Ben Carson is Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Please visit the following link on Ben Carson written by Newt Gingrich Why Ben Carson Matters.
We spent four days in Iceland and enjoyed many beautiful sites, including a drive around the Golden Circle (featuring waterfalls and geysers) and a drive along the South Coast. Iceland could easily absorb more than a week just to see the high points.
Of course having made Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny as a documentary film we were delighted to visit the Hofdi House. This was the site of the Reykjavík Summit between Reagan and Gorbachev in October 1986. Callista immediately recognized the house. It’s the exact spot where Reagan stood angrily telling Gorbachev that it was his fault the summit had failed. Six months later Reagan got everything he wanted and the Cold War was nearing the end.
We also visited the extraordinarily modern and beautiful Harpa concert hall which has won awards for its architectural beauty. We had a chance to listen to a concert pianist practice and the sound was perfect throughout the hall.
The most amazing moment was a film we watched at the farm just below the volcano Eyjafjallajokull. You will remember this volcano because its eruptions in the spring of 2010 caused a disruption of European airline travel.
The dairy farm just below the volcano had been occupied by the same family since 1906. They used geothermal heat to generate electricity and a hot water site for heat. Their farm was virtually self-sufficient. When the volcano erupted they had to cope with 400 tons of volcanic ash falling on their farm. The sheep and horses had to be evacuated. The cows had to survive inside the barn. The family worked every day for months to recover.
They now have a terrific small museum and theater which plays a 20-minute documentary about the volcano and their survival. You can see the shop at http://www.icelanderupts.is.
Callista commented after visiting with the owner about her family’s survival that it was a triumph of the human spirit. “We had no choice,” the woman said. “It was work every day or lose the farm.” She also noted that she was 60 years old and there had been 25 volcanic eruptions in Iceland in her lifetime.
Of course the very geologic conditions which make Iceland a hot spot also make it a center for renewable resources. Iceland is the leading user of geothermal resources in the world. We visited Hellisheidi, a major geothermal power plant. On one side it produces electricity. On the other side it produces hot water for heating Reykjavik. Virtually all of Iceland (about 90%) gets its heat from centrally piped geothermal sources. Between geothermal power and hydropower, Iceland is self-sufficient in electricity. In fact they are considering exporting electricity to Great Britain. However, European Union rules would require them to raise Icelandic electricity rates to European levels to be compliant. Since they currently have a prosperous aluminum processing industry they are happy to ignore the European rules and keep their electricity inexpensive (it may be the cheapest in the world).
Iceland’s expertise with geothermal power has led its energy industry to do work in El Salvador, Hungary, and Kenya.
Because geothermal heat is so abundant, Iceland is beginning to develop a greenhouse industry for food production and flowers. In fact Iceland may presently become an exporter to Europe of exotic fruits. We saw several greenhouses commercially growing tomatoes with the geothermal heat making them usable all year long in the city of Hveragerdi.
Politically, Iceland is interesting because it is the site of the oldest continuous parliament in the world. The “Althing” (in effect “the everything” meaning the gathering of the people in parliament) is now a national park. You can see both where the people gathered beginning in 930 AD and where the Lawspeaker stood on the hill reciting the law for a pre-printing world in which virtually no one read.
We stayed in the Borg hotel across the square from the current Althing or Parliament which is a relatively small building but which represents more than 1000 years of self-government. Iceland retained its own parliament even under the Danish king.
Not far from the national park which has the Althing is Geysir, which as you might guess is the source of the English word “geyser”. Geysir rarely erupts anymore. A few feet away, however, is Strokkur, which erupts every four to eight minutes. There is a nice restaurant nearby with a giant troll (much bigger than our favorite troll at Drugan’s in Holmen, Wisconsin).
One of the more surprising sites was a World War II DC-3 laying on the beach. It was the Navy version called R4D and in 1973 ran out of fuel and crash landed on the beach. Everyone survived and after they stripped the engines and avionics they just left the body of the plane and its wings there. I had always enjoyed Michael Douglas getting into a crashed DC-3 in the movie “Romancing the Stone” so it was fun to have Callista take my picture standing in the door of the abandoned plane.
We also went out on a small boat to see puffins. As a sign of the modern world we had a bachelorette party on the boat. They had come from Chicago, Cleveland, Toronto, and Dubai to celebrate the wedding of one of the women.
