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Political discussions and other rants about useless things like culture

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by Matse, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Matse

    Matse Customized individuum

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    Haven't had a political discussion around here for quite a while and I could not let it stand like this so:

    Basic, simplified story of the evolving western culture:
    Basis was laid in Ancient Greece, mostly in Athens.
    Christianity was founded in Israel and found its way to Rome where it was combined with Greek culture. This was set back by Celtic barbarian culture, but reevolved with Celtic elements to form most of European culture. The US added to that culture in the early years a reformed version of Democracy and helped pushing some human rights forward which happened in Europe as well although the US were the precursors in that area and thus speeded up the process in Europe as well.
    So basically western culture is mostly non-American, but with some American add-ons. In the end American culture is more European than European culture is American.

    I must also say you have a very weird idea of culture. You call our fashion, our entertainment TV shows and fast food culture? I am wearing American blue jeans right now, but they have nothing to say. I could be wearing some monk's cowl and it would not change my culture a tiny bit. It is different with burkas and similar things which carry a political statement, but jeans do not. McDonalds is not part of our culture. Even if I went there weekly, which I do not and few people do so, it is not our culture (again here it could be said a much higher percentage of your food is European than our food is American). You proudly call out consumerism as your culture, by only naming every-day products as parts of your culture? I would be ashamed if that was my definition of culture. Culture is made up of values, politics, things that speak to our intellect. Good music you can actually listen to and not just have it running in the background, a good discussion, nowadays even a well-made movie (I am NOT talking about TV and movie productions which merely serve our need for entertainment, those mostly do come from America, most productions of a higher standard on TV here are of German origin. Books even more so).

    Regarding the language, of course this forum is in English, it is an American site. Implying that the UK has nothing to do with English becoming the world language is also wrong. The British Empire covered one third of the planet and everywhere English was taught and spoken.

    I am not doubting that the USA produce most of the entertainment movies in our cinemas and that much of the pop music comes from there.
    I am not saying that the USA have not contributed to the spread of western values and the English language. They are nowadays doing so mostly by being a dominant power on the internet (interesting thesis there, Matse).
    But to say that the culture of other countries (that includes Costa Rica) is mostly American and taken from you, to imply that your culture is so very much independent from influences and to even bring consumerism even near the actual meaning of culture is just laughable and to put the word worship in there just shows ignorance and arrogance.
     
  2. Sinner Poetry

    Sinner Poetry Member

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    I totally agree with Matse.

    "American culture" is nothing more than a melting pot of pre-american cultures with little add ons. Who created modern science? Who created phylosophy? When we eat at McDo we eat something created in Germany (hamburger does not stand for "ham-burger" but for "from hamburg"). And by the way, I bet that the number of pizzas you eat in a year is by far greater than the number of times I go to McDo. And pizza is italian. Is it true that the rich american people wear italian and french fashion? That the car they own are German (Porche, Mercedes, Audi, BMW) and Italians (Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati)? Americans are good at making things for the masses, but the top quality is often european.

    Democracy is from Greece, Rechtsstaat is from Germany, the law is from Greece, free market concept is european...

    selling jeans, low quality food, musical garbage for conformed minds does not make USA superior in anything... exept for the country wallet dimension...

    take the metal side of the matter: count how many revolutionnary bands were born in Sweden (9 milions of inhabitants) and in USA (300 milions of inhabitants)... count 'em well...

    also... english was chosen as universal language for many reasons and I feel logical to consider that english is perfect for that purpose being the simplest and grammatical friendly language...

    there would be so much to speak of, american brain drain policy, world leadership founded on money and war, the petrodollars policy to hold this position and so on...
     
  3. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    ^ At least there're some people who do think here! That's good.

    I agree mostly with what Matse said, except in the "Costa Rican" part. The thing is, CR is a heavily European-US influenced country. Ironically enough, here in Central-America (CA) we're called "the Switzerland of CA", because of the climate, politics and predominance of Caucasian people. Unlike most CA countries (Latin, for that matter), most of the indigenous people that lived here were killed when Columbus came. Indigenous people are a minority here, less than 10% of the population, but in other CA countries it's vice-versa and the minority would be Caucasian.

    I've always criticised CRns in general because a lot do not like their own CRn culture; some prefer to eat at Mc instead of a "casado" (daily/typical CRn meal, basically salad+rice+beans+meat). I had my "Ethnolinguistics" class yesterday, and we were discussing things like that. It's sad but real, but as a teacher I always try to help my students take notice of things like that.

    If anyone is interested, I'm reading these books:

    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0826486290/ref=ox_ya_oh_product[/ame]

    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674443152/ref=ox_ya_oh_product[/ame]

    Both of them are very interesting and profound, so try to read them :) .
     
  4. La Rocque

    La Rocque I am that I am

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    ^ has link to Amazon, its a USA thing
    My original quote had to do with culture not politics but thanks for the shout out
    I'm not talking ancient history here, as the past is past
    We're all here communicating because of the availably of the Internet(email) < born in the USA
    I thinks its a big waste of time but forum members world wide seem to be in love with
    MySpace, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter < all from USA
    As for USA politics, we were screwed over for 8 years by the Bush Administration as they shit on our Constitution but W has slithered back to Texas.
    Obama is the "Man with the Plan" and everything is beautiful -
     
  5. Siren

    Siren dead to this world

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    Present time, and according to Wikipedia (which is probably american as well, so you can rejoice): "In a typical English dictionary of 80,000 words, which corresponds very roughly to the vocabulary of an educated English speaker, about 5% of the words are borrowed from Greek directly, and about 25% indirectly." Link 1, Link 2.
    I wonder who is speaking who's language, really.

    He wasn't imposed on you, you (ie americans) voted for him. Twice.
     
  6. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    I suppose the original rant wasn't aimed at me, but:

    I watch more Korean movies than American. I watch more Japanese TV shows than American. I haven't eaten at McDonald's since the nineties (the local McDonald's went bankcrupt back then as nobody was eating there). I had no idea what KFC stands for until I googled it a minute ago - certainly would never eat there.

    I dress in no fashion but mine, which is Finnish I suppose. Less than 5% of the books I read are written by Americans. Exactly 0% of the magazines I read are American.

    I speak Finnish, Swedish, German and English. If the people of the USA spoke Swahili, the main international language of the world would still be English, thanks to the British Empire.

    If the USA stopped existing today, I'd see it more as a personal gain than a loss. And with that I'll try to leave this topic before further flamewars.

    -Villain
     
  7. DisplayofCharacter

    DisplayofCharacter Are You Scared Enough?

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    This is an aside.

    I consider myself a citizen of the world, so American pride is not my strong suit. However you cannot be diminutive regarding American accomplishment as it took a different type of country to be able to roll all of those cultural influences into one - and then promptly flush it down the toilet in a flurry of stupidity. Though I'll attempt to do this without sounding snobbish or pretentious, it will be hard for me to hide my disdain and contempt for the majority of the population of the United States that has trouble reading, much less engaging in any kind of appropriate discourse. This country is getting dumber, losing the ingenuity it once prided itself on. Its media and propaganda driven. There is no resistance to this gradual (but quickening) change as anyone with subversive mentality flocks to the internet and congregates quite easily there. There are too many things to change and too much to talk about, so I'll address some of the points brought up earlier.

    I am a film student, so I watch many films from many cultures. Most American blockbusters are terrible but there are also a handful of American films each year that are also good. I do eat fast food but not often. I do not feel guilty about that, similarly its not something I plan on continuing in the future for personal health reasons, not moral or political grounds.

    I dress however I please, I read books from many authors from many cultures and though I'll admit most of the magazines I read happen to be American, I get most of my media content through the internet. I hate the majority of television of all kinds, I listen to music from many, many countries and I read print from all over the place by virtue of the internet.

    I say this to demonstrate that I am not simply concerned with my country of origin. Obviously I cannot say that if this country dropped from the face of the planet (aside from my own personal death, apparently, as I am on it) it would be a gain for the world. The United States does provide some sort of uneasy balance, if only for now, and it has its purpose.

    To boil it down, so to speak, if you want to hate the country or at the very least what it has come to stand for, that's fine. Just don't judge me based on where I'm from, or at least not solely.

    I can only speak for myself. Sorry for the meandering nature of this post but I had a lot of thoughts worming their way out and it caused a lack of focus.
     
  8. Matse

    Matse Customized individuum

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    Amazon is an American website, nothing more. I buy a lot of cds and other things at Amazon.de, but again that is not part of my culture. Buying at a store whose owner is American does not give one little itsy bit of American culture. Just because most of the products you buy are produced in China, your culture is not Chinese, or do you think like that.
    That most of the social networks on the internet and the internet itself come from the USA does not matter as well, since again, that is not a part of our culture, but merely a means of communication like the telephone (Just because: The internet runs on PCs which are a German invention, just like many other things, but that is not what this is about).
    To claim that the Bush administration had nothing to do with the American people is not true. He was elected although everyone knew what he was standing for and even reelected by the people.
    You try to divide ancient history and politics from culture, but that is both what formed and represents our culture. Just to name one, look at World War II, nothing else had such a huge impact, changed and formed the German culture after its end. What happened there massively changed our ideals and values.

    One question and I hope you will answer it directly:
    From what you have said I take that you see culture as what we buy and use and don't see it as an umbrella term for our values, ideas, philosophies, politics and our way of thinking, our art and our history. Is that assumption correct?




    Regarding Siren's post:
    Old English = Anglo Saxon language = Germanic dialect
    Middle English = Germanic dialect + French (due to Willi boy 1066)
    New English = Same with some vowel changes + new words, many based on Greek and Latin words

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language , and I think we had a short discussion about it not to long ago here.


    @ Villain: I don't think it would be good if the USA stopped existing since they did and do not only contribute bad during history just as Europe did not only do good.


    @ DoC: To change someone from the USA just based on the fact that he is from there imo is a lot harder than judging a German since the USA have much greater cultural diversity due to the many immigrants and its larger size and completely different surroundings of some people.
     
  9. Siren

    Siren dead to this world

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    @DoC: Stupid and uneducated people exist everywhere in varying degrees, not just in the US. In much the same way worthwhile people exist everywhere, including the US. It just so happens that with tv, internet and the movies some aspects of your country become apparent to everyone. I could start ranting eg about journalists in my country who can't speak correctly or uni students who can't spell, but it would be lost on you because my country is much smaller and you don't get to know a lot (of embarrassing things) about it.
    That said, some of the people i have admired were born or lived most of their lives in the US. Also scientifically speaking, a lot of the progress and research takes place in the US. Despite all the ranting and whining i (and i'm sure many peers of mine) might do, i (and i'm sure they, too) would very much love it if i could study/work/live there for some time.
     
  10. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    Twice! I still can't believe it hehe.

    Well the telephone is Italian and the antidote (for the snake's poison) was discovered/invented by a Costa Rican. Both are things that US people think they invented but they didn't. And they use them everyday (maybe not the antidote but you get my point).

    Culture is not only about what you buy or wear, it involves oh so many things.

    Again, I know that I have a tendency to dislike the U.S. in general, but heck the U.S. invaded my country and I hate that it does nothing to help the world in general. With just a tiny fraction of the "war against terror" (read: We need more petrol!") world hunger would end. Mexico is having a lot of problems with drugs nowadays (damn "cuarteles") just like Colombia (d'oh), but where does all the drug go to? Yes, the U.S. and A. like Borat would say.

    I've been to the U.S. a few times, and it's actually a nice country. New York and Boston are amazing cities. And the best universities of the world are in the U.S., though I'm not sure if I would like to study there (I'd rather go to Cambridge or Oxford), but they're excellent anyhow.

    Concerning the language stuff, basically every European language comes from Greek (except the Celtic ones like Welsh. Celtic languages are the oldest ones of Europe).
     
  11. Siren

    Siren dead to this world

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    Maybe they thought that he has special powers, like seeing through capped binoculars and reading upside down. :lol:

    Regarding languages, i wouldn't go as far as to say that all the european languages come from greek, i'd say that most of them come from Latin. Other languages (including latin) have certainly borrowed stuff, as we have borrowed stuff from other languages. I'm not an expert and i'm too lazy to go read up on this, but i think grammatical structure is quite different in most other european languages, and for example english is much less logical and far less complicated.
    I also don't think that the celtic languages are the oldest ones of europe, i'd instincitvely argue that greek is, but anyone with more info on this is welcome to share it.
     
  12. DisplayofCharacter

    DisplayofCharacter Are You Scared Enough?

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    That's true. I guess part of my point was just that I don't want to be lumped in with the general American public. I hope it is evident that I'm not like them, but I wanted to express my dislike. I do have a low patience for stupidity which is something I have to work on, because I'm a generally patient guy.

    You're definitely right as far as stupidity goes, but like I said above I have a low patience/tolerance for it which is something I have to work on. Its not so much that I'll snap at a person, I just keep thinking in the back of my mind that I cannot fathom why a person would say such a dumb thing and it prevents me from giving that person the full attention and respect they deserve as a human being.

    I hate most media outlets. I use a media and information aggregate (Reddit) for much of my information, as well as the BBC and for local news the local newspaper website. I don't bother with TV unless its a sporting event or an exceptionally good television show (and there are a few). I despise reality tv more than anything else, but I won't waste my time with any genre if it isn't good. The United States is saturated by media and it has that effect of being apparent - if it happens it gets out there. Problem is, every major media company puts its own spin on the news - none of it is objective anymore, or as objective, and people buy into it. The idea that someone would take anything Fox News puts out literally (major bias) or even MSNBC for liberals, as absolutes without looking into the situation is disheartening to say the least, and in the conservative sense downright frightening. I do consider myself a liberal but the tactics conservatives are now using are borderline childish, immature, and deconstructive. Not to go too political, but it amazes me that there can't just be intelligent debate, even if just for show. One of the reasons I don't really want to stay in this country: its getting way too hard to be heard, and things are not the way I'd like them to be.

    I can understand what you're saying about Greece and Greece in particular can be insular, correct? Not trying to be condescending, but from what I know about the European Union and Greece's efforts to not join among other things gives the impression to a somewhat uninformed outsider that the country either wants to be left alone or just wants what it wants exactly how it wants it. Some day, if you'd be so inclined, I'd like you to explain some of that to me. I do find it interesting and I'd like to learn more. You certainly don't have to, of course.

    There are lots of cool things about the United States, our Universities are good (they get a crapload of funding so they ought to be), I enjoy some American music (c'mon, death metal was invented in Florida) cuisine (Americanized pizza from NYC is awesome), movies and television. I am proud of American scientific contributions, literary contributions, and a now-diminishing spirit of hard work and effort. It isn't all bad. But if this country continues to be media defined, outright nuts, xenophobic and dumb, I don't really want to stay either.

    Sorry bout the wall of text again. I find this subject fascinating.
     
  13. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    Agh well I'm the linguist here ;) . No but seriously, I don't remember in which of my books I read that, but European languages come from Greek, but Celtic ones are older. But this is for another thread.

    @ DoC: Don't worry, I read what you wrote, it's interesting to read the opinions of an angry US citizen. If you could, to which country would you move?

    And yes, US media sucks. I only watch CNN when there's a presidential election. BBC is much better :) .
     
  14. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    They voted for him once. His first "win" was the most blatant case of election fraud since Mayor Daley stole Illinois for Kennedy in 1960. Shouldn't have been up for re-election, and if not for 9/11 he would not have won that second time anyway... Bush and bin Laden, best buddies, keeping the common denominator at home and abroad as stupid as ever...
     
  15. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    I thought the second one was the one that had a lot of fraud, or were both elections the case? I don't know to what extent all of the 9/11 conspiracy theories are true, but it's pretty obvious that Bush and Bin Laden are best friends. Really, how could the biggest military the world has seen, in all its history, not capture one man, with satellites and all?

    This was more into politics, but it's also a cultural thing. As DoC said, the media had a lot of influence in Bush's re-election, especially Fox. I guess it's a cultural thing of the US to believe everything Fox News says.
     
  16. Fluffy Kitty

    Fluffy Kitty New Metal Member

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    Ok... A subject I can't get out of my head! Enough for me to make the effort and register!
    I've been looking in here for years and my DT collection is...almost complete? The handle is a nod to a post by Siren this winter...remember? :))
    Anyway, like this:
    The language part: Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Holland and England (surprise!) all share enough common ground that it's labelled as the same "branch" in the tracing of language development. If my memory serves me right from university (I'm kind of old) my native tounge Swedish is 60% German, 10% French and the rest is more or less directly from Greek and Latin. And the guy yelling about the American mark...If Jefferson and his buddies had been been, well Japanese...would this be a different impact? As pointed out earlier here, the United Kingdom is the only empire the world has seen with territory on all continents.
    The culture part: I won't go into the dephts of this, as Matse lays it out kind of brilliantly. HOWEVER, since this is about music: You can't argue the fact that it was American record companies that "invented" and pushed forward the idea of music and records as mass popular culture. Sun, Chess, Motown, Stax, Atlantic...the list goes on. As for quality of records, this is down to responsible record company people and for CD...well if you spent more than five minutes listening to music I dare you to take a blind test. It was different back in the days when you only had vinyl, as the pressing is a more mechanical process.
    And lastly, for DoC: I understand the frustration. The energy of your people that used to make miracles happen and GET THINGS DONE seems to be more and more misguided. But this is something that the rest of the "civilized" world had periods of for thousands of years. One fact is true in all of our history: Empires fall. It's up to the survivors to create something better.
    Enough for now.
     
  17. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    I wasn't suggesting that Bush and bin Laden collaborated on 9/11 at all, mind you. I was just commenting that the biggest idiots in the world take action that mutually reinforces the stupidity they sow in others. Bin Laden flew two planes into the WTC and he basically saved Bush's first term. Bush then put into action bin Laden's plan for a big, apocalyptic war all over the Middle East by invading Iraq. They may want each other dead, but man, they sure did help each other out.
     
  18. DisplayofCharacter

    DisplayofCharacter Are You Scared Enough?

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    Ideally, though this may seem a typical metalhead response, I'd like to move to Scandinavia, particularly Sweden (Norway would be almost as good). The reasons are myriad: Great healthcare and education; food is good, plenty of beer and I like most seafood though admittedly I haven't had much Swedish cuisine; the climate is temperate which is what I enjoy (I have a dislike of hot weather); the disposition of the people is generally cool or calm and not nearly as reactionary; a relatively high percentage of atheists or non-affiliated people which is definitely a boon for me; music is fantastic; cheaper cigarettes; lots of space near water which I like; its in Europe so European travel won't be as expensive and that's definitely something I want to do - the list goes on and on. Its not just because HURR DURR I LIEK METUHLS SO I MUST GO THERE - there is a lot to like about Scandinavia for a person like me.

    Secondary to that is Canada, which may be more realistic. Its a bit too close to America in some parts to be as whole-heartedly into it, but its not a bad second. Problem for both locales is that as this point in time in my life it doesn't seem that I'll be able to get out for at least financial reasons as well as other obligations. There is plenty of future ahead of me, so we'll see.

    Third is the west coast of the United States, or somewhere in New York state, or Chicago. I will not move anywhere closer to the middle or south or north of the country than Chicago. Northeast is generally OK, and I don't mind living here now at all. West coast would also be cool. Anything else is definitely not something I want.

    @Fluffy Kitty: The idea that I'd be able to change something would be one of the (only) major reasons for me to really want to stay. Like I said, at least in the current climate, its very hard to be heard and rational discourse has taken a back seat to reactionary and childish tactics. Its selfish, short-sighted and irresponsible, and I don't really want anything to do with it. I have plenty of faith in people in general, but I don't have faith in many citizens of my country, especially those that either run things or have a hand in running things, and the ill-informed and misguided (and not coincidentally but unfortunately) dumb and sad majority that populates the heartland. Politicians are bought and sold by lobbying groups and corporations (that also run the lobbying groups) that have big money at mind and at heart - not what is best for the general public. Their unfortunately successful propaganda machine pumps out misinformation that the uninformed suck up and regurgitate instead of forming an intelligent and individual opinion which then spreads as if it were truth. The rest fall under as they are too lazy to research to find out particulars. It amazes me that someone like Sarah Palin has as much media coverage as she does - she isn't anything, not even a governor anymore, just some woman. Its true she was the Vice Presidential nominee, but are any other former nominees, from any party, receiving even similar exposure? Do they even know what Twitter is? Furthermore, would they spew out misinformation to such a laughable degree all the while holding steadfast that it is fact? I'm quite sore about the medical insurance issue as it is one that hits very close to mine own heart and my family. That being said, it is simply unbelievable the tactics being used, and that people are buying it! This coming from a woman who has now has no political seat whatsoever! Its unprecedented, shameful, and I have a hard time accepting such a reality. It certainly has inspired me to write my responses as I have lately. It hasn't hit home so much before how fucked up, pardon the crudeness, things happen to be right now. Hence why I wouldn't mind leaving.

    Thanks again to those that read. Unless its a term paper, I am always grateful for those that take in what I have to say, regardless of your personal position on the matter.
     
  19. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    The reason the discourse is so low in the health care debate is because the Obama administration very incorrectly thought that once they made health reform a priority, a serious debate would follow. When Clinton was in office the Republicans used the same tactics to dominate the health care debate and tank it. Instead of mobilizing his political machine to support his administration's efforts, they organized these lame town hall meetings that played right into the hands of Republican lobbying groups. It's just lazy on the part of the Obama administration to expect that it would have worked out that way. Controlling your message in the American media battlefield is not easy. Obama's people know how to do it. It takes a lot of organization and money...

    To be honest, I think the political discourse in any country goes down to the lowest common denominator. People tell you it's low in the US, but the proliferation of right wing and xenophobic parties in Europe and ethnic politicians and populists in the third world should give you pause when you think of moving to another country because of the expectation that politics is going to be any less disgusting than in the US. I think regionally the US does very good, and as a whole is probably the most sane country relative to its gigantic population (although I wouldn't call us sane relative to the most sane countries...).
     
  20. Siren

    Siren dead to this world

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    Location:
    unfortunately, still here
    To be honest, i don't understand exactly what you mean or where that impression of yours is coming from. I'd very much appreciate it if you could expand on it, because i'm afraid i might be forming the wrong idea (so excuse the following rant if i understood things wrong).
    The thing that baffles me the most is "Greece's efforts to not join" (am i reading this correctly?). We joined decades ago, in fact we were one of the original 12 members (12 stars on the flag, now the members are 27). Nobody forces us to be a member, we are one willingly. Unless you're talking about a measly but loud 5% of communists that we have and who wish that we left NATO and the Union and cloned Marx and Stalin and lived happily ever after in seclusion, everyone else is fine with it.
    Of course there's whining about some stuff, but the key to understanding the situation here is that the EU is not like the US. It is formed by individual countries that of course have to abide to the common rules, but also want and should keep their individuality. You should also take into account that it's much harder to change laws and structures in countries that came together 20 years ago, as opposed to states who joined forces 200 years ago. Add to the mix the strong-headedness and rebellious nature of the greek people, and you will see why a free and individual country who is an equal(?) member of a union might want to have a say in things, instead of following directions blindly.
    However, what i meant with my previous post that you quoted, was merely based on the size of the country and the fact that the world is not very interested in it, unless something major happens. Much like you don't hear a lot about Tuvalu in the news unless it drowns.

    Welcome to the forum, i like you already. ;)

    I also thought the second election was the fraud-y one.
    Still, i don't understand: why didn't anyone do anything about it? If people knew it was fraud, why did they take it? All i heard was some whining. People should stand up for themselves, otherwise they deserve what they get (in this case a stupid president).
     

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