I used the application, Scoop.it, to quickly pull together a collection. And here it is, “Essays about Enron Broadband Services”!
Readers have been asking for a handy collection of the Rumble Press essays on Medium about the dot-com pioneer, Enron Broadband Services. The tales of Enron Broadband have been favorites of readers on Medium!
I used the application, Scoop.it, to quickly pull together a collection. And here it is, “Essays about Enron Broadband Services”!
Check out John Sherriff's review of attorney and author, Sidney Powell's, book, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. Licensed to Lie is an amazing book that details prosecutorial misconduct at the highest levels of the U.S. Justice Department. John Sherriff's excellent review provides a great summary of why Licensed to Lie is such an important book, one that should be read by every American.
John Sherriff, the former CEO of Enron Europe, is a successful author and an active blogger. Be sure to check out the other posts on John's blog after you read his review of Licensed to Lie!
LEARNIST has selected an image from the Rumble Press photo board "Blogging Enron Book Images" as its "Today's Learning" pick. This makes three days in a row for selections from that board!
The selection for today is an image from Chapter 39 of Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story by Cara Ellison. The chapter is titled "The ObamaCare Decision and Enron -- The Court of Appeals Screws Up Again." A screen shot of the image on the Learnist board is included in the banner above this post.
This "Today's Learning" selection from Learnist is a follow-up to the two earlier picks by Learnist of Chapter 37 of Blogging Enron, titled "Rex Shelby Files Amicus Brief in Support of Scott Yeager," and Chapter 38 of the book, titled "Scott Yeager Wins At Supreme Court!". Those two earlier picks are described on this blog in the posts,"'Today's Learning' from Learnist" and "'Today's Learning' from Learnist -- A Supreme Court Win".
The appeals process was a critical element in the Enron Broadband case and in most of the other Enron-related cases. Various court decisions delivered as a result of Enron-related appeals have contributed a great deal to defendants in other cases who have used the rulings in their own battles against federal prosecutors. Ironically, it was the over-reaching and abuse of federal prosecutors in the Enron cases that motivated the appellant decisions which went against the prosecutors.
Indeed, the appellant record of the federal prosecutors and the prosecution-leaning Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Enron cases was so dismal that they tried to short-circuit the appeals process whenever they could. The "Today's Learning" selection by Learnist today is related to a time in which the courts succeeded in squelching a defendant's right to appeal. As Cara Ellison wrote in Chapter 39 of Blogging Enron:
"Scott Yeager won a motion to dismiss his hung counts at the Supreme Court based on a double jeopardy provision, one of the most basic Constitutional protections of this country’s legal system. This should have made the dismissal of Rex Shelby’s hung counts a foregone conclusion because his situation was essentially the same as Yeager’s case. However, in order to avoid that outcome, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a shockingly ridiculous decision, ruled that the Supreme Court decision in Scott Yeager’s case did not change any law and that, therefore, Shelby could not appeal his case.
This, of course, was transparently a results-based decision by the 5th Circuit. The text of the ruling is so inane and illogical that even a layman can see that the 5th Circuit was determined to have the outcome it wanted even though there was no rational basis for it. Clearly, the Supreme Court did, in fact, change the underlying law in the Yeager case — in fact that decision has already been used by a number of non-Enron defendants to gain dismissals of counts. But because Rex Shelby was associated with Enron, the legal protections accorded to all other defendants in this country were denied him.
This is one of those details of the Enron prosecutions that is largely unknown and uninteresting to the press and public because it deals with a level of detail in the legal process that people generally do not want to even try to understand. But it is a stark example of how the Constitutional protections of our legal system can be denied to individuals when the courts do not do their jobs and when the press and public accept the misconduct. And the lack of outrage by the press and the public about the misconduct of the Feds in the Enron cases show how 'morally flexible' people seem to be — they are entirely willing to accept abuse, just so long as that abuse is heaped on the people they do not care about.
As I have said before, I am fond of people in general, but sometimes I despair about the shallowness of humans — we seem to choose to be morally outraged only when it is convenient for us and when it fits with our biases."
Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story by Cara Ellison contains nearly 60 images, each of which is also included and described in the Learnist board, "Blogging Enron Book Images". For information about Learnist, check out the post on this blog, "Learning with Learnist."
And thank you, LEARNIST, for putting a spotlight on those images from the Rumble Press board!
Medium.com is a social media blogging platform launched by Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams. You can find a number of good articles about Medium on the Web, including "A Founder of Twitter Goes Long," published recently in the New York Times.
The basic idea of Medium is simple enough. Bloggers are encouraged to publish posts to Medium. These posts will receive visibility on the Medium site according to their popularity with readers. Bloggers can submit their post to "collections" which are subject-matter groupings that are monitored by editors -- each editor may accept or reject a post for inclusion in his collection.
The goal of Medium seems to be to encourage longer and more considered posts than we typically find on most social media sites. In a sense, it is a like going back to the earlier days of traditional blogging when bloggers tended to take a lot of care with each post. The big difference with Medium over those traditional blogs is that Medium is essentially a mega-blog with lots of topical categories, and it is social media friendly by design.
The functional design of the Medium site is well executed. Writing and editing a post on Medium is simple, and the results are elegant. The posts and any images associated with them are nicely presented to the reader. It is an enjoyable site for both the writer and the reader.
Rumble Press recently joined Medium and submitted our first post, "David and Goliath (and Enron): 'Why Should I Read Blogging Enron?'". So far, that post about Blogging Enron has been selected by the editors for inclusion into four collections, "Good Reads", "Justice and Freedom", "Under 5 min reads", and "Business Daily: Startup, Development, Management."
Check out the Blogging Enron post on Medium -- it provides a great introduction to the site. And if you enjoy the post, please recommend it!
At Rumble Press, we like Medium.com, and we will be submitting additional posts to Medium over time on a variety of topics. So stay tuned!
We have been getting a lot of feedback from readers of Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story by author and blogger, Cara Ellison. We appreciate the input!
Interestingly, a few people have independently mentioned that the tale of the “Broadband Three” battling the U.S. Justice Department reminds them of the biblical tale of David and Goliath. It strikes us that the comparison is apt because Blogging Enron really is a story of private individuals fighting against the Goliath-scale resources of the U.S. Federal Government.
Author, Cara Ellison, makes this point in Blogging Enron in Chapter 1, titled “Bedtime Stories — Why I Write About Enron”:
"One of the things that has been frustrating about the Enron prosecutions is the way that the media and the public seem to think of the cases as the Enron Corporation against the federal government – this is simply inaccurate. The Department of Justice (DOJ) chose not to charge Enron, the corporation, of wrongdoing at all; instead, the DOJ, through its specially staffed task force, went after private individuals.
Therefore, in the Enron prosecutions, we had the bottomless resources of the federal government against private individuals. Some of these individuals were wealthy, but many were not – and even the resources of the wealthy defendants were negligible compared with the resources thrown into their prosecution by the Feds. And, with Enron, the press completely abrogated its historical role as a skeptical watchdog against government abuse and over-reach – the defendants in the Enron prosecutions really were presumed guilty by a hyper-aggressive group of prosecutors and a non-skeptical press and public.”
One big difference between David’s encounter with Goliath and the battle between the Broadband Three and the U.S. Justice Department is that David’s fight with Goliath was over in minutes. The struggles of the Broadband Three lasted for many years!
Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story is available in paperback and eBook editions at Amazon.com and at the Rumble Press Book Store.
Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story, by author and blogger, Cara Ellison, has been receiving terrific reviews from the readers. Check them out at the Blogging Enron book page on Amazon.com.
In an earlier post, "Great Reviews for Blogging Enron", we listed excerpts from a few reviews of Blogging Enron from other authors with successful books of their own. Here are excerpts from a few additional reviews from an assortment of readers:
"Stunning!!! (5 stars)
The ordeal that these young men faced when opposing the Federal Government leaves one to wonder just how corrupt our judicial system has become. I followed the trials closely but this book reveals a great deal more than any of the media outlets ever covered. How can any individual regardless of their wealth take on the Feds who have an unlimited amount of resources and ever expect to come away unscathed? I found this book very revealing and it made me wonder how any private citizen can ever get a fair trial against our government when there are political ramifications driving the process. Great book, highly recommended."
"An Intimate and Accurate View (5 stars)
Speaking as someone who is very familiar with the people, former business practices, court proceedings and evidence regarding the Enron Broadband case, I am relieved that Ms. Ellison's compiled blogs shine the light of day on the devastating impact of these circumstances on many talented and capable human beings. To those interested in delving beneath the easy bait of newspaper headlines to reveal the complexities and personal perspectives of these gentlemen, this brief volume is certainly worth your time. See it also as a cautionary tale for those interested in developing technologies that will be financed through public markets - the crowd is fickle."
"Well done! (5 stars)
Thanks for helping the public know the truth. Enron Broadband Services (EBS) created and demonstrated the effective and meaningful use of streaming and other technologies that the world now takes for granted. EBS created the Enron Intelligent Network and it worked. I hope more persons can read this important story and begin to understand that there were many innocent and very creative people at Enron."
"Fascinating! (5 stars)
I followed Cara's blog during the EBS trial because of my personal interest in the impact of these indictments on some innocent, hard-working individuals. The book provides the background and details that are needed to tell a complete story of the persistence and integrity required of those who believe in truth when confronted with the disturbing abusive power of government. I highly recommend it!"
Thanks to all the readers of Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story for your wonderful feedback and for helping Cara Ellison's book get off to such a great start!
Top image: /approve by striatic (2007) / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Bottom image: 5 stars by Estoy Aqui (2006) / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.5
I had lunch with a group of friends yesterday. We often talk about books and films during these lunch get-togethers. I mentioned Cara Ellison’s book, Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story, and one of my friends asked, “Why should I read Blogging Enron?”
I could easily have answered simply, “Read Blogging Enron because it is both incredibly informative and entertaining.” That is a good and true answer, but it is really not the question my friend was asking. She loves books, and she was intrigued by what she had heard about Blogging Enron — she was already assuming it was a great read. However, she is incredibly busy with work and home activities, so what she was really asking was, “Why should I read Blogging Enron instead of another book — what is important enough about it to put it above my other choices?”
Aha! That is a question I like because it is often the same one I ask myself, especially when choosing a nonfiction book. Well, the answer for Blogging Enron was not difficult for me. Essentially what I told my friend is this: Blogging Enron is a true story that is both timeless and timely — it is important because it deals with topics about which everyone in America should be aware.
Blogging Enron is timeless in that, at its heart, it is a “David and Goliath” story. This is the element that rings through the book’s subtitle, “How High-Tech Pioneers Battled the U.S. Government.” The overarching tale of Blogging Enron is that of three people at a tiny dot-com start-up who find themselves in the cross-hairs of the U.S. Justice Department because Enron took a shine to their business. Their personal struggles against the unlimited resources of the U.S. Government is a riveting and frightening story.
Blogging Enron is timely because we live in an era in which over-reach by the federal government seems to have become so normal that it is no longer unexpected. The list of federal government entities involved in shocking over-reach and misconduct seems endless — the NSA, the IRS, the FBI, the State Department, the White House, the Justice Department, etc. The recent announcement by the Federal Communications Commission that it wants to pry and spy on news organizations was so casually delivered by government officials that you wonder if they now accept this misconduct as entirely reasonable and routine behavior.
It reminds me a bit of the phrase, “the banality of evil,” coined by Hannah Arendt to describe the actions of the mindless minions who begin to accept the rightness of any misconduct that sustains their cabal, in much the same way that a python strangles and swallows mice.
It is difficult to read Blogging Enron without wondering how in the world federal prosecutors could be so casually amoral and abusive. It is not simply that the prosecutors in the Enron cases acted in covertly unethical ways — some of them have even written and spoken publicly about their actions as if they believe they have the right to use “questionable tactics” because … well … that is just what federal employees get to do. It really is a situation to make your skin crawl!
