Last Friday in my blog “Kahre’s Prosecutors Are Going Nutso,” I blogged about the abusive subpoena that federal prosecutors had served on the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The newspaper had published a news story about the trial of Robert Kahre, a Las Vegas businessman who is on trial in federal district court for paying his workers in gold and silver coins at their face value. The feds are prosecuting him for tax evasion notwithstanding the fact that federal law stipulates that the coins are legal tender.
After the article appeared on the newspaper’s website, dozens of people began posting critical comments about the prosecution, the Federal Reserve, inflation, and debasement of the currency.
Those comments obviously upset the prosecutors, who served the newspaper with a grand-jury subpoena demanding that the paper produce the “name, date of birth, physical address, gender, ZIP code, password prompts, security questions, telephone numbers and other identifiers … the IP address” of the people who posted the comments. (It’s not clear whether the prosecutors secured the permission of the grand jury before issuing the subpoena or whether they simply filled out and issued the subpoena without approval from the grand jury.)
As I suggested in my blog post, somebody needed to get word to these prosecutors that they’re operating here in the United States, not in the Soviet Union or Burma. Here, the fundamental rights of freedom of speech are still recognized, as reflected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Well, somebody might have done that because the prosecutors buckled and issued a revised, much narrower subpoena.
What happened first is that the newspaper announced that it intended to fight the subpoena. Then the ACLU jumped into the fray by announcing that it would be willing to represent for free any of the people who posted the comments in an action to quash the subpoena.
According to a news article in today’s Review-Journal, the prosecutors then reduced the scope of their subpoena to encompass only two people who posted comments. According to the Associated Press, one commentator stated, “The sad thing is there are 12 dummies on the jury who will convict him. They should be hung along with the feds.” The other commentator wagered a bet that one of the federal prosecutors would not reach his next birthday.
Obviously, the prosecutors are feeling that such speech is subject to federal criminal prosecution.
The newspaper has agreed to comply with the revised subpoena.
Not so the ACLU though. Representing three anonymous posters, it intends to proceed forward with its action to quash the subpoena. According to the newspaper, “The organization does not view any of the remaining comments as posing a ‘true threat,’ which [it] defined as showing ‘a clear danger of imminent action.’
My hunch is that the ACLU is going to prevail with its motion to quash the subpoena. In my opinion, the comments about the jury and the prosecutor do not rise to the level of a credible threat of imminent action.
It’s clear to me that the prosecutor’s actions are nothing more than an attempt to intimidate people into silence, especially with respect to criticism of a prosecution of a man who has committed the cardinal sin of bringing much-needed light to the economic and monetary damage that the Federal Reserve and the IRS have done to the American people.
No doubt one of the prosecutors, J. Gregory Damm, a Justice Department lawyer from Washington who has traveled all the way to Las Vegas to participate in Kahre’s prosecution rather than simply leave the prosecution to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Las Vegas, is upset over comments that described him as a “socialist, fascist moron” and a “Nazi moron.” In my opinion, Damm would have been better off simply singing to himself, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” than issuing an abusive grand-jury subpoena to the newspaper.
No wonder our American ancestors rejected a central bank and an income tax for more than 100 years of our nation’s history. Since their monetary system was based on gold coins and silver coins, they didn’t need to worry about being prosecuted for using such coins in their everyday transactions. And since their tax system was devoid of an income tax and an IRS, they didn’t need to worry about having their lives destroyed in a federal prosecution for income-tax evasion. Our American ancestors knew what a free society was all about.