Five Minutes Five Issues: Iraq Oil, Wall Bill, Madonna’s Thoughtcrime. Ma’s Advice, Snowden’s Asylum

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.

Last week at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), President Donald Trump stated again that the United States government should have seized the oil in Iraq during the Iraq War. Then, he said, “maybe you’ll have another chance.”

Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who is a Ron Paul Institute Academic Board member and was Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff during the Iraq War, throws cold water on the idea that easy profits would come from the US seizing Iraqi oil. Interviewed by Paul Jay on the Real News, Wilkerson says:

We couldn’t even defend some of our most critical areas in Iraq when we were occupying it, particularly in late 2004, 2005, 2006. We had to fight some pretty bloody battles. So how are we going to seize this oil, much of which is still underground, and how are we going to defend this oil against the inevitable attacks that would come? We would provide for ISIS, for example, and other terrorists in the region a target rich environment, with every Marine and every soldier with a big bull’s-eye on his or her back.

Issue two.

Remember President Trump’s campaign declaration that Mexico would pay for the wall he wants to build on the US-Mexico border?

On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order supporting building the wall. The same day, Trump said in an interview with David Muir at ABC that the US government would pay for the wall and then be reimbursed by Mexico through a “transaction” the US would make with Mexico. That reimbursement, Trump said, will be in “perhaps a complicated form.” It looked like Trump was preparing to just claim that whatever future deal was worked out with Mexico would create enough benefit to the US to cover the cost of building the wall.

Then, on Thursday, the story changed. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Trump is considering options including imposing a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for the wall. With such a tax, Americans will, in a sense, be stuck with the bill twice — paying up front to build the wall and paying higher prices for purchases affected by the new tax.

Issue three.

Yes, I’m angry. Yes, I am outraged. Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House. But, I know that this won’t change anything. We cannot fall into despair. As the poet W.H. Auden once wrote on the eve of World War II, ‘We must love one another or die.’ I choose love.

Pop singer Madonna said this at a Washington, DC protest the day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration.

Then, former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Fox News that Madonna “ought to be arrested for saying she has thought about blowing up the White House.”

Gingrich appears to support including “thoughtcrimes” arrests in the ways in which our country resembles the dystopia in George Orwell’s novel 1984.

Issue four.

At a Davos, Switzerland World Economic Forum event, Jack Ma, the founder of the company Alibaba, made an interesting comment. Ma asked what would have happened if the US government had taken part of the trillions of dollars it spent on wars in the past 30 years and instead used the money to build up American infrastructure and help American workers. Concluded Ma, “you are supposed to spend money on your own people.”

Hopefully, many Americans will contemplate Ma’s comment. Hopefully, they will also consider the potential benefit from nixing all the war spending and leaving the money in Americans’ hands to spend as they see fit.

Issue five.

National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden has lived in Russia since 2013, seeking to avoid punishment by the US government.

Andrew E. Kramer reported in the New York Times last week that a Snowden lawyer says Snowden’s Russian residence permit has been extended to 2020 and that Snowden will have the option next year to apply for Russian citizenship.


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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