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Mike Gravel: Both US major parties are corrupt, so let’s try direct democracy

From Press TV:

Press TV:To discuss this further, we are being joined by former US senator Mike Gravel. Many thanks for joining us here on Press TV, Sir. Many American voters have come out and criticized lawmakers for not being able to get along long enough to actually fix a problem during great economic uncertainty. Do you think this is the cause of the dissatisfaction or is there a more fundamental underlying cause?

Gravel:It’s more fundamental than that. What you’re seeing is the frustration with both parties who really cannot perform. It’s really a disease of mature democracies. Because both parties are captive to special interests: corporate America, the military industrial complex, the insurance industry. All of that, so when you had the meltdown where Wall Street went amok, with the support of the political parties both “Democrat and Republican” then what happened after that is that the people who were designed with the task of correcting the problem were the people who caused the problem. That’s the reason why we have high unemployment and we have a continued recession that is affecting primarily the middle class and the lower class.

Press TV: We have seen eight years of the republicans rule under Bush and now dissatisfied with the Republicans, Democrats were preferred with Obama’s elections. The cycle seems to be continuing with these mid-term elections. What does this say for the US Democratic system as a whole?

Gravel: It calls into question and I personally feel that the representative government is broken. There is no way it’s going to be fixed within the context of representative government. That’s the reason why I’ve spent most of my recent life working for direct democracy so that the people can become lawmakers and set their own policies. And they won’t be bothered about my “special interests,” believe me.

Press TV: So much dissatisfaction with the two major political parties, why don’t we see voters in the US vote and support independent alternatives in greater numbers?

Gravel:Because both parties monopolize the field. They are supported by tax dollars, they are supported by laws, and so a third party finds it very difficult to get a foothold. So it’s a continuation. And yet if any 3rd party rose to the level of a democrat or republican party, they would be equally corrupted.


  1. Upstartgreen Upstartgreen September 26, 2010

    Hey Mike, why don’t you join one of the Third Parties and help break the TWO PARTY MONOPOLY.

  2. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 26, 2010

    He did.

  3. Jay Jay September 26, 2010


  4. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 26, 2010

    I don’t think it was unfortunate. If you believe he was a bad fit for the LP, he lost, and now he’s not even involved in the party really. If you think he would’ve been a good fit, at least he tried.

  5. pragmatist pragmatist September 26, 2010

    Hm. So who is Mike Gravel? A Libertarian? Libertarians seem to mostly hate government, as far as I can tell. But maybe he isn’t a Libertarian,, assuming one can trust that source.

    The frustrating thing is that all kinds of public figures arguing for our support refuse to be clear about who they are and what exactly and precisely they would do. Republicans generally hate government, but they don’t have the guts to say what, if anything they would cut. What exactly and clearly does Mr. Gravel want to cut? Nothing? Something? If so, exactly what?

    We are in a swamp full of irate alligators and nobody asking for public support has the courage to say clearly what they want to do to fix it. That is why I have no faith in Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians or other third parties. The American party is over and no one in politics has the strength of character to admit it.

    We are in hand to hand combat with our economic competitors. Their wages go as low as 50-75 cents/hour but maybe averaging $2.00 per hour in China, and are attached to no benefits and no concern for anything else. How many of you are willing to compete on those terms? None, right? Right, none.

    If that view of reality is true (and that is how I see it), then there is no reason to believe anything from ANY of America’s political parties. All of them are full of promises but none has the courage to come clean about how they would fix our staggering messes. Democrats and Republicans are the ones who got us into our messes.

    The third parties have failed to sell their product to Americans, which is why they are chronically out of power and chronically irrelevant.

    All I can suggest is to vote against both Democrats and Republicans in all elections at all levels. They have had all the power all of the time since long before World War 2. Therefore, they get 100% of the blame. Of course, if you like things the way they are, Democrats and Republicans get 100% of the credit and they fully deserve that credit.

    No one else can claim blame or credit because no one else had power. At that level at least, the third parties are better than the Democratic and Republican parties.

  6. NewFederalist NewFederalist September 26, 2010

    Whew! THAT hurt.

  7. Thane Eichenauer Thane Eichenauer September 26, 2010

    In the end it isn’t the fault of the special interests or the Democrats or the Republicans. The government is a creation of what people believe in.

  8. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes September 26, 2010

    The LP-Losertarian Party-kicked Gravel to the curb in 2008. Preferring counterrevolutionary Ron Paul & failing to -in violation of bylaws-draft him, settled for dixiecrat conservative Bob Barr & whatever Root.
    & the libs had a WINNING possible fusion ticket-Gravel/ Ruwart!
    What a bunch of losers.

  9. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes September 26, 2010

    upstartgreen, right, Ross, he did. & why didn’t he join the Greens? Maybe because the Greens are poor in addition to being losers. I think he thought he could get in on the Ron Paul gravy train. Swap one old man for a better one. But no, Ronulan Paulnuts are stuck on Ron.

  10. Letters | Sunday, September, 26
    More News,

    Response to ‘The New Militia’

    The Missouri Militia is clearly unique. We stand in contrast to every other self-described militia group in the nation. We do not endorse any political ideology or agenda.

    We do not entertain conspiracy theories, nor do we entertain theories disguised as “facts.”

    We welcome the opportunity to lift up our communities and lend a hand when it’s needed.

    The idea that our community service projects are somehow “camouflage” for some nefarious plan is disheartening.

    (9/12, A1, “The new militia; Resurgent paramilitary groups now promote their community service. But their critics say it’s all just camouflage.”)

    We take our service very seriously. Looking back at the service we have rendered over the last five years, one can see it is far too much time to waste trying to create a façade.

    The volunteers of the Missouri Militia are high caliber individuals.

    They work full time jobs, take care of their families and sacrifice whatever time and resources are left to give back to their communities.

    They embody the very spirit of volunteerism and are some of the most thoughtful, determined citizens you will ever meet.

    No matter what may be said of them, they will still be here to help, always ready to go beyond the call.

    Sgt. Thomas Mullins

    The Missouri Militia

    Pleasant Hill

    Editor’s note: Read the Missouri Militia’s full detailed response to The Star’s Sept. 12 story on the readers’ representative’s blog, Ad Astrum, at

  11. Luke McKellar Luke McKellar September 27, 2010

    The two parties are corrupt. So let’s go for direct democracy. Hell why stop there, lets just go straight to socialism! Then the 51% of us can vote to make the other 49% pay for all our stuff, like free health care and social securit….oh. we’re already there.

  12. Kevin Knedler Kevin Knedler September 27, 2010

    “Mob rule” with direct democracy. You best hope you are on the winning team at that point. My little antennas go up when I hear the words “states rights” , “mob rule”, and “direct democracy”. So where are the protections for the little guy, the minority, etc with that sort of system?

  13. Ross Ross September 27, 2010

    Congress, the judiciary, and the executive branch, Kevin. It would be another piece in a system of checks and balances.

  14. Ross Ross September 27, 2010

    As for Luke…I’m not sure why direct democracy and socialism would be connected. One is an economic system, one a (part of a) political system.

    And if you think we live under socialism, you are deluded.

  15. Green Party Voter Green Party Voter September 27, 2010

    Glad to see Mike Gravel still fighting the good fight.

    Mike Gravel would have made an excellent Green Party Vice Presidential candidate…in fact …

    Mike Gravel would make a great Green Party candidate for anything.

  16. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes September 27, 2010

    reen Party Voter, you bring up a good question. What happened in 2008? How did Gravel(& he really does need an elle at the end of his name) wind up with the Libertarians rather than Greens?

  17. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson September 27, 2010

    Can we have freedom and democracy at the same time?

  18. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 28, 2010

    “Freedom is participation in power” – Cicero

  19. Robert Milnes Robert Milnes September 28, 2010

    Ross Levin, you seem like a bright yout, what is your opinion of PLAS?
    Why aren’t you supporting it?

  20. Andy Andy September 28, 2010

    “Kevin Knedler // Sep 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    “Mob rule” with direct democracy.”

    You can end up with this with legislative bodies as well. Almost all of the bad laws on the books were passed by legislative bodies.

    As long as government exsists, I support an initiative, referendum, and recall process as it serves as a check and balance against the power of legislative bodies.

    I do believe that initiative & referendum should be limited in scope by a constitution, but so should all legislation that is voted on by legislative bodies.

  21. PLAS!!! PLAS!!! September 30, 2010

    Milnes looks like a high school drama coach…

  22. Be Rational Be Rational September 30, 2010

    Andy // Sep 28, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    “Kevin Knedler // Sep 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    “Mob rule” with direct democracy.”

