T Nation

McCarthy Was An Amateur

Polish witchhunt

By Ignacio Ramonet

"The Poles call it the law of lustration, a term meaning ritual purification; the word has strong connotations of repentance and penitence in Poland, where history and Catholicism are so closely intertwined.

Under the law, which was passed last October and entered into force on 15 March this year, 700,000 Poles are required to confess any collaboration with the communists between 1945 and 1989. All senior civil servants, university professors, lawyers, headmasters and journalists born before 1972 must now confess their past sins by 15 May.

They must all fill in a form and answer the question: ?Did you secretly and knowingly collaborate with the former communist security services?? The forms must be handed to their immediate superiors, who will forward them to the Institute of National Memory in Warsaw, which will check its records and issue a certificate of political purity.

Journalists employed in any public service will be dismissed automatically if they collaborated. Anyone who refuses to answer the question or who is proved to have lied may be banned from their profession for 10 years.

This mad law, which is causing uproar in the European Union, makes the McCarthyites of the United States in the 1950s look like amateurs at the practise of anti-communism. It is the main feature of a witchhunt launched by the authorities after the conservative president, Lech Kaczynski, and his twin brother, prime minister Jaroskaw Kaczynski, came to power in Poland in October 2005.

Many Poles consider the law to be unconstitutional because it requires citizens to prove that they did not do something. It may be quashed by the Constitutional Court, which will deliver its verdict in May.

The ruling rightwing, Catholic and nationalist coalition (the Kaczynski brothers? Law and Justice party, the agrarian Self Defence party and the League of Polish Families) is pursuing a disturbing policy of tough enforcement of moral values.

Roman Giertych, deputy prime minister, minister of education and leader of the League, has just tabled a homophobic bill, causing more international uproar and protests from human rights organisations. Under the bill, which could be presented within a month, any person disclosing their homosexuality ?or any other sexual deviation? in a university or scholastic establishment would be liable to a fine, dismissal or a term of imprisonment.

The minister?s father, the League MEP Maciej Giertych, caused protests in February when he published an antisemitic pamphlet, paid for by the European parliament and issued under its logo, containing such statements as ?the Jews create their own ghettos? and ?antisemitism is not racism?.

These anti-communist purges and attempts to reimpose an authoritarian moral order in Poland ? and also to some extent in Ukraine, Lithuania and other countries formerly in the eastern bloc ? conceal a worrying nostalgia for the period before the second world war, when racism was blatant. Some of those caught up in the current wave of revisionism go as far as extolling collaboration with the Third Reich against the Soviet Union.

The idea, so popular with the media, that Putin?s Russia is merely a covert extension of the old USSR inspires the spirit that prompted Warsaw to agree to instal on Polish territory the anti-missile shield designed by the Pentagon to protect the United States.

It did that without deigning to consult its partners in the EU and Nato. Which goes to show that paranoia in politics can lead not only to spiritual atrophy but also to a special form of treachery."

Any thoughts? Is Poland better off with the Kaczynskis in charge?

Fascinating story! The people of Poland are traditionally very outspoken and just. I suspect that this sort of witch hunt won’t fly very far.

Every country has whack jobs —we’ve got Nancy, they’ve got those brothers.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Fascinating story! The people of Poland are traditionally very outspoken and just. I suspect that this sort of witch hunt won’t fly very far.

Every country has whack jobs —we’ve got Nancy, they’ve got those brothers.[/quote]

You manage to turn just about everything into propaganda don’t you?

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Fascinating story! The people of Poland are traditionally very outspoken and just. I suspect that this sort of witch hunt won’t fly very far.

Every country has whack jobs —we’ve got Nancy, they’ve got those brothers.

You manage to turn just about everything into propaganda don’t you?[/quote]

Meh, HH is an amateur.

“The Kaczynskis are fervent supporters of the Bush doctrine.”

Now THAT is propaganda!!!

LOL

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Fascinating story! The people of Poland are traditionally very outspoken and just. I suspect that this sort of witch hunt won’t fly very far.

Every country has whack jobs —we’ve got Nancy, they’ve got those brothers.

You manage to turn just about everything into propaganda don’t you?[/quote]

Wouldn’t you agree that Nancy trying to take over President Bush’s ‘turf’, relations between countries, is just plain wrong? She went to Syria and tried to intervene in foreign policy. She’s a whack job.

If you went outside of the company you work for, over your boss’ head, and started negotiations with another company, what would the reaction be?

[quote]Headhunter wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Fascinating story! The people of Poland are traditionally very outspoken and just. I suspect that this sort of witch hunt won’t fly very far.

Every country has whack jobs —we’ve got Nancy, they’ve got those brothers.

You manage to turn just about everything into propaganda don’t you?

