An Interview With Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

An Interview With Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

This article is featured in Bitcoin Magazine’s “The Primary Issue”. Click here to get your Annual Bitcoin Magazine Subscription.

After a plane, a ferry, and a train had brought me to Manhattan, NY, we found ourselves with thirty-something minutes to set up for a sit-down interview with presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., thirty-something floors high in a Hudson Yards’ hotel. Captured by filmmaker Jeremy Poley, RFK answered our questions for about forty minutes. His responses were sharp and well articulated with an encyclopedic recall ability. He answered every single question I had prepared. Perhaps lost in the mainstream noise attempting to diminish his inarguable counterculture resonance is his general likability. But while Americans might love their Kennedys, the DNC sure doesn’t. At least not while his campaign is putting an outside-yet-still-partisan pressure on the Democratic party, forcing the Biden reelection campaign to at least pretend to get their act together.

His entrance was hurried. His breathing controlled, but heavy like the hands of a prizefighter, wrapped around his tea cup. After a warm but truncated introduction, Jeremy gave us the green light and the interview started in earnest a few minutes after the middle of the hour.

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Goodwin: If your father was around today, would he recognize the current state of the DNC? What is a Kennedy Democrat to you?

RFK: I would say Kennedy Democrats are the traditional Democratic Party which was the party of the working class, the working poor. It was a party that was very strong traditionally on the environment. Its tradition has been anti-war and skeptical of the military industrial complex, and also skeptical of Wall Street. I would say taking the position of preventing Wall Street from dictating policies that end up serving the American general interest of the corporate aristocracy and the corporate kleptocracy and stripping of the middle class, working people, and union members of their wealth and their power.

Goodwin: This doesn't sound like the DNC today.

RFK: No.

Goodwin: How do you plan to take on the super monopolies that control our food, media, currency, and health?

RFK: For each sector you have to do something different. It’s true that there’s been this extraordinary consolidation where these three giant finance houses — BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard — control 88% of the S&P 500 and they control virtually all of the military contractors. They control most of the U.S.-based agricultural sector, the big packing companies and seed companies, the pharmaceutical industry. For each sector, you have to do different things. And in each sector, those industries also have 20 or 30 years of developing methodologies for capturing and controlling the regulatory agencies — that are supposed to protect the public from bad behavior by those companies. But instead those regulators have become sock puppets for the industries they’re supposed to regulate. And in each case, you have to unravel corporate capture. I think that I’m probably the best person at this point, in this country, that’s suited to do that because so much of my career has been litigating against those agencies and the industries that have corrupted them.

And when you bring litigation, you really almost get a PhD in corporate capture. You really understand the dynamics of it and understand, therefore, the methods for unraveling it. And I’ll give you an example. When we brought the Monsanto case, we uncovered discovery documents that showed that the head of the pesticide division at EPA, a man named Jess Rowland, was secretly working for Monsanto and that his orders were being given to him by Monsanto executives who were instructing him to kill studies that they thought might link glyphosate — the active ingredient in their flagship pesticide Roundup — from links to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. And it was clear that although he was being paid by the American taxpayer, he was actually working for Monsanto. And this is true unfortunately throughout the agencies. This is more the rule than the exception. Because I’ve been so deeply involved in this kind of litigation, I actually know the names of people that I need to move as soon as I get into office.

Most politicians are very intimidated by these agencies because the agencies do have the capacity at many levels to commit civil disobediences to embarrass the president if you feel that they’re coming under pressure. And I understand that dynamic and I understand what needs to be done to unravel this corrupt merger of state and corporate power.

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Goodwin: A carousel of C-suite executives to regulatory positions. When you do take office, what actions would you take to ensure free speech, free press, and an open internet acting as a public square for discourse, especially for dissident voices against these kinds of propaganda machines?

RFK: Number one, my first day in office, I’ll issue an executive order against any federal agency or any federal regulator encouraging or promoting censorship at any social media site. In addition to that, I will promote legislation to change the RICO Act, the Racketeering Act, which my father originally wrote, to include as a predicate offense government-dictated censorship of free speech. I’ll also summon the heads of all of the major social media sites, including YouTube and Google, which continue to censor political speech in this country. And I’ll tell them that they need to come up with a plan about how they’re going to avoid censoring political speech. The sanction, ultimately, is to transform them into public utilities and recognize that they now have become the public square. And then I will put in legislation to amend the Communications Act, which includes Section 230, and I will, in that act, make the censorship of political speech illegal.

Goodwin: If democracy innately necessitates informed consent, can the U.S. government fairly call for the violent defense of democracy as a pillar of foreign policy while working with Big Tech to censor stories within its own country?

