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CALIFORNIA RECALL

 
Vote NO on the RECALL
and NO on Arnold
 
The only somewhat progressive candidate
with a chance to win is Bustamante.
But I am sick of voting so pragmatically.
I wish I could vote for the best candidate:
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
 

ARNOLD: "The Teutonic Plague"

arnie_fig.gif

 
The candidacy of Arnold Schwarzenagger is the latest and most cynical ploy by the Republicans to win by the lowest means possible. Arnold is an ego-driven "movie star" with no interest in public service or the political life of California.  A serial non-voter, his run for the goveror's job is inconsistant with his ignorance and apathy for political process, but fully consistant with his insatiable drive for self-glorification.  There is no blaming Arnold; he's just following his neurotic need and bottomless ego. His quest for political power is no different from his assumption that he is entitled to grab women's breasts and humiliate them for his entertainment. Arnold is entitled -- don't you get that? He's a big bullying pig, and he's just doing what pigs do.
 
The blame lies with the cynicism of the Republican Party and the ignorance of the voters of California. (Well, South California, which is where Arnie won.) Arnold is a brand name with high name recognition, no discernable political beliefs and no personal content whatsoever. A guy with Arnold's brains, experience and understanding would be just one of the many clowns who ran on the recall ballot as a goof -- if his name were Bob Beebleheimer. But if the GOP is willing to run -- and the public willing to elect -- a franchised commodity like Schwarzenegger, why stop there?
 
How is electing Schwarzenegger less ridiculous than electing Michael Jackson or Madonna? Or Pamela Anderson? Or the guy that won "American Idol?" And since the GOP ran Arnold only for his marketability and name brand recognition, why would it be any more cynical of them to run Bart Simpson, or Sponge Bob Square Pants? Why should it be confined to human-like creatures such as Arnold and Sponge Bob? Why not run Pepsi Cola for governor? The new Vanilla Pepsi is doing very well.
 
The only electable virtue Arnie supporters have consistantly reported is that Arnie would be a "strong leader." This perception seems to be based on his career of flexing in front of a blue screen and killing bad guys, good guys and computer-generated evil. Let's face it -- the Republicans just want a marketable sock-puppet in Sacremento, the same way they have one in Washington, and the south California voters just want  somebody that looks cool in sunglasses and comes with some movie-land cliches they can repeat when they want to sound witty. Just as his bodybuilding career was based on self-obsession and steroids, his highly successful and utterly disreputable movie career was based on soliciting the id of 14 year old boys and providing the pornography of violence that helped produce a mass audience stupid enough to vote for him. To call Shwarzenegger an "actor" is more disingenuous than calling Larry Flynt a "publisher." They are both pornographers.
 
With credentials like that, why look at the reality of this Uber Pig? ...but let's do it anyway...
 
Let's look at Arnie, in his own words, and maybe we'll see why BushCo ran a candidate too stupid to discuss politics in public.
 
"Body-builders party a lot, and once, in Gold's - the gym in Venice, California, where all the top guys train - there was a black girl who came out naked. Everybody jumped on her and took her upstairs, where we all got together... but not everybody, just the guys who can fuck in front of other guys. Not everybody can do that. Some think that they don't have a big-enough cock, so they can't get a hard-on."
 

arnold_chob_full.jpg

ARNOLD on the ISSUES:

- On Multi-Culturalism -

"It doesn't matter if you are a Democrat or Republican, if you're young or old, what the racial thing is, nothing matters to me."

- On the Environment -

"Don't worry about that!"

- On Gay Marriage -

"I don't want to get into that right now."

" I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman."

- On Balancing the State Budget -

"The only way we can deal with those issues is by bringing business back to California, because businesses, when you bring them back to California, it brings revenue back to California. And when you have more revenue, you then can afford to take care of all those programs that need to be taken care of."

"We have to make sure everyone in California has a great job. A fantastic job!"

"The public doesn't care about figures" [asked if he would provide details on budget cuts]

- On Political Independence -

"As you know, I don't need to take any money from anybody. I have plenty of money myself. I will make the decisions for the people."

"I was always dreaming about very powerful people, dictators and things like that. I was always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of years or like Jesus for thousands of years."

"[I will be] going to Sacramento as an independent."

"I am all the way with him and always will be supportive of him." [on President Bush]

- On Past Indiscretions -

"Nothing will haunt me"

"I have inhaled, exhaled everything."

"Yes, grass and hash--no hard drugs. But the point is that I do what I feel like doing. I'm not on a health kick."

- On Family Values -

"I -- I will have to get into that. I mean, because, as you know, I'm very much for families, I'm very much for children and children's issues and all that stuff. I think that the children should have the first call in our treasury. This is the -- the most precious resource that we have. We have to think about the future of the state. Children are the most important thing, and we have to help the families." [response to whether he would repeal the family leave act]

[asked what is the most pressing problem in the inner city] "The parenting problem."

"My mother would spend time with me, saying read out loud. When I stopped, with a yardstick, she would hit me over de head. Do you know how fast I read again? I was reading so fast, let me tell you."

"My mother called me on the phone and she said, you know, "Your dad died." And this was exactly two months before a contest. She said, "Are you coming home to the funeral?" I said, "No, it's too late. You know, he's dead, there's nothing to be done. And I'm sorry and I can't come, you know?"

- On the Status of Women -

"Having chicks around is the kind of thing that breaks up the intense training. It gives you relief, and then afterward you go back to the serious stuff."

"But no one that has been around me would believe that a woman would be complaining about me holding her."

"It was a handful. I never know if my wifes watching. Ill tell her it was a stuntman." [after fondling British TV host's breast on air]

"Now, I would just like to say thank you very much to my wonderful wife, who is the greatest wife in the world and the greatest friend that I have -- I want to thank her for being here with me, for being such a great partner, and Maria if you dont mind to say a few words also, big hand for my wife Maria!" [announcing his candidacy]

"Your daughter has a great butt" [to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Arnold's future mother-in-law, shortly after meeting Maria]

"Any woman who thinks, 'My biological clock is ticking and I want a baby and it doesn't matter if I have a husband or not' -- well, without running anyone down, that is a mistake."

[discussing a scene in T3, in which he pushes the female cyborg's face into a toilet bowl] "I saw this toilet bowl. How many times do you get away with this -- to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating there ... The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn't do it to a woman -- she's a machine! We could get away with it without being crucified by who-knows-what group."

"As much as when you see a blonde with great tits and a great ass, you say to yourself, 'Hey, she must be stupid or must have nothing else to offer', which maybe is the case many times. But then again there is the one that is as smart as her breasts look, great as her face looks, beautiful as her whole body looks gorgeous, you know, so people are shocked."

- On Taxes -

"From the time they get up in the morning and flush the toilet, they're taxed. Then they go and get the cup of coffee, they're taxed.... This goes on all day long. Tax, tax, tax."

- On the Current Administration -

"We have such a great state, there's no reason why we are in the state we are in today"

"They fiddle, they fumble, and they fail."

- On Ambition -

"You have to do everything possible to win no matter what."
 
"I was born to be a leader. I love the fact that millions of people look up to me."

"I will not change. Because if you are successful and you change, you are an idiot."

"I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way -- I hope it never will.'"

- On If He Wins -

"The first thing I would do when I go to Sacramento is put a spending cap on those politicians because they just can't help themselves. They're addicts and they should go to an addiction place."
 
- On the Republican Party -

"I said to my friend, which party is Nixon? He said, Republican. OK, I said, I'm a Republican."
 
"That was another thing I will never forgive the Republican Party for. I was ashamed to call myself a Republican during that period" [on the Clinton impeachment]

- On the Importance of Exercise-

"Bodybuilder's cocks are the same size as everyone else's. You can't make it bigger through exercise, that's for sure."

"I can look at a chick who's a little out of shape and if she turns me on, I won't hesitate to date her. If she's a good fuck, she can weigh 150 pounds, I don't care."

"[men] shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies."

"Pumping iron is a great feeling...like coming, but coming continuously."

"The two together -- the connection -- that's where it's at, whether you're doing a bench press, a business deal, or just fucking."

- On His Campaign -

"I know how to sell something. I had to sell bodybuilding when nobody knew what bodybuilding was in this country -- and we did it. And I had to sell myself as an action hero, which wasn't easy when everyone said, 'Hey, your name is Schwartzenstein' or something like that. And you have an accent. You have this overdeveloped body. No one could ever be successful with this kind of a combination. And I did it, because I sold myself to the American people and the people around the world. And the same is here. It's up to me to sell to the people and to convince the people that I can do the job.''

- On the War in Iraq -

"I supported the war on Iraq, and as a matter of fact I was over there visiting the troops in Iraq and in Kuwait, they are very brave soldiers and they are risking their lives for this country, so that you and I have the freedom, so we can enjoy and do business here, and so we can become rich or so the people who live here have the right to be protected, I believe in all that, yes."

So. That's a look at what Arnold has said. But the best indicator of what a "politican" will do is to look at what he has done. In Arnold's case, of course, that's not much. He's usually not even a voter. But the lttle he has done suggests nightmares about what he will do:

Schwarzenegger's Enron Meeting, Hitler Statement
 
     
 
DOUG HELLER, doug@consumerwatchdog.org, www.consumerwatchdog.org/utilities/pr/pr003708.php3
Consumer advocate with the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, Heller said today: "Internal Enron e-mails we have obtained confirm that Schwarzenegger was among a small group of executives who met with then-Enron head Ken Lay at the posh Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel in May of 2001. The meeting with Enron occurred ten days after rolling blackouts darkened California; Schwarzenegger has previously said that he does not remember such a meeting. You don't meet with America's most well-known corporate crook in the middle of California's biggest financial disaster and not remember. Schwarzenegger should come clean about what happened at that meeting and if he shares Lay's views on energy regulation."


GREG PALAST, www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=283&row=0
Palast is coauthor of Regulation and Democracy and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. He has just written a piece entitled "Arnold Unplugged," based on the just-revealed Enron documents. He said today: "A $9 billion refund from Enron and other companies is in jeopardy if Schwarzenegger is elected. The secret meeting between Lay and Schwarzenegger on May 17, 2001 was specifically aimed at undercutting legal moves by Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante from seeking funds from Enron and others for illegal manipulation of the power markets. The meeting took place one month after Bustamante filed a $9 billion claim against the power companies, a case now heading for trial."


MARTIN LEE, martinalee117@yahoo.com, www.commondreams.org/views03/0928-02.htm, Author of The Beast Reawakens: Fascism's Resurgence from Hitler's Spymasters to Today's Neo-Nazi Groups and Right-Wing Extremists, Lee has spoken with confidential sources regarding aspects of Schwarzenegger's comments about Hitler. Lee said today: "In the early 1990s, Schwarzenegger paid more than a million dollars to a documentary film producer to obtain the politically embarrassing outtakes of 'Pumping Iron,' a documentary film. The secret pay-off gave Schwarzenegger the rights to the film and the right to destroy the out-takes in which he spoke about Hitler.... While Schwarzenegger now says he repudiates everything Hitler stood for, this was not always the case. His youthful admiration of Hitler, his pro-Hitler comments recorded on film, his heel-clicking and SS-strutting antics as a body-builder, his wedding-day toast to former UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim (after Waldheim's involvement in Nazi war crimes had been publicly disclosed), and Schwarzenegger's support for Jorg Haider's neofascist Freedom Party in Austria are part of a disturbing pattern that the actor-cum-office seeker has tried to whitewash and obfuscate.... Today, Schwarzenegger continues to serve on the advisory board of U.S. English, a controversial anti-immigrant group with a history of ties to organized white supremacists and racists. Other key figures in the English-only movement are involved in the group People's Advocate, which launched the recall effort in the first place."


 

Meanwhile, back in Hollywood...

SO... what do you think of Arnold for governor?

"[Arnold becoming governor] would be the worst tragedy in the history of California ... I think that we are the laughing stock of the world with Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor. I think he's a real hypocrite. I think he has a past that is going to come out, and I'm not going to mention what it is, but it's not going to be pretty." Cybill Shepherd, actress.
 
"Well, we don't know much about his issues so far do we? His first commercial is very bland, doesn't say much, and Arnold has yet to really be challenged on specific issues so let's wait and see how he steps up." Phil Donahue, former talk-show host.

"He's in the John Wayne, Ronald Reagan tradition of people you can believe in." - Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the House of Representatives.
 

"He wants to do a big, beneficial thing, more than a movie -- like straightening out this problem in California." - Franco Columbu, fellow bodybuilder and longtime friend.

"Look, I served in Vietnam, Gray Davis served in Vietnam, and we're not going to be replaced by someone whose dad was in the Nazi army." - Bob Mulholland, Campaign Adviser, California Democratic Party.

"I'm a Democrat, and I don't support the recall effort. " - Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), uncle of Arnold's wife, Maria Shriver.

"It is the biggest political story in the country? That's interesting."- President George W. Bush.

"I'm going to have to give him some money. I'm hoping to get away with two grand. He once told me he was going to leave the party over what the Republicans did to Clinton. . . . We'll see."
- Tom Pollock, former head of Universal Pictures.

"I think he's a joke. I'm angry he's running. The recall would've been a media circus anyway, but it's worse now. I feel like he's doing this because his career is struggling. I don't take it seriously. I don't know if he knows how our government works." - Sylvia Desrochers, Hollywood publicist.

"He's ...just like the golem, created by Jews in Prague in the Middle Ages. The golem was bigger and stronger than normal mortals. And once they woke him up, he controlled those who created him. He has a life of his own, he's uncontrollable, and he's the Republican candidate. Now all these left-wing liberals are biting their lips and saying: What did we create?"
- Ludi Boeken, movie producer.

"Now that Arnold is in the race, there is no race. Gray Davis needs to pack his bags."
- Fellow candidate Gary Coleman -- the best actor in the race..

."I think this whole recall thing is ridiculous ... This is going to turn out to be nothing other than a popularity contest." - Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura.
  
 
"I probably have had more personal encounters with the Terminator than 99.9 percent of Californians will ever have -- and I haven't got a clue if he's fit for office ... I don't know if Arnold can govern a shoe box. All I know is this country is becoming a sad place. A sad and silly place." - Mitch Albom, columnist, Detroit Free Press.
  
 
"To paraphrase the late Desi Arnaz, another actor with a thick accent: Arnold, you've got a lot of 'splainin' to do. You are no Ronald Reagan." -- Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist.
  
 
"Yes, he was a bodybuilder and a successful action movie star. But I guess people in this state think he's going to walk into Sacramento and kick down Gray Davis' door and say, time to cut spending, and throw him through a plate glass window." -- Bill Maher, comedian.


"Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a conservative -- period ." --- Rush Limbaugh, talk radio host.


"I'd have a hard time voting for him ... [most conservatives are] either bemused by the Schwarzenegger candidacy, or increasingly dismayed by the public positions he is taking." -- David Keene, Chairman, American Conservative Union.
  

"This is a man of bottomless ambition. It's always been there. He sees himself as almost mystically sent to America." George Butler, Producer/Director, "Pumping Iron."
 
"Arnold is one of the most political people I've ever met. Everything he does is political. He has an uncanny ability to go to a meeting, get into an elevator, sit down with people in a restaurant, and immediately assess their strengths and weakness. He manipulates." George Butler, Producer/Director, "Pumping Iron."
 
"I admire him. Arnold's not someone you like. You either admire him -- or you hate him." George Butler, Producer/Director, "Pumping Iron."

 

Since Arnold is nothing more than a piece of unprincipled show-biz crap, it was fitting he announce his candidacy on Leno's show. So let's look at his candidacy in terms it deserves:

DAVID LETTERMAN's
Top Ten
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Campaign Promises

10. "To do for politics what I did for acting"

9. "Combine the intelligence of George Bush with the sexual appetite of Clinton"

8. "A heaping tablespoon of Joe Weider's 'Dynamic Body Shaper' in every pot"

7. "Every freeway gets a dedicated car chase lane"

6. "Seek advice from elder political statesmen like Jesse Ventura"

5. "Crack down on schools graduating students who can't bench-press 180 pounds"

4. "Solemnly swear to support the Constitution of Gold's Gym"

3. "Goofiest-named governor since Pataki"

2. "Raise the minimum age for dating Demi Moore"

1. "Speak directly to the voters in clear, honest, broken English

and from the David Letterman show,

 "Pieces of Advice Gray Davis Has for Arnold Schwarzenegger"

The list:

10. Governor, when you realize you don't know what you're doing, give me a call.

9. Body-building oil will stain the mansion's Italian silk sofa.

8. Listen to your constituents -- except Michael Jackson.

7. (Sorry, joke number 7 was recalled.)

6. To improve your approval ratings, go on Leno - when you get kicked out, go on Letterman."

5. Study the master -- George W. Bush."

4. You could solve the deficit problem simply by donating your salary from 'Terminator 3."'

3. If things are bad, just yell, 'Save us, Superman!"'

2. While giving a speech, never say, "Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara ... same thing."

1. It's pronounced "California."


 

Bush's family history with Nazi's
bush_salute.jpg
What about Arnie and Rove?

Today's Specials

Fourth Reich?

The Bush-Rove-Schwarzenegger Nazi Nexus

By BOB FITRAKIS and HARVEY WASSERMAN

George W. Bush's grandfather helped finance the Nazi Party. Karl Rove's grandfather allegedly helped run the Nazi Party, and helped build the Birkenau Death Camp. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian father volunteered for the infamous Nazi SA and became a ranking officer.

Together, they have destabilized California and are on the brink of bringing it a new Reich. With the Schwarzenegger candidacy they have laid siege to America's largest state, lining it up for the 2004 election.

The Bush family ties to the Nazi party are well known. In their 1994 Secret War Against the Jews, Mark Aarons and John Loftus use official US documents to establish that George Herbert Walker, George W. Bush's maternal great-grandfather, was one of Hitler's most important early backers. He funneled money to the rising young fascist through the Union Banking Corporation.

In 1926, Walker arranged to have his new son-in-law, Prescott Bush---father of President George Bush I, grandfather of George Bush II---hired as Vice President at W.A. Harriman and Company. Prescott became a senior partner when Harriman merged with a British-American investment company to become Brown Brothers Harriman. In 1934 Prescott Bush joined the Board of Directors of Union Banking.

The bank helped Hitler rise to power. It also helped him wage war. As late as July 31, 1941---well after the Nazi invasion of Poland---the U.S. government froze $3 million in Union Banking assets linked to Fritz Thyssen. Thyssen was noted in the American press as a "German industrialist and original backer of Adolph Hitler."

Loftus writes that Thyssen's "American friends in New York City‚§|[were] Prescott Bush and Herbert Walker, the father and father-in-law of a future President of the United States." That would be the current president's father, George Herbert Walker Bush, also the former CIA director.

On October 20, 1942, the U.S. government ordered the seizure of Nazi Germany's banking operations in New York City, which were under the direction of Prescott Bush. The government seized control of Union Banking Corporation under the Trading with the Enemy Act. The liquidation yielded a reported $750,000 apiece for Prescott Bush and George Herbert Walker. The book, The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law and Genocide, goes into exhaustive detail on Bush-Harriman Nazi money laundering. More recently, Michael Kranish covers the same Bush-Nazi relationships in The Rise of the Bush Family Dynasty published in the Boston Globe. Loftus documents that "Prescott Bush knowingly served as a money launderer for the Nazis. Remember that Union Bank's books and accounts were frozen by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian in 1942 and not released back to the Bush family until 1951."

Often ignored are the Bush family's post-World War II dealings with former Nazis. John Foster Dulles, who had worked with the Bush family in the Harriman Company in laundering money for Nazi Germany, was Dwight Eisenhower's Secretary of State. His brother Allen became CIA director.

As Martin Lee documents in The Beast Reawakens, American intelligence recruited numerous top Nazis to spy on the Soviets during the Cold War. Many established connections to the Bush family that had helped finance their original rise to power. In 1988 Project Censored, in its top award, noted "how the major mass media ignored, overlooked or undercovered at least ten critical stories reported in America's alternative press that raised serious questions about the Republican candidate, George Bush, dating from his reported role as a CIA 'asset' in 1963 to his presidential campaign's connection with a network of anti-Semites with Nazi and fascist affiliations in 1988." Investigative reporter Russ Bellant established ties between the Republican Party and former Axis Nazis and fascists.

In 2000 and 2001 the Columbus Alive published a series of articles documenting further links between Bush, Sr. and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his own fascist networks in Japan and Korea.

Karl Rove has parallel ties. The shadowy Rove serves as "Bush's Brain" in the current White House. He is the political mastermind behind the California coup, and is now in the headlines for outing Valerie Plame, the CIA wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson. A consummate strategist, Rove may have outed Plame in retaliation for Wilson's failure to back up the Bush claim that Saddam Hussein was buying nuclear weapons materials in Africa. According to some published reports, as many as seventy CIA operatives have been put at risk by Rove's retaliatory strike.

According to Wilson, and to Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Al Martin (www.almartinraw.com), Rove's grandfather was Karl Heinz Roverer, the Gauleiter of Oldenburg. Roverer was Reich-Statthalter---Nazi State Party Chairman---for his region. He was also a partner and senior engineer in the Roverer Sud-Deutche Ingenieurburo A. G. engineering firm, which built the Birkenau death camp, at which tens of thousands of Jews, Gypsies, dissidents and other were slaughtered en masse.

Rove, who has been based in Utah and associated with the Mormon Church, is widely viewed as the chief engineer of the current Bush administration. He and Tom DeLay are attempting to force the Texas legislature to redistrict its Congressional delegations, adding seven sure seats to the Republican column. By controlling the state houses in New York, Florida, Texas and California, the GOP would have a lock on the four largest states in the union, and thus the ability to manipulate vote counts and strip voter registration rolls in the run-up to the 2004 election.

Rove is a prime behind-the-scenes mover in the Schwarzenegger campaign. On May 1, 1939, a year after the Nazis took control of Schwarzenegger's native Austria, his father Gustav, voluntarily joined Hilter's infamous Strumabteilung (SA), "brown shirt" stormtroopers. This was just six months after the brown shirts played a key role in the bloody Kristallnacht attacks on Germany's Jewish community.

The Vienna daily Der Standard noted recently that "Gustav, a high-ranking Nazi, brought up the bespectacled, rather frail boy with an iron fist and quite a few slaps in the face." Arnold's father favored a Hitler-style mustache in photos.

On October 3, ABC News broke the story of Schwarzenegger's 1977 interview in which he was asked whom he admired. Schwarzenegger replied, "I admire Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it."

To cover himself, Schwarzenegger has made substantial donations to the Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center, which tracks down ex-Nazis. Arnold has also renounced Hitler.

But he has not renounced his friendship with fellow Austrian Kurt Waldheim, the one-time head of the United Nations with known Nazi ties. The book Arnold: An Unauthorized Biography, documents Arnold toasting Waldheim, who had participated in Nazi atrocities during World War II, at his wedding to Maria Shriver. "My friends don't want me to mention Kurt's name, because of all the recent Nazi stuff and the U.N. controversy," Arnold said. "But I love him and Maria does to, and so thank you, Kurt."

On May 17, 2001, Schwarzenegger also met with Kenneth "Kenny Boy" Lay of Enron at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles. Through the utility deregulation plan signed into law by Pete Wilson, Schwarzenegger's chief advisor, California was destabilized, bankrupting the state government and opening the door for Tuesday's recall election. Lay has been George W. Bush's chief financial backer, and a close associate of Karl Rove's.

According to Bob Woodward's Bush at War, Bush attended a New York Yankees game soon after the September 11 World Trade Center disaster. He wore a fireman's jacket. As he threw out the first pitch, the crowd roared. Thousands of fans stuck out their arms with thumbs up. Karl Rove, sitting in the box of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, likened the roar of the crowd to "a Nazi rally."

He would know.

ARIANNA
...from the people who invented democracy

http://www.ariannaonline.com/columns/

arianna0.jpg

 
"This is the sixth speech I've given at the Commonwealth Club, but my first one as a candidate. With any luck, the next one will be as your governor.

This will greatly depend on how many of California's disillusioned, disregarded, and just plain disgusted voters turn out on October 7th. Which is why the heart and soul of my campaign is reaching out to new voters and inspiring disaffected ones.

The need to re-engage disaffected voters is not some idea I picked up on the way to my announcement speech. I've been writing and speaking out about the dangers of this widespread disengagement from the political process for many years.

Of course, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties have been only too happy to play to a shrinking universe of likely voters.

There's nothing that makes the heart of a major party hack go pitter-pat like another million voters dropping off the rolls. The fewer meddling and unpredictable voters the better. It's so much easier to play to, control, and manipulate a smaller audience. The key is giving the people fewer and fewer alternatives until they just throw up their hands in disgust and give up.

And the strategy is working. Voters seem convinced that their opinions -- and their votes -- no longer matter.

Just look at California. There are over 21 million eligible voters in this state, but over 13 million of them didn't vote in the last election. Gray Davis was voted into office by only 17% of the eligible electorate. If that's not a crisis in democracy, I don't know what is.

So, basically, we Greeks gave you democracy and you screwed it up. Now I'm running to help fix our broken political system. My campaign is all about energizing a popular, grassroots movement that will give people a voice in their government again.

If we can bring back just a small percentage of the voters who have turned their backs on the political process -- we can totally shift the dynamics of California politics.

That's why I'm launching a college tour on September 8th, designed to reach out to young people. Young people haven't stopped caring about the world; they've just stopped believing that politics is the way to make a difference. We need to change that.

And the reason for doing all this is not some abstract belief in democracy. It's because nothing will change in Sacramento if the people aren't galvanized, motivated, and mobilized. That's been the history in this country -- and in this state. It's been the people -- not elected officials -- who have been in the forefront of the great social changes of the last century.

It wasn't elected officials who led the struggle for civil rights or the drive for women's rights or the fight to end the war in Vietnam. It was the people. And without the outrage of at least a critical mass of the people we'll never be able to take our government back.

In the next few minutes, I could offer up an amazing array of programs designed to balance the budget, improve our schools, further racial and economic justice, and protect the environment -- and, by the way, I plan to -- but unless I can arouse and animate the electorate, and convince them to keep the pressure on the Legislature, the partisan gridlock that we see in Sacramento will continue.

The time has come for a people's uprising -- a bottom up rescue of the state of California. Traditional politicians are not going to save us. We have to save ourselves.

And to do that we're going to need an independent leader in Sacramento who is dedicated to fairness and justice, and who will put workers and families at the top of her agenda.

That's precisely the kind of independent leadership I intend to provide.

So what is independent leadership? Well, first off, let me tell you what it's not:

Independent leadership isn't kowtowing to big buck donors like Cruz Bustamante did when he released his budget plan last week. He called for "Tough Love" for everyone in California except the prison guards' union and Indian gaming interests -- not coincidentally, two of his biggest campaign contributors.

Expecting independent leadership from a bought-and-paid-for career politician like Bustamante is like expecting a tax-obsessed Bush Republican like Schwarzenegger to actually "clean house" in Sacramento.

That's another thing independent leadership isn't: claiming to be an outsider while filling your campaign staff with a Who's Who of GOP insiders, including Pete Wilson, George Shultz, and Mike Boskin, an economic advisor to President Bush.

I mean, is there really anybody out there who, after surveying the economic landscape of California, can seriously say: Yep, what this state needs is some more Bush-onomics. It's worked so well nationally; we just need to get some more of that here?

Okay, enough about what independent leadership isn't. Here's what it is:

First and foremost, independent leadership is telling people the truth, not what they want to hear.

And that's what I'm offering. I'm going to say the things that the others aren't willing to say.

Let's start with the truth about the budget:

Other candidates -- at least some other candidates -- are talking about how they would solve the current budget crisis. But no one is talking about how to avoid finding ourselves in this mess again.

The truth is our current fiscal crisis is actually part of a long-term structural crisis in the way we collect revenue.

Because we rely too heavily on income tax and sales tax to fill our state's coffers, California is subject to enormous fluctuations in revenues. This is obvious to anyone who looks at our state finances. A bad year in Silicon Valley and, boom, there go 3,000 teachers.

To stabilize our finances, we need to build a budget based on a more predictable revenue source -- namely, property taxes. And that means being willing to touch the electrified third rail of California politics and reform Proposition 13.

There, I said it. And what do you know, lightning didn't strike me dead.

But seriously, we really do need to revisit Prop 13 -- and if this recall campaign does nothing more than reopen a debate on this crucial issue, it will be worth much more to California than the $60 million they say this special election will cost.

The fact is, California has an entrepreneurial economy, and we don't want to change that. But this kind of economy is often subject to boom and bust cycles -- which can be a disaster for governments trying to set budgets and fund vital programs, like education and health care.

So we must restructure the way California raises revenues.

Let me make myself clear. I'm not talking about doing away with the protections Prop 13 gives to seniors and middle class homeowners. And I don't want to return to the days when people were forced to sell their homes because they couldn't afford to pay the property tax. But we ought to stop the way Prop 13 is being used to artificially lower the tax burden on corporations and wealthy homeowners.

So I'm not saying end it -- I'm saying mend it. Plenty of laws, even good ones, get abused. When that happens, it doesn't mean we have to get rid of them, but it also doesn't mean we should simply ignore the abuse and carry on. We need to make changes to bring the reality of the law closer to the spirit of its intention.

Arnold Schwarzenegger brought Warren Buffett out to California, but I'm the one who is going to take his advice.

Arnold told Buffett that if he mentioned Prop. 13 again he'd make him do 500 sit-ups. I say: keep telling the truth about Prop. 13, Warren, and I'll make you a big fat Greek dinner.

It's a question of fairness. We must protect the interests of average homeowners, but we also must make sure that those who can afford to pay their fair share -- like Warren Buffett -- do so. And we must fairly assess commercial property -- but not at the expense of small businesses, which account for the bulk of job creation and must be given special consideration.

And keep in mind: no change can be made to Prop. 13 unless it is approved by the voters. That's the law.

So, with the approval of the voters, the mission of an independent leader must be to fundamentally restructure our budget. And if we do this guided by our principles and our values, and not by the conventional wisdom, we will end up with a better, more just, and more prosperous state.

That's where real leadership comes in. Did anyone notice earlier this year when Gray Davis vowed to veto any budget that did not contain a fundamental overhaul of our state's tax structure? I actually agreed with him. And then he went along with the second straight budget that completely failed to address the underlying causes of our state's fiscal crisis.

If you want to talk about a failure of leadership in Sacramento, all you've got to do is look at a governor who beats his chest promising to do what's right for the good of our state, and then slinks away passively as an another bad budget deal is cut.

And the claims of another candidate notwithstanding, I'm assuming you do care about figures, so here, specifically, in dollars and cents terms, is what I'm recommending we do to deal with our budget deficit:

For starters, I would close the outrageous "change-of-ownership" loophole that allows corporate owners of commercial property in California to avoid paying over $2 billion in property taxes a year. It's fiscally unsound, and socially unfair. Corporations used to provide 14% of our state's tax revenue. Today they provide only 8%, just a little more than half of what they used to pay.

But our politicians would rather close hospitals than close loopholes. As governor, I will demand that the Legislature examine each and every tax loophole and close any of them that serve special interests instead of the public's interest.

I would specifically shut down the domestic corporate tax shelters that are costing our state roughly $1.34 billion a year, and close the offshore tax loopholes that are depriving the state of another $400 million annually.

And I would campaign for an initiative to change the law that requires a two-thirds majority to close a tax loophole but only a simple majority vote to open one.

California is one of only three states that require a two-thirds vote to pass a budget and one of only eight that impose this requirement on any tax increase. This undemocratic constraint has played a big part in causing the political paralysis plaguing Sacramento. Majority rule was good enough for the Founding Fathers -- it should be good enough for passing a budget in Sacramento.

Back to dollars and cents: I'd raise an additional $300 million a year by imposing a severance tax on oil that is pumped out of the ground in California. California is the only state in the union that does not have a severance tax on oil. And I've got a feeling that the Schwarzenegger economic team, co-chaired by George Shultz, one of the architects of our country's disastrous oil policy that has made us so dependent on foreign oil, won't be making this same recommendation.

What else? Well, I'd take in another $1.5 billion by taxing cigarettes and alcohol -- something Cruz Bustamante also proposed. But here's the crucial difference: I'll do it; he won't. Why can't we trust him? Simple: he has a long history of taking money from tobacco companies and lobbyists, including $40,000 from Philip Morris and $22,500 from The Tobacco Institute. And Big Tobacco has gotten its money's worth: Bustamante voted against California's landmark ban on workplace smoking, and after the ban passed, he voted to weaken it.

So when Bustamante says that he'll raise revenue by putting the squeeze on tobacco interests, the odds are he's just blowing smoke.

That's why you need an independent leader whose policies cannot be bought by the highest bidder.

And in modern California politics that includes the Indian gaming interests that have poured an absolutely astounding $120 million into state political campaigns since 1998. While many California tribes continue to live in abject poverty a few have become wealthy through gaming. These tribes have contributed over $1.8 million in direct donations to Cruz Bustamante since 1993, including a $300,000 donation given just this week by a tribe in San Diego.

The people of California, and, indeed, all Americans owe a debt to the original people of this land. It's a debt that can never truly be repaid. In light of the historical mistreatment of Native Americans, both the state and the federal government must do everything they can to support the economic development and political autonomy of tribal peoples.

But that said, I firmly believe that independent leadership means collecting a share of the $5 billion in revenue raised at casinos on Indian land inside California.

Gray Davis, who has received close to $1 million from Indian gaming interests in the past two years alone, negotiated the worst deals possible for the people of California. The state general fund does not see a penny of gaming revenue. Contrast that with Connecticut, one of the first states to allow Indian gaming, which collects 25% percent of gaming revenue. Other states collect five to ten percent or more.

I would make sure I negotiate fair, two-way deals, in which both the needs of the tribes and the needs of the state are met. Bottom line: I would never, ever sign a compact that did not contain a substantial revenue share for California and for the communities where the casinos are located.

You can bet that Cruz Bustamante will never make this promise -- not when it would mean risking the ire of his biggest backer. He actually said last week that the gaming tribes are paying enough already. So a $5 billion industry that pays absolutely nothing to the California general fund is paying enough? It just goes to show how campaign contributions addle the brain.

My position is not an attack on Indian gaming. It is an attack on a failed policy that deprives the state of a major source of revenue.

Independent leadership is also about making the tough decisions about what to cut. I'd start by lopping over a billion dollars off our state's bloated prison budget.

I would do this by canceling the Delano II prison construction project -- saving nearly $600 million. With that money we could pay the salaries of 17,554 new public school teachers. Or we could restore the unconscionable recent cuts in higher education as well as roll back tuition fee increases at every public college and university in California. And still have $150 million left to spend.

And I would freeze prison guard salaries at 2002 levels. This year the guards are getting their third big pay raise since 1998, a 7.5 percent pay hike that will cost the state $120 million. By 2006, that hike will go up to 34 percent, costing the state an additional $700 million a year, every year. Meanwhile we are closing hospitals and health centers.

Why such perverted priorities? Simple: it's because the prison guards' union has been Gray Davis's biggest backer, giving him over $3 million since he's been in office. Once again, campaign cash rules the day.

Bustamante won't call for these same cuts because he too is in the pocket of the prison guards. And Schwarzenegger won't do it because it would mean coming out against the Three Strikes law and in favor of reducing the prison population by lowering the number of nonviolent drug offenders living behind bars -- which would save the state $400 million a year.

But traditional politicians are completely risk averse -- which is why not a single statewide elected official backed Prop 36, which directed nonviolent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail.

I will be offering an even more detailed budget proposal after Labor Day, but these examples should give you a clear sense of the kind of values that will inform my priorities.

As we've seen -- from the oil severance tax to corporate property tax loopholes to tobacco interests to Indian gaming to our skyrocketing prisons budget -- Big Money is calling the tune in California. Our politics has become little more than legalized bribery.

Take the stomach-turning example of petroleum giant Tosco, which, after donating $70,500 to Gray Davis' 2000 reelection campaign, was allowed to increase the amount of deadly, highly toxic chemicals it dumps into San Francisco Bay.

The connection between the donation and the payback couldn't be more obvious -- or more despicable. For 7 years the company, one of California's largest polluters, had tried to get the state water board to relax the pollution limits at its Avon refinery, right here in your own backyard. For 7 years its efforts had failed. Then, on February 17, 2000 -- just one day after the board once again voted down the company's request -- Tosco cut Davis a massive campaign check, 10 times bigger than any previous donation it had given him. Another five figure check followed… and, hey, whaddya know, a few months later the water board -- whose members are, not coincidentally, appointed by Davis -- changed its mind and allowed Tosco to boost the amount of deadly Dioxin it could dump into the Bay. In effect, selling out the health of the people of California for an infusion of campaign cash.

It's enough to make you sick -- literally.

I keep hearing people say that the recall race is bizarre. Well, I ask you, which is more bizarre: Gary Coleman running for governor or Tosco donating $70,000 and being allowed to dump toxic chemicals into our water?

Some people look at laws and ask: Why? I look at them and ask: Who paid for them?

And the most effective means for restoring the integrity of our electoral process, leveling the playing field among qualified candidates, and repairing the public's tattered faith in its elected representatives is through the public financing of political campaigns.

After all, he who pays the piper calls the tune. If someone's going to own the politicians, it might as well be us, the people of California.

There are three recurring complaints you hear about our current political system: campaigns cost too much; special interests have too much influence; and far too many good people choose not to run simply because they don't want to spend hours each day begging for money. I know, for instance, that Arnold deeply resents the five minutes he spent convincing himself to donate $2 million to his own campaign.

Full public financing addresses every one of these core problems: it lowers campaign spending, it breaks the direct link between special interest donors and elected officials, it levels the playing field so good people have a viable chance of winning, and it ends the money chase for those running and those already in office. .

And the good news is, the Clean Money/Clean Elections concept is not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy. It's already the law in five states. And in the two states where it's fully implemented, Maine and Arizona, the results have been inspiring: more people running for office, more competition, more contested races, more women and minorities running, and a more independent pool of legislators elected.

