The World and Everything in It: September 6, 2023 | WORLD
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The World and Everything in It: September 6, 2023


WORLD Radio - The World and Everything in It: September 6, 2023

On Washington Wednesday, the organization No Labels makes the case for a centrist option in 2024; on World Tour, news from South Africa, Armenia, Ecuador, and South Korea; and an investigator in Southern California rescues exploited girls. Plus, commentary from Janie B. Cheaney and the Wednesday morning news

The U.S. Capitol in Washington Associated Press/Photo by Mariam Zuhaib (file)

PREROLL: The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. My name is Jennifer Huseland and although my family and I live in Spokane, Washington right now, I'm listening from Ibama, Peru, a small village in the jungle near where I grew up. I hope you enjoy today's program. It is good.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Third parties regularly try to break up the two-party system, and consistently fail. But could an outfit called No Labels change the game?

MANCHIN: Only way you can threaten them is have people out there that says listen, they can't win either side can't win without the independent.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday. Also today, news from around the world on WORLD Tour. And a private investigator rescuing children from traffickers.

AUDIO: One life is worth it. But there is a cost to the work. There is an emotional cost, a psychological cost.

And WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on the known solutions for loneliness.

REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, September 6th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Time now for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Lawmakers return to DC as funding deadline looms » Lawmakers are back on Capitol Hill this week after summer vacations. And Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said they have no time to waste.

SCHUMER: By the end of this month, the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, all must get on the same page about keeping the government open.

Congress faces a September 30th deadline to pass a funding bill and avert a partial government shutdown.

But House conservatives like Congressman Chip Roy say Republicans can’t once again kick the can down the road and must take a stand against runaway spending and spiraling debt.

McConnell health » Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is also back in Washington. He says he’s healthy and hard at work after a couple of recent health scares, when the minority leader froze up during news conferences.

But McConnell had no troubles on the Senate floor Tuesday.

MCCONNELL: Now, one particular moment of my time back home has received its fair share of its attention in the press over the past week. But I assure you, August was a busy and productive month.

McConnell’s office released a letter from his attending physician saying that tests showed “no evidence” of a stroke, a seizure disorder or anything like Parkinson’s disease.

Some speculated that the 81-year-old may be suffering from one of those conditions.

McConnell fell and suffered a concussion earlier this year.

Chinese spies » Chinese spies may have infiltrated U.S. military bases and other sensitive sites as many as a hundred times in recent years, according to a new report. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN: The Wall Street Journal, citing U.S. government sources, says military police have discovered Chinese nationals on American military bases without authorization.

In another incident, authorities found Chinese nationals at a U.S. missile range in New Mexico. And in Florida, Chinese scuba divers were caught in waters near a government rocket-launch site.

The Journal reports that officials believe Beijing is testing U.S. security at sensitive government sites.

It adds that the Pentagon huddled with the FBI and other agencies last year about how to stop these violations.

For WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Russia/North Korea » North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is expected to travel to Russia soon, to meet with Vladimir Putin.

Moscow needs more ammunition for its war in Ukraine.

White House National security adviser Jake Sullivan:

SULLIVAN: I think it says a lot that Russia is having to turn to a country like North Korea to seek to bolster its defense capacity in a war that it expended, expected would be over in a week.

In return, some experts say Kim will likely ask for food aid, energy shipments, and help in developing more high-tech weapons.

It is unclear when and where the meeting will take place.

PATRICK: I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will impartially try Warren Kenneth Paxton Jr., Attorney General of Texas.

Paxton trial » Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick presiding over the impeachment trial of Attorney General Ken Paxton. He faces allegations including bribery, abuse of office, and misleading public officials.

Paxton’s attorney Tony Buzbee entered his client’s plea on 16 articles.

BUZBEE: Attorney General Ken Paxton is innocent and therefore pleads not guilty.

Patrick yesterday ruled that Paxton cannot be forced to testify,  and he is not required to be present throughout the trial.

All 12 Senate Democrats will likely to vote to convict Paxton, but they’ll need at least nine of 19 Republicans to agree in order to impeach him.

