From time to time, I’ll mention the philosophical notion that people really do live in different worlds. Depending where they get their information and what registers when they skim headlines, two people can have entirely incompatible senses of the Obama Administration.
Many readers of the Current-Anchor will be entirely unsurprised to learn that Obama’s Justice Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, has apparently been using its discretion concerning whom to investigate and what to prosecute as a sort of mafiosi extortion technique to target particular industries. As Glenn Reynolds puts it:
A while back, some adult performers noticed that banks were terminating their accounts. The reason, it turned out, was a Justice Department program called “Operation Choke Point.” This program, apparently, seeks to target businesses regarded as undesirable — like porn — by hitting them at a financial “choke point”: their bank accounts.
The way it works, it appears, is that the feds go to a bank and point out that a particular industry is full of bad seeds and will be coming under a lot of scrutiny, as will any organization with which it does business. It’s unlikely the Justice Department alludes to the possibility of spontaneous fires or visits from thugs, but the possibility of expensive investigations and visits from government agents are daunting enough.
Last year, Kevin Mooney reported on this site about a banking challenge that faced Bullseye Shooting Supplies in Woonsocket. Without explanation, owner Paul Connolly was required to transfer all of his business from Sovereign Bank elsewhere.
As John Hayward suggests, in Human Events, “no one’s even pretending DOJ had anything resembling the authority to do this.” The perpetrators simply ignore the controversy. And so do most of the news media from which Americans derive their sense of what the government is doing.
So, for some, it’s still possible to think the Obama Administration is just going about its business as any other presidential administration has done — albeit with a bit less competence than is desirable. But for others, the actions of our federal government and the complicity of the news media leave a much more disturbing impression.