Almost 22 years ago I was lucky enough to spent 3 weeks playing music in Tokyo, Japan. It was in the Roppongi district which is were all the clubs were. I was amazed at this whole new world since the only other time I had traveled a great distance from Utah was to California. In Europe they use the same letters and English is a big part of the language. In Asia, they don't use letters and English is limited to what most have learned in school ("Jack has a chair") . This was a BIG thing to get used too.
The Japanese I met there were kind and optimistic. The music scene there was great. At the time I knew nothing about vintage guitars or amps but I remember going to music stores and one in particular. The guy who owned it showed me all these great guitars he had in his shop. I took pics of them not really thinking about it. Years later after living in Dallas and seeing that same guy at the Dallas Guitar Show I stumbled upon those pics. I was amazed to see late 50's Gibsons and Fenders in rows hanging on the walls of this little guitar shop. I was so young and stupid then.
The other musicians in Tokyo that I met were great people. They wanted to play and jam but they must have been disappointed with me because I really didn't know what I was doing. One band that stuck out was a Beatles tribute band in a club set up to look like the Cavern Club. They had the look, the gear .......everything. I would see them during the day and they STILL dressed up as the Beatles while ordering sushi. That's dedication.
Anyway, just some thoughts brought upon by the events there. I hope and pray they make it through but it will be a long journey.
Whenever I think the attitude of some people has gotten as low as it can for the common man and the middle class something comes along to take it down even lower. Because of the "cut the taxes for the rich and big business" tactics of Gov. Scott Walker (R) of Wisconsin the debate has become of public employees vs private sector employees. Now I will admit I am a little bias because my father worked for MSHA (Mining Safety and Health Administration) from the late 80's until he recently retired. Before that he worked in the private sector in the mines. Early in his career as a miner he was also a member of the UMWA.
The current trend of demonizing public employees is nothing new. Before this it was one of Ronald Reagan's go to mantras. In the 80's public employees were seen as lazy and incompetent. Public employees have always been a target of the Republican and Libertarian parties just like the private sector worker has been for big business. Again, this is nothing new, yet this go around it is different. The banking industry gets billions in our money for bailouts. Their actions were blatantly criminal yet they are not being held accountable. No arrests, no indictments....nothing. These people not just rich, but super rich and they did it at OUR expense. Wall Street robbed us and with their smug attitudes did it right in our faces with no remorse.
Yet while these fat cats make millions and in some cases billions off of corporate welfare, America is blaming public employees. The very people who protect, serve and teach our children. THESE people don't make millions or billions. So why do people hate them and not Wall Street? Jealousy. You see, public sector employees live next door, they shop at the same grocery store and their kids go to the same school as us. So the attitude is, "Why do they get a great health insurance plan?", "Why do they get a great retirement plan?". Why? Because over the decades since "trickle down economics" and deregulation has been the norm the private sector worker has gotten less and less. The widening gap between the rich and the poor has widened greatly. As public workers' pay has been consistent, the pay for for the private sector has either stayed the same of gone down. There is no such thing as a pension for the private worker any more. Its all 401K......IF your employer has such a plan. And this 401K plan is only worth what Wall Street says it is on any given day. Remember how many people lost their 401K retirement plans at the end of 2008?
Another part of this jealousy stems from job security. One of the positives of being a public employee is knowing that the threat of being laid off is minimal. Again, the private sector employee has had job security erode with each coming decade. In the 80s to the current economic down turn it wasn't uncommon for top management to lay off thousands of employes for a nice bump in the company's stock value and a big end of the year bonus. Most private sector employees live in fear that at anytime they can be unemployed.
Jealousy of the Unions. yes Unions. We hear over and over about how bad the public workers Unions are, yet how often have they ever went on strike? How often have they disrupted anything? Are there bad Unions? Of course there are. It would be silly to say that Unions have never done anything unethical, but these practices have never come from the members, usually its the higher ups. Are there Union workers who are lazy? Duh, of course, just like there are lazy workers in non Unions jobs. Unions help protect the worker, they are a good thing. They are not destroying the economy. How can they when less than 8% of the workforce is Union? I'll even go on and say that the reason why American workers are treated the way they are is because of the lack of Unions.
The Right has done a great job demonizing the public employee and their Union. The same thing happened in the 80's and look where it led the private sector worker in America. Next on the chopping block is the public sector. The debate in Wisconsin has nothing to do with a budget deficit and everything to do with an agenda to destroy Unions.
.............yet the criminals on Wall Street still get a free pass while they do not invest in America, do not create good paying, steady jobs and walk around with my and your tax dollars. Its amazing to me America has not waken up to this.
I wonder how many people who cry about America's debt are themselves in massive debt. Like the Republican party which is the hole millions of dollars. Now of course the GOP will say its in debt because contributions are down..........mmmmm.....
Lets see, America is in the hole because we spend too much, the Republican party owns millions because they are not taking in enough money......
So two weeks ago the Huckster said that the Republican Party and the Tea Baggers needed to get away from the whole birther thing......although he didn't come out and say President Obama was born in America.
........and they understand the challenges teachers face along with public employees.......or maybe they know that collective bargaining is a right. Its funny, but there is plenty of hypocrisy on the Right with Conservatives and Libertarians. You see, they cry about people's rights being taken away but only when it suits their cause. Never mind the fact that a right....IS a right. You take the good with the bad. That's life.
Gov Scott Walker is losing ground and support.Are people seeing Unions in a bad light? Are they starting to realize that "trickle down" economics is a failed idea? Are they starting to see that big business isn't investing is America but its own pocket books? I hope so.