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December 2, 2014

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 Nov. 18, 2007 / 8 Kislev 5768

Setting the bar for corruption

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | John Edwards launched his slight public career — one Senate term, two presidential candidacies — with the money and reputation he made as a trial lawyer. Today he is the candidate of a small fraction of the electorate but a sizable portion of America's trial lawyers. Edwards says Washington is "corrupt." Well.


Within Edwards's lucrative trial bar constituency, there has been a flurry of criminal indictments. Their target has been what Fortune magazine calls the law firm of Hubris Hypocrisy and Greed. (See Peter Elkind's jaw-dropping report in the issue of Nov. 13, 2006.) The real name of the nation's foremost securities class-action firm is Milberg Weiss.


It has been indicted as a "racketeering enterprise" that obstructed justice and committed perjury, bribery and fraud while collecting about $250 million in fees from about 250 cases using paid plaintiffs, which is illegal. Several of the firm's members, past and present, also have been indicted.


Since 1965, the firm has won, often by tactics indistinguishable from extortion, $45 billion from corporations — more than $1 billion a year for plaintiffs claiming to have been cheated as investors. Plaintiffs firms such as Milberg Weiss are paid contingency fees — they are paid only if they win, but up to 30 percent of what is won. Mel Weiss, whose case is going to trial, and his former partner, Bill Lerach, who specialized in volatile stocks of Silicon Valley companies in the 1990s and is now going to jail, each pocketed — it would be strange to say they earned — more than $100 million in the 1990s. The firm itself has been charged with paying $11.4 million to three serial plaintiffs who testified in 180 cases over 25 years, claiming to have been repeatedly defrauded.


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For Milberg Weiss to land the lucrative role as lead counsel, in charge of a case, it had to be first to file suit — to win the "race to the courthouse." The firm's tactic was to store a few plaintiffs in its pantry. They would buy small amounts of stock in many companies so they were poised to sue any of the companies whose stock lost substantial value.


Lead plaintiffs must swear that they are not getting special payments. According to prosecutors, some of Milberg Weiss's phony plaintiffs were getting millions of dollars in kickbacks — generally about 10 percent of net attorneys' fees — for their charade as injured investors.


David Bershad, who has made $161 million with the firm since 1983, has pleaded guilty to one charge and cooperated with prosecutors. Steven Schulman has pleaded guilty to racketeering. The collateral damage is still spreading. A Los Angeles attorney has pleaded guilty to acting as a conduit for secret payments to one of the pantry plaintiffs for accepting payments from Milberg Weiss for work never done and for passing the payments on to the plaintiff.


How do you convict a company of the crime of having the price of its stock fall? How do you prove that a company is guilty of fraud and liable for losses it presumably did not want? Often you do not prove it or even plan to. Rather, you threaten to be such a costly nuisance that the company pays you to go away. Milberg Weiss is even suing investment banks on behalf of investors in companies' initial public offerings that soared and then plummeted.


Lerach was a Lincoln Bedroom guest in President Bill Clinton's White House. Shortly after Lerach attended a White House dinner, Clinton vetoed legislation that would have restricted class-action lawsuits. Lerach gave $100,000 to Clinton's presidential library.


Does political money flow toward beliefs or do beliefs move toward money? Much scholarship strongly suggests the former. Democrats are rewarded for their devotion to trial lawyers, but there is another reason they are disposed to devotion. The problem is not that Democrats are "bought" by trial lawyers. The problem is that Democrats, who see victims everywhere, are actually disposed to believe the narrative of pandemic victimization of investors.


Milberg Weiss turned that narrative into gold, which it shared with Democrats. Since 1980, the firm's partners have given more than $7 million to Democratic candidates and an additional $500,000 to help build the Democratic National Committee's new headquarters.


Until Lerach pleaded guilty, he was a fundraiser for Edwards, for whom he collected $64,000 from lawyers in the firm he founded after he had a falling-out with Weiss. Remember this when next you hear Edwards's populist riff about trial lawyers as white knights protecting little people.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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