The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner;
David Rennie, The Economist; Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Broadcast: Weekend of May 31-June 1, 2014
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Climate Change -- a Believer.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) The assessment is clear. Not only is climate change a problem in the future. It's already affecting Americans. It's increasing the likelihood of floods, increasing the likelihood of drought. It's increasing the likelihood of storms and hurricanes. It's having an impact on our agriculture. It's having an impact on our tourism industries. And people's lives are at risk.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In a series of one-on-one interviews with television weather forecasters, President Obama stressed the dangers of climate change -- that it is real and that Americans are already suffering its effects. He was referring to a new 840-page report from the U.S. government's global change research program, which is a collaboration of nearly 300 academics, scientists and government experts.
The report maps out region by region the effects of how a changing climate is affecting the United States. The report cites heat waves, more extreme precipitation, coastal flooding, hurricanes, drought, floods, wildfires, and increased competition for scarce water. The report also names a main culprit -- gas emissions caused by humans over the past 50 years.
Well, hold on. Not everyone agrees. The Washington Examiner, in an editorial, juxtaposed the new report from the White House with another weather service, that of the SI organization, a private-sector technology firm that daily provides the U.S. Air Force and other agencies with worldwide and long-range weather forecasts.
An October 2013 statement from SI says this. Quote: "There have been many forecasts in the news in recent years predicting more and more extreme weather-related events in the U.S. But for 2013, that prediction has been way off the mark. The good news is that weather- related disasters in the U.S. are all way down this year compared to recent years, and in some cases down to historically low levels," unquote.
Also data from the government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, shows that the five summers with the most super- hot days occurred in 1936, 1934, 1954, 1980 and 1930, not recent years. And although the White House report cites the risks associated with extreme weather events, like hurricanes, are increasing, Professor Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, who advances research that shows that hurricane incidence in the U.S. has decreased 25 percent since 1990.
The Examiner concludes with this blast. Quote: "The politicians and Big Green activists have a self-aggrandizing agenda that would give them far more control over where and how people live, work and play. Using fear to gain government power over people is the essence of demagoguery," unquote.
Question: What accounts for the increasingly alarmist tone of official climate-change reports? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: John, the regime is basically trying to frighten and terrify and panic and stampede the nation into supporting cap and trade and these other, quote, "reforms." And they're doing it by saying all these horrible things that happened and they're going to happen, and climate change is the reason and CO2 is the cause, and we've got to shift all this power and wealth to government and to transnational institutions.
The problem is, as you pointed out, you take global warming. It was hotter in 1997-`98 than it is now, and the scientists didn't predict that. You've got scientific skeptics who are arguing that it's not happening. They say it's false, that all these things like droughts and the rest of it and the rising oceans, that these are either not happening or they're not the consequences of CO2.
And so what you've got is an American public which is skeptical of it, and they consider it the last on their incidents of things about which they're concerned.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the alarmist tone and the alarmist invective or speech is owing to the feeling among the believers that we're running out of time.
SUSAN FERRECHIO: Well, I don't think it's that they're running out of time, as though, you know, the whole world is about to end. I think they're running out of time politically with this issue, because if you look at poll numbers and you look at what is happening in Congress, the issue of global warming has really (fallen ?) to the back burner.
And you look at the people supporting Keystone pipeline. Green groups think that this would be terrible, not so much because it would cause destruction in the United States, but because it would push the green agenda further and further down the list of what's important to Americans.
That's what the desperation is about here is that it's -- you know, global warming is not the big issue it was two years ago, in part because of the economy, and in part because a lot of this stuff has been debunked, as Pat was just saying. And the public is really getting a closer look at really how realistic is it that manmade climate change is here and how realistic is cap and trade and all these other things going to help or hurt Americans.
DAVID RENNIE: I think we need to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Gallup says that the believers are more likely to be Democrats.
MR. RENNIE: We need to be clear. This is -- people are fighting a culture war here. Both Pat Buchanan and Susan, they're fighting a culture war, and what they're basically advancing is a gigantic conspiracy theory. Their gigantic conspiracy theory is that the leaders of all the main governments in the western world and hundreds of climate scientists are prepared to perpetrate a scientific hoax. And their explanation is that they have an agenda to take control of the economy somehow through this green hoax. That's what they're advocating.
And if you think about that for two minutes, it's nuts, because, in fact, if it's true that they're --
MS. FERRECHIO: I don't think it's a hoax.
MR. RENNIE: No, no, listen.
MS. FERRECHIO: I think it's bad science.
MR. RENNIE: It isn't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let him finish. Let him finish.
MR. RENNIE: I'll tell you why it's nuts, because if you think about it for two seconds, the policies that politicians will have to impose on voters to fix climate change, if that's what they want to do, will be incredibly unpopular. You're going to have to tell people to get out of their cars, to turn down their heating, to do all these unpopular things.
Why on earth do you think the regime, as you call it, really wants to do all these incredibly unpopular things?
MR. BUCHANAN: But why are the Europeans themselves, who are paying more cost than anyone else, they are backing away from what they did?
MR. RENNIE: Because it's politically painful, which is exactly --
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that's -- they wouldn't do that if they believed --
MR. RENNIE: So there's -- (inaudible). It is political agony to do something about climate change.
MR. BUCHANAN: If they believed their hysteria --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on. Hold on.
MR. RENNIE: It's political agony to do this. So the best explanation for doing it is that you believe the science.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's be orderly about --
MS. FERRECHIO: Oh, I believe they believe the science. I just think they're believing in bad science. I don't think it's a hoax or anything.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's hear from Mort.
MORT ZUCKERMAN: You know, there's probably more than one thing causing climate chains (sic) -- climate change, excuse me. Certainly some of it is the emission of greenhouse gases, which are clearly having an effect. I mean, the winters are, if I may say, shorter and warmer. The summers are longer and hotter. There are all kinds of other indications that something is going on in the weather. So I think there is some validity to it. I don't know how much. It's very difficult to measure.
MR. BUCHANAN: But Mort --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: But I think it's something --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- we had the worst winter I can imagine. Now, let me talk to your point. There's no doubt there's global warming of some sense, what happened. There is climate change going on. But the idea that it is proven science, that what is going on is going to cause these disasters that John just put on the screen, is ridiculous. People don't believe it. You're walking around Times Square with a sandwich board on.
MR. RENNIE: Listen. Stop throwing anecdotes about weather at each other. The scientific -- you know, the vast majority of the scientific establishment and all of these elected governments are saying something very unpopular, which is we've got a very, very painful --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In your country, climate --
MR. RENNIE: Why do you think that's happened? Why are they saying that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Why --
MR. RENNIE: Why do you think they're saying that?
MR. BUCHANAN: Why were the skeptics silenced in "climate-gate" in your own country?
MR. RENNIE: But why do you think hundreds and hundreds --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why did they --
MR. RENNIE: -- of scientists would say it was a big problem? You think --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why are they silencing the skeptics?
MR. RENNIE: -- it's a plot. You think it's (sinister ?), don't you?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, I think there's no doubt many of them believe it, but I don't think it's proven completely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me get some statistics in here. How many Americans are complete apostates when it comes to anthropogenic climate change? Apostates. You know what apostate is --
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as opposed to an advocate. According to Gallup, 25 percent of Americans are true apostates. Moreover, the number of nonbelievers is growing. So I guess the number of believers is more than the apostates.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, no, I think, certainly, to follow on what was just said, I think there is, by and large, an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community that something is going on in the weather that affects a lot of -- that is affected by greenhouse gas emissions. It's floods. It's going to affect our lives. It's going to affect our future. We've got to take it into account. So I just do not think you can just dismiss it.
MR. BUCHANAN: Do you know how to stop all this? I mean, do you really believe that these scientists are going to stop it? They couldn't even predict that global warming would stop in 1997 and we haven't had it for 15 years.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: As I say --
MR. RENNIE: Well, here's one way of approaching it is to approach it like an insurance problem. I mean, this is -- you know, the Economist Magazine, this is our position.
