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FTR #436 Triumph of the Shill Pt 3: The Kaiser of California

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Introduction: Further developing analysis of the ascension of Arnold Schwarzenegger, this program examines the presentation of his political personality in the context of the manner in which Hitler was marketed to the German people. Particular attention is paid to the techniques of Leni Riefenstahl’s cinema presentations of Hitler, and to German “Mountain Film” exponent Luis Trenker—a professional associate (and lover) of Riefenstahl’s. Riefenstahl’s careful staging, editing and manipulation of mass-mediated events bears a considerable similarity to Schwarzenegger’s use of the same devices. Trenker—an athletic “action-hero” of the Mountain Films that became an integral part of the Nazi propaganda psyche—produced a film called “The Kaiser of California.” This program’s title derives from the possibility that the “Kaiser of California” film and Trenker’s aesthetic persona may have influenced the development and/or manipulation of Schwarzenegger. The program highlights Schwarzenegger’s governing style and compares it to Hitler’s “governing by surprise.” Schwarzenegger combines this with manipulation of the mass media to create the appearance of popular support for his policies. (Listeners are encouraged to examine the long series on “German Corporate Control of the American Media” and its presentation of the Underground Reich’s projected use of the “opinion forming media” in order to take control of the United States. This control takes place after a devastating series of terrorist attacks with weapons of mass destruction.)

Program Highlights Include: Schwarzenegger’s attempts at bullying the California Legislature into accepting his incompletely-presented budget proposals; his attempt at establishing an unprecedented degree of gubernatorial control over the political process; his renegging on campaign promises not to balance the budget on the backs of the disadvantaged; his acceptance of campaign donations from the very “special interests” he campaigned against; BBC correspondent Alistair Cook’s musings on Schwarzenegger’s admiration for Hitler’s ‘fuhrer princip.’

1. The broadcast begins by describing the art and career of Luis Trenker– an associate of Leni Riefenstahl–whose work was integrated into the Nazi propaganda psyche by Joseph Goebbels. Was Trenker—the quintessential action hero of the German Mountain Films—a cognitive template for the Schwarzenegger public persona? Was his film “The Kaiser of California” part of this template? (Note that John Sutter—the protagonist of the Trenker film—was a Swiss native who emigrated to California from Germany.)

” . . . An Austro-Italian, Trenker began in German ‘mountain films’ in the 1920’s and was a popular led by the end of the decade. He directed some splendid films in the 30’s, but the general neglect or misunderstanding of the films he made during the pre-Nazi and Nazi eras consigned his career to obscurity. And yet, to quote film historian William K. Everson: ‘The Mountain Film was to Germany what the Western was to America, and Trenker, as its leading practitioner, was in a sense Germany’s John Wayne and John Ford rolled into one.'”

(“Luis Trenker: Biography”; accessed at Hollywood.com; p. 1; visit their web site at www.hollywood.com/celebs/bio/deleb/1674560 .)

2.

“. . . A gifted athlete, Trenker proved a natural for the mountain films’ richly melodramatic tales of dangerous rock climbs and last-second rescues set amid the harsh elements of Germany’s lone frontiers. . . .[director Dr. Arnold] Fanck teamed him [Trenker] with dancer turned actor—and budding director—Leni Riefenstahl for mountain films including ‘Der Heilige Berg/Peaks of Destiny’ (1926) and ‘Der Grosse Sprung/The Big Jump’ (1927). . . .”

(Idem.)

3. Noting the “Mountain Film” genre, consider the cognitive similarities between Trenker’s protagonist in “The Rebel” and Schwarzenegger. Again, consider this in the context of the Sports Illustrated picture.

“He followed up with one of his finest achievements, ‘Der Rebell/The Rebel’ (1932), for which he shot English and German language versions himself on location in Bavaria. A historical tale, based on fact, of mountain peasants defending themselves against Napoleon using guerilla tactics, ‘The Rebel’ was nationalistic: the story celebrated German history and traditions, and Trenker, at one point leading his pursuers on a thrillingly edited chase that could never have taken place in uninterrupted time, was an idealized, proudly German superhero type. It is thus not surprising that Trenker’s films, and indeed many mountain films, would be not only popular with the German people, but also appropriated by the rising Nazi party. . . ‘The Rebel’ was highly praised by no less a person than Joseph Goebbels . . .”

(Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

4.

” . . . Beginning in the Tyrol, the film [“Der Verlorene Sohn/The Lost Son’ (1934)] takes its peripatetic hero to New York for a lengthy middle sequence before returning him home. . . .The ethnographic thrust of the film continued upon its return to the Tyrol documenting a mountain festival. The result is a true folk epic, a tale of two cultures . . . With this film and his follow-up, ‘Der Kaiser von Kalifornien/The Kaiser of California’ (1936), a sometimes conservative and romanticized, but excitingly rendered biopic of the scheming yet pioneering entrepreneur John Sutter, Trenker found himself criticized for showing, respectively, a depressed America and a very flawed protagonist at a time when Germany wanted the USA either as an ally or neutral in the coming war. . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)

5. Moving from the subject of Trenker to that of his associate Leni Riefenstahl, the discussion notes her influence on Nazi propaganda technique and, in turn, the influence of the Third Reich’s propaganda upon contemporary mediated politics.

“When one thinks of the propaganda machinery of the Third Reich, one thinks automatically of the stunning spectacle of thousands marching in perfect unison at Nuremberg under the gigantic swastikas, and the image of the Fuhrer rising majestically over the crowds of delirious followers. This image achieved its most perfect expression in the films ‘Triumph des Willens’ (‘Triumph of the Will’) and Olympia’ (on the 1936 Olympics) by Leni Riefenstahl.”

(“The Nazi Who Refused to Die” by Sudhanva Deshpande; Znet Commentary; 10/10/2003; accessed at http://zena.secureforum.com/Znet/sustainers/content/2003-10/10deshpande.cfm .)

6.

“In 1933 Eugen Hadamovsky wrote: ‘All the power one has, even more than one has, must be demonstrated. One hundred speeches, five hundred newspaper articles, radio talks, films, and plays are unable to produce the same effect as a procession of gigantic masses of people taking place with discipline and active participation.’ Hadamovsky, unsurprisingly, went on to become the National Broadcasting Direcctor of the Third Reich. The power of the regime was in the demonstration of it, and people like Leni Riefenstahl demonstrated it better than anyone.”

(Idem.)

7. Note the integration of the 1934 Nazi Party Congress with Riefenstahl’s cinema technique. Later in the program, this integration of media staging with political messaging will be seen again in the techniques of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

” ‘Triumph of the Will’ is ostensibly a documentary, but as is by now well known, it freely changes the sequence of events, juxtaposes discrete shots as if they happened simultaneously and in the same locale, and, most importantly, many of the sequences are not spontaneous, but carefully orchestrated and rehearsed. Indeed, Leni Riefenstahl herself wrote how ‘the preparations for the Party Convention were made in connection with the preparations for the camera work.'”

(Idem.)

8. Before turning to the Schwarzenegger’s carefully-staged trip to Washington (which “concided” with the wildfires discussed in FTR#434), the program examines Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl’s cinematographic manipulation of Hitler in her signature “Triumph of the Will.”

” . . .The superstar himself, every bit a demagogue, thrived on the adulation of gigantic crowds. Riefenstahl filmed him alone, in a solitary splendor, often from below, so that he loomed over the frame, with the sky and the clouds forming a grand backdrop. The crowds, on the other hand, were usually filmed in multitudes, and even when individual faces were shot, the impression created was that of mass frenzy or mass discipline. The collective will was expressed through the iron will of one man, the destiny of a people and a nation was actualized through the triumph of his will. Every participant in these spectacles was expected to turn, as Goebbels famously put it, ‘from a little worm into part of a large dragon.’ In that moment of sheer performance, when all those involved are ensconced in the circle of magic, everything else is forgotten . . . .”

(Idem.)

9.

” . . . Leni Riefenstahl pioneered the technique of filming charismatic leaders, frenzied crowds, symbols and icons of empire, marching soldiers, and powerful athletes. Each and every one of her techniques, made more seductive still by modern technology, enters our drawing rooms on a daily basis today. We only have to open our eyes to the incessant spell that the advertisers of global brands and propagandists of modern empires cast on us to see that the legacy of Leni Riefenstahl is far from dead, even though she finally is.”

(Idem.)

10.

“Arnold Schwarzenegger proved Wednesday that his newfound political aura knows neither geographic nor party bounds. . . . But the story of his first official trip to Washington was best told by the crush of media, lawmakers and power brokers of all political persuasions who dropped other matters to get in a word with, or often just a glimpse of, the hottest commodity in American politics. . . .”

(“State’s Charm Spreads to U.S. Capitol” by Marc Sandalow and Zachary Coile; San Francisco Chronicle; 10/30/2003; p. A1.)

11. Note the structural similarity between Schwarzenegger’s first visit to Washington (“coinciding” with the wildfires) and the deliberate, thorough scripting of Hitler’s public persona as portrayed in “Triumph of the Will.”

” . . . It clearly was more than interest in California that drew at least 100 journalists and 28 cameras to chronicle a ‘media availability’ that consisted of just six questions. And it was more than respect for the governor’s office that lured a near-record crowd of House Republicans, some with their own cameras, to their weekly caucus meeting where the governor was introduced to a standing ovation.”

(Ibid.; p. A7.)

12.

“Much of the visit was tightly scripted. Walks down hallways were arranged by congressional staff to create pictures showing Schwarzenegger conversing with lawmakers. Staged conversations between Schwarzenegger and members of congress were held before throngs of journalists and replayed on television throughout the day. Schwarzenegger was held back for five minutes outside one GOP lawmakers’ meeting so that regular business could be finished in time for his grand entrance. Schwarzenegger appeared perfectly at ease playing the part and sought to turn his star power into more resources for the state, reminding lawmakers who control the federal purse that he had campaigned as the ‘Collectinator,’ who would bring back to his state a larger share of federal money. . . .”

(Idem.)

13. The program reviews a presentation of a German university professor’s account of what it was like to live during the rise of Hitler. Note the similarity to aspects of the contemporary political landscape. Consider Schwarzenegger and Hitler.

” ‘What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise, to receiving decisions deliberated in secret, to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand because of nationality security, so dangerous that even if the people the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him may have incidentally have reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it. Their trust in him made it easier to reassure others who might have worried about it. This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real crises and reforms too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of the Government growing remoter and remoter.'”

(They Thought they Were Free: The Germans 1933-1945; by Milton Mayer; copyright 1955 [SC]; University of Chicago Press; ISBN 0-226-51190-1; pp. 166-167.)

14. In his first days in office, Schwarzenegger has moved swiftly and autocratically, establishing unprecedented political power for himself and his minions and governing by “surprise.”

“An executive order signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger could delay the implementation of dozens of environmental and consumer protection measures and give Schwarzenegger’s political appointees unprecedented powers to rewrite regulations. On his first day in office, Schwarzenegger ordered a six-month halt to the creation of new rules effecting hundreds of issues so he can review how they will affect California’s business climate. The order could affect everything from the state’s efforts to develop an unprecedented computer recycling program to a new law requiring hospitals to have a minimum level of nurses on duty.”

(“Governor Puts Rules on Hold, Raises Fears” by Mark Martin; San Francisco Chronicle; 11/19/2003; p. A23.)

15.

“Business advocates praised the move as a signal that Schwarzenegger is committed to building jobs in the state by streamlining burdensome regulations. Some lawmakers dismissed the order as simply a way for the new administration to catch up on upcoming issues. But others charged that the new governor is already doling out favors to business contributors and trying to overturn legitimate laws passed by the legislature and signed by former Gov. Gray Davis. They also argued that Schwarzenegger, who campaigned on an open-government and pro-environment platform, is reneging on promises made before the recall election.”

(Idem.)

16.

” ‘This is a page right out of George Bush’s playbook,’ said Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. Schwarzenegger’s order will affect hundreds of regulations that state agencies are writing to enact legislation or new standards. Most of the regulations are details stemming from recently enacted legislation. For example, the California Integrated Waste Management board will implement a landmark law carried by Sen. Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, and signed this year by Davis that will make California the first state in the country to mandate the recycling of computers and televisions. The board was expected to create the definition that will determine which pieces of equipment will be affected by the law.”

(Idem.)

17.

