Dick Masterson is an L.A. BASED comedian who is a regular guest on The Ralph Retort. I’ve never followed Dick closely, but I’m a pretty devoted listener of Ralph’s, so I followed Dick’s adventures in trying to set up a free speech alternative to Patreon entitled “New Project 2,” which would allow for people banned from various payment systems to get donations from supporters.
Dick was very confident that he could handle the situation, despite the fact that so many had already failed. I was rooting for him, but knew there was no chance it could possibly work if he provided service to people who have been blacklisted by the system, no matter what his confidence levels were.
His list of subscribers, who he was trying to allow people to support, included Mister Metokur, who has gotten close to being as banned as I am after several streams he’s done, including several about FBI documents that were released about the CIA trafficking children. (All of those are currently still available on his BitChute page, but you’d better download them while you can, because I am not confident that site is going to last very much longer.) Kiwi Farms was also using the service, and that is a site that is also reaching Stormer levels of censorship, particularly after they refused to stop hosting the Brenton Tarrant mosque shooting video.
Over a period of 18 months, Dick faced multiple setbacks and pushed forward, until he ultimately hit the wall that everyone else, including myself, had hit: there is no way to process credit cards if MasterCard tells you no, and MasterCard will absolutely tell you no for political reasons.
In late June, Dick finally gave up.
This is the message he posted to Twitter:
Bad news. I learned this week that New Project 2 is on the MATCH List. This is a global, credit card processing blacklist curated by MasterCard that all banks use to determine your processing eligibility. Some offshore banks will service customers on the MATCH List for all codes except one, “10: Violation of Standards”. Guess which one I’m on the list for.
The site cannot process credit cards. As current subscriptions run out, all membership levels will terminate and the site will go dormant. I will leave your admin logins up for three months so you can retrieve data and subscriber info. Payout requests made during this time will include the last settled transactions.
I recommend logging into your backend, copying the list of your subscribers, and sending them an email to alert them of your plans (use BCC or MailChimp). If you’d like to setup a system similar to mine, S2Member and WordPress will get you there. SubscribeStar is also an option, but no matter where you go, you will be under the thumb of MasterCard.
I started this project with the goal of making deplatforming transparent. In the last 18 months, I have learned that the deplatforming process is not transparent because our financial system is not transparent, and the censorship works in reverse. Each Layer is built specifically to obfuscate what’s happening behind the scenes. Companies and banking partners are incentivized to censor proactively to abide by ill-defined requirement of the PATRIOT Act, left over policies of Operation Choke Point, and to protect staggering capital investments in credit card certification requirements of questionable necessity. They are held hostage. There is no customer support and no warnings given. It’s guess work done in a blackbox. Banks partner with processing institutions who have relationships with larger banks who all exist in the world of MasterCard.
I will post a bigger writeup about this experience on the site at NewProject2.com if you’re interested in the specifics. Otherwise, thank you for your investment in the project and your support. I had a lot of big ideas for the site, but I spent nearly all of my time trying to keep the processor afloat. The only thing that can fix this mess is the Federal Reserve and the blockchain, and they will, but not soon.
He has still to my knowledge not written a longer version of this, though I have been anxious to read it, as he has definitely gone to a level of understanding of these things that I myself never bothered to reach.
But the point is the point, no matter how much detail is included: there is no way to receive money if you are blacklisted by MasterCard, and there is no appeal process. If it happens, it has happened, and your life is now a life that you must live without access to financial services.
I salute Dick for his bravery in this matter. He himself is not blacklisted, and he risked becoming so by pressing this issue, which I’m sure is a thought that crossed his mind more than once. It was a noble effort, and I take no joy in the fact that when I heard him cockily explaining how he was coming in to fix a situation that a bunch of people failed to figure out, I thought to myself, “he’s about to heck around and find out,” and was proven correct.
Obviously, it feels like it shouldn’t be this way. It feels like we are told as children that America is a free country, and that we have certain rights which cannot be violated, and that even if it feels like we don’t have those rights, we should be able to look around and find them. Unfortunately, we cannot find them, and we will not find them, because while we were not using them, they were taken away from us.
If you hear someone coming out with, “I’m going to be the one that finally makes a free speech payment system!”, please understand that they are not going to actually do that, because it isn’t possible. Dick Masterson went all the way to the furthermost point of this process, and still lost. Anyone else who tries to do it at this point is either dumb or running a scam. I wish them all the best, like I wished Dick the best, but it’s not happening and if they’re asking you for money to help with it then they’re scamming you.
The only way that anyone who is banned is going to be able to fund themselves for the decades of darkness to come is through bitcoin. I am also a strong believer that bitcoin is going to be a more reliable alternative than paper money in the future, so I am absolutely a supporter of people learning how to use it for reasons beyond simply being able to donate to banned people like myself.
I have written a pretty comprehensive guide to learning how to use bitcoin, which I encourage everyone to read.
After you learn how to use it, I of course hope you will choose to support our efforts here, as well as those of others who have been banned from using normal financial services.