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Newsmax: De-Banking of Trump Lawyer a Sign of Control to Come

John Eastman’s plight highlights a concerning trend towards using economic leverage for political and social control, resembling aspects of China’s Social Credit System.

Originally published at on May 31, 2024.

John Eastman has made several controversial claims. But in the United States, it is controversial political speech, regardless of whether we agree with it, that is most in need of protection. What should not be controversial is the idea that Eastman’s speech shouldn’t cost him his bank accounts.

“Control money and you control the people.”

The case of John Eastman, a prominent attorney once allied with former President Donald Trump, has raised serious questions about the power and discretion exercised by financial institutions over individual accounts. Recently, Eastman was “de-banked” by two major U.S. financial institutions, Bank of America and USAA, highlighting a broader and sinister trend in financial oversight and control.

According to reports by The Daily Caller, these institutions unceremoniously closed Eastman’s accounts with minimal explanation and recourse. This action, taken in the wake of his advisory role in the disputed 2020 Presidential election, suggests a punitive motive rooted not in financial mismanagement or legal violations on Eastman’s part but purely in his political involvement and ideologies.

Here lies the crux of an alarming potential shift toward a financial governance model that mirrors aspects of China’s Social Credit System—a mechanism that evaluates citizens’ economic behavior and political and social conformity. Under such a system, behaviors deemed undesirable by the state or its corporate allies can result in various penalties, including restricted access to services like banking.

The implications of this are profound and disturbing. Imagine a scenario where citizens’ political opinions, legal activities, and social engagements are silently scored and systematically used to grant or deny essential services. This is not just a hypothetical situation in China; it could become a reality here.

Such a system might seem unthinkable in the United States, which champions the principles of freedom of expression and individual rights. Yet, the actions taken against Eastman suggest we are edging closer to a society where financial institutions can implement opaque, unregulated policies that sanction individuals for their political views. These institutions, which wield immense power over the nation’s economic lifeblood, operate with alarming autonomy and minimal oversight.

Eastman’s situation should serve as a wake-up call. It is a stark reminder of the potential for abuse in a system where financial and political conformity becomes intertwined. If a lawyer can be financially ostracized for his unpopular or controversial political strategies, what stops other institutions from following suit against others for lesser reasons?

Critics of Eastman may argue that his theories and actions justify such exclusionary measures, but endorsing this view is a slippery slope. Today, the target may be a figure involved in controversial political activities; tomorrow, it could be anyone whose lifestyle, beliefs, or political affiliations deviate from a prescribed norm.

To safeguard against these dystopian outcomes, greater transparency concerning the criteria used by financial institutions to close accounts or restrict services must be pushed. Just as importantly, there needs to be a robust dialogue about the role of these institutions in a free society—should they indeed have the power to enforce societal norms and values beyond the explicit bounds of legal and financial propriety?

Saul Alinsky once said: “Control healthcare and you control the people.” The principle alarmingly applies to the broader scope of essential services and needs, including finance. The actions of USAA and Bank of America point to a sinister trend that reflects a revised Alinsky model: “Control money and you control the people.” This Orwellian shift toward financial micromanagement threatens individual freedoms and paves the way for a society where personal autonomy is subject to financial obedience. Such a dynamic concentrates power in the hands of a few, making the need for vigilant oversight and stringent safeguards against abuse more crucial than ever.

The broader implications of such power exerted in Eastman’s de-banking make me lose sleep at night. The financial sector should remain a neutral facilitator of economic activity, not a judge of acceptable societal behavior. Suppose we fail to address these issues decisively: in that case, we risk sliding toward a model of governance that uses economic leverage as a tool for social and political control—a model that has already shown its darker implications abroad.

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