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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments It seems the hot favourite in Ukraine's coming elections is a comedy actor who on TV played an honest President. Apparently he confesses to know nothing about politics (which some may say is an advantage). The question is, is looking good on TV the way to get elected, and if so, does this say something about our "democracy" (or representative government)?


message 2: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Sure, televisibility or call it charisma, is one (if not the) of the features necessary to get elected. Does electability say something about governing, political and other skills? Usually nothing at all. However, in our world, doing the wrong thing, but being able to convince ppl and thus retain popular support that it's right or good or whatever, may be even more important than doing the right thing. And if ppl believe, the wrong is right, then maybe it is? -:)
As of Ukraine specifically - they all ride the anti-corruption card. Ppl seek change, but get promises, mostly hollow. Some believe that if the person is already rich, like say the current president, who's a billionaire, they'd steal less or be less susceptible to corruption, which may turn out true, but frequently - wouldn't, because those in moneymaking often see in it their purpose of life.
Knowing nothing/little about politics is not necessarily a disadvantage. As an example we had this song competition delegating the winner to the Eurovision. Among others - there was a professional renowned singer competing vs novices. It was just striking that albeit her perfect voice, performance, etc, the "professional" mannerism and exaggeration were just inferior to the naivete or sincerity of most others. Just an example -:)


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Not sure Eurovision is a good example, although I suppose it is of voting.

As for Ukraine, I gather the people want someone to get rid of corruption, but the problem as I see it is the new President, whoever, has to work with the established civil service, and if they are all corrupt, what do you do? Someone like Heydrich would clean them out in a week or so, but for most normal people it would be a near impossible task. I rather suspect the corrupt will still be there for some time, but i hope I am wrong.


message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments In Georgia (Caucasus, not the US) at the time, the then elected president fired the entire police force: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_enf...
And I heard from businessmen that it helped and the country became 'clean', at least for a while.
As of Ukraine - firing first thing the entire judiciary and most of senior governmental, law enforcement officers would maybe add to the already existing internal turmoil in the short, but would most likely be beneficial in the long run...


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments The problem with firing the lot is how to replace them. There would be a danger of merely getting in fresh corruption (once upon a time in Columbia, Escobar could ahh ended up as Attorney general !!) and if you get honest ones in, they may not know what to do - especially difficult for police. As you say, Nik, things could get worse before they got better. But still, something needs to be done if the corruption is endemic.


message 6: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments I see Slovakia has also elected a President with zero experience, good looks, in a desire to get rid of corruption. Maybe there is a movement getting going?


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments From Time Magazine, I have someone agreeing with me - Yulia Tymoshenko no less. Quote: "This is a trend all over the world. It's the total degeneration of representative democracy." then, with the right spin machine and enough money to manipulate the social media, "You could make a senator out of a horse."

The horse reference presumably refers to the Gaius Julius Caesar aka Caligulae, who did make a horse a senator, but he did it to see what the average senator would say, and to express his opinion of the quality of senators in general. (He was near enough to being right in that case, but it was somewhat politically incorrect.)


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments I'm with u & Ulia!
And horses are excellent senators


message 9: by Kris (new)

Kris Haliday (krishaliday) | 127 comments I'm thinking you don't mean Jonathan Swift's horses (wise, gentle creatures, Gulliver's Travels) but the frequent butt of necessary humor for sane people? :)


message 10: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Hi Kris & Welcome!

Yeah, we need wise creatures for people's reps. Gentle we can leave to Mr. Swift and trade it for incorruptible -:)

Hope you'll enjoy it here & contribute


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Hi Kris,

Not sure about Yulia. She sounded rather bitter, so I suspect gentle was not on the top of her list of words to use :-)

I prefer the Caligulae version. The point about this is that everyone thinks he was mad and this was a sign, but it was anything but. What most people overlook was in the very brief imperium he had there were four attempts to assassinate him, all organised by senators, and for the first three he responded by doing something to humiliate such senators. (The fourth was successful, but not for responsible senators.) He is also considered one of the vilest tyrants of history, randomly killing in all directions. In fact he only ordered 13 executions directly that were recorded, and given the times, and the fact he had three attempts on his life, that is pretty mild. His problem in history is "fake news". He banished the senator Seneca, and Seneca wrote his first biography.


message 12: by Kris (new)

Kris Haliday (krishaliday) | 127 comments Hands down Caligula wins: It's hard to imagine that a satirist who thcould be as savage in his wit as Jonathan Swift is too tame for our age, but it's true. We are definitely living in a Caligula-style reality show.

Kris


message 13: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Ian wrote: "It seems the hot favourite in Ukraine's coming elections is a comedy actor who on TV played an honest President. Apparently he confesses to know nothing about politics (which some may say is an adv..."

Just returning from there before the final round tomorrow and it seems the candidate pointedly evades TV debates with the incumbent, the latter being more eloquent and smoothspeaking. But after having him 5 years in the office, many realized there wasn't much substance behind those nice speeches...


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments TV debates are interesting. The general theory is that either the incumbent (usually) or the person well in the lead in the polls should ignore the debate possibility, the reason being it gives opportunities for the person expected to lose to change people's minds. In short, only the expected loser has something to gain.

In NZ, however, they would be harder to avoid because the times on nationwide TV are booked in advance and prepaid by the state, so if someone refuses to turn up, the other side has twice the time, and unlike in the US, by law each party only gets the right for limited spending, and they are fairly restricted limits, so to turn down "free" (i.e. outside those limits) TV time would be expected to be fatal unless the potential winner somehow shot him/herself in the foot.

From which I would guess Poroshenko is headed for a loss???


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments According to the polls Poroshenko is trailing far behind and they say falsifying votes, frequently used by those having the governing levers, has its limits.
But who knows what tricks await ahead?
For example, In the previous round when Yulia Tymoshenko was slightly leading over Poroshenko on the polls, they ran another candidate with full identical initials: Tymoshenko Y.V. (Yuriy Tymoshenko) - an unknown dude, who obtained 0.7 % of votes, most likely through people confusing him for Yulia-:) Allowing for a close finish between Poroshenko & Yulia, this almost a percent was substantial.


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Did the alternative Y. V. Tymoshenko actually exist? It reminds me that after WW2 the Japanese renamed a manufacturing city. They sold products "MADE IN USA" By using block letters it was more confusing. I don't know whether Usa is still named that. A web search was not helpful because computer somehow thought I meant the US :-(


message 17: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2145 comments Apparantly there is a town called Usa, but Snopes lists the story of "Made in USA," as false.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/mad...


message 18: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2145 comments The town even has its own Wikipedia page...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usa,_%C...


message 19: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments oops. I was fooled :-(


message 20: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Ian wrote: "Did the alternative Y. V. Tymoshenko actually exist? ..."

I hope he still does, although he's accomplished his main mission and lived through his moment of glory -:)


message 21: by Ian (last edited Apr 21, 2019 03:26AM) (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Bet he doesn't get a Christmas card from Yulia :-)


message 22: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments But he might be getting more than greetings from her rivals -:)


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Hmm, chocolate from the current President perhaps?


message 24: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Exit polls show almost 50% difference to the favor of the contender 73 vs 25%. The chocolate king conceded defeat. The comedian managed to turn his act as the president in a movie to reality!
The campaigns will now switch to parliamentary elections to be held in half a year (unless, of course, the new president dissolves the parliament earlier).


message 25: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Can the Ukrainians now hope for a happy future, with plenty of laughs? Does our Comedian have an actual policy? Whatever else, the result suggests the masses were unhappy with the chocolate king.


message 26: by Nik (last edited Apr 22, 2019 12:24AM) (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Hope is what they have. The comedian himself admitted that he'd voted for the chocolate king 5 years ago and got disappointed like many others.
Ukraine by all parameters have a potential to be on par with leading European nations, while being the last one on many economic indices is just a shame. Apart from total corruption and lack of ideology beyond personal gain, Ukraine is too big and too industrially advanced (nuclear power, space, air and military industries) to be left alone by either Russia or the US - both interested in Ukraine as their satellite and not a solid independent player. Putin watching the debates and Trump calling Zelenskiy even before all the votes were counted kinda stress that.
However, the peaceful transition of power (at least that's how it looks in the immediate aftermath and that is an achievement per se), should give a further impetus to positive economic tendencies evident through the last year..


message 27: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments I gather the new President has real problems, though. Nik will probably know figures for this, but I gather debt servicing is getting out of hand. There is the unrest in the East, and that is not going to be easy to solve because for the citizens of the East, it would require trust, and after what has happened, trust might be in short supply. Then the big one: corruption. How do you deal with that? If it is the norm, you fire those involved, then you have to replace them with people who don't know what they are doing, or risk merely changing the names of who is corrupt.

Then they have to trade. They do that now, obviously, but they have to seriously enhance sales, but to whom? Russia is an obvious trade outlet but there are political differences. Europe is a bit protectionist, and so is the US. The mid-east?


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13503 comments Yep, lots of challenges.
Trading isn't much of a problem. Ukraine is an agricultural power house, being top ten exporter of 7-8 types of grains: https://www.world-grain.com/articles/... , probably most of them bought while still in silo by world's giants like Cargill & others.. Likewise in iron & steel: http://www.worldstopexports.com/ukrai...
However, wouldn't be surprised if most of the profits never reached Ukraine, comfortably kept somewhere off-shore.
As the country was ruled by export-oriented elites through most of the times, keeping it cheap and poor inside might've crossed their minds.


message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9516 comments Pass the right laws and get the oligarchs for tax evasion :-) Worked for one A Capone.


message 30: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5349 comments Ian said, "In NZ, however, they would be harder to avoid because the times on nationwide TV are booked in advance and prepaid by the state, so if someone refuses to turn up, the other side has twice the time, and unlike in the US, by law each party only gets the right for limited spending, and they are fairly restricted limits, so to turn down "free" (i.e. outside those limits) TV time would be expected to be fatal unless the potential winner somehow shot him/herself in the foot."

Maybe an idea for the U.S.?


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