Peace and Prosperity
Removing Marijuana Restrictions for Baseball Players
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 22:59:14 GMT

Some American professional sports organizations, such as the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB), have served as auxiliary enforcers of the United States government’s marijuana prohibition, testing players for marijuana use and imposing penalties on them if it is determined they have used marijuana. On Thursday, MLB, along with the Major League Baseball Players Association, announced a reversal of that policy for baseball players, starting with the 2020 spring training.

Here is how the announcement describes the new policy regarding marijuana:

• Natural Cannabinoids (e.g., THC, CBD, and Marijuana) will be removed from the Program's list of Drugs of Abuse. Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties' Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides for mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player's Club or the Commissioner's Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids.

• Educational Programs on the dangers of opioid pain medications and practical approaches to marijuana will be mandatory for all Players and Club Personnel during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. These educational programs will focus on evidence-based and health-first approaches based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety.

MLB is not, however, giving up on the drug war altogether. At the same time it is removing the marijuana restrictions, MLB is expanding testing for opioids, fentanyl, cocaine, and synthetic THC.

Mick Akers delves into the MLB changes, and discusses the differences in treatment of major and minor league baseball players regarding drugs, in a Las Vegas Review Journal article you can read here.

More professional sports organizations will surely follow in eliminating marijuana use prohibitions.
Edward Snowden Speaks Out for Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 22:47:58 GMT
Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has been silenced. Assange was prevented from communicating with the outside world in his final 13 months at the Ecuador embassy in London, where he had obtained sanctuary from extradition to the United States. The silencing has continued in a British prison where Assange has been detained pending extradition to the US since British police forcibly removed him from the embassy in April.

Similarly, communication by Chelsea Manning has been much curtailed after Manning reveled United States military secrets. First, Manning served seven years in United States military prison after being convicted for the leak. Released from prison in 2017, Manning has been condemned to jail for most of the time since March of this year for refusing to testify for a grand jury involved in the US government’s effort to prosecute Assange.

Manning, a whistleblower, and Assange, a publisher who through WikiLeaks helped make public revelations of government activities provided by Manning and other whistleblowers, are prevented by the US and British governments, respectively, from speaking up on their own behalf. But that does not mean that other individuals cannot speak up for them. In fact, with Assange and Manning’s ability to communicate limited, it is more important than ever that advocates for their freedom speak up on their behalf.

Last week, Edward Snowden, a whistleblower who has since 2013 escaped similar silencing via retaining sanctuary in Russia, spoke up in strong advocacy for Assange and Manning’s freedom. He did so in an interview with Democracy Now host Amy Goodman.

Snowden points out in the interview that the US cases against Assange, Manning, and himself all derive from the Espionage Act, the same Espionage Act that he notes was used against Daniel Ellsberg in the 1970s after Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers to media. Pointing as an example to Ellsberg being prevented from even telling a jury at trial why he leaked the Pentagon Papers that revealed the hidden truth about US actions in the Vietnam War, Snowden emphasizes that the Espionage Act “is a special law that absolutely rules out any kind of fair trial.”

Continuing, Snowden discusses in the interview Manning’s revelations of “torture and war crimes, indefinite detention on the part of the United States government in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba” and Snowden’s own “involvement in the revelation of global mass surveillance” as being part of activities by a “new generation” of whistleblowers.

Like Ellsberg, Snowden relates that he and Manning were confronted with the Espionage Act “that forbids the jury to consider” if the leaking activity at issue “was something that did more good for the public to know than it did harm to the government in terms of inconvenience or theoretical risks of investigative journalism in a free society.”

And Snowden makes sure to emphasizes that the victims of this type of persecution over the last few years extend beyond Manning and himself. Indeed, the charging of Julian Assange under the Espionage Act Snowden sees as particularly threatening. States Snowden:
We moved from an individual and exceptional case that was not repeated for decades and decades in the Ellsberg instance to something that under the Obama administration he charged more sources of journalism using this special law than all other presidents in the history of the United States combined. And now, under the Trump administration, we have taken one more step. We have gone from the United States government’s war on whistleblowers to, now, a war on journalism with the indictment of Julian Assange for what even the government itself admits was work related to journalism. And this I think is a dangerous, dangerous thing — not just for us, not just for Julian Assange, but for the world and the future.
Watch Snowden’s complete interview here:

