RFK Jr. Takes Strong Antiwar, Anti-Empire Stance in Presidential Run

April 30th, 2023 - by John V. Walsh / Antiwar.com & Dissident News

A Candidacy Not to Be Ignored
When It Comes to Peace

John V. Walsh / Antiwar.com & Dissident News

(April 25, 2023) — Robert Francis Kennedy, Jr., near the very beginning of his April 19 announcement to run for President in the Democratic Party spoke these words:
“Fifty-five years ago last month, I sat as a 14-year-old boy behind my father as he now announced in a Senate caucus room in Washington, DC, his campaign for President of the United States. And my father at time was in the same, in many ways, the same position that I’m in today. He was running against a President of his own party. He was running against a war. He was running against — he was running at a time of unprecedented polarization in our country.”

In this way, the son tells us right away that he is “running against a war,” Joe Biden’s cruel US proxy war against Russia using Ukrainians as cannon fodder.

He reminded us that his father was given very little chance of winning and felt he would likely lose. But on the day of his assassination, RFK had won the California primary, an urban state, and South Dakota, a rural state.

The son is telling us that his is a candidacy not to be written off lightly. RFKJr was polling at 14% among Biden voters even before he announced. And nearly 44% of Democrats want anybody but Biden, with only 25% wishing him to run in 2024.

A video of the entire two-hour-long speech, impressive in many ways, is to be found here and a transcript here. [Note: The speech is inaudible until the microphone is adjusted around minute 4 — EAW] Kennedy did not read from a prepared text although the speech appeared to be carefully outlined. It had a refreshing air of informality. And it deserves a careful listen.

Many of the points in the speech are summed up in the section on “Peace” in RFKJr’s campaign website, Kennedy2024.com, as follows:
Annual defense-related spending is close to one trillion dollars. We maintain 800 military bases around the world. The peace dividend that was supposed to come after the Berlin Wall fell was never redeemed. Now we have another chance.

“As President, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will start the process of unwinding empire. We will bring the troops home. We will stop racking up unpayable debt to fight one war after another. The military will return to its proper role of defending our country.

” We will end the proxy wars, bombing campaigns, covert operations, coups, paramilitaries, and everything else that has become so normal most people don’t know it’s happening. But it is happening, a constant drain on our strength. It’s time to come home and restore this country.

When a warlike imperial nation disarms of its own accord, it sets a template for peace everywhere. It is not too late for us to voluntarily let go of empire and serve peace instead, as a strong and healthy nation.”

And on Ukraine:
“In Ukraine, the most important priority is to end the suffering of the Ukrainian people, victims of a brutal Russian invasion, and also victims of American geopolitical machinations going back at least to 2014. We must first get clear: Is our mission to help the brave Ukrainians defend their sovereignty? Or is it to use Ukraine as a pawn to weaken Russia?

“Robert F. Kennedy will choose the first. He will find a diplomatic solution that brings peace to Ukraine and brings our resources back where they belong. We will offer to withdraw our troops and nuclear-capable missiles from Russia’s borders. Russia will withdraw its troops from Ukraine and guarantee its freedom and independence.

“UN peacekeepers will guarantee peace to the Russian-speaking eastern regions. We will put an end to this war. We will put an end to the suffering of the Ukranian people. That will be the start of a broader program of demilitarization of all countries.

“We have to stop seeing the world in terms of enemies and adversaries. As John Quincy Adams wrote, ‘Americans go not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.’

Those are strong words and realistic categories like “empire,” “proxy wars,” “coups,” “geopolitical machinations going back to 2014,” all ugly imperial facts alluded to euphemistically or not at all in the mainstream media.

This is a candidacy that cannot be ignored or reduced solely to the pros and cons of mRNA vaccines or Kennedy family squabbles over the candidacy as the mainstream media has done. For example, in its brief back-page coverage, the New York Times, the foremost mouthpiece of the imperial Establishment, there is nary a mention of war with another nuclear power now hanging over our heads!

This is not to say that we should accept all of RFKJr’s words at face value. But given the present enthusiasm for war in every corner of the Democratic Party’s political establishment and among much of its base, it is difficult to see RFKJr’s candidacy as opportunistic. His candidacy deserves to be treated skeptically like all candidacies but not cynically. The speech should be listened to carefully in that spirit.

John V. Walsh, until recently a Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at a Medical School in Massachusetts, has written on issues of peace and health care for the San Francisco Chronicle, EastBayTimes/San Jose Mercury News, Asia Times, LA Progressive, Antiwar.com, Consortium News, CounterPunch and others.

Full Transcript:
RFK Jr. Presidential Announcement Speech
Dissident News & YourNews.com

(April 21, 2023) — Dissident News has received the exclusive full transcript for the entirety of the RFK announcement speech. Given what many are seeing as the historic nature of this speech out of left field from the blue dog democrat, this is not something you are going to want to skip over:

Thank you, Jamel. All the people who worked so hard to make this a really great event. I wanted to do this event in Boston because this is a town that I have strong roots in. I graduated high school here. I went to college here. But more importantly, all of my Kennedy grandparents, Kennedy and all the Kennedy grandparents landed here in 1848 fleeing British oppression and the potato famine back at home. And they arrived here from a nation where for 800 [years] there was legalized oppression against Irish Catholics.

They were not able to vote or exercise their franchise. It was illegal for a Catholic to hold political office. To enter a profession. A doctor or an attorney. It was one of my ancestors had a priest that was hanged for teaching my ancestors how to read the Bible (which was illegal) to teach a Catholic at that point. And they landed here, and they took to politics like a starving man to food. And my great-great-grandfather Honey Fitz was the first ghetto Irish mayor of Boston.

His daughter, Rose Kennedy, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy was my grandmother, and she loved this country because she understood that this country for the first time had given her people the capacity and the opportunity to participate in their own political destiny. And she loved everyone.

She made her children take the freedom walk here in Boston. She took them to Walden Pond on weekends. She took them to Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill and the other major battles of the Revolution. She wanted to know their history and to love their country. She made all of us, all 29 of her grandchildren memorize Longfellow’s poem. So listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere on the 18th of April in ‘75. Hardly a man is now alive who remembers that fateful day and year.

Paul Revere took off 242 years ago last night. From the Old North Church in the North End where she was born, my grandmother was born. And he rode out to Concord, to alert the countryside and particularly, the Minutemen, that a British group of 800 men was coming to confiscate their arsenal or their powder dump.

And those men met the British Army, the largest and most powerful empire in history on the Old North Bridge, 242 years ago today. And they drove them back and they chased them in retreat through Concord, through Lexington, through Lincoln, Arlington and into Cambridge, inflicting terrible casualties. And that was the beginning of the American Revolution.

But really, the revolution had started two years before, and it started when the British had passed an oppressive law raising the taxes on tea in New England. And they raised this was a law that the British crown made in collusion with the British East India Company, which the King owned shares in, his ministers owned shares in, and most of the aristocracy owned shares in. It was their plan to impose the tax on New England merchants, but exempt the British East India Company from the tax so that they could undersell everybody and that they would make a profit for their shareholders.

So the revolution and, of course, the Americans responded by dressing as Wampanoag Indians and boarding the British East India compan’s ships and dumping that tea into the harbor and that’s when the British sent that troop over here to quell the rebellion.

So that rebellion was in part against Empire. But the spear tip of that rebellion was that fury that the colonists had against the merger, that corrupt merger of state and corporate power. I’ve come here today to announce my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

My mission over the next 18 months of this campaign and over my — throughout my presidency will be to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power. That is threatening now — that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism on our country, to commoditize our children, our purple mountains majesty, to poison our children and our people with chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs, to strip mine our assets, to hollow out the middle class and keep us in a constant state of war.

Announcement and Family Mentions
So, I want to start by first of all, I can’t understand that sign language. I want to start by thanking my wife, Cheryl Hines. I would not be here without Cheryl, and I cannot describe in words what she has brought to my life. But she is the wisest person I know. She’s also one of the funniest people I know. And I say when the American people get to know her, that they are going to be more excited about having a really funny first lady in the White House.

