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.
Late Tuesday, TVN television broadcast footage of a chief aide to the prime minister offering a high government position and financial support to a prominent lawmaker of the former coalition partner Self-Defense in exchange for crossing over to the ruling Law and Justice Party.
Opposition parties quickly condemned the alleged vote-buying, and the Polish Peasants Party on Wednesday said it would not hold talks with Law and Justice scheduled for later in the day.
"The coalition talks won't be happening today. The prime minister can say he didn't know about what happened, but anyone who saw the tapes can see... it's simply corruption," Jaroslaw Kalinowski of the PSL told Tok FM radio Wednesday morning.
It's difficult to see how PiS can hold off new elections - or even how they can hold off a vote on the dissolution of the Sejm until October 10, as they had planned.
The coalition is broken (I can't bring myself to say "dead"). Lepper and Self-defense (SO) are out. Gilowska is in. PiS finds themselves in the same position they were in almost exactly one year ago - trying to cobble together a coalition.
But last year PiS was negotiating with PO to form a grand conservative coalition. Now, after banishing Lepper for his unwillingness to adopt the PiS' budget proposals, PiS is looking for ways to tack on bits and pieces to get the 48 votes it needs to hold onto a majority in parliament.
PiS was on Friday was scrambling to gather a voting majority of 231 seats. Together with its junior coalition parter the League of Polish Families (LPR), it commands 183 seats. With 25 seats, the Polish Peasants Party (PSL) was in coalition talks with PiS Friday.
Meanwhile the ousted Andrzej Lepper accused PiS of using bribes to lure Samoobrona MPs away to support what is now the PiS-led minority government. Several Samoobrona MPs have already left.
The populist farmers' party, which has now crossed over to the opposition, commands 49 seats in Poland's 460-seat parliament. The liberal Civic Platform (PO) with 131 seats is Poland's largest opposition party. It is considering launching a no-confidence motion against the PiS government. Also in the opposition is the 55-seat ex- communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).
If PiS doesn't manage to nab enough Self-defense deputies, new elections are likely. And it doesn't look like they'll manage.
But what would new elections achieve? Recent opinion polls have shown that PO could come out victorious. But the polls famously predicted a PO win this time last year as well. 365 days later, they are in the opposition. It's equally as likely that PiS would win another plurality.
It's also unclear that Self-defense would gain. Though the base must love Mr. Lepper's spunk, some of its members are defecting, which may actually bring votes to PiS.
One party could lose big - LPR. If they fail to win five percent of the vote they could find themselves out of the Sejm. This would be good news. However, recent amendments to the election law make it possible for LPR to form a bloc with PiS, which the ultra-conservatives hope will increase their chances. The Polish Folk Front could also have trouble meeting the five-percent requirement.
The Leftist parties, led by SLD, have recently joined together as a bloc for the upcoming local elections, but polls haven't shown them gaining traction with the public.
So new elections could prove helpful in ejecting small and extremist parties from the Sejm - though it's far from certain. What is nearly certain is that the two largest parties will remain Civic Platform and Law and Justice, and that Self-defense and the Leftists will remain the smaller players.
Some combination of these four groups will form the next government. But not a single one of those groups can any longer find the will or the energy to cooperate with any other.
I saw this yesterday and it got me thinking about some discussions we've been having about Poland-US relations, and where Poland fits in as an ally of the US in Europe.
Now, we all know that Europe is doesn't hold it's own when it comes to defense. The Americans have been nagging their allies across the pond to spend more on their militaries, but the Europeans (save Britain) seem reluctant to do so. There is wide agreement that Europe ought to have at least some sort of common fast-reaction force, but it is as-yet nowhere to be found. Europe would rather concentrate on just about anything but defense.
However, Poland is a different story. Due to their difficult history, Poles are especially defense-focused. Though unwilling to break the budget for teachers' and police officers' wages, Poland will be sending a full 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan, with the deployment starting this year and probably ending in February. That will cost money, but the tab will probably be picked up by NATO. Regardless, it shows you where Poland's priorities are. And while the Polish military may not be the world's finest, it's gaining experience - and technology - fast. They just picked up the keys to 48 brand new F-16 fighter jets, with all sorts of state-of-the-art, hi-tech gizmos inside.
Poland's Defense Minister Radosław Sikorski is a huge asset in this area. He's well known in both Europe and America: He graduated from Oxford and has British citizenship. He was an advisor to Rupert Murdoch on investments in Poland, was a resident fellow at the conservative think-tank the American Enterprise institute, as well as executive director of the non-partisan New Atlantic Initiative. He is married to American journalist Anne Applebaum. It is rumored that while he was a war correspondent in Afghanistan in the 80s, he was actually there spying for all sorts of Western governments. He's articulate, educated, and some would even say handsome.
Can a better pedigree for coordinating Polish defense policy and cooperation with the Pentagon within a European framework be imagined? Maybe. But this is darn close to as good as it gets.
Poland doesn't pull much weight on any other issue. Britain can't get the continent to take defense seriously. Maybe a two pronged assault - with Poland the second pincer - could get Europe to think more seriously about defense? Could defense be the issue that gains Poland the international heft it craves?
Polish-American relations getting better and better
But has the American public noticed?
With the British public becoming more and more dissatisfied with their country's partnership with the US administration, the British-American "special relationship" seems to be losing traction. However, another European country - Poland - continues to strongly support American policy in Europe, and it seems ties are growing closer by the day.
American diplomats here express gratitude for Poland's unwavering support, and relief that they don't experience the same kind of problems that their colleagues in Western Europe face. "We see eye to eye on just about everything," a fairly-high up diplomat told me recently.
But being here in Poland, it seems the US is consumed with political strife - both sides of the political divide attacking each other, and not noticing that despite much of the bad press that the US gets, an extremely strong ally is growing in Central Europe.
Is this perception accurate? Has the American public forgotten Poland? I'd like to know what you think.
Poland's PM to focus on missile defence, Iraq in US
Warsaw - Making his first trip to the United States since taking office in July, Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski was expected to focus on the possible basing of missile defence in Poland and his country's role in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Kaczynski, who heads the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) coalition government, is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Vice President Dick Cheney.
President George W Bush and Kaczynski are not scheduled to meet as the US president has in the past met with Lech Kaczynski, Poland's president and brother of the prime minister. Jaroslaw's aides have suggested Bush might, however, drop in on the meeting.
Kaczynski will also meet with House Speaker Dennis Hastert Thursday before meeting with John Krenicki Jr, the chief executive of global energy goliath General Electric Co.
Energy security is a top item on the agenda of the Kaczynski government, which is currently seeking to diversify suppliers and wean Poland from its heavy reliance on Russian fuel supplies.
Insisting energy security is a crucial part of national security, Poland is also spearheading a drive within the EU to frame a common energy security alliance for the 25-member bloc and beyond.
Kaczynski, 57, will also meet with heads of the large Polish community in Chicago Thursday and then fly on to visit the Fort Worth US military base in Texas on Friday. Kaczynski is due back in Warsaw early Saturday morning.
Prime Minster Kaczynski will be accompanied by several cabinet ministers including Defence Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and Foreign Affairs Minister Anna Fotyga.
As ardent anti-communist activists throughout Poland's pre-1989 communist era, President Kaczynski and Prime Minister Kaczynski both have a fondness for the late Ronald Reagan.
Reagan is still seen as a hero by the country's Solidarity opposition for his strident anti-Soviet politics and support for the Polish movement, which succeeded in peacefully toppling communist rule in Poland in 1989.
The law and order agenda of Prime Minister Kaczynski's PiS party in many ways resembles a US Republican approach. The party has promised to crack down hard on crime and corruption in public life and is also stridently anti-leftwing.
It is particularly critical of Poland's ex-communist Democratic Left Alliance party (SLD), which it blames for much of the corruption in public life.
The SLD lost both the presidency and government in elections held last autumn. The party's four-year term in office had been plagued by a string of high profile corruption scandals involving senior politicians.
Reagan and the Kaczynski brothers also share a personal history of being actors before becoming politicians. While Reagan was a Hollywood cowboy hero on the silver screen, the Kaczynski twins are famous in Poland for playing two very naughty boys in the children's' Polish cinema classic 'About Those Two Who Stole the Moon.'
After narrowly winning Poland's September 2006 general election, the PiS eschewed a long-promised coalition with the runner-up liberal Civic Platform (PO), instead allying itself with the populist Samoobrona farmers' party and the Catholic-nationalist League of Polish Families (LPR), Poland's equivalent of the fundamentalist elements of the Christian right in the US.
Recent polls show the LPR is rapidly losing public support, to the point where it would fail to re-enter parliament should elections be called. Support for Samoobrona remains steady at around 10 per cent, while the ex-communist SLD is also in danger of exiting parliament and slipping into political oblivion, less than a year after leaving government.
Surveys, however, show the PiS and PO running neck-and-neck enjoying roughly 30 per cent support each.
Some political observers in Warsaw have suggested the Kaczynski brothers are intent on creating a two-party system in Poland, along the lines of the Republican-Democratic divide of the US rather than the more volatile multi-party constellations which can be found in European politics.
The next true test of party popularity is expected November 12, when Poles will vote in local government elections.
It may not have made the papers in the States, but there were also several touching ceremonies commemorating the September 11th attacks on Monday. Largest of these was the unveiling of a monument in Kielce which expresses solidarity with Americans.
The judge presiding over former Finance Minister Zyta Gilowska's vetting trial has concluded that there is not enough evidence to declare that she lied about not knowing that she had provided information to a communist security agent.
[Judge] Mojkowska said the documents available in the case were not complete, making the court rely on circumstantial evidence, which did not prove that Gilowska intentionally passed any information on to secret police during communist times.
However, the judge had her own suspicions. The court said Gilowska had been "extremely talkative" with the security agent who registered her as an informer.
The verdict clears the way for her to rejoin the government - but it might not be so easy.
For those of you with your fingers not quite glued to the pulse of Polish political news, you should know that some very clever political maneuvering has been going on.
The ruling coalition recently railroaded through a law (and when I say "railroaded", I mean that in order to get the law out of committee for a vote in the Sejm, they added 30 members of their own coalition to the committee and then forced the opposition member heading it to resign), which makes it highly advantageous for parties to team up and form coalitions for this autumn's local elections.
This was done mostly to save a member of the governing coalition - the far-right LPR (League of Polish Families). LPR had a very slim chance of winning anything in the elections, and by joining in a voting bloc with the two other parties in the governing coalition, they just might have a shot at a couple of city councils.
Importantly however, if LPR still fails to garner five percent of the vote, the two other coalition members will be able to absorb LPR's vote, and count it towards their own vote totals.
Still with me?
Since the governing coalition is mostly right-wingers (in the "conservative moral values, high-spending big government, neo-con" sense), the left immediately went out and formed a coalition of left-leaning (in the "liberal moral values, barely-fiscally responsible, post-communist" sense) parties. This included the corruption-ridden ex-communists with a new face (SLD), the supposedly not-so-corrupt ex-communists with an old face (SdPl), the ex-partners of the ex-communists (UP), and the social/economic liberals with 0 chance of winning anything.
This group won't win a great deal - but these parties' power is certainly strengthened put all together, and they take on political clout as a large opposition group that they couldn't boast seperately.
Stuck in the middle
This leaves Poland's largest opposition party - Civic Platform (PO) - without any coalition at all. Not wanting to sully themselves by joining the populist Kaczyński faction, but also shying away from getting into bed with former communists, PO has no political friends. Rumor has it that a bizzare coalition with the agrarian-based PSL might be in the works, but the ideologies don't mesh at all, and PSL is tiny - barely making it into the parliament itself in last year's polls.
PO will still win a large number of posts in the upcoming local elections, but their strength as an opposition party has been diminished. Those who lean further to the left but still previously voted for PO because they were the "anything-but-Kaczyński" party, now have a viable alternative.
In these elections the Left will do much better, and PO worse, than would have been the case if all the parties had run seperately.
Some PO supporters have been critical of the party, saying it simply refuses to get its political hands dirty - a necessity on Poland's current political landscape. Warsaw Station has learned that PO's candidate for the Warsaw mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, has been repeatedly accosted in the streets by her own supporters, all making note of her opponents' attacks and demanding: "Why don't you do something?!"
This is not a new accusation. PO has been particularly ineffective as an opposition party despite a deeply unpopular governing coalition.
PO is hemorrhaging support in the form of the student exodus. It can't form any effective political partnership. It is unwilling to hit the opposition hard. If it doesn't grow some jaja pretty soon, its days on the Polish political scene are likely numbered.
(Grey lines: Existing pipelines; Blue line: Under construction; Red line: proposed by US)
Polish daily Rzeczpospolita (Polish link) reports that the US will offer to build oil and gas pipelines from central Asia to Poland in return for building an anti-missile shield on Polish soil
The idea of building an anti-missile rocket base somewhere in the Tatra mountains has been mooted for some time now, with Poland and the Czech Republic tussling over who would get it. The Polish government believes it could protect the country from all sorts of nasty missiles coming Poland's way from the east, and would probably mean a significant injection of US funds into the economy.
As the beatroot reports however, the idea isn't very popular with the Polish public. The government also has some reservations, as the US would want "extraterritorial rights" (registration required) - read: complete control - over the base and the land it sits on.
Serendipitously, information was leaked by Polish diplomats to "RzP" that the US government, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, has floated a deal to have US oil companies such as Chevron and Texaco build pipelines from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan through Georgia and Turkey (see picture above), to Poland, in return for accepting the domestically unpopular missile base on Polish territory. According to the paper, the project will be a major issue of discussion when Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński makes his first trip to the US next week, and meets with US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. The US could also announce its decision to build the base in Poland during the PM's visit.
Due to energy-security fears resulting from Russian dominance of Poland's oil and gas supplies, the Polish government has wanted such pipelines for a while now – work is being done to extend a pipeline carrying Caspian Sea oil from Brody, in Ukraine, to Płock, in Poland. But Ukraine has just taken a sharp political turn towards Russia, and after last month's Mazeiku refinery incident, there is no guarantee that such a pipeline will be free from Russian meddling.
Interestingly, a very rich Polish businessman, Ryszard Krauze, signed several deals last month giving his oil company, Petrolinvest, drilling rights in Kazakhstani oil fields. Petrolinvest is part of the Prokom Group, which is run by Krauze and majority held by the Polish government. The pipelines complete the infrastructure gap from a Polish company doing the extraction in Kazakhstan to Polish refineries and finally to Polish customers.
And thus – so the thinking goes – Polish energy security is guaranteed.
The US' proposal to build that missile base in Poland just got a whole lot sweeter.
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?
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.
Gustav, What did they say? Lipinski is trying to buy Beger's vote? Whats the translation of the words on your front page today? Sorry.
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.
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.
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.
"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.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?
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.
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...(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...
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.
Lustration NOW!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.
I think we're safe from lustration because no one knows what it means. :~)
Sorry, bad joke. I've never heard the word lustration. There must be a Polish equivalent. I meant no harm.
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.
As someone said, the process is a lot like South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (with the truth and reconciliation parts left out)
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. 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?
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.
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.
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.
So hypocrisy which is probably sinful is acceptable in politrix whereas disability which is not sinful is to be denounced in the political realm?
PiS decides to drop corruption crusader image
So hypocrisy which is probably sinful is acceptable in politrix whereas disability which is not sinful is to be denounced in the political realm?
Are elections on the way?
Well Gustav, I hope you've learned something this weekend. That OSU is the team to beat and while that team up north may have also won this weekend, they still have a visit to the horseshoe on their schedule.
And as you know...we're waiting for you...
Many PiS voters would be relieved to have a coalition between PO and PiS - that is what they voted for last time and it is the only viable coalition on the cards. Everyone knows that. We need an election to get that result. It's really a question of who will be the biggest party.
There has been nasty words between PiS and PO but the PoPiS coalition when it comes will be another AWS...a slightly bizarre conservative rightwing government. We have been here before. We will be here again.
Top Cat - Sounds like the score doesn't reflect all of the trouble OSU had with lowly Penn State.
Team Stat Comparison PSU OSU 1st Downs 16 14 Total Yards 248 253 Passing 106 115 Rushing 142 138 Penalties 3-20 6-51 3rd Down Conversions 3-14 5-11 4th Down Conversions 1-1 0-0 Turnovers 3 2 Possession 34:50 25:10
That looks like a pretty even game to me.
OSU may be the "team to beat" but my bet is they're going to get beaten - if not soon then on Nov. 18 at the horseshoe. But if I were you I'd be concerned about next week, when the Buckeyes take on a high-flying Iowa team.
BR - You're much more optimistic than I. Judging by the past year, a PO-PiS coalition is far from certain.
Is defense Poland's big-gun issue?
The topic is difficult, but easy compared to topics like "Bush" and "Islam" and "the clash of civilization"
Poland is locked into NATO and the EU, so yes, security is not at issue. Its economics. I think Poland should put their chips in with Germany because Germany has such a strong economy.
The young people will sort it out, but Germany is such an economic powerhouse that Poland is sure to succeed.
Poland adds to Gernamy's security already and they know it.
I believe for Poland to mount the fast track to economic prosperity, Germany is the ticket.
Of course defense is an issue - it's a big one. Since the US contributes most of the money and troops to NATO, it has a huge say about where NATO performs its activities. When the time comes that the US and EU disagree about where to send NATO troops, the EU won't have a leg to stand on - And it won't have a defense team of its own to clean up problems it feels need addressing.
And it's not a choice between Germany and someone else. Germany is Poland's biggest trading partner, but Russia, France and the US are all up there. Poland's economic future is in the EU - but when it comes to defense, it ought to hang with the Americans.
You're very helpful with the links to the defense ministry - but who are you? Do you have an opinion?
He was with the American Enterprise Institute? So, what you're saying is that Poland's foreign and defense policy is now an offshoot of that particularly rabid Neo-Con think tank. Great.
apropos the english "allies"...
Ignacy - That he was a resident fellow now makes the Ministry of Defense an "offshoot" of the American Enterprise Institute?
Anon - The story of Gen Sosabowski is an awful one. But his scapegoating by those particular British commanders (particularly Browning) doesn't mean the British aren't allies now. They're certainly moreso than the Russians at the moment, wouldn't you say? And doesn't the fact that there is a movement by British citizens to properly honor him say something?
You say because Poland is in the EU, NATO security is not the issue. But Britain is in both and security is becoming THE issue with them. In fact, security as an issue has over taken over everything else because of the reaction to terrorism, and that politics doesn’t really have an ideological character to it any longer. Security is all they got.
What’s interesting is: security is not THE issue in Poland. There is more of a struggle about basic political things like inequality, that kind of thing. The middle east and terrorism seems a long way away. And Poles don’t like it when their governments get involved in the ‘war on terror’ thing because they feel that that might just threaten their security.
Actually beatroot, I agree with you here - but when was the last time this government actually did something the people wanted it to do?!
What Poles do seem to want, what they can't seem to stop whining about is: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I think taking a leading role on defense in the EU just might be the way to get it.
Anon - I'm tired of following your non-linked links. Say something man.
Political haggling over a budget does not enemies make.
And a speech at the Heritage Foundation ... so?
What was your name again? Oh, right, forgot, no opinion, no name. Just links. We have to guess at your arguments.
Make one please.
Its a different kind of security I was talking about. I was referring to the old fashioned kind like invasion from Russia. That won't happen, but a terrorist attack might.
You think they have the same feelings as Hungary? These newer democracies may be more fragile than we think. Who thought Hungary with problems.
Poland has so few enemies in the world. They make bold moves, but no one touches them.
I never doubted Bush would meet Kaczynski. Bush, Blair and Kaczynski are all in sinc. Presently, I don't see Bush profiting from this war. And the Poles get more respect with every day. I didn't know they felt that way. God, they don't face the day in and day out hatred and insults as the Americans.
The AEI is quite the exclusive and elite Neo-Con club with it's influence spread all over the planet.
Yea, he probably didn't even fit in and I'm sure he wasn't in the least bit influenced by the Neo-Con elite in place there, hob-nobbing daily and being interchangable with or indistinquishable from Bush administration officials. And he's not beholden in the least.
You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?
Ignacy - Now we've gone from him making the Ministry of Defense an "offshoot" of the organization to it "influencing" him. Quite a leap. And I'll admit that he was influenced. I'm no fan of the American Enterprise Institute, but that hob-nobbing with Bush administration officials sure makes him well placed to make some good defense related deals with Poland's American partners. I didn't say I agreed with his politics, I said that his resume could seriously benefit Poland on this issue.
Top cat - are you the anonymous non-link linker?I think taking a leading role on defense in the EU just might be the way to get it.
Gimmie a break! The Eu should not, cannot and will not be involved in any meaningful way with defense. That is not what it is for. NATO is a defense thing, the UN is where the world sorts out its differences - or not. The EU is a trading union and should try and stick to that.
Anonymous (not me btw) may have been making a point about Kaczynski's appearance before the Heritage guys -- also intertwined with the AEI guys.
And look at Kaczynski's speech.
As to the offshoot vs influenced by conundrum. . . well, I guess Poland is not a US state, yet.
I'm pretty sure that was the point he was trying to make - Kaczynski spoke with a right-wing think tank and Sikorski was a member of one. But the reason anon didn't make any point himself, or argument, is because I think he knows it would be a weak one. So what if Kaczynski made a speech at a conservative think tank, and Sikorski was a member of one.
They are both conservatives.
And on the Kaczynski point- if I were the leader of an up-and-coming Central European state, I would speak at plenty of conservative American institutions - America is run by conservatives, so its natural that he'd want their support. They have lots of influence on the Bush admin.
Earlier you, and now anon, seem to be hinting at some kind of American-backed ultra-conservative conspiracy inside Poland's government.
There's no conspiracy. It's very simple. About a year ago, Poland elected a conservative government - that's it.
The EU is a trading union and should try and stick to that.
Many would agree with you beatroot - Does this mean you do not support further political union, by constitution or otherwise? (I'm honestly asking for your opinion here, the question is not rhetorical)
And what about when there is a conflict which concerns the EU but not the US? Such as the Balkan Wars or the Kosovo conflict. Some argue that because the US wasn't interested until the situation got out of hand, that NATO reacted too slowly. They argue that an independent European force could have saved lives. Don't you think an EU military orgazation could prove useful in such a situation?
OK, a shared (and -- for my two zloty -- frightening) agenda, not a conspiracy. Thing is, whose interests will ultimately be served?
Thing is I'll bet the Republicans are going to get their asses handed to them in this fall's congressional elections. What's up in two years is anybody's guess.
"There's no conspiracy. It's very simple. About a year ago, Poland elected a conservative government -that's it"
of course there's no conspiracy gustav ,but i just do not understand why most of the us hate/do not like kaczynski.?
i just do not get it why the us like the ex communist kwasniewski ,the anti nato Geremek ,and "hate/disrespect" the ex solidarnosc member ,and nato enthusiast kaczynski.?
I'll agree with you on the shared (and frightening!) agenda. As I've stated before, I think that PiS' political philosophies strongly resemble the neocon movement in the US. I'd like to know what you think about that, since BR disagrees and thinks I'm imposing American political thinking on Polish politics.
Anon - thanks for iterating your argument, especially this interesting one. As I said above, I think the PiS agenda (using big gov't to advance socially conservative policies) resembles the neocon philosopy - and many neocons seem to agree. Thus, it's my experience that a lot of Americans (especially in this admin) do like Kaczor n' friends. And the divide goes straight down US political lines: American "liberals" don't like the Kaczynskis because they're religious, conservative, and have an anti-gay rep, while American "conservatives" love them for the same reasons. Since the country is divided almost 50/50 I don't think it's fair to say that Americans don't like the Ducks. But then again, that's only my internet experience. I don't live there in the States anymore - so reality could be different. If it is, I'm not sure how to explain it.Many would agree with you beatroot - Does this mean you do not support further political union, by constitution or otherwise? (I'm honestly asking for your opinion here, the question is not rhetorical)
In the new enlarged EU the only way forward is to expand the open market bit and lay off the political union bit. It is simply not possible to get 25 - 27 nations to agree on things like social or defense policy.
Gustav: There's obviously some commonality but there are differences, too. Their concern for social welfare and unionism may just be talk but it ain't talk the Neo-Cons produce. Notably, Premier Duck talked in his Heritage speech mostly about comeupance (sp?) to the post-commies. And when you say the dux are religious, tis true, but they are pro-death penalty, seem to be pro-war vs. Islam and supportive of Israeli militarism (not so with the Vatican), and obviously big on vengence with little if any mercy vs. the post-communists. They seem to have completely perverted the message of JP2 aside from gays and the use of gumy (rubberz).
And btw, whachoogot against the Daily Kos?????they are pro-death penalty, seem to be pro-war vs. Islam and supportive of Israeli militarism (not so with the Vatican), and obviously big on vengence with little if any mercy vs. the post-communists
Exactly. This is exactly the same kind of religiosity the neo-cons promote.
I'm glad that the Daily Kos has made the net such a powerful force for liberals, but he attacks centrist democrats (notably the democratic leadership council) as if they were the devil incarnate - or at least that they are the next worst thing to the devil incarnate, which I suppose he feels is Bush/Cheny et al. I prefer to think of myself as a centrist democrat, believing in free markets because I see first hand how they create prosperity and bring jobs, while believing that government can still be used to help the little guy (particularly by regulating the market properly, but not meddling in it). I am also a social liberal. I believe that there is common ground between Democrats and Republicans, and the best way of taking the country forward is finding the places where we agree, and working together. I do not believe Republicans are the enemy.
On too many of those points, Kos and I disagree.
And you're happy with the foreign policy of the DLC folk?
And there's more to Kos than just Kos.
WTF is going on in the Dux gov't from your perspective with K canning Lepper, and all?And you're happy with the foreign policy of the DLC folk?
-Can you be more specific?
And there's more to Kos than just Kos.
-True -- but I find many of his contributors take the militant line. I've enjoyed some posts there, and I appreciate the dialogue the site creates (it's still on my blogroll), but I must admit the site turned me off enough that I don't visit often.
-As to the Ducks and Lepper, I hope to post more on that soon -- I'm swamped at work, so I can't post at the moment. Definitely within the next 24 hours - maybe after the smoke clears.
lepper just wanted more money for the farmers ,for the nurses ,for the teachers ,for the coalminers ,for the trainmen ,for the old peole ,for the schoolchildren ,for the unemployers ,for the...
it makes ~10.000.000.000 zloty...
The effects of such politics you can see in hungary with a budget deficit expected to surpass 10 percent of Hungary's gross domestic product this year — the largest in the European Union.
Neck and neck with the Twins and Tigers...
That's some love letter to Radek, the thinking man's grunt. His solo run on the 1,000 troops (1,000! I bet the Taliban are quaking) is undoubtedly a cause of the collapse of his party's coalition with Samoobrona. That's a good result in my book, but not for Radek's party: maybe he is a spy after all, some kind of a double agent.
And just why should Europe be spending so much more money on defence? We haven't made quite as many enemies as some countries that could be mentioned.
Europe should spend more on defense if they want the US to start spending less. If the Americans thought they had a strong military ally on the other side of the Atlantic, they wouldn't be so freaking paranoid. The American people are very scared right now, and will continue to spend over half of their tax revenue on defense for the foreseeable future, if they believe that Europe is weak enough to be overrun by terrorists, much less militarily defeated by a rising China, India, or Russia -- all of which are spending more on defense.
Then maybe the US wouldn't go around starting wars out of fear.
But then again maybe not. Europe doesn't seem to be hurting for enemies these days either. The countries Denmark and Italy come to mind - though I suppose it wasn't them you thought to mention. "Less defense spending" isn't making Europe any friends.
I believe the Polish troops can do some good in Afghanistan, not only in bringing enough peace to the country until this democracy can defend itself, but also to allow the US to save resources - and this war will be over quicker.
Security in Afghanistan is in Poland's interest. If putting faith in the Polish military is the straw that broke this coalition's back, so be it.
I cant tell yall how strange it is to watch Gus defend American foreign policy with a liberal twist to it. Its about as weird as the Bush-Hating Liberal American politicians that defended Bush this week after he was verbally abused at the UN by a neo-liberal full blown Socialist piss ant from Venezuela.
The fact that Chavez got out of New York alive should allow you distant observers of America to realize that all of that Bush-Hitler nonsense you soak up at Daily Kos is total, out of touch with reality, bullshit. It is nowhere near an accurate representation of America outside of those blue dots on our election map.
Gus is quite a bit left of center for a typical American, and even he can distinguish between partisan hype and treasonous socialist propaganda.
