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To everyone’s surprise, president Andrzej Duda in his TV speech slagged PiS attempts to take over the judicial system. Point by point he explained, why can’t he sign those bills, that drew thousands of Poles to the street. Yet, despite the fact that his own arguments were devastating to all three of controversial documents, he decided to veto only two of them and to sign the one about common courts. Confused opposition proclaimed victory, but somehow half-hearted. Why?
President Duda’s sudden fondness of the constitution is hard to explain. If he decided to break of from Kaczyński’s leash and become a sovereign politician, it’s already too late for many Poles to forgive him participation in dismantling Polish democratic system. So his chances to win win second term without PiS support would be very slim. His decision also outraged many PiS politicians and supporters, and creating a crack in PiS can also lead to them being unable to gain power in future election. And we have to assume, that whoever would grab power, almost certainly would try to put him in front of the State Tribunal for all his infringements of the constitution.
Therefore more popular opinion is that it was just a tactical game: PiS tries to push three outrageous bills, and have two of them vetoed by the president can be seen by some as the victory for the opposition. At the same time president scores some points by pretending, that he is not just passive puppet and has mind on his own. Now he can propose his own draft of the controversial bills, or approve the new version of PiS and then in a month or two (or in a couple of nights, as it often happens with PiS in power) announce that the new bills have answered his doubts and sign them, despite that in fact the new ones will not be so different to those that were just protested so hard by the people in the street. Meanwhile already signed bill on the common courts would already cause significant damage.
At the same time in the turmoil caused by the mass protests, when eyes of all Poles were focused on the attack on judicial system, PiS voted in another controversial laws:
– completely destroyed the market of renewable energy (what is with right wing hostility to saving the planet I don’t know…)
– amended a water law, causing drastic raise in price of water for farming, industry and private consumers.
– introduced new tax on electricity, which will be used to offset EU penalties for polluting coal power plants
– discarded petition for referendum on changes in education system signed by nearly a million Poles
– introduced new regulations of the housing market – this was supposed to answer PiS promises of solving the housing crisis, but it turned out that it will solve the shortage of houses by allowing, in some cases, evictions of tenants without right for social housing after even few months of delays in payment caused by unemployment or sickness.
Meanwhile the opposition was stabbed in the back from the most unexpected direction: the Highest Court, in defence of which hundreds of thousands were marching the streets, decided to lean into demand of illegally elected chairman of Constitutional Tribunal and suspended revision process of Mariusz Kamiński, a chief of special services in current government, who was on trial for abuse of power and has been found guilty and sentenced for 3 years of prison in the first instance. He was then illegally pardoned by president Duda (who can only pardon people after the courts have reached final sentence – see more here) and that matter remains a controversial issue and a matter of competence struggle between those judicial institution that remains independent and those, that are already taken over by PiS.
At least the economy is doing well. Or is it? If you believe Mateusz Morawiecki, minister of progress and infrastructure, Polands economic growth is on unprecedented scale and this is reflected by record high income of the state budget. But it seems that it might just be a creative book-keeping, delaying returns of VAT tax and other desperate attempts to suck as much money as possible from every direction. Let’s look into a case study of Terplast from Sieradz, a manufacturer of a rope used by the farm machinery. As a farming product, such rope is a subject to a discounted rate of VAT and it was always the case in 23-years history of Terplast. Suddenly, despite the fact that no change to law was made in that field, the tax-man demanded that company proves, that the rope it sells is used purely for farm machinery. This is virtually impossible, as it would mean, that the company would have to obtain a declaration from every single customer who bought their product in the last five years in which they would confirm, that they use the rope solely for the purpose intended by its manufacturer and they haven’t used it to hang their washing out to dry, replace broken shoelace or, God forbid, to spice up farmer’s sex life on the wave of bondage craze created by the movie 50 shades of Grey. If Terplast fails to meet tax-man demands, they will have to square up the difference between preferential rate of 8% and the standard Polish VAT of 23% for the last five years (with interest, of course), which would most likely end in company bankruptcy. And this is just one case of many similar.
Meanwhile the Polish army has some real problems. Antoni Macierewicz’s pet project of creating Territorial Army just can’t get airborne. Allegedly, there is not enough volunteers. Perhaps when they hear Macierewicz speeches about basing Polish military forces on the power of Our Lady of Fatima they don’t feel that they help is needed any more? Or perhaps they have some strange associations with another military formation known from the history books, that also believed that Gott mit uns. Anyway, this was one of the reasons, why president Duda revoked Macierewicz’s demand to endow a standards for newly formed units, although some say that it might be a revenge for the fact, that Antoni Macierewicz revoked security clearance of presidential advisor, thus virtually depriving president, a superior of Polish Armed Forces, any insight of what is going in the army.
For Antoni Macierewicz all that crap of celebrations, banners, military drills and parades and shiny buttons on the uniforms is really important. If you observe his official Twitter profile, as well as that of the Ministry of Defence, it is all about commemorating anniversaries, invoking historical heritage (he even issued an order that newly created Territorial Army “will inherit a legacy of a Home Army” (an underground resistance force in Nazi-occupied Poland), as if you could decide such things simply by writing some silly document), creating new uniforms for historical partisan units and so on. Strangely enough the really important information gets to the press mostly in a form of leaks and speculations, unless it’s picked up in some obscure releases by a industry media, like that one about Polish army working on a system permitting them to block communication or create fake news and internet releases. But the Polish army is not all about modern technologies, they also plan to buy a missile system designed to spread leaflets…
Speaking of, pardon the pun, blast from the past, Bartłomiej Misiewicz (who would be well known to the readers of this series by now) made it back to the news after it emerged that the Ministry of Defence have issued a commemorative coin in his name. This military tradition came to us from US Army and usually such coins are usually issued only to minister, his deputies and highest ranking generals…
Luckily for us, Ministry of Defence can play with their fancy buttons and colorful standards as much as it pleases, as the worst that can come from it is further destruction of the military ethos. Luckily they do not have to face any enemy at the moment, unlike Jan Szyszko, minister of environment, who has a real challenge ahead of him: his enemy is no one else, but the Lord of the Hell himself. I am joking you not, in a recent paper written by a professor Szyszko one can read:
“We can’t allow for man to be treated as the highest danger to the natural resources and the highest and the only understood form of its protection was ban on logging and killing animals, which is promoted recently by both Satanist organisations and people of great hearts but little environmental knowledge”.
He is not the only one to point out to that enemy. After Kaczyński’s uncontrolled outburst in parliament he had to repair his picture and therefore gave a couple of interviews for father Rydzyk catholic media. In one of them the interviewing priest asked him a question about the progressing secularisation of Europe. He answered, that he don’t want to assume his role, but “it is Satan walking the Earth”.
But the time to face the Satan himself is still to come. Meanwhile PiS has to tackle some minor enemies, for example Non Governmental Organisations. Jarosław Kurski’s TVP goes so far in their shameless propaganda, that even journalists from extreme pro-PiS Gazeta Polska, that is not exactly known for it’s high standard of journalism, lost his temper: “Kurwa, no nie manipulujcie aż tak” – “For fuck’s sake, don’t manipulate that much” he wrote in a Twitter exchange. Mind you, this is a guy who works for the title that prints magazines with covers looking almost as they were a remake of “Der Stürmer”:
Speaking of the Nazi propaganda, the Polish anti-semitism has a bit of come back last week. During parliamentary holidays some PiS MP’s attempted a try in a hard art of thinking. So far the results aren’t really overwhelming, but surely some of the ejaculations of PiS activists minds made a stir, such as an late evening tweet by Bogdań Rzońca, who wrote: “I am resting, reading my overdue lectures. And I think to myself: why amongst pro-abortionists there are so many Jews?”
He was not the only one who stroke that note. Remember Magdalena Ogórek, a blond bimbo put forward as a presidential candidate by post-communist party SLD? This decision became a last nail to the coffin to a party of former prime minister Leszek Miller and former president Aleksander Kwaśniewski. That became clear even to a person, who’s live aim seems to be proving to everyone that jokes about dumb blondes are true, so in a unprecedented volte Miss Ogórek became a number one PiS fan. Soon she became a right wing celebrity and co-host of the regular TV show on TVP. In a twitter exchange with Marek Borowski, a left wing politician, she suggested that his true family name is Berman (which is a common way by extreme anti-semitic right to suggest that their political enemies are traitors and members of Jewish anti-Polish conspiracy). Really, even in a dirty world of a Polish extreme right this is a knocking into the bottom from underneath. I would give a significant sum of money to see a face of a man, who thought that she would be a great presidential candidate for a left wing party and called her a “Lioness of Polish left” when he had seen what she says today…
The raise of anti-semitism is even more stunning when we remember that all that happened around 1st of August. The annual commemorations of the anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw Upraising, that is one of the most important historic event to many Poles, not only on the right, was celebrated lauder than usual. This time traditional marches of nationalists and neo-Nazi groups, who were openly breaking the law (for example by using pyrotechnics), were protected by the police, even when their participants were chanting hateful slogans or acting aggressively towards other people:
Not many people in Poland that there is a chance for re-uniting the nation. Those, who are still naive enough to belive that (like an US-born Pole Jeremy Sypniewski, who moved to Poland only five years ago and during recent protests tried to politely talk to aggressive nationalists and eventually hugged one of them) might soon loose all their illussions (Sypniewski was allegedly attacked by nationalists during Warsaw Uprising celebrations after he attempted to read a constitution to them. According to him, they took the book away from him, torn it and threw it away, then assaulted him physically).
Meanwhile PiS used that occasion to open the new front against Germany. The first attack was carried out by Bartosz Kownacki, deputy defence minister, who said during local celebrations in Bydgoszcz: “Nazis were savagely murdering women and children and then were coming back to their homes as if nothing happened. Today children and grandchildren of those degenerates lecture us, what democracy is, instead of keeping their mouth shut”.
This narration was quickly picked up by football hooligans and used to “decorate” a stadium. Meanwhile German services (fire men, paramedic, police), who usually participated in securing the biggest free open air rock festival in our part of Europe, Przystanek Woodstock hosted right at the border in Kostrzyn nad Odrą were denied entry despite fact, that Ministry of Interior in the last minute stunt declared this year’s festival a “high risk event”. Why? It’s simple. This festival was created by Jurek Owsiak (who is also one of the PiS enemies for creating one of the biggest Charity organizations in our part of Europe, thus creating competition to church charities). According to him, it’s just another PiS’s attempt to sabotage the event, but it is also a slap in the face to Germans, as the PiS government shows them that they are not a trustworthy partner any more.
Then TVP broadcasted a message to Germans:
W #Minęła20 Apel do obywateli Niemiec: „Nie zakłamujcie historii! Przeproście Karola Tenderę i inne swoje ofiary” #wieszwięcej pic.twitter.com/CPUyMHZjjz
— TVP Info (@tvp_info) 1 sierpnia 2017
This was just a prelude to a decisive blow: PiS will demand Germany to pay 5 trillion dollars of war reparations (as Poland was forced by Soviet Union to give up their claims towards Deutche Demokratische Republik, our country never got any significant payments from Germans). It is propably yet another attempt by PiS to anger our European partners. Some say, that because PiS knows, that there is still no chance for Polexit, this is their plan to leave EU – by annoying all our European partners, breaking every rule possible and then blaming them for consequences, they will finally manage to convince people that European Union is our enemy. Unreal? Remember, in just couple of years they managed to convince Poles that refugees are the biggest threat to such extend, that more than half of Poles would rather leave the EU than accept any of the refugees. And the fact, that just 10 or 15 years ago the top brass PiS politicians were saying that Poland has an exceptional duty to help people in need…
The recent decission of minister Szyszko to disrespect European Highest Court order to immediately stop logging in protected areas is an unprecedented event and it poses a question: if we don’t respect European Highest Court, why should our European partners respect it’s decission in the matters that are important to us like Baltic oil pipe that infringes Polish interests or the conflict regarding Western European countries practices to undermine competition from Polish road hauliers? Is the Polish government mad? Or it is indeed a part of the plan to stir as much hate and conflict between Poland and our European partners? As it seems that the only thing Kaczyński can do is to inflame hate and stir conflict everywhere, with the full support of the Catholic Church in order to defend their vision of Western civilisation based around Christian faith from those imaginary enemies…
As if it’s true, then instead of war reparations from our biggest economical and political partner, I would rather wish that we demand from Czechs that they somehow made it up to us for bringing Christianity to Poland.
This piece was published in Britske Listy
Photo: “Ogorek” by Vom2 , CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
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