The Fourth Estate and the American political debates of 2016 and your 2016 state and local candidates!

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“The two-party system has given this country the war of Lyndon Johnson, the Watergate of Nixon, and the incompetence of Carter. Saying we should keep the two-party system simply because it is working is like saying the Titanic voyage was a success because a few people survived on life-rafts.”
Eugene McCarthy
Chicago Tribune (10 September 1978)

“Well, where there is freedom doubt itself must be free.”

Garet Garrett

As of press time the Commission on Presidential Debates is deciding if there is going to be a third person in the Presidential debates for 2016. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) sponsors and produces debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and undertakes research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit corporation controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties, has run each of the presidential debates held since 1988.

The Commission’s debates are sponsored by private contributions from foundations and corporations. The Commission is headed by Frank Fahrenkopf, a former head of the Republican National Committee, and former White House press secretary Michael D. McCurry. As of 2014, the Board of directors consists of Howard Graham Buffett, John C. Danforth, Charles Gibson, John Griffen, Antonia Hernandez, John I. Jenkins, Newton N. Minow, Leon Panetta, Richard D. Parsons, Dorothy Ridings, Alan K. Simpson, Olympia Snowe, and Shirley M. Tilghman.

In 1988, the League of Women Voters withdrew its sponsorship of the presidential debates after the George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis campaigns secretly agreed to a “memorandum of understanding” that would decide which candidates could participate in the debates, which individuals would be panelists (and therefore able to ask questions), and the height of the podiums. The League rejected the demands and released a statement saying that they were withdrawing support for the debates because “the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter.”

In 2008, the Center for Public Integrity labeled the CPD a “secretive tax-exempt organization.” CPI analyzed the 2004 financials of the CPD, and found that 93 percent of the contributions to the non-profit CPD came from just six donors, the names of all of which were blacked out on the donor list provided to the CPI. During the last week of September, 2012, three sponsors withdrew their sponsorship of the 2012 debates for not including third parties: BBH New York, YWCA USA and Philips Electronics. In 2012 the debates wound up being sponsored by Anheuser-Busch Companies, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP, International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), The Kovler Fund, and Southwest Airlines.

As of this moment if a third person is going to be on the debate stage this year it is looking like the person that stands the best chance of meeting that criteria is former New Mexico Governor, Gary Johnson. One way or another Gary Johnson will be making history in 2016. For one, Saturday will mark the first Iowa appearance by an active Libertarian candidate for President. Johnson will be speaking this coming Saturday, September 3rd, at the Grand View University Johnson Wellness Center located at 200 Grandview Ave, in Des Moines, Iowa 50316. According to the Johnson camp RSVPs are not required, but appreciated. Doors open at 1:00 pm. All are welcome.

Presidential candidates are where the hoopla typically stems from but when it comes to governance that is in your face and influencing your everyday life, local and state politics are where it is at. I figured we should look into the people running locally and for the state here at home. Since the media seems to have the D’s and R’s covered I will focus on the people that are not affiliated with the two big gangs. I will give a quick rundown of the national candidates but then we will get to our fellow Iowans and our neighbors.

If you choose to cast a vote this election day the names that you will see on the ballot that will not be Democrats or Republicans will be as follows….

From the Constitution Party you will see for President, Darrell L. Castle and Scott N. Bradley.
Darrell Castle believes in adherence to the constitution, a withdrawal from the United Nations and NATO, and end to the Federal Reserve, and a withdrawal from Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030.

Castle grew up in northeastern Tennessee in a small town near Kingsport. He attended Ketron High School and East Tennessee State University (ETSU), graduating from each in 1966 and 1970, respectively. At ETSU, he earned a B.S., double-majoring in political science and history. Castle then became a commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for four years and attaining the rank of first lieutenant. He cites his military service as fostering his belief that war should not be entered into capriciously nor without congressional approval. After his discharge, he returned to ETSU and began his graduate study of history. He then attended the law school at University of Memphis, then known as Memphis State University, and earned his Juris Doctor in 1979.

Scott N. Bradley ran for the United States Senate in both 2006 and 2010. In 2010, he received 5.67% of the vote, which was the second highest percentage for a Constitution Party nominee for Senate against both a Democrat and Republican. Bradley has a bachelor of arts from Westminster College, masters of public administration from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in constitutional law from George Wythe University.

From the Green Party you will see Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. Jill Stein believes in guaranteed economic human rights, including access to food, water, housing, and utilities, with effective anti-poverty programs to ensure every American a life of dignity. She believes in establishing an improved “Medicare For All” single-payer public health insurance program to provide everyone with quality healthcare, at huge savings, as well as in the abolition of student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude, including guaranteed tuition-free, world-class public education from preschool through university.

Jill Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, where she studied psychology, sociology, and anthropology. She then attended Harvard Medical School and graduated in 1979. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Stein practiced internal medicine for 25 years.

Ajamu Baraka served in the U.S. military. From 2004 to 2011, Baraka served as the founding executive director of the US Human Rights Network, a national network that grew to over 300 U.S.-based organizations and 1500 individual members. He is currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Baraka has served on the boards of several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Africa Action.

From the Legalize Marijuana Now Party you will see Dan R. Vacek and Mark G. Elworth. Legalize Marijuana Now is a single-issue political party in the United States. Established in 1998 to oppose drug prohibition. They believe in and end to prohibition of hemp and cannabis.

Dan Vacek formerly ran for election to the office of Minnesota Attorney General. Mark Elworth is the State Chairmen for Legal Marijuana Now Nebraska and the President of the Peace Garden of South Omaha.

For the Libertarian Party you will see Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. Gary Johnson believes in reigning in the national debt, simplifying the tax code, internet freedom, ending mass spying on American citizens, ending the Fed, ending prohibition, and in criminal justice reform. Gary Johnson served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. Bill Weld served as the 68th Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997.

From the New Independent Party Iowa you will see Lynn Kahn and Jay Stolba. Lynn Kahn believes in bringing Iowa’s schools into the 21st century. They want our schools, colleges and universities to be number one in our nation and internationally. They want rural economic development to be a top priority in Iowa. They want to bring 100,000 small diversified micro family farms to Iowa in the next ten years. They believe that we should take the national lead in creating a legal path for undocumented aliens to get a work permit, then a visa and after a period of time citizenship. Lynn Kahn has a Ph.D. is in clinical psychology. Jay Stolba is from Cedar Rapids. Stolba is the semi-retired owner of Iowa Discount Shippers and he has more than 30 years of experience in government.

You will see the Party for Socialism and Liberation featuring Gloria La Riva and Dennis J. Banks.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) is a communist party in the United States,created as the result of a split within the ranks of the Workers World Party (WWP). The PSL’s primary objective is to form a revolutionary workers’ party based in Marxism–Leninism. La Gloria La Riva has translated Fidel Castro’s book Cuba at the Crossroads (1997) ISBN 1-875284-94-X, and produced the documentary videos NATO Targets, Workers’ Democracy in Cuba (1996), Genocide by Sanctions: The Case of Iraq (1998) and Let Iraq Live!. Dennis Banks a Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist and author, is an Anishinaabe born on Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. Banks is also known as Nowa Cumig (Naawakamig in the Double Vowel System). His name in the Ojibwe language means “In the Center of the Universe.” He has been a longtime leader of the American Indian Movement, which he co-founded in 1968 with Native Americans in Minneapolis.

On the Iowa ballot there will be six candidates nominated by petition.

Rocky Roque De La Fuente and Michael Steinberg
Rocky Roque De La Fuente is an American businessman and political activist. Michael Steinberg, Esquire, has practiced law in the Tampa Bay area for 30 years.

Evan McMullin and Nathan Johnson
Evan McMullin is former Republican policy chief in the House and ex-CIA officer.
Brian Henderson, Utah Director for McMullin for President, said people shouldn’t read too much into Johnson’s name being included. Utah laws require that a VP candidate be named and Johnson’s name will be replaced once McMullin reaches a decision.

Lloyd Kelso and John Fitzgerald Johnson
Lloyd Kelso is an attorney with his own practice. John Fitzgerald Johnson is a recording artist, and as founder of the GMJ International Entertainment multimedia company, has produced music for a variety of companies large and small under the stage name “The Real Grandmaster Jay”. Johnson is an ardent civil rights activist.

Phew. Did you know you would have all of those options for President and Vice President? Gee, it is almost like the media wants to tell you a story of two big gangs. But we have more pressing matters to worry about here! On to the state and local candidates! These are the people that you are really going to want to pay attention to, regardless of what those other media characters tell you.

United States Senator for the Libertarian Party you will see Charles Aldrich.
Charles Aldrich is an engineer. He believes in ending the Fed, respecting the bill of rights, and giving Iowans complete medical freedom, as well as ending all prohibitions on hemp and cannabis.

For Senator from the New Independent Party Iowa you will see Jim Hennager. Jim has a BA from Morningside College with majors in sociology, philosophy and theology; his MBA with an emphasis in organization and MA in sociology from the University of Kansas; and his Ph.D. in future community planning from Walden University. He has also held licenses in real estate and life insurance in Iowa.

Nominated By Petition for Senator you will see Michael Luick-Thrams. Michael is from Mason City and he is an Independent candidate. Luick-Thrams said he would advocate for term limits of no more than 12 years for legislators, more transparency in government and campaign donors and a 10 percent pay cut for those in congress.

For United States Representative District 3 you will see Libertarian Bryan Jack Holder. Bryan is a lifelong resident of Crescent Township & Council Bluffs. Bryan is has a Juris Doctor (Doctor of Law). He runs his own business Holder Photo & Video. He believes in the entire federal government needs to be reined in. He believes in the constitution and the bill of rights. Bryan would like to return to a system of checks and balances and he believes in due process.

There are two candidates for District 3 that were nominated by petition. Claudia Addy and Joe Grandanette. Claudia earned her BGS from Iowa City and went on to study medicine at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (now Des Moines University). She earned her diploma and worked until her retirement as a foot and ankle surgeon. She believes in fiscal reform, health care reform, and re-evaluating foreign aid. Joe believes in defining marriage as between one man and one woman, he does believe in any amnesty, and he is Pro life from conception until natural death.

For State Senator District 06 you will see Libertarian Nick Serianni. Nick believes in unconditional liberty and unrelenting freedom. He believes in criminal justice reform and in an end to prohibition of hemp and cannabis. Nick is pro 2nd amendment and he wants to break us away from a two party system.

For State Senator District 12 you will see Libertarian Don W. Brantz. Don believes in the Libertarian Platform.

State Senator District 14 you will see an independent candidate in Ruth Smith. Ruth Smith is from Lamoni. She has a Master’s degree in public policy and administration.

State Senator District 16 you will see Libertarian candidate Christopher Whiteing. Christopher believes in minimum government and maximum freedom. He believes in spreading the libertarian platform.

For State Senator District 28 you will see Troy Hageman. Troy will work towards a free market and sound money. He wants to be able to promote individual freedom and to protect civil liberties.

For State Senator District 38 you will see John George. John runs a 100% grassroots campaign fighting to give the power back to the people. He would be proud to represent Iowa Senate District 38 including Benton, Iowa, & Poweshiek counties.

For State Senator District 48 you will see Brian W. Cook. Cook received the Libertarian nomination earlier this year at the party’s state convention, which was held in Cedar Rapids. He garnered the highest percentage of votes by a Libertarian up to that point when he ran for the Iowa House in 2014. Cook was raised on a farm in rural Central City and graduated from Alburnett High School. His first job after college was as a reporter for the Linn Newsletter in Central City, where he was responsible for covering high school sports at Central City, Alburnett, Center Point, North Linn and Springville.

State Representative District 004 Nominated By Petition Jeff VanDerWerff. Jeff is concerned about the current political climate, the polarization and dysfunction that increasingly plague public life. He hopes to have the opportunity to practice what he preaches. He wants to bring local control back to education. He wants to focus on finding a solution to water quality.

State Representative District 020 Libertarian Bob Boyle. Bob became a Libertarian “basically because of Dr. [Lee] Hieb.” He owns a convenience store named BlueJay Market. In accepting the Libertarian nomination, Boyle said he is “fed up with establishment politic from both major parties. The leadership of both parties is clearly more concerned with maintaining a power base than doing what is best for the citizens of Iowa and America. Government has a moral responsibility to spend as absolutely little of the people’s money as possible,” Boyle said, “as opposed to the exact opposite, which is what they’re doing now.”

State Representative District 029 Stand up to bullies party Dan Kelley. Dan is a member of the self-created Stand Up to Bullies party, he has formely served in the Iowa House of Representatives. Dan has pledged to support small business in the past. He wants to continue to focus on strengthening Iowa’s schools.

State Representative District 031 Libertarian Joe Gleason. Joe is very passionate about being a voice for individual liberty, personal responsibility, and fiscal sanity in the Iowa Capitol.

State Representative District 033 Libertarian Jeremy Tomlinson. Jeremy is an attorney. He believes in the principles of the Libertarian Party. He believes in a free market and in sound fiscal policy.

State Representative District 035 Libertarian Jocelyn Fry. Jocelyn believes in school choice, vaccine choice, the 2nd amendment, and in an end to the war on drugs.

State Representative District 038 Libertarian Jeffrey Meyers. Jeffrey says that he will fight for your personal liberty, smaller government,and lower taxes. Jeffrey wants to help lead the charge in the legalization of medical marijuana and opening the door to the legalization of recreational use as well. He supports 2nd amendment rights, your right to defend yourself and your family. He believes that once you have served your sentence for a crime that your rights should be returned to you, including your right to vote.

State Representative District 038 Nominated by petition Brett H. Nelson. Brett is has a degree in political science. Brett is dedicated to improving water quality by partnering with communities, organizations and private landowners to create sustainable solutions on Iowa’s lakes, rivers and streams. Brett has focused on financial prudence and improving treatment of senior citizens.

State Representative District 045 Libertarian Eric Cooper. Eric believes that people in a free society should be allowed to have whatever relations with other people they would like, and they should be able to call them whatever they like without interference from the government. He believes that with a state with a motto like ours should be proud to have the fewest restrictions on private citizens using fireworks, and legalizing fireworks in Iowa is one of his priorities. He believes in ending the war on drugs.

State Representative District 049 Libertarian John Evans. John is mainly concerned with protecting individual rights, making it easier to open and operate small businesses, marriage equality, and limiting government intrusion into our lives at the state level.

State Representative District 049 Nominated by petition Mike Knox. Mike believes that Agriculture is key to Iowa’s economy and that it needs to be thoughtfully supported. He believes in protecting the environment and being a good steward to pass it along to future generations. Mike would focus on education and water quality.

State Representative District 059 Independent Nick Taiber. Nick wants to focus on water quality, improving education, and supporting local business.

State Representative District 062 Nominated By Petition John Patterson. John thinks voters in east Waterloo, Evansdale, Raymond and Elk Run Heights deserve a contest this November. He wants to makes sure that politicians are listening to the people that they represent. Patterson, said through meeting voters in the district, he recognizes their differing interests. He pointed to an economic development focus for the east side of Waterloo that is different from the concerns in the more rural parts of the district. But he also noted commonalities, like a concern for education standards in the state.

State Representative District 070 Libertarian Dave Cork. Dave is fighting for personal freedom and reduced government.

State Representative District 078 Libertarian Joshua Miller. Joshua wants to end the division in the house, and to unite in being left alone! He seeks to preserve and protect the rights and freedoms of our citizens and to help curb government waste, fraud, and abuse.

State Representative District 080 Libertarian Garrett W. Byrd. Garrett believes that any time the government can make life easier for it’s citizens by withdrawing from that aspect of their lives, it should. Garrett stands firm against civil asset forfeiture and eminent domain abuse.

State Representative District 097 Libertarian David Melchert Jr. Davis makes it clear that he is running to represent, not to judge or govern.

As a state we have more alternative party candidates running right now than ever before in history. As a country we are very close to having a Libertarian on the national debate stage for the first time ever. You can pin whatever you can prove with hard evidence on Libertarian minded thinkers, independents, or anarchists going all the way back through recorded history but we did not have a Libertarian Party until December 11, 1971. If we want to have a civil discussion we have to include the good libertarian minded thinkers like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, along with those that might not be remembered so fondly. The Bill of Rights is a libertarian document and I don’t believe that there has been a Libertarian in the party since December 11, 1971 that has wanted anything more than to have leaders that respect the whole bill of rights. I do not think that there has been a Libertarian in the party since December 11, 1971 that has wanted anything more than for world peace to break out. I am confident that Jill Stein and Gary Johnson will be able to debate effectively and respectfully leading up to this historic election. The others, I can only hope will do their best. George HW Bush was respectful enough to invite Ross Perot to the stage in their election. I can only hope that the current Democratic and Republican nominations will do the same. If you are a Democrat or a Republican and you feel that your party is not assisting your campaign I would be happy to add you to my article. If I have any inaccurate information about a candidate or I have missed anyone, please enlighten me. I will be happy to address any issues.

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“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all.“ Thomas Carlyle

Marco Battaglia writes for the Iowa Free Press and is a proud member of The Fourth Estate