Republicans and Democrats came together to oppose the renewal of the Patriot Act — which lets the government do literally whatever it wants to anyone, anywhere — and then other Republicans and Democrats came together in bigger numbers to approve the renewal of the Patriot Act. So if you were planning on doing anything vaguely terrorist-y like talking on the phone or using public transportation, rest assured that you are still under surveillance. But the interesting part of this story is that President Obama couldn’t sign the bill because he is in France, having a very lovely vacation. Couldn’t Joe Biden sign off? Apparently not! Plus, he is super busy returning Obama’s calls. So Barack Obama ordered his handwriting robot to sign the bill into law, and that’s apparently okey-dokey with the Constitution. A robot! Let’s hope it was at least assembled in the USA.
This little bit in the Los Angeles Times story gave us the chills:
Obama, attending an international summit in France, awoke early Friday to review and approve the bill, directing that it be signed in Washington by automatic pen before the provisions expired at midnight Thursday Eastern time.
Is this the same “automatic pen” that signs thousands of presidential photo prints every week? Does it even know what it signs? If you went on a White House tour and were all, “Just gotta run to the bathroom be right ba-a-a-ck” and then you swiped the Automatic Pen (it is probably about the size of a toy Wall-E, we imagine) and took it home and wrote a declaration of some kind (“I am the president of the world now and my castle shall be called El Mumbalumbia and I get $1 Billion a month in salary for being awesome”) and made Otto the Autopen sign it, would it be law too?
What if, just before those trained seals lasered the super-villain in Pakistan, the super-villain at the very last second pulled out Auto the Ottopen and had it sign a United States Executive Order giving asylum and a new motorhome to the super-villain?
Where are the so-called constitutional scholars when real world troubles like this are happening in Washington? What would our Founding Fathers say about this? Would they just say, “Oh hello, Le Ottopen,” because Benjamin Franklin invented this device in the 1780s (also in France) and maybe it actually wrote the whole Constitution? Even the floofy signatures? (Which we guess are more famous on the Declaration of Independence, which was also conceived and written by the Autopen.) [Los Angeles Times]Related