...Buffett’s sermon coincided with the public soul searching of another national sage, Elie Wiesel, who joined a Portfolio magazine panel discussion on Bernie Madoff. Some $37 million of Wiesel’s charitable foundation and personal wealth vanished in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. “We gave him everything,” Wiesel told the audience. “We thought he was God.”You really need to read the whole bitterly incisive op-ed piece here.
How did reality become so warped that Wiesel, let alone thousands of lesser mortals, could mistake Madoff for God? It was this crook’s ability to pass for a deity that allowed his fraud to escape scrutiny not just from his victims but from the S.E.C. and the “money managers” who pimped his wares. This aura of godliness also shielded the “legal” Madoffs at firms like Citibank and Goldman Sachs. They spread V.D. with esoteric derivatives, then hedged their wild gambles with A.I.G. “insurance” (credit-default swaps) that proved to be the most porous prophylactics in the history of finance...
Frank Rich in the Times is on the top of his game this week. He gives us a script summary for America for the next eight years: We need to restore America's values after the long orgy of vulgar materialism. In the course of Rich's sermon he mentions the newly impoverished nobel laureate Elie Wiesel,