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Friday, September 24, 2004

More LTE Successes

As part of the DebateBadnarik campaign I've written a bunch of letters for others to copy or rewrite and use as their own. I'm please to say three of those letters have paid off for me if nobody else. In the last week and a half I've had different letters published in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Elgin Courier and the Daily Herald. The Times and Courier are firsts for those papers, the Herald is my second there. I never would have known about the Courier one except for the Badnarik button I wear. At work one of my customers saw the button and put it together with the letter he had read in his paper (he didn't know my last name) and asked if I wrote the letter. They had never called to verify the letter with me so I had no idea they were going to run it.

Speaking of that button. I ran into an old friend, I only see her about once every 8 or 10 months. While we have discussed politics in the past it was always in a general way, never about party affiliations. So she sees my Badnarik button and an old relationship is renewed and strengthened. She's a Libertarian too! Not just a Libertarian but all the sudden we're finishing each others sentences about principle and voting for someone you believe in and the lesser of two evils. She knows, she understands, so few of my friends do it seems. Hello Natalie!

Friday, September 10, 2004

Contacts and Sample Letters to the Editor


"LTE" e-mail addresses for top 100 newspapers in the country.

Media website list state by state for your local papers.

Thanks to ElectionReform.org for the above contacts.

NOTE: With all e-mails please cc: DBcontactmade@yahoo.com if you can't "cc" us please send an e-mail with "LTE" in the subject line.

Sample Letter 1

Dear Editor,
A very important part of our political process, the debates, are about to arrive. Or are they? What was once a vital part of a voters decision making has become a tightly controlled, heavily scripted, bipartisan sham not debates. We should not allow this to happen.

Debates used to be where voters would move to one candidate or the other, where undecideds may decide. Debates are where some of our greatest (and some not so great) leaders were discovered. Recall the historically revered Lincoln-Douglas debates, or the history changing Kennedy-Nixon debates. Who doesn’t remember vice presidential candidate Lloyd Benston telling his opponent, Dan Quayle "Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy?"

Today we are assured that no history making moments will occur during the debates. Back in 1988 the leaders of the democrats and republicans formed a corporation called the Commission on Presidential Debates and wrested control away from the then sponsors of the debates, the League of Women Voters. When this happened debate was effectively neutered. Now every minor detail is negotiated, candidates are not allowed to directly address each other, questions are posed in advance so answers can be rehearsed, and third party candidates are intentionally excluded. Is this honest debate, or is it as Walter Cronkite declared "unconscionable fraud?"

We as free Americans should demand honest and open debates. We deserve to hear the beliefs and opinions of those who would lead us, and not just from the two major parties. We deserve to hear from every viable presidential candidate if we are to truly understand and evaluate the various ideas and positions regarding the many events that effect our lives today. I ask everyone to join the movement for a return to meaningful debates by signing the petition at www.opendebates.org. In a free society open debates should not be too much to ask for.


Sample Letter 2

Dear Editor,
President Bush has decided he may "opt out" of an upcoming scheduled presidential debate, and while I personally disagree with him on many issues this is one on which I whole heartedly agree with him. There is no reason to participate in these debates.

In 1988 a front organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was created by the heads of the democrat and republican parties. The purpose of the CPD was to exclude third party candidates and to control every aspect of the debates as negotiated between the two major party candidates’ campaign teams. These negotiations go as far as determining podium height, camera angles, question and answer lengths, even the questions that can be asked, and candidate to candidate dialogue is prohibited. How do you debate someone if you cannot even talk to them?

It’s no wonder the debates are now being called a fully scripted bipartisan press conference. So like our president I am going to opt out of the debates this year. However I am not giving up on our political system. I am going to join the movement for restoring honest and true debates by signing the petition at www.opendebates.org and I encourage all your readers to do the same.


Sample Letter 3 - Compliments of Y. Kelly of Texas

Dear Editor:
The presidential debates are almost here. I ask for reader support to open these debates to include all electable presidential candidates. This year a very high percentage of voters (20%+ according to the Cato Institute) are disenfranchised and unhappy with the two-party candidates. Hence, the public is best served by having a true, unbiased picture of the alternate choices by seeing ALL candidates in this forum.

The Republican and Democratic candidates typically refuse to debate with third party candidates, citing their own arbitrary standards for exclusion. They own the system, make the rules and act like a ruling establishment who knows best about what choices YOU the voter should be ALLOWED. But, it is WE THE PEOPLE who own the system and if we don't own the debates, we don't own our votes. An open date could be fiery! It might actually increase public interest in the election. People might be empowered to see that their vote matters. Contrast that to what you've fallen asleep to in the past.......Republican and Democratic "pet" journalists, asking pre-scripted, softball questions, complete with rehearsed answers. Is that how they keep their seats on Air Force One at your expense?

Here's a simple, quick way to assert your right to hear ALL the candidates and ALL the facts. Go to http://opendebates.org/yourrole/petition/ and sign the petition NOW. Call the Kerry and Bush campaigns on their toll free numbers and tell them it is not acceptable to exclude third-party candidates who are on the ballot in enough states to be electable. Call their bluff. Don't leave it to someone else. It's your vote. Make it count.


Sample Letter 4 - Compliments of T. Blanton of Virginia

Dear Editor,
Americans are being deprived of meaningful political discourse because Bush and Kerry are too much alike. Besides being Skull and Bones frat brothers, they are both big government establishment politicians. Bush and Kerry share a fondness for the same sort of policies. Kerry did not oppose Bush's Iraq War, Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, or Prescription Drug Benefit Plan. The debates will be little more than a showcase for the rhetorical performances of Bush and Kerry. Of course, they will present a plethora of promises and programs to be paid for by us. Voters are short-changed when debate is reduced to partisan platitudes. Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik (www.badnarik.org) will not be at the debates. Despite achieving ballot access in most states and a Rasmussen poll showing 68% in favor of including Badnarik in the debates, he will be excluded. Are the Bonesmen afraid of Badnarik?


Sample Letter 5 - Contributed by J. Spinks of New Mexico

Dear Editor,
Currently the qualification to compete in the debates is 15% of the national vote. I would submit that any candidate that is placed on the ballot for 2/3rds of the States should be allowed to debate. This is a guideline given by the U.S. Constitution to pass an amendment. Why then can't a candidate be qualified to debate under the same requirements?

I submit the current requirement is simply a number picked out of the air, to further restrict the Democratic process of election. If more than 7 candidates run who then gets their voice heard better than the others? Simple math: 7X15=105%. Does this mean that 1 candidate of the 7 gets the boot? Lets hope its a major party candidate.


NOTE: We are in need of more sample letters if you wish to contribute letters to be posted here e-mail to debatebadnarik@yahoo.com

Thank you for participating,
Gary Feezel

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Unimportant Update

Just a note to bring some fresh news to this blog. Most of my postings are the drafts created to be pasted over on the Debate Badnarik blog which is demanding much of my time, and sapping my brain as I try to come up with information and direction for that movement. In fact I need a nap to recharge the batteries.

I figure this is my blog so I should inject it with a little of my life.....It is a lovely day here in the Chicago 'burbs. 67 degrees, 53% humidity, 3 mph breeze out of the NE according to the Weather Bug, and hardly a cloud in the sky. I sit in my lair high above the historic and bucolic Woodstock Square with classical music wafting in my open windows. That music is pumped in at a tolerable level in order to discourage the youngsters from hanging out and scaring off the tourists. Which maybe isn't right, but it is effective in it's intent and creates a wonderful ambiance. I love it here. I am content.

Now for that nap.

Updating the Update: Wicked task master I am I deprived myself of the nap and went for a walk and a cup of joe instead. Love that Starbucks (or Starbuckles as I call for some reason). I also insist on asking for a medium or large cup instead of "Grande" or "Venti". I don't speak Italian (or is it French?) and I won't go along with their pretention. I mentioned tourists before and sure enough I passed a family - mom, dad and young daughter - speaking something European. Norwegian or Danish, something orgy-borgy if you get my meaning (with no intention of offense). I don't know how they chose or even find Woodstock, but there are few summer weekends that I don't hear a foreign language being spoken on the Square. Welcome to town folks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Contact the Competition

They probably won't even acknowledge us but we still need to let the competition know that we are on to them. Be gentle with the third parties, we're all in the same boat. I was going to say hammer Bush and Kerry, but maybe it's better to play the innocent undecided. I think the bidding is up to lifetime tax exemption, a night in the Lincoln bedroom, and two days free use of all Patriot Act authority for any swing voter if you commit to them. I could be wrong about some of this, but I'm sure your vote is worth something to them.

