While you were sleeping . . . the United States became living hell
It has nothing to do with Native American history, but has everything to do with the future of Native Americans . . . in fact, all residents of the United States. Even then I would not have mentioned this abomination on the People of One Fire, except that several other people in line with me said that the same thing had happened to them in the past. The national media, which has essentially become several competing, corporate propaganda machines, is not telling the public about this horrific danger. Perhaps it is because they might lose advertisers.
Why have all great revelations come to me recently in the Dahlonega Walmart? That’s one of the many questions that I will ask the Master of Life some day. The revelation? . . . the computers of a select few corporations have the power to freeze your bank account for 48 hours. You didn’t have to do anything wrong. If the statistical formulas programmed into their computers determine that you are a thief, it will happen. Alternatively, Big Brother can click a few buttons on a monitor screen and destroy you, if you are a long distance from your home at the time or even when it is night time and you are asleep in your home.
I has some unexpected money come in yesterday. It was not a fortune, but enough to buy gasoline, some groceries and a replacement lamp that I keep beside my mattress in the bedroom. I found a $14 lamp at Walmart and picked up some meat on sale. Everything went fine until I swiped my debit card. The screen said “Transaction Declined.” Of course, all cashiers assume that there are insufficient funds when this happens. I insisted to her that I had much more than $24 in my account. She looked at the printout. She said, “This is strange. It’s not insufficient funds . . . must be a satellite connection or something . . . run it again.” I ran it again. The transaction was rejected again, but this time a different code was on the receipt that meant my debit card had been frozen . . . i.e. I couldn’t use it anywhere, until some stranger in front of a computer monitor somewhere unlocked it.
I insisted that I had money in my account. The cashier sent me to Walmart customer service to see what was going on. That was a mistake. I should have dumped my planned purchases on the floor of the Walmart store and driven straight to my local bank. The people there know me personally.
The ladies at Walmart customer service were nice enough. One of them offered to dial the customer service number on the back of the my debit card to get it unfrozen. Instead of a human at the other end of the phone, there was a long series of robot voice questions to verify my identity, so she had to hang up and redial . . . then handed the phone to me. The computer was all upset that I was not calling from my home phone. It took me awhile to then go through the standard questions made by the robot such as name, address, birth date, social security card, debit card number, etc. then the robot got all upset again because I was not calling from my home phone. I had to yell repeatedly “customer agent” several times for the robot to transfer me to a human.
At last, I could answer those “security questions” that you chose when opening up a debit card or credit card account and then get the heck out of here. NO! The woman informed me that because I was not calling from a phone number that they had on record, she would have to bump me to a “higher security level tier.” She then said that I needed to have this telephone number added to my account. I told her that I was calling from Customer Service at Walmart and she could talk to them to verify it. She told me that she was not allowed to do that. I then said, “Okay, I will hang up then and go home and call you from there.” She said that if I hung up, she would have to immediately freeze my bank account and I would not be allowed to call them back for 48 hours. “Say what?”
After listening to canned music for awhile, I was transferred to a human in the “higher security level tier.” Apparently, higher tier security agents are assigned to specific corporate clients like Walmart. She started asking me the very same questions that the robot has asked. Getting really angry at this time, I interrupted her . . . “M’am, I have had the same bank for seven years. I have lived in this community for five years and been a regular customer of Walmart the whole time. I have never bounced a check and never had a problem using my debit card until today. I made a purchase yesterday afternoon with it here and had no problem. Today, with actually more money in my account, Walmart froze my debit card. I have no criminal record and . . . ”
She interrupted me, “Sir, that is the problem. You attempted to make two small purchases from the same Walmart within 24 hours. Our security system viewed that as suspicious activity, because your normal purchase pattern is not that frequent. The fact that you called us from a telephone number other than one we had on record, bumped you up to a higher level of suspicious activity. To unfreeze your debit card, you will have to answer a series of questions. Most will be multiple choice.”
Assuming that these would be those security questions people fill out, I said, “Okay, shoot the questions. I want to get out of here.”
The first question were a list of towns I could have been born in. I got that one right. The second was a list of zip codes of towns I could have been born in. I told the lady that there were NO zip codes when I was born and we left there, when I was seven. She marked the answer wrong. There was then a list of high schools I could have attended. I got that right. Then a list of colleges, I could have attended. I got that right. Then she asked for my mailing address when I was a Junior at Georgia Tech. Thank God, I remembered my fraternity’s street address after all these years. She then listed a series alternative numbers for my parent’s zip code in 1972. I had no clue. She then went through a series of street addresses and zip codes for places where I have lived in my adult life. Afterward, I counted up and realized that I lived in 27 different locations around the United States as an adult, plus two other countries. I got almost all the zip codes wrong. That just made the subsequent questions even more obscure and difficult. Some of the questions were really personal, like . . . What disease I was treated for 27 years ago (a disease carried by ticks) and who were the doctors? Got most of them right, though.
Why in the world would a computer in some unknown location have such detailed information on my life? It was getting really spooky, since none of this information was things that I would have given a bank, or even when applying for a loan somewhere. This was information that most of my close friends would not even know.
The debit card security agent then gave alternative dates for my EX-WIFE’S BIRTHDAY, but she only used her first name and did not say that she was my wife. I got the answer right, but I could have had relationships with several women with the first name or it could have been a relative. She then asked for my ex-wife’s social security number and zip code for her present address.
I stopped the lady at that point. “M’am, this is getting ridiculous. Do you realize that I have not seen my ex-wife in 22 years. She gave me a cup of tea with cadmium poison in it on our anniversary. She almost killed me. In fact, the surgeons couldn’t figure out why I was still alive. Also, they found that I had repeatedly been fed arsenic by “someone” repeatedly over a period of years. After I healed up enough for surgery, they put 110 stitches in my colon and a nylon mesh to hold my organs together. I couldn’t have told you her social security number, when we were married. Do you really expect me to even know, if that woman is still alive?”
The woman responded, “I‘m sorry. I am merely reading the questions on the screen, given me by the computer. If you can’t answer these questions, I will have to freeze your bank account. You have already missed the answers on too many other questions.”
I guessed the wrong numbers on both her social security number and current address. The woman abruptly stated, “Your bank account is frozen. I must terminate the call now.” The phone clicked.
Fortunately, a major branch of my bank was about five minutes away and was open for business. If the nightmare at Walmart had occurred at night, on a weekend or far worse . . . in another part of the country or even another country . . . I would have been dead in the water with no access to bank funds. My bank keeps a photo of customers on their account record that makes instant identity possible, if they can go to the bank in person.
The bank’s customer service agent did not even bother contacting the idiots in the separate corporation, which monitors all credit and debit cards. She immediately unfroze my account and debit card then apologized. She said that my nightmare has been happening to a lot of their customers, since new credit card security procedures went into effect, such as the chips in credit cards. She said what the big banks really want is to require all credit card customers to have chips installed in their bodies in order to be issued cards. They also want to eliminate almost all branch banks and only deal with customers online in order to increase profits.
I laughed and said, “You got to be kidding?” She shook her head. She was not kidding.
The corporations that monitor credit and debit card transactions are jointly owned by a few mega-banks . . . the same ones, who caused the 2007-2012 mega-recession and who were bailed out right at the end of the Bush Administration. These corporations are not monitored by any government agency. It was made painfully obvious to me that they have spent immense sums to load their computers with detailed information about virtually ever citizen in the United States. Remember, I do not even own a credit card or have an active loan.
Vast buildings, containing nothing but supercomputers, are being built around the country. The Eastern Band of Cherokees has announced plans by an anonymous corporation to build one next to their new casino. Now we know what they are for.
We have allowed the creation of Big Brother via a centralized, digitized financial system without the checks and balances that are inherent in a constitutional government. At this very moment, an anonymous person at some computer terminal at some unknown location can destroy you financially . . . and unless your are near a hometown bank during business hours . . . there is nothing you can do.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, even though being himself from a wealthy aristocratic family with strong ties to Wall Street, was wise enough to know that unless he helped create institutions in the federal government to looked out first for the welfare of the “average Joe” or Middle Class, the United States would quickly become a Communist or fascist dictatorship. The institutions that his generation created are obsolescent technologically and also financially outgunned in our times. The new US Congress plans to completely eliminate them in order to expand the defense budget.
Many technological changes have occurred since the era when Roosevelt was President. Of course, personal computers, the internet, electronic chips, credit cards and debit cards didn’t exist in the 1930s, but fascism seems to be a curse that just won’t go away. There are electronic chips in your cellular phones and in the newer model cars that allow anonymous persons to know where you are at any time. Airline and hotel reservations are made online and paid for by either credit cards or debit cards. Persons, employed by private corporations , know when you are on vacation 1200 miles from home or in another country. They can punch a button on a computer to lock up your bank account and all credit cards . . . even cancel your plane reservations, leaving you stranded and financially helpless. This is already happening to far too many people.
I have seen the future. It is dark and it is now. Big Brother is in your wallet.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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