Bernard Madoff: Wall Street Swindler Strikes Powerful Blows for Social Justice

We never thought he would do this to us, he was one of our people.
— Member of Palm Beach Country Club.

An Introduction to the Mega-Swindle

Wall Street broker Bernard (‘Bernie’) Madoff, former president of NASDAQ, revered and respected investor confessed to pulling off the biggest fraud in history, a $50 billion dollar scam. Bernie was known for his generous philanthropy, especially to Zionist, Jewish and Israeli causes. A one time life-guard on Long Island in the 1960’s, Bernie launched his financial career by raising money from colleagues, friends and relatives among wealthier Jews in the Long Island suburbs, Palm Beach, Florida and in Manhattan, promising a modest, steady and secure return of between 10 to 12%, covering any withdrawals in typical Ponzi fashion by drawing on funds from new investors who literally pleaded for Bernie to fleece them. Madoff personally managed at least $17 billion dollars. For almost four decades he built up a clientele, which came to include some of the biggest banks and investment houses in Scotland, Spain, England and France; as well as major hedge funds in the United States. Madoff drew almost all of the funds from high net-worth private clients who were recruited by brokers working on commission. Bernie’s clients included many multi-millionaires and billionaires from Switzerland, Israel and elsewhere, as well as the US’s largest hedge funds (RMF Division of the Man Group and the Tremont). Many of the swindled super-rich clients forced their money on Madoff, who sternly imposed rigorous conditions on potential clients: He insisted they have recommendations from existing investors, deposit a substantial amount and guarantee their own solvency. Most considered themselves lucky to have their funds taken by the highly respected Wall Street…swindler. Madoff’s standard message was that the fund was closed…but because they came from the same world (board members of Jewish charities, pro-Israel fund raising organizations or the ‘right’ country clubs) or were related to a friend, colleague or existing clients, he would take their money.

Madoff set up advisory councils with distinguished members, contributed heavily to museums, hospitals and upscale cultural organizations. He was a prominent member of exclusive country clubs in Palm Beach and Long Island. His reputation was enhanced by his funds record of never having a losing year – a big selling point in luring millionaire investors. Madoff shared with his super-rich clients (Jews and Gentiles) a common upper class life style, and mix of cultural philanthropy with low key financial profiteering. Madoff ‘played’ his colleagues with a soft-spoken, but authoritative, appearance of ‘expertise’, covered by a veneer of upper class collegiality, deep commitment to Zionism and long-term friendships.

Bernie’s mega-fund shared many signs with recent high level scams: The constant high returns, unmatched by any other broker; a lack of third party oversight; a backroom accounting firm physically incapable of auditing the multi-billion dollar operation; a broker-dealer operation directly under his thumb and the total obfuscation of what he was actually investing in. The obvious similarity of signs with other fraudsters were overlooked by the rich and famous, the sophisticated investors and high paid consultants, the Harvard MBA’s and the entire army of regulators from the Security and Exchange Commissions (SEC) because they were totally embedded in the corrupt culture of ‘take the money and run’ and ‘if you’re making it, don’t ask questions’. The reputation of the superior wisdom of a seemingly successful Jewish Wall Streeter fed into the self-delusions of the wealthy and the stereotypes held by millionaire Gentiles.

The Big Swindle

Madoff’s investment fund only dealt with a limited clientele of multi-millionaire and billionaires who kept their funds in for the long haul; the occasional withdrawal were limited in amount and were easily covered by soliciting new funds from new investors fighting to have access to Madoff’s money management. The long-term big investors looked toward passing their investments to their kin or eventual retirement. The wealthy lawyers, dentists, surgeons, distinguished Ivy league professors and others who might need to draw from their funds for an occasional fancy wedding or celebrity-studded bar-mitzvah, could draw from their funds because Madoff had no problem covering the withdrawal by attracting funds from rich owners of sweat shop garment factories, dangerous meat packing outfits and slumlords. Madoff was no Robin Hood, his philanthropic and charity contributions facilitated access to the rich and wealthy who served on the boards of the recipient institutions and proved that he was ‘one of them’ a kind of super-rich ‘intimate’ of the same elite class. The shock, awe and heart attacks that followed Madoff’s confession that he was ‘running a Ponzi scheme’ drew as much anger for the money lost and the fall from the moneyed class as for the embarrassment of knowing that the world’s biggest exploiters and smartest swindlers on Wall Street, were completely ‘taken’ by one of their own. Not only did they suffer big losses but their self-image of themselves as rich because they are so smart and of ‘superior stock’ was utterly shattered: They saw themselves as suffering the same fate as all the schmucks they had previously swindled, exploited and dispossessed in their climb to the top. There is nothing worse for the ego of a respectable swindler than to be trumped by a bigger swindler. As a result, a number of the biggest losers have so far refused to give their names or the amount they lost, working instead through lawyers fighting off other losers.

The Positive Side of Madoff’s Mega-Swindle (The Inadvertent Hand of Justice)

While it is understandable that the super-rich and wealthy, who have lost a large portion of their retirement and investment funds are unanimous in their condemnation and cries of betrayal of trust, and the editorials of all the prestigious newspapers and weeklies have joined the chorus of moral critics, there is much to praise in Madoff’s deeds, even if such praise was not at the heart of his fraudulent endeavor.

It is worthwhile to list the inadvertent positive outcomes of Madoff’s mega-swindle. First of all the swindle of $50 plus billion dollars may make a big dent on US Zionist funding of illegal Israeli colonial settlements in the Occupied Territories, lessen funding for AIPAC’s purchase of Congressional influence and financing of propaganda campaigns in favor of a pre-emptive US military attack against Iran. Most investors will have to lower or eliminate their purchase of Israel bonds, which subsidize the Jewish State’s military budget.

Second, the swindle has further discredited the highly speculative hedge funds already reeling from massive withdrawals because of deep losses. Madoff’s funds were one of the last ‘respected’ operations still drawing new investors, but with the latest revelations it may accelerate their demise. The dismissed promoters may finally have to perform an honest, productive day’s work.

Third, Madoff’s long-term, large-scale fraud was not detected by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) despite its claims of at least two investigations. As a result, there is a total loss of credibility. More generally, the SEC’s failure demonstrates the incapacity of capitalist government regulatory agencies to detect mega frauds. This failure raises the question of whether alternatives to investing in Wall Street are better suited to protect savings and pension funds.

Fourth, Madoff’s long-term association with NASDAQ, including his chairmanship, while he was defrauding his clients of billions, strongly suggests that the members and leaders of this stock exchange are incapable of recognizing a crook, and are prone to overlook felonious behavior of ‘one of their own’. In other words, the investing public can no longer look to holders of high posts in NASDAQ as a sign of probity. After Madoff, it may signal time to look for a king-size mattress for safe keeping of what remains of a family’s wealth.

The fifth point is that the investment advisors from top banks in Europe, Asia and the US managing billions of funds did not carry out the most elementary due diligence of Madoff’s operation. Apart from severe bank losses, tens of thousands of influential, affluent and super-rich lost their entire accumulated wealth. The result is total loss of confidence in the leading banks and financial instruments as well as the general discrediting of ‘expert knowledge’. The result is a weakening of the financial stranglehold over investor behavior and the demise of an important sector of the parasitic ‘rentier’ class, which gains without producing any useful commodities or providing needed services.

The sixth point is that since most of the money stolen by Madoff came from the upper classes around the world, his behavior has reduced inequalities – he is the ‘greatest leveler’ since the introduction of the progressive income tax. By ruining billionaires and bankrupting millionaires, Madoff has lessened their capacity to use their wealth to influence politicians in their favor – thus increasing the potential political influence of the less affluent sectors of class society…and inadvertently strengthening democracy against the financial oligarchs.

A seventh point can be made that by swindling life-long friends, self-same ethno-religious investors, narrow ethnically defined country club members and close family members, Madoff demonstrates that finance capital shows no respect for any of the pieties of everyday life: Great and small, holy and profane, all are subordinated to the rule of capital.

Eighth, among the many ruined investors in New York and New England, there are a number of mega slumlords (real estate moguls), sweatshop owners (fancy name-brand clothes and toy manufacturers) and others who barely paid the minimum wage to their women and immigrant laborers, evicted poor tenants and swindled employees out of their pensions before moving their operations to China. In other words, Madoff’s swindle was a kind of secular ‘divine’ retribution for past and present crimes against labor and the poor. Needless to say, this ‘unconscious Robin Hood’ did not redistribute the money fleeced from the employers to their workers, he reinvested part of it in charities which enhanced his philanthropic image and to payout to some of his early investors so sustain the overall Ponzi scam.

Point number nine is that Madoff struck a severe blow against anti-Semites who claim that there is a ‘close-knit Jewish conspiracy to defraud the Gentiles’, laying that canard to rest once and for all. Among Bernard Madoff’s principle victims were his closest Jewish friends and colleagues, people who shared Seder meals and frequented the same upscale temples in Long Island and Palm Beach.

Bernie was discriminating in accepting clients, but it was on the basis of their wealth and not their national origin, race, religion or sexual preference. He was very ecumenical and a strong backer of globalization. There was nothing ethnocentric about Madoff: He defrauded the Anglo-Chinese bank HSBC of $1 billion dollars and several billions from the Dutch arm of the Belgian bank Fortes. $1.4 billion was from the Royal Bank of Scotland, the French bank BNP Paribas, the Spanish bank, Banco Santander, the Japanese Nomura; not to mention hedge funds in London and the US, which have admitted holdings in Bernard Madoff Investment Securities. Indeed Bernie was emblematic of the modern up-to-date, politically correct, multicultural, international…swindler. The ease with which the super rich of Europe forked their fortunes over caused one Madrid-based business consultant to observe that, “picking off Spain’s wealthiest was like clubbing seals…” (Financial Times, December 18, 2008 p.16)

The tenth point is that Madoff’s swindle will likely promote greater self-criticism and a more distrustful attitude toward other potential confidence people posing as reliable financial know-it-alls. Among self-critical Jews, they are less likely to confide in brokers simply because they are zealous backers of Israel and generous contributors to Zionist fund drives. That is no longer an adequate guarantee of ethical behavior and a certificate of good conduct. In fact it may raise suspicion of brokers who are excessively ardent boosters of Israel and promise consistent high returns to local Zionist affiliates – asking themselves whether this business about ‘what is good for the …’ is really a cover for another scam.

The final and 11th point is the demise of Madoff’s enterprise and his wealthy liberal Jewish victims will adversely affect contributions to the 52 Major Jewish American Organizations, numerous foundations in Boston, Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere, as well as the Clinton/Schumer militarist wing of the Democratic Party (Madoff bankrolled both of them as well as other unconditional Congressional supporters of Israel). This may open Congress to greater debate on Middle East policy without the usual high volume attacks.


Madoff’s swindle and fraudulent behavior is not the result of a personal moral failure. It is the product of a systemic imperative and the economic culture, which informs the highest circles of our class structure. The paper economy, hedge funds and all the ‘sophisticated financial instruments’ are all ‘Ponzi schemes’ – they are not based on producing and selling goods and services. They are financial bets on future financial paper growth based on securing future buyers to pay off earlier cash ins.

The ‘failure’ of the SEC is totally predictable and systemic: The regulators are selected from the regulatees, are beholden to them and defer to their judgments, claims and audit sheets. They are structured to ‘miss the signs’ and to avoid ‘over-regulating’ their financial superiors. Madoff operated in a milieu of a Wall Street where everything goes, where impunity for mega-bailouts for mega swindlers is the norm. As an individual swindler, he out-defrauded some of his bigger institutional competitors on the Street. The whole system of rewards and prestige goes to those best able to juggle the books, to cover the paper trails and who have willing victims begging to get fleeced. What a mensch, this Madoff!

In a few days, one individual, Bernard Madoff, has struck a bigger blow against global financial capital, Wall Street and the US Zionist Lobby/Israel-First Agenda than the entire US and European left combined over the past half century! He has been more successful in reducing vast wealth disparities in New York than all the white, black, Christian and Jewish, reform and mainline Democratic and Republican governors and Mayors over the past two centuries.

Some right-wing conspiracy theorists are claiming that Bernie is a secret Islamic-Palestinian agent (from Hamas) who set out to deliberately undermine the financial base of the Jewish State of Israel and its most powerful, affluent and generous US backers and foundations. Others claim that he is a closet Marxist whose swindles were carefully designed to discredit Wall Street and to funnel billions into clandestine radical organizations – after all…does anyone know where the lost billions have gone? Unlike the leftist pundits, bloggers and protest marchers, whose earnest and public activities have had no effect on the rich and powerful, Madoff has aimed his blows where it hurts the most: Their mega-bank accounts, their confidence in the capitalist system, their self-esteem and, yes, even their cardiac well-being.

