HH: I am joined by Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. And now more than ever, you need to go and, to www.hillsdale.edu, subscribe to Imprimis, the speech digest, which is for free, and then watch the Constitution course, and watch the course on Winston Churchill, because when Gary Oldman steps up to accept the Oscar, having won the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild for his portrayal of Churchill, you will appreciate then just the work of art that he has accomplished. Dr. Arnn, aren’t you glad that Oldman has gone two for two on the bigs thus far?
LA: He’s just ripping, isn’t he?
LA: Yeah, yeah, I’m very glad.
HH: Now he’s nominated, I don’t see him losing this, but I hope he has a very carefully calibrated Churchillian two minute speech, right? They limit you to two minutes, I think.
LA: Yeah, well, I hope they do, I mean, for everybody. But he’s, so he was, I didn’t see the thing after the whatever the Screen, whatever he won, but the Golden Globes, he was brilliant. And he’s, first of all, it’s really nice if they can say simply and elegantly how grateful they are and to whom they are grateful. And he did that, right? And if you just gush, and you got like four to do, by the time you get to the fourth one, it sounds false. So I like that about him. He’s very, he’s an articulate man, and also, I think, a good man. But then, when we talked about Churchill, it was, he was grateful to Churchill. And that was lovely. So I’m expecting, I hope he wins, and if he does, I’m confident he will give a good talk.
HH: You and I, I believe, spent about 12 episodes of the Hillsdale Dialogue on Churchill. But there’s a course on Churchill at www.hillsdale.edu. How many hours is that course?
LA: That course is, it’s ten 40 minute sessions.
HH: I’m telling you, that is what people need to go and watch right way. www.hillsdale.edu. Now Dr. Arnn, to matters more current. We’re on Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution, but once again, we are disturbed in our progress by the immediate issues before us, this having to do with the New York Times story this morning that the President wanted to fire Robert Mueller and was persuaded by Don McGahn not to do so. I want to begin with the law and the Constitution, and you are a Constitutional scholar, and I teach the Constitution. And it’s not often said, indeed it may never be said, the President is at the head of the executive branch. He is the executive branch. It is a unitary executive. If he wanted to, he could fire Mr. Mueller. Do you agree?
LA: I do agree, and think of the reason for that, and therefore the disaster that it would be if he couldn’t. The reason for that is the president is elected under a Constitutional process that’s part of the Constitution. And the purpose of the Constitution is to place us in charge of the government, the people, and then, too, we delegate to the government different powers in different ways to different parties, and that achieves separation of powers. So if a permanent official has the power to prosecute the executive branch, and you know, potentially remove them or imprison them, then that power would become superior to the president. And the New York Times article, and the New York Times in general, writes as if that’s not a concern. And that’s what’s dangerous today.
HH: It is, it is very dangerous, as is the willful ignorance of the media on matters of Constitutional import. And I go to this. Nowhere when they talk about Mr. Mueller, and I do not believe he ought to be fired, and I don’t think he’s going to find obstruction. He certainly isn’t going to find collusion. But nowhere do they even routinely suggest the obvious. The president cannot be indicted. And two, as persuasive evidence of this proposition, I point to Federalist #69 by one Alexander Hamilton, to whom everyone is dancing to his music, so let’s pay attention to what he wrote. Federalist 69, the President of the United States would be liable to be impeached, tried, and upon conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office, and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of the law. Now Dr. Arnn, that isn’t dispositive, but it’s awfully persuasive, isn’t it?
LA: Yeah, and see, just think what the impeachment process is, right? The thing is, they have to set up the Constitution so that the elected branches offset each other. And so impeachment involves both houses of Congress, both elected by the people, and one of them brings the charges, and the other acts as a court and tries the charges. And that means that it is a legal and a political process. And we so often use the word political as a bad thing, but political is also the method by which we exercise control over the government. So you can’t, and so what you’re doing is you’re dividing the power to prosecute the president, but you’re dividing it between two people who have real political standing under the Constitution. And if you want to see where this goes, just look at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau whereas of at least three or four days ago, their, the President of the United States has appointed somebody as interim head, the very great Mick Mulvaney. And he’s reforming the place. But sitting next door to him on the same floor is a woman who was appointed by the departing Richard Cordray, and is still suing to claim that she’s the actual head of the thing. And she has no appointment from anybody elected.
HH: Right. It’s absurd.
LS: And so, and see, that’s, it looks to me like that’s just brazen, right?
HH: It is brazen, and it will be struck down. I want to interrupt briefly, because the president of the United States is speaking as we speak, Dr. Arnn, in Davos. And I’d like to bring him up just for a flavor of what he’s saying. Here’s the President.
DT: …America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America first does not mean America alone. When the United States grows, so does the world. American prosperity has created countless jobs all around the globe. And the drive for excellence, creativity and innovation in the U.S. has led to important discoveries that help people everywhere live more prosperous and far healthier lives. As the United States pursues domestic reforms to unleash jobs and growth, we are also working to reform the international trading system so that it promotes broadly-shared prosperity and rewards to those who play by the rules. We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others. We support free trade, but it needs to be fair, and it needs to be reciprocal, because in the end, unfair trade undermines us all. The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies, and pervasive state-led economic planning. These and other predatory behaviors are distorting the global markets, and harming business and workers not just in the U.S, but around the globe. Just like we expect the leaders of other countries to protect their interests, as president, the United States, I will always protect the interest of our country, our companies, and our workers.
HH: Dr. Arnn, what do you make of this?
LA: Isn’t he good? I mean, that last part, right, that’s, that’s the despotic countries, China among them, first. They’re a big trading country and growing. And he’s saying if they plan their whole economy the way they do, then that puts them in a position to prey upon, exploit the laws of other countries, and win advantages for themselves. It’s kind of communist mercantilism, of all things. And so he’s just, and you know, he’s in Davos, right? And that’s, you know, the great and the near great are assembled. Only the great can get into the room, and the near great go and they can say they were in Davos, right? So it’s like every establishment thing on Earth is gathered there, and he’s going and telling them they don’t get to run the world.
HH: You know what the best line he gave was? I don’t have the live audio. I’ll read it to you. We have undertaken the most extensive regulatory reductions ever conceived. Regulation is stealth taxation. Well, that’s like a dagger at the heart of the EU, isn’t it?
LA: Oh, yeah. And you know, it, this, there’s an international elite. You know, you have to step back a step, right? Thought about politics and philosophy from, in the West, from Plato and forward, established the units of the citizen and the city or the state. And they were integrated things, and in the best countries, the citizens, from Aristotle on, the citizens are in control, right? Well, modern philosophy, you know, historicism in Germany and progressivism in America, what they establish is science. And those who represent science become stakeholders and have authority from that. And that elite that’s gathered in Davos, that’s what they represent.
HH: And more when we come back with Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. We’ll grab a little bit more from President Trump, who is telling Davos now is the time to invest in the future of America. He’s selling America. He’s selling us. Stay tuned. I’ll be right back.
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HH: In fact, let’s grab a bite right now.
DT: …really make our countries run. They make our countries great. Thank you, and God bless you all.
HH: Oh, rats, it’s over. Dr. Arnn, he said at one point the best anti-poverty program is a paycheck. He also said that when people are forgotten, the world cracks, becomes fractured. Generally, he also said we’re going to dump chain migration and go to this skills-based migration. It was brief, it was pointed, it was, I think, very successful.
LA: Oh, yeah, and about that, about that chain migration, you know, the Cotton bill basically copies the Canadian system where there’s a lot of immigration, and where it’s not controversial, that it’s a point system. And so old guys like me and you couldn’t get in, you know, because, although we may have some skills, they’re probably not marketable.
HH: And they’re running out of gas over the next two decades.
LA: And they’re running out of gas. So the point is they admit people who can work and produce and take care of themselves, and therefore help take care of everybody else. And that’s, you know, why wouldn’t you do that? I don’t, you want to have a great country, you want to have a free country like the great, terrible thing Trump said about Haiti, which is not exactly as quoted in the papers, he, I looked up Haiti on the Freedom Index, the Freedom House index of freedom, and they’re at 39 out of 100. And that means that the people of Haiti deserve something better, right? But there are millions of them, and we might take 50,000. But they have not practice of running their own government. And so that would be a factor that one would consider, although I don’t think it’s in the Cotton bill.
HH: You know, there is an unapologetic capitalism here. There’s an unapologetic embrace of the free market, which does not sit well with bureaucratic economists. I just keep coming back, there’s a fundamental, and it’s Brexit, and it’s Trump’s win, and it’s Peggy Noonan’s article last year about the protected versus the unprotected. Bureaucratically-run countries that depend upon elites that are insulated from their own decisions are not Donald Trump’s audience.
LA: No, no, and you know, about capitalism, when you put it that way, it’s a kind of economic theory. But there’s something more fundamental, and that’s property rights. And if you recognize those, you’re going to get free markets. And property rights come from us, from our nature. And our nature is we’re a rational soul in a material body. So A) we have to take care of that body like a dog or a cow does, but B) we have discretion over how we do it. We can direct ourselves. And our rights to property are born in the same place, therefore, as our freedom of speech, writes James Madison. And so if you think that, then what you think is the free market system is a right whether it works or not. And then it turns out, it works.
HH: It, not only does it work, it works gloriously well as we have seen in the aftermath of the tax bill. I’ve got to play for you, I was looking for the cut of Nancy Pelosi. And can you pull it up, what she had to say yesterday?
NP: But then they add to that the things, and here’s the thing. There’s a cartoon that I just love. There’s a little, a little mousetrap. It’s got a little piece of cheese on there, and there’s a mouse down to it. And that’s called the middle class. They give you this little crumb. And around it, are fat cats. They look a lot like elephants, but anyway, around there, and that’s the thing. You get this little thing.
HH: So Larry Arnn, a thousand dollar bonus is a little crumb. A $2,500 dollars stock gift from Apple to all of its employees is a little crumb. What could they possibly be thinking?
LA: Well, I think, you know, to Nancy Pelosi, it is a little crumb. She’s a pretty wealthy woman, I read. So, but the thing about it, you know that old proverb, if you give a man a fish, feed him for a day, and if you teach him to fish, you feed him for his life? Well, Nancy Pelosi’s corollary would be you could just give him a fish every day.
HH: We’ll be right back. Dr. Larry Arnn, Dr. Fish Every Day Larry Arnn, from Hillsdale College, www.hillsdale.edu for all things Hillsdale, and the Hillsdale Dialogue continues right after these messages. Stay tuned.
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HH: When did Winston Churchill die?
LA: He died in January, 1965.
HH: 1965. So it’s been a long, long time, and it’s well past the time he should get the due in a magnificent performance as has been rendered by Gary Oldman. Also, the Constitution series is at Hillsdale.edu, and all of our conversations, which are actually historically interesting to me only because we’ve been talking about Trump from the time he came down the escalator to this morning when the President addressed Davos. Jon Allen, who is, works for NBC, no friend of the President, no enemy of the President, just a good reporter, says this was Trump at his best in Davos. And I’m watching the reviews come in, and they sort themselves out by ideological proposition unless people are fair.
HH: Isn’t that interesting, Larry Arnn?
LA: When you were playing, it is, when you were playing the tape of him speaking at Davos earlier, I remembered something that I hadn’t thought of lately, and that is Trump is very good at putting sympathy in his voice. You know, Trump is an aggressive human being. And he can get tough. And he can fight. But when he was laying out those points that you played him, he was laying them out with this sort of tone of affection, you know. These are things that we should all agree to. It was persuasive. It was persuasive to me, persuasive to me, I believe in the points he was making, but also, persuasive to me that he feels and admires the weight of them.
HH: Interesting. He also, I liked the fact that he said America first does not mean America alone.
HH: And that’s an important, you know, there’s a new entente emerging, Dr. Arnn, and it consists of America, England, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt, and we don’t know where Turkey is in this entente…
HH: …against Iran, Syria and Russia, who are the Axis powers in the Middle East. And this entente is being managed by the Trump administration and by General Mattis with great skill. Turkey is a big problem, and I’m talking about it tomorrow with Admiral Stavridis. But the world is changing pretty dramatically, fairly quickly. And people have to pick up sides, I think.
