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50 STATES AND DC, CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT

Gorsuch Puts Down the Left’s Serial Rapist In his first vote, Justice Gorsuch stood with us. Daniel Greenfield

A few months after lefty activists crowded Washington D.C. for the Women’s March, activists from many of those same organizations went to bat for a serial rapist and murderer.

Ledell Lee’s victims were all women. While he was on trial for the rape and murder of Debra Reese, the testimony of three of his rape victims was presented. Lee had made a habit of knocking on doors and asking to borrow some tools to see whether a woman’s husband might be home.

Debra Reese called her mother and told her that a strange man had tried to borrow some tools. A few minutes later, Ledell Lee had beaten her to death with a tire thumper. Marks on her neck showed that the former baby boutique worker had also been strangled.

Then Lee headed out to spend the $300 he had stolen from her.

Three years earlier, Ledell Lee had attacked a 17-year-old girl while she was rocking her 3-month old niece to sleep. Lee hit her, dragged her out of the house, held her head under water until she lost consciousness and raped her.

A year after that atrocity, Ledell Lee attacked a 50-year-old woman walking home from the grocery store. He strangled her repeatedly, dragged her to the back of a building and raped her.

When Lee was caught after murdering Debra Reese, the evidence tied him to these assaults and two murders. He was convicted of two rapes and sentenced to death for his crimes against Debra Reese. Justice would be done. But first justice had to elbow past the ACLU and the pro-crime lobby.

In a Supreme Court dissent written on April 20, 2017, Justice Breyer whined, “Why now?” “The state is rushing to put him to death,” complained Nina Morrison of the badly misnamed Innocence Project.

Sharia, Arkansas Style A low block by the Razorbacks. Bruce Bawer

On April 13-15, the King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arkansas held a symposium on so-called “honor violence,” as exemplified by honor killings, forced marriage, and other such delightful acts. I’ll get back to this – but first of all, am I the only person who still finds it jarring to see words like “King Fahd Center for Middle East Studies” in the same sentence as words like “University of Arkansas”?

The Center, as its website informs us, “was founded with a $20 million endowment from the Saudi government in the mid-1990s. An initial endowment of $2 million, dedicated toward language, literary translation and publication was followed by a much larger $18 million gift designed to spark the foundation of a comprehensive Middle East Studies program at the undergraduate and graduate levels.”

Of course, this isn’t the only so-called “Middle East Studies” shebang based at a Western university, named for a Saudi royal, and funded by Saudi cash. Georgetown University famously boasts the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding – which, when you stop to think about it, is a strange name for a unit of a university, where you’d imagine that the idea would be not “understanding” in the touchy-feely sense suggested by the phrase “Muslim-Christian Understanding” but, rather, “understanding” in the sense of becoming informed about a subject. But anyway.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the regal moneybags behind Georgetown’s lavish propaganda operation (as of last year he was the 41st richest person in the world) is also responsible for the Alwaleed Centre at the University of Edinburgh, the Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard, and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Islamic Studies at Cambridge, plus centers for American Studies bearing his name in Beirut and Cairo. In addition, according to Wikipedia, he’s “Citigroup’s largest individual shareholder, the second-largest voting shareholder in 21st Century Fox, and owns Paris’ Four Seasons Hotel George V and part of the Plaza Hotel,” presumably the one in New York.

A quick look at the prince: he’s tweeted that he wouldn’t “visit Jerusalem…until its liberation from the Zionist enemy.” He’s the guy who, after fifteen of his fellow Saudis laid down their lives for their God on September 11, 2001, gave then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani a $10 million check and a lecture about the terrorist attack’s supposed roots in U.S. policies. (Giuliani, to his everlasting credit, turned down the check, in response to which the prince suggested that he’d done so out of fear of “Jewish pressures.”)

Trump’s Big Tax Reform Plan Will the Left hold it hostage? Matthew Vadum

The Trump administration unveiled an ambitious overhaul of federal tax laws yesterday that it is touting as the “largest tax cut for individuals and businesses in U.S. history.

Republicans on Capitol Hill seem cautiously optimistic about the plan even though it was immediately attacked by the hateful class-warfare-mongering Left.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predictably described the plan as a “wish list for billionaires,” in a statement.

