Tag Archives: Donald Tusk

Chuls vs. Politicos

Welcome ladies, gentlemen and general onlookers. We’re here at the pre-fight weigh-in with two formidable fighters lining up for this heavyweight clash to claim the Polish championship crown. This one has been building up for some time, with parties from each camp locking horns in minor skirmishes, but this looks like being the big one.

But firstly lets have a look at the two contenders, with the vital statistics to follow:

Chuls (aka Hooligans)

Number: Unknown, large enough to be a nuisance, small enough not to be noticed most of the time

Based: Various locations over Poland

Favoured stamping ground: Their local football ground,

Speciality moves: With training in infamous forest battles, they are good at wielding sticks. However, it remains whether they will get the carrot of notoriety, or if they will back down under pressure.

Top dog: No one leader – chop the head off and another grows to replace it.

Secret weapon: The only thing hated more than Polish roads are its politicians. If the Chuls can succeed in the battle to win the public over (even public neutrality will be seen as a victory), they will be halfway to winning the war.

Politicos (aka Politicians)

Number: Variable, can seem like millions when a vote is needed, and invisible when political change is required.

Based: Various locations in Poland, with headquarters in the Sejm, Warsaw.

Favoured stamping ground: Alternate between day-times in front of the cameras, to nocturnally finalising deals in smoky shady rooms.

Speciality moves: The Hot Air Balloon. Give the politico a favoured topic and they will drone on until their opponent is bored into submission.

Top dog: Donald Tusk has done his hard time, knocking back challengers in order to be in a position for this vital showdown.

Secret weapon: Legislation. The Politicos can call on Lady Law to tag-team most opponents. However, whether this will work against the Chuls is debatable, with most hooligans believing they are above the law.

 

And onto the action:

For the past two weeks, the two camps have been taking little jabs against each other. It all kicked off in innocuous circumstances in Bydgoszcz on May 3rd. The Chuls hit the first blow as Legia Warszawa defeated Lech Poznań to win the Puchar Polski for the 14th time. However, when fans invaded the pitch at the end, it started to all go wrong. Only the intervention of water cannons used byt the police could quell the Chuls.

With news of this action spreading fast, and international news sources such as the Times of India, FOXSports and The Canadian Press reporting on the story, Donald Tusk decided to hit back quickly. With a sharp flurry of jabs, he used a combination of police power to check camera surveillance and also political hot air to berate the chairmen of the football clubs. The final blow in the sequence was to ban clubs from playing games at home for a time, thus impacting them financially. The pressure was building on the Politicos to hit back, with an away day a few months ago in Lithuania having similar rioting, and with the impending Euro 2012 football championships, every black eye becomes one for Poland in general.

At the end of this tie, it looks like a stalemate though, and it seems likely that further fights will take place – all leading up to next summer. The Chuls have taken a few hits, but landed a few meaty blows themselves. Meanwhile the Politicos have tried to stay on the front foot, regularly appearing in front of the media, and providing sound-bites how this issue can be resolved for once and for all. The Politicos appear to be on top for now, but they are warily looking over their shoulder for the next possibility of an attack from the Chuls.

Coming soon: Chuls vs. Politicos – The Rematch!

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Poland pushes human rights and its own constitution to the limits

Poland stands poised to become the first nation in the EU and almost the first in the world to pass a law that would enable compulsory castration of certain offenders. The bill covers sexual crimes against those under 15 years of age, incestuous rape and internet grooming of a minor. MPs voted almost unanimously on Friday for the amendments to the penal code to be passed into law. It still has to pass through the senate but with the Prime Minister’s strong backing and the approval of 84% of the population there is little chance it will be stopped.

The bill states that judges will decide whether or not to chemically castrate offenders 6 months prior to their release from jail. Chemical castration is a series of medical treatments that reduce libido with the hope of deterring sex offenders from committing repeat offences. The procedure, theoretically, leaves no long-term physical damage and the effects are reversible once treatment ceases. We are able to provide no proof of this one way or another and one has to ask the question whether anyone passing this law really cares what the long term effects are?

Balls

This change in Poland’s criminal law has come about primarily because of the Prime Minister and nation’s outrage at the case of Poland’s own Josef Fritzl. A few weeks ago, a 45yr old man, Krzysztof B. was arrested in the village of Grodzisk, near Siemiatycze, for imprisoning and raping (since 2002) his now 21-year-old daughter, Alicja B. The daughter was forced to give up her two sons, aged three and 22 months, for adoption. It is believed that Krzysztof B. is also the father of the children.

What is perhaps most interesting is the widely publicised remark of the Prime Minister, Donald Tusk:

Although the plan has drawn overwhelming public support — 84 per cent of Poles approve — liberal politicians and doctors say that forced castration violates human rights and debases the medical profession.

But Donald Tusk, the Prime Minister, has responded: “I don’t think you can call such individuals — such creatures — human beings. I don’t think you can talk about human rights in such a case.”

I’d be interested to know if it really reads the same way in the original, po polsku. This kind of talk, no matter how I feel about the particular issue at hand, makes me very nervous. What else is Mr Tusk likely to feel needs “special” treatment? How far are we all supposed to follow Mr Tusks’s definition of who is and who is not “human”? Do nasty dictators not use similar propaganda to turn opinion against any group of people they decide they don’t like? I can’t get the words “slippery slope” and “thin end of the wedge” out of my mind.

Does this debase the medical profession? More importantly, is this a breach of human rights and against the Polish constitution, which forbids cruel punishment? Or is it a perfectly justifiable punishment for perfectly ghastly crimes? Are you one of the 84% or not?

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September the 1st

On the 1st September 2009, 70 years after the breakout of the Second World War, world leaders will come to Westerplatte in Gdańsk, Poland, where it all began. They will pay tribute to the victims, line the paths of reconcilliation and vow to make sure similar things don’t happen again. But as delegations iron their shirts and pack bags, many people feel let down again.

Germany and Russia, the perpetrators of the 1939 attack on Poland they conducted in agreement and concord with each other, are sending the highest authorities: Angela Merkel, who is engaged in a longstanding genuine effort for German-Polish (and other) reconcilliation, and Vladimir Putin, who isn’t. Among those attending are many heads of states. The EU will be represented by the prime minister of Sweden Fredrik Reinfeldt, a country currently holding the presidency. Jerzy Buzek, the newly appointed speaker of the European Parliament, former Polish prime minister, will act as a symbol of a new era in Central Europe.

It is however the absentees, who are most talked about. It is a very important occasion for Polish politicians, and diplomatic world knows it. Absence, therefore, says a lot. French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown the prime minister of the UK and the American president Barack Obama decided they had more important things to do, are sending their representatives of lower rank. These decisions received very cold reception among many Poles. They feel France and Britain have betrayed Poland in 1939, by not providing military help to which they have commited themselves in treaties. And thay say, together with the USA they betrayed Poland once again after the war, leaving her for Soviet occupation. Therefore Poland, an ally that managed to defend longer than France, has become the only ally that didn’t actually win the war. And today, many feel, that these leaders can’t even manage to find three hours to appear on official celebrations. This is noted, and Poles have a good memory – as one of commentators put it on a Polish news channel.

This is a very important day. For many decades we weren’t allowed to talk freely about what happened during the Second World War. Communist dictatorship blanked out half of our war fate from official memory. Some Western countries were able to remember what happened and have moved on. We didn’t, we are remembering it now. It is the last big anniversary when witnesses are still alive. We need this – a Warsaw pedestrian told Polsat News.

Popular feelings are reflected in the press, which comments that relations with Poland have become the last priority for the United States. And that she is not getting anything in return for being America’s faithful ally. Polish effort in Iraq, and Afghanistan turn out not to be “lives and money well spent”. Oil contracts did not happen. Promised investment (off-set in return for aircraft deal) is not coming. USA are pulling off the missile shield. And on top of that Poles still need visas to travel to the US. Opinion polls on Poland’s participation in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are falling flat.

Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy are not coming either. Is it only because standing in Gdansk, they would have to refer to their countries performance as Poland’s allies? Or the opportunities their countries missed, after the war, to talk about Stalin’s atrocities? Or is it just relations with Poland are on the far end of important issues? After all Gordon Brown did bother to visit the shores of Normandy, when Nicolas Sarkozy invited him for remembrance ceremony.

Some point this could mean that the world is going back to making politics over the heads of smaller nations.

What happened 70 years ago changed the world and shaped today’s reality, we should make sure that it is accurately remembered. It involved two wicked ideologies, that co-operated until 1941. One executing a racist plan of cleansing the Europe of Jews, Slavs and other peoples, and their cultures, treasures and sights, to make room in the East for the German ‘race’. The other intended to expand its model of murderous dictatorship and dominane worldwide on the basis of changing the social relations. Hundreds thousands were enslaved and maked forced-labourers, millions of men, women and children were killed in concentration camps and gulags. Shot in łapankas, bombings, killed in battle. It all happed in the cultured Europe, among the statues of great philosophers and musicians.
We failed to remember what happened. Most people until this day are not fully aware of the atocities of Stalin. Being among the “winners” of the war, he and his people never got their Nurenberg Trial. We failed to make sure similar things don’t happen again.

As Mrs. Angela Merkel said in her video address, it is right and it is important to be in Gdansk for the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War. Maybe we can stop failing?

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Poland in the news

A quick round up of some topical stories for you:

Poland is a poor country

It seems all those who keep whining about how poor Poland is are actually right! Poland comes fourth from bottom of the EU “rich list” judging by GDP per capita (as expressed by Purchasing Power Standards which eliminate price level differences between countries).

poor-poland

The only countries to be worse off than Poland are, in descending order;

  • Latvia (crisis stricken – definitely)
  • Romania (overrun by gypsies, dead dogs & thieves – allegedly)
  • Bulgaria (in the grip of the mafia – allegedly)

Doesn’t look good, does it! [That’s one of those ‘question tag things – feel free to ignore it]

Finance Minister gets a close shave

tusk rostowski

No wonder Tusk is looking so miserable. His minister of finance seated next to him, Jacek Rostowski, survived a vote of no confidence yesterday by 223 votes to 193, not exactly encouraging. It’s pretty easy to understand the concerns though. Looking back at an article in the Economist from a year ago we see that Tusk’s government was predicting a budget deficit this year of 1.3% of GDP, well within the EU 3% guideline. A year on and we’re looking at a deficit that is predicted to be a whopping 6.6% of GDP and stern words from the EU to get this back under control.

I have trouble believing that the economic crisis has unexpectedly deteriorated by such a magnitude in the last 12 months so I think it’s fair to ask questions about the competence of this government’s financial management and forecasting. One thing for sure, we won’t be enjoying these lower tax rates for very long!

Want a Polish Master’s degree? Got €330?

masters-degree

So the truth is out, we finally know why there are so many Poles with Master’s Degrees – because there’s a roaring trade in downloaded pre-prepared theses. For just €330 you can buy yourself a Master’s thesis on any subject you like, but why stop there? For €3,000 you may as well go the whole hog and get a Doctoral one!

For some people writing dissertations on demand is the only source of income and they earn up to 3,000 zlotys (660 euros) a month. Internet shops which specialize in writing Master’s, Bachelor’s and Doctoral theses, and employ the whole teams of “experts” are also thriving.

This doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Not that Pole’s aren’t as smart as we thought they were but that they are smart enough to find find ways around everything, usually involving a download and a profitable business opportunity. What they lack in thesis writing ability they make up for in street savvy.

The next Polish sporting hero is……..

For sure going to be Agnieszka Radwanska, the tennis player who is currently competing at Wimbledon. Yesterday, she won a very tight second round match against the unseeded Chinese player, Ping Pong (surely shome mishtake – Ed). I expect to see Aga crowned as the Ladies Singles champ pretty soon and for a Polish media frenzy to follow immediately thereafter. Her younger sister, Urszula, who is also playing at Wimbledon this year, sadly lost her second round match against Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova (something to do with onions perhaps?) and so will be taking an early bath. Give it a couple of years and we’ll be toasting “the Polish Williams sisters”. What am I talking about, let’s toast them now, who cares if they won anything yet! GO GO RADWANSKA SISTERS!!!

Indian Wells Tennis

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Polandian on Sunday #6

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Welcome to Polandian on Sunday (with a slight delay due to author’s weekend break in Sopot). Here is a brief summary of what happened this week in Poland.

1. Warsaw’s future architecture

When you’re having a walk down the Warsaw’s Powiśle neighborhood why not pop into the Warsaw University Library. Since this week it is hosting an exhibition Plans for the future presenting what is going to be built in Warsaw. Organisers collected visualisations and models for various building and new developments. A sneak peek into what is coming.

Most praised

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This apartment house, planned to be built in Traugutta street, respects the architecture of its area, being modern and light at the same time.

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The new wing of the ASP Beaux-Arts Academy at the Vistula bank. Those huge windows will give sculpture and film set students some great views.

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This Muslim Cultural Institute with minaret-like tower will be an original addition to Ochota district. There is something for the mind (lecture hall) and for the spirit (prayer room).

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In times when walled districts become the fashion – this open complex at the former Norblin factory is like a breathe of fresh air. There is place for appartments, shops, offices and various facilities – like theater. Pedestrianised streets and markets make this a human-friendly development.

Most criticised

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IPN – The Historical Institute is going to construct a new digitising centre in the Służewiec district. Architects complain that the design is similar to communist offices and follows boring patterns.

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This boxy kindergarten is to be constructed in the intensively developing Wilanów district. It is being criticised as too tiny for the huge developments nearby and for its container-like form.

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The offices of WOSiR – administrator of Warsaw’s sports and recreation facilities, near the Polonia stadium, doesn’t fit its neighbourhood with its disturbing, irregular shape.

2. Poland lifts (some) restrictions on foreigner real estate ownership

When Poland joined the European Union five years ago many people feared foreigners will come and buy out farms and houses. For this reasons some temporary restrictions were enforced.

EU citizens had to apply for a special permission, each time they wanted to buy land, house or apartment. Since May the 1st 2009 EU nationals from other countries are allowed to purchase houses and apartments on free market. However some restrictions still apply to land – especially farms and forests.

3. Long live comrade president!

This Saturday Poland saw an unusual happening. Janusz Palikot, an eccentric millionaire MP from the ruling Civic Platform party organised an open reading of president’s LLD thesis in the Museum of Social-Realism in Kozłówka. President Lech Kaczyński and his twin brother’s Law and Justice party are famous for their uncompromising policy towards Poland’s communist past. Some people however point to the fact that their politicians demand people manifested courage in communist time – while they, the Law and Justice party officials, had been conformist themselves. Mr Palikot’s happening was to prove just that.

President Lech Kaczyński, law professor, hasn’t exactly boasted about his LLD thesis. It was revealed that this work is written from a communist party point of view, in the style of communist newspeak. Lech Kaczyński was not a communism-refusenik, who would consider a decrease in standard of living for his ideals.

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Mr Palikot in white.

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== POLANDIANOMETER ==


What’s hot what’s not this week in Poland

GOING UP

Safer sex – Yes. Despite the Catholics shouldn’t use that devilish invention! Poles have stopped reproducing. Statistical office predicts the number of inhabitants in Poland will decline rapidly. It is said in 2060 for every three people in working age, there will be two people in retirement.
Poland has changed, more people are now into having comfortable lives and only as many children as they could afford to educate. The government is not doing anything effective to help people balance family and work, nor to assure an equal, good start for all children. Without proper social policies or immigrants we are destined to shrink as a nation. But there is a good news: it will be easier to find a parking spot.

GOING DOWN

Conflicts between the president and prime minister – Which seriously start to work on everyone’s nerves. Can we get anything done please for a change? In Kenya they’ve come up with an original way to end rows between their president and prime minister. Their wives said there will be no sex, until they start to get along with each other.
We’ve tested everything in Poland, maybe it’s time for unusual methods already?

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