Five Minutes Five Issues: Russia Confrontation, Murder Rate, Revoking Passports, Airstrikes, RPI Event
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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.
In the final days of the Obama administration, United States troops, equipment, and weapons arrived in Poland and Norway. These deployments near Russia further escalated tensions between the US and Russian governments.
Many advocates of nonintervention and the avoiding of military conflict with Russia hoped that Donald Trump would, as president, end such military deployments. Trump said during the campaign and since that he wants a “good relationship” with Russia. But, in the last few days, new rotations of US troops have arrived in Estonia and Latvia, also on Russia’s doorstep. This suggests the Obama administration’s confrontation policy is still in force.
On Tuesday, President Trump, at a White House meeting with police from around the country, said the murder rate in America is the highest it has been in 45 to 47 years. However, Eric Boehm wrote at Reason that Trump’s assertion is “completely false.” Looking to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics, Boehm notes that the murder rate now is less than half what it was in 1980, when the murder rate was at its peak over the last 45 years.
You may be tempted to view Trump’s misstatement of the facts as of little importance. But, Trump supported in his campaign liberty-threatening policing policies of expanding the use of New York City-style stop-and-frisk and reinstating the full flow of military weapons from the US government to local cops. Also, on Wednesday, Trump said, in a speech to the Major Cities Chiefs police organization, that his administration will be “ruthless” in its war on drugs. Extraordinary overstatements of murder rates is one way to generate the fear needed to lead people to support suppressing liberty in the hope of obtaining safety.
In November of 2015, I wrote at the Ron Paul Institute website about a provision included in HR 22, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act, that would authorize the US State Department to deny passport requests by and revoke the passports of Americans who have $50,000 or more of unpaid federal taxes, including penalties and interest. President Barack Obama signed that bill into law the next month.
Robert W. Wood related at Forbes last week that the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) has announced that early this year it will begin informing the State Department about individuals who have unpaid, legally enforceable tax debt of over $50,000 and for which a levy has been issued or a tax lien has been filed and administrative remedies are exhausted or lapsed. There are a few exceptions in the IRS process, including for some people making timely payments on their taxes. The State Department will rely on this IRS information to revoke existing passports and block the issuing of new passports.
For years, and maybe back to the beginning of the War on Terror, Department of Defense public disclosures have significantly understated the number of airstrikes by the US military in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Andrew deGrandpre and Shawn Snow reported Sunday at the Military Times that “potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes” by US Army-operated helicopters and drones have not been included in the disclosures. They write that at least 456 airstrikes in Afghanistan alone were left out last year.
The Ron Paul Institute is joining the Ludwig von Mises Institute in hosting a symposium in Lake Jackson, south of Houston, Texas, on April 8. The topic for the symposium is “War and Peace in the Age of Trump.” Speakers at the event will include Lew Rockwell and Jeff Deist of the Mises Institute and Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams of RPI.
To find out more about the April 8 event and purchase tickets, open the Mises Institute website at mises.org — that’s M-I-S-E-S dot org — and click on the “events” tab at the top of the page. [event link]
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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