Another attack on the rule of law: To nullify certain crimes

István Balsai (Fidesz) has had an interesting political career. He began in MDF and soon enough had an important post: he became minister of justice (1990-1994). After the lost elections Balsai remained a member of parliament and sat in the MDF delegation. In 1998 MDF and with it Balsai managed to get into parliament with the help of Fidesz. Four years of coalition taught Ibolya Dávid a thing or two and she refused to continue the partnership. In 2004 there was a parting of the ways and a fair number of MDF MPs decided that their parliamentary seats were more important than independence from Fidesz. A group of MDF politicians who called themselves the Lakitelek Group (Lakitelek was the place where MDF came into being) left MDF and, after spending six months among "the independents," moved over to Fidesz. Balsai was among them.

Since then he has been a faithful Fidesz member. If I had to place him within the party I would put him somewhere to the far right. One thing is sure, he is ready to do any dirty work Viktor Orbán gives him, and he perfectly fits the picture of an inquisitor. Originally three men were chosen to carry out the program of retribution: István Balsai, Ferenc Papcsák, and Gyula Budai. My impression at the time was that Balsai would serve as the chief inquisitor, Papcsák would be in charge of investigating the crimes of the last eight years, and Budai would investigate the casino affair at Sukoró. Since then the roles have changed somewhat. Papcsák decided that he might be a target himself given his less than pure professional history. He chose to drop out of the picture and continue his political career as mayor of one of the Budapest districts. Budai took over Papcsák's job and, as we know from this blog, he is expanding his horizons: he is investigating philosophers, historians, everybody. Balsai has concentrated on the events of late 2006 when there were several bloody riots in Budapest.

Balsai seems to be convinced that during the socialist-liberal government there was a "dictatorship" in Hungary. The subcommittee investigating Ferenc Gyurcsány's role in the events found nothing that would implicate Gyurcsány in the "police brutality" that allegedly took place in Budapest. However, that doesn't bother Balsai who keeps repeating that the police "couldn't have acted so brutally without … political demand." Never mind that the Hungarian police were a great deal less brutal than most police forces in the world when they are under attack.

In a democratic country one rarely sees the kind of falsification of history that is going on in Hungary at the moment. According to the Fidesz version the peaceful pedestrians were wantonly attacked by the police at the order of the dictator Ferenc Gyurcsány. Well, here are two pictures:

Riots #1

Riots # 3
 
You may notice in the second photo that the "peaceful passerby" is in the middle of trying to hit a policeman on the head. In fact, during the disturbances more policemen were injured than rioters, and very few people were convicted in court.

Now Balsai wants to undo these convictions. He came up with a plan. In all cases where the evidence came from a policeman the verdict will be nullified. That is, if parliament approves his proposal. In plain language, the testimony of a policeman is not trustworthy. When it was pointed out to the former laywer Balsai that such a decision would shake the very foundation of trust in the police force, his answer was that his proposal affects only those few weeks. Prior to or after those few weeks the police could be trusted. The trade union representing the police is not satisfied with this explanation. Neither are the judges whose decisions he is planning to annul. Another former minister of justice warned that if parliament approves the proposal, "the state is commiting suicide."

LMP as usual is trying to stand somewhere between Fidesz and MSZP on this issue. Their legal experts came up with another solution. Instead of nullification they suggest amnesty. That at least doesn't question the independence and professional competence of the judges. Some of the judges thought that might be a solution, but Balsai disagrees and claims that the judges would opt for amnesty because "they don't want to work." As for LMP's amnesty suggestion I have very serious reservations.

Balsai's imagination knows no limits. Most likely he learned in school, just as I did, that at the beginning of the twentieth century and between the two world wars the demonstrations organized by the Hungarian Social Democratic Party were met with police brutality. In those days the riot policemen used the flat side of their swords against the demonstrators. What do I hear from Balsai: "Many thousand policemen were let loose who with the flat side of their swords beat the demonstrators." Oh, yes, swords in hand during a police attack in 2006! It would be laughable if it weren't so serious.

But I left the best to last. Balsai claimed yesterday  on MTV's "Ma Reggel," the early morning political show, that he "encountered data and information that are truly frightening. Among other things, the units involved were trained, indoctrinated, and told that they have reasons to be afraid of the masses, because the masses–and we are talking about armless demonstrators–will take hostages from among them. Moreover, they were told that the demonstrators will attack the families of the policemen. Astonishing, but I have information that more appropriately belongs in witches' tales (boszorkánymesék)."

I'm asking in all seriousness: are these people normal?

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Kevin Moore
Guest

Eva: “I think blackmail would be a better description of what happened”
Yes, I could even agree with that. It’s not far from the truth.
But, then again, what we are talking about is correcting a crook system that causes huge losses to the Hungarian economy. And the price for resisting this correction must be high, and that is the risk of losing state pension if staying in the private funds.
It is still more of a choice than the preceding law that forced every newcomer into the private funds. I think we can agree on that, right?
One more suggestion. If you wanted to write on the subject of the philosophers’ tenders, you could check this out for easy clues:
“Újabb két filozófuspályázat ügyében rendelt el nyomozást a rendőrség január végén – derül ki a Budapesti Rendőr-főkapitányság csütörtöki tájékoztatásából.”
http://www.mno.hu/portal/763589

Johnny Boy
Guest

@GW: you say ‘The assumption that someone has to be on a payroll to write about a subject of passionate interest is ridiculous, if not libelous.’
Would you tell that to Paul please? He is doing exactly the same for everybody who is a Fidesz supporter!

kincs
Guest
‘Kevin Moore’: Your shamelessness in parroting this bullshit is as breathtaking as that of the masters you serve. You say: “you should have objected when we were forced into the private system by law. That was an extremely malicious decision and force had to be used to reverse it. There must be a price for resisting this very important correction that saves so much loss in the economy on the national scale.” The mandatory pension system was/is a way of weaning people off the idea that the state will always look after them. More fundamentally, it was a recognition by the government that state-funded pensions are not viable over the long term. In that, it was a forward-looking, rational, economically sound decision. Calling that decision “extremely malicious”, as you do, is a handy way of taking the discussion to an irrational plane in order to obscure the objective realities – a tactic at which Fidesz are past masters. To call this retrograde step a “very important correction that saves so much loss in the economy on the national scale”, as you do, is at best disingenuous, at worst a deliberate lie. The confiscation of people’s personal assets – not something… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kevin Moore: “Yes, I could even agree with that. It’s not far from the truth. But, then again, what we are talking about is correcting a crook system that causes huge losses to the Hungarian economy”
That’s where we do not agree. Yes, the revenues that went to private funds had to be supplemented by the state but in the long run it would have been a great help because the private pensions would have taken some of the burden off the budget. Sooner or later there will be not enough money to pay such relatively high pensions because there will not be enough active workers to pay for the ever-growing older generation’s pensions.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

GW: “(okay, maybe she’ll get some amazon.com points if you do a search from the button on the sidebar).”
Well, I just put up the amazon link yesterday at the suggestion of a friend of mine. She has a blog and she does get a few dollars here and there. Of course, I haven’t yet but if any of you want to buy something from amazon, you could try through here.

An
Guest

@Kevin: “It is still more of a choice than the preceding law that forced every newcomer into the private funds. I think we can agree on that, right?”
Even if someone accepts the argument that people were forced into the private funds, how can you make one wrong right with another wrong?
If the current government were genuinely concerned that people had not been offered a free choice earlier, how about giving them exactly that? A free choice of going back to the state fund without blackmailing them to go back?

John T
Guest

Kevin – not sure what age you are, but these pension changes do not guarantee anything to active workers currently in the labour market. Any deductions taken from you / your employer fund the existing pensioners. A share is not being put aside for your personal “pension pot”. You are therefore reliant on future workers contributions when you reach pensionable age. And so on. So with extended life expectancy and a falling population, if there are more pensioners than active contributors, the state system will be unsustainable. While this move may plug some holes in the short term, it does nothing to secure the medium / long term situation. That will be down to improvements in the active labour markets and a requirement for stellar growth. If that doesn’t happen swiftly, there will be real problems.

Kevin Moore
Guest
kincs: your hideously worded comment is way below in standard what would deserve a response from my part, were it not for the evident economic ignorance shining through it. In my following response to Eva, you may find clues to what you’d have to look up in the “Economy for Dummies” textbook. “Yes, the revenues that went to private funds had to be supplemented by the state but in the long run it would have been a great help because the private pensions would have taken some of the burden off the budget.” The problem is that they would have taken a lot less burden off the budget than what they’ve been putting on it up to now. The “intermittent period” that is characterized by the higher number of people paying INTO the private funds than of those receiving money FROM it lasts decades and accumulates enormous losses. The reasons for the losses are: 1. The state gives up part of its revenue yet still has to pay all the pensions. Solution: take up loans. The entailing interest rate is paid by the taxpayers which is a pure loss in the system. 2. The extremely high operating costs of the… Read more »
Jo Peattie
Guest

And these jobs will come from where “Kevin”? The current Government’s policies will continue to see the flight of the Multinationals. Without them there is a monumental employment gap. I know that many consider the over dominance of Multinationals here a National curse but such is life in the real word. Even if Hungarian companies were to grow to fill the gap, it would take years to replace even a fraction of the jobs lost….

Paul
Guest
Yes, ‘Kevin’ I DO really want you to show me proof – as I clearly asked. I assume, as you haven’t, there isn’t any. In case you have become confused, this is my original request: “I’d still be interested in any (real) evidence you might have that shots were fired into the crowd during the 2006 demonstrations. This is a serious request, as my knowledge of that episode is far from complete.” Posted by: Paul | February 03, 2011 at 08:27 AM Which was a reply to your earlier post: “Paul you have visions of Orbán shooting into the crowd in the near future, yet you fail to acknowledge that this DID actually happen in the Gyurcsány era in 2006.” Posted by: Kevin Moore | February 03, 2011 at 08:08 AM Which in turn was a response to my original post comparing the situation in Egypt with my fears for a similar future in Orbán’s Hungary in 5 or 10 years time. And in case you are about to try to confuse ‘rubber’ bullets with live rounds, it was obvious from my original post that I was talking about government ‘supporters’ firing live rounds into the defencless crowds. Now, stop… Read more »
Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Paul to Kevin: “”I’d still be interested in any (real) evidence you might have that shots were fired into the crowd during the 2006 demonstrations. This is a serious request, as my knowledge of that episode is far from complete.”
Of course, you and I know that no shots were fired. Rubber bullets were and one hit one man’s eye. That’s all.

Paul
Guest

A great day for the trolls!
Not only a classically mad ‘USA’ post from ‘Joseph’, and some stunningly crafted rants from ‘Kevin’, but also the return of ‘Johnny Boy’! My cup overfloweth.
But ‘Kevin’ gets today’s (possibly this month’s) award for completely self-deluded post with this entry:
“Moreover, it was not private savings. The savings were declared private by the state earlier, but in fact and within economic realities they were never private. They are simply missing from the state fund. The same state that gave the savings as a gift is now taking them back.”
“They are simply missing from the state fund.” This is true class! I nearly wet myself when I read that.
More please – but not the long rambling posts, I just can’t face wading through those to find the gems.

Paul
Guest

Éva – thank you for the ‘end runs’ explanation.
And, if you are paying Typepad $30 a year for this awful software, you are being ripped off! I used to work in IT and I wouldn’t have been able to give stuff this badly written away.
I know it’s a pain switching software, but, now your blog is receiving so many posts, it really would be a lot easier to read it and post comments if you could switch to something easier to use.

Paul
Guest

I didn’t actually know that, Éva, that period is one I know very little about (mainly because there’s so little about it available in English).
‘Kevin’ seemed so definite that shots were fired, I was genuinely interested to see what ‘he’ knew. He may be a troll, but he may still have information worth following up.
If you are right, and the only ‘shots’ were rubber bullets (nasty enough, but hardly in the same league), then I’m actually a bit disappointed. I was hoping for more – even from planet troll.

Leo
Guest
It seems that Kevin is saying that a private pension system is rubbish because it invests in state bonds on which the state must pay interest. This he considers `a pure loss in the system´. But Kevin, is it possible that you forgot that the interest will be part of the eventual pensions? If the state would set up its own fund it would still have to add the money paid on interest to get the same result. However, states are usually short on cash and tend to forget to reserve the needed money. Actually they have the horrible habit not to save at all! Singing in the rain and hoping that future generations will foot the bill. Your choice. But I feel privileged to live in a country with (semi)- private pension funds. Though even here we must count with pension shortages due to low interest rates and long life expectancy (I quit smoking many years ago, good for me, bad for the community – I hope). I would like to add that I really appreciate Kevin’s comments – style and content. Since I stopped reading right-wing newspapers I need a source of information ´from the other side´. You… Read more »
kincs
Guest

@’Kevin’. “Evident economic ignorance,” eh? Your reply well illustrates on the expression.
Others have answered your inanities here already.
The IMF’s view on pensions, as stated Thursday, is “The dissolution of the second pillar of the pension system allows the government to improve headline fiscal indicators without undertaking structural fiscal adjustment, and … reduces fiscal transparency”.
“Overall, the deterioration in the quality, extent, and permanence of fiscal adjustment amid large vulnerabilities increases risks to the Hungarian economy.”
http://www.forexyard.com/en/news/Hungary-needs-spending-reform-to-tackle-deficit-IMF-2011-02-03T172758Z-UPDATE-1
Perhaps you’d like to refer them to “Economy for Dummies” as well?
So the pension grab is another instance of Fidesz putting short-term party interests ahead of the long-term interests of the country. And lying about it. It’s so easy to spot because it happens so often.

Odin's lost eye
Guest
Kevin Moore you wrote ** “takes away private savings to balance the books (so it makes him look good) and says that is legal.”. You then add ** “It is legal. Show me the law that forbids it” **. – My comment is read the European charter of Human Rights. You Continue ** “Moreover, it was not private savings. The savings were declared private by the state earlier,” ** Horse feathers!! The people paid these funds to the Private Pension funds. The Government collected the money from the people to for the Private Pension companies. If you collected money from people which you have agreed to pass it on to a Pension Company, and then put it in your pocket THAT WOULD BE THEFT. I am afraid that the Hungarian Government’s grab of the pension funds has yet to be examined by the relevant Commissioner in Brussels. I am afraid that yet again the Hungarian Government has once again breeched one of the Articles of Human rights! I am not going to say which one so the ‘Fidesz Trolls and Orcs’ will have to go and read them and they might learn something. Paul as to ‘Typepad’ It is ‘Cheap… Read more »
Kevin Moore
Guest

You all still don’t get it, right?
You still don’t understand how the private pension funds were introduced in Hungary.
They were introduced by a government law that declared that “from now on, instead on paying 32% into the state pension system, you must pay only 24% and the remaining 8% goes to the private system”.
How is it not clear from this that the government redirected 1/4 of its pension revenue into private funds while keeping all of its obligations for decades to pay for full pensions?
How is it not evident that this 8% is simply missing from the state pension budget?
“If you are right, and the only ‘shots’ were rubber bullets (nasty enough, but hardly in the same league), then I’m actually a bit disappointed.”
Gosh you are disappointed.
Look at these:
comment image
comment image
Learn Hungarian and look at this article:
http://index.hu/belfold/2009/11/09/megvadolt_rendorok_is_falaznak_a_szadista_ornagynak/
“Only” rubber bullets, right? What difference does it make if you can blind people with it?
Gallery here: http://index.hu/gal?dir=0610/belfold/gumilovedek/
It doesn’t matter if it was rubber, right?
Only a few eyes went missing, who cares, right?
I wish it were you and Eva lying blinded on those stretchers! Maybe then you’d come to your senses… because now you have no clue what you are talking about.
Shame on you!

Mutt Damon
Guest

@Kevin “When you or somebody says ‘shot’s fired’ everybody would think live ammo (metal). Either way these pea sized balls are nasty little buggers. Perhaps if you want to keep you eye don’t confront the riot police ..
To me this always sounded like the same old Planet Hungary thing. That is the government fails to establish laws, rules, hierarchy and control to make sure law enforcement doesn’t deploy more force than necessary. Kevin, I wonder the what steps did the FIDESZ government take to ensure that this will not happen again? It should be more that the usual “we are the good guys, don’t worry” …

Paul
Guest
So, ‘Kevin’, there were no live rounds fired at the crowds in 2006? Is that what you are saying? Despite your earlier statements. I think we all know how nasty ‘rubber’ bullets are (they are actually very hard plastic, not rubber and they spin in flight, so they hurt like hell – I know as a friend of mine has experienced this at first hand). But then I think we all know the huge difference between the use of batton rounds to quell a riot and people opening up with live ammunition on a crowd of unarmed protestors. If you really don’t understand this difference, or pretend not to, then I suggest your last post really should be your last post on here, as any credibility you might have had is now gone. You are exposed as the ‘argue anything, no matter how stupid, in favour of OV and Fidesz’ troll your really are. Some threads ago you offered to leave this blog if I asked you to. I did as you requested, but yet another ‘Kevin Moore’ promise turned out to be just a fart in a gale. Perhaps now, having been revealed for the charlatan you are, you… Read more »
Paul
Guest
Odin, I AM younger than you (although not by as much as I suspect you think!). But, at the risk of boring the pants off other posters, I too wrote my first program in assembler code – hand punched onto paper tape (and then compiled onto a second paper tape!) on an Elliot computer. I was in IT for over 30 years, starting as a humble programmer and operator on English Electric System 4s and ending up as a cosultant and PM developing web based solutions. So, I DO know my IT, and Typepad, no matter how much (or little) it costs is a pile of cack. So bad, that if one of my team had come up with anything as poor, they wouldn’t have worked for me again. For a start, you can’t get straight to the most recent post, you have to work your way through, page by page. And you can’t go back to your last post and check what responses you have. So anything you posted more than a couple of threads ago is so time consuming to check on that it is effectively lost. Posters are effectively limited to relpying to just the last two… Read more »
Odin's lost eye
Guest

Yes Paul I agree with you about access to the latest post. Could your folk write a better blog site for a rent of 8 cents a day? I find it is no hardship to trawl through older postings. It refreshes my mind and often I spot something I have missed on an earlier reading. I suspect that the ‘Typepad’ could be made to do but it would then cost 15 cents a day. Remember the old sayings ‘Do not shoot the messenger’ and ‘KISS’ –Keep it simple stupid!. Typepad works! Enough of this – back to the slaughter house and let’s put Hungary to rights

Kevin Moore
Guest

Paul: you are nothing more than a sore miserable liar.
I said “they shot into the crowd” and that is exactly what they did, I never said they did that with live rounds, but I said they used rubber bullets – yet you lie about me saying I referred to live rounds (which I never did), and you insist on ignoring all the photos and links I give you.
If there was any credibility on the stake, it was yours – and despite me having clearly knocked your head right into the proof, you still lie and lie and never acknowledge the obvious.
You deny that they did what is there in the pictures and videos for all the world to see, and you do that on political grounds – because you think those who disagree with your left extremist lunacy deserve it.
This is surely my last post; it makes no sense to try to convince your concrete brain of anything because you don’t care for the truth, not even when you are publicly humiliated with photographed proof.

Member

@Kevin “This is surely my last post”
Can we vote for your next alias?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kevin Moore: “Paul: you are nothing more than a sore miserable liar.”
Stop this, because otherwise I will get you off this blog.

Johnny Boy
Guest

I know ‘Kevin’ in person (actually I told him about this blog a while ago), it is of course not his real name but of a musician whom he very much respects.
‘Kev’ is a passionate guy who clearly got offended. I don’t think he will come back. But setting his current outburst aside, I can see what he is talking about. I’ve read through all the comments here and he never mentions the live rounds Paul is accusing him of, and he brought real photo proof.
There is still no reaction to the proof, but the false accusation is going on nevertheless.
Wouldn’t you be offended if that happened to you? I’m sure you would be!

Member

@Johnny “Wouldn’t you be offended if that happened to you”
Nope. This is just a blog. I definitely would not be offended.
Kev intentionally was skewing the facts for the effect. He’s was actually provoking the fake argument. This wasn’t by the way his (?) only tantrum. Personally I think he/she just wanted to change his alias and decided to go out with a bang.
Welcome back Kev in advance whatever your new alias will be! If I were you I would just use “Fidesz Troll”. This would take the wind out of the sails of the guys who pick on you 🙂

Johnny Boy
Guest

@Mutt: exactly what facts was he skewing? He never said anything like what Paul accused him of. It was not Kev skewing anything, he said exactly what he brought proof for.

Guest

@Johnny Boy (BTW: What made you choose this idiotic Nick ?):
Kevin originally wrote something similar to hungarianambience:
“The images below give you an idea what happened in 2006, when the regime ordered police to shoot protesters indiscriminately.”
This makes most people (me included) assume that real guns and bullets were used – especially in combination with those nice blood (or ketchup) filled pictures …
Only later did he use the expression “gum bullets”, when challenged …
And that talk about “people being blinded” – well how many were there and how did it happen ?
In Britain Germany etc worse things happen when people riot – and that was a riot, wasn’t it, storming the tv building ?

Paul
Guest

Orbán appears to be doing the classic insecure dictator thing of surrounding himself with incompetent lieutenants.
This could be interpreted as a good thing as it will hopefully result in an ineffective and short-lived government.
However, it should be remembered that it was one of Hitler’s lieutenants, Himmler, who was arguably most responsible for the evil carried out by the Nazis. A failed chicken farmer, with little education.
Perhaps it’s not the big fish we should fear but the small fish with power.

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