Peace and Prosperity Ron Paul Institute's flagship blog Copyright Ron Paul Institute Sat, 29 Apr 2017 20:57:03 GMT Sat, 29 Apr 2017 20:57:03 GMT Five Minutes Five Issues: Lethal Tasers, Trump’s Wall, Berkeley Speech, School Friskings, War Power Adam Dick Welcome to this week's episode of the RPI blog, "Five Minutes, Five Issues." You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

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.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

While Tasers are referred to as non-lethal weapons, their use can kill people.

Graham Dyer died after police used Tasers on him in 2013. For years, the Mesquite, Texas police department prevented Dyer’s parents from finding out what happened in his interaction with the police, denying the parents’ requests for records. The parents, two years after their son’s death, obtained video of the police interaction with Dyer. Eric Dexheimer reported last week at the Austin American-Statesman that the video shows that, while Dyer was bound at the hands and feet and in the back of a police car, he was Tasered multiple times, including “apparently deliberately, in his testicles,” with one cop even saying “I’m going to kill you” as Dyer was being Tasered in the police car. In the article, Dyer’s attorney says police records indicate four cops shocked Dyer multiple times. With the new information, Dyer’s parents are moving forward with a lawsuit.

Issue two.

President Donald Trump, in a recent Associated Press interview, said, in regard to his desired wall along the United Sates-Mexico border, that it is “a tremendously good investment” if it results in stopping just one percent of illegal drugs from entering America.

Jacob Sullum, in a Wednesday article at Reason, explains the nonsense of Trump’s claim. Sullum wrote:
Cartels replace the drugs lost to interdiction, and they can do so pretty cheaply, since drugs acquire the vast majority of their value after entering the country. Given the economics of prohibition, the most drug warriors can reasonably hope to accomplish by intercepting shipments is forcing drug dealers to charge their customers more by raising production and distribution costs. But because the replacement cost is low, interdiction is unlikely to have a significant and lasting impact on retail prices.
Issue three.

University of California at Berkley officials were sued this week for allegedly violating the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by cancelling, or not adequately supporting the facilitation of, speeches on campus by political commentators Ann Coulter and David Horowitz.

Why would the First Amendment or state law speech protections be relevant? Shouldn’t this just be a contract dispute? Assuming there is an enforceable agreement regarding a speech, shouldn’t whichever party, if any, that breached the agreement pay some compensation and the whole matter be done with?

This would be just a contract dispute but for one fact — Berkley is a state government university.

One way to minimize government infringements of speech rights is to reduce government activities. Selling off government universities would help.

Issue four.

The drug war has been used as an excuse for police actions such as bringing dogs through schools and searching lockers and cars where the dogs signal drugs may be present. Cops will also frisk individual students at schools based on suspicion of drug possession. Amanda Hoskins reported at WALB-TV that the sheriff’s department of Worth County, Georgia took things a step further, frisking all 900-plus students at a high school campus on April 14.

Issue five.

Earlier this month, constitutional scholar and Ron Paul Institute Academic Board Member Louis Fisher condemned as unconstitutional President Trump’s ordering the launching of missiles to attack a Syria military installation. Fisher wrote that “President Trump has no constitutional authority to unilaterally commit the nation to war against Syria, which is the effect of launching cruise missiles against Syria.” Fisher notes that Trump’s actions fall in line with a “series of unconstitutional wars” dating back to the 1950s with President Harry Truman and the Korean War.


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

]]> Sat, 29 Apr 2017 20:57:03 GMT
US Deploys Troops Along Syria-Turkey Border Tyler Durden

Just three days after Turkish warplanes killed at least 20 US-backed Kurdish fighters along the Turkey-Syria border as well as several Kurdish peshmerga troops on Mount Sinjar in northwestern Iraq, footage posted by Syrian activists showed the US has deployed troops and APCs in the contested region, in a move that could potentially drag the US in a conflict where it already finds itself mediating between two so-called US ally forces in the proxy war against Syria.

The Turkish airstrikes also wounded 18 members of the US-backed People's Protection Units, or YPG, were criticized by both the US and Russia. The YPG is a close U.S. ally in the theatrical fight against the Islamic State (whose real purpose is destabilizing the Assad regime); it is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group because of its ties to Turkey's Kurdish rebels. The problem is that Turkey is also an ally of the US, although over the past two years relations between Turkey and all western NATO allies have deteriorated substantially for numerous familiar, and extensively discussed in the past, reasons.

On one hand, further clashes between Turkish and Kurdish forces in Syria could potentially undermine the US-led war on the Islamic State group. On the other, it risks taking an already unstable situation in Syria and escalating it substantially, should Turkey again find itself invading Syria and/or Iraq.

Which is why the US appears to have deployed troops along the border: to serve as a deterrent to further Turkish attacks.

A senior Kurdish official, Ilham Ahmad told The Associated Press that American forces began carrying out patrols along the border Thursday along with reconnaissance flights in the area. She said the deployment was in principle temporary, but may become more permanent. Another Kurdish activist said the deployment is ongoing, adding that it stretches from the Iraqi border to areas past Darbasiyah in the largely Kurdish part of eastern Syria.

"The US role has now become more like a buffer force between us and the Turks on all front lines," he said. He said US forces will also deploy as a separation force in areas where the Turkish-backed Syrian fighting forces and the Kurdish forces meet.

As noted above, the US intervention is meant to send a "a message of reassurance for the Kurds and almost a warning message" to the Turks, he said.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, did not dispute that US troops are operating with elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) along the Turkish border, but he would not get into specifics. The SDF is a Kurdish-dominated alliance fighting IS that includes Arab fighters.

"We have US forces that are there throughout the entirety of northern Syria that operate with our Syrian Democratic Force partners," Davis said. "The border is among the areas where they operate." He said the US wants the SDF to focus on liberating the IS-held town of Tabqa and the extremist group's de facto capital, Raqqa, "and not be drawn into conflicts elsewhere."

Confirming that the proxy war in Syria is becoming ever less so, the US has recently shifted from working quietly behind the scenes in Syria's conflict toward overt displays of US force in an attempt to shape the fight. Last month, about 200 Marines rolled into northern Syria backed with howitzers, significantly widening America's footprint in a highly toxic battlefield. The Marines' deployment came days after another intervention, when dozens of army troops drove outside the town of Manbij, riding Stryker armored vehicles, following an earlier conflagration of fighting between Syrian Kurdish troops and Turkish troops. The US deployment in Manbij intentionally put Americans in the middle of that rivalry, hoping to cool it down.

The SDF retook Manbij from IS control, and Turkey said it won't allow the town to be under Kurdish control, threatening to move on it. The American presence appears intended to reassure Ankara the Kurds don't hold the town.

But the new deployment puts US troops directly along the border with Turkey, another flashpoint, and immerses Washington into that increasingly hot fight. Should Erdogan happen to launch a strike against a zone containing US troops, he can simply say he was aiming elsewhere, although the retaliation by his NATO ally would be prompt.

It remains unclear if the US is now actively seeking to engage Turkey on the combat field, and is looking for a politically correct, and media friendly pretext to do so.  It is also unclear what a conflict between the US and Turkey would mean for the rest of NATO: it certainly would set a precedent, as never before has fighting broken out between two alliance members.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]> Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:11:13 GMT
Robert Wenzel and Tom Woods Defend Ron Paul Against Absurd Attack

Last week, someone posted at Twitter comments attacking Ron Paul. The comments absurdly labeled Paul — who has spent decades arguing for peace, free markets, and liberty — as adhering to “xenophobia” and promoting both “anti-trade conspiracy theories” and “a hideous corruption of libertarian ideas.”

“So what?” you may ask. After all, ignorant or spiteful comments are posted on the internet all the time. An important difference is that the someone who posted the comment on Twitter in this case has the title of Vice President For Research at the Cato Institute, a large Washington, DC-based think tank that presents itself as “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace.” Coming from a person with such an affiliation, the absurd comments may lead people not well informed about Paul to shut off considering Paul’s educational efforts.

This week, two persuasive and influential libertarian communicators presented answers to Brink Lindsey’s bizarre attack on Paul. Read here the response of Target Liberty and Economic Policy Journal editor and publisher Robert Wenzel, and read here the response of author and talk show host Tom Woods. Woods also devoted the Wednesday episode of his talk show to the matter.]]> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 13:33:44 GMT
New IHS Jane's Study: Overthrow Assad and ISIS Comes Out on Top Daniel McAdams

President Trump's about-face on Syria has left many of his supporters reeling. Repeatedly on the campaign trail -- and over the past several years -- he has mocked President Obama's decision to get involved in a "regime change" project in Syria. He correctly warned Obama back in 2013 that if you attack Syria, "very bad things will happen." In his first several weeks in office the president has gone from praising Syrian President Assad for his fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, to agreeing that "Assad can stay," to suddenly resurrecting the Obama mantra of "Assad must go!" All in a matter of two weeks!

But what happens if Trump, who is apparently under the spell of the neocons, is successful and Assad is finally overthrown? According to a new study by the prestigious, London-based IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, the chief beneficiaries of such a "success" will be ISIS.

According to the Jane's study, it is Assad's government rather than US-backed "moderate" rebels who are most taking the fight to ISIS in Syria. Some 43 percent of ISIS' battles were fought against Assad's forces, while only 17 percent of its battles were fought against US-backed forces. Mostly due to Assad's military advances in Syria, ISIS has lost about half its territory thus far this year.

IHS Markit senior Middle East analyst Columb Strack concluded that: 
It is an inconvenient reality that any US action taken to weaken the Syrian government will inadvertently benefit the Islamic State and other jihadist groups. The Syrian government is essentially the anvil to the US-led coalition’s hammer. While U.S.-backed forces surround Raqqa, the Islamic State is engaged in intense fighting with the Syrian government around Palmyra and in other parts of Homs and Deir el-Zour provinces.
Americans must understand one thing about Trump's sudden shift toward regime change in Syria: if he takes out Assad, ISIS wins.]]> Mon, 24 Apr 2017 22:39:09 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: US v. Assange, Trump Fan, Macedonia Money, Lincoln’s War, FBI Investigation Adam Dick Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

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.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

At a Thursday press conference, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed it is a priority to arrest Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.

What does the US have planned for Assange? John Kiriakou, who was imprisoned after he discussed torture by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), suggested in a Ron Paul Liberty Report interview on Tuesday that the US would like to bring an Espionage Act case against Assange in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia where Kiriakou was prosecuted and where charges were filed against Edward Snowden. Kiriakou explains:
The Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, Virginia is known as “the espionage court,” and it’s called that because no national security defendant has ever won a case there. The judges are “hanging judges.” The government knows that not only will it win, but, if a defendant elects to go to trial, the jury will likely be made up of people from the district — from the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, the intelligence contractors, the Department of Homeland Security. So, if you’re charged with a national security crime in the Eastern District of Virginia, you don’t have a prayer.
Issue two.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) makes regular appearances in the “Neocon Watch” section of the Ron Paul Institute website due to his frequent expressions of strong support for escalating US intervention abroad. Graham was also a “never-Trumper” after ending his own 2016 presidential campaign.

Seeing the Trump administration in action, though, has turned Graham into a Trump fan. Interviewed this week on Fox News, Graham said:
I am like the happiest dude in America right now. We’ve got a president and a national security team that I’ve been dreaming of for eight years.
Issue three.

Why did the US Agency for International Development (USAID) transfer nearly 5 million dollars to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation - Macedonia during the Obama administration? Maybe the purpose was to effect a change in government in the European nation, something with which USAID has familiarity.

In the June 5, 2015 episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams explained that a source of US government antagonism toward the Macedonia government related to the Macedonia government supporting allowing a Russia-backed pipeline to pass through the country and opposing sanctions on Russia.

Maybe more information will come to light because Judicial Watch filed this week a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the US Department of State and USAID seeking records and communications relating to Open Society Foundation – Macedonia funding and political activities.

Issue four.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized Iran for its relationship with Syria, stating, “Iran continues to support the brutal Assad regime in Syria, prolonging a conflict that has killed approximately half a million Syrians and displaced millions more."

Tillerson’s comment brings to mind US President Abraham Lincoln. Bashar Assad faces opposition that seeks to overthrow his government. In Lincoln’s case, some states chose to secede from his government. Instead of just exercising power in what remained of the US, Lincoln chose war. Estimates are that more than half a million people died in that war.

Issue five.

In November of 2013, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute website about how Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) documents had been released a week earlier revealing the FBI had investigated the website and its founding editors Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo for at least six years beginning in 2002. I related that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), representing, was suing the FBI in response.

Here is an update on the case. Helen Christopher reported Monday at Courthouse News Service that, as a result of the ongoing lawsuit, the FBI has agreed to turn over the records it created in its investigation, as well as to pay $299,000 for attorney fees.

Julia Mass of the ACLU is quoted in the article saying the FBI documents “reveal a very troubling focus on our clients’ political speech.”


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

]]> Mon, 24 Apr 2017 15:40:04 GMT
US Preparing Charges Against Julian Assange Jason Ditz

US officials have repeatedly vilified WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over the past several years, and intermittently called for his assassination, but just now appear to be nearing a decision to file charges against him, accusing him of crimes for involvement in the whistleblower organization.

What the charges might be remain a matter of speculation, as Assange’s lawyer says they’ve heard nothing from the Justice Department. CIA chief Mike Pompeo, however, suggested the charges could be speech related, insisting Assange doesn’t get “First Amendment freedoms” because he isn’t American.

This sudden interest in going after Assange is seen at least in part to be fueled by the Trump Administration’s effort to distance itself from WikiLeaks’ release of information harmful to the Clinton campaign in the 2016 election. Pompeo angrily attacked WikiLeaks just last week as a “non-state hostile intelligence service.”

Attorney General Jefferson Sessions insists that even though there haven’t been charges laid against Assange yet that arresting him is “a priority” for the Justice Department, citing the number of “quite serious” leaks WikiLeaks has been responsible for.

Even if the charges are filed, arresting Assange is likely to be a tricky matter, as he’s presently in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London, and Ecuador provided him asylum specifically because of fears he’d be sent to the United States and subjected to torture.

The British government has so far not allowed Assange to leave the embassy to travel to Ecuador, citing Sweden’s interest in extraditing him for “questioning” related to a rape allegation. The concern has long been that if Assange was sent to Sweden he’d be quickly forwarded on to the US government, and would probably never be seen or heard from again.

Interestingly, President Trump publicly praised WikiLeaks during the campaign for releasing information about Hillary Clinton, even joking that WikiLeaks might be able to find Clinton’s “lost” emails. Having since turned against Russia in large part as a political effort to distance himself from allegations of election manipulation, Trump’s cabinet is also turning against WikiLeaks.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Fri, 21 Apr 2017 00:09:55 GMT
Are Psychopaths Running the Show? Michal Zoldy

According to a study carried out by British researchers back in the 1990s, the number of psychopaths in any given population is one percent. In the case of Britain that means that there are roughly 600 thousand psychopaths in that country alone. The problem is that such people tend to struggle hard for influence and power over other people, in order to be able to intimidate, bully and/or harass those who happen to find themselves in positions and situations in which they depend on those psychopaths, either as their subordinates, employees or family members.

That interesting British study was seeking to shed more light on the ever growing problem of workplace bullying and harassment. Upon reading those results and explanations during my postgraduate studies in Leeds (UK) I did a bit of reflecting and realized that I, too, knew two such psychopaths who had occupied high managerial positions and made the life of their subordinates a living hell. If it is possible, which it often times is, people have no other alternative but quit and seek a new job, just to escape and not have to come into daily contact with a thuggish psychopathic boss.

In other instances the solution is divorce, if a husband or a wife happens to be a psychopath.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to recognize the scope, nature and implications of the problem at its early stages. Throughout history there appeared extremely dangerous charismatic psychopaths also among national political leaders, most prominent among whom had been Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, to name but a few. Letting people like that come to power, either through a democratic process or by seizing it by force, is a big mistake for it can even lead to global disasters with tragic consequences. It never ceases to amaze me why tens of millions of Germans, known to be intelligent and educated people, failed to notice and realize that Adolf Hitler was a textbook example of monstrous psychopath.

One explanation is that psychopaths are extremely skillful orators and manipulators. Be that as it may, it is highly advisable and useful to stay vigilant, just in case things might start getting out of control until it is too late. The price for failing to pay attention and doing nothing can be very high.

This brief glance into the past brings me to a question that offers itself almost automatically. Are there psychopaths, subclinical or downright pathological, also among today’s prominent politically active personalities or even political leaders? And what about the intellectual level of such prominent people? Just as a high school principal must not be an insane psychopath or a person with under-average IQ, so, too, anyone occupying or hoping to occupy a position of political leadership must not be mentally ill or an intellectually deficient individual.

In his recent article, entitled "Is our political class mentally ill?," Justin Raimondo poses the same all-important question and arrives at a grim conclusion. I agree with his observations also as a commentator from afar. At least in my part of the world politics used to be perceived as an intellectually demanding field of human activity where there is no place for immoral, insane and intellectually deficient individuals. But that is not what one increasingly sees even in many prominent political figures and "media personalities" of today. In other words, it seems that these days you can successfully climb the political ladder or become an editor of a national daily if you are a psychopath or an undereducated simpleminded moron.

Worse still, the more radical you are the greater the chances of your success. Rude and crude bullish radicalism tends to permeate and even dominate this upside-down world of politics, even, or especially, in English-speaking countries.

Let me give you an example. The prime minister of my country back in the 1990s had been ferociously criticized and vilified by American politicians for being an autocrat. The then-Secretary of State went so far as to call my country a black hole. But for all his deficiencies that man was an archangel Gabriel compared, say, to Bill Clinton who bombed a Serbian passenger train full of innocent passengers and even the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, George Bush who is personally responsible for the havoc, suffering and death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, or, for that mater, Medal of Freedom laureate former State Secretary Albright who said that the 500 thousand Iraqi children dead from US-imposed sanctions was "worth it." 

What difference is there between an insane radical suicide bomber who blows himself up in a busy market place or on a bus full of innocent passengers, and a prominent Western political leader ordering an invasion or bombing of a foreign country and/or imposing sanctions that kills infinitely more innocent people than a crazy suicide bomber?

Yes, Justin Raimondo is right. Today’s political class does show worrying symptoms of mental illness characterized by extremely radical, irresponsible, and dangerous mindsets, views, decisions and orders. As a result, there is ever more reason for grave concern. While you can quit a job where you suffer under a psychopathic boss and divorce a psychopathic spouse, you can’t leave your country equally easily and move elsewhere. Besides, where else could you possibly go?

Michael Zoldy was Director of the Slovak Information Agency.
]]> Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:16:37 GMT
Examining the Drug War and Trump Administration: Adam Dick on Liberty Talk Radio Adam Dick
Watch the complete interview here:

You can find my previous Liberty Talk Radio interview here.]]> Wed, 19 Apr 2017 17:52:15 GMT
Ron Paul: Neocons in Trump Administration are Pushing US Conflict with Russia Adam Dick
Seeking to explain the reason for the shift in policy toward Russia, Paul points to Trump’s lack of a “firm set of principles” regarding foreign policy and the presence of neoconservatives who “have a great deal of influence” in the Trump administration and who oppose being “more open and friendly with Russia.”

While neoconservatives may have had much influence on Trump recently, might that change? Paul suggests there is potential for more big swings in Trump’s foreign policy. In addressing the potential for further escalation of US military attacks in Syria, for example, Paul says, “I don’t think Trump has a precise position, and it changes depending on which advisor he might have talked to recently.”

In addition to US relations with Russia, Paul, who is chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, discusses in the interview additional aspects of US foreign policy.

Paul says that, as it has through history, the seeking of war profiteering, such as for the military-industrial complex, plays a significant role in promoting war or promoting “a sense of war and conflict to make an excuse to build more and more weapons.”

Watch the complete interview here:

Read a transcript here.]]> Tue, 18 Apr 2017 18:45:44 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Trump Intervention, Will Grigg, Border Searches, World Policeman, Symposium Adam Dick Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

Read a transcript of the new episode, including links to further information regarding the topics discussed, here:

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.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

Many people hoped Donald Trump would, as president, significantly reduce the United States government’s foreign intervention, including wars. They grabbed onto several of Trump’s noninterventionist-sounding comments during the presidential campaign, and they wished for the best.

Now, with the end of the first hundred days of his presidency near, Trump has indicated that in many ways his administration will expand US foreign intervention, not reduce it.

Here are a few examples of the Trump presidency dashing hopes for noninterventionist actions. Trump, while campaigning, said he would seek good relations with Russia. As president, he has continued the escalating of the US military presence near Russia. During the campaign, Trump said the Russia and Syria governments could take care of fighting ISIS in Syria. President Trump has substantially increased the US military presence in Syria with the purported objective of defeating ISIS, and, last week, Trump ordered a missile attack on a Syria military installation used by Syrian and Russian militaries. During the campaign Trump called NATO obsolete, On Wednesday, he said NATO is “no longer obsolete” and that instead it is “the bulwark of international peace and security.”

Issue two.

William Norman Grigg died on Wednesday. Grigg was a masterful writer of many compelling articles. Often he wrote regarding the little guy abused by government and its armed agents. The Ron Paul Institute website features some of Grigg’s articles. More can be found at Grigg’s website Pro Libertate.

