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DHS Stonewalls On Public Comment About Body Scanners

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the we'll-feel-for-the-answers-instead dept.

The Courts 192

OverTheGeicoE writes "On Saturday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center announced that they filed papers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to get the Department of Homeland Security to start its public comment process. In July the court ordered DHS to take public comment on airport body scanning, in accordance with federal law. The court allowed DHS and TSA to continue using scanners during the comment period. According to EPIC's filing the ruling against DHS became final on September 21 after EPIC's motion for a rehearing was denied. Since then, DHS has done nothing to comply with the order. EPIC wants DHS to release details for their public comment period process within 45 days. DHS is no stranger to the kind of notice and comment rulemaking that is being required of them. Earlier public comment on their Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which would have required draconian security on aircraft 10% of the size of a Boeing 737, did not go so well. They received 7400 comments 'vehemently opposed' to LASP in 2008 and 2009 and are still reworking the plan in response to the comments received."

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Land of the free (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37907730)

I know many countries which American's typically write of as commie bastards (ie: most of the world), where people simply wouldn't put up with your TSA nonsense.

Re:Land of the free (3, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907976)

I know many countries which American's typically write of as commie bastards (ie: most of the world), where people simply wouldn't put up with your TSA nonsense.

I think the problem is that the TSA's survey shows that Americans won't put up with it either - unless its forced on them

Re:Land of the free (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908124)

The thing is, other countries wouldn't put up with the enhanced pat downs either.

Mostly because they'd simply accept the scanners, and the issue would never arise.

Re:Land of the free speech, Scan This (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908316)

What do you call a black priest? Holy shit!

How do we know Adam was a white man? You ever try to take a rib away from a nigger?

Why do niggers cry during sex? Because of the mace.

What's the difference between an old black mama and an elephant? About 8 pounds.

What's the difference between a pit bull and a nigger? It's still legal to own a pit bull.

Re:Land of the free speech, Scan This (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908872)

Maybe switching to Decaf at this time would be constructive?

Re:Land of the free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908514)

In Germany the scanners have been tested and found to be useless, so they have been removed.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jGUyRTjF-WA40GLjIMEo6dFgSxlw?docId=CNG.d76d1890df3edca8dd08181cb6808c7f.881

And no, we don't have enhanced pat downs.

Re:Land of the free (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908738)

But here we are run by corporations. The TSA's buddies that own the scanner companies need to build their new mansions on taxpayer money.

Re:Land of the free (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909334)

When was the last time someone flew some planes into a few of the tallest buildings in your country in the middle of your most densely populated city? I'm as opposed to the TSA as the next guy but it's important to put what Americans "put up with" in context. I think it's pretty well understood by most people who take the time to consider such things that it's largely security theater.

Re:Land of the free (2)

dougisfunny (1200171) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908806)

That or they wouldn't accept the scanners because they don't work....

Re:Land of the free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908406)

And you would have us do what? Our most effective (historically speaking) means of fighting oppressive governments have involved guns and bloodshed. It's bad but I'm not ready to cap anyone over it.

For what it's worth, I haven't flown since they came up with their new toys. Freaking rent-a-cops with federal backing...

Re:Land of the free (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908536)

I have a co-worker who emigrated from Ukraine in the 90s, having grown up during the time when government bread lines were pretty common. The first thing he was required to do over here was to go to the DPS and get a license so he could drive to work. Being no stranger to dealing with government lines, he assumed he would be able to show up during an off-hour and get through. He was wrong, the line was out the door, and it was quite a shock to him. His comment to me was (insert heavy Ukranian accent here) "I thought things like this only occur in communist countires."

The problem is that every time I read the news about US security theater known as the TSA, all I can hear is his voice, complete with accent, telling me that these things should only occur in communist countries. It's depressing.

Re:Land of the free (0)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908830)

Interesting anecdote about the lines, and that mistake may make sense if you aren't from the US, but if you've been in the US for a while, and can't figure out when to go to the License Bureau to get short lines, that's your problem, not the systems.

I.E. the story really doesn't add much to your point.