If I am elected I will make a Clean Money bill one of my top legislative priorities. Think of it: No hard money, no soft money, no endless dialing for dollars, no quid pro dough deals. Just candidates and elected officials beholden to no one but the voters. Americans believe democracy should be a marketplace of ideas, but they don't believe it should be for sale. If you have a lot of money, you should be able to buy a shiny new car, a cool flat screen TV, or a great vacation in Hawaii. But you shouldn't be able to buy political power.

Independent leadership is all about resetting priorities.

This is not a question of right or left. It's a question of right or wrong.

My priorities will be the priorities any mother has for her children: a quality education, affordable and readily accessible health care, and a safe clean world to live in. No mother in California should have to send her kids off to crumbling, decaying, rat-infested schools -- as hundreds of thousands of them currently do. No mother should have to sit in a hospital waiting room for hours on end waiting for a doctor to see her sick child because she can't afford health insurance for herself and her kids -- but that's the case right now. And no mother should have to worry about whether her children will grow up in a world choked with polluted air and water.

It's just common sense that we make sure every child in California is covered by health insurance. It's just common sense that we protect our environment from destruction, and fight racial discrimination. It's just common sense that all our schools should perform well -- and that our college students should be able to afford a quality education.

With these priorities as my guide, if I am elected, I will immediately introduce a motion to roll back state university and community college tuition increases to an affordable level, and I will immediately settle the Williams vs State of California lawsuit filed by nearly 1 million students who are sick and tired of being sent to substandard schools with no books, no chalk, no working bathrooms. Just plenty of rats and roaches. A lawsuit which Gray Davis has spent $18 million dollars of your money fighting. The children of California deserve better than that.

One can only wonder: how many textbooks would that $18 million have bought? How many blackboards? How many pens, pencils, computers, calculators, and art supplies? How many credentialed teachers could have been hired?

One of our leaders' greatest failures is in the area of health care, where 6.8 million Californians remain uninsured -- the fourth highest rate in the nation.

If elected, I will lead the fight in Sacramento to provide universal health care coverage to the people of California.

Universal healthcare will control the growth of healthcare spending by simplifying administration and by purchasing pharmaceuticals and medical equipment in bulk. In addition to providing real budget savings, under a single-payer system over 95% of all money dedicated to healthcare goes toward healthcare, and not to pay the salary of some bureaucrat who just denied you your healthcare coverage.

Universal healthcare requires no new spending. In fact, recent studies show that the actual savings of a single-payer system would range from $3 to $8 billion dollars a year. So we could achieve quality health care for all Californians for less money, and reclaim the Golden State as a leader and innovator among states.

So why haven't we? You know the answer: In 2002, drug companies and other medical interests gave over $5 million dollars to both Democrats and Republicans to prevent much-needed measures like universal healthcare. We cannot expect the major political parties to lead this fight for the people's well being. It must be led by an independent voice. I promise to be that voice.

I also promise to champion a sane energy policy that protects the environment, stresses fuel efficiency, and invests in clean and renewable energy.

Forty-one years ago, President John F. Kennedy challenged America to realize its greatness, calling for an Apollo Project to put a man on the moon in a decade. Eight years later, Neil Armstrong bounced across the lunar surface. .

As governor, I would use my bully pulpit to call on all Californians to commit themselves to the goal of achieving energy independence in a decade -- with no more environmentally destructive drilling, with no more unsafe nuclear waste.

We can do this by investing in energy efficiency, modern electric infrastructure, and renewables like solar and wind. We can do it by investing in technologies that bring us closer to realizing the hydrogen future, the next generation of hybrid cars, and advanced transit options that are clean, faster and more convenient.

Some in California are already taking the lead. Here in San Francisco, solar revenue bonds are paying for solarizing public buildings and San Diego recently initiated a similar project to retrofit their buildings with solar panels. And after an initial investment of $5.8 million dollars, the city of San Jose has saved $12.6 million from energy efficiency measures over the last three years.

Just as government provided the initial public funding for what became the Internet, government needs to play a role in getting the energy efficient bandwagon rolling. We need a governor who will promote hybrids, not Hummers. We need a Governor who will invest in the construction of "green buildings" and energy efficient homes and offices -- not one that cozies up to Ken Lay in the midst of California's energy crisis.

And we surely don't need a governor who will open the State House door to George Bush, Dick Cheney and all their cronies who traffic in the politics of Big Oil. Today, I ask for your support in making California free and independent of these oily interests and the outmoded policies crafted to serve them.

Let me end by saying a word about how appropriate it is that we gather here today, one day shy of 40 years since Martin Luther King led the march on Washington. Unfortunately, here in California, some still haven't taken Dr. King's message to heart.

Those who put forth discriminatory measures like Proposition 54 need to be told loud and clear, in no uncertain terms, that discrimination in any form, no matter how disguised, has no place in California. We're better than that.

From this immigrant's mouth to your ears, let there be no mistake: Proposition 54 is bad for health care, bad for education, bad for public policy.

And if Ward Connerly is so convinced of the virtue of Prop 54, then I challenge him to a debate on the issue -- any time, any place -- so I can lay out all the evidence that his proposition is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to allow racial discrimination without leaving a paper trail.

California used to be a land of sunshine and promises. The promise of a good job, a good school, an unmatched quality of life. But for millions of Californians these promises have been broken. The once Golden State has been tarnished.

But the sun is still shining and I still believe that our best days lie ahead of us -- if we do what needs to be done. Together we can save our state.

The first American Revolution took place on the East coast. The new American Revolution can take place right here, right now in California. Join us -- and on October 7th, help us fire a political shot that will be heard 'round the world."

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