Friday, January 05, 2007

no changes in the white house attitudes

The kindler, gentler, more bi-partisan de facto President George W. Bush is a mere will-o-the-wisp, a mirage, a fantasy. If you want to see how the White House is still up to its old tricks, check out the signing statement made on the postal reform bill in December.

The bill reasserted and strengthened the requirement to have a warrant before the government can open somebody's mail. But Bush, in a statement almost surely written by Cheney legal aid David Addington, one of the intellectual powers behind the "unitary executive" idea who probably thinks even President Putin's powers are inadequate, nevertheless said they will interpret the law to open mail "to protect life, guard against hazardous materials or conduct 'physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.'"

Without warrants, naturally. Which, to be sure, they don't need if there is real suspicion of a bomb or similar imminent threat. But otherwise, the law says, "hey you need a warrant." And Bush goes, "you're not the boss of me, I'll read mail if I think it's necessary."

They're already listening to our phone calls and reading our email, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that they want to read our snail-mail, too.


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