Asheville – Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK Jr.) swept into Asheville in his big “Kennedy ’24” bus on Sunday, October 15th, to speak at the Crowne Plaza Expo Center. Kennedy, a lifelong Democrat, last week announced he would run as an independent. He walked on stage like a working man, no jacket, sleeves rolled up, and wowed the crowd with his speech. He used neither teleprompters nor a speech written for him by someone else. Kennedy has no need of that, as his platform is about what he has done his entire life: fight for the average American.
A summary of how we got to where we are today
Kennedy began with one of Asheville’s challenges, homelessness. He stated that there are over 582,000 homeless people in the U.S., and half of those are in California. He said his favorite city, San Francisco, is completely boarded up with plywood, and businesses have fled the city. Because of this issue, Kennedy began to study, reading everything he could about the causes of homelessness and the cures. He said, “I came in with a series of biases why I thought homelessness was pretty much associated with addiction, was associated with mental illness, and it was associated with extreme poverty.” Kennedy found out differently. He learned that the homeless in San Francisco were not imported; they are from San Francisco, and they didn’t start out mentally ill; it’s homelessness that makes you mentally ill very fast.
Massive excalation in Home Prices
Kennedy warned that the epidemic of homelessness in San Francisco is about to travel across the country like a tsunami, carrying that same levels of social deterioration and economic destruction. “The reason for that,” he said, “is this unprecedented escalation in housing prices… Inflation is the result of spending $8 trillion on war over the past 20 years and $16 trillion on COVID. All of this we got nothing for in return. Food, childcare, and healthcare all have gone up, but nothing like housing. The average price of a house in the U.S. two years ago was $215,000. Today it is $400,000.”
Why is this happening? Kennedy attributes it to three giant companies, BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street, which are the largest shareholders of nearly every major public company, even of each other. Kennedy explained, “It’s really one big company, and they own 88% of the S&P 500, so they own business in this country, and now they’ve decided that they want to own all the land. They’re buying the agricultural land, and they are also buying residential housing. They want to turn us into a nation of renters rather than owners. They already own 5% of the single-family homes. If we stay on this trajectory, within six years they will own between 40% and 60%, and that makes it impossible for young kids ever to get into a home.”
Kennedy bemoaned that kids no longer believe in the American Dream that promised if you worked hard and played by the rules, you could buy a home, have a summer vacation, raise a family, put something aside, and retire. Of his seven children, only one owns a home, “because he got in before this housing takeover.” Kennedy also explained about something sinister that is happening: “Somebody was about to buy a home, but at the last minute someone else came in with a cash offer 20% above asking price and snatches it off the market. If you try to figure out who did this, it turns out to be an LLC with an ambiguous name, and the search will eventually lead you back to BlackRock.”
Lockdown Adverse Effects
Another topic was the COVID lockdowns. RFK Jr. said, “They shut down 3.3 million businesses with no scientific citation of due process, but they kept Amazon open. The cost is that the local retailers are now gone, 41% of black-owned businesses will never reopen. These are the businesses that pay local taxes; the guy who employed out children; the guy who paid for local hockey jerseys—all those people are gone. That money was recirculating in our community again and again, building us all. And now it’s going to Amazon, and the biggest owner of Amazon is BlackRock.”
Takeover of the Military Industrial Complex
Kennedy also spoke about what he called the most important speech in American history, when in 1961 Dwight Eisenhower warned America against the emergence of a military industrial complex that would transform our exemplary democracy into an imperium abroad and a surveillance state and security state at home. His uncle, JFK, was also concerned about that; he wanted to project economic power, not military power.
This led RFK Jr. to speak of Iraq and Ukraine. He said, “We pushed Iraq into a proxy posture with Iran, which is exactly the foreign policy I would avoid. We created ISIS, and that war with Syria drove 2 million Syrians up into Europe and destabilized every democracy in Europe for the next two generations. Brexit is a direct outcome of that forced migration, as are the riots that are occurring today in France. Now, in March, we committed another $113 billion to Ukraine for a war that could have ended twice. Ukrainians wanted to end it twice. The Russians made very, very generous peace offers and then signed them. It would have left Ukraine intact. The Whitehouse interfeared.” At the same time they cut food stamps for 30 million Americans from $82 a month to $23 a month.”
Three Letter Agencies Need Cleaning
Kennedy closed by talking about our government agencies, saying that he knew them well because he had sued all of them at one time or another—the FDA, CDC, NIH, etc. As president, he would deconstruct those agencies and build them back to where they were once again serving the people of the United States.
Attendees Responses to Kennedy
Several attendees shared their feelings about Mr. Kennedy after the speech. Justina Prenatt shared, “I believe that Mr. Kennedy painted a really great historical picture of how we got to some of the really serious problems that, as Americans, we’re facing today. I think he helped us understand why those problems exist and the ways that he can work against them. I feel really excited about that.”
“I thought he was amazing,” said Michaela Bardossas. “I hope more people actually listen to his speech and watch him, and not just trust what they’re hearing from the news. I would love to have family members come and see what I just watched, and I guarantee their minds would be changed about how they feel about him.”
Michelle Bishop shared, “I came here today even though facing homelessness as a single mom. My eldest is a Marine, has served the country, and my two youngest boys are twelve and 14, and we’re facing homelessness right now, today. And instead of sitting home knowing that I’m facing these great challenges that aren’t being met within our system, I came here today to be empowered because I knew that this man understands what hardworking Americans are going through.”