    “You can end up with this with legislative bodies as well. Almost all of the bad laws on the books were passed by legislative bodies.

    As long as government exsists, I support an initiative, referendum, and recall process as it serves as a check and balance against the power of legislative bodies.

    I do believe that initiative & referendum should be limited in scope by a constitution, but so should all legislation that is voted on by legislative bodies.”


    We should require a 2/3 vote to elect public officials. The office will remain open until a candidate recieves 66.6%

    We should allow recall with a 1% petition and a 1/3 vote to remove the officeholder.

  23. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi September 30, 2010

    fixing an institution’s structure requires a critical mass of support. Changes in voting and governance matters could well be indicated in theory, but in practice advocates of the institutional change need to be in a position to effect the change.

    Non-major parties and indendents are not in such a position. Therefore, IMO, such institutional changes careen into the weeds. Table these sorts of ideas unless and until the time is ripe.

    “Hours are like diamonds,
    don’t let them waste.”

  24. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson September 30, 2010

    Well Mr. Capozzi from what I read you writing @ 24 it is better to do nothing.

  25. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi September 30, 2010

    mhw, is that a question? Are you asking for my opinion about whether it’s preferable to engage in a quixotic effort, or to do something different?

    IMO, it depends. If one feels inspired to engage in a quixotic effort and no other, more helpful project seems indicated, then by all means engage in the quixotic effort. Perhaps the quixotic effort will reveal an even more useful path, one that is at once easier and more likely to yield results in time and space.

    If one loves quixotic efforts, that’s what counts, more than outcomes. For ex., posting comments on IPR is probably quixotic, but I enjoy it, so why not do it, at least until something else is indicated?

  26. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | September 30, 2010

    Robert, if something is tabled then it probably will never gain the necessary momentum/popularity/etc to become reality. Each situation demands a separate course of action, but support needs to be built somehow.

  27. Robert Capozzi Robert Capozzi October 1, 2010

    RL, if someone’s main focus is on things like direct democracy, and they feel inspired about the issue regardless of its near-term prospects, my feedback to that person is Go for it as a single-issue matter.

    The context of my comment is for my party, the LP. I don’t think that changes to the institution of voting is something we should focus on or spend resources on. Ballot access, candidate development, recruitment strikes me as a full plate for the LP, given its resources.

    Internally, the LP also has work to do. There are some in the LP and LM who continue to hold grievances about events that happened in 1980! There is still anger (I sense) over the reform efforts that deleted a lot of extremist language from the LP platform. So, internal healing seems indicated as well.

    Personally, the notion of direct democracy doesn’t float my boat. We have too much “ocracy” to begin with — I’m for lessocracy.

  28. Mr Data Mr Data July 16, 2012

    It appears that we are stuck in what is coined a *Catch 22* where two equal but opposite energies are fighting with each other except neither are getting anywhere.

    We need some kind of a middle person to solve our political party system but how and where to get that middle person in a position to be able to actually DO something useful is the million $$ question.

  29. Mr Data Mr Data July 16, 2012

    There has been some weird shit going on around our house and it may be related to this below and please forgive me if I get some names wrong as I am weird that way.

    I cannot really explain it and my Mom is worse which I have to have a LOT of patience! 🙂

    Believe it or not despite the Patriotic Act being issued by George Bush he actually DID make a special clause that prohibited US Citizens from the warrantless searches which is how it should be but the Liberal Media spun the story around so many times the truth was long gone.

    I knew

    Obama however repealed that clause which now anybody is subject to the spying crap.
    Here’s where it gets weird!
    Strangely enough right after that law passed Dad’s computer (where the main financial accounts are) has been attacked by hackers a lot more frequently which luckily do to his awareness prevented some serious shit from happening to his computer and account.

    Why also have some kind of unusual interference JUST around our house causing our radios to blackout where if you go outside the radios work just fine and we cannot figure it out.

    Mom eventually bought a C-Crane radio and it was working for a while then after a week it too started having trouble picking up stations.

    We never had problems like this until Obama came into office then the radios started acting weird shortly there after.

    We’ve always had the radios glitch out in the winter during stormy days but this is WAY different.

    In fact!
    Dad found that part out by when driving to work the radio would not work in the garage because of too much static but when going down the driveway it suddenly comes in clear.

  30. Mr Data Mr Data July 16, 2012

    I’m actually more concerned with the addition of Home Land Security then any of the other laws.

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