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"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Listen for yourself

Renata Beger negocjuje z Adamem Lipińskim

hat tip: the beatroot

I'm beginning to wonder whether PiS won't find a way out of this one. The fact that Lipiński is offering positions in the government - which we hear here - is hardly surprising. In fact, it's to be expected. From this American's point of view, this seems to be how parliamentary politics works.

What is on the second tape (yes, there was a second, and WS is working to bring it to you) is much more serious. There, Lipiński says he could find a way for the Sejm to pay the "penalty" (worth several hundred thousand zloty) that the deputies leaving Self-defense will have to pay for desterting their party. (Earlier this year, Lepper forced all of his party's members to sign "promissory notes" - in Polish: weksele - obligating them to pay this exorbitant fine if they left the party. Perhaps the most interesting story here is Lepper's political foresight!)

But PiS opponents are on much shakier ground here. In the transcripts, Lipiński says several times "I'm not a lawyer" and only promises that he thinks "something could be worked out" by which the Sejm would pay the owed money until a court decided whether or not the promissory notes were legal in the first place. From my reading, it is implied that if the court finds against the Self-defense deserters, they would have to pay the fine themselves, or somehow reimburse the Sejm - though this is not explicitly said.

It's certainly corrupt. But we're not exactly talking about secret transfers from Swiss bank accounts here. Lipiński is certainly finished - but PiS may yet find a way to worm out of this one.

Then again, maybe not. As I write, news organizations are reporting that around 200 people have gathered in front of the Sejm to demand PM Kaczyński's resignation and the dissolution of the Sejm.

They plan on being there for a while, too - They've pitched tents (Polish link).


Anonymous ignacy said...

Only 200???

Looks like not that many people really care.

Isn't there an opposition party out there that has sense enuff to make bigtime political hay out of this one? Or do all parties have to pay their faithful to do anything?

9/27/2006 03:08:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Well, it's early yet. People are still at work - this is just now developing. But I think you're right Ignacy, I don't see this turning into a protest Budapest-style. As I said, the offering of political posts is par for the course. As far as the using of state funds to pay political obligations goes - those accusations are a bit more complicated to make. So it's no wonder few are excited enough to protest.

Anyways, people here are just too resigned to the idea that all politicians are crooked. And they're probably right.

9/27/2006 03:16:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

What did they say? Lipinski is trying to buy Beger's vote? Whats the translation of the words on your front page today? Sorry.

9/27/2006 04:33:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Their whole conversation is long, and I'm not exactly up to the task of translating everything.

Above the picture, it says "Renata Beger negotiates with Adam Lipiński". In the dialog in the picture, Beger says: "Well, just like I said." Lipiński says: "So what then, Secretary of State in the Agriculture Ministry, yes?" - they're talking about her demands in return for leaving Self-defense.

The gist of the story is this: Beger was offered a high position in the Agriculture Ministry, as well as some positions in gov't and in local gov'ts for her supporters (she says her "people" - it's unclear exactly who). Lipiński also suggests that PiS could somehow help her with her "legal troubles". However, it is she who brings up the point and demands that PiS do something about it, while Lipiński only says something like: "Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I'll talk to the bosses and see what we can do."

In the second tape (hopefully I'll manage to find a recording tonight), Beger asks about the penalty for leaving her party - Lipiński responds by assuring her that she doesn't have to worry about that because the payment can probably be indefinitely delayed with court proceedings. He tells her that if the court decides to make her honor her obligations for the duration of the trial, there could be a way for the Sejm to "take on" the costs for as long as the trial will last.

That was my understanding from the transcripts I've read.

9/27/2006 04:54:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

Gustav, thanks. I'm glad I'm not a politician. It would be too confusing for me. Its strange that they could negotiate high level positions like that...agriculture and defense.

Part of it is political talking and thats ok...its the part where Lipinski offers to pay legal fees for Begar that is illegal. I think I got it.

9/27/2006 05:03:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

He doesn't offer to pay legal fees, as far as I can tell. He offers to see if PiS can help her with her "legal troubles."

The one REALLY bad thing (naughty politician, naughty!) is that he offers taxpayer money to cover the hundreds of thousands of zloty that Beger and her cohorts would have to pay if they left Self-defense.

He says:

"Bo teoretycznie to nawet można Sejm obciążyć tymi pieniędzmi, gdyby Lepper...Teoretycznie jest to możliwe."

Gus' translation: "Because, theoretically, even the Sejm could pick up the costs, if Lepper... Theoretically, it's possible."

Beger responds: "No, ale jak? W jaki sposób?"

Gus' translation: "Well, but how? In what way?"

Lipiński says: "Tak, bo myśmy też myśleli o tym, żeby stworzyć jakiś fundusz, który do czasu, kiedy ta sprawa nie będzie rozstrzygnięta, mógł, że tak powiem, założyć za tych posłów, gdyby nie daj Boże tam wszedł komornik."

Gus' translation: "Yes, because we thought about this too, to create some kind of fund, which until the matter is resolved, could - how shall I put it? - put it [the money] up for these deputies, if God forbid the debt collector comes."

This is the biggest thing. And as you can see, it's pretty wishy-washy.