Issue three.

In the March 31 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues I talked about legislation Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) was planning to introduce to address phones and other electronic devices being searched at American borders without a warrant. Last week, Wyden announced his introduction of the legislation in the US Senate. The bill, called the Protecting Data at the Border Act, has also been introduced in the US House of Representatives.

The bill provides protections against the US government requiring a search of the digital content of a US citizen or permanent resident’s electronic equipment at the border without a court-ordered warrant based on a showing of probably cause. It also provides protections against a US citizen or permanent resident being denied entry to or exit from America for refusing in various ways to provide access to electronic information at the border. The bill, though, falls short of what many people advocating for respect of privacy desire. For example, the bill does not provide similar protections for foreigners visiting America, and the bill explicitly does not limit access via the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that plays a big role in surveillance.

Issue four.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared on Monday, “We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world.”

Tillerson’s declaration of US government policy is in line with the US being the policeman of the world and the “humanitarian intervention” justification offered during the Obama administration for US efforts to overthrow the governments of Libya and Syria.

Issue five.

Last weekend, I attended the symposium in Lake Jackson, Texas hosted by the Ludwig von Mises Institute and the Ron Paul Institute. I talked with RPI supporters and listened to speakers, including Ron Paul, Lew Rockwell, David Stockman, Thomas Massie, Daniel McAdams, Jeff Deist, Philip Giraldi, and Hunt Tooley.

Video of the full symposium is posted at the Ron Paul Institute website.


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

]]> Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:13:23 GMT
CNN Confirms Fox's Napolitano - British Intelligence Passed On Trump Surveillance To US Spy Agency Tyler Durden

Roughly a month ago, during the height of the mainstream media mania over Trump's alleged collusion with Russia, Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox and Friends with a startling new revelation, namely that President Obama circumvented U.S. law and employed a British intelligence agency to conduct surveillance of the Trump campaign.  Despite Napolitano's assertion that the information had been confirmed by 3 separate sources, the Obama administration and foreign intelligence agencies issued immediate denials and the mainstream media was all too happy to trash the latest 'conspiracy theory' of their competitor network.  Here's what he said:
Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command.  He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice.  He used GCHQ.

What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database.

So by simply having two people go to them saying, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving president-elect Trump,’ he’s able to get it, and there’s no American fingerprints on this.
Of course,  Napolitano's efforts ultimately earned him a multi-day suspension from Fox News.

Now, some 30 days after Napolitano broke the story, CNN seems to have just confirmed it:
British and other European intelligence agencies intercepted communications between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials and other Russian individuals during the campaign and passed on those communications to their US counterparts, US congressional and law enforcement and US and European intelligence sources tell CNN.

The communications were captured during routine surveillance of Russian officials and other Russians known to western intelligence. British and European intelligence agencies, including GCHQ, the British intelligence agency responsible for communications surveillance, were not proactively targeting members of the Trump team but rather picked up these communications during what's known as 'incidental collection,' these sources tell CNN.

The European intelligence agencies detected multiple communications over several months between the Trump associates and Russian individuals -- and passed on that intelligence to the US. The US and Britain are part of the so-called 'Five Eyes' agreement (along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand), which calls for open sharing among member nations of a broad range of intelligence.
Of course, we're quite certain that, as CNN notes, the intercepted communications were merely "incidental" and in no way requested by the Obama administration, but rather, were conveniently volunteered, unsolicited, by British intelligence.  Moreover, we're sure that British intelligence also had very innocent reasons for "accidentally" happening upon the communication of Trump's advisors.  That said, we do wonder whether they also happened upon any communications from the Hillary campaign...

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 23:27:09 GMT
Is Krugman Right About Syria? RPI Staff

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is skewed weekly by libertarian luminaries Robert Murphy and Tom Woods in their "Contra Krugman" podcast. For this episode, RPI Director Daniel McAdams joins the duo to pick apart a column by Krugman criticizing Trump's missile strike on Syria for being merely a "publicity stunt." Asks Woods: "what if what the government and mainstream media are absolutely correct and Assad personally gassed those people? Should the US have responded?" Listen to McAdams' response at Contra Krugman.

Photo: Gage Skidmore.]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 21:48:48 GMT
Will Trump Win? Michael S. Rozeff

At Trump’s command, the US military is adding forces and use of force everywhere: Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Korea. Victory is ill-defined in all these places, but the question remains. Will Trump win?

