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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control? 1040

An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics (which went to Rio de Janeiro instead), and it's looking very likely that US border procedures were one of the main factors which knocked Chicago out of the race: '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 Chicago's official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be "a rather harrowing experience." ... 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.'"
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Did Chicago Lose Olympic Bid Due To US Passport Control?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:22AM (#29626125)

    ...but you ain't gettin' my fingerprints for the privilege. What am I, a criminal?
    Reform your system, and you'll see an increase in tourism, with all the good that that does your economy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:23AM (#29626141)

    Increasing crime rates, including murder, why were we bidding Chicago in the first place? There are plenty of other US cities that are more worthy of this honor.

  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:29AM (#29626183)
    I've read it years ago that the USA is losing billions per year in tourism after the 9/11 border restrictions.

    The Olympics became a disgustingly commercial event for the past few decades and corporations are going to put pressure towards a location where prospective visitors aren't put off by over the top security measures...

    The next time someone asks what's the harm in the security theatre, point them towards the loss of tourism. I have to say I'm one of those people who deeply resent the invasive fingerprint taking entrance to the USA. It's a shame that stupid border procedures prevent me from visiting an otherwise beautiful country...
  • by AndGodSed ( 968378 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:32AM (#29626197) Homepage Journal

    Well it could also be because a Rio olympics would be really awesome. I don't think Chicago could compete on atmosphere with Rio.

  • by Ambient Sheep ( 458624 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:34AM (#29626215)
    It doesn't surprise me. I'm from the UK, and "Visiting the US" was always one of those things on my life's "to-do" list - seeing New York, going to the West Coast, visiting friends in Washington state, maybe even driving Route 66 one day if I had money enough and time.

    But now? Well, I've heard enough horror stories by now from friends and colleagues about entering the USA that, despite me having no criminal convictions whatsoever, I'm afraid it ain't on my "to-do" list any more.
  • by mc moss ( 1163007 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:37AM (#29626233)

    And the fact that South America never held the Olympics before.

  • by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:37AM (#29626237) Homepage Journal

    More likely, part of the reason Chi. lost the Olymipic bid had something to do with an honor's student getting hit on the side of the head with a railroad tie (as captured and shown on CNN and youtube [youtube.com].

    There are people out of control in Chicago right now and I have to say I can't blame the IOC for not wanting to go there. Along with the traffic issues and overwhelming government corruption there are too many problems for Chicago to have an Olympics in the near future.

  • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:37AM (#29626239) Homepage Journal

    Rio has pretty high crime, too, you know, and slums. I doubt Chicago's worse.

  • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:37AM (#29626241)
    Because it would be an excuse to move 'undesirables' out of the city in large numbers, make a spike in capital spending and construction, and then cause the city and its environs to implode when the Olympic venues turn out to be unrentable and the tourists vanish again?

    Hosting the Olympics might be an honour on the national level, but locally... you've got to figure out which city you can afford to disrupt over the long term.

  • I don't blame them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Aurisor ( 932566 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:37AM (#29626243) Homepage

    The amount of man-handling and smug stares I have to endure from thick-necked, multi-chinned police academy rejects is bad enough when flying domestically. That's no way to welcome the largest tourist event in the world.

  • They may be lucky! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gilgongo ( 57446 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:38AM (#29626249) Homepage Journal

    I live in London, where just about anyone you ask who lives here will tell you they don't want the games, never wanted the games, and are angry that money to fund the building of venues and facilities is being taken from National Lottery funds and (possibly) direct taxation.

    Mileage varies considerably in the short and long-term economic and social effects [google.com] of hosting an Olympics. London doesn't need it, and Chicago may well not have done either.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:39AM (#29626261)

    This European long ago decided to stay the hell out of xenophobia central, only to find that our beloved MEPs followed its lead and demands and did a good copycat of the whole security theatre, and thorougly exceeding in roll-out of mandatory RFIDed passports (without tin-foil to boot) with fingerprints and so on. Oh, and all that talk about "data sharing"? It's one-way, all the way, baby.

    If Europe had a spine they'd've "reciproced" (see the relevant department of state website) the whole encilada across the entire EU, but instead they thought it a good idea. We're still thorougly protected against rogue nail clippers and exploding bottles of water. Useful, that.

