All posts by Tom B

Politicians Also Afflicted By Entitlement Syndrome

It’s funny that the story I’ll be referring to comes from AP seeing that they were an important cog in the propaganda machine that catapulted the state back into the eighteenth century.  Oh well… even the most corporate of corporate propaganda machines hits on the truth now and then.

AP investigation: Calif. lawmakers boost staff pay

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Against a backdrop of deep fiscal distress, several California lawmakers rewarded their employees with pay hikes during the first half of the year, an Associated Press review of legislative pay records showed.

At least 87 California Assembly staff members received raises totaling more than $430,000 on an annualized basis, even as the state faced a growing budget deficit that led to furloughs and pay cuts for many other government workers and steep reductions in core services.

I’ve seen this happen at all levels of government in California over the past 6-8 months.  Elected officials from special tax districts, city councils and county supervisors all the way to the fairly useless slugs that inhabit Sacramento today made all these damned speeches about how we needed to buckle down and make sacrifices and lower our expectations yaydayadayada.

We stood and watched them once again sell out the kids, the elderly and the disabled, the poor, the unemployed.  Sell out the state park system to allow private (corporate) development of the properties, refuse to tax the Yacht Party members at rates commensurate with what they took from the the rest of the public… the list or ways in which the “upper class” padded their positions at the expense of the rest of us is endless.

The Legislative Open Records Act allows the Legislature to be far more restrictive in its release of information than other state agencies, which are covered under a separate law, the California Public Records Act.

Both houses of the Legislature refused the AP’s request to make the payroll records available electronically. Details of their spending are not listed in the annual budget the governor signs, as they are for other state agencies and departments, meaning there is no way to cross-check the information the Legislature provides.

And you simply have to assume that there’s some reason for them to hide what they’re doing from the public and it logically follows that the majority of the public would not approve of the goings on.  Otherwise, why would they write a separate law, designed solely to keep the public in the dark about their macninations?

At the same time the Legislature was awarding pay increases, some 200,000 state government employees had been furloughed two days a month, equivalent to a 9 percent pay cut. That has since been increased to three days, or a nearly 15 percent pay cut.

They’ve cut state government to the bone at the actual interface between the state and the people needing services most and then hacked the incomes of those employees left by as much as fifteen percent in a blatant attack on the working class and labor unions.  

And all the while they spewed their bullcrap and tried to claim that it was all necessary for the very survival of the state and that we all had to “play a part” and “put another notch in our belts” or “play the hand we’d been dealt”.  Turns out, playing the hand you’re dealt is a whole lot easier for the ones doing the dealing.

While they were all talking the talk, few of them were even bothering to pretend to walk the walk.  Many if not most of them were quietly either granting themselves raises and/or taking advantage of some corporate style language in their charters or state laws or regulations that provides them with automatic “cost of living” increases no matter how poorly they serve the people.  

Others, as in this case, were granting their own staffs and various appointed department heads and administrators ginormous raises, increases in perks and taxpayer paid junkets to count the fish being caught at some fancy resort or lobby for money to buy million dollar toy train sets.

For any public official to either seek or accept any kind of increase in remuneration during a time when they have brought whatever entity they “serve”… and you have to use that word loosely… to the brink of bankruptcy should be grounds for immediate dismissal or recall, not the same damned reward they would have gotten had they actually DONE the job they’re being paid for.

Of course, they’re simply taking their cue from the private sector which seems to value incompetence, mediocrity and downright graft above all else as long as the margin and the stock price go up.  In that, they’re only exercising the same sense of entitlement their role models and corporate masters in the private sector do.

But we’d better be asking ourselves if we… as a society… can continue to pay these people to do the dirty work for those who are… no matter how many corporate lackeys will deride the term… waging class warfare against us.  If we’re going to continue to blindly go along with whatever the national version of the Yacht Party decides to do to us as a people, we might as well give up the pretense that we have anything to say at all.  Save a few bucks by eliminating the middle man, do away with government altogether and just admit the one percenters are in charge and let them run the country directly.

My Dialog With The Guv’s Mailbot

Since the governor’s name is on the email, I’ll just go along with the game and pretend I’m actually corresponding with him.

Sir, I respectfully submit that your reply (included below) to my question is nothing but canned male bovine excrement and that it… as usual, actually… totally missed the point I was trying to make.  Once again, all you want to talk about is CUTS for the elderly and poor, while maintaining your absolute refusal to allow a tax increase for corporations and wealthy individuals that would have them putting  back INTO our society in some kind of reasonable proportion to the amount they take FROM it.  

