Five Minutes Five Issues: Neocon Appointments, TPP, Russia Sanctions, Texas Marijuana, Presidential Powers

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

In this week’s Ron Paul Institute email update, RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote about neoconservatives’ efforts to gain influence and appointed positions in Donald Trump’s presidential administration.

McAdams gives an example of an early success through these efforts. He writes:

… uber-neocon James Woolsey has secured a position as senior national security advisor to Donald Trump. The man who thinks electrocution is too good for whistleblower Ed Snowden and looked gleefully at the 2003 US invasion of Iraq as “World War IV” is, as of today, a senior advisor.

Issue two.

Manu Raju and Athena Jones reported Friday at CNN that United States House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said the House lacks the votes to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Senate will not consider TPP in its lame-duck session.

This is good news for people who, like Ron Paul, see TPP as dangerous “international government management of trade” instead of free trade.

However, TPP may not be dead. A Reuters article quotes House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) as saying on Tuesday that TPP should be renegotiated instead of withdrawn.

Issue three.

Here is one way Donald Trump may help reduce international tensions before he takes office in January. Eric Edelman and David J. Kramer wrote Wednesday at Politico that, “before even entering office, Trump may cause the sanctions regime” against Russia “to crumble.” Edelman and Kramer write that Trump’s election provides “skeptical European nations with a credible argument against renewal” of European Union sanctions in December.

Edelman and Kramer offer some additional insights regarding the upcoming sanctions decision in Europe. They write:

Even before Trump’s victory, the sanctions already faced deep suspicion among certain European countries. Leaders in Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus have argued that not only are sanctions not working but, combined with the drop in oil prices, they are hurting EU members economically. Any single one of those countries could upend the current sanctions regime because renewal requires agreement among all 28 EU member states.

Thanks to diligent work by U.S. and EU officials, that consensus has held so far, but it is likely to dissolve in light of Trump’s expressed intentions toward Moscow….

Issue four.

In last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about how the victory of marijuana ballot measures last week means marijuana legalization has been approved in eight states and DC, while medical marijuana has been approved in the majority of states.

Defections from the war on marijuana are more widespread than those numbers suggest. Consider Texas. America’s second largest population state still prohibits recreational and medical marijuana. Yet, marijuana prohibition is taking some hits in the state.

Last year, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law allowing the creation of a legal market for low-THC cannabis oils for use by individuals with certain medical conditions. Also, Tony Plohetski reported in the Austin American-Statesman that prosecutors in Texas increased their dismissals of misdemeanor marijuana charges from 23 percent in 2011 to nearly a third in 2015. An assistant county attorney is quoted in the article as saying “[j]urors would look at us like we are crazy” for wasting prosecutors’, jurors’, and courts’ time “on a small amount of personal marijuana.”

Issue five.

Alex Emmons examined Friday at The Intercept how President Barack Obama, largely with the acquiescence or support of Democrats, used and expanded presidential powers of his predecessor. Now, writes Emmons, Donald Trump is set in January to “take on presidential powers that have never been more expansive and unchecked.” Emmons suggests that Trump, like Obama, will use and supplement such presidential powers to the detriment of liberty and peace.


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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