Browse By

Americans Elect makes first communication with Irregular Times: a Takedown Notice

I am happy to say that today, after nearly a year of trying, I finally got someone at Americans Elect to communicate with me.

I’m sorry to say that the content of the communication was a takedown notice.

Last night, I reported on Americans Elect Chief Technology Officer Joshua Levine’s contention on his question-and-answer website that despite being funded by at least one billionaire, Americans Elect couldn’t share the list of its funders and officers on its website because it had “limited funds and resources.” I shared quotes of Joshua Levine making claims to that effect. I shared quotes of other people proclaiming that he wasn’t making sense — that a person could post the required information at no cost in minutes. And then I shared a quote of Joshua Levine devoting his “limited funds and resources” later that evening to promoting an appearance by Chief Operating Officer Elliot Ackerman on the Colbert Report. It was a pretty typical Americans-Elect-says-one-thing-and-does-another post.

This morning, Joshua Levine issued a takedown notice using Americans Elect’s terms of service through its “Get Satisfaction” service, requiring that I remove all quotations of that material from the Irregular Times website and refrain from quoting any of that material in the future.

Americans Elect Chief Technology Officer Joshua Levine demands we refrain from quoting Americans Elect's Question and Answer Service

I’d like to to be able to share with you quotes of that material to better document what happened — but the Americans Elect corporate takedown measure prevents me from doing so. I’d better pay attention — besides being funded by at least one billionaire, Americans Elect has a team of lawyers it’s ready to deploy. I’m still paying off my student loans and I don’t have a stable of lawyers. The best I can do is point you to this web page for documentation.

If Americans Elect is so thin-skinned that it won’t permit the quotation of discussions on its Q&A website, how is it going to invigorate democracy?

11 thoughts on “Americans Elect makes first communication with Irregular Times: a Takedown Notice”

  1. tiradefaction says:

    Well, that shines some light on their ethics….

    Hope you can get past that cowardly “cease and desist” notice.

  2. Nicole Nichols says:

    Well, Jim…it looks like you rattled someone’s cage. It could be that I’ll have a few words to say about all of this on our next show. At least we now know they are paying attention. Thanks for all that you do.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Thanks for talking with me the other week. Best of luck to you!

  3. Ralph says:

    They’ve shown their hand.

    Per the terms of Americans Elect and Get Satisfaction, the information you give them belongs to them. This isn’t just some small print everyone ignores, it’s really the way Americans Elect sees things, and it’s prepared to back it up legally–or at least threaten to do so.

    The Americans Elect forum is NOT the kind of free, public space in which democratic communication thrives. It is a private space in which people say things and the owners of the space own what is said. Just another corporate grab at the power of citizens in this increasingly bogus democracy.

    If you want this shady bunch of people–who haven’t even come out of the shadows–to own your participation in the democratic process, by all means join Americans Elect!

    1. Walter says:

      I know I would not write anywhere if my full name and words could be in the Chicago Tribune. I learnt from the articles here. I do not think it is right.

      1. Jim Cook says:


        I write all the time with my full name and occasionally even with my home address. I make sure to write with documentation of sources, so that in the unlikely event that my words do appear in the Chicago Tribune I will not be embarrassed. I don’t feel embarrassed about my Americans Elect writing yet. If there’s any piece of information regarding Americans Elect you have that would contradict what I’ve written, please share it with documentation of sources; we all have a lot to learn about Americans Elect, I like to learn new things, and I’m not afraid of admitting I was wrong so long as that’s shown through documented fact.

        In the above, I’m not meaning to disparage anonymous or pseudonymous writing — we at Irregular Times allow pseudonymous and anonymous comments all the time. I just am trying to say that the comments left at Get Satisfaction regarding Americans Elect are already all over the web — go make a google search, for Pete’s sake. The takedown demand that public comments regarding Americans Elect not be quoted when they say something substantive is a heavy-handed attempt to enforce message control. It doesn’t jibe with the “democracy” thing too well.

  4. Bob says:

    Open comment to Americans Elect: It’s over. You should pack it in. Stop it. You can’t continue. All your mis-steps have been carefully documented and archived. You can’t erase what you’ve done. You embarrass yourselves. Following your story has been both sad and very entertaining, but I think it’s enough; don’t you? “Have you no sense of decency…at long last?” This is it. I hereby enter an official prediction. The end draws near.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Hi Bob. I actually disagree; I predict that what will turn out to matter is the amount of money Americans Elect has. If they can get enough funding from their mysterious donor base, they can get on the ballot, and then it won’t matter what the American people think of Americans Elect — AE will be able to get someone on the ballot.

      Once that person gets on the ballot, people will evaluate him or her as a potential president, forgetting about how she or he got there and the people she or he owes for the favor.

      Just my prediction; we’ll see which of us turns out to be right!

      1. Ralph says:

        Sorry to say, buy I agree with Jim on this one. Unity 08 failed to influence the 08 election because it wasn’t able to reach into a few donors’ very deep pockets for money to get on the ballot. Americans Elect was already well underway with ballot access petitions funded by a few elite donors when it went public. No matter how much Americans Elect crashes and burns in the arena of public opinion, it will have those slots on the ballot, and someone is going to want their name there.

        As of now, Americans Elect is alienating the people it needs to run a genuine grass roots campaign–people who are critical, politically motivated, and articulate. The kind of people on the message boards saying “please tell me who is behind this” and not getting answers are the kind of people who could get a strong discussion going, organize things like meet-ups, make small donations, and potentially draw dozens of people to Americans Elect.

        Americans Elect is demonstrating that it doesn’t see these people as a priority, and that’s a shame. But I’m afraid to say it doesn’t need them. Americans Elect has the potential to more or less quietly get its name on the ballot in all or most states, arrive on a candidate in any way it sees fit, and send out a last-minute blast of advertising in the swing states to scoop up a few thousand undecided voters.

        That could be enough to throw a state like Florida or Pennsylvania–and therefore potentially the election–one way or the other.

        Then they get to be power brokers.

        That’s my prediction. Hope it doesn’t happen that way.

        1. Nicole Nichols says:

          I have to agree with both Jim and Ralph. I think discounting that possibility and writing this group off is dangerous and plays right into their hands.

          Personally, I think all of the “grassroots” kind of thing they claim to be furthering – all of the people “buy-in” that they claim to be standing for is just grand-standing and posturing. They have the money to gain ballot access. They know they do. They are simply playing the role and trying to appear legit.

  5. Melissa Bower says:

    Appreciate the thought you’ve put into this. I am curious to see what will happen with America Elect. It’s hard to say at this point, even with their original contributions from a hedge fund manager. I’ll be honest though, it’s hard to find any money in the United States at this time that is not tied to a lobbying group or special interest. I am to understand the money is to be used to purchase a ballot spot, correct? I still don’t understand how this is different than a third party nomination, but am trying to keep an open mind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Psst... what kind of person doesn't support pacifism?

Fight the Republican beast!