Bush-Cheney '04, Inc.
P.O. Box 10648
Arlington, VA 22210
ph: 703-647-2700
fax: 703-647-2993
e-mail: BushCheney04@GeorgeWBush.com

John Kerry for President, Inc.
P.O. Box 34640
Washington, DC 20043
ph: 202-712-3000
fax: 202-712-3001
e-mail: http://www.johnkerry.com/contact/contact.php

NOTE: Immediately after contacting the Bush or Kerry campaigns please answer your front door, the Secret Service would like to talk to you. Just kidding, a little Patriot Act humor there. Haha, gulp.

I really don't think it is neccesary to contact other third party candidates regarding debates. They all want the same thing we do. Unless of course you have connections with an activist group affiliated with them that will pitch in with us. Regardless here are the campaign addresses.

Cobb-LaMarche '04 (Green Party)
P.O. Box 693
Eureka, CA 95502
ph: 646-619-1149
fax: 212-400-7200
e-mail: info@votecobb.org

Nader for President 2004 (Independent/Reform)
P.O. Box 18002
Washington, D.C. 20036
ph: 202-265-4000
fax: N/A
e-mail: http://votenader.org/contact/index.php

Peroutka 2004 (Constitution)
8028 Rithcie Highway, Suite 303
Pasadena, MD 21122
ph: 877-627-2004
fax: 410-766-8592
e-mail: http://p04inquire.giftwrapplus.org/

Monday, August 23, 2004

Letter to the Editor Successes (4)

The second of my "form letters" sent off to multiple LTE's went out via e-mail on 8/22/04. The Northwest Herald called today (8/23/04) to confirm it was my letter, and said it will run in the next week. The Editor called himself and sounded pretty friendly, maybe I can develop this relationship and have an "in" to getting more published. Although they, like most other papers have a once every thirty days maximum for publishing. I'm hoping to hear from other papers too, the Rockford Star owes me. They confirmed a letter and said they would run it, but never did.

To the Editor...

The economy what it is everyone has had to tighten their belts just to get by. Everyone but the government that is. President Bush has raised spending to record levels, and Senator Kerry promises more of the same, and tax increases to boot. Libertarian candidate for president, Michael Badnarik promises to reduce spending and lower taxes, beginning on his first day in office. I would encourage everyone to look into his campaign at badnarik.org. For his stance on taxes and other issues he has earned my vote.

Update: This letter was published in the NW Herald on 8/25/04! Now to work on some "Debate" letters.

Letter to the Editor Successes (3)

Finally I cracked the Chicago Tribune. This was a complete surprise as I really wasn't writing to be published. Some socialist nut-job was published talking about the joys of government programs, and how she was able to do things she would otherwise have to pay for herself. Her screed irked me so I shot off a quick letter before I read another word of my paper. I was so distracted I never thought to mention Badnarik or even Libertarians in general, but the letter is definitely Libertarian themed. I've written the Trib about 30 times in the last year, 15 of those in the last two months, always touting Michael Badnarik or Libertarian thought to no avail. Then this little rebuttal got published on 8/21/04.

To the Editor...

Hallie Metzger sings praises for a tax-and-spend system that she also admits is dysfunctional. I'm glad she had the pleasant day she describes, but I would like to point out that the reason it cost her so little out of pocket is that she also took a little out of everyone else's pocket.

I'd like it if she wasn't so cavalier about spending my money.

Letter to the Editor Successes (2)

I decided that since corporations seem to love form letters I would send them one. Why not increase the odds of getting published by writing one letter and sending to multiple outlets? It seems to work, I'm 2 for 2 this way. This letter was sent out on 8/2/04 and got published in the Daily Herald (another suburban Chicago paper) on 8/13/04. The content was probably dated by that time, but free advertising is FREE!

To the Editor...

With the excitement and hoopla of the Democrats convention fresh in our minds it is a good time to reflect on just what the Kerry campaign is offering as an improvement over president Bush. Sadly, not much. Perhaps most disturbing to me is Senator Kerry’s answer to an ill conceived war in Iraq. His idea is to increase the number of our troops, and thus increase their exposure to danger. Worse yet he is willing to turn authority of our military over to NATO, abdicating his own potential responsibility as Commander in Chief. In contrast the Libertarian candidate for president, Michael Badnarik, promises to end the war, bring our troops home as safely as possible, and maintain them as a defensive force to protect our great nation. For this he has earned my vote, and I encourage you to look into his campaign at badnarik.org.

Letter to the Editor Successes (1)

The following is the first letter I ever had published in a newspaper's LTE. I had written repeatedly to the Chicago Tribune without success figuring since I was a long time subscriber they would give my letter special consideration. Hah! I also liked the idea of wide circulation, but I've learned to aim a little lower. Not that I gave up on the Trib. This letter was published in the Northwest Herald (of suburban Chicago) on 7/14/04.

To the Editor...

It is extremely disappointing that your paper is giving absolutely no coverage of the Libertarian Candidate for President, Michael Badnarik. Despite a remarkable come-from-behind victory at the Libertarian convention at the end of May you have completely disregarded him. Given the Illinois Republican Party seemingly dying of self-inflicted wounds, and the big-government, massive deficit, Bush administration, conservatives deserve exposure to every viable candidate running. The Libertarian Party looks like they’ll be on the ballot in all 50 states for the fourth presidential election in a row. The only third party to do so in this election cycle, but can’t get a mention in your paper. Yet media darling Ralph Nader who qualifies to be on only a couple state’s ballots get frequent coverage, as if he’s a true contender. As a member of the "Fourth Estate" it is your duty to give more and better coverage of presidential candidates from across the political spectrum. Michael Badnarik’s story offers additional interest based on the fact that his mother is running for lieutenant governor for Indiana. Quite possibly the first time a mother and son will be on the same political ticket. It is also note-worthy that several national news organizations are predicting that Michael Badnarik will be the spoiler in this election, not Ralph Nader.

Debate Sponsors

Like some board members of the CPD, direct contact addresses of debate sponsors can be hard to pin down. Especially given that the sponsors are generally giant corporations or well funded foundations, finding the right contact can be difficult at best

It is interesting that some CPD board members have current and/or past connections to debate sponsors. Newton Minow once studied debates produced by the CPD for the 20th Century Fund (now the Century Foundation), in which he concluded everything was rosey. He was named to the Board of the CPD shortly afterward.

These are the sponsors for the 2000 debates since the 2004 sponsors have not been announced as of yet. We must discourage these groups from involving themselves in this fraud called debates again.

The Marjorie Kovler Fund, chaired by Peter B. Kovler, also chair of the Center for National Policy, general contact there is Kevin Lawler (attention Peter B. Kovler)

Anheuser-Busch (general contact)

The Century Foundation (formerly the 20th Century Fund) President, Richard C. Leone (may not work), alternate, Program Officer, Thad Hall

Ford Motor Company Fund, President, Sandra E. Ulsh (general contact)

The Ford Foundation (general contact)

AARP (formerly American Assoc. of Retired Persons) (general contact)

The Knight Foundation (general contact)

US Airways (Consumer Affairs)

3Com (general contact)

Above are the "General Debate Sponsors", the "Internet Sponsors" will be posted later.

Monday, August 16, 2004

What is a Libertarian??
By now you've probably heard at least a little something about the Libertarian party. Libertarians have had a Presidential candidate on the ballot in all fifty states for the past three election cycles, and the Badnarik campaign is well on its way to making this year's election number four. We have candidates running for local and state level positions all across the country, and currently boast over 600 Libertarians in public office. Many people are even aware that the Libertarian party is the third-largest political party in American politics.

In spite of all this familiarity, the one question that many people still seem to have is, ``What exactly is a Libertarian??`` People with conservative beliefs often see us as ``liberal`` because of our outspoken defense of personal freedoms -- like the freedom of expression, or the freedom for peaceful adults to decide what to eat and drink, and how to raise their children. On the other hand, people with liberal beliefs tend to see us as ``conservative`` because of our staunch defense of economic freedoms, including the freedom for people to trade with one another in a way that they decide is in their own best interest. These misconceptions say more about the prejudices of the people who hold them, than they do about the Libertarian perspective.

Despite all the confusion, the Libertarian philosophy is especially easy to understand. Libertarians are, quite simply, people who believe in ``Self-Ownership``: I own myself, and nobody else on Earth has a higher claim to my body or my labor than I do. Likewise, we have a deep respect for other peoples` self-ownership: You own your body, and so long as you're acting in a way that doesn't interfere with anyone else's freedom, you should be free to do what you please.

The idea of ``Self-Ownership`` is what is what distinguishes us from both liberals and conservatives. Every political position that Libertarians take can be traced back to this simple idea. For example, Libertarians are opposed to ``liberal`` attempts to use the government to regulate people`s buying practices by imposing tariffs on certain goods and industries. We oppose this kind of regulation not because we think that all goods and industries are equally wonderful, but because we believe that people own themselves, and can decide what to buy based on their own beliefs and values. If for some people that means buying fair-trade coffee at the local co-op grocery store, then that's great -- just as long as they don`t use the government`s power to force other people to do the same.

Likewise, Libertarians are opposed to ``conservative``attempts to use the government to regulate people's morality, by imposing laws that restrict their behavior on the Sabbath, or at the pharmacy, or in the bedroom. We're opposed to these kinds of legal restrictions not because we think that all lifestyle choices are equally worth pursuing, but because we believe that people own themselves, and can decide how to live their lives as they see fit.

If you're not conservative and you are not liberal, where do you fit on the political spectrum?

The traditional left-right spectrum is one that political scholars have recognized as incomplete for some time. In fact, it is really only useful for tracking the answer to one question: ``What part of your life do you think government should control?`` On the left-hand side of the spectrum we find people who believe that it is the government's job to regulate our economic lives ; that is, our interactions with one another that involve exchange. Democrats and Green party members tend to be on this end of the spectrum. On the right-hand side, we find people who believe that it's the government's job to regulate our social lives. Republicans and Constitution party members tend to be on this end of the spectrum. This one-dimensional view of politics as something for controlling one area of life or another, explains why many libertarians cringe when we hear congress talk about passing ``bipartisan legislation''

The closest you can come to charting Libertarians on a one-dimensional left/right spectrum is to plot us directly in the middle of the two extremes. This is the only place on the line where you could put people who don`t believe in controlling each others lives either in an economic or a social sense. However, this fails to take into account that, like all other political groups, Libertarians come in varying degrees. It also makes it difficult to find a place to put people who believe that government should control both economic and social decisions.

It seems clear that the simple left/right political spectrum falls short of accurately describing the various mix of political opinions. There have been several ideas about how to address this problem, the most prominent resulting in the ``Nolan Chart``, which tracks personal and economic freedom along two separate axes. Libertarians often use a short quiz in order to show people where they might fit within this more accurate type of political spectrum. If you have not already done so, click here link to http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html and take the quiz for yourself. You may be surprised to see where you fit!

For those of you who score in the Libertarian range, you will find that you're in good company: From television celebrities Drew Carey and Bill Maher, to philosophers Murray Rothbard and Robert Nozick, to U.S. Congressman Ron Paul ; people from all walks of life are proud to call themselves libertarians.

Of course, ours is not the first generation to hold these ideas. The Declaration of Independence, presents what is perhaps the perfect example of the Libertarianism in this country`s history. The Libertarian concepts of self-ownership and mutual respect for each others rights were the ideas that sparked the abolition of slavery, and resonated clearly throughout the civil rights movement.

These are ideas that are just as relevant today as they were then. There are ideas that people still agree with in great numbers. However, too often people are lead to believe that they do not have a choice ; that they must give something up in an attempt to elect ``the lesser of two evils'' but how can being compelled to choose between your ``social`` freedoms and your ``economic`` freedoms be anything but evil?

There is another choice: If you think as we do, and if you want to send a clear message to Washington this November ; a message that will force politicians in both major parties to think twice about passing laws that restrict your self-ownership, then vote for the candidate that you agree with most, instead of the candidate that you fear the least. Vote Libertarian!

To learn more about how the Libertarian philosophy and it`s concept of Self-Ownership is being applied to specific political issues., click here, http://www.lp.org/issues/.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

CPD's Strict control of Media

I am a legally ordained Toaist minister in the Universal Life Church so theoretically I have a congregation, and they (or me as it were) deserve a media member who represents their point of view. So with this in mind I thought I would apply for press credentials for the debates. Not so fast buddy, the CPD has covered this angle too. On their Media Accreditation page is the following restriction.....

"Only full-time employees of news organizations are eligible, no stringers, freelancers, interns, students or family members will be credentialed."

Only media members already bought and paid for need apply.

Virtual Debate Idea

Houman Shadab posted an excellent idea for a "Virtual Debate" in the (likely) event that we can't get Mr. Badnarik into the debates.....

Comment from: Houman Shadab

My idea: have Badnarik "debate" the other two by some type of live simulcast, where he can respond to the questions being asked and also respond to Bush's and Kerry's comments.

This way, a press release could be issued, or (even better) an article written stating: "LP Candidate to Debate Bush and Kerry. Even though LP Presidential Candidate Badnarik is not allowed in the debates, that isn't stopping him from participating. Etc. etc."

For example, Badnarik could set up a small stage with a podium outside of the main debate location. Two TVs (on stands) show the debate. Three podiums, one in front of each TV (representing Bush and Kerry) and one for Badnarik. Whatever else is on the real stage should be mimicked on the smaller stage outside. Then, after the question is asked, Badnarik can respond along with the candidates. Of course, the one logistical problem is not being alloted time to respond, so maybe a TIVO is probably in order. Of course, having supporters there would be great too.

If done in a professional and serious manner, without a hint of anger or sarcasm, it could have a great effect. This could create a real David and Goliath situation, earn Badnarik great sympathy and respect and show that he is qualified and deserves to debate the other two.

The three podiums, two TVs and Badnarik set up could make for a great visual showing how Badnarik is being "locked-out" and must resort to debating a TV. Just imagine a picture of it with an accompanying story, e.g. "Is This Democracy?"

Of course, the live stage is just an idea an may end up looking silly in execution. But I think some type of public real-time, debate-format-like response could be really effective and garner attention.

As I re-read this and post it to my own blog it occurs to me, why wait for the debates at all? It is a well known fact at this point that these are not debates in any sense of the word. They are negotiated and scripted bipartisan photo-ops. Knowing this, and knowing the platforms of both Bush and Kerry, why not take clips from their campaign speeches and edit them into "debates" we could stage? We could select a "moderator" to ask questions pertaining to major issues. Then cut to clips of Kerry and Bush giving their typical non-answers in speeches, followed by Mr. Badnarik responding with his solutions. This may force Bush & Kerry into a corner where they have to actually debate Mr. Badnarik or at least expose their real positions.

Message From John Airheart

John is Personal Asst. to Mr. Badnarik. On 6/12/04 he posted a letter slamming the CPD and asking activists to assist Open Debates..........

Just a note on the issue of getting Mr. Badnarik into the debates -- As great as audioblogging may be for the campaign, it's not a silver bullet to get our candidate into the debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was formed by R's and D's in 1993 for the primary purpose of keeping independent and 3rd party candidates out of the debates. As long as the media accepts the CPD as legitimate, there will only be Bush-Kerry on the stage. The hope we can have is that the Citizens' Debate Commission http://www.opendebates.org is seen as THE LEGITIMATE debate commission by the American people and the media. It'll take the media realizing that the CPD debates are a sham that the American people don't want to accept in order to shame/force Bush and Kerry into legitimate debates where Mr. Badnarik would participate. But the media likes a two-way horse race, and the media and American people accept the CPD as legitimate. The CPD debates are so boring and worthless that Americans are tuning them out more and more, so this gives some hope that the debates process can be reformed by the Citizens' Debate Commission.
These are the planned sites/dates by the Citizens' Debate Commission debates:

Capital University (Columbus, OH) Sept. 22
Swathmore College (Swathmore, PA) Sept. 28
Canisius College (Buffalo, NY) Oct. 3
Willamette University (Salem, OR) V-Prez Oct. 7
Carleton College (Northfield, MN) Oct. 11
Nova Southeastern (Fort Lauderdale, FL)Oct. 15

We need to understand that our goal should be to force Bush and Kerry to participate in these debates! (emphasis added) The only way that'll happen is if the media becomes convinced these are the legitimate debates and the CPD is not. Tough task, but we need to understand the nature of the challenge in order to approach the goal most effectively.

Open Debates' George Farah solicits Badnarik

On 6/25/04 George Farah wrote a letter to the Badnarik Blog asking for us to combine our efforts.........

Letter from George Farah of Open Debates

Dear Mr. Gordon:

We think that our work to reform the presidential debates would be of particular interest to you and other member of the Libertarian Party. We hope you can send the following brief description of our campaign (or some form of it) to your members. Our grassroots campaign to reform the presidential debates will only succeed if we mobilize enough voters to demand real and inclusive presidential debates from the major party candidates. The message we hope you will spread to your members is as follows:

For the last sixteen years, the general election presidential debates have been controlled by a private corporation – the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) – that has deceptively served the interests of the Republican and Democratic parties at the expense of the American people. And for the first time in sixteen years, an organized effort to return control of the presidential debates to a genuinely nonpartisan champion of voter education has been vigorously launched. Presidential debates were run by the League of Women Voters until 1988, when the national Republican and Democratic parties seized control of the debates by establishing the CPD. Co-chaired by the former heads of the Republican and Democratic parties, the CPD secretly submits to the demands of the Republican and Democratic candidates. Negotiators for the major party nominees draft secret debate contracts called Memoranda of Understanding that dictate precisely how the debates will be run – from who gets to participate, to who will ask the questions, to the heights of the podiums. The CPD merely implements the directives of the contracts, shielding the major party candidates from public criticism. Walter Cronkite called the presidential debates an “unconscionable fraud” and accused the major party candidates of “sabotaging the electoral process.”Open Debates (www.OpenDebates.org), a ten-month old nonprofit organization, is engaged in a multifaceted, national campaign to reform the presidential debate process. In addition to aggressively exposing the antidemocratic practices of the CPD, Open Debates has formed a genuinely nonpartisan Citizens' Debate Commission to sponsor future presidential debates that address pressing national issues, feature innovative formats, and include the candidates that the American people want to see. Seventeen national civic leaders from the left, center and right of the political spectrum serve on the Citizens Debate Commission (www.CitizensDebate.org), and over sixty diverse civic organizations serve on the advisory board of the Citizens’ Debate Commission

Our campaign to reform the presidential debates is picking up steam:

On May 24, the Citizens Debate Commission announced sites and dates for five presidential and one vice-presidential debate to be held in colleges and universities around the country.

View the press release: http://www.opendebates.org/news/pressreleases/05242004.html Major newspapers have editorialized in support of the Citizens’ Debate Commission, including the Los Angeles Times. Read the Times editorial: http://www.opendebates.org/news/relatedarticles/gloves.html A new book exposing the corrupt presidential debate process has been released, “No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates.” More info about the book is available at: http://www.sevenstories.com/Book/index.cfm?GCOI=58322100234970 Open Debates filed legal complaints with the IRS and FEC against the CPD, relying on secret copies of the 1992 and 1996 Memoranda of Understanding obtained from a whistleblower. View the secret 1996 Memorandum of Understanding: http://www.opendebates.org/documents/1996MemorandaOfUnderstanding.pdf

Now, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry must decide whether to participate in real and transparent presidential debates that maximize voter education, or stilted and deceptive bipartisan news conferences that maximize major party control. The Republican and Democratic nominees will only participate in debates proposed by the Citizens’ Debate Commission if the political benefit outweighs the political cost, and that calculus will only be achieved if sufficient voters demand democratic debates from them. Please help us exert that pressure; visit our website – www.OpenDebates.org – sign up for our infrequent Action Alerts, sign our petition, and make a financial contribution. With your help, we can restore voter education and transparency to the presidential debates.

Sincerely,George Farah
Executive DirectorOpen Debates
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