RFK: Can the government censor criticism of, for example, the war in Ukraine? That should be illegal. Individual media sites, of course, should be able to criticize the war, and they can either criticize it or they can choose not to allow criticism on their pages. That’s their option. But if they’re doing it at the direction of the government, then the First Amendment is implicated and it becomes illegal. And that’s the way that I would treat it.

The idea that America promotes democracy worldwide is generally regarded as canard around the world. The CIA has participated, I think, in 87 coups between 1947 and 1997 — a third of the nations on Earth. And most of them are democracies. And the USAID, which is a CIA front, spends $10 billion a year in efforts to overthrow democracies in various countries. They do a regime change operation. When you do a regime change operation, you’re countervailing democracy in that country, because usually the regime has been put in place through some kind of consensus by the people who live in that country. Often this consensus is manufactured by projects like Operation Mockingbird. The CIA today is the biggest funder of journalism in the world. It’s not supposed to fund journalism in the U.S., but it does. And if you look around the world, it owns newspapers, it runs newspapers, it pays editors, and it pays leading journalists in most of the developing world and in Europe.

Goodwin: Speaking of journalists, do you intend to pardon Julian Assange when you take office?

RFK: I will pardon Julian Assange on day one and probably Edward Snowden as well. And then I will look at other cases for pardon. I’m going to look at Ross Ulbricht’s case to see if he was justly convicted and whether his conviction in his sentence reflects the seriousness of his crime, or whether he was being made an example of in order to discourage Bitcoin or the industry of cryptocurrencies. And if I find out that is the case, I will pardon him as well.

Goodwin: How is what Ross did any different than what AT&T executives did, allowing drug dealers and human traffickers to use their systems? Or JPMorgan Chase, allowing known human traffickers to utilize their bank services? How is what Ross did any different than that?

RFK: There are many ironies that accompany Ross’ convictions. I think that’s a really good point — the things that he was accused of are things that are just part of the business structure and the business plan of these leading blue chip corporations. But he didn’t have that power of the lobbying clout. And if I find that his sentence was unjust, I will reverse it.

Goodwin: Do you think if people knew that they would have their taxes raised and experience high inflation in order to expense the trillions of dollars needed for these wars, or for the COVID response, that there would be public support?

RFK: I don’t think any of the wars that we fought at least since the Korean War, and maybe including the Korean War, would have been approved by taxpayers in advance. Fiat currency was created in order to enable nations to go to war without levying the taxes outright on populations. The population still pays through a self-tax called inflation. But fiat currency was invented long before the Fed. And it was invented at the outset, from the beginning, in order to fund the cause of war.

Goodwin: Speaking of fiat currencies, what initially sparked your interest in bitcoin and why are you interested in the Bitcoin voting bloc?

RFK: My interest in Bitcoin began when I saw the truckers and what happened in Ottawa. You had peaceful demonstrations for people who were exercising their right to protest, to petition public officials, for very good reasons. And they were silenced and punished by the government in an extraordinary way. The government used surveillance techniques to determine their identities, to determine the license plates of their cars, and then closed their bank accounts, depriving them of their access to their own money without any charges being filed, and certainly without any conviction. Simply to silence them. The government has the capacity to shut down your bank account to starvation. These are people who could not pay their mortgages. I talked to one trucker who couldn’t pay his alimony and he was getting in criminal trouble with the courts. People couldn’t pay for their children’s clothing, medicine, and food. And of course they couldn’t pay for gasoline to move their vehicles — their credit cards no longer worked. And if the government has the capacity to do that, the government has the capacity to enslave us. If they can starve their critics, they can accomplish any atrocity. At that point, I began to understand that freedom of transaction is as important as freedom of speech. And that Bitcoin is this. I can also see the trajectory toward central bank digital currencies, and that will give nations this ultimate power over whether we live or die. And I understood that we need a currency that is a freedom currency — a currency that is independent and that can’t be controlled by the government.

Goodwin: You recently floated this very novel idea of, alongside other hard assets, backing the U.S. dollar with bitcoin. Are you concerned at all about government influence or restrictions with regards to Bitcoin or bitcoin mining?

RFK: I’m very concerned about all the government attacks on Bitcoin. But what I would like to do is to at least provide some issuance of Treasury bills that are backed by hard currency. And that could be a bucket that includes bitcoin, that includes platinum, gold, silver, and other hard assets. And that would not be completely covered, but maybe beginning with 1%. And the reason for that — it’s really a drop in the bucket — but we can see if there’s a market out there and if it would impose a kind of discipline on this out-of-control printing of money because the consumers would have access to an asset that at least had some basis in hard currency — at least some immunity from runaway inflation. And if there’s a preference for that, then we could increase the amount every year, 1% to 2%, 3%, and so on. And get back to at least some level of options for base currencies.

Goodwin: How do you see the future of the U.S. dollar developing as we’re seeing CBDCs, stablecoins, and other kinds of dollar derivatives coming out? We’re seeing a rapid globalization of the dollar at a very high velocity. Obviously, I think you can see this potential Bitcoin future, but how do you see the dollar developing?

RFK: I think the future of the dollar is uncertain. One of the big factors is the exponential growth of BRICs. BRICs, which, you know, began with just Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, are now adding another six countries. They’re offering an alternative to the dollar as a reserve currency and while they don’t issue their own currency, they allow transactions to be settled in local currencies. Ultimately this is a threat to the position of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and to American power, to American wealth. It’s accelerating, and it’s our own doing. It comes from the weaponization of currency, the use of military and even simply military posture from the United States. The unilateral bellicosity of our country, which has made many other countries wary of participating with us, or putting themselves within our power. When we freeze assets of people who are Vladimir Putin’s friends or Russian oligarchs, who may or may not have anything to do with what’s happening in Russia, people say, “Why are we putting ourselves in a position where we can do that? Why don’t we start our own markets?” and that’s a very dangerous thing for the U.S. dollar.

Goodwin: Do you believe the U.S. government should directly issue a digital currency to citizens?

RFK: No, I’m against central bank digital currencies. I think they will become an instrument of power and control. And ultimately, they’ll be used as an excuse to abolish cash currencies. And they give the government complete control over our lives. Even before the Ottawa event, I gave a speech in Milan warning the people of Italy because they were looking at vaccine passports and central bank digital currencies at that time and I said, “Here’s what they’re doing in China”. If you don’t meet a certain social credit score, if you show up on a mask day not wearing your mask properly, or you’re not boosted, whatever your offense is, the government can turn off your capacity to spend money. They can program it so that your credit cards will only work, for example, at grocery stores within a half a mile radius of your home, but they won’t buy you gasoline. They won’t allow you to get an airplane ticket. They don’t want to allow you to travel and buy items and foods in other parts of the country or abroad. And if the government has those kinds of powers over us, we’re all in a lot of deep trouble.

Goodwin: Do you have any concerns with the update of the legacy system with the formation of FedNow and this kind of permissioned walled garden that already exists in the Federal Reserve System?

RFK: I think FedNow is the first step. It’s not essentially a digital currency, but it’s the first step. We’re all on this slippery slope. It worries me.

Goodwin: Can you talk a little bit about the government’s actions during COVID? Do you believe it was orchestrated similar to the 2008 crisis to shut down small businesses and regional banks in order to consolidate financial power within the super monopoly?

RFK: I don’t think it was orchestrated specifically for that purpose. I think those same entities, powerful entities, will use any crisis as a pretext for removing public rights and for clamping down totalitarian controls.

Goodwin: Like 9/11 and the Patriot Act?

RFK: Every crisis throughout history becomes a pretext for powerful actors in the society to expand their power and to reduce public power and to subvert democracy.

Goodwin: Would you consider canceling debt or recovering ill-gotten gains from the super monopolies that stole wealth from the working class?

RFK: I would look at litigation against any type of fraud.

Goodwin: Why do you think Trump gets a free pass from the media for the lockdowns and disastrous monetary policy decisions made during his administration? Do you think he gets a free pass?

RFK: Yeah, I think the mainstream media were committed to that agenda. And so it’s an area that they’re not going to criticize him on. Probably because of a conflict of interest of similar investments in pharma. There’s huge pharmaceutical ad revenues — one of the primary advertising revenues going into the major media outlets. And those pharmaceutical companies also ultimately dictate content on the stations.

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Goodwin: How do you hope to lead a movement against such a powerful, unified coalition? And what do you say to those that are demoralized and don’t believe that the political system can be used to help citizens anymore?

RFK: I would tell them to watch me and watch what I do. I still believe that there’s hope for democracy. And let’s give it a chance. And, if I get in there, I also have absolute confidence that I can fix it.

Goodwin: Do you think that Bitcoin will play a big part of that? Do you think currency addresses the super monopoly head on?

RFK: I’m going to make sure that Bitcoin is protected and that people can keep their own wallets, and that the current White House’s war on Bitcoin will be over, that transactions will be protected and encouraged. I’ll look ultimately at treating it as a currency rather than a commodity. Particularly for smaller Bitcoin owners, for transactions made by owners. I don’t want to provide a windfall for the billionaires who accumulated bitcoin, but I think smaller actors and their transactions should be protected. They should be able to exchange currencies the same way as when you go to Canada and you’re using the Canadian dollar. You shouldn’t have to pay for it in taxes if there’s some appreciation in the Canadian dollar.

Goodwin: Do you see using something akin to the Section 230 protections or even an amendment that would protect such transactions?

RFK: I don’t know how I would do it, but I can tell you the general tenure of my approach and my administration. I can’t tell you the details about how I’m going to do it. I’m going to consult the smartest people in the industry, people like Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones. And then Bitcoin specialists in order to figure out the best way to do it in ways that will protect our freedoms in ways that will encourage the re-industrialization of America and that benefits can accrue to working Americans.

Goodwin: Say right now you’re sitting next to the best good faith representation of the Bitcoin community as possible, and I’m feeding you exactly what it is that should be done. How do you plan to work with a compromised Congress to get some of this regulation in place to protect Bitcoin?

RFK: I’m going to do everything that I can without having to go to Congress. I’m going to do it through my control over Treasury policy, even if it means bringing in the banks. A lot of the bad policies toward Bitcoin are not being driven by legislation. They’re being driven by White House policies. I’m going to end the war.

Goodwin: Speaking of ending the war: The military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about seems to be in full effect with the provocation of Russia by NATO increasing its military presence in Ukraine. And yet there are some here back home that would say that this is good for the U.S. economy because they’re buying U.S. arms. Would you say the war in Ukraine is actually an economic victory for Biden?

RFK: No. The war is a catastrophe for everybody. We’ve killed 400,000 Ukrainian kids and probably 70,000 to 100,000 Russians. I know Mitch McConnell said that we shouldn’t worry about the $140 billion that we’re paying over there because it’s all going back to U.S. arms makers. Who owns all those arms makers? It’s BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard, right? It’s going to the richest people in our country. It’s not helping the working poor. It’s actually draining a lot of intellectual resources that could be used to re-industrialize our country at home, to build products that are actually valuable, that don’t kill people, that make people’s lives better, to rebuild our education system. With the $8 trillion that we’ve spent on war, we could make Social Security solvent for 30 years. We could pay for every American child’s education up through university, and give them incredible education. We could pay for child care for every American. We could liquidate all the credit card debt in our country. So many of the problems we face could be solved if we kept that money at home. And that’s what I’m going to do as president.

Goodwin: Can you maybe talk about the Weimar Republic and its consequences as an analog or metaphor to what’s happening in the U.S. now? Could this inflation cause a revolution of sorts? And is there an alternative for the lower, middle, and working class that isn’t a violent revolution?

RFK: I’m going to try to solve the problems, beginning with housing. Right now, you have these big companies — again, BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard — that own so much of America already now trying to buy all the single-family homes. By 2030, just six and a half years from now, corporations will own 60% of the single-family homes. My kids can’t buy homes. So many people, kids your age, my kids age, are still living in a home with their parents or they’re living in rentals. There’s very few of them that are actually purchasing homes. They go out to try to buy a home and somebody comes in at the last minute with a cash offer or some amorphous LLC with an ambiguous name that you can trace back to BlackRock. And it’s not a good thing. Thomas Jefferson said American democracy has to be rooted in tens of thousands of independent freeholds owned by individual Americans. This is a colonial model; it’s an aristocracy; it’s a feudal aristocracy. If corporations own all the land in our country, Americans can’t own a home. If they can’t own it, they don’t have equity. If you have a home and you want to start a business, you can take a second mortgage and take that risk. But if you don’t own equity, you can’t get access to capital. And that’s where the power is — access to capital. And those companies have access to capital at much cheaper rates because of their bank books — and they’re competing against our children to buy homes. We built prosperity in this country after World War II making sure Americans could get into homes. Now that promise within the American dream is being lost.

Goodwin: Do you think it’s a coincidence at all that just moments after the Civil Rights Act passed that the Nixon shock happened and we got taken off the gold standard?

RFK: In 1971, the tipping point of getting taken off the gold standard was the Vietnam War, which was putting us in debt and they needed to print money. And they were frustrated. Kissinger and Nixon were frustrated that they may not be able to get support from the war, from Americans, and support for those appropriations from Congress. And so they changed the rules. They abandoned Bretton Woods. They divorced America from the gold standard. And they started this inflationary cycle that we’ve been dealing with ever since. There’s definitely a choice made between, for example, the war on poverty and the Vietnam War. Martin Luther King said we can either go to war against poverty at home or we can go to war against yellow people in Vietnam. And we can’t do both. We don’t have the money. And I think those are connections that are clear.

Goodwin: I appreciate your time and your thoughtful answers to all these questions.

RFK: Thank you very much.

This article is featured in Bitcoin Magazine’s “The Primary Issue”. Click here to get your Annual Bitcoin Magazine Subscription.

 
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