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While Santorum drops out and Gingrich bounces $500 checks to keep is 11th hour campaign floating, the general election is decided: a supposedly liberal president who has authorized the assassination of US citizens through executive order, or the "moderate" conservative whose position on issues depends more on his personal gains than the any core principle or consideration for his constituency.

If you aren't completely satisfied with either of these candidates, or just want another option on the general ticket, visit In only a few months this web caucus will give millions just that chance. A 3rd candidate will be selected, by anyone that cares enough about our country to visit a website.

Please take the time to visit Americans Elect. Choosing between the lesser of two evils is only made possible by inaction. Let's change the game.
This election, pick a president, not a party! With Americans Elect, you define the issues, you choose the candidates and you nominate your choice for president in 2012.
Nick W's profile photoMeg Tufano's profile photoScott Swain's profile photoWes Lydon's profile photo
+Wes Lydon Perhaps it is time for a third party. However, I pity a third party candidate winning the election. If we have experienced unparalleled political obstructionism in a two party system, how will a third party solve anything when they will have both incumbent parties playing the same political obstructionism game Obama has faced. If there is anything we have learned from the Obama experience is that the president is powerless without foot soldiers in the congress and senate. If this is so, electing a third-party president without foot soldiers in the congress and senate, it will be the same as electing Obama in the first place. What is the plan by Americans Elect to address this?
American's Elect isn't a third party, it is a third caucus, one whose nominees are chosen by merit. Democrats are running for this third slot through AE, as are republicans, independents, and every other party that wants to represent us in congress and on Pennsylvania Ave.

The problem of partisan obstructionism isn't going to end anytime soon, and I don't suggest that it will, but members are congress are responsive to their own election and nothing else. Americans Elect can show the major parties that we don't want their divisive caucuses. It can show that we don't care for the millions of dollars put into campaigns.And if by some small miracle that third candidate manages to win the general election, it will prove without a shadow of a doubt that we do not need them to choose our nominees for us.

If that small miracle happened, obstructionism might prevent the citizen-elect president from making sweeping changes, but only if each and every one of those entrenched members want their constituency to know they are uncompromising and unwilling to serve the peoples president, a position that might very will threaten their reelection.

There is nothing to lose from expanding the general ticket, and everything to gain. Please join Americans Elect and help choose a third option.
+Wes Lydon The same small miracle you speak of already happened in 2008 then look at the blow-back of 2010. Most of us are clear the 2012 presidential election boils-down to religion, race/gender and money. What we want to understand is why? America in practice is a plutarchy but, in ideal a democracy and as a result, a duality of purpose divides the country in a practice vs ideal struggle that defines its governance. This built-in contradiction evokes a 236-year-old American double-standard referred to by our own citizens at home and critics abroad as the Great American Hypocrisy.

America claims to be a Democracy based on the constructs of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, yet it governs based on a plutarchy drenched in theology .❞

Today, still a house divided and not equal. The founding fathers by default established the plutarchy (defined as the merging of a plutocracy - power by wealth and oligarchy - ruled by a few, now commonly called, “the 1%”). This was the political norm at the genesis of the Republic and during the framing of a very forward thinking Constitution and Bill of Rights. These two seminal documents reflect the founders vision and the legacy of an idealized future. It was their gift to, and hope for, America. After 236 years, their vision is NOT yet fully materialized. Arguably, the documents remain in many ways just symbolism. The original practice vs. ideal duality is vividly preserved and strongly represented in today’s two-party political system. So, the question remains in this 21st century, if the founding fathers objective in drafting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights was to encourage and preserve certain freedoms and encourage the secular and egalitarian ideals of a government for the people and by the people, why then after 236 years the actual control still remains firmly in the hands of the plutarchy? Why don’t they let go and let the Constitution and Bill of Rights do the intended job for American society?
It won't take a small miracle but rather a very large one to shake the plutarchy out of its 236 year old roots. +Meg Tufano has some good comments in other posts on this topic and +Leland LeCuyer as well. Of course +Peter Bromberg will argue that Obama is... (let him tell you) +David Amerland would comment on countries that have multiple party systems while +Shaker Cherukuri might have a thought or two as well on this topic.
While the theoretical discussions on what our governmental structure needs have merit, in excess they lead to inaction. There is nothing to lose in participating in AE, but there is a chance you have much to gain.
I'm there in AE already and had made my selection prior to your post, like not buying a lotto ticket, right? I just wanted our peers to chime in on the topic. Everyone must be busy doing their last minute taxes.
Hopefully the connectedness of G+ will grow the AE caucus. If nothing else, it is an avenue for +Ron Paul to get on the ballet - I know he has a large technologically aware fan base.
Having had a long day in participating in our republic (helping Mrs. Obama feel welcome in Republican Tennessee), I probably don't have all the brain cells firing that I need to adress this, but for my first draft, may I suggest that disliking A because it is not perfect, and adding Z to make it more perfect, is not always the best way to fix A.

I would suggest +Wes Lydon a quick tour of the ways other countries run their legislatures and ours might not look so bad. There are multiple parties in, say, the parliamentary system in The Netherlands, one party of which is the Pedophile Party---yes, a party that is running on lowering the legal age of sexual consent to 12. Yes. Really. This is a country that had real wars (as with guns and knives and blood and death and such) over religion for over a hundred years. One of the (many) reasons that our country made freedom of religion a right. That the U.S. has some highly religious people screaming at the top of their lungs that THEIR brand of faith is the "best" doesn't sound so bad, does it, when you think of the alternative (the gun/blood/death scenario I just mentioned).

Our founding fathers really had a lot of worries, but one of their most important ones was that they were afraid of mob rule. I'm with them. Look at California: they are a direct democracy. Do you think they've made more intelligent decisions than other states thereby? (NOT putting down California! And my tongue is firmly in my cheek as +Colin Lucas-Mudd would say) Instead of a direct democracy, we have a republic: we're supposed to work hard at examining our candidates and decide if they are smarter, more virtuous and more far-seeing than we are. It is utterly non-democratic in the sense that we are not all equal in ability. That is a factual given. Our founding fathers "got" that. We are equal under the law. After that? We are a meritocracy, in fact, a republic.

Our founding fathers balanced the fact that people with power tend to aggrandize power to themselves by a variety of ways that are well known, but one that I like rather a lot is that we don't let people stay in office very long: they're in a race to get their work done as fast as they can. And, in fact, are VERY effective as compared to some other countries' legislatures.

I desperately want to plug President Obama here but I will not because you apparently have "fired" him for killing an American citizen who had treasonously organized the overthrow of the American government and was acting as a terrorist in a terrorist organization. These kinds of decisions are an "audible" (American football reference) and I do not envy President Obama these kinds of choices. But, generally speaking, he has kept every single promise that he made (175 of them) except for closing GITMO. My guess is that he learned something new when he walked into the oval office and realized that things were maybe worse than he imagined. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to really smart people when they change their mind about something (but apparently he cannot share why with us; we know this because, politically speaking, IF he could have, he certainly would have.)

Here's the link to his promises kept. It is NOT a Democratic or Republican organ:

Oh, and this was not a promise: but he also saved the American car industry.

I so wish you would take all your energy and get Democrats elected at all levels of government. The thirteen years we've seen of what Republicans want to do with our country? Surely, we can do better than that even with Democrats who, you don 't have to tell me, are not perfect either.

But there simply is no equivalence to the awesome (+Gregory Esau will not believe I'm using that word ;')) chicanery and malfeasance shown by both the Bush administration and the current crop of Republicans.

"We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that’s entirely up to us. And I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us." President Barack Obama, January 12, 2011


P.S. If you would enjoy reading it, I wrote an essay on an Inaugural Party that I gave in The Hague (where I was living) that turns out to be quite prescient about how President Obama has been viewed by most people so far. It is on my "About" page.
Meg, you never disappoint... I saw the pictures at your shindig with Ms. Obama, very cool, thanks for dropping in.
+Meg Tufano, I'll see if I can't provide a response to yours, which hit a great many topics.

I'm not suggesting that the US is falling short of perfection: I would suggest that the US is falling short of its own long established principles in many ways. And in general, the only things that need fixing are things that are broken, and when something is broken you don't fix it with the parts it came with - those are broken - you need new parts.

Warning of the dangers of a Pedophile party as the bottom of a slippery slope doesn't have much sway with me. The KKK could register as a political party and it wouldn't both me an ounce. Pedaphiles and rapists too. I'm confident our nation is not made up of a majority of any of these groups, and they probably wouldn't influence our political process much. Heck, it'd be convenient to have pedophiles waving banners that pronounce them as such.

Actually, having highly religious POLITICANS trying to inject their religion into our supposedly secular government sounds absolutely horrible to me, and it would fill me with pride if Americans were willing to draw a line in the sand that said they wouldn't stand for the further spiritualisation of the office. I find it incongruous that many (if not a majority) of American's find a candidate's spirituality important - if not necessary - to election, while Article VI says that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

I don't believe we should have a direct democracy in that we all put in one vote for the candidate of our choosing and call it good, but the problem with the nominating practices of our current system is that candidates are not chosen by us, not really. The republican primary is at an end, but how did we get here? Well, the candidates for the republican nominee are weeded out in a series of caucuses. As a result, the earlier the caucus, the more power it gets over choosing the nominee. Why? For what reason does Iowa and New Hampshire play an integral role in controlling the field? Besides the fact that this is inherently unfair to people in the other 48 states, candidates in their primary run are a more distilled brand of partisan than they will be in the general election. I look forward to seeing Mitt "Seriously Guys, I'm a Middle-Class Republican!" Romney move to the center in a bid to grab some independent votes.

I agree it is a good thing people don't stay in office very long, but I'm not sure they are in a race to get their work done very quickly. In general politicians are more concerned with getting reelected, and only in their final terms do they push for real productivity.

While I'm happy Obama has kept a gross majority of his promises, there are some lines that should not be crossed, and authorizing the killing of an American citizen, and making it possible for future presidents to use (and abuse) that power makes him beyond redemption to me. The targeted killing of US citizens, without judicial review, is unconscionable. We should not have a government we should be afraid of. We should, likewise, not be willing to give up our rights in the aim of security. This is cowardice.

I'm a registered democrat, and believe that the Bush administration has done more damage to civil liberties than Obama has, but the lesser of two evils is not a beacon of Hope. Of course in terms of policy positions, I have many more complaints in regards to our conservative representatives than I do for other politicians. I'm also pragmatic, and the trespass on civil liberties will not be undone anytime soon and if I'm left with only two candidates, I'll choose the more liberal of the two.

But that doesn't mean a third option isn't a good idea. Only someone protecting their own interests would argue that more choice is a bad thing.
+Wes Lydon My main point, that I actually forgot to write (;')) is that we are human beings and by nature flawed. Whatever the third or tenth party is? It will be of human beings too. I love knowing that the Commandment "Thou shalt have no idols before Me," can be translated as, "Thou shalt not have ideals before Me." I work really hard making sure that I do not let my idealism (I'm somewhat of a Grasshopper (as in "You live in a dream world . . .")) get in the way of actually working toward improving . . . something . In other words, I try not to let perfection get in the way of good enough, so actually something gets done.
+Meg Tufano I'm not sure where the hybrid 1st and 2nd commandment fits into your larger point. I feel like religious arguments take us into a new and precipitous landscape.

I have no aspirations for perfection, and I share your view - as I said, I'm a pragmatist. There are some things that are not going to change, and the fallibility of man is one of them. But not all men have the same flaws, or even the same strengths. If this weren't true democracy of any sort would be a pointless exercise, and just a rotation of political doppelgangers. Despite the flaws of party 3-10, one may have strengths that benefit our economic, cultural, social, and international climate better than another at any one time. I would like to reiterate, however, that Americans Elect is not a third party, but a third caucus.
+Wes Lydon Thanks for wading into this. (I think of religious ideas differently than most people do: I see some truth in them, but I do not think that means it's all perfectly chiseled and clear: the commandment not to have "idols" is not to worship things; and the commandment also means not to put "ideals" above people (to me): 55 million people were killed in WWII doing just that. (I see these as "Road Advisories" on the road of life! ;'))

I will check out your caucus.
+Wes Lydon The fact that the Libertarian has the most votes tells me that this "caucus' might have a bias. That said, I have noticed that many twenty somethings like Libertarianism and when I ask them why, their most common answer is that it is simpler than the other parties to understand. What they fail to recognize is how much their lives (literally) depend on the continued influence of government programs to support those things which markets cannot create (national defense, for example). Only after I was of a certain age did I begin to realize how seriously we have to take the responsibility of being a citizen of the first nation to make universal rights its foundation. We not only have to protect the right to life, liberty and happiness for Americans, but for all: these are universal human rights. Libertarians reject this kind of thinking and so, in essence, reject the Constitution that they are always talking about.
This caucus has the bias of any caucus, detirmined by those that are participants. The RNC has a conservative bias, the DNC a liberal, and this caucus is presently biased by those that are a part of it. When you consider that the first groups to adopt new practices and technologies, is it any wonder that a younger demographic has a foothold in Americans Elect right now? This is the same reason that the candidate with the most support is actually Ron Paul - although he is currently undeclared in the AE caucus - as he has a large youthful following.

I don't necessarily want a Libertarian candidate to come out of AE, nor do I specifically want a Modern Whig, Socialist, Republican, or even a Democrat (although of course I would prefer the latter). What I want is for all of these groups to participate. It is for this reason that I have emailed friends and family about AE in the past, have encouraged co-workers to visit, and am now trying to get the G+ community to participate. My hope is that people of every political bent will be motivated to participate on the chance that they can get their candidate on the ballot. Hopefully you, +Meg Tufano will tell people to do what they can to prevent a libertarian or republican 3rd option, and +Chris Ruhs will encourage people to support +Ron Paul , and +Robert E. del Sol will do the same for his preferred candidate.

I hope the present field of candidates on +Americans Elect will not prevent you from participating and encouraging others to do so. It may still be in its infancy, but this caucus has a potential that will be squandered if it is written off.
Nick W
+Meg Tufano "We not only have to protect the right to life, liberty and happiness for Americans, but for all: these are universal human rights. Libertarians reject this kind of thinking and so, in essence, reject the Constitution that they are always talking about."

Poppycock. I don't think I've ever seen a Libertarian or libertarian (small-L) reject the ideas of life, liberty or happiness; especially that these are universal rights. On the contrary, libertarians base their philosophy on self-ownership, property rights, and the non-aggression principle.
+Nick W Read up on Paul's ideas about immigration, about nation building, about intervention when there are people who are not Americans at risk of genocide. ...Even I understand that we cannot, or should not, undo all wrongs, but the Libertarian position is NOT founded on universal human rights even though they keep saying that; because once one has rights, one has obligations. They want the freedom, but do not want to pay for it.
+Meg Tufano earlier you defended Obama. I respect the things you said. You seem super well informed so I'm curious if you are considering (a) he extended the Patriot Act, (b) signed NDAA, (c) signed ACTA, (d) NDRP executive order, and (e) No Trespass? IMHO Bush was baaad for our country and yes Obama inherited that, but Obama has actually removed more of our civil liberties than any President before him, by far.
As an Air Force veteran, Ron Paul believes national defense is the single most important responsibility the Constitution entrusts to the federal government.

In Congress, Ron Paul voted to authorize military force to hunt down Osama bin Laden and authored legislation to specifically target terrorist leaders and bring them to justice.

Today, however, hundreds of thousands of our fighting men and women have been stretched thin all across the globe in over 135 countries – often without a clear mission, any sense of what defines victory, or the knowledge of when they’ll be permanently reunited with their families.

Acting as the world’s policeman and nation-building weakens our country, puts our troops in harm’s way, and sends precious resources to other nations in the midst of an historic economic crisis.

Taxpayers are forced to spend billions of dollars each year to protect the borders of other countries, while Washington refuses to deal with our own border security needs.

Congress has been rendered virtually irrelevant in foreign policy decisions and regularly cedes authority to an executive branch that refuses to be held accountable for its actions.

Far from defeating the enemy, our current policies provide incentive for more to take up arms against us.

That’s why, as Commander-in-Chief, Dr. Paul will lead the fight to:

* Make securing our borders the top national security priority.

* Avoid long and expensive land wars that bankrupt our country by using constitutional means to capture or kill terrorist leaders who helped attack the U.S. and continue to plot further attacks.

* Guarantee our intelligence community’s efforts are directed toward legitimate threats and not spying on innocent Americans through unconstitutional power grabs like the Patriot Act.

* End the nation-building that is draining troop morale, increasing our debt, and SACRIFICING LIVES with no end in sight.

* Follow the Constitution by asking Congress to declare war before one is waged.

* Only send our military into conflict with a clear mission and all the tools they need to complete the job – and then bring them home.

* Ensure our veterans receive the care, benefits, and honors they have earned when they return.

* Revitalize the military for the 21st century by eliminating waste in a trillion-dollar military budget.

* Prevent the TSA from forcing Americans to either be groped or ogled just to travel on an airplane and ultimately abolish the unconstitutional agency.

* Stop taking money from the middle class and the poor to give to rich dictators through foreign aid.

As President, Ron Paul’s national defense policy will ensure that the greatest nation in human history is strong, secure, and respected.
+Scott Swain I think he is dealing with some huge problems that make these choices make more sense than they might have made to me forty years ago. We may have discussed this before, if so, my apologies.

First of all, the scenario he entered was not one that you or I have been very well briefed about, mainly because I think terrorism works by making people terrified. In this case, just knowing the facts can be terrifying. Prepared to get terrified because this is the world President Obama inherited that has NOTHING AT ALL to do with the stupidities and illegalities of W. It's about the reality outside the U.S. bubble:

"The state always was and continues to be less than a perfect mechanism to express, enable, or contain the diversity of the world. Initially, this defect didn't matter: as long as the state was the most powerful actor, the world's texture of disorder and discord could easily be spackled over with the broad knife of state authority and the coercion it could bring to bear. But with the trends described above [state dissolution],––more, smaller, and weaker states coupled with increasingly powerful and capable individuals__competing loyalties in the world matter more and more. The relative power disparity between states and individuals is shrinking. Thus, when an individual decides to swear loyalty to a religion, a family, or a local power broker, instead of a state, it matters a great deal."

"Today, the Dutch are no longer exporting teak wood from the East Indies, but the not-entirely-loyal- Indonesian-Army is fighting ethnic separatists on the island of Aceh. Spain no longer mines silver out of the Kingdom of New Grenada, but the government of Columbia is fighting an intractable war against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a group that controls stretches of the Colombian hinterland. The Czars no longer play the Great Game with Great Britain in the Caucusus, but Chechen separatist rebels have taken over theaters, bombed apartment buildings in Moscow, and held hundreds of school children hostage. The U.S. Army is no longer putting down rebellions on the island of Jolo in its former colony in the southern Phillipines, but is sending advisors to help the fight the Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Portuguese diamond merchants no longer are supporled from their former colonies in present-day Angola, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, but multiple rebel groups with links to transnational criminal organizations and militant religious groups fight for control of diamond mines in the region, as the sales of these "conflict diamonds" fund additional recruitment and weapons purchases. Chinese Triads control flows of goods and cash in Asia worth possibly over $30 billion a year; indeed, some estimates suggest the Triads earn $3 billion a year smuggling humans. Indeed, even in the motherlands of the former colonial powers, the Basque Fatherland and Liberty Party (ETA) continues to fight Madrid from the Pyrenees, planting bombs near police stations and assassinating Spanish authorities, while the Irish Republican Army (IRA) has splintered multiple times and appears to be more interested in drugs than in democracy. And in a sign of the times, governments are hiring private corporations to field mercenary armies to fight internal rebellions on their behalf."

p. 7-8

Warlord's Rising (2005)

In other words, the President has to deal with all this while appearing to be calm. He has to do that pretty much single-handedly because of what I think of as a silent coup by Congress (the Republicans signed a document saying they would not do anything he wanted, period) and the Republicans were willing to destroy the U.S. economy to gain power (read 'money from their constituents'). I would want to keep power close to my vest too, especially because I am aware––as the general population is not––(and W made this conversation impossible to have because of his legerdemain) that we are in a really scary world where individuals can destroy us. The fact that a President had to kill a traitor who may have had the ability (certainly was trying to get the ability) to destroy us makes this reality pretty sobering.

Read the article in The Atlantic , "The Ally From Hell," for even more scary realities (the U.S., at Pakistan's request (though they cannot admit it), is keeping track of exactly where their (moving) nuclear bombs are because Pakistan cannot do it and is afraid they will be stolen by individuals (possibly individuals in their own army).

I understand WHY President Obama is doing what he's doing. Not sure I like it either; but I like it better than being blown to smithereens. The fact that HE does not use that argument is to his credit; it would be easier politically if he talked more about these things. He is a patriot (unlike the Republican Congress who seem hell bent on doing ANYTHING to gain power including dragging down our whole country) and President Obama does not want to help the terrorists (by making us terrified). As far as I can see, we have a better President than we deserve considering how we have treated him after he entered office.

Oh, and the Supreme Court lost all credibility at "The Selection," a totally political decision that they should be more embarrassed about than they are.

Sure, the President is keeping this power: who the hell else is he going to trust?
I went to the AE site and signed up, +Wes Lydon, but it never sent me the email. I checked junk mail and server logs.
I'm not sure +Scott Swain . I'm not affiliated with them in any way - accept that I support the effort - so I don't have any answers, I wish I did. Hopefully it is only delayed and things get figured out. Thanks for checking out and (hopefully) participating in +Americans Elect .

+Meg Tufano , the US citizen that was assassinated could not have destroyed our country. That's hyperbolic language that gives "terrorism" power. Don't you understand that it is language like that and a fear of terrorism that is stomping around on our civil liberties? Terrorism is an arbitrary thing, and it is defined by whomever has the power to combat it. How can it be a good idea to give someone the power to define the enemy and to unilaterally kill them?

There is a terrible argument made that the reason we were able to kill Al-Awlaki was that he was in another country working with terrorists. Why does this make him so dangerous? Wouldn't he have been more dangerous in the US? Wouldn't any government-termed "terrorist" be more dangerous in the US? If so, how soon will it be before we are killing US citizens within our own country? An argument against such a prospect isn't defensible given precedent.

So it is reasonable that in the future our government may feel the need to prevent terrorism within the United States, and use targeted killing to do so. How are we to define terrorism? Is it dependent on an ideological motivator that sets it apart from the social norms of the US? Is a Muslim suicide bomber a terrorist? Is a Christian serial killer? Which of these can we kill without trial? Where do you want to draw the line between terrorist and criminal? Who are you willing to have killed if the result is you can feel assured of your safety? These are only hard questions if you are afraid of the terrorist boogeyman.

Here's the reality of terrorism: it kills people. It doesn't kill countries, or ideologies, or religions. Just people. Al-Awlaki could have killed people. If he had, he would be a criminal. He could have killed the president, and he would still just be a criminal. He could have mailed bombs across the country, and he would still just be a criminal.

If there is any doubt that our way of life, and the founding principles of our nation are safe from terrorism, you have been fooled by the Bush era fear mongers that still infect our government. Terrorism isn't going to destroy our way of life, or the conceits of our constitution: legislation will.
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