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Maverick Candidate Mike Gravel

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Posted on May 4, 2007
Mike Gravel
AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

Mike Gravel, former U.S. senator from Alaska, speaks during the first Democratic presidential primary debate of the 2008 election.  The event was hosted by South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C., on Thursday.

Presidential candidate Mike Gravel’s performance in the first Democratic debate took him from off the radar to Truthdigger of the week. Naturally we just had to pick his brain. The former senator from Alaska, who helped end the draft, tells Truthdig why he’s running, why there are so few mavericks in politics these days and why war makes him angry.


Click here to listen to the interview.

Transcript:

James Harris: This is Truthdig.  James Harris, Josh Scheer.  On the phone: special guest, presidential candidate for 2008, Mike Gravel.  Let me start by saying a few things about this.  In doing the research after that very spicy debate you were engaged in last Thursday, I found out that you published one of the exclusive issues of the Pentagon Papers.  You also helped end the draft following the Vietnam War.  Mr. Gravel, I want to ask you—the way you were treated by the media after that Democratic presidential debate seemed to me—they seemed to vilify you, they seemed to paint you as a lunatic, though you stand on the side of issues that a lot of Americans believed in.  How do you feel about the way you were treated after that debate?

Mike Gravel: First off, having been in politics for a number of years, and being what I would call an elder statesman of some maturity, I understand some of these pundits.  You can say they’ve got their own shtick.  Some are pretty dumb, some lack good perception, and some are carried away with their own celebrity-ness and they don’t really understand the issues, so I accept it in that vein.  Some are very good, some are really good, and so I accept it in that vein.  I realize that when somebody comes out of the box that they did not anticipate, and you put out some ideas that are outside of the box, they can’t comprehend it; it’s beyond their experience to comprehend it.  What happens, though, is you get the alternative, like you two fellas, that are fascinated by “Hey!  We’ve never heard of this guy.  What’s he about?  What’s his background?”

We’re in a culture that just reveres youth, and I’m coming in as an elder statesman to be president.  I’ll be the oldest one ever sworn into office.  But what I bring to the table is what some pundits have a tough time understanding, and that is, I bring judgment to the table based upon a varied background of experience and accomplishment.  My legislative accomplishments, what I did in four years is more than all the other candidates put together in all their career.  That’s tough to understand and to piece together.

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Harris: How will you win this election?  What will distinguish you in the eyes of the American people?

Gravel: Telling the truth.

Harris: What’s truth right now?  What’s true for America right now?

Gravel: Truth for America is that we think that we’re so much better than anyone else in the world, and we’re not.  We’re no better than anybody else in the world.  The truth is, we squander our wealth on the military-industrial complex for a defense that is totally inadequate.  The truth is that 30 percent of our children do not graduate from high school.  The truth is that one-fifth of the nation is functionally illiterate and in Washington, D.C., it’s 36 percent.  I could go on.  The truth is, there’s only two industrialized nations in the world that do not have healthcare for all their people.  One is the United States, and the other is South Africa.

  These are the things that have to be told.  And so we have to tell Americans, “Look-it.  Our nation is in trouble.  We’re spending more than we earn.  You can’t do that individually, and you can’t do that with a nation, and that means we are headed towards an economic catastrophe.”  And people are whistling in the cemetery. ... All the Wall Street guys are just making pigs of themselves with the amount of money they are able to rip out of the system at the expense of the average American.  Average Americans know intuitively that something is very wrong, that the parties won’t solve the problem, that politicians the way they presently exist won’t solve the problem, and so with somebody coming out and saying that to the leaders who live off of their leadership position, they look at this guy and say, “My God, this guy is crazy!”

  I had the same problem in the Senate.  I was a maverick.  And other colleagues—some loved me.  Most of them didn’t understand me and were resentful of me.  Why?  Because you get to the U.S. Senate and you’re in the cathedral of power.  And some young guy comes in and he doesn’t care about the power; he cares about trying to make a change.  You don’t think that doesn’t disturb the other guys?  That’s what I lived through, and that’s what I’m living through right now, and you’re a witness to it.

Josh Scheer: Now I want to ask about being a maverick.  Why are there so few mavericks?  Why is it that the front-runner is not a maverick?  Why is it that we attack people who make bold statements and the debate . . . or tell the truth, or get angry ... ?

Gravel: Because they’re basically misfits and it’s not good to have too many mavericks because they’re too disruptive.  And so our congressional process is a process of making compromises.  Compromising is good, but a compromise can make a situation . . . a compromise can be a bad compromise, and sometimes you shouldn’t compromise; you should stick by your guns and principles and don’t compromise.  But that’s a judgment call in either case.  In my particular case, what you saw in the debates—which is why I was a little shrill and angry ... because I get angry over the war.  I had the same problem during the Vietnam War.  People were dying and they didn’t have to die, and they are dying because of the way we’re spending our tax money.  You’re spending your tax money to kill people.  That makes me angry.  If we’re killing people for a purpose ...  but we’re not.  This is a phony war instituted by a fraud, by a president who ... thinks he’s so moral, and yet he’s immoral with ... the deaths that he’s caused.

Scheer: Now I want to know: If you don’t win the primary, would you consider making another run as president through another party or would you look to maybe be a vice presidential candidate?

Gravel: That is premature.  I am going to win.  I am going to win for the very simple reason that people are going to be hearing from me some things they never thought they’d hear from a politician.  Maybe it’s because I’m an elder statesman or an old politician that now I’ve come to a point in life where I don’t have anymore space.  I was bad enough when I was a maverick in the Senate.  I’ve got to tell you.  What’s it going to take now as a presidential candidate is 100 times more than that.  I would come back to my office, as a senator, and my staff would say, “Well, senator, God, be more like your peers.  You’re too tough.”  And all I could think of today, when I think back, is that I wasn’t tough enough.  I wasn’t tough enough.  There’s more that could be done.  It’s like the war right now.  I’m angry over the inability of the Democrats in the Congress to have the tactical judgment, or the strategic judgment, to really put George Bush in a box.  And I’m going to be coming out, probably next week, and I’m going to call a press conference.  I’ve got a plan to really get it to George Bush big-time.  And if the leadership of the Congress will do as I’m suggesting, we’ll be out of Iraq in six months.

Harris: Sen. Mike Gravel, you’re telling me I’m talking to the next president of the United States ...

Gravel: Yes, you are.

Harris: ... so, I want to know if you would share with us what you think should be next for us in Iraq.

Gravel: What should be next is to get out, and one of the things that we should do is—.  There’s a civil war going on, and so when you hear Hillary and the others say, “Well, we’re going to get out,” they’re not getting out; they’re talking about just pulling back the combat troops.  That still leaves 100,000 American soldiers there and 50,000 mercenaries and then all those war profiteers that are over there ripping it off at the expense of the Iraqis.  So we’re going to leave all those people there and “Sure, we’re going to end the war.”  You can’t end the war.  Our presence is causing the war, our very presence.  So if we leave any troops there at all, the insurgents will continue the war and they’ll continue killing other people.  So their plan is a non-starter.

  My plan would be very simple: We pull our troops out.  As we’re pulling our troops out—that takes about 60 days—we turn around and get the puppet government ... and I want to say it, the word is probably ... the puppet government that we’ve set up ... we get them to draft 3 million young Iraqis.  These young Iraqis are unemployed.  Who do you think is part of the insurgency or these militias?  It’s these young people that have no way of making a living and so they do this “insurgency” with banditry—the whole nine yards.  What we do is draft them, put them in uniforms.  OK?  No civilian clothes.  No arms.  No arms.  Begin to disarm them and turn around and give them the tools to rebuild their country with their own hands.  And get the damned American war profiteers out of the country.  Let them build their country, let them have some pride.

  We had a program like this in the ‘30s.  It was called the Civilian Conservation Corps, the CCC.  That’s what we need to do with Iraq and then get out, and use diplomacy, let them form their own government.  It’s their country.  Politicians in Washington feel we’re going to cut the country up in this way, that we’re going to get them to do this with their oil. ...  It’s their oil!  Let them do what they want with it.  Who are we to go tell them what to do?  Can you imagine if we had a million and a half, a million five hundred troops in the United States—and that’s about the proportions now population-wise.  If we had a million and a half troops in the United States that had the power to go anywhere with their weapons and to kick in any door and to shoot anybody when they panic, what do you think would happen in the United States of America?

Harris: Our editor, Robert Scheer, in a recent panel with Nancy Snow and a bunch of other folks, Chris Hedges ... said that we are in fact afraid to let these Iraqis make their own history.  Why do you think we are so fearful of leaving and allowing them to shape, as you said, their own future?

Gravel: Two reasons.  One, we want to continue to control the oil and the media people on the Hill are getting briefings that we’ll lose control of this oil.  That’s why we went to war.  Who cares if we lose control of the oil?  They’re going to sell it.  They can’t drink the oil.  What we should be doing is spending our treasured resources to get off of oil and to get off of that dependency.  And of course, I have the proposal for a carbon tax that will begin to do it but we’ve got to first get our heads screwed on right.

  It’s very simple.  Energy is not an American problem.  Energy, the environment, is not an American problem; it’s a global problem, and we need to work with other people from a global point of view.  So I would have a carbon tax and under my administration we would set up a global institution and we’d ask other countries to come in and join us and to put carbon tax on their people and then we would take that money and integrate the global scientific community and the global engineering community into getting us off of carbon in a decade.  When I say global ... the Chinese are ahead of us in fusion.  The French are ahead of us in fission.  The Israelis are ahead of us in photovoltaic.  We’re ahead, of course, in weaponry.  A lot of good that’s going to do us in the long run.

Scheer: ... I know you said earlier that you don’t need as many mavericks.  I would hope that people are learning from you and I hope that we actually have more mavericks.  I think we need more mavericks right now, more people who—.

Gravel: You’re right on that.  A maverick is like putting spice on food; it gives it taste, it gives it texture.  Plus, a maverick, in the areas where that person has expertise—man!—he has no problem, or she has no problem, speaking truth to power, no problem at all.  That’s what my campaign is about.  I’m speaking truth to the American people, who are the power in this country and I’m saying that they need to be empowered as lawmakers so that they can make policy, because the people are the power.  The problem is they don’t realize and they don’t have any procedures to exercise that power other than giving their power away to politicians on Election Day.  It’s all they can do, and that’s wrong.

  We have, at the state and local level, people have the ability to make laws, and that’s what we have to have at the federal level.  And even at the state and local level.  We need to improve those laws.  And so the national initiative, which is a legislative package that I’ve created, and you can go see it at my website: www.gravel08.us or www.nationalinitiative.us .  It’s a federal ballot initiative to create a national initiative, which is a device to empower the people to make laws.  The central power of government is lawmaking.  Those who make the law determine who, how and when you vote, they determine the programs.  Like our tax system: Our tax system is horrible, horrible!  It’s corrupt.  You see any thought to change it?

