Ron Paul, the CIA, and Dr. Zhivago

It is no secret that Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel Dr. Zhivago influenced RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul. Indeed, Dr. Zhivago and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged are the only two works of fiction included in the list of 48 books at the end of Paul’s The Revolution: A Manifesto that Paul says influenced him over the years. What has long been a secret, though, is that the United States Central Intelligence Agency played a significant role in helping promote the Pasternak novel.

A peek at the influence Dr. Zhivago had on Paul may be found in ABC News and National Public Radio profiles of Paul from 2011 that report on how Paul reading in his 20s a copy of Dr. Zhivago that his mother had given him put Paul on course reading many other books that helped him develop his understanding of libertarian ideas. This reading led directly to Paul first running for Congress in 1974 and continuing to communicate regarding political topics to this day. As Paul has explained many times, his runs for political office have been motivated largely by a desire to share ideas related to freedom with a larger audience.

Might Paul’s mother not have given him Dr. Zhivago if the CIA had not boosted the book’s popularity? Without reading the book, may Paul not have proceeded in the study that led him to help build support for liberty and nonintervention in the US and abroad?

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

RPI’s Adam Dick Discusses the Drug War, Elections, and Smokey and the Bandit on the Lions of Liberty Podcast

RPI’s Adam Dick joined the Lions of Liberty Podcast on Thursday for a discussion of the drug war and advancing liberty through electoral politics. Dick discusses with host Marc Clair how states and local governments going their own way on marijuana laws are overcoming the United States government’s war on marijuana, as well as some of the incremental steps the US government has taken over the last few years to roll back its drug war. Dick also makes some predictions about the war on a drugs and pitches a new Smokey and the Bandit movie about driving marijuana from Colorado to Texas.

The conversation starts with lessons learned from Dick’s experience in politics, including co-managing Ed Thompson’s 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign and working in Rep. Ron Paul’s US House of Representatives office.

Clair and Dick also address the foreign policy views of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), who recently lost his primary election while he was US House majority leader, and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), an RPI Advisory Board member, who won his primary election.

Listen to the interview here:

Read here some of Dick’s articles discussed in the interview:

My Drug War Interview at Universidad Francisco Marroquín from June 23, 2014.

City Voters Legalize Liquor Stores and Marijuana from November 6, 2013.

US House Votes to Respect States’ Medical Marijuana and Hemp Legalization from May 31, 2014.

Associated Press Way Off on Ed Thompson’s 2002 Wisconsin Governor Campaign from June 9, 2014.

Is Ron Paul the San Antonio Spurs of American Politics? from June 16, 2014.

Rep. Walter Jones’ Refreshing Voting Philosophy from May 3, 2014.

Rep. Walter Jones: Stop Wasting American Money and Lives in Afghanistan from November 4, 2013.

Rep. Walter Jones: Congress Should Decide if US Military Stays in Afghanistan from November 21, 2013.

Eric Cantor Evokes George Washington and Founders to Promote His War Agenda from February 19, 2014.

So Long, Rep. Eric Cantor from June 11, 2014.

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

My Drug War Interview at Universidad Francisco Marroquín

Adam Dick at Universidad Francisco Marroquín

Adam Dick at Universidad Francisco Marroquín

On May 5, 2013 Luis Figueroa interviewed me at Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City, Guatemala regarding the war on drugs in the United States.

The discussion addresses how the US government took steps in the last few years to roll back portions of the drug war—reducing penalties related to crack cocaine, eliminating a prohibition on US government-backed college financial aid for students with prior drug convictions, and allowing the District of Columbia to implement a medical marijuana law the US government had suppressed for years.

In the interview I also predict that the US government will increasingly back down in its war on marijuana as more states and local governments legalize marijuana for medical and recreational uses. As the process develops, I suggest a patchwork quilt of different marijuana laws will materialize around the country, with no place enforcing total prohibition.

The big leap, I explain, would be ending the drug war beyond the war on marijuana. The war on marijuana can be ended more readily because, in the US, marijuana is perceived as more similar to legal alcohol and tobacco than are other illegal drugs and because marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug.

Watch the interview here:

Rep. Walter Jones on Foreign Policy: ‘We in America are in the Eleventh Hour’

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), an RPI Advisory Board member, discusses in-depth in a Friday C-SPAN Washington Journal interview his opposition to continued borrowing and spending for the United States to “police the world.” Jones says in the 33 minutes interview that the US, like empires through history, is harmed by its foreign intervention and that “we in America are in the eleventh hour of a twelve hour clock.”

Regarding the threat posed by foreign adventurism, Jones explains:

Every great nation…from the Spanish to the French to the Romans…that started to go around and take other territory around the world eventually failed, and I think we in America are in the eleventh hour of a twelve hour clock.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

 

US House Rejects by 355 to 62 Vote Amendment to Limit Transfer of Military Weapons and Equipment to Local Police

By a vote of 355 “no” votes to 62 “yes” votes the United States House of Representatives voted down Thursday night an amendment offered by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (HR 4870) that would have curtailed the transfer of US military equipment to local police.

Grayson explained on the House floor that he offered his amendment “to address a growing problem throughout our country, which is the militarization of local law enforcement agencies.” In particular Grayson expressed concern about documentation in the New York Times of huge transfers of military weapons and equipment to local police and the overkill use of transferred items in ordinary law enforcement, even in raids to enforce barber and liquor license laws, instead of in response to nonexistent terrorism.

The Times article Grayson mentions documents that the transfers involve a long list of military weapons and equipment including, since 2006 alone, 432 Mine-resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles (MRAPs), 435 other armored vehicles, 533 planes and helicopters, and 92,763 machine guns. The Times article also lists grenade launchers, silencers, and other items among the transferred military items.

As Grayson explained in the debate, his amendment would have limited effect. The amendment would not reverse any of the transfers that have already taken place, and it would allow transfers of guns and ammunition to continue unimpeded. What the amendment would do according to its language is stop the transfer under a Department of Defense program of the following items: “aircraft (including unmanned aerial vehicles), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents (including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment), launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines or nuclear weapons.”

While the Times article does not list nuclear weapons among military items transferred to local police, Grayson including them to the list makes the point that, as the law stands, there is virtually no limit on what weapons and equipment may be transferred.

In opposition to Grayson in the debate two representatives figuratively put their hands over their respective eyes and ears and said they saw and heard no evil in the actions of local police. They presented this argument despite the decades long rise of SWAT culminating in what Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead terms an escalating “epidemic of police violence.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

 

Ron Paul Appears in Movies Based on Novels Atlas Shrugged and Alongside Night

Is former Member of the United States House of Representatives and current RPI Chairman Ron Paul “going Hollywood?” Not quite, he is still living in Texas and focused on protecting freedom. But, according to media reports, Paul has small roles in new movies based on Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and J. Neil Schulman’s Alongside Night. Both novels deal with oppressive governments and people acting to protect their freedom.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: No New US War in Iraq

Speaking Thursday on Fox News, RPI Advisory Board Member Andrew Napolitano explains that the United States government engaging in another war in Iraq would be contrary to US national interests as was the US invading and making war on Iraq in 2003. That prior Iraq war, Napolitano notes, destabilized Iraq and cost America much in lost lives and money. Napolitano adds that “the American public will not tolerate another war.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Is Ron Paul the San Antonio Spurs of American Politics?

Many basketball fans are marveling at the San Antonio Spurs winning on Sunday night the team’s fifth nonconsecutive National Basketball Association championship. Cato Institute Executive Vice President David Boaz suggests at his institute’s website that people should also marvel at RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul’s similar, and unmatched, United States House of Representatives­­ electoral accomplishments. Boaz explains:

[Ron Paul] first won in a special election for an open seat. He then lost his seat and won it back two years later, defeating the incumbent. After two more terms he left his seat to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate (and thereby did his greatest disservice to the American Republic, as his seat was won by Tom DeLay). Twelve years later, in 1996, after some redistricting, he ran again for Congress, again defeating an incumbent, this time in the Republican primary. Some political scientist should study the political skills it takes to win election to Congress without the benefit of incumbency — three times.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Ron Paul: Help Neither the Iraq Government Nor the Insurgents

RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, in a US News and World Reports article Friday, succinctly addresses what the United States government should do in response to insurgents gaining greater control over parts of Iraq in the last few days. Contrary to the popular Washington, DC interventionist mindset that says the US government should aid one side or the other (or even both sides) in every conflict around the world, Paul says the US should just stay out of it.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Rep. John Duncan: ‘Stop Trying to Take Care of the Whole World and Start Taking Care of Our Own Country’

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN) brought one minute of hard-hitting reality to the United States House of Representatives on May 30, remarking that the United States government, with its over $17 trillion debt, is only escaping — for now — Detroit-style bankruptcy by printing money. The representative explains that, unless the US government becomes more fiscally responsible, the US will fail to satisfy fully obligations such as military pension and social security payments. Duncan, an RPI Advisory Board member concludes his speech by suggesting the US government “stop trying to take care of the whole world and start taking care of our own country and putting the American people first once again.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.