Final Word from Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote that there are five different Trump administrations. There's not a direct parallel with Andrej Babiš, partly because Babiš isn't the PM, but there is an Essential Babiš who, to borrow from Friedman, "values loyalty above all else and who thinks his followers are so stupidly loyal that they wouldn’t convict him for a murder they saw him commit." Unlike with Trump, there is also a Contrite Babiš who, after assailing businesses with new rules, costs and penalties, speaks of the need for "compassion and common sense" in fining companies for minor invoice-matching violations, and promises to forgive the very fines he pushed so hard to impose. Then there is the Real Babiš, who follows up his remorseful display on TV with 14 pages of financial legalese that explains, in excruciating detail, what exactly "compassion and common sense" in the forgiving of the penalties is. But Babiš loyalists don't read the fine print. [Czech Republic fines]

Glossary of difficult words

contrite - feeling or expressing remorse at the recognition that one has done wrong;

to assail - to make a concerted or violent attack on;

remorseful - filled with regret;

legalese - the specialized language of the legal profession;

excruciating - intensely painful; very embarrassing, awkward or tedious;

fine print - inconspicuous details or conditions printed in an agreement or contract, esp. ones that may prove unfavorable.

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