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Friday, January 4, 2013

Betting the Farm

"Sandy Lewis was neither going bankrupt nor lacking for food, for he was a banker - or at least he had been a banker.  Banking was in his blood...  It was the 1980s, and one of Ivan Boesky's insider-trading pals had fingered Lewis in one of the multitude of insider-trading scams that capped a decade of Wall Street glamour and profits.  Faced with fifteen years behind bars, Lewis pleaded guilty and walked away with three years' probation.

"It may come as no surprise that the Lewis family possessed a number of influential friends, and on President Bill Clinton's last day in office, Lewis received a presidential pardon.  It was around this time that he decided to become a turnip eater.  The ex-banker sunk what must have been a fair bit of his fortune into twelve hundred acres in New York State just west of Lake Champlain, and as we sat on rocking chairs and drank coffee on his front porch one late summer morning, he told me about the impending economic collapse of the Western world.  'No matter what you do, it won't make a difference,' he said.  'We have finally reached the breaking point."

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