Denied Entrance Into The US Thanks To A Google Search Of Your Permanent Record

from the think-of-all-those-myspace-kids-who-will-never-be-able-to-travel dept

For a long time, people have talked about how Google has effectively created the infamous "permanent record" teachers always warned us about in school. And, now, it appears that it's not just being used for background checks on dates and job reference checks, but for official government purposes as well. Joe McEnaney writes in to alert us to a story of a Canadian man who was denied entrance to the US after border guards did a Google search on his name and discovered a peer-reviewed academic paper he'd written years earlier that mentioned his own LSD use over 30 years ago. Setting aside any thoughts one way or the other on whether or not that should be a criteria for entering the US, just think of what this means for teens today who are discussing their lives very publicly on sites like MySpace. We've already wondered what will happen once the MySpace generation runs for office, but right now they might just want to be careful leaving and entering the country.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    GoblinJuice, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 4:32pm

    Paranoia pays off, baby! It's just prudent!

     

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  2.  
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    Ryan, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 4:40pm

    Wth

    Since when are you not allowed in the US if you have tried LSD 30 years ago? That makes no sense.

     

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  3.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 4:47pm

    i guess it's time to start kicking the hippies and ravers out.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 4:53pm

    Screw'em. If they are too stupid to keep their dumb-arse stunts off of their websites then let'em stay on foreign soil or out of office for that matter.

    Far as I'm concerned it's too easy to get in the US as it is. Let's at least keep the most apparently stupid people out.

     

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  5.  
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    Um...yeah, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:15pm

    Re:

    Um...yeah...if you want to keep stupid people out of the US, we're gonna have to start bussing them outta here.

    Besides...most brightest individuals I know used LSD 30 years ago.

     

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  6.  
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    Mischa, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:21pm

    At some point, people will start changing their names to John/Jane Doe. :-)

     

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    earl stone, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:29pm

    and lsd wasnt even illegal then

    it became illegal in 1969 in canada. so the same arguement used by bill clinton, that when he smoked pot in the UK it was not actually illegal at the time, should have applied.

    coincidentally a few months after this incident, the rolling stones arrived for their tour of america. keith richards with them. not only has he admitted using drugs, but had been arrested and convicted for drug offences. so maybe keith didnt show up in their google search?

     

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  8.  
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    pshh, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re:

    Buses, hell. We're gonna need friggin cargo trains.

     

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  9.  
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    RandomThoughts, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 6:38pm

    OK think about it. How many times do you think TSA Google's someone when they travel?

    Seems to me they were just looking for a reason to keep this person out of the US.

     

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  10.  
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    Andrew, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 6:50pm

    Lead by example

    Wasn't President Bush doing cocaine about that time? Something doesn't seem quite fair.

     

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  11.  
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    Justine, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 6:53pm

    Paco 1, Canucks 0

    If it's a guy named Paco who's sneaking over the border to work at a car wash in L.A., a job that Americans won't do, at least not for four dollars an hour, then it's A-OK, all systems go. But we'll deny entrance to a highly educated, literate thinker, researcher and potential asset to American society. God help us all.

     

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  12.  
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    m4d4p3, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 6:53pm

    Wow, I can't believe just how un-American that is.

     

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  13.  
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    SF, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:06pm

    Re:

    It's too late to keep the stupid people out of America. This would be very hard to do as it would require an almost complete evacuation of the country, preferably to Iraq to help clean up the mess that was made there. I propose that the following people are the first to go:
    - 'Dubya' and anyone that voted for him.
    - Anyone that works for the RIAA, MPAA, or any other such association, and their affiliated record labels and studios.
    - The senator that said the internet is 'a series of tubes'.
    - The judge that thought he could sentence a criminal to probation in another country.

     

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    She that should not be mentioned, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:09pm

    if we bussed the dumb/etc out of the us, there'd be like what, one person left? :P

     

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  15.  
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    Justine, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Raises hand. Yes I would be the first one deported because I was foolish enough to drink the Republican (would that be red) Kool-Aid and I voted for Bush in 2000. I am a conservative who was mugged and beaten over the back of the head with a baseball bat by my own political party. I voted for Kerry last time, but clearly there weren't enough of us disillusioned former Bush supporters to make a damned bit of difference. And yes I deserve to have my ignorant ass deported for casting a vote for Bush in 2000.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:16pm

    Border Politics, I've got a couple friends who have been denied entry into Canada for misdemeandor's and traffic violations that happened to them 4 decades ago (Unless off course they choose to pay $800 to get a piece of paper from the queen that says they have been rehabilitated). His mistake was signing the statement saying he violated a US drug law. Up until that point he was mearly being harassed by the Border Patrol. Once he signed the statement, he became a criminal. Too bad really, with all the real criminals running around, we are bickering over things like this.

    Guess it justifies their jobs.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:16pm

    Live an upright life and you wikk have fewer problems

     

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  18.  
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    Justine, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:19pm

    Re:

    Live an upright life and you wikk have fewer problems

    Did you even bother to read the story?

     

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  19.  
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    Not a Coward, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:25pm

    No, screw you

    If we start with stupid people, that dumbass post should move you straight to the head of the line!

     

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  20.  
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    Paul`, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:26pm

    Re:

    one word: Biggot.

     

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  21.  
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    MyFakeName, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:30pm

    Good thing I live "offline". Sounds like the Border Patrol had a new hire who wanted to be hero for the day. I can only imagine this noob going back and forth between their boss.

    Thanks Noob, cause you have too much freetime, they are probably going to do google searches on everyone now.

     

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  22.  
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    John Doe, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:33pm

    When you really want revenge...

    Just sign your worst enemy's name to rude pictures and politically incorrect opinions - have "them" comment on the biggest blogs. Don't forget to make acidic outrageous remarks on watchdog org websites ie. AClU & JDL - For more fun do the same using your least desired political candidate. After awhile, everyone will start doing it.... & it just won't matter anymore....

     

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  23.  
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    steven, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:36pm

    head of the line

    @ Paul: anyone who misspells will be at the head of the line.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You can stay. You sound like you have seen the error of your ways and we need people like you to help the ones unfortunate enough to still think Bush is good for this country.

     

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  25.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 8:12pm

    Double speak...

    How is it that people say not to blindly believe what is on the internet but no we have security forces basing the admittance/denial of entry on internet searches?

     

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  26.  
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    A Coward, Maybe - But Not a Fool, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 9:16pm

    Live an upright life?
    I may be waxing overly philosophical, but what is an upright life?
    Are our preachers, priests, and mullahs really "upright" people because they dress in robes and rant against "sin"?
    A not-so-long while back, "upright" also included owning a dozens of slaves at your ranch.
    Can we really judge what's right for another person if we change our definition of right every few years?

     

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  27.  
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    Stater of the Obvious, Apr 27th, 2007 @ 10:21pm

    Hey you! Outta the pool!

    the comment was NOT that LSD use was stupid, but rather that sharing all one's inane activities in a public forum without regard to consequence is stupid. if you read the comment, you would understand that. if you are indeed capable of distinguishing the fine nuances of written communication. for my own opinion on that matter, I must agree, too many dumb people here already, can't do much about that, but keeping out even more of them we can do something about. "Hey, you! Outta the pool!" (the gene pool that is)

     

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  28.  
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    My Name is Not Larry, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 12:44am

    Another example

    If that happened to a successful, practicing Doctor, What's going to happen to this guy in a few years?? Harrassment charges when he decides to visit a socialistic society, read france?

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/360827,CST-NWS-essay27.article

     

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  29.  
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    Michael McMannus, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 12:46am

    Internet Caching

    It gets worse-- That Internet Wayback machine is still hanging around...

    http://www.archive.org/web/web.php

     

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  30.  
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    Brian, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 4:24am

    This has got to be a modern myth. Do boarder guards have time to do a google search and read peer-reviewed journal articles. Moreover, one has to often pay to view journal articles. Some cites are open access from say 1996 to one year ago (you have to pay to see the most recent stuff), and the publishers just haven't bothered to bring their older stuff into a digital format. I think the guy's LSD use has really affected his memory of exactly why he was not admitted to the US.

     

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  31.  
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    Hael, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 5:37am

    Re: TSA?...I don't think so

    I get your point, but our border guards are not TSA puppets, rather they work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a much more professional organization than those bozo's you see seizing toothpicks at the airport.

     

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  32.  
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    Rob from NY, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 5:58am

    Bush - deported to Iraq!

    Well, I knew living in NY and voting for Kerry meant absolutely nothing. Kerry, and virtually every democrat before him has won NY with the stupid electoral system we have in this country- case in point 2000 election. Let's deport Bush to Iraq with no secret service or military protection. Let him figure it out, if he's so smart.

     

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  33.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Apr 28th, 2007 @ 6:00am

    Re:

    Have you ever travelled across the Canada-US border? You drive up to primary inspection. hand over your identification, answer whatever questions are asked and do whatever the border personnel ask you to do (like opening doors, like getting out of your vehicle so they can 'inspect' your trunk and so on). If all is fine, they let you go on your merry way.

    Sometimes, they may not like your answers so they send you to secondary inspection. Other times, the computer will randomly pick that vehicle for secondary inspection (that's happened to me and the border agent even apologized).

    They tag your car and you drive over to secondary. You get out and walk into secondary. Again, they will take your id, ask more questions. Meanwhile, agents are 'inspecting' your vehicle. More often than not, they let you go.

    Those other times, they will do more in-depth research, using whatever means possible. Your entry into any country is at the discretion of the customs/border agents.

    Type "Andrew Feldmar LSD" into Google and the very first hit should be Mr. Feldmar's paper. The war on drugs claims another 'victim". Meanwhile, Customs had no problems letting in all of the 9/11 terrorists. Is America any safer because Mr. Feldmar was refused entry?

     

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  34.  
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    King, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 6:58am

    LSD/Myspace/Cowards

    I think it's time for another cultural revolution, perhaps one that is successful unlike our hippie counter part. Look out for this system that will abuse our last medium for FREE speech, the internet. Instead of giving up this medium it should be time for us to realize that something is wrong. Why can't you say that you've used a drug? I've been on ALL kinds of legal drugs but hey, they're illegal now and the side-effects were much worse. Embrace who you are, and yeah why can't normal people be seen as "upright"? Shouldn't "upright" be our majority? Democrazy? Think about it. We don't need more laws and control we need more freedom.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 7:31am

    Urban Myth

    I'm not convinced this isn't a myth.

    1. If it were true, it would be predicated on everything posted to the internet being 100% factual.

    2. Writing an academic thesis on using LSD doesn't mean the author has any domain expertise in this area nor does it mean the author is admitting/confessing to anything the author put in writing. Think back to the drug user turned #1 Best Selling Author and Oprah Fan who turned out to be a big phoney.

    So...if our border patrol/customs officers have the latitude to deny entry to an individual without cause, then doing a Google search on this guys name wasn't necessary. On the other hand if they needed solid, concrete, indisputable evidence that this guy has violated one of our laws, then I seriously doubt doing a Google search and finding a thesis posting would be sufficient evidence to deny entry into the US.

    All the makings of a good old fashioned urban myth designed to stir up controversy and get peoples shorts in a wad.

    I need to see some more "facts' on this one!

     

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  36.  
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    Nancy, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 8:51am

    Re: Bush - deported to Iraq!

    If you don't like our system in the US, YOU go live in Iraq. It isn't oerfect, but it's a hell of a lot better system than anywhere else.

    You Dems are approaching the level of the Nazi Party in pre-war Germany. They didn't like the governmental process in place so they changed it. Just because the guy you wanted to wini the White House didn't take it, tough. Get over it or GET OUT!

     

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  37.  
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    Robert Wilson, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 8:52am

    Denied Entrance

    Anonymous Coward

    Think about it, this is not something that has affected one individual wanting to visit from Canada. It is really about everything posted on the web, being on the web and in some server, forever including our posted comments. Just imagine "My Space" never going away. Just imagine your email and this email never going away. That is what it really is about. The people you post anything about them selves on the web affectively give up control of the information. Try doing a Google search of your name, or address, or phone number, or any other little piece of your personal life and see what you find, maybe nothing if your lucky or maybe something you wish you had never written in the first place.

     

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  38.  
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    robwil, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 8:55am

    Re:

    Yep! One left, the last one to make a decision about the second to last person being stupid.

     

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  39.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Bush - deported to Iraq!

    wow. that's possibly one of the most unintelligent comments i've read on techdirt... and this is the home of dorpus. :P

     

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  40.  
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    Regular Joe, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 9:14am

    Re:

    Oh fuck you.

     

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  41.  
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    bluesman33, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 9:29am

    permanent records

    This reminds me of the small town i grew up in. Your record is permanently burned into the fabric of society. if you wna t to play you've got to pay.

     

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  42.  
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    Bobb knight, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    Re: by SF on Apr 27th, 2007 @ 7:06pm

    - The senator that said the internet is 'a series of tubes'.

    Anyone that is not able to recall that Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska made that comment, move to the head of the line.

     

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  43.  
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    John Smith, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    Just change your name to something common

    Hi. I'm John Smith. Please feel free to run a Google, Wayback or any other kind of search you care to on me. Good luck isolating results as being tied to me.

    love and peace
    -cheez

     

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  44.  
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    rEdEyEz, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 12:22pm

    googly-eyed authoritarians

    I agree, "good riddance to bad rubbish"

    This proves that there is no longer a need to imbed RFID chips in the citizenry; we can just post their entire history on google, myspace, or better yet, wiki - the epitome of truth-ful-ish-ness.

    ...damn dirty draft-dodging hippies. - Busted!

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    Dear Robert Wilson,

    You would be surprised at the amount of information that is already (by law) available to the public that is slowly being published via the internet to make it more readily available.

    As attractive as the internet's search capabilities are, it is an extremely poor (aka last resort) source to site information from...and that information should be used with a great deal of caution, treat it as highly suspect.

    Knowing this, I have no problem with the information available on me being around for a billion years on the internet. It will be anyway! If the internet was never invented, the same information would STILL be publically available, it just involves a lot more leg work visiting courthouses, libraries and churches.

    So I'm sticking to my guns. This is probably a myth. As far as my internet info being permanently recorded...whoop-dee-do, it is anyway.

     

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  46.  
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    Chris, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Wth

    You are allowed into the US if you tried LSD 30 years ago, providing you say so on the form you have to fill in before entering the country. Therefore if he didn't declare it and they did some digging then he lied. I think the logic is, if you lied about that, then you probably lied about the rest of your form...

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2007 @ 11:44pm

    Re: Re: Wth

    Yes, BUT...the results found in a "google" search of public domain content is not in any way, shape or form certified to be factual and free from error. Therefore, if he didn't declare using LSD 30 years ago, finding content in the public domain via Google suggesting he did may raise eyebrows, but is by no means irrefutable proof that he did LSD 30 year ago.

     

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  48.  
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    Jess, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re:

    I was thinking the same thing. But it was more like: "Why don't we send everyone who believes that global warming will destroy the world to somewhere nice and cold and is getting colder....Like Antarctica. Then hear them gripe about how cold it is and keep them there until they admit it was an idiotic thing to believe."



    ---I hate politicians....They screw up so many things...Like my life...and I hate actors for that and a lot of other reasons....

     

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  49.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 4:15am

    Irritated the guard

    It could be that he irritated the guard in some way, who then wanted to find an excuse for keeping the man out without getting disciplined like he would have if he had simply said "F*ck off, you arrogant little d*ck. I'm not letting you in to the USA". Doing this meant that even if he had not found anything, he could at least have delayed the man for several hours, which would be a serious annoyance.

     

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  50.  
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    satan, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 8:07am

    that's why

    you never use your real name, duh.

     

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  51.  
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    Ed, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 10:25am

    Drugs!

    Life is hard. Life is harder when you're stupid. People who take drugs are stupid people. People who take drugs in the US are stupid, but they are our stupid people. We have enough. No more, thanks.

     

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  52.  
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    Las Vegas Dave, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 1:52pm

    1984

    Why doesn't everyone see that this is another symptom of the downward spiral into dictatorship and repression that Bush and his cronies are leading this country into? At some future time the melting point will be reached and either there will be a civil revolt here in the U.S., or other countries will rise up and take over the U.S. so that we will not further spread over the rest of the world. Look at the You Tube video of Trump talking about Bush. We are becoming hated and feared as a nation.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 4:31pm

    Why bring up Bush?

    Las Vegas Dave...interesting how you attempted to turn this into a political forum. (hint: you didn't do so well).

    What's sorely missing here are facts. We have a lot of conjecture with no significant substance. Some guy wanted in the U.S. The Border guards said NO. I'm still waiting to see proof the guards said NO because of what came up when they Googled him. Then I'd like to see where it's written that Googling unrestricted, publically available sites can be used to deny access to someone wanting in the U.S. I find that R E A L L Y H A R D to believe.

    Makes for interesting blogging though, doesn't it.

    (except when people drag politics into it...kinda knocks the wind out of the sails...then it's not fun anymore.)

     

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  54.  
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    DSM, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re:

    The people that voted for Dubya are the ones you want employing you, and frankly the ones you want your side. Bong buddies are a dime a dozen.

     

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  55.  
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    DSM, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 6:43pm

    Re: 1984

    "Why doesn't everyone see that this is another symptom of the downward spiral into dictatorship and repression that Bush and his cronies are leading this country into?"

    Rosie called. She wants her penis back. Fu(ktard.

    "At some future time the melting point will be reached and either there will be a civil revolt here in the U.S., or other countries will rise up and take over the U.S. so that we will not further spread over the rest of the world."

    You libs (or stupid kids, or both seeing as they're the same voter base) have brainwashed yourselves into actually believing that Bush is a dictator-for-life. He's gone in '08. Will you shut up then? Please?

    "Look at the You Tube video of Trump talking about Bush. We are becoming hated and feared as a nation."

    It's been like that for awhile. Nerds always hate jocks; it's part of the dynamic.

     

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  56.  
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    JoeSchmoe, Apr 29th, 2007 @ 10:51pm

    Border Guards...

    They have a right to refuse entry into the country to anyone, even for no reason. In fact they can pull you over, tear apart your car and have you put it back together again.
    I am not exactly sure how this pertains to US Citizens, but being a Canadian myself I have the pleasure of dealing with some of these dick heads.

    As for the comment about not allowing in an intelligent type person such as the victim in this case, I think the answer is obvious. Free thinkers are the enemy of the state.

     

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  57.  
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    theman, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 12:07am

    Re: Anonymous Cow

    Wow I guess we are too late.

     

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  58.  
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    Andy, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 12:11am

    Re: Re: Bush - deported to Iraq!

    You said it, sister. Never visited a site which such a preponderance of whiners.

     

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  59.  
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    Andy, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 12:27am

    Re: 1984

    Holy cow - get a grip. You're the type of person that has everything they've ever wanted, has seen no despair -- in the U.S. or elsewhere --, primps around so haughtily in your Camry and decides that in an 8 year timeframe which includes 9/11, President Bush has doomed the nation. I know this is an incredibly stupid question to ask a person like you - but have you read much (read, ANY) history? I wonder what you think Clinton (your idol) would have done in 2001? Is Gore your man - do you think those 12 votes would have saved us? Do you think we're lost?

    Shithead.

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    skh.pcola, Apr 30th, 2007 @ 7:23am

    This is fair. Canadians refuse entry to US citizens trying to cross the border who've had DUIs at any time in the past, among other trivial "crimes." But they routinely give asylum to Islamic extremists. Screw 'em.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    Nick, May 5th, 2007 @ 6:07pm

    Re: too easy to get into the united states

    Who the hell are you to say its too easy, my wife and child were denied entrance. Because of the length of their trip it was cheaper to buy the return ticket seperate, that was enough for u.s. customs to keep her in custody for almost 4 hours with a 19 month old then tell her she was not allowed to enter the united states for 8 months. this is rediculoius

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    free citizen, May 17th, 2007 @ 12:23am

    Bussing out Dummies

    If we take the dummies out of the USA, get rid of the commie Democrats that voted for Clinton and the fools who voted for Bush.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    julio alvares, May 13th, 2008 @ 12:18pm

    wat is this

    this is stuped stuff

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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