Month Archives: November 2009

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down this Wall!

by Robert Morrison

November 9, 2009

Ronald Reagan brought two things to Washington that were very much out of fashion, I enjoy telling student interns at Family Research Council: brown suits and freedom for a hundred million people in Eastern Europe. When Reagan swept into office in a landslide in 1980, the reigning view of Washingtons foreign policy elites toward Eastern Europe was that expressed in the Sonnenfeldt Doctrine. State Department Counselor Helmut Sonnenfeldt in the 1970s was a disciple of Henry Kissinger. TIME Magazine explained Sonnefeldts ideas:

He was quoted as saying that U.S. policy in Eastern Europe should “strive for an evolution that makes the relationship between the Eastern Europeans and the Soviet Union an organic one.” The use of the word organic seemed to imply that he was advocating that the Soviet Union and its satellites should form one wholea position calculated to infuriate not only G.O.P. conservatives but also ethnic groups with roots in Eastern Europe.

In simple American English, the U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe should not rock the boat.

Ronald Reagans view could not be further from those espoused by the Kissingers, Sonnenfeldts, and the foreign policy establishments of both political parties. Reagan had told Richard Allen, who would one day serve in the White House as Reagans National Security Adviser, that his idea of East-West relations was simple: We win. They lose.

To say such a thing about the Soviet Union seemed stupid. Clark Clifford, one of the certified Wise Men of the Democratic Party, called Reagan an amiable dunce. Others thought him dangerous. The USSR had hundreds of heavily armed divisions, tens of thousands of rumbling tanks, artillery pieces without number, not to mention 27,000 nuclear warheads atop intercontinental ballistic missiles ready to launch against Western Europe and the U.S. Was Reagan insane, they asked?

Of course, the actual acronym for U.S. strategic deterrence in those days was MADMutual Assured Destruction. An entire cult of arms control had grown up since the 1960s designed to manage the East-West relationship by having both sides agree not to defend themselves from nuclear attack. Both sides had to know that their cities and countries would be utterly laid waste, that a nuclear winter following World War III could extinguish all life on earth. Only if such was the alternative, the deep thinkers thought, could a nuclear holocaust be averted. By all means, nothing should be done by the West to incite rebellion behind the Iron Curtain.

In those years, it was always East-West, as if the argument between freedom and Marxist totalitarianism was simply a dispute over directions. Using terms like the Free World horrified the sophisticates of Georgetown cocktail party circuit. They shuddered at the naivete of the rubes who spoke of captive nations in Eastern Europe, and satellites of the Soviet Union.

Ronald Reagan came to Washington widely viewed by this set of people as a political Neanderthal. Reagan, they shuddered, actually believed in God and talked about freedom. He thought in terms of black and white. He had not forgotten the incident in 1962, for example, when 17-year old Peter Fechter was shot by East German border guards as he made his escape attempt from the Soviet-occupied zone that the New York Times referred to as the German Democratic Republic. Young Fechter lay bleeding to death in the minefield leading up to the ugly wall built by the East German Communists in 1961 to complete their imprisonment of their own people. As the young man whimpered, East German Volkspolizei shot at his would-be rescuers.

Reagan thought such a system was evil. And he said so. He called the Soviet bloc an evil empire. When he spoke to Britains House of Commons in 1982, he said that Marxism was even then fated to wind up on the ash heap of history, a bizarre chapter in human history.

Reagan was the first President since JFK to speak of the Soviet Union and Communism as evil.

And Reagan was the first President ever to use humor as a battering ram against the inhuman Berlin Wall. Asked if Communism might work, President Reagan said it might work in Heaven, but they dont need it. And it surely would work in Hell, but they already have it.

When he went to West Berlin in June, 1987, President Reagan overruled his own Secretary of State George P. Schultz and National Security Advisor, Gen. Colin Powell. They did not want him to challenge the reforming Soviet ruler, Mikhail Gorbachev, directly. Dont embarrass Gorbachev and make our negotiations harder, they and the foreign policy establishment said.

But Reagan was determined. He had seen how the liberal media had swooned over the charismatic Gorbachev. It was Gorbachev, not the 77-year old Reagan, whom Western reporters saw as the hope for the future.

Reagan was having none of it. He knew that a hundred million people in Eastern Europe were still enslaved by the Soviet system. He knew that if Gorbachevs reformed Communism worked, it would still mean decades before the peoples of Poland, E. Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and a dozen other statesincluding the Baltics and Russia itself—could breathe free.

Reagan knew there was one place on earth to test the sincerity of Gorbachevs liberalizing claims: the Berlin Wall. So Ronald Reagan went to the Wall and threw down his famous challenge. He made it personal and pointed:

There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Today, twenty years after the Fall of the Wall, we can remember Reagans brave words.

