One of Donald Trump’s first victims may be the Hungarian NGOs

An article appeared today in The Guardian predicting a new crackdown on Hungarian NGOs. The timing is no coincidence. Viktor Orbán’s illiberal government has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump, who will not raise his voice in defense of critics of the Hungarian government in the name of democracy.

A few hours after the publication of the article, Szilárd Németh, one of the deputy chairmen of Fidesz, announced the government’s intention to get rid of “the pseudo-civilians” of the Soros Empire. In Németh’s vocabulary, “pseudo-civilians” are foreign political agents who represent the “global plutocracy and the world of political correctness above the heads of the national governments. These organizations should be forced back, and, I believe, they should be thrown out. I feel that the international opportunity for such a move has arrived.” The “international opportunity,” of course, is the election of Donald Trump, as Péter Krekó, an associate of Political Capital, a think tank of political scientists, pointed out to The Guardian.

The announcement of the government’s intentions regarding foreign-subsidized NGOs was not unexpected. Just before the holidays Orbán gave an interview to 888.hu in which he was quite explicit about his feelings toward the NGOs critical of his government. According to him, they are being used by antagonistic powers and their agents, like George Soros, to advance their own interests in foreign countries. Therefore, these organizations must be banished. Not only Hungary will move against them, but “all countries” in Europe. The year 2017 will be about Soros in this sense. “One can feel it coming when each country will trace the source of these monies; they will find out what kinds of connections exist between them and the intelligence communities; and which NGO represents what interests…. [2017] will be about the extrusion of the forces symbolized by Soros.” One cannot be more explicit. The only question was just when in 2017 the onslaught would begin.

It is unlikely that Donald Trump will be upset if Viktor Orbán follows in Vladimir Putin’s footsteps. In 2012 Putin introduced a law requiring non-profit organizations that receive foreign donations and engage in “political activity” to register and declare themselves to be “foreign agents.”

George Soros recently wrote an opinion piece in project-syndicate.org in which he didn’t hide his feelings about the president-elect, whom he called “a would-be dictator.” He described Trump’s cabinet as being full of “incompetent extremists and retired generals.” He predicted that “Trump will have greater affinity with dictators,” which will allow “some of them to reach an accommodation with the US, and others to carry on without interference.”

Soros’s attack on Trump naturally elicited counterattacks on the financier by the pro-Trump media. Articles appeared with headlines like “Soros and Other Far Leftists Instigate Revolution against Trump,” “Billionaire Globalist Soros Exposed as Hidden Hand against Trump,” “Busted! Soros-Backed Pro Clinton Group Caught Funding Violent Protests,” and many more. Orbán can rest assured that no one will be terribly upset in Trump’s White House or State Department about the harassment of Hungarian NGOs. Under these circumstances Orbán can feel pretty safe.

By the time Orbán gave his interview to 888.hu, initial plans for the elimination of NGOs were already in place. On December 14, Zsolt Semjén, who serves as Orbán’s deputy, sent a modification proposal to a 2012 law on non-governmental organizations to the president of the parliament, which apparently will discuss and most likely enact it into law before April. One of the important changes is that “officeholders of non-governmental organizations” will have to submit financial statements just like members of parliament. What’s wrong with such a requirement? In the first place, salaries of officials of nongovernment organizations have nothing to do with the public purse. Second, knowing the Hungarian government’s practices, it’s likely that the Hungarian Internal Revenue Service would immediately begin to discredit those people who are seen as standing in the way of the government. In addition to this change, there is a vaguely worded reference to “the legal environment of the civic association” that will be rewritten. For the time being, officials of NGOs have no idea what this means, but “in light of the Orbán interview” it is worrisome that the proposal includes references to “the adoption of solutions that have worked” in other countries. The fear is that the Orbán government has Putin’s solution in mind.

NGO officials believe that the elimination of organizations will take place in stages. First, the usual character assassination will take place after the submission of financial statements. Second, the NGOs will have far more administrative obligations, which will take time and money away from their useful activities. As a third step, the government might accuse them of espionage and treat them as sources of danger to national security. They could be accused of treasonous activities against the legitimate government of their own country as agents of foreign powers.

According to rumors, behind the scenes the Hungarian government has been trying to convince George Soros “to limit his presence to the financing of the Central European University” and to stop giving any more grants to the 60 or so organizations that are the beneficiaries of his generosity.

