111 out of 180 lawmakers in the room agree with the prosecution
The Czech Parliament has repeated the four-months-old performance when it was deciding whether the Slovak-born billionaire prime minister Babiš (ANO) and his main aide and boss of ANO's lawmakers Mr Faltýnek would be stripped of their immunity. Both men have regained the immunity when their movement won the October elections with 30% of the votes and the prosecution of these two men had to stop and a new permission from the Parliament was needed.
Faltýnek defended himself calmly although he has used several expletives – while rationally mentioning that he simply has to use them. The investigation is a "pile of liquid šit". On the other hand, Babiš himself was rather hysterical. He was repeating his tirades about 30 times. The Mafia is trying to destroy him, he's innocent, you can visit the Stork Nest and see children who visit the place which proves that he hasn't stolen anything, blah blah blah.
Every Czech citizen with the IQ above 90 understands that it's totally self-evident that Babiš stole the $2.5 million (according to the current rate) subsidy for small and medium companies that he obviously wasn't eligible to collect as Czechia's second wealthiest citizen. Someone had to apply for the subsidy and pretend he was a small enough company. No one has proposed any alternative explanation to the explanation that the actual owner was Babiš (and even if it were the family members, they would still be too tightly connected to the rich man and there would still be a problem).
So the applicant was deceiving the officials who were handing out the subsidies. That's how subsidy fraud is defined. One needs to figure out which person was this deceitful party and it's clear that it's Babiš himself – while I think it's much more subtle to figure out whether his collaborators (such as Faltýnek) and family members should be considered fellow perpetrators, they were just abused, or they were basically victims. There are lots of uncertain details that the investigation has to clarify but Babiš's guilt doesn't seem to be one of them.
One statement by Babiš during his today's defense was rather incredible. It wasn't the first time when he talked about the "Mafia" that controls everything and that is going after his neck. His sheep hear such things every day. Palermo is among his favorite words, too. But he added something very specific today. He said that "we live in a country where it's possible to order the prosecution of an inconvenient citizen [such as himself]".
Now, is it true? Is it false? I am sure that some people are trying to do such creepy things but I also believe that they mostly face obstacles and the system self-corrects most of the time. But I don't want to pretend that I am certain that our judicial system is flawless and perfect – I cannot be certain.
But what is remarkable is that this self-described victim has been the finance minister – and the widely understood "de facto prime minister" – for four years (not to mention that he treated important folks in mainstream parties as his puppies in the previous 20 years, and he was a part of the communist elite that had controlled our country during the 41 years before that). And during that time, the current minister of justice, Dr Pelikán, was the justice minister, too. And Dr Pelikán is a member of Babiš's party and a staunch worshiper of His Idiotic Excellency Mr Babiš himself.
So just imagine that. Even after four years, the system and attorneys general led by Dr Pelikán and Mr Babiš resemble Palermo (if you believe the prime minister's accusations) and one may pay for the prosecution of someone else. But Mr Babiš doesn't find it strange to keep Dr Pelikán as the minister of justice, anyway. And when the minister of justice – who was sitting meters from Babiš during his defense – hears someone saying that the judicial system he leads is a Mafia-controlled Hell, he doesn't say a single word. It's spectacular, shocking, absurd. Numerous people from the opposition – everyone except for Babiš's ANO – made this point and I agree with that point completely.
On the other hand, the debate has also featured numerous lawmakers from Babiš's own party. They voted against the proposal to strip their bosses of their immunity (except for the two men themselves who criticized the stripping but also wanted to "look like brave men" so they voted to be handed out). Some of them were terrifying. The best example is Ms Taťána Malá. She spoke like a fanatical apparatchik in the Socialist Youth Union who just needs to express her unlimited loyalty to the communist party to keep her position. She lacks any ability to think impartially, rationally, critically. Her fanaticism towards Babiš looks scary. The Internet is giving her hard time and I think she deserves all of that wholeheartedly.
Also, all ANO's lawmakers have made a perfect U-turn. In the past, they were screaming that the lawmakers' immunity should have been either totally abolished or only applied to crimes related to speeches in the Parliament. They justified that plan by saying that the immunity is constantly being abused by real criminals and everyone is stealing, especially among the politicians. In fact, they always stated that politicians should enjoy "presumption of guilt". And a regulation in the charter of the ANO movement said – just a year ago – that whenever a politician in ANO is charged by the police, he has to resign from all functions.
Quite suddenly, after the two top men of the movement were charged by the police, this rule is no longer written in the amended charter of ANO. And ANO's lawmakers tell us that they have changed their mind. On the contrary, the immunity is needed and politicians mustn't be handed out to the police because the police and prosecutors are the actual criminals while the politicians are innocent, and so on. Some of them described that U-turn as a quasi-religious "confession".
And these staggeringly hypocritical clowns would get at least those 30% in the next elections again. Imagining the magnitude of the stupidity of these voters simply terrifies me. One-third of the nation, one-third of our families, workplaces, rings of friends, whatever are dumber than a doorknob. Babiš may be relocated to a prison but his 1.5 million stupid voters won't evaporate.
Now, the Parliament approved a no-confidence vote in the government some two days ago. The government had to send a resignation letter. President Zeman "doesn't have enough time" for unimportant events such as the resignation of the Czech government ;-), we were told by the Prague Castle, so he will only accept the resignation next Wednesday, after a one-week-long delay.
For this reason, Babiš became the "premier in trouble" (who can be treated just like any other criminal by the police) before he turned into a "premier in the state of resignation".
Next weekend, we have the second round of the presidential elections. Mr Miloš Zeman, the current president, will be challenged by chemist and former boss of the Czech Academy of Sciences Mr Jiří Drahoš. If I will vote at all, I will vote for Zeman – despite his perceived alliance with Babiš which seems less important now given Babiš's police status.
I have lots of trouble with Mr Drahoš (who previously promised not to name Babiš as the prime minister again if Babiš is investigated by the police). He looks like a typical mediocre opportunist in the scholarly world. His research credentials are rather poor – a typical image of an average Czech scholar and/or a typical scholar who focuses on doing bureaucracy and politics. And most of his sentences are "I don't know" or "I am not sure". He doesn't have clear opinions about anything and the environment around him tries to spin it as an advantage. He's unquestionably a grey invisible man who got this high because nobody saw him as a problem.
Those aren't advantages from my perspective especially if there exist reasonable worries that he – as a rather clear member or horse of the politically correct "Prague Café" environment – could become an obedient puppy of Angela Merkel. Most of the other anti-Zeman candidates have endorsed Drahoš but I am an example (not quite a unique example, I think) of a voter of Topolánek's who prefers Zeman. My guess is that at the end, Zeman will beat Drahoš even if Zeman "runs" in a coffin. Some negative pro-Zeman billboards have suggested that Drahoš could be pro-mass-migration. I am not terribly happy about negative campaigns but I do think that this is a fair and important point to be made right now and most of the voters will agree that the point is important and negative for Drahoš.