Sunday, August 30, 2009

Some Suggestions If You Are Traveling Into The USA

After seeing this article the other day, Bush's Search Policy For Travelers Is Kept; Obama Officials Say Oversight Will Grow, I felt compelled to share some helpful suggestions when you are traveling into the USA: carry some change to make phone calls, bring some paper and a pen to be able to write a letters/documents, kick it old school and carry a Walkman. When you see read this article, you will see why.

Here we are with yet another Bush-era policy adopted by Barack "Vote For Me Because I Am Not Bush" Obama:
The Obama administration will largely preserve Bush-era procedures allowing the government to search -- without suspicion of wrongdoing -- the contents of a traveler's laptop computer, cellphone or other electronic device, although officials said new policies would expand oversight of such inspections.

The policy, disclosed Thursday in a pair of Department of Homeland Security directives, describes more fully than did the Bush administration the procedures by which travelers' laptops, iPods, cameras and other digital devices can be searched and seized when they cross a U.S. border. And it sets time limits for completing searches.

But representatives of civil liberties and travelers groups say they see little substantive difference between the Bush-era policy, which prompted controversy, and this one.

"It's a disappointing ratification of the suspicionless search policy put in place by the Bush administration," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. "It provides a lot of procedural safeguards, but it doesn't deal with the fundamental problem, which is that under the policy, government officials are free to search people's laptops and cellphones for any reason whatsoever."

Why, yes - it is "disappointing." WTH with these groups who always use that word when Obama retains yet another egregious Bush program. "Disappointing." Uh, yeah. That's one (incredibly lame) word for it:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday framed the new policy as an enhancement of oversight. "Keeping Americans safe in an increasingly digital world depends on our ability to lawfully screen materials entering the United States," she said in a statement. "The new directives announced today strike the balance between respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all travelers while ensuring DHS can take the lawful actions necessary to secure our borders."

For instance, searches conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers should now generally take no more than 5 days, and no more than 30 days for searches by Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents. The directives also require for the first time that automated tools be developed to ensure the reliable tracking of statistics relating to searches, and that audits be conducted periodically to ensure the guidelines are being followed, officials said.

Did I read that right? 5 days and 30 days?? That's supposed to be an IMPROVEMENT? Holy freakin' smokes!!

Some people are happy with it, though:
Such measures drew praise from House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who called the new policy "a major step forward," and from Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), who introduced legislation this year to strengthen protections for travelers whose devices are searched.

And these are our representatives. That's just jake.

Others, those who actually care about the Constitution, for example, aren't quite so upbeat about it:
But the civil liberties community was disappointed.

"Under the policy begun by Bush and now continued by Obama, the government can open your laptop and read your medical records, financial records, e-mails, work product and personal correspondence -- all without any suspicion of illegal activity," said Elizabeth Goitein, who leads the liberty and national security project at the nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice.

Goitein, formerly a counsel to Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), said the Bush policy itself "broke sharply" with previous Customs directives, which required reasonable suspicion before agents could read the contents of documents. Feingold last year introduced legislation to restore the requirement.

Jack Riepe, spokesman for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, said the guidelines "still have many of the inherent weaknesses" of the Bush-era policy.

Between October 2008 and Aug. 11, more than 221 million travelers passed through CBP checkpoints. About 1,000 laptop searches were performed, only 46 in-depth, the DHS said.

Once again, I am SO "disappointed" to have my civil liberties curtailed. Sheesh. Seriously, people, there are stronger terms for having our Constitution dismantled by The One over whom you ooh-ed! and ah-ed! as such a great Constitutional Scholar, and the Anti-Bush. All I can say is, perhaps you wouldn't have experienced this "disappointment" had you bothered to actually listen to what he man said (remember the return to Bush I's foreign policy? How about voting for the Bush/Cheney Energy Bill?) or what he did (remember that FISA vote? Yeah, you were "disappointed" then, too.). So many examples, so little time. The point is, had your eyes been open instead of closed as you swayed in rapture to the tones of The One and TOTUS, perhaps you wouldn't be oh-so-surprised by this.

The rest of us aren't.


Mary Ellen said...

Ya know, when I was a kid I couldn't understand why, during the Hitler era, the Germans sat by complacently as they were losing their rights. Eventually that led to the Jews being torn from their homes and thrown in ghettos and concentration camps. But before all that happened, it started with losing their freedom to move about the country or Europe without being pulled aside to show their "travel papers", having a system set up where their neighbors could report them for "fishy" behavior, and being forced to have their youth join a youth army.

Now we have Obama forcing us to have our lap tops confiscated for no reason whatsoever and calling it "national security", the Internet could be shut down which would impede any type of free speech or the passing of information, and Obama's call for our youth to be forced into a civilian national security force (Obama: "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." )

In the meantime...what do we hear from the Democrats and so-called "Progessive" Obots? Crickets. Would they make any noise if they saw people who don't support their political agenda being hauled away into camps to be "re-educated"?

I know, it may sound far-fetched, but I think if anyone told the Germans early on in Hitler's career he would be responsible for the death of millions of Jews who would be sent to concentration camps to be tortured, gassed, and starved to death, they wouldn't believe it. They would have just said that pulling people over to check their travel papers may be a little "disappointing" but it's in the best interest of "national security", nothing to worry about.

Yeah...what I wrote seems far-fetched and probably impossible to believe, but it has to start somewhere and losing our right to travel and live without the government confiscating our lap tops and downloading our personal information and e-mails is just that...a start.

(Now I'm going to remove my tin hat and watch the NYY beat up the White Sox....again. Sigh.)

(LOL--just saw my word verification: madmompo! Oh yeah! I'm the ORIGINAL mad mom! :-D )

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

What an EXCELLENT comment, ME!!! Absolutely spot on. I always wondered abt that, too. Surely the majority of the German people never dreamed of that happening in their country by their leaders. And when the kinds of atrocities were laid out for them, it was in the same kind of "up is down, down is up" kind of language Obama is using as you so well spelled out abt the "civilian armies."

And it is not at all unlike his "prolonged detention" concept, in which he will find a way to make it SOUND like it is remotely Constitutional when anyone with half a brain knows that we have the right to be charged, and to have a speedy trial. Holding someone indefinitely without telling them why is abt as un-Constitutional as it gets, and again, harkens back to your examples.

That is all to say, it starts somewhere, innocently enough on the face of it. And it happens when people are not matching the deeds of their leaders with the words of their leaders.

Heaven knows you are right abt the response to people being hauled off with whom the ACORN crowd disagrees - you know they would be sneering and cheering, praising the cops for a job well done...

Dang, I guess i must be wearing a tin-foil hat, too - hey! Maybe we could start a cottage industry and start making ones with our favorite team's emblem on them!! :-) Ahem...

Again, sorry abt your boys - sure wish they had done more against the RSN - I was rooting like CRAZY for them then! :-D

That is funny abt your word verification! Tehee!