By Dave Lindorff
There is a simple answer to the refusal of the Two Party-Controlled Presidential Debate Commission's refusal to include third party candidates in its three debates: An alternative televised debate that would include the third party candidates, and that would air right after the corrupt and largely meaningless debate between Obama and Romney ends.
The third-party candidates would have a chance in such a debate to answer the same questions that were put to the two major party candidates, or to say something along the lines of, "This is the stupidest question I have ever heard, and what does it have to do with the problems facing this nation and the world?" With the help of a knowledgeable and serious moderator, they could also deal with some of the questions that the official debate" won't even be asked, such as, "Why is the US spending as much as the rest of the world combined on its military, and what are you going to do about this?"
Given how unenthusiastic the American public is with the whole presidential campaign and with the two candidates on offer by the two pro-war, pro-corporate parties, it's likely that such an alternative debate would be watched by nearly as many people as manage to sit through 90 minutes of staged blather and campaign vetted answers from Obama and Romney.
RT-TV would be ideally suited to stage such an alternative debate series. The cable network, owned by Russian Television, but staffed with smart US reporters and hosts and run in the US, claims to reach 50 million American viewers, all of them adults (the network does not run kiddie shows or low-wattage entertainment), It would not be that hard to organize. It would not even really be necessary for the candidates to be be brought together on one stage. They could all participate from local uplink studios or from cameras taping from their own campaign offices.
It won't do to try such a thing on YouTube. Too many people have trouble loading streaming video, or don't even have computers or computer savvy. It needs to be done on television, but since most people do have cable, it should be possible to reach a large proportion of households that way. Democracy Now! is going to have some of the third party candidates on its program simultaneously with the official debate, which is great, but not that many cable systems carry Democracy Now! Besides, a bunch of alternative presidential candidates sitting around a table with Amy Goodman wouldn't create the same impression on viewers as having the candidates standing behind lecterns, looking "presidential" in the manner they have come to expect candidates to "debate."
My suggestion is that everyone who is signing those futile petitions to the major parties and to the Debate Commission calling for them to open up the official debates -- a total waste of time -- change their focus and start writing to RTTV calling on the network to stage alternative debates starting Oct. 3. Here is the contact addresses (flood them!): RTTV 
This has to be organized quickly, though. October 3 is less than three days away.
DAVE LINDORFF is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent Project Censored Award-winning online alternative newspaper. His work, and that of colleagues JOHN GRANT, LORI SPENCER, LINN WASHINGTON, JR. and CHARLES M. YOUNG, can be found at www.thiscantbehappening.net