Tom Cordle

Tom Cordle
Location
Beeffee, Tennessee, CSA
Birthday
June 16
Title
Peasant
Company
Pleasant
Bio
There is your truth ... there is my truth ... and there is everything between. That leads to the better question: Is there an Everlasting Truth? I submit there is only the Everlasting Quest for the truth. __________________________________ I believe that in essence We are God. That is to say, humankind, for all it's faults, has power over Good and Evil. As the Eden Tale intimates, humans alone, in all Creation, have "eaten" from the the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; and thus humans alone, in all Creation, have the ability and responsibility to choose between the two. Thus, each of us is in essence a god, and the Sum of us, through all generations past, present and future is God. By those choices, we are the creators of what was, what is and what will be. And by those choices, we, collectively, choose whether to exist here and now in the Kingdom of Heaven or in a Living Hell. _________________________________ "I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence." Frederick Douglass _________________________________ "You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you don't have any boots, and you can't put yourself in another's shoes -- you can't even try on their socks." Soulofhawk _________________________________ "I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue." Albert Einstein _________________________________ Only in silence can your hear the voice of God." Soulofhawk ____________________________________ "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr" ____________________________________ "Racists can hide in the closet, but the smell usually gives them away." Soulofhawk _________________________________ "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." Mark Twain ____________________________ "When we are young, Death comes as an unwelcome stranger; but as we get nearer the end of our own too-often rocky road, he comes more and more to resemble a long, lost acquaintance." Soulofhawk ____________________________________ “When monetary gain is involved, mans capacity for self-delusion is infinite.” Lord Byron _________________________________ "Where greed is good, need is great." Soulofhawk _________________________________ “And let it be noted that there is no more delicate matter to take in hand, nor more doubtful in its success, than to set up as a leader in the introduction of change. For he who innovates will have as his enemies all who are well off under the existing order of things, and only lukewarm supporters in those who might be better off under the new. This lukewarm temper arises partly from the incredulity of mankind, who will never admit the merit of anything new, until they have seen it proven by the event.” Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter VI _________________________________ "if a man falls from a pedestal, who is really to blame -- the man or those who put him up there?" Soulofhawk ____________________________________ "The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners." Howard Zinn _______________________________ "The worst thing to be around a bigot is right." Soulofhawk ______________________________

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MARCH 13, 2009 3:55PM

Weekend at Bernie Madoff’s

Rate: 15 Flag

bernie madoffThere’s a party this weekend at Bernie Madoff’s Park Avenue penthouse, and you’re invited. If you have any aspirations of acquiring wealth or social status, you’ll come because all the high-rollers will be there putting on the dog and peddling at least the appearance of affluence and influence.

All except Bernie, that is. It looks like he might be tied up for awhile – say 150 years or so. Of course, if he comes up with $170 billion dollars in restitution, the judge might go a little easier on him. But it looks like Bernie may get at least 25 years without parole, a sentence that means he’ll spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison.

But forget Bernie – he was never much of a party animal anyway. 

Oh, and it doesn’t look like Ruth Madoff will be at the party either. Word on the street is she withdrew $15.5 million from a Wachovia brokerage account just weeks before Bernie was arrested and fled to the couple’s villa in France. She reportedly told her broker J.G. Wentworth “It’s my money, and I need it now!”

Ruth claims she had no idea her husband had been running a Ponzi scheme and defrauding family, friends, investors and pension funds for at least 15 years. And since she was flagrantly oblivious and willfully ignorant of that scam, she claims she is entitled to keep $72 million dollars or so Bernie set aside for her. Former friends who are now disenchanted investors disagree and suggest instead that Ruth should share Bernie’s sentence and cell. One wag suggested that the odds are one of them would not live long under that housing arrangement.

It’s doubtful this party will be as wild as some in the past, since some of the loonier former financial wizards won’t be able to attend due to prior commitments.

That other Bernie, Bernie Ebbers, former head of WorldCom, is still serving a 25-year sentence for financial shenanigans. Also absent will be WorldCom execs Jeff Skilling and Chalana McFarland.

Nor will Denny Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco, be at Bernie’s – he’s still in jail, too. Too bad, Denny really knows how to party! Video of the $2 million dollar, wildly ostentatious 40th birthday bash he threw his wife Karen was shown at his trial, and afterward, Denny was heard to say “It was a good party with a lot of good people.” Rumor has it what he misses most in prison is not his wife, who filed for divorce after he was sent to prison, but his $6,000 shower curtain.

                     

The Good Book tells us “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.” These days it’s beginning to look like a lot of rich men are going to have about the same odds of avoiding prison.

                     

 Rumor has it that several once-prominent persons were not even invited to this soiree.  The persona no grata list included such big names as Bear-Stearns CEO and bridge-whiz Jimmy Cayne and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, who was roundly criticized for spending $1.2 million dollars to redecorate his office while his firm went under. Rumor has it Thain is attending night school to become an interior decorator.

Also conspicuous by his absence will be former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, a lifelong acolyte of a particularly virulent strain of Free-Market Religion which made the crimes of Bernie Madoff and others possible, the strain propounded by High Priestess Ayn Rand that scorns any and all restraint on jungle-ethic capitalism. Greenspan was forced to publicly renounce his faith and admit his religion was every bit as oppressive and godless as that of Lenin – or words to that effect anyway. Since being defrocked, he is seldom seen in public.

Absent for other reasons will be Ken Lay, CEO of Enron, who won’t be attending any more parties anywhere. Nor will Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet, whose investment firm Access International Advisors lost $1.5 billion dollars in Madoff’s scam, including his personal fortune of $50 million dollars. He reportedly committed suicide in his New York office. Also not attending, William Foxton, retired British army major, who apparently killed himself after losing his life savings in the Madoff scam.

                     

 Tragedies like that of William Foxton put the lie to the claims of Free-Market apologists that financial crimes are “only about money”. Financial speculation is not, and never has been, just a high-stakes poker game played between willing and wise participants. When these high-rollers place their bets, it isn’t just their money that’s at stake; it’s other people’s lives and futures, too.

If that wasn’t plain before, it is now that people are being thrown from their homes, now that young people’s futures are being crushed for want of college funds, and now that older people’s pensions and retirement are in doubt. It’s high time we disabused ourselves of the notion that society can afford to “let the boys have their little card game” – especially now that we’re being asked to ante up, too.

High Priests of Free-Market Religion are being dragged from their ivory towers and hauled before the Inquisition. Those that aren’t hauled off to prison in chains must endure the rack … humiliated by hypocritical congressmen, pilloried by the press and vilified by the vox populi. Good; it’s high time they had to answer for their blind advocacy of a self-serving faith.

But let no one be deceived; we have all had a hand in this, too. We have condoned and encouraged and applauded great wealth and wretched excess; we have held up the rich and successful as role models, as examples of the superiority of our way of life. Let us hope it is not too late to change our minds about that.

In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye offered a bit of folk wisdom: “There’s no shame in being poor, but there’s no great honor either.” It’s high time we made it clear the same applies to being rich. 

©2009 Tom Cordle


Breaking news:

It looks like Bernie may be able to attend his party this weekend after all. It now appears his "remorseful" guilty plea was a ploy to keep him out of jail. The legal machinations are a little hard to follow, but had he plea bargained as expected, he could have been sentenced immediately. By pleading guilty, he expected to stay out of jail on bail while awaiting sentencing.

But the judge declared him a flight risk and revoked his bail, sending him to jail immediately. Now his lawyers are appealing the revocation in hopes of returning the poor man to this penthouse prison. If they succeed in that, Bernie will remain free on bail while they appeal whatever sentence is handed down. It appear's Bernie's planning to take a final page out of the Ken Lay playbook.

Ah, the law. As Victor Hugo said, "The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." All this begs the question, where is Bernie  stealing the bread to pay these very expensive lawyers?

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The party's over, it's time to call it a day
They've burst your silly balloon
And taken the moon away
Bernie Madoff has really taken taking to a new level. How can someone carry on for years, stealing from friends, from friggin Simon Wiesenthal! It boggles the mind. Then again it must be nice in a backhanded sort of way to have ever been in a position to lose millions, but I doubt I'll ever know.
Kenneth Lay out smarted all of them. The nerve of that fucker, dying before he spent a day in the klink. No fair.
BM - Dead Man Walking. "Turn out the lights, the party's over...and tomorrow starts the same ole' thing again." - W. Nelson
Rated & Cheers!
Ablonde -- Like I said, I'm getting damned sick and tired of "white-collar" criminals being treated as though they're "better" than street criminals. Does anyone really want to argue that Madoff killed these two men as surely as if he put the gun to their head and pulled the trigger?
JL -- Dead is indeed learning a lesson the hard way, but I'm not sure it's of much use. Guys like Madoff need punishment Soviet style: kneel over a floor drain and take a bullet to the brain. Lesson learned.
Michael -- You poor ol' Kenny Boy didn't even get a chance to get a jailhouse visit from his two best buddies w and dick.
JL -- Dead is indeed learning a lesson the hard way, but I'm not sure it's of much use. But on the assumption that there is such a thing as deterrence, Guys like Madoff need punishment Soviet style: kneel 'em over a floor drain and put a bullet in their brain. Lesson learned.
Michael -- Yup. Poor ol' Kenny Boy didn't even get a chance to get a jailhouse visit from his two best buddies w and dick.
Paying the lawyers with Ruth's money to keep her out of jail too. She was his freakin bookkeeper and she didn't know? Puhlease.

You say: "we have all had a hand in this, too. We have condoned and encouraged and applauded great wealth and wretched excess; we have held up the rich and successful as role models, as examples of the superiority of our way of life." I don't agree. At least, I never did. I've always hated their excessive putrid guts.

Oh yeah, I'm in a mood today. Great post though.
I enjoyed the post, but agree with Sally. "We" didn't sell our souls and rip off our friends. Madoff did. And he didn't do it to win my approval. Our society may allow and encourage the accumulation of great wealth, but that doesn't make us all complicit in the crimes of those who do so.
...crimes of those who break the law to do so.
I don't know some captains of industry are so covered in camel dung that they will be able to slide their stinking, slimy selves through anything.
Sally, Jimmy and anyone else offended by my use of the rhetorical "we":

I believe my assertion does apply to the vast majority of Americans - present company excepted, if that will make it easier to make my point.

Most Americans continue to buy into a mythology about who and what were are and where we came from that long ago outlived its usefulness, if it ever had any basis in fact. We’re saddled with a myth about our rugged, independent frontier ancestors, who eked out a hard-scrabble existence from the land. Well, guess what? Most of those “fiercely independent” ancestors were dependent on a social structure.

And yet a great many Americans continue to live in that fantasy world, imagining themselves somehow just like their ancestors – able to make it on their own. That may have been true to some extent true when people could and did live primarily off the land, but in a world dominated by multi-national corporations, that delusion would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous.

We now know just how dangerous because Ronald Reagan took advantage of that delusion to sell the vast majority of Americans on the idea that govt wasn’t the solution; govt was the problem. We now know just wrong he was -- as were those who bought into that myth.

That same myth is somehow inextricably – at least until now – tied to the myth that in this land of unlimited opportunity, people are entitled to succeed and accumulate wealth without interference or limitation. Even some of the poorest people in this country, for reasons that completely escape me, buy into the notion that putting limits on income is somehow unamerican.

To suggest any such thing is to be labeled a "socialist", a term that like “secular” or “humanist” has been deemed evil. It is evil to suggest, as the govts of some very civilized countries not only suggest but demand, that confiscatory tax rates are not only an acceptable but a desirable alternative to placing unlimited wealth in the hands of a few.

We harbor our delusions about "capitalism and independence" and "socialism and dependence" even while we benefit from "socialist" policies like the Interstate highway system and the Internet. Most Americans are simply in a state of denial about all this.

