Flaking Out, Trump Tackles Prison Reform, Defending Asia Bibi

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Flaking Out
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake is once again living up to his name. 
Appearing on the left-wing network MSNBC yesterday morning, Flake declared that sending troops to the border was "a stunt," adding, "We don't know where the caravan, if it makes it north, is going to come."
Really, senator?  We're not as dumb as Sen. Flake seems to think.  We know exactly where the caravan is, and it is coming north.  Some migrants are already at the border
The real issue is that Flake doesn't seem to care.  In all his years in the Senate representing a border state, Flake never took the lead on restoring the rule of law and securing the border.  Instead, he's been an advocate for amnesty and massive levels of immigration.
But now he's managed to top even that. 
Flake went to the Senate floor yesterday afternoon and announced that he is refusing to support any Trump nominees, including judges, until there is a vote on legislation protecting Robert Mueller.
I met this week with a large group of conservative leaders and we all agreed that it was imperative for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to confirm Trump's nominees as quickly as possible. 
For many, the nomination process must start over again when the new Congress is sworn in a few weeks from now.  Some portion of them, understandably so, simply can't afford to go through this nonsense all over again.  And that is exactly what the left is trying to do.  It wants to deny the president his appointees by any means possible.
It is unconscionable that the senator from Arizona is now aiding and abetting Chuck Schumer's historic obstructionism.
But let's be honest about this: Flake is still hoping that Mueller can destroy Donald Trump.  Flake is so worried the investigation might be derailed that he is willing to derail the one unifying issue on the conservative agenda -- that we restore balance on the federal courts. 
In its own way, it's not terribly surprising.  The #NeverTrumpers were willing to sacrifice the courts in 2016, and some are obviously still trying to sacrifice them today.
Trump Tackles Prison Reform
At a White House press conference yesterday, President Trump announced his support for the First Step Act, a bi-partisan measure to reform our criminal justice system.  Joining the president were Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Rand Paul (R-KY), along with Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Doug Collins (R-GA).
I take a backseat to no one in supporting law enforcement and being tough on crime.  But having partnered with my late friend Chuck Colson for so many years, I know there are areas of our criminal justice system that need reform. 
To his credit, the president has decided this is something we can do on a bi-partisan basis.  In addition, it could help to bridge the racial gap. 
There are many on the left in the minority community who oppose President Trump, but they will support him on this -- something Barack Obama talked a lot about but never accomplished.
In his remarks, the president said that the First Step Act will:

  • Provide incentives for low-risk inmates to learn the skills they need to find employment when they are released from prison, helping to reduce their chances of recidivism.
  • Makes it easier to place federal inmates closer to their home communities in order to help facilitate family visitation.
  • Includes sentencing reforms so that people like Alice Johnson, who was pardoned by President Trump, are not unjustly trapped in jail.  This also frees up space to keep hardened criminals behind bars.

The president also noted that seven law enforcement organizations have endorsed the First Step Act, as have "more than 2,000 leaders in the faith community."
Defending Asia Bibi
As you know, one of the most important aspects of my work is defending religious liberty.  And not just here in America, where we too often take for granted the broad constitutional protections we enjoy, but also speaking out for persecuted Christians around the world.  That is one reason why I was so honored to accept President Trump's appointment to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to defend Asia Bibi during an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Voice of America. 
As you may recall, Bibi is a Christian mother in Pakistan who was convicted of blasphemy against Islam and sentenced to death.  Thankfully, her sentence was overturned, but her life remains in danger as long as she is in Pakistan.
You can watch the interview here.  I come on at the 17:00 minute mark.
Brexiting Bad
Every day we get another example of how establishment parties, even those that claim to be conservative, undermine populist forces that demand secure borders and respect for national sovereignty. 
British Prime Minister Theresa May demonstrated it again yesterday when she produced a Brexit deal that does not do what British voters demanded when they voted to leave the European Union. 
Four cabinet members have resigned, and May herself may well be the next to go as she is now facing a vote of no confidence.  The once great Tory Party of Margaret Thatcher is being laid low. 
The failure of so-called "leaders" like May, Merkel and Macron is only stoking the growth of populist parties that will make decisions the Eurocentric crowd refuses to consider.
Country Stars Stick To Music
I didn't watch the Country Music Awards last night, but reports suggest that there was virtually no politics from either the hosts or the winners.  If true, that would be a welcome development and one that I hope begins a new trend in Hollywood. 
How did we get to the point where the Robert DeNiros, Alec Baldwins and Taylor Swifts of the world believed they had an opinion on politics that was somehow superior to everyone else's?  The voters of Tennessee evidently didn't care much about Swift's endorsement of progressive politics. 
I can only think of one movie star who actually had something useful to say about politics.  He had a Hollywood career, but became increasingly concerned about the direction of the country. 
So he read the great classics and schooled himself on the Constitution.  He left Hollywood and went into politics.  Of course, I'm referring to Ronald Reagan, one of our greatest presidents and the man I was honored to serve for all eight years of his presidency.