New President

Not the one I was rooting for. Nor the one the vast majority of my students claimed to be rooting for.

I’m curious to hear how the ongoing “independent investigation” of various charges of manipulation of the price of shares will go. Especially since he’ll be immune to prosecution while he’s President. He’s, ahem, promised to step down if there’s proof. How can proof be ascertained if he can’t be prosecuted? Hmm?

That’s all I’m going to say for the moment. Oh, and is family name is really 이, which sounds like “E”, not Lee. We all know which e-word I’m thinking of.

6 thoughts on “New President

  1. Proof is obtained through investigation, which is different from prosecution. Prosecution means initiating legal proceedings against someone. So being immune to prosecution means that he can’t be brought into court, but he can still be investigated, and evidence can still be uncovered.

    When Lee says that he will step down if there is proof, he is basically saying that he is waiving his immunity to prosecution–since, once he is no longer president, he will no longer be immune.

    What will happen with the investigation and what Lee will actually do about it, of course, is anyone’s guess. Personally, I don’t think they’re going to find enough evidence to make any real difference. But that’s just a semi-educated (if that) guess.

  2. Right, but how does one define proof, then? The standard (legal) definition of proof is evidence as ratified by a court as being damning. How can anything be proven one way or the other unless interpretation — via the court process — is authoritatively applied to the facts or evidence? This is my point: he can always dismiss evidence as being non-conclusive, and hold onto immunity thereby.

    I suspect you’re right: surely GNP would have looked for evidence, and made sure (by whatever means) that there wasn’t any before letting him run, since him stepping down would be a major embarrassment to the party. So they probably won’t be able to prove much, I think.

    If there is evidence, though, I imagine whoever out there has it is going to be able to make some very generous friends in the opposition party!

  3. Well, first of all, I’m not a lawyer. But just judging by what I’ve been able to dig up in various dictionaries, “proof” as defined in legal terms is basically “evidence that is suitable for legal proceedings,” not necessarily “evidence that is ratified by a court as damning.” In other words, evidence doesn’t need to go through the legal proceedings to be considered proof, it just needs to be substantial enough to merit legal proceedings.

    But I don’t think any of that really matters because most people don’t really draw a distinction between “evidence” and “proof.” I’m guessing that the word used in Korean was probably ?거, which can be translated into English as either “evidence” or “proof.” So I suspect that what Lee meant was “sufficient evidence.”

    I agree that Lee could dismiss any evidence as inconclusive, but only up to a certain point. If the evidence was overwhelming, he might not be able to dodge. But anyway, that’s not what you said in your post. ;) I was just responding to the idea that you can’t have proof without legal proceedings.

    My thoughts on any of the candidates aside, I think it’s pretty obvious that the investigation was timed so as to damage Lee’s image right before the election–the timing was just a little too convenient, considering how long ago this happened. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s true, since changed perceptions are generally enough. In this case, though, the strategy backfired.

    (Personally, I think that Lee is at least partly responsible insofar as he was the head honcho at the time, but I doubt he was directly involved.)

  4. Charles,

    Yeah, probably your dictionaries are right in a sense, though I’d also add that in practical terms, until a conviction reporters and such usually (in English, and I think in Korean too) have to qualify that this is “alleged evidence,” or “supposed proof,” not just good old “proof.”

    I also think that the character-assassination was a cheap move. Frankly, looking at the board of candidates, I felt a flashback to Canada: when one is faced with a pack of wicked-hearted old men in suits, it’s hard to believe choosing one or the other will make a difference in the long run: one will screw this up, the other that.

    Which is to say I’m not enamored with any of the competition that lost — just that I find the whole pack of them stomach-turning.

    But at least the guy who claimed he was buddies with George Bush and had a 240 IQ didn’t get elected. At least there’s that.

  5. I hear you. There were some real nut jobs in the line-up this time. Maybe it’s just cynicism, but I find that elections, be they here or elsewhere, often wind up being a referendum on who is the lesser of various evils.

  6. Charles,

    It’s not just cynicism. There’s a reason Thomas More joked about the idea of banned from government for life anyone who actually wants to be in politics. Since I despise choosing the lesser of various evils, I find it downright insulting — most politics, I mean. Hell, I even am of the opinion that nation-states are really just useful (or not useful) fictions most of the time. Which makes the whole idea of elections even more preposterous, in some ways. (Beats serving a king of fuehrer, but there has to be a better way, really.)

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