Five Minutes Five Issues: Russia Sanctions, Veterans Marijuana, DOJ Policy, Colin Kaepernick, RPI Conference
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
In a December 31 interview with Joshua Bennett at KFAR radio in Fairbanks, Alaska, I expressed much concern regarding how President Donald Trump’s foreign policy would turn out. But, I also mentioned my hope for one bright spot — reduced US government animosity toward Russia.
Soon, my hope began to be dashed as the Trump administration continued the Obama administration’s policy of deploying US troops to near Russia.
Now, the potential for the foreign policy bright spot seems to be gone. Trump, who talked during his presidential campaign about wanting to improve relations with Russia, stood to the side this week as the House of Representatives and Senate nearly unanimously passed legislation that would expand and strengthen Russia sanctions.
In the July 1, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues I talked about a United States Senate and House of Representatives reconciliation committee making an odd choice when dealing with the presence of differing Senate and House provisions in passed appropriations bills. Both provisions would allow Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend marijuana to patients in accordance with state law. Instead of including one of the provisions in the final bill, or including a compromise version, I noted the committee “entirely left out the marijuana law liberalization from the reconciled bill.”
A year later, VA appropriations legislation is again being considered. On Tuesday, the House Rules Committee barred consideration of an amendment that, like the amendment passed on the House floor last year, would have put a VA marijuana provision in the legislation.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, however, has included a VA marijuana provision in the Senate’s version of the appropriations legislation.
There is much complaining about Attorney General Jeff Sessions announcing new Department of Justice policy intended to increase asset seizures and to increase the sentences sought in prosecutions.
Much of the blame resides with the legislators and presidents who advocated for, voted for, and defended creating and retaining draconian asset seizure and sentencing laws that give Sessions the leeway to make the policy change.
There was an effort in the Obama administration’s Department of Justice to restrain asset seizures and criminal sentences. But, the rollbacks were on the margins and contained much wiggle room and loopholes. Also, because the rollbacks were accomplished just by changing administrative policy instead of by changing laws, they could be revised or replaced by the mere issuing of a new policy.
Donald Trump ran for president promising to promote expansive “law and order” powers and continued making this promise after becoming president. Sessions appears to be delivering on that promise.
What can be done in response? Congress can override the new policy via new laws. Also, state and local governments, upon whose help much US law enforcement depends, can refuse to cooperate.
There is much talk that Colin Kaepernick is blacklisted from playing in the National Football League because of his comments on political issues, including police brutality, and his refusal to stand for the national anthem at football games last year when he was a San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
It is nice to hear this week from Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh that he would not rule out Kaepernick playing for the Ravens and that he thinks Kaepernick will play in the NFL this year. Harbaugh says he has talked with Kaepernick a number of times this summer and believes Kaepernick is both “a really good football player” and “a great guy.”
While I am not disputing the right of teams not to hire Kaepernick due to his political expression, or even the length of his hair, it would be sad if such factors kept him from playing.
More speakers have been announced for the September 9 Ron Paul Institute Conference at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott. In addition to Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell, speakers will include US House of Representatives Member Walter Jones and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Whistleblower John Kiriakou. You can purchase tickets for the conference at ronpaulinstitute.org/conference.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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