With a blackout from the mainstream media and the US political elite on the alternative candidates, most of the news these days is focused on the circus debates of Romney and Obama. Here is what the third-party candidates have to say on the issues.
Organized by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation with moderator, Christina Tobin, and hosted by multi-award winning broadcast journalist Larry King, candidates from the Constitution, Green, Justice and Libertarian parties sounded off on the issues facing American voters. The audience was allowed to participate in the lively debates.
Speaking to RT, Free and Equal Elections Foundation founder Christina Tobin said, "We’re going to shift the power back to the people, back to the origins of the Constitution, which doesn’t even mention parties or corporations."
While the debate statements from the third-party candidates were diverse, as much as they disagreed, there was one point on which all candidates concurred, the general concept: that the Democratic and Republican parties represent corporate interests, not the average American.
Despite having their platforms for the most part silenced by the two-party, ruling elite, the following candidates had their opportunity here to speak their minds:
Green Party candidate Jill Stein:Jill Ellen Stein (born May 14, 1950) is an American physician and internist. Stein was a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts in the 2002 and the 2010 gubernatorial elections and is a resident of Lexington, Massachusetts. She is a graduate of Harvard College (1973) and the Harvard Medical School (1979). She serves on the boards of Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility and MassVoters for Fair Elections, and has been active with the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities.
Among others, Jill Stein has been endorsed for 2012 President by linguist, author and activist Noam Chomsky and by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and war correspondent Chris Hedges.Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson:
Ross Carl "Rocky" Anderson (born September 9, 1951) served two terms as the 33rd mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, between 2000 and 2008. He is the Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights. Prior to serving as Mayor, he practiced law for 21 years in Salt Lake City, during which time he was listed in Best Lawyers in America, was rated A-V (highest rating) by Martindale-Hubbell, served as Chair of the Utah State Bar Litigation Section and was Editor-in-Chief of, and a contributor to, Voir Dire legal journal.
As mayor, Anderson rose to nationwide prominence as a champion of several national and international causes, including climate protection, immigration reform, restorative criminal justice, LGBT rights, and an end to the "war on drugs".Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode:
Virgil Hamlin Goode, Jr., (born October 17, 1946) is an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1997 to 2009. In 2000 he switched to the Republican Party. He represented the 5th congressional district of Virginia.
He lost his seat in the 2008 election to Democrat Tom Perriello. Goode subsequently joined the Constitution Party and is the party's 2012 presidential nominee.Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson:Gary Earl Johnson (born January 1, 1953) is an American businessman, a former Governor of New Mexico, and the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 election. Johnson served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, as a member of the Republican Party, and is known for his low-tax libertarian views and his strong emphasis on personal health and fitness. While a student at the University of New Mexico in 1974, Johnson sustained himself financially by working as a door-to-door handyman. In 1976 he founded Big J Enterprises, which grew from this one-person venture to become one of New Mexico's largest construction companies. He entered politics for the first time by running for Governor of New Mexico in 1994 on a fiscally conservative, low-tax, anti-crime platform. Johnson won the Republican Party of New Mexico's gubernatorial nomination, and defeated incumbent Democratic governor Bruce King by 50% to 40%. He cut the 10% annual growth in the budget: in part, due to his use of the gubernatorial veto 200 times during his first six months in office, which gained him the nickname "Governor Veto".
Johnson sought re-election in 1998, winning by 55% to 45%. In his second term, he concentrated on the issue of school voucher reforms, as well as campaigning for marijuana decriminalization and opposition to the War on Drugs.
Unfortunately organizers forgot to start with the opening statements, and Larry King apologizes, saying that opening statements were not mentioned in his notes. After the first question is asked of the candidates, the opening statements are then given.
The writer has decided to emphasize these opening statements, as these clearly show the standing of each third-party candidate and what they have to offer - for answers to the questions, readers will have to watch the debates in the video above.
Opening statement by Green Party candidate, Jill Stein:
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Jill Stein - Green Party
"The American people are in crisis. We are losing our jobs, decent wages, our homes by the millions, affordable healthcare and higher education, the climate is in meltdown and our civil liberties are under attack."
"The wealthy few are richer than ever, rolling in more dough than ever, and the political establishment is not only not making it better, they are actually making it worse, imposing austerity on everyday people, while they continue to squander trillions of dollars on wars for oil that we don't need, on Wall Street bailouts, and tax breaks for the very wealthy."
"The American people are at the breaking point, and we need to turn that breaking point in this election into a tipping point, to take back our democracy, and the peaceful, just green future that we deserve. And we do that by standing up and making sure that everyday people have a voice in this election and a choice at the polls that is not bought and paid for by Wall Street and by advancing the critical solutions that the American people are clamoring for by large majorities. Our campaign is calling for a green new deal, to create 25 million jobs, end unemployment, jump-start the green economy, and that means putting a halt to climate change and making wars for oil obsolete."
"We are calling for healthcare as a human right through Medicare for all and for bailing out the students not the banks and making public higher education free."
Opening statement by Justice Party candidate, Rocky Anderson:
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Rocky Anderson - Justice Party
"We are at a pivotal moral point in our nation's history. We've all suffered through the sell-out of our government to Wall Street, young people are burdened with record, crushing tuition debt, millions of families have lost their homes, retirement accounts have been decimated, while Wall Street fat cats, who are buying our elections, have made out like bandits."
"We've never had the disparity in income and wealth that we see between the very wealthy and all the rest of us, since the 1920's. Our poverty rate has never been so high since 1965. Child poverty and infant mortality rates in the United States are next to the worst in the industrialized world and among 50 nations, the United States has the worst rate of women dying in connection with pregnancy and childbirth. Under Obamacare there will be 30 million people without essential healthcare by the year 2022."
"And during the Bush and the Obama years, our constitution has been shredded while the imperial presidency has expanded, with presidents who think they can unilaterally take us to war often, on a pack of lies. With presidents who think they have the authority to round anyone up, including US citizens, and imprison them up to the rest of their lives without charges, without trial, without legal representation and without the right of habeas corpus."
"And our elected officials are sound asleep, when the Pentagon is warning that climate change is a greater long term security risk to the United States than terrorism. So if you like the way things are going, vote Democratic or Republican, but if you want real change, vote your conscience, vote justice. Economic justice, social justice and environmental justice."
Opening statement by Constitution Party candidate, Virgil Goode:
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Virgil Goode - Constitution Party
"I want to say thanks to Jill, Gary and Rocky for being here ... but I want to name four positions on which I am very different from Barack Obama and Mitt Romney."
"First, Obama and Romney both claim that they were and still are for a balanced budget. Reality - the Obama budget this year was 1 trillion in deficit. The Paul Ryan budget, which passed was 600 billion in deficit. I have the courage to submit a balanced budget if I am elected president, right after I am inaugurated."
"Secondly, I am for jobs and America for American citizens first, and the only candidate that has called for a near complete moratorium on green card admissions to the United States until unemployment is under 5%. It makes no sense to bring in so many foreign workers when unemployment is so high in this country."
"Third, we need to end Super Pacs, political action committees, that would be one of the best things that would open up our country for more democratic process, greater voice by the people and lastly, we need term limits. It's time to focus on doing the best job in Congress instead of the next election, and the next fundraiser."
Opening statement by Libertarian Party candidate, Gary Johnson
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Gary Johnson - Libertarian Party
"The country is in really deep trouble. We should not bomb Iran. We should end the war in Afghanistan tomorrow, bring the troops home tomorrow."
"Marriage equality is a constitutionally guaranteed right on a par with civil rights in the 60's. Let's end the drug wars. Legalize marijuana now."
"Let's repeal the Patriot Act. I would have never signed the National Defense Authorization Act allowing for you and I, as US citizens, to be arrested and detained without being charged. That's the reason we fought wars in this country."
"I promise to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year 2013, that is a 1.4 trillion dollar reduction in federal spending. If we don't do this now, we are going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse and a monetary collapse very simply is when the dollars we have in our pocket don't buy a thing, because of the accompanying inflation that goes along with borrowing and printing money to the tune of 43 cents out of every dollar we spend."
"I am the only candidate that wants to eliminate income tax, eliminate corporate tax, abolish the IRS, and replace all of that one federal consumption tax, the Fair Tax. I think it reboots the American economy, it's the answer to our exports, it's the answer to American jobs."
All candidates start the debates by agreeing that the two-party system is just not working.
Green Party candidate, Jill Stein says, "We are calling for getting money out of politics through public financing, we're calling for opening up the airwaves to all qualified candidates. We are calling for a Constitutional amendment to clarify that money is not speech, and that corporations are not people. To take back our constitutional rights."
Justice Party candidate, Rocky Anderson, says "This top-two option would tell the duopoly, you go ahead, keep raising all your money, put your own candidates out there, you can even have two people from the same political party, and that means no choice for the voters.":
Constitution Party candidate, Virgil Goode, says "I do not favor the top-two system, I agree with Jill when she said money is not speech that that the top-two system enhances those that have the most money. In my view its a hindrance to true democracy for grassroots Americans who don't want to be controlled by super Pacs and Pacs."
Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, says, "As Governor of New Mexico, completely outside the political system, I've always been pro-choice regarding everything. So this top-two voting system, this should be something that gets ferreted out on a local level, this should be something that should be ferreted out at the state level, not the national level. There are only a couple of voices being heard here, and its Tweedle-Dee and its Tweedle-Dum."
The debates continue with each candidate giving their individual views on the need for transparency in government, the NDAA, the war on drugs, US military intervention in the world, and the use of drones. Healthcare and the economic system are also discussed by the candidates in detail as they answer each question posed to them.
After watching the debate, please take the time to rank the candidates in order of preference here.