Mark Twain said: “If you don’t read the newspapers, you are uninformed. If you read the newspapers, you are misinformed. ”
Further to the point, Nassim Taleb said in his famous book Fooled by Randomness that he does not read the newspapers. Instead he reads about 100 books a year. There is great wisdom in that . The news gives us snippets and disconnected events – books give us entire areas of knowledge based upon some theme or unity. Such unity stays in the mind.
My website, http://hardball.theparkoffletter.org was created with the idea that honest government is crucial for the stability and success of nations. Many of the posts on this site describe people and events who work against this objective. Honest government is a very Jewish idea – and basic to our way of thinking. There is a mandate in the Torah prevent poverty and this even precedes the requirement to relieve poverty through personal and governmental efforts:
“If your brother near you becomes poor and cannot support himself, you shall maintain him; he shall live with you, even when he is a resident alien. ” (Leviticus 25:35). According to R. Hayyim Soloveichik (Russia, 1853-1918), this dictate is directed to society as a whole.
But there is another passage in the Torah:” If one of your brothers is in need in any community of yours within your country which the Lord your God is giving you, you must not harden your heart nor close your hand against your needy brother. Rather, you shall open your hand to him, and you shall grant him enough for his lack which is lacking for him…You shall give him, and let your heart not feel bad when yhou give him, for because of this matter, Hashem, your God will bless you in all your deeds and in your every undertaking.” ( Deuteronomy 15:7-8) . According to R./ Hayyim Soloveichik, this passage is directed to individuals.
The Torah has a lot to say as to how societies and governments should operate, for the welfare of the group and the welfare of the individual, simultaneously. Let us listen to Rabbi Aaron Levine, z’l, concerning the subprime mortgage crisis which we underwent in 2007-2009 – which almost brought all economies worldwide to a standstill:
“The subprime mortgage crisis is essentially the story of broken promises and the widespread failure of people to meet their responsibilities. These abuses continued in increasingly brazen forms because government was either remiss in its oversight responsibility or naïve about the likely outcomes. In the face of overwhelming evidence that applicants of home mortgages lie when asked only to state, but not to document, their income and assets, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continued to buy and securitize these mortgages and therefore should shoulder much of the blame.
“The private sector does not voluntarily implement the necessary means to incline economic actors toward virtue and away from transgression. A case in point is executive compensation. Linking pay to performance and ending the practice of rewarding failure is no simple matter…CEO’s have a good deal of control over their boards and exert considerable influence over the process by which their own pay is determined.
“From the perspective of Jewish law, the most fundamental lesson of the financial meltdown is the need to invigorate the moral fiber of the building blocks of society – namely, parents and the educational system. In a society that condones broken promises and shirked responsibility, parents and schools must be the agents to change this moral clime and inculcate integrity and a rarefied sense of responsibility. The core of Jewish moral education is training in truth telling and in the ethos of responsibility.”
Elsewhere, Rabbi Aaron Levine states” …the issuer of the financial product is the party that pays the Credit Rating Agency (CRA) for rendering an opinion to the public regarding its credit-worthiness. It is not surprising, therefore, that the CRA’s fell far short of their disclosure duty. R . Moses Sofer (Hungary, 1762-1839) posited that anyone who assumes the role of making public interest judgments is subject to the judicial code of ethics. One aspect of this code of ethics is the biblical adjuration, “You shall take no gift (shohad)” (Exodus 23:8). Exegetical interpretation of this verse prohibits the judge from accepting payment from one of the opposing litigants even with the instruction to acquit the innocent or to condemn the guilty. Rava’s (Babylonia, d. 352) rationalization of this stringency is very telling: “What is the reason for (the prohibition against taking) shohad? Because as soon as a man receives a gift from another he becomes so well-disposed toward him that he becomes like his own person, and no man sees himself in the wrong. What is( the meaning of ) shohad? She-hul-had – ” is one with you.” (TB Ketubbot 105a)
“The bias that the issuer-pays system causes is exacerbated by partial compensation of rating agency executives in stock options. Given that an excellent rating drives up investor demand for the financial product, option-based compensation may bias the process toward overrating. “
Rabbi Aaron Levine: The Global Recession of 2007-2009: The Moral Factor and Jewish Law. As found in: The Oxford Handbook of Judaism and Economics. (Oxford University Press, 2010.)
Other sources cited: John Patrick Hunt, “Credit Rating Agencies and the “Worldwide Credit Crisis.” The Limits of reputation, the Insufficiency of Reform and a Proposal for Improvement,” (Columbia Business Law Review 109 (2009): 153.
Richard A. Posner, A Failure of Capitalism (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009), 299.
Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried, Pay Without Performance (Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press, 2004).
The common thread of Conflicts of Interest is when the regulator becomes regulated by those he is supposed to govern. Sometimes this is done in the form of a bribe – as in the following remarkable cases:
- Merck Announces Appointment of Dr. Julie Gerberding as Executive Vice President for Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health. Julie Louise Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H. (born August 22, 1955), is an American infectious disease expert and the former director of the S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Julie Louise Gerberding stewardship at the CDC spanned the ten year faudulant cover-up of in the safety study of the MMR Vaccine, which Merck produces. See: The Vaccine Story.
- The Commissioner of the FDA, Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., approved the use of aspartame in carbonated beverage. He then left for a position with G.D. Searle’s public relations firm. See: The Aspartame Story. Even a single use of aspartame raised the blood phenylalanine levels. In his testimony before the U.S. Congress, Dr. Louis J. Elsas showed that high blood phenylalanine can be concentrated in parts of the brain and is especially dangerous for infants and fetuses. He also showed that phenylalanine is metabolized much more efficiently by rodents than by humans.
The cases of musical chairs in government are innumerable and would require an entire Website and an entire year to document.
The topics of Vaccinations and the origins of Autism are very controversial. An attack on the CDC , the FDA, or the EPA , the protectors of general health in United States. is seen as sacrilegious – sometimes bordering on Medical Heresy and/or Lunacy. The issues cannot be understood from a five minute glance. Vaccines and Autism constitute the greatest medical controversy of the 21st century. The economics of the vaccine industry (the pharmaceuticals) must also be understood as part of this inquiry.
Please visit my new Post on Aluminum in vaccines. The protagonists on this page are:
Paul A. Offit (born 27 March 1951) is an American pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases and an expert on vaccines, immunology, and virology. He is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that has been credited with saving hundreds to thousands of lives every day. Offit is the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, Professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia He has been a member of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.[
Dr. Boyd Baley, Emeritus Professor of Biochemistry, University of Kentucky
Dr. Suzanne Humphries, Board Certified for Internal Medicine and Nephrology
Dr. Humphries gives a two hour lecture describing her experiences with hospital patients encountering kidney failure immediately after vaccination. She explains how aluminum functions in vaccines and how it subsequently affects the organs of the body.