Channel: Fox News Strategy Room (online only)
Show: Freedom Watch
Host: Judge Andrew Napolitano
Judge Napolitano: It’s 2 o’clock at the East Coast in New York City, it’s 11 o’clock in the morning in California. It’s Wednesday, it’s time for Freedom Watch on FoxNews.com as part of our Strategy Room productions. In this show we talk about what the government has done to take your liberty and your property away and how we can be aware of it and prevent it from happening in the future.
And I am so happy because we are doing something different right now. We are simulcasting with the one, the only, the great Alex Jones on Alex Jones Radio. Alex, as you welcomed me to Alex Jones Radio, I welcome you to Freedom Watch. Can you hear us, Alex?
Alex Jones: Yes, we’re doing something experimental here. Yes, yes Houston. Cape Canaveral hears you.
Judge Napolitano: Ok, New York hears you loud and clear. Welcome to Freedom Watch, Alex. What are you talking about today?
Alex Jones: Oh, I’ve just read hundreds of main-stream news articles a week saying that there is a New World Order, a global government. It will be run by the very banks that are collapsing society by design and we will pay carbon taxes to them.
Here is an article in Time Magazine headlined ‘New World Order’ and they say a new bank of the world will rule the United States. Here is the Financial Times of London, ‘And now for a world government’ is the headline. They’re openly announcing that the banks will rule the planet and we will pay our carbon taxes to them for the phony global warming. I also have the […] confirming the modern militia movement document MIAC, saying Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, anybody with a Ron Paul bumper sticker are dangerous terrorists, that the North American Union doesn’t exists, that anybody that talks about freedom or liberty issues is basically an evil terrorist. So, we’re exposing the New World Order here, Judge.
Judge Napolitano: I appreciate what you are exposing, and Ron Paul, whom you just did mention will be on Freedom Watch with me in about 20 minutes. I must tell you that there was a time when the types of things you are warning against were not discussed openly and publicly. But I was scandalized when British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, tipped his hand when he spoke to a joint session of Congress two weeks ago, and said he was looking for – and these are the words that caused me a couple of sleepless nights, Alex, and I bet you as well, and many other folks watching and listening to us – “A Global New Deal”. Now what under the sun is a global new deal unless it consists of the type of things that you have just warned against? In which American tax payers will be enriching banks, and banks will be deciding what we can pay, but it will be happening irrespective of the boundaries of the United States of America and other countries as well.
Alex Jones: Absolutely. Here is yesterday’s London Telegraph, “IMF is poised to print billions of dollars in global easing”, and it says that the International Monetary Fund will create a new global super-currency that will replace the dollar and that Americans will pay tax money in to fund the world government. So, this is all out in the open. That’s why on our news Geithner will never say what the plan is. What are you going to do? How are you going to fix it? But when the G20 meet, when they have the Bretton Woods meeting, the new one coming up in a few days, they admit that they are setting up a world government run by private banks, what the Trilateral Commission said back in the 1970s.
Listen, I never discovered any of this, this was never my opinion. If people say, “How could you write about all this? How could you know this fourteen years ago?” I was reading IMF, World Bank, United Nations, Rand Corporation, Council on Foreign Relations documents, where they said – and the SPP documents that Judicial Watch sued and got a few years ago – they were going to use a financial meltdown to bring in the North American Union, the new Trans Atlantic Agreement to merge that with the European Union. We are already deep into this merger and it’s all over the foreign press.
Judge Napolitano: Let me raise your blood pressure a little bit more, Alex, because what I am about to discuss with you now also raised my blood pressure. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, visited her counterpart in Beijing about 8 or 9 days ago. And I don’t know who else she saw, but we saw pictures of her with the Chinese foreign minister. About four days after that, at the G20 summit, to which you just referred, a meeting of the finance ministers of the 20 largest countries in the world which control collectively about 85% of the economy – for some reason, the Chinese premier was there. He was the only head of state there, other than Gordon Brown as the host. And the Chinese premier, before the G20 started gave an interview to one of the international press and said he is seriously worried about whether the United States will be able to meet its obligations.
Alex Jones: Yes.
Judge Napolitano: He calculated that the Chinese government itself, or government supported enterprises supported by the Chinese government, has purchased in excess of 1 trillion dollars in American securities. So, what do you think Hillary said to him? Do you think she toned down what he said and it was going to be worse before she got there? Or do you think she caused him to say that in the first place by whatever she whispered into his ear in Beijing?
Alex Jones: Well, we know that in separate meetings she has had with Chinese leadership and in several trips in Europe and in China, she said, “Please, keep buying the dollar, please keep buying our debt, just long enough for us to set up this new global monetery system”. The Russians are calling for a new global currency. The only thing that the U.S. has left is its fiat dollar, the globalist have debased our nation, they made us a debtor nation, they destroyed our capacity to manufacture. So, the globalists are creating a global fire sale. They’re destroying the world economy in their own documents so that then they will be the only lender to the planet and they will create more fiat currency backed by U.S. and European tax-payers. So they will fund setting up their world government. So, absolutely, the Chinese have been bad-mouthing the U.S., they’ve been bad-mouthing the country that they own over a trillion dollars of our T-bills in.
This is the birth of the New World Order, so you got all these different honchos from the private central banks, the private Federal Reserve and others, all meeting and deciding on the final architecture of the world government. The very banks that have engineered the economic collapse are now posing as our saviors, bringing this in. But the good news is that I’ve never seen an awakening this big. I’ve seen people like Glenn Beck talk about the New World Order on Fox, I’ve seen you talk about it for years before him. We’re seeing Lew Dobbs talk about it, we’re seeing mainline talk-show host Limbaugh even talking about global government now. Michael Savage is talking about how he thinks Obama may stage crises to bring in Martial Law.
So, all the things that I was talking about in the wilderness ten plus years ago are now hitting mainstream, and it is great. So, it shows me the sleeping giant that is the United States and we’re rediscovering our liberty and freedom, our roots, our declaration of independence, our constitution. You called for states to not succeed him, but, to re-declare their 10th amendment, the 9th amendment. You’re a judge, you know the constitution well, you’re a constitution scholar. And so they’re trying to get the Feds back in line, the battle lines are being drawn here. The American people are finding out that Washington has been seized by off-shore banks.
Judge Napolitano: Well, this will make your blood boil a little bit more, as we keep ratcheting this up and I thought that the summary you just gave was terrific. And just for those of us that are tuning in, Judge Napolitano simulcasting from Freedom Watch at FoxNews.com with Alex Jones, the great Alex Jones on the Alex Jones radio show. We only have another minute or so.
I suspect that Mrs. Clinton and the president will begin saying nice things about the Chinese human rights record…
Alex Jones: No, no, they are now.
Judge Napolitano: … so that the Chinese government will continue to buy its bonds. Because if we dare to criticize, if we dare to use our first amendment rights against one of the most oppressive giants in the world, they might just stop loaning us money, Alex. What would we do then?
Alex Jones: Well, things will basically collapse. That’s what the globalists want, that we’re all interconnected and controlled. That’s what my new film, ‘The Obama Deception’, at InfoWars.com covers, is how this guy is controlled by the very banks that did the bailout. Geithner helped write it, he’s claiming he is going after all these CEO’s bonuses when they wrote a loophole in there where they’re all exempt from the other rules for the other banks and insurance companies. So there is one rule for the big global bankers, another rule for the main street bankers. This film, doesn’t just expose Barack Obama, “The Obama Deception”, which came out just a few days ago, it also exposes who he works for, what his agenda for gun confiscation is, what his agenda is for forced national service, which they’re now admitting. What his agenda is to bankrupt this country, and bring in total police-state control. But again, the good news is that the people are waking up.
“The Obama Deception” is free on YouTube and Google. Folks don’t have to get the DVD at InfoWars.com. “The Obama Deception”, the most hard-hitting film, shattering the left-right paradigm, blowing the New World Order apart.
Judge Napolitano, I want to thank you so much for having this simulcast and I want to invite you to my show anytime, my friend.
Judge Napolitano: Same from me to thee. Thanks, Alex Jones. It’s absolutely been a pleasure.
Alex Jones: Thank you.
Judge Napolitano: That, of course, was the first time with our experimentation with simulcasting two shows and before we get to our guests here in Freedom Watch who have joined us and are ready to weigh in, I’ll say that Thomas Jefferson wedded the natural law to American law in the Declaration of Independence when he wrote that our rights are inalienable and come to us from our creator. Not only does Federal Law recognize that, but the whole American experience recognizes the natural law as the ultimate source of our freedoms and as a restraint on the government. Thus, the traditional panoply of American rights is our by birthright, and cannot be interfered with by an act of the Congress or an order of the President, but only after due process.
One of those rights is freedom of contract. Any law changing the terms of a contract is no law at all, because it violates the natural right to make binding agreements. The framers knew that. The constitution specifically forbids the states and the Federal Government from quote, “Impairing the obligation of contracts”. This is a personal natural right that pre-existed the constitutional clauses that bar the government from interfering with it.
The whole purpose of the constitution, my friends, is, was and has been to define the government, to impose restraints on the government and to guarantee personal freedoms. It specifically diffused power between the states and the central government. And within the central Federal Government itself, it separated powers among the three branches. As elemental as this sounds, it is hardly recognizable today. After 230 years we have come to a point where a president declines to enforce laws he has himself signed into existence. Where he directs his treasury secretary to make laws interfering with private contracts. And then he signs executive orders that invade privacy, restrict speech and appropriate property.
We have a Congress that delegates to the President. It’s powered to spend taxpayer dollars and money borrowed in the taxpayers names. We have a congress that has written laws that regulate the air your breath, the water you drink, the words you speak and relieving the persons with whom you have contracted or to whom you have loaned money, from complying with their agreements. And our courts have raised taxes, run prisons, reset the boundary lines of school districts and declined to right obvious constitutional wrongs committed by the other branches.
But the constitution is the supreme law of the land. We will have chaos if those in whose hands we repose it for safekeeping, intentionally violate it and get away with those violations. Because the government that violates its own supreme law becomes arbitrary, an arbitrary rule become authoritarian, and authoritarian rule will trample our freedoms.
Just 6 weeks into its 4-year term, the Obama administration and its allies in Congress, just like the Bush administration and its allies, have acted like they have never read the constitution. They have attempted to control the salaries of private banks, change the terms of private mortgages, enter the marketplace by nationalizing banks and the world’s largest insurer, and invest with taxpayer dollars in companies whose products consumers reject, and whose investments the investors eschew. This is theft of liberty and theft of taxpayer property.
Here’s my question, and my panel is here ready to address it: Is freedom a reality or a myth? Are the rights guaranteed in the constitution real, or just a pretense? Isn’t the whole purpose of the government in a free society to uphold freedom, rather than to interfere with it? If the answers to these questions are no longer obvious, it is because we now have a central government whose only self-acknowledged limitation is whatever it can get away with.
Andy Levy, my Fox News colleague from Red Eye, it is nice to see you while the sun is shining, too. Mark Skousen, who has championed individual liberty, forgive me, since I was in college, also joins us. And my good buddy and fierce defender of the free market, Cody Willard, is also with us as well. Lew Rockwell of LewRockwell.com and of the Von Mises Institute is here as well. Lew, Mark, Andy, Cody, welcome to Freedom Watch. Did I go overboard, or do we have a central government whose only self-acknowledged limitation is whatever it can get away with. We will start with you, Lew.
Lew Rockwell: Well, there is no question they consider that everybody’s income and everybody’s property, is what they allow us to keep. And if they decide to take more of it, then they can take it. So it is absolutely true that they see no limit on their power. If the framers were to come back and look at this government today, they wouldn’t recognize it. We don’t live in a free society by the standards of the constitution and of the framers. You know, this thing has entirely run away, nobody’s property is safe, nobody’s freedom is safe. And Obama is, of course, building on the dictatorial Bush regime and is making things worse.
Judge Napolitano: Does anybody in the government care about freedom […]? Is the government just concerned with power? Ron Paul will be here in 15 minutes, and his allies in the House, and occasionally an ally here or there in the Senate… are they lone wolves? Are they shoveling against the tide?
Mark Skousen: Well, let me just first say that it is a pleasure to be on your program. This is the first time that I’ve been on your program, Freedom Watch. I think it’s a great title, and I have loved your work on Fox News and I’ve heard you speak and so forth, and it’s a real pleasure to be here. And I want to first say a little quote, and a lot of people don’t know this, but in the Declaration of Independence we hold these truths to be self-evident. And actually the original words that Jefferson wrote were “sacred and undeniable”. And guess who scratched them out, Ben Franklin, who said, “It’s just self-evident”.
Judge Napolitano: One of the original big-government types.
Mark Skousen: Well, that’s right, that’s right, and you know, this battle that you’re talking about has been going on for years, and I’m not sure FDR didn’t do worse things that what Obama is starting to do. So I think we need a little bit of history here. I’m not sure we’ve really gone down as far as what FDR went through which was pretty dramatic, where he actually closed the banks and he ripped up the contract we had regarding the gold standard. I mean there’s a lot of things that he did also.
Judge Napolitano: Are my fears about government interfering with contract well-grounded? I mean, if a government can interfere with a contract, then nothing is sacred. No property or liberty is sacred.
Cody Willard: Judge, you know actually I disagree with you on specifics on this, although we agree on principle. I think we basically got on anarchy once we instituted welfare for Wall Street. Once we actually took a trillion dollars and gave it to Wall Street, the companies, the shareholders, the guys on the opposite side of the AIG’s contracts… that was anarchy. Those companies were insolvent. Every contract, every loan that they had made out, all that should have been enforced, and it still should be enforced. I guess this is where I get confused. I think that once we actually gave AIG welfare money, they became a welfare institution, and nobody in that company should make any more than anyone at the Health and Human Resources Division Welfare.
Mark Skousen: That’s right, it’s a government agency.
Cody Willard: It is now a government agency, so I want the government in there, canceling those contracts because those contracts couldn’t even be paid without the welfare infusion from me. It’s already anarchy.
Judge Napolitano: I think your tongue is in your cheek, and I am taking this with the proverbial grain of salt because you know what happens when the government runs a business like the post office.
Cody Willard: The government chose to run the business. Once they made AIG a welfare institution, I do want the government to run it.
Judge Napolitano: Before I go to Andy, I was in studio with Neil Cavuto at a 6 p.m. Fox Business show last night. And while waiting to come on, there were all kinds of screens from other shows there. And one of the other shows was Jim Kramer. Now, I couldn’t hear what Kramer was saying, but they flashed underneath the identity of a phone caller to Jim Kramer and the phone caller was Cody from New Mexico. Was that you? Was this going to get you a job?
Cody Willard: Believe or not, there are probably… for the record, full disclosure, I have worked for Jim Kramer at TheStreet.com, he is a mentor of mine. I’m not going to defend… I’ve actually made fun of the whole concept of fast-money/mad-money on my show personally for years. That being said…
Mark Skousen: Good for you. It’s a disgrace.
Judge Napolitano: It was you, alright.
Cody Willard: But that being said, there are three other Codys from New Mexico. Out of the eighteen people who live in New Mexico, three of them are named Cody so it was one of the others.
Mark Skousen: There’s a Cody Wyoming, after all..
Andy Levy: You made fun of Jim Kramer for his theatrics on the show you do from a bar?
Cody Willard: I did not make fun of the theatrics, I’m all for theatrics.
Judge Napolitano: If Andy’s show is a little bit past your bed time, Lew, Andy is not only a sound, solid super Libertarian, he is also the master of irony at the Fox News channel, and we’re so happy to have him with us. Andy, weigh in on all this. Am I seeing monsters under the bed post, or are these real problems to worry about?
Andy Levy: You’re not. Alex Jones scares the hell out of me, but you’re absolutely right. The only thing is, it just seems to me this is nothing new. The government has been doing this since well before I was born, possibly even before you were born.
Judge Napolitano: Possibly? FDR was dead when I was born.
Andy Levy: I don’t want to enter the Article of Confederation, but it’s possible.
Cody Willard: Andy, you don’t think we maybe have hit a tipping point. I mean, they’ve sort of done it covertly. The Democrat-Republican regime has always sort of done these nuanced tech-favorable tax tricks. But they are now outright handing trillions of dollars of welfare money to corporate America.
Andy Levy: Bush started that. Come on, it’s not…
Judge Napolitano: I have to tell you, Cody has championed here at Fox, attacking Republicans and Democrats equally. I mean, it’s the big government collective that’s got both parties versus those of us who believe that the individual is superior to the state.
Lew, I gather that you were not surprised by the threat of Senator Chris Dodd to tax 98% of the AIG bonuses and, of course, not to be outdone, a couple of Democrats in the House said, “Why not tax a 100% of it”.
Cody Willard: I’m all for it.
Judge Napolitano: So they obviously don’t know the constitution they have sworn to uphold and they don’t know the basic cases issued by the Supreme Court which is to uphold that constitution saying the government can’t target a group of taxpayers for personal vengeance.
Lew Rockwell: Well, I think the right of contract is sacred. But for a contract to be valid it has to be entered into by two voluntary parties. And in the case of the AIG and all the TARP and the PALP and the rest of those guys, one party to this contract is not voluntary and that’s me and the rest of the taxpayers. So I don’t mind a 100% tax on those guys, in fact, I’d like to take away their salaries too. Kick them out, let the thing go bankrupt and they’d get zero salaries, and that’s the way it ought to be.
Judge Napolitano: But the contract for the bonuses between AIG and the executives, the thing that is causing all the brouhaha this week, those were voluntarily entered into contracts by AIG before the government owned it. The government has to honor those things.
Lew Rockwell: Yes sir, but they couldn’t pay those contracts if it weren’t for the taxpayer’s money.
Judge Napolitano: That’s the initial mistake which everybody in this room condemns.
Cody Willard: That’s what I come back to. Now that we’re at this anarchy, the premise itself is anarchy. We’re giving welfare money to corporate America and these white-collared criminals. That’s the premise that has the problem. That’s anarchy. How do we then go ahead? We got to respect some of the contracts now, but some of them aren’t even on the taxpayer’s contract which they didn’t voluntarily enter it. It is anarchy in premise. That’s what we have to go back into and stop.
Andy Levy: The point is, as the judge was pointing out, these bills that are tendered are unconstitutional under article section 109 of the constitution. Which also says you can’t pass ex-post facto laws. So, you can’t retroactively say, “This contract is no good for you specifically because the government has done this because it was legal at the time”.
Mark Skousen: Well, they have done it with taxes before. They have regressed on taxes.
Judge Napolitano: The Soviet constitution, to the extent that they even acknowledge the existence of a constitution, forbade raising taxes retroactively. But Bill Clinton did so in his first year as president. The Congress, of course, went along and enacted it and the Supreme Court said, ‘You can raise taxes retroactively’.
Lew Rockwell: You know, it’s interesting judge that the Soviet constitution also has given all these regions and republics the right to secede, and when the Soviet Union collapsed they actually enforced that and all the various republics were allowed to secede.
Judge Napolitano: In my research for a lot of my publications, some of which you have been generous enough and gracious enough to publish for me, Lew, I have come across Texas, Rhode Island, and of all places on the planet, New York, reserving for themselves at the time they joined the union the right to secede.
Cody Willard: Yeah baby.
Judge Napolitano: I mean, I would love to see a challenge. I would love to see a state legislature secede and basically tell the Federal government, “Get the heck out of our state”, and see what happens.
Lew Rockwell: Well, as the crisis deepens I think we’re going to see that. I think we’re going to see secession among states. I mean, even in places [in] California seceding from the rest of California. And we’re going to see parts of the United States seceding from Washington DC. That will be a great sight.
Mark Skousen: It will be the beginning of the end when that happens.
Judge Napolitano: Hang on, Cody. “What do you mean by ‘the beginning of the end”, Mark?
Mark Skousen: Well, I mean the United States became the great country that it is because it was one nation and we accomplished a great deal, and as long as we are basically a free country, then everybody dividing and… I’ve never bought into to secession and splitting up and that sort of thing.
Judge Napolitano: Isn’t it a brake on big government monsters in Washington if a state could nullify by refusing to obey an area of government regulation clearly reserved to the states under the constitution?
Mark Skousen: The danger is… I’m an economist, so I’ll do a cost-benefit analysis here.
Judge Napolitano: Right, let’s hear it.
Mark Skousen: You talked about the benefits, but what about the costs, the barriers that you raise between the individual states, and we don’t allow immigration, we don’t allow trading of goods, we have all kinds of restrictions and regulations.
Judge Napolitano: Well, then we would be back to Andy Levy’s favorite documents, which is the Articles of Confederation, which he thinks that I discovered.
Andy Levy: I think you actually helped draft them.
Judge Napolitano: Lew Rockwell.
Lew Rockwell: I love the Articles of Confederation. It was a very libertarian document, and it was a far freer system than even our constitution.
Cody Willard: The great problem with it was, of course, ruinous tariffs between the states.
Lew Rockwell: Right. There were tariffs between the states, and now of course, we have all the impositions of the Federal government on business, which are far worse than those tariffs.
Judge Napolitano: Okay, it’s a cost-benefit analysis… which was worse? The ruinous tariffs between the states or a monster government that nobody can control in DC.
Mark Skousen: Well, you have to remember though, and just look at the overall results, and the results are that despite the welfare state and all the problems that we’ve had, we’ve had a heck of a run as a nation and maybe we could have done better, I would agree that we definitely could do better. But we’ve done a great job up to this point.
Cody Willard: I think the Articles of Confederation were basically the slippery slope towards the strip mallification of America, and that’s exactly what we got. We got a cookie cutter of strip malling in America. There’s a Target and Starbucks on every corner at least, hey. Hoo hoo, at least there are no tariffs in between states, give me a break. I’m all for the tariffs and seceeding and I want the states to stand up and actually fight for their rights. Give me a break.
Lew Rockwell: We are going to lose Lew Rockwell in a couple of seconds. Lew, I want to thank you for posting the op-ed that I sent you, which I gather will be available in a little while on LewRockwell.com. I want to thank you for coming here to Freedom Watch next Wednesday when we will be discussing Austrian Economics.
Cody Willard: When is he coming live?
Lew Rockwell: Thank you.
Judge Napolitano: Well, the crowd wants to know when you’re going to physically be here.
Cody Willard: Lew, we want you in the house.
Lew Rockwell: I’m going to be there in a couple of weeks, Judge.
Judge Napolitano: Alright, God bless you, feel better and thanks for joining us.
Cody Willard: Thanks for all you do, man.
Lew Rockwell: Bye Bye.
Judge Napolitano: Alright, now Andy, why shouldn’t we be concerned, or should be we concerned about Chuck Schumer who says, “If you don’t give up the bonuses, we will take them from you”. I mean, if the government can do this to these AIG executives, they could do it to you at Fox, or Cody at Fox or me at Fox…
Cody Willard: No, because we haven’t taken welfare money.
Mark Skousen: Well, they just announced that they’re going back to every one of the people that got bonuses and voluntarily asking them to return the bonuses. So that will be interesting to see what happens.
Cody Willard: They’re asking them to return half, for the record. That’s an arbitrary fact.
Mark Skousen: Look, look, don’t misunderstand here, I think you calling them criminals is a mistake.
Cody Willard: Come on, these guys deserve it. Hank Greenberg is a criminal. He has been lying to regulators, his investors, the shareholders for years.
Mark Skousen: Right, right. But you’re talking plural and we’re talking individuals who work for the company, who have bonuses. Bonuses is a fundamental standard policy in business practice. It should not be impugned, there’s nothing wrong with the bonuses.
Cody Willard: Even though it’s a welfare company now? We should not impugn it when you’re talking welfare money?
Mark Skousen: It wasn’t at the time.
Cody Willard: You’re right, but it is now. I’m talking about the present time. There’s a 160 million dollars of my welfare money that could feed hungry kids in West Virginia, and instead it is going to give 73 guys a million dollars bonuses at AIG who blew up the economy?
Mark Skousen: Whose fault is that?
Cody Willard: It’s the fault of all the Republicans and Democrats who voted for the original TARP and stimulus and bailout packages, and we’ve got to stop it at the premise.
Judge Napolitano: But if the Congress can interfere with the obligation of contract, because people are upset at the source of the funds, the origin of the funds, then they can interfere with any contract they want. Nobody’s freedom or privacy will be safe.
Cody Willard: Anytime you are a corporation and you take welfare, the government can and should come in and advocate every single private contract you have. Get off welfare then.
Mark Skousen: But that is not the law and that is not the constitution.
Cody Willard: TARP wasn’t constitutional? It’s a slippery slope and I’m going to fight the premise itself. I’m not going to sell out slip out and allow them to […] some other contracts.
Mark Skousen: They needed that agreement before they gave them the bailout money. They needed to say, “Hey, we will bail you out. We will save your sorry asses but no more [bonuses]”, but they didn’t do that.
