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Media & The Gravel Campaign

"The mainstream media has gone underground in its attempt to edit the Gravel campaign" said Presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, as evidenced by the June 3 debate in New Hampshire sponsored by CNN, the Hearst Corporation's WMUR-TV, and the New Hampshire Union Leader. During the two-hour, commercial-free debate, Senator Gravel was asked 10 somewhat irrelevant questions and then allowed only seconds to answer before being cut off by the moderator.
After watching Sunday night's Presidential debate, Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic Party chair, plans to warn NBC about its September debate. "You're going to hear for sure that I'm going to discuss with them who's the moderator so it's certainly a much more fair and equal playing field than what we saw tonight," the Chairman said, referring to the shocking disparity in time afforded to the three candidates who have raised the most money, compared to the other candidates running for the Democratic nomination for President.

"The mainstream media has gone underground in its attempt to edit the Gravel campaign" said Presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel, as evidenced by the June 3 debate in New Hampshire sponsored by CNN, the Hearst Corporation's WMUR-TV, and the New Hampshire Union Leader. During the two-hour, commercial-free debate, Senator Gravel was asked 10 somewhat irrelevant questions and then allowed only seconds to answer before being cut off by the moderator. In total, the Senator was afforded only five minutes and 37 seconds of time during the entire debate. The candidates with the most donations from corporate special interests were asked the serious questions, were allowed to speak at length, and were allowed time to respond to criticism.

Adam D. Krauss, the Democrat staff writer for Foster's Online, a Dover, New Hampshire-based news site, echoed the contention that Gravel and others were being excluded by quoting Dean Spiliotes, director of research at Saint Anselm College's New Hampshire Institute of Politics, who said, "It was interesting how those three candidates were presented. I can't imagine that that was random, with Hillary and Edwards and Obama, and then Kucinich and Gravel out on the end."

The placement of the candidates on the debate stage exacerbated the inequities of the time allowed to some candidates to respond to questions. For example, Senator Obama was given one full minute to answer each of 16 questions, while Senator Gravel was allowed only 30 seconds each to answer 10 questions. CNN's Wolf Blitzer and his producer appear to have selectively enforced time guidelines. "Prominent talk show host Arnie Arnesen labeled CNN the debate's 'loser' because it 'made a decision for the rest of us that they (Clinton, Obama and Edwards) were going to remain the top-tier' candidates," Krauss added. Despite the best efforts of CNN, WMUR-TV and the Union Leader to exclude Senator Gravel, his brief comments quickly became one of the most-watched videos on YouTube.com, which receives millions of hits each day. It also became one of the top-rated videos in news and politics.

Senator Gravel, a resident of Virginia, is a former two-term U.S. Senator from Alaska with a distinguished record that includes successfully ending the military draft with a five-month filibuster. He also released The Pentagon Papers, risking both prosecution and jail; played the leading role in making the Alaska pipeline a reality; and ended nuclear weapons testing in the seabed off Alaska. He is the driving force and author of the National Initiative for Democracy, a proposal to allow Americans to participate in making laws at the federal level on issues that affect their lives though a federal ballot initiative process-already proven in many states as an effective and necessary check on unresponsive representative government.

wacky 22.Jun.2007 07:52

Xman

I was struck at how he seems to be suffering the effects of some physical or mental event.
He stuttered, stumbled, blubbered and spit saliva all over the place as he seemed to lerch about...and yell loudly.
I do like some of \his ideas, but there is something wrong with his health or thought processes.
I can't imagine any thinking voter wanting him to lead in that condition...or feeling he could.

nixon vs. kennedy 2007 22.Jun.2007 14:22

TV wins again

Listen to him on the radio. There is NOTHING wrong with his thought processes. Everything he says is true. He's just OLD. The guy is really, REALLY, old. He already HAD a political career, a long time ago, and he wasn't young then either, and he's coming out of retirement because things have gotten so bad. But expecting anybody to LOOK GOOD at his age is just not realistic. If the people running America's corporate boardrooms had to get on a stage and preen for the cameras you'd see a lot of the same mannerisms.

