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.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mike Gravel Opposes Iran Confrontation

Below is Mike Gravel's position on the issue of a military strike against Iran. Speculation has been mounting in recent days that the Bush Administration is investigating the option of taking action against Iran.

Hillary Clinton joined other leaders in Congress like Nancy Pelosi in saying that any confrontation with Iran must have the approval of Congress.

Gravel is firmly against any confrontation with Iran, and remains firmly against the war in Iraq, saying that troops must be brought home now.

"Senator Gravel firmly opposes a military confrontation with Iran. Several signs indicate that the Bush administration is moving towards a military confrontation with Iran and Syria; the deployment of a "major strike group" of ships to the Persian Gulf, the detaining of six Iranian officials of a consular office flying the Iranian flag, pointed accusations that both nations are fueling the insurgency in Iraq and the President’s remarks that the U.S. would disrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria to those insurgents.

The notion of war against another sovereign Arab nation while wars continue to rage in Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Afghanistan, only serves to further threaten global stability."

Nevada Candidates Forum Sold Out

The candidates forum to be held in Carson City, Nevada next Wednesday has been sold out. The event will be held at the Carson Community Centre, but a second satellite site that will watch the forum by feed, has also been sold out.

Mike Gravel will join other candidates such as Hillary Clinton and John Edwards to speak and answer questions. Barack Obama has decided not to attend the forum, choosing instead to campaign in Iowa. The forum is sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will be moderated by ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

This will again be a good chance for Gravel to put his case for his run for the Democratic nomination. It's never easy getting coverage when you are not considered a front runner, so as the year progresses, these type of events can only be good news for Gravel.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bring Troops Home Now - Gravel

Candidate for the Democratic Nomination, Mike Gravel of Alaska, has called again for the troops in Iraq to be brought home now, not in 6 or 12 months.

Gravel was speaking Sunday night at the Jefferson County Democratic President's Day Dinner in Wisconsin. Over 100 people were there to hear Gravel and other local Democratic leaders speak.

Gravel also again repeated his claim that anyone who has supported the war in Iraq, is not fit to hold the office of President.

He also spoke about the fact that America is ranked 49th in the world in literacy rates. Gravel asked how America can compete with the world when it doesn't pay any real attention to education.

Gravel said that America needs to change - it needs to stop leading the world in such things as environmental pollution, energy consumption and consumer spending.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gravel in Wisconsin Tonight

Mike Gravel will be in Wisconsin tonight, at the Jefferson County Democrats 14th President's Day Dinner.

The event will be held at Plattdeutscher Hall this evening.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Gravel Speaks to NBC After DNC

Mike Gravel appeared on NBC last Saturday after his speech to the Democratic National Committee Winter Meeting.

Gravel speaks here about the U.S involvement in the Iraq War. He is straight shooting as usual, very refreshing, so its worth a view. (3.42sec)

Gravel Nevada Forum Feb 21

Mike Gravel will travel to Carson City, Nevada on February 21 to take part in a forum for Democratic candidates for the Presidential nomination.

Other candidates also heading to Nevada are Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and Tom Vilsack. Wes Clark, who is expected to announce his bid for the nomination in the coming weeks will also be there.

Barack Obama has not confirmed if he will attend the forum which grants candidates the right to speak, and answer a series of questions from a moderator.

The vote in Nevada is scheduled to take place directly after the vote in Iowa next January and is therefore considered a key state for Presidential hopefuls.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Mike Gravel after DNC Meeting

Mike Gravel was interviewed in bloggers alley after his speech at the DNC Winter Meeting.

Check it out here:

Mike Gravel at DNC Winter Meeting

"Power to the People"

Presidential hopeful, Mike Gravel this morning gave his speech at the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting. This DNC meeting is considered crucial for any candidate seeking the Democratic nomination.

While he is a long shot for the nomination, Gravel gave an impassioned and eloquent speech to the meeting about his claim for the job.

The audience had a good proportion of Gravel supporters, waving their placards for their man from Alaska. Gravel also brought Granny D from New Hampshire "his greatest supporter" to the meeting, and he admitted that she provided him with some tips for his speech today.

Gravel made his case early on the question of his age - he said that Washington needs adult supervision. And the way he spoke, he didn't sound like a man who had been out of the Senate for nearly 3 decades.

He spoke about the failures of President Bush in Iraq, saying that nations fail when leaders fail their people and Bush had failed America.

But further on Iraq, Gravel made the point that it was the Democrats who held the Congress when they voted for America to go to war in October 2002.

In a stinging rebuke to those who voted for the war at the time, Gravel said that anyone who did so is not qualified to hold the office of President. Using the defense of not being told the truth, or an argument that the war has been botched is not good enough.

Politics as usual is not acceptable for the Presidency. Gravel said that the next President must have political integrity and moral judgement.

Gravel related his role in ending the draft during the Vietnam war. Again, in contrast to other leading contenders like Hillary Clinton, Gravel said that the troops should be brought home now from Iraq. Not in 6 months, now.

He said that the "mealy mouth" non binding resolutions were not good enough, there needed to be a constitutional confrontation with the President. Congress had the power to send the troops to war, they should now have the power to end the war.

Gravel also tackled the issues of health care, energy and immigration, but also said that most of the problems that America faces are not domestic, but global in nature.

He also said that America is a nation that is being ruled by fear; of immigrants, races and religion, gays and lesbians, communism, terrorism - and these issues are being used to manipulate us all.

Who in the world are we afraid of, he asked.

Gravel finished off by arguing for his national initiative, for real people to become lawmakers through voter participation.

Watch the speech