9/27/2006 05:23:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

The one REALLY bad thing (naughty politician, naughty!) is that he offers taxpayer money to cover the hundreds of thousands of zloty that Beger and her cohorts would have to pay if they left Self-defense.

Why would Begar have to pay to leave Self Defense?

9/27/2006 05:43:00 PM  

Blogger Michael Farris said...

Except for the PiS spending so mujch time selling itself as purer than pure.

It's like some Focus on the Family guy seen coming out of an adult book store. It isn't buying smut per se that shock people, but the hypocrisy.

PiS's whole image is based on fighting the układ (Polish version of good ol' boys' network except filled with former commies) and here they are, acting like an .... układ, wheeling and dealing with the public's money and promising well-paid posts for the unqualified but well-connected.

9/27/2006 05:47:00 PM  

Blogger Becca said...

top cat, beger would have to pay to leave self defense because of the iou notes they all had to sign before the elections.

I was by the Sejm around 7pm and to be honest there was not much going on. A few people waving flags and a couple of camera crews, but more like 60 people than 200 I reckon. Maybe it's going now though...

9/27/2006 08:25:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

(Earlier this year, Lepper forced all of his party's members to sign "promissory notes" - in Polish: weksele - obligating them to pay this exorbitant fine if they left the party.

Top Cat, please read the post before commenting...

9/27/2006 08:34:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Michael - How shocking is the hypocrisy really? And how damaging is it? After all, deep down, didn't you think that PiS were hypocrites?

Didn't PiS' supporters believe that? I don't believe that PiS supporters thought that the Ducks and Co were as pure as the driven snow. Now, nothing has changed except it's out in the open.

The thinking (which I'm pretty sure most of us would also be susceptible to) goes like this:

They may be hypocrites, but they're our hypocrites! I'm not sure anything has occurred to make PiS voters change their minds about that.

9/27/2006 08:51:00 PM  

Anonymous ignacy said...

Lustration NOW!

9/27/2006 08:52:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

Lustration NOW!

What the hell for? You keen on wasting more state money?

Ignacy, if what Lipinski did counts as crooked, then they're all crooked.

You don't need Lustration to figure that out.

What we need is a government that can hold a coalition together long enough to help the economy stabilize at a healthy rate of growth, and that covers its tracks better than these dolts.

9/27/2006 09:01:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

I think we're safe from lustration because no one knows what it means. :~)

9/27/2006 09:06:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

Sorry, bad joke. I've never heard the word lustration. There must be a Polish equivalent. I meant no harm.

9/27/2006 09:23:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

You just haven't been reading Warsaw Station long enough, that's all TC.

Lustration is a particular kind of vetting, by which a politician's or other public person's background is checked for connections to the old communist regime. The term is a proper English word.

Wikipedia (because Webster Online doesn't seem to want to work this evening):

Lustration is, literally, "a sacrifice, or ceremony, by which cities, fields, armies, or people, defiled by crimes, pestilence, or other cause of uncleanness, were purified" and in the past it used to refer to a specific type of religious ceremony. However, during the period after the fall of the various European Communist states in 1989–1991, the term came to refer to the policy of limiting participation of former communists and especially informants of the communist secret police in the successor governments or even in civil service positions.

In Poland, more than the limiting of participation, the word lustracja seems to refer to the checking for past connections with the bad guys, which then tells you whose participation you have to limit.

9/27/2006 09:41:00 PM  

Blogger Michael Farris said...

As someone said, the process is a lot like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (with the truth and reconciliation parts left out)

9/28/2006 08:57:00 AM  

Anonymous ignacy said...

I was attempting a joke, too. As in: the lusters now need to get lusted, or something like that. Sorry. Another poor attempt.

And yeah, they pretty much all are crooks. It's part of the game, no? But these guys were priding and going out of their way to portray themselves as the cleanest of the clean, painting everybody else black, even those who had really, really put their lives on the line back in the day.

Under communism, man exploits man. Under capitalism, the opposite holds true. And vice-versa.

9/28/2006 02:53:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

Under communism, man exploits man. Under capitalism, the opposite holds true. And vice-versa.

Hi Ignacy, would you explain what you mean by that?

Do you agree with Gustav when he says all in all its not a big deal...its the economy to focus on?

9/28/2006 03:36:00 PM  

Anonymous ignacy said...

I mean, "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters."

I think it is a big deal and will lead to the downfall of PiS (at least I hope so) but agree (I think there's some agreement) that what's needed is a gubmint that isn't constituted by a bunch of yokels, rather leaders who can contribute to growing the economy.

9/29/2006 02:45:00 PM  

Blogger Top Cat said...

ya don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows!

I'm not qualified to comment if they should stay or go, but I hope you guys are able to keep control of the economy...and not have problems like Hungary.

9/29/2006 02:56:00 PM  

Blogger Gustav said...

It is a big deal TC, but not because PiS are hypocrites, it's because they are incompetent at managing the country.

And that includes the economy - which they haven't managed to spoil so far, but it could be a hell of a lot better if they were better leaders.

9/29/2006 08:22:00 PM  

Anonymous hubert h. said...

So hypocrisy which is probably sinful is acceptable in politrix whereas disability which is not sinful is to be denounced in the political realm?

Bush? Pfffvvddtt!

10/01/2006 01:30:00 PM  

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