The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist;
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek;
Rich Lowry, National Review;
Mort Zuckerman, U. S. News & World Report
Broadcast: Weekend of June 1-2, 2013
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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: State of STEM.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) Tonight I'm announcing a new challenge: To redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math -- the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Science, technology, engineering and math; otherwise knows as STEM. S is for science, T is for technology, E for engineering, M for math -- STEM. At his State of the Union address four months ago, President Obama highlighted the importance of STEM education.
The Department of Education, headed by Arne Duncan, Mr. Obama's close friend, estimates that by 2020, the number of jobs contingent upon strong STEM skills, like math and science, will increase; 22 percent more computer systems analyst jobs, for example; 32 percent more system software developer jobs; 62 percent more biomedical engineering jobs.
But today only 16 percent of high school seniors show any interest in pursuing a STEM career. So President Obama now is focusing hard on STEM and funding for STEM. The president's FY 2014 budget allocates $3.1 billion for STEM, an increase of almost 7 percent from last year. Four hundred and fifty million dollars of that money goes to the Department of Education to boost STEM teacher preparedness and curricula.
For existing math and science teachers, monies would be directed to expanding their resources and to gather instructional input from top STEM educators in the country. Also the remaining STEM budget is now allocated to other federal departments and agencies that already have STEM programs of their own, notably NASA, the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health.
Question: On an essentiality scale, zero to 10 -- 10 meaning absolutely essential, like water to live; zero meaning forget STEM -- stick with the classics, Shakespeare, Mozart, Joyce -- how essential is STEM education? Pat Buchanan.
PAT BUCHANAN: Well, STEM is vital to the United States of America in its competitive situation in the world, John. But the approach the United States has been taking to education has been dead wrong. Throwing another $3 billion into it is just a terrible mistake.
Look, the highest per capita pupil expenditures are in Washington, D.C. and New York City. They've got some of the lowest test scores in the nation. They've got the highest dropout rates. There are schools like the Bronx School of Science in Stuyvesant and these other schools which are outstanding.
The problem with American education, John, is -- let me mention the Olympics, where we put our money into excellence and we win. With education, they're trying to make everybody equal in terms of performance, and that's why we're losing.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
ELEANOR CLIFT: Equal opportunity is what we're talking about. That doesn't necessarily guarantee equal outcomes. But equal opportunity suggests that we should give states around the country and cities around the country the ability to create Bronx high schools of science in Stuyvesant and these schools that are oriented more towards these STEM subjects.
Young children aren't exposed enough in these areas. Girls in particular certainly have the capability. They're not encouraged. The president is talking about high schools and reorienting the curriculum so that people will be educated for the jobs that exist.
I love liberal arts, and we have -- and we're turning out lots of liberal arts graduates. But this is coming at a time when --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MS. CLIFT: _ the traditional college education is getting awfully expensive and doesn't lead to a job. So --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think --
MS. CLIFT: -- this approach has to do with looking at the world as it is and training people to enter that world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Richard, what do you think of STEM?
RICH LOWRY: Oh, it's absolutely essential. There's no doubt about it. In a globalized economy, in a post-industrial economy, essentially, there's just more and more emphasis on abstract reasoning. And it's more and more important. And it's the key driver of income inequality, the fact that in prior periods of massive technological change, we've had the educational progress to keep up with it. Now we're not keeping up with it. We're stagnating.
And Pat is absolutely right. We need to blow up kind of the bureaucratic structures that we have in a century -- in a system that was created in the mid-20th century on an industrial scale model, and not just pour more funding into the current structure.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, look, STEM is about jobs as well as about education. And this is the area of the economy that is growing the most, OK. It's the high-tech world or the technology world. And we are falling behind. But the question is, why? A, we don't have enough teachers to do this well. Math is the most important course that children can take in high school in order to get a good job, and we don't have good math teachers, nor do we have good science teachers.
And there's going to be one way that we're going to get around that, and that is through having these platforms where you have the whole program all worked out and all these kids will be able to learn off of platforms with excellent teachers. Until we break that bottleneck, we're never going to get enough people coming out of our college -- our high schools, or indeed our colleges, with the education they need.
