2006-11-03 / Columnists

The Progressive

Compassionate Corruption
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

When President Bush II began his reign in 2001, he declared he would be a compassionate conservative. Many felt this was a ploy that would redeem the Republican Party from the charges of being unfeeling and uncaring towards the poor, struggling working families, minorities, the aged, and ill population of the nation.

He and his party have not been compassionate or conservative. Instead, the policies of his administration and his minions in Congress have been reckless and smell of corporate and crony corruption.

Our national obsession with matters sexual has recently highlighted the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. Congressman Foley's activities and the cover-up by leaders of his party are only the latest Republican scandal.

Many of us realize scandalous behavior is not limited to the Republicans. Despite this, anyone who believes Washington D.C. does not need a cleansing of the hypocrisy and sleaziness that permeates the Beltway is delusional.

Our leaders are asking us to spend lives and treasure for a war that was ill conceived, poorly prepared, and is making us as a nation less secure. War profiteering appears to the naked eye to be a major problem and there is no concern or effort to rectify the problem.

Most of the young men and women we ask to sacrifice to feed the war machine come from the less fortunate in our midst. There has not been any national plan to help poor and working men and women secure a decent secure and healthy life. Real wages for most workers have decreased for the past three decades.

Many are struggling to obtain decent housing. College and university costs are prohibitive and many programs to help college students financially are limited and unrealistic in today's economy. Too many Americans do not have and cannot afford adequate health insurance.

Is this compassionate?

At the same time, our government spends revenues at a pace that is astronomical and it does not feel that the more prosperous of our society should pay their fair share of taxes. Civil liberties are under attack in the name of security. Our nation is no longer viewed a city on a hill, but viewed as a nation that feels the Geneva Conventions are optional and torture is also a semantic exercise. Religious viewpoints trump scientific research and accepted scientific theories.

Our educational system is now an industry for testing companies and private concerns. Many school systems now are hesitant to teach the theory of evolution and libraries are hesitant to have the Harry Potter novels on their shelves. Is this Conservatism? It is not the conservatism of less government interference, fiscal responsibility, and tolerance of various viewpoints.

This government has abandoned our borders to an invasion of immigrants that is unprecedented and unregulated. Corporations are making huge profits while American workers do not share in the benefits of their increased productivity.

President Bush states his party will secure a safe America. He claims his party will secure prosperity for all Americans. He claims his party and administration honors servicemen. How can we trust him when the facts are contrary?

According to a recent USA Today article, our Republican-controlled Congress is cutting brain injury funding from $14 million to $7 million, despite up to 20 percent of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer brain injuries. Is this honoring our servicemen?

On September 14, 2006 the New York Times reported the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now planning to cut air traffic controllers break time, causing many to question the effects on air traffic safety. Two thirds of the air traffic controllers will retire in the next decade, according to the article. This is because of the strike breaking activity of the Republicans under Reagan in the early 1980s. Breaking workers organizations does not solve society's problems.

If workers are not part of the equation when addressing economic and political issues, the problems remain unresolved and make all of us less secure and safe.

The latest outbreak of food-borne illness traced to a deadly bacterium in bagged spinach highlights the need for government protection. Why was our Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asleep at the switch? Why is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigating the food delivery industry and not the FDA? Bush and his cronies do not think our safety is important when the interests of the public conflict with corporate profits. Isn't the FDA more knowledgeable of the food delivery system and not the FBI? Has the FDA become an industry lapdog?

Time will answer these questions.

On October 4, 2006 the New York Times reported about the National Labor Relations Board decision that will allow employers to characterize employees as supervisors to avoid overtime payments and regulations and limit union representation. Teachers who oversee aides will be considered supervisors and may be denied the right to belong to unions. Nurses are also a target.

Does compassionate conservatism mean a fair and equal share in America's prosperity? The facts indicate that is not the goal.

The pundits and the leaders of America will consider this election a referendum on the Bush administration. Our prestige and power abroad will be evaluated by the results.

Our economic future will be decided.

Please vote and vote the Republican bums out!

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