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White House Pulls Down TSA Petition 638

Jeremiah Cornelius writes with a note that on Thursday of this week "The Electronic Privacy Information Center posted a brief and detailed notice about the removal of a petition regarding security screenings by the TSA at US airports and other locations. 'At approximately 11:30 am EDT, the White House removed a petition about the TSA airport screening procedures from the White House 'We the People' website. About 22,500 of the 25,000 signatures necessary for a response from the Administration were obtained when the White House unexpectedly cut short the time period for the petition. The site also went down for 'maintenance' following an article in Wired that sought support for the campaign."
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White House Pulls Down TSA Petition

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @11:47AM (#40964381)

    The reddit crowd already went over this one in detail... it wasn't pulled down...the petitions have a limited amount of time, and there was a standard maintenance window near the time this particular petition ended. So no big conspiracy...just normal network maintenance...

  • by Samuel Dravis ( 964810 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @11:52AM (#40964421)
  • by Meshach ( 578918 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @11:56AM (#40964435)

    The reddit crowd already went over this one in detail... it wasn't pulled down...the petitions have a limited amount of time, and there was a standard maintenance window near the time this particular petition ended. So no big conspiracy...just normal network maintenance...

    Here is the reddit thread [].

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdo ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:05PM (#40964477)

    That's simply not correct. The biggest legislative proponent of the TSA bill that eventually passed was Don Young (R-AK), and Bush strongly supported it throughout; he didn't "cave in" at the end. Its expansion into ever-more-intrusive measures was strongly supported and overseen by first Tom Ridge (Republican, former Governor of Pennsylvania) as head of DHS, and then by Michael Chertoff (Bush's 2nd DHS head). Chertoff, post-Bush-administration, is now closely connected with Rapiscan Systems, the backscatter X-Ray company.

    Some in the GOP have slowly started waking up to the fact that they passed a bunch of stupid things in the post-9/11 era (Patriot Act, DHS, etc.), but at the time they were the ones pushing it, and very few (except maybe Ron Paul) opposed it.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @12:56PM (#40964839)

    That's utter bullshit. The government enforces the will of the people. Part of that means collecting taxes and providing for those who didn't get lucky in life. Get rid of the safety nets, the the people will find another way to provide from themselves -- by killing the rich and taking their things. The poor will not lay down in the gutter and starve to death, no matter how much the robber barons may wish it.

    Taxes are the price you pay to live in a civilized society.

  • Re:How much time? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:19PM (#40965001)

    The petition was set to expired on August 9th and expired on August 9th but long before midnight, I was looking at the site when it happened but I don't remembver the time between 10 am and 2pm IIRC. Since we don't know at what time the petition was set up in July, it's difficult to say whether the White House cheated or not.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @01:45PM (#40965245) Homepage Journal

    Here is the problem: lack of real capital investment.

    The rich are people who have successfully amassed some amount of capital, and capital formation is what allows the productivity of people to be increased to make them better off than just being hunters, gatherers, subsistence farmers.

    Don't forget, before capitalism there were plenty of lands on this planet, rich with resources, and tribes of people lived above those resources and didn't even know they had all that wealth just underneath their feet.

    Apparently it takes thousands of years for the tribes to become productive enough to amass the capital required to build the tools that allow the resources to be mined, used in whatever way, that increases the standard of living of the people who live there.

    Removing the capital does not just mean losing cash, in fact cash is not the problem at all. If cash was the problem and the solution, USA wouldn't be in any trouble at all, but neither would Zimbabwe, former USSR, Argentina, Weimar Republic, etc.

    It's not about cash, cash doesn't mean anything if you can't buy anything with it, and nobody wants your cash in exchange for the goods, if you cannot gives something back for those goods.

    Would you take 100 Trillion Zimbabwe dollars for an excavator? How about 1000,000 Trillion Zimbabwe dollars?

    Do you see the point? When the rich leave, they are not taking cash, they are moving their capital, entire factories are gone, equipment, machines, tools, but also management knowledge.

    Don't fool yourself, management knowledge of how to run a profitable business is extremely important to have any kind of economy. Profitable business is what makes the economy.

  • by LourensV ( 856614 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @02:04PM (#40965425)

    I suspect the whole purpose was to get some good touchy-feely-see-I-care press for launching the site, not to actually do anything substantive but pat people on the head and continue to do whatever the hell they want anyway.

    From my foreign perspective, it seems that American politicians often can't actually do that much. Let me explain that.

    Here in The Netherlands, the most important elections are for our Lower House. The people vote for any of a range of political parties, and the seats get divided based on the vote share. Then, the largest party negotiates with other parties to form a coalition large enough to have a majority in the Lower House (and the Senate, although it's of less importance), and they together write a plan for the next four years and form an administration. The leader of the largest party becomes the Prime Minister, and the others contribute some ministers as well.

    As a result of this, the executive branch is always backed by a majority in the legislative branch, enough to decide anything except changes to the constitution. Of course, this is counterbalanced by the fact that the administration is a collaboration of parties that partially disagree with each other, so that the common plan is a compromise that balances the various concerns. Sometimes parties are not willing to compromise, and they end up in the opposition as a result, with little opportunity to further their cause. Thus, there is an incentive to cooperate.

