Airliner Shot Down
U.S. officials are saying it is "highly likely" that a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed in Tehran early Wednesday morning was shot down by Iranian anti-aircraft systems. More than 170 people were killed, including 82 Iranians.
Of course, the Iranian regime is blaming the crash on engine failure and refusing to hand over the plane's black boxes, which could provide investigators with significant details about what happened.
Their refusal to cooperate will further isolate the regime. Most international airlines won't want to do business in a trigger-happy country that refuses to cooperate with legitimate crash investigations.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Let's hope that 2020 turns out to be a better year for law enforcement appreciation than 2019.
Sadly, there is a growing phenomenon of police officer assassinations. As 2019 was coming to a close, Officer Stephen Carr was shot ten times while sitting in his parked patrol vehicle.
Deputy Sheriff Chris Dickerson was the last officer killed in the line of duty last year. He was making a traffic stop in Gary City, Texas, in the early morning hours of December 31st when he was shot six times.
Unfortunately, one officer has already been killed this year. Officer Jackson Ryan Winkeler was gunned down Sunday attempting to make a traffic stop at the Florence Regional Airport in Florence, South Carolina.
Politicians in urban areas often seem more interested in courting the progressive mob rather than supporting the officers on the Thin Blue Line. It's not going very well for them. While I'm all for second chances, being weak on crime only hurts innocent people, most often the minority communities progressive politicians claim they're trying to help.
For example, New York's recent bail reforms, pushed by the progressive left, are coming under serious scrutiny. California's criminal reform efforts have led to a surge of thefts and vandalism. Baltimore continues to struggle with a horrendous murder rate.
Thankfully there aren't that many jobs in America where a man or woman leaves home in the morning never knowing if it is the last time they will hug their spouse and kids. But for many law enforcement officers and other first responders, that's what they live with each and every day.
The only time we hear about the police is when they have done something wrong or dramatically captured a criminal. But there are more than 10 million arrests every year. That's more than 27,000 arrests every day, and 99% of those are for the good of society.
In the overwhelming majority of cases when a police officer takes a life, it is justified. But I marvel whenever I see celebrities who lament having to speak to their children about how they have to interact with police.
Being respectful to the police shouldn't be a burden. In fact, I think every family should have that conversation. All of us should be teaching our children to respect the law and the people who enforce the law.
Sadly, the only way to overcome this growing disrespect for law enforcement, especially among young people who are being taught that the police are bad, may be to go a week without cops. If that happened, I am confident that Americans generally, and young women especially, would have a new appreciation for the police.
So, if you see a police officer today, say, "Thank you." Post a short note of thanks on social media to the police department in your community.
Police have been given ugly notes or have been denied service at various stores. If you see an officer in a restaurant today, give them a note saying how much you appreciate them or offer to pay for their bill.
As you many of you know, President Trump appointed me to serve on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 2018. Yesterday, the Commission held an important hearing on Capitol Hill about rising anti-Semitism around the world.
While the focus of the Commission is promoting religious liberty overseas, I made a special point at the beginning of the hearing to say that America must take the lead by fighting anti-Semitism here at home. (Click here to watch the hearing.)
To have any credibility in calling out anti-Semitism in Great Britain, Germany, France, and throughout the Islamic world, we need to combat anti-Semitism here in America -- in our churches, in mosques, in our schools and in our homes.
If someone on the right engages in anti-Semitism, conservatives need to confront that individual. If someone in the progressive movement engages in anti-Semitism, then progressives must call them out. If an imam is preaching Jew-hatred in an American mosque, then peace-loving Muslims must confront that imam.
And the same is true of Christians. In fact, I believe Christians have a special obligation to fight anti-Semitism. After all, Jesus was a Jew! His disciples were all Jews.
I am angry every time a mainline church denomination passes a resolution condemning Israel, the homeland of the Jews, while ignoring regimes like communist China, Islamist Iran and Stalinist North Korea. That is anti-Semitism, and it is wrong.
Cotton Confronts Anti-Semitism
Kudos to Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)! The senator delivered a powerful speech yesterday confronting anti-Semitism in its various forms. Here's a brief excerpt of his remarks:
"[Anti-Semitism] festers on Internet message boards and social media. It festers in Washington think tanks like the Quincy Institute, an isolationist 'blame-America-first' money pit for so-called 'scholars' who've written that American foreign policy could be fixed if only it were rid of the malign influence of Jewish money.
"It festers even on elite college campuses, which incubate the radical Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement -- a movement to wage economic warfare against the Jewish state."
It is particularly noteworthy that Cotton called out the Quincy Institute. It is a new organization funded by billionaires George Soros and Charles Koch. Yes, that Charles Koch, a man who has previously funded many Republican candidates. Various Koch entities spent more than $8 million helping to elect Sen. Cotton in 2014.
I commend Sen. Cotton for having the courage to call out anti-Semitism, especially when it risks offending those on the libertarian right who have supported him in the past.