Immigration Debate Begins
After securing passage of a budget deal that fully funds the Pentagon and keeps the government open, the Senate is now turning its attention to immigration reform. According to The Hill, “Senators are predicting a free-for-all” debate.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “It sounds like Senator McConnell’s just going to … let people have at it… It ought to be pretty fascinating.” McConnell said last week that whichever side can produce 60 votes “wins."
Democrats have made it clear in recent weeks that their number one priority is amnesty. Meanwhile, the GOP is divided between the cheap labor business-wing establishment and border security conservatives.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) is introducing legislation modeled after President Trump’s compromise proposal — a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and those eligible for DACA protections in exchange for serious reforms to our current immigration system and an upfront commitment for major border security improvements.
Grassley’s bill is co-sponsored by Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Cotton (R-AR), Ernst (R-IA), Lankford (R-OK), Perdue (R-GA) and Tillis (R-NC). Unfortunately, progressive leaders denounced the president’s plan, so it is hard to imagine enough Senate Democrats voting for it to pass.
We will keep you posted as the debate proceeds.
Israel vs. Iran
Tensions flared in the Middle East over the weekend after Iran sent an unmanned drone from Syria into Israeli airspace. Israel responded by launching major airstrikes against Syrian air defense positions. During one of the strikes, an Israeli F-16 was shot down.
Responding to Iran’s aggression, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
"I have been warning for some time about the dangers of Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. Iran seeks to use Syrian territory to attack Israel for its professed goal of destroying Israel. This morning Iran brazenly violated Israel’s sovereignty… And this demonstrates that our warnings were 100% correct.
"Israel holds Iran and its Syrian hosts responsible for today’s aggression. We will continue to do whatever is necessary to protect our sovereignty and our security.”
Hopefully, this flare-up will flare out. But there is no doubt that a big part of the responsibility for what happened this weekend lies with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Israel is not surrounding Iran. Iran has been methodically surrounding Israel. It has been empowered to do so by a nuclear deal that Obama and Clinton considered one of their biggest accomplishments.
Sadly, that deal made no attempt to force Iran to change its behavior in the Middle East, while it ended tough sanctions and generated a huge windfall for Tehran’s massive military buildup.
The Obama/Biden/Clinton administration made a strategic decision to side with Iran. Obama talked of Iran becoming a “very successful regional power,” as if the Shiite Islamic Republic was the key to stability in the region. At the same time, they were treating Israel like a second-class ally.
As Netanyahu stated, the ayatollah is not subtle about the regime’s goals. He wants a second Holocaust and the “liberation” of all Israel.
We will see what happens next. But many well-connected insiders we know in Israel have publicly warned that a war with Iran or its proxy Hezbollah will not be like the previous conflicts we have seen in Gaza, where Israel went to extraordinary lengths to avoid civilian casualties.
Such a war will be a war for survival, and Israel will use every tool at its disposal because the alternative to victory would be unthinkable.
All Hail Little Sis
The American media’s gushing coverage of Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, is pathetic. Jong is leading the North Korean delegation at the Olympics in South Korea, and, apparently, U.S. journalists just can’t get enough of her.
Consider this headline from CNN: “Kim Jong Un’s Sister Is Stealing The Show At The Winter Olympics.” The only thing she has stolen is the food and future of the North Korean people. Her family has turned the country into a prison where starvation is a daily fact of life.
The Washington Post described her as “The Ivanka Trump Of North Korea.”
The media’s hypocrisy is breathtaking. Kim Yo Jong is not merely the dictator’s sister. She is a leading regime official, serving as deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. In other words, it is her job to manipulate the media, and our media elites are falling for it hook, line and sinker.
I hate to say this, but there is only one explanation for the mainstream media’s fawning coverage of Jong: Anti-Americanism is now so rampant on the Left that it will take virtually any foreign thug over America. It hates Trump and Pence so much that it sees North Korea as just the “resistance” with nukes.
Meanwhile, most Americans probably don’t know that Vice President Pence took Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, to the Olympic Games in South Korea.
The America press, which supposedly cares about freedom of speech and human rights, should roundly condemn Kim Yo Jong and stop cheerleading for the Stalinist regime.
Sunday evening, I received the shocking news that Jeff Bell, my friend of many years, passed away Saturday night. Along with Frank Cannon, Jeff led the effort to draft me into the 2000 Republican presidential primaries and served as a key adviser to my campaign.
While not a household name, Jeff was a tremendous force in conservative politics. He served as a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan’s 1976 challenge against Gerald Ford. Two years later, Bell challenged liberal Republican Sen. Clifford Case in the New Jersey primary and won. Unfortunately, he lost the general election to Democrat Bill Bradley. He ran twice more, most recently in 2014.
While much of Jeff’s work was devoted to supply-side economics (he also worked on Jack Kemp’s 1988 presidential campaign), he was a man of deep faith and staunchly pro-life.
He understood better than most the deep connection the American people have with traditional conservative values. And Jeff was ahead of his peers in recognizing the great divide that was emerging in America between populists and elitists. He even wrote two books on the subject.
As I have read the tributes to Jeff appearing online, there is an emerging theme to which I can attest: Jeff’s extraordinary kindness. My friend Frank Cannon put it well, writing that Jeff will be remembered for “his passion for people … and his incredible mind, which was matched only by the size of his heart.”
Please join Carol and me in praying for Jeff’s wife, Rosalie, and their four children.