Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Free and Equal Debate tonight

Last night wasn't really the last presidential debate. There will be at least two more, including this one.

While the candidates may be from minor parties, the debate does have a major league media star, as the L.A. Times reports.

Larry King to moderate third-party presidential debate
Larry King will moderate a debate among the third-party presidential candidates on Oct. 23, the Free and Equal Elections Foundation announced on Tuesday.

The debate, which will be held in Chicago, will feature Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson of the newly formed Justice Party. The event will be broadcast live on Ora TV, the digital programming service where King launched his online talk show, “Larry King Now,” earlier this year. The Free and Equal Elections Foundation and, for unclear reasons, Russia Today will also stream the debate online.
"[F]or unclear reasons, Russia Today"--snork! Russia Today loves to broadcast dissenting American voices, including tinfoil hat wearer Alex Jones. This event is right up their alley. In fact, I found out about this debate from them.

[A] third party candidate debate is getting some much needed attention. Christina Tobin, founder of Free and Equal, joins us to discuss why she organized a debate for third party candidates and how the two party system is hurting America.
Tobin mentioned Al Jazeera, and, yes, they're joining RT America in covering the debate, as the Huffington Post reports.

Third-Party Debate To Be Broadcast By Al Jazeera English, RT America, But Not Major Cable News Networks
Al Jazeera English plans to broadcast the debate live, an editorial decision that Bob Wheelock, executive producer for newsgathering for the Americas, calls a "no-brainer."

"We've covered the presidential debates and vice presidential debate thus far," Wheelock told The Huffington Post. "Our philosophy is to treat this one the same way. It's another voice in this country that we respect and believe should have a forum and an outlet."

Wheelock said that part of Al Jazeera English's mission is "to try to provide the voice and be in places where other people aren't -- to cover areas, countries, states, cultures that aren't routinely covered by the traditional broadcast networks and cable networks."
... Link TV will also carry Al Jazeera English's broadcast in areas where the network still isn't available on the cable dial.
That's where the debate stood yesterday morning. Then, a U.S. outlet finally joined in: C-SPAN will cover Free and Equal Presidential Debate Tomorrow. I checked C-SPAN's website, and sure enough, the debate is on the schedule for 9 PM tonight.
Oct 23 at 9:00 PM - C-SPAN 1 (01:30 HR)
Free and Equal Elections
Third party presidential candidates Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson hold a debate.
As for what this debate will accomplish, other than giving the minor parties the attention they deserve, it might just air issues that the major parties and the mainstream media didn't bother to ask, as Tobin herself was quoted as saying in the L.A. Times.
“The previous debates between President Obama and Gov. Romney have failed to address the issues that really concern everyday Americans. From foreign policy, to the economy, to taboo subjects like our diminishing civil liberties and the drug war, Americans deserve a real debate, real solutions, and real electoral options.”
I echoed those sentiments myself over at Kunstler's site yesterday.
Honestly, if you want people who are willing to take on those tough issues, you might have to wait until the Free and Equal debate featuring the four top minor party candidates. That will take place tomorrow night and will be televised by Al Jazeera English. The U.S. networks aren't touching it. Too bad. Maybe a coherent response could be cobbled together the positions from Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, and Rocky Anderson. I don't hold out much hope for anything useful coming out of the mouth of Virgil Goode.
Free and Equal will sponsor one last debate featuring minor party candidates.

Second 2012 Presidential Debate October 30 in Washington, DC
Viewers of First Debate to Determine Which Candidate Advances to the October 30 Debate via Instant Runoff Voting
Following the initial October 23 debate, viewers can vote for the candidates online, ranking their first and second choices. This form of instant runoff voting (IRV) — a method used in numerous countries, United States jurisdictions, and private organizations — allows voters to submit their top two choices, so they aren’t “throwing away” a vote. Voting ends 24 hours after the end of the debate. The top two candidates with the most votes will be announced Thursday morning and will advance to the final debate on October 30.

“This is an example of how a Presidential debate and election should work,” stated Christina Tobin, founder and chair of Free & Equal. “Instant runoff voting removes the spoiler effect and promotes more positive, issue-focused campaigns. This method brings neutrality and fairness to electing the leader of our country and eliminates the “lesser of two evils” problem.”
I suspect it will be Jill Stein vs. Gary Johnson in the final debate. There are enough Libertarians online to make sure of that.

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