Monday, January 7, 2019

Revisited: The Devil’s in the Details (DS)

7 January 2019

The Devil’s in the Details (DS)” was originally posted on March 16, 2009, almost 10 years ago, when the secret world of exclusive investing for the uber-wealthy had a spotlight cast upon its dark side.

The inspiration behind this Dream Sequence was the Bernie Madoff scandal, for obvious reasons, and because it encompassed so much more than the bottom falling out of an aristocratic pyramid scheme.

On the surface, we saw a high profile money manager convicted of staging an elitist “invitation only” Ponzi scheme, replete with a double set of books and unnatural rates of return. Beneath the surface, we were offered a glimpse into the upper level psyche of narcissism and greed, replete with double-standard deceptions and psychopathic programming.

So how close to reality were we?

The implosion of Bernie Madoff’s notorious operation was clearly a sign of the times. Just ask Lehman Brothers and Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide Financial. Madoff seemed to be merely a micro within the macro - a micro reflection of how the macro has been running things behind a myriad of micro frontmen for eons.

After decades of profitable manipulation, it’s possible that Bernie could have simply succumbed to the consequences of his greed and the insurmountable task of trying to polish a turd trapped in the sphincter of the 2008 great depression. It could be just as possible that Bernie was chosen in advance to be the scapegoat for this particular market down cycle, not unlike a sacrificial lamb offered up to appease the programmed demands for social justice from the sleeping masses.

The greatest irony of all in this bait-and-switch is that some of Madoff’s highest profile investors were the very nameless ones who picked him to run Their lucrative gains game in the first place. He couldn’t have done it and gotten away with it for as long as he did without this covert backing from beyond the highest levels.

By sacrificing Bernie as the face of greed - thereby permanently removing him from the game board – They made it possible to protect Their anonymity as the game moved onto another board already established behind another group of frontmen.

This strategy could only work as long as Bernie kept his mouth shut.

The very fact that Bernie Madoff is still alive in prison today is a testament to his ability to maintain complete silence, even in the face of losing his wife to divorce and the death of both of his sons, leaving him quite alone and friendless.

It would also stand to reason that the secret second set of books the authorities presumably used to convict Bernie and attempt to remediate investor losses was in all likelihood not fully accurate, at least when it came to the naming of those who were to remain nameless. 

What we really want to know now is with whom did Bernie do the dark deal when he began his lucrative enterprise in the 1960s? And was his sacrificial downfall his reminder that privilege comes with a price and 2008 was his time to pay the dealmaker for privileges rendered and favors granted? 

Which brings us to the deeper question going forward: When it comes to the business of the devil being in the details, it’s been said that few can hold a candle to the Nazis and their anal-retentive demand for detailed record keeping. Historians have even suggested that the real power in Nazi Germany was held by the administrative clerks for it was their meticulous recording of every detail that made many of the post-war criminal prosecutions possible. 

We would venture to guess that little has changed in the bookkeeping practices of the post-war continuation of the Third Reich, known to many as the Fourth Reich. Could it be that history is about to repeat, or perhaps reveal, itself? 
© Copyright by Artist, KAd Collins. Tails of Darkness. 
"What I was chasing in circles must have been the tail of darkness inside of me."
Haruki Murakani

The Devil’s in the Details (DS) 
We had a dream……and in that dream we saw Bernie (see definition below) stretched out on his bunk after suiting up in the standard issue baggy brown uniform of his new Metropolitan Correctional Center home. His arms were folded beneath his head as he stared blankly at the empty mattress resting on the bunk above him, barely two feet from his face. He was waiting for the cell doors to release for the Center's pre-dawn breakfast call, and the start of a new day on the inside.

Unquestionably, Bernie’s current situation was a far cry indeed from the $7 million Upper East Side penthouse apartment he’d been accustomed to. Lifestyle adjustments needed to be made, especially since his new home work detail assigned him to Biffy Patrol.

In our dream, we could see confusion ripple across Bernie’s face when the prison Custodial Super slapped a large rolling mop bucket and toilet brush into his hands. Without expression, Bernie walked into the janitor’s closet to collect whatever else he thought he might need to properly clean something he’d never cleaned before in his life.

Bernie was clearly ignorant to the world of cleaning products, and before anyone would even suspect what he was unwittingly capable of that day in the janitor’s closet, he’d whipped up a chlorine bleach-ammonia cleaning concoction which rapidly created a noxious gas that overpowered and expeditiously knocked him to the floor, thus ending his physical life here on Earth.

Bernie briefly lay unconscious before the ethereal lights began to flicker as his life force separated from the 70 year old body with finality. Out of nowhere appeared Charles Ponzi, Bernie’s personal escort and Angel of Death, with outstretched hand.

Ponzi ushered Bernie through a misty elevator door and pressed the button going “down.” Bernie would now be answering to a new overlord, the Prince of Darkness, in a personal hell of his own creation. Mr. D (as the Prince liked to be called) had a friendly chat with Bernie as they walked down a deep corridor lined with doors on both sides. Every door they passed was numbered “666.”

When Mr. D finally stopped at the door numbered “666” belonging to Bernie, he opened it and extended his arm in a welcoming gesture of entry. Bernie’s mind swirled with déjà vu’ as he found himself walking right back into the very 7-1/2’ x 8’ janitor’s closet he’d just died in. His new work detail would keep him busy for an eternity for he was to spend it counting out $65 billion dollars, one penny at a time.

And then we woke up and realized that the IRS has collected tax revenue for decades from Bernie’s investor clients based upon illusionary gains reported for investments they never even had. We suspect hell will need to freeze over before the IRS offers to give any of that revenue back.

But what we really want to know is which one of Bernie’s little helpers will be the next to follow his lead?

BERNIE defined: Bernard L. Madoff:

Chairman and Founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, 1960. Arrested on December 11, 2008 and sentenced to 150 years of quiet meditation, Bernie currently (2009) awaits his formal induction into the Ponzi Hall of Fame. AKA: the Jewish Treasury Bill and the new face of Greed. He was formerly a philanthropist, a regular family man about town, and a prominent leader in the financial services industry who gave everyone he was screwing the big KISS (keep it simple, stupid) of financial, and sometimes literal, death.

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