How time flies! It’s mid-July already!
It’s July already?!?! pic.twitter.com/pm7fDC7mNS
— Calvin and Hobbes (@Calvinn_Hobbes) 1 lipca 2018
And even if there is nothing major happening in Polish politics, after the dust from European Elections settled down, it does not mean, that there weren’t any significant events taking place. Some of them were organized by the grassroots movements – like in Katowice, where local people organized the second anniversary of the day when the escalator broke down and is still waiting to be fixed. There were a cake and candles! But prime minister Morawiecki has also been busy. In Wrocław he Celebrated Signing An Letter Of Intention Of Expressing His Will To Cooperate In Taking An Action Towards Creating a Preliminary Feasibility Study for the Wrocław Rail Hub. Seriously. He announced it on Twitter. The tweet was since deleted, but you can still find the screen of it here. But you know what? Good for him. We should all learn to enjoy those little things in life.
But it is worth to not think only about ourselves. With the planetary ecosystem being at the verge of disaster we should do something to prevent further climate changes. Coca Cola knows that, and they decided that they need to promote responsible behaviour. What did they do? They have sent empty plastic bottles to journalists, bloggers and influencers. In the accompanying letter they wrote, that there is too much plastic on the planet, and therefore they ask them to throw those bottles to the recycling bin. Thank you Coca Cola for saving Earth!
But saving the planet is not only the job of big corporations. The government has set to reform Świętokrzyski National Park. But if you think that it would improve nature protection in the area, I probably write those pieces not often enough. No, they want to exclude the part on the top of Święty Krzyż mountain where the Park’s museum is located. Why? Because the buildings that are inside National Parks cannot be given to other organization, and the church would like to have the museum’s building back. The very building, that has been legally acquired by the Kingdom of Poland after the monastery located there was dissolved with the approval of Pope Pius VII back in 1819. But of course Polish Church’s greed is unlimited (see more here) and while their demands to acquire this property were being refused for years, with PiS in power they have a chance that the property they themselves sold to the state 200 years ago will be “returned to its rightful owner”…
Especially that PiS tries to stuff church’s pockets with more money in every way possible. A state-owned Port Gdynia funded a monstrance worth 90 000 zł to the local church. Although officially speaking it was not a gift: it was “exchange for the PR services of the same value provided to the port by the local priests” (what they did, invited Vatican fleet to use it or what?)…
This goes on and on. The Supreme Audit Office confirmed, that the funds of Ministry of Justice, that should support victims and prevent crime, have been instead fed to organizations related with father Tadeusz Rydzyk while many organizations providing shelter and assistance or psychological services to victims of crime had their funding cut altogether.
But it’s not that the PiS government is busy with pumping money into church only. They’ve been busy in other fields as well. Ministry of Justice, for example, wanted to sue academics for issuing a critical opinion on the new changes in the law. They were apparently to be sued for defamation, but Ziobro had to back down from that idea after everyone pointed out to him how stupid it was.
It was not the only U-turn the government had to make last month. The other one was concerning providing special trains for the festival Pol’and’Rock (formerly Przystanek Woodstock), one of the biggest free open-air festivals in Europe, organized by Jurek Owsiak, a charismatic leader of the charity Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy, who, as regular readers of the series might remember, for some reason became the arch-enemy of the Polish right. State railways announced that they will not only not provide special trains for the tens of thousands of young people visiting the festival every year, but also prevent regular trains to call at the nearby stations during the festival. The experts were surprised – former railway chief pointed out, that railways were always making a profit from those trains, but the government argued, that trains are being vandalized. (That would be the first reason to not provide trains for football fans, and yet I hear nothing about that). But finally the PM stepped in and ordered railways to stop being silly – probably after noticing, that this decision only invoked further community spirit amongst Jerzy Owsiak supporters, who organized alternative ways to get to the festival themselves. Another thing that prompted him to do so was probably the fact that some railways controlled by the local governments ruled by opposition stepped in and promised to provide their own trains, and that could help them to get young people’s votes in the future.
Sadly, some decisions of the government institutions cannot be reversed so easily. And so our intelligence can forget about recruiting any new spies after names of several hundreds of them, some of them still not retired, were made public by the Institute of National Remembrance. By this simple act, we not only compromised our most secret network of agents but ensured that nobody in his right mind would trust Poland enough to work with our intelligence in the future.
Meanwhile, we need protection more and more. A group of men armed with automatic weapons have taken over a school in Pabianice. Luckily there were no kids there at the moment, but some of the teachers, who were attending the meeting were scared nearly to death (one of the ladies even fainted). Luckily, it turned out that it was only a demonstration to make them aware of the risks of a terrorist attack. It all could end badly, as nobody was informed about this staged attack, and police had been informed about the occurrence by a random witness – if the school was then invaded by the SWAT team, it would definitely not improve the already stressful situation.
But nowadays we should be equally worried about digital warfare. One of the local PiS councillors in Nowa Sól was enraged to see, that the town’s mayor (opposed to PiS) hacked his computer – he noticed familiar sights on the mayor’s laptop. He publicly accused him of stealing his information, pointing out that the mayor uses his holiday pictures as the wallpaper. On closer investigation it turned out, that mayor’s desktop is decorated with one of the standard pictures of the diving man, available in Windows 10 library… So he basically made an idiot of himself. Or did he? Who knows, maybe we need to go deeper, maybe his holiday snaps were stolen by Microsoft itself, maybe the whole Silicon Valley is plotting against PiS as well?
Luckily there is a new army preparing to protect us from all evils. In the sanctuary in Niepokalanów “Warriors of Holy Mary” took their swords out and sworn allegiance to Jesus and Polish state:
But don’t run away scared, the bunch of guys waving swords does not mean, that Poland is back in middle ages. In fact, we are pretty modern. So much, that the government even organized a competition for the best internet memes. If you wanted to enter, you needed to burn your proposition on the CD and send it to the ministry by post. But don’t rush to your attic to see, if that old CD-burner is still working, as the deadline has already passed, despite being postponed by nearly a month – apparently, CD recorders are not so popular any more, and therefore not enough people were able to enter the competition by the original deadline. Next year, perhaps, they should demand entries be sent on punch-cards. Everyone can punch a piece of cardboard, even with a fork or something. And it would be cheaper to send it via a letter as well!
Meanwhile, some new tapes emerged. Marek Falenta, the man behind the secret recordings that helped PiS to get to power, wrote a letter to president Duda in which he threatens that if he won’t be pardoned, he will public recordings with the PiS politicians on them, including Jarosław Kaczyński and Mariusz Kamiński, chief of Polish special services. He portrays himself as a man who “believed in new, just and honest Poland” and “did what was expected of him”, but then was betrayed by PiS politicians, despite that they promised him “all kind of gains and political loots” for his support.
More and more circumstantial evidence points to the conclusion, that this man, who has well-documented connections with Russia, was instrumental in bringing PiS to power – the government seemingly even did everything to avoid arresting him, as we wrote in the previous chapter of the series. And they are doing what they can to hide this fact – recently, for example, a court of first instance ordered Polityka Weekly to remove articles about the prosecutors investigating this affair, who completely ignored his political connections and now their careers progress with surprising pace (one of those texts can be read here). It is quite rare for the courts to go to such lengths to ensure preventive censorship.
Meanwhile other prosecutors, who do everything to frame a young driver of Fiat Seicento, in which Beata Szydło’s limo crashed back in February 2017, can probably expect some promotions as well, after it has emerged, that the CD with crucial evidence that could prove that it was government drivers who are to blame has been damaged.
PiS can always hope that prosecutors, controlled personally by minister Ziobro, will be there to help them out. The case against PiS legal “expert”, known mostly for his expertise on the legality of the Constitutional Court take over, has been dropped. Apparently, he did not plagiarize his student’s thesis, because he added 10% from himself. Anyway, you can judge for yourself. Follow this link to see the paper in question, fragments copied from the student’s thesis are marked in blue (the gallery is located about halfway through the article).
But not everyone is protected. Roman Sklepowicz, who back in 2017 in an offensive way commented women’s protests, amongst other smuts commenting on their looks and asking “who shags this?” (full transcript in English here), had to answer for it in court. He denies that he ever spoke those words, despite records of his utterance being available all over the internet (for example here). According to him, such words are not even in his vocabulary. He says that the whole thing is manipulation by “unknown YouTubers” who “inserted fragments that never took place”. Watch it closely, this might be the first court case involving the technology of deep fakes in history!
I wonder if the businesswoman, who, after one of her Ukrainian employees fell ill, drove him 125 km and abandoned in the forest to die in fear that the fact, that she employs people illegally will come out, will also deny that she ever employed him? Hopefully, Ukrainians won’t think that all Poles are animals like that after people spontaneously donated 400 000 zł to support his family. But it won’t, of course, bring the father and husband back.
But at least Poland’s beauty is being less damaged this summer. After being fiercely criticized, Toyota decided to remove 40 floating billboards advertising their new SUV vehicle from the lakes of Mazury. Sadly, they also dismantle the system of emergency weather information they sponsored, as apparently 5×2.4 metres billboards were crucial to its operation… Also, city of Katowice refused to chop down the greenery and dismantle acoustic screens along one of the city’s main arteries, after the army demanded it to ensure, that the military parade will look better on TV. So not everything is lost in this country yet.
* * *
BREAKING NEWS: Beata Szydło, former PM and now an MEP has not been elected to chair European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. She lost 21 to 27 to… nobody, as she was the only candidate. Yet another PiS’s success on the international stage!