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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Who is the Republican Base?

Compliments of the Huffington Post
If the 1% got half the votes in this country, they would overwhelmingly put the Republicans in office. They don't. That means that lots of people who don't earn over $250k/yr. are voting for them. Why? Is it because the Republicans have co-opted traditional family values? What have they done for traditional family values lately?

Republicans talk a lot on the campaign trail about rolling back abortion and discouraging unchristian behavior. In fact, as a group, they are just as philandering as the Democrats. So, let's talk about the things that really matter to them -- economics!

In a move of ultimate hypocrisy,  congressional Republicans and Trump squashed a plan hatched by mayors of three major cities to help their citizens plan for retirement by setting up a local funding mechanism. Why would they do this? It is local, which they supposedly support. It encourages personal responsibility, which they supposedly encourage. It reduces federal bureaucracy, which is also a good thing.

It also takes money away from Wall Street. If you're as old as I am, you might have had your savings wiped out by Wall Street once or twice along the way. We had enough money saved to pay for our children's college education before Black Tuesday. After, we had enough for one year. Our then retirement savings went to pay for their education.

The stock market is a giant casino in which those big investment bankers who work with each other every day are allowed to keep a few extra cards up their sleeves. If you are just a regular working stiff, you don't have those cards and they are thus siphoning off your savings. What those three cities were trying to do is take some of your money out of the hands of the New York robber barons. If you're a Republican, your party stopped it.

Your hatred of Democrats is bankrupting you and destroying the prospects for your children's economic prosperity. You can say that they're no better, but all three mayors that were trying to help their citizens save for their retirement were Democrats. One of them lives in the belly of the beast as New York City is one of the three cities.

The fact that our country is so equally divided is a testament to modern subliminal marketing techniques. Most of us don't have the time to do effective research to fully understand the impact of the decisions our leaders make on our behalf. This one is pretty simple and it exposes the Republican party for what they are -- supporters of the rich. The Democratic party is much more likely to go up against the rich -- no small task even for them, but unless "we, the people" give them a mandate, it will be more of the same -- rich getting richer and everyone else losing their money to them. You thought Donald Trump would be different, but he's turning out to be the biggest scammer of them all -- taking care of his rich friends.

I know Republicans don't like the idea of redistribution of wealth. You're convinced that when that happens, they will come for your money. If you make over $250k per year, you're probably right. If you make less, you are one of the suckers they've been playing. Keep it up and we'll all be broke.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Jam Band Lament

My fellow bandmates and I recently saw Spafford opening for Umphrey's McGee. We were giddy as a bunch of school girls with excitement to learn from the masters. Spafford has big time competency and Umphrey's...well...they make it look easy. In fact, too easy! The energy from both bands was very different.

From Spafford I got the sense that they had worked very hard to put together a seriously tight and solid show. Mission accomplished, but the fear of a mistake was almost palpable.

Umphrey's, on the other hand, played like a mistake was highly improbable. They now have the skills and experience to put on an improvisational pyrotechnical show of massive proportions without busting a sweat.

Unfortunately, to really bare your soul to an audience, you need to be willing to cut the tethers of what has worked before, and neither band did that. How do I know this, you ask? Answer: Mistakes. Mistakes are the only signal. A wise person knows that "you never know how far you can go until you've gone too far.'

I am encouraging my band to continue making "mistakes." As a continuous improvement professional by day, I know that people who embrace their mistakes as learning opportunities end up making ever-smaller mistakes.

Further, I would encourage all of our jam band brethren out there to keep making them too. Give jam band audiences some credit for knowing what it means when you really hang yourself out there without a net. They love it just as much as the band members who are pushing their individual envelopes. That's the juice, baby!