We can thank God that courage and determination brought down this monument to Communist inhumanity.

Family Research Council Praises Passage of Pro-life Amendment to Health Care Bill

by JP Duffy

November 8, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2009

CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

Washington, D.C.- Today, the House of Representatives passed the Stupak, Pitts, Kaptur, Dahlkemper, Smith, Ellsworth and Lipinski amendment to the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” (H.R. 3962) The amendment maintains the current policy of preventing federal funding for abortion and for benefits packages that include abortion. It clarifies that individuals, both those who receive affordability credits and those who do not, can with their own funds purchase separate supplemental coverage for elective abortions. It also clarifies that private plans that do not receive government subsidies may still offer elective abortions.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following statement concerning the amendment’s passage:

This is a huge pro-life victory for women, their unborn children, and families. We applaud this House vote which prohibits the abortion industry from further profiting from taxpayers by using government funds to pay for the gruesome act of abortion. I congratulate the bipartisan coalition that for months has worked to ensure that abortion is not covered in the bill.

Since prior to last year’s election Family Research Council has been working towards true health care reform that protects life, freedom and families. We supported efforts to ensure the legislation will not be paid for by the lives of future generations. We thank Representatives Bart Stupak (D-MI), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Joe Pitts (R-PA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), and Chris Smith (R-NJ) for standing with more than 70% of Americans who morally object to funding abortion with their hard earned dollars.

Unfortunately, H.R. 3962 is a seriously flawed piece of legislation. The Speaker’s bill still allows rationing of health care for seniors, raises health costs for families, mandates that families purchase under threat of fines and penalties, encourages counseling for assisted suicide in some states, does not offer broad conscience protections for health care workers and seeks to insert the federal government into all aspects of citizen’s lives. Speaker Pelosi is using the guise of health care reform to push her version of social engineering onto American taxpayers. Additionally, the legislation would place a crushing debt on both current and future generations.

FRC will work hard to ensure pro-life provisions remain intact as the bill goes through the legislative process, and will work tirelessly to ensure the legislation is more friendly to families than the current bill.”

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The New Spin on Abortion Funding

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 8, 2009

Democrats are going out of their way to argue that the Stupak-Pitts amendment prohibiting federal funding of abortion is an effort to enact new restrictions on abortion itself. Julie Rovner of NPR, a journalist no less, argued today that the pro-life Members of Congress seeking to prevent Uncle Sam from paying for abortions are trying to impose new limits on access to abortion. Ms. Rovner seems to be taking a line from Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, who in today’s NY Times is quoted as saying, with reference to her colleague Bart Stupak’s amendment, Theres no way at the end of the day were going to support these kinds of further restrictions on abortion.

This is a desperate misrepresentation of the facts. The bipartisan pro-life effort to maintain existing federal restrictions on federal funding of abortion is nothing more than an attempt to sustain existing policy. It does nothing to “further restrict” abortion.

Those who advocate for unrestricted access to federally financed abortion on demand are getting more outraged by the minute. By affirming the sanctity of life, the Members of Congress who are standing their ground against federal financing of abortion are saying “yes” to the Creator of natal personhood. For this, they deserve our enduring thanks. And let’s pray for Ms. Schakowsky and her fellow advocates of the culture of death, that the God Who made and loves them will draw them into the light of life itself.

How the Health Bill Funds Abortion

by David Christensen

November 6, 2009

The Health Care bill will fund abortion because of the Capps amendment. The supposed “Ellsworth” compromise would not prevent the public option from funding abortion, but would have the exact same effect of government funding of abortion. Because of confusing accounting gimmicks, this flow-chart may help you understand how the public option would fund elective abortion:

How the Health Bill Funds Abortion

[Click here for a full-size PDF version of the graphic]

Inheritance of Debt

by Jared Bridges

November 4, 2009

FRC’s new ad, “Inheritance of Debt”:

Transcript:

ATTORNEY: My sincere condolences upon the passing of your loved one. Upon review of the will, your grandfather has bequeathed to you, this stack of bills!

NARRATOR: Our government’s irresponsible programs will leave our country buried under 9 trilliion dollars in new spending with no plans for payment, shackling our children with an inheritance of debt.

Family Research Council is responsible for the content of this advertising.

Watch our other ad here, and help us air this ad by contributing here.

Live Webcast Tonight - Government Takeover of Healthcare: Counting the Cost

by Jared Bridges

November 3, 2009

Be sure to tune in tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST for the live video webcast of Government Takeover of Health Care: Counting the Cost. Weve invited Members of Congress, financial analysts, and FRC policy experts to join us live at our Washington, D.C. headquarters to help us assess this bill as Congress prepares to vote this week.

