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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ukrainians get out the vote!

The Ukrainians held an election for president the other day, and you've got to hand it to them. Not only did up to 110% of the registered voters vote in some areas, but some folks in their patriotic fervor voted several times. Strange it seemed though, at least to the Russians, that most of the Ukrainians did not approve. Alexander Putin, leader and chief thug among the Russians, and leader of the emerging economic union of thug states including neighboring Belarus and Kazhakstan, sent warm congratulations. After all, the election was stolen fair and square. Of course, the Americans and European Union disagreed. Putin lectured the west about lecturing Ukraine, which ignored the din of the millions of Ukrainians pouring into the streets who with a loud voice had the temerity to lecture back.

The press blathered on about a conflict about east and west, whereas I see it as a simple matter of bigger meal portions. Let me explain. My wife, who is a Russian national, returned recently to the mother land, and observed how Russia seems to be on the road to rapid Americanization. Compared to her last trip a year ago, there were no drunks in the street, you could call a taxi rather than have to thumb a ride, and meal portions were bigger. So what does this mean? Simply that a free market was doing what free markets do, respond to rising consumer demand. A swell thing about free markets is that we can bitch loud about poor service, demand our money back, and take our business elsewhere when dissatisfied. This makes for some bad habits, particularly is you are a criminal politician. If you're a dictator who is in control of a bad government that fits all, and doesn't return phone calls at that, you've got an emerging problem. People will actually begin to think that if they can vote with their dollars, they can vote at the polls, and vote you out. Like pizza delivery, if you can't deliver the pepperoni, then Papa Johns of Dominos will beckon. The Ukrainians have recently learned, as the Russians will as well, the fact that is you allow choice, you allow complaints, and if complaints work with your local baker, they can work with your local dictator. So the Russians will become Americanized as they too learn the power of complaining, and Putin will I predict have to learn in a few years a new trade, which I suggest should be pizza delivery.

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