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Archive for December, 2007

John McCain was in Manchester last night. He spoke about Benazir Bhutto and her assignation. He reiterated the need to control India and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. He vowed to end torture and close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

Question: The War in Iraq is costing us $720 a day. How do you plan to pay for it? Will you cut Medicare? Cut student loans? Increase taxes on the middle class?

Answer (paraphrased): McCain reminded the audience that American lives cannot have a price tag attached to them but a “tax burden” will be in place.

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How will you pay for the Iraq War?

Answer: the same way we have been.

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Edited to fix Thomas More College link.

So here is my encounter from an Ask Mitt Anything last night at Thomas More College. Romney actually received a lot of pretty tough, somewhat combative, questions.

So I asked a tough question….and Romney was textbook at dodging all parts of the question.

Erin: The Department of Energy and the Bush Administration have plans to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, including the Reliable Replacement Warhead. Not only would this seem to undermine the purpose of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which we are a signatory, it would send the wrong message to the rest of the world with a “do as I say, not as I do” nuclear policy. As President, would you continue funding this project? If you would, how can you justify your response when the United States already has 10,000 nuclear warheads which scientists have deemed “reliable”?

Romney: I will not commit to weakening our nuclear arsenal, especially in a time of radical jihad. When we have countries like Iran, sitting on virtually endless supply of energy, pursuing nuclear technology with such haste – if we continue to allow them to pursue nuclear dreams it will encourage other countries to do so as well. We will not go outside our obligations to the NPT but I will not commit to unilaterally weakening our nuclear arsenal in a time like this.

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“After I became an American citizen, the thing that stands out so clearly in my mind is the Reagan/Gorbachev summit at Reykjavik,” California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said recently. “The leaders of the two most powerful nations on earth were actually discussing the elimination of nuclear weapons. Such a breathtaking possibility. I still remember the thrill of it.” The occasion was a conference at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, led by the four authors of an article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last January. It called for “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” as championed by Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik, and its authors were George Shultz, Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan (Shultz was present at Reykjavik); William Perry, Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton; Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under Richard Nixon; and former Senator Sam Nunn–four archbishops of the cold war nuclear priesthood, most of whom until now have dismissed the idea of nuclear abolition as undiscussably utopian and na├»ve. The four cited proliferation and the terrorist danger, and warned that the world is entering “a new nuclear era that will be more precarious, psychologically disorienting, and economically costly than Cold War deterrence.” Significantly, they invoked moral as well as practical reasons for their proposal, approvingly quoting Reagan’s opinion that nuclear weapons are “totally irrational, totally inhumane, good for nothing but killing, possibly destructive of life on earth and civilization.” The conference at Hoover was the second in a series convened to explore concrete pathways to the goal of abolition. The group will eventually publish a book and hold an international conference to present their findings.

As Schwarzenegger self-deprecatingly observed, he knows more about weight lifting than throw-weights; yet he went on to speak compellingly of the new nuclear dangers. (It is a perverse pleasure to be able to quote Schwarzenegger, Shultz, Kissinger, Perry, Nunn and Reagan approvingly in a single article in The Nation, which normally does not keep company of this kind. The hopeful aspect may be that in our fractious time there are still some issues that can recall us to our common humanity.) And not only former weight lifters and nuclear priests but anyone who reads a newspaper can see that nuclear dangers are spreading like the brush fires that were sweeping through Southern California as the conference met. The United States has, of course, got itself stuck in Iraq in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and facilities for making them, including nuclear ones. In Iran the government is racing to produce nuclear power fuels that, with a few extra touches, could become nuclear weapons materials. To halt this development, many inside and outside the Bush Administration have favored a military attack on Iran, though a recent National Intelligence Estimate has declared that while Iran once had an active nuclear weapons program, it was suspended in 2003.

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Presidential candidates John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul respond to the War and Law League’s presidential questionnaire.

All presidential candidates were invited to respond.

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One of our board members is interviewed by The Guardian in this video.

And speaking of Hillary, she was in Concord yesterday and was asked if she would take “the nuclear option with Iran off the table.” She responded “I think with the intelligence estimate we need to get to diplomacy and get talking about–”

Clinton was interrupted by the questioner who asked “will you take [the nuclear option] off the table completely.” Her response was “Um, well, we’ve had, probably–what?–ten presidents since the dawn of the nuclear age and it’s American policy not to talk about what is or isn’t on the table, so I’m going to stick to that policy.”

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New Hampshire Indy Media reports:

Edwards finally did take the stage, dressed in blue jeans and speaking of his common-man roots, not his current wealth and power. He showed respect for the audience’s intelligence and time, taking unusually specific stands in a concise way. He committed to an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, based on a carbon trading and auctioning system that would be used to fund alternative energies. He opposes any new nuclear power plants. He said that case-by-case efforts to limit nuclear weapons proliferation is good, but that we need to bring about total nuclear disarmament. He said there would be no permanent US bases in Iraq, and that he would start removing “combat troops” immediately. His central theme was confronting corporate influence in Washington (particularly over health care) and said he would not negotiate with the drug companies.

Take a look at the rest of the article.

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