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Movie Review: This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy: Why the lack of seriousness? - By Joanne Laurier - 26 March 2019

An Amazon Prime original, This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy is an eight-episode documentary series that purports to make sense of the complex global situation. An admirable goal.
However, the political and social orientation of the writers and producers, who are distant from the conditions facing masses of people and circulate in the orbit of the Democratic Party, seriously limits if not fatally damages the series. In the end, This Giant Beast attempts to maintain or restore confidence in the ability of the existing economic and social order, perhaps reformed or recalibrated, to address the problems facing humanity. Amazon's This Giant Beast That is the Global Economy
Suffice it to say this is a documentary that manages to discuss the world economy without serious reference to capitalism, the working class, social revolution or any other indispensable concept—and this at a time when great numbers of youth are consciously rejecting capitalism in favor of socialism. The overall result is unserious and misleading.
Directed by Lee Farber and David Laven, and produced by Adam MacKay and Will Ferrell, among others, This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy uses interviews, cartoons, graphics and skits involving a number of well-known actors, to make its case. The series features appearances by Ted Danson, Zach Galifianakis, Colin Hanks, Joel McHale, Ed O’Neill, Patton Oswalt, Rob Riggle, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Sudeikis, Meghan Trainor and Sasheer Zamata. Kal Penn in This Giant Beast That is the Global Economy
Comedian and actor Kal Penn serves as host and guide throughout the series. In fact, there are very few moments without him. His presence has a certain significance. Penn, a star of the Harold & Kumar film series and House on television, went to work in the Obama White House as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement—i.e., he was a public relations shill for the Obama administration. In 2012, he was co-chair of the incumbent president’s reelection committee, and in 2016, he supported Bernie Sanders. This is the politics of the series.
Each of This Giant Beast ’s segments begins with a voiceover, “Whether you like it or not, we’re all connected by money,” and then goes on to focus on one feature of economic life the creators believe is important. However, there is no apparent rhyme or reason to the order or selection of phenomena.
For example, one episode treats money laundering, another concerns the fate of the rubber industry and a third, superficially and ahistorically, discusses the role of money. The most substantial episode centers on artificial intelligence, and the most juvenile asks whether rich people have to be “dicks.”
Some of the facts or peculiarities (there is an element of sensationalism here) are interesting, potentially significant, but the series’ basic approach is to take up this or that economic ill or dilemma as an isolated phenomenon entirely removed from its historical and social context—so the filmmakers’ supposed attempt at demystifying, in point of fact, mystifies.
Circumstances that involve the impoverishment of millions or the looting of the economy by the ruling elite are essentially played for laughs. In Episode 1, devoted to money laundering, Penn banters flippantly about the Panama Papers, the leaked documents that provided a glimpse into the criminal world of tax avoidance carried out by the globe’s banks and billionaires, with journalist Jan Strozyk.
The second episode, “Are Rich People Dicks or Do Dicks Get Rich?,” epitomizes the crass and superficial outlook of its creators. We meet Belarusian American entrepreneur and “Internet personality” Gary Vaynerchuk, who enthuses that “Capitalism is awesome.” Are we meant to derive an unfavorable impression? Penn simply laughs along with Vaynerchuk.
In a brief portion of this episode on Thomas A. Edison and Henry Ford, Penn lets us know: “I think I’m starting to get it. A capitalist structure channels the power of dick [bad, evil] energy, and can actually help us all get better goods and services.” After all, Ford, a ferocious anti-Semite as Penn acknowledges, “improved lives for the next 100 years.” The segment ends up, ridiculously, offering a successful sex toy manufacturer in California as an example of a rich individual who is both good to his employees and not a psychopath.
The series’ buffoonish tone speaks to two issues: (a) the creators and performers believe ( à la Michael Moore) they cannot retain the viewers’ attention in any other way and (b) in any event, these issues are not life-and-death for them. One online commentator offered what he meant to be praise for This Giant Beast: “It should be an imposing documentary, but it never is thanks to the light tone that makes its big, imposing questions feel manageable. This Giant Beast never feels like a severe and complex search for the truth. It feels like a surprisingly informative conversation with your buddy over beers.”