I also want to thank all my family members who showed up today, my children Bobby, Kick, Amaryllis, Conor, Kyra, Finbar, Aidan. Did I leave any out? I told them to wear nametags, but I can’t see from here. And Kat. So that’s my grandchildren. Zoey and Cassius and Bobcat and my brother Douglas, my sister Courtney, my nephew Bo, and Billy Birdsall and Riley and George and Anthony Shriver. I am so grateful for you coming here. Aaron (inaudible. I said (inaudible). don’t. Okay. I’m very, very grateful to all of you for coming.

There are other members of my family who are not here today. I’m going to make a confession, because I know, most American families, they never have any differences with each other. And when one does it’s — So when that happens in a family, it’s really huge news like everywhere. And but, you know, I want to just say this. I’m very grateful that many of the families who disagree with what I’m doing today, many of the family members have taken the time to write me beautiful letters of love this week to send me emails, to make telephone calls to me.

I bear no ill will or any kind of disappointment to any of them. They have different views of the politics in this country. My whole family, including myself, have long personal relationships with President Biden. Many of my family members are working in the administration and many of them also just plain disagree with me on issues like censorship, on war, on public health. And they are entitled to their beliefs and I respect their opinions on them and I love them back. And I hope — And is it too much to hope that we could have the same thing for our country?

We have a polarization in this country today that is so toxic and so dangerous than at any time since the Civil War. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said a country or a nation — ”A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And when I talk to both Republican friends and Democratic friends, they talk about this division in almost apocalyptic terms. Nobody can see a safe way or a good way out of it. And people are preparing for a kind of a dystopian future.

And part of one of the principal missions of my campaign and of my presidency, is going to be to end that division. And I’m going to try to do that by encouraging people to talk about the values that we have in common rather than the issues that keep us apart. And also, also and this I think, is the most important thing I’m going to do that — by telling the truth to the American people.

History of Governmental Censorship,
Lies and How it Rots Society
And because that is the core. That is the core of this division, of course. When we fight each other. When blacks fight whites and Republicans fight Democrats, rural fights urban. The people, that merger of corporate power that sits at the top is loving the fighting between us and so that they can strip-mine our country. And that’s the thing that keeps us — The reason — Truth is, when I was a little boy, nobody in this country would dream that our government would ever lie to the American people.

In fact, and that’s not a joke. Nobody believed it back then. In May of 1960, that changed a little when Gary Powers crashes a U-2 in Russia and the Eisenhower administration denied that we had a U-2 program because they didn’t know it. They didn’t know at the time that the Russians had captured Gary Powers. And when the Russians produced him, it was a shock to the American people that their government had lied to them. And then in 1970, during the Vietnam War, of course, we all began to suspect we were being lied to in ’71 when the Pentagon Papers came out: We realized, “oh, this is what they do.”

My father, just before he died, very sadly, people in authority lie, and the government now lies to us. We all know it. We take it for granted. When my uncle left office in 19 — , when he died in 1963, about 80% of Americans said they trusted their government. Today, 22% trust in the government and 22% trust the press. The lowest level ever.

The media is at the lowest ever because we know the media lies to us now and everybody knows that. Problem is — and the problem is that when the sources of information that we’re always used to and that we need to rely on in democracy, and when they start lying to us, Americans look for other sources because they know they’re being lied to and they look for other sources of the truth. And when the media and, you know, the corporate captive media and corporate captive government sees other sources of truth, they have to brand those misinformation because they threaten their paradigm. They threaten that orthodoxy.

And of course, there is a lot of genuine misinformation. But as we know, a lot of the misinformation is just statements that depart from government orthodoxy. So, they have to either censor us or they have to lie about what’s true and what’s not true. And that amplifies the polarization. It amplifies the hatred, the fear, the insecurity, because, you know, you’re being lied to and you’re being silenced. Censorship doesn’t work from any point of view, though, and it’s very, very dangerous.

Kennedy Legacy United All Americans
Under the Banner of Truth
55 years ago last month, I sat as a 14-year-old boy behind my father as he now announced in a Senate caucus room in Washington, DC, his campaign for President of the United States. And my father at time was in the same, in many ways, the same position that I’m in today. He was running against a President of his own party. He was running against a war. He was running against — he was running at a time of unprecedented polarization in our country. And he had no chance of winning.

My father, when he declared, had not a single molecule in him that he believed that he could win the Democratic nomination. Why is that? He had run his brother’s campaign in 1960, 8 years before, but now all the unions were against him, with two exceptions, the United Autoworkers and Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers. The liberal press was 100% against from The New York Times to the Village Voice, the labor union, the big city mayors were against him, including Mayor Daley, who had played a critical role in President Kennedy’s nomination.

All of the people in the New Frontier who were his closest friends, were now working for the Johnson White House, so they were against him. The only people that he had with him — even the universities, were against him because they were with McCarthy, the group of Hollywood, like Joanne Woodward, Paul Newman, who had been very close to him, worked very hard for my uncle in ‘60, were now working for McCarthy, and my father and the universities.

My father used to say that McCarthy had all the A students, and he had all the B and C students. And so, the only people we had were poor white people in rural areas like Appalachia, poor blacks in the Delta and our cities in Watts and Harlem and East L.A. and Indians on the Indian reservations. And that was kind of it.

But hopelessness in his campaign, freedom to tell the truth to the American people. So, when he went to Indiana University and the medical students said to him, who’s going to pay for your healthcare program? He said, “You are.” And when he went to Creighton University, which was a Catholic university, in Omaha and asked him whether he would support their deferments, he said no.

Now deferments were the reason most of them were in college because that was the only way you could get out of Vietnam. And he said no, and they booed him. And he said, “Do you think it’s fair that 45% of paratroopers in Vietnam are black? Do you think it’s fair that we are sending black children to fight this war because they can’t get their kids into college.” He said, I can get my ten kids into college and get them out of the war if I want to. Do you think that that is consistent with your Catholic values at this university?

And when he ended, they gave him a standing ovation. When he went to Watts and he talked about the importance to the black community of abiding with the law, they applauded him. When he went to the University of Alabama, which he had forcibly integrated by federalizing the National United States troops five years before. He talked to them about the enduring importance of civil rights. They applauded him when he went to the University of Kansas and gave a speech to 20,000 people, kids in the auditorium, who were all corn-fed Midwestern, pro-military, pro-Vietnam.

And he talked to them for an hour about his evolution on the progression of the Vietnam War. And at the end of that, the applause was so thunderous that Jack Newfield, who was one of those reporters who were with him that time, said it felt like the roof was coming off of the auditorium. The students rushed the stage. They were throwing chairs. They just wanted to hear the truth. That’s it. And the day he died, he won the California primaries, the most urban state in this country. And the same day, the South Dakota primary, the most rural.

He had succeeded in uniting America and building a bridge just by telling people the truth. I was with my dad when he died in Los Angeles, and we brought him back to New York on Vice President Humphrey’s plane on US two, and we waked him at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. And then we brought him from Penn Station in New York to Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Normally, that’s a two-and-a-half-hour train ride, but it took us seven and a half hours because there were 2 million people on the tracks. And I will never forget as a 14-year-old boy, what I saw from the windows of the train that day and all of the urban train stations in Trenton and Newark and Philadelphia and Baltimore. They were crowded with black and white men singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

In the countryside there were white people in military uniforms, there were blacks, there were rabbis, and priests. I remember in Delaware there were seven nuns standing at the back of a yellow pickup truck just waving handkerchiefs at us. We saw — I remember passing a little league game where all of the kids on both sides, both teams, the coaches, all the spectators in the stand were standing with their hands in their hearts at salute.

We saw Boy Scout troop saluting military officers and personnel, hippies in tie-dyed t-shirts, people holding up babies, mothers holding up babies. Many of them had American flags and had the signs that said “Goodbye, Bobby” or “pray for us, Bobby.” And we got to Union Station in Washington, and President Johnson met us there and we drove my father’s body up past the mall in Washington.

And three months earlier, my father had communicated with Martin Luther King and they decided to partner with Marian Wright Edelman, who was one of my father’s aides who organized — they saw that the Vietnam War was destroying the war on poverty. It was sucking all the money. And Johnson essentially had to pull the plug on the war on poverty. And my father told Martin, the poor are never going to get rights in this country until they start politically participating. Let’s do a poor people’s campaign like we did two years before civil rights or five years before the civil rights campaign, bring them all to Washington.

So, all of these men, thousands of men, were encamped in plastic shanties on the mall. And we drove past — Martin had died, you know, a month or a month and a half earlier. Now, my father was dead, and we drove up past and they all came to the sidewalk, and they held their hats against their chests in a salute and bowed their heads as we took my father up the hill across the bridge to Arlington to bury him under a simple stone next to his brother.

And four years later, I was studying here at college American History. And I came across demographic data that showed that most of those white people that line up had trained track and had supported my father in the primary in 1968. Four years later, in 1972, they voted not for George McGovern, (who was very closely aligned with my dad) but instead for George Wallace who was an ardent segregationist, who was antithetical to everything my father believed in.

And it occurred to me, and it has struck me many times since that every nation, like every nation, like every individual has a darker side and a lighter side, and that the easiest thing for a politician to do is to is to appeal to our anger and our bigotry and hatred and artillery and all the lower angels, the darker angels of our character.

And that once in, while we get a political leader who tries to do successfully what my dad did, which is to talk to people in a way that gets them to transcend their narrow self-interest. Gets them to transcend their fear and their bigotry and their anger and see themselves as part of a community. Sees themselves as part of a noble experiment and helps them to find a hero we all have in each of us.

And my father tried to persuade people that we have to avoid the seduction of the notion that we can advance ourselves as a people by leaving our poor brothers and sisters behind, or that the only way we can get security is to get rid of our constitutional rights. And he tried to remind Americans that we each need to be a hero, and he succeeded in doing that. And his trail, unfortunately, was cut short.

RFK Jr. gets arrested at Keystone Pipeline protest.

RFK Jr’s Career as an Environmentalist
I’m going to tell you a little bit about my career, what brought me here. I started out, as Dennis mentioned, I spent 35 years as an environmental advocate. At the beginning of my environmental career, in 1983, the beginning of 1984, a man who was a mentor of mine offered me a job doing high level environmental policy in Washington or New York or another job that was kind of doing large purchases and purchases of conservation land. And I didn’t want to do that kind of environmentalism.

I wanted to be in the trenches working with people and engaged in hand-to-hand combat against the big polluters. And I wanted to particularly work with people who were most harmed by environmental injury, but also were alienated or marginalized from the mainstream environmental community.

My first case as an environmental lawyer was representing the NAACP in a lawsuit against the state of New York for trying to put a waste transfer station in the oldest black neighborhood in the Hudson Valley. And I found out during that lawsuit that four out of every five toxic waste dumps in our country is in a black neighborhood. The largest toxic waste dump in this country is in Emelle, Alabama, which is 85% black. The highest concentration of toxic waste dumps in this country is the Southside of Chicago.

The most contaminated zip code in California is East L.A. And black youth — probably the largest at that time problem with black youth — was that 48% of them had dangerous levels of lead in their blood. And that led to dramatically reduced IQ and also caused severe behavioral problems. And I recognize, you know, I spent a lot of my time over the next 30 years fighting on those kind of issues.

I spent summer vacation in jail in a maximum-security prison in Puerto Rico in 2001 because I had successfully sued the Navy to stop bombing probably the poorest community in our country, the people, the black and brown, people who live on the island of the (inaudible), who are American citizens, but they are not treated that way.

The other group that I spent the rest of my time with and the majority of my time with, I wanted to work with rural Americans and working-class Americans, and particularly hunters and fishermen. So, hook and bullet people who cared deeply as much as any other American about the environment.

And yet they felt completely alienated from the mainstream environmental community. So, I spent my career working for a blue collar coalition of commercial and recreational fishermen who mobilized on the Hudson River in 1966 to reclaim the river from its polluters. We have a Hudson River, the oldest commercial fishery in North America. It’s 350 years old. Many of the people I represent are from families that have been fishing the river continuous since colonial times.

It’s traditional gear fishery. They use the same fishing methods that were taught by the Algonquin Indians. That the original Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam then passed down through the generations. One of the enclaves of commercial fishery on the Hudson is a little village called Crotonville, New York. It’s 30 miles north of New York City, on the east bank of the river. And the people who live there in 1966, were not your prototypical, you know, mainstream environmentalists.

They were absolutely not affluent. They were the opposite of that. They were carpenters, lathers, factory workers, electricians. Half the people in Croton made their living, or at least some part of it fishing or grabbing on the Hudson These were people that had little expectation that they’d ever see Yellowstone or Yosemite or the national parks. They didn’t have the money to take their families on those kind of vacations.

The environment was a backyard. It was bathing, beaches, swimming pools, fishing holes. The Hudson, that was their livelihood. It was a recreation. It was their food and Richie Garrett who was the first president of the Riverkeeper Fishermen’s Association, used to say about the Hudson, it’s our Monte-Carlo, Richie Garrett was a grave digger from Hudson, New York.

He used to tell his new followers, I’ll be the last to let you down. And in 1966, then-Central railroad began vomiting oil from a four and a half foot pipe in Crotonville rail yard and the oil went up the river on the tides and the blackened the beaches. And it made the shad taste like diesel so they couldn’t be sold in the Fulton Fish Market in New York City. All the people in Crotonville in the only public building in the town, which was the American Legion hall all. This is a very patriotic community.

Crotonville and the neighboring village had one of the highest enlistment and mortality rates during World War Two. And almost all of the original Riverkeeper board and officers and members were former Marines. They were combat veterans from World War Two and Korea. Richie Garrett was a former Marine. These weren’t radicals. They weren’t militant They were people whose patriotism was rooted in the bedrock of our country.

But they started talking about violence because they saw something that they thought they owned, which was the abundance of its fisheries and the purity and richness of the Hudson River’s its waters, and it was being robbed from them by a large corporate entity over which they had no control, and they’d been to the government agencies that are supposed to protect Americans from pollution, the Corps of Engineers, the Conservation, the Coast Guard, and they were given the bum’s rush.

Richie Garrett made more than a dozen separate visits to the Corps of Engineers office in Manhattan, begging the Corps colonel to do his job and shut down Penn Central pipe. And the girl finally told them in exasperation, these are important people. Speaking of the Penn Central board of directors, we can’t treat them that way. In other words, we can’t force them to comply with the law. So, this was classic agency capture.

These agencies, these regulatory agencies had become the sock puppets for the industry they were supposed to be regulating. And by this evening in March of 1966, 300 men and women came together at American Legion in Crotonville, and all of them had come to the conclusion that government was in cahoots with the polluters and the only way they were going to reclaim the river for themselves is if they confronted the polluters directly.

And somebody suggested he put a match to the oil slick coming out of the Penn Central pipe and burn it up. Somebody else said they should roll a mattress up and jam it up the pipe and flood the rail yard with its own waste. Somebody else says they should float a raft of dynamite into the end point of the India Point power plant, which is at that time, was killing a million fish a day on its intake screens and taking food off their family tables. And then a guy stood up named Bob Boyle. He goes “First Lieutenant, combat veteran, Korea.”

He was also by then a world-famous fisherman and spin fisherman. He was the outdoor editor of Sports Illustrated for 70 years. Two years earlier, he’d written an article about angling in the Hudson for Sports Illustrated, and in researching it, he had come across an ancient navigational statute called the 1888 Rivers and Harbors Act, and that statute said it was illegal to pollute any waterway in the United States. You had to pay a big penalty if you got caught it. Also, there was a bounty provision that said anybody who turned in the polluter got to keep half the fine, and it checked it out with lawyers.

The law had never enforced in 80 years, but it was still on the books. And that evening he stood in front of this group, and he said, we shouldn’t be talking about breaking the law. We should be talking about enforcing it. And they resolved that evening that they were going to go out and track down and prosecute every polluter, and that 18 months later they shut down the Penn Central pipe.

They got to keep $2,000. It was a two weeks of wild celebration in the town. They used the money that was left over to go after (inaudible) duct tape standard brand American ,the biggest corporation in America and winning. In 1973 they collected highest penalty in United States history against a corporate polluter. They got $200,000 from and (inaudible) wire and cable for dumping toxins and (inaudible) in New York.

They used that money to build a boat. They hired a full time Riverkeeper former commercial fisherman John Cronin. They hired me using bounty money as their attorney. And over the next couple of decades, we bought over 500 successful legal actions against the Hudson River polluters.
And today, the Hudson River is an international model for ecosystem protection. There’s a river that caught fire. It was dead for 20 miles stretches north of New York City, South Albany. It turned colored, depending on what color they were painting the GM trucks at Tarrytown.

That’s a Tarrytown GM Plant. Today it’s the richest waterway in the North Atlantic. It produces more pounds of fish, per acre. And more biomass per gallon than any other waterway in the Atlantic Ocean North of the equator in the land. And the miraculous resurrection of the Hudson has inspired the creation of Riverkeeper. Waterkeeper is now 350 of them in 46 countries. We’re now the biggest water protection group in the world.

RFK Jr. arrested at climate protest in Washington, DC.

Environmental Policy vs. Economic Policy
Protecting Public Lands for Future Generations
One of the — The story of the Hudson also has a sad ending because General Electric Company dumped its PCB’s in the Hudson to save money at its Capacitator plant and the PCB’s, although they’ve spent $1,000,000,000 trying to get them out there’s another three and a half billion that nobody’s ever going to pay. The commercial fish many of the species are too toxic to eat. And the commercial fishery has almost altogether closed, 2,000 families that I represented. And now there’s probably two left. And those are families that enrich it, enrich the history, the culture, the palate of New York for three and a half centuries.

And they’re gone, not because their business plan didn’t work because it did work for three and a half centuries. The thing that didn’t work, free market capitalism worked perfectly for them. What didn’t work was corporate crony capitalism was the General Electric Company had better lobbyists. General Electric did not have a better business plan. It just had better lobbyists.

So, it was able to escape the discipline of the free market, corrupt public officials, dump its PCB’s in the river put, you know, my fishermen out of work. And everybody in the Hudson Valley now has General Electric PCB’s in their flesh and organs. And that’s you know, that’s what corporate crony capitalism does. One of the things that I learned from that fisherman is that there’s no daylight between good environmental policy and good economic policy.

And you’ll hear this mantra, this trope from the big polluters and their indentured servants. And on Capitol Hill and, you know, and elsewhere, we have to — . We have to choose between economic prosperity and environmental protection. And that’s a false choice. In 100% of the situations. Good environmental policy is identical to good economic policy. If we want to measure our economy. This is how we ought to be measuring based upon how it produces jobs and the dignity of jobs over the generations and how it preserves the value of the assets of our community.

If, on the other hand, we want to do what the big polluters are urging us to do, which is to treat the planet as if it were business and liquidation, and further natural resources to cash as quickly as possible, have a few years of pollution-based prosperity. We can generate an instantaneous cash flow on the illusion of a prosperous economy, and we can make a few people billionaires by impoverishing the rest of us, but our children are going to pay for our joyride and they’re going to pay for it with denuded landscapes or hills, huge cleanup costs that are going to amplify over time and they’ll never be able to pay. Environmental injury is deficit spending. It’s a way of loading the costs of our generation’s prosperity onto the backs of our children.

And one of the things that I’ve done over the past 30 years as an environmental advocate is to constantly go around and confront this argument that an investment in our environment is a diminishment of our nation’s wealth. It doesn’t diminish our wealth it is an investment in infrastructure, same as investing in telecommunications or road construction. It’s an investment we have to make if we’re going to ensure the economic vitality of our generation and future generations.

And by the way, we’re not protecting the environment just for the sake of the fish than the earth protecting it, but for our own sake, because those things enrich us, they enriches economically, spiritually, culturally, all these other ways. If we want to meet our obligation as a generation, as a civilization, as a nation, which is to create communities for our children, to provide them with the same opportunities for dignity and enrichment and prosperity and good health as the communities that our parents gave us.

We’ve got to start by protecting our environmental infrastructure, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the wildlife, the fisheries, the public lands, all those things that are not reducible to private property, but by their nature are the property of all of us, the commons, the Commonwealth, the public trust assets, the landscapes, the waterways that connect us to the 10,000 generations of human beings that lived before were laptops and that ultimately connect us to God.

God talks to human beings through many vectors. Through each other, through organized religion, through the great books of those religions, through wise people, through art and music and literature and poetry. And nowhere with such detail and grace and color and joy as through creation. When we destroy a species and we destroy a special place. We’re diminishing our capacity to sense the divine, understand who God is and what our own potential is as human beings.

Father Martin once told me that the definition of sin is an injury to another human being or to God, to our relationship with God. And when we — you know, when we eliminate what my children are going to grow up in a world they will never see, the kind of explosions of colors from butterflies that I saw every time I walked into my garden as 80 or 90% of the butterflies are gone, the flying insects… They’ll never hear the songbirds that I heard because 80% of them are gone. They’ll never see the — the puddles that I saw as a boy, bubbling like cauldrons with tadpoles from salamanders and frogs.

They’re not going to see that in their lifetime. They’re unaware of it. And it’s like God is a tapestry and He’s talking to us from all of these different vectors, and we’re pulling threads out of that tapestry. And it is such a crime against our children. And I think. I think we deserve a president in this country who cares about these things and who talks about these things to the American people.

Nature: A Social Safety Net that Provides
For Us During Economic Hardships

Well, I want to say one other thing. You know, nature’s the social safety net. When we had the Great Depression, 10,000 who men lost their jobs, went down to the Hudson River to find oysters and blue crabs and sturgeon and shad and herring ale wives. And they fed themselves and their family and some made money and that was all nature is our social safety net. It’s infrastructure.

It can’t do that if there’s another depression. You know, we’re relying on the government to give us money, but it’s that’s not reliable. Nature was always reliable. If you live in a sweltering home in New York, you and you are all you have no access immediately. You can jump on the train, go right up to Croton Point Park and you can visit the river and get away from that for a day. You can experience nature and enrich yourself. You can’t do that if the Hudson is polluted.

My job — I have a couple of children of asthma, one out of every four black children, now in urban areas has asthma. The asthma events are triggered by bad air, by ozone or particulates. It’s coming mainly from coal burning power plants. So those plants — General Electric Company privatizes the fish in the Hudson River. They privatize the river to make profits for themselves through corruption as coal generators are privatizing the air and my children’s lungs. And we have to understand that it is an act of theft. Pollution is a subsidy, and it’s an act of theft.

Trump Locked Down the Country
Corporate Tyranny Censored Dissent

I want to move on to another issue that nobody’s going to really want to talk about. But I need you. I’m going to tell you right now, I’m about halfway done with this speech. And this is what happens when you censor somebody for 18 years. I got a lot to talk about and they shut me up that long because now I’m going to really let loose on them. So the next 18 months they’re going to hear a lot from me. Oh, and it’s talking about lockdowns. And nobody wants to talk about it. But we need to understand, you know, I grew up at a time most of my life is at a time that economists call the great prosperity.

That’s when the American middle class, between 1945 and 75, grew to be the biggest economic engine on the face of the globe. I mean, we were the economy in the globe. We made everything and everybody looked to us not only for goods, but for moral leadership. And we became the most powerful country in the world, unrivaled. And it was because we had a stable democracy with institutions that people trusted, the press that told us the truth and the destruction that, you know, everybody knows it’s an economic and political economic rule.

You cannot have democracy in a society where there is high concentrations of wealth and widespread poverty. You need a middle class or you don’t get democracy. And that, that is a law. That is a law. You cannot do it. You cannot do it unless you have a big middle class. And we had that. But since the early 1980s, there’s been a systematic attack on our middle class. And the coup de gras was the lockdown.

