Newt Gingrich on Technology
Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House
ROMNEY: That's an enormous expense. And right now I want to be spending money here.
Q: [to Gingrich]: How do you plan to create a base on the moon in eight years while keeping taxes down?
GINGRICH: You start with the question, do you really believe NASA in its current form is the most effective way of leveraging investment in space? My point is, I believe by the use of prizes, by the use of incentives, by opening up the space port so that it's available on a ready basis for commercial fight--there are many things you can do to leverage accelerating the development of space. Lindbergh flew to Paris for a $25,000.00 prize. If we had a handful of serious prizes, you'd see an extraordinary number of people out there trying to get to the moon first. And I'd like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there.
GINGRICH: Look at what John F. Kennedy said in 1961: "We will go to the moon in this decade." No American had orbited the Earth. The technology didn't exist. And a generation of young people went into science and engineering, and they were tremendously excited. And they had a future. The program I envision would probably end up being 90% private sector, but it would be based on a desire to get NASA out of the business of trying to run rockets, and to create a system where it's easy for private sector people to be engaged. I want to see us move from one launch occasionally to 6 or 7 launches a day because so many private enterprises walk up and say, we're prepared to go do it. I do not want to be the country that having gotten to the moon first, turned around and said, it doesn't really matter. I think that is a path of national decline.
GINGRICH: Well, you're asking a conservative about the economic interests of Hollywood. And I'm weighing it... Virtually everybody who's technologically advanced, including Google and YouTube and Facebook, say this is going to totally mess up the Internet, and the bill in its current form is written really badly and leads to a range of censorship that is totally unacceptable. Well, I favor freedom. We have a Patent Office, we have copyright law. If a company finds that it has genuinely been infringed upon, it has the right to sue, but the idea that we're going to preemptively have the government start censoring the Internet on behalf of giant corporations' economic interests strikes me as exactly the wrong thing to do.
GINGRICH: Let's stick with infrastructure, because I think it's a very big, very important topic. You cannot compete with China in the long run if you have an inferior infrastructure. You've got to move to a 21st century model. That means you've got to be technologically smart and you have to make investments. So for example here [in N.H.], the Northern Pass project ought to be buried and should be along the state's right of way. Which means you'd need these modern techniques to bring electricity from Quebec all the way down to Boston in a way that also preserves the beauty of northern New Hampshire. [We need] the ability to have an infrastructure investment program that would actually get us back on track. If you don't have some systematic investment program, then you are not going to be able, I think, to compete with China and India.
Q: Why don't you name them?
ROMNEY: We can start with his idea to have a lunar colony that would mine minerals from the from the moon, I'm not in favor of spending that kind of money to do that.
GINGRICH: I'm proud of trying to find things that give young people a reason to study science and math and technology and telling them that someday in their lifetime, they could dream of going to the moon, they could dream of going t Mars. I grew up in a generation where the space program was real, where it was important, and where frankly it is tragic that NASA has been so bureaucratized. Iowa's doing brilliant things, attracting brilliant students. I want to give them places to go and things to do. And I'm happy to defend the idea that America should be in space and should be there in an aggressive, entrepreneurial way.
CAIN: Having been a ballistics analyst and a computer scientist early in my career, cyber-attacks: that's something that we do not talk enough about, and I happen to believe that that is a national security area that we do need to be concerned about.
GINGRICH: I helped create the Hart-Rudman Commission with President Clinton, and they came back after three years and said the greatest threat to the United States was the weapon of mass destruction in an American city, probably from a terrorist. That was before 9/11. That's one of the three great threats. The second is an electromagnetic pulse attack which would literally destroy the country's capacity to function. And the third, as Herman just said, is a cyber attack. All three of those are outside the current capacity of our system to deal with.
Gingrich embraced Twitter long before most political figures (he's sent more than 2,700 tweets). But Gawker cited an anonymous former Gingrich staffer who estimated about 80% of the followers were created by agencies wit dummy accounts.
An analysis concluded only 8% of Gingrich's Twitter followers were confirmed as "real human beings." People can pay companies to gather Twitter followers (about $12.99 per 1,000), but the Twitter followers are often fake. The Gingrich campaign strongly denies using such tactics.
There is strong evidence that not all 1.3 million followers are real. There are Twitter followers and there are bona fide Twitter followers. Gingrich has 1.3 million of the former, not so many of the latter.