MR. BUCHANAN: The cost of the premium for this insurance policy is unbelievable.
MR. RENNIE: Can you -- it's the cost of doing nothing. That's the whole point of insurance.
MR. BUCHANAN: How do you know that?
MR. RENNIE: Premiums are expensive. But as a business -- I mean, you know this in your business --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: What you're saying --
MR. RENNIE: -- if you didn't insure any of your buildings --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely. I agree with that.
MR. RENNIE: -- then you're exposing yourself to far, far greater --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: As we say in life, you don't take the slightest risk of a catastrophic outcome.
MS. FERRECHIO: The thing is --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know whether the outcome is catastrophic or not.
MR. BUCHANAN: Suppose the premium of your insurance policy is half of everything you've got. (Inaudible) -- forget it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: If I could afford a catastrophe, I would pay it.
MR. BUCHANAN: Are you sure you could avoid the catastrophe? That's the point.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: You're never sure of these things. That is always the point about --
MR. BUCHANAN: If you're not sure --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, hold on.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- why are you going to make us do it?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please relinquish.
What does the Gallup oracle tell us about the importance the public attaches to anthropogenic climate change? You know what anthropogenic is?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's a word --
MR. BUCHANAN: Caused by man.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- that I have never used until today.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Anthropos. What's that? Man.
MR. BUCHANAN: Man.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It means man. Worries about water and air pollution outrank worries about climate change. Sixty percent worry about drinking water. Forty-six percent worry about air pollution. Thirty-four percent worry about climate change. Does that make the unbelievers --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- feel comfortable?
MR. BUCHANAN: Look at China. We can see the pollution there. We could see it in D.C. when I was growing up, and in Pittsburgh, and we cleaned it up. But what all this is is theoretical.
MR. RENNIE: But you have to ask the question, why do all these hundreds of highly distinguished scientists think something terrible is happening? You think it's a plot, don't you?
MS. FERRECHIO: Let me ask you a question. Who cares?
MR. RENNIE: (Inaudible) -- cares. OK, then be a know-nothing. Then let's -- (inaudible).
MS. FERRECHIO: I'm not being a know-nothing. Why are you dwelling on your dependency --
MR. RENNIE: But you're putting out a populist position.
MS. FERRECHIO: -- on what everybody else thinks?
MR. RENNIE: You're putting out a populist position.
MS. FERRECHIO: You know --
MR. RENNIE: People don't want to have to get out of their big cars. People don't want to have to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to --
MR. BUCHANAN: Vaclav Havel contradicted you. Scientists have contradicted you. Scientists have changed their mind. It is not conclusive.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Point of order here. Point of order. I want to make mention of this book, a well-written book, well-researched book from a believer. His name is Michael E. Mann, "The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Line."
He recapitulates a huge amount of information. And the fact that he's a believer must give people who don't believe pause. And I recommend, for those who want to research more deeply than we have on this program -- although no one can really estimate the true depth of the thought that goes on on this program. Correct?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: The preparation of these issues is just very intense, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. FERRECHIO: That's one of the many, many --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question: Has the climate-change debate become hopelessly politically polarized, meaning, like the atmosphere in the Congress, we are far past the ability to reach any sort of compromises? Hopefully polarized, or is compromise still possible?
MR. BUCHANAN: It is dead for the foreseeable future, any action in Congress.
MS. FERRECHIO: For now, yes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You think it is.
What do you think?
MR. RENNIE: Ask my friends here.
MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Your friends? Oh. I thought this was a business meeting over there.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I think there will be something done in terms of national legislation to try and deal with these issues.
Issue Two: Julian's New Job?
SAN ANTONIO MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO (D): (From videotape.) I stand before you tonight as a young American, a proud American of a generation born as the Cold War receded, shaped by the tragedy of 9/11, connected by the digital revolution, and determined to reelect the man who will make the 21st century another American century, President Barack Obama.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Meet Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, here delivering the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention two years ago. The keynote is usually reserved for a rising star of the party, as it served President Obama himself when he delivered the keynote in 2004, 10 years ago.
Castro has been tapped by the president to be Cabinet secretary of HUD, H-U-D, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. When confirmed, Castro replaces current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Donovan would head the powerful OMB, the Office of Management & Budget.
OK, Mayor Castro, a mini bio. Age: 39. Castro has an identical twin brother, Joaquin, representing Texas's 20th district, who is in his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Julian's wife is Erica, with whom he has one daughter, Carina.
Roman Catholic, Mexican-American descent, bachelor's, Stanford University, 1996, J.D., Harvard Law School, 2000; San Antonio city council, 2001 to 2005; private law practice, 2005 to 2008; mayor of San Antonio, 2009 to the present, in his third term, which he won with 81 percent of the vote.
San Antonio, by the way, is the nation's seventh-largest city. So what would Castro's experience as HUD secretary be a stepping stone to? Supporters hope a number two spot on a presidential ticket, perhaps with Hillary Clinton, should she decide to run.
Listen to Henry Cisneros on the matter, a former HUD secretary himself. Quote: "It probably wasn't going to happen from the mayor's job. You have to have national positions of greater responsibility, breadth. And this begins that course," unquote.
Well, that's what Julian's getting now. He's getting a Cabinet job. Question: How about a Hillary-Julian ticket in 2016? Mort Zuckerman.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, you're halfway right. I think Hillary will definitely be leading the ticket. I don't know if she will select somebody like this. I think she is going to need somebody with a lot of experience as the number two person, who can easily be seen as somebody who could take over the presidency.
That, it seems to me, is something he lacks at this stage of the game, even though he's clearly a very talented political figure, and also because the Hispanic community is a critical community in the Democratic fold, and it's the most rapidly growing community in the country. So he's got a lot of political pluses. But I don't think it's going to rise to the level of the vice presidency.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David.
MR. RENNIE: I think you make a very good point. And, you know, the truth is that Hillary Clinton will be 69 at the next presidential election, so the vice presidency will be looked at very carefully.
I've interviewed Julian Castro a couple of times as mayor of San Antonio. He's a smart guy. He's a centrist. He's pro-business. I mean, you have to be to run a city in Texas. He's not to the left of the party. And that's also another sort of factor, that if they need someone, you know, who wows the liberal left of the Democratic Party on the ticket, he doesn't really give them that. You know, he's very much a kind of Clintonian, sensible business kind of guy.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Harvard.
MR. RENNIE: Yeah. He did some really smart stuff down in San Antonio, getting in the big business community. He's done things like pre-K education.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MR. RENNIE: To get that through, he worked on the biggest businesses in the city. You know, he's a centrist pragmatist.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Latino vote, Pat, you got it?
MR. BUCHANAN: The Latino vote is growing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And he's going to pull that vote --
MR. BUCHANAN: It's not as large --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- is he not?
MR. BUCHANAN: He would clearly pull that vote. And the African- American vote probably is not going to be as intense in 2016 as it is -- as it was in 2012. But I will say this, John. He is somewhat youthful and callow. And I think with Hillary Clinton and all this talk about the brain problem and the health and the rest of it, they're going to want someone who will be able to step in as president of the United States in foreign policy. And foreign policy is going to be a big issue. And you don't learn foreign policy at HUD. Excuse me, but it's a second-rate Cabinet office, and I don't know that it's really a stepping stone to the vice presidency.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Assuming that the ticket is as stated here in our hypothesis, do you think that Julian could deliver Texas?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. He could come -- he could do better in Texas, but I don't think that he could deliver Texas.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think so?
MR. BUCHANAN: But if he could, the game's over for the Democrats winning.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think so?
MS. FERRECHIO: No.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think so?
MS. FERRECHIO: No, I don't think so.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do think he can deliver Texas.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think he could --
MR. RENNIE: And the proof that he couldn't is that a lot of Democrats in Texas were desperate for him to run for governor this year, in 2014, and he passed on that because he knew that it wasn't time for a Democrat in Texas. Texas may well turn blue at some point, but it's going to be another 10, 15 years.
MS. FERRECHIO: I agree with that. I don't think -- and I also agree that he's a little too young and inexperienced to be the vice president, especially with Hillary's age and potential health concerns.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know.
MR. BUCHANAN: Richard Nixon was younger, and so was Theodore Roosevelt, I think. No, he'd be 40. So was John Breckinridge, John.
MR. RENNIE: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's been a very successful mayor.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes. He's a very intelligent --
MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's a big state.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and a very competent guy.
MS. FERRECHIO: And the president we have now was not exactly very experienced when he became president. But I think voters --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Which is one of the reasons why they won't --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: San Antonio -- correct me -- is the seventh- biggest city.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: City, that's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Seventh.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And he was a very --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In the nation, of all the cities.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. He was a very good mayor. He's got, as I say, a real appeal to the Hispanic community. But I don't think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Now he's going to be a Cabinet member. You get it? We've got two years to go.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I understand.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He will make some news as a Cabinet member.
MS. FERRECHIO: It's not a high-profile Cabinet post.
MR. BUCHANAN: HUD.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It's neither --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At HUD. So what?
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got a likelihood of a scandal --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know Cabinet members with your inexhaustible history.
MR. BUCHANAN: Jack Kemp was HUD secretary, but he didn't go anywhere with it. But I'll tell you --
MR. RENNIE: He got on the ticket under Dole.
MR. BUCHANAN: He got on the ticket. Yes, he did, but that was because of 20 years in Congress before that.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: HUD commands a very wide constituency, whether you believe it or not -- Housing and Urban Development.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, when you're sitting -- what happens at HUD -- only scandals happen under those kinds of institutions, John.
MS. FERRECHIO: And the last San Antonian who took over HUD, things didn't end very well for him.
MR. BUCHANAN: He had some problems too.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The national convention is coming along too.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah.
MR. RENNIE: The country's best Mexican food -- San Antonio.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This guy can whip up (a storm ?) at the convention.
MS. FERRECHIO: And he already has.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He already has.
MS. FERRECHIO: And he was very high-profile in 2012 when he came to speak --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.
MS. FERRECHIO: -- and more so -- (inaudible).
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think you want to reconsider your answer to this exit question. Is Julian Castro a rising star? Or better still, will that ticket materialize? Yes or no.
MR. BUCHANAN: He's a rising star, but that ticket will not materialize.
MS. FERRECHIO: Rising, but not fast enough, so no.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Not fast enough? Two years to go.
MS. FERRECHIO: It won't happen.
MR. RENNIE: The same, yeah; rising, but not on the ticket.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: He's certainly a rising star. But as indicated before, and following your lead, of course, John, he's not going to be on the ticket.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't believe in miracles?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I do believe in miracles, but not that way.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's possible.
Issue Three: Censoring the Net?
GAUTHAM NAGESH (Wall Street Journal reporter): (From videotape.) In theoretical terms, in larger terms, this is symbolic, because, as we said, the U.S. pioneered the Internet. It has always been the steward of the Internet. The Internet is informed by American values -- the First Amendment, free speech, no censorship, and really trying to keep the flow of information as free and open as possible.
Not every country views these issues in the same way. There are a lot of countries that think that the government should have a stronger hand in the Internet. Certain types of content are banned in many countries, including close allies of the U.S., if it's offensive to a religious group, a minority. There's a host of different ways that these freedom-of-speech issues are handled.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In March, the Obama administration alarmed proponents of an uncensored Internet by announcing that the U.S. would transfer oversight of the Web to an international body. Since 1998, governance of the Internet has been the domain of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN. It was established by the U.S. Commerce Department in 1998 and operates independently of government control from its California headquarters. ICANN sets policy for domain names and Internet addresses, the basic architecture that lets users connect to servers and websites.
In April, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff convened an international conference, NETmundial, where international delegates presented proposals like this one from China. Quote: "National sovereignty should rule Internet policy and governance. Each government should build its own infrastructure, undertake its own governance and enforce its own laws," unquote; and this from Saudi Arabia, quote: "International public policy in regard to the Internet is the right of governments, and that public policy should be developed by all governments on an equal footing," unquote.
Russia's delegate called openly for the United Nations to take over the Internet. Some warn that U.N. control will lead to the taxation of Internet users. Quote: "The United Nations has long craved the power to tax, and the Obama administration's decision to give U.S. oversight of ICANN may end up giving the U.N. that power -- a global bureaucracy that will have the power to reach into every pocket on earth," unquote.
The House of Representatives is considering legislation to bar the administration from taking action, pending an assessment of the impact of transferring ICANN by the independent Government Accountability Office.
Question: The Internet was invented by America. Is President Obama making a mistake giving away that precious patrimony to some yet-to-be-determined international body? David Rennie.
MR. RENNIE: There's definitely a way that you could do this that would be a disaster. Clearly if you gave the Chinese and the Saudis what they wanted, that would be a disaster. You can overstate the importance of this thing, ICANN, which at the moment has a link back to the Department of Commerce and the American government.
It's not really control of the Internet. It's the kind of the plumbing and the pipe work and some of the technical stuff. But definitely there are forces afoot who would like to grab more government control of the Internet.
But the reason America is on the back foot, unfortunately, is our friend Edward Snowden and the NSA revelations.
They turbocharged the policies of this. Remember that Brazil was very angry about being spied on. That was one of the motivations for the Brazilians to push as hard as they did for this international gathering, where everyone piled in on the Americans and attacked the Americans. The Germans are very upset. So there's talk of a European Internet. So America is on the back foot.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I have this on the Brazil conference to which you just alluded. At the Brazil conference last month, China asserted that when ICANN cedes control, the Internet should be broken up, with each nation controlling its own portion of the Internet highway -- quote-unquote "highway" -- and setting its own rules and laws for Internet users.
Can you speak to that? I ask you, Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: We're one of the freest, if not the freest nation, when it comes to the Internet. If we break it up and let every country run its own, that's going to be less Internet freedom universally.
I think it's terrible that we're ceding control. We don't own it. We have contractual oversight over the Internet through ICANN. And I think it's a terrible idea to surrender it, especially when you have countries like China saying how they want to limit it, and Saudi Arabia. None of this is good for freedom.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The key --
MR. BUCHANAN: Why would you do this, John?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The key body here is the U.N.'s international telecommunications --
MS. FERRECHIO: Right. Why? That's the question. Why would you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you hear me?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, I know it. Look, John, why would you do this when you've got -- look, if the Chinese are going to do certain things in their country, fine. We're moving into a world of increasing nationalism and also where the First Amendment --
MR. RENNIE: (Inaudible.)
MR. BUCHANAN: -- First Amendment is really not respected all over the world. And here we have this thing. Why would you share it with 192 nations?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, the subject we talked about, global warming and all the rest of it, I don't think it's even going to be an issue in the year 2016, or a major issue, because I think the Democrats realize that millions of Americans, middle Americans, simply don't believe it's happening and they don't want the solution the left is proposing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan.
MS. FERRECHIO: I'll talk taxes. There's a tax bill that's fallen apart in the Senate and the House. I think that the Senate will get together in June and pass a tax-cut bill with 50 or so tax cuts, and eventually it will pass the House.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: David.
MR. RENNIE: I think we will not see immigration reform done this year.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's what I was going to say, that we will not see immigration reform. So I completely agree with what he just said.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you want to give -- do you want to give a prediction?
MR. RENNIE: As in two?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, give it to him.
MR. RENNIE: Oh. You'll pay me for two?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Laughs.)
MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible.) But you'll see administrative executive action on immigration.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The prediction is the enthusiasm gap between Republican voters and Democratic voters over the looming midterm elections, currently measured at 10 percent in favor of the Republicans, will continue to grow in size, in intensity, in impressiveness.
(C) 2014 Federal News Service