Judge Napolitano: But here is the problem. If the government is going to give a corporation a loan, the government can negotiate with the corporation for terms. For example, when the government bailed out General Motors it said, “Change the contract between the UAW and you and we’ll give you this money.” That type of negotiation is lawful. But when the government simply buys stock in a corporation, like any of us buying stock. It has no say in the debts that the corporation already has.
Cody Willard: Well, but Judge, the company has already taken on a $160 billion in outright welfare infusions. That’s more than the company was ever worth. It’s more than it will ever be worth.
Speaker: That’s right.
Cody Willard: It should be wholly owned.
Judge Napolitano: Well, let me just –
Cody Willard: It’s a welfare institution.
Judge Napolitano: – let me just hold on for a minute we are joined by Congressman Ron Paul who is our regular weekly guest here on Freedom Watch.
Congressman Paul from the Rotunda of the Capitol Building. Thanks very much for joining us.
Ron Paul: Thank you. Nice to be with you again.
Judge Napolitano: Alright. Peter Schiff from EuroPacific Capital, I’m not sure where on the planet he is, but he’s not in the room here with us, joins us as well.
Peter, thank you for joining us.
Peter Schiff: Judge, thanks for having me. It’s a very, very big day. I know you guys heard the announcement from the Fed. But anybody who thinks that deflation is coming had better wake up and look at what the government is doing.
You know, people are going to say this is a giant buy signal for Treasuries. This is the biggest sale signal ever. Treasuries are rising today because traders think they’re going to buy their treasuries and sell them to the Fed.
But, you know, if the Fed is going to put that extra trillion dollars to buy treasury and agency debt, they’re destroying the value of the dollar, which is plunging right now as we speak.
Judge Napolitano: All right. I want —
Peter Schiff: The Feds is going to get overwhelmed by people all around the world looking to get rid, unloading their treasuries on the Feds and this is a […] move. Treasure prices are going to plunge because of this. It’s not right.
Judge Napolitano: I want to make sure… I want to make sure that Congressman Paul and Peter Schiff are aware that in the room with me in Freedom Watch, in the Strategy Room Studio of FoxNews.com are Andy Levy, my Fox News colleague from Red Eye who rarely sees the light of day since Red Eye is on a 2 o’clock in the morning.
Andy Levy: Three.
Judge Napolitano: And if you ever… 3 o’clock in the morning. And if you ever watch it you know why it’s on at that time of day.
Mark Skousen, the economist and my good buddy, my wonderful buddy from Fox Business Network, defender of the free market, Cody Willard.
Congressman Paul, what’s the latest nonsense going on down there about government efforts to interfere with the private, lawful contracts between AIG and its executives for the bonuses that were paid last weekend?
Ron Paul: Well, I sort of wish it were so simple. It’s not that quite simple. I mean there’s nothing left of the private market. This is not… I mean, they had done so much to violate contracts that I think that is incidental.
This is just grandstanding by politicians who made a lot of mistakes. They passed out billions, hundreds of billions of dollars, and now they’re getting a lot of grief from the taxpayer.
Now, they’re going to have pretend they’re going to clean up the mess by collecting a hundred and some millions of dollars and pretend that they’re being acting responsible.
This is so outrageous, but I think of the contract we have with the taxpayer. The contract that I believe in says we should never steal from the taxpayer and bail these companies out.
But once we do it, we have this horrendous mess, so I don’t see this as a free market decision to be made. I see this as a monster that we in the Congress created.
Judge Napolitano: Were you outraged as outraged as I was when some of your colleagues on the other side of the Capitol Building, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticutt and Senator Charles Schumer of New York, as well as some members of the House of Representatives called for a 98 percent or 100 percent tax on these bonuses.
I mean don’t these people read the Constitution? Don’t they understand that at some point, a tax becomes a punishment, it becomes confiscatory, and you can’t aim a specific tax at a specific group of taxpayers because you don’t like the way they earn their money.
Do these people in the Congress recognize any restraint on their ability to enact any laws they want? Or is it just what they think they can get away with?
Ron Paul: Well, I guess, I still see this as a mixed bag. The way you described it, you know, you’re perfectly correct, but they shouldn’t have had the money. So what do you do about it? It isn’t a market. If the market had been working, and we were working really with contracts, you wouldn’t steal from the taxpayer and give it to these guys. They would have been in bankruptcy. There wouldn’t have been any of these bonuses if they felt obligated under contract. The government shouldn’t interfere, but now everybody is screaming that we should enforce these contracts and all they do down here is violate contracts endlessly.
So I don’t think it’s an easy answer here, but this mostly is grandstanding to pretend that we’re doing something. But your point of them violating the contract or the Constitution by targeting attacks… believe me, that’s not going to bother anybody here. They do so much others that this will be incidental. They’re mainly looking at this politically, nothing else, and nothing else is going on here than political grandstanding.
Judge Napolitano: Peter Schiff, are you concerned that members of Congress would attempt to use their power to isolate unpopular contracts and to purport to interfere with them to impair their obligations or to nullify them either by enacting legislation that declares them illegal or by taxing them at a 100 percent tax rate.
Peter Schiff: Well, I’m afraid the next thing they’re going to do is they’re going to pass a bill as if we tax Peter Schiff and put me in the 90 percent bracket. I mean, the minute you give them the authority to target these taxes and forget about any concept of uniformity, if they can target a specific group, a specific industry, they can do whatever they want.
Judge Napolitano: There are cases in which the Supreme Court has said to Congress… okay, I’m sorry. I need that. I thought this was just for Ron Paul. I’m sorry.
Peter Schiff: But, you know, it’s hopeless. It’s ridiculous. They’re talking about these contracts. These contracts wouldn’t even exist if they had let these companies go bankrupt. This is what they should have done.
Judge Napolitano: All right. Of course…
Peter Schiff: Now that they’ve bailed them out, now they’re upset that they’re using the money to pay themselves bonuses. Look at the bonuses that Freddie Mac is handing out or Fannie Mae.
Judge Napolitano: Right.
Peter Schiff: The whole thing is ridiculous. You may save one problem, I mean they do one thing wrong and then it creates another problem, that’s why they’re getting bankrupt.
Judge Napolitano: The Federal Government itself. The Federal Government itself just paid the director or the CEO of the Post Office whose base salary is $600,000, that’s $200,000 more than the President with bonus of a $175,000, so this gentleman made $775,000 in 2008 even though he ran a deficit of 6 billion.
Judge Napolitano: This is the same government that’s complaining about this. My fear, Peter, and now I’m going to pass this to some of the others who want to put some questions to you and Congressman Paul. My fear, Peter and Congressman Paul, it’s Congressman Paul first, is that binding contracts, natural rights, the right to bind myself and to bind someone else to me in a written agreement… these fundamental rights, if the Congress thinks it can interfere with them, then commercial transactions as we understand them, will no longer ever exist again. If I have to worry that a contract that I signed to buy a piece of real estate, to sell a piece of real estate, to give a speech to anything that I would do might become unpopular and the Congress could undo it, of what value is my personal, natural right to engage in a binding contract, Congressman Paul?
Ron Paul: Well, I think I agree a hundred percent of what you said if it’s with two individuals coming together with a voluntary contract. The confusion comes up is when these contracts are done with money stolen from the American people.
Judge Napolitano: Understood.
Ron Paul: What if our Congress promises a lot of money to somebody, do you call that a contract? We might be taxing the next generation because, “we have a contract”, “the governement signed this contract”.
Judge Napolitano: But, say…
Ron Paul: But you have to very precise on how you define this contract. How can they make a contract with taxpayer’s money and promises these funds, “oh, yes, the government will send us a money and we’re going to pay all these bonuses” out of money that they illegally took from the people.
So, it is to me a very mixed bag and it’s not easy, but I know exactly what you’re saying about the principle of contract and believe me, I get exasperated here because Congress and the courts really don’t care a bit about contracts and I think that’s one of the reasons we’re in this kind of mess because the government is more involved in breaking contracts.
You take the monetary issues. How many times has our government interfered and broken that contract? So the issue of contracts is very important, but this is not a simple, regular, voluntary contract between two individuals that we’re talking about.
Judge Napolitano: But Peter, are you concerned that if the government could use the excuse of “this is taxpayer dollars so we’re going to bust the contract”. The camel’s nose is under the tent and it will look for other unpopular contracts whether government cash is involved or not and interfere with those.
Peter Schiff: Obviously, that’s the problem once they get their nose under the tent. I mean it is just the beginning. They’re going to move into other areas, probably that had nothing to do with the receipt of government money.
Once they have the precedent that the government could set aside contracts that they don’t like, that the government can target specific groups of individuals or people for higher taxes than other people because they don’t like those individuals, they don’t like where they earn their money or how they earn their money and, and you know, a lot of people are going to start, you know, in the inflationary time period that we’re about to live through, there are going to be a lot of people that aren’t going to want the contract in dollars. They will want to contract in gold bullion, they’re going to want clauses in their contracts, you know, using euros or Swiss francs, and if the government could have set those aside, if the government could have made it impossible, for people to protect the wealth of the actual contract for future payments in money that are actually going to have value.
Speaker: The panel is now fast approaching…
Judge Napolitano: Congressman Paul, Peter Schiff, starting with Cody Willard.
Cody Willard: Yes, sir. This question comes from my brother Lance Willard who is a tax-paying, hardworking Texan who actually is one who introduced me to Ron Paul, Congressman Ron Paul in Concept many years ago and Congressman, he actually asked me to ask you, how and where is the transparency for we the people who are funding what is now the equivalent of 8,000 $100 million projects that are supposed to jumpstart our economy.
Would there be any transparency, or is this just going to be just exactly what we just saw play out with AIG? And how can we possibly keep it from being exactly what we just saw play out with AIG? Congressman, thank you.
Ron Paul: No, I don’t expect transparency. I think all government funding, there’s shenanigans going on and, you know, a few months ago, we passed out these TARF funds without any restrictions and now we are struggling and the Congress is trying to make this point, “oh, yes, we’re going to have oversight by cutting these bonuses”, and that is just grandstanding.
But the real monitoring and oversight and transparency we need are the trillions of dollars that the Federal Reserve is involved in. So no, I do not expect transparency to come about. The way to become transparent, when the dollar goes bust.
Mark Skousen: Congressman Paul, this is Mark Skousen. Listen, we were told the AIG had to be bailed out because it was too big to fail and in fact, here in Wall Street, everybody says the big mistake was not bailing out Lehman Brothers because that what’s caused this whole thing to collapse and so forth.
In your judgment, if we had not bailed out AIG, how many insurance companies would have gone down, and could have that been an even more serious problem this country would be facing?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t know the numbers. There’s no way of knowing exactly and it would have been a serious problem. The blame should have been placed on Federal Reserve and the previous system, patching it up and delaying the inevitable is the real problem that we have and that’s what we’re doing.
So no, I think the bankruptcy should occur. If there’s a real asset, it’s going to be bought up, but this whole idea of propping up these derivatives, that’s what an illiquid asset is. It’s a worthless derivative and the taxpayer is buying these things up.
So no matter how difficult it would have been to see AIG go bankrupt, it has to be a lot better, it would have been a lot better than the monster that we’re creating now.
Before Peter talked about the nose under the tent when we were talking about these contracts, but the nose went under the tent when we started these bailouts, but you literally could say the nose was under the tent to create this monster once we endorsed the monetary system we have.
I think you’re right, Mark, the conditions could well be very bad and very serious. I would expect they would be if we had allowed AIG to go bankrupt, but my argument is that’s what should have happened and it would have been less painful than the pain that we’re suffering now and the pain that we’re going to suffer here in the next decade or two.
Speaker: It turns out.
Judge Napolitano: What a foreign sounding concept. I don’t know how he got that.
Peter Schiff: It’s a lot more painful to bail them out than let them fail. It’s difficult as it might have been to let AIG fail. The cost of propping them up is worse and what you don’t see is we keep AIG in business, but what we don’t see is all the companies that are going to be driven out of business that might have been a lot more profitable and, you know, there’s a lot of resources that are being utilized by these companies that would be better off in other parts of the economy.
But the government is holding those resources hostage. It’s propping up companies that really shouldn’t exist. It’s setting a terrible precedent. It’s creating all kinds of moral hazards and maybe we got a little bit of short-term benefits out of it, but it’s not worth it and it’s just now you have the government trying to blame all of the problems on allowing Lehman Brothers to collapse and that’s the one thing that they did right.
Judge Napolitano: Right.
Peter Schiff: And we’re having more problems because they bailed everybody else out.
Judge Napolitano: Andy Levy.
Andy Levy: Congressman Paul, what do you think about the fact that earlier today at the hearings about AIG, your colleague, Barney Frank, says that the solution now is for the government to actually assert ownership of AIG. Is this what they wanted in the first place and do we really want the people behind Fannie and Freddie running another company?
Ron Paul: Well, certainly we don’t and I would say that is the motivation by many members here in the Congress because they do believe in big government and they believe that government should own businesses.
So yes, and like Rahm Emanuel said, “Don’t Let a Crisis Go to Waste,” and they’re making good use of this because they’re moving in that direction. So it’s unfortunate, but I think there’s a lot of people here who not only believe it philosophically that’s the right thing to do, but they also, many would say and rationalize and say, “well under the conditions, we have to do something,” and doing something is not only bailing out, but actually assume ownership.
Peter Schiff: Yeah, you know, if the government can’t even do something as simple as deliver the mail with a profit, how would they’re going to run AIG?
Judge Napolitano: Right, right, right. How is it that Hank Paulson presumably with less due diligence than you would engage in if you were going to buy a corner deli, acquired this monster. I guess he sold Federal bonds to the Federal Reserve and got the cash to acquire the 80 percent stock in AIG, but think of the absence of due diligence, the absence of any professional verification of AIG’s assets and debts and obligations and the public debt that he incurred.
Honest, all of them all voted in the Congress. I don’t even know if President Bush knew or authorized this. Congressman Paul?
Ron Paul: Yeah, well, it’s called moral hazard. You know, that’s a major part where there’s no due diligence because easy come, easy go. But this has been going on to some degree for decades because we have government insurance and a Ponzi scheme and fractional-reserve banking and all the guarantees and here on the bailout, it’s just more of the same.
So now, they panic here and they just dump money into it. They believe prosperity comes from spending, deficits and inflation and until we get the message out that that is the cause, not the solution, we can’t win this fight.
We’re going to destroy our dollar, we’ll further destroy the economic system and the biggest tragedy, they will destroy our liberties, and that is why this is a desperate fight, to get our views out.
Judge Napolitano: Before I pass the microphone to the rest of the panel, I’m about to give a speech in St. Louis, Missouri, to a lot of your friends, Congressman Paul, and I had insisted, insisted that the car that picks me up at the airport have a Run Paul bumper sticker on it.
Now, given that this is the State of Missouri, I don’t know why, but something is going on there. But do I have anything to worry about in getting in safely from the airport to the hotel?
Ron Paul: Absolutely, you make sure your driver has a driver’s license and make sure the driver’s not been drinking. But this militia deal of scaring people and putting your name on your list and I hope you don’t cancel, Judge, because your name is going to be on the list; you’re a friend, you know, and if you’re a friend of Austrian Economics, if you don’t like the Federal Reserve and on and on, your name gets put on a list according to the police officials and the government officials of Missouri. So no, I think…
Judge Napolitano: I will happily put my name on that list as a defender of freedom and especially the right to speak freely. But is there some effort on the part of cops in Missouri to harass people who believe as we do that the Constitution means what it says and the free market should be preserved and the Federal Government is out of control?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I think there is something to this and maybe that’s a sign that we’re growing, maybe we are threat to their system, maybe we’re making inroads, maybe we’re making common sense, and maybe that is the reason that they’re doing this.
But nevertheless, I consider that a rather serious affront to our freedoms to put people like us on a list and claim that we’re associated with these, you know, dangerous groups.
Cody Willard: Peter and Congressman, you know, the Congressman used the phrase, “it’s more of the same,” and I question whether it is more of the same because back when I was asking you back earlier, it used to be sort of covert, some of these tax tricks, Federal Reserve, taking interest rates to zero percent. It’s now over. I mean, they’re handing trillions of dollars of welfare infusions to corporate America and I’m… A. If we have a tipping point? and B. I mean if not now, when?
Judge Napolitano: Go ahead, Peter.
Peter Schiff: Yeah, I mean I think we might be at that tipping point. I mean, look at this big spread now between the 30- and the 10-year. It’s widening dramatically. Right now as I’m speaking, gold has risen 30-35 dollars an ounce since the Fed’s announcement. The dollar index is now plunging. It’s down by over two percent on a day. It’s probably the biggest one-day drop I’ve seen in the dollar. We could be witnessing a turn.
I mean people could start to understand that there’s really nothing behind the curtain. You know, all we’re going to do is print money and that’s not going to solve any problems. That’s just going to usher in a whole new set of problems that will follow the ones that we’re trying to solve.
Cody Willard: It’s the velocity of a move like that. It’s the quickness when you see that, that often is the indicator that well, I’m seeing something serious here, ripple effects.
Mark Skousen: Well, there was some evidence up until what happened today from what I gathered. I haven’t picked up all the news and I haven’t really read the Fed’s statement yet.
But it seems to me there was some evidence of some kind of stability in the marketplace and that was the evidence of the market rallying and home sales starting to increase and some indication of a stabilization factor and that’s the whole purpose of this.
I don’t believe that Obama is a communist and that he is out to destroy the country and so on. I think we are all part of the circumstances in dealing with something we don’t know. We’re trying the Swedish model, which is to buy up assets and to inject liquidity and do these sorts of things, so we could return back to normalcy and I don’t know. I have a hard problem with the argument that, you know, we’ve heard this many times before, Peter, the doomsday scenario, that this is the end of the world. We shall see. I don’t think it’s…. I don’t think it’s the tipping.
Peter Schiff: But Mark, I never say it’s the end of the world, I say it’s the end of our phony economy. It’s the end of America’s ability to live beyond its means and borrow money from the rest of the world and not pay it back and import a bunch of goods that we can’t afford to pay for with export.
Mark Skousen: Well, yes, but…
Peter Schiff: That dynamic is within.
Mark Skousen: But Peter, look. The thing is what we’re trying to do is create a normalization that will occur.
Judge Napolitano: Again, it’s abnormal?
Mark Skousen: And then, now wait a minute, once the normalization occurs, you better believe that the emphasis will be on living within your means and start being responsible in both on a fiscal and monetary basis. I mean, after all, Ben Bernarke cut his teeth on inflation targeting. That is a method of trying to maintain the whole of the economy.
Peter Schiff: But what… what economy is… the moon is somewhere because that’s where inflation is going.
Judge Napolitano: No, no, no, no. I think, Congressman Paul. Peter, hold on a minute because we’re going to lose Congressman Paul in about three minutes.
Andy Levy: Hey, Congressman, a quick question. What’s the difference between the AIG execs getting bonuses and Congress voting itself a pay raise for 2009.
Ron Paul: Well, you know, with my help, I mean, co-sponsoring a bill, we did put something into the budget this year that will not make it automatic anymore. They’re going to have to vote on it, so that’s a slight achievement.
I think it’s slightly different morally. It’s…
Peter Schiff: If it goes up another $10, it’s my last time I talk.
Judge Napolitano: Hey, Congressman. Did the Senate actually vote the other day that the pay raises will no longer be automatic and will the House actually vote, in other words, will this force members of Congress of both Houses to vote every time they get an increase in income and the automatic increases are now history?
Ron Paul: Yeah, a matter of fact, the Senate is just catching up with what we did in the House and the appropriations bill we passed earlier this year included that provision in there that next year. This year’s pay raise went through and now, next year will not be automatic. That’s the way I understand it right now.
Judge Napolitano: Congressman Paul, thank you very much for joining us.
Ron Paul: Okay.
Judge Napolitano: For me, it’s the best day of the week. I know how busy you are. We’ll look forward to chatting with you next Wednesday on Freedom Watch.
Ron Paul: Thank you, Judge.
Judge Napolitano: Thank you, Congressman.
Peter Schiff, just in layman’s terms, what did the Fed announce earlier that had you so animated when you joined us?
Peter Schiff: Well, they announced that they’re going to be buying another $300 billion of Treasury bonds and maybe another $700 billion of mortgage-backed securities and agency debt.
Basically, what they’re announcing is massive inflation, that the Fed is going to print up money and buy government debt, buy agency debt. Then that is the worst thing that they can be doing. And that, you know, you’re getting a rally in the bond market today, although the 30-year is selling off rather hard from where it was and the yield curve is spreading, killing the tail or speeding up the inflationary impact here.
Speaker: Peter. Where is this all coming?
Peter Schiff: But this is a big sell signal for Treasury.
Judge Napolitano: Listen, Peter.
Peter Schiff: If the government prints money, they make Treasury less valuable because they’re debasing the value of the dollars that the bonds promise to pay and if you look at what’s happening in the currency market, this is the biggest down day we’ve had in the dollar, probably since this crisis began. You know, the dollar is… you know, the euro is now better than four cents. It’s a huge move.
Judge Napolitano: Okay, but Peter, listen, hold on. Peter, listen.
Peter Schiff: Gold is up $45 an ounce since that statement came out, you know, less than an hour ago.
Judge Napolitano: Peter. Tell me…
Cody Willard: So Peter, on that note, I mean, yeah, gold is finally responding and even into a day like this and I mean it sounds like the currency markets, the Treasury markets, everything is responding.
I come back to what I asked earlier. I’ve been following what the Fed has been doing. It used to be a big deal when they cut interest rates from 3 to 2-1/4 percent and I’d be upset about that Illuminati aspect of it. They’re talking hundreds of billions and trillions of dollars and out and out… I don’t even know what you’d call it anymore.
Peter Schiff: I mean they already got laid to zero, so they run out of […], so they’re just printing more money. They’re trying to maintain this phony economy. They’re trying to prevent all the reforms that Mark Skousen had mentioned we need to have from occurring.
Cody Willard: But, you see, Peter. It comes back to Mark here —
Peter Schiff: They don’t want us saving our money. They want us spending it every dime we have. They want us going into the mall even though we don’t have any money.
Cody Willard: But Peter…
Judge Napolitano: What will the Fed do, what will the Treasury do, if the Chinese stopped buying the bonds as the Chinese premier hinted outside of London last week. He might just stop doing it.
Peter Schiff: Well, good luck. They’re going to stop, but we can’t pay it back. I mean we’re going to default upon this debt one way or the other, so that the world is going to stop lending us money.
And then if the Fed just buys all the bonds that nobody else wants, it’s massive inflation, and I think what’s going to happen is now that the Fed has announced its intention to buy all these Treasuries, the people who own Treasuries are going to be lining up to sell to the Feds, and I think that the Feds is going to be overwhelmed with offers and ultimately, you’re going to see bond prices falling.
Everybody tries to get rid of their Treasuries because the people who don’t sell are going to lose a fortune because of the inflation that the government creates to buy the Treasuries from the people who do sell.
Judge Napolitano: Yeah.
Andy Levy: And I got to say, isn’t this one… this whole discussion is part of the problem. You need a Ph.D in Economics now to understand how our economy works.
Mark Skousen: Yeah.
Andy Levy: But you shouldn’t, the economy used to be simple. You had a goods or a service and somebody wanted to pay X number of dollars for that goods or service and they bought it.
Cody Willard: And the government’s job was to enforce the contract.
Andy Levy: But now, no offense, but you people, you make up things like derivatives.
Cody Willard: No, we’re not.
Andy Levy: You make these things up and you’re turning the economy into Las Vegas and everything now is betting and doing all of this stuff and the government ultimately is the house and the house always wins, and that’s why we’re in this mess.
Judge Napolitano: Mark.
Cody Willard: Andy. Andy’s onto something and you’re sitting here saying that we’ll return to normalcy and then we can get the policies back. We’re not. It’s the chicken and the egg. We’re not going to… the economy won’t return to normalcy until the policies first return to normalcy.
Peter Schiff: So remember what existed before was not normal. We were living in a bubble and the government is trying to reflate that bubble. What’s normal is what existed in this country a long time ago. What’s normal is you earn money and you don’t spend it. You have savings, and then it all comes to savings.
Mark Skousen: We can borrow money, there’s legitimate use of borrowed money, there’s a legitimate use of derivatives.
Judge Napolitano: If we can’t pay back the money we borrowed, we will never return to normalcy.
Mark Skousen: Well, that’s right. But look, I had a conversation with Newt Gingrich no more than seven years ago where we sat down and we looked into the future by 2010 and we said, “My gosh, we’re going to pay off the national debt in 2010.”
Now, of course, that didn’t happen because of 9/11 and a million other things. But look, I think we still can come back to normalcy. I have not given up on my country so far.
Judge Napolitano: Mark, you got the final word. Peter Schiff, thank you very much. Congressman Ron Paul, Alex Jones, Cody Willard, Andy Levy, from all of us at Freedom Watch, we’ll be here next week, Wednesday, 2 o’clock in the East, 11 o’clock in the morning on the West Coast. My friends, stay free.