N O W , L O O K H E R E !
Chris MYRSKI, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2001 ...
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[ Remark: As far as the book is enormously big it is published here, by old habit, in small booklets amounting to about 50 (to 100) KB, containing normally from three to five papers. Here we continue the Section "For Newspapers" with the next four materials. ]
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CONTENTS OF THE SECTIONS
I. For Journals
II. For Newspapers
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Contents Of Section "For Newspapers"
The truth about Bulgaria
About the market and the Bulgarian
Five years of devastation
Do you want to lose your 13th pension?
Time to draw conclusions
About the elections and the demos
Requiem for one coalition
Something more about democracy
What we have messed with the Currency Board
Convergence, what is this?
Why the communism has fallen down?
And where are we?
Predictions for the year 1999
Can the Bulgarian pay 50% taxes?
Reflections on the eve of the "holiday"
About democracy and melioration
About democratic phenomenon
A step forward and two back
Again sharp turn
Oh God, what we eat!
Why the cocks crow early morning?
Does global warming exist?
The fatal 2013 year in Bulgaria
Why we vote, when we ... don't vote?
About the fascism from common sense positions
About the Social Ministry in Bulgaria
How to improve democratic protests?
Read Chris Myrski (in the sense of political reviews)
Thoughts about Ukraine
... new for newspapers
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ABOUT DEMOCRACY AND MELIORATION*
[ * This and the following materials were thought as consequence, intended to explain popularly the meaning of democracy and the causes for our problems with it, but the main part of the things are repetition of ideas expressed in some of the others papers for journals, as well as in other places. (In addition to this can be said that in Bulgarian the title sounds better because we have taken more directly the Latin originals of both words and they end on -tsia, while the English approach is as if more whimsical.) ]
The democracy is a good environment for many different social processes, but it is only an environment, not solution of the questions! It is very important to understand this because, good or bad, we already have it and will hardly reject it. For this reason the good understanding of its essence is especially necessary for our country. Figuratively speaking
the democracy is like a fruitful soil: what you plant in it — that is what will grow up.
But this metaphor suggest to us that quite not always "grows up" this what we want to, more than this: that what we do not like often accompanies many democratic undertakings, for the reason that on fruitful soil survive also many weeds! They, the weeds in Bulgarian (though also in Russian), are called buren (burian), what wants to say that they grow very burno, what is stormy, proliferating, so that they are steady and resistant and grow everywhere, but are especially "eager" to grow on fruitful soils, where are propagating in such scale that directly choke the cultivated plants (and there is another word for weed in Bulgarian /Russian, plevel, what comes from the pole-field and says that there is no field without weeds, which for their part have to be polonit-eradicated). And in Bulgaria as if it happened exactly so, because hardly someone will begin to deny that nowadays the criminality has grown several times higher than the totalitarian level, and our poverty has reached earlier unheard of proportions, and our moral norms have "gone to the movies", as we say, and whichever party comes to power it brings to the people only new pains and burdens, and other similar things.
The traditional consolation that the Bulgarian finds in this situation is to choose for himself some political colour (most often according to his age preferences) and to begin to curse the colour of the opponent and blame his party for all our troubles and misfortunes. The people usually are big masters in their efforts to explain
one and the same facts from different positions,
and this so, that the opponent's part is always to be blamed, where ours is always the right one! They are not at all bothered that this is entirely illogical, where on the highest pedestals stay, naturally, our political leaders (for the simple reason that the word "party" is from the root "part", hence each party is unavoidably partial and nonobjective!). Such behaviour can help for some time — works like tranquilizing medicament —, but when it continues quite long there have to be taken measures for real treatment, not only for elimination of the pain.
If we return now to our analogy with the soil it will turn out that in order to have some decent harvest exactly of cultivated plants is necessary to lead some fight with the weeds, to use some "herbicides", that must make the democratic field not so fruitful for the weeds. In the same time we, in the inebriation with "delirium democraticus", have decided that when there are many freedoms now then everything is allowed.
Because of this we have now not only freedom of pornography, for example, but propaganda of pornography and prostitution (for they bring strong financial profits), while in numerous Western countries they would have not allowed publication on title pages of newspapers of various genitalia and sexual intercourse. When some people need such "reading materials" then they could have been sent by post, and at least without obscene covers.
Or also we have decided that when the former "State Security" has compromised itself with a series of anti-democratic incidents, then the best thing is to close it altogether, what as a consequence has turned us in a country without any security and protection! But then even the Americans, with whom we like very much to compare us, have their CIA and FBI, notwithstanding many scandalous incidents with them, and they have no intention to close them, only to reform them if necessary. Denying the centralized totalitarian machine we have simply renounced the centralization everywhere, but
without centralization no state can exist!
Or we have also decided that the market is all by itself enough to provide abundance of goods, only that it has provided affluence of different prices for one and the same goods and possibility for unjustified (although legal, in many cases) enrichment of trade intermediaries, not of the producers! While on the West, at least between the rulers, is known that without centralized monitoring and reasonable intervention is impossible to do today. It was necessary to come the Currency Board in order to eliminate, in fact, the market of our lev and to fix the growth of salaries, for to make us to grasp (yet we have as if still not grasped this) that the freedom is not form of anarchy but a question of self-restrain.
Or also our politicians have imagined that, in order to make the state's coach move, it is enough if they stay in the coach and cry "Gee, go!". But the reasons for our troubles are chiefly economic and with bare cries the situation can not be improved! For our poor country the substitution of centralized management with dispersed one has only worsened the chaos of transition, so that for nine years after its beginning we are again on the same level of our development, with this difference that, having spent our totalitarian savings, we are now 4-5 times poorer than before. Our politicians have rightly scented that with the coming of democracy they are to split in opposing groups, only that they still can't understand that
these contradictions must not affect the economy of the country.
If some enterprises and banks must have been sold to foreign investors then this should have been done continually and in portions, so that not the whole management was transferred in foreign hands, but also not only think how to keep "our bone" for ourselves, no matter that we do not "gnaw" anymore at it, as says one Bulgarian proverb. But we, on the contrary, for a long time have done like the dog from the proverb, and then at once have decided to sell also our "kennel" if we can, only that then they gave us ten times less for it than before.
And so on: we can speak also about the muddle with restitution, with privatization, with paid healthcare and education, or about our sharp turn in the foreign policy and economic ties, and other things.
Our main error, however, was that we have hurried too much,
although we have known the proverb about the "hasty bitch" (who gives birth to blind puppies). And when so, we have entirely forgotten about the necessity to use correctly the democratic "field", and have left it to develop alone uncontrolled. In our elections, for example, take part 30 - 40 parties, while it is clear that more than 4-5, anyway, will not succeed to enter in the ruling. And why they "press" so much then? Well, because they are young — as parties, as also as persons! In world history all: Hitler, Lenin, Napoleon, Alexander Macedonian, and even Genghis Khan, probably, were younger than forty when they have taken the power. They, the revolutions, naturally, are performed by the young, only that one has to stick to some middle point in everything. Not that there are not at all exceptions for very young politicians at the head of political parties, but these are exceptions, while in Bulgaria they have become a rule.
On the West nobody would have voted for higher politician in the age of less than forty years, and he (or she, surely) would not have put his candidature, for the reason that, if the average life span is 80 years and the people are distributed symmetrically around the middle, then it will turn out that half of the population will be older than him and would hardly agree to be commanded by some "greenhorn" (or even "sucker"). Clear and simple, only not for us! Because all political colours have just "wildly"
competed to nominee the youngest possible politicians,
what has logically led to confirming of the shortly mentioned proverb about the "bitch"
Maybe it is necessary to turn the attention of the readers to the interesting fact that, unlike all other professions, from the politician is not required to have whatever educational qualifications! Good or bad is this but it is so, for the democracy requires it. Every educational qualification would have given grounds for discrimination of one or another person, so that this, in principle, is not bad. But it is also not very good, because it does not say us of what kind exactly must be the good politician.
We do not require any property qualifications, and also not a single psychological test, how it is for the drivers, for example. But if the political workers alone can not self-restrain themselves then the people must tell them what is good and what not, because if there is not required special education then from them can be required at least to have rich life experience (coming, naturally, mainly with the age). In order to become politician one should have had time to express himself in something else (at least for the purpose to become known).
And do not think at all that a politician must have necessarily legal education — no, he must rather be some kind of manager or businessman, because his activity is related with ruling of big human masses.
The democracy is one very interesting phenomenon
in the social area, if one begins to think about this. It is interesting mainly with this, that such kind of elections is not applied anywhere else, where some work has to be done! Neither in the army, nor in the police, nor in the production, education, healthcare, etc., for the reason that for each activity is necessary some qualification, which is proved by some form of exam, test, or contest, before a competent jury, or based on documents for graduating from some educational establishment with a given degree (i.e. again in correspondence with the assessment of competent persons, but done earlier). While here, by the democratic choice, the procedure is reduced mainly to this, that:
people, who don't understand, choose persons, whom they don't know,
and not requiring from them whatever documents for competence or certification! Because the common people, surely, have no knowledge of subject area of management (neither of economy, nor of public relations, etc.) nor also know their elected persons, from the standpoint of their ability to govern. The people are not competent at all to take decisions as to how they have to be governed, and if they choose the best ruler only on the basis of possible attitude to them then they will choose that one, who will "throw them the most juicy bones" (as the dog chooses his /her master), or else that one, who gives them only highest marks (as the school children decide), and so on.
This what the elector can know about the life of his (or her) chosen one are only insignificant things (what kind of car he drives, what sort of wine he prefers, or what king of "girls", and similar things), but not which are his abilities for just decisions, his incorruptibility and loyalty, and so on. Exactly because of this such kind of elections are not applied anywhere else, where is necessary to do some work!
At the same time, however, it is well known that the democratic choice is applied at large scale in the world, especially in the recent times and, obviously, it does very good work! So well, then let us ask ourselves the following question:
How is it possible that a procedure of choice, which does not work, can fulfill a choice, which does work?