“A.I. Is the Future. Will it Keep Us Around to Enjoy It?” is the fourth and weightiest of the segments. One commentator makes the claim that artificial intelligence taken to its conclusion will mean full unemployment. Arguments are therefore put forward in favor of a universal basic income and a more “social democratic society,” as though such measures would be accepted by the world’s ruling classes, who are rolling back what’s left of the welfare state and social reform everywhere. In this section, too, we hear from a couple of Indian entrepreneurs about “capitalism for good…business used to create a greater good.”
AI expert Andrew McAfee argues that the enormous challenges facing society—such as climate change and feeding people—are too complex and overwhelming for human brains, and that AI and more advanced computers by themselves will solve these issues. But the problem is not the complexity or scope of the issues—all of them could be solved rationally and decisively in the absence of a profit-driven ruling class.
Technique and science do not develop in thin air, but in class society. As Leon Trotsky noted, “Technique in itself cannot be called either militaristic or pacifistic. In a society in which the ruling class is militaristic, technique is in the service of militarism.”
“In a socialist society, the artificial intelligence and robotics revolution will create the circumstances for a massive elevation of not only the economic well-being of the population, but also its cultural life. The replacement of tedious and back-breaking occupations will mean not mass unemployment and destitution, but rather greater leisure and an expansion of workers’ opportunities for education, family life and cultural enrichment.”
“Is Money Bullshit?” is the inane question asked in Episode 7, which starts with a bartering community in Spain and ends up musing about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as the potential wave of the future. Along the way, commentators opine that money is a “system of trust” and treat in passing President Richard Nixon’s 1971 decision to unlink the dollar from gold, a milestone that meant the end of fixed currency relations and was part of the unraveling of the mechanisms put in place after World War II to regulate the global economy.
The objective contradictions of the profit system are a closed book to the series’ creators.
Episode 8, “A Global Corruption Tour,” presents the academic Robert Reich as one of the series’ heroes, “a man of integrity.” Reich served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. He was Clinton’s secretary of labor from 1993 to 1997 and was a member of President-elect Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board. Reich pontificates about corruption, and Penn’s voiceover boasts that he even made a film about social inequality. Of course, in practice, the various administrations Reich served facilitated social polarization and further enriched the super-wealthy.
Most disturbingly, this segment of This Giant Beast touts Singapore, albeit with some reservations about its lack of “press freedom,” as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. In reality, as the center of finance capital in Southeast Asia, the Singapore ruling elite relies on a police-state to protect its assets. According to the Wall Street Journal, “what really checks all the right boxes for many of the world’s ultra-rich is Singapore’s obsession with order.”
Overall, this confused hodge-podge, with its recipe book of reformist or utopian measures, none of which will ever be implemented under capitalism, emerges out of “progressive” Democratic Party circles in Hollywood and the media, the circles ecstatic about Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the “Green New Deal.”
The series is a reaction in part to the growing radicalization of young people in particular and an effort to corral it within the confines of the existing system. However, This Giant Beast’s very unconvincing quality, rooted in the unstable and politically inconsistent social milieu that produced it, is unlikely to have the desired effect.
See Youtube Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JVjoh6xzIA
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[Table] IamA Canada Border Services Officer (Canada Customs and Immigration) AMAA!

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Date: 2013-11-22
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
What is the most overused joke people use when crossing? Has anyone actually waved their hand at you and said "These aren't the drugs you're looking for."? I wish they would say that. The worst is during the charter season when everyone is going to mexico and the caribbean and upon returning they say OLA! and say how cold it is. Every single one of them.
Let's say you suspect someone is hiding drugs. You tear their car up looking for them but find nothing and let them pass. Who's pays for the damage to the vehicle that you guys caused? We don't create any permanant damage to the vehicles we search unless its absolutely necessary and in extreme circumstances.
Any damage caused by an examination regardless of result is not paid for by the agency. Unless an accident had occured.
Wouldn't the accident be wrongly searching somebody's car? It's not wrong to search the car just because nothing was found. It was just non-resultant
I can understand but that is pretty awful. I've heard of border guards taking seats and panels off of a car (like you said nothing permanent) and just leaving it as is when nothing was found. I would be livid if that happened to me. Have you ever felt bad and helped return the car to stock? We will help put it back together most times. But it's not required.
Spoken like a real dickhead. Stay classy.
Then... "What type of cheese?" He asked. I said "American... The square fake ones we call cheese." He then let me pass. Certain types of cheese is prohibited. But it typically has to be not pasturized or prepared in whey.
But why? Because those types of cheeses can carry parasites that can possibly affect a product of the Canadian agricultural industry.
Not worth the risk of bringing it in. However slight the risk.
I saw a documentary where people carrying a large amount of cash were required to give a huge percentage of it to the border guards. Was that legal? How? Why? Link? Certainly not true. You are required by law to declare any amount of currency over $10,000.00 CDN. If someone fails to declare their cash a fine can be assessed and it can be seized. But no a percentage of cash is not automatically given to CBSA when imported.
So 999$ does one not have to answer where it came from? No. You do have to answer where it came from. Under the customs Act you must answer truthfully all questions regarding your goods you are importing into Canada.
When you have 1000 you must declare it openly without being asked or found.
Would I have to declare twenty bitcoin (current value ~15,000 US)? Nope. Just Cash or tangible monetary instruments like travelers cheques.
My question: Are the border officers still this easy going, or have post 9/11 security concerns changed things? I'm sure it still happens all the time though. But 9/11 has made things much more complicated for everyone involved.
Why do we hear so many stories about border guards being dicks? Are you a dick? I certainly can be if I feel acting that way will help with an examination.
But I don't try to be on a regular basis.
Some people respond to that type of pressure better than others. Sometimes I use sugar, sometimes vinegar.
Do you prefer Border cards or passports? (I have both) I always prefer a passport over any other government issued ID.
Why. Passport has more info. Past trips. Stamps etc.
If I have a NEXUS card, would you prefer that I hand you only the NEXUS card, or my passport as well? I prefer to see both. But you really just need the card.
Why don't US passports routinely get stamped at the land crossings? I had to beg the officer for a stamp, and when she begrudgingly gave me one, it had "Courtesy" written on it... Are you a dual citizen?
Heyyy! Yeah I'm Canadian and I've never got a stamp when I go to the US! Now I want one. Just ask. They'll give ya one.
Sorry for the delayed response, but no- I'm not a dual citizen. Just curious as to why I had to ask for a stamp when other countries just give you one. Some land border crossings are a bit more lenient on the stamp issue as a passport is not required. But you can ask for one and they should have no problem giving it to you. Many people need the stamps for work purposes or for visa renewal issues.
Hey CBSC Officer, Mike Chang here. If I want to import illegal steroids over the border to supply my clients with drugs that explode their abs, how do I go about doing it? The latest method I've tried is smuggling pills in my butthole, and so far so good. Sometimes more comes out though, and I'm looking for an easier method (can openers should never go near a man's rose pedals!) Any advice? None. Your doing a stand up job as it is.
Why is immigration allowed to go through peoples cell phones after landing at airport? The guy went through my pictures, text (even sent some text) When your entering the country all of your goods you are importing are subject to an examination. That includes digital files as well. With the amount of data that can be stored on a cell phone it's imperative that we have access to that info to stop some pretty horrific images and intel from entering the country.
I've never heard of an officer actually sending a text however. That's not something I would do, nor would I see any reason to.
Do you think that worth the violation of a person personal space, it does seem to catch many people? Yes I think it is worth it. Travelers should have a lower expectation of privacy when entering a country as they know they are importing goods liable to inspection. If you don't want something searched than it's best to leave it home. We find evidence of violations on a daily basis on people phones though text messages, imessages, etc.
Thanks for reply, he did send text, then deleted it on my phone. Then he made my friend cry who was waiting for me, and her husband in the truck outside. It was very strange. I suppose he was probably trying to contact someone you might have known here.
A better course of action would be to call from our phone. Or have you contact them. Doing it ourselves is not all that common.
to stop some pretty horrific images and intel from entering the country. This baffles me. If someone wanted to get images or information into the country, why would they do it by carrying it in physically? Surely it's more efficient to do it electronically? Well people who use those images always have them close to them. They never store those images in an email. Too easy to track. It's always stored on devices.
Michigander here, I fairly regularly cross through Detroit/Windsor and PH/Sarnia. Why do I always get asked what country I am a citizen of after they take my ID? Is it just a general question that normally gets asked other places too, like airports? Is it because I have an enhanced ID and not a passport? Its one of our mandatory questions. If your ID does not specifically state your citizenship we are required to ask.
I figured it was but it's just annoying because it says right on top; Michigan (then in smaller letters) MI USA. It just makes me want to ask the border patrol agents (both US and CA) if they can read. But I would never do such a stupid thing lol. Is it a passport card or a driver's license?
Enhanced driver license. No problem. A drivers license, does not state your citizenship on it. And non-Americans can get a driver's license so having one does not automatically assume you have American citizenship.
Also thanks for doing this ama! That's why we ask when you present that ID to us.
Didn't think you could cross the border with only a driver's license anymore. Just at landborders.
That's makes sense actually. I've never actually seen a passport so I didn't know the differences. Thanks again for answering my question! Have a good one. No problem, you too.
I thought having a prior DUI in the US was a big no-no for entering Canada. When I visited BC this last summer I was never even asked if I've ever committed a crime in the US. What is the official policy? If you have been convicted of a DUI in the US it can make you inadmissble to Canada for up to 10 years after the completion of your sentence. We have the ability to check your criminal record but we don't run every single persons name through all the time. Just like speeding sometimes you will get pulled over sometimes not.
If an officer becomes aware of your conviction it can cause you some problems. A DUI is considered a more serious offense in Canada than in the US where it is typically a misdemeanor.
Thanks for clearing it up. I will say the Officers were really nice, wayyy better than US CBP. We're all nice! We deal with US CPB daily. They're no different than us. Though they have much more authority in their decision making it seems.
Does it require a conviction? Is an open small-time possession case enough? I'm thinking more about MJ than alcohol. Marijuana possession is a summary (misdemeanor) conviction in Canada and having 1 conviction of this will not make you inadmissible. Unless you had like 50 pounds of it.
Interesting, thanks for this reply..I have a dual citizenship (currently living in the US) and got a DUI conviction about six years ago and that's my only criminal history. Would this hypothetically prevent me from entering the country despite my dual citizenship? Not at all. As a Canadian citizen you enter the country by right no matter what.
Well I deal mainly with the ones on the Southern US Border... Some are kind of dicks. Yeah I can imagine their job on the Mexican border is slightly more intense than dealing with us Canucks.
When you catch people running drugs, do they say 'sorry'? Yeah almost all the time they do!
Is it common/is there significant reasons behind border guards being hard on Canadians coming back into Canada? I am a Canadian citizen and it's not uncommon that when coming back in (from the USA) the guard is really rude. A friend once said "50 Bucks" when asked how much she had spent and the guard hassled her for a good ten minutes about how she HAS to say "Fifty DOLLARS, not bucks." Is there really a reason behind that kind of stuff? Not really. Nothing can excuse rude behavior. We're people, we have bad days. But we're expected to always act professional and courteous. A lot of times people use slang or give vague answers which can be frustrating when we're trying to get an accurate declaration. But fifty bucks is fifty bucks. I certainly wouldn't have a problem with someone delcaring that to me.
Are the people who are coming to Canada only going there because they can't get into America? That and poutine.
Truth. You'd think that fries covered in gravy and cheese would be easy for Americans to replicate, but I have yet to find anyone who can do it like those damn Canadians. Gotta use salty beef gravy and fresh kurds!
The fresh curds, that the killer, you need to be down in like Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Iowa dairy country to get the good ones if you don't wanna make the trek to the great white north. ;) We probably get it from the same place.
How do you decide to tax Canadians coming back from US shopping? How often does it happen? None of my friends nor I have ever been taxed after declaring way over our limit of goods. It's up to the discretion of the officer doing the exam. Our priority is not about collecting duties and taxes on the average person as it was in the past. If we feel the person is being honest in their declaration and they are over we often let them through.
That's been my experience. One time I declared something like $400 worth of bike clothing/parts on a quick trip SOB (South Of the Border). The BSO's response? Sounds about right :)
Why does the boarder guard always ask where I am going and what for? If I was up to something, I would just lie and they'd never know differently. BTW, been to Canada many times, always have fun. Nice people you Canucks are. As a foreign national coming to Canada you have a legal obligation to answer questions about your trip fully and truthfully. Of course you can lie, and many do. But most get caught. Lies are typically only 2 or 3 layers deep. It's easy to pick out an inexperienced liar. We certianly dont catch them all unfortunately.
Yeah, you don't have to tell a cop where you are going or what you plan on doing. It's none of their business. When you cross a border you are asking for permission to enter another country. Permission they do not have to give you. I think people forget that sometimes. Yes that leverage can make our job easier for certain.
In my dozen trips to Canada from Washington state (mostly from the Peace Arch but a few times from that other one), CBP agents were really, really rude. I got stopped for random searches about 8 times. Well you aren't being detained. Being detained means you are being held against your will outside of the regular customs process. When you are detained you have the right to a lawyer etc.
Is it because I had an NRA sticker? I've never been arrested, no dui, no traffic tickets. Kinda bummed me out that it always took so long to get through because I was detained for so long. Having an NRA sticker is not a sole reason for a search but it can be an indicator you might have a firearm with you.
Hmmm. I consider it detainment when I'm asked to go inside while they search my car, and then I'm searched when I enter the building. While having your car and yourself searched seems extreme its not outside of the regular process. If they decided to do a disrobement (strip search). That is considered detainment.
What are some of the best or most interesting contraband items you have come across on the job? Guns, Drugs, Obscene material, live animals sewed into jackets. All different types of USB drives disguised as different things. Mostly holding child abuse images or hate material or terrorism material.
What about your favorite single "bust"? My favourite was a child abuse images bust that resulted in some children being removed from a dangerous situation.
I'm sorry but I can't get into any specific cases for legal reasons.
Why do they disguise the USBs when they could just encrypt the information? Laziness or ignorance of how to encrypt I suppose.
Whats the most dangerous/illegal stuff you've caught someone sneaking into the country? Guns, drugs, and images of child abuse, (child pornography,) are by far the most dangerous goods we see on a regular basis.
Shit, child pornography? do you go through the guy's laptop? I hate that term "Child Pornography." Porn suggests its a legally created video between consenting individuals. Images of child sexual abuse is more accurate...
But yes we find those images on cell phones, laptops, ipads, etc all too often.
There are some really sick people on this world, thanks for cleaning up the mess a little. If only you could choose to unsee something...
What about pirated movies, lets say you check a laptop and theres a bunch of pirated movies would you guys do something for that or not. No we would not do anything about that. CDN laws don't consider having pirated material a crime just yet. Though I'm sure it's coming.
How did you get into the Job? And does it pay well/ have good benefits? I've often thought about doing that as a job, now seems like a good time to ask! I worked mostly security jobs before applying "off the street." I also have a criminology degree. If you are still young and a student you can apply to be a student officer during the summer. You can check out the info on the Government of Canada website. Pay is decent depending on where you live as the salary is a flat rate across the country. A regular officer right now makes about $65,000. a year plus overtime. A good pension (not as good as it used to be) and full medical and dental plan.
I was looking at the official website and saw the requirement to accept posting anywhere in Canada. In practice how much say have you had in where you are posted/how often you move around? That policy actually came into affect the last couple of years. I was lucky enough to begin my career when you accepted a posting to a district close to home so luckily I'll never be moved unless I choose to. Once you are posted to a region your likely to stay there as long as you like. Your job may change, or your unit, but it will stay in the same area.
I thought that the full medical / dental plan came with being a Canadian citizen, not from being a government employee? We do have universal health care. However that only offers the bare bones in coverage. And doesn't cover dental. My health plan pays for things such as orthopedics, inhalers, private rooms in a hospital etc.
You should come work for US customs. ... they make a killing at most ports of entry. We make pretty similar salaries
Do you know why it was changed in the first place? Probably allowed some flexibility for upper management to fill the voids as needed across the country instead of just within their region.
CBSA is following a trend of mimicking the RCMP in a lot of its methods.
Any funny stories of people entering the country? All kinds. And scary ones. Had one guy come into Canada to meet a girl he met online. While in fact he actually had plans to cannibalize her. Luckily the girl didn't actually exist. Someone was just playing a scam on him.
How do you know he planned to cannibalize her? Found him talking about it on a forum on his computer.
International student that graduated from a Canadian University and am currently working in Canada with an open work permit. The work permit says it does not guarantee re entry into Canada. I was told I required to get a tourist visa to guarantee re entry. My passport now has a worker and a tourist visa stamped on it. I went to Buffalo for a few hours. When I tried to re enter Canada I was almost not let in because I did not have my work permit document and was warned that I should have it with me. What was the point of getting that tourist visa or a worker visa stamped onto the passport if they don't get me into the country if I don't have my work permit document? The stating of "Does not guarantee re-entry" simply means that being in possession of this document does not mean we will automatically let you in. That document simply means that once you've been granted entry to Canada you are entitled to work according to the conditions listed on the work permit. You should always have your work permit / study permit with your passport if your re entering the country to work as that is proof of your authorization to work in Canada. Without it it can cause problems.
I know an American girl that is living in Canada without a work visa, and she has far overstayed the length of a tourist visa. She works under the table. If she enters the US periodically, but returns to Canada each time, does that "reset" her tourist visa? As far as I know she hasn't done this. Will she be flagged the next time she crosses back into the US? Everytime you are granted entry to Canada and given a stamp that gives you 6 months to stay in Canada. This can be limited by the officer by issueing whats called a visitor record if they want to shorten or lengthen someone stay past 6 months.
A person must satisfy an officer when coming to Canada that they aren't making Canada their primary place of residence. So if someone stays for 6 months, leaves, comes back a week later and stay another 6 months, rinse, repeat, they are now making Canada their residence. If she hasn't been caught yet that doesn't mean she won't be if she leaves and comes back.
But feel free to send me her name if you want something done about it :)
How do you look not suspicious when crossing a border? (it had to be asked) Depends on what your trying to do...
Ok, since drugs are boring, I am smuggling a ultrarare hybrid turtlecroc across the border. How do I avoid getting stopped? ;) Impossible.
We are all fully trained on detecting ultrarare hybrid turtlecrocs...
"Sir, may I ask what your plans are while visiting Canada, and why are you lying?" "I'M SOOORRYYY!!! I BROUGHT THIS ULTRARARE HYBRID TURTLECROC TO SELL IN THE BLACK MARKET!!! OH GOOOD!" That's how I'd respond to an interrogation... Edit: words words. Thats how we hope it goes down :)
Serious question... I'm a South American with permanent residence in USA planning to drive to Canada from Florida to visit old friends (used to live in Mississauga), my kids are US citizens... How does this go? Your kids should have their US passports with them. Though not legally required, having a passport typically provides the smoothest examination. You should have both your national passport as well as your US permanent resident card. Without proof of your residency, you would be required to have a CDN visa as a citizen of a South American country.
Is everyone searched? Honestly that would give me so anxiety I wouldn't even want to visit the country at all. I live in Maine and I would love to go but it seems like you have a lot of strict guidelines that you are forced to adhere to. Do you agree with the laws and regulations regarding border crossing, in general? Absolutely I agree with them. And not everyone is searched. Not even close. Less than 5% of vehicles coming into Canada go through a thorough search.
You shouldn't have any hesitiation to come visit. Especially where you're so close. We'd love to have you!
So, I don't need to apply for Canadian visa if I'm a US permanent resident? No as a US permanent resident you don't need a CDN visa. But you do have to show proof of it and your citizenship. So bring both your passport and your PR card.
What the largest quantity of drugs youve found up someone's ass? 1 kg. or 2.2 pounds.
I once declared that I had meat when flying back from Vegas because I had (most of) half a ham sandwich in my bag. Was that being too cautious? Failing to import meat that is prohibited can lead to a huge fine if the officer feels you were trying to be dishonest.
What's the craziest thing that's happened on the job? Probably the man who came to Canada to eat a pregnant lady.
I was questioned at the border (US Citizen) and they stapled a report into my passport... Can I rip it out now? What does Case Type 10 mean? What triggers a US citizen to be put into the "second room" as i call it? You were probably issued a visitor record. If its expired you can shred it. Case type 10 means visitor.
Do certain land crossings have betteworse reputations? I travelled slightly ahead of the group to begin with, so I could spend some time with friends, and came to the Windsor crossing on a Greyhound. The others drove through the same place 3 days later. All of us found the experience awful. The US border guys were impatient, rude and incredibly suspicious (as opposed to thorough). They tore apart the car and trailer (the fact that they had a trailer might have had something to do with it). I was unaware that my 3 different Visa Debit cards wouldn't work with their machines, and the others lost a wallet at a filling station in Toronto, and we all had trouble paying the nominal border fee - not through lack of funds but accessibility to them. We weren't allowed out to an atm (visible from the desk the officials were sat at, and were instead made walk around the office begging people to swap currency with us. The agent I dealt with was subject to the worst mood swings I've ever come across - one second thanking me for being polite and following his instructions to a t, and then almost in the same breath shouting at me and calling me an idiot. We were understandably apprehensive, then, when we came to the Eureka border to re-enter Canada. The epileptic dog with us' medicine had lost effectiveness and he was having upwards of 7 fits a day, we were all wrecked, the car's owner had lost her driving license, and we still had this trailer we were hoping not to tear apart again. Yet the border agent looked at our passports, asked if we had any beer (we had a measly 2 cans he let us keep) and let us on our way in under a minute. Do you think it was a US vs Canada thing, a specific crossing thing or just bad luck that we happened upon 3 asshole agents? I think that experience can happen to you at any border crossing. It sounds like it might have been a combination of their lack of patience and your friends lack of preparedness in crossing the border. No currency, lost your ID etc. The Americans are no worse or better than their American counterparts. They have their methods and some officers are harder others. But it's not personal. Sometimes acting that way is on purpose to get the job done.
Plus a bunch of guys on vacation with a trailer shows the signs of potentially coming to the US for longer than intended. They were being quite thorough it seems.
Hey, I have pretty good luck going through customs, but Mom has awful luck.. she always get "randomly" searched. Do people get flagged to be searched in a computer system somewhere? And if so, what does a person have to do to get flagged? If you have any previous enforcement. Alcohol seizures or undeclared goods it can flag you to always be selected for a search but not always.
There are random searches as well.
Sometimes it could be as simple as your name and birthdate are very similar to that of a person of interest.
Probably undeclared goods haha. Do you (people who work in customs) flag people just because they are rude? No. There's not even a method to do that with our systems. You would have to have some sort of violation to be flagged for future searches.
Each person you stop do you run every passport through some sort of database? And if so what do you look for? Or is that just random? Every passport scanned will have information linked with our systems. So if you've had previous infractions we would know about it. Any further checks would be done outside of the scanning process.
What if I crossed over via the woods between the USA and Canada? And bypassed the check point? Then you would be entering the country illegally.
I've heard your not allowed into the Canada with a DUI in your record, without proper previous authorization signed. Even if it was a long time ago. What is the nrom with DUI's in your record in trying to cross? As I mentioned in an earlier post. A DUI, normally a misdemeanor in the U.S. is considered an indictable offense in Canada. (A Felony in the US). If a US citizen has a DUI conviction it can deem them inadmissible to Canada.
Whether it does or not really depends on what type of conviction you had, and how long ago the conviction was. If you were sentenced to a conditional sentence where your record would be erased after say, completion of substance abuse program, then the conviction typically has no affect on your ability to enter Canada.
If you've received a normal sentence, i.e. probation, fine, jail time, you would be deemed inadmissible to Canada for 10 years after the completion of your sentence.
2 or more DUI's, or any other offense Canada considers indictable, and your deemed inadmissilble for life.
How would you find a DUI on somebody? That's is a state crime, not federal. Any time your arrested your automatically put into the FBI database and are given an FBI number.
That info is shared between CDN and US governments.
What is the upper limit on the amount of stuff being brought back before you send the traveler in to pay duty/tax? Does my behaviour influence this (meaning if I'm courteous, will you let me pass through with more stuff)? In your experience, do you mind that the officers in the regular lane or the NEXUS lane are more lenient? There is no upper limit. Each case is up to the officers discretion at the time. If we believe you are being honest about your declaration we will let some duties and taxes owed slide from time to time. This should never be expected. The fees are owed. Its just a bonus if we let you go. I don't mind at all that some officers have higher or lower thresholds for leniency. As long as we do our job well.
What can I do as a frequent border crosser to make your life easier? I cross about 2x a week and if there is anything I can do to make your life easier so that you will reciprocate, I'm down. If you cross twice a week you should certainly get a NEXUS card. It makes life easier for everyone. If not, then just avoid goods that require further inspection. Foods, Plants, Animal products, and controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Avoiding those goods can make the chances of examination slimmer. But not getting searched should ever be expected.
Last updated: 2013-11-26 10:32 UTC | Next update: 2013-11-26 16:32 UTC
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