Each week, Mr. Reed will relate the stories of people whose choices and actions make them heroes. See the table of contents for previous installments.
“All our liberties are due to men who, when their conscience has compelled them, have broken the laws of the land.”
So said William Kingdon Clifford, a 19th-century English mathematician and philosopher. Inspiring words, but did you catch the one glaring error? He forgot the women!
If Clifford had known Vivien Kellems, he wouldn’t have made that mistake.
Born in 1896 in Des Moines, Iowa, Kellems was a locomotive that never quit. Indeed, to continue the train analogy, she was a real-life Dagny Taggart, the railroad vice president protagonist of Atlas Shrugged. Before Kellems died in 1975, she could proudly look back on a life of service to her country as a successful entrepreneur, an accomplished public speaker, a political candidate more interested in educating than in winning, and, most famously, as a tireless opponent of the IRS and its tax code. Outspoken to the end, nobody ever accused her of hiding her light under a bushel.
Kellems was a tireless opponent of the IRS and its tax code.
While earning her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Oregon in 1918, Kellems gave her classmates a dose of the spunk that would mark the next half-century of her life. She became the first and only female on the college debate team, humbling many men in a competition widely thought at the time to be for males only. She went on to earn a master’s in economics in 1921. Decades later, while in her 70s, she started work on a PhD at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The focus of her dissertation was the issue that made her a virtual household name in America: the income tax.
(MCCLATCHYDC) — WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate’s homeland security committee has asked a small, 13-year-old Denver technology company that managed tens of thousands of emails for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to describe what measures it took to safeguard national security information.
The FBI, which has embarked on its own scrutiny of Clinton’s private server, also has shown interest in the company, Platte River Networks, which began managing Clinton’s emails in 2013, according to published reports.
Her use of a private, non-governmental server to conduct official State Department business is causing increased turbulence for Clinton as she pursues what many thought would be a relatively smooth ride to the Democratic presidential nomination.
(ASSOCIATED PRESS) — WASHINGTON – The FBI has taken possession of thumb drives containing Hillary Clinton’s emails, some of which have been deemed to contain highly sensitive classified information, according to a U.S. official briefed on the matter.
The official was not authorized to be quoted publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, turned over the emails after the FBI determined that he could not remain in possession of the classified information, the official said. The State Department previously had said it was comfortable with Kendall keeping the emails at his Washington law office.
It started with the pope. In his recent encyclical, Laudato Si’, he singled out air conditioning as a particularly good example of wasteful habits and excessive consumption that overcome our better natures:
People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning.
Understand that when I defend air conditioning, I do so as something of a reluctant proponent. I grew up in the Midwest, and I have always loved sitting on the screened-in porch, rocking on the porch swing, drinking a glass of something cold. I worked in Key West during the summer after my sophomore year of college, lived in an apartment with no air conditioning, and discovered the enormous value of ceiling fans. A lazy, hot summer day can be a real pleasure.
However, let’s not kid ourselves. There were frequent nights in my childhood when it was just too hot to sleep, and the entire family would hunker down in the one air-conditioned room of the house — my father’s attic study — to cool off at night. When we moved from that house to a place that had central air, none of us complained.
When I was growing up in the Deep South, everybody I knew had a garden, shelled beans and peas, and canned. It could have been an Olympic event. What I remember most — besides how good the food was — is how hot it was, all those hours spent over huge pots of boiling something or other on the stove in a house with no air conditioning.
There’s a lot to be said for being able to cook in comfort and to enjoy the screened-in porch by choice rather than necessity. Making your family more comfortable is one of the great advantages of an increasingly wealthy society, after all.
Making your family more comfortable is one of the great advantages of an increasingly wealthy society.
So when I read that the US Department of Energy says that you can save about 11 percent on your electric bill by raising the thermostat from 72 to 77 degrees, mostly I want to invite the Department of Energy to come over to my 1929 bungalow and see if they can get any sleep in my refinished attic bedroom when the thermostat is set to 77 degrees, but the room temperature is a cozy 80-something.
And when I read Petula Dvorak arguing that air conditioning is a tool of sexism because “all these women [are freezing] who actually dress for the season — linens, sundresses, flowy silk shirts, short-sleeve tops — changing their wardrobes to fit the sweltering temperatures around them. … And then there are the men, stalwart in their business armor, manipulating their environment for their own comfort, heaven forbid they make any adjustments in what they wear,” mostly I want to ask her if she’s read the dress codes for most professional offices. In my office, women can wear sleeveless tops and open-toed shoes in the summer. Men have to wear a jacket and tie. Air conditioning isn’t sexist. Modern dress codes very well might be.
But arguments based on nostalgia or gender are mostly easily dismissed. Moral arguments, like those made by Pope Francis or by those who are concerned about the environmental and energy impact of air conditioning, are more serious and require real attention.
Is it immoral to use air conditioning?
Pope Francis certainly suggests it is. And the article in the Washington Post that compares US and European air conditioning use agrees, suggesting that the United States prefers the short-term benefits of air conditioning over the long-term dangers of potential global warming — and that our air conditioning use “will make it harder for the US to ask other countries to continue to abstain from using it to save energy.” We are meant to be deeply concerned about the global environmental impact as countries like India, Indonesia, and Brazil become wealthy enough to afford widespread air conditioning. We are meant to set a good example.