And let our readers try to find some answer for themselves, because from it in large extent depends the democracy in our country. In other countries the people have some answer, it, probably, is not much away from the truth because there the things go better, while in Bulgaria they are limping quite strongly! Surely many of you are intuitively guessing the right direction, but have not answered yourselves the question on the first place because you have not put it themselves, because it is long ago known the thought that the question is not in this what is the answer, but in this what is the question! By correctly asked question the answer is relatively easy to be found. The author thinks that he poses the question correctly. Well, then try to find its answer, which will be published in one of the next numbers of the newspaper.
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ABOUT DEMOCRATIC PHENOMENON
In the previous paper we have defined the democratic choice as such procedure where: people who don't understand (i.e. they don't know the subject area of management) choose persons whom they don't know (i.e. they don't know them directly, but know only some insignificant details) and by this not requiring whatever document for educational qualification (in order not to discriminate some persons, who, by whatever reason, have not had the opportunity to receive proper education).
This is procedure, which is not applied in any other company or organization, when is necessary to do some work, but in spite of this the very choice, applied in the social sphere, obviously does good work in all developed contemporary countries. And let us not confuse this with the democratic tendencies in some companies, which can be applied as additional element by the choice of some boss (his or her popularity between the masses), and think that the democratic choice is applied somewhere else, except in the social government. But let us return to the raised previously question, i.e. to explain ourselves how is it possible that one incorrect procedure of choice turns to be suitable for choosing of people at the highest governmental level?
Let us simplify our task a bit imagining not a choice of politicians but such one done from ... some basket with apples! And then let us formulate the question so:
when, reaching with a hand and not looking in a basket with apples, we will be able to extract always good apples?
Well, now it has become easily, right? Surely when all apples in the basket age good! Simple like all ingenious, because the democracy is, really, an epochal discovery of antiquity! Only that ... only that this is not a choice, right? Because then there is no need to choose but grasp any apple that will happen to be under the hand. It is even possible to say that in this case
the democratic choice contradicts to the common sense!
It is so, yet not exactly, because the ingenuity is precisely in this, to guess about something to what a common person would have never come alone, or would have rejected it as incredible nonsense. Because from the standpoint of choice this is stupidity, but from the point of view of the people, who after the choice will listen to their elected representatives, this turns to be psychologically well-thought-out. The people are asked about something and they feel themselves compelled to answer, and after this nobody is to be blamed that it has turned out not like the people have wanted. Even with the risk to shock some of the readers we can expressed the sentence that
the democracy is ... the best "baby's pacifier" for the nations,
because it both, preserves the mother's breast (i.e. the political system), and gives pleasure to the child (here, to the people)! And the behaviour of population as a whole is, really, quite similar to this of some naughty little boy (at least in our case of spoiled by the "cares of Party and Government" from totalitarian times). The whole population is in many aspects naive, illogical, impulsive, capricious, selfish, unjust, and so on.
So that is how one bad method of choice can turn out to be in the end very good. For readers with some mathematical culture can be said that the democratic decision is similar with the so called "zero solution" of linear homogeneous system of equations (with zeros at the right parts of the equations). When all unknowns are simultaneously equal to zero this satisfies the system because gives zero also at the left part of each equation. This is one trivial and uninteresting solution, but it is solution of the task! And in the social area such "uninteresting" solution can prove to be very interesting from another — here didactic and attractive — point of view.
Of course the things are not so simple, but if we do not simplify a given situation via some abstractions we are often not able to cope with the complexity of the surrounding world, so that the above explained is valid but under some conditions, because the politicians are not, after all, apples (although there is nothing insulting in this for them). While the apples can not stay too long on some posts (for they do not at all occupy posts) the politicians can do this (and have done it under the totalitarianism), and the possibility for an easy change of ruling under the democracy (even if this is because of "childish whims" of the populace) is a very significant characteristic of the system, which is more often than not a positive thing (yet extremely fast change, i.e. early, before the term, usually brings nothing valuable, how we should have been now convinced, looking at our newest history).
On the example with the apples can be seen that in some "baskets" (i.e. states) there are good "apples", and in some others — only green ones! And it isn't that something similar has not happened in Bulgaria, because we have changed a heap of governments but our situation till now was not bettered. Yet let us not exaggerate too much, because not only our politicians are guilty for our situation, there are various economic and social conditions, traditions, discipline of the population, and so on, so that we must extract only the useful moments from our analogies.
So for example, the approach to the democratic elections as zero solution allows us to answer the question: how then the chosen politicians, when there were not chosen the best of them, can do their work? If we try to ponder a bit we must come to the conclusion that there are two variants for this, namely:
either the elected representatives are not those who really govern, or every other candidate would have done the same work,
or some combination of both things! Albeit this sounds a little cynical it is the pure truth. The elected by the people persons give only some directive orders, while the real work perform competent in the corresponding area specialists (or at least it is so in the Western democracies). The situation is in significant degree similar to the ruling in the family, where the man, as a rule, governs, only that according to what wants the woman (and that is why our people say that the man is the head but the woman is the neck). In the family the woman is the inborn strategist, that who sets his (actually, her) requirements, in the same way how the Representatives of the People, while the very managerial (i.e. tactical) activity is performed by the man, and in the social area these are the corresponding competent bodies! The introduction of this dividing of activities in strategy and tactics solves easy also the question with the insufficient competency of the strategists.
The other possibility by the democratic choice consists in this, that all political parties with influence in society (or all sufficiently eminent persons in a given party) can do the same strategic activity equally good. And they do it when their mandates come. So that, if we are not shocking ourselves asking similar questions, we can find answers of many, otherwise "mysterious" moments in the democratic system, which do not compromise it and even elevate it in our eyes.
But let us continue further. All readers know, though they have hardly paid attention to this fact, that after the democratic elections, which as if are conducted in order to choose the best party, in the ruling of the country enter representatives also from the "bad", or lost the fight, parties. More then this, they receive equal salaries with those from the "good" party.
If the goal of the choice was to choose the best party, then why we include also the bad ones?
Obviously because all parties with influence are equally good (respectively bad, especially when we are talking about Bulgaria), and also for to were debates when taking the decision, not after this! Democratic institutions can't do without opposition, what means that the important thing by the democratic choice is not so much the very choice, as the selection of correct relationship between representatives of various parties.
The role of Representatives of the People is representative and strategic, it is not really governing, because they are not executive body where real work is done. Even the post of President in contemporary countries has similar functions, where his power is fairly limited (at least by us). But anyway, every other President, or Minister, or MP, as also every other party, would have done nearly the same work, with some, mainly "cosmetical" differences.
Or at least it has to be so, and it happens so in the developed Western democracies! So for example, in the USA they have republicans and democrats (bipolar model, like by us), but one can boldly bet that both, the republicans are for the democracy, and the democrats are for the republic. Similar is the situation also in other countries. Differences in the platforms, naturally, exist, but they are something like the necktie in men's clothing! They diversify human life, give people additional emotions, but they are not much significant. It can even be said that
the democracy then functions good, when the differences between parties are not big.
So that together with the efforts of the very parties to differ one from the other they must also try to equalize themselves, because such are the requirements of democratic model! "Two sharp stones", as our people say, "can't grind the flour", and as if this is the main political cause for our miserable condition today, when, in spite of all advantages of democratic development, we are worse than under the totalitarianism — worse as nation, worse for the majority of citizens, and worse for our international contacts (which are not determined by the meanings of one or another politician, but by the inflow of capitals, goods, and tourists, from abroad).
Maybe it is not bad to remind often to our politicians that by the democracy, as also in each competition, as in the free market, and, if you like, as it happens usually in life, the deserts are not so much of the won the battle, but of the beaten one, i.e.
the victor wins not because he is better, but because his competitors are worse!
Such opinion would have cooled a little some of the "hot" political heads, but it is entirely justified. This is especially significant in Bulgaria, because the main part of the people vote, as if, not because they believe in the chosen political power, but because they don't believe in the other alternative power! When the things are bad the faith, naturally, weakens, and it happened so when the red won the elections — because the blue ones have compromised themselves before; and later the things reversed and the blue won as a consequence of economic failure of the red.
In addition to this it is not right to throw all blame for some failure only on the ruling, because the role of opposition is not less significant! If we want to determine in some extent the guilt and deserts of each of the parts, then one "Solomonian decision" would have been to accept that their part by the rulers is twice higher than by the opposition, but not more. Each deviation from this view can lead to greater errors, only that in the other side. All our politicians are guilty for the situation in which we are now, and if they don't like this — well, then let them give up to engage in politics — there are enough not worse than them alternative candidates!
And one more thing, generally said
the democratic ruling is more ineffective than the centralized, but it is more adaptive than it!
Democracy is like life — energetic and vivacious, it changes but the society remains, for the reason that it contains the change in itself, and there is no need to wait for something else to change it. It does not threaten with drastic transition periods like this, that we still experience. Only that it functions good when the differences between parties and their platforms are not big and there is no need of special effectiveness in pursuing of a given goal! But when the things become "coarse", as it happens in time of wars, or by significantly lowering of living standard of the population, how it is now in Bulgaria, it often happens so that the democracy retreats before some consolidating power, because the democracy is not the ideal solution! And it is not such for the simple reason that
there is no ideal solution!
Democracy is a good environment, but what will grow in it depends on the concrete conditions in the country.
So that all of you, politicians, don't create conditions which disprove the advantages of democracy, or at least, when you have already created them, try to calm the relations between parties, as it belongs to a civilized country! And as to the common people, they better look at it chiefly like at some attraction created for their own pleasure. Democracy is an interesting game, and what is the purpose of a game that brings no pleasure?
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A STEP FORWARD AND TWO BACK
(our country under the scepter of the Board)
The main feature of our democratic transition is not so much movement forward, as the associated with it returning back. This must be obvious for everybody who has some personal recollections and reasons for comparison, because our living standard now is more or less such which it was some 50 years ago. If people now don't ride in horse carts this is because the motor cars, in addition to being faster, are also cheaper; if in almost every family there is already a video this is because it costs twice cheaper than a home computer, and with it one saves a lot of money, compared with the prices in cinemas. And if in winter we use central heating then this is because it is cheaper, or at least it was cheaper in totalitarian years, only that now many of us disconnect it (for sitting in the cold is even more cheaper). So that let us not be misled about our movement — it isn't forward in the standard of life, only in some insignificant novelties, or at least such is the situation for the popular masses.
This, that we have returned back, however, in now secret for nobody and the official explanations of our politicians are that this is temporary condition, but later (when comes the "bright democratic future", maybe) the things will better. Only that the things are such that
the Currency Board also is some returning back, to the stable economy from the times of totalitarianism,
or at least one such not very successful effort. Let us again not err about its implementation, listening to the meanings of some Western politicians, because "every mother praises her own child". The wealthy capitalist countries wanted to have good markets in Bulgaria — and now they have them; they wanted to be able to govern us — and they can already dictate us laws, salaries, bank interests, taxes, and whatnot; they wanted that in the region ruled calmness, which creates good conditions for exploitation of our cheaper labour or working hands (while at the same time the peacekeeping forces are much more expensive) — and they have these conditions. Our intellectual elite constantly flows out to the West because of the incomparably better living conditions there, so that we have become a valuable "factory for genetic material" for the developed capitalist countries. From their viewpoint by us everything is rosy (or maybe now must be said "blue" or "azure"?). Only that it is not so for us.
What, in fact, is the Board for us? Well, firstly:
it has eliminated, in reality, the market for our lev.
We have exulted inebriated by the freedom of market while it turned out that too much freedom is not very good, and that the market must be constraint from above, as it was in totalitarian times, only that then we alone have restricted ourselves, through the prohibition to possess foreign currency. Now other people constrain the market of our lev, dictating unreally high in the moment rate of the dollar (or German mark) and we, forced somehow to take into account the purchasing abilities of the population, have begun to lower the prices of basic foodstuffs (because the prices in the free market are established by the buyers, not by the sellers, as continue to think the average Bulgarian). Only that this is not good, because low prices mean weakly developed economy, low ability for competition, possibility for easy exploitation from the part of larger (and predominantly foreign) capital. The only plus for us from eliminating of the market for our lev is in the returning back to the totalitarian times of stable national currency.
The next moment this is
the restriction of salaries.
We have complained day and night about this how little paid us our "Bai Tosho" and how on the West everything was otherwise, and that everyone could go there on the street and strike as much as he wants, while by us this was punished by the law. Very good, only that now nobody strikes because, you see, the Board has not permitted us to change the salaries. If this is a person of our own we can spit on him and even put him in the jail (as we have shoved our Zhivkov for nothing and again nothing — but at least that is good that we have not shot him like in the Romania), but when this is the Board we endure it. And by all this the author does not dispute the necessity of restriction of the salaries for some time (a generation seam to be a real estimation), but only states the fact of our returning back to the totalitarian centralized planning and establishing of the salaries. There exist some nuances, of course, where now each company can pay as much as it wants to some worker in it, while earlier it had to pay also progressive taxes to the state if had not stuck to the staff tables, but now both, the worker alone pays his progressive taxes (if nears to the average for then salary of 400 levs, or US$, what was of the same value), and the company also is not "gone mad" to pay him so much when can do well with a lesser sum.
On the third place come
the bank interests and taxes.
The interests of banks in totalitarian years were two percents, what for the stable times of "stagnation" (in what consists the goal of each government!) was not something drastic in comparison with the normal three percents for the majority of Western countries in stable periods, and such are now the interests on deposits in hard currency by us (in German marks or in Swiss francs, more precisely about 2,5%). The Bulgarian has decided that he can earn something also from bank interest, but the Board came and made him to give up this illusion. And this is now pure illusion because, if the food has become significantly cheaper, then it has come time for the wave of raising of communal expenses, which, by 5% of gain from the money in the banks, is "normally" to expect to raise with 50%, or at least that is how out present-day politicians think! If the bank interest is low then the taxes and payments have to be high, in order that our country could develop normally, because the "blue" ideal about poor state but wealthy citizens is a mere fiction, which for us was realized partially (meaning only the part about the poor state).
It is still good that they have not yet decided to introduce taxes on the toilettes*, as it was in the times of Roman empire (where from comes the phrase that money don't smell). For example, going out from the assumption by 100 levs daily for an inner toilette and 50 levs for external one. And what is so bad in this proposition? In the end, nobody forces you brutally to submit to this requirement, and, when such wish emerges somewhere, then the corresponding authorities can come to you and seal it (similarly to the disconnecting of central heating), and then you can go somewhere around the corner, or combine with a neighbour, for economy. Democracy requires victims, right?
[ * This subject is elaborated in more details in the feuilleton "How to fill the treasury". ]
Jokes aside, but that is the bitter truth, because there is no sense to look for logic in the taxes and payments (or excises). There is no reason for the inheritance tax, yet it existed everywhere. And in Poland, for example, they have had excise on sugar products, what is not a bad idea for our rulers, more so on the background of the cheaper in the moment sugar. The important thing for us is the ascertainment that also in this regard we are returning back to the totalitarian times of low interests, high taxes (and other deductions form the salary), and centrally established prices of central heating, electricity, communications and transport, medical cares, education, and so on. Here also exist nuances, of course, where by the totalitarianism was applied the principle of low payment to the working people, but a part of worked out went to some common funds, what reduced the necessary taxes, while now we receive greater part from the worked out (it isn't right to say "more", because it is several times less) but in recompense they take later more from us!
The fourth thing, that we will discuss, is
the ruling of the country from above, or outside,
not according with the voice of the people, how it has to be under the real democracy, because the people, surely, don't want that the central heating for one month costs more than the average pension, or the minimal salary for the country. The difference is in this, that earlier we were commanded by the Russians, and now this is the West. But this difference is not without significance for us, because for the former Soviet Union we were quite close, as in sense of the living standard, so also in our customs and culture, while for the West we are simply more cultural "white Negroes". Our laws now must be such, which require from us the corresponding Western instances, not such, which could have been established by our politicians. And the point isn't in this that they want something wrong, but that again other command us, or manipulate (what in Latin means to be " led by hand", as puppets), or govern (where is meant Slavonic "rukovodit", what means the same because "ruka" is a hand). Our sovereignty now is even more vulnerable and we have simply a state within the state, which rules over us, while the officially elected democratic instances can only stay at attention like well bred dogs.
The last moment in our returning back is
our isolating from the world,
what is determined by our low salaries and following after them prices of basic products. We import many things, if not exactly from the West, then at least from the Arab countries and the East, but we export almost nothing, and for that reason the prices by us are one and a half times, with the tendency to become two times, lower than in the Western Europe. The Bulgarian now can even less afford to go on excursion or on holiday somewhere to the West (except to the nearest Greece or Turkey, but this is to the south and the east), no matter that he can always receive foreign passport. Now nobody closes him in our country, but he alone does this, for the reason that by our average salary of hundred dollars monthly one can hardly afford to pay for a single day there by the same hundred dollars on the average for food and accommodation. When he, sometimes, travels abroad he has again begun to carry his sausages in the "saddlebag", because it is cheaper in this way. It has fallen also the number of so called excursions with commercial purpose abroad because the market in Bulgaria is the cheapest in the region. (mainly at the expense of the quality of products). Even a cup of coffee on the street staying on foot by us is only about 10 cents (if it has costed more, then people would have brought it from the home in thermoses), while nowhere in Europe it is cheaper than 50-60 cents.
And one more thing, this time not through fault of the Board — we have again one-party system in Bulgaria: in the Parliament, in the Presidency, and in the Municipalities. It isn't the same "unanimity" as in totalitarian years, but the result is the same — the ruling party makes what it want, and all possibilities of the masses to influence the course of events are reduced to obedient execution.
In other words, it can be said that our movement forward under the scepter of the Board is only one
slow returning to the totalitarian times of stagnation!
Just that it isn't clear while we "pushed" forward in such hurry only to stuck in the mud and after that a heap of years to try to come out on the same place of the riverside, figuratively speaking. It is true that now we have many democratic rights, only that we can't, or see no reason, to use them, and the notion "democracy" for the average Bulgarian is a synonym of starvation. By all appearances the situation will be such quite a long time more, until we succeed to return to nearly the same place from where we have started.
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AGAIN SHARP TURN
(or where to we have come for dozen years of democracy)
Tsrr, tsrr, tsrr-r — we have "tsurked" out also our tsar on the political arena. (Where for the foreign readers must be added that "tsurkam" — or also tsarkam or tsirkam, the first vowel is read like in English "girl" — means to force out through a small orifice, like milk from a teat, but this ties well with the tsar-king or with the circle or the circus etc. — not that the Bulgarians now are aware of this, but earlier this was clear to the people, because the tsar is royal figure, for he holds everybody in his fist.) But how not to put him there when the democracy has caught us so tight that there is no stirring! Because we have tried with new parties, and with old parties, even by several times, but we can still not extricate ourselves from the mud where we have stuck, no need to twist our souls here, exactly with the coming of democracy, as far as earlier we did not stick so deep. And how we have stuck to the knees in it, then, after the Currency Board began commanding us, there is no disentangling from this slimy substance, at least for the next 30 years*.
[ * Ha, ha, for 15 years we, for this or other reason, are still in the mud, maybe not to the knee but at least to the ankle. The next 15 years though I will not wait to see, I will be seeing my "maker" by that time, so that I leave the checking to you. ]
Well, anyway, but now, with the King at the head, we will blossom and begin bearing fruits, because he, on one hand, is a King, and on the other is not; for one thing he is a "primus", i.e. primus inter pares (first among equals, as the Latins used to say), and for another thing also "secondus", for he is Simeon II; if you look from one side the people want him, but looked from the other he doesn't even think about kingdom, for the reason that in former elections also were king's parties, but they have not won even half of a percent of the voices together. But, as is said,
a drowning man catches at a straw,
especially when it is given to you by a person who has "studied for a King" (what in contemporary interpretation as if means that he has no special tertiary education, or at the least does not earn his bread with it).
Only that it isn't clear why we should have made obstacles for him, that his party can not be registered, when he not solely has registered it, but also won in the elections the half of all seats! Though this maybe is clear why was necessary, for in his time the poet (Nikola Vaptsarov) has said "Because of this so cruelly you sting, in dying terror I can thing". But this seems to have been communist poetry, so that it should have been forbidden by law.
Though this thing was obvious from the very beginning, because there is no logic to forbid some thing about which we don't yet know of what kind it will turn to be later, right? Yeah, so it is, but how else they could have raised his rating so high, ah? Because they, the saints, do not alone advertise themselves, their adversaries or enemies make them holy. The explanations here do not correspond to the reality (that he has not lived at least five years in Bulgaria), because when earlier the greater powers have chosen King for us he, naturally, has not lived till that time in Bulgaria, but this has not hindered him at all, and we have also had some democratic ruling then, haven't we? Id est, it was clear from the very beginning that was just necessary to find some obstacles, and they were found.
Only that this isn't new phenomenon in Bulgaria, because the law can forbid existence of ethnically-based parties (or also "Cuckoo" party — and why not?), but in spite of this one of our first post-totalitarian parties is exactly ethical party, at least according to the West. The point is that we do not call it officially so because the law forbids this. What comes to confirm that our laws are used by us only to make us to search for workarounds in them, what probably is one of the
main characteristics of "Balkan" democracy.
Similarly we have acted, for example, in our Trade Law, where in Art.4. is written that all calculations have to be performed in national currency, for to prevent calculations, say, in US dollars. And because of this all companies, that have bought their products from abroad, have operated in foreign currency, only that in parallel with the official calculations.
And mark, please, that we are not speaking about the circulation coins and banknotes in the state, only for one clear arithmetic, which, surely, could have been done in whatever sufficiently "hard" currency, according to the choice of the company. In this way now the whole Europe calculates in Euro, while the national currencies are still different. Well, if there was about selling out our country, or about extraction of benefits for the politicians, then we would have listened to the meaning of the West, but when from some unreasonable decision (for to reasonable decisions by us, as a rule, we don't come) can't be won, then we can at least bang our chests that we are Bulgarians (like we now have hanged three lions on our lapel, although the lions have long ago disappeared from our lands).
But let us return to the last elections. It is interesting to ask ourselves then:
who, in the first place, has voted for the Tsarist party?
Well, ... all voters! And there is no sense to look for a "calf under the bull", because how the votes for the blue have shrunk by half so have done also those for the red (at least compared with the previous elections). This, that about 48% of the unemployed have voted for the King, is another manipulation, because he has won approximately the half (43%) of all votes. Only MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the Turks, DPS in Bulgarian) have retained their votes, because they are ethnic party and are not affected by democratic winds. To the King have gone the votes of all those who just wondered to vote or not to, a thing that must be obvious for everybody. And this, that
approximately half of the voters are hoping for some sort of "heavenly manna",
is quite tragical outcome from the situation in Bulgaria. Even more tragical, maybe, will look the things in the next Parliamentary elections, because then we will be left to hope only for the help of "extraterrestrials"**! For it is clear that for 800 days (how they wanted) we can't reach our totalitarian level, not on account of bad governing but for objective reasons. If the blue have failed (again) this is not because they have bad politicians (they were at least significantly better than the embittered dissidents from the first transitionally years, who have known only to destroy but not to create something). Similarly has failed in his time also the Government of the red Zhan Videnov, not because he has had bad ideas. The things in Bulgaria are messed because of the situation of "crab and pike" or because of
[ ** After all, a coalition of former communists, the uncrowned King, and the Turkish party in Bulgaria, is more or less equal to extraterrestrials, in the sense that it was equally unexpected and considered impossible. ]
lacking of concord.
And also due to the depressing, directly flattening influence, of the Western market and technologies. Even United Europe marvels how to protect itself from the superiority of American products, and for this reason it was forced to unite, and what remains for such small and economically weak country like ours. If the real unemployment in Bulgaria is about 25% this isn't because the Bulgarian is lazy, but because nobody buys his products, with the exception of some foodstuffs that are now bought, which for that reason are bought, because the Board, although unintentionally, has forced some closure of our market and lessening up to one and a half - two times the prices of basic food products, compared with the West (because by stable currency there is no need to sell them abroad on dumping prices — this can be done in Bulgaria). Only that this prices are low compared with the Western pockets, not with our salaries, from what suffer both, the producers and the buyers.
So that, in short, if the tsarist party will not succeed, this will be hardly because of its errors. Otherwise, in it flowed many political persons, who have never showed monarchical tendencies (i.e. they just have said nothing on this issue). In the end, if our people "grasp at a straw", then why our political figures should not behave in similar way (though earlier than the people)?
But this "straw" has not at all to be "rotten", right? It can not lead us to the bank of the river but it surely will pull us out a little. Well, not for 800 days, of course, because these days are chosen so that to pass more than half of the mandatory time and that nobody could think to change them before the term; and also from psychological viewpoint is clear that for about 2.5-3 years one becomes used to everything — to his work, and to his wife (resp. husband), and to whatnot? In the same way we have become used to our continuing misery and stagnation under the scepter of the Board. In other words,
the tsarist party has chances for success
and they are in this, that there now are significantly more moderate people, not such who can only cry "uhh", or, respectively, "hurrah". Id est we
now have some stable center,
some nice middle point, or at least hopes for such one. The leading personality is not some young boy in the age of 30-40, neither is he bound to make career at any cost, for he is not forced to earn his bread. The King remains a King, even if he fails, i.e. the aristocratic institution has some advantages, although we have already rejected the nomenclature, which was a kind of new aristocracy. But he, right, is at one hand a King, yet on the other hand he does not intend to serve as a King, so that, maybe, there will remain only the advantages, without disadvantages?***
[ *** What, leaving aside the question with his land properties (because in the world of capitals there are no reasons to expect that one King will be idealist), so also happened, i.e. there were less drawbacks than by the previous governments. ]
and why the people have voted for the King,
or for the tsarist party? The correct answer in again succinct — because they feel need of strong hand, of course. The young, no matter how much they kick, subconsciously want that some stronger one commanded them; but the older also stick to this meaning, because otherwise we are going to the pole of anarchy, how it has happened with our democracy. For this reason both, the fascism and the communism, had come to power most often in democratic way; for this reason the people have voted quite actively for the not unknown George Ganchev, who, with apologies to the man, can be very amusing and attractive personality, but is clear that he is not suitable for a politician. Similarly also in Russia the democracy can not go without somebody with firm fist. And in addition to the strong personality in this case is important that it came from the West, where, as we all are convinced, people live better, as well as more culturally. Similar strong personalities have emerged also in other ex-communist countries. So that the man has chances, but, all the same, it is not clear will we not mess something betting only on the force and the West. If we put on him as on a personality****, maybe we are right.
[ **** And if he was satisfied only with the former palace in the center of Sofia. ]
But the most important conclusion in the case is that
our people are pretty disappointed by the democracy.
Up to such extent that one third, or every third Bulgarian is openly against it, and every second one does not know with what more to fool himself for to begin to trust it! Because the elections show two things: firstly, how the people accept the game called democracy, and secondly, who they prefer? If they prefer somebody, put on somebody, no matter on whom, i.e. they vote, then this means that they like the game. And if people do not vote, then they are against the system! While by us only 66.7% of the voters have included themselves in this "excitement", what with precision to the last digit is exactly 2/3 of the people.
And that this is a game — well, it is clear that this isn't competent choice, is it? Because it is not applied, not only in the army and the police, but also in any company, where the strategical ruling is exercised by that one who keeps the money, and the tactical one — by the Executive Director, who listens to the Council of Shareholders, and is not chosen at the general meeting of the company, including the doorkeeper.
Well, in some countries this game is useful, because the people, at least from Roman times, want their circuses, but when the bread begins to be no longer enough then the game begins not to be liken by the populace, and that is how it happens already dozen of years in Bulgaria. Because of this our people don't know what to do in order that the game remains, but comes also some alternative of the stable governing from totalitarian times. And for this reason exactly half of the chairs in the Parliament were occupied by the tsarist "straw". But what if ..., says to himself every second Bulgarian.
Only that — there is no way for one impartial analysis not to consist mainly of "on one hand so, but on another one it is else" — this is
again turn to the other extremity.
Well, very good, we have run away from the bipolar model, for a first time we have now three strong parties (taking more than 10% of the mandates), but why was it necessary that this strongest party has occupied half of the places? It is clear that only with sharp stones cannot be ground much flour, but, at the other hand, there are necessary at least two stones, aren't they? Have we not again overdone the things?
Well, it is clear that we have done exactly this. It would have been otherwise if we have had, say, 35% for the first party, 25-30% for the second, about 20 for the third, and a little for some other parties. Then the game would have been interesting, right? But you see, this did not happen! For the reason that so said the people, and the voice of people is voice of God (vox populi, vox dei!, in Latin), so that there is nothing to be done. Well, it has to be so and this will be better than before, but only don't think that the people's decision is the most correct one, because it is just accepted to be the best!
Surely it must happen how the people will, especially in democratic conditions, but this does not at all mean that this, what the people want, is good for them. In some extent this is similar with the right of the stronger, which is taken for correct not because it really is so, but because something has to be taken for right, and the strong can always force his right.
Well, at least we have become rid in some measure of our "delirium democraticus" (and when every second***** begins not to vote, then, probably, we will "heal" entirely). The people, villy-nilly, begin to understand that the democracy is not a panacea for all social illnesses, but only an environment in which the society functions. In some countries and under certain conditions it works good, but in countries like ours it still limps quite much. This, what is important, is always to avoid the extremities, if we want to lead quiet life, but exactly this is the most difficult thing for the masses. And because we can't find the middle point then we ... again find it, but in an incessant oscillation around the middle! Well, in the end, we do what we can, don't we? Let us hope it is for the best.
[ ***** Correction from 2008: every second for us obviously is still much, to all appearances we are not to such extent normal, as the author wishes, because already half of the voters don't vote and the situation is not better; maybe a 1/4 of the voters will be enough, in order to cause emerging of capable and thinking not only for themselves but for their people politicians. We will wait and see. ]
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