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Based on a career (mis)spent in American politics, I debunk politicos, pundits and spinners, usually with a dose of humor to make it fun.

Email me with news tips, comments, and ideas for disinfo rehab any time!

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March 17, 2010

John Cusack for Governor 2010? Sure, Why Not?

Say+Anything+001+resized.jpgNow, calm down and bear with me here. I'm not entirely kidding. Here's why.

There's no denying that after 7 years of mismanagement by Governor Doofinator, the 2/3rds rule and an array of inexperienced or corporatized "Democrats" in Sacramento, combined with endless bullsh*t "ballot measures," we need a change at the top.

But right now our choices are limited to "eMeg," another vain billionaire who has no idea how government works, and AG/Former Governor Jerry Brown, who is smart, knowledgeable, but has chosen to run a campaign so low-profile, no one knows he's running, and is likely to lose, especially with the Democratic base divided over "President" Obama's performance, and a GOP who's willing to cater to the batshit insane to reclaim power.

Now, my scenario here was a bit more relevant in January, when I came up with it, but I figured I'd put it out now, on the eve of the California Democratic Convention, since I'm worried we're going to have a new level of arrogant stupidity invade the Capitol. So for your consideration, I wonder if perhaps Democrats run John Cusack* for Governor in 2010.

I came up with this for several reasons. While Brown was able to dispatch the inept and expensive "Newsom for Governor" campaign in 2009 by raising money and spending little, that approach does not work in early 2010, which is what the campaign chose to do.

Up against a crazy billionaire, though, at this late date, it isn't working anymore. Now, we have the prospect of a candidate who has no challenge in the primary coasting, but not building a statewide network to fight this craziness. The "kitchen table" approach won't cut it this time around. Brown has name ID amongst older voters, but he doesn't necessarily have an image or name ID with many new voters, nor does he have a mechanism to do that. (And sorry, but f*cking Facebook doesn't count)

More to the point, we can't afford another vanity governor who will do more damage to the state, and who's willing to lie to get the job. And while I note the irony of replacing one Hollywood candidate with another, I've been reading Cusack's articles and interviews for some time now, and he's a very bright, very engaged person, not amongst your typical arrogant Hollywood liberal who drives around in a Prius but does so for just for show. And, his career hasn't had the post 80s drop off that others of his generation have had - he's still fairly well known amongst voters of all ages. (and it's not like similar ideas haven't popped up before!)

Admittedly this is all a bit wild - but the fact is if either Cusack, or any Democratic candidate could have easily upset Brown if they'd just had the courage to step up for both the Party, and more importantly, the improvement of the State of California. Brown would have been caught flat-footed, and people would have had a chance to make a real choice in June.

Of course, Mr. Cusack has better things to do than waste his time working with an incompetent, lying state government. It's too bad that more people that know this to be the case never bothered to even try. But cowardice in the Democratic party starts at the top, with a President who is always willing to sell out his own party for the sake of keeping the people who hate him happy, and it continues on down to an array of California politicians who don't seem to know, or care, how to make this state great again.

Unfortunately, we all lose in the end.

* I also propose Mr. Cusack because he just seems cooler than most "stars" but Hell, it could be anyone (politician, star, or otherwise) with a little cash and some name ID who isn't a moron (because voters are too stupid to read up on this on their own) to do what Arnold could have done, but failed to do - cut the crap and rally people to a reform agenda. The trick is whoever this magic person is would have to surround themselves with good people - something again in short supply in politics!

October 22, 2006

Disinfo Rehab Mail Archive - Fall 2006

Note: This entry will be updated as I get more mail. New mail is featured at the bottom of this entry! Today's additions: Jane Kim, Marin Healthcare Board, and more!

As promised, here is the first installment of the Fall 2006 Disinfo Rehab Mail Archive. Unlike television ads, which bloggers and media folks can easily dissect because they're on TV, YouTube, candidate websites, and the like, mail is a "below the radar" medium. You know it is out there, but unless you're on the targeted mailing list, you won't see it.

Which is why it makes for a great way to send distinct messages to distinct groups of people - and a great way to attack someone and get away with it. By the time anyone notices it, it's too late to do much about it, and the press usually isn't sent copies of hit pieces by candidates!

Since I personally do not live in a district with an angrily contested Supervisorial race, I'm interested in submissions from readers who might have something they've received in the mail in the Daly/Black/SF Republican Party brouhaha, and the mega-money festival that is the District 4 battle to replace Fiona Ma, now that she's been elected to a 6 year term in the Assembly. Oh and if anyone has any "freaky" mail from way out in Distrct 8, send it over!

As always, if you submit a big pile o' mail, I'll buy you a drink/coffee/whatever once this nutty election is over. Email me and tell me what you have and I'll make arrangements to pick it up, or you can simply scan them in yourself and send them in as JPEGs.

Please note that all pieces that appear on this page were sent to actual voters, who in turn gave the pieces to me for inclusion in this fall's archive. (To protect their privacy from identity thieves, their names and addresses have been Photoshopped out)

A mail piece's appearance here does not indicate I'm endorsing or not endorsing a particular candidate, and it does not indicate that campaign endorses this site, its views, or anything at all. Conspiracy theorists, please put down the crack pipe and find something else to worry about.

Update: A loyal reader tipped me off to a similar project being done by the East Bay Express, entitled Fun with Misleading Mailers. Short and to the point, the additional coverage of the myriad of pieces hitting the mailbox is great for voters

And now, for the fun, after the jump!

Continue reading "Disinfo Rehab Mail Archive - Fall 2006" »

June 2, 2006

Greg's All-Star Guide to the June Primary!

Don't forget to check out the Direct Mail Disinfo Rehab Archive before you vote!

If you are like many people in this state, you asked for a mail ballot this year. And, if you're like most people in this state, you still haven't returned it yet.

Don't feel bad - just about everyone else is in the same boat you are. Return rates in key counties in California are abysmally low, owing to the fact that there are so many candidates, most of whom no one has heard of, running for so many offices. Every campaign I've worked on this cycle is seeing record rates of non return of ballots statewide.

So, beat those election blues, and print out a copy of my patented All-Star Guide to the California Primary. You can easily fill out your ballot, and you get a dose of snark just for laughs!

The Big Races
Note: If people are running unopposed, I'm not including them here since there's nothing to choose!

U.S. Senate: Whatever you think of Dianne Feinstein (some folks love her, some folks hate her, some folks don't know) know this: Dianne Feinstein is going to win the Democratic Primary in a landslide Vin Diesel would envy, and is going to be re-elected. Oh yeah, there's some token resistance but you might as well cast at least one vote for a winning candidate.

Since the balloting is so easy for California, may I suggest you send a 20 or a 50 dollar bill to the campaign of Jon Tester for US Senate instead?. Jon is the kind of Democrat we need in Washington DC, who can win in a place like Montana. He's a no-BS guy who represents the best the West has to offer - and he's going to have a chance to knock out Sen. Conrad Burns, who is so deep in scandal it isn't funny. Besides if he wins he can help DiFi be a committee chair, so it's a twofer.

California Governor: It does not take a genius to figure out that I am not a fan of Governor Doofinator, and his constant lying, "reinventing" of himself, and the tomfoolery that was the Credit Card Bond. So, who then, can send this guy back to his magic ticket and his restaurant in Santa Monica?

I'm telling folks to vote for Phil Angelides. Yeah, I know, I know. But the usual math doesn't apply here. Angelides has been consistently opposing Gov. Doofinator from Day One, he didn't monkey around in the recall or support the Credit Card Bond, and he's straight with voters on what he'll do if elected. Republicans who chortle at the follies of the primary take note: Democrats chortled at your follies when they had Congress and the Presidency in 1994 - and look at what happened to them.

Lt. Governor:Tough one for me, as I met John Garamendi (albeit over the phone) while working for the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Washington. Nice guy. But I've always been a supporter of Sen. Jackie Speier throughout her career. What to do? Flip a coin? Waffle? I can't vote for both!

I'm gonna vote for Speier, since I think she would do more with the office. Garamendi is a great guy, but I wish he'd run for something else so I wouldn't have to make this kind of choice. Besides, she's the hometown hero!

Secretary of State:This one is easy - Easy choice : State Sen. Deborah Bowen. Not only was she one of the few candidates to get an endorsement at the Democratic Convention, she is also the only candidate who actually worked on any of the issues a Secretary of State faces (i.e. voting machines, political reform, etc.) and she was my State Senator when I lived in Venice.

Attorney General: Another difficult choice. I've been supporting Jerry Brown for years. Back in Santa Cruz I organized a rally with him during his Presidential bid that got on CNN and CSPAN, and later when I worked at a tech company, ended up explaining our RealAudio technology to him when he had the radio show. It's hard not to support him, but Rocky Delgadillo isn't such a bad guy either. So vote for Jerry Brown but let's hope we see Delgadillo run for something else someday.

State Controller: Don't you just love that title? Sounds like one is running for Cylon Overlord for California or something. Here's a chance for you to give someone a promotion who actually deserves it: vote for Sen. Joe Dunn. This guy really did stand up to Enron and their BS during the power crisis, and beyond, and he'll bring that integrity to the Controller's office. Unlike people like Sen. Sheila Kuehl, who voted for giving away the state to greedy speculators, Joe Dunn was the guy who remembered job 1 for him is serving the citizens. Go Joe!

State Senate, District 8: This is a tough one for me - Lou Papan was a real hero in supporting the special ed program at my old high school, where my mom works. But Mike Nevin's wife also worked at my old high school and knew my mom too. Oh yeah, there's current Assemblyman Leland Yee running a strong campaign too. So who do I vote for? Calgon, take me away!

In the end I voted for Lou Papan, but not as part of some plot to deny Nevin votes but more due to a coin toss between two guys from San Mateo County, and because he was such a good guy in the Assembly when it came to special education. But the battle seems to be between Yee and Nevin so if you want to vote for someone who's more likely to win, then go ahead and vote for Mike Nevin.

State Assembly, District 12 - SF: Ok, like you had to ask. I'm telling everyone to vote for Janet Reilly. and regular readers know I've written about when she kicked off her campaign, when she campaigned with John Kerry, and about the only debate she had with Ms. Ma..

People ask me why and the answer is simple. There are people in the local and state Democratic Party who view the Party and those in it as part of an exclusive club, and that club likes things predictable, safe, and for the benefit of their club membership, since after all, they have the best interests of The People at heart. Anyone questioning that is cast out as a pariah.

Janet's campaign has never been one on the "inside" and as such is a lot more welcoming to citizen input, and isn't as beholden to the club mentality that really disdains volunteers, Internet activists, and anyone not Already In The Club. They really don't like you, and don't like the fact they have to ask you to vote for them because They're Just That Good. Plus, when you see the nonsense being tossed at Janet, you figure she can't be that bad. Vote for Janet and piss off the Man.


Proposition 81 - Library Bonds - vote NO: How can anyone be against library bonds? That means more money for libraries right? And I like libraries so I should support it, right? NO!

This is Yet Another Bond Issue that gets on the ballot because it "gives money" to good causes. But you see, it doesn't "give money" - it sells debt that we have to pay billions in interest on later. That blows out the budget in future years. So many bonds are passed by voters that it is killing our state's ability to make budget decisions. Vote no, and tell them to raise taxes or cut something first.