But two months before the Washington Post worried that the United States has made it difficult to persuade India not to use air conditioning, 2,500 Indians died in one of the worst heat waves in the country’s history. This June, 780 people died in a four-day heat wave in Karachi, Pakistan. And in 2003, a heat wave that spanned Europe killed 70,000. Meanwhile, in the United States, heat causes an average of only 618 deaths per year, and the more than 5,000 North American deaths in the un-air-conditioned days of 1936 remain a grim outlier.
Air conditioning is not immoral. Possessing a technology that can prevent mortality numbers like these and not using it? That’s immoral.
Air conditioning is not immoral. Possessing a technology that can prevent mortality numbers like these and not using it? That’s immoral.
Air conditioning is, for most of us, a small summertime luxury. For others, it is a life-saving necessity. I am sure that it has environmental effects. Benefits always have costs, and there’s no such thing as a free climate-controlled lunch. But rather than addressing those costs by trying to limit the use of air conditioning and by insisting that developing nations not use the technologies that rocketed the developed world to success, perhaps we should be focusing on innovating new kinds of air conditioning that can keep us cool at a lesser cost.
I bet the kids who will invent that technology have already been born. I pray that they do not die in a heat wave before they can share it with us.
(MEDIAITE) — In the Overtime segment of Fox News’ Outnumbered, Andrea Tantaros really let Donald Trump have it for his “disgusting” comments about Megyn Kelly.
Tantaros expressed her frustration with how Trump picking a fight with Kelly takes away from the real battles the GOP needs to be fighting against Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration.
She felt Trump’s attacks on Kelly were directed more towards all women than just her, and called his remarks “unnecessary,” “disgusting,” and “the lowest form of political discussion.”
And furthermore, she defended Kelly’s tough questions to Trump, said anyone going up against the Clinton machine will have to really answer these things, and said, “The enemy is not Megyn Kelly and the enemy should not be her or this channel.”
In every election season, a new generation comes of age and experiences the political theater for the first time. The experience is formative. It challenges you to decide what you think about the world. Which candidate best represents my values and shares my sense of how things ought to be? More fundamentally, how should things be in politics?
As time goes on and you experience successive presidential election cycles, illusions begin to fall away. You start to see the whole thing for what it is.
So this article is for those who do not yet see. It is a quick tutorial in political reality, and a way to avoid the pain and suffering that comes with gradually discovering that reality on your own.
Lesson 1: Your Vote Cannot Change the Election Outcome
It’s not that your vote doesn’t matter at all. It might matter, but the odds are incredibly thin. If you live in a swing state, you might have a 1 in 10 million chance of swinging the election. But on average, “a voter in America had a 1 in 60 million chance of being decisive in the presidential election,” concludes one statistical analysis in Economic Inquiry. As the authors indicate, you are more likely to die in an car crash on the way to the polls.
Why do so many people vote anyway? Are they deluded? Maybe, but many people treat voting as a consumption good, which is to say they enjoy it. It makes them feel patriotic. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you are still voting in an attempt to affect the outcome — and are still spooked that your failure to vote might ruin everything — here is a solution. Find someone who will vote differently, and you can both decide to grab a drink together instead.
Lesson 2: You Are Voting for People, Not Policies
There are elections in this country in which people really do decide on issues. In state and local elections, there are referenda on bond issues, taxes, pot decriminalization, and so on. Exciting stuff! But at the federal level, no way. You are voting only on personnel. Sure, the candidates can promise this or that, but how they behave after the election is something over which you have no control — and there is no recourse if something goes wrong.
The beginning of political wisdom comes with the realization that the mainstream candidates do not exhaust the ideological options.
Wouldn’t it be grand if there were real national elections on issues? Let’s say that the ballots had lists of spending priorities, policy ideas, and methods of government management. How many people would vote for their smartphones to be surveilled? For ever-less choice in health care? For higher gas taxes? I don’t know the answer here, but it would be interesting, for once, to see. Direct democracy on issues is technologically feasible today. It is even possible to give people the government they actually want through subscription services. We don’t do it because the ruling class likes the system the way it is.
Lesson 3: These People Are Not Actually the Government
Last year, I calculated the number of government employees who are actually running the state and compared it to the number of people we elect. Depending on how you calculate this, we are permitted to elect between 0.02 percent and 0.0004 percent of those who are in charge of our lives. The unelected constitute the deep state that no one wants to talk about. You could ship the whole class of elected rulers to Zimbabwe for four years and it would make no difference.
But wait: Aren’t the elected rulers in charge of the rest? Not really. Most of the permanent bureaucracy can’t be fired, no matter what. In any case, delegation to professionals is what elected rulers specialize in. The first act of the president is to fill 3,000 positions with political appointees. Congressional offices are managed by DC hacks. Politicians are specialists in what they are doing now: trying to get elected. The day they take office is the day the next election begins.