Participants include:

  • Host: Tony Perkins, President, FRC Action
  • Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)
  • Congressman Charles Boustany, M.D. (R-La.)
  • Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind.)
  • Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, National Right to Life
  • Karen Steward, Research Analyst, The Polling Company
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association
  • Bryan Fischer, Director of Issue Analysis, American Family Association
  • Richard Scott, Chairman, Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, Conservatives for Patients Rights
  • Phil Kerpen, Policy Director, Americans for Prosperity
  • Tom McClusky, Senior Vice President, FRC Action
  • David Christensen, Senior Director of Congressional Affairs, Family Research Council
  • Dr. David Prentice, Senior Fellow for Life Sciences, Center for Human Life and Bioethics, Family Research Council
  • Cathy Ruse, Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, Family Research Council

An archive of the webcast will be available following the event.

California Dreamin’ Reality on Stem Cells

by David Prentice

November 1, 2009

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the quango spending $3 billion of California taxpayers’ money (and paying back $6 billion with the interest) on stem cell research, seems to have realized the distinct advantages of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cells, especially when it comes actually to treating patients. The CIRM has awarded over $230 million in “disease team” grants to 14 different projects; the 4-year grants are “explicitly expected to result in a filing with the FDA to begin a clinical trial.”

But only 4 of the 14 funded grants involve embryonic stem cells, and none involve cloned embryos (somatic cell nuclear transfer, SCNT.) This despite the fact that the primary focus of CIRM and the reason for passage of Prop 71 in 2004 was to be embryonic stem cells, including those from cloned human embryos. Maybe they’re finally taking literally that part of Prop 71 about “stem cell research that has the greatest potential for therapies and cures”:

Maximize the use of research funds by giving priority to stem cell research that has the greatest potential for therapies and cures, specifically focused on pluripotent stem cell and progenitor cell research among other vital research opportunities that cannot, or are unlikely to, receive timely or sufficient federal funding, unencumbered by limitations that would impede the research.

The term “vital research opportunities” is their way out in this case, but also means that to fund these adult stem cell research projects, they had to get a two-thirds vote of the committee, according to Prop 71.

As an aside, note how they describe the sources of pluripotent stem cells, from Section 5:

Pluripotent stem cells may be derived from somatic cell nuclear transfer or from surplus products of in vitro fertilization treatments when such products are donated under appropriate informed consent procedures.

By the way, the biologically-accurate term for those “surplus products” is “embryos”, and the only way to derive stem cells from somatic cell nuclear transfer is first to create the cloned embryo, then extract the stem cells.

A list of the grants with links to abstracts, as well as the complete list of applications including those not funded is available.

Here are some of the media’s statements taking notice of the California Dreamin’. Enjoy.

New York Times:

In a tacit acknowledgment that the promise of human embryonic stem cells is still far in the future, Californias stem cell research program on Wednesday awarded grants intended to develop therapies using mainly other, less controversial cells.

But only 4 of the 14 projects involve embryonic stem cells. The others will use so-called adult stem cells or conventional drugs intended to kill cancer stem cells, which are thought to give rise to tumors.

The grants thus represent a departure from the programs original mission. California voters approved the 10-year, $3 billion effort in 2004 largely to get around restrictions on embryonic stem cell research imposed by the administration of President George W. Bush.

Leaders of the California program say that what voters really care about are treatments for diseases, not what cell type is used. They say that from the outset the program was not restricted to the embryonic cells. The commitment to voters was to pursue the very best cell type for each disease, said Robert N. Klein, the chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the agency that runs the program.

San Diego Union-Tribune:

One irony of the latest grants is that much of the work they support does not involve human embryonic stem cells, a contentious area because it requires the destruction of embryos. Bush administration funding restrictions on that work were a big reason the California institute was launched to begin with, but many of the current projects use less-controversial adult stem cells.

Institute Chairman Robert Klein said about a third of the projects involve embryonic stem cells. He said the institute planned all along to support a variety of approaches and was simply funding scientists with the most promising lines of attack in each disease.

Nature

Only a handful will employ human embryonic stem cells, despite the fact that most of the fanfare surrounding the passage of Proposition 71, the ballot measure that created CIRM, concerned the fact that CIRM would fill the gap left by a lack of federal funding for work on these cells. But Bob Klein, architect of Proposition 71 and chair of CIRM’s governing board, said, “Our commitment to the voters was that we would pursue the very best cell type for each disease based on the scientific and clinical evidence.”

San Francisco Chronicle

Most of the projects approved Wednesday do not involve embryonic stem cells, but researchers said that even now, after years of study and under a new administration, funding for all kinds of stem cell research is difficult to secure.

There is a very serious shortage for all stem cell research,” said Dr. Irving Weissman, director of Stanford University’s Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. The state agency “allows us to do research that the federal government won’t fund.”

Knight Science Journalism Tracker

In something of an irony, little of it is going to the reason the institute exists to work with human embryonic stem cells.

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