Does that mean we on the left should form a Bernie Madoff Defense Committee and call for a bailout in line with Paulson’s bailout of his Citibank cronies? Should we proclaim “Equal bailout for equal swindlers!”? Should we advocate his flight (or his right of return) to Israel to avoid a trial? It might not fly with his many Jewish victims to make the case for an Israeli retirement for Bernie.

There is no reason to mount the barricades for Bernard Madoff. It’s enough to recognize that he has inadvertently rendered an historic service to popular justice by undermining some of the financial props of a class-ridden injustice system.


Was it out of sheer admiration or because of some covert linkages with Madoff that our current Attorney General Michael Mukasey is removing himself from the investigation? Others of equal importance and influence are most certainly tied in the Madoff Affair, and not just the ‘victims’. We are facing a serious case of matters of State … No one can believe that a single person could by himself pull off a scam of this size and duration. Nor can any serious investigator believe that $50 billion dollars has simply ‘disappeared’ or been squirreled into personal accounts.

19 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Tree said on December 20th, 2008 at 9:39am #

    Great piece.

  2. bozh said on December 20th, 2008 at 10:13am #

    now that some people have become hobos, they can always get their jesus.
    and what more does one need? we all know that priests know everything. and the priests will tell them that this happened to rich and superrich people, because they didn’t have jesus in thei r lives.
    so things turned out for the best after all. thnx

  3. rg the lg said on December 20th, 2008 at 11:05am #

    Whoa … aren’t these the same people who like special insurance companies and banks, the auto-industry TOO BIG TO FAIL? Don’t we really expect a bailout for them?

    I, for one, won’t be surprised. That is, after all, what our system is for

    RG the LG

  4. john wilkinson said on December 20th, 2008 at 2:25pm #

    For once, FOR ONCE, a piece by Petras that I could agree with to a certain extent, though the case is hugely overstated. Yes I love it that these rich assholes who have, over the years, scammed many of us out of our life savings and totally ruined this country (this world) and its future, have been scammed and denuded themselves.

    Unfortunately, $50 billion is not nearly enough retribution. If it were, say, $50 trillion then I could be jumping for joy that some real damage had been done. But $50 billion is a drop in the bucket — yes some of them got ruined, but overall it’s just a pinprick, order of magnitude wise.

    So while I agree there was some damage, it was in my opinion only a minor leveling and a minor comeuppance. These people know that the whole system is one giant fraud — and they know it because they are the ones profiting from it; and the “it’s not what you know but who you know” is part and parcel of the in-bred wholesale rot and corruption. So in the end, it will be business as usual, because that’s how these cockroaches get on top — scamming the rest of us, rigging oversight and regulation, stealing our taxes and putting them in their pockets. As someone has said, behind a great wealth there is usually a great fraud.

  5. MrCynic3 said on December 20th, 2008 at 4:57pm #

    O.K. Madoff swindled 50 billions dollars. Where is the money?.!!
    In any ponzi scam some of the money is left with the scamer. That
    is the objective of the scam. So, where the money.?!!
    Could it be just a hedge fund collapse that was alleged to be a Ponzi
    scam for better legal angel toward getting compensations and keep
    some remnants of credibility in the hedge funds.
    The whole thing does not smell right to me. In my humble opinion
    there is more to this story than meets the eye.

  6. giorgio said on December 20th, 2008 at 7:04pm #

    “….conspiracy theorists are claiming that Bernie is a secret Islamic-Palestinian agent (from Hamas) who set out to deliberately undermine the financial base of the Jewish State of Israel and its most powerful, affluent and generous US backers and foundations…”

    Well, if this is true, may Allah wisk him up to Heaven soon and treat him to an orgy of 1000 virgins…

    “…does anyone know where the lost billions have gone?”

    Well, I’ll take an easy guess: the billions are now sitting on Osama bin Laden’s banking account. Brace yourselves guys! Another 9/11 attack is just around the corner….

    Alex Cockburn of Counterpunch, in his article “Ethnic Cleansing in America” is hoping that Steve Spielberg, one of those stung by Madoff, gets around to making a movie. A title already being bandied about is: Swindler’s List.

    Cockburn seems to have taken over Madoff ‘s business. He strongly recommends that Americans buy “Wheelbarrow stocks”. Buy ‘em while the price is right, so says he… and I have no reason not to trust this guy implicitly, be it his literary or financial judgements…

  7. Deadbeat said on December 20th, 2008 at 9:48pm #

    Petras once again speaks the truth. He’s right when he says that Madoff has done more than the Left in confronting Zionism. How ironic.

  8. Jason Oberg said on December 21st, 2008 at 12:28am #

    You know, I realize I have a tendency to stray from the specific topic and delve into broader implications, but…Jesus H. Christ, how many more of these sleazy bastard’s stories are we going to hear about? Ever since Enron, it has literally been an explosion of CEOs being discovered to be soulless criminals! Is it just me, or is capitalism perhaps simply too corruptable to work? How many pensions, how many jobs, how many tax dollars have been lost due to the astronomical greed of a few evil men? And yet America just sits back and continues to say, “It’s a good system. It’s the ‘American Dream.'” What bullshit. I’m sick of living in a system that tolerates this kind of behavior, never mind one that thinks one fat, middle-aged man should have more money, comfort and stability than 100 million of his countrymen, because he knew how to milk everyone he ever came into contact with. Why is this an admirable way of life? Why are fairness, humanity, and sensibility so readily dismissed? Why?

  9. Ramsefall said on December 21st, 2008 at 2:57am #


    in response to, “I’m sick of living in a system that tolerates this kind of behavior”, pack your bags and head expat, see what the rest of the world has to offer, you just may likely end up feeling better.

    Best to you.

  10. Jerry Lavish said on December 21st, 2008 at 5:04am #

    Where is the money? How can 50 billion dollars just simply disappear?
    I’m not buying it.
    I enjoyed reading Petras’ article and wish all his 11 points were true. However, given Berie’s ties to the Jewish community, Israel, and Zionism I can’t help suspect Bernie moved all that cash to Israel. A move designed to prevent their seizure by U.S. government because of tax fraud.
    The Wilpons and Speilbergs of America know their money is in safe keeping in Israeli banks.
    To believe that Bernie is a supporter of the Palestinian cause, or better yet a Marxist is sheer nonsense. As deep throat said; “follow the money.”
    Where did the money go? It’s a shell game of the greatest proportions

  11. Danny Ray said on December 21st, 2008 at 7:16am #


    Cuban Interests Section Cuban Consulate
    2639 16th St, NW
    Washington, DC 20009
    202 797-8518, 8519, 20

    Fax: 202 797-8521
    (may not work)
    2630 16th St, NW
    Washington, DC 20009
    202 797-8609, 8610, 15

    Fax: 202 986-7283



  12. FarmerBillFromMissouri said on December 21st, 2008 at 8:46am #

    Concerning JL’s suspicion that the money was moved to Israel to avoid US taxes, I’ve run across this theory before on the net. My gut feel is that this is a clever fabrication, ala the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. However, the thing about Jews doing anything to avoid paying U.S. taxes resonates. I remember back in the sixties and seventies, there was a wealthy St. Louis Attorney, Morris Shenker, who was the financial brains for the Teamsters. Shenker was notorious was not paying U.S. taxes. He knew every dodge there was to avoid it(kind of like the neocons who promoted the Iraq invasion and continue to promote today, but made sure none of their flesh and blood every stood in harm’s way). However, he was honored in the Jewish community and was the chairman of the Israel war bond drive in St. Louis, and was known for his generous contributions. At that time I was young and naive and didn’t know anything about ‘Israel Firsters’ but after being exposed to the shameless behavior of people like Joe Lieberman and Madoff and their ilk, I came to realize there are a substantial number of Jews who place first loyalty to Israel and wouldn’t be surprised if some of the money mysteriously ends up in Israel.

  13. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2008 at 10:05am #

    The only way we are going to be able to figure this out is to get the right observations.
    First of all that means better observations of ocean heat content, including the deep ocean.
    Second we must measure aerosols with the required accuracy, which none of the current satellite instruments have.
    The instrument that can measure stratospheric aerosol properties with great accuracy is sitting on a shelf at Langley Research Center.
    When the NASA Administrator and the White House eliminated the first line of the NASA Mission Statement, “to understand and protect the home planet”, and slashed the Earth Science budget, there are consequences.
    There are plans to measure tropospheric aerosols with the needed accuracy for the first time with the Glory mission in 2009, but no follow on measurements are on the books.

    But the human-made rate of change is today about 2 ppm per year, about ten thousand times greater than the natural rate.
    So the assertion that we should not be concerned about human-made climate change, because there have been much larger natural climate changes is nonsense. There have been larger changes, but on very long time

    There may have been times in the Earth’s history when CO2 was as high as 4000 ppm without causing a runaway greenhouse effect. But the solar irradiance was less at that time.
    What is different about the human-made forcing is the rapidity at which we are increasing it, on the time scale of a century or a few centuries. It does not provide enough time for negative feedbacks, such as changes in the weathering rate, to be a major factor.
    There is also a danger that humans could cause the release of methane hydrates, perhaps more rapidly than in some of the cases in the geologic record.
    In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty. This is James Hansen’s web site read his last post dated Dec 20, 2008. Then ask yourself one question who will win this as so far nobody. Although Madoff helped a little.

  14. Deadbeat said on December 21st, 2008 at 11:59am #

    But the human-made rate of change is today about 2 ppm per year, about ten thousand times greater than the natural rate.

    This seem a bit off-topic to me but I disagree with the premise of the “human-made” causing these problems. This assumes that what has been “human-made” was made democratically and not constructed from systemic oppression. I don’t blame “humans” for such systemic oppression. The problem is capitalism and the concentration of power by the elites.

    The rhetoric that Mr. Hawkins’ post while interesting tends to homogenize the issue of disproportionate power. It is similar to the rhetoric who hear from Israeli apologist that attempts to homogenize Palestinian resistance against Israeli brutality. The two are unequal. Are the world’s impoverished equally as culpable as the world’s wealthiest? Are they not “human”? That is what is implied by Mr. Hawkins’ rhetoric.

    Therefore Mr. Hawkins rhetoric is rather elitist and alienates the very people he needs to change the system. What is known as “environmentalism” cannot offer any fundamental change because it is the politics of the upper middle class “snobs” and cannot generate a mass movement.

    A much better way to advance “environmentalism” is to ally with the poor and people of color and fight alongside against capitalism and for issue of justice. It is capitalism that is degrading the environment not “humans”.

    I would suggest that Mr. Hawkins please abandon his of rhetoric and leave it for the likes of Al Gore.

  15. Don Hawkins said on December 21st, 2008 at 1:21pm #

    It is what it is. So you read that did you deadbeat. Those words were some of the most important ever written. I always say this is the best when Hansen writes a new one and it is. He learns as he goes along it’s called wisdom and using knowledge. As far as looking at the World, Earth this changes the whole way of looking at well you name it and we need a new way of thinking. That is the part many don’t want you to find out. My house cost me $75,000 it is 750 square feet but I do drink green tea and buy my paints at Fred’s $12 a copy. I did have some money saved but gave most of that to my kids it’s Ok. Oh I paid cash for my House thanks in part to Mike Whitney and his words and I must say enjoy watching the talking heads on TV it makes me feel smart. but you were talking about a way of thinking and being an elitist. Interesting concept me being an elitist as in my comments I always put so called elitists. Forest for the trees man forest for the trees.

  16. jim quinn said on December 22nd, 2008 at 10:23am #

    Great article, one of the clearest and best on the economy I’ve ever read. Two things:
    One: Where is the money? There never was any money. When you have a billion or a measly 100 million, you don’t have dollar bills, you have people who believe you have money. That is, you have credit. When you want to buy something you notify one of the many places you have credit with and they send you a note signifying they’ve transferred some of your credit to the owner of the french villa you want to buy. The owner doesn’t get money, he gets a note that says so much credit is available, and probably invests it quickly – so as not to lose money – in a market account which buys stock possibly in the company you own or the one that has your so-called money. nobody ever sees a nickel, which is not worth a nickel in money any more than a paper dollar or dollar coin is worth a penny – which is of course not worth a cent. Hard cash only has value because the federal government says it has value and we believe our allwise allpowerful government. The money could not have been shipped to israel in truck pallets, because it never was. Foundations and individuals cheated out of their credit by madoff of course do not want to reveal by how much — it would ruin their credit.

    General Motors is not in danger of bankruptcy because it has no dollar bills but because nobody – except the so-called capitalist economists in charge of the bailout – is willing to lend it money, by which i mean of course credit. Credit is collapsing in our economy, that happens periodically in capitalism. When it does people start losing belief in the people who tell them they have money — they want a check to invest elsewhere — and when they can’t get it credit collapses further. nobody is poorer, everybody believes everybody is poorer — therefore everybody is poorer.
    economists are advising people to put their credit in government bonds, which are good only as long as everybody believes in the government. Since bond returns have recently fallen to zero, you may be tempted to put dollars – which many think of as real money – under your mattress. remember tho that dollars only have value, that is credit, as long as everybody believes in the government.
    so unless you have enough money to buy gold bars and can pay the exorbitant amount it takes to store them safely — there’s nothing to do.
    two: surely madoff and the madoff economy – read krugman on the madoff economy – demonstrate that capitalism sounds wonderful in theory, and therefore attracts many idealists. But unfortunately it doesn’t work in practice.
    There were depressions – collapses of credit — all through the 19 c, and up to the amazing world wide depression in the 1920’s -30’s. FDR’s New Deal put many restraints on wall st greed, and world war II and the devastation of europe made america rich. the first thing the new rich did was attack the very regulations that got the world out of depression, and because they had the money that the regulations allowed them to acquire – of course they eventually succeeded. Contributons to politicians not usually called bribery, always work.
    so money greed must rise again.
    it is, despite the idle dreams of feelgood champions of competition, and new capitalism, new economy, new this and that, impossible to outlaw human greed. Pass a law against greedy, and the greedy, greediest first, will find ways to get around it. See the USA banking system and Wall St for proof. Capitalism can never work.
    The only thing to do about human greed is make sure nobody can make money out of it. Fame and a life of ease are also rewards. Set a low maximum possible income with a hundred percent tax of anything over say, 100 thousand per year, written into the constitution so it can’t be easily overturned, and we might get another 60 years before the next crash. Tho when income is low politicians will be ever more cheaply bribable. Eventually the greediest will find a way to make money, that is credit, the only reward.
    So the only real solution is socialism, and the only real socialism is, as was pointed out as long ago as 19 c — from each according to his abilities, to each according to their needs.
    Yours for a refounded communist party, jim quinn

  17. bARABie said on December 23rd, 2008 at 12:46pm #

    “No one can believe that a single person could by himself pull off a scam of this size and duration. Nor can any serious investigator believe that $50 billion dollars has simply ‘disappeared’ or been squirreled into personal accounts.”

    “Point number nine is that Madoff struck a severe blow against anti-Semites who claim that there is a ‘close-knit Jewish conspiracy to defraud the Gentiles’, laying that canard to rest once and for all.”

    Geez Mr Petras, wonder where that money went if not israhell….
    Secondly, MOST of the “victims” of this “Robin Hood” (using petras’ term) were NOT Jewish. Which, in fact, means “laying that canard to rest once and for all” (sic) is a gross manipulation of facts by petras.

    Another point is you mentioning something as ludicrous is the following and why would you state something so preposterous?

    “Some right-wing conspiracy theorists are claiming that Bernie is a secret Islamic-Palestinian agent (from Hamas) who set out to deliberately undermine the financial base of the Jewish State of Israel”

  18. rh said on February 17th, 2009 at 11:08pm #

    Previously we had EndRun, Global Cursing and WorldCon (Enron, Global Crossing and WorldCom). So this batch of capitalists come from the swindlers list.

    What Bernie did was simply what any capitalist would do or should do. According to American Right Wing Capitalist Ethos making money by hook or by crook or both is to be admired. Zell started off sellying playboy to his school mates. This was reported in an admiring article in University of Michigan’s fawning article on Mr. Zell. Morality has nothing to do with chosen business. You make money any way even if it corrupting children or stealing from friends.

  19. Daro said on March 5th, 2009 at 2:37am #

    Madoff will die in his sleep of heart failure 5 years from now while still under palatial house arrest during his endless appeal. His sons will be quietly slip away to join the supra wealthy in Florida driving round and round in their Bugattis and Ferraris. His grandchildren will be born direct to the jetset society, so wealthy they never discuss money. This is what will happen, we should regretfully acknowledge. Justice delayed is justice denied.