Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Madoff's Ponzi Scheme, Laptops, Nipple Rings, and the War on Terror

Looks like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been getting " 'credible and specific allegations regarding Mr. Madoff's financial wrongdoing,' " since at least 1999, that Bernard Madoff has been ripping people off. Big time.

The SEC investigated, sort of. Essentially, they asked Mr. Madoff and his staff is he was a crook, and they all said, 'no.' Case closed.

Madoff's Swindle and the War on Terror

I see Madoff's "alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme" as connected to the War on Terror in two ways.
  1. Redirecting $50,000,000,000 from productive citizens to a crook can't be good for the national economy
  2. The SEC's monumental screw-up seems to be another example of American sloppiness - which we can no longer afford

Hurting People, Damaging America's Economy

The American GDP is roughly $13,800,000,000,000. Mr. Madoff's swindle is less that one-half of one percent of that (Around 0.004%). Although his 'alleged' actions have had a devastating impact on his victims, it's not that big a slice of America's pie.

Still, I don't think he's done the country any direct good.

And, there's a chance that Mr. Madoff's swindle will make people less willing to invest - which could have a wider impact.

America Has Gotten Sloppy

I've written before about American sloppiness. Or, to be a bit kinder, lack of attention to detail, procedure, and common sense: from misplaced laptops to protecting air travelers from nipple rings.

To be fair, it's not just America. Israeli security guards made a member of an American dance troupe, Abdur-Rahim Jackson, perform before they'd let him into Israel. He had an Arab name, you see. Never mind the other members of the troupe, and the documentation: they had to see the black man dance.

There's a War on, People!

I think that too many Americans don't realize that the War on Terror is a real war. There are people who sincerely and earnestly want to kill those who don't believe what they do. And they'll succeed, if we don't get our eyes off the nipple rings, and on to the real threats.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.