December 17, 2007

Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney’s Bork Endorsement: A Very Painful Critique

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:06 pm

On Friday, my post, “Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions: The Dam May Be Breaking,” noted that Fred Thompson’s campaign was the first to criticize Mitt Romney over subsidized abortion services in RomneyCare, and also unilaterally imposing same-sex marriage in Massachusetts when he was constitutionally compelled not to. At that point, Team Romney had “responded” with bogus “we had to follow the law” excuses from its spokesmouths.

I concluded:

Now that it’s joined the fray, Team Thompson needs to extend its arguments to constitutional law.

Kevin Madden and M. Fehrnstrom have thrown you two hanging curves, folks. Knock ‘em out of the park already.

Now playing center field for Team Romney: Bobby Bork (NewsMax story).

Wow. It’s amazing how, thanks to Iowa Congressman Steve King’s endorsement of Fred Thompson and a number of other items, this doesn’t seem anywhere near as important as it did a couple of days ago when it occurred. But given Bork’s status as a legal heavyweight, it must be dealt with. After all, Team Romney’s purpose in securing the endorsement is to inoculate the candidate against criticism that he ran roughshod over Massachusetts’s constitution while he was governor — not with substantive responses, mind you, but a vindication-by-association claim that, “Well, if Bob Bork says it, Romney must have done all he could in the circumstances.”

Make no mistake: Robert Bork’s endorsement of Mitt Romney is a bitter and painful disappointment that I would rather not have to criticize. But I must, because that endorsement reflects bad, er, judgment on Bork’s part arising from inadequate research, or (hard as this is to type) legal error.

(Side questions: Who thinks Mitt Romney had it written down somewhere in his master plan to “get Robert Bork endorsement and announce it on a Saturday”? I didn’t think so. Now who thinks that it’s a semi-panicked, finger-in-the-dike response to the supposedly irrelevant [if you believe Hugh Hewitt Hackitt] Thompson campaign punching a couple of big leaks in the dam, and likely preparing to drive constitutional arguments through the holes? I do.)

I wish I could believe that the Bork endorsement is “merely” a case of bad judgment. First, maybe it has happened, but I don’t recall a former appeals court judge ever endorsing a candidate. I would not go so far as to call it unethical, because Bork has not been a Justice for probably 15 years, if not more. But it’s still unwise. Second, the endorsement itself may be a political “Who has the best chance?” calculation. If so, it seems quite premature and based on little more than gut instinct.

Unfortunately, though, the Bork endorsement is likely more (i.e., worse) than that, as evidenced by the bolded lead-in and the final two sentences of the first paragraph from the Romney announcement:

Joining Romney for President, Judge Bork said, “Throughout my career, I have had the honor of serving under several Presidents and am proud to make today’s endorsement. No other candidate will do more to advance the conservative judicial movement than Governor Mitt Romney. He knows firsthand how the judicial branch can profoundly affect the future course of a state and a nation. I greatly admired his leadership in Massachusetts in the way that he responded to the activist court’s ruling legalizing same-sex ‘marriage.’ His leadership on the issue has served as a model to the nation on how to respect all of our citizens while respecting the rule of law at the same time.”

It is my sad duty to inform former Justice Bork that if the rule of law and federal/state constitutions are to mean anything, the bolded text doesn’t make any sense. What’s more, it directly conflicts with some of what Bork has written in the past.

As to the constitutional issues, let’s go through this again, with appropriate revisions reflecting the misguided Bork endorsement.


Nothing has changed in the past 72 hours.

Under Massachusetts’s Constitution, court rulings (or opinions) are not ‘obeyed’ by the legislature or the governor (or the entire executive branch), because judges cannot order the two elected branches around. They are ‘orders’ when issued to private individuals or corporations — IF the court has jurisdiction.

This is still not arguable.

In fact, under the Massachusetts Constitution, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) didn’t even have the jurisdiction to take the case, and violated THEIR oaths of office by doing so, as the December 2006 Joint Letter to Governor Mitt Romney from Pro-Family Leaders” pointed out (link is to a former PDF converted to HTML, with text but not all formatting intact, at BizzyBlog’s host):

As is increasingly well known, the Massachusetts Constitution denies the Judicial Branch any role in marriage policy:

“All causes of marriage shall be heard and determined by the governor and council, until the legislature shall, by law, make other provision.” (PART THE SECOND, Ch. III, Article V.)

In hearing the Goodridge case and issuing an opinion, four of the seven judges violated the Supreme Law of Massachusetts.

Again, this is, and remains, not arguable.

Even the SJC, in its Goodridge ruling, acknowledged that it could only advise the state legislature to pass an enabling law within 180 days of its ruling.

The legislature didn’t pass a law, and has not done so to this day.

Enter Mitt “he promised to obey the court’s ruling” Romney.

Even though there was no “ruling” to obey, only a court opinion that the legislature had not enabled into law, Mitt Romney extra-constitutionally, and in direct violation of his oath of office, imposed same-sex marriage in the Bay State.

Whether or not Bob Bork has endorsed Romney, this is still not arguable.

Yet Romney has now been endorsed for president by some of the alleged leading lights of conservatism, even of social conservatism, and now even by Robert Bork.

This is madness. It must be stopped.

I understand that Romney gave a speech recently about his (insert name of his religion) faith.

Understand this. I don’t care that Mitt Romney is a (insert name of religion).

I don’t care about what Romney has said, in isolation. I do care about what Romney has done, in comparison to what he has said. What he has consciously, proactively, and cynically done to break the oath he swore to the people of Massachusetts, and before God, while pretending now to be a warrior against the very thing he put into place, makes him objectively unfit to serve as president.

Our country’s Founders would agree.

And that, folks, is also not arguable.

And Robert Bork’s endorsement of Mitt Romney doesn’t change that. Not. One. Bit.


Bork’s endorsement, and his assertion about Objectively Unfit Mitt Romney’s “leadership” in responding to the Goodridge same-sex marriage ruling, conflict with what he has said about the ruling itself, and about the relationship between the three branches of government in general.

In November 2003, in the wake of the Goodridge ruling, Bork reacted, in a way that gets into the neighborhood of the essence of the situation, but unfortunately without entering the gates:

“Such matters may be debated, and a legislature would have debated them. But the judges sitting in Boston do not want the Massachusetts legislature to entertain the debate. Nor will the elected representatives be permitted to judge whether homosexual marriage further demeans the institution of marriage, an institution that has already been lowered, via such innovations as no-fault divorce, to a temporary relationship based on little other than personal convenience and sex. Once that is fully accepted, it is difficult to see why polygamy or polyandry or group marriages should be excluded by law or morals.”

Note that he didn’t say that the judges ended the debate. Somewhere in the cobwebs, Bork must have recognized that the judges couldn’t end the debate, even if they had wanted to. The SJC majority could only suggest that the Legislature come up with a law enabling same-sex marriage in a totally non-enforceable “deadline” of 180 days.

The larger point is that Bork must understand, contrary to the language of the Romney endorsement, that “the way he (Romney) responded” to the ruling was obviously inappropriate. If all the SJC could do is try to get the Legislature to do what it “wanted,” then Bork surely must know that the SJC does not have blanket coercive power over the executive branch.

What’s more, Bork has entertained the notion of executives disobeying court orders in the past, as this passage from First Things in November 1996 makes crystal clear:

Only a change in our institutional arrangements can halt the transformation of our society and culture by judges. Decisions of courts might be made subject to modification or reversal by majority vote of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Alternatively, courts might be deprived of the power of constitutional review. Either of those solutions would require a constitutional amendment. Perhaps an elected official will one day simply refuse to comply with a Supreme Court decision.

That suggestion will be regarded as shocking, but it should not be. To the objection that a rejection of a court’s authority would be civil disobedience, the answer is that a court that issues orders without authority engages in an equally dangerous form of civil disobedience. The Taney Court that decided Dred Scott might well have decided, if the issue had been presented to it, that the South had a constitutional right to secede. Would Lincoln have been wrong to defy the Court’s order and continue the Civil War? Some members of the Supreme Court were edging towards judging the constitutionality of the war in Vietnam. Surely, we do not want the Court to control every major decision and leave only the minutiae for democratic government.

It is not arguable that the SJC, in its Goodridge ruling, engaged in the very “civil disobedience” that Bork claims to abhor. Bork should realize that is there ever was a time when an executive should have rejected a court’s pretend illegitimate “authority,” this was it.

Mitt Romney could have merely said, “I don’t have a law to implement. What’s more, the Court did not have jurisdiction in this case in the first place. There’s nothing I can, or will, do, because, in the absence of legislation, anything I do to advance the court’s ruling will violate my duty to uphold the state’s constitution.”

How difficult would that have been for Romney to say? How difficult would that have been for the average constituent, even having to go through the Old Media filter, to understand? As is so often the case, the right thing to do would have been the easiest thing to do. That Bob Bork either doesn’t recognize this, or chooses not to recognize it, is truly tragic.


Team Thompson still has those two hanging curveballs, big as watermelons, heading towards home plate. Team Romney’s center fielder can’t catch 500-foot shots. Knock ‘em out of the park already, guys.


UPDATE: Here is part of an e-mailer’s reax to the Bork endorsement –

….. Mitt keep(s) answering valid questions/criticism with endorsements.

Notice that when issues of substance arise, he never fights his own battles…rather, millionaire Mitt simply runs out, procures an endorsement then let’s that endorsement and the hacks ….. do his bidding…

Gee, what a “comforting” vision of a POTUS. “Please wait Mr. World leader, I can get 10 people to tell you that I’m not what you think I am…waaaaahhhh!”

….. So let’s ask the hacks if the USSC rules that all first-born male children of each household be terminated, if Mitt – who will have “no choice” but to adhere b/c in his estimation it’s “court-imposed,” will be off the hook as far as culpability?

Question ….. what does a decent mind and integrity go for these days?

Quick Iowa and Political Posts (121707)

Filed under: Health Care,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:04 pm

Yesterday, the Thompson campaign followed up on the points it raised last Friday about Unfit Mitt Romney’s abortion record, based on Romney’s appearance yesterday on Meet the Press (link to MTP transcript at BizzyBlog host added by me):

Romney’s Claim: “…every piece of legislation which came to my desk in the coming years as a Governor, I came down on the side of preserving the sanctity of life.”
- Mitt Romney, Meet the Press 12/16/07

Fact Check

- Romney’s health care legislation provides taxpayer-funded abortions for a co-pay of just $50. Romney vetoed EIGHT provisions in his health care bill that he deemed objectionable, but he did not veto Planned Parenthoods’ guaranteed position on the Advisory Board or ensure that abortions were covered only in medically necessary situations (as required by MA court ruling). All abortions are covered in the Commonwealth Care program with no medically necessary limitation.

- Romney included in his health care legislation a guarantee that Planned Parenthood would have a representative on his MassHealth Payment Policy Advisory Board. No such provision was included for a pro-life representative .

- Romney forced private Catholic hospitals to provide the morning-after-pill, a position applauded by Democrats and pro-abortions groups.

Related: R.T. Neary — “Please Mitt, at least a mea culpa”


King-Maker endorsement — Congressman Steve “Kingmaker” King of Iowa has endorsed Thompson. Michelle Malkin is apparently first with excerpts.

Apparently there was belief that Romney would get it (“Team Romney is in the back of the room looking bewildered.”). That’s a big “heh.”

Hugh Hewitt Hackitt, who when I checked yesterday had mentioned Thompson once in roughly his last three days’ posts (and that mention was in an excerpt), in the process ignoring Fred’s “I’m not doing a show of hands” moment, might actually have to type the man’s name. The horror!

Update, 2 PM: Fred reacts.

Update, 2:45 p.m.: King, at least according to this report, kept his endorsement under wraps. His speech appeared to be on the way to endorsing Romney when he mentioned “fire in the belly,” but then veered to Thompson in the final few sentences.

Can’t help but wonder — did that final veer happen because the dam broke? If so, “super-heh.”


McCain and Hillary got endorsements from the Des Moines Register (story and links to text and vid endorsements here), home of the worst debate moderator ever. McCain was endorsed by Joe Lieberman.

These will probably generate as much “Joementum” for each candidate as Lieberman’s 2004 presidential candidacy.


UPDATE, 1:40 p.m.: I just heard Hillary Clinton cite the movie “Independence Day” as a model of how we should all join together to face our problems.

A movie. Something not real.

A “Dean Scream” moment?

Myth Romney: On Reagan, Hyde and Abortion, His History Rewrites Are Virtually Smears

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:06 am

Found while looking into even weightier matters — Mitt “Myth” Romney’s claim that Ronald Reagan and Henry Hyde were once pro-choice is not supported by the significant evidence I reviewed.


Sunday, on Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney a very good question, and got quite the answer (transcript saved to BizzyBlog host for fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):

MR. RUSSERT: Could you be elected governor of Massachusetts on your current platform, the one you now espouse–espouse about abortion, gay rights, gun control, stem cell research, immigration?

GOV. ROMNEY: There’s one what I changed, and that’s with regards to abortion. And, and with my position on abortion was–I was effectively pro-choice and I became pro-life. I did the same–I made the same–had the same experience that Ronald Reagan had…

MR. RUSSERT: Governor…

GOV. ROMNEY: …that Henry Hyde had.

Romney’s response had a pungent aroma that begged for follow-up research. Yours truly has done a pretty good amount of it. Here’s what I’ve found:

  • Whether it’s because he’s fallen for the folklore, or because he knows better and continues to wrongly claim it anyway, Mitt Romney’s assertion that Ronald Reagan’s position on abortion was ever “effectively pro-choice,” or as stated by Romney to Chris Wallace of Fox News on August 12, “adamantly pro-choice” (noted at the time by Warner Todd Huston), is, from all appearances, flat-out false. Perhaps there’s evidence out there to the contrary, but I doubt it.
  • The idea that Henry Hyde was ever effectively prochoice not only seems absurd on its face, but appears not to be supported by the historical record.
  • If I am correct about Reagan and Hyde (there’s little doubt that I am), Romney’s recharacterizations of the abortion positions taken by these men come awfully close to being personal smears of two giants of conservatism who, conveniently for Romney, aren’t around to defend themselves.

Ronald Reagan: Thoroughly Deceived

To get a handle on the probable outrageousness of Romney’s gambit on Reagan, let’s recall some history, especially for those not old enough to remember.

The idea of legalizing abortion in the US, especially abortion on demand, virtually came out of nowhere. The very idea was so outrageous that nearly no one suggested it until 1960. Almost nobody at the time was trying to pretend that there isn’t a developing human being inside a pregnant woman’s womb.

A New York Times archive search during ALL of the 1950s on “legal abortion” (not in quotes) has 35 results, only a few of which are actually about legalizing the practice. 1960-1965 has only 75 results on the same search, with perhaps a half-dozen relating to legalization. Because of the birth defect-causing problems with Thalidomide, there are other articles discussing “therapeutic” and “eugenic” abortions of seriously deformed babies.

Serious discussion of legalizing abortion beyond very hard cases didn’t get going until 1966. According to this Wiki entry, Mississippi became the first state to legalize abortion in cases of rape that year. Otherwise, abortion was illegal everywhere in the US at the end of 1966.

A Times search in 1966 on “Reagan California abortion” shows no evidence that abortion was an issue in the gubernatorial election, where Reagan defeated two-term incumbent Edmund “Pat” Brown.

Reagan was presented with California’s abortion bill in June 1967. Earlier in the year, Colorado and North Carolina had “liberalized” their abortion laws. The three relevant Times headlines that month relating to California are (bolds are mine):

  • (June 7) California’s Senate Votes to Ease Abortion Law; Measure Goes to Assembly — Reagan Says He’d Sign It As It Now Stands
  • (June 14) CALIFORNIA EASES CURB IN ABORTION; Reagan Says He Will Sign It Despite Some Objections
  • (June 15 UPI Report) Reagan Reluctantly Signs Bill Easing Abortions; California Becomes 3d State to Liberalize Curbs– Law’s Effect Delayed

You can access readable pictures of these articles, each of which was obtained from the ProQuest library database for fair use and discussion purposes, by clicking on the respective dates below (each will open in a separate window or tab):

ReaganCAsenateVote1967 ReaganSignsCAabortLaw1967 ReaganReluctantlySignsUPINYT1967

June 7June 14June 15

Here are some key paragraphs from each article illustrating that Reagan had solid prolife instincts, even in the absence of a prolife movement, and that he, with much of the rest of the nation, was tragically deceived by a carefully constructed pack of lies:

  • (June 7) — “Under the bill abortions would be permitted in cases of rape or incest and when a woman’s physical or mental health was gravely threatened by continuation of a pregnancy.”
  • (June 7) — “The legislation would require that any therapeutic abortions be performed in accredited hospitals and only after being approved by a hospital committee on abortions.”
  • (June 14) — “The bill would permit abortions in cases of rape, incest, or when a woman’s physical or mental health was gravely threatened.”
  • (June 14) — “This morning, he (Reagan) said he discovered that the amendments, made more than a week ago, did not meet all his objections. He said he was concerned that a mother who believe she might give birth to a deformed child would be able to have an abortion on the grounds that her mental health was threatened. The Governor also said he favored a residency requirement and tighter language to prevent small hospitals from being established just for abortions.” (Last-minute attempts to include these amendments were defeated, yet Reagan, in what is in hindsight an error in judgment, signed. — Ed.)
  • (June 15) — “North Carolina and Colorado ….. laws (passed) earlier this year ….. also permit termination of pregnancies when the child is likely to be born deformed. A similar section in the California bill was removed when Mr. Reagan complained that it was “only a step away from what Hitler tried to do.”
  • (June 15) — “Backers of the bill contend it will legalize only about 2 per cent of the estimated 100,000 illegal abortions performed annually in California.”

Estimates are that between 1 million and 2 million abortions took place in California in the 5-plus years between the effective date of the bill Reagan signed and the US Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Most were supposedly done for “the well-being of the mother.” I think it’s reasonable to believe that Reagan didn’t grasp how the fundamentally dishonest nascent abortion industry would seize on that loophole to create de facto abortion on demand.

Too few — and yes, Ronald Reagan is among them — recognized the scope of the evil that was being visited upon us. Who can seriously believe, in the context of the times and in light of the above, that California’s legislators at the time would have passed the law if they had known that it would lead to 200,000 or more abortions per year? Or that Reagan would have signed it? Imagine that: They thought that “gravely threatened” meant “gravely” (threatening a seriously bad outcome) “threatened” (having an uncertain chance of continued survival).

Oh, and those supposed 100,000 illegal abortions a year occurring in Cali before the law’s passage? Years later, we learned that numbers like these (including claims of “10,000 abortion-related deaths and a ‘million’ illegal abortions each year” nationwide) were for all practical purposes either based on faulty research or plucked out of thin air. The truth: At the time, it was more like 400 deaths annually and 98,000 illegal abortions, nationwide.

Thus, Reagan’s folklore “conversion” to being prolife was, in reality and in essence, nothing more than an admission that he had been thoroughly deceived, as this quote in the February 8, 1976 New York Times shows (link is to a picture of the article that opens in a new window or tab, provided for fair use and discussion purposes):

Mr. Reagan, returning to the Florida campaign trail after three days in New Hampshire and North Carolina, said that the California abortion law had been subverted by medical professionals, particularly those in the mental health field, who, in practice, assisted any woman who sought to abort a pregnancy.

….. “I placed too much faith in those who were entrusted with insuring that the patient met the terms of the bill.”

For Mitt Romney to characterize the Ronald Reagan just described as “effectively pro-choice” or “adamantly pro-choice,” and Reagan’s “experience” as being “the same” as his, borders on slander.

Henry Hyde

The legendary prolife congressman, who died in November, is responsible for ensuring that no federal funds have paid for abortions since his Hyde Amendment passed in 1975. The New York Times’s obituary of November 30 quotes a veteran prolifer telling us what this meant in human terms:

Dr. Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said, “By conservative estimate, well over one million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment — more likely two million.”

Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, the Washington Post’s November 29 obit seems to contradict his claim that Hyde was once “effectively pro-choice”:

Elected to the Illinois House in 1967, he encountered what would become his signature issue when a colleague asked him to cosponsor an abortion rights law in 1968. Despite his Irish-Catholic upbringing, he told The Post he had never given much thought to the issue. Once he began reading on the matter, he realized he had to oppose it.

As noted above with Reagan, very few people had “given much thought” to abortion before the mid-late 1960s because it was (and of course still is, despite Roe) so obviously repugnant.

There are no hints that Henry Hyde was at any time pro-choice — effective, adamant, or otherwise — in the Chicago Tribune’s article on the day of his death, Jonathan Turley’s tribute, the New York Times’s obit noted earlier, or Hyde’s Wiki entry.


Mitt Romney claims that he had a prolife “conversion” in late 2004. In doing so, he therefore says he has totally moved away from the following (beginning at 1:00 at this video):

1994 — “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and suport that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice. And my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”

2002 — “And I’ve been very clear on that. I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’s pro-choice laws.”

“Now I want the voters to know exactly where I’m going to stand as governor. And that is I am not going to change our pro-choice laws in Massachusetts in any way. I will preserve them, I will protect them, I will enforce them. And therefore I’m not going to make any changes which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself.

“When I’m governor, and I’m convinced I will be, I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose.”

That’s 32 years, at least, of support for abortion rights, and at least eight years of outspoken support.

2002′s Romney riff is at least tacitly supportive of partial-birth abortion, a practice that first became known in 1995. Taken in combination with what he said in 1994 — “we should sustain and support it (Roe v. Wade)” — and the lack of objection in the intervening period, at least that I’m aware of, to partial-birth abortion, I don’t see why we shouldn’t assume that Romney supported that heinous practice up to the date of his alleged “conversion.”

Given the historical record of Ronald Reagan and Henry Hyde on the issue of abortion documented here, only one question remains — How does Mitt Romney work up the unmitigated gall to continue to characterize his alleged “conversion” experience as “the same,” thereby using these great men as crutches?


- Dec. 17 — Quick Iowa and Political Posts (see first item)
- Dec. 14 — Romney, the Courts, and the Constitutions: The Dam May Be Breaking
- Nov. 21 — Abortion Coverage in RomneyCare

ALSO: Steven at Life News reminds me that Reagan biographer Joseph Cannon had this to say about Reagan’s thoughts on abortion while governor (bolds are mine), noted by Warner Todd Huston at the time –

In fact, Cannon writes that in 1968, the year after the bill passed, Reagan said that “those were awful weeks,” and that he would never have signed the bill if he had “been a more experienced governor.”

In light of the evidence it cannot be said that Reagan was ever an “adamant” pro-abortion supporter who later “grew” into an anti-abortion advocate. For Romney to invoke the spirit of Ronald Reagan in this way is a disgraceful attempt to co-opt the reputation of the most famous and successful politician of his age and an icon of the conservative movement to the aid of a candidate floundering on an issue. Mitt Romney’s abortion problem bears no resemblance at all to Ronald Reagan’s views “grown” or not.


UPDATE: This post was picked up at Hot Air’s Headlines earlier today.

Positivity: Wedding ring saved man’s life, police say

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Jackson, Mississippi:

Donnie Register has a new reason to be thankful he’s married – police say his wedding band deflected a bullet and probably saved his life.

The Jackson shop owner threw up his left hand when a man shot at him during a robbery on Saturday at The Antique Market.

Police said the wedding band deflected the bullet, but Register’s wife said she gives “God all the credit.”

Jackson police spokesman Sgt. Jeffery Scott said two men walked into the store and asked to see a coin collection. When Register retrieved the collection, one of the men pulled a gun and demanded money.

At some point in the robbery a shot was fired.

“The bullet managed to go through two of his fingers without severing the bone. A part of the bullet broke off and is in his middle finger. The other part is in his neck, lodged in the muscle tissue. But it’s not life-threatening,” said his wife, Darlene Register.

Police were searching for the suspects.

Go here for the rest of the story.