Posts tagged washington dc

Why is Obama weighing in on CVS ending tobacco sales? Crony capitalism

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Why is Obama weighing in on CVS ending tobacco sales? Crony capitalism

 

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This is a place where the president has no business at all.

 

Just because CVS has decided not to carry tobacco any longer and to instead focus on the other highly addictive drugs which are prescribed by doctors every day, doesn’t mean the president has to toss in his 2 cents. It’s a business decision and shouldn’t be any of the president’s.

But there’s more to the story than just the president sticking his nose again into the real economy.

CVS wants Obamacare clinics in its stores which means no tobacco. This way though the pharmacy chain may lose $2 billion annually in the first year or two from this decision, in the long run it thinks it wins.  The company has secured the praise of the government in a very public way which protects it to a degree from government scrutiny and probably even actively helps the company with regulators and other political favors.

But more importantly CVS secures a stream of taxpayer dollars going to its bottom line through the Obamacare program. CVS will continue to be a drug dealer, just now the drugs are paid for by the American people. Tobacco, as good a revenue stream as it is can’t compete with dollars flowing straight from Washington.

(From Politico)
 
“As one of the largest retailers and pharmacies in America, CVS Caremark sets a powerful example,” he said in a statement early Wednesday morning. “Today’s decision will help advance my Administration’s efforts to reduce tobacco-related deaths, cancer, and heart disease, as well as bring down health care costs.”

Basically its play and be praised or don’t and be demonized and scrutinized by an activist federal government. Great choice. I’m sure the shareholders love it.

Click here for the article

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

 

Okay Mr. President, you want to talk about “inequality”? Let’s talk about it.

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Okay Mr. President, you want to talk about “inequality”? Let’s talk about it.

 

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I woke up this morning to Steve Liesman on CNBC explaining the theme of tonight’s State of the Union Address. You see, since 1980 middle class wages have only gone up only 50% in inflation adjusted terms whereas for the top 1% of earners income has gone up by 210%. Something clearly must be done. How can such a disparity be? This is unfair. Can’t the government “solve” this?

The new narrative which has likely been crafted by John Podesta super crony capitalist extraordinaire, is that Congress (specifically the Republican controlled House) isn’t letting the president address the issue of income inequality.

“It’s those old guys who don’t care about you who are holding back the manna from heaven aka Washington DC. It’s their fault not mine. I’m not incompetent and way out of my league even after 5 years in the White House. Not my fault. It’s the selfish and rich Republicans. They want you to remain poor.”

Rally the base when times are bad is the old political wisdom, and they are very bad for this president. Shore up the folks who will defend you no matter what and change the conversation from Obamacare. Anything but Obamacare.

Given that the ACA is Obama’s chief “achievement” to date this is a particularly sad state of affairs. The president’s “pivot” (the word is right up there with “optics” in my book) toward income inequality is a cynical political move. The White House is desperate to regain at least some momentum in the face of a 2013 which was one failure after another.

But since Mr. Obama seems keen on bringing it up, let’s talk about inequality.

Despite what the establishment #oldmedia always say, the increased income inequality that we see is not the result of the “rich” taking advantage of unfettered markets and then making a mint at the expense of everyone else. Capitalism, free markets, free thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation, is not the problem. Capitalism is in most respects the cure. No, the problem is that business and government have increasingly partnered with one another to make some very rich and to shut out others. It’s too little capitalism which is the problem.

Let’s take a look at the most obvious example, Wall Street.

Has Wall Street reaped the windfall it has over the past 5 years because of the free market, because of capitalism?

Absolutely not. Had the free market been allowed to work in 2008 Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citi, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley would probably be history. These banks leveraged themselves out too far and got caught exposed. Their greed did them in. Mr Market made a margin call and many “masters of the universe” turned out to have feet of clay after all. The banks should have been allowed to collapse so that better managed banks could fill in the space.

The banks weren’t too big to fail. They could have failed and life would have gone on. ATMs would have kept working. The sun would have still risen in the east. The economy after a period of adjustment would have righted itself and emerged much healthier for having jettisoned the poorly managed firms. Lloyd Blankfein would have been out of a job, but he’d have survived somehow in the Hamptons.

But that isn’t what happened as we know. The managers of these institutions knew how to manipulate the levers of power. They were able to engineer a massive bailout, which started at $700 billion and just grew from there. In the years after the bailout bonuses were paid out at the big banks with abandon. These bonuses were for the most part paid for by the American taxpayer. No wonder people are angry.

But the bailouts weren’t capitalism. The bonuses which were paid to Jamie Dimon and friends weren’t a result of “free markets.” They weren’t the just rewards of building a better mousetrap, or even building a better derivative algorithm. They were the result of crony capitalism, a soft form of fascism, which is of course a form of socialism. The bankers made millions because the state redistributed the income of everyday Americans and gave it to Wall Street.

Or take for example the sell off of the taxpayer’s (forced) position in GM at a loss last year. In addition to losing $10 billion on the deal for the taxpayers, the deal done by Treasury unleashes the executives which so long as money was still owed to the taxpayer couldn’t go nuts with executive compensation. Now, after the $10 billion taxpayer loss they and the GM board are free to do as they wish in the pay department.

Or what about the huge percentage of so called “green” energy initiative grants and loans which went to politically connected people in 2009. Folks made millions, in wind, solar, algae, and who knows what else, all again courtesy of the US tax payer. Almost none of the ventures were economically viable. But lots of people got paid that is for sure.

There are probably thousands of other examples over the last 10 years or so (and many more going back way before the past decade,) ranging from war profiteering of all sorts, to cronyism in the new healthcare law, to draconian copyright laws which are a subsidy to Hollywood, to, well, there are many other examples which we have chronicled at Against Crony Capitalism.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that there is so much income inequality. Business and government in this country have partnered up. Sometimes the government has the upper hand. Sometimes business does. But both parties engage in the crony capitalism waltz to enrich themselves, to the exclusion of a large part of the American population.

And at the heart of it all, is the Federal Reserve.

Nothing creates illegitimate inequality (there is legitimate income inequality which exists in a free price system) like the Federal Reserve.

0% interest rates are for the most part pretty good for rich people. Money which is super cheap can be used to speculate and invest at almost no cost. In theory such low rates are also good for home buyers. Low rates keep monthly payments lower. More people buying homes (with lower payments) spurs the economy and then the economy roars back to life as we all buy Sub Zero freezers and SUVs. This was the logic behind the housing boom in the mid 2000s and it is the same logic the Fed is using now (with less success.)

But 0% rates also means that savers are hung out to dry. The prudent middle class is hammered. Those who have a nice nest egg built up over a lifetime of hard work and thrift find that unless they take on significant risk there is no return for their money. $500,000 in a CD not so long ago yielded an yearly payout of $25,000. Now because of the Fed keeping money cheap artificially that same $500,000 might yield $5,000 on an annualized basis if one is lucky.

Over time granny finds that $5000 per year isn’t enough to get by on even though her house is paid off. She finds she must dip into her nest egg a little more each year, which also in turn lowers her already modest yield. Soon the nest egg is gone.

Of course she can always seek increased yield in other places like the stock market, (which though they won’t say it is exactly where the Fed wants granny to put her money) but widows and orphans really have no business there. It’s bad enough for granny to lose her pool of wealth over years. Losing much of it in an afternoon is tougher to take. But that is what our current monetary policy encourages.

Not so long ago granny could keep up. She could beat inflation and pay her living expenses. When she died her wealth was passed on to the next generation.

But now, thanks to the Fed and it’s policies which benefit the hedge fund guys instead of the average saver it is unlikely that much of granny’s wealth will be passed on. Wealth has been pulled from the middle class.

“Inequality” has been exacerbated by a government which is too large. The only way to get the economy on track is to lessen the footprint of government. Free prices. Free markets. Let people create. Make it easier to start businesses

But tonight Obama is unlikely to talk about how after years and years of failure government must now get out of the way. (Boy how great would that be?) Or how government sponsored public/private partnerships steal money from the average American. Or how the government enabled the biggest bonus binge Wall Street has ever seen. Or how granny is getting clobbered because of loose monetary policy.

