Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Is dwelling on "past mistakes forever” the same as, “you’ll lose your creativity?”

Dear Readers,

Today, I bring you a very hopeful article, verbatim by , Iceland’s Lost Billionaires Unmourned as Riches Draw Ire. Considering the ridiculous notion just presented to the Cypriots, isn't it about time someone injected some sanity into the discussion? More on my response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

                                                 Cypriots saying NO to the their President!

Iceland, a country with a $13 billion economy, had six dollar billionaires before the financial crisis struck in 2008. Now it has none. Five of the men -- including former West Ham soccer team owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson and Baugur Group hf founder Jon Asgeir Johannesson -- have lost all, or most of, their fortunes after building empires on loans from banks that used the island’s investment bubble to stretch their assets to 10 times the size of gross domestic product.

  Baugur Group hf Founder Jon Asgeir Johannesson
Baugur Group hf founder Jon Asgeir Johannesson 
pauses during an interview in Reykjavik. 
Photographer: Arnaldur Halldorsson/Bloomberg 

Olafsson Says Lost Iceland Billionaires Not Mourned
Stefan Olafsson, sociology professor at the University of Iceland, discusses changes in Iceland's society following the collapse of the economy. He spoke March 14 with Bloomberg's Omar R. Valdimarsson in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Source: Bloomberg)
 Actavis Group HF Chairman Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson
Actavis Group HF Chairman Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson is 
pictured in this undated company handout portrait. 
Source: Actavis via Bloomberg

At least three of Iceland’s ex-billionaires are, or have been, the subject of financial misconduct probes. Johannesson, who once flew around in a pin-striped private jet and owned luxury apartments in New York and London, received a suspended one-year jail sentence in February for violations including accounting fraud. He and Gudmundsson, who filed for bankruptcy in 2009, personified the boom-to-bust cycle that dragged Iceland away from fishing and tourism and turned it into a center for high finance.
“Greed can’t again lead the way,” said Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir, 70, whose Social Democrat-led government took over from the coalition that led Iceland into the crisis just over four years ago. “We’ve taken that route before with terrible consequences for this nation and its people.”

Debt Bubble

After gaining fame for its debt bubble and the havoc that ensued when it burst, Iceland now is purging itself of the values that brought it to the brink of ruin. The only country to take a former prime minister to court for failing to prevent the crisis has since forced banks to forgive foreign-currency mortgage debt. And in a move to prevent speculation, the Interior Ministry this year proposed limiting land ownership by offshore investors after repeatedly rejecting approaches by Chinese billionaire Huang Nubo.
Iceland’s collapse -- which sent average disposable incomes plunging 20 percent between 2008 and 2010 after the banks defaulted on $85 billion -- even prompted the pro-deregulation Independence Party to pledge its commitment to welfare over investor rights.
Sigurdardottir, whose coalition faces elections in April, says the result is greater economic stability. Her party’s goal is to continue “shielding those groups in society that need it most,” she said in an interview.

IMF Program

The island, which exited an International Monetary Fund-led bailout in August 2011, now is growing faster than most of Europe. Gross domestic product will expand 2.3 percent this year, while the 17-nation euro area will contract 0.2 percent, the Washington-based fund estimates. As for the former billionaires, their pre-crisis rise and post-crisis fall is an apt analogy for Iceland’s coming of age, according to Stefan Olafsson, a professor of sociology at the University of Iceland. He’s studied the effect that Iceland’s economic boom had on the nation’s attitudes toward wealth. One year before everything collapsed, Icelanders bought more Range Rovers than the citizens of Denmark and Sweden combined. Now, Olafsson says his countrymen are wary of extravagance. Before the crisis, billionaires “were the personification of what people believed in: materialism,” he said in an interview. “Since the collapse, their image has been tarnished, and what they were considered to be a symbol of -- successful business and financial genius -- is no longer valued.”

Accounting Fraud

That means the risks the former billionaires took to achieve their status probably won’t be repeated, Olafsson said. Seventy-two-year-old Gudmundsson, who was sentenced to 12 months in jail in 1991 for accounting fraud at failed shipping company Hafskip, bounced back from that setback to make millions producing soda pop in Russia. He and his son, Bjorgolfur Thor Bjorgolfsson, moved to St. Petersburg in 1993, securing a production deal with PepsiCo Inc. (PEP) a few years later. The soda company he started was bought by Pepsi, giving Gudmundsson the funds to start producing beer in Russia. That business was bought by Heineken N.V. (HEIA) in 2002 for $400 million. Gudmundsson then returned to Iceland and partnered with Magnus Thorsteinsson to buy a 45.8 percent stake in Landsbanki Islands hf, the island’s largest lender at the time. In 2003, Gudmundsson was ranked Iceland’s fifth most- trusted business person by newspaper Frettabladid. The most trusted was Johannes Jonsson, the father of Baugur co-founder Johannesson, who ranked second.

Golden Years

These were the golden years, culminating in 2005, when Gudmundsson received Iceland’s Knight’s Cross Order of the Falcon from President Olafur R. Grimsson for his contribution to society. The next year, Gudmundsson spent 85 million pounds ($128 million) on an 83 percent stake in West Ham, and in March 2008, newspaper Morgunbladid estimated his personal fortune at $1.1 billion. Seven months later, his investment in Landsbanki soured as the lender collapsed. The credit event triggered a claims dispute from depositors based in the U.K. and Netherlands with savings in the bank’s high-yielding Internet accounts.
When global financial markets froze at the end of that year and Iceland’s banks were shut out of funding markets, everything came tumbling down. Gudmundsson, then chairman at Landsbanki, told a Reykjavik court his assets had plunged the equivalent of $1.1 billion in value. His $759 million personal bankruptcy plea in 2009 was the biggest in the nation’s history, according to Iceland’s Legal Gazette.

Retail ‘Kingdom’

In an interview outside his house in Reykjavik, Gudmundsson ascribed his sudden accumulation of wealth before the crisis to “a certain situation in the economy” at the time. He declined to elaborate. Johannesson, who in a March 2012 interview revealed plans to build what he described as a new retail “kingdom” in the U.K., was sued by the caretakers of failed Glitnir Bank hf, the lender that financed most of his ventures. His personal fortune -- which peaked at $1.6 billion in 2007, according to Frettabladid, which he owned at the time -- had dwindled to about $2 million, he said last year. Johannesson, now 45, started his career more than two decades ago, opening a chain of Bonus supermarkets in Iceland in 1989 with his father. By borrowing against equity in his existing business, Johannesson financed purchases of U.K. brands, including toy store Hamleys Plc and department store House of Fraser Ltd. Both have since been sold off to cover debts.

‘Past Mistakes’

Johannesson, in the March 2012 interview, said his biggest mistake was to continue expanding after buying Big Food Group Ltd. in December 2004 for 326 million pounds. Last month, Iceland’s Supreme Court found Johannesson guilty of nine violations, including tax fraud. On top of a prison term, he was fined 62 million kronur ($497,000). The 12-month sentence was suspended for two years, meaning he can avoid going to jail if he doesn’t break the law during that period. Johannesson, who didn’t return repeated calls seeking comment, said in the March 2012 interview that dwelling on “past mistakes forever” means “you’ll lose your creativity.”

According to another former billionaire, foreign investors will return to Iceland only if the nation can show it has learned from its past mistakes. “There are a lot of diligent people in Iceland that are making good money,” said Karl Emil Wernersson in a phone interview. His fortune peaked at $1 billion in 2007, using the exchange rate at the time and based on figures provided by Frettabladid. “But if companies in the domestic-goods and services industries are to prosper, we need to increase investments in Iceland. That won’t happen until international investors stop being afraid to put their money in the country.”

Lost Fortune

Wernersson lost much of his fortune when his investment company, Milestone ehf, failed in 2009. Since its bankruptcy, lawyers working to claw back 9 billion kronur in assets needed to repay creditors have filed eight lawsuits. Six of those affect Wernersson, according to Grimur Sigurdsson, a lawyer representing Milestone’s estate. Two other former billionaires -- brothers Lydur and Agust Gudmundsson -- lost much of their wealth when their investment company Exista hf failed in 2008. Lydur Gudmundsson was indicted in September last year for fraudulently registering a capital injection into Exista in an effort to inflate his stake and retain control. Both brothers are now residents of the U.K.

Past Era

The only Icelandic billionaire to keep the title through the crisis has left the island. Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson’s son and partner in Russia, Bjorgolfsson, who also resides in the U.K., was worth $5.1 billion as of May 2007, according to broadcaster Stod 2. Two years later, his wealth had slipped to $1 billion. Bjorgolfsson, who is rarely seen in Iceland these days, declined to be interviewed. Wernersson predicts Iceland will never again become a breeding ground for billionaires -- and that’s not bad thing, he said. “Although this era won’t return, there will still be growth in the Icelandic economy,” he said. “This time around, it’s more likely that it will be reasonable and moderate, which should be a positive thing for everybody.”

.............my response,

                                      A no entry sign is seen outside a branch of Bank of Cyprus
                                                 UK, in central London March 18, 2013.
                                                          REUTERS/Andrew Winning

This very disturbing article brings me to question Ontario's future should the Cypriots decide that onerous debt brought to them by back-room money dealers and assorted hangers-on does not fit into their future plans. Once the economic engine of Canada when Bill Davis was Premier and after only 6 years of unbridled socialism under Liberal leadership, no less, Ontario became an official have-not province in 2009 collecting a government cheque for the first time in our history! Shameful!!

With little to show since and notwithstanding taxpayer encouragement, is it possible that Kathleen Wynn's meager attempt at finally dealing with uncontrolled spending habits by reigning in the obscene Teacher's pension program could be just a long overdue attempt to forestall a bond holder haircut resulting from Ontario's mind-boggling
annual budget deficit of around $15, Billion dollars, as in '$15,000,000,000 along with an an 'accumulated debt of around $300 Billion dollars, as in '$300,000,000,000? I mean, little Greece was allowed to grow their  accumulated debt to $500 Billion before they came to the crossroads! When will the ponzi-schemers in Ontario realize we have come to ours?

Rating agencies, in a clear declaration of skepticism regarding this government's capacity to rein in its spending have already expressed their concern that these folks are capable of implementing a multi-year financial plan, with the intention of restoring a balanced budget by 2018. Meeting that target would require ongoing expenditure restraint in divergence from historical growth trends while achieving forecast revenue targets through projected tax increases. Wynn's Liberal government is fooling no one as they feign surprise when the credit rating agencies have the temerity to call a spade a spade while curtailing unnecessary spending fall far short of what the markets require as our Provincial budget spins out of control when over 25 cents of every dollar spent is borrowed. But that’s what’s happens when you mask the problem. This is not the time to run away but to get the economy rolling again! But until Liberal politicians realize that by walking away from our 'pillars of growth; like our manufacturing sector, we will not create jobs in the numbers required. By government largesse, we have become dependent upon others for our daily needs. With the province’s long-term debt rating already at a AA downgrade; resulting in a raising of Ontario’s cost of financing and reducing our credibility in global markets, has the 'proverbial horse already left the barn'?

Another downgrade, with others to follow as we roll down the other side of this mountain is frustrating for those who see the folly of onerous public debt as new bondholders will doubtless demand double-digit yields; but they'll be taking a greater risk, assuming they are willing to part with their capital at all and certainly would expect to earn a greater reward for buying any sovereign debt, should they ever get paid out! But with interest payments threatening to become our largest expenditure after health; as Cypriots, Greeks and Americans, too are finding out, many know this can't go on much longer!

But the way things have been; up to the Cypriot solution, at least, that risk was being masked by an insidious fairy tale that
sovereign debt somehow comes with a repayment guarantee but the unfortunate victims of this fairy tale are young Cypriots, Greeks, Americans, and yes Ontarian's, too when they realize they are tied to a debt run up by an older generation. If the Cypriots have their savings taxed, when will we?

                                   Demonstrators raise their arms in protest as Cypriot President
                         Nicos Anastasiades's convoy drives to the parliament in Nicosia March 18, 2013.

Attracted by unprecedented yields, will high-risk betters bail before the inevitable bondholder haircut leaving the hapless to pick up the pieces anyway? Just like the credit squeeze in the run up to the Great Depression, ignoring the reality that bills have to be paid and instead choosing endless band-aids only feeds a deep moral abyss creating an even deeper hole for the younger generation. In Ontario specifically, some fault lies with the post-Davis administrations, specifically the Peterson/McGuinty Administrations, doubtless more with the Rae Administration when assistance from the IMF was starting to look good, but some fault lies with investors for making risky bets! Shouldn't they pay too?

As unpleasant as it may sound, to default and restructure remains the method of last resort for loans that should never have been made in the first place. The reality is that governments do default; it has happened before to Iceland and Argentina and will happen again! If the present Cypriot government of President Nicos Anastasiades falls, it would not be the first in Europe to be toppled by the austerity demanded by European debt relief. In Ireland and Portugal, governments fell after accepting bailouts from the European Union and the IMF, and the Slovakian government fell over a vote on whether to participate in the European Union’s rescue package. But these lessons are being ignored in an over-borrowed Queen's Park as if it doesn't fit with someone's economic fantasy. But all of this may be a moot point if, and when investor's say, enough is enough, as France and Germany have just done to the Cypriots and Greeks and China has just done to the Americans! The only question is...should Cypriots, Greeks, and then Italians, Spaniards, Americans, and yes Ontarian's, too continue to pay never ending interest on top of interest payments, seemingly without end or say NO and pull the plug?

Despite plenty of complicating factors, not the least of which is the viability of myopic banks who are now treading water with debt tied to stagnant CDO's and who no doubt regret pouring as much as they already have into
these deep holes, don't our young deserve a new beginning?

Regardless, Michele Kambas and Karolina Tagaris, of Reuters tell us this 'house of cards' may already be falling with Europe’s demand that Cyprus break with previous EU practice and impose a levy on bank accounts as part of a 10 billion euro ($13 billion) bailout sparking outrage among Cypriots and unsettled financial markets. Anastasiades refused to accept a levy of more than 10% on deposits above 100,000 euros, which meant taxing smaller accounts too. That hurts ordinary savers with deposits that they thought came with a state guarantee. Stunned by the backlash and fearing rejection by Cypriot lawmakers, euro zone finance ministers urged Anastasiades to avoid hitting accounts below 100,000 euros, and instead implement the Iceland Solution and increase the levy on big accounts, which are unprotected by the state deposit-insurance system.

                                                  The German response to Cypriot concerns?

The European Union and International Monetary Fund are demanding Cyprus raise 5.8 billion euros to secure its bailout, needed to rescue its financial sector. A revised draft bill seen by Reuters would exempt savings under 20,000 euros from the planned 6.75% levy on deposits of less than 100,000 euros. The government has not explained how it would fill the funding gap this would create.

Should the Cypriot solution result in a “no” vote; as a recent poll says a huge majority of Cypriots do not support the Anastasiades government's austerity measures, this would have enormous consequences not just for Cyprus, but possibly for the rest of the world. It would no doubt lead to a disorderly Cypriot default, force Greece out of the 17-nation euro zone, certainly topple many European banks as well as other fragile banks around the world. Rejection by the Cypriots of the continuing European bail-out saga; where the bondholders have already agreed to increase their haircut from 21% to 50%, will certainly cascade destruction through Europe and maybe into North America, too, so we may not even have a choice but to watch the unraveling of our joint financial architecture, such that it is that condones the mortgaging of our children's future.

So, how do we stop the spread of this malady in Ontario? As stated earlier; but warrants confirmation, once the economic engine of Canada, Ontario now is saddled with a mind-boggling $15-billion budget deficit and became an official have-not province in 2009 collecting a government cheque for the first time in our history! But with the province’s long-term debt rating at a AA downgrade; just like America resulting in a raising of Ontario’s cost of financing and reducing its credibility in global market, yes the 'proverbial horse has already left the barn'!

Should we keep your money out of the banking system in Canada and USA? The general fear is that we are next. Is Cyprus is just a Bilderberg test to see if the taxpayers of Cyprus would accept this scam! If this ever  goes through, get ready for the same thing to happen here. 

So, as an alternative, is it possible that wiping the slate clean with a general bondholder haircut could be our best solution, one that has always been the inevitable result when socialists are allowed to run amok? 

We may know the answer to these questions before the end of this year!


 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
twitter chatter....
 Cyprus...an insidious fairy tail? 
Who's next?  


Friday, 8 March 2013

Why are these folks promoting the Ford mystique?

Dear Readers,

Today, the article for discussion is by Daniel Dale, City Hall reporter for the Toronto Star entitled

Jerome Miller, pictured in September 2002, when he was a running back at Don Bosco and the Toronto Star Athlete of the Week.
                                                                    image by Steve Russell / Toronto Star

Jerome Miller, now the squad’s offensive coordinator, said the mayor’s heart is in the right place, but he needs to choose his words more carefully. Pictured in September 2002, when he was a running back at Don Bosco and the Toronto Star Athlete of the Week.

In 2008, Rob Ford told the National Post he was “absolutely sure” Jerome Miller “would be dead or in jail” if not for his two years playing for the Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School football team. Which was news to Jerome Miller, now the offensive coordinator on the Ford-led Don Bosco coaching staff, says Ford’s assertion was “untrue.” He says he has never been in any trouble with the law, was on the honour roll in Grades 9 and 10, and had a present and supportive father.

“Even my dad said something about it. He didn’t like it at all,” Miller, now 28, said in a Thursday interview. “But we kind of just left it alone and let it sink under the bridge.” Miller, a former star running back, praised Ford at length for his devotion to Don Bosco players. But he also concurred with teachers, students and parents who says the mayor needs to choose his words more carefully when speaking of the team and school.

“I totally agree with that,” Miller said. “He does do a whole lot, more than people see, behind closed doors for these kids. Helps them out if they need any help, for any reason at all. He’s the first one that will be there for them. But he just speaks his mind, and from his heart, and doesn’t really realize sometimes what he says can be portrayed in the wrong way.”

The Catholic school board is conducting a probe of a Sun News interview last week in which Ford said many players “come from gangs,” live in “broken homes,” and would not go to school at all if there were no football. Ford called Don Bosco, in Rexdale, a “tough school” in a “tough area.” Players, he said, have told him they would be dead or in jail if not for the team.

Ford also praised the players as intelligent and hard-working. And he enthusiastically spoke of the happiness he feels when they succeed in life. “You’d be amazed what these kids can do when they have a reason to do it,” he said. A group of teachers said in an anonymous letter to the board that Ford’s comments were “demeaning” and “filled with untruths.”

In a formal statement on Thursday, the board said some of Ford’s words represented “a completely inaccurate portrayal of our students, our school and the community in which the school is located.” Ford declined to either defend or retract his comments. Asked whether he regrets them, he said, “I love that school, I love the kids, the teachers, the parents. I always have.” He said “the parents, the kids, and the administration speak for themselves.”

According to Miller, who has coached at Don Bosco for two seasons since his return from the Missouri university where he played on scholarship, some of Ford’s comments were indeed misleading. “I know a lot of the players personally, and I don’t know of any of them that are in gangs. There may be, may be, one or two players out of like 50 kids that have some type of home issue. But as far as the majority of the team, I wouldn’t say that’s true,” he said.

Miller also disagreed with Ford’s blanket assertion that Don Bosco players would not attend school if not for football. “For the majority, I’d say that’s not true,” he said. “That’s probably just a few exceptional players. But that’s probably true on any team, especially dealing with the numbers that we deal with.” Parents say the school has improved significantly in the past five years under principal Ugo Rossi. Miller, a Star athlete of the week in 2002, said Don Bosco was not violent even when he attended. But he said Ford is probably speaking generally of “the overall picture” since he became involved with the school in 2001.

“Some people just kind of take it the wrong way, thinking he’s trying to bring the school down,” Miller said. “But he’s always in a good heart, right?” Ford has devoted hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to the football program, which he resurrected after he was told he was unwelcome to continue coaching at a school in North York in 2001 after a confrontation with a player. To the dismay of most councillors, he leaves work nearly every weekday afternoon in the fall to coach practice, and he has controversially skipped out of council meetings for a game and a scrimmage.

Ford, Miller said, has used his own money to buy equipment, taken players out to eat and to Argonauts games, helped to arrange academic tutoring, and assisted with personal problems. In 2007, according to The Lawyers Weekly, the law-and-order conservative even testified as a character witness at the sentencing hearing for a former player who was convicted of using a sawed-off shotgun to rob a taxi driver. Ford conceded that he did not know much about the player away from football, but he said, “I sort of have a soft spot in my heart for him.”

The school board said it is reviewing Ford’s comments and will “determine an appropriate course of action that ensures a positive learning environment for our students and promotes student achievement and well-being.”

my response.....

With even Toronto City Councillor Michael Thompson quoted as saying Ford’s intentions are good and his cause “laudable, don't the few remaining Ford detractors see the folly of their constant attacks on an equipment fund for disadvantaged youth, the corner-stone of the Ford Foundation? It's hardly a secret that individuals who give their most precious asset...their time are held in high esteem by the public. Organizations, like Big Brothers will tell you that mentored boys do better in school, in work and in life!

Jerome Miller is quoted as saying that Mayor Ford 'does do a whole lot, more than people see, behind closed doors for these kids. Helps them out if they need any help, for any reason at all. He’s the first one that will be there for them." Is Ford destined to turn into the next Trudeau, lauded by friend and foe alike? Why is that those who don't understand or appreciate generosity by those with a kind heart continue to propagate the Ford mystique? You would think these folks would be taking the opposite tack....but they aren't! Why?

 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
twitter chatter....

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Has social media lost the social justice fight to newspapers?

                                                                     Tarek Fatah

Dear Readers,

Today, I bring you another example, verbatim of what plagues social media with 'Facebook needs a good poke', by Simon Kent of the Toronto Sun.  My response is below with room for your comment below that, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

 A good man. Three words used to describe Toronto Sun columnist Tarek Fatah by Meir Weinstein, the head of the Jewish Defence League (JDL) of Canada. It’s a pity Facebook doesn’t share the love. Or the inherent tolerance in that remark. The popular social media website has banned Fatah and left him unable to post.

Fatah, a leading Muslim thinker, author and broadcaster, thinks he knows the reason Facebook decided to unlike him, even though it won’t tell him personally. It all started Monday when Fatah sought to access the popular social media site. As he tried, a message appeared saying he had violated “community standards” when he shared a picture showing a young Australian Muslim girl in a hijab carrying a sign: “Jews haven’t Learn (sic). They need [picture of swastika] more than before.”

Fatah had copied it from the Australian Jewish magazine J-Wire after it had earlier been published on blog at the Sydney Daily Telegraph. Then he posted it as his Facebook “cover” with a caption denouncing Muslim anti-Semitism. As Fatah writes: “My posting of the picture was clearly an act condemning anti-Jewish hatred among my own Muslim community, not endorsing it.”

Which is where Meir Weinstein comes in. I asked him what he thought of Tarek Fatah’s Facebook shutout and his first words are the ones that lead this column. Then he went further. “Tarek Fatah does a great service to religious followers of all persuasions,” Weinstein told me. “He is a strong voice against religious fanatics and a direct counter to the forces of radicalism that would seek to change the civilized world.”

It would be good to think that Facebook acts as a unifying force. It is a social website after all. Maybe it could be a digital equivalent of Hyde Park Corner in Central London where for centuries people would gather to argue the ideas of the day and then go their separate way. No way. Ultimately, Facebook exists to make money. To do that it wants to know about you and the things you like and do while being famously quiet about itself.

Facebook also wants to make sure that there is a hall of mirrors separating the watchers from the watched.
Just one year ago, the word count of Facebook’s privacy policy was 6,910 words, more than double the amount of words in 2007. It is also way past the original privacy policy posted in 2004 that came in at around 1,000 words.

By comparison, as The New York Times has pointed out, the U.S. Constitution is 4,543 words. This obfuscation comes most into play when Facebook decides to unilaterally ban a member. Who are you going to call, anyway? There is no such place as the Facebook building waiting to hear your grievance. We did eventually get a response via Meg Sinclair of Corporate Communications Facebook. She said Facebook receives up to 2.5 billion pieces of content a day and sometimes users take exception to a post.

This happened In Tarek Fatah’s case. Therefore, it was removed and the author denied access. For now.
Since the Toronto Sun first made inquiries about this case, Fatah has received what he calls a “cryptic e-mail” from Facebook directing him to their, you guessed it, website. Yet again when it comes to Facebook (and Twitter) there is only silence and a web page offering plenty of links but no direct contact.

We’ll keep you posted on developments. If you’ll pardon the obvious pun.

my response.....

My question is...has social media lost the social justice battle to newspapers? It's hardly a secret that originally, the main qualification for social media types to have their prose appear in print is they must have two functioning index fingers. Judging by some recent events, it appears that the situation hasn't changed! A case in point is some questionable things employees are doing on social media that are jeopardizing their companies and getting them fired. According to HR Haven, an appeals court research attorney recently tweeted a few nasty comments from a courtroom in a very public case while also indicating that she had insider information regarding the ruling. We can’t imagine what she was thinking based on her public statement after the fact.  It didn’t sound like she was thinking the situation all the way through. According to the woman, she was hoping to communicate her personal thoughts about the case with her friends but didn’t factor in that the public in general would also be able to see her posts.  Not only is it irresponsible from an employment viewpoint, but also an ethical/legal viewpoint too.

Or what about the longtime high school football coach who resigned after one of the more embarrassing and bizarre social media snafus in recent memory (if not of all time) when he accidentally? posted a nude photo of himself on Facebook, according to Associated Press. The lewd photo was viewable by the general public and was recognized by a parent of a player on his football team, leading to the coach's self-imposed departure. It is unclear whether this fellow removed his photo of his own accord or whether he was told that the shot could be seen by his entire Facebook network and then took it down. Either way, the brief nude incident raised flags for the School District because of a general policy stance that allows for teachers to be friends with students on Facebook. That means that students could have possibly seen his nude photo in their own timeline, even if there is no indication that any did.

So, with Facebook's silly move to ban Tarek Fatah and leave him unable to post, has Simon Kent proven that social media has lost the social justice fight to newspapers? I would go one step further...with this lowering of the bar even further, it is clear that social media has never even been in the ring! Solid journalism practiced by professionals is still in demand...and the future of today's newspaper is secure as these social media snafu's go from bad to worse!

 bio at http://about.me/brianweller
twitter chatter....
Has social media lost the social justice fight to ... 
you tell me?