Friday, November 16, 2012

A statesman says goodbye to a nation that's lost its way

On Nov. 14, 2012, Ron Paul gave his farewell speech on the floor of the House of Representatives. His words were both a summation of the principles our nation was founded on, and an indictment of a political class and a complacent society that has cast those principles aside. Following are some excerpts from the transcript of his speech, with a look at some recent political events to put the good doctor's words in current and timely context.

(Ron's words in bold, to differentiate from other quotes ... and putting them in red text seemed to be a bit much.)

In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways — thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant, and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.

All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer.  A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.

The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.

The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
One side won't budge on military spending, while the other won't budge on entitlements. So true. Mitt Romney said he'd increase military spending, even though our military spending already dwarfs what anyone else in the world spends. And neither party will touch entitlements. Defense and entitlements are the two biggest expenditures in the federal budget -- yet they're both off limits.
Everyone claims support for freedom.  But too often it's for ones own freedom and not for others.  Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.
The political left, self-appointed defenders of tolerance, have shown their true colors in this regard several times in 2012. First we had the Susan G. Komen Foundation's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood, the world's largest provider of abortion services. From the outrage and hysteria, you'd have thought women would suddenly be dying on the streets, yet Komen only ever granted PP $650,000 out of a billion-dollar budget and provided funding to only 19 PP clinics for breast-cancer screening. The intolerance was so strident that Komen eventually caved in. 

Then there was the Chick-fil-A dust-up. The restaurant chain's president said he supported what he believed to be the biblical definition of marriage -- in other words, he personally opposed gay marriage. Never mind that there has never been any evidence that the chain has discriminated against gay employees or customers. The mere fact that the company's founder personally espoused a politically unpopular belief was enough to bring down the Left's wrath. The Democratic mayors of Boston and Chicago both said Chick-fil-A wasn't welcome in their cities, with Emanuel proclaiming that "Chick-fil-A's values are not Chicago's values." (One wonders if he expected the Christian churches in Chicago to pack up and move out.)

Of course, the guy Emanuel used to work for -- Barack Obama -- also opposed gay marriage until he "evolved" on his position just in time for the re-election campaign season to start, but let's just sweep that inconvenient fact under the rug. The bigger issue here is a peek into the minds of those who claim to be so tolerant and open-minded. If Emanuel and Menino think they can tell companies to stay out of their cities based on company owners' personal political views, then they're more intolerant than they even imagine the company owners to be. It's no great feat to be tolerant only of those whose views you agree with. And you can just imagine the outcry if a conservative mayor threatened to ban a left-leaning business owner from doing business in his or her city.

And most recently, we have the reaction to the people petitioning the White House for their states' secession from the union following Obama's re-election. Naturally, the petitions will never be taken seriously, nor should they -- after all, if you want to secede from what you perceive to be your oppressor, you don't ask your oppressor for permission. You take action and do it yourself. You think the confederate states ever intended to ask Lincoln for permission to leave the union? The Declaration of Independence itself is a proclamation of secession from the British Empire -- how far do you think the American Revolution would have gotten if we'd gone to King George and asked nicely for our freedom instead?

In any event, the Left's response to all this silliness has been to also petition the White House -- to strip would-be secessionists of their citizenship and deport them.

Well, gee, so much for freedom of expression. We can't tolerate anyone who doesn't swear total fealty to Lord Obama. Meet the 21st century's Loyalists. 

Funny how quickly 2004 has been forgotten. Back then, after John Kerry lost to George W. Bush, Democrats were ready to join the states Kerry won to our neighbors to the north and create "the United States of Canada," leaving the Bush states to become "Jesusland."

But in fairness, the intolerance of free expression isn't limited to the Left. Joan the Silencer has become the latest Internet meme among libertarians and Paulestinians.

That image comes from the Republican Convention, as Joan Clendenin, a Romney delegate from California, attempts to silence Jeremy Blosser, an alternate Ron Paul delegate from Texas, as he called for a point of order. (As Blosser explains, the mic wasn't on.) This scene followed the convention ruling to unseat part of Maine's pro-Paul delegation and replace them with Romney loyalists.

And that wasn't the only dirty trick in the Romney playbook -- there were reports that entire delegations friendly to Paul were driven around aimlessly on buses so they couldn't get to the convention center to vote on changes from the convention's rules committee. That same committee was responsible for changing the rules to require a minimum of eight states to enter a candidate's name for nomination, after it was clear that Paul had the support of at least five states, which was the number needed for nomination under the then-existing rule. To add insult to injury, another new rule gave the party the power to select state delegates in the future, virtually rendering state primaries and caucuses meaningless but shielding the party from having to deal with a grassroots candidate ever again. (And this was after the Romney camp and the GOP machine in several states did everything in their power, up to and including physical force, to disenfranchise Paul supporters.)

In the end, Paul's name was never put into nomination, and he was never given a chance to speak at the convention. Even if there had been opposition to all these shenanigans from the convention floor -- and there was -- the response from the podium itself had already been scripted on the Teleprompter:

Joan the Silencer's infamous image has been injected into all manner of visuals, with her handful of papers shushing everyone from Jesus to Braveheart to the Founding Fathers. This one speaks for itself:

Well, it tries to speak for itself, anyway.

More from Dr. Paul:
  • Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
  • The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
  • It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.[ ... ]
  • Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a "kill list," including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
When you tell people about NDAA, the kill list, and the drone war, many of them are absolutely clueless regarding all of it. But as one group found out, voters will rationalize both things away when you tell them that it's their guy, not the other guy, who's carrying out those policies.

When it's Romney proposing these actions, it's unconscionable. But when it's Obama, well, he must have a good reason, and he's a really good guy otherwise.

This is why there are no antiwar protestors, even as we continue to drone-bomb weddings, funerals, rescuers, women, and children. (Obama launched another drone attack, this one in Yemen, literally hours after being re-elected.) The Left adheres to a double standard for its messiah. As Bruce Springsteen once said, "Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed." (Of course, the Boss is in the bag for Obama, so take his warning with a grain of salt.)

In a way, you can hardly blame the American people for being oblivious to what the current administration is up to. One astute commenter on Huffington Post took a couple of screen shots of CNN and Al-Jazeera and proved the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words:

On one, actual news. On the other, nothing but fluff. Bread and circuses for everyone.

Fortunately, there are some on the Left with enough intellectual honesty to oppose Obama and his horrible policies that essentially make him an extension of George W. Bush's presidency. Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic had this to say in explaining why he refused to vote for Obama:
  1. Obama terrorizes innocent Pakistanis on an almost daily basis. The drone war he is waging in North Waziristan isn't "precise" or "surgical" as he would have Americans believe. It kills hundreds of innocents, including children. And for thousands of more innocents who live in the targeted communities, the drone war makes their lives into a nightmare worthy of dystopian novels. People are always afraid. Women cower in their homes. Children are kept out of school. The stress they endure gives them psychiatric disorders. Men are driven crazy by an inability to sleep as drones buzz overhead 24 hours a day, a deadly strike possible at any moment. At worst, this policy creates more terrorists than it kills; at best, America is ruining the lives of thousands of innocent people and killing hundreds of innocents for a small increase in safety from terrorists. It is a cowardly, immoral, and illegal policy, deliberately cloaked in opportunistic secrecy. And Democrats who believe that it is the most moral of all responsible policy alternatives are as misinformed and blinded by partisanship as any conservative ideologue. 
  2. Obama established one of the most reckless precedents imaginable: that any president can secretly order and oversee the extrajudicial killing of American citizens. Obama's kill list transgresses against the Constitution as egregiously as anything George W. Bush ever did. It is as radical an invocation of executive power as anything Dick Cheney championed. The fact that the Democrats rebelled against those men before enthusiastically supporting Obama is hackery every bit as blatant and shameful as anything any talk radio host has done.  
  3. Contrary to his own previously stated understanding of what the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution demand, President Obama committed U.S. forces to war in Libya without Congressional approval, despite the lack of anything like an imminent threat to national security. 
In different ways, each of these transgressions run contrary to candidate Obama's 2008 campaign. (To cite just one more example among many, Obama has done more than any modern executive to wage war on whistleblowers. In fact, under Obama, Bush-era lawbreakers, including literal torturers, have been subject to fewer and less draconian attempts at punishment them than some of the people who conscientiously came forward to report on their misdeeds.) Obama ran in the proud American tradition of reformers taking office when wartime excesses threatened to permanently change the nature of the country. But instead of ending those excesses, protecting civil liberties, rolling back executive power, and reasserting core American values, Obama acted contrary to his mandate. The particulars of his actions are disqualifying in themselves. But taken together, they put us on a course where policies Democrats once viewed as radical post-9/11 excesses are made permanent parts of American life.
He continues:
What about the assertion that Romney will be even worse than Obama has been on these issues? It is quite possible, though not nearly as inevitable as Democrats seem to think. It isn't as though they accurately predicted the abysmal behavior of Obama during his first term, after all. And how do you get worse than having set a precedent for the extrajudicial assassination of American citizens? 
[ ... ]

Sometimes a policy is so reckless or immoral that supporting its backer as "the lesser of two evils" is unacceptable. If enough people start refusing to support any candidate who needlessly terrorizes innocents, perpetrates radical assaults on civil liberties, goes to war without Congress, or persecutes whistleblowers, among other misdeeds, post-9/11 excesses will be reined in.

If not?

So long as voters let the bipartisan consensus on these questions stand, we keep going farther down this road, America having been successfully provoked by Osama bin Laden into abandoning our values.

We tortured.

We started spying without warrants on our own citizens.

We detain indefinitely without trial or public presentation of evidence.

We continue drone strikes knowing they'll kill innocents, and without knowing that they'll make us safer.

Is anyone looking beyond 2012?

The future I hope for, where these actions are deal-breakers in at least one party (I don't care which), requires some beginning, some small number of voters to say, "These things I cannot support."  

[ ... ]

I can respect counterarguments, especially when advanced by utilitarians who have no deal-breakers of their own. But if you're a Democrat who has affirmed that you'd never vote for an opponent of gay equality, or a torturer, or someone caught using racial slurs, how can you vote for the guy who orders drone strikes that kill hundreds of innocents and terrorizes thousands more -- and who constantly hides the ugliest realities of his policy (while bragging about the terrorists it kills) so that Americans won't even have all the information sufficient to debate the matter for themselves?

How can you vilify Romney as a heartless plutocrat unfit for the presidency, and then enthusiastically recommend a guy who held Bradley Manning in solitary and killed a 16-year-old American kid? If you're a utilitarian who plans to vote for Obama, better to mournfully acknowledge that you regard him as the lesser of two evils, with all that phrase denotes.

But I don't see many Obama supporters feeling as reluctant as the circumstances warrant. 

The whole liberal conceit that Obama is a good, enlightened man, while his opponent is a malign, hard-hearted cretin, depends on constructing a reality where the lives of non-Americans -- along with the lives of some American Muslims and whistleblowers -- just aren't valued. Alternatively, the less savory parts of Obama's tenure can just be repeatedly disappeared from the narrative of his first term, as so many left-leaning journalists, uncomfortable confronting the depths of the man's transgressions, have done over and over again.   

Keen on Obama's civil-libertarian message and reassertion of basic American values, I supported him in 2008. Today I would feel ashamed to associate myself with his first term or the likely course of his second.
As for that dead 16-year-old American kid, killed by Obama's war machine with not even a shred of due process, Obama's advisor offers the following: 

"I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children."

It's not Obama's fault that Obama targeted the kid. The kid should have had a better dad.

Wow. Just wow. Kudos to Conor Friedersdorf for holding Obama's feet to the fire. We need more people of integrity like him to speak up and demand that we won't allow this to stand.

Back to Ron Paul:
Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
I heard lots of people stating the cases for their chosen candidate this election cycle, and what I heard was less than inspiring. Over and over again, people didn't defend their own candidate as much as they talked about how horrible things would be if the other guy got elected (or re-elected). Not only is that a sad commentary on American politics, but it's also an indication of how most voters get caught up in the ridiculous narratives, perpetuated by the major parties and their media lackeys, that suggest such a stark, vast difference between Democrats and Republicans, based mostly on a few hot-button social issues.
In reality, the parties sound more and more alike with each passing election, and it's clear that they both serve the same corporate masters.

Not surprisingly, it takes a foreign observer to point this out. The Political Compass, a U.K. political-quiz site, offered a brilliant summation of the 2012 presidential election. I share it here in its entirety -- complete with critiques of all the candidates, including Dr. Paul:
This is a US election that defies logic and brings the nation closer towards a one-party state masquerading as a two-party state.

The Democratic incumbent has surrounded himself with conservative advisors and key figures — many from previous administrations, and an unprecedented number from the Trilateral Commission. He also appointed a former Monsanto executive as Senior Advisor to the FDA. He has extended Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, presided over a spiralling rich-poor gap and sacrificed further American jobs with recent free trade deals. Trade union rights have also eroded under his watch. He has expanded Bush defence spending, droned civilians, failed to close Guantanamo, supported the NDAA which effectively legalises martial law, allowed drilling and adopted a soft-touch position towards the banks that is to the right of European Conservative leaders. Taking office during the financial meltdown, Obama appointed its principle architects to top economic positions. We list these because many of Obama's detractors absurdly portray him as either a radical liberal or a socialist, while his apologists, equally absurdly, continue to view him as a well-intentioned progressive, tragically thwarted by overwhelming pressures. 2008's yes-we-can chanters, dazzled by pigment rather than policy detail, forgot to ask can what? Between 1998 and the last election, Obama amassed $37.6million from the financial services industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While 2008 presidential candidate Obama appeared to champion universal health care, his first choice for Secretary of Health was a man who had spent years lobbying on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry against that very concept. Hey! You don't promise a successful pub, and then appoint the Salvation Army to run it. This time around, the honey-tongued President makes populist references to economic justice, while simultaneously appointing as his new Chief of Staff a former Citigroup executive concerned with hedge funds that bet on the housing market to collapse. Obama poses something of a challenge to The Political Compass, because he's a man of so few fixed principles.

As outrageous as it may appear, civil libertarians and human rights supporters would have actually fared better under a Republican administration. Had a Bush or McCain presidency permitted extrajudicial executions virtually anywhere in the world ( ), expanded drone strikes and introduced the NDAA, the Democratic Party would have howled from the rooftops. Senator Obama the Constitutional lawyer would have been one of the most vocal objectors. Under a Democratic administration however, these far-reaching developments have received scant opposition and a disgraceful absence of mainstream media coverage.

Democratic and, especially, some Republican candidates, will benefit massively from new legislation that permits them to receive unlimited and unaccountable funding. This means a significant shift of political power to the very moneyed interests that earlier elections tried to contain. Super PACs will inevitably reshape the system and undermine democracy. It would be na├»ve to suppose that a President Gingrich would feel no obligations towards his generous backer, Sheldon Adelson, one of the country's most influential men. Or a President Santorum towards billionaire mutual fund tycoon, Foster Freiss. (Santorum emerged as the most authoritarian candidate, not the least for his extreme stand against abortion and condom sales.) Or a President Paul, whose largest single donor, billionaire Peter Thiel, founded a controversial defence company contracting to the CIA and the FBI. Last year it was caught operating an illegal spy ring targeting opponents of the US Chamber of Commerce. In our opinion the successful GOP contender, Romney, despite his consistent contempt for the impoverished, was correctly described as the weather vane candidate. He shares another similarity with Obama. His corporate-friendly health care plan for Massachusetts was strikingly similar to the President's "compromise" package. The emergence of the Tea Party enables the 2012 GOP ticket of unprecedented economic extremity to present itself as middle-of-the road — between an ultra right movement with "some good ideas that might go a bit too far" and, on the other side, a dangerous "socialist" president.

The smaller non-Tea parties provide the only substantial electoral diversity — virtually unreported — in their Sisyphean struggle against the two mountainous conservative machines. Identity issues like gay marriage disguise the absence of fundamental differences and any real contrast of vision. Since FDR, the mainstream American "Left" has been much more concerned with the social rather than the economic scale. Identity politics; issues like peace, immigration, gay and women's rights, prayers in school have assumed far greater importance than matters like pensions and minimum wages that preoccupy their counterparts in other democracies. Hence the appeal of Ron Paul to many liberals, despite his far-right economics. Paul, unlike Romney, would have delivered a significant crossover vote from Democrats.

If Romney loses the election, it would hardly be devastating for mainstream Republicans. During a second term of Obama, they would no doubt continue to frame the debates.
The tiny space between Obama and Romney on the Political Compass grid only serves to drive the point home:

That little gap between them is what so many American voters get hysterical over. The guys are two sides of the same coin, and most people either can't see it or are so invested in their particular political ideology that they choose not to.

For reference, here's where Ron Paul stands in comparison with the other candidates. (I superimposed his spot on a graph from the 2008 primary candidates.)

More from Ron:
Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
And why is one dispenser of medical marijuana, a man who followed his state's laws, now facing 80  years in prison -- after the Obama administration said it wouldn't crack down on medical marijuana users?

And what will happen now that Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana use? Will Obama roll in the tanks and begin mass arrests? Don't be surprised to see the feds crack down hard if push comes to shove in these two states.

Dr. Paul:
Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Ben Franklin

Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the Public Treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the Public Treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy always followed by dictatorship." -- Attributed to Alexander Fraser Tytler

The Internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it's essential that the Internet remains free of government regulation.
The truth is out there. It's just a matter of getting people to turn off their TVs, stop being spoon-fed, and do their own research.

What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression.
So true.
There's every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the Internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.

What I'm talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.

[ ... ]

A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.

A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society. All great religions endorse the Golden Rule. The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. They cannot be exempt.
In short, who would Jesus bomb?

One wonders whom Dr. Paul had in mind with the following statement:
The immoral use of force is the source of man's political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world.  Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned — or especially when well-intentioned — the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds. This is the same fundamental reason our government  uses force  for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.
Did Ron Paul just call out his fellow members of Congress as a band of "psychopathic authoritarians"? If so, he was spot-on with his assessment.

And finally:
The No. 1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.

It doesn't mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.

Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it's the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.
The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people's attitudes aren't changed. 

To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is envy, which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is intolerance, which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.

The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. 

Both views ought to be rejected.

I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out "the plain truth of things." The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of liberty.

If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.
In this election, Gary Johnson received more than a million votes, the largest ever for a Libertarian candidate. We may never know how many people wrote in Ron Paul as their candidate. But we do know that at least 1% of the electorate voted for liberty in this election cycle.

That's small, but it's encouraging. One can only hope that spreading this inspiring speech from Ron Paul will ignite the fires of liberty among enough people to someday make a difference -- perhaps in the same way Thomas Paine's Common Sense pamphlet once roused the colonies to action against the British Empire.

Though in all honesty, I think it's too late. Even Dr. Paul says the nation has already veered off the fiscal cliff and that there just aren't enough people who can rise to power to help right the ship in time, especially with so many people wanting so much from the government. And when you consider that 118 million Americans voted for either Obama or Romney, it's clear that the vast majority of voting Americans continue to be led around by the nose, gobbling up the lies and propaganda that the major parties and the media shovel out -- even to the point of voting against their own interests, as seen in California, where a spending blitz by chemical companies and Big Agribusiness actually convinced voters that they shouldn't demand to know whether their food is genetically modified.

Of course, if Obama had stuck to his 2007 campaign pledge to fight for GMO labeling, this wouldn't be an issue -- but you can't appoint Monsanto hacks to positions of power and expect them to get with the program. They're the ones who killed the California proposal, after all. And so America remains the only industrialized nation that doesn't mandate GMO labeling, which is an indication of just how much corporate interests control everything in this country. Corporations got a health-care plan that enriches them by mandating that all Americans buy private insurance, while health costs continue to spiral out of control. And now the corporations have defeated your right to know what's in your food -- courtesy of the voters themselves.

This nation is overrun with mindless, obedient sheep, and the politicians and their corporate puppetmasters take full advantage of it, granting themselves more and more wealth and power at our expense.

The fight for liberty may at this point be futile, but it is still a noble fight, and thank goodness we still have people brave enough to speak the truth. You will be missed, Dr. Paul. Thank you for all you've done in defense of liberty.

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