Month Archives: February 2010

Robert Reich: Lost in Political Space

by Rob Schwarzwalder

February 2, 2010

In the late 1990s, former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote a book called Lost in the Cabinet about his admitted misadventures as head of a major federal agency.

Now comes his latest missive, an article in the left-leaning American Prospect Magazine called “What Happened to Democracy.” In it, he decries industry lobbyists and back-room negotiations - pretty standard fare for a liberal who is as yet un-mugged by reality.

No one wants “closed door” deals or unfair benefits for any company or group. But then Mr. Reich takes us into the intellectual thin air with this statement: He calls for “adequate public financing for congressional and presidential candidates who refuse private funding, more constraints on lobbyists, tighter rules for who must register as a lobbyist, fuller disclosure, and tougher rules on the revolving door between public service and private gain.”

Let me see if I understand: The federal government will pick and choose what candidates are viable for public office (that’s the basis of public financing) but people representing private corporations and business associations (that would be lobbyists) merit “more constraints.”

Then Mr. Reich leaps beyond the ether into stratospheric terra incognita and gets thoroughly lost in political space: “Yet nobody seems to be talking about these sorts of reforms. They don’t appear on Obama’s agenda. True, they don’t generate lots of public excitement, and they’re murderously difficult to enact. But without them our democracy doesn’t stand a chance.”

Conservatives have, for decades, been calling for full and immediate disclosure of campaign contributions. No argument there. But does Mr. Reich honestly believe that without federal financing of elections and tighter rules about lobbying - it’s already illegal for lobbyists even to buy a Congressman a cheeseburger; how much more “constrained” can the rules get? - “democracy doesn’t stand a chance?”

We live in a republic, not a democracy, a political sphere in which people govern themselves through elected representatives at the local, state and national levels. Our Founders were terrified of democracies, considering direct self-rule an invitation to mobocracy and social dissolution. They believed that representative self-government is the only sure way for honorable, or as they put it, “virtuous,” citizens to maintain ordered liberty.

My good friend and former colleague Bill Wichterman will be addressing this theme at the Family Research Council in a speech titled, “Did the Founding Fathers Establish a Democracy?” this coming Thursday, February 4 at 11 a.m. ET. The speech will be Webcast and can be viewed at frc.org.

I hope Mr. Reich will join us. Perhaps together we can learn a thing or two about representative republican democracy.

Abortion Policy a Triple Whammy Against Women

by Sherry Crater

February 2, 2010

As the brutal consequences of Chinas one-child policy that became law in 1978 are becoming fully known, it is apparent that unborn females, young girls and young women are the real victims of this law.

Chinese parents have traditionally preferred sons, since a son carries the family name, inherits family properties and supports his parents in their old age, while Chinese daughters become part of their husbands family. Thus, limiting families to one child has resulted in the sex-selection abortion of girls as Chinese parents are forced to choose between their future security and the lives of their daughters.

The magnitude of this situation and the vast numbers of Chinese women missing because they were aborted is being acknowledged, as Chinese boys now outnumber girls by the millions —- resulting in a dire shortage of eligible brides for Chinas young men. The most calamitous consequence of the shortage of Chinese girls is the growing trade of foreign girls and women from many countries —- especially Korea —- being trafficked into China for the purpose of forced marriages and sexual exploitation.

Chinas one-child policy is a triple whammy against women. It begins with the women who are forced to make the horrendous decision to abort an unborn baby girl because sons are preferred in a one-child family. Then, the life of the aborted baby girl is snuffed out, obviously without her consent. Now, women beyond Chinas borders are paying the price of this misguided and cruel policy as they are forcibly trafficked into China to sexually satisfy Chinas disproportionately male population.

As this travesty against women is perpetuated in China and surrounding countries, one wonders where the female pro-choice defenders are when it comes to these women who are being forced into unimaginable situations, clearly not of their own choosing. Rather than speaking up for millions of women in this dire situation, a coalition of womens groups in the U.S., including Womens Media Center, National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority Foundation, are galvanized and unloading their fire on a Super Bowl ad about one woman who tells of choosing life for her son. Pam Tebow chose to continue a risky pregnancy rather than abort her baby, and her inspiring story is one of celebrating life and families. You can read here the opinion of a pro-choice Washington Post staff writer, Sally Jenkins, who agrees that the nation can learn much from the Tebows.

As the Tebows are telling their story of choosing life, other compassionate people are working through their local pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) to provide healthy alternatives to abortion. Please log on to www.apassiontoserve.org and read about the extraordinary contributions made by the nations PRCs in meeting the needs of women, youth and families.

FRC Responds to New Study Showing Abstinence Education is Most Effective

by JP Duffy

February 1, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 1, 2010

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Darin Miller, (866) FRC-NEWS

FRC Responds to New Study Showing Abstinence Education is Most Effective

Washington, D.C.- Family Research Council (FRC) released the following statement in response to the release of a new study demonstrating the effectiveness of abstinence education. The study was compiled and released by Drs. John and Loretta Jemmott from the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Geoffrey Fong from the University of Waterloo and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in Waterloo, Ontario.

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

This study tells us clearly that abstinence education, not the promotion of high-risk sexual behavior among teens, is needed. The study reports that abstinence education successfully reduced self-reported sexual involvement among African American students in grades six and seven.

In light of this study and others showing the positive health benefits of abstinence education, it is unfortunate that this Congress and administration has zeroed out abstinence education in favor of sex-ed programs that advocate high-risk sexual behavior when it is children and young teens who suffer the consequences.

Despite an enormous amount of money going to comprehensive sex-ed programs dating much earlier than abstinence education programs, recent CDC data show that an alarming 40 percent of teen girls who are sexually active are infected with an STD.

The government does not promote drug use or underage drinking, and it should not promote high-risk sexual behavior either. The evidence shows clearly that sexual abstinence is the healthiest behavior for youth.”

-30-

The Burghers of Calais and the Freemen of Greencastle

by Robert Morrison

February 1, 2010

Most of us recall the story of Joan of Arc, the young French maid who donned male armor and battled the English to save her country during the Hundred Years War. Another famous story from that war involves the Burghers of Calais. This coastal town was abandoned by the French Army in 1347 and faced annihilation by vengeful English troops under King Edward III. Six of the towns merchantsor burghers (from which we get the word bourgeoisie) offered their own lives as a ransom, if only the King would spare the town his wrath.

The King agreed to take these mens lives and spare the city. He fully intended to hang them, as a terrible example to other towns who resisted his might. But the Kings young wife, Queen Phillippa, fearing for their unborn child, begged the King to spare the Burghers lives. The King relented.

The Burghers of Calais were memorialized in a famous group of statues by the great 19th century French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. We have a copy of the statues in Washington at the Hirschhorn Museum.

America has her own storyvery bit as exciting and moving as the Burghers of Calais. During the 1863 Gettysburg campaign in the Civil War, rebel troops invaded southern Pennsylvania. Free black people fled the oncoming Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. One young mother was heard to tell her terrified children: Hurry, hurry, those rebels get you, theyll tear you up. Some fifty free black people were swept up by the invading army and taken back to Virginia, where they were sold into slavery. But in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, 25 miles southwest of Gettysburg, a group of thirty to forty free black men, women and children were liberated by their white neighbors. The black people were being guarded by four Confederate soldiers and a chaplain.

When Confederate Gen. Albert Gallatin Jenkins got word of the freeing of the black people, he claimed them as his own property. Gen. Jenkins rode into town on June 16th and demanded $50,000 from Greencastle. If his demand was not met, he would send in rebel cavalry to burn the town. He gave the town fathers two hours to come up with the money.

Greencastles town leadersburghers, if you willstoutly refused to pay the ransom. Gen. Jenkins rode out of town. Then, fourteen young black men came forward. They were free men, but they would sacrifice their liberty and surrender themselves to Gen. Jenkins rather than let Greencastle be burned down. Better love than this has no man, that a man will lay down his life for his friends.

Gen. Jenkins never returned. He was caught up in the Battle of Gettysburg, where he was slightly wounded and had his horse shot out from under him. His troopersJenkins Brigadewere on hand to cover Gen. Robert E. Lees retreat as the defeated Army of Northern Virginia re-crossed the Potomac River and returned to Virginia. A year later, Gen. Jenkins was dead.

Those fourteen young black freemen offered themselves in a way every bit as noble, every bit as Christian, as the famed Burghers of Calais of 1347. Their story from 1863 deserves to be memorialized in song and stone. During Americas Black History Month, its a good time to reflect on their willing sacrifice. We know the names of every one of those six Burghers of Calais. We need to know the names of the Freemen of Greencastle.

FRC Senior Fellow Robert Morrison is grateful to Gettysburg Magazine and author Peter Vermilyea for the story of Gettysburgs Black community during the Civil War Battle. Bobs Great-Great Uncle, Capt. Jonas Lipps, served in the Stonewall Brigade in the 50th Virginia Infantry and fought in the battle.

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