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Identity denied

There are moments when we resort to other ways of expressing ourselves; it is in our nature to find alternatives to the story, so that we can tell the story. Nearly every person does it. Sometimes we ask ‘would you take that extra pastry?‘ instead of telling someone that you really feel like having another pastry. So when it comes to social media, we see not ourselves, but the person we want to be. We want to own the Hall of Faces (Game of Thrones) where we can mask ourselves with the identity of a dead person, like Ethan Hawke in Mission Impossible, walk in, sound like the person we are not, because we do not like ourselves in that particular moment. So when we look at Facebook, are we thinking the Hall of faces? In light of all that was revealed, are we in a stage where we prefer to be someone else?

You see, the shit is on the walls as some would say. Mark the Zuckyman did the right thing, he stood up (after a few days of silence) and held himself responsible and we are all over this that he is the culprit, but is he truly guilty? We see all kinds of articles on Facebook, like ‘You’ve decided to delete Facebook but what will you replace it with?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/31/youve-decided-to-delete-facebook-but-what-will-you-replace-it-with), even after a week this is still highly valid, because for millions of the multibillion users of Facebook, it has yet to sink in. Go to WhatsApp? Instagram? Both are owned by Facebook, so where does that leave you? So when we try to trivialise it with #DeleteFacebook, we need to realise that this is new territory. We now talk about the Social Media Landscape and it is not small. It is huge and most importantly, this is the first true generation of the Social media generation. We were not ready, and i have been trying to explain that to people for nearly 3 years. Now we see overreactions whilst sitting down contemplating it all was never an option. The law was missing it as it is more interested in facilitating for commerce, exploitation and profit (Sony and Microsoft are nice examples there), Human rights are failing, because the issue of Digital rights is only seen in the relation of commerce, not in the relation of privacy, in this the entire Google and the people’s rights to be forgotten is merely a reason to giggle, a Google giggle if you preferred.

The article has one funny part, with “For those determined to exit the Facebook ecosystem, the best approach is more likely to be a patchwork of sites and apps that mirror individual features. Messaging is the easiest: apps such as Telegram and Signal offer messaging and group chats, as well as voice calls, with encryption to keep your communications private. Telegram even has a thriving collection of chatbots, similar to Facebook Messenger“, you see, it is done on a smartphone (mostly), so you could consider dialing a person and have a conversation, your mum if she is still alive is not the worst idea to have. You see, the plain point is where you end up. So when we see “Part of Vero’s appeal to Facebook deleters is its determination to be ad-free. It is planning instead to start charging a small annual subscription at some point“, you see these people designed it for wealth (as one would) so where are they getting the money? The small annual subscription does make sense, but in light of that you better remember where all your data is and even as we see ‘emphasis on privacy‘ we need to realise that there are clear situations where the word Privacy is open to suggestion. What people forget is that ‘The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes‘, so are their settings of what is private the same as yours? Also, when they sell their company for a mere 2 billion, make no mistake, the word privacy is not open for debate, it will be whatever the new owner decides it to be. This is merely one side of data, as data is currency. That is what I have been trying to explain to nearly everyone (for 5 years now) and they all shrugged and stated, ‘it’ll be right‘, so is it right? Is it all right now? If you are considering becoming a member of the growing party of #DeleteFacebook it clearly was not.

So when we are treated to ‘News of Facebook’s secret tool to delete executive messages caps days of chaos‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/facebook-using-secret-tool-to-delete-messages-from-executives) we see another part of Facebook, we see new uproar. The question is whether this is justified. You see, when we see “the company has a two-tiered privacy standard (one for executives, one for everyone else) and over its use of facial recognition software“, in most cases this makes perfect sense. Corporate executives tend to be under scrutiny a lot, as it sometimes is valid; they still have a job to be done. I was amazed on how many people Mark Zuckerberg was connected to in the beginning of Facebook. It was awesome and cool, but I reckoned that it was not always constructive to productivity. I have been in places where the executives had their own server for a number of reasons, mostly for HR reasons and whether it is valid or not, it is a corporate decision, in that light I am not amazed, only when I was doing work for Google was I on a system where I could see everything and everyone all including what I thought was the board of directors. Here is where it gets interesting, because Google has a (what we refer to) a true open system for all who work there. It is invigorating to get access to so much information and my first night was me dreaming of combining things, what if we did ….. and ….. would we then be able to …..? It was exhilarating to feel that rush of creativity, in areas where I had no skill levels to boot. With a ‘closed’ system like Facebook, we need to consider that by setting the state of all is open that it is a legal trap when you give billions of people access to systems and situations. The mere legal differences between the UK, US and AUS, all common law nations would be the legal nightmare of decades. Shielding the executives from that is a first priority, because without them at the wheel it all falls to chaos.

That reality is seen with “Facebook says the change was made following the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, when a mass data breach at the movie studio resulted in embarrassing email histories being leaked for a number of executives, ultimately costing co-chair Amy Pascal her job“, some might remember the mail that George Clooney send in regards to the Monuments Man, it made pretty much all the papers. I love his work, I enjoy the artistic values he has, shares and embodies, but without certain levels of privacy and shielding his artistic side might take a large dump towards uncertainty, not a side I am hoping for, because even as he is merely 360 days older than me, he should be able to create another 30 years of movie excellence and I would like to see those movies, especially as we see that he is doing to Matt Damon in Suburbicon, what the Coen brothers were doing to him in Burn after reading and Hail, Caesar!, so plenty of fun times ahead for all us movie fans.

Even as we are all looking where we want to go next, the foundation of issues remain. There is an utter lack of Social media legislation; there is a mess of issues on where privacy is and what is to be regarded as privacy. The users gave it all away when they signed up for options, apps and ‘solutions’ again and again. Until that is settled, any move we make moves the issue and moves the problems, it will not solve anything, no matter what some of the app developers decide to state. In the third part “‘The third era of Zuck’: how the CEO went from hero to humiliation” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/mark-zuckerberg-public-image-cambridge-analytica-facebook), I think he got kicked in the head real hard, but not humiliated, although he might think he was. So as we recall Dean Martin with Ain’t That a Kick in the Head? we need to realise that is what happens. That is what happens when Social media becomes a multi-billion user behemoth. Mark Zuckerberg made mistakes plain and simple. What do you do? You get up from the floor, fix it and restore the need for growth. And now still we see that mistakes are made. This is seen with “On Friday morning, the company apologized and pledged to stop deleting executives’ messages until they could make the same functionality available to everyone“, the largest mistake and it opens social media to all kinds of organised crime. Merely send the threat, tell the people to do …. or else and after an hour, after it is seen to have been read, the message is deleted, it becomes a miscommunication and no prosecution is possible.

That is the biggest mistake of all, to set a multi-billion user group open to the needs of organised crime even further then it likely is. How stupid is that? You see, as I interpret this, both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg are in the musical chair setting, trying to do things on the fly and that will hurt them a lot more than anything else. We get it that mistakes were made, fix them, but not on the fly and not just quick jumps overnight. Someone has pushed them into defence play and they actually suck at that. It is time for them to put their foot down and go into offensive and attack mode (pun intended). When we consider what was before, we get it that Zuckerberg made mistakes and he will make more. We merely need to look at Microsoft and their actions over the last 3 decades to see that they screwed to pooch even more royally than Zuckerberg will be able to do, but the media is silent there as it relies on Microsoft advertiser funds. IBM and Apple have made their blunders in the past as well, yet they all had one large advantage, the impact was never towards billions of users, it potentially could have hit them all, but it mostly just a much smaller group of people, that was their small blessing. Apple directly hurt me and when I lost out on $5500, I merely got a ‘C’est la vie‘ from their technical centre, so screw that part!

There will be a large change sooner rather than later, the issue with Cambridge Analytica was too large to not make that happen. I merely hope that Zuckerberg has his ducks on a row when he makes the jump, in addition to that was Steve Bannon arrested? Especially when we consider Article 178, violating the Free decision of Voters. You see, it is not that simple, social media has never been used in that way, to such an extent, the law is unclear and proving that what Cambridge Analytica did would constitute a clear violation of the free decision of voters, that is what makes this a mess, legislation on a global scale has failed when it came to privacy and options regarding the people in social media. Steve Bannon can keep on smiling because of all the visibility he will get for years to come and after years when no conviction comes, he can go on the ‘I told you so!‘ horse and ride of wealthy into the sunset. That situation needs to be rectified and it needs to go way beyond Facebook, the law itself has faltered to a much larger degree.

The fact that politicians are all about terror cells and spilling inflammatory messages whilst having no resolution on any of this is merely showing what a bunch of apes they have proven themselves to be. So when we saw in January ‘Facebook, Google tell Congress they’re fighting extremist content‘, where were these congressmen? Where the fuck was Clint Watts, the Robert A. Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and National Security analyst as CNN now reports that optionally 78 million records have been pushed onto the Russian servers? (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/08/politics/cambridge-analytica-data-millions/index.html), now implying that Cambridge Analytica has undermined US safety and security in one operation to a much larger extent than any terrorist has been able to achieve since September 13th 2001. That is 17 years of figments, against one political setting on the freedom to choose. I wonder how Clint Watts can even validate his reasoning to attend the US Congress at all. And this goes way beyond the US; in this the European Commission could be regarded as an even larger failure in all this. But it is unlikely we ever get treated to that side of the entire show.

The media needs both players a lot more and bashing Facebook makes for good entertainment they reckon. Time will tell whether they were right, or that the people at large just never cared, we merely end up having no social media identity, it will have been denied for reasons that were never real in the first place.

 

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The UK NHS is fine

This is the view that some seem to impair on the Britons. When we look at the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/health-37331350), “Seven-day NHS ‘impossible under current funding levels’“, we see that there is an initial massive problem. I have no reason to doubt any of this, yet consider the issues in play. The Guardian gave us “Jeremy Corbyn has urged his supporters to campaign for jobs and the NHS once the current leadership battle is over. A year and a day after he was first elected as leader, Labour’s leader told a rally in Brighton that whatever the result, he hoped that they would join with him to convince the rest of Britain to join in a quest for a fairer society“, this is just a from one article. Yet, when we look a little further we get the Canary, which gives us “All the time I’ve been in parliament, I’ve been opposed to privatisation of the NHS and I voted against it with colleagues in the Parliamentary Labour Party over many years because we wanted to see a fully-funded, public, National Health Service. The Tories have sought to privatise it. A Labour government will have to take the whole NHS into public ownership and make sure it remains there. The next Labour government will go further than reversing Tory cuts. We intend to deliver a modern health and social care policy, fully publicly provided, and fully publicly funded, by integrating health and social care into a single system, so that everyone gets the care they need when they need it.” (at http://www.thecanary.co/2016/09/05/jeremy-corbyn-lays-out-his-plan-for-the-nhs-in-under-a-minute/). You see, we all want that, the Conservatives are not against it, the government just cannot afford it such a solution. When you take the government Credit Card and spend over a trillion pounds. Under Labour the debt went from less than 400 million to well over a trillion. Even though 2004 did not hit the UK as hard as other places, Labour should have changed their approach to budgets by a lot, then in 2008 there would have been no option but to radically implement austerity measures. This was never done the way it required to be. The people were told these overly optimistic views, mainly, as I personally see it to let money roll. In December 2007, the 2008 forecast was between 1% and 1.3%, The European Commission in 2008 was “In summary, growth in the UK economy is expected to slow to around 1¾% in 2008. In 2009, with no large carryover effect from 2008, the gradual recovery in domestic demand through the year will bring annual growth to just over 1½%“. Yet, when we see the BBC report (not forecasting) at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8479639.stm, we see that 2008 went per quarter from +0.6% to -1.7% in 2009 it grew from -2.5% to 0.1%. So at no point was any forecast ever met. This is something that has been going on for over a decade. Not just the UK mind you, the EU as a whole is playing that same managed bad news cycle that starts with overinflated positivity whilst those behind this game are delusional beyond belief. Until a massive change is made in the approach business and politicians are taking to blow up the governmental credit card. This relates to Jeremy Corbyn because unless the man was lobotomised in 2001, he should know better. Under Labour governance, the debt went up by a little over 600 billion pounds. Did they not consider the consequences? Overspending year after year, followed by managed bad news is not a solution. It never was and any politicians voicing that it could should be barred from public office for life! (Again, this applies to both sides of the political isle). That simple realisation is all UKIP needed and the mistakes made today and the symbiotic relationship of required spending between business and government needs to come to an end. In this coming decade we need actual solutions, an actual path to restore the pushed imbalance of Wall Street status quo pushed us all towards. So until we all realise that, the NHS is fine, because soon many people will have too many additional problems and the NHS will not show up on their radar. That is my prediction if the current wave of weighted misinformation continues.

So the NHS is fine according to those who needs funds to the directions they desire. You see, here we get confronted with the reality that the Conservatives are dealing with. Do you actually think that the quote “Prime minister declines to guarantee points-based system and extra £100m a week for health service“, the reality of a budget is that money runs out. It did 2 years ago and solutions need to be found. I personally, as a conservative would have preferred that the NHS was higher on the list. Yet, reality got in the way here too. The UK got into Brexit and we all knew that there would be consequences even though realistically the extent would never be a given. In that regard, the issues that Japanese PM Shinzo Abe raised might be regarded as a joke. My reasoning here is that the quote “Countries such as Japan have already warned the UK that a lack of clarity about Brexit and loss of the benefits that access to the single market brings could lead” brought. So this PM is crying on the UK doorstep whilst he should have asked President of the European Union Donald Tusk. No, he wants to know this from the UK, which in my view makes him sound more like a servant of the Washington Oval Office than the PM of Japan he is supposed to be. In addition, is it not interesting that an organisation like the EU has nothing in place regarding the notion a leaving nation will have as an impact of its structure? All this reflects back to the NHS, because as we see more and more political bashing from the people who are now finally realising that their Gravy Train is about to stop and that their cushy incomes based upon virtual works and situations will not continue, now they all come up into the light to push people into continuing disaster that could soon be the former EU.

This all relates to the NHS, because it will impact the NHS. I am not pushing for the entire Junior Doctor Contracts. Whatever the stance is there, the truth is that a pilot strike for better conditions would be the same, the airline would be put under pressure, but the airline would continue. With the NHS it is not that simple and the impact could be harder, yet the people have a right to stand up what they consider to be their right. Yet in all this people are very easy to ignore that the government has been giving into pharmaceutical companies not just the TTIP and in that regard they did not take a tougher stance on those pharmaceutical parts, opening stronger ties with India and the essential need for Generic medical solutions (where applicable), because that also impacts the NHS, lower costs for medications means more for staff, equipment and location. We all accept that the NHS needs solutions and so far there is a lack of actual actions that are leading to longer term solutions.

Yet we need to see that Labour isn’t the only lose screw on the political bench, Tim Farron from the Liberal Democrats are on the same foot. I gave my answer earlier. Unless the UK can get the budgets truly under control and until massive changes are implemented that will allow for better budgeting, the NHS would stop because business people want profit through privatisation and too many people are wasting the true future options of Britons through misrepresentation of forecasts. If you think that this is off? That forecasting is too complex, which can be concurred by many including me to some extent, it is not the case to the extent that we saw for too long a time. I discussed part of this in ‘A noun of non-profit‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/15/a-noun-of-non-profit/), in addition there is ‘Cooking the books?‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/01/22/cooking-the-books/) where I proved some of these points and showed the danger. So basically, the predictions I made in January 2014 are now showing to be correct. So as people are looking at a way for the government to spend more money and show cooked forecasts, consider the next time this is done and the austerities that will then follow., We can no longer continue this irresponsible push for unrealistic solutions that do not lead anywhere and takes us to look away from the solutions that actually need solving. The NHS needs solving and it needs it now.

There is no debate about the NHS and privatisation. Everyone would happily get rid of the idea if there was money to do that. I am not mentioning the aging population, because that has been known for a very long time and we can only partially blame the economic crash, because that hit everyone square in the face. So when I read the LibDems demanding the end of playing politics, whilst they are sitting next to Labour doing just that, we have to wonder where they got their view from. The independent reported only 3 days ago. The article (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/lib-dems-demand-end-to-playing-politics-with-the-nhs-a7315236.html) gives a few quotes on that matter. “Mr Lamb has also launched a consultation on the introduction of a NHS specific income tax, which would ring fence a possible one pence per pound earned for the NHS budget, and appear on people’s payslips as such“, that is an optional solution. You see, this was introduced within the Netherlands decades ago and it solved plenty of issues. It is hard to talk about taxing this, but consider that the NHS will be short by 6 billion in the near future is at the heart of the issue. Consider that from your pay check, the government takes an additional £2 a week. Now consider the working population of 31 million people meaning that we have an optional 62 million pounds at our disposal, money that is destined exclusively for the NHS. Now, do not think for a moment that this will be temporary. There is the realistic consideration that this will be for all time, giving us two groups of people, those entitled to full health care and those with the minimum package. Now, retired people would get full health care on principle that they paid their dues a long time ago. There is every chance that people will not feel happy regarding this solution, but what options are left. The irresponsible ones seem to think that it will fit in the budget, especially those who haven’t been able to keep one since 1997. In this solution I feel decently comfortable with the solution that is consulted on by Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Norman Lamb. For one, I have seen this work in the Netherlands. In addition his version of “introduction of a NHS specific income tax, which would ring fence a possible one pence per pound earned for the NHS budget” sounds better than my £2 a week on small incomes. On the other hand, if we consider the minimum income of £286.54 per week, my amount sounded a little better, but we cannot deny the minimum £2.86 a week could solve nearly all options over time. It gets even better when we see that the average is £403.36 per week, so we are looking at a possible £120 million per week. I do believe that there should be an upper limit, yet where that ends is something that cannot be answered at this time. What is important is to seriously start taking up the ideas out there and see which one could lead to pressure release on the NHS, because at this point, every day not acted is another nail in the coffin that will be used soon enough to bury a past NHS era.

 

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The mere legality

Now that the Greeks have voted to bankrupt themselves (blaming everyone else in the process), it is duly time to take another look at the part I touched on in my article ‘Dress rehearsal (part 1)’ on July 1st 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/07/01/dress-rehearsal-part-1/). There the issue that came from Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament, with the attachment I added in the paper by Phoebus Athanassiou ‘Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU

Danuta Hübner mentions Art. 50 of the Lisbon Treaty as well as Art. 140 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). So, this is something we need to look at, because Greece has decided not to be responsible and before the papers and TV drown us in emotional issues, whilst keeping quiet that the debt of other European nations might go up and not by a small amount.

So, yes, basically article 50 is about ‘withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements‘, which does not mean the others can throw Greece out.

So far, that part seems almost impossible, as Tsipras keeps on claiming wanting to remain in the Eurozone, the image given is that he would stay in because article 50 is all about voluntarily removing one’s self from the Euro. Article 7(1) gives us “On a reasoned proposal by one third of the Member States, by the European Parliament or by the European Commission, the Council, acting by a majority of four fifths of its members after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2“, which leads to Article 7(3) “Where a determination under paragraph 2 has been made, the Council, acting by a qualified majority, may decide to suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the Treaties to the Member State in question, including the voting rights of the representative of the government of that Member State in the Council

In short, Article 7 is about reprimanding, even if all rights are suspended. That does not mean that they exit, which gives us two parts, the fact that France can walk away from the Euro to protect itself, yet Greece cannot get removed, which is not a given yet, there is a lot more to sift through. Article 2 is all about values, respect from Human rights and the rights of minorities, which does not have bearing on this precise case. The PDF that brought this to light, which by the way (due to an error on my side) is from Phoebus Athanassiou, my apologies for the earlier mistake in my previous blog!

The idea that the treaties should explicitly provide for a possibility of expulsion was discussed in the 2001-2003 Intergovernmental Conference responsible for drafting the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty, but was abandoned“, so not only were politicians the start of the mess, yet NO ONE had the bright idea to consider that one player might not be an adult giving them all permanent headaches is beyond hilarious, the fact that this legal bright mind (trained in the UK) is also a former Lawyer connected to Athens Law Firm of Tsibanoulis & Partners, and a former consultant for Government of the Republic of Cyprus just adds to the humour. His paper from 2009 and now we are all about to learn how we wasted millions on representations from the ECB whilst they were unable (as it seems) to properly protect the members. In all this both Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras must be howling with laughter as we learn that most papers had not even clearly investigated the marketing term Grexit, so even as Brexit and Frexit might become reality in voluntary secession, Grexit will not happen against the will of Greece, as the facts presently are given, but let’s take a look at the steps that come next, because the PDF I added on July 1st is truly a treasure trove (Phoebus Athanassiou seems to be hindered by extreme levels of brilliance).

There is however another consideration, if we look at Article 2, where we see “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities“, the question becomes, as Greece decided to ignore equality and rule of law, are they in violation of Article 2?

Consider, that the creditors are a factual minority (one set on wealth and power of decision), the Greek government took out loans, they signed of these loans, as they are not complying with the execution of the agreed terms, are they not breaking the law? In addition, Article 3(2) gives us “The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime

It is the part ‘prevention and combating of crime‘, so as we see that for decades Greece did not ‘uphold’ (read reform) taxation laws or properly prosecute tax evaders (one fined Bobolas ‘proper’ combatting tax evasion does not make), can we state that Greece is in violation in accepting the articles of the Union, as such, what could be made then?

I will be the first to admit that this is a mighty fine line, but in this game, could such a fine line be enough?

Article 3(3) is about several things, including cohesion, Economic, social and territorial. When we consider the economic part we get the thought that economic and social cohesion is an expression of solidarity between the Member States and regions of the European Union. This means balanced and sustainable development, reducing structural disparities between regions and countries and promoting equal opportunities for all individuals. The fact that Greece (one of many) has not been able to (or intentionally unwilling) to keep a proper budget, we get an unbalanced and unsustainable development, whilst these people (the previous administrations) have not been properly investigated or even prosecuted, which gives us possible transgressions of Articles 2, Article 3(2) and Article 3(3). So is expulsion still not an option in that hindsight?

So as we see that the makers of the articles painted themselves in a corner by only focussing on growth and ignoring accountability, we see that Greece either got really well informed, or just had the right page open on the right day, no matter what, the EEC is inheriting a mess it did not properly defend itself against, so even though the path was reached in another way, as we see this explode, it seems very conceivable that the fallout from this event will have a large impact on the chances of Brexit and Frexit as they will be voluntary. So even as the UN was bright enough to include their Article 6, where the member can send home in a not so nice way for ‘persistently infringing the principles of the Charter‘, it becomes clear that the overpaid makers of Treaty of Lisbon were a lot less clued in at this point (or so it seems).

As I see it, Dr Phoebus Athanassiou, Senior Legal Counsel with the DGLS of the European Central Bank (ECB) had nailed the issue fair and square in 2009, I am just appalled that journalists and politicians have either ignored the options, or intentionally misinformed the people, whilst the European member politicians had their ‘closed door‘ meeting.

As I stated on July 1st: “Consider the next news “Here’s Bloomberg on Schaeuble’s comments: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece would stay in the euro for the time being if Greek voters reject austerity in a referendum scheduled this week, according to three people present. Schaeuble also said the European Central Bank would do what’s needed to protect the euro if Greeks voted against the bailout terms in the July 5 referendum, according to the people, all of whom participated in the closed-door meeting on Tuesday“, is that why it was closed door? The fact that expulsion is pretty much impossible?

So as we now see “Angela Merkel, is to head to Paris on Monday for urgent talks with French president François Hollande over how to avert a growing Eurozone debt crisis” (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/05/germany-greek-referendum-anger-solidarity), which signals two things, the first is that Germany is not considering steps that will accelerate many things, pat of it will make Greece the pariah it should not have made itself, you see, the BBC and the Guardian are all about ‘negotiations’ and the, as we might regard it hollow statement from EU Parliamentarian Martin Schulz “he hopes that meaningful proposals from the Greek government will arrive in the coming hours because “if not, we are entering a very difficult and even dramatic time.”“, is that so? Because Greece can only leave the Euro voluntarily as we see it at present. Another voice, which is the Economic editor Robert Preston gives us even more to worry about. “The Bank of Greece could make unsecured loans to Greek banks without the ECB’s permission“, which could blow the Euro straight into the basement value, as well as “Or it can explicitly create a new currency, a new drachma, which it could then use to provide vital finance to Greek banks and the Greek economy“, which might be more likely, but does Greece have to go either way? Consider that the lacking law makers forgot to properly defend itself, now take into account that when Tsipras will let it all fall and food and medication are no longer an option, we get back to Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty with “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities“, which means that the other EEC nations would have to foot the bill and come to the aid of Greece to deliver food and medication. All this because previous Greek elected officials refused to adhere to Article 3(2) regarding ‘prevention and combating of crime‘ (tax crime to be exact), as well as the economic cohesion thing, but the last one is one that pretty much NONE of the EEC members adhered too, so calling Greece on that seems slightly hypocritical from my side.

So as the creditors might resort to “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (let them eat cake), we see a dangerous escalation. I wonder how both Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen will respond in the coming days. There is no doubt in my mind that this will impact Brexit and Grexit, especially as it will be voluntarily.

No matter how this plays, we already seeing images on how Greek retirees are getting hit all over the place. So as we see Tsipras playing ‘paper tiger’ stating “the vote showed that “democracy won’t be blackmailed””, my less ‘diplomatic’ quote would be: “No, you blistering idiot, you sitting on your hands and not seriously reforming taxation and prosecution laws is part of the direct reason of the mess we now see!” This is why we will now see articles like http://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/crying-greek-pensioner-the-story-behind-the-heartbreaking-photo, ‘Crying Greek pensioner’. Here we now see quotes like “I see my fellow citizens begging for a few cents to buy bread. I see more and more suicides. I am a sensitive person. I cannot stand to see my country in this situation.” And this is not even close to the tip of iceberg.

The next few days will be interesting to say the least.

 

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Dress rehearsal (part 1)

That is the question in my mind, are we in the final preparations of a new theatre play that will change everything? In the Green Room we have the people in preparation of the new mess they are about to bestow on the people of the EEC. A game that changes everything, yet the people behind all of this have a short term solution, because soon they will move out of the seats of power with a golden parachute, a golden umbrella, a golden handshake and a gold watch. They will get the most luxurious life imaginable, only by prolonging the power players. That is the very first thoughts going through my mind when I was looking at the article ‘Greek debt crisis: day of decision for Alexis Tsipras‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/live/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-crisis-day-of-decision-for-tsipras)

When we look at this production in the limelight, we get a few parts, the introduction is all about comedy with the quick comedy play ‘It’s Greece’s problem, says Kremlin‘, yes, as Russia distances himself from that lefty organisation called Syriza that has elements of Marxist–Leninist, Trotskyist and Euro-communist. Must feel really nice for Alexis Tsipras to be the debutante at a Kremlin ball, only to realise he gave away his cherry for naught and got left out in the cold afterwards. Which means that one option he thought he had just left the exit on the left.

The intro act comes from Mariano Rajoy, our Spanish player. The quote ““What would happen if Greece came out of the euro? There would be a negative message that euro membership is reversible,” Rajoy said in a radio interview. “People may think that if one country can leave the euro, others could do so in the future. I think that is the most serious problem that could arise (from a Greek exit).”“, reflects not on Greece, but emphasizes on the danger France is about to pose. The players are comprehending the dangers, the news on Greece is coming from a few direction, but right from the bat, the others are now starting to manage the news any way they can. My reasoning?

Reuters reports: “Greece has not yet made any movement in response to a last-minute bid by creditors to broker a deal to end a deadlock over the Greek debt crisis, the European Commission said on Tuesday. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday night and Juncker, after speaking to the chair of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem, explained what a last-minute deal could look like, Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters. “This would require a move from the Greek government which President Juncker asked (for) before midnight last night. As we speak, this move has not yet been received, registered, and time is now narrowing,” Schinas said“.

In addition we see from Reuters:

30-Jun-2015 11:19:20 – EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS DOOR OPEN FOR GREEK DEAL, BUT TIME RUNNING OUT QUICKLY
30-Jun-2015 11:20:27 – EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS NO MOVE HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM GREECE
30-Jun-2015 11:21:05 – EUROPEAN COMMISSION SAYS GREEK GOVERMENT WOULD NEED TO ACCEPT PUBLISHED PROPOSAL

In addition we see in the Guardian: “Danuta Huebner, chair of the committee on constitutional affairs at the European Parliament, has tweeted about the legality of Grexit“, she gives the following Tweets “A member state’s exit from #EMU without a parallel withdrawal from the EU, would be legally inconceivable #Greece

The link refers to a PDF (at the end of the article), where we see in the abstract “that a Member State’s exit from EMU, without a parallel withdrawal from the EU, would be legally inconceivable; and that, while perhaps feasible through indirect means, a Member State’s expulsion from the EU or EMU, would be legally next to impossible. This paper concludes with a reminder that while, institutionally, a Member State’s membership of the euro area would not survive the discontinuation of its membership of the EU, the same need not be true of the former Member State’s use of the euro

So, if the abstract holds any level of water, have we, the audience been played? Are we the people now being misdirected by missing legislation because politicians could not do their job properly? That is the question, because one EU paper, does not policy make. The introduction gives us “Until recently, to talk of ‘secession’ from the European Union (EU) would have been next to absurd“, really? Did you policy makers remember a man named Adolf Hitler in one corner and Arthur Neville Chamberlain with the Munich agreement in the other corner?

A paper linked to all this by Karolina Boronska-Hryniewiecka called ‘The Risky Game of EMU Withdrawal‘, which is implied to come from the Polish institute of international affairs gives us: “The EC’s statement about the legal “impossibility” of EMU withdrawal stems from the fact that no European treaty has included a provision for how a Member State could leave the single currency area. While Art. 50 of the Lisbon Treaty provides that any Member State may withdraw from the EU on the basis of a negotiated agreement with the EU institutions, it does not mention anything about the possibility of exiting EMU itself. At the same time, Art. 140 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides that the rate at which the former national currencies are substituted by the “euro” for EMU members has been “irrevocably” fixed. What also follows from the EU treaties is that while membership is voluntary, participation in the EMU, apart from certain exceptions, is a legal, if eventual obligation of every EU Member State.

The links come from Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, European Parliament. So why did no one properly look into this, or even report on this? I personally expected that the European members of constitutional affairs had their affairs in order, which means that if one local yokel (Alexis Tsipras) cannot get his act in order, there are decent steps that can be taken to either get that person in line, or expel his nation. Now we seem to get introduced that expulsion is not really an option. So in all the theatre plays we watched, it seems that the part, ‘expulsion is impossible‘ was never ever mentioned, was it?

And in addition we get “Reports are mounting that the Greek prime minister has not only accepted a deal but will travel to Brussels, possibly as early as this evening, to discuss it with senior EU officials. The deal, based on reforms proposed by EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker late last night, is believed to have been rubber stamped at a meeting of senior government official held at the prime minister’s office, the Megaron Maximou, this morning. The German daily, Bild, is also backing up the reports, saying Tsipras has had contact with high ranking EU officials whom he will meet imminently. “The prime minister’s plane is at the ready,” the paper said.

This all comes from Helena Smith from the Guardian reporting. So, I feel comfortable trusting the source here. So now we have ourselves a fifth act. You see, in my view this is all about opening 7.2 billion if the 1.6 billion get paid. It must be really comfortable for any banker to underwrite a 7 days loan, with a nice percentage knowing that this payment is the first payment out of 7.2 billion. At 1% that banker ends up with a 16 million euro bonus, that is, if it is only one percent.

Yet, is it not me? Am I trivialising things, perhaps even over-dramatizing it?

Consider the next news “Here’s Bloomberg on Schaeuble’s comments: German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin that Greece would stay in the euro for the time being if Greek voters reject austerity in a referendum scheduled this week, according to three people present. Schaeuble also said the European Central Bank would do what’s needed to protect the euro if Greeks voted against the bailout terms in the July 5 referendum, according to the people, all of whom participated in the closed-door meeting on Tuesday. They asked not to be identified, citing the private nature of the discussion. The German Finance Ministry declined to comment.

Now we have a ballgame. There is also an issue, why do they need to be ‘not identified’? It seems to me that the European Central Bank would need to do what’s needed to protect the euro. Yet, in light of what made the news from Danuta Huebner, chair of the committee on constitutional affairs at the European Parliament, we now need to consider what options are there?

These are important questions to keep in mind. Consider all the news I have brought in the last 6 months through my blog. This is now ‘set’ in the limelight with the Guardian article ‘Alexis Tsipras: Mr Reasonable seizes the initiative from Project Fear’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/alexis-tsipras-greece-deal-vote-referendum), how misguided is that title? The quote “Faced with Project Fear, Tsipras wants to be seen as Mr Reasonable“, is as misguided as it can. They have not just changed the game, they have left, what should be regarded as criminal activities open to reactivation. (I will get to that part in part 2).

First two quotes “It little mattered that the new blueprint from Athens had a shelf life of only a couple of hours before Angela Merkel said there could be no fresh negotiations until after Greece’s referendum on Sunday” and “Somehow or other, Greece’s debt burden will be reduced. It can happen through a deal in which Athens gets debt relief for economic reform. Or it can came through a default that would swiftly follow Greek exit from the single currency. Everybody knows this, and it is bizarre that an explicit proposal for debt relief was not formally made to Tsipras in last week’s talks

You see, the game is changing, yet some elements have been ignored and some were never given clarity. So as Greece wants another extension 2 minutes before midnight, as they want another bailout of 30 billion with better terms, the game is now taking another term, one that the people behind the screens cannot contain, in the end, they are cutting their own veins even deeper than Greece ever did, but let me back that up with some facts, because without facts, this all becomes a rant (which anyone can get whilst reading the Telegraph, or an equally disastrous form of news coverage).

The quote “Juncker earlier told Tsipras that a last-minute deal was still possible if Athens agreed to sign up to the creditors’ proposals presented last Friday. He also dangled the prospects of debt relief for Greece and a €35bn “new start for jobs and growth” programme” from the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/30/greece-brink-financial-collapse-imf-deadline-hours-away) gives us the salutation I made on May 6th (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/05/06/whats-the-matter), where I stated “when the voters learn that Greece is about to desire up to 30 billion before the end of the year, so that it can pay the outstanding bills“, so not only was I right all along, it is possible that the Greeks delayed because of the fear what it would do to the UKIP numbers and subsequently a first serious move away from the EU. Now, not only is Juncker offering 5 billion in addition, it comes with very little extra hardship for the Greeks, especially the previous Greek politicians.

Yet, now, as I mentioned, the game changes. With the migrant issues in Calais, Marine Le Pen is about to take control of another piece of France, which will soon prove to be really bad news for President Hollande. In addition, the quote “In January she asked French President Francois Hollande to suspend the visa-free Schengen Area in Europe and strip dual nationals of their French citizenship if they carry out “barbaric crimes”“, give us an additional change. It is not a given that the changes to Schengen will happen, but if it does, it is clearly in addition a preparation to move France away from the EU. Her statement a week ago clearly indicates the change she wants to impose.

In all this, Greece now stands alone, because the drive on the shores of Brexit and Frexit are now clearly stated in the news, stated by these politicians, which in case of Marine Le Pen is not a good thing for Europe, because unless her demands are met, she will call for an exit from the EEC, not just the Euro, which changes the game by a massive margin. So when I see the quote “but what Tsipras has done is seize the initiative“, it must be stated that it is an incomplete view, because the response from both the UK and France is about to give the world of finance a massive headache, one that will continue for the next 20 months, especially as Marine Le Pen ends up as the next possible leader of France, for which she is currently in the lead, ahead of Sarkozy and Hollande. The laughing whisper two years ago, is now a realistic threat, interesting how so many journalists missed this escalation.

There are more signals, all indicative of one more act on the floors of the theatre.

And the act starts with a gloomy theatre, men and women in black, handing a folder, from person to person, they all look at it for a few seconds and give it to the next person. This goes on and on. Yes, we get to the article ‘IMF: austerity measures would still leave Greece with unsustainable debt‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jun/30/greek-debt-troika-analysis-says-significant-concessions-still-needed). The story already starts with questionable statements “Greece would face an unsustainable level of debt by 2030 even if it signs up to the full package of tax and spending reforms demanded of it, according to unpublished documents compiled by its three main creditors“, the reason that I call it questionable, is because Greece is what I call a 3G nation, which means it will take three generations for this debt to become close to manageable. So, with that I imply that the debt is still a massive form of pressure in 2061, there is no escaping it. Even with reforms Greece is no longer able to meet the interest payments and the payments after the payment reduction, unless it makes MASSIVE changes to its laws and its social system. This includes holding politicians accountable for overspending, making them prosecutable for criminal negligence if they cannot meet the budget. It is close to the only change that will start stopping the madness. In addition, tax laws need a massive overhaul, one that should be part of the IMF demand before Greece gets one additional eurocent.

By the way, Greece is not alone, Spain, France and Italy are all 3G nations at present. The UK is not that deep yet, but it will take a generation of hardship to get the debt under control.

That (secret) document also states “that under the baseline scenario “significant concessions” are necessary to improve Greece’s chances of ridding itself permanently of its debt financing woes”, is that even a surprise? I figured that out over a year ago, doing the math of my fingers, an Abacus was not required, this is exactly why I opposed Greece to be allowed back on the market selling another 5 billion in bonds. But the power players wanted their commission and as I see it a 100 million euro bonus is just too good to pass up.

So here in short is part one of this story. Certain elements are in play and have been in play for some time. Greece has done next to nothing to clean up its act, its laws and its massive shortcomings. As we see again the voices of many shouting against Austerity, we have to wonder whether people even realise what they are shouting against. You see, austerity is merely keeping a budget, for close to two decades governments have overspend every year, this is how Greece got into this mess, it had spent money that it never had. It is not alone in this pretty much every EEC nation is guilty of this and whilst some are still afloat, Greece is the first one who cannot even commit to the due interest bill, that is at the foundation of this debacle. So austerity is not a punishment, it is not a right, it is a mere responsibility and it has been forfeited by nearly every EEC nation for much too long.

I will give more answers in part 2 of this article, hopefully the day after tomorrow.

Withdrawal and expulsion from the EU and EMU

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