Why We Love Conspiracies

Conspiracy theories seem to be a pet pastime of many here on Newsvine. Either you love them, or you love bashing them. Maybe it’s the great, sinking flaw of the well-read that we can’t seem to get away from them. At any rate, I thought I would go ahead and step out into no-man’s land and say it: I love the conspiracy theories.

Now, I should probably mention at this point (so you can stop with the hate mail) that I don’t really believe any of them. But then, I don’t actually believe that any of you exist, either. I recognize the possibility, in both instances. It serves my interest to do so.

“Why?!” I can hear my imaginary audience screaming, “In what way does admitting to the possibility of the validity of conspiracy theories help you?” (yes, my imaginary audience speaks exactly the way I do…doesn’t yours?) Well, that is why I am writing. Those of you who already love conspiracy theories probably don’t need this explanation, though you may occasionally find yourself bewildered as your otherwise well-organized mind takes a hiatus when you start reading about incendiary devices planted in the World Trade Center. Those of you who hate the conspiracies, with an equally irrational passion, often wonder what the hell is wrong with the rest of us. I hope to shed a little light on the matter.

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Gonzales vs. Jefferson: Making Sense of Crazy People

Well, as many of you know, there is a bit of a tizzy going on up in Washington, D.C. Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) got his law offices raided by the F.B.I. Suddenly, Congress is interested in protecting Constitutionally-guaranteed rights. The F.B.I., and Attorney General Gonzales, claim they were completely within their rights to search the office of a Congressman being investigated for corruption. Congress is claiming historic precedent (first) and Constitutional protection (second). Meanwhile, Jefferson is jumping up and down waving his hands and swearing his innocence.

I was a bit confused. I have read the Constitution, many times, and I couldn’t figure out what the hoopla was all about. I mean, the man was being investigated for corruption. They found $90,000 of what was allegedly a $100,000 bribe in his freezer. And they even went to the trouble to get a warrant; a luxury we mere mortals cannot necessarily count on, anymore. So, for you poor souls who, like me, just don’t get it…here’s a breakdown of what I have been able to figure out.

The (Constitutional) Issue:

Article 1, Section 6 states that all Senators and Representatives

…shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

It is being argued that the confiscation of legislative documents from Jefferson’s office violates this provision. This might be true, if the documents taken deal with legislation (in the sense of drafted bills, research for that purpose, committee reports, etc.). What is not included, according to the letter of the law and legal precedent, is anything else.

So that seems straightforward. But that’s not really the issue.

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