Article Overview:   Is Martha Stewart a potential criminal or a Mother of Vigilance?  Did she violate the law of the land, or did she create millions of warm, friendly homes for people to enjoy each others' company?   Is Martha a criminal or a victim?   See if you agree that Martha Stewart, despite all the charges against her, is a Sentinel of Family Vigilance.


Tuesday--June 10, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 636
The Beast Of Terror vs. Martha Stewart
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, New York--June 10, 2003-- Martha Stewart is battling the Beast of Terror.   He just breathed nine federal counts down the diva-of-homemaking's neck, and is rattling the 61-year-old Stewart's media foundations,  shattering into shards her house of glass.  He's doing a great job so far of slinging Terror her way.

Martha Steward arrives for her arraignment

       But, Martha Stewart, in prime form, is fighting back.  In fact, she might even win the battle if not the way, if her defense includes her ability to be America's Sentinel of Family Vigilance.
        Terrorism, composed of the triad of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, isn't driving Martha Stewart to her knees causing her to seek the mercy of the court.  Quite the contrary.   Instead of accepting a plea bargain, or negotiating a "deal" so she can go on with her life, Stewart is standing up to the Beast of Terror. She's using what some might call her Personal Sword of Vigilance to fight the Beast of Terror's charges.   
        Some call her courageous for not buckling to the pounding hammers of the federal government who slapped enough charges against her that if convicted on all of them, her sentence could result in 30 years in jail plus a $2 million dollars in fines.
       Others call her egotistical and stubborn for fighting for innocence.  She is charged with a battery of potential crimes, including obstruction of justice.  Her supporters claim she is being prosecuted because she is a successful woman in a man's world.  Other's say she is egging on the government by refusing to accept her part of the "guilt."
       Public relations pundits propose that  had she immediately accepted her part in the alleged insider trading, and sought the mercy of the courts, she would have rebounded and been like most divas caught in a whirlwind of financial scrambling--back on her feet.

Martha Stewart is a high profile woman in a man's world

      But, her own sense of personal Vigilance--the composition of one's Courage, Conviction and Right Actions--have guided her to take up a club and attack her accusers, claiming she did no wrong and that she's innocent of the nine-count indictment.
       I am torn.
       Part of me sees Martha Stewart as a tough business woman with little tact in "sucking up" to others, and, as a result, able to create a multitude of "enemies" who believe that those who "live by the sword, die by the sword."
      I also see Stewart as the focus of an ego battle between the government and a successful woman who happened to appear on the government's radar after major scandals such as Enron and WorldCom.  In those cases  top executives slipped away with what most might call minor hand slaps considering the millions they bilked from unsuspecting investors.  Stewart's untimely exposure to the public made the government stiffen its back and throw all its weight into "making an example of this brash top executive" whose nature is to defy everyone on her road to success.
       The nine-count indictment (see link), charges against Stewart and her stock broker, Peter Bacanovic, includes one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statement to government investigators, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of securities fraud.
       Sticking to her "not-guilty-guns" increases the odds of Stewart losing if she goes to trial.   Mark H. Allenbaugh, a FindLaw columnist, reported on last week  statistics that favor the government convicting Stewart if she goes to trial rather than kowtow to the government's charges.

Statistically, Martha Stewart doesn't seem to stand a chance if she goes to trial

       Allenbaugh noted that in the year 2000, 447 federal criminal fraud trails were held.   Of these, he notes, 362 (or 81 percent) resulted in guilty verdicts.   The remaining 85 (19 percent) resulted in either a mistrial or not-guilty verdict.   In case of a mistrial, the government can opt to retry the defendant.
        Allenbaugh doesn't think Stewart has much of a chance of beating the charges if she goes to trial.
        In other words, if Stewart continues on her "stubborn, defiance tack," she'll end up in a squall, and her ship will more than likely be sunk in the storm.
        But, to her loyal fans, Stewart is a Sentinel of Vigilance.
        Recently, she launched a website,   It includes a letter to her supporters and her critics defending her innocence.   The site also hosts emails from thousands of her fans who believe in her credibility and veracity.

Martha with her dogs Paw Paw and Tatu

          One email I read was from a single father who used Martha Stewart's information to help raise his son.  He employed her techniques of homemaking to enrich his ability as a single parent to plus his son's upbringing by adding the "feminine touch."  He applied Stewart's techniques of homemaking, design and decoration.  It was a moving message of a man who walked in Stewart's shadow, and how proud he was that his son grew into an enriched person, in part because of Stewart's ability to compliment the single man's ability to parent.
        Of course, the law doesn't look at one's past when it indicts against an alleged crime.  It looks at the actions of the individual accused of breaking the law--such as getting a tip about a stock's troubles from an insider and then dumping it, and then allegedly trying to cover up the crime by changing records and conspiring with others to alter history.
        As a Parent of Vigilance, I skew my opinion toward the impact Martha Stewart has had on the public--especially, the children--rather on what might appear to be less of a crime and more of a scramble to keep a few hard-earned bucks.  Unlike most Wall Street criminals, Stewart was trying to protect her own investment rather than abuse those of others.  She was "mothering" her money, not kidnapping and raping, pillaging and plundering others' money as so many Wall Streeters have done.
       To me, this throws Martha Stewart in another category: The Mother of Financial Vigilance arena.
       It also means her background as a contributor rather than a thief to society should be examined.

