While there are lots of places online to follow the money in politics, few of them take the approach that all that cash in the system could provide beneficial information to voters.
But that is the thinking behind a project launched this week by a couple of Stanford scholars. They view campaign disclosure reports as a treasure trove of data that can be used to connect neophyte politicos with like-minded candidates.
Crowdpac’s motto: “It turns out the best guide to what a politician will do is not what comes out of their mouth, but what goes into their wallet.”
Which interest groups have contributed to a candidate “turns out to be an incredible predictor of how a candidate will behave in office,” said Crowdpac co-founder Steve Hilton, a former advisor to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is a visiting professor at Stanford.
The project is initially catering to voters interested in California races. Hilton and his Stanford colleague Adam Bonica, a political science professor, hope to showcase it in the 33rd Congressional District, where a number of well-funded candidates are looking to replace Democrat Henry Waxman, who is retiring. ( read more here)
Early on a gray Saturday morning in Venice, several blocks inland from the beach, Marianne Williamson paces nervously, greeting each newcomer to her congressional campaign event with hugs and smiles and moments of hushed conversation. Dressed all in black and tottering atop high heels, she looks radiant, rail-thin, alive in the moment, ready for the festivities to begin.
“Where are all the people?” she wonders, eyeing the empty seats and forgetting for the moment that it’s Los Angeles and people will come, if they’re coming at all, at the very last minute.
And even on this start of the Memorial Day weekend, they do come, just at the appointed hour, filling every folding chair and lining the walls of the Source Spiritual Center, eager to be roused by Williamson herself and by her guest, Alan Grayson, the rabble-rousing congressman from Florida. ( read more here)
Dear Katherine Spillar, Bettina Duval and Lindsey Horvath,
I was outraged when I read your May 8 letter to Marianne Williamson. Then came the Los Angeles Times article yesterday.
What in the world are you thinking, to stoop so low as to misrepresent Marianne... all for political gain?
Your actions seem to me that of a high school Mean Girls' desperate attempt to diss an "opponent" -- anti-feminist, to say the least.
Marianne is the last person feminists should be trying to take down. She has done more to bring women, particularly young women, into the feminist fold than almost any figure in contemporary culture. She is totally progressive. Are you aware of 'Sister Giant: Women, Non-Violence and The Birthing of a New American Politics' that she created in 2012? Check it out on Facebook. Or Google 'Sister Giant' and see what Forbes, HuffPost, LA Progressive, Origin Magazine, etc. have to say.
You are painting Marianne as though she were some conservative like Phyllis Schlafly. Marianne has never uttered a word -- privately or publicly -- against Roe vs. Wade. Marianne supports it 100%.
Eight years ago, in 2006, Marianne suggested that it might be good to have a law requiring women to reflect before having abortions. "Abortion rights? I think abortion is a choice between a woman and her God, and the government shouldn't even be in on that conversation. They could slow down the process -- demanding a time of reflection -- and that would be okay with me, but not have the right to stop it." As soon as someone pointed out to her that this could cause women in rural areas hardship, she said, to paraphrase, Yeah, you're right. Not a good idea. I realized quickly that it was a good idea for therapy, but a bad idea for a law.
You said she shouldn't misrepresent her position. YOU shouldn't misrepresent her position! (read more here)
As a forty-five year officer of the court and defense attorney, I am a frontline witness to effects of the racist "War on Drugs" and the transformation of our prison system into a for-profit growth industry. I am grateful and emphatically supportive of congressional candidate Marianne Williamson for bringing the dark atrocity that has befallen our justice system into the light.
It is well ascertained that a child who cannot read by the third grade is almost entirely guaranteed to end up sleeping in a prison bed by the time they reach maturity. Marianne Williamson addresses this fact at every opportunity, and has made her political crusade for universally available preschool a center point of her campaign for U.S. Congress.
2.4 million souls locked behind bars does not come cheap, and it is making the for-profit prison corporations in this country very profitable indeed. Siphoning off of our public coffers for education, the redirection of our resources from schools to prisons is a vicious cycle, as lack of education in turn leads to increased probability of incarceration.
Marianne points out that we are in the midst of a crises, created by lobbyist led polices, with more than three decades of bi-partisan support. The result is an ever-growing Prison Industrial Complex that has put a blight, as ugly as any we have ever seen, on the pages of American history.
It is almost difficult to wrap your mind around the vast nature of the engorged for-profit prison system in our nation, and the many components that keep it on it's continued trajectory of growth.
Their insidious efforts to insure that future prison beds are filled with today's toddlers start with lobbying against Head Start programs, and continue with efforts to defund education at every turn.
With a lobby that seeks to increase profits by any means, their actions have succeeded in affecting everything from drug policy reform, immigration reform, sentencing policies, to education funding and school discipline policies.
The prison lobby has even created what has come to be known as the School-to-Prison pipeline. In many districts across America, No Tolerance policies and infractions of school policy that once got a child detention, or suspension, now result in child incarceration. Youth correctional institutions, despite a big drop in violent crime by youth, have become a large component in the for-profit prison growth industry.
Childhood incarceration is a web from which many can never escape that continues through adulthood. ( read more here)
When Marianne Williamson began her campaign for Congress in the 33rd District last year, it was a decidedly different race.
She was an upstart, an independent and the best known of two candidates challenging Henry Waxman, a veteran Democrat who has spent the past four decades in Washington. It wasn’t clear that she could beat Waxman, but with relatively few candidates in the race, she had a good chance of advancing into the November general election.
The landscape is much different now. Waxman announced his retirement in January, and the field ballooned. Eighteen candidates are now on the June 3 primary ballot, several of whom have a decent chance at advancing to November. The top-tier candidates include Williamson, Democrats Matt Miller, Wendy Greuel and Ted Lieu and Republican Elan Carr. The district stretches from the Palos Verdes Peninsula through the South Bay beach cities to the Westside, parts of the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills.
Williamson said she doesn’t mind the new competition. She said she has enjoyed the campaigning, the debates and the interaction with her competitors.
“Running for office is not easy, and I have respect for all of the other candidates because I know what they are going through every day,” she said. “Being out with people in this process that is really the essence of democracy is a reminder that there is something important going on here.” ( read more here)
Four of the leading candidates to replace the retiring Henry Waxman in California's 33rd Congressional District discussed their views on tech issues with me on Cyber Law and Business Report:
(i) Elan Carr (R) - a gang prosecutor with the LA County District Attorney's Office; (ii) David Kanuth (D) - a criminal defense attorney and former tech executive; (iii) Ted Lieu (D) - a State Senator and Lt. Col. in the Air Force reserves; and (iv)Marianne Williamson (I) - best-selling author and founder of Project Angel Food.
Each articulated why they would best represent the Silicon Beach tech hub that is in the heart of the district. Matt Miller had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict, while Wendy Gruel never responded to invitations in any form.
Each articulated why they would best represent the Silicon Beach tech hub that is in the heart of the district. Matt Miller had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict, while Wendy Greuel never responded to invitations in any form.
Republican Elan Carr stated:
I'm the best candidate in this race for Silicon Beach because I'm the best candidate in this race for business and economic prosperity and job creation - and Silicon Beach is a big part of that.Carr also praised Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey's efforts to increase cyber crime enforcement.
Democrat David Kanuth, who stormed into contention by topping the "front-runners" in early fundraising, stressed:
I think it is important, if you want a different kind of results you need a different kind of leadership. . . . Our problem is not that we are not electing people who don't have enough political experience, in fact it's the opposite.
We need real change in Washington, we need a different tone . . .[I offer] real world experience of persuading and moving immovable forces.
Lieu stressed that he was the only candidate who "has taken action on a lot of these issues." On Silicon Beach, Lieu explained:
It's clear to me, one of the reasons Silicon Beach is growing the way it is, is not just technology but with creativity, innovation and that's something I want to foster in California as well as the nation.
Los Angeles is not a place where people come to do the same thing as everyone else. . . Americans are waking up . . We want a candidate to disrupt the status quo. ( read more)
"We don't need a new third party in America -- we need a new FIRST party." -- Swami Beyondananda
There's that classic bumpersticker I saw again recently: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!"
I would take that sentiment and reframe it more positively: "If you are awake and aware, you know that NOW is the time for a movement to overgrow the current political and economic dysfunction."
That statement calls forth two questions: How do we launch such a movement, and how do we sustain and accelerate it?
Indeed many, many people are feeling frustrated -- and despair even -- at a political system that seems to be less and less responsive to the will of the people (unless, of course, those "people" happen to be corporations). Combine this with the burgeoning planetary "shituation" of global warming, and many folks would find sad truth in Stephen Colbert's tongue-in-cheek suggestion that we simply do nothing and run out the clock.
Of course there is the minor issue of what we tell our children and grandchildren.
In any case, my sense is there is a ripeness in both urgency and awareness -- which is why I am supporting my friend Marianne Williamson in her campaign for Congress as an Independent. You might ask, what difference would it make for one individual to be elected at a time when the moneyed forces seem to be occupying every seat of power? ( read more here)
Spiritual guru Marianne Williamson is running for Congress in Los Angeles—and her constituents and supporters are young Hollywood royalty, from Laura Dern to Nicole Richie to Katy Perry. Mainstream types may scoff at her New Agey lingo, but as she puts it, "If everyone with a yoga mat in this district voted for me, I'd win." An exclusive from our June issue.
On a chilly night in December, I arrived at a nondenominational New Age church in Venice, California—a “sacred temple,” according to its website, where “celebration services” are held Sundays at 11:11 a.m.—to attend a volunteer meeting for Marianne Williamson’s congressional campaign. Williamson, the best-selling author of 13 spirituality-based self-help books that have together sold more than 3 million copies (her first book, A Return to Love, sold a million after Oprah praised it on-air) has met with Hillary Clinton at Camp David and the White House, officiated at Elizabeth Taylor’s (last) wedding, and preached to enormous crowds in Hollywood and Beverly Hills for more than 30 years. One might call her a guru, and many do, though she despises the word: “When someone is called a spiritual guru in today’s world, and certainly in American culture…it seems to carry a less-than-respectful attitude,” she says. The word has been employed frequently of late, by somewhat mystified political journalists charged with describing her second, apparently un-guru-like act: Last October, Williamson declared her candidacy for the seat of California’s Henry Waxman, the venerable Democrat who announced in January that he was retiring from the House of Representatives after 40 years. ( read more)
Independent candidate Brent Roske announced Thursday night he was dropping out of the race for the 33rd Congressional District.
The announcement was made at the Santa Monica headquarters of fellow independent candidate Marianne Williamson in front of a crowd of about 150 people.
“With it being a top two race, and the fact that I couldn’t get into the top two, it was more important to me to help an independent get into the house,” Roske said. “So the timing was right to endorse an independent candidate that I think can actually go all the way in November, so that’s why I did it.”
With Roske throwing his support behind Williamson, there is still a total of 16 campaigning candidates for the Westside district that’s being vacated by Henry Waxman. (read more)
About 40 people wait patiently in a side room at the Venice Library on a recent weekday afternoon. Among them average folks, retirees, some middle-aged hippies and eager young people all there to hear Marianne Williamson, candidate for Congressional District 33 to replace Rep. Henry Waxman this November.
More than anything, however, the group is here to be inspired, because that’s what Williamson has been doing for the past 30 years. When she arrives just a few minutes late she barely takes a moment to catch her breath before launching into her message, which at its core she says is about disrupting the system.
“The way I see it, this is a job interview,” she begins. “Even though there are 18 people running in this race, there are only two conversations. One is about how to perpetuate the system as it is…That in my opinion is not what we need. I believe we need to disrupt the system.” ( read more)