League of Women Voters hosts open debate in PA’s 16th

The League of Women Voters hosted a debate between Congressional candidates in Pennyslvania’s 16th District. Independent John Murphy, Constitution Party candidate Dan Frank, Democrat Bruce Slater, and the Republican incumbent Joe Pitts attended. The video is posted below.

If the video doesn’t work, you can watch it here.

4 thoughts on “League of Women Voters hosts open debate in PA’s 16th

  1. Ross Levin Post author

    Here’s a press release from Murhpy:

    For Immediate Release: October 2, 2008

    For Further Information: John Murphy (610) 384-4460

    READING, PA – On Tuesday, September 30 independent candidate John Murphy who had been barred from two out of three of the 16th District Congressional debates in 2006 appeared in a second televised debate this year. The debate took place in the studios of BCTV in Reading Pennsylvania. Incumbent Republican Mr. Pitts who refused to debate Murphy and the other candidates in front of the entire district on WGAL-TV last week, decided to make an appearance in Reading. Only a small percentage of the 16th District voters would see this program.

    When asked to identify the major problem facing the United States Mr. Pitts incorrectly maintained that it was the current bailout crisis. The independent congressional candidate John Murphy pointed out that it was not this immediate crisis that was the major problem facing the United States. Murphy said “this is merely a symptom of a much deeper problem that is endemic to our economy”. Murphy went on to say that it is indeed “the economy which is the major problem and it is a problem which can be laid at the feet of Ronald Reagan as well as the Democrats and Republicans who embraced the neo-liberal economics of Milton Freedman under which Ronald Reagan decided to destroy what was at least a functional form of capitalism by throwing out all the rules”.

    Murphy added that Ronald Reagan “allowed our economic system to become a free-for-all whereby even the word free would be redefined as meaning license for corporations to do anything they wished in order to increase short-term profitability while ignoring the long-term wealth of the nation”. Murphy was also careful to place blame on Bill Clinton for the deregulation of the banking industry and the initiation of the so-called free trade agreements like NAFTA.

    Mr. Pitts also demonstrated his lack of knowledge with respect to those free trade agreements. He maintained that NAFTA had created jobs while it was pointed out by both Murphy and the Constitutional Party candidate Dan Frank that the United States has in fact lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs. John Murphy also indicated that “corporate criminals like Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra and Monsanto, the very companies who want to wipe out family farms in the United States, were permitted under NAFTA to ship billions and billions of tons of cheap corn into Mexico which wiped out Mexican family farms ultimately resulting in influx of 13 million economic refugees into the US which both the Democrats and Republicans demonize as illegal immigrants who now constitute a slave labor force for US corporations”.

    Incumbent Pitts also engaged in a misguided criticism of Constitutional Party candidate Dan Frank who correctly estimated the National Debt at $10 trillion. Incumbent Republican Pitts told the audience that it was the trade deficit that was $10 trillion. Of course the trade deficit year-to-date is approximately $68 billion and was $708 billion for 2007. Pitts continued in this Sarah Palin-like blunder by suggesting that the national debt was in fact $54 trillion. He would have been somewhere in the neighbor of a correct answer had he said that the national debt along with what are often called “unfunded obligations” total approximately $59.1 trillion dollars. But that figure is not operational from a management point of view. While it is a measurement of government liability it is entirely different from the national debt and vastly different from the trade deficit.

    Nowhere did Mr. Pitts show his lack of understanding of the issues more blatantly than the issue of universal single-payer healthcare. While it is the HMOs that force people to choose from a limited list of doctors, universal single-payer healthcare allows any patient to choose his or her doctor and gives the doctor control over the health care system and not the insurance company. Mr. Pitts was 180° off in his answer. Mr. Pitts said that it was important to keep health care in the hands of the free market even as we witness what the free market has done to the banking industry. The so-called free market has long-ago destroyed healthcare in the United States which is now ranked 37th in the world in terms of quality of healthcare. Murphy pointed out that “18,000 Americans died last year because they had no healthcare — that’s six 9/11s– that’s real terrorism. We must end this pay or die system. Universal single-payer healthcare does not mean government ownership of healthcare it simply means Medicare for all and government acts as the insurance company”.

    But Pitts’ failure to understand the economy, trade and health care were only eclipsed by his lack of knowledge about energy independence. Mr. Pitts insisted that we engage in offshore drilling and tearing up the Alaskan National Wildlife Preserve to make the oil industry even more money. Scientists have shown that new offshore drilling would take 12 years to deliver the first gallon of gasoline to the American consumer while hurricanes would blow away a hundred thousand gallons every time they hit. Murphy pointed out that “investment in renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, wave, wind and other non-combustibles would not only end our dependence on fossil fuel and foreign energy sources but would create millions of new jobs”. Murphy concluded his remarks on energy by insisting “no drilling, no nukes”.

    In his concluding statement John Murphy said “the Corporate Parties lack any clear vision for America. They have no real leadership and they inspire no hope for the future. They have given us a view of the world that is clouded by war, poverty, ignorance, fear and violence. I have a different vision for America. I see an America that leads the world in spreading peace instead of war; hope instead of fear; sustainability instead of disaster; freedom instead of occupation. I see an America in which every person, regardless of their race, creed, color, age, gender or sexual orientation is valued and lives in dignity, and every person is free to reach his or her full potential”.

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