Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity All Blogs 2017 http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/rss.aspx?blogid=5 Sat, 25 Nov 2017 05:00:00 GMT Sat, 25 Nov 2017 07:40:18 GMT Libya: A New False Dawn http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That quote is worth bearing in mind when assessing the chances of the latest United Nations peace plan for Libya.

Every autumn, along with the falling leaves, comes a new UN plan for ending Libya’s civil war, now into its fourth year. 

Like the plans before it, the current version of the United Nations Support Mission for Libya has superficial attractions.

It proposes a new slimmed-down version of the government the UN itself installed in Tripoli two years ago, cutting the number of its presidency from nine members to three, one chosen from each of the country’s three regions. 

The elected parliament in Tobruk voted yes to it this week, and there were encouraging signs from its rival, unelected, parliament, the State Council in Tripoli. Cue optimistic words from the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, to the United Nations Security Council - his boss - earlier this month about how the peace process is advancing.

But the reality is, it ain’t going to work.

And it ain’t going to work for the same reason that all the previous UN peace plans didn’t work.

The most obvious reason why it will not work is right there in the UN plan: The three-strong presidency needs to be agreed by a grand council of all Libya’s factions, expected to be called by the UN in February, which will also decide a date for new elections. But if all Libya’s factions could agree a way forward, there would never have been a civil war in the first place.

That is reality behind the superficial optimism that greeted the yes-vote to the new presidency by Tobruk - Libya’s only governing group that was actually elected.

The UN’s powerlessness was exposed two weeks ago, when Tobruk refused to let a UN plane, bringing western Libyan MPs to the parliament, was refused permission to land. The UN greeted this with a meek protest, and nothing more. Outside powers have other things to think about, and there was no Big Power heft to push Tobruk to change its mind.

The reality is that the country remains in political turmoil. 

In the east, supporters of Tobruk’s army commander, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, have begun a petition for him to be declared Libyan President. This likely will not work and the Field Marshall himself knows it is not necessary. After his successful operations against Islamists, clearing them from Benghazi, Libya’s second city, he has a fair chance of walking it to victory if Libya held a Presidential election.

With Benghazi free, the city is shrugging off three years of battle. Flights and shipping are being transferred from Tobruk, at Libya’s eastern extremity, back to Benghazi. Oil is flowing from the Sirte Basin, where the country’s oil wealth is concentrated.

Tripoli, meanwhile, is undergoing more and more deportations: The militias who control the streets fight each other, kidnappings are endemic, and citizens are humiliated by having to line up for hours to withdraw paltry sums of money from state banks just to survive. All of which is an indictment on the Tripoli government which, despite UN backing, has failed to impose itself.

In other words, eastern Libya is humming, and will not bend its knee to any UN plan not to its liking.​​​ Outside powers are also disunited. France and Italy both had strategies, Italy backing the Tripoli rulers, France Tobruk. Russia has also signaled support for Tobruk, enjoying warm relations with Haftar, though formally all three states endorse the “UN process.”

The wild card is the United States. The Trump administration has kept its distance from Libya, with Trump himself declaring the US has “no interest” in the country.

That may be changing. This month Libya’s oil chief Mustafa Sanallah and, reportedly, a member of Haftar’s entourage, were both in Houston to meet Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. The location of the meetings was important: Tillerson is an oil man, the former chief executive of Exxon, and Houston is also the HQ of American oil companies who have a presence in eastern Libya. The companies are keen to see production get going again, and Haftar’s advisors are keen to remind them that, since capturing the Sirte Basin from assorted militias a year back, the general has allowed the oil to flow unlike the militias who held it to ransom.​

In the end, Libya’s war is likely to be settled by old fashioned great-powers moves, not the illusionary plans of the disrespected UN.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:55:11 GMT
The Worldwide Influence of American States’ Marijuana Legalization Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/

The momentum is behind marijuana legalization in America, with majority public support countrywide, legalization approved in eight states and Washington, DC, and legalization expected soon in more jurisdictions via both ballot measures and legislature votes. Backing this momentum is people’s recognition that the sky has not fallen either where legalization has been implemented or in the many additional places where state and local governments have adopted lesser measures of medical marijuana legalization and marijuana decriminalization.

State and local governments opting out of aspects of the war on marijuana also can have an influence beyond the borders of the United States, as exemplified Wednesday in comments by Conservative Party Parliament Member Crispin Blunt in the British House of Commons.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, where Prime Minister Theresa May is subjected to questions from Parliament members, Blunt offered a critique of the war on drugs, referencing the legalization of marijuana in parts of America in support. Blunt said he wished to draw May’s attention to the fact that “global policy” in regard to drug prohibition “is beginning to change” and asked May if, “in the face of the evidential failure of the policy since the 1961 UN [Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs],” May would “look at the evidence that is going to emerge from the United States and Canada on the legalization and regulation of cannabis markets there as well as decriminalization in Portugal and elsewhere.”

May, who is a member of the same political party as Blunt, indicated she has no interest in budging from her prohibition support. “I take a different view,” concluded May in her response to Blunt, “I think that it’s right that we continue to fight the war against drugs.”

May, or her successor, may not be able to long rebuff the desire for change suggested by Blunt. As people in Britain see over time more and more people benefiting from governments abroad affording greater respect for freedom in regard to marijuana, and hopefully increasingly other drugs as well, the momentum for similar change in Britain may reach a level where politicians like May either acquiesce or are swept aside.

President George Washington said in his farewell address, known for its advocacy of a noninterventionist foreign policy, “the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection—and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” Blunt’s comments Wednesday in the British Parliament is one small example of the positive influence Washington suggested.

The withdrawal of state and local governments in whole or in part from participation in the war on marijuana is showing the benefits states’ rights can yield for liberty and how the expansion of respect for people’s rights by several American “laboratories of democracy” can become an influence for other states and even other nations to expand respect for individual rights. Isn’t this a better way of advancing freedom abroad than methods such as military intervention, election interference, coup support, and sanctions that the US government has pursued purportedly for that purpose?]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:32:04 GMT
Ron Paul Rewind: Ron Paul’s Interview with Charlie Rose Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Charlie Rose’s presence on national broadcast television has been suspended and may be over. On Monday, CBS News, where Rose has been a cohost of CBS This Morning and has been a correspondent at 60 Minutes, announced it has suspended its relationship with Rose because of allegations that Rose sexually harassed employees and potential employees of Charlie Rose, Inc., which produces the Charlie Rose interview show that Rose hosts. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has suspended its taping and airing of the Charlie Rose show, and PBS has suspended its distribution of the show.

In 2013, Rose interviewed libertarian communicator Ron Paul, who had earlier in the year completed his time as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The in-depth interview begins with Paul responding to Rose’s request for an explanation of what libertarianism means to Paul, which leads to a discussion regarding the application of libertarian ideas in various scenarios. In the 22-minute interview, Paul addresses topics including the American economy, Paul’s book The School Revolution, and several US foreign policy matters.

Watch the complete interview here:

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:55:14 GMT
OMG! Trump Aide Met With NATO Partner Hungary During Campaign! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/

The media frenzy over "Russiagate" seems to get progressively more stupid as desperation takes hold. To sustain the sense of frenzy -- which Russiagate cultists call "drip drip drip" -- they need new sensational bombshells every day. Except there aren't any. So the media makes them up.

Case-in-point this breathless piece from the Capitol Hill rag, The Hill, screeching paranoia over the fact that an advisor to candidate Trump's presidential campaign MET WITH AN ADVISOR TO HUNGARY'S PRIME MINISTER!!!! OMG!!! Drip Drip Drip!!! GET ME MUELLER, STAT!!!

What makes the latest earth-shattering revelation all the more ridiculous is that reading the article it becomes painfully obvious that the author has no clue that Hungary is actually a strategic ally of the United States as a fellow member of the NATO alliance. Thus a meeting between a representative of the prospective President of the United States and a representative of the Prime Minister of one of the United States' closest allies, Hungary, is portrayed as some kind of smoking gun while in fact it should be considered the most normal thing on earth. 

A smooth transition for an incoming occupant of the White House naturally requires that the new president have established contacts among as many friends and allies overseas as possible and is critical to maintaining normal diplomatic relations. This is nothing new.

And Hungary was not only an early NATO ally of the United States after the Berlin Wall fell: it was a partner trusted enough before its NATO membership to host a major US military base in central Europe. 

But The Hill's modern-day Bob Woodward is having none of it! He's cracked the code! Hence his headline: "Carter Page held high-level meetings with pro-Putin Hungarian government."

What the article presents as a smoking gun of the Trump campaign's collusion with foreign powers is obvious to anyone with more than five minutes experience in international relations to be a positive and encouraging development: then-Hungarian Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi was doing her job -- and assisting her US partner -- by organizing a meeting between Trump campaign representatives and Hungarian government representatives.

But in the twisted minds of the Russiagate cultists, this normal process is manipulated into some sort of secret Putin infiltration of the Trump campaign.

Writing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban off as simply "pro-Putin" exposes a level of ignorance that is genuinely breathtaking. Even for a journalist. Orban is head of a three-times democratically-elected government in Hungary that has been a consistent and steadfast partner of the US. Before he was attacked by neocons like Anne Applebaum for objecting to the Brussels-mandated invasion of Hungary by Middle East "refugees," he was considered a solid Atlanticist. Orban has always looked West for his alliances even as he realizes that there is no harm in looking east for business relationships as well.

On a day when we learn that Google will "de-rank" (hide) RT articles presumably because they are to be considered "fake news," we are treated to a real piece of fake news by an organization that Google happily promotes in its search engine. How well this Orwell thing is working out...]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:17:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Slavery Support, RT Threat, Trump Impeachment, Kratom, Frisking Students Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ 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.

In a new Gallup poll nearly half of surveyed Americans support bringing back slavery, at least if those enslaved are “young Americans” and the master is the United States government. Forty-nine percent of individuals asked in November said they support “requiring all young men and young women in the US to give one year of service to the nation — either in the military forces or in nonmilitary work here or abroad.” Forty-five present said they are opposed.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution says slavery is permitted only as punishment after conviction of a crime. Of course, the US government has violated that clear limitation through conscription both during peacetime and wars including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Issue two.

On Monday, RT complied with a US government demand that it register as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry provided a reason why the US government would be so unhappy with RT that it made the unusual demand on the media company. Parry writes:
The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.
Issue three.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) announced Wednesday his introduction of five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The impeachment resolution includes some laughable reasons such as that Trump undermined freedom of the press by calling press organizations “fake news.”

Unmentioned is Trump’s waging of wars overseas.

Cohen’s resolution brings to mind comments of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in a press conference when impeachment proceedings were taking place against President Bill Clinton. Paul said that Congress should have been addressing “the unconstitutionality of presidents waging wars” without congressional approval, which Paul called “a lot more serious” than Clinton’s scandal involving Monica Lewinsky that the impeachment dealt with.

Issue four.

In the October 13, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) backing off on plans to quickly put kratom in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and instead pursuing a slower process including a public comment period and a scientific and medical review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced an FDA “public health advisory related to the FDA’s mounting concerns regarding risks associated with the use of kratom.” He also noted that the FDA is working, including through seizures, to prevent kratom from entering America.

While the seizures are bad enough, Mike Riggs writes at Reason that Gottlieb’s tone in the announcement suggests the FDA will be working with the DEA “to put kratom in Schedule I—the most tightly regulated category of drugs.”

Issue five.

In the April 28, June 10, and October 6 episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the sheriff’s department of Worth County, Georgia having frisked 900-plus students at a high school, purportedly in an effort to find illegal drugs, as well as a lawsuit by students against the sheriff’s department in response and the indictment of the sheriff and two deputies on charges related to the friskings.

Here is an update. WALB-TV reported that there was a Tuesday announcement by the students’ lawyers that the sheriff’s department has agreed to pay a three million dollars settlement for the lawsuit. The story also noted that this week the state’s governor has suspended the county sheriff and appointed an interim replacement.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ Sun, 19 Nov 2017 19:35:47 GMT
Reps. Duncan, Massie, and Jones Challenge the US Government’s War in Afghanistan Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/
First up, Duncan discussed the futility of the US government trying to control Afghanistan where successive governments, including the Soviet Union most recently before the US, have failed in such attempts for centuries. Duncan further commented concerning US wars since 2001 that it is “very sad that we have allowed all these trillions of dollars to have been spent and all of these lives [to] have been lost needlessly.” Duncan continued, “I think that we’re long past the time that we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, and we shouldn’t keep continuing to drag this out.” Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote more regarding Duncan’s comments here.

Next, Massie discussed with hearing witness John F. Sopko, the inspector general in charge of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the billions spent on Afghanistan reconstruction efforts and what that spending has yielded. Sopko indicated that 120.78 billion dollars had been spent on Afghanistan reconstruction through the end of September and that another 7.42 billion has been authorized and appropriated but not yet spent. Focusing on the overlap of the US war on drugs and US actions in Afghanistan, Massie asked Sopko about US drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan and the results of such efforts. Sopko explained that, though 8.6 billion dollars had been spent on “fighting narcotics” in the country, since 2015 the production of narcotics in Afghanistan has increased by 43 percent.

Last, Jones began his comments by discussing a letter he had written to President Donald Trump on July 18 asking Trump to “come to Congress first” for a debate on the future of US policy in regard to Afghanistan before the executive branch takes any action to increase the number of troops in the country — advice Trump did not end up following. In the letter, Jones notes, he also expressed agreement with some of Trump’s remarks, from before Trump became president, criticizing the Afghanistan War. Ending the Afghanistan War has long been a focus of Jones’ work in Congress. Looking at “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the Afghanistan War, which Jones praised Sopko and SIGAR for helping uncover, Jones lamented the inability to repair roads and bridges in America while the US government has spent a great sum of money in Afghanistan. Jones emphasized the futility of the US war in Afghanistan near the end of his comments, saying:
I have the Marine base Camp Lejeune in my district. I have talked to Marines — active duty and retirees — who have been to Afghanistan five, six, and seven times. They say ‘nothing will ever change.’
Below is video of the complete hearing. You can watch Duncan’s comments starting at time marker 37:48, Massie’s comments starting at 1:05:35, and Jones’ comments starting at 1:14:32.

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:43:41 GMT
Anti-Orban US State Dept Repeatedly Interferes in Hungarian Affairs – Daniel McAdams RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/


]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:07:47 GMT
Andrew Napolitano: ‘Russiagate’ Investigation Shows Prosecutors’ Terrible ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/
The threats and bribes tactics, Napolitano explains, are being used to “squeeze” people with threats of prosecution and punishment that are coupled with bribes of relief from such threatened actions if the individuals help with the prosecution of someone “up the totem pole,” potentially up to President Donald Trump.

Says Napolitano:
Think about this. This is federal prosecution. This is the use of the arm of the government to take away human liberty. And are they interested in truth? Are they interested in justice? Or are they just interested in who’s going to say what about whom so we can keep going up that totem pole until we reach the guy in the Oval Office.
And Napolitano makes it clear in the interview that the problem extends far beyond this one investigation. “I lived with this when I was on the bench,” exclaims Napolitano, referring to his time as a New Jersey state judge when he would “talk about it almost every day.”

Watch Napolitano’s complete interview here:



Napolitano is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:02:00 GMT
Dennis Kucinich Discusses the ‘Permanent Government’ behind US Foreign Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/

In a recent interview with host Wilmer Leon at the Inside the Issues show, former presidential candidate and United States House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) discussed how what Kucinich terms the “permanent government” has worked to ensure the United States continues pursuing destructive foreign interventions and to keep America “at the precipice of a much wider war” irrespective of who is president.

“There’s an unbroken line going back over the last 30 years where American presidents have continued to proceed with an interventionism that has been counterproductive,” states Kucinich. This “continued commitment to a failed foreign policy of interventionism, of unilateralism, of first strike,” Kucinich continues, “imperils America,” “does not make us safer,” “separates us from the world community,” “has people looking to extract vengeance on Americans,” and “has made the world a more dangerous place.”

Saying we need to look beyond the personalities of the succession of US presidents from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, Kucinich recommends we “look at the foreign policy establishment of the United States of America” that, he explains, includes people in the State Department who have a neoconservative ideology, in the Pentagon who are dedicated to the military-industrial complex, and in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who can “conjure conflicts” and “try to justify the further involvement of the military and the State Department.” This, Kucinich says, “is the permanent government, which we see reflected through Democrat and Republican administrations, no matter whether they are so-called conservative or liberal or populist; it’s all the same.”

While this “permanent government” push for US intervention overseas has produced many harmful consequences, some of which Kucinich discusses in the interview, it also, he argues, produces the additional danger that it “keeps us at the precipice of a much wider war.”

Listen to Kucinich’s complete interview here.

Kucinich is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:33:18 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Yemen Bill, Marijuana Momentum, Clinton Crime, Women Draft, Money Bomb Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Stitcher, iTunesYouTube, 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.

In an October 11 article at the Ron Paul Institute website, I wrote about H.Con.Res. 81, introduced by United States House of Representatives Member Ro Khanna (D-CA) and cosponsors, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Walter Jones (R-NC) who are RPI Advisory Board members. The legislation sought to end US involvement in the war to determine who governs Yemen.

H.Con.Res. 81 used a provision of the War Powers Resolution to ensure the legislation would reach the House floor for a vote. But, Roxana Tiron reported Tuesday at Bloomberg that top Republican and Democratic House leaders intervened, resulting in the drafting of a nonbinding resolution that would come to the House floor instead. Jones is quoted in the article saying that “[a]round here” consideration of the replacement resolution is “probably a small victory,” but it is “not what Congress should do.”

Issue two.

Five years ago this week, Colorado and Washington state voters approved ballot measures legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters have since approved marijuana legalization in six more states and Washington, DC. Meanwhile, legal medical marijuana is much more widespread, and many state and local governments are moving forward with decriminalization. Plus, people are learning from the rolling back of marijuana prohibition in some parts of America that the war on marijuana was supported by unjustified fears.

This week, there were two governor elections, with the New Jersey winner having campaign for marijuana legalization and the Virginia winner having campaigned for marijuana decriminalization.

The momentum is behind ending the war on marijuana throughout America.

Issue three.

In the July 6, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I noted that then-Attorney General James B. Comey, in announcing his recommendation of no prosecution of Hillary Clinton, pretty much admitted he believed Clinton, as secretary of state, criminally mishandled confidential information. When Comey said both that there was evidence Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling “very sensitive, highly classified information” and that it is “a felony to mismanage classified information … in a grossly negligent way,” he used synonymous phrases to describe Clinton’s actions and criminal actions.

This week, John Solomon reported at The Hill that, in an early draft of the announcement, Comey outright “accused the former secretary of State of having been ‘grossly negligent’ in handling classified information.” Solomon notes that the later wording change to “extremely careless” was significant because “federal law states that gross negligence in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines.”

Issue four.

Rowan Scarborough wrote in October at the Washington Times regarding a Department of Defense report describing supposed benefits of requiring women to register with Selective Service. “It appears that, for the most part,” states the report, “expanding registration for the draft to include women would enhance further the benefits presently associated with the selective service system” and “convey the added benefit of promoting fairness and equity.”

As I wrote in December at the Ron Paul Institute website, a provision requiring women to register with Selective Service was included last year in the original Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as in the NDAA version passed by the House Armed Services Committee, though the provision was left out of the final bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

The Defense Department report will probably lead to increased support in Congress for expanding a potential draft to include women.

Issue five.

Ten years ago this week, the Ron Paul presidential campaign received over four million dollars in donations via the internet within 24 hours, setting a political campaigns record. This Guy Fawkes Day money bomb, arranged by Paul supporters independent of Paul’s official campaign, demonstrated, through its tens of thousands of donations amounting to such a large sum, the widespread and dedicated support for Paul. The next month, a money bomb on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party raised even more, setting a record for one-day campaign fund raising on or off the internet.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:06:45 GMT
Libya: A New False Dawn http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That quote is worth bearing in mind when assessing the chances of the latest United Nations peace plan for Libya.

Every autumn, along with the falling leaves, comes a new UN plan for ending Libya’s civil war, now into its fourth year. 

Like the plans before it, the current version of the United Nations Support Mission for Libya has superficial attractions.

It proposes a new slimmed-down version of the government the UN itself installed in Tripoli two years ago, cutting the number of its presidency from nine members to three, one chosen from each of the country’s three regions. 

The elected parliament in Tobruk voted yes to it this week, and there were encouraging signs from its rival, unelected, parliament, the State Council in Tripoli. Cue optimistic words from the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, to the United Nations Security Council - his boss - earlier this month about how the peace process is advancing.

But the reality is, it ain’t going to work.

And it ain’t going to work for the same reason that all the previous UN peace plans didn’t work.

The most obvious reason why it will not work is right there in the UN plan: The three-strong presidency needs to be agreed by a grand council of all Libya’s factions, expected to be called by the UN in February, which will also decide a date for new elections. But if all Libya’s factions could agree a way forward, there would never have been a civil war in the first place.

That is reality behind the superficial optimism that greeted the yes-vote to the new presidency by Tobruk - Libya’s only governing group that was actually elected.

The UN’s powerlessness was exposed two weeks ago, when Tobruk refused to let a UN plane, bringing western Libyan MPs to the parliament, was refused permission to land. The UN greeted this with a meek protest, and nothing more. Outside powers have other things to think about, and there was no Big Power heft to push Tobruk to change its mind.

The reality is that the country remains in political turmoil. 

In the east, supporters of Tobruk’s army commander, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, have begun a petition for him to be declared Libyan President. This likely will not work and the Field Marshall himself knows it is not necessary. After his successful operations against Islamists, clearing them from Benghazi, Libya’s second city, he has a fair chance of walking it to victory if Libya held a Presidential election.

With Benghazi free, the city is shrugging off three years of battle. Flights and shipping are being transferred from Tobruk, at Libya’s eastern extremity, back to Benghazi. Oil is flowing from the Sirte Basin, where the country’s oil wealth is concentrated.

Tripoli, meanwhile, is undergoing more and more deportations: The militias who control the streets fight each other, kidnappings are endemic, and citizens are humiliated by having to line up for hours to withdraw paltry sums of money from state banks just to survive. All of which is an indictment on the Tripoli government which, despite UN backing, has failed to impose itself.

In other words, eastern Libya is humming, and will not bend its knee to any UN plan not to its liking.​​​ Outside powers are also disunited. France and Italy both had strategies, Italy backing the Tripoli rulers, France Tobruk. Russia has also signaled support for Tobruk, enjoying warm relations with Haftar, though formally all three states endorse the “UN process.”

The wild card is the United States. The Trump administration has kept its distance from Libya, with Trump himself declaring the US has “no interest” in the country.

That may be changing. This month Libya’s oil chief Mustafa Sanallah and, reportedly, a member of Haftar’s entourage, were both in Houston to meet Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. The location of the meetings was important: Tillerson is an oil man, the former chief executive of Exxon, and Houston is also the HQ of American oil companies who have a presence in eastern Libya. The companies are keen to see production get going again, and Haftar’s advisors are keen to remind them that, since capturing the Sirte Basin from assorted militias a year back, the general has allowed the oil to flow unlike the militias who held it to ransom.​

In the end, Libya’s war is likely to be settled by old fashioned great-powers moves, not the illusionary plans of the disrespected UN.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:55:11 GMT
The Worldwide Influence of American States’ Marijuana Legalization Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/

The momentum is behind marijuana legalization in America, with majority public support countrywide, legalization approved in eight states and Washington, DC, and legalization expected soon in more jurisdictions via both ballot measures and legislature votes. Backing this momentum is people’s recognition that the sky has not fallen either where legalization has been implemented or in the many additional places where state and local governments have adopted lesser measures of medical marijuana legalization and marijuana decriminalization.

State and local governments opting out of aspects of the war on marijuana also can have an influence beyond the borders of the United States, as exemplified Wednesday in comments by Conservative Party Parliament Member Crispin Blunt in the British House of Commons.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, where Prime Minister Theresa May is subjected to questions from Parliament members, Blunt offered a critique of the war on drugs, referencing the legalization of marijuana in parts of America in support. Blunt said he wished to draw May’s attention to the fact that “global policy” in regard to drug prohibition “is beginning to change” and asked May if, “in the face of the evidential failure of the policy since the 1961 UN [Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs],” May would “look at the evidence that is going to emerge from the United States and Canada on the legalization and regulation of cannabis markets there as well as decriminalization in Portugal and elsewhere.”

May, who is a member of the same political party as Blunt, indicated she has no interest in budging from her prohibition support. “I take a different view,” concluded May in her response to Blunt, “I think that it’s right that we continue to fight the war against drugs.”

May, or her successor, may not be able to long rebuff the desire for change suggested by Blunt. As people in Britain see over time more and more people benefiting from governments abroad affording greater respect for freedom in regard to marijuana, and hopefully increasingly other drugs as well, the momentum for similar change in Britain may reach a level where politicians like May either acquiesce or are swept aside.

President George Washington said in his farewell address, known for its advocacy of a noninterventionist foreign policy, “the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection—and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” Blunt’s comments Wednesday in the British Parliament is one small example of the positive influence Washington suggested.

The withdrawal of state and local governments in whole or in part from participation in the war on marijuana is showing the benefits states’ rights can yield for liberty and how the expansion of respect for people’s rights by several American “laboratories of democracy” can become an influence for other states and even other nations to expand respect for individual rights. Isn’t this a better way of advancing freedom abroad than methods such as military intervention, election interference, coup support, and sanctions that the US government has pursued purportedly for that purpose?]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:32:04 GMT
Ron Paul Rewind: Ron Paul’s Interview with Charlie Rose Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Charlie Rose’s presence on national broadcast television has been suspended and may be over. On Monday, CBS News, where Rose has been a cohost of CBS This Morning and has been a correspondent at 60 Minutes, announced it has suspended its relationship with Rose because of allegations that Rose sexually harassed employees and potential employees of Charlie Rose, Inc., which produces the Charlie Rose interview show that Rose hosts. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has suspended its taping and airing of the Charlie Rose show, and PBS has suspended its distribution of the show.

In 2013, Rose interviewed libertarian communicator Ron Paul, who had earlier in the year completed his time as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The in-depth interview begins with Paul responding to Rose’s request for an explanation of what libertarianism means to Paul, which leads to a discussion regarding the application of libertarian ideas in various scenarios. In the 22-minute interview, Paul addresses topics including the American economy, Paul’s book The School Revolution, and several US foreign policy matters.

Watch the complete interview here:

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:55:14 GMT
OMG! Trump Aide Met With NATO Partner Hungary During Campaign! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/

The media frenzy over "Russiagate" seems to get progressively more stupid as desperation takes hold. To sustain the sense of frenzy -- which Russiagate cultists call "drip drip drip" -- they need new sensational bombshells every day. Except there aren't any. So the media makes them up.

Case-in-point this breathless piece from the Capitol Hill rag, The Hill, screeching paranoia over the fact that an advisor to candidate Trump's presidential campaign MET WITH AN ADVISOR TO HUNGARY'S PRIME MINISTER!!!! OMG!!! Drip Drip Drip!!! GET ME MUELLER, STAT!!!

What makes the latest earth-shattering revelation all the more ridiculous is that reading the article it becomes painfully obvious that the author has no clue that Hungary is actually a strategic ally of the United States as a fellow member of the NATO alliance. Thus a meeting between a representative of the prospective President of the United States and a representative of the Prime Minister of one of the United States' closest allies, Hungary, is portrayed as some kind of smoking gun while in fact it should be considered the most normal thing on earth. 

A smooth transition for an incoming occupant of the White House naturally requires that the new president have established contacts among as many friends and allies overseas as possible and is critical to maintaining normal diplomatic relations. This is nothing new.

And Hungary was not only an early NATO ally of the United States after the Berlin Wall fell: it was a partner trusted enough before its NATO membership to host a major US military base in central Europe. 

But The Hill's modern-day Bob Woodward is having none of it! He's cracked the code! Hence his headline: "Carter Page held high-level meetings with pro-Putin Hungarian government."

What the article presents as a smoking gun of the Trump campaign's collusion with foreign powers is obvious to anyone with more than five minutes experience in international relations to be a positive and encouraging development: then-Hungarian Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi was doing her job -- and assisting her US partner -- by organizing a meeting between Trump campaign representatives and Hungarian government representatives.

But in the twisted minds of the Russiagate cultists, this normal process is manipulated into some sort of secret Putin infiltration of the Trump campaign.

Writing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban off as simply "pro-Putin" exposes a level of ignorance that is genuinely breathtaking. Even for a journalist. Orban is head of a three-times democratically-elected government in Hungary that has been a consistent and steadfast partner of the US. Before he was attacked by neocons like Anne Applebaum for objecting to the Brussels-mandated invasion of Hungary by Middle East "refugees," he was considered a solid Atlanticist. Orban has always looked West for his alliances even as he realizes that there is no harm in looking east for business relationships as well.

On a day when we learn that Google will "de-rank" (hide) RT articles presumably because they are to be considered "fake news," we are treated to a real piece of fake news by an organization that Google happily promotes in its search engine. How well this Orwell thing is working out...]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:17:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Slavery Support, RT Threat, Trump Impeachment, Kratom, Frisking Students Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ 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.

In a new Gallup poll nearly half of surveyed Americans support bringing back slavery, at least if those enslaved are “young Americans” and the master is the United States government. Forty-nine percent of individuals asked in November said they support “requiring all young men and young women in the US to give one year of service to the nation — either in the military forces or in nonmilitary work here or abroad.” Forty-five present said they are opposed.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution says slavery is permitted only as punishment after conviction of a crime. Of course, the US government has violated that clear limitation through conscription both during peacetime and wars including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Issue two.

On Monday, RT complied with a US government demand that it register as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry provided a reason why the US government would be so unhappy with RT that it made the unusual demand on the media company. Parry writes:
The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.
Issue three.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) announced Wednesday his introduction of five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The impeachment resolution includes some laughable reasons such as that Trump undermined freedom of the press by calling press organizations “fake news.”

Unmentioned is Trump’s waging of wars overseas.

Cohen’s resolution brings to mind comments of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in a press conference when impeachment proceedings were taking place against President Bill Clinton. Paul said that Congress should have been addressing “the unconstitutionality of presidents waging wars” without congressional approval, which Paul called “a lot more serious” than Clinton’s scandal involving Monica Lewinsky that the impeachment dealt with.

Issue four.

In the October 13, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) backing off on plans to quickly put kratom in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and instead pursuing a slower process including a public comment period and a scientific and medical review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced an FDA “public health advisory related to the FDA’s mounting concerns regarding risks associated with the use of kratom.” He also noted that the FDA is working, including through seizures, to prevent kratom from entering America.

While the seizures are bad enough, Mike Riggs writes at Reason that Gottlieb’s tone in the announcement suggests the FDA will be working with the DEA “to put kratom in Schedule I—the most tightly regulated category of drugs.”

Issue five.

In the April 28, June 10, and October 6 episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the sheriff’s department of Worth County, Georgia having frisked 900-plus students at a high school, purportedly in an effort to find illegal drugs, as well as a lawsuit by students against the sheriff’s department in response and the indictment of the sheriff and two deputies on charges related to the friskings.

Here is an update. WALB-TV reported that there was a Tuesday announcement by the students’ lawyers that the sheriff’s department has agreed to pay a three million dollars settlement for the lawsuit. The story also noted that this week the state’s governor has suspended the county sheriff and appointed an interim replacement.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ Sun, 19 Nov 2017 19:35:47 GMT
Reps. Duncan, Massie, and Jones Challenge the US Government’s War in Afghanistan Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/
First up, Duncan discussed the futility of the US government trying to control Afghanistan where successive governments, including the Soviet Union most recently before the US, have failed in such attempts for centuries. Duncan further commented concerning US wars since 2001 that it is “very sad that we have allowed all these trillions of dollars to have been spent and all of these lives [to] have been lost needlessly.” Duncan continued, “I think that we’re long past the time that we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, and we shouldn’t keep continuing to drag this out.” Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote more regarding Duncan’s comments here.

Next, Massie discussed with hearing witness John F. Sopko, the inspector general in charge of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the billions spent on Afghanistan reconstruction efforts and what that spending has yielded. Sopko indicated that 120.78 billion dollars had been spent on Afghanistan reconstruction through the end of September and that another 7.42 billion has been authorized and appropriated but not yet spent. Focusing on the overlap of the US war on drugs and US actions in Afghanistan, Massie asked Sopko about US drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan and the results of such efforts. Sopko explained that, though 8.6 billion dollars had been spent on “fighting narcotics” in the country, since 2015 the production of narcotics in Afghanistan has increased by 43 percent.

Last, Jones began his comments by discussing a letter he had written to President Donald Trump on July 18 asking Trump to “come to Congress first” for a debate on the future of US policy in regard to Afghanistan before the executive branch takes any action to increase the number of troops in the country — advice Trump did not end up following. In the letter, Jones notes, he also expressed agreement with some of Trump’s remarks, from before Trump became president, criticizing the Afghanistan War. Ending the Afghanistan War has long been a focus of Jones’ work in Congress. Looking at “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the Afghanistan War, which Jones praised Sopko and SIGAR for helping uncover, Jones lamented the inability to repair roads and bridges in America while the US government has spent a great sum of money in Afghanistan. Jones emphasized the futility of the US war in Afghanistan near the end of his comments, saying:
I have the Marine base Camp Lejeune in my district. I have talked to Marines — active duty and retirees — who have been to Afghanistan five, six, and seven times. They say ‘nothing will ever change.’
Below is video of the complete hearing. You can watch Duncan’s comments starting at time marker 37:48, Massie’s comments starting at 1:05:35, and Jones’ comments starting at 1:14:32.

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:43:41 GMT
Anti-Orban US State Dept Repeatedly Interferes in Hungarian Affairs – Daniel McAdams RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/


]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:07:47 GMT
Andrew Napolitano: ‘Russiagate’ Investigation Shows Prosecutors’ Terrible ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/
The threats and bribes tactics, Napolitano explains, are being used to “squeeze” people with threats of prosecution and punishment that are coupled with bribes of relief from such threatened actions if the individuals help with the prosecution of someone “up the totem pole,” potentially up to President Donald Trump.

Says Napolitano:
Think about this. This is federal prosecution. This is the use of the arm of the government to take away human liberty. And are they interested in truth? Are they interested in justice? Or are they just interested in who’s going to say what about whom so we can keep going up that totem pole until we reach the guy in the Oval Office.
And Napolitano makes it clear in the interview that the problem extends far beyond this one investigation. “I lived with this when I was on the bench,” exclaims Napolitano, referring to his time as a New Jersey state judge when he would “talk about it almost every day.”

Watch Napolitano’s complete interview here:



Napolitano is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:02:00 GMT
Dennis Kucinich Discusses the ‘Permanent Government’ behind US Foreign Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/

In a recent interview with host Wilmer Leon at the Inside the Issues show, former presidential candidate and United States House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) discussed how what Kucinich terms the “permanent government” has worked to ensure the United States continues pursuing destructive foreign interventions and to keep America “at the precipice of a much wider war” irrespective of who is president.

“There’s an unbroken line going back over the last 30 years where American presidents have continued to proceed with an interventionism that has been counterproductive,” states Kucinich. This “continued commitment to a failed foreign policy of interventionism, of unilateralism, of first strike,” Kucinich continues, “imperils America,” “does not make us safer,” “separates us from the world community,” “has people looking to extract vengeance on Americans,” and “has made the world a more dangerous place.”

Saying we need to look beyond the personalities of the succession of US presidents from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, Kucinich recommends we “look at the foreign policy establishment of the United States of America” that, he explains, includes people in the State Department who have a neoconservative ideology, in the Pentagon who are dedicated to the military-industrial complex, and in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who can “conjure conflicts” and “try to justify the further involvement of the military and the State Department.” This, Kucinich says, “is the permanent government, which we see reflected through Democrat and Republican administrations, no matter whether they are so-called conservative or liberal or populist; it’s all the same.”

While this “permanent government” push for US intervention overseas has produced many harmful consequences, some of which Kucinich discusses in the interview, it also, he argues, produces the additional danger that it “keeps us at the precipice of a much wider war.”

Listen to Kucinich’s complete interview here.

Kucinich is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:33:18 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Yemen Bill, Marijuana Momentum, Clinton Crime, Women Draft, Money Bomb Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Stitcher, iTunesYouTube, 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.

In an October 11 article at the Ron Paul Institute website, I wrote about H.Con.Res. 81, introduced by United States House of Representatives Member Ro Khanna (D-CA) and cosponsors, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Walter Jones (R-NC) who are RPI Advisory Board members. The legislation sought to end US involvement in the war to determine who governs Yemen.

H.Con.Res. 81 used a provision of the War Powers Resolution to ensure the legislation would reach the House floor for a vote. But, Roxana Tiron reported Tuesday at Bloomberg that top Republican and Democratic House leaders intervened, resulting in the drafting of a nonbinding resolution that would come to the House floor instead. Jones is quoted in the article saying that “[a]round here” consideration of the replacement resolution is “probably a small victory,” but it is “not what Congress should do.”

Issue two.

Five years ago this week, Colorado and Washington state voters approved ballot measures legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters have since approved marijuana legalization in six more states and Washington, DC. Meanwhile, legal medical marijuana is much more widespread, and many state and local governments are moving forward with decriminalization. Plus, people are learning from the rolling back of marijuana prohibition in some parts of America that the war on marijuana was supported by unjustified fears.

This week, there were two governor elections, with the New Jersey winner having campaign for marijuana legalization and the Virginia winner having campaigned for marijuana decriminalization.

The momentum is behind ending the war on marijuana throughout America.

Issue three.

In the July 6, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I noted that then-Attorney General James B. Comey, in announcing his recommendation of no prosecution of Hillary Clinton, pretty much admitted he believed Clinton, as secretary of state, criminally mishandled confidential information. When Comey said both that there was evidence Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling “very sensitive, highly classified information” and that it is “a felony to mismanage classified information … in a grossly negligent way,” he used synonymous phrases to describe Clinton’s actions and criminal actions.

This week, John Solomon reported at The Hill that, in an early draft of the announcement, Comey outright “accused the former secretary of State of having been ‘grossly negligent’ in handling classified information.” Solomon notes that the later wording change to “extremely careless” was significant because “federal law states that gross negligence in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines.”

Issue four.

Rowan Scarborough wrote in October at the Washington Times regarding a Department of Defense report describing supposed benefits of requiring women to register with Selective Service. “It appears that, for the most part,” states the report, “expanding registration for the draft to include women would enhance further the benefits presently associated with the selective service system” and “convey the added benefit of promoting fairness and equity.”

As I wrote in December at the Ron Paul Institute website, a provision requiring women to register with Selective Service was included last year in the original Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as in the NDAA version passed by the House Armed Services Committee, though the provision was left out of the final bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

The Defense Department report will probably lead to increased support in Congress for expanding a potential draft to include women.

Issue five.

Ten years ago this week, the Ron Paul presidential campaign received over four million dollars in donations via the internet within 24 hours, setting a political campaigns record. This Guy Fawkes Day money bomb, arranged by Paul supporters independent of Paul’s official campaign, demonstrated, through its tens of thousands of donations amounting to such a large sum, the widespread and dedicated support for Paul. The next month, a money bomb on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party raised even more, setting a record for one-day campaign fund raising on or off the internet.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:06:45 GMT
Libya: A New False Dawn http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That quote is worth bearing in mind when assessing the chances of the latest United Nations peace plan for Libya.

Every autumn, along with the falling leaves, comes a new UN plan for ending Libya’s civil war, now into its fourth year. 

Like the plans before it, the current version of the United Nations Support Mission for Libya has superficial attractions.

It proposes a new slimmed-down version of the government the UN itself installed in Tripoli two years ago, cutting the number of its presidency from nine members to three, one chosen from each of the country’s three regions. 

The elected parliament in Tobruk voted yes to it this week, and there were encouraging signs from its rival, unelected, parliament, the State Council in Tripoli. Cue optimistic words from the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, to the United Nations Security Council - his boss - earlier this month about how the peace process is advancing.

But the reality is, it ain’t going to work.

And it ain’t going to work for the same reason that all the previous UN peace plans didn’t work.

The most obvious reason why it will not work is right there in the UN plan: The three-strong presidency needs to be agreed by a grand council of all Libya’s factions, expected to be called by the UN in February, which will also decide a date for new elections. But if all Libya’s factions could agree a way forward, there would never have been a civil war in the first place.

That is reality behind the superficial optimism that greeted the yes-vote to the new presidency by Tobruk - Libya’s only governing group that was actually elected.

The UN’s powerlessness was exposed two weeks ago, when Tobruk refused to let a UN plane, bringing western Libyan MPs to the parliament, was refused permission to land. The UN greeted this with a meek protest, and nothing more. Outside powers have other things to think about, and there was no Big Power heft to push Tobruk to change its mind.

The reality is that the country remains in political turmoil. 

In the east, supporters of Tobruk’s army commander, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, have begun a petition for him to be declared Libyan President. This likely will not work and the Field Marshall himself knows it is not necessary. After his successful operations against Islamists, clearing them from Benghazi, Libya’s second city, he has a fair chance of walking it to victory if Libya held a Presidential election.

With Benghazi free, the city is shrugging off three years of battle. Flights and shipping are being transferred from Tobruk, at Libya’s eastern extremity, back to Benghazi. Oil is flowing from the Sirte Basin, where the country’s oil wealth is concentrated.

Tripoli, meanwhile, is undergoing more and more deportations: The militias who control the streets fight each other, kidnappings are endemic, and citizens are humiliated by having to line up for hours to withdraw paltry sums of money from state banks just to survive. All of which is an indictment on the Tripoli government which, despite UN backing, has failed to impose itself.

In other words, eastern Libya is humming, and will not bend its knee to any UN plan not to its liking.​​​ Outside powers are also disunited. France and Italy both had strategies, Italy backing the Tripoli rulers, France Tobruk. Russia has also signaled support for Tobruk, enjoying warm relations with Haftar, though formally all three states endorse the “UN process.”

The wild card is the United States. The Trump administration has kept its distance from Libya, with Trump himself declaring the US has “no interest” in the country.

That may be changing. This month Libya’s oil chief Mustafa Sanallah and, reportedly, a member of Haftar’s entourage, were both in Houston to meet Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. The location of the meetings was important: Tillerson is an oil man, the former chief executive of Exxon, and Houston is also the HQ of American oil companies who have a presence in eastern Libya. The companies are keen to see production get going again, and Haftar’s advisors are keen to remind them that, since capturing the Sirte Basin from assorted militias a year back, the general has allowed the oil to flow unlike the militias who held it to ransom.​

In the end, Libya’s war is likely to be settled by old fashioned great-powers moves, not the illusionary plans of the disrespected UN.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:55:11 GMT
The Worldwide Influence of American States’ Marijuana Legalization Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/

The momentum is behind marijuana legalization in America, with majority public support countrywide, legalization approved in eight states and Washington, DC, and legalization expected soon in more jurisdictions via both ballot measures and legislature votes. Backing this momentum is people’s recognition that the sky has not fallen either where legalization has been implemented or in the many additional places where state and local governments have adopted lesser measures of medical marijuana legalization and marijuana decriminalization.

State and local governments opting out of aspects of the war on marijuana also can have an influence beyond the borders of the United States, as exemplified Wednesday in comments by Conservative Party Parliament Member Crispin Blunt in the British House of Commons.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, where Prime Minister Theresa May is subjected to questions from Parliament members, Blunt offered a critique of the war on drugs, referencing the legalization of marijuana in parts of America in support. Blunt said he wished to draw May’s attention to the fact that “global policy” in regard to drug prohibition “is beginning to change” and asked May if, “in the face of the evidential failure of the policy since the 1961 UN [Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs],” May would “look at the evidence that is going to emerge from the United States and Canada on the legalization and regulation of cannabis markets there as well as decriminalization in Portugal and elsewhere.”

May, who is a member of the same political party as Blunt, indicated she has no interest in budging from her prohibition support. “I take a different view,” concluded May in her response to Blunt, “I think that it’s right that we continue to fight the war against drugs.”

May, or her successor, may not be able to long rebuff the desire for change suggested by Blunt. As people in Britain see over time more and more people benefiting from governments abroad affording greater respect for freedom in regard to marijuana, and hopefully increasingly other drugs as well, the momentum for similar change in Britain may reach a level where politicians like May either acquiesce or are swept aside.

President George Washington said in his farewell address, known for its advocacy of a noninterventionist foreign policy, “the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection—and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” Blunt’s comments Wednesday in the British Parliament is one small example of the positive influence Washington suggested.

The withdrawal of state and local governments in whole or in part from participation in the war on marijuana is showing the benefits states’ rights can yield for liberty and how the expansion of respect for people’s rights by several American “laboratories of democracy” can become an influence for other states and even other nations to expand respect for individual rights. Isn’t this a better way of advancing freedom abroad than methods such as military intervention, election interference, coup support, and sanctions that the US government has pursued purportedly for that purpose?]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:32:04 GMT
Ron Paul Rewind: Ron Paul’s Interview with Charlie Rose Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Charlie Rose’s presence on national broadcast television has been suspended and may be over. On Monday, CBS News, where Rose has been a cohost of CBS This Morning and has been a correspondent at 60 Minutes, announced it has suspended its relationship with Rose because of allegations that Rose sexually harassed employees and potential employees of Charlie Rose, Inc., which produces the Charlie Rose interview show that Rose hosts. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has suspended its taping and airing of the Charlie Rose show, and PBS has suspended its distribution of the show.

In 2013, Rose interviewed libertarian communicator Ron Paul, who had earlier in the year completed his time as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The in-depth interview begins with Paul responding to Rose’s request for an explanation of what libertarianism means to Paul, which leads to a discussion regarding the application of libertarian ideas in various scenarios. In the 22-minute interview, Paul addresses topics including the American economy, Paul’s book The School Revolution, and several US foreign policy matters.

Watch the complete interview here:

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:55:14 GMT
OMG! Trump Aide Met With NATO Partner Hungary During Campaign! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/

The media frenzy over "Russiagate" seems to get progressively more stupid as desperation takes hold. To sustain the sense of frenzy -- which Russiagate cultists call "drip drip drip" -- they need new sensational bombshells every day. Except there aren't any. So the media makes them up.

Case-in-point this breathless piece from the Capitol Hill rag, The Hill, screeching paranoia over the fact that an advisor to candidate Trump's presidential campaign MET WITH AN ADVISOR TO HUNGARY'S PRIME MINISTER!!!! OMG!!! Drip Drip Drip!!! GET ME MUELLER, STAT!!!

What makes the latest earth-shattering revelation all the more ridiculous is that reading the article it becomes painfully obvious that the author has no clue that Hungary is actually a strategic ally of the United States as a fellow member of the NATO alliance. Thus a meeting between a representative of the prospective President of the United States and a representative of the Prime Minister of one of the United States' closest allies, Hungary, is portrayed as some kind of smoking gun while in fact it should be considered the most normal thing on earth. 

A smooth transition for an incoming occupant of the White House naturally requires that the new president have established contacts among as many friends and allies overseas as possible and is critical to maintaining normal diplomatic relations. This is nothing new.

And Hungary was not only an early NATO ally of the United States after the Berlin Wall fell: it was a partner trusted enough before its NATO membership to host a major US military base in central Europe. 

But The Hill's modern-day Bob Woodward is having none of it! He's cracked the code! Hence his headline: "Carter Page held high-level meetings with pro-Putin Hungarian government."

What the article presents as a smoking gun of the Trump campaign's collusion with foreign powers is obvious to anyone with more than five minutes experience in international relations to be a positive and encouraging development: then-Hungarian Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi was doing her job -- and assisting her US partner -- by organizing a meeting between Trump campaign representatives and Hungarian government representatives.

But in the twisted minds of the Russiagate cultists, this normal process is manipulated into some sort of secret Putin infiltration of the Trump campaign.

Writing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban off as simply "pro-Putin" exposes a level of ignorance that is genuinely breathtaking. Even for a journalist. Orban is head of a three-times democratically-elected government in Hungary that has been a consistent and steadfast partner of the US. Before he was attacked by neocons like Anne Applebaum for objecting to the Brussels-mandated invasion of Hungary by Middle East "refugees," he was considered a solid Atlanticist. Orban has always looked West for his alliances even as he realizes that there is no harm in looking east for business relationships as well.

On a day when we learn that Google will "de-rank" (hide) RT articles presumably because they are to be considered "fake news," we are treated to a real piece of fake news by an organization that Google happily promotes in its search engine. How well this Orwell thing is working out...]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:17:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Slavery Support, RT Threat, Trump Impeachment, Kratom, Frisking Students Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ 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.

In a new Gallup poll nearly half of surveyed Americans support bringing back slavery, at least if those enslaved are “young Americans” and the master is the United States government. Forty-nine percent of individuals asked in November said they support “requiring all young men and young women in the US to give one year of service to the nation — either in the military forces or in nonmilitary work here or abroad.” Forty-five present said they are opposed.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution says slavery is permitted only as punishment after conviction of a crime. Of course, the US government has violated that clear limitation through conscription both during peacetime and wars including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Issue two.

On Monday, RT complied with a US government demand that it register as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry provided a reason why the US government would be so unhappy with RT that it made the unusual demand on the media company. Parry writes:
The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.
Issue three.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) announced Wednesday his introduction of five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The impeachment resolution includes some laughable reasons such as that Trump undermined freedom of the press by calling press organizations “fake news.”

Unmentioned is Trump’s waging of wars overseas.

Cohen’s resolution brings to mind comments of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in a press conference when impeachment proceedings were taking place against President Bill Clinton. Paul said that Congress should have been addressing “the unconstitutionality of presidents waging wars” without congressional approval, which Paul called “a lot more serious” than Clinton’s scandal involving Monica Lewinsky that the impeachment dealt with.

Issue four.

In the October 13, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) backing off on plans to quickly put kratom in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and instead pursuing a slower process including a public comment period and a scientific and medical review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced an FDA “public health advisory related to the FDA’s mounting concerns regarding risks associated with the use of kratom.” He also noted that the FDA is working, including through seizures, to prevent kratom from entering America.

While the seizures are bad enough, Mike Riggs writes at Reason that Gottlieb’s tone in the announcement suggests the FDA will be working with the DEA “to put kratom in Schedule I—the most tightly regulated category of drugs.”

Issue five.

In the April 28, June 10, and October 6 episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the sheriff’s department of Worth County, Georgia having frisked 900-plus students at a high school, purportedly in an effort to find illegal drugs, as well as a lawsuit by students against the sheriff’s department in response and the indictment of the sheriff and two deputies on charges related to the friskings.

Here is an update. WALB-TV reported that there was a Tuesday announcement by the students’ lawyers that the sheriff’s department has agreed to pay a three million dollars settlement for the lawsuit. The story also noted that this week the state’s governor has suspended the county sheriff and appointed an interim replacement.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ Sun, 19 Nov 2017 19:35:47 GMT
Reps. Duncan, Massie, and Jones Challenge the US Government’s War in Afghanistan Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/
First up, Duncan discussed the futility of the US government trying to control Afghanistan where successive governments, including the Soviet Union most recently before the US, have failed in such attempts for centuries. Duncan further commented concerning US wars since 2001 that it is “very sad that we have allowed all these trillions of dollars to have been spent and all of these lives [to] have been lost needlessly.” Duncan continued, “I think that we’re long past the time that we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, and we shouldn’t keep continuing to drag this out.” Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote more regarding Duncan’s comments here.

Next, Massie discussed with hearing witness John F. Sopko, the inspector general in charge of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the billions spent on Afghanistan reconstruction efforts and what that spending has yielded. Sopko indicated that 120.78 billion dollars had been spent on Afghanistan reconstruction through the end of September and that another 7.42 billion has been authorized and appropriated but not yet spent. Focusing on the overlap of the US war on drugs and US actions in Afghanistan, Massie asked Sopko about US drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan and the results of such efforts. Sopko explained that, though 8.6 billion dollars had been spent on “fighting narcotics” in the country, since 2015 the production of narcotics in Afghanistan has increased by 43 percent.

Last, Jones began his comments by discussing a letter he had written to President Donald Trump on July 18 asking Trump to “come to Congress first” for a debate on the future of US policy in regard to Afghanistan before the executive branch takes any action to increase the number of troops in the country — advice Trump did not end up following. In the letter, Jones notes, he also expressed agreement with some of Trump’s remarks, from before Trump became president, criticizing the Afghanistan War. Ending the Afghanistan War has long been a focus of Jones’ work in Congress. Looking at “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the Afghanistan War, which Jones praised Sopko and SIGAR for helping uncover, Jones lamented the inability to repair roads and bridges in America while the US government has spent a great sum of money in Afghanistan. Jones emphasized the futility of the US war in Afghanistan near the end of his comments, saying:
I have the Marine base Camp Lejeune in my district. I have talked to Marines — active duty and retirees — who have been to Afghanistan five, six, and seven times. They say ‘nothing will ever change.’
Below is video of the complete hearing. You can watch Duncan’s comments starting at time marker 37:48, Massie’s comments starting at 1:05:35, and Jones’ comments starting at 1:14:32.

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:43:41 GMT
Anti-Orban US State Dept Repeatedly Interferes in Hungarian Affairs – Daniel McAdams RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/


]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:07:47 GMT
Andrew Napolitano: ‘Russiagate’ Investigation Shows Prosecutors’ Terrible ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/
The threats and bribes tactics, Napolitano explains, are being used to “squeeze” people with threats of prosecution and punishment that are coupled with bribes of relief from such threatened actions if the individuals help with the prosecution of someone “up the totem pole,” potentially up to President Donald Trump.

Says Napolitano:
Think about this. This is federal prosecution. This is the use of the arm of the government to take away human liberty. And are they interested in truth? Are they interested in justice? Or are they just interested in who’s going to say what about whom so we can keep going up that totem pole until we reach the guy in the Oval Office.
And Napolitano makes it clear in the interview that the problem extends far beyond this one investigation. “I lived with this when I was on the bench,” exclaims Napolitano, referring to his time as a New Jersey state judge when he would “talk about it almost every day.”

Watch Napolitano’s complete interview here:



Napolitano is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:02:00 GMT
Dennis Kucinich Discusses the ‘Permanent Government’ behind US Foreign Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/

In a recent interview with host Wilmer Leon at the Inside the Issues show, former presidential candidate and United States House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) discussed how what Kucinich terms the “permanent government” has worked to ensure the United States continues pursuing destructive foreign interventions and to keep America “at the precipice of a much wider war” irrespective of who is president.

“There’s an unbroken line going back over the last 30 years where American presidents have continued to proceed with an interventionism that has been counterproductive,” states Kucinich. This “continued commitment to a failed foreign policy of interventionism, of unilateralism, of first strike,” Kucinich continues, “imperils America,” “does not make us safer,” “separates us from the world community,” “has people looking to extract vengeance on Americans,” and “has made the world a more dangerous place.”

Saying we need to look beyond the personalities of the succession of US presidents from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, Kucinich recommends we “look at the foreign policy establishment of the United States of America” that, he explains, includes people in the State Department who have a neoconservative ideology, in the Pentagon who are dedicated to the military-industrial complex, and in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who can “conjure conflicts” and “try to justify the further involvement of the military and the State Department.” This, Kucinich says, “is the permanent government, which we see reflected through Democrat and Republican administrations, no matter whether they are so-called conservative or liberal or populist; it’s all the same.”

While this “permanent government” push for US intervention overseas has produced many harmful consequences, some of which Kucinich discusses in the interview, it also, he argues, produces the additional danger that it “keeps us at the precipice of a much wider war.”

Listen to Kucinich’s complete interview here.

Kucinich is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:33:18 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Yemen Bill, Marijuana Momentum, Clinton Crime, Women Draft, Money Bomb Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Stitcher, iTunesYouTube, 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.

In an October 11 article at the Ron Paul Institute website, I wrote about H.Con.Res. 81, introduced by United States House of Representatives Member Ro Khanna (D-CA) and cosponsors, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Walter Jones (R-NC) who are RPI Advisory Board members. The legislation sought to end US involvement in the war to determine who governs Yemen.

H.Con.Res. 81 used a provision of the War Powers Resolution to ensure the legislation would reach the House floor for a vote. But, Roxana Tiron reported Tuesday at Bloomberg that top Republican and Democratic House leaders intervened, resulting in the drafting of a nonbinding resolution that would come to the House floor instead. Jones is quoted in the article saying that “[a]round here” consideration of the replacement resolution is “probably a small victory,” but it is “not what Congress should do.”

Issue two.

Five years ago this week, Colorado and Washington state voters approved ballot measures legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters have since approved marijuana legalization in six more states and Washington, DC. Meanwhile, legal medical marijuana is much more widespread, and many state and local governments are moving forward with decriminalization. Plus, people are learning from the rolling back of marijuana prohibition in some parts of America that the war on marijuana was supported by unjustified fears.

This week, there were two governor elections, with the New Jersey winner having campaign for marijuana legalization and the Virginia winner having campaigned for marijuana decriminalization.

The momentum is behind ending the war on marijuana throughout America.

Issue three.

In the July 6, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I noted that then-Attorney General James B. Comey, in announcing his recommendation of no prosecution of Hillary Clinton, pretty much admitted he believed Clinton, as secretary of state, criminally mishandled confidential information. When Comey said both that there was evidence Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling “very sensitive, highly classified information” and that it is “a felony to mismanage classified information … in a grossly negligent way,” he used synonymous phrases to describe Clinton’s actions and criminal actions.

This week, John Solomon reported at The Hill that, in an early draft of the announcement, Comey outright “accused the former secretary of State of having been ‘grossly negligent’ in handling classified information.” Solomon notes that the later wording change to “extremely careless” was significant because “federal law states that gross negligence in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines.”

Issue four.

Rowan Scarborough wrote in October at the Washington Times regarding a Department of Defense report describing supposed benefits of requiring women to register with Selective Service. “It appears that, for the most part,” states the report, “expanding registration for the draft to include women would enhance further the benefits presently associated with the selective service system” and “convey the added benefit of promoting fairness and equity.”

As I wrote in December at the Ron Paul Institute website, a provision requiring women to register with Selective Service was included last year in the original Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as in the NDAA version passed by the House Armed Services Committee, though the provision was left out of the final bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

The Defense Department report will probably lead to increased support in Congress for expanding a potential draft to include women.

Issue five.

Ten years ago this week, the Ron Paul presidential campaign received over four million dollars in donations via the internet within 24 hours, setting a political campaigns record. This Guy Fawkes Day money bomb, arranged by Paul supporters independent of Paul’s official campaign, demonstrated, through its tens of thousands of donations amounting to such a large sum, the widespread and dedicated support for Paul. The next month, a money bomb on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party raised even more, setting a record for one-day campaign fund raising on or off the internet.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:06:45 GMT
Libya: A New False Dawn http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. That quote is worth bearing in mind when assessing the chances of the latest United Nations peace plan for Libya.

Every autumn, along with the falling leaves, comes a new UN plan for ending Libya’s civil war, now into its fourth year. 

Like the plans before it, the current version of the United Nations Support Mission for Libya has superficial attractions.

It proposes a new slimmed-down version of the government the UN itself installed in Tripoli two years ago, cutting the number of its presidency from nine members to three, one chosen from each of the country’s three regions. 

The elected parliament in Tobruk voted yes to it this week, and there were encouraging signs from its rival, unelected, parliament, the State Council in Tripoli. Cue optimistic words from the new UN envoy, Ghassan Salame, to the United Nations Security Council - his boss - earlier this month about how the peace process is advancing.

But the reality is, it ain’t going to work.

And it ain’t going to work for the same reason that all the previous UN peace plans didn’t work.

The most obvious reason why it will not work is right there in the UN plan: The three-strong presidency needs to be agreed by a grand council of all Libya’s factions, expected to be called by the UN in February, which will also decide a date for new elections. But if all Libya’s factions could agree a way forward, there would never have been a civil war in the first place.

That is reality behind the superficial optimism that greeted the yes-vote to the new presidency by Tobruk - Libya’s only governing group that was actually elected.

The UN’s powerlessness was exposed two weeks ago, when Tobruk refused to let a UN plane, bringing western Libyan MPs to the parliament, was refused permission to land. The UN greeted this with a meek protest, and nothing more. Outside powers have other things to think about, and there was no Big Power heft to push Tobruk to change its mind.

The reality is that the country remains in political turmoil. 

In the east, supporters of Tobruk’s army commander, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, have begun a petition for him to be declared Libyan President. This likely will not work and the Field Marshall himself knows it is not necessary. After his successful operations against Islamists, clearing them from Benghazi, Libya’s second city, he has a fair chance of walking it to victory if Libya held a Presidential election.

With Benghazi free, the city is shrugging off three years of battle. Flights and shipping are being transferred from Tobruk, at Libya’s eastern extremity, back to Benghazi. Oil is flowing from the Sirte Basin, where the country’s oil wealth is concentrated.

Tripoli, meanwhile, is undergoing more and more deportations: The militias who control the streets fight each other, kidnappings are endemic, and citizens are humiliated by having to line up for hours to withdraw paltry sums of money from state banks just to survive. All of which is an indictment on the Tripoli government which, despite UN backing, has failed to impose itself.

In other words, eastern Libya is humming, and will not bend its knee to any UN plan not to its liking.​​​ Outside powers are also disunited. France and Italy both had strategies, Italy backing the Tripoli rulers, France Tobruk. Russia has also signaled support for Tobruk, enjoying warm relations with Haftar, though formally all three states endorse the “UN process.”

The wild card is the United States. The Trump administration has kept its distance from Libya, with Trump himself declaring the US has “no interest” in the country.

That may be changing. This month Libya’s oil chief Mustafa Sanallah and, reportedly, a member of Haftar’s entourage, were both in Houston to meet Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson. The location of the meetings was important: Tillerson is an oil man, the former chief executive of Exxon, and Houston is also the HQ of American oil companies who have a presence in eastern Libya. The companies are keen to see production get going again, and Haftar’s advisors are keen to remind them that, since capturing the Sirte Basin from assorted militias a year back, the general has allowed the oil to flow unlike the militias who held it to ransom.​

In the end, Libya’s war is likely to be settled by old fashioned great-powers moves, not the illusionary plans of the disrespected UN.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/24/libya-a-new-false-dawn/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:55:11 GMT
The Worldwide Influence of American States’ Marijuana Legalization Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/

The momentum is behind marijuana legalization in America, with majority public support countrywide, legalization approved in eight states and Washington, DC, and legalization expected soon in more jurisdictions via both ballot measures and legislature votes. Backing this momentum is people’s recognition that the sky has not fallen either where legalization has been implemented or in the many additional places where state and local governments have adopted lesser measures of medical marijuana legalization and marijuana decriminalization.

State and local governments opting out of aspects of the war on marijuana also can have an influence beyond the borders of the United States, as exemplified Wednesday in comments by Conservative Party Parliament Member Crispin Blunt in the British House of Commons.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, where Prime Minister Theresa May is subjected to questions from Parliament members, Blunt offered a critique of the war on drugs, referencing the legalization of marijuana in parts of America in support. Blunt said he wished to draw May’s attention to the fact that “global policy” in regard to drug prohibition “is beginning to change” and asked May if, “in the face of the evidential failure of the policy since the 1961 UN [Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs],” May would “look at the evidence that is going to emerge from the United States and Canada on the legalization and regulation of cannabis markets there as well as decriminalization in Portugal and elsewhere.”

May, who is a member of the same political party as Blunt, indicated she has no interest in budging from her prohibition support. “I take a different view,” concluded May in her response to Blunt, “I think that it’s right that we continue to fight the war against drugs.”

May, or her successor, may not be able to long rebuff the desire for change suggested by Blunt. As people in Britain see over time more and more people benefiting from governments abroad affording greater respect for freedom in regard to marijuana, and hopefully increasingly other drugs as well, the momentum for similar change in Britain may reach a level where politicians like May either acquiesce or are swept aside.

President George Washington said in his farewell address, known for its advocacy of a noninterventionist foreign policy, “the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection—and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it.” Blunt’s comments Wednesday in the British Parliament is one small example of the positive influence Washington suggested.

The withdrawal of state and local governments in whole or in part from participation in the war on marijuana is showing the benefits states’ rights can yield for liberty and how the expansion of respect for people’s rights by several American “laboratories of democracy” can become an influence for other states and even other nations to expand respect for individual rights. Isn’t this a better way of advancing freedom abroad than methods such as military intervention, election interference, coup support, and sanctions that the US government has pursued purportedly for that purpose?]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/24/the-worldwide-influence-of-american-states-marijuana-legalization/ Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:32:04 GMT
Ron Paul Rewind: Ron Paul’s Interview with Charlie Rose Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Charlie Rose’s presence on national broadcast television has been suspended and may be over. On Monday, CBS News, where Rose has been a cohost of CBS This Morning and has been a correspondent at 60 Minutes, announced it has suspended its relationship with Rose because of allegations that Rose sexually harassed employees and potential employees of Charlie Rose, Inc., which produces the Charlie Rose interview show that Rose hosts. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has suspended its taping and airing of the Charlie Rose show, and PBS has suspended its distribution of the show.

In 2013, Rose interviewed libertarian communicator Ron Paul, who had earlier in the year completed his time as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The in-depth interview begins with Paul responding to Rose’s request for an explanation of what libertarianism means to Paul, which leads to a discussion regarding the application of libertarian ideas in various scenarios. In the 22-minute interview, Paul addresses topics including the American economy, Paul’s book The School Revolution, and several US foreign policy matters.

Watch the complete interview here:

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/21/ron-paul-rewind-ron-paul-s-interview-with-charlie-rose/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:55:14 GMT
OMG! Trump Aide Met With NATO Partner Hungary During Campaign! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/

The media frenzy over "Russiagate" seems to get progressively more stupid as desperation takes hold. To sustain the sense of frenzy -- which Russiagate cultists call "drip drip drip" -- they need new sensational bombshells every day. Except there aren't any. So the media makes them up.

Case-in-point this breathless piece from the Capitol Hill rag, The Hill, screeching paranoia over the fact that an advisor to candidate Trump's presidential campaign MET WITH AN ADVISOR TO HUNGARY'S PRIME MINISTER!!!! OMG!!! Drip Drip Drip!!! GET ME MUELLER, STAT!!!

What makes the latest earth-shattering revelation all the more ridiculous is that reading the article it becomes painfully obvious that the author has no clue that Hungary is actually a strategic ally of the United States as a fellow member of the NATO alliance. Thus a meeting between a representative of the prospective President of the United States and a representative of the Prime Minister of one of the United States' closest allies, Hungary, is portrayed as some kind of smoking gun while in fact it should be considered the most normal thing on earth. 

A smooth transition for an incoming occupant of the White House naturally requires that the new president have established contacts among as many friends and allies overseas as possible and is critical to maintaining normal diplomatic relations. This is nothing new.

And Hungary was not only an early NATO ally of the United States after the Berlin Wall fell: it was a partner trusted enough before its NATO membership to host a major US military base in central Europe. 

But The Hill's modern-day Bob Woodward is having none of it! He's cracked the code! Hence his headline: "Carter Page held high-level meetings with pro-Putin Hungarian government."

What the article presents as a smoking gun of the Trump campaign's collusion with foreign powers is obvious to anyone with more than five minutes experience in international relations to be a positive and encouraging development: then-Hungarian Ambassador Réka Szemerkényi was doing her job -- and assisting her US partner -- by organizing a meeting between Trump campaign representatives and Hungarian government representatives.

But in the twisted minds of the Russiagate cultists, this normal process is manipulated into some sort of secret Putin infiltration of the Trump campaign.

Writing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban off as simply "pro-Putin" exposes a level of ignorance that is genuinely breathtaking. Even for a journalist. Orban is head of a three-times democratically-elected government in Hungary that has been a consistent and steadfast partner of the US. Before he was attacked by neocons like Anne Applebaum for objecting to the Brussels-mandated invasion of Hungary by Middle East "refugees," he was considered a solid Atlanticist. Orban has always looked West for his alliances even as he realizes that there is no harm in looking east for business relationships as well.

On a day when we learn that Google will "de-rank" (hide) RT articles presumably because they are to be considered "fake news," we are treated to a real piece of fake news by an organization that Google happily promotes in its search engine. How well this Orwell thing is working out...]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/20/omg-trump-aide-met-with-nato-partner-hungary-during-campaign/ Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:17:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Slavery Support, RT Threat, Trump Impeachment, Kratom, Frisking Students Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ 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.

In a new Gallup poll nearly half of surveyed Americans support bringing back slavery, at least if those enslaved are “young Americans” and the master is the United States government. Forty-nine percent of individuals asked in November said they support “requiring all young men and young women in the US to give one year of service to the nation — either in the military forces or in nonmilitary work here or abroad.” Forty-five present said they are opposed.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution says slavery is permitted only as punishment after conviction of a crime. Of course, the US government has violated that clear limitation through conscription both during peacetime and wars including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Issue two.

On Monday, RT complied with a US government demand that it register as a foreign agent with the US Department of Justice.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry provided a reason why the US government would be so unhappy with RT that it made the unusual demand on the media company. Parry writes:
The U.S. government’s real beef with RT seems to be that it allows on air some Americans who have been blacklisted from the mainstream media – including highly credentialed former U.S. intelligence analysts and well-informed American journalists – because they have challenged various Official Narratives.

In other words, Americans are not supposed to hear the other side of the story on important international conflicts, such as the proxy war in Syria or the civil war in Ukraine or Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians. Only the State Department’s versions of those events are permitted even when those versions are themselves propagandistic if not outright false.
Issue three.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) announced Wednesday his introduction of five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The impeachment resolution includes some laughable reasons such as that Trump undermined freedom of the press by calling press organizations “fake news.”

Unmentioned is Trump’s waging of wars overseas.

Cohen’s resolution brings to mind comments of then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in a press conference when impeachment proceedings were taking place against President Bill Clinton. Paul said that Congress should have been addressing “the unconstitutionality of presidents waging wars” without congressional approval, which Paul called “a lot more serious” than Clinton’s scandal involving Monica Lewinsky that the impeachment dealt with.

Issue four.

In the October 13, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) backing off on plans to quickly put kratom in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act and instead pursuing a slower process including a public comment period and a scientific and medical review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

On Tuesday, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced an FDA “public health advisory related to the FDA’s mounting concerns regarding risks associated with the use of kratom.” He also noted that the FDA is working, including through seizures, to prevent kratom from entering America.

While the seizures are bad enough, Mike Riggs writes at Reason that Gottlieb’s tone in the announcement suggests the FDA will be working with the DEA “to put kratom in Schedule I—the most tightly regulated category of drugs.”

Issue five.

In the April 28, June 10, and October 6 episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the sheriff’s department of Worth County, Georgia having frisked 900-plus students at a high school, purportedly in an effort to find illegal drugs, as well as a lawsuit by students against the sheriff’s department in response and the indictment of the sheriff and two deputies on charges related to the friskings.

Here is an update. WALB-TV reported that there was a Tuesday announcement by the students’ lawyers that the sheriff’s department has agreed to pay a three million dollars settlement for the lawsuit. The story also noted that this week the state’s governor has suspended the county sheriff and appointed an interim replacement.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/19/five-minutes-five-issues-slavery-support-rt-threat-trump-impeachment-kratom-frisking-students/ Sun, 19 Nov 2017 19:35:47 GMT
Reps. Duncan, Massie, and Jones Challenge the US Government’s War in Afghanistan Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/
First up, Duncan discussed the futility of the US government trying to control Afghanistan where successive governments, including the Soviet Union most recently before the US, have failed in such attempts for centuries. Duncan further commented concerning US wars since 2001 that it is “very sad that we have allowed all these trillions of dollars to have been spent and all of these lives [to] have been lost needlessly.” Duncan continued, “I think that we’re long past the time that we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, and we shouldn’t keep continuing to drag this out.” Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote more regarding Duncan’s comments here.

Next, Massie discussed with hearing witness John F. Sopko, the inspector general in charge of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the billions spent on Afghanistan reconstruction efforts and what that spending has yielded. Sopko indicated that 120.78 billion dollars had been spent on Afghanistan reconstruction through the end of September and that another 7.42 billion has been authorized and appropriated but not yet spent. Focusing on the overlap of the US war on drugs and US actions in Afghanistan, Massie asked Sopko about US drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan and the results of such efforts. Sopko explained that, though 8.6 billion dollars had been spent on “fighting narcotics” in the country, since 2015 the production of narcotics in Afghanistan has increased by 43 percent.

Last, Jones began his comments by discussing a letter he had written to President Donald Trump on July 18 asking Trump to “come to Congress first” for a debate on the future of US policy in regard to Afghanistan before the executive branch takes any action to increase the number of troops in the country — advice Trump did not end up following. In the letter, Jones notes, he also expressed agreement with some of Trump’s remarks, from before Trump became president, criticizing the Afghanistan War. Ending the Afghanistan War has long been a focus of Jones’ work in Congress. Looking at “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the Afghanistan War, which Jones praised Sopko and SIGAR for helping uncover, Jones lamented the inability to repair roads and bridges in America while the US government has spent a great sum of money in Afghanistan. Jones emphasized the futility of the US war in Afghanistan near the end of his comments, saying:
I have the Marine base Camp Lejeune in my district. I have talked to Marines — active duty and retirees — who have been to Afghanistan five, six, and seven times. They say ‘nothing will ever change.’
Below is video of the complete hearing. You can watch Duncan’s comments starting at time marker 37:48, Massie’s comments starting at 1:05:35, and Jones’ comments starting at 1:14:32.

]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/17/reps-duncan-massie-and-jones-challenge-the-us-government-s-war-in-afghanistan/ Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:43:41 GMT
Anti-Orban US State Dept Repeatedly Interferes in Hungarian Affairs – Daniel McAdams RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/


]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/15/anti-orban-us-state-dept-repeatedly-interferes-in-hungarian-affairs-daniel-mcadams/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 20:07:47 GMT
Andrew Napolitano: ‘Russiagate’ Investigation Shows Prosecutors’ Terrible ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/
The threats and bribes tactics, Napolitano explains, are being used to “squeeze” people with threats of prosecution and punishment that are coupled with bribes of relief from such threatened actions if the individuals help with the prosecution of someone “up the totem pole,” potentially up to President Donald Trump.

Says Napolitano:
Think about this. This is federal prosecution. This is the use of the arm of the government to take away human liberty. And are they interested in truth? Are they interested in justice? Or are they just interested in who’s going to say what about whom so we can keep going up that totem pole until we reach the guy in the Oval Office.
And Napolitano makes it clear in the interview that the problem extends far beyond this one investigation. “I lived with this when I was on the bench,” exclaims Napolitano, referring to his time as a New Jersey state judge when he would “talk about it almost every day.”

Watch Napolitano’s complete interview here:



Napolitano is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/15/andrew-napolitano-russiagate-investigation-shows-prosecutors-terrible-standard-operating-procedure/ Wed, 15 Nov 2017 16:02:00 GMT
Dennis Kucinich Discusses the ‘Permanent Government’ behind US Foreign Intervention Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/

In a recent interview with host Wilmer Leon at the Inside the Issues show, former presidential candidate and United States House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) discussed how what Kucinich terms the “permanent government” has worked to ensure the United States continues pursuing destructive foreign interventions and to keep America “at the precipice of a much wider war” irrespective of who is president.

“There’s an unbroken line going back over the last 30 years where American presidents have continued to proceed with an interventionism that has been counterproductive,” states Kucinich. This “continued commitment to a failed foreign policy of interventionism, of unilateralism, of first strike,” Kucinich continues, “imperils America,” “does not make us safer,” “separates us from the world community,” “has people looking to extract vengeance on Americans,” and “has made the world a more dangerous place.”

Saying we need to look beyond the personalities of the succession of US presidents from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, Kucinich recommends we “look at the foreign policy establishment of the United States of America” that, he explains, includes people in the State Department who have a neoconservative ideology, in the Pentagon who are dedicated to the military-industrial complex, and in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who can “conjure conflicts” and “try to justify the further involvement of the military and the State Department.” This, Kucinich says, “is the permanent government, which we see reflected through Democrat and Republican administrations, no matter whether they are so-called conservative or liberal or populist; it’s all the same.”

While this “permanent government” push for US intervention overseas has produced many harmful consequences, some of which Kucinich discusses in the interview, it also, he argues, produces the additional danger that it “keeps us at the precipice of a much wider war.”

Listen to Kucinich’s complete interview here.

Kucinich is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/13/dennis-kucinich-discusses-the-permanent-government-behind-us-foreign-intervention/ Mon, 13 Nov 2017 19:33:18 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Yemen Bill, Marijuana Momentum, Clinton Crime, Women Draft, Money Bomb Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Stitcher, iTunesYouTube, 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.

In an October 11 article at the Ron Paul Institute website, I wrote about H.Con.Res. 81, introduced by United States House of Representatives Member Ro Khanna (D-CA) and cosponsors, including Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Walter Jones (R-NC) who are RPI Advisory Board members. The legislation sought to end US involvement in the war to determine who governs Yemen.

H.Con.Res. 81 used a provision of the War Powers Resolution to ensure the legislation would reach the House floor for a vote. But, Roxana Tiron reported Tuesday at Bloomberg that top Republican and Democratic House leaders intervened, resulting in the drafting of a nonbinding resolution that would come to the House floor instead. Jones is quoted in the article saying that “[a]round here” consideration of the replacement resolution is “probably a small victory,” but it is “not what Congress should do.”

Issue two.

Five years ago this week, Colorado and Washington state voters approved ballot measures legalizing recreational marijuana. Voters have since approved marijuana legalization in six more states and Washington, DC. Meanwhile, legal medical marijuana is much more widespread, and many state and local governments are moving forward with decriminalization. Plus, people are learning from the rolling back of marijuana prohibition in some parts of America that the war on marijuana was supported by unjustified fears.

This week, there were two governor elections, with the New Jersey winner having campaign for marijuana legalization and the Virginia winner having campaigned for marijuana decriminalization.

The momentum is behind ending the war on marijuana throughout America.

Issue three.

In the July 6, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I noted that then-Attorney General James B. Comey, in announcing his recommendation of no prosecution of Hillary Clinton, pretty much admitted he believed Clinton, as secretary of state, criminally mishandled confidential information. When Comey said both that there was evidence Clinton was “extremely careless” in handling “very sensitive, highly classified information” and that it is “a felony to mismanage classified information … in a grossly negligent way,” he used synonymous phrases to describe Clinton’s actions and criminal actions.

This week, John Solomon reported at The Hill that, in an early draft of the announcement, Comey outright “accused the former secretary of State of having been ‘grossly negligent’ in handling classified information.” Solomon notes that the later wording change to “extremely careless” was significant because “federal law states that gross negligence in handling the nation’s intelligence can be punished criminally with prison time or fines.”

Issue four.

Rowan Scarborough wrote in October at the Washington Times regarding a Department of Defense report describing supposed benefits of requiring women to register with Selective Service. “It appears that, for the most part,” states the report, “expanding registration for the draft to include women would enhance further the benefits presently associated with the selective service system” and “convey the added benefit of promoting fairness and equity.”

As I wrote in December at the Ron Paul Institute website, a provision requiring women to register with Selective Service was included last year in the original Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as well as in the NDAA version passed by the House Armed Services Committee, though the provision was left out of the final bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

The Defense Department report will probably lead to increased support in Congress for expanding a potential draft to include women.

Issue five.

Ten years ago this week, the Ron Paul presidential campaign received over four million dollars in donations via the internet within 24 hours, setting a political campaigns record. This Guy Fawkes Day money bomb, arranged by Paul supporters independent of Paul’s official campaign, demonstrated, through its tens of thousands of donations amounting to such a large sum, the widespread and dedicated support for Paul. The next month, a money bomb on the anniversary of the Boston Tea Party raised even more, setting a record for one-day campaign fund raising on or off the internet.

-----

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.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/november/10/five-minutes-five-issues-yemen-bill-marijuana-momentum-clinton-crime-women-draft-money-bomb/ Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:06:45 GMT