Five Minutes Five Issues: Clemency, Surveillance Sharing, Loan Guarantees, Marijuana Delays, Faulty Convictions

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.

During his eight years as president, Barack Obama granted 1,715 commutations and 212 pardons.

The sentence-reducing commutations are being widely reported as a record number. The number of pardons, however, is low in comparison to the numbers for most other presidents over the last hundred years. People benefit more from receiving a pardon than a commutation.

Many of Obamas’ commutations reduced drug crime sentences to make them more like shortened sentences under new standards that have not been applied retroactively. While the commutations benefit the individuals whose sentences are reduced, it is unfortunate that Obama and Congress did not do more to diminish the drug war and the incarceration that comes with it.

Issue two.

In an editorial this week, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who is a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member, writes about an order issued this month by the Obama administration. The order, Napolitano explains, says the National Security Agency (NSA) may “share any of its data with any other intelligence agency or law enforcement agency that has an intelligence arm based on” just a “governmental need” standard instead of a showing of probable cause of a crime as required by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Government need, says Napolitano, “is no standard at all, as the government will always claim that what it wants, it needs.”

Issue three.

We can’t even pay our own bills without borrowing tens of billions from overseas every year, and this administration has the audacity to put American taxpayers on the hook to repay the debts of a foreign country? The insanity is astonishing.

This is part of Rep. Walter Jones’ (R-NC) statement in response to the Iraq government’s Wednesday announcement that it had issued a one billion dollar bond guaranteed by the US government.

Jones is a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member.

Iraq is not the only foreign government receiving loan guarantees from the US. Consider, for example, Ukraine. In June, Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote about the US government announcing “that the US taxpayer would guarantee its third $1 billion dollar loan to the Ukrainian government.”

Issue four.

In previous episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about how the start of legal recreational marijuana sales approved by voters in November has been delayed via legislation in Massachusetts and is threatened with a similar legislative delay in Maine.

Now, bills intended to delay implementation of provisions of medical marijuana ballot measures approved by voters in November have passed in the Arkansas and North Dakota legislatures and will become law if signed by the states’ respective governors.

Issue five.

Massachusetts’ highest court decided this week a case concerning thousands of individuals who were convicted of drug crimes based at least in part on substances testing positive as drugs. These test results were tainted by the involvement of Annie Dookhan, a chemist who has admitted misconduct including falsifying positive drug test results. The court, in its decision, set up a process through which some convicted individuals will have their cases vacated and dismissed without having to take any action. Efforts will be made to inform other convicted individuals regarding their ability to file motions for new trials and attempt to have their convictions vacated as well.


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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