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07 November 2008 @ 07:16 am
Dear President Obama  
I just submitted this statement through the comment form at http://www.change.gov.

The most important thing I want from an Obama administration is the restoration of civil liberties taken away by the Bush administration. Stop the warrantless wiretappings, the indefinite imprisonments without charges, the shadowy extraterritorial prisons beyond the rule of law. Close Guantanamo and give the people imprisoned there fair and public trials. Stop the signing statements, roll back the executive branch power grabs, and return the actions of the Vice President to the public view.

And, pettiest of this list but the one with the most impact on the most people: eliminate airport "security" procedures that annoy and delay passengers without improving security, like the removal of shoes, restriction of liquids, and un-casing of laptops. Replace ham-handed, formulaic intimidation by untrained TSA thugs with less-obtrusive, more-intelligent inspection by officers trained to spot suspicious behavior, as in Israel. Passing through an American airport today is the most frightening, demeaning, and intrusive experience of most citizens' lives, and it's even worse for non-citizens. This would be a place where you can quickly show Americans and the world how an Obama administration differs from Bush.
the laughing leaping waterminnehaha on November 7th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
I would argue that the whole civil liberties thing has the more important impact on people's lives.

The signing statements question is a tough one. Obama has said he may well use them.

David D. Levinedavidlevine on November 7th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Perhaps I should have said "daily impact" for the airports thing.
Omahaomahas on November 7th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
Signing statements in and of themselves are not an issue. Presidents have been using them for many, many years to make statements. But Bush abused them to try and take more power, attempt to take authority from Congress. That is something that I have no doubt Obama will *not* do.
Suefrostfox on November 7th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Close Guantanamo and give the people imprisoned there fair and public trials.

Pretty much top of my wish list.

Doug Fauntn6tqs on November 7th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
I'd say that the civil liberties thing is so subtle many people don't feel the impact. Airport security theatre effects most people who fly, and has even spilled over to Amtrak.
coppervalecoppervale on November 7th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
Totally, totally with you on the airports. I have twice been detained under armed guard for closer inspection of suspicious items.

The first time it was a Jack Skellington statue. The second it was for Belgian Chocolate Pencils.

The Chocolate I can forgive - but my kids wanted to know why we had to be guarded by a security guy just because we bought something large at Disneyland.
Twilight: Dariatwilight2000 on November 7th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
I'll be leaving my own comments -- Habeus Corpus, regardless of how much the average person notices it day to day, is such a corner stone it *must* be reinstated.

Thanks for pointing out the resource!
(Deleted comment)
Tomvoidampersand on November 8th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
I have yet to see any evidence that the threat of liquid explosives was credible. This is not about whether the plotters had bad intentions, but whether the means of liquid explosives was a credible threat and justifies the security measures. I'm not an expert but have read a fair amount about the plot and the means they were planning to use, according to the authorities.

One thing that really has to be considered is the British police investigation of the plotters was compromised by the Bush administration. The British police had a very effective stakeout of the plotters, and were in the process of gathering evidence and discovering the full extent of the network. When the investigation was compromised, they had to arrest as many of the plotters as they could, right away, and press charges based on the evidence they had. The evidence they had wasn't that good, but they had to make it seem bad enough to justify putting the guys away. I think that contributed to the hysteria around the liquid scare.

I went to Japan last year too. The country and the people are wonderful. However, Japan has a right-wing government that is rather corrupt, and the airport security was just like that back home in the US. I don't know if the two facts are related, but there you are.