In recent weeks we got a bit distracted from our typical direction and investigated the Polish musical market and then got shocked by the level of villainy represented by the ruling party media and supporters that led to a death of a young boy. But what was actually happening in “regular Absurdistan things” recently?
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I am browsing all the bookmarked things I wanted to write about and I see most of that is just regular PiS stuff. Like the government giving up again for the hunter’s lobby and scrapping the law changes that would require them to undergo regular medical check ups (more on that in chapter 226) which means once the hunter gets a weapon permit, he will never have to be checked again.
We have the story of a world-famous porcelain factory in Wałbrzych that was driven to bankruptcy after nearly 200 years on the market after the state-owned energy company demanded that a new energy bill (with prices several times higher than previously) will be paid in full for the whole year upfront.
The story of the TVP employee (they still call themselves “journalists”) who lied and pretended to be an advocate of one of the sides of a court case to illegally obtain information was big a month ago, but today seems really bleak when we compare it to the true villainy we know they are capable of.
It’s not the TVP employees who are the worst scoundrels though. Tomasz Sakiewicz, an editor of a privately owned PiS propaganda outlet was very outraged at the opposition MP that protested against the TV ombudsman body punishing television TVN for uncovering Antoni Macierewicz’s lies and omissions regarding the Smoleńsk plane crash. So outraged that he called him to “check if he is a real men” and meet him outside to fight. What was so outrageous? That the opposition MP called him (quite rightly, I would have to add), a “regime journalist”. It’s worth mentioning that Sakiewicz himself was sued by TVN for defamation after calling it “Putin’s TV station” so he is apparently happy to slander others. I guess this is just a standard in that formation, as one of the PiS MPs on the other hand told a Left-wing MP in the TV show that “Lefties should be carried away in a wheelbarrow full of manure” and then told him to “shut up”. But by now, we’re used to this.
Just as we are used to the PiS moral standard. Absolutely nobody was surprised to hear the accusations of Gazeta Wyborcza that obtained recordings that suggest that Stanisław Piotrowicz, formerly a communist prosecutor persecuting opposition activists in the 1980s and now PiS’s main legal expert, responsible in the large part for dismantling the Polish justice system and awarded for his servitude with a position of a judge in PiS-controlled Constitutional Tribunal was trying to make other judges to “help” his daughter to pass her legal exams so she can become a prosecutor. She was supposed to leave empty answers on her test and they were to fill in the correct answers for her when checking the candidate’s results. And this comes out after her “amazingly swift” career was already considered by many to be a blatant case of nepotism.
A bit of surprising news was that a Catholic priest and head teacher of a Catholic school had been sentenced to real prison time (1.5 years) for possession of child pornography. Nobody at all is surprised though to hear that a director of Tatra National Park agreed to construct yet another ski slope to be constructed in the protected area. This time it will be on the slopes of the Nosal mountain, known as a nesting place of falcons and sleeping quarters of Tatra’s bears. They argue the ski slope will be used by the Polish Olympians and top sportsmen to train, but it had already emerged that it will be also accessible to the public every day between noon and 7 pm…
Where PiS is worried about the environmental impact is where the new green technologies can be sabotaged to protect Polish coal. They are trying to change already draconian anti-wind turbine law and extend the protection zones around new turbines from 500m to 700m – which means you won’t be able to build one unless you find a space where there is no single house within 700 m in any direction, which will further reduce available locations for wind turbine sites by 48%.
The scandal with money giveaways for PiS supporters grows bigger and bigger. It seems like every second minister is redirecting public money to foundations and NGOs run (or established recently for the sole purpose of siphoning public money) by PiS friends and acolytes. This becomes more blatant everywhere – while with the change of government, there was a visible bias when it comes to funding, the recent turn of the government grants for the cultural periodicals ended up in virtually only far-right and church publications getting any money from the ministry. And then, of course, as usual, friends of PiS are being given cozy jobs in state-owned companies. Remember that bride-to-be that had been proposed to in the mine, that we wrote in chapter 226? She got a cozy job in a copper mining consortium where – despite not having the required qualifications and experience – she’s making between 20 000 and 30 000 zł per month. Some of PiS acolytes are also exported to safety: a man involved in the infamous purchase of non-existent respirators from a shady gun dealer during the Covid pandemic (which cost the government millions) is now sitting on the board of directors of the Orlen-controlled Czech oil company Unipetrol. But sometimes it can just be too much. After extreme-right activists behind the annual “independence march” in Warsaw were given hefty government grants, they started to fight with each other and it seems their movement is now falling apart.
Surprisingly there was also a money scandal on the other side when it had emerged that Radek Sikorski, former Foreign and Defence minister and today a PO MEP had been receiving hefty sums for his consultancy work from the United Arab Emirates which, while formally not illegal, brings it into a grey zone – I’ve seen some commenters pointing out that his voting record in foreign affairs committee looks to be surprisingly pro-Arab regimes as for someone who brags about being a defender of democracy and human rights…
Where there is no doubt about double standards is with Orlen, which had been still buying oil from Russia and was intending to do so in 2023 too. So basically Daniel Obajtek’s “exceptional financial skills” were just simply buying oil at a discounted price from a war criminal and then selling them to Poland at the price just slightly lower than in neighbouring countries so PiS can brag about Poles paying the lowest prices for fuel while pocketing record profits.
As Russians finally cut us from their oil, we in turn shut the border with Belarus. The government ministers brag on their Twitter about building anti-tank barriers on the sites of the former border crossings (so it’s not sufficient to pray on rosaries on the borders anymore, as it was in 2017?). It is portrayed as a strong government response to the Belarusian regime sentencing Polish-Belarusian journalists and dissidents to 8 years of the penal colony. But some others suggest the closure of all border crossings but one might have a different reason: apparently, there was a significant corruption network uncovered, and at least a dozen of border guards have been arrested so far.
And there will be more arrests – if not during this government, then surely after the change of power. With the spring coming, the bodies of several refugees, illegally thrown by the Polish border force into the remote forests, or just trying to hide from them in this very hostile environment are being found on a regular basis. Those so-called pushbacks were deemed illegal in about a dozen of separate court cases already and the first refugees – three men from Afghanistan, who were victims of those illegal activities – are already suing the Polish state for compensation for the ordeal they were subjected to (of course, they are already safe in another EU country, otherwise they would be probably just apprehended and threw away to the forest again). They demand 80 000 zł each.
And so far the courts are still largely independent, so the rulings are usually not in PiS’s favor (although such rulings are becoming more common too, like the recent judgment that found an abortion activist who shared her own pills with other women in need guilty, even though the abortion actually never happened, as the package fell into the hands of the woman’s violent partner. The sentence was provided by a pro-PiS judge that was promoted on the same day). Luckily there are still European courts – one of them found, for example, that it’s not right that citizens have no say on the State Forest plans to chop wood (which is becoming a problem, as the State Forest are a peculiar institution that is supposed to protect the forest in Poland, but it works de facto as a private company making fortune on chopping even the ancient forests in the areas that actual environmental activists cry for years that should be protected – like the outskirts of the Białowieża National Park or the site of the future (hopefully) Turnicki Park Narodowy – that still has not been established despite experts calling for it at least since late 1980s). This ruling means that perhaps public consultation will no longer be just a mock-up formality.
Another case to watch is that of the gynecological practice from Szczecin that was raided by agents of the Central Anticorruption Bureau (if you wonder why an anti-corruption body investigates abortions, all you need to know is that this service is de facto PiS private police) and seized all documentation dating back all the way to 1996. They are obviously fishing for something to punish the doctor, as while she claims to do nothing illegal in Poland, she also has another practice just across the border in Germany where she does perform abortions on Polish patients in accordance with German law. Seizing all medical documentation is obviously a breach of privacy of her patients, so they are now to sue the government too.
Another country that might soon be providing abortions to Polish women in Finland. A left-wing MEP Robert Biedroń went there with his partner and was assured by PM Sanna Marin that if her party stays in power after oncoming elections, Finland will provide abortions to Polish women in need. This was commented on by the chief editor of the Polish radio, who wrote on Twitter: “Guys, if I was in your place, I would try to persuade such attractive women to procreate, not to have abortions”. Because that’s apparently the first thing that comes to the mind of a god-fearing Catholic (as it’s clear from his other tweets): “Sanna Marin is sexy, you should fuck her!”. Not to mention, that the editor of the public radio broadcaster should be aware that Robert Biedroń, one of the most important left-wing politicians in Poland, is openly gay…
But maybe he was just too stressed. Catholics are having a hard time in Poland. After the station TVN published yet another documentary that brings even more evidence that popes John Paul II had been covering pedophilia scandals, the US ambassador was called to the ministry to explain himself (because TVN is owned by some American company). Apparently, idiots from PiS think that in other countries governments also can tell the media what they have to say. In the official statement of the ministry, we could read that America’s actions are equivalent to a hybrid war against Poland. At about the same time a new book on the same topic was published, so PiS got completely off the rails and decided Polish people surely don’t have enough of the Pope yet, so they decided to broadcast Pope’s sermons every day in prime time, at 8pm. And it was all going so well, when they received an unexpected stab in the back from the current pope, who, when asked about the matter, said, basically “of course, John Paul II swept those scandals under the carpet, it was a norm back then!” If you still had any doubts that pope Francis is a vatnik and a Russian agent, there you go. I wonder if the papal nuncio will be called to the ministry as well to explain himself for HIS BOSS’s participation in a hybrid war against Poland?
Pictures: Public domain.
This piece was published in Britské Listy