Lesson 4: These Are Not the Only Options
The beginning of political wisdom comes with the realization that the mainstream candidates do not exhaust the ideological options. Candidate A says that health care policy should be this way, and candidate B says it should be that way. What neither candidate ever says is that perhaps health care should not be the responsibility of government at all. And this goes for every other issue in national life: communications, labor, energy, environment, foreign policy, and so on.
The whole conventional political debate is premised on the idea that government should be running things. What’s left out here is the greatest single idea ever discovered in the history of the social sciences: society runs itself better than any authority can run it.
This is true in economics but also in culture, security services, religion, and family life. Liberty just works better. The discovery of this truth built civilization. But that idea is absent from the options we are given. No matter: you can discover it on your own if you are brave enough to step outside the partisan paradigm.
Lesson 5: Social Change Happens Outside of Government
Every candidate will speak about his or her vision for America. They talk as if they want to be, can be, will be, in charge of pushing history forward. But look around: the progress you experience in your daily life has nothing to do with the political class. Think about the mobile applications you use to stay in touch with family, find directions in a new city, monitor your health, communicate with your network. These services were not granted by the political class. They came to us via entrepreneurs and enterprise, working themselves out in the course of social evolution.
The political theater is a distraction.
In “Is Politics Obsolete?” Max Borders and I chronicled all the ways the world has changed over the last four years. It’s remarkable what’s happening today. It’s revolutionary. None of this was anticipated by the last election. And none of it is inspired by politicians. The change is coming from within the fabric of the social order. And that change is continuing by the day. If you want to be part of it, to make a difference in the world, the realm of enterprise and individual action is the sector for you. In many ways, the political theater is a distraction — a learning opportunity, yes, but ultimately not decisive for the kind of life we want to build.
The tendency to treat elections as personal moments in our lives might be a product of democracy. We are encouraged to believe that we are running the system. So we flatter ourselves that our opinions matter. After all, it is we the voters who are in charge of building the regime under which we live. But look deeper and you discover a truth that is both terrifying and glorious: the building of the great society can’t be outsourced. It is up to you and me.
Two judges have suppressed, for now, what could be evidence of criminal activity because of the “privacy” concerns of abortion-business interests, but a legal analyst says their work to conceal information all could be undone by Congress.
The issue is the series of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, which sent undercover representatives to interview Planned Parenthood executives and others connected with the abortion industry.
Their target was to find out about the industry’s trade in the body parts of unborn infants. Five videos already made public have revealed Planned Parenthood executives callously talking about what they would get – one infamously stated “I want a Lamborghini” – for allowing a company to collect and sell body parts.
But two interests – the commercial StemExpress which operates in the industry and the National Abortion Federation which represents abortion businesses – both went to court to ask that any videos including their own statements be suppressed.
Two judges agreed, and hearings are set later this month to continue arguments over the issue.
Hans von Spakovsky, an authority on a wide range of issues including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform, and Elizabeth Slattery, who writes about the rule of law, the role of courts, civil rights and equal protection, both are in the foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.
“[An] action that one or both of these congressional committees [investigating Planned Parenthood] should consider taking is immediately to request or subpoena all of the remaining videos from CMP that have not yet been released.
“The actions of StemExpress and NAF, who are allies of Planned Parenthood, reveal the tactics that these abortion providers and organ buyers intend to use to prevent or delay the release of these videos: seeking out sympathetic judges who will prevent the further release of videos that severely damage the image of the abortion industry and reveal in gory detail their inner workings.”
The commentary continued, “No federal or state judge has the authority to prevent a congressional committee from holding a hearing at which witnesses – like representatives of CMP – testify about their experiences or where the committee presents evidence it has obtained such as the undercover videos, which could also be posted on the committee’s website.
“Such action by Congress may be the only way to ensure that litigation tactics do not prevent the public from seeing the rest of the evidence of Planned Parenthood’s possible violations of federal law, and its hideous practices and procedures.”
They also point out that Judge William Orrick, one of the judges granting the abortion industry protection, “along with his wife was a major campaign finance bundler for and contributor to Obama, raising at least $200,000 for Obama’s campaign and contributing over $30,000 to committees supporting Obama.”
The other judge granting abortionists protection was Joanne B. O’Donnell, in the California state-court system, who ruled in the StemExpress request.
“StemExpress’s desire to avoid further ridicule, criticism or scandal for its nefarious involvement in the gruesome harvesting and sale of aborted babies’ body parts does not outweigh the public’s interest in seeing these videos any more than it would if this were a CBS ’60 Minutes’ undercover sting,” the commentary said.
“The same can be said of NAF, particularly given the information already available. … And these restraining orders may violate the stern prohibition against prior restraint of free speech outlined by U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” it said.
Although it hasn’t reached the level of subpoena yet, Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, already has requested of CMP “all video footage in CMP’s possession relating to the provision, acquisition, preparation, transportation and sale of fetal tissue … by PPFA, Planned Parenthood affiliates and associated clinics, intermediary businesses, end-users, as well as any other individuals, entities and organizations involved in these processes.”
