Monday, August 30, 2010

How to make a dick of yourself

Prosecutors have dropped charges made against a local politician of defaming Vladimir Putin. But the local politician is not happy, as the decision to drop the case was made, not in Poland, but Russia.

On September 1 last year Vladimir Putin came to Gdansk for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WW II. Local Law and Justice politician Michal Rachon was not pleased and decided to do what any local politician with a reputation to protect would do - he dressed up as a penis, of course.

Of course.

The protesting penis was accompanied by a sidekick and they made their displeasure with Putin coming to Gdansk evident. See video.

The seemingly - or not - obscure linking of Putin and Penis is … subtle: it’s a reference to when the Russian secret services derided a rally by the then Russian presidential candidate and former world chess champion Gary Kasparov by sending a radio-controlled model helicopter, with a dildo dangling from the undercarriage, to hover over him as he addressed supporters.

Rachon was accused of defaming a diplomat, or representative of a foreign state - a rather strange law. It's also theoretically illegal for a foreigner to insult a Polish head of state, a law that the late president Lech Kaczynski tried to use after German journalists called him a potato.

That was all a year ago. But last week prosecutors announced they were dropping the charges. Not because they thought it was impossible to get a conviction for calling Putin a prick: but because there is no reciprocal law in Russia.

Law and Justice’s Michal Rachon says on his blog that it’s an outrage that his day in court has been denied him by Russian law and not Polish.

And he’s right. Polish law, here, is an ass. Not just because if a law is not reciprocal from Russia it’s not applicable in Poland. Ridiculing politicians, from any country, by dressing up as a willy may be puerile, but should not be within the law‘s sweaty grasp to ban.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mother Teresa - hell’s angel?

It’s 100 years since her birth and there has been quite a lot in the Polish media about this woman - all saintly.

Just as a corrective, here’s Hell’s Angel by Christopher Hitchens - author of The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.

This is the first part of three….you can see the other two parts at youtube here and here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Is Law and Justice (PiS) falling apart?

Two camps within Law and Justice have emerged since Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s failure in the presidential elections last month. In the Polish media they are calling them ‘the radicals’ and ‘the liberals’, the ‘doves’ and ‘hawks’: but we will refer to them as the Attack Dogs versus the HiPiS. (pic - Paweł Poncyliusz with Jaroslaw Kaczynski)

Jaroslaw's brief trip into the world of consensus, touchy-feely politics following the death of his twin brother Lech in the April 10 Smolensk air disaster, and during the election campaign which ended in his defeat, is over.

The week after his failed presidential election bid saw him reverting back to type - essentially accusing Russians of covering up evidence of their culpability in the death of his brother. And then the fire and brimstone rhetoric heated up still further over the battle of the Smolensk cross.

He is being urged onto the offensive by fellow attack dogs Jacek Kurski (pictured), MEP Zbigniew Ziobro and others who obviously think that Law and Justice’s role in life is to beat Russians, commies and fellow travellers wherever they can find them and purify Poland of menace.

The balmy days of early summer when Kaczynski was saying that all Poles must come together and bury the political hatchet seem a distant memory. His almost instinctive, snarling aggression has returned. The Attack Dogs have been straining on the leash for too long.

The HiPiS, on the other hand, we have met before. They are led by Kaczynski’s election campaign team leaders, such as Paweł Poncyliusz and Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, who we last met on this blog singing ‘Give PiS a chance’ outside a television studio, in a desperate bid to get their man into the presidential palace.

The HiPiS remerged from under a pile of prayer beads following an open letter to Jaroslaw Kaczynski from Law and Justice affiliated European member of parliament Marek Migalski, who wrote on his blog that Jaroslaw was basically a bit of a problem if the party ever wanted to taste power again. Poles are turned off by the aggressive antics and want a higher standard of political debate.

It’s at root a battle of the old and new generation of Law and Justice members: the traditionalists and founders of the party versus a younger, more pragmatic generation of politicians who don’t want to languish in opposition for ever.

There has even been whispers of trying to depose Kaczynski before crucial local elections in the autumn and general elections next spring. But this is unlikely. The Law and Justice party has been associated with the Kaczynski twins ever since they founded the party in 2001 on a wave of anti-corruption populism.

But now the gruesome twosome are a one-some, since Lech’s death in April. When Jaroslaw goes, Law and Justice will go the same way. The party is a personal vehicle for him and his remaining attack dogs. Without a Kaczynski to hold the thing together then Law and Justice will end up in the now large pile of discarded rightwing parties that have come and gone since 1989.

Their only hope is that Zbigniew Ziobro - another former arch-populist justice minister, just like Lech Kaczynski was - could resurrect the party, post Jaroslaw. But surely a Law and Justice without Kaczynski is like a duck without water.

The ruling Civic Platform - from the more liberal wing of Solidarnosc - must be licking their lips and appear in a win-win situation. If Kaczynski stays, they are going to win elections. If Kaczynski goes then they will have two opponents - Dogs and HiPiS - and they will win elections.

The prospects of a coherent opposition to Prime Minister Donald Tusk and his yawn-fest of a government look bleak.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Elderly man throws liquid poo at Smolensk plaque

A 70 year old man is truly deep in do-do today after throwing a jar of the stuff over the plaque unveiled last week on the presidential palace wall in honour of the Smolensk victims.

Oh, how a tragedy has turned into a feacial farce. Protestors were outraged last week when two modest grade officials were sent out, without prior notice, to unveil a plaque which they hoped would calm down the Defenders of the Cross.

The government's Grzegorz Schetyna said that he hoped that the plaque would go some way to placating the protestors, who were still seething at the, aborted, attempt the week before to move the cross to St Anne’s church (see posts below).

But the protestors howled “outrage” and “insult” at the feeble attempt to shut them up and make them go back home.

At the time of writing it is not known who the 70 year man is (though obviously the loose-boweled old geezer is a TROTSky-ite) or what he hoped to prove by his antics this afternoon. Prison awaits him for defaming a national - some would say religious - monument, although will the authorities be so stupid to give these people another martyr? If their previous incompetence is anything to go by then probably the answer to that question is “yes”.

And then the shit really will hit the fan.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Poland boils and broils in climate change shocker

My old granny used to say when offered tea, or coffee: “I don’t mind…as long as it‘s warm and wet!”

She always looked at me in incomprehension when I used to double - no, quadruple - up with laughter at that. I was 16 years old, after all.

But warm and wet is what we are seemingly stuck with here in Poland, so I suppose I should be grateful [note tenuous link between early formative experience and current affairs angle.]

It’s warm - a very warm 34 degrees centigrade as I write - or for my American readers: Really Very Hot Degrees Fahrenheit. It was even hotter in July.

It’s also very wet. Recurrent floods have been a story here since May.

It’s enough to make the This Is The End Of The World freaks rush for the streets to proclaim we are burning/drowning in our own cesspool of sin.

And, on cue, here they come. Kind of. But not from a twitching religious fanatic high on too many nights alone with Revelations and four horsies of apocalypses...

No, it’s a scientist. Poland has been warm, and wet, because of global warming.

And this is not any old weather forecaster, who relies on cows having a bit of a sit down before he sees rain coming: it’s climatologist Mirosław Miętus from the Institute of Meteorology.

He says that this year will be “the warmest for 150 years”, since record began.

In the days before records began, people just used to sit around saying: “Few…it‘s hot.” But suddenly people started to record how hot they felt and apparently, in this part of the world, folks have never been so steaming.

There was also over three times more rain in May than usual and two times more than in July. Our studio workplace - which mrs. beatroot spends hours and hours in a day - was flooded for the second time a week ago. More expense, more trauma.

“This is a manifestation of global warming,” Mirosław Miętus says, comfortingly (not) with more frequent heat waves and heavier rain fall to look forward to. Atlantic storms have penetrated deeper into mainland Europe. It could get worse.

Blimey! Can anybody cheer us up? What does the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say about this?

"One cannot conclude 100 percent that nothing like this has happened in the past 200 years, but the suspicion is there. Even if it's only a suspicion," said Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-president of the IPCC), referring to the heat wave in Russia and the floods in Pakistan, a warm and wet combo that Poland has got a taste of this summer.

Few! So there is only a “suspicion” that this could be caused by global frying, that man has brought to Earth as a form of petulance, with too many people doing just too many things.

But no! This article goes on to emphasise the suspicion, regardless of the fact that it is only “a suspicion”.

“According to the IPCC, droughts and heatwaves like those affecting Russia and 18 US states become longer and more intense in a warming planet.

"Whether in frequency or intensity, virtually every year has broken records, and sometimes several times in a week," said Omar Baddour, who tracks climate change for the World Meteorological Organization.

"In Russia, the record temperature in Moscow (38.2 degrees Celsius, 100.8 degrees Farenheit in late July) -- which had not been seen since records began 130 years ago -- was broken again at the start of August. In Pakistan, the magnitude of the floods is unheard of," he said.

"In both cases, it is an unprecedented situation. The succession of extremes
and the acceleration of records conform with IPCC projections. But one must
observe the extremes over many years to draw conclusions in terms of climate,"
he said.”

He did it again! Teasing us with doomsday then delivering the caveat.

But, of course, there are different explanations: you cannot see a trend in weather in any one event; it’s La Nina, El Nino’s inversion; it’s the beavers fault.

Beavers? , Yup: the fury dam-maker, who, up until now had had a very good PR. They even featured in Naked Gun.

As I write now, it’s evening: the wind picks up once again after a boiling hot day; trees sway in submission, the dog yaps, sirens wail and we head for the sandbags to defend the studio from the next Biblical-like flood.

And there are no beavers around this part of Warsaw.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reasons to defend the Defenders of the Cross

Last week when it was expected that the authorities were going to move The Cross from outside the Presidential Palace to St Anne’s church - and as the Defenders of the Cross often screamed their disapproval - my little office filed up with people watching the scenes on TV.

As the pushing and shoving started with the cops (see previous post) and one deperado grabbed hold of the cross, the people in my office started taunting the Defenders of the Cross. “Idiots” and “Psychos” and “Burak (redneck)” ran the commentary.

And my toes curled, a little.

They curled further still - like week-old stale bread - when President Komorowski, church officials, city authorities backed down. The cops copped out. (latest in saga here and here)

So who is the villain here? The alienated Cross Defenders, often poor, uneducated, alienated from the last two decades of Poland Inc? Victims of events they feel is beyond their control. Or the Polish State not up for a fight in what it says it believes in?

The Polish State has always had an awkward and distant relationship with its citizens in Poland. This is a historical process - partition, Soviet-isation etc…that has left the State with a desperate need to connect with the Poles. Lech Kaczynski knew this. The big displays on Army Day, the Warsaw Rising museum, the emphasis on Historical Politics. These were his way - the Law and Justice way - of trying to create a mass behind a state.

That Kaczynski was/is trying to create a Poland simply out of what it was in the past, is revealing about the relationship that type of national-conservative politics has with The Future. They really have no idea of what that kind of Poland would be. And it’s bound to fail because of that.

Civic Platform - who, now that Komorowski is safely ensconced in the Presidential Palace have a monopoly of power - have a different problem. They have to present themselves as a modernising force, with normal centre-right christian democratic type politics. Poland should be a ‘normal’ country within Europe.

Yet, when they are challenged on this - to make a statement about the separation between symbols of church and state, which this conflict over the cross has provoked - they back down. They lose stomach for the fight.

So who is the villain of the Battle for the Cross? The comparatively weak desperados of the Defenders of the Cross? Or the hapless cowards of the Tusk-Komorowski-Church establishment who are failing to gain any respect from anyone in Poland - foe, and friend, alike?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

How a cross brought Poland's establishment to its knees

No - President Komorowski, government, Catholic church top-frocks and cops were not on their knees in prayer. They were in such an ungainly position before a bunch of protestors outside the Presidential Palace, who said they would “defend to the death” the removal of a simple wooden cross put their in commemoration of the death of a president in western Russia.

Last Wednesday, the then president-elect, in agreement with Poland’s Roman Catholic establishment and national scout movement (responsible for the planting the wooden cross in front of the presidential residence after the Smolensk disaster) agreed that the spontaneous memorial to those who died should be moved to the nearby St Anne’s church.
Come the hour of cross removal, cometh the wroth of a couple of thousand Defenders of the Cross. They pushed against police lines; they shouted “Gestapo”, “Traitor” and “Communist” as the police pushed back. One woman grasped the cross, to be quickly disentangled from it. Cops fired tear gas from small aerosol cans when they thought the Defenders had gone a bit far.

See video by of as bad as it got - which was never that bad - below.

The result of what was a bit of push-and-shove by quite a small crowd of protestors? President Komorowski et al backs down and the cross stays where it is.

Who are those guys?

The self styled Defenders of the Cross - egged on by Lech Kaczynski’s twin brother Jaroslaw’s Law and Justice party - are a motley bunch of the ultra-religious, the nationalist, the anti-Russian, the alienated, the anomic and downright deranged.

Occasionally individuals possess all the above traits simultaneously.

For instance, one of the more prominent protestors is veteran cross defender Kazimierz Switon.

If the name sounds familiar it's because Switon - a one-time Solidarity activist, catholic fundamentalist, owner of his own little workshop during communist times, middle ranked trade unionist and post-1989 oddball - hit the headlines in 1999 when he went on hunger strike in protest at the removal of a small forest of crosses which had been placed outside the gates of the Auschwitz museum during a visit by John Paul II.

When authorities decided to remove the cross forest, Switon and fellow cronies went into action, blaming…the international Jewish conspiracy, of course, for wanting the Christian symbols removed from outside the Nazi Auschwitz death camp.

A news report from 1999 reads eerily like reports this week about the Defenders of the Cross.

“Catholic activist, Kazimierz Swinton, who led the campaign to erect the crosses against the wishes of the church's leadership, had mined the area to deter attempts to remove him. Swinton will now be prosecuted for the possession of explosives and inciting racial hatred after he distributed leaflets calling on Poles 'to wage merciless war on Jewish-Communist masonry, the biggest enemies of the Polish state’.”

Fast forward to 2010 and the now 79 year old Switon is back. Switon has been working alongside Leszek Bubel for many years, the leader of the nationalist Polish National Party, another attendee at Defenders of the Cross rallies in Warsaw.

Following the argy-bargy in front of the Presidential Palace on August 3, sent a letter, and email, on behalf of Bubel and the other Defenders to Prime Minister Donald Tusk.: “Despite the many protests […] at the instigation of Satanists you started a war over the Cross on Polish soil,” he wrote. “The Cross commemorating the murders [of Lech Kaczynski and 95 others] must stay in front of the Presidential Palace. If you start another war over the Cross then prepare for the end of your government,” Switon warned, spookily.

Weak elite

Of course, if you received a letter like that from a marginalised delusionist like Switon you would probably read it, have a chuckle, then throw it in the bin. But not Tusk, not the Church, not the Polish Establishment, terrified of the likes of Switon and the Defenders of the Cross.

President Komorowski had argued that a religious symbol such as cross should be in a religious place, such as a church. And he’s right. But Komorowski and the rest don’t seem to have the courage of their convictions. Terrified that they might seem insensitive to the view that Russia and other dark forces might have been the authors of the Smolensk disaster - that they were “murdered” - and scared that they might seem insensitive to a religious symbol, they backed down. Despite the relatively low level of support for the Defenders of the Cross, they sank to their knees in submission at the sight of the protests in front of the Presidential Palace.

Consequently, they have shown that Poland’s political elite remains as weak as it ever was. And unable to show authority and leadership, they have opened themselves up to all sorts of marginal groups who want to get even with the harbingers of modernity in Poland.

As all sides haggle over the future of the Smolensk Cross, the new power monopoly of President Komorowski-Prime Minister Tusk-Civic Platform party seems more like a rickety boat, vulnerable to cross-wind.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Uncle Bronek slaughters Kaczynski with…slim majority

What happened there, then? A few weeks ago Bronislaw Komorowski was around 15 percent ahead of Jaroslaw Kaczynski in opinion polls which gave respondents the choice of ten candidates. But on Sunday, Bronek squeaked home in the presidential elections head-to-head by just six percentage points, in a two-Polands-type split.

At one point, Sunday, the momentum seen in the opinion polls leading up to election day seemed to point to the unthinkable.

About 5 pm, election day on Sunday, three hours before polling stations closed, I got gossip, from two independent sources, that opinion pollsters OBOP - who was polling for public broadcaster TVP - was seeing a lead in its exit poll of 53 % Kaczynski, 47% for Komorowski. This rumour was going around all the TV and radio broadcasters.

It appears that this came from someone seeing early returns from pollsters, which had excluded many polls from urban areas. But many journalists got into their heads that Kaczynski was on for a miracle win.

In the end, after a brief lead for Kaczynski in early official vote counts, Komorowski prevailed.

At 53 percent of the vote, however, Bronislaw ‘personality by-pass’ Komorowski doesn’t really have a massive mandate to allow his mates in the government an open door policy for any legislation it wants to shove through parliament. But it must be tempting, right? I know I would!

Was the better than expected performance by Jaroslaw Kaczynski down to the ‘Smolensk balance’ - a sympathy for Jaroslaw after he lost his twin brother on a foggy day in Smolensk?

In the first round of the election 36 percent voted Kaczynski. So the ’bounce’ was more a ‘bobble’ as his total support consisted of just one-in-three Poles. It isn’t that most Poles don’t feel sorry for the poor guy. It’s just that many loath him as a politician.

But in a two way split, Jaroslaw and his type of politics will receive around half of the votes up for grabs, many from the usual reservoir of ‘hold your nose’ voters.

The fact is, the almost fifty-fifty split in votes is just where Poland was back in 1995, when it divided like a pie cut down the middle, between Lech ‘I’m a living legend’ Walesa and his nemesis, former communist party card-holder Aleksander ‘two-wins’ Kwasniewski .

(I could have used other metaphors there: in fact I put “divided like…” into google to see what would happen, being suddenly bereft of metaphors. The best it could come up with was “divided like a butt…”, but I digress).

Political maps of Poland (Komorowski in orange) have looked like the one pictured above for years.

What’s changed is that where once voters would have voted SLD, Kwasniewski’s ex/post communists, now they vote what foreign journalists refer to as ‘pro-business’ Civic Platform - or, in other words, a centre right candidate like Bronislaw Komorowski.

So this is a ’two Polands’ split, almost, on cultural, not political lines. Following the collapse of SLD, Civic Platform have taken up the urban, more secular, aspiring vote. And Kaczynski has got the eastern half of the country: the rural, many of the poor, elderly, church-going, disillusioned with capitalism.

Civic Platform, however, have been handed a metaphor-like poisoned chalice. No more excuses. They can pretty well do what they want. They can pretty much screw it up as they want.

Kaczynski knows this, and, with almost half of Poland to be potentially tapped for support, watch for his return, like (metaphor alert) the prodigal …um…twin, in the parliamentary elections scheduled for next year.

You have been warned.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Give PiS a chance

As the two candidates entered the grounds of Poland’s public television, Sunday, ready for the first head-to-head presidential TV face off, a new anthropological, ethnographic sub-culture could be spotted waiting for them just outside the entrance to the TVP building.

They wore flowers in their hair, they banged their tambourines, resplendent in orange kaftans, like Polish Maharishi chanting happy slogans.

They resembled hippies but they were not. For these were supporters of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, candidate of the Law and Justice party, or PiS in the Polish acronym. They were not your usual, common and garden, peace loving hippy, high on herb and an overdose of patchouli oil.

No. These were the HiPiS. And they want to you to join them.

There were some high profile names in amongst the gaggle of hiPiS - Marek Migalski, Elżbieta Jakubiak, Paweł Poncyliusz - part of the PiS new-wave - singing John Lennon’s Give PiS a Chance. Yeah - they really were singing that.

At one point, as they descended, slowly, on the public television building, I thought they were going to repeat a stunt by one of their forbearers, 1960s Timothy Leary, who gathered a few thousand hippies - whose brains had been deep fried in too much acid - and surrounded the Whitehouse in the sincere belief that they could levitate it into the sky.

I imagined Jaroslaw Kaczynski, guru-like, wearing swirling white robes, emerge from his limo and commanding TVP to rise up into the sky, like a balloon.

LSD King Timothy Leary told us to “Turn on, tune in and drop out. ” But as Law and Justice control TVP at the moment, maybe Kaczynski would come riding into the television studios on a magic carpet, advising all who would listen to “Turn on, tune in, to TVP”.

The hiPiS are a result of Law and Justice’s lengthy internal debate on how to change their image, attract a few more younger people to vote for them. It’s also part of Jarsolaw Kaczynski’s personality make-over. It was planned that Kaczynski was going to get a new softer image some months ago - make him more cuddly, less aggressive, less conflict-inclined. And then Smolensk happened, and maybe - maybe - he actually started to believe the PR. Maybe.

So in the last few weeks Jaroslaw has turned into the Polish Ghandi. Where once he was the commie-baiting attack dog, straining at the leash for conflict, now he wants to end the fighting, he says, to unite Poland in a hiPiS paradise.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Smolensk crash and the Kook-meister

There are the finest investigative journalists; there are the lowest of yellow press hacks: and then there is Jane Burgermeister.

Of all the kooks who are running around Poland and western Russia sniffing out the conspiracies that brought down the Smolensk TU 154, Burgermeister is surely one of the most ludicrous. The Swiss-Irish-Austrian (no wonder she is confused!) “investigative reporter” was fired last year, says her web site, as European Correspondent of the Renewable Energy World magazine [?] after she alleged that an international corporate syndicate is manufacturing artificial swine flu to depopulate the US (pdf)! She has since filed a law suit against the UN and WHO for their part in the dastard conspiracy. (??? - yeah, you get the idea).

Now she has got her ample set of teeth into Smolensk. Her “investigative reporting style” entails scouring the net for conspiracy theories. That’s it. And then she seems to believe them all.

This is her after Lech Kaczynski’s funeral. She has gone all the way to Krakow (from Dublin, Vienna, Bern - who knows!) to do a piece to camera, and regurgitate her conspiracy theories - but not, note, to do any investigating.

Basically, she alleges that the plane was lured away from the real runway at Smolensk by falsely situated landing beacons. There, the plane hit the trees and burst into pieces.

But she also says, ominously, that “no bodies or personal affects have been found,” and a host of other nonsense without any factual base to them at all.

Jane Kookmeister - whose supporters included Michael Jackson, an article posted on fellow super kook David Ike’s web forum claims - later refined her theories to include the assertion that there were actually only four people on board the plane when it took off from Warsaw airport on April 10; the rest of the, 92, passengers were kidnapped!

Uncensored magazine quotes this fearless journalistic lioness, and “investigative reporter”, in its new June edition.

Actually, we cannot blame Burgermeister for inventing this nonsense. She didn’t. She is just looking for this kind of thing - and willingly hoovers it all up - because she sees the world being manipulated by unseen forces beyond her - beyond our - control. The theories have been coming out of Poland and elsewhere by conspiracy theorists, determined to find one that they can actually prove was real. For Americans and others the dark forces lurk in the UN and other places. In Poland they hail from Russia.

Nonsense nurtures their feelings of impotence in a complex, modern world. I hope they get better - soon.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The election campaign, that never was

Imagine: three weeks before a presidential election and no campaign posters trumpeting and sloganeering their candidate, dominating the street furniture of downtown. Welcome to Poland’s weirdest election campaign - ever.

There’s nothing. No mug shots of photo-shopped hopefuls with leering catchphrases - just two with a hope of winning, two with a hope of raising their profile, and the rest: self publicising narcissists that democracy attracts like a kid to the ice cream parlour, on a wet Sunday afternoon.

Imagine: you are a campaign manager of a presidential candidate, in hustings done in the shadow of a) the Smolensk horror, and b) the floods. You had been planning your most sophisticated campaign. And then - national mourning, and later the unimaginable stench of flooded homes and lives. Pity poor campaign manager.

The thinnest tightrope walker, of a field of 10 in the presidential elections on June 20, is Bronislaw Komorowski. He’s juggling three balls in the oddest election non-circus on Earth: being an acting president, speaker of parliament and a presidential candidate. Three roles means three opportunities of screwing up. So far, neutrals think he is just about managing to walk the rope without mishap. He’s a clear leader in the polls, too, but they may be giving a skewed picture. He’s been doing things within his current functions, but not actively campaigning.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, meanwhile, has been the most conspicuous in his absence from the campaign. Still wearing the black suits and tie of mourning for his twin brother, he holds few press conferences, a brief appearance at an election rally, and a video expressing peace and love for Russia and thanks for every tear they shed for Smolensk. It’s been called “Jaroslaw‘s metamorphosis”.

He’s saying: Jaroslaw has changed.

All the other candidates have not been pushing the campaign - many have called for the ballot to be put off till the autumn because of the disruption of the floods.

Whatever: I bet election campaign managers sleep like a baby, these days - waking up every 20 minutes, crying their eyes out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kaczynski death - it was the Russians wot done it

The conspiracy theory that the Russians were behind the death of President Lech Kaczynski last Saturday is bubbling to surface.

The sorrowful reaction from politicians of all political colours has been genuine in the wake of the plane crash killing Lech Kaczynski, his wife and 94 others in Smolensk on Saturday.'

But suggestions that the pilot, maybe under pressure from President Kaczynski and others not to be late for the ceremony - and Kaczynski has a track record of hassling pilots - is the dominant explanation outside of Poland and with many inside.

But there is a right wing conservative element who thinks that this could not be simply a tragic accident, or Polish pilot error. This was sabotage.
Law and Justice MP Artur Gorski - who we have met before on this blog after he said that the election of Barack Obama as US president meant the “demise of white civilisation” - broke ranks with the PC mourning line yesterday..

“'One version of events says that the plane approached the airport four times, because every time the Russians refused it permission to land - they wanted to send the plane with the president to an airport in Moscow or Minsk,” Gorski told the ultra-conservative Nasz Dziennik newspaper.

Russian investigators, after examining the black boxes from the aircraft, say that the plane, in fact, only circled two times. But Gorski claims that the Russians were scared that Kaczynski’s visit would overshadow a similar ceremony three days before, attended by Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Vladimir Putin. And that’s why air traffic control didn’t want the plane to land and suggested going to another airport in Moscow, or Minsk.

Nasz Dziennik, which has been pushing this type of theory, also published the opinion of an ‘expert’ in aviation at Szczecin Polytechnic, Ryszard Drozdowicz, who says pilot error in judging the height of the aircraft - the plane struck tress before crashing - was unlikely and that the probable cause was a mechanical failure, or that there had been deliberate sabotage of the plane.

The Soviet-built Topolov TU 154 had been serviced only a few months before…in Russia!

A man with a loud hailer embarrassed the huge queues of people lining up to pay respects in front of Kaczynski’s coffin in the presidential palace, Tuesday, claiming the deaths were part of a conspiracy involving PM Donald Tusk, Putin and Obama. See photos.

Whatever the conclusion of the Russian and Polish teams investigating the crash, this type of thinking will prevail within the right wing conservatives and ‘mohair berets’. President Kaczynski died where many before him died from Poland. That’s enough evidence to think that he died at the hands of the same people.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Israeli media bash the Polish bishop

“It is so sad that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz a Polish cleric still engages in anti-Semitic rhetoric because so much Jewish blood was shed on Polish soil," said Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League in the United States, reacting to Bishop Pieronek’s comments that the Holocaust had become a “propaganda weapon”.

Fozman was quoted in Haaretz after top Bishop Tadeusz Pieronik told an Italian catholic web site on Sunday that he found the appropriation of the tragedy of the Holocaust by Jewish groups “arrogant”, as they were the only ones who suffered during the during WW II “unbearable.”

Christians and others who suffered under the iron boot of communism should have a day such as Holocaust Remembrance Day, too, says the bishop. "But they, the Jews, enjoy good press because they have powerful financial means behind them, enormous power and the unconditional backing of the United States and this favours a certain arrogance that I find unbearable."

Pieronek, asked if the Holocaust had been exploited, said: "Certainly it has. It is used as a propaganda weapon to get advantages that are often unjustified."

Eeek! What was Pieronek on?

His comments come just before January 27’s Holocaust memorial day, when national leaders gather in Auschwitz in southern Poland. This year’s guests include Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. Has 75 year old Pieronek taken leave of his senses?

Everyone I have talked to are surprised by Pieronek’s outburst. Pieronek is not a Rydzyk or a Jankowski - he is mainstream very senior, retired now, Polish Roman Catholic bishop, was on the executive bishop’s council, etc. He represents the status quo in Poland among the clergy.

Bishop Pieronek has hardly helped himself. His plea today on TVP television that his comments have been “taken out of context” and the even weaker “I did not authorise the article” - is he used to journos ringing him up to check quotes? (* see note below)- are lame. He denies saying that the Holocuast “was a Jewish invention,” but nowhere does he retract what many see as a tired old anti-Semitism.

"I am totally shocked by these comments, particularly if they came from a member of the Church hierarchy," said Leone Passerman, ex-president of Rome's Jewish community.

Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League in the United States, said: "It is so sad that 65 years after the liberation of Auschwitz a Polish cleric still engages in anti-Semitic rhetoric because so much Jewish blood was shed on Polish soil."

“We find it unacceptable that an important religious figure in Poland, only a few days away from International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is capable of making such inflammatory and false remarks” stated European Jewish Council President Dr. Moshe Kantor, quoted in ynet.

Personally, I think the Italian journalist who wrote the original story was taking a liberty with the “Holocaust was a Jewish invention” bit. He says before that: “In a sense,” so he was not literally saying it was an invention. But the general sentiments he spoke of are not unusual here in Poland. Not at all. what's changed is that recently you can get away with saying these type of things - especially after the Gaza debacle.

*I was informed today that there is a “Press Law” which originated in 1984 but which has been amended several times since, which says that the journalist, if requested, must authorise quotes with the interviewee. I found that strange. Is it?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kaczynski, Doda and the Devil

Polish pink pop princess Doda stole a kiss from President Lech Kaczynski at a prestigious journalist’s ball.

President Kaczynski is obviously pleased about the experience. In fact, I think she awoken certain urges he hasn’t felt for years. Allegedly. But is the head of state aware that he has let the Dark Prince dance on his lips?

Pink to Black

Pink pop princess Doda is Poland’s Tabloid Queen, famous for being Doda and being seen to be Doda as often as possible in successive media cycles. Doda was a footballer’s wife, for a while. So the Brits will get the essence of Doda in that media stereotype.

It is said around where I live that Doda wanted to buy one of the very expensive flats on the other side of the road. But the owners blocked the sale for fear she might bring down the tone of the area (and believe me, the tone of the area is not that great as it is).


After giving football hubbie the boot, Doda fell into the hands of darker forces, in the shape of Nergal, the lead guitarist and singer of Death Metal band Behemoth. Behemoth are occultist, scary/ludicrous silly boys who dress in black and sing about goats heads and pagan rituals and naughty things designed to shock mummy.

Behemoth do things to shock on stage, too. They are currently going through court proceedings after Nergal [don’t try this at home, folks] tore up a bible on stage in Krakow.

This dark spirit has now entered Doda, who has recently been seen out and about wearing not her trade mark pink, but black, the colour of…Behemoth.

Notice that First Lady Maria Kaczynska is not as pleased as Lech was at the amorous attentions of the lover of the fallen angel from hell, as Doda, cheeky one, makes the sign of the Devil.

Spooky, isn’t it?