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Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 214

But that was exactly my point - that Greece's economy had not reached an equivalent maturity of France and Germany's, and they rushed through their entrance to the euro regardless of them not being ready. Had they instead waited and said, "You're not ready yet", then Greece would've had an incentive to make it's economy actually ready and join at a later date when it had undergone the necessary changes, hence precisely why it was a rushed state of affairs. They turned a blind eye to Greece's known problems because they just wanted to rush ahead with things.

Comment Re:They didn't raise the price (Score 1) 214

Whilst I understand the logic behind your pedantry, I actually disagree with you. Why?

Because Microsoft never changes prices in the other direction on things like this when following the UK pound - when it was $2 USD to the pound back in about 2007 we sure as hell didn't get an 80% discount on stuff compared to where we are priced now.

So I actually think it is a price increase, precisely because Microsoft has never followed the pound - following the pound implies that these price changes will fluctuate up and down, but I'd wager this price increase isn't reversed when the pounds fortunes improve.

I think this price increase is absolutely justified given what we have done to our country and currency, however I also think cuts are justified when the pound is strong, and yet we never get them. In fact, only a couple of years ago the pound was back up to 1.70 - 1.80 USD and yet we never saw a price cut then.

Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 214

The whole point in the EU was to share wealth and bring all countries up to the same level so that the continent could move forward together.

It was a noble and sane idea, the problem is it's been rushed, which is why the euro has struggled, because as you say they pushed ahead with it long before that cross-continental equalisation of wealth and productivity had occurred.

So you're somewhat right and somewhat wrong, there was nothing wrong with the idea per-se, just the way it was implemented. I think some naively hoped that pushing it through would somehow speed up the process, but like many processes in economics and nature alike, you just can't rush these things. People are impatient, and that's where it all went horribly wrong.

Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 214

Even some of the most hard-right Brexiteers such as Daniel Hannan who has a massively long history of xenophobia believe that immigration shouldn't see greater control.

You're right, it really is only the genuinely far right fringes that are pushing that idea such as Jacob Rees Mogg and Nigel Farage. Even the hard-right aren't keen on the idea because they know we're so economically dependent on it.

Honestly, I suspect Farage admitting the whole NHS £350million was a lie within 2 hours of winning the referendum would've been enough to make people realise what they've done was stupid - the real peak realisation will be next summer when all the chavs realise they can no longer afford to go to Benidorm, but hey-ho, May seems intent on making a point now. I can't tell if she's grossly inept or if she's calling the far-right Brexiteers bluffs by showing them what happens when they get their way. Either way it's a dangerous game.

Comment Re:resistance is futile (Score 1) 214

All trade deals that had any impact on British sovereignty had to be agreed by Britain anyway - see the current CETA debacle as an example, where one tiny little irrelevant region in Europe can crush an entire treaty.

So your argument is incorrect, there's no difference in the decrease in sovereignty, Britain was always part of negotiations and acceptance anyway, the difference now is we're negotiating from a much weaker starting point - we only have 65million people instead of 580million people. That necessarily means we're going to have to accept more compromise in favour of the larger parties (i.e. US, China, etc.) than we did before because we need the deals more than they do.

The idea Britain can bully other countries into trade deals that suit us is a naive and ignorant hangover of British imperialism where there's a view that we somehow still control half the world and can somehow still bully other countries to our whim. We can't.

Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 1) 334

"I don't care if the information about Hillary's lies are part of some Russian plot or not. If the truth is "destabilizing" well then fuck stability. Hillary admitting to having "public" and "private" positions is a piece of information that I, as a citizen, want to have."

Sure, but here's the question you need to ask yourself, given that, are you willing to completely and utterly disregard it when choosing a political candidate to back, given that you have absolutely no idea whether Trump shares the exact same trait due to a lack of similar leaks on his side of the spectrum?

Therein lies the problem, if you're only receiving one side of facts, and are deciding based on only a half-truth, then you're no better off than if someone had just outright lied to you. You're still exactly as likely to make an incorrect choice when you have half the information, as when you have all the information - Wikileaks is influencing the election with half-truths.

The English legal system originally changed it's court vow from "I promise to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth" to "I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" precisely because after a few shoddy court cases where the guilty went free it was realised that half-truths can be as misleading as outright lies.

So sure, transparency is great, but unless you're willing to completely disregard everything from transparency leaks that only tell half the story when forming an actual opinion and making a decision then there's a good chance you're actually making yourself more stupid by making decisions based upon those half-truths because you're letting them influence you into making decisions that do not benefit either your personal self-interest, or any hint of altruism you may have. For something like an election there is simply absolutely no benefit in making a decision based on transparency of one candidate over another with no transparency, and that works both ways - you may now believe you know, you have evidence that Hillary is corrupt, but what you don't know is whether Donald is even more corrupt, and that is a problem - you still have the exact same 50-50 chance of guessing which one is more corrupt that you had before you had any of that leaked information.

Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 2) 334

You say that, but in the UK when libel laws last changed, there were actually papers sat on both sides of the argument. Typically the division was the red tops that libel and ruin people's lives on one side being pissed they wont get away with it anymore, and those who publish factual, well sourced information and that have some actual journalistic integrity and hence no threat of losing a libel suit anyway.

So yeah, even with stuff like that it makes no sense that absolutely every media outlet would oppose someone over it. Some are happy to see the sleezy lie-rags pulled into line and forced to compete on the same level by having to do real actual journalism rather than pedalling outright lies to make sales.

Comment Re:Pretty interesting (Score 1) 412

That theory assumes Ecuadorians are stupid.

It's also possible they're just as intelligent as the rest of us, and realising that someone is trying to interfere in the election of the world's largest superpower from their embassy could cause a whole lot of political shit that they don't need beyond that they're already willing to accept having given him refuge was sufficient all by itself.

Really, if my neighbour kicked her husband out and I let him stay at my place next door, but then he started throwing petrol bombs at her out the window every time she walked past, it wouldn't require her to come and threaten me. I'd just tell him to stop it or GTFO simply because I'm not a complete and utter ass. I suspect the same is true of Ecuador.

Comment Re:Is there more to this (Score 1) 131

I largely agree with you, but I'm not convinced it's a solveable problem, and you've kind of subconciously noted the problem with enforcing that strictly in your own post - what if someone has strong political views that most people find abhorrent, but the bank has to serve them anyway, but that person is also likely to get them in hot bother because they engage in money laundering, or because they simply cause the bank to take a loss? Can they close the account down?

If no, then what happens when everyone whose causing the bank a loss simply declares they have strong political views and uses that as a shield, causing the bank to collapse?

If yes, then what's to stop them just using that excuse to censor anyway - "Oh they're a fraud risk", or "Oh, they're not profitable enough", or "Oh, they cause reputational damage to the company causing a loss for us".

I absolutely agree with you that financial censorship is scary, whatever one may think of Wikileaks (I don't really like it nowadays, it's become a propaganda organisation rather than a transparency organisation) I thought it was always rather disturbing that the US tried to shut down the Iraq/Afghan war log leaks by strongarming Mastercard, Visa, Paypal et. al. to not work with them to censor them and send them offline. It's definitely a real concern, but on the same note how do you implement that legislation whilst also allowing such organisations to reasonably run their businesses?

Also, should it apply to just banks, all financial organisations, or every organisation? If it's just banks, then that means organisations like Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard can cut them off, if it's all financial organisations that's much more clear cut, but it doesn't change the fact other organisations can still censor - a communications infrastructure company could still choose to cut off their broadcast, so you could apply it to every organisation, but then you're right back to square one where businesses are having to potentially serve people that cause them loss and end up going out of businesses anyway.

Here's a semi-related thought experiment from the UK's recent Brexit vote, in the UK it's illegal to discriminate against employees based on political views, but, if a company is forced to make cuts due to Brexit, then shouldn't a company be allowed to fire those who voted for it first and foremost over those who voted against it? Why should some suffer for other's decisions when it would be fairly trivial to make people accountable for their own actions in this sort of case? Should people really be protected from facing the consequences of their actions, whilst expecting others who aren't responsible for their actions to suffer the consequences instead?

I don't know, or even pretend to know the answer to any of these questions - I'm just making the point that it's massively complex, and I'm not sure there really is a rationally objective answer. I think the answer is always going to be subjective and therein lies the problem - what you may view to be a reasonable approach may not be acceptable to the majority. That is unfortunately the reality of democracy, minority viewpoints often get fucked, and the sad reality is that many people don't actually have too much of a problem with censorship, as long as they're not the ones being censored - they're just too dumb to realise that one day it could be them.

Comment Re:Fascinating .... (Score 1) 315

Actually, Ecuador's willingness to make a point has only ever gone so far. Effectively all they've ever wanted to do is say "Look, you criticise us for playing fast and loose with the law when we tackle our political dissidents, but you do it too and we want that known".

There have been a number of occasions where Ecuador has sought to defuse the situation by using him as leverage as there have been extended talks on multiple occasions between Ecuador and the UK and Ecuador and Sweden, to try and end the situation - it's not like Ecuador has simply said "No point talking, we're making a point" - that's not a discussion that goes on for days, multiple times, they've just never actually ended it because presumably they've never got the deal they wanted.

Now that there's a view (real, or perceived) that Assange is involved in trying to sway the US election on behalf of the Russians, the calculus has presumably changed - either the UK or US is willing to offer a better deal to Ecuador as a result of this, or Ecuador is concerned that this is a step too far that's taking it far deeper into this quagmire than it ever intended to get.

I don't think Ecuador's stance has ever been "We must protect Assange at all costs", but more "We'll cover him whilst he's useful". The problem, ironically, is that it looks like it may have been Assange himself that's made himself stop being useful.

Comment Re:Is there more to this (Score 1) 131

"That said, it's hard to see how any of it is illegal and deserving of being closed down. Is there more to this story that isn't public? Or is this as simple as Britain shutting off RT just to quiet it. I hope there is more to this and not some overly sensitive clod high-up abusing his power."

On the contrary, it's none of these things. It's a private sector organisation refusing to provide banking services to another private sector organisation.

Businesses get to choose what other businesses they do business with, any decision to cease that needn't have anything to do with government enforced censorship - it could be anything from private censorship - i.e. the CEO deciding he wants his company to withdraw it's services to try and silence them, all the way through to RT constantly being in debt, not paying it's bills, or any such thing such that they're not a good customer to have.

It's none of these things though, I've explained what it is here:

Comment Re:Round 1, begin (Score 1) 131

"You have actual evidence of this or are just making shit up?"

Actually there's a shit load of evidence of this, if rather than simply trying to declare the other person's post false you could've simply Googled it. Given that an AC appears to have done that for you it appears I wont have to. Long story short though, some of it is covert, and some of it is overt. There's evidence of both, but the funding for France's national front for example wasn't even a secret:

Russia also holds an annual meeting of far right European leaders including people like Le Pen, Nick Griffin from the UK's BNP and so on and so forth. Interestingly these groups they host were the same people, and the only people they allowed into Crimea as "international observers" for their Crimean independence referendum - they wouldn't let any actual neutral observers in from the UN et. al. Make of that what you will, it's really not rocket science though.

Comment Re:For those wondering... (Score 3, Interesting) 131

No, this is part of a change to UK banking law. It occured a couple of years ago and it's effected all sorts of people and organisations including MPs themselves - the law of unintended consequences and all that.

Basically, the law now allows for banks to be held culpable if they facilitate money laundering, and as such banks have started pursuing a zero risk approach to the topic. Therefore everything from charities merely accused of corruption, funding terrorism and so forth, through to MPs that engage with corrupt foreign leaders even if simply engaging on political fact finding missions have had their and even their families bank accounts shutdown.

This is merely a continuance of that, Russia is basically the global capital of corruption. Given the rise of the many billionaire oligarchs post-soviet era I'm amazed it's actually taken the banks this long to decide that supplying banking for the a Russian government run organisation is too risky.

So no conspiracy theories are really necessary, nor would they make any sense. When the same law is resulting in MPs and their wives, kids, and grandmothers having their bank accounts closed down as it is RT it's a complete nonsense to suggest anything nefarious is going on. It really is just about a private company choosing to play it overly safe in the face of a change in the law.

Given the impact on MPs themselves, I'd be surprised if this particular law change lasts long at all. I believe this also enshrined into law US overreach too, as my father who has never had any link to, nor ever been to the US was asked to prove he was not a US citizen (I don't know how you prove you're not a US citizen, I can imagine how you prove you are one) and avoiding paying taxes whilst living overseas under the FATCA regulations. It rather sickens me that my father had to provide information on his personal finances as a British citzen to the US authorities to allow them to decide if he's evading American taxes or not when he's got nothing to do with America or face having his bank account shutdown in a similar manner.

Yeah, so long story short, basically they've gone over the top in trying to crackdown on fraud and tax evasion and everyone and their dog (probaby literally) in the UK is being hit right now. On the scale of organisations deserving to be hit by this law though because of probable real actual corruption I'd say RT is pretty high up the list relative to all the people who really are unquestionably innocent and are also suffering the same fate.

Really, despite all the rhetoric from Russia about censorship, sanctions and such there genuinely is no such story here. It's entirely about our banking regulations currently having been made a complete ass.

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