I predict that he will lose, and so America will lose. In Korea, we’ve been at the Yalu once before and China entered North Korea in numbers, throwing American forces back to the 38th parallel. That simply means that China is not going to buckle under to Trump. He won’t win there. In Afghanistan, there is no way he’ll win. The reconstituted Taliban shows that. Somalia has been a losing ground for the US military once before and will be again. Trump will not devote the enormous numbers of boots on the ground that it would take really to win in either Afghanistan or Somalia.

The more that the US military presence goes up in Iraq and Yemen, the more that it means the US is not winning anything. At best the US neutralizes ISIS in that region, i.e. restores the previous unstable status quo. The US lost in Iraq and that won’t change. A continued and heightened presence is a resource drain and a recruiting tool for extremists. It means more blowback. In Syria, Trump will encounter resistance from Syrian forces, Hezbollah forces, Iranian forces and Russian forces. Any heightened encounter with these forces is not a victory, but a loss.

There is nothing to be won for America in any of these regional conflicts. That’s the most basic reason why Trump and America will lose as Trump commits the US more and more to these wars, unstable places and hot spots. The more that’s committed by our government to these dead ends, the more we lose. We certainly lose whatever measure of peace we now have. Killing and bombing these places and peoples doesn’t equate to victory, which isn’t even defined in such wars.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 20:02:58 GMT
Ron Paul Warns of Dangers in America from Accelerated Middle East Intervention Adam Dick
Paul, who served in the US House of Representatives as a Republican from Texas and is now the chairman of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, further discusses in the interview harm in America that accompanies US military intervention overseas. Included is “detriment to our personal liberties here at home,” such as via increasing disrespect for privacy. Also, Paul warns of “the great burden” financially of foreign intervention. This financial burden, Paul declares, is particularly worrisome considering that, as Paul puts it, “we are insolvent right now.”

Watch Paul’s complete interview here:

]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 19:18:53 GMT
The Last Palm Sunday in Syria? RPI Staff
]]> Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:17:20 GMT
Trump: NATO Is ‘No Longer Obsolete’ Jason Ditz

After fueling a lot of tensions with his comments during the 2016 campaign that NATO is an obsolete alliance, President Trump today declared that the alliance is “no longer obsolete” following meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Though Trump presented this in part as NATO having capitulated to his demands for the alliance to be reorganized around fighting against ISIS, the comments will also be seen in the context of soaring tensions between the US and Russia.

NATO was, after all, designed to fight the Soviet Union, and Trump’s comments on obsolescence were in the context of his call for improved US-Russia relations. Now that he seems firmly on the side of further hostility toward Russia, it appears to shore up his view of NATO.

But while Trump offered “praise” to some extent in saying the alliance was obsolete, he continued to complain about a number of members who don’t “pay what they owe” and “meet their financial obligations,” continuing to press for all NATO members to spend at least two percent of their GDP.

Despite presenting this as an obligation, there is nothing within the rules of NATO to compel members to spend so much, and many nations have openly refused to spend two percent of their GDP, despite the Trump Administration continuing to hype that as a goal.

Reprinted with permission from]]> Wed, 12 Apr 2017 22:00:18 GMT
The Malleable Bi-Partisan Utility of Poison Gas Franklin C. Spinney

If there was a centerpiece to Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign for President of the United States, it was her struggle to convince the American people that Donald Trump was congenitally incapable of reacting rationally when surprised by a dangerous international crisis.  She struggled futilely to contrast her experience and gravitas to Trump’s reckless impulsiveness. In a rational world, the recent Trumpian brain fart of firing 59 cruise missiles (worth about $90 million) at a nearly empty — and forewarned —  Syrian airfield should be a candidate case study to test Clinton’s psychological theory. But it won’t be. Mr. Trump merely did what Ms. Clinton called on him to do (see this video) a few hours prior to the attack. Moreover, the political response to Trump’s attack has been one of widespread bipartisan support, with particular enthusiasm among senior Democrats [e.g, see 12  3].

Trump's cruise missile attack was launched in reaction to the unproved (at least the American public has not been presented with the proof of) allegation that President Assad of Syria dropped poison gas bombs on his own people in Idlib province. This link will take you to an official statement of the assertions that now pass for evidence supporting the allegation. Note the absence of photographic evidence of the mass casualties would attend any attack by weapons-grade sarin gas in a populated area. 

So, Trump’s allegation is a hypothesis taking the form of a narrative. Bear in mind a “narrative” is simply a story consisting of real or imaginary connected events. In this case, there are at least two alternative hypotheses, each made plausible in part by the limited nature of this particular gas horror: One alternative hypothesis is that the chemical release was a false flag operation concocted by jihadi rebels to trick the US and its allies to more actively join their war for regime change in Syria.  Another alternative hypothesis is that Assad's Air Force unwittingly bombed a Jihadi ammo dump containing chemical weapons. The rebels have long been suspected of having access to a primitive chemical weapons capability that would be more consistent with the nature of civilian deaths than would be the case if Assad used of weapons-grade sarin gas as suggested by Hillary Clinton and the White House.  The simple fact is that the American people have not been presented with a “slam dunk” proof of which, if any, of these hypotheses is closest to being the truth. For now, the proof is “trust us."

There is, however, a reason to be suspicious of the government’s claims: Ted Postal, MIT Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy just released a scathing critique of the White House "narrative." Moreover, American politicians have a long and sordid history of manipulating public perceptions and constructing “narratives” with regard to the use of poison gas to kill large numbers of defenseless civilians in the Middle East.  This article by my good friend Andrew Cockburn offers an important reminder in this regard.  Andrew's subject — poison gas, war in the Middle East, and the malleable bipartisan utility it has offered to cynical US politicians — is a dispassionate warning that is particularly timely, given the hysterical nature of contemporary political debate in the United States. It is leanly written but chock a block with information about real — not imaginary — events.  It is worth careful study.

Reprinted with author's permission from The Blaster.]]> Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:43:10 GMT
Why Do Civilians Killed by US Bombers Count Less? Dennis J. Kucinich undefined

The number of civilians killed in recent US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria is rising. As we bomb villages to save villages isn't it time to look back to 2002, when President Bush was so sure Iraq had WMDs that he launched a war which killed over 1,000,000 innocent Iraqis. Nearly 4,500 US soldiers have been killed. The monetary cost of the war in Iraq will exceed three trillion dollars. The US war in Iraq is in its 14th year.

Now President Trump, with the support of Saudi Arabia (which has helped fund many of the ISIS, Al Queda and Al Nusra fighters from 90 different countries who have descended on Syria) is escalating the war, amid rising calls for regime change, in the face of a recent gas attack (which has still not been independently investigated).

Why are the innocent civilian deaths acknowledged to be caused by US bombers less consequential?

Reprinted with author's permission.

]]> Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:30:14 GMT
Andrew Napolitano: Police Had ‘No Right’ to Drag Passenger off United Plane Adam Dick
Commenting on the much-talked-about incident Sunday at Chicago O’Hare International Airport in which police forcibly removed a passenger from his seat and a commercial flight so space could be made available to shuttle United employees on the flight, Napolitano opines that the passenger had “every right to stay” on the flight for which he had paid. In contrast, says Napolitano, the police behaved improperly in using force to remove the passenger.

Napolitano explains:
When the police arrive, they shouldn’t be unthinking automatons who do whatever the person calls asks them to do. Meaning, if the reason for their call is not a crime, they should leave. They have no right using violence to resolve a civil dispute….

If the passenger is politely or reasonably sitting there waiting for the flight to take off, he’s not committing a crime, he’s not engaged in violence, he’s not doing anything that justifies police force.

Napolitano is a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member.]]> Tue, 11 Apr 2017 22:44:11 GMT
Ron Paul: US Attack on Syria is to Prop Up the Military-Industrial Complex Adam Dick
Paul elaborates that the reason for the attack has “nothing to do” with concern about the Syria government’s purported use of chemical weapons to kill innocent people, given that the US has long been, and continues to be, in the practice of killing innocent people.

Paul also suggests in the interview that neoconservatives influence US actions in regard to Syria. Many people had hoped that President Donald Trump’s “America First” emphasis would cause a move away from military intervention against governments overseas. However, it appears that the influence of people supporting such intervention, including neoconservatives, continues strong in the Trump administration. While Paul says that “the neoconservatives politically are winning,” he proceeds to note that, at the same time, he believes that “the American people are still with us who believe that this war is absolutely unnecessary.”

Watch Paul’s complete interview here:

  ]]> Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:31:59 GMT