Leaving Half The Country Behind: Poll Shows Majority Now Opposes Impeachment
Thu, 12 Dec 2019 17:58:39 GMT

During the testimony last week, I expressed various concerns with the artificially short period allowed for the impeachment investigation due to the Democratic pledge to impeach President Donald Trump by Christmas. Not only will that abbreviated period leave a thin and incomplete record, but it will leave “half of this country behind.” That appears to be exactly the right estimate. A new Monmouth poll shows that 50 percent of the country now opposes impeachment. The polling in some swing states is even worse. In other words, this impeachment is playing to the Democratic base and little beyond it — precisely what Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged that she would not allow to happen.

Not long ago, Speaker Pelosi declared to The Washington Post Magazine that “I’m not for impeachment. Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country. And he’s just not worth it.” 

Similarly, back during the Clinton impeachment, Chairman Jerry Nadler insisted “You have to be able to think, at the beginning of the impeachment process, that the evidence is so clear, of offenses so grave, that once you’ve laid out all the evidence, a good fraction of the opposition, the voters, will reluctantly admit to themselves, ‘They have to do it.’ Otherwise you have a partisan impeachment, which will tear the country apart.”

The new polls show precisely that type of hard and unresolved divide. While six out of 10 say that Trump has not cooperated with the investigation, half opposed impeachment. Support for impeachment now stands at just 38 percent. Some 44% say they do not trust the inquiry at all. That is the stuff that tears a nation apart.

Once again, none of this means that the allegations should not be investigated or that impeachment is improper. Rather, there is a good reason to distrust a record that was thrown together on a rocket docket of impeachment. The schedule adopted by the Democrats appears driven primarily by the Iowa caucuses and not an objective part of the impeachment process. It may turn out that this makes for not only for a bad record but bad politics.

Reprinted with permission from
Mehdi Hasan Has Some Advice for Mark Zuckerberg: Suppress Speech More at Facebook
Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:25:05 GMT

You may be concerned about Facebook and other companies restricting what may be communicated and who may communicate on the companies’ social media platforms, as well as those companies limiting the ability of people to easily see the posts of people and organizations they follow. The Intercept writer Mehdi Hasan is concerned about something else. He thinks Facebook is doing too little to suppress speech, especially speech critical of Islam and Muslim people.

In a Saturday The Intercept editorial, written as if it is a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, Hasan urges Zuckerberg to implement further speech suppression at Facebook. This is needed, Hasan argues to silence hateful or misleading speech regarding Islam or Muslim people, both by Americans and by people overseas. To be clear, this is speech by people who have created accounts at Facebook, not speech by Facebook itself.

Of course, once you accept that one religion or group of people is worthy of such special protection from speech, the natural course is to continue adding to the list. Ultimately, little room may be left for communicating about many important matters.

And don’t be surprised if additional speech suppression by social media companies works in the favor of elites in governments and big businesses. Indeed, Facebook has already outsourced some of its speech suppression activities to the governments- and big businesses-funded Atlantic Council.

I wrote in November of 2018 about some of the speech suppression activities of Facebook and other social media companies, including how such activities have affected the Ron Paul Institute in particular. You can read that article here.
How About Cutting Darius Khalil Gordon Some Slack?
Sat, 07 Dec 2019 15:13:27 GMT

A Thursday Free Beacon article by Joe Schoffstall purports to expose Darius Khalil Gordon, a newly hired Bernie Sanders presidential campaign employee, as having “a history of racial slurs and denigrating remarks directed at gays, Jews, and women.” Some Twitter posts attributed to Gordon are presented in the article as evidence for this conclusion.

All the Gordon tweets but one included in the article are from a period in 2010 through 2012. Do they represent Gordon’s current thinking? It has been seven to nine years since he posted those tweets. It is even worth considering to what extent these years-old tweets ever really represented Gordon’s views.

There is no mention in the Free Beacon article of how old Gordon was when he posted the tweets or what his circumstances were at the time. Gordon’s LinkedIn page fills in some of that information. It indicates that Gordon posted the old tweets around the time he was a salesman at shoe sores, his first listed jobs after spending 2007 through 2010 in college right after finishing high school. It was not until later — in 2013 — that Gordon had his first listed post-college politics-related job.

