Category Archives: Gov. Doofinator’s Follies

When We Want Your Opinion, We’ll Tell You What To Say OR the GOP Wimp Factor

Isn’t it funny how Republicans talk tough, but when it comes right down to it, they are the biggest wimps and scaredy-cats in politics today?
Here you have a President, for example, who apparently won a national election, and has one-party control over the House and Senate to rubber-stamp anything he wants to do. Yet, apparently, every time he’s had a so-called “town meeting” on Social Security, a lot of time and tax money is spent keeping the crowds 100% friendly to the president.
Got a question or concern about Social Security? Great. Just don’t be expected to ask any questions or make any suggestions to the President’s tax-funded “discussion.”
You’ll be kicked out by a member of The Party, or a member of the internal security forces for that. Yes, we may be promoting democracy in Iraq, but we just can’t have anyone daring question The President or The Party on issues – that would be “messy.”
Either the President is so under-confident about his proposals and so scared of a few little questions that dare challenge his views, he feels the need to put up the walls, or his handlers feel he’s so out of whack they have to “protect” him. I don’t know which one is worse.
Come on, George? One hippie with a question about your plans is enough to bring down the US Government? Please.
Likewise, self-styled “tough guy” (he may not be one but he played on on TV) Governor Doofinator is tooling around the state with the gimmicky rallies, and so called “Kitchen Cabinet” meetings to “listen to the people of Cal-ee-fornia.”
Except, of course, that the people in these “meetings” are hand-picked by local Chambers of Commerce, and are 100% pro-Arnold in their questions. The press is never allowed to talk to the Great Doofinator, and no one with any dissenting views is allowed to ask the Governor questions, and make him defend his proposals without a script.
Funny, I thought Gov. Doofinator said he was going to be a “people’s governor” and listen to us, not special interest cash. Instead, he’s spending most of his time raising millions of dollars from wealth special interests, and won’t talk to anyone that doesn’t already agree with him in advance.
The only way anyone can even try and talk back to the governor is in the form of a street protest. Funny thing, that. We dumped Davis because he was a “coin-op” Governor who didn’t listen to you unless you had a few dollars. Now we have a Governor who won’t listen to you unless you have bundles of cash, and won’t listen to you unless you tell him what he wants to hear, and agree with him 100%. Nice!
Now, unlike some bloggers around town (whose names we’ll not mention) who seem to think that sitting in front of a computer and being rude and snarky to other bloggers somehow accomplishes something, I plan on doing something a little more relevant, and put my
Today, April 5th, a coalition of good folks who don’t like being stepped on anymore by Doofinator’s Special Interest Mob, are going to be holding a rally in downtown San Francisco at the Ritz Carlton this afternoon, starting at 4:30. I’ve decided to lend a hand to the organizers of the event.
It is unfortunate that the Governor feels it’s better to spend more time out of the Capitol, raising money from out-of-state special interests, instead of using his alleged independence to tell the apparatchniks on both parties to stick it and deal directly with everyone, fair and square. Since he has chosen that route, however, others are now responding with something he may understand – a loud, and organized crowd of folks who have this crazy notion that pensions for our cops and firefighters are worth defending.
I will report on the proceedings from my side of the lines later on as time allows. Until then, if you want to talk to your President or Governor, bring your checkbook and be sure to leave any disagreements at the door, or you won’t be let in!
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Short Update: Governor’s Trustworthiness an Issue?

For some odd reason I’m having some strange issues with my net connection while on the road, so until I get them sorted out posting may be delayed.
In the meantime, the San Jose Mercury had two interesting articles about our Governor that are worth reading.
The first is from today’s paper, which details the extensive use of credit-card style borrowing in Governor Doofinator’s budget, far worse than anything Gov. Davis could have dreamed up. And yet the GOP chorus says our Governor is “fiscally responsible.”
The other is from Sunday, which details how the Governor’s much heralded “deal making” last year, which produced all sorts of agreements with concenred consitutent groups, was a smoke screen. He has gone back on his word in record time, and it just goes to show that smile and glitz make us all feel great, but if they charm you while they’re lying, they’re not good leaders. They’re con artists.
More later once this Net issue gets resolved.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

The State of The State is Stasis With A Smile

One has to give our fair Governor Doofinator credit for being able to create a “moment” when on stage. Listening to him today, in the absence of any criticism or any sort of questioning (as is the case usually) one cannot discount his brand of optimism coupled with snappy sounding ideas that make everyone feel good “in the moment.”
The problem is that like a moment on the stage or on the screen, once it’s over, reality begins to rear its ugly head. This was the case for Gov. Schwarzenegger tonight when he laid out what had been touted as an “action plan for reform” for California.
After assorted witticisms, he laid out four major areas he wants to take on, starting with what was termed “budget reform.” As is often the case, he got half the problem right, and half the problem wrong, and the proposed “solution” is one that serves no one, except perhaps the well-heeled “special interests” that wrote it for him.
What’s right: No one would argue that the current budget “process,” with years of voter mandated spending, and earmarked taxation for specific projects, is working. While Gov. Doofinator correctly identified this problem, he then went on to say that we have merely a “spending” problem.
You have to get worried when people start using the generic term “spending” when trying to address complicated budget issues. That’s because the usual response of these folks is to create new laws that restrict the ability of elected officials to make decisions, forcing government to operate on a strict percentage per year of spending growth.
Which is fine, except that life doesn’t operate on percentages per year of increase. What happens when you have a major disaster strike, or an opportunity to invest in something of great benefit, when you can’t even vote for it because some clever guy at a think tank says you can’t spend more than 1% more than last year?
You also have to get worried when, as he describes this “plan,” he derides “special interests.” Remember, under Gov. Doofinator, if you’re not someone who gives money to his campaigns, you’re a “special interest” and you get derided. If, however, you pay to play politics with the Governor’s crew, you can write legislation that fits your needs, and you avoid that label. Heck, you can even get rewarded for your efforts. Just ask the people who will be building that section of the Bay Bridge.
Our fair governor also made some sweeping promises to “reform” public education, and promised new mandates for local schools. Which is fine, but he chose to completely ignore how to actually pay for any of the latest in “from Sacramento” reforms to our system.
It is ironic that we have recently had a new report detail the many inadequacies of the system of funding (and not just the amount of funding) for public schools, and yet at a time when you’d think that a popular Governor such as ours could “blow up the box” on the inequitable distribution of funding (are you taking notes, Mr. Hertzberg?) he chooses instead to impose more mandates from Sacramento without the money to pay for them.
This is an old trick, it makes him sound great, and school districts still don’t have the money to pay for it because they’re not allowed to ask the people they serve to pay for it.
But hey, give the man credit. He promised teachers that he’d reward them for their hard work, just as he also said he’d take away their pensions (and already took away their tax break for buying school supplies for the kiddies). Now that’s salesmanship!
Most interesting to me, though was the proposal to change the way the legislative districts are drawn. Now, on paper, I agree completely with the Governor that the current system lends itslef to gerrymandered results and have written about this in the past. But like with so many big ideas, it’s not the idea we end up debating, it’s the implementation, and that is where the danger lies.
See, the concept of a non-partisan panel of judges drawing up legislative districts that are oriented towards keeping communities together and complying with the Voting Rights act is a great one, and I am the first one to suggest that perhaps it’s time to consider it. The devil(s) in the details though are where one has to think twice, three times, and even four, before going forth with some new scheme.
I have yet to see any proposal that first passes constitutional muster, although I can’t believe one could not be created that would. More troubling though is seeing who supports the concept on the intiative side (the same crazies who paid for the recall in 2003), and wondering just who gets to pick those “non partisan” judges in the first place.
Given that the entire California Performance Review was written by wealthy special interests who want to see government reorganized to benefit their bottom line, I would take a seriously skeptical look at any proposal in the wings for “electoral reform” that comes from this administration.
More to the point, after electoral “reform” shenanigans in Colorado and Texas, which sought to change districts in mid-decade to benefit Republicans alone in Congress, I’m not willing to endorse anything just yet until it passes a strong BS-detector test applied by yours truly.
There was one small moment of brightness in all the shadowy rhetoric, which was a proposal for a drug buyer’s club card issued by the state. If it does what he says it does, it’s an easy solution to the cost of drugs, and it doesn’t require buying them from Canada (which is never a solution in the long run!)
It does not take a genius to figure out why drugs are cheaper in Canada – there’s only one buyer of drugs (Canada’s government) and they are buying in bulk. A lot of bulk. If you go to a drug company and can guarantee you’re willing to buy 25 million tablets of Prozac, you can better believe that drug company will happily cut you a deal.
Drug buying clubs are nothing new – years ago I had an opportunity to work with retired Rep. Joe Kennedy and Citizen Health when they rolled out a similar plan in New England that was a success. If the Governor’s proposal really does help the millions of people who work, don’t qualify for aid, but still need drugs, and actually helps lower their prices to the “levels of Canadian prices” promised in the speech, well that is just groovy with me.
Now, of course, if this is tied to some “forced purchase” of health insurance that’s being bandied about by the Governor and some lawmakers, well that’s not groovy at all.
Overall there were no big surprises, but again, missed opportunities. You’d think that someone with as much image and popularity as Governor Schwarzenegger would take the opportunity to completely reshape the state out of its legal entanglements, maybe with a state Constitutional Convention that was multipartisan, or was willing to take on some of the well-funded folks who pay for his 24/7 campaign operation as well as the usual people he picks on, would do so.
He didn’t, and that’s why he’s got the label “Doofinator” around here. And it’s not something I’m happy about. I’d much rather have a Governor who lives up to his promises, instead of just putting on a great show that makes us feel great, but has no substance in the end.
PS: Don’t think for a moment that California Democrats are going to have it easy, no matter how often the Governor does something goofy. Later this week I’ll be posting a piece that will attempt to warn so-called progressives that we face a dire situation in 2006 if we’re not careful. Stay tuned, loyal readers!
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Lunch? You want LUNCH? Forget it, Pal! The Doofinator says “Nein!”

Reading the news of the Doofinator’s administration is like reading the same bad story, only with a bad rewrite and a Hollywood cast to make it seem shiny and new. The story is “pay to play” politics and the hypocrisy of elected officials – but Gov. Doofinator has a special charm that allows him to get away with pretty much whatever he likes.
Gov. Doofinator can rip Gray Davis for raising lots of money and rewarding political donors with goodies, then out-raise him and award more goodies to his pals instead. He can blow out the deficit with credit card spending, and claim to be a sound voice of fiscal reason. No one really questions him, and the press doesn’t care – it’s more infatuated with the idea of being near a Movie Star more than playing watchdog.
The recent announcement by the Doofinator Administration to manipulate rules regulating workers’ lunchtimes in the name of “flexibility” (i.e. to help Gov. Doofinator’s donors) was one that made me laugh.
Why? Because I have no pity for the hapless worker who may get their lunch break taken away? Not at all. No, I had to laugh because, you see, the Governor is a member of the mighty Screen Actor’s Guild and has been a SAG actor in all of his films.
For the uninitiated, when you’re making your movie and you sign on to the SAG rules and regulations, you inherit a phone-book sized list of rules and regulations designed in response to the many ways The Man and the Studios have tried to get people to work for (almost) free.
Considering that the Guild has been around for decades, it’s a lot of rules, regulations and whatnot that can drive both the actor, and the producer, and the director crazy. But it’s also the only way you can work as an actor and not get totally screwed out of your royalties and your lunch break.
Yes, you read that right. Lunch. You see, as a SAG actor, Gov. Doofinator was entitled to having his lunch no later than 5 hours after the start of the work day. If the production didn’t do so, that production earned what’s known as a “meal violation” and has to pay a fine for every half-hour lunch (or any meal) is late. The money goes to the actor’s pocket as compensation.
So while the Governor got the benefit of some seriously tough union rules that made sure he didn’t go without his lunchtime, apparently that’s not cool for the rest of us. Now, if I had more time and resources to investigate, I’d try and find out if Gov. Doofinator ever got compensated for meal violations in the past. It might make for an interesting story.
If nothing else, it would be nice to see a star-struck reporter put on some shades and ask the Governor point blank why he insists on denying others what he benefited from for decades as a well-paid movie star. Might make for an interesting read. It’s not like there’s much news out there now anyway, right?
UPDATE: Today’s San Francisco Chronicle has an update on the Governor’s plans.
Read the story carefully. While it sounds like the proposed rules have been stopped by a storm of criticism, in fact they have not. Instead, the administration will no longer try and get an “emergency” rule that would have only been in force a few months. Now they’re going for a permanent rule change.
In other words, they plan to keep at it for now, unless they hear otherwise from voters/taxpayers/citizens. How anyone could call this situation a victory, as some labor leaders do in this article, is beyond me, though.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

We Recalled Gray Davis and Promptly Forgot Why

Reading coverage of Governor Doofinator is like reading something written by the lead guy in that movie Memento. Don’t remember that movie? Here’s a quick summary – a guy who gets total amnesia every 15 minutes stumbles through a series of misadventures, unable to place anyone or anything in any context, since he can’t remember anything for very long.
Which is what we get nowadays with all the “coverage” of “news” in Sacramento. People cover our fair Governor, usually giving him a free pass with every news conference, and the fallout from each little deal, each proposal, and every smiling photo op is chronicled. Yet we never, ever read any of this in any sort of historical context, and never once are we shown a comparison of why we were told we needed to recall our elected Governor, what was promised, and what we’re actually getting from Sunny Governor Doofinator.
Thus, our governor is allowed a free pass on breaking just about every promise he made to get there, and the end result is that we’re not getting anything different than if we’d kept Gray Davis in office – aside from an actor’s smile and popularity and a little “R” next to his name to make some folks happier than others. More to the point, our Governor gets a pass on a lack of ability we’ve attacked others for pretty quickly.
Fervent critics of Governor Davis and other Catholic Democrats for their stands on abortion, gay marriage, and other issues give a sitting GOP Governor with the same views a pass, in an odd and mysterious gap in otherwise consistent criticism (which is their right). The press and the political establishment give this guy more passes than any other governor in recent memory – which is great for the Governor, but no one else.
That’s why I coined the nickname “Doofinator” for him when he got into office – his image is significantly different than past politicos, but when you look inside, you see the same old hocus pocus that both parties have been dishing out for some time now – and the results to date haven’t been too great. He’s very funny to watch, and he comes up with clever lines – but when it comes to really putting in the time or effort or work to run the state, he’s just coming up short when we needed something a little more than a Republican Gray Davis in office.
Many early predictions seemed to come true, much to my dismay, and more recent analyses bear out my view – this guy is no more a reformer than any one of number of boring, groupthink politicos – he just has a better smile and a better image.
I’m not ashamed to admit that when I first heard of the concept of a Schwarzenegger candidacy, back in 2002, I’d wondered (and hoped) he’d be a good governor given his business acumen and an ability to chart a political course that did not require him to placate any particular party’s “goof-ball” wing. Heck, he could have run as non-partisan candidate and won outright, I’m convinced.
More to the point, I’d assumed that someone with his money and popularity could do an end run around the Usual Suspects and enact some real reforms that could undo the crazy-quilt of laws and contradictory legislation that makes California budgeting almost impossible. If nothing else, it would have been nice to see someone end the folly that we have now whereby local taxes are taken away by the state at will, screwing over local authorities because Sacramento’s politicos can’t get their act together.
That was then. Now we have a record to judge, and from my perspective, keeping in mind the promises of less than a year ago and avoiding the selective amnesia consultants, pundits, and reporters seem to enjoy, it looks like all we’ve done is trade in one short-term thinker for another, and the long term future of our state is once again being mortgaged by both parties for the sake of feel-good deals. Nothing has changed, not even the nonstop chase for campaign cash, maligned under Davis as “coin-op” government, but those very same practices are praised under Governor Doofinator. This is better HOW?
Unlike most partisan pundits, I hate it when I’m right about stuff like this because in the end I don’t really care anymore if there’s a D or an R next to someone’s name – I just want someone to not be a BS’er in office and to try and cut the Gordian Knot that is California State Government and restore some sense of balance and reason to the debate.
Thus, seeing the Governor fumble the ball with this great opportunity to set things right is no reason for me to cheer – as a Californian, it’s depressing to watch, especially after having gone through the high-priced recall spectacle, paid for by car alarm millionaires, special interests, and of course, we taxpayers.
Many people have called Gov. Doofinator a “strong leader,” but when you start reading about just how he’s conducted himself during his first budget negotiations, you quickly realize he’s a very thin-skinned Hollywood celebrity who is used to having people do what he says without question.
That’s fine when you’re a self-employed businessman and mega-movie star who consistently ensures box office revenues and DVD sales, but when you’re a Governor, you have to realize that you’re not the only one in charge, and we still live in a government of checks and balances. It’s all well and good to complain about how things aren’t always perfect when you’re a plain citizen – but when someone becomes Governor, the buck stops with them, and simply deciding that because people aren’t all bowing down in unison for the Governor, that means that it’s time to make them do so via constitutional changes, doesn’t say much about said Governor’s “leadership.”
It’s also clear that when anyone starts to demonstrate any opposition to his plans or challenges Our Tough Governor, he tends cuts and run, like he did when he caved into the all-powerful prison guards union (a move worthy of Gov. Gray!).
A more memorable capitulation was when heangered pet advocates after proposing to cut short the number of days strays got to stay in pet shelters to save a few bucks. The same governor who dished out some cute zingers about “girlie men” in the Legislature apparently was unable to stand up to a cute little puppy with a “Don’t Kill Me Arnold” sign?
Not exactly a “bold leader” when you can dish it out, but can’t take it. Surely the Doofinator can take a few bad jokes at his expense? Or maybe I’m assuming too much? Didn’t they used to say Gray Davis was thin skinned and humorless too? How is this better? Remind me?
So far, he’s made proposals to steer more power into the executive branch, for short term personal gain, as he has with his so-called legislative reforms, or his alleged reorganization of state government that’s nothing more than transferring more power to the executive branch in the name of efficency.
Great for the Governor in the short term, makes for great headlines, and Republicans get a short term boost, but once again, short term thinking could lead to some dangerous long term Unintended Consequences, which we see every time ill-thought out structural reforms compound the problems we’ve got today.
Think about it this way (especially my good friends in the Republican Party) – sure such reforms could help Gov. Doofinator today – but in the end the GOP will be kicking itself senseless when one day a Governor Democrat takes office and uses the office to do what they want – and they can’t stop them no matter what happens. And don’t say it can’t happen – remember how the GOP posthumously gave FDR the finger by limiting presidential terms – only to see it come to harm Republican incumbents ever since.
I’ll be honest – sure I nickname the Governor “Doofinator” and I’ve been critical of his administration so far. But unlike partisans who attack the governor for their own gain, I get nothing out of this. My criticism comes from another place – that of someone who started to actually believe in the promise that things might get better despite my misgivings, and being disappointed when another faux revolutionary is exposed as a Usual Suspect cloaked in Hollywood fabrications. It’s depressing to read and see another train wreck in slow motion when you realize that it doesn’t have to be this way. Especially with someone like the Governor.
Ultimately the big loser is not the Governor, it’s the people of California, who have passed on a chance to do something now, before it’s too late. When we’re paying higher taxes and seeing the results of deferred leadership in the next few years, ultimately we will have ourselves to blame for not demanding more than a sunny smile and a glib one liner from someone who had a moment in time to do something that was a challenge to the status quo – and not yet another bag of tricks to pass along today’s problems to tomorrow’s leaders. That’s easy to do in the “Memento” world of politics of today – but as we all know the easy thing isn’t always the right thing to do.
Maybe the Democrats need to recruit a Pound Puppy to run against the Governor in 2006 (hey, we can even get some ads up on TV right away!) Seems like either a pup or a prison guard seem to be the only ones that can beat this guy. That 80s revival is underway – by 2006 we’ll be seeing Pound Puppies: The Next Generation on TV…sounds like we have a plan?
For more fun and games, check out Arnold Watch, created by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights in Santa Monica. Also ,the LA Daily News has an assessment of Governor D’s tenure here, that’s interesting to read.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

What’s The Difference Between a Fee and Tuition?

Gov. Doofinator (AKA Pete Wilson II) is at it again. Not content to push a phony credit card bond (with plenty of help from alleged Democrats like Steve Westly), now we’re getting the usual “fee hikes” at the University of California, California State University, and community college campuses. (Prison guards will get their raises, don’t worry!)
However, many reporters often make a mistake when covering these issues and it’s not just a matter of semantics – it’s a matter of accuracy. Specifically, whenever “fees” are raised, they often use the term “tuition” interchangeably as today’s LA Times story does here.
The reason this is important is quite simple- the laws governing the creation and management are very specific – California residents cannot be charged “tuition” (i.e. money paid to cover the costs of their education) at any California school. The only people who pay “tuition” are out-of-state students at any of these schools.
Now to some people this may still seem like a semantic difference, but it’s critical that those watching budget shenanigans know why it’s important. Whenever “fees” are jacked up at a UC campus for example, not a dime of that money covers the actual cost of educating the people who are attending the school. Instead, the schools transfer the payment of the university or college’s basic functions away from the state and on to the students and their parents.
Guess what one of those expenses is? Can’t guess? More money for aid for students who can’t afford to go to college! (and the bureaucracy that runs it!) If that cycle of silliness doesn’t boggle your mind, I have a job for your as Governor Doofinator’s budget guy/gal.
So once again the point needs to be clear – the money that folks are being asked to pay is not part of any “tuition” – and those covering such issues should know the difference since recognizing this fact makes the big picture issue a lot different than the one painted by Gov. Doofinator and his Wilsonian cronies.
Once again, we have one of the famous “California disconnects” in public policy. We pass bonds to build buildings at colleges, yet not a dime of that (expensive) money pays for the teachers or books that go in them. We raise the cost of attending the college buildings, but again, the increased out of pocket expenses do not cover the cost of the teachers or the books that are part of the education one is paying for.
Thus, when you attend a California school, you will end up spending a lot more time waiting for the classes you need to graduate. That means more money borrowed to spend more time in school, while those who can afford a 4 year stint at Yale or Stanford can get their degree and get on with their lives.
Which brings up one other point – whenever these “fees” are raised, the inevitable comparison comes up that although the cost is more, it’s still “cheaper” than an Ivy League school which is considered comparable. This may have held water 20 years ago, but nowadays it is kind of like raising the price of a Camry 40% and saying “well it’s still cheaper than a Mercedes Benz.” Which of course, is true, but is it a value anymore if the price is inflated? Or does one start looking elsewhere for a better deal.
Frankly after years of paying for prison guard raises over school, and the sheer incompetence of UC’s management of the weapons labs here and in New Mexico, I believe that comparison could be questioned. More to the point – with the eroding course offerings at all levels of the education system and the difficulty in getting classes needed to get out in four years, such a comparison at the undergraduate level may not hold any longer.
More importantly, the point of a public university system, built and paid for by the citizens of California, is meant for their free use first. A vibrant, active, and accessible education to those smart enough to qualify, allows our state to have people capable of creating the businesses and coming up with the new ideas we’ll need to stay on top.
Otherwise, we will continue the slide towards becoming a Third World country – something I’d rather not see. A college education is no longer a “luxury” or an “extra” as it was in the Industrial Age. If you want a job or a future with any hope of more than minimum wage and no benefits, you have to go to college. Just ask the grocery workers who went on strike. Or the blue collar workers on the permanent unemployment line.
More important, the taxpaying citizens of California built these colleges with the idea that anyone smart enough to get in could go to school. This has been the social contract between the state and the people for over 100 years. Making the comparison in cost to other states or private schools is a betrayal of that contract – not everyone can pick up and move to Michigan, New York or some other state to get an education – nor should they.
Generations of prominent Californians were able to get their education at community colleges, state Universities, and UC campuses for a minimal cost. It’s time to end the circus, and find a better way to maintain a free, quality education for those smart enough to deserve one.
PS: I recently read a very interesting story about an immigrant who came to California in the late 60s, who was in need of some improvements to his education if he was to succeed in his chosen field. Because Santa Monica College was available to him, he was able to take some classes and improve both his language skills and his knowledge of his new adopted homeland.
He has since gone on to be a tremendously successful businessman, and a leader on the national stage. You can guess where this is going…yes, in fact it was Arnold Schwarzenegger. (insert Paul Harvey-esque music here)

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Why I Hate It When I’m Right

Most people like being proven right. I’m one of the few who don’t.
More accurately, I don’t like being right about the things I’m right about. The past week had me taking several phone calls or e-mails from friends who said “Wow, you were right…at the time I thought you were just crazy but…” and so on.
Now, if these were predictions such as “In 3 months I shall win the lottery and relocate my operations to the beach in Brazil,” or “When I win an Oscar for a yet-to-be produced film I’m making with the cast of Stargate SG-1, I will spend the winnings on a trip to Vegas for all” don’t seem to come about.
However, other predictions, such as mine about Gov. Doofinator in California do come true, and while I enjoy the pats on the back for being “perceptive,” I really wish these things wouldn’t come to pass.
I received a lot of hackles from my colleagues when I made my “cynical” predictions as such:
Electing Arnold “Doofinator” Schwarzenegger won’t change anything in Sacramento and that he will break most of his promises once elected.
Many people are saying this in hindsight – but many pundits, and more than a few turncoat Democrats, including. A.G. Bill Lockyer, former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, and the assorted Democratic poltical cockroaches that supported the Doofinator were quick to say this was a cynical, out-of-touch observation. A quick scan of the headlines of the last few months says otherwise.
What is harder to figure out is why there seems to be a total lack of outcry or opposition to a guy who got elected on a platform of “reforming” California government and eliminating Evil Gray Davis’ “pay to play” style of governing, only to spend more time raising more money as an elected official than Davis did on his best day in office and passing off half-assed “solutions” which will only make us pay more in taxes and make more cuts long after Gov. Doofinator escapes Sacramento and goes back to Schatzi on Main for a nice cigar at happy hour.
Check out the latest statistics: in order to raise the millions needed to pass the “deficit bond issue” (also known as the “Credit Card Spending Act of 2004”), it seems Governor Doofinator has been raking in millions of dollars of contributions from the very special interests he assailed Davis for in the recall. The latest numbers? An “average” of $127,000 per day since the beginning of 2004 – and much of it in large $500,000 individual contributions. Cal Access can provide you with the lasted donations/outrages if you’re curious.
$500,000. Davis never asked for an amount that big (and if he did he never would have received it). Then again, when you’re talking about issuing a $15 billion bond to gloss over the hard choices we need to make to fix our state, there are lots of people out there who make money off the issuing of these bonds – lawyers, securities experts, and all sorts of percentage-based middlemen (and women). Spending $500,000 on a hapless Gov. Doofinator, with his hat in hand and cigar in mouth, is a pittance compared to the millions you make off the issue itself. Who cares if the “peasants” get stuck with the bill?
Oh, but it gets better. California law states that when advertising is produced for a ballot initiative, the largest donors to said campaign need to have their names put on the disclosure bug at the end of a TV ad or piece of direct mail. Governor “Open Government” Doofinator cleverly gets around these by having people donate to an anonymously named “California Recovery Team” fund that then gives the money to the actual campaigns – allowing the donors, many of whom are regulated by the state, to avoid the public spotlight. A clever little lawyer trick, surely within the letter of the law, but definitely counter to the image and promises made way back in October.
If the sneaky, self-serving, and dishonest fundraising methodology isn’t enough to make you vote against the Governor’s “Credit Card Spending Act of 2004,” the actual details of said bond issue should. Essentially, the “bold leadership” of our clever Governor is not to cut spending like a real Republican would, nor is it to raise taxes, like a real Democrat would. Instead, he’s doing what what a Typical Insider Politician usually does: Borrow money, at God-awful interest rates, burden you and your kids with the debt for years to come, all so Gov. Doofinator can balance the budget for the short term without upsetting anyone.
Sound insane? It should. Even crazier though, is the fact that the star-struck media lets this guy get away with a Big Lie that’s almost as bad as say, lying to the public for a reason to go to war – and we know that anyone who did something that bad would certainly be facing some bad press.
What truly boggles the mind though, is how so many Democrats have kowtowed to the Governor on this issue and who seem to be so infatuated with the concept of having a cigar with this guy that they don’t even seem to mind being played (that is if they know at all, a debatable point with some elected officials).
Watching Controller Steve Westly pathetically finish Gov. Doofinator’s sentences for him in TV ads, clearly abandoning any sense of fiscal responsibility to join in on this short term plan which will create long term problems for California, is pathetic. Here’s someone who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and management expertise, based mostly on his work at Ebay. PErhaps that is the problem – this smelly plan has all the makings of a corporate short-term “fix” that results in the company going down in flames years later, Enron-style. Maybe we need to rethink the idea of such a “fiscally responsible” guy in office in 2006.
The witty rejoinder to such criticism tends to be something along the lines of “Well, the cuts would be terrible, and we can’t have that, and so we’re going along with a bad idea to protect the [children, elderly, blind, tax breaks, hard working state workers, etc.]” is foolish. It’s not going to help any of those folks in the long run if we put off putting things in order for the long term just so we can get through Elections 2004 and 2006 unscathed.
Memo to Democrats: You’re going to get the shaft on this deal no matter what you do – so why go along with what is clearly one of the most morally, economically, and fiscally bankrupt ideas since the concept of Reganomic Deficit Spending? If you honestly believe you’re saving a few jobs or social programs from Gov. Doofinator’s axe-men by supporting this bond, you really need to put down the Bad Idea Kool-Aid for a moment.
Re-read that part in the “How to be a Democrat with a Backbone” manual about how going along with bad ideas like this inevitably leads to you losing out in the end. Do you honestly think a few cigars from the Governor now means he won’t be campaigning against you and your colleagues this fall? If you’re unsure as to how this works, go ask Sen. Max Cleland, or any one of a number of people who drank Bush Jr.’s Kool-Aid in 2002 – and got mercilessly slammed in the fall by the Rove Attack Squads.
It’s not easy for me to take a stand against this bond for a very personal reason: my mom, who is a hard working, dedicated public employee at my old high school for over twenty years, will most likely lose her job if this repugnant bond doesn’t pass.
Yet at the same time if it does, it is more than likely that someone will have to raid her pension in years to come when things get worse. I don’t want my mom to lose her job – but I also don’t think she should see her taxes go up and her pension raided by some corporate-style politico who has free health care and a big (raid-free) pension courtesy of the State.
Either way, my mom, who is a tremendous asset to the classes she teaches in special education, and who consistently played by the rules throughout her career, gets the short end of the stick. Meanwhile the corporate buddies Gov. Doofinator courts with his campaign fundraising will get breaks and feel no pain no matter how badly he and the Sacramento crew botch things, as their predecessors did.
Which is why when I hear Democratic politicos who claim to be the friend of classified school employees and government workers endorse this bond, I have to wonder if they have any idea what the impact of their decisions are on the people they claim to represent.
Coming soon: Endorsements, Prophecies, and Humor – oh my!
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Now More Than Ever: Support the “Honesty Fund”!

Reading the paper this morning was mixed at best. Matt Gonzalez came up short in San Francisco (thus ensuring the continued downward spiral now under the leadership of Mayor “Marina Guy,” but that’s another column), and there was all that stuff about the weather. Then I read the LA Times.
In yet another one of my Predictions That Were Sadly Correct, Governor Schwarzenegger is going back on his word, not just on little details, but ENTIRE policies he promised when he was running just a month and a half ago. Both the LA Times and the infamous San Francisco Chronicle both covered the Governor’s latest backtracking/lying/whatever you want to call it.
This is getting serious, fast. Either Arnold Schwarzenegger was lying on purpose when he ran his campaign for Governor, or he was clearly too ill-informed when he ran and is only now realizing just how hard it is to BE Governor and DO something insted of just TALKING about it and reading the lines handed to you by James Cameron.
I’m inclined to believe it’s a little of both, with a heavy emphasis on the former. Remember, folks, this is ex-Governor Pete Wilson’s pack of rats that are running the show, and Wilson took screwing up the state to new levels when he ran it into the ground in the 1990s. I mean, things were so screwed up electing Gray Davis was an improvement. Now you see what I mean?
But back to our current Governor. It’s time to hold this guy accountable for his actions. Not just for that angry campaign rhetoric that got him sued for libel recently and not just for going back on his “Big Promise” to hire an investigator, OJ-style, to find out “the truth” about his gropin’ and gyratin’ either.
No, it’s time to hold this bozo accountable for all the promises he made, and got elected on and now expects us to sit there and let him tell us with a straight face (acting school helps, eh Arnold?) that he’s going back on his promises.
More obnoxious is the now non-stop campaign fundraising, the same kind he raked Davis over the coals for months on end, that Governor Schwarzenegger is now doing. It’s almost as obnoxious as his evasion of any responsibility for the state by blaming the legislature for anything he’s done wrong. I half-expect him to blame the Legislature for the melted ice cream at
his restaurant/office in Santa Monica.
It’s time to take the circus tent down. It’s time to start up the Honesty Fund. If you agree with me that this is a good idea, send a note to Art Torres, and the Democratic Establishment in Sacramento that you’d like to see them join this fight and live up to the rhetoric the Democratic Party claims to support.
For a very well thought out critique that accurately portrays What’s Wrong with the Democratic Party, check out this piece on AlterNet..refreshing for its honesty and lack of leftist jingoism.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Quick Hit- What about an “Honesty Fund” for Gov. Schwarzenegger?

Most people don’t realize that it was just ten days after Davis’ election last year that the right wing “do it our way or the highway” crowd got together to start putting together the recall campaign against Gov. Davis.
Ten DAYS afer the election. Well at least they didn’t waste any time.
It is now time to consider something similar, but not nearly as nasty, for our new Governor. What I propose is creating a campaign fund for a potential recall, but not use it immediately as the other side did.
Instead, someone with an axe to grind (i.e. me) could go organize a campaign committee and call it the “Keep Gov. Schwarzenegger Honest Fund.” The committee would use its resources to tally up Governor Schwarzenegger’s promises and campaign rhetoric and compare them with his actions as governor.
Once a certain threshold would be met of broken promises and bait-and-switch rhetoric, the campaign committee would have the $1.5 million needed to put the recall of Governor (aka Saint) Schwarzenegger, along with the needed TV and Radio and Mail campaign to point out his many inconsistencies. Even better, it would not have to rely on a crooked Congressman/car alarm salesman for its funds.
The key here though is that if Governor Schwarzenegger and his crew DID keep their promises, the money would go to some worthy cause, such as scholarships for straight-A kids who want to go into public service in governemnt, academia, the media, and other places.
A Special Note to Democratic Party Activists, Leaders, and Professionals: Life is really tough for you right now, and I feel your pain. I worked on campaigns back in the mid-80s – a thankless job at best back then!
Let’s see where we are: You’ve lost a Democratic Governor in California just before 2004, the presidential candidates are still a pack of nine, and you’re putting up money and support to get a Republican with a “D” next to his name elected Mayor of San Francisco.
This is your chance to do things a little differently – and be heroes in the process. Don’t wait until the Governor has taken a wrecking ball to what’s left of the state. Surely there are some well-heeled donors who’d be willing to put up the money as an insurance policy?
I’ll even add in an extra – I will run this committee for cost, as a public service to the state’s taxpayers and voters, so no one will be making big profits off the comittee like some did on the other side.
I’l work with those interested to appoint a board of directors that would include leading party operatives, leaders, and activists from around the state.
If you’re interested in helping this effort, drop an email to and let me know how you’d like to help!
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Whoops there goes another rubber creed…or..Arnold in office…

Watching Arnold’s inauguration provided endless entertainment for me as I watched him make all sorts of bold promises. Promises that he made during the campaign, like cleaning house in Sacramento, changing the culture of California Government, etc.
I think there was something about mandatory distribution of Charly Temmel’s ice cream to all legal residents of California and that whole puppy/rainbow subsidy may be a blur in my mind, but there was just so MUCH happiness and goo-goo coverage from the press I almost needed an insulin shot from all the sugar.
Then reality set in. If you don’t feel like reading through the LA Times story (and given their lame login requirements, who would?) here’s a rundown:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, recall advocate and candidate, in a memo to the press: “(he would) not solicit contributions from single interest trade associations.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California: Disclosed at his website he took money for his fancy inauguration from: the California Bottled Water Assn., the California Motor Car Dealers Assn., the California Restaurant Assn. and the California Wine Institute.
And now….drumroll please…a Davis-esque evasion from a Typical Politician on how this isn’t a betrayal of his promise? Read on:
(Spokesman) Wilson explained the decision to accept the “in-kind” donations from the trade groups by saying the contributions did not go into Schwarzenegger’s campaign funds, and the groups did not give money. Rather, the car dealers loaned vans to ferry workers around Sacramento. The other groups donated food, water and wine.
Ok, I get it. In other words, if you take support and goodies from people it’s ok but if you take money you’re not. Or in other words if you find a good lawyer to come up with some rhetorical bullshit-speak, you can avoid breaking a promise you broke.
I think I see where this is going….Arnold the Terminator had no idea how much it costs to pay for said events, since usually the studio pays for those things. Sure. Let’s give the poor dear the benefit of the doubt.
But then it gets ugly. It seems Mr. Kindergarten Cop loaned a lot of his own money to a “Total Recall” committee. Since this committee wasn’t officially started to promote him, but instead advocating Gray Davis’ recall, it got around that nasty little $21,200 limit on donations to the committee. And any donation to retire this “debt” goes right into Arnold’s pocket.
So let me guess this straight:
Arnold S. declares he’s running on Jay “I’m a suckup to whoever runs the FCC” Leno’s show and says he won’t take any donations.
Then during the campaign he does.
THEN when he gets elected, his big party in Sacramento is paid for by the groups he claimed he would not take money from. People who have business before the state. People who really want that tax break for (fill in the blank) right now, damnit.
Now he’s going to take MORE money to put money back in his own pocket that fueled his campaign.
This from someone who owns a jet, is married to a Kennedy, and just got $20 million for playing a robot.
Hard to believe, given that he really is (no bullshit sarcasm here) a good businessman and made a ton of cash off investments to pay for the Prada suits and the 300 pairs of shoes. So what is a few million to this guy, then?
Just in case people are curious what’s next, Governor Doofinator had this to say just hours after he got sworn in:
“At a California Chamber of Commerce lunch on Monday, Schwarzenegger told the crowd he intends to seek more donations to help win passage of a variety of ballot measures, including one to address workers’ compensation.
So the Governor will be asking all sorts of people to give money to his many causes. All while serving as Governor.
That nasty little rule about not raising money during legislative sessions he blathered on about won’t apply to him until after he raises money for that initiative to run up credit card debt to pay bills instead of making the cuts and “tough choices” he said he’d do. Ok…
Note to Arnold: When I do this kind of foolish behavior when I don’t have enough money to pay the bills because I spent my bonus last year on “overspending” for silly things, like you claim the Legislature and Governor did, I either pay God-awful interest OR go bankrupt.
I guess if you’re rich enough you don’t know that. But my kids will when they’re still paying off these goddamned bonds of yours. So much for tough cuts, eh, Mr. Guy-Who-Starred-In-Junior?

You have to give this guy credit. He can play all sorts of “roles”. But when it comes to responsibility, he has none. After all, he’s an actor not a director. Actors do what they are told. Directors tell them what to do. How many films did he direct? Zero, right?
Sweep it all under the rug and hope people see you for the roles you played in the movies and not for who you are. That is, after all what Pete Wilson, Don Sipple, George Gorton and the rest of Wilson’s incestuous little posse told you, RIGHT? Hope that people keep thinking you really did blow up all those robots and bad guys, and not notice that you’re starting up a GOP version of coin-operated democracy and budet hocus pocus.
It’s you’re “role of a lifetime”, Arnold. You’re certainly not in charge, that’s for sure. Now go read your lines, and keep making noise until the state is driven into the ground, OK?
PS: Crap like this makes it more apparent we need someone to be a true leader who can act as an opposition leader with a spine to special interest bullshit, not be part of the problem. If the mayor of San Francisco is just another apparatchnik of the business and moneyed class, what hope do we have? Vote, give money, give time, give money, and vote and support Matt Gonzalez for mayor. Please
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at