Politics ain’t beanbag. Timeless words and a timeless truth. Today on the Young Voices podcast we’re joined by Jerrod Laber, who wrote a piece in the Washington Examiner on the partisan politics of playing golf. During every administration the public is treated to 4-8 years of the opposition attacking the president for playing golf and not working, and the Trump years are no different.
Jerrod wrote about this in response to Shaun King, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, who has argued that Republicans attacked Obama’s golf habits and not Trump because of racism. Jerrod says it is just politics as usual.
Follow Jerrod on Twitter @JerrodLaber Young Voices @yvadv and Stephen Kent @stephen_kent89
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In the aftermath of Trump’s missile strike, congressional Democrats urged precaution while Republican leaders promptly urged President Trump to push for Assad’s ousting. The Democrats have apparently been proved correct in emphasizing precaution; President Bashar al-Assad’s allies have since threatened reprisals against any further assaults on the regime. This development doesn’t bode well for future success in handling the Syrian crisis. A miscalculated American intervention in Syria might worsen the country’s humanitarian crisis, drag America into another war in the Middle East, and leave a leadership void for myriad extremist groups.
The humanitarian situation in Syria is already appalling, with over 400,000 people killed since 2011. The Assad regime has showed little concern for innocent civilians when securing power. If the US toughens their assaults on the regime, a Russia-led retaliation could be imminent, leading to a possible confrontation between the US and Russia. Indeed, Russia and Iran have already committed to “respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.” In this scenario, civilian casualties and internal displacement would certainly deteriorate further.
Read more at the Daily Caller
The Trump administration recently pressured the G20 to drop its long-standing commitment to free trade as part of its resolve to “protect America’s economic interests.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected multiple phrases emphasizing the importance of resisting protectionism in drafts of the summit’s joint language statement, signaling a major change in trade priorities from the U.S. government. Just like the Trans-Pacific Trade (TPP) withdrawal, the Trump administration’s isolationist position could be detrimental to its diplomatic influence, affect employment, and hinder international efforts against poverty.
Through protectionism and a distorted foreign policy, the Trump administration is toying with the already strained diplomatic relations with long-time allies, especially Germany and the United Kingdom. And if it continues to disagree on crucial economic issues like the G20 Free Trade Agreement (FTA), it might lead to strained relations on other fronts, like the efforts against terrorism or the nuclear disarmament of Iran and North Korea. With the latest developments to both issues, a disparity with allies is the last thing the US needs.
Instead, Washington should look at ways to strengthen economic ties instituted under the previous regime, particularly at a time when China is heavily expanding its trade network in a bid to displace the US.
Continue reading at The Daily Caller.
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.
This is Sunshine Week, the week where we celebrate government transparency and our “right to know.” But over the last eight years the clouds have crept in, and they’re showing no sign of going anywhere.
Former President Barack Obama failed to deliver on his campaign promise of being the “most transparent administration” ever, and ran up a bill in doing so.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the Obama administration spent a record $36.2 million in its final year on legal costs related to refusals to turn over federal documents under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Not only is that fiscally absurd, it’s also a slap in the face to those who actually believed Obama would follow through on his transparency promises.
On top of running up the legal fees, the Obama administration also set a record for the number of denied FOIL requests. The administration also told journalists and citizens it couldn’t find the requested documents more times in 2016 than ever before.