All posts by Jerrod A. Laber

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Regime Change In Syria Is Unlikely To Work

During the campaign, Donald Trump positioned himself as the non-interventionist candidate. His first few months in office have debunked this idea. Trump launched his first drone strike within days of his inauguration, and has intensified action on this front. In January, he also ordered a Special Forces raid in Yemen that killed civilians, as well as a Navy Seal.

Now, he has officially entered the Syrian Civil War following a missile strike launched in response to the recent chemical attack on civilians. Senator Marco Rubio and others are now calling for regime change, and Secretary of State Tillerson says plans are being formulated to remove Syrian President Bashar Al–Assad. If the Iraq War and the intervention in Libya taught us anything, it’s that forceful ousting of a sitting government will  fail, and therefore the US should resist doing so at all costs.

Anyone with a heart feels for the plight of Syrians trapped in what imaginatively is nothing less than hell. The images and videos emerging in the aftermath of the chemical attack are incredibly jarring. But the best policy is not for the US or other nations to further escalate the fighting.

Read more at The Daily Caller

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Syria, North Korea, United passenger fiasco

Late last week, the Trump administration ordered a missile strike on Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians. The political and diplomatic effects are still reverberating. Was this the right move?

Another potential crisis is brewing in northeast Asia. A U.S. carrier group is heading to the Sea of Japan as a show of force against recent North Korean aggression. Will this escalate the situation?

Perhaps the biggest story this week was the United Airlines passenger being dragged off a flight. Dr. David Dao was forcibly removed from a flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for United crew members. How can this situation be avoided in the future?

Bill Buck of MyWallit.com, Jerrod Laber of Young Voices Advocates, conservative writer and editor Brian McNicoll discuss these issues & more….

Check out the whole exchange here

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War on Terror Unites Trump and the Establishment

It’s conventional wisdom that Washington, DC is a city marked by gridlock. Republicans obstructed President Obama’s agenda on principle, as Democrats are attempting to do now with Donald Trump. To give even an inch is a sign of political weakness. Trump is, admittedly, a polarizing figure, and there is certainly plenty of dissent in today’s political environment on a host of issues. The War on Terror, though, continues the same trajectory it’s been on for the better part of this century. President Trump, like President Obama before him, has mainstream support for his terror policies and approach to the conflicts in the Middle East.

The incredibly hawkish nature of the Obama administration’s foreign policy legacy has been well documented, and Trump is picking up right where he left off. He launched his first drone strike within days of being sworn in as president. There are reports that Trump is giving authority for these strikes over to the CIA and will tolerate more loss of civilian life – essentially giving the reins of an already non-transparent lethal program over to a group of people who lie for a living. And, of course, there is the infamous botched raid in Yemen by American Special Forces which took the life, among others, of a Navy Seal and an eight year-old American girl on January 29th.

Continue reading at Antiwar.com.

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Commercialism in Music Is Totally Justified

Commenting on the events of the Academy Awards last month, Amanda Petrusich writes in The New Yorker an ambiguous column about the commercial phenomenon and success of Justin Timberlake. Timberlake opened the ceremony with a performance of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from the animated movie Trolls. Petrusich runs through the highlights of Timberlake’s career and observes that “[t]hese days, we have mostly divested ourselves of any notion that art and profit are inherently at odds, or that work made in service of consumerism is fundamentally compromised….Timberlake might be, at present, our most expressly and unapologetically commercial artist.”

The notion that art and profit are inherently incompatible is inconsistent with the historical record, and this is exactly why Timberlake is as omnipresent in the entertainment industry as he is. He consistently delivers a product that consumers enjoy and are willing to buy.

Artistic Value

According to Petrusich, Timberlake’s career has been shaped by corporate and commercial designs. He began his career with “The Mickey Mouse Club” and then joined the band N’Sync, a group “designed primarily to make money.” He recorded a jingle that was widely used by McDonald’s for advertising in the early 2000s. He has also “had a fashion line, a record label, restaurants, a golf course, and a minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies; he cheerfully endorses many products, including a fragrance, a car, and Sony electronics. In 2012, he hosted a corporate meeting for Walmart shareholders.” All the while, his solo albums have sold almost 30 million records worldwide.

The amalgamation of Timberlake’s talent, public persona, and commercial presence has turned out to be a winning combo for him. Much like the corporations and businesses he has acted as spokesperson for, his products create value for listeners (and moviegoers), which is why they are willing to depart with their earned income to purchase them.

Continue reading at FEE.

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Obama’s foreign policy legacy undermines his C-SPAN ranking as 12th best president

C-SPAN recently released the 2017 Presidential Historian Survey, in which a group of presidential historians rank all previous presidents from best to worst. President Obama did extremely well, coming in as the 12th best president of all time. Obama was commended for his handling of the economy, public persuasion, and (the most unsettling reason) his moral authority. Survey respondents seemed to have overlooked a simple fact, though, which should shatter any image of moral authority from the Obama tenure in office: his destructive and inhumane foreign policy.

Obama’s record on warfare is, frankly, abysmal. It’s particularly galling considering that he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. In 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped over 26,000 bombs on seven different countries; that’s three bombs every hour. The campaign in Libya destabilized the country in a vein similar to the US invasion of Iraq. He killed a 16 year-old American citizen living in Yemen, and recently increased US involvement in the Yemeni civil war — a war that is starving the country’s citizens. And there is significant skepticism that his administration came even close to telling the truth about the amount of civilians killed in drone strikes over the last eight years.

This does not sound, at all, like a president that retained any semblance of moral authority. To the group’s credit, they gave him “below-average” marks in international relations. It seems like a generous standard, though, for an administration that had a secret “kill list” and caused foreign teenagers to dream about their own deaths by drone strikes.

Continue reading at The Libertarian Institute.