Harris: I see you are a big proponent of direct democracy and a lot of people say it’s optimistic—to say the least—to believe the people are going to come in, create their own laws, vote on those laws, and do it consistently.  Do you believe the American people have the fortitude to govern themselves in the way you are asking them to?

Gravel: First off, half the people are doing that already at the state and local level.  That’s already going on and has been going on for the last hundred years.

Harris: Yep.

Gravel: All I’m saying is: improve the methodology to do it and include the entire country.  But we’re not doing away with Congress.  We are turning around and bringing in the people into the operation of government as partners with the elected officials.  The Congress will pass some federal laws, the people will pass federal laws, and so they’ll be working as partners.  Now if the Congress got unreasonable—and I don’t think that will happen, politicians aren’t dumb—they’re going to turn around and they’ll accommodate the people, because the minute you bring the people in, they become the senior partners in governance.

Scheer: I’m always afraid with Congress.  I don’t think they like people very much.  I think they only like people when—.

Gravel: They don’t trust you.  They don’t trust you.  That’s the problem.

Scheer: Yeah, I don’t know about just trust, but I think they’ve—yeah.  They’ve trust and fear and all sorts of scenarios until they start campaigning.  That’s why I’m glad people like you are there to poke us and get us into the right direction.

Gravel: But I need people like you to help, which is what you’re doing right now.  By putting me on, you are sharing what knowledge I have with your constituency, the people who listen to your program, and that’s helping.  I’m not paying for this.  I don’t have the resources to do this.  But what you’re doing is you’re acting as a good citizen.  And in the media—.  The media is just as important as the government representation side of it, and when they do a bad job, as they do—mainline media does a bad job, has been, they lay down flat.  And what is absolutely the miracle that’s happening that’s going to save our democracy, is the product of the technology of the Internet and what’s going on with the blogs.  People like yourself who are just going to do their number and do it in conscious, and do it to the best of your ability.  You’re going to make mistakes.  You’re going to misinterpret things.  I do this.  It’s no big deal.

  You’ll find as you get older you do a little better job, you understand things a little better.  And that’s the reason why I think I’ll be a great president.  The reason, very simple, is that I will bring judgment to the table, to the Oval Office, and I will take this country and turn it 180 degrees into the opposite direction that it has been going, and I’ll do it with a fair tax, we’ll change our economic society from a consumption society to a saving society.  I’ll do it with a new moral tone of integrity.  And I’m not going to serve for more than four years.  I’m not going to go around with a tin cup raising money for my second term.  Heck no!  I’m just going to get it done in four years.  When I was a senator, everything I accomplished I got done in the first four years.  After that it was just getting overwhelmed by the system.

  We’ll have term limits.  I believe in term limits.  I think the president should only be six years.  None of this reelection stuff.  And in the Senate, 12 years.  And in the House, four-year terms, three terms and you’re out.  And then with the judiciary, 12 years and you’re out.  Up or out.  That means 12 years for the Supreme Court of the United States.  When you appoint people to a powerful position for life, understand: Power is a corrupting agent.  It corrupts everybody to some degree.  It’s a corrupting agent.  And the worst kind of power is the corruption it does intellectually to people.  And so you put nine people on the Supreme Court and they live there for life ... you don’t think that they’re not intellectually corrupted?  These are human beings.

Scheer: When the debate happened, everyone else was sitting there, and I was with three friends.  We were all kind of going, “Oh, it’s the same old thing,” and then you came on and woke ‘em up, and two people who weren’t even going to vote now have decided to vote for you.  And the minute I saw you I said we have to get this guy on Truthdig, so I’m glad you came here today.

Gravel: Thank you for having me, very, very much.  We’re all pulling on the same thing.  We want a better life for everybody and we have the capacity to do that.  Putting the tool in the hands of the people to make laws will bring about explosive creativity and advancement.  Here.  It’s not trite.  The people can make better decisions than leaders because they don’t have the same barriers.  The people, the constituency.  Now, you’ve got to understand this.  A person could say, “Yes, empower the people. ...  I know that guy down the street and he’s a jerk.  I wouldn’t want to see him make laws.”  But that’s not the way it works.  It’s the constituency of the whole.

  Right now our national constituency is around 130 million Americans registered to vote, and so decisions will be made by the majority of that.  You won’t have a turnout of that all the time, but just stop and think.  If you had 50 million people voting on issues, on policy issues—they’re not going to get involved with the day-to-day operation; it’s the policy issues.  And so what happens. ... Where are you going to get the best decision?  The majority of 50 million people or the majority of 535 people and nine people in black robes?  You’re going to get the best decisions from the people every time.  If the people had the law, the national initiative, the federal ballot initiative that I’m putting forth, which goes around the Congress, the people have to vote for this directly.  If the people had that, we’d get out of Iraq in the next 60 days.  Because the people—you can tell by the polls—they want out.  What’s wrong with the leadership that can’t comply with the will of the majority?

Harris: Well, you heard it here.  Sen. Mike Gravel for President 2008.  Be sure to visit the website: http://www.gravel2008.us/.  For Josh Scheer and for Mike Gravel, this is James Harris, and this is Truthdig.


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By DMK, May 30, 2007 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Maybe Americans get who they deserve in the White House, when they have a Mike Gravel they say he can’t get elected. Well he won’t get elected if everyone sits on their duff and does not actively campaign for him and let those who only watch the drivel on TV know about him. Change does not happen when everyone waits for someone else to do it for them. How many people have you sent his speech to?

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By Gracchus, May 30, 2007 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Mike Gravel certainly is a bold hero. Or maybe he’s just a guy who wasted his years in office and is now using his retirement years to say what he never dared say while he was in the Senate. Better late than never, I guess, but who really cares? He sure as hell won’t ever be nominated or elected to anything, ever again.

Is this the best antiwar America can put forward? If so, why not just stand aside and admit you’re not serious. Have a beer, watch “Deal or No Deal”. And don’t forget to blame the media for your impotence.

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By Leefeller, May 22, 2007 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Will someone please put in a post, or is Gravel going the way of the horse and Buggy?

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By Leefeller, May 18, 2007 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

#70814 by Ernest Canning Democracy Now with Amy Goodman, I try to catch it when ever I can, it is on our public radio station.  I may have to move to podcasts or webcast instead, that way I should be able to listen in more often.  I have always enjoyed it in the past.  Liberal me.

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By cann4ing, May 18, 2007 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

re comment #70735 by Leefeller.  I suspect that even in your rural community, many who consider themselves “conservative” are actually “uninformed liberals.”  The trick is not to get into arguments with them.  Passions block our ability for intellectual reasoning. 

While I would certainly encourage reading as much of Noam Chomsky as you are capable of digesting, a more immediate source of updated information is Democracy Now! available at Democracy Now.org.  If you haven’t done so, I would strongly urge that you go to Democracy Now and watch their Monday-Friday broadcasts to see what a real “news” program looks like.  Of course, there is a responsibility that comes with your access to that treasure trove of knowledge available at Democracy Now!  You can’t keep it to yourself.  You need to encourage others to tune in as well.  In your community, I suspect that would have to be done with a gentle nudge rather than a hard shove.  Something like, “I discovered this new program.  Why don’t you listen to a couple of shows and tell me what you think?”

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 18, 2007 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

Thanks Leefeller & Earnest Canning. I’ve read many comments by both of you on a number of articles and consider you both literate, articulate, and well informed.

The problem with Chomsky, Kucinich, and Gravel is not the widespread support they have for their ideas when Americans are polled. When they threaten the corporate status quo their MSM pundit lapdogs go after them like the pack of bought off hounds they are. As far as that goes ANYONE who ventures opinions not supportive of the entrenched power structure gets ridiculed & vilified. Take a look at the job they have been doing lately on Rosie O’Donnell, despite the fact her statements are fact based, and a third of Americans believe the WTC 911 explainations were a pack of lies. The research I’ve done indicates Mossad & the Zionists, rather than Al Queda & OBL as the culprits, but you won’t see any serious objective revelations from the MSM on this issue because it runs counter to the interests of the MSM corporate structure…and who controls/owns that; I don’t think I even have to say with the both of you, right?

In the meantime anyone broaching the subject is slimed and made to look like a nut case. Watch your backs my friends; it’s open hunting season on the truth & those speaking it, but many of us refuse to buy into the fearmongering because we know Shakespeare was right (excuse me…correct) when he stated, “The truth will out”.

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By Leefeller, May 17, 2007 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

Ernest Canning, thanks for the articulate dissertation, hope others appreciate it as much as I. 

Your reference to the“ Failed States”,  I find quite interesting, I will add it to my must read list.  Chomsky’s explanations fill in the blanks,  where I was beginning to doubt some of my ideas and opinions.  Thanks for the heads up.

After reading your comments, My feeling about myself being far to the left, is due to my experiences with some folks in our local community.  I live in a rural community.  The political makeup is quite conservative. A good friend of mine was the Pastor in our local Methodist Church.  He was against the war from the beginning as I.  One day talking to some of his flock, he said “it must be hard to be a Republican and a Christian at the same time”.  The short story is he lost his job and I no longer attend, it was quite ugly, what is going on in Washington D. C. is the same.  Truth is not to be touted.  It seems some folks prefer embracing deceit instead of addressing truth. 

Hopefully my community is not the norm, and if your premise is correct, then we have a chance to make change.

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By cann4ing, May 17, 2007 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

re comment #70646 by Leefeller.  You are confusing electoral results with where the great mass of the American people stand on issues that truly matter.  It involves what Noam Chomsky referred to in “Failed States” as a “democracy deficit,” which arises because “electoral campaigns” are “run by the public relations industry….Its guiding principle is deceit.  The task of advertising is to undermine free markets….Business spends hundereds of millions of dollars a year projecting imagery to delude consumers….When assigned the task of marketing candidates, The PR industry…resorts to the same techniques as in marketing commodities.  Deceit is employed to undermine democracy….”

Chomsky uses the 1984 election where Reagan won by a landslide as a useful example.  Only 4% of those who voted for Reagan listed their primary reason as that he is “real conservative.”  By a 3 to 2 margin, voters hoped that Reagan’s legislative program would not be enacted.  The public favored tax increases devoted to New Deal programs.  There was near unanimous opposition to cuts in Social Security, and the public preferred cuts in military spending to cuts in health programs by a 2 to 1 margin.  Chomsky notes, “None of this matters as long as elections are skillfully managed to avoid issues and marginalize the underlying population, freeing the elected leadership to serve the substantial people.”

Another example is the Kyoto protocols.  A majority of Bush supporters not only supported them but mistakenly believed that Bush did too.

In 2004, while the press “took pains” to deny that Kerry’s health care plan would “create a new government program” because “there is so little political support for government intervention…,” in truth a large majority supports extensive government intervention.  An NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that “over 2/3 of all Americans thought government should guarantee ‘everyone’ the best and most advanced health care that technology can supply.”  Chomsky adds, that the corporate media’s use of the phrase “‘lacking ploitical support’ is a polite way of saying that the pharmaceutical and financial industries…are opposed.”

