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

MP3 Side 1 | Side 2

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 .)


“. . . 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). . . .”


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.)


” . . . 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 .)


“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.”


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.’ ”


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 . . . .”



” . . . 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.”



“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.)


“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. . . .”


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.)


“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.”



” ‘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.”



“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.”



” ‘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.”



“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.”


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.)


” . . . 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.)


“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. . . .”



” . . . 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.’ ”


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.)


” . . . 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.)


” . . . 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.”


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.”


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.)


” . . . 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.)


“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.’ ”


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.)


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.


    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
    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™ Dice a high pay­out online Bit­coin dice game plat­form. The first phase was unveiled on August 2nd, 2013 by launch­ing the web­site Bet­Coin™ 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™ 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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