Meanwhile in Cuckooland 168

Where I live there is a big construction site. At the entrance, there is a board saying “There was no accident on this site for X days”. Each morning an employee changes the numbers to show even a higher one. If at the entrance to Poland there was a board measuring number of days since the last scandal involving Daniel Obajtek emerged (see previous chapters for more info on him), then this employee would have a very simple job, alternating between numbers 0 and 1. The new information emerges nearly every day. Here, for example, is Onet writing about the land he bought in Masuria which further adds to the question of how is that he can afford so many properties, from his official income. And here is a Wyborcza article, which might suggest some answers: a detailed analysis of what was in the indictment that PiS pulled out of court after they came to power. Apparently, the prosecutors had a well-documented case, in which they accused Obajtek of not only stealing from his uncle’s company but also engaging in corruption activities during his time as a mayor of Pcim and working with known criminals. I won’t bore you with details, because the real question is: how is it that it still does not harm the PiS government?

Click HERE to read the previous part of the series
Click HERE to see all chapters of the series so far.

Apart from the fact, mentioned by me in the last chapter, that PiS already controls (or keeps in check) all institutions that would, under normal circumstances, tackle corruption independently, but also because Poland is already divided into two, completely separate information bubbles. As Anna Mierzyńska, social media analyst, points out while the topic of Obajtek is a very hot one in the opposition bubble, it is virtually non-existent in the PiS bubble, and if some information about it leak into, are quickly disarmed as “yet another desperate opposition attack on our glorious party and its best men”. The only chunk of information that has actually made into that bubble was a discovery that Beata Szydło’s son – who’s ordination as a priest was used by PiS for propaganda purposes – has, just as the rumours circulating for some time suggested, left the priesthood and works in one of the companies controlled by Obajtek under false name. TVP, who saw nothing wrong in reporting on his employment situation when he was a priest suddenly finds it shameful that other media keep track of when Beata Szydło’s son works now. They call it an outrageous invasion of privacy. A bit bold, coming from the people who just a few months ago sent a reporter to aggressively demand from Trzaskowski to explain why his kid hasn’t been to the first communion…

Of course, it would be futile to expect the government to investigate Obajtek. And the PiS supporters will defend him as well. When opposition MP’s staged a press conference in Pcim, during which they pointed out that a former Central Anticorruption Bureau agent was employed by the parish of Pcim at the rate of 500 zł per day (rate unheard of in the local governments), they were shouted on by Obajtek’s supporters and told to “never come back”. But it’s not that PiS will do nothing about it. On the contrary, they are now trying to strip the senate speaker, the opposition’s Tomasz Grodzki, of immunity in order to charge him with corruption charges. Allegedly, as a doctor in a hospital in Szczecin about a decade ago, he was taking bribes. It’s worth mentioning that all of those alleged bribes combined don’t come even close to the bribe Jarosław Kaczyński has been accused of taking, Yet, of course, prosecutors controlled by Zbigniew Ziobro seem to have no interest in investigating Kaczyński (or, indeed, Obajtek), even though the evidence against them is much stronger: in case of Grodzki, one of the potential witnesses claims to have been offered a 5000 zł if he agreed to give evidence supporting bribery charges

This seems to be a typical tactic by PiS. If someone causes problems, they will fabricate the case about them. Nothing might come out of it eventually, but throwing the mud at someone is enough. Perhaps something sticks, if not, at least the victims are busy defending themselves. And it might not apply to the politicians from the first pages of the papers only. A small animal rescue charity from Jelenia Góra, which become so frustrated with prosecutors dropping the cases of animal cruelty that began publishing their names (which is not illegal), is now under investigation – the prosecutions clearly trawl for something to be able to charge the activists with. TVP published several reportages accusing them of financial fraud and animal cruelty. As a result of that media witch-hunt, the animal ambulance of the organization has been vandalized and had to be taken off the road.

It seems that protection of nature is yet another front in which PiS will have to face the anger of Poles. Thousands of Poles took part in protests against tree cutting. The State Forests in Poland are a peculiar institution: on the one side, they are a government body responsible for managing the forests and protect the environments. On the other, they are de facto a business enterprise. So basically, the foresters sell timber from the forests, that are publicly owned but keep the profits to themselves, and they supervise themselves as well. Perhaps it’s why salaries in that institution are well over the average for similar jobs – after all, they have two jobs! That was true even before PiS, but now this institution has become a pool of cosy jobs for friends and families of PiS (such as Daniel Obajtek’s brother). This pool of sinecures of course has to cost, and so the trees in Poland are now being cut at an unprecedented pace which causes widespread protests. You might remember the fight to save ancient forests near Białowieża from a few years back, but such issues are common all across the country. In my hometown of Wrocław for example the State Forrest want to chop down Las Mokrzański, classified as a High Conservation Value Forest of a key value for the local community. But the State Forests try to limit the HCVF-6 status only to the areas near the objects such as roadside shrine, a grave or a cemetery, which would mean, that they would be able to chop everything else down. Apparently, only a few trees around the roadside shrine have value to a local community…

And this is not the stupidest argument that environmental activists were met with last week. The chairman of the Polish Daily Chamber for example answered the argument often brought by vegans, that one needs to use 1500 litres of water for each kilogram of beef produced. “If that’s true, why 1 kilogram does not weigh 1500 kgs but still 1 kg”?

But there was someone who made even a greater fool of herself last week. Monika Pawłowska, until recently opposition MP from Left has overnight switched sides and joined Jarosław Gowin’s party, a part of the ruling coalition. “This is a decision in line with my conscience, and in line with what I promised my voters,” she said. Judging from the outrage in social media, her voters haven’t exactly expected her to stick the middle finger to them and switch sides…

The whole affair was best summed up by one of the popular cartoonists who drew her saying “I was a left-wing MP, now I am a right-wing MP, but I haven’t changed my beliefs. I still believe I should remain to be an MP”.

Meanwhile, the COVID situation is dramatic. The health system is again at the brink of collapse. Many planned surgeries have been cancelled, which, unfortunately, means that the ranks of the COVID victims will now be joined by hundreds of people who will die of cancer or other diseases. The new factory in Stalowa Wola, ceremonially opened by Andrzej Duda a year ago was supposed to manufacture 30 000 000 face masks per month. So how many have been produced so far? The equation is simple: 30 000 000 x 11 months. And then apply the PiS factor to it. Result: 0. ZERO. This flagship project, used so hard by the government propaganda has so far only manufactured a test batch of masks, of which none have reached the market.

There is a shortage of doctors as well, so the government is desperate. Even disabled ones, or opticians who never worked in a hospital, are summoned to work with COVID patients. The ambulances again drive for hours or cover vast distances in order to find an empty bed for their dying patients. And still in another government propaganda stunt, the Potemkin’s village called “National Hospital” at the Warsaw’s stadium only 300 of 1200 beds are occupied due to lack of staff. It has become clear that this hospital does nothing when during recent snowfall members of the public notices that there was not a single tire track at the entrance for ambulances for a whole day. It’s a disaster, and even the government spokesman admits that (although he still tries to convince us, that at no fault of the government, as according to him all countries are doing equally bad). Meanwhile, TVP lies, overstating the number of vaccinated people by 2 000 000.

Meanwhile, there is to be another lock-down, but of course still not in the proper, legal way, so citizens will be able to successfully challenge it in court again. Not that anyone cares any more, nobody believes any more than the government is in control or at least has any plan. And of course, the churches will still not be closed. The Episcopate encourages their flock to still take part in Sunday’s masses. There is a petition demanding for the Catholics to be exempt from COVID restrictions (which seems to be the case already, as the police, so keen to use force on the anti-government protested, completely ignored several hundred people, many of them mask-less, who took part in the Way of the Cross organized by ultra-Catholic and nationalists circles in the streets of Warsaw). After the left called for stricter enforcing of the COVID regulations in churches PiS MP’s accused them of “acting to limit religious freedoms”. Meanwhile in Sułów the faithful are asked to turn up for test after it had emerged that every single priest in their parish have been infected with COVID – and was handing out the communion wafers…

But forget putting members of the public at risk. The government is too busy with real crimes. After Adam “Nergal” Darski, leader of the black metal band Behemoth, have been accused of Blasphemy, now a popular writer Jakub Żulczyk is going to be charged with offending a president for calling Andrzej Duda an idiot. He might face up to three years in prison.

I am actually looking forward to that case, it will be fun to see how the prosecutors try to prove in court that this is slander, as Andrzej Duda is NOT an idiot…

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BREAKING NEWS: Bad news for Vít Jedlička, the (I guess former by now) head of a microstate Liberland, squeezed between Serbia and Croatia. Polish writer Ziemowit Szczerek has invaded it this morning and has been met with no resistance. And so where the Liberland used to be, there now exists “The Soc-Libertinic Republic of Satania”. The movie from the official proclamation of the new state can be watched here:

This piece was written for Britské Listy
Collage uses picture of Monika Pawłoska by Adrian Gryciuk (CC 3.0)



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