beautiful people rule the world
but are they doing a good job?
A math whiz discovers that Madoff's returns are literally impossible in 1999. He tries to blow the whistle to the SEC in 2001, but he's just too nerdy for anyone to give him the time of day. He contacted journalists and politicians. Even now, after being vindicated, the kewl kids still can't find anything nice to say about him.
Harry Markopolos, the man who tried for years to blow the whistle on mega-fraudster Bernie Madoff, has published a book about his 10-year crusade to unmask the financier's Ponzi scheme. The appropriately-titled No one would Listen tells how Markopolos first surmised the incredible truth - that the well-known and respected Madoff had been carrying out the biggest fraud of all time for decades - as far back as 1999. Markopolos is an almost-comic figure: a voluble, self-confessed maths nerd who for many years, while he struggled to have Madoff denounced, looked under his car every morning in case it was booby-trapped and carried a Smith & Wesson revolver.
...Markopolos was a 'quantitative financial specialist' for a Boston firm when, in the late 1990s, he was asked to work out a way to produce the same spectacular – and remarkably consistent - returns as Madoff. It took him only a few months to come to the utterly logical deduction that Madoff's results seemed impossible because they were impossible.
...Another factor [in his being ignored - ed.] may have been Markoplos's personality. While some in the US have hailed him a hero, he has also been painted as an obsessive and a self-publicist. Last month, John Coffee, securities law professor at Columbia Law School told the Wall Street Journal Markopolos was "an emotionally unstable idiot savant", adding: "He was right but that does not mean he will be right again."
But Markopolos has earned many fans: it has been proposed he should become the new head of the SEC, the organisation which resisted his approaches for so long. The Wall Street Journal, which sat on a dossier about Madoff provide by Markopolos for two years without using it, recently dismissed this idea with more than a trace of hauteur: "This is a crazy idea for a lot of reasons."
In the UK, a shopowner is pinned down and her shop cleaned out stock worth £30,000, by bailiffs, over a debt of £193. She calls the police but they help the bailiffs and shake hands when it's over.
Today, a News of the World investigation reveals that Britain's bailiff industry - long criticised for its practices - is hitting struggling small businesses harder than ever before.
We can reveal some bailiffs have:
DOUBLED the charges they levy to up to £1,000 for a single visit;BUMPED UP fees with unexplained charges;And STRIPPED victims of goods worth far more than they owe, even CLEARING OUT entire homes or stores.Yet while complaints against them have soared, the Government has failed to act. Campaigners claim that's because the vast majority of bailiffs' work is collecting debts for the Government - through arrears on such as council tax, business rate, and child maintenance. Consumer groups are being bombarded with claims of rogue bailiffs threatening victims, tricking their way into their home or premises, and forcing them to hand over huge sums.
Rina admits she fell into debt, running up a £626.55 advertising bill. She says a court reduced that by £350, and let her pay at £50 a month. She fell behind but believed she owed just £193 when bailiffs arrived demanding £1,800. A string of extra charges were added to the bill - as is legally allowed - including judgment costs of £497, execution costs of £101.75, and officers' fees of £769.42.
One of the comments: "She owed the money and didnt pay it. She got everything she deserved." Various other people made comments vehemently defending the bailiffs, justifying the egregious behavior because they believe that people who fall into debt are slackers who maliciously create a burden on everyone else.
In Sweden, a 14 year old girl accused a boy of raping her in the school bathroom. People began to question the girl's account, but the boy confessed and physical evidence backed her up. Still the town persisted in a campaign against the girl, literally hounding her and her family out of town.
Despite the clear convictions passed down by the courts, the campaign against Linnea continued with pupils at the school even going out on strike in support of the popular boy. SVT reported that Oskar's brother began to maintain a blog on the case and almost 2,000 signed a petition to have the conviction overturned. Bjästa is home to 1,800 people. Oskar's mother launched a further Facebook group to argue for Linnea's 'guilt', soon attracting 4,000 members, many of whom arguing that the 14-year-old should be ashamed of herself.
But despite the fact that Linnea's story remained consistent throughout, was identical to Oskar's confession, and despite the upheld conviction, the rumours persisted at the school and in the community. The situation ultimately became unsustainable for Linnea and her family, and she was forced to move 500 kilometres to a new school, a long way from the Örnsköldsvik community that she had grown up in.
Furthermore when the end of the school term arrived, three months later, Oskar was allowed to attend an awards ceremony in the local church service with the consent of the pastor, despite no longer attending Bjälsta school, and despite having a restraining order against him to stay away from Linnea. The service ended in a vocal public demonstration in support of the 15-year-old. Film footage from the service posted by Oskar's mother on the internet, broadcast in the SVT programme, showed him passing out flowers to his former schoolmates and receiving applause and hugs in return.
The film was used as part of the campaign orchestrated by the boy's family to "free Oskar", SVT reports.
...Later that day, Oskar joined up with the his schoolmates to celebrate the end of term at a nearby beach. During the evening the boy raped a further 17-year-old girl, Jennifer.
...But support for Oskar remained strong in the Bjästa community despite the second rape conviction.^^^^^^^
The campaign continued with Jennifer now taking Linnea's place at the centre of the community's ire and suspicions. Comments on the Facebook page, blog and other internet sites, which had collected 4,000 members, became more and more accusatory against the girls.
Many of the comments and threats directed at the girls were made openly by people unconcerned with hiding their identities, according to SVT.
The programme reported that not one single adult at Bjästa school took a stand against either Oskar or the campaign or rumours that spread around the small community - neither before nor after the court convictions.
Petty. Vicious. Cowardly.
Evil is a point of view. ~ Anne Rice