Radio America’s Greg Corombos and Jim Geraghty from National Review clear out the bar with bad martinis. They start by discussing the details of thousands of patients experiencing wait times in the VA health care scandal. They look at the influx of young illegal immigrants sweeping over states bordering Mexico. They close by reflecting on Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects given her denial of blame in the Benghazi attacks.
Archives for June 2014
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy says there is abundant legal evidence to impeach and remove President Obama but he says it’s an exercise in futility and may actually embolden Obama if Republicans move in that direction with the political will of the nation behind them.
McCarthy is best known as the lead prosecutor in the cases against the “blind sheikh”, Omar Abdel Rahman, and eleven conspirators behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and plots against other New York City landmarks. McCarthy is now with the National Review Institute. His new book is “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.”
In it, he lays out seven separate articles of impeachment against Obama on issues ranging from changing laws and failing to execute them faithfully to dereliction of duty as commander-in-chief to fraud on issues ranging from Obamacare to Benghazi. However, he also argues that now is the wrong time to pursue impeachment.
According to McCarthy, the founders included impeachment and removal from office in the Constitution as a protection for the people and the Constitution itself. However, he says the founders also didn’t want impeachment to be too easy to accomplish.
“They also wanted to make sure, knowing that removing a president is very socially disruptive, that we had a standard for removal that would not allow impeachment to become an exercise in partisan hackery,” said McCarthy.
He says that’s why the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate for a president to be convicted and removed.
“That ensures that unless you have a broad consensus among the public, one that cuts across ideological and partisan lines, an attempt to remove the president is probably a non-starter. It’s a political remedy. You can have a thousand provable impeachable offenses, but if the public is not of a mind to remove the president from power, then the president won’t be impeached in the sense of being removed from power,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy says even though House impeachment of Obama could be plausible, he believes it’s pointless if the Senate votes are not there to remove him. He says the impeachment of Bill Clinton serves as a valuable lesson, not because the case wasn’t strong enough but because the public didn’t want him removed.
“There wasn’t a public will to remove the president from power. Unless you have, it cannot only be a mistake to go forward in the sense of not being able to achieve impeachment, you can actually end up encouraging presidential lawlessness,” said McCarthy.
“Spin it out with what would happen with Obama at this point. If you filed articles of impeachment, you’d have a trial in the Senate. At this point, you’d probably lose that by something like 70-30. That would be spun by the media and the administration as approval of President Obama’s methods over the last few years. You’d be setting out trying to correct presidential lawlessness and you’d end up actually encouraging it,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy believes it is possible to turn public opinion on a matter as weighty as impeachment in a fairly short period of time. He says we saw it happen just 40 years ago.
“I think if you asked people if the president’s committed impeachable offenses, they’d probably overwhelmingly say yes. If you asked them if they wanted the president removed from power, I think a lot fewer people would say yes. But politics is dynamics and things change. In 1972, (Richard) Nixon won re-election with the largest then-landslide in American electoral history. In 20 months he was gone because he couldn’t survive politically once the country became riveted to presidential lawlessness,” said McCarthy.
Republicans in Congress have other avenues to check the advance of the executive branch, and McCarthy says they simply refuse to stop much of what he considers Obama’s illegal activities.
“The main tool (the founders) gave Congress to that purpose is the power of the purse. The president’s opposition has been supine. They haven’t been willing to do anything along those lines. The way you really stop presidential lawlessness, short of impeachment, is you cut off the money the president needs to carry it out. They haven’t been willing to do anything like that,” said McCarthy.
He says the budget showdown last September and October proved most in the GOP aren’t willing to fight.
“The one time that some of the Republican conservatives in Congress tried to cut off the money from Obamacare, which is an immensely unpopular program. They were castigated, not only by the press but by members of their own party. I think it’s become very hard structurally to use the other tools the framers gave us,” said McCarthy.
He says the GOP suffers from two major problems in budget fights, which make them reluctant to demand their way.
“When Republicans oppose the president, they get demagogued as racists and the like, which is really an unfortunate thing that has happened to our politics. The other thing is that the government’s become so big that when you start cutting off money, you’re always talking about somebody’s transfer payments. Republicans never want to be in a position of being portrayed as mean ogres who are taking food from babies’ mouths and money out of people’s pockets,” said McCarthy.
Radio America’s Greg Corombos and Jim Geraghty from National Review reacts to new Senate polls in Iowa and Georgia that show Republicans ahead. They talk about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book release and the large amounts of money she made giving speeches. And they conclude today’s lunch with quotes from Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein about being left out of the loop by the White House in the Bergdahl swap.