Alabama map » A federal court has ordered Alabama to go back to the drawing board, literally. WORLD’s Christina Grube explains.

CHRISTINA GRUBE: Republican state lawmakers redrew congressional district lines back in July, after the U.S. Supreme Court said the map violated the Voting Rights Act by marginalizing black voters.

And on Tuesday, a three-judge panel said the state’s revised map still doesn’t cut it.

Roughly one out of every four Alabama residents is black, but the state only has one majority-black district. And the latest GOP proposal doesn’t change that, though it does increase the percentage of black voters in another district from 30 to 40 percent.

This time, the judges appointed an independent special master to redraw the lines instead of giving lawmakers a third chance.

The state’s Republican attorney general says he will appeal the ruling.

For WORLD, I’m Christina Grube.

I'm Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: the latest effort to upend America’s two-party political system. Plus, something that’s ahead but not immediately straight ahead.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 6th of September, 2023.

You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we’re glad to have you along today. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. First up on The World and Everything in It: 3rd party politics.

Every election cycle, there are those who condemn the duopoly of the Republican and Democratic parties and their hold on power in Washington. These folks propose third ways through independent candidates or platforms like the Constitution or Green parties.

EICHER: This time around, there’s a new party laying the groundwork for a potential run, depending on who the Republicans and Democrats end up nominating next Spring.

POST REPORTER: No labels right now is in the process of going state by state across the country to get on ballots…

NBC REPORTER: The Town Hall was hosted by No Labels, a group that says it’s a bipartisan organization…

HANNITY: Is the No Labels option appealing to you?

REICHARD: So what is No Labels, and do they really have a shot at taking the White House away from Democrats and Republicans?

It’s Washington Wednesday, and our Washington Bureau reporter Carolina Lumetta has the story.

CAROLINA LUMETTA, REPORTER: In the summer of 1996, Democrat Bill Clinton and Republican Bob Dole were basically tied in the polls following the Republican Convention. That August, Texas billionaire Ross Perot threw his hat into the ring as the candidate for the Reform Party.


PEROT: Can we count on the two political parties to solve these problems?


PEROT: They are the problem, right?

Perot ran as an independent four years earlier and ended up with 19% of the popular vote but not a single elector.

By October 1996, it was clear Perot didn’t have the support to pull out a win and was likely to cannibalize Bob Dole’s campaign to unseat Bill Clinton. But Perot refused to quit.

PEROT: Am I in this for the long haul? Yes. Do I intend to campaign to the bitter end? Yes.

And the end was bitter. Perot ended up with just over 8% of the popular vote, no electoral votes, and the knowledge that Clinton won re-election. Margins for third party candidates have only gone downhill since. Jo Jorgensen received just over 1% in 2020.

Fears that third party candidates will derail Republican and Democratic campaigns continue to haunt efforts to provide an alternative. But the organization No Labels insists that 2024 could be different.

BENJAMIN CHAVIS: We think that the extremes on the far far left extremes on the far far right are dysfunctional.

That’s Benjamin Chavis Jr., national co-chair of No Labels. He joined the organization earlier this year, but it’s not a new venture in Washington. For the past 13 years, No Labels has quietly been building support on Capitol Hill through the creation of groups like the House Problem Solvers Caucus. Though not yet an official political party, No Labels has achieved recognition in 10 states and aims to add 18 more by the end of the year.

CHAVIS: A group like No Labels then offers an opportunity for diverse perspectives to work together, find out, and I've I've had so many dialogues with Republicans since I've been in No Labels that I've never had before. Because before No Labels, I was only talking to Democrats. Now. I'm talking to Democrats, Republicans, independents, and guess what? We find out we have much more in common than we do in difference.

On top of bipartisan concerns about four more years with Joe Biden as president, a record 49 percent of Americans—mostly young adults—say they identify as independent according to Gallup polling earlier this year. Add in Donald Trump’s unpopularity outside his base of supporters, and the ingredients for a third party pitch are all on the table.

But other centrists believe No Labels is unlikely to break history’s pattern.

