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Forum Post: Commission on Presidential Debates threatened to arrest me

Posted 11 years ago on Aug. 25, 2012, 5:28 p.m. EST by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

On Friday, August 24, I entered the (big) Washington DC building which houses the (tiny) offices of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), expecting to be given the mailing address of the CPD.

The security guards there (who, being average people like myself, are actually very friendly and, clearly, on 'our side') told me they had strict instructions to have me arrested if I set foot in the building again.

[I am from Iowa. I left politely.]

Furthermore, the guards informed me, they had been told by the CPD that the CPD's mailing address was only available to people who 'need to know,' and that didn't include me (or even them).

This entire story, plus much more, is available for you to read at our new website www.debates.ws (look! no dot com!). Read the press releases (surprise surprise - nobody from the press has ... ).

The most important thing for people to do at the moment is to simply take our short, six question survey, which asks the obvious question which the CPD has NEVER asked American voters, "How many people do you want to see in the Presidential Debates?"

The survey can be found on the front page of our website, or can be accessed directly here:


We need 1,500 responses. In the first 48 hours, we received 818.

Who do the Presidential Debates belong to? The 1%? Or to us?

We are reclaiming them for the American people We are winning. But right now we need a little help from you - please take this survey, and pass it to as many people as you can. Thanks a million (that would be a good number of people who took the survey ... ) Rick



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[-] 5 points by msilvia (5) 11 years ago

What a convenient scheme for hijacking a democracy. By controlling access to the debates, you can largely control who is seen as a legitimate candidate, and suppress information about anyone who isn't one of your own.

[-] 0 points by funkytown (-374) 11 years ago

Well, duhh...

[-] 3 points by gatorbogey (3) 11 years ago

sharing the story on facebook. if the debates are going to be 'closed' then they should not be funded by any taxpayer's money, at all. i'll contribute to the debate that is inclusive.

[-] 2 points by mareline (2) 11 years ago

i agree and taxpayers should be allowed to give input and walk into the office tov oice their concerns the same way that shareholders do. otherwise it just doesnt make sense that we keep allowing this to go on.

[-] 3 points by DebtNEUTRALITYpetition (647) 11 years ago

Ralph Nader was first rejected for the presidential debates in 2000 and 2004. Nader was not even invited to attend. Police escorted Nader off of one the debate sites even after Nader had been given a ticket to just attend as an audience member!

I understand that the debate process can slow down dramatically if there are too many participants, but some type of exposure should be allowed, completely denying any access of any kind to some of the more well known third party groups is just plain wrong.

[-] 1 points by Ashmajic (1) 11 years ago

Took survey.

[-] 3 points by gsw (3410) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 11 years ago

Did survey. Thank you.

[-] 3 points by 1971 (154) 11 years ago

Me too.

[-] 2 points by gsw (3410) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 11 years ago

Please sign a petition to allow the third party candidate, Rocky Anderson, to participate in the Presidential debates


[-] 1 points by LetsGetReal (1420) from Grants, NM 11 years ago

Done. Thanks.

[-] 2 points by ShonSe (3) from Vacaville, CA 11 years ago

The CPD says they are nonpartisan. They are not. They are in collusion with both parties to help them hang on to thier power. What further proof does America need that the line between the RNC and DNC is so thin there is virtually no difference between the two? It is all about power and greed, when it should be about We the People

[-] 2 points by LandThatILove09 (2) 11 years ago

It is becoming more and more clear this election year, just how controlled the process is....from the polling, media coverage, debates... controlled to the point that it is OUT of CONTROL. Everyone should be aware of what is going on in our country! Please take the survey and pass it along to your twitter/FB friends!

[-] 2 points by lngma (4) 11 years ago

It looks to me like the CPD is simply an easy way for republicans and democrats alike to donate on their own behalf to a tax-exempt organization. If the CPD was truly nonpartisan, there would be no question that other candidates would be welcome. After taking the survey, I commented to the CPD that watching the debates with only the two scripted candidates would be similar to watching paint dry. We need enough people to unite against such a travesty!

[-] 2 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

I am just updating. We now have 902 surveys taken, and need only 598 more. Seems like those last three took forever. I am hoping readers will understand how important this survey is. We will use it to (hopefully) force the Commission to authorize their own survey, asking the same question - how many people do American voters want to see on stage at the presidential debates?

Thank you sincerely for your support. Rick

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 11 years ago

It is my understanding the the CPD is owned & controlled by D + R parties. Do the actually get money from the government ? Or is it funded only by the D & R parties ? Is the CPD part of the government ? what part ?

[-] 1 points by jimboinva (6) from Durbin, WV 11 years ago

Could this be what you're looking for? Commission on Presidential Debates 1200 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W. Suite 445 Washington, D.C. 23006 PH # (202) 872-1020

FAX # (202) 783-5923 From a press release dated July 25, 2012 http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CFAQFjAH&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.c-span.org%2FuploadedFiles%2FContent%2FDocuments%2FCPD-Announces-Debate-Formats.pdf&ei=vPhFUIOyF8PJ6wGzqYCYDw&usg=AFQjCNFERCSJhykmHgYwu8vkPMcjUCBH0g BTW will sign the petition.

[-] 1 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

They do not accept mail there (it is their physical address). Nor do they accept FedEx, UPS, private messenger or private citizen deliveries. They say their mailing address (probably a P.O. box in the post office across the street, duh) is available on a 'need to know' basis only. I'm relatively certain know at least three people who 'need to know,' but don't plan to use them until I actually 'want to know.' Thanks for your help!

[-] 1 points by RetiredNavyChief (1) 11 years ago

Just read the CPD website, as a nonprofit who is supposed to educate the public on the candidates, you would think that when a paradigm shift happens within our society concerning the two parties and the need for a third, that the CPD would jump right on board. Of course, it is shown, that people who are deeply imbedded in the thought that our way is the only way, have a hard time seeing a paradigm shift let alone embracing it.

[-] 1 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

I think you hit the nail on the head. What is amazing to me is that just about everyone thinks the two-party system is not doing well (although many of them merely think it is the 'other' party that is the problem), yet anyone who participates in politics outside of the two parties is very quickly branded a loonie.

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 11 years ago

I have voted Green party & Working Families party, & I don't think supporting 3rd party is looney.

I think the control that the 2 parties have on the system prevents any 3rd party from doing anything more than be a spoiler (splitting the vote) and help one of 2 party of the opposite ideology that 3rd party represents (Right or left).

I think we must change the election/campaign rules to improve access and create fairness for 3rd parties. That is critical for the health of our democracy, because the 2 parties are complacent and don't have to work for much of their votes.

Until those changes are made I suggest 1st of all "keep the tea party cotrolled religious wackos" out of power. Sorry

[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago
[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago

This morning I read a post regarding abortion, An Oklahoma Senator purposed an amendment to establish ejaculation as the point of conception, makes perfect sense to me but a political ploy to convince people to go democratic. If the people in general are not aware of other opinions which would likely be in line with their own, how can they know unless all qualified 3rd party candidates whose names are not even on and "select national polls" ? The 15% criterion to be included in the polls is certainly not in the interest of informing people so they can make an informed vote. It is just a dog and pony show that does anything to inform anyone of anything they do not already know. We need to expose more opinions that the ones everyone already knows about. Gary Johnson believes that the gov should stay out of peoples bedrooms. Shame on the Commission on Presidential Debates and Shame on Janet Brown. They should all be impeached! >: (

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 11 years ago

Debates are a joke, Just a dual Press Conference where the duopoly controls the questions, and rattle off well rehearsed, prepared, talking points.

Debates MUST removed from duopoly control, allow all parties and require real interaction and real citizen questions.

[-] 1 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

Just an update - we now have 1224 surveys taken and are only looking for 276 more. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated. www.debates.ws

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 11 years ago

Do these people have to be from the US of A?

[-] 1 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

Sorry I missed your question. Anyone can take the survey, but the first question is 'are you eligible to vote in the November election,' and obviously we only count responses from people who are. Thanks for your interest! The survey is still open and we only need 54 more respondents.

[-] 1 points by lngma (4) 11 years ago

People definitely need to take this survey! It may be the only information concerning the CPD that is actually nonpartisan and nonprofit!

[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago

What a power trip, to think Janet Brown is the hedge for all those 1%'ers to keep only their chosen Dem & Rep Presidential Candidates on the debates and preventing all others via bogus polls that do not include any candidates other than Obama and Romney! To have the power to choose the president has got to be a huge responsibility. I think I would find a hole to crawl into, I certainly would fear for my safety. I bet all those commissioners are very hard to find these days! Probably why they threatened to arrest you for stepping on their rental property! We know you mean well, but under the circumstances I think I would be in fear of my own life..and the lives of my family! They need to step up and take responsibility. The League of Women Voters have condemned the CPD because they see what a sham it has become. And I fought for equal rights but not to have a woman step up there and enable so many men to continue to rule the WORLD! : (

[-] 1 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

There's a punch line - read to the end ... ;-)

A little update. This morning (Monday) I very carefully opened the door of the (very big) building housing the Commission's (very small) offices, without actually stepping past the threshold. I asked the Security Guards if I could take a photo, by pointing at my camera. They shook their arms 'no.'

Being a law abiding gentleman from Iowa, I left.

Then I walked around the corner of the building to see what was on the other side of it. Halfway down the block I noticed a lot of Postal Service trucks - sure enough there is a big post office across the side street from the Commission's office.

Let me guess. The Commission has a post office box in that post office? We'll have to figure that one out - if they do, their name probably isn't on the front of the box, like we do in Iowa.

Then, running down the street behind me, came one of the Security Guards. Officer Jude, to be exact, who is already a bit of a friend of mine. Breathlessly he told me I was not allowed to take photos of the (very big) building's exterior. By implication, even from the public sidewalk upon which I was standing.

Being a soft spoken non-confrontational elderly (61) person from Iowa, I assured Officer Jude I was merely taking photos of the Post Office building, which was true.

I tried to joke a little with Officer Jude, and did get a big smile out of him, but he fled before I could shake his hand and congratulate him on doing his job well. That's what we do in Iowa when somebody does a good job - we thank you, and shake your hand.

Photos of the inside of the lobby of the (very big) building where the (very small) Commission, arguably the most powerful (and secretive) group of people in the world at the moment, holds court, will be posted soon at www.debates.ws.

Along with photos of the Post Office - it has a nice mural celebrating Duke Ellington.

[-] 1 points by lngma (4) 11 years ago

Definitely need everyone to take the survey (if you haven't already done so) so that we (the American voters) don't have to play by the CPD's rules only!

[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago

How can a tiny obscure office in Washington DC that houses The Commission on Presidential Debates, whose Director is Janet Brown, certainly not big enough to even hold all the Commissioners at one time, bully 99% of the American Public and prevent all but Democrat and Republican candidates from being heard in this most important Debate. For them to hold the Key to the election in November and profess to be holding said debates for We the People is an Act of Treason! Impeach Janet Brown.

[-] 1 points by CWJohnson (1) 11 years ago

I give you my support and hope that they will allow for voter input to help achieve a more varied Presidential debate.

[-] 1 points by GreenLibertarian (1) 11 years ago

I wish you the best of luck!

[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago

I still have Friends who think their comment made it to the Commission. I have talked with three, but do not know how many others there are, a bunch. They are all shocked the Commission would be so cold. : (

[-] 1 points by 1984WillSuck (1) 11 years ago

It won't be long before the Democrats and Republicans feel safe enough to officially merge into one party. It will happen in my lifetime. I probably have a good 35+ years left. I know they're the same now. I call them the Redimblicants. They both serve the rich elite few, and are very good at tossing wedge issues like abortion and gun control in our way to divide us. The CPD is an arm of that giant mass of control. So is mass corporate media. The only way we can possibly level the playing field is to demand 3rd party participation in America's Presidential Debates. Don't we realize that we out-number them, yet? I don't get it. We're still arguing over issues instead of banding together to fight for our liberties. Let's hear from a third party for a change.

[-] 3 points by Shule (2638) 11 years ago

Why merge when one has such a good scam going. I'm amazed by the tactic where every election is a neck and neck race with both sides barking "send more money to us, or the other side wins..." What is truly amazing is all the little folk send in their $5 and $10 dollars as if their pocket chance is going to make a difference. I'm sure both the Democrats and Republicans are laughing the whole way.

[-] 2 points by 1971 (154) 11 years ago

Definitely. We need at least one more strong party to stop this duopoly scam.

[-] 1 points by ShonSe (3) from Vacaville, CA 11 years ago

Libertarian Party is going to be on the ballot in all 50 states and DC.

[-] 1 points by Hopeforall (1) 11 years ago

How can one be arrested at a public place for politely and peacefully trying to communicate with 'the power'. The Commission is unwilling to give real choices to the basic American citizen while hoarding all their power over what we view on National television.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 11 years ago

the first question on the survey should have been

How many people do you want to see in the debates?

And the answer everyone should give is "Everyone on the ballot in my state."

I liked that question and answer

How much campaign financing someone has should not be a determinate for who is in the debates.

[-] 1 points by ericweiss (575) 11 years ago

The commission is ( legally ) controlled by the D & R
& they are a private 501c3
how can you force them to do anything?
and will you be arrested for telling us their actual address

[-] 1 points by taylorty (4) 11 years ago

Once enough people realize the literal fraud being committed, and once enough media support is generated -- if that's possible under current conditions (google operation mockingbird) -- I feel that the CPD will have no choice but to either step down or to permanently include third parties in the debates.

[-] 0 points by ericweiss (575) 11 years ago

What, specifically, is the fraud,
I could find nothing to indicate that it presents itself
as apolitical
"americans for prosperity" sounds like a great name - to do good things the first amendment & citizens united lets them do what they do
"clean coal" sounds like a great name - to do good things the first amendment & citizens united lets them do what they do

if you are serious about your goal and not a dreamer -
there is only one solution-
overturn citizens united [ or get rid of the first amendmant ]

If CU was gone, and money was not speech, you could pass disclosure & honesty laws

[-] 1 points by rwscid (8) from Cedar Rapids, IA 11 years ago

If - make that when - I find out what their mailing address is, I will tell every one I know, far and wide. And if that lands me in jail, I'd rather be there than 'free' on the outside.

[-] 1 points by viragovirgo (1) 11 years ago

Thanks for all your efforts to expose this blatant abuse of authority over the election process!

[-] 1 points by taylorty (4) 11 years ago

This may be the achilles heel of the two party system....what do you think?

[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago

Please Help get 3rd Party Candidates into the Presidential Debates in October. The Commission on Presidential Debates will make up their mind right after Labor Day Come On All You Occupiers Help US Help U go to we only need a few more signatures and it will be a done deal. Please do it today we need this tomorrow if possible. Thanks www.debates.ws

[-] 1 points by ogoj11 (263) 11 years ago

Thanks for a beautifully written story.

I think your efforts to fix the elections are misplaced. The only reason elections are permitted is if they don't threaten the control exercised by the powerful. In Raleigh http://forum.occupyraleigh.net/index.php , (conservative like Cedar Rapids -which I know a little), we are considering our attitude at the nearby DNC. Please come to our forum to express your views on the matter.

[-] 1 points by Sadafras (7) 11 years ago

I went to the http://forum.occupyraleigh.net/index.php and registered as a "guest" I see where it list me as the newest member this am at 2:48 but I could not find any place to make a comment. It does have many groups working for the 99% how about the inside info on how to comment? Thank you for your support. So true the elections have been the way 99% can continue to be ruled by the 1 % unfortunately for the Planet, which will never recover, Fukushima..need I say more? People are asleep at the wheel, it is past time to Wake UP! Thank you again for your support, will be chatting soon.

[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 11 years ago

By way of further apology for my earlier rudeness ;

"2012 US Elections : Obamney vs. Rombama" :

"War, economic collapse, and personal devastation await Americans no matter who they vote for - and what we should do instead."

By Tony Cartalucci.

fiat lux ....

[-] 1 points by Builder (4202) 11 years ago

Done. Good survey, BTW.

[-] 1 points by taylorty (4) 11 years ago

The CPD is committing a massive fraud on American citizens. I encourage everyone to watch this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NXhoP5bQ2M) documentary...it will infuriate you. I have a feeling that progress in this country will only be made once a third party is elected. For a third party elected, the CPD may need to be removed from the process, as the two parties who control the CPD currently control the government.

[-] 1 points by ericweiss (575) 11 years ago

The CPD cannot be "removed"
If YOU want to have a debate with 3 or 10 candidates, do it.
don't try to control the free speech rights of others.

If I want my newspaper to have the same respect & circulation as the New York Times, should I have the New Yoork Times "removed" ?

[-] 1 points by taylorty (4) 11 years ago

Yes they can. Once enough people realize the literal fraud being committed, and once enough media support is generated -- if that's possible under current conditions (google operation mockingbird) -- I feel that the CPD will have no choice but to either step down or to permanently include third parties in the debates. As the CPD themselves claim, the debates belong to the people...shouldn't the people have the final say in who is included, instead of the ruling corporate oligarchy?

[-] 1 points by ericweiss (575) 11 years ago

I like my first amendment and as long as SCOTUS "money is speech" you cannot force this.
The currency of America is not democracy - it is currency.
Just look at fracking & single payer
The currency of America is not democracy - it is currency.