No 641 “En mi opinión” Abril 19, 2014
“IN GOD WE TRUST” Lázaro R González Miño Editor
SPANISH AND ENGLISH:
Señores Senadores, Representantes del Congreso y Jueces de La Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos de América: Este es el llamado de un ciudadano muy preocupado y ocupado por la mayor desgracia que enfrenta nuestro país en toda su historia. Este es un llamado para que inmediatamente, con valor y decisión enfrenten al mayor problema que ha padecido la nación americana en toda su historia. La situación actual es peor que cualquiera de las guerras que hemos tenido que pelear; porque esta vez el enemigo está dentro y sentado en el más alto cargo del país.
El presidente de la nación Barack Hussein Obama tiene que ser destituido de su cargo de presidente porque la supervivencia de America depende de ello.
RAZONES POR LAS CUALES SE DEBE DESTITUIR A: Barack Hussein Obama de su cargo de presidente de los Estados Unidos de América Mediante UN JUICIO EN EL CONGRESO DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS.
1- USO INCORRECTO E ILEGAL DEL IRS como arma política EN CONTRA DE LOS AMERICANOS Y ESPECIALMENTE SUS DETRACTORES.
El IRS ha infiltrado, espiados y acosado a grupos conservadores que son los enemigos políticos de Obama - incluyendo durante el año electoral de 2012. Sección 1, Artículo 2 de los Estatutos de juicio político de Richard Nixon declaró:
"Él a través de sus subordinados y agentes procurado causar una violación de los derechos constitucionales de los ciudadanos, auditorías de impuestos u otras investigaciones de impuestos para ser abiertos o realizados de forma discriminatoria . "
El escándalo del IRS es una ofensa acusable.
2- EL PRESIDENTE HA ASALTADO LA PRIMERA ENMIENDA
Una Prensa Libre es la base del gobierno representativo. El Departamento de Justicia de Obama ha utilizado su poder para apoderarse de los registros telefónicos personales de periodistas de de Associated Press . La incautación secreta de un medio de comunicación importante registra un precedente muy peligroso. Si esto no se cuestiona, no hay ninguna razón por la que no pueden hacerlo de nuevo a cualquiera persona u organización política o civil, en cualquier momento y por cualquier motivo. Esto constituye una ofensa legal y acusable.
3- El presidente y sus subalternos han mentido al pueblo norteamericano y al Congreso tanto como a todas las organizaciones política o legales de la Republica Americana incluyendo a la Corte Suprema de Justicia en el lamentable caso de BENGHAZI
A medida que más está saliendo sobre el ataque terrorista que mató a nuestro embajador y otros 3 en Libia, está claro que el público americano se le dio información falsa sobre el ataque. El C.I.A. supo de inmediato que era un asociado , el ataque planeado Al- Quada para conmemorar 11/9, sin embargo, los "temas de conversación " oficiales fueron editados a tomar cualquier mención a ese cabo y mantener esa información lejos del público durante la campaña de reelección de Obama. Desviando la atención de los americanos diciendo que era una ataque debido a una película sobre Mahoma, cosa que se demostró ser una mentira.
4- Estas tres primeras razones, el escándalo del IRS, el asalto a la primera enmienda y el de Benghasi son más que suficientes para pedir una investigación y un juicio político.
ANULACION DEL PROCESO LEGISLATIVO REQUERIDO POR LA CONSTITUCIÓN
En 2010, un memorándum interno filtrado a partir de una división del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de Obama (DHS ) titulado "Alternativas Administrativo para la Reforma Migratoria " esbozó una forma de eludir el Congreso sobre esta cuestión. Dijo que " esto podría ser una" versión no legislativa de amnistía. "Claramente, esto estaba destinado a apaciguar al gran bloque de votantes hispanos que sería fundamental en su 2012 a la reelección. Cuando el Congreso se negó a aprobar el Dream Act, Obama de la Casa Blanca y el DHS decidió implementar una política de concesión de extranjeros ilegales estancias de rechazo , que es esencialmente una amnistía por decreto. La política de Obama incluso da a los funcionarios de inmigración locales la autoridad para despedir a los casos de deportación contra los criminales extranjeros ilegales condenados por delitos violentos.
Creo que Obama está manipulando administrativamente la Constitución y abusa del poder presidencial para forzar su agenda radical , para fundamentalmente transformar los Estados Unidos.
Su abuso del poder presidencial y flagrante desprecio por nuestro proceso legislativo constitucional es motivo de audiencias oficiales de acusación.
5- ELOBAMACARE DESTRUYE EN ÚLTIMA INSTANCIA LA LIBERTAD CONSTITUCIONAL DE LOS AMERICANOS.
El congresista Liberal John Dingell explicó por qué decidieron esperar hasta 2014 para aplicar plenamente Obama Care: " Se necesita mucho tiempo para hacer los trámites administrativos necesarios que deben ser adoptadas para poner la legislación en conjunto para controlar a la gente. "Obama Care crea 159 nuevas agencias gubernamentales - y construye y enorme aparato administrativo del gobierno burocrático al estilo soviético . Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Obama (HHS). viola la primera enmienda al obligar a los empleadores a cubrir los medicamentos y anticonceptivos abortivos en el seguro de salud que se ofrecen a los empleados, incluso si va en contra de sus objeciones religiosas o morales. Además, el Tribunal Supremo consideró la expansión de Medicaid en Obama Care es una violación de la Constitución.
El ObamaCare debe ser dejado sin fondos y desmantelado ?
El hecho de que el HHS de Obama está violando la primera enmienda es una de las muchas razones que el Congreso debe convocar a una investigación oficial de Acusación en actos inconstitucionales de Obama.
6- OBAMA SE NIEGA A HACER CUMPLIR LAS LEYES QU NO LE GUSTAN.
Los sindicatos reciben un tratamiento preferencial especial bajo la ley. En algunas industrias y estados , es imposible trabajar sin ser miembro del sindicato. Es regresar para este trato de favor especial en virtud de la ley, se requiere que los sindicatos de trabajadores de detallar e informar de todos los recibos detallados de los gastos sindicales. Pero el gobierno de Obama a anunciar abiertamente que dejará de hacer cumplir las leyes que obligan a los sindicatos a informar cómo gastan las cuotas de los miembros del sindicato.
Obama se niega a ejecutar fielmente las leyes de la tierra en relación con la responsabilidad financiera para los jefes sindicales y eso es motivo de Audiencias Oficiales del Congreso del presidente Obama.
La decisión del presidente Obama de no hacer cumplir las leyes de divulgación de información financiera para los jefes sindicales es otra forma para el presidente Obama para pagar los dirigentes sindicales por todo el apoyo y el dinero que canalizan para apoyar las operaciones políticas del presidente Obama.
7- LA PERCEPCIÓN DE LOS IMPUESTOS SOBRE LA INCONSTUCIONALIDAD PÚBLICA.
Según nuestra Constitución , los impuestos sólo puede realizarse a el pueblo estadounidense con la aprobación de nuestros representantes en el Congreso . Cuando Barak Obama no podría conseguir que el Congreso apruebe "Cap and Trade", su EPA comenzó la subasta de derechos de emisión de gases de efecto invernadero - básicamente la imposición de un impuesto sobre las emisiones . Y se pasa por alto el proceso legislativo necesario bajo nuestra Constitución. Algunos tribunales federales están descubriendo que la Administración Obama ha excedido su autoridad legal con otras normas ambientales.
Esta manera de "ROBAR" de gravar al público - sin representación en el Congreso - también se encuentra entre las muchas razones que el Congreso debe abrir una investigación oficial Acusación en actos inconstitucionales de Barack Obama?
8- EL PRESIDENTE ESTA DESTRUYENDO LA LIBERTAD DE LOS AMERICANOS.
A Barack Husein Obama en una entrevista 06 de septiembre 2001 se le preguntó acerca de sus pensamientos sobre la Constitución y dijo lo siguiente:
"Pero creo que ( la Constitución) es un documento imperfecto, y creo que es un documento que refleja algunos defectos profundos en la cultura americana, la cultura colonial naciente en ese momento ... y en ese sentido , creo que podemos decir que la Constitución refleja un enorme punto ciego en esta cultura que lleva hasta el día de hoy , y que los redactores tenían el mismo punto ciego ".
El 9 de febrero de 2009, Jefe de despacho de presidente Obama de Rahm Emanuel hizo esta declaración :
"Uno nunca puede dejar que una crisis se pierda. ¿Qué quiero decir con esto es que es una oportunidad de hacer cosas que no podía hacer antes. "
Esto te suena como la Casa Blanca de Obama está menos interesado en la protección de la libertad para los estadounidenses y de proteger La Constitución o más interesados en la promoción de una agenda radical que es incompatible con la libertad y el gobierno limitado ?
Creo que la Casa Blanca de Obama está dedicado a la protección de sus secretas agendas que en la libertad y de nuestra Constitución. Creo que la Casa Blanca de Obama está más interesado en imponer su agenda radical en América que en cualquier otra cosa.
El cree que el propósito principal de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos debe ser la creación de una burocracia administrativa vasta de gobierno diseñado para " controlar a la gente " (como el presidente Obama y la izquierda están haciendo ahora) ? Cuando el propósito verdadero principal valor de nuestra Constitución es proteger la libertad a través de un gobierno limitado
El propósito de nuestra Constitución es la de no es el de controlar a la gente como quiere Obama, y sus seguidores; a través de un gobierno grande con una burocrática asfixiante.
A la luz del manejo negativo de Barack Husein Obama de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos, podemos creer que el presidente Barack Hussein Obama se está burlando de su juramento en la toma de posesión de su cargo. De respetar, hacer valer, “proteger y defender” la Constitución de los Estados Unidos. El presidente Obama no está cumpliendo su juramento de proteger y defender la Constitución y ha dejado claro que se opone a nuestra Constitución.
9- Presidente Obama está protegiendo y defendiendo sus intereses socialistoides y destructores de la nación americana y su Constitución.
Creo que el presidente Obama está violando y destruyendo los principios que rigen la Republica y los deseos del americano. Él está tratando de transformar a Estados Unidos en algo distinto. El presidente Obama odia a América Y está yendo en contra de los principios establecidos por los Padres de la Patria cuando constituyeron a Los Estados Unidos de América. Que están muy claramente descritos en La constitución de los Estados Unidos. El presidente Obama es más un enemigo de la libertad y los derechos de los americanos, y se dedica a destruir los pilares de la Nación Americana. Por lo tanto es inexcusable que no se haya empezado una: UNA INVESTIGACIÓN DEL CONGRESO OFICIAL SOBRE TODAS LAS VOIOLACIONES Y LAS CONTRAVENCIONES DEL PRESIDENTE REALIZADAS INCOMPATIBLES CON EL DESEMPENO DEL CARGO DE PRESIDENTE DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS.
Creo que el nuevo Congreso debe iniciar de inmediato una investigación oficial sobre si es o no el presidente Obama ha protegido y defendido fielmente la Constitución de los Estados Unidos, como lo requiere el juramento de su cargo?
¿Vas a seguir con los brazos cruzados, sin hacer nada?
LAZARO R GONZALEZ MINO.
En Miami, Florida en el mes de Abril 20, 2014
No 641 "In my opinion," April 19, 2014
"IN GOD WE TRUST " Lázaro R González Miño Editor
Lords Senators, Congressional Representatives and Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States of America: This is the call of a concerned citizen and occupied by the greatest misfortune facing our country throughout its history. This is a call to immediately , with courage and determination to face the biggest problem that the American nation has suffered in its history . The current situation is worse than any of the wars we've had to fight; because this time the enemy is within and sitting in the highest office in the land .
President Barack Hussein Obama the nation has to be removed from office as president because the survival of America depends on it.
REASONS WHY SHOULD remove Barack Hussein Obama from office of President of the United States of America By A TRIAL IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES.
1 - WRONG AND ILLEGAL USE OF IRS as a political weapon AGAINST AMERICAN AND ESPECIALLY THEIR OPPONENTS .
. The IRS has infiltrated , spied on and harassed conservative groups who are Obama 's political enemies - including during the election year of 2012 , Section 1 , Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment of Richard Nixon declared:
" He through his subordinates and agents sought to cause a violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, tax audits or other tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner . "
The IRS scandal is an impeachable offense.
2 - THE PRESIDENT HAS FIRST AMENDMENT ASSAULTED
A Free Press is the basis of representative government. The Obama Justice Department has used its power to seize the personal phone records of journalists from the Associated Press. The secret seizure of a major media shows a very dangerous precedent. If this is not questioned , there is no reason why they can not do it again to any person or political or civic organization , at any time and for any reason. This is a legal and impeachable offense.
3 - The president and his underlings have lied to the American people and Congress as well as all political or legal organizations including the American Republic to the Supreme Court in the unfortunate event of BENGHAZI
As more is coming out about the terrorist attack that killed our ambassador in Libya and 3 other , it is clear that the American public was given false information about the attack. The C.I.A. knew immediately that he was a partner, the planned attack Al- Quada to commemorate 9/11, however, the " talking points" officers were edited to make any mention of that out and keep that information away from the public during the campaign Obama's reelection . Diverting attention from the Americans saying it was an attack because a movie about Muhammad , which was shown to be a lie .
4 - These first three reasons, the IRS scandal , the assault on the First Amendment and the Benghazi are more than enough to ask for an investigation and impeachment.
CANCELLATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS REQUIRED BY THE CONSTITUTION
In 2010, an internal memo leaked from a division of the Department of Homeland Security Obama (DHS ) entitled " Administrative Alternatives to Comprehensive Immigration Reform " outlined a way to bypass the Congress on this issue. He said " this could be a " non-legislative version of amnesty. " Clearly, this was meant to appease the large block of Hispanic voters who would be instrumental in his 2012 re-election. When Congress refused to pass the Dream Act, Obama White House and DHS decided to implement a policy of granting illegal aliens stay of rejection, which is essentially an amnesty by decree. policy Obama even gives local immigration officials the authority to dismiss deportation cases against illegal aliens criminals convicted of violent crimes .
I think Obama is administratively manipulating the Constitution and abuse of presidential power to force their radical agenda to fundamentally transform the United States.
His abuse of presidential power and blatant disregard for our constitutional legislative process is of official impeachment hearings .
5 - ELOBAMACARE ULTIMATELY DESTROY THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOM .
The Liberal Congressman John Dingell explained why they decided to wait until 2014 to fully implement Obama Care " . Required much time to do the necessary administrative steps to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people " make Obama Care 159 and builds and huge administrative apparatus of the Soviet-style bureaucratic government - new government agencies . Department of Health and Human Services Obama ( HHS). violates the First Amendment by forcing employers to cover contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in health insurance offered to employees , even if it goes against their religious or moral objections . Moreover, the Supreme Court considered the expansion of Medicaid in Obama Care is a violation of the Constitution.
The ObamaCare should be left without funds and dismantled ?
The fact that Obama HHS is violating the First Amendment is one of the many reasons that Congress must convene a formal inquiry indictment unconstitutional acts of Obama.
6 - OBAMA REFUSES TO ENFORCE THE LAW DOES NOT LIKE WHAT .
Unions receive special preferential treatment under the law . In some industries and states, it is impossible to work without being a union member . Is back for this special favorable treatment under the law, requires labor unions to itemize and report all itemized receipts of union expenditures. But the Obama administration to openly announce that it will no longer enforce laws requiring unions to report how they spend dues of union members.
Obama refuses to faithfully execute the laws of the land in relation to the financial responsibility to the union bosses and that is reason for Official Congressional Hearings of President Obama.
President Obama 's decision not to enforce the laws of financial disclosure for union leaders is another way for President Obama to pay union officials for all the support and the money channeled to support President Obama's political operations .
7 - THE COLLECTION OF TAXES ON PUBLIC INCONSTUCIONALIDAD .
Under our Constitution , taxes can only be made to the American people with the approval of our representatives in Congress. When Barak Obama could not get Congress to pass "Cap and Trade" , EPA began its auction of allowances of greenhouse gases - primarily the imposition of a tax on emissions. And it ignores the necessary legislative process under our Constitution . Some federal courts are finding that the Obama administration has exceeded its legal authority with other environmental regulations.
This way of " STEALING " taxing the public - without representation in Congress - is also among the many reasons that Congress should open an official investigation Indictment unconstitutional acts of Barack Obama?
8 - THE PRESIDENT IS DESTROYING AMERICAN FREEDOM .
A Barack Hussein Obama in an interview Sept. 6, 2001 he was asked about his thoughts on the constitution and said the following:
"But I think ( the Constitution ) is an imperfect document , and I think it is a document that reflects some deep flaws in American culture , the nascent colonial culture at that time ... and in that sense , I think we can say that the Constitution reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that leads to today , and that the drafters had the same blind spot. "
On February 9, 2009 , Head office of President Obama Rahm Emanuel made this statement:
"You can never let a crisis be lost. What do I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you could not do before . "
This sounds like the Obama White House is less interested in protecting freedom for Americans and protect the Constitution or more interested in promoting a radical agenda that is incompatible with freedom and limited government ?
I think the Obama White House is dedicated to protecting their secret agendas that freedom and our Constitution. I think the Obama White House is more interested in imposing their radical agenda in America than anything else.
He believes that the main purpose of the Constitution of the United States should be the creation of a vast administrative bureaucracy of government designed to " control the people " (as President Obama and the left are doing now) ? When the principal value true purpose of our Constitution is to protect freedom through limited government
The purpose of our Constitution is to is not to control people like Obama wants , and his followers ; through a big government with a suffocating bureaucracy .
In light of the negative handling Hussein Barack Obama of the Constitution of the United States, we believe that President Barack Hussein Obama is making fun of his oath taking up office . Respect, asserting, " protect and defend " the Constitution of the United States. President Obama is not fulfilling his oath to protect and defend the Constitution and has made clear that it opposes our Constitution.
9 - President Obama is protecting and defending their interests and socialistic destroyers of the American nation and its Constitution.
I think President Obama is violating and destroying the principles that govern the Republic and the wishes of the American. He is trying to transform the United States into something else. President Obama hates America and is going against the principles established by the Founding Fathers when formed to the United States of America. They are very clearly described in the Constitution of the United States. President Obama is an enemy of freedom and the rights of Americans, and is dedicated to destroying the pillars of the American Nation. Therefore it is inexcusable that has not started a : RESEARCH OFFICER VOIOLACIONES CONGRESS AND ALL VIOLATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT MADE INCONSISTENT WITH PERFORMANCE OF OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
I think the new Congress should immediately initiate an official investigation into whether or not President Obama has faithfully protected and defended the Constitution of the United States, as required by the oath of office ?
Are you going to continue with his arms crossed , doing nothing ?
MINO R LAZARO GONZALEZ .
In Miami , Florida in the month of April 20, 2014
Just In: Obama Accused By Congressman Of Illegal Action At Bundy Ranch
He cites a severe violation of U.S. Code -- 43 U.S.C. Section 1733, Subsection C
After the federal Bureau of Land Management agents backed down from their intimidating stance at the Bundy Ranch last weekend, ample evidence has surfaced indicating the standoff between the government and the Nevada ranching family is far from over. Throughout the weeklong stalemate, members of the Bundy family were physically assaulted by armed officers, numerous cows were shot dead, and protesters faced threats of gunfire for merely expressing their outrage.
Immediately after what many considered a victory against a tyrannical federal agency, a number of leftist voices – most notably, Sen. Harry Reid – indicated the action against this family will continue.
In response, Texas Republican Rep. Steve Stockman sent a letter to Barack Obama, Department of the Interior Sec. Sally Jewell, and BLM Director Neil Kornze, laying out his position that any such action by the agency would violate the U.S. Constitution.
“Because of this standoff,” he wrote, “I have looked into BLM’s authority to conduct such paramilitary raids against American citizens, and it appears that BLM is acting in a lawless manner in Nevada.”
He cited the limited powers granted to the federal government, noting the bureau has no “right to assume preemptory police powers, that role being reserved to the States,” and explained “many federal laws require the federal government to seek assistance from local law enforcement whenever the use of force may become necessary.”
The letter included a section of the U.S. Code — 43 U.S.C. Section 1733, Subsection C — stating exactly that point. [Emphasis Stockman's]
“When the Secretary determines that assistance is necessary in enforcing Federal laws and regulations relating to the public lands or their resources he shall offer a contract to appropriate local officials having law enforcement authority within their respective jurisdictions with the view of achieving maximum feasible reliance upon local law enforcement officials in enforcing such laws and regulations.”
In the case of the Bundy Ranch, he continued, “the relevant local law enforcement officials appear to be the Sheriff of Clark County, Nevada, Douglas C. Gillespie.”
Gillespie, however, conspicuously took a back seat to BLM forces during the standoff.
“Indeed,” Stockman wrote, “the exact type of crisis that the federal government has provoked at the Bundy ranch is the very type of incident that Congress knew could be avoided by relying on local law enforcement officials.”
The stated purpose of the correspondence is for the Obama administration “to bring the BLM into compliance with 43 U.S.C. section 1733.”
Absent a full investigation into the agency’s actions, he concluded, “the federal government must not only stand down, but remove all federal personnel from anywhere near the Bundy ranch.”
Legislators and law enforcement personnel have stood alongside state militia members and the Bundy family in opposing the excessive force employed by the BLM. Stockman’s letter adds even more weight to the growing sentiment against the federal overreach.
Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/congressman-pens-letter-obama-blasting-lawless-blm/#rbjpPeqmeSHj9zFq.99
Rebels With A Clue: Gun Control is Failing Because Americans Refuse to Obey
Despite the media and President Obama pushing an anti-gun agenda, support for gun control is falling, evidenced by polls and the waning influence of Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun group, as well as open rebellion against gun registration in two states.
About 90% of New York gun owners have refused to register their “assault weapons” ahead of the April 15 deadline, some going so far as to burn their registration forms in protest, and hundreds of thousands of Connecticut gun owners have failed to register as well.
It is at a time like this that gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment must rally around the defiant ones in Connecticut and New York, providing them support as they stand up for their right to keep and bear arms.
It was recently asked in an op-ed for Townhall, what happens when a liberal government passes a gun control law and nobody obeys it? It points to the civil disobedience on display in Connecticut and New York as prime examples.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, who recently mocked gun owners by saying “your side lost”, signed tough gun registration regulations into law, that took effect on Dec. 31, 2013.
The Malloy regime expected Connecticut residents to register somewhere between 372,000-400,000 firearms, and roughly 2 million firearm magazines that held more than 10 rounds before January 1.
Just 50,000 of the estimated 372,000 so-called “assault weapons” in the state were registered by the deadline, or less than 15 percent. That’s still far better than the anemic 38,000 “high capacity” magazines that were reported to authorities, out of 2 million.
This lack of responsiveness by Connecticut gun owners has left politicians and the media wondering what to do.
The newspaper [Hartford Courant] released an unsigned editorial on Valentine’s Day titled “State Can’t Let Gun Scofflaws Off Hook,” and argued that the state should use the background check database to hunt down non-compliant owners, presumably targeting them for police raids and arrests.
We can only assume that the Courant’s newsroom staff skipped American history in school, or they would know what happened the last time a group of government forces attempted a series of dramatic gun control raids in a neighboring state. As I recall, that day, April 19, 1775, went rather poorly for the British Regulars under Lt. Col. Smith.
Read more at http://girlsjustwannahaveguns.com/2014/04/rebels-clue-gun-control-failing-americans-refuse-obey/#zlp4ZOxfiHdCYYAc.99
Samitier: La Mala Memoria De Muchos Cubanos Nos Condena
El gran cantante Cheo Feliciano ha fallecido igualmente el premio Nobel Gabriel García Márquez y Pretenden Que Se Olvide La Complicidad De Ambos Con La Tiranía Castrista
Las Cosas Que No Debemos Olvidar
Olvidaras Es Equivalente A TRAICIÓN...
Por María Argelia Vizcaíno
17 de abril de 2014
Me duele tanto que la mala memoria de muchos de mis compatriotas cubanos, sea gran parte culpable de que estemos condenados por más de cinco décadas a sufrir la peor tiranía del continente americano, que no puedo dejar de escribir por qué un 17 de abril es llamado con justicia el “Día de la Traición”.
Ahora que acaba de fallecer un gran artista puertorriqueño, Cheo Feliciano, no puedo olvidar lo que ocurrió en octubre de 1997, cuando actuó en el Tropicana de La Habana, y las declaraciones tan favorables que hizo de aquella nación que hacía 40 años estaba soñando visitar, sin manifestar nada de lo que ha estado sufriendo el pueblo cubano por culpa de un gobierno totalitario desde 1959.
Tampoco olvido la complicidad del bolerista-sonero contra nuestra Celia Cruz cuando participó en uno de los actos más repudiables ocurridos el sábado, 29 de abril del 2000, en el estadio municipal Hiram Bithorn, de Puerto Rico, donde la Fania All Stars preparó el encuentro titulado «De esto se trata ser leyenda». Como decimos en el argot cubano, fue “una cama” lo que le prepararon a nuestra mejor representante artística cubana. Para presentar a nuestra reina escogieron a Cheo Feliciano, que pocos meses antes había vuelto a viajar a Cuba para grabar un disco y se había cansado de declarar las maravillas que encontró bajo ese sistema destructor. Dicho sea de paso, un disco titulado “Cheo Feliciano en Cuba” y que de las 10 canciones, sólo cuenta con un tema cubano, de Portillo de la Luz.
Al salir Celia a cantar la recibieron con «tímidos aplausos» opacados rápidamente con vulgares abucheos, chiflidos y gritos de «fuera», pidiendo a gritos por «Andy». Mucha casualidad que ese concierto estaba respaldado por Andy Montañez y Cheo Feliciano.
Si quieren los detalles pueden leer mi artículo “La Cruz de Celia” publicado enhttp://www.mariaargeliavizcaino.com/e-celiacruz.html , o escríbame a mi email@example.com y yo se lo envío.
A esto el admirado periodista Andrés Pascual en su excelente artículo titulado “La música cubana y el músico boricua” (www.conexioncubana.net/tres_verdades/la-musica-cubana-y-el-musico-boricua), refiriéndose a Andy Montañez, Cheo Feliciano y Papo Lucas nos dice, que “a pesar de sus viajes promocionales pro Castro a la Isla para, a su vez, recibir dosis de activismo político a desplegar en Puerto Rico por la vía del Independentismo vicioso, antiamericano y antipuertorriqueño”, lograron un“fervoroso desarrollo del entusiasmo castrocomunista”. Algo que no le gusta reconocer a los desmemoriados, o a los desconocedores, o a los oportunistas, o a los que juraron tan fuertemente a diario que serían como el asesino Guevara, que se les pegó encima del pecho más fuerte que su propia pañoleta de pionero.
No obstante, nos unimos en oración por el fallecimiento del artista, del esposo, el padre, el amigo, el bolerista-sonero que fue Cheo Feliciano, por su descanso eterno y resignación de sus familiares, pero eso no me hace olvidar que se prestó a darle legitimidad a la tiranía que rige en mi patria, ni a su complicidad para boicotear a nuestra Celia Cruz, ícono del exilio cubano.
¡Qué día le tocó abandonar el mundo de los vivos!, nada menos que el 17 de abril, que se conmemora un aniversario más de la traición cometida a los valientes patriotas cubanos que fueron a Bahía de Cochinos a entregar su vida por la libertad de Cuba. Lo que representa otro hecho histórico, que penosamente esos cubanos desmemoriados prefieren ni mentar, ni informase al respecto. Por ellos, y algunas cosas más, estamos condenados indefinidamente a sufrir la peor tiranía del continente americano, y la indiferencia de tantos.
Por si fuera poco, hoy también ha fallecido el premio Nobel Gabriel García Márquez, colombiano amigo personal del tirano en jefe de Cuba, que gozó de muchísimos privilegios que le niegan a la población cubana. Otra figura internacional que traicionó a nuestro pueblo, al ponerse a favor de las violaciones de los derechos humanos y la libertad de Cuba, alabando a un genocida. Su apostasía, vileza, infamia, confabulación, es imperdonable. Por eso no me alegro de su muerte, pero no lo lloro. Solo lo siento por sus admiradores, y sus alabarderos, que no saben nada de lo corrupto que fue el premiado escritor.
Creo que la manera que han bautizado al 17 de abril de 1961, como el “Día de la Traición”, ahora está más que confirmado, y por partida triple.-
Samitier: The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks' Most Devious Scam Yet
Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever
By Matt Taibbi
Illustration by Victor Juhasz
Call it the loophole that destroyed the world. It's 1999, the tail end of the Clinton years. While the rest of America obsesses over Monica Lewinsky, Columbine and Mark McGwire's biceps, Congress is feverishly crafting what could yet prove to be one of the most transformative laws in the history of our economy – a law that would make possible a broader concentration of financial and industrial power than we've seen in more than a century.
But the crazy thing is, nobody at the time quite knew it. Most observers on the Hill thought the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 – also known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act – was just the latest and boldest in a long line of deregulatory handouts to Wall Street that had begun in the Reagan years.
Wall Street had spent much of that era arguing that America's banks needed to become bigger and badder, in order to compete globally with the German and Japanese-style financial giants, which were supposedly about to swallow up all the world's banking business. So through legislative lackeys like red-faced Republican deregulatory enthusiast Phil Gramm, bank lobbyists were pushing a new law designed to wipe out 60-plus years of bedrock financial regulation. The key was repealing – or "modifying," as bill proponents put it – the famed Glass-Steagall Act separating bankers and brokers, which had been passed in 1933 to prevent conflicts of interest within the finance sector that had led to the Great Depression. Now, commercial banks would be allowed to merge with investment banks and insurance companies, creating financial megafirms potentially far more powerful than had ever existed in America.
All of this was big enough news in itself. But it would take half a generation – till now, basically – to understand the most explosive part of the bill, which additionally legalized new forms of monopoly, allowing banks to merge with heavy industry. A tiny provision in the bill also permitted commercial banks to delve into any activity that is "complementary to a financial activity and does not pose a substantial risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system generally."
Complementary to a financial activity. What the hell did that mean?
"From the perspective of the banks," says Saule Omarova, a law professor at the University of North Carolina, "pretty much everything is considered complementary to a financial activity."
Fifteen years later, in fact, it now looks like Wall Street and its lawyers took the term to be a synonym for ruthless campaigns of world domination. "Nobody knew the reach it would have into the real economy," says Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. Now a leading voice on the Hill against the hidden provisions, Brown actually voted for Gramm-Leach-Bliley as a congressman, along with all but 72 other House members. "I bet even some of the people who were the bill's advocates had no idea."
Today, banks like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs own oil tankers, run airports and control huge quantities of coal, natural gas, heating oil, electric power and precious metals. They likewise can now be found exerting direct control over the supply of a whole galaxy of raw materials crucial to world industry and to society in general, including everything from food products to metals like zinc, copper, tin, nickel and, most infamously thanks to a recent high-profile scandal, aluminum. And they're doing it not just here but abroad as well: In Denmark, thousands took to the streets in protest in recent weeks, vampire-squid banners in hand, when news came out that Goldman Sachs was about to buy a 19 percent stake in Dong Energy, a national electric provider. The furor inspired mass resignations of ministers from the government's ruling coalition, as the Danish public wondered how an American investment bank could possibly hold so much influence over the state energy grid.
There are more eclectic interests, too. After 9/11, we found it worrisome when foreigners started to get into the business of running ports, but there's been little controversy as banks have done the same, or even started dabbling in other activities with national-security implications – Goldman Sachs, for instance, is apparently now in the uranium business, a piece of news that attracted few headlines.
But banks aren't just buying stuff, they're buying whole industrial processes. They're buying oil that's still in the ground, the tankers that move it across the sea, the refineries that turn it into fuel, and the pipelines that bring it to your home. Then, just for kicks, they're also betting on the timing and efficiency of these same industrial processes in the financial markets – buying and selling oil stocks on the stock exchange, oil futures on the futures market, swaps on the swaps market, etc.
Allowing one company to control the supply of crucial physical commodities, and also trade in the financial products that might be related to those markets, is an open invitation to commit mass manipulation. It's something akin to letting casino owners who take book on NFL games during the week also coach all the teams on Sundays.
The situation has opened a Pandora's box of horrifying new corruption possibilities, but it's been hard for the public to notice, since regulators have struggled to put even the slightest dent in Wall Street's older, more familiar scams. In just the past few years we've seen an explosion of scandals – from the multitrillion-dollar Libor saga (major international banks gaming world interest rates), to the more recent foreign-currency-exchange fiasco (many of the same banks suspected of rigging prices in the $5.3-trillion-a-day currency markets), to lesser scandals involving manipulation of interest-rate swaps, and gold and silver prices.
But those are purely financial schemes. In these new, even scarier kinds of manipulations, banks that own whole chains of physical business interests have been caught rigging prices in those industries. For instance, in just the past two years, fines in excess of $400 million have been levied against both JPMorgan Chase and Barclays for allegedly manipulating the delivery of electricity in several states, including California. In the case of Barclays, which is contesting the fine, regulators claim prices were manipulated to help the bank win financial bets it had made on those same energy markets.
And last summer, The New York Times described how Goldman Sachs was caught systematically delaying the delivery of metals out of a network of warehouses it owned in order to jack up rents and artificially boost prices.
You might not have been surprised that Goldman got caught scamming the world again, but it was certainly news to a lot of people that an investment bank with no industrial expertise, just five years removed from a federal bailout, stores and controls enough of America's aluminum supply to affect world prices.
How was all of this possible? And who signed off on it?
By exploiting loopholes in a dense, decade-and-a-half-old piece of financial legislation, Wall Street has effected a revolutionary change that American citizens never discussed, debated or prepared for, and certainly never explicitly permitted in any meaningful way: the wholesale merger of high finance with heavy industry. This blitzkrieg reorganization of our economy has left millions of Americans facing a smorgasbord of frightfully unexpected new problems. Do we even have a regulatory structure in place to look out for these new forms of manipulation? (Answer: We don't.) And given that the banking sector that came so close to ruining the world economy five years ago has now vastly expanded its footprint, who's in charge of preventing the next crash?
In this Brave New World, nobody knows. Moreover, whatever we've done, it's too late to have a referendum on it. Garrett Wotkyns, an Arizona-based class-action attorney who has spent more than a year investigating the banks' involvement in the metals markets and is suing Goldman and others over the aluminum case on behalf of two major manufacturers, puts it this way: "It's like that line in The Dark Knight Rises," he says. "'The storm isn't coming. The storm is already here.'"
To this day, the provenance of the "complementary activities" loophole that set much of this mess in motion remains something of a mystery. We know from congressional records that a vice chairman of JPMorgan, Michael Patterson, was one of the first to push the idea in House testimony in February 1999 and that, later that year, an early version of the bill put forward in the Senate by Phil Gramm also contained the provision.
But even one of the final bill's eventual authors, Republican congressman Jim Leach, can't remember exactly whose idea adding the "complementary activities" line was. "I know of no legislative history of the provision," he says. "It probably came from the Senate side."
Moreover, Leach was shocked to hear that regulators had pointed to this section of a bill bearing his name as the legal authority allowing banks to gain control over physical-commodities markets. "That's news to me," says the mortified ex-congressman, now a law professor at the University of Iowa. "I assume no one at the time would have thought it would apply to commodities brokering of a nature that has recently been reported."
One thing that is clear in the public record is that nobody was talking, at least publicly, about banks someday owning oil tankers or controlling the supply of industrial metals.
The JPMorgan witness, Michael Patterson, told the House Financial Services Committee at the 1999 hearing that his idea of "complementary activities" was, say, a credit-card company putting out a restaurant guide. "One example is American Express, which publishes magazines," he testified. "Travel + Leisure magazine is complementary to the travel business. Food & Winepromotes dining out . . . which might lead to greater use of the American Express card."
"That's how insignificant this was supposed to be," says Omarova. "They were talking about being allowed to put out magazines."
Even apart from the "complementary" provision, Gramm quietly added another time bomb to the law, a grandfather clause, which said that any company that became a bank holding company after the passage of Gramm-Leach-Bliley in 1999 could engage in (or control shares of a company engaged in) commodities trading – but only if it was already doing so before a seemingly arbitrary date in September 1997.
This meant that if you were a bank holding company at the time the law was passed and you wanted to get into the commodities business, you were out of luck, because the federal law prohibited banks from being involved in physical commodities or any other forms of heavy industry. But if you were already a commodities dealer in 1997 and then somehow became a bank holding company, you could get into whatever you pleased.
This was nuts. It was a little like passing a law that ordered you to leave the Army if you were gay in November 1999 – but if you were a heterosexual soldier as of September 1997 and then somehow became gay after 1999, you could stay in the Army.
To this day, nobody is exactly clear on what the grandfather clause means. If a company traded in tin before 1997 and then became a bank holding company in 2015, would it have to stick with tin? Or did the fact that it traded tin in 1997 mean the company could buy oil tankers and pipelines in 2020?
In 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – the most powerful branch of the Fed, the primary regulator of bank holding companies and the final authority on these things – put out a paper saying it had no clue about the exact meaning of the provision. "The legal scope of the exemption," a trio of New York Fed officials wrote in July that year, "is widely seen as ambiguous." Just a few weeks ago, the Fed's director of banking supervision, Michael Gibson, told the Senate, "I'm not a lawyer," and that it's "under review."
It almost didn't matter. For nearly a decade, this obscure provision of Gramm-Leach-Bliley effectively applied to nobody. Then, in the third week of September 2008, while the economy was imploding after the collapses of Lehman and AIG, two of America's biggest investment banks, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, found themselves in desperate need of emergency financing. So late on a Sunday night, on September 21st, to be exact, the two banks announced they had applied to the Federal Reserve to become bank holding companies, which would give them lifesaving access to emergency cash from the Fed's discount window.
The Fed granted the requests overnight. The move saved the bacon of both firms, and it had one additional benefit: It made Goldman and Morgan Stanley, which both had significant commodity-trading operations prior to 1997, the first and last two companies to qualify for the grandfather exemption of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. "Kind of convenient, isn't it?" says one congressional aide. "It's almost like the law was written specifically for them."
The irony was incredible. After fucking up so badly that the government had to give them federal bank charters and bottomless wells of free cash to save their necks, the feds gave Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley hall passes to become cross-species monopolistic powers with almost limitless reach into any sectors of the economy.
And they weren't the only accidental beneficiaries of the crisis. JPMorgan Chase acquired the commodity-trading operations of Bear Stearns in early 2008, after the Fed pledged billions in guarantees to help Chase rescue the doomed investment bank. Within the next two years, Chase also acquired the commodities operations of another failing bank, the newly nationalized Royal Bank of Scotland, which included Henry Bath, a U.K.-based company that owns a large network of warehouses throughout Europe.
As a result, entering 2010, these three companies were newly empowered to go out and start doubling down on investments in physical industry. Through a fortuitous circumstance, the cost of financing for bank holding companies had also dropped like a stone by the end of 2009, as the Fed slashed interest rates almost to zero in a desperate attempt to stimulate the economy out of its post-crash doldrums.
The sudden turning on of this huge faucet of free money seems to have been a factor in an ensuing commodities shopping spree undertaken by all three firms. Morgan Stanley, for instance, claimed to have just $2.5 billion in commodity assets in March 2009. By September 2011, those holdings had nearly quadrupled, to $10.3 billion.
Goldman and Chase – along with Glencore and Trafigura, a pair of giant Swiss-based conglomerates that were offshoots of a firm founded by notorious deceased commodities trader and known market manipulator Marc Rich – all made notably coincidental purchases of metals-warehousing companies in 2010.
The presence of these Marc Rich entities is particularly noteworthy. According to famed Forbes reporter Paul Klebnikov, who was assassinated in 2004 after years of reports on Russian corruption, Rich made a fortune in the early Nineties striking crooked deals with the Soviet bosses who controlled the U.S.S.R.'s supplies of raw materials – in particular commodities like zinc and aluminum. These deals helped create a fledgling class of profiteers among the bosses of the crumbling Soviet empire, a class that would go on years later to help push Russia out of its communist past into its kleptocratic present.
"He'd strike a deal with the local party boss, or the director of a state-owned company," Klebnikov said back in 2001. "He'd say, 'OK, you will sell me the [commodity] at five to 10 percent of the world-market price . . . and in return, I will deposit some of the profit I make by reselling it 10 times higher on the world market, and put the kickback in a Swiss bank account.'"
Rich made these reported deals while in exile from the United States, which he fled in 1983 after the U.S. government charged him with tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering and trading with the enemy after being caught trading with rogue states like Iran, among other things. The state filed enough counts to put him away for life, and he remained a fugitive until January 2001, when a little-known Clinton administration Justice Department official named Eric Holder recommended Rich be pardoned. A report by the House Committee on Government Reform later concluded that Holder had not provided a credible explanation for supporting Rich's pardon and that he must have had "other motivations" that he didn't share with Congress. Among other things, the committee speculated that Holder had designs on the attorney general's office in a potential Al Gore administration.
In any case, in 2010, a decade after the Rich pardon, Holder was attorney general, but under Barack Obama, and two Rich-created firms, along with two banks that have been major donors to the Democratic Party, all made moves to buy up metals warehouses. In near simultaneous fashion, Goldman, Chase, Glencore and Trafigura bought companies that control warehouses all over the world for the LME, or London Metals Exchange. The LME is a privately owned exchange for world metals trading. It's the world's primary hub for determining metals prices and also for trading metals-based futures, options, swaps and other instruments.
"If they were just interested in collecting rent for metals storage, they'd have bought all kinds of warehouses," says Manal Mehta, the founder of Sunesis Capital, a hedge fund that has done extensive research on the banks' forays into the commodities markets. "But they seemed to focus on these official LME facilities."
The JPMorgan deal seemed to be in direct violation of an order sent to the bank by the Fed in 2005, which declared the bank was not authorized to "own, operate, or invest in facilities for the extraction, transportation, storage, or distribution of commodities." The way the Fed later explained this to the Senate was that the purchase of Henry Bath was OK because it considered the acquisition of this commodities company kosher within the context of a larger sale that the Fed was cool with – "If the bulk of the acquisition is a permissible activity, they're allowed to include a small amount of impermissible activities."
What's more, according to LME regulations, no warehouse company can also own metal or make trades on the exchange. While they may have been following the letter of the law, they were certainly violating the spirit: Goldman preposterously seems to have engaged in all three activities simultaneously, changing a hat every time it wanted to switch roles. It conducted its metal trades through its commodities subsidiary J. Aron, and then put Metro, its warehouse company, in charge of the storage, and according to industry experts, Goldman most likely owned some metal, though the company has remained vague on the subject.
If you're wondering why the LME would permit a seemingly blatant violation of its own rules, a good place to start would be to look at who owned the LME at the time. Although it eventually sold itself to a Hong Kong company in 2012, in 2010 the LME was owned by a consortium of banks and financial companies. The two largest shareholders? Goldman and JPMorgan Chase.
Humorously, another was Koch Metals (2.32 percent), a commodities concern that's part of the Koch brothers' empire. The Kochs have been caught up in their own commodity-manipulation schemes, including an episode in 2008, in which they rented out huge tankers and used them to store excess oil offshore essentially as floating warehouses, taking cheap oil out of available supply and thereby helping to drive up energy prices. Additionally, some banks have been accused of similar oil-hoarding schemes.
The motive for the Kochs, or anyone else, to hoard a commodity like oil can be almost beautiful in its simplicity. Basically, a bank or a trading company wants to buy commodities cheap in the present and sell them for a premium as futures. This trade, sometimes called "arbitraging the contango," works best if the cost of storing your oil or metals or whatever you're dealing with is negligible – you make more money off the futures trade if you don't have to pay rent while you wait to deliver.
So when financial firms suddenly start buying oil tankers or warehouses, they could be doing so to make bets pay off, as part of a speculative strategy – which is why the banks' sudden acquisitions of metals-storage companies in 2010 is so noteworthy.
These were not minor projects. The firms put high-ranking executives in charge of these operations. Goldman's acquisition of Metro was the project of Isabelle Ealet, the bank's then-global commodities chief. (In a curious coincidence commented upon by several sources for this story, many of Goldman's most senior officials, including CEO Lloyd Blankfein and president Gary Cohn, started their careers in Goldman's commodities division.)
Meanwhile, Chase's own head of commodities operations, Blythe Masters – an even more famed Wall Street figure, sometimes described as the inventor of the credit default swap – admitted that her company's warehouse interests weren't just a casual thing. "Just being able to trade financial commodities is a serious limitation because financial commodities represent only a tiny fraction of the reality of the real commodity exposure picture," she said in 2010.
Loosely translated, Masters was saying that there was a limited amount of money to be made simply trading commodities in the traditional legal manner. The solution? "We need to be active in the underlying physical commodity markets," she said, "in order to understand and make prices."
We need to make prices. The head of Chase's commodities division actually said this, out loud, and it speaks to both the general unlikelihood of God's existence and the consistently low level of competence of America's regulators that she was not immediately zapped between the eyebrows with a thunderbolt upon doing so. Instead, the government sat by and watched as a curious phenomenon developed at all of these new bank-owned warehouses, in the aluminum markets in particular.
As detailed by New York Times reporter David Kocieniewski last July, Goldman had bought into these warehouses and soon began pointlessly shuttling stocks of aluminum from one warehouse to another. It was a "merry-go-round of metal," as one former forklift operator called it, a scheme of delays apparently designed to drive up prices of the metal used to make the stuff we all buy – like beer cans, flashlights and car parts.
When Goldman bought Metro in February 2010, the average delivery time for an aluminum order was six weeks. Under Goldman ownership, Metro's delivery times soon ballooned by a factor of 10, to an average of 16 months, leading in part to the explosive growth of a surcharge called the Midwest premium, which represented not the cost of aluminum itself but the cost of its storage and delivery, a thing easily manipulated when you control the supply. So despite the fact that the overall LME price of aluminum fell during this time, the Midwest premium conspicuously surged in the other direction. In 2008, it represented about three percent of the LME price of aluminum. By 2013, it was a whopping 15 percent of the benchmark (it has since spiked to 25 percent).
"In layman's terms, they were artificially jacking up the shipping and handling costs," says Mehta.
The intentional warehouse delays were just one part of the anti-capitalist game the banks were playing. As an incentive to get metal under their control, they actually paid the industrial producers of aluminum extra cash to store the metal in their warehouses, fees reportedly as much as $230 a metric ton.
Both Goldman and Glencore reportedly offered such incentives, which not only allowed the companies to collect more rent (Goldman was charging a daily rate of 48 cents a metric ton) but also served to discourage industrial producers like Alcoa or the Russian industrial giant Rusal (which has Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg on its board of directors) from selling directly to manufacturers.
The result of all this was a bottlenecking of aluminum supplies. A crucial industrial material that was plentiful and even in oversupply was now stuck in the speculative merry-go-round of the bank finance trade.
Every time you bought a can of soda in 2011 and 2012, you paid a little tax thanks to firms like Goldman. Mehta, whose fund has a financial stake in the issue, insists there's an irony here that should infuriate everyone. "Banks used taxpayer-backed subsidies," he says, "to drive up prices for the very same taxpayers that bailed them out in the first place."
Dave Smith, Coca-Cola's strategic procurement manager, told reporters as early as the summer of 2011 that "the situation has been organized to artificially drive up premiums." Nick Madden, the chief procurement officer of Novelis, a leading can-maker, said at roughly the same time that the delays in Detroit were adding $20 to $40 a metric ton to the price of aluminum.
Coca-Cola was the first to file a complaint against Goldman over the warehouse issue, doing so in mid-2011, and many people in and around the industry weren't surprised that it was the world's biggest and most powerful corporate consumer of aluminum that came forward first. Other manufacturers, many believe, kept their mouths shut out of fear the banks would punish them. "It's very likely that commercial companies deliberately avoided an open confrontation with Goldman because it was a Wall Street powerhouse with which they had – or hoped to establish – important credit and financial-advisory relationships," says Omarova. One government official who has investigated the issue for Congress said even some of the country's largest aluminum users have been reluctant to come forward. "When some of these huge transnationals don't want to talk about it, it makes you wonder," the aide noted.
SStill, a few days after the Times published its aluminum-storage exposé in late July 2013, Sen. Brown held hearings to investigate the causes of the alleged manipulation. (One executive, Tim Weiner of MillerCoors, would testify that global aluminum costs for manufacturers had been inflated by $3 billion in just the past year.) After those hearings, and after word leaked out that regulatory agencies had launched investigations, Goldman curtly announced new plans to reduce the delivery times of its aluminum stocks. The bank has consistently maintained that its interest in the warehouse company Metro is not "strategic," that it only bought the firm "as an investment," and will sell it within 10 years. JPMorgan Chase and other banks announced that it might be getting out of the physical commodities business altogether. The LME, meanwhile, had already come up with plans to force its member warehouses to increase their output of aluminum.
A few weeks later, on August 9th, 2013, a company called CME Group – one of the world's leading derivatives dealers – announced that it would henceforth be selling a new kind of aluminum swap futures contract. The new instrument, the firm said, would be "the first Exchange product that enables the aluminum Midwest premium to be managed."
What this signaled was that before that moment, no one in the financial sector wanted to get within a hundred miles of selling price insurance against the Midwest premium, because it was so obviously corrupt. But then the Times let the cat out of the bag, and next thing you knew, now that everyone was watching, a major derivatives purveyor suddenly felt confident enough to sell a hedging insurance against the Midwest premium, given that it was now presumed, once again, to be free from manipulation and subject to market forces.
"That should tell you a lot about how completely people in the business understood that the metals market was broken," says Wotkyns.
One other bizarre footnote to the aluminum scandal: According to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, any company that becomes a bank holding company must divest itself of certain commercial holdings it may own within two years. To that two-year grace period, the Fed may add up to three additional years. This was done for both Goldman and Morgan Stanley. The aluminum scandal broke, coincidentally, just a few months before Goldman's five-year grace period was scheduled to end. There was some expectation that the Fed might order the banks to divest some of their commercial holdings.
But there was a catch. "Congress in its infinite wisdom left an ambiguity," says Omarova. Although the Bank Holding Company Act mandated that the companies had to be compliant at the end of the review period, it didn't actually specify what the Fed had to do if they weren't. When Goldman's review period passed, "the Fed took the position that nothing had to happen," says Omarova. "So nothing happened."
The aluminum delays were not just an isolated incident of banks scheming to boost rent revenue. Recently, evidence has surfaced that the same kinds of behavior may be going on across the LME. In order for a parcel of metal to be traded on the LME, it has to be what's called "on warrant." If you are the owner of a metal that you no longer want to be traded, you can "cancel the warrant" – essentially taking it out of the system. It's still in the warehouse, but in a kind of administrative limbo.
When the world LME supply of a metal features high percentages of canceled stock, that typically means someone is moving metals around a lot even after they've been put into storage – perhaps in a Goldman-style "merry-go-round," perhaps for some other reason, but historically it has not been something seen often in functioning, healthy metals markets.
In January 2009, before the American too-big-to-fail banks and the shady Swiss commodities giants bought into all of these warehouses, less than one percent of the total global supply of LME aluminum was "canceled warrant." Today, with world supplies of aluminum about double what they were then, 45.2 percent of the total stock is classified as canceled. In Detroit, where Goldman is supposedly cleaning things up, the percentage is even crazier: 76.9 percent of the aluminum stock has canceled warrants.
You can see hints of the phenomenon in other LME metals. Five years ago, just 1.3 percent of the LME's copper stocks had canceled warrants. Today, 59 percent of it does. In January 2009, just 2.3 percent of zinc stocks were canceled; it's at 32 percent today. Zinc incidentally has something else in common with aluminum – a shipping-and-handling-like premium, called the U.S. zinc premium in the United States, which has skyrocketed in recent years, increasing by 400 percent between the summer of 2012 and the summer of 2013, when the price plateaued just as the aluminum scandal broke.
Then there's nickel. Thirty-seven percent of the global stock is now classified as canceled. Five years ago, 0.5 percent was. One industry insider, who is very familiar with and utilizes the nickel market, says that despite the fact that there is a massive global oversupply of the metal, prices are being artificially propped up as much as 20 to 30 percent.
He blames the banks' speculative weigh stations, saying that nickel producers, despite low global demand, are cheerfully selling their stocks to bank-run warehouses, which are paying above-market prices to put raw materials into the merry-go-round. "They are happy to sell to the banks and to the warehouse supply, while they pray for demand to pick up," the insider said.
This leads to the next potentially disastrous aspect of this story: What happens if the Fed suddenly raises interest rates, and the banks, their access to free money cut off, can no longer afford to sit on piles of metal for 16 months at a time?
"Look at nickel," says Eric Salzman, a financial analyst who has done research on metals manipulation for several law firms. "You could see the price drop 20 to 30 percent in no time. It'd be a classic bursting of a bubble."
But the potential for wide-scale manipulation and/or new financial disasters is only part of the nightmare that this new merger of banking and industry has created. The other, perhaps even darker problem involves the new existential dangers both to the environment and to the stability of the financial system. Long before Goldman and Chase started buying up metals warehouses, for instance, Morgan Stanley had already bought up a substantial empire of physical businesses – electricity plants in a number of states, a firm that trades in heating oil, jet fuels, fertilizers, asphalt, chemicals, pipelines and a global operator of oil tankers.
How long before one of these fully loaded monster ships capsizes, and Morgan Stanley becomes the next BP, not only killing a gazillion birds and sea mammals off some unlucky country's shores but also taking the financial system down with them, as lawsuits plunge the company into bankruptcy with Lehman-style repercussions? Morgan Stanley's CEO, James Gorman, even admitted how risky his firm's new acquisitions were last year, when he reportedly told staff that a hypothetical oil spill was "a risk we just can't take."
The regulators are almost worse. Remember the 2008 collapse happened when government bodies like the Fed, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision – whose entire expertise supposedly revolves around monitoring the safety and soundness of financial companies – somehow missed that half of Wall Street was functionally bankrupt.
Now that many of those financial companies have been bailed out, those same regulators who couldn't or wouldn't smell smoke in a raging fire last time around are suddenly in charge of deciding if companies like Morgan Stanley are taking out enough insurance on their oil tankers, or if banks like Goldman Sachs are properly handling their uranium deposits.
"The Fed isn't the most enthusiastic regulator in the best of times," says Brown. "And now we're asking them to take this on?"
Banks in America were never meant to own industries. This principle has been part of our culture practically from the beginning of our history. The original restrictions on banks getting involved with commerce were rooted in the classically American fear of overweening government power – citizens in the early 1800s were concerned about the potential for monopolistic abuses posed by state-sponsored banks.
Later, however, Americans also found themselves forced to beat back a movement of private monopolies, in particular the great railroad and energy cartels built by robber barons of the Rockefeller type who, by the late 1800s, were on the precipice of swallowing markets whole and dictating to the public the prices of everything from products to labor. It took a long period of upheaval and prolonged fights over new laws like the Sherman and Clayton anti-trust acts before those monopolies were reined in.
Banks, however, were never really regulated under those laws. Only the Great Depression and years of brutal legislative trench warfare finally brought them to heel under the same kinds of anti-trust concepts that stopped the robber barons, through acts like Glass-Steagall and the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956. Then, with a few throwaway lines in a 1999 law that nobody ever heard of until now, that whole struggle went up in smoke, and here we are, in Hobbes' jungle, waiting for the next fully legal catastrophe to unfold.
When does the fun part start?
This story is from the February 27th, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone.
- The Great American Bubble Machine
- The Feds vs. Goldman
- Everything Is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever
Samitier: Si Que Nadie Se De Cuenta…
Lo Están Cambiando Todo... Y La Gente Comiendo De Lo Que Pica El Pollo...
Lean este artículo como están cambiando El sistema electoral...
<IN GOD WE TRUST>
“En mi opinión” Lázaro R González Miño Editor.
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