Steve G.

A Conversation With Mike Gravel

In Civil Liberties, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Courts and Justice System, Crime, Democracy, Democrats, Drug War, Global Warming, History, Iraq War, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Convention, Libertarian Party-US, Medical Marijuana, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Second Amendment, Taxation, US Government on March 28, 2008 at 1:21 am

Mike GravelEarlier today, I had an opportunity to speak by telephone with Senator Mike Gravel, a presidential candidate who has switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party. Senator Gravel welcomed my questions, and I had a very positive impression of him. He is extremely well spoken, and quite passionate about many of the issues near and dear to the Libertarian Party.

My purpose, of course, was to ascertain why he decided to switch parties, and whether he truly holds Libertarian views as opposed to only conveniently holding libertarian views in order to get the LP nomination. I quickly discovered that his most basic belief, which he has provably held for over 30 years, is thoroughly libertarian: the right of the American people to bypass and even overturn Congress and the President, when those elected officials act in contradiction to the will of the people.

Senator Gravel believes that “the American people are not empowered to do anything, and this is wrong.” He therefore believes Americans should have the ability to directly make laws through federal ballot initiatives. At present, many states allow citizens to present laws directly through initiatives which, if supported widely enough, will be placed on the ballot to potentially become law; an example of this is Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California. Senator Gravel believes citizens should be able to do the same thing on the federal level, under his National Initiative For Democracy.

The government is a tool, the people can use it. But if the people have the direct power to use it, then you’re going to see the government as a real tool, not the tool you have when the special interests determine how the tool of government is handled, by the lobbyists, who pay for the campaigns, who manipulate you to vote for them. That’s the process that has to change.

When he says that the government has the duty to release information to the public, so they can make sound decisions, he is not blowing smoke, nor is he promoting something he hasn’t already done himself. During the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel released the Pentagon Papers, reading thousands of pages into the Congressional Record, so that Americans would finally know the truth behind that war; and his defiance, by informing Americans of information which was previously viewed as classified, was a pivotal moment in American history.

Under his National Initiative For Democracy we, as citizens, could end the war, end the federal income tax, or pass a federal law allowing Americans to carry guns openly; we could make any law we want, as long as there is sufficient citizen support for it. Senator Gravel says that “the real power in this country does not lie with the leadership, with Congress or with the President; it lies with you, the American citizen”. This program would in fact become an important part of the checks and balances system, which Senator Gravel believes should have been in force from the beginning, so citizens could more easily keep Congress and the President in check.

Of course, when he was running for President in the Democratic Party, the Democrats weren’t very happy with that idea. I asked the Senator whether they oppose it because it threatens their power, or if they oppose it because they believe the average American is unable to make sound legislative decisions. He immediately replied, “Both.” He went on to explain that “the average person in Congress believes they are more intelligent than the average American, and there are a few in Congress who are very intelligent; but at the same time the average American is smarter than the average Congressman, and perfectly capable of making sound decisions.”

His suspicion of the leading presidential candidates was made clear when he said, “Don’t trust anyone who says they have all the answers. Nobody has all the answers; I don’t have all the answers. But the American public knows what is best for them, and I trust them to make those decisions.”

Talking war with Senator Gravel, for someone my age who lived during Vietnam, is like getting into a time machine, and going back to the last destructive war this country faced, when he forced a filibuster to end the draft, and thus end the Vietnam war. Senator Gravel was a maverick, and he defied Congress again and again.

As you may recall, even before we sent troops to Iraq, he warned the American public that there were no WMDs in Iraq. I asked him why, in his opinion, President Bush lied about the presence of WMDs. “Oil. He wanted to get control of the oil, and it’s all just more American imperialism and the military-industrial complex.” He went a step further, and agreed that Bush and Cheney should not only be impeached, but that they should face trial for war crimes. “Americans must stop thinking we’re above the law,” he stated. He believes that the United States should stop getting involved in foreign conflicts altogether, and “stop being the world’s policeman”.

Senator Gravel is completely against the War on Drugs, which he categorizes as a failure. “We spend 50 to 85 billion dollars a year on a drug war that does no good to anybody other than criminalizing people who shouldn’t be criminals. We have 2.3 million people in jail right now, and half of them shouldn’t even be in jail …. if you want marijuana, why not go to a package store? A fifth of gin will do more damage to you, to your health, than will a pack of marijuana. As for the rest of the drugs, why not legalize them and regulate them? We put addicts in jail when they aren’t criminals, but there they learn to be better criminals, to steal and commit crime to feed their habit. It’s a public health problem, and we need to solve it as a public health problem, and save all this money we’re spending to keep people in jail for drugs, $30,000 a year for each of them.”

He is therefore in support of decriminalizing and regulating all drugs. “If you need to get some coke, go to a doctor and get a prescription. If you’re an addict, you’ll have to register so we can help you. But the way we do it now, we catch you with drugs, we throw you in jail, and you don’t get any help.”

With regard to whether legalizing all drugs would increase addiction, he states, “That’s what they told us about alcohol, during Prohibition. Alcohol is more addictive than marijuana. Should you go to jail for having marijuana, when you don’t go to jail for having whiskey and alcohol? It’s a stupid policy, it’s gutless, and it’s damaging our inner cities. Seventy percent of the people in jail are African-Americans, and most of it is for drugs. It’s gutless on the part of our leaders to not solve this, to not treat it as a public health problem rather than a criminal problem ….. For those who say we have a drug problem, yeah, we have a problem, and it’s with stupidity at the highest levels of our government.”

As for those in prison for drug offenses, he would educate nonviolent drug offenders – whether it’s a college degree or technical training – then grant them a full pardon so they can not only be released from prison, but also have the tools they need to immediately become fully productive members of society.

He is for Second Amendment rights, saying “I have a weapon, and I’ll fight to keep it.” Insofar as how openly Americans should be able to carry weapons, he referred me back to the federal ballot initiative, saying that the American people should decide that issue.

When I asked him about reducing the size of government as well as its spending, he agreed that it has gotten completely out of hand, and that severe cutbacks should be made. The first steps would be dismantling the IRS (which would no longer be needed with his national sales tax program), and the “War On Drugs” arm of the DEA (since all drugs would be legalized). He also believes that “if we empower the people to make laws, they will shrink the government.”

I could actually hear the thrill in his voice when one question pointed out that libertarians are, by and large, for open borders. He believes that we have so many illegal immigrants here because our own laws caused them to not have work available in their own country; he states that 1.3 million farming jobs were lost in Mexico when NAFTA was passed. For that reason, he believes repealing NAFTA would cure most of the illegal immigration, as more jobs are created in their home countries. As for those who are already here and don’t want to leave, he wants to simply “put them on the path to citizenship.” He believes that we should create completely open borders, similar to what is in place in Europe, whereby citizens could cross into or from Canada or Mexico, with no questions asked.

It is undeniable that the federal government is deeply in debt, and must raise revenue. Senator Gravel, however, is opposed to the income tax, since it over-taxes the poor and middle-class, and grossly undertaxes the wealthy. He therefore proposes dismantling the IRS altogether. He would replace the income tax with a 23% sales tax, and give a rebate each month to every American family to pay for necessities. Senator Gravel believes that this would allow the poor and middle class, who spend mostly on necessities such as food and housing, to have far more disposable income. He believes this program will create the same amount of federal revenue, but in a manner which is far more fair to the poor and working class.

“I don’t know whether it’s a step to end taxation, but at this point it is a good way to fund needed revenue. Right now we tax income and investments, and investment income is taxed at a lower rate than income. We don’t tax the wealthy, and that’s what’s wrong with our system.” He again reiterated that the American people could make the final decision regarding whether federal taxation should eventually end, through his ballot initiative program.

Senator Gravel believes that Social Security funds should be left alone, rather than used by the government for other purposes as is now the norm. At this point, most Americans have already paid into Social Security. He wants everyone’s Social Security funds invested in the free market, and he wants everyone to get an accounting of their money and interest earned, just as if they had invested it with a bank; and if they die before spending what they have invested and earned, he believes that the surplus in their Social Security account should go to their heirs.

As for private investments, he believes his sales tax program with refunds for necessities will give the average American the additional funds needed to save in an IRA or other investment vehicle, as additional retirement savings to supplement what they have already put into Social Security.

He is aware that many libertarians are against Universal Health Care, but believes his plan will meet libertarian standards. He came up with the idea of a Healthcare Security System 30 years ago. Senator Gravel pointed out that he knows the healthcare system “up front and personal”. One year, he ended up with over $150,000 in healthcare costs, and went bankrupt as a result.

He believes the Democratic health care plan, wherein businesses are forced to provide health insurance for their employees, is “the wrong way to go, because it is not the responsibility of businesses to provide healthcare; their job is to be competitive in the global marketplace.” So instead, he wants to enact a Universal Single Payor Voucher plan, similar to the plan which the Veterans Administration has in place. Every American would be given a health care voucher. The vouchers would have a very modest co-pay, and a very modest deductible. Americans would have their choice of hospitals, their choice of doctors, and a choice of five or six plans. There would be no exclusions for preexisting conditions.

He doesn’t think we need to raise taxes in order to provide health care for all Americans; we just need to make our healthcare system considerably more efficient than it is at present. He believes that if we computerize healthcare records, it will streamline the system, because he says 30% of healthcare cost is in paperwork. He intends to provide every American with basic healthcare services, and if they want more or different coverage, they can choose to buy additional or supplemental plans in the free market.

He is aware of Ron Paul’s belief that the Federal Reserve is responsible for the inflationary effects which are harmful to poor and middle-class Americans. Senator Gravel wants to reexamine the Federal Reserve, and study the gold standard with an eye toward a global monetary system, which will better protect the value of our money in a global marketplace.

Senator Gravel was pivotal in shepherding the Alaska Pipeline though Congress, but at this point he would oppose any effort to drill for oil in the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve. He states that instead, he wants us to end our dependence upon oil within five years. His goal would be to replace oil with alternative energy sources.

I asked Senator Gravel if there was any one moment – a light bulb moment, if you will – in which he realized that he was a libertarian. He stated, “Not really. It’s an awareness that goes back 30, 40 years, that the best way to to change things was from inside, within the power structure. Now, it’s time for a change. I am joining the Libertarian Party to become its presidential nominee. I can take the Libertarian Party to a level they’ve never been before. I am against war, I am against taxing income, I am against the war on drugs. I am for smaller government, open borders, and the ability of the American people to self-govern. I am a libertarian. I scored seven out of seven on Reason’s “Seven Ways To Win Votes” – I am for internet gambling, for medical marijuana (but I go much further than that, by decriminalizing all drugs) …. so I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul, because he scored lower. And I will work very hard as the Libertarian Party’s candidate, I will get the libertarians the national playing field they need to grow. And not just libertarians, either. I will raise the playing field for all third parties.”

All in all, Senator Gravel impressed me as sincere, intelligent, and passionate about libertarian issues. I did not at all get the impression that he is a pseudo-libertarian; I think he’s the real deal, because his actions even decades ago indicated that he is a libertarian. He left the Democratic Party because he realized that they are not receptive to his ballot initiative plan, and are not in agreement with his healthcare plan, his opposition to the War on Drugs, and many other issues. He has the presence, he has the speaking ability and dynamic personality, and he has the name recognition and contacts to place us on a more even playing field.

The Democrats’ loss may very well be our gain.

Senator Gravel suggested that those interested in more information about his views read his book “Citizen Power: A Mandate For Change”, which can be ordered online here. It is also available on Amazon.com, but their new book price is actually several dollars higher than the price on his website. Amazon’s description of the book is as follows.

As author of Citizen Power in 1971, Senator Mike Gravel determined that much of what he wrote then is apropos in America today; hence, the release of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change that reflects the accuracy of his evaluation of problems then, his current position on a number of issues facing America now, and the process that Americans can undertake to become empowered as lawmakers in partnership with their elected officials. Most chapters of Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change present material from the original book, as well as new information and revised positions. The exceptions are Chapter 2: The National Initiative, and Chapter 7: The War on Drugs. All other chapters cover similar topics in both books, but with the senator’s fresh insights for today’s world. Each chapter ends with how the National Initiative, once enacted, could help solve the problems presented in that chapter. The Table of Contents is as follows: Chapter 1 – Now It’s the Citizen’s Turn Chapter 2 – The National Initiative Chapter 3 – America’s Failure in Education Chapter 4 – Tax Reform – The Fair Tax Chapter 5 – The Health Security System Chapter 6 – National Environmental & Energy Policy Chapter 7 – The War on Drugs Chapter 8 – Crime & Punishment Chapter 9 – The Shroud of Secrecy Chapter 10 – American Imperialism Chapter 11 – Global Governance Chapter 12 – Who Stole the American Dream?

All three customer reviews give the book five stars. There is a “look inside the book” feature, and based on that material and given that it was originally written in 1971, then updated recently, I don’t think there is any real question whether Senator Gravel is a libertarian. Based upon his statements in that book, it appears that he was a libertarian even before there was a Libertarian Party.

Here are the reviews:

It’s all about lawmaking!,

February 25, 2008
By Goodrich (Dearborn, MI USA) – See all my reviews

Those who still want Mike Gravel’s original Citizen Power, but can’t afford to pay over $200 for the few rare copies that are available, will be pleased with the new Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change. In some chapters, Senator Gravel has incorporated substantial excerpts from his original book and then updated his thoughts on each issue, often admitting that his position on a certain issue in the 1970s was naive and that he now views that issue with a mature mind. This is a refreshingly candid look at a presidential candidate’s positions on key issues facing the American people today. Most importantly, however, is Chapter 2 and supplemental appendices about the National Initiative, which Senator Gravel and some of the nation’s top constitutional scholars crafted to empower citizens as lawmakers; after all, lawmaking is the cornerstone of democracy. All subsequent chapters address how the National Initiative for Democracy (NI4D)would work to alleviate problems, such as healthcare and education.

From ending the war on drugs to restructuring the UN,

March 8, 2008

Senator Gravel has produced an engaging book! He presents complex and difficult issues facing the US and the world in understandable prose and proposes solutions that call for transformational change. In response to a legislative process controlled by corporations and special interests Gravel proposes the National Initiative on Democracy that would empower the people to legislate through direct democracy in national referendums on issues. In response to ineffective global governance Gravel calls for a restructuring of the UN including an end to veto powers for the permanent members of the Security Council. I was delighted to see his position on American exceptionalism. Granted that we are #1 in the world in the numbers of people in our prisons, on many key measures such as education, healthcare we are far from being the best in the world. I was most pleased by the optimism of Mike Gravel’s vision for the future of America in the world. He sees solutions to problems such as global warming, energy, and national security through greater cooperation with other countries. The beginning of his space policy statement on page 59 is particularly encouraging: “SPACE REPRESENTS A LIMITLESS FRONTIER for humankind. Laws modeled on the Law of the Sea need to be agreed upon to make energy, natural resources, and knowledge available in a manner that fosters greater cooperation, rather than greater competition, among all nations. In keeping with this spirit, space must not be militarized.”

Gravel’s Populist Manifesto,

March 19, 2008
By D. Douglas (California) – See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

An eloquent and lucid political manifesto by an increasingly refreshing, honest and prudent politician.
Citizen Power showcases a myriad of power-to-the-people proposals, and sways from your politics as usual demagoguery, while Gravel’s prose is filled with solemnity and earnestness, contrary to his political opponents.
The book’s motif is the National Initiative for Democracy, a populist program that will enable ordinary citizens to become legislatures, moreover eliminating large bureaucracies and big government lapdogs.
An emphasis is brought upon the military-industrial complex and its draconian, unproductive results. Suggesting the ultimate disintegration of the latter, if not grave consequences will ensue
Gravel’s proposals on education is most interesting, and offer an ingenious subsidiary, if utilized in orthodoxy, to our failing educational system.
The War on Drugs chapter was dismaying at least, and produced a sharp contempt for the activities our government continues to perpetuate.

I have probably forgotten important topics of this book, and my review is ultimately asymmetrical and lackluster. I can only recommend this fine book, so you can make your own judgments and discoveries.

Senator Gravel was kind enough to state that, if any of our readers have additional questions, I can phone him again to get those answers. Therefore, if you have any questions which aren’t answered here, post them and in about a week I will give him another call to get your answers for you.

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  1. Great job.

    Mike Gravel will be a fine addition to our party. He has my support.

  2. Excellent job. ENM, you have answered many of the questions we had about Gravel. Thanks for getting this out there so quickly.

  3. I’ve had a rather positive impression of Mike Gravel ever since discovering him through his Democratic presidential candidacy. And what I’ve gleaned from this interview does help me see him as even more libertarian than I realized. I was impressed with his belief Social Security funds should actually belong to individuals in personal accounts rather than being nothing more than the welfare system it currently is. I was also glad to learn that his health care ideas are distinguishable from his Democrat counterparts in that it is less socialistic and does recognize the value of preserving personal choice, although I think he’s being naively optimistic as to the the potential for bureaucratic government agencies to significantly cut unnecessary waste by implementing high-tech systems. His unwavering respect for gun ownership rights and civil liberties, and his staunch anti-war views are unquestionably libertarian.

    But, his claim that he is more libertarian than Ron Paul is ridiculous. Aside from the ever contentious immigration issue and possibly abortion (where the differences between libertarians are not really of a libertarian nature), his commitment to smaller government comes across as a bit lukewarm or perhaps incidental as opposed to absolutely fundamental in the case of Ron Paul. That said, Mike Gravel is clearly more libertarian than any of the other Republocrat candidates and, in my opinion, should still be treated as a welcome addition to a big tent Libertarian Party.

  4. The National Initiative the way Gravel discusses it would destory the very notion of constitutionally confined government. (Not that it hasn’t already been destoryed.)

    Sure, American citizens could vote for libertarian open- and concealed-carry gun laws via the NI. However, they could just as easily ban guns.

  5. Mike Gravel should definately be welcome and hopefully five to ten thousand of his followers will follow him by becoming members of the national LP and their state affiliate, The LP needs you and welcome aboard ! We’ll be looking for you at our next meeting !!!

    Now that’s the attitude we all need to show to Mike’s supporters. Take this opportunity to build the LP.

  6. I like Mr. Gravel and have a lot of respect for him, but I believe he is seriously misguided about the Fair Tax. First, this is a 30% tax and not a 23% tax on goods and services. It also has a massive welfare state component: monthly “prebate” checks to every household.

    More: http://www.pnar.org/fairtax.htm

  7. I am a libertarian. I scored seven out of seven on Reason’s “Seven Ways To Win Votes” – I am for internet gambling, for medical marijuana (but I go much further than that, by decriminalizing all drugs) …. so I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul, because he scored lower.

    Reason‘s article didn’t list any economic positions, if I recall correctly. How does he do on the Politopia quiz?

  8. Good question, Alex. I honestly don’t know, but I will add that to the list of questions to ask him.

  9. love the blog, first time writing.

    Mary Ruwart, Mike Gravel, Bob Barr, all year i have been following the LP presidential race and what i liked about it was, the candidates as diverse as they are, were willing to put it on the line week in and week out. I disagree with some of them but they were at the conventions debates etc. now weeks just before the convention out of the woodwork come all the “Libertarians” this does not include dr. ruwart, she has run for the LP presidential nomination and lost but she is a Libertarian through and through, but Gravel and Barr? where has their time and money been spent till now? Why should we believe they are nothing more than disgruntled and angry at their parents (democratic and republican parties) and taking their ball and going elsewhere to play (libertarian party). I like Jingozian Phillies and Kubby, not because i agree with all they say and stand for but because they have been here wroking with and for the party, not jumping on the bandwagon for themselves seemingly at the last minute. http://www.resetamerica.com Go Jingo GO

  10. Hi, Frank. Glad you like the blog. 🙂

    Your concerns are shared by many libertarians, which is why I decided to interview Senator Gravel; I wanted to get a feel for him as a person, and find out why he made this unusual decision. It is very difficult, in my experience, to judge any LP candidate based upon mainstream interviews, because the mainstream doesn’t really understand libertarian ideals. It is far better if they are interviewed by a libertarian, because we know what questions to ask.

    Feel free to visit anytime, we’d love to have you here as a regular. 🙂

  11. Like others, I, too, have concerns about Gravel’s fascination with the regressive and misnamed “Fair Tax” and have always wondered why he challenged the late Ernest Gruening — one of the country’s most sagacious and leading antiwar voices — back in the 1968 Alaska Democratic primary.

    During that campaign, Gravel argued that he was “more in the mainstream of American thought on Vietnam” than the 81-year-old Gruening, one of only two U.S. Senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (which, of course, paved the way for full-scale U.S. military involvement in Vietnam). Though most people may be unaware of this, Gravel, who also subtly raised the issue of Gruening’s age during that bitterly-fought campaign, carefully avoided taking an antiwar position and hammered away at the elderly incumbent’s position on Vietnam while sharply criticizing Gruening for focusing so much attention on it. For that and other reasons, I guess I’ve always viewed Gravel as a somewhat tempestuous and opportunistic figure, a catch as catch can sort of guy.

    I don’t doubt that the 78-year-old Gravel has many deeply-held libertarian positions, but given the Libertarian Party’s relatively high profile in Alaska — the LP won a seat in the Alaska legislature in 1978 and captured two seats during his final year in the U.S. Senate — someone should ask him why it took him so long to finally join the party. Then again, a cynic might suggest it smacks of sheer opportunism, any port in a storm.

    My criticism aside, this was a really great interview. Nice job, Elfninosmom!

  12. […] interesting. Dondero’s interview was live on BlogTalkRadio, while ENM’s is presented as a well-written article over at Last Free […]

  13. Hi, Chris. I apologize that your comment just now posted, but for some strange reason it got caught up in the spam filter. Everybody who has posted comments between 10:58 am and 3:51 pm today (Saturday), please scroll back up to make sure you don’t miss Chris’s comment on this article.

  14. This is an excellent article, and it’s an honor to Last Free Voice that you managed to swing it, ENM. Unlike others, I’m actually quite relieved that he’s advancing the FairTax, as that’s the best we can probably expect from an ex-Democrat, and still quite good at that.

    I do have a couple of concerns, and I’ll state them as questions so you can ask them in that follow-up interview.

    1) How would the government save money by enacting this Universal Single-Payer Voucher plan? Society as a whole might save money via the computerization of healthcare records, but that would involve either subsidies to healthcare companies to provide them with the costly upgrades to make that possible, or a massive nationalization of what are currently private healthcare records. If the former, the savings are in the private sector and though society might save money as a whole, the government would increase its expenditures in a time of budgetary deficits, a massive debt, runaway inflation and a falling dollar. If the latter, what privacy safeguards does he intend to put in place so that information theft (such as what recently happened to Veterans Affairs records or passport records) will not happen?

    2) Does Senator Gravel have a detailed plan for healthcare somewhere that we may be referred to? And is he willing to compromise on this issue, given that it is most likely going to be one of the biggest sticking points with a pack of hardcore Libertarian voters that still have to decide that he, out of a surprisingly crowded field, is the one best suited to lead us? What does he think about the Medical Savings Account plans circulating in Republican circles?

    3) How exactly does he intend to grow the Libertarian Party? Does he have any concrete plans to do so? Also, how familiar is he with the culture of the Libertarian Party, and what does he intend to do to adapt to it, and where does he hope that we’ll adapt to it?

    4) Senator Gravel says he wants to trim government waste. What, exactly, does he want to cut out of current government spending?

    That’s all the questions I can think to ask. I’m not sure who I support, as quite honestly I’ve only really had time to follow the Ron Paul story with what free time I’ve had. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty turned off by any sort of a government-run healthcare proposal, due to my own personal experience with government-run healthcare. I recognize the need for a big tent, so I’m really glad that he’s joined our party and seeks our nomination, and moreover I’ll rail against anyone who says that he doesn’t belong here or he isn’t “libertarian enough.”

  15. I have a few questions.

    1. How is it libertarian or moral to steal taxpayer dollars except with a different redistribution scheme?

    2. Why should people have to get a permission slip (aka prescription) from a very pricey gatekeeper (aka government-licensed doctor) to injest substances of their choice?

    2a. When Gravel says that drug use will be decriminalized, does that include no penalties for possession or use of drugs without the aforementioned permission slip?

    2b. If non-violent drug offenders choose not to participate in Gravel’s reeducation scheme, or if they do not pass it, will they continue to be imprisoned indefinitely?

    3. Does it occur to anyone else that when “the people” can pass any laws that they want, this includes very anti-liberty initiatives such as banning guns, banning smoking, banning homeschooling,

    4. Where does the United States Constitution authorize the federal government to implement any health care scheme whatsoever?

    5. Why should anyone except a gun owner and the owner of the property she is on have any say in how openly she carries her weapon?

    Thank you.

  16. I have to admit that what this article says about Gravel I do like hearing. My eariler impression of him simply being an opportunist switching to the LP in order to gain the nomination may have been in error. I look forward to the next article.

  17. Mike Gravel & Dennis Kucinich were my two favorite Democrat candidates. Ron Paul impressed me as the most Presidential candidate so I ended up voting for Paul in the primary. Mike Gravel will make an excellent addition to the Libertarian Party. I often vote for the Libertarian candidates when Democrats & Republicans leave us between a choice of “nanny-staters” vs “neocons” Any candidates that get my vote has to have libertarian views on things instead of making expensive things mandatory like Hillary & her ‘mandatory’ healthcare insurance. Ron Paul is still on the ballots if you haven’t voted in your primary yet.

  18. About the National Initiative for Democracy: http://www.jpfo.org/smith/smith-ni4d.htm

    About the “Fair Tax”: http://tomknappforcongress.com/node/6

    “Insofar as how openly Americans should be able to carry weapons, he referred me back to the federal ballot initiative, saying that the American people should decide that issue.” If Mike Gravel is a libertarian, why is he willing to accept restrictions on the right to bear arms?

    “He believes this program [the FairTax] will create the same amount of federal revenue, but in a manner which is far more fair to the poor and working class.” If Mike Gravel is a libertarian, why is he willing to accept a tax system that takes just as much of our money as the current system? And why is it more acceptable to steal from the rich than from anyone else?

    Gravel: “I’m more libertarian than Ron Paul.” Nonsense. Ron Paul’s position on immigration is hardly the same as the sweeping anti-libertarian reforms supported by Mr. Gravel. Let’s hope the Libertarian Party nominates someone as principled as Ron Paul–like Mary Ruwart.

  19. […] for blogs where “immigration” was a tag – but we received a comment on the “A Conversation With Mike Gravel” article, asking us to post this […]

  20. […] media attention. Below is an excerpt from the Newsweek interview, posted today. I will note that Last Free voice beat Newsweek to the punch, interviewing Senator Gravel within 48 hours of his decision to run as an LP candidate. After the […]

  21. Just os everyone knows, I’m writing down all of your questions, and will be sure to ask them of Senator Gravel. 🙂

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