How Americans’ Faith In Civilized Debate Is Fueling White Supremacy

Why deploy civility to mediate a dispute between ideas of unequal value?	(Reuters/Spencer Selvidge)

By Matthew Pratt Guterl for Quartz – The fall semester has kicked off and the annual tide of speakers now washes over our communities. Not surprisingly, colleges and universities are revisiting last year’s unresolved arguments about whether white supremacist speech deserves equal space and protection. Already, in the aftermath of the bloody white supremacist actions in Charlottesville, Texas A & M has cancelled a “White Lives Matter” event scheduled for early September. A “Free Speech Week” was taking shape in Berkeley, but then it all fell apart, a victim of giant egos with little capacity for event planning. A steady drumbeat of op-eds maintains that college minds are closed, that liberalism is a cult presided over by the professoriate, and that civility is endangered. In so many ways, of course, the argument over whether racism is protected speech has already been won. Hate speech legislation is stalled. Newspapers feature deeply conservative voices on their opinion pages. There is a white supremacist in the White House. Universities may strive for balance and inclusion, and tens of thousands of talks sponsored by student groups of all shapes and sizes go off without a hitch every year, but the general mood is grim. There will be a lot of right-wing anguish about the supposedly closed minds of college campuses…

Climate Change Kept Out Of Presidential Debates

Climate activists march in Paris in 2014. On Thursday, a coalition of international NGOs and individual climate activists have demanded that France lift its imposed bans on large protest for the COP21 talks. (Image: Screenshot from YouTube)

By Peter Dykstra for Environmental Health News – On Wednesday evening during the final presidential debate of the campaign, Hell did not freeze over. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, where climate denial plays nothing but home games, passed on the final opportunity to ask Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton about climate change. This presidential campaign has been a catastrophe for American democracy and for American political journalism.

US Hypocrisy: Urges Inclusive Debates Around The World But Not In US


By Lee Fang for The Intercept – When it comes to presidential debates, the United States does not practice what it preaches: When advising debate organizers in foreign countries, government officials advise them to include minor party candidates. USAID, the government agency charged with promoting foreign development, funded a guide for “organizers around the globe seeking to hold candidate debates for elected offices.” The guide, published in 2014, recommends that debates be as inclusive as possible.

Occupy The Debates

Occupy election image

By Kevin Zeese for OpEd News. A recent USA Today poll found 76% of voters want debates with four candidates including not just the two most hated candidates in history, the Republican and Democratic nominees and their vice presidential running mates, but Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka of the Greens, and Gary Johnson and Bill Weld of the Libertarians. Any candidate on enough ballots to achieve 270 electoral college votes should be in the debates. The people have a right to see all candidates debating the issues who are on their ballots. The deceptive debate commission, which is called a debate commission just to hide the truth: it is a corporation of the Democrats and Republicans whose purpose is to limit debates to their two parties, has no legitimacy. It has a major conflict of interest — why should the two establishment parties decide their opponents cannot debate? It is an obvious conflict of interest that the media should be calling out. The media should join the demand of the people — open debate are essential for democracy.

Potential ‘Occupy Debates’ Movement Threatened

Activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement marked the fourth anniversary of their encampment in Zuccotti Park on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015. Pictured: Occupy protesters march in New York City, on Sept. 17, 2013. Reuters/Joshua Lott

By John Eggerton for Broadcasting & Cable – A former Green Party candidate and Occupy FCC activist is seeking to get third party candidates into the televised presidential debates and has called on the Republican and Democratic candidates to push for inclusion, suggesting there could be an “Occupy Debates” protest targeting media, sponsors and candidates if the criteria for participation are not changed. The first of three presidential debates, organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates, is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2016, at Hoffstra University in Hempstead, New York. T

Jill Stein Should Be Part Of A Four-Way Presidential Debate

Jill Stein speaks at the Green Party Presidential Candidate Town Hall in Mesa, Arizona, on March 12, 2016. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

By John Nichols for The Nation – After the Republicans and Democrats finished their conventions in late July, the Green Party gathered this month to nominate Dr. Jill Stein for the presidency. Stein’s campaign — with her party on ballot lines in the majority of states, and her poll numbers surging ahead of Green numbers from recent presidential elections — has the potential to be a breakthrough bid for the Greens, and for a more robust democracy.

Newsletter: #NoHoneymoon, A Presidency Of Protest

Stage on first day of Occupy Washington, DC at Freedom Place, October 2011.

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The task of the movement for economic, racial and environmental justice is much bigger than the presidential election. Our job is to build people power to ensure that no matter who is the next president, the people’s voices are heard and our demands are part of the political agenda. We urge organizers and advocates across the nation to begin to plan a campaign beginning in early 2017 and carrying on through the inauguration to ensure that right from the beginning the people’s voices are a dominant narrative. The #NoHoneymoon campaign will take various forms in communities across the country. Talk to your networks of activists and plan what would work best in your community. The creativity and energy that comes from diverse leadership has surprised the nation before and can do so again.

How Presidential

Sign: "This is not democracy, it is a dictatorship" - Protest in Madrid, Spain. (Photo: Marta Breijo / Flickr)

By Sam Husseini for Posthaven – Rice: Mainly, I think it’s important to wake people up. They’ve gone to sleep for 70 years by the intent of the government from the beginning. People weren’t consulted in the building or use of these horrific weapons. It was all very secret and very contained. Even during the production of nuclear weapons, one worker didn’t know what the other was doing.… What happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not in the textbooks. It was unspeakable to have any discussion of the suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Moreover, the decision-makers were in denial.

Include All Qualified Candidates In 2016 Presidential Debates


By Staff of Open The Debates – Run by the Republican and Democratic parties, the CPD has set up rules making it almost impossible for third party candidates to be included in the debates. Americans deserve the ability to hear from everyone who will be on their ballot. As a coalition of individuals and organizations across the political spectrum, we are calling for the CPD to reform their rules. Starting in 2016, candidates who qualify on enough state ballots to possibly win the presidency should be invited to participate in the presidential debates.

Time To End The Two Party Controlled Debate ‘Commission’


By Zaid Jilani for The Intercept – DONALD TRUMP AND Hillary Clinton have theoretically agreed to three debates. But the value of those debates will be dramatically limited because the Commission on Presidential Debates, which runs them, is a private organization controlled by elites from the two major parties whose goal is to protect their standard-bearers. And under the guidance of the commission, presidential debates have become echo chambers for the two major party candidates to repeat familiar talking points and lob rehearsed one-liners, rarely deviating from their scripts.

How To Ensure Inclusive Four-Person Debates In Presidential Race

Debate stage

By Jeff Cohen for Common Dreams. Debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will not do much to enlighten the political discourse in the United States. The US public deserves more and 2016 is the year for the public to insist on more. The phony “Commission” on Presidential Debates is really a Democratic Party-Republican Party corporation funded by big business. They are not a “Commission” in any sense of the word, they are a corporation using the word commission as a disguise. The two parties and big business should not be deciding who is included in the presidential debates. Below is an article from Jeff Cohen of Roots Action focusing on uring the media to insist on inclusive 4-person debates. It is a useful petition but without much more it will be ineffective. The corporate media makes hundreds of millions in profits from the elections. They will not go against the two establishment parties that buy advertising on their networks. More is needed. The path to inclusion is not going to come from the media which has been consistently complicit in the debate charade. More is needed. The path will come if we can convince one of the two candidates to urge inclusion of all four campaigns — the Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Greens — in the debates. Stein-Baraka wrote an open letter to Trump and Clinton yesterday calling for four-war debates.

How We Got Here: The ‘Rigged’ Primary Debates

The U.S. Capitol is reflected in a puddle next to the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C., Oct. 15, 2013. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

By Pete Tucker for The Huffington Post – Democrats and Republicans seized control of the televised presidential debates nearly thirty years ago. Since then, the general election debates have become increasingly dry, in contrast to the parties’ more frequent and freewheeling primary debates. But that began to change this time around. “During this election, the Republican and Democratic parties have asserted unprecedented control over the primary debates,” explained George Farah, author of No Debate. “And the results have been disastrous.”

Can Jill Stein And Gary Johnson Crash The Debates?

Jill Stein is considering another Green Party presidential bid. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

By Pete Tucker for The Huffington Post – To get in, Stein and Johnson must appear on enough state ballots to win (which isn’t easy), and register at least 15 percent in five national polls (which regularly don’t include them). These requirements come from the official-sounding Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which was created by Democrats and Republicans in 1987 to wrest control of the televised presidential debates away from the nonpartisan League of Women Voters. Since CPD erected its 15 percent barrier in 2000, no third party candidate has made it into the debates.

Democratic Debate: Alan Greenspan’s Spouse Should Not Have Co-Hosted

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By Pam Martens and Russ Martens for Wall Street on Parade – Leave it to NBC to remind us that corporate media is tone deaf when it comes to facing up to outrageous conflicts of interest. The final presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary aired last night on NBC and was co-moderated by Lester Holt and Andrea Mitchell. Given the public focus on Hillary Clinton’s financial ties to Wall Street, it was clear that hard-hitting policy questions on reforming Wall Street would need to be asked during the debate.

Lawsuit Against Phony Debate Commission Filed

Open Debates 2016

By Scott McLarty for the Green Party. The Commission on Presidential Debates is a charade. It may have a name that sounds official but in fact it is a corporation created by Democratic and Republican political operatives and funded by big business interests to keep independent parties like the Green and Libertatian Party and candidates out of the presidential debates. A lawsuite has been filed to require the so-called Commission become non-partisan and us objective criteria to determine debate participation. This would be long overdue changes because non-participation in presidential debates is a barrier to fair elections. The Green Party of the United States has joined in a lawsuit filed in a federal district court in Washington, D.C. on Monday alleging that third-party and independent candidates have been illegally excluded from the televised presidential debates in general elections. The lawsuit charges that the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and certain of its directors have violated federal election law.