IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Good news for gun rights. The DC Circuit struck down the District’s carry ban.
- Senate Republicans take a key vote on ObamaCare … to debate votes on ObamaCare.
- Trump’s public shaming of Jeff Sessions is baffling and misguided.
- Daily Features: Top Headlines, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” —Cesare Beccaria
TOP RIGHT HOOKS
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against a District regulation that severely limited the ability of an individual to obtain a concealed carry permit. Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the majority, “The good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on most D.C. residents’ right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs. Bans on the ability of most citizens to exercise an enumerated right would have to flunk any judicial test.”
John R. Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center noted that just 124 DC residents currently have concealed carry permits. He said, “If DC were like the 42 right-to-carry states, they would have about 48,000 permits. Right now DC prevents the most vulnerable people, particularly poor blacks who live in high crime areas of DC, from having any hope of getting a permit for protection.”
This is a definite win for Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but it may be short-lived. The District could appeal to the full DC Circuit Court of 11 judges, seven of whom are Democrat appointees. If the full court were to take on the appeal, it would most likely signal the other judges’ desire to reverse the three-judge panel’s ruling. With the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to uphold San Diego’s limit on concealed carry permits and the Supreme Court’s refusal hear that appeal, a reversal by the full DC circuit might mean that SCOTUS would again refuse to entertain an appeal. However, if the decision holds, it would provide the circuit court split necessary for SCOTUS to take up the issue of concealed carry limits. Of course, there are a lot of assumptions here.
But not to get lost in possible future scenarios, this ruling is good news. It restores gun rights to residents of our nation’s capital, which is common sense especially in light of the targeted attack by a crazed leftist on congressional Republicans. Those living within the District have just as much of a right to self-defense as those who live in Texas.
Senate Republicans moved Tuesday to begin debate on various measures to repeal, replace or at least modify ObamaCare. Barely. It took Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote to do so. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could afford just two defectors, and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) obliged. Collins has been a de facto ObamaCare supporter all along. Though she voted “no” on the original law, she has routinely rejected appeal and reform attempts ever since. Murkowski is another matter. She reversed course from her vote for repeal while Barack Obama held the veto pen. The Senate should “repeal and fix this unworkable law,” Murkowski declared in May 2016, adding that “a full repeal of the law would be the best course of action.”
Well, never mind then.
The first bill that came for a vote was the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the Senate’s version of repeal-and-replace. Predictably, it went down in defeat, 43-57. For those keeping score at home, nine Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats. Moderates Collins and Murkowski opposed it, while conservatives Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) stubbornly insisted the bill was insufficient. And then there were Bob Corker (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), who each voted no for various reasons.
The Wall Street Journal nailed weak-kneed Republican moderates, saying, “Members have been debating among themselves for weeks, they know or should know the bill’s essential policy choices, and the bill isn’t getting prettier with age. That’s especially true on Medicaid reform and spending, which is the chief gripe of the so-called moderates. … They keep demanding more money. They keep getting it, but it’s never enough.”
On this count, President Donald Trump got it exactly right: “It’s a very, very difficult situation, because you move a little to the left, and you lose four guys. You move a little bit to the right, and all of a sudden you have a bloc of people who are gone. You have a one-inch road and it wheels through the middle of the valley.” To use another metaphor, some Republicans are willing to sink a “good” bill with a torpedo named “perfect.” Others are happy to stay aboard the Democrats’ Titanic listening to the band play as the ship goes down.
Next is an up-or-down vote on complete repeal with replace coming later. That too is sure to fail, but at least ObamaCare’s Republican defenders will be on record for voters to judge. Two years ago, every Republican but Collins voted for straight repeal. This time, it could be a dozen who oppose it.
Senate testimony: Fusion GPS helped Russians by spreading phony Trump dossier. (The Federalist)
The House has accomplished a lot this year. The Senate, not so much. (National Review)
How bad has Trump Derangement Syndrome gotten? MSNBC just reached #1 in prime time. (Hot Air)
Trump bans transgender confusion in military. (USA Today)
CIA gives more power to spies to bolster intelligence operations. (The Washington Free Beacon)
IRS finally agrees to clear last Tea Party case — not a minute too soon! (The Washington Times)
Taxpayers are subsidizing housing for “nonexistent tenants.” (The Washington Free Beacon)
Liberal professor files $3.8M claim against Evergreen State College over racism. (The Washington Times)
Humor: The Venezuela Diet! (YouTube — Reason)
Policy: Government unions after Wisconsin. (Capital Research Center)
Policy: Free market thinking is key for states to avoid financial disaster. (Inside Sources)
For more, visit Patriot Headline Report.
FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS
By Lewis Morris
The White House shakeup that began last week with the departure of Press Secretary Sean Spicer and key members of the communications team is not over. In fact, more names are potentially being added to the hit list, chief among them Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters going all the way back to the crazy days of the 2016 campaign. The two men share similar views on immigration enforcement, being tough on crime, and connecting directly with working class voters. Sessions is arguably the administration’s foremost conservative, giving Trump bona fides with a voting bloc that has provided steadfast support while many other Americans either scratch their heads about the president or downright loathe him.
So why is Trump hinting so strongly that Sessions’ days are numbered? His new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, and his new press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, have both suggested publicly that Sessions is on the way out.
But far more pointed are Trump’s own barbs. Trump told The New York Times that if he’d known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe, he never would have nominated him. He said in a press conference that he’s “disappointed in the attorney general.” In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump scoffed that Sessions only supported him because he had “massive numbers” show up at rallies in Sessions’ home state of Alabama (as if Sessions was in any danger of losing his seat in deep-red Alabama). Trump’s also gone on a Twitter rant calling Sessions “beleaguered” and accusing him of being soft on White House leaks and of taking “a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes.”
Of course, after the election, Trump himself said he didn’t want to pursue the Clintons. “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons, I really don’t,” Trump said. “She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many different ways.” Oh, and by the way, the Clinton Foundation has done “good work,” he said. But never mind that now.
Is it possible that the Russian probe recusal got so far under Trump’s skin that he’s willing to cut one of his most loyal soldiers loose? Trump professes to be big on loyalty, but he is also no fan of weakness and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. In his view, Sessions’ perceived weakness in the face of the opposition is a bigger disadvantage than his loyalty is an asset.
It was not a legal necessity that Sessions recuse himself from the Russia probe. It was merely an attempt to quell the Democrat attack against the administration in its early days. As Trump suspected, and most of us know by experience, Sessions’ recusal had no effect whatsoever on the anti-Trump forces. Democrat sharks only smelled fresh blood in the water and pushed their attack with renewed vigor. Now Trump has to face Robert Mueller and his biased investigative team without Sessions in his corner. It would seem that an old Washington hand like Sessions would have realized this. Trump knew it, and he didn’t have any Beltway experience at all.
Sessions is, or at least was, a Trump ally. But don’t forget that Trump was elected by a populist wave that is absolutely fed up with Washington politics and its career politicians. For better or worse, that includes Jeff Sessions. People had no choice but to take Trump’s promise to drain the swamp seriously after the firing of James Comey. He’s still holding the plug in his hand, and now Sessions and several other Beltway members of the White House team are circling the drain.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price found himself on the receiving end of a none-too-subtle warning from Trump at a speech to the Boy Scouts of America. Trump warned Price that he would be fired if health care reform doesn’t pass the Senate. It was almost certainly a joke, but with Trump, who can be sure?
Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and much of what remains of the White House communications team are in Scaramucci’s crosshairs. The new communications director has sworn he’ll shut down the leaks that have plagued the White House — even if it means wiping out the whole team and starting from scratch.
Opponents of Trump’s brash political style will say good luck finding replacements. As the reasoning goes, who would want to join this chaotic White House? Don’t kid yourselves. There are countless people who would take a job in the West Wing in a heartbeat. Whether they are qualified or not is another matter.
Staffing issues aside, Trump’s thoughts may be hard to read, and his actions may be nearly impossible to predict. But his brand of politics shouldn’t be a mystery anymore. He’s no fan of the city in which he works. He doesn’t like the bureaucracy that everyone around him is comfortable navigating. And in this, he embodies the mindset of the voters who elected him.
There is plenty to cheer in his efforts to drain the swamp, and there’s nothing wrong with firing people who aren’t on board with the team. But Trump still has to govern for at least three and a half more years. He’s going to need a friend or two on the inside to help him out. We’ve strongly disagreed with Sessions’ expansion of civil asset forfeiture, which we consider constitutionally dubious at best, yet Sessions’ crackdown on sanctuary cities is welcome and he’s far better than some of the alternatives being floated for the post. Trump should lay off the insults and keep Sessions on board. And Sessions should call Trump’s bluff and stay.
MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST
- Is Donald Trump Going to Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller? — Trump would be wise to lay off Mueller in the press and let the special counsel’s team conduct its investigation.
- Immigration Lawlessness Kills — Blaming enforcement of America’s immigration laws for the deaths of illegal aliens is both wrong and dangerous.
- Obama Lemmings Play Politics With ‘Genocide’ Label — Kerry’s proclamation again ISIL was the right call, but so was our suspicion that his concession was political theater.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
- Tony Perkins: It’s Deja Vu All Over Afghan
- John Stossel: $2 Million Bathroom
- Walter Williams: Western Values Are Superior
For more, visit Right Opinion.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Tony Perkins: “In a decision that goes back to 2007, a new report shows that the Pentagon flushed millions down the drain on a woodland pattern for Afghan soldiers — when ‘forests cover only 2.1 percent of the country’s total land area.’ … The uniform flap is now front and center in Congress, where both chambers are debating military spending. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) insisted the guilty parties at the Pentagon ‘seem to have lost sight of their common sense.’ An angry Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) vented, ‘[This] makes you smack your head in frustration. It’s a prime example of wasting hard-earned taxpayer dollars, and we’ve got to get to the bottom of how this happened.’ If McCaskill is so worried about taxpayer dollars, where was she when fellow Missourian Vicky Hartzler ® tried to save taxpayers billions in social engineering? For all the outrage over Afghan fashion, 214 members of Congress — including 23 Republicans — have no problem forking over $3.7 billion so that our troops could try on a new gender. People from both parties raced to sign a check for free sex-reassignment surgery — despite being 132 times more expensive than these uniforms. That’s the real ‘affront to taxpayers.’ At least you could make the case that providing uniforms, however misguided the selection may have been, is a legitimate military expense.”
Insight: “There is no happiness, there is no liberty, there is no enjoyment of life, unless a man can say, when he rises in the morning, I shall be subject to the decision of no unwise judge today.” —Daniel Webster (1782-1852)
Upright: “The pessimist in American society believes the reason some people are poor is that others are rich. He refuses to see any cause-and-effect relationship between behavior and result. This is the same as saying, ‘The reason some people are sick is that others are well.’ Because they blame others for their problems, pessimists seek solutions outside themselves for those problems. If you have no belief in yourself or your abilities, you’ll have no faith in your capacity to solve your problems. A pessimist is always demanding help, regardless of whether that help is effective.” —Ed Feulner
Dumb and dumber: “Donald Trump married one American (his second wife) and two women from what used to be Soviet Yugoslavia: Ivana-Slovakia, Melania-Slovenia.” —MSNBC’s Joy Reid, who The Washington Free Beacon points out “managed to make three different errors in a single tweet”
Tolerance: “Yes, ALL white people are racist. Yes, ALL men are sexist. Yes, ALL cis people are transphobic. We have to unpack that. That’s the work!” —Georgetown professor Preston Mitchum
Non Compos Mentis: “We are used to a history of politicians bending the truth, but now we get politicians breaking the truth. That’s a new thing. We hadn’t had politicians explicitly lying in the way they do now. That’s really new.” —Jonathan Gruber, the mastermind behind the biggest lie of all: The (Un)Affordable Care Act
And last… “Why does the Left seek to support radical Islam so ardently? Because the Left believes that the quickest way to destroy Western civilization is no longer class warfare but multicultural warfare: Simply ally with groups that hate the prevailing system and work with them to take it down. Then, the Left will build on the ashes of the old system.” —Ben Shapiro
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Managing Editor Nate Jackson
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.