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April 12, 2011 - 11:16am

Questions for the NY-26 candidates: Foreign Policy

posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

There are a number of questions I have for the candidates in the NY-26 special election race, and I'm sure you do as well. Rather than sit back and wait for position statements, I thought I would just start asking questions.

I plan to ask about a question per week until election day.

Today's topic: Foreign policy, particularly as it relates to the use of the U.S. military abroad. Each of the candidates were given four days to formulate a reply. 

Below is the question (which was a bit longer than I imagine most will be). Because of the length, and the length of answers, the question and answers appear after the jump.

The answers are presented in the order received, Ian Murphy, Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin. We got no response from the Jack Davis campaign.

The question:

What is your position on our current military operations?

On Afghanistan: Do you think this is a winnable war? How long should the U.S. stay in Afghanistan? What is our ongoing obligation to the people of Afghanistan?

On Iraq: Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Do you support continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq? What would be your plan for disengaging the U.S. military from Iraq, if at all?

On Libya: What was Obama’s Constitutional/legal authority for engaging in military action in Libya? What should the U.S. policy be toward supporting the rebels in Libya? Should we send troops, advisors or arms to the rebels?

If you are fortunate enough to become a representative, what would your policy be on future U.S. military appropriations? – increase, decrease, keep the same … 

Ian Murphy's answer:

What is your position on our current military operations?

All of them? It's getting hard to keep track.

Some military operations are good, like aiding in Japanese tsunami relief, but most strike me as the counterproductive actions of a waning empire, which is ruled by a corrupt and wealthy elite (see the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, and the drone strikes in Pakistan,Yemen and Somalia).

Our current, aggressive military operations are guided by shortsighted greed. We've known since Eisenhower's “Military Industrial Complex” final address that war would be foisted upon the American people—under various and questionable pretexts—just so the business of war would boom. And it has.

A conservative estimate by former Chief Economist of the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz pegs the total costs of Iraq and Afghanistan at $3 trillion. This is $3 trillion in debt our children will have to repay. This is $3 trillion spent destabilizing the world, making us less safe, and further perpetuating the war economy.

Again and again, we've been rooked into conflict after conflict. Our kids are conned into killing and dying for oil profit, for jet engine profit, for base construction profit, for the profit Halliburton makes selling cases of Coke to the Pentagon for $45 a pop, etc.

So my position on our current military operations is that most of them are a mechanism by which war profiteers rob the American people blind.

On Afghanistan: Do you think this is a winnable war? How long should the U.S. stay in Afghanistan? What is our ongoing obligation to the people of Afghanistan?

In a conventional military sense, it is not winnable. Battling insurgents in the mountains of Afghanistan has been a costly and pointless undertaking, historically. Every day we're there, we breed more enemies. And the more enemies we have, the longer we stay.

But some kind of victory is possible. An Afghanistan lifted out of abject poverty, which breeds religious tyranny, incubates terrorism and fosters rampant misogyny, would be a resounding victory. However, the road to that victory leads our troops back home.

Our obligation to the people of Afghanistan is the same obligation we have to our own people—to maintain a policy of diplomatic pressure, passive exertion of cultural influence, and wise economic support—in conjunction with the international community—to ensure a prosperous and less dangerous Afghanistan.

I should note that maintaining reliable intelligence efforts in the area is smart policy while we work toward the above.

On Iraq: Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Do you support continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq?  What would be your plan for disengaging the U.S. military from Iraq, if at all?

No. No. Trucks, airplanes & ships.

On Libya: What was Obama’s Constitutional/legal authority for engaging in military action in Libya? What should the U.S. policy be toward supporting the rebels in Libya? Should we send troops, advisors or arms to the rebels?

Well, the Constitution states that declaring war is the responsibility of Congress alone. But there's also the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which gives high authority to treaties, so it could be argued that the prevention of genocide in Benghazi falls under our obligations to NATO. However, our international obligations should not usurp the power allotted to Congress in the Constitution—and make no mistake, the actions in Libya are the actions of war.

We should support the rebels with “Support the Rebels” bumper stickers. However, if that ridiculous suggestion is not adequate and our allies are determined to fund a revolution against Qaddafi, we should fulfill our obligations—or reevaluate them. But all efforts should be extremely limited in scope and duration.

Frankly, readers of The Batavian, I'm quite torn on Libya. We're engaged in far too many military operations as it is. On the other hand, if our quick action truly prevented the slaughter of tens of thousands in Benghazi, that seems morally righteous to me. That said, we can't always act as the world's police force.

Well, we've already sent the CIA, funds and weapons. Should we have? No, we should not take the lead on this thing. We should also be very wary of mission creep. We've seen the justification for the Iraq War change from one lie to another. As George Bush put it: “Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Our military can be a force for good. I'm hesitantly OK with using our military power to save lives. The hesitance comes from our inability to predict the resulting obligations and commitments of an action.

More fundamentally, our actions in Libya highlight our hypocrisy. We actively support brutal regimes in Saudi Arabia & Yemen. The people in the Middle East and Africa see this and question our motives in Libya. A more prudent strategy would be to encourage democracy, civil liberties, and economic freedom in troubled regions of the world with a preemptive, non-violent approach.

Our interventionist policies have included CIA training of Osama bin Laden, arming Saddam Hussein and, as recently as 2009, sending U.S. Senators to discuss selling Qaddafi military hardware. It's time we used our heads and stopped fighting monsters of our own creation.
 
If you are fortunate enough to become a representative, what would your policy be on future U.S. military appropriations? – increase, decrease, keep the same … 

Drastically decrease. We spend double what the next top ten nations spend combined on defense, and that money should go toward rebuilding America.

George Washington warned against funding and deploying standing armies around the world. He realized a long time ago that the business of military empire is a) very expensive and b) largely counterproductive. We have a war economy and ethos. It's unsustainable. Just as it was in Rome. An empire is like a balloon. If it gets too big, it will pop.

The more we spend on maintaining our empire, the less we have to invest in our own country—on our own people, our bridges roads and schools. War creates great suffering at home and abroad, for the profit of the very few. We need to reevaluate our priorities, and decide on a smarter, more ethical and democratic future.

Kathy Hochul's answer:

Q: On Afghanistan: Do you think this is a winnable war? How long should the U.S. stay in Afghanistan? What is our ongoing obligation to the people of Afghanistan.

A: After nearly one decade at war, it is time for the U.S. to draw up a clear exit plan.  While we cannot simply disregard all the work that has been done over the last 10 years, the financial costs of our mission in Afghanistan has been far too high – costing the United States nearly $350 billion. We must begin the transfer of full operational control to the people of Afghanistan.

Q: On Iraq: Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Do you support continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq?  What would be your plan for disengaging the U.S. military from Iraq, if at all?

A: I did not support the invasion of Iraq.  Last year, I supported the end of combat operations in the nation and I currently support the plan to end all military operations by the end of 2011. 

Q: On Libya: What was Obama’s Constitutional/legal authority for engaging in military action in Libya? What should the U.S. policy be toward supporting the rebels in Libya? Should we send troops, advisors or arms to the rebels?

A: The situation in Libya poses a grave threat to human life.  I stated early on that Moammar Ghadafi should be removed from power, but not by U.S. military force.  We cannot afford to lead another war, which is why I supported the transfer of operational control to NATO and believe that we must continue to develop a plan that works as part of a much larger coalition. 

Q: If you are fortunate enough to become a representative, what would your policy be on future U.S. military appropriations? – increase, decrease, keep the same …

A: We must continue to protect the United States against all threats against us.  While I do support cuts to unnecessary programs like the new F-35 fighter jet engine under Pentagon recommendations, we must provide the military with the resources necessary to protect the American people.

Jane Corwin's answer:

What is your position on our current military operations?

As the daughter of a former Air Force Reservist, I have a deep respect and appreciation for all our men and women in uniform, and if honored to be WNY’s next representative in Congress would do everything I can to support those who proudly serve our nation. I recently attended a deployment ceremony for about 70 troops in Amherst and it was one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever been a part of. I would take my responsibility as a federal official very seriously and would vote to bring our troops home as soon as the generals on the ground say it is possible.

On Afghanistan: Do you think this is a winnable war? How long should the U.S. stay in Afghanistan? What is our ongoing obligation to the people of Afghanistan?

Yes, it is a winnable war. We need to listen to our generals on the ground to determine when our mission is complete and we have secured freedom and liberty for the Afghan people and ensured that Afghanistan will not return to a safe haven for terrorists.

On Iraq: Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Do you support continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq?  What would be your plan for disengaging the U.S. military from Iraq, if at all?

I did support the decision to invade Iraq. Our men and women serving overseas deserve our support and the resources they need to be safe and successfully do their job. As with Afghanistan, I believe that we must listen to our generals on the ground as to when our servicemembers can come home.

On Libya: What was Obama’s Constitutional/legal authority for engaging in military action in Libya? What should the U.S. policy be toward supporting the rebels in Libya? Should we send troops, advisors or arms to the rebels?

I was deeply disappointed that the president did not consult with Congress before issuing orders for military action against Libya. The president needed to define the purpose of our mission beforehand and the threat posed to our national security. There were no public hearings or discussions and thus taxpayers and servicemembers – not to mention many Members of Congress – did not know what the president’s objective was until military action had already been taken. Now we are deeply involved in another conflict overseas and there is not an end in sight. The president and his Administration must clearly outline what their plan is for sending more troops, arming the rebels (or anyone else), etc. If Congress was consulted before military action was taken, we would not be in the situation we are now.

If you are fortunate enough to become a representative, what would your policy be on future U.S. military appropriations? – increase, decrease, keep the same …

We need to find efficiencies and savings wherever we can to address the long term spending pressures our nation faces.  However, the fundamental priority of any government is to protect its citizens and I will fight to make sure our military remains the best-trained, and best-equipped in the world.

UPDATE Wednesday, 9:34 a.m.: Adding response from Jack Davis:

What is your position on our current military operations?

On Afghanistan: Do you think this is a winnable war? How long should the U.S. stay in Afghanistan? What is our ongoing obligation to the people of Afghanistan?

As a former Marine and officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, I say it is time to find a way out of Afghanistan. Our soldiers and Marines are being killed and maimed in an endless conflict.

 

On Iraq: Did you support the invasion of Iraq? Do you support continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq?  What would be your plan for disengaging the U.S. military from Iraq, if at all?

The invasion of Iraq was based on false premises and I did not support it at the time. It is time to bring our troops home.

On Libya: What was Obama’s Constitutional/legal authority for engaging in military action in Libya? What should the U.S. policy be toward supporting the rebels in Libya? Should we send troops, advisors or arms to the rebels.

The Constitution is clear: Congress has the power to declare war, not the president.   By dropping bombs on Libya, President Obama has declared war.  We should not be expending our airmen’s blood or our treasure in Libya without Congressional approval.

 

If you are fortunate enough to become a representative, what would your policy be on future U.S. military appropriations?

We need to end our foreign entanglements and bring our troops home from around the world.  We are spending billions to station troops in places that haven’t seen hostilities in over 60 years.  We no longer fear Soviet tanks rolling through the Fulda Gap, but we still have troops stationed in Germany to stop them. We can no longer afford to foot the bill as the policeman of the world when Washington is planning to cut health care for our seniors and Americans’ needs are ignored.

william tapp
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how about stoping or at least cuting back on Foreign aid, we need it here more, we have people in need very badley.
Daniel Jones
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Howard - Could you include a question for Mr. Murphy, and all the candidates, on improving Veterans benefits in the upcoming rounds? We have many veterans living in our area, I know a few who read The Batavian and I think they would appreciate the answers. I would especially like to hear Mr. Murphy's answer after he expressed his feelings about veterans/soldiers in his blog. http://www.buffalobeast.com/126/Fuck.the.troops.Ian.Murphy.html
Ian Murphy
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@ Daniel Jones Of course I would improve veterans benefits. When I'm not writing satire, which reflects the brutal way our country has treated our vets (wars based on lies, Walter Reed, rampant PTSD, homelessness, etc.), I'm actually a nice guy.
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I agree with William on this one. The people right here need help. There is still a lot that is needed to be done in Louisiana. As for the answers given by the candidates, @ Ian Murphy -Do you have any hard facts to back up your claims? @ Corwin - Thank you for your respect and support, however your answers seemed to be the standard cookie cutter answers. I think I'm leaning a little closer to Kathy Hochul.
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@ Jeremiah Pedro. Google is your friend.
John Roach
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I have to guess Davis doesn't think responding to the Batavian is worth his time, which has been his attitude towards rural areas.
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There you have it folks, Republican talking points, Democratic talking points and well thought out, well researched, very articulate, reasonable and intelligent moral honesty. You can sort out who is who, but only one candidate will have your best interest at heart, unless you are a millionaire or billionaire and they were scarcer than hens teeth, in Batavia, the last time I checked. Iraq was based on lies. Afganistan was based on corporate greed and a good deal of flat out stupidity. Libya is justified up to a point and the status quo will always give you more of the same or much worse. Congressional souls were sold long ago, at least for the few who ever possessed one. The times they are a changin' unless you like indentured servitude and the company store.
George Richardson
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John, don't take it personally. Jack Davis hates everyone and you better stay the hell off of his lawn.
Daniel Jones
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George - Afghanistan was based on an attack on the United States. The Taliban, who was the ruling government in Afghanistan was harboring a terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda. There was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon on Setember 11th, 2001 by Al-Qaeda. I may have only been 13 but I remember it. Do you? I agree that for years the mission in Afghanistan drifted into Mission Creep en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_creep) but the purpose for the invasion was unchanged. I agree that Iraq was based on faulty intelligence, but you cannot say the same about Afghanistan.
George Richardson
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Foreign Aid is less than 1% of the budget. It's worth every penny on the tax dollar and that's pretty much exactly what it costs. When you see a bloated Biafran baby starving to death with flys crawling in and out of its nostrils do you pinch that penny in your pocket and say: "Yes!?" I'm sure some people do, but I don't believe the people of Batavia do. If I did, I would disassociate myself toot sweet (whatever the hell that means). You don't have to know what something means to like the way it sounds. Toot sweet, toot sweet, toot sweet, I like that. It's like music to my ears.
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No Dan, I don't remember that. I remember three planes hijacked by Islamic radicals. And I remember a half dozen attacks by domestic terrorists born, raised and educated in the United States of America. Why didn't we try to wipe ourselves off the face of the earth? Well, at this point it's a rather moot question because that is exactly what we are trying to do. The American Taliban (right wing Christan Jihadists) want to go see Jesus and the sooner the better. I'll pass on fantasyland.
Daniel Jones
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George - ....and we hunt down and capture those terrorists, like Timothy McVeigh and the unibomber. Al-Qaeda is not a fantasy, it's a real terrorist organization that planned and executed the attack. To say otherwise is to live in a dream world. They were being harbored by a foriegn government, so we removed the government. I agree that we need to start withdrawing from Afghanistan but the cause for the invasion was clear.
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Dan, "we hunt down and capture those terrorists, like Timothy McVeigh and the unibomber" and Major Forthoodmess and insane brain shooter Jed Jughead and Bush family friend Osama Bin Laden. That's why we drop very expensive bombs that make poofs of dust when they hit the dirt. Dick Cheney is still rubbing his hands together over that deal and Osama isn't living in a cave, he's in a Penthouse Suite facing the Potomic River. Imho.
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George - Oooh a conspiracy. I have no qualms that the Bush administration was inherently corrupt. That being said, there was a clear justification for the invasion of Afghanistan and for our presence in that nation. I agree that we need to withdraw, now that the troop surge has worked and hand control over to the Afghan government.
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I only see one of the four candidates actually here responding to comments and addressing the issues. To me, that says a lot about the character of the candidates and where their real concerns are.
Daniel Jones
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Ian - Thanks for your fast response. At what point in "F... the Troops" does the satire end? You said the following: "As a society, we need to discard our blind deference to military service. There’s nothing admirable about volunteering to murder people. There’s nothing admirable about being rooked by obvious propaganda. There’s nothing admirable about doing what you’re told if what you’re told to do is terrible." "Well, guess what, kids? The Iraq debacle is a pointless bloodbath—and every time you applaud those who “bravely” fill that tub, you’re soaking in it." To me, that does not sound like satire. When soldiers sign up to join the military, whatever their cause, they are enlisted to serve our prevailing national interest. Soldiers are not policy makers, they cannot control the policies they enforce, they follow orders. I think that bravery in the heat of combat, even when I do not agree with the mission, is honorable none the less. They also act in capacities outside of Iraq and Afghanistan and are an integral part of emergency response (natural disasters) and take part in various humanitarian missions. They are outrageously underpaid (in my opinion at least) and work under circumstances that most people cannot fathom. I know some who serve when they could be making much more money elsewhere. Why do they serve? To defend this country. I'm not saying that every soldier is good. When someone breaks the law, be it the Geneva convention or the Uniform Military Code of Justice, they should be put on trial. If breaking the law is wide-spread then we should do what we can to end that breaking of the law. However, to simply lump every soldier who serves in Iraq and Afghanistan as a murderer defies logic. I think you do a disservice to people who want to see legitimate third party political action, your deference to 'satire' isn't really funny. You are using humor as a shield to deflect criticism for what you have written. This is the sort of thing that makes people not take third party candidates seriously. I'm a huge fan of satire, I love the Colbert Report and the Daily Show, but everything has a limit. If it's all satire, then say that you didn't really mean any of what you said there. If it wasn't all satire, then own up to your opinions. Stop using comedy as fallout shelter. This is a race for the house of representatives, not a night at the comedy club.
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I don't know why people couldn't have just listened to John Lennon and Yoko Oko and given peace a chance. I was totally convinced after Viet Nam that America was going to get it together. Man, was I deluded but I'm not anymore. Our Government lies to us because we can't handle the truth. We are placated with 175-5 million cable channels of banal nonsense plus Fox deception and they now have us fighting each other instead of banding like a pack of wild dogs and eating the men that feed us misinformation. It would be fine after it was all composted and there would be a lot of it, but no one would miss them. "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." If I had some LSD right now, I would take it. If you have some, take it right now. "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." This goes out to all of our fine men and women serving in the military for whatever reason you went into the military. "All we are saying, is give peace a chance." Peace man, Namaste, Have a great trip and keep on truckin'. This band sounds nice, is that Jerry Garcia the Ice Cream guy?
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"If it's all satire, then say that you didn't really mean any of what you said there. If it wasn't all satire, then own up to your opinions. Stop using comedy as fallout shelter. This is a race for the house of representatives, not a night at the comedy club." Ian Murphy officially owned
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@ Daniel The satire ends at this serious point: We shouldn't blindly support military service or the troops that carry out that service. It was both a satirical piece and a serious essay. So, clearly, some of the over the top language was meant to reflect the way our leaders fucked the troops. But the serious point still remains. I don't think following bad orders is praiseworthy. You can disagree. But if the U.S. House of Representatives isn't a comedy club, how do you explain Michele Bachmann? How do you explain the painful pandering, and hollow positions of Jane Corwin? @Jeff I'm the only non-millionaire in the race. I'm owned by no one.
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@ Daniel, one more thing: As my answers to Howard Owens make abundantly clear, the military can and should act as a force of good.
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Ian Murphy wrote "F*** the Troops".....George W. Bush and Dick Cheney with the help of Republicans and Democrats actually did f*** the Troops. The response from either the Democrat with a get along to go along answer or the Republican who cheerfully spouts the party line "of course we can win" is about what I would expect. I confess am a bit disappointed that a response from Jack Davis has not been posted, however I do know that he has long opposed open ended military adventures and occupations. It has been one of the main elements of what he has campainged on and has listed the end of using the U.S. military as the global cop in his campaign literature that I have read. I have talked with Jack Davis on numerous occassions and have always found him consistant on the issue of using the military as means of foreign policy. One only has to look at the present situation the Bush/Cheney wars have delivered. Iran is now a dominant regional power well on the way to developing it's own nuclear program and Afghanistan is back to square one. Afghanistan has been the choke point on the silk road long before the U.S. and will be long after. The great armies of empires have all tried and failed as the natives crawl back into their holes making it a death by a thousand cuts. The opportunity has passed and Bush/Cheney looked elsewhere knowing the folly that is Afghanistan and sold the country on Iraq with lies built on lies....Uncle Joe Stalin, Pol Pot, and Adolf must have wept tears of joy over such folly... So ask yourself if you must, Who F***** our Troops? Then go back and examine the candidates positions and all of their answers. I believe you will find as I did, neither the Democrat or Republican offer more of the same...I stand by Jack Davis and an indepedent candidate running on the Tea Party line.
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Somehow I knew you would answer for Jack (MIA) Davis. You are running your own shadow campaign.
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Edmund - Jack Davis never responded to Howard. Read what Howard wrote. I understand that you are just defending your candidate, and in this case, it sounds like Jack Davis is something of a friend to you. Defending your friends is honorable. That being said, Jack Davis needs to step up to the plate and put his positions out there for the press and the public himself.
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Ian Murphy Said " Frankly, readers of The Batavian, I'm quite torn on Libya. We're engaged in far too many military operations as it is. On the other hand, if our quick action truly prevented the slaughter of tens of thousands in Benghazi, that seems morally righteous to me. That said, we can't always act as the world's police force." That last line says volumes. As far as "comedy club", Dan, we'll let the senate have Al Franken all to themselves. That he is a US senator is the funniest phucking joke I've ever seen in government. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and darn it, people like me"- Stuart Smalley, D-MN
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Ian Murphy Said " Frankly, readers of The Batavian, I'm quite torn on Libya. We're engaged in far too many military operations as it is. On the other hand, if our quick action truly prevented the slaughter of tens of thousands in Benghazi, that seems morally righteous to me. That said, we can't always act as the world's police force." That last line says volumes. As far as "comedy club", Dan, we'll let the senate have Al Franken all to themselves. That he is a US senator is the funniest phucking joke I've ever seen in government. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and darn it, people like me"- Stuart Smalley, D-MN
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Ed, remember, when the race is over "You're fired!" now grab the vac and clean out the limo. "Jack Davis hates me too." I'm going to have to start making death bed phonecalls to my 250 plus relatives in Batavia who have mostly forgotten I exist. Ian's not a fraud, please vote for him, cough, hack, loogie, "Oh my god what was that thing that just struck my face?" "Nuttin' honey just a bug, hold still I got it." It's my last wish after one more month in Vegas baby! Ian will spend his pay wisely after he earns it. The other candidates have already spent your money, before you earned it. On their fingernails, toe nails, spas, junkets and spray on tanning solution. What were you thinking Jack? Blue toenails?
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"We can't always act as the world's police force" Bud, do you believe we can and should? If you do why aren't we doing more to help Haiti and Japan? Which side are you on? Which side are you on? This message board stuff is so ambiguous even though I always know what I'm trying to say. But, I have my own language that only I understand, sometimes.
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Ok Bea now that you can predict what I write, would you be so kind as to help me out with tonights Mega Million numbers.... Daniel, Jack has put his positions out there for the press. The response by the local media focuses mainly on his self-financing past and present campaigns and ignores the message...Just as they will focus on Ian's mode of dress and his prank call to the lunatic Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin while totaly ignoring whatever real message he attempts to convey...my guess Davis is going to make mass ad buys, TV ads, mailers and door to door canvasing to get his message out. Personally I would like to see a Lincoln-Douglas for of debate with all of the candidates spelling out in detail what they will bring to the office. It is no secret that I am a Jack Davis supporter, nad have been since the day I read about how he was excluded from a Republican fundraiser that he had spent several thousand dollar for a table for Cheney held at Kleinhans several years back....Not only was he excluded, he was made to stand across the street. I looked up the number for his comapny in Akron "I Squared R Elements" and spoke to Jack for the better part of an hour and a half when the battery on my phone started to fade. I asked him to consider running against Tom Reynolds as a Democrat, it took Jack several weeks and a good deal of thought for him to register as a Democrat and run. I believed then as I do today Jack Davis will best serve the interests of our district and of our country. I don't expect you will change your minds and support Davis, I do ask you to take the time to read what he has proposed on a range of issues that will effect you, me, your children and grandchildren.
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Bud, That was a skit. What has Al Franken done since he has been in the Senate that irritates you more than Norm Coleman irritated me? Let it go and I'll buy the next pitcher of beer or ice cream cone. My wife doesn't know why I let politics affect me, I don't know either except that I care enough that I can't block it out no matter how hard I try. I think I'm already a Libtard and I want the medal Obamasama promised me, they're out of purple hearts so I chose pink elephants. I love them, they never forget and they won't let me forget either.
Howard B. Owens
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Ed, so far, I've sent all four candidates two questions and haven't gotten an answer from Jack Davis yet. That said, Curtis tells me an answer to this question will be coming tomorrow. I told him I'll add it to this post. Also, I've invited Jack to drop by my office for a chat, and so far, no acceptance. As you might have gathered, we're allowing The Batavian to be used as a pretty open forum for candidates, so you can't really make a blanket statement about the local media not giving Jack and outlet for getting his positions out there.
George Richardson
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Where is that like button? Me likey.
Dave Olsen
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Thank you Howard for allowing the Batavian as an open forum for candidates. Thanks Mr. Murphy for the actual engagement with commenters. I had decided that I would not vote in this particular election. However, each and every day that goes by I am more impressed by Ian Murphy and what he stands for. Excellent answers, sir. I understood your point in the F the troops article, although I didn't agree with all of it and thought the choice of a title was not so great. Anyway, the distasteful attack ads from the other 3 have turned me completely off of them. I'm thinkin' I may just show up and vote. Good Luck to you, Ian Murphy.
Dave Olsen
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George: it's "tout de suite" ; French for "at once". Not correcting, just trying to help, Buddy. Oh yeah, I saw Osama bin Laden buying a falafel at Wegman's last year.
George Richardson
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"George: it's "tout de suite" ; French for "at once"." Thanks Dave, but I did a little YouTube research and now I have a new career path as a salesman for a must have product. http://youtu.be/hxznXwGEBqw I'm going to get on it tout de suite.
Jeff Allen
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Ian, my comment has nothing to do with loyalty, you were owned by Daniel for highlighting the hypocrisy between your article and your answers to Howard. I read the whole article, there is no way you can reconcile the two, even behind the cloak of satire.
Jeremiah Pedro
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@ Ian I could google the information, and already had before I asked the question. However I didn't ask where I could find the information on my own, I asked what hard facts you had to support your statements. Your so called satire makes you look like a complete D bag. Maybe you could go take a tour of the VA hospitals in Batavia and Buffalo. Not to try to sway your opinion but to educate you. The majority of veterans receiving services from the VA are still veterans from wars other than the most recent ones. There are WWII veterans and Korean War veterans and Vietnam war veterans. These men and women many of whom did NOT volunteer but were drafted. Yes Ian I'm sure your aware that the draft was in existence up until 1973 when the all volunteer armed force was established. I think you owe a lot of men and women an apology.
Brandon Burger
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I wouldn't call the contentious article that Ian Murphy wrote three years ago a piece of satire; I would call it a provocation. "Fuck the Troops" and the entire opening is simply a provocation designed to call attention to the content of the article. It is purposely inflammatory and he calls attention to that fact at the beginning of the piece; he asks if it bothers the reader and why. That bit of self-consciousness leads into the real point of the piece, which is about how we as a society have come to worship at the altar of 'the Troops", raising them above the situations at hand, and how that worship has prevented us from asking difficult questions about foreign policy and defense spending. I think Ian Murphy is absolutely correct, but a short essay on a largely satirical website cannot do the topic justice. It's too bad. Instead of provoking a thoughtful discussion, "Fuck the Troops" is being wielded like a club to level ad hominem tu quoque attacks on Ian Murphy. I haven't heard one critique leveled against Murphy's stated foreign policy positions that didn't involve a faux-indignant return to "Fuck the Troops." Self-righteous distaste over something someone wrote three years ago does not invalidate statements they make today - especially when the self-righteous distaste was misguided from the start.
Daniel Jones
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"It's too bad. Instead of provoking a thoughtful discussion, "Fuck the Troops" is being wielded like a club to level ad hominem tu quoque attacks on Ian Murphy. I haven't heard one critique leveled against Murphy's stated foreign policy positions that didn't involve a faux-indignant return to "Fuck the Troops." Self-righteous distaste over something someone wrote three years ago does not invalidate statements they make today - especially when the self-righteous distaste was misguided from the start." Ian Murphy veils his opinions in satire and then when called out on his opinions shields himself in the armor of 'humor'. The selections that I quoted at the top from "F... The Troops" were not from the beginning of the article, they were from the middle and towards the end. He did say that the opening paragraph was satire but after that he was not clear. He said himself he does not find volunteering for military service to be honorable during these conflicts, but after joking around about wounded soldiers 'cool robotic limbs' I have to wonder if he knows what honor even is. I bring up "F... The Troops" because I believe it gives us an introspect not only into Ian Murphy the candidate but also Ian Murphy the man. He does not appear apologetic nor has he claimed that he has matured since the article. Every one of us has said and done things that we all regret. Heck, I know I've done and said my fair share of dumb things but when I've been wrong I've apologized for it and tried to improve because of it. He does not regret mocking those who serve, even in jest, he stands by it. That disturbs me as a voter and as an American. Not all jokes are funny. Jeremiah is right, he owes some people a major apology.
Daniel Jones
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Shorter of what I said: It's not that I cannot come up with some analysis and am not capable of having a discussion on his foriegn policy ideas, it's because of "F... The Troops" that I don't even know where to begin. His views are tainted by his constantly wrapping everything he says in some shroud of hateful 'satire' so it makes serious conversation on his ideas impossible.
Jeremiah Pedro
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@ Brandon My comment toward Ian were not attacks. As a prospective member of congress I need to know that Ian would be able to go to bat for veterans when it comes down to others wanting to slash benefits earned. Further more his response to my asking him for facts to back up his claims in his original post was a brush off. Ian wants my vote he has to earn it and so far he is coming up short. I want all of these candidates to remember you work for us the taxpayers. You answer to us. You want to brush people off or belittle a portion of the population based on their status as veterans well then you shouldn't be trying to run for congress.
Frank Bartholomew
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Whether this was satire or not, he still said it, and in my opinion, was tasteless.Our troops swear to defend our nation, and our way of life, they do not question their orders.
JoAnne Rock
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Foreign policy is not my strong suit, so I'll refrain from making a specific comment. I found this forum and this format to be very informative and I look forward to the rest of the series of questions and answers from the candidates. Thank you Howard. This is a valuable service for voters.
Howard B. Owens
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UPDATE: Response from Jack Davis added.
Ed Gentner
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Howard, thank you, your publication is one of the few that has allowed for a free flow of ideas, opinions and candidate's positions. I was refering to the larger newspapers in the district. A good example was the coverage given to Ian Murphy being excluded from what was advertised and promoted as a candidates forum last week.
Brandon Burger
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Failing to address Ian Murphy's positions because they are somehow 'veiled in a shroud of hateful satire' is thoroughly disingenuous. Apart from the inflammatory, self-consciously recognized piece of provocation that began an article on a very contentious issue written three years-ago, where has Ian Murphy been so wrapped up with satire or so ensconced in an armor of humor that it has been impossible to even begin a discussion? Murphy's response to Howard was clear and straightforward. Where was the difficulty in engaging with it? Even in light of the entirety of the inflammatory article, where was the difficulty? Perhaps the difficulty is that nobody wants to talk about our almost blind exaltation of 'The Troops.' People want to ignore the once strong, long-held suspicion Americans harbored toward standing armies and professional soldiers. Nobody wants to to think about how our blind veneration for "The Troops" began around the time of the First Gulf War, when the Soviet Union was crumbling and ceasing to provide us with a reason for our gargantuan Defense Budget. And certainly, nobody wants to see how that martial worship clouds our ability to go after Defense spending in these tight economic times. Indeed, we actually increased Defense spending while reducing State Dept. funding; we essentially are expanding our military mission to the world and shrinking back our civilian mission. Unfortunately, none of this is apparently worth talking about because of "Fuck the Troops." If Ian Murphy is using humor as fallout shelter, those who would dismiss him are using self-righteous indignation as a diversion.
Ian Murphy
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Well, this is still going on over here... @Daniel All the facts I mentioned are facts. If you can't find the source material, tell me what fact you have a problem with, and I'll re-find it for you. But I assure you, nothing I mentioned was incorrect. @Everyone I stand by "Fuck the Troops". I hide behind nothing, for it was both a satirical provocation AND a serious essay. The former is obvious in the language I chose. The later is obvious if you read the whole piece. And, unfortunately, the former is the reason we're even discussing the later. If I'd written -- in the most bland language possible -- an article called "Unquestioning support for the troops bothers me a great deal and here's why" no one would have read it. If you want me to apologize for using the word "fuck," you can go fuck yourself. This is America! I can say whatever the fuck I want. I was at the Newark, NJ airport recently and I saw a sign which illustrates my point. It read that while the rest of us poor saps had to wait in line, service members were free to cut ahead of us. This is disturbing to me. I'd rather live in a country where that sign reads that the elderly and infirm can cut in line. Just saying. Look, when I wrote that article I made a conscious decision to disregard all the empathy I have for those poor fucking kids that were tricked into "serving their country" with a bunch of lies. And I still have a hard time respecting anyone who got steamrolled by Bush/Cheney propaganda. I don't know, people. If you can't tell the difference between a criminal administration which actually DID fuck the troops with lies and shitty care when they got back, and a dude who's got the balls to call bullshit on "supporting" the troops with empty slogans,well, vote for Corwin. She's your idiot. I mean, read her responses above. She basically says nothing--except that she's totally cool with you or your children dying in some fucked up war that never should have happened. And let's stop pretending that all the troops are goddamn saints. I mean, after Abu Ghraib (and similar reports about Afghanistan), the Haditha Massacre, rape of female soldiers, and now the revelation of our "Kill Team" in Afghanistan (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-kill-team-20110327)...I have a hard time supporting those kinds of behaviors. A point I should've made crystal in that article was that the general population was being tricked into supporting an illegal and immoral war by simply supporting the troops. It's a meaningless slogan, which I felt like raging against. Do I feel bad that our government tricked people into service and then treated them like shit? Bad is not good enough. It makes me truly fucking angry. If elected to Congress, would I support the troops by bringing them home and funding care for our vets? You better fucking believe it! Sincerely, Ian Murphy
Dave Olsen
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George, thanks, i love a good fart joke. "I begged him to stay away from the Baba ganoush" hahahaha To all you Ian bashers: Serious enough for you?
George Richardson
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Ian, thanks a lot soul brother. I always feel guilty about using fuck even though it is my all time favorite word in any language anywhere in the world. And when I die, FUCK! And Dave, if you see my brother Joe tell him I said fuck and tell his very intelligent clan of boys to vote for Ian Murphy NY-26.
George Richardson
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Frontrunner Mittcare Romney? Maybe we should take a poll. http://youtu.be/uFUW6htvUss
Jeremiah Pedro
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@ Ian I was a recruiter for the Marine Corps here in Batavia, Ny from 2006 until 2009. Essentially you are calling me a liar. I take offense to that accusation. I could care less about your language in your so called satire. It is obvious now after your response that the essay was not originally meant to be a satirical piece. You now seem to be throwing that out there in order to save a little face. You completely ignored my earlier comment. I looked the facts up myself. We spend more on education as a country than we do on defense spending. The second part of the comment was kind of a question/invitation. The fact remains that the majority of veterans receiving care from the VA are from generations and wars gone by. Such as WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Those wars were fed in large part by the draft. So again my question is this: If elected how would you go about ensuring the federal government held up their end of the bargain? The troops did their part. You don't like the troops fine no one is asking you to go out of your way to do things for them. You want to be a member of congress right? Well part of your job will be to represent the interests of your constituents who happen to be either active or reserve members of the US armed forces or veterans as well as their families. The district which you hope to represent has a large number of veterans living in it. If you intend to write off that portion of your prospective congressional district then you might as well drop out of the race now. Because in my opinion you would not be qualified if you intended to not fully represent the interests of all your constituents.

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