tv Washington This Week CSPAN November 8, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm EST
he said very openly that they they support the chancellor 100%. were savings went to the shareholders -- he says they vacate things to .helter refugees german business is very optimistic. i think the mood is better. my last point is, and this is the question in the room, what are we going to do? you can go like this for another year. we would not be able to handle it for another year. hereve a couple of tools in europe and the federal government are working on that. you have seen -- we've been speaking with turkey.
their little signs of hope when it comes to syria and on the diplomatic level we are trying to set up hotspots for registration when people come here. all this is a start and it will not change the influx the day after tomorrow. you have to make clear this is not going to change things frequently. wefeel at the end of the day need more european solidarity. we need more european solidarity in this. you mentioned austria in sweden. per capita they are taking more than the german people. they have been extremely generous, both countries. other seven less than generous. at a certain moment we have to find ways and means to get to a solution. >> on that note, talking about european solidarity, there has been tremendous resistance in eastern europe to this.
the ontarians leading the way. -- hunt darian's leading the way hungarians leading the way. player eastern europeans so reluctant to help in the crisis? >> i can't help but note after the last presentation that what everyone's view used to be of germany after or during and , this is notar two truly over. most -- is the most humane country in europe and nothing but admiration for the chancellor and those who support her. i think you should be proud of sir.country, sir given -- the second point by way of introduction is to note and recall i was once a refugee
myself. many decades ago. more than five decades ago. i was welcomed in austria and welcomed very warmly in the united states for which i'm grateful. on the way coming here from i was at that time sponsored by the international rescue committee. [laughter] i would like to mention i have repaid the cost of transportation many times. [laughter] mr. gati: i'm certainly very pleased you were there and doing the work you are doing. let me start off by saying i had a student visiting with me the other day. complaining about the bad relationship between europe and the united states, including america's seeming lack of interest in refugees.
about thelking transatlantic relations, not about the eu at that point. this iso him that hardly new. i look to my bookshelves and there was a book there, a little book called "atlantic crisis." published in 1966. nothing is new under the sun. nor is germany's rise as a humane country and society. otherwise the difference is, i'm sorry to say that the differences are not new. the european union, i think it's important to say to gate -- again it is a miracle it has lasted as long as it has and it continues to work. not as well as some of us would like.
the crisis are every year. we had greece. the extraordinary problems that the eu has had with enlargement. before admitting all these countries they offered good cooperation but once they became members they cannot be influenced as we now see in the case of not just hungry but estonia, poland, slovakia, romania. actually all of them and i will come back to them in a moment. the real question is why is the european union constantly facing such major crises? i would like to call your attention briefly to four points. one is nationalist resistance. it is everywhere. the fact of the matter is most people identify themselves by their national identity rather than his europeans.
this has been there. it is not changed much. in other words the culture follows very good institution building and follows it very slowly. the second is that the european union has always been an elite project. put up 25 years ago or 35 years ago and had a vote about the european union, and many of the member states the votes, defending on how the question is phrased, probably might've been negative. police supported it -- the elites, intellectual elites supported to overcome the wars of the past. thatimportant to recall prior to the end of world war ii more wars have been fought between france and germany than any other two countries in the world. look at them now, how will they
get along. it's an amazing story but it is an unique story. -- elite story. there is a basic structural inequality in the eu. the size of the member states, their development, their history, their culture. it's difficult to integrate them and bring them all together. fourthly, the problem of the new member states which are new members. therefore to assimilate them into the mentality of the european union is extremely difficult. ? what about these new eastern members the institutional adjustment has been made. they attend meetings, adjusted institutions. there are problems constantly. i think hungary has received two or three suggestions for various
european institutions to make this adjustment and their judicial system or that, and the other countries have pretty much the same way. pick only on hungary in this respect though it may well be a very difficult case. the problem is not so much in the institutional arrangements. it is in the culture. it is the political minds that are not changed. i would say a majority say poland for the poles. hungry for the ontarians -- hungarians. the former estonian form is minister -- foreign minister when even further, and estonia is one of the better new members of the european union, and she said that only whites should be there. much of society jumped on them for sure but it was still said
in a commonly held view. not only in estonia. watch what is their head, not so much what institutions they built. s got mostian criticism. defense was atrocious -- the fence was atrocious but it had to be built. it had to be built. the problem was not to much it was built but how was built. what kind of sense it was and ce it wasn'tens happy refugees were treated. i'm sure you saw the pictures of the refugees at these in railway station in need of past -- beautyrest where they were kept outside and look like the hoard, which is what i believe the
government wanted it to look like so they could reach out to the right-wing party, there is a far right party challenging them in poland. it's similar to poland. the issue with domestic political gain in order to get the support of far right supporters. i believe this is what is happening in a smaller way in slovakia, in croatia. that is slightly different. which wezech republic thought would be the best candidate for a truly democratic western society. i know my times of year. i want to mention the conspiracy theories that accompany because this is not been written up in english very much. the theories that are rampant all over central and eastern europe. i read up on this. some of them say that the
to europe bysent americans, particularly george soros who has the disadvantage of being american rich and jewish. and a target of conspiracy theory. he is fantastic. he is a wonderful target for these mindless people. so america is seen, i'm sorry to thisas being behind refugee crisis by those who would like to keep their nationstates here -- pure. the difference is these people are in a majority in central and eastern europe, while in much of western europe, even in germany they are a minority. that is very dangerous for the european union. >> thank you.
i want to pick up on something you said about border control and border issues. europe, if ite will survive requires some external borders or control. i wanted to ask captain this go -- lisco if he could reflect on his experiences, what you think about the border issue> the question of the mediterranean itself? and looking beyond at some of the root causes in africa, north africa, and the middle east. >> thank you very much. i would like to thank the wilson center for inviting me to participate on today's panel. what i will be giving you is more an operators perspective. what i would like to say first off is the coast guard is western hemisphere focused but we are globally engaged. we do have a handful of coast guard men and women in europe
and the mediterranean and one africa that are working to improve maritime safety and security. i will come to the border patrol issue. i would like to frame this very quickly from an american perspective. in 1980have experienced during the boatlift. that was 100,000 cubans who fled to the united states. that was absolutely overwhelming to our first responders, to our government, to the state of florida. we did cope with it. later in the 1990's some of you may remember there were large haitian and cuban mass migrations. those migrations were large, 25,000 and 30,000.
but in one day the record number of migrants interdicted in the caribbean was 3200. as has been stated earlier, last week coming into greece migrants are coming in 10,000 a day. that is epic proportions. what i would say is take a look at what that means to smaller countries. someone like malta on the front line. and proportionally speaking, when you look at the population, when margaret landing in malta is the equivalent of 750 landing in south florida. on a small rubber act that -- raft that is grocery -- grossly overloaded with migrants and it lands in malta, that vehicle and of 75,000 migrants landing in the united states
and you have concerns. how were we going to accommodate these folks. make sure they are ok medically? that they have food, water, shelter? that can strap some of these coat -- countries very quickly. depending on the migrants and if they stay, you can see there is a chance to change some of the culture in fabric of the country. i think the malta because i was posted as an advisor to our embassy there. say thewould also migrants -- it's a humanitarian crisis. the european partners and north africans, many are doing the best they can to respond. there is also a law enforcement aspect to this. there is the transnational organized criminal networks that are enabling and are making hundreds of thousands, really millions of dollars transporting these migrants in unsafe boats
-- it's just for the money. it puts people a great risk and where does the money go? does he go to criminal? malicious? does a get to terrorist organizations? with regard to the border patrolling in the mediterranean, having been stationed in italy and malta and knowing a lot of the folks with the european union naval forces, as well as the european border patrol agency. ex coordinates the european response to protect the external borders of the european union. it's a massive undertaking because of the sheer numbers i have said. they have gotten very good. latere familiar that in 2013 and in 2014 they were four
incidents where micro-boats sunk with more than 1000 lives lost. -- migrant boats sunk. the italians led the way. than 140,000 migrants in the year that happened. but they did that by having a lot of ships and aircraft and personnel assigned to that central mediterranean region. there is probably a cost to that. they may have wanted to be in other places. definitely a financial cost. rightth the frontex now, they have a joint operation triton into central mediterranean. as kathleen pointed out, although the biggest vector right now is coming from the east and the aegean sea where you have more than 600,000 increase -- in greece.
that actor is still in the central mediterranean and the central mediterranean and there been more than 140,000 migrants that have come from libya heading towards italy and points north. it's a very daunting task. frontex is out there. other member states and associated countries have provided forces, whether it is planes, boats, debriefing teams to help the collective european offer -- effort. i tip my hat to them. two more things. one, you cannot overlook the impact this has on merchant shipping. -- thisterranean particular area is really the crossroads of the mediterranean. when you look at merchant traffic coming out of the suez canal and heading towards the strait of gibraltar it goes right to the area where eu naval
forces and mediterranean operations. vessels have a responsibility when there are mariners in distress or vessels in distress to render assistance. they had done a very good job. year aes so far this merchant vessel has diverted to lend assistance. is owed ang industry debt of gratitude. at the same time there is a cost associated with that because that is taking their vessel off of its regular service. there is an economic cost. but they do it and they continue to do that. sea,y, the mediterranean sometimes people lose track it is a sea and the aegean is a sea. it's not like a small lake and
the weather is very challenging and nasty starting right now in the fall and then in the winter he gets very bad. it's important that there be those first responders out there. it does not paint a rosy picture. >> one more quick round of questions and we will open it up to the audience. i want to come back to kathleen and i would ask you to talk to bit more about the refugee convention itself. explain that the convention involves and what its requirements are. i would like for you, given all your background and work with the others, what is the u.s. role in this? what is the u.s. responsibility? i was just in europe and they were saying hey, where is the u.s.? that's a great question and want to hear a lot as well. the core obligation under the 1951 convention is not to return
a refugee to a country where his or her life or freedom would be in danger. the catch 22 and that from the perspective of a refugee is that there is no right to enter a country. you have to somehow reach another country's territory in order to claim that protection against not being returned. that does not enter into the picture unless you are under the jurisdiction of another country. there are lots of controversies over maritime indictments and whether a ship flying the flag of your country then obligation or country under the refugee convention. no agreement on that. the u.s. supreme court has said
no. in fact the convention obligations don't apply extraterritorial he. -- extraterritorialy. there was a lot in this maritime crisis. there was a lot of controversy over that and what it does is create an incentive for countries to prevent people from landing. fortunately, and to the european's great credit, we've not seen it happening in this crisis. we have not seen pushback from the shores of europe. there are certainly forces within europe who would like to see that. the discussions with turkey, with other countries. some of those are andy keeping people -- aimed at keeping people in the region. for all kinds of good reasons and perhaps some bad ones as well. , i hear thisole
from european all the times. 10,000 from syria this year? really? that is a day's intake last reece.d degrees -- to g remember the dissension between asylum-seekers and refugees. the u.s. is protected by geography. they don't have the luxury of screening people in deciding who will be accepted and so forth and planning for their reception. which we do through our resettlement program. from is a lot of pressure u.s. advocacy groups, refugee izationsment organ for the u.s. to take more. they propose we should be taking 100,000 syrians a year. that is almost impossible logistically under the current system. if that's point to happen, we
need a change procedure. >> i want to turn back to philip. when i was studying in germany many years ago as a student, i was told that germany had this very specific culture that this was a country based on a strong cultural identity. today your chancellor tells us that germany is a new political culture. i would love to hear you talk about what you think that means and say a little bit more about german leadership on these issues in europe and getting the eu to respond to the crisis. it's like we don't like them anymore. i think god. -- this was interesting when you observe germany over the last fact is thatthe germany has become an immigration society.
20% of germans have at least one non-german parent which is per capita more than the u.s. we are clearly an immigration society. -- conservative germanyl parties in have come to terms of this and they now see we are an immigration society. everyone sees we need -- immigration. demographically and therefore we need migration. getting one million refugees in six months is a different cup of tea. that doesn't mean their profiles match with what we need. we would like them canadian approach and be protected by geography, to pick the midwives in the welders we need.
we don't have the privileges to do so. we have to work with what we get now. let's try to make the best of it. i think that generally speaking all european countries, and particularly the ones in central and eastern europe should be -- poland has a worse birthrate in germany. countries whohe found their freedoms as 20 or 25 years ago are very homogenous and much more unified than germany over the last 50 years. they have a problem to opening up to refugees. it's a difficult process and its it is decades to understand we are an immigration society. times are moving quicker. you better get prepared for the fact you need immigration and
you have to prepare for the. i don't expect slovakia or the czech republic to take the same percentage of refugees as germany. it's an illusion. but the total blocking of refugees because of it being a danger to the culture, i think that is also wrong politics. interest, notnal only because there is a lack of european solidarity between them but from a national point of view they should be much more open-minded when it comes to immigration. >> charles, to come back to you. rian prime minister accused germany of moral imperialism. what was he talking about? mr. ackerman:. i don't know. mr. gati: could you ask an
easier one? i think what he must've had in mind -- [laughter] i think what he must've had in mind was there are certain national interests as opposed to universal moral values and humanitarian approaches. the national interest dictates by his standards, by his standard, is that these countries remain homogeneous. that is what we are talking about. they don't want anybody that is not like them. when the chancellor, as you can tell i admire, said that the refugees are welcome.
anthought that there was invitation for them to come and more to come and millions to come. he did not think individual countries and the european union to embrace them and to admit them. this is the best interpretation i can give you. if you want to hear what i really think -- [laughter] mr. gati: we will talk after this session. >> this is on the record. one final question for captain lisko, i would like to hear you say a little bit more about the border control issue in europe and how the europeans are dealing with this. shangin earlier. it's a remarkable accomplishment. for those of you like the old
enough to remember the days and you traveled in europe and you cannot cross the national border without having your papers checked, the europeans have constructed a border-free europe. the deal was if you're going to have these internal borders eliminated, you have got to have external border control. frontex is a skeletal operation. they have very few assets. how are the european going to get a handle on these border questions do you think? captain lisko: it's definitely a challenge. frontex is out there. we have the luxury of having a u.s. coast guard, having border protection, having federal agencies with broad authority and responsibilities. although you have the european union, you still have this sovereignty issues with each state. it's challenging. it's very challenging.
i'm not really the best qualified person to speak to that. i am more at the operator level. one of the things i look at and we look at the u.s. coast guard is the push and pull factors that are associated with migration flows. africa where we are engaged through coast guard mobile training teams with african and 80 coast guard workers coming to the u.s. to do coast guard training, i would throughtime governing good maritime law enforcement and search and rescue, report security. sub-saharanlp african coastal states with their economic development, which maritime trade and safe and secure marine transportation systems afford them, then maybe they won't feel the need to
leave their country. i will give an example. state thatn coastal historically had a lot of illegal fishing going on in their exclusive economic zone. there are a lot of effect that had. the country was not receiving the revenue for fishing licenses because it was illegal fishing. they lost the revenue. their local fishing fleet were either unemployed or underemployed because stocks were being taken. there was a food security issue because in that particular country the majority of the protein that the citizens got came from fish. stormou have that perfect , that led some of the citizens to try to depart and heady europe. -- tod to my europe
europe in a mass migration. >> you are talking about libya in particular and how the smuggling operations are working in libya. katie use them as an example of what is going on on the coast? captain lisko: i would say the european union did have capacity had been building missions in libya. they were trying to help their navy and coast guard. the conditions became that they were no longer -- they had to leave. the libyan coast guard has been trained by western countries. no right now when you have effective border control it makes it very difficult. just that better of 140,000 people coming from the north central africa, libya, you don't know where that money is going.
you do not know whose facilitating that. i would hope that -- >> you describe the smokers a little bit like travel agents. captain lisko: right. when organized crime is involved, they want to make things as easy as they can for their victims. it's almost like a travel agency. if you want to go from point a to point b, you pay your money and do it. mr. ackerman: i think you're amazed. the alaskans would say the lower 48. [laughter] mr. ackerman: i think what we have seen is a basic attempt to try to secure our borders.
hungary with its border to serbia, which is not a member of the european union, and they had tried to secure the border. we have to accept the fact that if people, for whatever reason are trying to walk through the tokens -- balkans, and there are 200,000 people walking border protection comes to an end. and youthe pictures, have seen it on behind gary-serbian border where people sit in the mud. what do you do? what is a border protection in this case? imagine honduras as a major catastrophe and half of its population moves from the -- to mexico and the u.s. you have to cope with the influx. securing the border only goes so far.
what the european union is trying to do is set up this registration center. we call the hotspots. gre are and gree -- in ece and italy. it means if you are a refugee you are entitled to a silent or refugee status. at the same time if you are not taking in refugees, you might be sent back. >> caf au lait wanted to add something. ms. newland: that's a very good description. one of the problems in europe is the non-refugees are not sent back in great numbers. this crisis. pre it is probably much higher now. system is solum
overwhelmed and people are not moving very quickly through the system. that european have with returningve people not entitled to international protection is one of the factors they are trying to into groups with. it's really a very difficult one. people have family ties and supported communities. dragging people out of their beds and putting them in chains on an airplane. not a good object. >> the audience is been incredibly patient. let's open it up for questions. i see the settlement right here is a question. if you can keep your questions brief, to the point, in his speeches please. we will have a chance to get the reaction of the panel. yes? >> as i watch the news on this refugee crisis and listen to the comments of the panel i cannot help but think of the response of european nations, the united
states, and great britain to european use escaping the holocaust. -- jews escaping the holocaust. if any of you thought about parallel? this is something strongly in our minds. it will always direct politics. it is something very clearly -- one of the numerous reasons we would not close of our country to refugees. the u.k. is part of europe and that is important. [laughter] >> that's back here in the down here. yes? >> thank you very much. ghana. immigrant from my concern when i look at the crisis in europe and i sympathize with with the europeans have to go through, it seems to me that everybody is the libyan part of
it. and at the european union, especially britain and france intervened. they helped to break libya. our former secretary of state is you break it, you own it. therefore i would like some the africanwhy refugees trying to get to europe through the central -- mediterranean are getting far less attention. president obama said at the u.n. he is convinced that the intervention in libya was not handled well. when he is increasing the refugees to come to the u.s., he does not mention the libyans at all. i think there is a blind spot where the libyans are concerned and if the panel could share their thoughts and that, i would appreciate it.
very few refugees from libya are libyan. they are coming from further points south africa. about a quarter of from a richer ia, nigeria, bangladesh, mali, senegal. them are not considered people seeking protection from many of those countries. gambia. ghana, be --re not considered to there countries are not at war. their asylum approval rate eric
-- already over 80% in europe. syrians over 90%. , they are sudanese among the top groups. probably moreded than half get a silent. -- asylum. the problem with libyan departure is there mostly from western libya which is not controlled by the libyan government we talk to the by the islamic libyan government. that coast is lawless. we don't have the power. the europeans don't have the power. nobody is the power to bring order to that. it is really the wild west. that is really the problem. i would say the numbers coming on that route have declined compared to last year.
as opposed to the aegean route ece which iso gre increased by over 1000% since last year. that is no excuse for ignoring the central mediterranean route. i think it has become dangerous. let me just remind you when libya was still under gaddafi many countries, including those of the european union had a sort of dirty deal with this guy. you have to except he was turning refugees away. he did not 11 to embark. now they have lawlessness and they do embark. they still continue to come over the mediterranean. i would say that i think in the near future you -- refugees have less of a chance to stay in
europe because of -- we will be less generous with african refugees, sub-saharan african refugees than we used to because of the syrians, afghan, and iraqis. >> this the moment in the front row -- gentleman in the front row? >> my name is david and an analyst. i have an easy question. it seems that western europe has been forced to be reactive. how we get ahead of this power curve and address it in a humane way? gati on the issue of conspiracy theories, one of the conspiracies or talking points floated is that syria is
actively supporting the egress of syrian sunnis because he gets rid of a problem and he can repopulate those areas with very friendly people's. thank you. including the christian minorities in syria, by the way. conspiracy theories are all over the place. there is not a day that i can't read a new one. russia and inin eastern europe to look under the rug and look for a reason other than the one that is given. many times this is true. i don't deny that. i also work for the u.s. government so i have some idea about what is going on as opposed to what is being said. not all of these are fantasies.
the one you mentioned and the one i referred to obviously are false and actually are ridiculous. i would like to make a comment about a previous comment about the holocaust. it is a very important question in eastern europe and especially in hungary. for a while germany has come to terms with its role and acknowledged the horrors that it brought to the world. some of its world war ii supporters have not admitted any responsibility whatsoever. in fact they say they too were victims. in hungary there is a new statue right the middle of the city which i saw which makes no almosttion between the 600,000 jews killed with hunt.
