Five Minutes Five Issues: RFK Assassination, Trump Pardons, Michigan Marijuana, FBI Spending, Hemp Subsidies

by | Jun 3, 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.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is the son of 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy who was assassinated after his California Democratic primary victory speech. He does not believe Sirhan Sirhan, who has been in prison for nearly 50 years for the murder, is the murderer. Tom Jackman reported last week at the Washington Post that Kennedy’s conclusion is based on research, including reading autopsy and police reports, as well as speaking with witnesses and Sirhan.

Issue two.

This week, President Donald Trump pardoned political writer Dinesh D’Souza. Last week, Trump pardoned deceased boxing champion Jack Johnson. Trump also talked this week with TV celebrity Kim Kardashian West regarding her advocacy for pardoning Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for drug law violations and told reporters he is considering pardoning well-known businesswoman Martha Stewart, who has already served her prison time, and commuting the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

All these cases seem fine for clemency, as they involve the United States government exercising power far beyond constitutional restraints. But, why limit clemency to famous individuals or people for whom famous individuals appeal to Trump? How about the Trump administration defines the injustices each such pardon or commutation attempts to correct and seek out individuals similarly harmed? Then, Trump could do good for many more people, as President Barack Obama did with clemency for people with certain drug law convictions and President Jimmy Carter did for people accused of evading military conscription.

Issue three.

Some Republican Michigan state legislators are seeking to pass in the legislature a recreational marijuana legalization measure set to be on the November ballot. But, they seem to have some motives other than supporting legalization. Jonathan Oosting reported this week at the Detroit News that the legislation becoming law would prevent a surge in Democratic voters in the election due to the absence of the ballot measure and would make it easier for the legislature to scale back legalization because altering the legislature-passed bill would take only a majority vote, instead of the three-quarters vote in the state House and Senate required to alter a voters-approved ballot measure.

Issue four.

Craig Evermann wrote Tuesday at mygovcost.org about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spending $70,000 on a conference table. Evermann’s main expressed concern is that the redacting of the cost in information provided to Congress hinders legislative oversight. This is an important concern. But, at the same time, spending extravagantly on furniture seems much preferable to the FBI spending money to maintain or increase the very high American incarceration rate. I’ll take FBI buildings and offices furnished like the Palace of Versailles in exchange for significantly restrained FBI activities.

Issue five.

In the April 13 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introducing that week the Hemp Farming Act (S 2667). This bill is apparently the replacement for the similarly-named Industrial Hemp Farming Act that McConnell had cosponsored in previous Congresses since 2013. Instead of just ending hemp farming prohibition, the new bill also imposes hemp farming regulations and provides hemp research subsidies.

While McConnell’s bill has not yet been considered on the Senate floor, the move toward subsidies has progressed in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Tom Angell reports at Forbes that the committee last week approved a report accompanying its Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (S 2976) that directs spending $500,000 to maintain a seed bank for the low-THC cannabis known as hemp and publicizing the availability of US government funding for hemp researchers.

The good news for libertarians is that their effort to end prohibition of cannabis, be it recreational marijuana, medical marijuana, or hemp, is succeeding. The bad news is that, instead of government just ending prohibition, on all cannabis fronts government is creating substantial regulations, taxes, and subsidies.

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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.

Author

  • 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.