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Annotated captions of Judge Andrew Napolitano in English

Last Modified By Time Content
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[EMCEE] A few of you out there might have seen a little show called Freedom Watch.

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You guys ever see that?

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[applause]

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Well, we got some big news.

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Starting September 14th, and ya'll are the first people to hear this,

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starting September 14th, Freedom Watch is gonna be on every day, 4:30 to 5:00 p.m. EST

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We all gotta tune in, give support and email Fox News

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let them know at Foxnews.com that you appreciate them having the Judge on

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because he is taking off. He is going to be all over the place.

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[APPLAUSE]

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FoxNews.com, 4:30 to 5:00, every day. You guys gotta tune in.

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And uh, I don't think our next guest needs very much introduction.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Judge Andrew Napolitano.

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[APPLAUSE]

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[NAPOLITANO] I hate to speak last. I have to follow two giants.

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Lew Rockwell has done more to cement the intellectual foundations of the movement for liberty than anybody else today.

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[APPLAUSE]

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And Tom Woods has explained in his runaway, easy to read best seller "Meltdown"

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how we got in this mess better than anybody else today

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[APPLAUSE]

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I was speaking to a group not unlike this about 7 or 8 years ago,

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and in the audience was a great man and I didn't know it.

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And in the middle of giving one of my favorite quotations by Thomas Jefferson, I looked in the third row.

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And I met this man eye-to-eye, face-to-face for the first time.

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And it was Ron Paul. And I said, and I don't know what inspired me to say this,

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but it stuck and I'm glad it has, I said, "Oh my God. Here is the modern day Thomas Jefferson."

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[APPLAUSE]

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I'll tell you a crazy story about how I got my start at Fox.

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I have not hesitated for one bit to criticize George W. Bush.

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He has shown less fidelity to constitutional government than any president since Abraham Lincoln.

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[APPLAUSE]

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But I bear a little responsibility for his election. Now here's how this happened.

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It's December of 2000. We're in the 38th day of the 42 day recount.

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All vacations at Fox are cancelled. All weekends at Fox are cancelled.

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I'm sleeping on the couch in my office. We're going 24/7 'round the clock live,

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and I'm the expert in Florida election law, and one night I'm on-air with Brit Hume

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I'm in New York and he's in D.C. Through the magic of television it looks like we're in the same room.

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And all of a sudden in the middle of he and I talking, you know one of those swoosh alerts that Fox does

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about 8 or 9 times a minute it seems, One of those alerts comes down

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and the alert is that the Florida Supreme Court has just come down with it's third ruling on the recount.

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And it has ordered that the recount resume not only in the 4 counties that Al Gore, and this will all come back to ya,

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has challenged, but in all 70 counties of the state of Florida.

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People were ready to pull their hair out. They want this thing to be over with.

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And we understand that Governor Bush's lawyers are going to appeal this decision of the Supreme Court

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of Florida to the United States Court of Appeals of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.

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Hume says to me, "What do you think about that?"

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And I said, "Well that's wrong. The Court of Appeals, without getting too technical, in Atlanta does not have jurisdiction to hear an appeal from the Florida Supreme Court."

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And he said, "Well, what should Bush's people do?"

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I said, "They should get in their cars and drive to Georgetown, which is where Justice Anthony Kennedy lives."

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"He hears urgent appeals from the area of the United States where Florida is."

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"They should knock on the door of his house, and file an emergency appeal. "

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"With the stroke of a pen he can stop the decision of the Florida Supreme Court and then pull the other 8 justices."

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End of Hume's show. I go upstairs to take a nap because in 3 hours I'm on with O'Reilly.

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You need all the rest you can get for that!

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[LAUGHTER]

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At 7:00 my ever garrulous, ever charming, ever freedom loving colleague Shepherd Smith comes on

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and another one of those swoosh alerts!

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And the alert is this: "Lawyers for Governor Bush Have Just Been Sighted In Georgetown."

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[LAUGHTER]

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"Looking For The House Of Justice Anthony Kennedy!"

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And then as only Shep can do, he looks in the camera, and he goes, "Do you know what this means?"

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"This means that George W. Bush is watching Fox!"

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[LAUGHTER]

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"And he's getting his legal advice from Judge Napolitano."

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[APPLAUSE]

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And the rest is history.

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I have a couple of beliefs, firm beliefs which Jefferson called truisms.

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A truism is something that is so obvious that it doesn't have to be proven.

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And here they are. The first of my truisms is

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that God created every human being on the planet in His own image and likeness.

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[APPLAUSE]

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And because He is perfectly free, He has created us in a state of perfect freedom.

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[APPLAUSE]

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And that in order to protect those freedoms, and for no other purpose, we have established a government.

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And the only legitimate role of the government is to protect human freedom.

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[APPLAUSE]

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Every individual has an immortal soul capable of glorifying God infinitely and eternally.

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The government is just an artificial organization based on fear and force.

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[APPLAUSE]

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If you don't believe me you can take the words of the first two American presidents.

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George Washington said it was based on force and John Adams said it was based on fear.

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I think they knew what they were talking about.

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Now, there was a time when everybody in America believed all this.

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Tom Woods has just given us a brilliant and succinct analysis of how we lost these beliefs.

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and consequently lost the freedoms that the beliefs animated.

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I'm going to tell you some stories that are even gloomier.

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There is a happy ending but the stories are gloomy.

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You know all these things.

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We start out as colonists.

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We start out with a king and a parliment that wants money from us.

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What else do governments want, besides power and money?

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And our children.

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The parliment enacts the stamp act and the stamp act requires that every piece of paper in your possession

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every book, every deed, every mortgage, every lease, every poster you're going to nail to a tree has to have a stamp on it.

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You had to go to a British government office in the colonies and buy the King's stamp.

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Question: How did the king know if every piece of paper in your possession had the king's image on it?

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Answer: The parliment enacted the Writs of Assistance Act. What the heck did that do?

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That let British soldiers write their own search warrants.

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It authorized them to authorize themselves to enter any home, any building, any dwelling

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obstensibly for the purpose of looking for the stamps.

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Of course while they were there

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they frequently helped themselves to what they wanted

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including the home itself.

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We fought a revolution.

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We won the revolution.

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[APPLAUSE]

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We wrote a constitution.

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But before we wrote it, we had an argument.

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The argument was in Philadelphia in 1787

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where it was hotter than it is here in Galveston today.

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And the argument was this.

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Where do our freedoms come from?

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There was, even in Philadelphia in 1787, a big government crowd.

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You know their names.

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Alexander Hamilton.

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John Adams.

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These guys argued that our freedoms come from the government.

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That the government is the one who says we can speak freely

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and travel freely and worship as we wish

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and as long as the government says that

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and the government is compelled to say that, we're safe.

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Jefferson, who wasn't there, but Madison who was

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made the argument that our freedoms come from our humanity.

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Not from the government.

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That as God created us in His image and likeness

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freedom is our birthright.

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It is as natural to us as the fingers on the ends of our hands

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or the nose in the middle of our face.

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[APPLAUSE]

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The argument that freedom is our birthright was not a new one.

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Jefferson had made the same argument 12 years earlier

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when he wrote in The Declaration of Independence

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that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.

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And among these is life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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When he wrote that,

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and when every single delegate to the Constitutional Congress pledged their lives, fortunes,

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and sacred honors to support that,

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he wedded the American soul to the concept of natural rights.

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That our right to think as we wish,

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to say what we think,

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to publish what we say.

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The right to worship as we see fit.

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The right to protect ourselves, even against the government.

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[APPLAUSE]

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Just as an aside, do you know what that means?

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That means if the state of Texas

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or the state of New Hampshire

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authorizes you to carry a gun,

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you can carry that gun no matter who walks into that room.

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[APPLAUSE]

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I don't even know that kid's name but he's a new American hero.

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Back to the litany of rights.

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The most unique American right after the right to life

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is the right to be left alone.

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[APPLAUSE]

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Thus the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says

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the government can't write it's own search warrants

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Can't knock on your door.

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Can't break it down.

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Can't arrest you.

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Can't take your property.

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Can't look at your personal papers, effects or things,

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unless they present real evidence of real crime to a judge.

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So the constitution puts a neutral judge between the government and the government's target,

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no matter how guilty is the target.

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No matter how threatening is the target.

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No matter how feared is the target.

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No matter how widespread is the belief of the guilt of the target.

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Any government and every government that wants to get to that target

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must first go to a judge and present evidence of probable cause.

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[APPLAUSE]

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That's what the law used to be.

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Until a president from the Lone Star State

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persuaded the supposedly freedom loving Republican party

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that it could do away with the 4th Amendment.

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Remember the Writs of Assistance Act?

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We fought against a king when his soldiers knocked on our doors

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with self-written search warrants.

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The most abomidable piece of legislation since the Alien and Sedition Act,

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which made it a crime to criticize everybody in the government but the Vice President

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because the Vice President was Thomas Jefferson who welcomed their criticism,

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but the most abomidable piece of contempory legislation is the Patriot Act.

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[APPLAUSE]

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You think that the 4th Amendment protects you? Look again.

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The Patriot Act lets federal agents write their own search warrants.

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And the Patriot Act makes it a felony for the recipient of those search warrants to tell anyone.

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Let me get this straight.

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What part of "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,"

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What part of "The People shall be secure in their persons, places, houses and things," does Congress not understand?

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[APPLAUSE]

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The Bush administration prosecuted an 86 year old librarian

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because the FBI served her with a self-written search warrant

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to find out who had borrowed books from a public library,

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and she told her 74 year old assistant.

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So they prosecuted her for speaking.

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They have made it a crime to tell the truth.

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Question in an open courtroom to the 86 year old lady under oath:

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"Did you receive a self-written search warrant?

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If she answers yes and tells the truth she goes to jail for 5 years for speaking the truth.

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That's the nature, the incidious nature, the damnable nature of this piece of legislation

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that the Congress has imposed on us

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and which regretably, my dear friends, is still the law today.

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None of them read it.

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I spoke to a group of members of Congress in another state

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not far from here. I don't even want to tell you who it is.

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And some of them came up to me afterwards and said, "Well, we voted for this thing,

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but we didn't know that it let federal agents write their own search warrants,

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or that it made it a crime for people to tell anyone."

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So I asked the question that you all know the answer to.

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"Did you read it?" "No, of course not."

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In the case of the Patriot Act, they actually have an excuse for not reading it.

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Because the Republican leadership in the House took this 315 page piece of legislation

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which I have read 3 times and which takes 20 hours to read

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and put it on the House intranet,

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the internal internet for House members and their senior staff, for 15 minutes before it was time to vote.

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The attorney general told the House of Representatives

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that there was a terrorist behind every bedbug and under every tree

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and next to every toilet, and we have to sort of,

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can't worry about these fine points of the Constitution.

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We need these powers to go after these people now!

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There have been 6 prosecutions under the Patriot Act.

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3 have been for pornography, 2 have been for corruption

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and 1 was the old librarian from Bridgeport.

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Has any of that made you safe?

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Of course not!

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But it has made you less free.

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Now this did not start with George W. Bush.

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It started with John Adams.

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The Alien and Sedition Act. Think about it.

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The very same generation and in many cases the very same human beings

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that wrote, "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech,"

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just 9 years later enacted legislation that authorized the punishment of speech.

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Jefferson allowed the statute to expire.

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But human beings were put in real jails

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hotter than this room we're in today

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because they dared to criticize the president.

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And several of them were put in jails for criticizing the President's enormous waistline.

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When Jefferson was president,

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he caused the Congress to enact legislation which proported to pay them back for their time in jail.

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That's how odious he found it.

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But this idea that the American republic,

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the American constitutional form of government

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is the greatest force for good in the Western world

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only makes sense if the guarantees in the constitution are real guarantees.

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And if the people we elect to the government really believe this,

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When I was on the bench and lawyers would come before me from the government,

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whether they were prosecutors in criminal cases or whether it was a civil case where somebody sued the government

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because a policeman ran them over or they fell on the sidewalk

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I can't remember the government asking me to enforce the Constitution.

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The government asks judges to avoid and evade the Constitution

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because the government hates freedom.

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Freedom is an obstacle to the government's aquisition of power.

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And that's all the government wants.

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[APPLAUSE]

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I look around this room and I see so many bright and happy faces

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that are happy that we are part of this crusade.

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In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger.

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YOU ARE THAT GENERATION!

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THIS IS THAT HOUR!

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NOW IS THAT TIME!

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[APPLAUSE]

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Whenever you deal with the government,

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whenever you deal with the government, take your cell phone.

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and make sure it has a camera,

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because the camera is the new gun.

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The same government that fears freedom fears the disinfectant of the light of day.

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And that's what the camera does to them!

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[APPLAUSE]

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Occasionally there are some of my former colleagues

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who wear black robes who have done the right thing.

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When the Bush administration said we can take people to Cuba

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because we don't have to obey the constitution or the treaties

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or the laws. We can torture them and best of all we don't have to worry about those pesky federal judges

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The Supreme Court said by a vote of 8 to 1 that you can't.

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When the Congress enacted legislation that said if the president declares you an enemy combatant

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you don't have the right to habeas corpus, meaning you can't force the government to come before a neutral judge

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and justify its unlawful confinement of you and the Supreme Court by a vote of 5 to 4 said, "You can't."

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When the president said he could lock up Americans and throw away the key,

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because they were too dangerous to talk to their parents or spouses, their lawyers, or other prisoners,

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but he could keep them in jail for as long as he wanted

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without even charging them with a crime, by a vote of 6-3 the Supreme Court said, "You can't."

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In fact, every single time that people took the Bush administration

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to the Supreme Court over its so-called War on Terror, the government lost and freedom won.

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[APPLAUSE]

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I remember having a debate with one of my more....

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24:09

irritable colleagues, and he said to me, "What is your problem with this, uh Patriot Act?

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24:12

"And what's your problem with Gitmo?"

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24:16

I looked at him and I said, "You know, you like all this stuff."

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24:17

Bush was president at the time.

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24:20

"You like all this stuff because you trust the president."

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24:27

"What happens when these powers are passed on to a President that you don't trust?"

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24:35

And he looked at me and he said "Well, when I am sent to Gitmo, will you come to visit me?"

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24:36

And I said, "Bill," [LAUGHTER]

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24:45

And I said, "Bill, no!" [LAUGHTER]

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24:58

Thomas Moore, one of my heroes, my personal patron saint, the patron saint of lawyers,

marcopolo 24:58
25:05

was arguing on his own behalf in his own trial, which we all know he lost, for treason.

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25:08

The act of treason, the alleged act of treason,

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25:13

was the refusal to agree that the king is the head of the church on earth.

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25:15

That was the act of treason.

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25:23

And Moore, in presenting his closing argument to the jury, said to them, "Some men say

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25:36

the earth is flat, and some men say it is round. But if it is flat, can the king's command make it round?"

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25:42

"And if it is round, can a law of parliment make it flat?"

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25:49

He was of course, appealing to the common sense of his jurors.

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25:54

He was also appealing to their understanding of the natural law.

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25:59

That our rights are ours, by virtue of our humanity.

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26:10

That God has given order to certain events in the world and there are things that the government can't change.

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26:19

And if our rights come from our humanity, then no law, no proclamation no executive order,

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26:26

no command, no piece of legislation that no one has read but the printer who put it on paper,

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26:28

can take those rights away.

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26:31

[APPLAUSE]

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26:48

In World War I Woodrow Wilson and the progressives arrested people that they called anarchists.

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26:52

They were mostly Eastern European Jews from Boston to Baltimore

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26:56

who spoke...spoke against the war.

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27:02

And they enacted legislation which is still called law today called The Espionage Act of 1917

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27:07

which makes it a crime to speak against the government's war effort.

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27:10

When the New York Times, of which I'm not particulary fond but never the less

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27:15

revealed the government was spying on people without warrants

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27:18

something that the Attorney General under oath a year before had denied they were doing,

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27:24

he threatened them. He threatened to prosecute them under the Espionage Act.

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27:29

Imagine that! The government was going to prosecute some newspaper for speaking the truth

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27:36

on the basis of a 1917 law written in an era of hysteria against Eastern European Jews.

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27:42

FDR locked up 150,000 Japanese-Americans

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27:45

and in New Jersey 10,000 Italian-Americans,

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27:52

not because they did or said anything but because they belonged to a racial or ethnic group that he feared.

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27:54

That he feared that they might not be loyal.

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27:59

They were as American as he was. In fact, they were more American than he was!

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28:02

[APPLAUSE]

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28:13

And of course we know that Abraham Lincoln slaughtered 600,000 Americans.

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28:17

His troops raped women, and robbed banks,

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28:21

Destroyed courthouses. Burnt towns.

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28:23

And they all got away with it.

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28:29

All in the name of big government. Of order. Of safety.

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28:32

I hear the devil coming from around the tree,

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28:36

And the Devil stopped to talk to me.

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28:43

And the devil said, "Give me your liberty, and I'll keep you safe."

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28:52

Don't ever let anyone make that diabolical bargain in your behalf.

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28:56

[APPLAUSE]

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29:14

There is one fear, there is one fear that is a good fear.

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29:18

And Jefferson reminded us of it.

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29:25

When the people fear the government, that is tyranny.

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29:31

When the government fears the people, that is liberty!

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29:34

God bless you! [APPLAUSE]