Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America fume after a federal judge decides the debate over whether women should have to register for the draft has gone on long enough and rules the all-male draft is unconstitutional. They also defend California Sen. Dianne Feinstein after supporters of the Green New Deal send small children to beg Feinstein to join their cause. Then Jim unleashes a powerful response as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questions whether the planet is in such peril that young people should no longer have children. And they have their favorite catch phrase ready as former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bashes Pres. Trump and says he misses President George W. Bush, whom Reid derided as a loser and a liar a decade ago.
The United States Marine Corps is no longer requiring infantry officer candidates to pass the grueling Combat Endurance Test to qualify for the position, a move Marine officials say is reflective of modern needs but critics say is proof that standards are being watered down so more women can meet the criteria for difficult jobs.
“The U.S. Marine Corps will no longer require prospective officers to pass a punishing combat endurance test to graduate from the service’s Infantry Officer Course.
“Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller quietly made the shift to standards in November, altering the test from a pass/fail requirement to just one of many exercises measured as part of overall IOC evaluation,” reported the Washington Free Beacon.
The story was based off a report from the Marine Corps Times, which characterized the policy change as minor.
The Corps has come under criticism for what some have claimed to be unnecessarily high standards to graduate from the course. To date, only one unnamed female Marine has successfully completed the entire course,” the Marine Corps Times reported.
“’Over the past 40 years, the Marine Corps has made multiple modifications to Infantry Officer Course (IOC) program of instruction (POI) to reflect the requirements of the operating environment,” Training Command said in a statement to Marine Corps Times. “The quality of the course remains the same,'” stated the Times.
Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly isn’t buying it.
“Nobody’s going to be fooled by that. If the test is no longer pass/fail. if it’s no longer must-succeed, it certainly has changed. It’s changed a great deal,” said Donnelly.
“To make it just another evaluation point on the way to being an infantry officer changes the character of the program. It is a lowering of standards, and it’s not being done for operational requirements,” said Donnelly. “It’s not operational, it’s political because the pressure has been on the Marines to change the nature of the combat endurance test.
She believes a move like this proves that military readiness is not the top priority in the Marine Corps right now.
“It really is regrettable. It is an unforced error. He didn’t have to do this. The purpose is to reach gender diversity metrics. Metrics is another word for quotas. The quotas were imposed during the Obama administration. It’s a new administration and there should be official action to put them to an end,” said Donnelly.
Donnelly is calling on Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer to reverse the policy.
She also described what the Combat Endurance Test is and why she believes it needs to be a tool for identifying the best leaders.
“It’s a very tough, full-day, starts-before-dawn, exhausting exercise. It involves long marches, heavy loads. You’ve got to make your way through unknown terrain. You have to survive. It’s exhausting, deliberately so, people with bloody feet and falling because they can’t march anymore.
“This test is tough for a reason because infantry officers are supposed to lead men into battle so the test has to be tougher than it is for the enlisted soldiers and Marines. To say that officers no longer have to succeed on this test is indeed a major change, not a minor one,” said Donnelly.
When then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced ground combat roles would be opened to women in 2015, he was quick to assure the nation that standards would not be watered down to accommodate the policy change. Donnelly says this news seems to prove Carter’s promise wasn’t kept.
“Neller didn’t even announce this. He started it in November. Only now has the story come out that the Combat Endurance Test is now just a combat evaluation test. That it’s something different than what it was before. It’s the application of what wee call the Dempsey Rule.
“When Army Gen. Martin Dempsey was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in January 2013, he was asked what would happen if women couldn’t make the higher standards for the infantry. He said, ‘If the standards are too high so that women can’t succeed, we’ll ask why is it that high? Does it have to be that high?” said Donnelly.
It’s a bit ironic that the Marines are making such headlines. During the debate over whether ground combat roles ought to be opened to women, the Marines commissioned a major study showing the physical differences between men and women were substantial and that women were much more susceptible to injury in such capacities.
“We didn’t get to see [that] report. The administration brushed it aside and forced it on the military anyway. But in this case the Commandant of the Marine Corps said we’re going to do it even though he wasn’t ordered to do it. That’s what’s so disappointing, the way that this has happened not with a bang but a whimper,” said Donnelly.
Donnelly is also wondering whether the Marines lowered the standards on the endurance test before deciding that it wasn’t necessary to pass to remain an infantry officer. She says credible reporting from 2012, 2013, and 2014 showed an attrition rate of 20-30 percent among Marines attempting the endurance test.
Yet, the Marines claim attrition rates are now three percent, and just one percent in 2017.
Donnelly says no one should think less of women in the military as a result of this controversy. She says the leadership is failing.