DEGRUYTER: Ross Perot, who No Labels likes to point to as their sort of preferred model of the third party candidates, did what we see frequently from third party candidates: they peak early, and they underperform when it comes to the ballot box.

Kate deGruyter is a communications director for Third Way, a center-left organization. She’s reviewed a memo on No Labels’ website that estimates it can win 286 electoral votes next year if three things happen: One, voters on the fence who said they would be willing to vote for a unity ticket follow through; two, No Labels pulls equal shares of moderates from both parties; and three, non-voters go back to the ballot box. DeGruyter finds that goal unrealistic.

DEGRUYTER: Nobody here is is anxious that they're going to do that. We think that it's a fantasy. But they could easily siphon off a percent, and there are at least seven states that were decided by less than 3%. So they have to only marginally outperform Ross Perot, in order to tilt the election and potentially deprive Joe Biden of the votes that he would need to win again in 2024.

That’s why Democrats in states like Arizona, where independents now account for a third of voters, have tried to keep No Labels from getting ballot access. And Former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt launched a new super PAC to specifically block No Labels from running a shadow campaign for Trump. But No Labels co-chair Chavis has promised they would bow out if the data does not support a path to victory.

CHAVIS: No Labels, not be a spoiler for former President Donald Trump.

There is another way No Labels could affect the 2024 election. John Aldrich, a political science professor at Duke University, began tracking third party presidential campaigns in 1980. He says even a failed independent campaign can pull partisan candidates back to the center

ALDRICH: I think that Bill Clinton, who won the 1992 election, went from running a pretty mainstream but liberal candidacy to becoming a much more centrist center-left candidate, a president and governed in a way that went after the people who had defected from his party and voted for Ross Perot. So he kind of moved back to the center, and that’s a really big impact for a third party candidate even though Ross Perot got no benefit himself out of it.

If No Labels decides to jump into the 2024 race, it not only needs ballot access. It will also need a candidate. Ideally, someone with plenty of money and name recognition…and the guts to step away from his or her party. And there is someone who might fit the bill: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. Here he is at a No Labels forum in New Hampshire in July.

MANCHIN: The only way you can threaten them is have people out there that says listen, they can't win either side can't win without the independent. Without that independent, that center left center right, an independent Republican and independent Democrat. If they have another option, then they're in trouble. Both parties are in trouble. So they're going to have to say, “Okay, we'd better look at this again. I don’t think unless we stay over here that they’re gonna vote for us, so maybe we can move.”

Joe Manchin has been a co-chair of No Labels for 12 years. As a senator, he has defended his Democratic seat in a heavily Republican state twice… a strong track record for the centrist. He’s also frequently bucked his own party to vote against some of Biden’s bills in the U.S. Senate. He has said he is fed up with extreme views from both the main parties.

Manchin has not yet confirmed if he will attend the No Labels convention in Dallas in April. But as he told attendees at that forum, the overall goal is to pull politicians to the middle… while leaving the presidency on the table.

MANCHIN: I’ve never been in any race I’ve ever spoiled. I’ve been in races to win. And if I get in a race, I’m going to win. So with that being said.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Carolina Lumetta.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour, with our reporter in Nigeria, Onize Ohikere.

AUDIO: [Singing]

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Johannesburg fire incident — Today’s global news roundup starts in South Africa where members of the ruling party and some Christian leaders sang and prayed at the scene of a deadly fire.

At least 77 people died after the blaze ripped through a five-story building in the largest city of Johannesburg. More than 50 others were injured. Many of the building’s residents were squatters.

Authorities said some of the victims had jumped out of windows to get away from the fire.

In Johannesburg’s city center, gangs or other groups often take over abandoned buildings and lease them to people who can’t afford other forms of housing. South Africa’s department of public works says more than 1,200 state properties are hijacked by these squatters.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa says the incident serves as a wake-up call.

RAMAPHOSA: The lesson for us is that we've got to address this problem and root and everything else to root out those criminal elements.

But the prayers and singing by government officials have angered some locals, who are calling on authorities to do more.

AUDIO: [Booing]

They include Emmanuel Mahangula, who also resided in the building.