Another sign of the modern world was the range of restaurants in Reykjavik. You can find Nepalese, Chinese, Thai, Italian, French, and other international cuisines throughout the city. You can also visit a famous hot dog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, and get a lamb hot dog. We did and it was quite good!
We hope to go back to Iceland and recommend it to anyone who wants to see a beautiful island and a fascinating people.
via Iceland Observations.
By Newt Gingrich and Ali Meshkin
When the American Legion calls for Secretary of Veterans Affairs General Eric Shinseki to resign, you know something is profoundly wrong.
In a statement entitled, “Shinseki Must Go,”‘ Daniel Dellinger, National Commander of the American Legion, said, “His record as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs…tells a story of bureaucratic incompetence and failed leadership.”
“The disturbing reports coming from the Phoenix VA Medical Center are just one of what appears to be a pattern of scandals that have infected the entire system,” Dellinger continued. “It has been more than 20 years since the American Legion has called for the resignation of a public official. It’s not something we do lightly. We do this because of people who have been failed by the system.”
Murder in Boston and Philadelphia
Callista and I are in London today to attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I will write more about Baroness Thatcher’s extraordinary life and her incomparable legacy in Friday’s newsletter.
But as we celebrate the life of Margaret Thatcher, we mourn the loss of life from Monday’s terror bombings in Boston. Callista and I have in our prayers the families of the murder victims and all those who have been injured. We must be relentless as a nation in finding out who committed this atrocity and ensuring that they receive swift justice.
The bombings in Boston were a barbaric devastation of many innocent lives. Facts are still scarce, but we know that the true loss from these acts will be immeasurable. The lives not lived, the contributions not made, the time not spent, the plans unfulfilled, we will never know. But their loss is real. An eight-year-old boy was among those who died. He had just hugged his father who had completed the race before one of the bombs exploded. Reports indicate that many of the injured have lost limbs, including many children. The cruelty is inhuman.
The killing and maiming at the marathon remind us how fragile human life remains, and brought back a sense of vulnerability that many Americans have not felt for years.
We have watched for several decades as a culture of death has grown both here and abroad. Sometimes the culture of death leads to terrorist attacks upon the innocent. At other times the culture of death creates an entire industry of killing.
The callous acts of murder in Boston share the newspaper columns today with horrible details from the Gosnell murder trial in Philadelphia, where jurors are hearing testimony about the atrocities committed for decades against women and children at the hands of Kermit Gosnell and his staff at the “Women’s Medical Society” abortion clinic in West Philadelphia.
After what can only be described as a self-imposed embargo, the national media is ever so slowly beginning to cover the Gosnell murder trial.
It is amazing that the media has been slow to cover this story.
The Gosnell trial challenges the conscience of our nation – and its media – about abortion perhaps more than any other event since the Supreme Court sanctioned abortion on demand as a constitutional right in its 1973 decision Roe v. Wade.
If you want to know what happens to a society when it decides that some category of lives are not worthy of the protection of the law, read the grand jury report in the Gosnell case. The grand jury testimony indicates that Kermit Gosnell is a mass murderer.
But first, a warning. The descriptions in the report are harrowing, as are the excerpts below. Be prepared.
Here are among the most chilling excerpts from the report:
- [H]e regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels – and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths.
- Karnamaya Mongar …was a 41-year old, refugee who had recently come to the United States from a resettlement camp in Nepal…She received repeated unmonitored, unrecorded intravenous injections of Demerol, a sedative seldom used in recent years because of its dangers…After several hours, Mrs. Mongar simply stopped breathing.
- Scattered throughout, in cabinets, in the basement, in a freezer, in jars and bags and plastic jugs, were fetal remains. It was a baby charnel house.
- When you perform late-term “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care…Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them…The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that “snipping.” Over the years, there were hundreds of “snippings.”
- Gosnell made little effort to hide his illegal abortion practice. But there were some, “the really big ones,” that even he was afraid to perform in front of others. These abortions were scheduled for Sundays, a day when the clinic was closed and none of the regular employees were present. Only one person was allowed to assist with these special cases – Gosnell’s wife.
- Pennsylvania is not a third-world country. There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did, not even after Karnamaya Mongar’s death. In the end, Gosnell was only caught by accident, when police raided his offices to seize evidence of his illegal prescription selling.
Reading the report is hard. It will make you weep. But I urge you to read it. For I believe if we hope to be a moral nation, America must come to terms with the Gosnell Grand Jury Report and what it means for our laws and for our public life.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania carries a special burden in this regard. As the grand jury report makes painstakingly clear, time after time, local and state officials in Pennsylvania looked the other way when presented with credible information that something was terribly wrong at the Gosnell abortion clinic.
In fact, the largest part of the report is an 82-page section titled “How Did This Go On So Long?” In it, we learn that as far back as December 2001 – a full nine years before the clinic was finally shut down following a FBI raid – the Pennsylvania Department of State received a detailed written complaint about Gosnell’s clinic. But it was to no avail. The Department took no meaningful follow up action. It failed to subpoena records. It also failed to conduct an inspection of the clinic, which would have almost certainly led to its immediate shut down. And when the Department’s investigation about the complaint was finally handed over to prosecuting attorneys two years later, the state attorneys declined to prosecute.
The willful blindness that took place among a number of responsible state officials in Pennsylvania calls to mind a similar pattern of avoidance of responsibility at Penn State that was revealed in the Sandusky sexual abuse trial. In both the Sandusky and Gosnell cases, a decade passed between the time credible complaints first surfaced against these monsters and the time when they were finally held to account.
In the Sandusky case, the Pennsylvania State Board of University Trustees decided that it had a responsibility to compile a full accounting of the failure of Penn State personnel to respond and report to public authorities the sexual abuse of children by Sandusky. It also wanted to know how such abuse could even take place within University facilities or under the auspices of University programs for youth. It therefore established a special investigative task force to investigate. And in turn, the task force engaged former FBI Director Louis Freeh and his law firm Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan to investigate.
It is time for the Governor of Pennsylvania and/or the Pennsylvania legislature to do something similar. There should be a special investigation undertaken by an independent body that addresses the same question raised by the Grand Jury Report: “How Did This Go On So Long in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?”. The citizens of the Commonwealth have a right to know how and why its public officials failed in their duties to protect women and children. The special investigation should also make recommendations to the Pennsylvania legislature.
Louis Freeh and his team did a superb job leading the investigation of Penn State. He is exactly the type of person to lead up such an investigation of what went wrong in Pennsylvania.
The Gosnell trial is about more than Gosnell’s criminal acts, as horrific as they are. And it is about more than abortion, as harmful and deadly as abortion is to women and children. The Gosnell trial is also about whether we as individuals and as a culture will ultimately decide to reject the idea that we can arbitrarily decide without consequence who lives and who dies and instead re-embrace the idea that we will value and affirm every life, born and unborn.
In the wake of the horrific vision of a culture of death that is being revealed in Philadelphia and in Boston, which side will you be on?
Newt Gingrich Statement on Passing of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher | Gingrich Productions
Newt Gingrich issued the following statement today after learning of the passing of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher:
“Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul and Ronald Reagan changed history. The world would be a much different place without them.”
April 10, 2013
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Monday’s news that Lady Thatcher had passed away brought both sadness and yet also happy memories for Callista and me.
We had spent a long dinner in London with Lady Thatcher and her husband Sir Dennis and two of our closest friends, Gay and Stanley Gaines. It was memorable because every contact with Lady Thatcher was memorable. I mean that literally; I cannot remember an occasion over a 20 year period where being with her failed to instruct, inspire and educate.
Lady Thatcher was incredibly smart and she was incredibly driven.
Her intelligence was apparent in her degree from Oxford in chemistry (her senior year focused on X-ray crystallography, maybe the only elected official to have done so in any country). She went on to become a lawyer, and her career was defined by hard work, applied intelligence, and enormous courage.
(As an aside for Downton Abbey lovers, her father, Alfred Roberts, served as mayor of Grantham.)
Lady Thatcher’s courage came in part from her experience as a 15 year old watching Winston Churchill save Great Britain from the Nazi onslaught when any reasonable person would have accepted defeat and sued for an armistice. She knew that raw courage mattered at historic moments.
She also had a deep belief in moral truth and in historic necessity. The best book I have read on the underlying lessons of Lady Thatcher’s leadership is Claire Berlinski’s There is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters. Berlinski makes the case that Thatcher as opposition leader in the 1970s came to the conclusion that socialism was immoral and the coal miners’ union was a direct threat to democratic self government. She entered office in 1979 determined to morally defeat socialism and practically defeat the coal miners’ union (which she did in 1984).
The Thatcher victory of 1979 was very important to the American Conservative movement and to the Republican Party. Republican National Committee Chairman Bill Brock had gone to London for election night and came home dazzled by the effectiveness of the Thatcher campaign in discrediting the Left. He brought a team of advertisers over to share with us what they had done and how they had done it. As a young Republican Congressman, Brock invited me to be part of this working group and I found it extraordinarily educational. Much of our 1980 effort was inspired and based upon the Thatcher effort a year earlier.
Thatcher was the second on the scene of the great triumvirate which would defeat Communism. In 1978 Pope John Paul II became the fist non-Italian in over 400 years and the first Pole in history to become Pope. His election was a direct challenge to Soviet atheism. One month after Prime Minister Thatcher was elected (May 4, 1979), the Pope went to Poland for a nine day pilgrimage which directly challenged Soviet control of Eastern Europe. (See our movie Nine Days that Changed the World about that pilgrimage.) Eighteen months after Thatcher’s election, Ronald Reagan won the Presidency. It is easy for an American to forget that he actually came into office third of the triumvirate.
Thatcher had earned the term “the Iron Lady” from Pravda three years before she became Prime Minister. Her unrelenting opposition to Communism was a major feature of her government and made her an ally of President Reagan and Pope John Paul II in defeating the Soviet Empire and leading to its collapse and disappearance.
The world would have been very different without Margaret Thatcher.
Every citizen can learn from her condemnation of socialism and her critique of big government.
Every political leader can learn from her courage.
We will miss her but we will never forget her.
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Revealing to the writer is Mitt. Not his religion, not his wealth, not the party … it’s his brand of conservatism. It just isn’t there like one likes it … hot! Paul Ryan was a brilliant maneuver to convince those conservatives to move over to the other side. Let one hope that enough conservatives do move over to the greener side to oust President Obama. The nation will have to wait and see in November. As for the writer, dreams don’t come true today, but maybe they will tomorrow. Newt is the writer’s man, true and blue – a conservative who would and could do more for the country.
Mitt stayed moderate from the beginning and never wavered. He was smart in that way in his grand campaign strategy, reminiscent of Governor Charlie Christ whose political managers were shrewd indeed in getting Charlie elected. Charlie rode the republican bandwagon but departed it later in the hopes of getting re-elected. It just didn’t work – too many republicans were upset especially because they gave money like those little old Florida women and the such.
But when it comes to conscience one has to vote correctly and it pains to have to vote for Mitt. A voter goes over the past on Mitt and wrestles with his flip-flops, his style of RomneyCare, his silence on immigration, and his snub to the Israeli state, etc. Indeed, there are certain hot buttons he will not push. ONLY WEALTHY MEN DO NOT PUSH HOT BUTTONS, not with an arrogant and armored legal department.
What will become of our country? Obama racked up the largest debt in history in four years. Monetary policy is a pawn against worldwide inflation and unemployment. The élite has its own agenda but see that it is not the same as the wealthy’s interest, if the wealthy are good. The élite does more than get rich; they want to change the system of free market capitalism. To what? Well, it isn’t defined and it never will be defined. It’s designed to be an unstable system, albeit an economy that furthers their interest.
Undecided, the writer is unconvinced by the hoopla against a miracle that is needed to end the Federal Reserve system, started in the early 1900’s. The libertarians have it right on this one. The republicans don’t have a clue – it’s hard for them to criticize when they’re basking in the sun. So be it when Mitt gets elected, the first thing he will do is sign an executive order to do what? End Obamacare? It’s law. The supreme court just ruled in favor of it. So now the conservatives pay attention to the Senate. Remember when the writer wrote to leave Marco Rubio in the Senate. So, whose your daddy now?! The senate is so important, that not even Romney in his wildest imagination could correct it.
Newt Gingrich will begin campaigning for Mitt Romney next week, the former GOP presidential candidate told Fox News.
Gingrich will throw his support behind the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at two events in Georgia, including the state’s GOP convention, Fox News reported.
Gingrich, who represented Georgia in the House, suspended his campaign on May 2.
A Gingrich campaign spokesman told CNN on Friday night that the former House speaker also will campaign for Romney in Las Vegas.
“I am asked sometimes is Mitt Romney conservative enough?” Gingrich said when he suspended his campaign. “And my answer is simple – compared to Barack Obama? This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American history.”
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Saturday told Fox News that he will be at two Romney events, including the Oklahoma GOP convention in Norman, Fox News reported.
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