2011, Politics  -   77 Comments
Ratings: 8.03/10 from 86 users.

Every morning, every United States senator wakes up and his first thought is... "Today I have to raise $20,000... or at the end of the next elections I will not have a job." This documentary is about the government and citizens who want to do a better job for the country they love. Why is it that so many Americans seem concerned about the impact of money on the elected leaders? Is it because some of the policies they're making or lack of oversight that's affecting people's daily lives?

Given the major mishaps the US government has let happened, or ignored, or funded with tax dollars, maybe that is why every election year so many of the people vote for the candidate who'll promise the most change. But, can anyone office-holder, with the way things work, or don't work in the Washington DC, keep their promise to represent ordinary Americans? And if money really is the change-stopper how exactly does that happen?

Steve Cowan set out on the road to follow the money trail, to find out who the government is really working for and if not the people what can be done to take it back. The search for answers begins in a supermarket because before getting into energy, or foreign policy, Steve thought to start simple. The need for healthy food is about as basic as it gets and we don't usually think of whether it's wholesome or not as being affected by money and politics.

No matter where Steve traveled in California's central valley, often called nation's fruit and vegetable basket, he was surrounded by crops being sprayed with all sorts of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. And according to the State's department of pesticide regulation, over 100 million pounds of these chemicals, many extremely toxic, are used each year in the central valley alone. Lot of these pesticides can easily contaminate our water and soil, so Steve wondered if the government is aware of the danger.

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8 years ago

I agree with the overall message of this documentary, however some of the points they used to illustrate it just didn't sit well with me.

When they brought up wind and solar energy, for example, I heard "Wind and solar energy are profitable business models and have the potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but since the government wont give them subsidies, they are stuck producing just 0.5% of the energy consumed" I disagree with this point entirely. Wind and solar are expensive ways to get energy, they only produce energy intermittently (when its daytime, when the wind blows). The fact that they produce only .5% of the energy we use shows that they are not capable of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels in any significant way any time soon. They both come with a lot of strings attached and aren't as environmentally friendly as they might sound. Check the first 5 minutes of the highest rated documentary on this website: (thorium: an energy solution)

I also do not think that having the government pay for campaigns is a much better idea than having corporations do it. I believe there should just be a drastic reduction in the amount of money politicians are legally allowed to receive in campaign contributions, in total as well as per donation. our elected representatives should be held legally responsible when they break the law i agree with cyberfrank they should go to prison. It might be hard to get the government to ever investigate and prosecute itself.

Maybe members of the public should give donations toward private investigators to snoop around politicians we feel are doing things unethically or illegally and then present the evidence and demand that they be removed from office and prosecuted?

9 years ago

it should be illegal for politicians to take money except their salary, anyone caught doing otherwise should go to prison, the way things are now, they are simply for sale to the highiest bidder.

9 years ago

Money isn't the problem, rather it's that we've given the government the power to meddle in every facet of our lives. Remove the government's ability to tell you what to do, how to do it, when to do it and you'll also magically remove money from politics. If the government is restrained, lobbyists can't lobby to have it do things.

When you allow government to regulate your very existence, you invite money to corrupt and pervert the system so that corporations, unions, interest groups, and anyone who wants to use government power for their own ends will dangle dollars in politicians' faces. And politicians of both parties being the spineless scum that the are, won't resist the temptation.

So the solution is simple. It's not stopping the right of people to support candidates they like with financial contributions, but rather cut back the size and scope of government. A government that is kept within its constitutional boundaries is one that will have very little influence over our day to day lives and is one lobbyists won't have an interest in contributing to. In fact, there wouldn't even be lobbyists.

9 years ago

First, I didn't like how this otherwise informative doc. tried to cover the problems of agribusiness along with all the problems of lobbying. Agribusiness could have served well as an example, but it ended up being a documentary about both issues and neither. What I mean to say is that I wished they would have focused on the lobbying, and left other issues for another documentary.
But it was very heartening to learn about what's been happening in Arizona and Maine. It never occurred to me that the problem (suspending for a moment the specter of cheating and graft) of lobbying by super-rich corporations could be diminished simply by making campaign contributions illegal. I think that would accomplish a lot, even in the environment today. I'm going to write all the representative of my state and tell them I'm not going to vote for any of them that don't support a cleaner election bill. That might get a giggle out of some, but if enough of us do it things will change.
Besides, if you want anything remotely like representative government, it's your only choice. Today's legislature looks more like Rome's Senate before Caesar took over than any sort of democracy.

9 years ago

It's what makes american politics so utterly corrupt. The more money you give the more favours you will receive. lobbying is another corrupt form of politics. the elite and their companies get laws written for them and not the people.

9 years ago

the public & their direct voted officials with full control of money creation/distribution is the only way out of wealth accumilation by co-operate assimilation.quite easy actually if it weren't for power centration with state force as a backing.

John Defalque
9 years ago

"Corporations are not your friend".-Mitt Romney

Jo McKay
9 years ago

well said and congrats to Arizona and Maine.

Candace Sturtevant
9 years ago

Iberdrola Renewables is a cool thing. Vestas Visions Vansycle Wind Farm is a film I made about wind mills. I sure love them. It's not fair that alternative forms of energy do not get more notice. It's all about money; and who gives the most. Like "I'll scratch your back, and you scratch mine" premise. Sad.

Janeen Clark
9 years ago

politics and government is a mental illness.