Talk:Barack Obama/Archive12

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This is an archive page, last updated 2 June 2018. Please do not make edits to this page.
Archives for this talk page: <1>, <2>, <3>, <4>, <5>, <6>, <7>, <8>, <9>, <10>, <11>, <13>, (new)(back)

Obama trade policy[edit]

I'm concerned with some of the criticisms of the TPP made here. Below I will write a refutation of the majority of the criticisms that I saw.

“The text of the treaty has been . . . kept secret from most of Congress . . . he forces Congressmen not to share the details they know from the deal to . . . staffers.”

The USTR disputes these allegations of secrecy, claiming that access to the full negotiating texts for any Member of Congress, including for Members to view at their convenience in the Capitol, accompanied by staff members with appropriate security clearance.

“He takes ‘personal offense’ whenever someone criticizes him for withholding information about the deal to the public”

No evidence has been posted to back up this claim. Rather, the president says that he takes personal offense when liberals criticize him and the TPP for being anti-worker because he insists his presidency has congenitally been about helping working families.

“So why the secrecy?”

The secrecy is necessary in order for a trade deal to be possible. Negotiating trade deals is already extremely difficult and complex for the countries involved. If negotiations are made transparent from the beginning, the negotiators will have every different position flying at them through the press, which would make negotiating a trade deal impossible. Furthermore, if TPA passes, everything will be revealed. There won’t be any hidden codicils or agreements.

“From what WikiLeaks revealed, under the TPP, corporations would sue governments for encroaching on expected future profits . . . this can mean literally every single accomplishment Obama would have up to this point will be overturned by an unaccountable corporate-aligned group of lawyers and judges who will gut any and all regulations protecting labor rights, worker rights, union rights, environmental rights, even basic human rights, for the sake of making an extra dime. ”

ISDS is often loudly criticized for allegedly allowing corporations to sue governments to repeal progressive policies in return for a cash grab.

While it is true that some corporations have abused ISDS to get local regulations treated as expropriation, US agreements with ISDS provisions do not suffer this defect. Federal, state, and local agencies can all update their regulations in a fair and evenhanded manner without risking an arbitration award. Similar flexibility will certainly be a feature of ISDS provisions in TPP. Furthermore, RW fails to provide an example of ISDS being used to successfully roll back social and environmental policy, because they cannot. This is because ISDS tribunals lack the authority to overturn national legislation or regulations. Instead, awards are limited to monetary damages.

“The TPP sets up ISDS tribunals, staffed by corporate lawyers wholly unaccountable to any electorate or system of legal precedent. These tribunal corporate lawyers will rotate between advocating for those same corporations and as judges determining rulings, with no requirements for the lawyer-judges to be impartial, reveal conflicts of interest, or recuse themselves in instances of direct conflict.“

Arbitrators are selected from a large panel of qualified attorneys. When a dispute moves to arbitration, one arbitrator is selected by the investor, one by the state, and the third is agreed upon by both parties. Each side has an opportunity to remove candidates who may have potential biases; for example, each party may reject a selected arbitrator for perceived conflict of interest. In addition, the allegation that there are no requirements for arbitrators to be impartial is directly contradicted by evidence that suggests otherwise -- BITs provide access to impartial arbitration. Most arbitration laws in developed nations require the arbitrators be impartial. Finally, not a single case of ISDS arbitral corruption is provided in this article, because they cannot, for the reasons provided above. The logic used here to attack the credibility of ISDS arbitrators may as well be used to attack the integrity of federal judges who served corporate clients before Senate confirmation.

“There is no internal or external mechanism to appeal the tribunal members’ decisions on the merits”

This is a legitimate criticism of ISDS. Some government officials have supported appellate bodies for ISDS as a means to reconcile conflicting arbitration decisions and to correct erroneous awards. However, RW has not explained how such a body could be set up, and to what extent it could achieve its purpose. Admittedly, not enough discussion is going on about how ABs can be set up for ISDS in general.

RW should be less biased on this issue, perhaps providing pros and cons of including an AB. For example, pros of ABs for ISDS may include reconciling conflicting arbitration decisions and corrections of erroneous awards. Potential cons may include costs and political feasibility.

“The tribunals have discretion to determine the amount of compensation governments must pay investors and the allocation of costs, such as the tribunal members’ fees.”

TPP critics claim that the ISDS arbitrators can make governments pay investors unlimited taxpayer-funded compensation for having to comply with policies that affect their future expected profits,and with which domestic investors have to comply.

When investors win, arbitrators, on average, only give them a substantially small percentage of what they claimed. According to one empirical evaluation of 52 final ISDS awards by Susan D. Franck, investors who won their cases, on average, got 2 to 3 percent of the amount originally claimed. She found that while the average claim was $343.5 million, but the average damage award was only $10.4 million, which amounts to about 3% of the average claim. This empirical work indicates that actual awards are proportional and that they represent no threat to "bankrupt" a country, contrary to the claims of TPP critics.

