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Malicious Mail, Oh My!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Adding to the ever-growing list of presidential superpowers, President Bush now declares that he has the extra- or supra-constitutional power to open your private mail without getting a warrant. In his Signing Statement, he circumvented the very law he was signing. The law requires first-class letters be opened by government agents only after they obtain a warrant. But Bush declared that he could side-step that requirement, saying that his administration would construe that provision "in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances."
Exigent circumstances? What the hell does that mean? Who gets to determine if an event presents exigent circumstances? What if they're wrong? I'm not sure about the last questions, but the first question can be answered from Wikipedia:
An emergency situation requiring swift action to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect, or destruction of evidence. There is no ready litmus test for determining whether such circumstances exist, and in each case the extraordinary situation must be measured by the facts known by officials.
Actually, this answers all but our last question. The "What?" is an undefinable emergency situation and the "Who?" are government officials (I feel better already). As for the last question I posed, I'd be surprised if you'd get any explanation why your letter from Aunt Millie was opened nor could you do anything about it. Besides, they'd say it was done in the name of National Security, and you're all for that, aren't you?
When this was presented to Ann Beeson, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, she said:
"The signing statement raises serious questions whether he is authorizing opening of mail contrary to the Constitution and to laws enacted by Congress. What is the purpose of the signing statement if it isn't that?"
What, indeed.
In researching this post, I ran across a forum board at The first poster, EqtTrdr, explained that President Bush had added signing statements to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. His post, in my opinion, was to the point and factual. He finished by making the final assessment:
This says the Bush can now search our mail without a warrant. There is no arguing that this is exactly what it says. A signing statement does not outweigh our Constitution.
I would consider this a violation of our laws, and yet another attack on our freedom.
I tend to agree with his observation. I kid you not, the very next post was this:
You guys are the best, the President signs a bill, already passed by both houses of Congress, and suddenly it is another Bush Conspiracy. All it does is personally protect the President from lawsuits.

Look the NSA can already listen to your phone calls, read your e-mails, monitor your net usage, and track you through your cell phone. They are looking for terrorists not you. Who cares, quit being so paranoid.

~Trader1966, Commenting on President Bush's Signing Statement appended to the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

His reasoning is that the government has already installed itself firmly up your ass, so what's another inch? Quit your bitchin'! Am I the only one that thinks this guy has drank too much Kool Aid? Fortunately not. On the next page, I found this gem (WARNING: F-Bomb Alert!) posted by achilles28:
Its always alarming how many shills come out of the woodwork to defend (not condemn) another attack on our dwindling freedoms.
#1 Congress never wrote or passed legislation enabling Bush to search our mail without a warrant. Bush did. That's what his 'signing statement' means. DUH!
#2 CORRECT! Thanks to Echelon, the NSA has been monitoring our collective email, surfing habits, cell phone and in some cases landline calls. All without a warrant.
And this wholesale skull fucking of our 4th Amendment right is good, how???
You think the Fourth Amendment is a joke? Do you even know why its there???
The whole spirit of the Constitution was written to protect men from men with power.
The Spirit of man has not changed in 200 years - let alone 2000.
When the next one goes off, you 'enlightened' pundits are going to get raped by the very machinations you foolishly supported.
Amen, bro! Unfortunately, we're all forced to endure government's intrusive probing because a few so-called citizens don't have "anything to hide."


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