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Two more bites taken out of liberty

Bush and his cronies once again want to tell us to do one thing while they do another.

In the interest of full disclosure right up front, I voted for the man twice. I wish I had the last one back.

I also used to pay dues to the Republican Party. I don't anymore, but because I don't, it doesn't make me a Democrat. In fact, if you've read what I write enough, you should know by now that I find both parties corrupt bastions of cronyism, firmly in the hands of corporations and private interests. Neither side is interested in anything but increasing their power. You and I don't mean diddly squat to either of them and if you believe otherwise you're lying to yourself.

They only want your vote. Then they'd like for you to shut up, pay your taxes, do what they tell you, and most importantly, keep buying all the junk their corporate owners peddle so those owners can afford to donate more to their campaign funds. But I digress.

Two things of interest happened in Bushworld on Thursday that should move you to anger.

First, Bush signed legislation that makes sweeping changes to laws governing electronic surveillance. Second, instead of showing up to testify in response to a subpoena from Congress, Karl Rove gave them a big middle finger.

First things first. In 2001, the Bush administration implemented a warrantless wiretapping program that bypassed the special court created to oversee electronic surveillance. All the spies had to do to be legal was get the warrants. But that apparently took too long. So the government basically decided it could look at anybody's e-mail, phone records, text messages, etc., in the interest of fighting terrorism, and it wasn't going to let a little thing like the Constitution get in the way.

And of course, being the good patriots they are, a whole bunch of telecommunications companies turned over whatever the government wanted.

What's that? You want all our records of every e-mail on our servers? Here you go. Naaah, you don't need a warrant. By the way, here's a million dollars for the ol' GOP war chest, divvied up in legal increments, of course. By the way, do you know who we should see over at Democratic headquarters about donating to them?

And if you think that's not pretty close to how it really happens, you're lying to yourself again.

So what do you do when your illegal, warrantless spy program is exposed? Why, you make it legal, of course. And while you're doing it, you give immunity to all the companies who exposed Americans' private information, making sure the telecoms don't have to pay out any settlements. That would cut into their ability to donate, you see.

That's the first thing that happened Thursday. The second is just as sickening.

Rove was subpoenaed by Congress in an effort to get to the bottom of the firing of federal prosecutors who were seen as disloyal to the White House. Not only did Rove not show up, but he has said in the past he'd be glad to answer questions, as long as it was done informally, not under oath, there was no record, and they could only ask him about certain things.

How big of you, Karl.

How far under the jail do you think you or I would be today if we'd told Congress to go jump in the lake?

Rove claims he must remain silent about these things because it's the will of the White House, which claims executive privilege. You see, via special orders and the like, the administration has managed to make it nearly impossible to know any of the internal goings on of any president for the past 28 years. You can't have any e-mails, memos, transcripts of meetings or anything else because that would violate executive privilege.

Sort of like violating their privacy, I guess.

But of course, it's perfectly OK for them to violate ours and our rights, and we're bad Americans for thinking otherwise.

The Bush administration is right about one thing. A fanatical faction of Muslims would like to see us destroyed. And those people should be thwarted at every turn. But if we give up all our basic rights in the process, then just what in the world are we fighting to protect in the first place?

And how, pray tell, can the government ask us to willingly allow them to know our every move while it draws an ever-darkening cloak of secrecy around its actions?

A government accountable to no one is the exact opposite of the freedom it purports to protect, but I'm afraid that's the road they've put us on: The road to enslavement.

And if you think otherwise, well, you know what you're doing.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays.