Five Minutes Five Issues: Venezuela Nonsense, US ‘Diplomats,’ Propaganda Trigger, Bloomberg, Shutdown Benefit

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.

President Donald Trump, on Wednesday, issued a statement declaring Nicolás Maduro, who was sworn in this month to a second term as president of Venezuela, is not the president of Venezuela. Instead, declares Trump, the Venezuela president is Juan Guaidó, who, in reality, is president of the Venezuela National Assembly.

In line with two years of menacing statements from high-level Trump administration officials that I talked about in last week’s episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, Trump also threatens in his Wednesday statement: “I will continue to use the full weight of United States economic and diplomatic power to press for the restoration of Venezuelan democracy.” To be clear, Trump is saying the US government is focused on overthrowing the Venezuela government.

At Twitter, commentator Caitlin Johnstone addressed the absurdity of Trump’s declaring a new Venezuela president. Johnstone writes:

BREAKING: Trump declares Juan Guaidó to be Interim President of Venezuela, Jackie Chan the Interim President of China, Peppa Pig the Interim Queen of England, and himself the Interim Police Commissioner of Gotham City.

Issue two.

On Wednesday, Venezuela President Maduro announced US diplomats in the country have 72 hours to leave. This is a logical demand in response to President Trump’s statement that day calling the president of the nation illegitimate and both recognizing another Venezuela politician as president and encouraging overthrowing the Venezuela government. The new official US policy makes the so-called US diplomats’ mission in the country advancing the replacing of the Venezuela government. That is not diplomacy.

Issue three.

Wednesday afternoon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded at Twitter to the demand that so-called US diplomats leave Venezuela. Pompeo states:

US will conduct diplomatic relations with #Venezuela through the government of interim President Guaido. US does not recognize the #Maduro regime. US does not consider former president Maduro to have the legal authority to break diplomatic relations.

The State Department position puts the Venezuela government in a tough situation. If the so-called US diplomats are allowed to stay, expect them to follow instructions to assist in attempting to overthrow the Venezuela government. If the Venezuela government captures and either jails or expels the so-called US diplomats, expect the US government to propagandize that totally normal action as an attack on America to whip up support for escalating US actions in Venezuela.

Issue four.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg needs some good advice before he wastes much time and money running in the Democratic presidential primary, that is if his intention is to win.

Kyle Jaeger writes at Marijuana Moment that Bloomberg included in recent speeches strong criticism of legalizing marijuana. In a University of Toronto speech last week, Bloomberg said legalizing marijuana is “nonsensical.” Then, this week in a United States Naval Academy speech, he said legalizing marijuana, which he called an “addictive narcotic,” is “perhaps the stupidest thing anybody’s ever done.”

With an October Gallup poll indicating 53 percent of Republicans support legalizing marijuana, such comments would create significant headwind for a Republican presidential primary candidate. In the Democratic presidential primary, such comments may kill a campaign before it starts. The Gallup poll puts support for marijuana legalization at 75 percent among Democrats and 71 percent among independents. And lesser efforts like legalizing medical marijuana and making the US government respect states’ liberalized marijuana laws have even more support. In 2020, candidates’ positions on the war on marijuana will likely be a fundamental test for many Democratic presidential primary voters — a test Bloomberg flunks.

Issue five.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown reported Thursday at Reason about a wonderful result of the partial US government shutdown. Brown writes about Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents complaining in an FBI Agents Association report that the partial government shutdown prevents them from pursing activities including buying illegal drugs, paying confidential sources, and giving overtime pay to state and local cops — all activities intended to help incarcerate people for victimless drug crimes.


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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