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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 4, 2010 / 20 Iyar 5770

Somebody Must Pay!

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It happens with partners. So long as the business is growing, the money's rolling in, and everything's coming up green, they're the best of friends. But when business sours and profits wither, the other partner becomes the cause of it all, a total incompetent and maybe a thief to boot. What was once mutual admiration turns into mutual litigation.

It's the same with stockbrokers and their clients. In boom times, when it would take a kind of perverse genius to lose money, the Investment Counselor or Financial Adviser -- no longer a mere broker -- is a brilliant innovator, a deep thinker, a patron of the arts, an all-around scholar and gentleman from whom all blessings flow.

No doubt that's how many of their clients once saw Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford -- and, before them, Charles Ponzi, pioneer of the eponymous Ponzi scheme. There's nothing like something for nothing to instill trust and gratitude. For a while.

But let the bottom fall out, and those who were only too glad to collect the too-good-to-be-true profits now want to hang the scoundrel. When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes ... it's got to be somebody else's fault. Let's get him!

The surest aftermath of every economic collapse is the hunt for scapegoats. Congressional committees convene, and even the sleepiest watchdogs awake -- and start barking.

Even the long moribund Securities and Exchange Commission now has stirred. It's not clear what the hotshots at the SEC were doing if anything during the Great Meltdown except maybe watching porn, but now the SEC, too, is baying for a scapegoat. Like the rest of the political class. And it's nominated a sacrificial lion: Goldman Sachs. Somehow it survived the Deluge. How suspicious. It must have been cheating.

The SEC may have ignored the depredations of the Madoffs and Stanfords till they could no longer be ignored, but now it charges the most prominent investment house still extant with fraud. Round up the usual suspect!

Goldman Sachs' remarkable luck/skill/skullduggery -- take your pick, depending on your view -- invites envy, suspicion and, inevitably in America, litigation.

When folks started talking bitterly about the United States of Goldman Sachs, it was sure to be only a matter of time before it was offered up to the furies.

It certainly wouldn't have done for the SEC to go after a fellow government agency -- like Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, whose policies not only led to the collapse of the housing market but were at its root. Nor would it be politic for congressional committees to inquire too deeply into the role played by their colleagues (like Barney Frank and Chris Dodd) who encouraged, if they did not actually demand, that government extend all that credit to the uncreditworthy. That would be coming entirely too close to home.

Letter from JWR publisher

No, better to investigate a firm already none too popular. And when folks are looking for somebody to blame for a financial panic, do you really need all that much evidence? Isn't it enough just to show that an awful lot of money was lost? The time was ripe for a financial version of McCarthyism to sweep the land.

Never mind that the same, awful lot of money was made by some speculator who bet on the other side of the deal. Nobody likes a financier who bets on a collapse. It's un-American. It's not Positive Thinking.

Besides, didn't Goldman Sachs get a management firm, ACA, to consult with the speculator, John Paulson, in drawing up a package of risky investments he could bet against? Never mind that every deal requires both willing buyer and willing seller, both presumably adults. It's the short seller who's always the villain of the piece when a market tanks.

Goldman's best defense at trial may be that the selection of losers that John Paulson had a hand in selecting didn't do any worse than the firm's other bundles of high-risk (and therefore high-return) securities that Mr. Paulson had no hand in choosing. So much for conspiracy theories.

In today's climate, someone like John Maynard Keynes, the once and future hero of liberal economists, would come under suspicion because, when he wasn't writing groundbreaking economic treatises, he was doing remarkably well as a short-seller during the Great Depression, raking in record returns by betting on the market's continuing collapse. As bursar of Cambridge University, he ran a kind of early hedge fund. Very profitably.

Today, no doubt, Lord Keynes would be raked over the coals by the likes of some grandstander like Carl Levin. The senator from Michigan wasn't the only one playing to the crowd at last week's hearings, but surely he had to be most pompous, obnoxious, boring and repetitive of the lot.

Senator Levin didn't seem to understand the difference between an investment adviser, who has a duty to look after his clients' interests, and a market maker, who just puts buyers and sellers together without guaranteeing either a profit. Like a stock exchange.

Or maybe the senator only pretended not to understand the difference in order to give his demagoguery a final fillip. When Goethe said there is nothing more frightening than ignorance in action, he overlooked the rich possibilities of pretending ignorance. At least when those of us in the media fail to make so elemental a distinction, our ignorance is sincere.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

© 2006 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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