Martha Stewart was a homemaker role model

Martha demonstrated to homemakers their castles could shine

     In a world where women have exited the home to the workplace, and latchkey children have taken a firm hold on the land, Martha Stewart's homemaker role model shouted that it was "O.K." to be a domestic diva.  In her own way, she carved a niche as Sentinel of Domestic Vigilance, and, in the process, made the home safer for millions of children Terrorized by fast-food, television baby sitters, and non-domestic mothers.
       Stewart, a successful businesswoman, brought the American woman's attention back to making a "house a home."    She rejustified the idea that a warm, friendly household made the castle shine without a loss of a woman's independence or her feminine rights.
       There is little doubt that the millions of Martha Stewart fans, both men and women, throughout America and around the world, used her knowledge and experience to enrich the idea of family unity.  For this alone, she should be put in a total different category than her Wall Street mafia buddies whose acts ripped out the financial security of millions of families.
        "The family that bakes cookies together stays together."
        Ironically, Stewart sacrificed her own family to extol the virtues of being a homemaker.   Critics of her business techniques paint her as cold and self-centered, brash and rash, and  often vitriolic if things weren't perfect.  Even if true, the bigger goal of creating an image of the successful woman as a homemaker as well as tycoon,  offset her character defects.

Star of Martha, Cybil Shepherd says:  "Martha is a survivor and so am I."

       My wife and I watched the recent television movie, Martha, starring Cybill Shepherd.   I found it fascinating because I realized under all the thick-skinned desire for success, Martha Stewart was driven by the passion to improve the quality of life in homes all over the land.
        Domestication had become a dirty word in many camps of America, and throughout the industrialized world, prior to Stewart's rise to stardom as the "domestic diva."   The image of mothers "slaving over the stove" was demeaning for many women, and, the idea of "cooking" or "decorating" or "themes" within the home seemed antediluvian to armies of woman.  It was a throwback to "grandma days" rather than an evolution of the "liberated woman" whose world centered around the microwave and fast-food meal-making.
        Martha Stewart single-handedly changed all that.
        Like the first woman to climb Mt. Everest, she tossed off all baggage that got in her way on her climb to the summit.   Rather than carving out an elitist niche with Saks Fifth Ave, she went to the heartland of America, K-Mart, and attached her name to products the average homemaker bought.   She insisted on quality with her name, and demanded certain upgrades such as the twill in sheets be increased so the sheets carrying her name would be softer.
        She was thinking of a mother or child or family sleeping on softer sheets.   To me, this is a small act of Family Vigilance, not the action of some greed monger out to corrupt America, or take advantage of others' life savings.

If convicted, Martha Stewart should teach the prosecutors cookie making

      Certainly, Martha Stewarts' attention to a bed sheet doesn't exonerate her from any alleged crimes, but it does suggest the priority of the government to "criminalize her" actions may be way out of perspective versus multitudes of other "corporate bandits" who raped, pillaged and plundered the life savings of countless stockholders.
         It's not my business to gauge Martha Stewarts' guilt or innocence.   But, as a Sentinel of Family Vigilance, I think Martha Stewart has done more for America, and the American family than any commission of crimes alleged by the government.   Her best defense would be self defense, for she was only trying to protect what was hers, as any mother would.
         Then there are her character witnesses. Tens of thousands of families across this land owe a better domestic life to Martha Stewart.  She increased their Family Equity, enriched their Family Stock Portfolio by helping bring domestication back to the living room.
        Accused of trying to "make a buck" from information and then lying about is one thing, but then there is another.  It's the good she has done for millions.
         She redefined the importance of homemaking.  She brought mothers and fathers and children back together in the center of the living room, in the kitchen, and at holidays.
         She didn't steal anything.  She gave a whole lot.
         She was and is a Sentinel of Family Vigilance.
        But,  if there is a penalty for her crimes--that is, if she is convicted--her penance should be teaching government prosecutors how to bake cookies with their families.   It might help the federal prosecutors rework their recipe of Terrorizing the domestic divas, and give them a thirst for going after the true criminals, the ones who rob society rather than bolster its foundations.

June 9--Terror Tactics in Tennis, Cycling and Among Schoolgirls

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