Donald Trump is going to wish he didn’t make alternative rock great again.
Throughout its existence, the alternative rock genre has been one of the ultimate checks on authority and abuses of power. Punk rockers like The Clash and The Sex Pistols mainstreamed ideas of anarchy and anti-authoritarianism in the 1970s and 1980s. As Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie argue in their book The Declaration of Independents, Vaclav Havel, the leader of the Velvet Revolution against Czech communism in 1989, was inspired by the music of the Velvet Underground. During the administration of President George W. Bush, Green Day was one of the leading anti-war voices.
Sadly, over the last eight years, alternative rock lost some of its anti-authority edge while Barack Obama was in office. The band Muse is one of the few exceptions, releasing three albums during the Obama years, two of which —The Resistance in 2009 and Drones in 2015 — are remarkably anti-authority. Drones was a particularly strong album in its blasting of the military-industrial complex, but that’s commonplace from Muse regardless of who the world’s leaders are.
But Donald Trump’s candidacy prompted alternative rockers, such as the Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, to release songs and music videos that blatantly call out Donald Trump and his penchant for illiberal authoritarianism.
Continue reading at FEE.
It’s no secret that taxi unions and Uber have been in competition with each other since Uber’s inception in 2009, but the battle has reached new and increasingly petty heights. New York City taxi drivers went on strike in solidarity with those affected by Trump’s new immigration policy at John F. Kennedy International Airport while Uber continued serving the airport and surrounding areas. Uber even turned off surge pricing (an element of their pricing system that often comes under fire during crises) as they carried protesters, attorneys, and the press back and forth from JFK late Friday evening.
Uber was accused of ruining the strike by continuing to run routes to JFK and the #DeleteUber social media campaign was started on Twitter. Why? To lambast the company for making the decision to increase human mobility and choice by providing uninterrupted service. The irony is clear, given that this was all a response to an immigration policy crisis that restricts human mobility and freedom of choice.
Although the intentions of the striking taxi drivers were undoubtedly good, it’s unreasonable to demonize Uber or to assume that the company was focused only on profiting during a time of humanitarian crisis.
Continue reading at FEE.
Over the last few days, many Facebook users have been checking in at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota in order to show solidarity with those protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline and to confuse police allegedly tracking protesters. I was not one of these people, and not just because there is no evidence to support that local police are monitoring Facebook locations. I was not one of these people because the Dakota Access Pipeline would be good for the economy, and a lot of the fears about the pipeline are overblown.
First, protestors claim that the pipeline will desecrate a burial ground, yet construction will not cross into the land of the Standing Rock reservation. Moreover, pipeline developers contacted the tribe and offered them the opportunity to survey the land, which the tribe rejected. Planners also made a total of 140 route changes to avoid “potential cultural resources.”
More importantly, those affected by the pipeline are allowing it to happen; 100 percent of affected landowners in North Dakota have signed voluntary easements allowing construction to move forward. Even many of the Standing Rock Sioux are tired of the protests and would like to see them end.
Continue reading at The Daily Caller.
Advocate Ian Paris was featured on The Bob Zadek Show discussing free speech on campus. Listen to the episode on SoundCloud here or below.
Advocate Michael Moroney had a letter-to-the-editor published in The Washington Post about a recent taxicab protest against the ride sharing service Uber.
Last week, the D.C. Taxi Operators Association gave residents yet another reason to choose ride-sharing services over traditional cabs [“Taxis paralyze downtown traffic to protest ride-sharing services,” Metro, June 26].
The move by cab drivers to block traffic and make unnecessary noise didn’t hurt Uber, Lyft or Sidecar. It did, however, leave a very bad taste in the mouths of Washingtonians, many of whom, ironically, could not find a taxi.
Beyond the temporary inconvenience, the protest underscored the bigger divide between taxi drivers and ride-sharing services. Ride-sharing services are providing value to residents, while traditional taxis seem to be fighting modernization at every turn. The protest was further confirmation that the taxi union cares more about maintaining the status quo than promoting safety and convenience for District residents.
If cab drivers want to win back customers and their reputations, they need to innovate and provide more value to customers than their competitors do. Unfortunately, the taxi union is resorting to 20th-century tactics in a 21st-century world.
You can find the piece online here.
If you’d like to contact Michael or any other Advocate, please contact Young Voices.