- Idaho State Sen. Steve Vick says one city's efforts to force a Christian wedding chapel to perform same-sex marriages in his state is a blatant violation of the Constitution and he is seriously considering legislation to get the state government out of marriage entirely because he fears churches will be the next target in the aggressive homosexual agenda.
Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled Idaho's constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman was unconstitutional. While that decision was placed on hold during the appeals process, officials in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, informed Hitching Post wedding chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp that they would be required to perform same-sex ceremonies or face jail time and fines if the court's decision stood. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriages to go forward in the state.
The Knapps have operated the Hitching Post since 1989. They are bible-believing Christians who refuse to participate in ceremonies they believe are clearly condemned in scripture. A legal fight is already underway, but Sen. Vick says he and the local community are outraged by the Coeur d'Alene's treatment of the Knapps and anyone else seeking the free exercise of their faith.
"It's very disappointing to me that they would require a Christian business owner to do something that violates their religious convictions, which I believe are protected by the first amendment to the United States Constitution," said Vick. "Most of the reaction that I incurred has been from disappointment to shock that [the city] would do that."
Vick has plans to meet with the Knapps later this week to discuss their ordeal. In the meantime, he expects the state legislature to address the issue. Vick admits there is no concrete legislation in place yet but many lawmakers strongly believe the state needs to take action. The senator is personally investigating two approaches, the second of which may come as a major surprise to other conservatives.
"One is to try to re-establish the standing of those who have deeply-held religious convictions," said Vick. "Another potential avenue that I'm exploring is just eliminating marriage licenses in Idaho."
Vick admits eliminating state sanctioning of marriage would be a big step and he is only beginning to explore that option. Still, he says the response so far is very positive.
"I have discussed it with just a few people. I don't have a bill drafted or anything. I have discussed it at some of the town halls I've been at. It actually seems to be fairly well-received. In my opinion, if we're not allowed to determine the standards for a marriage license, then maybe we should just not issue them," said Vick.
The senator says these are the kind of things states must consider since the will of the voters are being rejected in the federal courts.
"I believe the only way the Supreme Court will hear it is if a different circuit court rules differently. I haven't seen that yet, but if another circuit ruled that a state could keep on their books a constitutional amendment or a statute that says marriage should be between one man and one woman, then I think the Supreme Court would have to hear it. Other than that, I think these rulings will probably stand," said Vick, referring to the high court refusing to hear appeals from multiple states after judges struck down voter-approved constitutional amendments establishing traditional marriage as law.
While Vick remains concerned for Christian business owners like the Knapps, he believes efforts to force believers into approving and participating in same-sex weddings are already targeting the church itself.
"I believe the next step will be to say that churches themselves cannot discriminate. They cannot discriminate and the church will have to marry same-sex couples and not be allowed to say anything. Clearly they're going after the freedom of the church's speech through the hate speech statutes," said Vick.
For Vick, officials in Coeur d'Alene and elsewhere are guilty of assaulting freedoms that are the cornerstone of our nation.
"I still believe [they] are requiring someone to violate a long-held and well-established religious conviction. It's not like somebody established a new religious conviction to discriminate. This is a well-established belief that's been held by most of the people in the Christian church for over 2,000 years. So, I don't know that the state should be involved in choosing who's rights to violate," said Vick.
- President Obama's new Ebola czar was hired for the purpose of "massaging news" for political purposes much more than he was to coordinate the federal response to the disease appearing on American soil and his involvement in the Solyndra mess is proof, according to former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy.
"It's not a good sign when they bring somebody in to coordinate an effort whose chief talent is massaging bad news for political purposes. Klain, from all accounts, is a very bright guy and he's probably very good at his job. But I don't know that when what the country's worried about is an Ebola outbreak, his particular skill set is what people were looking for in a coordinator," said McCarthy, a New York Times bestselling author, who recently released "Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama's Impeachment."
Since the White House announced Klain as the Ebola response coordinator on Friday, plenty of critics have pointed to Klain's lack of medical experience and his partisan history on matters ranging from the 2000 Florida recount to the Democratic strategy against the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas in 1991. However, McCarthy believes another illuminating chapter of Klain's time in Washington was his handling of the Solyndra controversy in the early years of the Obama administration.
