Friday, December 15, 2017

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Olga Magdalena Lazín,
Biography[1]
(PROFMEX
and
UCLA)

INTRODUCTION
I was born in a stupendous
Transylvanian, (North Western Romanian) town called “Satu Mare” on the
Hungarian border. At age three, my mother was transferred by her employer (The
Logging Company in Viseul de Sus, Maramures County) to Sighet, in Maramures
County. Thus, my parents and I moved to the isolated Transylvanian town of
Sighet, where I grew up like Alice in Wonderland, in a pristine region behind
the mountain of Gutinul.
    On the one hand, I was friends with the
children of intellectuals, as well as also lovely Romanian, Hungarian, and Gipsy
children to whom I taught the Romanian language as early as the first and second
grade.
    On the other hand, my family had a
difficult life because my parents were always working until late hours at night.
My younger brother Alex and I read while waiting for mother, Magdalena, to arrive
turn off our lights even as she continued into the wee hours her accounting
work at home. She was compounding the lengths and width of the wooden logs that
were being exported to Russia year by year.
     During the day, Magdalena let us play all
day long to our heart’s content. So unique, and we felt so free exploring
nature in Sighet. When I entered primary school, I learned
that Sighet was officially named Sighetu Marmației (on Romania’s northwest
border facing Ukraine’s southwestern border with Romania and Hungary).
     In 1973,
at age 10 as a fifth grader, I had to make a fateful decision about my choice
of foreign-language study: Russian or English. The pressure was on us to take
up Russian, this proving that we were all students loyal to the  Dictator Nicole Ceausescu’s “Socialist”
Government (read Romanian Communist Government allied with Moscow), but
consciously I detested that

system. Although I wanted to learn English, I did
not then how fateful that choice would be until 1991, when at almost 27 years
of age, I met Jim Wilkie who had been advised by his brother Richard to include
my town of Sighet in his journey to assess the how Eastern Europe was faring
after the fall of the “BerlReviin Wall,” short for the long wall that kept the
people of Communist countries locked and unable to escape. But more later about
how Jim found me as he sought an English-speaking intellectual and social guide
to Eastern Europe.
In the
meantime, growing up in Sighet with a population of only 30,000 people, we were
proud to recognize Elie "Elie"
Wiesel
(born 1928) as our
most prominent citizen long before he won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. He helped
us get past the terrible history of Sighet Communist Prison where “enemies of
the state” were confined until “death due to natural cause.”
In my
early years I had a hard time understanding how the green and flowered valley
of Sighet (elevation 1,000 feet, on the Tisa River at the foot of our forested
Carpathian Mountains) could be so beautiful, yet we lived under the terribly
cruel eye of the Securitate to protect 
the wretched Dictator Nicolae “Ceausescu,”[2]
is the modern spelling of the Dictator’s name; and he ruled from 1965 to his
execution in 1989 as the harshest leader of all the countries behind Russia’s
Wall against Western Europe.
  
Oddly
enough, in the
Transylvania of the late 1960s, 1970s, and
1980s, supposedly I
was living the “Golden
Age of Romanian Socialism,” but even to myself as a young student; I could see
that the promised  “full progress”
was clearly a lie. Most adults
agreed but feared to speak so bluntly.
       Even
though
the “English-Speaking USA” had been supposedly always
threatening to invade Romania, I continued to study English language and
literature. That I chose to study English even though the act alone brought suspicion
on me because all society was taught to believe since 1945 that we were
fighting off the Great Satin USA.[3]
America was officially seen as a threat to Romania and it allies under Russia’s
COMECON,[4]
all of which I became only fully aware as I grew older and had to buy the
English Course textbooks on the risky, expensive Black Market.
In the meantime, without rarely granted permission,
we were forbidden to meet and visit with foreigners, especially those who spoke
English and who wanted to hear from us about Sighet and its nearby wooden
hamlets of the
Maramures
Province, where I have my first memories. The region is ethnically diverse,
with a stimulating climate ranging from very hot summers and very cold winters.
Geographically, we lived in the valleys and Mountains of Gutinul through which
the rivers of Iza and Tisa flow. Geographically, the beautiful forested Tisa
River is the natural border with Southern Ukraine.
As folklore has it in the West, vampires are
native to Transylvania. We had vampires, werewolves, and wolverines, but all
the mythological characters were actually members of the Communist Party, which
everyone had to join--except for me because with my knowledge, I was considered
a security risk!
Fortunately, when in 1982 I entered the University
Babes Boljay,
in Cluj-Napoca,
to earn my M.A. in 1990, for my sociology classes, I
decided to conduct my field research project into the rural life of the North
of Romania, recording the folklore (especially myths) invented and
passed down by rural folks (including small merchants, farmers, fisherman,
loggers) had had used that lore to help them survive for centuries.
Further, much of my research conducted among the outlying farmers,
delved deeply into Transylvania Folklore, which prepared me well to understand
Communist Party Lore.
Thus, for the second time, my fateful choice of a
field research project had further prepared me, unknowingly, for my future with
Jim Wilkie.  
Once I had been admitted to the Babes Boljay University,
which was called “the heart and brain of Transylvania,” I also further expanded
and deepened deep studies in American language and literature. Also I studied Romanian
language and literature in the Department of Philology. The Bolyai University
Is considered the best University in Transylvania.
Upon beginning my mentoring for other students, I
was happy to find a sense of freedom. Reading and writing comprehension were my
forté during my four years at Cluj.  I
had always dreamt of being a professor and a writer and seemed to be off to a
great start.
But I soon realized that our professors opened
the day by reading the mounds of new Decrees just signed by Ceausescu.  Thus, I began laughing, and other students
join me in mocking the wooden language of Central Planning’s attempt to
befuddle us with words from a wooden language, totally bent toward twisting our
brains into confused submission. Professors and Securitate officers were acting
as sweaty bureaucrats trying to teach us how to sharpen our mental images . Not
one professor asked us, “What do each of you really think of all this Ceausescu
propaganda of decrees harming the educational process?”                
Professors had their favorite students and made
sure they pointed this out in class, stifling any competition as they show openly
their favoritism or nepotism.
When I reached the age of 22 in1985, I started to
be argumentative, criticizing professors, especially the history professor who
only knew only the History of the Romanian Communist Party.
The Russians, via the KGB, had been directing Romanian
politicians since 1945, and pressured Romanian students to dig useless trenches
as well forced women-students to shot Russian weapons, and  learn to disassemble and assemble the AK47.
Meanwhile in my University Cluj the
atmosphere was dreadful in classes. Restrictions were plentiful and absurd.
Speech was not free; one couldn’t discuss issues freely in class, or make any
real analysis or debate. One had to regurgitate what the professors were
telling us. Modern economics led by and read whatever was there in the old
books stacked in the communist library. Until I escaped Romania in 1992, I
learned that the so-called economics classes we took taught nothing about
money, credit, and such terms as GDP. The Marxian economics involved only
fuzzy nonsensical slogans such as “We Romanians
have to fight-off the ‘running dogs of capitalism,” without the word
“capitalism” ever being defined except in unrealistic theory laced with
epithets.
 Even as an English major, I not permittd to
speak with  foreigners in English --answering
one question was a crime, according to the tendentious Security Decrees.
Abortion was a crime punishable for up to 20 years in prison. Doctors
performing it ended up in jail, and so did the pregnant women. Punishments were
ridiculous—the Anti-Abortion Law lasted for 40 years, until 1990.
Furthermore if my uncle from Canada
visited us, we were all under surveillance, the entire family. Even today, in
2017 one has to report to the police to declare if any visitor of family comes from
the USA (or Canada, for some bizarre security reason). Well, after 25 years,
not much has changed in poor Romania.
  
THE INFLUENCE OF RECENT ROMANIAN
HISTORY
In the meantime, the History of Transylvania weighed
heavily on population of Romania, with constant change in the emerging
political map always have left “citizens” always lost about who was really in
charge.
Thus, Transylvania was originally part of the Dacia Kingdom between 82
BC until the Roman conquest in 106 AD. The capital of Dacia was destroyed by
the Romans, so that a new as capital would serve the Roman Province of Dacia,
which lasted until 350 AD, by which time the Romans felt so hated that it behooved
them withdraw back to Rome.
      During the late 9th century, western
Transylvania was conquered by the Hungarian Army to later become part of the
Kingdom of Hungary and in 1570 to devolve into the Principality of
Transylvania. During most of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Principality
became an Ottoman Empire vassal state, confusingly also governed by the
Habsburg Empire.

After 1711 Transylvania was consolidated solely into the Hapsburg
Empire and Transylvanian princes were replaced with Habsburg imperial
governors.

After 1867, Transylvania ceased
to have separate status and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Hungary as
part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[5]
After
World War I, Transylvania reverted in 1918 to be part of Romania.  In 1940 Northern Transylvania again became
governed by Hungary and then Germany, but Romanian queen Maria successfully
reclaimed it after the end of World War II.
The year 1940 was important for Romania because if
was seized for its oil by Nazi Germany (1940-1944), “liberated” by the “Soviet
Union” (1944-1947), and finally “re-liberated” to become the Popular republic
of Romania (under USSR remote control), as the Cold War was beginning to freeze
the Iron Curtain into place.
At the
end of World War II while the USSR and its Red Army were the occupying powers
in all Romania, in 1947 Romania forcibly and ironically became a “People’s
Republic” (1947–1989), after the rise of the Iron Curtain.
The first “president,” Gheorghiu-Dej (1947) ruled as
puppet of Moscow, but when he died, his Secretary General of the Communist
Party of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, was elected as the second “president”
(1965-1989), shifting his savage dictatorship into a harsher Romanian “Gulag”
than known in the USSR.  
For two decades I neither understood the dimensions
of tragic history of Transylvania, nor did I yet realize that I would have to
escape the Gulag of Romania, even if by the “skin of my teeth.”
For peoples of the world Transylvania seems to be a
far away place, where most people know the werewolves and vampires have been
“seen” to in the imagination of Transylvanians, whose beliefs was soaked in
mystical folklore. Even today it is hardly possible to have a rational
conversation with most the Transylvanian folk on any subject without recourse
to try to understand where their distorted imagination has befuddled them.
      The population has consisted
of Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, and some Ukrainians. These languages
are still being spoken in Romania’s Maramures province, but because I always
liked and loved the Romanian language, I decided to become a Professor of
Romanian Language and Literature.
MY
BACKDROP TO THE FALL OF CEAUSESCU
I later
told Jim how I had been admitted in 1982 to the Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca
at the heart of Transylvania, I focused especially on Linguistics.
Unfortunately, there I found that the professors, who were under the control of
sweaty-stinking Securitate officers, had to read dozens of new Decrees issued
every day as they sought to control every one of our daily actions—all in the
name of protecting the Ceausescu government—which was selling the country’s
food supplies to Russia in order to pay down Roman’s official debt with
exports. Those Securitate officers ate well and ominously watched us virtually
starve. They said, be calm, like your parents in the face of their starvation.
 Thus, I furiously called out in my classes
that our very existence was being compromised by Ceausescu's abandonment of the
population, which was ordered to, as Lenin famously said, “work, work, and
work.”
To
protect myself as best I could, I turned to humor, seeking to ridicule
Ceausescu’s “national paradise.”  But
when I encouraged my classmates to laugh at the propaganda embedded in the
wooden language of the national bureaucracy, I soon fell under the heavy
scrutiny of university authorities, who were furious that I trying to expose
the fact that all classes had been organized to befuddle the student body into
confused submission. Indeed, each professor had favorite students to help drown
out legitimate questions and stifle any competing analysis—the university lived
under nepotism, favoritism, the threat of rape (virtual and real) by the
Securitate officers, and open bribery by the professors--choose your garden
variety.
               MY 1986 FLIGHT FROM ROMANIA BACKFIRES
By 1986,
at age 23, I had decided to flee Romania—an illegal act because Ceausescu did
not want anyone (especially women of child-bearing age) to escape his plan to
building his “ideal socialist industries” on farms and ranches as well as in
the cities. In June I made my way to the border of Yugoslavia and paid a smuggler
to evade the Romanian security forces that were preventing the “nations
workers” from escaping. The smuggler, who took me across the border, turned out
to be working for Romanian Border Police. Thus, soon after crossing into
Yugoslavia, he turned his wagon around and I was again in Romania again when I
realized what had happened too late. I had been “sold” to Ceausescu’s minions
for a wagonload of salt and 20 Liters of gasoline. Thousands were returned for
this kind of draconian exchange.
That failed
escape from Romania led me to a 10-month prison sentence in Timisoara Prison,
wherein the block cells
were maintained so cold (supposedly to eliminate bacteria and
viruses) that it made all of us inmates sick with the cold and the flu.
Bed blankets in the were
less warming than one Kleenex tissue. Moreover there were no pillows, and the
concrete slab where inmates slept was a “back-breaker.” The lights were on 24
hours a day, blinding all of us, and there was constant observation. Every hour
one was awakened to be counted for, and sneaking up on people, under the guise
of watching out for suicides. But everyone could be clearly seen by the guards,
and there was no need to sleep-deprive inmates. There was also someone in the
higher echelon ripping off the food budget to siphon money to themselves while
serving inmates only baby carrots and spicy beans.
Almost every family in
Romanian civil society had at least one member who had been imprisoned for
trying to open the political system by denouncing the Ceausescu dictatorship. These
inmates were openly called “Political Prisoners,” and I was one of them.
Political Prisoners were
not permitted to work outside the prison walls in the fields because our crime
had been the political decision to repudiate Ceausescu’s “fantastic system.”  
    OUT
OF PRISON IN 1987  TO FIND ROMANIA  FACING
                                     “CHANGE IN
THE AIR”
Once free in 1987, I could return to my University
to finally complete my M.A. in 1990.   
 Further in 1987, at the age of 24, I met the
Family patriarch Nicolae Pipas,[6]
who directed for the Communist government the walled Regional Art Museum in a
quiet part of Sighet. When he realized that I was a Professor of the English
and Romania Languages, and one of the few university’s highly educated persons
in the region, I began to serve as interpreter/guide to visiting foreign
Ambassadors permitted to travel in Romania. They wanted to see the Museum with
its magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, and rare historical
pottery and coins. Thus, I soon found myself interpreting  and translating for visiting English-Speaking
Ambassadors from many countries who wished to know Transylvania, especially my
village Sighet and its Merry Cemetery famous worldwide for it tombstones in the
form of wood sculpture of the butcher, the baker, candlestick maker, and all
professions.
Although my first languages were Romanian and
Hungarian, I could also translate into French and Italian. Indeed at that time
I was teaching Latin in the Rural School System of my Maramures Province.
 By 1989, Ceausescu realized that his end was
near, and he sought to gain support by pardoning his political prisoners (such
as myself) who had tried to escape the horrendous conditions in the country.
Hence, university students and some labor unions joined forces and quite
quickly after the fall of the Berlin Wall forced Ceausescu and his draconian
wife Elena to flee. They were caught and executed on Christmas Day, 1989, by
the military that at the last moment joined the Revolution.
‘As my
friends and I (along with most of the population) cheered the fall of the
failed, rotten Romanian “dictatorship of the proletariat,” my dear mother acted
differently. She was so confused by the propaganda of the only “leader” she
knew much about that she wept for Ceausescu, not fully realizing that he was
the one who had wrongly had be arrested and put me in prison. 
With
Ceausescu gone, in 1990 I was able to secure a passport to ready myself to leave
Romania by gaining visas for Germany and France. The question remained, how to
get there by land without a visa to Austria—my region had no air connection to
the outside world.
MY FATEFUL 1991 MEETING IN SIGHET WITH JIM WILKIE
Almost age 27 in 1991, I was in the right place at
the right time when UCLA Professor Jim Wilkie arrived in Sighet  September 17th, 1990, together  with Professor James Platler (his friend and
driver). They came as part of their trip to assess the impact of the 1989 Fall
of Iron Curtain--which had imprisoned all Romanians and made it a crime to try
to escape from Romania. The two Americans had already visited “East” Germany,
Czechia,[7]
and Slovakia (soon to break their union, each becoming independent), and
Poland, where English speakers could provide guidance.
In Romania the UCLA Team found itself at a loss as few of the people
who they encountered could speak English and none of them could analyze or
articulate how the System of Government and society functioned before and after
1989.
       When we met,
Jim immediately contracted[8]
with me to advise them as well as guide them through Eastern Europe. They were
pleased to hear the my outline of Transylvanian and Romanian history (see
above), with which I explained how constant national boundary change meant that
Transylvanians and Romanians were never able to develop either honest civil government or active civic society. Little did I know that the concepts of
“Civic” and “Civil” Society were of utmost importance to Jim? As I would find
out later, Jim and I had been conducting compatible research for years and
would lead me to       my PHD
Dissertation and two books written with Jim. [9]
All these works distinguish between the concepts of Civil Society (which represents national and local governmental
activity) and Civic Society (which involves active private citizens (who
organize non-governmental initiatives to develop model projects beyond the
ability of official bureaucrats to even comprehend, including the influence
needed to monitor and expose the failures and successes of governmental
activity).   
But
before we left September 18, 1991, to visit Romania and Hungary, I
had to find a substitute for my new class teaching American English and History
in Sighet—I left a friend, Johnny Popescu, to become my permanent substitute.
Only then could our newly expanded Team set off under my guidance.
Thus, we
set out on that September 18th to visit one of the most socially and
economically interesting and beautiful parts of Romania by going up thought the
green forested Carpathian Mountains via the beautiful Prislop Pass, stopping to
visit small farming families in their folkloric clothing of which they were
justifiably proud to wear on a daily basis.  Farther east in Romania, on
the scenic roads, we visited the monasteries of Moldova, the town of Cimpulung
Moldovenesc, Suceava, and then the Monasteries in Sucevita and Agapia. The
gorgeous forested mountain road eventually led to Lacul Rosu and the lake
country. Then we took the long scenic mountain road to Cluj Napoca to
visit my prestigious University.
As I
briefed Jim about Romania, he was briefing me about factors in comparing
national economies. For example, he told me about how he had reunited in Prague
on September 15th with Richard Beesen, his former
UCLA student and friend, to hear
about his role in London as Manger of D
eutsche Bank’s
New Accounts in Russia and Eastern Europe. Richard had become famous for
inviting Banking Officials and national Treasury Ministries to deposit their
financial reserves on deposit in his bank in London. But because his clients
did not understand anything about “interest payments” on deposited funds, they
did not ask for nor did they gain any interest payments. Also, because most
Western Banks were not sure that these new “capitalists” could be “fully
trusted” for correct management of their deposits, his D
eutsche Bank collected large fees (and paid no interest to keep
the Eastern Europe “bank reserves safe.” This was all very eye opening for me.
Jim and
I had realized early on that we had a close affinity as we analyzed the situation
of Romania, and he said, “Call me Jim.” (In contrast I called Professor James Platler
 “JP.”) As we traveled to observe the
situation of the people in different parts of the country, Jim and I formed a
deep bond of observing and analyzing; thus both of realized this brief
interlude had to continue for the long term in order to achieve our goals.
NEXT STOPS, BUDAPEST, SALZBURG, MUNICH,
 BORDEAUX
(FOR ME), AND LOS ANGELES (FOR JIM)
       As
a Romanian, I had the right to enter Hungary, and we did so bypassing the miles
of vehicles waiting to cross the border for the long drive to Budapest. There
Prof. James Platler finally relaxed after the long drives and often poor hotels
and hotels—he said that he finally found unbroken civilization again.
    Once we arrived in Budapest, Professor
James Platler, who had told Jim privately that from the outset of our trip that
he thought that I was a “Spy” (planted on us by the Romanian Securitate to
monitor our many “foreign” inquiries during our travel through Romania’s north
country), announced that his concern about me had vanished as we realized the
extent of my knowledge and research abilities.  
In his mind, I had to be a Spy because I had obtained access to special
private dining rooms and quarter in some fine hotels, as well as invitations
for wonderful lunches at some Monasteries, where miraculously I made immediate
friends with each Mother Superior. But by the time we reached Budapest, he
realized that at my University I had learned the Elite skills needed to survive
safely and comfortably in Eastern Europe. 
        My
problem was to enter Austria, where I had no visa. But Jim passed his
UCLA business card through to the
Consul General of Austria in Budapest, and quickly we found ourselves whisked
from the back of the long line to the front and right into a meeting with the
Consul General himself. He was pleased to hear about the research of our
UCLA Team, but said that I did
have a visa. Jim then told them that I only needed a three-day transit visa to
reach Germany, the visa for which he could see in my passport.
With
entry to Austria solved, we were on the road to the Hotel Kobentzl and Graz, which
overlook Salzburg, all the way analyzing the comparative economic and social
situations of Austria, Hungary, and Romania.
We spent
most of our time down the mountain from Kobentzl to the valley, before
returning to our sweeping Hotel view of Salzburg City. Meanwhile I was
deepening my questions about capital is leveraged to undertake big private
projects. As we took photos over from on high looking down on the many bridges
of Salzburg and Jim was explaining how the developed world operated by using finances,
credit, and interest to help economies grow.
Finally
we left Salzburg to enter Germany and Munich, where our quick look into
Oktoberfest found us among nasty drunken louts each of whom seemingly had hand
four hands: one to chug-a-lug beer; one to smoke foul smelling cigarettes; one
to quaff horrible-bleeding-raw sausages; and one to punch someone in the face. From
what we saw, Oktoberfest was a place for nasty males seeking to “get smashed on
beer” and then smash another male to break his nose. Thus, we fled for our
lives as the brutes began to threaten anyone who looked at them.
Then on
September 30th, I took the plane from Munich to Paris to take a bus
to Bordeaux to meet the French family, the daughter of which, in her visit in
1990 to the Museum in Sighet, had invited me to obtain a French visa and move
to stay with her on the lovely family farm outside Bordeaux.
Jim (and
JP) also left the same day for Jim to arrive in time to go from the airplane to
open and begin teaching his Fall Quarter class at
UCLA. But he promised to call
daily and return to join me again in ten weeks.
In the
meantime, I made a trip to Paris to request political asylum in France, but a
grey-faced judge rejected my request, saying that the petitioner must file with
the help of a lawyer.  
To
complicate matters in Bordeaux, the French Security Agent there was
investigating me, a lone woman, as a possible spy sent by Romania to “monitor activities at the Port of Bordeaux.
When he told that, if I pleased him in unmentionable ways, he would not deport
me to Romania but arrange my legal status in France so that I could live
him.  I immediately told Jim on his next
telephone call.
      To
resolve the above problem, Jim called his Paris friend Gérard Chaliand, a
former visiting professor at
UCLA, whose
real job involved traveling the world for French Security to report on his
professorial travels that took him to all continents. Gérard immediately called
French Security to report on the illegal approach to me by their Agent in
Bordeaux. That same day the Agent came to apologize profusely to me in the best
manner that he could muster in his pitiful condition. He begged me not to have
him fired for his proposition to me. I could see him looking at me in truly
puzzled way that implicitly said: “Who are you? How did I make such a grave
mistake in deciding that you, a lone Romanian women, could not have any power
to reach my bosses in Paris?” I took pity on him and told him that if he minded
manners and watched from affair to be sure that I was always safe, he would not
be fired.
          JIM
RETURNS TO EUROPE DECEMBER, 1991:
HIS PLAN FOR ADVISING EASTERN
EUROPEAN CIVIC SOCIETY ABOUT HOW TO GAIN GRANTS FROM U.S. FOUNDATIONS (NPPOs),[10]  WHICH HOLD THE WORLD’S LARGEST POOL OF NGO
DEVELOPMENT FUNDS
Even though
it was December 11, 1991, when Jim returned, France was in the midst
what some in America call an “Indian Fall,” warm with colorful fall leaves
still on the trees.  It was a beautifully
bright “fall day” when we left Bordeaux the next day to spend some days
visiting the Loire River with its many castles and incredible views.
Even
during our photography of the Loire region, Jim began to outline his New Plan
(now our plan) to wit:
PROFMEX Plan to Help Eastern
European “Foundations”    
                 Become legally eligible to
gain grants from                                     U.S. Tax Exempt Foundations following
Jim’s
                 “U.S.-Mexico Model for
Philanthropy.”
Indeed, Jim
told me that recently when he had been in Mexico City, he received an
invitation to meet with Manuel Alonso Muñoz, Executive Director of Mexico’s
National Lottery,[11]
who, when he heard about Jim’s U.S.-Mexico Model, invited him to meet at the
Lottery’s historically famous ornate building. After an extended briefing by
Jim, Manuel told him that he had already called his own good friend Ronald G.
Hellman, Professor of Sociology in the Graduate School at the City University
of New York, to ask him for an evaluation of Jim and his Mexico-U.S. Model for
Philanthropy. Ironically, it was only then when he realized that Ron was (and
is today) Jim’s PROFMEX Vice-President for Strategic Planning. With that news
and Jim’s stellar briefing, Lic. Alonso asked if the Lottery could make a
series of generous grants to PROFMEX in order to help fund the expansion of Jim’s
Model to Eastern Europe,[12]
putting Mexico into an
innovative new light.
Here is
our beloved PROFMEX logo:
Manuel
Alonso was appreciative of the fact that Jim, while serving as Consultant to
the U.S. Council on Foundations, had become involved since 1990 with his Model
for helping Mexican Foundations (including, for example, charities, human
rights organizations, hospitals, universities, biospheres, etc.) to help them
re-write their constitution and by-laws to be compatible with the U.S. tax requirement
that they mirror U.S. Not-for-Private
Profit Organizations
(NPPOs).
The
question of “mirroring” involved Jim’s explanation that:
As
NPPOs, U.S. Foundations are legally responsible for controlling expenditure of
funds granted to organizations that do not mirror the U.S. foundations do not
want to be involved in the day-to-day activities of its grantees. Indeed, “ they
want to transfer “expenditure responsibility” (including misuse or illegal use
of grant funds) to the recipient foundation to which they grant funds but can
only do so if the grant recipient organization is deemed to have an
“equivalent” legal structure to that of the U.S. donor foundation.
Here is the background, according
to Jim: [13]
“In order to facilitate the U.S. philanthropic activity needed during the 1970s
and 1980s to help speed world development, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and
the IRS formulated provisions that resulted in changing and/or interpreting the
Internal Revenue Code  (IRC) to freely
permit U.S. foundations to grant funds abroad, if they meet the following
special proviso:
U.S. NPPOs can themselves make a
legal “determination” that the foreign organization receiving the U.S. grant be
“determined” to be “equivalent” to an NPPO described in Section 501(c)(3)[14] of
the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.” 
         Further, Jim pointed out that, “while
this proviso has worked well for big U.S. grant-making foundations that place
costly offices and staff around the world (such as Rockefeller and Ford
Foundations), it has worked less well for foundations that have had to send
their lawyers to meet with their legal counterparts in prospective ‘equivalent
organizations, the legal cost of making such a determination often reaching
$25,000 [or, by 2016, much, much more] for each new organization to receive
funds from the U.S. NPPO. If that determination is favorable, the U.S. NPPO can
transfer funds to the equivalent organization, just as it can to any other
approved U.S. NPPO, and along with the transfer of funds to the recipient
organization goes the transfer of responsibility over how the funds are spent.”
Transfer
of ‘Expenditure Responsibility’ from the
U.S.
Donor NPPO to the Foreign Recipient NPPO
.
The ability of U.S. NPPOs to avoid costly expenditure
responsibility, as Jim told, is one of the factors that have helped make American
grant-making foundations so important in the world. Thus, U.S. NPPOs have been
enabled to avoid becoming ensnarled in accounting processes and audits, which
are better done by the foreign organization that receives and administers the
U.S. NPPO grant of funds.
In this manner, said Jim, the U.S.
NPPO is free to focus its energy on evaluating the substance of its grant
programs. The ability of grant-making foundations to transfer Expenditure
Responsibility to other NPPOs is the main reason that they generally prefer
(and require) that their funds be granted only to approved organizations rather
than to individuals or to non-approved organizations.
The above views, Jim said, do not
mean that U.S. NPPOs are unable to grant funds to an organization that is not
equivalent to a U.S. NPPO (or make grants to individual scholars, artists, or
writers either at home or abroad), but to do so adds a complication to the
grant-making process. Rather than passing on the Expenditure Responsibility (as
the U.S. NPPO does when it makes grants to another NPPO or U.S. equivalent),
the Expenditure Responsibility remains with the donor NPPO when it makes a
grant to an organization that is not an NPPO (or its U.S. equivalent) or to an
individual.
         In the unlikely
case where the donor NPPO retains Expenditure Responsibility, then, Jim told m
in my interview with him on September 17, 1991, the donor foundation has to
concern itself with costly financial oversight involved, which may problematic
whether of in or outside the USA.
ON TO PARIS AND THE WORLD TO
MEET WITH      NPPO LEADERS ABOUT                                                         NEW
FOUNDATIONS
        Jim and I arrived in Paris on December 15,
1991, to meet with Jim’s contacts at the American Embassy, who heard about our
research and suggested that Jim meet also with their counterparts at the U.S.
Embassy in Mexico City. They agreed to help begin to our new Plan to expand to
Eastern Europe and Russia Jim’s successful Model for Tax-Free Flow of Nonprofit
Funds, the example being what he negotiated (with the U.S. Council on
Foundations and the U.S. and Mexican Treasury Departments), as analyzed above.
      It is
important for me to say here that George Soros and his decentralized donations
to his 41 semi-autonomous “national foundations”[15]
(exemplified in Romania, Hungary, and Russia) have been built following the IRS
proviso and regulations discussed above. Also, Soros’ “National Foundations”
require that national Government charter the independent role as NGOs.
      In
contrast, the flowering of thousands of small independent “Foundations” in
Eastern Europe since 1989 has grown from groups looking for funds from the many
U.S. Foundations that do not have the Soros/New York link with its Foundations
in many nations, all of which operate in Soros’ closed loop. Few of these new
Foundations have the Soros knowledge and financial resources to set up the
By-Laws and Legal Status needed for the thousands Foundations desiring to tap
into funding by U.S. Foundations.[16]  However, since 2013, Soros’ has organized an
office to work with shared Global Funds (for food, migration, etc.) outside the
non-Soros frameworks to help poor areas and countries to stave off crises.
Before we left Paris on
December 19, 1991, we met with Gérard Chaliand to personally thank him for
having made the Bordeaux Security agent reexamine his whole approach to his
life.
Further, with Gérard, we
worked out a plan to arrange for me to become a U.S. resident and obtain U.S.
citizenship nine years after my arrival in Los Angeles, October 1992. He
recommended that my case by handled in In Los Angeles by one of America’s most
knowledgeable and effective Migration Attorneys—Cynthia Juárez Lange, today
Managing Partner, Northern
California, for the  Fragomen Del Rey,
Bernsen & Loewy LLP Legal Office located in San Francisco. Cynthia is
herself an academic and personable genius.
Meanwhile
in my travels with Jim in December 1991 and from March to June 1992 we met NPPO
leaders in the European Union to better understand how foundations work under
unique laws in each county rather than in any rational manner for the whole EU,
we went to Marseilles, Nice, Villfranche-sur-Mer, Cap-Ferrat, Monaco, La
Rochelle, Andorra, Sevilla, Madrid, Trujillo, El Escorial, Avila (a magnificent
fortress city), and Segovia.
On
September 3. 1992, we arrived at the U.S. Consulate in Paris, where the U.S
Consulate in Mexico had arranged with Jim for my U.S. eligibility for residence
to be issued. Also, the Mexican Consulate General in Paris issued me my
residence papers to enter and leave Mexico freely, as arranged by Jim with the
Mexican Consular Head Office in Mexico City.
Before
we left Europe for the USA in October 1991, we returned to Sighet on September
7, 1992, for meetings with Romanian Civic Activists. (Thus, I finally returned
to Sighet after having “escaped” with Jim to France in December 1991).
From
March to June 1993, we met with NPPO leaders in Budapest, Sighet, and Varna
(Bulgaria), Bucharest, and St. Petersburg.
In
Moscow (June 21-14, 1993), Jim appointed Professor        Boris Koval
(Director of the Latin American Institute of the Russian Academy of
Sciences)
, to be
PROFMEX Representative in Russia
. 
Koval had invited us to Moscow and introduced us to his own Security
Chief to be our translator and guide. This Security Chief was a fascinating
person who had been former head of the KGB Office in Iraq, 1979-1989.
Jim, who
always wore his Mexican guayabera shirt with or without a suit, was seen to be “authentically
Mexican” in our meetings and discussions about NPPOs.
Some of
our interviews focused on the successes of Soros Open Society Foundation--Russia
(1987-2002). Other meetings with civic society followed as we learn the details
about  the problems of the Soros
Foundations--Russia since 2003, when, under reactionary Government pressure, he
was phasing out of operation active programs. According to the Soro
Foundation—Russia:
[17]
     “When on
November 30, 2015,
Russia’s
Prosecutor General’s Office classified the Soros Open Society Foundation as an
“undesirable” organization, it closed the possibility of Russian individuals
and institutions from having anything to do with any Soros initiative or
programs… [Because it constituted]
a
threat to the foundations of
Russia’s
Constitutional order and national security….
     “Prosecutors
[then] launched a probe into Soros Foundation
 activities….[18] [and
in July 2015], after Russian senators approved
the so-called “patriotic stop-list” of 12 groups that
required
immediate attention over their supposed anti-Russian
activities, [the
following U.S. organizations] realized that they would
soon be
banned in Russia: [the U.S.] National Endowment for
Democracy; the
International Republican Institute; the National
Democratic
Institute; the MacArthur Foundation, and Freedom House.
      The American
hedgefunds mogul George Soros issued from London   the following Press Release on
November 30, 2015:
[19]
“Contrary
to the Russian prosecutor’s allegations, the Open Society Foundations have, for
more than a quarter-century, helped to strengthen the rule of law in
Russia and protect the rights of all. In the past, Russian officials and
citizens have welcomed our efforts, and we regret the changes that have led the
government to reject our support to Russian civil society and ignore the
aspirations of the Russian people.
“Since 1987, Open Society has
provided support to countless individuals and civil society organizations,
including in the fields of science, education, and public health. Open
Society has helped finance a network of internet centers in 33 universities
around the country, helped Russian scholars to travel and study abroad,
developed curricula for early childhood education, and created a network of
contemporary art centers that are still in operation.
“This record speaks for itself. We
are honored to have worked alongside pioneering citizens, educators, and civil
society organizations that embody Russian creativity, commitment, and hope.
“We are confident that this move is a temporary
aberration; the aspirations of the Russian people for a better future cannot be
suppressed and will ultimately succeed,” said George Soros, founder and
chairman of the Open Society Foundations.) Despite all efforts made by Soros
and his organizations, he has been banned from Russia.
“Once with the reset of the Cold War, in 2012,
when Putin was reelected as Russia’s President, Putin’s first movement was to
ban all Soros organizations which were impeding his expansion onto Crimea.”

     Back in Mexico City for the 1994 PROFMEX
Event featuring Eastern Europeans interested in the U.S.-Mexico Model for NPPOs
,
we convened, July 28-29, for our meeting on “Development of Mexico as seen from the World,” Co-sponsored by
UCLA and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de
Ciencia y Tecnología.
     This
Conference was held at Mexico City’s María Isabel Sheraton, with 70 participants
from Mexico and the United States, and which I co-organized with Jim
     The following invitees from Eastern Europe
came from
          Hungary  
Zoltan Karpati, Professor of Sociology
Romania
Mihai Coman, University Dean
 Roman
Romulus, Consul General in Mexico
                   Alexandru Lazín, PROFMEX--
England and Romania
                   Lia Stan, Investor from
Bristol, England.
       Highlights of the event came frequently
as we turned our gaze from Salón A with his all-window view from the top floor
to discuss the anti-government protest marches up and down Reforma Avenue past
the Angel Monument below.
       Further, our group enjoyed the
invitation of Mexico’s Attorney General, Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar to visit him at
his headquarters where we personally discussed and raised questions about the
street blockages of political protest in front of our María Isabel Sheraton
Hotel.  

       In
December 1997, we continued to invite world scholars especially interested in
economic matters, as well as in the U.S.-Mexico NPPO Model to participate with
us at the:
          IX PROFMEX-ANUIES Conference
         Hosted by Governor Víctor Manuel
Tinoco Rubí
                        Morelia, Michoacán,
México
 México y el Mundo
                                     Mexico and the World
 December 8-13, 1997
    With hundreds of participants and Attendees
from all continents,
Special Guests were invited
from:
Russia:               Boris
Koval, who recalled with excitement 
             the visit of 
                                               Jim and I to Moscow in June 1993.
China:                Sengen
Zhang
               
           Hongzhu Huang
Korea:                Kap-Young
Jeong
Japan:                Soichi
Shinohara
                                             Osamu Nishimura
                                    Yasuoki
Takagi
Indonesia:          Lepi
T. Tarmidi
Argentina:
        Eugenio O. Valenciano
Bolivia:               Antonio
J. Cisneros

                                                
---------
    Jim and I have been involved with many
academic activities, but those are beyond the scope of my analysis here of our
role in extending PROFMEX around the globe, especially to Europe and Russia.

          

                     
---------------------------------



    My courses at UCLA taken under Jim and
Professors Carlos Alberto Torres, Richard Weiss, and Ivan T. Berend led me to
the
          M.A. in Latin American Studies (1996)
                    Ph.D. in History (2001)
UCLA

Here is title of my first
book as sole author: http://www.Decentralized Globalization.com  2017 March 10.
La
globalización se descentraliza:
Libre
mercado, fundaciones, sociedad cívica y gobierno civil en las regiones del
mundo (2007)
Por
Olga Magdalena Lazín.                     
Prólogo de James W. Wilkie
 
                         
      My second book, co-authored with James W.
Wilkie, contains images that reflect my travels with Jim:
La
globalización se amplia (2011)
,                                                By James W. Wilkie And
Olga Magdalena Lazín.                         Preface de Rafael Rodríguez Castañeda, 2011

     These books show how U.S. Tax Exempt
Organization (TEO) law has evolved to become the most important in the world
owing to its flexibility. Where the laws of most countries require prior legal
authorization to launch in a new direction, the United States TEO law
recognizes no such limit.
     Thus, U.S. TEO law, unlike most other
countries, is never trying to make legal what is already underway and working
in the world. For  the USA and now
Mexico, both Treasury Ministries together have signed the first collaborative
agreement that stands as the blueprint for global NPPOs.
     With Professor  Jim Wilkie, I know that much researching and
writing awaits us in our projects around the world….

        
Olga and Jim, Guadalajara, Mexico,                        International Airport,
December 7, 2016

Writing is my second nature,
and I enjoy making my original healing oils blends. You can get yours here:

Dr Olga Essential Oils : 
Sole Owner































































































































































































































































































































































































































[1]Revised
January 2017

[2]
Ceaușescu”
is the non-modern spelling of the name.


[3] As in the case of Oceania always being threatened by
eternal war alternating between Eurasia or
Eastasia, portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984  (1948).
Cf. my article “Orwell’s 1984 and
the Case Studies of Stalin and Ceausescu,”
in Elitelore Varieties (Edited by James Wilkie et al.):
http://elitelore.org/Capitulos/cap16_elitelore.pdf



[4] COMECON
(Council for Mutual Economic Assistance) dates from the January 1949
communiqué agreed upon in Moscow by the USSR (including  its 15 Constituent Republics of 
Russia,
Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Belarus,
Estonia,
Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,
Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan)
and its five “Independent” Satellite Republics (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, Poland, and Romania. The communiqué involved the refusal of all these
countries to "subordinate themselves to the dictates of the Marshall
Plan.”  Thus, they organized an “economic
cooperation” among  these “new peoples’
democracies.” (USSR born 1922, died 1991). Cf.: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Comecon

[5] This
Empire existed between 1867 and 1918.

[6] Upon Ceausescu’s
death, the Patriarch Pipas mysteriously became the Museum’s “owner” and then
transferred title to his son Valerian Pipas, the region’s most famous violinist
.


[7] “Czechia” is rarely used in English because native
English speakers too often do not know
intuitively know how to pronounce it. The name Czechia has
arisen as the short name for the Czech Republic, which emerged with the breakup
of “Czechoslovakia” in 1992. 
 


[8] Jim soon arranged for the contract to by paid from his
grant funds from U.S. foundations deposited for his projects at
UCLA.


[9]
See (A) my 2001 Decentralized
Globalization: Free Markets, U.S. Foundations, and the Rise of Civil and Civic
Society from Rockefeller’s Rise in Latin America to Soros’ Eastern Europe
(Los
Angeles: UCLA Classic Doctoral
Thesis) at http://www.profmex.org/webjournal_listedbyvoldat.html 
(B) Olga Magdalena Lazín, La Globalización Se Descentraliza: Libre Mercado, Fundaciones,
Sociedad Cívica y Gobierno Civil en las Regiones del Mundo,
Prólogo, pp.
15-166, por James W. Wilkie (Guadalajara
y Los Ángeles: Universidad de Guadalajara, UCLA Program on Mexico, PROFMEX/World,
Casa Juan Pablos Centro Cultural, 2007).
http://www.profmex.org/mexicoandtheworld/volume12/1winter07/prologoporjameswilkieOLbook.html
(C)
James W. Wilkie y Olga Magdalena Lazín, La globalización Se Amplia: Claroscuros
de los Nexos Globales  (Guadalajara, Los
Ángeles, México: Universidad de Guadalajara, UCLA Program on Mexico,
PROFMEX/World, Casa Juan Pablos Centro Cultural, 2011: http://www.profmex.org/mexicoandtheworld/volume17/2spring2012/Laglobalizacionseamplia.pdf
                    



[10]
Readers should be aware of a key
acronym used when this paper reaches the 1990s: NPPO stands for Not-for-Private
Profit Organization
(usually a Foundation) which can differs from the more
familiar (Non-Profit Organization (NPO).
Outside the United States, the latter term tends to be wrongly understood to
mean no profit be accumulated and the NPO must show a zero balance at year end.
The former term (NPPO) is developed here to stress that profits may be
accumulated and invested to fund future activities, as long as expenditures do
not benefit private parties (except for salaries, travel, and other justified
expenses as provided in, say, a Foundation’s by-laws.)


[11] Mexico’s National Lottery is
a Government-run Public Charity and funder of new research.

[12] The Lottery grants to PROFMEX totaled $100,000 dollars.

[13] Jim Wilkie’s statement here is quoted from my formal
Interview with him, September 17, 1992, in Transylvania, based upon his
experience as Consultant to the U.S. Council on Foundations. See:
Olga Magdalena Lazín, Decentralized Globalization: Free Markets,
U.S. Foundations and the Rise of Civil and Civic Society
From Rockefeller’s Latin America To Soros’ Eastern Europe
(Los Angeles: UCLA, Classic PHD thesis, 2001), pp. 122-125. This book was
published in 2016 by PROFMEX, and it can be read freely at
http://www.profmex.org/webjournal_listedbyvoldat.html


[14]
“Equivalent,” as Jim noted, means that the foreign NPPO meets (A) the test of
funding at least one of the following goals” for types of projects supported Health-Education-Welfare-Human
Rights-Science and Religion-Economy-Environment-Ecology-Publication-Literature-Charity
;
and (B) meets the test that no part of the foreign NPPOs expenditures benefit
private persons-- except for payment of reasonable expenses to cover salaries,
services, and goods needed by the NPPO to legitimately conduct the operations
chartered in its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.

[15]Administered
by NGO Civic Activists in each country but reporting to Soros Foundation/New
York City to justify each yearly budget.


[16] The Soros Open Society Foundations in 44 countries
benefit from the fact that Soros himself has lived up to his commitment
since1986 (to 2016 and ongoing) to donate half of his profits ($13 billon) for
their activities, his personal wealth in 2016 estimated to be $25 billion. See
https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/about/expenditures
Also,
for the details of Soros $930.7 million dollar Open Society Foundations 2016 Budget, which can be found by
searching online for this title.

[18] Ibid.



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