While there may be few on OS who voted twice for Reagan, Bush I and Bush II and the notion that taxes are evil and govt has no business interfering with businessmen, somebody did. And I suspect many here voted twice for Bill Clinton, too, despite the fact that his economic policies operated on pretty much the same basis as those others during his eight years in office, including signing off on Phil Gramm's gutting of Glass-Stegall -- the singular action that did most to bring on our present crisis.

When Ross Perot warned about the “giant sucking sound”, a lot of middle-class Americans didn’t seem to care because they thought it was only going to affect blue-collar workers. But now that white-collar, middle-class folks are suffering, maybe there’s a chance that we can think twice about the role govt should play in “promoting the general welfare”.

And while we’re having that debate, it’s high time we had a debate about the notion of wealth without limits. Certainly, those who claim to want this to be a Christian nation should be pushing for “socialism” since it’s one of the twin pillars of the faith along with pacifism. But don’t count on them to do either.

But unfortunately, some of the actions of this administration look like more of the same old same old. It looks like Summers, Geithner and the rest are trying to rearrange deck chairs on the Titanic rather than launching the lifeboats. It will be interesting to see how long all us “rugged, independent” Americans can survive in the icy waters.
Sally, Jimmy and anyone else offended by my use of the rhetorical "we":

I believe my assertion does apply to the vast majority of Americans - present company excepted, if that will make it easier to make my point.

Most Americans continue to buy into a mythology about who and what we are and where we came from, a myth that long ago outlived its usefulness, if it ever had a basis in fact. We’re saddled with a myth about our rugged, independent frontier ancestors, who eked out a hard-scrabble existence from the land. Well, guess what? Most of those “fiercely independent” ancestors were dependent on a social structure.

And yet a great many Americans continue to live in that fantasy world, imagining themselves somehow just like their ancestors – able to make it on their own. That may have been true to some extent true when people could and did live primarily off the land, but in a world dominated by multi-national corporations, that delusion would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous.

We now know just how dangerous because Ronald Reagan took advantage of that delusion to sell the vast majority of Americans on the idea that govt wasn’t the solution; govt was the problem. We now know just wrong he was -- as were those who bought into that myth.

That same myth is somehow inextricably – at least until now – tied to the myth that in this land of unlimited opportunity, people are entitled to succeed and accumulate wealth without interference or limitation. Even some of the poorest people in this country, for reasons that completely escape me, buy into the notion that putting limits on income is somehow unamerican.

To suggest any such thing is to be labeled a "socialist", a term that like “secular” or “humanist” has been deemed evil. It is evil to suggest, as the govts of some very civilized countries not only suggest but demand, that confiscatory tax rates are not only an acceptable but a desirable alternative to placing unlimited wealth in the hands of a few.

We harbor our delusions about "capitalism and independence" and "socialism and dependence" even while we benefit from "socialist" policies like the Interstate highway system and the Internet. Most Americans are simply in a state of denial about all this.

While there may be few on OS who voted twice for Reagan, Bush I and Bush II and the notion that taxes are evil and govt has no business interfering with businessmen, somebody did. And I suspect many here voted twice for Bill Clinton, too, despite the fact that his economic policies operated on pretty much the same basis as those others during his eight years in office, including signing off on Phil Gramm's gutting of Glass-Stegall -- the singular action that did most to bring on our present crisis.

When Ross Perot warned about the “giant sucking sound”, a lot of middle-class Americans didn’t seem to care because they thought it was only going to affect blue-collar workers. But now that white-collar, middle-class folks are suffering, maybe there’s a chance that we can think twice about the role govt should play in “promoting the general welfare”.

And while we’re having that debate, it’s high time we had a debate about the notion of wealth without limits. Certainly, those who claim to want this to be a Christian nation should be pushing for “socialism” since it’s one of the twin pillars of the faith along with pacifism. But don’t count on them to advocate for either.

Unfortunately, some of the actions of the present administration look like more of the same old same old. Summers, Geithner and the rest appear to be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than launching the lifeboats. I fear it will not be pleasant witnessing what happens to many “rugged, independent” Americans when they are plunged into the icy waters.
Sally, Jimmy and anyone else offended by my use of the rhetorical "we":

I believe my assertion does apply to the vast majority of Americans - present company excepted, if that will make it easier to make my point.

Most Americans continue to buy into a mythology about who and what we are and where we came from, a mythology that long ago outlived its usefulness, if it ever had a basis in fact. We’re saddled with a myth about our rugged, independent frontier ancestors, who eked out a hard-scrabble existence from the land. Well, guess what? Most of those “fiercely independent” ancestors were dependent on a social structure.

And yet a great many Americans continue to live in that fantasy world, imagining themselves somehow just like their ancestors – able to make it on their own. That may have been true to some extent true when people could and did live primarily off the land, but in a world dominated by multi-national corporations, that delusion would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous.

We now know just how dangerous because Ronald Reagan took advantage of that delusion to sell the vast majority of Americans on the idea that govt wasn’t the solution; govt was the problem. We now know just wrong he was -- as were those who bought into that myth.

That same myth is somehow inextricably – at least until now – tied to the myth that in this land of unlimited opportunity, people are entitled to succeed and accumulate wealth without interference or limitation. Even some of the poorest people in this country, for reasons that completely escape me, buy into the notion that putting limits on income is somehow unamerican.

To suggest any such thing is to be labeled a "socialist", a term that like “secular” or “humanist” has been deemed evil. It is evil to suggest, as the govts of some very civilized countries not only suggest but demand, that confiscatory tax rates are not only an acceptable but a desirable alternative to placing unlimited wealth in the hands of a few.

We harbor our delusions about "capitalism and independence" and "socialism and dependence" even while we benefit from "socialist" policies like the Interstate highway system and the Internet. Most Americans are simply in a state of denial about all this.

While there may be few on OS who voted twice for Reagan, Bush I and Bush II and the notion that taxes are evil and govt has no business interfering with businessmen, somebody did. And I suspect many here voted twice for Bill Clinton, too, despite the fact that his economic policies operated on pretty much the same basis as those others during his eight years in office, including signing off on Phil Gramm's gutting of Glass-Stegall -- the singular action that did most to bring on our present crisis.

When Ross Perot warned about the “giant sucking sound”, a lot of middle-class Americans didn’t seem to care because they thought it was only going to affect blue-collar workers. But now that white-collar, middle-class folks are suffering, maybe there’s a chance that we can think twice about the role govt should play in “promoting the general welfare”.

And while we’re having that debate, it’s high time we had a debate about the notion of wealth without limits. Certainly, those who claim to want this to be a Christian nation should be pushing for “socialism” since it’s one of the twin pillars of the faith along with pacifism. But don’t count on them to advocate for either.

Unfortunately, some of the actions of the present administration look like more of the same old same old. Summers, Geithner and the rest appear to be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than launching the lifeboats. I fear it will not be pleasant witnessing what happens to many “rugged, independent” Americans when they are plunged into the icy waters.
Sally, Jimmy and anyone else offended by my use of the rhetorical "we":

I believe my assertion does apply to the vast majority of Americans - present company excepted, if that will make it easier to make my point.

Most Americans continue to buy into a mythology about who and what we are and where we came from, a mythology that long ago outlived its usefulness, if it ever had a basis in fact. We’re saddled with a myth about our rugged, independent frontier ancestors, who eked out a hard-scrabble existence from the land. Well, guess what? Most of those “fiercely independent” ancestors were dependent on a social structure.

And yet a great many Americans continue to live in that fantasy world, imagining themselves somehow just like their ancestors – able to make it on their own. That may have been true to some extent true when people could and did live primarily off the land, but in a world dominated by multi-national corporations, that delusion would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous.

We now know just how dangerous because Ronald Reagan took advantage of that delusion to sell the vast majority of Americans on the idea that govt wasn’t the solution; govt was the problem. We now know just wrong he was -- as were those who bought into that myth.

That same myth is somehow inextricably – at least until now – tied to the myth that in this land of unlimited opportunity, people are entitled to succeed and accumulate wealth without interference or limitation. Even some of the poorest people in this country, for reasons that completely escape me, buy into the notion that putting limits on income is somehow unamerican.

To suggest any such thing is to be labeled a "socialist", a term that like “secular” or “humanist” has been deemed evil. It is evil to suggest, as the govts of some very civilized countries not only suggest but demand, that confiscatory tax rates are not only an acceptable but a desirable alternative to placing unlimited wealth in the hands of a few.

We harbor our delusions about "capitalism and independence" and "socialism and dependence" even while we benefit from "socialist" policies like the Interstate highway system and the Internet. Most Americans are simply in a state of denial about all this.

While there may be few on OS who voted twice for Reagan, Bush I and Bush II and the notion that taxes are evil and govt has no business interfering with businessmen, somebody did. And I suspect many here voted twice for Bill Clinton, too, despite the fact that during his eight years in office his economic policies operated on pretty much the same basis as his immediate predecessors. He even signed off on Phil Gramm's gutting of Glass-Stegall -- the action that did more than any other to bring on our present crisis.

When Ross Perot warned about the “giant sucking sound”, a lot of middle-class Americans didn’t seem to care because they thought it was only going to affect blue-collar workers. But now that white-collar, middle-class folks are suffering, maybe there’s a chance that we can think twice about the role govt should play in “promoting the general welfare”.

And while we’re having that debate, it’s high time we had a debate about the notion of wealth without limits. Certainly, those who claim to want this to be a Christian nation should be pushing for “socialism” since it’s one of the twin pillars of the faith along with pacifism. But don’t count on them to advocate for either.

Unfortunately, some of the actions of the present administration look like more of the same old same old. Summers, Geithner and the rest appear to be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic rather than launching the lifeboats. I fear it will not be pleasant witnessing what happens to many “rugged, independent” Americans when they are plunged into the icy waters.
RRRrrrrated! They make my blood boil. Every last one of them.
And just think, once he gets to prison, he'll still be stealing money from us, cause who gets to pay for room and board and meals?
Nice post. I especially liked this Tom: "“There’s no shame in being poor, but there’s no great honor either.” It’s high time we made it clear the same applies to being rich. "
I rated and commented last night, but it didn't go through because of the OS maintenance. Great post Tom. I'm in Los Altos, CA helping my son with knee surgery. It's a very affluent community. Every morning I go to the local Pete's coffee and watch the Mercedes and the Ferrari's and the Lexus's and the Porsche's pull up. Stanford baseball caps are the fashion trend. I am watching their faces closely. How much have they lost? How worried are they? I don't see any worry...and I wonder. This is such a disturbing story. Thank you for an excellent analysis.
great post. he's an inflated example of white collar criminals getting a break. yeah, he's going to serve his time. but pick up any local newspaper and you'll see some petty pothead going to jail and the next day or two later a suit buying time because it was "only" an "accounting"-type crime.
Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is to robbing a stunning number of staggeringly credulous and greedy people blind and then not even having the panache to twiddle your mustachios and laugh manically like Vincent Price playing The Abominable Dr. Phibes...
Then let's keep dancing.
Ach, what a shame. I was going to crash the party in drag, as the beautiful mystery woman who attracted attention all night,
then came to Bernie with a smile, to quote John D. Rockefeller at him: "the growth of a large business is survival of the fittest". smile. ambiguous, right? then:

"natural selection has brought its judgment on you, sir"

yeah, i don't know. But: I'd have to disagree with you about the Inquisition. Feels to me more like Last Judgment days, or it could be, if we keep focused. But i'm of an apocalyptic mindset, i'm discovering. Blame Monte Canfield and Bill Beck. I'm getting an education.

Rated, JME

Best, Jim
Bryan Harrison meet James Emmerling -- That's all there is, the end is near, let's break out the booze and have a ball
Christian -- Speaking of dead stars, as I said, it looks like Bernie is trying to execute the Ken Lay exit strategy