In a piece for National Review Online, McCarthy revisits the story of Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer based in California and he says there are some eerie similarities between Klain's actions as Solyndra was imploding just before the 2010 midterms and what he is likely to do in response to Ebola coming to the U.S.
In October 2010, despite the infusion of $535 million in taxpayer assistance, the company was about to go under. Solyndra officials told the Obama administration it was about to go public about it's financial woes and the need to cut jobs. Klain, serving as chief staff for Vice President Joe Biden, was having none of that just days before the midterm elections.
"It was reported to Klain and Valerie Jarrett among others that around October 28 they were letting 20 percent of their workforce go and closing one of their big plants. The next thing you know, the Department of Energy ends up putting a lot of pressure on Solyndra and they delay the announcement until the day after the election," said McCarthy.
So what is the parallel to Klain's appointment to lead the Ebola response effort?
"I think it's a cautionary tale about what Mr. Klain's real job is here, which is basically to massage news, particularly with a new round of midterm elections on the horizon, to manage when news gets disclosed so it will have the least damaging political impact," said McCarthy.
However, the former prosecutor says the whole Solyndra tale reveals far more than that about Klain and the Obama administration as a whole.
In 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act. Among other things, the law allowed the federal government to engage in venture capitalism with taxpayer dollars with the goal of boosting green energy businesses. Solyndra applied for federal assistance then but was denied.
"Even though the administration was anxious to get on that bandwagon, it shunned Solyndra. The main reason was it's business model was, as one analyst put it, a complete and total disaster. It was hemorrhaging money. It really didn't have any prospects of becoming viable, much less profitable," said McCarthy.
McCarthy says the federal government's attitude toward Solyndra changed drastically in January 2009.
"Within a week of Obama taking office, their application was back in business again. One has to conclude that has something to do with the fact that the backer of Solyndra was the family foundation of a major Obama donor," he said, referring to the family foundation of Obama donor George Kaiser.
This time, with environmental advocates in power and Klain serving as Biden's chief of staff, Solyndra's application was speedily approved, but it didn't change the financial outlook for the company.
"It's business model was such that it couldn't compete with Chinese companies that were able to deliver solar energy with much more efficiency and for much less money. As a result, this company continued to hemorrhage money," said McCarthy.
When hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars failed to stabilize Solyndra, the next step was to seek market financing by going public and selling shares of the company. That never happened, however, because a legally-mandated audit revealed a fiscal mess that accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers described as a "going concern".
Even with that backdrop, the Obama administration continued to publicly highlight Solyndra as a model for robust American economic growth.
"[The audit] happened a couple of months before President Obama famously came to Solyndra and touted it as a great company that was going to have these wonderful ramifications throughout the economy," said McCarthy.
This is also the time, emails show, that Klain became directly involved in advancing the glowing Solyndra narrative despite the mounting evidence that it was a house of cards. Prior to the speech, presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett saw the financial state of the company and sought counsel from Klain as to whether Obama should still go there.
"Basically, Klain said, 'Look, I'm comfortable with it. The president touted ten of these companies. Chances are a couple of them might go belly-up. That's just what you have to do. You have to take these risks.' It seems to me, when you read the email about it, he was sort of cavalier about the fact you could have massive, catastrophic failures of these companies that are flush with taxpayer funds," said McCarthy.
But the worst part of the story the taxpayers getting shortchanged upon Solyndra's implosion. The Energy Policy Act mandates that if a company receiving taxpayer funds goes under, the taxpayers (the U.S. Treasury) were to be first in line for reimbursements when a company's assets were sold.
"In this instance, what the Obama administration did was to allow that part of the law to be essentially waived. They restructured the deal so that Solyndra backers were able to get priority over the taxpayers," said McCarthy, noting well-connected donors got in line ahead of the public for at least the first $75 million of the reimbursement.
That, says McCarthy, is criminal.
"They went out of their way and beyond the parameters of what federal law wants done in order to protect the backers from the consequences of their horrific investments," he said.
- Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is ripping President Obama's "political" choice to be the administration's Ebola response coordinator and says Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden needs to be fired and the U.S. Congress should be reconvened to pass travel restrictions on people linked to the African nations hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak.
On Friday, just hours after saying he hadn't decided whether to appoint an "Ebola czar", Obama tapped Ron Klain for the job. In that role, Klain will report to National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco.
Klain served as chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore and held the same position from 2009-2011 for Vice President Joe Biden. Klain may be best known for his role with the Gore campaign during the Florida recount following the 2000 presidential election.
The choice leaves Vitter confused and unimpressed.
"I'm still looking for (his) health care background. Maybe it's there. I'm still looking for that. In terms of a manager, he quite frankly seems more of a political manager than a strong policy manager," said Vitter.
Regardless of the appointment of Klain as the response coordinator, Vitter says it is imperative that Obama relieve Frieden from his position as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"I think his response to the crisis has been pathetic. I think that was underscored again yesterday with his testimony before the House committee. He didn't have strong, clear answers and he hasn't had strong, clear actions. So he's not the leader we need. President Obama needs to fire him and have a strong, competent leader at the CDC and elsewhere who can lead this effort," said Vitter.
According to Vitter, there are three glaring reasons why Frieden has lost credibility and must be dismissed.
"Number one, the CDC has not been competent and proactive in terms of helping the hospitals involved with adequate protocols. We now know, after all this happy talk about strict protocols, that they weren't in place anywhere near in time that they had to be," he said.
Even worse, says Vitter, was the stunningly bad advice given to Dallas nurse Amber Vinson, who checked in with the CDC before boarding a flight following her work with now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.
"They made horrible mistakes in other cases, like telling the second person who came down with the disease, who had contact with the patient, that she could go on a flight because her fever was only 99.4 (degrees) instead of 100.6. That's ludicrous. Then she went on a flight and was obviously in contact with dozens or hundreds of people who were distributed all around the country," said Vitter, who also faults Frieden for not doing more to keep the threat out of the U.S.
"Dr. Frieden has been very, very weak on travel restrictions. I think he's letting political correctness trump caution and common sense," he said, clearly frustrated by the entire administration's refusal to impose a temporary travel ban on transportation to and from the African nations hit hardest by Ebola.
"President Obama has to get real and immediately look at travel restrictions. That was a key element of the successful strategy that isolated and then eradicated the Ebola epidemic in Africa in the 1970s. We need to learn from that positive experience," said Vitter.
And the senator is not just talking about flights directly into or out of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
"I think we need to think of it in terms of individual travel restrictions, not just flights. You can end direct flights and still have folks in through Europe or elsewhere. So I think we need to talk about travel restrictions into the U.S. and barring certain folks from certain countries," said Vitter, who is strongly urging congressional leaders to call members back to Washington to pass legislation to restrict travel.
"I've called for that with Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) today. I think we should be back now. I think we should get back as soon as possible. I think we need to talk about these important things , starting with travel restrictions," he said.
Public trust in the federal government was already quite low. Vitters says it may very well plummet further and that would be very understandable given how recent headlines show the government not being up to the job on key issues.
"I think it's adding to an already dismal lack of confidence, and I don't blame the public. They see over and over and over again these huge sprawling bureaucracies which have become incompetent or worse, like the IRS and all of their scandals, like the (Veterans Administration) and the CDC and other federal agencies with Ebola," said Vitter.
However, a new wrinkle to this debate is conservatives wondering if criticizing the competence of the CDC and other federal agencies is a tacit GOP admission that big government is OK so long as the leaders can do their jobs well.
"Though there are fair criticisms of the CDC 19s handling of Ebola, by giving into the temptation to point fingers at Obama, Republicans run the risk of reinforcing the idea that any crisis or perceived crisis can be handled if only there were a better person in charge. And this could cut against many of the arguments that conservatives usually make about the inherent problems with federal bureaucracies," wrote Washington Examiner columnist Philip Klein.
Vitter says there are some things the federal government is supposed to lead on and this is one of them.
"I do think in a national situation like this , CDC as a federal agency is the right entity to have a big role. Certainly, talk about travel restrictions has to come from the federal government. Individual states can't do it. So I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with how all of this has been decided and executed by the Obama administration," he said.
- There are plenty of issues giving the Obama administration problems these days, from Ebola to ISIS to a rough outlook for the midterm elections. Now there's one more concern: the Secret Service allowing a guy to jump the White House fence and waltz in the front door. The Capitol Steps take us inside the chaos with the an updated version of "Secret Service Man." Steps impressionist Mark Eaton is out guest.
- Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is not the bipartisan lawmaker he promised to be when running for office in 2008 and his recent actions call his ethics into question along with his voting record, according to Republican U.S. Senate nominee Ed Gillespie.
Warner was a very popular governor in the Old Dominion from 2002-2006 and easily won an open Senate seat in 2008. While still the favorite for re-election, Warner's once massive lead is now down to the high single digits according to some recent polls.
Gillespie says it's because voters in a swing state like Virginia expected Warner to follow through on his promises to reach out to all sides and Warner has failed that test. As for the Warner record, Gillespie says voters only need to compare the quality of life in the state to what it was six years ago.
"Since Mark Warner took office, for every net job created, two Virginians have gone on to food stamps. There are 65,000 more women living in poverty today. And as a result of his deciding vote for Obamacare, 250,000 of us will have our insurance plans canceled this year. We can do better. This is the result of bad policies and my policies would turn things around," said Gillespie.
Another challenge for Gillespie and other Republicans in recent years is a heavier Democratic presence in the electorate, especially in the fast-growing Washington, D.C., suburbs and in the Hampton Roads area in the southeast part of the state. After years of GOP domination in Virginia at the presidential level, President Obama carried the commonwealth twice and last year voters selected former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe as governor.
Gillespie believes Virginia is still a swing state and believes it will swing to the right this year.
"That pendulum is swinging back and I see more intensity and enthusiasm among Republicans and independent voters are very frustrated with the direction of the country right now and so are soft Democrats. I believe we're going to get a lot of soft Democrats to vote for me on November 4 as well as a big turnout among Republicans and a majority of independents," said Gillespie.
One issue that could change the dynamics of the race is the growing controversy involving Warner's efforts to persuade a state senator from resigning. Democrat Phil Puckett decided to resign so that his daughter would be eligible for a more prestigious judicial appointment in the state that was not available while he was in office to due to anti-nepotism laws in Virginia.
With the state senate evenly split and Puckett's vote potentially critical in McAuliffe's efforts to expand Medicaid, McAuliffe's chief of staff, Paul Reagan, told Puckett he could have anything he wanted. Warner spoke with Puckett's son and admits "brainstorming" about ways to keep Puckett in office, including the possibility of a presidential appointment for Puckett's daughter to the federal bench.
Puckett ultimately resigned anyway, but Gillespie says Warner's actions are deeply troubling.
"For Mark Warner to get in the middle of that about maybe we can get your daughter a job with a federal contractor or maybe a an appointment to the federal bench (is) very deeply troubling. We know the impact that federal judges have in our lives and in our system," he said.
"There are a lot more answers that remain to be answered and Virginians deserve an answer to these questions before November 4 from Mark Warner," said Gillespie.
As for Gillespie's agenda, repealing and replacing Obamacare is right at the top of his list.
"We all have concerns about Obamacare. I think it was a huge mistake. I said so at the time. I said it would kill jobs, raise our health care costs and hurt our quality of care. I was right about all those things, but I want to replace it with patient-centered, market-oriented reforms that will work," he said.
Gillespie recently released five key principles that should guide health care reform. He advocates tax break for employers and refundable tax credits for individuals to make coverage more affordable. He believes there should continue to be assurance for people with pre-existing conditions that they can get covered, and he calls for shopping for health care insurance across state lines to drive up competition and bring costs down.
"I believe Virginians deserve a choice. I have said from the beginning I'm going to run on these five things. These are the things I will do as our next senator. If I don't do them, hold me accountable. In the same way, I'm saying Mark Warner should be held accountable for not doing the things he said he would do," said Gillespie.
When it comes to jump-starting the economy and restoring fiscal sanity to Washington, Gillespie is pushing a three-pronged approach. He says sparking economic growth would increase revenue and reduce the number of Americans dependent upon government assistance. He would also push hard for entitlement reform and start cutting away at the federal budget.
"Every federal program needs to be subject to scrutiny. We need to eliminate some, phase some out, pare some back and of course there's a lot of wasteful spending that needs to be cut. An inspector general's report found there was six billion dollars in unaccounted for, wasteful spending, nobody can even tell you where it went, at the State Department alone last year. So there's a lot of things we can do," he said.
Gillespie also addressed two divisive issues within the GOP, immigration and the definition of marriage.
On immigration, Gillespie says Obama, like many other issues, has his approach all wrong.
"One of the things that's wrong with the Obama-Warner policies is that the federal government's doing too many things better left to state and local governments and the private sector and failing at too many things the federal government ought to be doing well," said Gillespie.
He says securing the border should be achieved before pursuing any other reforms. Gillespie favors finishing construction of the border fence, which he point out Warner voted against. He also advocates much tougher enforcement of expired visas. However, he says when those things are accomplished he does support issuing new visas to illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. provided they pass criminal background checks, pay back taxes and prove they can support themselves and their families.
On marriage, Gillespie says he favors a federalist approach.
"I believe states are the proper purview for those decisions. But my view has not changed. I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, but I do not support a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution," he said.
- President Obama's attempt to hide the cost of healthcare in the coming year until after the midterm elections will not obscure the financial strain already impacting millions of families and Obamacare could end up being a decisive issue in the fight to control the next U.S. Congress, according to health care policy expert Grace-Marie Turner.
In the wake of last year's disastrous Obamacare roll-out in the weeks leading up to the November elections, the administration quietly postponed the start of enrollment for 2015 until November 15, nearly two weeks after midterm elections that will determine the majority in the U.S. Senate next year.
"It really is quite cynical to have started the re-enrollment date on November 15, when last year they started it on October 1. They don't want people to be enrolling and seeing their higher premiums before they head to the polls," said Turner.
Despite the administration's efforts to keep health care costs off the political radar screen, Turner says the truth is already getting out.
"We've already seen premium increases in many states and, unfortunately, many of the swing states. You're seeing double digit premium increases," said Turner. "In some places, you're even seeing 10-20 percent rate hikes. Some other states you're seeing them level off, but remember this is on a base of an average increase of 41 percent in the individual market last year."
Premium increases may be a big headache for millions of people in the coming weeks, but Turner says the problems run a lot deeper than that, starting with a huge number of Americans likely to lose their current plans once again.
"Those people who renewed one more year because their plans were grandfathered, that expires in most cases at the end of this year. What that means is people are going to start getting cancellation letters. Some of them have already started getting them now. Most of them have to be in the mail by 60 days before the policy cancels, which is right about the time of the elections," said Turner.
She says other people will be without coverage because their employers simply won't be able to afford it.
"Workers are being cut back on their hours so that employers don't have to pay the fine for not providing health insurance. We saw WalMart recently saying they're going to drop health insurance entirely for its part-time workers who work fewer than 30 hours a week. So they can go to the exchanges. Well, it's going to cost them more with higher deductibles. It's going to be worse coverage," said Turner.
For those finding themselves on new plans or just paying more for the old ones, Turner says the cost increases don't stop there.
"Many people are finding that their average deductible, the amount of money that they have to spend out-of-pocket, before insurance even triggers in, is now in the Obama exchanges about $5,000 a year. So people are seeing higher deductibles, higher co-payment, higher costs, fewer doctors. And they are not happy," said Turner.
Obamacare is not getting much attention in the national media as the midterms loom less than three weeks away, but Turner says that obscures how big of an issue this still is for millions of voters. She says national and international crises may be dominating the headlines but voters aren't forgetting how much they have to pay for health insurance under this new law.
"Yes, it is an issue in the elections, in the congressional elections and the senatorial elections. I think that we may find that it actually becomes a deciding vote of whether somebody says, 'Oh, it's really fine. I voted for it,' or whether their opponent is saying, 'I'm going to go back to Washington and we're going to take care of this because we realize how much harm this law is doing,'" said Turner.
There is some debate among Republican candidates around the country as to whether full repeal is the way to go if the GOP takes control of the U.S. Senate or whether a piecemeal approach is best.
Turner says the latter is a more shrewd approach.
"They're going to tackle specific issues. I think you'll very likely see a repeal of the medical device tax. You'll see perhaps a relaxation and extension or even repeal of the mandate on employers and on individuals," she said, explaining that going bit by bit at least has some chance of succeeding while Obama is in office.
"The president's not going to sign anything anyway for the next two years to repeal the whole law. but if you get enough Democrats supporting repeal of specific provisions, he may be forced to sign them as part of bigger legislation or you could get such big margins that you have a veto-proof majority," said Turner.
She says GOP control of Congress would give the party an excellent chance to explain and prove to the American people how they would pursue market-based reforms when and if a Republican is elected president in 2016.
- Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly is unloading on President Obama for what she sees as a "dereliction of duty" in failing to protect Americans from the threat of the Ebola virus, going so far as to blame him for the Texas nurse now battling the disease and saying this is the worst moment of his presidency.
Schalfly is the president of Eagle Forum and spearheaded the fight to to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and 1980s. She is also a syndicated columnist. Her latest book is "Who Killed the American Family?"
Over the weekend, 26-year-old nurse Nina Pham was diagnosed with Ebola after tending to now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Duncan, despite wearing protective gear.
President Obama is under increasing pressure to ban flights to and from west Africa until the crisis is under control, but the president and other officials are resisting those demands. Schlafly thinks she knows why.
"Obama wants to be a citizen of the world and he acts like he wants to be nicer to every other country than to the United States. He doesn't want to do anything that acts unilaterally for the United States. I think it's just an outrage. I think of all the things he's done, this is the worst," said Schlafly, who elaborated on what she sees as the ramifications of Obama famously declaring himself a "citizen of the world " in 2008.
"For example, he denies that the United States is an exceptional country, and we are exceptional. We've built the greatest prosperity and the greatest freedom in the history of the world. That's why everybody wants to come here. That's so obvious," she said.
"[Obama] wants all these UN treaties, these bureaucratic busybodies to direct our life. Everything he's doing is for the globalist concern. It's not for America," said Schlafly.
Schlafly has long argued that our immigration policies are inviting economic ruin and national security risks into the U.S. Now she says the threat of disease from Ebola, enterovirus and tuberculosis should make border security an even more obvious priority.
"I think it does add severely to our problem. The American people are really outraged about Obama letting these people into our country. He doesn't have to let them in," said Schlafly, saying the Ebola problem on American soil is one of our own creation.
"Years ago, we set up Ellis Island off of New York City so that people who wanted to get into our country could be retained there until we found out they were disease-free and able to support themselves and otherwise OK to come in. Now they just let them all in and say, 'Well, that's out problem,' But it wasn't our problem until Obama made it our problem," said Schlafly.
For Schlafly, the initial U.S. approach should be fairly obvious.
"I think the best and simplest and fastest way is to say we will not accept anybody who's coming from those countries in west Africa that are so badly infected. We just don't let them get off the plane," she said.
Political momentum for "comprehensive immigration reform" stalled considerably after a wave of unaccompanied minors flooded America's southern border this past summer. Schlafly believes the additional concern over diseases coming from Africa and Central America should be the end of any questions over border security, but she isn't sure that's the case.
"Well, I hope so, but the scuttlebutt was (Obama) was just going to postpone it until after the election and then do it by executive order. Of course, the Constitution gives immigration power to the Congress. It doesn't give it to the president," said Schlafly.
Republicans were largely split over the Senate version of immigration reform for the bulk of the current Congress. Just prior to the summer recess, however, House Republicans passed what many consider to be tough border control legislation that was ignored in the Senate.
GOP leaders and many immigration activists contend the party got the message after the summer border crisis and is no longer interested in the comprehensive approach. Schlafly isn't so sure.
"The Republicans are still floundering around, not sure what they want to do. We took a survey of all the polls that these candidates seem to believe in. They show it's really suicide for the Republican Party if we don't close down our borders and don't stop any talk of amnesty," said Schlafly.
She says any way you look at it, granting legal status to illegal immigrants and failing to really secure our borders is inviting disaster.
"Amnesty would not only kill the Republican Party, it would damage our country immensely. We bring in all these people who want to take jobs away from our native Americans. Now, of course, we know it's bringing in disease too," said Schlafly.
- Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney says the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continues to advance on Kobani and Baghdad because there is no meaningful air campaign being conducted by the United States and the terrorist army will only gobble up more territory if that policy doesn't change.
McInerney is also accusing Turkey of duplicitous actions that help ISIS wipe out the Kurdish population, leave Turkey guilty of genocide and should cause NATO to reconsider Turkish membership.
Reports in recent days show ISIS advancing and even controlling parts of Kobani, a populous city on the Syria-Turkey border. Similar progress is seen by ISIS outside Baghdad.
After approximately two months of U.S.-led air strikes, the enemy is still moving forward. Gen. McInerney says there's a very good reason for that.
"It's not an air campaign. People have got to understand these are hitting just three targets a day, mayne up to five. We just are not using air power. Now if we were doing 200, 500 or 1,000 like an air campaign is, then you would see significant results. This is not an air campaign. The Pentagon hasn't even given it a name," said McInerney.
What's less clear to the general is why there's such a limited number of bombings.
"I think it has all to do with politics. I don't know exactly why except maybe the Democratic base does not want to see an aggressive air campaign. It bewilders me, because I think it would help the president and the Democrats politically if they looked decisive," he said.
Kobani has been in the news the past several days. As ISIS forces closed in and began controlling parts of the city, the Obama administration stressed the strategic insignificance of the city.
McInerney strongly disagrees.
"I think it's very significant and somewhat surprised why the administration would say that (because of) its strategic location with Turkey, its strategic location with Syria and controlling that area. If they take Kobani, they take that whole sector and you've got from Mosul all the way up to Kobani that has become part of ISIS. That is a very significant swath of territory," said McInerney.
While the ISIS offensive plays out near its border, Turkey's actions in recent weeks often seem contradictory. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's actions range from calling on the United States to commit ground forces to the fight in Syria to reports his government is giving logistical aide to ISIS as it clashed with Kurdish forces.
McInerney believes Turkey is playing both sides.
"The Turks are playing a very dangerous game in a very duplicitous role. They want to see the Kurds destroyed. They do not want to see the Kurds in Syria, Turkey and Iraq come together and have a Kurdistan. So they are really participating in genocide of the Syrian Kurds in Kobani," said McInerney.
"Unfortunately, it appears that U.S. officials are somewhat in agreement with them. That's one of the reasons I think they have such a paltry air campaign," he said.
According to British newspapers Independent and Daily Mail, over 200,000 Kobani residents have already fled into Turkey. For those that remained, the results have been ghastly.
The Daily Mail quoted Amin Fajar, a 38-year-old Kobani resident, who recently fled the city and related the atrocities committed by ISIS.
"I have seen tens, maybe hundreds, of bodies with their heads cut off. Others with just their hands or legs missing. I have seen faces with their eyes or tongues cut out - I can never forget it for as long as I live," Fajar was quoted as saying.
The Independent relayed the story of Belal Shahin, who also escaped from the ISIS advance through Kobani and shared his story with MSNBC. He says the horrors are many and the world seems determined not to notice them.
"ISIS came into the villages. They beheaded people as well as animals. They took animals and girls; they left nothing. Even animals don;t do what ISIS are doing They are doing these things and it's not acceptable," said Shahin to MSNBC.
"But the whole world has blocked their ears in order not to hear. And they've become dumb. There's nothing to stop them," he said.
The latest confusion out of Turkey unfolded on Monday, when National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Turkey had granted permission for the U.S. to carry out strikes against ISIS from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. However, Turkish officials later said no deal was done and that negotiations were merely ongoing.
McInerney believes the world needs to pay attention and loudly condemn Turkish collaboration with ISIS and that the country need to pay a severe diplomatic price.
"We should call out to the world what Turkey is doing and how Turkey is participating in genocide. They are no longer, in my opinion, a credible NATO partner," said McInerney, who then elaborated on how Turkey could be removed from the alliance and why it would be deserved.
"I think you've got to warn them and you start taking votes if they don't change their attitude and what they're doing. They've got all those tanked lined up overlooking Kobani from a hill in Turkey. They could easily, easily defeat ISIS forces there and yet they haven't lifted one finger to try to help them. They haven't even let the Kurds move munitions through Turkey into Kobani to help support Kobani," said McInerney.
However, the general says the most immediate issue is the status of the air campaign. He says the ISIS march will continue without a much more concerted effort from the U.S. and our allies.
"We do not need ground forces on the ground. This is a Muslim problem. Let them provide the ground forces. We will provide the air forces. If we don;t do something and we aren't decisive, if we don't put the right amount of precision air power in there 24/7, then ISIS is going to win in that area," said McInerney, who says the consequences of that would be disastrous.
"That has some very negative long-term implications against the United States. We do not want them to get that oil wealth in that part of the world. That could be very deleterious to the whole stability in the Middle East. But we've also got to get the Arabs, the Iraqis, the Saudis, the Kurds, the Jordanians to be stepping up and to take them out," he said.