Imagine that you woke up tomorrow and discovered that your Visa, Discover, and Mastercard credit card accounts had all been deactivated and you had no cash at hand? Forget pumping gas on your way to work or ditch the breakfast burrito and morning latte, too.
Predictions that America would move, by design, toward a cashless society are rapidly coming true. Historically, in the United States, it took a couple of consumer generations – about 40 years – before the general public truly really embraced using a “convenient” swipe-card (and now, a chipped card) instead of cash or a check for purchases.
The rapid rise of online technologies has also made two things possible:
- The ability to conduct financial transactions and account maintenance online as well as “offline” – a concept unknown in the pre-digital office age, which was also a time before smartphones. Consumers have become increasingly dependent on internet-based account access with human customer support services being replaced by robotic interfaces.
- Highly sophisticated and complex computational accounting capabilities only dreamed of in the 1980s which allowed wide and diverse consumer data collection and storage unparalleled in human history. The data logged by the National Security Agency (NSA) alone is enough to reconstruct all your daily habits, monthly expenses, income, and travel habits.
Credit card companies have become king, imposing <https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/first-premier-79-rate-fees-credit-card-1265.php> subprime interest rates</a> as high as 79.9% – only 20.1 percentage points away from 100% (double interest on your principal).
Granted, the average Big Bank credit card rated as a “good deal” has an interest rate between about 15% to 25-30% (which is still shockingly high for a short-term loan).
The perennial subject of monopoly-busting is in the news again, thanks to 2020 presidential contenders who are coming out with allegations of antitrust law violations by big tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.
In March 2019, Senator <https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/08/politics/elizabeth-warren-amazon-google-facebook/index.html> Elizabeth Warren</a> (D-Mass.) announced her aggressive plan to split apart the very online platform, service, and product providers named above. Her reason appeared in a post Warren wrote on Medium:
“Today’s big tech companies have too much power – too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation. That’s why my Administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition – including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.”
Growing too big financially and stifling of the competition issues aside, much of this antitrust talk is fueled by the undeniable fact that these huge international communications and online transaction consortiums are operating with politically liberal bias as they muzzle opposing voices and views and consistently violate their own customer privacy agreements.
More concerning is the recent and ongoing denial-of-service attacks from social media sites which use both computer algorithms (decision-making programs) to justify suppressing their users who share opinions which support the political right.
Facebook was founded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg who has become editor-in-chief and helped guide the creation of his company’s slanted “Community Standards” which users must consent to in order to enjoy an account there, free of charge. Facebook computers and an occasional human being decide which content is “hateful” or “inappropriate” and exercise their right to remove targeted content and suspend user accounts (Facebook “jail”).
<https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/sep/19/facebooks-war-on-free-will> Zuckerberg</a> said famously and, in hindsight, ominously:
“In a lot of ways Facebook is more like a government than a traditional company. We have this large community of people, and more than other technology companies we’re really setting policies.”
Although these private corporations (Facebook and Google, notably) appear to be within their legal rights to ban targeted users who express conservative views, their ethical decisions and self-declared authority over Right and Wrong, Love and Hate, War and Peace, is quite unsettling to people who have studied other dictatorial regimes throughout human history.
Even more disturbing, though, is the recent trend being adopted by powerful international credit-issuing companies such as Mastercard, Discover, and Visa which are systematically “deplatforming” (denying service to) those of their account holders who have conservative political opinions.
Crowdfunding platform <https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2019/01/02/bokhari-the-terrifying-rise-of-financial-blacklisting/> Patreon</a> outed Carl Benjamin (YouTube’s Sargon of Akkad). Did Patreon act alone? No, as proven by the <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1U0mQjUA0T5INc_GDkwPJ2mfhO7tbaIogisSqqxHw0hc/edit> transcript</a> of an internal conversation between Patreon creator Matt Christiansen and staffer Jacqueline Hart who explained that, “as a membership platform, payment processing is one of the core value propositions that we have.”
Hart then indicated that the credit-issuing agencies are calling the shots where financial transactions are concerned:
“Payment processing depends on our ability to use the global payment network, and they have rules for what they will process.”
Credit card issuers now have the power to suspend your account activity and turn your “debt cards” – which is what they really are – into worthless pieces of plastic equipped with wifi transponders.
Targeted Americans are under attack by <https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2019/01/02/bokhari-the-terrifying-rise-of-financial-blacklisting/> Visa, Mastercard, Discover,</a> and a slew of other financially-related service platform providers. This is a Very Bad Situation because:
“Financial blacklisting doesn’t just rob you of a chance to spread your message: it robs you of your ability to do business, your livelihood, your very means of functioning in a capitalist society. Thanks to the encroachment of progressive ideology into the financial industry – including major credit card companies like Visa, Discover, and Mastercard – it has now become a reality.”
In August 2018, Mastercard and Discover refused to do further trade with Robert Spencer, a political conservative and outspoken critic of Islam. David Horowitz lost his Visa and Mastercard services the same month. Although both creditors eventually reactivated service for Horowitz, Spencer is still on the Big Lenders’ financial blacklist.
Who will be next victim of financial deplatforming? Someone you know? You?