This article appeared on this blog in 2011. We decided to edit it and re post it. Its one of those rare posts that apply more now than it did 4 years ago. It was posted on Labor Day 2011. Although this was written on Labor day the real subject is the power of our banks and specifically Citibank.
I have never felt so disappointed in the my country as I did in the early 70’s when the United States pulled out of Viet Nam leaving the country to fend for itself. I did not know then what our future had in store for us. The actions or inaction’s of “we the people” and our politicians are disgracing the very people we are celebrating this week end.
I find it disgusting that our two major political parties have no more interest in honoring the working people or our Veterans in this country than the Chinese do. In fact I think the Chinese might have a greater interest in protecting their investment in this country than the people who are running the country. After all the Chinese own a major portion of Citi Bank Stocks and as you will read below it looks like they own some of our lawmakers.
This brings up my question. Who exactly is running this country? Who is making the decisions? What are the driving forces that dictate these decisions? How has our apathy empowered the people making decisions that affect all of us?
I was extremely disheartened this week when for the first time in over 200 years a United States President’s request for a Labor Day speech date was turned down by the opposing party. GOP speaker of the house John Boehner turned down President Obama’s request to speak on September 7th.
I was equally distressed to hear on news radio the random interviews of citizens reaction to the possibility that President Obama would instead give his speech on the same day and time as Monday Night Football. Several seemingly intelligent people said they would rather watch the football game than listen to what our President has to say. MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL??
This is representative of the apathy I refer to.
As I have said in many of my articles, I am not affiliated with any political party and I would hope that what comes next in this article is taken in the spirit of that declaration.
WHO IS RUNNING OUR COUNTRY?
I am native of Michigan. I spent many years walking the forests of this country and in some cases hunting and fishing. I older and retired. Retired not just from work but from my days of hunting and fishing also. I decided that since I have not hunted in many, many years I would sell the two hunting rifles I own. I first went to a large firearm Internet auctioning site called Gun Broker.com. Part of the process is that you have to register, give them your credit card number so they can collect their fees and verify your identity before posting your items for sale. When I tried to enter the information required to post my guns for sale for some reason I could not get past the credit card part of the registration. For some reason the screen just froze when entering the card information.
I supposed that it was the web site itself that had the problem so I went to a NRA gun auctioning site. The same thing happened. I finally called the NRA auctioning help number and talked with a representative on the phone. We tried to get other numerous credit cards through their system with the same results. My only question to him was why. His answer to that question sent a chill up my spine.
“ Mr. Benish” he said, “We get this all the time. Some of the credit card companies will not process the cards if the transaction is gun related”. “Your kidding” I said. “This is the United States of America, I am a citizen of the United States of America. I can purchase whatever I legally want to, especially with a debit card” “I’m sorry” he said “I will manually activate your account but if I were you I would use some other type of method of payment for the fees incurred when your guns sell”
I could not believe what I was hearing. Banks were trying to dictate what we purchase and do not purchase. In fact anyone I told this story to could not believe the bank had anything to do with this issue.
We were all wrong.
The next day I tried to use my debit card twice for unrelated purchases and both times it came back “denied” This was a US Bank Debit/Credit card. You know, the same type most of you have in your own wallet or purse. By this time I was nervous. Had I made some huge mistake in the balance of my account? Had I been the victim of fraud? I just didn’t know. I hurried home, got on the internet and accessed my bank account. A sigh of relief.
The bank account balance was what it was supposed to be. “But what was up with my card”? I thought. I called the card customer service number and spoke with a service young lady. After giving her all the security information she asked the magic question. “How can I help you”? “Why can’t I use my card?” I asked. “Your card has been suspended and I must transfer you to card security” she said.
Soon another young lady was on the phone and verified that the card had been suspended. Of course my question was “why”? Her response was, “Are you trying to purchase a gun”? I said “What business is that of yours”? She answered, “Are you saying this is a fraud”? This was not making much sense to me. “What did fraud have to do with my desire to sell my hunting rifle” I thought. “No, I said, I’m trying to sell my guns”. I felt like she was just trying to make something out of this situation that was not true.
After more discussion about it she agreed to take the suspension off of my card. It didn’t matter that it was a debit card and that it was my money in question not the banks money. The card had still been suspended.
After thinking about this whole situation and what the gun auction guy had told me I became angry and had more questions about this. How big was this credit card/gun purchase thing? I went into my detective mode.
I Googled my way around the Internet and found that my suspicions were correct as were the statements made by the person I spoke to at NRA sponsored Auction Arms. The information I found wasn’t about about US Bank though.
The question is, who really is running this country and are these people or corporations slowly destroying our independence and freedom? Are they all enabled by inaction? If we have banks, owned by foreign countries or not, brazenly dictating to us what we can spend our money on and what we cant spend our money on. Are they also dictating to our elected officials?
This is not necessarily about the issue of guns in this country. It just happens that the banks interference with the sale of guns has riled the gun industry and come to public attention. This is about our freedom. Its the same freedom that our celebrated service people served to protect. Its the freedom to spend our money where and when we like without interference from the government or private enterprise. If your a person who is not a gun enthusiast think of it this way.
What if you were to buy a car and you wrote a check to the dealer for a brand new Ford only later to find out that the check had bounced. You check with your banker and he/she tell you that they do not like Ford Motor Company and so they are not going to honor your check and in fact are going to cancel your account unless you buy a Toyota or something.
Is that a violation of some banking law? Probably. Is it a violation of your constitutional right. YES. Is our government doing anything about it. NO
Why would Citi Bank/Citi Groups that have a majority of their stock owned by the Chinese and Arabs object to gun ownership in the United States? The Chinese people are not allowed to own guns and the Arabs are using guns on each other.
Why would a prudent person not smell a rat in all of this? Remember the TARP funds and who received them?
Citigroup suffered huge losses during the global financial crisis of 2008 and was rescued in November 2008 in a massive stimulus package by the U.S. government. Its largest shareholders include funds from the Middle East and Singapore. According to the NY Times, on February 23, 2009, Citigroup announced that the United States government would take a 36% equity stake in the company by converting $25 billion in emergency aid into common shares with a US Treasury credit line of $45 billion to prevent the bankruptcy of the largest bank in the world at the time.
In the case of Citi Bank it was a 45 billion dollar bail out. Did Citi Bank orchestrate this with their political friends? Forty Five billion dollars is chump change when you think of the money that is held in Chinese and Arab banks. Why didn’t they just bail themselves out?
I think the answer is in the long lists above of campaign contributions . I learned a long time ago that when a crime is committed and you don’t have a culprit you follow the money. It will either lead you directly to the perp or close enough that you can see him.
The most important point about it all this is that it is really not about the money its about is who or what is sending our service men and women into harms way and for what purpose or gain?
Have a good Labor Day weekend.
Our next presidential and congressional elections my turn out to have make or break consequences for us all. Voting party lines will not change anything.
I found an article written by Larry Keane of FreePublic.com about Citi Bank.
“Once again Citibank has drawn the ire of the firearms community over its credit policies. This time it deals with not extending lines of credit to businesses even remotely related to the firearms industry. As many people remember back in January 2008, NSSF took Citi Merchant Services to task over its decision to stop processing credit card transactions involving the lawful sale of firearms by law-abiding, federally licensed, firearm distributors/retailers. Unfortunately, it became evident that the decision was not a mistake of a single employee, but was rather a corporate-wide policy”.
Although Mr. Keane did not specifically name the company he was talking about the firearm wholesaler he was referring to is CDNN Sports Inc. It seems that CDNN Sports Inc. who wholesales firearms and firearm related products was allowing firearm retailers to order their goods over the Internet using a credit card to process payment.
CDNN Sports had a contract with ‘Merchant Services’ to process these credit card payments no matter what bank card the purchaser used. When you purchase something with your credit/debit card at a store such as a grocery store or your local drug store there is a good chance its Merchant Services that is processing the payment and distributing the funds. Merchant Services is a subsidiary of Citi Bank.
It seems that Citi Bank pulled the plug on CDNN Sports and cancelled their contract with CDNN Sports which halted all Internet sales made by CDNN Sports to Retailers. A Large portion of the sales made by CDNN Sports are internet sales.
There was a lot of scuttlebutt on the Internet about a law suit between CDNN Sports and Citi Bank over this but I couldn’t find out what happened with it.
I decided to call the owner of CDNN Sports and inquire. I spoke with Charlie Crawford who owns CDNN Sports. He told me that the issue was never resolved. He said initially he received a letter from First Data Corporation who operates Merchant Services and signed by June Rivera-Mantilla. The letter stated in part that the company’s (CDNN) bankcard processing services were cancelled, and that the Merchant Services was withholding $75,000 as a reserve for “potential charge backs” and it would be held for six months or longer.
Mr. Crawford said he telephoned Ms. Rivera-Mantilla to try to resolve the issue. He said that Rivera-Mantilla was rude, belligerent and insulting to him. He said that she told him that she knew what she was doing was illegal but that she thought the sales of guns was immoral illegal and that was why the action was being taken.
Crawford said that his initial impression was that Rivera-Mantilla had some kind of mental issue and that he needed to take his problem to another level.
He hired an attorney.
Crawford said that although Rivera-Matilla’s verbal abuse was her own, the action taken against him by Citi Bank was not. It was initiated by the banking giant itself. Crawford said the he and his attorney discussed their options including asking for a Federal investigation into the actions of Citi Bank under the RICO Act but eventually decided to do nothing. He no longer does business with Citi Bank.
According to Wikipedia:
The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because they did not actually do it.
Pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts of racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years (excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior act of racketeering activity. The U.S. Supreme Court has instructed federal courts to follow the continuity-plus-relationship test in order to determine whether the facts of a specific case give rise to an established pattern. Predicate acts are related if they “have the same or similar purposes, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission, or otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated events.” (H.J. Inc. v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.) Continuity is both a closed and open ended concept, referring to either a closed period of conduct, or to past conduct that by its nature projects into the future with a threat of repetition.
RICO laws were successfully cited in NOW v. Scheidler, 510 U.S. 249, 114 S. Ct. 798, 127 L.Ed. 2d 99 (1994), a suit in which certain parties, including the National Organization for Women, sought damages and an injunction against pro-life activists who physically block access to abortion clinics. The Court held that a RICO enterprise does not need an economic motive, and that the Pro-Life Action Network could therefore qualify as a RICO enterprise. The Court remanded for consideration of whether PLAN committed the requisite acts in a pattern of racketeering activity.
As a retired detective I think it might be a stretch to indict Citi Group and any other Bank who operates the same as Citi Bank under the RICO Act just based on their actions taken against Mr. Crawford and his company CDNN Sports In.
But wait…..there’s more.
Larry Kean of Freepublic.com also reports:
“Fast forward to October 2010 when the Warne Scope Mounts Company of Oregon, manufacturers of scopes and components, decided to submit an application for a business line of credit to purchase materials from the Home Depot. The credit line was initially approved, only to be rescinded the next day by Home Depot Credit Services, Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., Creditor based upon the simple explanation that, “It’s because of the industry you are in.” The term industry simply meant that the company “makes parts for the gun industry.” A law-abiding manufacturer that wanted to purchase materials from the Home Depot NOT to be used in the making of their products was denied credit simply because of the association with the firearms industry. . “
An article by Jon E. Dougherty of World Net Daily;
Citibank forces gun withdrawal Financial giant no longer serves ‘businesses that deal in weapons’
Posted: February 19, 2000
1:00 am Eastern
By Jon E. Dougherty
© 2011 WND
A new corporate policy at Citibank, one of the largest corporate banks in the world, prohibits “maintaining accounts for businesses that deal in weapons,” according to a letter sent from the Las Vegas branch of Citibank to a local pistol club owner.
The letter, dated Feb. 7, said the Nevada Pistol Academy would be forbidden from doing business at the Citibank branch as of Thursday, Feb. 17. The “Notice of Account Closure” said the bank was closing the academy’s checking account and instructed account holders to refrain from making further deposits or writing checks on the account.
After the closing date, “any additional funds remaining in your account on the date of closure will be sent to you in the form of an official bank check,” the letter said. Bank officials provided a customer service number for the account holders “if you have any questions regarding our decision to close your account.”
Chris Lorenzo, director of the academy, said he received the bank’s letter “within 3 or 4 days of opening my account.” He told WorldNetDaily that no one at the bank informed him of Citibank’s policy when he opened his account.
When he called to ask about the cancellation, “they gave me the runaround,” he said. WorldNetDaily placed several calls to Citibank officials with no response.
Lorenzo said that while he felt the “bank was entitled to its own opinion,” he just felt “other shooters might want to know this information.”
As a result, Lorenzo said he contacted the National Rifle Association who, he said, is looking into the legalities of the case. His NRA contact, Chris Oswald, was out of the office for the weekend when WorldNetDaily contacted the NRA late Friday afternoon.
Chris Stark, director of the Texas Gun Owners Alliance, called the action an “outrage,” and said it fell “under the category of unlawful restraint of trade.”
“For Citibank to operate in this manner is a violation of common and ethical business practices and is discriminatory,” he added.
Citi Bank. What do we know about Citi Bank? What else can we learn?
According to the New York Times: In 2008 “Citigroup stayed afloat with three bailouts totaling $45 billion in federal funds. Lagging behind the rest of Wall Street, it returned to profitability in the first quarter of 2010, as its chief executive, Vikram S. Pandit, said he would move to break up the company, leaving behind a smaller but more prudent business. For the year, it earned $10.6 billion, its first annual profit since 2007.”
After reviewing the following its not hard to see why we have a congress, senate and President who cannot find it in themselves to agree on things that benefit this country but possibly they agree on the welfare of other countries.
John Boehner 2010
American Financial group $81,400
Credit Suisse Group $28,400
Bank of America $27,750
Consumer Bankers Assn. $27400
Lehman Brothers $154,800
JPMorgan Chase & Co $123,800
Bain & Co $121,475
Marriott International $121,150
Bain Capital $118,550
Kirkland & Ellis $111,700
Credit Suisse Group$104,900
Compuware Corp $103,550
Huron Consulting $102,050
The Villages $102,000
Pricewaterhouse Coopers $92,250
American Financial Group$87,550
Affiliated Managers Group $82,112
Cerberus Capital Management $79,450
Harvard University $864,654
Google Inc $814,540
JPMorgan Chase & Co $808,799
Time Warner $624,618
Sidley Austin LLP $600,
298Stanford University $595,716
National Amusements Inc $563,798
Wilmerhale Llp $550,168
Skadden, Arps et al$543,539
Columbia University $541,002
UBS AG $532,674IBM Corp $532,372
General Electric$529,855US Government $517,908
Morgan Stanley $512,232
Latham & Watkins $503,295
Skadden, Arps et al $360,409
JPMorgan Chase & Co$343,505
US Government $202,929
Credit Suisse Group$184,153
US Army $169,020
Bank of America $167,826
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher $160,346
Blank Rome LLP $155,226
Greenberg Traurig LLP $147,437
US Dept of Defense $146,356
Ernst & Young$114,506
Mr. Perry’s financial picture is difficult to find presumably because he is relatively new to national politics. His campaign contributions available on the net are vague and lack detail however and from what I can determine he too has strong bank support. Go to this Youtube link and hear a Bank of America representative approach Mr. Perry with an offer of help. Perry has received $114,123,683 from 1997-2010. Of that amount $2,456,831 came from commercial banks and 11,189,103 from the Oil and Gas industry.
Bachman is the lightweight of the group. She received near the same amount as she did in years past. This may be because her national political influence has not been validated.
Mr. Paul is the only major candidate who has not reported taking funds from the Banking Industry however it is reported that he has some Banking Investments. His web site says he does not accept money from corporations.
Mr. Trump has a long history of doing business with Citibank.
JPMorgan Chase & Co$696,456
Skadden, Arps et al$469,290
University of California$417,327
Sullivan & Cromwell$369,150
Akin, Gump et al$364,478
21st Century Fox$340,936$340,936$0
Kirkland & Ellis$329,141
National Amusements Inc$328,312
Squire Patton Boggs$328,306
Greenberg Traurig LLP$327,890
Credit Suisse Group$318,120