Proposition 82 - Preschool for All - Vote YES: This proposition isn't perfect, nor is it a cure all. But it doesn't use bonds, and it does take a step towards doing what we should be doing to at least not have as many screw ups in the public school system. Besides, Rob Reiner isn't that bad of a guy.

San Francisco Propositions A, B, C, D: Sometimes there's such a thing as too much democracy and voting, and the fact we're even voting on some of this stuff, which should either be passed by the Board of Supervisor and voted up or down by the Mayor, or perhaps addressed elsewhere, is a sign. But since we do have them, here's an easy way to vote:

If you like Mayor Gavin Newsom, and allied interests, and do not like the Board of Supervisors and their allied interests, go ahead and vote "no" on everything. Sure, there is that issue of violent homeless people being put in the old folks home at Laguna Honda, but so what? Gavin's got a tough re-election in 2007, possibly, and the last thing he needs some ballot measures to give him guff.

If you do not like Mayor Gavin Newsom and allied interest, and like the Board of SUpervisors, and their allied interests, go ahead and vote "yes" on everything. Sure, that whole Ellis Act notification thing probably won't stop a desperate home-buyer from running over Grandma to get that TIC, but so what? Gavin's got a tough re-election in 2007, possibly, and perhaps these ballot measures (some of which were put on the ballot by Supervisor Daly) might be able to give him some guff.

Other Offices:

San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee: Ok, pop quiz: what is the one job people run for, spend money to get elected to, that most people have not even heard of much less know what they do?

That would be the Democratic Party Central Committee. Ya see, each county has a "Central Commitee" for each party. These are partisan positions within the parties themselves - they are not funded by the state or anything like that. These might seem like ceremonial posts, but how the people on this committee vote determine all sorts of party business at the local and state level. So in a way it matters, but not always in an immediately understandable way.

The problem is you have to vote for so many people out of a pack of like, a zillion, and (thank GOD) "Ranked Choice Voting" has no place in these races. I'm going to recommend the two people I actually have met and known: Boe Hayward in the 12th Assembly District and Tim Paulson in the 13th.

Both are good guys - I helped out Boe with his postcards this year, and Tim Paulson is the director of the San Francisco Labor Council and all around good guy. There's two endorsements - figure out the rest of the slots on the ballot after casting your ballot for these guys.

That's it! Enjoy the fireworks on June 6th!

May 18, 2006

50 Million Westly Dollars Can Be Wrong

Much is made when a personally wealthy candidate runs for office about how, by the miracle of “spending lots of money,” they can automatically win office. Steve Westly’s campaign not only benefits from this conventional “wisdom” – it’s an active part of the campaign’s message.

What pundits, politickers, and the like tend to forget is that part of winning a campaign is having the money to pay for what you need to win – but that the other part is how you spend your money. And in the case of Steve Westly, our multi-millionaire Richie Cunningham running for class president, it's becoming clear that the how of his campaign is starting to kill whatever advantage, cash-wise, this guy had.

Last night I caught the latest spat of ads from Westly on TV, and they were laughable at best, pathetic at worst. We are less than three weeks away from a pretty significant primary election, and what is the Westly campaign blowing tons of cash on? Ads about whether Phil Angelides is running a "negative campaign." (Don't try looking here for them - I guess they don't mind putting them on the air, but they sure didn't put them on their own site.)

So,umm, let me get this straight. This is the big issue millions of Californians are concerned about in this year's gubernatorial election? I guess that whole affordable housing/jobs/economy/environment/education/taxes thing isn't the main issue at the kitchen table this season.

No, it's whether "Mean Old Phil" is playing by some imaginary Marquess de Queensbury rules, and rather than move on and just tell people about why he's the better candidate, he's spending money talking about something no real voters give a crap about and tosses in a lie about Angelides' tax plan that's patently false. Hmm. Sounds like someone broke his own promise about those Queensbury rules.

Putting aside for a moment whether Phil or Steve is the bestest Democrat boy running, there's a bigger issue here. If Steve Westly can't handle a random, unscripted question from the peanut gallery, or a few jabs from a fellow Democrat, how the Hell is he going to handle going up against Gov. Doofinator and his huge team of spinmeisters, politickers and a massive state funded disinfo ops team, much less the many millions in independent expenditures from allied right wing groups that will toss out crap far worse than he's ever had to deal with?

No wonder this guy barely beat McClintock in 2002. Perhaps after the election, Westly and Senator Huffington, President Perot, Governor Checchi, and the rest of the rich geniuses can get together and have a beer about those Queensbury rules.

Don't forget to send in your political junk mail so we can do some disinfo rehab prior to the election! Send me a note and we'll get it on Flickr ASAP!

April 29, 2006

CDP Update 3 - Throwing A Wrench In the Machine

See live, uninterrupted coverage of the circus right here!

Today has been a bit less weird. I can safely say that the comic-book convention metaphor is holding, and I don't mean that in a good or bad way, just a way.


Today I ran into Assembly Candidate Janet Reilly as I stopped to say hello to our esteemed Senator, Dianne Feinstein. Tons of people were mobbing Sen. Feinstein and camera-phones were ablaze in getting a shared moment with the Senator recorded for posterity.

I also had a nice conversation with Frank Russo of the California Progress Report at his booth from whence he is live-blogging the entire convention.

But my favorite moment was watching the convetion speeches of Phil Angelides and Steve Westly, and it would seem that my previous entry about the Westly beef-fueled blocking of the endorsement vote might have been premature. I spoke with several actual voting delegates who told me how they were selected and how most of them were for Angelides, parties or not. It was most notable that when Steve Westly spoke, his legions of volunteers provided the bulk of his applause, not the delegates, something KTVU reporter Randy Shandobil queried Mr. Westly about at a press conference.

I watched Westly and while he seems like a truly nice person, he also comes off as over-rehearsed and evasive as he did in 1989 when he ran for chair. I chose to throw him a curve ball that was not on any "talking points memo" for the day when the press conference started.

My question? Well, I decided to ask him about his campaign's use of Myspace.com, which the campaign had trumpeted early on as a sign of his tech-savviness and his outreach to young people.

I asked him if this was the case, why was it that after all the hype and hullaballo, his My Space Profile was linked to only 40 or so friends, while rival Phil Angelides' profile was linked to over 1000 people.

Now, to be sure, a MySpace profile for a politco is not a big deal, but I wasn't as interested in the answer as I was interested in seeing how he'd handle such a wacky question, wacky questions and situations being something you need to deal with as a candidate and as Governor. I'd hoped for a joke, or something.

Instead he looked at me in that frozen smile of his and for about a second telegraphed a glare that could only be described as "What the F*CK are you asking me this for?" and then gave a weird, rambling non-answer answer.

I was kinda hoping for a sign this guy could go off script and relax, since his speech was so totally rehearsed he went off speech on less than 10 words. More importantly I was hoping for a sign that we are not repeating the mistake of nominating a Gray Davis or a Mike Dukakis or an Al Gore.

Sadly , it didn't happen. Oh well.

Next up: The vote showdown in the convention center!

UPDATE: It seems my mayhem was not confined to La Convencion.....this accounting of MySpace.com street cred seems to say it all..

November 3, 2005

A Guide to the Doofinator's Special Election Bonanza

This is one of the easiest elections to analyze and make recommendations, for you, the reader, and all the people who call me on the phone asking me what I think about the election. Ready?

Vote NO.

That's right - whatever it is that's on that ballot, be it a state proposition or Yet Another Bond Issue, just vote NO. It's easy, it's simple, and it will send a message to the cabal of get-rich-quck consultants, the Doofinator, and The Man that it's time to get to work to solve problems with real solutions, not this half-assed, phony baloney bullhonky they call "reform."

Nothing on the ballot was so critical it had to pass in 2005. If we are going to spend almost a hundred million dollars for an election no one asked for, we should at least be voting on something big, something bold, something that's based on something more than phony baloney consultant-driven initiatives desigend to get a few Republican political consultants and a few Democratic political consutlatns rich quick - while we the people have to live with the results.

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

August 9, 2005

Did Gov. Schwarzenegger Accept STOLEN Funds For His Campaign and Consultants??

OK. It's time to take the circus tent called "The Doofinator's Follies" down. This is just getting out of hand.

First, we find out he's collecting rent from his many campaign committees, so all those special interest dollars are making their way directly into his pocket. Loyal readers first read about this, and saw the offices in question here at Schädelmann.com.

Next, we find out that he didn't tell the truth about the millions of dollars in income he was getting from two magazines, which rely on large ads from the "supplement" industry to stay afloat. Curiously, he vetoed bills that would have restricted dangerous supplements and steroids to kids in school athletics.

Being the Doofinator, he initially refused to stop his ethically-questionable deal until the heat got to be too much for The Doofinator, and he relented. Never underestimate the fear this guy has of Not Being Liked!

And then, of course, we find out why so many of the Doofinator's unpopular ballot initiative campaigns press on, despite losing money and going into debt - it seems his taxpayer-funded staff is making hundreds of thousands of dollars off these committees, allegedly in their spare time.

Again, loyal readers know the Governor's inimitably charmless spokesman has spent some state time reading this site. Makes you wonder, though, if they keep pushing these things to make a quick buck off their boss's fundraising efforts. Might be compromising their judgement, no?

But now there's something way more serious - the growing evidence the Governor took stolen money from Tom Noe, who conned Ohio's leadership into investing funds from the Worker's Compensation Fund into rare coins - and then stole the proceeds from the taxpayers!

It's an ugly, sick, story of greed, corruption, and how the proceeds from said stealing from taxpayers made its way into many GOP campaigns as well. Google and read about the mess - it's quite a sordid tale.

This morning, we found out that money from one of the accounts in question made it all the way to the Doofinator's campaign coffers, and there's no word yet if he still has the money, if he's returned it, or what.

Regardless, it says a lot when the Governor of California spends so much time campaigning and raising record millions to fund his campaign consultants, staff moonlighting income, and all those signature gatherers, and so little time actually doing the job he claimed he wanted in 2003, that we're now actually trying to find out if he took a crook's money - one who ripped of the taxpayers to the tune of millions.

It's not enough his "poll numbers are down." It's time to send this circus out of town and get an adult in office. Are the folks running up to the job? It's unclear. Why, oh why, can't we get a true statesman (or stateswoman?) to lead this state for a change, instead of dull politicians who spend all their time raising money, or has-been actors who spend all their time raising money?

Anyone? Anyone?

PS: If you'd like to show how much you're fed up, I still have a stash of these posters from the 2003 recall - if you'd like one please make an offer!

UPDATE: Well it seems once again the Governor named Doofinator has done it again. After finding out the source of the contribution, he refused to return it, then gave it BACK to the crook in question, rather than donate the money to the state of Ohio from where it was stolen. President Bush and others did the right thing and returned the donations to the state, but Schwarzenegger didn't. Strange that not one California media outlet has picked up on this, and I gotta read it in the Akron and Toledo papers. Hmm.

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

July 20, 2005

Quick Hit- How Many Loopholes Must the Doofinator Jump Through?

It's no secret I've not been posting nearly as much as I normally did. Even as I approach my two year anniversary (!) on Journalspace, I'm finding that I'm really starting to lose interest in trying to comment and write on politics when all of the news is just so f_cked up. Every time I think we've hit a plateu in lying, groupthink, and the spectacular nature of lying and deception these days, something new comes along to top it. At this point, working on documentary films that have nothing to do with current events, or writing books on Anything Else starts to have a real appeal.

Take for example the latest in a string of fibs and obfuscations the People's Doofinator has been pulling lately. (The others have been in the headlines plenty - this is the latest!)

First it was the fibbing about the million dollar payments from the supplement advertisers - saying at first the money was going to a charity, then finding out of course it wasn't.

Now we find out the Governor is raising money for his PACs, and then taking money back to his personal pocket in the form of rent at his offices at 3110 Main St. in Santa Monica.

Sure, it's not "him" it's his company, Main St. Plaza, which is owned by The Doofinator, but I suppose Clinton/Bush-like hedging of rhetoric is the standard of politicians these days, so it's OK. And, as always there's a legion of folks who have the political discipline of the Soviet Politburo to defend these shenanigans because He's Their Guy.

Whatever. It'd be nice to think that the declining poll numbers for Doofinator, et al would mean that Californians are finally realizing it's time to take the circus tent down and find someone else who is less prone to lying and cheating to take office, but I would not bet on it.

However, if you, or your assorted friends, allies, and whatnots are tired of it, and would like to make a real stink about it, why not visit the Governor's restaurant and have a nice, good old fashioned hippie sit-in to protest the guy?

Sure, it's probably a surefire way to go to the can for a few days, but you'll at least know you made someone's day as miserable as the rest of ours. Or something.

Meanwhile, here's the Doofinator's "Death Star" on Main st. by my old house:

PS: I am getting all sorts of young people asking me about how to "get into politics." My advice - stay out of it. Unless you want to become an election law attorney. There are so few out there now, that if you were to specialize in election law, you'd make a fortune. Even if we had 10x the number of election lawyers, there'd STILL be enough work for everyone, and then some. If I was wiser when I was smarter I would have done so myself ages ago and saved myself a lot of hassle (and have a lot more cash in the bank as well). Sure the alka-seltzer bill would be high, but so would the Retire Early and Move to Panama fund.

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

June 13, 2005

The Doofinator Comes to Santa Monica College Or Return of the Liar

So, it seems Mr. Governor Doofinator is returning to an alma mater of his, Santa Monica College, to deliver a commencement address. How funny. Not in the "funny ha ha" sort of way, but in the "funny f-cked up" kind of way?

Why, you ask, do I dare challenge the Doofinator's ability/right to address a graduating class of Community College students at a college he once attended?

Let me count the hypocritical points of order those in the Fourth Estate would be wise to consider as they attempt some serious questioning of Governor Doofinator:

-When Governor Doofinator attended Santa Monica College as a semi-legal immigrant in the early 1970s, no substantial fees were charged at community colleges. If you wanted to go, you went. If you were too dumb to stay in, you flunked out. Otherwise, community colleges more or less let anyone in that wanted an education.

Under Governor Doofinator, and his Dark Master, Governor Pete "Mexicans Suck" Wilson, they've jacked up so-called "fees" at community colleges, making it a lot harder for people to get an education. Meanwhile, they gave away billions to the Enrons of the world. Governor Doofinator has spent more time out of state raising special interest dollars than working on realistic solutions to restore the Master Plan for Higher Education that was once the envy of the world.

In other words, a world-class education system that built up the educated workforce that made Calfornia competitive in the emerging tech economy was good enough for an immigrant with a family background and personal support for enemies of the U.S. on an expired visa from Austria in the 70s, but not good enough for taxpaying citizens and their families today.

-Governor Doofinator ran on a platform of reform. He told us he'd be the mirror opposite of Gov. Gray Davis' so-called "coin-op" government. He has spent the great majority of his time this year out of state, raising money from out of state interests foreign to the needs of average Californians, to finance his many special interest elections and to buy as many signatures as possible at the mall.

We were told that Governor Doofinator was going to clean things up. He has not. He was either lying to the public when he ran, or he's in way over his head. Either way, he has not been truthful with the public, and it's ironic that he's being held as a model for SMC graduates.

-Governor Doofinator tried to do an end-run around the rules to get rid of the basic protections for workers with regards to something as simple as their breaks and lunch hour. Since he had to raise so many special interest dollars, he had to do them a favor and this was one. His PR people and himself spent a lot of time defining this useless and needless attack on a working person's daily life.

What makes this more ironic is the fact that as a member of the Screen Actor's Guild, Mr. Doofinator was entitled to contract guarantees for every single aspect of his work day, including lunch. If James Cameron so much as delayed Governor Doofinator's protein shakes by even a minute, he got paid for his inconvenience. More to the point, if any film producer thought to violate said rules, he had a union and an whole system to get him his just desserts (or lunch, as it were).

Once again, this bozo shows what a lying hypocrite he is. He apparently did not once stand up and say "No, I don't want the benefits of union protection, nor do I want my contract-mandated lunch hour, or my health and pension, please let me work 14 hours a day without a break" while a budding movie star . But apparently that's good enough for the rest of us.

-Then there's the constant phony media stunts, ones that amaze me in that anyone even bothers to report on them given how patently false they are. Like the time the government made a big pothole at taxpayer expense so that Herr Doofinator could fill it in, and show how he wants to fix roads.

Memo to Doofinator staff: when you wreck a road with government road crews, use special interest money to pay a portion of the bill for the PR machine to announce said taxpayer-funded pothole you made worse, and inconvenience a neighborhood to have your little media funtime, you're not helping things. You're making them worse. Maybe this kind of bullshit passes for OK when you make a movie, but when you are in charge of things, it doesn't pass the smell test. You lose.

I'm getting sick of this guy. I'm getting sick of his b*llshit, and his lies. I'm tired of hearing the media portray him as some sort of saint when he's told more lies, and did more wrongs than his predecessor (who was no prince to begin with), and somehow say it's ok. I'm sick of Republicans telling me this bozo is somehow better than what we had before, when in fact he lies and spends more time acting like a Hollywood movie flake than a true leader.

Most importantly, I'm sick of people on all sides of the aisle who can't see past their own partisan short term gains, and won't stand up for what's right for all of us, and partisan interests be damned. Governor Doofinator could have been a leader. Instead he's been a cheap Hollywood huckster, and his lies are made all the worse by the damage he's actively creating in California.

To hell with him. and to hell with all the hypocrites in government. Game Over, fellas.

PS: On a completely unrelated note, I've been enjoying some of the downloads at partyben.com. Unbeknownst to most, I actually enjoy this sort of thing and try and find whatever I can that sounds interesting out there. Really!

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

April 8, 2005

Protest Post Mortem or Why You Can't Trust All Blogs All The Time

As I said earlier this week, rather than just "blog away" about issues, sometimes I like to actually do something somewhat tangible, so I spent Tuesday with all sorts of snarky signs in front of Gov. Doofinator's latest special-interest fundraiser.

While I can't claim credit for the event's a success or failure based on my presence, it was nice to spend a nice sunny day outdoors, and to see for myself what was really going on.

The news media tends to make these things out as "union" events, but they're really not - I was rather surprised at the number of Ordinary People who showed up, not for some massive Agenda of the Left, but because they were sick and tired of politicians who lie and take lots of special interest cash, without any benefit to the average citizen.

As rallies go, it was loud, but relatively peaceful. If you look closely at the video footage from KRON you might catch a glimpse of the snarkiest of signs, the one I made for a protest in front of the GAP's San Francisco headquarters (calling attention to the big donations the company has made to the Governor's campaigns), that labeled the Governor the "Doofinator." [Insert rolling eyes here.]

I had a bet wtih one of my firends at the event that my inimitably goofy sign would make all three local network affiliates for the news because it was so dopey, and it did!) You can also see some political commentary from retired political consultant and local philanthropist Clint Reilly commenting on the situation as well at KRON.

Rallies, protest, and direct action these days usually don't do a lot to swing The Masses to any one side, nor do they tend to convince the people on the inside to change their mind. However, when it comes to Gov. Doofinator they're more effective than people realize.

That's because this Governor is not committed to the Republican Party, any basic set of ideals, or other politicans. He is only committed to the idea of being popular. Any time that popularity takes a hit, as it has done recently, and he'll quickly drop an idea or sell out a friend to restore said popularity.

That's why, after taking multiple hits on his ill-thought out scheme to take away teh pensions and death benefits for police and firefighters, he abandoned his much ballyhooed reform efforts and gave up, rather than risk having some unhappy fans out there.

So for those well-heeled kids spending their fun money on the Doofinator's signature gathering machine, all I can say is, you may want to rethink how you spend your money. A new popularity poll can sink that wacky initiative you're trying to promote.

This is not the first time a little heat has made the Governor abandon a policy proposal - we only have to look back at the Great Puppy and Kitten Revolt of 2004, which always astonished me.

For someone who loves to hurl insults, taunts, and bad jokes, he sure can't take a little criticism. But I suppose that's what happens to someone who's spent a career working on being popular all the time. It gets to you after a while.

There was a lot of coverage of this particular protest/event/whatever in local papers, television, and the wire services. There was also a lot of noise on blogs. I think it's interesting how some people in the "blogosphere" (God, I hate that word) really get on a high horse about how they're somehow "better" than the mainstream press in reporting what "really" happens.

Sometimes, it seems like most political bloggers are loudmouths, so full of themselves they don't let something like the facts get in the way of a good sounding "messaging exercise." But I digress. (and yes, if I may paraphrase Sideshow Bob, I see the irony of using a blog to decry blogs. So what.)

However, in this case I'd like to point out two blogs that covered Tuesday's events and compare and contrast them a little. I found both using Google and picked them at random.

The first is a blog written by a guy in Livermore, CA who attended the rally. He's posted a nicely detailed account of the day's events, complete with pictures that more or less synced with what I saw and heard while I was there. No sensationalism, true, but a nice, crowd's-eye view.

Yes, there were a lot of people, yes it had its goofy moments, and no, there was no riot, no Chicago '68-style head bashing, no calls for La Revolucion issued to the proletariat. It was interesting to see so many people give up Opening Day and some nice weather in San Francisco to show up and talk to the Governor the only way they're allowed to, and it was amazing to see so many of our first responders out in force.

He also had a link to another site which had a lot of links to coverage as well. Since it's Friday, and I don't feel like re-inventing the wheel, just click over there and see what he's got.

In contrast, Bob Brigham at the Swing State Project posts a very different account, a tale rife with images of brave clashes with The Man and The System, the People igniting La Revolucion, etc.

It all sounds really nice, but unfortunately, the embellishments start to take on a life of their own and don't sync with what many other people saw, nor with anything I observed. It's one of those things that super-liberal people who spend all day behind a computer can get excited about - but also at odds with a lot of what really went on, which ends up being a lot more interesting.

I've met Bob before and he is a good guy, well intentioned, and all, and I am sure that in all the excitement it was easy to embellish a little while talking to a friend on a cell phone to "report" the events. But as usual, the ideological embellishments, be they from right or left, detract from the facts, which was much more interesting than an attempt to once again Bring Back the Freakin' 60's, as some people insist on doing.

Although, in the case of Bob's blog, I can kind of see what he's doing - it's a sort of Hunter S Thompson "reveal the truth in the embellishments" kind of writing, which has its place.

Blogs are fun to write, and occasionally fun to read. At the same time, we need to realize that not all blogs are the stand-alone grassroots efforts they represent themselves to be, nor are they all free of pre-paid opinions, nor do all of them care whether what they write is true or not.

That's fine - it's all part of freedom to let everyone have their say - but it's part of the responsibility of the rest of us to make sure we don't let ourselves be so insulated from contrary thought we start reading our own personal Pravdas for our respective ideological biases.

PS: I want to take a moment to address a particularly egregious example of lying by a political hack - in this case the total fabrications that spew out of the mouth of the Doofinator's spokeman, Rob Stutzman.

In several interviews he has repeated the assertion that the only people attending any demonstrations against the governor were "paid" and yet refuses to offer any documentation or proof whatsoever of this charge. It's a nice way to put a nasty piece of BS out there and let the ideologues on the right have their fun with it, even though it is false.

I took a random sampling of people and most folks were not only unpaid to attend the event - they were giving up their own time and paying their own way to show up, from as far away as Los Angeles County, to tell the Doofinator and his henchmen what they think of his plans. I know I wasn't paid - I gave up a day of work to help out myself and paid for my own bus fare.

Furthermore, if anyone is "paid" in this initiative scramble, it is the signature gatherers, all hired by professional signature gathering firms, who get a $1-$2 bounty for each signature they gather in front of a grocery store, etc. It's easy to document this - one only has to look at the financial disclosure reports filed by these commitees to see the names and addresses of professional signature gathering firms employed to get these "grassroots" measures on the ballot.

I am now issuing a formal challenge to Rob Stutzman - prove on paper that the vast majority of protestors at Tuesday's event were paid, and I'll buy you a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and have it delivered to your office. If you can't do so, then you owe me a case of Schlitz. The distributor in Sacramento carries it - I expect to get my delivery soon. Thanks!

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

April 5, 2005

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 www.schadelmann.com

January 10, 2005

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 www.schadelmann.com

January 5, 2005

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 www.schadelmann.com

December 20, 2004

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 www.schadelmann.com

August 2, 2004

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 www.schadelmann.com

March 15, 2004

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 www.schadelmann.com

February 18, 2004

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 www.schadelmann.com

December 10, 2003

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 www.schadelmann.com

November 20, 2003

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 joingreg@schadelmann.com and let me know how you'd like to help!

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

November 19, 2003

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 www.schadelmann.com

October 6, 2003

ART ATTACK 2003! - A review!

Saturday night was the big night for Robbie Conal's latest Art Attack on Los Angeles on the Recall here so I dropped by to attend as a non-objective journalist and see what was happening. I wasn't sure what to expect but figured I could give up my usual Saturday doings to see what others were doing for La Causa days before the recall election.

Turnout at this thing was incredible! Usually when you go to these sorts of things there's a gang of usual suspects that shows up and does its thing, and that's that. The scene at Canter's Deli was quite the opposite. The crowd was huge!
It wasn't the size alone that made the turnout so impressive - it was the diversity of the group that caught me off guard. There were Usual Suspects, high school kids, college students, senior citizens, concerned citizens, high-falutin' professional types, and a lot of Regular Folks, all concerned about the election, and all wanting to do SOMETHING, anything to get the word out before election day.

That positive attitude - a "we can do it" attitude versus an angry, resigned, defeatist one - was something that was encouraging to watch. People were ready to put their feet on the ground and do something that would bypass the mass media and attempt to reach voters just a few days before the election, instead of just sitting at home and being pissed off. It was a good event and fun to attend - Robbie Conal and everyone involved deserve a high-five from the rest of us.

On Sunday I got ahold of a friend's digital camera and shot some video and still pictures on Main Street in Santa Monica to see if any posters made it here in the heart of Arnold Country (his main offices are on Main Street). Sure enough some did!

Here's a traffic light box with the poster, intact.

Here are some citizens checking out posters at Main and Hollister at a construction site....that one that has the "post no bills" sign stenciled in.

Someone violated Robbie's "Guerilla Etiquette" and posted one over by Rockenwagner - not cool, kids! Remember you're not supposed to post on private property!

Check out more images my gallery at journalspace. As I get more pictures I'll be posting them here and updating the site.

Note to Arnold Supporters, Law Enforcement Personnel, and Other Concerned Citizens: I can verify that I myself engaged in no illegal activities. Really. If you need proof I have plenty! Honest!

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

September 30, 2003

Arnold, You're no Jesse. And We're Worse Off Because of That.

The recall campaign is beginning to wind down and all sorts of predictions are being made. Personally I think the only accurate prediction to be made at this point is that there will be a recall election on October 7th.

Should Mr. Schwarzenegger get elected we'll have more Politics As Usual in Sacramento led by a Yet Another Typical Politician.

Nothing will change, nothing will get reformed, and we'll be living with the consequences for years to come. Meanwhile the state's problems will remain.

I'm probably the only Venice Beach lefty who's actually disappointed in Arnold and his campaign and was naïve enough to think that there was some good potential in Arnold's upstart campaign. After all, Arnold's a good neighbor and businessman in our community, and got his start just blocks away from my home.

Arnold had a chance to use the historic recall to lead a movement and use his celebrity status to cut through the media clutter, talk to voters about the issues, and if elected do some good for all Californians, regardless of party, skin color, geographical location etc. etc. etc. He certainly isn't a dumb person, and hasn't been the "bad guy" that most Typical Politicians end up after years on the rubber chicken circuit.

In fact, I often felt that should Arnold run for office he'd have a chance to run a higher-level version of Jesse Ventura's successful campaign for governor – a campaign where a media-savvy political reformer used extensive unscripted debates, a campaign message that motivated voters to come to the polls, and a commitment to real reform of state government.

( The fact is once you got past the colorful metaphors Ventura was as qualified and as well versed on the issues as any of his Democratic or Republican counterparts. As a former elected official and businessman he was well aquainted with many of the mundane issues of government. He certainly held his own in countless debates on TV around the state!)

As misjudgments go, this is a pretty big one. To paraphrase an oft-used line "Arnold, you're no Jesse Ventura."

Yes, Arnold's campaign has made it clear – he is no Ventura and his opportunity to bring a fresh view to state government and politics was pissed away the moment he signed on former Gov. Pete Wilson and his mafia of assorted political hacks and corporate donors to carefully manage Arnold and his efforts.

Wilson and his guys had their chance in the 90s to make their mark, and instead left us a legacy of bad laws and crummy budgets that were the fiscal equivalent of putting band-aids on axe-wounds. Their way is to run campaigns with media manipulation, raising money from corporate interests, and applying the Wilson-patented racially divisive attacks on whomever seems easiest to hit in order to win. It goes without saying that lying is perfectly acceptable as long as you've got an "R" next to your name.

It's time to pull the plug on the circus. Much as it pains me to say it, recalling Gray Davis won't do any good under these circumstances. Throwing out an elected governor because he has the personality of a doorstop and replacing him with Yet Another Typical Politician blows the whole POINT of a recall.

All we'll be doing is replacing one problem with another – and in Arnold's case with someone who apparently we're supposed to trust since he's told us nothing – but has a history of stretching and dodging the truth, Clinton-style.

Apparently Arnold's smart enough to lead the state, but isn't up to the challenge of a real debate (one where he can't rehearse interruptions and bad one liners in advance) with the likes of Tommy McClintock, Arianna Huffington, and our other genius candidates like Gary Coleman and Mary Carey. Arnold's campaign won't let the press get near him during this last week of the campaign. Do they know something we don't?

Arnold, you're no Jesse Ventura. You're just Another Typical Politician, playing political games, and avoiding issues during a campaign. Not unlike most politicians in Sacramento. You had a chance to do better, and you failed. You're smarter and better than this, but chose Pete Wilson's way instead.

So this is why we're doing the recall? To replace one Typical Politician with another? I'm done. Next.

(PS: Note to Arnold: I saw The Rundown starring The Rock opening weekend. You know what? It was great.

Perhaps its better you follow Pete Wilson and his gang's tricks in the political arena, and get out of movies. The Rock's movie was better than T3 and I liked T3 a lot too. And I bet if The Rock were running he'd have the courage to debate Governor Gray.

Then again, the Rock was a wrestler like Jesse Ventura, wasn't he? Hmm…

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

September 15, 2003

For some background on events leading to this recall....

Ah the recall...making political satirists obsolete all summer...now we have the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that there needs to be a delay so that large counties such as Los Angeles County, which still use "hanging chad" style voting machines can modernize and make sure we don't do a Florida 2000-style mess.

What is ironic is that the court's ruling cites precedents set by the US Supreme Court in the now infamous Bush vs. Gore Florida 2000 lawsuit. Right wing pundits are crying foul, left wing pundits are crying score, and the rest of us are just crying that our state's in such a mess we might have to give Gary Coleman a chance to run it for a while.

It's more likely though that this won't help Davis in the long run. A shorter campaign is more likely to benefit Davis because polls are starting to show that the recall itself may be defeated, thus making the parade of candidates running to replace him irrelevant. That momentum is not as likely to keep up if this gets dragged out until March 2004 - when by then people will have grown tired of the circus and stopped paying attention.

More troubling though is the fact that in all of the recall antics about who said what to Oui magazine, which lefty candidate is lower in the polls, or whether someone's membership in a campus club is a Threat To the Republic, there is not a single candidate who's put forth a credible long term vision or plan to turn California's myriad of problems around nor do I expect anyone to do so.

Why? Because there is no one answer to the many situations our state faces now. No magic bullet or rigid adherence to the altar of [insert rabid right or left or pro porno ideology here] is going to make everything "all better".

The only real solution is to have an educated discussion about why we're here, and for the citizens of California to take responsibility for their role in letting the once-Great State of California slide into mediocrity. No matter how bad the politicians are, fact is that the only reason they get away with their shenannigans is because most citizens can't be bothered to vote, and most media outlets can't be bothered to cover serious issues with any crediblity.

If you want to read a credible book which provides a great overview of why we're here, how we got here, and why Pete Wilson's Mafia backing Arnold S. is a BAD thing, check out "Paradise Lost" by Peter Schrag. In an era when most political books are the equivalent of food fights (see Ann Coulter's latest missive or Al Franken's newest rant tract) Schrag provides a thoughtful in depth analysis of recent California political history. Schrag was editorial editor of the Sacramento Bee and as such had a unique front row seat at the pageant of foolishness known as lawmaking in this state. You can find it at Amazon.com at

Paradise Lost

Here's a project idea for well-funded media outlets: Not being a porn-empire magnate or a self made millionaire I myself don't have the cash to do this however media outlets who want to have some fun , and educate the public about the recall might want to try this:

Buy a voter file with voting history from a data vendor such as Political Data here in Burbank. Then, do a match with the list of names of those whose signatures appeared on the recall petition. Then you can find out how many of these concerned citizens have voted or not. It would be interesting to find out.

Oh, and as a bonus, run a match with the paid signature gatherers (those that were actually FROM California) and perhaps ask them if they'd have gotten the signatures without Darrell Issa's $3/signature bounty.

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com

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