By Luke Thomas
September 5, 2010
Former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, 8th Congressional District candidate John Dennis (GOP) and Congressman Ron Paul (GOP), drew as many as 1500 to an anti-war, anti-Washington and anti-incumbency rally Saturday in San Francisco.
Their message (to paraphrase): It’s time to kick every last member of Congress out of office and start all over again, because let’s face it, Congress and the White House serve interests more powerful than the citizenry our electeds are duty bound to represent and serve.
Ever since 9/11, the nation has been told lie after lie to cover for the Republican Neocons’ dastardly agenda of ruling the world like a cadre of Doctor Evils, hell bent on securing every last drop of peaked oil before anyone else starts meddling with America’s God-given right to resource exploitation. The result? Hundreds of thousands of military and civilian deaths, hatred for America around the world, a flag that flies in disrepute and a nation on its bended economic knees looking down the barrel of financial collapse.
Millions of Americans are now suffering. True unemployment hovers around 20 percent, not the 9.6 percent the government wants you to believe, one in five mortgages are underwater, and the value of the mighty American dollar is on the verge of becoming worth less than the paper it’s printed on.
Congress’ solution? Call up the Federal Reserve, a quasi-private institution no more Federal than Federal Express, and have them print more money. If America has an economic hangover, just drink more money. To hell with the threat of inflation, deflation, hyper-inflation and the threat of a bloody revolution, we’ve got you covered. The best guns, weaponry, warrantless surveillance, Fema “camps” and gated communities fiat currency can buy.
Ok, so they didn’t quite go as far as to say the above, but they came close.
Here’s some excerpts of what they actually said:
“In recent months we’ve heard all about the common good and history has shown us that the common good is best served when those individuals that make up the common good, operate under the principles of honesty, integrity, loyalty and pride,” said former Supervisor Tony Hall. “Can’t we ask that of our leaders in Washington? That’s what the common good is all about. The country works better and that’s why you people here today are starting a new trend in San Francisco. This is a new beginning, a new spirit.”
“We have common problems that require common answers,” Hall added.
In introducing Former Board of Supervisors President Matt Gonzalez, Hall paid tribute to Gonzalez referring to him as his “closest ally” on the Board. “He is a wonderful, wonderful person and we were on the opposite sides of so many issues when we served on the Board together – that was only eclipsed by the issues that serve the individual. This is a gentleman who whose heart is in serving the individual.”
Gonzalez began his 15-minute speech recognizing that most in attendance were “in part here to protest the war.” He called into question the stated motives by the Bush administration for going to war and the rhetoric used by President Obama in continuing and expanding hostilities in Afghanistan.
“I think it’s incredible that anyone would believe this rhetoric,” he said.
“The notion that we would be spending this kind of money in a foreign land for very unclear and obscure objectives wasn’t justified – it couldn’t be justified,” Gonzalez said, adding that the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are “draining” municipalities across the country, as much as $600 million per year San Francisco.
In 2005, Gonzalez and Nader hosted speaking tours in California “to get people to think about what we could actually do with that money.”
“And when we don’t have that money, what do we do? The left and the right fight over taxation, they fight over scarce resources. Rather than having plenty, we have very little.”
In 2008, Nader invited Gonzalez to be his running mate on an independent ticket. They quickly encountered third-party ballot access restrictions across the nation, Gonzalez stated.
“We got on about 45, 46 different ballots around the country despite very draconian ballot access laws. During that time, people would say to me, ‘Well, what’s wrong with Barack Obama? He wants to end the war. He’s going to protect our civil liberties,’ and things like that, and yet, when you go down the paces on his record, what do you see: Support for the Patriot Act, support for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, support for the Military Commission Act – you’ve got someone voting for every war appropriation. At some point the rhetoric runs aground.”
Gonzalez called Obama’s rhetoric “good,” but whose actions are “so lousy.”
“Are we going to object to it?” Gonzalez asked.
On the war in Afghanistan, Gonzalez recalled how the former Soviet Union suffered a crushing defeat and said he can “assure” the US military “is not going to succeed – even if we were morally justified in being there.”
“In 2008, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, the Green Party nominee, Cynthia McKinney, and Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party, came together on some points of agreement to try to say the left and the right can come together on certain points of agreement,” Gonzalez said.
“I want to suggest that rather than rewarding incumbent politicians that show us they’re not going to defend our rights, that we start engaging in a litmus test that takes these points of agreement and we simply say, ‘If you’re not with us on these, you’re not entitled to our support. You’re not going to get our votes. You’re not going to get our money. We’re going to vote for a candidate elsewhere.’”
Those agreements included ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and returning all US troops based in foreign countries; the protection of privacy and civil liberties; ending torture; ending the erosion of habeas corpus; an end to secret tribunals; to protect future generations from deferred national debt obligations; to end the Federal Reserve’s “cozy relationship with corporate banking and other financial institutions;” opposition to taxpayer bailouts and corporate subsidies; and to “aggressively prosecute corporate crimes and fraud.”
“These are not left or right issues,” Gonzalez said. “These are issues we can work on together.”
Gonzalez warned that those on the right of the political spectrum who accuse Obama of being a “socialist” are nullifying the left from critiquing Obama.
“Because some on the right are calling Obama a socialist – a label that doesn’t belong to him – by calling him a socialist, that outrage on the right is containing the outrage on Obama’s left, and it’s causing the left not to see the points of comparison and points of agreement with the right, or with libertarians and others, and I think it’s important that we be careful about that,” Gonzalez stated.
Referring to Obama, Gonzalez said, “It’s not a socialist president who engages in bank bailouts. It’s not a socialist president that has his healthcare that makes you buy private medical insurance. It’s not a socialist president that keeps hundreds of thousands of troops in foreign countries.”
In closing, Gonzalez said, “We need to have a foreign policy that is based on some overriding and guiding principle. This notion that we’re going to prop up foreign governments, that we’re going to invade other countries for some kind of perceived benefit, where we’re going to install somebody that’s going to be supportive of American private and corporate interests, needs to stop.”
“We cannot have a healthy democracy, a healthy republic, if we erode our own constitution and we engage in foreign policy that is contrary to all of the principles that the forefathers had in mind,” Gonzalez said.
John Dennis, GOP candidate for 8th Congressional District:
“My name is John Dennis and I’m running against Nancy Pelosi… But there’s no campaigning here today. We’re here to talk about getting together to stop Washington before they destroy this country.”
Dennis thanked Gonzalez for his appearance saying Gonzalez is a “thoughtful person” who “fundamentally respects people. No matter what political label you prefer, we’re all being bankrupted by Washington and I’m honored that he’s here today.”
“The reason for this rally is simple. The crumbling of our country before our eyes is not caused by the people but by the irresponsible, and sometimes criminal people and politicians running, protecting a growing Washington.”
“Why has Washington become the dominant force in our personal lives, our economy and our future?” Dennis asked.
Though the latest national unemployment figure, as reported by the government, is 9.6 percent, if unemployment was measured as it was during the Great Depression, the real unemployment figure is “closer to 20 percent,” Dennis said.
“Our large corporations are certainly making money, but they’re so unsure of the future, that they will not hire.”
“One in every five homes in America is underwater which means the homeowner owes more than the property is worth.”
“The economy is not growing. We have a large Federal debt which we can never repay.”
Dennis referred to the national debt imposed by Washington on future generations as “fiscal child abuse.”
“Forty percent of all current Federal spending is borrowed money,” Dennis said. “We cannot afford this kind of spending. We must cut government. First and best place to start is with these wars.”
With 50,000 troops still stationed in Iraq, “does anyone really believe we’re ever going to leave Iraq? In Afghanistan, in our other undeclared war, we fight an enemy that never attacked us. Al-Qaeda is no longer in Afghanistan. Not even the fiercest hawk would argue that the Taliban had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks.”
“It’s time to bring the troops home.”
“Worse than the economic consequences of war, is the loss of life. When we go to war carelessly without clear objectives and without a declaration, as the constitution requires, it diminishes war’s seriousness, it desensitizes us all to the deadly consequences of military action. That’s why we must never go to war again without Congress declaring it.”
“We should stop nation building around the world and concentrate on rebuilding one nation – our nation.”
