Video: White house takes us back to school
updated 1/26/2006 7:05:00 PM ET 2006-01-27T00:05:00

The White House is trying to sell this so hard that it actually issued an official press release titled, “Setting the Record Straight, Charges of Domestic Spying.”

Look, your tax dollars in action.  Word wealth, SAT training class.  As a public service, COUNTDOWN will now review, and, where applicable, provide translations of the White House take on what “domestic” means versus what “international” means, and then we‘ll add a few bonus examples of our own.

Quoting, “Deputy Director Of National Intelligence General Michael Hayden,” semicolon; “One End Of Any Call Targeted Under This Program Is Always Outside The United States.”

This is the glass-is-half-full view of warrantless eavesdropping, much as if a U.S. soldier, who, like the average human male, has about 12 pints of blood in his body, would lose six of those pints.

Critics of the NSA terrorist surveillance program would say, That soldier is half empty.  The White House would remind you that that soldier is half full.

Anyway, the press release actually gives several examples of the differences between the meanings of these two words.  “Definition, Domestic Versus International.  Domestic Calls are calls inside the United States.  International Calls are calls either to or from the United States.”

And don‘t forget to deposit $2 for the first five minutes, and an extra $2 to cover the cost of the guy listening in at the NSA.

“Domestic Flights,” the White House reminds us, “are flights from one American city to another.  International Flights are flights to or from the United States.”

So what happens if I call a domestic airline about a flight to Europe, but they‘ve outsourced their reservation agents to India?  Is that a domestic call about an international flight, or an international call about a domestic flight?

Wait, there‘s more.  “Domestic Mail consists of letters and packages sent within the United States,” the press release reads.  “International Mail consists of letters and packages sent to or from the United States.”

And don‘t forget, we can not only open either kind, kind if we damn well feel like it, but if you‘re using an international stamp and we need it for our collection, we‘re keeping it.

One more item from the press release, “Domestic Commerce involves business within the United States.  International Commerce involves business between the United States and other countries.”

International commerce.  You know, the kind of stuff Jack Abramoff did for the --  Huh, leave Abramoff out of it?  Gotcha, sorry.

Well, anyway, if you‘re still not clear on this domestic-versus-international stuff, as promised, a couple of more definitions to help pull you through.

Domestic is an adjective describing your dog or cat or any other animal you have as a pet, like a tiger or a boa constrictor.  “The Internationale,” meanwhile, is the worldwide anthem of those socialists and communists.

Internationals are soccer players who play in countries in which they were not born.  Domestics is an old-timey kind of term for people who cleaned your house.

International is the kind of law that lets us take terror suspects to old Soviet-era gulags in Eastern Europe and beat the crap out of them, while domestic is the kind of wine they bottle in California.

Thank you for your attention.  Please pass your examination papers forward.

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