Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gonzales lied to Congres...

...and in other news, the sky is blue.

Okay, so I don't suppose it is a shock to anyone that we now know Gonzales lied to Congress about whether the Justice Department had used the Patriot Act to commit civil rights abuses. Of course there were abuses -- when government is given wide-ranging powers with little mechanism for oversight like in the Patriot Act, abuses are inevitable -- and, of course, just like with the Attorney General's new power to appoint US Attorneys without Senate approval, Gonzales knew the Justice Department's spiffy new Patriot Act powers would be taken away by Congress if he admitted how those powers had been misused. So, naturally, he lied. It seems to be in his nature, along with most of the Bush regime's other political appointees.

Now, I don't understand how anyone with the slightest bit of sense didn't know that this would happen. I don't know how, therefore, anyone, citizen or Senator, could be stupid enough to support legislation like the Patriot Act for even a moment. But what I especially don't understand is how anyone -- liberal, conservative, whatever -- could not want to repeal the Patriot Act now that we have seen the government not only abuse those powers but also lie about those abuses in order to keep those powers.

Here's a new rule: Any power that high-ranking government officials are willing to lie about abusing in order to keep is a power the government should not have. If the government cannot make a convincing argument that, despite abuse of a power, it is still in the best interests of the people and the nation for the government to continue to have that power, then the government can no longer be trusted to have that power.

Lying about abuses of a power in order to keep that power is just about the best evidence I can think of that the government wants that power for power's sake, not for our sake. Nothing could be more clear.

This country was founded on the notion that the greatest threat to the American people was the American government itself. Perhaps we should spend a little more time protecting ourselves against the threat we do have power over, our own government. After all, while we can never make terrorists stop hating us, we can actually strip powers from our own government that are not being used in our best interests.


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