Five Minutes Five Issues: Bundy Ranch, Trump Recants, Deadly Tasers, Ukraine Weapons, Anthem Protest
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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.
On Tuesday, a United States District Court jury declined to find guilty four defendants being prosecuted jointly related to the 2014 standoff at the Bundy ranch in Nevada.
Ken Ritter from the Associated Press reported on the verdict as follows:
In a stunning setback to federal prosecutors planning to try the Bundy family patriarch and two adult sons later this year, the jury acquitted Ricky Lovelien and Steven Stewart of all 10 charges, and delivered not-guilty findings on most charges against Scott Drexler and Eric Parker.There was a hung jury on the remaining charges against Drexler and Parker.
This was the second trial for all four defendants. An earlier trial resulted in a hung jury on all charges against them.
As reported in the Las Vegas Review Journal earlier this month, Judge Gloria Navarro’s restraints on the defendants included prohibiting mentioning the rights to bear arms and assemble guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, as well as law enforcement misconduct and excessive force — matters that could have been at the heart of a defense.
In an insightful Los Angeles Times editorial, Andrew J. Bacevich discussed President Donald Trump’s Monday Afghanistan War policy announcement. Bacevich wrote:
At least implicitly, Trump now endorses the twin assumptions that since 9/11 have formed the basis for the larger war on terrorism: First, that sustained U.S. military action provides the most effective means of defeating terrorism; second, that the physical presence of U.S. forces in vulnerable Muslim-majority countries provides a means to render them inhospitable to terrorist entities.Issue three.
In short, if we keep killing bad guys and persist in nation-building (an effort Trump derides at the same time he implicitly endorses it), the problem will eventually solve itself.
Little evidence exists to support those propositions. Indeed, the post-9/11 U.S. military experience not only in Afghanistan but also in Iraq and elsewhere points to precisely the opposite conclusion: The principal effect of the ongoing war on terrorism has been to exacerbate the problem that it purports to solve. The entire enterprise has been what Trump once understood it to be: a terrible mistake, a total disaster and a complete waste. Now, in effect, he has recanted.
Tasers, which are carried by many police in America, are called non-lethal weapons. But, a Tuesday Reuters article by Peter Eisler, Jason Szep, Tim Reid, and Grant Smith relates that 153 autopsy reports uncovered from across America conclude Tasers were “a cause or contributing factor” in deaths.
Also, from reviewing more than 400 instances of individuals dying after police used Tasers on them and “in which court documents provide a relatively detailed account of what happened,” the article’s authors report that “Tasers were the only form of force allegedly used by police in about one in four of the cases.”
Thursday, while in Ukraine, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis suggested he would recommend the Trump administration continue Russia sanctions, as well as provide weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, to the Ukraine government. The Obama administration — despite supporting overthrowing of the prior Ukraine government and providing significant aid to the new government — chose not to provide weapons to Ukraine, at least in a large-scale public manner such as suggested by Mattis.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still without a team to play with in the upcoming National Football League (NFL) regular season. Yet, kneeling during the national anthem continues. As the national anthem was sung Monday before a preseason game, 12 Cleveland Browns players knelt in a group. John Breech wrote at CBS Sports that the players engaged in “the NFL's largest protest since Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in August 2016.”
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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