On issue-after-issue Kucinich advocates precisely what the American people want.  But they don’t know it because when the tune into the nightly news, they only see Clinton/Obama/Edwards—coverage that touches upon such banalities as the price of Edwards’s haircut and poll numbers.  What they don’t see is a comparative analysis of the sham healthcare plans of these “leading candidates” that amount to subsidies for the healthcare insurance industry and a Kucinich plan that eliminates the for-profit healthcare insurer role altogether.

So no, Leefeller.  You are not to the left of the average American.  You are just better informed.

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By Leefeller, May 17, 2007 at 3:34 pm Link to this comment

#70514 by Ernest Canning
My agreement with your view on the majority of America is somewhat shaky.  If Gravel and Kucinich are far closer to the interests of the majority of Americans, that is to say the majority of Americans are far left to what is running the country.

My prejudiced point of view is as follows.  Hopefully I am wrong about this;  but, I believe a majority of America to be more accepting of the Republican Candidates or even of the business as usual front runner Democrats. 

I appriciate and am in agreement with most of your posted opinions.

Right now, we have the best Government money can buy.  Let’s hope the time is ripe for a major change.

My ideas and opinions are always in evolution, could this mean I am not that far to the left?

“scisco Auctorita ” Latin for ask authority.  Could not find the word “question” in Latin?

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By cann4ing, May 17, 2007 at 12:58 am Link to this comment

re comment #70511 by Leefeller.  I do not concur that your affinity with the positions advanced by Gravel and Kucinich leave you to the left of most Americans.  Issue by issue, the two men are far closer to the interests of the vast majority of Americans—the middle and working classes—as compared to the narrow elite interests represented by the corporatist Democrats (Clinton/Obama/Edwards) and the Republicans are, in reality, far to the right.  The problem is essentially a media problem.  The conglomerated corporate media simply refuses to provide meaningful coverage to where any of the candidates stand on issues that truly matter.  Instead, coverage is limited to horse race questions, polls, who is raising the most money, and then, usually only to the so-called “leading” candidates—that is candidates funded by the corporatocracy who can afford to spend millions on meaningless 30 second spot ads.

The way around that is for each of us to stop being passive consumers and become active citizens by obtaining information on the intellectual content of candidate positions.  It also entails encouraging others to do the same, and, to the extent possible, utilizing alternative media and blogs to get the message through. 

I believe a key source of daily information, and the most informative one-hour newscast available anywhere, is to be found at Democracy Now.org.  If the numbers of Americans who listened or watched Democracy Now ever approached a majority, there would be a fundmanental change.  The answer is Scienter est Potentia—Latin for knowledge is power.

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By Leefeller, May 17, 2007 at 12:28 am Link to this comment

E#70482 by Ernest Canning
Thanks for the comprehensive follow up on the Mike Gravel Video, your points are well taken. 
I did not get to see the debate. Mike Gravel should have raised his hand if not in support of Dennis Kucinich he could have shown agreement. Letting him stand alone must have been a political ploy. 
Yes his candor does or did appeal to me, I found him a refreshing difference from most of the other candidates, the pablum peddlers.
I must admit, in the very beginning of the Democratic race I was shooting for Obama, that changed very quickly.  My feeling now is Obama is bought and sold and obligated to big money, which always leaves the people standing alone in the wind. .
As for Dennis Kucinich,  I agree with most of what he offers.  Which means that I am a tad to liberal for rest of the nation.  As you stated, his ideas are more complete from an intellectual point of view.
If by any chance Dennis Kucinich won the primary, what would that mean? 
Big business, big religion, corporations will still be in control of congress. 

It was my feeling that even though I agree more with Dennis Kucinich’s political ideas, Mike Gravel may be more appealing in the overall to the rest of the Nation. 
When I saw some clips from the last Republican alleged debate, I flashed back to Mike Gravel saying.

            “These guys scare the Bjeases out of me” sic.

Hopfully,  both Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich will unleash new ideas to our Nation in need of change.

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By cann4ing, May 16, 2007 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller.  Per your suggestion, I viewed the podcast.  While I admire the Senator’s candor, there are a number of areas in which his positions fall flat. 

1) His suggestion that if Democrats just push for a law to end the war, the Republicans will eventually just cave in under pressure from the people seems unduly optimistic.  It would be far simpler to block further funding in the Senate.  That takes only 41 votes.

2) His suggestion that we have to go through this process of passing such a law, overriding a veto, then undertaking to impeach the President when he violates it seems awfully cumbersome when there are already ample grounds to impeach both the President and VP, including, but not limited to, the fraudulent manipulation of intelligence for the purpose of securing Congressional authorization; the commission of crimes against humanity both in launching a war of aggression and carrying out torture, the admitted violation of FISA in ordering warrantless, domestic NSA electronic eavesdropping—a felony. See, e.g., D. Lindorf & B. Olshansky, “The Case for Impeachment.”  I don’t buy your argument that Gravel could not stand up for impeachment in a 3 second sound bite.  The candidates were asked for a show of hands.  Gravel didn’t raise his because he wanted Kucinich to stand alone—this despite the fact that the last polls (taken last October) revealed a majority of Americans favor impeachment. His failure to raise his hand shows a failure of leadership on an issue of major importance.

3) HR 1234 (Kucinich) provides a comprehensive plan to defund the war, force not only the troops but all foreign contractors out of Iraq, replace U.S. troops with a Muslim peacekeeping force under the aegis of the UN and return Iraq’s economy and its oil to its rightful owners, the Iraqi people.  I am sorry, but I don’t see that level of well-thought out detail in Gravel’s position.

3)  A sales tax is “not” progressive.  Whether wealthy or poor, all purchases are taxed at the same rate. A graduated income tax, as envisioned by Franklyn Roosevelt, is progressive, provided it is enforced sans the numerous loopholes—so is the estate tax.

4) I agree that saddling business with the cost of healthcare reduces the competitiveness of American products.  But if you go to Gravel’s web site, you will see that he proposes vouchers.  Like the Obama/Clinton/Edwards proposals, this amounts to subsidizing the insurance industry.  Go to Kucinich.us if you are interested in what real healthcare reform looks like—a single-payer system that eliminates the for-profit healthcare insurer middle man that makes up 31% of the current spiraling cost of healthcare.

5.  A national initiative sounds like a great idea until you realize that it would take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to pass it.  As Senator Gravel himself concedes when discussing what it takes to amend the Constitution, the roadblocks are practically insurmountable.  It is doubtful that it could be accomplished during two terms of a Gravel presidency.

6.  Gravel left out the impact of NAFTA and the WTO as tools used by the corporate elites to outsource America’s manufacturing base in search of cheap foreign labor.  Kucinich would repeal them.

While Gravel certainly has charisma, I believe that citizenship entails examining each candidate for the intellectual validity of their positions on issues that truly matter.  I am convinced the Kucinich is superior.

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By Leefeller, May 16, 2007 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment

Mike gravel stood like a statue when asked who would impeach Cheney?  Since Gravel is not in office at this time it would makes sense not to talk out of the both sides of his mouth as the others.  Gravel has ideas on how to do what you ask, but he can not do it in a 3 second sound bite.  Check out the podcast video that Alexander Leon has listed. 

The podcast is long, most of what Gravel says makes commen sense, I will have to see it again, but I believe he address your question.

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By cann4ing, May 16, 2007 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

To Leefeller and Alexander Leon:  Neither of you have answered my question.  If Gravel is this brave new force we should look up to, why did he stand like a frozen statue when asked who would support the impeachment of Dick Cheney?  What kind of courage or leadership did that show?

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By Leefeller, May 16, 2007 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

#70239 by Alexander Leon
Checked out the GRavel interview, I agree with you, he is ahead of the game compared to D. K.  He does like to talk, but he actually says something.

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 16, 2007 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

Thanks #70196 by Leefeller on 5/15 at 6:42 pm
And, yes, I do take tike to read the comments. As a matter of fact I read all previous comments before I post. Sometimes I think the comments even outdo the article, not always, but sometimes. It gets difficult and time consuming, when reading Scott Ritter on ‘Idiot America’, or “The Hippies Were Right”, but worthwhile because it puts a person’s mind on what the ordinary/extraordinary people are thinking. I guess I’m just a freak of sorts, because I take the time, when reading a magazine, to read the ‘Letters To The Editor before reading any of the articles. Same thing; I want to know what the people think, not the pundit spin.

In regard to…“Voting for the best of the worst is getting old”, it reminds me of what someone said about the last Presidential election about, “The evil of two lessors”. When I learned Kerry & Bush were relatives through Vlad the Impaler (that’s right, Count Dracula), I became very suspect the fix was in. Why did Kerry give up so easily, I asked, and so quickly? Goes back to what you were saying about universal political corruption. My older brother holds the same cynical view about ALL politicians. Diogenes must be getting weary by now, but perhaps he will be successful with the likes of Kucinich & Gravel, who knows?

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By Alexander Leon, May 16, 2007 at 12:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To my Kucinnich friends and everyone else, here’s a great video interview of Mike Gravel, this one by Zeese, which explains why I’m supporting MG and not DK.  Hear Gravel talk about Iraq, put it to all the other candidates, the media, hear about his strategies and the national initiative.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3203456327880318781&hl=en

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By Alexander Leon, May 15, 2007 at 9:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree Leefeller.  I can’t stand any other candidate even amongst the Democrats aside from Gravel and Kucinnich.  I very much like Gravel for him being such a strategist and tactician.  Check his press conference at the Nat. Press Club plan of how to do it.  http://www.gravel2008.us/?q=node/1147

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By Leefeller, May 15, 2007 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

#70092 by PaulMagillSmith
Your points and comments are well taken.  It is nice to know that someone actually reads my comments for what they are worth. 
It should be known that as a farmer, I had a dwarf donkey on the ranch named El Gaupo, who became known for his ability to exterminate potential competition.  Your analogy of the Donkey and Elephant hit home.  I believe El Gaupo could annoy an Elephant to the point of capitulation.  FYI. For the animal lovers out there El Gaupo is alive and well but separated from other animals .
Dennis Kucinich (His name is a pain in the arse, but his wife is cute)  and Mike Gravel are the only two candidates that make even a slight bit of sense to me.  My reasonability is in question, why would I support people that have a snow ball in hell’s chance of winning? For a very selfish reason I guess, I am voting for the person I believe in that may make a difference. The other candidates seem to be pablum to me, I am talking Democrats here.  The Republicans seem so far out and have the integrity of a cockroaches.  (I could relate a story about cockroaches here, but I won’t)
What bothers me about the primaries, the selection or choices seem to be already made by the mass media or just plain old big money.  Voting for the best of the worst is getting old.

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 15, 2007 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Thanks, #70067 by Leefeller on 5/15 at 7:38 am, and I agree with your comment. There is unethical behavior on both sides of the aisle, but by their actions over the past quarter century the elephants are a much larger target than donkeys.

Not that we have any choice in the matter, but would you rather take on a wild-eyed out of control elephant or a skittish fearful jackass? The one thing they both have in common is the debris (read feces) they are currently leaving in their wake.

