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The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 2, January 9, 2022, Article 32

LOOSE CHANGE: JANUARY 9, 2022

Here are some additional items in the media this week that may be of interest. -Editor

Philippines Mayor Shoots Banknotes At Voters

In the you-just-can't-make-this-stuff-up department, a Mayor in the Philippines fires money at voters with gun. -Editor

Philippines Mayor golden gun The mayor of the city of Narvacan with a population of less than 50,000 in the Philippines, businessman Luis Chavit Singson, became the object of criticism by Filipino Internet users after publishing a video in which he distributes money to his voters with the help of a golden gun made especially for this purpose.

A 43-second video published on Facebook, in which Singson shoots banknotes in denominations of 100 and 500 pesos (PLN 8-40) with a pistol, has been viewed nearly 3 million times. You can see the politician walking among the people, raising his hand and pressing the trigger of the gun, and money is pouring out of it. In other fragments of the video Singson throws banknotes in the same way from a stationary car, and people shove through trying to grab them.

Many Internet users praised the politician for his generosity in the comments, but there were also those who accused him of humiliating voters. I have the impression that he was making fun of poor people. Why didn't he put the money in the envelopes and hand them out one by one? One of the users of the social platform asked.

To read the complete article, see:
Philippines. Mayor criticized for shooting gold-gun banknotes at voters (https://sparkchronicles.com/philippines-mayor-criticized-for-shooting-gold-gun-banknotes-at-voters/)

The U.S. Government's Gold and Silver Promises

Scott Semans passed along this commentary on coin collecting in the context of inflation. Thanks. -Editor

fdr-gold-poster The history of America's coins also vivified the nation's shifting political values. In the era of this nation's birth, currency was often recognized as a character issue — specifically, the contemptible character of politicians. Shortly before the 1787 Constitutional Convention, George Washington warned that unsecured paper money would ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice. The Coinage Act of 1792 established gold and silver as the foundation for the nation's currency and authorized a death penalty for anyone who debased the nation's gold or silver coins.

But as time passed, Americans forgot the peril of letting politicians ravage their currency. In 1933, the United States had the largest gold reserves of any nation in the world, but fear of devaluation spurred a panic, which President Franklin Roosevelt invoked to justify confiscating Americans' privately owned gold. Roosevelt denounced anyone who refused to turn in their gold as a hoarder who faced 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Roosevelt's penalty was not as harsh the Soviet Union's death penalty for anyone caught hoarding wheat from a collective farm. Roosevelt said he needed freedom of action — which he used to slash the value of the dollar from 1/20th of an ounce of gold to 1/35th of an ounce of gold.

I began collecting coins in 1965, the year President Lyndon Johnson began eliminating the silver in new dimes and quarters. At that point, the value of the dollar was falling due to federal deficit spending. The government printed new money to pay its debts, resulting in inflation. Rather than curtailing spending, Johnson debased the currency. He swore there would be no profit in hoarding earlier coins for the value of their silver content. (Silver coins subsequently increased in value 15-fold.) Johnson portrayed his debasement as progressivism at its best: We are going to keep our eyes on the stars and our feet on the ground. He preferred people to look skyward rather than focus on the skulduggery in Washington.

To read the complete article, see:
My Two-Bit Political Awakening (https://jimbovard.com/blog/2022/01/05/my-two-bit-political-awakening/)

Have We Forgotten How to Read Critically?

For those of us (OK, everybody) who spends time reading online, here's a great essay by Kate Harding on how to read critically. -Editor

critical-thinking Since the internet has made the entire world a library with no exits or supervisors, many readers treat every published piece of writing as a conversation opener, demanding a bespoke response.

Not every piece of short nonfiction writing is an opinion piece, crafted to advance a particular argument. This is the first thing we all need to understand. What you're reading now, for instance, is an essay—not an op-ed, a chapter, or a blog post.

They tweet these things, they email them, they reply in comments, they blog about them and snitch-tag the author. There is no apparent awareness that, in writing a piece and publishing it, the author has said what they meant to say and turned the project of thinking about it over to the reader. Today's reader will simply not accept the baton being passed. If something is unclear, the author must expand; if something offends, the author must account and atone. Simple disagreement triggers some cousin of cognitive dissonance, where the reader's brain scrambles to forcibly reconcile beliefs that don't actually contradict each other.

I am an old woman yelling at a cloud. I know this.

To read the complete article, see:
Have We Forgotten How to Read Critically? (https://www.damemagazine.com/2022/01/07/have-we-forgotten-how-to-read-critically/)

Pennsylvania Civil War Gold Lawsuit

Arthur Shippee passed along this article about the fabled cache of Civil War gold in Pennsylvania. Thanks. -Editor

Treasure hunters who believe they found a huge cache of fabled Civil War-era gold in Pennsylvania are now on the prowl for something as elusive as the buried booty itself: government records of the FBI's excavation.

Finders Keepers filed a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department over its failure to produce documents on the FBI's search for the legendary gold, which took place nearly four years ago at a remote woodland site in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The FBI has since dragged its feet on the treasure hunters' Freedom of Information Act request for records, their lawyer said Wednesday.

To read the complete article, see:
Treasure hunters sue for records on FBI's Civil War gold dig (https://apnews.com/article/technology-oddities-pennsylvania-lawsuits-2ed5379dc0391c970d6d39f6e994fd70)

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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