MS. CLIFT: Well, schools are run today like they were a hundred years ago. You're right about that. But I don't know that you could, quote, "blow up" the bureaucracy. A lot of the buildings themselves are crumbling.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: They need to be rebuilt. They need to be wired for the 21st century. That all costs money.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)
MR. LOWRY: But what you want to do is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, let's --
MS. CLIFT: You don't get that for free.
MR. LOWRY: This is getting to Mort's point. You want different kinds of certification --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. LOWRY: -- so it's easier for people with these skills and this kind of education to become teachers. You want to scale up. If you have a really good math teacher, that's a very valuable person. How can you get them to reach more people? Online education.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Online education.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Science, technology --
MR. LOWRY: It's more on the gifted, as Pat pointed out.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Science, technology, engineering and math. That's what we're talking about -- STEM.
OK, let's look at the international comparables.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) Right now countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges. So those German kids, they're ready for a job when they graduate high school. They've been trained for the jobs that are there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: High schools in Germany prepare students for the jobs of the future, ones where high-tech STEM skills are called for. It pays off. Germany ranks ahead of the U.S. in math and science education. And the 34-member OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, conducts tests every three years in math and science on the knowledge of 15-year-old students. Of 34 OECD countries tested in 2009, the U.S. placed 25th in math and 17th in science.
Here are the rankings in mathematics. The sequence is highest average test score to lowest by nation. OK, math: South Korea ranked first; Finland, Switzerland, Japan, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Estonia, Iceland, Denmark, Slovenia, Norway, France, Slovak Republic, Austria, Poland, Sweden, Czech Republic, U.K., Hungary, Luxembourg, then U.S., ranking 25th, and then these scoring below the U.S.: Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Chile, Mexico.
OK, science, the ratings top to bottom: Finland, number one, the science wonk; Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Canada, Estonia, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, U.K., Slovenia, Ireland, Poland, Belgium, Hungary, U.S. number 17. Below the U.S.: Norway, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Iceland, Sweden, Austria, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Chile, Mexico.
Mort, what'd you think of that? What'd you think of our rating?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it is a serious issue for the United States. It's one of the reasons why our economy isn't doing nearly as well as it should, particularly in the most rapidly growing areas of the global economy. And we cannot afford this. It's going to get -- it's going to erode our economic capabilities even more.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: And the only way to deal with it, as I said, we have to get the right kind of teachers producing the right kind of students.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mort, it's going to keep --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: We don't have that now.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- going down.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It doesn't have to keep going down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What? What?
MR. BUCHANAN: Of course it's going to go down.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Science, technology, engineering and math?
MR. BUCHANAN: The truth is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Are you talking about STEM?
MR. BUCHANAN: -- look at the student body, all right. The United States is moving toward Third World standards --
MS. CLIFT: Woo hoo, Pat. (Laughs.)
MR. BUCHANAN: -- because most -- because most of the students coming in now -- the principal feeder nation in the country now is Mexico, which is at the bottom of the OECD. And these are the feeder nations that are coming into the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. Hold on, Eleanor. Hold on.
MS. CLIFT: When my ancestors came in, they were probably at the low end of the feeder list also.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: From where? From where?
MS. CLIFT: We're not going to turn this into a battle about immigration. There is a race going on around the world, a race for excellence, that the U.S. is suddenly not part of. And we need to rethink it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MS. CLIFT: And the president has offered some initial steps --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, there's one omission here.
MS. CLIFT: -- that should be taken seriously.
MR. BUCHANAN: We've been going down for years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There's one country that hasn't been mentioned at all, and it should be mentioned, and we're going to do it now. Where's China?
China is not in the OECD, but certain regions of China are tested, notably Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau. When China's regions are placed in the mix with the 34 OECD nations, Shanghai places first in both science and math.
Question: Is China gaming the system by excluding rural Chinese students and only allowing testing in cherry-picked school systems?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it is. And let me tell you about America. The United States -- Asian-Americans beat every Asian country in test scores. White Americans -- we can get into that -- beat every European country in test scores but Finland. African-Americans beat every African country.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the point?
MR. BUCHANAN: The point is, we have differentials in the United States. We have great schools in the United States. But all folks are not performing equally.
Whether you like it or not, 50 percent of Hispanics --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah. How do you want to remedy that? How do you want to remedy it?
MS. CLIFT: President Bush --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: -- (inaudible).
MR. BUCHANAN: This is social. It is cultural. And it's a lot of other things that cannot be changed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, social and cultural?
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, the socioeconomic situation.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What about our Founding Fathers? Weren't they cultivated?
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got -- 73 percent of black kids are born out of wedlock. They watch television until they're five.
MS. CLIFT: President Bush --
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got 53 percent of Hispanics.
MS. CLIFT: President Bush tried to address some of these inequalities with his --
MR. BUCHANAN: And it failed.
MS. CLIFT: It didn't fail.
MR. LOWRY: No Child Left Behind.
MR. BUCHANAN: No Child Left Behind.
MS. CLIFT: No Child Left Behind didn't fail. It had too much emphasis on testing. Arne Duncan, the current secretary of education, is a star in the Cabinet. He's trying to do a lot of good things.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah.
MS. CLIFT: There's no reason why --
MR. BUCHANAN: But Eleanor --
MS. CLIFT: There's no reason why these kids can't succeed.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eleanor, they are cheating --
MS. CLIFT: You've heard about the --
MR. BUCHANAN: They are cheating --
MS. CLIFT: -- soft bigotry of low expectations --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- teachers --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat, will you cool --
MS. CLIFT: -- to quote former President Bush.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- your engines there for a minute?
What do you want to say? Quickly, quickly.
MR. LOWRY: Look, I think these international comparisons are overdone to some extent. A lot of it is countries just catching up. It's not necessarily us doing worse. And you can't compare us to Finland or other countries that are the size of an American state.
MS. CLIFT: And they have a homogeneous population.
MR. LOWRY: We're a much bigger, complicated country.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort, quickly.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, call it what you will. We cannot afford to have the quality of education we now have, both in high schools and in universities, in respect to these categories that you refer to as STEM. This is where the future is. We're not doing a good enough job. There are a lot of things we can do. I don't care what happens outside of the United States or even within the United States. We've got to offer better educational opportunities --
MR. BUCHANAN: But Mort --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK.
MS. CLIFT: In China, they worry about the fact that they're --
MR. BUCHANAN: But people --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. In China, they worry about the fact that everybody learns by rote. They're all very disciplined. They're not creative. And they come to this country and they try to figure out --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MS. CLIFT: -- where do we get our creativity from.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- there is a massive scandal --
MS. CLIFT: We're still doing quite well in the world.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much is Obama -- how much is Obama putting into this to try to get --
MR. BUCHANAN: He's wasting his money. You've got these --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Four hundred and fifty million dollars.
MR. BUCHANAN: Look, you can put in -- look how much -- John, it was $250 a student when I was growing up in D.C. for public school students. It's $20,000 now --
MS. CLIFT: We're in a different century, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- and far lower test scores.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Afghanistan -- Leave Now.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (From videotape.) Over the next year, another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue. And by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The end of next year, 2014? That's 19 months from now, as Americans are getting killed in Afghanistan now, today, at a rate of 15 per month, or one every two days. So, extrapolating in the upcoming interim between this weekend and the end of 2014, one year and seven months away, December 31st, 2014, President Obama's stated Afghanistan exit date, the number of Americans in Afghanistan who will die in that 19-month interval is 285, whether killed due to firefights, roadside bomb explosions, air crashes, or even, quote-unquote, "insider attacks." That's when an Afghan soldier turns his weapon not on the enemy but on his compatriot and kills him.
So, summarizing the total number of Americans killed in Afghanistan since October the 7th, 2001, when the war started, to 2013, mid-May, is 2,093 dead Americans. The dollar cost of the Afghanistan war to U.S. taxpayers through December this year, 2013, is over one half a trillion dollars, $626 billion. And that figure does not include millions of dollars in CIA cash outlays, the, quote- unquote, "ghost money" that the CIA hands over to Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, every month.
Question: Why wait another 19 months to withdraw? Afghanistan has no strategic value.
Is it worth nearly 300 more American lives? Or should Commander-in- Chief Obama call for an exit of Afghanistan now?
MR. BUCHANAN: No. I think it was a terrible mistake to go into Afghanistan and try to remake that country. And I think it was George Bush's mistake, as with Iraq.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are we supposed to do, live with it?
MR. BUCHANAN: Here's what you do. No, but you've got to at least give these people -- after all these Americans have died, you've got to give them a shot at it, at creating --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You want to have more killed.
MR. BUCHANAN: I don't want any Americans killed. I don't think we should have been in there. But you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You saw the stats.
MR. BUCHANAN: You've got to give them a decent interval to see.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think the Taliban are going to take over.
MS. CLIFT: You've got 60,000 -- you've got 60,000 troops there. You've got a lot of hardware. The exodus has begun. I don't think a superpower can execute that withdrawal any faster.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I don't see any rate of exit.
MS. CLIFT: The end of --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think they're kind of stuck at 66,000 over there.
MR. LOWRY: No. They'll be at 30 (thousand) before you know it.
MS. CLIFT: They'll be out. That's right.
MR. LOWRY: Look, Pat's absolutely right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We got out of Vietnam, all right.
MR. LOWRY: You got a 10-year --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We survived Vietnam. But we got out when we got out.
MR. BUCHANAN: We gave them a decent interval.
MR. LOWRY: You have a 10-year commitment.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How much of an interval was there in Vietnam?
MR. BUCHANAN: Two years. They --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When the decision was made, they got them right out.
MR. BUCHANAN: It was two years. If Congress hadn't cut off all the bombing and everything else, we might have been able to --
MR. LOWRY: And there's a chance --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What, win in Vietnam?
MR. BUCHANAN: We had it for two years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know we did.
MR. BUCHANAN: We had every provincial --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I know we did. And look at the loss in lives over there.
MR. BUCHANAN: It may happen there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We come out, we come out.
MR. BUCHANAN: It may happen with the Taliban taking over --
MR. LOWRY: But John -- OK, John, just look.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let Rich in.
MR. LOWRY: You want to come out in a way that creates the maximal chance of this government cohering. And there is some chance that it will. You know, even after the Soviets pulled completely out after their misadventure in Afghanistan, the government survived for two years. The government now is stronger than that government. It has more democratic legitimacy. And the Taliban is much weaker than the mujaheddin was.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK --
MR. LOWRY: So you have a chance -- you have a chance this can work.
MS. CLIFT: I agree with Rich.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, let me try this; OK, more numbers -- more numbers.
The current U.S. force in Afghanistan is 66,000 U.S. troops. The projected force drawdown extends through seven months of this year and all of next year, 2014. At the end of next year, 10,000 to 15,000 U.S. troops will still be in Afghanistan and staying there until Commander in Chief Obama says otherwise.
But wait. When we do come home, there is more trouble and more sadness -- suicides. More American soldiers committed suicide last year than died in battle. And between 2001, the year that operations in Afghanistan started over 11 years ago, and 2012, last year, 2,862 American soldiers committed suicide. That's a rate of almost 240 self-inflicted deaths per year.
Question: When we do finally bring them home, there are other problems -- psychological problems, conjugal problems, posttraumatic syndrome, no employment. So should President Obama accelerate the U.S. troop departure from Afghanistan? Yes or no, Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yes, I think he should. I don't think he can do it by much, but, yes, he should. I think this is a question of whether or not the troops that are going to be left behind can keep enough civil order in that country so it doesn't completely collapse. It's a very low probability that we're going to succeed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what Zbigniew Brzezinski says about this?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He says you put troops in there; the adversary, al-Qaida, will put other troops in there. Conversely, if you take the troops out -- here I'm supplying a little, but he seems to be saying you take the troops out; they have no reason for going on.
MR. LOWRY: No. That's --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why would they go in?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Because they're going to take over Afghanistan?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right. The Taliban will take over.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think the Afghanistan army is sufficiently able to take care of itself?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is the question, John. We don't know the answer to that. Without us being there --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, what are we supposed to do? We're the leader of the free world.
