Monday, March 11, 2013

House Rep. Paul Tonko and the Saratoga Congress on the Corner meet-up on Saturday.

 House Rep. Paul Tonko and the Saratoga Congress on the Corner meet-up on Saturday.
Had the opportunity to attend Rep. Tonko’s Congress on the Corner meeting at the Saratoga City Center on Saturday.
Tonko handles himself very well; is very articulate; and provided the good turnout with detailed answers on several questions.
AARP shirted attendees were very concerned with Medicare and Social Security cuts that may still be on the table in the coming budget negotiations.
Tonko has been, and reinforced this Saturday, that he is opposed to additional cuts in these entitlements. He is not in favor in privatizing SS through any type of individual retirement option.
I had the opportunity to ask him about the POTUS’s upcoming visit to Israel.
Obama will be under intense pressure in Israel, both by right-winger PM Netanyahu, and others in the Israeli national security apparatus, to agree to a date for engaging in an aerial attack on Iran’s nuclear development sites…either a joint Israeli/US attack; or a unilateral US attack.
I asked Tonko if a Congressional Declaration of War should be in place before this happens…a Declaration that is Constitutionally required is we were to attack Iran. While this Declaration requirement has not been really applied for over 50 yrs., it is still a power that Congress has.
I also asked, in a linked question, if Israel should be pressured to publicly announce that they, indeed, have a large stockpile of activitated nuclear warheads. Also, should Israel be pressured to announce they will dis-mantle, de-commission a small number of these nukes, slowly and with Israel’s survival taking precedence.
Tonko’s answers were somewhat hazy. He favors negotiations, rather than striking Iran. He really didn’t deal with the second part of the question.

(“..It is believed that Israel had possessed an operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War.[2] Although no official statistics exist, it has been estimated that Israel possesses from 75 to as many as 400 nuclear weapons, which are reported to include thermonuclear weapons in the megaton range.[3][4][5] Israel is also reported to possess a wide range of different systems, including neutron bombs, tactical nuclear weapons, and suitcase nukes.[6] Israel is believed to manufacture its nuclear weapons at the Negev Nuclear Research Center…”)

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