Five Minutes Five Issues: Assange Isolation, Blowback, New York Marijuana, NYC Marijuana, Ecstasy

by | Jun 24, 2018

A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues is out. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the new episode here:

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

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.

Starting in five four three two one.

Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.

Let’s start.

Issue one.

Six years ago, the Ecuador government gave Julian Assange of WikiLeaks asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy, allowing him to avoid being handed over by the British government to the United States government for incarceration and prosecution. Assange, in his room at the embassy, was able to meet with guests and to communicate via the internet, often regarding the US and other governments.

Things changed 12 weeks back. The Ecuador government cut off nearly all visitors to Assange and his communication with the outside world. Assange seems to have become pretty much a prisoner in isolation. This may be torture, especially considering it has gone on for weeks on end. Notably, isolation, termed solitary confinement, was imposed on Chelsea Manning when Manning was in prison for leaking information to WikiLeaks. It would not be surprising to find the US behind the isolation of Assange.

Issue two.

On Friday, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute regarding a speech Ron Paul delivered in the US House of Representatives in the year 2000. One thing I did not mention in my article, but that stood out when I listened to the speech, is two sentences in which Paul addresses — over a year and a half before the September 11, 2001 attacks on America — the blowback risk from US military intervention abroad. Paul says:

As bad as it is that average Americans are forced to subsidize such a system, we additionally are placed in greater danger because of our arrogant policy of bombing nations that do not submit to our wishes. This generates the hatred directed toward America, even if at times it seems suppressed, and exposes us to a greater threat of terrorism since this is the only vehicle our victims can use to retaliate against a powerful military state.

Issue three.

Maybe next year New York will join the states with legalized recreational marijuana. New York Commissioner of Health Howard Zucker, who Governor Andrew Cuomo had asked to study marijuana legalization, announced on Monday that a soon-to-be-released final report on the matter will recommend legalizing adult marijuana use.

Issue four.

On Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, along with James O’Neill — the city’s police commissioner, announced in a press conference policy changes regarding marijuana. Erin Durkin writes at the Daily News that the changes mean most people police stop for smoking marijuana in public will receive criminal summonses with a fine up to $100 instead of being arrested, though “people with open warrants, on parole or probation, lacking identification, with a violent criminal record in the last three years, or caught smoking while driving will still get arrested.”

The announcement follows roll backs in the war on marijuana undertaken by prosecutors in the city’s boroughs. Durkin writes:

The Brooklyn and Manhattan district attorneys have already said they’d stop prosecuting most marijuana smoking cases. Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez said Tuesday he’ll soon launch a program to seal old marijuana convictions, and Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. said he will decline to prosecute even some people still subject to arrest under the new policy.

Issue five.

MDMA, often called ecstasy, has been in the US government’s Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule 1, and thus been prohibited even for medical uses, for decades. However, Raymond March writes in a Tuesday Independent Institute article that ecstasy’s potential medical use to aid people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reaching the third of four phases of the US Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process is a good sign for its medical use becoming allowed under US law given that “the drugs that reach this phase are typically approved.”

Ecstasy’s potential to help people with medical issues is not new information. As March relates, prior to it being outlawed, “therapists began using MDMA to treat patients suffering from traumatic experiences almost 50 years ago.”


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.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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