Re:Land of the free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908844)

The story wasn't really there to reinforce the point, just to explain why I hear his voice in my head all the time. The second part makes little sense without the context of the first.

Re:Land of the free (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908988)

Interesting anecdote about the lines, and that mistake may make sense if you aren't from the US, but if you've been in the US for a while, and can't figure out when to go to the License Bureau to get short lines, that's your problem, not the systems.

I dunno where you live...but pretty much any where I've lived where I have to deal with the DMV (license renewal, new tags, etc)...I pretty much plan for most of the day to be shot, certainly half of it easily.

I've tried going early, midday, afternoon...I've gone various times of the month and various days of the week...and I've never found that I didn't have to wait a significant amount of time.

It is my interaction with the DMV, that really makes me cringe when people around me say they want govt. in charge of doling out their health care and services....I imagine going into cardiac arrest....and them denying me entrance because I didn't have a number or filled out the wrong form.....

Re:Land of the free (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909104)

(1) avoid DMVs in "lower rent" districts of town - they tend to be more crowded
(2) Don't go Saturday (very busy), Tuesday or Thursday (presumed to be quiet days, so everyone shows up then).

Early morning is usually pretty good, lunch is bad (people try to get in on their breaks. Things start to quiet between 1 and 2 pm, and pick up again between 3 and 4pm (end of work shifts).

There are two locations in particular where I live, where I'll have a half an hour wait if I go during a busy time, and any other time, usually less than 10 minutes.

Re:Land of the free (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909174)

Interesting..where do you live?

I've never ever SEEN a DMV that was open on a Saturday....only week days where I have lived.

And again, per my earlier post..I have tried it on most all of the various combinations of weekdays, during a month at various times of day.

I usually just take a vacation day, get there early, and hope if things go right, I'll be out in time for a late late afternoon lunch.

Re:Land of the free (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909420)

Where I live (Oklahoma), the DMV has been outsourced to private enterprise, who have to compete with one another, so the lines are relatively short. However, the paperwork challenges are still in full force. They will not issue you a tag if you do not show up in the states database of insured motorists, but yet you still have to bring an extra paper copy of your insurance card and surrender it to them.
Also, they charge extra if you use a credit card which is not allowed by any vendor that I know of other than state agencies.

Re:Land of the free (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909438)

Go to one in a smaller town. When I am doing tab renewal the DMV in the larger town I live in is usually busy but I just go over to the next town where they have only limited services. Since it is a smaller town and they offer fewer services almost no one is there and there are always 2 clerks so it is just walk right up.

Re:Land of the free (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908694)

The TSA and the whole DHS is going to get a well-deserved housecleaning around starting about Feb 2013.

      On the other hand, a lot of these wonderful countries have decided to roll over for terrorism and for the destruction of their own cultures in the name of political correctness and multiculturalism. They don't call it Londinistan for nothing. Sort of like John Kerrys's theory that we should only attempt to limit terrorist attacks on Americans to "acceptable levels". That, and not his fake war hero act, lost him the election.

Re:Land of the free (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908876)

Who do you expect to do that housecleaining?

If the republicans win, we'll have the people who installed these groups in the first place.
If the democrats win, well, we can see how much (zero, for those living under a rock) they've done to alleviate the issue so far.

I can only assume you are moving to another planet by that point. So, I have to ask, since there are no others in this system, where is your space ship, and how do I get a ticket?

Re:Land of the free (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909172)

You are correct that we are stuck with this forever, because the Republicans will pillory on the nightly news anyone foolish enough to suggest that we *shouldn't* live in a "show us your papers" society, and would also do their patented "hold my breath until I turn blue" act should a bill actually be introduced.

Re:Land of the free (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909530)

Who do you expect to do that housecleaining?

Given the rising level of discontent? My guess would be whichever leaders are still alive after American Spring.

For about the last decade, I've been saying that I expect to see an armed overthrow of the U.S. government in my lifetime. It's not a pleasant thought, but it is nearly inevitable; the aristocracy has simply become too powerful relative to the plebes. If history has taught us anything, it is that you can't allow that sort of a wealth and power gap to grow too big, or else the French Revolution happens.

Just saying.

Re:Land of the free (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909430)

No one, I repeat no one is going to make cuts at the DHS. Even if they only cut obviously wasteful projects/programs no one is willing to be the guy who cuts DHS before we get attacked.. and we'll get attacked, it's just plain statistics.

Re:Land of the free (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909498)

I assume that you believe that Ron Paul will some how become president, or that the libertarians will some how manage to takeover both the house and senate the greens would probably do the same thing but I don't follow their party platform closely. While personally leaning to the libertarian side of issues like this I still don't see any of the mainstream candidates planning to do anything about this. It gives them too much power.

Re:Land of the free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909552)

Once terrorist attacks are rare enough that your chance of dying in one is well below your chance of being struck by lightning, they have been reduced to an acceptable level. The notion that you can completely eliminate a risk, or that one should even try, appeals only to simpleminded fools. Kerry made the unfortunate mistake of not realizing most people fall into that category.

Re:Land of the free (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908850)

I'm no fan of the TSA; my opinion is that their usefulness has passed, and they know it. But as to what OTHER sovereign states do to their citizens, it's a rear day when I find myself thinking, "we should do that here in the U.S."

As for using the term

commie bastards

, the current term is "Pithedic Commie Bastards.", or one can use the acronym PCB. Update databases, if required.

Re:Land of the free (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909034)

I'm no fan of the TSA; my opinion is that their usefulness has passed, and they know it. But as to what OTHER sovereign states do to their citizens, it's a rare day when I find myself thinking, "we should do that here in the U.S."

As for using the term

commie bastards

, the current term is "Pathetic Commie Bastards.", or one can use the acronym PCB. Update databases, if required.

there...FTFY....

Re:Land of the free (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909444)

I've always found communists to be quite pithy

Re:Land of the free (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909640)

You mean like the Scandinavian countries, which score better than we do on socioeconomic mobility, economic disparity, public health, subjective well-being, and deal with terrorist incidents in a mature fashion by *not* succumbing to fear and curtailing civil rights? Are those the commie bastards you're talking about?

Great (3, Interesting)

adeft (1805910) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907828)

This is a great start. I'm not familiar with the process. If they document that everyone hates the scanners, will they actually be removed?

Re:Great (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907888)

This is totally epic, in any case. I do know that if they continue to fail to comply, some judge will eventually start hanging people.

Re:Great (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907940)

Welcome to America. You must be new here.

Re:Great (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908012)

I've been watching the legal system for quite some time and I've noticed that when a judge tells you to do something and you don't listen, eventually they want to know why you aren't doing what they told you to do. It's also not helpful to tell a judge he doesn't have the authority to hear your case, or really any other range of stupidity that tends to piss people off in general.

Re:to tell a judge he doesn't have the authority (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908102)

Sudo We're Fighting Terrorists. This Is Not The Case You Are Looking For. Move Along Your Docket Now.

Re:to tell a judge he doesn't have the authority (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908936)

American people fall under class:terrorist?

Re:to tell a judge he doesn't have the authority (2)

digitalsolo (1175321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909116)

Have you been to an airport recently? I'm an American (and just a boring white guy) and they certainly seem to think I'm a terrorist by their treatment of me.

Re:to tell a judge he doesn't have the authority (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909230)

According to the government, yes.

Re:to tell a judge he doesn't have the authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909256)

It's not entirely clear that they don't, so...

Re:Great (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908476)

That's true when "you" is a common citizen. Why "you" is an arm of the Federal Government, or the Executive Branch in particular, there's not a whole lot the courts will do if they are ignored.

"go away or I will issue a *second* ruling!" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908736)

You are quite correct -- a quick read about Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia makes it quite clear that even when it is a Supreme Court ruling which is being ignored by a government body the worst that can happen is that the judge(s) will write a second, more sternly worded, ruling.

The Judicial Branch has no power of enforcement as that was deliberately reserved to the Executive. You would have to be quite naive to believe that the framers of the Consitution weren't aware that meant the Executive Brand could and would eventually ignore one or more rulings from the Judicial Branch ... even from the Supreme Court.

Re:"go away or I will issue a *second* ruling!" (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909102)

That's why the US marshals exist, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Marshals_Service [wikipedia.org]

Re:Great (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908744)

I believe there was a Supreme Court case in the 1800s where the court ruled on something and the president said something like:
"Now let them try to enforce it"
But basically all enforcement activities fall to the executive branch. Now if the executive branch won't enforce court ruling or laws then we the people have to vote them out of office or the legislative branch needs to start impeaching some people. Good luck trying to get the legislature to impeach the president over this, although there are a bunch with Rs after their names (possibly some Ds as well but they would be very few) who are looking for an excuse to impeach Obama. They even made a stink about this when Obama said he wouldn't be enforcing parts of DOMA [google.com] .

Re:Great (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909142)

Good luck trying to get the legislature to impeach the president over this, although there are a bunch with Rs after their names (possibly some Ds as well but they would be very few) who are looking for an excuse to impeach Obama. They even made a stink about this when Obama said he wouldn't be enforcing parts of DOMA.

Well, hopefully, Mr. Obama will be a one termer...and we can hope for the next guy in to do better.

We REALLY need to do something about the abuse of the Executive Order. The presidents previous to the current administration, abused it sure...but it appears that if Obama doesn't get what he wants through congress, he just now bypasses Congress with an executive order.

Re:Great (1)

Insightfill (554828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909226)

I believe there was a Supreme Court case in the 1800s where the court ruled on something and the president said something like: "Now let them try to enforce it"

That would be Andrew Jackson, defying the Supreme Court, leading to the infamous "Trail of Tears" [wikipedia.org]

Re:Great (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909342)

Thanks I knew someone here would know what I was talking about and be able to refresh my memory.

Re:Great (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908216)

Hanging no, but it wouldn't surprise me if the judge started holding officials in the DHS in contempt of court. What's great about that is that there isn't any appeal process for that, so they'd have to straighten up and fly right, or spend time in jail until such time as the judge either lost interest or they decided to comply with the order. I suppose they could get fined, which is more likely, but judges only have finite patience for this sort of disrespect.

Re:Great (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908920)

I think the Judge would have to reach down deep and grow a pair for that. But I'd watch the court room interaction on Pay-Per-View anytime DHS is on the carpet for their nonsense.

Nope (5, Insightful)

anom (809433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907892)

But just like with the White House "We the People" crap, they will be able to better-tailor the letter that tells you they're shoving it down your throat whether you want it or not.

Re:Great (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908282)

If they document that everyone hates the scanners, will they actually be removed?

With the insane amount of money the contractors (mostly ex-DHS and TSA officials that initiated these programs and then switched sides to cash in) are making building, installing, and training people on the use of these machines, I doubt it very highly.

It's the same problem as with the financial regulatory bodies in the United States. The Banks and the FEC regularly trade people back and forth; for all intents and purposes, they're on the same team. They go to $1000 a plate fundraisers together, they all owe each other favors. This would be the equivalent of police officers openly palling around with prostitutes and drug dealers, but the vast majority of Americans don't even know.

It's the same with the DoD and defense contractors, and the TSA and security contractors. They are all in collusion, they get their friends to make the laws or spearhead mandates necessitating new equipment, the friends bide their time for a year or so, and then resign, get a job with the "private" contractors, and make a fortune. I mean, how much money has Dick Cheney's friends made as a result of the War on Terror? How much has Dick made himself??

More people are starting to wake up to this nonsense, finally. What they do with this information remains to be seen...but short of open revolution and a fundamental threat to their existence, we're not going to see any changes from within. The only people that have the power to make these changes all directly benefit from the current way things are done. It's the same as expecting congress to vote to cut their own pay or benefits. WILL NOT HAPPEN.

Re:Great (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908368)

The Banks and the FEC regularly trade people back and forth

Well that explains a lot.

Re:Great (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908334)

It works like this:

In the ordinary legislative process Congress passes a narrowly defined law and spells out how the executive branch ought to implement it. E.g. Congress writes a law which says that murder is a federal crime, and the FBI is imbued with the authority to investigate it.

In the modern legislative process, where the nuts and bolts of many issues are far more complex, Congress passes a broadly defined law that imbues the executive branch not only with the authority to enforce its provisions, but to interpret and set those provisions themselves. E.g. Congress passes a law that says the executive branch has the authority to regulate the release of toxic chemicals by factories through the EPA, then the EPA sets up the rules for maximum allowed quantities of sulfur released into the air, or levels or acceptable lead groundwater contamination, all without any additional input of Congress. These rules can be changed either by a direct act of Congress that more narrowly defines them, or an executive order from the President.

Usually, the federal agencies tasked with regulating in this manner devise a set of rules, regulations, and policies in accordance with the limits of the authority granted to them by law, and publishes those rules in something called the Federal Register for a set period before they take effect. Part of this process is to allow for and solicit Public Comments from relevant industry groups, public advocacy groups, citizens, public officials, and generally anyone else willing to take the time to write in, as well as to more fully evaluate and predict the impact of the new rules. The idea here is that if the agency ignores public comments and the results of cost-benefit analyses that oppose them, it becomes a political liability. E.g. If the pharmaceutical industry's overwhelming input on some new rules regarding the nuance of product recalls are ignored by FDA, you better believe that the industry will start spending its money lobbying Congress to codify their version of the rule in an amendment to the bills that govern the FDA, or the office of the President to replace the head of the agency or issue an executive order or memorandum to change the rule, or failing that, go straight to the public to get them to vote people into office who will be more amenable to their version of the rules.

In the present example, DHS is authorized by law to maintain airport safety through the TSA, and has adopted as one of its policies the use of body scanners to screen passengers, setting its own rules for things like acceptable maximum dose levels and guidelines for privacy maintenance. According to this article, they have not opened this policy up to public comment, despite being ordered to do so by the court (although the court did not issue an injunction against the policy, in deference to DHS' case that they will be vindicated as an important component of security).

In cases like these, it's tough to force a change in rules. There's no solidly opposed industry group waiting to throw their money into a campaign to change the rules, as the airline industry is either too cash-strapped or too scared to do anything about it. So groups advocating on behalf of the public are the only real opponents, a fact which has the DHS feeling pretty good about its chances of not having to change a thing.

Re:Great (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908484)

Unfortunately the process is probably more important than the results in this case. Eventually they will have the public comment period where everyone will tell them a billion and a half reason why this sucks and then they will go and do the sham review and say that the problems are unfounded and just implement the system. I really need to write my congress critters about the DHS/TSA again but they never seem to respond or if they do it is with a form letter stating that they support the security and safety of the US and its citizens.

Regulators vs. legislators (5, Interesting)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907872)

Folks, this is exactly what you get when your elected representatives delegate regulation to appointed bureaucrats. I've said it before, and it bears repeating: if a regulation is important enough to enact, it's important enough to have the legislature go on record passing it, rather than letting political appointees create rules which have the force of law. Unelected = (largely) unaccountable.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907906)

I have not seen you post that before, but I agree whole-heartedly. I believe that a large part of what is wrong with modern politics is that Congress delegates too much of its authority to unelected bureaucrats.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908044)

I was just thinking about this, and the other thing that's lacking in transparency is granularity of the vote. I think a big step toward reform would be to require bills to address small, identifiable subjects, like a single tax incentive program, or even a single element of a single tax incentive program. Then, when you're doing your TurboTax on April 14th, you can right click on the line item for the snow-pea farmer special incentive 75% deduction for the first $200,000 of income, and see how your representative and senators voted on that particular item, the item you cared about, and get some sense of whether or not you want to vote for them again.

As it is now, it's impossible to decipher what your incumbents have really done, without listening to a bunch of biased analysts who themselves are still mostly clueless.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908228)

There are some basic rules that I think people need to keep in mind for making a democratic government work. The first is that all issues should be decided at the most local level of government that can conceivably address the issue (for example, all education issues should be resolved at the local school board level). The second is the First Rule of Voting, "When in doubt, vote the Ins out." That means that voters should vote against the incumbent unless there is some very specific reason to return them to office. There are very few reasons to vote against the challenger. One should instead either vote for or against the incumbent (and only for if there is some very special circumstance).

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909514)

I agree with you in principle, but the example of your first rule is not such a good one. If all education issues were resolved at the local school board level, schools in Alabama would still be segregated.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908350)

But then how could some representatives bribe others by adding subsidies for spinach in a war funding bill [usatoday.com] . I really wish that stuff like this was a joke but it isn't.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908826)

The first problem is that the system requires the Legislators to pass the laws that would regulate themselves... the Founding Fathers were pretty good, but I think this is a big flaw in the system.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909084)

I agree and have posted before as well. Omnibus bills are essentially undemocratic. It lets a few privileged legislators who by no virtue other than having been there long enough to get committee appointments, silently slip cronyism into legislation the public won't notice until its much to late.

Legislation should be atomic, and stated as succinctly as possible. We should amend the Constitution to require that all items touched upon in a legislative act be clearly and directly related in a way understandable by a common citizen. That way an act could be struck down by a court if the DOJ cannot convince a judge, that say a farm subsidies for soybeans are not directly related to highway funding; the highway bill could get challenged and stuck down.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909610)

I wouldn't say that it needs to be atomic but the crap they put in bills should at least be germane to the main topic. I would settle for germane even though I would still like single item bills. Here in Minnesota we have a law that requires amendments be germane to the main issue of the bill and courts have struck down laws because of it. The most recent example of which was the current MN carry law. The problem is that it still requires a judge and there are probably things that they they wouldn't strike down. When the first version of the current MN carry law was struck down it was pointed out that the current pay rate of state judges in MN were also set in a similar fashion and thus should also be struck down. There was lots of talk that someone should file a lawsuit and I don't know if anything was ever done on that issue but I doubt a judge would strike down that part of the law.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909536)

see how your representative and senators voted on that particular item, the item you cared about, and get some sense of whether or not you want to vote for them again.

You're assuming our representatives want to be accountable... All they care about is getting (re)elected and/or ensuring the other party isn't.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908100)

The problem is: Elected= Idiotic OR (largely) accountable to someone (but not us).

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908136)

They delegate regulations on technical subjects that very few congressman would understand. You might not like it but it would be impractical not to do so.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908306)

If they don't understand it, why are they passing laws on the subject? I would be willing to consider a system whereby they hired experts to write the laws they vote on. Those "experts", however, should work for the Congressperson, if an when the Congressperson gets voted out of office, those "experts" would be out of work.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909036)

They aren't passing laws on subjects they don't understand, they are delegating ability to regulate the subject at hand to people that understand it. Perfectly rational. I understand why you don't like that system but the alternative, congressman coting on stuff they don't understand is worse.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908264)

There are several arguments in favor of the unelected bureaucrats making those sorts of decisions:
- Congress only has so much time available, so that means that fewer decisions can get made. If, for example, you had to get a bill passed every time you wanted to figure out whether a new mining technique was a good idea, it would make the technological development of the field much slower, and fetter the market even more than unelected bureaucrats do.

- Congressmen aren't experts in a particular field. Using our mining example again, chances are very good that not one of the congressmen on the committee that handles mining issues knows a darn thing about mine engineering, the environmental impacts, the health costs, or the economic drawbacks and benefits. They can call as witnesses experts in those fields, of course, but they will likely end up in the situation where expert A says we should regulate while expert B says we shouldn't, and Congress is no more enlightened than they were before the hearings.

- Congressmen have to worry about being reelected. That means they will have a lots of difficulty making decisions that are unpopular (especially among campaign donors) but scientifically correct. For instance, a bureaucrat might say "You can't build that kind of mine here because it puts too much mercury in the water supply of a major city." That decision will cost jobs, and thus likely be unpopular, but at the same time may be correct, because the excess mercury will cost way more in medical problems than the mine can bring in as investment.

- Laws trump regulation, so if Congress cares to overturn a regulation they can do so.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908416)

They would have more time available if they tried going to work. What other job pays for the full year but only makes you come in 1/3 of the normal work days?

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909106)

Being in session in Washington is only a small component of their job.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909630)

Unfortunately the rest of their job seems to be kissing the right asses to get campaign contributions while ignoring their constituents.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909134)

If, for example, you had to get a bill passed every time you wanted to figure out whether a new mining technique was a good idea, it would make the technological development of the field much slower, and fetter the market even more than unelected bureaucrats do.

That's the trouble with what has happened to this nation right there. Trying a new mining technique should not require an act of government!

If you own the land, and can find people to work the mine that should be that. If you harm someone else property near by well they file a civil suit against you. If it turns out to be a big issue that come up repeatedly then and only then should congress take an interest in it.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909144)

Congress only has so much time available, so that means that fewer decisions can get made.

Okay, you convinced me it was a good idea right there.

If, for example, you had to get a bill passed every time you wanted to figure out whether a new mining technique was a good idea,

Why should the default assumption about any new idea be "it's a bad idea"?

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908266)

I take it your a libertarian, because the effect of doing that would be to almost completely shut down the government. I'd rather have career civil servants making most of those decisions as they're typically there through multiple administrations and are more likely to have some idea as to how to write the regulations. Plus, since they aren't directly beholden to one party or another, it's somewhat less likely for corruption.

That being said, it's not perfect, and I know there are times when public interests are set aside for corporate ones, but that's going to happen, I'd like to see some evidence that allowing civil servants handling the details is going to be any worse than allowing politicians to do it.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909254)

I take it your a libertarian

Shows you're intelligence.

Re:Regulators vs. legislators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909526)

Not, really, it shows that I made a typo and have better things to do with my life than correct it.

OTOH you, my friend, are a linguistic profiling bigot. Perhaps if you stopped that abhorrent behavior you could contribute something of value to society. OTOOH, just go back to sucking your mother's dick and leave the forum to adults.

Shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37907908)

I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell you! Who would think that the DHS would want to avoid public comment on a program that was all show, abhorrently expensive, and inexcusably invasive.

quote....the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency violated federal law when it installed body scanners in airports for primary screening without first soliciting public comment.

And there it is.

Said a DHS Spokesperson: (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37907960)

"Someone with such a tiny penis really shouldn't be commenting on matters of public policy. Why don't you just return to your home, Citizen One-Half Kane."

They don't care (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908030)

The US executive branch has been in blatant violation of the highest law of the land for over a decade now, why would they stop now?

Re:They don't care (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908234)

Decade? Try at least a Century.

Re:They don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908582)

Try a century and a half.

Look, I like Lincoln as much as the next guy, and I'm glad people aren't beaten and forced to pick cotton because of their skin color, but the Federal government never had any authority whatsoever to keep states in the Union by force of arms. ...Actually, nevermind - try like, since a few years after this country started. Wasn't it John Adams who started the Alien and Sedition nonsense?

I swear we should've proclaimed George Washington God Emperor.

Re:They don't care (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909396)

Couldn't have worked out worst.

And yes, actually, try before the constitution. Lets not forget that the real reason the Articles of Confederation were abandoned. It was after events like Shays rebellion that showed that a strong central government would be needed to deal with uprisings amongst the peasant classes, slaves, and by Indians who didn't like their land being colonized.

It was never setup for the people, only the wealthy land owners. Its the rich man's government, always has been.

Re:They don't care (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908286)

There's momentum now. Had this been dealt with in the wake of 9/11, I doubt very much that the train would still be rolling. Unfortunately, the failure to charge any of the Bush Administration officials with crimes against humanity, even the ones that admitted on tape to ordering war crimes, isn't likely to make it any easier for future Presidents to go back to respecting the constitution.

Scanning not legal? (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908180)

Since the time allowed by the courts to solicit comments has expired, without action, is there a legal basis for using scanners? Can I refuse a scan?

Re:Scanning not legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908268)

you can opt out and have a guy with a gun put his hands inside your underwear

unfortunately this isn't a joke

Re:Scanning not legal? (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908984)

Thankfully I don't think they let the TSA screeners have guns. They rank about as high as college campus security personnel in my mind but probably with worse training.

Re:Scanning not legal? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908962)

Depends on the details. If the judge orders that all scanning and pat downs must end as part of the injunction then it might be possible. If you are lucky enough to live in a state covered by the judge's injunction then you probably could. As an added bonus you could might be able to press charges of assault/sexual assault if the screener still insists on the grope and could possibly get away with some self defense. Of course this is just my speculation and my understanding of the law and judicial system is limited so don't take my non lawyer advice.

Re:Scanning not legal? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909092)

Along the same lines I have often wondered what would happen if someone would do what one of my buddies in college liked to do in the school cafeteria. Just walk right past the line into the secure area and take off at a run through it and then exit through one of the other doors. After seeing most of the screeners I doubt they would be able to catch someone who was in modest shape. Apart from the charges that might get levied against you the worst that would probably happen is a good tazing.

Some Results..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908196)

guess it works a bit.....

http://blog.tsa.gov/

Enjoy your isolation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908294)

Guess why I don't travel through or to the USA anymore?

Yes, it's because of your airport security requirements. Anyone with two neurons to rub together can see it's pointless and does nothing but annoy ALL the lawful travelers.
So, one less businessman/tourist (and associated revenue) right here. I would imagine there's more than one human, earthwide, that shares my opinion.

Keep it up, USA, soon you'll be an island of "safety", enjoying your illusion of security while the rest of the world doesn't have to suffer humiliation and health risks just to travel.

Re:Enjoy your isolation (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909298)

There are many of us who feel the same way and choose to drive rather than fly these days . . . reading that TSA blog posted above is some of the best propaganda around.

Guess they have to stop (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908448)

They were allowed to continue using the scanners during the comment period. But they refuse to actually start the comment period, so it sounds like they have to comply with the court and stop using the scanners. Not that the Executive Branch cares much what the Judicial Branch has to say on anything.

Security on private jets? Now they've done it (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908548)

The TSA will not be allowed to piss off the corporate elite. If this passes, it will be quickly reversed and whoever came up with it will be fired so hard their old pay slips will burst into flames.

Re:Security on private jets? Now they've done it (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37908692)

The corporate elite simply hop in their private jet and go wherever w/ o scans, pat downs, etc. They even have in flight food and drink service, enough legroom, and probably get to band the stewardesses ...

Re:Security on private jets? Now they've done it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908788)

...band the stewardesses ...

This is a huge step towards understanding stewardess migration patterns. ;-)

Re:Security on private jets? Now they've done it (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909646)

The corporate elite simply hop in their private jet and go wherever w/ o scans, pat downs, etc.

Which illustrates my theory that the goal is to protect planes, not people. Downing a private plane is just as damaging to life and property, though more easily "explained" as some sort of "error"... Remember, the rich are not cattle.

I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37908938)

How does "reworking the plan" count as "stonewalling"?

Re:I'm confused (1)

spamking (967666) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909316)

Wouldn't you consider anything that may take more time for an issue to get resolved as about as close to stonewalling as you can get?

Kill the messenger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37909258)

As a general rule we on /. agree not to kill the messenger but when it comes to TLA''s we focus all our energies in doing just the same. Debugging TLA's is complete waste of time, we should after the parent process (Congress/Senate/President).

Don't Be Silly (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#37909328)

You are all overreacting. The answer is quite obvious, and is held right in a bit of law often quoted around here:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

See, right at the end -- you have a right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. It doesn't say they have to listen. They even capitalized "Government" but not "the people" -- it's like they knew how our lords in D.C. would view us today.

Go ahead, serf, petition away. It is your inalienable right. May I suggest shouting, while standing on your lawn in your underwear with a tin-foil hat on your head. That way all your neighbors will recognize you as the sort of looney who thinks the Easter Bunny is real, or that we have a representative government.

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