The DFW Desi, Vol. 189: Ponzi Scheme Worldwide | The Shoe Thrower






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vol. 189, Dec. 20, 2008

reflections from self…

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So you thought corruption only happened in third world countries…You thought con operations only happened to stupid people and suckers…pirates were only in comics, and people did not have guts to throw shoes at the leader of the free world…

Events over the last two weeks have shown that corruption and swindling can happen in a country like America, at the level of billions of dollars, all the way from the Governors and the elite down…pirates exist today, and shoe-throwers can become heroes…

As I always say, we live in interesting times…


so what’s new?

The Scandals.

Over in Southeast Asia, in a sign that India is moving on, while evaluating its options, the Taj and Trident hotels will reopen on Sunday, less than a month after the terrorist siege: “The hotel will have large baggage scanners. Every piece of hand baggage will be checked, metal detectors will be in place at every entrance and there will be an identity check. However, these surveillance and security measures will be as “unobtrusive as possible”

Sources say that India may conduct “Precision Strikes” against selected targets inside Pakistan – but some analysts feel that India will not provoke a full-scale war. According to the Indian Foreign Minister:The repeated appeals that we have made to our neighbors over the years to ensure that they do not provide any support to terrorist activities and dismantle the terrorist infrastructure have been ignored, despite assurances given by them. If a country cannot keep the assurances that it has given, then it obliges us to consider the entire range of options that exist, to protect our interests and our people from this menace,” he said, adding that the internal security situation in Pakistan continued to deteriorate”.

On the literary front, debates have been raging among the intellectuals around the attacks, with names like Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie providing fodder for the mill. Terms like “self-loathing” and “cynical duplicity” are being thrown around, and a e-petition to arrest Ms. Roy is making the rounds.

And on the sports front, the Indian Cricket tour of Pakistan in January has been cancelled.

Closer to home, Hillary returns, Caroline Kennedy is being launched, and the largest worldwide Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff is unearthed. “As news that Madoff’s high-flying money management business apparently was nothing more than a Ponzi scheme made its way around the Street, the near-universal reaction was utter disbelief. Not disbelief that someone could brazenly rip off innocent investors; nobody in the financial community is capable of being shocked by that anymore. And not even disbelief at the scope of the crime, though at an estimated $50 billion, Madoff’s definitely would be a scam for the record books.

No, the reason so many Wall Street players couldn’t believe their ears was they couldn’t accept that Bernie Madoff, of all people, would have pulled something like this. “Not Bernie!” was a typical refrain.

Madoff was always one of the “good guys” in the dicey financial world, someone who championed the interests of the small investor. His career on Wall Street famously began with $5,000 he saved from his job as a lifeguard in Brooklyn…”

Till next time…

The DFW Desi

The DFW Desi is a free, independent newsletter published to share current news, views and events pertaining to the South Asian American community – over 17,000 strong and growing!

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in this issue

1. History, dissent cloud Pakistan’s Mumbai reaction

2. Madoff Scheme Kept Rippling Outward, Across Borders

3. In Iraqi’s Shoe-Hurling Protest, Arabs Find a Hero. (It’s Not Bush.)



1. History, dissent cloud Pakistan’s Mumbai reaction

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — The black-and-white flag of Jamaat-ud-Dawa still flutters over a relief camp for survivors of an earthquake that hit a remote corner of Pakistan in October.

But bearded medics who work with the group had vanished from the huddle of tents and mud huts when a half-dozen police showed up to close the operation following allegations the charity was linked to militants blamed for the deadly Mumbai attacks in India.

How Pakistan deals with the Islamic group — popular among many for its aid to the needy — is a key test of its pledge to help investigate the Mumbai tragedy and, more broadly, to prevent militants from using its soil to attack both India and Afghanistan.

The U.S. and the U.N. say Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group India says trained and sent the gunmen who attacked India’s commercial capital last month, killing 164 people and straining what had been improved relations between the countries.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has been an unofficial ally of the Pakistan army in Kashmir, a disputed territory claimed by both India and Pakistan.

Some believe the moment has come for Pakistan, which also backed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, to make clear it has abandoned a shadowy policy of using militant proxies as a foreign policy tool.

The country stands before a “moment of change in people’s attitudes and thinking” toward militants, Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday in Islamabad.

Pakistan must see that Lashkar-e-Taiba has “morphed into a more al-Qaida-esque and radicalized entity” that is damaging the country’s interests, said Kerry, incoming chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Click here for the complete article.


Silk Threads

2. Madoff Scheme Kept Rippling Outward, Across Borders


By the end, the world itself was too small to support the vast Ponzi scheme constructed by Bernard L. Madoff.

Initially, he tapped local money pulled in from country clubs and charity dinners, where investors sought him out to casually plead with him to manage their savings so they could start reaping the steady, solid returns their envied friends were getting.

Then, he and his promoters set sights on Europe, again framing the investments as memberships in a select club. A Swiss hedge fund manager, Michel Dominicé, still remembers the pitch he got a few years ago from a salesman in Geneva. “He told me the fund was closed, that it was something I couldn’t buy,” Mr. Dominicé said. “But he told me he might have a way to get me in. It was weird.”

Mr. Madoff’s agents next cut a cash-gathering swath through the Persian Gulf, then Southeast Asia. Finally, they were hurtling with undignified speed toward China, with invitations to invest that were more desperate, less exclusive. One Beijing businessman who was approached said it seemed the Madoff funds were being pitched “to anyone who would listen.”

The juggernaut began to sputter this fall as investors, rattled by the financial crisis and reaching for cash, started taking money out faster than Mr. Madoff could bring fresh cash in the door. He was arrested on Dec. 11 at his Manhattan apartment and charged with securities fraud, turned in the night before by his sons after he told them his entire business was “a giant Ponzi scheme.”

Please click here for the complete article.

3. In Iraqi’s Shoe-Hurling Protest, Arabs Find a Hero. (It’s Not Bush.)


BAGHDAD — Calling someone the “son of a shoe” is one of the worst insults in Iraq. But the lowly shoe and the Iraqi who threw both of his at President Bush, with widely admired aim, were embraced around the Arab world on Monday as symbols of rage at a still unpopular war.

In Saudi Arabia, a newspaper reported that a man had offered $10 million to buy just one of what has almost certainly become the world’s most famous pair of black dress shoes.

A daughter of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, reportedly awarded the shoe thrower, Muntader al-Zaidi, a 29-year-old journalist, a medal of courage.

In the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, people calling for an immediate American withdrawal removed their footwear and placed the shoes and sandals at the end of long poles, waving them high in the air. And in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, people threw their shoes at a passing American convoy.

In street-corner conversations, on television and in Internet chat rooms, the subject of shoes was inescapable throughout much of the Middle East on Monday, as was the defiant act that inspired the interest: a huge and spontaneous eruption of anger at President Bush on Sunday in his final visit here. Some deplored Mr. Zaidi’s act as a breach of respect or of traditional Arab hospitality toward guests, even if they shared the sentiment. (Mr. Bush, having demonstrated his quick reflexes, then brushed it off as an expression of democracy.)

“Although that action was not expressed in a civilized manner, it showed the Iraqi feelings, which is to object to the American occupation,” said Qutaiba Rajaa, a 58-year-old physician in Samarra, a Sunni stronghold north of Baghdad.

For the complete article, please click here



Featured Non-Profit

A new section in this newsletter, providing exposure to deserving South Asian Non-Profits. Suggestions welcome

During the unprecedented attack on Mumbai between November 26 to 29, 2008, many people from the security forces, the police, fire service, hotel employees, guests of the Taj and general public were killed or wounded. In the aftermath of this terror attack, the Taj group has witnessed an outpouring of emotional support from well-wishers in India and across the globe, both for the restoration of the hotel and to offer relief for those affected by the attack. In response to this, the Taj group has set up a public service welfare trust fund named Taj Public Service Welfare Trust (TPS Welfare Trust).”

Phone: +91-22-6639 5515
Fax: +91-22-2202 7442



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