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FAQ

Why can’t conservatives answer simple yes or no questions without deflecting to Hillary or Obama?
They certainly can! But politics is filled with insincere questions, and deflecting to similar situations under other political figures is a basic tactic to highlight that insincerity on the questioner’s part.So, for example: a few weeks back, Jon Favreau, a speechwriter for President Obama, tweeted out some pictures of children sleeping in holding cells at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Arizona. He was outraged at the Trump Administration’s actions with respect to those children. But he’d made a mistake! Via Business Insider:Jon Favreau, who worked as a speechwriter for former President Barack Obama, tweeted, "This is happening right now, and the only debate that matters is how we force our government to get these kids back to their families as fast as humanly possible."Favreau said he later deleted the tweet after social media users pointed out that the photos were taken during the Obama administration. But by that point, critics had already rushed to accuse him of concealing Obama's own harsh immigration tactics while condemning Trump's…(Emphasis added, Obama officials rushed to explain photos from 2021 that went viral showing locked-up immigrant children ‡ and Trump's facilities look the same)And that’s precisely why conservatives often retort this way. It’s a basic argument about one’s (lacking) credibility when asking those kinds of questions: “You didn’t care about this happening when your guy was in power, which means that you don’t actually care about this issue, and you’re just trying to attack my guy with it.” And in Favreau’s case, that critique hits especially hard, because he was actually in a position to do something about it as one of President Obama’s most trusted advisers, and didn’t. Now that he’s out of power and can’t, though, he’s paying attention! How sincere!Note well that none of this says much of anything at all about the issue itself! But political debate is often a struggle for credibility, and it’s not particularly credible to have been silent about President Obama’s “Deporter-in-Chief” policies and then to raise Hell about them under President Trump. If the policies were fine - or not newsworthy, or not tremendously concerning, or worrying but not front-page news under President Obama, the same should apply now, at least to the extent that the policies are similar.And, of course, if the policies are different, there’s plenty of room to be consistent regardless of ideology. But cynically, there’s not a whole lot of that in politics.There are clear limitations to this kind of retort, too: it’s obviously not workable to have an interlocutor outline one’s personal history on an issue before asking a question. But then again, there are also clear limitations to “yes or no” questions, and we need better political discourse than that.
Are trademarks international?
If you thinking that you've got your trademark protected, it may be vulnerable overseas. Someone in another country using your trademark could be as damaging as someone opening store with the same name as yours in your own town.A trademark provides brand equity for a company. A company that feels its brand equity can be extended to other countries should consider filing a trademark to preserve and protect its rights to those brands. Because of the global nature of business today, it is important for a brand to control its mark globally rather than allow somebody else to use it in another country.While brands are increasingly global, managing and protecting brands globally can be complex. Understanding trademark regulations in each country is important. Many brand holders register their marks in key countries around the world, or countries where they do business.The first step is to register your trademark in your home country and then register that trademark in other countries that are strategic to your business. This can be done through the country’s Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) or through an attorney or third-party facilitator. There are ways to file for foreign trademarks that can save time and money for the applicant.International registrationA broad international filing can be done through the Madrid Protocol, a group of 86 countries, including most of the major industrial nations in the world. Through this process, you can file a mark in your home country and then extend the filing later to other jurisdictions throughout the world. Although you still have to pay the fee in each country, but relatively it's an inexpensive option, since you will save time and money from the administrative costs of having to fill out an application multiple times.Protect Trademark Overseas?Many small companies experience difficulty protecting their IPR abroad, as they are not aware of how to obtain and enforce rights in foreign markets. Some basic, often low-cost, steps small companies should consider include:Working with legal counsel to develop an overall IPR protection strategy,Developing detailed IPR language for licensing and subcontracting contracts,Conducting due diligence of potential foreign partnersRecording their registered trademarks and copyrights with Customs and Border ProtectionSecuring and registering patents, trademarks, and copyrights in key foreign markets, including defensively in countries where IPR violations are common.
