Operation Choke Point a harbinger of big-government activism to come?

posted at 2:01 pm on May 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

What happens when a government accrues so much power that it can force legal enterprises out of business through  specific, intentional, and targeted regulatory abuse? It’s a fair bet that such a government will eventually abuse its power in this fashion, but will set the precedent with an unpopular-yet-legal industry. That seems to be the point behind Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice attempt to kill off funding of the porn industry — and gun shops.

Tom Blumer wrote about this effort at the beginning of the month, with a focus on the payday lending industry:

DOJ is essentially employing a variant of the tactics former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer used against mutual fund companies last decade: threatening to smear them in the business community and otherwise make their lives miserable unless they settle.

Even despite the tactics, some readers may be reacting to all of this as a good idea. After all, payday lenders don’t have the cleanest of hands, and some — but far from all — may be operating illegally. There are two problems with this position.

The first is that DOJ doesn’t have the constitutional authority to go after businesses whose illegality has not been established by threatening their bank and financial services providers with legal sanctions and regulatory harassment if they don’t participate in the persecution. There are these things called laws which must be passed to declare certain financial practices and contracts illegal. That hasn’t happened. Short of that, there at least need to be court rulings having the same effect. There is apparently no evidence that DOJ has involved the courts at all.

The second is that although the bankers’ montage concentrated on payday lenders, many more business endeavors besides payday lending are involved. At least some of them, as odious as nanny-state officials and other might believe they are, operate legally.

TechDirt reported that Operation Choke Point also targeted porn stars:

After we just talked about Chase Bank appearing to close the personal bank accounts of a bunch of employees in the adult performing business, a few of you pointed us to reports that this may just be Chase Bank dancing to a federal piper. That report has expanded upon Teagan Presley, a former porn star, and her comments upon finding out she was suddenly no longer a Chase customer. …

So, the obvious question to ask next is what makes her “high risk”? After all, Chase Bank really likes money, even when it is generated by doing some pretty crappy things, so what’s the deal? Well, the latest is that this may be a part of the US Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” program, in which the government has apparently decided that some extremely legal businesses don’t get to exist anymore, but since they can’t just disappear companies and industries in good standing, they’ve decided to route around the whole “freedom” thing and get the financial industry to act as contract hitmen.

This is the key point to remember. While many people think the porn industry and payday lending exploit people, the proper expression of that kind of cultural consensus would be to pass laws barring their operation. That hasn’t happened in these two cases, or the 30 other industries noted by Blumer in his post. This exercise in power is completely illegitimate, an intervention into private transactions of legal operations simply because those in power don’t happen to like their operations. It’s the rule of whim writ large — and getting larger.

Glenn Reynolds warns that this precedent could very well be used against other industries more favored by the current elite:

Justice Department targetsinclude industries as diverse as ammunition sales, coin dealers, payday loans, “racist materials,” etc. And, again, these are all legal businesses that haven’t been charged with breaking any laws — the Justice Department just doesn’t like them.

So what we have under “Operation Choke Point” is the government deciding it wants to put the squeeze on certain lines of (legal) business, for no other reason than that the Department of Justice doesn’t favor them. It seems almost like some sort of conspiracy to deprive people of their civil rights. …

Personally, I don’t think that regulators should be able to abuse their discretion — and this certainly looks abusive to me — in order to pressure banks to shut down the accounts of legal businesses. (As Sen. David Vitter, R-La., noted in March, the Justice Department has no statutory authority to do this). And while abortion clinics and environmental groups are probably safe under the Obama administration, if this sort of thing stands, they will be vulnerable to the same tactics if a different administration adopts this same thuggish approach toward the businesses that it dislikes. And why wouldn’t it, if the Justice Department gets away with this?

Congress, and the courts, and the press, need to bring the Justice Department to heel. And, in fact, I think that the officials involved should be named, shamed, and disciplined. Because what’s going on here doesn’t look much like justice at all.

No, it smells like autocracy at the least, if not outright tyranny. Congress needs to rope in the DoJ, but we need to recognize that this is a symptom of a far greater problem. The impulse to regulate everything at the federal level, and the lack of distinct limits on regulatory power granted to the executive branch, inevitably leads to this kind of politicization of law enforcement. Just because we don’t think highly of the first targets of such abuse of power doesn’t mean we should wait until it starts getting applied to us. Martin Niemöller had a thing or two to say about that.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

But of course
This is Holder and Obama we are talking about……

cmsinaz on May 27, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Something to keep in mind: Every single piece of legislation is a restriction on someone’s or some businesses’ liberty – legislation cannot expand your rights, it can only restrict it.

Thus, yes, every law and regulation passed is a step toward “forc[ing] legal enterprises out of business” or to conform/do what the powers want done.

Welcome to the party.

Oh, and Bishop?

Lance Corvette on May 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM

The first thing they should do is sue in Federal court.

Ward Cleaver on May 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM

The gun shops, that is.

Ward Cleaver on May 27, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Remeber all those outlandish internet rumors about what a president Obama would do back in 07 and 08?

Turns out there were actually very mild compared to reality.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Little known fact of the day, about the widely quoted poem by Martin Niemöller – ‘first they came for communists…’

It was Soviet communists who handed over the lists of communists (along with the lists of Jews and so on) in pre-WWII Germany to the Nazis. And Nazis used them.

Nevsky on May 27, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Yet more black on white crime:

http://wnep.com/2014/05/23/16-year-old-charged-in-scranton-cab-drivers-murder/

bw222 on May 27, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Congress needs to rope in the DoJ,

I have heard soap on a rope might work. Couldn’t hurt?

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Don’t be too surprised that if you are a white male and Christian your bank account suddenly disappears.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Try opening a gun store and getting a business loan to purchase inventory.

We have and we can’t.

tru2tx on May 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Remember all those outlandish internet rumors about what a president Obama would do back in 07 and 08? Turns out there were actually very mild compared to reality.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Yeah, “Death Panels” Hahaha what a ridiculous notion that was!

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Try opening a gun store and getting a business loan to purchase inventory.

We have and we can’t.

tru2tx on May 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Yep. ditto that.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 2:17 PM

… if this sort of thing stands, they will be vulnerable to the same tactics if a different administration adopts this same thuggish approach toward the businesses that it dislikes.

Last time I looked, the only people who have that sort of mindset line up in only one party, so I’m not sure who or what you mean by different.

If you’re thinking of the GOP, I think you might be attributing to them a bit more passion and vision than they are able to muster.

Cleombrotus on May 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Congress needs to rope in the DoJ

How appropriate of a verb…

JohnGalt23 on May 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Article V CoS is the only way to permanently end federal abuse of power by stripping it of its power.

Charlemagne on May 27, 2014 at 2:20 PM

The next Republican president should use this against abortionists and Murder Incorporated.

slickwillie2001 on May 27, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Just remember that the government would never deprive you of health care if you don’t think right. NEVER!

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Eliot Spitzer is just the man for the job.

Christien on May 27, 2014 at 2:22 PM

And the banking institutions are oh so more compliant to DoJ requests since Dodd-Frank was passed. Those two should be in jail for their treachery.

NOMOBO on May 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” –Cicero

“Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep and his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end because they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” –C.S Lewis.

opunmind on May 27, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Just because we don’t think highly of the first targets of such abuse of power doesn’t mean we should wait until it starts getting applied to us. Martin Niemöller had a thing or two to say about that.

I prefer Bonhoeffer’s comment-

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Of course, Bonhoeffer also said that “The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” On that point we are failing as a moral society.

Happy Nomad on May 27, 2014 at 2:25 PM

coin dealers

wtf?

now the feds want to stop me from completing my set of US quarters commemorating the national parks?

I realize this might me offensive to some… \sarc

sultanp on May 27, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Operation Choke Point is enabled through the FDIC. Basically the enforcer of the Choke Point is the FDIC and the enforcement is taking banks to court and making them prove that the companies they are doing business with are not breaking the rules of the FDIC. When the FDIC marks an industry as risky, this tells the banks that if they want to do business with these people, to expect to be hiring quite few more lawyers. Since they do not want to hire all those lawyers, they simply stop doing business with those companies.

Wasn’t someone around here asking me if I support the FDIC recently in some attempt to silence me?

This is why I answered that in its current incarnation I do not support it. It used to be a voluntary thing for banks to either be a member and pay dues or not be a member and pay private insurer dues.

astonerii on May 27, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Eliot Spitzer is just the man for the job.

Christien on May 27, 2014 at 2:22 PM

I would have thought something called choke point would have been more in Anthony Weiner’s wheelhouse.

Happy Nomad on May 27, 2014 at 2:27 PM

No, it smells like autocracy at the least, if not outright tyranny. Congress needs to rope in the DoJ,

To which Boehner and McConnell replied, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Congress hasn’t done JACK about REAL, CLEAR law-breaking of this administration. Why would BM (pun intended)suddenly behave as statesmen and defenders of Constitutional principle?

MistyLane on May 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Obama and Holder have utterly perverted the Department of “Justice” into a political weapon and use it to attack anyone they view as a political enemy or whom they simply view as incompatible with their leftist agendas and too weak to fight back.

Why anyone expected anything less from Holder is hard to imagine. His track record as a perjurer before Congress and a corrupt political tool was well established. He makes John Mitchell look like a boy Scout.

novaculus on May 27, 2014 at 2:29 PM

How can the firearms industry be ‘high risk’?

It is one of the most highly regulated industries in the US.

It should be absolutely safe considering that DoJ is the one administering the regulations, no?

Or can’t they even ADMINISTER THE REGULATIONS?

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 2:30 PM

What they really want is a universal id and a cashless society. Its in the works.

Murphy9 on May 27, 2014 at 2:32 PM

With amnesty, Dems will have too many votes to overcome this. Many hard-left, but too many cowardly people in the middle. Add a federal judiciary that’s leaning more left every day, and very real possibility of a Hillary one- or two-term presidency landing hard-left replacements on SCOTUS for Scalia and Kennedy as well as any lefty who’d like to retire–Ginsburg and Breyer.

Why do you think Obama just sneers at conservatives? And RINOs are just aiding and abetting.

BuckeyeSam on May 27, 2014 at 2:32 PM

Democrats are such noble people, aren’t they?

John the Libertarian on May 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

How isn’t this the worst form of Fascism?

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

It’s not “activism” — it’s tyranny.

And the war against terrorism wasn’t an “overseas contingency operation.”

And the Islamic terrorist who shot dozens of U.S. military victims at Fort Hood wasn’t committing “workplace violence.”

And illegal aliens aren’t “undocumented immigrants.”

Words matter — and that is why the left is always trying to change the meaning of the words we use, to advance their own twisted and evil ideology, because they know how much words matter.

Call things what they really are.

AZCoyote on May 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

I’d start ranting about the need for Congressional oversight but I don’t want to be mistaken for having common cause with that despicable ambulance chaser whose son was killed by the Santa Barbara stabber.

Seriously, this bastard needs to shut up and let the families of the other victims grieve without having his pissed off liberal agenda making all the news.

Happy Nomad on May 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM

And RINOs are just aiding and abetting.

BuckeyeSam on May 27, 2014 at 2:32 PM

In the past People who cooperated with others of a National Socialist Worker’s party were called Collaborators.

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 2:40 PM

First, they came for the porn stars…

Fallon on May 27, 2014 at 2:41 PM

I see a massive private underground economy rising in the future — just out of necessity. Hell, a private underground currency wouldn’t surprise me at this point.

Aitch748 on May 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Maybe the NRA should form its own bank or credit union for its members.

Just a thought.

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Maybe the NRA should form its own bank or credit union for its members.

Just a thought.

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM

It would be under the same regulations and would make it much easier to target by the federal government. Imagine the amount of defense they would have to pay for and all on the backs of only NRA members?

At least spreading the pain out over all the banking companies forces those low information voter rejects to pay for some of the corruption their stupidity allows into the system.

astonerii on May 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM

This exercise in power is completely illegitimate,

Not to Sukarno. Indonesian dictators can do whatever the heck they want.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 27, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Words matter — and that is why the left is always trying to change the meaning of the words we use, to advance their own twisted and evil ideology, because they know how much words matter.

Call things what they really are.

AZCoyote on May 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Let’s begin with exhibit A for those on the national socialist left: Their self-labeling a “Liberal”.

Begin with the present example of attempting to control private industry, then add to that the oppressive surveillance society the left is putting in place AND it’s ever increasing attacks on Thought Crime, finishing up with the Infernal Revenue Stasi that goes after the national socialist left’s opposition.

Can anyone seriously postulate that the left these days even closely resembles being “Liberal”?

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 2:51 PM

No, it smells like autocracy at the least, if not outright tyranny.

That smell has been wafting about for some time now. It’s been pretty distinct for the last 5 1/2 years.

Happy Nomad on May 27, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Amen

I have heard soap on a rope might work. Couldn’t hurt?

Bmore on May 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Were you thinking of a prison setting? Or something more like a blanket party?

GWB on May 27, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Hell, a private underground currency wouldn’t surprise me at this point.

Aitch748 on May 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Bitcoins (and other crypto-currencies) fit that bill almost perfectly. For physical money, nothing will ever beat gold or silver.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Both Holder and Obama should be impeached but that would require a Congress wit courage.

neyney on May 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM

I see a massive private underground economy rising in the future — just out of necessity. Hell, a private underground currency wouldn’t surprise me at this point.

Aitch748 on May 27, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Hence Operation Chokepoint going after coin shops. Silver coin is already being used as the de facto underground currency.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM

More like Operation Fascism.

rbj on May 27, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Hmmmmm……ya know….Planned Parenthood, unions, and certain community organizers have bank accounts too.

BobMbx on May 27, 2014 at 2:57 PM

Following one of Reynold’s embedded links to the Volokh Conspiracy:

Notably absent from the FDIC’s hit list, for example, are abortion clinics, radical environmental groups, or, well, marijuana shops, for that matter.

In turn Todd Zywicki in his VC article links to Tom Blumer’s Bizzy Blog. Blumer has this:

The DOJ is targeting 30 high-risk industries, as labeled by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in 2011, in a report titled “Managing Risks in Third-Party Payment Processor Relationships.”

The FDIC’s list of 30 high-risk merchant categories that are currently being pursued by the DOJ.

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

Now some of these industries I hate as much as anyone, but you know and I know that Obama and Holder have no motivating moral outrage. This is the camel’s nose of tyranny. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t included some sleazy industries in the list to muddy the waters of perception of what they’re doing.

INC on May 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

These two knuckleheads are nothing more than Harvard educated idiots who believe in a “one world” philosophy, that the white man has taken advantage of the red and brown skinned folks of the world, and that it is their job to make it right, no matter the consequences.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Don’t be too surprised that if you are a white male and Christian your bank account suddenly disappears.

jukin3 on May 27, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I have warned people that his government will find excuses to seize your assets. I don’t know how to stop them except to say if you have money in a CD or IRA or anything get it out. Put it in a safe place outside the country.

crankyoldlady on May 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM

How isn’t this the worst form of Fascism?

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Just hang on. A much, much worse form of fascism is on its way.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

We should get Congress to investigate this pronto. And if there has been any wrongdoing on the part of the DOJ, the DOJ should hold them accountable for the DOJs actions

tdarrington on May 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

These two knuckleheads are nothing more than Harvard educated idiots who believe in a “one world” philosophy, that the white man has taken advantage of the red and brown skinned folks of the world, and that it is their job to make it right, no matter the consequences.

Tater Salad on May 27, 2014 at 2:59 PM

The things our marxists are doing are not meant to make anything right. It’s to accrue money and power.

crankyoldlady on May 27, 2014 at 3:10 PM

Sue them.
Where are all the class-action lawsuit lawyers during the Obama administration???
So many potential law suits on so many fronts.

albill on May 27, 2014 at 3:22 PM

At least spreading the pain out over all the banking companies forces those low information voter rejects to pay for some of the corruption their stupidity allows into the system.

astonerii on May 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Well that is part of it. The other part is to offer safe haven for businesses by doing an independent assessment of ‘high risk’ activities. Then there can be in-system push-back.

Plus offer a home for Walmart.

They sell firearms. And ammo. Knives. Bows. All sorts of fun stuff.

It will be interesting to see which bank will decide to drop them from the institutions they want to serve.

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Fractional reserve lending in the era of Obama.

leverage? Lol

According to official government numbers , the top 25 banks in the United
States now have a grand total of more than 236 trillion dollars of exposure to
derivatives. But there are four banks that dwarf everyone else. The following
are the latest numbers for those four banks…
JPMorgan Chase
Total Assets: $1,945,467,000,000 (nearly 2 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $70,088,625,000,000 ( more than 70 trillion
dollars )
Citibank
Total Assets: $1,346,747,000,000 (a bit more than 1.3 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $62,247,698,000,000 ( more than 62 trillion
dollars )
Bank Of America
Total Assets: $1,433,716,000,000 (a bit more than 1.4 trillion dollars)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $38,850,900,000,000 ( more than 38 trillion
dollars )
Goldman Sachs
Total Assets: $105,616,000,000 (just a shade over 105 billion dollars – yes,
you read that correctly)
Total Exposure To Derivatives: $48,611,684,000,000 ( more than 48 trillion
dollars )

Murphy9 on May 27, 2014 at 3:36 PM

We should get Congress to investigate this pronto. And if there has been any wrongdoing on the part of the DOJ, the DOJ should hold them accountable for the DOJs actions tdarrington on May 27, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Roger that. I’ll get ol’ “Black Hole” Issa on it stat.

Akzed on May 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Now about all those risky real estate loans banks gave out…

ajacksonian on May 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM

10th Amendment

corona79 on May 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Some of this brings to mind “sharia compliant finance”. Now the gun shop stuff not so much, but didn’t Obama say something at a fundraiser before the 2012 election about “things going on behind the scenes” with gun control?
Anyway I pulled this little nugget out of the Wikipedia (yeah I know) article on sharia compliant banking.

Islamic banking is restricted to Islamically acceptable transactions, which exclude those involving alcohol, pork, gambling, etc. The aim of this is to engage in only ethical investing, and moral purchasing. The Islamic Banking and Finance Database provides more information on the subject.

Paco on May 27, 2014 at 3:38 PM

This is the camel’s nose of tyranny. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t included some sleazy industries in the list to muddy the waters of perception of what they’re doing.

INC on May 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM

NSS – and I mean that is the most respectful way. But this admin is all about tyranny. That is what progressivism, so-called, is – tyranny. Libby Freordie and friends are tyrants.

John the Libertarian on May 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Ummmm …. I’ll get back to you on that one. With some obscenities. Orwellian double speak – ala, MSNBC and “Animal Farm”. I am sure the Libby Freordie loves this news about the DOJ as much as he/she/it loves Elizabeth Warren.

Chuck Ef on May 27, 2014 at 3:43 PM

How isn’t this the worst form of Fascism?

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Just hang on. A much, much worse form of fascism is on its way.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Yes – that’s what has me concerned.

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Hence Operation Chokepoint going after coin shops. Silver coin is already being used as the de facto underground currency.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Interesting. This would include a large number of pawn shops too.

I might add that a few years back there was an IRS case about a guy in Nevada who had a large stock of silver and gold coins. I don’t remember the business he was in, but he paid his employees in silver and gold coins and set their salaries based on the coins’ face values. For example, Employee A was paid $10K in $20 gold pieces or 500 gold coins. I don’t know why but the IRS was a bit miffed that 500 ounces of gold was worth a lot more than $10K and they wanted the taxes on the difference between the face value and the spot rate. Anyway, going after coin shops might just be a way to prevent people from getting paid the face value of a coin rather than its spot rate. Plus, it really shows how much inflation we’ve had over the last 50 years when someone compares the face value of the coin and the spot value of an ounce of silver or gold.

Ruckus_Tom on May 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM

Someone needs to start
Sleazy Bank Co. LLC
Just try to smear that!

If I were to open a bank specializing in handling the accounts of Payday Loan Operations, Porn Stars, Gun Stores and whomever else winds up on the DOJ “Naughty List”, what can they do to me? The more they smear me, the more I say “Right on! My customers are the dregs of legal society! BTW, any dregs out there needing banking services, my toll-free number is 1-800-SLEAZY1″.

One could make a pretty fair profit on people who need banking services but find themselves shut out of every other bank. Think of the premiums you could charge.

And the office Christmas Party would be LEGENDARY!!!

Haiku Guy on May 27, 2014 at 3:56 PM

Some of this brings to mind “sharia compliant finance”. Now the gun shop stuff not so much, but didn’t Obama say something at a fundraiser before the 2012 election about “things going on behind the scenes” with gun control?
Paco on May 27, 2014 at 3:38 PM

This might be what you meant From 2011:

Over a barrel? Meet White House gun policy adviser Steve Croley
On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial “large magazines.” Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda,” she said.

“I just want you to know that we are working on it,” Brady recalled the president telling them. “We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/over-a-barrel-meet-white-house-gun-policy-adviser-steve-croley/2011/04/04/AFt9EKND_story.html

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 3:57 PM

I think that the officials involved should be named, shamed, and disciplined.

Yeah. Right. Like that’s going to happen.

trigon on May 27, 2014 at 4:01 PM

No, it smells like autocracy at the least, if not outright tyranny.

Smells like fascism.

Schadenfreude on May 27, 2014 at 4:05 PM

The government ALREADY has this de facto power. A few more SC decisions in their favor and it’s “Katie bar the door” and becomes ‘de jure’. And don’t look to RINOS for help. RINOS have already capitulated.

MaiDee on May 27, 2014 at 4:11 PM

May 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm DinaRehn

Bingo :) that’s it exactly. Thank you for that!

Paco on May 27, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Do any of you really believe that there is going to be a Presidential Election in 2016?? I have said for years that Barack Obama is purposefully dividing and alienating Americans from one another, and getting us all so worked up and fed up, that civil unrest and even armed insurrection will occur. When this happens, he’ll declare martial law, cancel the elections, and make himself interim and perpetual leader until further notice. Why else do the BLM, FDA, DHS and every other supposedly benign government agency have so many weapons and so much ammunition stock piled? Are we all that dense and trusting that it cannot happen here?? Not me. Mark my words, folks. You are living in the last days of a free United States of America. Y’all can call me crazy..you can call me a racist…or an Islamophobe…or a homophobe…or a bigot…or a redneck Bible Thumping birther. I really do not care. I am quite prepared for the proverbial SHTF situation. I’m well stocked on food, water, defense supplies and everything else I need for a couple of months. After that…we shall see….

bimmcorp on May 27, 2014 at 4:18 PM

Are we all that dense and trusting that it cannot happen here??

Unfortunately yes. Most people are. I know my brother is. We’ve had some very heated arguments. Well I give him facts..even go so far as to print stuff out for him to read. Mainstream stuff too nothing “right wing” as he likes to say. His reply….. can’t happen here. He’s ten years older (and supposedly wiser) bit I’m guessing he slept through history class

Paco on May 27, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Bit=but….damn my fat thumbs and small android keypad

Paco on May 27, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Just hang on. A much, much worse form of fascism is on its way.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Of course it is.
Problem is, most people are either in denial or too stupid to realize it.

justltl on May 27, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Paco on May 27, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Can’t happen here…..I hear that all the time, and it’s sad. The passivity and the naivety, coupled with the largess of the government with all of the welfare and assorted bailouts created the perfect storm. Americans have become human lemmings, comfortably being led off the proverbial cliff and into the abyss that awaits. The Founders warned of this very thing, too. Sadly, the masses were too busy watching ‘American Idol’, Kim & Kanye and all those reality shows and morally bankrupt diversions spewed out by the Hollyweird elite. Glad my Dad is not alive to see this day…

bimmcorp on May 27, 2014 at 4:43 PM

What do you suppose Obama’s musing about a civilian army as powerful and well funded as the military was all about?
And why do you think that all these non-military agencies are becoming militarized?
Oh, I know: That’s crazy talk! It couldn’t possibly happen here! This is the United States of America! You, know – land of the free, home of the brave?

justltl on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM

So, what do we do to prevent it?
Well, an opposition party with a spine would be nice.
A Media that wasn’t a propaganda machine for the nascent fascists would be nice.
An educated population that recognized the threat and massively protested would be nice.
Untainted elections would maybe help to delay things a bit.

In other words, nothing is going to happen to prevent it.
And Obama, Holder and the other co-conspirators fully realize that.

justltl on May 27, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Ed

It is such a knee-jerk, rightie reaction to start arguing “slippery slope”.

Hasn’t it crossed anyone’s mind why Team Barry, who is massively supported by the pron industry, is allowing this to go on?

Because the industry is out of fckn control.

See, we on the right are totally guilty of doing what the Left did during W’s years – whatever W did, has to be wrong. Damn the facts.

The pron industry…we are actually resorting to defending porn.

These companies take young girls already in the spiral of alcohol and hemp addiction, string them out, bury them in std’s and bacterial infections and then pimp them out.

For the past few years, they’ve decided to “parody” big Hollywood movies, without a hint of legal-precedent parody. It’s unbelieveable Trademark infringement, but the studios don’t sue because they’re connected as the genitals.

And now it’s being promoted and distributed to tweeners, but no one drops a lawsuit on them because they’ll be shamed by the Sex Lib Progs.

You know what the other big trends are? Incest, S&M, and Bi/Tranny. This is crap that was unthinkable as mainstream pron twenty years ago. You would have been shut down in months, by the industry itself.

Until we on the Right understand what’s happened to the “adult” as a business, we’re never going to course-correct the larger culture.

Because we turn a blind eye to it, out of fear of prog shame and ridicule tactics, they continue to lower the floor and debase what is acceptable.

That’s the freakin game. That’s partly how LGB became so quickly accepted. They started with normalizing dykes through pron and then flipped the search and meta categories to include Gay and Bi. So instead of opt-in for those queries, you need to opt-out.

This happened because thousands of IT people ended up unemployed when the Recession hit and started taking whatever jobs were available. It was a huge upgrade to pron and has become a massive bandwidth usage issue that Google has quietly acknowledged a few times.

So you know what? We should all say F’em. I hope Team Barry strangles these dirtbags into the grave. Push it back into the darknet. You don’t need more proof about the deteriorating effects than the Santa Barbara shooter.

budfox on May 27, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Before I ask the obvious question of what do we do about it once it happens, note that a disarmed, starving population with zero finances is a very ‘compliant’ population.

justltl on May 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

budfox on May 27, 2014 at 4:53 PM

We interrupt my rant for this important public service announcement:

Porn bad.
Smoking bad.
Drugs bad.
Alcohol bad.
Many things very bad.

Tyranny worse.

justltl on May 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM

May 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm DinaRehn

Bingo :) that’s it exactly. Thank you for that!

Paco on May 27, 2014 at 4:15 PM

You’re welcome.

Consider that was a few years ago before many had heard of Obama’s infamous Guns for Gangster operation.

DinaRehn on May 27, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Operation Choke Point a harbinger of big-government activism to come?


WTF?!?

How is it possible NO ONE has pulled Ed’s chain for this bit of “I just learned about it from reading a newspaper”

GOPe-media talking points finally get around to INCLUDING the big-government FASCISM that has been going on for the last 5+ years, Ed?

PolAgnostic on May 27, 2014 at 5:37 PM

We interrupt my rant for this important public service announcement:

Porn bad.
Smoking bad.
Drugs bad.
Alcohol bad.
Many things very bad.

Tyranny worse.

justltl on May 27, 2014 at 5:08 PM

^^^^^THIS^^^^^ x1000

bimmcorp on May 27, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Generally speaking, the activities targeted here are all pretty seedy, with some notable exceptions like firearms, fireworks, ammunition, and some limited payday lending.

But they’re doing this targeting without the benefit of any laws, just the DOJ deciding on their own whose access to capital should be cut off. Even though I have no particular sympathy for the porn industry or escort services, where is the legal authorization? Isn’t cutting off access to capital depriving someone of their ability to make money? And isn’t that an unconstitutional taking if done without due process? And how can there be due process in the absence of laws defining these activities as criminal?

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 27, 2014 at 5:44 PM

The government targeting porn stars is not new. Look up Ginger Lynn and her “tax” problems. Not that I’m in any way excusing it. I want there to be as little government as possible, and corruption in DC is rampant.

What I’m more curious about is ‘why’? It’s a peculiar target list, isn’t it?

WhatSlushfund on May 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM

The government targeting porn stars is not new. Look up Ginger Lynn and her “tax” problems. Not that I’m in any way excusing it. I want there to be as little government as possible, and corruption in DC is rampant.

What I’m more curious about is ‘why’? It’s a peculiar target list, isn’t it?

WhatSlushfund on May 27, 2014 at 6:14 PM

An important part of fascism is doing things like this with caprice, in order to intimidate and terrify the population. Fascists don’t want citizens to know the law or understand it.

slickwillie2001 on May 27, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Try opening a gun store and getting a business loan to purchase inventory.

We have and we can’t.

tru2tx on May 27, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Yep. ditto that.

Harbingeing on May 27, 2014 at 2:17 PM

So, we need to find some interested HA peeps to do some microloans for you folks.

Not sure how you’d get the word out, except by posting on 2nd Amendment related threads, so that someone here might see the need, and fill it.

massrighty on May 27, 2014 at 7:23 PM

President Ted Cruz would be able to un-choke his favored industries and put “choke points” on Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, the renamed ACORN organizations, the unions, Hollywood and many other left leaning organizations.

RJL on May 27, 2014 at 8:36 PM

President Ted Cruz would be able to un-choke his favored industries and put “choke points” on Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers, the renamed ACORN organizations, the unions, Hollywood and many other left leaning organizations.

RJL on May 27, 2014 at 8:36 PM

Don’t forget those wind and solar-power generators that can’t survive without forced mandates and stealing money from the citizens through their corrupted politicians.

slickwillie2001 on May 27, 2014 at 8:48 PM

Just because we don’t think highly of the first targets of such abuse of power doesn’t mean we should wait until it starts getting applied to us. Martin Niemöller had a thing or two to say about that.

Whoa whoa whoa. Speak for yourself buddy.

WryTrvllr on May 27, 2014 at 11:55 PM

Bitcoins (and other crypto-currencies) fit that bill almost perfectly. For physical money, nothing will ever beat gold or silver.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM

The government is more than capable of tracing those, and that may be, in part, why they are doing this. How does one flash Krystal Ball a bitcoin while she’s working her pole. Cash is anonymous.

WryTrvllr on May 28, 2014 at 12:02 AM

Yet another in the endless string of scandals and should-be-scandals and “what if a Republican had done it” moments.

Theophile on May 28, 2014 at 12:49 AM

I don’t much care about the porn industry or payday lenders, but I strongly oppose this tactic by the Department of Injustice. Porn and payday and gunshops are just the beginning. Next it’ll be, I don’t know, guitar manufacturers. Any business whose CEO donates to a Republican candidate. Doctors who won’t accept Obamacare.

This administration needs to be stopped in its tracks, and right now.

RebeccaH on May 28, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Feature a political cartoon with AG Holder choking out a voluptuous porn star.

See how the commies like that next time the “War on Women” trope is floated.

papertiger on May 28, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Operation Choke Point a harbinger of big-government activism to come?

Yes, next question.

Esaus Message on May 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM