Saturday, December 22, 2012

December 22, 2012

Gingrich to Newsmax: GOP Gave Obama Upper Hand
by Todd Beoman
December 21, 2012

Former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told Newsmax late on Thursday that he was perplexed by House Speaker John Boehner’s move to postpone the vote on his highly controversial plan that would prevent tax hikes for everyone except those making more than $1 million a year.

“I don’t understand what the strategy is of the House Republicans, so it’s hard to judge what they’re doing,” the former GOP House Speaker told Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “I don’t know what they’re trying to do.

“I’ve talked with several House members here today — and I don’t think many of them have any idea of what they’re doing. Literally have no idea,” Gingrich added. “Several members have no idea.”

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“I’m not worried about this week or next week. I’m worried about four years from now — and I don’t see the strategy in place that is going to catch up with Obama,” he said.

Gingrich was among several Capitol Hill observers asked by Newsmax to respond to Boehner’s late-evening decision. The move to call off the vote came after the Ohio Republican called a short meeting of the House Republican Conference to determine whether he had enough vote to pass the bill.

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in a statement. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.

“The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the Jan. 1 tax-rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”

Boehner’s postponement topped a chaotic day of intense arm-twisting of members of the GOP rank and file. Several Senate Republicans, including Rob Portman of Ohio, were called on to press their House colleagues to support the Boehner plan.

Gingrich told Newsmax, however, that the negotiating process has given President Barack Obama the upper hand. “They have spent the entire time since the election negotiating — and that puts the president in the strongest position.”

He likened Obama to being the fictional Gulliver in Jonathan Swift’s classic “Gulliver’s Travels” and the GOP to being the Lilliputians. “You needed all of the Lilliputians to tie Gulliver down.

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“If every House committee and House subcommittee had hearings every day on the waste in government — if every week there was something new about government wastefulness, there would be a very different tone to these negotiations,” Gingrich said. “It would be very difficult to demand more money from the American people.”

The House move also brought praise from several conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, which earlier this week attacked the concessions Boehner made in the plan.

“We are pleased that the House Republicans did not vote to raise taxes,” spokesman Barney Keller told Newsmax late Thursday. “An anti-growth tax increase would not have solved our fiscal problems — and it would have killed jobs.

“The House needs to focus on a pro-growth, tax-reform, entitlement-reform agenda, which enjoys broad support among Americans,” he said.

Americans for Prosperity told Newsmax that it was among many organizations that emailed House members asking them not to support Plan B, said spokesman Levi Russell.

“We have been opposing and continually opposing the plan,” he said. “We just think it’s a bad plan. It does not address the fiscal cliff. It does not address our fiscal issues. It does nothing to control out-of-control spending.

“The tax increases are always real and always immediate — but the spending cuts are predicted to take place in some future Congress.

“The Senate should take the bill that the House has already passed, pass it — and the president should sign it,” Russell recommended. “And, then next year, Congress needs to begin real, substantive entitlement reform and tax reform to put this country back on the road to prosperity.”

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10 Facts for Liberals: Why Gun Control Can't Stop Another Newtown Massacre
by John Hawkins
December 22, 2012

There are now calls from the Left for gun control legislation in response to Adam Lanza's unconscionable mass killing of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary. However, very few people seem to be asking the most basic question of all before getting started: What gun control legislation could have stopped Adam Lanza?

The answer is "none."

Let's consider a few alternatives:

1) The school was already a "gun free zone;" so obviously that wasn't effective. Of course, the sort of people who would respect a "gun free zone" in the first place are the very ones you wouldn't have to worry about carrying a gun; so it's an almost useless designation.

2) What about closing the supposed "gun show loophole?" Well, since Lanza killed his own mother and used her legally acquired guns for his rampage, making it harder for googly-eyed loners to acquire weapons wouldn't have changed a thing.

3) Some people are calling for a ban on automatic weapons. Setting aside the fact that the regulation of fully automatic weapons is already tighter than Spandex, Adam Lanza didn't use a fully automatic weapon.

4) Then there are calls for the "Assault Weapons Ban" to be reinstated. One problem: the semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle that Lanza used wasn't covered by the bill. So, his mother could have bought that exact same gun with a sheriff looking over her shoulder while the ban was in place.

5) We could, of course, pass a newly updated "Assault Weapons Ban" that covers the semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle. Then, gun manufacturers would try to create weapons that can get around the ban. They would probably be successful. Even if they weren't, it's not as if Lanza was battling Marines. When you're a coward who's attacking unarmed children, any gun will work.

6) We could also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, but given the 3-5 second reload time, that would have been a minor inconvenience to Adam Lanza at worst. After all, it's not as if a group of small children were going to be able to scamper away or gang up on him during a four second window.

So, what now? Well, let's step into the realm of fantasy and assume that there's no such thing as a 2nd Amendment that provides the public with a Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms." that is every bit as important as the right to free speech and freedom of religion. Let's also pretend that the American public would go along with the following laws and attempts to implement them wouldn't lead to wide scale violence and unrest.

7) Congress could ban the manufacture and sale of bullets and magazines. Given the massive number of bullets and magazines already owned by the public and readily available instructions for making them, this wouldn't stop any determined killer like Adam Lanza. On the other hand, it would lead to a massive black market with tens of millions of previously law abiding Americans buying bullets by the bucketful from back rooms across the country.

8) Congress could also ban the manufacture and sale of guns. Again, that would lead to the creation of a massive black market, but it would also leave roughly 300 million guns in the hands of the American people. In other words, if Adam Lanza had decided to wait until AFTER that law was passed to go on his killing spree, it would have been the same sad story.

9) Then, there's the most extreme step of all: Congress could ban the ownership of guns. One problem: In the vast majority of cases, the government has no record of who owns guns and who doesn't. In most places, those records are kept at the gun store level and are not updated. If the gun is lost, stolen, given away or sold by the individual, there is no record of it. This is a feature, not a bug, and it's designed to prevent exactly the sort of confiscation we're discussing here. So, even if all guns were made illegal, it would be very difficult to enforce, most people wouldn't turn their weapons in and there would probably be two hundred million guns left in the hands of the American public. Would a man like Adam Lanza still be able to acquire a weapon in that situation? Come on, he KILLED HIS OWN MOTHER for a gun; so you can be sure he'd have gotten one elsewhere.

10) Let's go Steven Spielberg on this problem and assume space aliens show up and use some bizarre technology to get rid of all guns. Well, even so, fire and explosives would still exist and as Brian Palmer has noted in Slate, those can be even more effective killers than guns.

Guns aren't even the most lethal mass murder weapon. According to data compiled by Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, guns killed an average of 4.92 victims per mass murder in the United States during the 20th century, just edging out knives, blunt objects, and bare hands, which killed 4.52 people per incident. Fire killed 6.82 people per mass murder, while explosives far outpaced the other options at 20.82. Of the 25 deadliest mass murders in the 20th century, only 52 percent involved guns.

If gun control advocates like Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg and Michael Moore, all of whom have armed guards protecting their safety, succeed in making guns less available for law abiding citizens, it wouldn't stop another Newtown massacre, but ironically it would make it easier for rapists, gangs or even the next Adam Lanza to hurt innocent people.

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The Greatest Conservative Generation
by William Kristol
ADVANCE EDITORIAL from the December 31, 2012 - January 7, 2013 issue.

“There were giants in the earth in those days.” The death on December 19 of Robert Bork—superb legal scholar, preeminent constitutional thinker, principled public servant—calls to mind the other giants of American conservatism who have left us in the last decade: Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol, Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, Richard John Neuhaus and Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. They were the greatest conservative generation. They rode into the valley of liberal orthodoxies and emerged sometimes triumphant, always unbowed. When can their glory fade? They left our nation stronger and better for their efforts.

Those who knew them do their best to carry on the fight. Inspired by their example and effort, by their boldness and wisdom, remembering the uphill struggles of the early years, they do their best to keep the banner aloft and moving forward. But what of the next generation?

It’s been almost 60 years since Bill Buckley and his colleagues founded National Review, standing “athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.” Those of us concerned with the perpetuation and success of American conservatism might consider what Abraham Lincoln said a little more than 60 years after the American Revolution, on January 27, 1838, at the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois.

The whole speech is, needless to say, worth reading—and worth rereading. But for our purposes, consider one aspect of the 28-year-old Lincoln’s treatment of the question of “the perpetuation of our political institutions.” Why, he asked, “suppose danger to our political institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?”

One reason, Lincoln explains, is that “the scenes of the revolution .  .  . must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the Bible shall be read;—but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. Even then, they cannot be so universally known, nor so vividly felt, as they were by the generation just gone to rest.”

Lincoln suggests that, even for the generation after the Founders, these scenes were a kind of “living history.” But for Lincoln’s generation, “those histories are gone.” And “unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason,” we will lack “the materials for our future support and defense.”

The materials for the future support and defense of conservatism will have to be forged by a generation that remembers not the Founders. In a way, this can be an advantage. Young men and women today, interested in the perpetuation of our political and civic liberty, will understand they can’t coast on the Founders’ efforts. They’ll also be less intimidated by the Founders’ example. They will be open to fresh thinking “hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason.” Such fresh thinking has never been more necessary.

But as they think anew, they’ll also look back to Bob Bork and his compatriots. Their work is the point of departure, a source of invaluable lessons, both substantive and strategic. Yet the generation that now ascends to center stage shouldn’t be intimidated by their daunting example.

The best revenge for Edward Kennedy’s slander about “Robert Bork’s America” would be to help advance the cause of what is truly Bob Bork’s America—a nation of constitutional liberty and self-government. Bob Bork would have enjoyed the well-deserved encomiums he is receiving. He’d be even more pleased by the young men and women coming forth to say how inspired they have been by his example.

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