A MISSOURI LAWYER'S
DECEMBER 23, 2005
I have decided to finish my legal career serving the citizens of Johnson County, Missouri as their Associate Circuit Judge. I ask for your support.
Archived Prior Ramblings
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Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of December 23, 2005. Happy Holidays! In
a couple of days we will celebrate Christmas: the birth of the Prince of Peace.
Yet peace seems illusive. Ask the 350,000
men and women in uniform stationed around the world, (and their million family
members missing them this holiday season). As a child, I looked forward to
Christmas ... a family gathering with family and friends sharing the joy and
anticipating gifts, the wishes made and the presents given. Wondering what was
under the tree for me. Now, there is just Susan and I to wake up on Sunday
morning and open presents, then share the Christmas meal .... hehehe .... and
watch Susan, watch football. My brother and sisters, mother and father are
miles away, each celebrating with their respective families, as they should.
For those of you with small children, please .... take the time to watch the
wonder, hope and joy on their faces during the celebrating. Christmas is a
celebration of innocence, (and the birth of one, many believe, sacrificed all,
to make you and I innocent). Take lots of pictures, they will bring back many
forgotten memories, years in the future. And perhaps, take a moment, as you
worship or sing carols ... and give a small private prayer of thanks, to those
on duty, firefighters, police, hospital staff, et. al. and of course our
men and women in uniform.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Bush says he signed NSA wiretap order. "In acknowledging the message was true, President Bush took aim at the messenger Saturday, saying that a newspaper jeopardized national security by revealing that he authorized wiretaps on U.S. citizens after September 11. After The New York Times reported, and CNN confirmed, a claim that Bush gave the National Security Agency license to eavesdrop on Americans communicating with people overseas, the president said that his actions were permissible, but that leaking the revelation to the media was illegal. .... Such wiretaps are legal, Gonzales told CNN, because the president received the authority when Congress passed a measure in the days after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, authorizing him to "use all necessary and appropriate force" to fight terrorism." [The Iraqi Text and the 2001 text.] Share with me how "all necessary and appropriate force" translates into authorizing what would otherwise be, illegal domestic wiretaps? I guess it boils down to two simple questions. One we have debated in many contexts, lately, on the issue of "torture". "Do the ends, justify the means"? And the other, "Are we a Nation governed by laws, or a nation governed by the will of whatever person(s) is/are in power"? For some, this violation of the contract we have with our elected Leaders in our Executive and Legislative Branches, (our Constitution with it's Bill of Rights), is de minimus ... minor. It is not. To answer the questions: First, in the long term, the ends never justify the means. Short term solutions may or may not be justified ... but at a cost: the means used, will compromise the ultimate value of the ends. Put another way, taking life is immoral ... but may be justifiable. Suppose we kill to save life. We all acknowledge life has value ... but doesn't taking a life diminish the value of life? How much life can you justify taking, before all life has no value? Second, I voted for my President based on an agreement, a contract, between us. He has my authority to do a limited number of things in my name. They are spelled out, defined, in our Constitution, with it's Bill of Rights. I NEVER authorized Presidential edicts by-passing/avoiding legal authority or judicial review, nor did I delegate that authority to my elected representatives. I NEVER authorized my President to use whatever means, he deemed necessary. An agency of our government eavesdropping on private conversations between American citizens, without a court order, may not seem like a big deal to some, after all, they argue ... "I've got nothing to hide." So what rights are a big deal? Does "all necessary and appropriate force" authorize being stopped and searched, without a warrant or probable cause. Does "all necessary and appropriate force" authorize federal agents to randomly search private residences? Does "all necessary and appropriate force" authorize our President to nationalize newspapers, so they could not "aid" our enemies? Does "all necessary and appropriate force" authorize the imprisonment of American citizens, (after designating them "enemy combatants"), indefinitely, with no right to counsel nor being charged with any crime .... wait ... isn't that already done? Does "all necessary and appropriate force" authorize my President to issue an Executive Order, disallowing "the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances". How many of the civil rights, generations of Americans have fought and died for, is our President authorized to abate under the cloak of "all necessary and appropriate force" . "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." 4th Amendment, Federal Constitution. [Click HERE for a history and overview of the 4th Amendment] There are laws in place governing the lawful issuance of wiretaps, (like FISA.) Why not use them? I voted for and support our President , (he was lawfully elected by a majority of Americans), I believe he truly believes he has a duty to protect our America .... although I disagree with many of his ideas and policies ... but I damn well expect my President to obey the law, not put himself nor his Office above the law, in the name of "national security". We ARE a nation of laws ... not men. Our President, authorizing the NSA to monitor the private conversations of American Citizens, without a Court Order, is wrong, a violation of our Constitution and a rape of our Bill of Rights. Period. It alarms me that he does not see it as such. It alarms me even more, that he does not see these means, corrupting the very ends, he seeks to protect. [Makes me wonder what other "intelligence gathering" tools my President authorized? You do remember "Carnivore", don't you?] 'Nuff said. [ Footnote: Today the President justified warrantless domestic wiretaps on the basis that they are allowed in non-criminal investigations. "There is undeniably an important and legitimate privacy interest at stake with respect to the activities described by the president, ... That must be balanced, however, against the government's compelling interest in the security of the nation." I believe the "compelling interest in the security of the nation" argument, is the same argument made to intern Japanese Americans in 1942]
BLANTYRE , Malawi (AP) -- Lightning kills 11 in church. "At least 11 people were killed and several more injured when a bolt of lightning struck a church congregation in Malawi's northern mountainous district of Mzimba, church officials said Sunday. Fletcher Ndhlovu, a senior member of the Church of Central African Presbytery, said the congregation had gathered to prepare for Christmas celebrations . "It started raining heavily at around 2 o'clock when the congregation was about to have their lunch and almost immediately a strong bolt of lightning struck the building," he said. Ndhlovu said the 11 died on the spot and others suffered fractures, burns and other injuries." I don't know who said "grace" ... or what was said .... but whatever it was ... it was not well received.
CHICAGO , Illinois (AP) -- Study: Gorillas go through menopause. "Jenny, Shamba, Timbo, Beta and Elaine are zoo gorillas, but they have something in common with millions of women: They have undergone menopause. A study of gorillas at 17 North American zoos, led by Chicago's Brookfield Zoo, is the first to document gorilla menopause, according to researchers who were not involved in the study." Just who funds these studies? And where do you find researchers willing to sit around and listen to a bunch of menopausal gorillas bitch about how cold or hot they are?
LONDON , England (CNN) -- Stem cells proving popular gift. "It may not be your average Christmas present or gift for a newborn baby, but a British-based company says grandparents looking for a gift with a twist are increasingly investing in stem cells for their grandchildren ... Director Shamshad Ahmed said the company had started selling gift vouchers in response to customer demand, as grandparents in particular wanted to contribute money towards the cost of storing newborn babies' stem cells, for future use. The company stores stem cells from newborn babies' umbilical cords." Wow ... talk about a thoughtful gift. I would never have thought of it. I wonder how much it costs? Not that it matters, never happen in Kansas or Missouri. Anything having to do with "stem cells" will be criminalized.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Drunken Santas run riot in Auckland. "A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus outfits, many of them drunk, went on a rampage through Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses, police said Sunday. The rampage, dubbed "Santarchy," began early Saturday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an overpass, said Auckland Central Police spokesman Noreen Hegarty." New Zealand has a population of approximately 4 million people. Sheep farming is a major industry. Sounds like a bunch of fun loving folks. The paper didn't report it .... but the sheep were terrified!!
NEW YORK (Reuters) -- Tiptoeing around 'Merry Christmas,' er, 'Happy Holidays'. "Ebenezer Scrooge would enjoy Christmas in America this year. Drowning out the sounds of sleigh bells ringing and children singing are the sounds of arguing. At issue is how to greet people, how to decorate main street and how to sell gifts -- all without offending someone. Religious conservatives are threatening lawsuits and boycotts to insist that store clerks and advertisements say "Merry Christmas." Countering are those who argue they are being inclusive and inoffensive with the secular "Happy Holidays." Does anyone really care?
ATLANTA, Georgia (AP) -- Baby boomers could erase longevity gains. "After a century of nearly uninterrupted medical improvements and longer lives, it looks like the baby boomers could screw things up. A new government study shows deaths from heart disease, cancer and stroke continue to drop, but it also shows that half of Americans ages 55 to 64 -- including the oldest of the baby boomers -- have high blood pressure, and two in five are obese." I would have to agree ... look around, how many obese 75 year olds do you see?
Sitting here editing these Ramblings and checking links. The "Dover" opinion was released this week: A federal judge ruled that "Intelligent Design" isn't. It is just a creation myth being pushed as "science" by Christian Fundamentalists, (the 139 page opinion is a good read!!). Although the "Scopes Trial" settled the issue in 1925, it really doesn't matter. Folks who believe in "Intelligent Design" will continue to do so, no matter what ... after all, for them, the facts don't matter .... it is a question of faith. On the evening news tonight, more revelations of illegal wire taps and a President arguing, that in a time of war, he has unbridled power to do whatever he deems necessary, irrespective of our Constitution. And a post by my Dear Friend Mitch M: "Tough as it may be to take, the truth is, sometimes the ends do justify the means." Sadly, there are many folks who would agree with both opinions. I don't. During this week, on the SFIG, I have shared my opinions on each issue and why they are wrong, both morally and from a societal standpoint. We ARE a nation of laws and there ARE moral absolutes. I picked "Olga" up today ... she has new shoes, (a set of Pirelli High Speed Snow Tires on Emkie Rims), new paint and a new set of skirts, (I'll update her Website with new pics, after I post these Ramblings). She now has a new set of "touring" coil springs, Bilstein Shocks, Air Induction, headers, and a free flow exhaust system and a polished throttle body. She is gorgeous and fun to ride!!! But not as gorgeous as my Susan!! :)
Enjoy the holidays, in each life, there are a limited number. There are also a limited number of opportunities to share how much you love: hug and love your babies, they grow up, way too quickly. Hug and love your significant other: there may come a time when you can't. Love and hug yourself, as a Solo and Small Firm lawyer, you REALLY DO make a difference in many lives. Tonight, as I drift off to sleep, curled around the most wonderful partner, lover, friend ... a man can have ... I will give a prayer of thanks .... and a prayer for the safe return of our men and women in uniform, (care to join me?) .... [Les S shared a Website with me today ... it brought tears to my eyes .... http://www.managedmusic.com/beforeyougo.html ... take a moment and listen] Be and sleep well .... if my post offends, I apologize, that is not my intent. As Always ...
A Warm Brotherly "Holiday Hug"
Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer, from Holden, Missouri)
"Timmerman for Judge Campaign Committee": http://www.timmermanforjudge.com/
Karl H. Timmerman M.A. J.D. © 2005
All Rights Reserved