Further developments in the Schmitt case

The first reaction to the report of the committee of five investigating President Pál Schmitt’s plagiarism came from the always eager-beaver Christian Democrats. The party was pleased to hear the verdict because “this will put an end to the political attacks” on Schmitt. The official press release of KDNP stated that the report “represents a closure to suppositions that questioned the originality of the president’s dissertation.” It seems that the KDNP politicians read a different summary of the findings of the committee than I did.

A few minutes later Fidesz’s spokeswoman, Gabriella Selmeczi, announced that “given the findings of the committee Fidesz considers the case closed.” I’m afraid it is only wishful thinking that the case is closed. If anything, the outcry has intensified.

Naturally, all the opposition parties are demanding Schmitt’s resignation. DK was the first democratic party to comment. Csaba Molnár, deputy chairman and leader of the non-existent parliamentary caucus, made sure that everybody understands what plagiarism is all about: it is stealing. And what kind of an excuse is it that Schmitt is not guilty because he wasn’t told that he was stealing? He likened the situation to someone who stole a couple of items in Tesco and complained to the police that after all he didn’t see any sign saying “Stealing is forbidden.” DK threatened a demonstration if Schmitt doesn’t announce his intention to resign.

LMP not only threatened a demonstration but immediately announced a flash mob event in front of the parliament building. Considering that there were only a few hours between the announcement and the beginning of the event, a sizeable crowd gathered on Kossuth Square.

 

 

Flash mob, March 27, 2912 (MTI)

MSZP called on Viktor Orbán to give “the ukase” to Schmitt to resign. However, considering reports on the reactions of Fidesz’s inner circle after the outbreak of the scandal, the likelihood of Viktor Orbán telling Schmitt to get out of the way is close to nil. In fact, Fidesz is preparing a strategy that ignores the whole thing. This has been Fidesz’s long-standing response to any event that is considered to be unpleasant or injurious to the party. If they don’t talk about it, the problem will disappear. And most of the time the strategy has worked very well.

According to Origo, each member of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation received an sms early yesterday afternoon forbidding them to make any comments whatsoever about the affair. The MPs will most likely obey, but some of them privately admitted to Origo‘s reporter that they are less than satisfied with the conclusions of the committee. However, it was also clear that most of them expected that kind of verdict because of “the incredible pressure” on the committee members. The pressure naturally came from Fidesz and the government. Apparently among the top party leaders the majority felt that Schmitt should resign with the notable exception of Viktor Orbán who from day one maintained that “we have to defend” Schmitt. We know that László Kövér was against the appointment of Schmitt in the first place because he considered him a light-weight and apparently after HVG’s revelations he said to Orbán: “Didn’t I tell you?”

However, what Orbán decides goes. The majority, including Kövér, might have thought that it would be better to get rid of Schmitt, but Orbán thought otherwise. From here on Orbán will have to take responsibility for whatever happens.

Not only are the Fidesz MPs tight-mouthed. No one in the academic community wants to talk about it. Index went around and talked to officials at several universities. At ELTE the reporter was told that nothing like that had happened at the university in thirty years and therefore there is no opinion on how the university would handle such a case. In Debrecen the administration was too busy handing out honorary degrees. The spokesman for Corvinus sent the reporter to the university’s website where one can find the rules and regulations governing Ph.D. dissertations at their institution. He didn’t want to comment on the Schmitt case. In Pécs the spokesman for the university said that he didn’t want to talk about the case on the telephone. In Szeged the situation was the same, but the deputy president in charge of academic affairs didn’t answer the reporter’s e-mail either. Index tried to get something out of László Fésüs, who heads the Committee on Ethics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He also refused, which is not surprising because József Pálinkás, president of the Academy, made it clear some time ago that Schmitt’s case has nothing to do with his institution.

Meanwhile the 1,157-page report seems to be making the rounds. The members of the committee investigating the case at Semmelweis got rid of the document as soon as possible. They sent it over to the Ministry of Natural Resources where the minister, Miklós Réthelyi, himself a faculty member at Semmelweis prior to his appointment to his current job, refused the open the package and sent it back to Semmelweis. Clearly the Schmitt case is a hot potato and no one wants to be burned by it.

One person may already have been burned. András Stumpf, a journalist at the right-wing Heti Válasz, wrote a short opinion piece within a couple of hours of the release of the committee’s report. Its somewhat sarcastic title was “Hajrá, Elnök Úr!” “Hajrá” means something like “to the finish.” It is a signature word of Viktor Orbán, who usually concludes his speeches with “Hajrá Magyarország, hajrá magyarok!” Stumpf called the conclusion “very thin, very cowardly.” Ignorance of the rule is irrelevant. Stumpf argued that the university has to share responsibility because of its very low standards. One can imagine what a “kupleráj” there had to be at the university, said Stumpf. The root meaning of “kupleráj” is brothel, but in this case it means “chaos,” “disarray.” Stumpf, referring to one of the paragraphs of the law governing doctoral dissertations mentioned in the report, claimed that the university must revoke Schmitt’s degree.

A few hours later András Stumpf’s opinion piece was removed from Heti Válasz‘s website. Oh, but the wonderful world of the Internet! Another right-wing site, mandiner.hu, downloaded and published it, and now the short piece is circulating. I received at least three e-mails containing the link to mandiner and to be on the safe side I downloaded it too. Who knows when Mandiner will be forced to take it off its site. What will happen to Stumpf, I have no idea. It all depends on Viktor Orbán. I’m not kidding.

Meanwhile, Pál Schmitt sent a statement from South Korea where he was amiably chatting with President Barack Obama that he has no intention of resigning. The conclusions of the report “are a kind of redress” in his eyes. He sees no connection between his doctoral dissertation and his current job and therefore he “never for a moment thought of resignation.”

Schmitt may not see any connection between the plagiarism and his current office, but a lot of people do, both in Hungary and abroad. The question is whether pressure can be brought to bear on the government. Given the general lack of Hungarian enthusiasm for standing against the undemocratic tide that is sweeping through Hungary, I doubt it.

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E
Guest

Regardless of Schmitt’s contention that ‘he never intended for a moment to resign’….the naked, iron will (hello Mr. Hitler) is non other
than Victor Orban. He will not ALLOW Schmitt to resign. He will impose his WILL on Schmitt,
the party, and the country. And, I will add,
he will thoroughly enjoy the mayhem he is causing by it.
I would like to recommend Bauer Thomas’ appearance on Kalman Olga’s program me tonight. He has the guts, and the eloquence, to tell it as it is.
En passant, I believe Olga had on the program a man who would’ve headed the committee to examine Schmitt’s thesis, but late in January, he was dismissed–11 months before his term
should have ended–from his post. His opinion was that Schmitt should’ve lost his doctoral status.

petofi1
Guest

Please note: the above comment was made by Petofi1.
I notice that someone (?) had changed me to E.
Am I being hacked?
Is the website being monitored by Victor’s
henchmen?

Member

“Meanwhile, Pál Schmitt sent a statement from South Korea…”
Sure it was *South* Korea?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

oneill: “Sure it was *South* Korea?”
Yes, sure.

petofi1
Guest

The ‘brave Hungarian’ is a figment of Orban’s imagination, or the wannabe mustachioed ones. Where are the brave students
of 1956 now? Don’t they realize that their future is being threatened? That their degrees will be down-graded to ‘bovli’ status?
If there was ever a time for the students to step forward, it is now.

cheshire cat
Guest

“According to Origo, each member of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation received an sms early yesterday afternoon forbidding them to make any comments whatsoever about the affair.”
received a text message from WHOM?
??

the name that appears under your post is whatever you type in the 'name' field underneath the post text box at the time you post (see what I mean!)
Guest
the name that appears under your post is whatever you type in the 'name' field underneath the post text box at the time you post (see what I mean!)

prtofi (and others who have raised this before) – the name that appears under your post is whatever you type in the ‘name’ field underneath the post text box at the time you post.
So, if you accidentally change this (e.g. by accidentally pressing ‘tab’ and typing in that box instead of the main text box), then whatever happens to be in the ‘name’ box at the time you post will appear as your ‘name’.

Member

Watch out! In the moment western countries will call to boycott degrees (MBA, BA, PhD, etc.) Fidesz will come out with full swing to say that the whole “blockade” is part of some leftist conspiracy. Orban will tell Hungarians, that Hungarian education is way better then education in any other country.

An
Guest

The latest: the separate opinion of the lawyer (Akos Fluck) on the committee has been published. He notes that most of the dissertation was directly translated from two works; some of the diagrams were simple photocopies from the original texts. He suggests that the withdrawal of the degree would be justified.
Thank you, Mr. Fluck! Apparently the only man on the committee with a spine.
http://index.hu/belfold/2012/03/28/szoveg-azonos_forditasrol_ir_a_schmitt-bizottsag_egyik_tagja/
And the very latest is that now that even Magyar Nemzet is asking Schmitt to resign…
http://mno.hu/vezercikk/elnok-ur-gondolja-at-1064292

petofi1
Guest

Re ..”where are the brave souls of yore..”
I haven’t read enough Toynbee about historical movements but here’s my revamped notion of what happened to Hungary’s pride and bravery: it seemed to be fine up until and including the uprising in 1956. But the traumatic post-revolution, in which the Russians removed 70=100,000 students to the far reaches of Siberia…must’ve had the long-term effect of beating down the Hungarian psyche. So I surmise, anyway…

kincs
Guest

In saying that he hadn’t considered resigning, Schmitt said “I wasn’t elected president because of a thesis I wrote 20 years ago, but for other qualities”.
Few would disagree

Member
kincs: “I wasn’t elected president because of a thesis I wrote 20 years ago, but for other qualities” [said Smith]. And what hidden qualities he proved to have: – Schmitt cannot spell or use proper Hungarian grammar. – Schmitt has been using in his signature the PhD title although he did not even earned a PhD (not even by cheating). – He did not refused to sign a single paper that was pushed under his nose by Orban, regardless of democratic processes, legality, and valid constitutional concerns. – As it turns out he is also a fraud, and someone who any diplomat in the whole world (with the exception of the players from Fidesz) would have a hard time communicating with. I mean how can they take a man serious who cheated and used someone else’s work to receive a degree. My favourite part from the HVG article that discusses Akos Fluck’s opinion is the following: “Az is egy jellemző elem, hogy Schmitt a 10-es táblázatra hivatkozik a szövegben, miközben nála csak hét táblázat van. A hivatkozott 10-es Georgiev tanulmányában található, ahogy Fluck írja, ez egyértelműen a fordítás tényét alátámasztó fordítási hiba.” “An other typical element is that Schmitt refers… Read more »
kincs
Guest

Some1: In case it isn’t clear, I think the qualities that got Schmitt elected president are that he is an airhead and toady who will do what he’s told.
No-one ever thought he was elected because of his intellectual skills or scholarly acumen!
As for the reference to a tenth table when there are only seven, surely that’s less a translation error than a result of cutting and pasting?

enuff
Guest

Demo : Vissza a doktorit!
Today : March 29 @ 11am – 2pm
Place : Köztelek tér, Budapest
More at https://www.facebook.com/events/198285126952522/

petofi1
Guest

Ahh. Whoever said there were too many lawyers in the world?
(Shakespeare)

Kingfisher
Guest

The MNO leader article is a big surprise. It must mean that pretty much everyone in Fidesz feels Schmitt should go, except Orbán of course. MNO would not have printed that without permission. It makes me think that the SOTE meeting will revoke Schmitt’s degree and that perhaps he will be forced to resign after all. But don’t quote me on that!

enuff
Guest

I couldn’t help but to share this..
http://comment.blog.hu/2012/03/28/mindenki_dr_az_atv_n

LwiiH
Guest

Which organization accredits Universities in Hungary? Wouldn’t they sanction this University as a result of this ridiculous decision? Do they really think people are that stupid? I just showed this to my colleagues else where and they are all laughing. They think this is a joke, that the current leadership in the country is a joke… This is no better than a communist decree that our glorious leader can leap the parliament in a single bound, stop BKV buses with a single finger… Meanwhile the threat of having a militia group deployed in Konyar is being ignored.

Member

“”oneill: “Sure it was *South* Korea?”
Yes, sure.””
Just making certain;) Schmitt and the rest of Orban’s lapdogs would feel more at home in the northern version.

Vándorló
Guest

Breaking news is that the university council has voted to revoke the doctorate

Member

Maybe I am too cynical, but I really didn’t expect this:
“16:2 arányban elvennék Schmitt doktori címét”
http://index.hu/belfold/2012/03/29/16_2_aranyban_elvennek_schmitt_doktori_cimet/
And despite the regime saying the matter was closed yesterday, they are now clearly distancing themself from the cheating liar.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

cheshire cat: “received a text message from WHOM? ??”
Lazar, I assume

Francois Borginon
Guest

Schmitt’s position is untenable. Unless Orban really intends to make Hungary the laughing stock of the entire world, he should ask Mr. Rubber-Stamp to step down.

stevve
Guest

Petofi Sandor was honest, sweet and gifted.
Our best current equivalent is the highly responsible Gyorgy Konrad.
He must be the new president of Hungary, to remove the stain from the nation’s high office.
I hope he will be gracious to accept the nomination.

Jaimie
Guest

More breaking news: Index.hu has published the sources Schmitt used/abused for the remaining 5% “original content” (including the mistakes/errors of the original documents).

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest

The whole thing about the Viktator is ‘HE IS ALWAYS RIGHT’. His choice for president in his mind was right. If the Viktator is right then those who found and stirred up this scandal are wrong.
A prestigious Hungarian university could be ‘persuaded’ to give him a ‘Honorary Degree’ in civil administration. How about the creation of two new degrees. The first could be a ‘DSc’ (Doctor Scortia – a Doctor in Stupidity) and a P.A (Praetor Abderorum – the chief citizen of the town in Thrace –Adberorum- whose citizens were noted for their stupidity).
It might be better if the degrees were in Hungarian not Latin. The These would probably fool and impress the leaders of countries who do not even know where Hungary is.
As an interesting aside if Mr President signed documents with an illegal rubric is his signature invalid? I think a court with a real judge could have fun with this one!

Joe Simon
Guest

High time that the silly ‘kis doktori cim’ should be abolished, including the one given to lawyers. As to plagiarism, even the Bible took stories from more ancient peoples. It seems that stealing intellectual property has a time-honored tradition.

Member

@ Kincs, I knew you were sarcastic.
“As for the reference to a tenth table when there are only seven, surely that’s less a translation error than a result of cutting and pasting?” He (or someone else) translated to Hungarian.
So, will Szijjarto also resign?
How about Kerenyi, who just yesterday made the following comment:
“If you please, the “hunting down” was unsuccessful, the despicable plot has failed,” He also goes on to absolve everyone who obtained their small doctorate similar way in 1992.
I have one question to Kerenyi: How does he know? Who told him that? Is he know this factually or is he making this up? I think the police should interview this moron, as it is clear that he may know many more people who get their doctorate this way or he knows those who issued such doctorates.

Member

One more thing.. I bet anything that Fidesz will come up with some new law that after the Schmitt issue is closed will provide amnesty for any degree prior to 1998.
If anyone wants to obtain a degree now, they should get a stamp going back to 1997 or earlier.

Member

@ Joe Simon, First let me remind you that Schmitt also fraudulently claimed that he had a PhD, which he did not. He never-ever obtained it.
Second, you say “even the Bible took stories from more ancient peoples. It seems that stealing intellectual property has a time-honored tradition.” I do not even want to ask how did you obtain your degree if you find comfort in the bible for plagiarism. Surely either God or Orban would absolve you, and that is all you need.

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