All Your Mail Are Belong to U.S.

Because the Decider says so (via the Carpetbagger):

President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans’ mail without a judge’s warrant, the Daily News has learned.
The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a “signing statement” that declared his right to open people’s mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

Bush’s move came during the winter congressional recess and a year after his secret domestic electronic eavesdropping program was first revealed. It caught Capitol Hill by surprise.

“Despite the President’s statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people’s mail without a warrant,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.

it is an outrageous move, of course, and I fully expect that the plethora of self-styled limited government conservatives, wary in general of over-reach by the federal government and future ‘unfriendly’ administrations abusing this vast new authority. And that isn’t even mentioning that it contradicts existing law.

Ok, that was sarcasm. I don’t expect a peep out of the right wing on this, as they are so tightly wound into their own contradictions that they are incapable of opposing this. You see, they are so wed to the votes of the fanatic anti-abortion lobby that the phrase “there is no right to privacy” rolls off their lips without thought. They are so beholden to the electoral policy of scaring the living shit out of everyone with threats of impending doom via terrorist attack that they can;t oppose this, because, after all, “The terrorists want to kill us.”

The rest of us, well, I guess we better take refuge in one of the right wing talking points for excusing these outrageous power grabs we are now so used to:

“You don’t have anything to worry if you aren’t doing anything wrong.”

I hope that makes you feel better, because, remember- the terrorists want to kill us, and a key Presidential advisor, Pat Robertson, knows something you don’t know. Best to let the President read your mail. Besides, they will only use this power when they really need to, right?

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94 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    You have no postage! Make your time!

  2. 2
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Actually, it’s even more outrageous. In the signing statement, the president says:

    Nobody in my administration will take any postal case to court (despite this law saying anyone to include the postal service shall do so).

    I reserve the right to say all the changes that increase accountability (such as removing sovereign immunity) may be waived.

    I can use the Department of Justice attorneys to represent the Post Office and the administration such cases no matter what the law says.

    Nobody gets to restrict who I choose to be a Post Office appointee.

    I can open mail if I think I need to without paying attention to the provisions of this law.

    I do not have to submit to congressional oversight if I don’t want to.

    For those who want more detail (to expand or contest my reading):
    signing statement
    Bill as signed

  3. 3
    matt says:

    So they can listen to our calls, read our emails, look at our medical and library records, read our mail, abduct us off the street, hold us in secret prisons and torture us forever.

    Weird. It’s like every movie about “America in the year 2045”, came true.

  4. 4
    Myrtle Parker says:

    President Bush can not retroactively change the text of the bill while signing it. He does not get to make amendments. He can either sign it, as is, or veto it. That’s his choice.

    If President Bush doesn’t like the text of the Bill, or feels it needs further verbiage, he can send it back with his veto power and ask the congress to amend it. Other than that, tough shit for him. Any kid in the United States with a rudimentary high school class in our constitution and government knows this.

    His signing statements are crap. Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito notwithstanding, the judicial branch can and will tell him to kiss their ass.

    Fuck Bush’ signing statements.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    His signing statements are crap. Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito notwithstanding, the judicial branch can and will tell him to kiss their ass.

    That’s a pretty slim margin. And if Ann Coulter gets off her “poison Ruth Ginsberg” plot, suddenly the shoe will be on the other foot.

    That raises another interesting question. Can a Supreme Court Justice be impeached or otherwise kicked from the bench? I’d like to see Scalia or Thomas get the Bob Ney treatment, or at least get investigated. There’s no way these guys continue to toe the line simply because they love conservatism too much. I mean, Scalia and Cheney go hunting for Christ’s sake. Someone up there must be dirty.

  6. 6

    H.L. Mencken put it best: “Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

  7. 7
    ThymeZone says:

    It’s okay with me if Pat Buchanan opens my mail. But not Bush.

    Or Bay.

  8. 8
    ThymeZone says:

    Oops. Where’s my excuse list …

    I saw “Pat Robertson” and read “Buchanan.” Sorry. I’m in bed with a cold, that’s my lame excuse.

    So, Robertson. No. He can’t open my mail. But his cute Religio-producer Babe on the 700 Club, Kristi can open my mail. God will protect me.

  9. 9
    craigie says:

    This is ok with me, as long as I can also open Bush’s mail.

  10. 10
    Myrtle Parker says:

    That’s a pretty slim margin. And if Ann Coulter gets off her “poison Ruth Ginsberg” plot, suddenly the shoe will be on the other foot.

    Well, this can be a two way street. Can’t wait for the winger’s reaction when President Hillary Clinton interprets a routine medicare bill to pass her national single payer health care in the interests of national security.

    Will be fun.

  11. 11
    Zifnab says:

    Just use multi-syllabic words or inscribe all your messages at the end of “My Pet Goat”. That should Bush-proof the mail for a while at least.

  12. 12
    Jimmy Mack says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

  13. 13
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    Speaking of lost mail …

    Watch as the Right destroys Rudy Giuliani.

    – Brownback ’08!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16458783/site/newsweek

  14. 14
    Jake says:

    Gee, another pointless act of paranoia and power madness from the pointless, paranoid, power mad buffoon in the White House.

    Can we please have one WEEK where this man doesn’t do something that is embarrassing or stupid or wicked?

  15. 15
    nongeophysical Dennis says:

    Jimmy Mack Says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    Early conteneder for “most retarded post of the day.”

    Just for shits and giggles, why would Bush declare his authority to open your mail if by practical limitation it was impossible?

  16. 16
    Mike says:

    Surpeme Court justices can be impeached.

  17. 17
    Tsulagi says:

    Well, if al Qaeda is sending a letter to grandma we want to know about it and read it. Or in this case a letter to an 81 year-old grandpa. They’ve already been opening mail. Nothing new here, move along.

    If there is anything said from the ass-uppers for Bush I’d be surprised. But maybe we could be treated to Bill Bennett telling us what a real man would say or do.

    I am so fucking tired of these bedwetters for their spoiled brat God. The ones who cry out in a reverse Patrick Henry “Here’s all my liberties, just protect me from death!” Not a spine among them.

  18. 18
    Keith says:

    “Can a Supreme Court Justice be impeached or otherwise kicked from the bench?”
    Yes, Congress can impeach a Justice (and it has been done). Conviction is what results in removal (outside retirement/death), but it’s never happened AFAIK. A recess-appointed Justice (not sure if that’s ever happened) would lose the post upon expiration, ala John Bolton.

  19. 19
    John Cole says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    It’s not paranoia when they tell you they are doing it.

    It’s outrage that they are doing it. Now back to the Free Republic with you.

  20. 20
    Zifnab says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    I don’t know. “Bin Laden: Dead or Alive, We’re going to get those WMDs, blah blah more jobs blah blah better economy”. Bush says alot of shit he can’t pull through on. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is one of those situations where he just succeeds in pissing off the entire US Postal Service by trying to meddle with it.

  21. 21
    Sojourner says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    So you have no problem with the president acting contrary to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Interesting. I had hoped you would be more of a patriot. What a shame.

  22. 22
    Jake says:

    Bush says a lot of shit he can’t pull through on.

    Yup. Who will listen to the phone calls, who will review the e-mails, who will open and the fricking letters?

    I often get the feeling that a lot of this is a desperate CYA manouver. If there is another terrorist attack in the U.S. the Bush Admin. wants to be able to point to mountains of paper or mainframes and say “We have the information, we just hadn’t gotten around to analyzing it yet! (And therefore trampling the BoR was worth it.)” Rather like a student handing in some half-arsed paper in hopes of getting credit for his effort.

  23. 23
    Tom says:

    Jimmy Mack Says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    Sir, concern for having your civil rights taken away is not paranoia. It is AMERICAN. Jeez, what liberty would have to be taken away for some to finally say enough? As it stands now, the preznit (or his henchmen) have access to over 90% of your private life (medical, financial, mail, phone calls, travel, etc). Is this what we all want?

  24. 24
    Jimmy Mack says:

    It’s outrage that they are doing it. Now back to the Free Republic with you.

    Do you know yet what the White House plans to use this new ability for? What makes you think that they will be reading yours of my mail? Until we know more about exactly that they’re planning to do, I don’t see the point in getting too exercised about this. I agree there is a danger here, but let’s wait til we see it manifest itself before we go nuclear.

  25. 25
    RSA says:

    This signing statement is associated with “Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.” To Bush, “accountability” apparently means, “You will be accountable to the government for any communication through the U.S. mail,” and “enhancement” means, “The government’s ability to read your private communications will be enhanced.”

    The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    Funny how rightwingers think the government would be totally incompetent at monitoring what people are writing and thinking, but unless vigorously restrained could swoop down and take their guns away (for example) with extraordinary efficiency.

  26. 26
    Walker says:

    Do you know yet what the White House plans to use this new ability for? What makes you think that they will be reading yours of my mail?

    This is how it begins; That is how people in Communist regimes lived with this type of stuff. Keep your head down and no one will bother you. My fiance is from Poland and she was worried that her parents would object to an engagement announcement in the paper — they are so trained to keep themselves out of the public eye.

    I am assuming you are a good upstanding citizen and don’t order porn through the mail. The justice department has made noise about cracking down on (legal, consensual) porn several times now. I am sure they will add this fine power to their efforts against porn if permitted.

  27. 27
    Sojourner says:

    Do you know yet what the White House plans to use this new ability for?

    It makes absolutely no difference.

  28. 28
    Slide says:

    I am an original Bush hater. I admit it. John Cole has characterized me as such many times in the past when he was still a “believer”. But even this Bush Hater is simply amazed and what this man has done to my county over these last six years. Not in my wildist dreams did I imagine the boy emperor could inflict so much damage to our nation in such a relatively short period of time.

  29. 29
    les says:

    Funny how rightwingers think

    This wrong in so many ways, I don’t know where to start. Certainly there’s no evidence of the subtlety you propose, RSA; you’re too generous by far.

  30. 30
    Jimmy Mack says:

    It makes absolutely no difference.

    Huh? How can you possibly say that, that real absuses would be no different from legitimate security concerns? I wish I could see your IP so I knew which planet you were commenting from.

  31. 31
    AkaDad says:

    If I didn’t know any better, I would think that a liberal blogger posted this. :D

  32. 32
    SeesThroughIt says:

    Weird. It’s like every movie about “America in the year 2045”, came true.

    Seriously. I’ve had a longstanded disdain for New World Order/Big Brother conspiracy theorists, yet this administration is doing its damndest to turn me into one.

  33. 33
    Walker says:

    If I didn’t know any better, I would think that a liberal blogger posted this.

    Only because the people calling themselves conservatives these days are so far right they have more in common with Trotskyites than Buckley.

  34. 34

    What about letters to Santa? Don’t those fall under child/parental substitute privilege?

    As a recipient of US Mail, this issue concerns me very much. Some children ask me for machine guns. Others want ponies. Some, such as a certain Third World dictator who shall go unnamed, want weapons-grade uranium. If these letters are opened by the government before I receive them, the children in question will lose faith in my ability to provide them with an accurate classification on the naughty/nice scale. If that happens, TWOC is over. The terrorists and Canadians win.

  35. 35
    Focus On Your Own Damn Family! says:

    I agree there is a danger here, but let’s wait til we see it manifest itself before we go nuclear.

    Don’t you understand that the moment it manifests itself, it’s far, far too late?

    But I suppose as long as it doesn’t manifest itself all over your and your life, it’s ok….

  36. 36
    Jimmy Mack says:

    Don’t forget that a terrorist attack could manifest itself in our lives as well, Focus.

  37. 37
    Nikki says:

    Don’t forget that a terrorist attack could manifest itself in our lives as well, Focus.

    Exactly when do you plan to quit wetting your bed?

  38. 38
    Slide says:

    Only because the people calling themselves conservatives these days are so far right they have more in common with Trotskyites than Buckley.

    I thought a reader to Andrew Sullivan’s blog said it pretty well:

    I know that may be disappointing to hear, for a devout acolyte of Burke. But labels change, and the political compass has been turned. In 21st century America, you need only ask yourself two questions to determine if you are a true conservative.

    First, do you believe that Jesus Christ ordained the US Constitution, and that there is no true understanding of that document except that one first believes in him? Second, do you believe it is America’s Christian destiny to save the world from the false religion of Mohammed? Since you clearly fail on both grounds, despite your lukewarm claim to believe in Jesus in some relativist, doubtful fashion, you are officially a liberal.

    .

  39. 39
    The Other Andrew says:

    Jimmy Mack–it makes no difference because Bush is breaking the law. And the hilarious part is, he just announces when he’s going to do so, and no-one in power does anything about it. Though perhaps that will change…

  40. 40
    Jake says:

    This is almost too easy but, first we have:

    The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    Then we have:

    Don’t forget that a terrorist attack could manifest itself in our lives as well, Focus.

    So the grossly inefficient postal service is supposed to protect us from a terrorist attack. People who object to unwarranted fiddling with their mail are paranoid but people who live in fear of a terrorist attack are “focused.”

    This has been a brief demonstration of how some brains aren’t built for logic.

  41. 41
    Cyrus says:

    Jimmy Mack Says:
    Do you know yet what the White House plans to use this new ability for? What makes you think that they will be reading yours of my mail?

    Nixon. The exact same things for which Nixon used the power he incorrectly claimed he had. That is, if we’re lucky. It could easily be worse.

    Until we know more about exactly that they’re planning to do, I don’t see the point in getting too exercised about this.

    Sorry to break it to you, but in real life, a book titled “How to cook humans” will very likely have an unpleasant subject, no matter how much space dust has accumulated on the cover. Are you really saying that we need to know exactly where, when and how this ridiculous, unnecessary infringement on privacy will be used before there might be a reason to object?

    I agree there is a danger here, but let’s wait til we see it manifest itself before we go nuclear.

    So you agree this is bad, but you’re complaining because people are being… what, shrill? Who are you, Ann Althouse?

  42. 42
    Jimmy Mack says:

    So the grossly inefficient postal service is supposed to protect us from a terrorist attack.

    Touche. I still think you guys are over reacting.

  43. 43
    BrianM says:

    I’m just happy when the post office doesn’t lose my mail. Seriously, does anyone really think this is a big deal. The USPS can barely deliver letters, let alone find an efficient way for going through all of our mail. You might want to tamp down the paranoia a little bit.

    Leaving aside the other idiocy, I’m closing in on 30 years of sending my own mail from my own residence. I’ve never known any of that mail to get lost. The USPS error rate seems rather less than that of The Best Medical System in the World, Microsoft, or lots of other large organizations.

    I don’t work for the the Post Office. Just an independent small businessman and (of late) therefore a Democrat.

  44. 44
    Pooh says:

    Focus On Your Own Damn Family!

    New handle of the month, well chosen sir/miss.

  45. 45
    Pooh says:

    Touche. I still think you guys are over reacting.

    If this was the first time we’d seen this kind of story, you might have a point. But it’s not, so you don’t.

  46. 46
    Focus On Your Own Damn Family! says:

    Jimmy,

    I’m a member of our armed services and I’m well aware of the myriad ways a terrorist attack could manifest. We train to recognize and counter those threats quite a bit actually. It’s kind of our job, ya know.

    That doesn’t mean I’m willing to give up my freedoms and rights to privacy as an american citizen.

    History is full of sobering examples of where these kinds of abuses by those in power lead. Hell, skip history, just take a long look at the Padilla situation. Do a google search on sensory deprivaiton and the incidence of psychosis. Then ask yourself what 2 years of that treatment could do to a person.

    A person who has not been tried.
    A person who has not been convicted.
    A person who has *only* been accused.

    An american citizen has been destroyed by this sociopathic, power-mad administration.

    And you think it’s ok that these monsters can now read your mail?

  47. 47
    Jimmy Mack says:

    Look, anyone on the whole mail chain could open our mail at any time. I have had shipments of books opened (and in some cases subsequently lost) on more than one occassion. It’s naive to think we have any real protections there. Why not just admit (a) that and (b) that we can’t leave anything about our security to chance. Let’s not forget about the anthrax letters, just to cite one example, among many others (such as the Unabomber).

  48. 48
    Focus On Your Own Damn Family! says:

    Scenario:

    Jimmy Mack sends a letter to a pal which is intercepted and misinterpreted. He’s arrested and detained on suspicion of terrorist activities. He’s the new Padilla and subject to the same treatment.

    I suppose you won’t mind taking one for the team when it’s you, instead of him.

    ‘Coz better safe than sorry, right?

    Thanks man.

  49. 49
    Jimmy Mack says:

    Geesh, just watched the big Pelosi swearing in. I think I need a shower…

  50. 50
    SeesThroughIt says:

    I’ve had a longstanded

    “Longstanded?” Christ, that’s embarrassing. Let’s go with longstanding, thanks.

  51. 51
    Jake says:

    Why not just admit (a) that and (b) that we can’t leave anything about our security to chance.

    This doesn’t sound paranoid a-tall. And leaving our safety to what some describe as an incompetent agency and not placing any limits on its ability to fiddle with your mail (like requiring a warrant)…yeah. Right. Sensible.

    BTW, if the books were sent via media mail your local PO should have a notice warning you that it might open such packages to make sure they contain media and not crap purchased through e-Bay. Apparently enough people took advantage of the cheaper rates to send non-media items that the USPS took steps to curb this abuse. [/USPS geek alert]

  52. 52
    RSA says:

    Geesh, just watched the big Pelosi swearing in. I think I need a shower…

    If your cold shower doesn’t help, try thinking of Ann Coulter.

  53. 53
    Slide says:

    Geesh, just watched the big Pelosi swearing in. I think I need a shower…

    yeah.. not like the good old days with Hastert, Foley, Delay, Cunningham, et. al. These damn dems make me sick.

  54. 54
    HyperIon says:

    What about letters to Santa? Don’t those fall under child/parental substitute privilege?

    good point, ZSC!

    I’m closing in on 30 years of sending my own mail from my own residence. I’ve never known any of that mail to get lost.

    thank you for summarizing my experience as well.
    and it’s CHEAP.
    visit another country and discover their postal rates.

    the USPS does a very good job for a very good price.
    they are not perfect but they are a lot more competent than, say, the phone company or your average bank IMO.

  55. 55
    Zifnab says:

    yeah.. not like the good old days with Hastert, Foley, Delay, Cunningham, et. al. These damn dems make me sick.

    I’m going to miss all the pedophile that used to fill those hallowed halls. The lobbyist golfing trips, the all-nighters up voting with your friends, the kickbacks and closed door meetings and the Macaca calling contests that used to fill the chambers.

    *sigh* Perhaps Eden just wasn’t built to last.

    But don’t worry, Jimmy, you can still go out back and beat a fag with a hammer until you feel like a Republican again.

  56. 56
    Krista says:

    Do you know yet what the White House plans to use this new ability for? What makes you think that they will be reading yours of my mail? Until we know more about exactly that they’re planning to do, I don’t see the point in getting too exercised about this. I agree there is a danger here, but let’s wait til we see it manifest itself before we go nuclear.

    It’s the principle of the thing.

    Feel free to go look that word up online — you’re obviously unfamiliar with it.

  57. 57
    Nikki says:

    Jimmy Mack,

    What does Freedom mean to you? What does it look like? Would you still consider yourself living free when your government begins to act in the manner of Soviet Russia?

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    It’s naive to think we have any real protections there. Why not just admit (a) that and (b) that we can’t leave anything about our security to chance.

    Shorter Jimmy: Bush promises to pull out in time and respect me in the mornning. And that’s good enough for me.

  59. 59
    Zifnab says:

    Shorter Jimmy 9 months from now: Oh shit, I’m pregnant in the ass again.

  60. 60
    Krista says:

    Until we know more about exactly that they’re planning to do, I don’t see the point in getting too exercised about this.

    I’m sorry, I must have misread. You actually trust President Bush to open Americans’ mail, without either abusing that privilege or somehow fucking it up royally?

    Are you high?

  61. 61
    dreggas says:

    I am assuming you are a good upstanding citizen and don’t order porn through the mail. The justice department has made noise about cracking down on (legal, consensual) porn several times now. I am sure they will add this fine power to their efforts against porn if permitted.

    Just look up 2257 on the google. There have been many many cases where this law was abused and used against legitimate businesses which did not have the legal means to defend themselves and therefore went out of business.

    I have many friends in the Adult Entertainment industry, especially Alternative Lifestyles stuff who were subjected to raids, had their equipment taken and were humiliated by the feds along with being dragged into court only to have the “charges” dropped and being left with large legal fees for retaining lawyers. The result, they shut down their web sites etc. because they could not afford to defend them in court anymore.

    This law is a scarlet letter period.

    On a side note it is a federal offense to open someone’s mail without a warrant (or unless a member of the postal service) therefore…*coughs*high crimes and misdemeanors*coughs*.

  62. 62
    carpeicthus says:

    I would love it if Nancy Pelosi literally dropped trou and took a crap on every Bush signing statement. How does the signing statement supposed power NOT make the president an autocrat?

  63. 63
    Jimmy Mack says:

    If your cold shower doesn’t help, try thinking of Ann Coulter.

    That’s a low blow. Just because I don’t love Nancy Pelosi that means I’m a crazy right-winger? I voted for a Democrat in November for the first time in year’s (granted, it was kind of a no-brainer since my old rep was Curt Weldon). But that doesn’t mean we all need to think that Pelosi’s little children and Bush bashing fest was the high water mark of our Democracy, now does it?

  64. 64
    dreggas says:

    Jimmy,

    given the past 6 years Pelosi the “high water mark” is really, really low. Of course now it is being raised back up.

  65. 65
    Larv says:

    Ok, is Jimmy a spoof? It’s so hard to tell anymore. On the offchance that he’s not, I’ll risk responding.

    Look, anyone on the whole mail chain could open our mail at any time. I have had shipments of books opened (and in some cases subsequently lost) on more than one occassion.

    First, while there are circumstances under which the post office can open mail, AFAIK it’s only in order to check on the physical contents, that is, to make sure you’re not shipping contraband or abusing the rate system or some such. It is illegal for the government to read your mail without a warrant, which is what the president is now asserting that he can do. He’s claiming the ability to ignore the law, just as he has done on so many other laws which protect our civil rights.

    It’s naive to think we have any real protections there.

    Similarly, some nut walking down the street could murder you at any time. Are laws against murder therefore naive? After all, what real protection is offered by a law? Might as well just do away with the lot of ’em.

    we can’t leave anything about our security to chance.

    And this, my friends, is how police states are justified. The threats to the nation, both internal and external, are simply too serious to take chances. We must monitor the population for potential dangers, and take swift action against those who endanger our security. Save us, Big Brother, save us!

  66. 66
    Jake says:

    Just because I don’t love Nancy Pelosi that means I’m a crazy right-winger?

    Don’t look at me. I don’t care how you voted or how you feel about Pelosi, you’re a bit paranoid.

    we can’t leave anything about our security to chance.

  67. 67
    Perry Como says:

    Yup. Who will listen to the phone calls, who will review the e-mails, who will open and the fricking letters?

    Manimals.

  68. 68

    I nominate the Oompa Loompa’s?

  69. 69
  70. 70
    Jonathan says:

    Don’t forget that a terrorist attack could manifest itself in our lives as well, Focus.

    “Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
    — Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

  71. 71
    Tulkinghorn says:

    Kirk,

    You are misrepresenting the signing statement… it is not “my administration” but “the executive branch” shall construe etc. etc. So it follows that the next administration may have these claimed powers, too.

    Until Gonzales goes to fight the Democratic administration trying to use them, of course.

  72. 72
    RSA says:

    But that doesn’t mean we all need to think that Pelosi’s little children and Bush bashing fest was the high water mark of our Democracy, now does it?

    Perhaps I misinterpreted the expression, “I need to take a shower,” in the context of just having watched Pelosi’s swearing in.

  73. 73

    […] how many links can you find about george bush wanting to read your mail? […]

  74. 74
    ThymeZone says:

    that we can’t leave anything about our security to chance

    You might want to look into the DHS. Pretty much everything about our security is being left to chance.

    Uh, what color is that National Threat Advisory today?
    (Hint: It’s been the same color pretty much every day for five years).

    Yeah, I feel protected by the assclowns you worskhip. Really, I do.

  75. 75
    Perry Como says:

    IM IN UR MAIL, VIOLATIN UR RIGHTS!!!11OneEleven

  76. 76
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Tulkinghorn, I disagree, but only slightly. You are assuming that when the president writes these he does so thinking of future administrations. I do not make such an assumption, but instead believe “The executive branch shall construe” means “this executive branch, as directed and led by me, shall construe”.

    Your mistake is that you’re trying to assume the president is reasonable and gives full thought and consideration to future administrations regardless of party.

  77. 77
    Detlef says:

    Do you know yet what the White House plans to use this new ability for? What makes you think that they will be reading yours of my mail? Until we know more about exactly that they’re planning to do, I don’t see the point in getting too exercised about this. I agree there is a danger here, but let’s wait til we see it manifest itself before we go nuclear.

    Given the secrecy of the White House you´ll never know how they´ll use “this new ability”. If you really think that they´ll publish and discuss what they´re doing, you were in a coma in the last six years.
    Watchword of Germany after Hitler (or the Stasi in former East Germany): “Wehret den Anfängen”.
    Roughly translated as “Be on guard against the beginnings”.
    Because, once law-enforcement agencies get new “abilities” there is a tendency to use that ability everywhere.

  78. 78
    Jimmy Mack says:

    Yeah, I feel protected by the assclowns you worskhip. Really, I do.

    Nice attitude there. Our elected officials are a bunch of “assclowns.” Charming, really. Do you get out much?

  79. 79
    TenguPhule says:

    Do you get out much?

    Shorter Jimmy: She said she was on the pill!

    There’s one born every minute.

  80. 80
    TenguPhule says:

    You actually trust President Bush to open Americans’ mail, without either abusing that privilege or somehow fucking it up royally?

    Yes, he does.

    Are you high?

    Yes, he is.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

  81. 81
    ThymeZone says:

    Our elected officials are a bunch of “assclowns.”

    Well, stupid lying cocksucker power-mad sociopathic manipulative assclowns …. but still, assclowns.

    Did you have a point?

  82. 82
    ThymeZone says:

    Do you get out much?

    Actually, I’m out now. You?

  83. 83
    jake says:

    IM IN UR MAIL, VIOLATIN UR RIGHTS11OneEleven

    IM IN UR TUBES, READIN UR EMALEZ!!1!!

  84. 84
    John Redworth says:

    Weird. It’s like every movie about “America in the year 2045”, came true.

    Where is Snake Plissken when we need him?

  85. 85
    Jessica says:

    Our security is not going to be threatened by anything in the mail that isn’t already covered under federal law. What does the government hope to find? Anthrax powder? A letter, “Dear Mom: Today I plan to blow up the local FBI headquarters. Also, I got the sweater you sent me. Say hi to Billy for me,”? Architectural drawings entitled, “My Secret Underground Lair”?

    A signing statement enabling the reading of mail does one of two things.

    1. It violates every American’s right to privacy and against illegal search and seizure.
    2. It creates criminality out of a perfectly legal act: expressing one’s freedom of speech.

    What if any of us were to send a letter that said, “Dear Mom: I sure am glad the Democrats got the majority in the Senate this year. I hope George Bush just fucks off and dies!” Perfectly legal, but oh look, here comes the Secret Service knocking on your door because they interpreted that as a “threat against the President”. Never mind the fact that the closest you ever got to the President was sharing the same traffic jam during his umpteenth campaign visit.

    The reason we have laws is because there needs to be a specific line drawn around what is considered a criminal act. Being able to define an act as criminal without any justification beyond “I say so” is extremely dangerous–it means you could go to jail for *anything* the government determines is not in its best interest. Maybe they’ll catch a Dear Terrorist letter–but maybe they’ll open your absentee ballot instead and decide it got “lost” because you didn’t vote for them.

    If someone’s going to scoff and say, “There’s so much mail, there’s no way they could do that!” then there’s no way they could find a Dear Terrorist letter either, and the signing statement is useless. If there *is* the capability of finding such things, without supporting evidence that would justify the use of a warrant or other artifact of due process, then there *is* no reason to think that such a capability wouldn’t be abused and plenty of reason to think that it would be. This is a time in which schoolchildren are being investigated because they created an anti-Bush project in Social Studies.

    This signing statement does not protect our security against terrorists. It protects the government’s security against its citizens.

  86. 86

    […] John has an entry today decrying the White House signing statement appended to the Postal Reform Act. John states: I don’t expect a peep out of the right wing on this, as they are so tightly wound into their own contradictions that they are incapable of opposing this. You see, they are so wed to the votes of the fanatic anti-abortion lobby that the phrase “there is no right to privacy” rolls off their lips without thought. They are so beholden to the electoral policy of scaring the living shit out of everyone with threats of impending doom via terrorist attack that they can;t oppose this, because, after all, “The terrorists want to kill us.” […]

  87. 87

    […] John has an entry today decrying the White House signing statement appended to the Postal Reform Act. John states: I don’t expect a peep out of the right wing on this, as they are so tightly wound into their own contradictions that they are incapable of opposing this. You see, they are so wed to the votes of the fanatic anti-abortion lobby that the phrase “there is no right to privacy” rolls off their lips without thought. They are so beholden to the electoral policy of scaring the living shit out of everyone with threats of impending doom via terrorist attack that they can;t oppose this, because, after all, “The terrorists want to kill us.” […]

  88. 88
    John Redworth says:

    Don’t worry people, they are only opening and reading the mail of suspected terrorists who sending love notes out of the country… there is no reason to worry at all… and that clicking sound on your phone when you are talking to your Mom, that is just static… there is no reason to be paranoid… that black sedan parked outside with the two guys in trenchcoats, don’t worry since they are just waiting for a friend… that no-knock entry at 3AM is just wake up call to help protect America… that surprised and forced trip to some small Eastern European country is just a spa…

    The President loves you and wants to protect you… so smile and be happy knowing that our rights are being protected everyday in the name of the global war on terror…

    So Sayth Dick Cheney, So Sayth the Flock…

  89. 89
    ThymeZone says:

    Cold Fury managed to write an article longer than the Act itself, explaining why Cole is wrong.

    The people can get this point much more easily.

    Citizen A: “The president says he has the right to open your mail.”

    Citizen B: “Fuck him.”

    Questions?

  90. 90
    Punchy says:

    I am assuming you are a good upstanding citizen and don’t order porn through the mail.

    Would that be called opening the male?

  91. 91
    jake says:

    Would that be called opening the male?

    Depends on what sort of porn you order.

    Speaking of which, has anyone heard from J. Gannon/ G. Guckert of late?

  92. 92
    Zippydueda says:

    Gee, another pointless act of paranoia and power madness from the pointless, paranoid, power mad buffoon in the White House.

    Not pointless, just a gift for his neo-con so-call religious nutwing masters. The next “President Bush” they put in power will have absolute power. Bwa-ha-ha ha-ha.

  93. 93
    Krista says:

    I love what Jimmy commented on ColdFury:

    If the president needs to open our mail in order to keep us safe, then so be it.

    Where do you draw the line, though? And where should the rest of America draw the line? Just how far are people willing to let things go, in the hopes that those measures MIGHT keep you safe from a threat that may or may not materialize?

  94. 94
    tBone says:

    I love what Jimmy scs commented on ColdFury:

    Fixed.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] John has an entry today decrying the White House signing statement appended to the Postal Reform Act. John states: I don’t expect a peep out of the right wing on this, as they are so tightly wound into their own contradictions that they are incapable of opposing this. You see, they are so wed to the votes of the fanatic anti-abortion lobby that the phrase “there is no right to privacy” rolls off their lips without thought. They are so beholden to the electoral policy of scaring the living shit out of everyone with threats of impending doom via terrorist attack that they can;t oppose this, because, after all, “The terrorists want to kill us.” […]

  2. […] John has an entry today decrying the White House signing statement appended to the Postal Reform Act. John states: I don’t expect a peep out of the right wing on this, as they are so tightly wound into their own contradictions that they are incapable of opposing this. You see, they are so wed to the votes of the fanatic anti-abortion lobby that the phrase “there is no right to privacy” rolls off their lips without thought. They are so beholden to the electoral policy of scaring the living shit out of everyone with threats of impending doom via terrorist attack that they can;t oppose this, because, after all, “The terrorists want to kill us.” […]

  3. […] how many links can you find about george bush wanting to read your mail? […]

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