As an American, if you accidentally brought a gun to the Canadian border crossing and just remembered it when they asked you if you have any weapons in the car, are you probably going to prison for that mistake?
I am a Canadian, but cross the border a fair number of times for day trips each year. More often than not, I like to pick up my favorite alcohol on my way back. Since it was only a day trip, I get to pay the taxes and duty. This is important only to point out I have to go inside, queue up behind other who are dealing with stuff like hand guns, duty owing etc.Now I have been behind people with hand guns a few time. Here is what I have learned. Now remember I am not a customs agent, so these are just my observations of the interactions with others.First off, yes everyone is correct, DECLARE you firearms, ammunition and explosives. If you do not declare them, and they find them, you are in a TON of trouble. If you are not 100% sure if your hand gun is in your trunk, tell the customs agent exactly that, “I think I took my gun out of my trunk, but I am not 100% sure right now.” They will look, if it is there no problem, if it isn't there even less of a problem. Now if you do have a hand gun, and declare it here is what I have seen happen a few times. Customs will take your gun into their control. It will be tagged and received into inventory. As a courtesy, Canada Customs will hold your hand gun at the border crossing you entered at and issue you a receipt. When you level Canada back to the USA you cross at the same customs point stop off at Canada Customs, give them the receipt and they will give you your gun back for you to take with you back into the USA. I am not sure of the maximum amount of time Canada Customs will hold your gun for you, but they are usually pretty easy going.Now some advice, When you get to the Customs office, you are already inside Canada. If you are carrying a gun, you have committed a pretty serious offense, but like USA ICE/INS the customs officers are there to protect the sovereignty of their country they have no interest in giving you a hard time, unless you MAKE them want to. So to this end, IF you cross the border and find you have something illegal to import and you did not declare it you are in the wrong. Work with the border patrol, they WILL work with you. I know this much from 1st hand experience going into the USA with Cuban cigars, which at the time was a felony to import into the USA. When confronted with the cigars I was to say the least surprised. I knew the box they were in was something I had thrown in the back seat the night before. I know I had Cuban cigars in that box 3 years ago, but I had thought they were all gone. I was wrong to the count of 2. Well enough to say I was going to get the cigars taken away from me. If they were not dried out they would be worth about $75.00 each. When I was told they would be seized I replied with, “Of course, I understand.” and then again apologized for violating US Law. The end result was I lost two cigars, 20 minutes and had to fill out a ton of paperwork. That was it.Now on the Canadian side I was in line behind some American who was yelling at the border officer about how, holding his gun and him having to cross into the USA at the exact same customs point in order to get his gun back, unacceptable that was to him. At one point threatened to take the officers to court and sue them. That is when an RCMP officer grabbed the guy by the neck, walked him briskly to the south facing window, so fast the guy face hit the window. The white posts were pointed out to him (The border between Canada and the USA) and that he was already in Canada, with a gun, and if they so desire he could be charged then and there with attempting to smuggle fire arms into Canada. The guy because very quiet after that.No one expects every person that crosses the US Canada border to know all the rules, and know what the up to date rules are. The trick to making your crossing easier than you ever imagined is be calm, helpful, honest. And don’t give the customs agents hell, they are doing their jobs. If you want to yell at someone, yell at your Member of Parliament, or Congressmen, they write the rules.
How do I get access to public bill of lading databases from Customs and Border Protection?
As stated in the previous answer, this information is not available to the general public.  Here is what CBP says:How can I get information about who is importing or exporting various commodities?Importer names on entry documents are confidential and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not disclose names of importers to the public. However, there are a number of private sector media services that are permitted by the privacy statute, 19 CFR 103.31 (d), to collect manifest data at every port of entry. Reporters collect and publish names of importers from vessel manifest data unless an importer/shipper requests confidentiality.Please be aware that there is a subscription charge for this information.Among the companies that prthis information service are the Journal of Commerce's PIERS database and Ealing Market Data Engineering Co.
Why do some in the UK want a No Deal Brexit?
I guess I would be classed as one of the people in the UK that wants a no-deal Brexit. Not strictly true as I’d prefer a Free Trade Agreement. But no deal is a good second best.Why? Positives and non-negatives.Let’s start with the non-negatives.No deal is not much worse vis-a-vis the EU than what we already have. People who talk about it as if it’s some kind of disaster don’t know how the international trading system works.A properly functioning customs border would add an average of 39 seconds to border crossings. That’s 2% of crossings checked for 1200 seconds = 24 seconds, plus 15 seconds to fill out a customs declaration form.You often hear there’s something very different and special about the EU. But there is no evidence for that at all. People often talk about it as if it’s self-evident. That’s why “Remain” often comes across as a faith-based position, while the logic, reason and factual analysis tends to lead one to favour Leave.The UK would lose the EU’s trade agreements but a) these trade agreements aren’t very good, b) they cover only 12% of our trade, which is 1.44% of our GDP. And it’s reasonable to believe some of them could be grandfathered or re-established relatively quickly.Now the positives. A no-deal Brexit would allow all the below to be achieved.The economic benefits of Brexit are the ability to reform regulation and develop an independent trade policy.Reforming regulation to a system compatible with common-law principles would result in a substantial lessening of business burdens, greater incentives to invest and greater market competition. It would be able to achieve this without reducing standards. Sounds like magic? No. It’s just getting rid of the EU way of regulating markets, which doesn’t work even in the EU, but is worse still in the UK.Rich multinationals like EU regulation because it keeps the little guy out. That helps their bottom line but makes you and me poorer. Only 5% of the UK’s companies trade with the EU. Why should the 95% that don’t be bound down by its silly rules?An independent trade policy allows the UK to cut tariffs on imported food, clothes and shoes, which are kept high to protect EU producers at the expense of British consumers. Reforming tariffs in the UK’s interests would cut the price of imported necessities, resulting in higher disposable incomes, particularly for the poor.An independent trade policy also allows the UK to negotiate trade deals based on its own strengths, particularly services. The UK is the world’s second largest service exporter. But the EU has done virtually nothing for services.The UK trades more with the non-EU world than the EU, so why tie ourselves to the EU? It’s the world’s worst-performing economic bloc. We will do better by concentrating on the bigger and faster growing part of the pie, which is non-EU trade.Oh and we earn a surplus on non-EU trade. That’s partly because the EU’s customs rules (particularly tariffs) are rigged in favour of its founder members. But it’s also partly because we’re just plain better at trading outside the EU than with it.For further reading, you can take a look at this piece, which argues that with the right policies, a no-deal Brexit could lead to an £80 billion per year boost to the economy: A WTO-based Brexit could yield the UK £80 billion per year
What happens to all of the paper forms you fill out for immigration and customs?
Years ago I worked at document management company.  There is cool software that can automate aspects of hand-written forms.  We had an airport as a customer - they scanned plenty and (as I said before) this was several years ago...On your airport customs forms, the "boxes" that you 'need' to write on - are basically invisible to the scanner - but are used because then us humans will tend to write neater and clearer which make sit easier to recognize with a computer.  Any characters with less than X% accuracy based on a recognition engine are flagged and shown as an image zoomed into the particular character so a human operator can then say "that is an "A".   This way, you can rapidly go through most forms and output it to say - an SQL database, complete with link to original image of the form you filled in.If you see "black boxes" at three corners of the document - it is likely set up for scanning (they help to identify and orient the page digitally).  If there is a unique barcode on the document somewhere I would theorize there is an even higher likelihood of it being scanned - the document is of enough value to be printed individually which costs more, which means it is likely going to be used on the capture side.   (I've noticed in the past in Bahamas and some other Caribbean islands they use these sorts of capture mechanisms, but they have far fewer people entering than the US does everyday)The real answer is: it depends.  Depending on each country and its policies and procedures.  Generally I would be surprised if they scanned and held onto the paper.   In the US, they proably file those for a set period of time then destroy them, perhaps mining them for some data about travellers. In the end,  I suspect the "paper-to-data capture" likelihood of customs forms ranges somewhere on a spectrum like this:Third world Customs Guy has paper to show he did his job, paper gets thrown out at end of shift. ------  We keep all the papers! everything is scanned as you pass by customs and unique barcodes identify which flight/gate/area the form was handed out at, so we co-ordinate with cameras in the airport and have captured your image.  We also know exactly how much vodka you brought into the country. :)
Why is the Irish Border backstop holding up Brexit negotiations?
After Brexit, the Irish border will also become the external border for the EU’s single market and custom union. This means there will have to be new or additional frontier controls - just as you’d expect on any other EU border with the another country.The 310 mile (500km) Irish border is open, largely unnoticed, unpatrolled and irrelevant. It has has had troubled past. During the Troubles, in 1971, the UK government closed 100 Irish border crossings and cratered them with explosives. The IRA also smuggled arms and explosives over the border. Now there’s peace and an open border. There are over 200 crossing points - more than total of the EU’s crossing points on its eastern border with Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.The Irish border is going to remain exactly as it is now. And the backstop is all there is, because nobody can agreeing on anything else that will work.Nearly three quarters of cross-border journeys are made by Northern Ireland registered heavy goods vehicles. These vehicles start at or end in areas close to the border - mainly Newry, Monaghan, Aughnacloy, Dundalk, Middletown. Half of all heavy goods vehicles go through the Newry-Dundalk corridor. This makes any plans to have checks borders away from the border pointless.Border inspections points cannot be enforced. Positioning them away from borders created difficulties for existing supply chains which have developed on the assumption that Northern Ireland remains in the single market and customs union.Any customs agents on Irish border points will need protection. The Police Service of Northern Ireland describes any required frontier personnel as “sitting ducks”. A military presence is out of question. And closing down rural isolated borders will come with local objections.The alternative is for customs inspections coming to business premises to complete pre-clearance checks. For Northern Ireland and Irish authorities, that means planning and coordination. As well as exporters filling in paperwork beforehand and submitting them before crossing. And there’s the risk of non-compliance - which then necessitates the frontier controls.As well as this, there’s cross border VAT paperwork, too. Although the backstop requires Northern Ireland to remain in the EU VAT regime.Any new arrangements require planning, resources, training, legislation, funding and technology. And UK government projects of this nature are frequently delayed, over budget or abandoned.The Irish government do not appear to be making any public plans for the border. There’s uncertainty in Northern Ireland on any new arrangements. This means the European Commission are more likely to apply more pressure on Theresa May and her ministers. It's easier to force the UK to agree to the backstop than force the Irish government and somehow Northern Ireland to redesign customs systems and procedures.Here’s me at the international Irish border in April 2021. The person taking the picture is in the Irish Republic. I’m standing over the border in Northern Ireland. Notice how there’s no reference to the “United Kingdom”. The border is not marked as international, if at all.Nicholas Stone, Irish international land border, April 2014My thanks to information from the Institute of Government for their reporting.Thank you for your requested answer Sue-Ann Duncan.
How quickly would the government shutdown end if CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and TSA officers refused to work?
Well, if history is any indication ..There was a time when the Air Traffic Controllers said, “Let’s just don’t go to work. They can’t fire all of us!”Are you old enough to know the end of that story?Over 10K of them got fired. The airports had to close for one day, but the next day, supervisors and other people showed up under the contingency plan….and a lot of people who had been waiting for Air Traffic Controller jobs got one.Oh.. another thing that I didn’t know and just learned today…..Those Air Traffic Controllers who refused to come to work? They were banned for life and cannot be re-hired.So, I don’t see how that would have any influence on the length of the government shut down. it does not end because people don’t come to work. it ends when a budget gets passed. It started when a budget did not get passed by a certain date and it ends when a budget DOES get passed.
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