A National Strike?

I’ve always known that The Guardian is a left-leaning publication but now I think that it’s really going too far.

Francine Prose wrote this article in The Guardian published on January 30th, 2017. And yes, that is the proper way to write the day you goddamn euros. So let’s just go through it bit by bit and see what’s going on and why it’s absolutely absurd.

“On the morning after Donald Trump’s so-called Muslim ban went into effect”

Yeah, so-called is a pretty good way to describe it, since it wasn’t really a muslim ban as much as it was an immigration ban. Syria is 10% Christian but those Christians are barred entry as well. And I’ll stop a moment here to say that I disagree with the ban, as green card holders were barred entry as well. Just so people don’t start frothing at the mouth calling me an islamophobe or anything.

But why was muslim ban in the title of the article? As Francine points out:

“halting refugee admissions for 120 days”

Quite simply, a refugee can feasibly come from any country. If war were to break out in South Korea tomorrow and people began applying for entry as refugees, they too would be prevented from entry despite South Korea being a mostly Buddhist country with a Christian minority. Is this ban now a Buddhist ban? Well, yes, but not by design. It’s an indiscriminate ban, so stop calling it a muslim ban unless you also want to call it a Christian ban. Whatever. Moving on.

Since Trump’s election, we’ve seen dozens of demonstrations – most notably, the Women’s March on Washington – that have reinforced our sense of solidarity and provided encouraging evidence of how many Americans oppose our government’s fundamentally anti-American agenda.

The Women’s March (as I’ve noted in another post) is inherently contradictory. But yeah, it was a pretty big march. I think it had 300k members in the US which is about 0.1% of our population. Not bad. But I think it’s a far cry from a show of solidarity. Might be a show of solidarity with people across the world, 3 million protestors… but then again, that’s 0.04% of the population… so we may need to find another metric by which to judge the “strength” of these protests.

I’m going to sidestep the issues with implementation here because I do believe that it isn’t necessarily a bad idea and focus on the intent. The intent of the immigration ban (again, not a muslim ban) was to prevent people from countries in which the Obama administration marked as dangerous from traveling to the United States. Never mind that in European countries such as Sweden that have accepted the refugees are now telling their women to not go out alone at night. Officially advising women like that. That’s a hair’s breadth away from victim blaming. This is a map of every confirmed migrant crime that has been coded based on the type of crime. Doesn’t look that bad, does it? That’s just 2017. This is the map for 2016. You can’t even see Germany’s borders anymore. And these are crimes exclusively committed by migrants. Zoom in, it’s probably worse than you think it is. The crime rates themselves are a debated topic right now so I won’t draw any conclusions on those just yet. Those crimes are mostly difference of culture crimes. Add that to the two trucks of peace we saw this year and maybe you get a picture of how vulnerable the United States could be. Again, do I agree with the ban? No. But do I recognize that it has legitimate cause? Yes.

People are criticizing it as human rights violation but that’s absurd. Nations have borders. To say that denying you entry to a specific country is a human rights violation is to say that you have the right to travel to this specific country just because you are human. Why does that country even have a border at that point. Why does the United States even check passports when you enter it if you have the right to enter the United States just for being human. Why is there an immigration process? Rah.

“Taxi drivers went on strike in solidarity with the detainees, and arriving passengers were forced to find alternate ways on getting home. Many used Uber, a company whose CEO, Travis Kalanick, serves on Trump’s economic advisory board, and which thoughtfully suspended “surge pricing” to make it easier and cheaper to subvert the taxi strike.”

Free market at work ladies. Look, if you’re going to go on strike and you provide a service that is easily replaced, be prepared to be replaced. If manufacturers went on strike it would be far more effective because it’s not like I can make toilet seats in my house or something. But taxis? I replace you with public transportation or a phone call to a friend. Symbolic gesture that serves only to put money in the pockets of other people.

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Francine recognizes this, so she says we have to go bigger. We need to work as a nation. We need…

“I believe that what we need is a nonviolent national general strike of the kind that has been more common in Europe than here. Let’s designate a day on which no one (that is, anyone who can do so without being fired) goes to work, a day when no one shops or spends money, a day on which we truly make our economic and political power felt, a day when we make it clear: how many of us there are, how strong and committed we are, how much we can accomplish.”

We need a national strike. We need to not spend money or produce money for a day? That’s your solution? I like to think of myself as a typical American, so let me explain to you the train of thought that’s going through my head when I think of ‘strike for a day’.

I make $13 an hour, if I strike for a day then I’m losing $100 from my paycheck at the end of the month. Sure I could go a day without purchasing something, but what’s the point? If I was planning on going to the store that day, I’m just going to go on the next day and the store would still get my money at the end of the day. On top of that, I make things inconvenient for myself as now the stores will be more crowded because everyone is buying what they would have bought yesterday. 

When she adds the caveat, “anyone who can do so without being fired” it just falls apart. Why should my employer tolerate my political activism? My employer pays me to do a job. I should do my job per my contract which both my employer and I agreed to. One is tempted to argue “With this national strike we could make great change”. Let’s suppose that is true. You then run into the prisoner’s dilemma which you and I both know results in at least one snitch. I need to be assured of the participation of enough people (whatever that number may be) to convince myself to participate. But I imagine that sort of trust is hard to come by, so I’ll always have some niggling doubt, leading to my defection.

On top of that, what does a one day strike accomplish? It sends a message, okay, but sooner or later you’re going to have to work. You’re going to have to buy food. Shoot, you’re going to have to pay rent, which you might find difficult if you’re not going to work. And I realize this may sound pessimistic, in which you are owned by the world around you, but you can’t escape the reality that the world runs on money. Your life is dictated by money. And if you give up money because you disagree with a president, be prepared to lose future endeavors because without money you have no power.

And it’s incredibly ironic that this is coming from the left because the social programs that they champion come out of taxes. And if no one is spending money or making money, where do the dollars for these programs come from? It only gets worse. Imagine we did organize a national strike. What’s going to happen to the sick people? Cancer doesn’t take a day off (or more) just because you do. Someone breaks into your house or burns down a building, what happens next? Well if the police and fire department are really devoted to their protest, it’ll really suck for the victims.

If you want to send a message, that’s fine. Send messages. Send all of the emails, boycott all of the products, make all of the phone calls that you want. But when you try to drag the entire country down because you disagree with a particular president, expect to meet particular resistance.

And maybe a little bit of ridicule.

Thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

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A National Strike?

#BernieMustDisavow

Oooh boy. I want to ride the clickbait train because you know all 3 of WordPress readers are going to be paying attention to the Democratic Convention that begins on July 25th, 2016. However, I often take about a day to write blog posts (more precisely, it takes me about 3-4 hours) and I want to to get a quickie in for Philadelphia Predictions! So here it is.

First, DWS has to resign. She’s confirmed her resignation already so there isn’t much more to it. This likely hands her post over to her opponent, Tim Canova. An individual that Sanders himself has endorsed. Can we talk about endorsements while we’re here? Sure. Let’s talk about endorsements. Sanders has officially endorsed Democratic Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (let me just pad my word count by using her full name and this aside). He has justified such a decision with a promise he made at the start of this entire cycle, in which he said that he will pretty much give up being an independent. Perhaps it’s better to say politically unaffiliated despite Sanders describing himself as a socialist… hmm. Anyway, he’s typically sided with the democrats in Congress, he’s caucused democrat, and probably voted democrat. Granted, democrats don’t own the right to ideals like gay marriage, as libertarians tend to have a similar view on it but with a different implementation. Sanders has promised to remain a democrat after this cycle which is pretty huge considering he switched his party to democratic so he could run for office under the democratic banner. Which to me smacks of using the party to suit his own needs but whatever, it’s not important and I’ve lost track of the original point.

So let me begin anew. Sanders endorsed Clinton saying (paraphrased) “Clinton on her worst day will be better than any republican candidate on their best day”. Which to me sounds like a pretty extreme claim. There’s a ton of dirt on Clinton throughout her political history. I find it difficult to believe that at her worst of times that she will always be better than any republican candidate. Of course, that depends on the candidate the republicans put forth but the blanket statement is what I take issue with. I really only see two viable ways of interpreting the statement. Either Clinton’s worst days aren’t that bad or the republicans are just universally worse. I’d like to believe Sanders meant the former but I truly believe that he actually meant the latter. He seems to take special interest against republicans. It’s like Sanders imagines republicans as British folk with a top hat and a french moustache wearing fingerless gloves. Let’s make the British bad guy eat an apple so he looks like even more of an asshole. Oy vey.

So now we get to the title of this post: #BernieMustDisavow. It’s a trending tag on Twitter (or at least until Twitter takes it down again and makes it no longer autofill again). The premise is that in light of the recent DNC email link showing that the DNC was somewhat conspiring against Sanders, that Sanders must take back his endorsement of Clinton. And it’s here that I make my predictions. The way I see it, there are X outcomes that seem likely.

The first and what I think is the most probable outcome is that Sanders does not disavow. He’ll take the emails like a man and just continue to smile and wave, smile and wave. If anything, he’ll do his damndest to avoid talking to anyone about the emails. Ironically one of his iconic quotes from this cycle is “Everyone’s tired of hearing about your damn emails!” and now it has come back to emails once again. It’s the circle of strife! Why do I believe this. I believe Sanders at this point will do everything in his power to make sure that Donald Trump does not get elected. That’s right, it’s not about getting Clinton elected, but making sure Trump doesn’t get elected. Sanders has voiced his concerns about Trump many times, even taking time to ask whether or not Trump is running for president or dictator during Trump’s speech at RNC Cleveland. Sanders has made it clear that he believes that the Trump campaign has been built on hate and fearmongering. Sanders has made it clear that he believes Trump would be devastating to the country. So disavowing Clinton would probably make Trump more likely to win. I saw an article suggesting that 50% of Sanders voters will not vote Clinton and that’s a sizeable chunk of Sanders voters. That’s around 6 million voters, which is the margin by which Obama won in 2012. (Of course, this is the United States where the parties run everything and the popular vote doesn’t matter).

And I actually find it really sad, because there is no winning situation for Sanders in this case. If he doesn’t disavow, he will be seen as cooperating with a corrupt system. If he does disavow, he makes that which he desires least that much more of a reality. He’s already receiving some backlash about endorsing Clinton in the first place, but if he remains relatively silent on this issue, it will only feed into the minds of the voters that much more. But realistically? This is probably his best move. Sanders has crafted his image quite well and even with the stains that he’ll pick up, he did manage to get some of his agenda put onto the Democratic party platform. So he can take the moral victory (if we’re going to call it that) of helping Clinton win and push the country towards his ideals.

What I see as the second most likely outcome is Sanders doesn’t disavow, for all of the reason stated earlier, but does take the opportunity to talk about a corrupt system within the Democratic party. But he has to word it very carefully. He cannot risk losing voters to third parties, or worse… Trump.

What I see as a third outcome but unlikely is that Sanders does disavow and tries to move towards the protesters that are already congregating in Philly for this convention. He has shut up about it for a while but he has been notorious for using national polls to say that he can beat Trump. He does this to gather the support of superdelegates (despite initially criticizing their involvement in the process). If he could gather enough superdelegates, he could override the pledged delegate totals (and as an extension, the popular vote totals) to get the nomination.

However, this is likely another lose-lose situation. In doing so, he will be overriding ‘the will of the people’ which he seemed rather keen on. Remember, he lost popular vote totals. He lost the pledged delegate totals. On top of that, he criticized superdelegates because he felt that they overrode the will of the people. If he were to convince these superdelegates to his side, he would be complicit in such an action. It would make him a very easy target for the republican party. Granted, Trump is also a bit of an “easy target” so that may not matter much. Still, Sanders would have the nomination and if those polls he cited came to fruition, it would give the Democrats another four years in the white house. With the upsurge of “progressive” candidates, Sanders and his “progressive” party would be off to a good footing to changing the nation.

Fourth, and this is the outcome that I personally want: my perfect storm – the superdelegates actually do it. The party does nominate Bernie Sanders. I honestly think that this is the DNC’s best move. I think that the party can hide behind all of the Clinton scandals and claim that she’s unelectable. Claim that for the interest of the party, that they had no choice but to override the will of the people and select Sanders. The party gets away with washing their hands of Clinton, Sanders doesn’t have to take too much of the fall from the decision, and the party gets the candidate that polls have predicted to win. I think that this is the best move for the party (and the best move to keep H. A. Goodman off suicide watch) because it may reinforce an idea that they’re willing to throw away corrupt candidates in the electorate. On top of that, we wind up getting that fabled Sanders vs. Trump debate that was all the rage earlier (I really wanted to see that). In fact, if you go through my posts, I actually wanted that debate long before it may have been a possibility.

Whatever happens, I’m sure there will be a great shitstorm inside and outside of the convention for me to laugh at. My main concern about the convention is whether or not violence occurs. I’ve criticized the Sanders supporters for this before but they’ve made Sanders out to be a christ figure. There is a cult of personality about Sanders. Whether he dies on the cross or is reborn in three days at this convention, the Sanders supporters outside need to remain calm and not hurt anyone. A violent outbreak at this convention will only hurt your cause no matter which candidate you support. The police in Philly are already requesting backup and taking preventative measures. Please, if you attend this convention, don’t hurt anyone and keep yourself safe. Perhaps buy a gun. Protect yourselves. That’ll be it from me though, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

#BernieMustDisavow

Make Sanders President

I am sure that many of my readers regularly use social media sites. (How else did you find this blog?) And I strongly suspect based on the tags I used and the title that many of my readers are somewhat up to date on the current primary process. With these two combined, I now present to you the title: Make Sanders President.

Maybe it’s because I went to a liberal arts college that I wound up with several friends that would likely call themselves liberal or progressive. With the attitude of ‘loud’ individuals on the progressive left giving the progressive left the nickname ‘the regressive left’, I hesitate to identify as progressive though as a libertarian I do share their ideals somewhat. Senator Sanders however, seems to have roped these guys in hook, line, and sinker. And that’s not a bad thing! It’s perfectly acceptable for you to support a candidate for whatever reason you like. Even if it’s not one most people agree with. If you support Clinton because you want to help put the first woman in the White House, that’s perfectly valid. I don’t agree with the rationale, but it’s your choice. If you want to support Trump because you support the building of a wall (a beautiful wall, and Mexico will pay for it!) then that’s valid too. You could support Cruz because you did a ritual sacrifice when you were four years old (or witnessed one) and Cruz resonates with you because of it somehow and that too, would be perfectly valid. Whether or not someone agrees with your reasons for supporting a candidate does not make your reasons any less valid. It is the burden of the candidates to convince you to make them your vote. Votes must be earned. The fact that the criterion to get the vote of a particular individual vary wildly and some might be easier to reach than others does not make their vote any less important… (unless you happen to look at the way the United States presidential voting system REALLY works and then you realize that some votes actually do matter more. But that’s a rant for another day).

So why am I going through all this? What’s the point of this preamble? Well if you’ve got a Facebook feed that’s anything like mine, you’ve probably got a bunch of meme images of either Trump or Sanders. I’d like to focus on Sanders because of the mentality that seems to be prevalent within the Sanders supporters. The core idea seems to be some sort of rage against the machine or something. Granted, Sanders is calling for a ‘political revolution’, and those that support him would probably support this political revolution. But it seems a bit crazy with how far these individuals will go to defend Sanders’s victory, or rather, they seem to be convinced that Sanders is the inevitable winner. So my title comes from my sarcastic remark:

Why don’t we just make Sanders President already?

Because it really seems like according to these supporters that it’s inevitable, we’re just wasting our time with the primaries. They’re so quick to whine about ‘superdelegates’ and how they promote a false image of the race. The argument is there for that, I can understand why they would believe that superdelegate counts are misrepresentative and they can change their votes at any time. So I agree that they shouldn’t really have much weight placed on them. But when you look at pledged delegates, you can’t deny the numbers. Clinton has 766 pledged delegates. Sanders has 551 pledged delegates. Let’s do some math here, and Clinton has 40% more delegates than Sanders. The largest comeback in history was from about 80 pledged delegates. A Sanders upset would literally triple that. I’m not saying that it can’t happen, I’m say it’s unlikely.

Another thing these Sanders supporters seem to forget, along with common sense, is how delegates are won. With proportional delegate awarding, Clinton can literally tie Sanders in every state remaining and win. In fact, she could LOSE every remaining state and still win the nomination because of proportional delegate awarding. To reiterate the core point here, you win DELEGATES, not STATES. So what if Sanders beats Clinton by a hair in Michigan? He got stomped in Mississippi and gets a net loss of about 20 delegates from that exchange. I am not neglecting the… impact of Sanders winning Michigan. He was expected to lose. He didn’t. But if you want to make that the ‘rallying cry’ then I’ll remind you that by the same logic, Clinton supporters could ‘beat the prediction’ on the states that Sanders is expected to win. If you want to follow predictions and use them as tools, that’s fine. That’s what predictions are for. However, do not try to use predictions as justification for your cause. At the end of the day, they’re speculation and all that matters are the results.

I get that people support Sanders, that’s fine. What’s NOT fine is ignoring reality and thinking if ‘we all believe hard enough in the heart of the cards’ that Sanders will pull an upset. And I’m tired of having this argument. Yes, your candidate won this state, I’m happy for you. But it’s not enough. He may have won your heart, but he’s nowhere near winning his race. What you need to do if you want Sanders to win is to reach out to those that aren’t already on Sanders side. You need the votes. Faith won’t do it all for you. And the worst part is, even if Sanders somehow goes all the way, do you honestly expect his revolution to happen? He’s going to get blocked every step of the way, potentially worse than Obama was. This is why Sanders is calling for a revolution. Because he can’t do it all by himself. Because he needs the votes in congress to help him. But I don’t suspect that the young voters supporting Sanders who really want to help him out in that way are going to vote for these other candidates that would help Sanders. I suspect that they don’t even know who they are!

So that was just my rant. This one is just a sarcastic response to the blindness of Sanders supporters. But you are my friends, and I still love you and that you can be so passionate about something. I just wish that I didn’t get into so many arguments with you that boil down to me stating facts and numbers and you stating hopes and dreams. You can pray for success all you want, real success is achieved by those who listen to truth and use reason.

Artemis Hunt

Make Sanders President