In the world of TV campaigns his candidacy is doomed, but it's not because he's mentally impaired.

Nader on Gravel 24.Jun.2007 00:53

Iris

yahoo.com
Subject : Nader on Gravel

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The People's Crusade of Mike Gravel
More Like Cicero Than Quixote
By RALPH NADER
May 8, 2007
Like a fresh wind coming down from Alaska--the state he represented as a U.S. Senator from 1969--1981, Mike Gravel is determined to start a debate about the fundamentals of democracy in his quest for the Democratic Party's nomination for President.
People who heard his address before the Democratic National Committee a few weeks ago and his brief statements during the first debate between the Democratic aspirants last month may be getting the idea that this is no ordinary dark horse politician.
For over a decade, given the failures of elected politicians, Mike Gravel has been engaged in some extraordinary research and consultations with leading constitutional law experts about the need to enact another check to the faltering checks and balances--namely, the National Initiative for Democracy, a proposed law that empowers the people as lawmakers.
Before you roll your eyes over what you feel is an unworkable utopian scheme, go to  http://nationalinitiative.us to read the detailed constitutional justification for the sovereign right of the people to directly alter their government and make laws.
Among other legal scholars, Yale Law School Professor, Akhil Reed Amar and legal author, Alan Hirsch, have argued that the Constitution recognizes the inalienable right of the American people to amend the Constitution directly through majority vote. What the Constitution does not do is spell out the procedures for such a sovereign right.
The right of the People to alter their government flows from the Declaration of Independence, the declared views of the founding fathers and the framers of the Constitution, its Preamble ("We the People of the United States.do ordain and establish this Constitution,"), Article VII and other provisions, including the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Very briefly, The Democracy Amendment asserts the Power of People to make laws, creates an Electoral Trust to administer the national elections, limits the use of money in National Initiative elections to natural persons (e.g. not corporations), and enacts the National Initiative through a federal ballot, when fifty percent of the voters (equal to half of the votes cast in the most recent presidential election) deliver their votes in its favor. Voting can be through traditional and electronic modes.
The Democracy Statute establishes deliberative legislative procedures vital for lawmaking by the people, administered by the Electoral Trust, in an independent arm of the U.S. government.
Mike Gravel points out that the initiative authority to make laws now exists in 24 states and more than 200 local communities. However, the national initiative, which he envisions would have deliberate legislative procedures and would be generically independent of any curtailment by the "officialdom of government," except a judicial finding of fraud.
With the National Initiative, the people acting as lawmakers, will be able to address healthcare, education, energy, taxes, the environment, transportation, the electoral college, the Iraq war, and other neglected, delayed or distorted priorities. Legal scholar, Alan Hirsch, believes "a more direct democracy could be an important means of promoting civic maturation."
Of course these initiatives, if enacted, would still be subject to existing constitutional safeguards such as the First Amendment, equal protection, due process and the like.
No doubt, you may have many questions to be answered. If you are interested, the entire text of The Democracy Amendment and The Democracy Act are on both the above-mentioned websites.
Mr. Gravel's political positions place him high on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Cong. Dennis Kucinich will find that he is not alone during the forthcoming debates scheduled by the Democratic Party.
Don't expect Mike Gravel to show up in the money-raising sweepstakes. For he really believes in a government of, by and for the People.
This proposal is not exactly a magnet for Fat cat money. No candidate for President from the two major parties has ever demonstrated such a detailed position regarding the sovereign power of People to amend the Constitution and make laws.
Will soundbite debates and horserace media interviews allow for such a public deliberation over the next year? Only if the People take their sovereignty seriously and take charge of the campaign trail with their pre-election, pre-primary participation in city, town and country throughout the country.
Over 2000 years ago, the ancient Roman lawyer and orator, Marcus Cicero, defined freedom with these enduring words: "Freedom is participation in power." That could be the mantra for Mike Gravel's 2008 Presidential campaign.