Five Minutes Five Issues: Saudi Friend, Targeting Americans, War Escalation, Regulations EO, Exclude Congressmen

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

The White House issued a press release Sunday regarding President Donald Trump’s phone call that day with King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The press release begins by saying that the two men “reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.” Then, it says they “agreed on the importance of strengthening joint efforts to fight the spread of radical Islamic terrorism and also on the importance of working jointly to address challenges to regional peace and security, including the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.”

The two governments’ common goal, however, has been to overthrow the governments of Syria and Yemen. And the intervention to accomplish this goal threatens escalation with the imposing of so-called safe zones in Syria and Yemen that the press release says Trump requested in the phone call and King Salman agreed to support.

On the same day as the phone call, Trump announced that the US had conducted a raid in Yemen. At The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald describes the US military action as a drone-supported commando raid.

Issue two.

In answering a question that mentioned an eight-year-old American girl killed in the US military attack in Yemen that President Trump announced on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that “no American citizen will ever be targeted” in attacks. As noted by Steven Nelson at US News and World Report, Spicer’s statement seemed to indicate a “departure from Obama administration policy” that explicitly allowed so-called targeted killings of US citizens.

Then, later in the day, it was made clear that Spicer had not stated the Trump administration’s actual policy. Another person in the White House Press Office issued a statement saying that “U.S. policy regarding the possible targeting of American citizens has not changed.”

Issue three.

Prepare for the escalation of US intervention in Yemen. Intervention has included bombings and the aiding of Saudi Arabia in its war on the country, including through extensive aerial refueling of military aircraft. Spencer Ackerman, Jason Burke, and Julian Borger wrote the following in a Wednesday the Guardian article:

One proposal under discussion, at Central Command and elsewhere, is to designate Yemen a formal battlefield for US forces, alongside Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. That move would permit swifter decision-making, expanded authorities and an intensified pace of operations, rather than one-off raids or drone strikes.

Issue four.

On Monday, President Trump issued an executive order that on first glance may seem to promise a significant reduction in US government power. The executive order declares that, “whenever an executive department or agency (agency) publicly proposes for notice and comment or otherwise promulgates a new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed.”

But, instead of the seeming promise of a double regulatory burden reduction for each increase, the executive order says the goal is just to have no net increase in costs imposed by regulations. As stated in the executive order, “the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized” in fiscal year 2017 “shall be no greater than zero.” Even that limit may be disregarded, the executive order states, as “required by law or consistent with advice provided in writing by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director).”

The executive order also completely exempts from its restraints a huge chunk of US government actions, namely, “regulations issued with respect to a military, national security, or foreign affairs function of the United States.”

Issue five.

Last week President Trump signed an executive order barring some people from entering America. The executive order starts with a section offering reasons for the executive order. One offered reason is that the US “cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution.”

In response to this purported reason for the executive order, author James Bovard asked, “So most congressmen will be prohibited from re-entering the U.S.?”


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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