2008-03-21 / Columnists

The Progressive

Attacks And My Response
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

Frequently, all political commentators are forced to examine their statements and reflect on their validity. Many never change their views. They cannot be called flip floppers. I am often a flip flopper. My views have changed dramatically over the years. I was a Goldwater Republican as a youngster. As I grew older and I hope wiser, I realized government is not always the problem and that a free market economy needs a government that assists the market in areas that need regulation and law. In fact, our system of capitalism relies on law to ensure property rights. At the same time, property must not always be dominant. People cannot be treated as commodities and racial and ethnic divisions must not be tolerated. In recent years, deregulation, unrestricted mass illegal immigration that abuses the immigrant worker, and a government completely subservient to corporate interests is threatening to kill the goose that lays our golden egg.

AWave reader characterizes my column as an "epistle to the hopelessly ignorant." He uses the typical right wing insults, that prominent right wing radio and television commentators' use, which demands a response from me. My missives, I believe are sometimes pedantic, but are meant to help all of us think of the reality that affects our daily economic and social life. I challenge the presidential candidates of both parties to stop the cheapening of the word "change" - when they mean only a change in the occupant of the presidential mansion in Washington

D.C. This nation does need a change and many other more lucid commentators of our political life than I have written books regarding the economic attacks on working Americans.

These books can be obtained at your public library, bookstore or through the Internet. I challenge Mr. Israel and everyone interested, to read at least one of the books. The books are " See you in court how the right made America a lawsuit nation" by Thomas Geoghegan. His analysis of the need for a strong vibrant and honest labor movement is compelling and his insights as to how corporations abuse our legal system will shock you. "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense and Stick You with the Bill "by David Cay Johnston will make you realize "welfare queens" are not the only recipients of government corruption and cronyism. "The Squandering of America" by Robert Kuttner examines the true nature of the death of manufacturing in this nation and the effects of unfair trade practices that both political parties have supported and the effects on American political, social, and economic life. Mr. Israel, please read all three.

As to my previous columns and my proposal that government full funding of political campaigns to end the abusive system of funding by special interests and the obscene amounts needed to campaign as "the incumbent reelection guarantee act" by Mr. Israel, I need to response. Congress generally consists of incumbents with the present system and special interests appear to control our political life that blocks all meaningful change. There is no clear objective evidence that most Americans would oppose the government funding of a set amount for each campaign. Tax form check offs do not appear to me to be a referendum.

I still advocate an end to the war on drugs. The only beneficiaries of the war are police and military procurers and personnel. Treating addiction as a medical problem is a civilized and efficient method to combat the evils of addiction. As to minors obtaining drugs if drugs are legalized is on the face of it is to alarm the populace. Mr. Israel asked:" Please tell me how you plan to legalize drugs but keep nine year olds from getting them?" First, no youngster should be allowed to buy drugs. All drugs could be obtained only with supervision by health care practioners. Nine year old children with drugs or addicted should be taken away from their parents and/or guardians. As we speak children in this nation sell and use drugs and we are spending enormous amounts of treasure combating an industry that thrives because of the illegal nature of the product. We are enriching growers and terrorists when we allow drugs to be as profitable as the illegal industry is.

Proportional representation was advocate by James Madison - one of our founding fathers. It is practiced in many countries and it allows many political viewpoints to be represented. A nation as large and complex as ours must have all viewpoints expressed in the legislative branch of our government. The red herring of ethnic or racial representation is nonsense. Citizens are to be represented not by ethnic, religious or racial groups-but by their right of citizenship. It is noteworthy to remember many originally were considered three fifths of a person for representation purpose. Our founding documents have changed. We need nurses, plumbers, electricians, police personnel, veterans, doctors, journalists and accountants in congress. At this time, most members of congress are attorneys. Campaign finance reform and proportional representation might be a catalyst for congress to represent the citizens and professions of all America-not the legal and corporate elite.

Our borders need to be protectedbut not with a wall but with humane policies. A wall can be breached with tunnels. The Berlin Wall was frequently breached. A humane efficient and economically sound immigration policy is needed.

A health care industry that is only profit driven is immoral. Inefficient, expensive, and dangerous to public health. I would state many health care providers are blood-sucking profiteers and should be ashamed of themselves as Mr. Israel challenged me in his letter to the editor of this newspaper. We have many dedicated health care providers. This does not negate the fact many physicians are making decisions as to their practices solely based on the economic benefit they will receive.

At least I am aware now that there are readers who are troubled by my ideas. Mr. Israel is an advocate of redistribution despite his fear of "socialist redistribution". His support of the present political and economic system and the Republican Party confirms this. The present system distributes the wealth produced by the sweat of the undocumented worker, the teacher, barber, the nurse forced to work double shifts, the construction worker who works in a unsafe workplace, the waiter, and the civil servant, to the advantaged and privileged.

Good news: the frontrunner for the nomination of the Republican Party for president has advocated that our CIA and military should not use torture as a means of interrogation. Water boarding would be prohibited if he is elected. Mr. Israel- do you think he is soft on terrorism?

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