How U.S. Presidential Candidates Answer 20 Basic Questions

1. What would you like the U.S. discretionary budget to look like? With 60% now going to militarism, what percentage would you like that to be? Mike Gravel: Cut military spending by 50%. Howie Hawkins: Cut military spending by 50%. Bernie Sanders: Cut military spending by an unknown amount. Marianne Williamson: Convert to a peaceful economy over 10 to 20 years. Andrew Yang: Cut military spending by an unknown amount; move 10% to military-like infrastructure force. Julian Castro: Website provides no positions on anything other than immigration and relations with Central America. Tulsi Gabbard: One website provides no positions on anything, another doesn’t say. We can look to her voting record. She has voted against cutting the military budget. Elizabeth Warren: Website doesn’t say. She has voted for enormous military budgets. Pete Buttigieg: Website provides no positions on anything. Beto O’Rourke: Website doesn’t say. Kamala Harris: Website provides no positions on anything. She has voted for enormous military budgets. Joe Biden: Isn’t running. Amy Klobuchar: Website provides no positions on anything. She has voted for enormous military budgets. Donald Trump: Proposes to move yet more funding from almost everything else into military spending, boosting the latter to roughly 65% of federal discretionary spending across departments, not counting another 7% for Veterans Affairs. Cory Booker: Website provides no positions on anything. He has voted for enormous military budgets. Eric Swalwell: Website provides no positions on anything other than guns, healthcare, and education. Tim Ryan: Doesn’t seem to have a website. John Delaney: Website provides an array of positions as if 96 percent of humanity and 65 percent of discretionary spending doesn’t exist: no foreign policy, except that he wants mandatory “service” with the military being one option. Jay Inslee: Website provides no positions on anything other than climate, which position avoids mentioning the military either as a destroyer of climate or a source of funding that could be moved to climate. Wayne Messam: Website doesn’t say, but promotes hostility toward Russia and China. John Hickenloper: Website provides no positions on anything. Kirsten Gillibrand: Website doesn’t say. Howard Schultz: Website provides no positions on anything other than coffee. 2. What program of economic conversion to peaceful enterprises would you support? Marianne Williamson hints at this topic. Howie Hawkins hints at this topic. Mike Gravel hints at this topic. Trump: none. Everybody else is silent. 3. Would you end, continue, or escalate U.S. war making in: Afghanistan? Iraq? Syria? Yemen? Pakistan? Libya? Somalia? Tulsi Gabbard: One website provides no positions on anything, but she has voted to end the war on Yemen and said she would end the wars on Syria and Afghanistan. Another website says she would end the wars on Yemen and Syria. But she has voted to keep the AUMF in place. Bernie Sanders: He would end the war on Yemen, and he sort-of seems to suggest that he would end the wars on Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. He has voted to end the war on Yemen and against keeping the war on Afghanistan going. Elizabeth Warren: Website doesn’t say. She has voted to end the war on Yemen and against keeping the war on Afghanistan going, and suggested she would end the wars on Afghanistan and Syria. Mike Gravel: Website seems to effectively communicate the intention to end each of these wars, because he would close all bases, and pursue friendly relations with all countries. However, he would also “make war Constitutional,” as if the Congress can Constitutionally violate the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Howie Hawkins: Website seems to effectively communicate the intention to end each of these wars, but — like Gravel’s — doesn’t explicitly say so. Marianne Williamson: Website seems to suggest she would end all wars, but does not say. Kirsten Gillibrand: Website doesn’t say, but she’s voted to end the war on Yemen and supported ending the war on Afghanistan. Andrew Yang: Website doesn’t say. Julian Castro: Website provides no positions on anything other than immigration and relations with Central America. Pete Buttigieg: Website provides no positions on anything. Beto O’Rourke: Website doesn’t say. Kamala Harris: Website provides no positions on anything. Joe Biden: Isn’t running. Amy Klobuchar: Website provides no positions on anything. Donald Trump: He has escalated wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen,  and vetoed a bill to end the war on Yemen, and continued wars on Libya, Somalia, and Pakistan. Cory Booker: Website provides no positions on anything. He’s voted to end war on Yemen. Eric Swalwell: Website provides no positions on anything other than guns, healthcare, and education. Tim Ryan: Doesn’t seem to have a website. John Delaney: Website provides an array of positions as if 96 percent of humanity and 65 percent of discretionary spending doesn’t exist: no foreign policy, except that he wants mandatory “service” with the military being one option. Jay Inslee: Website provides no positions on anything other than climate, which position avoids mentioning the military either as a destroyer of climate or a source of funding that could be moved to climate. Wayne Messam: Website doesn’t say, but promotes hostility toward Russia and China. John Hickenloper: Website provides no positions on anything. Howard Schultz: Website provides no positions on anything other than coffee. 4. Would you end the exemption for militarism in Kyoto, Paris, and other climate agreements? – – – crickets – – – 5. Would you sign / ratify any of these treaties: Paris Climate Agreement? Convention on the Rights of the Child? International Convention on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights? International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights optional protocols? Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women? Convention Against Torure optional protocol? International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families? International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance? The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities? International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing, and Training of Mercenaries? Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court? Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity? Principles of International Cooperation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition, and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity? Convention on Cluster Munitions? Land Mines Convention? Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons? Proposed treaties banning the weaponization of space and banning cyber crimes? Mike Gravel: He lists a few of these he would support and suggests that there would be others. Howie Hawkins: Website only says: “a recommitment to the recently abandoned arms treaties and to vigorous new negotiations for further reductions toward complete nuclear disarmament.” Beto O’Rourke: Supports Paris agreement. Jay Inslee: Website provides no positions on anything other than climate. Has supported the Paris agreement. Bernie Sanders: Website doesn’t say. Has supported the Paris agreement. Tulsi Gabbard: Website provides no positions on anything, or doesn’t say. Has supported the Paris agreement. Elizabeth Warren: Website doesn’t say. Has supported the Paris agreement. Marianne Williamson: Website

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Presidential Candidates Diverge

By David Swanson

There are now two types of Democratic presidential candidates, the ones who promise to end the occupation of Iraq, and the ones who say they may very well keep it going for another four years.

MSNBC hosted another Democratic presidential debate Wednesday evening. Due to a technical error, the cable network failed to identify itself as a subsidiary of General Electric, a major weapons maker. Due to another technical shortcoming, viewing the debate streaming live on the MSNBC website read more

Presidential Candidates Comparison Chart

Bush’s policy positions are well known and have been put into action. Each of the nine Democrats vying to be the one to send Bush packing has created a campaign website with a section laying out the candidate’s positions on the issues he or she deems important. Below is a chart showing what these 10 people’s positions are on many of the issues. A blank indicates that no information was found on their website. In a few cases, information was used from other reliable sources.

While read more

Where the Candidates Stand, or Kneel

Below are 10 basic questions for U.S. Presidential Candidates and the answers they have thus far provided, if any.

  1. What would you like the U.S. discretionary budget to look like? Roughly what percentage should go to what project? With 60% now going to militarism, approximately what percentage would you like that to be?
  2. With some super-profitable corporations paying no taxes, some individuals with super-high incomes paying a lower tax-rate than ordinary people, a regressive cap on taxes for Social Security, no wealth tax, and no tax on the vast majority of estates, what will you do to make taxation less regressive and more progressive?
  3. Do you support a Green New Deal, and if so what exactly does it look like?
  4. How would you change the funding of education, including pre-school and college, and addressing student debt?
  5. Would you halt or continue expenditures on the production and so-called modernization of nuclear weapons?
  6. Do you support the creation of a single-payer health coverage system or enhanced Medicare for all?
  7. Would you end discriminatory bans on immigrants?
  8. How would you address the problem of mass incarceration?
  9. What changes, if any, would you make to Social Security and the funding thereof?
  10. What should the minimum wage be in the United States and should that wage be set to automatically keep pace with the cost of living?

Most people are surprised at how difficult it is to find any answers to such questions from candidates running for the office of U.S. president and receiving voluminous media coverage of various trivial details. Some candidates have answered some of these questions. Most have not answered most of them. You can ask your favorite and least favorite campaigns for their positions on these read more

What No One in the Media Has Asked the Candidates About War

If you can get presidential candidates in the Democratic or Republican parties to answer any of these, please let me know.

1. President Obama’s 2017 budget proposal, according to the National Priorities Project, devotes 54% of discretionary spending (or $622.6 billion) to militarism. This figure does not include care for veterans or debt payments on past military spending. Is the percentage of discretionary spending now devoted to militarism, as compared to what you would propose for 2018,
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Will the 2012 Presidential Election Be Stolen?

Why would I even ask that question?  I’ve been trying (with virtually no success) to get everyone to drop the election obsession and focus on activism designed around policy changes, not personality changes.  I want those policy changes to include stripping presidents of imperial powers.  I don’t see as much difference between the two available choices as most people; I see each as a different shade of disaster.  I don’t get distressed by the thought of people read more

One Hundred and Eleven (111) Pro-Impeachment Candidates (!!!)

By David Swanson

I’ve done no survey. There are probably a heck of a lot more candidates out there who haven’t contacted me or I haven’t happened to run across. But I have put together a list, thus far, of 111 candidates for Congress, the Senate, or the White House who support impeaching Bush and Cheney. Here’s the list, organized by office and by state / district:
http://afterdowningstreet.org/2008candidates

Most of the candidates on the list are Democrats, either incumbents read more

Questions for Candidates

By David Swanson

If, like General Electric and Fox News, ordinary citizens were permitted to ask questions of candidates for U.S. President, these are a few of the questions I think they might ask:

If you are elected president, which of the new presidential powers assumed by the Bush-Cheney administration will you use? Which will you leave available in case you decide to use them? Which will you issue orders banning the use of?

Will you ever spy on Americans in violation of the Foreign Intelligence read more

The GE Presidential Debate

By David Swanson

MSNBC, owned by weapons-maker General Electric, opened Thursday night’s debate with the unavoidable topic of Iraq, and unavoidably allowed each of the eight candidates on the stage to address it. Two of them, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and former Senator Mike Gravel, spoke in favor of ending the war. Kucinich advocated cutting off the funding. Gravel proposed passing a law to make it a felony to remain in Iraq.

Of course, it’s also a felony to spy in violation read more

Cable Television Perfects Presidential Coverage

June 9, 2004

It’s official. Cable television has now completely and thoroughly covered presidential politics, fully informing all Americans of all the issues, positions, promises, and disputes. That job completed, one cable channel has moved on to the important public function of making shit up.

No, I don’t mean Fox News. I’m referring to Showtime’s new presidential election reality TV show, in which 12 “candidates” will pretend to run for president. What could read more