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Full-Body Scanners Deployed In Street-Roving Vans 312

pickens writes "Forbes reports that the same technology used at airport check points, capable of seeing through clothes and walls, has also been rolling out on US streets where law enforcement agencies have deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs. 'It's no surprise that governments and vendors are very enthusiastic about [the vans],' says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. 'But from a privacy perspective, it's one of the most intrusive technologies conceivable.' Rotenberg adds that the scans, like those in the airport, potentially violate the fourth amendment. 'Without a warrant, the government doesn't have a right to peer beneath your clothes without probable cause,' Rotenberg says. 'If the scans can only be used in exceptional cases in airports, the idea that they can be used routinely on city streets is a very hard argument to make.'"
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Full-Body Scanners Deployed In Street-Roving Vans

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  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:01PM (#33404302)

    I wonder what they will change. The amendment or make the use of these illegal.

  • Ok, honestly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:08PM (#33404330)
    Ok, how many "violations" have these scanners found that could be linked to something serious. No, some guy who carries a pocketknife daily who forgot to take it out at the airport is not a real threat.

    There are three reasons why we haven't had any "terrorist attacks" since 9/11

    A) Terrorists are stupid. Its not easy to carry out an attack.

    B) People are smarter. Pre-9/11 if your plane got hijacked you simply complied with the hijackers, landed in Cuba, and were on a flight back home later in the day. Today, if someone would try doing that, they would be stopped by the passengers. And unless there was a plane full of terrorists, the number of average passengers are much, much, much higher.

    C) Terrorists are rare. There aren't billions of terrorists everywhere, yes, there are a few, but the number of normal people outnumber them by far which makes stopping them very easy.

    9/11 was a one shot deal and only was successfully carried out because prior to that the standard operating procedure for dealing with a hijacker as a passenger was to let them do whatever they want and try to survive because they weren't crashing the hijacked planes in buildings.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:10PM (#33404340)

    Law enforcement considers the beach based vans critically important to beach safety.

  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:10PM (#33404348) Journal

    Who am I to argue? To all of you fools who believe it can't get any worse, I can only say, step outside the door. You haven't seen shit.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:11PM (#33404352)
    Neither. The government these days can either selectively decide which parts of the constitution to follow, the courts can selectively decide how to "interpret" it and congress simply ignores the constitution. How many congressmen (excluding Ron Paul) really make an effort to decide whether something is constitutional or not? The PATRIOT act was blatantly unconstitutional yet it passed with little opposition, many, many other laws have been passed that were blatantly unconstitutional that the issue of the constitution wasn't even raised.
  • A bad idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Magee_MC ( 960495 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:12PM (#33404360)
    "The Z Backscatter Vans, or ZBVs, as the company calls them, bounce a narrow stream of x-rays off and through nearby objects, and read which ones come back."

    A doctor needs informed consent to do an X-ray because of the risk from radiation. Why do these people think that they can irradiate people just because they want to? At least, as I understand it, at the airport you can decline to be irradiated and get searched the old fashioned way. With this you have no right to decline, or even knowledge that it happened.
  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:12PM (#33404362) Journal

    No, just construct a specious argument that the Constitution/Amendment doesn't apply to this case. And ensure over time that the group of gentlefolk who get to strike down unconstitutional laws agree suspiciously often with you.

    That's how the US government's got away with it to now.

  • Re:A bad idea... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:20PM (#33404410)
    Because ZOMG teh terrorists are going to attack. There's no legitimate reason, and the back scatter technique is likely to be even worse than what's been acknowledged as while the dose is for the whole body, the concentration of it ends up just inside the skin. Meaning that while it might be an acceptable amount of total radiation, it's focus in an area where you're at a heightened risk of skin cancer.