LA: That reminds me of things going on in the early Reagan years. You know, we had been, last night, I saw a clip of Jimmy Carter’s great speech about the national malaise. And that was a kind of, you know, we don’t believe in the future anymore. He just whined on about that, right? And he didn’t really way what to do about it. And so there we are, and we’re not building any weapons, and the Soviet Union is giving its correlation of forces line, that everything shifted in our favor, and we’re going to dominate. And then Reagan comes in, see, look how old we are now, I am, anyway.
HH: Oh, no, we’re the same age, yeah.
HH: We can remember, but we were children then. That’s important to recall.
LA: Yeah, that’s right. I was only two years old, but amazingly perceptive.
LA: But you know, countries started perking up, and they started gravitating toward us and our way. And we were strong. And of course, it was controversial to do it back then, you know, and Reagan was a cowboy, and they played him, in Europe, all the cartoons had him with cowboy hats and pistols at his side. But it didn’t make any difference, because you know, the next thing you know, Germany and all these countries that are accepting these missile defense weapons, and tactical nuclear weapons in the face of the nuclear freeze, so it turns out if you’ve got some strength and a good idea, and all you’re doing is inviting people to join you instead of making them join you, as happens in the case of those Axis powers you named, then people like that. Countries like that, and they gravitate toward that.
HH: Yeah, yeah. Now let’s pause for a moment, because it is the anniversary, it’s the first time we’ve talked since the anniversary of President Trump being sworn in. In his first year, I used to talk about Neil Gorsuch and the 12 appeals court judges, and regulatory rollback, but we now have the tax bill, and we now have, apparently, a deal on DACA, because I can’t see Democrats saying no to 1.8 million Dreamers staying in the country with a path to citizenship. They just can’t say no, right?
LA: Well, don’t underestimate them.
HH: But they really, they can’t. I mean, they might have some advocacy groups out there saying this is terrible. They might find a few outliers who say don’t do this. But if you’re one of those Dreamers, you want this bill passed, don’t you?
LA: It just takes it off the table.
LA: You’re right about that. And the real way to put the point is you never know what Chuck Schumer will do. But having said that, it’ll cost him if he does this.
HH: Oh, my gosh. You know, I want people to reflect on this for a moment. If you are in the country illegally, and you are being offered a path to citizenship in the law, you are calling everybody you know and saying take this deal. Don’t negotiate yourself out of this deal. We’ve been waiting for this since 1986.
LA: Yeah, and that, so, and you know, add to your list, by the way, the amazing things going on about the regulatory state that you mentioned earlier, right? That’s a, and all of that, it seems to me, intelligent. And I very much hope this year the Congress will codify some of these things in law. But now, two regulations have to go for every on that they pass, and there are many more than that that are actually going. And they have a budget for regulation, the cost of regulation in the country, and they came in under the budget in this first year. And they’ve made a lower budget for next year. Things like that have never happened before.
HH: So against that backdrop of genuine, far-reaching accomplishment and economic growth, there is a great deal of controversy about his personal style, and there is a parade of books lined up. I’m reading from Entertainment Weekly. The 15 juiciest political books to come in 2018, and Broken, Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country by Ira Shapiro, a very smart guy. How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, Trumpocracy by David Frum, Can It Happen Here: Authoritarianism in America edited by Cass Sunstein, The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom is in Danger and How to Save It by Yascha Mounk, Russian Roulette by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, The Road To Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder, Chasing Hillary by Amy Chozick, A Higher Loyalty by James Comey, Kompromat by Jeff Pegues, Under Fire by April Ryan, Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride by Major Garrett, The Forgotten: How the Abandoned People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America by Ben Bradley, Jr., Untitled Trump-Russia book by Jeffrey Toobin, the Trump Show by James Wozniak, a New York Times TV critic. Do you see a theme here, Dr. Arnn?
LA: (laughing) Well, I’m hoping, because I watched CNN mostly on Election Night, I’m hoping Major Garrett’s book will be good, and it might be.
HH: Oh, yeah, it will be. There are couple of good, Ira Shapiro’s will be very good, too.
HH: He’s a very smart, but of the 15 books, at least a dozen are alarms in the night that the tyrant approaches. You know, they’re silly. It’s just absolutely freaking silly. I’m looking at the Nasdaq futures, 35 points up, the Dow Jones futures, 55 points up. It closed at 26,430. The S&P is at 2850. It’s up 9, all record highs, unemployment at a record low, bonuses everywhere, regulations rolled back, the Dreamers get to stay. And because they believe him vulgar, they hate him.
LA: Yeah, and you know, he, there’s plenty of things that I don’t like about the style of Donald Trump.
LA: And I also qualify that dislike, although I state it and believe it, by the fact that look what he’s up against, right? He’s up against Davos. He’s up against the strongest forces in the world. And they fight, and you know, gosh, do they not fight, and he fights back. And his tweets is one way that he fights back. And there’s some practical wisdom involved in that part of him, too, in my opinion. And of course, I would have to know his internal mind way better than I do to be able to say that for sure. So I think it’s revolutionary, and it’s important, and I think Congress is changing, by the way. They’re figuring out that there’s a new way to think about things. I think you wrote a good article about the filibuster, and, this week, and I think that they’re interested in that subject in a different way now. The best of them, you know, Senator Grassley, who’s been in politics for 60 years, and Lord, does he not know a lot about it, very impressive man. I met with him last week, and I like him, right? And he wants to protect the traditions of the Senate, and he’s interested in how the traditions of the Senate really speak to the filibuster. And your article is about that, and Tom McClintock’s article in Imprimis is about that. And so we’re thinking about that now. And you know, my own view is that they make two changes to the filibuster that has let it run riot, which it never did in the 19th Century and most of the 20th Century. One of those changes is they don’t have to stand up and talk anymore.
LA: And you know, the Senate is supposed to be deliberate and slow, and take a longer term view. And so the filibuster grew because of that, and from early on. But the way the filibuster works now, it just stops deliberation on things. And it drives decisions into the executive branch where they’re not supposed to be made. Just think of Obama. If the Congress won’t act, then I will act on my own, which you know, Trump never says. Trump says I have executive authority, and I will use it to the fullest, but I need laws passed.
HH: Yeah. That is, it is a remarkable string. However, we did get a miss on GDP projection this morning. It only grew 2.6% in the 4th quarter. There’s some explanations for that, that do not lead me to believe there’s any interruption in the boom that is underway, but it’s going to be interpreted widely as a miss by the media, which, and this brings me to my question for the last segment, Dr. Arnn. We have some friends who are so committed to being anti-Trump that they will never see any success. Is that going to change?
LA: Well, it is changing. The number of those people is dwindling. And you know, when Trump, you know, Trump is, one has to adjust, right? I was never anti-Trump. I just for a few months didn’t take him very seriously, because nobody like him ever got elected president of the United States. After a few months, I did begin to take him seriously, and after a few months more, say, late 2015, I began to think wow, maybe this is a fellow that we want. And others have been slower to do that, and many of them, you know, and if you have something to object to about Trump, and there are such things, then you ought to object, and they do. But some of them, and there’s a few left, and they just write him off entire.
HH: And that is, it’s, it is, I am not comparing him to Churchill. That would be stupid. I am comparing some of Trump’s critics to some of Churchill’s critics in that they would never, ever see the truth. 20 seconds, Larry Arnn.
LA: Well, it takes a long time to find out whether somebody is really very great, as Churchill. It would have been hard to tell if you were living in Churchill’s time, except that he was so eloquent and so prolific in his writing. But Trump will be judged finally by the whole four years, and one hopes eight years. And then we will know, right?
HH: What he did…
LA: …with that time, right? But right now, so far, so good.
HH: I’ll be right back with Dr. Larry Arnn. Go nowhere.
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HH: Dr. Larry Arnn is my guest on the Hillsdale Dialogue, which I know for a fact is listened to by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and by the Majority Leader, and by many members who have told me that they like listening to Dr. Arnn. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, but they do. And earlier today, Larry, there was a story that John Kelly and the President often yell at each other and swear at each other. And I tweeted that that’s like Dr. Arnn and I within FCC rules.
