Jobbik and the U.S. presidential election

The latest on Ghaith Pharaon

First, I think I should say a few words about the latest developments in the Ghaith Pharaon case. Heti Válasz, a conservative weekly, learned that in January 2014 Pharaon received not only a Hungarian visa but also a residency permit “for the purpose of business and investment activities.” It was the Jordanian honorary consul in Budapest—who by the way was Viktor Orbán’s host at that by now infamous dinner in Pharaon’s honor—who requested the visa, and it was the Hungarian consulate in Beirut that issued it. By the look of things, the Hungarian authorities ignored all the rules and regulations to make Pharaon’s life in Hungary trouble free. For a residency permit the applicant’s fingerprints must be taken but, when pressed, the ministry of interior admitted that Pharaon wasn’t even required to have an official photograph. For almost three years Pharaon had the right to travel to and from Hungary at will. He could also, if he chose, travel anywhere in the European Union. All national security precautions were dispensed with in this case. He most likely enjoyed the protection of Viktor Orbán himself.

Jobbik on the U.S. presidential elections

The government’s rejoicing over Donald Trump’s victory knows no bounds. The pro-government media is full of stories of the “liberal rabble” on the streets who have been aroused against the president-elect by people like George Soros. Relentless attacks on the Obama government and Hillary Clinton can be found daily in all the right-wing papers.

Interestingly enough, Jobbik’s reaction is a lot more tempered and, I must admit, more realistic. The government-financed 888.hu was outraged when it found that Ádám Mirkóczki, Jobbik’s spokesman, in response to a question from a reporter of HVG, called Trump “an unfit and poor candidate” who is “an unpredictable madman.” Otherwise, he said, the choice was difficult because neither candidate was inspiring.

A few days later, in an interview with Magyar Nemzet, Mirkóczki was more restrained in the sense that he didn’t repeat his one-liner about Trump’s state of mind, but he further elaborated on Jobbik’s position that the presidential choice this year was poor. The interviewer assumed that Jobbik “is as satisfied with the results of the American election” as Fidesz is, but he didn’t get the answer he was expecting. Mirkóczki said he feels for the American people, who had to choose between two poor candidates. He shares the government’s opinion that Clinton “would have been a disaster for Hungary” and in that sense between the two “catastrophic candidates, the less bad won.” Jobbik only “hopes that Trump’s policies will coalesce with Hungary’s interests.” But Mirkóczki was more than cautious on that score because “we don’t know anything about [Trump’s] political ideas.” If we can believe the Jobbik spokesman, the party hopes that Trump will mellow in time because “a radical leading the United States is not in Hungary’s interest.”

Ádám Mirkóczki, Jobbik spokesman

Ádám Mirkóczki, Jobbik spokesman

Jobbik doesn’t think that with Trump’s victory U.S.-Hungarian relations will be much better. Orbán will remind the American diplomats of his early support for Trump, but such messages are “irrelevant as far as economic, political, or military relations are concerned between two countries.” In plain English, as long the present government continues on the same path it has followed in the last six years, change of presidency or not, U.S.-Hungarian relations will not improve.

About a year ago Gábor Vona delivered a speech in which he talked about his party’s intention to develop direct relations with politicians in Washington. As far as I know, several Jobbik politicians visited Washington and other larger cities. Jobbik is no longer an outcast, so its politicians had the opportunity to meet with several ambassadors in Budapest, including U.S. Ambassador Colleen Bell. Mirkóczki thinks that Orbán’s diplomatic approach to the United States has been counterproductive. Jobbik would strive for consensus, a style void of the “arrogant, lecturing, and negative style” that Fidesz has chosen in its dealings with the United States.

Of course, it is difficult to tell how much of this is merely for show. Recently BBC’s Nick Thorpe wrote an article about the metamorphosis of Jobbik “from a radical nationalist party … to a moderate ‘conservative people’s party’” and said that Vona “now promises to restore the checks and balances lost under Orbán.” He quotes Vona, who nowadays tries to avoid political labeling, who said that “if [he] lived in Greece [he] would probably vote for Syriza, though they are supposed to be on the left.” He also adopted Bálint Magyar’s characterization of Orbán’s regime and called it “a mafia-type state.”

Given Jobbik’s past, it is probably wise to take much of this with a grain of salt. But Jobbik’s cautious attitude toward the impending Trump presidency is much more statesmanlike than the Orbán government’s uncritical admiration of Trump’s radicalism. In this respect at least, Jobbik sounds more like a conservative party; Fidesz, the radical one.

November 16, 2016
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Observer
Guest

The Faraon case exhibits again the rot to the core of the Orban regime:
– a series of lies to the public,
– violation of the law at Foreign Affairs and Interior, at least,
– corruption (or abuse of power) at the highest levels of government.

Poor Bill Clinton with that girl…

Ferenc
Guest

“residency permit “for the purpose of business and investment activities.””, could this mean he actually had the so called Residency Bond (but they don’t want to use this term in Pharaon’s case?)
Is somewhere a list available of all those issued Residency Permits (with next to the companies, all personal names mentioned) under that (‘James’) Bond Program?

Observer
Guest

I think GF got the residence permit before, without a bond. He was dealing with the top dog after all.

We won’t see the list of bond buyers, lest pesky journalists find out other shady dealers, wanted persons, criminals, etc. Remember Hungary did not want to investigate in the Grippen scandal, the A. Poilly count.
Guess who was PM and who was Chief Prosecutor? You guessed right, both are still upon us, much much richer now.
Hajra magyarok! fizetni.

Ferenc
Guest

I can not imagine that Pharaon got permit for himself only, so the next question: which persons got together with Pharaon residence permits (“for the purpose of business and investment activities”)?
Anybody here can answer, or knows where answers can be got(ten)?

Ferenc
Guest

Residence Bond program started in 2012.Nov, one of the conditions being after six months as temporary resident. 2016.May that condition was eliminated (with retroactive effect) .
And in 2014.Jan Pharaon received somehow a residency permit (possibly not only he himself? and with involvement of OV?), and in the procedure for that permit “not everything” was done according to the rules/law.
Could just be two independent cases (bonds and Pharaon), but if I could I would first ring the bell of Arton Capaital Kft in Budapest and ask some questions to Balogh Radosztina (who also happens to be an university friend from Rogan Antal, and still seems to keep in contact with him).
PS: best info about the Residency Bond program at https://theorangefiles.hu/?s=residence

Observer
Guest

One can imagine how were the 3200 residency bond buyers and family members (total of 16 000 souls) screened. True, those didn’t pay the kickbacks .. sorry, the € 60 k handling fees to Orban directly.

The hate campaign against the non existent migrants in Hungary added up to 14 billion Ft according to the latest count by the opposition. The lion’s share was spent in cronies’ media, ie with likely overpricing of 30% another 4.2 billion Ft. or $ 14 million was embezzled.

petofi
Guest

Only 30% embezzled!?? You must be daft.

Observer
Guest

Petofi
30% is the overpricing, above and beyond the typical profit rates. Admittedly both could be higher in advertising, but Im trying to stay real.

Guest

In stead of handing Pharaon over to justice in the US they offer him shelter and cooperation in crime. Pretext: Wrong birthday.

Jobbikk’s addition to the amendment should be expanded to include “for the purpose of business and investment activities.” Not that it would help. Everything can be circumvented.

Observer
Guest

Many rich Saudies by the name Faraon, wrong birth date, lack of fingerprints, …flying pigs. – Orbán rizsa.

Guest

Not too much OT:
I’m sure that the US services know about the Pharaon case and O’s involvment.
So any “advances” that Hungary makes to the new government are bound to fail imho – or is my thinking wrong?

Of course, Hungary is not really important to the USA, but a blatant failure to adhere to criminal proceedings because of corruption seems not something that the US government tolerates.

Member

The Hungarian National Bank MNB came out with the latest debt data.
All the Hungarian news sources are very happy (the remaining few opposition outlets do not calculate, just accept the government-pushed headlines).

This prompted me to make some calculations.

A. I compared the NET debt of the central government (as reported by MNB over the years) with the international reserves of MNB.

B. I converted all data into HUF, using the official MNB exchange rates.

The numbers below are in billions of HUF.

{int’l reserves of MNB in HUF} – {net debt of the central government in HUF}

2010-09-30: 9339.4 – 16528.3 = – 7188.9

2014-09-30: 11074.9 – 24720.6 = -13645.7
2015-09-30: 10066.0 – 24754.7 = -14688.7
2016-09-30: 7314.8 – 24519.6 = -17204.8

{int’l reserves of MNB in HUF} / {net debt of the central government in HUF}

2010-09-30: 9339.4 / 16528.3 = 56.51%

2014-09-30: 11074.9 / 24720.6 = 44.80%
2015-09-30: 10066.0 / 24754.7 = 40.66%
2016-09-30: 7314.8 / 24519.6 = 29.83%

Judge yourself whether these indicators, which I claim significant, are good or bad.

Member

I would love to argue with a government economist.
As we can see, the debt has increased by about 50% in the last six years.

Let me be the “advocatus diaboli” as well.

The government claims that the ratio of the non-forint debt has decreased. True. So have the international reserves of the National bank !

Let me compare the gross NON-FORINT denominated debt with the international reserves. I will also use the numbers of the Treasury (AKK), which give a much smaller debt (about half of the difference comes from the spent retirement funds, which AKK does not consider debt. The other half is made up of other items).

{int’l reserves of the MNB}/{non-forint debt excluding lots of items}

2010-09-30: = 103.44%

2014-09-30: = 113.42%
2015-09-30: = 110.78%
2016-09-30: = 103.71%

This indicator shows that the non-forint denominated debt vs the reserves is UNCHANGED (NOT improved) in the last 6 years.

The forint-denominated debt, on the other hand, has increased by 63.88% in six years, even if we exclude the appropriated and spent retirement funds (about $10 billion).

Member

Roughly speaking, the financial “strategy” of the Orban government had two tools:

2010-2013: spend the retirement funds of the population
2013-2016: spend the reserves of the National Bank.

Member

Orban just announced that the corporate tax will be reduced from 19% to 9% for the 1107 companies, whose sales exceeded 0.5 billion forints . The smaller companies will see a reduction of the tax from 10% to 9%.

The government hopes that the increasing deficit will be made up by the taxes of companies that will move to the new Hungarian tax haven, at least on paper.

http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20161117_orban_egykulcsos_egyszamjegyu_tarsasagi_ado_bejelentes

Observer
Guest

Again, all the ideas are tricks and cheats (the g. horse trader).

Education, development, innovation, productivity … What ?!

Observer
Guest

KUDOS Tapanch

Roughly speaking, the financial “strategy” of the Orban “government” to look around and gimme the money:

….
– The third and most significant source was the EU funds.
– The Paks II Russian credit will start another feeding frenzy in the Orban mafia.

At the end of this cycle Hungary will be a true banana republic with some new oligarchs, a wealthy 10 000 and 9 990 000 peons.
Hajra.

FreeWheeling
Guest

It should be highlighted that the BCCI banking scandal, the one for which Ghaith Pharaon is wanted in the United States, is a notorious one. Almost 25 years after, the creditors have not recovered all of their money. It became clear to investigators that BCCI was set up to to avoid regulation and its operations were run to pretty much solely to do money laundering and other dodgy matters with nefarious people and terrorist organisations like Abu Nidal since it really wasn’t being run financially in any coherent way.

With this in mind, the opposition parties really need to step up and be assertive on finding out who now really owns the recently privatised MKB as OV and the rest of the government seemingly won’t allow any transparency. It wouldn’t surprise me that Pharaon is somehow uncovered to be a stakeholder.

Member

New numbers from minister Lazar.

A. Lots of money from the EU, front-loaded.

For the 2014-2020 7-year cycle, the EU gives Hungary about 9000 billion forints (30 billion euros).

paid so far: 830 billion
to be paid in the rest of 2016: 800-850 billion
to be paid in 2017: 2000-2500 billion
government signed contracts to pay: 3130 billion
tenders announced so far: 7500 billion

B. Paks-2

The EU approved the Paks-2 atomic power plant, which will increase
the Hungarian debt by at least 4000 billion forints (or 15%)
But the building of the plant will also increase the GDP by 1% a year.

http://www.portfolio.hu/gazdasag/lazar_brusszel_jovahagyta_a_paksi_beruhazast.2.240241.html

Observer
Guest

3.7% of GDP will come from the hated EU for 7 years.
The greedy and inpatient mafia will pull in forward, so we may see again 5-6% GDP added.

Guys, less money helped rebuilt war devastated Western Europe under the Marshall Plan. Hungary on the other hand is dropping down in the comparative tables.
There are others like this, however, Zaire got huge aid over the Mobutu years and was left in ruins.

Member

tappanch on Nov 2, 3:02 AM (East Coast time)

“my hunch is that Mr Pharaon left Hungary exactly in the [October 30, November 1] 3-day period.”

Nov 17: Pharaon’s more than 3-year visa expired on November 1.

In breach of the law, the Hungarian authorities never took his fingerprints. Mr Pharaon epressed his desire for a visa VERBALLY in Beirut in 2014, which he received promptly.

http://valasz.hu/itthon/belugyminiszterium-tartozkodasi-engedelyt-is-adtunk-pharaonnak-121315

Istvan
Guest
I do not understand how Mirkóczki can say “we don’t know anything about [Trump’s] political ideas.” I think it’s fair to have an argument as to whether President elect Trump’s expressed political ideas will be transformed into policy and law. I think Webber and I have been going back and forth on this issue on this blog and that is a legitimate discussion. It’s a discussion going on in the USA too very broadly and taking different forms. Trump is ideologically a believer in something like a global version of manifest destiny for the USA, he follows in the footsteps of President Theodore Roosevelt in his belief of expanding U.S. power abroad and with a belief that America should be strong and ready to defend its economic interests around the world. Roosevelt’s diplomatic maxim was to “speak softly and carry a big stick,” and he maintained that a chief executive must be willing to use force when necessary while practicing the art of persuasion. In many respects, Trump and Roosevelt are as different as night and day. (Roosevelt believed in containment of capitalism for example.) But they also overlap in notable ways, especially in their populist appeal and nationalist worldview.… Read more »
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