Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are pleased to see Watergate reporter Bob Woodward compare Hillary Clinton’s efforts to conceal her emails to the Nixon tapes. They also slam Ann Coulter for saying she loves Donald Trump’s immigration plan so much, that he could perform abortions in the White House and she wouldn’t care. And they have fun with the Sanders campaign apologizing to Black Lives Matter and then the candidate saying he never apologized.
Archives for August 2015
As Hillary Clinton deals with a very rough week due to the many revelations surrounding her private email server and the top secret information that was on it, the Capitol Steps look back to another rough patch for the Clintons and make fun of their claim they were “dead broke” upon leaving the White House. Our guest is Steps Co-Founder Elaina Newport.
A former Pentagon official is slamming Obama administration policies on ISIS and Cuba as the terrorists reportedly deploy chemical weapons against Kurdish enemies and the United States re-opens its embassy in Cuba, saying the president and his team are deliberately working against the best interests of the country.
“They’re eager to do this because no else believes that it is in the United States’ best interest. They want to go against the United States’ best interests,” said Jed Babbin, who served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration. He is now an author and columnist.
When pressed to explain that comment, Babbin doubled down.
“I mean what I said. These people, this administration has a track record of doing a lot of things that are not in the United States’ best interests,” he said, asserting that American policy on ISIS and Cuba are two prime examples.
Late in the week, reports suggest ISIS used chemical weapons, mustard gas in particular, against Kurds in northern Iraq. Babbin believes the weapons could have been obtained in several different ways.
“It could be from old Iraqis stores that we found and I have information that says we did find them long about 2005. Could have been from (Syrian President) Bashar Assad. Could have been a lot of places. I don’t think they have the sophistication to make them themselves,” he said.
But Babbin says this new dimension of the ISIS threat probably won’t change a thing for Obama.
“It doesn’t really change anything. We’re not going to do the right thing. We’re not going to arm the Kurds. We’re not going to go in there ourselves and try to do something with them, which I don’t think is the right path anyway. So I don’t think, for us at least, it changes things,” said Babbin, who says Obama is doing virtually nothing militarily or ideologically to stop ISIS.
“The real problem here is they’re trying to kick the can down the road. They want to leave this for the next administration to deal with, and that’s what Obama’s doing. He’s not conducting a serious campaign and he’s not conducting an ideological war at all,” said Babbin.
The latter point is the most galling for Babbin, who says for all of Obama’s talk about confronting the murderous ideology of ISIS, there is no effort to actually do it.
“You cannot win the war against terrorists and the terrorist nations without winning the ideological war as well,” he said.
But while he expects the specter of ISIS possessing weapons of mass destruction to have no discernible impact on U.S. policy, he says the other nations in region are definitely sitting up and taking notice.
“I think it changes things a lot for the neighboring countries. Certainly the Israelis are not going to be very happy about this and the Arab states really can’t be happy about this either. It’s really their fight. They should be putting troops on the ground and planes in the air and dealing with ISIS. They’re just sitting back and watching,” said Babbin.
Half a world away, Secretary of State John Kerry raised the U.S. flag and re-opened the American embassy in Havana, Cuba, on Friday. The event comes less than a month after Cuba re-opened its embassy in Washington and is the latest step in re-establishing diplomatic ties with the communist regime.
Babbin says this is another arrangement in which the Obama administration was fleeced through diplomacy.
“There’s really nothing in this for us and then Castro is out there saying, ‘The United States owes us millions of dollars in reparations and needs to give us Gitmo back.’ There’s just no reason to do this whatsoever,” said Babbin, who believes an episode from early in the Obama administration demonstrated whose side this president would be on in times of crisis.
“You can go back to 2009, when they stood with Fidel Castro in condemning the efforts of the Honduran people to throw out a would-be dictator, Mr. (Manuel) Zalaya. When the Honduran supreme court removed him when he was trying to overstay his term in office, Obama said that was a coup and so did Fidel Castro,” explained Babbin.
Babbin says the past six-and-a-half years are littered with policy after policy that weaken the United States and the Cuba policy sends an especially bad message to other dictators around the world.
“It says that Obama is their friend and not their enemy. That’s, quite frankly, the truth. We see what’s going on with the Iran deal. We see the things that are going on in North Korea, which we’re doing nothing about. We’re seeing the things going on in the South China Sea with China building these artificial islands and we’re not doing anything about that,” said Babbin.
He added, “The list of things we should be doing something about and aren’t is relatively short. But there’s a very long list of things we’re doing that are things we shouldn’t be doing.”
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review enjoy watching the Democrats panic over Hillary Clinton’s problems and having no one but Joe Biden and Al Gore to look to for help. They also cringe as both ISIS and Syria reportedly use chemical weapons to attack their enemies. And CNN’s Chris Cuomo follows up a story about the rampant raping of non-Muslims by ISIS fighters by worrying about whether it negatively “feeds an impression”.
A retired U.S. Navy officer, who spent seven excruciating years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is blasting the argument made in a recent Newsweek column that the POW/MIA flag was a political concoction of the Nixon administration that is really a symbol of racist hate.
On Monday, Newsweek published a column by Washington Spectator National Correspondent Rick Perlstein entitled “It’s Time to Haul Down Another Flag of Racist Hate.”
“You know that racist flag? The one that supposedly honors history but actually spreads a pernicious myth? And is useful only to venal right-wing politicians who wish to exploit hatred by calling it heritage? It’s past time to pull it down,” wrote Perlstein. “Oh, wait. You thought I was referring to the Confederate flag. Actually, I’m talking about the POW/MIA flag.”
Perlstein then proceeded to assert that President Richard Nixon used the POW families and their movement for his advantage.
“The flag was the creation of the National League of Families of Prisoners of War, later the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia, a fascinating part of the story in itself,” wrote Perlstein
He continued, “The organization was founded by POW wife Sybil Stockdale, during the Johnson administration, in an effort to embarrass LBJ and challenge his line that all in Vietnam was going swell. Johnson tried to silence them; Nixon’s people, however, spying opportunity, coopted the group, sometimes inventing chapters outright, to fan the propaganda flames.”
Perlstein further alleges that the Nixon administration engaged in a public relations effort by demanding to know what happened to downed pilots and to know the names of every prisoner of war. He says this flew in the face of previous wars, in which prisoners were only discussed after the war, and that the movement was aimed at painting the U.S. as the primary victim of the war and our enemies as “some species of Oriental despotism.”
Retired U.S. Navy Captain Gerald Coffee was held captive from February 1966 to February 1973, much of that time in the infamously brutal Hanoi Hilton. Coffee finds Perlstein’s argument ridiculous and insulting.
“This takes this whole political correctness crap to a whole new level. I’m just so disappointed that this flag, the symbol of our incarceration, got dragged into it,” said Coffee, who went on to receive a Silver Star, two awards of the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars and many other citations for his heroism.
He says the prisoners were aware of the flag and were greatly inspired by it.
“It was something that was very comforting to us there in Hanoi when we realized there was a flag in our honor and was flying with our country’s flag. It honored us more and did more for our morale,” said Coffee. “That flag is a symbol of the sacrifices that are sometimes required to defend our freedom.”
Coffee says he personally knows the history of the flag and the people behind it, adding the real history and Perlstein’s version are very different.
“I know the people involved in the design and conception of that flag and there’s not a racist bone among them,” he said. ”
Perlstein admits in his piece that Coffee and the other U.S. prisoners were treated badly, but he says the ongoing adoration of the flag covers up the fact that our enemies were supposedly treated far worse in the hands of our South Vietnamese allies.
Coffee says that misses the point.
“It doesn’t make any difference. Our treatment was horrendous. It’s been verified. Just read any POW book and there’s a dozen or so out there. My own book, “Beyond Survival,” tells it like it was. I had no reason to exaggerate or embellish,” said Coffee.
“People who come off with these half-cocked ideas like Perlstein, without having read something that a POW has written, at least one book, God, at least one book. To speak out of total ignorance is just beyond the pale,” said Coffee.
For Coffee, this is the second slap in the face for POW’s in recent weeks.
“What the hell does Perlstein know? What does he care anyway? He’s just inserting himself into something about which he knows nothing, just like Donald Trump did a few [weeks] ago talking about John McCain’s behavior as a POW,” said Coffee.
Beyond the perils of the men held captive in Vietnam, Coffee says the flag also reminds Americans of the character needed to keep America strong since its founding and that he believes is sorely needed again.
“The service of the POWs in Hanoi characterized the kind of dedication and patriotism and determination that through the years has helped to keep our country free, that is until the last six-and-a-half years or so,” said Coffee
Rather than accuse the government of using the POWs as a political smokescreen, Coffee says Perlstein and everyone else should see the story of Americans prisoners in Vietnam as one of nation’s finest chapters.
“Almost to a man, the performance was equally dedicated. We looked at our POW time as a different form of combat. We communicated with each other. We formed ourselves up into military organization. We had command structure, a chain of command. We didn’t consider our selves to be out of combat because we were POWs,” said Coffee.
The backlash to the Perlstein story has been intense. Both Newsweek and the Washington Spectator have changed the headline to the more benign, “The Story Behind the POW/MIA Flag.” The content of the story is unchanged, however, and Perlstein’s apology mostly keeps arguing his initial case.
“I sincerely regret the use of the word “racist” to describe how the POW/MIA flag distorts the history of the Vietnam War. The word was over the top and not called for,” said Perlstein in his statement.
“I’m deeply sorry it hurt people—especially people who’ve selflessly served their country. Most of all, I’m sorry because many of the people offended by the word “racist” are the same people who were hurt when the experiences and feelings of common soldiers and veterans were manipulated to serve the powerful interests and individuals who blithely and perennially send men and women to war, then don’t take care of them when they return home,” he continued.
Coffee flatly rejects the political arguments, particularly the one suggesting the war should not have been fought.
“Just ask any of the Vietnamese who’s one of the boat people that spent ten years incarcerated under the communists when they took over. They’ll tell you what we were trying to accomplish was worthwhile. We saw this. Saigon fell. South Vietnam was in a blanket of communist hatred and repression. It was exactly like we thought it was going to be,” said Coffee.
“It was a shame too because we had the war won and Congress snatched defeat from the jaws of our victory,” he added.
As for Perlstein, his column and his effort an apology, Coffee see no good that can come from such an effort.
“I’m very gratified Perlstein is getting static for this. He deserves it. He deserves all the static he’s getting, for trying to open old wounds like this,” said Coffee.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are pleased to see even the mainstream news media hammering Hillary Clinton for her conduct related to her emails and the pathetic defenses offered by her campaign. They also slam billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer for spearheading numerous initiatives to tax consumers and energy companies and now wondering why gas prices are so high in California. And they react to Jesse Ventura wondering whether he could be Donald Trump’s running mate.
Just weeks after a prominent health care expert predicted that Democrats would begin a nationwide push for taxpayer-funded contraception for schoolgirls, including abortion-inducing drugs, Virginia is proving to be the next battleground.
The idea started in a Colorado pilot program, in which teenage girls were given contraceptives including implanted abortafacients known as long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARC’s, and intra-uterine devices, also called IUD’s. The program showed marked reductions in teenage births and reported abortions. Efforts then began to enact a taxpayer-funded version of the program, but it died in the Colorado legislature over conscience and religious liberty concerns.
Writing in The Washington Post, Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, who is also a pediatric neurologist, hailed the Colorado numbers as a proven way to bring teenage pregnancies way down.
Over the past six years, Colorado observed a 40 percent decline in teen births and a 42 percent decline in teen abortions based on an innovative program that provided education, counseling, administrative support and long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to providers and patients upon request,” wrote Northam.
“These long-acting birth control methods, which include intrauterine devices (IUDs), injectables and implants, can last up to 10 years. They have a failure rate of less than 1 percent compared with condoms and the pill, which have failure rates of around 18 percent and 9 percent respectively,” added Northam.
Northam made it very clear he wants Virginia to go down the same road.
“This is an issue Virginia needs to consider for the health of women of all ages, the health of our infants and the fiscal well-being of our commonwealth,” he said.
Northam also made a focused pitch for taxpayers to pick up the tab since IUD’s and LARC’s are far more expensive than oral contraceptives.
“As a physician and a policymaker, I believe all Virginia women should be informed about and have access to all possible reproductive health-care options so they can make the best decisions for their families,” he wrote.
Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner addressed the issue last month in a New York Times “Room for Debate” forum. In a subsequent interview she cited this push as part of the “culture of death” pushed by the political left.
In response to Northam’s case for taxpayer -funded IUD’s, Turner says it sets a troubling precedent for government.
“If the state is basically saying, ‘We don’t trust you,’ then we’re basically saying the state has to make all of your decisions for your life,” she said, noting this could set up a battle between government and parental rights.
“What if parents object to that? Is the state going to say, No, we’ve decided that because we don’t want to have the state pay for the pregnancy and the delivery and perhaps Medicaid for the child after that. Therefore, we’re going to encourage young women to have these long-term contraceptives,” said Turner.
She also says Northam paid no attention in his Washington Post piece to the ethical and health concerns surrounding implantable contraception.
Indeed, Northam gave it just one sentence.
“Unfortunately, myths also abound with regard to LARCs and the safety of IUDs, in particular,” wrote Northam, while noting the devices have the backing of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Turner says that glosses over some major issues.
“Northam makes absolutely no reference about the moral, ethical, religious issues involved in this question,” she said. “He’s basically saying he’s looking at the numbers, that teen can be reduced without any sense of what message does this send.”
Two major objections are in play simultaneously. Northam is asking taxpayers to pay for the program, regardless of whether such a plan violates their consciences.
“This is not something for the state to decide. When the state says that we are going to use taxpayer dollars to pay for long-term contraceptives that can actually be abortafacients, that is condoning those. There are tens of millions of people in this country who have strong moral, religious, ethical convictions against that,” said Turner.
Much like the Hobby Lobby case that landed at the Supreme Court, Turner expects any state that adopts this policy to end up in a long legal battle.
“For the state to say we’re going to ignore [objections of conscience] and to use your tax dollars to pay for that, that is a violation of the first amendment. I think we would see many court cases taking that, ultimately I hope, to the Supreme Court,” said Turner.
Turner is also concerned about the impact such a policy would have on middle school and high school girls.
“Having the government fund these long-term contraceptives for often poor teenage girls, tells these young women that taxpayers will pay for them to have sex without fear of pregnancy and that they don’t have to be responsible for the consequences of their actions. Sex is not without consequences, even if pregnancy is not one of them,” said Turner.
She said the possible consequences range from physical to emotional.
“There’s no such thing as safe sex. Are we telling these young women that they can have promiscuous sex and not have consequences? Of course there are going to be consequences, not only in the form of sexually transmitted diseases but in the sense of what kind of an image are they developing of themselves,” said Turner.
And she says implanted devices that can prevent conception for up to a decade also carry some risks.
“We don’t know the consequences for their health, of having contraceptives for a 19-year-old girl. The contraceptive may last for 10 years. Is she ever going to get her fertility back? You don’t know that,” said Turner.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are glad to see the FBI forcing Hillary Clinton to hand over her private email server after two of just 40 emails reviewed are found to contain top secret information. They also groan as Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake considers backing the Iran nuclear deal. And they rip apart Newsweek magazine for suggesting the POW/MIA flag is a symbol of racist hate.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s triggering of massive water pollution in four western states is further proof that the federal government has lost sight of its environmental responsibilities and has no business burdening Americans with costly rules on emissions, water or ozone.
That’s the conclusion of Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Chris Horner in the wake of more than three million gallons of contaminated water escaping from an abandoned Colorado gold mine. The Animas River turned orange as gallon after gallon of water containing arsenic, lead and other dangerous metals escaped the Gold King Mine as a result of work done by EPA contractors trying to shore up the mine.
“They were trying to clean up areas near a very old mine that had been considered a problem waiting to happen or a slow-moving train wreck and they came in and made it disastrously worse,” said Horner.
In the days following the disaster, the EPA has offered very limited comment and been criticized for its sluggishness in updating the extent of the problem. Horner says the EPA would never let a private firm get away with this kind of response.
“It’s the kind of spill that if it occurred as the result of the private sector would lead to the EPA demanding, shrieking to the heavens that they be granted all sorts of further authority over the private sector so that this thing doesn’t happen,” he said, noting that accountability is not a two-way street at the EPA.
“Everybody makes mistakes. EPA’s reason for existence and constant expansion is that they don’t make mistakes like others. The problem is government is not like you and I. They’re not accountable,” said Horner.
Horner says the EPA’s clumsy handling of the Gold King Mine contamination means it should never be permitted to enforce sweeping new regulations on citizens and businesses.
“It comes amid their biggest demand for authority over the private sector, wrapped in this veil of saintliness and goodness and perfection and competence. This reminds us the agency clearly does not possess it,” said Horner.
Because of the EPA’s pursuit of lower carbon emission standards and new rules on water and ozone, Horner says the agency can’t keep its eyes on the job it’s supposed to be doing.
As a result, he says Congress ought to take an aggressive stand against the EPA overreach.
“You know what Congress ought to say? ‘This is a big red flag. You are not accountable. That is clear. And you want to redesign the electricity system. What happens when you take that out of the hands of the people that delivered a miracle, the modern electricity system, and give it to an unaccountable bureaucracy that has no expertise in this,'” said Horner.
“This is an agency running around, pretending to control the weather with rules they acknowledge will have no impact on the weather. But it’s a good excuse to do something they’ve always wanted to do,” he added.
Among the carbon, water and ozone rules, Horner finds the recent power plant emissions rule the most troubling.
“You’re threatening the country with a blackout. There are terrific, tremendous, immediate human health and environment consequences, life and death consequences from that,” said Horner.
“[The rule] was driven, expressly according to the president, to finally make renewable energy profitable. That’s not a legitimate purpose of government. And to bankrupt companies he didn’t like. You need to hit the brakes on that immediately because you’re going to kill people. This agenda is killing people in Europe right now, which may be one of the reasons the president stopped telling us to look to Europe to see how it’s going to turn out,” added Horner.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review react to Nancy Reagan inviting every GOP candidate to the next debate, except Jim Gilmore. We also discuss Rick Perry having to suspend payment to his staffers. And we wonder what it takes to get fired from the White House when a special assistant to the president is facing charges for shooting at her boyfriend and the administration only places her on unpaid leave.