The John Batchelor Show

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Air Date: 
November 18, 2014

Photo, above: Silesia is a region of Central Europe now located mostly in Poland, with small parts in the Czech Republic and Germany. It has about 40,000 km2 and almost 8,000,000 inhabitants. Silesia is located along the Odra river.


Co-host: Larry Kudlow, CNBC senior advisor; & Cumulus Media radio

Hour One

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block A: Avik Roy, & Manhattan Institute, in re:  Mary Landrieu begged her colleagues to follow her on the Keystone XL pipeline; bill was defeated by one vote.  We need to lift export restrictions so the US can ship to Europe.  Currently, oil is moving by train – hundred-car trains filled with crude, which is vastly more dangerous than a pipeline would be.  In the next Congress, the bill will pass. Prof Gruber of MIT, architect of the Affordable Care Act:  yes, he was the architect, for which there's an enormous amount of documentation – individual mandate, regulate the insurance product, and subsidize those who can't afford to buy insurance.   Gruber called American voters stupid; also said: Insurance subsidies are tied to state-based exchanges – all this is being examined in court.  See 100 Jan 2010 Gruber speech at San Francisco Jewish organization: will show that . . . Avik Roy: It’s the health-care industry that lobbies heavily in favor of Obamacare, esp Medicare exchanges.  My assessment is that the lobbyists will have a lot more sway than most people are expecting.  (1 of 2)

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block B: Avik Roy, & Manhattan Institute, in re:     . . .  Economists left & rate say that health ins bought by employers is not taxable, whereas that bought by an individual is.  Pres Obama and Prof Gruber and A John Kerry staffer: let's tax insurance companies. Now it’s tied to inflation – the Cadillac tax becomes  a Buick tax, then a Chevy tax and it invades everyone.  Job-killing nature . . .   The reason left-liberal bills are so complicated is so [ordinary readers don’t grasp the meaning].  In 2009 Gruber says the Cadillac tax is not a tax; then two years later he boasts that it is. Note that he was also a main advisor to Romney on Romneycare.  "How Obamacare Raises the Cost of Health Insurance for Young Americans" by Avik Roy – Jonathan Gruber clamed that it would reduce the cost, then less than two years later Gruber acknowledged that the increases will go up 12% here, 30% there. Jonathan Gruber: deception!  (2 of 2)

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block C: Charles Blahous, Mercatus Center & Hoover, & a Public Trustee for Medicare, in re: Need to be practical: a democratic president who's heavily committed to the ACA. LK: Internal mandates – each plan has  dozen criteria whether you want them or not – let us all choose which four or six we want. I'm a senior male and don’t need lactation services.  The biggest substantive problems of the law – magnitude, expansion, ______ compared to targets of opportunity, which are different. Independent payment advisory board ("Can be repealed with no fiscal damage" and is extremely unpopular), individual mandate and _______.  Risk corridors: various ins plans participate in these health exchanges; some will lose money and some will profit. This says that if you lose money, you'll be subsidized – but the actual numbers are quite unclear.  Lot of different permutations of how to deal with [inappropriate] parts of the ACA.  Forty-hour work-week: both sides of the aisle ask, why are we making this a job-killing bill?  Casey Mulligan did an outstanding paper on this.  CBO used his paper substantially to revise their figures.  Lots of ACA provisions are problematic. 

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 1, Block D: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Senior Congressional correspondent, in re: Pres Obama explained, "All we’re doing is moving blocks round."  Doesn't the Senate read the polls?  . . . Executive action on immigration?  He's indicated he'll go big – five or six million people.  Dems don't want to shut down the govt, don’t want [unnecessary] confrontations. Will pass a short-term COR this year, but not next.   Sen Lee: 72% of voters in midterm oppose this immigration executive action.  LK: What is the Republican position? I don’t know!

Hour Two

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block A:  Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus; author: Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War, & The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin; in re: Igor Plotnitski; Donbass Peoples Republic and Lukhansk Peoples Republic. Putin: anent Russia resuming strategic aviation: The US has bases worldwide, and again deploys forces close to our borders.  Russia has just expelled four Polish dips. NATO's provocation.  "If you'd taken a pill in 1983 when the Russians shot down a civilian plane [KAL 007] thinking it was a US reconnaissance plane, and woke up today,  you’d say that nothing had changed."  . . . Obama in Brisbane went out of his way to  personally insult Putin in his presence - these are things that national leaders do not do. He reiterated the changer that the Russians were behind the shoot-down of the Malaysian plane – when all recent evidence says we really do knot know who did.  If Obama has real evidence, he should present it. But evidence from the Netherlands and elsewhere says it’s not clear.  Ukrainians are talking war.  Putin: "We will not allow Kiyev with its Western backers to commit genocide against the Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine."   In this we hear echoes of the debate in Moscow.  Putin operates n a political context.

