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« Part Two of My Interview with Roger Overton from the A-Team | Main | Eschatology Q & A -- My Interview With Roger Overton from the A-Team »

Process Crimes -- Another Argument for Limited Federal Government

clemens%20taking%20oat2.jpgI caught just a bit of the congressional hearing on performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball.  The whole thing is frightening.

Roger Clemens may or may not have used HGH.  Andy Pettitte admitted to using HGH.  Brian McNamee claimed to have supplied HGH to both.  Who is telling the truth?  There's no way to tell.  It all comes to down to "he said--he said" accusations based upon conversations years ago with no witnesses present.  How do you unravel that?  You really can't.

This is reminiscent of the "rock, scissors, paper" game that kids play.  In my mind, Pettitte's testimony clearly trumps Clemens'--everyone believes Andy.  Clemens  is more believable than McNamee, since the latter admitted to the congressional committee that he had lied to them on a number of occasions.  But Pettitte had to admit that McNamee's claim was correct.  Rock (Pettitte) beats scissors (Clemens).  Scissors (Clemens) beats paper (McNamee).  Paper (McNamee) beats rock (Pettitte).  The whole thing is a sordid mess.

As for the baseball world, anyone caught using a PED becomes a pariah and subject to the dreaded curse of the asterisk.  They are perceived as "cheaters."  Whether Clemems used PEDs or not, the very perception that he did so started a raging debate among the sportswriters and bloggers about Roger's lasting legacy.  Is the greatest pitcher of our time really the greatest pitcher of our time?  If Clemens cheated, well then, he gets his just recompense--he'll be banned from the Hall of Fame (the baseball equivalent of excommunication or being deposed from office). 

To be fair, Clemens is taking McNamee to federal court with a defamation suit, and Clemens has made himself hoarse proclaiming his innocence. 

But the fact is HGH use is not illegal, and it wasn't illegal when Pettitte and Clemens (allegedly) used it.

Enter Congress.   When Roger Clemens raised his hand and testified under oath before that congressional committee, everything changed.  If Clemens lies to Congress, he is apt to be slapped with a perjury charge in which he could do serious time in a federal pen.  The crime, mind you, was not taking HGH.  The crime is lying to Congress.  This is a process crime, plain and simple.  This is what happened to Scooter Libby, and a host of others (whose names escape me) all because Congress uses its power to create a potential crime when no underlying crime was even present.  This is political "gotcha" with horrific consequences to the victim.  Both political parties do it, and it is absolutely shameful when they use these committees to conduct vendettas and create crimes that were not there before the committee called for hearings.

And just why is Congress involved in this matter in the first place?  In the words of North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry.  "This isn’t a hearing, it’s a show trial. . . . And it is another reason why people are fed up with Congress. We’re facing huge challenges in housing, government spending, taxes and illegal immigration. Congress would be better served to focus on any of those issues instead of inserting itself into a name-calling, finger-pointing, school-yard brawl.”  Amen!

Roger Clemens may go to jail for lying because Henry Waxman (D), Tom Davis (R), and all the rest of the members of their committee want their pompous-ass mugs on camera.

If the consensus among the baseball world is that Clemens used HGH, he'll suffer the consequences.  His reputation will be forever tarnished and the greatest pitcher of the modern era might not be elected to the Hall of Fame.  The punishment fits the crime.

But to create a situation in which a man who did not commit a crime now does so, is criminal.  If process crimes are not evidence as to why we should do everything in our power to reign these guys in, then I don't know what is.

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  • Response
    Justin Taylor posted a powerful clip from the show ER. It's an insightful look at postmodernism's inability to deal with the problems of real life. Apparently after being fried on 24 Michelle Dessler moved on to being the chaplain on ER?Indiana's coming back, and it's not as easy as it used ...

Reader Comments (17)

What can I say but ... Bravo!
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl
Very good post. I think I would have pleaded the fifth given those circumstances. Nothing there to force you to talk. Plus, this entire event, getting Congress involved, it ridiculous.

BTW, can we pastors use "pompous-ass" from the pulpit? :)
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy
This is one of the reasons that I am voting for Obama... because we need CHANGE in Washington! *cough cough*
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Cimino
One of the things I like about your web site the most, Kim, is the way you post things. By that I mean, if it's an article about government intrusion (as in the case of this Roger Clemens issue), you post it as an "individual citizen" with your own view point. If it's an article about some off-beat theologian's view of eschatology or something, you post it as a theologian.

In other words, you don't mix the two, as is the case with some, ahem, ahem, existing politicians.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
Right on! (a baseball post comment equivalent to 'Amen!')
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRick B.
uhmmm.... why do people who support limited federal government seem to not support the one and only candidate who TRULY holds that position?

The only candidate who is a devout Christian and has a solid voting record going back decades, voting for the constitution and bill of rights every time?

I think they've been misled by the MSM and don't know the facts, it is the only explanation that makes sense to me.......

Anyway, politics aside, appreciate this blog :)
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercarolyn
I work for a company that distributes Sports DVD’s. We sell a lot of Yankee stuff. Bottom line it is just a game. The tax payers are supporting this mock trial. What a waste of money and time!

Mark Fletcher
San Luis Obispo
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark Fletcher
This must be sweeps week for congress. Their approval ratings are at all time lows so they decide to take advantage of those poor Hollywood writers by creating a show of their own.

Although their stated purpose was fact finding, that committee was trying their best to trap Clemens (i.e. "what color was the B12?") and probably McNamee as
well (I didn't see much of the show).

In spite of this nanny-state like behavior from Congress, I seriously doubt there will be any backlash. People enjoy seeing those with more stuff than themselves get punished. And they don't care who does the punishing.
February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I've listened to you on the WHI since 1992 and love your blog and you as a brother (in spite of that sick Yankee addiction). You ask why Congress is involved in the PED issue and I have one answer for you: limited antitrust immunity. If baseball wants Congress out of its business let the teams give up their virtual monopoly of the game. As long as MLB depends on Congress to support its anti-competitive monopolistic behavior it will be subject to these types of silly investigations.

Oh yeah, I hope you're also in favor of dropping all charges against Barry Bonds since he is in pretty much the same situation as the Rocket.


February 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob M
Couldn't agree with you more. Nothing is gained by these hearings, except to ruin reputations and lives, which you would think our government would be against. Baseball already has new rules in place, so let's move on. No one knows for sure who took or didn't take these drugs so let's forget it and move on.
February 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBill Weber

What's Pauls's Christianity have to do with anything?

But now that you suggest it to be a reason to champion him politically, I hereby declare that I'd rather have an observant Christian than a devout one. It's so much easier to prove any claims to inward devotion via one's outward observation, don't you think?
February 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
I disagree with your assessment that this is a matter of trying to get someone who didn't commit a crime to commit one.

That's not the effort at all. The effort is to determine if such actions should indeed be considered criminal.

Is that not the goal of congress? To write laws and pass legislation? How can they write laws with regards to new subjects (HGH use) if they are unawares of how and why the subjects work?

What is being done now is something that should have been done decades ago.

And as for trying to cause Clemens to commit a crime, as Timothy said, "I would have plead the 5th".

anyway the real reason for commenting was because you referenced a list of other people who have been indicted for perjury but that escapes you, well I wrote a blog a while back that listed some recent perjurers so I thought you'd appreciate the linkage...
February 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDanielbalc
I should further say that I do not believe Clemens will be indicted on perjury charges because I do not believe that was the effort of this hearing. I think that back room guarantee was the reason Roger went ahead with the whole thing. Bonds case is different because his perjury was done before a grand jury investigating the illegal tax evasion of BALCO. Clemens appearing before congress was the same as McGwire, Sosa and Palmero back in 2005. It's not to catch a liar but to see what involvement if any congress should have in the issue.

If Clemens faces perjury charges then I am wrong. If he doesn't (and I'm betting he wont) then I'm right.
February 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDanielbalc
It seems congress has nothing better to do these days. Why do they care what happens in the entertainment industry? This should be an MLB internal affair. Maybe Waxman and Davis lost some bets.

Just remember, the opposite of pro-gress is con-gress.
February 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman
This really should be a matter of the baseball world judging itself. Anytime the government gets involved it usually centers on what politician can get the best camera time.
Who's telling the truth , that is the question that will be really left out in the cold. I also hold the position that most athletes in some way or another use "something" to extend their careers these days. Plus even if you take the drugs mentioned , and yes it is called cheating , but the fact is they only help with recoup and recovery time and as you get older , help maintain muscle mass. You still need to work hard and train beyond belief . That does not make it right. But I do not see this as a hardened criminal act either. Plus lets face it ,we all cheered on all those athletes pumped up on juice ,both legal and illegal, because winning is everything in America and Canada in the world of professional sports .
February 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterReg Schofield
The entire business of cheating in sports is sort of a morality play and we can trace it back much farther than the infamous "Black Sox" affair.
The desire to excel has caused many men and women to use chemical aids. Both Achilles and Samson had their detractors but it worked for them.
Simple words suffice to say that some people consider it alrightto use chemical aids, others do not. Does it matter? Will St.Peter deny entrance if you do? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
February 18, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLoring
This whole mess reminds of an old Perdue chicken commercial in which after touting his company's standards for breeding safe, healthy and nutritious chickens as being higher than what is required by the Feds in Washington, Frank Perdue, the owner of the company, looks into the camera and says, "Washington? What do they know about chickens?"

Well, what does Washington know about baseball? You want proof. How about Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays mispronouncing Rafael Palmeiro's name, referring to him as Mr. Palmieri. One is amazed that he did not refer to Roger Clemens as Samuel Clemens.

Kim is correct. This is a sordid mess. The only thing missing is Abbott & Costello riffing through their "Who's on first?" routine.

Go Yankees!
March 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael M

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