A Great Idea From the Ancient Greeks

athens

When All Else Fails, Ostracize
Ancient Greece, specifically Athens, is considered to be the birthplace of democracy. The early Athenians passed down many great gifts to western civilization, including philosophy, science, sculpture, architecture, and the theater. But their most enduring contribution has to be the form of government known as democracy: rule by the people. It took one revolution after another to get rid of the small groups of the rich and powerful families, but eventually the people prevailed – if only for a couple of hundred years.

“It is called a government of the people (demokratia) because we live in consideration of not the few, but of the majority.” –  Thucydides on Pericles’ view of democracy, 450 BCE

Back then the citizens of Athens took their politics seriously and if a politician became overly ambitious or tyrannical they could be voted out in the famous unpopularity contest called ostracism. It was a simple procedure. Once a year there was a vote to determine if a politician was becoming too powerful and might threaten the democracy. If at least 6,000 votes were cast the man with the most votes lost and was sent into exile for 10 years. It’s time to ostracize San Diego’s disgusting mayor, Bob “who looks like the devil” Filner. Don’t dramatize, ostracize!

Enjoy the Rolling Stones ‪performing Sympathy For The Devil at Glastonbury, May 2013:‬

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The Greek Olympics

The Nemean Games
The 2012 Olympics in London are over and, according to a couple of Oxford scholars, this year’s 17 day extravaganza cost USD14.8 billion.

Cities from around the globe vie to host the games not only for the honor but for a reason to justify  spending huge amounts of public and private funds to make major improvements in the host city. A report has already calculated the 2016 games in Rio will bring in $3.26 for every US$1 spent.

Sadly, today’s games barely resemble the original Olympics that began in Greece in 776 BC. That said, there actually is an Olympics held every four years at the same spot of the ancient tradition.

Just a month before the London event the Nemean Games were held – where else, in Nemea. The revival of the Ancient Games began in 1996.There were only two events: a 100 meters sprint and an endurance race of 7.5 km (.62 miles) starting at the ruins of the temple of Heracles at ancient Kleonai and ending at the ancient stadium of Nemea.

Amateur athletes from 4 to 82 years young are grouped by age and gender and run barefoot wearing ancient white chitons (tunics).

According to Stephen Miller, one of the founders of The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, “These games are about celebrating participation, and barefoot running is one sport that almost everyone can tackle. We get a fair number of contestants in their 80s and 90s. And there is no timekeeping.”

Anyway, this year there were 1,020 participants from 106 countries!

The lucky winners received palm branches and crowns of wild celery and were honored at a post-race feast.

The whole point is to have good fun in the spirit of a time when the games were open to all and were about the joy of participating.

Enjoy John Farnham, former lead singer with Little River Band – Playing to Win:

Greece

Riots in a Club Med Country
Greece’s debt problem wasn’t caused by credit default swaps on Wall Street. Greece’s debt problems, are all of its own making, caused by borrowing more than it could repay.

When Greece joined the EU, it was understood that they would keep their budget deficit within 3% of GDP. That was the requirement for all the countries entering the EU.

Well, Greece sort of lied misled the EU community – their debt was actually 13% of GDP. In order to get a loan from the other countries, Greece was told to cut it’s expenses. When Greece’s PM, George Papandreou, announced spending cuts that included pay cuts for civil servants and tax increases, (sales tax is already 23%) the employees and their unions went crazy.

You have to remember that the unions are controlled by the Greek communist party. Communists do business with anyone – anarchists, students, socialists, etc., so the riots that are taking place in Athens are being fueled by all the groups that want something for nothing. Greece’s problems are nobody’s fault but it’s own…

A great excuse to enjoy Led Zeppelin performing Nobody’s Fault But Mine