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The Story of Harvest Moon's Development
I'm Nickadimoose. I'm an amateur game historian who likes to do write-ups and videos about video game history; today I wanted to talk about the origins of the Harvest Moon franchise, a bit of an oddity. The reason I say odd is the late release window on the SNES and how it redefined how people imagined simulation games of the time. It would also prove to inspire later generations of developers, including ConcernedApe, who would go on to bring us Stardew Valley.
If you'd rather watch the video on the subject, rather than read you can do that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4xpSCp-u4E
As a warning, this wasn't my best work. I'm still trying to master the video production stuff.
As difficult as it might be to believe in this day and age there was a time when games about farming didn’t exist. If you wanted to plant vegetables, pet cows, or harvest crops, you had to go out to the country and do it yourself. Then on August 9th, 1996, a game called Bokujo Monogatari released in Japan and fixed all that. Although you might know it better by the name Harvest Moon.
Harvest Moon was created by developer Yasuhiro Wada and was inspired by his life growing up in the Japanese countryside. As a child, he always dreamed about leaving his home in Kyushu and moving to the hustle & bustle of a large city.
Harvest Moon was the original farming simulator - a game all about quiet country living, building relationships, and fixing a dilapidated farm that you inherit from your grandfather. If you think this sounds a lot like Stardew Valley, you’re right. This game was the Stardew Valley of 1996.
After graduating from a local university, he moved to Shibuya and found a job with game development studio, Pack-In-Video. As the months of his life in the big city went by, he began to think more and more about his old life and the stark differences between country and city living; cities were loud, teeming with people, a complete reversal of what he was used to. The country was quiet, filled with close-knit communities that were intertwined. It was these feelings that instilled in him a deep appreciation for his old life and made him want to recreate that experience in a video game.
The more Wada worked on projects for Pack-In-Video the more his desire began to grow to explore the concept of a game that could capture the essence of his old rural life.
Inspired by games like Derby Stallion and SimCity, he could see the foundation for his vision, just not the final product. These games were proof that players out there desired more than just platformers, RPGs, and beat-em-ups. They wanted simulation games that could offer them a different kind of experience.
And after two years of working on localization projects, he successfully pitched his idea to the company’s higher ups, who greenlit the project with a small budget. Wada was put in charge of a team of 10 people, including Setsuko Miyakoshi (writer) and Tomomi Yamatate (programmer). Miyakoshi and Yamatate would become his closest allies on what would become Harvest Moon, helping turn Wada’s dream into a reality.
Development started pretty slowly, first exploring the concept by drafting three key points on paper he wanted to explore: farming, interaction, and cattle.
Farming is pretty obvious, he wanted the player to be able to plant and grow crops. To feel like they’re involved in the day-to-day operations of a farm they’ve built from the ground up. Gathering tools for use, planning ideal crop yields, and selling at market. Similar to SimCity, but without the depth. Most simulation games of this age dealt with raw numbers, positive cash flow, negative cash flow, visitors to your park, etc. Wada wanted to bring the human element by allowing the player to engage in personal relationships, grow with the town, and become a part of the small close-knit community.
Wada wanted everything to relate to the allure around successfully raising cattle. He believed that cattle represented the involvement of all of the core elements of Harvest Moon. Echoing the themes of care, planning, and attachment a farmer would get form really working on a farm.
Back in early alpha when the graphics engine was developed the farm wasn’t much. It consisted of just a small plot of land, populated by a few rocks, tree limbs, and had a farmer that had 30% of the moving animations completed. They wanted to test the basic clearing mechanic of managing your land, the core aspect of Harvest Moon’s gameplay, to see if it would be fun. Luckily It was! It was fun and satisfying to see the land, which starts off pretty overgrown, progress to being clean and maintained by the player.
But as they put more of the pieces together however, they were shocked to discover that the different elements weren’t cohesive. The prototype had turned from fun and satisfying, to tedious and boring.
In an effort to fix this, not unlike a failed recipe, they kept adding new things to the mix hoping to stumble over the one idea that could make the dish taste better. The more they added however, the more sour the game began to become. Gameplay slowed to a crawl from horrid frame rate drops from all the on screen assets and it made it almost impossible to play.
The months spent adding material to the game had to be scaled back, reverted to an earlier build. The art style had to be downgraded as well. It was a definite blow to the development team--after months of work, adding new things, and chasing new ideas, what they were left with was a version akin to the alpha prototype they built to test the clearing mechanic. The last place you want to be during development. There was hope that this would be the last of the setbacks, but the ultimate blow was waiting just ahead, like a tiger in the bushes; The studio went bankrupt.
It was estimated that Wada’s team had 80% of Bokujo’s assets complete, but no overall game to put them in yet. A company called Victor Entertainment stepped in and purchased the bankrupt studio, merging it with their game development division, Victor Interactive Software, but the financial stability of Wada’s project was still in jeopardy. They were already depressed from having to revert the game’s state, but the studio going bankrupt really pushed Wada into a spiral. He was ready to pull the plug and call it quits on his dream.
Wada and his two friends, Setsuko Miyakoshi and Tomomi Yamatate, convinced him to keep the project going and suggested he reach out to their new owners, Victor Entertainment for financial support.
He would once again have to pitch the validity of his farming simulator to higher ups. Bokujo’s fate was in the hands of people Wada didn’t even know.
They must have seen something worthwhile in what he was making though, because they greenlit the project. Then Victor Entertainment gave them a fraction of their old budget, barely enough money in the coffers to last a year.To say that three team studio experienced a massive crunch is an understatement. In order to get Bokujo back on track they had a lot of work to do.
Yamatate, the programmer, threw out the old code from the previous build and started from scratch. Miyakoshi worked on the script, character dialogue and helped with general planning. Wada stayed on the concept/planning side of things, organizing the game as they moved along at break-neck pace, day in and day out.
Then after 6 months of living, eating, and sleeping in the office, Wada’s dream was finally finished. The farming simulator, Bokujo, was ready to meet the world.
Sales were going to be difficult though, not only because it was unknown but also because of the timing of its release: August 1996. For reference, the N64 premiered in Japan two months earlier. With a new system already out in the market, expectations for Super Famicom titles were low--everyone had already moved on.
Initially the game started off selling just 20,000 units. But, as word of mouth about Bokujo’s unique gameplay, sales rose to a little over 100,000 in just a few short months.
As sales of Bokujo rose, Victor Interactive Software, began looking for ways to expand the games’ audience internationally. They came into contact with a company called Natsume and brokered a deal to localize Bokujo for the west. Natsume chose to call the localized version of Bokujo, Harvest Moon.
The newly minted Harvest Moon released to the SNES June 1997, but like its Japanese counterpart, it grew a dedicated following quickly.
It was always supposed to be a one and done type of game, just an attempt to see if Wada could capture the magic of country-living. But, the higher ups at Victor Interactive had a different strategy in mind. To them, not tapping into the surge of popularity and exploring just how far they could take the farming simulator was a massive waste. Launching a new intellectual property is the hardest part of development. The fans were there, the groundwork was there, as was the potential.
After the higher ups convinced Wada to continue making the series, he was given staff, budget, and the directive to work on three new games. Harvest Moon Gameboy, Harvest Moon Gameboy Color, and Harvest Moon 64. The development team fragmented into two groups: one working on the Gameboy versions and the other working on main-line titles.
While Harvest Moon 64 underwent development, excitement in the video-game industry was palpable and energetic thanks to the recent releases of the PS1 and the Saturn systems. Wada, being a pretty enthusiastic gamer himself, loved the idea of developing for these other systems.
As a result, after the Gameboy team released Harvest Moon GB and Harvest Moon GBC, they were commissioned to port Harvest Moon 64 over to the playstation. This port of the N64 version would come to be known by the name Harvest Moon: Back to Nature.
Wada didn’t want it to be a direct port either. He wanted Back to Nature to be a new experience for playstation players. And in order to do that, he gave the Gameboy team free reign on creating new dialogue and injecting new elements into the game. When Wada sat down to review the work of the Gameboy team, a few months before Back to Nature was set to be released, he found everything about his characters had changed. Dialog, events, and even the personalities of the characters had changed. Instead of insisting on revision, Back to Nature was released as is, and two very different versions of Harvest Moon 64 emerged.
The release of Harvest Moon 64 and Back to Nature began a golden age for the franchise; both games were a perfect follow-up to the original, not only expanding on its founding concepts, but improving them in a full 3D environment.
They would follow this release pattern for a while, never quite re-capturing the magic of the SNES, N64, PS1, or Saturn versions. They weren’t bad games, in fact, critics and fans kept praising the series for trying new things and continually innovating on the experience that made the older games so popular.
When the team at Victor Interactive Software, now Marvelous Inc, began work on Harvest Moon DS, development would be led by Yoshifumi Hashimoto, who would go on to create the Rune Factory games. It was here that Wada stepped back from game development and took on a more supervisory role. He was still involved in the development process, but he left the day-to-day operations to other members of his team. Although he loved his franchise and the work his team had done, he would continue to pull away from Bokujo, until one day he made up his mind to finally leave and pursue his own projects.
The last project Yasuhiro Wada would be involved with in the Bokujo series was Animal Parade in 2008. He worked with his old colleagues, one more time, on developing his last game of the franchise with a much younger development team. He would go on to say the whole experience was a bit bittersweet. Having to say goodbye to a franchise he loved was difficult, but seeing the enthusiasm of a young, fresh development team gave him hope for what was to come. They had a wealth of new ideas and a passion for the games that just wasn’t with him anymore. He would go on to found ToyBox Inc, his own game development company, and begin working on new projects.
When 2014 rolled around, we found the series in a really awkward place; Xseed Games, a subsidiary of Marvelous Inc., became the localization arm of Bokujo, so they didn’t need Natsume anymore to localize games in the west.
Instead of abandoning the name Harvest Moon, Natsume founded it’s own development studio called Tabot, Inc in 2012 and continued to release games under the Harvest Moon. The first of those was Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, which received a 47/100 on Metacritic, leaving many long-time fans of the series to wonder what the hell happened? It had land terraforming, graphics that looked like a mobile title and was such a departure from the quality of its predecessors that it was hard to believe it was a game from the same franchise. Of course, it wasn't, but the fans didn’t know that. Because Natsume never volunteered that information to the public.
Bokujo, the original harvest moon as we know it, lives on under the name Story of Seasons in the west.
Story of Seasons has continued its tradition of development excellence, winning the attention of fans who understandably wonder where this farming game suddenly came from. On the flip-side Natsume is continuing development on the Harvest Moon franchise, with the newest game, One World, set to release later this year.
The History of Harvest Moon is a chaotic one.
From small beginnings on paper to the loss of it’s creator, Harvest Moon has experienced a lot of ups and downs over the long years, but it's a series that I'm glad to still see alive. With the advent of Stardew Valley, the features of the more well known farming simulation games will have to rise to meet the level of accessibility Stardew has raised the bar for.
Despite being so late to the SNES, the diverse gameplay elements, the tenants of love, care and patience made one hell of an experience that players would always remember.
That's all I have and all I managed to dig up over the time I was working on the script/video for this franchise. I'd love to hear about your personal experience with the games in the series. A lot of people I spoke with said past the N64/PlayStation era there were some wonderful entries into the franchise, but that's where I stopped playing.
If you have any questions, let me know. I've also done write ups on Fire Emblem, EverQuest, The History of Nintendo, Cuphead, EverQuest II, Hollow Knight and a couple others. Thanks for reading!
Sourceshttps://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/189061/Video_The_making_of_the_original_SNES_Harvest_Moon.php (references Wada’s early life, growing up on a farm in the country-side, the pressure he had on his shoulders from landing his first game development job, as well as his desire to try different approaches compared to his mentors to create video-games; this ultimately led to him trying to capture his young life digitally in Harvest Moon.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derby_Stallion (the game that inspired Wada to try Harvest Moon in a farm setting).
https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1015842/Classic-Game-Postmortem-Harvest (Wada speaking about the making of Harvest Moon; this includes his early life as well as the timeline for Harvest Moon up to 2011/2012).
https://www.gdcvault.com/play/1016368/Classic-Game-Postmortem-Harvest (translation of the above text, since the original video is strictly in Japanese).
https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2729/harvest_man_yasuhiro_wadas_.php?print=1 (confirmation of the move to Victor Interactive after Pack-In-Video was absorbed)
https://tcrf.net/Harvest_Moon_(SNES) (unused assets in the SNES Harvest Moon)
How PIS destroyed Poland.
I can't be silent anymore. In 2018, out of 1076 abortions in Poland, 1 was because of rape, 25 because it was dangerous for the woman's life and 1050 because of an unhealthy fetus. It means that PIS just totally banned abortion in Poland
Too few Europeans are aware of the depth of this crisis. The current Polish government is destroying the country from inside-out with its nepotism, religious zeal, communistic tactics, social programs and funding verge organizations (or trolls). It breaks every single law, making unconstitutional laws since 2015 and destroying the court of law. How Poland is pushing EU into crisis - rise of populism. The video is 2 years old and now it's worst
PIS staffed every single judicial court with its own people (ending the impartiality of judges). The very aggressive social 500+ program increased the job inactivity of Poles to 48% (48% of 15+ Polish citizens are NEET. Unemployment is at 5-6%). The Job vacancies in Poland are at the lowest level in EU. The corruption and nepotism is rampant, more than 1000 family members and friends are in public companies or in different Ministries. Polish PIS high ranking politicians are also making money together with pimps and mafia (see scandals down there). They are also giving millions of euros from public money to the Catholic Church. They are paying trolls to spew hate on Facebook, via Whatsapp and on the web. Some of them are hiding and not prosecuting pedophiles in the Catholic Church. Poland has almost the lowest innovation in EU. In 15 indexes tracking freedom and democracy in Europe Poland went from an average position of 12 out of 28 in 2010 to 23 out of 28 in 2019. I mean, not to diminish Trump’s “awesomeness” but imagine if the WHOLE republican party in the US was Trump-like. Shady deals, family in the govt, creating discord, staffing courts with their own judges. I’m just mortified.
For further reading I recommend: Sadurski, Wojciech. "Poland's Constitutional Breakdown", Oxford University Press, 2019.
Acronyms and main characters:
- PIS- current govt, Law and Justice, a fringe party with populist programs. Majority in Parliament. President is also from PIS. Opposition has the Senate.
- J. Kaczynski, PIS leader, Twin brother of the dead Polish president
- Z. Ziobro, General Prosecutor and Minister of Justice. PIS
- A. Duda, President. PIS
- M. Banas, Head of the Supreme Audit office. PIS
- M. Morawiecki, Prime minister. PIS
- T. Rydzyk Catholic priest, founder of the conservative Radio Maryja station and tv TRWAM
- J. Kurski, chairman of the Polish national state broadcaster TVP. PIS
- M. Kuchcinski, ex-Marshal of the lower house. PIS
- B. Szydlo, ex-prime minister. PIS
PiS changes electoral rules in an unconstitutional move. Presidential "elections" 2020 are the Biggest legal blunder of the yearPoland Is Showing the World How Not to Run a Pandemic Election. The upcoming Polish election is shaping up to be a farce. Washington should learn from Warsaw’s mistakes before November.
Why Poland’s “ghost election” sends a warning about its democracy
Wikipedia about this blunder
- Pis doesn't want to declare a constitutional state of emergence or state of natural disaster because it would postpone the elections. So they declared a state of epidemic that doesn't allow to limit the freedom of movement or other liberties Ombudsman opinion
- At first, PiS decided to hold the presidential elections on 10 May despite the public outcry at holding elections at the height of a pandemic. The adoption of generalised voting by post by the Polish parliament, about one month before the planned elections, violates several constitutional standards. It breaches a prohibition on making changes to the electoral law less than six months before an election and a ban on hiding new laws under the guise of amendments to an existing draft.
- Then PiS has excluded a key institution from the process of preparing the elections: the National Electoral Commission (PKW), which can no longer print the voting cards. On the 17th of April president Andrzej Duda signed a bill depriving the PKW of the powers to organise elections
- So in a particularly Kafkaesque twist, the ministry appointed J. Sasin, one of the MP, to organize the elections and he printed 30M ballots before the special election legislation was even signed into law. For months there was a ballot hunt to know where the ballots are stored. 70 million zloty bill for Poland’s abandoned presidential election
- At 02:26 am on 23 April, every Polish mayor and city council president received an anonymous, unsigned e-mail from Polish Post saying that they were required to deliver the private data of 30 million Polish citizens including their PESEL (national identification number), date of birth, address, and other private data in a .txt file format lacking any passwords or security. But local governments, which hold that data, are refusing to hand it over, arguing that the postal service has no legal right to get the files.
- On 29 April 2020, 11 days before the planned election date, election candidate Żółtek presented a copy of an "unlawful" electoral ballot at a press conference. It had NO securities to prevent counterfeit copies (reminder: As of 2 May 2020, Polish law did not authorise Poczta Polska to organise postal voting nor printing of ballots) . Poczta Polska notified the Internal Security Agency about the leak. But how to prove something that shouldn't exist? So many trolls just printed the copy and put it in mailboxes and on the street Picture of police trying to see if this is a copy or not of an illegal ballot
- 4 days before the election, “Simply put, in a democratic country, the government decided — consciously — not to organise the election of the head of state.” Collapse of Polish democracy “What happened with this agreement is truly unprecedented: the presidential election in Poland was not postponed, it was just cancelled,”. As the leaders reached their agreement, no constitutional institution was involved in the process, including the electoral commission, the president, the Sejm and the Supreme Court – the latter was meant to cancel the election according to the letter of the document. However, the two politicians could be certain that their agreement, although un-constitutional, would prove effective because of the complete take-over of the Supreme Court by the Law and Justice nominees since the beginning of May following the expiry of the term of the former President of the Supreme Court Małgorzata Gersdorf. Still, it is highly unusual for the leaders of political parties to openly state what the Supreme Court would decide. Source
- 3 days before the election, the National Electoral Commission (PKW) - controlled by PIS since a month- declared that the election would not be able to take place on 10 May 2020 because there were no candidates???!!! Source So the candidates will need to ONCE again collect 100k signatures to be eligible to be candidates.
- On 3 June 2020, the Marshal of the Sejm ordered the first round of the election to be held on 28 June 2020.
- And now the cherry on top. Elections on 28 june 2020 are UNCONSTITUTIONAL why? art 128.2 of the constitution: "The election of the President of the Republic shall be ordered by the Marshal of the Sejm to be held on a day no sooner than 100 days and no later than 75 days before expiry of the term of office of the serving President of the Republic, and in the event of the office of President of the Republic falling vacant - no later than the 14th day thereafter(...)". June 28 was 70 days before the expiry. So the next election must be announced within 14 days after the office of president is vacated. So the Speaker of the Sejm can announce new elections AT THE EARLIEST after 6th of August. source
- The whipped cream on top of the cherry? These elections are not free, not secret and not for everyone. They are not free because the electoral commission is controlled by PIS, they are not secret because if you vote via post you need to sign the ballot with your name + the attached envelope is see-trough. 14 sins of ballot elections Voter suppression: Old, pregnant and people with kids on their arms can vote first Part 2/5
Destruction of the rule of law.Some of the passages below are taken from this pdf
No member state in the history of the EU has ever gone as far in subjugating its courts to executive control as the current Polish government. The Polish case has become a test whether it is possible to create a Soviet-style justice system in an EU member state; a system where the control of courts, prosecutors and judges lies with the executive and a single party.
Across Europe, national courts recognise the judgements of courts in other member states, whether these involve commercial law, the European arrest warrant or child custody. Judges must assume that courts across the EU operate according to common values and principles set out in the European Union Treaty and in its Charter of Fundamental Rights. Once judges across the EU have reason to doubt whether courts in any member state provide effective judicial protection, the legal order on which the EU rests collapses.
Freedom house - How PIS captured Poland’s Courts
Constitutional Tribunal changesIt all began with the constitutional crisis four years ago. Constitutional crisis and the destruction of the rule of law In 2015, parliament changed the law on the Constitutional Tribunal, which rules on the constitutionality of legislation. The changes allowed them to annul the nominations of three judges made by the previous parliament and appoint their own. It shortened the terms of the tribunal's president and vice-president from nine to three years. The tribunal ruled the move unconstitutional in an open rebellion, but the dispute remains unresolved. Julia Przylebska - was illegally named the president of the Tribunal court by the president. And now Kaczynski, the PM have meetings at her house. Nice separation of power
There's too much to describe. For further info please visit the link. It is an amazing summary of the whole ordeal. timeline
Supreme Court changesThe European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said one of the most controversial reforms was to do with the Supreme court, which, among other duties, is responsible for confirming election results. The idea was to lower the age of retirement for Supreme Court justices from 70 to 65, but allow the Polish president to grant a five-year extension to whomever they deemed worthy. In 2019, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) — the EU's highest court —ruled this was illegal, after an interim decision ordered 20 already-sacked judges be reinstated. Of course, PIS chose 2 new Constitutional judges, A politician Pawlowicz with communistic past and Piotrowicz, also a politician and a prosecutor that was an active communist during the 80 that prosecuted Solidarnosc. Both of them are above 65 years old.
Ordinary court judgesThere were also moves to try a similar tactic in the general court system for judges and public prosecutors, lowering the age of retirement for women to 60 and for men to 65, down from the current 67. Under the reforms the justice minister, who is appointed by the ruling party, would have the power to extend a judge's term. The laws were somewhat adjusted after pressure from the European Commission, but in November 2019 the ECJ shot down these laws, too, citing gender discrimination and political influence over the judiciary.
Disciplinary measures for judgesAnother PiS addition allowed judges to be investigated and sanctioned for their court rulings. The disciplinary hearings and procedures were to be carried out by judges selected via parliament. These reforms were criticized by the European Commission because "judges are not insulated from political control and thus judicial independence is violated." The commission brought legal action against Poland on this matter in October 2019.
National Council of the judiciary takeoverIn 2017 PiS remodeled the National Council of the Judiciary, which selects candidates for appointment as judges by the President of the Republic. This allowed it, in the short term, to control appointments to the Supreme Court – including to a newly created Disciplinary Chamber, which hears disciplinary cases against judges, and to a new Extraordinary Appeals Chamber, which adjudicates on electoral issues. Over time PiS’ take-over of the National Judicial Council allows it to reshape the entirety of the judiciary. Fifteen of the 25 members of the National Council of the Judiciary were previously elected by judges themselves, as is common practice across Europe for such bodies. These fifteen judges are now elected by the majority in the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament. The other ten members of the National Council of the Judiciary are: four members from the Sejm itself (all four members of PiS), two members from the Senate, one representative of the President of the Republic, the Minister of Justice, the president of the Supreme Court and the president of the Supreme Administrative Court. In total 23 of the 25 positions are directly appointed by political authorities.
After the election of the new KRS, a publication of the list with the names of judges declaring their support for specific candidates was refused. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that those names must be disclosed. However, the Chancellery of the Sejm has yet to carry out the NSA’s ruling. The Constitutional Tribunal (TK) and the President of the Personal Data Protection Office have been roped into guarding the secret. KRS destruction
Muzzle billThe muzzle bill passed Dec 2019, victimize judges questioning the legitimacy of the government’s legal appointments, saying it is unlawful to “show hostility to other authorities of the Republic of Poland and its constitutional organs or to critisize the basic principles of the Republic of Poland.”The bill also delegalise the preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). The bill also allows to fire judges ( which is unconstitutional according to the Constitution). In average Ziobro dismissed a judge every day and a half from its position of president of court source
One of the worse Covid19 laws in EU.Trampling Fundamental freedoms using a single ordnance and Critiquing the President will land you a year in jail. report.
In the latest special Covid19 law (already 4th lol) PIS smuggled an article straight from a communistic playbook about prosecuting people that critique the president. The sentence can be up to a year. They also smuggled a harsher law for abortions. Can someone tell me HOW it is related to Covid19? source
Illegal presidential pardonIllegal presidential pardon for CBA chief Kaminski In 2013, Law and Justice (PiS) MP Mariusz Kamiński – who served as head of the anti-corruption agency from 2006 and 2009 – was found guilty of overstepping his powers. He was sentenced to three years in prison and was banned from holding public office for ten years. Polish President Andrzej Duda pardoned Kamiński even though he was still appealing his sentence at the time. The case against Kamiński was then discontinued. A supreme court judge said that the president interfered in the legal process because Kamiński was proven neither innocent nor guilty when he was pardoned, making a future ruling redundant. The judge said that the president can pardon someone after any final appeal has been heard “because then he is not interfering with the judiciary”.
Merging the General Prosecutor with the political Minister of JusticeThe general prosecutor role was merged with the minister of justice Ziobro. source. This handed Ziobro and his subordinates greatly expanded power to politically interfere with rank-and-file prosecutors, their decisions, and their freedoms of speech and association. Poland Is Purging Its Prosecutors
200+ public prosecutors that are loyal to the Minister of Justice Ziobro (from PIS) All of them got promotions (or someone from their family) or pay raises. another list
Destroying the militaryThe creation of a territorial defense unit- a civilian army led by the ministry of defense to control “the situation inside Poland”. In addition, there was a purge of generals. and killing multibillion deals with France. About 37 generals and 47 colonels left. Why? Because they had to answer to a 27-year old assistant to the Defense Minister, former pharmacy assistant without a university degree. The Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper reported that Misiewicz was given a top communications job with PGZ ( largest defense consortiums in Central Europe) that pays $12,500 a month, huge sum in a country where the average pre-tax wage is about $1,150 a month. source
PIS decides to overhaul 40-years old t-72 instead of investing in German tanks. Not enough ammunition, uniforms NVG and other gadget went to the above unit,
In 2015, the Defence minister Macierewicz raided the Nato center in Warsaw at 1am to take control of documents and place their man at the helm
The ministry of Justice is funding trolls to destroy judgesZiobro-Piebiak paid Troll scandal The Onet news portal published a report alleging that Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak “arranged and controlled” an online campaign against Judge Krystian Markiewicz, the head of Iustitia, a judicial organization critical of the government’s efforts to restructure the judicial system, as well as against other inconvenient judges. According to the Onet report, Piebiak operated and financed an online campaign by a woman called Emilia who allegedly sent over 2,000 letters and emails about Markiewicz to other judges as well as to pro-government right-wing media. The messages contained fabricated, semi-confirmed and gossipy details of the judge’s personal life. According to Onet, Emilia obtained Markiewicz’s personal address from Piebiak so she could send him one of the letters.
Taking over the state mediaState media was taken over by PIS and is using mass propaganda and here Not only they are a propaganda tube but they also offend polish citizens ie – translation: defenders of pedophiles and alimonies-takers are the ones against judiciary reforms. They call every peaceful protest as a coup
The same can be said about the GUS – general statistical bureau. It is controlled by PIS and it is known to “change” metrics so every Inflation or unemployment metrics can’t be trusted.
LBGT-free zones and Xenophobia.Fear against refugees and calls for xenophobia. A leaked draft of a new Polish migration policy discriminates against Muslims, ranks foreigners according to ethnicity and breaches human rights
My article Why the Polish government is against LGBT?
PIS is supporting LGBT free zones where a thrid of Poland is declared as LGBT-free. During the presidential elections in 2020 Gay “ideology” is worse than communism, says Duda - PIS president.
Destroying education and HealthCare.PIS cancels the in vitro program Polish government program that covered most of the in vitro costs was immediately cut by the Law and Justice Party when it came to power in late 2015, even though Poland has one of the lowest birth rates in the EU. Catholic Church opposition to IVF is widely seen as one factor in the Polish government's decision.
PIS also increased the minimum wage at the beginning of 2020. It created a weird paradox where a teacher and a starting MD is earning less than the minimal wage because they get paid from public money and the minimal wage change is for the private sector. And PIS wants to ban sex ed by labeling teachers as gay activists and pedophiles. Critics say Poland’s governing Law and Justice Party is wrecking the education system for political gain — and students are suffering.
Environment?Destruction of the oldest European forest in Poland by Minister of Environment Szyszko The Bialowieza Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site that sprawls across the border between Poland and Belarus, occupying almost 580 square miles of woodland and providing home to rare European wood bison among others. At least 10,000 trees are thought to have been felled in Białowieża, since the Polish environment minister, Jan Szyzko tripled logging limits there in 2016. The EU’s highest court has ruled that Poland’s logging in the Unesco-protected Białowieża forest is illegal, potentially opening the door to multi-million euro fines.
“Our (water) resources are comparable to those of Egypt,” it said in the report bearing the ominous title: “Poland, European Desert”
Nepotism and colleagues in state-owned companiesPIS won the elections by wanting to fight nepotism. The most famous was “24yo Misiewicz, a former pharmacy assistant without a university degree was in the defense industry under Macierewicz. The apparent favoritism has raised ethics concerns in a party that won office promising to fight corruption.” source There is even a webpage listing more than 1000 cases of nepotism under PIS Pisiewicze
Latest data show 162M PLN to 84 PIS oligarchs and Colleagues
Illegal budget for 2017The 2017 budget "was adopted" not in the Sejm assembly hall, but in a smaller room where the so-called parliamentary session was held immediately as a follow-up to the meeting of the parliamentary causus of PIS, where no reliable counting of vates was possible, and with many allegations taht the opposition MPs were not allowed in. [Constitutional Democracy in Crisis?, Oxfoord, 2018, p.268]
Ex-communists in PIS ranks. And PIS is very anti-left and anti-PRL.They are accusing the opposition – PO - to consist mostly of ex-communists or communistic party members or collaborators. The issue is that most members of PO fought against the communism and spent months/years in prison in the ’80. On the other hand, the PIS party members scarcely fought for polish liberty and some of its party members are former communistic party members or communistic prosecutors like Piotrowicz! Some Polish TC judge are also ex-PRL members. Here is a list in polish of all current PIS party members who served as PRL members during the communistic era. So, PIS is fighting against itself. Another list with 20 names of ex-party members now in PIS
Funding the Catholic church with public moneyPIS is very Pro-Catholic, most of their voters are devout Catholics. So it is no surprise that PIS is funding religious orgs from public money. Since Law and Justice came to power in 2015, Father Rydzyk’s businesses have received at least $55 million in subsidies from at least 10 ministries and state companies. His Radio Maryja station, which reaches millions and is often the sole source of information for many older voters in rural Poland, offers a daily diet of horror stories about a world without faith, where gay people control the political agenda, universities are corrupted by “neo-Marxists,” and the Roman Catholic Church is under mortal threat. Rydzyk Embroiled in Corruption Allegations
Hiding Pedophilia. Map of 259 victims of catholic pedophilia. When a documentary was released before recent local elections revealing devastating examples of how priests sexually abused children and how church officials covered it up, many in PIS saw it not as evidence of an institution that lost its way, but one that needed to be defended. Piotrowicz, the above communist prosecutor, dismissed in 2001 a case against a priest accused of raping six girls.
Polish PIS president Duda pardons a paedophile that raped his own daughter. He makes the pardon a week before elections
Smolensk commissionThe so-called assassination of Kaczynski's twin president brother in Smolensk created 90M PLN of costs. PIS created a "cult" around his death and even created a special commission that would prove it was an assassination. Kaczynski was using it on every occasion Don't wipe your treacherous mugs with .... Ofc they didn’t prove anything and they buried the topic. Every 10th of every month for 3 years, PIS party leader Kaczynski was making a "show" commemorating his dead twin brother. He was using the police to secure his demonstration even if he has no lawful power (he is neither a president, neither the prime minister). New law expanding police surveillance and the police is getting raises after raises to keep them happy. The commemorations, the commission and the damages (paid only to the politicians’ families, not to the crew) amounted to 91M PLN.
The welfare revolutionPIS is also very pro-family. The party is giving away 500zl per month for every kid. In short, it has “bought” the elections. The polish economy is unable to sustain such an endeavor roots of populism. And it costs the economy 80B PLN between 2016 and 2019. The best part? Rate of births is negative for the last couple of years and inflation is still growing. According to the PIS Stats bureau it is 3.5% and growing. However, many journalists made their own baskets of normal good and services and the inflation is closer to 10%. Additionally there is a growing debt that PIS tries to hide by shifting some debt into other Funds. One of them is the “Solidarity fund” that is not counted in the overall polish GDP, that is to support people with disabilities will pay for the 13th and 14th pension of people 65+.
Funding propaganda and trollsComputational Propaganda in Poland: Russian troll factories
PIS bought the Pegasus spyware to spy on its citizens In September 2018, private broadcaster TVN24 reported that Poland’s state audit body, NIK, was questioning an outlay of over 33 million zloty (€7.6 million euro) by the Justice Fund, a government fund to help victims of crime. According to TVN, the money went toward the purchase of a “new system to spy on telephones and computers, the most expensive system in the history of Polish secret services.” Reports that the covertly purchased system could be Pegasus — a top-performing spyware that is impossible to track — surfaced last week.
Polish troll farms promoting Duda and Kaczynski
Funding public TV stationsPolish public TV stations should be impartial and public. Not favoring any party nor government and give the same screen time to every party equally. Unfortunately, there was a purge of journalists the moment PIS won the election and the propaganda is stalin-like. Look at this graph how it changed. Polish TVP is the mouthpiece of the govt. In 2020 PIS voted to give an additional 2B pln per year for 5 years to public tv.
Public Main TV making fun of US ambassador by reading the tweet with a derogatory accent
ScandalsPIS has hundreds of scandals that each would destroy a modern government. They defrauded billions of PLN over the years, put 1000’s of family members in different state-owned companies. Below are listed the main sexual and financial scandals.
- Sex hotel of the head of the Audit office Marian Banaś , a Law and Justice (PiS) politician and recently appointed chief of Poland’s Supreme Audit Office has been heavily embroiled in a corruption scandal, another to hit the ruling party just weeks before the country votes in a parliamentary election. Mr Banaś served as finance minister from June to August this year, and is a key figure in the party. Mr Banaś concealed his possession of a tenement house in Krakow from his financial disclosures. This property was then revealed to have deep running connections with a local, criminally-run escort agency. He claimed that the house was given to him by an old friend whom he met in the Home Army, which he then renovated. In his disclosures, he claimed he would sell the house, which never happened. Banaś claims that this was due to the buyer’s inability to get a loan. Investigations have further revealed that Mr Banaś agreed to rent the property for 5000 zloty a month, 10,000 zloty lower than its estimated market value, according to Gazeta Wyborcza. Just as the scandal could not apparently get any worse for Mr Banaś, further investigation by journalist Bertold Kittel revealed criminal links. When Mr Kittel entered the property he found at the reception an infamous Krakow criminal known as one of the brothers K – Wiesław or Janusz, who control escort agencies in the region. While still under investigation, there have been suggestions of contact between the two.
- "Alleged" Pedophila and Sex trafficking scandal of House speaker Wirtualna Polska learned the contents of the message of CBA officer Wojciech J. to the prosecutor's office about the failure of the head of the CBA, Ernest Bejda. In the background is a lost record with a recording of one of the leading PiS politicians who should have sex with a minor Ukrainian girl lost. His name falls on the document. In the message, Wojciech J. refers to several reports that he was the head of the office in connection with the "unauthorized access to his armored cabinet during his absence" submitted. From this vault, a record should be lost in escort agencies from the Podkarpacie region. One of the leading PiS politicians should have sex with a young Ukrainian in the recording. The statement signed by lawyer Beata Bosak-Kruczek mentions the name of Sejm spokesman Marek Kuchciński.
- Health minister Szumowski alleged to have bought £1m of PPE from ski instructor friend during pandemic. And givng away £65m grants to companies run by brother public anger has exploded after Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Szumowski bought masks with fake certificates from a skiing instructor who is friends with his businessman brother, Marcin. Poland’s Health Ministry reportedly spent five million zloty (£1m) on 120,000 FFP-2 type face masks and 20,000 surgical masks that were later found not to meet safety standards, Politico says. The company that sold the masks was registered on the 30 of March and won the govt. contract on the same day. Critics have also questioned Szumowski’s previous dealings in government. Polish news network tvn24 reports that while serving as deputy science minister in 2016-17, he gave 300 million zloty (£60m) in grants from Poland’s National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) to OncoArendi Therapeutics, a research company run by his brother. Another company in which Szumowski was a shareholder, Life Science Innovation (LSI), was reportedly given a 24 million zloty (£5m) NCBR grant just days after he took up the ministerial post.
- Same Health minister Szumowski bought 1.2 thousand ventilators for PLN 200 million from a company owned by an arms dealer, not a single device was delivered