Therefore, we should go around and be the world's policeman?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, we made a commitment and we ought to keep it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, we don't walk away from 10 years of investment of blood, sweat and toil.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why not? We did it in Vietnam.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It doesn't mean we should have.
MS. CLIFT: We left --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Therefore, you want more blood and --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't. Nobody's happy about it.
MR. LOWRY: We've already had a lot of blood.
MS. CLIFT: We left --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to hear from you.
Hold on, Eleanor.
MR. LOWRY: We've already had a lot of blood and sweat and tears. And you want to redeem that, to the extent you can --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, please.
MR. LOWRY: -- with success, if you can make the government --
MS. CLIFT: If all your --
MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. If all --
MR. BUCHANAN: If you (remember ?) Richard Nixon, he spent four years moving the guys out to give them a chance --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where?
MR. BUCHANAN: -- to stand on their own. It was the right thing to do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean in Vietnam?
MR. BUCHANAN: It didn't work. It may not work in Afghanistan, but we made a commitment and we ought to keep it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, that was because the peace conferences were dragging on. That's why.
MS. CLIFT: We left Vietnam looking like we had really failed, and we had failed. It was a humiliation in the eyes of the world. We are leaving Afghanistan with some measure of respect. And Rich outlined some of the positive changes that have been made. And if you're talking about accelerating the withdrawal by a period of months, that's not going to solve --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I'm talking about saving lives. That's what I'm talking about.
MS. CLIFT: That's not going to solve all the other problems --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Russians were in there --
MS. CLIFT: -- that you outlined.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for nine years, 10 years.
MR. BUCHANAN: Eight years.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They turned around and they got out, and they got out fast. You know, there comes a time --
MR. LOWRY: And then what happened?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- when common sense has to take over.
MR. LOWRY: Then the government collapsed.
MR. BUCHANAN: Then it went to hell in a hand basket.
MR. LOWRY: You had the mujaheddin take over.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Three: London Eye.
RUDY GIULIANI (former New York City mayor): (From videotape.) I was in London when the attack in London took place, a half block away from Liverpool Station, when the bomb went off. They caught those guys by the next day, because London is virtually a Hollywood studio. I went to the headquarters late that night and they had already picked the guys out. They had them in freeze frames. They had the guys they thought did it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Rudy Giuliani was the mayor of New York City in 2001, when the U.S. World Trade Center twin towers were attacked. In this quote, he is describing London's so-called ring of steel, London's extensive ring or web of cameras. Some 10,000 closed-circuit televisions, CCTV, cameras operate throughout London to track, to detect and to deter terrorists.
This ring of steel cost London taxpayers 200 million pounds. The U.K. is the most surveiled country in the West. Some 1.82 million CCTV cameras operate in the U.K.
Question: On Mother's Day three weeks ago in New Orleans, there was mayhem. Nineteen people were shot, including two children, during the Mother's Day parade. New Orleans police used CCTV surveillance images to identify the suspect, who is now in custody.
CCTV means closed-circuit TV, of course. It works. Should the federal government help CCTV surveillance and help pay for state and local costs, not only there, but elsewhere in the United States, as they are doing in London?
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't think so. I think it should be a local project. D.C., for example, is putting up far more cameras because of traffic and catch speeders and all of that. I think it's a good thing to have these cameras there. But the idea that we need to put cameras on every street corner and suburb in America in order to catch criminals, I think, is an unwise investment of federal funds.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You hear that view?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah. No, it's a fair point. There is a point there. But I'll tell you something. After what happened in Boston, when they discovered -- that's how they tracked the people who set off those explosives. I'll tell you, the Boston community is very relieved that they had those cameras around. And if you have any kind of a continuation of that kind of terrorism in this country, every city in America will have it, because the first thing that comes is security in any city --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is something by way of cameras now in existence in New York City.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, there are a lot of them in New York City.
MR. LOWRY: Thousands.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Thousands of them.
MR. LOWRY: A couple of thousand.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Thousands?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean it's like CCTV in London and Manchester and all the cities --
MR. BUCHANAN: No.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- of England?
MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know how to exactly compare them, but there are thousands of cameras in New York. They're very helpful and effective in reducing crime all across the city.
