moon phases

Monday, October 18, 2004

Voters Guide Concerning The Issues

I copied this from another blog.
What do you think?
A Voter's Yes/No Guide To Bush vs. Kerry
This post is a simple series of yes/no questions. There are no right or wrong answers.These questions are used because otherwise it is very easy to “spin,” even to ourselves. I believe that properly-framed yes/no questions help to focus the issues; the answers are much harder to fudge. Feel free to skip any question, or simply to answer, “I dunno.” About me: I am a Canadian, as it happens, with no vested interest whatsoever in the election outcome. Nor have I ever joined nor worked for any political party. I follow politics purely out of interest and found myself frustrated by the low fact/fluff ratio that I saw; thus this post. Vote as you please, but vote knowing why.Links and references have been provided on each topic for those who wish to investigate further.Terrorist Intentions: Terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center were planned many years in advance, going back at least as far as the Clinton Administration. The terrorists themselves openly seek a holy war in which all infidels (non-Muslims) will be conquered or killed. However, some commentators have claimed that the US could have prevented the attacks had it pursued a more conciliatory policy towards Islamic countries beforehand.
Question: Do you believe the terrorists were going to attack the US anyway? Yes or No _______ Qaeda will wait years to act and decades to succeed," Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. prosecutor who has been investigating Osama bin Laden for about a decade, told the Sept. 11 commission this summer. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, admitted to U.S. officials that the planning began in 1996. Mohammed said the plan, first developed in 1996, called for hijacking five planes on each American coast, but was changed several times as al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden sought to improve the chances that the attacks could be pulled off simultaneously. Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, has told American interrogators that he first discussed the plot with Osama bin Laden in 1996 showing a Philippine police report about the terrorist plot of September 11, 2001 that was given to the FBI in 1995Oil-For-Food:Possibly the most underreported scandal ever, Oil-For-Food is relevant to the American voter because it is at the heart of the arguments over how to have handled Iraq. The basics of the scandal are simple. After the 1991 Gulf War, Iraq was beaten, so in 1996, out of humanitarian concerns for its people, Oil-For-Food was begun. It was intended to be a humanitarian program, whereby Saddam could sell oil, but only use the proceeds for feeding Iraq’s people instead of rearming his military.The program was administered by the UN (United Nations). To make a long story short, it was completely corrupt. Saddam used the money to bribe politicians, journalists and other opinion leaders worldwide. The amounts involved are staggering: Enron is just a drop in the bucket by comparison. This corruption is important because the alternative to invading Iraq was to rely on the UN to contain him for as long as was necessary.Question: Do believe the UN would have been able to successfully contain Saddam indefinitely? Yes or No _______ report said, "Saddam was able to subvert the UN OFF (oil-for-food) program to generate an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue outside U.N. control from 1997-2003.",2933,132832,00.htmlIt began as a U.N. humanitarian aid program called "Oil-for-Food," but it ended up with Saddam Hussein (search) pocketing billions to become the biggest graft-generating machine ever monstrous dictator was able to turn the Oil-for-Food program into a cash cow for himself and his inner circle, leaving Iraqis further deprived as he bought influence abroad and acquired the arms and munitions that coalition forces discovered when they invaded Iraq last spring.Saddam’s WMDs:Saddam Hussein did indeed have WMDs, primarily chemical; that fact has never actually been in dispute. The real question is when did he have them? And did he destroy all of them before the invasion? Both sides acknowledge that Saddam retained the capability of creating WMDs, and intended to do so as soon as the heat was off. Critics of the WMD justification, however, claim Saddam voluntarily destroyed all his existing WMDs before the war, and that sanctions could have kept him from restarting those programs. Others, who disagree, think he hid them, perhaps in neighboring Syria, which also had/has a Baathist government, and/or that he would have easily circumvented future UN inspections in order to restart his programs, the basics of which were still in place.
Question: Do you believe Saddam voluntarily destroyed all his existing WMDs? Yes or No _______
Question: Do you believe Saddam voluntarily destroyed all his existing WMDs?
Question: Do you believe Saddam would have been able to restart his WMD programs? Yes or No _______ Baath regime initiated its chemical warfare on the Kurds in the Gulf War, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein conducted a campaign of suppression in the 1980s against the Kurd people living in northern Iraq, including a March 1988 poison gas attack in Halabja, Iraq, in which an estimated 5,000 Kurds were believed his use of chemical weapons against Iran prevented Iraq’s defeat in that war. He also was prepared to use such weapons in 1991 if the U.S.-led coalition had tried to topple him in the 1991 Persian Gulf United Nations Commission's Destruction Group destroys large amounts of tabun, sarin and mustard agents1995: Iraq claims it has reduced amount of mustard gas and abandons program to produce VX nerve agentSaddam and 9-11: Saddam Hussein had numerous contacts with terrorists, and often provided shelter and support within Iraq for various terrorists with whom he worked. Saddam also courted the Islamic movements. For example, he prominently claimed to have had a copy of the Koran written in his own blood, as a display of his faith. He also made substantial public payments (approx. US$25,000) to the families of Islamic suicide bombers, as a reward for each bomber’s service.However, the question still remains whether or not he was personally involved in 9-11 planning and execution. No definitive proof exists that he either did, or did not, participate in that attack, regardless of his known connections to Al Qaeda and others.
Question: Do you believe Saddam was directly involved in the terrorists’ operational planning for 9-11? Yes or No _______
Question: Do you believe Saddam would have attacked the US if he could?Yes or No _______
Question: Do you believe Saddam was a threat to Americans?Yes or No _______ Czechs have long maintained that Atta, leader of the 9/11 hijackers in the United States, met with Ahmed al-Ani, an Iraqi intelligence official, posted to the Iraqi embassy in Prague CIA has confirmed, in interviews with detainees and informants it finds highly credible, that al Qaeda's Number 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri, met with Iraqi intelligence in Baghdad in 1992 and 1998. defectors had been saying for years that Saddam's regime trained "non-Iraqi Arab terrorists" at a camp in Salman Pak, south of Baghdad. […] Sabah Khodada, a captain in the Iraqi Army, worked at Salman Pak. In October 2001, he told PBS's "Frontline" about what went on there. "Training is majorly on terrorism. They would be trained on assassinations, kidnapping, hijacking of airplanes, hijacking of buses, public buses, hijacking of trains and all other kinds of operations related to terrorism. . . . All this training is directly toward attacking American targets, and American interests.”The Return Of The Draft?: On January 8th, 2003, 16 members of the House Of Representatives, all Democrats led by Charles Rangel (D-NY), sponsored bill H.R. 163 to bring back the military draft in the US. Some say it was a serious effort; most think they were just grandstanding. Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC), who sponsored a corresponding bill in the Senate, supported them in their efforts. The House bill was defeated just recently, on October 6th, 2004, when the Republicans forced it to a vote, saying they wanted to make clear to the voters that Republicans were against reinstating the draft (this was important because elections are near), and that rumors to the contrary were just a campaign tactic by the Dems. It soon became apparent the bill could not pass in the face of this opposition and was voted down; ultimately, even the bill’s own sponsors voted against it.Bush & Kerry have each stated that they do NOT wish to implement a draft (although Kerry does propose mandatory civilian service, a point that sometimes overlaps into military-draft discussions). The US military itself has also stated that it opposes a draft, preferring its current approach of an all-volunteer military.There has also been some activity by the Selective Service. This activity is basically housekeeping, and is done under the GPR Act of 1993, passed by the Clinton Administration, which basically says that Selective Service needs to keep things in running order, whether they’re needed or not.
Question: Do you believe a military draft is necessary? Yes or No _______
Question: Do you believe a civilian draft is necessary? Yes or No _______
Question: Would you like to see a draft?Yes or No _______ provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes Republicans leaders forced a floor vote on the issue this week, and then watched with satisfaction as colleagues rejected the idea, 402-2. Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines are having no trouble recruiting. Through March, all four services combined are at 101 percent of their goal with more than 81,094 new enlistees this year.…this strategic plan was required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, which President Bill Clinton signed into law. Basically, this was a reform-minded law aimed at getting all of the government's various agencies to create strategic plansNorth Korea:North Korea was, and is, one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, and appears to be undergoing mass genocide and/or starvation from within. Books will someday be written of the horrors being experienced there at present.In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton dispatched ex-president Jimmy Carter to negotiate a deal with North Korea designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry. Carter’s deal provided NK with nuclear fuel in return for a promise not to threaten its neighbors or to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea broke its promises rather openly. The exact dates of NK’s development of nuclear weapons are unknown, but in hindsight they were clearly working on such a program all along, and most likely completed the first weapons sometime during 2000 or 2001. Invading North Korea is probably out of the question; China treats it as a buffer state and would respond accordingly. Worse, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is only about 50 miles from their common border with the North, and would almost certainly be annihilated in any battle before their defenders could drive back the enemy
Question: Do you believe North Korea is a threat to its neighbors?Yes or No _______
Question: Do you believe North Korea is a threat to the US?Yes or No _______“Clinton's military chief of staff testified in 1998 that North Korea did not have an active ballistic missile program. One week later the North Koreans launched a missile over Japan that landed off the Alaska coast." Korea tells the U.S. delegation that it possesses nuclear weapons, according to Boucher on April 28 [2003]—the first time that Pyongyang has made such an admission.“The U.S. should clearly understand that a preemptive attack is not its monopoly,” North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun saidIran: In 1979, near the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, an Islamic revolution in Iran toppled the Shah and replaced him with a group of Islamic mullahs. The mullahs then took a group of Americans hostages and held them for over a year, until they were released shortly after Ronald Reagan won the presidency. The same people remain in charge of Iran to this day and are among the top sponsors of terrorism in the world. Now, as then, they refer to the US as “The Great Satan,” and appear to mean it as more than just rhetoric. Iran was included with Iraq and North Korea in President Bush’s “Axis Of Evil,” and is currently attempting to develop nuclear weapons. Kerry & Edwards have proposed a deal, similar to the one negotiated by Carter with North Korea in 1994, that would provide Iran with nuclear fuel in return for assurances that they would halt their attempts to develop nuclear weapons, and not use the nuclear material provided for that purpose.
Question: Do you think Iran can be trusted with nuclear material? Yes or No _______
Question: Do you think the US should supply Iran with nuclear material? Yes or No _______
Question: If Iran had WMDs today capable of destroying the US, do you think they would use them?Yes or No _______ the debate with President Bush Thursday, Kerry remarked that the U.S. should have given Iran the nuclear fuel it wanted. would welcome John Kerry's proposal to supply nuclear fuel, Hossein Musavian, the head Iran's Supreme National Security Council's foreign policy committee, announced today. - Ruhollah Khomeini was viciously anti-American in his rhetoric, denouncing the American government as the "Great Satan" and "enemies of Islam." […]The US President, Jimmy Carter, immediately applied economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has denounced George W Bush, describing him as the bloodthirsty president of "the Great Satan".Afghanistan/Bin Laden: Afghanistan had been run by the Taliban, an Islamic fundamentalist group, and was where Osama Bin Laden had found refuge and set up his headquarters. After 9-11, the US invaded this land, deposed the Taliban, and instituted elections, which were held just recently in October 2004. The elections were an enormous popular success.Most analysts agree the Al Qaeda is now largely a spent force and more of a “brand name” for terrorism than anything else; however, other Islamic terrorist groups worldwide are still a danger.
Question: was bringing democracy to Afghanistan worth the effort? Yes or No _______
Question: is OBL still alive?Yes or No _______
Question: : is it more important to pursue other terrorist organizations than it is to track down OBL (presuming he’s still alive)?Yes or No _______ was a celebration today. There was a tremendous buzz of excitement at the polling stations. largest group of independent poll observers, the Free and Fair Election Foundations of Afghanistan (FEFA) which is made up of 13 local non-governmental organizations, said the vote was fair despite the complaints. Kabul, at the end of the day, emotional women told the BBC that it had been the most memorable day in their lives. Some of them were in tears. One old woman said she'd woken up early in the morning and then woke up her sisters saying: "We have to get out to vote. The future of Afghanistan is at stake."Enabling Democracy In Iraq? :The theory is that democracies are less warlike than dictatorships, This is often illustrated by the rhetorical question: Name a war between two democracies?
Question: Do you believe democracies are less warlike and threatening to the US than are dictatorships?Yes or No _______
Question: Is it legitimate for the US to topple dictatorships in favor of democracies.Yes or No _______
Question: Do you believe the upcoming January elections will improve Iraq’s chances of being a peaceful nation in the future?Yes or No _______ violence in Iraq will not stop the country's elections from going ahead, as planned, next January, Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said on Sunday. Elections will take place throughout Iraq in January with no exceptions, the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, and the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, have insisted.The Economy:During the last presidential election campaign, a recession had already begun; indeed, had it not been so, Al Gore would likely be president today.Two things then magnified the recession already in progress: the collapse of the dot-com bubble, and the attack on 9-11. 557,000 payroll jobs were lost during year 2001, but before 9/11. This was before Bush's budget priorities and tax cuts could take effect and appear to have been part of the “normal” recession process, wherein weak companies are culled and bad debt is written off. Then, in the 100-day period right after 9/11, over 900,000 additional jobs were lost, many of them directly because of the terror atrocities themselves.Measuring from August 2001, the economy has recovered all but 28,000 of the payroll jobs it lost due to the recession and to the fallout from 9/11. If you include non-payroll jobs (contractors and self-employment) the economy has grown by 1,850,000 net jobs since Dec. 2000. The unemployment rate of 5.4% is considered low.The downside has been the growth in deficits and debt. At present, neither candidate appears to consider these a priority (they give lip-service only). Bush is a spender. Kerry wants to spend even more.
Question: should government deficits continue to increase under either candidate’s presidency?Yes or No _______
Question: did 9-11 cause increased job losses?Yes or No _______,filter.all/pub_detail.aspour analysis suggests that the Kerry proposals would, if enacted into law, add about $1.7 trillion in new government spending over ten years's campaign promises could still hit taxpayers with a $226 billion blow, on top of the 29 percent spending run-up under George W. Bush's term.Based on Kerry's promise to "pay for" every program he has proposed, U.S. taxpayers would each face an average additional $2,206 in higher taxes during Kerry's first year in office, and a cumulative increased tax burden of $6,066 over his first term."By exempting a series of major discretionary categories, Kerry's so-called 'strong' spending caps are actually so porous as to be no more effective than the restraints George W. Bush has sought," Johnson concluded. "In the final analysis, the 'winner' of the 2004 election could very well be the federal deficit


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