Thursday, March 8, 2007

Mike Gravel's Views on Climate Change

Climate Change and Global Warming promises to play a major role in the Presidential election next year. Although Al Gore is yet to announce if he will run for the nomination, his campaign to reduce global warming is gaining significant publicity. In addition, most of the major candidates have had something to say on energy, and trying to reduce the reliance on foreign oil.

This is Mike Gravel's announced position on Climate Change:

Global climate change must be made an issue of national security. We must act swiftly to reduce America's carbon footprint in the world by passing legislation that caps emissions. However, any legislation will have little impact on the global environment if we do not work together with other global polluters. Fighting global warming can only be effective if it is a collective global effort.

As President, Senator Gravel will see that the U.S. launches and leads a massive global scientific effort to end energy dependence on oil and integrate the world's scientific community to this task. A national public works program to rewire the country towards new energy technologies would create tens of thousands of new American jobs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Mike Gravel on Veterans' Affairs

These are Mike Gravel's views of Veterans' Affairs, as listed on his website. This is an extremely topical issue, and one that has not yet gained much recognition in the national media. Given that over 20,000 troops have been injured in Iraq, this issue will play a major role in the lead up to the 2008 election.

Mike Gravel has a genuine commitment to the welfare on Veterans, so expect more from him on this topic as the campaign continues.

Senator Mike Gravel enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1951 and served for three years as an adjutant in the Communications Services and as a Special Agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps. Our war veterans are not, as some would have it, a “special interest” but are our primary interest.

As President, Sen. Gravel would ensure that veterans receive full and unambiguous funding for their most important needs, including health care that is indexed to the increasing cost of care and medicine. He would also make permanent the 100 percent disability ratings of those diagnosed as suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

He would also make sure that the VA system is fully financed and has sufficient well-trained personnel to provide the finest care that is available. As the senator says, “We can do no less and will do much more.”

Friday, March 2, 2007

Gravel Calls for an End to Torture

Mike Gravel's latest press statement calling on Congress to demand an end to torture. Gravel says that Congress must use it's Constitutional Authority to stop the torture of enemy combatants.

ARLINGTON, VA – Evoking Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution, former U.S. Senator and current Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel today called on Congress to use its Constitutional authority to immediately demand an end to the Bush administration’s practice of torture on enemy combatants.

“Under the U.S. Constitution, all enemy combatants fall under the jurisdiction of the Congress. It is abhorrent that the United States government today continues to torture human beings in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other secret C.I.A. prisons.”

Gravel made reference to, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution which reads, 'The Congress shall have power to..declare war..and make rules concerning captures on land and water.'

Gravel said, “The Constitution is very clear that prisoners of war are the responsibility of the Congress. The Bush administration has unlawfully taken that power without Constitutional justification. The Congress has been derelict in its duty to see that enemy combatants are treated humanely within the guidelines of the Geneva Conventions, and has been equally neglectful in its response to the President’s unlawful use of torture.”

Article 3, Section 1 (a) of the Geneva Convention prohibits, 'Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.'

“The practice of torture is immoral. It is un-American and it is ineffective. Information acquired as a result of torture techniques in unreliable. It endangers our soldiers in combat by encouraging reciprocity. It inflicts irreversible damage to our nation’s image and undermines our credibility among the international community.”

Senator Gravel also called upon the Bush administration to provide a full accounting of the names and locations of detainees who have been transferred from secret C.I.A. prisons whose whereabouts are unknown.

“The C.I.A. continues to hold an unknown number of prisoners in secret detention centers abroad and has refused to register those detainees with the International Red Cross or to allow visits by its inspectors. This is a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and contrary to international law.”

The senator also referenced former state department official and retired U.S. Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, who in November 2005 told CNN that Vice President Cheney provided ‘philosophical guidance’ that led to the use of torture. “It is unconscionable that the Vice President stood before the Congress and lobbied against a proposed ban on C.I.A. torture techniques.”

“George Bush lied when he told the American people in November 2005, ‘we do not torture.’ How many times will Congress allow the President to lie to the American people?”

Senator Gravel reaffirmed his pledge that if elected President, he will immediately move to vanquish the Military Commissions Act of 2006, signed into law by George Bush, which has made it legal for the C.I.A. to continue operating torture facilities in undisclosed, foreign countries, and for the writ of habeas corpus to be suspended for individuals who are designated "enemy combatants."

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gravel an Anti War Candidate

A good article published yesterday in the American Chronicle, which is a good background piece, but also discusses in detail Mike Gravel's stance on the Iraq War.

Kevin Zeese
February 26, 2007

Senator Mike Gravel is running a populist anti-war campaign for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Gravel, who is no novice to Washington, DC politics, is direct and clear in his views on the war. And, he has a long history of fighting unjust wars and seeking to return power to the people.

Gravel was in the U.S. Senate during the Vietnam War where he represented Alaska and aggressively opposed the war. He was well-known for his efforts to stop the draft when in 1971 he waged a successful, five-month, one-man filibuster that forced the Nixon administration to cut a deal that effectively ended the military draft.

He also weighed in heavily on the release of the Pentagon Papers. After The New York Times published portions of the leaked study, the Nixon administration moved to block any further publication of information and to punish any newspaper publisher who revealed the contents.

Gravel insisted that his constituents had a right to know the truth behind the war and proceeded to read 4,100 pages of the 7,000 page document into the Congressional Record from the Floor of the U.S. Senate. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Senator Gravel did not have the right and responsibility to share official documents with his constituents. He then published The Senator Gravel Edition, The Pentagon Papers, Beacon Press (1971) with commentaries by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. This publication resulted in a landmark Supreme Court decision, Gravel v. U.S, based on the Speech and Debate Clause (Article 1, Section 6) of the United States Constitution.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mike Gravel at Nevada Candidates Forum

The Mike Gravel campaign for President have released the following press statement after his appearance yesterday at the Candidates forum in Carson City, Nevada. The forum was organized by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and was moderated by ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

All of the major candidates except Barack Obama attended. Obama had already organized a campaign visit to Iowa.


Carson City, NV – In the first Democratic Presidential Forum held yesterday in Carson City, former senator Mike Gravel laid out his plan to end the Iraq War which calls for Congress to pass a law declaring the Iraq War over.

Speaking to a packed room of jubilant AFSCME union members, Gravel laid out his objections to the war. “I objected to this war from the beginning. In the spring of 2002 I went on TV and told the American people, ‘(George Bush’s) lips are moving but he’s lying to you the way Lyndon Johnson lied to us 30 years ago. Iraq's oil is not worth the life on one more American.”

“We’ll never make it with politics as usual. The democratic leaders are giving cover to the Republicans. The Congress has the right to declare war and the right to end it.”

He went on explain his plan to end the war.

“We need a constitutional confrontation between the Congress, the President, and the American people. Once the Congress passes the law to end the war it will be vetoed. Leader Reid can bring it up every day and let the Republicans whither on the vine. They will cave. We can get out of Iraq under 6 months with this scenario.” He said.

“We’re too busy carrying the burden of the military industrial complex. We Americans have been drugged with fear for the last 50 years.”

Gravel also discussed his plan to abolish the IRS and the Income Tax.

“Our current form of taxation is unfair to the working people of this country. It’s the most regressive, unfair tax system in the world. It created the rust belt. We need to do away with it.” When pressed by questioner George Stephanopoulos, the senator responded, “I’m wearing a $250 suit. Yours cost $2,000. You would therefore pay a higher tax on your suit than I would mine.”

When the senator was questioned on whether or not he supported campaign finance reform, he responded, “Is the Pope Catholic? All these candidates opting out of matching funds, I’m trying to opt in. All I need is $10,000 and I can win with that. Believe me.”

Senator Gravel wrapped up the appearance by promoting his plan for direct democracy; the National Initiative.

“People who acquire power are not want to share it with the people from whom they acquire it. You are the authority on your life. For the first time in US history we can at last have a government that is not just for the people and of the people, but truly by the people.”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mike Gravel and Universal Health Care

Most of the major Democratic candidates for the Presidential nomination are considering, or have a plan for health coverage for Americans. John Edwards released his plan last week, and is engaging in a national tour promoting it.

These are Mike Gravel's views on health care for Americans:

"Medicine and medical technology in the United States is the finest in the world. However, it is also one of the leading causes of bankruptcies. With the rising cost of healthcare, it is time to rethink our approach. The solution to the healthcare crisis is a national, universal single-payer not-for-profit U.S. healthcare system."

Gravel Article in The Republican

A good feature piece this morning on Mike Gravel appeared in Massachusetts Newspaper, The Republican.

Springfield native has sights set on top job
By JO-ANN MORIARTY (2/19/07)
WASHINGTON - By his own admission, Springfield, Mass., native Mike Gravel has a snowball's chance in Haiti of getting the Democratic nomination for the presidency.

"Oh, I know I'm a longshot," said the now 76-year-old Gravel, born Maurice Robert Gravel to French-Canadian immigrants in the City of Homes, where he attended local schools, was raised Catholic and first got involved in political campaigns as a youngster.

But it is not that is he without qualifications.

He left his hometown after a year in college to join the Army and served overseas in the Counter Intelligence Corps from 1951 to 1954. Returning home, he put himself through Columbia University as a cab driver in New York City before getting into the real estate development business and settling in Alaska.

From 1962 through 1966 - when Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan was serving his first term as mayor, Gravel served in the Alaska House of Representatives and was elected House speaker after one term. In a longshot campaign, Gravel unseated a popular incumbent Democrat in the primary. He went on to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968, representing Alaska for two terms (12 years) before he was defeated for re-election to a third term.

He's a classy dresser, sophisticated, pleasant and bright.

In his own words, he is also a maverick.

"He is a major candidate in no one's eyes," said Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "Mike Gravel had a populist career in the Senate but that was a long time ago."

Gravel's U.S. Senate career was brief but memorable.

Gravel, who grew up in a working class family in Springfield's North End in the Round Hill neighborhood which no longer exists, was a tenacious and harsh critic of the Vietnam War.