The new tyranny 11

An imminent and severe threat to freedom is the policy of certain businesses and ostensible facilitators of business that suddenly see themselves as arbiters and dictators of moral rectitude rather than what they are needed to be and essentially are – profit-makers.

To be in business to make a profit is enormously useful, supremely  important, and highly moral. 

Visa and Mastercard are among those that have decided otherwise. They are refusing their services to people and organizations with whom they have political disagreements.

As once it was religious disagreement that the powerful punished, now it is political disagreement. In both cases the punishers believe their views are  morally correct. It is not dissent, they believe, but immorality that they are punishing, for the long-term good of all humankind. 

It is very short-sighted of them. If they stick to a policy of selling their services only to their political like-thinkers, and implement it efficiently, they will be excluding as clients half the population of every Western country. We wonder if they have understood and accepted that consequence.

Among the people and organizations they are punishing are Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center. Both are politically conservative. So we presume that the people making the decision to deny them service are Leftists, and we must look at the issue through a Leftist lens to understand why they are thinking this way.

A Leftist lens is one that picks race, color, ethnic origin and sex as prime measures of virtue and deservedness. (The Left is obsessed with race and sex.) 

So who are the people at Mastercard and Visa who are punishing conservatives by refusing to serve them? 

The Management Committee of Mastercard is made up thus: 

26 members, of which 

5 are women, including the Vice Chair 

6 are Asian 

4 are Hispanic

11 are white men

The Management Team of Visa consists of :

11 members,  of which 

4 are women all bearing  the title of Executive Vice President and 1 more who is Vice Chair   

2 Asians 

5 white men including the CEO

(Who will wager us a dollar or two that they all vote Democrat and contribute to the Democratic Party?) 

Wallace Nunn writes at Front Page, a Freedom Center website: 

Every day there is a new report about how Facebook, Google,Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other giants of social media censor content, banish certain commentators for incorrect views, and otherwise work in a steady if unsystematic way to homogenize political opinion within an acceptably progressive bandwidth.  Ideas are scoured for “racism” — as contentiously defined by the intellectual stylebook of the hard left Southern Poverty Law Center, which the media have set up as an “authority” on hate speech; freedom of speech is seen as a nuisance rather than a guarantee of personal liberty and true diversity of opinion.

But there is an even more sinister threat to the first amendment than the social media, a threat that operates in a stealth way in the most crucial arena of our economic system.  It is corporate giants MasterCard and Visa, which now use their unparalleled financial power to determine what speech should be allowed and what speech should be silenced.

Most Americans use a credit or debit card every day and take these two corporations as much for granted as the light switch or the automobile ignition. We buy things with their cards ranging from the annual vacations to the daily groceries. These two interlocked corporations are the drum majors marching us into a cashless society. They are powers unto themselves, but their eminence rests on our money and the fees they exact to accommodate our transactions. 

The cards they issue are even more critical to the vendors whom they pay. Without the ability to accept charges to these cards as payment many businesses would in effect be out of business.

Unlike the comparatively clumsy and very public efforts of the social media to erase “offensive” — all too often a synonym for conservative — opinion, the cognate machinations of Visa/Mastercard take place more remotely and without response in the dark space of the mundane financial transaction.

It is as simple and as faceless as a lethal injection: An individual who wants to support an organization online makes the digital donation and is then informed that Visa/Mastercard will not process it. Neither the individual nor the organization he wishes to support are told that they are on a blacklist, let alone informed how they got there or how to get off.  The donor is denied his right to put his money where his mouth is. …

The Freedom Center had such an experience a few months ago when online donations were overnight peremptorily refused by Visa/Mastercard with no reason given and no protest accepted.  We were able to create enough noise about this injustice — in the media and with the threat of legislative attention — that the credit card giants turned the power back on just as capriciously as they had turned it off.

We were lucky. Robert Spencer, whose jihadwatch.org is one of the indispensable sites for understanding the intentions and the threat ofIslamic terrorism, has been shut down from receiving supporters’ donations for several weeks now, and is forced to try to keep Jihad Watch going on a shoestring while Visa/Mastercard imperiously ignores demand letters and threats of court action from his attorneys

The anti-Semitic Nation of Islam’s credit card donations are processed; the anti-Islamist Jihad Watch’s are not.

This oligopoly acts with the faceless finality of an IRS lien when it sets itself up as lawmaker, judge and jury with the power to decide which speech should be allowed and which should be shut down.  It kills free speech not by arguing against the ideas it disapproves of, but by the silence of the arbitrary act, using the financial system to accomplish the deed.

Over half the people of the United States who own a debit or credit card use it as their sole method for paying bills. (Most of the other half use them too, just not as frequently.) In 2015 there were 69.5 billion debit card payments with a value of $2.56 trillion and 33.8 billion credit card payments with a value of $3.16trillion — together adding up to around 6 trillion in an economy of 19 trillion.

This is a very sizable public accommodation. More importantly it is immense power, power that can be and is being used to shutdown the civil rights of people who want to support the speech of the Freedom Center, Jihad Watch, other conservative groups and anyone else in our political universe. … 

We have come to a point in our history when government must once against step in to preserve rights and prevent wrongs just as it did in 1964. Civil Rights are as much imperiled now as they were then. The technology revolution has undeniably brought much that is good and fruitful, but as it has evolved, this revolution has developed a dark side that concentrates increasing power in the hands of fewer people. …

We too are exasperated by Visa/Mastercard, but we are not convinced that  government should step in. It’s better to keep government out. The cure is surely to be found, as always, in the free market. Competition is the right way to bring companies that exploit near-monopolies to their commercial senses – and will keep them morally clean and decent.   

Posted under Business, Economics, Ethics, Leftism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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SPLC: a factory of calumny and lies 1

Yes. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the most extreme “hate groups” in America.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Maajid Nawaz is a former extremist whose new role, speaking out against extremism, got him branded as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC, which bracketed Nawaz with racists and anti-Islamic bigots, had to apologize, retract its publication, and pay Nawaz $3.4 million.

Yet when a major, well-respected magazine covered this story, here was its lead: “The Southern Poverty Law Center, the venerable civil-rights organization, has issued a formal apology to British political activist Maajid Nawaz….”

This reporting is part of the problem. The SPLC is not “venerable”; it is contemptible. It is not a “civil-rights organization”; it is a scam. Whatever its origins, the organization rotted to its core and has become a financial and ideological racket.

Its business model is to smear defenders of religious liberty or critics of radical Islam by lumping them with racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and then to raise massive amounts of money fooling credulous liberals into fearing a massive, underground army of “hate groups”. This fraud helps real hate groups by sowing confusion, harms and endangers the innocent groups it targets, and makes many millions of dollars for the organization and its corrupt management. …

These supposed hate groups and hate figures have included Nawaz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali [see here] … Charles Murray [see here]…

If you favor immigration restriction, like the Center for Immigration Studies, you’re a hate group, according to SPLC. These designations have caused real harm to the groups in question. Murray, when trying to speak at Middlebury, was shut down by shouting crowds, and violently mobbed, leaving his faculty companion injured and requiring a neck brace.

One gunman, who says he was inspired by SPLC’s designation of the Family Research Council, showed up at the organization’s Washington headquarters in 2012 intending to kill as many people as he could.

“I want to say plainly,” Mark Potok of the SPLC said once of the groups his organization targets, “that our aim in life is to destroy these groups.” Besides maligning and bullying its opponents in the culture wars, SPLC’s fearmongering and hatemongering has another purpose, which is to raise obscene amounts of cash. It has become a vested interest immorally pursuing its own enrichment at the expense of all truth and decency.

The group’s endowment is more than $400 million, according to its website. The Trump era has brought in massive flows of funds from well-heeled left-wing culture warriors, and well-intentioned liberals fooled into believing their donations would be used to fight extremists. Unfortunately, it cannot be used to fight the extremists who run the organization that benefited from these massive sluices of money. Less than one-third of SPLC’s haul goes to programs compared to a nonprofit norm of about three-fourths …  .

The other millions get scurried away in offshore accounts …, enrich the top executives who enjoy $300,000-plus salaries, and otherwise cover lavish overhead.

The SPLC’s looseness and irresponsibility with “hate” labels has been noted, demonstrated, and proven by many journalists Left and Right. So has the group’s nature as a fundraising scam. Somehow, though, SPLC still gets treated as a legitimate source of information and an important resource.

Last year, Apple donated $1 million to it, and JP Morgan gave another $500,000. Reputable news outlets that should know better cite SPLC as an authority.

This needs to end. The settlement with Nawaz and the retraction of the Islamic guide ought to be a wake up call to deep pockets and reporters alike: The Southern Poverty Law Center is not a good-faith actor, and it is not a reliable authority. It is a dishonest multimillion-dollar scam.

Its massive endowment means it won’t disappear soon. But let it howl unheard on the margins of day-to-day events, and a long way beyond the margins of decency, as is its wont. But, please, stop citing the SPLC as authoritative. It’s garbage.

Daniel  Greenfield writes at Front Page:

Keith Ellison was formerly a member of the Nation of Islam, a racist black nationalist hate group. He has allegedly met with Farrakhan more recently and has worked with anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist Islamic organizations such as CAIR and ISNA.

Despite that, as Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch reports, he’s demanding that Amazon censor books and other materials produced by organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. …

Among the organizations, Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center.

The SPLC, despite its record of bad research and fraud, and its recent multi-million dollar settlement over an entry [Maajid Nawaz] on its anti-Muslim list, the basis for which any ban against Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center would be leveled, is considered an authority. And its hate maps and lists have been used to go after conservative groups fighting against Islamic supremacist and black nationalist groups of the kind that Ellison belonged to and continues to support.

Ellison’s letter describes his idea of “hate groups” as having provided, “support for racist policies like the Muslim ban, and the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policies”.

Those are mainstream policies enacted by the President of the United States and supported by the majority of Americans.

If that makes one a hate group, then most Americans are members of a hate group.

What reason, excuse, or pretext do these fierce campaigners against normalcy, decency, truth and America give to themselves for their destructiveness, indecency, lies and subversion?

With all their virtue-signaling, what exactly do they claim is their virtue?

What good do “the well-heeled left-wing culture warriors” think they are doing when they donate huge sums of money to these mountebanks?

The Democratic Party, the George Soros-funded rebel groups, all the organizations and parties that make up the political Left are now openly and violently seditious. 

What would they put in place of a democratic republic that guards everyone’s freedom, and has achieved – through freedom and capitalism – world leadership, unrivaled military strength, and unprecedented prosperity?

A victory for freedom in Miami 2

Good news. CAIR had these ads on Miami buses removed. Now they’re to be put back. Here’s a report on how justice prevailed.

APRIL12-2010011

The SIOA [Stop the Islamization of America] legal complaint against Miami-Dade Transit has been settled. Not only will our FDI [Freedom Defense Initiative] and SIOA religious liberty bus ads be going back up, but another twenty will be added and will soon be on the streets of Miami.

This is a major victory for the freedom of speech and a disastrous defeat for the thuggish Islamic supremacists of CAIR. It is also a major victory for SIOA. …

The bus ad, which appears above, began running on Tuesday, April 13th. Just two days later, on Thursday, after pressure from CAIR, the bus ads had already been pulled down …

CAIR [Council on American-Islamic Relations], as it typically does, issued nationwide press releases and blasted emails to tens of thousands of outlets on Friday crowing over its “victory” of suppressing free speech on the grounds that the ads promoted “bigotry”. Newspaper and other media stories in the Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, Fox Business News, and NBC ran blindly with the CAIR-generated story on Friday with headlines like: “Miami-Dade Transit Throws Islamic Ad Under the Bus.”

Ironically, CAIR, which has been named by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI as a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror fund raising trial – a trial which culminated in guilty verdicts for all of the Muslim Brotherhood defendants – claims it is “the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization.”

The Center for Security Policy, a leading Washington D.C. national security think tank run by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, has documented that CAIR is an illegal, unregistered foreign agent of the OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Conference], receiving millions of dollars from Islamic countries in order to pursue their political goals in the U.S.

The day after the bus ads had been pulled … a teleconference was arranged …  with the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s office, which took place [the following] Monday afternoon… The county attorneys conceded the ads should not have been pulled. By Tuesday [it was agreed that ] not only would the original 10 king-sized ads go back up on the Transit Authority buses, but CBS would run an additional 20 king-sized bus ads for no additional charge.

The new agreement was inked and signed by Wednesday, April 21. The ads are expected to go back up by early next week.

Congratulations to Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugged and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch who caused this to happen.