“Instead, according to the order, the board will be required to submit a report to Schwarzenegger’s legal affairs secretary describing how the new law will affect California business. The board could ask Schwarzenegger’s director of finance to bypass the report, however. Recycling advocates argue that the executive order could delay the law, which is to go into effect next July. They also note that the order could take the rule-making process out of the hands of a board that meets publicly, instead allowing agencies to create internal reports for Schwarzenegger’s top officials. It’s unclear what will happen if reports suggest a particular issue is bad for business, but some advocates worry it could lead the administration to water down regulations and effectively nullify new laws.”

(Idem.)

18.

” ‘This is a governor who came into office saying he was all for open government, and one of the first moves he makes out of the box is to put important health and safety issues into the hands of political appointees,’ said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste. . . . But the order freezes hundreds of rule-making procedures, including efforts to force garbage haulers to use cleaner diesels fuel and new water-efficiency standards for washing machines that will save millions of gallons of water.”

(Idem.)

19.

“Schwarzenegger critics say the new governor is actually creating more bureaucracy and may be angling for a way to help give business interests that opposed successful legislation a new avenue to win battles it couldn’t win earlier. ‘This is the wish list for every special interest that lost in the legislature,’ said Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights.”

(Idem.)

20. Having marketed himself as an independent, an opponent of “special interests” and a man of the people, Schwarzenegger has been moving in the opposite direction. He is already accepting donations from wealthy interests. (Schwarzenegger has already demonstrated this kind of cynicism with his prompt repayment of the political debt he owed to Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. See FTR#’s 429, 434.)

“Arnold Schwarzenegger, who campaigned as an outsider free of ties to contributors, on Thursday celebrated his repeal of the car-tax increase at a San Fernando Valley car dealership owned by a major donor to his campaign. Schwarzenegger also is planning at least four fundraisers in December to help pay off debt left over from his campaign—despite his own pre-election suggestion that the Legislature be banned from political fund-raising when the budget is under discussion. Schwarzenegger is making major budget proposals to the legislature over the next two weeks. While his staff now says the ban was intended only to cover a period after the full budget is presented in early January, his fundraising and attention to donors are raising eyebrows. . . .”

(“Governor Prepares to Court Donors” by Mary Anne Ostrom; San Jose Mercury News; 11/21/2003; p. 1A.)

21. Among the donors to Schwarzenegger is Tim Draper. (For more about Draper and his ancestors, see FTR#254

” . . . Schwarzenegger said during the campaign he would not take money from special interests, and in his inaugural address pledged ‘my governorship to your interests, not special interests.’ In his first press conference as governor Tuesday, he reiterated that his definition of special interests is limited to groups such as public-employee unions and Indian tribes with gambling interests, because they negotiate directly with the state. Yet his fundraising efforts have only continued in the six weeks since his Oct: 7 election, reaching more than $1 million, including $535,000 to pay for his swearing-in Monday. A number of the post-election contributors have Silicon Valley ties. They include venture capitalist Tim Draper. . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 10A.)

22. Above all, Schwarzenegger has affected an autocratic style, presenting the legislature with “decisions deliberated in secret.”

“Attempts to move Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fiscal plans quickly through the Legislature bogged down Wednesday as frustrated Democrats complained that the administration hadn’t given them enough specifics to advance his budget agenda. Schwarzenegger’s budget chief, Donna Arduin, told members of the Assembly budget committee that the legislature should put a ballot measure before voters to approve a state spending limit and a bond of up to $15 billion to restructure existing debt. ‘With the amount of borrowing that has occurred to date, the state is running out of places to go,’ Arduin said, ‘It cannot continue.'”

(“Governor’s Fiscal Plan Hits Speed Bump” by Lynda Gledhill and Greg Lucas; San Francisco Chronicle; 11/20/2003; A1.)

23.

” . . . While Republican lawmakers were eager to suspend legislative rules to schedule speedy votes on Schwarzenegger’s proposals, the Democrats who control the Legislature said they would hold committee hearings before scheduling final votes. ‘They are so involved in how things look that they want to look like they are moving quickly, so they call us into special session,’ said Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D—Los Angeles, who sits on the budget committee. ‘You cannot call a special session until you have something to present us. We may not accept it, but at least you have to have it presented.'”

(Ibid.; p. A18.)

24.

“In an inauspicious start with lawmakers, Arduin startled budget committee members by leaving the hearing in the middle of the first questions put to her. . . .Before leaving, Arduin briefly restated her audit findings but provided few new details about the governor’s budget plan. She also offered no suggestion on how cities and counties would be compensated for the loss of nearly $3.6 billion this year now that the car tax increase had been repealed. Goldberg, who was in the middle of questioning Arduin when she left, said she was shocked by the presentation. . . .”

(Idem.)

25.

” . . . Arduin was Florida’s budget director before Schwarzenegger asked her to conduct an audit of California’s budget. . . . ‘I don’t think we should think there has been some intricate, complex audit done here,’ said Assemblyman John Dutra, D-Fremont. ‘The presentation has a political tone that I don’t think is appropriate or beneficial to this committee.'”

(Idem.)

26. More on the Schwarzenegger style: autocracy and “government by surprise”:

“Democratic legislators, accusing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of attempting a ‘power grab,’ balked at the governor’s budget plan Tuesday and questioned whether they could meet his deadline of next week for taking action to ease the state’s fiscal mess. In Schwarzenegger’s first big clash with the Democrat-controlled legislature, several lawmakers objected to Schwarzenegger’s proposal for spending limits that would give the governor unprecedented budget-writing authority. But the governor’s aides warned that Schwarzenegger would take the fight into lawmakers’ districts if they didn’t act on his plans. . . .”

(“Governor’s Spending Cap Called Power Club” by Lynda Gledhill and Mark Martin; San Francisco Chronicle; 11/26/2003; p. A1.)

27.

” . . . Democrats said they were puzzled over how Schwarzenegger’s plan to limit the state’s spending every year would work, and they expressed amazement at the new control he would have over the budget. Under the plan, the governor could make mid-year spending cuts in times of fiscal emergencies. They would become law unless two-thirds of the Legislature voted to override them within 30 days. ‘I think he wants to be czar instead of governor,’ said Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles. ‘The hidden agenda is a power grab.’ Sen. Jack Scott, D-Altadena, agreed that granting that much authority to the governor would turn California’s system upside down. ‘We’re going toward an autocracy here instead of a democracy,’ he said.”

(Ibid.; p. A16.)

28.

” . . . but how a permanent cap on state spending would interrelate with other demands on the state—especially from education—especially from education—remained unclear. ‘They can barely explain it, we can barely understand them. It’s not good,’ said Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, D-Pittsburg.”

(Idem.)

29. Having campaigned on a platform that stressed that he would not cut funds from essential programs, Schwarzenegger is doing just that.

” ‘These are the kind of cuts that come from a very right-wing agenda.’ Particular ire was focused on several health care proposals. Schwarzenegger wants lawmakers to OK a halt to enrolling children in the healthy Families insurance program beginning Jan. 1. Children’s advocates blasted that idea, noting that 1 in 7 children in California was already uninsured. The state of Florida, where Arduin last worked, froze enrollment in a similar insurance program in July and how was a waiting list of 42,000 kids, according to the advocacy group Children Now. Schwarzenegger also suggests cutting by 10 percent the fees doctors receive for treating patients covered by Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for the poor. The California medical Association has already sued the state over a 5-percent cut enacted by legislature and former Gov. Gray Davis. Advocates say further cuts will cause a chain reaction that could destroy the public health system. Fewer private doctors will treat Medi-Cal patients, forcing those patients to crowded and underfunded public health clinics or emergency rooms. ‘We’ll be watching the public safety net break apart,’ said Dr. Kevin Grumbach, chief of family and community medicine at San Francisco General Hospital.”

(Idem.)

30. One of the most significant aspects of the governing style of Schwarzenegger is his use of his mass media appeal to attempt to generate support for his programs. He is using this bully pulpit to attempt to intimidate legislators into accepting his “decisions deliberated in secret.”

“Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is planning a campaign-style offensive next week—complete with rallies, stump speeches and recorded telephone calls to homes—to urge Californians to get behind his budget solution. There is a lot at stake in the coming week. The Republican governor’s plan for a massive bond and a spending cap must win approval by Friday to be placed on the March ballot, or the state could face a cash crunch next year. . .”

(“Budget Blitz About to Start” by Mary Anne Ostrom; San Jose Mercury News; 11/29/2003; p. 1A.)

31.

” . . . By returning to the campaign trail, the new governor shows he is leaving nothing to chance. The reaction to his populist style of governing could prove an early test of what the new governor’s team likes to call ‘the Schwarzenegger mandate.’ ‘His bully pulpit, larger than most,’ said Schwarzenegger communications chief Rob Stutzman. ‘You have a governor who can go out and do public events, gain voter and media attention, like we haven’t seen in a long time.’ . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 23A.)

32.

“Many Democrats, and even a few Republicans, say that while Schwarzenegger is undertaking measures of unprecedented size and scope, he has produced only sketchy details from which to judge them. ‘There’s no question he’s forcing us into a corner,’ said incoming Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D—Los Angeles, who cast doubt on the legislature’s ability to meet the deadline. ‘He wants us to deal on a crisis mode, but we’ve got to be careful not to rush just so he can say, ‘I’ve done x and y in my first 100 days.'”

(Idem.)

33. Very revealing of Schwarzenegger’s pattern of arriving at “decisions deliberated in secret” is his decision to forgo a public investigation of the charges of sexual harassment that arose during the campaign. Instead, he is going to contract for a private investigator to look into the matter. It has not been revealed who the private investigator is. The possibility that this “private eye” may engage in intimidation of the women who have charged Schwarzenegger with sexual harassment is not one to be too readily dismissed.

“Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger will hire a private investigator to explore accusations during his campaign that he had groped or sexually harassed women in the past, his media chief said Thursday. Schwarzenegger’s announcement came immediately after Attorney General Bill Lockyer said he had privately advised the incoming governor to submit to an independent investigation. But the governor-elect’s camp said Schwarzenegger had been looking for an investigator for close to two weeks and was close to signing a contract.”

(“Groping Inquiry Promised” by Mary Anne Ostrom; San Jose Mercury News; 11/7/2003; p. 1A.)

34. The broadcast closes with BBC commentator Alistair Cook’s reflections on Schwarzenegger’s admiration for Adolf Hitler. Is the “Kaiser of California” metamorphosing into the “Fuhrer of California?”

“Some thoughtful, if pessimistic, people see in the Schwarzenegger triumph a darker vision. He has admitted to his early admiration of Hitler, especially of Hitler’s power to rouse a despairing, poverty-stricken people and lead them on to visionary heights. The thing he most admired about Hitler was the ‘fuhrer princip’—the strong leader principle. Schwarzenegger wants to be that strong leader. So we must wait and see whether in the course of his governorship we shall see democracy invigorated or the emergence of the first American Fuhrer.”

(“The Election of Arnold Schwarzenegger Is not a Joke”; Alistair Cook’s “Letter from America”; BBC Radio; 10/13/2003.)

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #436 Triumph of the Shill Pt 3: The Kaiser of California”

  1. Tim Draper is trying to break up California into six states.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/20/tech/social-media/apparently-this-matters-six-californias/index.html?hpt=hp_t3

    Is that good for the stability of the country?

    Posted by GK | December 22, 2013, 5:23 pm
  2. Tim Draper’s plan to break up California into six states just got a little closer to happening:

    Plan to split California into six states closer to vote
    Jolie Lee, USA TODAY Network 10:13 a.m. EST February 21, 2014

    A plan to divide California into six states is one step closer to a vote.

    Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper got the go-ahead this week to collect signatures for his “Six Californias” plan, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office.

    Draper needs more than 807,000 signatures of registered voters by July 18 to get his proposal on the November ballot.

    With 38 million people, California is too big and diverse to properly represent all of its residents, according to Draper’s plan.

    “Vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government dominated by a large number of elected representatives from a small part of our state, both geographically and economically,” the plan says.

    Draper is a founding partner of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, a venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif. The firm has cashed in on some well-known start-ups, including Skype and Baidu, China’s largest search engine company.

    Beyond venture capitalism, Draper has also served on the California State Board of Education, according to his online bio. In November 2000, Draper launched a statewide school voucher initiative, spending $20 million of his own money, the Contra Costa Times reports.

    The six states would be:

    South California: San Diego and Orange counties
    West California: includes Los Angeles and Santa Barbara
    Central California: includes Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton
    Silicon Valley: includes San Francisco and San Jose
    North California: Sacramento area
    Jefferson: Redding and Eureka areas

    But the prospect of a six-state California becoming a reality is unlikely. Even if passed by voters, Congress would still have to approve the plan, including the addition of 10 more senators.

    “The implications would have tremendous repercussions at every level of government, from Congress all the way down,” said Kurt Bardella, president of public relations firm Endeavor Strategic Communications and former aide to Rep. Darrell Issa. “Even just adding five more stars to the American flag.”

    This isn’t the first proposal to split up California. Other proposals over the years have suggested making California two, three or four separate states.

    On a related note, could Draper be affiliated with Massive Luck Investments, the Hong Kong-based firm that built Betcoin.tm and is building a $12 million supercomputing center in China to mine bitcoins? As the article points out, Draper’s firm was involved with both Skype and Baidu, the largest search engine in China. And Massive Luck Investment’s mystery investors were reportedly involved with the creation of Skype. Could Draper be one of the Chinese-super-mining/”Betcoin” guys? Maybe?

    Multinational Funds Bitcoin Mining ASICs and Global Digital Currency Supercomputer Center
    Accesswire
    September 3, 2013 10:36 PM

    (Accesswire – September 3rd, 2013) – MarketersMedia – Massive Luck Investments has a history of successfully investing in emerging disruptive technologies. The principals and their families were the first investors in Skype, before the ubiquitous VOIP software became a household name and was subsequently bought by Microsoft Corporation for $8.5 billion. Peter Nolan, head of PR for the Hong Kong based Investment Holding Group, explained how:

    “We began researching investment opportunities related to digital currencies in early 2012, and by the beginning of 2013 we made a strategic decision to aggressively move into the digital currency “Wild West”. Massive Luck Investments has identified digital currencies as a future growth area for the globally regulated traditional banking sector. Digital currencies provide traceable and expedient transfer protocols for consumers, governments, and banks, with the advantage of enabling users to conduct highly secure, low cost, instant transactions. As the world’s economies increasingly turn to e-commerce and non-physical cash transactions, the global marketplace will demand further integration of digital currencies with regulated infrastructure.”

    Seizing the unprecedented emerging opportunities in the Bitcoin space, Massive Luck Investments currently owns a major stake in leading cryptocurrency research and ASIC hardware construction corporation Bitmine AG formerly known as Exion Networks SA and registered in Switzerland. Massive Luck Investments seeks to transfer this Swiss engineered machinery and Intellectual Property to its manufacturing and hosting facilities in Asia. Its major partners in this venture will be world leading microchip design groups Synapse, Innosilicon, and Verisilicon, and the top global microchip manufacturer, Global Foundry. Massive Luck Investments is currently in the final stages of making pre-production arrangements of ASIC chip sets, based on the most advanced existing 28-nanometre technology, with both power consumption and hashing power characteristics significantly outperforming any existing or publicly announced Bitcoin mining ASIC technology. Some of these next generation ASICs may be made available to the public, but the great majority will be utilized in their own datacenters, for industrial scale mining.

    Beyond its significant investment in next generation Bitcoin mining ASIC technology, Massive Luck Investments is also presently cooperating with the Shanghai Supercomputer Center in China in conducting digital modeling and research to optimize its future digital currency research Supercomputer design. To this end the company employs a highly qualified team of software engineers, mathematicians, network security experts, and gaming industry professionals. The aim is to design and build a world-class Supercomputing digital processing center of the same caliber found in the most advanced projects in Shanghai, Switzerland, and USA. However, this will be the world’s first Supercomputer exclusively applied to the field of cryptocurrency research. The Global Digital Currency Supercomputer Center will serve as a dedicated backbone to cryptocurrency transactions and customer service worldwide.

    As a side project in its foray into the world of cryptocurrency, Massive Luck Investments has designed and developed BetCoin(TM) Dice a high payout online Bitcoin dice game platform. The first phase was unveiled on August 2nd, 2013 by launching the website BetCoin(TM) Dice which can be found at http://www.betcoindice.tm/. Based on the same technology behind Satoshi Dice which sold this past June for $11.5 Million USD, BetCoin(TM) Dice is unique in featuring the highest instant Bitcoin payouts in the world.

    In addition to being an investor in bitcoin companies Draper is also a big fan of the Hong Kong start up community and is a big investor in China…hmmmm…

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 21, 2014, 10:53 am

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