Your Inside View to the Strategies and Activities
of the Conservative Movement in Washington
Issue 169 * July 3, 1997
The National Center for Public Policy Research
501 Capitol Court, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Fax (202) 543-5975
E-Mail: [email protected]
Activities at the June 26, 12 and May 29 Stanton foreign and defense policy meetings chaired by Laszlo Pasztor of Coalitions for America and Amy Ridenour of The National Center for Public Policy Research.
Legislation Takes on Human Rights Abuses in India
Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh of the Council of Khalistan discussed two new pieces of legislation before Congress on the subject of human rights in India. The first, HR 182, the Human Rights in India Act, is sponsored by Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) and Rep. Gary Condit (D-CA). It would cut off U.S. development aid to India until the president certifies to Congress that the government of India has taken certain steps to prevent human rights abuses in India. The second, H. Con. Res. 37, sponsored by Condit and Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) calls for an internationally-supervised plebiscite in Punjab on the question of independence for the region. The Burton-Condit bill cites eighteen major human rights violations by India as the reason for the legislation, including 1) the fact that India is holding tens of thousands of prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, without trial or under special or preventative detention laws; 2) a 1996 report from India's Central Bureau of Investigation to India's Supreme Court reported the cremation of nearly 1,000 bodies by the police; 3) in Punjab the Indian government encouraged extrajudicial executions for the killing of militants and paid over 41,000 bounties between 1991-93, according to the U.S. State Department; 4) India has prohibited independent human rights monitoring groups from conducting investigations in some areas. Dr. Aulakh distributed copies of the legislation, press releases and copies of statements made by bill sponsors. Contact Dr. Aulakh at 202/833-3262 or [email protected].
Abraham and Cox Prepare Bills to Send a Message to the PRC
Randa Fahmy of the office of Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) announced that Senator Abraham is introducing legislation, the "China Sanctions and Human Rights Advancement Act," to answer the question: Now that MFN has been reapproved, what can the U.S. do to influence the Chinese government? The legislation is designed to signal to PRC leaders that their behavior is unacceptable to the American public and Congress. Specifically, the legislation focuses on: 1) who the U.S. allows into the country; 2) U.S. taxpayer funds that subsidize the PRC; 3) U.S. votes and assistance in international bodies that provide financial assistance to the PRC; 4) targeted sanctions of People's Liberation Army companies; 5) measures to promote human rights. Fahmy distributed comprehensive information and said that Rep. Chris Cox (R-CA) is preparing similar legislation in the House. Contact Randa Fahmy at 202/224-3422.
Via Hong Kong is PRC's Newest Route Around U.S. Export Controls
Al Santoli of the office of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)'s office addressed the importance of preventing the PRC from obtaining sensitive military technology. Santoli reported: 1) Congress passed a resolution to treat Hong Kong differently than the PRC for purposes of sensitive technology exports. This means that all the PRC needs to do to get around technology export restrictions is to first import U.S. technology into Hong Kong. 2) Russia is exporting sensitive weapons technology to the PRC. The House voted to restrict funds to Russia if they transfer missiles designed to destroy U.S. targets to the PRC. 3) U.S., Japanese and Western European trade deficits with the PRC, which reach $80 billion, are used by the PRC to fund the acquisition of sensitive military technology. Contact Al Santoli at 202/225-2415.
Analyst Urges Limiting PRC's Access to U.S. Bond Market
Roger Robinson of the Center for Security Policy discussed the PRC's activity in U.S. bond markets. Currently, he said, the People's Liberation Army has $6.7 billion invested in the bond market. Robinson said that restricting PRC access to the U.S. bond market could be more debilitating to the PRC than ending MFN status. He distributed a press release and two op/eds, including "You, Too, May be Funding China's Army," by Peter Schweizer from the May 14 USA Today. Contact Roger Robinson at 202/466-0515
Russian Aid Programs Sometimes Aid Russian Criminals, Analyst Says
Dr. Mike Waller of the American Foreign Policy Council gave a short talk on Russia, saying that American businesses and policymakers alike should be careful not to view Russia too simplistically. He said that businesses sometimes view Russia simply as a potential market and get involved in Russia too deeply, not realizing the extent to which Russia's criminal element is involved in commerce. He also said that Congress pays insufficient attention to Russia and as a result of this inattention, U.S. aid to Russia has subsidized Russia's criminal element instead of helping Russia, as Congress intends. Contact Dr. Waller at 202/462-6055 or visit www.afpc.org.
Scoop Editorial: As We See it: Scoop Analyzes Events in Washington.
Glickman "Food Summit" Yet Another Rout of GOP
When Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced July 1 that the USDA will sponsor a "National Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning" in September to discuss reducing the amount of food Americans throw away, many saw it as just another attempt by the Administration to do little while appearing to do a lot.
It was that, of course, but it was something else, too: perhaps the clearest example yet of the Administration's utter rout of the GOP Congress when it comes to public relations. That's because the Congress has already tackled the issue of thrown-away food, and done so far more effectively than any hand-wringing conference ever could.
What Congress did was pass a law last September 5, the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, to require states to adopt legislation to protect nonprofit organizations which donate food in good faith from liability in cases when the donated food causes harm to the recipient. The bill requires consistent liability regulations for all states but does not protect the donor in cases of gross negligence or harmful intent.
This Congressional success was no small potatoes to food recovery efforts. Second Harvest, with 181 regional food banks the nation's largest domestic hunger relief charity, polled 248 food company donors and 41 non-donors in 1995 and found that among non-donors, fear of incurring liability was the major reason companies would not donate food. In 1995 the Southland Corporation, which owns 7-11, gave away 1.5 million tons of food, but only after their lawyers painstakingly analyzed the laws in each state. This year, with state laws standardized, Southland will give away 4 million pounds of food. Referring to the new law by its nickname, Sharon Neal of Southland says "Good Sam has made a big difference for us, because we don't have to go through a big rigmarole." Martin Ramey, marketing director of Food Chain, a food-rescue program that will distribute more than 100 million pounds of food this year, agrees: "I'm amazed at the impact Good Sam is playing."
Congress made a big difference. Yet how many Americans realize this? Not many. A search of America's top 50 newspapers during the month following the bill's passage showed that only two told their readers about it. But Dan Glickman's announcement that the USDA will sponsor a "National Summit on Food Recovery and Gleaning" has been carried coast-to-coast.