Five Minutes Five Issues: Trump Nominations, School Walkouts, Drug War Executions, Police Drones, UN Drug War
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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.
Some people are expressing concern about, and some United States senators are saying they will oppose, President Donald Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo to become secretary of state and of Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director.
Some things concerning to peace supporters are Pompeo having talked up overthrowing the North Korea government and the US military attacking Iran.
Meanwhile, Haspel, reportedly both oversaw a secret CIA prison that employed torture and played an important part in destroying video evidence of torture, potentially inhibiting the proper exercise of oversight by the legislative branch and the prosecution of torturers.
The nominations, whether approved or rejected in the US Senate, are in accord with goals Trump has espoused and demonstrated. In his presidential campaign, Trump praised torture that took place during the George W. Bush administration and said he thought it did not go far enough. To name just a few of Trump’s actions as president to significantly expand US militarism and foreign intervention, Trump has greatly expanded the US military presence and direct US military action in Syria; continued the placing of US troops and weapons near Russia’s border and even approved sending anti-tank missiles to the Ukraine government that came to power via a US-supported coup; imposed escalating sanctions against countries including Russia, North Korea, and Venezuela; and pushed for large increases in US military spending.
It was interesting seeing government schools across America this week accept and encourage students walking out of classes and even leaving school campuses to demonstrate in favor of limiting Americans’ ability to legally possess guns. Many of these schools normally enforce strict truancy policies.
Politics writer James Bovard summed up the situation well in two Wednesday Twitter posts. First, he sarcastically wrote: “Very inspiring that govt. schools are encouraging kids to protest & demand more arbitrary power for police & politicians.” Next, Bovard asked: “#NationalWalkoutDay How many students today recognize that participating in a govt.- approved walkout makes them simply political tools?”
The trend in America has been for there to be less executions of prisoners.
In the January 7, 2017 episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about there having been less executions in America in 2016 than in any year since 1991. That number rose in 2017, but still was the second lowest total since 1991.
Despite the trend, President Trump has recently suggested publicly that some people should be executed for being involved in the illegal drugs trade. Further, Dan Diamond reported Thursday at Politico that making the death penalty applicable to some people convicted of drug war crimes is part of the so-called opioid plan the Trump administration is expected to announce soon.
Jason Ditz wrote Monday at antiwar.com regarding video apparently showing Israel police using drones to drop tear gas canisters onto crowds of demonstrators in Gaza.
It can’t happen here, you may think. But, think again. In July of 2016, Dallas, Texas police, cornered for hours a person they thought had shot several cops. The police then killed him by detonating explosives on a robot that had been remotely driven up to him under the pretense that the robot was bringing him a phone.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres spoke via video this week at the UN’s Commission on Narcotics Drugs annual meeting in Vienna, Austria. In the comments, Guterres touted Portugal’s decriminalization of drugs spanning marijuana to heroin that occurred in 2001 while Guterres was the nation’s prime minister. Maybe his comments helped budge, at least a little, some of the drug warriors in the audience from their commitment to prohibition.
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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