The Justice Department is resurrecting a program designed to thwart domestic threats to the United States, and Attorney General Eric Holder says those threats include individuals the government deems anti-government or racially prejudiced.
The Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee was created in the wake of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing but was scrapped soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks as intelligence and law enforcement officials shifted their focus to threats from outside the country. The committee will be comprised of figures from the FBI, the National Security Division of the Justice Department and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.
In his statement announcing the return of the committee, Holder said he remains concerned about the specter of attacks prompted by Islamic extremists, but he says this committee will be tasked with identifying other threats.
“We must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice,” Holder said.
According to reporting from Reuters, The American Civil Liberties Union is pushing back against the DOJ plan, fearing “it could be a sweeping mandate to monitor and collect controversial speech.”
Conservative groups are alarmed on multiple levels. First, they see themselves once again the target of an administration that disagrees with them philosophically.
“It appears there’s an attempt to marginalize people who hold views that are sharply different from those of the administration and much of the establishment, said Horace Cooper, co-chairman of the Project 21 National Advisory Board. Project 21 is a network of black conservatives.
Cooper says plenty of presidents dealt with critical speech, particularly in opposition to the Vietnam War and even the Iraq War. He says no president ever responded like this.
“We didn’t arrest them (due to their speech). We didn’t try to prevent them from being able to express themselves on campuses and we didn’t try to prevent them from trying to enter into the public square,” he said. “This administration appears not to appreciate that lesson and says that the groups of people that are not within their particular perspective ought to be considered the very threat…that the real terrorist threat that comes internationally [presents].”
Project 21 is a very vocal critic of what it considers administration efforts to cloak liberal policies in the guise of racial equality. Cooper says devoting resources to stop threats based on racial prejudice is a solution in search of a problem.
“We’re particularly bothered by mixing together so-called domestic insurrectionists and racists. There is simply no anti-black or anti-minority underground movement in America that is threatening in any way the stability of our government or the stability of local governments. There is just nothing like that. That’s just a complete and total boogeyman,” said Cooper, who believes the Justice Department is fully aware of the reality.
“When we see this administration talking as if the real threat is that if you’re a young black male, you’re going to be shot, you’re going to be kidnapped or you’re going to be forced to prison without actually having any charges against you, there’s simply no evidence to show that,” said Cooper.
Cooper says Holder could solve this debate by compiling a report showing the real number of racially-motivated murders, kidnappings and bombings. He says that report will never come because he believes the real motivation for this committee and this policy is entirely political.
“In our organization’s view, this is done, particularly the racial component, to create the false impression to minority communities that it is the Obama administration that is here to help them and another reason why, with all of the economic failings that they have provided to Americans generally and minorities in particular, they should continue to consider giving away their vote to that particular administration,” said Cooper.
In addition to the political maneuvering he alleges is behind this committee, Cooper is also deeply frustrated that this effort diverts resources from what he considers more severe and realistic threats.
“We are still under a threat watch. We still have all of the security measures that we put in place after 2001. The period of 2001-2008 was a period in which we thwarted more than a few. Some of those have been made public. But many of those still have not made public. But what we’ve seen since the beginning of the Obama administration is that many of these attacks, whether they’re increasing or not, are being more effective. They’re actually happening,” said Cooper.
“To shift more resources away from the threat that’s real to this theoretical problem is harmful to the safety of Americans and is more about a political agenda than it is in protecting Americans,” he said.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Eliana Johnson of National Review credit George Will for diagnosing that President Obama has no tolerance for any disagreement and accuses any dissenters of “whipping up controversy”. They also discuss the latest troubling news about the Bergdahl exchange. And they slam Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for responding to questions about the administration’s failure to notify Congress by saying, “What difference does it make?”
President Obama’s new regulations on power plant carbon emissions shows he doesn’t care about the coal industry, according to a coal country member of Congress, but he says there is a realistic way to stop the measures from ever taking effect that makes this year’s midterms elections pivotal in the energy debate.
Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced new rules that will force fossil fuel-based power plants to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The policy is a central piece of Obama’s former “Cap and Trade” agenda that failed to pass a Democratic-run U.S. Senate four years ago. The administration is now advancing the policy through the executive branch.
Virginia Rep. Morgan Griffith represents coal-rich southwestern Virginia. He says these rules would be devastating for his district and many others in a nation that gets at least 40 percent of it’s electricity from coal. Griffith says the president just made it very clear how little he regards the coal industry.
“I don’t think the administration really cares about the coal industry, and I think they disregard a lot of facts when it comes to how this will impact middle class Americans. They have shown a callous disregard for the folks in central Appalachia, the area that I represent and others,” said Griffith.