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block B: Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus (2 of 4): Russians and Poles are playing chicken with air patrols along the border; an elder Pole is justifiably nervous, having lived through this before with the USSR.  The old Polish PM, a woman, said our priorities are Polish women and children, not what’s going on along the border.  New PM has changed priorities.  Russia says, Yikes, they’re flying reconnaissance at our frontiers; both sides are in full war mode – hard to tell who’s telling the truth. Of the capitals directly involved in this Ukrainian crisis – DC, Brussels, Berlin, Kiev and Moscow – there are factions pro and con this antagonism in all the capitals except Washington.  There's debate everywhere except in the US!  What worries me is that Washington is the most anti-historical capital.  We’ve been outsiders in this European drama [of the Twentieth Century]. 

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block C: Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus (3 of 4):  The Russian military budget.  Russian ballistic missiles, ICBS, submarines.  The entire Russian military is being modernized (as are the American forces).  Russia spending about $600 billion; US, more – it’s a new nuclear arms race.  People say that Russia can’t afford to fight a new cold war – hasn’t the funds – but this ignores the fact that it'll be fought on or near their own terrain.  They say that if they think they’re under real [existential] threat, they reserve the right to use tactical nukes – a new Rubicon.  Edward Lucas, editor of the Economist, is pro-cold war. Alex Motyl is a professor at Rutgers and of Ukrainian descent; these two reflect the almost complete militarization of the [US] thinking  GOP has drafted legislation incorporating these views that probably will get read on the floor.  stealth, KGB, CIA, surrogate battlefields.  In college long ago, taught game theory of Cold War geopolitics.  In the past, there were understandings that however provocative a deed might be, it had an element of game – they all understood that they were not to shoot.  Now things seem to move so fast that there's not thought process.  At the Council on Foreign Relations: one-third thought that the US had begun [provoked] this crisis, one-third said that Putin had.  Experts and academics who see this clearly are too worried to speak out, and there seems to be no political voices advocating restraint. 

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 2, Block D: Stephen F. Cohen, NYU & Princeton professor Emeritus (4 of 4): Russia is reaching out to non-Western economic allies – China, BRICS, South America and, esp, Iran.  If this all works out, Russia will no longer be at all dependent on doingbusinss withehWest.  A real Iron Curtain. 

Hour Three

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block A:   Salena Zito, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, & Pirates fan, in re: Virginia's Results Pose Puzzle for Parties Election results are like the tiny pieces of a vast, intricate jigsaw puzzle depicting America's landscape, complete with rolling farms, a railroad crossing, blocks of industry, homes and people — lots and lots of different people.  Only the incredibly patient, astute and determined can recognize how thousands of unique puzzle pieces match up to re-create the scene.

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block B:  Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: The fantasy of the deal with Iran.

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block C:  Aaron Klein, KleinOnline and Salem Radio Network, in re: Death toll rises to five in Har Nof synagogue terror attack.   Policeman shot in gunfight with the two Palestinian killers succumbs to his wounds; PM demands global denunciation of terrorism, calls for national unity

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 3, Block D:  Robert Zimmerman,, in re: Update on Russia’s proposed new space station project  Another article has been published in Russia describing the possibility of that country pulling out of ISS and building its own space station, as soon as 2017.  My impression of these stories is that the Russian government is considering taking the modules it has been slowly building for ISS and instead using them to assembly an independent station orbiting the Earth at an almost polar orbit, thereby giving them a much more complete view of their own country as well as the rest of the world.

Philae’s landing site dust-covered ice  Based on the data that Philae beamed down prior to going into hibernation, scientists believe the landing site on Comet 67P/C-G is made of a layer of dust 4 to 8 inches thick covering solid ice.  At Philae’s final landing spot, the MUPUS probe recorded a temperature of –153°C close to the floor of the lander’s balcony before it was deployed. Then, after deployment, the sensors near the tip cooled by about 10°C over a period of roughly half an hour. “We think this is either due to radiative transfer of heat to the cold nearby wall seen in the CIVA images or because the probe had been pushed into a cold dust pile,” says Jörg Knollenberg, instrument scientist for MUPUS at DLR.

Hour Four

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block A: Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross  (1 of 4)

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block B: Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross  (2 of 4)

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block C: Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross  (3 of 4)

Tuesday  18 November  2014 / Hour 4, Block D: Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed by John F. Ross  (4 of 4)

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