Saturday, November 17, 2007

In Ron Paul We Trust?

Things just keep getting better for those monitoring Ron Paul's whacked out presidential campaign.

It turns out just days after Paul made a speech at a Philadelphia rally in front of the U.S. Mint's facilities in Philadelphia, federal agents seized a batch of about 60,000 "Ron Paul Dollars," copper coins decorated with the haggard image of the Texas congressman.
The Washington Post has the story:

The ardent supporters of Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic Texas libertarian whose campaign for the presidency is threatening to upend the battle for the Republican nomination, got word yesterday of a new source of outrage and motivation: reports of a federal raid on a company that was selling thousands of coins marked with the craggy visage of their hero.

Federal agents on Thursday raided the Evansville, Ind., headquarters of the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and Internal Revenue Code (Norfed), an organization of "sound money" advocates that for the past decade has been selling a private currency it calls "Liberty Dollars." The company says it has put into circulation more than $20 million in Liberty Dollars, coins and paper certificates it contends are backed by silver and gold stored in Idaho, are far more reliable than a U.S. dollar and are accepted for use by a nationwide underground economy.

Norfed officials said yesterday that the six-hour raid occurred just as its six employees were mailing out the first batch of 60,000 "Ron Paul Dollars," copper coins sold for $1 to honor the candidate, who is a longtime advocate of abolishing the Federal Reserve. The group says it has shipped out about 10,000 silver Ron Paul Dollars that sold for $20 and about 3,500 of the copper $1 coins. But it said the agents seized more than 50,000 of the copper coins -- more than two tons' worth -- plus smaller amounts of the silver coins and gold and platinum Ron Paul Dollars, which sell for $1,000 and $2,000.

"They took everything, all of the computers, everything but the desks and chairs," the company's founder and head, Bernard von NotHaus, said in a telephone interview from his home in Miami. "The federal government really is afraid." Von NotHaus changed the name of Norfed to Liberty Services earlier this year, but affidavits for government search warrants served yesterday continued to use the older name.

News of the raid lit up Ron Paul online forums yesterday, the latest unlikely episode in a campaign that began as an idiosyncratic bid by the veteran congressman but has grown into a cause with the potential to influence the GOP contest. Paul, 72, has attracted droves of disaffected Republicans and independents to his platform, which includes ending the war in Iraq, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and adhering to a strict libertarian interpretation of the Constitution.

He raised a record-breaking $4 million in a single day this month and nears double digits in some New Hampshire polls.

A Paul campaign spokeswoman said yesterday that the campaign has "no affiliation" with the Ron Paul Dollars. But Paul's supporters said the seizure of the coins is sure to further stoke support for the campaign.

"People are pretty upset about this," said Jim Forsythe, head of the Paul Meetup group in New Hampshire, who said he recently ordered 150 of the copper coins. "The dollar is going down the tubes, and this is something that can protect the value of their money, and the Federal Reserve is threatened by that. It'll definitely fire people up."
Here's Paul's speech at the U.S. Mint, via YouTube:

It turns out the Philadelphia crowd was filled with neo-nazis and skinheads. Paul's not returned the money he gets from the stormtroopers, nor has he denounced their support. I've blogged about Paul's whacked out campaign here, here, here, here, here, and here. See also Flopping Aces, on "More Ron Paul Nuttiness."

Some of the Paulite fringe have started to freak out,
posting hare-brained attacks on me in their desperation. This is getting too easy!


UPDATE: I really am getting to the Paulites! Check out this attack on my "neocon" credentials, at Conservatives Times (Ron Paul ringmaster's headquarters!).