“It just doesn’t seem that they care. Their numbers are almost always wrong. They told us when they did another set of regulations relating to coal usage in utilities that we would lose around 10 megawatts of power capacity. We;ve actually lost about 62 by the end of this year. It’s going to impact our grid and our grid system,” he said.
Griffith says there is no current technology to allow coal-based power plants to meet the new standards. He believes the advancement of technology could make it possible in 10-15 years. However, he says that doesn’t help anyone right now, because the rules require states to have a plan in place within two years as to how they will reduce their emissions and states cannot rely on technology that does not exist yet. He believes prioritizing the development of cleaner burning of coal is a smarter way for Washington to proceed.
“That makes a lot of sense. Pushing these regulations before the science is ready does not make sense. It’s illogical and it’s going to hurt middle class America,” said Griffith.
The congressman says the coal industry would feel the initial pain from the rules but a huge percentage of Americans would be negatively impacted.
“We will have less electricity available and there’s going to be greater costs as companies go to build new facilities to try to meet these new demands on carbon dioxide,” said Griffith. “It’s going to be very difficult for American families to pay those increased electric bills. It’s going to be hard on American industry, so it’s going to cost jobs and hurt middle class families,” said Griffith.
The debate continues to rage over the science behind the administration’s push for its climate agenda. Griffith says before we even get into the academic issues, its fairly clear that unilateral action by the United States is guaranteed to accomplish nothing.
“You don’t even have to get into the fight on the science. What you look at is this: Is the rest of the world going to do the same thing?” asked Griffith. “If the rest of the world doesn’t do the same thing, what we’re doing is killing jobs in the United States and sending those jobs to the rest of the world. They continue to use coal without even the reasonable regulations we had in effect before this administration took over.”
“It’s a worldwide situation, and if all we’re doing is shifting the jobs to Asia, they’re going to ship us back dirty air in exchange for the jobs we have lost,” said Griffith.
So what recourse do opponents have since these rules are being implemented through the executive branch and not through a debate in Congress? A pretty effective one, according to Griffith. He says the midterm election results will be the deciding factor.
“Hopefully we’ll win elections and take over the Senate. There are some Democrats who agree with us but there are only a few. When we get control of the Senate, we then have the power to set aside regulations with a majority vote of the House and the Senate. That’s what we need to do and the American people need to understand that elections have consequences. If they don’t want to see jobs lost and electric rates skyrocketing, then we need to change the Senate. To change Washington, we need to change the Senate,” said Griffith.
The congressman noted that approval from the president is not required to set aside regulations, so majorities on both sides of Capitol Hill could act on their own.
President George W. Bush delivered the most extensive eulogy at the Washington, D.C, funeral for President Ronald Reagan, who died 10 years ago Thursday.
Listen here to the Bush eulogy in its entirety.
Former President Ronald Reagan died ten years ago today, on June 5, 2004. Over the next six days, millions of Americans expressed their appreciation for Reagan by lining highways and streets and standing in line for hours to pay their respects at the U.S. Capitol and the Reagan Presidential Library.
On June 11, funerals for Reagan played out in Washington and California. In the service at Washington National Cathedral, Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush delivered the most emotional eulogy of the service.
Listen to it here.
Radio America’s Greg Corombos and Jim Geraghty from National Review are surprised to see that even liberals are criticizing President Obama’s handling of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from Taliban captivity. Greg and Jim examine the evolution of President Obama’s Bergdahl defense. They close by highlighting Senator Chuck Schumer’s Bill of Rights bumble.
Also be sure to tune in to HBO’s show Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday. Jim Geraghty said he will be entering the “liberal den.”
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry”Boykin says Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is clearly a deserter who should never draw a free breath and President Obama is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors for once again ignoring federal law in pursuit of an administration goal.
Boykin is also ripping the president for releasing five key Taliban figures in exchange for Bergdahl and slamming the Obama administration for attacking the character of Afghanistan veterans who publicly denounce Bergdahl’s actions in Afghanistan.
The general says Obama’s actions in this episode demonstrate why he is unfit for office. He categorically dismisses Obama’s contention that the exchange had to happen to honor America’s commitment to leave no Americans behind. Boykin says that clearly wasn’t true in Benghazi and that the administration seems to have little regard for a U.S. Marine jailed in Mexico, an American pastor imprisoned in Iran or the Sudanese Christian in custody for her faith along with her two American children.
“This was about emptying out Guantanamo. This was a backdoor deal. The reasons for it, the details of it will probably never come out in its entirety, but this is an ugly story,” he said.
The general is also taking the commander-in-chief to task for once again flouting the law, this time skirting a requirement to give Congress 30 days notice of his intent to free any Guantanamo detainees. Boykin says he understands why Obama would feel constrained by the law and admits that it might not be constitutional. However, as long as it is the law, he says Obama is required to abide by it instead of ignoring statutes he doesn’t like, whether on this issue or several others.
“It was really bad form for him not to at least call in the chair and ranking member of the intel or armed services committee and tell them what he was about to do with regard to the release of these prisoners,” he said.
“It’s an example of how this president only obeys the laws and follows the policies that he wants to. In our Constitution, it falls under the category of high crimes and misdemeanors, where you just selectively obey certain laws and ignore others,” said Boykin.
As for Bergdahl, Boykin says he has no doubt the soldier ended up in Taliban custody because he deliberately deserted his unit.
“We know for sure that he is a deserter. In fact, the 15-6 investigation that was conducted immediately after his departure from his base concluded that he had deserted and I think all the evidence supports that conclusion, particularly given the fact that he had asked a series of bizarre questions of his teammates. He also left a very revealing message explaining how he was ashamed of being an American and wanted to help the people of Afghanistan. This guy’s a deserter,” said Boykin.
“The fact that (National Security Adviser) Susan Rice went on television and said that served honorably is just another example of why she needs to be removed and replaced, because this is the second time, Benghazi being the first, where she has gone on television and openly lied to the American public. This administration knows he deserted. They knew how people felt about him and she went out there and called his service honorable. If that’s the case, then you tell me what the concept of honorable service is for this administration,” said Boykin.
The term “desertion” has been used far and wide in media reports this week. While no one applauds a soldier abandoning his unit, considerable debate has ensued about how significant of an issue this ought to be. Boykin says it’s an extremely serious issue.
“Desertion in combat, and I emphasize in combat, which means you are in a combat zone and routinely engaged with the enemy, is punishable by death. That should give you some indication as to how serious this is taken,” said Boykin. “When a man walks off and leaves his post in combat, he jeopardizes everybody else”
Boykin says in addition to leaving his men shorthanded against the enemy, Bergdahl compromised military intelligence whether he he willingly went along with the Taliban or was interrogated.
“You have a tremendous amount of information which would be very useful to the enemy. Whether he was a collaborator or not is yet to be determined. My guess is that he was. Even if he was not a deliberate collaborator, the interrogation techniques of these people is such that he probably provided an awful lot of very useful, valuable information to the enemy,” said Boykin.
So what should happen to Bergdahl as a result of his desertion?
“They should do an Article 32 investigation immediately. It should be ongoing right now. That is a prelude to a court martial. There can be no other option. They must take him to court martial and they must hold him accountable for his actions. If he didn’t desert, then the truth will come out,” said Boykin, who says Bergdahl’s actions are even more severe than desertion.
“There are are other soldiers that were endangered and even some we are positive now that were killed in the efforts to find him. As far as I’m concerned, that exacerbates his crime from being a simple desertion to being one that resulted in the deaths of his comrades. I think that has to be considered as we talk about what to do with him. From my perspective, he needs to spend the rest of his life in prison at a minimum,” said Boykin.
At least one of the other soldiers who served alongside Bergdahl in Afghanistan believes this is a case of desertion at best and treason at worst.
Is Boykin willing to go that far?
“Absolutely. What else could you call it?” he said.
At least a half dozen soldiers who served with Bergdahl are speaking publicly. They all consider him a deserter and not the hero portrayed by the administration. In response, the State Department accuses those veterans of not telling the truth and White House aides tell reporters that their criticism amounts to a swift-boating of Bergdahl, a reference to the criticism Vietnam veterans leveled at John Kerry in the 2004 presidential campaign.
“Do you think if Bergdahl had served honorably that those guys wouldn’t be coming out now rejoicing in the fact he had been returned. Use a little common sense and just ask yourself. Would they have had this reaction had he not deserted from his unit? ” asked Boykin.
Boykin is appalled that Bergdahl’s return also came at the cost of five high-level Taliban leaders being held at Guantanamo Bay. The general says he would not even have paid such a price for an honorable soldier being held by the enemy, but he would have quickly gathered intelligence by which to launch a rescue mission. He believes the military knew exactly where Bergdahl was but didn’t have any motivation to go get him.
“That’s what should have happened if this was a man with honorable service. He wasn’t. So you have to ask the question, ‘Why didn’t the military go and try to rescue him?’ I’m going to speculate that it’s because they were not willing to risk another life for a guy they knew was a traitor,” said Boykin.