I read numerous publications daily, Google search to answer questions that come up, blog & writearticles daily, regularly watch Lou Dobbs, Keith Olberman, Joe Scarborough, Bill Maher, John Stewart, Colbert Report,  and many times my TV is tuned to CSPAN 1 or 2 while on the computer. After many hundreds of hours of watching congress go through their machinations certain patterns become recognizable, and personalities become distinct to the point one can usually tell the position a rep will take before they even open their mouth.

The lock-step party line often referred to as, “The best government money can buy”, must be brought down!

While I completely understand there is abberrant un-ethical behavior exuding from Democrats & Republicans alike, the stench from Republicans (at the moment anyway) seems much more offensive. Let me ask you, “If your house was on fire would you be more concerned with pouring water on it, or pouring water on the house next door because of the possibliity it ‘might’ catch on fire?”. As a reasonable person (and I’ve garnered that opinion by reading a number of your blogs) the answer obviously is no. At the moment we need to be dousing the Republican conflageration that has gotten out of control, BUT should always reserve some buckets for ANYONE in our government choosing to be self-serving rather than serving the public.

Perhaps to you I came off as just another Democrat. While I might seem so, and I feel there is more validity & sense of conscience displayed by a greater number of Democrats in Congress than by Republicans, I can assure you I am not to be categorized so easily.

Progressive is a more apt description. By progressive I mean I support polocies that make sense, regardless of who came up with the idea…a good idea is a good idea.

Unfortunately, for Republicans of late, their ideas seem counter-productive, greedy, corrupt, anti-constitution, anti-American, anti-middle class, against the stated will of the majority of Americans, too corporate subserviant, and often just mean spirited. They are too much supportive & controlled by AIPAC, Zionists, Haliburton, Big Oil, Big Pharma, & Big Agriculture, and an inordinately huge military. Lies, spin, propaganda, and outrageous claims roll easily from their lips, and even when conclusively proven wrong they maintain their delusional behavior & deceptions.

Although I prefer healthy skepticism to potentially detrimental cynicism what we need now is realism. The ‘system’ is damaged, but not completely broken…yet. Our civic duty is to figure out the troublemakers and show them the door.

If the bull won’t leave the China shop there are several options. You can put a ring in it’s nose (legislatively), use a prod (vote it out), or fire up the grill and let’s have steak & hamburgers (impeachment). To control the ‘bull’ at this point I think we need all three options “ON THE TABLE”.

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By Leefeller, May 15, 2007 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

PaulMagillSmith, your comments attack Republicans, even though I agree with most of what you said, I do not find much of a difference on the Democratic side.
The Republicans under Thomas Jefferson, were more people supportive than todays Democrats.  Jefferson fought tooth and nail against the Federalists, who seem more like todays Republicans and Democrats. 
I like what Gravel has to say, but here in California, a plan simialr to his Democratic plan does not work, because for example the oil companies who twisted and lied with their massive ad campaign via the media defeated the truth.  We are doomed to be manipulated by lobbyists special interests.

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 14, 2007 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Well said #69912 by Elise on 5/14 at 11:38 am

I imagine the $19 Million you wrote should have been Billion. No matter, but even $19 Billion is small change when compared to the $2 Trillion it is estimated the illegal misadventure in Iraq will eventually cost us;and even that figure pales in comparison to the US GDP from now until 2015.

With the errant Republican concerted push toward cutting taxes on the wealthy, which really just transfers additional tax INCREASES to the local & state tax systems, it’s easy to see that despite propaganda to the contrary Republicans don’t give a tinker’s damn for anyone except the more fortunate. Their ethics, morals, and ‘values’ are warped, and hypocritically they hide behind Christianity. Their smug greedy attitude of, “I’ve got mine, now you go get yours” just doesn’t work in a world of increasing demand (population) and dwindling resources. I thought Jesus was about helping the poor or less fortunate, then again I doubt seriously he was a Republican, right?

One thing that gripes me to no end is when Republicans harp on the ludicrous refrain of “tax & spend Democrat”. They never even consider how superior a financial stance it is when compared to the “borrow & spend Republican”. You get what you pay for, but especially when you pay for it with your own funds rather than saddling future generations with astronomical debt. It’s easy to understand why they paint this obfuscated picture. Hundreds of billions of tax dollars go toward paying the interest on the borrowed money, and who is the beneficiary? That’s right banks, most of which are owned by insurance companies, and is it any wonder most insurance companies are supporters of the Republicans? Look at how insurance companies gouge us for the 31% #69976 by Ernest Canning on 5/14 at 4:13 pm spoke of in his comment. Then consider why it is so important for the Republicans to try to privatize everything from social security to prisons.

Another thing that makes me want to barf when listening to Republicans brag delusionally about their economic accomplishments is employment statistics. In the Congress the other day a Republican got up and actually had the nerve to brag about this administration’s record on job creation. “Oh,” he proclaimed, “our policies have created 7.4 million new jobs over the past six years.” What he failed to mention is 125,000-150,000 new jobs need to be created EACH MONTH just to keep even with the expanding population requirements. The simple math reveals unless this administration created 9-10.8 million new jobs they failed to even keep up AND they also fail to mention many of the jobs they created are in the public sector rather than private AND how many good American jobs were transferred out of the country, with subsidies provided to the corporatios sending these jobs on the one way trip overseas.

Sorry for getting a bit off topic concerning Mike Gravel, but aren’t blogs to spread truth and to counter the corporate/Republican controlled MSM anyway?

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By cann4ing, May 14, 2007 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

re comment #69738 by Alexander Leon.  I appreciate the additional information about Gravel’s initiative process.  Unfortunately, it would take nothing short of an amendment to the Constitution of these United States in order to see it become law.  If we couldn’t get the equal rights amendment mandating gender equality passed in the ‘70s, there is little reason to believe that even a President Gravel could accomplish passaqe of such a fundamental change.  To me, his “direct democracy” proposal looks more like a campaign gimmick.

As I stated in my prior posting, Gravel’s “vouchers” proposal is idiotic.  There is nothing in your posting that convinces otherwise.  You mention “universal healthcare,” but all of the proposals for “universal coverage” coming from Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and now Gravel, are a scam.  They not only envision a role for for-profit insurance—including advertising, lobbying and insurance company CEO wealth—all of which make up 31% of the spiraling healthcare costs in this country, but they all entail varying schemes to subsidize the healthcare industry at taxpayer expense.  Just what we need, more corporate welfare!

While I would concede that Senator Gravel is a forceful figure in a debate, I believe that active citizenship entails going beyond image to examine the details of a candidate’s proposals.  As is often stated in literature, God [or the Devil] is to be found in the details.  If you set side-by-side Gravel’s “just get out of Iraq” and H.R. 1234 (Kucinich) containing a detailed and effective plan to not only swiftly end the occupation but bring peace and mutual cooperation to that troubled region, there really is no comparison. Gravel’s “make staying in Iraq a violation of law” is also a gimmick.  We have a President who admitted that he committed a felony when he publicly acknowledged that he had ordered the NSA to by-pass F.I.S.A., yet those cowards, Pelosi and Reed, immediately stated that “impeachment is off the table.”  And, I am sorry to say, when given the opportunity to join with Kucinich in calling for the impeachment of VP Dick Cheney, Gravel stood there like a frozen statue.  Only Kucinich had the courage to pull out a pocket copy of the Constitution, reminding the cowardly lions of what their oath of office was all about.

Rather than talk about a law that neither the Congress nor the Justice Department would enforce, H.R. 1234 utilizes the power of the purse, a power exclusive to Congress, to force a withdrawal.

Across-the-board, Kucinich is the superior candidate, hands down!

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By Elise, May 14, 2007 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I appreciate what Presidential Candidate Gravel has to say about the current state of America - we do indeed have many of the same problems observed in other countries around the world like illiteracy and less-than-ideal secondary school graduation rates. However, I do not appreciate how his perspective seems to be largely introspective when it comes to the issues of providing healthcare and ultimately fighting poverty on a global scale. The United States has the power to eradicate worldwide starvation and malnutrition, and an important aspect of Gravel’s campaign should be leading America to follow through with its commitment to the 2000 U.N. Millennium Goals to end global hunger by 2015. The United States has an enormous budget that should reflect its values and priorities, and the fact that less than one percent of it actually goes towards international aid is a terrible reflection of American values, a reflection for which Gravel should champion change and ultimately great accomplishment. The Borgen Project estimates it would take about $19 million to eliminate poverty worldwide, a cost that would be feasible to expend for a country who allocates $522 billion to its war budget over the course of one year, yet is ranked last among wealthy nations in its commitment to foreign aid. Americans want to have this issue addressed. With the upcoming presidential election, let us not only focus on the weaknesses and issues in our country, but also the conditions plaguing the condition of the world with which we interact and that we care for.

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By Alexander Leon, May 13, 2007 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re. #69726 by Ernest Canning.  Ernest, I appreciate your perspective and I do live in CA so I am well aware of what you present.  However, I don’t think you have read the initiative.  Here’s what addresses your concern: “Section 6. Only natural persons who are citizens of the United States may contribute funds, services or property in support of or in opposition to a legislative initiative created under the authority of this Article. Contributions from corporations including, but not limited to, such incorporated entities as industry groups, labor unions, political parties, political action committees, organized religions and associations, are specifically prohibited. Such entities are also prohibited from coercing or inducing employees, clients, customers, members, or any other associated persons to support or oppose an initiative created under the authority of this Article.”  (http://www.nationalinitiative.us/amendment.htm)
If the CA initiative and referendum legislation prohibited corporations, courts and legislative bodies from meddling with the process in the same way as Gravel’s national initiative does it would work.  Aside from that, Gravel would not just defund the war.  He’d make it illegal.  As for healthcare, I’m sure the voucher system could get fixted if it didn’t if we had the national initiative.  But if you have universal healthcare, no national initiative and an irresponsive wasteful bureaucracy that you can’t touch because you don’t have the power then what?  We need to wrestle from the aligator the power of democracy and give it back to the people.  Gravel thinks out of the box and that’s the medicine we need.

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By cann4ing, May 13, 2007 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment

re comment #69308 by Alexander Leon.  I am not certain what state you are from, but I am fairly certain it isn’t California.  We have had a form of Gravel’s “direct democracy” via the initiative process.  It doesn’t work because the corporatocracy has direct control of the media.  Because it is inordinately expensive, usually only corporations with the money to pay professional signature gatherers plus finance thoroughly dishonest ad campaigns can qualify a measure for the ballot.  When a decent measure does get on the ballot, such as Prop 87 in the last election that would have created an extraction tax for oil pumped in California, earmarked for the development of alternative energy, such as electric cars, it faced an orchestrated opposition, financed by the oil industry, who put on an ad, sporting a guy in fire fighter garb, telling Californians that this would take money away from education, police and fire protection.  The claim was a bald-faced lie.  This was a new tax that didn’t exist before Prop 87 and does not exist now that the measure was defeated because the corporate media never made arrangements for a debate and because the Prop 87 proponents did not have the money to purchase ads to rebut it.