She also says the bottom line is that men and women are different.
“There is a physiological inequality that needs to be taken into account. Otherwise, we’re going to lose a lot of good female officers who would otherwise progress in their careers. Why would we want to do that?” asked Donnelly.
“And if you make it possible for all the women to get through without being injured then you’re not going to be demanding as much of the men, and the men will be less prepared for battle,” she added.
A prominent conservative, female attorney in Washington is ruffling feathers in the modern women’s movement by suggesting victory has been achieved on the issues that drove activism in the first place, but she says abortion activists have since hijacked the movement and any dissent is considered treasonous.
In a recent column for the the New York Times, Cleta Mitchell says the original women’s movement was not about abortion but about giving men and women a level playing field.
“[Abortion] wasn’t the genesis of the women’s movement. It was really to identify laws that treated women and men differently,” said Mitchell, who is a partner in the Washington firm of Foley & Lardner. She has been prominent in many politically-charged cases. Her clients include individuals and groups targeted by the IRS while seeking tax-exempt status.
Mitchell points out that U.S. law evolved from English common law, which inflicted inequities such as not allowing women to inherit property. For many years, the law excluded women from certain professions or precluded them from serving on juries. In the 19th century, women were often not allowed to speak in public. More recent issues focused on equal opportunity and pay.
Mitchell says women should be eager to point out they won all those debates.
“Fortunately, we were successful. Those laws were eradicated. There is no disparate treatment of women under the law in the United States today. Period,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell was active in the women’s movement in the 1970’s, but within a few years, she could see the emphasis changing to embrace abortion.
“I began to see that happening towards the end of the time I was active in the women’s movement, where I began to see that it was morphing at that time into the abortion issue. We were also being confronted with things like gay rights. I didn’t have any interest in those things because I thought that wasn’t what represented most American women and the challenges women faced,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell says that morphing continued until abortion rights became the foundation for the movement.
“The women’s movement refuses to declare victory mainly because it has morphed into a giant lobby for abortion. It’s not within the construct of Roe v. Wade. It is abortion on demand with no restrictions,” said Mitchell.
In addition to the rhetoric, Mitchell says the proof is in who are considered leaders of the women’s movement today.
“Today, that is really Cecille Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood. That’s who they look to as a key leader as well as (avowed communist) Angela Davis. And they bring Gloria Steinem out of mothballs,” said Mitchell, who also denounced the women’s march in January as well as the aggressive speeches from Davis, Madonna and Ashley Judd.
She says the past 45 years have proven a conservative icon 100 percent correct.
“The truth of the matter is Phyllis Schlafly was right. In the final analysis, Phyllis was absolutely right. I’m glad I was able to tell her that many, many times before she died last year. She said that it wasn’t possible to have an Equal Rights Amendment and the women’s movement without it morphing into something we didn’t want to have happen,” said Mitchell.
“Phyllis was right that it was the natural progression that it would be taken over by the left wing, which it was,” said Mitchell.
So instead of empowering all women, Mitchell says abortion quickly became a wedge issue by which liberal women would shun their conservative counterparts.
“I think that conservative, professional women are virtually invisible within the ranks of what would be the women’s movement. If you are a pro-life, conservative professional woman, you’re really a pariah,” said Mitchell, who recounted how women at a conference sponsored in part by her firm turned on her after learning of her legal work on behalf of conservative clients.
“When they found out who my clients were, one of them looked at me and said, ‘Does that mean that you know Tom DeLay?'”
“I said, ‘Yes, I know Tom Delay.’ He was House Majority Leader at the time.”
“They said, ‘Well, you can’t be friends with him.'”
“I said, ‘As a matter of fact I am friends with him and I think he’s a fine legislator and I help him every chance I can.'”
These women just looked at me and instantly turned away. One of them said, ‘What are your views on abortion?'”
“I said, ‘I’m pro-life,’ and they said, ‘How can you be pro-life and pro-woman?’ These women just pounced on me,” said Mitchell.
In some cruel irony, Mitchell says it’s often liberal, pro-choice women who stunt the career growth of women who don’t agree with them politically.
“There is no daylight if you are a pro-life, conservative professional woman. You are not welcome in the ranks of the women who put together networks and events to promote themselves,” said Mitchell.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the Trump administration’s new executive order temporarily banning travel from six nations with major terrorism problems. They also react to North Korea announcing its latest missile tests were designed to strike U.S. bases in Japan. And they slam teachers in Alexandria, Virginia, for forcing the cancellation of school because 300 of them plan to attend the anti-Trump women’s march.
As pro-life activists take part in the annual March for Life in Washington, they are more optimistic than any time in recent memory as a Republican Congress and a pro-life president get to work and more and more younger Americans join the cause thanks to modern science.
Leaders in the movement, like Susan B. Anthony List Vice President for Government Affairs Marilyn Musgrave, expect President Trump to make good on all his pro-life campaign promises.
“He made a pledge to work to defund Planned Parenthood, to support the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, to make the Hyde Amendment permanent, to nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. I might add that that’s the big one. That is the big one,” stressed Musgrave.
There’s already been action on two of those promises. On Monday, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which forbids U.S. tax dollars from going to any organization performing or advocating for abortion in foreign countries. In addition, the House of Representatives passed legislation to make the Hyde Amendment permanent. The Hyde Amendment prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortions in the U.S.
Musgrave applauds Trump and the House. She notes that every Republican who voted was in favor of the bill, along with three Democrats.
“It is very good times for us because we have hope that we can actually make gains for life,” said Musgrave.
She also says there is no reason Republicans can’t defund Planned Parenthood.
“I believe defunding Planned Parenthood, redirecting those dollars to other health care providers that don’t do abortion, I think that’s the one that’s most quickly attainable by the House and Senate through the reconciliation process,” said Musgrave.
Reconciliation is a budgeting process that skirts the possibility of a filibuster, meaning a simple majority in the Senate could defund Planned Parenthood.
Musgrave says accomplishing the Trump promises would save countless lives.
“The Hyde Amendment has saved over two million lives since 1976. It’s my prayer that at this time in history, we will look back on our efforts, our marching, our support for women and their babies, the acts of this Congress and this president, we will look back and know that many, many lives have been saved,” said Musgrave.
In addition to favorable political winds at the moment, Musgrave says the future of the pro-life movement is bright because of the thousands of young people who are actively part of the effoet to protect the unborn.
“The March for Life, with now the faces of many young people, is an incredible encouragement to me,” said Musgrave. “We are seeing the new face of the pro-life movement and that is incredibly encouraging as we see millennials speaking up for life.”
She says one reason for the youth infusion is that science keeps showing the humanity of the unborn.
“I can remember the day when they said it was just a blob of tissue. That’s what they would tell a pregnant woman. Now we know that those precious little babies are operated on in utero. We know that they can feel pain after the fifth month of pregnancy,” said Musgrave.
“We know these things. It’s not disputable anymore. So the preciousness of that unborn child, the humanness is ever more an more evident, especially to the millennials that are marching,” said Musgrave.
Musgrave says the real scientific game-changer is the sonogram or ultrasound. And while some recently claimed ultrasounds give women false evidence of their baby’s humanity, Musgrave says those images are very powerful to mothers dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.
“When women see the image, they know that that is a child. That is their baby. So there is a reason that the pro-choice crowd doesn’t want women to see the ultrasound. The humanness of that child is very evident right there for the mother to see,” said Musgrave.
She says many ministries are centered around giving women the chance to see their babies.
“It’s just precious to me when you see local communities, pro-life people supporting mobile ultrasound units. And I love it when a pastor gets up in a church and saying, ‘Because of your donations for this mobile ultrasound, you have saved many lives,” said Musgrave.
Musgrave says the ultrasound had a profound impact in her family.
“I remember the day I saw the picture of my grandson, Isaac. It was an ultrasound picture. I knew even then that he was going to look just like his daddy. And by the way, he does. That ultrasound speaks volumes. That’s the image that we see, that people are sharing with their family and friends. Science is on our side,” said Musgrave.
The March for Life will be the second for Musgrave in less than a week. She scoped out the Women’s March on January 21. In addition to missing any consistent message among the demonstrators, Musgrave was especially bothered by the number of men carrying signs in support of Planned Parenthood.
“Does that in any way relieve you of your responsibility for your sexual actions? If children are produced by that, do you just want them aborted? Do you not want them supported and taken care of? It was an interesting emotional time for me to be among those marches,” said Musgrave.
However, Musgrave firmly believes the pro-life side is advancing and that the combination of science, young activists and allies in Congress and the White House means the future is very bright.
“Now we have the opportunity to do things in the pro-life movement that I’ve not seen in my lifetime. It’s a very encouraging time,” said Musgrave.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America scratch their heads over White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s special briefing to scold the media over coverage of crowd size at the inauguration and the location of the Martin Luther King bust in the Oval Office. They also shake their heads as the huge “women’s march” is really nothing more than an anti-Trump movement that likely turned off more potential allies than it attracted with all the vulgar speech and costuming. And they discuss Sen. Marco Rubio’s decision to support Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State just two weeks after blasting him during Tillerson’s confirmation hearings.