“The same Trickle Down Economics that undermined the middle class are alive and well in the President’s tax plan,” she said, without noting that the bogus concept of “Trickle Down Economics” was invented by the Left to mock market-based economics. “True to form, President Trump’s tax plan is short on details and long on giveaways to big corporations and billionaires.”

One of the House of Representatives’ most acute sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), tweeted that the plan is “Voodoo Economics on steroids. If you believe in magic, unicorns or Batman, this plan is for you.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the plan would make “life easier for the wealthy and special interests” and “harder for middle class and lower income Americans.”

“This plan will be roundly rejected by taxpayers of all political stripes,” Schumer said. “The American people, once again, are learning that what President Trump promised in his campaign and what he’s doing are totally at odds.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, attacked the plan. “Light on details for people who work for a living, yet very detailed for the elite,” Wyden tweeted. “No estate tax, cut in capital gains and cut in top rate? All an #EliteGiveway. And yet the Trump team couldn’t tell you what the tax plan means for the typical American family. Self-serving & elitist.”

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said the plan would help big businesses and the affluent. “We have a rigged economy designed to benefit the wealthiest Americans and large corporations,” Sanders huffed on Twitter. “Trump’s tax plan would make that system worse.”

GOP congressional leadership issued a lukewarm, open-ended endorsement of the tax reform plan. “The principles outlined by the Trump administration today will serve as critical guideposts” as lawmakers and the White House work on tax changes, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

A Ruling about Nothing A federal judge suspends Trump’s unenforced ban on funding for sanctuary cities. By Andrew C. McCarthy

A showboating federal judge in San Francisco has issued an injunction against President Trump’s executive order cutting off federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities. The ruling distorts the E.O. beyond recognition, accusing the president of usurping legislative authority despite the order’s express adherence to “existing law.” Moreover, undeterred by the inconvenience that the order has not been enforced, the activist court — better to say, the fantasist court — dreams up harms that might befall San Francisco and Santa Clara, the sanctuary jurisdictions behind the suit, if it were enforced. The court thus flouts the standing doctrine, which limits judicial authority to actual controversies involving concrete, non-speculative harms.

Although he vents for 49 pages, Judge William H. Orrick III gives away the game early, on page 4. There, the Obama appointee explains that his ruling is about . . . nothing.

That is, Orrick acknowledges that he is adopting the construction of the E.O. urged by the Trump Justice Department, which maintains that the order does nothing more than call for the enforcement of already existing law. Although that construction is completely consistent with the E.O. as written, Judge Orrick implausibly describes it as “implausible.”

Since Orrick ultimately agrees with the Trump Justice Department, and since no enforcement action has been taken based on the E.O., why not just dismiss the case? Why the judicial theatrics?

There appear to be two reasons.

The first is Orrick’s patent desire to embarrass the White House, which rolled out the E.O. with great fanfare. The court wants it understood that Trump is a pretender: For all the hullaballoo, the E.O. effectively did nothing. Indeed, Orrick rationalizes his repeated misreadings of what the order actually says by feigning disbelief that what it says could possibly be what it means. Were that the case, he suggests, there would have been no reason to issue the order in the first place.

Thus, taking a page from the activist left-wing judges who invalidated Trump’s “travel ban” orders, Orrick harps on stump speeches by Trump and other administration officials. One wonders how well Barack “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” Obama would have fared under the judiciary’s new Trump Doctrine: The extravagant political rhetoric by which the incumbent president customarily sells his policies relieves a court of the obligation to grapple with the inevitably more modest legal text of the directives that follow.

Of course, the peer branches of government are supposed to presume each other’s good faith in the absence of a patent violation of the law. But let’s put aside the unseemliness of Orrick’s barely concealed contempt for a moment, because he is also wrong. The proper purpose of an executive order is to direct the operations of the executive branch within the proper bounds of the law. There is, therefore, nothing untoward about an E.O. that directs the president’s subordinates to take enforcement action within the confines of congressional statutes. In fact, it is welcome.

Trump’s 100 Days Have Made a Good Start on Regulation He can take further steps to reduce new regs, repeal old ones, and increase transparency. By Jared Meyer

Every new president, dating back to Jimmy Carter, has promised to cut regulations. Even President Obama’s executive orders on improving the regulatory process and cutting red tape sounded impressive when they were issued. That was before six of the seven all-time-high years for pages of federal regulations occurred during his tenure.

Four decades of nonstop growth in federal regulation show that tackling Washington’s bureaucracy is tougher than it sounds. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations is more than 175,000 pages long, having grown steadily since the 1970s. Federal regulations aren’t just words on a page; these pages contain more than one million commandments from Washington in the form of restrictive words such as “must,” “cannot,” or “shall.”

But based on President Trump’s first 100 days, there is reason for optimism that this trend is about to change.

President Trump has already issued two executive orders on regulatory reform. They sent a message to executive agencies: Regulatory restrictions on businesses will not be able to keep growing on autopilot.

Trump’s hiring freeze will also help lower the rate of new regulations. As research from the Mercatus Center has shown, there is a high correlation between the number of employees at an agency and the number of regulations issued by that agency. President Trump has also taken advantage of the Congressional Review Act, which gives Congress the power to overturn recently finalized regulations through a simple majority vote. So far, he has signed at least 13 such repeals. Previously, this tool had been successfully used only once in its 20-year history.

Though President Trump’s lofty promise to cut regulation by “by 75 percent, maybe more” is likely unattainable, simply halting the growth in federal regulations would be a massive achievement. And the president has many methods available to him to accomplish this.

Moving into the next phase of his first term, there are three main legislative solutions that President Trump can use to follow through on his promises to cut regulation. These solutions address the accumulation of old regulations, the creation of costly new regulations, and the lack of public participation in the regulatory process.

First, the Trump Administration needs to get rid of outdated, ineffective regulations.

If President Trump decides to capitalize on his reputation as a deal maker, an innovative idea from the center-left Progressive Policy Institute would address regulatory accumulation. Both the Regulatory Improvement Act and the SCRUB Act create a “Regulatory Improvement Commission” to come up with a package of older regulations to eliminate that would then go through Congress for an up-or-down vote. Focusing on older regulations would take some of the politics out of regulatory reform, and voting on a large package in this way would limit the ability of established interests to interfere with the process.

Will 2020 Be Another 1972 for Democrats? Going hard to the left was the wrong lesson to learn from their narrow loss in 1968, and they could repeat the mistake. By Victor Davis Hanson

Forty-nine years ago, Vice President Hubert Humphrey was the Democratic candidate for president.

The year 1968 was a tumultuous one that saw the assassinations of rival candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy and civil-rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Lyndon Johnson’s unpopular lame-duck Democratic administration imploded because of massive protests against the Vietnam War.

Yet Humphrey almost defeated Republican nominee Richard Nixon, losing the election by just over 500,000 votes (43.4 percent to 42.7 percent).

Infighting Democrats could have defeated the unpopular Nixon if not for a few unforeseen developments.

Their convention in Chicago turned into a creepy carnival of televised rioting and radical protests. Hippies and leftists were seen battling police in the streets on prime-time news.

The former Democratic governor of Alabama, George Wallace, ran as a states’ rights third-party candidate and drew 13.5 percent of the vote. Wallace destroyed the Democrats’ traditional hold on the old “solid South” by winning five Southern states outright. He also siphoned off enough traditional Democratic supporters to give Nixon astonishing Republican victories in half a dozen other states in the region.

Nixon won over a few Northern blue-collar states that had often voted Democratic, such as Wisconsin and Ohio — again with help from Wallace, who appealed to fed-up, working-class Democrats.

What was the lesson from 1968?

The Democrats could have recalibrated their message to appeal more to working-class voters.

They should have rebuilt the old Franklin D. Roosevelt–era coalition that had elected Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy, mostly by appealing to paycheck issues and avoiding radical agendas.

Yet despite picking up twelve House seats in the 1970 midterm elections, and instead of attributing the 1968 loss to Wallace’s third-party populism and voter pushback against radicalism, the Democrats went off the rails and veered hard left in 1972.

The lowering of the voting age to age 18 in 1971 also tricked Democrats into wrongly thinking that most new young voters were leftists and would vote in record numbers for leftist candidates.

So the Democrats in 1972 foolishly nominated die-hard left-wing South Dakota senator George McGovern.

Two More Repeal Targets Republicans hedge on rescinding a pair of damaging regulations.

Congress is making good progress on rolling back Obama Administration regulations, but a case of political nerves is protecting two obvious targets for repeal that are still standing: a Labor Department exemption from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Erisa) for state-run retirement plans and the Education Department’s borrower defense rule.

Such left-leaning states as California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Oregon have passed laws to set up state-administered retirement accounts for workers in the private economy who aren’t covered by employer plans. Employers would be required to automatically enroll workers in the state plans and deduct payroll contributions—up to 10% of wages in California—though employees could opt out.

The putative goal is to reduce administrative fees through economies of scale. But workers can easily sign up for a low-cost Roth IRA over the internet and choose how much to contribute. Liberals don’t trust workers to make their own financial decisions, so Democrats want to “nudge”—the behavioral economist’s euphemism for compel—them to sock away more money while giving politicians control of their investments.

Many workers would unknowingly contribute a share of their wages to retirement plans they don’t know exist and may not be able to exit. They also wouldn’t be protected by Erisa since former Labor Secretary Tom Perez last year exempted state plans with automatic enrollment. Thus, an employer in Wisconsin who enrolls workers in a 401(k) would be deemed a fiduciary. But in California an employer’s fiduciary obligations would be waived if he enrolls his employees in the state plan. Employers would have a new incentive to drop workers on the public plans that would be guaranteed by taxpayers.

The House has passed a resolution overturning the Erisa exemption, but the Senate isn’t moving. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker appears to be the main obstacle, arguing that states should be able to experiment. But they don’t need an Erisa waiver for that. The issue is that the Labor rule unfairly favors government plans in a way that could hurt workers.

Meanwhile, Republicans should also move to rescind a midnight rule by the Obama Administration that lets borrowers who claim they’ve been duped by their colleges to discharge their student loans. The Education Department estimated the rule would cost taxpayers between $9.5 billion and $21.2 billion over the next decade, though Obama officials repeatedly underestimated the cost of loan forgiveness.

Springtime Out of Paris Staying in Obama’s climate accord risks Trump’s energy plans.

President Trump and his advisers are debating whether to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords, and the issue is coming to a head. If he doesn’t want to topple his own economic agenda, Mr. Trump’s wisest course is to walk away from a pact that President Obama never put before the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Trump wants to revive growth and lift wages (see above), and a large part of that project is a bet on liberating U.S. energy production, notably natural gas and oil. Toward this end Mr. Trump issued an executive order in late March asking the Environmental Protection Agency to unwind Mr. Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

The Obama team finalized CPP in late 2015, and the rule was immediately challenged in court by 28 states. Notable among the Obama Administration’s legal defenses is that CPP is essential to fulfill the U.S. commitments to reduce carbon emissions under Paris. By the end the White House cited Paris as the legal justification for all its climate policies.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is moving to repeal CPP and other Obama climate rules. Environmental groups will inevitably sue. If the U.S. remains in Paris, Mr. Pruitt will have to explain to the many Obama appointees on the federal bench that gutting CPP is a reasonable exercise of administrative power in light of the Administration’s continued fealty to Paris carbon reductions. This is the sort of logical inconsistency that a creative judge might seize on to justify blocking Mr. Trump’s EPA rules. By staying in Paris Mr. Trump may hand opponents a sword to kill his agenda.

The left is also pointing to Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, which gives EPA a mandate to regulate emissions that “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare in a foreign country.” The catch is that EPA can only act if there is regulatory “reciprocity” among the nations involved. Such as the Paris accords.

Mr. Obama knew he was setting these carbon political traps as he rushed to commit the U.S. to Paris. His bet was that even a future GOP President would be reluctant to endure the international criticism that would follow withdrawal. And sure enough, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn are making precisely this argument for staying in Paris.

