“May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”

"This report is maybe 12-years-old. Parliament buried it, and it stayed buried till River dug it up. This is what they feared she knew. And they were right to fear because there's a whole universe of folk who are gonna know it, too. They're gonna see it. Somebody has to speak for these people. You all got on this boat for different reasons, but you all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything I know this, they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, 10, they'll swing back to the belief that they can make people . . . better. And I do not hold to that. So no more running. I aim to misbehave." ~ Captain Malcom Reynolds

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Operation "Choke Point"

I don't like commenting on politics or government all the time, I really don't - but the bastards keep doing stuff that pretty much makes me... which brings me to this in our latest bit.

Many of you may have seen bits and pieces in the news over the last year (particularly the last few weeks) about businesses having their accounts inexplicably closed by banks - with no valid reasons given, or with statements that their "type" of business wasn't appropriate. At first this was generally attributed to overzealous political leanings of one sort or another in a corporate leadership, but now it looks to be something more.

Enter the Federal government - under Operation "Choke Point" the Department of Justice and FDIC has taken it upon themselves to drive certain industries under by making it impossible for them to do financial business in the country. In other words, instead of letting legislation and the legal system accomplish what they want, your "betters" in Washington are once again ruling by decree. The government's assertion being that such businesses are "high risk" for criminal activity or other nefarious purposes, or are engaged in fraudulent behavior, and that by putting pressure upon banks and financial institutions to not do business with them it will indirectly shut down such horrible practices. One of the major "Bad Guys" in this has been Chase Bank, which has apparently acted with glee to enforce such dictats from above. What sort of businesses are covered by this approach? Let's see:

  • Ammunition Sales
  • Cable Box De-scramblers
  • Coin Dealers
  • Credit Card Schemes
  • Credit Repair Services
  • Dating Services
  • Debt Consolidation Scams
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Escort Services
  • Firearms Sales
  • Fireworks Sales
  • Get Rich Products
  • Government Grants
  • Home-Based Charities
  • Life-Time Guarantees
  • Life-Time Memberships
  • Lottery Sales
  • Mailing Lists/Personal Info
  • Money Transfer Networks
  • On-line Gambling
  • PayDay Loans
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Ponzi Schemes
  • Pornography
  • Pyramid-Type Sales
  • Racist Materials
  • Surveillance Equipment
  • Telemarketing
  • Tobacco Sales
  • Travel Clubs

On the surface one might see elements of this that certainly are distasteful, if not repellant. On the other hand, for the conspiracy minded, there certainly are a fair number of "prepper" favorites on this list. But, with few exceptions, the vast majority of these industries have a key element in common no matter the political spectrum - THEY ARE LEGAL. They involve acts, behaviors, interactions, or purchases that the citizens, the legislature, and the courts have all deemed are publicly acceptable (even though some have restrictions and regulations upon the participants). Yet, by way of regulatory fiat, the determination has been made that if such things can't be eliminated by political means they will be done so administratively. 

So who is this hurting? It's hurting small and large businesses of many types - from gun manufacturers and distributors, to soft-core models, to "unapproved" small charities and the like. It's hurting companies and groups that indirectly might do business with some of these elements, particularly when they lose the ability to process transactions online or through a bank card (which is the vast majority of all financial traffic these days). And it's hurting the banking industry, both in lost revenue and in the burdens of dealing with the federal issues. A couple of articles are here and here. I fully encourage you to Google more and look at this - because pretty much every side of the political and social spectrum is affected. You may have your own opinions on these varied industries, which is certainly your prerogative and privilege. But it has reached the point now of getting some Congressional attention asking what is going on.

But if it can be done to these industries, it can by extension be done to others. After all, we've seen similar "regulatory" efforts used in attempts to address home businesses, home schools, small farms and seed providers, publishers and ad nauseum. And what happens when it's something you do support? 

Because this is a reflection of a government problem for the past fifty years - the growth of the bureaucrat and rule by administration. The political class as well as special interest groups have learned that if you can't get the public support to push something through Congress, all you have to do is lobby the right agency and bury it in the Federal code somewhere. It demonstrates once again the belief amongst far too many in government, whether elected or appointed, that they "know better" than the common people, and thus must make decisions for our own good. That yet again another nameless, faceless cog in the machine is going to rubber-stamp form T93-A and tell you what is right and wrong. And this is the very antithesis of what we as a nation are supposed to be. 

And Chase? Quislings. Because apparently they have no problem at all taking the "right" kinds of dirty money - be it illegally foreclosing on military families, doing business with prohibited nations, or mortgage fraud on an epic scale -  but apparently all that is piddling compared to doing the bidding of the suits. So, they certainly won't see any of my money again - nor will I support those who do business with them. I'm sure there are other banks complicit in this whole mess as well, and they will make my list as it comes to light. 

Like I said, I certainly don't want this to become a political blog. Yet if we don't as a nation start holding the government accountable for such deeds, then the only alternative will be the government holding us accountable to a dictated standard. And that will not do. 

Like the man said, I aim to misbehave. 


Anonymous said...

Of course they're making it hard to do business if that business doesn't fit their agenda. They can't have the opposition being prosperous, now can they?

Old NFO said...

Dayum... I 'knew' there were some targeted business models, but I didn't realize the true extent! Concur with your sentiments!!!

Jon said...

I hadn't realized the scope. I opposed the practice (though I lack the ability currently to express my opinion beyond strongly worded letter or something that would get me tossed in the clink for a very long and richly deserved time.) But... since I can write a strongly worded letter, my congress critters will be hearing about this. Its a start.

pediem said...

I'd heard about quite a few of these, but not all of them.

Definitely agree with what you've said, and I'll add Chase to the list of banks that will -never- get my business.