MR. LOWRY: Yeah, they're mostly -- as I understand it, they're mostly downtown. But they're spreading to midtown.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right.
MR. LOWRY: And Boston doesn't have as many of these cameras, and they had to rely on the private cameras.
MS. CLIFT: It was the Lord & Taylor surveillance cameras.
MR. LOWRY: Right. But it's obviously such an important law enforcement tool. You're going to see more and more of it. It shouldn't be federally funded. It's a local responsibility.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you drive a car?
MR. LOWRY: I ride the subway. I'm a good New Yorker.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you ever driven a car?
MR. LOWRY: Yes, I have. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know what red lights are.
MR. LOWRY: I'm familiar with -- (inaudible) -- red lights.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Have you tried to run a red light? Have you tried to run a red light?
MR. LOWRY: (Inaudible) -- on camera.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You know that they have cameras that can gauge whether or not you are running a red light.
MR. BUCHANAN: They make a great photo, John -- flash, and they got you. (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: The thing is, when they --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They got you, right. And you pay that bill -
MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly. Sure, you do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because you have no alternative.
MR. BUCHANAN: They'll come get your car.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You can't argue with a cop or anybody.
MS. CLIFT: You can argue --
MR. BUCHANAN: You might live in Virginia, but you've got to pay it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the larger story here with regard to that --
MS. CLIFT: The larger story --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for security?
MS. CLIFT: The larger story here is when you do polls, people don't seem to object to these cameras in public places. And they would probably love them at all these big events. So I think it's coming, and I don't think you're going to get much objection.
MR. BUCHANAN: The larger story, John --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: No. And it will be a deterrent.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- is privacy --
MR. ZUCKERMAN: It will be a deterrent when people find out that these cameras are there.
MR. BUCHANAN: Privacy is diminishing for security.
MS. CLIFT: When you're out in public --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, yeah?
MR. LOWRY: You don't have any expectation of privacy when you're in public places.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You tell that to the ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, I think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are they saying about this?
MR. BUCHANAN: I mean, look, it is coming.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They don't like the invasion of privacy.
MR. BUCHANAN: It is the price we are paying for the society we live in.
MR. LOWRY: It's not an invasion of privacy when you're walking down the street.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Sykes-Picot agreement after --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The what?
MR. BUCHANAN: Sykes-Picot agreement after World War I, which divided up the Middle East and all those --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How do you spell that?
MR. BUCHANAN: I'll spell it for you later. Right now it's going to fall apart as Syria breaks apart itself and Iraq breaks apart as a consequence of these wars, John, that the United States in this case has very wisely stayed out of, and I credit Barack Hussein Obama for doing so, despite the fact that he had his own Cabinet and every Republican hawk pushing him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Well, everyone in Washington was obsessed with the trifecta of scandals. The coalition -- the bipartisan coalition in favor of immigration reform held in the Senate. The bill is headed to the Senate floor. It could well get 70 votes in the Senate. And if that happens, it will force the hand in the House and we could very well get an historic overhaul of immigration reform.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's going to happen?
MS. CLIFT: I think it's going to happen. I think the House will be --
MR. BUCHANAN: Good luck.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Richard Lowry.
MR. LOWRY: Despite the controversy and, in some respects, the panic over them, drones are the future of the U.S. military. We had one launched over -- from an aircraft carrier for the first time just recently. And I predict within 10 years you'll have the military deploying robot soldiers.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, what else do you predict? I have a book here in my hand. It's called "Lincoln Unbound" by Rich Lowry. Are you predicting this is going to be a bestseller?
MR. LOWRY: I'm predicting great success for this book, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, after this kind of endorsement --
MR. LOWRY: This should do it.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Yeah.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This should do it? I get a piece of the action?
MR. LOWRY: (Laughs.) Thank you, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mort.
MR. ZUCKERMAN: Vladimir Putin's Russia will continue to try and checkmate every move we make in the Middle East. He wants a much larger role for Russia, and he's determined to block us.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I predict that American forces will begin their withdrawal from Afghanistan before September 1st, thanks to a peace deal brokered by the newly elected -- brokered by the newly elected prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, dealing directly with Hamid Karzai.
(C) 2013 Federal News Service