Port strike averted... for now

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," December 28, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DOUG MCKELWAY, GUEST HOST: And we're back for the panel for the Friday Lightening Round. First item up here, the longshoreman strike apparently averted with a 30-day extension of the continuing contract. This had potential to be -- to have a huge impact on the U.S. economy, a strike by 14,000 longshoremen from Maine all the way to the Gulf Coast. Considering the fact of how manufacturing has changed, basically been decimated and outsourced to countries around the world, this would have had a profound impact on the American public.

FRED BARNES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: And you said the right thing, though, the number, the small number of the longshoremen were going to have a tremendous impact on the American economy and the whole country I hope. I think the president, if he needs to, as much as President Obama and Democrats hate the Taft-Hartley Act and they hate invoking a provision that would block a strike for 90 days, I think President Obama would have to do it if necessary and may have to that in a month.

MCKELWAY: Kirsten?

KRISTEN POWERS, THE DAILY BEAST: Look, anybody that is going to -- we're in a very, very tenuous recovery right now. Anything like this could have a major impact. I think President Obama would be loath to go against the unions but he might have to do that if it has serious negative impact on the economy.

MCKELWAY: Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What is astonishing is how small a number people are involved here, less than 15,000 for all the ports you showed on the map. The entire East Coast and the Gulf Coast. In the '60s, there were 10 times as many. Today you are working with a tenth of the force handling a lot more cargo, which is a testament to automation and to container revolution.

In the 1960s, New York and New Jersey had twice as many longshoremen as you have on the East Coast, Gulf coast. I think it's amazing that you would have had that small number of people who could have had that huge an impact on the economy. I think it will likely end up being settled. But it's a testament to how well we have done with the productivity in 50 years.

MCKELWAY: Number two now. In Russia Vladimir Putin signed a bill today that bans Americans from adopting Russian children. What is this all about?

BARNES: It's a response to the Magnitsky Act, one by America by Congress signed by the president, which was narrowly, narrowly written. Sergei Magnitsky, he was a Russian reformer, exposed corruption of $230 billion or something like that in the Russian government, and what the act would do -- and then he was in prison, he was basically murdered -- deny visas to officials who were involved in the murder and other human rights violations. Stop them from using any of the overseas assets.

You get a petty response from Vladimir Putin who tries to act like a big man who is going to lead Russia back to the glory days. This is petty and silly and should be seen that way.

MCKELWAY: It's fascinating to me to read the Russian perspective on this conflagration here. Pravda wrote today, "Over the past 10 years four times more children died in the U.S. from domestic violence than soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan during the war. This is worst death rate in the developed world. This means that the myth that adopted children would be better off in the U.S. than in Russia is doubtful." Then the piece goes on to compare child death rates in United States from Texas to Vermont. It says Texas has a much lower tax rate, and consequently lower level of government support. Texas has two times more children deaths caused by domestic violence than Vermont.

POWERS: Putin cares about the children. It's all about children. He is a loathsome monster and he has always been. This is like way beyond petty and silly. This is horrifying. There are children living in orphanages. You have families who have already identified children that they were in the process of adopting that they spent time with, built relationships with, that they now cannot bring to the United States. This is sick. To use children -- being punished for human rights violation and his response is to punish children. There is a story on ABC about a couple adopting a child with spinal bifida. Now to leave the child over there when you have an American family that wants to take him in is disturbing.

MCKELWAY: And the cost is something like over $100,000 to begin this process. And many parents in the United States have already visited the kids and established relationships, and now it's all gone. Charles, when you look at Putin's pattern of, you know, jailing pop stars, poisoning KGB, former KGB agents, or murdering journalists, is he getting more paranoid?

KRAUTHAMMER: He is an old Russian spy, Soviet spy. That is who he is essentially. And he has continued the Soviet system without the ridiculous communist ideology. It's a police state but not as bad as it was in Soviet days. But he turned it into a dictatorship.

And his contempt for the United States just shows. This is a loathsome act and he did it as a slap at the United States, all this silly stuff from the control papers about death rates of children in the United States. That is Soviet style propaganda. It tells you what an abject comical collapse we have in Obama's reset policy heralded with the Russians.

It's not only that when Putin ran, he ran on an anti-American level, arguing against the United States, speaking of Clinton as Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, organizing demonstrations against him. Then in the policy world supporting Iran against us, on the nuclear issue and -- talk about loathsome -- supporting Assad in the genocidal war against his own people. Last week he supplied diesel to the tanks to the Assad forces which were requiring it. So this is a guy, our policy is a complete failure in respect to Russia.

MCKELWAY: Just a minute left. Brief comments on the death of four-star General Norman Schwarzkopf.

BARNES: He was a great soldier. We all remember the left hook in
1991 in the 100-hours war that got Iraqis out of Kuwait.

MCKELWAY: The Hail Mary pass.

BARNES: Unfortunately he didn't do as well in cease-fire negotiations which allowed them to keep the helicopters, which they used to kill Kurds and Shiites.

MCKELWAY: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I think he did -- I mean he was a war hero in Vietnam days. He was tremendously successful leading Desert Storm. But in addition, I think it was a seminal event in our history in that it restored the prestige and the affection that Americans have of the American military, which suffered horribly in the Vietnam days and '70s and even into the early '80s. I think that was a turning point.

MCKELWAY: He had a Churchillian quality. Churchill said we'll fight them on the beaches and the landing zones. He said "We'll go around, over,
through, on top, underneath, and any other way it takes to beat them." I've always admired him.

KRAUTHAMMER: His briefing on the tube were masterful.

MCKELWAY: We've got to go. That is it for panel. Stay tuned to see
how you can really teach your dog a new trick, an old dog a new trick.

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