Comment text corresponds to the author, not the Anticorruption Endowment. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Anticorruption Endowment.

Who’s hiding behind bonds?

16. 9. 2019 , Dan Urbánek
In recent years, many new investment groups and enterprises have got off to a flying start. Often, they have one thing in common: their growth is debt-fuelled, as they issue billions of crowns’ worth of corporate bonds. As this trend has increased, articles warn that this or that bond-issuer is a risky proposition, and that investors should be careful. Yet there is one crucial point that has not yet been addressed. The bonds have one interesting characteristic that may be appealing to a particular type of investor: the bondholders are anonymous. Only the issuer – and potentially the broker – know who purchases a bond. The bondholders, who, in some cases, provide the vital finance for the daily operations and further growth of businesses owned by Czech billionaires, do not appear in their companies’ annual reports or in the register of companies.

Fire broke out and we’re chewing fat

9. 9. 2019 , Luboš Pavlovič
I’ve heard from my youngest days that the Amazonian primeval forest is the “lungs of the planet”. Amazonia produces six percent of the oxygen that people need to live. Consequently, deforestation leads to the extinction of many animal species, reduction of global diversity, and hence also directly threatens life on this planet. After years spent to ensure their protection, the Amazonian forests are ablaze, not as the result of an uncontrollable disaster, but due to a purposeful human action to further replenish the fortunes of those who profit from farmland. Far from taking action that would render such “business” unprofitable, the public space is rife with debates that seem to cast doubt on the “lungs of the planet” tenet. Some argue that Brazilians can do what they like with the forests that are theirs, as they have freely elected a president who supports the burning out of woods. Others reason that phytoplankton in the oceans generates far more oxygen. While such arguments essentially hold water, none of them offers solutions to a problem the gravity of which is appreciated by scientists all over the world. Should beef consumption be curbed so forest scorching doesn’t pay anymore? Create a joint platform and step up international pressures on the Brazilian government to make it realize that we all live on one planet and national borders do not mean a thing for global problems? No, we are talking things over and enjoying the freedom of opinion without admitting that irreversible changes are taking place and it will take generations to tackle with their aftermath.

Petra’s Law

2. 9. 2019 , Petra Nesvačilová
I’ve known from young age it pays to respect some dos and don’ts. Such as, don’t cross on red light, don’t eat unwashed fruit, don’t tank petrol if it’s diesel, the lot. Some things just work because they are given. Sure, one occasionally errs, like you feel now you can afford to trespass—but don’t you ever do it with gasoline. There are certain dos and don’ts that are difficult to realize and recognize on personal basis. It’s good to follow them, but always only for a definitive purpose. When I had the “honour” to discover the Czech underworld and find out its operating modes that it alone set for itself, I realized that there are laws that transcend “our” standards. Laws set not by the Constitution, but a group of people. It would logically follow that laws are set by men and for the sake of alibi, one can write laws that can shape the fates of the other people.

21. 6. 2019 ,

17. 6. 2019 , Petr Kukal

About virtues

10. 6. 2019 , Lenka Deverová
I have recently bumped by pure coincidence into the Pangea Foundation project, “Decent People – a More Decent World!” which really inspired me. Essentially, it instils virtues and respect for traditional values in children and works with loftier concepts, such as responsibility, reliability, honesty, courage, sensitivity or friendliness… The project invites parents, teachers and educators to join with the children. There is, in kids, an undying hope for a brighter future. I dreamed, as I sifted through the beautiful cards that guide children and navigate them to virtues that such virtue-promoting projects are written for those Czech politicos who cannot really be described as paragons of virtue—they tell lies, disobey laws, do not respect court rulings and show contempt for public views.

Clash for interests

3. 6. 2019 , Karel Škácha
Prime Minister Babiš is in conflict of interest and must rescind under sceptre or his business. He decides about the rules of supporting his businesses, which is not acceptable. But let’s see what the act on Law 159/2006 Coll. stipulates about the conflict of interest. A public official shall refrain of any action in which his/her personal interests would impact the discharge of their duties and must declare what they call their own. That seems to cap it all. If in default, they may face, God forbid, a reprimand and a half-million crown fine when worst comes to worst. It would appear that the solution is in legislative amendments, steeper fines e.g. equalling the size of business concern, or preventing management from being exercised by way of trust funds; restricting the ownership of media by political figures, or just imposing ever new regulations to complement the other regulations. But would it really help? Wouldn’t more mafia puppets than before appear in politics?

One more demo like that…

27. 5. 2019 , Jakub Horák
“One more demo like that in your Wenceslas Square and I’m voting Babiš,” a friend threatened in Moravia, as I came there last week to collect a year’s supply of my favourite perch brandy. So’s that, of course. No contesting. While nobody in my vicinity votes for Babiš and our Facebook news feed brims over with photos from the demos, few people outside Prague know what the heck all this is about. Babiš successfully sells his version about political, read unfair, scheming against him. For now, he isn’t blaming Soros, like in Hungary, but targets Bakala as the sure culprit. This billionaire and his team cunningly strum the strings of ages-old animosity between Prague and the rest of the nation and the president’s press spokesman nods approvingly from the Castle as he slams “elites.

Shortselling the Planet

20. 5. 2019 , Petr Doubravský
While climate change is hitting ever harder on the Czech Republic and the rest of the world, politicos seem like they just couldn’t be bothered, and then some more. But climate change has long ceased to be only a warning voice from the scientific community. Climate change is happening here and now. Anyone who ventures out of his safe shelter will tell you. Wild weather ups and downs, draught destroying Czech farmers and gardeners with little remorse. Unless we start to act now, we can as well bid adieu to the generations to come. If we don’t, anyone of us, regardless of age, can expect an increasing onslaught of the changing climate. Last autumn’s report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of the worst – planet warming by 1.5 Centigrade. That would render the climate change irreversible. If the amount of greenhouse gas emissions matched the level generated in the past decades, we would reach that point somewhere in 2030. If we are not indifferent to the future course of our history, we must start cutting on greenhouse gas emissions now.

We all have them

15. 5. 2019 , Zuzana Janáková
They played an important role in our childhood and still play it when we grow up. They are our lifetime companions. Heroes! They shape us and help us. Heroes! But who are they? Avengers recently hit our sliver screens. Full of green, metallic, immortal and invincible heroes. But, are only the invincible, who can fly and make miracles happen, really the heroes? Almost exactly two months ago I returned from the Himalayas—the world’s highest mountain range. Anyone who lives on the snow-clad rooftop of the world or has ever thought of conquering these magic, uncompromising summits, is my private hero. Why? Because heroism is not in magic, turning a green monstre or pathetically saving the planet. Heroism is in the little that goes a long way – smiling when we meet, helping, feeling for your next of kin and where we live, siding with civic society and speaking up where necessary.