2011/03/25

Contingent state of war?

The law of nations actually defines what is "war" with enough precision to cover the present events in Libya. An act of war makes it war. Bombing a country is an act of war, unless it is some kind of training exercise, at the invitation of the government of the country. It is apparent that is not the present case. On the other hand, there is some confusion as to what is the government of Libya, or whether it even has one. Qaddafi asserts no title of office, so by the standards of the law of nations, he is a kind of pirate, not a head of state. No declaration of war is needed to attack pirates, just as we did not need one to attack the Barbary Pirates. However, the attack needs to be, to the extent possible, focused on the pirate personally, not on military assets of the country, no matter whom they are taking orders from. Therefore, it is constitutional to take out the command center from which Qaddafi is operating, even if it kills him, without a congressional declaration of war or letters of marque and reprisal, provided the collateral damage to anyone not associated with Qaddafi is minimal and compensated. There may be a reluctance to make a martyr of Qaddafi, but taking just him out is the appropriate course of action in this situation, if it can be done. However, the attacks already made exceed the bounds of just taking out a pirate and his henchmen, so a state of war exists unless an internationally recognized government of the country consents to the attacks. That is likely if the opponents of Qaddafi prevail, but is not if they don't.

The Constitution did not really contemplate contingent states of war, in which one side consents and the outcome can decide whether there had ever been a state of war.

All the President needs to do to legitimize his action is to recognize the Benghazi regime as the legitimate government of Libya, as France has done, and get them to issue an invitation to conduct exercises on its territory. It's not "war" if it's by invitation of the host government.

2011/03/24

Message from Bernard

The following is a message from Bernard von NotHaus, recently convicted of the private minting of bullion coins made of pure silver, which do not "resemble" any U.S. coin, and which are worth more than any silver coin that was minted by the U.S. in the past. The message is posted here for your information.


... I just met with my chief defense attorney, Aaron Michel, who is very concerned with the government’s effort to mislead the people, just as they misled the jury.  He pointed out that the gov is now trying to brand all local non-government currencies as illegal and anybody who expresses opposition to the current US monetary policy as a “unique terrorist” who represents “a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country.” 

The alarming statement in the Department of Justice press release by U.S. Attorney Anna Tompkins should concern every American.  Tompkins said:  “Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism.  While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country.  We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

Seth Lipsky’s article in The New York Sun regarding a “Unique form of Terrorism” confirms that the gov can tailor terrorism to any definition they want or need for any circumstance.  Lipsky’s article should only be the beginning of a much larger public outcry. 

It is clear that the government it trying to grossly expand its power to control the people’s basic rights of freedom of speech, expression and action regarding monetary policy.  For example the Department of Justice press release added this statement, “… and to insure a singular monetary system for all purchases and debts in the United States, public and private” to their quote of Article 1, section 8 clause 5 of the US Constitution, when no such law or even idea, exists outside of the hyperbole of the DOJ. 

We live in a very dangerous time of mounting price inflation, social unrest and expanding wars all based on an undisciplined monetary system run by madmen. 

Please take action.  Write an article, your Congressman, Senator, Attorney General, Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper and encourage your email list to do the same. 

There is an urgent need for a massive outcry and I urge you to speak out and encourage others, who support the principles of a free market, to also speak out.  Silence in the face of tyranny is consent. 

Thank you for your support to return American to value. 

Sincerely,

Bernard von NotHaus
Monetary Architect

Eight Current articles:

Did Bernard von NotHaus Counterfeit Coins?
http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/82406.html

Ron Paul Legislation for Repeal of legal tender laws
Page 1: 
http://editions.amospublishing.com/WDCN/print.aspx?d=20110404&s=7&e=7&r=150
Page 2: http://editions.amospublishing.com/WDCN/print.aspx?d=20110404&s=42&e=42&r=150

Von NotHaus guilty on all counts
http://www.coinworld.com/News/20110328/Bulletin820110328.aspx

The New Face Of Terror by Chris Duane
http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/03.11/liberty.html

A ‘Unique’ Form of ‘Terrorism’ by Sun editor Seth Lipsky
http://www.nysun.com/editorials/a-unique-form-of-terrorism/87269/

Press Release by the FBI of Charlotte...
http://charlotte.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/ce031811.htm

Liberty Dollar creator convicted in federal court
http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110319/NEWS01/110319006/1001/news/Liberty-Dollar-fake-currency-creator-convicted-federal-court?odyssey=nav|head

Liberty Dollar founder convicted on federal charges by David Forbes
http://www.mountainx.com/blogwire/2011/liberty_dollar_founder_convicted_on_federal_charges
**********************************************************************************************
Some background links on the case.
FBI Raid

http://www.newswithviews.com/Ryter/jon201.htm

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2007/nov/15/liberty-dollar-office-raided/

http://www.constitutionpreservation.org/newsletter-items/bernard-von-nothaus-political-prisoner

http://www.dig4coins.com/news/latest-news/fbi-seized-gold-and-silver-qcoinsq-from-the-office-of-liberty-dollar

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1926165/posts

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?read=114103 (Von Nothaus article)

http://letlibertyring.blogspot.com/2007_11_17_archive.html



Liberty Dollar's request for injunction against feds

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/liberty-dollar-group-seeks-permanent-injunction-against-us-government-51667697.html

http://news.silverseek.com/SilverSeek/1174419765.php

http://www.illuminati-news.com/art-and-mc/Articles/19.html  (class action suit mentioned)

http://www.thepowerhour.com/news2/liberty_dollar.htm



Indictment

http://www.fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/business/currency/news.php?q=1300664426

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=19475

http://smithmillcreek.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-crack-down-on-liberty-dollar-now.html

http://adap2k.blogspot.com/2009/06/fbi-arrests-bernard-von-nothaus-and.html



Pre-trial and Trial

http://www.mountainx.com/news/2010/020310give_me_liberty_or_give_me_jail/

http://www.silvermonthly.com/1459/the-strange-case-of-the-liberty-dollar/ (3 July 2010)

http://www.masslpa.org/content/message-bernard-von-nothaus-liberty-dollar

http://statesmansentinel.com/creator-liberty-dollar-jail

http://coinworld.com/News/20110328/Bulletin320110328.aspx  (Von NotHaus takes stand in trial)

http://www.dgcmagazine.com/blog/index.php/2011/03/08/liberty-dollar-trial-begins-bernard-von-nothaus-gets-day-in-court/

http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/085423-2011-03-10-united-states-v-bernard-von-nothaus-bvnh-case-5-09.htm

http://www.coinworld.com/News/20110328/Bulletin620110328.aspx



Conviction

http://www.gata.org/node/9715

http://gata.org/node/9718

http://news.goldseek.com/GATA/1300687500.php

http://www.blacklistednews.com/index.php?news_id=13115

http://www.wtffinance.com/2011/03/founder-von-nothaus-of-liberty-dollar-convicted-for-competing-gold-and-silver-currency/

http://truthiscontagious.com/2011/03/19/bernard-von-nothaus-liberty-dollar-founder-convicted-on-federal-charges

http://www.rense.com/general93/lib.htm

http://avstop.com/march_2011/bernard_von_nothaus_convicted_of_minting_his_own_currency.htm

http://reason.com/blog/2011/03/18/liberty-dollar-founder-reporte

http://deadlinelive.info/2011/03/20/confiscating-liberty-who-are-the-real-criminals/

http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110320/NEWS/303200037/0/ENT/Liberty-Dollar-creator-guilty?odyssey=mod|lateststories

http://www.fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/business/currency/news.php?q=1300664426

http://crasch.livejournal.com/1060492.html

http://www.postchronicle.com/news/breakingnews/article_212355162.shtml?ref=rss

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/fbi-busts-mastermind-criminal/560372

http://www.dgcmagazine.com/blog/index.php/2011/03/20/bernard-von-nothaus-has-been-convicted-liberty-dollars-big-trail-over/    (doj press release)

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1404973/pg1

http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2011-03-19_LibertyDollarfounderconvictedofcounterfeitingUSattorneycallshima.html

http://timesnews.net/article.php?id=9030654

http://greenlaserreviews.com/2011/03/21/still-worried-about-alternative-currencies-in-the-mid-west/

http://jenkinsear.com/2011/03/19/counterfeiting-is-not-terrorism-resume-buildin/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/20/us-crime-currency-idUSTRE72J46L20110320?feedType=RSS

http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2011/03/18/liberty-dollar-founder-reportedly-convicted/

http://www.gsnmagazine.com/article/22734/%E2%80%98unique%E2%80%99_domestic_terrorism_undermined_us_currency


http://www.ticklethewire.com/2011/03/21/man-convicted-of-producing-7-million-in-counterfeit-liberty-head-dollars/

http://www.roguegovernment.com/Liberty_Dollar_creator_Bernard_Von_NotHaus_convicted_of_domestic_terrorism/25123/0/8/8/Y/M.html

2011/03/21

"Liberty dollar" coinage defended

The arguments made against Bernard von NotHaus and the "liberty dollar" coinage are incorrect, for several reasons.

The U.S. constitution, Art. I Sec. 8, provides in part:

The Congress shall have Power ...

[5] To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

[6] To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
And in Art. 1 Sec. 10, it provides in part:
No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;
Which leaves it open for private parties to coin money, and does not provide authority for Congress to make anything legal tender, except perhaps on territory over which it has exclusive legislative jurisdiction, which excludes state territory.

However, in the Seventh Amendment, it also states in part:
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars ...
Thereby fixing the meaning of "dollar" to be what it was as of 1791, which was 371.25 grains of silver, alloyed into a coin of 416 grains.

The question for the court was whether the "liberty dollar" in any of its forms was in conflict with any of the above, or subject to criminal prosecution. I find none of the coins produced by Norfed, many of which I have in my possession, were in conflict.

First, the only penal power of Congress was to punish "counterfeiting" of "Securities and current Coin of the United States". None of the liberty dollar coins in any way resemble "current Coin of the United States" closely enough. The closest coins minted by the U.S. were silver dollars from the early 20th century, which contained less silver than the liberty dollars did. It can't be "counterfeit" if the quantity or value of the precious metal content is greater than that of the coin "counterfeited".

However, the prosecution was not really for "counterfeiting", but for making coins "resembling and similar to United States coins". Putting things like "dollar, USA, Liberty, Trust in God (instead of In God We Trust); and other features associated with legitimate U.S. coinage", as the DoJ press release proclaimed, does not constitute resemblance close enough to any actual U.S. coins to be "counterfeiting".

One might argue that the charge was really for fraud. Allegedly because the coins were marked with estimates of the bullion price of the coins denominated in federal reserve notes. I cautioned Bernard von NotHaus that that was a bad idea, because bullion price was changing too much, and it served to validate federal reserve notes, which Congress has no authority to make legal tender on state territory. I recommended he just mint "constitutional dollars" containing 371.25 grains of silver, and alloy it to 416 grains to make the coins more durable, as was the original practice. Persons using them in trade would then have to explain about bullion prices and the markup on them to make them available in the form of coins, but most people would get that. Of course it is always possible for ignorant people to deceive themselves, but I find nothing fraudulent about any of the representations or practices of Norfed or its principals.

Moreover, Congress has no authority to prosecute anyone for fraud on state territory, and Norfed was not operating on non-state U.S. territory. Some of his dealers might have been, but not Norfed or its principals directly, and they are not responsible for what their independent dealers might do. Congress also does not have authority to prosecute anyone for conspiracy or complicity, in connection with any crime. That was debated in the Tenth Congress and decided there. The Necessary and Proper Clause, as originally understood, does not support that.

Contrary to the DoJ press release, Congress has no "concurrent power to restrain the circulation of money which is not issued under its own authority...." Proclaiming that is a flat-out lie. It is also a lie that "It is a violation of federal law for individuals, such as von NotHaus, or organizations, such as NORFED, to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States." The statute charged, 18 USC 486, states:
§ 486. Uttering coins of gold, silver or other metal

Whoever, except as authorized by law, makes or utters or passes, or attempts to utter or pass, any coins of gold or silver or other metal, or alloys of metals, intended for use as current money, whether in the resemblance of coins of the United States or of foreign countries, or of original design, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
But that is unconstitutional as to "original design". The resemblance needs to be so close that only close examination can tell the difference, and the value needs to be less than the coin "resembled", not greater. To allow for broader construction makes the statute void for vagueness.

Summarizing:

(1) The power of Congress to coin money is not exclusive. The power is denied to the states, but not to private parties, and in fact from the beginning most coins were minted either by foreign or domestic private mints, although the foreign ones did so under charter of their governments.
(2) The power to regulate the value of coin is also not exclusive to Congress, but that power is only to prescribe that coins contain at least the weight of precious metal they indicate on their face. States may exercise that power so long as it does not conflict with the power of Congress. It is not the power to regulate the exchange rate with other things, such as FRNs.
(3) Congress has no power to make anything legal tender for the payment of debts on state territory, only on territory under its exclusive legislative jurisdiction, such as federal enclaves (Art. I Sec. 8 Cl. 17) or incorporated territories (Art. IV Sec. 3 Cl. 2). The Legal Tender Act making FRNs legal tender is unconstitutional if applied to state territory.
(4) Most states (e.g., Texas) have not defined anything to be legal tender, implicitly yielding to the federal definition, but that means, constitutionally, that there is no legal tender on their territories.
(5) The power to make something legal tender, even if it exists, is not the power to forbid anything else from being used as money. Money is whatever anyone will accept in exchange for goods and services, and there is no power to regulate what that might be.
(6) Prosecution of the Norfed defendants was not based on resemblance of their coins to Silver Eagles, but to quarters, which they do not resemble in size or engraving. An essential element of resemblance under the authority to punish counterfeiting is that they indicate a weight of precious metal greater than they contain. It is not counterfeiting if they contain as much or more, no matter what else is imprinted on them. § 486 was written at a time when coins did not indicate the quantity of precious metal explicitly, but only by denomination, and it is unconstitutional if applied to coins containing more. It is also unconstitutional on the point of "intended for use as current money", because Congress has no power to punish for intentions, especially when the intentions are on the part of persons other than those who did the minting.

Clearly, this was a political show trial, not a valid enforcement of constitutional statutes. It needs to be reversed on appeal.

There is a good discussion of the case here.

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