PAYPAL BLUES….Proving that idiocy knows no ideological boundaries, PayPal has suspended the accounts of both the liberal Jeralyn Merritt and the conservative Bill Quick. Jeralyn’s offense was apparently linking to a video of the beheading of Eugene Armstrong, while Bill’s offense, Kafka-like, is left entirely to the imagination.

As James Joyner points out, the real problem here is that PayPal is a de facto monopoly for internet payments at the moment. What’s more, when one of their clerks decides he doesn’t like the content of someone’s site, PayPal doesn’t just revoke the offending account, they frequently also freeze it.

But PayPal is a bank (regardless of what they actually call themselves), and banks should be in the business of providing financial services as long as they’re legal. They shouldn’t be in the business of deciding what’s appropriate speech and what isn’t, especially when their guidelines are unclear and capriciously applied. Isn’t it about time for someone to create a payment service that’s a genuine payment service, not a thinly disguised website nanny? And isn’t it about time for someone with more clout than a blog to expose this practice and give PayPal the bad publicity they so richly deserve? Maybe Dan Rather could do it to atone for his sins.

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