Once 87 was defeated, the oil companies, who had refrained from raising prices in advance of the election, realized they finally had us all over a barrel, and prices soared.

There is no reason to believe that “direct democracy” will work any better at the national level than it does in my state.  Also, while Senator Gravel’s opposition to the war and the military-industrial complex are refreshing, his “vouchers” solution to the healthcare crisis is downright idiotic.  It is simply a variation on the Clinton/Obama/Edwards insurance company subsidy schemes.  The “only” solution is to remove for-profit healthcare insurance (which accounts for 31% of the cost), replacing it with the Conyers-Kucinich single-payer system.  Kucinich is, by far, the superior candidate, and the one whom all progressives should support.

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By Bill Blackolive, May 13, 2007 at 9:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Conspiracy Theorists,” like “Liberals,” has come to mean Seek Ye No Information Outside Our Corporate Media.  It is not theory the Earth is not flat, gravity exists, Eternity exists, fire on Earth cannot collapse steel beams in a skyscraper.  Even could it, what collapsed the beams 20 stories under?...No, not from “faulty engineering.” Were a stack of blocks so tall, it could not in physics of Earth have gone to a side an inch, which in a second would have been yards, and tons exponentially, without leaning to crash over in the given direction, onto other buildings. Why does corporate media ignore the #7 building that went, that it went besides its not being built like the other two, and, it went though its airplane did not arrive?...Astounding, such addiction to ignorance.

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By bertie, May 11, 2007 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

If a particular group, such as AIPAC, has undue influence on our government, we should rightly attack the features of our system that allow this, since presumably other groups could also use these features to obtain undue influence.  For example, Gravel’s idea of some direct democracy at the national level might be a way of decreasing such undue influence.  If it’s only some subset of Israelis or Jews who have the unique ability to obtain undue influence, I stand corrected, but this sounds absurd and hence raises the question of prejudice, whether felt personally or not.

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By Alexander Leon, May 11, 2007 at 1:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Kucinich supporters.  I campaigned for him in 2004 and absolutely support his impeachment bill and him in general.  I think a key difference is the nation-wide referendum Gravel proposes.  That would allow greater flexibility to fix healthcare one way or the other along with many other things that desperately need fixing.  I know Kucinich and what he stands for.  I stand by Gravel.  I suggest you re-evaluate.  Check out this Gravel video (you can see Dennis there too and all the other candidates—New Hampshire Political Archives):
http://www.thebostonchannel.com/politics/12632738/detail.html#
Be well.

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By Dawn, May 10, 2007 at 10:27 pm Link to this comment

The next president of the United States doesn’t get sworn in until January 2009. We can’t wait that long to get a sane person in the White House.

Create a ground swell of support for Dennis Kucinich’s HR 333, articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney. Call congress. Blogging is good. Calling is essential. Impeach Cheney first. Then Bush. End the war. Put a peaceful person in power.
The hawks have brought us blood and gore, fear and insecurity. Let’s put someone in power who knows how to use words to build bridges and encourage dialogue instead of making caustic remarks like “axis of evil” and “Bring it on.”

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By vemrion, May 10, 2007 at 10:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gravel is right. We need more direct democracy and less control by the media/establishment. Right now their stranglehold on power is suffocating freedom but with the internet we have a chance to take back that power; let’s not miss this opportunity!

In a related vein, why DO we let the media choose our candidates for us, anyway?

http://weblog.timoregan.com/2007/05/why-do-we-let-media-decide-who-our.html

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By mike in st. lucia, May 10, 2007 at 9:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Matt, I agree with everything you’ve said, especially about Israel. Mike Gravel is brilliant, passionate, humble, and obviously of great honesty and integrity. He’s the best presidential candidate I’ve ever seen. But I have yet to see any mention of Israel. Instead, he seems to focus on oil and the military-industrial complex as the main reasons for war.  But the fact remains that Israel, America’s master, would never accept a Mike Gravel presidency. I am tragically sorry to say that the AIPAC/Mossad tandem would take him out as soon as it became apparent he had a legitimate chance to win. The only way to mitigate this factor is to have Ron Paul on the ticket, and to back them up with others of their ilk.

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By cann4ing, May 10, 2007 at 7:38 am Link to this comment

Re comment #69103 by Alexander Leon.  I concur with all of your comment except your decision to support Mike Gravel.  While neither Gravel nor Kucinich can be bought off by AIPAC and both bring a willingness to challenge the hegemony of the military-industrial complex, I think that if you carefully examine the across-the-board positions of these two candidates, you would find Kucinich’s positions superior, especially in the area of healthcare reform.  The Conyers-Kucinich single payer system eliminates for-profit health insurers as the middle man, something that makes up 31% of healthcare costs in thhis country.  Gravel proposes vouchers—a form of insurance industry subsidies.

Finally, I suspect that the individual who goes by the name NappyBlack is a white racist, who, like Imus, mistakenly believes he is being funny in selecting that handle.

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By Alexander Leon, May 10, 2007 at 12:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to Nappyblack expounding on Matt’s point:

    Nappy, what Matt is talking about, which your rants still can’t mask or deny, pertains to Israel’s lobbying influences exerted through orgainzations like AIPAC on US politicians, Republicans AND Democrats, and consequently US middle-east policy.  I’ll quote a bit from John Tirman’s (executive director of MIT’s Center for International Studies) book because he’d be an easy read for you.  But if you’re serious about studying, please first learn how to writeand then read Chomsky, “Prophets Outcast”, or Norman Finkelstein two seminal exposes, “Beyond Chutzpa” and “The Holocaust Industry.”
    Quoting Tirman: “AIPAC is Likudnik… the right wing of the Israeli political spectrum.”  “[I]t’s think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tends to the more belligerent side… [and] has orgainzed a number of study groups and commissions that had exceptional influence on U.S. policy… While a majority of American Jews opposed the war against Iraq, AIPAC insisted on it. ... A well financed lobby at over $30 million a year…, is relentless in rooting out critics of Israel and congressional action that might displease the Israeli government.  The Center for Responsive Politics calculates AIPAC’s contributions to candidates OF BOTH PARTIES [caps added] at greater than $20 million between 1990 and 2004. ... But the influence of essentially foreign agents on U.S. policy making ... have obvious deleterious consequences.  ... If one is serious about bringing peace and democracy to the Middle East, then rejecting the narrow interest of AIPAC would be an excellent place to start.” [“100 Ways America is Screwing Up The World”, (c) 2006 by John Tirman, p. 155~157]
    Nappy, I hope at least you’re getting paid from AIPAC.  BTW, Tirman is “generally pro-Israel.”  Criticizing the Israeli government and the way it subverts and unduly influences US government policy is not anti-semitic.  As Avi Schlaim pointed out this morning in Democracy Now, “Israel has no… moral immunity to criticism, because of the Holocaust. Israel is a sovereign nation-state, and it should be judged by the same standards as any other state.” (http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/09/1514221)
I don’t know if Gravel is immune to such undue influence, but if he isn’t, nobody is.  Thus, I’m sticking with Gravel.  Go Gravel!

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By Leefeller, May 9, 2007 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

The powers that be in the White House, have dirtied our nation under a program of, cronyism and corruption, they operate with a total disregard and absence of integrity. Accountability is non existent.  Bush attacked Iraq under a cover of lies, the man must be shameless.  Looking at the Republican debate, one can only assume it is a sad day when people call them selves Christians and warmongers in one breath, people stumbling over each other to be soaring Hawks, wanting to be first to go to war with Iran. Christians who are compassionless, if only by their actions, supporting the lies of their leader, they are feeding a greedy thurst for oil.  These Christian folks who want their oil so bad they will sell the blood of our troops to get it.  Iran has oil, maybe, just maybe there may be some connection. 
Mike Gravel, wants to cut back on military spending and use the money, here at home to fix our crumbling nation, what a novel idea.  Everyone I have talked to,  is feeling less secure than they did before the Bush legacy. It is a simple fact that politicians like George Bush create distractions so they do not have to address or fix the real problems of the time.  George Bush spitting in the face of the people and Congress to follow his folly of lies.
Even if I do not agree with all of Mike Gravel’s ideas, he believes in diplomacy and will make necessary adjustments.  Mike Gravel shows something George Bush will never have;  wisdom.  Mike Gravel’s   religion does not matter to me, he has shown something blatantly missing from George Bush, compassion.

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By Alexander Leon, May 9, 2007 at 11:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My appologies.  Correct link to Mike Gravel’s web site:  http://www.gravel2008.us/

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By DMK, May 9, 2007 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment

I believe that Alexander Leon gave the wrong website for Mike Gravel because it does not load.

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By Lee, May 9, 2007 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Most here figure, if Mike Gravelle miraculously managed to get close to being elected president, he would be snuffed out. Unfortunately, that’s probably true. But look what he’s done already by bravely standing up and telling the truth. He has lit a flame, that’s turning into a fire. He has given hope to many Americans by voicing his clear and unequivocal views that are of course the views of the majority of all Americans.

The value that Mike Gravelle has already provided the American people is truly immense. If assassinated tomorrow, Mike Gravelle would have already accomplished more for this country than the entire sitting United States Congress. So we have no choice but to support Mike Gravelle wholeheartedly. We have no choice but to set a determined goal of working to make Mike Gravelle president of the United States of America.

Give me liberty or give me death.

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By C Quil, May 9, 2007 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

Grab this guy before he gets away. Forget the messiahs and the token anythings. Just get someone in there with a brain, a conscience and some experience.

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By Alexander Leon, May 8, 2007 at 11:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you like what you heard from Mike Gravel please do something.  Go to http://www.2008gravel.us (article gave the wrong url) and sign up for his emails, register in meetup, do something.  We need this guy.  Give him some money while you’re at it.  I did already. 

Thanks for posting this interivew Truthdig.  It made me aware that there are still people like this out there.

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By Matt, May 8, 2007 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nappyblack smells like an imposter.

I mean, the screen name crudely announces his purported ethnicity, but the creature seems curiously obsessed with defending Israel and calling us all anti-Semites, given that he’s supposedly African American.

And then there’s the embarrassing attempt at snappy jive-riffing, as when he sez: “Now we’re gonna git back and down to it, bro, shortly, but not tonight.”

Eeewwww! On what source material is he basing this creaky impersonation - Village Voice review blurbs from old jazz album jackets?

Look, “Nappy” - just give it up. “Git” your inauthentic self back into that pro-Israel think tank that you crawled out of, bang the lid shut, and flush.

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By eagleeye, May 8, 2007 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

LOVE MIKE GRAVEL.

I love Mike Gravel. He’s what America is or was all about. The re-awakening of Teddy Roosevelt and the Bull Moose Party. I too am an old geezer, a World War II Marine Corps veteran who spent seven years in Vietnam throughout the war as a civilian with CORDS under the command of several U. S. Colonels. I saw it all - atrocities, genocide, torture, napalm drops, prisoners thrown from helicopter, white phosphorus, cluster bombs, block busters, the phoenix Program’s CIA hit squads, corruption, gross incompetence. The same thing is being repeated in Iraq and just like Mike Gravel said, it’s all for oil. Mike Gravel with Dennis Kucinich as vice president is our only hope of survival as the America that we know. However, I was a high school teacher for ten years. I don’t see any hope from our younger generation. They are so pampered and mollycoddled by Mom. The are so selfish. I don’t believe they’re worth saving.

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 8, 2007 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

#68738 by nappyblack on 5/08 at 2:07 am

Nappy,
If you would reserve your comments to the items I sent you just might find you have time to make a civil & informed response, rather than waste half of your post just trying to put me down. It’s obvious you didn’t look at any of the informational links I sent or you would be full of questions & appropriate comments.

For your information I am a grad of two major universities, and with a double major at that.

You seem to have the Republican disease. What I mean is you give more weight to your OPINIONS rather than take the time to research FACTS, then ‘spin’ whatever information you might have gleaned from partial often erroneous reading into some sort of warped position. Also, rather than engage in a meaningful information-based discussion you would rather ‘slime’ opposition, or ridicule anyone who disagrees with your position.

A good example of this is the way you misinterpreted what Mike Gravel and myself said. In regard to CCC-like programs for Iraqis (and the prisoners in the US correctional system) neither of us were speaking of ‘unpaid’ positions. I mentioned they seemed like a good idea as long as they didn’t turn out to be just slave labor camps, and my intent would be to pay a decent wage (and I don’t mean just minimum wage…which must be voted upward very soon).

Think about this and do the math. There are currently 125-150,000 independent contractors in Iraq in addition to our military troops, and a number of them make in the $100-300K range yearly (get out your calculator). The Iraqi per capita income (as far as I can determine) is in the range of $2,100-4,000. The population of Iraq is 20-24 million people (depending on how many people have now immigrated out of the country). Instead of American corporations & individuals getting paid, why not have the Iraqis themselves get paid to rebuild THEIR OWN country. For every American about 50-150 Iraqis would be at per capita. Multiply this times 125-150,000 and you can see the unemployment rate would greatly dimish in Iraq…make sense now?

I believe we do agree on one issue, and I believe also it has origins in what you hinted at…The Code of Hammurabi (ca. 1760 BC). Later the Magna Carta was also instrumental in securing certain ‘rights’ for citizens. Unfortunately, the current administration has no regard for the ‘Rule of Law’, and has done everything it possibly could to strip us of our Constitutionally gauranteed rights, including habeas corpus. What a travesty of justice.

I’m off to work now, but will continue our discussion later.

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By nappyblack, May 8, 2007 at 3:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Response to the fellow calling himself PMS <snicker, snicker> - #68714
Ah, all the nuts are ripening and we are in time for a Spring harvest. Well, sir, you’ve done it…you’ve call me out from my…er…cave! And pat, he comes.
I certainly will shortly post a decent response to your pseudo-intellectual, semi-educated (if that) internet gleaned posting; perhaps your own anti-semitism and incubating racist (oh, dare I say it! it’s becoming hackneyed!) neo-fascism is really what your scribblings are all about, man! Mike Gravel and nappyblack, real democrats, PMS the sovereign, the scrub team dictator among dictators and straw bosses worried about and interested only in money and who is controlling, managing, owning the world’s supply. It’s not you! It’s certainly not Antwerp Flemish Belgian Hasids in diamonds or Israeli Jews in gold! This hegemony of Jewish money lending, gold hording, Shylocks with tails classically is a myth perpetrated by the have-nots!!! Please stay tuned, for you’ve also called for slave labor camps, forgive me, pre-WWII depression era CCC camps, which I decided to overlook because your other earlier comment was not at all well thought out or put together. Now we’re gonna git back and down to it, bro, shortly, but not tonight. I’m tired and you’re tiring!
Look here, please. (Civil enough for ya?) Those who advocate putting our own prisoners to work in slave labor camps to make money and/or encamping - bivouacking - the citizens of an occupied country for purposes of forced labor even though it is, prima facia, for the rebuilding of the country decimated by war and subsequent occupation are very suspect by both the left and right wing real intellectuals where I grew up and received my education, one with scholars of many faiths, two brilliant atheists, and of several colors, including my own. You evidently and correctly perceive that something is wrong in the world but you are using mis-information, some indisputable polygot of facts (e.g. the world diaspora of semites since Noah and their ethnic cousins, Oh, Christ!) to support a negative and your myth buttressed by your own frustration. We understand. The web logs are - as an unfortunate by-product of free speech, the internet chat rooms, a devolution in rational discourse -  exciting some - no, many - folks who have something to say but rattle like empty gourds with a few dried seeds in them when they speak (in this case write!) stuff like this out of their frustration and anger. I will not take back what I said. You are perpetuating, it seems to me and others, a myth. Anybody who does - including you - is a bloody nut! And what the world really needs now is damned less of this diffident racism, sectarian wailing and violence and shallow mythology perpetrated by nuts, priests, preachers, mullahs and the imbalanced semi-educated on the sidelines! Got it? What did Ieshua of Nazareius (Jesus of Nazareth, then of Capernum) say, ah yes: “Cast ye not pearls before swine!” but metaphor and symbolism aside, I will make an exception for you as others may get something out of it. Stay tuned. Hopefully, I will return with a greater disquisition (ah, John C. Calhoun, slaveholder! American! Anti-Semite!) on your little posting, time permitting. If not, get to a damned good school and take a good writing course. P.S. Hey, nut, has it occurred to you that among the Semites we’ve imprisoned in GITMO without access to even a military, international court or tribunal, convened under the law of nations where combatants against us can be tried and sentenced without torture where there is some damned semblance of habeas corpus and access to a defense attorney who speaks their language that there we may have behind bars and razor wire in super maximum security - one - just one - innocent man? Hey, PMS, just whose legal code is that, or was that? (I gave you hint!) Look out!

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

Regarding comments by: #68613 by nappyblack on 5/07 at 10:25 am

First, regarding your comment concerning #68348 “Matt” - “Your wonderful and classical anti-semitism is just too juicy to pass up, but I have got work to do and must get back to it, and alas I cannot be everyone’s teacher!”

My suggestion is you read this before you speak of ‘classical anti-semitism’ AND/OR being a teacher:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13706a.htm

In it you will discover a good portion of the middle east, parts of Africa, and even parts of Asia are Semitic; not just Hebrews, but Arabs, and Muslims, as well, so someone could be considered ‘anti-semitic’ by making disparaging comments about any of these groups. Al Sharpton & Jessie Jackson have been criticized by many for ‘playing the race card’, and you seem to be following the same vein. This is not dis-similar to George Bush claiming that if you are against his policies you are un-patriotic and a supporter of terrorists. It just doesn’t quite fly when regarding facts.

There are three elements one must consider when looking at anti-semitism:

The Jewish people, who are honorable as a people, and spread across the globe, but a large percentage are residents & citizens of the United States. (At one time following WWII 40% of the world’s Jewish population lived in the US, and 20% lived in New York city alone).

Next are the Israelis, citizens of, or residing in, Israel itself.

Finally, the portion of the Jewish population rightfully deserving the most scrutiny; the radical extremists known as Mossad, and the Zionists.

After this comment by you, “The Jews, bless them, don’t run the world, nut!”, I would suggest it is YOU sir who need to do a bit of research (and take a bit of a better tone than being insulting to those who might disagree with your ‘opinions’)

The fact is that Zionists DO have as their intent world domination…and by any means. They already control 40% of the world’s gold supply, and when you combine this financial leverage with their motto of, “By means of deception we will wage war”, pretty scary, eh?

Here is another link for your education:

http://www.earthnews.net/articles/mossadandtheassassination.htm (Mossad and the JFK assassination)

As a means for the United States to do their dirty work against their enemies around the world it looks like they came up with this one also (See link below & please make note this long article is very well researched AND for anyones further research contains 190 detailed footnotes. The author also encourages contrary views SUPPORTED BY FACTS, NOT UNSUPPORTABLE OPINIONS):

http://www.apfn.org/apfn/WTC_STF.htm

Last, but hardly least because of the resulting world misery & turmoil (and by another author even):

http://www.ilaam.net/Sept11/ZionistDid911.html

When you have done your homework post another blog, ok? I’d like to hear your opinion on specifics (But please refrain from any insulting remarks. Remember, I’m just the messenger).

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By Dawn, May 7, 2007 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Let’s stop the distraction of discussing the possibility of a Democratic president in 2008.

We need to impeach Cheney NOW. Cheney first, then Bush. End the war. Rebuild America and Iraq. We don’t have the luxury of thinking about next years election. Our troops are dying now. Our treasury is being looted now. Cheney plans to bomb Iran soon. We have an obligation to stop him. Call congress tomorrow. Dennis Kucinich put impeachment on the table. Now he needs to hear from all of us. Support HR 333.

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By Dawn, May 7, 2007 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Let’s stop the distraction of discussing the possibility of a Democratic president in 2008.

We need to impeach Cheney NOW. Cheney first, then Bush. End the war. Rebuild America and Iraq. We don’t have the luxury of thinking about next years election. Our troops are dying now. Our treasury is being looted now. Cheney plans to bomb Iran now. We have an obligation to stop him. Call congress tomorrow. Dennis Kucinich put impeachment on the table. Now he needs to hear from all of us. Support HR 333.

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By Matt, May 7, 2007 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In #68613 by nappyblack, he presumes that my merely correct diagnosis of the political problem that is sucking us into war consitutes “classic antisemitism”.

Dear Mr. alleged “nappyblack”: consider this recent chain of events:

(1) The recent war funding bill proposed by the Democrats had (at first) a very reasonable provision forbidding Bush to start a war against Iran without first coming to Congress for approval.

(2) Then AIPAC had a conference at which Olmert spoke, warning Congress not to do anything to make it harder for President Bush to “deal with” Iran as violently and suddenly as he (and Israel) might wish. Also, at this same conference, Pelosi’s anti-war speech was embarrassingly booed by the assembled Zionist faithful.

(3) Getting the hint, Pelosi promptly went back to her office and struck from the bill that very provision restraining Bush’s plans to attack Iran - thus clearing the way for Bush to start a new, even more criminal war whenever Olmert tells him to.

These are facts. Unfortunately for you, the facts have an anti-Israel bias.

I have the facts; all you have is your stupid, reflexive labeling. “Anti-Semitic”? Whatever.

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By nappyblack, May 7, 2007 at 11:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

concerning #68348 “Matt” - Your wonderful and classical anti-semitism is just too juicy to pass up, but I have got work to do and must get back to it, and alas I cannot be everyone’s teacher! But, dear sir, however, you need a lot of work and study in contemporary history, current events, their complexities and, I heartily suggest you get them before you indeed swallow both legs up to your butt. People used to say during the congressional era of Mike Mansfield and Adam Clayton-Powell that the legislative apparatus of our government was in similar black death grip, ad nauseam, as they wrote necessary legislation to right wrongs that had taken root in the whole country not just the South for almost a century after the demise and fall of Reconstruction. Take your foot outta your darn mouth and get a damned good education; stop parroting the rabid anti-semitism of the midwest misfits who call themselves conservatives, please? The Jews, bless them, don’t run the world, nut! However, it is your native right to say and freely express what is on your mind. However…‘Tis infinitely better to be silent and considered a fool, than open thy mouth and remove all doubt! With regard to this dig: A Hearty and Sincere - Right on, Mikey Gravel!

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 7, 2007 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

Mr. Gravel I like your idea of putting the Iraqis to work in something like CCC camps as long as it didn’t turn into just a slave labor system. The concept is brilliant, though, and would drastically reduce the costs associated with rebuilding the infrastructure in Iraq. At the same time the ‘common cause’ would help to pull their communities together, return self-respect through meaningful work, and most likely seriously reduce the violence in the country.

Why not take it a step further though? In this country we presently have over 2 million people incarcerated and 5-7 million within the correctional system of incarceration, parole, or probation. I’m not sure of the yearly cost to keep someone on parole, probation, or electronic monitoring, but I have seen $35-40,000 as the figure to keep someone locked up.

Studies have shown, and through personal contact & discussions, a large percentage of these lawbreakers would never have turned to crime (on victims or victim-less) if they just had a decent job. I’ve even seen in the press it is cheaper to send someone to Harvard than to keep them incarcerated. Jokingly some people have said, “Well let’s just send them all to Harvard; couldn’t be any worse than some of the criminals produced by that institution in the past few decades”.

All joking aside, the wasted human potential of locking people (especially non-violent offenders) up seems counter-productive to society as a whole. Granted, for some it is a necessity for society’s protection, but the correctional-industrial complex is now as insidious & profit driven as the military one…and growing.

Does it make any sense we can track animals in the wild through GPS satellite technology, but can’t effectively track the human animal?

Jobs for inmates (or supervised CCC camps), AND using already existing GPS technology seem as viable a concept for Americans as CCC camps for Iraqis. Think about it. Recidivism goes down, the tax base expands, we don’t waste billions putting people in (and building ever more) prisons, and our streets become safer.

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By cann4ing, May 7, 2007 at 8:32 am Link to this comment

re comment #68570 by hearya.  Thank you for posting Mr. Gravel’s web site.  I went to it; was impressed by his positions on the military-industrial complex and Iraq, and singularly unimpressed with his position on healthcare.  He advocates healthcare vouchers.  This leaves for-profit healthcare insurers in place and amounts to a variation of Clinton’s subsidies for the healthcare insurance lobby.  What we need in this country is what every other industrialized nation has in place—a single-payor system that eliminates the healthcare insurer expense entailing marketing, lobbying and, most of all, the enormous profits that flow to insurance company CEO’s.  This profits make up 31% of the spiraling cost of healthcare.  We need Conyers-Kucinich.  Go to Kucinich.us if you are interested in seeing what real healthcare reform looks like.

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By hearya, May 7, 2007 at 5:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gravel has a beautiful voice, and we have to demand that he is allowed to speak.

Truthdig, please correct the direction to his website, because you have an extra period between gravel and 2008 that is not supposed to be there.
http://www.gravel2008.us

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By Dawn, May 7, 2007 at 12:03 am Link to this comment

We can’t wait to vote for Gravel. We need to support HR 333 now to impeach Dick Cheney. Call congress tomorrow. Cheney has every intention of bombing Iran. That is insane. We need to stop him now—not by waiting to vote in a Democrat in 2008. There won’t be a 2008 if we don’t get rid of this war monger now. Why is everyone getting so distracted?

Supporting HR 333 should be the topic of the day and the week and the month until we impeach the sociopath who is our president of VICE—Dick Cheney. Call congress.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, May 6, 2007 at 7:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have seen the comments.Screw the pundits they are only a couple of votes.Vote for Gravel tell your friends to vote for Gravel.Register in states where there is a democratic primary.Remember these are the same pundits who gave us George Bush and the war in Iraq.Why would you care what they think?

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By cann4ing, May 6, 2007 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

As much as I admire Senator Gravel’s willingness to directly challenge the military-industrial complex and their corporate puppets (Clinton/Obama/Edwards), there was one point in which Senator Gravel fell short.  When asked who would support HR 333 (Kucinich)—articles of impeachment against our fascist vice-president, old Dead-Eye Dick Cheney, Senator Gravel failed to raise his hand.  He needs to explain why.

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 6, 2007 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

I couldn’t watch the whole ‘debate’, but I saw plenty of pundits vilify Mr. Gravel afterward. This is expected, just the same way MSM took Rosie to task for broaching the subject 911 wasn’t what the government told us it was, but a demolition job instead. A third of Americans don’t buy the ‘big lie’ about 911, which is a number larger than the Republican or Democrat ‘base’ (maybe even both put together), so why don’t we re-investigate this matter?

Good luck on your effort, Mr. Gravel. Even if you are not elected you will be raising issues that will stick in people’s minds for a long time. Solving the problems in this world are so crucial we need diverse opinions and even some radical solutions. Keep speaking out. Open-minded progressive people are listening.

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By PaulMagillSmith, May 6, 2007 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

#68323 by Chris Grose on 5/05 at 4:50 am

Chris: Before you nay-say 911 wasn’t as the government says it was I would suggest you do some objective research on the matter. There is ample evidence it was a demolition. Google 911truth for a start. While you are researching (if you dare to have your world turned upside down) be sure to ask yourself who stood to gain, then look at who actually gained. A good place to start is the guy who purchased the WTC (Silverstien I believe) about a year before 911, knowing full well the buildings would need to be demolished soon at an expense estimated over $10 billion. Another thing to look at is the Zionist connection, the Carlyle Group, and how the military-industrial complex gained by the loss of the WTC. As Woodward & Bernstien said, “Follow the money”. What about the hundreds of millions of dollars of ‘put’ options placed against airlines the days preceding the attack? What about the billions in un-recovered gold bullion beneath the buildings? (even if it was pulvarized into dust isn’t that how much gold is mined anyway?) What about the fact when WTC 7 unexplainably collapsed (never even hit by a plane at all) it contained the records of hundreds of cases of insider trading due to be filed against people on Wall Street? What about the story of over two trillion dollars of military materials ‘missing’ the Pentagon couldn’t account for? (and that story came out on 9-10-01). If you research far enough you might even come across evidence scientists found on some steel from the WTC of explosives residue on some of the metal in the building. Of prime importance is why did the Bush administration block the investigation for up to a year? Answer these questions and then tell us you don’t smell a rat somewhere. Speak from information, not ignorance of the facts. Be a skeptic, but not cynical. False flag wars are a fact of history and still are. Ask yourself, “How many times have people in this administration lied to us?” and “How many people have died as the result of the actions of this administration?” Then ask yourself, “What difference do the lives of those at the WTC matter to them?”

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By Kevin, May 6, 2007 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey 9/11 nutjobs (and/or imitators trying to smear Gravel), quit trying to claim Sen. Gravel as your own.  He is not on-board with your kooky claims.

He is, however, the first honest presidential candidate in my memory.

Let’s not let the kooks, weasels and shady political operatives drag him down.

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By Dawn, May 6, 2007 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

Mike Gravel is trying to start serious dialogues about serious issues like bringing our troops home now. We can’t wait until 2008 to get this done. Talking about that election is a distraction right now.

There is nothing more important than the impeachment of Dick Cheney. Dennis Kucinich has put forward the articles of impeachment (HR 333). Now it is up to the people to create such a ground swell of support for this resolution that the Democratic party will have to pass it.

Call your family, friends and neighbors and get HR 333 some support. The Dems won’t do a thing until we give them no choice.

Call Congress tomorrow morning. We can’t wait until 2008 because Cheney has every intention of bombing Iran. Stop the madness. Impeach Cheney.

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By Wanked, May 6, 2007 at 8:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I love Mike Gravel, although it would seem unlikely that he would get the nomination. But as long as he can remain in the fight long enough to throw the big guns’lies and hypocracies back in their faces, make em squirm in public, he’ll be very useful in this race.

Kucinich/Gravel   one can dream…....

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By Anna Beaulieu, May 6, 2007 at 8:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one time I would wish for American citizenship….voting Gravel to bring back sanity to 300 million people.

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By Matt, May 6, 2007 at 7:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gravel has so far not mustered the guts to address the fact that it’s Israel pushing us into these wars to destroy Iraq and (soon) Iran.

As long as everyone’s afraid to say NO to Israel and make it stick, we will not be able to extricate ourselves from this madness.

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By Leefeller, May 5, 2007 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

Only two contenders for president make any sense,  Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, I guess this makes me a commie liberal. I do not know were Gravel stands on some issues, but his Iraq stance is on the money, I agree with his demand to bring the troops home and that they should never have been sent to Iraq. No fuzzy smoke and mirrors with Gravel, no crap double talk nonsense.
  Not until Gravel waved a red hot poker around the Democrat debate, did Hillery Clinton decide to make a token non hawk move. 
My vote will be for the person who shows the most gumption and fortitude, the person who will end this blood for oil war.  So far only two people have come close, Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel.
Congress dancing the Hokey Pokey with Commander Cod Piece, makes about as much sense as a having the village idiot run the country . 
For a long time now, Bush has been saying that the end of Iraq War was turning the corner, coming around the bend.  His constant line of excuses asking for more time expired a long time ago, on the day of “Mission Acomplished”. Bush should be impeached and we need to bring the troops home, now!

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By greenback, May 5, 2007 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m a conservative Republican. Back in 2000 I realized my party had been hijacked by actors, men and women talking out of both sides of their mouth. They spoke of true republican ideals yet their actions were anything but that. I have had my eye on Ron Paul for some time now as he is the only true Republican. It appears to me that the democratic Party has experienced the same sort of hijacking. I’ve concluded for the first time in my life that I could live with a liberal in the white house only if that liberal was not a top tier political actor (a.k.a Obama or Hillary or Edwards). Alaskan Senator Gravel was quite impressive if only for his sheer honesty. Given his vast experience and his sincere beliefs of putting American interests before any international corporate interest sits quite well with me. My wife, a Liberal, has mentioned the possibilty of a Unity Ticket Paul/Gravel 2008 or Gravel/Paul 2008. If such a team were capable of salvaging our nation from the War profiteers and international corporate Pirates who have raided our nation, I’d be all for it. And if my canidate Ron Paul were to be beaten by Gravel I could live contently with you liberals. You couldn’t be any worse than what we have in DC at the moment. I say we take the top tier of both parties and ship them off to the Middle East, maybe those Iraqui Resistance fighters will make mince meat out of them.

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By stonefruit, May 5, 2007 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

I’m in love at first sight with this guy too.  Already blogged on him twice.

http://stonefruit.blogspot.com/2007/05/another-love-letter-to-mike-gravel.html

http://stonefruit.blogspot.com/2007/04/dark-horse-wins.html

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By Joaquim Barros, May 5, 2007 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mike Gravel…the next US president!
The world support Gravel!

Best regards from Portugal

Paulo

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By James M, May 5, 2007 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

Wow! i mean WOW! this is my very first year being able to vote for president, so im a little slow on the whole political scene. i had never even heard of mike gravel before today and i was fairly impressed by this interview. i was more than like just going to vote for obama for the democratic primary and probably for the actual election, but now i really think i need to hear more from mike. i like his maverick ideas and what seems to be a good intentioned will to do whats right, but all in 4 years.

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By cann4ing, May 5, 2007 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

While I am a staunch supporter of Dennis Kucinich, I can certainly appreciate those who are intrigued by Senator Gravel’s brutal and much needed honesty.  Both men stand ready to directly confront the military-industrial complex and the corporatocracy.  It is unclear to me whether Senator Gravel, like Mr. Kucinich, is prepared to repeal NAFTA and the WTO, tools by which the ruling class has been able to outsource America’s manufacturing base in search of cheap foreign labor while the remnants of American labor is increasingly Wal-Mart-ized, in a spiraling race to the bottom. 

At some point, depending on where poll numbers go, progressives will have to make a decision between the two in order to insure defeat of the corporatists—Clinton/Obama/Edwards—but for now, the idea of lining up two voices who are prepared to speak truth to power in upcoming debates is a magnificent one.  It is up to We the People to insure that the slimy media pundits do not succeed in silencing these two voices by insisting that they must be excluded from debates in order to provide more time for what the pundits describe as the “serious candidates”—more aptly described as the “sell-out candidates.”

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By Matt, May 5, 2007 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m glad he’s vocally horrified that war with Iran is “on the table” according to the three “top tier” Democrats.

But he chickened out.

He didn’t muster the courage to say that it’s Israel and only Israel that makes the “top tier” Democratic candidates feel compelled to say such INSANE things.

Things will not change until Israel loses its death grip on our government.

Everybody’s so fucking afraid of the pro-Israel fanatics. They are killing our country.

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By Marc Sterling, May 5, 2007 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The truth is a sword that can slay the powerful punks that run this nation.

If Gravel can take on the media and win a postion he can win the Presidency.

Under Bush the media have been given the right to use their pulpit for propganda, but most Americans know it and would love to see the major media taken on… if he allows the media to rule it will be that same old crap over and over and over.

GO FOR IT!

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By Jaded Prole, May 5, 2007 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Mike Gravel is the best thing that could have come along at this moment. He looks and sounds the part and is a straight-talking, tell-it-like-it-is guy that brings real energy to an otherwise dead compaign. As muck as I like Kucinich, he doesn’t have the charisma and energy that Gravel does and that matters. I think he could even pull in a lot of non-progressive voters with his energy, blunt truth-telling and especially his plan to end the income tax and replace it with a sales tax.  Gravel could really shake things up and we need to support him.

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By Chris Grose, May 5, 2007 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
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I don’t agree with the conspiracy theorists about 9/11 (that the government is hiding various details surrounding the event is probably a no brainer.. but that it was an inside job or that there were preplaced explosives? No dice, IMO), but I agree with Mike Gravel on pretty much everything else.  He has my vote.

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By Mike #2, May 4, 2007 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right now Gravel is the front runner to getting my vote.  The current MSM favorite candidates will be traditional politicians if they get to the White House.  They’ll be cautious, incremental, weather-vane types who will sell their souls and ideals for a chance to get re elected.  They’d be better than any of the Repugs but that won’t be near good enough.  We need a complete revamping of our political culture, not some minor tinkering.  Gravel and Kucinich are the ones that are serious about it.  It would take a HUGE grass roots effort to even have a tiny chance to make to the Presidency.  The established powers that be know all too well how to manipulate the sheeple.  If they are told that it’s Clinton or Obama, they’ll discount all the rest.

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By Zm, May 4, 2007 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great interview. Thank you, Truthdig!

Please join the campaign, donate, and spread the word. Mike Gravel really does have a good chance at being president with your support.

Gravel 2008!
http://www.gravel2008.us

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By Cutkomp, May 4, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

‘Graveltational Paul’
Congratulations to Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul for bringing life to what would otherwise be an election full of pro-establishment clowns.

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By cann4ing, May 4, 2007 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

While Gravel is a breath of fresh air, his suggestion that we get the puppet government in Iraq to draft Iraqis now fighting in the insurgency is not realistic.  The economy and all critical decisions now being made inside Iraq are controlled by the U.S.  The so-called Iraqi government is like someone at the wheel of a car with no drive shaft.  They can step on the gas all they want.  They’re not going anywhere.

While Gravel has the right attitude, Kucinich has the right plan, H.R. 1234.  It is a comprehensive plan which, if put in play, would be far more effective.  Go to Kucinich.us.

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By bmurph, May 4, 2007 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

It has been so long since I have heard a politician tell the truth, that I has to listen again, then read the transcriptto make sure that it was real.

Thank you.  You have my vote.

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By Smedly, May 4, 2007 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every time I hear or read something by this man I’m more impressed.  Maybe sanity and integrity can be put back into our government. We had all better listen to this guy because we can’t afford more of the same.

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By Robert Hutwohl, May 4, 2007 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment
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Mike Gravel’s intelligence and compassion puts George W. Bush to shame!

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By David, May 4, 2007 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Way to go Gravel.. continue speaking the truth. Everyone get the word out about this guy, because you know the media will be trying to shut him out.

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By Dale Headley, May 4, 2007 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
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Senator Gravel is that rarity in Washington: a (former) politician who courageously tells the truth.  Therefore, he could never be elected.

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By Art Durand aka Whitebear, May 4, 2007 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Mr. Gravel you have my support.
Truth to Power! Truth to Power! Truth to Power!

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By chris, May 4, 2007 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I heading right to Mike Gravel’s web-site and sending him $50.00 bucks. And if he keeps talking straight and making absolute 100% sense, than my credit card will be maxed out this month. Go get ‘em Mr. Gravel!

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By 911truthdotorg, May 4, 2007 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Can we have a co-Presidency?

Mike Gravel/Dennis Kucinich/Ron Paul

They ALL know the “official” story of 9/11 is a fairy tale and they love The Constitution.

Perfect!

Google video: 9/11 Press for Truth

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By Profit C, May 4, 2007 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mike Gravel is a very interesting stimulating entity. He deserves attention and support; I agree, his experience, wisdom and judgement is tried and proven, deserving of an opportunity to serve this great country.  I say great country, because it is not too late to bring to a screeching halt the terminal directions the present decision makers are heading.

To say, Mike will never be elected president is to plant seeds of not trying and that is the recipe for defeatism.  You never know, if you don’t try.

Like anything else, it has to be organized, it was done with Bush. Do anyone seriously think, Bush would have made it to his present position without a well organized scheme?

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By Fosspierre, May 4, 2007 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

God bless Mike Gravel, and thank you, Truthdig, for posting this timely interview with the next prez.

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By Mike BendZela, May 4, 2007 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every election year we get a candidate like this—so we can watch hope die all over again.

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By nonsequitor, May 4, 2007 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

what a breath of fresh air.

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By THOMAS BILLIS, May 4, 2007 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The media the people the media.We have become assholes who believe when the media dubs a candidate extreme we ignore what he has to say.Why do we go for these middle of the road morons because America has become group of people who cannot stand bad news.Keep telling us what we want to hear and we will keep voting for you.We have become bumper sticker voters.A catchy phrase pushed by the media we are hooked.If you did not know that George Bush had as much in common with a compassionate conservative as Mao had with capitalism you are an idiot.

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By PeterM, May 4, 2007 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

You have my support Senator Gravel!
Thank you.

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By QuyTran, May 4, 2007 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

Dear Mr. Gravel,

Please tell the truth nothing but the truth. This nation has been covered with lying, very thick and darkest lying, during the last 6 years. We all have to look down before the civilized world and the world looks at us as barbarians. When do we wash off this dishonor and shame created by an insufficient government ?

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By Jonas South, May 4, 2007 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is past time that we listen to the voice of maturity and experience. I have had quite enough with media courting ‘exciting’ and ‘charismatic’ candidates. Give me judgement and integrity instead.

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By Ben Wiley, May 4, 2007 at 11:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Dag,

I totally understand what you are saying, but dude, why preach the obvious pessimism here?  Have we had a candidate that really spoke the truth before?  And had that candidate ended the vietnam war and the draft while being in the senate?  I know your comment is coming from historical precedents, but there is no historical precedent for this man, and what he is trying to do.  If you recognize his significance, don’t poo poo him, support him as much as you can.  I havn’t ever donated to ANYTHING, but last night I gave Gravel $20.  I don’t have much hope either, but if this guy doesn’t get elected, we’re truly screwed.

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By Bill Blackolive, May 4, 2007 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Gravel, you are a marvel.  In the meantime, we need to hear politicians publicly saying the official physics of the 9/11 attacks are not possible.  Somebody respected has got to say: This is peculiar.

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By samuel burke, May 4, 2007 at 9:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d vote for presidential candidate Mike Gravel. Establishment politicians are suffocating debate and following the scripts set by those whose money and influence have led our nation into an intractable war in the middle east, they fail us in that they support israeli atrocities against the palestinians and thus inflaming the passions of the arab nations, making the united states of america the big satan in the eyes of the muslims in the middle east. We are not hated around the world without a cause and that hatred is compounded in the middle east.

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By Leefeller, May 4, 2007 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Gravel submits a plan next week to get us out of Iraq and gets Congress off their collectve arse’s, he will have done more than all the other’s put together.
They will try to ignore him but maybe, just maybe we can prod them with a red hot poker.

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By DAG, May 4, 2007 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

I like what I hear this man saying and do believe he is being straight with us.  Because of that, he won’t get anywhere nor elected.  Why?  We have to many people in this country who are stupid and can’t handle the truth.  Truth requires us to be responsbile and to do something and we don’t want to do that.  We live in a time when thinking, not just black & white thinking, but real thinking, is out of vogue.  Give us our sports games and let me spend the rest of my time in some house of worship (of course, my god is correct and yours isn’t) and all will be o.k.  Oh yeah, VALUES, keep those stupid people yaking about VALUES!  Sorry, truth won’t get this man elected.

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By Sharon Ash, May 4, 2007 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The time is ripe for a Mike Gravel.  I want to learn more about this man, but I really do appreciate his ability to speak the truth rather than speak politician talk.  The words he speaks are rays of light in a very dark time in the history of our country. Shine on Mr. Gravel!

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By Hammo, May 4, 2007 at 7:25 am Link to this comment

Gravel and others like him could really get a following and momentum. Americans seem to be ready for a change from the “frontrunners” ordained by the mainstream press.

On the Dem and Repub sides there are interesting alternative candidates. Maybe more will emerge elsewhere. Take a look at:

“Independent centrist candidates might strike chord with voters”

American Chronicle

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=11985

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