Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Alternative reality of (some) young people in Poland ...

Not long time ago I got into a fierce arguments with some young men and women on Facebook. The dialog was in English, because it started from my comment about the article on the wall of some prominent Eurosceptic who, for a while, was an advisor to some Eurosceptic minister for foreign affairs of Poland.

One young man, in a typical manner to many young people, called me moron, uneducated and an enemy of Poland. He used mudslinging language to speak about many Polish politicians and journalists.

Normally, I should stop answering and ignore the hothead. However, in the course of the discussion he used arguments that are so frequently used today by the right-wing populist government to justify their crackdown on the democratic institutions in Poland, that I decided to refute some of them.

I do not expect these hotheads to change their mind - my experience tells me that once they fall into the false realm and the alternative reality - they stay there. However, I feel moral obligation to refute the crazy fallacies. Perhaps my silent voice will be noticed by some people …

Fallacy No 1 - The majority of judges (14/15) of the previous Constitutional Tribunal (before the unconstitutional changes made by PiS (Law and Justice - ruling right-wing party) in December 2015) were "appointed by PO". Liberal "PO", The Civic Platform was in power for 8 years in Poland, now is in opposition.

First, Constitutional Tribunal Judges are appointed by Polish Parliament. The legal system does not allow any other bodies to appoint judges (in some other jurisdiction such possibilities exist). So a political party can not appoint them. However, as the judges are recommended by the MPs and the MPs belong to specific parties or parliamentary clubs, if someone wants to prove that a judge is political, the one can find who recommended him (which group or club) and use the recommendation as a surrogate of "the appointment". This is of course a very twisted argument.
So, if we want to dig deeper, the only remaining resource to corroborate the suspected judge's "affiliation" is to look into the voting on that judge and see if she/he was appointed by the parliamentary majority or indeed only by the party or a coalition that recommended her/him.

Following the resource, I have computed the percentages of votes that were cast for some selected prominent judges of the previous court:
Prof. Leon Kieres - 79%
Prof. Andrzej Wróbel - 56%
Prof. Małgorzata Pyziak-Szafnicka - 58%
Stanisław Rymar - 47%
Prof. Marek Zubik - 47%
Prof. Piotr Tuleja - 81%
Prof. Sławomirę Wronkowską-Jaśkiewicz - 97%
Prof. Stanisław Biernat - 63%
Prof. Andrzej Rzepliński - 52%

What is important in my calculation is that I computed the percentages of the approving votes to the total number of MPs (while, perhaps, I should use the number of voting MPs in any given voting - what would result in much higher scores - I just wanted to minimise the bias)

So what we see, is that in only two of nine cases, the judges were elected with the percentages of votes below 50% of all MPs.

One could ask - so where was the argument of these sceptics coming from? As I wrote above, their first fallacy is to substitute "recommendation" by "appointment".

However, what they also forgot to tell is that the current majority (PiS) was basically not recommending judges to Tribunal even when they could. They started doing so only after they changed the law and allowed for non-constitutional changes of the Tribunal rule... Why they did not do so - I do not know. Perhaps they did not have "loyal" judges or whom they had was like Mrs. Julia Przyłębska (who passed her exams low and was (in 2001) negatively recommended for a position at a local court)? To the horror of many, such undereducated judge became later the ... president of the Constitutional Court...

Fallacy No 2. The judges were corrupt and were exonerating each other.

This fallacy was officially presented by Mr. Morawiecki - Polish Prime Minister and was already rejected by the Supreme Court after the accusations by the minister. I translated it already to English and published here. Despite the call by judges, Mr. Morawiecki did not make any substance to this claims. Well, it was always possible, that some isolated judges or persecutors were corrupt. It happens everywhere. However, Poland was known to fight the corruption on all levels of the system, including the judiciary. As I'm seasoned businessman and scientist here for the last almost 30 years, I witnessed how gradually the corruption was going away from our life. We made remarkable progress, and it is visible in the constant growth of indexes of transparency.

Fallacy No. 3 -  around 75% of all Polish media outlets are owned by Germans.

This argument is now more and more often risen in the official media. To me it is a signal that the ruling party will attempt the crackdown on the free media, and it is easy to "sell" such a step saying "75% is owned by Germans".

What is the reality then?

When we speak about television, we have no German owner in any of the 10 most important outlets. The market is divided into Polish and American capital (with Scripps Networks Interactive as the most important non-polish player owning 4 out of 10 outlets). However, if you calculate the percentage of viewers - you get the number close to 30% of the audience watching "American owned" outlets. And I do not even need to tell to reasonable people, that they do not really represent "American interests" in their messages ...

When we analyse the press, first come daily newspapers. Here, after polish owned press (55%) we indeed have German-Swiss capital with... 43% of the titles' readers. When we analyse weekly journals, the majority (80%) is in polish hands, with only Newsweek (20%) belongs to German-Swiss owners.

Now, comes The Radio....
Here, only one family (RMF) is in "German hands" with about 26% of the listeners. About 15% is in "French hands" and all the rest in "Polish hands"...

Finally let's see the digital media (internet portals). Here we have about 44% in "German" and "German-swiss" hands, and everything else is shared between polish (40%) and American owners (16%) .

So, where the claim about "75% of media outlets" comes from?
It is just a pure fantasy...


There are many people, who are totally blind to the facts and the reality. They became so anti-EU that it sounds really dangerous.

In one totally amazing case, a young woman wrote that "EU gave us Biedronka" (Biedronka /The Ladybird - is the low cost stores network), and forgot about the open boarders, ability to do business all across Europe, free travels and ability to leave, invest, learn and teach in so many countries...

I marvel how totally blind are those people.

In another case, I had a person who (I mentioned him above here) who was a consultant to the Polish ministry of Foreign affairs... Can you imagine that? In this case I think it is not just stupidity and empty naivety. This is just open hostility and hatred to the brave Polish people, disguised as the "truth telling" agent ... BTW, this minister was just dismissed by its own political friends, so that guy I refer to is no more than a laughing stock now...

Enough. God: have mercy on us…





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