Rep. Butch Otter, a conservative Republican from Idaho, joined Rep. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont, to call for the repeal of the PATRIOT Act provision Ashcroft claims to have never used [spying on the library habits of citizens -- Mark]. Otter had his own quote from the same founding father.UPDATE: My friend and former Wired crony Dan Brekke found plenty of errors in my post. He writes:
"It was Thomas Jefferson who said, 'In questions of political power, speak to me not of confidence in men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of a Constitution,'" Otter said. "That mischief is what we're seeing today and could see tomorrow."
Ever the editor, let me observe:
1) That the Bernie Sanders bill mentioned in that item (HR 1157, The Freedom to Read Protection Act (which would repeal USA Patriot's library-search provisions), was introduced by Sanders alone back in March and cosponsored by about 20 others; haven't checked all the cosponsors, but most are liberal Democrats. Otter, one of the two representatives from the worst state in the Union, signed on five days later. That's just my analness at work; for all I know, Otter was in discussions with Sanders about the measure before it was introduced and only signed on formally later. It's not necessarily strange to see ultra-conservative Republicans sign on to privacy causes embraced by the left, by the way; the first exhibit being Phyllis Schlafly, who's been a loud (if not leading) opponent of mandatory key escrow.
2) That the Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act is a separate bill (HR 3171), introduced in September by Dennis Kucinich and many of the same liberal Democrats behind HR 1157; in fact, the sponsors list includes just about every member of the Bay Area delegation. The bill aims to repeal a long list of USA Patriot provisions that loosened the reins on government spying.
3) Both of these bills look like they're buried in committees. The last
listed "significant action" on the Freedom to Read Protection Act was nearly
six months ago. The Benjamin Franklin Act has been referred to five
Link (Thanks, Mack!)
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.