So Clark has been telling you all about how the US Coast Guard can trample all over your 4th amendment rights, and doing a great job either scaring the cr*p out of you, or pissing you off, or both.
If this story about the Department Of Homeland Security is true, then we should all go to even greater extremes of anger and paranoia (and we can see where the Coast Guard takes its lead). When I see this sort of thing I can only conclude that the terrorists won, by shredding our Constitution and somehow getting us all to accept it.
Read the full story, but here is the nub of it (note: "Buddy" is the name the prospective boat owner had taken to calling the boat he bought):
Buddy has to clear customs, part of the DHS, since she was built in Canada.
My job was to show up and sign forms and then leave with Buddy (WA sales tax and registration fees come a week later).
DHS takes documents supplied by the builder and creates a government form that includes basic information about the boat, including the price.
The primary form, prepared by the government, had an error. The price was copied from the invoice, but DHS changed the currency from Canadian to U.S. dollars.
It has language at the bottom with serious sounding statements that the information is true and correct, and a signature block.
I pointed out the error and suggested that we simply change the currency from US $ to CAD $ so that is was correct. Or instead, amend the amount so that it was correct in U.S. dollars.
I thought this was important because I was signing it and swearing that the information, and specifically the price, was correct.
The DHS agent didn’t care about the error and told me to sign the form anyway. “It’s just paperwork, it doesn’t matter,” she said. I declined.
She called another agent and said simply “He won’t sign the form.” I asked to speak to that agent to give them a more complete picture of the situation. She wouldn’t allow that.
Then she seized the boat. As in, demanded that we get off the boat, demanded the keys and took physical control of it.
So there you have it. Your modern, post-9/11, security state in action. Any questions?