  • by adamkennedy ( 121032 ) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:40AM (#29626271) Homepage

    Indeed, not to mention the rise of Brazil in the world in general (much like China before it) and the chance to finally have one in South America now there's a country competent enough to make it work. Plus the better weather, plus it's cheaper to go to, plus you don't need crazy-priced "Platinum (US Only)" grade medical and lawsuit travel insurance, plus how awesome a Brazillian opening and closing ceremony will be, plus America has had it relatively recently, and on and on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:42AM (#29626281)

    Yeah right. Have you ever been to Chicago? I have lived in different parts of Chicago for last 10 years. This city is no different than any other US city. Just because some murder made national news and changed your perception, does not mean the city does not deserve Olympics.

    What safe city are you from? LA?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:53AM (#29626375)

    A history of city government corruption that goes back so far I don't remember a time when it didn't exist, neither can my parents...

    A weak police force that's powerless to control the gangs and violence that occurs on a daily basis...

    A solid history of mob corrupted city services...

    Pollution â" better bring your bottled water since BP is allowed to dumps millions of gallons of solvents into Lake Michigan which is the main source of fresh water...

    Don't even get me started about the construction that would need to happen to host the Olympics there â" they can't build anything anywhere near budget or on deadline. Millennium Park, the gigantic park that was to be built for the big Millennium celebration, was tens of millions of dollars over-budget and completed years late, not to mention the poor quality of construction all-around (a moderate downpour will result in days of "raining" inside all levels of Millennium parking garage).

    No one seems to pay attention to the fact that they are laying off record numbers of city employees at all levels due to budget deficits, do they somehow think things would magically correct themselves and they would have the funds needed to host an event that size?

    They'd have to move the Olympics to Milwaukee at the last minute just so they could happen.

    Two words: Kennedy & O'Hare

    The only real loser in all this is the mob. They were rubbing their mitts up until yesterday.

    In fact I can't even think of one good reason to hold the Olympics in Chicago. I can't believe they are actually surprised they lost.

  • Mod this up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gerddie ( 173963 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:53AM (#29626377)

    Then again, when I'm already in Canada, why would I want to go to the US ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:55AM (#29626393)

    Anyone ever try to enter Brazil? They aren't the easiest either...

  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:57AM (#29626407)

    I'm grateful for the men and women who patrol our borders. If this report is true, their hard work has kept us safe from another potential disaster: Having to endure 7 years of unrelenting hype, having to witness multiple late and overbudget Stalinesque construction projects, all capped off by an orgy of hypocritical corporate-sponsored "amateur" contests and overblown nationalism. Good job!

  • by E IS mC(Square) ( 721736 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:03AM (#29626473) Journal
    Do you any pattern here? UK and the US. Two countries with stupidest border security checks at the ports. Both leading "war" against terrorism.

    Looks to me that the "war" is already won - by the terrorists.
  • by Snarfangel ( 203258 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:04AM (#29626479) Homepage

    We once took pride in saying we were a melting pot of nations (racism aside).

    I've always preferred the image of a multicultural tapestry. Better a colorful display of individual threads than a gray, undifferentiated mass.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:04AM (#29626483)

    We once took pride in saying we were a melting pot of nations (racism aside). Now we're about the same, except we're a melting pot of xenophobes (maybe not at the citizen level, but definitely at the administrative/political level.

    That's before crazy fuckers decided it was a great idea to try to blow us up. Not wanting to get blown the fuck up is not the same as xenophobia.

  • by atlmatt36 ( 1638631 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:06AM (#29626501)
    Really, is it all that ironic that the IOC would consider our immigration and the recent crime statistics as reasons to not come here over RIO ? For me at least, I can see their point on a few issues :

    1) The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate when measured against citizen head count to incarcerated or otherwise restricted status citizenry (Parole/Probation) of ANY country in the world.

    2) A convicted U.S. felon can still travel internationally to other countries, yet the U.S. refuses to consider allowing another country's citizens to arrive here for what constitutes a misdemeanor or less, regardless of time passed

    3) Getting back into the country as a citzen or "worse" GC or other status holder is worse than painful if singled out for secondary. I am non-white and get profiled every time I come back, despite having served and having no "reasons" to be flagged other than my last name which is clearly non-american originated.

