Saturday, May 27, 2006

On the Latest Bush Administration SNAFU Situation:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Readers of this weblog are aware that I have had a rather ambivalent view of President Bush for years. On some issues, his approach is correct and on others there is little if anything to differentiate him from those who politically oppose him. On the latest situation with the FBI raid of Rep. William Jefferson's offices, at the very least there is the appearance of impropriety in how this was handled. The usual suspects are griping about supposed "Constitutional violations" but in doing this, they only show how the Constitution is appealed to by them when it is expedient and otherwise it is ignored. In this case, the griping is about the fourth amendment and a supposed "infringement" therein. Let us consider now that amendment and what it allows and does not allow:

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Okay now, it is made clear in the text that what people are to be secure from is unreasonable searches and seizures. That phrasing implies that there are searches and seizures which are reasonable; otherwise the text would assert a right from all forms of searches and seizures. It is also clear that a search and seizure can be considered "reasonable" if certain guidelines are followed including (i) issuing a warrant to search, (ii) issuing said warrant with probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, (iii) a description of the place to be searched being included in the aforesaid warrant, and (iv) the persons or things to be seized also being described in the warrant issued. If the aforementioned criteria is met, than the assertion of a "constitutional violation" has no merit to it whatsoever.

Let us start with the issuing of a search warrant. Was this done in the Jefferson case??? Yes it was and you can review it HERE if you like. In fact, open that text in a separate window and let us go over it step by step.

We know that a warrant was issued so step one of the procedure for a reasonable search and seizure was met. If you look at the first part of the warrant, you will see a sworn affidavit which meets part of the second part of the criteria for a reasonable search and seizure. Included in that affidavit is a detailed description of the place to be searched which meets the third criteria and a listing of the persons or things to be seized is also listed -albeit in the link above (available for public viewing) they are blacked out for confidentiality purposes.{1} The warrant is ninety-five pages long and contains all the required criteria for a reasonable search including establishing within it the reasons for probable cause justifying the search thus meeting the second part of the second piece of criteria for a reasonable search and seizure.

In the search warrant, the arguments for probable cause include violations by Rep. Jefferson of (i) bribery of a public official, (ii) wire fraud -deprivation of honest services, (iii) wire fraud -scheme to defraud, (iv) bribery of a foreign official, (v) conspiracy to commit the aforementioned offenses. So as the criteria was met as enumerated by the fourth amendment, the search therefore was reasonable and the the cries of "unconstitutionality" on this are nothing more than the babblings of ignorant people. But that is not all.

As Texas Fred noted, the Bush Administration is attempting to get in the way of the FBI doing their job here and that has resulted in the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Director of the FBI Robert S. Mueller III threatening to resign. If there is probable cause that an elected representative of the United States (in this case, Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana) broke the law, then the FBI and the Attorney General are acting accordingly here and any attempt to obstruct them in the process is a serious offense. It stretches credibility to claim it is an impeachable offense in and of itself of course; however, that does not mean that the matter is lacking in seriousness.

Now I am aware that even House Republican leaders are claiming that this is a constitutional violation but there is another dynamic involved here that needs to be considered: 2006 is an election year. Because of the latter, there are probably some who want to be on the side of objecting to this because (i) President Bush's popularity figures are at an all-time low and (ii) by opposing the president of their own party, the Republicans who take that position can try to claim some kind of independence from presidential coattails going into the fall elections.

As much as I am hesitant to compare the Bush Administration to the Nixon Administration, on the matter of interfering with an FBI investigation, it certainly appears that there is a viable connection to be made on that point. Likewise, much as I am hesitant to compare the Bush Administration to the Clinton Administration, it bears noting that one of the charges brought against President Clinton and which he was impeached on{2} was obstruction of justice. With that in mind, I cannot fault some people{3} for seeing in the above comparisons a stronger case on obstruction of justice being levied at President Bush than President Clinton considering the seriousness of the charges involved with the obstruction of justice in the Jefferson case. By contrast, Bill Clinton lying under oath to a grand jury about his sexual escapades{4} is more of a bagatelle really. But enough on this matter for now.

[Update: Due to a misunderstanding of my intention in writing this post, the material above has been tweaked a bit in spots. I explain my reasons for doing this HERE. - ISM 6/01/06 5:50pm]

Notes:

{1} This is hardly irregular since (i) evidence in a criminal investigation is supposed to be protected and (ii) the public does not have a right to know the intricacies of this criminal investigation any more than they do any other investigation. It suffices that the requirements for reasonable search and seizure are met which could logically be taken to mean the guidelines noted in the fourth amendment. As was noted above, this has been met in the Jefferson case so no more needs to be said on this point at this time.

{2} The House impeaches and the Senate votes for removal from office; ergo this explains why Clinton could be impeached and yet still serve out the remaining part of his term.

{3} Obviously those who have been spreading lies and libel about George Bush the past six years on a whole host of issues are not to be taken seriously as they are simply like the blind pig who finds an acorn once in a while. (Not hard to do when you rail against everything.) But even many who are much more discerning and who are willing to allow for the normal conventions of politics in their analysis, some of this cannot help but be troubling.

{4} There were far more impeachable high crimes (including treason) committed in the Clinton Administration. Or as I noted when discussing these issues in mid 2003:

Where were these nitwits during Filegate when Clinton and his wife pilfered over 1,000 FBI files on political opponents??? Chuck Colson went to jail for a while in the 1970's for possessing just ONE of these kinds of files. But Clinton??? Nope, he and Moloch Hillary got off scott free because there is a clear and unmistakable double-standard here.

What about Chinagate where the safety of our nuclear secrets were sacrificed for re-election funds??? Anyone who thinks THIS can possibly be less problematical than any war mismanagement by the current president is in need of a SERIOUS reality transplant. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa July 11, 2003)]

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The rarely updated Miscellaneous BLOG has received a new post today inspired by the words of Texas Fred. That entry is accessible HERE for those who are interested in a new word definition for future discussions and (perhaps) posterity.

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"Cohiba Ergo Sum" Dept.
(Dan Brown and The DaVinci Code Are "MISTed" The Curmudgeon in a Guest Editorial)

[Prefatory Note: Unlike what I normally do with guest editorials (either posit prefatory and/or concluding commentary or write a separate commentary of my own on them) with this one, it is so short and self-explanatory (I hope) that those conventions can be avoided. Without further ado, here it is. -ISM]

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If Dan Brown wrote a novel about the Holocaust it would probably look like this:

Robert Langdon, while on a lecture tour in Germany, is contacted by a reclusive unorthodox World War 2 historian who claims to have a great secret which would rock the Western world to its foundations:

Everything we have been taught for the past 60 years about the Nazis and the Holocaust were lies, Langdon is told. No Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and there were no death camps in Poland and Eastern Europe. In fact, Langdon "discovers," the "real" secret behind the Holocaust is that the Nazis were persecuted by the Jews, not the other way around. Langdon also "discovers" that the "myth of the Holocaust" was created by a Vast Zionist Conspiracy under the control of the Israeli government and international bankers.

Langdon soon "learns" that for thousands of years ruthless Jewish conspirators have been murdering the true heirs of Abraham in order to preserve their false version of Judaism and to hide the “truth” that Abraham really worshiped the Divine Feminine and intended to start a fertility cult.

The "evidence" Langdon uncovers? A set of "ancient" secret documents known as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion." (The "Protocols" were actually fabricated by the Russian secret police and released to a gullible Russian public as a pretext for the Czar's systematic murder of thousands of innocent Jewish peasants. But so what?)

Of course, Dan Brown would say that all this is "just fiction," but that it "poses" some "interesting" questions about history, which we can't really know anything about for sure anyway. After all, Brown would argue, he has done his research:

He has read the "scholarly" papers published by the Institute for Historical Review and "well-researched" books such as "Did Six Million Really Die?" and "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century." (Both books were written by notorious neo-Nazi nutcases, and the IHR was set up by a well-known anti-semitic propagandist. But what the heck; it's great material for a novel, no?)

And so it would go in the confused world of Dan Brown.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Weblog Remembrance:

Considering how much the propagandists in the MSM made a big deal out of the "2000th death in Iraq since the start of military operations" last year, I do not expect them to give equal time to the fact that we have now surpassed 5,000th deaths at the hands of Islamic terrorists since September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, you can view it for yourself in the side margin of this humble weblog and click on the logo to get the code to add to your own website or weblog if you have one and feel inclined to do that. (The logo will also be included in this posting.) If not than at the very least give a minimal of equal time to this milestone in the war on terror if you do not want to be thought of as placing ideology ahead of both principles as well as consistency.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Points to Ponder:

[R]eactionaries rarely wish to restore a past more than a generation old. [John J. Reilly]

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"Dog Days of Summer" Dept.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Apparently I am not the only one who has noticed this situation as of late:

Blogger Burnout: it's the end of the beginning ("Neo-NeoCon")

The above post explains to some extent why I have found blogging such a chore as of late -though I do not have a problem "wrapping my mind around" the Iran issue as the writer above claims that they do. But just because I can "wrap my mind around" the issue does not mean that I am either (i) enthusiastic to discuss it or (ii) motivated to put much energy into blogging. I sense that the summer months will be hard ones blogging-wise to maintain reasonable production on this matter both with my business increasing in time demands and the general mental malaise noted by "neo-neocon" in the thread noted above.

There is a reason why they refer to the summer months as the "dog days of summer" and with this being an election year, it is imperative that minds remain focused on the big picture and not get bogged down with side distractions. And as I intend to be razor sharp for the final months before the election; ergo that will necessitate dialing back the intensity a bit for the summer months. Intensity and duration are two sides of the same coin and this is manifested in the laws of nature itself.{1} I am not therefore going to try and fight it as I know it will be futile and I take Santayana's dictum{2} seriously.


Notes:

{1} I remind you of the theories of motion as discovered by Sir Isaac Newton. If an object in motion will remain in motion, then attempts to stop that object will not succeed without a greater or equal force being involved. In light of the manner whereby intensity and duration are inversely proportioned, an intense reaction cannot sustain itself for very long in opposing an object in motion -particularly if that object appeals to the lower levels of our nature from which there is continual struggle against anyway.

What must be attempted is to reverse the direction of the moving object but the approach taken has to be one focused on success over the long term. For that reason, the intensity behind such an approach has to be by logical necessity of lessor import if there is to be a conceivable reversal of trends that will be more than illusory. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum circa August 11, 2004]

{2} It is a lesson that with elections coming up needs to be reiterated time and again lest we repeat history because we do not learn from it (cf. Santayana). [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa October 17, 2002)]

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