Say It Isn't So!

Column by Paul Hein.

Exclusive to STR

Three people in California are suing chocolate manufacturers, most notably Hershey, Mars, and Nestle. “Aha,” you cry. “The chocolate made them sick, and they had tremendous pain, suffering, and medical bills!” No, no, not at all. The three suffered no ill effects from the chocolate products.

Their suit alleged false advertising. “Aha,” you cry. “The chocolate claimed to regrow hair, cure flat feet, or prevent the common cold, and it didn’t.” No, no, not at all. What was false about the advertising was what it DIDN'T say. To understand this, it helps to think like a lawyer or politician--God forbid!

I looked up the word “advertise” and it means “to make the public aware of something; to make a public announcement.” So a non-lawyer, non-politician such as myself would conclude that the only way a public announcement could be false would be if it announced something that wasn’t true.

Not in California, that font of absurdity. There the chocolatiers can be sued for failing to “advertise” that their products were made, allegedly, by child labor--even slave labor!! The idea, quite understandably, is that child labor—especially child SLAVE labor--is reprehensible, and shouldn’t be supported. Thus, if people were aware that their candy was made with child slave labor, they wouldn’t buy it any more, and the wicked companies would suffer. Maybe, maybe not. With their characteristic disdain for the marketplace, the Rulers in California have made it against their wishes--i.e., the “law,” for the defendants to fail to include in their advertising the allegation that their products were made with slave labor, or, at the least, child labor. One way or another, the companies are going to suffer for their claimed vile labor practices.

I found it interesting that these poor mistreated children, though beaten with belts and fists, and locked up, were easily interviewed and videotaped. One of them, speaking of those who consumed the chocolate he harvested, said, “They enjoy something I suffered to make; I worked hard for them but saw no benefit. They are eating my flesh.” Amazingly articulate for a wretched child slave. Maybe he’s got a good PR man.

Anyway, this business of false advertising got me thinking about instances of false advertising much more significant than the harvesting of cocoa in Africa. Take a look at a Federal Reserve Note--those oblong pieces of paper that everybody calls “money.” I have in hand one of the new 100 dollar bills, and on both front and back, in large letters, are the words “The United States of America.” These words are clearly intended to make the public aware of something--thus making them advertising. And false advertising, because of what they do NOT say--if the Californians are right. What the advertising on the bill does not say is that the United States has nothing to do with the bill. It was printed at the behest of the Federal Reserve System, which is a private banking cartel, paying the government printing and engraving business a few cents per bill. And although the bills are, by “law” an “obligation of the United States, when I sent one of them to the Treasury years ago with the request that the obligation be honored, I simply got my bill back with a terse note saying that returning my bill was all that was required.

The bill is also designated a “Federal Reserve note,” yet it is not federal, but private. There are no reserves, and it surely isn’t a note, since a valid note states what is owed to whom, and where and when it is to be paid. If you think that you’re entitled to something from the issuer of a Federal Reserve note, you’re hopelessly naïve. Decades ago an attorney named--if memory serves, Mobley Milan--sued for payment of his Federal Reserve note and received only ridicule for his trouble.

Finally, the bill contains the public announcement that it is a note (although it isn’t) payable in dollars, without informing the public that the term “dollar” is undefined and corresponds to no standard of value whatsoever. At one time it was a specific quantity of a specific purity of silver, or an equivalent value in gold, in coin form. Today it is no amount of anything. So perhaps the fact that the “note” will never be paid doesn’t matter, since there’s no basis for determining what it’s worth anyway.

If it’s a crime, at least in California, for chocolate companies to fail to announce to the public that they employed child/slave labor, how much more of a crime is the production and distribution of a counterfeit currency, masquerading as a genuine note, without informing the public of the fact? I was taught that “Thou Shalt Not Steal,” but when it’s immensely profitable, and done under “color of law,” it’s OK.

Your rating: None
Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


Log from Blammo's picture

Without legal tender laws, the Federal Reserve Note would have to be redeemed with either United States Notes or coin stamped out by the U.S. Mint.  However, as the legal tender laws allow tender of Fed notes to discharge debt obligations, and a Fed note is itself a debt instrument, the Fed can discharge the debt represented by the note by giving back more Fed notes.
It is a bit crass to return to the bearer *the same note* that they just handed over for redemption, though.  Technically, ownership of the note is not negotiated until *after* the obligation is satisfied.
And equally technically, a dollar (or peso de ocho [reales]) is "coin silver" (0.900 Ag, 0.100 Cu), with total mass from 400 to 500 grains.  The U.S. standard is 416 avordupois grains (26.96 g), which gave the U.S. silver dollar slightly higher seignorage than spanish silver dollars, which were the global trade standard at the time.  This definition was valid for centuries.  Now, you need 11.13 Fed "dollars" to get one actual dollar.
False advertising?  Hell yes.

KenK's picture

Screw California. Those guys have voted for this kind of nonsense for decades and they can just live with it now, assuming that they even notice.

D. Saul Weiner's picture

Ah, the compassion of the California commies: Mandate the disclosure of the coercion of children used in producing chocolate. Next, mandate the coercion of parents into injected their children with poisons that could disable or kill them (vaccines) in order to attend any type of school or day care (SB 277). Hypocrisy, thy name is California.