But let me ask you Eastern Europe dwellers about the mindset of the average redneck born and raised in your neck of the woods.
Are the people in Poland not really overly concerned about the threat posed by the angry Muslim masses further south, but on the same landmass?
Most Americans consider the Muslim world to start at the Turkish border, but Eastern European history books should have devoted at least a chapter or two to the past Muslim excursions north of the Turkish border that left scars that remain today on the cultures that were occupied in the past? The Muslims have come close to Poland's borders before....you would think the Polish, and especially Eastern Europeans south of Poland, would be more Islamophobic than those "paranod Americans" with an ocean between themselves and the spread of a violent religious ideology.
Or did living in a failed Socialist model for so many generations force economic concerns to far outweigh the luzury of a defensive mindset?
Does the fact that they dont see themselves as a first strike target of an Islamic nuclear bomb make them less concerned about being under an Iranian nuclear umbrella?
Does the fact that Eastern Europeans have experienced first hand what its like to be conquered, many times, affect how less "paranoid" they may be about defeat than Americans, who have never experienced defeat followed by occupation are?
Europe as a whole seems hardly burdened by dealing wuth the threat of Islamic cultural warriors, and more concerned about current economic prospects than the demographic data that suggests the faster breeding Islamic immigrants and their descendants pose to the future fabric of European culture. Those rapidly expanding Islamic communities are going to be demanding representation that reflect the Islamic values they have brought with them in the coming generations. I can see the ingredients for a future bloody street to street ideological fight to the death coming up later this century.
It looks to me like Europe should be the point man in the war on Islamic terrorism. They are on the front line. I wonder if / when the ethnic cleansing on European streets begins in earnest they will be able to muster more than a few token troops for defense?
Redneck, nb. all the following is purely based on personal experience.
Basically, Poles have differing ideas about Muslims and Islam.
There's a small indigenous Muslim group in the NE of the country (from Tatar stock) which is known for its patriotism and mild religious practice. Recently they've become slightly more orthodox (as in stopped observing Xmas and Easter and pubicly not drinking so much) but are profoundly secular in outlook.
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, which used to be a mostly Polish city named Wilno. Was known simultaneously as the Jerusalem of the north (there are still Yiddish speakers there) and the Mecca of the north for its large, well-integrated Muslim population.
Whatever symbolic value the battle of vienna might have for American hawks, Poland has a long tradition of very good relations (diplomatic, academic, commercial) with Turkey and some parts of the Arab world.
Most Muslims in Poland now (a small group) are either former university students who stayed (esp Iraqis) and small business people. In both cases they are reasonably well integrated and the nature of Polish infrastructure means that ghettos are unlikely to appear. There's no welfare class of Muslims as in some west european countries.
Most Poles aren't terribly concerned with the idea of the WOT. They don't like OBL and his ilk (and prejudice against Arabs is strong, even, especially, among people who've never met one, prejudice against turks is somewhat less) but they're not afraid of the middle east.
The fact that Jesse Owens got out of Germany alive should allow you distant observers of Germany to realize that all of that anti-Hitler nonsense you soak up at Daily Kos is total, out of touch with reality, bullshit.
___ The above is sarcasm in case it slips by anyone....
Ever heard of the "Trojan Donkey" ? It very much applies to Poland.
It's that good
What I see here is some kind of criminal offense. A man is walking down the street when suddenly another man, in Edwardian dress, throws water over him and then tries to put an orange bucket over his head.
Is this some kind of new American street crime?
It's not new at all. As a matter of fact, it's a rather old tradition now - a way of congratulating a coach who's worked hard to help his team win a very big game.
I don't know exactly where it came from though. Obviously not from England. Do soccer/cricket players have any specific tradition by which they congratulate a coach on a hard-earned win?
21 years old to be exact.
The Gatorade Shower is a sports tradition involving dumping a cooler full of liquid (most commonly Gatorade) over a winning coach's (or occasionally star player or owner's) head. This activity commonly occurs shortly after a meaningful win, but may also occur towards the end of an important game when a win is imminent. The tradition began with the New York Giants football team in the mid-80s. According to several sources, including Jim Burt of the Giants, it began in 1985 when Burt performed the action on Bill Parcells after being angered over the coach's treatment of him that week. The phenomenon gained national attention. Parcells would be doused after seventeen victories in 1986, culminating with Super Bowl XXI.
middle linebacker Harry Carson, the man who invented the Gatorade dump as he and Lawrence Taylor helped lead the New York Giants to their first of two Super Bowl titles in 1986.
In any case, it looks like the first to get it was Bill Parcells in 1985.
There is of course, even a blog named after the tradition: http://gatoradedump.blogspot.com/The Gatorade Shower sounds like something Thai prostitutes do if you pay for ‘extras’….
THATS a REAL shower ,lol.
Yep....they're lookon good this year Gus.
Maybe, If our freshman QB gets his groove on later in the season we can hook up.
The Gatorade Shower sounds like something Thai prostitutes do if you pay for ‘extras’….
Better than it's other name, the Gatorade DUMP!
Thanks for the pics. I bet Sikorski would make a good football coach, too.
They look good, but I'm not getting my hopes up yet. We've still got big games against Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State -- and then there's OSU. But I sure would like a rematch of that Rose Bowl game a couple of years ago...Week 4 AP Top 25
1. Ohio State (59) 3-0 1,617 2. Auburn (2) 3-0 1,507 3. USC (2) 2-0 1,494 4. West Virginia (2) 3-0 1,419 5. Florida 3-0 1,350 6. Michigan 3-0 1,297 7. Texas 2-1 1,180 8. Louisville 3-0 1,121 9. Georgia 3-0 1,105 10. LSU 2-1 1,085 11. Virginia Tech 3-0 931 12. Notre Dame 2-1 912 13. Oregon 3-0 833 14. Iowa 3-0 831 15. Tennessee 2-1 585 16. TCU 3-0 527 17. Oklahoma 2-1 510 18. Florida State 2-1 466 19. Clemson 2-1 399 20. Arizona State 3-0 384 20. Boston College 3-0 384 22. California 2-1 383 23. Nebraska 2-1 162 24. Penn State 2-1 143 25. Boise State 3-0 110
The Michigan win put a sinking feeling in every good Ohio State Buckeye!
First of all Top Cat, there is no such thing as a good Ohio State Buckeye. The term is an oxymoron.
Secondly, let's not get ahead of ourselves. While Michigan did prove to everyone in the country that they are for real, I think it was clear from the game that ND was also quite overrated.
It was ominous to watch. I couldn't believe my eyes. I should have known...argh
Showdown 11/18 at the horseshoe.
Top Cat are you a Buckeye fan?
Gustav, I'm an alumnus. Why?
Well, it'll definitely be fun to have you around come the end of the season.
Have you taken the time to gloat a bit with our resident Texas fan RT? I'm sure he'd appreciate it.
One thing a lot of folks don't know TC, is that our rivalry goes back to a time when Michigan and Ohio actually FOUGHT A WAR -
From Michigan.gov Lead by Michigan's feisty 22 year old Territorial Governor, Stevens T. Mason, a small 250-person group of volunteers moved toward Toledo to defend their territory from an Ohio take-over.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 established an east-west line drawn from the southern tip of Lake Michigan across the base of the peninsula. The original line was drawn using maps that showed the line intersecting Lake Erie north of the Maumee River. This is the territorial "line-of- scrimmage" that Ohioans recognized when their constitution was drafted in 1803. When the Michigan Territory was created in 1805, surveyors realized the tip of Lake Michigan was actually further south and included the area that would later become Toledo.
This revelation had the Ohioans in Congress screaming, "Offsides!" They immediately campaigned to have the northern line accepted as the official border. In 1817, U.S. Surveyor General, and former Ohio governor, Edward Tiffin, sent William Harris out to survey the line according to Ohio's constitution. The Michigan Territorial Governor, Lewis Cass, went to President James Monroe to protest the call. John A. Fulton was called into the fray to make another survey of the disputed claim in accordance with the Northwest Ordinance.
It was not surprising that the two surveys resulted in two lines eight miles apart at Lake Erie and five miles apart at the Indiana border, with a total of 468 square miles in between. Although Ohio still claimed the Toledo Strip as its own, the squabbling momentarily ceased and Michigan quietly assumed jurisdiction over the area.
The controversy heated up again when Michigan sought admission to the union on December 11, 1833. In spite of Michigan's presence in the Toledo Strip, Ohio Congressmen successfully lobbied to block Michigan's acceptance as a state until it agreed to Ohio's version of the boundary. Massachusetts Representative, and former President, John Quincy Adams, supported Michigan saying, "Never in the course of my life have I known a controversy of which all the right so clearly on one side and all the power so overwhelmingly on the other."
Ohio's position was so strong that Governor Robert Lucas refused to negotiate with Michigan over the issue. Michigan's territorial council countered by passing a resolution that would impose heavy fines on anyone other than Michigan or federal officers trying to exercise jurisdiction in the Toledo Strip. In a blatant act of defiance, Governor Lucas turned the disputed region into a county named after himself and appointed a sheriff and judge. Michigan's "boy governor" had had enough! Stevens T. Mason mobilized his troops and headed towards Ohio. The Toledo War had begun.
The War involved more saber-rattling and one-upmanship than it did shooting and blood-letting. For instance, after the Ohio legislature voted to approve a $300,000 military budget, Michigan upped the ante by approving one with $315,000. Michigan's militia did end up arresting some Ohio officials, capturing nine surveyors, and firing a few shots over the heads of others as they ran out of the area. But only Ohio inflicted any casaulties, when a buckeye named Two Stickney stabbed a Michigan Sheriff during a tavern brawl.
When President Andrew Jackson stepped in, the war ended. Jackson removed Mason from office and the militia commander, General Joseph W. Brown disbanded his troops. But Congress still held Michigan statehood hostage until it agreed to Ohio's claims. The citizens of Michigan set up a state government anyway, and elected Stevens T. Mason governor.
Michigan eventually became the 26th state of the union, on the 26th of January, 1837. But its territory did not include the Toledo Strip. Instead, it gained title to the western three-quarters of the upper peninsula as compensation; 9,000 square miles of the most valuable timber, iron, and copper country in America.
Like so many of the gridiron battles that continue to rage today, a game isn't decided on one play, but a series of plays. Poor officiating may have taken Michigan officially out of the campaign for the Toledo Strip, but in retrospect, it's obvious who won the War.
So who finally decided Michigan could became a state?
"Have you taken the time to gloat a bit with our resident Texas fan RT? I'm sure he'd appreciate it."
Sorry Gustav, where are my manners? Hi Tex, we're both three and O, but we're still ranked number one. Long season ahead...good luck.
The Toledo (Border) War is one of my favorite little nuggets from American history, and shows the origins of the intense Michigan-Ohio rivalry. That's the only reason I point to it. Anyways, as the article says, we got the UP - which became far more valuable to us than Toledo ever could have ever been. To think we got so worked up about Toledo in the first place! No tears here.
Who finally decided Michigan could become a state?
Uh.. The United States Congress did..
And that wasn't much for gloating TC, and I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. Texas isn't 3-0, they're 2-1 -- because they lost to Ohio State two Saturdays ago. Anyway, to get RT going you'll have to say something like: "We sure clipped those long horns of yours" or "I guess us Buckeys taught you cowboys how to rodeo" or "The best part of the rebel yell is when they're screaming for you to stop beating them so bad".
Yeah. Something like that.
Hey Gustav, what if we can swap places with Poland and Ohio. Then the lateral will change from Krakow-Warsaw-Gdansk to Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland.
Of course, we'll have to change the Baltic Sea with Lake Erie :)
Poland is way better than Ohio.
It's bigger too. It's approximately the size of New Mexico.
Right. The Battle for Warsaw pales in comparison with the Battle for Toledo. :)
Dammit, I got it backwards!
Polish-American relations getting better and better
Seems like the bottom line is that all politicians across the globe will lie, cheat, steal, go to war and/or whore for oil.
As has been the case all along,however, Poland will get doodly-squat from the Bush Administration other than an abundance of empty promises (and a missile base that will piss off everybody else thus hurting Poland's standing in the EU and vis-a-vis Russia.
But being here in Poland, it seems the US is consumed with political strife - both sides of the political divide attacking each other, and not noticing that despite much of the bad press that the US gets, an extremely strong ally is growing in Central Europe.
Is this perception accurate? Has the American public forgotten Poland? I'd like to know what you think.
I would say that unfortunately, this is true. The politicians are fighting terribly and the main topic is Iraq and Afghanistan. We know we are unpopluar around the world, so Americans are choosing to look inward, at least my sense in Washington.
I know Poland is a good friend of the US because I know everything about Poland...its something I was born with. :)
ignacy - Do you think that oil is the only thing motivating Poland's warming of relations with the US? I don't. I think that they simply realize being an ally to the US is in Poland's interest.
As far as hurting Poland's standing in the EU - I don't know how much more it could be hurt. There IS an argument to be made that the missle base could protect Europe too (which itself doesn't spend enough on defense) - But I'll agree that the Kaczynski's are so terrible at diplomacy - especially within the EU - that they won't be able to make that argument effectively.
As far as Russia goes - let them get pissed off. They'll cut off the oil and gas at every little tiff anyway.
TC - It's sad I think. And I also think that when one brings up the question of Poland's loyalty to liberals, they're apt to say: "but that government is a bunch of gay-hating conservative pinheads anyway" - which is true. But what they're missing is that any Polish government, be it conservative, liberal, or populist, would most likely still be a strong ally of the US. Poles and Americans just seem to "get" each other. I dunno why.
Hi Gustav, I must admit I have always been treated very kindly during visits to Poland and I can't say the same in other European countries.
Oh, and please call me Top Cat, Beatroot said it first and its starting to grow on me. :)
Fine Top Cat - but I reserve the right to call you TC (ala Gus=Gustav, BR=Beatroot, RT= Redneck Texan) for expediency's sake.
And I made a similar point over at RR (= Redneck's Revenge). I've had experiences where I was introduced as being from the US in some European countries, and the person I was being introduced to - without even knowing me! - literally cringed.
There are growing prejudices against Americans on this continent, for all of the residents' highfalutin talk of respect for other cultures.
Again, I still say oil is the *bottom line* although there are certainly other economic considerations (but these never really have panned out, have they? And despite all the promises). The US has been courting Poland for years with mere hints of this reward or that... promises about easing visa restrictions etc ... and the Poles have sped to the bait only to wind up with nic, nic, nic.
I really don't think the Bush administration or the American public gives a rat's ass about Poland and Poles. For the most part and acrross the political spectrum in the US, Poland and Poles in general are only considered, still, in the context of (anti)Polish jokes and attitudes.the Poles have sped to the bait only to wind up with nic, nic, nic.
Nothing? - Is that what you consider NATO membership?
But that was before the whole oil thing, wasn't it.
Funny. Poles were still pro-US even back then, before everybody was convinced Bush's adventures in the Middle East were "all about oil".
Polish support of the US is connected primarily not with economic concerns - it has much higher economic stakes in the EU - but rather with defense concerns. Rightly.
I really don't think the Bush administration or the American public gives a rat's ass about Poland and Poles. For the most part and acrross the political spectrum in the US, Poland and Poles in general are only considered, still, in the context of (anti)Polish jokes and attitudes.
I think you're only half-right here. Conservative America seems to be coming around to the idea that Poland is a good friend, but you're right the "Polish-joke" stereotype definitely dominates. That needs to change, and the administration could do more to make that happen.
But I also think that the administration does appreciate the importance of Poland - especially as the leading force in building a pro-American bloc in the EU out of the new Central-European entrants.
Thus, the US supports Poland in nearly all of its diplomatic endeavors (remember Kwasniewski and Ukraine?) - and acts as a very important counterweight to Russia. Poland would be much more vulnerable to Russian pressure without the US on its side.
The US also helped Poland to buy both F-16s and Boeing airplanes on very advantageous terms.
More could be done in the way of visas - but don't expect it from this administration. It's impossible for it to take the lead on a policy of allowing more Poles into the country when trying to project an image of protecting the country from evil terrorists from abroad and getting tough on illegal immigration. Remember, visa policy is determined by Congress, and so far every proposal to include Poles in the Visa Waiver Program has died long before it got to the President's desk.
I'll agree that the US could repay Poland's recent loyalty better - but to accuse the US of completely disregarding Poland is going too far.
I think that there is a mutual lack of understanding. I don't think that Poles understand Americans any better than Americans understand Poles. Partly, that stems from the lack of Central European history taught in US classrooms, partly it comes from the grainy black and white stories from WWII, and partly, it comes from the cold war. It has been my experience that Poles are a warm people who enjoy life and who enjoy being great hosts to visitors. Poland does not interest the press here, so it gets little or no coverage. A good public relations campaign by the Polish government in the US could encourage more interaction between Americans and Poles; especially considering it is easier for Americans to travel to Poland than vice versa, given the visa problems. Why do most Americans just go to Western Europe? I think it is because they are unaware of the treasures that await them in Central Europe.
The Poles don't even have a proper lobbyist in Washington. A good public relations campaign - ha!
Have you seen our Prime Minister-President duo? - Not a great public relations team. You're right it's needed Chuck, but I'm not optimistic that it will happen anytime soon.Poland's new leader touts alliance
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcomed Polish Prime Minister Jaroslav Kaczynski to the State Department on Wednesday, praising his country as a "fierce fighter in the defense of freedom."
Appearing with Rice at a brief photo session before a luncheon meeting, Kaczynski said the goals of both countries can be summed up in one word: "freedom."
During their meeting, they were expected to discuss the possibility of Poland serving as a hub for a U.S. missile defense project.
In an appearance at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said there have been "exploratory, low-level, technical consultations" between Warsaw and Washington on the Pentagon's interest in possibly establishing a missile defense site in Poland. But he said there was no substantial progress on this topic during the prime minister's current visit.
"But if we are asked to host such a base, of course we will answer in the spirit of alliance solidarity," he said, adding that in such a case, Poland would probably want additional security support from Washington.
"I need to prove to the Polish people and to parliament _ because such a base could not happen without a bill in (parliament) _ that as a result Poland's security would increase," Sikorski said. "As you know there are concerns over that." Some argue, he said, that "such a base would be a target, it would be a target of nuclear strikes or terrorist threats or increased penetration by foreign intelligence services. In other words, there would be down sides, and I would need to go before parliament and say why, overall, it's a good package."
The U.S. missile defense site in Poland or elsewhere in Europe would expand the range of countries that the United States could, in theory, defend against long-range missile strikes. It also would provide a defense of U.S. territory against long-range missiles fired from the Middle East. The current U.S. missile defense bases _ in Alaska and California _ cannot protect all of the United States against a missile from the Mideast.
According to a schedule released before Kaczynski's arrival, he was to meet with President Bush at midafternoon, but White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said there was no such meeting on Bush's schedule.
She said a meeting was planned with Vice President Dick Cheney. "If the president were to drop by, we would let you know," she added.
The visit is Kaczynski's first since becoming prime minister in July.
The administration has been grateful for Poland's troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Iraq, around 900 Polish soldiers currently command a multinational division south of Baghdad. Poland also has about 100 soldiers in Afghanistan as part of the NATO force.
The United States has been examining the feasibility of setting up a missile defense capability in Europe for several years, and discussions have been held with Poland and the Czech Republic about hosting them. Potential sites in both countries have been visited for a small number of long-range interceptor missiles and radar.
At present, no missile defense sites have been installed outside U.S. territory. The goal would be to protect Europe against possible attack by intercontinental-range missiles.
Kaczynski aide Leszek Jesien said no final decision on the issue is expected during the prime minister's visit.
Government spokesman Jan Dziedziczak said the agenda also includes talks on the situation in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, Poland's eastern neighbors.
Kaczynski plans to meet with business leaders and representatives of the Polish and Jewish communities. He also will attend a ceremony in Fort Worth, Texas, on Thursday marking the handover of the first of Poland's 48 new F-16 fighter jets.
So Dubya couldn't fit Kaczynski into his schedule. A bit of a snub and a portence of things to come?
What could the Poles have done not to get into NATO? And was it so much a matter of being pro-US or more a matter of being wary of the Russians?
Also I'm really not all that clear why Poland needs the F-16s. To use in the Middle East? To guard against attack from Germany or Russia?
Oh and I saw an interview between one of Faux News's blonde talking heads and Kaczynski. Seems she was twisting a gut not to start laughing through the translation.
Yes, the matter of visas for Poles died in Congress before it ever got to the President's desk. Who's been controlling Congress for the past decade? Hello? If Bush cared, why can't he lead his own party?
Boeing and the US aero industry hasn't been doing all that well, so any deal certainly didn't disadvantage them. Some might say it was a government handout... socialism for the corporations, capitalism for the rest of us.
Pro-US doesn't necessarily equate to pro-US-missile base, at least not vis-a-vis the majority of the populace. I'm afraid the government, however, will go for it especially given the lure of the oil. And you're right, the Russians will be pricks and the Poles will wind up with the missle base and a pipeline but no oil.
Maybe the jokes have some legitimacy.
I think the relationship between the US and Poland is about as good as can be expected, and like you said, getting better.
But whats your benchmark?
Are you expecting the relationship to be on par with that of our historical Anglosphere partners?
They speak our language. We have fought and died beside them many times in the past. We share common cultural values.
Our relationship with Poland might someday rise to the point of US-Japanese relations, but until the Poles start speaking English, or we fight more battles side by side, the relationship is what it is.....pretty good and getting better slowly.
Is there a possibility that Poland's leadership could slip towards the left in the future, and siding against America more often than not will become as fashionable in Poland as it is elsewhere in the EU?
If Poland's current conservative government fails to deliver everything they promised, will that translate into political gain for the socialists?
Are you wishing failure on the current conservative leadership in Poland, like many of your leftist American friends are here, if that helps them regain power?
"If Poland's current conservative government fails to deliver everything they promised, will that translate into political gain for the socialists?"
Uh... the Kaczynski's _are_ socialists, socially regressive (as opposed to 'conservative') socialists who tax and spend and spend some more.
Left and right don't allign in Poland the same way they do in the US.
Roughly, fiscal conservatives tend to be more liberal/progressive socially (comparitively speaking) and the more conservative/regressive social types tend to run up big deficits as they try to buy votes.
Remember, the original Solidarity movement was not at all about free markets and capitalism, their ideal was something like Sweden in the 60's (without the progressive social ideas). The Kaczynskis are from the faction that think the movement was betrayed by pragmatists and free-market ideologues that have increased poverty.
Polish pro-American attitudes are mostly pragmatic, the US has never 'burned' Poland that badly and is considered too far away to be a direct threat.
FWIW in estimating my students' political leanings, over the last ten years they've gone from being _very_ pro-American toward now being much more pro-EU, specifically pro-Britain (something about visas and the right to work and being closer).
Poles are proud as a rule and dislike being condescended to which how they perceive the US attitude (as well as that of France and Germany).
The predominant attitude towards America from my students seems to be vaguely positive but not tremendously interested (and there's a definite feeling that Poland's gone out of its way for the US and gotten little or nothing in return).
Top Cat The name comes from an old American cartoon on British TV when I was small. It was my favourite.
Benny, the little one down the bottom, always used to call Top cat 'T.C.'
Michael Farris: What you write above, at least vis-a-vis your students' leanings, is very much on the mark I'd say. And you seeing it too is comforting and reassuring at least to this old dog. And as I recall, Daddio, Top Cat was a cool, jazzy cat who sorta came off like a white guy acting Black but not badly. Last, the US really needs to get over the "speaking English" deal as a prerequsite for alliances or it is really going to be shit out of luck in forging and maintaining any.
Also, I figured I'd repost this just in case it got lost in the shuffle:
Nah, I think Minor League Baseball is even weirder but Cricket sounds like it could give a run for the money.
There are many more. These are just the ones I thought weird.
No, Ignacy, thats my new name..."white guy acting black". Americans always think of PJII when they think of Poland. They know Poland is a good ally in the war on terror. I guess we maybe even still getting used to Poland's name being in the news.
Thanks for all the comments everyone. It was a rough day at work, so I've only been able to get to them now.
ignacy - Bush not meeting with Kaczor is a snub, but I think it has much more to do with the fact that he's about to lose a midterm election and campaigning is more important than diplomacy right now. If he met with the commie Miller, there's no diplomatic reason to snub a solid ally like the Duck.
Poland might not need F-16s, then again it might. One thing is for sure: Poles are more concerned than their Western European counterparts with defense. There are historical reasons for this.
And those hilarious minor league baseball names didn't get lost in the shuffle. Being a Detroiter, I'm for the Toledo Mud Hens.
RT - My benchmark is Germany, France, other western European States. Despite arguments, the US cooperates and consults with them very closely. Poles aspire to that. And those countries don't speak English either.
I wish success in the endeavors by this government I support, and failure to those I believe are unwise. There is a very good chance that Poland could turn leftwards - especially in light of the points Michael made (if the youth of this country decide to vote). That would mean more tension with the US, but less than what we see even in conservative-run countries like Germany.
Michael - Bang on.
Top Cat - but why did you call yourself TC originally?
Sunday Vista Blogging XV
Hey gustav do you mind if i use yoru photos sometiems in the global voices update? you will get credit as the links will point back to your blog...let me know asap....js
Warsaw Station turns two
Congratulations to you and your contributors! You're doing a great job for those of us who don't get the news of central Europe from the MSM.
By the way, where's Redneck Texan been?
RT's around, but prefers to comment on US politics, I'm sure. I haven't been posting much on that lately. I ought to.
Right now he's probably gearing up for the big game, which I wish both teams could lose.I must have an awful lot of free time on my hands.
You make it sound a bit sad.
A better way to think about blogging, and writing, is that instead of sitting passively like a burak in front of the TV, you are doing something active, communicative and creative.
Bloggers of the world unite, all we have to lose are our coach potatoes!
Happy birthday Gustav
Hey Beatroot, did you see that we have a new friend?
Happy birthday to your blog :)
Hey where did my name go? It was me :)
Congrats on the 2 years. I am glad to see you are still blogging. Yeah, I don't know / care much about Polish internal politics, but I am happy you have found a niche you enjoy, and it appears your participation level here is good and getting better, and I know thats an important part of making blogging fun. I got you in the RSS reader, and visit when something piques my interest, and I try to check in every few days to check out the conversations.
Don't you remember when you had a seemingly unlimited backlog of subjects you wanted to opine about?
Can you imagine a scenario where you maintain a blog for the rest of your life?, or do you expect to permanently sign off at some point in the future?
I wonder if Google / Blogspot will be able to give away bandwidth indefinetly......if Blogger where to collapse at some point in the future, would you pay to have a blog hosted?....essentially is blogging important enough to you to pay, say $100 a year, for what you get for free now?
How would you compare Blogger to wordpress?
which I wish both teams could lose.
I know you do.....I am just glad OSU is #1....a loss wont cost as many places in the poll, and if you win your.......NUMBER ONE BABY.
I know you come around from time to time, since I see the comments and your IP pops up on the sitemeter from time to time - the RSS read is mutual - I've got RR's RSS plugged into my Firefox, and go check you guys out every couple of days as well.
And Polish internal politics does, obviously, pique my interest, not least because it directly affects my life. Can't say the same for you - which is why it's cool you show up anyway. Plus, everybody is doing US politics - it's difficult to find an original angle. I'm one of the only ones doing Polish politics in English - so far.
And I still have plenty of things I could opine about - But sometimes I wonder whether there's any point, especially with American politics, the tone has gotten so shrill.
Then again, whenever there's an electon coming up, it always gets the juices flowing. Shrill it may be, but eventually I won't be able to resist the urge.
And that's when I know I'll be seeing you and maybe (hopefully - I really mean that) Wafflestomper and maybe DC/Johnny Mozart. But I'd like to find a subject that would get them riled up, and would also get some of the more liberal bloggers that comment on most of my Polish-topic posts to speak up. I'd really like to see that discussion - one liberal on 20 conservatives or vice-versa is tiring and lopsided.
Can you imagine a scenario where you maintain a blog for the rest of your life?
Yes, because I enjoy writing and being creative so much. It seems like each day there's a cool new feature that one could add to a blog to make it more fun. The cool thing about a blog is though you do have readers that could be let down, it's always possible to take as long a break as you want, and then begin again. I don't rule out signing off - but for now I enjoy it enough to continue for the foreseeable future.
would you pay to have a blog hosted?
I already do with p3, our wordpress blog, so yes, I would.
How would you compare Blogger to wordpress?
True enough, with wordpress I get different features than with blogger, but they're very similar. Wordpress is a tad more complicated. I'm still a bit confused about my host, and how to save files there, and changing things around is much more complicated. With blogger, I can adjust things more easily (Just one style sheet, rather than 5!). But with wordpress you get cool features like categories and the "read more" button, which would be useful for some of my longer posts here (Blogger says you can do this on its system, but it's really just a glorified link to the post page). However, on Blogger it's much easier to write posts in HTML - which I do 99 percent of the time. For my last post on p3 it was impossible to get the line breaks the way I wanted them (either in HTML or in rich text writer), and I finally had to give up and post it ugly.
I don't like all the blogger-specific tags in the blogger stylesheet though either - one day I'll figure out what they all mean and change them. My ideal blog would be host-specific-tag free, and combine the ease of writing in HTML of blogger with some of the better features of wordpress (i forgot ot mention that on your wordpress dashboard you have a record of the most recent comments and links to your blog, and you also have the ability to leave a comment directly on the post page).
Sorry about yesterday's loss for your boys by the way. Can't say I'm TOO sorry - but it sure would have been nice for OSU to have one in the loss column before Michigan plays them - and when it comes down to determining the conference champ. But maybe now they'll have a calse sense of security come November.
Looking at my last comment - I think I'll have to keep blogging for the rest of my life.
I can't bloody shut up!
Since our Blogger templates are more than 2 years old, (pre-Google buyout?)they didn't come with the "recent comments" tag that some of the newer ones do.
But since you use the built in Blogger commenting system here, you can copy & paste this code into your template, if you want a recent comments function in your sidebar.
Yep.....Vince Young was a one man gang freak of nature, there is no way Texas would have won a National Championship without him, nor are they likely to win another one any time soon without him.
Thanks for that!
It looks kinda weird though......its not in chronological order???
You would think the most recent comments would be on the top.
No it's not in chronological order, and I can't make the BlogCommentDateTime any shorter either. I also can't switch it for which post it was blogged on - that would at least go some way towards alleviating the non-chronological order problem. I was suspicious when on the page you linked I read this:
Disclaimer: These aren't strictly the most recent comments, but just the comments for the post on the current page. Also, they will show in order by post, rather than by comment date/time. But in general, comments left on front page posts will tend to be the most recent, so this should be close enough and it still provides an overview of commenting activity.
"In general" being the key words...
I'm going to fiddle with it some more this evening and if I can't make it better off it goes.
One more reason to go to Wordpress. Aargh.
Got it. I used this hack.
I've been reading about new features in the new blogger beta (blogger in beta?) that they're rolling out now. Apparently, they have introduced a "labels" (ie, categories) feature, and - god be praised! - a RSS feed for comments.
Here's the tour. I guess there will be a lot more functionality for the templates too, without knowing code.
But still haven't read anything about a Blogger "recent comments" feature, nor a "read more" button.
Looks great now.
I have always wondered how, if someone commented on an old article deep in your archives, you would know about it. Now if that happens it should pop up on top of the recent comments eh?
I have also been gonna ask you if there was a comment RSS feed for Blogger's commenting system......let me know if that ever happens.
You owe me a post at RR. ;-)
Actually, it's happened a couple of times, and I know about it because i have comment notification by e-mail. I can click the link in the e-mail and it takes me back to the old, old post too. Very convenient - especially with gmail and it's notification functions.
It's not a perfect solution, but it's ok. Like I said, with e-mail notification I always knew when there was a comment. The "speaking their minds" recent comment section in the sidebar is more for my readers than for me. And it might get some more folks commenting.
And thanks for the invite back to RR - I had had some ideas, but was a bit lazy, and anyways I was planning on asking you first since it's been so long I (rightly) got kicked off the contributors' list. Poland's Prime Minister (the twin without the mole) is in the States today or tomorrow, so there's some ready-made material for an RR post from your Poland-based soon-not-to-be-former contributor.
I bet I can count on one the day after the mid-terms as well. ;-)which I wish both teams could lose.
Did I mention I have a wee bit of Irish in me. ;-)
Yeah, I'm not really looking forward to this week's game. I'm pretty sure the rebuilding Wolverines are going to disappoint. Just look at these scores from last week:
#10 Michigan 41 - (non-ranked) Central Michigan 17
#4 Notre Dame 41 - #19 Penn State 17
When the number 4 team beats the number 19 team by the same score as the number 10 team beat a non-ranked nobody, that tells me there's a big divide between 4 and 10 (now 2 and 11).
Still, hope springs eternal.
Bet you're shaking in your cowboy boots over that exciting matchup this weekend with Rice, eh?
The only type of person who would voluntarily take up the post of Polish finance minister is someone who lives in a padded cell and eats nails for breakfast.
The only person who would voluntarily take up the post TWICE needs electric shock treatment.
Is she that mad?
We'll see I guess. I know that if I were in her position I'd go tell Kaczor to shove it.
But everybody keeps saying she's oh so necessary to bring back Poland's fiscal credibility.
I don't know if that's true. I think it's already ruined.
The judge gave quite a performance (based on the snippets I saw) treating Gilowska like a misbehaving 6-year-old and saying in effect: "You may be getting off on a technicality, but I know you're guilty and I'm gonna go ahead and give you piece of my mind, bitch!"
At this point the only way Gilowska could regain anything like credibility would be to tell the Ducks to find another patsy and stay as far away from them as possible.
At times I wish that more Poles had lower taste (or a different kind of low taste). Wouldn't you love to see Gilowska and the judge square off in celebrity boxing?
Maybe celebrity mud wrestling?
BTW, the Tigers are tanking big time.
Tigers are tanking big time????
How can a tiger tank?
Meaning the Detroit Tigers baseball team are no longer winning as many games as they did at the start of the season.
And the advertising slogan of the Esso/Exxon oil company for quite some time was "Put a Tiger in your tank" (gas tank that is). That's not related to "tanking big time" which means, I guess, "being flushed down into the shitter /septic tank"
You UK guys talk funny English, what can I say? Or maybe it's just a generational thing.And the advertising slogan of the Esso/Exxon oil company for quite some time was "Put a Tiger in your tank" (gas tank that is). That's not related to "tanking big time" which means, I guess, "being flushed down into the shitter /septic tank"
Er...and what does the animal rights lobby say about putting tigers in tanks? Eh?
Every baseball team has had a slump this season, ignacy. The Tigers have hit theirs at the wrong time. Still, they've played much better than probably the past 20 years, lead their division (the toughest in baseball this year), they had the best record in the majors for the better part of the season, and they're nearly certain to make the playoffs.
I call that a successful season.
Beatroot, what are the names of the cricket teams in England anyway? Are they anything like the weird soccer ones?
I grew up with my father listening to the Tigers on the radio and drinking Strohs beer. It was a good season.
Hey, I'm rooting for them. May the spirit of Mark --the Bird Fidrych-- invigorate them and move them on to beat the evil Yankees and through the WS to the Champeenship.
I must say, I've never known there were so many Tigers fans till this season.
But to be honest, at this point I'd just be happy with the division.what are the names of the cricket teams in England anyway? Are they anything like the weird soccer ones?
Excuse me? What is so weird about Hamilton Academicals?
And cricket teams are called after their country. So you get magnificent names like Surrey! Yorkshire! That kind of thing...
What you DONT get is Yorkshire Tigers! Yorkshire cricketers are too butch to be called after a pussy cat.
By the way, Gilowska is on the television now saying that she will come back into the government, would quite like to be in the finance ministry again.
She is also frothing at the mouth...
I'm not a Tigers fan. I root for a formerly proud but now pathetic team that shall justifiably remain nameless and then anybody playing the Yankees. I just always like the rags-to-champion team. Last year I was rooting for the Chisox, especially with Pierzynski's Polish Power! I think Fidrych is Pol-Am, too!
Academicals? You're kidding! Reminds me of that Monty Python sketch with Marx, Socrates, et, al. playing soccer, er, ah, football. BR, are there more such cricket team names?????????? Is cricket named after the insect????? Like the Beatles? What an odd society!
Now TC - I think that's who the last commenter was - the Academicals is funny, but don't forget there are plenty of strange American team names.
For example: the Knickerbockers? The White/Red SOX? The Packers? The Marlins? The Heat? The Brewers?
But the best are American college mascots: The Minnesota Golden Gophers? The South Carolina Game Cocks? The TCU Horned Frogs?
The University of California Santa Cruz ... Banana Slugs???
Nah, I think Minor League Baseball is even weirder but Cricket sounds like it could give a run for the money.
There are many more. These are just the ones I thought weird.
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the rightPO has been particularly ineffective as an opposition party despite a deeply unpopular governing coalition.
That is not really true at all. The idea of the coalition is unpopular with some PiS supporters but PiS as a party has completely re-written psephology textbooks, which said that a party that makes coalitions with ‘extremist’ parties will dive bomb in the opinion polls.
In fact PiS – in most polls - are getting higher percentage ratings than they did in the general election last year.
This is not a deeply unpopular government at all. It’s supporters appear to quite like it.It’s supporters appear to quite like it.
That's why they're called supporters beatroot. The fact however, remains, that those supporters are outnumbered by Poles who oppose the government.
Rzeczpospolita recently released a Pole that it has since tucked away into its archives, but I cite it here, and the gist is this: A full 36 percent of the country says it is "against" the Kaczyński government, 31 percent have no opinion, with 28 percent – the lowest result – "for" the government. On top of that, some 48 percent believe the actions of Kaczyński's cabinet will not make Poland's economic situation any better.The fact however, remains, that those supporters are outnumbered by Poles who oppose the government.
In that case then, every single government since 1989 has been 'deeply unpopular'...so it is a meaningless thing to say.
In Poland all governments are minority governments. All governments gain between 25 to 35% of the vote at elections and then make coalitions. So all are 'deeply unpopular'. That's the way it is here and in most of Europe.
The most interesting thing about the government is that it has increased its popularity since last year.In that case then, every single government since 1989 has been 'deeply unpopular'
Let's see - AWS, SLD-UP, and now PiS-SO-LPR...
I think we're in agreement here. All of Poland's governments have been deeply unpopular.
But it's not meaningless to point this out, since the difference is that the opponents of the previous two managed to make political hay out of the unpopularity of those governments. The leftists took over after the rightists, and the rightists took over after the leftists.
PO has so far not managed to capitalize on the government's unpopularity as its opposition predecesors did.
The most interesting thing about the government is that it has increased its popularity since last year.
That's true. That is very interesting, and I would argue, is more evidence for PO's failure in opposition. After all, PO has also increased its popularity since last year - and by some polls are more popular than PiS.
But they still can't manage to stop any of this government's legislation, nor, it seems, beat them in a bloody election!PO has so far not managed to capitalize on the government's unpopularity as its opposition predecesors did.
But the problem here is that PO are a right wing opposition to a right wing government. In the past the left won then the right then the left. So it’s very hard for a post-solidarity opposition to capitalize on a post-solidarity government.
The difference now is the collapse of the left in Poland. The recent pact-electora between SLD and Borowski’s lot plus a few others is a sign that they are getting their act, literally, together. But they still have to make it clear that they are a new generation of leftists unsullied by the old commie party.
If they do then PO will eventually move closer towards them.
But if there is another election anytime soon then the probable outcome will be a POPiS coalition.
You're right about the Left "getting its act together".
But I don't know about a POPiS coalition, or a PO-Lefty grouping either. PO has managed to alienate both sides, and I don't know if they have the political savvy to repair those relationships.
If they do, it will only be with new leadership.Since the governing coalition is mostly right-wingers (in the "conservative moral values, high-spending big government, neo-con" sense), the left immediately went out and formed a coalition of left-leaning (in the "liberal moral values, barely-fiscally responsible, post-communist" sense) parties.
You see, you are trying to force a American political model on Poland and it just doesn’t work.
PiS are left wing conservatives [!], LPR are extreme left wing conservatives and SO are agrarian left wing populists.
PO are right wing Thatcherites (meaning relatively conservative morally plus free market economically).
The SLD are ex-communist social democrats.
UP are left wing post solidarnosc (at least Ryszard Bugaj, its founder is).PiS are left wing conservatives [!], LPR are extreme left wing conservatives
For Poland, these are both pure conservative positions, nonsense about me "forcing an American political model on Poland" notwithstanding - PO are the "liberals" according to the Polish model. That you call LPR "extreme left wing conservatives" I think would insult most members of LPR.
PiS is socially conservative, and economically populist/conservative (please don't forget their promises of cutting taxes, and their "almost" flat tax of 18 percent for nearly everybody and 30 percent for everybody else.) LPR are extreme right wing social conservatives, and are economically socialist.
They are all big-government social conservatives - which is what neocons are.
I could not care less what LPR think of my analysis, it’s correct and that is what counts.
You are trying to force American models on Polish politics and that is why we see over and over again in the foreign media that PO are ‘liberal’ (giving the impression that they are a bit left wing, which they are certainly not) and PiS are conservative (meaning right wing, which they are not in the American sense at all.).
Post communist politics does not fit the left/right categories. Basically parties like PiS believe in social solidarity – they believe in collectivism. That’s a very left wing thing.
PO see the basic unit as being the individual. That’s the right wing starting point.
LPR are typical Polish Catholics where the starting point is the ‘collective’. They think that western liberalism is degenerate because it weakens social solidarity.
That kind of thinking can be found in the writing and speeches of JP II.
These are fundamental concepts of Polish politics which do not fit western European or American models.
I am actually writing a book about this (publishers welcome) and doing a Phd about it, so it is a key idea of why I set up the beatroot blog in the first place.
Polish politics and post communist politics in general does not fit the old right/left duality.that is why we see over and over again in the foreign media that PO are ‘liberal’
It's not just the foreign media beatroot, and you know it. The Polish media calls PO liberal, PiS calls PO liberal, even PO calls ITSELF liberal.
It is because PO is "liberal" in the classical economic sense. And yes, you're right, in no other sense than that.
The post-communist politics in Poland DO fit left-right categories, beatroot. They just don't fit OUR left-right categories.
But that's just it - that's one of the biggest discussions going on in American political theory today - how the neo-cons don't fit the traditional left-right categories, because they are big government social conservatives.
Pointing out that similarity is not "forcing American models..." blah, blah blah.
BR: LPR are typical Polish Catholics where the starting point is the ‘collective’. They think that western liberalism is degenerate because it weakens social solidarity.
That kind of thinking can be found in the writing and speeches of JP II. ___
LPR came out in support of the death penalty, no? That's as far away from the writing and speeches of JP2 as I can imagine. JP2 also opposed the war in Iraq; they seem to be supportive. I think they are more creatures of US neo-con Catholics such as Neuhaus, Weigel, Novak and others who have established a yearly presence in Krakow each summer, probably financed in some ways by US intelligence agencies (funneled through entities like the American Enterprise Institute, First Things, etc.).I think they are more creatures of US neo-con Catholics such as Neuhaus, Weigel, Novak and others
No no no...they have more to do with 1930s nationalism, actually.
By Polish catholicism I meant Polish social catholicism based on Rerum Novarum etc.
Their starting point is 'the collective'....the collective is defined by 'the nation'...and in this case that means Poland which is de4fined by religion.
They think the west is full of rampant individualism and materialism.
They are christian nationalist left conservatives!
If they are Catholic in the context of JP2's positions (as opposed to neo-con Weigelians), then they would be strongly opposed to the death penalty and American imperialism and wouldn't tolerate anti-semitism. None of that seems to be the case.
The problem is that the Kaczynskis are brilliant campaigners but can't govern for shit. They (especially J) loves the backroom dealing so much that he can never let a deal that's been made _be_. He has to keep fiddling with it like a writer who spends 12 years on a single poem. Their coalition partners try, bless 'em, to be taken seriously but can't overcome the basic handicap of being fools and/or scoundrels.
PO are absolutely pathetic campaigners who have perfected the art of grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. They're _so_ pathetic that I don't think they'd do any better at governing. Who does that leave?
SLD has the management know-how but it's members are largely as crooked as a dog's hind leg. They'd do okay if they're watched like a hawk for every second (which is what went wrong the last time) and hostaged to a more reasonable coalition partner but I don't see that happening.
Outlook: bleak. and most Poles wouldn't have it any other way (despite some pro forma grumbling to the contrary).
Ignacy – I am sure you are right about the anti-Semite and death penalty thing, but not being a catholic I won’t get involved in that. Just to say that there are catholic countries that have the death penalty (s.e. asia) and that many many Catholics have exhibited anti-Semitism in the past. Let’s call them Gibbsonites!
Mike PO are absolutely pathetic campaigners who have perfected the art of grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.
Are you watching the ‘battle of the political ads’ nonsense on TV? I think both ads are awful but the PO one is particularly bad as it displays all that is wrong with their campaigning. Trying to make a virtue out of calmness as Tusk does just makes him seem passionless, dull, uninspiring, and weak.
Sweetening the deal
Good post, Gustaw and glad to see that you are posting regularly again! And please keep posting. 'Tween you and BR,the *real* news comes through. Thanks.
What's next, a 51st state party?
Yeah, I dunno. I tend to believe a close relationship with the US is in Poland's interest, as long as it doesn't come at the expense of the EU -- and to be honest, I think it's in the US' interest to have a strong partner like Poland in the EU. Now if only Poland would stop acting like a teething toddler in the bloc and take the leading position among the ten new member states that naturally fits it.
When it comes to this deal in particular, while it's a win-lose for Poland (win=energy security; lose=unpopular missile base) it's a win-win for the US - they get their missile base and very valuable oil and gas transit lines. Who will this hurt? Russia, in the end, and there's still a chance that the deal might not go through if Putin puts his foot down hard enough (read: tells Bush that he'll go easier on Iran if he dares make this deal with the Poles). Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Poland all gain lots of energy independence from Russia if this goes through - which makes me think it might not be such a bad idea.
But they have offered the same deal to the Czechs. And people who live in Greenland probably.
Hi Gustav, I say the US will get Poland or Czech, whoever says yes to have the base, independant of the gas lines...what can the Americans say about gas lines through Russia nd central Europe?
BTW, are you watching the Tigers? Its a miracle!
Hi TC, and welcome.
But what if both say yes? In any case, if either says no, the other is still guaranteed a close, independent source of crude - if the deal goes through, that is.
"Watching" may be going too far - it's pretty difficult to get games here. I've been following them though, and I love that their doing well. Of course, of late they have had a bit of trouble.
Sorry beatroot, I thought I had answered your comment, but blogger ate it I guess.
They'd probably offer the deal to anyone they could. It's a good idea - as I said, a win-win for the US.
Think Texaco is interested in building a pipeline to Greenland?
You can see all the Tigers games (and just about all other games) you want on the internet via mlb.com. It's only about 70 bux per season.
Too rich for my blood. Must admit, coming from Detroit, I'm much more of a hockey and football fan. Baseball just doesn't do it for me.This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
They are not going to send the oil via a pipeline to Greenland...they are going to send it in little parcels via TPSA!
Sunday Vista Blogging XIV
The first picture was taken yesterday (Saturday) and the second one today.