Friday, March 25, 2011

I've had positive ones--so over-the-top laudatory they made me blush--to ones so negative I felt like the laziest incompetent ever to walk the face of the earth. In fact, I've had both within months on the same job, when my appreciative (and keenly perceptive!) supervisor was forced out in a corporate shake-up and replaced by an illiterate but politically adept yuppie-scum upstart.

At best, performance reviews (aka, appraisals, evaluations, hatchetjobs) pit incomplete supervisory knowledge and selective recall against employees' natural pride in, and defensiveness about, their work. Isn't it high time we put the kibosh to this cruel, stilted and astonishingly cockamamie corporate ritual?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

I still meet people who deny the existence, or at least practical effect, of legal tender laws. "If you want to exchange goods and services using gold and silver, the government can't stop you. Nobody's forcing you to use Federal Reserve Notes." Strictly speaking, we don't have to "End the Fed." All we have to do is allow people to engage in exchange with the medium of their choice. This will put the kibosh to the Fed's monopoly.

For Immediate Release
March 18, 2011 United States Attorney's Office
Western District of North Carolina
Contact: (704) 344-6222
Defendant Convicted of Minting His Own Currency

STATESVILLE, NC—Bernard von NotHaus, 67, was convicted today by a federal jury of making, possessing, and selling his own coins, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Following an eight-day trial and less than two hours of deliberation, von NotHaus, the founder and monetary architect of a currency known as the Liberty Dollar, was found guilty by a jury in Statesville, North Carolina, of making coins resembling and similar to United States coins; of issuing, passing, selling, and possessing Liberty Dollar coins; of issuing and passing Liberty Dollar coins intended for use as current money; and of conspiracy against the United States. The guilty verdict concluded an investigation which began in 2005 and involved the minting of Liberty Dollar coins with a current value of approximately $7 million. Joining the U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins in making today’s announcement are Edward J. Montooth, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Charlotte Division; Russell F. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Division; and Sheriff Van Duncan of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the evidence introduced during the trial, von NotHaus was the founder of an organization called the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code, commonly known as NORFED and also known as Liberty Services. Von NotHaus was the president of NORFED and the executive director of Liberty Dollar Services, Inc. until on or about September 30, 2008.

Von NotHaus designed the Liberty Dollar currency in 1998 and the Liberty coins were marked with the dollar sign ($); the words dollar, USA, Liberty, Trust in God (instead of In God We Trust); and other features associated with legitimate U.S. coinage. Since 1998, NORFED has been issuing, disseminating, and placing into circulation the Liberty Dollar in all its forms throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. NORFED’s purpose was to mix Liberty Dollars into the current money of the United States. NORFED intended for the Liberty Dollar to be used as current money in order to limit reliance on, and to compete with, United States currency.

In coordination with the Department of Justice, on September 14, 2006, the United States Mint issued a press release and warning to American citizens that the Liberty Dollar was “not legal tender.” The U.S. Mint press release and public service announcement stated that the Department of Justice had determined that the use of Liberty Dollars as circulating money was a federal crime.

Article I, section 8, clause 5 of the United States Constitution delegates to Congress the power to coin money and to regulate the value thereof. This power was delegated to Congress in order to establish and preserve a uniform standard of value and to insure a singular monetary system for all purchases and debts in the United States, public and private. Along with the power to coin money, Congress has the concurrent power to restrain the circulation of money which is not issued under its own authority in order to protect and preserve the constitutional currency for the benefit of all citizens of the nation. 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.

Von NotHaus, who remains free on bond, faces a sentence of up to 15 years’ imprisonment on count two of the indictment and a fine of not more than $250,000. Von NotHaus faces a prison sentence of five years and fines of $250,000 on both counts one and three. In addition, the United States is seeking the forfeiture of approximately 16,000 pounds of Liberty Dollar coins and precious metals, currently valued at nearly $7 million. The forfeiture trial, which began today before United States District Court Judge Richard Voorhees, will resume on April 4, 2011 in the federal courthouse in Statesville. Judge Voorhees has not yet set a date for the sentencing of von NotHaus.

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. “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,” she added. “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.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Secret Service, in cooperation with and invaluable assistance of the United States Mint. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jill Westmoreland Rose and Craig D. Randall, and the forfeiture trial is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tom Ascik and Ben Bain Creed.


Sunday, March 06, 2011

From: Claudine Voelcker (claudine.voelcker
Subject: Sitzfleisch

Sitzfleisch is, like so many German words, a wonderfully concrete word: the flesh you sit on. Chancellor Merkel is described by many Germans as a person with a lot of it. Someone who will sit out anything without actually doing anything about the task at hand -- just sitting through her term.

Claudine Voelcker, Munich, Germany

Dear Ms. Voelcker:

You and your compatriots should consider yourselves fortunate to have a chancellor who practices sitzfleisch. In startling contrast, Americans are saddled with presidents who behave like bloodthirsty busybodies. No rathole anywhere in this vale of tears is so godforsaken these self-anointed Caesars can resist pouring American blood and treasure down it.

My compatriots seem nonetheless genuinely puzzled at the disdain in which they are held by increasingly wide swaths of the world's citizenry. ("They hate us for our freedom!") They likewise fail to make the connection between the ubiquitous U.S. military presence abroad and vanishing economic opportunity at home.

Sitzfleisch is a virtue. Blaise Pascal's immortal words never rang so true: "All human evil comes from a single cause: man's inability to sit still in a room."

Tony Pivetta
Royal Oak, Michigan


Saturday, March 05, 2011

This is too rich. A Democratic State Representative from Wisconsin returning to his office (after weeks on the lam?) is wrestled to the ground by cops trying to protect (well, that's what they're there for, aren't they?) the State Capitol. See? Public sector unionism really does promote the public health and welfare.

The State Rep's natural statesmanlike gravitas served him well. If a mere mundane such as myself had approached that hallowed hall, surely the cops would've beaten the living daylights out of him.

Much more state-employee-on-state-employee disorder like this, and there's no telling what'll develop. An outbreak of order may well ensue. Bring it on!