No, my bet is that he will talk about how the economy has worked for the “rich” while others have fallen behind. But he won’t call for freer markets and an end to price fixing at the Federal Reserve. He will instead insist that government “do something.” What that something is I’m not sure but the term “shovel ready” will likely make an appearance tonight along with its old buddy “infrastructure improvement.”

The president will probably wag his finger at the House GOP a bit and threaten to use executive actions to go around them. He’ll try to look like he means business.

Obama will also talk about the need to raise the minimum wage, which is basically economic suicide but makes for good sound bites. He will give hope to people who are hurting but who unfortunately may not understand that if the minimum wage is raised they may soon be out of a job.

In short Obama will be long on proposals, long on rhetoric, but woefully short on understanding. Pretty much the to story of his presidency.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

 

Lobbyists Cheer Boehner and Ryan for Expanding Government in Deal

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Source: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org

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Lobbyists Cheer Boehner and Ryan for Expanding Government in Deal

 

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There is a clear line which has been drawn in the dirt of Washington DC. On one side there are the lobbyists, the #oldmedia, and the establishment political machines. On the other side are the people calling for a truly smaller government.

The thought that government would shrink, even a government which is as bloated and debt ridden as our own, is beyond the pale for those whose business it is to extract wealth from taxpayers. That’s why the lobbyists in Downtown DC have cheered the budget deal.

Think about it. A large part of K Street has built a career on buying the GOP, and now the Tea Party is just going to take over the place? Who do these small government people think they are anyway? This is “our town.” This is our party, and frankly the party has been rocking for decades. So long as government grows everyone can get a piece for themselves–everyone in Washington DC anyway. Why would anyone want to stop this? Principals are great and all, but we are here to get paid! Principals are for poor people.

And that is what they think.

(From Breitbart.com)
 
Grassroots conservative groups have fired back. Club for Growth has responded by pointing out, “Corporations are some of the biggest seekers of welfare in this country.” Heritage Action for America, meanwhile, has commented, “The fact that K Street is applauding confirms that the deal was bad, and Speaker Boehner’s comments confirm conservatives’ worst suspicions about Washington — that the game is rigged.”

Click here for the article.

Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org


Nick Sorrentino
About Nick Sorrentino

Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.

 

Obama Helps Chinese Investors Purchase US Real Estate to Compensate for 2008 Crash

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Source: http://occupycorporatism.com

Obama Helps Chinese Investors Purchase US Real Estate to Compensate for 2008 CrashBy
Occupy Corporatism

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is reporting that thanks to foreign investors, the housing market is beginning to make a recovery. These non-American buyers have purchased $82 billion worth of US homes with $7 billion being Chinese and the second largest investors to the Canadians.

Chinese business owners and possibly government representatives are acquiring a large amount of American real estate with $2 billion in commercial properties in 2011.

The NAR also says that Japanese investors are “buying up America’s landmarks” which has been hailed as an “economic miracle”. The Japanese are interested in owning “high-priced hotels, golf courses, office buildings and condominiums.”

Since 1993, the Japanese have been able to assist the American investor in purchasing “distressed assets” (i.e. foreclosed real estate) by lowering the market values which created astronomically low purchase prices. Now the Chinese from Hong Kong are bringing their money to American shores, buying up properties at an alarming rate.

Canadian investment in US real estate has between 1994 to 1998 to 20.0% along with Germany and the Netherlands.

The NAR praises this boom in foreign investors are a conceptual move from traditional to non-traditional investing. New York is seeing an obvious increase in sales to foreign investors which as contributed to the increasing pace of real estate transactions; while not increasing the value of those properties.

CB Richard Ellis, global real estate advisory firm, asserts that foreign money flooding the US real estate markets means a 1.5% increase to Americans. As property in America is moved into the hands of Asian business-owners and government representatives large portions of New York City, Washington DC, Boston and San Francisco are disappearing from the control of Americans.

In the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas of Florida 10% of client investors are foreign which accounts for 50% of their business transactions. This trend has been going strong since 2010.

This move is touted as an attempt to turn foreign currency from the implosion being committed in the Euro-Zone. And in protecting their ability to use their fiat currency, investing in hard assets (i.e. property, land) is ensuring the wealthy remain so regardless of whether or not fiat currencies are destroyed across the globe.