GINGRICH: I'm a big fan of going into space and I worked to get the shuttle program to survive at one point. But NASA has become a case study in why bureaucracy can't innovate. If you take all the money we've spent at NASA since we landed on the moon and you had applied that money for incentives to the private sector, we would today probably have a permanent station on the moon, and a new generation of lift vehicles. And instead, what we've had is bureaucracy after bureaucracy and failure after failure. We're at the beginning of a whole new cycle of extraordinary opportunities. And, unfortunately, NASA is standing in the way of it, when NASA ought to be getting out of the way and encouraging the private sector.
PAWLENTY: I don't think we should eliminate the space program.
GINGRICH: I didn't say end the space program. I said you could get into space faster & more effectively, if you decentralized it & got it out of Washington
A: Information warfare is warfare, and Julian Assange is engaged in warfare. Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed is terrorism, and Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant. WikiLeaks should be closed down permanently and decisively. But even more, how can these documents have been released?
Q: Via a private in the Army.
A: How do you have a system so stupid [that an Army Private can] download a quarter million documents and the system doesn't say [anything]? I mean this is a system so stupid that it ought to be a scandal of the first order. This administration is so shallow, and so amateurish about national security that it is painful and dangerous.
I propose a dramatically bolder approach. NASA currently has plans to spend twenty years getting to Mars at a cost estimated of up to $450 billion. A very significant amount of that time and money will be spent studying, planning, and thinking. We would get much further much faster if we simply established two prizes: a tax-free $5 billion prize for the first permanent lunar base and a tax-free $20 billion prize for the first team to get to Mars and back.
There are three problems with trying to build high-speed systems in the US and, not surprisingly, all three relate to government.
Space is now caught in a destructive circle in which Congress refuses to vote the money needed for big missions because it does not trust the NASA bureaucracy and NASA can't do the jobs it is assigned because Congress refuses to fund it. NASA is also elitist. The standard for an astronaut has been set so high that most people know it is not a program for them.
Ironically the Russians, in desperate search of hard currency, have become the 1st country to open up their programs to a paying customer.
Building a citizen-centered model of government starts with the general rule that being online is better than being in line. There is no reason why government cannot deliver services and information the way that Google or the Weather Channel can. Technology should make government more responsive to the citizens it serves, and more creative in meeting their needs.
The potential to use the computer, the Internet, and communications has only begun to be tapped. The more rapidly government leaders study and learn their potential, the more rapidly we will invent a 21st century information age governing system.
Nanotechnology allows us to “grow” materials by literally adding the right atoms and molecules to one another--a material technology breakthrough that changes the way we build things and how much they weigh. One example is that nanotechnology makes possible molecular “helpers” which could hunt cancer cells or clean clogged arteries.
The information revolution (computers and communications) impacts this technology in exponential ways, giving us better capabilities to deal with the nanoworld and with biology. It is the synergistic effect of these three systems together--nanotechnology multiplied by biology multiplied by information--that will lead to an explosion of new knowledge and new capabilities.
Space exploration has also been the most successful vehicle for translating the need to invest in science and discovery to the American people. It is a visible, tangible, results-oriented program that instills national pride and helps us quickly understand why research is important. There is something magical about space exploration that microscopes and lab coats cannot convey.
The NASA community is aware of how incredibly important it is to continue to push the boundaries of our knowledge and its benefits to our society, starting of course with the astronauts themselves.
It is almost certainly those in poor neighborhoods who get undercounted. The liberal Democrats have been proposing that we eliminate the present system altogether and substitute for it something they call “statistical adjustment.” Under this system, the census would count only 90% of the people. Then a statistical adjustment would be made to get to 100%. Republicans are committed to what the Constitution says. A statistical adjustment would be unconstitutional. In addition, we are convinced that “statistical” adjustment will inevitably lead to “political” adjustment. The incentive to corrupt the census adjustment process would be virtually beyond limit.
In "Window of Opportunity," Gingrich wrote: "Imagine that the National Security Council had understood that an America which aggressively moved ahead in space would overawe the Russians. Imagine that business and individual leaders had been far-sighted enough to understand that a space industry would spin off earth-based jobs, using satellite antennas, new medicines, large surfaces and zero-gravity alloys. Finally, imagine a generation of educators who understood that young people need inspiration to motivate them to learn math and science, and that space was the adventure most likely to produce young Americans anxious to master these technical fields so essential to our survival."
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