Many of the criticisms of the TPP are overblown or outright false. Secrecy is necessary for trade deals to be negotiated, and Congressmen can see the deal with staffers whenever they so choose. ISDS cannot be used to repeal domestic policy. Arbitrators must be impartial and can be rejected if they have a perceived conflict of interest. Damage awards issued out by arbitrators suggest that they are proportional and that no country will pay outrageous fines. While the lack of an AB for ISDS is a legitimate concern, RW does not explain how such a body would be set up, which is essential. When all these above allegations of TPP being corporate-friendly fail to hold under scrutiny, it can then be dismissed that using the TPP as evidence that Obama is a corporatist president is insufficient evidence to prove that Obama is only concerned with Wall Street interests. Should my defenses of the TPP hold up under scrutiny, RW’s discussion on Obama’s trade policy as a whole should be rewritten to provide a reasoned, informed overview of the TPP, including potential problems with it, rather than reading like an misinformed hack job that appears to be set on portraying Obama trade policy as corporate propaganda.

Sources:

UNCTAD on ISDS reform

USTR on TPP transparency

CSIS on ISDS

PIIE on ISDS

Guide to International Arbitration

Adam Posen’s thoughts on TPP

Obama shifts his pitch for the TPP

Gary Hufbauer on the ISDS Controversy

USTR on ISDS

i think that’s all the sources … i'm not an expert on this stuff or anything, so let me know if my concerns are legitimate or not! RaQuanV (talk) 05:01, 14 June 2015 (UTC)

Hate to come off as impatient, but no response yet? Just curious, since I've noticed that RW editors usually responds to its critics quickly. RaQuanV (talk) 03:03, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for reading through all that stuff and posting the links. Now, does ITT have any legal recourse to recoup their claims against the Cuban government for the seizure of their property, the Cuban Telephone Co. in 1961? Cuba still owes those investors $7 billion. To what extent is Obama willing to work with those investors to recover their stolen property, as every other President since 1961 has? nobsI'm not from this planet, but let me tell u what I think.... 05:35, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Under the Helm-Burton Act, The United States must provide compensation for Cuban expropriation of American companies before the trade embargo can be lifted. This means companies like ITT (which was bought by Starwood) have legal recourse. State Department officials have stated that dealing with U.S. property claims will be part of the US-Cuba normalization process, so I'd say the Administration is invested in the issue. Hope that answered your questions.
Here's some articles for further reading (which is where I got my information from):
Cuba, you owe us $7 billion
Cuba's $6B debt to American for seize properties hangs over US talks RaQuanV (talk) 22:40, 19 June 2015 (UTC)
Fortune magazine puts the claims at $20 billion. In reading the USTR on ISDS link above, Cuba comes to mind immediately, which is an excellent example of breakdown and failure of these types of agreements. I guess my overall question is, in this trade dispute between U.S. investors and the government of Cuba, whom is the U.S. President supposed to be an advocate and representive for, the U.S. investors or the government of Cuba? nobsI'm not from this planet, but let me tell u what I think.... 00:02, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
The investors RaQuanV (talk) 23:01, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I find it odd that the biggest problem with the treaty is not mentioned on this wiki. Namely strengthening patent rights for US companies and thus forcing everyone (espescially third world countries) to cough up more money for generic drugs. ClothCoat (talk) 18:54, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

RW Obama entry -- Jaysus in a crutch![edit]

So, um, is it impossible to write sensibly on that page without vandals going wild? I mean, I might eventually get to fixing it but not if y'll think it would be fruitless. ‎ — Unsigned, by: -Mona- / talk / contribs 19:05, 16 August 2015

That sort of question is what TalkPages are for. Scream!! (talk) 18:20, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Vandals.... vandals have no power here. One click. The Obama page has some things that seem insulting but they're joking/SPOV. The opening is supposed to parody fundies and that sorta crowd, if you're wondering about that. TheAtheistComrade (talk) 18:24, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
And if the wandals persist, me or my fellow sysops are there to help (a soft tap with the banhammer or a auto-patrolled ueers only protection gets rid of most wandals).--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ 18:31, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Michelle Obama is a man[edit]

Anyone know about this wacko conspiracy theory? Seemed to have been the rage on youtube at one time. No mention here, though.

Documentprovide (talk) 19:35, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

I've seen it, but this is a wiki where anyone can add to an article. Even you! -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 20:09, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm flattered, but I don't know enough about it, I think, to add to this article. Seems to be in part a way to prove the assertion that Barack Obama is gay. Not sure what the proposals are for where his daughters came from. The whole thing is so unseemly as to make me uncomfortable writing about it at all. Documentprovide (talk) 21:25, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Don't be a wimp, edit!!--Kugelschreiber (talk) (mail) (block) 21:55, 22 February 2016 (UTC) 21:55, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
EDIT EDIT EDIT!!!!!!! 79.194.4.134 (talk) 22:18, 22 February 2016 (UTC)
Ok, you bullies. I edited. Sheesh! Documentprovide (talk) 22:51, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

No, Michelle Obama is not a man, she's Koba, the bonobo from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. No, that's not racist, Bush is the orang-utan from Tim Burton's remake of Planet of the Apes. --Let Them Eat Cake (talk) 11:33, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Silver Status[edit]

I think this article is ready for a promotion. Anyone else have any thoughts on this? CorruptUser (talk) 05:24, 1 April 2016 (UTC)

Hmm[edit]

The lead-in is a little distracting in my opinion. Sure, I'm all for taking the piss out of the crazy shit people have said about him, but the intro is a little over the top and it makes it kinda difficult to read in my opinion. That said, I'm not gonna change it, seeing as I'm new and powerless and whatnot. I don't know. Petrichor (talk) 12:34, 14 August 2016 (UTC)