Anyone care to compare the convictions and consequences meted out to Martha Stewart and Bernard Ebbers?
Perhaps our ideal of blind justice is too influenced by faulty notions of human potential for objectivity. In light of this, how might we reform the justice system to take into account and best absorb the insecurities, inadequacies, and inconsistencies of people with a million different “story-agendas?”
My understanding of the situation is this:
Marhta was sentenced for using insider information to know when to pull her stock out of a failing company. Her actions affected mainly herself (debatatable)
Ebbers was president of a company that intentionally cooked the books in order to fatten up the portfolio of all of the “Martha’s” holding the stock. He would have been the guy who told Martha to pull her stock (different companies, yes, but this is just an example). The result of his actions was 20,000+ people loosing thier jobs, pensions, everything.
I think justice was doing her job in this situation…now, I could be missing the whole point of your questions, but heck, it won’t be the first or last time I do that…
Just for starters, WorldCom was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. corporate history, brought down by massive accounting fraud. Ebbers was the CEO, and by finding him guilty, the jury is sending a message that top management well be held accountable for what occurs on their watch. Interestingly, there is a survey on the Wall Street Journal website which asks “Do you agree with the verdict in the Ebbers trial?” Of nearly 14,000 people responding (presumably a business-friendly sample), 92% said yes. As for Martha, whatever you think of her, you have to admire the way she rehabilitated her own image by taking up the cause of advocating for better treatment of women in prison.
Sorry, everyone. At the time I posted this, I hadn’t read the news article carefully. I saw that Ebbers had left court on his own, and didn’t notice that he hadn’t been sentenced yet. It looked (to my superficial gaze) as though he was walking away after being found guilty of massive fraud, where Martha was sent up the river for lying about a personal financial maneuver; I was startled by the disparity in outcomes. It looked to me as though Martha Stewart had been treated less gently than Ebbers, and that irritated me.
But all that’s not to the point, since Ebbers hasn’t even been sentenced yet. The proportion will be worth watching, though.
Someone did the numbers on this and if Martha had to do six months for her hundreds of thousands, Ebbers deserves centuries or millenia or something for his billions of dollars worth of malfeasance.
The fact that the wheels of justice have turned this slowly in the Ebbers and Lay cases is itself disheartening.
Meanwhile, all the bandwidth wasted on the psychopaths and alleged psychopaths in the California murder and molestation market is also mind-numbing.
We’ve progressed from the good old days of public hangings and floggings and such, but just barely.
The wheels of justice should provide for public hangings of people like Ebbers. That would clean up the actions of greedy corporate types.
Martha cheated and lost a bundle of money in doing so. Ebbers cheated and caused thousands of others to loose their life savings and retirements.
I look forward to the sentencing.
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