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Archive for October 20th, 2008

Democracy as a form of government, as any other suffers because of people who are placed in positions of trust. These invariably betray the trust overcome by their faults as soon as any presents itself as the proverbial forbidden fruit. It may be ambition, that one may be itching to get ahead over the heads of so many; in another the temptation comes in the form of some misplaced idealism where the man is out to discredit the government which he doesn’t believe in. Or it may a chance to make a quick buck. Of the last I have to say thus:
‘Greed is moral blindness in that man who struck by it sees nothing but greenbacks as a jaundiced man sees everything yellow’.
Let me quote the AP news.

“AP IMPACT: Mortgage firm arranged stealth campaign
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer Pete Yost, Associated Press Writer 20Oct2008
WASHINGTON – Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse.

In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI’s chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain’s campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September.

Freddie Mac’s payments to DCI began shortly after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee sent Hagel’s bill to the then GOP-run Senate on July 28, 2005. All GOP members of the committee supported it; all Democrats opposed it.

In the midst of DCI’s yearlong effort, Hagel and 25 other Republican senators pleaded unsuccessfully with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to allow a vote.

“If effective regulatory reform legislation … is not enacted this year, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole,” the senators wrote in a letter that proved prescient.

Unknown to the senators, DCI was undermining support for the bill in a campaign targeting 17 Republican senators in 13 states, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The states and the senators targeted changed over time, but always stayed on the Republican side…”
Benny

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We shall see a nation is not so much as good in setting any lasting value either in morality or in public good as an individual. The rise of Mafia is a  case in point.
The Mafia was originally comprised of a few families who migrated to the USA from Italy. Soon they established contacts in their adopted homeland and also gained political strength. They could pull strings and get what they wanted. In the era of gilded age money opened doors. So they prospered and  drew strength from the mass exodus of poor Italians to the USA at the turn of the 20th century.  The poor immigrants hardly spoke English and didn’t possess the necessary social skills either. They had to compete with the Irish community that had already established in Chicago. Besides Police force was filled with members from the Irish community. Mafia offered the newcomers their protection and found them jobs a service that, of course, came with a price tag.
After Mussolini came to power in Italy in the late 1922 he muzzled in the Mafia. In the USA Thomas E.Dewy in his role of District Attorney succeeded in sending the powerful Mafia boss ‘Lucky‘ Luciano to jail but the WW II intervened.
At a time Nazi Germany had sent their U-boats to create havoc on the Atlantic shipping lane Mafia secretly succeeded in scuttling Normandy berthed off the NY harbor. U.S government asked Navy intelligence to cooperate with the Mafia since labor unions backed by them effectively controlled the ports. Before the Allied invasion of Sicily the U.S government struck a deal with the mafia chief. As part of the deal ‘Lucky’ Luciano was released. Italy lost the war that proved as a shot in arm to the fortunes of Mafia.
Edgar J. Hoover was the FBI chief from 1920 for a period of 50 years and Mafia as reports go, was blackmailing him. His sexual predilections are not of interest as how much he contributed to the phenomenal growth of Mafia during his tenure as the head of FBI. In 1957 at Palermo a few clan chiefs including ‘Lucky’ Luciano, Joseph Bonnano and others held a meeting where an important decision was taken: Mafia would henceforth deal in heroin. It was a very lucrative business. As a result of that meeting shortly thereafter heroin was flooding into the streets of USA.

If anyone is interested to know the figures of hard drug users before 1957 and after one only need to go through the figures that are in public domain.

Moral of this narrative is that nations preach moral values but statecraft is often in breaking them than scrupulously keeping their nose  and hands clean. No nation has ever achieved the perfection it so vociferously trumpets from rooftops. Even under the most tyrannical regimes like Third Reich or the Soviet empire (under Stalin) rules have been broken with impunity. Why? The reason is simple: a nation is run by men. If a man in a very sensitive or vital point for example J. Edgar  Hoover or Lavrenti Beria, the secret police chief, NKVD (a notorious pedophile) can be influenced, the entire chain of command is at risk.Then policy makers need to ensure that they are reelected ; so they  often take shortcuts for short term remedies than sticking to any moral principles.

Now the question is: is the conscience of an individual( and his freedom to exercise his judgment) of paramount importance or that of a nation?

benny

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