Five Minutes Five Issues: Marijuana Arrests, Johnson ‘Gaffes,’ Presidential Debate, NPR Bias, Legal Heroin

A new episode of Five Minutes Five Issues posted on Saturday. 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 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.

According to new statistics released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the number of marijuana arrests in 2015 was the lowest since 1996. Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws notes that the 2015 arrests total is over 25% less than the peak total in 2007. Still, the 643,122 arrests in 2015 are many more than the appropriate number — zero.

Issue two.

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has been subjected to much media ridicule for two so-called gaffes.

First, on MSNBC last month, Mike Barnicle asked Johnson “What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?” and Johnson initially responded by asking “what is Aleppo.”

Second, this week and also on MSNBC, Chris Matthews asked Johnson what living foreign leader is Johnson’s favorite. Johnson did not think of an answer immediately.

Regarding the brief Aleppo question, even a person very informed about the Syrian city of Aleppo may not make the connection right away when the word is thrown out without context. Once the questioner provided context, Johnson replied with a generally noninterventionist response. You don’t need to know all the ins and outs of a place, or have its name in the forefront of your mind, to know that the US should butt out.

As far as a favorite foreign leader, why would it be wrong not to have one? I cannot think of a reason. Not every question needs to be answered.

Issue three.

On Monday, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump expressed their disagreement about a number of issues in their first general election presidential debate. But, on one very significant issue the two candidates have much agreement says Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board Member Andrew Napolitano. In a Thursday video commentary at Fox News, Napolitano explains:

They are both big government politicians. They want to increase the size of the government. They want to increase its involvement in our lives. Neither is concerned with personal liberty in a free society.

Issue four.

It is irritating that repeatedly when I listen to United States government-subsidized National Public Radio I hear people singing Hillary Clinton’s praise, disparaging Donald Trump, or doing both.

Issue five.

Presidential elections encourage Americans to think they have to side with one of two candidates’ purported solutions to every problem — even when both offer ridiculous options.

Julia Lurie wrote Thursday at Mother Jones about supposed solutions to opioid overdoses being offered by Clinton and Trump this election. On one side, Lurie details Clinton’s multibillion dollar proposal involving increased government spending, new programs, and policy tweaks to address the problem. On the other side, Lurie describes Trump as wanting to build a wall and increase police border activity to interdict opioids coming into America, as well as fund drug addiction treatment.

There is a cost-free and more effective way to address problems related to opioids. Focusing on heroin, Bonnie Kristian provides an explanation in her September 23 The Week editorial. “[L]egalize it — or at the very least, decriminalize it,” writes Kristian.

Kristian relates that ending heroin prohibition would counter the presence of “tainted and mislabeled products that make overdose more likely.” Such products come with prohibition, but are much less common in legal markets. Kristian also explains that ending prohibition would remove people engaged in murder and assault from controlling the heroin market. Ending prohibition, she writes, would make people more likely to seek help related to heroin-related problems as they will not fear punishment for drug possession. Indeed, Kristian delicately describes incarcerating people for possessing drugs as “hardly conducive to improving physical or mental health.”


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.

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

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