BREAKING NEWS: Brunson Deal
NBC News reports that Trump Administration officials have reached a deal with Turkey that could free North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson in coming days. Brunson, who has been held in prison for two years, is scheduled to appear in a Turkish court tomorrow.
There are concerns Turkey may back out of the deal, which it has done before. But there are hopes that the Turkish government may drop the charges against Pastor Brunson tomorrow.
Please join me in praying for Pastor Brunson's freedom and for a safe return to his family here in the United States.
China Reports Rock D.C.
Communist China has been making headlines lately, and definitely not for the better. Yesterday, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified before the Senate. Their remarks were chilling.
"China, in many ways, represents the broadest, most complicated, most long-term counterintelligence threat we face," Wray said. Here's more:
"Russia is, in many ways, fighting to stay relevant. . . They're fighting today's fight. China is fighting tomorrow's fight . . . and it affects every sector of our economy, every state in the country and just about every aspect of what we hold dear."
Nielsen echoed Wray's concerns, warning senators:
"China absolutely is exerting an unprecedented effort to influence American opinion. . . They're bringing everything they have to bear. They're playing a long game trying to influence us in every way possible."
Their statements came as the Justice Department was announcing the arrest of yet another Chinese spy, an intelligence officer in the Ministry of State Security who compromised U.S. aviation and aerospace companies.
And it comes in the wake of news that China may have hacked dozens of U.S. companies and government agencies by "weaponizing the complex supply chain."
But there's more.
Yesterday, the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China issued its Annual Report documenting in great detail China's abhorrent human rights and religious freedom record.
Commission co-chairs, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), noted in the report's Executive Summary:
"China's government and Communist Party have become more repressive in domestic politics, more mercantilist in trade and economic policy, increasingly dismissive of international norms, and more assertive in spreading their model of authoritarian governance globally."
Among the trends the report highlights is the unprecedented repression of Uyghur Muslims; a dramatic increase in Communist Party control over government, society, religion, and business; and the increasing use of technology and surveillance as a tool of repression.
For many years now, the prevailing wisdom in Washington has been that increased trade with China would ultimately lead to political liberalization. Sadly, this report, recent news and statements from top security officials prove that the opposite has happened.
Trump's Lunch Guests
At a White House ceremony this morning, President Trump signed the Music Modernization Act. The legislation updates royalties laws for the digital era. Needless to say, it was a star-studded event. (Watch it here.)
Following the bill signing, the president had lunch with rapper Kanye West and NFL legend Jim Brown to discuss criminal justice reform. I know West is a controversial figure. His music is not exactly my cup of tea. But West's embrace of Trump has shocked left-wing elites and terrified the liberal political establishment.
Meanwhile, Brown has applauded Trump's criticism of the NFL kneelers. Brown said:
"I'm an American. I don't desecrate my flag and my national anthem. I'm not gonna do anything against the flag and national anthem. I'm going to work within those situations. But this is my country, and I'll work out the problems, but I'll do it in an intelligent manner."
Clearly, Brown is not "woke." He's from the older generation that was taught about America's greatness. He is a patriot who appreciates the tremendous potential this country offers its citizens.
And even though Brown experienced real racism, he witnessed the Civil Rights movement first hand. He saw America working out its problems as he lived out the American Dream.
Today's lunch with West and Brown is another example of how Donald Trump is reaching out to minorities in unconventional ways. He doesn't hesitate to go after liberals who are promoting policies that hurt the black community, like turning a blind eye to illegal immigration.
And there is some evidence that Trump is gaining traction with minority communities.
The Violent Left
When Barack Obama was president, he and the media loved to lecture conservatives about civility in politics. They were the high-minded ones, while the Tea Party movement was castigated as an angry mob. Whoops! Apparently, you're not supposed to use the "M-word" anymore. (Here and here.)
In fact, Michelle Obama had a line she liked to use, "When they go low, we go high!" Well, I must have been out of town the last time the left was civil and high-minded.
Was that before they started their search-and-destroy mission on unborn children? Was that before they brought the full weight of the government down on the Little Sisters of the Poor and on Christian bakers?
Was that before Attorney General Eric Holder was cited for contempt of Congress or before Lois Lerner sicced the IRS on Tea Party groups?
Is that the left's idea of civility in politics?
Speaking of Eric Holder, he's got an update to Michelle Obama's line. Holder told a group of left-wing activists over the weekend, "When they go low, we kick 'em."
I'll say this for Mr. Holder -- at least he's honest. That is certainly what the Antifa thugs -- the left's storm troopers -- are all about.
But it is shocking to hear the former secretary of state and the former attorney general stoking violence and incivility against their political opponents. That is not what this country is about. That is not how we will make America great again.
Are You Registered?
Believe it or not, early voting for the 2018 mid-term elections is already taking place in several states. But you can't vote unless you are registered. And voter registration deadlines are approaching fast.
Please make sure you and all your friends and family members are registered to vote.
BREAKING NEWS: Brunson Deal