    4) While requiring a VISA or fingerprinting itself is not counter-intuitive to travel, the manner and inconsistency is. Having said that, for being touted as "the land of the free" and "a shining beacon of democracy" is ironic itself when our policies at the border (or even non-border with the TSA and Border Agents) clearly indicate that we are profiling even inside our borders. How do you explain roving road blocks for "immigration" checks just because you happen to be on a road within 100 miles of a border....

    5) To host in Chicago, we'd be doing the same things we did in Atlanta. We'd be buying the homeless once again a 1-way ticket to nowhere (or anywhere but "here"), we'd be tearing down projects and displacing people/families to make way for the Olympic Village, and you can be damn sure that the average "Chicagoan" (sp?) would not be able to even get into the venues, much less afford the cost of the tickets being hosted in their own city. This happened in Atlanta where I live in 1996....

    6) We just had the summit in Pittsburgh that was shameful in the way it's citizenry were treated as well as most of the peaceful demonstrators. Beatings, the use of a sound cannon and extensive use of tear gas, etc had me thinking initially this was some other country where liberty and democracy/freedom of speech was supressed.... Turns out I was right, but had the wrong country in mind, which was depressing and downright scary

    The list could go on with examples, but it would be unfair to clutter the Slashdot database with further examples that are easily googled.
    I do love my country and the people in it for the most part, but I'd be lying if I said I believed 95% of the hype that our Tourism Board spews out to attract visitors. I think the loss of tourism and downturn in visitors since we enacted the failed Patriot Act speaks volumes, the rest of the tidbits I shared just add further fuel to the reasons why those who would like to see us (the U.S.) just stay the hell away.
    Suffice it to say in my opinion that on the one hand we have U.S. which has clearly become a very dim shadow of itself and the other hand we're trying to portray ourselves, or at least that's my impression as a U.S. Citizen.....

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:07AM (#29626513) Homepage Journal
    As a visitor entering Japan, you are subject to being fingerprinted and having your picture taken at border control as well as a bunch of harassing questions such as, "Where are you staying and who are you staying with?"(I always make up a fake address). I don't know how much different it is compared to the US, but if they rejected Chicago because of these restrictions, they probably rejected Tokyo for a lot of the same reasons.
  • The Sad Thing... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IonOtter ( 629215 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:09AM (#29626531) Homepage

    ...is that the Republicans-and probably more than a few Democrats-are going to blame Obama and his administration for something THEY ruined.

  • Actually... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:11AM (#29626557) Journal

    From all those cities listed in the report linked above, only Athens seems to have failed to properly exploit the effect of hosting the Olympic Games.
    All other cites (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sidney, Beijing) reported nothing but growth.

    London doesn't need it, and Chicago may well not have done either.

    A global metropolis that can say "I'll pass" to billions invested in the infrastructure, millions of visitors and billions of pounds/dollars/euros spent by everyone?
    No such place on this planet.
    The effect on the crime and pollution alone (clean streets) is worth the trouble for the average Tom, Dick and Harry.
    Those must be some crazy conservative xenophobes you talked to.
    Not wanting money during a global economic crisis. Mad as bicycles that lot.

  • Probably not (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:12AM (#29626561) Homepage

    Unless something's changed in the past two years, this probably didn't have a huge effect, given that the next two games following Vancouver are going to be held in London and Moscow respectively. Neither the UK nor Russia have a reputation of being particularly welcoming to travelers.

    Although not as bad as the US, border security in the UK is by far the most invasive in the EU, opting to screen people arriving from within other parts of the EU. Back when I used to hold a multiple-entry visa to the UK, it was treated as a point of suspicion every time I crossed the border (despite the fact that I had to provide the consulate with every shred of information about my private life in order to get the visa). This policy is completely and entirely illogical -- odds are that the border agencies knew more about me than they do about their own citizens.

    On the other hand, Russia takes the cake for bizarre and restrictive immigration procedures. The US state department's page describes [state.gov] these in detail, as there are far too many peculiarities and specifics to list here.

    If this was an issue, I seriously doubt that the UK or Russia would have been selected by the IOC. As it stands, Chicago didn't lose by that many votes, and the IOC's voting rules and distribution of membership are hardly fair [fivethirtyeight.com]. An IRV system is definitely needed to prevent the sort of gamesmanship that likely caused Chicago to lose, and somehow made Tokyo lose votes in the second round.

    That all said, Rio will be a fantastic host for the games. This will be the first time ever that the Olympics have been held on the South American continent, which is a pretty cool milestone all in itself. I'm fairly confident that the US will be first in line for 2018.

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:16AM (#29626613)
    Spain was also attacked by Al-Qaeda and have ETA bombings every now and then. But they actually care about their tourist industry.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:24AM (#29626673)

    Not wanting to get blown the fuck up is not the same as xenophobia.

    And the appearence of security is not security.

  • by rotide ( 1015173 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:24AM (#29626681)

    You'll have to explain to us who the "crazy fuckers" are. Because I seem to remember it was a group of mostly Saudi's who happened to be fundamentalists (notice how I separate the two?!) that decided it would be a good idea to hijack our airplanes and ram them into our buildings.

    This wasn't the work of a government who sent an army after us. This isn't WW3.

    It was a group of sick individuals who meant to destroy us to fulfill their _personal_ and fundamentalist religious ideals.

    This is _not_ how to act after a _small_ group of people do something terrible.

    Lets also enact broad stroke laws any time a single child gets hurt. Oh wait. God damnit.

  • by gangien ( 151940 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:24AM (#29626683) Homepage

    The thing is, we had all the intelligence to know what was going to happen, but didn't. I don't think clamping down on border control helps anyone. It hurts the tourism industry at home, and give people a worse impression of us. And it certainly would not have caught the terrorists. What we should have done is looked at why they attacked us and figured out why the intelligence failed. But instead we'll add on a huge bureaucracy that just complicates things and increase the policing of innocent people. Fuck the terrorists were all here legally for something like 5 years? they certainly could have passed just about any checkpoints we might put up.

  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:25AM (#29626689) Homepage
    I'm sure there's a requirement that only only douche bags can work within border control in the US. They do treat everyone, American or foreigner like a piece of shit. It's because if it wasn't for their cushy little job as a government bully, they'd probably be a toilet clear for Wal-Mart.

    Being an American who has opted to live outside of the US seems to be some sort of crime in their eyes. At least I can take comfort in the fact my life means something unlike theirs.
  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by copponex ( 13876 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:31AM (#29626739) Homepage

    A DUI is something that carries the stigma of the high probability of the offender killing themselves or someone else. Having a joint is literally not a crime to anyone, and yet which one gets American nuts in a twist?

    The disconnect in moral reasoning is getting ridiculous.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:33AM (#29626759)

    I didn't do anything. Leave me alone, don't steal my goddamn laptop. Don't harass me. Don't treat me the way you do.

  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:37AM (#29626791)

    Who the hell modded you up?

    Rio de Janeiro is one of the most violent cities in the world. You think one sensationalist news story compares to what goes on in the favelas of Rio? What's worse is that the proximity of poor areas to rich ones means you're not safe anywhere. People regularly get mugged and kidnapped, tourists especially.

    Rio's murder rate: 37.7 per 100,000 (2006)
    Chicago's murder rate: 15.7 per 100,000 (2005)

  • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pjt33 ( 739471 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:41AM (#29626819)

    Speaking as a European who has experienced US border controls on connecting flights (i.e. not even properly entering the country): whatever the actual reasons for the decision, US border controls are sufficient reason not to host it there.

  • Re:Actually... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:46AM (#29626863) Journal

    You can clean your streets without having the banner of five rings looming over them. Do you think that the olympic committee comes in and does the work?

    You can invest money in infrastructure without an international committee overseeing the work, too. Where do you think those "billions invested" come from? It's not the organization that runs the olympics.

    Instead of adding those billions to the "benefits", you should subtract them. And when figuring the boost, you have to recall six years of spending with no payoff until the end. What would that spending have gone towards if it hadn't been directed at grown men playing children's games? Growth, I'll bet.

