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The Romanian Mafia Is The Government - Part 2

The first version of this post was published not long after I moved to Romania, when the political battles in the country resembled mafia clan wars - minus the restaurant drive-bys. (You can find it here). The same types of unscrupulous bosses laying claim to and fighting for fiefdoms while their lieutenants (ministers or deputies in parliament) run the day to day management, right down to the associates (bureaucrats) who may not be 'in' the system, per se, but who facilitate and gladly take favours when they're given.

This is not such an original analogy, if you're looking at the situation objectively, but people here don't quite see it because, even if the government is run by a criminal organization, the ordinary citizen is ignorant as to how organized crime works.

Many Romanians are are also ignorant about the way democracy works. Or, if you think about it, how business and economics work. Let's just say we're on a learning curve. But, if we're going to compare the average Canadian or American, in terms of political sophistication, to the average Romanian, the difference is more of a gap rather than a chasm.  In that gap, we're missing some very important basics - the mechanics of democracy and capitalism, if you will. And because of the modern folklore built around people like Al Capone, Elliot Ness and his Untouchables, the Italian mob, entertainment like The Godfather and the Sopranos, Scarface, Narcos, and all the rest of it, organized crime in America has been a mainstream topic for decades.

People tend to have an idea about how these organizations operate.

You see, it's one thing to say "they steal", or "they are corrupt" about the PSD (or any other political party). Of course this is true, but, in such over-simplification, this also fails to address the deep-rooted problems caused by an entire system of graft. Instead of understanding the big picture, and looking at effective ways to make wholesale changes, we are distracted by high-profile individuals and their actions while ignoring the mechanism that churns away behind the scenes. It's a mechanism whose primary purpose is pilfering, profiteering, and wasting tax money while ignoring pressing issues and eroding the legitimacy of the country's institutions from within.

Organized crime networks do not focus on a select few 'targets'. If only. Their tentacles are long and the crevices they reach are tiny. Few escape and nobody is insulated.

And this is the real issue with organized crime: It's not just that criminals become extremely rich by breaking laws, but that the systems through which they accumulate their ill-gotten gains simultaneously destroys the entire body, like maggots feeding on a corpse. And, like maggots, once they're done feeding, they sprout wings and fly away, leaving behind an empty shell on which nothing can survive.

What we are now seeing in Romania, Liviu Dragnea's desperate attempts to cling on to power and stay out of jail - but mostly to stay out of jail - is the result of several years' concerted efforts to bring politicians to justice for their abuses in office. Whether we're talking election rigging, graft, influence peddling, or abuse of power, if it exists and it's a crime, a pesedist (PSD-ist) has done it. And the most pesedist of all, Dragnea, the party leader, has taken it upon himself to defeat (or undermine) the justice system, the anti-corruption directorate (DNA), and other state institutions tasked with investigating, charging, and punishing the Romanian political and bureaucratic elite for their decades-long parasitical management of the Romanian state budget.

Even though he has managed to irreparably tarnish his, as well as the party's, reputation, most of the PSD continues to support Dragnea because, with a criminal conviction and the prison sentence hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles, Dragnea's current legal struggles and desperation mirrors his colleagues' future woes, should this push for the amnesty laws fail to pass. He's got skin in the game and is going to see this through, one way or another.

In Romania, where road deaths make up the highest number in the EU, because the PSD, in 25 years of governance proved themselves unable to build a cross-country highway;

Where hospitals are falling apart and money for improvements is either wasted or sitting untouched in government accounts, where teachers and doctors require bribes because their salaries can't assure basic sustenance;

Where, in a country of ''IT specialists', endless lines for basic government services are preferred to serving people online, and where the humiliation of the Romanian citizen in its myriad of Kafkaesque interpretations is par for the course, the current government has focused on a single priority:  to 'reform' the justice system by instituting a series of laws granting amnesty to a variety of criminals, both those convicted and about to be, as well as those already serving time. 

Their goal is to continue to operate as-is, without fear of punishment or repercussions - to leave the carcass bone-dry and to fly away. More to the point, they want to continue taking advantage of the Romanian people but with added legal protection. This is like Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano drafting the RICO laws.

This is the state of Romania, the country run by an organized crime syndicate.

This is not a government, and it is not just 'corrupt'. What we have  in Romania, sitting as government, is a vast criminal network, no different from any other organized crime outfit. It has the same goals; to make money illicitly and to get away with it, and it is guided by the same principles; "our business comes first, woe to whoever gets in our way".

This time the entire country is about to get in your way. Let's see what you do about that .


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