The purpose of this article is to explain how the greatest country in the world could be brought to the brink of bankruptcy and where the Rule of Law has disappeared.
How could we so quickly become a nation where courts support unlawful foreclosures in favor of banksters who wear as badges and with pride in their unlawful activities, knowing they will receive no punishment? How could America’s government become so perverted that it didn’t inspect for many years an abortion clinic that was slicing the necks of newborns that hadn’t died in abortion attempts so the spine could be clipped in two and the living infant would die a very painful death?
How did we become a nation whose government apparently doesn’t know how to tell the truth and which still hasn’t learned that making a mistake is bad (especially when perpetrating an unlawful act), but that covering up a Benghazi-sized mistake is disastrous? When did the Department of Justice become corrupted to the point it was okay to deliver guns to drug cartels across the American/Mexican border that would result in the deaths of thousands of people from both nations? When did the Constitution of the United States become so insignificant to the Department of Justice that the Attorney General felt safe gathering telephone records of 100 Associated Press reporters?
These things are connected – and they are not just happening in this country. There is a moral crisis worldwide. No one, no nation, it seems, has a moral compass any longer. Having a moral compass, you see, doesn’t just involve becoming informed. It means doing something to right the wrongs. Have you seen any wrongs being righted lately? A few… and thank God for them. They keep us all sane.
I have for a long time subscribed to a theory that portrays America as a capitalist, free enterprise nation until shortly after World War II. We were a nation of shop keepers, not the multi-national corporations whose greed-based motives have removed our capitalist heritage and given us an economic system I call debtism.
As the stock markets and brokers helped corporations grow into behemoths, a mode of corporate behavior emerged… I call it the “kiss a$$ ladder to success” (KALS). I watched it in action when I worked for a major bank, and I left that environment to start my own consulting company because of KALS. In the KALS environment, you get ahead by kissing the a$$ of the person just ahead of you on the ladder – though you will occasionally have the opportunity to kiss the a$$ of the person ahead of him or her, too.
The great moral weakness we have in our nation today is the result of KALS. The article that follows is about the World Bank and an exceptional woman who, because of her love for the law, has not lost her moral compass. What has happened at the World Bank is a living example of what happens to organizations that worship at the altar of KALS. You see, in the kiss a$$ environment that began in the 1950s, the compromises of one’s moral compass one had to make were relatively small… the theory at the time being that the person higher on the ladder had to leave people lower than them on the ladder… well, a little human dignity. But as one CEO left to be replaced by another, the demands for compromise became bigger – and bigger, and then bigger yet again… until those sitting at the top of America’s largest companies and running America’s government demanded complete and total “loyalty” to them at the cost of whatever dignity others might possess.
Power has an interesting effect on people. It feeds their egos to the point where they do things that negatively impact others for a simple reason: “Because I can.” It’s the ultimate ego trip!
Kissing a$$ merely means flattering your way to the top by keeping your opinions to yourself (even when it means compromising your personal beliefs).
A kiss a$$ situation occurs in meeting rooms all over America each time a matter is under discussion and no one expresses an opinion that opposes the highest ranking member of management in the room. When an executive who is higher than you are on the ladder seeks your opinion, you don’t really give it if it opposes his. And that is how so many bad decisions are made in corporate America every day. People on the corporate ladder to success may be very bright, and in fact often are… but their job is to keep their brightness hidden so they are not a threat to anyone higher than them on the ladder. Their job is to let enough of their intelligence show to make others aware of their qualification to go higher on the ladder without threatening anyone higher than them because if they do, they will be knocked off of the ladder.
That is how bureaucrats get to the top… and by the time they get there, they have compromised their intellectual and creative selves to the point it has destroyed their moral compass. Thus, people who got to the top by such methods really don’t have a good grasp of reality and their sense of moral appropriateness is quite compromised.
My theory purports that that is how the world ended up with so many amoral non-leaders in leadership positions at the same time in history. The biggest problem for the people of the world who depend on these leaders is that they cannot lead because they are crippled. The compromises told them by underlings flattered them as they rose to the top. The “feel good” lies removed from them their ability to perceive reality versus make-believe. It applies equally to corporate executives (including bankers and stock brokers), politicians, the military, school principals, and any other enterprise sufficiently large to warrant a compromise here and a compromise there to get to the top. We have even seen it in our churches and church leaders.
That is the short story version of how we, the peoples of the world, have ended up with non-leaders who appear to have inoperable moral compasses. The morally incompetent leader, for example, considers a political campaign more important than the life of an American Ambassador and the lives of others who have placed themselves in harm’s way to serve their nation.
Yet, some people who live in the world of power-based corporate and government environments are able to maintain their sense of honor and keep their moral compass tuned to the right network. They are unique people and there aren’t many of them. Please let me introduce you to one such person. Her name is Karen Hudes.
Like me, you’ve probably never heard the name Karen Hudes. I heard her name for the first time two weeks ago – and what I’ve learned about her and the jeopardy in which all of us may find ourselves because of those who oppose her support for the Rule of Law at the World Bank made me sit down to write this article. As many of you know, I’ve been on an extended vacation.
As an aside…
I took a year off to complete the official biography of Ambassador Lee/Leo Emil Wanta. Those readers who have followed the articles I’ve written about the Ambassador can read it at no cost at THIS LINK . All you have to do is click on the tab that says Lee Wanta’s Official Biography. The book was published on the Internet so I could provide links to official documents proving that what’s being said is factual.
But that’s history. Let’s get back to the woman who has been fighting a very lonely whistleblower fight for many years: Karen Hudes.
It is important that you know what Karen has been and is doing because it will impact your life… it already has. Thanks to the “Asleep at the Wheel Media,” you’ve never heard about it.
On May 13, 2013, Allied Barton, the contractor of security personnel for the World Bank, illegally and physically prevented Karen Hudes from being reinstated to her position at the World Bank. She will have to appear in court on May 30, 2013… and may very well end up in jail for criminal trespassing. It’s a strange story.
Karen has a very unpopular profession. She’s a lawyer. Even worse for conservatives, she’s a Yale graduate – America’s most distinguished law school – which from the conservative position is a bastion of liberal socialism. She also has a graduate degree in economics from the University of Amsterdam… another top drawer university. And, even worse than that, her employer of the past 20 years is the World Bank’s legal department.
How did she end up being one of the Good Guys? Even more significant, how do we define “Good Guy”? In Karen’s case, she willingly took on the U.S. Government and TPTB (the powers that be) at the World Bank in an attempt to re-institute the Rule of Law in international banking. Believe it or not, people in every nation of the world feel the repercussions from these world institutions when they misbehave or violate regulations – or break the law.
What did she do that has placed her in her current precarious position? She was removed from the legal department in the World Bank because of her efforts to expose corruption at that institution. More specifically, she has demanded that the World Bank – and the United States Government in its relationships with the World Bank – live under the Rule of Law that has governed all financial institutions for many years.
Americans tend to focus their disgust and distrust of banking and finance on Wall Street and the too big to jail banks, but the unlawful behavior in the world of banking circles the globe. Like it or not, we’ve had 25 years since George Herbert Walker Bush placed a necklace of solid rock around our necks and told us we’d love the “New World Order.” Also, like it or not, Americans and Canadians are citizens of the world. What is decided in the Swiss banking community impacts us all… and there is no place with more crooked bankers than Switzerland.
You may remember the Paul D. Wolfowitz “adventure.” He was appointed President of the World Bank on June 1, 2005, and resigned on June 30, 2007, because he got caught… well, he got caught giving his girlfriend, World Bank employee Shaha Riza, a 35 percent salary increase. The charge against him was “favoritism” and the incident blew up in a global fight over US leadership – or, as Hudes calls it, “a gentleman’s agreement to let the United States appoint the President of the World Bank” – which resulted in the 188 member countries of the World Bank voting to end America’s dominance of World Bank Presidential appointments as of April 2010.
Karen Hudes warned the US Treasury Department and the US Congress in 2007 that there would be repercussions from the non-compliant behavior of American banks and bankers. Treasury and the Congress didn’t listen. Karen Hudes was correct. We lost a tremendous amount of influence at the World Bank because no one listened to Karen.
Robert Zoellick became the next World Bank President. An overview of Zoellick’s background will give you great assurance as to the commitment of the US Government to remove the corrupting influences at the World Bank that Ms. Hudes has fought so hard to remove.
Zoellick was born in Illinois… many people are afraid of politicians from Illinois, these days. He was a managing director of Goldman Sachs and a US Deputy Secretary of State. He got his law degree from Harvard and a Master of Public Policy degree from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He was White House Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President. He was appointed World Bank President by President George W. Bush on May 30, 2007.
Zoellick served in various positions at the Treasury Department from 1985 to 1988 and worked in several subservient positions to James Baker who was Under Secretary of Commerce for President Gerald Ford (1975-1976), White House Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan (1981-1985), Secretary of Treasury for President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988), and was named the 61st US Secretary of State on January 20, 1989 where he served until August of 1992.
Professional bureaucrats like Baker and Zoellick have never really built anything or done much outside of either Wall Street or the government… and we all know how clean those streets are. As I said about kiss-a$$es, they may be very bright – as these men are. But they are experts at the kiss-a$$-ladder-to-success game. Thus, the corruption at the World Bank was destined to continue. Have you noticed how professional bureaucrats never really step outside of the protected areas of government where they might have to get in touch with reality? They wrap up in their security blankets and stay with people who agree with (even flatter them for) their misbegotten ideas and have an apparent compulsion to force them on the rest of us because their positions of power enable them to do so.
This is what Karen Hudes fights against. It is the reason we must stop the swinging door philosophy so prevalent in Washington – but also all over the world. When a failed bureaucrat (whether at Goldman Sachs or Citibank or the U.S. Government) departs one job, another door swings open at another huge organization where KALS will continue to support misbegotten ideas and ideals and where he or she is welcomed with open arms.
If you wonder why the lack of a moral compass is a problem in the United States, this story will help explain it. You’ll see a wonderful example of it as we look at the moral courage of Karen Hudes, World Bank lawyer.
Marilyn Barnewall received her graduate degree in Banking from the University of Colorado Graduate School of Business in 1978. She created the first wealth creation (credit-driven) private bank in America in the 1970s. Prior to her 21-year banking career, she was a newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter, public relations director, magazine editor, assistant to the publisher, singer, dog trainer, and an insurance salesperson and manager.
She was named one of America’s top 100 businesswomen in the book, What It Takes (Dolphin/Doubleday; Gardenswartz and Roe) and was one of the founders of the Committee of 200, the official organization of America’s top 200 businesswomen. She can be found in Who’s Who in America (2005-08), Who’s Who of American Women (2006-08), Who’s Who in Finance and Business (2006-08), and Who’s Who in the World (2008). She can be reached at: [email protected]
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