    Looking at this chart of the various administrations and corresponding party representations [] reveals a general pattern of aligned legislative bodies and administrations especially in the early years, but more recently a lot of situations where it's not so clear-cut. For an administration to be really free to act, it needs the Presidency, a majority in the House of Representatives, and a majority in the Senate. Starting from the 63rd Congress on the page linked above (the last 100 years), I count 22 2-year periods in which there was no party agreement between the three, and 28 in which there was. It seems to me that it's actually pretty difficult to get anything done for an American administration.

    Of course, this can still work if the other party is willing to cooperate on things they don't fully agree with in exchange for favours on other things. Historically, that seems to have gone pretty well. But the American political environment has been getting more and more hostile and negative, and now parties seem to be happy to block things that are in the interest of the nation just to keep the other party from getting the credits for them. Broad strategic filibustering has upped the Senate requirements for getting anything done to a 3/5 majority (which hasn't occurred since the 1970's). As a result, we see things blocked for the political advantage of being able to attack the opposition over not achieving it, unless someone is willing to contribute enough campaign funds. Meanwhile, the nation is falling apart, but the politicians are too busy recording attack ads to do something about it.

    Final note: our system isn't perfect either. In the last elections we had five parties (Socialists, Social Democrats, Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Populists) all come out at about the same amount of seats. The resulting ChrDem-Lib-Pop coalition had difficulty agreeing on a plan, and broke up prematurely when the Populists backed out of the 2013 budget negotiations. So it's back to the polls in September, and meanwhile no important decisions will be taken unless there's a majority amongst the existing representatives. The 2013 budget was agreed on by such an ad-hoc majority, who recognised that something had to be done and acted in the best interest of the nation. It has left our government hamstrung though, and current polls have the leftmost and the rightmost of the large parties leading, so it doesn't look like the situation will improve soon...

  • by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:01PM (#40965791)

    Using Gates as an example, he had a million dollar trust fund, sent to a very good school that had access to computers and a mother who associated with one of the head honchos at IBM. If this what you call not being born with a silver spoon in your mouth...

  • by manaway ( 53637 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:36PM (#40966031)

    "In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace - and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Harry Lime

    Well let's see now Mr. Lime (while ignoring that *whoosh* over my head), Switzerland also produced or was a sometime inspiration for: CERN, Jacob Bernoulli, Carl Jung, Voltaire, Rosseau, Freddie Mercury, and Nietzsche. And a few international banks which are far less reliable than cuckoo clocks. So perhaps people develop science, literature, art, and whatever economics is, independently of foreign relations.

    Swiss politics involves town meetings with lots of talking, and thus real representations of local concerns instead of representatives in popularity contests (cool to have a beer with, has my family values? yeah I'll for for him/her). Switzerland's not perfect, not just banking but paying non-Swiss cheap wages for jobs the locals don't want to do; but other countries and especially the US with its take-down petitions could learn a few techniques. If, that is, the motivation was to improve democracy, which it's not.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:39PM (#40966043)

    Anyone can become wealthy. Look at Zuckerberg, Gates, Bezos, Ellison, Page, and Brin for a few examples. None of these folks were born with a silver spoon in their mouths

    Zuckerberg - Son of a dentist and a psychiatrist. Wealthy enough to send him to Harvard.

    Gates - Son of a Lawyer and a company director. Wealthy enough to send him to Harvard.

    Bezos - Family owned a 39 square mile ranch. Wealthy enough to go to Princeton.

    Ellison - OK, a modest background.

    Page - Son of 2 computer science professors.

    Brin - Son of a mathematics professor and a research scientist.

    With the exception of Ellison, these aren't examples of "Anyone" becoming wealthy. They were indeed born with silver spoons in their mouths.

    They are also an unusual selection in that they are all tech company founders. Most businesses and businessmen are not that, and are not creating whole new categories of business from exceptional intelligence and education.

    Most businesses are set up in existing categories. And require more capital and less intellect than tech start-ups.

  • Re:How much time? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ksevio ( 865461 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @03:55PM (#40966155) Homepage

    The petition was set to expire that day, so if you assume it expires at midnight, that's just a few hours short.

    They have a month to get enough signatures, so it looks like people were just bad at promoting it. I'd go with glitch as well since the last TSA petition just got a response from the head of the TSA saying how wonderful it was.

  • but how much time was taken away by the early termination of the petition?

    I'm too lazy to dig up wherever I read it, maybe it was a comment on hacker news, but it sounded like it had about another week to go before expiration.

    It expired on the 9th. See, e.g. Bruce Schneier's post a week ago [], or the Fark thread from the 8th saying 'it expires tomorrow' [].

  • Endless war?

    Last I checked we're out of Iraq and by the midpoint of Obama's second term we'll be preparing to leave Afghanistan. The only military action Obama actually got us into cost less than a week of camping the terrorists' spawn point in Afghanistan, resulted in zero US or allied casualties, and acheived its clearly defined goal.

    With the notable exception of one day that will live in Infamy, the US hasn't suffered a war on its owl soil in 150 years. Since the US became the world's dominant military power after WWII, Europe has seen the longest period of sustained general peace quite possibly in its entire written history.

    Where exactly do you get "endless war" out of this?
  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Sunday August 12, 2012 @08:21PM (#40968151) Homepage Journal

    You're out of your fucking mind if you think a Romney presidency wouldn't be worse than what we've got right now.

    It would be an utter and complete horrorshow.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger