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MurphTheSurf3 On August - 7 - 2014

GOP candidate for governor of California went to the city of Fresno to spend a week homeless and made this video about his experience. B.S. or commendable?

The video documented the GOP candidate, Neel Kashkari, roaming the town with a five o’clock shadow, the bare necessities in search of a job and ended with Kashkari’s findings: He couldn’t even spot a “help wanted” sign, let alone land gainful employment.

Kashkari wrote in his journal that he took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles to Fresno on July 21 with “only $40 in my pocket (and no credit cards), a backpack, a change of clothes and a toothbrush.” He said he planned to find a job. “I am an able-bodied 41-year-old. Surely I could find some work.”

Kashari is a former investment banker who ran the federal government’s bank bailout after the 2008 crash during the last days of the Bush Administration.

Kashkari was accompanied by two videographers, whose camera work was visible to the people with whom Kashkari spoke, who produced a 10-minute video. The footage shows a scruffy Kashkari saying, “This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life.”

“‘California Comeback!’ is the favorite slogan of Gov. Jerry Brown and other Sacramento politicians cheering a temporary budget surplus provided by a roaring stock market,” Kashkari wrote in an essay on the Wall Street Journal’s website last week. “But California also has the highest poverty rate in America at 24%. Is California really back?”

Kashkari trails incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown by 20 points in the polls and by roughly $20 million in campaign cash.

Kashkari said his goal was simple: to shine a spotlight on the travails of average Californians still being squeezed by a struggling economy.

Then came the fundraising payoff: $250,000 in the days immediately following the video release. He has also gotten a lot of media attention.

Critics argue that both Draper and Kashkari, a former investment banker who ran the federal government’s bank bailout after the 2008 crash, are millionaire attention seekers interested mainly in earning cocktail party talking points.

But she faulted the “silly execution” of his video, in which he is seen walking into mom-and-pop shops looking for work.

A Democratic critic of the video faulted what she called “the silly execution” of the effort. “His approach of saying ‘I just got into town and I need money soon’ is not the best pitch for job hunting,’ voters may wonder if his approach to job creation will be as weak as his approach to job hunting.”

One comment at the video site caught my eye: “Zillionaire investment banker pretends to care about the poor. In a surprising twist, he advocates lower taxes on zillionaire investment bankers as a way to improve conditions for the poor.”


Cross-posted at: All-len-All, Daily Kos, PlanetPOV, Yabberz

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

32 Responses so far.

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  1. jjgravitas says:

    If Neel Kashkari really wanted to learn what it is like to be poor, he would need to be abducted against his will, stripped of all possessions and identification and dropped in a poor neighborhood and left to fend for himself with no ability to contact his home or his rich friends. Then he would begin to think and feel what it is like to be poor. He would also have to be banned from all activities and skills that allowed him to be rich in the first place.

    So much for his puff piece.

  2. kevinbr38 says:

    The only thing missing is the perfunctory voice-over at the end…
    “My name is Neel Kashkari, and I approve this ad.”
    --snark off--

  3. AdLib says:

    I know what, let’s send homeless people to the Kochs to ask for jobs, wonder what the outcome would be then? Better than looking in Fresno? No way. So wouldn’t that prove that Repubs would be as bad or worse than Dems in employing people?

    Anyone can come up with whatever result they want in a “test” if it’s rigged to affirm the conclusion they predetermined.

    This fraud could just as well gone to a library and use their computer to look for help wanted ads…but then that wouldn’t have made the video he wanted.

    Folks need to really understand that “reality” programming is rigged and manipulated, it’s not really reality. And neither was this.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      My thinking is that more than a few of his post-video donation were from those in the plutocracy happy to see one of their own using a liberal scenario in service to their cause. I am more than a little cynical about it start to finish. I wonder what consultants were brought in to hone a message which has a underlying message that the wealthy still do have the answers and know the way.

      • AdLib says:

        No doubt plutocrats love the idea of trying to promote such propaganda that helping the poor only leads to their not being able to find jobs.

        Don’t know why there would be any doubt from the start that a millionaire and a political candidate would never perform such a stunt and actually seek the truth even if it cut against him.

        Is there any question that the whole stunt was built on the premise that he would film himself not being able to find a job in Brown’s California? Is he a journalist or an egocentric millionaire who thinks he should be the most powerful man in California because he’s rich?

        Seems pretty obvious.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Who is the audience?

          1) The plutocratic set, of which he is one, grinned watching it over their second double martini.

          2) The campaign staff that had something to work with (you know for fundraising from the chumps and for motivating other chumps to campaign for the guy who never planned to win…by the way how much has he given to his own campaign? I can’t find anything.)

          3) It’s part of the GOP narrative for their own base reinforcing the principle messages that you have outline a number of times.


    • Ad, I posted a link to all the temp employment agencies, day labor agencies and job hunting services in Fresno, in my comment below. This pretender could easily have found at least day labor jobs if he wanted to. Then he would have no reason to whine about the high price of doing his laundry. What a total phony this guy is.

      • AdLib says:

        KT, well done! That’s what inspired me to post my comment, the contrivance of his to set up a situation for failure because that’s all he wanted to show. It is simple propaganda and it would amaze me if anyone actually thought there was anything genuine about this.

        Who wouldn’t believe a wealthy guy who deceives people into thinking he’s homeless and poor as a ploy to help his chances in running to become governor of CA?

  4. kesmarn says:

    Murph, it looks like a reasonably slick 10 minute anti-Brown swift-boating job. Any reasonably bright voter will see right through it.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Calculating and manipulative are the words that come to mind. I have watched it half a dozen times and I keep thinking- I wonder who coached him to look so sympathetic and to feign empathy. Hardly a candid, man on the street when the videographers are in your face. I suspect you are correct about the voters -- Brown is too sharp a contrast.

  5. Nirek says:

    What do you think the people he spoke to thought he was doing with a couple videographers taking pictures of him ?

    Nothing sincere about his “effort”! IMO

  6. I don’t know if I would call this little experiment complete bullshit, but it was definitely done with the intent to slant the conclusions. If that was the toughest week in this guy’s life, then he’s had a pretty easy go of it.

    Why didn’t he go to the many temporary employment agencies in Fresno? Why didn’t he try the many day labor agencies in Fresno? Here is a list of many of them.


    His approach was as if he were back in the 20s and 30s great depression era, were people desperate for work would go door to door, from business to business asking for work. His approach was not founded in reality.

    This man was not truly desperate or suffering the hopelessness of being jobless and homeless. That hopelessness and desperation is, in reality, soul crushing and emotionally painful.

    On the surface, his little experiment might seem compassionate, or even a little noble, to those who have never experienced homelessness and the total despair that it brings down on one’s mind. In reality, I think this was simply a politically motivated stunt to try to downplay the current governor’s claims that California is on the mend.

    This actually angers me a bit, because of it’s insincerity and obvious political chicanery. As one who has actually experienced genuine homelessness and joblessness, not knowing from one day to the next where my next measly dollar might come from, or where I am going to find a safe place to sleep for the night, without knowing that all this will end with the last day of the preplanned week, I have real contempt for this guy’s stunt.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      It is done.

    • kesmarn says:

      Terrific comment, Homie. Talk about “keeping it real”!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      May I copy your reply here and amend it to my original article over at Daily Kos? I got quite a few comments, many skeptical but NONE say it as well as you do here.

      Your analysis, although much better informed than mine, mirrors my own thinking.

      I find your insight that he is operating from an image, largely fantasized, of what it means to be unemployed and homeless. He really does not have a clue.

      Reading your comment it strike me that your first sentence sort of gives this guy the benefit of the doubt but by the end you have decided that his action are, in fact, contemptible.

      • By all means, Murph. At first I thought maybe this guy was trying to make people more aware of what it’s like to be homeless. The more I thought about the video and reading more about the making of it, just filled me with contempt for this guy.

        There is almost nothing genuine about this video.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          I watched it one more time with your comments in mind. It’s like five day old fish left in the sun to fester….stinks to high heaven.

    • monicaangela says:

      Exactly KT, there are areas like the ones he visited in every city in every state in this country. Any man woman or child of working age that would go to one of these areas would know right away, they would not find a job in an area like this where labor is cheap, and therefore vacancy are practically non-existent.

      States get better, much better, but the homeless populations generally are excluded from that prosperity. In his past position and with his wealth, he knows this, so yes, this is a shame. The man sought out the indigent, and used them to make a video to try to counteract what Governor Brown has done for California after the disastrous term of Arnold.

      For the first three years of his second governorship, that has meant fixing California’s books. Mr Brown’s first budget, in 2011, faced a deficit of $25.4 billion. Such figures, says Darrell Steinberg, head of the state Senate, “sucked the oxygen from the room”; they made it impossible for politicians to think about anything else. Not any more: this year the state is looking forward to a surplus of $4.2 billion.


      • Thanks for the stats Monica. Of course, a phony like this guy would not want those facts to be well known. He should be ashamed of himself.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I agree. What do you think of Kashkaris charge that Brown has done little for the kind of folk he was attempting to imitate?

        • monicaangela says:

          California’s economy is recovering: it is piling on jobs and is emerging from the huge debt overhang left by the housing collapse of 2007-08. A strong bounceback is normal for California; its booms and busts have historically been more extreme than America’s. At its post-recession peak in October 2010 Californian joblessness was 12.4%, behind only Nevada and Michigan. Today it is 8.5%, still the fifth-worst in America; that is 1.6m people looking for work who can’t find it.

          You can always find people out of work, downtrodden, and destitute, but what has the Governor been doing, nothing? No, you read the numbers, he’s not a miracle worker, but there is a great difference between 12.4% and 8.5%.

          What does Kashkaris say he will do to change the things he is complaining about? That is where the rubber will hit the road, that is where you find out what is happening, that is where you will see that this gentleman is looking at statistics, taking all the bad and ignoring the good, and then to emphasize his beliefs, he goes out into a depressed part of the state to try to prove his point. His claims can be easily rebutted. And again, what will he do to improve the situation, that is the video/documentary he should be making, maybe that might get his numbers up. :)

          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            Good summary. Brown and his allies in the state assembly are all about slow and steady winning the race….with careful tinkering as the hallmark of the effort.

            As you say, no miracle, but a careful reassembling of an economy which has a roller coaster history. I see Kashkaris as you do- a groaner who points to the dips and the holes but offers no course of action to cope with them except to allude to supply sidism. Put more money in the hands of the wealthy and they will multiply it and distribute it. Hmmmmm…where have we heard that before?

          • AdLib says:

            Why, Kahkaris will cut taxes on the wealthy, cut services for the poor and then, once the poor KNOW there won’t be any help for them, they’ll get jobs as accountants and dentists.

            Problem solved!

          • Nirek says:

            I like Gov. Brown. I think he is a good guy and cares about the people.

            • monicaangela says:

              That makes 2 of us Nirek. I visit California often, have many relatives who live there, and am acutely aware of what Governor Brown came into when he resumed office after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s disastrous term.

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