Mid-Day Digest

Feb. 28, 2018

IN TODAY’S EDITION

  • Without the individual mandate and “tax” penalty, ObamaCare fails even Roberts’ test.
  • Mass school shootings are horrific, but they were actually worse in the 1990s.
  • Arming teachers is an idea with a lot of merit.
  • Public unions face a possible reckoning before the Supreme Court.
  • Dianne Feinstein isn’t quite radical enough for California leftists.
  • Plus our Daily Features: Top Headlines, Memes, Cartoons, Columnists and Short Cuts.

THE FOUNDATION

“It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws … undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?” —James Madison (1788)

IN BRIEF

20 States Sue to Pull the Plug on ObamaCare

By Jordan Candler

When the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare by a 5-4 vote, Chief Justice John Roberts inexplicably preserved it. In his warped determination, “The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.” (Keep in mind, Barack Obama argued just the opposite — that it wasn’t a tax.)

ObamaCare has withstood a healthy dose of lawsuits and severe backlash, but this was by far the most despicable, extreme and surprising vindication afforded by the judicial branch. Justice Roberts professes supposedly conservative bona fides, but his arguing in the law’s favor by invoking the federal government’s tax authority — rewriting the law in order to save it — was about as absurd as it gets. But this week there was an interesting twist: Could Roberts’ legal rendering ultimately result in ObamaCare’s demise?

Congressional Republicans nullified the health insurance mandate late last year courtesy of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which a new lawsuit is hinging upon in hopes of finally derailing ObamaCare in its entirety. According to Reuters, “A coalition of 20 U.S. states sued the federal government on Monday over Obamacare, claiming the law was no longer constitutional after the repeal last year of its requirement that people have health insurance or pay a fine.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel are taking the lead on this case. Paxton points out, “The U.S. Supreme Court already admitted that an individual mandate without a tax penalty is unconstitutional. With no remaining legitimate basis for the law, it is time that Americans are finally free from the stranglehold of ObamaCare, once and for all.”

This is an intriguing argument. As Reuters explains, “The individual mandate in Obamacare was meant to ensure a viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.” In other words, the very structure of the health care law is contingent on the mandate, which is why Obama pushed so vigorously for it. But since Congress has since repealed the mandate, Justice Roberts’ contention that ObamaCare “may reasonably be characterized as a tax” is no longer applicable. Which prompts the question: Under what authority is ObamaCare still “constitutional”?

Unfortunately, our elected branches’ perpetual failings and the proliferation of judicial activism means the states’ new lawsuit against ObamaCare isn’t a slam dunk. However, if Rule of Law finally prevails — and if by some chance ObamaCare returns to the Supreme Court and Justice Roberts is forced to reconcile his previous vote — this would be the ultimate poetic justice. And tax reform will be praised more than it already is.

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‘There Is Not an Epidemic of School Shootings’

By Thomas Gallatin

A new study out of Northeastern University concludes that schools today are actually safer than they were in the 1990s. James Alan Fox, professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern, said that based upon the study’s findings, “There is not an epidemic of school shootings.” One death from such violence is too many, but he noted that more children die in pool drownings or bicycle accidents each year than gun-related deaths. The study also found that the number of students killed in school shootings today is one-fourth what it was in the early 1990s — a somewhat surprising fact given the 24/7 media hysteria surrounding atrocities like Parkland.

Contrary to the dubious claim of the anti-gun activist group Everytown for Gun Safety that there have been nearly 300 “school shootings” in America since 2013, Fox asserts, “These [school attacks] are extremely rare events.” Importantly, the research defines mass shootings as involving four or more deaths (not including the perpetrator), not the ridiculously broad criteria used by Everytown. Researchers found that, “Since 1996, there have been 16 multiple victim shootings in schools, or incidents involving 4 or more victims and at least 2 deaths by firearms, excluding the assailant. Of these, 8 are mass shootings, or incidents involving 4 or more deaths, excluding the assailant.”

Further clarifying the data, Fox and his co-researcher Emma Fridel found that, on average, “mass murders occur between 20 and 30 times per year, and about one of those incidents on average takes place at a school.” Simply put, since 1996 there have been eight mass shooting attacks at schools, which is unacceptable but hardly epidemic. In fact, since the 1990s “shooting incidents involving students have been declining.” Of the 55 million school children in the U.S., the study found that “on average over the past 25 years, about 10 students per year were killed by gunfire at school.”

While every one of these school atrocities is indeed deplorable and shocking, the facts on the ground do not support the hysterical overreaction currently present within national politics and mainstream media.

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Top Headlines

  • Trump announces re-election campaign and Brad Parscale as campaign manager (CBS News)

  • House GOP rejects calls for new gun legislation (The Hill)

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods will stop selling assault rifles “permanently” (Business Insider)

  • Google tried censoring “gun” shopping searches but it backfired (Washington Examiner)

  • Conservative nonprofit PragerU is suing Google for alleged discrimination (The Daily Signal)

  • ICE arrests more than 150 people in Bay Area following Democrat mayor’s warning (Fox News)

  • Supreme Court rules immigrants can be detained indefinitely (USA Today)

  • Judge Curiel, previously criticized by Trump, rules in favor of Trump’s border wall (The Washington Free Beacon)

  • Trump aide Kushner loses top-secret security clearance (The Wall Street Journal)

  • DHS: “No intelligence” Russia compromised seven states ahead of 2016 election (The Hill)

  • Policy: What critics don’t understand about gun culture (The Atlantic)

  • Policy: What the Florida shooting might tell us about child welfare (New York Daily News)

For more of today’s news, visit Patriot Headline Report.

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FEATURED ANALYSIS

Arming Teachers Has a Lot of Merit

By Louis DeBroux

In the wake of the mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, proposals have come in from all quarters regarding how to stop another such atrocity.

The response from the Left has been as expected — calls for banning many or all firearms in common use, stricter background checks, raising the legal age to purchase a firearm, boycotting the NRA, etc. Of course, it is hard to imagine how any of that would have stopped the perpetrator, a mentally unbalanced and homicidal young man.

After all, over the last two years, the killer had been disciplined in school 25 times, local police were summoned to his house 39 times, friends and neighbors had reported to police multiple times that he was collecting guns and had a desire to kill people, and the FBI had been warned twice about him — once after posting on social media that he wanted to become a “professional school shooter,” and once when a girl close to him warned that he was talking about killing people. In both instances the FBI failed to follow up. And that’s not to mention the failures of law enforcement at the scene.

To the shock and outrage of many on the Left, President Donald Trump proposed training and arming teachers and school staff. Their reaction was as immediate as it was predictable.

Washington’s Democrat Governor Jay Inslee cried, “I have listened to the first-grade teachers that don’t want to be pistol-packing first-grade teachers. I’ve listened to law enforcement who have said they don’t want to have to train teachers. … Educators should educate and they should not be foisted upon this responsibility of packing heat in first-grade classes.”

Gun control advocates call the idea of arming teachers “crazy,” arguing, “We need fewer guns, not more guns.” A New York Times editorial pointed to an analysis of shooting accuracy by NYPD officers — which claims they put only one-third of their shots on target under stress — as to why teachers should not be armed. But if that is the argument, wonders columnist Dennis Prager, isn’t that also an argument for disarming police?

Prager also points to an LA Times editorial that asked, “If a pistol-strapping chemistry teacher had grabbed her .45 and unloaded on today’s gunman after he killed, what, one student? Three? Five? That would be good news?” But isn’t one or three or five dead better than 17 dead?

MSDHS Coach Aaron Feis died a hero, bullets ripping through his body while shielding students from the attacker. Yet many who call him a hero also do not think he should have been armed. How many fewer would have died had Feis been able to return fire?

The root question is why leftists seem intent on protecting or appeasing evil while making it more difficult for the innocent to defend themselves. Leftists rage against micro-aggressions and mis-gendering while seeking to appease murderous Islamist radicals and totalitarian dictators. They tear down statues of Robert E. Lee but wear T-shirts celebrating Che Guevara.

Despite the hand-wringing and lamentations of the anti-Second Amendment Left, President Trump has not called for arming any teacher or school employee who does not want to be armed, nor has he called for any federal mandate, instead rightly noting that it’s a state issue. He has simply suggested we effectively train teachers and employees who do wish to carry in states and districts that allow it. Texas has more than 100 school districts that have done this already.

Some still argue that this would not be a deterrent, but is that true?

Consider this: Is it coincidence, for example, that the theater chosen by the psychopath who killed 12 and wounded 58 in Aurora, Colorado, was the only one of seven theaters in a 20-minute drive from his house (and it was not the closest theater) that was a declared “gun free” zone?

No, it is no coincidence. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, over 98% of all mass shootings since 1950 have occurred in designated “gun free” zones. That is also true even of military recruiting centers like the one attacked by a jihadi in Chattanooga in 2015.

These murderers want to kill as many people as possible before they are stopped. The disparity is so glaring that such places should instead be called “victim-rich zones.” If you have a friend who still disagrees, perhaps you could illustrate by buying them a “gun free household” sticker.

President Trump’s proposal has considerable merit, so long as the decision is left up to the states and the individual teachers who are trained and certified. For those so inclined, we should consider a salary bonus for those who are certified through a law-enforcement training course.

Even if only a few of the teachers and staff in a school signed up and qualified, it would be a deterrent. Any potential murderer with designs to kill our children would know that the response would be swift and deadly.

Armed, trained citizens protecting our innocent children. How could that possibly be a bad thing?

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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For more of today’s top cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

TODAY’S MEME

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For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

MORE ANALYSIS FROM THE PATRIOT POST

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

OPINION IN BRIEF

Marc A. Thiessen: “A few weeks before the school shooting in Parkland, FL, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX) invited a special guest to attend the State of the Union address: Stephen Willeford, the hero who just months earlier had stopped a mass shooter at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. … Here’s something … you need to know about Willeford. First, he is a longtime National Rifle Association instructor; it was his NRA training that allowed him to subdue the shooter. Second, the weapon he used to stop the killing spree in Sutherland Springs was an AR-15 — the very weapon gun-control advocates now want to ban. Without an AR-15, he says, he might not have stopped the killer. … Because of his weapon, his training and his courage, countless lives were probably saved. They could have used a Stephen Willeford in Parkland. … We all want to keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people such as Nikolas Cruz. But we should all want to keep guns in the hands of responsible citizens such as Stephen Willeford. That’s not the case today. Willeford deserves a medal, not a boycott. If corporate America can’t figure that out and continues capitulating to the NRA boycott movement, maybe it is time for gun owners to boycott them.”

SHORT CUTS

For the record: “The call to let 16-year-olds vote is a call to amplify the votes of teachers’ unions. If you think political indoctrination in the schools is bad now, wait until it has the direct power to tip election results.” —Robert Tracinski

Braying Jenny: “Not all men are mass shooters, but most mass shooters are men. … If we can equate femininity to passivity with little statistical evidence, why is it that we cannot equate masculinity to gun violence with large statistical evidence? … We often label these folks as ‘madmen’ with ‘mental illness,’ but when will we begin to label masculinity as having gone ‘mad’? … The question is not if masculinity is a social construct, but rather how many more lives will it take to transform this construction?” —Rutgers University student Francesca Petrucci

Sure, if they want to ensure mass unprofitability: “Here’s an idea. What if the finance industry — credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express; credit card processors like First Data; and banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — were to effectively set new rules for the sales of guns in America? Collectively, they have more leverage over the gun industry than any lawmaker.” —New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin on “How Banks Could Control Gun Sales if Washington Won’t”

Faux condemnation: “The Democrats made a huge mistake by chastising the Trump supporters, and that was disgusting to me. Of course they’re not going to vote for Hillary Clinton; they’re going to vote for Donald Trump. You laughed at them when their plight is very real.” —actress Jennifer Lawrence

Delusions of grandeur: “One of the things I’m proud of in my administration was the fact that … we didn’t have a scandal that embarrassed us. There were mistakes. We’d screw up. But there wasn’t anything venal in eight years.” —Barack Obama

Non Compos Mentis: “That 21% tax [rate] is going to add over $1 trillion to an already $21 trillion debt, and I think we are not paying much attention to that while we are robbing from the future of young people in America, who ultimately are going to have to pay for a $21 trillion tax deficit.” —Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz (All together now: It’s not a cash flow problem; it’s a spending problem.)

And last… “Fighting evil is the Left’s Achilles heel. As I have repeatedly noted, the Left fights little evils, or even non-evils, rather than great evils.” —Dennis Prager

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
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