The Family Research Council noted, “Congress may be going away – but the Planned Parenthood issue isn’t. When the Senate breaks for August recess this Friday, the political pressure cooker will only get hotter back home when members hear from unhappy voters firsthand. Even moderate Republicans like Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, seemed to acknowledge that Congress had a lot more work to do to protect the integrity of taxpayer dollars – and human beings.”
The Senate this week had a majority voting to defund Planned Parenthood, but failed to reach the 60-vote procedural hurdle. That isn’t the end, Cornyn has said.
“That vote, Cornyn insisted, ‘isn’t the end of it. This will be the beginning.’ Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who has a long track record of fighting the abortion industry’s corruption, agreed. ‘This almost certainly becomes part of any final decision about how to move forward on funding. There will be a larger discussion on this,’” FRC reported.
“When even MSNBC is calling for taxpayer alternatives to Cecile Richards’s [Planned Parenthood] group, you know the organization is in trouble. MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough got visibly frustrated when Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., claimed that defunding Planned Parenthood would increase the abortion rate,” the report said.
He said, “I think there are a lot of people who believe in a woman’s right to choose who wouldn’t support federal funding for Planned Parenthood. They aren’t the only people that can hand out birth control.”
FRC also pointed out Sen. Harry Reid’s audacious claim that 39 million women get health care from Planned Parenthood, even though the organization says it saw only 2.7 million in 2013.
“The abortion industry and its supporters may traffic in a lot of things, but the truth is not one of them,” FRC said.
When CMP released its fifth video, WND reported another Planned Parenthood executive was caught discussing the prices for the bodies of unborn babies, noting that “it’s all just a matter of line items” for “intact fetal cadavers” or dissections from them.
Under federal law, it’s illegal to buy or sell body parts of the unborn.
It was Melissa Farrell, of the Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast, one of the biggest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country, who said, “If we alter our process, and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this. It’s all just a matter of line items.”
Troy Newman, of the abortion-fighting Operation Rescue and who is on the board for CMP, said, “The admission that Planned Parenthood abortionists manipulate procedures in order to better harvest organs or even intact late-term fetal cadavers for human experimentation purposes conjures images of H.G. Wells’ Dr. Moreau. It is all clearly illegal.
“Are ethical standards adhered to during these private experiments? Given Planned Parenthood’s propensity for unethical, above-the-law arrogance, it is doubtful.”
See the video:
Farrell openly discusses how the research department at Planned Parenthood contributes to the “revenue stream” of the abortion business, and says deviating from standard protocols can be considered.
“Anything that we integrate into that procedure, without having you cover the procedural cost, is going to be higher. Right. So anything of a higher gestational age there’s more opportunity for complication. There’s more administrative time involved. Sometimes the procedures are long, so then anything that we piggyback onto that for collection purposes obviously, would have to reflect the additional time, cost, administrative burden.” she said.
CMP spokesman David Daleiden said, “This is now the fifth member of Planned Parenthood leadership discussing payments for aborted baby parts without any connection to actual costs of so-called tissue ‘donation.’ Planned Parenthood’s system-wide conspiracy to evade the law and make money off of aborted fetal tissue is now undeniable.”
It was in an interview with CNN that Daleiden give his view as to why StemExpress was so concerned about it’s statements becoming public.
He said, in an interview during which the CNN reporter was combative, that his StemExpress, which partners with Planned Parenthood to dissect unborn babies and remove the most valuable body parts, is trying to suppress “a specific video recording of a meeting with their top leadership where their leadership admitted they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their lab from the abortion clinics.”
“That,” he said, “could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants. That’s why they’re trying to suppress that and they’re very scared of it.”
See the interview:
To date, the video investigation has resulted in at least eight states beginning investigations of Planned Parenthood. Several congressional committees are doing the same, and on Monday the Senate narrowly failed to approve a ban on federal money for Planned Parenthood, which promises to keep the fight looming in Washington.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the videos were just too much.
“I am very troubled by the callous behavior of Planned Parenthood staff in (the) recently released videos,” he explained, “which casually discuss the sale, possibly for profit, of fetal tissue after an abortion. Until these allegations have been answered and resolved, I do not believe that taxpayer money should be used to fund this organization.”
From statements by Planned Parenthood officials that ranged from “I want a Lamborghini” to discussion about how to salvage certain saleable parts by crushing surrounding parts, the videos are self-explanatory.
WND also has reported that as horrific as the videos appear, they should surprise no one, since such practices have been documented for nearly two decades already.
One price list uncovered by a pro-life organization dated June 1998 shows that the price per specimen from a second trimester abortion is $90 fresh and $130 frozen.
Mark Crutcher, whose Life Dynamics organization was a ground-breaker in investigating the abortion behemoth that gets some $500 million annually from U.S. taxpayers, worked on that investigation.
His group reported back in February 2000 how the baby parts market works: “A baby parts ‘wholesaler’ enters into a financial agreement with an abortion clinic in which the wholesaler pays a monthly ‘site fee’ to the clinic. For this payment, the wholesaler is allowed to place a retrieval agent inside the clinic where he or she is given access to the corpses of children killed there and a workspace to harvest their parts.”
He continued: “The buyer – usually a researcher working for a medical school, pharmaceutical company, bio-tech company or government agency – supplies the wholesaler with a list of the baby parts wanted. … when such orders are received … they are faxed to the retrieval agent at the clinic who harvests the requested parts and ships them to the buyer.”
The documentation was provided at that time to Life Dynamics by a worker who left Comprehensive Health for Women, a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Overland Park, Kansas.
Among the documents was a “Fee-for-Services” Schedule A, effective June 1998, which outlined a charge of $220 per specimen for first-trimester aspiration abortions and $260 if the baby parts were frozen.
Crutcher’s report, citing Planned Parenthood’s own paperwork, found that one agent sold during February 1996 alone 47 livers, 11 liver fragments, seven brains, 21 eyes, eight thymuses, 23 legs, 14 pancreases, 14 lungs, six arms and one kidney-adrenal gland.
He also sold three orders of blood from the unborn child. The retrieval agent “harvested all of the parts,” the report said, explaining that “in order for the blood of an aborted child to be sold, the dead baby had to be brought to him intact.”
The “specimens,” the report said, would have generated up to about $25,000 in revenue for one month from one retrieval agent at one Planned Parenthood business.
Crutcher reported that the tissue logs reveal that one baby is often chopped up and sold to many buyers.
For example, babies taken from donors 113968 and 114189 were both killed late in their second trimester and cut into nine pieces. By applying the price list, buyers would have been invoiced between $3,510 and $5,070 for these parts, he said.
According to the mainstream media, the winner was … Fox News.
According to Rush Limbaugh, the loser was … Fox News.
At least, in the sense that the network may have blown its credibility with conservatives.
And Limbaugh said he saw it coming.
“Everybody should have known this was gonna happen,” he said. “This is presidential politics, and Republican candidates are where media people score their points. It’s where they build their careers. It’s where they establish their credentials.”
On Friday, Limbaugh began by telling listeners how, on the day of Thursday’s debate, he had learned “that big-time Republican donors had ordered to take out Donald Trump in the debate last night.”
“We all made a mistake,” he explained. “We assumed that the orders went out to the candidates. But the candidates did not make one move toward taking Donald Trump out. The broadcast network did; the candidates didn’t.”
Rush said it was clear that Fox News had it out for Trump when his colleagues refused to pile on, even when given multiple opportunities to bash the front-runner.
“Not one of the remaining nine candidates joined Megyn Kelly in taking the shot at Trump. Not one. Yet we have been told that there were orders from Republican donors to take Trump out.”
If, in addition to targeting Trump, Fox News was indeed looking to get some love and respect from the left and the establishment media with its relentless attacks on Republican candidates in the Thursday night’s debate, it’s mission was accomplished.
The media and much of the rest of the left raved about the performance of Fox moderators Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.
Washington Post: Columnist Richard Cohen declared, “The only winner I feel confident in naming is Fox News. Political analyst Chris Cillizza declared Fox a winner, calling the moderators “outstanding.” Aaron Blake praised Fox’s “tough” questions and chided conservatives for being mad at Fox, saying “they shouldn’t be.”
New York Times: Op-ed columnist Frank Bruni gushed, “It was riveting. It was admirable. It compels me to write a cluster of words I never imagined writing: hooray for Fox News.” And, “This was an inquisition. On this night, the network that pampers Republicans provoked them instead. It was great television, and even better politics.”
MSNBC: Andrea Mitchell tweeted, “So far the clear winners are Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace for their q’s.” Former MSNBC host Abby Huntsman tweeted that Kelly “is pretty darn bad a–.”
CNN: Brian Stelter cited the “almost unanimously positive reviews” of Fox’s “tough debate questions” by both the media and liberal commentators.
BuzzFeed: Editor in chief Ben Smith called Fox News chief Roger Ailes “clearly the winner of this. This is really good TV.”
Glenn Greenwald: The liberal journalist tweeted: “Credit where due: these questions from the Fox moderators are almost all quite good.”
Scripps News: Washington Bureau Chief Ellen Weiss gave “kudos” to Fox for “asking each candidate tough questions on their weak spots.”
Foreign Policy Magazine: managing editor Yochi Dreazen said tough Fox questions left some candidates looking “shell-shocked.”
American Public Media: Public radio host Kai Ryssdal wrote, “have to hand it to Fox News moderators for going after their guys.” He tweeted, “@msnbc anchors would not have been – and will not be – as tough on Dems as @FoxNews was on GOP tonight.”
Fox: Even the host network declared itself the winner, with patriarch Rupert Murdoch tweeting, “What a fantastic night for USA, democracy, freedom and incidentally Fox News.”
Fox’s focus on itself as the key player in the debates may have been evidenced by the fact that the moderators dominated the on-air time, speaking for 31.7 percent of the two-hour event.
That was far more time than any one candidate received. The average was approximately seven minutes per candidate. Trump, under constant fire from Fox moderators, got the most time at almost 11 minutes.
Fox News debate moderators, Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier
Why the Fox fixation on itself?
