One thing you can do in many states is to get an initiative or referendum started that can take the issue directly to the voters. My experience in such matters is that when such ground rule changing questions get on a ballot (with enough publicity and other factors too), the voter turnout is usually quite strong. I also find that the voters tend to get the issues involved.
Getting the rules for how people get elected, with single alternative vote, instant run-off, or some other voting system will go a long, long way to fixing the system. It can happen, and I've even participated in getting such things done including forcing the state legislature where I live to pass a law instead of waiting for the results of the referendum to be counted. No, I wasn't just a signature gatherer but somebody who was organizing the whole thing. I've been involved in three such petition drives and know a little bit about how to get stuff like that done for a relatively small cost (in the mere thousands of dollars range, not millions, for a state-wide effort).
The question that needs to be asked is how much do you really want to see a change, or are you merely going to cast your lone 3rd party vote and think that will make a difference?
I'm with you. At only 48 I'm in better shape than when I was a kid in the Infantry. And I don't have to sit at the children's table during Thanksgiving anymore!
As the years progressed I slowly started improving my diet and lifestyle to help counter some heart disease and diabetes on my dad's side. I went to the 75th wedding anniversary of my mom's grandparents (triple digits!), and her mom lived to 97. Mom is still kickin' it in her mid 70's!
I sat with my grandmother once while she told me about living through WWI, The Great Depression, moving to Kansas in a covered wagon, rural electrification, WWII, telephones, cars(!) and planes(!), Korean War, Vietnam War, JFK, landing on the moon, computers, medical marvels, and the Internet. My mom told me about hearing stories from her uncles about when they fought in the Civil War. The big thing that I got from their retrospective is this: The most important thing in life is how we treat each other, and how we respond to events. In some ways we've gotten better, but in others worse.
The public perception of our leaders used to be that we were choosing among the best of us, now we feel like we just get the most corrupt with the deepest pockets. Grandma was very disappointed with the administrations of the last 50 years. But she was so proud of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the couple great-great-grandchildren.
I figure, with luck and progressing tech, I'll have a long life in which to play with toys and more grandkids.
I'm not advocating or asking to have explained why documents should remain classified. What I'm complaining about is why federal agents whose job is to process information are being explicitly told they can't learn about classified information from a public source like a newspaper or a blog when ordinary citizens are capable of obtaining that information? It is this duplicity that I'm complaining about which makes federal agents have less knowledge about stuff happening than ordinary citizens... in some situations.
If some CIA analyst can pick up the Washington Post and read the same newspaper that is dropped onto the desk of Kim Jong Un, why should he go through some mickey mouse bullshit to declassify that same newspaper article?
I would suggest you watch the video I referenced. It explains not only why you have two parties, but also why the vast majority of people don't want to bother voting either. At a recent municipal election that I participated in, my city had an abysmal 5% voter turnout. I have to presume it is because the other 95% of the registered voters didn't feel it was worth their effort in spite of the fact that over half of the taxes they pay go to those municipal officials. That was a non-partisan election too! (aka no party affiliation was permitted on the ballot.... candidates ran strictly on their own name alone).
If you want to make a difference and change what is happening, you need to change the way voting takes place, not just simply throw your vote away by voting for a 3rd party. You had better believe that it takes action, but merely voting "present" isn't going to matter.
Study up on alternative voting systems, and when you get the opportunity make sure that you encourage something other than First Past the Post voting happens. I convinced the members of my local voting precinct to change to Instant Run-off voting instead. Yes, there are other voting systems, but almost anything is better than First Past the Post. That was just for minor stuff, but you need to give ordinary people the experience of voting in some other manner, even if it is just for class president or who is going to be stuck going on a beer run at midnight.
It is much more than just money in the system, it is noting that the entire system for voting is broken in a critical way.
The contracts specifically reference parts of the U.S. Code noting that penalties involved for violating what happens under such contracts can be prosecuted under federal law. So yes, these contracts do override specific laws.
Drug cartels can also write up such contracts, but I doubt you will get them to have a federal judge be the enforcement and interpretation arm of those cartels. That is the difference. On the other hand, if you work for IBM or some other private company (with damn good lawyers writing up employment contracts), you similarly don't want to violate the terms of your contract as you will end up in front of a federal or state judge where you can be prosecuted for violating trade secret laws criminally as well as HUGE civil penalties that would trash your life fiscally.
There is a reason why NDAs are effective. I also wouldn't want to screw with an NDA given to you by a drug cartel as that might end up with a horse head laying next to you instead.
There should be an common sense exception for things in the public domain but these rules were created before the internet existed and foreign powers didn't indiscriminately share everything.
This is a cop-out excuse. The duplication of information has been a problem since Gutenberg developed the printing press and enabled the mass dissemination of knowledge. To claim this is a new phenomena and something that needs common sense rules simply goes to show how silly such rules are in the first place.
There is a good reason why the 1st Amendment exists in the U.S. Constitution, and specifically mentions printing presses (something the authors of the U.S. Constitution knew about). The 1st Congress also passed laws about official state secrets, including their applicability with activities related to the War Department. The damage that a faithless traitor could make was also seen in the form of Benedict Arnold, whose damage of the American Revolution still can't be completely determined, and was made very apparent at the beginning of the USA to those making such rules.
I'm not trying to say that just because some information was leaked to the press that it automatically needs to be declassified. It is very likely (almost certain) that information being passed around in the public by news reports is imprecise, lacking some critical details, and certainly not the complete story. There are indeed valid reasons for keeping something classified even when the whole report or project has been dumped out into the open in a public manner (however that happened).
I have seen some books and reports getting classified simply because of a single word that is different from a public document. I understand how that can be a big deal.
Still, you are confusing the declassification process or the need to maintain secrets with something that is already out in the public domain. It is two very different situations, and here you are trying to tell an analyst that they can't have access to information that they may even need to know simply because some upper level official is hoping to make that public knowledge secret again. My complaint is about telling somebody who is dealing with this kind of information that is in the public domain that it is somehow a secret.
It is just denying reality, and doing so officially. If your next door neighbor knows something about a piece of intellgience, somebody who is a civilian, why should a government agent be expressly prohibited from learning about that same fact?
Those contracts are even more detailed than a simple oath of office, and spell out with penalties what the consequences of revealing national secrets might be. Snowden is screwed even more because of the contract as opposed to simply being told verbally that some information is supposed to stay private within the government.
The question at hand is that once the Snowden documents have been spread all over the internet, significant parts published in newspapers and spead even more widely beyond even the internet, can somebody use that information and then subsequently repress the publication of a document or other artistic work when that information is already widely available? As significant, can somebody make money from that repackaging of that information?
And forgetting this critical law too:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
It sort of is flat out a part of protecting the constitution to actually give a damn about what these words mean, and to understand that actions like this agent seems to be doing is making a law to abridge freedom of speech. Snowden is in breach of contract for spreading information he was privy to, but the information he revealed and is already in the public domain is something you can't re-classify and make private again. That is precisely what this guy is trying to do.
I know this happened, but it really makes no sense to me either. If the information is already in the public domain available to ordinary citizens and even enemies of the country, what is the point of further restrictions from that information? Are they deliberately trying to disable the intelligence community from being able to do their job by not giving them enough information?
I can understand perhaps for law enforcement purposes, if you were one of those officers involved with investigating Snowden or potentially could be called into that investigation, that you might want to be cautious about a chain of evidence in term of trying to prove guilt eventually in a courtroom. This can include (obviously, given the circumstances) investigators who are employed by the Department of Defense, so this could be a general precaution. It also would be something you should in general be avoiding for almost any investigation for that matter so Snowden shouldn't be singled out either.
If you can explain the logic why this order went out, I would love to understand it.
How is it propaganda? As long as the current system of electing representatives exists in the USA, you will be stuck with two political parties. At best, you might have one political party that really screws up, only to be replaced by another major party (like what happened when the Republican Party replaced the Whigs).
At least try to explain what points this video seems to miss? It explains precisely why two political parties exist in America, and why they are both almost identical in philosophies as well. It is indeed a waste of a vote and is not mere propaganda, at least from a mathematical view and a basic understanding of human nature.
Other voting systems can encourage much more diversity of political opinions in governance, which is what I presume you mean by advocating for third party candidates.