“It’s time to get beyond the left and the right fight. Washington encourages us to get involved in the left/right fight, and why not. While we fight, Washington’s power expands and it always expands at the expense of our civil liberties.”
“While there are significant differences between the left and the right, we have far more common ground.”
“For those who think the left/right battle is real, ask yourself this, what major changes in policies have changed with the change of power? The Democrats are in power and they continue the wars and policies like warrantless wiretapping and the Patriot Act. When the Republicans were in power, spending exploded including unfunded liabilities like the prescription drug program. No matter who is in charge, the spending continues… the printing and the borrowing continue… the wars continue… the invasion of privacy continues. We have to understand that the battle is not between the left and the right. The battle is between Washington and us.”
“While dark days may lie ahead, there is also the awakening in this country and around the world. Can we feel it? Can you feel the change coming? The revolution marches on.”
“Today was about getting beyond the left/right fight and trying to find solutions that are hopefully going to save the Republic,” Dennis told FCJ following the rally. “Washington is out of control. It’s gone way beyond its constitutional limits and we’re suffering for it.”
GOP Congressman Ron Paul:
On foreign policy, Paul said, “We should mind our own business. The constitution gives us no authority to go around the world and police the world.”
That sentiment is why Paul supported then governor George W. Bush for President in 2000. “That’s what they say to appease the people, but once they get in, they do something else.”
Paul said the fights between Democrats and Republicans are “real fights over power. Not over your liberties over principle because if you get a Democrat in or a Republican in at the administrative level, they generally endorse with vengeance, the Federal Reserve system, the tax system and the foreign wars. That’s what we have to put a brake on. Break that up.”
“We have 13,000 special ops people. You know what their job is? Assassination. I mean this is despicable.”
Referring to the Muslim community center in New York City, Paul said, “If they could prevent it, that means Islam is guilty. That was the goal, is to say Islam is guilty, because if they don’t have enough hatred in this country built up to have an enemy, they can’t justify these wars.”
“They have to have an enemy. They have to have a Hitler to attack so that’s why I thought it was so important to point out that Islam has very, very, very little to do with 9/11. Al Qaeda had a lot to do with it and our foreign policy had a lot to do with it as well.”
On the economy, Paul said poor people suffer the most when the currency becomes inflated. “We run up the spending. We borrow a bunch. If we still don’t have enough, the Fed prints some money, devalues the currency… It’s all artificial. It’s all based on debt. It’s all a fallacy and when the bubble bursts, who gets hurt? It’s the poor people that they pretended they wanted to help.”
“It doesn’t help at all, but who gets bailed out? Republican or Democratic administration, the rich get bailed out, the military industrial complex, the bankers get bailed out.”
Paul said the US recession was caused in large part by the Federal Reserve, a quasi-private institution created in secrecy by a consortium of bankers in 1913. He referred to the bailouts as an example of “crony capitalism.”
Paul essentially believes the Federal Reserve is a corrupt institution, and it would be hard not to disagree considering three years ago it printed $3.7 trillion approved by Congress, money that Paul said went “out the window” and into the hands of “bankers and corporate giants, the internationalists – and the people didn’t get anything.”
“That has to stop or the people are going to eventually get very angry about what’s happening,” Paul said.
If the government continues to print money, “they are practically guaranteeing our dollar is going stop functioning.”
“Eventually paper money will fail. The bubble is bigger than ever. It’s worldwide. It’s based on the dollar. There’s a delusion about our strength which is fast disappearing, but they still trust us as an economic power and a military power – and that all conveys trust in the currency.”
Using an analogy, Paul warned the government would continue to exacerbate economic collapse via more spending, like an alcoholic needs a drink to cure a hangover.
Paul, who is expected to run for president in 2012, wants to abolish income tax and appears to support a monetary system based on the gold standard, a monetary system in which the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of gold.
Paul said he would cut spending to the military which spends over $1 trillion a year.
He supports the legalization of marijuana and said Americans abuse legal prescription drugs more than illegal drugs.
“We demand that we legalize freedom,” Paul said.
Correction, 9/7: FCJ incorrectly stated former Supervisor Tony Hall is a Republican. Hall said he is an independent and has never registered as a Republican. FCJ regrets the error.