arian assistance in the hungary that was invaded in march of 1944. this is an outrage. titleere willing, as the of a different kind of book said, they were willing executioners. participation was extensive. comparable to what the germans were doing. if you don't come to terms with what you did, then you response to the new immigrants and refugees, people who look for a better life, obviously will be altogether different. hungary is not alone in this respect. and anti-simmons is a is pervasive. pervasive.itism is
i was teaching and i am from croatia. i think is important because i have seen refugees and i think there are actually a lot of things in those countries like croatia and serbia and macedonia about the refugees because we went through this. flows, migrant flows, they are different from what we have seen in the 1990's. we saw women and kids and people happy for leaving their homes and hoping to come back. men ofsee 70% young --hting age and 50% women
15% women and 15% kids. they are not interested in asylum in any the so-called safe countries of low economic e,portunity like greec slovenia, croatia. sloveniat writing in slovenia because they want to get a germany as soon as possible. they crossed through several countries. there was lots of sympathy for their plight. how do you to you is see the situation? i think it might endanger the current -- refugee protection because of this confusion between what is a migrant and what is a refugee. migrant?o you treat a
you can turn a refugee to other countries. mr. ackerman, i understand about european solidarity but i think the problem within europe is that many see, and this is not just part of eastern europe, this crisis was partly triggered by german policy of suspending european mechanisms for asylum. there was a rush to get to germany before germany closed its borders. have you seen other future because the migrant flow has exposed the balkan countries to a lot of problems. i know that angela merkel is under pressure to put limits to the number of refugees, especially from the bavarian
areas. >> who would like to start? you raise some very good questions and i think you articulated some of the contradictions that are inherent among eu countries where people want to go to germany or sweeten -- sweeden because they are economically vibrant. they also want to go to a welcoming country. there is the contradiction. people don't want to say hungary because hungarians are hostile the refugees. the unwillingness to accept refugees on the part of many eu members has reinforced this diorama where there are only a few countries seen as welcoming and refugees are rational
people. they want to be able to earn a living. 70% are young men. this is often a household decision to send the young men because they seem to be heartier, more willing to take the risk and more likely to survive the journey. and there was hope for family unity. also more go to work and send money back to the family. that is a rational household decision. it's not that these gentlemen men are saying only to leave the women and children behind and go out on my own. they are doing with a -- especially their families. 92% said he went to go back to syria as soon as possible. they may change their minds but at this point that as their objective. i think the possibilities for temporary protection are one of the things that will be on the menu, as in the case of the
balkan refugees in germany in the 1990's. if i could say one more thing mentioned the need to open alternative legal channels for people to move. unfortunately but we are seeing now and is philip alluded to european countries are going in the opposite direction. they are probably going to be cutting down on labor migration because they can still there labor needs from their own populations. they are cracking down on family reunification because they feel that they are overwhelmed. this will feed into illegal them as overtime. something has got to crack. >> philip? mr. ackerman: the future of german politics is a long question. ist i would single out here the argument that the germans
invited them. this is a cynical argument and it's a wrong argument. the reason for that being, and catherine said at the beginning, these people are desperate. they flee their homes because they don't see any future at home. it's not that we have an invitation extended to syrians, please go to germany, we are happy to provide you with a house in a job and a mercedes. that is not the case. they sleep in shelters. they sleep on the ground. they are in difficult circumstances. if not a secret that these people know exactly through their smartphones what to expect. i think if people are desperate, they find their way. in a way refugee moves are like water. when you put one border up, they find other ways. the dublin system is very good for germany because in the
system nobody is directed him to germany. they must day in croatia for example -- stay in croatia. whichever coast they come. even croatia were not like greece to send them millions of refugees. it's a fragile country. the dublin system, the first country in the european union you set foot on is the country you seek asylum. this is the country that has decided you have to stay in this country. openlymans never said that they would set of rules aside what they did in fact. i think this is good for very many countries on the road to germany, including croatia. >> how many refugees were staying in greece and italy? mr. ackerman: italy more than greece but we have seen with greece is going through. nobody wants greece to falter
because of refugees. there is an avalanche of fact. it's clear people are following the ones -- don't get the wrong idea. refugees in germany are welcomed with open arms and get wonderful flats right away. they are in a very difficult situation and they know it. they are well aware of what to expect. i think the invitation argument is cynical because it belittles the refugees that flee out of despair. they are desperate. and it gets the country's that say no refugees here off the hook. >> i-40 keep going around. -- i am going to keep going around. just hang on and i will get uss
as i can. professor gati? mr. gati: to complications -- two applications. it's somewhat misleading to talk about countries as if they were all good or all bad. it's very important to keep in mind, we were talking about majorities, and they do differ from country to country. it's very complicated. even germany where i have spent considerable time praising isay, the coalition partners not only fighting merkel on this in welcomed victor orband bavaria. he is their hero. even germany, there is an issue there. the hungrians -- >> we know americans are unified on all these issues. hungrians --n the
i saw individuals hang it -- handing out blankets and food in whatever. they are a reasonably poor country. they were going out of their way to be helpful. the other complication is that the refugees i want to go to germany. they don't want to go to lithuania. >> how send somebody with a don't want to go? mr. gati: i don't have the answer but it is an important question to keep in mind. ms. newland: if lithuania made itself more welcoming, that would change. friendink dr. bill in the middle. he's in the middle. >> i mention the fact that germany has already received something like 700,000 at of the
stormy figure of 800,000 represented. there is an enormous reservoir turkey,tial refugees in and displacedn, who are in even more wretched camps. this must come to many more millions. what is the situation for handling this? some of the countries in europe have not done anything. i have not heard anything about france. think the president has made nice noises but i have not heard of any policy. >> probably a reason for that. >> what can be done for the next and thes to stem this
countries were these people are? and possibly move towards some sort of political situation so this 90% who would like to go back will at least consider going back? >> that is a tough question. leaving one's home is a huge decision. we have seen that during the war and after the war. leaving home is an emotional an extremely strong feeling. syria is still their home. some might want to go home. , it's moresyrians than half the population. 2 million are in turkey. one million in jordan. you are better on that. the remedy is to go to stop the
conflict in syria. try everything we can to try to stop the war in syria. let me say at this table that this administration is really showing effort and strength here. we see your secretary of state doing the utmost to come to a solution. doing original things. the fact that he brought the iranian and saudi minister together in vienna last week is a huge step forward. that doesn't mean that we are close to a solution. i think we have seen new diplomatic momentum. i think we should take care of it. the only remedy to this terrible crisis is stop the war in syria. ms. newland: to show you how desperate the refugees and the surrounding countries are people , are already going back to syria from jordan. from lebanon. before the russian bombing
campaign started. they were going back in considerable numbers. the number of refugees in jordan is actually dropping. because they are going back to syria or going to europe. back to syriang because of the conflict intensifying in syria, but that is how badly people want to go back. while the war is going on, people are going back. which i find extraordinary. >> this gentleman here has been patient. another gentleman there, and we will keep going around. the lady down in front. >> if the remedy is diplomacy in syria, why isn't there more activity in europe to produce some kind of result in syria? why isn't there more military engagement in iraq or afghanistan? to try to calm those places? why aren't there more aid programs to stem the flow of
eritreans and others who are coming to -- why are the short-term, why aren't we doing long-term thinking? ms. newland: that is a good question. eritrea will not accept aid. they think they are just fine. that's not a conflict or development problem, it is a repression problem. it is primarily a problem of force conscription, which is in effect forced labor. in other countries in africa, i think the answer is we don't know how to do development effectively. there are governance issues that are beyond the donors' ability to fix. there are just massive obstacles to development. and development tends to be self starting. so i do not think more 80's -- i would advocate for more
strongly, but it, in itself, is not going to solve the problem. nor is military intervention. the 1990's, i served as a senior member of the policy planning staff. mind the title. policy planning staff of the department of state. i can tell you categorically there is no such thing as long-term planning. period. >> lets come down here to the front this lady who has been , patient. and then back to this gentleman. >> i am a congressional journalist. i cover law. immigration law. you are right, these migrants do not have the right to invade another country's borders. but there is such deep compassion, it seems that we are not allowed to use rhetoric that would reflect laws.
here in the u.s., we have to look at the pull factor as well as the push factors. definitely, it seems that when the migrants are rescued and brought to europe, that is a great reward for their efforts. i was in albania a couple of years ago. it is a very sparsely populated country. it is half christian, half muslim. they wanted very much to engender goodwill with the european union. they are developing their coastline with greece. why doesn't europe take advantage of countries like kosovo? pay them huge amounts of money that would allow them to accept and settle, at least temporarily, many of these muslim refugees? and not be rewarded by coming to europe? >> anyone want to tackle that
one? >> let me answer that quickly, because until summer, the biggest number of asylum seekers in germany came from kosovo and albania. [laughter] so that explains a bit where we stand here. these are not countries who deem themselves in a position to do that. >> most of them are not getting asylum. >> no, they are all sent back. now they are all sent back. because of the other. catherine referred to them -- kathleen referred to them earlier. i think we are living in a more and more globalized world. there are push factors and pull factors. american universities are pull factors. lots of german scientists, russian scientists, go to american universities. that is a brain drain. and when people from ghana and senegal think their life is better in europe than in their home states, they are taking the risk and opportunity.
frankly, i don't blame them. i cannot blame them. for that. it is possible they will be sent back. because they are not asylum seekers. the fact is, it in this globalized world, where information exchanges quickly, we have to come to terms with the fact that mobility is a huge problem or a huge factor that influences our society. i can only say -- america is the best example -- the more open the society is, the more reason there is to believe it will survive. good point. let's keep going around. i want to get a couple questions. then back to you. be gentleman here has waited patiently. then the lady here and this lady. >> i was an international judge in kosovo. ann,cond ambassador ackerm what he said about kosovo's lack
of capacity to handle any of the refugees. that is not the point i want to make. so far, the european countries have absorbed 100% of the burden, to their credit. my question is, do any of you think that the arab states -- saudi arabia, the very wealthy gulf states -- have any obligation to step up to the plate? i was struck by the irony, several weeks ago, when saudi arabia hosted the annual haaj. of course, it was a catastrophe, during the haaj, but it struck me saudi arabia has the infrastructure and ability to handle millions of people at the same time. i'm curious as to whether there is any justification for saudi arabia not taking on any of the obligation? perhaps it is the tiresome sunni-shiite divide.
but when you look at europe, it is historically christian. but europe is welcoming people of the muslim faith, which is a wonderful thing. why can't the other folks in the gulf step up? ms. newland: because they are all sitting on powder kegs. with their own domestic politics. apart from saudi arabia, which is a big country. the other gulf states have tiny populations. have as much as 75% of the population composed of immigrants. hundreds of thousands of syrians live and work in the gulf states. many middle-class and wealthy syrians have fled from syria to dubai. to abu dhabi. other places in the gulf. they are not there as refugees, which means that they lack the
right -- but they are living and working as syrians in the gulf states. none of the gulf states are signatories to the refugee convention, they do not have refugee laws. there is no legal status of a refugee in any of the gulf states, which is not excusing them. but explaining what the situation is. so you have lots of syrians in the gulf. they are not there as refugees. i think the call to account of the gulf states is much more on fueling the conflicts than not taking refugees. >> can i add, you'd be surprised how little people want to go to these countries. i have served in the arab world. these rich arab countries are unpopular amongst the other arab countries.
whether it is correct or not, i am not to judge. but there is a general feeling once they are in saudi arabia, they would be treated as persons second or third class. not having the same access to provisions by the government or something. the majority of syrians would say, i would rather go to europe. >> let's go to the lady in the back and then we will come back to you. >> i wanted to go back to the question of the u.s.'s role in the european refugee crisis. i have worked in resettlement through the international rescue committee for a few years. i would like to know what we are doing to bolster resettlement programs. to better prepare them for a potential larger surge, if we are advocating for the u.s. to take in more refugees, especially syrian refugees. ms. newland: as i said before,
there is a strong advocacy effort to take more refugees. syrians in particular and more refugees in general. the u.s. government has upped the resettlement ceiling from 70,000 last year to 85,000 this fiscal year. and aiming for 100,000 next year. it is still a drop in the bucket. absolutely a drop in the bucket. the resource implications are considerable. vetting selection, reception, and placement, support that lasts for less than a year for refugees, comes to something on the order of $10,000 a person. that is partly because we make our procedures so complicated. if we take an extra 10,000 refugees, that is $100 million. that is serious money.
they really has to be a consensus and a willingness on the part of congress to appropriate those funds or other of dealing with this. the canadians have a private sponsorship program in which private citizens take on the responsibility for supporting refugees. i would love to see that happen here. i think there's a tremendous willingness on the part of the u.s. public to do it. we have done similar things in the past. but we would have to really -- there would have to be a serious effort to streamline procedures, particularly the security procedures. we put people through four security procedures. there is such a aversion and paranoia about the idea, in my view, quite silly idea, that terrorists would use this extremely heavily scrutinized channel to enter the u.s. as an aside, we have resettled since we have ramped up security procedures for refugees after 9/11, we have resettled
784,000 refugees and there have been exactly three arrests for terrorism-related activities. none of which came anywhere near to completion. there would have to be a reform of the system to accommodate more people. we can do it. we resettled 287,000 people in one year from vietnam. if there is a will, there was a way. there have to be resources. >> charles? prof. gati: i realize that that was a very different time and circumstances. i would like to relate here in 1957, when i was a refugee, the quota for hungarian refugees was about 3000 to 4000. that was filled practically in minutes in november of 1956 in vienna. then president eisenhower went to congress and asked for special quota of 44,000. that was approved in a few days. by a congress that is rather
different from the one that we now have to day. so as a result, i was able to come here. i realize it was the cold war. the circumstances were very different. but still, this is a different america. that is my response to your question. >> the lady here has been very patient. could you speak with the microphone? >> i am christina sole brand. i want to thank the panel for elucidating this intricate problem. complex. i am wondering if we could have each person on the panel say something about what you mentioned, mr. hollifield, at the beginning, about the goal of the wilson center to bring forth actionable ideas. mr. ackermann suggested we try to end the war in syria. mr. gati gave a comment about the woeful inability to do long-range planning.
those comments notwithstanding, could you -- >> that is a superb question , maybe with which to end the panel and take one final round of comments from our panel. that would give you time to interact with the panel individually. i think that is an excellent question. we brought the george w. bush presidential library to smu, where i teach. president bush said he wanted not a think tank but an action tank. let's come up with ideas and put them into action. we can make bad jokes about this, let's not go there -- but what are we going to do? what are the europeans going to do? i mean the dublin system is , broken. it has not worked for decades. what is the new policy going to look like? if you are asked to design this policy for the commission and to build a consensus, what would it be? mr. ackermann: that is a
different question. i would say that europe should try to sit down and try to develop an asylum and refugee welcoming policy that is equally distributed according to some parameters that have to be developed. at the end of the day, the refugee, perhaps, would not have the right to decide in which countries he or she is going to be sent. but at the end of the day, every refugee could be that sure even if he is sent to the far north leg estonia, or portugal, he would have a decent living in the circumstances. that would be great to have such a general policy. we are far from that, unfortunately.
i think that will not be imminent. that will be a policy that could cope with crisis like we are facing. my answer is -- has little to do with the immediate issue at hand. but in the longer run, it is essential for the european union to work out procedures to penalize members who are not cooperative and who go far away from the central purposes and standards and spirit of the european union. such measures are -- not only that they do not exist, but those that do exist could not be applied. if you penalize austria, and they tried to do 15 years ago, than every other country in the union will believe if they vote for that next time around, they
could get the bad treatment. this is the same with hungary today, especially because it is a member of the epp group. therefore, it is impossible , short of expelling the countries, to apply any serious measures. this way, the european union, i believe, will face more and more difficulties unless it changes this, which is not going to be easy. >> captain lisko, you want to get in on this? capt. lisko: you bet. as far as actionable ideas, i think the coast guard will continue to do what we do well. which is subject matter expert exchanges on search and rescue. on boarding officer training. on how to do things safely. in areas such as evidence collection and investigative techniques. we are working with department
of homeland security agencies and some of our european counterparts, doing that. in malta, we partner with the armed forces of malta. their search-and-rescue training center. it prides itself on bringing neighboring countries in for, say, a one-month rescue coordinating class. i have taught in this school. we've had algerian and tunisian officers in class for a month. they are learning how to properly execute search and rescue operations. that is half of it. the other half is socialization outside of the classroom. getting to know your neighbors. because the international maritime organization, the search-and-rescue system encourages collaborative agreements with neighboring countries so it will lead to a more effective and timely search-and-rescue response. i would say continuing to do the
things we do well -- search and rescue, maritime law enforcement at sea -- and working with north african and southern european partners. better stuff noise something actionable and something. ms. newland: that is one of the picture.ots in this that cooperation has brought down the death rates and saved hundreds of thousands of people. i am trying to think how to be brief on this because the migration policy institute has an entire program of work on that sub check. we are investigating things like legal channels for mobility for refugees and other forced migrants. it is not easy to draw a line between the refugees and those migrants. opening opportunity through education and training opportunities for refugees in
countries of first asylum, countries of destination, and for migrants in their country of origin. using technology is something we are behind on. there is a great deal more that could be done. to af refugees have access smart phone -- a mobile phone. 40% to a smartphone. that is one of the real transformations. use that be able to technology more productively. more generous attitudes to family reunification is actionable can do something countries are worried about. it is key to successful integration of refugees and migrants. diaspora communities where people already have ties. i mentioned private sponsorship. it is important to develop a get-term prospect on this,
away from the exclusively emergency response -- which hard at a time like this. when things calm down a little, we tend to put things aside and not planned for the next crisis. and we need global solidarity. this is not just a middle eastern problem, a european problem. the u.s. needs to step up to the plate. but so does brazil, thailand, and other countries around the world, need to be part of a comprehensive way of dealing with these global crises. and it is important to bring in the private sector, which is a lot better at channeling flows and logistics and employment and all of these issues -- a lots better than governments are in dealing with that. private sector and civil society need to be wrought in to that global compact. ationpolicy.org for
more than you can bear on this. i think it is safe to say we had an intense discussion that all of you have learned from. i hope you take this back to your workplace and learn about it did let's keep solidarity with the europeans, middle eastern friends coping with tried toses, and just keep hope alive would be the way i put it. let's think of the panelists. >> thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] house minority leader nancy pelosi's leading a congressional delegation in china with a load democratic members. she sent out this photo of the group being greeted by the marine detachment at the u.s. consulate in hong kong. they will meet with chinese
officials and citizens. the trip takes place while the house is in recess. they combat november 16 for legislative business. the senate is in section. they are back tomorrow at 3:00 eastern, continuing work on a spending bill for military construction and olivier -- and the v.a. we also expect work on authorization for defense programs. follow these senate live on c-span 2. isall persons having this before the supreme court of the united states -- korematsu boldly oppose the forced internment of japanese americans during world war ii. after being convict did for failing to report for
relocation, he took his case all the way to the supreme court. >> this week on c-span's landmark cases, we discuss korematsu v. the united states. after the attack on pearl harbor, president franklin roosevelt issued an evacuation order, sending 120,000 people of japanese origin who lived close to military organizations to internment camps. >> this is a re-creation of one of the barracks. lot, 100 20 feet a feet along, and divided into six rooms. they did not have ceilings, they did not have masonite on the floor. it was freezing even in the day. the only heating they would have had would be a potbellied stove. this would not have an able to heat the entire room in a comfortable way. >> challenging the evacuation su was fred koremat
arrested and his case went to the supreme court. find out how the court ruled , the author of "justice at war: the story of the japanese-american internment cases." u, executiveremats director of the korematsu institute and daughter of the plaintiff. and we follow his life before, during, and after the court's decision. that is coming up on the next mondayk cases, live at on 9:00 p.m. eastern. landmark cases companion book. it is available for $8.25 at c-span.org/landmarkcases. senate commerce committee
looked at rule some companies used to discourage criticism from customers online. business include a a lawsuit online. tripadvisor.d by this is an 40 minutes. hour, >> morning. this hearing comes to order. >> this meeting will come to order. imagine your consumer, who purchases an item online but the product is not what you bargained for. you take to social media terror posts and honest account of your experience. you are then aggressively approached by the company that sold you the substandard product and are threatened with a stiff penalty. fine print, there
was a cause for baiting you from posting negative content about the company even if it was chirped. it is happening every day across the country. disparagement or gag clauses are being forced on consumers and then intimidating them. these are egregious from a consumer protection viewpoint but are also doing harm to our internets. can create how we policies that unlock the true potential of the internet. speech stifling contract terms undermine what we are trying to accomplish. the core tenant of the internet is to freely share information with whoever you like. what good is information if it has been sanitized to remove truthful criticism? consumer gag clauses can result in bullying.
often, consumers do not believe they have any power against companies that treat them poorly. the online review sites have given american consumers power. consumers place high value on the experiences of other consumers and rely on the wisdom of the crowd when this fighting where to spend their money. some consumers abuse the reviews, with false but businesses that face unfair abilitiesve existing to fight that. there are a growing number of businesses in the marketplace that are lacking -- that are blocking honest consumer speech through gag clauses rather than providing a better product or service. today, we are joined by jen palmer, who will share her from al experience company that sought a $3500 toldty sibley because she
the truth. they were able to challenge this in court and pursue view -- p persevere. case, -- patient posted an online review complaining about being overcharged, the dentist sent a takedown notice to the review site. the dentist also sent invoices demanding payment of $100 for each day the complaints be online.o the patient sued. in another case, a consumer, who did not receive her order from and thee company, company demanded the consumer paid $250 for violation of violating its fine print sale, which prevented the consumer from even threatening --
alleging its actions were contrary to public policy. the court found in the consumer's favor. in a wedding contract, a hotel went so far as to inform newlyweds they could be fined if --y were any of their guests if they or any of their guests violated the cut cause. consumers often succumbed to pressure and remove the negative review. they would rather avoid the fight then face excessive penalties due to litigation or damage to credit scores. act led us to introduce the that would inform contracts will allowing companies to pursue defamation claims.
the ftc recently filed suit against one company over consumer cap cause. and the consumer review freedom act would ensure their ability to fight these. with stakeholders and plan to make a few changes prior to marking the bill. i am looking forward to moving this through our committee and the senate so americans continue to help each other make an armed decisions. we haven't excellent panel with diverse experiences on this issue. uniqueh paying a perspective. i want to thank you for agreeing to testify and to be with us today. senator nelson. nelson: companies want to muzzle consumers. these companies are using their size and unequal bargaining power to force consumers to sign these take it or leave it
agreements or contracts. in some cases, these are just online pop-up items that a on, usuallycks without reading the small print, to purchase a good or service on the internet. almost no one reads them. but they can have major consequences. when i was in law school, they called these contracts of adhesion. because called adhesion you're stuck with them. you cannot modify the contract in any way. you are bound by the fine print of that lawyers are so good at drafting. and the idea that some companies are suing or threatening to sue their customers for truthfully
reviewing their consumer because of the so-called disparagement clauses in contracts, in the fine print -- i think it is appalling. so we need to do something about it. thankfully, mr. chairman, the ur. like mine, florida, that is so dependent on tourism, we want visitors to share their experiences. businesses that do a good job should be it rewarded with good comments. those who do not, they ought to be punished. why telling the truth. so mr. chairman, i am glad your processich stopped the
-- i think this hearing is timely, because of this issue and your my mind, angs up, in related issue that needs to be discussed. a few weeks ago, the "los angeles times" reported that f iat-chrysler was her car and consumers that wanted to receive a family discount on a car -- ,hey must, in order to get that sign a mandatory arbitration clause as part of the sales contract. so if the car is defective and kills or injures that's consumer, as was the case with toyotas'sudden acceleration or or takataion problems 's exploding airbags, you're
potentially barred from seeking ridge rest because of that take it or leave a cause. this type of provision is outrageous. and i think it is obvious. the automakers, many dealers are also trying to use these arbitration provisions to shield themselves. committee has seen too many examples, lately, of companies getting away scott free for killing and injuring and hiding the truth. these non-disparagement and arbitration clauses are ways for consumers to avoid responsibility by silencing consumers. so consumers ought to be able to write a negative review about their business experience. consumers should also have the ability to seek justice in a
court of law when businesses fail to hold up their end of the bargain, especially if that uplure and's up in -- ends in injury or death. thank you, mr. chairman, for the hearing. nelson, you, senator for those comments. i want to add letters of support for the legislation. this is from angie hicks of angie's list, where she says the act to work pretty use of these clauses, which are blatant but cleverly disguised ways to strip -- on the bipartisan bill introduced, by several of our colleagues. the american consumer institute, center for citizen research, and
another of support from coalition, that includes yelp, real self, among others. those for ther record. now i want to open it up and look forward to hearing from our panel. left, mr.th us, on my adam medros, senior vice president for global product on trip advisor. mr. robert atkinson, president of the information technology and innovation foundation. miss jen palmer, one of the named plaintiffs in palmer v. cleagear. mr. eric goldman is professor at the santa clara university of law. rheingold,, mr. ira executive director of the national association of consumer advocates. welcome to all of you.
we will start on my left and you're right with mr. red rose. proceed with your statement. if you could confine it as close to five minutes as possible. c. medros: good morning member thune, ranking nelson, and members of the committee. thank you for inviting me. i am encouraged by the committee's attention to this issue. is adam medros, head for global project at tripadvisor. tripadvisor --n moderation and display of traveler reviews. for those who do not know -- do not recall what it is like to book a trip before the internet, let's rewind. due to the infrequent nature of travel and the importance we place on vacations, you either have to research and plan the trip on your own, calling
multiple hotels and airlines to look up pricing and availability , it and maybe if you are really lucky, a friend had visited it before, but you are buying blind. the internet and platforms like tripadvisor improved that experience. with access to customer reviews, we are no longer constrained to products our friends or families purchased or where one local travel agent thinks you should stay. so americans make more informed decisions on how to spend their money. refusedty of holdouts to let consumers share experiences. a popular tactic among such as this is was to use contractual leverage to silence critics. this underhanded doctors harms those writing reviews, those seeking transparency, and those businesses playing by the rules. 250advisor hosts more than million reviews and opinions from our community, covering
more than 5 million businesses around the world. we encourage consumers to share their experiences, good or bad, at hotels, restaurants, and attractions. we also give all businesses the right to respond to the reviews, so consumers can be present in both side of the story. americans are increasingly amazon to websites like and yelp to educate the cells in decisions.asing a study revealed at least 70% of american shoppers rely on online reviews before making a purchase. marketunited kingdom's authority, 50% of u.k. adults rely on online reviews and at least 20% off hotels shoppers consider that more important than any other information. consumer reviews are a critical
part of today's marketplace. while consumer reviews have become so ubiquitous, we know some businesses do not like the transparency online businesses have brought to the world. some lowly consumers to stop them from even being submitted. others find that firefighting it in small print. consumers and usually have no idea they are signing up for such agreements, which are usually only provided in small print at the moment of purchase. and those who read it lacked the leverage to have that cause removed while standing at the check-in desk. these areintention of the same, the exact language can vary. examples of language from consumers include "we place a five for unwarranted reviews under the terms of property.
if the hotel receives a poor and it is out of context or hotel of the hotel management, a fine of $300 will be charged to the card on file." dealing with these businesses can be tricky for a platform like tripadvisor. an easy solution would be to remove the business listing from our websites, that is what they want. to eliminate the consumer's ability to comment on them. tripadvisor has taken the approach of placing a red checkbox, warning travelers of this unscrupulous behavior. this is an imperfect solution, one that would be improved on by the passing of the act. goesgoes every -- this against everything we stand for. just as a consumer can tell her family and friends about her experience off-line, she has the right to do that online.
when a business include a gag order in and its agreements with customers, everyone is harmed. the consumer is improperly censored, the public is less even the business during the sentencing is harmed. it loses the opportunity to learn from the experience of its customers. positiveuses serve no role in the american marketplace and chips -- and stand in the way of consumer transparency. tripadvisor looks forward to working with you and the kimi to ensure american consumers are sharing -- d from i welcome your questions on this topic. >> thank you. thank you,n: chairman thune and ranking members of the committee. -- preciate the
the information technology and innovation foundation focused on policies to allow the internet to thrive. in this area you address, this act is a critical one will be our goal. i want to raise three issues. the first about economic theory and economics behind this. there has long been a view in economics that the effective functioning of markets depends on information. there was a noble prize given in economics for research in what they called asymmetric information. that is what is going on when you go to a hotel and the hotel knows everything. this is a market with asymmetric information. prize because they showed markets with asymmetric information under performed what would be otherwise economic welfare for everyone, consumers
and the overall economy. other economics research has found that markets do not perform effectively if buyers cannot assess the value of the product before they buy and you do not know what is going on, you cannot make an informed decision. -- as examples have shown, that incentive exists, certainly for some sellers. anre sellers of good part of service have a hard time proving their quality. and where there is a deficiency of public quality insurance. where it is hard for the consumer to find independent assessments of quality. that is why the emergence of online rating tools are important. solve thise tools to age-old problem that has the economic markets.
online rating helps solve the problem because they provide a public quality assurance and let people know when there is poor quality. the second point is the issue of preemption. some argue the federal government should not be involved in some of these questions and we should let the states deal with these questions. issues,rtainly in many states are best positioned. but in general, in the internet economy, we cannot rely on two bigo set policy for reasons. you end up with a cacophony of conflicting policies between states. and in many of these cases, hotel reviews in florida, many of those are non-florida residents. so a state might say we want to protect our businesses by not allowing this, but they are
hurting consumers around the country. use theseeverywhere and contribute to these. it is a clear justification for federal action. the third would be what about the possible harm to businesses, where there is a bad review. as has been pointed out, this bill would not prohibit companies from already using existing legal tools for defamation. more importantly, there has been a lot of evidence we start in our testimony that even when a company receives a bad review, if the company manager affirmatively response to that review and says "we are sorry" or "thanks for the review, we will try to fix the problem," gets them better results with consumers, because consumers believe the manager of the company are taking consumer complaints seriously and are more likely to trust us.
one found in hotels. therdless of whether business was found good, theyal, or negative, started getting higher reviews after hotel managers responded to feedback. i have heard that from hotel managers. hotels actively told the managers they should respond online because it brings back trust. i do not think we should worry much about the impact on companies. if companies are smart, they will monitor these rating platforms and respond appropriately. where there are clear cases of defamation and outright lies, they have other legal means. in summary, that is why i have support for this legislation. it is important for the online marketplace. thank you. >> thank you, next business palmer. share your story. mr. palmer: chairman thune,
ranking member nelson, and members of the committee, in key for inviting me. my name is jen palmer, and my experienced them shirts why nondisclosure clauses should be printed. my husband placed an order from thatgear for desk objects came to less than $20. when the items failed to arrive, we both attempted to contact the company through phone and e-mail. though we never got a human being, we were told that the payment never arrived so the item was not shipped. posted a review online and we went on with our lives. -- and the terms of sale and use. this clause, which barred customers from "taking any action that negatively impacted clear gear.com, its libby
tatian, or employees" did not exist when john ordered the items. the fact that john did not write the review did not matter. researching the internet archives confirmed that the clause did not appear until three years after my review had been posted. we were shocked and scared. i spent hours researching how to remove the review, only to find that the website had a policy of not removing reviews. explaining that the cost of not exist when he ordered it, and he did not write the review. the company threatened to write the debt -- three months later, the negative report for $3500 with clear gear as a creditor appeared on his credit report. we immediately disputed the debt with the credit bureaus. admitted date
confirmed the debt as valid, but we could not afford to hire an attorney and we did not have -- we did not know how to ask their credit report without help. it would be 18 months before john was clean again. careful -- we had no problems getting financing for any of those. for a year and a half, clear gear is black mark on john's credit caused us anxiety, fear, and humiliation, when people would ask us who is clear gear and why do you always them $3500? we were denied a credit card, delayed on a car loan, and detergent in buying a home that would move us closer to our work. the worst came when we tried to apply for purchasing -- for emergency financing to fix a furnace. i was terrified, too scared to
tell anyone for fear it social services would take my child away because we had no heat. we had to cut every expense. between our paychecks, we were able to buy a basic furnace with cash. by that point, we were tired of living in fear. i contacted a reporter, who did a segment on our plight and contact with a nonprofit who represented us in suing clear gear. after bullying us for so long, clear gear and never even bothered to show up to defend themselves in court. throughout our ordeal, we only wanted to things. traces of clear gear's actions against us be cleared from john's credit and make sure no one else entered the nightmare we entered. we applaud the committee for proposing to --
we are not the only victims of as severalf contact, citizens have reported on their websites and blogs. companies should not have the right to punish those who read reviews. companies should find their reputations honestly with fair dealing. tothink state should be free enforce this law in every way they can. i was glad to hear a restriction barring attorneys generals offices from hiring outside attorneys is being removed. i am grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences. of my husband, my son, and all of the consumer is being bullied and silences by companies wielding -- disparagement clauses, >> thank you for your willingness to share that story.
prof. goldman: chairman phil, i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the consumer review freedom act of 2015 and how congress can protect the consumer. i commend the committee for their leadership on this topic. -- and guide other consumers to the best companies in a way from poor ones. these by the social benefits generated by consumer reviews, some companies try to distort their public read b reputation by suppressing reviews from customers. these are illegitimate. the consumer review freedom act will allow other consumers to benefit from their expenses. these are such a terrible idea, it seems existing law should already prohibit the practices, though there is
precedence to support that position and explore two reasons why we still need the consumer review freedom act. will not clear if courts enforce anti-review classes. i use that to describe what other people are calling gag clauses or non-disparagement clauses. we have a nomenclature problem and i am sorry for compounding that. many judges will refuse to enforce anti-review clauses. not like tolso do override contractual provisions. anti-review clauses are not guaranteed to fail in court. i would like to call your attention to gallon versus included ahich contract which require tenants to agree they would not use websites to post their complaints, anonymously or not. we do not know how many consumers were deterred by this clause from sharing their experiences, but we know two
tenants did post public reviews location rental online in defiance. the landlord sued these tenants in federal court. the court held the reviews were the tenantsry but may have breached the contract. this means that anti-review clauses exposed the tenants' for posting ality noninflammatory review -- a non-defamatory review. that tenants and all other customers will enjoy legal certainty about their rights to speak up a the second reason we need the consumer review freedom alwaysusinesses are seeking ways to shape and manage their online reputation as a offer the illusion of control. anti-review clauses will keep proliferating until -- unless they are banned. the expanse of the health care
industry illustrates how that could happen. a company called medical justice sold contracts the doctors and professionals that contained anti-review clauses. doctorsles pitch to the and health care professionals with elegant and tempting. it implied fight using the contract, doctors and professionals would seemingly obtain a magic wand to scrub unwelcome patient reviews on the internet. i estimate over 1000 doctors and other health care professionals deployed such anti-review clauses in over one million americans find such provisions. the long-term market place this campaign is in cut global. though medical justice told consumers. using the form, even today, it can be hard to find robust numbers of patient reviews from many health care providers. though the health-care
industries adoption of this may seem an extreme case. we are likely to see this and other effects dominated in small businesses and service providers. in many cases, these proprietors' identities are clinked to their professional reputations. negative feedback feels like it reflects on them as an individual. if a tenant did not like the -- a line or if the patient said she did not like the doctor's bedside manner, the doctor may feel like her personality is being criticized. small-business owners will be attracted to anti-review clauses to prevent -- to prevent these blows. without the consumer review freedom act, i expect other industries will embrace the anti-review clauses, like the health-care industry did, and we will all be poor for it. i am thrilled to see congress
taking on that flight. i want to thank you for working on this bill and the opportunity to share my views. >>one, nobody who has been payig attention over the past decade should be surprised by the present growth of nonestablishment clauses. the idea behind the legislation craft to solve this problem is a good one, and fits into a long history of legislative action designed to not only protect humors -- consumers, but protect a market economy. we are unable to support this bill because it seeks to limit the rights of state and federal officials. see the logical conclusion of a decade-long corporate effort