Five Minutes Five Issues: Sanders Wins, Obama Clemencies, Chief Rabbis, Stacked Hearing, Phone Privacy

A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted today. You can listen to it, and read a transcript, below. You can also find previous episodes of the show at Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube, and SoundCloud.

Listen to the show here:

Read a transcript of the show, 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.

Writing last week regarding the Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) race for the Democratic presidential nomination, author and professor Camille Paglia said, “If Bernie Sanders had gotten a hundredth of the press coverage lavished on Hillary over the past three years, he would have had an excellent chance of overtaking her.”

Indeed, the media mantra has been that Sanders has no chance against Clinton. Yet, Sanders draws huge crowds to his rallies — approached in size only by Donald Trump rallies on the Republican side, and Sanders receives a flood of small donations.

Two days after Paglia’s commentary posted, Sanders won in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington with from 70 to 82 percent of the vote. Did Paglia call the race too early? Maybe Sanders can defeat Clinton and the media.

Issue two.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday reduced the federal prison sentences of 61 people. Obama said most the people affected “are low-level drug offenders whose sentences would have been shorter if they were convicted under today’s laws.” The Obama administration tallies the president has issued 248 commutations, with many of them for people incarcerated for drug crimes. Kudos to Obama for this small drug war rollback.

Still, as I noted at the Ron Paul Institute blog in July, the president’s commutations are not helping the vast majority of the nearly 100,000 people in US government prisons for drug convictions. Instead of investigating individual cases to free a few dozen people here and there, I suggested a simpler process: “eliminate the drug crimes portion of all federal prison inmates’ sentences.”

Issue three.

Yitzhak Yosef, who has the title of Israeli Sephardic Chief Rabbi, was reported as saying on Saturday that non-Jews should not live in Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports Yosef has since “walked back” this comment.

Don’t read too much into Yosef’s title. His pronouncements should not be taken as the opinion of all rabbis in Israel.

Issue four.

The United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control scheduled for next week a hearing titled “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?” That sounds slanted in favor of marijuana prohibition, doesn’t it?

A look through the witness list further suggests senators want the hearing to support the war on marijuana even as state and local governments move against the war. We can hope a witness from Congress’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) will be rather objective. The other three witnesses Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority aptly calls “ardent prohibitionists.” One is the Nebraska attorney general who is helping lead an effort to have Colorado’s marijuana legalization ruled unconstitutional. Two more are a US Department of Justice attorney who took part in a crackdown on California medical marijuana dispensaries and an advisory board member of an organization focused on supporting marijuana prohibition.

Issue five.

On Monday, the FBI abandoned its federal court effort to require Apple to help defeat security of an iPhone connected to a mass killing in San Bernardino, California. The bureau says it overcame the iPhone’s security without Apple’s help.

As one court effort by the FBI disappears, the breadth of the US government’s effort to make companies compromise the security and encryption of their products is becoming clearer. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced on Wednesday that it has so far identified over 60 “confirmed cases in which the government applied for an order under the All Writs Act to compel Apple or Google to provide assistance in accessing data stored on a mobile device.” The ACLU notes that, to the extent it has determined the cases’ underlying facts, “these cases predominantly arise out of investigations into drug crimes.”


That’s a wrap.

A transcript of this episode, including links to related information, is at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

Five four three two one.

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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