Monday, January 08, 2007

What We Want To Know Is, Will He Correct Spelling And Grammar?

We really need to pay more attention. Our first thought when reading this was, you mean people still get letters through the mail? Like, on paper and stuff? Man, that's pretty old school.

A signing statement attached to postal legislation by president Bush may have opened the way for the government to open mail without a warrant. The White House denies any change in policy. "Our policy has always been to get away with as much as we could," said White House Press Secretary Tony Snowjob. "This just formalizes the process a little."

When he signed the postal reform act, Bush added a statement 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." When asked to define what an "exigent circumstance" might be, Bush told reporters he was pretty sure it had something to do with democrats. "Either that or Cindy Sheehan," he said.

"The signing statement raises serious questions whether he is authorizing opening of mail contrary to the Constitution and to laws enacted by Congress," said Ann Beeson, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's your point?"asked Snowjob.

Postal Vice President Tom Day added: "As has been the long-standing practice, first-class mail is protected from unreasonable search and seizure when in postal custody. Nothing in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act changes this protection. The president is not exerting any new authority. Well, unless you count the new authority he's given himself to open your mail without a warrant."

"His signing statement uses language that's broad," Beeson said, and noted that Bush used the phrase "exigent circumstances. The question is what does that mean and why has he suddenly put this in writing if this isn't a change in policy," she asked.

"Funny story there," Snowjob replied. "Turns out the president only found out last week that policies have to be written down somewhere. He's been doing this stuff for six years now. Just forgot to write it down. Hey, there's a war on you know. Guy's pretty busy presidenting."

Senator Susan Collins, who guided the measure through the Senate, called on Bush to clarify his intent. The bill, Collins said, "does nothing to alter the protections of privacy and civil liberties provided by the Constitution and other federal laws."

"Right," Snowjob replied. "Which is why the president added the part about how he gets to open your mail."

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and our federal criminal rules require prior judicial approval before domestic sealed mail can be searched," Beeson said.

"Nah, the president dismissed the judicial branch back in 2003. It was a signing statement, didn't you read it?" Snowjob said.

"Every American wants foolproof protection against terrorism. But history has shown it can and should be done within the confines of the Constitution. This last-minute, irregular and unauthorized reinterpretation of a duly passed law is the exact type of maneuver that voters so resoundingly rejected in November," Senator Charles E. Schumer said.

"Yeah. The voters did gum up things a little this time," Snowjob said. "Our friends at Diebold tell us they'll have that corrected by next November though."

Bush has issued at least 750 signing statements during his presidency, more than all other presidents combined, according to the American Bar Association. "Well, it's a lot easier for him to write a paragraph saying he won't obey the law, that to have to read the whole thing," said a White House spokesperson."

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