Madoff: Remorse, Judge: Exceptionally Evil

NYT reports that your favorite scam artist and mine, Bernie Madoff, has been given the maximum sentence for his gigantic ponzi scheme that left many broke, did irreparable damage to Jewish non-profits and gave immense amounts of ammo to “Jews control the money” variety anti-Semites.

Mr. Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years in prison, despite claiming remorse. The Judge responded, in turn, deeming Madoff’s crimes “exceptionally evil.” A fair characterization in my opinion.

Of himself, Madoff said: “I live in a tormented state now, knowing all of the pain and suffering that I’ve created. I’ve left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren.” Something tells me this was probably too little, too late.

By most, Mr. Madoff’s name will one day be forgotten, probably long before he dies behind bars for the 20 years of fraud perpetrated in the name of greed. Yet, this case highlights so much of what is wrong in the culture of money-making. One man lies, hundreds suffer, and the entire financial industries trembles. Amazing.

While many of the victims of Madoff’s crimes were famous, wealthy people, the saddest victims are clearly the individuals who went from riches to rags, over night, and perhaps more so the non-profits who lost so much and will struggle for years to recover from this loss.

16 Responses to “Madoff: Remorse, Judge: Exceptionally Evil”

  1. “the saddest victims are clearly the individuals who went from riches to rags, over night, and perhaps more so the non-profits who lost so much and will struggle for years to recover from this loss.”

    … and perhaps more so the working and middle class people who worked at those non-profits and lost their jobs.

    feygele · June 29th, 2009 at 12:33 pm
  2. “Yet, this case highlights so much of what is wrong in the culture of money-making.”

    Culture of money-making? Do you mean capitalism — the culture of incentive, industriousness, invention, and innovation? Yeah, capitalism is so wrong. We’d all be better of if our economy was based on the principles of the rainbow gathering.

    HS · June 29th, 2009 at 10:02 pm
  3. HS-
    let me tell you two stories about rainbow gatherings. the first involves a young man who misplaced his shoes, he announced at the nightly community circle that he lost his shoes and if anyone could help he explained where his tent was located. when he got back to his tent there was a mountain of shoes taller than his tent. the second involves a young man who decided to be a dick and steal someones blanket full of goods from the trade circle. he ran in, grabbed it up, and took off. a group of men chased him down, and when they captured him and took away the stolen goods, everyone sat in a circle holding hands, repeated “ohm” about 7 or 8 times til the thief was crying and completely repentant. so, yes, we’d all be better off if our economy was based on the principles of the rainbow gathering rather than cut-throat classist warfare.

    Justin · June 29th, 2009 at 11:16 pm
  4. Justin,

    “we’d all be better off if our economy was based on the principles of the rainbow gathering rather than cut-throat classist warfare.”

    Wow. I did really like modern technology, medical science, and other marvels of the industrialized world, but now I’m sold. Why don’t you eschew the spoils capitalism? That would include the computer you’re using and all your other creature comforts. I believe rainbow gatherings occur year-round. You could probably grab your blanket and join right now. I’ll follow your lead. Let’s not take a car or bus there though, since they were begotten but cut-throat capitalists, and we’d all be better off without that shit!

    Lori · June 30th, 2009 at 9:43 am
  5. What I like about Justin’s comment (in my mind, it won an unofficial best comment award), was that it showed there are virtues to other systems, and said it in a tongue-in-cheek way.

    Just because folks might be opposed to cut-throat capitalism, doesn’t mean they eschew capitalism in totality. Nor does wanting capitalist reform mean we’re anti-technology.

    For example: Part of the current economic woes are due to the fact that the big banking firms (including those that crumbled, and those that received bailouts from the US government) pay their employees, and determine bonuses, based on annual net gain. There is no incentive in the current US banking system to encourage long term savings and budgeting. If the pay system were changed, the Wall Street types wouldn’t be so willing to steal and cheat to “earn” their giant bonuses, the money they’re trading would be real, and loans and finance deals would be more transparent.

    Wanting to see reformation do not mean I’m anti-capitalism, just that I want our society to be able to protect and include everyone, regardless of their income level.

    feygele · June 30th, 2009 at 12:37 pm
  6. Feygele,

    If Justin had expressed that viewpoint, I MAY not have cringed and felt compelled to take him to task. He didn’t though. He wrote this:

    “we’d all be better off if our economy was based on the principles of the rainbow gathering rather than cut-throat classist warfare.”

    Pretty silly.

    Lori · June 30th, 2009 at 12:51 pm
  7. and well, since water has been packaged, labeled and marketed i better stop drinking water too since i’m an anti-capitalist… can’t wait til they start selling us fresh air, too!

    Justin · June 30th, 2009 at 12:54 pm
  8. hmm… lori, I’m not sure it’s so silly. capitalism is not responsible for the technology you’ve mentioned. it is responsible for the advertising for the technology, for the unfair distribution of the technology, and also for the abuses in the developing world that allowed for it to be produced so cheaply. you sure did take me to task for my silly way of thinking. i’m glad that you’re defending war profiteering, sweatshop labor, people markets and all the other beauties of the world that capitalism has brought us. because, well, we all know it is an inalienable right of all humanity to steal from the poor to make ones self richer. yup, that’s a good way to be in the world. and, also, it’s very productive and positive to disavow all other ways of thinking communally, collectively and sustainably as silly. yup. i think it’s silly to want to feed everyone. take me to task again, please.

    Justin · June 30th, 2009 at 1:04 pm
  9. Learned a lot about the world going to those rainbow gatherings, eh?

    You think capitalism is responsible for all those things? Divest. Otherwise, please stop this hippy babble.

    Lori · June 30th, 2009 at 1:48 pm
  10. As an economics and business grad, I have to clear up something:

    “Capitalism” means private ownership, that’s all. I have a shoe, it’s mine, I can sell it to someone else.

    So indeed, HS and Lori are partially right that capitalism is responsible for all the products and services we’ve created in America because that’s the system through which individuals can band together and go big.

    Justin is describing the liberal economic policies that have allowed companies to exploit workers, produce dangerous products, lay waste to the environment, and all the other things he’s mentioned with impunity.

    Private ownership is not (expressly) under attack in Justin’s post, but an unchecked system of corporate greed and piss-poor public consciousness of forcing businesses to internalize their social costs *definitely* is. Which I totally agree.

    Kung Fu Jew · June 30th, 2009 at 3:18 pm
  11. KFJ, you’re silly. I’m actually describing hippy babble.

    Justin · June 30th, 2009 at 3:23 pm
  12. Kung Fu Jew,

    I’m both myself (Lori) and HS. Two different computers. Sorry for any confusion.

    Lori · June 30th, 2009 at 5:02 pm
  13. Aw, I was excited to talk economics again. It’s been a while since undergrad.

    Kung Fu Jew · June 30th, 2009 at 5:02 pm
  14. Justin– aside from the economy debate…

    Your two stories made my day. Thank you.

    Yeilah · June 30th, 2009 at 5:45 pm
  15. Here’s my question: If he hadn’t bilked any rich people, would he have gotten such a harsh sentence? IS he really so evil that he should get a longer sentence than most murderers? I don’t like the guy, and he should be punished, but, would it be more useful if he had to work for a living doing manual labor and see what it’s like to never earn anything no matter how hard you work? Or better yet, to work and have all his money go to some kind of fund to help people who lost everything because of his nonsense?
    And finally, what if he really has done tshuvah; what then?
    Dunno the answers, just thinking about it….

    KRG · July 1st, 2009 at 9:07 am
  16. KRG, I was thinking about that last night, too. Here’s what i came up with. a) most prisons in the industrial prison complex do enforce hard labor of some sort or another–i’m not sure he’s not going to rich person’s prison, but if he’s going to your run of the mill prison complex, he’ll be working. b) some of his money is being dispersed to those whom he stole it from, hopefully those who lost everything more than those were were and still are wealthy. c) do we really want to keep putting money in funds? d) had he defrauded one person for twenty years, or had he defrauded hundreds for one year, i don’t think he would have landed 150 years–i think this was a compounding of multiple repeat offenses of the same charge. Had he murdered many people, he would have commuted numerous sentences. so i’m not positive the sentence is harsher than that given to murderers, it depends on the context and nature of the murder i presume. e) for better or worse, the american (un)justice system does not accord for tshuvah until after some of a prison sentence has been served.

    Justin · July 1st, 2009 at 10:29 am

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"I may attack a certain point of view which I consider false, but I will never attack a person who preaches it. I have always a high regard for the individual who is honest and moral, even when I am not in agreement with him. Such a relation is in accord with the concept of kavod habriyot, for beloved is man for he is created in the image of God." —Rav Joseph Soloveitchik