People working in politics-related jobs tend to know — especially in the last few years — their every written word may be criticized and tend to choose their words more carefully or are prepared to face the challenges that can come in response to loose talk. But, a twenty-something shoe salesman? That’s different — loose talk, exaggeration, and jokes in “bad taste” should not be surprising. Twitter for such a person will likely be more a place to blow off some steam and have some fun than a venue for expounding “profound truths.”

The Free Beacon article does include one more-recent tweet. The article relates that in that Twitter post Gordon retweeted an October of 2018 The Hill article, along with an image of a Palestine flag and the following comment:
This is my homie Lara, who just graduated from University of Florida. Please help her from being detained in Israel, for leading Palestinian-led boycotts #FreeLara #FreePalestine
Of course, there are neither “racial slurs” nor anything denigrating anyone in that post.

UPDATE: CNN reported Friday afternoon that Gordon is no longer employed by the Sanders campaign.
Trump Administration Proposes Face Scans for US Citizens
Wed, 04 Dec 2019 19:39:06 GMT

The Trump administration intends to propose a regulation next year that would require all travelers - including U.S. citizens - to be photographed when entering or leaving the United States, according to the administration's regulatory agenda, reports Reuters.

I wonder what Libertarians for Trump think about this.

The tracking of US citizens by the government is one of the most dangerous things a government can do. As Edward Snowden would say, it sets up a turnkey system for totalitarianism.

And don't think such a plan would stop with international travelers.

The American Civil Liberties Union is good on this one.

 Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, blasted the idea in a written statement.

"Travelers, including U.S. citizens, should not have to submit to invasive biometric scans simply as a condition of exercising their constitutional right to travel," he said.

Reprinted with permission from TargetLiberty.
Fuddy-Duddies Strike Again, Maryland College Cancels The Foreigner Performance
Wed, 04 Dec 2019 04:07:22 GMT

In a March episode of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about some fuddy-duddies’ complaints about actors wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes in a South Dakota high school performance of The Foreigner. The complaints led to an apology from the school’s school district for the play having been performed.

Those complaints, if dealt with using logic and a rudimentary understanding of theater, should have gone nowhere. I explained in March:
The fuss is just about the costumes worn by some actors, ignoring the context of such in the play

Get over it people. The play is The Foreigner. It is a comedy. I enjoyed seeing the play performed in Texas a few years after its 1980s off-Broadway run in New York City. Here’s a spoiler: The characters in KKK costumes are not presented as heroic.
This month, fuddy-duddies struck again. They managed to prevent students at Washington College in Maryland from presenting on campus their long-planned performance of The Foreigner. As Cassy Sottile reports at the college’s The Elm, the decision to cancel the performance of the play was made approximately one hour before the play’s final dress rehearsal. Here is how Sottile relates one student government member justified the cancellation of the play’s performance:
According to SGA Secretary of Diversity junior Felicia Attor, the play affected everyone on campus. 

“Understandably, this play is a comedy and more than 23 months of work went into it, which can never be disputed. However, putting the KKK on stage in a satirical way is not appropriate because nothing about the historical and present day ramifications of the KKK is funny,” Attor said.

Confederate flags are seen in Kent County frequently, according to Attor.

Students on campus still face overt and subtle forms of racism from people in the community and on campus.

“This is about acknowledging the need for all, not some, students to feel safe on this campus,” Attor said.  
Fuddy-duddy indeed.

I prefer the take of Robby Soave at Reason. Soave writes the following regarding the Washington College play performance cancellation:
This is a private college—indeed, it is one of the oldest liberal arts institutions in the country—and so the administration is within its rights to treat students like children who cannot possibly handle challenging material. But this is a sad indictment of the priorities of the modern college campus, where too many students have to submit to the preposterous idea that everyone must feel perfectly safe and shielded from emotional discomfort at all times.
Oregon Supreme Court Limits Police Actions at Traffic Stops
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 15:19:46 GMT
When police stop vehicles for purported driving rules infractions, police will often take advantage of the situation to inquire about other matters in a “fishing expedition” to establish suspicion of unrelated lawbreaking. They also may ask drivers for permission to search the stopped vehicles. This can end up badly for drivers and other vehicle occupants, especially those who do not adhere to the basic self-protections rules of saying as little as possible to cops and refusing permission for searches.