Jeremy Peters of the New York Times offered the theory that Fox saw it as a chance to gain respect and recognition from its leftist peers in the media, although he put it in terms that sympathized with that ambition
“For the journalists of Fox News, the debate offered a potentially defining moment in front of millions of people, during one of the most anticipated political events of the year,” he wrote.
“This was an opportunity to demonstrate that their network is not, as its critics have charged, a blindly loyal propaganda division of the Republican Party, that Fox journalists can be as unsparing toward conservatives as they are with liberals, and that they can eviscerate with equal opportunity if they choose.”
But many conservatives were livid with Fox over the moderators’ incessant attacks on the 10 GOP presidential candidates.
A caller on Friday told Limbaugh, “I thought I was watching MSNBC. The moderators methodically torpedo each candidate, with Donald Trump being the biggest target.
“And the worst was Megyn Kelly, who you just referenced, who thinks she’s all that and just too cute, asked that ridiculous name-calling question and referenced the nonexistent war on women.”
That’s when Limbaugh agreed, saying, “Everybody should have known this was gonna happen. This is presidential politics, and Republican candidates are where media people score their points. It’s where they build their careers. It’s where they establish their credentials.”
In an article headlined, “Conservatives are mad at Fox News and Megyn Kelly. They shouldn’t be,” the Washington Post compiled a few tweets representing the conservative fury at Fox across the nation, writing, “This kind of stuff was all over social media Friday morning.”
As for which candidate actually won the debate, reactions were all over the map.
Opinion appeared evenly divided on whether Trump helped or hurt himself.
But, according to the Drudge Report poll, as of early Friday evening, he was the landslide winner.
The clear losers? GOP establishment favorites Bush and Christie.
Trump: 44.67 percent (258,414 votes)
Cruz: 14.37 percent (83,159 votes)
Rubio: 10.46 percent (60,497 votes)
Carson: 8.92 percent (51,617 votes)
Paul: 6.09 percent (35,213 votes)
Kasich: 5.25 percent (30,396 votes)
Walker: 3.51 percent (20,318 votes)
Huckabee: 3.37 percent (19,512 votes)
Bush: 2.07 percent (11,987 votes)
Christie: 1.28 percent (7,401 votes)
Many pundits agreed that Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.; Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio; and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson all performed well and boosted their fortunes.
Fox limited the participants to the top 10 in an average of five national polls as of Tuesday.
Making the cut were Trump (23.4 percent), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (12.0 percent), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (10.2 percent), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (6.6 percent), Carson (5.8 percent), Cruz (5.4 percent), Rubio (5.4 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (4.8 percent), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (3.4 percent) and Kasich (3.2 percent).
Fox News certainly was an indisputable winner in one important respect: ratings.
With 24 million people watching, the prime-time debate from Cleveland became the highest-rated cable news program of all time, and Fox News’ most-watched program ever.
So who actually won?
The only debater declared the clear winner by virtually unanimous acclaim was not even on the prime-time stage: Carly Fiorina.
GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina
She appeared in the 5 p.m. ET debate for the seven GOP candidates who did not make the top 10 roster for the prime-time debate.
But her fortunes looked a lot brighter Friday, as the rave reviews poured in immediately following, and even during, her bravura performance.
The Washington Post said Carly won “by a lot.”
Karl Rove said: “Carly Fiorina walked in tonight, owned the stage, owned it big.”
Nate Silver of 538 said Carly was “crushing it.”
National Review reported: “Left, Right, and Center Agree: Carly Crushed It.”
In an article titled, “Carly Fiorina won the happy hour debate. By a lot,” the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza gushed over her “poised and confident” answers.” He added, “What made Fiorina stand out – more than what she said on any particular topic – was that she looked up to the moment. She was prepared and poised. She rarely glanced at notes. She spoke freely and easily. She had the ‘it’ factor.”
Immediately following the debate, Fox News political analyst Chris Wallace observed, “I’d have to say I was most impressed with Carly Fiorina. I think she just stood above the other six people on the stage. She was sharp on national security. She was, not surprisingly for a former CEO, sharp on domestic policy and budget, money issues. I just think there’s kind of a sharpness and intelligence about her and a precision [in] her message that really cuts through. I was frankly a little surprised that she didn’t make the top 10.” He said he believed the former Hewlett-Packard CEO’s performance could help propel her into the top-tier candidates.
Fox News political analyst George Will said, “I agree with Chris. Carly Fiorina stood out for the precision, fluency and the way she managed to pack a lot into one minute or into 30 seconds.”
And yet another Fox News analyst, Brit Hume, declared, “We have a consensus winner: Carly Fiorina won this debate.”
Houston’s lesbian mayor, who once subpoenaed the sermons of local pastors in her fight for a transgender ordinance, apparently isn’t giving up, even though the state Supreme Court recently slapped down her arguments.
Pastors and other members of the city’s No Unequal Rights coalition said Friday they are returning to court against Annise Parker, who was found to be in violation of the city’s charter, with a claim she’s violating the city charter, again, in how she’s chosen to describe that ordinance to residents in the coming election.
Coalition attorney Andy Taylor confirmed an Emergency Motion for Expedited Relief is being filed with the Texas Supreme Court “to seek a mandamus ordering the mayor and city council to submit ballot language for her ‘Equal Rights Ordinance’ that conforms with the city charter.”
He already had argued before the city council for alignment with the city charter, pointing out the city charter requires a vote on ordinances when opponents collect enough signatures of residents.
That provision, Section VII-b, Section 3, specifically requires, “the council shall immediately reconsider such ordinance or resolution and, if it does not entirely repeal the same, shall submit it to popular vote at the next city general election, or the council may, in its discretion, call a special election for that purpose; and such ordinance or resolution shall not take effect unless a majority of the qualified voters voting thereon at such election shall vote in favor thereof.”
But the wording adopted by the city for the November election regarding the proposed ordinance that would allow men who describe themselves as women to use women’s facilities in public locations like locker rooms and recreation centers, and vice versa, provides that a vote “in favor” would be to repeal.
Which reverses what many people would expect.
Taylor explained that the prescribed language allows citizens to vote “for” a dispute ordinance.
The mayor, and her council, instead have set up language offering citizens an opportunity to “repeal” the disputed plan.
They are moving forward with plans to propose on the ballot: “Shall the city of Houston repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Ord. No. 2014-530 which prohibits discrimination in city employment and city services, city contracts, public accommodations, private employment, and housing based on an individual’s sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information gender identity or pregnancy?”
The coalition said the language is “leading and manipulative” and to meet the requirements of the charter should be changed.
The coalition points out that, technically, there is no ordinance to repeal because once an election has been set, there is no enforcement allowed of such a measure.
“Our position is that regardless of whose political advantage it achieves, the city charter requires an affirmative vote to adopt the ordinance, a negative vote to defeat the ordinance and since we have fought for and stood for the rule of law, we will continue to do so, trusting God and His truth to prevail,” the coalition statement Friday said.
In the petition to the state Supreme Court, the coalition explains:
“The coalition’s chief concern about the ordinance is that it would potentially endow a biological male with the legal right to forcibly enter a women’s public restroom without the knowledge or consent of the adult or minor females using that Houston facility.”
It cited the recent opinion under which the city was “ordered to either repeal the suspended ordinance in its entirely, or else place it on the ballot for a public vote.”
But the language proposed for the vote “is in direct conflict with the non-discretionary and unambiguous terms of the Houston city charter.”
“Because the charter language … requires a majority of the popular vote in favor thereof, the respondents have a clear and unmistakable ministerial duty to submit the suspended ordinance to the electorate in such a manner that a voter may cast a ‘Yes’ or ‘For’ vote if they are in favor of the ordinance, and a ‘No’ or ‘Against’ vote if [they] are not in favor of the ordinance,” the coalition told the court.
The charter, the court filing explains, does not allow for a vote on whether the city should “repeal” a suspended ordinance.
“This format is legally wrong, as it perverts the clear mandate from the charter and reverses or flips the impact of a vote in favor of a vote in disfavor of the suspended ordinance. More specifically, the respondents’ current wording would require a voter who is in favor of the suspended ordinance to vote ‘No’ or ‘Against’ the proposition, while a voter who is not in favor of the suspended ordinance to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘For’ the suspended ordinance.
“This is a legal recipe for an electoral disaster. Voters will be confused, because someone who is against the proposition cannot vote against…”
The city council and mayor have a “fundamental misunderstanding” of their own charter, the brief explains.
“The purpose of a [referendum] petition is to ask the city council – not the electorate – to repeal the ordinance. If the city council fails to repeal, then the electorate gets to vote, up or down, on the exact same ordinance. But the public vote is not a vote to repeal. The vote is a vote to pass or implement or enact.”
The city’s plan, then, is “the exact opposite of what is required.”
The matter is urgent, since a ballot printing deadline is Aug. 31, the petition explains. It asks the court to correct the wording.
It also asks for an accurate description of the ordinance. The city has called it the Houston Equal Right Ordinance but that text is not found in the original.
The coalition said, “If opponents of the suspended ordinance were to request the insertion of the “Child Predator Protection Act’ into the ballot language, the respondents would be strenuously opposed. … Politics and slanted language have no legitimate place on the ballot.”
A local broadcaster, KTRH, when the dispute arose, asked, “Is Mayor Annise Parker trying to pull a fast one on Houston voters?”
And the Family Research Council noted, “Jesus said, ‘Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no.” Unfortunately, that’ll be a lot harder for Houston voters in the next election. Thanks to an administration that apparently sees people as a nuisance in their advance of an anti-religious freedom agenda, voters will have to pay extra close attention this November, when the Houston bathroom bill is finally on the ballot. Mayor Annise Parker is up to her old tricks – the most recent being her intentional manipulation of the ballot language.”
The commentary continued, “The city council isn’t fighting fair because it knows it can’t win fair. If opening up bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms to any gender were as popular as liberals argue it is, they wouldn’t have to deceive people! At least one member, C.O. Bradford, was outraged that the city was playing games on such a serious issue.”
“Each plaintiff brings this civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. [Paragraph] 1983 for defendant [Mayor Annise] Parker’s wrongful actions under color of state law depriving each of them of procedural and substantive due process under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, as well as to vindicate their liberty interests under the Bill of Rights and Amendments to the United States Constitution,” the complaint, filed in Harris County District Court, says.
The fight is over a transgender ordinance Parker pushed through the city council more than a year ago. Some members of the Houston Area Pastor Council and other pastors formed an alliance to collect signatures to force the city either to overturn the ordinance or allow voters to have their say.
Although the city secretary certified enough signatures had been turned in, the mayor and city attorney manipulated the results to avoid allowing a popular vote.
“If the city council does not repeal the ordinance by August 24, 2015, then by that date the city council must order that the ordinance be put to popular vote during the November 2015 election,” the ruling said.
The court also suspended any enforcement of the ordinance.
A major and unprecedented focal point of the conflict has been the city’s demands for the Christian ministers’ sermons.
“Now known as the ‘Houston 5,’ several of whom are plaintiffs herein, these Houston pastors valiantly fought the subpoenas by filing motions and briefing in the court from which the subpoenas had been issued,” the lawsuit explains. “Surprisingly, defendant Parker did not back down or apologize. Instead, she and her then-City Attorney, David Feldman, embraced what had transpired and strongly defended their unconstitutional subpoenas and illegal actions.
“For example, David Feldman said: ‘Some [petition] signatures were acquired at churches which make the sermons fair game.’ Feldman also said, ‘If they choose to do this inside the church, choose to do this from the pulpit, then they open the door to the questions being asked.’ The major did the same thing. On Twitter, defendant Parker echoed her city attorney’s defense of the subpoenas: ‘If the 5 pastors used pulpits for politics, their sermons are fair game.’
“Thus, by improperly issuing unconstitutional subpoenas, and by refusing to withdraw such subpoenas when given the opportunity and ratifying those wrongful actions instead, Defendant Parker violated the constitutional rights of the Houston 5, emanating from the First Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the complaint says.
The case drew national attention when WND broke the story that Parker had issued subpoenas to the five pastors for copies of their sermons and other communications. After the story was turbocharged by posting on the Drudge Report, the pastors called for an investigation of city hall’s actions.
A subsequent nationwide outpouring of criticism prompted officials to drop the subpoenas.
Rush Limbaugh at the time called the subpoenas “one of the most vile, filthy, blatant violations of the Constitution that I have seen.”
Opponents of the transgender ordinance had collected some 55,000 signatures for repeal. The city secretary stopped counting after she reached the required number for a recall of 17,269, plus a margin of error.
The city, however, claimed that only a few thousand were valid, based on rules they said needed to be applied even though they were not in the city charter, such as legibility issues.
The state Supreme Court said, “We agree with the relators that the city secretary certified their petition and thereby invoked the city council’s ministerial duty to reconsider and repeal the ordinance or submit it to popular vote. The city secretary unequivocally stated that ‘I am able to certify that … the number of signatures verified on the petition submitted on July 3, 201, is 17,846′ and that only 17,269 were required.”
Race relations between police and blacks have been tense for months now.
E.W. Bishop, a Christian pastor, lawyer, former candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia and founder of the nonprofit STAND – Staying True to America’s National Destiny – sent a sharp rebuke one anti-white professor’s way, basically saying on Fox & Friends on Thursday: You’re an idiot.
First, the professor commented, via an opinion piece in Salon published on the heels of the University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing’s fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose. DuBose was black; Tensing, white, and the shooting fueled racial police-community fires that have been burning for over a year, since white policeman Darren Wilson shot to death black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
“White America, you’re killing us,” wrote Lawrence Brown, a black professor with Morgan University in Baltimore, in Salon. “Your law enforcement officers, your criminal justice systems, your jail cells are all weapons of mass destruction. … White America has built an edifice of violence in the psychology and culture of white police officers and correctional officers that continues to dehumanize indigenous and black lives.”
He then referenced the percentage of white prosecutors in the country, and said only four percent were “people of color.” And that, he continued, contributed to what he described as a racist justice system.
“This is a system that is designed to protect white lives that inflict bodily harm on black and indigenous populations, rarely prosecuting and convicting police who kill without due cause,” he wrote. “This is a system that is working to achieve exactly what has been perpetrated against indigenous and black folk since Europeans landed on Plymouth Rock. As Malcolm X famously proclaimed: ‘We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, the rock was landed on us.’ White America, when are you going to lift the rock of white supremacy and stop allowing police to get away with murder?”
Bishop called such rhetoric unnecessarily inflammatory – and also said President Obama could have done much more during his years in the White House to counter such claims.
“It’s idiot professors like this who are the problem,” Bishop said, on Fox & Friends.
He then pointed to the fact he and his family members were black, yet managed to stay out of jail – something he said was due the fact they didn’t commit the crimes that led to imprisonment. And Obama could very easily press that reality in high-crime communities, if he only wanted, Bishop said.
But instead, Obama plays the “race card” to promote his own agenda, he said.
“This president has not used the opportunity to go into communities and say let me show you how my wife and I succeeded,” Bishop said. “Instead they played the race card.”
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