    There is no economic reason for any city to host any sporting event. Let the event organizers pay for and reap the profits if it's so great.

    That said, Chicago didn't lose. Rio won the decision. They weren't voting against chicago. Are we really so vain that we probably think the choice was about US?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:53AM (#29626909)

    Goverment won then :(

  • by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:53AM (#29626911)

    The US has lost the title of land of the free unfortunately its citizens have not yet realized it.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @10:59AM (#29626957)

    No, of course not! It is only evil when the US does it! Other countries are perfectly justified in doing it, the US is the only bad guy.

    I'm quite sure the border control was a very small issue especially since such a thing could be laxened specifically for the Olympics (China did) and likely would be since the president was keen on having them.

    No my guess is the most important consideration was that South America has never had an Olympic games. That gives them a leg up on getting them, presuming they are ready to host them. The Olympics is, after all, an INTERNATIONAL competition. Seems only fair that it should get hosted everywhere in the world then, no region that is capable of hosting it (it does take a certain amount of infrastructure) should be excluded. The US has gotten the Olympics more than any other country I'm aware of, so it seems reasonable to give others a chance.

    There's also the matter of location. Chicago seems like a pretty shitty place to host the summer Olympics just climate wise. Not really one of the top summer destination spots in my book. Rio is a MUCH nicer location. Let's face it, the Olympics being a big tourist event, that sort of thing matters.

    While the issue of border control may have been discussed, I doubt it was any serious consideration. Like I said, you've got the president pushing for it. If they go and say "Well ok, we'll give it to Chicago, but you have to do away with the fingerprinting and such for the people coming to see it," the president will say "No problem."

    This is just people trying to twist things to push their agenda of getting rid of the new border controls. Now don't get me wrong, the new border controls are BS and should be done away with. However, trying to make up bullshit reasons makes you no better than the people who made up bullshit reasons to justify them int he first place.

  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:04AM (#29627005)

    I'm a US citizen who recently went to China for a scientific conference. China has a reputation, no doubt well deserved, as a police state. But in terms of ridiculous airport security and immigration control, it's nowhere *near* as bad as the Americans. The Chinese are bureaucratic as all hell with their regs, but they're at least friendly about it.

    When I got my passport checked back in the US, the fellow looks at my passport, notices the Chinese visa, and says "Welcome home" in this smug tone, as if to say "Aren't you glad you're back in the Land O' Freedom?"

  • by horza ( 87255 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:05AM (#29627017) Homepage

    Same here. I've always wanted to visit the States, especially New York and Las Vegas, but it was knocked indefinitely off my to-do list by the biometric controls. I don't see why I should be treated like a criminal when I haven't done anything wrong. UK is now attempting to be the least friendly place in the world, with every person entering and leaving cataloged by the government eBorders system. I even have to enter my passport number when I book a plane ticket online. Much as I love London, if it wasn't for my family being there I wouldn't go back to the UK any more. I am English through and through, but for now I will try and change things from a distance. London in the 90's was one of the best places in the world to be. The government has taken it on a roller-coaster downhill and now the place is barely recognisable.


  • Hosting the Olympics might be an honour on the national level, but locally... you've got to figure out which city you can afford to disrupt over the long term.

    Not necessarily. It is possible to have a well-managed Olympics that makes the event a net short- and long-term benefit to the area.

    Salt Lake City's 2002 Winter Olympics turned a significant net profit, even after the state was reimbursed for all of the infrastructure investment (other than transportation improvements; those were needed anyway). The money left over was put into a fund which should be able to maintain all of the specialized venues for decades -- except that many of the venues have proven to be profitable on their own. The bobsled and luge tracks, for example, are operated year-round for tourists, who ride sleds (wheeled in the summer) that move at much slower but still exciting speeds. Taken as a whole, the olympic venues and museum operate at a very slight loss, which the fund should be able to maintain for a very, very long time.

    The long-term effects on Utah's tourism industry, both summer and winter, have been significant, and would have justified a fair amount of taxpayer investment even if the direct revenues hadn't been able to repay the state.

  • by RDW ( 41497 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:25AM (#29627205)

    'It doesn't surprise me. I'm from the UK, and "Visiting the US" was always one of those things on my life's "to-do" list - seeing New York, going to the West Coast, visiting friends in Washington state, maybe even driving Route 66 one day if I had money enough and time...I'm afraid it ain't on my "to-do" list any more.'

    If you've crossed these off your list then you're really missing out. New York alone, even to someone used to big cities like London, is an extraordinary place to visit, and the West Coast has some absolutely spectacular scenery and great cities. I'm sure that bad things occasionally happen (I've also read a few horror stories) but frankly US Immigration (usually polite enough, or at least efficient) has so far ranked pretty low on my list of annoyances. The airlines, with their unexplained multi-hour delays, double booked seats, arbitrary baggage charges, lost luggage, broken entertainment systems, and strange and terrible food, I'd rank much higher. Airport security (everywhere) isn't much fun either, while even returning to the UK as a citizen can be a bit of a pain (particularly the interminable queues at Heathrow). But none of these should put you off travelling. Getting to the US is no longer a 6 week ordeal in a sailing ship with a 1% mortality rate, after all.

  • Re:Funny (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frieza79 ( 947618 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:44AM (#29627371)

    Having a joint is literally not a crime to anyone, and yet which one gets American nuts in a twist?

    Do you know what the word literally means?

  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:47AM (#29627397) Homepage

    I'm afraid it ain't on my "to-do" list any more.

    It may be faint consolation, but TSA and DHS are just as thugish and dickish to US citizens as they are to our guests.

    I remember coming back to the U.K. from France and one of the customs guys dashed over to me. I thought it was a passport check, even though everyone else was just walking by. He wasn't checking my passport, he was running over to open the gate for me because I was dragging a suitcase and had my hands full with my passport, which he didn't even look at.

    Fingerprints, retinal scans, confiscating laptops and other portable data devices. The way we treat people coming here, I don't blame them for not wanting to visit. Not one bit.

    What I think is astounding is the pure gall of the conservatives, blaming president Obama for not getting the Olympics when it was their crap ass policies and politics that put in place the anal probe, 3rd world border treatment afforded our guests these days. Like we're going to forget who was behind it all. But that's been the pattern right along. Absolving themselves from any accountability by trying to pin it on someone else. Pathetic.

    I really don't blame you for not wanting to visit. We've brought this on ourselves.

  • by footNipple ( 541325 ) <`moc.semitaidni' `ta' `elppintoof'> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:48AM (#29627403)

    What sane person would choose "Chicago" over "Rio de Janiero"? Passport control? Are you kidding me? Chicago is known for being wet, cold, windy, and expensive.

    You're must not be from Chicago. Because if you were, you'd know that there's nothing better than a summer day downtown and along the lake front.

    Maybe this will be the wakeup call for Chicago, that their culture of bribery is actually costing them business. But I doubt it.

    What is causing the absence and flight of business in Chicago is high taxes, unions and democrat governance in general of which bribery and graft are a prominent feature.

  • by Derosian ( 943622 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:55AM (#29627461) Homepage Journal
    My father is actually a US citizen but he went out to Iraq working for KBR as a contractor, then later on switched to a better paying company that hires people out to other locations, now he nearly refuses to come back to the states, because he says the security and the people are such a pain. The good side is, he flies the family out to other countries now so we can visit him.

    I think the US needs to see the bigger picture more, and the individual event less. How many lives have we lost to terrorism in how many years of history?
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @11:59AM (#29627509) Homepage

    We're not xenophobes. Our government, or more specifically, the closed group of people that run the government and their keepers, are responsible for the state of things. Most people in the U.S. merely parrot what they hear on Fox news and simply don't care about anything beyond their favorite TV shows. Most people I know generally agree that even early on, the reaction to the events of 9-11 were simply too much of an overreaction and characterize the responses as little more than a power grab leveraging fears of the people which was spread effectively by added security measures and, of course, Fox news.

  • by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:16PM (#29627649)

    You know what? If you are lucky to come from certain "non aryan" place and do couple of things very wrong, that "pain in the ass" could become literal.

