Five Minutes Five Issues: Nassim Taleb, Military Spending, Bag Ban, North America Marijuana, Price of Oil

by | Jul 14, 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.

A new speaker has been announced for the Ron Paul Institute’s August 18 conference: Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author of books including The Black Swan and Skin in the Game.

To find out more information about the conference, to purchase conference tickets, and to obtain a reduced-price room at the conference hotel, check out the web page

Issue two.

President Donald Trump, attending a meeting of leaders of governments in the NATO alliance this week, was insisting that governments with NATO membership increase their military spending.

This highlights an absurdity of the US being in such an alliance: The alliance provides a reason for the US president to be a buttinski, hectoring for increased military spending by other nations.

Some people are hoping that increased military spending by NATO member governments will lead to the US reducing its military spending. But, the reality is that the Trump administration and the US Congress have shown their dedication to increasing US military spending as much as they can get away with and show no sign of easing up on that plan.

Robert Wenzel describes the situation succinctly at Target Liberty. Wenzel writes:

What [Trump] really wants is a more militarized planet.

U.S. defense spending is at an all-time high under the Trump Administration…

and he is calling for NATO allies to put defense spending on steroids.

Issue three.

There has been much talk about the irony of al-Shabaab, an African terrorist group, banning plastic bags last week in areas it controls, with the offered reason of helping the environment.

OK, but remember that the US government, via apparently perpetual war, has been killing and injuring many more people across the world, and, all the while, regulating a multitude of things from automobiles’ gas mileage to the amount of water toilets flush in the name of helping the environment.

Issue four.

Countrywide marijuana legalization is scheduled to commence in Canada on October 17.

Countrywide marijuana legalization may happen soon in Mexico as well. Kyle Jaeger writes at Marijuana Moment that Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who won the Mexico presidential election last week, is open to legalizing marijuana and is appointing Olga Sánchez Cordero, an advocate of legalization, to be secretary of the interior.

Meanwhile, in between Canada and Mexico, American states continue to adopt legalization. Nine states and Washington, DC so far. And more legalization is likely on the way soon, for example, in Michigan via a November general election ballot measure and in New Jersey via legislation to be approved by the state legislature and governor.

I mentioned in the October 28 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues that, due to factors including public support and state law changes, the US government legalizing marijuana within five years would not surprise me. Movement toward legalization nearby in Canada and Mexico is another factor that could help bring this about.

Issue five.

In a Monday editorial largely focused on US policy toward Iran, Ron Paul made an interesting observation related to the price of oil and spending on the US military. Paul wrote:

President Trump’s demand last week that OPEC “reduce prices now” or US military protection of OPEC countries may not continue almost sounded desperate. But if anything, Trump’s bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the purpose of the US military – with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars – is to protect OPEC members in exchange for “cheap oil,” how cheap is that oil?


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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