Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Conservative’s rose colored glasses

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

I was watching Sunday Morning before and they had on Alan Greenspan. I remember back a few years ago somebody from the Bush administration saying they looked at several economic models and decided to go with the conservative one which didn’t show that we were in a bubble. He didn’t mention the economist’s name. Greenspan said in the interview this morning that he didn’t take into account people’s reaction of fear and euphoria in predicting market fluctuations and thus missed the fact that we were in a bubble. Ironically, John mentioning George Soros in another post led me to look him up on Wikipedia. His main tool is people’s probable reaction to market conditions. I’m sure fox news had all kinds of bad things to say about him and I’m ignorant of those things since I get a sick feeling every time I’m exposed to their propaganda. Wikipedia mentioned that Soros went all in trying to beat Bush in his second term. I’m guessing that’s why Soros probably got on fox’s radar and Bush’s blunder with his tax cuts made Soros Hell bent on defeating him.

The purpose of government

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

The purpose of government is to give us an alternative to killing each other. The purpose of business is to make a profit, usually at somebody else’s expense. If the business is in a position of power their profits can be obscene. If the business is in a weak position they can lose money and go out of business. In theory a business offers something that enriches those who make use of it. In practice some businesses create a dependency that saps all the resources of the rest of the economy. The purpose of government is to give us an alternative to killing the bastards.

Raise the Minimum Wage

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

The ugly truth is that the economy does better when you have a federal government meddling with it by trying to get rid of poverty or hunger or homelessness or whatever. We make more stuff than the population can buy and we’re making more stuff than we ever did and with fewer people making this stuff. If you think of wealth as the goods and services we can provide then you have to accept that this country is wealthier than it’s ever been. The problem is that the system has become more and more imbalanced. We need consumers who can afford to buy the stuff but, there’s that nasty law of supply and demand making unneeded workers compete for lower and lower wages. Fix the system.

Open Mic and Fairness

Friday, October 8th, 2010

I admit that I have attended a few open mics and performed.  It’s a great deal for the bar owner.  Not only does he get free entertainment, he gets to charge the performers.  As a strong union advocate this arrangement really rubs against the grain.  I feel like a scab every time I do it.  I accept the fact that open mics are for amateurs but, I can’t help feeling that somebody trying to make a living is losing out on a paying gig and I’m demeaning my profession.  I know there are a lot of people out there who know 2 or 3 songs who really want to perform.  There’s definitely a market but, even they are entitled to the fruits of their labor.  I’ve thought of a solution.  It’s not ideal but, it’s better than the arrangement we have now.

Bars either hire musicians because their patrons will enjoy them or, more importantly for the bar owner, the musician draws a crowd.  Bar owners don’t like to charge a cover if they can get away with it but, it’s a source of revenue that doesn’t necessarily come out of their pocket.  I propose that the cover be divided among the performers with a large percentage of the cover going to the performer who brings the biggest crowd.  A simple checklist can be made at the door.  On this checklist are the names of the performers and the patron simply tells the person who collect’s the cover who they’re coming to see.  Most of that cover will go to their choice and the remainder will be divided among the performers as a whole.

Gerrymandering

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Most people should be aware that the U.S. has recently finished it’s census for the decade.  That means that the next state senate gets to redraw the congressional districts.  With exit polling showing that democrats should have won a lot of elections the ‘machines’ said they lost, the hanging chads in Broward County, Florida and that Paul McCartney concert after 911 where the ‘We the People’ planted a bunch of communist style cadres in the audience to boo Hillary.  The NYC firemen and police officers, who are union workers, were ready for them and shouted them down when Bill spoke.  If you really want a representational government get out and vote.  I don’t even have to tell you who to vote for.  Most of you know who’s responsible for shrinking the middle class and driving down wages.  This economy is sorely in need of consumers with money and the ones at the moment who are taking the biggest hit are the local and state civil servants who not only provide us with the services we need they support all the local businesses.  They’re not the ones taking home multimillion dollar salaries but, they are the ones who buy your stuff.

Gerrymandering

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

My last post was about how being a professional musician meant you had to work at it.  If you are a professional it means you expect to get paid for it and a lot about getting paid for it has very little to do with making music; at least directly.  One of the thankless jobs is making arrangements.  It’s one thing to just copy what some other band did note for note with each band member figuring out there own part and it’s another thing having me write out all the parts.  You would think that the former would go a lot faster but, that isn’t necessarily the case.  If I do it then it gets done.  If someone quits it’s a lot easier for the new guy to catch up and it’s less likely that the whole project will fall apart.  That offers a certain modicum of security.  There’s less discussion about how something should go which saves a lot of time.  It’s the difference between learning one song in a night and learning five or even ten.  The drawbacks are many.  It’s a lot of work for me.  Other members feel less of an ownership in the group which leads to turnover.  It puts me in the position of the guy to hate.  It tends to stifle other members input.  Is it ever possible to turn a benevolent dictatorship into a democracy?  I hope so.

$250,000

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I have trouble thinking of a situation where anyone doesn’t want their income to go up and their expenses to go down.  At least not until I got halfway through the previous sentence.  There is, of course, the bigger house and fancier car which equates with bigger expenses but, that’s a trade off balancing act between income and expenses; so, let me rephrase my initial statement to: everyone would like a bigger gap between income and expenses provided that the income is greater than the expenses.

I started thinking about this partly because of all the brouhaha about deflation and partly because of a political conversation I recently had with a republican small business owner.  He was opposed to big government and gave as an example for this opposition his observation that with big projects he was able to bill at a much higher rate for his time than he could charge for a small project or individual.  His point being that big government inevitably leads to wasteful spending.  I can’t argue with the fact that big government could very likely put more money in his pocket.  However, is it really wasteful if the main purpose of the project is to put him back to work and put more money in his pocket.  The president seems to be working with the figure of $250,000 as a reference point for those people who need or don’t need help.  Considering a 40 hour work week with a 2 week vacation our small business owner would have to bill at $200/hr. and not deduct any expenses to look back fondly on the Bush years.

4th of July is about Freedom

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

Your freedom will not be paid for by mine or my children’s slavery.  The redistribution of wealth in this country brought about by Reaganomics is bringing us to a two class system.  For some reason, a discussion on the inheritacnce tax came up in conversation today.  That new phrase the right wing has been bandying about popped into my head,’saddlling our children with this debt’.  It’s a dynamic phrase that undoubtedly those republican think tanks were quite proud of.  It finally dawned on me that those think tanks are only interested in catchy phrases that will get their candidates elected.  They certainly aren’t interested in real solutions.  There is some truth to the phrase,’saddling children with debt’.  However, that repugnican really means his children when he says our children.  My child is taking out massive loans to pay for his education while he doesn’t want to see the corporate tax on his BP stock go up.  He’d rather see the unemployed lose their homes and whatever dreams they had for their children than have his lazy bum child have less of a trust fund.  Feel free to use this if you get a chance to challenge the use of that cutesy phrase.

Music From Bob’s Basement Part 2

Monday, September 28th, 2009

I suppose it’s not surprising that you get offered a lot of help when you ask for help in an interesting project.  There have been over 20 people offering me help.  I recorded 9 songs from Robin Storm yesterday and they were all really good performances but, I didn’t enjoy it.  There were no surprises for me except my reaction.  Storm didn’t ask me to play with him and might have rebuffed my offer.  I knew it would be like that because Storm has been in Bob’s Basement before.  I didn’t start this project because I wanted to become a producer.  I became a producer because I wanted to perform and have some control over the final product.  I’m still constrained by time and deadlines, FCC rules and my limitations in the technical aspects of video editing but, I don’t have sponsors telling me I can’t promote my political point of view.  In fact, that’s the whole purpose of Public Access T.V..  One of the people who has expressed an interest the show is a radio host, Judy Stadt.  She has this saying on her website; “Freedom is doing what you want, Happiness is doing what you want and enjoying it.”  I hope she tells me how to do that.

What is a moderate republican?

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

When Arlen Specter changed from being a republican to a democrat I started thinking about what a moderate republican was and what was the real difference between republicans and democrats.  In many ways it’s just a matter of style and trivial perspective.  I suspect that for a lot of republicans they are anti-communist and the republicans offer a bias that is as anti-communist as you can get; even though democrats are not communists.  For that segment of the republican coalition they choose an ideology that forces religion on people over the communist ideology that bans religion; the democrats believe in freedom of religion and to that end try to keep it out of government.  I suppose a moderate republican would dismiss that part of the coalition as extremists.  The anti-communists consider any government meddling in economic affairs a form of socialism.  I’m guessing that a moderate republican would heed the lessons learned when 19th century robber barons glommed so much of the GNP that there wasn’t enough left to sustain the economy and so they tolerate a certain amount of government intervention; especially if it serves their own personal business interests.  Sadly, many democrats share that with the moderate republicans but, I suppose that’s what democracy is all about: the majority of the people deciding what’s in their own best interests and steering the government in that direction.  My own personal bias is towards a government that stays out of my personal life, my religion and keeps the robber barons at bay.  We still have robber barons but, they are global and the popular belief has it that they are Middle Eastern Sheiks.  I have my doubts.  I think they are Texas oil men who control the refineries.  In either case, I would like us to return to that economic philosophy that touted an ever expanding middle class and distribution of wealth over an ever larger segment of the population; a philosophy that seems to have been shared by every 20th century president with the exceptions of Hoover, Reagan and Bush II.  But, I could be wrong.  Maybe, wealth distribution is what separates moderate republicans from democrats.  I’m still trying to figure out what a moderate republican is.