T Nation

Gov't Can Read Your Mail Now

without a warrant, thanks to president Bush:

“W pushes envelope on U.S. spying
New postal law lets Bush peek through your mail”

[i]"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."[/i]

more here:

I would like to know why it’s so important to override the warrant process. The government really needs the ability to spy on it’s citizens with no oversight, in total secrecy, based on the decision of a few people who can’t be held accountable for their decisions?

Is this something that Conservatives agree with? At what point do you say ‘enough’?

Can you smell it? Starts with an F ends with an “ism” I’ve been screaming the word for the past year now.

“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.

Bush says he can read it. Congress says he can’t. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide. Just like the system was originally set up.

[quote]doogie wrote:
“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.

Bush says he can read it. Congress says he can’t. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide. Just like the system was originally set up.[/quote]

Doesn’t it bother you at least a little that he is even pushing for this?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
doogie wrote:
“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.

Bush says he can read it. Congress says he can’t. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide. Just like the system was originally set up.

Doesn’t it bother you at least a little that he is even pushing for this?[/quote]

Depends on the details of how it ultimately is used. If it is used in a “ticking bomb” type situation, where reading a letter from a terror suspect could save lives, fine. If they start reading random mail from criminal suspects (or innocent people), it will end up in court and be slapped down (as it should be).

[quote]Professor X wrote:
doogie wrote:
“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.

Bush says he can read it. Congress says he can’t. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide. Just like the system was originally set up.

Doesn’t it bother you at least a little that he is even pushing for this?[/quote]

It’s cool PX Doogie is a Tool in someone’s Tool Box, And he knows it.

The cup of liberty needs to be refreshed. Of course, some folks in this country have never really had freedom to begin with so we shouldn’t be surprised if the lack of freedom expands to other quarters.

What disturbs me about this is the administration’s obsession with signing statements, which are then claimed to be fully consistent with precedent.

I could understand signing statements used defensively on a few very important bills; they would show that the executive was acting in good faith and trying to be open about his interpretation of his duties.

But this administration is just pumping them out, which gives the impression of thumbing their collective nose at Congress.

Needless to say, I am not overly worried about this, because it is to be expected that executives will understand their powers more broadly than their legal limits should warrant; for that reason we have balanced powers. I think doogie is right on that.

[quote]ssn0 wrote:
Can you smell it? Starts with an F ends with an “ism” I’ve been screaming the word for the past year now.[/quote]

Fucking idiotism?

[quote]Starscream wrote:
The cup of liberty needs to be refreshed. [/quote]

I think you mean the tree of liberty.

As in, “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

If George Bush gets a paper cut while covertly opening your mail, will he shed the blood of a patriot, or of a tyrant?

They can read my bills and even pay them if they like.

I think my mailman reads my postcards and magazines anyway.

[quote]pookie wrote:
ssn0 wrote:
Can you smell it? Starts with an F ends with an “ism” I’ve been screaming the word for the past year now.

Fucking idiotism?
[/quote]

Perhaps fallibilism, or fogeyism.

Of course, ssn0, the KGB opened a lot of people’s mail, too. Were they fascist?

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
pookie wrote:
ssn0 wrote:
Can you smell it? Starts with an F ends with an “ism” I’ve been screaming the word for the past year now.

Fucking idiotism?

Perhaps fallibilism, or fogeyism.

Of course, ssn0, the KGB opened a lot of people’s mail, too. Were they fascist?[/quote]

It is freakin’ antidisestablishmentarianism.

The Dems don’t allow any Republican ‘interruptions’ during committee meetings now, so they can simply bring the issue to the floor without delay and revoke the bill.

Since Dems are now in the majority, I’m sure they’ll protect our rights and dispense with this immediately. Its a new era in politics with Nancy, Howard, John Conyers, Alcee Hastings, John Murtha and all those true crusaders for liberty in charge!!

It kills me that the same people who decry that the second amendment is out of date and that Americans need to give up and lay down their arms will insist that we have some right to privacy and extend that right to the U.S. Mail. Maybe in Franklin’s day when the tyrannical King was intercepting the only means of communications, i.e. men on horseback, an independent and duty-bound mail system was an absolute necessity.

Today, any number of means of communication exist, the vast majority of which aren’t provided by the federal government. Why you would insist on privacy from the one system provided by them seems a little backwards to me. Especially if you also fully believe everyone should absolve themselves of the very weapons with which to defend themselves from the impending ‘forced priapism’, I mean, ‘fascism’.

Cool, now when they find porn in your mailbox they can alert the local priest to drop by for a chat.

More seriously, I think it is very dangerous to say “if it’s used this way”.

The issue is that over time somebody will abuse it… not that the current administration is planning to abuse it. Get your hero worship for whoever is in office out of your head.

Poor Nixon, he must be jealous of all this by now. After all, he was dealing with a “wartime emergency” as well, y’know.

Since I never get real mail anymore-- just CC offers and junk ads they can open it as long as they keep it and I don’t have to deal with it–except my copies of National Geographic and the Economist.

About that “ticking time bomb” scenario… can anyone give one historical example of that ever taking place? Anywhere, at any time?

If the only justification for abrogating rights is some fantasy scenario with about 0% chance of ever occurring in real life, then it might not be a good idea.

It seems more like a way of getting the judges out of the existing process for intercepting and reading mail. Getting rid of a “check and balance” in other words. A Judge can’t refuse if he’s not involved.

I also can’t imagine that anyone, if placed in an actual “ticking time bomb” scenario that he could avert by opening a piece of mail, would stand idly by with his thumbs up his ass while waiting for the warrant. Just open the letter and deal with whatever legal fallouts there is later on.

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
pookie wrote:
ssn0 wrote:
Can you smell it? Starts with an F ends with an “ism” I’ve been screaming the word for the past year now.

Fucking idiotism?

Perhaps fallibilism, or fogeyism.

Of course, ssn0, the KGB opened a lot of people’s mail, too. Were they fascist?[/quote]

New kind of Fascism, it’s friendly.

[quote]pookie wrote:
About that “ticking time bomb” scenario… can anyone give one historical example of that ever taking place? Anywhere, at any time?

If the only justification for abrogating rights is some fantasy scenario with about 0% chance of ever occurring in real life, then it might not be a good idea.
[/quote]

Before 9/11, had planes been hijacked and used as bombs anywhere, at any time? Things change.

He can throw out the evidence when it is brought to court.

That isn’t how the system is supposed to work, though. Beaurocrats don’t take risks. This is just a CYA policy in the off chance this scenario ever plays out.