Thursday, May 25, 2006

more on skilling/lay convictions

First of all, I want to share with you a couple of relevant diaries on the subject. Darksyde from DailyKos has a nice rundown here, and clammyc talks about the convictions from the perspective of a former Arthur Andersen auditor who (along with his wife) lost his job because of Enron's shenanigans. It gives you a sense of the far-reaching consequences of these guys' crimes (though, as a side note to one of his points, I personally think Enron led to Bush a lot more than Bush led to Enron). Atrios, who was a college professor in California when Enron took it hostage, briefly analyzes how the media, in their faux economic expertise, so tragically failed to understand the situation there, while Digby outlines the ties between Kenneth Lay and president Bush (I would like to add to his post that W essentially let Kenneth Lay write the controversial Federal Energy Bill a couple of years ago that gave the oil, coal, and nuclear industries billions of dollars in free handouts). Says Digby of the media's complicity of silence in this whole saga:
The fact that the biggest campaign contributor to the occupant of the white house was in charge of the biggest corporate ponzi scheme in history should have been news. It wasn't.

So true.

There is so much one could say about the bundle of crooks and scandals now known collectively as "Enron":
Enron is the epitome of a corporate culture off the deep end of executive-centered priorities; it is the the corrupt "get mine and get the hell out" mentality to the Nth degree.

Enron is a warning to us of what can happen when a government branch gets too cozy with big business and loses its ability to conduct honest oversight.

Enron is a one-word rebuttal to the lazy ideology of laissez-faire libertarians, who foolishly assume that American boardrooms would do what's best for workers and consumers were it not for government regulations forcing them to do just that.

Most of all in my mind, though, Enron is the story of how the actions of a tiny handful of people can ruin countless lives without ever picking up a weapon. There seems to be a sentiment out there that Lay and Skilling's crimes are somehow not as big a deal as some others because they didn't involve sex or violence.

But this was not just a matter of skimming from a corporate budget; these bastards ruined people's lives. Because of the deliberate lawbreaking and deceit of Lay and Skilling, hundreds of would-be rising stars of the business world have a permanent black mark on their resumes, and countless thousands, perhaps millions, of people were robbed of their savings, their retirement, and their dignity. People who labored for decades, managing their money wisely and putting away a little at a time, building a nest egg so they can live out their glory days the way they've always dreamed of, people who did everything right, will now be spending their twilight years sacking groceries at WalMart, thanks to Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.

And many of the victims were robbed blind by the very people they trusted to take care of them.

To wreak that level of havoc on the lives of such a mind-blowing number of people, with no remorse, blaming everyone else all the way down, shows a lack of compassion or human decency that "moral bankruptcy" doesn't begin to describe. Make no mistake: the lack of guns or sex doesn't mollify their heinous, heinous crimes. These guys are narcissistic sociopaths who deserve the fullest measure of justice the system can mete out to them.

And they still have Hell to look forward to.

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