    Personally, I won't be flying again until some sanity has returned. Choosing between being assaulted with radiation or assaulted by TSA staff is not what I'd consider a reasonable function of government. In normal contexts that would be regarded as threat of violence and intimidation so that you allow them to take indecent liberties with your body. It isn't a question as to whether or not it's a violation of the 4th, it's a question of why we're even having to ask.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:27PM (#33404460)

    "If" it violates an amendment?

    In my uninformed (IANAL, etc.) opinion, this looks quite similar to--and if anything more egregious than--the circumstances in Kyllo v. United States [], in which use of thermal imaging to look inside a private home was ruled unconstitutional without a warrant.

  • by herojig ( 1625143 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:38PM (#33404534) Homepage
    A little more then "a little opposition", so best to educate yourself: [] The point being that throwing hands in the air and proclaiming all is lost (unless Ron Paul is President) is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and just what the overlords want to see happen.
  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:39PM (#33404540)
    Ok, its easy to make a bomb, easy to detonate unseen? Conceal it? Make it cause some damage?

    Sure, its easy to purchase a gun, but to shoot it with accuracy? To stop a mob of people from taking you down? If people could conceal carry anywhere that would add in another dimension to it

    The fact that some things -are- possible doesn't mean that they are likely, or even possible.

    For every "successful" bombings, there have been thousands of failed ones.

    The only "successful" attacks have happened because of three conditions:

    A) A smart perpetrator

    B) Unarmed people unable to defend themselves

    C) Everything working perfectly according to plans, which is rare.

    Its easy to make french fries, but to make french fries that taste indistinguishable from your favourite restaurant is a lot harder.
  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:40PM (#33404544)

    You are missing:

    D) There is no need for a real incident. The first worked beyond Bin Laden's wildest dreams. All it needs to keep Americans locked up is the occassional shoe or underpants 'bomber'. The US politicians will then do all that is necessary to destroy America.

  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:46PM (#33404572)
    Ok, so let me get this right...

    These are the 98 U.S. senators for voted in favor of the US Patirot Act of 2001 (Senator Landrieu (D-LA) did not vote) Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin was the only senator who voted against the Patriot Act on October 24, of 2001.

    Out of all the members, only 2 people didn't vote in favor of it. Yeah, sounds like a lot of opposition...

    Yes, there were a few members of congress who voted against it, but if you really look at it, they simply wanted to opposed just about everything Bush was in favor of. They didn't make a conscious decision against it based on a constitutional point that they evaluate all their bills with, they saw that it was one of Bush's main points and voted against it.

    And I don't proclaim that "all hope is lost" I continue to vote but in most cases with the exception of local elections the people who I vote for don't win because the vast majority of America is so entwined in the two party system that they completely miss the point and instead vote for parties that are two sides of the same coin and only disagree on insignificant issues.

  • by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @02:53PM (#33404612)

    You're correct that a precedent has been set. The evidence can't be used in court and information gathered in such a manner can not be used as probably cause by itself. An anonymous tip about a car bomb in the area would be sufficient cause to do this non-invasive search and act upon whatever they find. Regardless, this ruling does not inhibit their ability to look for car bombs from a safety standpoint - they just have legal complications if they want to prosecute.

    Also note that the intended purpose isn't for random searches in your neighborhood. The main deployments will be at the borders, ports, or other high-security areas where consent to be search is already implied. This is a great technology to employ at the borders to help stifle the influx of drugs and illegals. The technology is also quickly evolving to the point that we could have walk-through corridors at the airports like you see in the movie Total Recall.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:01PM (#33404654) Journal

    Not to mention if a maniac like Ron Paul became president, there would be much worse things to worry about than X ray machines in cars.

  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:02PM (#33404660)
    You mean like the "Times Square Bomber" which um, failed to detonate?

    It sounds easy on paper but history tells something radically different.
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:08PM (#33404678)

    As technical people, when we instil fear about something, people will listen.

    Sure, right up until they figure out that we, like everyone else whom they thought they trust, have also been lying through our teeth. At that point they bring out the pitchforks, and rightfully so. Remember that old saw "we have seen the enemy, and he is us?" We have to be careful not to adopt too many of the tactics of those currently in power or we, in the end, are no better. The ends do not justify the means

    The reason that lay people tend to trust those with knowledge is because they don't have the ability to tell if that educated person is lying or incompetent, and because of that have no choice but to hope the expert knows what the Hell he's talking about. We've all been in that position at one time or another in our lives: having to trust someone that knows substantially more than we do about something important to us. It's rarely a pleasant position to be in.

    Are you really telling me that it's okay to deliberately lie to people, abuse their trust in a big way, simply because it's for their own good? Because we assume that it's for their own good? That's precisely what our government and our corporate leaders have been doing to us for years. So far as I'm concerned, if we're so far gone as a society that we can't fight this with reality, with facts, with what is, then We the People don't deserve to survive anyway. In any event, that's not a campaign of which I would choose to play a part. Furthermore, you will have to accept that there will be some deaths involved should you be successful in this, as people who might otherwise have received a medical X-ray or CT scan refuse them out of fear. There are always consequences to fearmongering and ignorance peddling.

  • modest proposal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:09PM (#33404684)
    Some rich libertarian should buy one of these machines and a van, and start roving the streets building their own image archive. And then they should link the photos to Google Street View. Fair is fair. No assumption of privacy on the streets, right? Besides, this kind of information can be useful for ordinary citizens. For instance, I can see how many gun/knife/crack-pipe toting people are in a given area and make my own decision as to how safe that neighborhood is. And since I'm not the government, there's no Fourth Amendment concern.
  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by S.O.B. ( 136083 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:11PM (#33404698)

    For once an AC that makes an insightful comment and me without mod points.

    The terrorists have continued to win since 9/11 because they continue to successfully insight terror.

    And every time you hear a call to accept this search or give up that privacy because if we don't then the terrorists win...don't bother, they just did.

  • by sjwaste ( 780063 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:17PM (#33404738)
    Not to mention, Kyllo probably does not apply at border checkpoints. From the perspective of your constitutional rights, as my crim law prof always hammered home, border checkpoints are different.

    I have absolutely no problem with using this technology at our borders, scanning cars parked on the departures curb at the airport, etc. I wouldn't want it roving through my neighborhood, though, and it probably won't because good luck prosecuting anything uncovered by this under normal circumstances (i.e. where Kyllo applies).
  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:20PM (#33404756) Homepage
    There is something wrong with you if you need the government to run up and down the street with mobile scanners to ensure you didn't leave your child in the car. Forgetting your child in the car while you go to work shouldn't even be possible. How absent minded could you be?

    if this isn't some sort of joke you should be neutered and have your children taken away.
  • Re:A bad idea... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blueg3 ( 192743 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:23PM (#33404770)

    With X-ray exposure, quantity is important. You don't need to be informed that you'll be exposed to X-rays when you fly in an airplane or turn on an incandescent bulb, but you are.

  • by canadian_right ( 410687 ) <> on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:27PM (#33404800) Homepage

    Like what? Ron Paul wants a minimal government so the "worse things" would mainly be a complete lack of a government "safety net", ie welfare state, as opposed to actively doing bad stuff.

    Moderation is often the best policy. Pure socialism or pure capitalism are both bad ideas.

  • by Ruud Althuizen ( 835426 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:38PM (#33404870)
    How many car bombs have we seen lately to justify these actions?
  • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:47PM (#33404898)

    That's true. I was very angry and did not think through the consequences of this idea.

    Oh, make no mistake ... it irritates the Hell out of me too. Let's face it: power can be an intoxicant just as powerful as any psychotropic chemical compound, and is just as ripe for abuse. Personally, I believe the Drug Enforcement Agency's efforts would be better directed at politicians than drug users. Find the ones who are abusing the power to which they've become addicted and are abusing, and get rid of them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:48PM (#33404900)

    If history is any guide, most people on the outside rail against the "system." They promise to bring change, to root out corruption, to make government smaller, etc. etc. Once they get in, all of a sudden they think that certain subsidies are all right, that some compromises need to be made, etc. etc. Funny how those exceptions happen to benefit themselves or they campaign contributors.

  • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:56PM (#33404948) Journal

    only females under 35 and weighing under 150 pounds

    At least someone's thinking of the (female) children!

    For everyone else, there's NAMBLA Card.

    I have no idea why I just typed that.

    I'm sorry.

    I'm going to post this anyway just as an experiment to see how I get modded.

    Also, this is, "If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide!" taken to its inevitable conclusion.

    So I agree with you, except that it should compulsion should only apply to the families of those who support such government "protection".

    Because who wins out when the only way to protect yourself from terrorist bogeymen is to have hordes of paedophile bogeymen looking at your family naked?

    Another single sentence paragraph.

    Well, sentence fragment!

  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @03:56PM (#33404952) Journal

    There have been THOUSANDS of terrorists attacks since 9/11, try Iraq and Afghanistan. What about Madrid and London? Those don't count? Because they don't strike were YOU claim they should strike? Here is a hint: THAT is how terrorism works. Strike ANYWHERE with the implied threat that it could happen ANYWHERE.

    There have also been attempts on US targets, FOUR at least. (Shoe-bomber, nigerian via dutch airline, car on times-sqaure, fort hood shooting) 1 out of 4 succeeded. Stupid attemps? No, just unlucky ones. 9/11 got lucky, very lucky. 3 planes hit their target, one didn't. That is NOT exactly a high success rate but it was high enough. But can you bank on that? Never had a fire in my adult life != do not need the fire department.

    People are smarter? Doubt it if you are the example. Not exactly blessed with logical thinking skills are you? You go on how about 9/11 could only happen because the terrorists did something DIFFERENT and then completly assume a next attempt will be foiled because we know what to do now... so the terrorist are not capable of changing the rules YET again? Who says the NEXT 9/11 will be the same? Madrid, London and the fort hood shooting were not. Why touch the airport at all? I can think up of thousands of different attacks especially if the attacker doesn't value his own life. No doubt so can the terrorists.

    They are rare? Yes... getting rarer all the time with the thousands of suicide attacks. Odd that they don't seem to be running out at all. Could it be that with a population in the billions, any fraction of a percentage still gets you tons of people? And yet all these billions of people who are not terrorists did NOT stop 9/11 or London or Madrid or Fort Hood or the countless attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan or the attack in Mumbai and god knows how many more.

    There is a very real risk that in the fear of terrorists we do exactly what the terrorists want, which is to life in terror.

    But sticking our head in the sand like you do is NOT the answer either. You are a silly person who has banked his entire idea that there is another group of a dozen muslim men waiting with box-cutters to fly aircraft into buildings and that you, you who cower already on a forum at the thought of a terrorists, will fight them off with the old lady next to you.

    The people in the fourth plane tried that. Why don't you ask them for tips... oh wait, they ALL died didn't they? So much for your brilliant plan to foil the evil terrorists. Maybe we should leave it to someone smarter. Shouldn't be hard, by my estimate there about 6 billion smarter people on this planet then some guy who thinks terrorists have to strike in the same place twice in the same way.

  • by johnhp ( 1807490 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:09PM (#33405008)
    Bullshit like this comment shows your ignorance and you ability to be affected by propaganda.

    If you knew anything about Ron Paul, you would know that he is a unwavering supporter of the Constitution. That includes denouncing blatantly unconstitutional actions like spy vans, warrant-less wiretaps, etc.

    To suggest that Ron Paul would allow states to do anything they like, in violation of the constitution, is so stupid it's almost hard to believe you're not intentionally trolling. His entire political basis for states rights is that *it's what the fucking Constitution says*. Like it or not, the federal government has expanded way, way beyond the powers given to it in the foundational framework of the union.

    Want a federal government that's stronger than what the Constitution allows for? That's fine with me. I think I do too. But to shit on Ron Paul because wants to follow the fucking rules and insist that such changes be made properly through amendments, etc. rather than just bussed in by the crooked politicians de jour, is shockingly stupid.
  • by slick7 ( 1703596 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:17PM (#33405038)

    How many car bombs have we seen lately to justify these actions?

    It's only a matter of time until false flag bombings or worse occur or is it, have occurred?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:17PM (#33405040)

    Only one way to fight back: claim that anyone using one of these devices must be into child porn.

  • by Hint of Herring ( 1694650 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:20PM (#33405068)

    I have absolutely no problem with using this technology at our borders, scanning cars parked on the departures curb at the airport, etc. I wouldn't want it roving through my neighborhood, though, and it probably won't because good luck prosecuting anything uncovered by this under normal circumstances (i.e. where Kyllo applies).

    I would be all for it if it actually meant AT THE BORDER. The problem lies in "at the border" being legally defined as "within 100 miles of the border". According to the ACLU [], two thirds of US citizens live within that range.

  • Anonymous Coward (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:29PM (#33405130)

    You cannot protect the rights of the people by violating the rights of the people.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:35PM (#33405166) Homepage Journal

    Just think, perhaps a secret police scan while mom was pregnant is why the kid ended up autistic. Or got cancer. Won't the police please think of the children?

  • by Cyberllama ( 113628 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @04:52PM (#33405232)

    There's no such thing as an "honest guy" (at least in the context you mean it) who is highly qualified. Anybody qualified would recognize the necessity of politics to get things done. You hate politicians for being politicians, but politics is how things get done. Frustratingly slow? Sure, but if you don't stroke some egos, make some compromises and pay some lip-service, you can't get the votes you need to do anything accomplished. That's the sad truth. There's a reason all the idealists slowly turn into politicians (see: Barrack Obama).

  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:27PM (#33405704) Homepage Journal

    Another thing is... they screen all the passengers going on the planes.

    But they don't screen the fucking MAIL being loaded into the plane's cargo hold.

    Wanna have fun as a terrorist? Go in the airport, stand in line and watch all the passengers take off their shoes, show that their bottle of hair gel is only 3 ounces, no more, and have their jockstrap scanned... then wander over to the window and watch your first class USMail "present to Grandma" get loaded on the same plane.

  • by ArundelCastle ( 1581543 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @06:35PM (#33405746)

    I don't believe a constitutional amendment has ever been amended. But I am seriously considering going to law school to find out.
    Creating an amendment in the first place is difficult, and it only takes a very small population % to defeat a proposal.
    I would imagine removing an amendment would be an order of magnitude more difficult, as the same small population % could defeat it. And after 219 years people have become partial to the first ten, as removing one of them would also invalidate the Bill of Rights.
    And that is precisely the moment the terrorists win.

  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Criton ( 605617 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:01PM (#33405912)
    Bin Laden's goals where to make life difficult for Americans and the government did just that for him. The government fighting it war on terror has killed 3 times more Americans then Bin Laden and done more economic damage as well. Every time a freedom is surrendered or a right sign away for security is a victory for Al Qeda.
  • by Black Gold Alchemist ( 1747136 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:02PM (#33405914)

    On the other hand, if you are posting as a teenager in your mom's basement, please just ignore this for another 5 or 10 years. Someday it will be important to you.

    As a teenager living in his parent's house, I find the issue extremely important to me. The preservation of free society against incursion of moralism and safetism is one of the most important aspects of sustaining oneself. In fact, as a parent, it should be more important to you than it is to me, because your child's life depends on it. The ultimate progression of a non-free society (which these vans and your idea are) is the genocide and killing of the undesirables. Wether your non-free society is based on the worship of government, race, health, the environment, or the greater good over the rights of the individual, the ultimate result is the killing of the undesirables. Your idea might save 100 or 1000 children in the short run. However, it, combined with all the other ideas for protecting people will lead to a genocide killing millions, as well as the war to overthrow that genocidal government. The most dangerous people are those that seek to protect us.

  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @07:37PM (#33406094)

    The terrorists win every time we:

    Add another search and seizure method.

    Add anti-Muslim (or any religion) propaganda.

    Fail to close our borders because of the addiction to cheap labor on the bottom end (illegals from the South) and the top end (I-9s). Note: The last terrorist caught was an I-9, taking a job an American can do.

    Fuck around in some country without an active mission or path out. Iraq is now going to have its oil sucked out by the Russians and Chinese. Where is Bush's promise that the war would pay for itself? How about Pakistan? Now is our chance to win hearts/minds to the Taliban and AQ don't have a stronghold there.

    Fail to work on nuclear energy as a main source of grid power. Terrorists love foreign oil dependence. Then they don't have to penetrate the US borders to hurt the country.

    Fail to educate our citizens, so they are easily controlled by terrorist-fed media like Al-Jazeera, where every loss by Americans is televised, but the victories are not.

  • by InfiniteWisdom ( 530090 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @11:07PM (#33406884) Homepage

    The problem with treating the constitution as something holy and unchanging is that this isn't 1787. It seems ludicrous to me to be obsessing about what the intent of the "founding fathers" was and using their will as an absolute basis for everything to follow. At a certain point that becomes it own quasi-religion.

    Back when the constitution was written it was unlikely most people would ever interact with people from different states. Other than the rare news stories there would be no way to even know what was happening elsewhere. You couldn't hop in a car and have crossed several state boundaries in the space of a few hours. People wouldn't routinely be buying produced and shipped from a distant state.

    I'm not saying that states should lose all authority to the federal government or that the balance today is exactly right, but I do think that the notion that they got it exactly right in the 18th century and that's exactly what we should be doing in the 21st century is laughable.

  • by johnhp ( 1807490 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @11:16PM (#33406926)
    You're seeing this all wrong. No one said that the Constitution is perfect and should remain unchanged. The only thing that has been said is that the federal government should be forced to operate within the terms of the Constitution. If new situations mean that the Constitution must be changed, then great. Some of the best parts of the Constitution are the changes that were made since it was written.

    And you're wrong about the level of interaction between citizens in the early US states. They were tightly linked in terms of trade, culture and defense. In a crude 5th grade summary: tobacco and cotton came from the south, machined tools and clothing came from the north. Grain, lumber, gunpowder, lead, iron, coal, cattle, etc. were all shipped between states in a web of supply and demand.

    Furthermore, news was not rare. The early US had several successful newspapers that were widely distributed.

    Anyway the question of the best balance between state and federal power doesn't matter until we the people have some way to effect it. Our current way, the drafting and protection of laws and documents like the Constitution, don't mean shit if the federal government can do as they please without regard for the rules. That most important first step is to demand that everyone play by the rules as they are written. The second step is to debate what rules we should make or repeal.
  • by Rich0 ( 548339 ) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @11:58PM (#33407058) Homepage

    Well, the beauty of the Constitution is that the people who wrote it figured that times would change, and thus it contained provisions for amending the document.

    Do you think that the Federal government should have more powers. Fine, get 2/3rds of congress and 3/4ths of the state legislatures to approve that and now the Federal government can do more. Want a monarchy while you're at it - fine, just get the appropriate parties to vote for it.

    The problem is that nobody wants to do that, instead we just ignore the Constitution.

    If you look at US history the government was not afraid to amend the Constitution when there was a need. However, in the last 50 years we've stopped doing that, and instead we just ignore the Constitution instead. I don't think we're better off for it.

  • Re:Ok, honestly? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hotawa Hawk-eye ( 976755 ) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @01:16AM (#33407280)
    D) Why bother spending your resources to instill fear in your enemies when they're perfectly willing to do it themselves?
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @01:58AM (#33407342)

    Some of us read it. And its a good story about some very sad tragedies. But also very rare. So we are trying to figure out why you posted the link. Sure, it would be great if one of these roving vans just happened to spot a kid sitting in a hot car. It would also be great if random police raids would occasionally catch some kids just prior to their getting into the cleaning chemicals or daddy's gun safe.

    What it smells of is a "think of the children" justification for losing some more rights.

  • Re:not only that (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 29, 2010 @04:01AM (#33407616)

    There is a background level of environmental poisons that is more or less unavoidable, and there is an average yearly exposure level due to environmental exposure. As such, there are certainly quantities of poisoning that are negligible compared to environmental exposure.

    There is a background level of pain that is more or less unavoidable, and there is an average yearly exposure level due to environmental exposure. As such, there are certainly quantities of pain that are negligible compared to environmental exposure.

    This is why it's ok for me to spike your daily coffee with minimal amounts of poison and lightly slap your face every other month. Moderation is all.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @04:55AM (#33407770)
    Then change the Constitution. Seriously. There is a process for amending it. Use it. Or get your Congresscritters to use it. Or shut up.

    If you ignore ANY part of the Constitution, then you might as well ignore it all. Seriously. This argument has been hashed around for hundreds of years now. Either it has meaning, or it doesn't. There is little -- if any -- middle ground. There is no justification for ignoring part of it but obeying other parts. So if you ignore part of it, all of it is effectively dead.

    And a Government without rules is not a democracy (or, more properly, a Republic). It is, by definition, a tyranny.

    So you don't get to just ignore it because you think it's out of date. A method for making changes is available. But if laws are passed that ignore it, those laws themselves are illegal... they have no legal authority. This was a guarantee made to the States, before they would agree to ratify the Constitution in the first place.

    There are rules, and they are there for very damned good reasons. If you support un-Constitutional laws, then you are little more than a criminal yourself. Why, then, should anybody treat you as though you were not?
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @05:14AM (#33407828)

    "It isn't congress's job to decide if something it passes is constitutional. ... If the people want something unconstitutional it is congress's duty to see that it gets passed."

    That's just ludicrous. And 100% wrong. Congress -- every single member -- has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution. Knowingly passing any law that violates the Constitution is a violation of that oath. Further, House rules call for ALL bills to show the Constitutional authority for the proposed law. They don't always follow the rules, but those ARE the rules.

    "If it were the legislative branches job to both represent the people -and- decide if the laws were constitutional their goals would often be at odds, so constitutionality simply isn't part of their job at all."

    Your understanding of the duty of Government branches would be funny if it were not quite so bizarre. Any alien who applies for citizenship in the United States has to take classes that teach them about Government a lot better than that. They could teach you a thing or two. Maybe you should apply for citizenship?

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @06:43AM (#33408066)

    The problem with treating the constitution as something holy and unchanging is that this isn't 1787

    Then the proper method would be to change those parts of the Constitution that have become obsolete, not to violate them.

    Civilized society needs to follow established rules, not let a bunch of petty dictators act as they see fit.

  • by complacence ( 214847 ) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @08:14AM (#33408220)
    Are you saying that because it's possible that someone's flawless record of integrity could be corrupted, we should just keep on voting for the already corrupt?
  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday August 30, 2010 @10:17AM (#33414644) Homepage Journal

    That's why when they wrote it, they made it so it could be amended, but not easily. They amended it to give the feds the power to outlaw alcohol, for instance; history shows it was a stupid decision but at least they did it legally. Not so when they outlawed other drugs.

    But the fact is it is NOT unchangeable. But there's a proper way to go about changing it. Ignoring it is anarchy.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday August 30, 2010 @05:09PM (#33419852)
    No, go back and read the sentence again. What I stated was that Congress is prohibited from knowingly passing unconstitutional laws. That's not the same as passing a law in some gray area.

    That still contradicts GP's assertion that Congress has nothing to do with the Constitution.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford