All posts by Jerrod A. Laber

‘The Rock’ For President?

On the season finale of Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson faux-announced that he would run for president in 2020, with actor Tom Hanks as his running mate. This came after an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon—a few days before his hosting of SNL—where he talked about the possibility of running for president. The idea has been making the rounds recently because of a profile in GQ, in which he was asked by the writer if he would consider ever running –– to which he answered yes.

Continue reading on The American Conservative

Worsening Somalia’s Drought: Blowback From US Policy

The eastern African country of Somalia is currently suffering from a drought that has lasted for more than two years. A drought in an underdeveloped agrarian country that also lacks basic sanitation systems means further complications stemming from a lack of food production, subsequent malnourishment, and outbreaks of bacterial diseases such as cholera.

In fact, Somalia is currently reporting 200-300 cases of cholera a day. It’s a treatable condition, but aid agencies are consistently stifled in getting affected Somalis the care they need because the worst areas hit by the outbreak are in the southern part of the country––areas controlled by a group called Al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab is a radical Islamist militia that arose as a response to American covert operations in the country, as well as the US backed invasion of Somalia by Ethiopian forces in 2006.

Read more in CounterPunch

McCain’s Foreign Policy Record Not Representative of ‘American Values’

Arizona senator John McCain recently criticized Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for statements about sometimes setting aside American values in foreign policy. Tillerson said in an address to the State Department on March 3rd, that “if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values…it really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests.” McCain responded in the New York Times by writing that “we are a country with a conscience….our values are our strength and greatest treasure. We have long believed moral concerns must be an essential part of our foreign policy, not a departure from it.”

McCain is absolutely right that all of our foreign policy decisions should be based on universal values of liberalism – freedom, equality, and a belief in the inherent dignity of all people. The problem is that McCain himself represents the worst in American foreign policy, and has championed some of the most inhumane foreign policy decisions of the last 30 years.

 

Continue reading on AntiWar.com

There is no victory in Afghanistan

President Donald Trump has been largely silent on the issue of the Afghanistan War, but top advisers are planning to recommend an increase in the number of troops stationed there. Currently, there are 8,400 troops present, and the proposal would increase that number by 3,000-5,000. In the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001, large majorities agreed that the war in Afghanistan was not only justified, but necessary. In November 2001, 80 percent of people favored the invasion, and in early 2002, several months into the fighting, 93 percent believed it was the right decision to go to war. Only one member of Congress voted against it. A decade and a half later, with the conflict still ongoing, that number dropped to 54 percent, and those who believed it was a mistake had risen from single digits to 42 percent.

Whether or not a majority of people ever believe the conflict should never have happened, the evidence is clear. The Afghanistan War is a failure. It’s time to give up this fight once and for all, and bring everyone home. Re-escalating, as stalwart hawk Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have advocated, will simply waste more blood and resources in a battle that can’t be won.

Continue reading at Rare Politics

Trump’s Crusade Against “Archaic” Government Gridlock

After more than 100 days in office, President Trump’s approval rating is at 42 percent, the lowest for any president in the post-WWII era.

Lacking any significant legislative accomplishments, and governing almost exclusively by executive order, Trump places the blame for his lackluster performance not on himself or his staff—or even his opposition in Congress.

Instead, he singles out the “archaic” rules of the House and Senate, calling it a “rough system” that jeopardizes the public good.

Government Gridlock is Good

If the president is having a hard time because of the peculiarities of our system of government, that means the system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do.

Specifically, Trump criticizes the filibuster, claiming that it forces the government to make bad decisions. Trump’s views on the filibuster are not surprising, having never shown an ounce of principle on anything, he seems to have no problem with archaic rules and institutions when they benefit him.

Continue reading at FEE