All Quiet on the Western Front

At least it was quiet one hundred and two years ago today, when the armistice was signed and the guns fell silent.

The Western Front seems far from quiet today, especially here in the USA, where the frenzy of political vitriol has reached an unprecedented pitch. I’ve never experienced anything like the verbal artillery barrage that is currently underway in the wake of the Election to End All Elections. What with enemies lists, calls for the arrest of politicians, and the expressed desire to render one’s political opponents unemployable, it seems that the doughboys have stepped up from the duckboards onto the parapet and are awaiting the order to march out through the wire into No Man’s Land.

I don’t know where all of this is heading, but it won’t end well. The rhetoric being employed, especially by the Left and the Democrat Party, has all but burnt the bridges leading back to some form of “bipartisanship”. This appears to be total war, with no taking of prisoners, and no option but unconditional surrender on the part of one side or the other.

And it’s not just here in America. While we’ve been preoccupied with mail-in votes and pallets of ballots, Britain has plunged headlong into full-blown totalitarianism led by the wild-haired Führer Boris Johnson. Under pandemic rules — and this is true of any country caught up in the Coronamadness, not just the U.K. — there can be no liberty, no civil liberties, no constitutional rights. The citizen has no choice but to obey the ukases of the all-powerful State, which has empowered itself to do anything it deems necessary to keep everyone “safe”.

What a strange time to be alive in!

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I continue to be a mask-resister. Whenever I can possibly get away with it, I enter business establishments without wearing a mask, regardless of any sign they might post on the door. Yesterday I shopped maskless at a Food Lion. I noticed just four other people without muzzles — two teenaged girls, one man of about forty, and another man somewhat older.

Sometimes I have an urge to go up to other dissidents and ask them why they aren’t wearing the mandatory face covering. Is it for medical reasons? Or just on a whim? Or principled resistance?

But I’m a severe introvert, so I never ask.

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A small wave from the larger political storm broke into my own personal space a couple of days ago. As most of you know, I was shut down by PayPal (clearly for political reasons) right after I started my summer fundraiser back in August. I started looking at alternative payments services, but haven’t settled on a particular one yet.

Two months ago I signed up for one called Stripe. After going through the trouble of setting everything up, I decided that it wasn’t what I needed. I don’t remember exactly why, but it was probably because it offered no way of creating a “donate” button with a single link to a payment form.

I hadn’t thought any further about Stripe since then, but on Monday I got an email from them out of the blue:

Hi Edward,,

I’m writing to let you know that we are no longer able to accept payments for GOV after 2020-11-12. After a recent review of your website and account information, we’ve found that your business presents a higher level of risk than we’re able to work with. Specifically, your business is in violation of our Stripe Services Agreement, section A.7.b (“Restricted Businesses and Activities”) [0].

Additionally, we request that you remove any references to Stripe on your site, including any code, such as API keys and any plugins [1]. We can provide you with two days to switch to a new provider. After that, you won’t be able to accept additional charges on your account, but we will continue making transfers to your bank account until you receive all of your funds [2].

If you believe we have made an error in this determination, or have since removed violating content, please let us know.

Regards,
Stripe

Since I wasn’t planning on using Stripe, none of this mattered to me. However, just to get an idea of how the rules are enforced against political dissidents, I drilled down into the legal bumf on the Stripe website.

As a matter of interest, the referenced Section A.7.b of the Stripe Services Agreement says:

b. Restricted Businesses and Activities: You may not use the Services to enable any person (including you) to benefit from any activities Stripe has identified as a restricted business or activity (collectively, “Restricted Businesses”). Restricted Businesses include use of the Services in or for the benefit of a country, organization, entity, or person embargoed or blocked by any government, including those on sanctions lists identified by the United States Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).

Please review the list of Restricted Businesses thoroughly before registering for and opening a Stripe Account. If you are uncertain whether a category of business or activity is restricted or have questions about how these restrictions apply to you, please contact us. We may add to or update the Restricted Business List at any time.

Here’s the Restricted Businesses List:

  • Investment & credit services
  • Money and legal services
  • Virtual currency or stored value
  • Intellectual property or proprietary rights infringement
  • Counterfeit or unauthorized goods
  • Gambling
  • Regulated or illegal products or services
  • Adult content and services
  • Get rich quick schemes
  • Mug shot publication or pay-to-remove sites
  • No-value-added services
  • Aggregation
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • High risk businesses
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Pseudo pharmaceuticals
  • Social media activity
  • Substances designed to mimic illegal drugs
  • Video game or virtual world credits

Included under “High risk businesses” we find:

any business or organization that a. engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property, or b. engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence toward any group based on race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other immutable characteristic

Strictly speaking Gates of Vienna doesn’t “promote or celebrate” violence toward “any group based on race, religion” etc.; it chronicles such violence. But I am not even remotely tempted to wrangle with Stripe’s lawyers on such matters, any more than I was with PayPal’s. I know the rules of this game, and they’re designed to make sure that dissidents like me never win. So I wouldn’t waste my time.

Anyway, we now know that Stripe uses the same rulebook as PayPal, more or less. No surprise there.

27 thoughts on “All Quiet on the Western Front

  1. Well, to me it looks like these people do not believe in freedom of speech so maybe they should be deported. Ha! As if that would happen.

    This how you know who your enemies are I guess.

    Keep up the good work, Baron!

    We love you.

  2. Baron, thanks for the update. I keep looking for your donate button and thought the problem was at my end.
    Do you have any plans to resume collecting donations?
    Best wishes
    John

    • I plan to resume fundraising with one or more payment services, but I probably won’t manage it in time for an Autumn Fundraiser, given how fast this fall is slipping away from me, and with Thanksgiving looming.

      The snail-mail option worked far better than I expected, and carried me through the PayPal snub OK. At least one new service will probably demand a significant cut, so people who used snail mail last time may want to do so again, to avoid paying that much to a third party.

      I’d like to offer several different options, but we’ll see.

      • I just made a donation through a site called GoSendMe. Looks very conservative and it seems like a good site for you to check. They are fundraising for Robert Hopkins, the USPS postal worker who was bullied by the FBI for reporting his boss who instructed his employees to hand cancel all ballots back to the third of November. Hope it works for you, Baron.

  3. Fascism never sleeps.

    I find it odd that they include religion and gender as “immutable” characteristics. If the former were immutable Mohammedanism can not exist. If the latter is immutable then to compel or abet children “transitioning” from an immutable state is a violation of their fundamental Human Rights.

    I would be inclined to point that out to them and thank them for admitting that they are just a bunch of haters after all and you couldn’t possibly do business with them. It wouldn’t change anything practical but it might make their next corporate Struggle Session a little more interesting.

  4. Spineless pus sacks. Lawyers should be the first to enter the Morbark panorama, followed by silicon valley oligarchs. Continue your fine work knowing you are on the path to Valhalla. You are in the company of folks who are not compromising [excrement portfolios].

  5. I never heard of Stripe, but would it not be fair to describe GoV as an “Aggregation” site. I mean Whatfinger proudly proclaims itself as a new aggregator and the daily news section on GoV serves a similar function.

    I’m not trying to go “Fox News” on GoV, but the restriction does seem to be their in their guidelines.

    • You could be right. However, the word “risk” is what clued me in. That’s the same term used by the PayPal lady that I talked to on the phone. In progressive media parlance, I think “risk” refers to what happens to businesses that are caught by social justice warriors in hosting or accommodating “hate” sites. A storm ensues on Facebook and Twitter, which would be the “risk” I assume they don’t want to take.

      • I guess it’s probably a case of selective enforcement.

        It’s long been a tool of the left to basically outlaw EVERYTHING and then only make their rules an issue when someone steps out of line. I learned a similar lesson years ago working for a very large company: it’s not what you do, it’s who you are that get’s you in trouble or keeps you out of it.

        So paper checks it is. I have some really cool Hot Wheels stamps I think you’ll like.

  6. Being a fan of science fiction it’s interesting to see another person’s vision of the future. A good amount of that is centered on the theme of a global peasant population vs a small, evil, powerful ruling elite.

    Years ago would have considered that pure fantasy along with teleportation and time travel. Yet here we are in 2020 and it doesn’t seem all that impossible.

    Like you like i try to defy the ridiculous mask order whenever possible. At the local supermarket it’s obvious most people find this mandate a nuisance.

    However made the mistake of traveling across town to local “Whole Fools” and there posted at the door was a very stern-looking security guard along with the army of Freaks ,Geeks and Weirdos all obediently wearing their face coverings.

    Didn’t get any much better at the local REI. Instead of having sales people help you out with your purchases they acted like little nazis running around making sure all their ridiculous rules were being enforced.

    We are a divided nation. Where this is all going who knows ?

    • I don’t even bother trying to resist the mask mandate at Whole Foods. Not only will the staff enforce it, but you can get screamed at by fellow shoppers. I know, because it happened to me back in the early days of the plague.

      • I have not worn a mask, period. I refuse to. My local grocer is very accommodating to people who cannot or refuse to wear a mask. I survived a mine cave in in 1975, was trapped 200 plus feet underground for 30 hours until we managed to claw our way out. We had crawl on our backs, our noses scrapping the top timbers of the shaft. So I have PTSD from this and other violent, life threatening events, am very claustrophobic, have COPD and am disabled from way too many spine and shoulder surgeries. I have the ADA on my side but EVEN if I did not, I would never wear a mask. I have been nastily confronted several times by masked aliens over this. Not a one has inquired WHY I do not wear a mask plus they got right in my face. As far as Whole Foods goes, years ago I went in to the WF in Bend with an UNLIT cigar as was promptly booted out of the store by the manager. I have never returned. Another store here locally reused me entrance AND refused to fill my items which in Oregon is against the law. My attorney is going to talk to the manager sans mask in person and he is a very competent, nasty attorney. Should be interesting. What is next? Tossing us non-maskers into cattle cars for ride to the
        ‘camps’ of Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, L.A., Portland or Seattle? I now order much online and will only trade with stores that get it. Dark, dark times I warned my kids about as they were growing. My son got it, my daughter is lost to the left. Resist, resist, resist.

      • I won’t even set foot in Whole Foods.

        I do like Sprouts. They may not be established in VA. All the same tattooed lesbians and man-bun metros as Whole Foods mingling with the social justice rich, but without so much attitude.

        If I’m showing my age then get the hell off my lawn!

        Was that too much? I’ve been banned so many times.

  7. I too, will not comply with mask mandates.
    I see other resisters in my area at various places… compliance level has a lot to do with ehere you’re shopping: nobody wears one at the co-op, Kroger is about 90%.
    I had one gentleman smile and acknowledge me (without a mask you can see someone smile) , viva la resistence!

  8. How sad and tedious life has become. Notice that we celebrate zero holidays. Today was Veterans Day in the USA, yet no parades, no speeches, zilch acknowledgement. Thanksgiving is coming up-but don’t have anyone in your home! Christmas can have a tree if it is hidden by the livingroom drapes and nobody talks about religion. I think that this has been the lonliest year in my life, and that is a lot considering I am an only child. Friends are paranoid to go to restaurants, if you shop you are watched and visually examined, there is no going to concerts, art museums, parties, or theater. You can read a book at home behind your closed door, you can walk your dogs on a solitary pathway, you can ride a bike but God forbid you burn gasoline to take a drive. Tourist centers such as Tahoe are freaked out that “outsiders” may bring the unseen-all encompassing-death haze. We live in obscene and crazy times. Frankly, I long to go to a casino, order a large gin and tonic, and gamble the night away: shoulder to shoulder with other escapees.
    Don’t worry about another payment service. Folks simply need to send a check direct. It’s more than time to starve the beast in all countries. Do what you can to pay as little to them in taxes as you can manage. Fresh air and sunshine is required to dispel this madness.

    • it was also the 400th anniversary of the pilgrims’ landing at Plimoth Rock and their covenant that laid the foundation for our Constitution.
      Hip, Hip, Hoorey!!

  9. Baron,
    May I suggest that the reason for what you described in the first part of your article is the warfare between literal Good and Evil. We know that the Lord God Yah(weh) is perfectly good, righteous, loving, and trustworthy. He has kept His Word even to His own hurt (Calvary). We also know that the devil (Satan) is consummate evil and has been ever since his pride drove him to proclaim to proclaim himself equal to God (cute, a created being equal to its creator?).
    We also know from Scripture that there will be an “End of Days” battle that will be no holds barred, and no quarter given or taken. We were also told what the Prelude to this Battle would be like and when we see those signs we are to look up because our redemption from this decaying earth is at hand.
    What we are seeing are the opening shots. The perpetrators of this election fraud are guilty of at least sedition and quite possibly treason. Still, their spiritual father, Satan,(take a look at Biden’s statement about religious freedom being a shelter for “haters”) has told them that they will be able to get away with their misdeeds and that he will see to it. The spiritual heritage of this country, our missionary work, our dedication to the worship of the Lord and especially our singing has given the devil a migraine to no end. He would love nothing better than to put us out of his misery. The Lord will oblige him very soon with a trumpet blast that assembles us in the air and then our march past the demon hordes through the spiritual portals into heaven. Satan will then get his ‘hell on earth’ but it won’t turn out as he expects. You see, he doesn’t wipe out all of the Jews, only two-thirds of them. The remainder repent, beg the Lord’s forgiveness and acknowledge Jesus Christ as god, Lord, and Savior. It is on that note that Jesus descend from heaven in full authority, rescues His own (Jews and other Gentile believers) and puts Satan in his place, 1,000 years in the hole.
    I know that it is very ‘dark’ outside. My family and household are on our knees almost 24/7. Satan can make our circumstances miserable but he cannot touch us. We are praying for the people whom he has deluded into following him as the fate that awaits them is worse than death and one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
    There you have it Baron, and God Bless everyone at the Gates of Vienna.

  10. to add insult to injury: a friend of mine said the ” wild hairdo” of Johnson ( not to juicy, I hope) looks like ” a polar bear scrotum”.

  11. One of your readers said he didn’t know what would happen next. Bloody constraint is my guess. When the EC tips in favor of Trump,(already has by accounts) look for the leftist mooks to go haywire, AGAIN. Keep on keepin’ on, chief, the only way out is through. Donation on the way, Boss. Another guess: This will be Spain 1936 x Rawanda.

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