdish forces in Iraq, detested by Turkey. US base in Incirlik will have to move; Germans have moved today. 
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: Gregory Copley, Defense and Foreign Affairs, in re: Iran, ever more Persian day by day will be the dominant power, esp as Saudi weakens. Israel will make some sort of alliance with Iran after today’s Supreme Leader goes to his reward.  Turkey is self-bankrupting, needs bili0ns from Qatar (has most of a trillion dollars in its sovereign wealth fund), with which it's been working in the Red Sea – Somalia. Ethiopia.   Pakistan:  mil leader took command of Saudi forces in Yemen. Note that Kuwait an Oman have stayed neutral, will help negotiate. 
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block C:  Patrick O’Donnell, Dog Company, the Boys of Pointe du Hoc.  
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 2, Block D:  Patrick O’Donnell, Dog Company, the Boys of Pointe du Hoc.  
Hour Three
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block A:  John Tamny
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block B:  continued
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:  Patrick O'Donnell, author, "Dog Company." Part 2 of 2.
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 3, Block D: continued
Hour Four
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Bob Zimmerman,
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: continued
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: John McManus, "The Dead and Those About to Die." Part 4 of 4.
Tuesday 6 June 2017 / Hour 4, Block D:  continued
Murhaf Abu-saleh, Druse from Golan Heights, in re: 
John Tamny,, in re: The forgotten, small-town Americans made bad choices.
The Wall Street Journal claims to have found the new American 'inner city,' which is the once prosperous rural towns apparently made desperate by the departure of farming and manufacturing jobs, and most puzzling of all, the influx of plenty.  Yes, a punditry always looking for chinks in the American armor claim that the 2016 election was about supposedly "forgotten" Americans harmed - if this can be believed - by too much plenty from around the world.  While the too much free trade analysis is too silly for words, there are surely always people who deserve our sympathy.  But let's not forget that Americans descend from people who crossed oceans and armed borders in pursuit of American abundance.  So for pundits and politicians to bemoan the plight of those legally here, and who are free to migrate to where the opportunity is, seems a bit overdone.    America's Latest Invented Crisis: The 'Forgotten Americans' Burdened by Global Plenty
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Henry I. Miller, MD, Hoover Institution, in re: Attack of the ‘FrankenFlowers’   Sometimes government regulators do things that are not merely misguided, but are incredibly, gratuitously stupid. 
U.S. Department of Agriculture regulators recently demanded the destruction of vast numbers of 13 varieties of striking, vivid-hued petunias--not because they pose any sort of danger to health or the natural environment, but because they’re technically in violation of unscientific, utterly idiotic, three-decade-old government regulations. The flowers, you see, were crafted with modern genetic engineering techniques.
These petunias, which were developed about three decades ago, have been sold uneventfully for years, and their pedigree was only serendipitously discovered recently by a plant scientist who noticed them in a planter at a train station in Helsinki, Finland, and became curious.
Some history is necessary to understand how misguided USDA regulation has been.  The department’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had long regulated the importation and interstate movement of organisms (plants, bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.) that are “plant pests,” defined by means of an inclusive list – that is, essentially a “thumbs up or thumbs down” approach.  A plant that an investigator might wish to introduce into the field is either on the inclusive, prohibited list of plants pests — and therefore requires a permit — or it’s exempt.
This straightforward approach is risk-based, in that the organisms required to undergo case-by-case governmental review are an enhanced-risk group — organisms that can injure or damage plants — compared to organisms not considered to be plant pests.  But for a quarter century, this risk-based USDA regulation has had a kind of evil twin — a regime focused exclusively on plants altered or produced with the most precise genetic engineering techniques.  USDA tortured the original concept of a plant pest as something known to be harmful and crafted a new, jury-rigged category: a “regulated article,” defined in a way that has captured virtually every genetically engineered plant for case by-case review, regardless of its potential risk.
In order to perform a field trial with a regulated article such as the forbidden petunias, a researcher must apply to USDA and submit extensive paperwork before, during and after the field trial.  After conducting field trials for a number of years at many sites, the developer then submits a large dossier of data with a request for “deregulation” by USDA, which is equivalent to approval for unconditional cultivation and sale.  
These requirements make genetically engineered plants extraordinarily expensive to develop and test— on average, about $136 million –which is probably why the developers of the genetically engineered petunias never commercialized them…legally.
USDA’s discriminatory treatment of genetically engineered plants makes no sense.  Plants have long been selected by nature and bred by humans or mutated to create new varieties with enhanced resistance or tolerance to insects, disease organisms, weeds, herbicides and environmental stresses. Like the contraband petunias, plants have also been modified for qualities attractive to consumers, such as seedless watermelons and the tangerine-grapefruit hybrid called a tangelo.
Two basic tenets of government regulation are that similar things should be regulated similarly, and the degree of oversight should be proportionate to the risk of the product or activity. For new varieties of plants, risk is a function of certain characteristics of the parental plant (such as weediness, toxicity, or ability to “outcross” with other plants) and of the introduced gene or genes. In other words, it is not the method used to introduce a new gene, or its source, but its function that determines how it contributes to risk. (For example, the only new gene in the Helsinki petunias that expresses a product – a pigment that imparts the unique orange hue -- is from corn.) But USDA subjects only plants made with the newest, most precise techniques to more extensive and burdensome regulation, independent of the risk of the product.
Because it’s illegal to sell the genetically engineered petunias without a permit, regulators have told sellers to destroy them – for example, by double-bagging and incinerating them. I have better suggestions: Invoke "enforcement discretion," which essentially means "no harm, no foul, we don't feel it's necessary to take any enforcement action”; or ask growers to donate them to the cancer wards at pediatric hospitals.
For the longer-term, here’s another idea: Regulators should learn what needs to be regulated and what doesn’t. There’s a difference between petunias and plutonium.
Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology.