On the US, the collateral deal, cabbies, cremation, rating agencies, VAT

As a Greek-American that has spent 30-plus years as a competitive marksman interacting with the «dark underbelly» of American, right-wing ideology, I can say that the US is in deeper doodoo than most thinking Europeans and thinking Americans comprehend.

There has been a systematic propagandizing of the American public by forces aligned with the oligarchs that currently rule the US. American democracy is a chimera and has been for at least 30 years. The constant bombarding of the American public by right-wing rant-radio, (AM radio – see Rush Limbaugh, et al.) and by television stations, all owed by the oligarchs, has created a hoi poloi that has consistently voted against their best interests and in favor of more wealth concentration in the hands of the oligarchs.

In 1970 the American Gini Coefficient was in line with Western Europe. It is now in line with countries ruled by the rapacious dictators of Africa. Democracies only work when there is a large, well-educated, well-informed middle class to act as a countervailing balance of power against the powder elite. The American middle-class is on life-support with little hope of revival. It does not matter who is in power in Washington D.C.; Democrats or Republicans; different sides of the same coin. After much careful analysis of the root causes of American decline, there seems to be plenty of blame to go to each in our duopolistic political system.

Propagandists throughout history have used the same, simple techniques to cow and bend the hoi poloi to their will; create fear and/or anger in the zeitgeist while telling the hoi poloi they will only be saved by following the propagandists’ admonitions. Our extremist politicians are doing just that, along with the right-wing noise machine; see AM rant-radio and Fox News. The statements I hear, concerning politics (politics: deciding how we chose to live together) and geopolitics, from many I interact with on a regular basis are quite astounding in their ignorance and lack of critical thinking.

After years of scratching my head I’ve come to realize that some, maybe most, people in the USofA will believe what they want to believe without regard to what is in front of their noses.

I am not suggesting that other peoples of the world are not the same.

Daniel Theodorides

Mr Venizelos and EU Mediation

I assume that Mr Venizelos checked with relevant EU and IMF senior officials before he made his private deal with Finland. If he did not, then he is surprisingly incompetent and naive, and it is worrying for Greece that he is its deputy prime minister and finance minister at this crucial time.

Robert Skailes

Taxis need more protection

Have we not reached a time when our Greek cabs need to be reinforced with divider windows like in the USA to protect the drivers? I am wondering when Greek cabbies will start refusing to drive to some from the more rougher areas of the capital.

Then we will have come full circle.

I think only when the big companies take over the taxi industry will we see these type of improvements as the one-off taxi drivers just can’t afford it.

Larry Fian

Foreign license plates

I think there would be a few less people driving around with foreign license plates if the cost/tax to reregister them to Greek plates wasn’t so high (illegally apparently).

I understand that Greece is frequently fined for this practice, but the taxes far outweigh the fines and so it continues.

Chris Pound

Cremation in Greece

It would be such a relief to all families who cannot afford the exorbitant prices of «private» burial sites to be allowed to cremate their dead. If I wish to be cremated and die on Greek soil, I will not have my wish because the Church forbids it.

My family would have to pay at least 8,000-10,000 euros for the permits, rents, expenses and Church prayers on the day of the interment. Then come the 3-day, 9-day and 40-day laments, which have to be complete with priests and chanting and extra expenses.

Once the three years are up, my family would have to go through the gruesome process of having my resting place disturbed and my remains put into a box. If they cannot afford to buy me a square to rest the box with my remains, they will have to let me tossed into a mass grave where all the rest of the skeletons rest till they have been turned into dust.

Now the big question, why wouldn’t the Church allow cremation in the first place?

Would I be a cynic if I suspected that the reason would be the income it derives from all those Church services on the temporary burial sites for the three years I will be «resting» in that cemetery? Why the municipalities do not allow themselves enough space for the tombs of their dead and have to subject its citizens and their families into this constant turnover of burial sites?

There should come a time when profit should not enter the equation and respect for the dead should trump all other considerations.

Monica Lane

S I don’t care as they are still cheap. What I do find incredible however is that the government still insists on printing the price on the pack, a throwback I suspect from some bygone time. My tobacconist showed me an invoice stating the price he was charged and the price marked on the pack. He makes 71 cents for every 10 packs (x20 cigs) he sells, it equated to a 2.69 percent profit. Whilst if in a communist state I could understand this but Greece is NOT a communist state. Why do they not allow the shops to charge their own price? N

ow we see all inclusive resorts and full board holidays will not be charged the 23 percent VAT on food, but the high street tavernas will?

Why, why, why do the governments of Greece insist on complicating everything. It seems to me that they are doing everything they can to destroy local business and any form of enterprise on the high street. The Golden Goose comes to mind.

Roly Baker