PowerLine -> House lifts the ban on headwear to accommodate Ilhan Omar + John Hinderaker – The Ultimate Fake News

PowerLine -> House lifts the ban on headwear to accommodate Ilhan Omar + John Hinderaker – The Ultimate Fake News


Daily Digest

  • House lifts ban on headwear to accommodate Ilhan Omar
  • Trump backs leniency for fentanyl dealers, MS-13 members, etc. Part One
  • Racial discrimination, Harvard style
  • The Ultimate Fake News
House lifts ban on headwear to accommodate Ilhan Omar

Posted: 19 Nov 2018 01:47 PM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)The House of Representatives has lifted a 181-year-old ban against wearing hats on the floor of the House. The ban was instituted in 1837 to push back against the British custom of wearing hats in parliament.

The change has been made to accommodate newly-elected Ilhan Omar, a Muslim who wears hijab. It will also enable another newly-elected Muslim, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, to do the same.

In addition, Democrats say the ban will be lifted to allow others to wear headgear on the floor based on religious or medical considerations. It would, of course, be untenable for the Dems to lift the ban to accommodate Muslims but not, say, Orthodox Jews.

I support this change in the rules. Whatever one’s view of Ilhan Omar, she should be able to perform her duties as a congresswoman without violating the dress requirements of her religion (assuming no threat to security on the House floor). Accommodating deeply held religious beliefs when doing so imposes no undue hardship is a cherished principle in America or should be.

I do wonder what the response would have been if, at some point during the 181-year history of this rule (or even now), an Orthodox Jew had sought permission to wear a kippah on the House floor. But speculation about this, or even evidence that such requests have been denied in the past, is no basis for opposing the ability of Ilhan Omar to adhere to religious requirements regarding headwear while performing her job.

The Muslim congresswoman responded to news of the rule change with this comment:

There are those kinds of policies that oftentimes get created because people who have blind spots are in positions of influence and positions of power. I think it will be really exciting to see the stuff that we notice within the rules that don’t (sic) work for a modern-day America.

Notice what she’s doing here. Rather than celebrating the American tradition of religious freedom (does she even believe in it for other religions?), she’s using the rule against headwear as a proxy for “rules that don’t work for a modern-day America” and for a generalized attack on those in “positions of power” — in other words as a proxy for the progressive agenda.

As Meira Svirsky of the Clarion Project says:

[Omar] is wrong to call for a change in rules just because they don’t work for “modern-day America.” In terms of this rule, there is a much more compelling reason to change it: The hat ban literally infringes on the Constitution itself, namely the seminal right laid down in the First Amendment that guarantees the free exercise of religion to all citizens. . . .

Omar’s excitement to abolish rules that “don’t work for a modern-day America” would, by contrast, set a dangerous precedent, making Congress and other governmental institutions subject to the whims of whatever dogma is deemed politically correct at the time and by the ruling party.

By contrast, the Constitution gives us absolute values with which to legislate laws and set down rules.

But don’t expect Omar Ilhan to understand or appreciate this reality.


Trump backs leniency for fentanyl dealers, MS-13 members, etc. Part One

Posted: 19 Nov 2018 09:11 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)President Trump has repeatedly promised to crack down on fentanyl dealers — even calling for the death penalty for some of them — and on members of MS-13, the notorious gang whose members he recently called “animals.” Yet last week, Trump announced his support for legislation that mandates the early release from federal prison of most federally incarcerated fentanyl dealers and MS-13 gang members, and that sets shorter sentences for many of them, as well. (I will discuss specifics of this legislation, known as FIRST STEP, in Part Two of this series).

How did this happen? Does Trump know what’s in the legislation?

Maybe. Or maybe son-in-law Jared Kushner sold him a bill of goods by obscuring the details (to put it as kindly as I can). That seems to be how he got the Fraternal Order of Police to endorse the bill. Fortunately, he was unable to pull the wool over the eyes of the other major law enforcement groups. They have come out against FIRST STEP.

It’s difficult to say which would be more appalling: Trump backing major criminal law legislation without knowing what it says or Trump backing leniency for some of the worst federal felons in violation of his consistent promises and rhetoric.

Either way, with Trump’s support the legislation now stands a good chance of being enacted. It’s hardly a done deal, though — not in this session of Congress.

Time is running short, and Sen. Tom Cotton is campaigning vigorously against what he calls “the jailbreak.” Majority Leader McConnell — who well remembers the bad old days of vast judicial sentencing discretion for liberal judges, ridiculously short sentences, and sky-high crimes rates, and who understands the long-term political fallout from such a regime — still seems skeptical about jailbreak legislation.

McConnell made sure FIRST STEP did not reach the Senate floor before the election. He also blocked leniency legislation in 2016.

McConnell was wise on both occasions. 74 percent of the public opposes shorter sentences for drug felons.

But where is the wisdom in passing legislation this unpopular in any session of Congress? Sure, Trump’s backing will help shift public opinion somewhat, at least in the short-term. Trump famously said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” Perhaps he believes the same thing goes when the shooting is performed by MS-13 members (for example) released from prison early under legislation he supports.

The GOP should not be this sanguine. Rising crime rates and episodes in which federal felons released early under FIRST STEP commit well-publicized crimes can be political poison. Think of all the mileage Trump got from a handful of cases in which illegal immigrants who should have been deported committed high-profile murders.

Republicans who vote for FIRST STEP will be vulnerable to the same kind of attack — certainly in primaries and, in some races, even in general elections. And the GOP will be unable to claim the honorable and politically powerful title of “law and order party” if a Republican Senate passes and a Republican president signs “jailbreak” legislation.

One would think that before taking such a dangerous leap, Republicans would demand hearings on FIRST STEP. Tom Cotton has. But there will be no hearings — not if the legislation is to be enacted this year, as Team Leniency, led by Jared Kushner, is hell-bent on accomplishing.

This is vintage left-wing legislating — the kind that produced Obamacare. Only this time, Republicans are as eager as the Dems to protect their baby from scrutiny.

In this respect, they are wise. FIRST STEP cannot withstand scrutiny. I’ll have more to say about this in Part Two.


Racial discrimination, Harvard style

Posted: 19 Nov 2018 04:46 AM PST

(Scott Johnson)At its 2018 National Lawyers Convention this past Friday, the Federalist Society sponsored one of its characteristically excellent panels featuring diverse points of view — this one on the 2014 lawsuit challenging Harvard’s sophisticated program of racial discrimination in undergraduate admissions. The lawsuit was brought by Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard alleging that Harvard was violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by, among other things, discriminating against Asian Americans in the admissions process. The lawsuit is based in part on overwhelming statistical evidence that Harvard discriminates both in subjective scoring and selection for admission to limit the number of Asian Americans that attend the college.

Federalist Society Civil Rights practice group chairman Gail Heriot introduced the program. She is followed by the moderator, Fifth Circuit Judge James Ho, Patrick Strawbridge (a partner at the firm representing plaintiffs in the case), Althea Nagai (Center for Equal Opportunity), Professor Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern University School of Law) and Professor John Yoo (Berkeley Law). The Federalist Society has posted the video with background here and on YouTube.

Here we have the clash of ideas in a form that allows the interested viewer to make up his own mind on the questions of law and policy (although at 1:08:26 Professor Koppelman calls for Harvard to end its ceiling on Asian-American admissions “if” it has one). Strawbridge’s remarks go over the claims in the lawsuit in detail. Professor Yoo’s (witty and trenchant) remarks begin at about 1:14:00. I should note for the record that Professor Yoo misattributes a frequently quoted remark about how Jews vote (“Jews earn like Episcopalians, and vote like Puerto Ricans”) to Norman Podhoretz; although I believe NP has frequently quoted it, the late Milton Himmelfarb wrote it.

I have cued the video below, to begin with Professor Heriot’s introduction. The panelists respond to each other at about 1:31:00. They take questions from the audience at about 1:41:00.

We have written about the lawsuit several times. I recommend Stuart Taylor’s Weekly Standard article “Racial Preference on Trial as Harvard Goes to Court.”

Via Gail Heriot/InstaPundit.


The Ultimate Fake News

Posted: 18 Nov 2018 05:05 PM PST

(John Hinderaker)Fake news is a serious problem in our political life. I’m not referring to a pathetically small number of Facebook ads bought by Russian provocateurs. I’m talking about the fake news that was paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee; fabricated by Democratic Party-allied consultants; propagated by the FBI and the CIA; promoted by the broadcast networks, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press; trumpeted by pretty much every senior elected Democrat; and kept alive by the appalling Robert Mueller. The claim that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians to “steal” the 2016 presidential election is the great fake news of our time.

How successful have the Democrats been in propagating that myth? This survey by The Economist and YouGov suggests that they have been successful beyond their wildest dreams. First the numbers, then some observations. Click to enlarge:

Note the question asked: Did Russia “tamper with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President?” There is no evidence–I repeat, none–that Russia “tampered with vote tallies.” To my knowledge, no one has claimed that Russia tampered with vote tallies. I am not aware of any plausible theory on which a foreign power could tamper with vote tallies. To say that Russia tampered with vote tallies is as credible as asserting that the moon is made of green cheese.

And yet, two-thirds of Democrats say it is either “definitely true” (31%) or “probably true” (36%) that Russia tampered with vote tallies. Women are especially gullible; 48%, across all party lines, have fallen for this fake news. Sadly, 70% of blacks have bought it hook, line and sinker. The Northeast is the country’s most ignorant region, apparently: 47% of Northeasterners have fallen for the hoax.

So the Democrats, by their constant hysteria and innuendo, have convinced a large majority of their followers, and 42% of all Americans, of a palpable falsehood that was fabricated in order to assure Hillary Clinton’s election and then, when that effort failed, perpetuated in an attempt to cripple President Trump’s administration.

Is this the most successful disinformation campaign in history? I don’t know. But in American history, I can’t think of a plausible rival. President Trump is right: fake news is a serious threat. By cynically selling an absurd lie to its followers, the Democratic Party has badly damaged confidence in our democracy.

Via Peter Hasson on Twitter.


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