So read Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story. It is informative, entertaining, and important!
[Leo Thompson is a frequent contributor to Cara Ellison’s Enron Online: The Enron Blog and will also be contributing to this blog from time to time.]
The "Foreword" to Cara Ellison's book, Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story, was written by Rex Shelby, the former VP of Engineering and Operations at Enron Broadband Services (EBS). Rex was the "last man standing" among all the Enron defendants -- he fought the federal prosecutors of the U.S. Justice Department for an incredible nine years before he finally settled his case. Cara Ellison used a lot of stories about Rex Shelby in Blogging Enron because his experiences span nearly the entire period of the Enron prosecutions.
We have received a lot of great comments from readers about Rex Shelby's "Foreword." So we thought we would post it here in full as an introduction for people curious about Cara Ellison's book. Enjoy!
Foreword to Blogging Enron by Rex Shelby
Out of the blue, I received a letter from Cara Ellison at the end of August 2008. In that letter, Cara said that she was working on a book about Enron, and she asked if I would be willing to talk with her. Here is my response, which I sent to her in an email on September 6, 2008:
"Hello Ms. Ellison –
Thank you for the letter. I apologize for being so slow getting this response to you. My attorney's office is in Dallas, and I spend all my time there. Incredibly, this past August 15th marked the six-year anniversary of the evening the FBI knocked on my door -- that was the first inkling I had that the government had any interest in EBS. After nine versions of the indictment, countless motions, a trial, an ongoing appeal, an odd book by John Kroger, and a pending re-trial, I am still not quite sure what the government is thinking. Oh well, as I often joke with my attorney, 'It's not just an indictment, it's a way of life!'
I am happy to hear that you are writing a book about Enron. The books published to-date seem to be strangely devoid of any real sense of Enron as an enterprise. And, of course, any mention in those books of EBS is shallow, at best. Even more important, no one has told the story of the Enron Task Force which, in my opinion, is the crucial tale here -- it's the story of the first major witch hunt of the 21st century.
The good news is that I will be happy to talk with you. I am not at all skittish about discussing EBS and my experiences with the Enron Task Force. The bad news is that I just don't have time to talk until after my re-trial. I am consumed 24/7 with the trial preparation and really cannot focus on anything else until I win the case. Of course, given the current schedule, I should be on the other side of this sometime after the holidays. I hope this doesn't interfere with your efforts.
By the way, if you are the Cara Ellison of blog fame, I am happy to meet you. I visit the blog frequently and am impressed with the analysis and spirit of the Enron-related posts. Maybe that's what we need -- a book that not only gets the facts right (finally), but one that also demonstrates some real passion about the subject.
Best wishes for your adventure with the book.
-- Rex Shelby"
At the time I wrote that email to Cara Ellison, I had already spent more than six years fighting federal prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ). And, although I expressed optimism in the letter that the battle would soon be over, it did, in fact, consume me for an additional three years. I worked at Enron Broadband Services (EBS) for just over 18 months, but I spent nine years of my life focused single-mindedly on defending myself against criminal charges related to my brief time there. And after all that effort, I still have the same question now that I had back when I wrote that letter to Cara: "What was the government thinking?"
It seems to me that Cara Ellison asked that same basic question as she began her study of EBS. Instead of presuming that EBS was an organization full of greedy and malevolent criminals, she appears to have approached her investigation with an open mind, actually using the evidence to guide her conclusions about the enterprise and the people who worked there, including the ones who were eventually indicted by the DOJ. The result of Cara’s study is contained in her excellent blog and in the book you are now reading.
Thank goodness there is finally a book about Enron Broadband Services! In the countless pages of books, articles, and other writings about Enron, there has been little coverage of EBS. And what has been written so badly misses the mark that it is difficult to even recognize the actual EBS enterprise. Only in Cara Ellison’s Enron Online: The Enron Blog could one find information about EBS that provides a sense of the real enterprise and what actually transpired in the legal events that engulfed so many EBS employees.
Therefore, how fitting that it is Cara Ellison who gives us the first book dedicated to EBS and the EBS legal saga. And how appropriate that Cara makes use of her blog posts to motivate and structure her book. By basing her book on her blog posts, Cara brings the same style and insight to the topic which is the hallmark of her popular blog. In this fascinating book, Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story, Cara achieves what I expressed as just a hope in my letter to Cara back in 2008 – she "gets the facts right" and she "demonstrates some real passion about the subject."
So get ready to be informed and entertained. And if you think you already understand what Enron and the Enron legal events were all about, prepare to be surprised!
Thank you, Cara Ellison!
New Year’s Day, 2014
[From Cara Ellison at Enron Online: The Enron Blog - 2/3/2014]
I wrote earlier, in the post “An EBS Easter Egg”, about one of the surprises in my book, Blogging Enron, which has caused a lot of response from readers.
Well, there is another thing in the book which seems to have generated a lot of interest and response from readers — it is the "Postscript” to my book in which I included a list of reforms needed in the American white collar criminal justice system.
That list of justice system reforms came from Enron Broadband Services (EBS) defendant, Rex Shelby, who battled the federal prosecutors of the Department of Justice for nine years and who was the last person in the Enron-related cases to settle his case. So the list comes not from an attorney, but from a layperson who has seen the faults of the system up close and personal as they were applied to him!
I wrote in my introduction to Rex’s list:
“… Rex asked if I would be willing to include a list of reforms in white collar criminal law that he has been discussing with people as they have contacted him about EBS. I had no idea what to expect, but when he sent me his list, I was doubly delighted! Rex’s list of reforms is succinct, but hits many of the key shortcomings in the American practice of white collar criminal law. And, once again, the list complements this book perfectly because it summarizes most of the legal practices I have questioned in these pages.”
Rex calls the list his “Dirty Dozen” list of reforms because he forced himself to limit the list to his top dozen. I have received lots of positive responses to Rex’s list, and I will use the points in the list as the basis for several future posts on this blog.
For many readers, Rex’s list has been another great surprise, kind of like another dozen EBS Easter eggs!
One of the best sources of information and analysis on the crucial topic of prosecutorial misconduct in the American legal system is the excellent blog, Seeking Justice.
Prosecutorial misconduct has become a systemic problem in the United States. Over-reach and abuse of power is so common among federal prosecutors that it has essentially become a ubiquitous part of the American legal system. Unfortunately, the list of common elements of misconduct is lengthy: evidence suppression (including Brady violations); misleading presentations to Grand Juries; interference with defendants' access to witnesses (including witness intimidation); over-charging; placing defendants in de facto double jeopardy with SEC and DOJ charges; abuse of the massive advantage that prosecutors hold in the plea bargaining process; etc.
The Seeking Justice blog provides a vigorous forum on the topic of prosecutorial misconduct. The posts are written by distinguished contributors, including the founder of the blog, attorney, Sidney Powell. Sidney Powell has been lead counsel in more than 500 appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and she has argued hundreds of cases. In her practice, as well as on her Seeking Justice blog, Sidney Powell has been a compelling voice against prosecutorial misconduct.
Sidney Powell begins the introduction to the Seeking Justice blog with these words:
"This blog exists to provide both a source of current information and a forum for those who have experienced or witnessed misconduct by federal prosecutors in particular. We are especially interested in seeking reform of the legal system in the way it deals with “Brady violations” or the prosecutors’ suppression of evidence favorable to the defense. We want to hear from you."
The Seeking Justice archives are full of informative posts about prosecutorial conduct. Those posts include examples of prosecutorial abuse among the federal prosecutors of the Enron Task Force -- this is also an overarching topic of Cara Ellison's book, Blogging Enron: The Enron Broadband Story.
Attorney, Sidney Powell, is also author. Her new book, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice will be released soon. You can register for updates on the book at LicensedToLie.com.
Check out the excellent Seeking Justice blog. You can subscribe to email updates on the blog. And you can also follow Seeking Justice on Twitter @1SeekingJustice.