    You're actually more likely to have an easy time than us "aryan" types, at least in the airports, as racial profiling is pretty much illegal in the US, and the ACLU is even fighting to allow burkas for photo ID's. [liveleak.com]

    Since you can't be racist to a white man in the US, grandma gets strip-searched while the nervous looking arab with full beard and head wrap coasts on through.

    All of which ignores the REAL security breakdown that day, which was that 19 people managed to sneak box cutters onto airplanes. And you know what? You can -still- sneak box cutters onto airplanes, I know because a former co-worker of mine who traveled frequently left one in his bag for several trips and was never tagged. He did a major "oh shit!" when he realized it was in there.

    Harassing foreigners happens because for some reason Immigration hates immigrants, and anybody who could potentially become an immigrant, regardless of your intentions or value to society. I don't know why, 90% (at least) of the people in this country are descended from immigrants, you'd think we'd love them. Apparently we only love the illegal immigrants, legal visitors can go screw themselves.

  • by richmaine ( 128733 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:33PM (#29627771)

    Amen. I'm a US citizen (by birth, and I've lived here all 59 years of my life). The border folk of my own country give me far more hassle than I've ever had with any other country. I don't even fit any particularly common "bad guy profile" (independent of any questions about the use of such profiles). I'm quite the nerdy, white middle-class American image. They don't pick on me in particular; its just that the way they are to most people is so much worse than the border folk of most other countries.

    This summer I had my first trip to Russia. The cruise ship folk warned us about how painful the border folk were. This appeared to be mostly a push to buy the cruise ship tour excursion so that they could help you smooth it. I didn't do that; did have my own Visa. Went through the Russian officials more quickly and easily then the US ones when I returned home.

    As far as so-called security goes, if someone in my family mysteriously disappeared, never to be heard from again, agents of my own government would be a lot higher on my list of likely culprits than foreign terrorists. I don't really run around every day worried about either possibility (and I don't even brink my tin foil hat with me when I travel), but I sure know which one is higher on my concern list.

  • by inicom ( 81356 ) <aem.inicom@com> on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:35PM (#29627793) Homepage

    One glaring hole in the pseudo-increased-security is the major vector for most smuggling - Airline and Airport employees. Baggage handlers, flight crew, cleaners, food service and ground workers all have less per entry security screening than you or I. "Oh", I hear some of you, "They passed background checks!". So did every terrorist or would-be terrorist at least once.

  • Maybe but.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ibm1130 ( 123012 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:37PM (#29627809)

    Its entirely possible border issues were a consideration but I would hope that the committee also pondered Chicago's well deserved reputation as the most corrupt large municipal entity (New Orleans is most corrupt of any size) in the US.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:41PM (#29627843) Journal

    >>>US Residents are also fingerprinted and photographed routinely upon re-entry.

    I'm surprised no one's discussed the *internal* border checks... even if you've never crossed an international border you can still be stopped and forced to submit to a search (in contradiction of constitutional law). It's ridiculous. http://www.aclu.org/privacy/37293res20081022.html [aclu.org]

    MAP of Constitution Free Zone: http://www.aclu.org/privacy/spying/areyoulivinginaconstitutionfreezone.html [aclu.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @12:41PM (#29627849)
    My perspective, coming from South America, is that now the only people that wants to go to the US is 3rd world country population. That's due to several advantages not in their country. I hear lots of European people that don't want to go, and they have the means. While us, South Americans still lack some shows and electronic devices are real expensive. So, many people come for a quick trip, perhaps a concert, buying some goods (TV's, Laptops perhaps) and leave. The main drawback I see is that these families, contrary to wealthy European ones, have to struggle more to come, and therefore won't spend as much as they could.

    So, I still see people that use "tourism" as an excuse to buy things that are still cheaper in the US. If that price margin gets smaller, many people will stop traveling. Let the artists (U2 for example these days) go out on tours more often to those countries, and another big chunk of people will stop traveling too.

    As the Americans, if people don't have reasons to travel abroad because they think they have what they need, well, they won't do it at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:19PM (#29628603)

    Actually 15.7 is still pretty sad.

    London and Madrid had rates below 2 murders per 100,000 in 2006.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:29PM (#29628687)

    But none of these should put you off travelling.

    Too many good alternatives. The US is just not worth the extra hassle.

  • Yes, SO much safer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:38PM (#29628749)

    ...and who the hell modded you up? Are you really arguing Chicago is "twice" as safe as Rio? Yay Chicago, only three times the national average.

    Homicide rates, 2006, per 100,000 people:

    Singapore: 0.39
    Japan: 0.44
    Norway: 0.71
    Netherlands: 0.78
    Germany: 0.88
    Italy: 1.06
    UK: 1.37
    Australia: 1.42
    Canada: 1.80
    China: 2.36
    United States: 5.7

  • by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @02:50PM (#29628843) Homepage Journal

    The Olympic games in Atlanta are generally cited as some of the worst in all history.

    The over commercialism, failure of public transport (including athletes and officials being delayed for their competitions) and plain going around IOC's commercial interests left the IOC very hurt (and Samaranch, the IOC's President at the time, was in Copenhagen to remind everybody of that when promoting Nadrid's bid).

    As for Salt Lake City winter Olympics, there was a corruption scandal, that led to a wide reform in the IOC.

    Add to that the asinine US immigration policies, a very capable bid from Rio de Janeiro (including Brazil's President spending lots of time promoting Brazil's bid) and the result is not so surprising.

    What baffles me is how meretricious so many people in the US are in regards to President Obama trying to help with Chicago's bid, all the other countries sent their heads of government (and in the case of Spain, also the head of state) to help with the bid, 4 years ago Tony Blair, former UK's Prime Minister, was widely credited with having helped with London's bid. That so many US people are blaming President Obama for Chicago's failure just show how pathological politics have become in the US....

  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @03:12PM (#29629035) Homepage Journal

    It's easier for dogs to lap water up from them.

  • by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @04:35PM (#29629881)

    That's the winter olympics, it doesn't involve the construction of a white elephant athletics stadium. You can re-use a ski slope, but outside of the olympics, 90,000 people aren't going to watch athletics.

  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @04:41PM (#29629937)

    You're forced to enter the US because that's the way your airline set it up. The reason you had to get off and clear immigration is because an airline has to have a special agreement with the country in question to do that. The airport also has to be set up to allow for people connect to connect that way. HNL is a fairly small airport. It's not set up to have people connect that way because it's 99.9% of the flights HNL is the final destination. So, you might have a point about gruff gov't employees, but you having to get off the plane and then clear immigration is entirely the fault of the airline you traveled on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 03, 2009 @07:12PM (#29631081)

    Does "rest of the world" mean just the USA, to you?

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday October 03, 2009 @09:39PM (#29631807)
    That story sounds really fake. Why would the border patrol ever set up an "apparently unmanned checkpoint"? How many other people would have been passing through? And if it wasn't fake, then they've got the manpower to stage a block-truck and police, but not to sit someone in the checkpoint?
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Sunday October 04, 2009 @02:02AM (#29632931) Homepage

    >Nowhere else in the world, or at least nowhere that anyone wants to live, would most of the "left leaning media" that you describe be considered "left leaning".

    Sadly much of Europe has skewed pretty far to the left over the years (but parts are showing promise)... so yes by comparison the bulk of our media is fairly 'centrist' by comparison... granted I suspect you'd be hard pressed to find a non state run media as compliant and supportive of given government as we have in this country today... take Charlie Gibson for example, a given unemployment rate is bad under Reagan... but good under Obama? [youtube.com]

    >The only way to make them appear "left leaning" is for you to stand extremely far to the right.

    Sadly correct... as many on the left in this country like to remind us when a conservative or right-ish government is elected over there... their conservative is more like one of our classical liberals.

    >Heck if you're all the way to The Right then even "Freedom of the Press" becomes a rebellious liberal idea.

    You'll have to provide a citation or example better than a whole Wikipedia entry that has not a single instance of the word 'press' or even 'media' within the article itself (excluding the notes section and footer).

  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Monday October 05, 2009 @06:16AM (#29642367) Homepage

    Australia is an island, no neighbours ;).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 05, 2009 @12:06PM (#29645491)

    With an attitude like that I'm surprised the Canadian official didn't give you hell too. You're a visitor, act like it.

    With an attitude like that I'm not at all surprised that you lost the games.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.