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Comment Re:Banks vs Manchester. Law, no. Indexes by publis (Score 1) 292 292

The Founding Fathers explicitly made the Senate a "house of the States", where Senators, essentially acting as agents of the state legislatures, had the power to amend or veto bills produced in the House of Representatives. However, being unelected, Senators while enjoying greater prestige than Representatives, were also in a position where their powers were not democratically derived. The "check" as it were on the Senate was that any significant interference in bills would inevitably be viewed somewhat more dimly, which is how it has worked out in most Westminster parliaments.

With the 17th Amendment, the Senate gained the democratic legitimacy which in facts leads to the greater possibility of this seeming end-run around the requirement that money bills originate in the House. You don't really find this happening overly much in Canada, where the lack of democratic legitimacy means that Senators usually do not feel they have the right to alter taxation or spending bills. In the UK, of course, explicit measures were put in place in the 1911 and 1949 Parliament Acts that heavily restrict the House of Lords' ability to tamper with such bills.

Comment Re:Futile (Score 5, Interesting) 278 278

It's similar to the situation at the end of WWI. Versailles called for wide-ranging disarmament among all the belligerents, which was all well and good in theory. In reality, of course, a great deal of the R&D that had gone into new weaponry; tanks, planes, ship designs, and so forth, still existed. In fact, the most valuable commodity of all, the German plans for the 1919 campaign that never was, still sat in archives, just waiting for someone to come along and dust them off.

The cat is out of the bag, has been out of the bag for a few decades now. When most of us look at devices like Mars Rovers, we're impressed by the technology and science, and yet that very same technology is easily adaptable to building autonomous weapons. Even if the Great Powers agreed, you can be darned sure they would still have labs building prototypes, and if the need arose, manufacturing could begin quickly.

Comment Re:Banks vs Manchester. Law, no. Indexes by publis (Score 5, Insightful) 292 292

Largely, I expect, because that was the principle in effect in the British Parliament. It's a common feature of most, if not all, bicameral legislative assemblies, and it dates back to that division of powers between the House of Commons and the House of Lords in Britain. The problem comes from the fact that the US Senate is elected, and thus it gains the democratic legitimacy to significantly tamper with bills. It's a debate being had in Canada right now, where we're trying to decide whether to reform or abolish our Senate. The fear up here is that an elected Senate (Canada's Senators are appointed by the Governor General in the name of the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister) would become like the US Senate, a competitor to the lower house, and that the supervisory role would be abandoned. Even in the UK the Lords' tendency to try to overrule the House of Commons reached the point where the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 were pushed through and give the Government an override power at second reading so the Lords cannot block a bill.

Comment Re:Likely misdemeanor mishandling of classified in (Score 1) 425 425

Yes. And that's why it is illegal to remove any facts associated with a warrant or subpoena. The subject of an investigation doesnt get to choose which facts he/she thinks are relevant and hide or destroy the rest. Law enforcement and the judge/court/CONGRESS that issues the warrant or subpoena do. And any act that appears to circumvent that process is in itself an act of deviance of the legal process.

And it's not supposed to matter if you're a former Secretary of State, or a Senator, or a janitor, or a former gang member with half a dozen felony convictions.

There's a phrase for this very process in government: Litigation Hold.
When Congress or a court litigating a lawsuit issues a warrant or a subpoena, the whole system in which the data exists is frozen. Period. Every document, email, memo, system eventlog down to when the machines were patched, and who last launched a web browser from them. And from that point forward any person who so much as logs in to the system to look has to be specifically and separately cataloged and the event recorded to ensure the highest levels of "chain of custody" which are then provided to the requesting body. This is to ensure that no evidence is being tampered with, and any data there is later determined to be relevant by the officials doing the data search. You often cant even add data to the machine after the fact, depending on the severity of the case. .

Comment Re:Likely misdemeanor mishandling of classified in (Score 1) 425 425

And we're supposed to take whose word on that exactly? That's like saying that if the police have a warrant to search your house for some incriminating documents, and you are burning some in your fireplace as they come through the door they should be perfectly satisfied when you say, "Well, yes, but I only burned things you wouldnt be interested in.".

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis