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10/21/2004 Archived Entry: "Martha Stewart musings"
I am among the throng who believes Martha Stewart was 100% railroaded by government officials desperate to make an oh-so public example of a prominent, wealthy person who was *not!* going to get away with making a bundle on the stock market. They wanted the average Joe and Jane who'd lost their retirement funds as the economy sagged to know who/what to blame: not government policies (e.g. inflation due to a white-hot printing press at the Treasury) of course. No, the culprit was Martha Stewart and, the feds vowed, 'a pound of her flesh will be delivered as publicly as possible.' Part of the bread and circus strategy. As the Save Martha site states, "Martha Stewart was being made an example of, seemingly to wash away the sins of Enron and Worldcom and so many other corporate scandals that had wiped out peoples' investments."
Personally, I don't much like Stewart...she is far too perfect, and too in-your-face about her perfection. I happen to be the best cook I've ever encountered because -- next to playing with Brad and playing with words -- I love to cook, bake, pickle, preserve... You name it. If it grows or grazes, I can tame it. And I don't appreciate the fact that Stewart makes me feel like a bumbling idiot in the kitchen. Who can compete with or even mimick her perfectly cross-hatched pie-crusts, her color co-ordinated veggies, the always immaculate kitchen...and her "have you got five minutes? Then you too can make chili!" attitude? Put her in jail for that and I'll applaud. (Not really...but I'll want to.) So where am I going with this diatribe? I am actually defending Stewart. It is difficult to tell, I know.
What prompts my Marths musing? Stewart (Federal Inmate 55170-054) has written her first letter from prison, which is posted at her official site Martha Talks. I expect she will be regularly updating fans on her prison experiences in order to keep herself in the public eye but I do not expect anything really juicy or poignant as she will be saving those tidbits for her prison memoirs, which publishers say could be sold for $5 million or more.
More on defending her...As difficult as it is to feel sympathy for Martha, she didn't deserve jail, especially not on the charge of lying to federal investigators about a suspicious stock sale even though the original accusation was dropped. She is a poster child (albeit at 63 years old) for never co-operating with the police or other investigators. Not co-operating is not an admission of guilt; it is a matter of self protection for the innocent. If they are after you and they can't make any "real" crime stick, they will prosecute you for inaccuracies in your co-operation. If she had stonewalled the investigators, she would probably be free now. As Harry Browne recently wrote, "In the first place, the law does not say that insider trading is a crime. And she wasn't indicted for insider trading. She was convicted of lying (1) to federal investigators about insider trading and (2) to the shareholders of her own company when she announced that she was innocent of insider trading. She also was convicted of conspiracy to lie about insider trading by making up a lie with her broker, Peter Bacanovic. Thus she was convicted on three counts of lying about something that isn't a crime and that she wasn't charged with doing. If the government can't charge her with insider trading, what difference does it make whether she lied about insider trading? And, incidentally, if simple lying were a crime, we'd all be in prison. Lying under oath is called perjury. Lying to a federal official when not under oath is certainly no worse than a federal official lying to you – which happens far more often." I hope her memoir blasts the feds out of the water!
And, so...I've dropped Stewart a note of support at her Martha Talks site. Who knows...maybe she even reads them now that she's not spending those spare five minutes making chili.