Seventeen years after it was written, a booklet authored by U.S. Senate candidate Joe Pennacchio has reemerged as a campaign issue.
Pennacchio’s Republican rival, Murray Sabrin, has begun distributing copies of the book, calling it a “fascist manifesto” and demanding that Pennacchio not only drop his Senate candidacy, but resign from his state Senate seat as well. Sabrin plans to hold a press conference on the topic this afternoon.
"These kinds of things are completely unacceptable. They’re disturbing and they’re hurtful," said Sabrin spokesman George Ajjan, noting that Sabrin's parents were holocaust survivors. "When you come from a background like Murray’s and you have an opponent who’s talking about camps of any kind, it’s extremely disturbing and unacceptable.”
This is not the first time that work has been raised in a political campaign. In 1994, when Pennacchio challenged Dean Gallo in the Republican congressional primary, excerpts were taken and distributed by Gallo’s campaign.
But Pennacchio argues that the book was a series of policy papers he wrote years ago filled with some ideas that he still holds true to, along with some ideas that he has “evolved” beyond.
The book, entitled The Nationalist Agenda: A Blueprint for the 21st Century and written under the pen name “Joseph Penn,” advocates setting up an organization called “The Nationalist Party” to challenge the conventional wisdom of Democrats and Republicans.
Below are some of the more controversial ideas from the book:
- Putting homeless people into different domestic military camps as a temporary solution, where non drug or alcohol addicted people will be given vocational training. Those with chemical dependencies would be separated into other camps where they would be provided with treatment.
“Why not put many of existing domestic military basis to good use?… Our national defense should not be limited to defense of foreign invaders. The enemy within, consisting of poverty and despair can be a far more immediate and destructive force.”
- Freezing Social Security and Medicare benefit rates for one year in order to make room for the needs of other citizens.
“We cannot keep feeding our seniors 72% of the entitlement pie while the rest of the citizenship looks on in hunger.”
- Distribution of RU-486, an abortion drug that was not on the American market at the time in order to eliminate the need for surgical abortions in early pregnancy.
"The Nationalist Party is dedicated to the education and encouragement of family planning through contraception."
- Changing the color of currency every few years so as to thwart the black market. Americans would periodically exchange old money for new money at banks, who would have to report any exchange of $1,000 or more to the Internal Revenue Service.
“The easiest way to stop this cash economy is to exchange all present money for new “colored money. In the future do this periodically ever number of years. Coloring the money from green to blue, for instance, would cause fits for this illegal black market.”
- Cutting the military’s budget, including the “Star Wars” programs that had previously been touted by the Reagan administration if the Soviet Union behaved responsibly.
- An Equal Rights Amendment that guarantees equal pay for both sexes for equal work, but acknowledges physical differences.
"This would allow them equal pay for equal work but would prevent women from taking on jobs for which they are not physically able.”
- Pennacchio writes that the government was not able to bring “swift and direct retribution” for the assassination of political figures like John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr – leading people to speculate about conspiracy theories.
“Criminals saw that you could kill the President of the United States and get away with it. What fear of law and order should any criminal have? As new revelations are made about John Kennedy’s assassination, it becomes very difficult to believe that there wasn’t a conspiracy involved. This insured a continued erosion in the American peoples’ faith in their government’s system or law and order.”
UPDATED: Pennacchio: What of it?