HH: And that in fact, I’ve never known two competent men, and this is usually between good friends who work together, who don’t often exchange blunt words, sometimes including the profane, who would never do so around women, of course, but nevertheless, that’s how men talk. Do you agree with that?
LA: I do. I had a conversation with a good friend of mine who’s a woman in, and important in the Christian right. And she said to me that’s just so unnecessary for him to use words like that. And I said yeah, it’s unnecessary, but it might be part of the phenomena. And she said, but I have to explain to mothers why it’s okay to support him when they don’t teach their sons locker room talk. And I replied, and yet their sons learn that talk. (laughing)
HH: Yes, and by the way, you have been around a number of people in the military, correct?
LA: Oh, yeah.
HH: Oh, yeah. And so have I, in my family and beyond. And I know of only one, he was a Marine, oddly, who was not given to the profane on occasion, only one who did not swear like a sailor. Now I want to read to you a second thing that I received. I’m intensely focused on the Senate’s efforts to strike a bipartisan deal on immigration, writes a reporter. The White House threw a curveball tonight in its proposed way to pave a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers. The biggest story is how do House Republicans respond to this? My sources tell me there is, it is likely, highly likely to pass the Senate. But the fire will be under the House’s feet to respond in kind. I’m not sure they get there based on my reporting. It would be a key issue in the midterms. What say you, Larry Arnn?
LA: Well, that, I imagine that would be a danger, and the reason is if the 30 or 40 or 20 Republicans won’t vote for it, then they need Democratic votes. And the Democrats might be steeled by an opportunity to blame the Republicans for the failure of the deal. So that gives them, it could play that way. And I don’t expect it to, and the reason I don’t is that the House has been doing a good job for a while, right? They didn’t do a terrible job in the beginning, but they’ve done, you know, in the first two months, but they have done, just look at the number of things they’ve passed, right? And there’s more bills passed the House, the Speaker tells me, it’s at the high end of all precedent. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they couldn’t get that done. And it’s such an obviously good thing to do.
HH: That’s what I come back to. If a Democrat votes against this, I don’t know how they ever look a Dreamer in the eye again and say I wanted a better deal. And the Dreamer has to say a better deal?
HH: My citizenship was not enough for you?
LA: Yeah, see, and they’ve got their organizations, right? And you know, a long time ago, I was after one of the Republican debates when Romney was eventually the nominee, I was on CNN the next morning after one of those debates. And they asked me, you know, because they were talking really hard about immigration, and they were talking about deporting people. And I said you know, that’s going to be, we do deport a lot of people, and we should when an illegal comes to the notice of the law, by committing a crime or getting arrested for some reason, they should be deported. But if it comes to this, rounding up several million law-abiding citizens, you know, you’re going to have to use force to do that, I don’t see that happening. And I don’t see that, and you know, we talk about the Dreamers. We have to remember that most of these people are adults now. It’s not little children going to be put on a train, most of them. But, and still, they came here, it was an executive order, it was not a law, but they came here under the law. And so letting them stay is fine by me if you get the right things for it.
HH: Indeed, indeed, indeed, it’s true. Dr. Larry Arnn, always a pleasure. I want to remind everyone that as they prepare for the Oscars, there is a, is it ten parts at 40 minutes each on Churchill series at www.hillsdale.edu?
HH: And do you teach it all?
LA: I do.
HH: And how long have you been working on Churchill?
LA: 1974. 1974.
HH: I can’t add that high.
LA: Yeah, yeah, but see, I was one year old.
HH: What’s that, 44 years of working on Churchill, and it’s all condensed into a ten part series about who Winston Churchill is. It is available for viewing at www.hillsdale.edu. And before the Oscars, go and watch them all. It’s the greatest series on Churchill. All of our audio conversations, which are much more numerous than that, longer, are collected at www.hughforhillsdale.com. And of course, sign up for Imprimis. Thank you very much, Dr. Arnn.
End of interview.