Some good news came this month for drivers and passengers in Oregon. In its decision for the case Oregon v. Arreola-Botello, the Oregon Supreme Court placed restraints on cops taking such actions during traffic stops, stating that “an officer is limited to investigatory inquiries that are reasonably related to the purpose of the traffic stop or that have an independent constitutional justification." On Monday at Reason, Jacob Sullum provided some details regarding the case and discussed implications of the court’s decision. Read his article here.

Before you encounter a nosey cop on the road or elsewhere, it may be helpful to explore the value of not talking to police and not giving them permission to search your vehicle or other property. This lecture by Regent University School of Law Professor James Duane Is a good place to start that exploration:

State DMVs Making Millions Off Selling Personal Information Drivers are Required to Provide
Wed, 27 Nov 2019 20:24:40 GMT

State Departments of Motor Vehicles are notorious for slow or bad service. They are also becoming more well known for aiding in the invasion of individuals’ privacy.

At the same time the United States and state governments have been dumping driver license photos into databases for use by police and in mass surveillance, Joseph Cox reports in a Monday Vice article that state governments have been operating side-businesses selling to companies material including names, addresses, and car registration information that drivers are required to provide. The California DMV alone, reports Cox, is bringing in over 50 million dollars in revenue each year from such sales.

Read Cox’s article here.
Trump Gets Set to Go Nuclear
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 20:59:04 GMT

This is the latest Drudge headline:
Of course, he wants a trial in the Senate if the Democrats actually go through with a House impeachment!!

As I have explained (SEE: Does Speaker Pelosi Have Any Idea as to What the Hell She is Doing?), Nancy Pelosi is a very weak Speaker to allow such a weak impeachment inquiry to proceed and Shifty Schiff is just dumb.

A trial in the Republican-controlled Senate would be the real show and it would dig up all the real dirt that Shifty Schiff blocked in the House inquiry.

If you want to see high ratings, watch when the televised broadcast of Republican senators asking Hunter Biden what he did, to get $50,000 per month from a Ukrainian energy company, hits the airwaves.

And that is just for starters.

Pelsoi is boxed in. She either stops the impeachment inquiry right now and ends up with egg on her face or she allows an impeachment vote to go through. If it passes, it is the same thing as handing Capitol Hill nuclear activation codes to nukes aimed at the Democratic House caucus room to Trump.

Reprinted with permission from Target Liberty.
The Dubious Criminal Conduct Claims Used to Support Impeaching President Trump
Fri, 22 Nov 2019 15:10:51 GMT

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley is not impressed with the impeachment case being made against President Donald Trump. In a Wednesday editorial at The Hill, Turley contends that United States House of Representatives members arguing that Trump should be impeached for committing crimes of bribery, extortion, and obstruction are setting up for “the narrowest impeachment in history with the most dubious claims of criminal conduct.”

Read Turley’s editorial here.

Turley has some experience with impeachments. As noted in his editorial byline, Turley was the lead counsel, representing Judge G. Thomas Porteous, in the most recent US Senate impeachment trial and testified in the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton as a constitutional expert.
Israel Acts With Impunity Since US ‘Has Its Back’ – Daniel McAdams
Wed, 20 Nov 2019 20:49:03 GMT
This morning Israeli jets fired missiles into several locations around Damascus, claiming they were attacking Iranian targets. RPI Director Daniel McAdams joins RT America's In Question program to discuss the validity of Israel's claims and also the US policy shift on Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory:

Tulsi Gabbard, What Does Being a ‘Woman of Color’ Have To Do With It?
Thu, 14 Nov 2019 21:44:53 GMT

Last week I wrote about an apparent contradiction between Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) talking up her 16-plus years in the United States Army and her criticizing certain US military interventions overseas in a recent interview at the ABC show The View. Since her criticism of such interventions is at the heart of her presidential campaign, I suggested that it would be helpful for Gabbard to offer an explanation to dispel the apparent contradiction.

Also in her The View interview, Gabbard brought up being a “woman of color” in challenging people saying she is an unwitting asset of the Russian government, as she put it, “working against the interests of our people and our country, the country that I am willing to lay my life down for.” Said Gabbard:
So, if you’re saying it’s not deliberately, then you are implying that I am too stupid and too naïve and lack the intelligence to know what I am doing. That is extremely offensive to me and to every woman of color.
Come again?