We’ve reached a sorry state of affairs when those who have never produced anything but graft, corruption and massively inflated offshore banking accounts for themselves can claim to be “victimized” by an “unfair” proportional tax structure but apparently it’s only a sorry state for those who DO have to produce something in order to get paid.

BTW, I don’t GET federally provided SSI payments.  I didn’t even know they existed.  My entire supplemental check, according to those little stubs I get was paid by the State of California and in January of this year it was $97 which constituted my grocery budget for a month.  It’s now $33 dollars and I see where you’re promising to hack even more.

I suppose  when it’s at  zero, you’ll still be claiming that you and the Yacht Party or more than generous with the aged and disabled or at least more so than forty five other states are.   Even if that were true, that only means that other states have already achieved the level of indifference to the plight of the lower classes… commoners… that you and yours appear ready to take California to.  You don’t excuse what Joe did by pointing out that Jack did it twice.

My question was… Now that you have chopped the SSI payments for the elderly poor to a mere token amount, what are you going to do to see that elderly and disabled Californians  don’t find themselves once again choosing between medicines and food or dying like flies in triple digit heat because they can no longer afford to pay their electric bill and eat too?  In other words, now that you have jerked the safety net from under us just what is it that you expect us to do?

It’s very easy to sit on your well fed butt on a plush swivel chair in a richly appointed office in Sacramento and claim that “drastic reductions and difficult decisions have to made” when it’s not your butt that suffers from those reductions and decisions and they are only “drastic” and “difficult” for those who can’t afford buy themselves a vote from the legislators and don’t mill around the same social strata as our millionaire governor.   When those decisions don’t adversely affect you and your rich friends… you know, the ones you go out of your way to keep them from having to pay a proportionate share of taxes… you know, PUT BACK… in some reasonable proportion to the amount they TAKE… it’s far TOO easy.  Otherwise we wouldn’t have had fat cat politicians DOING it for the last thirty years.

This is where I stop playing let’s pretend it’s an email from a real person:

These canned replies that your bots send out are so outdated as to be laughable, especially in view of what’s happening currently.  They are not and never will be the answers to the questions being asked.  One of the things that infuriates me most about politicians in general and especially the ones in your party or who otherwise share your disdain for us commoners, is their tendency to not only think they can talk down to the rest of us like we’re little children who can’t do or think for ourselves but that they don’t even have to extend the simple courtesy of a reply by a real human being.  I don’t do dialogs with robots, except in very special cases… like this one.

The reason I make this exception is that  you can rest assured that I will continue to blog and/or publish these formula answers in every venue that will offer me space just so people in the same boat I’m in can see the total indifference with which you regard the “collateral damage” your own ties to the elitist Yacht Party inflict on real human beings… that’s what we are, you know, no matter how hard you and your crew try to diminish us to the status of mere numbers.

Have a nice day


[email protected] wrote:

> Thank you for writing to me about California’s State Supplementary Payment (SSP) Program.  I appreciate hearing your thoughts about this important issue.


> I strongly believe that our society has a responsibility to help those who are less fortunate, including the aged and the disabled.  That’s why California provides additional funds above and beyond the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments provided by the federal government, even though most states do not.  One-quarter of our budget goes to Health and Human Services – as it should – but in the face of a $24-billion deficit, drastic reductions and difficult decisions have to be made.  Believe me when I say that these cuts have been the hardest decisions of my career as Governor, but we are in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Despite these reductions, California’s SSI/SSP levels are still among the five highest in the nation.


> Please know that my administration and I will keep your thoughts about SSI/SSP in mind during this challenging time.  Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts about this important issue.  


> Sincerely,



> Arnold Schwarzenegger



Well, at least I feel better

Ok, before anyone feels the need to tell me so, yes, this was an exercise in futility.  I know it and anyone who happens to read it will know it.  But when you get to where I am, sometimes you just gotta go with what you’ve got and if it does nothing but make you feel a little better, it’s worth it.  I do apologize for not being as articulate and knowledgeable as others who post here but again, I am what I am and that’s all that I am.


So what I did was, I went to that phony site where you can supposedly send an email to the governor’s office and supposedly either he or someone connected to him will read it and “take your concerns very seriously”… you know how they work.  I know full well that Mr. “I’m not a governor on TV but I play one in real life” will never see it and could care less if he did.  

