The story of Enron, Ted Stevens, and the legal and personal aftermath, at least as it was popularly presented, became part of the collective zeitgeist and was set in stone. None of us has the time or inclination to understand the minutiae of every event, no matter how significant. Certainly what went down in Texas, Washington, Alaska, and New Orleans was significant, but few of us have knowledge of what really occurred.
I was certain Ted Stevens was crooked. I was also certain everyone at Arthur Andersen and Enron was crooked. As it turned out, some were, but remarkably, a lot were not. People who were convicted were innocent and went to prison. This should concern everyone.
What is even more shocking is that the federal prosecutors whom I had always presumed to be full of virtue and zeal had much more zeal than virtue and that the crimes here went beyond the excesses of some Enron executives. This is worse. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
What some at Enron did was terrible, but the moral advantage of government over the private sector interest is accountability. If the private sector fails us, we cannot vote them out, unless we have a whole bunch of shares which we mostly don’t. But the beauty of government is accountability, and it is essential that those individuals who, like the police and prosecutors, are granted extraordinary powers must also be subject to extraordinary limits and controls over those powers.
Tyranny is not giving government power. Tyranny is giving government power that is not regulated and controlled.
Sidney Powell weaves an extraordinary tale of federal prosecutors run amok seemingly with little control. In my own mind, I am certain they thought they were doing good, but their substantive misconduct that Ms. Powell uncovers is so egregious and far reaching that it goes to the very foundation of our democracy and how it may be at risk.
This is a brave book. The taking on of the forces that Ms. Powell attacks can do her no long term good, but clearly she is serving a higher calling: the Rule of Law.
I know Sidney Powell. She is a force. Almost six feet of southern woman who has a limitless hospitality and generosity of spirit but who simply cannot countenance the slightest corruption. In her friends, she can barely forgive it; in those in power, she finds it unconscionable. This is Sidney. I live in Los Angeles in the grey of the marine layer but also the grey of moral uncertainty. Sidney visited here, and it was not just her height that made her stand out. She was genuinely shocked by all she surmised. This is not how she conducts business. Sidney is a woman and a lawyer who believes in important things, and I am certain what drove her to write this book was no particular axe that needed grinding, though she has a well sharpened one in her literary hand. Rather, Sidney witnessed something that was simply wrong, and she is one of people burdened with the sense that wrongs should be righted and truths should be told.
Boldly, bravely, dangerously, and elegantly she does that in this book. I couldn’t put it down. Like a great novel, it revealed much of the human condition and of human frailty. It was a frightening book for those who fear for our way of government, but ultimately it is a triumph. It is significant that this book can be published and these things can be said. No tyrant would allow this to be printed because it indicts some of the most powerful jurists in the land. So it should be a point of pride for all of us that Sidney can speak up without fear of recourse because this courageous discourse, this calling to task of the corrupt, is the foundation of our democracy. Bravo Sidney Powell.
Steven Bernstein,Writer/Director: Dominion