MAHANGULA: I saw people dying, people jumping and falling. My friends, my real friends that I was sharing a room with. Today, they are not with me here because of this thing. Now someone from another political party is coming to sing for that person that I struggled to bury. It doesn't make sense to me.

The South African police have launched a criminal investigation.

AUDIO: [Protest chant]

Armenia unrest — We head next to a rally in Armenia.

Thousands of demonstrators chanted and waved flags in the capital city of Yerevan on Saturday.

They demanded the reopening of a blockaded road that links the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region to Armenia. The Lachin Corridor is the only supply route into the region.

Azerbaijan and Armenia are locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The latest blockade began in December and has left residents short of basic supplies. Azerbaijan blames environmental activists for the blockade, but residents in the region see it as another attempt at ethnic cleansing.

POLITICIAN: [Speaking Armenian]

This Armenian politician says mothers holding hungry children are fighting an ideological battle for their identity and self-determination.

Last week, the U.S. State Department warned about the worsening humanitarian consequences of the blockade and called for the reopening of the Lachin corridor.

Ecuador violence — We head over to Ecuador where some normalcy has returned after prison inmates held law enforcement officers hostage.

Ecuador’s National Police reported explosions in the capital city of Quito and another province bordering Peru last Thursday. Inmates across six prisons also held more than 50 police officers and prison guards hostage. Many of them were at the Turi prison in the southern Azuay province.

As of Friday, the inmates had released all of the hostages.

Consuelo Orellana is the provincial governor.

ORELLANA: [Speaking Spanish]

She says here that authorities have already changed the prison security staff.

Authorities said the attacks come after the corrections system relocated various inmates and searched for weapons at one prison in an attempt to crack down on violence.

The latest violence comes less than a month after the murder of a presidential candidate at a campaign rally in the capital.

Luisa Gonzalez, the current presidential frontrunner, wore a bulletproof vest to a Sunday meeting with indigenous women.

GONZALEZ: [Speaking Spanish]

She says here it’s sad to run a campaign after another candidate was assassinated and she continues to receive death threats.

Ecuador’s presidential runoff is slated for October.

AUDIO: [Chanting]

South Korean teachers’ rally — We wrap up today in South Korea where tens of thousands of chanting teachers dressed in black to protest against widespread harassment.

The mass walkout on Monday follows the death of a 23-year-old teacher in July. Her colleagues found her at her school in the capital after an apparent suicide. She had expressed anxiety over incessant complaints from students’ parents.

Teachers have rallied since her death.

TEACHER: [Speaking Korean]

This teacher who helped organize the rally says they face heavy workloads, excessive complaints from parents and students and insufficient legal support.

Teachers also say parents exploit a 2014 legislation, which calls for the immediate suspension of any instructor accused of child abuse. They say some parents accuse teachers of abuse after scolding or restraining violent children.

South Korea’s Education Minister threatened disciplinary action against teachers who planned to take a leave of absence to attend the rally.

That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

NICK EICHER, HOST: You’re hearing the sound of people at the Great Wall of China. It’s one of the seven wonders of the world.

It’s also quite an inconvenience. So much so,  a couple of construction workers cut excavator tracks and drove their vehicle right on through.

They’d looked in vain for a shortcut to a project on the other side of the wall, so they made their own.

The two are charged with allegedly destroying a cultural treasure.

I guess if they ever try to fix the wall, at least there’s a construction firm nearby.

But I have a feeling the two construction workers are going to find themselves behind some thicker walls, and without their tools.

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 6th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: Rescuing children from traffickers.

A quick word to parents here: This story deals with some heavy themes. If you have young kids around, you might want to hit pause and come back later.

The unexpected success of the movie Sound of Freedom brought increased awareness and concern about child trafficking. The film is based on the founder of Operation Underground Railroad, Tim Ballard. In the movie, Ballard goes on a rogue mission to save children from sex traffickers in the South American country of Colombia.

REICHARD: But rescuing children on U.S. soil presents very different challenges. 

WORLD senior writer Mary Jackson recently met with a veteran anti-trafficking expert in the San Francisco Bay Area. She reported and wrote this story, and WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown brings it to us now.

GPS VOICE: Head southeast on International Boulevard toward 21st Avenue.

LACEY: There they are.

SOUND: [Camera snapping]

ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: It’s late afternoon on a Saturday. Vic Lacey is cruising down “the blade” in Oakland, California. With him are two intelligence experts and another investigator. They’re snapping photos while they go.

The blade refers to streets known for prostitution.

LACEY: This is the pimp corner. Wanna drive through here? Act like we’re looking at this taco truck.

Lacey is a private investigator with Special Operations Finding Kids. It’s a nonprofit that helps locate and recover missing and exploited children in the San Francisco Bay Area. His team is looking for a 16-year-old runaway. They suspect she’s being sex trafficked. On this mission, Lacey’s using covert camera systems to get close-up photos.

But sometimes, he poses as a sex buyer looking for a fictitious girl.

LACEY: May I ask you a quick question?




LACEY: Are you Judy?

PROSTITUTE: Judy? No, I’m Tiffany.

LACEY: Tiffany? Have you heard of Judy?

PROSTITUTE: I’m sure there’s a Judy down that way.

That brief interaction allowed Lacey to take photos and learn the girl’s street name and other identifying details, such as whether she has any tattoos. Many times, he can link a tattoo to a particular pimp or gang.

Aside from undercover investigations, Lacey and other Special Operations investigators rely on missing persons reports, cyber intelligence, and informants on the street. Oftentimes, Lacey collects enough evidence to elevate a case to a crime, prompting police intervention. Under state and federal law, any child engaged in a commercial sex act is a trafficking victim.

LACEY: The trouble is this, this crime of sex trafficking is so psychological. It's the most psychologically intense crime of anything I've ever seen––more than murder, kidnapping, or any of those hard crimes; sex trafficking, it’s just psychologically, it's twisted.

Successful rescues must address that psychological damage. Special Operations works with local law enforcement and social services to facilitate the child’s rescue and also their aftercare, which includes counseling. The group also seeks to ensure that sex traffickers are prosecuted.

Lacey spent 23 years in law enforcement in California. He held investigative and consulting roles with the state and federal government. In 2007, he planned to retire from the Department of Justice. That’s when a representative called from the anti-trafficking group International Justice Mission.

LACEY: And he said, I've looked at your online, I created an online profile. He said, I've looked at it, I noticed you, you've done extensive background and undercover drug investigations. And I said, Yeah, that's right. He said, How would you like to take that experience, and use it to find trafficked slaves, young girls and boys, trafficked in other countries? And I said, Well, I'm listening.

Lacey and his wife moved to Calcutta, India. In three years, his team rescued more than 160 young girls from sex trafficking. Lacey has been involved in anti-trafficking work ever since. In 2021, he joined Special Operations, focusing on the rescues in the Bay Area.

In some ways, his work here is more complex than it was overseas.

LACEY: They say the biggest thing to solving a problem is first admitting you have one. That’s exactly where California is. Until we admit that our youth are no longer important to us, we're never going to treat them like they are.

As Lacey sees it, that dynamic is playing out in a recent state law that took effect in January. It barred police from arresting people who loiter with the intent to engage in prostitution. California is the second state to pass such a law.

Police previously relied on prostitution loitering arrests to detain girls they suspected were underage or being trafficked. Oftentimes, that led to investigations or it allowed authorities to connect the victim with nonprofits that provide exit resources.

LACEY: What it creates is now if I do see a young girl, that I think she's a minor, and she's clearly prostituting herself. As a cop I can stop and talk to her. But if she decides to turn around and leave, I can't stop her. Because there's no law that she's broken.

The law had an immediate effect on the streets. Police intervention has lessened. Prostitution is more open and prevalent. And Lacey says pimps and traffickers are more bold. They’re always watching their prostitutes, and oftentimes they’re armed.

LACEY: Is it two blocks down or three?

COLLEAGUE: I’d give us another five, ten minutes before the word’s out.

LACEY: [engine revs] Three blocks. We’ll head out after one more pass and this other girl in the high heels.

Back in Oakland, Lacey is still looking for the missing 16-year-old girl. The next day, he and his team find her. A trafficker was indeed selling her for sex. The Oakland police rescued her. And Special Operations provided a trained mentor to meet with her.

At 65, Lacey says he’s nearing the end of his capacity for this type of work.

LACEY: One life is worth it. But there is a cost to the work. There is an emotional cost, a psychological cost. It's draining. Now I believe God calls you to it and gives you what you need to do it for a certain amount of time. There's also a time where I think that he says, you know, sit back and help in other ways. That's kind of what I'm focused on trying to figure out.

Earlier this year, Lacey transitioned from his role as Special Operations’ director of investigations to overseeing special projects.

Still, he says he’s burdened over California’s steps toward legalizing prostitution and the toll that will take on rescuing trafficked children.

LACEY: Everywhere you have prostitution, you have exploitation everywhere, legal or not. The whole movement that legalized prostitution is just a big fallacy. What little girl wakes up and says I want to be a prostitute? None.

For WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.

EICHER: There’s much more about this than what we included here, so we’ve placed a link to Mary Jackson’s print piece in the episode notes and in today’s transcript.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 6th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Up next: an epidemic of loneliness. WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney says we know the solutions, but government programs can get in the way.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: If you’re feeling lonely, you can at least sing about it. Some of bestselling songs of all time have “lonely” in the title. I bet you can think of at least three off the top of your head. Loneliness is a common human experience and it’s a rare soul who hasn’t felt isolated or alienated—not once, but many times.

More recently, though, loneliness has become a social issue, even a crisis. Suicides, drug abuse, and mental and physical decline are attributed to it. In May, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy published an 82-page advisory on “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation.”

“All the lonely people,” wondered Paul McCartney—“where do they all come from?” Politicians and pundits now wonder, “What can we do about it?”

The UK made loneliness a matter of policy with the establishment of the Jo Cox Commission. Cox was a Member of Parliament who raised the issue but was tragically murdered in 2016. The commission’s 2017 report recommended a Ministry of Loneliness to track national indicators, publish an annual report, and fund initiatives.

The Commission’s latest Annual Report for 2022 detailed lots of initiatives, such as community gardens, local Happy Cabs for free transportation, “Know Your Neighbourhood” projects, and an online "Tackling Loneliness Hub" for professionals and community leaders. Results? Well, according to the report, “The number of adults experiencing chronic loneliness in England has remained consistent over the last five years at 6% . . . However, since 2018 we have developed a much greater understanding of which groups are more at risk of experiencing loneliness.”

Happy Cabs sound like fun and have doubtless created neighborhood bonds. But don’t we already know who’s at risk? Singles, phone-addicted youth, and old folks without immediate family, as well as the relocated, mentally unstable, or physically disabled. Anyone, in other words, who lacks human connection. If our society is especially lonely, it’s because the natural and traditional connections of family, church, and community have broken down.

What is the fix? Politicians turn to political solutions because that’s what they do. In the U.S., Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut has proposed a “National Strategy for Social Connection Act.” The bill would create an Executive office to coordinate efforts to “combat loneliness and strengthen communities” and “develop a government-wide strategy to integrate social connection policy.” And of course, provide funding—notably to the CDC for “research on social connection, loneliness, and social infrastructure.” Never mind that the CDC’s COVID recommendations contributed to the greatest breakdown of social connection in living memory.

Two corollaries follow the establishment of any government office. One, the purpose for which it was established becomes secondary to sustaining the office itself. Two, the original issue, however nonpolitical, becomes politicized. And “weaponized.” Loneliness is a human problem, not a government problem. Government intervention has done enough to loosen the bonds of family, church, and community. It’s up to families, churches, and communities to bind us again.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Abortion providers are mailing deadly drugs to pro-life states. What are lawmakers and pro-lifers doing to stop it?

And, the U-N is generally known for more talking than doing, but a Christian human rights advocate is speaking up for evangelicals around the world.

That and more tomorrow.  I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio. WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Bible says: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1, verse 7.

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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