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Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts 548

Posted by timothy
from the moral-crisis dept.
MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) writes "In a recent story on reason.com it was reported that the DoJ is closing down the bank accounts of porn stars. Not knowing the site I googled around and found another site, the Guardian. The story does not end there. It turns out that this is part of a larger scheme (ironically) called Operation Choke Point. Also reported in a Washington Post article that downplays the practice. According to Cryptocoin news. There are thirty industries the DoJ is now targeteting: 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; and Travel Clubs. But more can be added. (I notice alcohol sales is not on the list)." The Reason article stops short of saying that Choke Point is proven to be the reason for the account closures, but it seems very plausible.
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Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

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  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:23PM (#46904623)

    Ammo sales were a particular no no.

    Private gun ownership was fairly common in the Soviet Union, at about 10 guns per 100 people, and is still common in Russia today. Private citizens were limited to long guns (rifles and shotguns), and they had to register them. But they were generally available to almost anyone that wanted one. The idea that all dictatorships ban private weapons, or conversely, that an armed citizenry always prevents tyranny, is clearly false.

  • by x0ra (1249540) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:27PM (#46904647)
    No, but pornography is a first amendment rights, and screw you if it is at the opposite of your morality.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:27PM (#46904651) Journal
    Congress makes laws, what congress says, is legal. Don't confuse 'legal' with 'ethical.' I can totally believe this is legal, since bank accounts are not protected by the constitution.

    My question is, what is wrong with a Travel Club? I can't figure out who hates those.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:27PM (#46904655)

    Using DoJ resources to force the closure of accounts belonging to "legal but subjectively undesirable business ventures"? There's no way in hell that can be legal. This is a slippery slope situation and should get folks on both sides of the aisle riled up

    *Yawn* Is this anything like the report I saw recently that DoJ was planning on using predator drones to bomb Cliven Bundy's ranch to masscre everyone on it? If I recall correctly, it was supposed to have happened by last Monday, at the latest. Come back when you have actual credible evidence of this happening. (No, sorry, Sean Hannity doesn't count.)

  • by sideslash (1865434) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:29PM (#46904677)
    Maybe that's part of it. I think this is Big Government nanny state in action. They want to control everything they see, whether or not there's a law authorizing them to do so. It's this kind of arrogance that makes the IRS audit political opponents of the Obama administration for no other reason than to intimidate them and "make them go away". Making people go away in one form or another is a common theme with dysfunctional governments.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:41PM (#46904737)

    Private citizens were limited to long guns (rifles and shotguns), and they had to register them. But they were generally available to almost anyone that wanted one. The idea that all dictatorships ban private weapons, or conversely, that an armed citizenry always prevents tyranny, is clearly false.

    You don't need total confiscation. When you need to crack down on citizens, all you need is [A] that they don't own handguns (because those are primarily defensive weapons), and [B] that all other weapons are registered.

    Then you're home free. When you know who has the weapons and who doesn't, you pretty much control them.

    While I agree that "not all dictatorships ban private weapons", they don't have to. All they have to do is control who has them and who doesn't. Example: while it has often been denied, the Nazis did in fact grab guns... from the Jews. I recently read an article that had a picture of the original Nazi decree that Jews could not have guns or bank accounts. (!!!)

    Sound familiar?

  • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:45PM (#46904751) Homepage

    This is something that needs repeated frequently.

    A lot of people think that the Bill of Rights is a white list. That's actually as wrong as you could possibly be. It is the Constitution in general as it relates to the powers of the federal government that is the whitelist.

    This is why the Obamacare mandate is illegal and your state's care insurance mandate is not.

    The Bill of Rights is just the short list of rights that should not be infringed by government. It's the really important ones much like the 10 Commandments.

  • Re:really??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by reboot246 (623534) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:55PM (#46904817) Homepage
    I don't mind them going after the crooks, but many of those listed are perfectly legal activities. It seems like a huge overreach to me. The DOJ should stick to investigating criminals, even the ones in the current administration.
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:58PM (#46904849)

    If you want more confirmation, see any of the message boards dedicated to the affected industries. There you'll find the victims discussing what to do.

    In some of these industries, like porn, one closure affects many, many people. All those free porn sites are financed by the ads they run for a comparatively small number of large pay site networks. Many of them don't expect to get paid this month because their sponsor's account has been shut down in the last few days. The affect is similar to, but not as big, as shutting down PayPal's accounts - it affects not only PayPal, but anyone who relies on PayPal for their business. There are also hosting companies and other service providers who make their living providing services to all the smaller sites. When the sponsor can't pay the small sites, the small sites can't pay their hosting bill. Anything that affects a couple of the large sponsors ripples through the industry.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Friday May 02, 2014 @08:59PM (#46904851)
    That's why we should vote both parties out.

    Ron Paul was a good candidate, and would have been a good no-BS leader. Not perfect, but good.

    Gary Johnson was a fiscal and popular success in New Mexico. Hell, he was even liked by Democrats. He was a good candidate too.

    What will it take before people realize that a third party vote is not a "wasted vote"? On the contrary, it's one of the few viable answers we have left.
  • by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday May 02, 2014 @09:11PM (#46904905)

    Because the DoJ isnt actually closing bank accounts?

    If you had read the article you would see that it is speculating that a handful of porn star's bank account closures are maybe due to DoJ pressure. Theyre making this leap because of a vice.com article which speculates that the closures are because they are porn stars. Vice makes this gigantic leap because of a WSJ article (conveniently paywalled) which speculates that Operation Chokepoint is targetting porn.

    Thats a whole bunch of speculation on a ridiculous assertion. A liberal administration isnt going to crack down on porn; it would alienate huge parts of their base. The idea is stupid, the speculation is stupid, and Reason/Vice are remarkably stupid websites. Slashdot is even worse for being dumb enough to link to the flamebait.

  • Re:really??? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2014 @09:45PM (#46905103)

    if you disagree, you can go to one of the soon-to-be-opened concentration camps!

    You are confused. Guantanamo Bay is soon-to-be-closed and has been that way for at least seven years. Its soon-to-be-closed status was a major incentive for giving the American Godfather the Nobel Peace Prize.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:00PM (#46905165) Journal

    Congress can only make laws for things it is specifically authorized to make by the US Constitution. It's true that Congress has been trying hard to find bizarre arguments for extending that power through various acrobatic interpretations of the US Constitution. Nevertheless, the principle remains: Congress has limited and enumerated powers and cannot simply make arbitrary laws.

    This is one interpretation of the constitution, known as the Federalist view. Jefferson was the founding father who was the foremost proponent of this view, and it went out of favor during his presidency, when he made the Louisiana Purchase, which is not authorized by the constitution.

    Jefferson was going to show that the country could be governed, he could handle emergencies while following that view of the constitution. He failed, and ever since it's not clear that such a view is even realistic.

  • Re:+5 Insightful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:02PM (#46905181)

    You heard it here first: Sex workers not being able to keep their money in a bank is worse than the Holocaust.

    It's first a step to the left, and then a jump to the right.

    Fascism is not the Holocaust. It is the road to it. The U.S. government considers itself far enough above the law to kill people with drones without due process, to detain them for decades in Guantanamo for decades without due process, to torture people to death for fun (the CIA report shows that torture was used lethally and systematically regardless of whether the "justifying" information was already given either by the victim or other means), to extort from people their right to a jury trial ("plea deal"), to record the communication of everybody in the world including the own populace for fun and extortion.

    Destroying the existence of people you don't like for some reason is quite in line with what Nazi Germany did to the Jews in the years leading up to the Reichskristallnacht. And the U.S. shows no sign of mitigating sanity in its current course.

    The main difference is that there is not a single NSdAP against splintered small parties they suppress, but rather a right and a far right wing of it handing off power to each other and having rigged the political system long ago to a degree where voting has become pointless.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:10PM (#46905229)

    While I agree that "not all dictatorships ban private weapons", they don't have to. All they have to do is control who has them and who doesn't. Example: while it has often been denied, the Nazis did in fact grab guns... from the Jews. I recently read an article that had a picture of the original Nazi decree that Jews could not have guns or bank accounts. Sound familiar?

    The Nazis allowed Germans civilian to have long guns too. I recall reading an account by a former US officer who had accepted the surrender of a German unit. He told the German commander to collect all weapons and deposit them at the town hall. Among the weapons collected were numerous civilian rifles and shotguns collected from the town residents. The US commander told the German commander he only meant the military weapons and that the civilian weapons should be set aside so that their owners could come to the town hall to claim their property and have it returned to them.

  • by DexterIsADog (2954149) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:34PM (#46905375)
    Conservative Utah has a pretty damn high (the highest?) per capita consumption of online porn.

    You seem to be under the impression that conservatives dislike porn, and liberals love it. Fact is, both sides love it. It's just that more conservatives claim to be against it, because, you know, god.
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:35PM (#46905389)

    Not sure why ObamaCare is illegal. It seems to be merely a matter of jurisdiction. Here in Australia ...

    The construction of the US government was based on competing centers of power. That power would be split between the federal government and the various state governments, and that within the federal government the power would be split between executive, legislative and judicial branches. The basic idea was to have checks and balances between the federal and the state and within the federal itself.

    The constitution does this by enumerating the powers and authorities of the various components of the federal government and then it explicitly states that all other powers and authorities are the domain of the state governments.

    The argument against Obamacare goes that since the constitution does not enumerate compelling a person to purchase a service as a power of the federal government it is a power that falls into the domain of the states.

    In other words the power of the federal government is limited by an enumerated list of power and authority granted to the federal government and the power of the state governments is limited, plus the power of the federal government is further limited, by an enumerated list of rights and privileges granted to individual citizens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:36PM (#46905397)

    Speaking as someone who runs an online-business classified as high-risk and has spent years dealing with problems with credit-card processing and banks. High-risk was traditionally meant to refer to businesses with a high-risk of fraud (or charge-backs) but over-time has broadened to include industries that are not accepted by the powers that be and who want to marginalize those businesses by making business increasingly difficult to conduct. If you can not accept credit-cards in this day an age, good luck staying in business. In some cases, you can have years of processing history demonstrating fraud and charge-back levels an order of magnitude LESS than businesses not-deemed high-risk, and it is very difficult to get traditional banks to even look in your direction.
    While I can only speak for my little niche of the business world and for others business in the same niche, in my experience, such actions go a bit beyond concerns for reducing fraud and chargebacks.

  • Re:+5 Insightful (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dryeo (100693) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:38PM (#46905407)

    One of the first steps on the way to the holocaust was to deny Jews and other undesirables the right to a bank account.

  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Friday May 02, 2014 @11:33PM (#46905669) Journal

    A liberal administration isnt going to crack down on porn

    Liberals aren't anti-porn? Seriously? You really wanna go there [thedailybeast.com]?

    Earlier this month, 42 senators signed a letter urging Attorney General Eric Holder to step up enforcement of federal obscenity laws. Among the cast of mostly Republican signers, one name stood out: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a staunch liberal from California, the de-facto porn capital of America. (Feinstein wasn’t available to comment for this story.)

    She wasn’t alone: five other Senate Democrats, including Minnesota’s left-wing warrior, Amy Klobuchar, also signed the letter, and they were applauded by feminists, leftist lawyers, and liberal academics. Together, this increasingly vocal segment of progressives is making the case that hardcore porn flies in the face of cherished liberal causes—and that Democrats should be leading the charge to take down its distributors.

    “To be anti-porn is a progressive principle.”

    Liberals have no problem going after porn. They just frame it differently than Conservatives. They're upholding women's rights (except of course for the right of women to consent to star in pornography) rather than Christian morals.

    If anything the Liberal position is more hypocritical than the Conservative one.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @01:25AM (#46906103) Journal
    And now there is a technical argument against Obamacare, that since it was a tax, it should have originated in the house, but it didn't, so it is not constitutional.
  • by MacDork (560499) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @01:29AM (#46906127) Journal

    Really. Then how do you explain their closing Teagan Presley's personal account, [dailymail.co.uk] and her husband's account?

    The only business I have with Chase is a single credit card account. I'll be closing that as soon my next payment on it clears. I'm also going to be thinking very hard about finding a European bank to move my money into.

  • Re: really??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LF11 (18760) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @07:40AM (#46906979) Homepage
    How many people have read even ten words that Hitler actually wrote or spoke? Nobody knows who the Nazis actually were, or what they actually did. I am convinced that if a National Socialist party were started in the US, people would flock to it without realizing for a moment what it actually was. They'd have to change a few nouns, perhaps substitute Muslims for Jews, but the rhetoric would be terribly seductive.

    (Modern Neo-Nazis have very little in common with the German Nazis of the 1930s.)
  • Re:+5 Insightful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ganjadude (952775) on Saturday May 03, 2014 @10:53AM (#46907887) Homepage
    what you are forgetting is that nazi germany wasnt JUST the Holocaust, Nazi germany lasted about 15 years(longer if you dig deeper but we will go with 15) and the war was 6. So yes, saying we are living in a place WORSE than nazi germany could be factual, nazi germany before the war, not during obviously

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