Mike Gravel 2020

‘2020 primary rock; finally, an 88-year-old presidential candidate that can out-insult Trump on Twitter’, Claud Cockburn, spectator.us (h/t Café Babylon denizen Greyson Smythe)

“Gravel’s announcement was an unorthodox one: he created a Twitter account late last night, alerting everyone to his intentions and linking to his website, which at that point was not live. ‘I am considering running in the 2020 Democratic primary,’ he tweeted. ‘The goal will not be to win, but to bring a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage. The website (http://mikegravel.org ) is under construction. Official announcement will be in the coming days.’

What can a little-known former senator, who is a decade older than Bernie Sanders, offer to the voters? Cockburn has been closely following Gravel’s Twitter account as he fields questions…and early signs indicate that the answer is ‘fight, and a lot of it.’

What about the front-runners, you ask? ‘i sure do hope the faucets at @JoeBiden’s house are strong, with the amount of Iraqi blood on his hands #Gravel2020 #GravelGang’.

And he’s not afraid to point out pandering hypocrisy either: ‘#KillerKamalaHarris just came around to supporting marijuana legalization, even though she smoked it herself in college. Meanwhile, I’ve served as the CEO of two marijuana companies. #GravelGang #Gravel2020’

While Gravel says he has no chance of winning and simply wants to get to the debates, he also seems eager to borrow some of Andrew Yang’s meme magic. ‘Hmm…#GravelGang. I like the sound of that,’ he tweeted at 1 a.m.

Who’s behind the #Gravelanche? One user asked the senator why his campaign seemed to be headquarterted in Westchester, N.Y. ‘The teenagers who convinced me to run live there,’ he answered. A Politico reporter spoke to Gravel himself on the phone, who said ‘It is a group of students … who have the idea I should run. … They’re working on that, they’re going to be coming out here to California to meet with me.’

From opensecrets.org/news:  ‘Hoping to influence the Democratic debates, former Senator Mike Gravel seeks 65,000 donors’, a few outtakes:

“Gravel, an Army veteran, served as senator from Alaska from 1969 to 1981 where he was often described as a maverick. Gravel, a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and progressive voice on foreign policy, gained national attention for reading the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 as the New York Times Co v. U.S. Supreme Court case was being argued. After losing re-election in 1981, to the father of current Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Gravel became an advocate for direct democracy and recently served as the CEO of a marijuana company.”

“Gravel, who also ran in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, writes on his campaign site that “we’re not asking for your vote, and we’re not planning on contesting any primaries.” Instead, Gravel wants to reach the 65,000 donor threshold and qualify for the debates to push “a critique of American militarism, plutocracy, and inaction on climate” and “say what establishment candidates won’t.”

“Gravel’s admitted focus on getting enough donors to qualify for the debates and to “expand the Overton window in the Democratic Party, pushing the dialogue leftward” appear to be part of a strategy to attract younger, online-orientated donors. His Twitter page, which started tweeting on March 19, is full of jokes along with pointed liberal criticisms of fellow Democratic primary contenders.”

From his exploratory committee’s ‘Why Mike Gravel’ page:

“Sen. Gravel is willing to leverage the national stage such a moment would give to say what establishment candidates won’t, whether on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Saudi-led mass murder in Yemen, or the need to immediately end the War on Drugs.

Unlike every time-server and grifter in the Democratic race, Sen. Gravel has done significant things for this country. The son of immigrants, Sen. Gravel served as a first lieutenant in the Army before earning his B.S. in Economics from Columbia University. He moved to Alaska, absolutely broke, and in 12 years was elected to represent it in the U.S. Senate. In the Senate, he gained attention for his steadfast opposition to the war in Vietnam. He filibustered draft legislation during the Vietnam War, attempting to end it; read the Pentagon Papers into the public record, at tremendous risk to himself; urged the normalization of relations with China; and supported the Inuit community. After leaving the Senate in 1981, Sen. Gravel lobbied for direct democracy and against war, also serving as the CEO of a marijuana company.

By no means is Sen. Gravel perfect. He’s made votes he regrets deeply; he’s declared bankruptcy due to the cost of medical procedures; his career in public service has had its share of missteps. The New York Times‘ profile of Sen. Gravel declared him “tenacious, persevering and very stubborn…inclined to extremes and to impulsive actions.” But Sen. Gravel, like the Biblical prophet Jeremiah, cares deeply about this country, deeply enough to criticize its excesses. Sen. Gravel is a true progressive.”

“After getting in the first two debates and issuing the all-important critique of our destructive American empire, Sen. Gravel would leave the race and endorse the frontrunner among progressive Democrats. The Sen. Gravel campaign would be unlike any other: it would truly be of the people and for the people. It would do its utmost to tear the veil off the bloody machinery of the American military-industrial complex. It would bring other candidates to task for their dirty dealings and unethical actions. It would talk about just how broken American politics is, and how we can fix it. That is why you should support a Gravel 2020 campaign.

Mike’s personal website (mikegravel.com) has six entries:


Imperial Exceptionalism

Frontiers 134: Mike Gravel, A Political Paradox

Senator who released Pentagon Papers: Republicans are ‘cowards’ if they don’t release FISA memo

China Builds Bridges and Highways While the U.S. Mouths Slogans

Here’s Mike Gravel on Twitter on which he says that his exploratory site mikegravel.org is under construction, but includes among other things:

“He led the charge in normalizing relations with China and was a leading opponent of the Vietnam War, playing a pivotal role in helping end the draft.

Since leaving the Senate, he has focused on anti-war and pro-political reform advocacy, attracting national attention for his run in 2008. During his campaign, he pre-empted other major politicians in his progressivism: he was an early supporter of abolishing capital punishment, ending the War on Drugs, and legalizing same-sex marriage. Since 2014, he has served as CEO of two companies in the legal cannabis market.

Sen. Gravel is committed to ending America’s imperial policies (especially in Venezuela and Iran), rescheduling cannabis, fundamentally reforming our politics through direct democracy, abolishing mass surveillance on American citizens, prioritizing climate change, dismantling America’s carceral state, and building a foreign policy free of undue influence by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

If he were to run, he would aim not to win, but instead to qualify for the 2020 Democratic debates in order to send a message that no other candidate, not even Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard, is willing to issue. Our goal is to push the rest of the Democratic field toward policies, especially on political reform, climate change, and foreign policy, that, for the first time in decades, will truly challenge the American plutocracy and military-industrial complex.”

For any other inquiries, please contact contact@mikegravel.org.

We need your help! Donate to us hereAaaaand, the Donate here button goes nowhere (erewhon?).  Guess I’ll email them and ask whassup with that? Never mind; Mike said on the Twit Machine that he hopes the glitch will be fixed in two or three days…

@MikeGravel  ‘Wow! 25,000 followers in barely a day. Henry and David (we’re running this account) just want to say thanks for the huge outpouring – it’s been a shock. We spoke to the senator last night and he was elated and touched. It almost brought a tear to his eye. Thank you.’

@MikeGravel ‘Neoliberals want to maintain oligarchy with slight tweaks – like more diversity (wow, Northrop has a female CEO) – so that it’s easier to maintain in the long run. A real progressive movement must aim to dismantle oligarchy totally, uproot and destroy it. That’s Citizen Power.’

@MikeGravel  “How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle?…How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets?” – Smedley Butler, “War is a Racket”

@MikeGravel  “While I respect Bernie, I disagree with him strongly on this. John McCain was a war hawk who sent American youth to fight and die and never met a problem he didn’t think could be solved through invasion or intervention. The real heroes are those who fought for PEACE.”

@MikeGravel  “More The idea that this country has a true democracy is absurd. Everyone knows in their heart of hearts that we’re ruled by elites, Wall Street, etc. We need serious, fundamental political reform – real, direct democracy: a Legislature of the People to decide policy.”

@MikeGravel  “If you vote for the country to go to war, you should have to serve in the front lines in that war. I served in the U.S. Army, fiercely opposed the Vietnam War, helped end the draft. @JoeBiden never served and still saw fit to send this country’s kids to Iraq”

@MikeGravel  “The philosophical underpinning of the neoliberal project is @FukuyamaFrancis‘ thesis that civilization had reached its final stage with modern capitalistic democracy. In effect: rule by the elites. Fukuyama was wrong. The final stage is rule not by the elites but by the PEOPLE.”

@MikeGravel “The neoliberal style in politics means delivering, in a wrapping of lofty words, absolutely nothing. It’s the style that got us into Iraq in 2003, that destroyed our economy in 2008, that failed to effectively challenge Trump in 2016. Above all, It’s the style of @HillaryClinton.”

@MikeGravel  “To quote @ImmortalTech: “I’m not controversial, I’m just speakin’ the facts.” You don’t have to agree with everything I say to support the campaign. The goal is to get me in the debates to make a critique of imperialism and our broken political system, not to elect me president”

Gillibrand’s dangerous, reationary ‘war on drugs’:

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

Bolsonaro meets with Torture Haspel, Guaidoistas seize 2 VZ embassies

Sorry, I hadn’t meant to write about Venezuela again so soon, as there are so many other places to cover (China, Pakistan/India, DPRK) but given these two new pieces of news, well, needs must…  And given that Telesur’s terms of use amount to ‘use content at will, but only with attribution, I’ll do so.

‘Far-Right Homage: Bolsonaro Visits CIA Before Meeting Trump on First US Visit’, telesurenglish.net, March 18, 2019
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a primer on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT™)

On the left-hand side of the EFT (Emo-free) site’s main page you’ll see: ‘What is EFT?’ with a drop down explanation that won’t copy paste.  Given that, I’ve tried to find some of the contents of that, and ended up with an older page on ‘What is EFT? – Theory, Science and Uses’; A Refreshing New Use of An Established Process.  It Often Works Where Nothing Else Will.’  Note: the basic protocols are all free.

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March 16 Global #HandsOffVenezuela Rallies

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Pierre’s Intercept Shuts Down Access to Snowden Trove

[Caution: schadenfreude & satire hard-hat area]

First: ‘The Intercept shuts Snowden archive amid layoffs & outrage’, RT.com, 14 Mar, 2019

“First Look Media, the parent company of the Intercept, announced it will shut access to the archive of documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to cut costs as it plans to layoff 4 percent of staff.
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Venezuelan Ecosocialism

Featuring the following essay works well for me, as the triple themes I hold near and dear to my heart are represented: the coup against Nicolás Maduro (and past ones against Hugo Chavez), media bias, and ecosocialism.  Rather than bring some of the ghastly news in the next-generation attempts to overthrow his regime, I’ll focus on this and bring the rest another day.  And happy π day to all.

‘The Path to Climate Justice Passes Through Caracas’, March 9, 2019, counterpunch.org, David Schwartzman & Quincy Saul

In their Fighting the Media War section, the authors quote Karl Marx calling it “the war of calumny undertaken by the lying power of the civilised world,” and extras, describing the media war against the International Workingmen’s Association, which later became known as The First International.
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Will We Ever Learn the Truth about the Skripals?

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Skripal: One Year Later Some Things are Clearer’, March 9, 2019, James O’Neill, journal-neo.org

O’Neill first narrates the history of events  of the 12 months after the Skripal’s had become ill in a public space in the center of Salisbury, with Theresa May blaming Russia with no supporting evidence, and Boris Johnson’s having claimed that ‘the substance responsible for the Skripal’s illness had been identified as “A234”, ergo: Russians.  He notes that the UK has not deviated from that assertion, despite a wealth of contradictory evidence and absurd numbers of competing narratives.
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