Saturday, January 06, 2007

The "Decider" Does It Again

"The executive branch shall construe subsection 404(c) of title 39, as enacted by subsection 1010(e) of the act, which provides for opening of an item of a class of mail otherwise sealed against inspection, in a manner consistent, to the maximum extent permissible, with the need to conduct searches in exigent circumstances, such as to protect human life and safety against hazardous materials, and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.

Thus reads the signing statement that President Bush added to the Postal Reform Act. A signing statement is the President's final two cents on how he plans to interpret a bill that he has just signed into law. In many cases, particularly those dealing with issues of privacy, Mr. Bush has added statements that are contradictory to the law that he has just signed, or in which he claims the privilege to simplyignore the law. There's just one thing.

The Constitution affords him no right to do so. A President's signature means a bill becomes law, as written.

Much of the Postal Reform Act deals with how future increases in postage will occur, tying them to the Consumer Price Index. But a section within the act clarifies and reiterates the conditions under which the government is permitted to inspect and open mail. Specifically, it states, " The law requires government agents to get warrants to open first-class letters." It is this segment of the law that the President's signing statement addresses. Few would argue that government agents should be disallowed from opening packages that clearly contain materials hazardous to the public health and welfare. But the President takes it one step further by claiming the right to conduct physical searches of mail, without warrant, for the benefit of intelligence collection. This is a knowing and conscious violation of the law.

By adding these words on the day that the newly elected and Democratically controlled Congress was sworn in, Mr. Bush clearly signaled his intent to continue his policy of disregarding constitutional rights. He would do well to remember the first President George who when it was proposed that he be King of the United States had the wisdom to decline. Mr. Washington knew that a democracy is about the will of the people, not the will of one man. Sadly our George seems to have more in common with the other George of Washington's time; George the III of England. We shouldn't be surprised. Mr. Bush best summed up his view of executive authority when he said, "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best." Apparently he has once again decided to ignore the rule of law and the requirement of first obtaining a warrant before delving into a person's privacy.

Moreover, it would appear that the great decider has decided to give the big F-bomb You to the American people who so roundly rejected this style of leadership during last November's elections.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Bush's character flaw here is due to a life without consequences. If a company or team he ran was failing, he was bailed out. I doubt he saw firsthand the financial ramifications of layoffs. National Guard service (or lack thereof), drunk driving name it, he never really had to face up to what he had done or failed to do. Why should he start now? As it relates to Roe v Wade, Republicans traditionally love the fetus and couldn't care less about the infant. Planned Parenthood is an organization that provides prenatal care but also provides birth control and in some cases abortion. Republican foes would close down Planned Parenthood because of the abortions, ignoring the real choices PP gives to women -- healthy prenatal assistance and/or a means to avoid pregnancy in the first place. Choices for women, in Bush's eyes, would come back to the punitive view that pregnant women have to deal with the consequences of their actions. Ironic, isn't it? Bush doesn't have to personally live with the cycle of poverty that unwanted pregnancy can perpetuate. However, his corporate friends WOULD benefit from a larger pool of low-income workers and the army could use more cannon fodder. Hm -- why allow abortions if the country can get the economic benefit of 18 years of consumption of goods and services and then send the child to death? And as for stem cell research, I have listened to countless hours of debate on the topic on C-SPAN and have yet to hear a single logical argument on the so-called conservative side. There are consequences to INACTION in this case, brought on by ridiculous fear-mongering from the religious right. Lives could be saved with the sublime and holy gifts of stem cells that would otherwise be "aborted", if you think about it. So the conservatives who claim their arguments come from reason rather than emotion need to reconsider their position on cellular science. We need truth AND consequences.

3:16 PM  

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