What is your message to the Democratic voters of this state when it comes to ending the occupation of Iraq and restoring a proper balance to the Federal budget between military and social spending?
MW: I understand that casualties are not being reported accurately from the losses sustained in the tragic immoral and illegal war and occupation on Iraq. If an American soldier dies as a result of wounds received in battle in Iraq while in transport to Germany, or in Germany while receiving treatment, or even back in the United States, they are not counted as Iraq causalities. The number of American fatalities is closer to 6000 I believe.
There has been no comprehensive tally on Iraq fatalities and wounded. This is truly tragic immoral and illegal according to the Geneva Conventions. Even if we look past the lies and faulty intelligence that lead to the invasion of Iraq, and we must not, we find that the stated objectives that led us in have been accomplished. A brutal dictator has been arrested and is on trial. We determined, as was previously expected, there were no weapons of mass destruction. That Iraq, in fact, represented no credible threat to the security of the United States. And that we have helped put in place - fledging as it is - a democracy. The Iraqi people face the same challenge we do - to protect and defend it. We must begin a rational and swift end to the American military presence in Iraq. First, by announcing a pull out date we put the world on notice that our determination is to actually turn over security of Iraq to the Iraqi government. We must push for a competently trained Iraqi Army with adequate personnel. The same goes for the police force. A complete turn over of security forces and pull out of American military forces must be accomplished within six months. I will work toward that new beginning.
From there a redirection of our discretionary spending must be targeted to meeting our future energy needs while balancing our nation’s social obligations. That's why I advocate for and will sponsor a Senate Resolution that redirects one-half of complex redundant weapons spending to a National Back to Work Program. Taking the lead from President Roosevelt during World War II. He directed the vast automotive manufacturing infrastructure to begin to produce the aircraft, tanks and big guns necessary to defeat the Axis powers. Within six months this transformation was accomplished. We can and must devote the same commitment to our energy future. Rather than use our military to continue securing these assets by force.We can protect the many good jobs engaged in defense contracting in this state while shifting our focus from weapons systems to production of components of renewable energy. Using the in-place manufacturing infrastructure and highly trained workforce to make our transition to our clean energy future is critical, and will help buoy a teetering economy that has been hobbled by outsourcing. Re-evaluating NAFTA, CAFTA and WTO agreements is critical in establishing a balanced foundation for fair trade that lifts the lives of everyone.Full employment at a living wage as a minimum will stimulate the economy and put dollars into faltering social services, including social security. A Universal Health Care Program for all can be realized with the revenue generated.
What is your message to the Democratic voters in this state when it comes to tax cuts during increased military activity? Do you believe that the wealthy, who are much less likely to perform military service or take positions in the service sector, should be expected to pay more in taxes as a means of sacrifice for the country?
MW: Of course reducing revenue while increasing spending will bankrupt the nation. Those who enjoy the favor of wealth, like my opponents, should have to shoulder their fair share. Repealing the Bush Tax Cuts to the top 1% is only a beginning. What I favor is a complete tax shift (see http://www.northwestwatch.org/reforms/taxes.asp) from goods to bads. Taxing income of working people (goods) while subsidizing wealthy GlobalCorporations, (bads) -many of whom are polluting and exploitive of poor working people- who owe no special allegiance to the United States, is immoral and should be illegal. I will work to make tax shift the right fit for the future.
Do you believe that the filibuster is a proper tool for an opposition party in the Senate's advice and consent role during the nomination of a US Supreme Court Justice and would you employ this option if you believed the president's choice was too extreme for the court?
MW: The filibuster is developing rickets. If ever there was an appropriate time for its use it was in preventing Sam Alito from ascending the bench of the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, the term Democratic Leadership has become little more than an oxymoron. To have voted for cloture on the filibuster and then “no” on the nomination, as the incumbent did, is disingenuous at best. I will fully employ every legal means at my disposal to protect and defend the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The filibuster is one powerful tool that I will not hesitate to use to prevent any more Alitos.
Will you vote to confirm John Bolton to the position of US Ambassador to the UN when it comes before the Senate in 2007?
MW: In fact the "end around run" that George W. Bush employed back-dooring John Bolton into the United Nations is not surprising when a complete historic view is taken of this administration. This follows in G.W.B.'s train wreck of thought. His intent is to pirate-tize the commons and sell off the last fibers of our social fabric. Bolton is a wrench tossed into the works of an already difficult and contentious deliberative body. But, the United Nations, as imperfect an institution as it is, is our best opportunity for world wide civil discourse and to further good global citizenship. I will vote against John Bolton and fight tooth and nail to prevent him from being confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations.
As always, Senator Cantwell is always welcome to post ANYTHING she would like to post on any subject of her choosing.
Chad (The Left) Shue