Category Archives: Greece

Federalism Or State Rights Is Question

The European Union is  fast approaching an historic decision as to whether the organization which lacks a strong Federal center is in need of  greater  concentration of power or whether it should fracture itself and  go the way of   individual national rights.

Greece and its financial collapse raise issues concerning the importance of  developing greater Federal control over individual states or whether the Union  eventually will disintegrate under financial pressures.

The current requirement of unanimity is simply unacceptable for a modern economic organization. Someone has to be in charge.

Greece Burns With Fear

The streets of Athens and many cities in Greece are filled with angry people, setting fires, ripping up pavements in order to hurl stones and thousands marching in sorrowful protest. The European Union and the International Monetary Fund are imposing austerity conditions on the Greek government if they wish to obtain a $165 Billion loan in order to deal with a financial crisis. A general strike has broken out, including anyone from pilots to transportation workers to doctors and ambulance workers. Heck, even actors are on strike. The unemployment rate has hit 16% and thousands have entered ranks of those in poverty. A Greek worker names Spyros told a reporter, “the government has declared war on us and we will answer back with war.”

Unfortunately, for the people of Greece most Europeans have heard stories about Greek workers retiring at age 55 with high retirement pay. We do not know if this is correct, but this is a common belief in the western world. No one feels sorrow for the Greek people. The government will not receive a loan without sharp cut backs in spending and retirement pay.

Perhaps, it is time to install the Rule of 10. This means no one can obtain more money as pay that exceeds 10 times the average salary. If these are times of austerity, lets make all suffer.

Care To Buy Greece?

There is turmoil in Greece, thousands in the streets burning and rioting and shouting demands for an end to austerity. The European Union demands that Greece impose higher taxes, cut expenses and get their books balanced. As part of this austerity process, Greece will be selling off about $50 billion worth of property to those who desire to own a bit of Greece. We suggest the Greek government has not gone far enough. Why not take the next logical step and sell the country of Greece to the highest bidder? After all, Billy Gates and Warren Buffet could pony up at least a $100 billion which should get them a nice hunk of the country. Billy has a strong desire to help people, and most of his energies are focused on poverty areas of the world. How about purchasing an old established European nation and use technology skills to transform it into a high class society?

First, Billy buys Greece, next Billy purchases the USA and we can all look forward to national health insurance and a much healthier political life.

Oh, Them Swedish Women!

A Swedish woman went on a vacation to Greece and while on the island of Samos she was assaulted by a Greek man and raped. She returned to Sweden and a doctor who examined her body said there were signs of forced entry into her vagina. Back in Sweden, Jan Tordsson, took it on himself to contact the Greek Embassy in his country and protest against the young woman’s assault. Instead of conciliatory words, he received a reply from a high diplomat in the embassy. “On the contrary, my friend it is you who should be ashamed over Swedish women’s behavior on vacation in all parts of the world, and with what they do with foreigners in their own country.” The rumor in Greece is that Swedish women insure themselves for rape before going on vacation and then return home to file false charges of rape.

In other words, a Swedish woman subjects herself to ridicule by making charges of false rape? An interesting theory and it would be helpful if those making such claims would produce evidence. For example, could we see a copy of the insurance policy which they take out prior to false claims or rape?

Of course, speaking of rumors regarding sexual behavior, we have heard that Greek men………

Europe Plans To Raise Pension Age Retirement

A “crisis” has arisen over the issue as to when people should be allowed to retire and receive government payments during those post work years. French President Nicholas Sarkozy is proposing raising the retirement age from the current, 60, to something like 62 or 63 while Germany is considering a move from 65 to 67. Even in Greece, where it is possible to retire in the fifties and collect “old age” payments for twenty or thirty years, there is discussion of raising the female 60 to 65 and reach parity with males. OK, there are some ludicrous retirement schemes such as for French railroad workers who can retire at 50 with full benefits, but for the majority of people, retirement is not entry into a life of leisure. Sarkozy and others blame retirement at an “early age” as the cause of massive deficits. In America, retirement taxes only impact money received as pay for up to about $108,000. Why? Wouldn’t it it be fair and fiscally responsible to have the social security tax levied on ALL INCOME? This, in itself, would take care of Social Security deficits for years to come without necessitating any other changes.

The rich, in all societies, never pay the full tariff while the poor and middle class must comply with government regulations. Certainly, in the United States every dollar earned should be taxed at the same rate. Enough, with people retiring “too early.” Let’s make the upper middle class and the wealthy pay at the same rate as do the poor and middle class!!

Greece Greases Road Of Corruption

The Greek government has followed an unusual path to economic success–be incompetent, allow corruption to flow, and bank on not the banks, but on the generosity of the European Union to bail out any effort to avoid governing in a responsible manner. Revenue has declined and the government expects its projection for a deficit to be widely exceeded by reality. For years, the “Conservatives” were all too “liberal” with the nation’s resources and borrowed and borrowed. When “liberals” took power they avoided any semblance of being “conservative” and were all too liberal in borrowing and never paying back. There is now talk of a “national bankruptcy” which could seriously damage the European Union.

The psychology of the early years of the twenty first century was dominated by the culture of borrowing. Unfortunately, one did not borrow for a rainy day, but borrowed for a future that was always getting better. Welcome to 21st century reality.

Riots In Greece

About a year ago, a teenager was killed by police during a demonstration and his death led to an outbreak of violence in cities throughout the nation. The death of Alexis Grigoriopoulis, was recalled yesterday in many cities as young people respoded to the anniversary by smashing stores, wrecking cars, burning and, most probably, doing a little looting in the process. There is no question that police in Greece resort all too often and too quickly to the baton or the gun. The result is oppression of young people and it embitters students who simply do not believe the police are a force for peace. Another orgy of burning and destruction will not result in improved conditions that end police brutality.

We believe there is need for systematic changes in the manner of police work that leads to less resort to weapons and greater resort to dialogue, peace, and working to avoid destructive conflict. If each year there is an outbreak of violence to remember the death of an innocent young man, nothing is accomplished except more broken heads. The issue resides in changing police, changing their attitudes, and changing the manner in which they confront demonstrations.

Greece Moves To Diversity In Police Force

A major factor in developing a society in which the rights of all members are protected is ensuring the police force represents those from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. For most people, police represent the authority of government and if they fail to encounter those of their own background, the tendency is to believe they are facing discrimination. In 2006. the Greek Parliament lifted nationality restrictions and allowed anyone whether born in Greece or not to become a member of the police force. The Interior Ministry has decided to embark in a recruitment campaign to bring in those of diverse backgrounds.

Ironically, the Greek Police union has been urging diversity because such action they believe will assist in dealing with crime. Hristos Fotopoulos, head of the police union, says, “we believe immigrants should be employed as police officers, just like Greeks.” Hopefully, at some point in time, he will refer to immigrants as Greeks.

Athens Still Lacks Legal Mosques

About two hundred years ago, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire and there were thousands of Muslims who lived in Athens. Fast forward two hundred years and it is 2009 and there are 120,000 Muslims in Athens, but not a single mosque in which people pray is legal under Greek laws. A Greek couple who rented their basement to some Muslims are being fined because the tenants converted the area into a mosque in which people can pray. Several thousand Pakistanis are fighting the closing of the mosque because it is the only one available for them to pray. Lawyers argue that one must secure permission to use an area as a mosque for prayer, but city authorities will not grant any such permission.

Neighbors complained about the mosque which they disliked because it led to the gathering of large crowds of people anxious to get into the small area. For years, many bodies and the European Union have complained about the absence of a legal mosque for Muslims, but for some strange reason city authorities just can’t get around to granting legal permission to pray.

Riots In Greece As Immigrants Clash With Police

Greece has become a port of entry to migrants from Africa and the Middle East who seek to become part of the European Union success story. Yesterday, Greek police clashed with immigrants in the port of Patras after an immigrant was struck by a truck driver. The immigrants apparently thought it was a deliberate action and they poured into the streets in search of revenge. Patras has become a gathering point for immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asian immigrants who seek to hop across the Adriatic and find work in Italy. Last month there were demonstrations by truck drives who complained immigrants constantly sought to hitch rides and this frequently resulted in violence.

Perhaps, it is time for the African Union to sit down with the European Union in an effort to organize the process of immigration. This is not an issue that will disappear. In fact, as the economic crisis deepens we can expect even more violent demonstrations and anger on the part of all involved in the immigrant problem.