The lockdown was the biggest shift in wealth in human history. And I’m going to tell you about that in a second. And I blame President Trump for the lockdown. Now, a lot of people will say a lot of people say President Trump gets blamed for a lot of things that he didn’t do and he gets blamed for some things that he did do. But the worst thing that he did to this country, to our civil rights, to our economy, to the middle class in this country, was a lockdown.

Now President Trump’s in fairness. Let me just make this point will tell people, well, the lockdown wasn’t my idea. It was — my bureaucrats rolled me on it. I was saying we shouldn’t do it. But that’s not a good enough excuse. You as the president of the United States and as Harry Truman said, the buck stops here.

On May 2nd, 2020, 600 doctors wrote and signed a letter to President Trump begging him not to allow lockdowns, they said, because at that time, all of the pandemic protocols anywhere in the world, the CDC, everywhere, the European Health Agency, all says you never do mass lockdowns. It causes much worse havoc and deaths and injuries than if you do the standard protocol, which is you lock down the sick, you protect the vulnerable, and you let everybody else go back to work. Otherwise you are going to wreak havoc and of course, — you know, and I wrote I wrote about it for the, you know, on Instagram.

I was writing every day. I was citing these economic studies that showed every point — unemployment, you get, you get 37,000 excess deaths from heart attacks, suicides, plus imprisonment. I was writing about this, and they dumped me from the social. They said that’s misinformation. It was not. But people were saying it, people knew it. It wasn’t just me. And we now know, of course, that it’s true.

There’s now study after study and any and every comparison between the states and nations that lockdown compared to those who didn’t, you know, had shown that one should lockdown, the more you lockdown, the worse you got, worse COVID deaths, worse excess deaths. Sweden’s numbers came out this week. Sweden was the only country in Europe that didn’t lockdown. It had the lowest excess deaths in Europe, which is very predictable. You know, the nation that has led the lockdowns was us and we had the highest body count of COVID on the earth.

We have 4.2% of the world’s population. We had 16% of the COVID deaths. At some point, even the media is going to have to stop saying this was a success story. The health issues were almost dwarfed by the economic cataclysm that befell our country, the IMF and Harvard study by Larry Summers says the cost of lockdown to the United States was $16 trillion, 16 trillion for nothing, $16 trillion, we shifted $4 trillion from the middle class in this country to the super rich. We created 500 new billionaires.

The existing billionaires increased their wealth according to the Oxfam study that came out three days ago by 30%. This was a gift to the rich. And guess what? The ones who were — the people who got richest with it, social media companies like Amazon and Facebook and Microsoft that were conspiring with President Trump’s White House to censor people like me. So, the very people who were profiting on those lockdowns were the ones who are strip mining the wealth from the middle class in this country.

Amazon got to close down all of its competitors, 3.3 million businesses. It shut down. And I’m suing. I’m a lawsuit involving Amazon for censoring one of my books. So they were censoring people who criticized the lockdowns while they were raking in the money from the lockdowns. And unfortunately. Unfortunately, President Trump. President Trump’s White House was colluding with them. 41% of black businesses shut down, most of them permanently. I want to introduce you to somebody. This is Anthony Caldwell. Can you stand Anthony? And just wave to people.

Anthony Caldwell is from Boston. He was a chef, a very, very successful chef in this town for 19 years. He saved every — he and Yvette saved every penny they had to build their dream, which was that he would have his own restaurant by the time he was 50 years old, it was called 50 Kitchen. It was the hottest spot in Dorchester, which is the town that my grandfather and grandmother lived in, and they were turning away crowds. Boston magazine called him a culinary genius. It was a mix of Asian fusion food with soul food. And then the lockdowns came and Anthony told me the customers were gone.

He was looking out the window, staring out all day with his, with his chair stacked in his dining room and no customers. The federal government gave him $17,000. But they told him he had to spend it all within eight weeks or he had to pay it back. He said to me, How do I spend $17,000, no customers? And he had to let go of seven of his servers. Finally, he kept it open for a year without paying for, well, paying himself. And then he closed it down and went bankrupt. And he owes $250,000.

And that story can be told thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times in black communities all over this country. These lockdowns wore on the poor and they were a war on American children. According to the Brown University study, children in this country, toddlers lost 22 IQ points. A third of children are going to need throughout their school careers are going to need remedial education.

Children all over the country have missed their milestones. What is CDC’s response here? Here’s the CDC’s response. The CDC five months ago revised its milestones so that now a child no longer is expected to walk at one year. They have a walk at 18 months and a child now does not have to have 50 words at 24 months it is 30 months.

So instead of fixing the problem, they are trying to cover it up. If you have your only indicia of social decline that actually improved was that during the pandemic child abuse dropped which was just an artifact of data gathering. Why? Because child abuse is reported by the schools, and the schools were closed, and the kids were locked at home with their abusers. 55% of teenagers report being abused during the lockdowns, 13% physically abused.

It was also the schools were the places where people had hot lunches, where kids stayed at home watching screens or not eating potato chips. We gained on average 29 pounds. And it was the obesity killed you from COVID. This the inverse of what you want to do if you want to see–these public health authorities went to every black neighborhood, locked down the basketball courts. So people couldn’t exercise. They had to get out of the sunlight.

If they couldn’t lock down the courts, they removed the basketball hoops. This was, you know, and all of us suffered from it, all the communities, but the black communities, minority communities suffered the worst. 25% of teenagers reported going hungry. 20% report tried to commit suicide or had suicidal ideation. 9% tried to commit suicide. Suicide is now the largest cause of death among black children. Both these are just some horrifying data.

RFK Jr. delivers an anti-fascism speech in Berlin.

Our Constitutional Rights and Founders Ideals
And I could go on and on, but I’m going to want to talk about another issue, which is the closedown of our rights. Not only did we start censoring people at the very, very beginning and, you know, Hamilton, Madison, Adams said we put freedom of expression in the First Amendment because all the other amendments and all the other rights depend on that.

If you give a government license to silence its critics, it now has license for any atrocity. As soon as they knew they can censor us, soon as they knew — they then went after the other part of the First Amendment, freedom of worship. They close every church in this country without any scientific citation for a year, without any notice and comment rulemaking. Democracy was simply abolished. They then went after freedom of assembly.

They told us we had to social distance. They went after our property rights, the Fifth Amendment, they closed 3.3 million businesses with no due process, no just compensation. They got rid of Seventh Amendment jury trials. They said if you’re involved with a countermeasure, no matter how, no matter how egregious the injury you cause, no matter how negligent you are, no matter how reckless, you cannot be sued.

And here’s what the Seventh Amendment says. It says, no American shall be deprived the right of a trial before a jury of his peers in case or controversies exceeding $25. Well, there’s no pandemic exception.

And, by the way, the framers knew all about pandemics, as there were two epidemics during the Revolutionary War. One, there was epidemic, a malaria epidemic in Virginia that decimated General Washington’s troops. There was a smallpox epidemic that disabled the armies of New England at the very moment they conquered Quebec and they had to withdraw. Otherwise, today Canada would be part of the United States.

And by the way, we’ve had epidemics. Between the end of the revolution and the ratification of the Constitution in nine years, they were epidemics in every city that killed tens of thousands of people. Cholera epidemics, smallpox epidemics, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, etc. malaria epidemics. They knew all about it, but they didn’t put that in the Constitution.

The Constitution was built for hard times. It wasn’t built for the easy time. It was built — during the Civil War there was 659,000 soldiers who died in the civil war. That’s the equivalent of 7,200,000 today. Our country was this close from falling apart. It was a much worse crisis than this pandemic. Yeah, when Lincoln tried to prohibit, to ban habeas corpus. The court said, you know, you can’t do that. You cannot do that. It doesn’t matter how the crisis is, you cannot do it. It’s the Constitution. It’s the heart and soul of our country.


Bureaucracy Almost Destroying the World:
Why We Need another Kennedy to Stand Up
President Trump said, well, these bureaucrats came at him from every side and they were all telling him what he had to do, he had the right instincts. He knew that he shouldn’t close down the country, but he did it. He got rolled by bureaucracy. And I’m going to tell you a quick story.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the ex-con committee, which was all the intelligence officials and military officials, 11 or 13 on there. My father was on there. So is Bob McNamara. So those are the exceptions. But all of the doyens, the gurus, you know, the old Gray Man or, you know, Curtis LeMay and Louie Lemons or the Generals from the Joint Chiefs, they all said we got to go in and bomb the missile sites of Cuba, the 64 missile sites in Cuba.

And my uncle said to him, Well, wait a minute, what’s going to happen who’s on those gun crews? Are those Cubans? Are those Russians? And they said, we don’t know. He said, well, if their Russians and we kill Russians, isn’t Russia then going to have to go into Berlin? And they were like, “Oh, we don’t think they’ll do that.” And my uncle said, I want to see the aerial photographs.

And he looked at the ariel photographs, and he said, who has on the Cuban side — Who gives permission to fire? Does it come from Russia, does come from Fidel, does it come from the individual gun groups? Because if it comes from Fidel he said fire them. If it comes from the individual gun groups then you’re putting the fate of the world in the hands of those individual commanders. 64 men.

They didn’t know. So, he said, we’re not doing it. And he did something else. And all I’m saying is you need a president at this time in history who can stand up to his bureaucracy. You know that bureaucracies are owned by the industries I’m talking about, you know, NIH and EPA and CDC and FDA and the D.O.T., and the train wreck would not have happened in East Palestine, except we have a captive agency, D.O.T. Our food is terrible because the food companies and the pesticide companies own USDA. We’re in constant wars because the military industrial complex, the big contractors own CIA. Now, I want to make this clear. I do not. Believe that everybody at the CIA is a bad person.

My daughter in law, Amaryllis, who is one of the top officers on this campaign and her entire career is a clandestine agent for the CIA as a spy in the weapons of mass destruction programs in some of the most dangerous parts of the earth. And I have never met anybody with such courage. And that’s how most of the 22,000 people at CIA. They’re people who are patriots or people who are good public servants. And they’re people of enormous courage and idealism, as the same with most of our agencies.

The problem is the people who end up rising in those agencies generally are people who are in the tank with industry. And that’s how they get corrupted. And one of the things that I can do, I think better than any other political candidate, is I know how to fix something because I’ve spent so much time litigating and studying these agencies. so, I want to talk about one last subject, but let me do two little subjects.

The Drastic Increase in Chronic Disease
Especially in Children

Very quickly, I want to just talk about the chronic disease epidemic, because to me, arguably, this is the worst attack on the middle class in this country. We have the worst health care system in the United States of America. What do I mean by that? I mean that we more on health care by far than any other country, and we have the worst health outcomes.

We spend $4.3 trillion annually on health, 4.3 trillion, and about 84% of that goes to treating chronic disease. And why is that? Because America has the highest chronic disease burden in the world. And we didn’t, we didn’t always in 190’s, 50’s and 60’s we had a really healthy population. We had only 6% of our people, of our citizens or children, had chronic disease. In 1988, that became 12.8%. So it doubled. Today, by 2006 it was 54%. We have the sickest generation in American history.

We have the sickest children on earth in this country. And by chronic disease, what do I mean? I mean obesity, but more importantly, neurological diseases, neurodevelopmental, A.D.D., ADHD, speech, language ticks, Tourette’s syndrome, ASD, and autism. Autism went from one in every 10,000 people in my generation to one in every 34 kids today. Now, one of the talking points that the industry and their crooked legislative regulators will say is, oh, well, we just started noticing it for the first time.

Missing autism is like missing a train wreck. So, it’s an absurd — but more importantly. There is study after study after study that shows that this epidemic is real. It is not the result of changing diagnostic criteria. It is not the result of better recognition. It is an epidemic. And it’s common sense because if it was changing diagnostic criteria, you’d see people my age with full blown autism, 69 years old. I have never seen somebody my age with full-blown autism. I mean, stimming, toe walking, head-banging, nonverbal, non-toilet trained.

And I’ve been around at the spear tip of people with intellectual disabilities my whole life. My aunt founded Special Olympics. I worked in it from when I was a kid. My cousin, my dear cousin, Anthony Shriver, is the founder of Best Buddies. This has been in the DNA. I spent 200 hours working at (inaudible) home for the retarded in Hudson Valley when I was a teenager. I just I haven’t seen it somebody my age who looks like that and yet my kids’ schools — There are many, many children who look like that. And why aren’t we asking the question: What happened?

Congress said on this. And by the way there was a report that came out a couple of weeks ago that shows that the cost of autism alone in the American economy will be — just of caring for people. As this group now ages, it will be $1,000,000,000,000 a year by 2040. The Congress said to EPA, tell us what year the autism epidemic began, and the EPA is a captive agency, but it’s captive by the oil, coal and pesticide industry, not by pharma. So it actually came out with an honest study. And EPA said it’s a red line, 1989. Oh, something happened in 1989. And we know that it is an environmental insult because genes don’t cause epidemics. And the only thing is we just have to figure out what it is.

There’s a limited number of culprits, of chemical toxins that became ubiquitous around 1989. And so, you know, that’s something that NIH is a $42 billion budget. And by the way, it wasn’t just those neurological disorders that started then, it was all these autoimmune diseases. If you’re my age, you never saw anybody with rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile diabetes when you were younger.

You know, the allergic diseases, food allergies, peanut allergies and eczema, anaphylaxis, which are ubiquitous, are at 27% of our school budgets are now going to special education. This is crippling to the middle class in this country. And we need to figure out what it is.

Let me tell you this when I am the President of the United States, I am going to end the chronic disease epidemic in this country. And if I have not significantly dropped the level of chronic disease in our children by the end of my first term, I do not want to get reelected.

Ukraine: Why Compassion Drives Us to Volunteer
But Why We Should Focus on Ourselves
Oh, alright. I’m going to talk about one last subject, and it’s a big one. So settle down. I want to talk about the war in Ukraine, and we need to have a national conversation about this war. We need to have a mature — we need to have a mature conversation that allows for nuance and that allows for complexity. And we need to do it respectfully. We can’t be telling one side that they’re Nazis and the other side that they love Putin.

Everybody in this country loves our country and we have to respect differences of opinion and we have to respect the people’s capacity to ask questions and, you know, some of the issues that we need to talk about is, number one is, is this war in the US national interest? We just need to isolate that question. Is it in the US national interest? And there are, you know, some of the leading angiograms of our most respected people.

Of our national diplomats, I’d say Henry Kissinger, Jack Matlock, Larry Wilkinson, Colin Powell was chief of staff. But they all have said definitively, if you just want to ask, is it in our national interest? It is not. It is not in America’s national interest to push Russia closer to China. That is cataclysmic. Number two, It’s not in our national interest to do something could involve us in a nuclear exchange with a country that has more nuclear weapons and us.

Now, having said that, I want to say that we are in the Ukraine for all the right reasons. We are there because we are a good people. And you know, Abraham Lincoln said America is a great nation because we’re a good nation, and we continue to be a good people. And we are there because of our compassion, the Ukrainian people who have been brutalized who’ve been illegally invaded and have shown extraordinary valor and courage, defending their country and defending, you know, their families and their beliefs and their liberties and their independence, things that Americans have to admire.

My own son, Connor, I’m very, very proud. Connor joined a foreign legion and fought in the Ukraine during the Kharkiv offensive as a machine gunner for a Special Forces group. And I think that we need to know as Americans that we have a right to know what is our government’s chief objective in this war. We were told initially that the objective was humanitarian, and that is a good reason to be there, humanitarian. And what that means is trying to end the bloodshed and minimize it as much as possible.

In recent times, President Biden’s said that one of our objectives, at least, is regime change of Putin. And this the same strategy that did not work well for us in Iraq. And it’s many of the same people who are around the neo cons, who are around President Biden who have been talking about that for a long time and have been engaged in geopolitical machinations in Ukraine since 2014.

And then President Biden’s secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, validated President Biden’s statement by saying that our objective in the Ukraine is to exhaust and degrade the Russian army so they are incapable of having battles anywhere else in the world. Now and indeed, many of the steps that we’ve taken in the Ukraine have seemed to indicate that our interest is in prolonging the war rather than shortening it.

So, if those are our objectives to have regime change and exhaust the Russians, that is completely antithetical to a humanitarian mission. It’s we’re there for a humanitarian mission. It means to reduce bloodshed and bring an end to the war quickly. If we’re there to exhaust the Russians or regime change, then doesn’t mean that the Ukraine is just a pawn in a geopolitical battle between two great superpowers, and that our strategy is to is to put the flower of Ukrainian youth into an avatar of death in order to exhaust Russia.

And if that’s true, then we need to know about it. If it’s not true, then we need a pretty good discussion with the President and the secretary of defense and others to tell us exactly what are we doing there and how —

Foreign Policy and its Cost
I want to talk just a little about some of the costs of the war. We’ve now committed $113 billion to the Ukraine. For reference, the entire budget of EPA is 12 billion. The budget of CDC is 11 billion. We have 57% of Americans. We have a crisis here. We have a war on the poor. 57% of Americans cannot put their hand on $1,000 if they had an emergency. One quarter of Americans go to bed hungry.

We have 1.5 million veterans who are living below the poverty line. We have 33,000 veterans who are homeless we have 27 veterans, 23 veterans a day who are killing themselves. The war on the poor is a bloody war. I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, an old friend. He’s a model. Can you stan? And he’s is a commercial fisherman out of Provincetown and Wellfleet and a quick occasionally Shinnecock and Islip, Long Island. And we have a — we’ve known each other for many, many years.

We have a weekly ritual where Keith discovered years ago that Whole Foods drops the price of oysters on Friday to $1. This is an ad for Whole Foods. So, for $1, he knows this because his son in law actually owns the Wellfleet Oyster bed where the oysters come from. So, every Friday Keith goes and picks up 30 oysters and brings them to my house and I pay for the oysters. He shucks them, he makes them in bearnaise sauce. And, you know, we eat them. And we have an amazing friendship and are very, very close.

But I’m Keith is on disability that doesn’t want to work anymore, and he has been surviving on food stamps and his and on March 1st is a are recorded telephone call from the government saying that his food stamps allocation is going to be dropped next month. I’m $283 a month to $25. 30 million Americans got that phone call, 30 million Americans.

The same month the government announced that it is going drop Medicare for up to 15 million Americans. The same month the government announced that it is printing 300 billion extra dollars to pay off the Silicon Valley Bank to bail it out. And we announced the Biden administration announced 750 additional billions of dollars that we’re going to send to the Ukraine. So we have money for wars and we have money for bankers that need bailouts, what happens to the American people when they are on hard times? Shouldn’t we have compassion for them?

Okay, so, let’s look at some math. We’re borrowing $6 billion a day our government to pay off the interest on our debt. 6 billion. We’re borrowing it mainly from the Chinese and Japanese in order to pay for the wars and the bailouts and the lockdowns. Now the wars in Iraq and after its aftermath has cost us $8 trillion. 8 trillion. We spent 16 trillion on the lockdown. That’s $24 trillion. Does anybody wonder why we don’t have a middle class in this country anymore?

So, how do we get this money? Well we’re borrowing it as fast as we can from the Japanese and the Chinese, which is not a good thing. But the other thing is we’re just printing it. Between 1900 and 2008 we’ve printed $1,000,000,000,000. That was all of the money we printed in a century. Between 2008 and today we printed 10 trillion. Ten centuries worth of wealth to pay for bailouts and lockdowns. We’re just printing money. And what happens to how is that paid off? Through inflation. And inflation is a tax on the poor.

Oh, Keith, Keith, his food stamp checks dropped to $25, and you try going shopping on $25. You have to be crazy to think that that is going to — that you are going to survive a week on $25 — a day. Oh, he’s spending $25 on food. They cut his food stamps to pay the inflation. His food bill has doubled over the past two years. And for basic foodstuffs like chicken, dairy and milk, it’s gone up 78%. We are starving American people and we are cutting them off from the kind of aid we should be giving that we’re instead spending on being the policemen of the world.

We have 800 bases around the world now. We have — we spend $800 billion, $880 billion a year on our military. We were supposed to get a peace dividend after the Soviet Union collapsed. We were supposed to go from 6 billion to 2 billion. That was a piece of it. And then we’re going to spend the rest, bring it home and build schools, infrastructure.

Instead, we’ve made up a bunch of foreign enemies and different enemies and things that we’ve got to do to spend more money. The military industrial complex and the intelligence agencies are telling us we have to — instead of dropping it to two, we raise it to 8.8. That’s where we are.

This is what’s happening. You know, if you go back to the beginning of our history, our founders made so many clear warnings against Americans getting involved in foreign wars because they said it is trying to be an imperium abroad. It is going to destroy democracy at home. It is going to turn us into a garrison state and national security state and a surveillance state. They said the two are inconsistent. You cannot be an imperial nation abroad and a democracy at home. And John Quincy Adams really spoke for all of the framers when he said America goes out abroad in search of monsters to destroy. It is something we cannot afford to do in our country.

My grandfather Joseph Kennedy, said, we need to build fortress America. We need to arm ourselves to the teeth at home and make ourselves too expensive to conquer. And build our economy because the economy is the source of strength, not bullets and weapons. It’s having a strong economy. A strong middle class. Dwight Eisenhower warned against the military industrial complex and that it would destroy democracy. My father died and his campaign against the Vietnam War.

Martin Luther King broke with the civil rights movement on Vietnam. And he said, this has got to be our priority because you don’t — you’re not seeing that there is a direct link between poverty at home and war and poverty and violence and oppression at home and war abroad. You cannot separate them as long as we’re making war. As long as our major exports are weapons or we will never have a middle class in this country.

And my uncle, President Kennedy, said that told his best friend, Ben Bradlee. He said, Bradlee asked, what do you want in your gravestone? What’s your epithet? And he said he kept the peace. That’s what he wanted. He said the principle job of every President of United States was to keep our country out of war.

And he succeeded in doing it, and he succeeded in doing that. And instead he started investing the Kennedy milk program, an Alliance for Progress, the USAID to rebuild the middle class as a country so that they could enjoy democracy. He started the Peace Corps because he said he wanted foreigners to know Americans not by military uniforms, but by people who came in their communities to help him. And, you know, it’s very, very difficult to fairly judge who the best presidents in our history were.

You know, historians take polls of each other to the public to try to figure out who’s the best. But there is one objective merit I mean, metric, and that is at least for foreign policy, which president has the most statues to him abroad? Most universities named after him, most hospitals named after him, most roads and boulevards, avenue. And nobody comes close to John F. Kennedy. Oh, and that that is just it. People love our country. That’s good for our economy and it’s good for our security. And that’s what we had with my uncle.

We had a president, my uncle, he used to say that — he used to love the fact that there were Africans naming their children, Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln, but they weren’t naming them Marx and Lenin. He used to say that. I think probably the proudest thing, if he could know over all the memorials to him, the one he’d be proud of is the tens of thousands of African children I’ve met many of in my lifetime, and Latin American children and Asian and Middle Eastern children who are named Kennedy. President Bush and my uncle came into office two months later. He was fighting his intelligence apparatus, his military, because they wanted to invade. I mean, they wanted to do the Bay of Pigs.

He was totally against it. And he let them roll over him. And in the middle of the Bay of Pigs, he realized they were lying to him, and he realized the function of the intelligence agencies had become to provide the military industrial complex with a constant pipeline of war. And he came out during the middle of the night during the Bay of Pigs catastrophe. And he said, I want to take the CIA. Allen Dulles had lied to him. Charles (inaudible), Richard (inaudible), Louis (inaudible). Curtis LeMay had all lied to him through their teeth and he said, want to take the CIA and shatter it into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds and you know George Bush.

George W. Bush has that same problem. George W. Bush says the worst mistake he made as president was listening to CIA Director George Tenet tell him it was a slam dunk that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And so, the neocons and CIA had to go into Iraq and throw out and do regime change. And we got not now we spent $8 trillion. And what do we get for that 8 trillion? Nothing worse than nothing.

Iraq is now much worse off than it was when we went in there. We killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein ever did. We may have killed a million Iraqis and nobody knows the number. It is. It is an incoherent country today where Shia death squads or fighting with Sunni death squads in the street. The government is corrupt, the police are corrupt. We created ISIS. We drove 2 million up into Europe, a deep, destabilized democracy for a generation in Europe, they caused Brexit.

This is the cost of the Iraq war, $8 trillion there, 16 trillion for the lockdowns, 24 trillion. Nothing to show except a devastated middle class in the United States of America. And we need to put an end to that. Our strategy in this country has been to use military weapons to project power, military force, to project power around the world. And that’s how, you know, our strategy to control the world.

The Chinese did something different. They adopted my uncle’s philosophy and strategy, which is — we were spending 8 trillion I mean, bridges, ports, roads and hospitals. They were spending 8 trillion building bridges, roads ports and hospitals. And they are now displacing us as trade partners, most the African nations and Latin America. Brazil just switched to Chinese currency away from the dollar. Saudi Arabia just switched away from the dollar. So, these are — okay, we’re okay.

being told by Gavin Becker that there is no emergency that affects us. All right, let me — I’m going to finish up. I’m going to finish up. I promise. Okay, nice try. The Chinese are being nice guys, earned good will in these countries. Now they, Brazil and Pakistan are now switching to Chinese currency away from the dollar. You know what that’s going to cost our country if we no longer have the dominating universal currency. 750 billion a year. That’s one of these costs of these continual wars we have to examine.

And so, the Saudi Arabia had last month signed a peace deal with Iran, which is great, but Saudi Arabia was our biggest investment. They are our number one ally. The whole key to US strategy, which is called the Shia Crescent, Saudi Arabia, would be the Keystone and then we’d have Abu Dhabi and Qatar and Oman and the Emirates and Lebanon all the way up to Syria on our side, creating a bulwark against and Iraq, of course, creating a bulwark against an Iranian expansion, which was our key objective in the Middle East.

Well, guess what? The Chinese just brokered a peace deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Our entire policy has collapsed. We no longer have a coherent foreign policy in Iraq. I mean, Mohammed bin Salman said not only this, two weeks ago, he lowered oil production during a U.S. recession. It was like a slap in the United States face. And then he said it out loud three days ago, we don’t care what the United States thinks anymore.

So we’ve put trillions and trillions of dollars into that. Those nations with this strategy, the entire American empire, just folded. Iran, Iraq, which we went to war with, is now a proxy state of Iran. Our entire strategy in the Mideast has utterly collapsed and our economy is going to follow if we don’t do something fast. And I’m going to bring the troops home and I am going to start. I’m going to close the bases and I’m going to start investing in the United States middle class and our country and I’m going to make us an exemplary democracy.


What Is a Kennedy Democrat?
And I want to say one final, final thing, which is, and I’m going to put my cards on the table. I am not an ideal presidential candidate for normal times. I’m not one of these people who’ve spent their life saying, I’ve got to be really careful because one day I’m going to be in the White House. I actually did the opposite of that. And I had a very, very high risk life and a lot of fun.

But it wasn’t, it wasn’t careful. And I mean, even though the issues that I’ve attached myself to, anybody that looks at those issues, would not say, oh, this guy was just trying to get into the White House. I’m trying to get myself out of all my friendships, and my political party and everything else. I had a rambunctious youth and it lasted until my early sixties. And I told my wife the other day, I said, I got so many skeletons in my closet that if they could vote, I could be king of the world.

In normal circumstances I would not do this. But these are not normal circumstances. I’m watching my country being stolen from them. And I owe it to my children and my family and my legacy. I don’t want the Democratic Party to be the party of fear and pharma and war and censorship. We have to be more than just neocons with woke bobbleheads.

We need we need you know, we need to stand up to corporations. We need to stand against war. We need to — we need to put our children first. We need to stop listening to the large corporations in many ways. And that’s what a Kennedy Democrat is. We need to bring this party back to the party of FDR, of JFK, of RFK, Martin Luther King, and those values.

Preparing for the Presidency
And in many ways, I have spent my lifetime preparing for this office because I’ve spent so much time suing these agencies. I know the agencies. I know you know how NIH works, how the CDC works, how FDA works, EPA. And Michael (inaudible) sitting here in the front row is my law partner who was one of the lead attorneys with Brent Wisner, you know, on our Monsanto case.

When we got the Monsanto papers, we realized that we found emails that showed that the head of the pesticide division of the EPA was secretly working for Monsanto for forever. And, and, and that’s true in all of these agencies and most politicians, when they come in, they want to, you know, they sincerely want to fix the agencies. They want fix the government, they want to drain the swamp, but get in there, and they don’t they don’t know what to do with these sprawling bureaucracies, 30 or 40 people with their own culture and their own history. And people have been there forever. And it’s really hard for them to change that. So rather than do that, they concentrate on another agenda, and they put somebody safe to run that agency. You know.

President Trump Right brought Scott Godley then — Trump took $1,000,000 from Pfizer and then appointed a guy who essentially was a Pfizer lobbyist — he was a business partner of Pfizer to run the agency. And he, of course, made $88 billion for Pfizer on one vaccine. And then left to join Pfizer’s board. That’s not draining the swamp. That is the swamp. An, you know, President Biden is the same thing.

I look, I know Pete Buttigieg. I like Pete Buttigieg. He’s a friend of my family. My son campaigned for him, was part of his campaign last time around. And I, you know, I like him, but I know I can tell you with almost certainty that he did not go to D.O.T. saying, you know, oh, darn it, I’m going to fix the railroads and I’m going to end the corruption. And most of these people go in because they’re safe and they’re going to be good on the talk shows on Sunday morning, but they don’t really want to go in and they don’t know how to go in and really make big changes in those agencies that can make waves and maybe cause problems with the President.

So they get somebody safe. Ralph Reed used to describe those people. He said they were people who get the joke. And I, I you know, I get the joke, but I don’t think it’s funny. And I’m not safe now. I am not safe. The vested interest. I’m not safe. My job is to keep you safe. And that’s what I am going to do.

Whenever we’d travel, my father would take us to the Indian reservations wherever we landed, we’d go whether we were in Utah or New Mexico. Standing Rock, or a Navajo reservation. Or we’d go, in upstate New York, to the Mohawk reservation, all around the country. He would always when we got to the airport, he would want to go there and he’d take us there. He loved going to Appalachia.

His favorite place in the world was Bedford-Stuyvesant, the poorest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I was on Bedford-Stuyvesant restoration, on the board for 20 years, and he would take us to Harlem. When we were kids, little kids, he would take us to Appalachia to the white mining communities, Appalachia. He would put us in the back of a station wagon and he would drive us into southeast Washington and we would go to the playgrounds there and talk to people.

And my father would say to us, my father, he came back one time from the Delta. He said, we were all at the dinner table. And he came in and he said, I was in a tar paper shack that was smaller than this dining room. And there were two families living there, and the children get one meal a day. And when you get older, I want you to help those people. And when we would go into Southeast Washington or Appalachian, he would say to us, these are your people. These are Kennedy people. He said, other people, the big shots, the corporations, the millionaires don’t need the Kennedys. They have lobbyists, they have PR firms, have lawyers. And he said, these are your people and these are the people you need to spend your life helping.

And when I’m president, I’m going to be president for those people, we’re going to take back this country. You give me a piece of ground and a sword and I am going to take back this country with your help, to help all the homeless Republicans and Democrats and independents who are Americans. First, thank you all very much.