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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:47 AM
Original message
The high cost of paranoia: Traveling to America "a rather harrowing experience" says IOC official
Chicagos Loss: Is Passport Control to Blame? by Michelle Higgins, NYTimes

Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicagos official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be a rather harrowing experience.

President Obama, who was there as part of the 10-person team, assured Mr. Ali that all visitors would be made to feel welcome. One of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world, he said.

The exchange underscores what tourism officials here have been saying for years about the sometimes rigorous entry process for foreigners, which they see as a deterrent to tourism. Once the news came out that Chicago lost its Olympic bid, the U.S. Travel Association didnt miss an opportunity to point that out, sending out a critical press release within hours.

Its clear the United States still has a lot of work to do to restore its place as a premier travel destination, Roger Dow, U.S. Travels president, said in the statement released today. When IOC members are commenting to our President that foreign visitors find traveling to the United States a pretty harrowing experience, we need to take seriously the challenge of reforming our entry process to ensure there is a welcome mat to our friends around the world, even as we ensure a secure system.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. Let's run with that when the reich wing disses Obama for
failing to bring the games here.
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MarjorieG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good point, and the GOP fear model continues, with difficulties closing Gitmo, etc.
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
3. The truth is trickling out, we didn't get the Olympics because Bush destroyed our country.
Eat it GOP.
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. +1
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 12:09 PM by ShortnFiery
And if President Obama does not change our foreign policy significantly as follow: 1) stop giving massive amounts of aid and military bases to Columbia (6 more slotted to be erected) in order to threaten oil rich Venezuela; 2) continue to remove combat troops from Iraq and permit international corporate involvement; 3) not ramp up the violence in Afghanistan but instead withdraw to the periphery and let them solve their own problems; 3) Stop targeted assassinations within sovereign Muslim countries (Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan to date); 5) Stop saber rattling against Iran with superficial DEADLINES - Iran is supposed to, by law, negotiate directly with the IAEA, and 4) In general, STOP TEAR ASSING AROUND THE MUSLIM & LATIN AMERICAN WORLD WITH OUR MILITARY MIGHT!

Is it any wonder that many within the REST of the world (aside from Latin America and the ME) are JUSTIFIABLY afraid that they may be targeted NEXT by the mighty USA Empire?

No wonder they didn't pick the USA.

Face it fellow Americans President Obama is NOT changing our foreign policy: We continued to be both feared and loathed by all nations whom we don't prop up.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 05:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
42. +2
That is a critical factor but it is also true that it was time for South America to host the Olympics. And it's not just visitors to the Olympics who may not be welcomed - more than a few athletes would suffer teh same fate.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:08 PM
Response to Original message
5. then why were the games held in beijing...?
china is not exactly the most welcoming of countries.
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. China doesn't play "the world's policeman" in the ME or Latin America like US.
China does not militarily threaten any other area save for Taiwan. However, now they don't have to worry because we won't do a damn thing if they wished to act on that in the near future. :shrug:
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
12. that wasn't the question raised by the ioc official either...
maybe you could find a thread about that topic somewhere...? :shrug:
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #12
17. Being arrested at one of our airports - for any donation to a Muslim charity is concern? eom
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Oh, and our secret rendition program has never been healthier. That's a concern?
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. tin-foil hat much...?
:eyes:
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. No, wake up. They might not be targeting you. Now it's the Muslims, but just wait?
Speak up now or don't bitch when the powers that be DEMAND that you send yourself or your child to kill and die in the oil wars.

We're going to get our military tentacles fired-up in Latin American within the next few years.

If the people don't speak out AGAINST the meme of "war on terrorism" we'll be spying on our neighbors just like late 1930s Germany.

I'm as serious as a heart attack.

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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:18 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Actually it is. Aside from the crowds, there's no big deal entering China
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 12:18 PM by HamdenRice
Now Singapore -- that's a different story.

China lets you just breeze in, in my experience -- as long as you got your visa here before you left.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. that's the point- everyone needs a visa for any visit.
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 12:25 PM by dysfunctional press
that's not exactly "breezing in" in most people's books.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Almost every country requires a visa. Getting a visa to China is a breeze.
What makes people paranoid about traveling is getting to the airport in the other country and being detained or questioned or having your stuff searched -- or worse being intimidated into paying a bribe.

China is much easier to visit than the US, and when you get to the airport if you're a business traveler or tourist who isn't engaged in criminal activity, there's zero chance of being hassled.

By contrast, you could be a completely law abiding visitor to the US, and there's a relatively high statistical probability that you're going to be hassled, questioned, detained or worse. That's because that's our immigration model -- keeping people out for all sorts of trivial reasons. That's not China's model of tourism or business travel.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. actually, no, most countries don't require visas for short visits.
ever been to europe?

apparently not.
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Correct. No visas needed for EU countries or UK.
And if you go to Turkey, you just stop at a window and pick up your visa when you arrive at the Turkish airport. Costs you 30 bucks or so.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #16
26. Only for people from certain rich countries
Try entering France from Nigeria without a visa.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. Yes, many times. Ever been to China? Apparently not.
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 12:44 PM by HamdenRice
Ever been a foreigner coming to the US?

I believe we were comparing going to the US to going to China. Try entering the US without a visa.

And, btw, "most countries" are not Europe. Try going to any of dozens of countries in Africa without a visa.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. "almost every country requires a visa"
that was your statement, and it's totally incorrect when talking about the kind of short visits that olympic games tourists generally make.

get a clue, already.
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HamdenRice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #21
25. I love DU's strategic change the subject approach
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 01:13 PM by HamdenRice
as well as the strategic nitpick. You started a subthread with the preposterous notion that it is difficult to travel to China compared to the US. Now you want to debate whether most is different from the majority of, is different from almost every.

Well, almost every country does require a visa -- depending who you are. The European union countries require visas, just like "almost all" other countries. They make exceptions for travelers from rich countries, like the US and obviously drop visa requirements for visitors from other parts of the EU.

But "almost all" countries do indeed require visas from travelers other than those they make exceptions for. That includes Europe. Trying getting into Europe from Vietnam without a visa.

Now with your nonsensical strategic nitpick out of the way, let's get to the question you raise: given the "war on terror," assuming you have your visa in order are you more likely to be hassled entering China or entering the US?

It seems pretty obvious -- it's easier to enter China. Brazil, which now has the Olypmics, even was going to require Americans entering Brazil to be finger printed because of the ludicrous, burdensome requirements like fingerprinting for Brazilian nationals entering the US.

You don't need to be fingerprinted or eyescanned or tested for HIV to enter China.

One of the reasons that we didn't get the Olympics is that no one wants to subject hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Orwellian processes that foreigners go through to get into the US, nor the very high probability of really horrible treatment, like imprisonment -- none of which happens to law abiding travelers to China.
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Withywindle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #25
33. Brazil does require a visa and fingerprinting from visitors--from the US specifically!.
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 05:01 PM by Withywindle
They got my prints! And I was traveling with my mom, who's a dual-national, and I used to be one myself!

Thing is, I don't blame them. They started doing it as clear payback to the Bush-League power trip--only after Bush put Brazil on its shit-list (not quite the Axis of Evil, but maybe part of the Chassis of Evil) would they do such a thing.

It's MUCH harder for Brazilians to travel here than it is for us to travel there, though. They have to go to an embassy to be interviewed in person for a visa (which involves travel, already costly) and they can still be turned down and their application fee won't be refunded! My cousins would love to visit the US but it ain't gonna happen as long as that policy is around.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #14
40. Ah, yes they do. Most rich-world countries =/= most countries
For a lot of developing or less wealthy countries, visa fees are an important source of foreign income. I'm from Europe BTW, our visa-free travel is relatively recent and frankly it's something we only extend to wealthy countries, just as the US visa waiver is mostly limited to visitors from European countries and from Japan.

You'll note that the official who mentioned the issue of traveling to the US was from Pakistan. I think he undergoes rather more scrutiny than you would entering Europe or I do traveling from Europe (though European visitors now have to be electronically fingerprinted before entering the US - this is not exactly welcoming).
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
7. "rigorous entry process for foreigners"... Hell, they treat US like shit! nt
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Then stay over here.
My best friend is a French Citizen. Thank God I can go visit her if things get real bad here. :shrug:
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
29. They even hassle domestic, in-country travelers. It's insane. nt
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mainer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Don't forget the confiscated laptops and camera cards
of US CITIZENS.

I have several UK friends who stopped coming to the US after they got harassed when they tried to go to Disney World.
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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #15
23. My dear mom stopped traveling because of the harassment.
She's 80 y.o., 102 lbs and all bent over due to osteoporosis. But USA security made her stand-up from her wheel chair so they could physically frisk her seemingly FOREVER. They weren't even polite about it. They even messed up her little hair bun ... what the f*ck did they think she had there? :grr:

Police State? Yes.
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gateley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #15
30. Like trying to get into East Germany or something. Sheesh. nt
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:21 PM
Response to Original message
10. I bet they find the Republican crazies carrying guns at political events here a bit scary too
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Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. They certainly aren't doing that in Chicago.
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thatgemguy Donating Member (337 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
27. Passports for visiting Canada?
Perhaps we could eliminate the requirement for passports for Americans returning from Canada first.

I feel more welcome going into Canada, than I do returning to my own country.
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rocktivity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
28. It's because America has a black president
no matter what.


rocktivity
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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 03:43 PM
Response to Original message
31. So basically the Rethuglican theory of isolation - that is
keeping any and all possible foreigners out of the country is not a good plan? Hunh....couldn't have seen that coming at at all..............
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HipChick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
32. chicago lost..move on..try flying into Heathrow...
I travel often, as a young single female, I am often 'singled'...I had a laptop taken in London, given a slip, and was told it would be 4-6 weeks before it would be returned...that was 18 months..still never got it back...the quarterbacking review of trying to figure out why Chicago didn't get the Olympics is getting old...oh yeah...if you are heading to the UK in 2012 for the Olympics...leave your laptop home..not worth the hassle
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Tartiflette Donating Member (120 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 05:42 AM
Response to Reply #32
41. Really?
Wow, that's messed up... I find the UK quite the worst of the European countries to enter, and I lived there for 7 years, so it wasn't isolated incidents. I still find that hard to digest though - have you written to the Home Office?
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Hav Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 05:08 PM
Response to Original message
34. .
I'm going to visit the US in a few weeks myself for the first time and I'm really looking forward to it. My boss told me though that there are two lines at the airport after you arrive in the US: one for Americans, the other for assholes in the sense of them being subjected to all kinds of trouble (he was half serious, half joking I assume).

Besides that, personally, but maybe that's just me, it strikes me as somehow condescending seeing all these attempts to find this or that explanation why Chicago didn't get the Olympics. As if it's some kind of mystery why any city would be preferred over an American city. I see it more as a decision for Rio or the country/continent than a concerted decision against the US.
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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. When he said "that line is for assholes" your boss meant the queue for cavity searches
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 05:31 PM by kenny blankenship
Bring a book, the line is long and the search is thorough.

I also don't "get" why the US would have another Olympics since we hosted a winter Olympics just in 2002, and just 6 years previously in 1996 we hosted the summer Olympics, which was marred by Right Wing terrorist bombing.

However the article brought up a line of dispute between the IOC members and US delegation trying to win the games for Chicago. I think it's worth a mention that people from different regions of the globe often do encounter hostile scrutiny from Die Homeland Securitat Abteilung when flying into the USA. And we do enjoy that reputation now, whether other countries are "just as guilty" as some people would claim, or not.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
36. Clumsy handling of our security needs has come back to bite us in the butt...
Edited on Sat Oct-03-09 05:48 PM by Hekate
Immediately after 9-11 I read all kinds of Americans saying that No Other Country had been attacked by terrorists on their own soil and therefore the US Had No Models to work with for implementing security.

That, of course, is asinine it its utter ignorance of recent history. When I was quite young, France had to cope with Algerian terrorists called plastiquers planting bombs hither and yon. They learned intelligent ways of dealing with the problem that did not involve closing their borders to the world. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,176139,0... For many years the IRA sent terrorists over to London. The Brits did a lot of things, but they didn't build a wall around their island. West Germany was plagued by the Baader Meinhof gang.

I am not here to argue the relative merits of freedom fighters versus terrorists, and I do know that all three of those countries surely made mistakes along the way. But instead of educating our fellow citizens about the reality of the modern world and learning from the experiences of our European neighbors, the Bush-Cheney administration decided to shut this country down. The result is "security measures" that do not make us secure, that rob us of our civil liberties, and alienate citizens of countries that were once friendly to us.

Hekate

edited to add that the Israelis certainly have experience -- how could I forget the Israelis?
As for not getting the Olympics this time around: It was not our turn. It is Brazil's turn.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
37. Call them silly, but foreigners don't like being treated like POWs at airports.
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lolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. Silly, silly
I'll bet they don't like getting strip searched either. Or detained indefinitely with no explanation. Or sent back for no apparent reason. What's wrong with those people?
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-03-09 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. Even as a citizen, I don't feel like flying any more.
The ridiculous things we have to go through, all because Bush and his guys did nothing for the 8 months prior to 9-11, are offensive to a free society.

I can't imagine why most foreigners would want to travel here any more.
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wuvuj Donating Member (874 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 06:09 AM
Response to Original message
43. At least the cops get to feel important?
Have a suspicion? Screw somebody over....

It's always a good idea to make paranoia an accepted mode of operation... :sarcasm:

Cops and the military are our national HEROES....exactly what you might expect in a TRUE POLICE STATE?

...the herd grazes restlessly as the storm approaches? :shrug:
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
44. How many Americans are still on "the list"? At the start of 2009, it was well
over 1 million. If we treat our own this way, it is a lot worse for travelers from many areas of the world coming here.
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-04-09 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
45. If you read any foreign newspapers on line, you have to wonder
if the town hall wingnuts didn't seal the Olympics deal over the summer. There has been one face shown to the world over the past few months and that has been the face of hate.
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