VIDEO: Occupy Politician Gets Big Money from Main Street


If you’re looking for hope in this year’s election, you might want to look at where Main Street is putting its change.

With the doors opened wide by ever-loosening campaign-finance loopholes via Congress, committees and a few devastating SCOTUS decisions, corporations are throwing so much speech into the 2012 election that it is set to easily smash 2008′s astounding record of $5,300,000,000. Obama alone is already at $600,000,000, and rumor has it, he’s set to spend $1,000,000,000.

Norman Solomon, a popular author, activist, and California District 2 candidate hoping to win a seat occupied by retiring progressive Rep. Lynn Woolsey, is betting that delivering a strong progressive message with a down-to-earth humility is the right formula to earn people dollars — money from the people who actually enter the booth, punch the chads, and proudly live with the consequences.

Here’s a highlight video I made of the interview (1:40 run time):

“There’s a myth that you’ve got to take PAC money and lobbyist money, work your way up the ladder by taking those bucks in order to get elected. Well, tell that to Bernie Sanders, getting to the Congress, getting to the Senate, over and over again without taking PAC money.” He mentioned Paul Wellstone, who like Solomon had never been elected to office before a run for a seat in Congress, was outspent 7 to 1, but his support was loud and clear from boots on the ground. “It can be done, if you believe in the grassroots.”

Indeed, Solomon has garnered the support of all major progressive political organizations. His reputation as someone who literally wrote the book on how government deception has earned the campaign $750,000 to date. But, come on, with each House-seat winner spending an average of $1,500,000 million on their campaign in 2010, with some House candidates having spent $14,000,000 already, how can he expect to do this on a dime?

“I was born at night, but not last night,” he quipped. “It takes money to win elections, but that’s not the most important point.”

Solomon said he’s been able to get support from believers not only from his district, but from individual donors from all over the country who support his message. “I can vote for them, and our values. Progressive values. We don’t want perpetual war, we don’t want Wall Street dominating Main Street, we don’t want environmental degradation because the corporations are so damn powerful… We don’t have money for healthcare, education, housing, good green jobs, environmental protection, yet the Pentagon is spending way beyond its needs, on borrowed money. People know we need to change that, but you don’t see that happening in Washington.”

Can his 1000+ volunteers be enough to beat out his opponents? Both contenders have raised over a million each. A safe bet is that millionaire novice Stacey Lawson will come through, as she’s willing to spend the most, and is footing the bill of her own campaign. But in a state where Meg Whitman, the California candidate who spent more money on her own losing gubernatorial run than any self-funded candidate for any office in world history — $50 for every vote she got — Solomon may just come out on top.

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- republished with permission from Ben Zolno

Because You Are Silent: Journalists Arrested By House Republicans


They are emboldened by your silence.

This is history being made before your eyes. The anti-corporate movement is being met with illegal action by blindly-obedient police, under orders by corporate-owned politicians.

From the original article on the Huffington Post:

Josh Fox, director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Gasland” (trailer below on this OccupyEducated.org page) was taken into custody by Capitol Hill police this morning, along with his crew, after Republicans objected to their presence, according to Democratic sources present at the hearing. The meeting of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment had been taking place in room 2318 of the Rayburn building.

Approximately 16 officers entered the hearing room and handcuffed Fox amid audible discussions of “disorderly conduct” charges, according to Democratic sources present at the arrest.

“Gasland” received strong critical acclaim and takes a critical eye toward the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a process in which several tons of highly pressurized water and chemicals are injected into the ground, allowing valuable natural gas to escape. The practice is decried by ecological experts for destroying ecosystems and polluting groundwater. The energy industry keeps the actual content of fracking chemicals secret.

A separate ABC News crew, which did have official Capitol Hill credentials, was also denied access to the public hearing.

Arresting journalists, attacking citizen documentarians… you see it on the streets of Occupy every day. Today you see it on Capitol Hill, right in front of your face, because they are betting they can keep turning up the heat as they boil the American frogs — you. They are betting we will keep becoming ever-more complacent, apathetic, or helpless. We sit online and complain, but do not get out in the streets to stand up against it.

Do you not know that fracking is no fringe issue — it is the permanent destruction of your water supply? Do you not know that fracking, not unlike the Canadian tar sands, is simply a last-ditch effort to get at the last few drops of fossil energy accessible, just so these corporate heads can make a quick billion bucks on development and exorbitant higher rates on your energy bill, getting as much capital as possible before the entire fossil energy sector collapses, at the expense of permanent destruction of entire swaths of American homes?

When and where do you stand? Democrats, Republicans, the American people… they have proven to be ineffective, apathetic, or in on the game, so what are you going to do?

Get educated. Find out how they’re doing it. Learn why it’s madness to do this when we’re at the end of economic and environmental-destruction growth. Learn what this will do to you, your economy, and your environment — you know, that place you get your food from.

For the sake of all that is American, open your eyes, open your neighbors’ eyes. Get to the hearings, get to the streets, and do whatever is necessary to stop this corporate takeover of your government happening before your very eyes.

Commentary by Ben Zolno