Five Minutes Five Issues: VA Marijuana, Stingy Clemency, Closing Guantanamo, Resisting PreCheck, Bill Weld

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.

On Thursday, the United States House of Representatives approved a medical marijuana amendment to the appropriations bill for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The same day, the US Senate approved appropriations legislation containing a similar provision. Tom Angell writes at that either provision, if enacted into law, would end the VA spending money “to enforce a current policy that prohibits its government doctors from filling out medical marijuana recommendation forms in states where the drug is legal.”

Issue two.

Jacob Sullum reported Tuesday at Reason that a consortium of lawyers called Clemency Project 2014 has had much success with clemency applications it feeds to the US Department of Justice. The approval rate is 72% for applications that make it through the group’s vetting and that have received a final determination from President Barack Obama.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that, due to the Justice Department’s exacting guidelines for non-violent, low-level convicts clemency consideration, Clemency Project 2014 has passed along only four percent of the nearly 25,000 applications it has reviewed.

Sullum suggests that thousands of people in prison for crack law violations could be freed if the president would just apply to them sentencing reductions that have become law since their imprisonment. Even better, Obama could use the pardon power to eliminate all US government drug sentences. This would benefit nearly 100,000 people in federal prison.

Issue three.

An amendment that would allow the closing of the US military’s prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba failed to pass at the US House of Representatives on Thursday. By 259 “no” votes to 163 “yes” votes the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was defeated. While 88 percent of voting Democratic House members supported the amendment, only one percent of voting Republicans did. The three Republicans voting “yes” were Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan, Jr. of Tennessee, and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

Duncan is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board.

Issue four.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) harassment and bungling is making travelers wait at airports even longer then they’ll sit on their flights — if they can even make it to their flights.

In response, the TSA is going all out promoting its extortion racket known as PreCheck. In classic extortion racket form, the TSA that created the problem is on hand with a solution. Up top on the TSA website is a big banner advertisement promoting PreCheck. Then the message below the banner ad shares a threat combined with a promise: “Summer travel plans? Enroll in TSA PreCheck for a better, faster and easier travel experience.”

In the PreCheck program, if you take actions including paying $85, being fingerprinted, and submitting to a background check, the TSA may — yes may — choose to harass you less and let you through the checkpoints faster. So far, many Americans are standing up to the extortion pressure. As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley comments at his website, the TSA has “seemed surprised by citizens not yielding to the choice of waiving privacy” to have a shorter wait.

Issue five.

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson revealed this week that he has chosen former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld as his vice presidential running mate. Over at Reason, writer Jesse Walker notes that, while “Johnson is no one’s idea of a hardcore libertarian,” Weld is even further from the libertarian mark. In support of this conclusion, Walker mentions several what he terms “anti-libertarian positions” held by Weld. Included are Weld’s support for George W. Bush’s foreign policy as well as for state-level gun-control laws such as a ban on so-called assault weapons. Concludes Walker, “if I wanted to elect an Iraq hawk for gun control, I could vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Delegates are scheduled to choose the Libertarian presidential and vice presidential nominees at the Libertarian National Convention held May 27-30 in Orlando, Florida.


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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