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Peace and Prosperity

Five Minutes Five Issues: Marijuana President, Attacking Assange, War Costs, School Shootings, Empire of Lies

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 StitcheriTunesYouTube, 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.

In the October 28 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I mentioned several reasons why I would not be surprised to see the United States government legalize marijuana within five years.

Tom Angell provides, in a Thursday Forbes article, another reason to expect countrywide legalization could occur that soon. Angell writes that three potential major Democratic Party 2020 presidential candidates — Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — support ending marijuana prohibition.

The likelihood of a pro-legalization candidate winning the nomination is further suggested by an October Gallup poll Angell mentions that indicates 72 percent of Democrats support legalization.

Also, Donald Trump or another Republican would probably enhance the chance of defeating a pro-legalization Democrat, and maybe even of winning the Republican primary, by supporting legalization. As I mentioned in that October episode, the Gallup poll also indicated 64 percent legalization support among Americans overall, as well as, for the first time, majority support among Republicans.

Issue two.

A Wednesday article at The Intercept by Micah Lee and Cora Currier declared that messages from Julian Assange of WikiLeaks in a private Twitter group “reveal a running theme of sexism and misogyny” and “contain hints of anti-Semitism.” But, in the long article only drivel is offered to supposedly support that conclusion. Maybe the intention was to present a harsh judgment of Assange and then trust people would assume the judgement was well supported without giving the article an attentive read.

Further, at the heart of the article’s flimsy case against Assange is the assertion that all Twitter posts from WikiLeaks are from Assange. However, Assange explained at Twitter in response to the article that that is not true. Writes Assange, “the @WikiLeaks account is run by a rotating staff as has been repeatedly stated over the years.”

Issue three.

Former US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, in an interview this week with Aaron Maté at The Real News, reminds us that military spending goes far beyond Defense Department appropriations.

As an example, Wilkerson, who is a Ron Paul Institute Academic Board member, mentions that we should expect trillions of dollars in spending for veterans of US military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and “associated hostilities” in countries including Syria, Somalia, and Niger.

Issue four.

In a December of 2015 Ron Paul Institute article, I warned not to “fall for exaggerated claims related to guns and mass murder,” including the common media practice of vastly overstating the number of mass murders in America.

In a Thursday Washington Examiner article, Siraj Hashmi discussed the supposed 18 school shootings this year that has been often mentioned in relation to the Wednesday killings at a Florida high school. Most of these incidents, Hashmi explains, resulted in no fired bullets hitting anybody, were accidents or suicides, or otherwise were far from what people would normally think of as school shootings.

Also, applying the historical categorization of mass murder that concerns the indiscriminate-killing-motivated murder of four or more people in a public venue, which I discussed in my article, the Wednesday incident is the only one of the 18 that qualifies as a mass murder.

Issue five.

Why is the US government so intent on punishing whistleblowers and other individuals involved in revealing US government secrets? John Wight, in a Thursday CounterPunch article concerning Julian Assange, provides an answer. Wight explains:
… Julian Assange, as was Chelsea Manning, as will be Edward Snowden if he dares set foot outside Russia, is being punished for removing the veil of freedom, human rights, and civil liberties from the face of an empire of hypocrisy and lies. They lied about Iraq, they lied about Libya, they lied about Syria, and they lie every day about the murky relationships between governments, corporations, and the rich that negates their oft made claims to be governing in the interests of the people.

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.
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