Wouldn’t you agree that Nancy trying to take over President Bush’s ‘turf’, relations between countries, is just plain wrong? She went to Syria and tried to intervene in foreign policy. She’s a whack job.

If you went outside of the company you work for, over your boss’ head, and started negotiations with another company, what would the reaction be?

[/quote]

Well, except for the fact that he is not her boss, that he cannot expect more respect for the constitution and its division of power than he is willing to show and that he thinks that he has powers he simply hasn?t under the US constitution…

All in all an excellent time to remind the world that he is not the only face of the USA. Not even the only official one.

[quote]orion wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
Headhunter wrote:
Fascinating story! The people of Poland are traditionally very outspoken and just. I suspect that this sort of witch hunt won’t fly very far.

Every country has whack jobs —we’ve got Nancy, they’ve got those brothers.

You manage to turn just about everything into propaganda don’t you?

Wouldn’t you agree that Nancy trying to take over President Bush’s ‘turf’, relations between countries, is just plain wrong? She went to Syria and tried to intervene in foreign policy. She’s a whack job.

If you went outside of the company you work for, over your boss’ head, and started negotiations with another company, what would the reaction be?

Well, except for the fact that he is not her boss, that he cannot expect more respect for the constitution and its division of power than he is willing to show and that he thinks that he has powers he simply hasn?t under the US constitution…

All in all an excellent time to remind the world that he is not the only face of the USA. Not even the only official one.[/quote]

GWB was elected in a national election and is the executive leader, whether you support him or not. It is his role to lead foriegn policy.

Madame Chairwoman was elected by her congressional district to represent certain parts of San Francisco. Her party elected her to speak for them, in the house. She has no foriegn policy authority and is expressly forbidden from acting in that capacity by law.

[quote]Headhunter wrote:

If you went outside of the company you work for, over your boss’ head, and started negotiations with another company, what would the reaction be?

[/quote]
She doesn’t “work” for the President of the US. The president is no more her boss than he is yours or mine. He directs the executive branch of government and nothing more. Just because men and women in uniform are ordered to salute him doesn’t make him “Dear Leader”.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Madame Chairwoman was elected by her congressional district to represent certain parts of San Francisco. Her party elected her to speak for them, in the house. She has no foriegn policy authority and is expressly forbidden from acting in that capacity by law.

[/quote]
Bush does not speak for the entire country.

People seem to forget that we have the right to dissenting opinions of our leaders and we also have the right to tell other leaders what we actually think of our current leaders. I am sure foreign leaders are well aware of President Bush’s foreign policy. They may not, however, be aware of the other side. Is there only one side to consider?

[quote]hedo wrote:
She has no foriegn policy authority and is expressly forbidden from acting in that capacity by law. [/quote]

I had no idea that was the case. Is Gonzales gonna sue her for “acting in that capacity”?

[quote]hedo wrote:

GWB was elected in a national election and is the executive leader, whether you support him or not. It is his role to lead foriegn policy.

Madame Chairwoman was elected by her congressional district to represent certain parts of San Francisco. Her party elected her to speak for them, in the house. She has no foriegn policy authority and is expressly forbidden from acting in that capacity by law.

[/quote]

Her talking to whomever does not take anything away from him being the leader in foreign policy.

A president however that thinks he can somehow ammend laws by adding his private opinion, start wars and fund them without the approval of congress and gut the Magna Charta for Christs sake, is not the goto guy for political etiquette and I?d rather not hear his opinion about it.

Plus, he is still not her boss.

Anyone discussing her journey instead of trying to impeach him does so for partisan reasons and not out of concern for the constitution.

[quote]lixy wrote:
hedo wrote:
She has no foriegn policy authority and is expressly forbidden from acting in that capacity by law.

I had no idea that was the case. Is Gonzales gonna sue her for “acting in that capacity”?

[/quote]

Hope so.

[quote]orion wrote:
hedo wrote:

GWB was elected in a national election and is the executive leader, whether you support him or not. It is his role to lead foriegn policy.

Madame Chairwoman was elected by her congressional district to represent certain parts of San Francisco. Her party elected her to speak for them, in the house. She has no foriegn policy authority and is expressly forbidden from acting in that capacity by law.

Her talking to whomever does not take anything away from him being the leader in foreign policy.

A president however that thinks he can somehow ammend laws by adding his private opinion, start wars and fund them without the approval of congress and gut the Magna Charta for Christs sake, is not the goto guy for political etiquette and I?d rather not hear his opinion about it.

Plus, he is still not her boss.

Anyone discussing her journey instead of trying to impeach him does so for partisan reasons and not out of concern for the constitution.

[/quote]

Fascinating opinions but she still is not permitted to negotiate with foreign govenments. The Logan act prevents her from doing so.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Bush does not speak for the entire country. [/quote]

In matters of foreign affairs - yes, he does.

Wow.

Outside of your lack of understanding generally, your point is undermined by the simple fact that, as to foreign policy, there is no other side.

[quote]hedo wrote:

Fascinating opinions but she still is not permitted to negotiate with foreign govenments. The Logan act prevents her from doing so.

[/quote]

If I were an American Republican I`d answer that she is not negotiating, she is freedom talking.

Since I am not, I will simply say that since she has no authority to sign anything that would bind the US to to anything (as if that meant anything after Guantanamo), she literally cannot negatiote in the true sense of the word, she can only exchange opinions.

All of that does not change that it is very strange that people use the constitution when it supports their argument when they piss on it when it doesn`t.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Outside of your lack of understanding generally, your point is undermined by the simple fact that, as to foreign policy, there is no other side. [/quote]

There is always another side. Just because you see it as a black or white issue doesn’t make it so. The speaker of the house is beholden only to the US constitution and her constituency. There is nothing prohibiting her from speaking to leaders of other countries in an official capacity.

If Bush were doing his job properly this wouldn’t be necessary. In fact, I would say as a leader of the House of Representatives it is in her best interest to talk to everyone before making any decisions and not take the Bush Administration’s words as gospel that might affect this country. We see where that got us with Iraq to begin with.

[quote]hedo wrote:
Fascinating opinions but she still is not permitted to negotiate with foreign govenments. The Logan act prevents her from doing so.

[/quote]
What was she supposedly negotiating? A timeline for withdrawal from Iraq?

Two years from now, the only certainty is that Bush will be gone. It’s time to start fostering friendships that the Bush Administration has been neglecting.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

There is always another side. Just because you see it as a black or white issue doesn’t make it so.[/quote]

I am not saying there aren’t varying opinions - there are hundreds I am sure. You are missing the point. There is one position to be taken to foreign heads of state and that is the executive branch’s.

I am not talking about the editorial page at the New York Times.

Yes she is, and the Constitution vests that power solely in the hands of the President (makes treaties, advice and consent of the Senate, etc.). No one else has the ability (save executive branch delegates) to go to a foreign head of state with policy ideas on behalf of the nation.

You really should read the Constitution - fascinating document.

Absolutely, unequivocally, irrefutably incorrect. She has no constitutional power - none - to go advance foreign policy with heads of state. None. Just because you want her to doesn’t make it so.

It has nothing to do with Bush - it is value-neutral. Members of Congress don’t get to substitute the President’s foreign policy on their own because “the President isn’t doing his job right”, purely as a constitutional matter.

That is a ridiculous statement on its face - and would be nothing but a partisan quagmire if these restrictions weren’t in place.

Under your theory, there would be no coherent foreign policy at all - Congressmen and Senators would be all over the map offering “different” foreign policy objectives to the President’s, under every administratioon. This has no basis in law, history, or common sense.

Again, you are making value judgments - and its pointless. Just because you want an alternative to Bush’s policy out in the world doesn’t mean anyone has the authority to do it.

You are advancing naked politics without seeing the importance of the separation of powers.

And it doesn’t matter what you think the Speaker’s “best interests” are - what matters is what she can and can’t do.

It doesn’t matter if you like the policy or not - the President has the sole power. No federal public servant has the authority to go into the world and undermine the President’s foreign policy choices period - personal preferences on policy never enter the equation.

This is basic civics, Lifticus. You have a strange habit of merely making things up and asserting them as truth. It is a mess.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
I am not saying there aren’t varying opinions - there are hundreds I am sure. You are missing the point. There is one position to be taken to foreign heads of state and that is the executive branch’s.
[/quote]

Yes, in matters of contracts or treaties or enforcement of actual policy this is a valid judgement. She went to the ME with none of these intentions other than dialog and that is not forbidden.

The Bush Administration doesn’t like this because it is one more data point in a litany of data points that makes him and his Administration look bad.

BTW, I am not a Pelocy supporter. I do however, support efforts at dialog.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

Yes, in matters of contracts or treaties or enforcement of actual policy this is a valid judgement. She went to the ME with none of these intentions other than dialog and that is not forbidden.[/quote]

Seriously, why assert something you made up as truth?

Pelosi is forbidden from doing anything but fact-finding, without executive permission. She cannot create expectations, suggest plans, suggest alternative policies (which she did - ask Israel).

Creating dialogue? You have no foundation for that claim.

The Bush administration has a specific policy toward Syria - Pelosi did not act in accordance with it.

…the “delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relations.” -Curtiss-Wright Export case

Quite right, and it is the administration’s prerogative to say yay or nay to it. She has no inherent ability to do it - and no Speaker before her had it either.

I couldn’t care less if you support her or not - I only care if her attempt at a “shadow presidency” in foreign affairs is permissible, and it is not.