Five Minutes Five Issues: Defending Assange, Gerald Celente, NJ Marijuana, Russia Non-threat, Libertarian Misinfo
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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.
Glenn Greenwald reported last week at The Intercept that the Ecuador government is planning to hand over Julian Assange to British police soon.
Assange of WikiLeaks has had asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, but for the last 17 weeks his situation has been apparently much like solitary confinement in a prison.
A common expectation is that the British government would transfer Assange to the United States government to be imprisoned and prosecuted.
Comments by New York Times Deputy General Counsel David McCraw to judges at the US Ninth Circuit’s annual judicial conference this week provide some hope that much media — even if just for self-preservation — would oppose the US government taking action against Assange. At Courthouse News Service, Maria Dinzeo quotes McCraw:
'think the prosecution of him would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers,' McCraw said. 'From that incident, from everything I know, he’s sort of in a classic publisher’s position and I think the law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between The New York Times and WikiLeaks.'Issue two.
The latest addition to the speakers list for the Ron Paul Institute’s August 18 conference is Gerald Celente of the Trends Research Institute. Celente is a strong advocate for peace and a great public speaker. To see a list of conference speakers, buy a conference ticket, and obtain a reduced-price room at the conference hotel, go to the web page ronpaulinstitute.org/conference.
Might the New Jersey state government legalize marijuana by the beginning of September?
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy campaigned for governor last year promoting his support for legalization, and he has declared that marijuana legalization is one of his priorities this year.
This week, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent a memorandum to prosecutors in the state asking that “all municipal prosecutors in New Jersey seek an adjournment until September 4, 2018, or later, of any matter involving a marijuana-related offense pending in municipal court” while Grewal prepares a “statewide directive” regarding prosecutorial discretion in marijuana cases.
Claude Brodesser-Akner reports at NJ.com that a source in the state Senate says a marijuana legalization bill is expected to be considered in the Senate by September. The Senate passing that bill combined with the attorney general’s action, writes Brodesser-Akner, could together “effectively end prosecution of marijuana possession in New Jersey permanently.”
From the abundant media coverage of purported danger from Russia, you might suppose that Russia’s economic size and military spending exceed that of the US and NATO allies or are at least similar or close behind.
In an interview this week with host Scott Horton at the Scott Horton Show, economics and politics writer David Stockman puts Russia’s economy and the Russia government’s military spending in some context. Stockman, who is a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member, notes that the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of America and the 28 other NATO countries is 26 times bigger than the GDP of Russia. And military spending by the NATO countries is 16 times that of Russia, continues Stockman. Not just that, the US spending of 75 billion dollars a year on its intelligence agencies alone, explains Stockman, “is well more than the entire military budget of Russia, which is 61 billion.”
Such comparisons support Stockman’s conclusion in the interview that “the idea that Russia is a threat to the security of America, or Europe for that matter, is one of the stupidest jokes that has come down the pike in a long time.”
Libertarianism is one of the “right-of-center faiths.” That is a claim made by New York Times opinion columnist Ross Douthat in a Times editorial last week titled “Libertarians in the Age of Trump.” Is this a case of demonstrated ignorance about libertarianism or is this a case of purposeful deception?
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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