Then again, Candidate Trump promised to withdraw, and he can’t possibly be vilified for Paris more than he already has for everything else. His advisers have presented a way to short-circuit the supposed four-year process for withdrawing, which involves U.S. resignation from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

This isn’t a question of science or diplomacy. For Mr. Trump, the question is whether he wants to put his economic agenda at the mercy of anticarbon warriors and federal judges.

Trump’s Tax Principles A pro-growth outline that focuses on weak capital investment.

“The Trump principles show the President has made growth his highest priority, and they are a rebuke to the Washington consensus that 1% or 2% growth is the best America can do. Now Mr. Trump has to show results. If anything close to his this reform can survive the political maelstrom, it will go a long way toward returning to the abundance of the 1980s and 1990s.”

The White House rolled out its tax principles on Tuesday, investing new energy in the first serious reform debate in 30 years. While the details are sparse and will have to be filled in by Congress, President Trump’s outline resembles the supply-side principles he campaigned on and is an ambitious and necessary economic course correction that would help restore broad-based U.S. prosperity.

Many voters heard Mr. Trump’s make-America-great-again slogan as a promise to raise their incomes and improve economic opportunities after a long stagnation. Eight years of 2% growth since the recession ended in 2009 is the weakest recovery in the postwar era, and the result has been rising anxiety and diminished expectations for millions of Americans.

Faster growth of 3% a year or more is possible, but it will take better policies, and tax reform is an indispensable lever. Mr. Trump’s modernization would be a huge improvement on the current tax code that would give the economy a big lift, especially on the corporate side. The reform would sharply cut the business income rate to 15% from 35%, while simplifying the code for individuals and cutting some marginal rates.

Though Mr. Trump’s proposal dabbles in some politically fashionable tax redistribution, at its core it is an exercise in growth economics. The cuts would be permanent and immediate, and the rates are low enough to enhance the incentives to work and invest.
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The plan also fits the economic moment, because a main source of U.S. malaise is poor business investment. Spending on the likes of new factories, equipment and software is soft, which in turn has undermined the productivity gains that produce more jobs, higher wages and higher living standards. Productivity growth in the 2000s and 2010s is only about half the average of the 1980s and 1990s.

Linda Sarsour, the Stealth Jihadist : Edward Cline

And from Brooklyn, yet, with an exaggerated Brooklyn accent, making a career of selling America her Islamic version of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Everyone with half a brain has fallen for Linda Sarsour’s stealth jihad in a hijab. But not me. Never me. Virtually every time I see her photo flashing the ISIS symbol of a finger pointed in the air (to Allah, he’s the greatest, don’t you know?), I want to reciprocate with a middle finger. And I do, even if it’s to a picture of her carefully made-up mug.

Nathaniel Zelinsky writes in Foreign Affairs that the gesture refers to thetawhid, “the belief in the oneness of God and a key component of the Muslim religion.” More specifically, though, it refers to their fundamentalist interpretation of the tawhid, which rejects any other view, including other Islamic interpretations, as idolatry. Zelinsky writes that when ISIS uses the gesture, it is affirming an ideology that demands the destruction of the West, as well as any form of pluralism. For potential recruits around the globe, it also shows their belief that they will dominate the world.

Sarsour to say the least, is not a nice person. Daniel Pipes published a long list of Sarsour’s publicity stunts and consummate narcissism and alleged achievements in a long post in March 2010.

Mar. 8, 2011 update: Sarsour has tweeted a stunningly crude and vicious attack on two anti-Islamist leaders: “Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don’t deserve to be women.”

Feb. 8, 2015 update: Sarsour just can’t get enough of her alleged beauty. Her remarks (ignorant typo left as is) on this Instagram picture: “Blue is a power color. Maybe your born with it, Maybe it’s Maybelline, I praise the lord that I am born with it. #media #womenarebetterateverything #women.” Oh, and what to make of the infantile feminism, “women are better at everything”?

Sep. 9, 2014 update: Sarsour squealed “hate crime” when a street person in Brooklyn accosted her on Sep. 3, winning national attention for her plight and the alleged problem of anti-Muslim bias. For example, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, wrote her a tweet: “New Yorkers stand with you, @lsarsour. Our city will never condone such glaring acts of bigotry and intolerance.”