The unwitting Russian asset pejorative has been deployed against plenty of not of color men too. President Donald Trump and libertarian communicator Ron Paul are two prominent examples of individuals who have been called Russian assets, both witting and unwitting. Critics have slung the unwitting Russian asset label at people — be they men, women, people of various races, etc. — who they see as not sufficiently accepting anti-Russia claims of one sort or another or as opposed to US government actions sold as means to challenge purported threats from Russia. And, of course, some women of color have made this sort of accusation.

Nonetheless, Gabbard claims that calling her an unwitting Russian asset is “extremely offensive” to her and every other woman of color. Why? What does she think being a woman of color has to do with it? Her claim sounds like rubbish.
Court Rules for Some Privacy Protection for Electronic Information of Travelers Entering and Leaving the US
Wed, 13 Nov 2019 00:14:42 GMT

Over the last few years, Americans entering and leaving the United States encountered US government officials increasingly accessing private information on the travelers’ electronic devices on demand. The situation is an affront to the constitutional restraint on searches contained in the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.

In September of 2017, I discussed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) having that month filed a lawsuit Alasaad v. McAleenan in a US district court challenging, on behalf of ten US citizens and a US green card holder, this practice by US government agents.

Here is an update: In a Tuesday summary judgement ruling in the case, the court in Massachusetts determined that “reasonable suspicion” is required for such searches but rejected the ACLU and EFF argument that “the higher warrant protection supported by probable cause” found in the Fourth Amendment must be applied.

You can read the ACLU announcement regarding the court decision and the decision itself here.
2008 Green Party Presidential Nominee Endorses 2020 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate
Thu, 07 Nov 2019 20:00:05 GMT

After completing six terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from Georgia, Cynthia McKinney was the 2008 Green Party nominee for president of the United States. In a Friday letter, McKinney announced her endorsement of Adam Kokesh for the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential nomination.

McKinney concludes her letter with a call to action for people who do not consider themselves Libertarian Party supporters. McKinney writes: “Therefore, I endorse Adam’s quest to become the 2020 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee and encourage supporters of other parties to take a good look at Adam Kokesh for President!!”

Read McKinney’s endorsement letter here.
The Apparent Contradiction at the Heart of Tulsi Gabbard’s Presidential Campaign
Thu, 07 Nov 2019 14:38:27 GMT

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has presented her opposition to certain United States military interventions overseas as a major issue, and arguably as the primary issue, in her presidential campaign. Yet, there is an apparent contradiction between the way she disparages certain US military interventions overseas and the way she talks up her own past and current employment in the US military.

This apparent contradiction was on display during a Wednesday interview of Gabbard at the ABC show The View.

Gabbard, referring to the show’s hosts, said, “some of you have accused me of being a traitor to my county, a Russian asset, a Trojan horse, or a useful idiot I think was the term you used.” Defending herself from those accusations, Gabbard states:
I want to let your viewers know exactly who I am — set the record straight. I am a patriot. I love our country. I am a strong and intelligent woman of color. And I have dedicated almost my entire adult life to protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country.
Gabbard proceeds to make clear that she includes 16 years and counting in the US Army as part of her time dedicated to “protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country.” Responding to criticism of her by Hillary Clinton that was along the same lines as the criticism from hosts of the show, Gabbard declares:
Unfortunately, you doubled down on the baseless accusation that [Clinton] made that strikes at the core of who I am. I’m a soldier.
Gabbard also presents in the interview this criticism of Clinton, who has been US first lady, senator, and secretary of state:
It is indisputable to say anything other than the fact — let me just close this out — that Hillary Clinton, throughout her career, has levered the foreign policy of interventionism and being the world’s police, going and toppling dictators in other countries, that has caused such destruction and loss of life.
See the apparent contradiction here? Gabbard claims Gabbard is good because she has been in the US military and that Clinton is bad because Clinton has helped direct the military to do bad things. Indeed, Gabbard goes on to criticizes Clinton championing the Iraq War in which Gabbard was deployed. “I believed the lies that were told to us” to promote that war, says Gabbard.

Now that Gabbard recognizes those lies and opposes that war, how does she square her work in the US military in that war with her suggestion that she spent that time “protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country?” Maybe she can. It would be interesting to hear her explanation.

How about the rest of Gabbard’s work in the US military? How has it advanced “protecting the safety, security, and the freedom of all Americans in this country?” An explanation would be helpful.
Trump’s Syrian Oil Grab Risks WW3 – Daniel McAdams
Thu, 07 Nov 2019 05:35:23 GMT
Do we have a right to "guard" Syria's oil and "give" it to the Kurd minority in eastern Syria? RPI's Daniel McAdams faces opposition from RT America's host Steve Malzberg on the idea that the US stealing oil from sovereign Syria is a bad idea and in no way in the US national interest:

Democrats' 'Star Witness' Admits He Wasn't On Trump-Ukraine Call, Sole Source Was NY Times
Wed, 06 Nov 2019 23:08:48 GMT

House Democrats have released the latest in the series of heavily-redacted transcripts of the secret hearings they had undertaken in recent weeks - that of Bill Taylor - the top US diplomat in Ukraine - ahead of his public testimony next week.

As The Hill notes, Taylor is viewed as a key witness who previously testified in meticulous detail about what he considered an effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

In leaked copies of his 15-page opening statement, Taylor voiced concerns that the Trump administration had withheld nearly $400 million in aid as leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into interference in the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his leading 2020 political rivals.

Key excerpts include:

Taylor admits Ukraine's criminal justice system is "flawed"...

Isn't that a good reason to hold up aid to ensure that it is not corruptly flowing to the wrong entities?

Taylor also testified that his knowledge of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymr Zelensky wasn’t first-hand knowledge.
'And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand,' Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., said to Taylor. 'But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?'

'That’s correct,' Taylor admitted.

'So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?' Zeldin asked.

'I have not talked to the president,' Taylor said. 'I have no other information from what the president was thinking.'
Additionally, as The Federalist notes, under questioning from Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, Taylor also testified that the Ukrainian government wasn’t aware US military funding had been temporarily suspended until late August, and then only after the information was leaked to the news media, meaning an alleged quid pro quo would have been impossible.
'So, if nobody in the Ukrainian government is aware of a military hold at the time of the Trump-Zelensky call, then, as a matter of law and as a matter of fact, there can be no quid pro quo, based on military aid,' Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor, said.

'I just want to be real clear that, again, as of July 25th, you have no knowledge of a quid pro quo involving military aid.'

'July 25th is a week after the hold was put on the security assistance,' Taylor testified. 'And July 25th, they had a conversation between the two presidents, where it was not discussed.'

'And to your knowledge, nobody in the Ukrainian government was aware of the hold?' Ratcliffe asked.

'That is correct,' Taylor responded.
The Democrats may need a better witness.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.
President Trump: Send the US Military to Fight Drug Cartels in Mexico
Tue, 05 Nov 2019 20:58:33 GMT

Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump, who has the unilateral power to send the United States military to bomb and invade other countries, as several of his predecessors have done, stated at Twitter that he is ready to send the US military to Mexico to defeat drug cartels.

Trump wrote:
This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!

Making clear he is talking about a US military action, Trump declared in another Tuesday morning tweet that “the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”.

The truth, however, is that the drug war waged by the Mexico government, with the help of the US government, ensures the continued existence of powerful and dangerous drug cartels in Mexico. Similarly, when the US had alcohol prohibition, there were dangerous criminal enterprises that thrived from satisfying people’s demand for prohibited products.

Eliminating drug cartels can best be accomplished by ending, not growing, the drug war. Indeed, this is the course of action the Mexico government seems poised to pursue. Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who Trump referenced at Twitter, released this year a plan for Mexico to end its drug war. And the Mexico legislature appears to be preparing to take a major step toward ending the drug war — approving legislation to legalize marijuana countrywide.

I am guessing Obrador will not make the phone call Trump suggests. Obrador has available another, better avenue for dealing with drug cartels.

Jacob Hornberger Announces Run for Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination
Sun, 03 Nov 2019 01:43:20 GMT
In April, I wrote that it looked like Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger may run for president of the United States. As I noted then, many people familiar with the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI) have read some of Hornberger’s articles at the RPI website or watched one of his speeches at an RPI event. Here is an update: On Saturday, Hornberger announced he is seeking the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination.

You can watch Hornberger’s presidential campaign announcement video here: