In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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 Dec. 19, 2011 / 23 Kislev, 5772

Innocence in triplicate

By Paul Greenberg

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There they stood, all three of them, being sworn in before the Senate Agriculture Committee. They were being questioned about the whereabouts of some $175 million that had gone missing as MF Global was going belly-up on their watch.

It could have been a group picture of MF Global's executive board -- its former CEO (chief executive officer), its former COO (chief operating officer) and former CFO (chief financial officer). Each had a card in front of him bearing his name as all three raised their right hands and took the oath:

Hon. Corzine

Mr. Abelow

Mr. Steenkamp

The last two rated only a Mr., while Jon Corzine, a former U.S. senator, was identified as Honorable. (Members of Congress may leave office, but not their titles behind.) These three corporate execs were being called to answer some questions under oath, mainly about who decided to shift money in customers' supposedly safely segregrated accounts at MF Global to parts unknown.

To use an inexact but all too relevant metaphor, it was as if your friendly neighborhood bank, confronted by the prospect of going broke, had decided to break open the customers' safety-deposit boxes, mix the money with its own assets in one big pile, and let the creditors scramble through it for theirs.

The photo of these three could have been labeled See No Money, Hear No Money, Speak No Money. Not a one had any idea where the dough had gone. To translate their testimony from executalk into the familiar vernacular used in so many official hearings, not to mention the "Godfather" movies: "Money? We don't know nuttin' about no money."

The same theme has run through past congressional investigations into everything from the low aspects of high finance to the mob's influence on labor unions. How little some things have changed since John L. McClellan's time.

In the wake of MF Global's crash, Jon Corzine did his best to sound innocent. The former senator, former governor, former CEO of Goldman Sachs (the really powerful position), but still Honorable told the committee: "I never gave any instruction to anyone at MF Global to misuse customer funds."

If the Hon. Corzine wasn't perjuring himself in this testimony, then it amounted to a confession of executive incompetence on an Obama-sized scale, though compared to MF Global, the Solyndra scandal was tiny potatoes. Maybe this ought to be called the Case of the Executive Who Didn't Execute. The curious public is expected to believe he was just hanging around MF Global when all this transpired outside its high-rise offices.

The other two executives on oath backed up Hon. Corzine's testimony, but the case is scarcely closed despite these claims of innocence in triplicate. It seems other testimony didn't quite jibe with Jon Corzine's: "The only thing I can tell you is that MF Global transferred customer money to its broker dealer, and that Mr. Corzine was aware of the loans being made from segregated accounts." --CEO Terrence Duffy of CME Global, the giant commodities clearing house.

There's doubtless more to come in this continuing story. Stay tuned. As many doubtless will. Maybe that's because some of Mr. Corzine's protestations of innocence had the ring of Clinton clauses. As he testified at one point, "I never intended to break any rules." He never intended to break any rules. Which is not quite the same as not having broken them, is it?

The $175 million at issue in these particular hearings, for more are surely to come, is but part of the $2.1 billion said to be still mising from customers' accounts still unaccounted for six weeks after MF Global's collapse. The estimate keeps growing, and keeps growing harder to pin down.

A Wall Street titan may fail in a single day, but the investigations continue forever. In the matter of MF Global and the missing money, the tell-all memoir hasn't even gone to press yet. But some of us can never get enough of such stories. Maybe it's the vicarious thrill, since reading about the fall of Big Money may be about as close as we'll ever get to it, which is just as well. Even carrying around a paycheck makes us nervous. But we can read ourselves to sleep reliving the South Sea Island Bubble or the Swedish Match King's financial manipulations before his mysterious end. Now the Saga of MF Global enters not just politics but history and legend.

The missing millions may be a small sum by Jon Corzine's generous standards, but there are those, mainly farmers and ranchers, who were much attached to it. For they had invested the money as a hedge to insure against losses. Now it's been lost. And no one seems to know just where the millions went. That the money belongs, or once belonged, to American farmers and ranchers is why this not-so-little matter fell under the jurisdiction of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The chairman of the Senate committee, Michigan's Debbie Stabenow, bless her heart, sounded stumped. "This isn't the Dark Ages," she observed. "MF Global didn't keep their books with feather quills and dusty ledgers." Maybe if it had, it might be easier to trace the money now. Instead, the millions seem to have disappeared into the computerized ether.

Bob Cratchit, the much abused clerk at Scrooge and Marley's counting-house, surely would not have lost track of such a sum, and it's hard to imagine E. Scrooge not knowing where every penny of it was, probably in a featherbed. And as every calligrapher knows, there is much to be said for quill pens, or at least for the integrity of many who used them.

After all, the Declaration of Independence wasn't signed by an auto-pen. And the speeches at the Constitutional Convention weren't delivered with the help of a TelePrompTer. They weren't even videotaped. But we moderns tend to confuse the advance of a civilization with the advance of its machines. In some respects, a return to the past would be real progress.

Sen. Stabenow has committed the all too common error of condescending to medieval scribes, who might have been considerably amused by the result of all our electronic bookkeeping, which in MF Global's case can't seem to locate a mere $1.2 billion. Maybe it's in the petty cash drawer. Could it have rolled under the bed? Have they looked under the rug?

Or maybe, since nobody in particular seems to have decided to transfer the money, it just got up and walked off on its own, having decided it was time to tour Europe.

Tell us another.

And before this investigation is concluded, doubtless someone will.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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