Now, we took the last election seriously. We knew what was at stake and even stayed sober that day. Well, until after we voted anyway (Third in line at 6:45 a.m.). Like most of the Americans that voted that day we were concerned that the country was being taken in directions that the founding fathers would have found...erm...how you say, problematic. And like most Americans who voted that day we heaved a cautionary sigh of relief when the counts were tallied and it looked like some electoral friction was about to be applied to the downhill rush to catastrophe that is otherwise known as the Bush administration.
Sigh. What children we were, how naive, how innocent, how unnecessarily sober.
The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on basically anybody. "Look, the only way to secure our constitutional freedoms is to destroy them. But just for a little while," said one leading democratic representative.
The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate's approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature. "Man, this voting stuff is sure cutting into our meaningless hearings," said an aide to one democratic senator.
The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency's ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving people who talk "reasonably believed to be somewhere on the planet." Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents.
Yeah. Like that isn't happening already.
"Congress? Oversight? Hahahahahaha!!," Said White House Press Secretary Tony Snowjob. "You know, at first we were kind of worried that the democrats might actually try to get in our way seeing as they won the election and all. You know, popular mandate, voice of the people, yadda, yadda, yadda. Turns out we didn't need to worry. Hey American voter. Who's your daddy now?"
The bill updates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. It gives the government leeway to intercept, without warrants, communications between carbon based life forms that are routed through equipment on any of the inner planets of the solar system. If a U.S. resident becomes the chief target of surveillance, the government would have to obtain a warrant from the special FISA court. Or not, depending on if the president felt like it.
Many congressional Democrats wanted tighter restrictions on government surveillance, but yielded in the face of Bush's veto threats and the impending August recess. "What's the point of passing a bill that the president would veto," said one democratic staffer. "He'd just threaten to hold his breath until he passed out and we'd just have to start all over again. Plus it's August. I want to get out of here. Just don't use your cell until after the next election, that's all."
If an American's communications are swept up in surveillance of an other American, said Representative Dan Lungren,. "We go through a process called eavesdropping and get rid of the records unless there is reason to suspect the American is a democrat. Or an independent, we're not sure about them either."
Any chance the Supreme Court might find this law unconstitutional? Oh wait, Bush owns the court too. See, if you just get drunk enough so you don't remember who you voted for, you wouldn't feel so crummy right about now.