Anyway, here’s what I sent.  I thought a little first person perspective from the lowest on the food chain might be at least moderately interesting to someone… somewhere.


How cute.  All those subjects to choose from and I find myself in the OTHER category.  Kind of like being WHITE on all those idiot ethnic surveys.

If there was a subject category in that list that had anything to do with issues affecting the elderly, I guess I missed it.  If there wasn’t, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to add one so senile old codgers like me don’t have to rack their few remaining brain cells trying to figure out which bag they belong in.  Just sayin’ ya know?

Anyway, my message is more in the way of a question or two rather than a pro or a con so my apologies if I clicked the wrong little button up there.  I chose con because I am definitely con in regard to what you people have done to me and people like me over the past year and are threatening to do over the next one, and I want to know… and I don’t want one of those damned form replies full of gobbledygook that has nothing to do with the question… just what else is in store for people like me, who are the first that people like YOU start flailing at in order to avoid inflicting any burden on your good friends who pay the bills for your own extravagant lifestyles.

Let me put this in simple third grade terms and then, if you bother to answer at all, you can do the same and just possibly, that way we’ll understand each other.

I’m a 66 year old former state firefighter suffering from progressive congestive heart failure, COPD, partial paralysis… a few other things but you get the idea.  I am no longer able to serve in the army of serfs and vassals that you, the entitled nobility in this new version of feudalism seem to have established when nobody was looking in order to help you attain and maintain the luxurious lifestyles to which you have come to feel entitled.

In other words, after a total of 47 years of working for a living, I no longer serve a purpose as far as you’re concerned.  So… because you millionaires and billionaires all hate progressive income taxes and don’t want to pay taxes TO the community in proportion to the amount you take FROM the community, you have… just in the past year alone done the following to just me:

Taken away my renter’s credit…$347

Cut my SSI by $37 per month….$444

AFTER THOSE TWO HUD raised my rent $11 a month based on my OLD income so:

Net loss due to rent increase….$132

That’s just the big stuff… this could go on all day, actually.  But I’m not even going to try to start explaining to you how the cost of living increases… which I figure have added at least another 200-300 bucks to my annual decrease in discretionary income…   affect your victims, those of us to whom $100… a mere tip to the wait staff in the fancy places you frequent if you’re feeling in a particularly expansive mood… is 10% of our total monthly income.

Just those major cuts listed above have already produced a net loss of  over $900… roughly 9%… which exceeds even the pay cuts you’re inflicting on rank and file state employees… of my meager annual income  which had just crossed the $10k a year line.

And now, I’ll be dipped if you aren’t telling me that I’m going “need” to suffer even MORE losses because you “nobles” need even MORE money and MORE power to do whatever it is you nobles do with all that money and power you already have and you’re perfectly content to once again ignore or pretend to misread the will of the majority because they voted down your phony propositions last month.

I told you all that so I could ask you this:  Just how much more are those that have virtually nothing going to have to give up simply so that you and your yacht club friends… who already have more than they or ensuing generations of their larva could possibly spend in several lifetimes… can have more?  

The rich get richer and the poor get poorer“, already an insult to poor working people everywhere that had to have been penned by some rich, useless flipping parasite… maybe a stock broker or financial adviser… is being taken to some major extremes here, don’t you think?  Or do you even think about it at all?  That’s the billion dollar question, eh?  

I DO think about it.  I think about it every time I look in my pantry or open my electric bill or get put on yet another medicine to prolong my “useless” life.  But I think about it in ways that would never occur to you and he Sacramento Mafia

I think about how I’m sick and tired of being a pawn in the rich people’s games that you and your friends seem to love to play among yourselves.  You’re not doing zip for 95% of the people in this state… you’re simply serving yourself and your 5% friends at the expense of that 95% and you might as well drop the BS and “The people have spoken” rhetoric… because you’re obviously either lying or you totally misinterpreted what the”people” were saying.  Just admit it… you people play these games with the rest of us just because you can and it “amuses” you to do so.

And give us a category of our own for sending these totally useless messages that will never be seen by anyone but some clerk or intern monitoring the email and most of all… do NOT send that canned flipping email thing that says the “governor is very concerned, yadayada” .  Those things are a total flipping insult to anyone above about the second or third grade.  If you’re going to ignore me again, have enough respect NOT to lie to me about it, OK?