The Obama administration is pushing for auctions of foreclosed to foreign investors in bulk sales. The foreclosed properties held by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Agency (FHA) are of the utmost importance to unload onto foreign investors. By setting the stage for easy money from foreign investors, Obama ensures that those investments are given a major return as more properties are given up for rent rather than resold.

FULL STORY

Congressman Ron Paul’s Farewell Speech to Congress (Video & Transcript)

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A true statesman and humanitarian, Dr. Ron Paul, simply states the road we are on verses the road we should be on, explaining both consequences and rewards.  I feel no individual in office can fill his mighty shoes, but that is not necessary, as the time is now to advance the cause of Freedom and Personal Liberty and the person to carry that cause is you and I, as individuals uniting to create a critical mass, so often mentioned by Bob Schultz and others.  The revolution is now in our hands and we each will decide how best to promote the battle for Liberty!

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Video Location: http://rtr.org/vid/5446/congressman-ron-paul-s-farewell-speech-to-congress

Transcript Location: http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/transcript-of-farewell-address/

Much thanks to Gary Franchi and !

Congressman Paul’s final speech on the House floor before leaving Congress

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Below is the transcript of Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress:

 

Farewell to Congress

This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor.  At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period.  My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today:  promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.

It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.

To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.

The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.

 

How Much Did I Accomplish?

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.

I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits.  If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell.  Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.

(more…)

Eric Holder: We Must ‘Brainwash’ People Against Guns

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Source: http://www.theblaze.com

1995 Video of Eric Holder: We Must ‘Brainwash’ People Against Guns

New video of Eric Holder from 1995 has surfaced, and it may put “Fast and Furious” in a much broader perspective.

Recorded on CSPAN2, the clip shows current Attorney General Eric Holder laying out a strategy to “change the hearts and minds of the people in Washington, DC” in how they look at guns.

“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns, especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we changed our attitudes about cigarettes.”

Though it’s no surprise that Eric Holder is anti-gun, critics are saying that his proposed initiatives go too far.  Among other things, Holder suggested that there be some form of hotline you could call if see a gun, or have any “information” about one.

He also said that the school board should have some form of anti-violence or anti-gun message every day.  “Every day, every school, at every level,” he stated.

Last, Holder admitted that his proposal is “brainwashing.”

“We have to be repetitive about this,” he said.  “We need to do this every day of the week, and just really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.”

Watch the video, unearthed by Breitbart.com contributor Charles C. Johnson, below:

Holder has recently come under fire for “Operation Fast and Furious,” where guns were sold to Mexican drug cartels but not properly tracked.  The operation resulted in hundreds of deaths, including that of a U.S. Border patrol agent.  Critics of the Attorney General claim that the operation was intended to create horrific gun violence, allowing the U.S. government to tighten gun control regulations.

RON PAUL EXPOSED!!!

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RON PAUL EXPOSED!!! Is this the man we want to see running the U.S.A.?

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Please favorite and thumbs up the video– please embed and spread. The more favorites the more will see this video. All non-troll comments are approved as fast as possible. Ron Paul is a truly good man who loves the nation and each and every one of us. He is a brilliant man who knows the issues better than anyone in the race. The power of Liberty and brotherly love can solve all problems before us.

Ron Paul is a great man and this video shows he has been fighting for the American people for decades and will be there to end the tyranny of psychopathic criminals that have hijacked our great nation. This video exposes the Truth of Ron Paul. We need this man. He is the only hope we have and if he doesn’t make it into the White House there won’t be anything left of the United States– civil war will be a certainty. The U.S. is hijacked by a bunch of mobsters who don’t give a damn about the nation and certainly don’t care about the American people. 60 treasonous psychopaths in the Senate just voted in favor of locking up American citizens indefinitely without any legal recourse whatsoever in custody of the military– turning the U.S. into a military dictatorship. Under this law they have declared they are no longer abiding by the Constitution and they have also declared they are criminals. We must stop voting for the two party scam that has given a foreign nation total control of the Democracy of the U.S. These people are guilty of High Treason for even considering such a law– against the people of the U.S. and they need to be removed from our government.

PLEASE SEND YOUR MONEY TO RON PAUL’S CAMPAIGN AND DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO SUPPORT HIM. IT’S NOW OR NEVER.

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[CIM Comment]

Now more than every we need the Champion of the Constitution!

Please visit Ron Paul’s official campaign site by following the link below and donate today!

Media Blackout on Troops who Rallied for Ron Paul in Washington DC

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Source: http://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com

Thanks to (@sibzianna) :)

Media Blackout on Troops who Rallied for Ron Paul in Washington DC on President’s Day

I have never been as proud to be an American as I am now and that wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for our troops and their passion for Ron Paul.

Our troops were warned:
This was posted on the RON PAUL IS THE CHOICE OF THE TROOPS Facebook event page by Kevin Audrain, who claims to be active duty Navy and was leaked to me by multiple unconfirmed sources.
—–Original Message—–
From: Weger, Joel A CIV OGC, Ethics [mailto:joel.weger@NAVY.MIL]
Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 8:17
To: ETHICS@LISTSERV.LAW.NAVY.MIL
Subject: [ETHICS] Partisan Political March
Importance: High
It has come to our attention that a partisan political march targeting
military personnel is being organized for February 20, 2012. See link
below:

http://www.facebook.com/events/192677970828185/?ref=notif&notif_t=event_invite

As a reminder, active duty personnel are prohibited by DoD Directive 1344.10
paragraph 4.1.2.10 from marching in a partisan political parade regardless
of whether they are in uniform or civilian clothes. Reservists not on
active duty and retirees may not march in uniform pursuant to paragraph
4.1.4. Reservists not on active duty and retirees may march in civilian
clothes provided that they do not otherwise act in a manner that could
reasonably give rise to the inference or appearance of official sponsorship,
approval, or endorsement.
The directive is a lawful general regulation. Violations of paragraphs 4.1.
through 4.5. of the Directive by persons subject to the Uniform Code of
Military Justice are punishable under Article 92, “Failure to Obey Order or
Regulation.”
In addition, DODI 1334.01, paragraph 3.1.2 prohibits the wearing of the
uniform by members of the armed forces (including retired members and
members of reserve components) during or in connection with political
activities.
You may wish to advise your command regarding this particular event because
of the apparent solicitation of active duty personnel.
Joel A. Weger
Senior Attorney
Department of the Navy
Office of the Assistant General Counsel (Ethics)
703.614.XXXX

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More than 18,000 people were invited to attend to attend the “RON PAUL IS THE CHOICE OF THE TROOPS! (march on the White House)”. Two-thousand-one-hundred and fifty-one people committed to going to the march while 964 people clicked maybe.

I tweeted Sean Hannity and Bret Baier of Fox News two days before the rally took place to get their take on the story and got nothing.

I didn’t think the mainstream media could disappoint me anymore than they already have. When the special news report came in on the television they said nothing about what was going on in Washington DC with our troops and instead talked about war propaganda in Iran.

The troops stood up for our freedoms for the first time that I know of, inside our own borders and it wasn’t even considered newsworthy?

I don’t understand what is wrong with our media!

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I tweeted CNN Wolf Blitzer, Brooke Baldwin, and even went as far as accusing CNN of ignoring it on purpose! I told them that they were losing credibility by the minute…

I was fortunate enough to watch this unfold live on the internet thanks to feeds available from livestream and Ustream.tv but not one word has been uttered on the television.

Here was my take on the thing.

On February 20, 2012, on Presidents Day, our troops gathered for a rally in Washington DC to march in support for their candidate of choice, Ron Paul.

I was moved to tears as our troops marched in formation on our nation’s capitol shouting “President Paul”, “end the FED”, “end these wars”, and “Ron Paul revolution legalize the Constitution”.

For the first time since 9/11 I felt American Pride! It is the most patriotic event I’ve ever saw in my life.

Our troops stood silent and saluted for eight straight minutes to honor those who committed suicide since the Obama Administration took office. It was eerie to think about because for every second that passed a veterans life was lost due to suicide was honored.

Our troops challenged the legal advice given to them and I am thankful they did.

“We the people” must stand against this tyrannical government and the corrupt monetary system that has wreaked havoc all over the world. We can no longer say nothing or what freedom we do have will be forever gone.

 

Ron Paul 2012: Who’s Laughing Now?

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