Ratcheting Back


Congressmen Sanders, Otter, and Conyers have proposed a Freedom to Read Amendment to the PATRIOT Act, which would revoke the power to investigate citizens' reading habits without probable cause—one of the law's most heavily criticized provisions. The ACLU has set up a page from which you can send a free fax to your representative urging that he or she support the bill. So go click, and try not to think about how mindbogglingly depressing it is that we need a "Freedom to Read Amendment" in the United States.

NEXT: Term Limits and a Legacy of Snark

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  1. Is it counterproductive to this that this kind of legislation implicly supports all the other bullshit in the PATRIOT act?

  2. Shady:

    That suggests a potentially useful tactic in scaling back this godawful “counter-terror” legislation:

    Introduce a whole series of bills, scaling back one objectionable feature after another, the executive power to class private organizations as “terrorist” by fiat and to apply RICO, the sneak and peek searches, and so on. Drawing it out in this way would showcase the sheer magnitude of the horrifying powers that were railroaded through, and rubber stamped without most Congressmen even reading the bill.

  3. Here’s my beef: under the PATRIOT act you can still read whatever you want. You can’t be prosecuted for what you read either. Even if you’ve spent the last 15 years reading inflamitory propoganda, DIY weapons building and learning “How to hijack an airplane” you can’t be prosecuted. But if you’ve done all that and you DO do something illegal, then isn’t it nice to know that the gov’t has full tabs on you?

  4. Great more bad legislation to fix bad legislation. Well at least it keeps Congresspeople employed.

    They’re are like anti-virus software writers. Not only do they write the virii and sell you the cure, the cure also sucks more than the disease and they were the first people to write it in the first place!

  5. Mmm,. . . Bernie Sanders and me hanging out poolside, talking about individual freedom, the indispensability of property rights and so on when he starts talking about my library card.

    I think I?ll go with what I know here and assume that Congressman Sanders doesn?t do anything in the same spirit or with the same intentions as myself.

    Careful who you climb in bed with fellas. Just because her makeup looks nice now, it won?t look so good in the morning.

  6. Talk about strange bedfellows, here’s who is a also a co-sponsor:



  7. Paul’s name attached to it does give it more credence though my knee jerk reaction to Sanders is difficult to overcome.

    What are the sunset provisions on the Patriot Act anyway?

  8. If Bernie Sanders sponsors a piece of legislation that happens to be good, and Ron Paul concurs that it’s good, I’m all in favor of that legislation. Doesn’t mean I want to see Bernie Sanders remain in office to implement his entire agenda. But let’s give credit where credit is due. Salute him for this bill, and moon him for some of his other bills.

    In other words, I call them as I see them.

  9. Hey,

    I just completed a design project for a piece of software that can now be developed as a direct result of PATRIOT Act provisions. Yes, yes, I’m feeling impure, but perhaps if there was OTHER work out there, I could turn down the projects that flow from Mordor.

    Anyway, my question is this. Where can I find a rational, understandable explanation of EVERYTHING the PATRIOT Act entails without having to read the impenetrable prose of the act itself? Now that I’ve poured intellectual energy into Ashcroft software (and now understand my enemy better — be afraid), I’d like to contribute to the demise of said act. It’s all about contrition, eh?


  10. Julian Sanchez: This article is sort of what I was talking about last week. Not saying it’s the be-all/end-all, but it’s the more of type of analysis I am looking for.


  11. Sort of reminds me of a drug cartel kingpin who gives great amounts of money to charity and to the church. Hehehehe 😉

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