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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. 25, 2008 / 28 Kislev 5769

Bernard Madoff — The Rule or the Exception?

By Larry Elder


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Add the name Bernard Madoff to the pantheon of big-time thieves. The legendary billionaire hedge fund manager, "the man with the Midas touch," now stands accused of running a massive Ponzi scheme, perhaps the largest in history. Year after year, his investors — somehow, someway, in good times and bad — received a consistent, steady return on their investments. If the accusations against him hold up, Madoff's modus operandi would have embarrassed Carlo Ponzi.


Ponzi, in the early 1900s, defrauded investors by paying out money to old investors — not through legitimate earnings, but through the entry money of new suckers. The music, of course, stopped — as it always does — and the "investments" collapsed, leaving a bunch of people angry and broke.


To many, the Madoffs of the world confirm this "truism": the rich get rich not through hard work, risk-taking or crafty assumptions about the future. No, the rich get rich the old fashioned way: They steal. They profit through inside information, use their clubby network of eyes and ears, get a heads-up when storm clouds appear, and plunder the unsophisticated, and thus cleverly dodge the common misfortunes suffered by the "little guy."


But the overwhelming majority of the soon-to-be-a-lot-less-than-super-rich people did not deal with Madoff. They lost a lot of money while the guardian angels perched on their shoulders let it happen.


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Consider the declining fortunes of some of these immune-from-disaster elites:


Indian brothers Anil and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Capital lost a combined $60.7 billion. Anil dropped $32.5 billion — perhaps making him, worldwide, the biggest loser in today's downturn.


Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel — whose $50 billion net worth last year made him the richest man in India and the fourth-richest in the world — has lost $30.5 billion, sending his net worth plummeting down to about $20 billion.


Sumner Redstone is CEO of National Amusements, one of the largest entertainment conglomerates, which owns Viacom, CBS and all their subsidiaries, among others. His net worth — so far — has declined by more than 80 percent. Forbes, three months ago, placed his net worth at more than $5 billion. Facing a margin call (lenders wanting their money back), Redstone unloaded, fire-sale-like, hundreds of millions in stock to pay it off.


The Google guys, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, are down $12.1 billion this year — nearly half their net worth.


Forbes magazine, in 2006, called Las Vegas casino and real estate mogul Sheldon Adelson the third-richest person in the country. He has lost $30 billion, perhaps the largest loss on paper in the history of the United States — and this includes John D. Rockefeller's adjusted-for-inflation Great Depression losses.


Eddie Lampert of ESL Investments is sometimes called the "next Warren Buffett." But the Sears Holdings chairman has lost, so far, on paper, $5 billion.


And speaking of the still-gazillionaire Warren Buffett, even he's down $13.6 billion on paper, and thus forced to scrape by with only $48 billion.


No one's passing a hat for any of these people. They're still rich. But this shows that even smart guys' money can go south, Antarctica-like south.


The that-guy's-a-crook headlines aside, most rich folks do it the hard way. They get up early, bust their tails, and work harder than their subordinates. They treat their staff, employees and co-workers with respect. In return, employees enjoy their work, remain loyal and work hard for a boss who shows his appreciation. Decades of work later, the boss suddenly wakes up rich.


The rich consider their success primarily a combination of hard and persistent work. But most are humble enough also to recognize the role of luck — lucky to operate in a place that values free enterprise and risk-taking, with a stable government and an orderly transition of power.


They subscribe to the adage that "the harder I work the luckier I get," without discounting the role of luck, chance and happenstance. But above all — unlike the Madoffs of the world — most successful people value and practice honesty.


Ephraim Diamond, one of North America's largest real estate developers, recently died. A former electrical engineer, this Canadian real estate czar came from a poor immigrant family. He co-founded and ran a wildly successful company called Cadillac Fairview. Business associates, friends and co-workers spoke about him with reverence. One of the company's senior directors said he "reeked of integrity."


Diamond once said, "If scoundrels were aware of the benefits of being honest, they would be honest out of pure rascality."

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.

JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR)

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