Ron Paul Institute for Peace And Prosperity All Blogs 2017 http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/rss.aspx?blogid=5 Sat, 23 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMT Sat, 23 Sep 2017 15:30:27 GMT Five Minutes Five Issues: Secession, Surveilling Manafort, Catalonia Crackdown, Hemp Farms, Marijuana Use Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ 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.

A new poll suggests a rather narrow divide in Americans’ opinions regarding whether the United States government should again respond to secession, as it did in the 1860s, with war.

The John Zogby Strategies poll indicates 39 percent of Americans agree that[i]f a majority of residents within a given state prefer to have the final say over their destiny without the control of Washington D.C. then let them have it – it is their right.” Close behind, 32 percent said “the federal government would be justified in sending in the military to prevent secession from taking place.” Another 29 percent of polled Americans presented with the two options chose neither.

Issue two.

The impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon included that he sought to cover up “unlawful covert activities.” The primary covert activity mentioned was that “agents of the Committee for the re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in [Washington, DC] for the purpose of securing political intelligence.”

Might the same sort of allegation be made against people in the Obama administration in regard to surveillance of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, and Pamela Brown reported Tuesday at CNN, based on confidential sources, that US government secret surveillance of Paul Manafort from 2014 into 2016 was terminated “for lack of evidence” only to be reinstated later in 2016 as “part of the [Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI)] efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.” Manafort was a campaign manager for Trump’s campaign.

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the extreme threats and actions the Spain government had pursued to oppose a planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia. Raquel Castillo and Sam Edwards reported Wednesday at Reuters that the crackdown intensified this week with actions including arresting Catalan government officials, raiding Catalan government offices and seizing election materials such as ten million paper ballots, and taking over Catalonia’s finances.

Carles Puigdemont, the head of the Catalonia government, is quoted Wednesday at the Guardian as saying the Spanish government “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.

Issue four.

This year, Libby Rainey reports at the Denver Post, farms in Colorado “are expected to harvest up to 9,000 acres of hemp” — a record amount since hemp’s legalization via a 2012 state marijuana legalization referendum.

While Rainey terms hemp farming a “rapidly growing industry,” she also notes powerful barriers imposed by the US government. In particular, Rainey writes that the illegality of hemp under US law results in interference with hemp farmers buying hemp seeds from other states and exporting raw hemp material, dealing with banks and money transfer companies, and gaining recognition of water rights. The threat of US government raids also persists, though it is likely holding farmers back less each year that raids fail to materialize.

What action could the US government take to remove barriers to the growth of hemp farming in Colorado? Rainey’s article suggests that the US enacting the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (HR 3530) that seeks greater US respect for states’ hemp legalization would help. The original version of the legislation was introduced in 2005 by then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Issue five.

Answering a question regarding marijuana at a Wednesday press conference in California, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented that, “we do know that legalization results in greater use.” Tom Angell responded at Forbes that a study released last week in the journal Addiction shows states’ legalization of marijuana is not the cause of increased marijuana use in America.

The dispute is interesting. But, for people seeking to increase respect for liberty, whether rolling back the war on marijuana reduces or increases marijuana use is a side issue. Respecting liberty means that people are free to choose, no matter whether others approve or disapprove the choices made.

-----

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/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:35:17 GMT
Russell Brand on Drug Legalization Benefits Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/

British commentator, comedian, and author Russell Brand has presented a short summation of some benefits from legalizing currently illegal drugs. Brand, in a new video commentary, presents the summation in response to Stephen Glover’s Wednesday editorial in the Daily Mail that criticizes Britain’s Prince William for questioning publicly if drugs should be legalized while visiting with illegal drug users.

Brand, in the video commentary, calls the prince a “rogue,” yet commends him for both “meeting with addicts” and “asking an intelligent question.” “My personal experience is making drugs illegal simply inconveniences addicts, turns addicts into criminals, and exacerbates the problems,” says Brand.

Continuing, Brand argues that, “by legalizing drugs, you would be able to address the problem at its essence — a mental health problem, a problem of need, a problem of loneliness and loss.” Also, in response to the editorial’s message that “parents groan” at the idea of legalization, Brand responds in part, “I’m a parent, and I think I’d rather my kid grew up in a world where drugs were legalized so we can have an honest, clear conversation.”

Given the scheduled October 3 release of Brand’s book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, we can expect to hear more from Brand regarding the drug war and drug legalization in the coming weeks.

Watch Brand’s video commentary here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:14:46 GMT
Libya Update: A Clash of Egos Richard Galustian http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/

Libya has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups aligned to both sides, and some "independent" ones, battling to control its oil wealth. 

Inexplicably for many, the only one that is recognised is called the Government of National Accord (GNA), totally unelected by the Libyan people, consisting of a handful of Ministers and headed by an architect. All of these were chosen by the UN, which also selected as Prime Minister, Faez Serraj who resides mostly in Tunis and intermittently visits Tripoli and a few other parts of Libya, dependent on the good graces of the mercenaries calling themselves Militias that get paid for their service to the GNA, underwritten for them by the UN no less.

The other Government of Abdullah Al-Thinni, who is Prime Minister as designated by the elected HoR Parliament based in Tobruk, is a former soldier. He gave an interview to AFP last weekend calling on the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this past week to bestow full and proper recognition to his administration, which he states controls most of the North African country.

However what is the intent of PM Al-Thinni and the HoR Parliament in relation to Libya’s eastern supreme military commander, who recaptured both Benghazi and the oil crescent fields, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar?

Haftar's legitimacy is bol­stered by a number of countries including France, Egypt, and Russia, though less so now in comparison to the Kremlin's previous closer relations with Haftar.

Senior sources announced on Tuesday that HoR-appointed Field Marshall Haftar has just "launched" a campaign to declare himself President for four years without a vote.

This grass-roots pro-Haftar campaign is being unofficially launched in several towns in eastern Libya, though no comment has so far been made by Haftar himself.

The objective appears to be to collect enough support for Haftar by De­cember 17th, 2017, when a UN-bro­kered accord granting legitimacy to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) expires.

France has elevated Haftar’s status on the world stage to that of UN-endorsed Prime Minister Serraj, with Macron saying that “like Prime Minister Serraj, 'General' Haf­tar is part of the solution” during a trilateral meeting in Paris on July 25th.

After the gathering, Macron an­nounced a ten-point agreement to the Libyan conflict allegedly agreed upon, but not signed, by Haftar and Serraj. 

To add to the confusion, PM Serraj took to State television for a two-hour interview last week. During his television appearance, he proposed a plan to resolve the crisis by organ­ising Presidential elections by March 2018 for which no doubt he will also nominate himself.

All face the prospect of the Islamic State (IS) retaking both Sirte and Sabratha, two important military strategic objectives.

When the European Union was challenged by waves of migrants using Libya as a springboard, Italy provided large financial incentives to certain "towns and individuals" to help limit migration. 

As a consequence, Mediterranean crossings dropped from nearly 28,000 peo­ple in June to below 10,000 in Au­gust, according to UN figures.

EU ministers in Brussels have failed to explain the true reason for the drop in migrant crossings, just saying “Trust in Italy!” Not what the French would say.

France’s courtship of Haftar was no doubt encouraged by the French military, which has seen Haftar’s forces ex­pand their presence in the south­ern Fezzan region, which falls into the domain of the French military’s "Operation Barkhane" in Mali and sub-Saharan Africa.

Lastly various Libyans have advanced their names to "save" Libya, even Saif Gaddafi, son of the former leader, but the most serious of them is without doubt Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, a well-educated and capable technocrat and Libya's first Prime Minister after the fall of Col. Gaddafi.

The big question is how coordinated are plans between Al Thinni and Haftar? If uncoordinated then a Libyan clash of egos will begin!

Meanwhile the UN's new Libya head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame, trying to assert his authority, announced last Tuesday he is sending to Tripoli 200 Nepalese Ghurka Soldiers to act as "Security Guards only" emphasizing that they are not peacekeepers, to protect the UN Facility which is adjacent to the  "Palm City Complex" presumably where the five or so men that make up the GNA will live. It should be noted, as I have emphasised in the past, that 1000+ professional Ghurkas could literally wipe out all militias in Tripoli and probably ISIS too.

Don't expect Libya's would-be leaders to make logical, rational decisions, however; those are made only when related to receiving money, as the Italians proved.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:27:30 GMT
How The Military Defeated Trump's Insurgency Moon of Alabama http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/

Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the US military. (Historically its first successful one). The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies.

It is schooling Trump on globalism and its "indispensable" role in it. Trump was insufficiently supportive of their desires and thus had to undergo reeducation:
When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.
Trump was hauled into a Pentagon basement "tank" and indoctrinated by the glittering four-star generals he admired since he was a kid:
The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the “globalist” worldview.In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump’s aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain — if not expand — the American footprint and influence abroad.
Trump was sold the establishment policies he originally despised. No alternative view was presented to him.

It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power, controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle, the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

Stephen Kinzer describes this as America’s slow-motion military coup:
Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
...
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t. 
...
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military “needs” always rated more important than domestic ones.  
...
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:
In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did. 
...
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.
The junta is bigger than its three well known leaders:
Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
...
the National Security Council [..] counts two other generals on the senior staff.
This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands:
[Chief of staff John] Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide [...] will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk. 
...
The new system [..] is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.
To control Trump the junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view:
Staff who oppose [policy xyz] no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside [.. .] Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.
The Trump insurgency against the establishment was marked by a mostly informal information and decision process. That has been destroyed and replaced:
Worried that Trump would end existing US spending/policies (largely, still geared to cold war priorities), the senior military staff running the Trump administration launched a counter-insurgency against the insurgency. 
...
General Kelly, Trump's Chief of Staff, has put Trump on a establishment-only media diet.
...
In short, by controlling Trump's information flow with social media/networks, the generals smashed the insurgency's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act). Deprived of this connection, Trump is now weathervaning to cater to the needs of the establishment ...
The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing to him certain alternatives. The one that is most preferable to them will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

Other countries noticed how the game has changed. The real decisions are made by the generals, Trump is ignored as a mere figurehead:
Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president."
Climate change, its local catastrophes and the infrastructure problems it creates within the US will further extend the military role in shaping domestic U.S. policy.

Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the US society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.)

It is only way to sustain the empire.

It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:35:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Spain War, Venezuela Oil, Manning’s Fellowship, Border Searches, Lee Statue Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ 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 the July 8 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I commented that the planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia could lead to the rise of a new nation in Europe this fall. Now, seeing the Spain government’s response to the election, including ordering the seizure of ballots, threatening to arrest over 700 Catalan mayors for cooperating with the referendum, preparing to take over the Catalan government’s finances, and deploying the national police force to stop the election, it looks like this fall could bring a new war to Europe.

Issue two.

“[T]his could be the most important economic event of 2017.” That is how Robert Wenzel describes at the Economic Policy Journal Venezuela stopping this week accepting United States dollars in payment for oil.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) World Fact Book ranks Venezuela number nine among oil exporters worldwide.

And the CIA does not just track Venezuela’s oil sales. The CIA’s interest runs deeper.

Ron Paul, in his February of 2006 House of Representatives floor speech “The End of Dollar Hegemony,” noted the following:
In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against [Venezuela President Hugo] Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.
In his speech Paul also examines how, after the 1971 abandonment of the last link between the US dollar and gold, the dollar has been “in essence ‘backed’” by oil being priced in dollars internationally.

Concludes Wenzel:
The Venezuelan move may be the first straw that breaks the status of the US dollar as the world's global reserve currency. And gold may return to play that role.
Issue three.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s Harvard Kennedy School visiting fellowship was announced on Wednesday and then revoked on Friday. The revocation came after expressions of disapproval from members of the US foreign policy establishment including current CIA Director Mike Pompeo who cancelled his scheduled speaking engagement at Harvard and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morrell who resigned from his senior fellow position at the Kennedy School.

Meanwhile, former CIA Director and General David Petraeus is about to begin his fifth year as a senior fellow at the Kennedy School.

While Manning suffered during years of confinement for making public US government information that revealed serious misconduct, Petraeus avoided any prison time after sharing classified information with his biographer who was also his mistress.

Why the different treatment? It comes down to power. As an enlisted Army member, Manning took great risk to expose the abuse of power. In contrast, as an Army general overseeing US wars and as the head of the CIA overseeing US covert interventions around the world, Petraeus pulled the strings of power.

Issue four.

In the March 18 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the recently much more common practice of US government agents conducting warrantless searches of electronic devices of people departing from or returning to America. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit in US district court challenging the practice on behalf of ten US citizens and one US green card holder who have been subjected to such searches.

Issue five.

On Wednesday, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute website regarding my Monday visit to Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas Texas to see a statue of Army of Northern Virginia General Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses side by side. The previous week, the Dallas city council had voted to remove the statue.

Here is an update: On Thursday, the statue was removed from the park.

What happens next? An Associated Press report relates that, “until city officials decide the statue's future,” the plan is for the statue to be stored at “an abandoned naval air station owned by the city on its western outskirts.”

-----

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/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:13:34 GMT
New US Law Blurs the Line Between Hate Speech and Hate Crime Michael S. Rozeff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/

Eleven years ago, this essay argued against hate-crime laws. One argument read “People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.” This has now come to pass, I am sorry to say. This week, the Congress passed S. J. Res. 49, and President Trump signed it, making it part of the U.S. legal code.

The law rejects “White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups…” But why? Because of their ideas? Because of their expression of these ideas? No government that stands for freedom and free speech, whose charge is to protect rights, should be singling out specific groups by name and by law declaring them as outlaws or threats because of their philosophies. If they have committed a crime, such as defamation of character or incitement to riot or riot itself, then charge them and try them. But American government has no legitimate authority to single out some of its citizens in this way. This, furthermore, is an exceedingly bad precedent. Who’s next?

The resolution is too specific, but it’s also dangerously vague. The term “other hate groups” has no known definition. Suppose that this term is defined by a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC currently names 917 groups as hate groups (see here for a list). Their criteria are not restricted to violent actions. They comprise SPEECH. They say “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They are very clear about this: “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

This Congressional resolution is a declaration that certain kinds of groups, some named but many, many others open to inclusion, are to be attacked by the U.S. government. The law urges “the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.” The term “threats” in the first paragraph is vague, dangerously vague. However, the very next paragraph singles outfree speech actions when “hundreds of torch-bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans…” The same sentence joins this with violent actions “…and violently engaged with counter-demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville…”

This law regards free speech as a threat, linking it to violence, painting them with one brush. There can be no justice that can stem from such a completely sloppy and inexcusably amateurish legal treatment. This linkage is made clear in paragraph seven with this language: “…communities everywhere are concerned about the growing and open display of hate and violence being perpetrated by those groups…” There is no distinction made here between the “open display of hate” and “violence being perpetrated”. As I predicted 11 years ago in arguing against hate crime laws, hate speech is being identified with hate crime.

I am just as uncomfortable with the notion of defining and singling out “hate speech” as some sort of new danger or threat or harmful activity or crime, to be dealt with by government or courts of law as I was 11 years ago with the idea of “hate crime”. The standard categories of crime are quite enough without adding to them a government laundry list of prejudices and aversions that everyone is not supposed to express or feel, under penalty of government law.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ Sat, 16 Sep 2017 14:40:39 GMT
GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Sought Trump Deal With Assange Jason Ditz http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/

Last month, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This meeting led to a potential deal being brought to the White House by Rohrabacher.

Under this deal, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal, Assange would provide conclusive proof that Russia was not the source of hacked emails WikiLeaks published. In return, he would be offered a pardon, or some other assurance that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by the US for involvement in WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher brought this deal to the White House Wednesday, but Chief of Staff John Kelly not only apparently didn’t like the offer, but didn’t tell President Trump that the offer had been made, instead telling Rohrabacher to take the proposal to the intelligence community.

The intelligence community almost certainly wouldn’t be in a position to offer any sort of amnesty for Assange, which likely means the end of the proposal. Rohrabacher offered to set up a meeting between Assange and a Trump representative, but that too appears to have been dismissed by Kelly.

Rohrabacher expressed willingness to talk to the CIA about the matter, but also said he believes such talks would have considerable limitations because the CIA had already gone along with the false Russia hacking claims and would want to maintain “the big lie.”

With many officials having already made their decision as to which side of the WikiLeaks narrative they’re on, securing actual evidence from WikiLeaks would likely be a hugely controversial matter, and even if such proof exists, it’s probably going to provoke a new scandal surrounding making a deal after years of vilifying Assange.

Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:35:16 GMT
Goodbye, Robert E. Lee Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/

On Monday, I visited an impressive statue in a Dallas, Texas city park. The statue depicts Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses next to each other.

Wednesday of last week, the Dallas city council voted to remove the statue from the park, which is named after Lee and also contains a building modeled after Lee’s Virginia home. The removal process began within an hour after the vote. But, after delays due to a temporary restraining order and a vehicular crash involving the crane intended to aid in removing the statue, the statue was still present in the park on Monday. Recently erected barriers, though, blocked approaching closer to the statue than, I estimate, about seventy feet in any direction.

From reading a plaque near the statue, I learned that the statue was created by sculptor A. Phimister Proctor and was unveiled in the park on June 12, 1936 by then-United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, in his quite brief speech at the unveiling, clearly expressed great admiration for Lee. Roosevelt’s praise for Lee contrasts with the disparagement of Lee that has helped bring about the removal from public view over the last few months of Lee statues in states from California to Texas to Louisiana to North Carolina.

Here is Roosevelt’s speech:
I am very happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee.

All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.
In addition to speaking, as reported at the time at the Dallas Morning News, Roosevelt pulled a ribbon to cause the statue to be revealed.

If more people knew of Roosevelt’s expression of such an opinion regarding the general who commanded of the Army of Northern Virginia, would politicians be voting to remove statues of Roosevelt across America and to eliminate Roosevelt’s name from streets, parks, and institutions as well?

Those actions may not be far off. The effort to purge historical figures from recognition in public art and otherwise extends far beyond removing representations of and references to individuals who, like Lee, were involved in the Confederate States of America (CSA). And some of this purge effort is taking place outside the political process. For example, people have vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus in multiple cities in the past few weeks. Similarly, prior to the vote to remove it, the Lee statue in Dallas had been subjected to vandalism.

In my June of 2015 Ron Paul Institute article “If You Want to Get Rid of ‘Racist Flags,’ How About Starting with the American Flag?” I critiqued the effort to banish from view flags, statues, and just about anything else that some people interpret as promoting the CSA or racism.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:59:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: USS Liberty, Obama Deportations, Vermont Police, Dennis Rodman, CSA Monuments Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ 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 Tuesday article at the Unz Review, Philip Giraldi relates the story of how, 50 years after the Israel military attack on the USS Liberty in which 34 American crew members were killed and many more injured, the largest veterans organization in America — the American Legion — approved at its national convention last month a resolution calling upon the United States Congress “to publicly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate the attack on the USS Liberty and its aftermath and to commence its investigation before the end of 2017.”

Adopting this resolution, Giraldi relates, took great effort by American Legion members to overcome long-time resistance from the organization’s leadership. The result is the American Legion joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other military-related organizations in seeking what Giraldi terms a “proper investigation.”

Immediately following the 1967 attack, Giraldi asserts that there was a “cover-up” of a deliberate and knowing attack on the US Navy ship in international waters. Key players in the cover-up, Giraldi writes, included then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, then-Secretary of Defense John McNamera, and Admiral John McCain, the father of the US Senator of the same name.

What will happen next? Giraldi suggests one reason not to have too high of hopes for a new investigation is that Israel “will certainly use all the resources that it has at hand, and they are considerable, to make sure that Congress never looks into the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in any capacity.”

Issue two.


This week, President Donald Trump announced the phasing out of President Barack Obama’s DACA program that allows some people to legally stay in America who would otherwise be subject to deportation. Unless legislation is enacted in the next few months to extend the program in some form, the protection from deportation will be lifted.

With many people criticizing Trump in reaction to the announcement, it seems like a good time to review Obama’s deportation record. At ABC News last week, Serena Marshall wrote that the Obama administration had “deported more people than any other president's administration in history.”

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I discussed why President Trump’s removal of some limits President Obama placed on the US government transferring military weapons and equipment to state and local police is of less significance than some people assume.

Nonetheless, it is good to hear that not all state and local politicians will be supporting police obtaining some of the newly available warfare goodies. Vermont Governor Phil Scott, for example, said that he does not support obtaining the newly available armored vehicles and high-powered weapons for the state police and that he will also, though acknowledging he cannot control their choices, discourage local police from acquiring such vehicles and weapons.

Issue four.

Robert Wenzel wrote Thursday at Target Liberty that former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Dennis Rodman presented a “great idea” in a recent interview. The idea Rodman offered is that President Trump should talk with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, with the hope that the meeting would ease tensions between the two governments. I doubt Rodman is on the top of the list of people from whom Trump generally wants to take foreign policy advice. But, in this instance Trump should listen. Rodman, it seems, has spent more time with the North Korea leader than has anybody advising Trump.

Issue five.

Politicians around America are rushing to take down statues and plaques, as well as rename government parks, streets, and institutions, that have some relation to the Confederate States of America (CSA). But, Sabrina Tavernise reported last week at the New York Times that some privately funded monuments related to the CSA have been erected across America in recent years on private land. Included is a monument going up in Orange, Texas that Tavernise writes is “considered the largest Confederate monument built in a century.”

-----

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/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:54:29 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secretary of Raytheon, Police Militarization, Google, NYC Cigarettes, Animals’ Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ 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 the April 8, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I mentioned some “Never Trumpers” who were hoping a certain retired Marine Corps general would run for president as an independent against Donald Trump. The retired general could be counted on to promote much more intervention abroad than Trump would.

That hoped-for anti-Trump candidate was James Mattis. Later, president Trump appointed Mattis to be Secretary of Defense.

Mattis, I noted last year, was a board of directors member for General Dynamics, one of the biggest military contractors in the world.

In July, Trump announced his pick for secretary of the Army is Mark Esper. Since 2010, Esper worked for Raytheon, another big military contractor. In fact, Megan G. Wilson reported in The Hill in August that over the last 12 months Esper had earned over 1.5 million dollars lobbying for Raytheon.

Esper awaits a confirmation vote in the Unites States Senate.

It seems these Never Trumpers and the military-industrial complex are doing alright with Trump in the White House.

Issue two.

This week, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the US government to transfer to state and local police certain types of military equipment and weapons President Barack Obama had restricted the transfer of in 2015.

While many people are rightly pointing to Trump with accusations that he is seeking to militarize the police, it should also be acknowledged that during the Obama administration there was a huge increase in the transfer of military equipment and weapons from the US government to police. Also, in June of 2014, United States House of Representatives members rejected by a vote of 355 to 62 an amendment offered by then-Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to impose some limits on what may be transferred.

Issue three.

When Alphabet was created and made the parent company of Google in 2015, Google’s old motto of do no evil was replaced with “do the right thing.” That year, Google’s advertising business refused to continue providing ads on antiwar.com, a website promoting noninterventionist foreign policy ideas. As antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo confirmed on Thursday, the refusal to provide ads continues.

Recently, Google subsidiary YouTube has routinely blocked placement of advertising in episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, a Ron Paul Institute program that each weekday includes discussion on topics from a pro-liberty and pro-peace perspective.

Doing the right thing? Maybe it is time for yet another motto.

Issue four.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed into law legislation mandating a price floor of $13 per pack of cigarettes.

In New York City, cigarette prices and taxes were already among the highest in America.

Government-mandated price increases for cigarettes will result in more people in New York City seeking, and people being more motivated to sell, cheaper cigarettes on the black market.

Enforcement of the new mandate will seek to ensure that more people pay the higher prices on the legal market. And enforcement will mean individuals seeking to satisfy the demand for cheaper cigarettes will risk arrest, fines, incarceration, and even death at the hands of the laws’ enforcers. Recall that in 2014 Eric Garner was killed in manhandling and choking by New York City police after suspicion he was selling cigarettes in violation of the city’s laws.

Issue five.

Medical marijuana is not just for people.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is an organization of over 89,000 veterinarians. Delegates to an AVMA summer meeting approved recommending the organization’s board of directors “investigate working with other research organizations and medical stakeholders to reclassify cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 [of the Controlled Substances Act] to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.”

-----

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/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ Sun, 03 Sep 2017 19:08:17 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secession, Surveilling Manafort, Catalonia Crackdown, Hemp Farms, Marijuana Use Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ 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.

A new poll suggests a rather narrow divide in Americans’ opinions regarding whether the United States government should again respond to secession, as it did in the 1860s, with war.

The John Zogby Strategies poll indicates 39 percent of Americans agree that[i]f a majority of residents within a given state prefer to have the final say over their destiny without the control of Washington D.C. then let them have it – it is their right.” Close behind, 32 percent said “the federal government would be justified in sending in the military to prevent secession from taking place.” Another 29 percent of polled Americans presented with the two options chose neither.

Issue two.

The impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon included that he sought to cover up “unlawful covert activities.” The primary covert activity mentioned was that “agents of the Committee for the re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in [Washington, DC] for the purpose of securing political intelligence.”

Might the same sort of allegation be made against people in the Obama administration in regard to surveillance of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, and Pamela Brown reported Tuesday at CNN, based on confidential sources, that US government secret surveillance of Paul Manafort from 2014 into 2016 was terminated “for lack of evidence” only to be reinstated later in 2016 as “part of the [Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI)] efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.” Manafort was a campaign manager for Trump’s campaign.

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the extreme threats and actions the Spain government had pursued to oppose a planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia. Raquel Castillo and Sam Edwards reported Wednesday at Reuters that the crackdown intensified this week with actions including arresting Catalan government officials, raiding Catalan government offices and seizing election materials such as ten million paper ballots, and taking over Catalonia’s finances.

Carles Puigdemont, the head of the Catalonia government, is quoted Wednesday at the Guardian as saying the Spanish government “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.

Issue four.

This year, Libby Rainey reports at the Denver Post, farms in Colorado “are expected to harvest up to 9,000 acres of hemp” — a record amount since hemp’s legalization via a 2012 state marijuana legalization referendum.

While Rainey terms hemp farming a “rapidly growing industry,” she also notes powerful barriers imposed by the US government. In particular, Rainey writes that the illegality of hemp under US law results in interference with hemp farmers buying hemp seeds from other states and exporting raw hemp material, dealing with banks and money transfer companies, and gaining recognition of water rights. The threat of US government raids also persists, though it is likely holding farmers back less each year that raids fail to materialize.

What action could the US government take to remove barriers to the growth of hemp farming in Colorado? Rainey’s article suggests that the US enacting the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (HR 3530) that seeks greater US respect for states’ hemp legalization would help. The original version of the legislation was introduced in 2005 by then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Issue five.

Answering a question regarding marijuana at a Wednesday press conference in California, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented that, “we do know that legalization results in greater use.” Tom Angell responded at Forbes that a study released last week in the journal Addiction shows states’ legalization of marijuana is not the cause of increased marijuana use in America.

The dispute is interesting. But, for people seeking to increase respect for liberty, whether rolling back the war on marijuana reduces or increases marijuana use is a side issue. Respecting liberty means that people are free to choose, no matter whether others approve or disapprove the choices made.

-----

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/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:35:17 GMT
Russell Brand on Drug Legalization Benefits Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/

British commentator, comedian, and author Russell Brand has presented a short summation of some benefits from legalizing currently illegal drugs. Brand, in a new video commentary, presents the summation in response to Stephen Glover’s Wednesday editorial in the Daily Mail that criticizes Britain’s Prince William for questioning publicly if drugs should be legalized while visiting with illegal drug users.

Brand, in the video commentary, calls the prince a “rogue,” yet commends him for both “meeting with addicts” and “asking an intelligent question.” “My personal experience is making drugs illegal simply inconveniences addicts, turns addicts into criminals, and exacerbates the problems,” says Brand.

Continuing, Brand argues that, “by legalizing drugs, you would be able to address the problem at its essence — a mental health problem, a problem of need, a problem of loneliness and loss.” Also, in response to the editorial’s message that “parents groan” at the idea of legalization, Brand responds in part, “I’m a parent, and I think I’d rather my kid grew up in a world where drugs were legalized so we can have an honest, clear conversation.”

Given the scheduled October 3 release of Brand’s book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, we can expect to hear more from Brand regarding the drug war and drug legalization in the coming weeks.

Watch Brand’s video commentary here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:14:46 GMT
Libya Update: A Clash of Egos Richard Galustian http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/

Libya has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups aligned to both sides, and some "independent" ones, battling to control its oil wealth. 

Inexplicably for many, the only one that is recognised is called the Government of National Accord (GNA), totally unelected by the Libyan people, consisting of a handful of Ministers and headed by an architect. All of these were chosen by the UN, which also selected as Prime Minister, Faez Serraj who resides mostly in Tunis and intermittently visits Tripoli and a few other parts of Libya, dependent on the good graces of the mercenaries calling themselves Militias that get paid for their service to the GNA, underwritten for them by the UN no less.

The other Government of Abdullah Al-Thinni, who is Prime Minister as designated by the elected HoR Parliament based in Tobruk, is a former soldier. He gave an interview to AFP last weekend calling on the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this past week to bestow full and proper recognition to his administration, which he states controls most of the North African country.

However what is the intent of PM Al-Thinni and the HoR Parliament in relation to Libya’s eastern supreme military commander, who recaptured both Benghazi and the oil crescent fields, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar?

Haftar's legitimacy is bol­stered by a number of countries including France, Egypt, and Russia, though less so now in comparison to the Kremlin's previous closer relations with Haftar.

Senior sources announced on Tuesday that HoR-appointed Field Marshall Haftar has just "launched" a campaign to declare himself President for four years without a vote.

This grass-roots pro-Haftar campaign is being unofficially launched in several towns in eastern Libya, though no comment has so far been made by Haftar himself.

The objective appears to be to collect enough support for Haftar by De­cember 17th, 2017, when a UN-bro­kered accord granting legitimacy to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) expires.

France has elevated Haftar’s status on the world stage to that of UN-endorsed Prime Minister Serraj, with Macron saying that “like Prime Minister Serraj, 'General' Haf­tar is part of the solution” during a trilateral meeting in Paris on July 25th.

After the gathering, Macron an­nounced a ten-point agreement to the Libyan conflict allegedly agreed upon, but not signed, by Haftar and Serraj. 

To add to the confusion, PM Serraj took to State television for a two-hour interview last week. During his television appearance, he proposed a plan to resolve the crisis by organ­ising Presidential elections by March 2018 for which no doubt he will also nominate himself.

All face the prospect of the Islamic State (IS) retaking both Sirte and Sabratha, two important military strategic objectives.

When the European Union was challenged by waves of migrants using Libya as a springboard, Italy provided large financial incentives to certain "towns and individuals" to help limit migration. 

As a consequence, Mediterranean crossings dropped from nearly 28,000 peo­ple in June to below 10,000 in Au­gust, according to UN figures.

EU ministers in Brussels have failed to explain the true reason for the drop in migrant crossings, just saying “Trust in Italy!” Not what the French would say.

France’s courtship of Haftar was no doubt encouraged by the French military, which has seen Haftar’s forces ex­pand their presence in the south­ern Fezzan region, which falls into the domain of the French military’s "Operation Barkhane" in Mali and sub-Saharan Africa.

Lastly various Libyans have advanced their names to "save" Libya, even Saif Gaddafi, son of the former leader, but the most serious of them is without doubt Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, a well-educated and capable technocrat and Libya's first Prime Minister after the fall of Col. Gaddafi.

The big question is how coordinated are plans between Al Thinni and Haftar? If uncoordinated then a Libyan clash of egos will begin!

Meanwhile the UN's new Libya head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame, trying to assert his authority, announced last Tuesday he is sending to Tripoli 200 Nepalese Ghurka Soldiers to act as "Security Guards only" emphasizing that they are not peacekeepers, to protect the UN Facility which is adjacent to the  "Palm City Complex" presumably where the five or so men that make up the GNA will live. It should be noted, as I have emphasised in the past, that 1000+ professional Ghurkas could literally wipe out all militias in Tripoli and probably ISIS too.

Don't expect Libya's would-be leaders to make logical, rational decisions, however; those are made only when related to receiving money, as the Italians proved.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:27:30 GMT
How The Military Defeated Trump's Insurgency Moon of Alabama http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/

Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the US military. (Historically its first successful one). The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies.

It is schooling Trump on globalism and its "indispensable" role in it. Trump was insufficiently supportive of their desires and thus had to undergo reeducation:
When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.
Trump was hauled into a Pentagon basement "tank" and indoctrinated by the glittering four-star generals he admired since he was a kid:
The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the “globalist” worldview.In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump’s aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain — if not expand — the American footprint and influence abroad.
Trump was sold the establishment policies he originally despised. No alternative view was presented to him.

It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power, controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle, the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

Stephen Kinzer describes this as America’s slow-motion military coup:
Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
...
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t. 
...
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military “needs” always rated more important than domestic ones.  
...
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:
In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did. 
...
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.
The junta is bigger than its three well known leaders:
Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
...
the National Security Council [..] counts two other generals on the senior staff.
This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands:
[Chief of staff John] Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide [...] will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk. 
...
The new system [..] is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.
To control Trump the junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view:
Staff who oppose [policy xyz] no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside [.. .] Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.
The Trump insurgency against the establishment was marked by a mostly informal information and decision process. That has been destroyed and replaced:
Worried that Trump would end existing US spending/policies (largely, still geared to cold war priorities), the senior military staff running the Trump administration launched a counter-insurgency against the insurgency. 
...
General Kelly, Trump's Chief of Staff, has put Trump on a establishment-only media diet.
...
In short, by controlling Trump's information flow with social media/networks, the generals smashed the insurgency's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act). Deprived of this connection, Trump is now weathervaning to cater to the needs of the establishment ...
The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing to him certain alternatives. The one that is most preferable to them will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

Other countries noticed how the game has changed. The real decisions are made by the generals, Trump is ignored as a mere figurehead:
Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president."
Climate change, its local catastrophes and the infrastructure problems it creates within the US will further extend the military role in shaping domestic U.S. policy.

Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the US society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.)

It is only way to sustain the empire.

It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:35:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Spain War, Venezuela Oil, Manning’s Fellowship, Border Searches, Lee Statue Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ 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 the July 8 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I commented that the planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia could lead to the rise of a new nation in Europe this fall. Now, seeing the Spain government’s response to the election, including ordering the seizure of ballots, threatening to arrest over 700 Catalan mayors for cooperating with the referendum, preparing to take over the Catalan government’s finances, and deploying the national police force to stop the election, it looks like this fall could bring a new war to Europe.

Issue two.

“[T]his could be the most important economic event of 2017.” That is how Robert Wenzel describes at the Economic Policy Journal Venezuela stopping this week accepting United States dollars in payment for oil.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) World Fact Book ranks Venezuela number nine among oil exporters worldwide.

And the CIA does not just track Venezuela’s oil sales. The CIA’s interest runs deeper.

Ron Paul, in his February of 2006 House of Representatives floor speech “The End of Dollar Hegemony,” noted the following:
In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against [Venezuela President Hugo] Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.
In his speech Paul also examines how, after the 1971 abandonment of the last link between the US dollar and gold, the dollar has been “in essence ‘backed’” by oil being priced in dollars internationally.

Concludes Wenzel:
The Venezuelan move may be the first straw that breaks the status of the US dollar as the world's global reserve currency. And gold may return to play that role.
Issue three.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s Harvard Kennedy School visiting fellowship was announced on Wednesday and then revoked on Friday. The revocation came after expressions of disapproval from members of the US foreign policy establishment including current CIA Director Mike Pompeo who cancelled his scheduled speaking engagement at Harvard and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morrell who resigned from his senior fellow position at the Kennedy School.

Meanwhile, former CIA Director and General David Petraeus is about to begin his fifth year as a senior fellow at the Kennedy School.

While Manning suffered during years of confinement for making public US government information that revealed serious misconduct, Petraeus avoided any prison time after sharing classified information with his biographer who was also his mistress.

Why the different treatment? It comes down to power. As an enlisted Army member, Manning took great risk to expose the abuse of power. In contrast, as an Army general overseeing US wars and as the head of the CIA overseeing US covert interventions around the world, Petraeus pulled the strings of power.

Issue four.

In the March 18 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the recently much more common practice of US government agents conducting warrantless searches of electronic devices of people departing from or returning to America. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit in US district court challenging the practice on behalf of ten US citizens and one US green card holder who have been subjected to such searches.

Issue five.

On Wednesday, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute website regarding my Monday visit to Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas Texas to see a statue of Army of Northern Virginia General Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses side by side. The previous week, the Dallas city council had voted to remove the statue.

Here is an update: On Thursday, the statue was removed from the park.

What happens next? An Associated Press report relates that, “until city officials decide the statue's future,” the plan is for the statue to be stored at “an abandoned naval air station owned by the city on its western outskirts.”

-----

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/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:13:34 GMT
New US Law Blurs the Line Between Hate Speech and Hate Crime Michael S. Rozeff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/

Eleven years ago, this essay argued against hate-crime laws. One argument read “People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.” This has now come to pass, I am sorry to say. This week, the Congress passed S. J. Res. 49, and President Trump signed it, making it part of the U.S. legal code.

The law rejects “White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups…” But why? Because of their ideas? Because of their expression of these ideas? No government that stands for freedom and free speech, whose charge is to protect rights, should be singling out specific groups by name and by law declaring them as outlaws or threats because of their philosophies. If they have committed a crime, such as defamation of character or incitement to riot or riot itself, then charge them and try them. But American government has no legitimate authority to single out some of its citizens in this way. This, furthermore, is an exceedingly bad precedent. Who’s next?

The resolution is too specific, but it’s also dangerously vague. The term “other hate groups” has no known definition. Suppose that this term is defined by a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC currently names 917 groups as hate groups (see here for a list). Their criteria are not restricted to violent actions. They comprise SPEECH. They say “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They are very clear about this: “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

This Congressional resolution is a declaration that certain kinds of groups, some named but many, many others open to inclusion, are to be attacked by the U.S. government. The law urges “the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.” The term “threats” in the first paragraph is vague, dangerously vague. However, the very next paragraph singles outfree speech actions when “hundreds of torch-bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans…” The same sentence joins this with violent actions “…and violently engaged with counter-demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville…”

This law regards free speech as a threat, linking it to violence, painting them with one brush. There can be no justice that can stem from such a completely sloppy and inexcusably amateurish legal treatment. This linkage is made clear in paragraph seven with this language: “…communities everywhere are concerned about the growing and open display of hate and violence being perpetrated by those groups…” There is no distinction made here between the “open display of hate” and “violence being perpetrated”. As I predicted 11 years ago in arguing against hate crime laws, hate speech is being identified with hate crime.

I am just as uncomfortable with the notion of defining and singling out “hate speech” as some sort of new danger or threat or harmful activity or crime, to be dealt with by government or courts of law as I was 11 years ago with the idea of “hate crime”. The standard categories of crime are quite enough without adding to them a government laundry list of prejudices and aversions that everyone is not supposed to express or feel, under penalty of government law.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ Sat, 16 Sep 2017 14:40:39 GMT
GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Sought Trump Deal With Assange Jason Ditz http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/

Last month, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This meeting led to a potential deal being brought to the White House by Rohrabacher.

Under this deal, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal, Assange would provide conclusive proof that Russia was not the source of hacked emails WikiLeaks published. In return, he would be offered a pardon, or some other assurance that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by the US for involvement in WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher brought this deal to the White House Wednesday, but Chief of Staff John Kelly not only apparently didn’t like the offer, but didn’t tell President Trump that the offer had been made, instead telling Rohrabacher to take the proposal to the intelligence community.

The intelligence community almost certainly wouldn’t be in a position to offer any sort of amnesty for Assange, which likely means the end of the proposal. Rohrabacher offered to set up a meeting between Assange and a Trump representative, but that too appears to have been dismissed by Kelly.

Rohrabacher expressed willingness to talk to the CIA about the matter, but also said he believes such talks would have considerable limitations because the CIA had already gone along with the false Russia hacking claims and would want to maintain “the big lie.”

With many officials having already made their decision as to which side of the WikiLeaks narrative they’re on, securing actual evidence from WikiLeaks would likely be a hugely controversial matter, and even if such proof exists, it’s probably going to provoke a new scandal surrounding making a deal after years of vilifying Assange.

Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:35:16 GMT
Goodbye, Robert E. Lee Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/

On Monday, I visited an impressive statue in a Dallas, Texas city park. The statue depicts Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses next to each other.

Wednesday of last week, the Dallas city council voted to remove the statue from the park, which is named after Lee and also contains a building modeled after Lee’s Virginia home. The removal process began within an hour after the vote. But, after delays due to a temporary restraining order and a vehicular crash involving the crane intended to aid in removing the statue, the statue was still present in the park on Monday. Recently erected barriers, though, blocked approaching closer to the statue than, I estimate, about seventy feet in any direction.

From reading a plaque near the statue, I learned that the statue was created by sculptor A. Phimister Proctor and was unveiled in the park on June 12, 1936 by then-United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, in his quite brief speech at the unveiling, clearly expressed great admiration for Lee. Roosevelt’s praise for Lee contrasts with the disparagement of Lee that has helped bring about the removal from public view over the last few months of Lee statues in states from California to Texas to Louisiana to North Carolina.

Here is Roosevelt’s speech:
I am very happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee.

All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.
In addition to speaking, as reported at the time at the Dallas Morning News, Roosevelt pulled a ribbon to cause the statue to be revealed.

If more people knew of Roosevelt’s expression of such an opinion regarding the general who commanded of the Army of Northern Virginia, would politicians be voting to remove statues of Roosevelt across America and to eliminate Roosevelt’s name from streets, parks, and institutions as well?

Those actions may not be far off. The effort to purge historical figures from recognition in public art and otherwise extends far beyond removing representations of and references to individuals who, like Lee, were involved in the Confederate States of America (CSA). And some of this purge effort is taking place outside the political process. For example, people have vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus in multiple cities in the past few weeks. Similarly, prior to the vote to remove it, the Lee statue in Dallas had been subjected to vandalism.

In my June of 2015 Ron Paul Institute article “If You Want to Get Rid of ‘Racist Flags,’ How About Starting with the American Flag?” I critiqued the effort to banish from view flags, statues, and just about anything else that some people interpret as promoting the CSA or racism.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:59:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: USS Liberty, Obama Deportations, Vermont Police, Dennis Rodman, CSA Monuments Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ 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 Tuesday article at the Unz Review, Philip Giraldi relates the story of how, 50 years after the Israel military attack on the USS Liberty in which 34 American crew members were killed and many more injured, the largest veterans organization in America — the American Legion — approved at its national convention last month a resolution calling upon the United States Congress “to publicly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate the attack on the USS Liberty and its aftermath and to commence its investigation before the end of 2017.”

Adopting this resolution, Giraldi relates, took great effort by American Legion members to overcome long-time resistance from the organization’s leadership. The result is the American Legion joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other military-related organizations in seeking what Giraldi terms a “proper investigation.”

Immediately following the 1967 attack, Giraldi asserts that there was a “cover-up” of a deliberate and knowing attack on the US Navy ship in international waters. Key players in the cover-up, Giraldi writes, included then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, then-Secretary of Defense John McNamera, and Admiral John McCain, the father of the US Senator of the same name.

What will happen next? Giraldi suggests one reason not to have too high of hopes for a new investigation is that Israel “will certainly use all the resources that it has at hand, and they are considerable, to make sure that Congress never looks into the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in any capacity.”

Issue two.


This week, President Donald Trump announced the phasing out of President Barack Obama’s DACA program that allows some people to legally stay in America who would otherwise be subject to deportation. Unless legislation is enacted in the next few months to extend the program in some form, the protection from deportation will be lifted.

With many people criticizing Trump in reaction to the announcement, it seems like a good time to review Obama’s deportation record. At ABC News last week, Serena Marshall wrote that the Obama administration had “deported more people than any other president's administration in history.”

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I discussed why President Trump’s removal of some limits President Obama placed on the US government transferring military weapons and equipment to state and local police is of less significance than some people assume.

Nonetheless, it is good to hear that not all state and local politicians will be supporting police obtaining some of the newly available warfare goodies. Vermont Governor Phil Scott, for example, said that he does not support obtaining the newly available armored vehicles and high-powered weapons for the state police and that he will also, though acknowledging he cannot control their choices, discourage local police from acquiring such vehicles and weapons.

Issue four.

Robert Wenzel wrote Thursday at Target Liberty that former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Dennis Rodman presented a “great idea” in a recent interview. The idea Rodman offered is that President Trump should talk with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, with the hope that the meeting would ease tensions between the two governments. I doubt Rodman is on the top of the list of people from whom Trump generally wants to take foreign policy advice. But, in this instance Trump should listen. Rodman, it seems, has spent more time with the North Korea leader than has anybody advising Trump.

Issue five.

Politicians around America are rushing to take down statues and plaques, as well as rename government parks, streets, and institutions, that have some relation to the Confederate States of America (CSA). But, Sabrina Tavernise reported last week at the New York Times that some privately funded monuments related to the CSA have been erected across America in recent years on private land. Included is a monument going up in Orange, Texas that Tavernise writes is “considered the largest Confederate monument built in a century.”

-----

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/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:54:29 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secretary of Raytheon, Police Militarization, Google, NYC Cigarettes, Animals’ Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ 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 the April 8, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I mentioned some “Never Trumpers” who were hoping a certain retired Marine Corps general would run for president as an independent against Donald Trump. The retired general could be counted on to promote much more intervention abroad than Trump would.

That hoped-for anti-Trump candidate was James Mattis. Later, president Trump appointed Mattis to be Secretary of Defense.

Mattis, I noted last year, was a board of directors member for General Dynamics, one of the biggest military contractors in the world.

In July, Trump announced his pick for secretary of the Army is Mark Esper. Since 2010, Esper worked for Raytheon, another big military contractor. In fact, Megan G. Wilson reported in The Hill in August that over the last 12 months Esper had earned over 1.5 million dollars lobbying for Raytheon.

Esper awaits a confirmation vote in the Unites States Senate.

It seems these Never Trumpers and the military-industrial complex are doing alright with Trump in the White House.

Issue two.

This week, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the US government to transfer to state and local police certain types of military equipment and weapons President Barack Obama had restricted the transfer of in 2015.

While many people are rightly pointing to Trump with accusations that he is seeking to militarize the police, it should also be acknowledged that during the Obama administration there was a huge increase in the transfer of military equipment and weapons from the US government to police. Also, in June of 2014, United States House of Representatives members rejected by a vote of 355 to 62 an amendment offered by then-Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to impose some limits on what may be transferred.

Issue three.

When Alphabet was created and made the parent company of Google in 2015, Google’s old motto of do no evil was replaced with “do the right thing.” That year, Google’s advertising business refused to continue providing ads on antiwar.com, a website promoting noninterventionist foreign policy ideas. As antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo confirmed on Thursday, the refusal to provide ads continues.

Recently, Google subsidiary YouTube has routinely blocked placement of advertising in episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, a Ron Paul Institute program that each weekday includes discussion on topics from a pro-liberty and pro-peace perspective.

Doing the right thing? Maybe it is time for yet another motto.

Issue four.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed into law legislation mandating a price floor of $13 per pack of cigarettes.

In New York City, cigarette prices and taxes were already among the highest in America.

Government-mandated price increases for cigarettes will result in more people in New York City seeking, and people being more motivated to sell, cheaper cigarettes on the black market.

Enforcement of the new mandate will seek to ensure that more people pay the higher prices on the legal market. And enforcement will mean individuals seeking to satisfy the demand for cheaper cigarettes will risk arrest, fines, incarceration, and even death at the hands of the laws’ enforcers. Recall that in 2014 Eric Garner was killed in manhandling and choking by New York City police after suspicion he was selling cigarettes in violation of the city’s laws.

Issue five.

Medical marijuana is not just for people.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is an organization of over 89,000 veterinarians. Delegates to an AVMA summer meeting approved recommending the organization’s board of directors “investigate working with other research organizations and medical stakeholders to reclassify cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 [of the Controlled Substances Act] to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.”

-----

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/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ Sun, 03 Sep 2017 19:08:17 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secession, Surveilling Manafort, Catalonia Crackdown, Hemp Farms, Marijuana Use Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ 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.

A new poll suggests a rather narrow divide in Americans’ opinions regarding whether the United States government should again respond to secession, as it did in the 1860s, with war.

The John Zogby Strategies poll indicates 39 percent of Americans agree that[i]f a majority of residents within a given state prefer to have the final say over their destiny without the control of Washington D.C. then let them have it – it is their right.” Close behind, 32 percent said “the federal government would be justified in sending in the military to prevent secession from taking place.” Another 29 percent of polled Americans presented with the two options chose neither.

Issue two.

The impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon included that he sought to cover up “unlawful covert activities.” The primary covert activity mentioned was that “agents of the Committee for the re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in [Washington, DC] for the purpose of securing political intelligence.”

Might the same sort of allegation be made against people in the Obama administration in regard to surveillance of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, and Pamela Brown reported Tuesday at CNN, based on confidential sources, that US government secret surveillance of Paul Manafort from 2014 into 2016 was terminated “for lack of evidence” only to be reinstated later in 2016 as “part of the [Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI)] efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.” Manafort was a campaign manager for Trump’s campaign.

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the extreme threats and actions the Spain government had pursued to oppose a planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia. Raquel Castillo and Sam Edwards reported Wednesday at Reuters that the crackdown intensified this week with actions including arresting Catalan government officials, raiding Catalan government offices and seizing election materials such as ten million paper ballots, and taking over Catalonia’s finances.

Carles Puigdemont, the head of the Catalonia government, is quoted Wednesday at the Guardian as saying the Spanish government “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.

Issue four.

This year, Libby Rainey reports at the Denver Post, farms in Colorado “are expected to harvest up to 9,000 acres of hemp” — a record amount since hemp’s legalization via a 2012 state marijuana legalization referendum.

While Rainey terms hemp farming a “rapidly growing industry,” she also notes powerful barriers imposed by the US government. In particular, Rainey writes that the illegality of hemp under US law results in interference with hemp farmers buying hemp seeds from other states and exporting raw hemp material, dealing with banks and money transfer companies, and gaining recognition of water rights. The threat of US government raids also persists, though it is likely holding farmers back less each year that raids fail to materialize.

What action could the US government take to remove barriers to the growth of hemp farming in Colorado? Rainey’s article suggests that the US enacting the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (HR 3530) that seeks greater US respect for states’ hemp legalization would help. The original version of the legislation was introduced in 2005 by then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Issue five.

Answering a question regarding marijuana at a Wednesday press conference in California, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented that, “we do know that legalization results in greater use.” Tom Angell responded at Forbes that a study released last week in the journal Addiction shows states’ legalization of marijuana is not the cause of increased marijuana use in America.

The dispute is interesting. But, for people seeking to increase respect for liberty, whether rolling back the war on marijuana reduces or increases marijuana use is a side issue. Respecting liberty means that people are free to choose, no matter whether others approve or disapprove the choices made.

-----

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/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:35:17 GMT
Russell Brand on Drug Legalization Benefits Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/

British commentator, comedian, and author Russell Brand has presented a short summation of some benefits from legalizing currently illegal drugs. Brand, in a new video commentary, presents the summation in response to Stephen Glover’s Wednesday editorial in the Daily Mail that criticizes Britain’s Prince William for questioning publicly if drugs should be legalized while visiting with illegal drug users.

Brand, in the video commentary, calls the prince a “rogue,” yet commends him for both “meeting with addicts” and “asking an intelligent question.” “My personal experience is making drugs illegal simply inconveniences addicts, turns addicts into criminals, and exacerbates the problems,” says Brand.

Continuing, Brand argues that, “by legalizing drugs, you would be able to address the problem at its essence — a mental health problem, a problem of need, a problem of loneliness and loss.” Also, in response to the editorial’s message that “parents groan” at the idea of legalization, Brand responds in part, “I’m a parent, and I think I’d rather my kid grew up in a world where drugs were legalized so we can have an honest, clear conversation.”

Given the scheduled October 3 release of Brand’s book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, we can expect to hear more from Brand regarding the drug war and drug legalization in the coming weeks.

Watch Brand’s video commentary here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:14:46 GMT
Libya Update: A Clash of Egos Richard Galustian http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/

Libya has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups aligned to both sides, and some "independent" ones, battling to control its oil wealth. 

Inexplicably for many, the only one that is recognised is called the Government of National Accord (GNA), totally unelected by the Libyan people, consisting of a handful of Ministers and headed by an architect. All of these were chosen by the UN, which also selected as Prime Minister, Faez Serraj who resides mostly in Tunis and intermittently visits Tripoli and a few other parts of Libya, dependent on the good graces of the mercenaries calling themselves Militias that get paid for their service to the GNA, underwritten for them by the UN no less.

The other Government of Abdullah Al-Thinni, who is Prime Minister as designated by the elected HoR Parliament based in Tobruk, is a former soldier. He gave an interview to AFP last weekend calling on the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this past week to bestow full and proper recognition to his administration, which he states controls most of the North African country.

However what is the intent of PM Al-Thinni and the HoR Parliament in relation to Libya’s eastern supreme military commander, who recaptured both Benghazi and the oil crescent fields, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar?

Haftar's legitimacy is bol­stered by a number of countries including France, Egypt, and Russia, though less so now in comparison to the Kremlin's previous closer relations with Haftar.

Senior sources announced on Tuesday that HoR-appointed Field Marshall Haftar has just "launched" a campaign to declare himself President for four years without a vote.

This grass-roots pro-Haftar campaign is being unofficially launched in several towns in eastern Libya, though no comment has so far been made by Haftar himself.

The objective appears to be to collect enough support for Haftar by De­cember 17th, 2017, when a UN-bro­kered accord granting legitimacy to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) expires.

France has elevated Haftar’s status on the world stage to that of UN-endorsed Prime Minister Serraj, with Macron saying that “like Prime Minister Serraj, 'General' Haf­tar is part of the solution” during a trilateral meeting in Paris on July 25th.

After the gathering, Macron an­nounced a ten-point agreement to the Libyan conflict allegedly agreed upon, but not signed, by Haftar and Serraj. 

To add to the confusion, PM Serraj took to State television for a two-hour interview last week. During his television appearance, he proposed a plan to resolve the crisis by organ­ising Presidential elections by March 2018 for which no doubt he will also nominate himself.

All face the prospect of the Islamic State (IS) retaking both Sirte and Sabratha, two important military strategic objectives.

When the European Union was challenged by waves of migrants using Libya as a springboard, Italy provided large financial incentives to certain "towns and individuals" to help limit migration. 

As a consequence, Mediterranean crossings dropped from nearly 28,000 peo­ple in June to below 10,000 in Au­gust, according to UN figures.

EU ministers in Brussels have failed to explain the true reason for the drop in migrant crossings, just saying “Trust in Italy!” Not what the French would say.

France’s courtship of Haftar was no doubt encouraged by the French military, which has seen Haftar’s forces ex­pand their presence in the south­ern Fezzan region, which falls into the domain of the French military’s "Operation Barkhane" in Mali and sub-Saharan Africa.

Lastly various Libyans have advanced their names to "save" Libya, even Saif Gaddafi, son of the former leader, but the most serious of them is without doubt Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, a well-educated and capable technocrat and Libya's first Prime Minister after the fall of Col. Gaddafi.

The big question is how coordinated are plans between Al Thinni and Haftar? If uncoordinated then a Libyan clash of egos will begin!

Meanwhile the UN's new Libya head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame, trying to assert his authority, announced last Tuesday he is sending to Tripoli 200 Nepalese Ghurka Soldiers to act as "Security Guards only" emphasizing that they are not peacekeepers, to protect the UN Facility which is adjacent to the  "Palm City Complex" presumably where the five or so men that make up the GNA will live. It should be noted, as I have emphasised in the past, that 1000+ professional Ghurkas could literally wipe out all militias in Tripoli and probably ISIS too.

Don't expect Libya's would-be leaders to make logical, rational decisions, however; those are made only when related to receiving money, as the Italians proved.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:27:30 GMT
How The Military Defeated Trump's Insurgency Moon of Alabama http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/

Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the US military. (Historically its first successful one). The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies.

It is schooling Trump on globalism and its "indispensable" role in it. Trump was insufficiently supportive of their desires and thus had to undergo reeducation:
When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.
Trump was hauled into a Pentagon basement "tank" and indoctrinated by the glittering four-star generals he admired since he was a kid:
The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the “globalist” worldview.In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump’s aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain — if not expand — the American footprint and influence abroad.
Trump was sold the establishment policies he originally despised. No alternative view was presented to him.

It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power, controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle, the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

Stephen Kinzer describes this as America’s slow-motion military coup:
Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
...
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t. 
...
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military “needs” always rated more important than domestic ones.  
...
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:
In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did. 
...
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.
The junta is bigger than its three well known leaders:
Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
...
the National Security Council [..] counts two other generals on the senior staff.
This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands:
[Chief of staff John] Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide [...] will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk. 
...
The new system [..] is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.
To control Trump the junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view:
Staff who oppose [policy xyz] no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside [.. .] Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.
The Trump insurgency against the establishment was marked by a mostly informal information and decision process. That has been destroyed and replaced:
Worried that Trump would end existing US spending/policies (largely, still geared to cold war priorities), the senior military staff running the Trump administration launched a counter-insurgency against the insurgency. 
...
General Kelly, Trump's Chief of Staff, has put Trump on a establishment-only media diet.
...
In short, by controlling Trump's information flow with social media/networks, the generals smashed the insurgency's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act). Deprived of this connection, Trump is now weathervaning to cater to the needs of the establishment ...
The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing to him certain alternatives. The one that is most preferable to them will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

Other countries noticed how the game has changed. The real decisions are made by the generals, Trump is ignored as a mere figurehead:
Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president."
Climate change, its local catastrophes and the infrastructure problems it creates within the US will further extend the military role in shaping domestic U.S. policy.

Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the US society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.)

It is only way to sustain the empire.

It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:35:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Spain War, Venezuela Oil, Manning’s Fellowship, Border Searches, Lee Statue Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ 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 the July 8 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I commented that the planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia could lead to the rise of a new nation in Europe this fall. Now, seeing the Spain government’s response to the election, including ordering the seizure of ballots, threatening to arrest over 700 Catalan mayors for cooperating with the referendum, preparing to take over the Catalan government’s finances, and deploying the national police force to stop the election, it looks like this fall could bring a new war to Europe.

Issue two.

“[T]his could be the most important economic event of 2017.” That is how Robert Wenzel describes at the Economic Policy Journal Venezuela stopping this week accepting United States dollars in payment for oil.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) World Fact Book ranks Venezuela number nine among oil exporters worldwide.

And the CIA does not just track Venezuela’s oil sales. The CIA’s interest runs deeper.

Ron Paul, in his February of 2006 House of Representatives floor speech “The End of Dollar Hegemony,” noted the following:
In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against [Venezuela President Hugo] Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.
In his speech Paul also examines how, after the 1971 abandonment of the last link between the US dollar and gold, the dollar has been “in essence ‘backed’” by oil being priced in dollars internationally.

Concludes Wenzel:
The Venezuelan move may be the first straw that breaks the status of the US dollar as the world's global reserve currency. And gold may return to play that role.
Issue three.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s Harvard Kennedy School visiting fellowship was announced on Wednesday and then revoked on Friday. The revocation came after expressions of disapproval from members of the US foreign policy establishment including current CIA Director Mike Pompeo who cancelled his scheduled speaking engagement at Harvard and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morrell who resigned from his senior fellow position at the Kennedy School.

Meanwhile, former CIA Director and General David Petraeus is about to begin his fifth year as a senior fellow at the Kennedy School.

While Manning suffered during years of confinement for making public US government information that revealed serious misconduct, Petraeus avoided any prison time after sharing classified information with his biographer who was also his mistress.

Why the different treatment? It comes down to power. As an enlisted Army member, Manning took great risk to expose the abuse of power. In contrast, as an Army general overseeing US wars and as the head of the CIA overseeing US covert interventions around the world, Petraeus pulled the strings of power.

Issue four.

In the March 18 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the recently much more common practice of US government agents conducting warrantless searches of electronic devices of people departing from or returning to America. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit in US district court challenging the practice on behalf of ten US citizens and one US green card holder who have been subjected to such searches.

Issue five.

On Wednesday, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute website regarding my Monday visit to Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas Texas to see a statue of Army of Northern Virginia General Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses side by side. The previous week, the Dallas city council had voted to remove the statue.

Here is an update: On Thursday, the statue was removed from the park.

What happens next? An Associated Press report relates that, “until city officials decide the statue's future,” the plan is for the statue to be stored at “an abandoned naval air station owned by the city on its western outskirts.”

-----

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/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:13:34 GMT
New US Law Blurs the Line Between Hate Speech and Hate Crime Michael S. Rozeff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/

Eleven years ago, this essay argued against hate-crime laws. One argument read “People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.” This has now come to pass, I am sorry to say. This week, the Congress passed S. J. Res. 49, and President Trump signed it, making it part of the U.S. legal code.

The law rejects “White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups…” But why? Because of their ideas? Because of their expression of these ideas? No government that stands for freedom and free speech, whose charge is to protect rights, should be singling out specific groups by name and by law declaring them as outlaws or threats because of their philosophies. If they have committed a crime, such as defamation of character or incitement to riot or riot itself, then charge them and try them. But American government has no legitimate authority to single out some of its citizens in this way. This, furthermore, is an exceedingly bad precedent. Who’s next?

The resolution is too specific, but it’s also dangerously vague. The term “other hate groups” has no known definition. Suppose that this term is defined by a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC currently names 917 groups as hate groups (see here for a list). Their criteria are not restricted to violent actions. They comprise SPEECH. They say “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They are very clear about this: “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

This Congressional resolution is a declaration that certain kinds of groups, some named but many, many others open to inclusion, are to be attacked by the U.S. government. The law urges “the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.” The term “threats” in the first paragraph is vague, dangerously vague. However, the very next paragraph singles outfree speech actions when “hundreds of torch-bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans…” The same sentence joins this with violent actions “…and violently engaged with counter-demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville…”

This law regards free speech as a threat, linking it to violence, painting them with one brush. There can be no justice that can stem from such a completely sloppy and inexcusably amateurish legal treatment. This linkage is made clear in paragraph seven with this language: “…communities everywhere are concerned about the growing and open display of hate and violence being perpetrated by those groups…” There is no distinction made here between the “open display of hate” and “violence being perpetrated”. As I predicted 11 years ago in arguing against hate crime laws, hate speech is being identified with hate crime.

I am just as uncomfortable with the notion of defining and singling out “hate speech” as some sort of new danger or threat or harmful activity or crime, to be dealt with by government or courts of law as I was 11 years ago with the idea of “hate crime”. The standard categories of crime are quite enough without adding to them a government laundry list of prejudices and aversions that everyone is not supposed to express or feel, under penalty of government law.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ Sat, 16 Sep 2017 14:40:39 GMT
GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Sought Trump Deal With Assange Jason Ditz http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/

Last month, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This meeting led to a potential deal being brought to the White House by Rohrabacher.

Under this deal, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal, Assange would provide conclusive proof that Russia was not the source of hacked emails WikiLeaks published. In return, he would be offered a pardon, or some other assurance that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by the US for involvement in WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher brought this deal to the White House Wednesday, but Chief of Staff John Kelly not only apparently didn’t like the offer, but didn’t tell President Trump that the offer had been made, instead telling Rohrabacher to take the proposal to the intelligence community.

The intelligence community almost certainly wouldn’t be in a position to offer any sort of amnesty for Assange, which likely means the end of the proposal. Rohrabacher offered to set up a meeting between Assange and a Trump representative, but that too appears to have been dismissed by Kelly.

Rohrabacher expressed willingness to talk to the CIA about the matter, but also said he believes such talks would have considerable limitations because the CIA had already gone along with the false Russia hacking claims and would want to maintain “the big lie.”

With many officials having already made their decision as to which side of the WikiLeaks narrative they’re on, securing actual evidence from WikiLeaks would likely be a hugely controversial matter, and even if such proof exists, it’s probably going to provoke a new scandal surrounding making a deal after years of vilifying Assange.

Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:35:16 GMT
Goodbye, Robert E. Lee Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/

On Monday, I visited an impressive statue in a Dallas, Texas city park. The statue depicts Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses next to each other.

Wednesday of last week, the Dallas city council voted to remove the statue from the park, which is named after Lee and also contains a building modeled after Lee’s Virginia home. The removal process began within an hour after the vote. But, after delays due to a temporary restraining order and a vehicular crash involving the crane intended to aid in removing the statue, the statue was still present in the park on Monday. Recently erected barriers, though, blocked approaching closer to the statue than, I estimate, about seventy feet in any direction.

From reading a plaque near the statue, I learned that the statue was created by sculptor A. Phimister Proctor and was unveiled in the park on June 12, 1936 by then-United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, in his quite brief speech at the unveiling, clearly expressed great admiration for Lee. Roosevelt’s praise for Lee contrasts with the disparagement of Lee that has helped bring about the removal from public view over the last few months of Lee statues in states from California to Texas to Louisiana to North Carolina.

Here is Roosevelt’s speech:
I am very happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee.

All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.
In addition to speaking, as reported at the time at the Dallas Morning News, Roosevelt pulled a ribbon to cause the statue to be revealed.

If more people knew of Roosevelt’s expression of such an opinion regarding the general who commanded of the Army of Northern Virginia, would politicians be voting to remove statues of Roosevelt across America and to eliminate Roosevelt’s name from streets, parks, and institutions as well?

Those actions may not be far off. The effort to purge historical figures from recognition in public art and otherwise extends far beyond removing representations of and references to individuals who, like Lee, were involved in the Confederate States of America (CSA). And some of this purge effort is taking place outside the political process. For example, people have vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus in multiple cities in the past few weeks. Similarly, prior to the vote to remove it, the Lee statue in Dallas had been subjected to vandalism.

In my June of 2015 Ron Paul Institute article “If You Want to Get Rid of ‘Racist Flags,’ How About Starting with the American Flag?” I critiqued the effort to banish from view flags, statues, and just about anything else that some people interpret as promoting the CSA or racism.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:59:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: USS Liberty, Obama Deportations, Vermont Police, Dennis Rodman, CSA Monuments Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ 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 Tuesday article at the Unz Review, Philip Giraldi relates the story of how, 50 years after the Israel military attack on the USS Liberty in which 34 American crew members were killed and many more injured, the largest veterans organization in America — the American Legion — approved at its national convention last month a resolution calling upon the United States Congress “to publicly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate the attack on the USS Liberty and its aftermath and to commence its investigation before the end of 2017.”

Adopting this resolution, Giraldi relates, took great effort by American Legion members to overcome long-time resistance from the organization’s leadership. The result is the American Legion joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other military-related organizations in seeking what Giraldi terms a “proper investigation.”

Immediately following the 1967 attack, Giraldi asserts that there was a “cover-up” of a deliberate and knowing attack on the US Navy ship in international waters. Key players in the cover-up, Giraldi writes, included then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, then-Secretary of Defense John McNamera, and Admiral John McCain, the father of the US Senator of the same name.

What will happen next? Giraldi suggests one reason not to have too high of hopes for a new investigation is that Israel “will certainly use all the resources that it has at hand, and they are considerable, to make sure that Congress never looks into the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in any capacity.”

Issue two.


This week, President Donald Trump announced the phasing out of President Barack Obama’s DACA program that allows some people to legally stay in America who would otherwise be subject to deportation. Unless legislation is enacted in the next few months to extend the program in some form, the protection from deportation will be lifted.

With many people criticizing Trump in reaction to the announcement, it seems like a good time to review Obama’s deportation record. At ABC News last week, Serena Marshall wrote that the Obama administration had “deported more people than any other president's administration in history.”

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I discussed why President Trump’s removal of some limits President Obama placed on the US government transferring military weapons and equipment to state and local police is of less significance than some people assume.

Nonetheless, it is good to hear that not all state and local politicians will be supporting police obtaining some of the newly available warfare goodies. Vermont Governor Phil Scott, for example, said that he does not support obtaining the newly available armored vehicles and high-powered weapons for the state police and that he will also, though acknowledging he cannot control their choices, discourage local police from acquiring such vehicles and weapons.

Issue four.

Robert Wenzel wrote Thursday at Target Liberty that former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Dennis Rodman presented a “great idea” in a recent interview. The idea Rodman offered is that President Trump should talk with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, with the hope that the meeting would ease tensions between the two governments. I doubt Rodman is on the top of the list of people from whom Trump generally wants to take foreign policy advice. But, in this instance Trump should listen. Rodman, it seems, has spent more time with the North Korea leader than has anybody advising Trump.

Issue five.

Politicians around America are rushing to take down statues and plaques, as well as rename government parks, streets, and institutions, that have some relation to the Confederate States of America (CSA). But, Sabrina Tavernise reported last week at the New York Times that some privately funded monuments related to the CSA have been erected across America in recent years on private land. Included is a monument going up in Orange, Texas that Tavernise writes is “considered the largest Confederate monument built in a century.”

-----

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/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:54:29 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secretary of Raytheon, Police Militarization, Google, NYC Cigarettes, Animals’ Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ 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 the April 8, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I mentioned some “Never Trumpers” who were hoping a certain retired Marine Corps general would run for president as an independent against Donald Trump. The retired general could be counted on to promote much more intervention abroad than Trump would.

That hoped-for anti-Trump candidate was James Mattis. Later, president Trump appointed Mattis to be Secretary of Defense.

Mattis, I noted last year, was a board of directors member for General Dynamics, one of the biggest military contractors in the world.

In July, Trump announced his pick for secretary of the Army is Mark Esper. Since 2010, Esper worked for Raytheon, another big military contractor. In fact, Megan G. Wilson reported in The Hill in August that over the last 12 months Esper had earned over 1.5 million dollars lobbying for Raytheon.

Esper awaits a confirmation vote in the Unites States Senate.

It seems these Never Trumpers and the military-industrial complex are doing alright with Trump in the White House.

Issue two.

This week, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the US government to transfer to state and local police certain types of military equipment and weapons President Barack Obama had restricted the transfer of in 2015.

While many people are rightly pointing to Trump with accusations that he is seeking to militarize the police, it should also be acknowledged that during the Obama administration there was a huge increase in the transfer of military equipment and weapons from the US government to police. Also, in June of 2014, United States House of Representatives members rejected by a vote of 355 to 62 an amendment offered by then-Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to impose some limits on what may be transferred.

Issue three.

When Alphabet was created and made the parent company of Google in 2015, Google’s old motto of do no evil was replaced with “do the right thing.” That year, Google’s advertising business refused to continue providing ads on antiwar.com, a website promoting noninterventionist foreign policy ideas. As antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo confirmed on Thursday, the refusal to provide ads continues.

Recently, Google subsidiary YouTube has routinely blocked placement of advertising in episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, a Ron Paul Institute program that each weekday includes discussion on topics from a pro-liberty and pro-peace perspective.

Doing the right thing? Maybe it is time for yet another motto.

Issue four.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed into law legislation mandating a price floor of $13 per pack of cigarettes.

In New York City, cigarette prices and taxes were already among the highest in America.

Government-mandated price increases for cigarettes will result in more people in New York City seeking, and people being more motivated to sell, cheaper cigarettes on the black market.

Enforcement of the new mandate will seek to ensure that more people pay the higher prices on the legal market. And enforcement will mean individuals seeking to satisfy the demand for cheaper cigarettes will risk arrest, fines, incarceration, and even death at the hands of the laws’ enforcers. Recall that in 2014 Eric Garner was killed in manhandling and choking by New York City police after suspicion he was selling cigarettes in violation of the city’s laws.

Issue five.

Medical marijuana is not just for people.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is an organization of over 89,000 veterinarians. Delegates to an AVMA summer meeting approved recommending the organization’s board of directors “investigate working with other research organizations and medical stakeholders to reclassify cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 [of the Controlled Substances Act] to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.”

-----

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/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/neocon-watch/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ Sun, 03 Sep 2017 19:08:17 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secession, Surveilling Manafort, Catalonia Crackdown, Hemp Farms, Marijuana Use Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ 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.

A new poll suggests a rather narrow divide in Americans’ opinions regarding whether the United States government should again respond to secession, as it did in the 1860s, with war.

The John Zogby Strategies poll indicates 39 percent of Americans agree that[i]f a majority of residents within a given state prefer to have the final say over their destiny without the control of Washington D.C. then let them have it – it is their right.” Close behind, 32 percent said “the federal government would be justified in sending in the military to prevent secession from taking place.” Another 29 percent of polled Americans presented with the two options chose neither.

Issue two.

The impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon included that he sought to cover up “unlawful covert activities.” The primary covert activity mentioned was that “agents of the Committee for the re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in [Washington, DC] for the purpose of securing political intelligence.”

Might the same sort of allegation be made against people in the Obama administration in regard to surveillance of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign? Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz, and Pamela Brown reported Tuesday at CNN, based on confidential sources, that US government secret surveillance of Paul Manafort from 2014 into 2016 was terminated “for lack of evidence” only to be reinstated later in 2016 as “part of the [Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI)] efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives.” Manafort was a campaign manager for Trump’s campaign.

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the extreme threats and actions the Spain government had pursued to oppose a planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia. Raquel Castillo and Sam Edwards reported Wednesday at Reuters that the crackdown intensified this week with actions including arresting Catalan government officials, raiding Catalan government offices and seizing election materials such as ten million paper ballots, and taking over Catalonia’s finances.

Carles Puigdemont, the head of the Catalonia government, is quoted Wednesday at the Guardian as saying the Spanish government “has de facto suspended self-government and applied a de facto state of emergency” in Catalonia.

Issue four.

This year, Libby Rainey reports at the Denver Post, farms in Colorado “are expected to harvest up to 9,000 acres of hemp” — a record amount since hemp’s legalization via a 2012 state marijuana legalization referendum.

While Rainey terms hemp farming a “rapidly growing industry,” she also notes powerful barriers imposed by the US government. In particular, Rainey writes that the illegality of hemp under US law results in interference with hemp farmers buying hemp seeds from other states and exporting raw hemp material, dealing with banks and money transfer companies, and gaining recognition of water rights. The threat of US government raids also persists, though it is likely holding farmers back less each year that raids fail to materialize.

What action could the US government take to remove barriers to the growth of hemp farming in Colorado? Rainey’s article suggests that the US enacting the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (HR 3530) that seeks greater US respect for states’ hemp legalization would help. The original version of the legislation was introduced in 2005 by then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).

Issue five.

Answering a question regarding marijuana at a Wednesday press conference in California, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions commented that, “we do know that legalization results in greater use.” Tom Angell responded at Forbes that a study released last week in the journal Addiction shows states’ legalization of marijuana is not the cause of increased marijuana use in America.

The dispute is interesting. But, for people seeking to increase respect for liberty, whether rolling back the war on marijuana reduces or increases marijuana use is a side issue. Respecting liberty means that people are free to choose, no matter whether others approve or disapprove the choices made.

-----

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/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/23/five-minutes-five-issues-secession-surveilling-manafort-catalonia-crackdown-hemp-farms-marijuana-use/ Sat, 23 Sep 2017 12:35:17 GMT
Russell Brand on Drug Legalization Benefits Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/

British commentator, comedian, and author Russell Brand has presented a short summation of some benefits from legalizing currently illegal drugs. Brand, in a new video commentary, presents the summation in response to Stephen Glover’s Wednesday editorial in the Daily Mail that criticizes Britain’s Prince William for questioning publicly if drugs should be legalized while visiting with illegal drug users.

Brand, in the video commentary, calls the prince a “rogue,” yet commends him for both “meeting with addicts” and “asking an intelligent question.” “My personal experience is making drugs illegal simply inconveniences addicts, turns addicts into criminals, and exacerbates the problems,” says Brand.

Continuing, Brand argues that, “by legalizing drugs, you would be able to address the problem at its essence — a mental health problem, a problem of need, a problem of loneliness and loss.” Also, in response to the editorial’s message that “parents groan” at the idea of legalization, Brand responds in part, “I’m a parent, and I think I’d rather my kid grew up in a world where drugs were legalized so we can have an honest, clear conversation.”

Given the scheduled October 3 release of Brand’s book Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions, we can expect to hear more from Brand regarding the drug war and drug legalization in the coming weeks.

Watch Brand’s video commentary here.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/21/russell-brand-on-drug-legalization-benefits/ Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:14:46 GMT
Libya Update: A Clash of Egos Richard Galustian http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/

Libya has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups aligned to both sides, and some "independent" ones, battling to control its oil wealth. 

Inexplicably for many, the only one that is recognised is called the Government of National Accord (GNA), totally unelected by the Libyan people, consisting of a handful of Ministers and headed by an architect. All of these were chosen by the UN, which also selected as Prime Minister, Faez Serraj who resides mostly in Tunis and intermittently visits Tripoli and a few other parts of Libya, dependent on the good graces of the mercenaries calling themselves Militias that get paid for their service to the GNA, underwritten for them by the UN no less.

The other Government of Abdullah Al-Thinni, who is Prime Minister as designated by the elected HoR Parliament based in Tobruk, is a former soldier. He gave an interview to AFP last weekend calling on the UN General Assembly meeting in New York this past week to bestow full and proper recognition to his administration, which he states controls most of the North African country.

However what is the intent of PM Al-Thinni and the HoR Parliament in relation to Libya’s eastern supreme military commander, who recaptured both Benghazi and the oil crescent fields, Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar?

Haftar's legitimacy is bol­stered by a number of countries including France, Egypt, and Russia, though less so now in comparison to the Kremlin's previous closer relations with Haftar.

Senior sources announced on Tuesday that HoR-appointed Field Marshall Haftar has just "launched" a campaign to declare himself President for four years without a vote.

This grass-roots pro-Haftar campaign is being unofficially launched in several towns in eastern Libya, though no comment has so far been made by Haftar himself.

The objective appears to be to collect enough support for Haftar by De­cember 17th, 2017, when a UN-bro­kered accord granting legitimacy to Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s Government of National Accord (GNA) expires.

France has elevated Haftar’s status on the world stage to that of UN-endorsed Prime Minister Serraj, with Macron saying that “like Prime Minister Serraj, 'General' Haf­tar is part of the solution” during a trilateral meeting in Paris on July 25th.

After the gathering, Macron an­nounced a ten-point agreement to the Libyan conflict allegedly agreed upon, but not signed, by Haftar and Serraj. 

To add to the confusion, PM Serraj took to State television for a two-hour interview last week. During his television appearance, he proposed a plan to resolve the crisis by organ­ising Presidential elections by March 2018 for which no doubt he will also nominate himself.

All face the prospect of the Islamic State (IS) retaking both Sirte and Sabratha, two important military strategic objectives.

When the European Union was challenged by waves of migrants using Libya as a springboard, Italy provided large financial incentives to certain "towns and individuals" to help limit migration. 

As a consequence, Mediterranean crossings dropped from nearly 28,000 peo­ple in June to below 10,000 in Au­gust, according to UN figures.

EU ministers in Brussels have failed to explain the true reason for the drop in migrant crossings, just saying “Trust in Italy!” Not what the French would say.

France’s courtship of Haftar was no doubt encouraged by the French military, which has seen Haftar’s forces ex­pand their presence in the south­ern Fezzan region, which falls into the domain of the French military’s "Operation Barkhane" in Mali and sub-Saharan Africa.

Lastly various Libyans have advanced their names to "save" Libya, even Saif Gaddafi, son of the former leader, but the most serious of them is without doubt Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, a well-educated and capable technocrat and Libya's first Prime Minister after the fall of Col. Gaddafi.

The big question is how coordinated are plans between Al Thinni and Haftar? If uncoordinated then a Libyan clash of egos will begin!

Meanwhile the UN's new Libya head of UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame, trying to assert his authority, announced last Tuesday he is sending to Tripoli 200 Nepalese Ghurka Soldiers to act as "Security Guards only" emphasizing that they are not peacekeepers, to protect the UN Facility which is adjacent to the  "Palm City Complex" presumably where the five or so men that make up the GNA will live. It should be noted, as I have emphasised in the past, that 1000+ professional Ghurkas could literally wipe out all militias in Tripoli and probably ISIS too.

Don't expect Libya's would-be leaders to make logical, rational decisions, however; those are made only when related to receiving money, as the Italians proved.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/20/libya-update-a-clash-of-egos/ Wed, 20 Sep 2017 13:27:30 GMT
How The Military Defeated Trump's Insurgency Moon of Alabama http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/

Trump was seen as a presidential candidate who would possibly move towards a less interventionist foreign policy. That hope is gone. The insurgency that brought Trump to the top was defeated by a counter-insurgency campaign waged by the US military. (Historically its first successful one). The military has taken control of the White House process and it is now taking control of its policies.

It is schooling Trump on globalism and its "indispensable" role in it. Trump was insufficiently supportive of their desires and thus had to undergo reeducation:
When briefed on the diplomatic, military and intelligence posts, the new president would often cast doubt on the need for all the resources. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson organized the July 20 session to lay out the case for maintaining far-flung outposts — and to present it, using charts and maps, in a way the businessman-turned-politician would appreciate.
Trump was hauled into a Pentagon basement "tank" and indoctrinated by the glittering four-star generals he admired since he was a kid:
The session was, in effect, American Power 101 and the student was the man working the levers. It was part of the ongoing education of a president who arrived at the White House with no experience in the military or government and brought with him advisers deeply skeptical of what they labeled the “globalist” worldview.In coordinated efforts and quiet conversations, some of Trump’s aides have worked for months to counter that view, hoping the president can be persuaded to maintain — if not expand — the American footprint and influence abroad.
Trump was sold the establishment policies he originally despised. No alternative view was presented to him.

It is indisputable that the generals are now ruling in Washington DC. They came to power over decades by shaping culture through their sponsorship of Hollywood, by manipulating the media through "embedded" reporting and by forming and maintaining the countries infrastructure through the Army Corps of Engineers. The military, through the NSA as well as through its purchasing power, controls the information flow on the internet. Until recently the military establishment only ruled from behind the scene. The other parts of the power triangle, the corporation executives and the political establishment, were more visible and significant. But during the 2016 election the military bet on Trump and is now, after he unexpectedly won, collecting its price.

Trump's success as the "Not-Hillary" candidate was based on an anti-establishment insurgency. Representatives of that insurgency, Flynn, Bannon and the MAGA voters, drove him through his first months in office. An intense media campaign was launched to counter them and the military took control of the White House. The anti-establishment insurgents were fired. Trump is now reduced to public figure head of a stratocracy - a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.

Stephen Kinzer describes this as America’s slow-motion military coup:
Ultimate power to shape American foreign and security policy has fallen into the hands of three military men [...]
...
Being ruled by generals seems preferable to the alternative. It isn’t. 
...
[It] leads toward a distorted set of national priorities, with military “needs” always rated more important than domestic ones.  
...
It is no great surprise that Trump has been drawn into the foreign policy mainstream; the same happened to President Obama early in his presidency. More ominous is that Trump has turned much of his power over to generals. Worst of all, many Americans find this reassuring. They are so disgusted by the corruption and shortsightedness of our political class that they turn to soldiers as an alternative. It is a dangerous temptation.
The country has fallen to that temptation even on social-economic issues:
In the wake of the deadly racial violence in Charlottesville this month, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were hailed as moral authorities for condemning hate in less equivocal terms than the commander in chief did. 
...
On social policy, military leaders have been voices for moderation.
The junta is bigger than its three well known leaders:
Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
...
the National Security Council [..] counts two other generals on the senior staff.
This is no longer a Coup Waiting to Happen The coup has happened with few noticing it and ever fewer concerned about it. Everything of importance now passes through the Junta's hands:
[Chief of staff John] Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide [...] will review all documents that cross the Resolute desk. 
...
The new system [..] is designed to ensure that the president won’t see any external policy documents, internal policy memos, agency reports and even news articles that haven’t been vetted.
To control Trump the junta filters his information input and eliminates any potentially alternative view:
Staff who oppose [policy xyz] no longer have unfettered access to Trump, and nor do allies on the outside [.. .] Kelly now has real control over the most important input: the flow of human and paper advice into the Oval Office. For a man as obsessed about his self image as Trump, a new flow of inputs can make the world of difference.
The Trump insurgency against the establishment was marked by a mostly informal information and decision process. That has been destroyed and replaced:
Worried that Trump would end existing US spending/policies (largely, still geared to cold war priorities), the senior military staff running the Trump administration launched a counter-insurgency against the insurgency. 
...
General Kelly, Trump's Chief of Staff, has put Trump on a establishment-only media diet.
...
In short, by controlling Trump's information flow with social media/networks, the generals smashed the insurgency's OODA loop (observe, orient, decide, act). Deprived of this connection, Trump is now weathervaning to cater to the needs of the establishment ...
The Junta members dictate their policies to Trump by only proposing to him certain alternatives. The one that is most preferable to them will be presented as the only desirable one. "There are no alternatives," Trump will be told again and again.

Thus we get a continuation of a failed Afghanistan policy and will soon get a militarily aggressive policy towards Iran.

Other countries noticed how the game has changed. The real decisions are made by the generals, Trump is ignored as a mere figurehead:
Asked whether he was predicting war [with North Korea], [former defence minister of Japan, Satoshi] Morimoto said: "I think Washington has not decided ... The final decision-maker is [US Defence Secretary] Mr Mattis ... Not the president."
Climate change, its local catastrophes and the infrastructure problems it creates within the US will further extend the military role in shaping domestic U.S. policy.

Nationalistic indoctrination, already at abnormal heights in the US society, will further increase. Military control will creep into ever extending fields of once staunchly civilian areas of policy. (Witness the increasing militarization of the police.)

It is only way to sustain the empire.

It is doubtful that Trump will be able to resist the policies imposed on him. Any flicker of resistance will be smashed. The outside insurgency which enabled his election is left without a figurehead, It will likely disperse. The system won.

Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/19/how-the-military-defeated-trumps-insurgency/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 13:35:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Spain War, Venezuela Oil, Manning’s Fellowship, Border Searches, Lee Statue Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ 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 the July 8 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I commented that the planned October 1 independence referendum vote in Catalonia could lead to the rise of a new nation in Europe this fall. Now, seeing the Spain government’s response to the election, including ordering the seizure of ballots, threatening to arrest over 700 Catalan mayors for cooperating with the referendum, preparing to take over the Catalan government’s finances, and deploying the national police force to stop the election, it looks like this fall could bring a new war to Europe.

Issue two.

“[T]his could be the most important economic event of 2017.” That is how Robert Wenzel describes at the Economic Policy Journal Venezuela stopping this week accepting United States dollars in payment for oil.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) World Fact Book ranks Venezuela number nine among oil exporters worldwide.

And the CIA does not just track Venezuela’s oil sales. The CIA’s interest runs deeper.

Ron Paul, in his February of 2006 House of Representatives floor speech “The End of Dollar Hegemony,” noted the following:
In 2001, Venezuela’s ambassador to Russia spoke of Venezuela switching to the Euro for all their oil sales. Within a year there was a coup attempt against [Venezuela President Hugo] Chavez, reportedly with assistance from our CIA.
In his speech Paul also examines how, after the 1971 abandonment of the last link between the US dollar and gold, the dollar has been “in essence ‘backed’” by oil being priced in dollars internationally.

Concludes Wenzel:
The Venezuelan move may be the first straw that breaks the status of the US dollar as the world's global reserve currency. And gold may return to play that role.
Issue three.

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning’s Harvard Kennedy School visiting fellowship was announced on Wednesday and then revoked on Friday. The revocation came after expressions of disapproval from members of the US foreign policy establishment including current CIA Director Mike Pompeo who cancelled his scheduled speaking engagement at Harvard and former CIA Acting Director Michael Morrell who resigned from his senior fellow position at the Kennedy School.

Meanwhile, former CIA Director and General David Petraeus is about to begin his fifth year as a senior fellow at the Kennedy School.

While Manning suffered during years of confinement for making public US government information that revealed serious misconduct, Petraeus avoided any prison time after sharing classified information with his biographer who was also his mistress.

Why the different treatment? It comes down to power. As an enlisted Army member, Manning took great risk to expose the abuse of power. In contrast, as an Army general overseeing US wars and as the head of the CIA overseeing US covert interventions around the world, Petraeus pulled the strings of power.

Issue four.

In the March 18 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about the recently much more common practice of US government agents conducting warrantless searches of electronic devices of people departing from or returning to America. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a lawsuit in US district court challenging the practice on behalf of ten US citizens and one US green card holder who have been subjected to such searches.

Issue five.

On Wednesday, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute website regarding my Monday visit to Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas Texas to see a statue of Army of Northern Virginia General Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses side by side. The previous week, the Dallas city council had voted to remove the statue.

Here is an update: On Thursday, the statue was removed from the park.

What happens next? An Associated Press report relates that, “until city officials decide the statue's future,” the plan is for the statue to be stored at “an abandoned naval air station owned by the city on its western outskirts.”

-----

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/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/18/five-minutes-five-issues-spain-war-venezuela-oil-manning-s-fellowship-border-searches-lee-statue/ Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:13:34 GMT
New US Law Blurs the Line Between Hate Speech and Hate Crime Michael S. Rozeff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/

Eleven years ago, this essay argued against hate-crime laws. One argument read “People can eventually be accused of hate crimes when they use hateful speech. Hate crimes laws are a seed that can sprout in new directions.” This has now come to pass, I am sorry to say. This week, the Congress passed S. J. Res. 49, and President Trump signed it, making it part of the U.S. legal code.

The law rejects “White nationalists, White supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and other hate groups…” But why? Because of their ideas? Because of their expression of these ideas? No government that stands for freedom and free speech, whose charge is to protect rights, should be singling out specific groups by name and by law declaring them as outlaws or threats because of their philosophies. If they have committed a crime, such as defamation of character or incitement to riot or riot itself, then charge them and try them. But American government has no legitimate authority to single out some of its citizens in this way. This, furthermore, is an exceedingly bad precedent. Who’s next?

The resolution is too specific, but it’s also dangerously vague. The term “other hate groups” has no known definition. Suppose that this term is defined by a group like the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC currently names 917 groups as hate groups (see here for a list). Their criteria are not restricted to violent actions. They comprise SPEECH. They say “All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” They are very clear about this: “Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing.”

This Congressional resolution is a declaration that certain kinds of groups, some named but many, many others open to inclusion, are to be attacked by the U.S. government. The law urges “the President and the President’s Cabinet to use all available resources to address the threats posed by those groups.” The term “threats” in the first paragraph is vague, dangerously vague. However, the very next paragraph singles outfree speech actions when “hundreds of torch-bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans…” The same sentence joins this with violent actions “…and violently engaged with counter-demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville…”

This law regards free speech as a threat, linking it to violence, painting them with one brush. There can be no justice that can stem from such a completely sloppy and inexcusably amateurish legal treatment. This linkage is made clear in paragraph seven with this language: “…communities everywhere are concerned about the growing and open display of hate and violence being perpetrated by those groups…” There is no distinction made here between the “open display of hate” and “violence being perpetrated”. As I predicted 11 years ago in arguing against hate crime laws, hate speech is being identified with hate crime.

I am just as uncomfortable with the notion of defining and singling out “hate speech” as some sort of new danger or threat or harmful activity or crime, to be dealt with by government or courts of law as I was 11 years ago with the idea of “hate crime”. The standard categories of crime are quite enough without adding to them a government laundry list of prejudices and aversions that everyone is not supposed to express or feel, under penalty of government law.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/16/new-us-law-blurs-the-line-between-hate-speech-and-hate-crime/ Sat, 16 Sep 2017 14:40:39 GMT
GOP Rep. Rohrabacher Sought Trump Deal With Assange Jason Ditz http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/

Last month, House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation chairman Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This meeting led to a potential deal being brought to the White House by Rohrabacher.

Under this deal, which was reported by the Wall Street Journal, Assange would provide conclusive proof that Russia was not the source of hacked emails WikiLeaks published. In return, he would be offered a pardon, or some other assurance that he wouldn’t be prosecuted by the US for involvement in WikiLeaks.

Rohrabacher brought this deal to the White House Wednesday, but Chief of Staff John Kelly not only apparently didn’t like the offer, but didn’t tell President Trump that the offer had been made, instead telling Rohrabacher to take the proposal to the intelligence community.

The intelligence community almost certainly wouldn’t be in a position to offer any sort of amnesty for Assange, which likely means the end of the proposal. Rohrabacher offered to set up a meeting between Assange and a Trump representative, but that too appears to have been dismissed by Kelly.

Rohrabacher expressed willingness to talk to the CIA about the matter, but also said he believes such talks would have considerable limitations because the CIA had already gone along with the false Russia hacking claims and would want to maintain “the big lie.”

With many officials having already made their decision as to which side of the WikiLeaks narrative they’re on, securing actual evidence from WikiLeaks would likely be a hugely controversial matter, and even if such proof exists, it’s probably going to provoke a new scandal surrounding making a deal after years of vilifying Assange.

Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/15/gop-rep-rohrabacher-sought-trump-deal-with-assange/ Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:35:16 GMT
Goodbye, Robert E. Lee Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/

On Monday, I visited an impressive statue in a Dallas, Texas city park. The statue depicts Robert E. Lee and a fellow soldier riding their horses next to each other.

Wednesday of last week, the Dallas city council voted to remove the statue from the park, which is named after Lee and also contains a building modeled after Lee’s Virginia home. The removal process began within an hour after the vote. But, after delays due to a temporary restraining order and a vehicular crash involving the crane intended to aid in removing the statue, the statue was still present in the park on Monday. Recently erected barriers, though, blocked approaching closer to the statue than, I estimate, about seventy feet in any direction.

From reading a plaque near the statue, I learned that the statue was created by sculptor A. Phimister Proctor and was unveiled in the park on June 12, 1936 by then-United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt, in his quite brief speech at the unveiling, clearly expressed great admiration for Lee. Roosevelt’s praise for Lee contrasts with the disparagement of Lee that has helped bring about the removal from public view over the last few months of Lee statues in states from California to Texas to Louisiana to North Carolina.

Here is Roosevelt’s speech:
I am very happy to take part in this unveiling of the statue of General Robert E. Lee.

All over the United States we recognize him as a great leader of men, as a great general. But, also, all over the United States I believe that we recognize him as something much more important than that. We recognize Robert E. Lee as one of our greatest American Christians and one of our greatest American gentlemen.
In addition to speaking, as reported at the time at the Dallas Morning News, Roosevelt pulled a ribbon to cause the statue to be revealed.

If more people knew of Roosevelt’s expression of such an opinion regarding the general who commanded of the Army of Northern Virginia, would politicians be voting to remove statues of Roosevelt across America and to eliminate Roosevelt’s name from streets, parks, and institutions as well?

Those actions may not be far off. The effort to purge historical figures from recognition in public art and otherwise extends far beyond removing representations of and references to individuals who, like Lee, were involved in the Confederate States of America (CSA). And some of this purge effort is taking place outside the political process. For example, people have vandalized statues of Christopher Columbus in multiple cities in the past few weeks. Similarly, prior to the vote to remove it, the Lee statue in Dallas had been subjected to vandalism.

In my June of 2015 Ron Paul Institute article “If You Want to Get Rid of ‘Racist Flags,’ How About Starting with the American Flag?” I critiqued the effort to banish from view flags, statues, and just about anything else that some people interpret as promoting the CSA or racism.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/13/goodbye-robert-e-lee/ Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:59:47 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: USS Liberty, Obama Deportations, Vermont Police, Dennis Rodman, CSA Monuments Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ 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 Tuesday article at the Unz Review, Philip Giraldi relates the story of how, 50 years after the Israel military attack on the USS Liberty in which 34 American crew members were killed and many more injured, the largest veterans organization in America — the American Legion — approved at its national convention last month a resolution calling upon the United States Congress “to publicly, impartially, and thoroughly investigate the attack on the USS Liberty and its aftermath and to commence its investigation before the end of 2017.”

Adopting this resolution, Giraldi relates, took great effort by American Legion members to overcome long-time resistance from the organization’s leadership. The result is the American Legion joining the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other military-related organizations in seeking what Giraldi terms a “proper investigation.”

Immediately following the 1967 attack, Giraldi asserts that there was a “cover-up” of a deliberate and knowing attack on the US Navy ship in international waters. Key players in the cover-up, Giraldi writes, included then-President Lyndon B. Johnson, then-Secretary of Defense John McNamera, and Admiral John McCain, the father of the US Senator of the same name.

What will happen next? Giraldi suggests one reason not to have too high of hopes for a new investigation is that Israel “will certainly use all the resources that it has at hand, and they are considerable, to make sure that Congress never looks into the attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in any capacity.”

Issue two.


This week, President Donald Trump announced the phasing out of President Barack Obama’s DACA program that allows some people to legally stay in America who would otherwise be subject to deportation. Unless legislation is enacted in the next few months to extend the program in some form, the protection from deportation will be lifted.

With many people criticizing Trump in reaction to the announcement, it seems like a good time to review Obama’s deportation record. At ABC News last week, Serena Marshall wrote that the Obama administration had “deported more people than any other president's administration in history.”

Issue three.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I discussed why President Trump’s removal of some limits President Obama placed on the US government transferring military weapons and equipment to state and local police is of less significance than some people assume.

Nonetheless, it is good to hear that not all state and local politicians will be supporting police obtaining some of the newly available warfare goodies. Vermont Governor Phil Scott, for example, said that he does not support obtaining the newly available armored vehicles and high-powered weapons for the state police and that he will also, though acknowledging he cannot control their choices, discourage local police from acquiring such vehicles and weapons.

Issue four.

Robert Wenzel wrote Thursday at Target Liberty that former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Dennis Rodman presented a “great idea” in a recent interview. The idea Rodman offered is that President Trump should talk with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, with the hope that the meeting would ease tensions between the two governments. I doubt Rodman is on the top of the list of people from whom Trump generally wants to take foreign policy advice. But, in this instance Trump should listen. Rodman, it seems, has spent more time with the North Korea leader than has anybody advising Trump.

Issue five.

Politicians around America are rushing to take down statues and plaques, as well as rename government parks, streets, and institutions, that have some relation to the Confederate States of America (CSA). But, Sabrina Tavernise reported last week at the New York Times that some privately funded monuments related to the CSA have been erected across America in recent years on private land. Included is a monument going up in Orange, Texas that Tavernise writes is “considered the largest Confederate monument built in a century.”

-----

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/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/08/five-minutes-five-issues-uss-liberty-obama-deportations-vermont-police-dennis-rodman-csa-monuments/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 12:54:29 GMT
Five Minutes Five Issues: Secretary of Raytheon, Police Militarization, Google, NYC Cigarettes, Animals’ Marijuana Adam Dick http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ 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 the April 8, 2016 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I mentioned some “Never Trumpers” who were hoping a certain retired Marine Corps general would run for president as an independent against Donald Trump. The retired general could be counted on to promote much more intervention abroad than Trump would.

That hoped-for anti-Trump candidate was James Mattis. Later, president Trump appointed Mattis to be Secretary of Defense.

Mattis, I noted last year, was a board of directors member for General Dynamics, one of the biggest military contractors in the world.

In July, Trump announced his pick for secretary of the Army is Mark Esper. Since 2010, Esper worked for Raytheon, another big military contractor. In fact, Megan G. Wilson reported in The Hill in August that over the last 12 months Esper had earned over 1.5 million dollars lobbying for Raytheon.

Esper awaits a confirmation vote in the Unites States Senate.

It seems these Never Trumpers and the military-industrial complex are doing alright with Trump in the White House.

Issue two.

This week, President Trump signed an executive order allowing the US government to transfer to state and local police certain types of military equipment and weapons President Barack Obama had restricted the transfer of in 2015.

While many people are rightly pointing to Trump with accusations that he is seeking to militarize the police, it should also be acknowledged that during the Obama administration there was a huge increase in the transfer of military equipment and weapons from the US government to police. Also, in June of 2014, United States House of Representatives members rejected by a vote of 355 to 62 an amendment offered by then-Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to impose some limits on what may be transferred.

Issue three.

When Alphabet was created and made the parent company of Google in 2015, Google’s old motto of do no evil was replaced with “do the right thing.” That year, Google’s advertising business refused to continue providing ads on antiwar.com, a website promoting noninterventionist foreign policy ideas. As antiwar.com’s Justin Raimondo confirmed on Thursday, the refusal to provide ads continues.

Recently, Google subsidiary YouTube has routinely blocked placement of advertising in episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report, a Ron Paul Institute program that each weekday includes discussion on topics from a pro-liberty and pro-peace perspective.

Doing the right thing? Maybe it is time for yet another motto.

Issue four.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio signed into law legislation mandating a price floor of $13 per pack of cigarettes.

In New York City, cigarette prices and taxes were already among the highest in America.

Government-mandated price increases for cigarettes will result in more people in New York City seeking, and people being more motivated to sell, cheaper cigarettes on the black market.

Enforcement of the new mandate will seek to ensure that more people pay the higher prices on the legal market. And enforcement will mean individuals seeking to satisfy the demand for cheaper cigarettes will risk arrest, fines, incarceration, and even death at the hands of the laws’ enforcers. Recall that in 2014 Eric Garner was killed in manhandling and choking by New York City police after suspicion he was selling cigarettes in violation of the city’s laws.

Issue five.

Medical marijuana is not just for people.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is an organization of over 89,000 veterinarians. Delegates to an AVMA summer meeting approved recommending the organization’s board of directors “investigate working with other research organizations and medical stakeholders to reclassify cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 [of the Controlled Substances Act] to facilitate research opportunities for veterinary and human medical uses.”

-----

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/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2017/september/03/five-minutes-five-issues-secretary-of-raytheon-police-militarization-google-nyc-cigarettes-animals-marijuana/ Sun, 03 Sep 2017 19:08:17 GMT