Newsflash:
Rob Zerban Norman Solomon In the Dessert Room with Daniel Ellsberg and Norman Solomon
Thursday, 29 September 2011 00:00

In the Dessert Room with Daniel Ellsberg and Norman Solomon

Written by  Ryan Jacobs | Point Reyes Light
Daniel Ellsberg Daniel Ellsberg

Inside the well-appointed kitchen of Gary Birnbaum’s modernist Strawberry home, Democratic Congressional candidate Norman Solomon stood wide-eyed, absorbing the backdrop of his latest campaign house party. Outside the French doors, under the purplish flare of twilight, a spacious terrace looked out over Richardson Bay and the Tiburon peninsula. Solomon, respected for his intellectual heft and his willingness to stray from conventional political wisdom, stated the obvious: “We’re at such a great venue.”

Inside the well-appointed kitchen of Gary Birnbaum’s modernist Strawberry home, Democratic Congressional candidate Norman Solomon stood wide-eyed, absorbing the backdrop of his latest campaign house party. Outside the French doors, under the purplish flare of twilight, a spacious terrace looked out over Richardson Bay and the Tiburon peninsula. Solomon, respected for his intellectual heft and his willingness to stray from conventional political wisdom, stated the obvious: “We’re at such a great venue.”

Solomon thanked Birnbaum for opening his home to the $200-a-head soiree for more than 20 potential contributors and featured speaker, famed Pentagon Papers leaker, Daniel Ellsberg.

Despite the opulence of the setting, Solomon, who lives in Inverness Park, soon found himself engaged in conversation about a decidedly working-class issue—the type he really cares about. Barbara Clark, a fellow member of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), told Solomon about the picket line, in support of nurses’ rights, which she attended earlier in the day at Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa. It wasn’t just glad handling chatter. Solomon had attended a strike for the same cause earlier that afternoon, at Novato Community Hospital.

Most of the supporters milling about Birnbaum’s home on Thursday evening shared a common outlook: they were disillusioned with the Democratic electoral field and were impressed with Solomon’s authentic knowledge of and passion for the progressive agenda. That’s why Clark was so surprised and thrilled when she first heard about his candidacy.

“Truthfully, I look at the politicians as a bunch of frat boys who don’t care about much and act like juveniles,” Clark said. “And he is so far from that. I mean, he is the kind of person [that] truly has a good heart as well as a great intellect. We need a heart in Washington.”

Ellsberg, a renowned anti-war advocate who has known Solomon for almost two decades and penned the forward to his book Made Love, Got War, was also at first taken aback by Solomon’s decision to break into the political realm.
“I wasn’t sure why he wanted to do it, but my trust in Norman is such that if he thinks he can make a difference there, I’ll trust him that he can,” Ellsberg said. “I know he’s not just doing it for ego or fame, or certainly not for profit.”

As the residential lights on the other side of the bay began to brighten, an ambient acoustic guitar duo finished their set and people filtered into an upstairs living room to hear Solomon and Ellsberg speak.

“We have an opportunity to have a conversation with two people who really can express a lot of the ideals and ideas that you all think about, and have a vision of the type of society that we’d love to live in that unfortunately we’re not living in right now,” Birnbaum said in a short introduction from his armchair.

Solomon began his talk by answering a question posed by Ellsberg earlier in the night: Which political figure does he emulate? He replied that he had come to admire Senator Wayne Morse during the Vietnam era; as a teenager, he had attended a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in 1968, and had heard Morse tell Lyndon B. Johnson’s aides that he did not “intend to put the blood of this war on my hands.”

“I think what is so important for us is to speak truth about power, so that our eyes are not uplifted in supplication, but we’re connecting with each other to try to share insights and understandings about how power is wielded in a negative way,” Solomon said. “And also to overcome the ambivalence that progressives have about power. Because power can be manifested for tremendous good.”

For Solomon, that good can be executed by building working relationships with similarly minded progressives in Congress, as well as with activists and organizations, to confront and tackle the problems of “autocratic corporate power” and the “dire shortage of democracy.” These, in his estimation, complicate the development of solutions to issues such as unemployment, climate change, lack of renewable energies, restrictions of social liberties, poor public education and a limited transportation infrastructure.

His campaign, which embraces grassroots social movements and rejects corporate PAC donations in favor of individual contributors, addresses both of these fundamental problems. Without any corporate sponsorship, the campaign has raised over $200,000, second only to candidate and State Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who says he has raised “far, far more” than that. A preliminary count of campaign contributions from the house party was $4,500.

Solomon also announced that he learned earlier in the day that PDA had decided to lend its first official endorsement for 2012 to his campaign for the open 2nd district Congressional seat.

After an inspirational and mostly serious introduction, Solomon offered the floor to Ellsberg, who regaled guests with insights he had gained during the Pentagon Papers ordeal and a convincing endorsement of Solomon. Coincidentally, Senator Morse had once told Ellsberg that if he had leaked his confidential cables sooner, the resolution would have never been passed and he, in effect, could have prevented the Vietnam War. This troubling revelation made him realize that the principled actions of one person, especially in higher levels of government, can have profound effects on history. He said that Solomon was the type of person that would not shy away from wielding his influence.

“I have no question at all that Norman Solomon would be one person who would stand up,” he said to applause. “People will always say to me, ‘Well, aren’t you talking to the choir?’ And I say, ‘Yes.’ That’s exactly who I need to be talking to, because the choir can always do more than they end up doing. I don’t have to change their lives, which is very hard to do, I don’t have to change their hearts but get them off their ass…What I look for from Norman in this is to organize the progressive caucus.”

Standing in the dessert room as the night wound down and volunteers packed up the kitchen, Solomon said he felt uplifted by the positive energy that coursed through the home. “The ultimate success of the campaign is to have so much community involvement that all the money and any mud thrown in our direction will be insufficient to stop our momentum,” he said. “So we’re gonna keep building from the grassroots up.” — Ryan Jacobs

http://www.ptreyeslight.com/Point_Reyes_Light/Home/Entries/2011/9/29_In_the_dessert_room%2C_with_Norman_Solomon_and_Daniel_Ellsberg.html

Read 3261 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 December 2011 02:00

Trans Pacific Partnership Fast Track - Where Does Your Legislator Stand

Click your state to see your Senators and Representatives

Green = Most Legislators Oppose Fast Track, Yellow = Some Opposition, Orange = Oppose TPP, Gray = Unknown
DeLauro 13 - Signed 2013 DeLauro/Miller letter
Pocan - Signed Freshman Letter Opposing Fast Track
W/M - Signed Ways and Means Letter opposing TPP
Gibson - Signed Rep. Chris Gibson letter opposing TPP
SOPA - Oppose Stop Online Piracy Act - voted against
Currency - Oppose Currency Manipulation (Signed Michaud Letter)
Textile - Oppose changes to "First Yarn" (Signed Textile Industry Letter)

ERA Legislation in your State

Unratified states Gold - Ratified States Purple

Latest News from the Zerban Campaign

  • Meet the Man Who's Trying to Force Paul Ryan to Look for a Real Job
    Meet the Man Who's Trying to Force Paul Ryan to Look for a Real Job

    Once again, Koch brothers cash will face off against a people-powered campaign in Wisconsin this November. The race is for a House seat in the first Congressional District, a seat now held by Paul Ryan. His challenger – the first serious challenge he's faced in 14 years in Congress – is Rob Zerban, a restaurateur and County Commissioner.

    Written on Sunday, 02 September 2012 17:49 Read more...
  • The Real Cost of the Ryan Budget
    The Real Cost of the Ryan Budget

    Everywhere I go during my campaign — parades, farmers markets, even the local deli — I keep hearing the same thing from Wisconsin voters. “We need real representation,” they tell me, “representation that’s focused on the people and what we need.”

    Written on Thursday, 09 August 2012 19:51 Read more...
  • Zerban Submits 230% of Required Nomination Signatures Today
    Zerban Submits 230% of Required Nomination Signatures Today

    "The message is clear: Paul Ryan must be held accountable for his 14 years of failed decisions"

    Written on Saturday, 02 June 2012 01:34 Read more...
  • A Man Who Looks Paul Ryan's Storm Dead in the Eye
    A Man Who Looks Paul Ryan's Storm Dead in the Eye

    "He had a minor in economics," Rob Zerban says of his opponent. "What experience does he have to say that he's the great budget oracle?" "The people of the First District can see where that budget impacts their lives. Their bridges start to crumble. We've got 16 bridges on federal highways alone in the district that have been declared structurally deficientm and that doesn't include county and local municipal bridges.

    Written on Friday, 27 April 2012 01:52 Read more...
  • Rob Zerban Has My Vote in 2012
    Rob Zerban Has My Vote in 2012

    Typically during an election cycle, it often comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils. You choose the one who supports the issues most meaningful to you – or at least doesn’t outright defy them. It can be difficult to encounter a candidate who personifies the conviction and integrity you would imagine only in a perfect political world.

    Written on Sunday, 15 April 2012 18:11 Read more...
  • Rob Zerban Statement on Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty”
    Rob Zerban Statement on Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty”

    Today, Rob Zerban, Democratic Congressional challenger to Congressman Paul Ryan, released the following statement in response to the introduction of Paul Ryan’s FY2013 “Path to Poverty” budget.

    “In yet another misguided handout to Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, Congressman Paul Ryan today introduced his latest budget plan, designed to place the blame for his 14 years of poor decisions squarely on the backs of our hardworking families.

    Written on Sunday, 15 April 2012 18:07 Read more...
  • WI-01 Rob Zerban Campaign Kickoff Tour Highlights
    WI-01 Rob Zerban Campaign Kickoff Tour Highlights

    When I began this campaign, I made a commitment to serve as a voice of the people- not of corporations.

    I have been putting that into action. In the last few weeks, I have been working overtime to kickoff my campaign with rallies across the district.

    Written on Monday, 12 March 2012 00:00 Read more...
  • John Nichols: How Rob Zerban forced Paul Ryan to defend Internet freedom

    The American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and the Save the Internet campaign have made it clear that the Stop Online Piracy Act poses a genuine threat to human rights advocacy and whistleblowing on the Web.

    Written on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00 Read more...

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries in January.

Button-ShareTPPWithNewspaper

Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.

Sign the Petition - Sen. Sanders Run as a Democrat in 2016

Button-SandersPetition

Sign the TPP Fast Track Petitions

MoveOn.org Petition - Congress Don't Renew Fast Track

Pulic Citizen Petition - Congress Must Reject Fast Track Authority

MoveOn.org Petition - Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership

CREDO Petition - Stop the Massive Corporate Power Grab

 

Hand Deliver a Letter to your Senators or Representative on the TPP

If your Senator(s) and/or Representative is not currently opposed to Fast Track, they may not completely understand all the implications. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.

Button-HandDeliver

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of