Before I address a New York Times article criticizing the using of inside-the-Beltway pundits, I want to address a question asked by an online friend asked what the number 41 means when it pertains to a filibuster. As you will see below I did answer her as best that I could. She asked this in reference to how former Senator Mike Gravel filibustered to end the draft in the Viet Nam War. I have changed her name in order to protect her identity.
All it takes is 41 senators to block any bill from coming to the floor and doing so through a filibuster. Wikipedia defines it as such, “As a form of obstructionism in a legislature or other decision making body, a filibuster is an attempt to extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay or completely prevent a vote on its passage. The term first came into use in the United States Senate, where Senate rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless a supermajority of three-fifths of the Senate (60 Senators, if all 100 seats are filled) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture”
Please read what ActBlue wrote of Mike Gravel: “In the mid 1970’s I was an aide to U.S. Senator Mike Gravel. Mike Gravel was the only elected official willing to take on the Nixon Administration during the Vietnam era. He staged a one man filibuster to end the draft and he released the Pentagon Papers (risking his career) because he felt the American people had the right to know the true story behind our involvement in Southeast Asia. No one has risen to the same level of courage and conviction vis-a-vis the mess in Iraq. Have any of the other presidential candidates waged a filibuster against the War? On the contrary, instead of courage and fighting for principles, it’s been politics as usual.”
I agree in totality with what this writer wrote. What courage has Clinton, Obama, Biden, Dodd and any other senator that I can think of, shown to end this war? The tools are there to end it as Gravel ended the Viet Nam war by ending the draft. All of them can use this tool not to fund this war with one more penny and show the stamina and courage to tell the American people the truth of why this needs to be done. Lisa, we are broke and we cannot afford to spend one more penny on Iraq let alone should we invade Iran.
Now I want you to sit down (of course you are you are at your computer) and watch this seventeen minute feed and you tell me who shows the leadership. Listen carefully to all of the important issues that were not even thoroughly discussed the other night. Lisa, I am serious when I say we need leaders like Gravel in order to survive. I am urging you to send this email onto other asking they do the same.
By the way, when I mentioned to a die-hard Clinton supporter that Gravel ended the draft in Viet Nam using this filibuster tool, she said to me point blank, “I do not care what he did thirty years ago” What hubris. What courageous thing has Clinton done while in the senate? No, she has only been positioning herself to run for president. This is why I was so angry that both CNN and NBC did not allow him to take part in the debates. He should have been there and the American people deserve to know what true courage means instead of politicos who stick their wet finger up in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.
Not contained within my comments to, Lisa, and what I did address with another poster are these comments concerning what was not brought out in this debate and others, “we have many important issues to solve in this country such as two million people who are in danger of losing their homes due to sub-prime loans and the predatory agencies responsible for them. As I wrote a column the other day citing that 35 million Americans are going hungry,” That was in response to another matter.
If this question wasn’t enough to and especially blasting CNN for their exclusion of former Senator Mike Gravel as written by me in a previous piece, I came across this article published in the New York Times in which they criticized for using James Carville as a pundit especially given his close ties to the Clintons. In fact this is what, Markos Moulitsasof the Daily Kos had to say of using Carville, “Would it kill CNN to disclose that James Carville is a partisan Clinton supporter when talking about the presidential race?” That is a very good question coming from Moulitas.
This is what Tom Reynolds; a spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson had to say of using Carville, “What you saw last night lacked full disclosure. The average viewer out in middle America may not know the inside-the-Beltway connection.” Haven’t we heard enough coming from these inside-the-Beltway connections? It is time for an impartial opinion. I once wrote a column which was picked up by the Consortium News called, Pundits No, Everyday Citizens Yes and just for once, I would love to hear the voices across America commenting on these debates. Wouldn’t you? I think you would hear of items not touched upon or how the candidates themselves answer questions and more importantly waffle or do not answer period.
The New York Times also cited that using commentators like Paul Begala and former President Bill Clinton also showed a bias. In the interest of journalism, I do feel they should have used pundits not aligned with Senator Clinton.
But, as I castigated CNN for not including former Senator Mike Gravel in that debate, I commented on this article with a post as written below and posted to several political lists that I take part in. Mind you, as an independent who cannot vote in these primaries as you will see, I cannot even vote for the former senator.
All of that aside, their biggest criticism should come from not inviting former Senator Mike Gravel to that debate. Oh let us see, he ended the draft in the Viet Nam War and exposed the Pentagon Papers. In this amusing feed presented by Democracy Now, Gravel gives a humorous speech in how he was able to accomplish this feat.
I ask of my readers to sit down and watch this feed as well as the one above in which Mike Gravel touches on so many issues that are important to our shared destiny as a republic.
This is what courage is made of and we are finding so few examples of courage today. To any senator presently running for president, the tools are there within the senate rules to end this damn war. Yes, Clinton, Obama, Biden, Dodd, and McCain there is a way of ending this war. Why the hell aren’t you using them? Oh that is right, too damn busy campaigning while our soldiers continue to die as well as innocent Iraqis. Folks, I want you to circulate this feed all over including my comments. Enough is enough! Let us all say, Mike Gravel stared down Nixon to end that war, and these candidates just act tough through speech.
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