Five Minutes Five Issues: Marijuana Poll, Troops in Africa, Twitter Ad Ban, Assad Must Go, NFL Ratings

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.

In a new Gallup poll, a record 64 percent of polled Americans support legalizing marijuana.

Here is how Gallup put the response in context:

Gallup first asked national adults about their views on the topic in 1969, when 12% supported legalization. Support had more than doubled by the end of the next decade but changed little throughout the 1980s and 1990s. By 2001, however, about a third of Americans favored legalizing marijuana, and support has steadily increased since. A majority of Americans have consistently supported legalizing marijuana since 2013.

Here are a few things I think are suggested by the roughly two-thirds support for marijuana legalization. First, more states will legalize marijuana and enact other moves away from prohibition including marijuana decriminalization and medical marijuana legalization. Second, many prosecutors will be wary of bringing marijuana cases to trial where the jury may exercise jury nullification to acquit defendants or one or more jurors will cause a hung jury by sticking with a “not guilty” verdict irrespective of the evidence presented. Expect prosecutors to exercise discretion more often to not charge people with marijuana offenses and to offer better deals to avoid trials Third, there will be more movement in the US government away from the war on marijuana, particularly given that the new poll indicates a majority of Republicans for the first time support legalization. I would not be surprised to see the US government legalize marijuana within the next five years.

Issue two.

At a Monday press briefing regarding four US military members being killed in Niger, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said “approximately 800 [US] service members in Niger work as part of an international effort, led by 4,000 French troops, to defeat terrorists in West Africa.” Throughout Africa, Dunford said, the US has “a little over 6,000 forces … in about 53 different countries.”

Issue three.

On Thursday, Twitter announced that the company had terminated advertising from RT and Sputnik. Twitter says the decision was “based on the retrospective work we’ve been doing around the 2016 U.S. election and the US intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government.”

Investigative reporter Robert Parry provided in a June article information that indicates how faulty Twitter’s justification is. Parry explains that the referenced intelligence community conclusion did not arise from a full-scale assessment by the 17 components of the US intelligence community. Instead, it was in a report by hand-picked analysts from just the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Parry writes, “as any intelligence expert will tell you, if you ‘hand-pick’ the analysts, you are really hand-picking the conclusion.

Issue four.

In a Thursday press conference, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said regarding Syria:

[W]e do not believe that there is a future for the Assad regime, the Assad family…. The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, and the only issue is how should that be brought about.

In a Ron Paul Institute email update, Daniel McAdams, the institute’s executive director, discussed Tillerson’s statement. McAdams questions how the US may help bring about this change in Syria. He writes:

A direct US invasion? Subversion? More arming of jihadists? Meddling in internal Syrian politics? CIA death squads? Creating and promoting phony opposition parties and media with US tax dollars? However you slice it, it reeks.

Issue five.

Some people have claimed that national anthem protests have caused TV viewership to decline for National Football League (NFL) games this year. But, maybe the decrease is just part of a broader TV viewing trend. Frank Pallotta wrote Thursday at CNN that, while the ratings for the first seven weeks of the football games were down five percent from last year, the four major television networks have experienced an eight percent average drop in prime time ratings.


That’s a wrap.

Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.

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

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