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Bernard von NotHaus awaits his sentencing for ‘domestic terrorism’

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Bernard von NotHaus

“The thing that fires me up the most,” von NotHaus will say, “is this is what happens: When money goes bad, people go crazy. Do you know why? Because they can’t exist without value. Value is intrinsic in man.”

His name is Bernard von NotHaus, and he is a professed “monetary architect” and a maker of custom coins found guilty last spring of counterfeiting charges for minting and distributing a form of private money called the Liberty Dollar.

Mr. von NotHaus managed over the last decade to get more than 60 million real dollars’ worth of his precious metal-backed currency into circulation across the country — so much, and with such deep penetration, that the prosecutor overseeing his case accused him of “domestic terrorism” for using them to undermine the government.

Of course, if you ask him what caused him to be living here in exile, waiting with the rabbits for his sentence to be rendered, he will give a different account of what occurred.

From New York Times: Prison May Be the Next Stop on a Gold Currency Journey

“This is the United States government,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s got all the guns, all the surveillance, all the tanks, it has nuclear weapons, and it’s worried about some ex-surfer guy making his own money? Give me a break!”

The story of Mr. von NotHaus, from his beginnings as a hippie, can sound at times as if Ken Kesey had been paid in marijuana to write a script on spec for Representative Ron Paul. At 68, Mr. von NotHaus faces more than 20 years in prison for his crimes, and this decisive chapter of his tale has come, coincidentally, at a moment when his obsessions of 40 years — monetary policy, dollar depreciation and the Federal Reserve Bank — have finally found their place in the national discourse.

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Time To Toss The 9/11 Blather!

How Scared of Terrorism Should You Be?  Not very.  Do you even know how many Americans have been killed in terrorist attacks inside the United States since the September 11, 2001, attack?  You are four times more likely to be killed by a lightning bolt than by a terror attack.   Ronald Baily, a science correspondent at Reason.com has broken down the statistical basis for our post-9/11 terror hysteria.

Fear of Terror has no statistical validityIt turns out that peanuts and bathtub drownings (the non-waterboard variety) are by far more dangerous to Americans than terrorists. “On this 10th anniversary, we will certainly remember those who died so tragically. But we should also recognize that terrorism is a hollow threat to which we should not surrender one iota of our liberties,” opines Dr. Baily.

FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, constitutional law experts, Time Magazine, and the Washington Post have all said that U.S. government officials “were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power”.

MS at The Economist posts:

Paranoia is Patriotic, be afraid!JEFFREY GOLDBERG disparages a Los Angeles Times piece in which an expert makes the familiar point that people’s reactions to terrorist attacks are overblown, given that (outside the Muslim world) roughly the same number of people die drowning in bathtubs as die in terrorist attacks by Islamic radicals. Mr Goldberg thinks this is a specious comparison: unlike bathtub drownings, terrorist attacks…

“… can have a profound effect on society and the economy. The deaths of ten people in bathtub accidents won’t cause people to fear leaving their homes; but imagine the impact of 10 deaths in a terrorist bombing of a shopping mall, or a movie theater. And imagine if it happens more than once. The economic impact could be devastating…And consider the impact of terrorism on the Constitution, and on our collective self-conception as an open and free society. Just look at the stress placed on our constitutional freedoms by 9/11.

James Fallows correctly responds that Mr Goldberg is confusing an is with an ought.* Precisely because people are disproportionately and unwisely likely to respond to terrorist attacks by declining to leave their homes and by acceding to curtailment of civil liberties, it’s the duty of right-thinking (and statistically literate) people everywhere to persuade them not to overreact.”

Fear of Terrorism Makes People Stupid writes Washington’s Blog

Sociologists from four major research institutions investigated why so many Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, years after it became obvious that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

The researchers found, as described in an article in the journal Sociological Inquiry (and re-printed by Newsweek):

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