It seems like almost daily we are hearing of more and more government encroachment on our freedom and liberty, whether it is the IRS targeting certain groups or NSA evesdropping on private conversations or even passing around “captured” pictures but today we are going to look at the practices of the Department of Justice (DOJ). In this article Leif Simon of “The Offshore Living Letter” takes a look at “Operation Choke Point”. ~ Tim McMahon, editor
If you’re living in the United States, you may have heard already about “Operation Choke Point.” This Department of Justice program was originated ostensibly to clamp down on online and payday lenders that charge high interest rates, and maybe originally that was indeed the idea. However, today, those businesses are not the only ones being choked. This operation has expanded its reach to pressure banks to close accounts of businesses in industries that have nothing to do with payday lending. What’s the common denominator among the businesses being targeted by this latest U.S. government attack? As far as I can tell, they’re all part of industries that the current administration doesn’t like.
Including, for example, gun shops and ammunition stores, which are having their accounts closed. Same for topless dancers and topless dance clubs. One report states that a porn star was denied a home loan, bottom line, because of his profession.
Banks are being told that it’s too “risky” for them to continue carrying clients associated with any of the businesses on the DOJ’s published list. The risk to the banks, I’d say, in fact, is being fined by the Justice Department if they don’t fall in line.
One could get behind shutting down payday loan scam groups, but that’s not what we’re talking about now even if, again, it was the original intent. What we’re talking about now is another example of growing political risk in the United States. The pragmatic response is the mantra I return to all the time but that has never been more urgent a cry than it is right now:
People write me every day to ask about the political stability of this or that country in South America, but they don’t seem to think twice about political risk in the “West.”
Big government in the States has built up an appetite for growth but not economic growth. Rather, like all governments throughout history when they reach a certain level of development, the U.S. government is all about bureaucratic growth. A temporary department started by some well-intentioned politician to address a specific and immediate issue (as, if we allow some benefit of the doubt, maybe this Operation Choke Point was meant to be) can grow and morph like a tumor that needs ever-more blood flow and, so, eventually, begins to drain its host.
Governments don’t shut down departments. They repurpose them. They shift and expand their focus, just as has happened with Operation Choke Point.
Writing about ongoing and expanding U.S. government misuse of power is likely to swing U.S. government attention my way. Alas, being targeted by the government for being on the wrong side of the ruling party isn’t just a banana republic problem anymore.
Into the fray I go.
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This article originally appeared in The Offshore Living Letter and has been reprinted by permission.
Image Source: The image Choking was created by Rocky Sun