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Big Brother's latest scheme

In the latest “public-private partnership,” the federal government is preparing to get every banking institution in the country to spy on the financial activities of citizens.

So far, there is little if any meaningful political opposition to the scheme, first reported in WorldNetDaily, which would require banks to monitor all customer transactions — debits and credits — and report any unusual activity to Washington.

But some encouraging news came last week from the California Bankers Association. A spokesman for the CBA says the industry view of the proposal is that it is “cumbersome and intrusive.” Of course, in my view, this is the biggest understatement since Custer said, “Over that hill, I think there are some friendly Indians.” But, at least it’s a start.

Today it is nearly impossible to keep up with government’s heavy-handed efforts to insinuate itself into every facet of our private lives. Most people don’t see the big picture. They don’t care about this dangerous trend toward, well, totalitarianism in America. Until they feel its effects personally in some way, it just doesn’t resonate — it just doesn’t hit home.

Once again, this plan, currently being floated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, claims to be an initiative designed with the noblest of purposes — to fight terrorism, drug trafficking, and other criminal activity. But, more often than not, because of the nature of government, it is the law-abiding citizen who most often pays the price. Such regulations invite abuse.

Americans simply don’t understand that government is not their friend. Government is, as Washington said, “not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.”

Can there be any question that we are long past the time when the U.S. government stopped being a troublesome servant and became a fearful master? In the eyes of most Americans, apparently, oblivious to their eroding freedoms, government is perceived, on balance, as a benevolent force. They put their trust in it — perhaps more than in any other institution. Only such lazy, misinformed toleration of evil makes threats like the FDIC’s “Know Your Customer” plan feasible and tolerable.

“‘Knowing’ its customers would encompass determining its customers’ source of funds; determining and monitoring the normal and expected transactions of its customer, and reporting appropriately any transactions of its customers that are determined to be unusual or suspicious, consistent with already existing FDIC regulations requiring the reporting of suspicious transactions,” according to the FDIC proposal.

Even current FDIC regulations are far too intrusive. They require banks to report transactions involving $10,000 or more. You would think, in a society that prides itself on freedom and privacy rights, there would be a move afoot to repeal such draconian, busybody, Big Government snooping. Instead, an invasive plan to lower the bar for government spying on a supposedly free citizenry goes practically unnoticed by politicians and the government-media complex.

People need to be trained to be vigilant against such plans, because they are to be expected from government. Washington has already deputized your local police departments into the war on self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and privacy. Is it any wonder your neighborhood bank would also be drafted into the subversion of the Constitution?

As if the government doesn’t already have enough information about you from your bank — just try opening up an account without providing your Social Security number, also known in Washington as your taxpayer identification number. I find it simply amazing that there is no organized movement fighting such existing tyranny. There is no political opposition. It is tolerated, expected, even condoned.

This ought to be the primary work of a group that calls itself the American Civil Liberties Union. But we all know that organization’s real agenda — further empowering government and subjugating the individual to the state.

You would think the press, long esteemed as the watchdog of government, would routinely expose such threats. But it does not. Its primary role under privileged corporate ownership and practiced largely by uninformed agents of the status quo long ago shifted to entertaining a smiling, complacent populace being prepared for slaughter like a trusting fatted calf.

The FDIC is graciously accepting public comment on its “Know Your Customer” plan for the next 90 days. You can write to Robert E. Feldman, Executive Secretary, at: Attn: Comments/OES, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20429 or fax your remarks to (202) 898-3838.

But I would suggest going over the heads of these bureaucrats and demanding the hapless Congress intercede to do its duty to save what’s left of the U.S. Constitution.