Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Bush, Verizon Team Up to Sell NSA Telephone Spying Program

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – President George W. Bush will announce during his weekly radio address today that he is taking the place of Paul Marcarelli, the long-time face of Verizon Wireless advertising, in a new series of commercials designed to sell Americans on the next phase of the president’s domestic spying initiative.

As part of that promotional pitch, Verizon will change its much-parodied slogan from “Can you hear me now?” to “We Can Hear You Now.”

According to White House press secretary, Tony Snow, “Job one of this administration is to let people know in advance when their rights are going to be violated. The old paradigm, spy first and answer questions later, has given way to a new spirit of transparency.”

Mr. Snow told reporters that the Bush-Verizon alliance, known as the “Embedded with Americans” campaign, is the first step in an aggressive PR blitz the White House is mounting in an effort to win public acceptance of the president’s expanded domestic spying program. That program will now include not only the records of ordinary Americans’ telephone usage but also the contents of their conversations.

“What the hell’s the use of knowing who called whom if we don’t know who said what to whom,” asked the blunt spoken Mr. Snow. “We can’t turn a deaf ear to threats to our nation’s welfare.”

The Bush-Verizon partnership marks the first time the government has invoked the “commercial eminent domain” provision of the Patriot Act, which allows the president to take over an advertising campaign and “employ it for the public good for as long as the president shall deem appropriate.”

“The president intends to leave no phone untuned in an effort to make America safe from terrorists,” said Mr. Snow. “We will tap you at the beaches, we will tap you in the streets. We will send you a voice message that says, you can talk but you cannot hide.”

The first in the series of Verizon commercials featuring President Bush is expected to air during the telecast of the Preakness next Saturday. In that thirty-second spot a man standing in front of the ice cream section in a supermarket takes a cell phone out of his pocket and dials a number.

“Did you say Haagen-Dazs mint chocolate chip or Edy’s rocky road, dear?” he asks.

Before the person on the other end of the line can answer, President Bush appears in the aisle holding a cell phone to his ear. He smirks knowingly and says, “We can hear you now—heh, heh, heh.”

As the startled shopper watches the president swagger past, Bush can be heard saying in a voiceover, “I am President George W. Bush, and I must approve your phone calls.”

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