Al Gore and William Jefferson…

Well, Al Gore’s new movie is set to come out. The film, “An Inconvenient Truth” basically tells us how we’re all going to die from global warming. Every time I hear anything about Al Gore, I just thank God again and again that he was not elected President in 2000.

A new 70 second short released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute gives an idea of Al Gore’s “carbon footprint” as compared to that of the average person. After all, we haven’t been flying across the globe (in Air Force Two and private jets) telling people to reduce their energy usage.

In a completely unrelated story, Al Gore and his entourage were seen making the 500 meter drive from their hotel to the Cannes film festival…in several cars. Al, don’t be telling me that I need to lower my carbon dioxide emissions when you can’t even walk 500 meters from your hotel to the film festival.

In other news, Representative William Jefferson (D-LA) was filmed accepting a bribe by the FBI. So, the FBI got a warrant to search is house, and they found $90,000 of the $100,000 he had taken stashed in his kitchen freezer. They were given a tip that they could find more evidence in his office, to FBI agents got a search warrant, and searched Jefferson’s Congressional office. Just what they found there has not yet been released.

There are two issues surrounding this case. First, the search of Jefferson’s office has kicked off a debate about separation of powers. Does the FBI, which is a part of the Justice Department (part of the Executive Branch), have the authority to search offices of legislators? These questions have been raised primarily from the likes of Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Nanci Pelosi (D-CA). Hastert is demanding that the FBI return files removed from Jefferson’s office.

Now, this brings up an interesting (though blindingly obvious) question: is the Congress above the law? Hastert and Pelosi are alleging that the FBI search of Jefferson’s office unConstitutionally breeches the separation of powers. Now, the Constitution outlines two cases in which US Congressmen can not be arrested: on the way to a vote, and on their way from a vote (which is why Patrick Kennedy, after crashing his car into a barrier because he was under the influence of drugs, said that he was on his way to a vote at 3 AM – to avoid arrest for his crime). These exemptions from arrest are to prevent the possibility of Congressmen being arrested for voting the ‘wrong’ way. However, separation of powers does not cover searches of Congressional offices. And, after all, you could call it checks and balances – the Executive Branch, in the form of the FBI, got a search warrant from a representative of the Judicial Branch, in the form of a federal judge, to perform a check on the power of the Legislative Branch. After all, if Congressional offices are exempt from searches in criminal investigations, then any Congressperson could get away with any kind of crime simply by hiding the evidence in his/her office. All these objections by Hastert and Pelosi amount to is the same kind of elitism that we see all too often from our legislators.

The second issue is this: William Jefferson is still working. When Tom Delay was indicted in Texas on trumped-up charges that amounted to little more than a political stunt, Republicans distanced themselves from him, and Democrats went on a rampage demanding his immediate resignation. Federal authorities got William Jefferson on tape accepting a bribe, and they found the cash in his home afterward (they had made copies of the bills, so they know it was the same money). Yet instead of calling for William Jefferson to step down, members of Congress are giving him the benefit of the doubt and whining about separation of powers! If William Jefferson were a Republican, Democratic Congressmen and the mainstream media would be expounding on how there is a Republican “culture of corruption” that must be stopped. But for the Democrats, this is their “Inconvenient Truth”: they are just as corrupt as the Republicans. This is just more evidence that we should throw the whole lot of them out and get some honest people into Washington.

Of course, Hastert and Pelosi’s objections probably just mean that they have something to hide…and they’re hiding it in their offices. And if their offices can be searched, then maybe they should find somewhere else to hide the evidence of their own “culture of corruption.”

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