It seems that the new recurring theme of this series will be „old communist jokes that work again in PiS Poland”. Today’s one is the one about Lenin, who was disturbed by a child while shaving himself. He got angry and smacked the child in the head – and that shows us how good man he was: he was holding a razor, he could easily slash the kids throat with it! The president Andrzej Duda seems to be following similar philosophy. When asked in the recent TV interview about the police brutality and persecutions of the participants of Women Strikes he said, that “in his opinion, police behaves in exceptionally professional way, as nobody died”. This is how low our expectation of the state institutions should be now?
Apparently “people not dying” is now the major focus of the Polish government. A man in a vegetative state with irreversible brain damage is to be taken off the life support by the hospital in Plymouth, where he lives. His kids and wife agree with the doctor’s decision, claiming he would not wish to be kept in that condition. But his mother and sister – devout Catholics, who had very limited contact with him after he married a divorced woman – want to “save” him and bring him back to Poland. After several appeals were lost in British courts, they got the Polish government involved, the newest idea is to issue him with a diplomatic passport, thus granting him immunity from Britain, and then move him to Poland using that loophole.
This is of course used in the government propaganda. Krystyna Pawłowicz, formerly a PiS MP and now a judge in the puppet former Constitutional Tribunal suggested that this is a British plot to harvest man’s organs and called the Plymouth doctors “mental students of Mengele”. A deputy minister of justice said that it’s “a game between the civilization of life and civilization of death”. “In our culture, faith, our tradition, there is the protection of life from conception to natural death”. I would just like to point, that this man is prevented from dying naturally by the machines…
If only that “civilization of life” cared about the lives of its citizens in the country. The vaccination of the high-risk groups has started and, well, it seems to be a disaster. For some reason, the elderly people have to opt in to get an appointment, and the call centers can’t copy with the demand – it’s impossible to get connected even at 1 AM. As a result, many of them queue in front of their local surgeries at night (the appointments are allocated at 6 AM). And even if they get their appointment it might not be the end of their struggle. My father, a 70+ high-risk patient with severe cardiovascular problems, was given an appointment in the closest surgery that still had some slots available. It’s in Kowary, a small mountain town in the Karkonosze mountains 117 km from his home. There is no train, direct bus connection, or major road access from Wrocław, where he lives. Imagine your elderly folk living in Mladá Boleslav being told to report for their vaccination to Pec pod Snĕžkou in the middle of snowy winter…
Luckily my dad drives and has a car, but driving on the minor, snowy, winding mountain roads in his condition – especially that one can feel weak after receiving their vaccine – might be not the best way to do. Luckily my brother can drive him there in his 4×4. But how many of the pensioners have that luxury? And this is not an isolated incident, I heard of several similar situations and another member of my family, who lives in Warsaw, was told to report to Siedlce, 104 km from her home. And since the patients, mostly elderly and ailing people, will be vaccinated by the staff who never met them before, they are ordered to gather all medical evidence of their condition and take it with them… In my dad’s case, it’s a file of the size of a small encyclopedia. Why can’t he be vaccinated in his local surgery where they know him for decades?
The opposition accuses the government of completely abdicating in the realm of vaccinations, leaving ordinary people and workers at the bottom to organize everything the best they can under the circumstances. But the government claims that the system works well, the only problem is that this nasty European Union failed to give us enough vaccines. Which is funny, as apparently government has too much, as it just allowed vaccination center to use surplus of vaccines on people who are not in the priority list which is even more likely to create confusion and promote cronyism…
And cronyism never leads to anything good. Just look at the quality of the new PiS elites in the National Judicial Council. The illegally appointed judges, instead of working in commissions when they were supposed to, were setting up Zoom meetings out of hours, claiming overtime. The process escalated quickly – they claimed 9000 zł in July, but by August the sum reached 80 000. After the chairman changed the rules, thus making it impossible, he was then stripped of his position in revenge. Although some say this might be an element of internal struggle within PiS over who has control over that institution.
In any way, this shows what the PiS “reform” of the judiciary was all about. The courts are not working smoother or faster, on the contrary. The newly appointed judges are not positive change in overall quality, as we can see from that example. And it can get even “better”. It has emerged that the new changes to the laws will also make it possible for a convicted criminal without higher education at all to become a deputy justice minister. Does PiS have anyone particular in mind yet? It would not be a precedent, mind you, that our chief of special services Mariusz Kamiński is a convicted criminal illegally pardoned by president Duda.
One thing is sure: a criminal appointed by PiS won’t share any articles from Oko.press on his Facebook page. This portal, in which top investigative journalists uncover wrongdoings of the current government, is run by the foundation “Ośrodek Kontroli Obywatelskiej” – “The Centre of Citizen’s Control”. No wonder that sharing its finding might be a sackable offense for the government official!
Meanwhile, a lot of the workforce is assigned to harass opposition activists. Arek Szczurek for example already faced 55 court cases, for litigations, one administration case, two fines from Sanitary-Epidemiological institution and 10 current trials for minor offences. So far he lost only 5% – the ones, when he failed to appeal on time. The mechanism is simple: the police tries to fine them, they refuse, so the case goes to a judge that usually just automatically rubber stamps police’s decission. Then you have 7 days to appeal (provided, you were informed about the courts decission) and only on appeal you have a chance to appear in court and present your side to the story. It’s aimed to be a time-consuming and expensive experience that would deter all, but the most involved activists from protesting the government. It’s seen by experts and opposition as a typical case of Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) as those, who cannot spend all their time to find absurd accusations might end in jail, as is now being demonstrated by Paweł Kasprzak, leader of the oposition movement Obywatele RP. He deliberately refused to appeal judge’s decision after the police officers blocked him from using pedestrian crossing or overpass to go to the other side of the road, as the one he was walking was blocked by police vehicles parked on the pavement. They told him to “cross the road where he is” and then tried to fine him 50zł for jaywalking.
Kasprzak refused to pay or participate in community work, so now he has to go to jail for two days. “I am going to jail for being innocent, and despite the fact I haven’t been even given a trial” – says Kasprzak. – “Nobody given me a chance to speak, and yet I was sentenced. This is an absolute scandal, I want to protest against it”. He says from now on every police intervention against him will end with him going to jail, as he wants to show to the judges, who participate in this system and give guilty verdicts without giving the accused a chance to speak at their trials, that this is important. “In the situation when police actively obstructs political freedom of the citizens, you are becoming the arm of police state” – he warns them. His ordeal also shows the importance of the proposed new law that could make impossible for the citizen to refuse accepting ticket from the police officer at all.
The soldiers of the territorial army are also falling victims to the faulty system, although in a completely different way. The new type of the rifle was approved and purchased for the army, despite damning opinion from the experts. Then-minister of defence Antoni Macierewicz ignored usual procedures and made the army to purchase guns that were still in the phase of development. Despite the fact, that the elite special forces soldiers from GROM, who were given the task to test it found it to be unreliable and easy to break. According to onet, they were told that they are “too spoiled” as usually they use only the highest quality gear. On the other hand ordinary soldiers, who complain about it, are told they are not experienced enough to handle this guyn properly. Meanwhile the design is so bad, that an important part of the gun simply falls off, preventing the gun from automatic reload. The soldiers are told to attach it with the cable tie, as if they loose it, they have to pay the cost of the missing parts (220 zł) from their own pockets… There are several other faults like the rifle butts falling out, the magazines breaking apart or that the gun can ovewrheat when heavily used and when that happened during the test, barrel bent, causing risk to everyone around. It has also been reported that the new guns show rust after just one day out in the rain.
The territorial army tried to debunk Onet’s article on Twitter. “By now, the army uses 40520 of those rifles” – they wrote – “so far only 4% of them were found faulty, of which 3705 showed problems with magazines only”.
Obecnie na wyposażeniu Sił Zbrojnych jest już 40520 karabinków GROT, do 2026 będzie ich ok. 70 tys.
Wspólnie z FB #Łucznik rozwijamy tę konstrukcję.
Do tej pory reklamacje dotyczyły 4% egz., z czego 3705 dotyczyło tylko i wyłącznie magazynków.@PGZ_pl pic.twitter.com/eaEyE0L6GT
— Terytorialsi – Zawsze gotowi, zawsze blisko! (@terytorialsi) January 25, 2021
Do you think there is nothing wrong with those numbers? Read it again, and do the math yourself… With such a bad grasp of basic arithmetic, I hope they don’t serve in the artillery units!
No wonder nobody trusts the Polish government with anything nowadays. An Israeli paper informed that a bunch of Jewish religious artefacts have been found in Warsaw during construction work on the site of the former ghetto. According to the paper, the discovery was hidden from the Polish authorities and the found items were smuggled out to Israel. And now they brag about that – technically a theft under Polish law – in the paper. Is Poland’s position in the international world so low, that foreign countries are now looting us for archaeological discoveries, as the colonial powers used to do in XIX century?
PiS claims that they have good relations with the US. But it’s doubtful their contact will be of any use. Matthew Tyrmand, a right wing pro-Trumpian lobbyist who some time ago tried to influence Polish politics, (pictured with Kaczyński here) had some rough time recently:
On the day when his favourite Trump was forced to leave the White House, he lost the court case in which he tried to sue a Gazeta Wyborcza’s journalist who called him a Trump’s man. The courts of two instances decided that the opinion is justified. What was his reaction? He attacked the journalist:
“Perhaps I lost. But I sleep way knowing that I am not an overweight slovenly drug addled sociopath who lies about everyone being a Russian agent. And I know how to wash myself unlike aforementioned drug addled manic, who is at war with truth AND good personal hygiene”.
Perhaps. But I sleep well knowing that I am not an overweight slovenly drug addled sociopath who lies about everyone being a Russian agent. And I know how to wash myself unlike aforementioned drug addled manic who is at war with truth AND good personal hygiene 😂 https://t.co/LwrJFW5gox
— Matthew Tyrmand (@MatthewTyrmand) January 20, 2021
Such a class. Truly worthy of the right-wing Trumpian puppet!
This piece was written for Britské Listy
Picture: Public Domain.