For the time being, it looks as if neither the Open Society Institute (OSI) nor the NGOs are intimidated. They insist that they will continue as before. In the first place, some of these organizations, like Transparency International (TI), receive only a small fraction of their funding from the Soros Foundation. In fact, one of TI’s largest contributors is the European Union. The director of TI, József Martin, can’t imagine that the government would dare to ban TI because by this act “Hungary would remove itself from the community of free countries.” In Martin’s place, I would be less sanguine that Viktor Orbán cares what the community of free countries thinks.

The Hungarian Helsinki Commission gets about a third of its budget from OSI. In addition, it receives financial help from the European Commission and the United Nations High Commission. Its position, I believe, is less secure than that of TI. After all, it deals with human rights, something that leaves Viktor Orbán and his friends cold. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (TASZ) is unfortunately heavily dependent on the Open Society Foundation.

Szilárd Németh’s announcement of the government’s intentions to eventually eliminate NGOs prompted the usual protestations from the left. MSZP couldn’t come up with anything more original than the demand that “Szilárd Németh must leave public life.” Sure thing. He will rush to oblige. DK reminded Viktor Orbán that, no matter how strong a feeling of affinity he has for Vladimir Putin, “this place, in the Carpathian Basin, is not called Russia.”

In the past, we kept trying to convince ourselves that surely this or that move of the government would not be tolerated by the European Union, the Council of Europe, or the Venice Commission. Be it the new constitution, the media law, or the building of a nuclear power plant on Russian money by a Russian company that received the job without competitive bidding. And what happened? Almost nothing. A few sentences were changed in the constitution. So, let’s not try to shift the burden to the EU. There is only one way to put an end to this nightmare: to get rid of Orbán and his minions in 2018.

January 10, 2017
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Minusio
Guest

Németh’s openly brutal language reminds me of how Victor Klemperer (cousin of the conductor and composer Otto Klemperer and a professor of Romance Studies) described the telling changes in the use of the German language under nazi rule: “LTI, Lingua Tertii Imperii” = Language of the Third Reich.

First the words, then the books, then the people.

Of course, Orbán will fall one day. But it is difficult to predict when this might be, given the fact that by democratic means he cannot be deposed. He may also postpone elections under the provisions of some emergency rule. He’ll find a pretext.

Will he be eventually toppled by some political opposition? Some uprising? Or if the EU finally gets around to cutting its funding? My expectations are low on any count. Best chances are still with the EU – although it has been terribly weakened by do-nothing Merkel.

Istvan
Guest

I unfortunately expect the US State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of Citizens Exchanges to face the budget axe under President Trump. That office organized exchange programs have enabled young professionals from Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia to spend six weeks in the United States to learn about community organizing.

I had the opportunity to work with many young and exceptional Hungarians with disabities through this program since 2013. In general these exchange citizens became activists to improve the situation of people with disabilities in Hungary and worked with NGOs usually asking for more services and funding from the Orban government. One of these activists organized the first disabilities rights demonstrations in Budapest that I know of. I do not think this will be a priority area for the next Trump administration.

pappp
Guest
The Hungarian left-wing including MSZP or DK and others will not resist the Orban government. They never actually do, not in this NGO matter not in other matters. Like them or not, the NGOs probably worked more diligently to expose government corruption and tyranny than the opposition parties put together. The NGOs are probably are more professional about the operation of the Orban system by which I mean that MSZP, Együtt or DK simply lack smart and ambitious enough people who really understand the day to day operation of the state (judiciary, prosecution etc.). The opposition parties are lazy and are corrupt, that is they are cooperating with Fidesz behind the scenes (mutyi). In fact, one of the main reasons of the long-term stagnation of the left-wing opposition’s fortunes, its continued unpopularity, the fact that even the left-wing voters are deeply unenthusiastic about their preferred left-wing parties is that the angry, frustrated voters naturally sense that the left-wing is deliberately soft and impotent. This much impotency, timidness and cluelessness is impossible unless there is mutyi (shady deals, collaboration with Fidesz) involved – voters suppose. The left-wing gave up its media, its access to voters, it has no think tanks, it… Read more »
pappp
Guest
Moreover I hope nobody seriously thinks “the EU” (as such) will care about the NGOs (some foreign manager of the OSI said something along such lines). The EU lest we forget is aka the Common Market, it is a f**king free trade zone. It is solely about the four fundamental capitalist freedoms (and partly about the Euro, if applicable). There are anyway huge problems with the consequences of the four fundamental freedoms and the Euro so there is absolutely no appetite for any kind of democratic action such as policing tyrants like Orban. None. I think liberals committed a mortal mistake by seriously believing their own hype (marketing bullshit) that the EU is “the powerful EU”. No, it is still the Common Market and is still exclusively about selling more shit, circulating more capital. If one member state wants to live in tyranny, go bankrupt by taking on Russian loans, persecute liberals or whatever the issue is, then so be it. Why on earth would a Portugal or Dutch or Italian EU bureaucrat give a damn about peripheral countries like Hungary? They don’t and they won’t. So even if the EU is funding TI and other NGOS, “the EU” won’t… Read more »
Guest

Precisely.

Guest

foreign political agents who represent the “global plutocracy and the world of political correctness above the heads of the national governments.
Doesn’t this also nicely describe the UN, the EU and other international organisations in the warped minds of the Fideszniks?

So again we find lots of parallels between Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Orbán …
Populism and Nationalism are obviously brothers of right wing Extremism (dare I say Fascism?).

Guest

Fact checks:
1) Orbán will win again in 2018.
2) The Juncker Commission and the EU Parliament (EPP) fully support Orbán.

pappp
Guest

I think you’re using wrong words and this error is important.

“Orban will win again in 2018.” implies that there is a contest which he can win (or lose).

But there won’t be such contest.

There is probably only a handful or tyrannies in the world which do not even bother to hold regular elections. All other tyrants hold elections which elections -invariably – the tyrant “wins”. (Hell, even under communism there were regular elections held, with multiple ‘parties’ in the DDR and Poland). Orban cannot not win in 2018.

At most, Orban, through some unexpected landslide (a kind of revolution) which noone could foresee might lose his grip over power. But nobody can seriously count on such black swan surprise event which by definition can only take place if it’s truly unexpected – otherwise Orban and his people would prepare for it.

So basically we should say: Orban will continue to remain in power even after 2018.

(I agree that and the Juncker (or whoever will be his successor) Commission will continue to fully support Orban.)

Guest

All of this is self-evident, except for those who prefer wishful thinking.

Guest

This is really silly!
Seems to me that (some or many) Hungarians still have some kind of inflated ego – we are important, we defended Europe against the Turks, we …

Of course Juncker etc don’t “support” Orbán – they just ignore the whole s***y country more or less …
Remember how Orbán etc are treated whenever they come to Brussels or Berlin or?

It’s up to Hungarians themselves to do something – or not.

If Hungary were important, the EU wiuld probably react like they did in the case of Austria’s Haider – remember him?

Breaking news:
The SPIEGEL just reports on this – give me some time to read the article and think about it!
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/polen-und-ungarn-das-problem-der-eu-mit-dem-osten-a-1128970.html

Guest

Sorrry, it seems this article is mainly about Poland, its “autocracy” and what the EU can/cannot do against it. Article 7 is mentioned of course, but …

webber
Guest

Poland is a lot more important (to Germany) than Hungary.

Ferenc
Guest

OT (but about Trump!)
Before going into anything in today’s post, I just read the news about new allegations of Russian involvement in US elections and some compromising details about DJ T himself. The whole original (?) document is published by buzzfeed here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html
Nothing what is in the document is confirmed (yet) by more sources, intelligence agencies are ‘working on this’.
Personally I haven’t got a clue if true or fake, but first wanted to let you know about it.
Here’s the CNN item: http://us.cnn.com/2017/01/10/politics/donald-trump-intelligence-report-russia/index.html

Guest

To me it looks legit – and interesting too.

Crazy how people go into business with a country like Russia ignoring the perils there – I mean it’s nothing new that there are bugs everwhere.

I remember one of the hotels in East Berlin where I stayed on business trips (after the wall fell – you wouldn’t have me travelling to the Communist block before that – neither on business nor on holiday) and the stories about every room having microphones and a large group of Stasi people who listened and used the info …
The hotel had a special secret “communications room” for that!
All the hookers in East Berlin also worked for the Stasi – if not, they were taken away from this lucrative job.

webber
Guest

The same went for the Astoria Hotel in Budapest, which was directed by (former) President Pal Schmitt. Every single room was bugged. You don’t hear or read much about that in Hungary. It’s as if it never happened. I wonder what happened to that bugging apparatus? When was it removed?
The former Hungarian prostitute and Italian MP Cicciolina mentioned once in an interview that she was expected to report to the Hungarian secret police about her foreign clients.

Ferenc
Guest

Here’s the tweet by Ben Smith (from Buzzfeed) concerning publication of the (secret) dosier: https://twitter.com/BuzzFeedBen/status/818978955965464580/photo/1

Ferenc
Guest

Here’s WikiLeaks first tweet about the dosier: https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/818992803829137408

Ferenc
Guest

Latest news about this: Kremlin ridicules claims it collected material on Donald Trump – https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/11/kremlin-ridicules-claims-collected-material-donald-trump
Well about Russia’s claims: they claimed there never was ‘state doping program’ neither.
Furthermore they claim it to be fake, if so then made by who? Who would be profitting the most from this? I think Russia, if true or fake, the whole thing might very well be a Russian affair anyway.

webber
Guest

Why would Russia NOT collect information on a very, very rich businessman with political aspirations?

Ferenc
Guest

It might very well be a mixed bag of fake and true information. Pending of the balance between those, it might indicate in which direction the source to be found.

Ferenc
Guest

Watching the ‘cleaner’ standing behind his desk, couldn’t resist this one:comment image

Ferenc
Guest

Translation for not-Hungarian speakers:

HUNGARY PERFORMS BETTER

than (EU-V4 counties):
CZECH REPUBLIC (crossed out)
SLOVAKIA (crossed out)
POLAND (crossed out)
eh, we search further…….

tappanch
Guest

I am not able to log in as member today,
“Not Acceptable!
An appropriate representation of the requested resource could not be found on this server. This error was generated by Mod_Security.”

To the point.

Here is the intelligence report about the Putin + Trump relationship:

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

1. I do not think Trump can be blackmailed by his taped “pervert” sexual acts in Russia. Everybody already assumes that Trump is a pervert.

2. It is frightening, if it is true, that the Trump team delivered info about Russian oligarch exiles living in the US in return for info about Mrs Clinton.

A quote:
“the TRUMP operation should be seen in terms of Putin’s desire to return to 19th c ‘Great Power’ politics anchored upon countries’ interests rather than ideals-based international order established after World War Two.”

Istvan
Guest
There is some truth tappanch on the US public assuming that President elect Trump had numerous sexual escapades including with the porn star Stormy Daniels. I would not characterize my future President as a “pervert” for any sexual practices with KGB whores after what I experienced at Subic Bay is a bay on the west coast of the island of Luzon in the Philippines towards the end of the Vietnam War. But that is not what worries me, it’s the deep financial issues the Russians may be aware of, for example off shore hidden assets etc. But the president elect’s response is today, more fake news. Having been personally terrorized while in the military during the Szabo affair that I could have actually been in contact with Hungarian Military Intelligence agents or KGB makes this story all the more unnerving to me. As I have explained before on this blog I was interviewed by US Army MI as were many Hungarian speaking members of the US military during the Szabo investigation, I was shown photos of people I had met but not told why and it scared the shit out of me. Trump has a lot of bluster, but this… Read more »
webber
Guest

I’m scared as s..t that Trump and/or his advisers, might be Russian toys. I hope they are all under heavy investigation now.

webber
Guest

I think Trump could be blackmailed with a tape of perverted sexual activity. Remember Bill Clinton’s reaction to the (relatively mild) Monica Lewinsky revelations? Denial. Panic.
Trump’s family life could melt down. He could be hit with a major divorce case, and he would lose big time.
Scuttlebutt on the internet suggests Trump engaged in something to do with urination – but God knows if any of it is true.

webber
Guest

P.S. if there is a tape, it had better come out, because I think Trump could be blackmailed with it if it doesn’t.

Guest

Never heard of “golden shower”?
The story reminds me of a big scandal some years ago in Germany. Jörg Immendorff, famous painter was caught in a hotel room with cocaine and nine (!) whores who were amusing themselves … He could only watch the show – he had ALS (Hawking’s disease) and died a few years later, nly 61 years old.

Istvan
Guest

Oh yes all of this and more right outside the gates of the old Subic Bay base. Trump supposedly has a press conference today that will be one for the ages. I will not be the first to throw a stone at Trump, President Kennedy, or Clinton for the sex stuff. Apparently J Edgar Hoover head of the FBI had the goods on Kennedy and used it to protect himself.

Putin is a winner on this no matter what, if Trump convinces the majority of his voters it’s a news media/intelligence agency plot he wins. If Trump is destroyed he wins because we have been so completely penetrated. All pretty traumatic.

webber
Guest

Apparently J. Edgar Hoover was a drag queen.

Guest

Another perfect example of the DAIS_NAID syndrome:
Do as I say not as I do!
You find it often with “Christian” politicians who will tell you about what the bible forbids …

In shock
Guest
webber
Guest

Yep. Helsinki Committee, Transparency International, and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union are the targets. Fidesz wants to do away with organizations that work to protect human rights, legal rights, and to uncover corruption.
If Fidesz really drives them out of Hungary, that is the end of the last shred of democracy and decency. The Helsinki Committee criticized the Kadar regime – but Fidesz wants to get rid of it.

webber
Guest

And the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union won a case against the previous socialist government, but Fidesz wants to get rid of it…
http://merlin.obs.coe.int/iris/2009/7/article1

Ferenc
Guest

Everybody here please sit down for almost 15 minutes and watch the above atv interview. Even if you don’t understand a word of Hungarian, just listen how they are speaking to each other.

webber
Guest

Transparency International investigated corruption under the Gyurcsany government, and Fidesz welcomed its work then.
The Helsinki Committees throughout E. Europe were staunch supporters of human rights, and fierce critics of government during the communist period.

And Fidesz wants to get rid of both of them.

Tyrker
Guest

It’s apparently modeled after Israel’s new transparency act:
http://index.hu/belfold/2017/01/11/izraeli_mintara_takaritana_el_az_utbol_a_civileket_a_kormany/

Ferenc
Guest

About the subject of the post.
It seems OV/Fidesz mostly will target NGO’s somehow connected to (money from) Soros, but in the latest statements that isn’t mentioned, now it seems about all NGO’s.
At this moment all NGO’s seem to be operating according to the laws, so acc.OV/Fidesz the laws have to be changed.
In the future NGO’s have to openly publish their finances, well nothing seriously wrong with that, transparency you know, several doing so already, have seen from some internet media (atlatszo.hu, direkt36.hu). The strange thing is that the government itself is trying to hide finances from ‘their’ TAO system. I would say if you want others to be open, be that yourself also!!
But by open finances, there still is no tool to “sweep NGO’s out of the country” as the Fidesz ‘cleaner’ stated, so what lawful tool are they aiming at to use. I haven’t got a clue (yet), but will not just sit and wait and see till such things will start to happen.

webber
Guest

They could, I suppose, ban all foreign funding. That has been effective in other non-democratic countries.

Ferenc
Guest

EU funding also?
Then their estimated 4% grow of GDP will shrink to …… zero?

webber
Guest

Just foreign funding for NGOs, not foreign funding for themselves!
They could start, for instance, by banning funding from non-EU sources. That would take care of Soros and all sorts of American programs (bye bye Fulbright scholarships!). They could even do it under the guise of eliminating Russian influence (a total lie).
But I guess that first they’ll offer Soros to “handle” his money for him – to set up their own committees to distribute it. After all, they tried to get the Norwegian government to run funding through a Fidesz committee, but the Norwegians told them to go to hell.

webber
Guest

I guess Trump wouldn’t mind, either. His good buddy Newt Gingrich used liked to quote Robert Taft on foreign aid: “pouring money down a foreign rat hole.”
So, if Hungary does not want American money, great! More can stay in America.

Ferenc
Guest

But how can you ban that?
On what legal bases in a global economy?
And if they (OV/Fidesz) somehow succeed, and if I had an NGO I would just change it into a company……., OK would have to pay some taxes, but still can operate

webber
Guest

China and Vietnam are integrated into the global economy, are they not? Have you looked at how NGOs are dealt with in those countries?
Where does it say that NGOs are needed for the global economy? Which international regulation says this? I know of none.

Change an NGO into a company? Now that will not work. There are laws in Hungary against companies engaging in activities not in their realm of business.

So, how can you ban non-EU funding for NGOs? Easy. You just pass a law in Parliament saying as much. What’s to stop Fidesz from doing that? And while they are doing it they can tell the international press that Russia is the target of their new law, even though everyone will know that Soros is the target.

Not saying they will do it – but they could. There is nothing I can see that could stop them.

Ferenc
Guest

Sorry, made a mistake in the quote, the ‘cleaner’ meant: “fake-NGO’s”, like Társaság a Szabadságjogokért (TASZ), Helsinki Bizottság and Transparency International.
Their main ‘mistake’ is, acc.to the ‘cleaner’: they hindered the government in their ’eminent treatment of illegal immigrants’.

bimbi
Guest

Another week, another “war”. That’s life under the illiberal mafia Orban Hungarian government. War has been declared (again) against the NGOs who seem to be about the last speakers of truth about the miscreants and bandits currently running the Hungarian government.

With the declaration of war come the little agents purveying lies and slander – the Szilard Nemeths, Peter Szijjartos and Zsolt Semjens – tugging at the coat-tails of their brave leader and not one with any personal moral fibre.

Meanwhile more and more of the dealings of the regime are ‘officially’ wrapped in 30-year secrecy laws. Oh dear, all so predictable, all so Orban. Theft breeds greed and power corrupts – what else is new in Fideszland?

Joe Simon
Guest

George Soros: International Criminal Wanted By Nations Around The World
The Millennium Report
November 14, 2016

Guest

Joe, by quoting this site you have just shown that you are a fascist conspiracy theorist – totally crazy!
I propose that either Eva bans you – or we keep you as “the village idiot” which you obviously are!

If anyone doesn’t believe me, just follow this link – but be warned, you might want to puke a whole bucket reading this crap!
http://themillenniumreport.com/2016/11/george-soros-international-criminal-wanted-by-nations-around-the-world/
The daily stormer looks like a children’s magazine compared to this uglyness!

Ferenc
Guest

“our village idiot” could very well be a family member of you know who…….

Observer
Guest

Please leave Fidesznik Joe, good to have a dud/village idiot for entertainment and to kick around verbally.

Bowen
Guest

If the rumoured scandal about Trump and two prostitutes in a Russian hotel room is true, it makes me wonder if Putin has any similar compromising information about Orban, in return for his obedience …

pappp
Guest

You wonder this with a KGB officer as president? Russia has the entire Hungarian communist informer/agent data base of names of agents, reports etc. because the Sovietunion sent liaison people into every department of the Ministry of Interior for decades who sat in the same rooms with their Hungarian colleagues (probably spoke Hungarian fluently). The Russians saw everything, of course made copies of docs, knew everybody in the offices. This went on for 45 years at least.

The Russians probably continued to have huge influence after the Soviets left Hungary because the human resources within Hungarian state security didn’t change a bit, so the former colleagues (former mates for lunches etc.) of those Soviet officers were still working at Belügy, they surely were open for some coffee from time to time.

Russia is of course controlling Orban and many of his people, what’s the big surprise? Why the NATO and the US have been OK with this is a big question but the West probably just doesn’t care. The American voters, especially voters of Trump don’t seem to care. They adore Trump anyway.

webber
Guest

Spot on.

webber
Guest

Except for this part: “The American voters, especially voters of Trump don’t seem to care. They adore Trump anyway.”
1. American voters do not care one whit for Hungary, that is true. Most of them don’t even know where it is. Of those who know, most of them couldn’t care less, but…
2. Most American voters voted against Trump. Always worth remembering. Never, never make that mistake, please.

pappp
Guest

Actually in my mind I moved on to the control of Trump’s people by Russia. Sure, American voters don’t care about Hungary (and its control by Russia) but what is interesting is that those who voted Trump (yes a minority) don’t seem to care about Russia’s meddling in US affairs. Just as Orban believers forgive Orban everything, these Trump voters seem to overlook anything for Trump and his people. Weird.

Russia is an extremely difficult political problem. It’s a very important issue but the Democrats are making a huge mistake by being obsessed about it partly because thereby they look preoccupied with an issue that doesn’t seem to be relevant to the average American voter and partly because thereby they fail to deal with issues that are domestic politically much more important (such as the impending repeal of the ACA, privatization of Social Security, tax cuts for the rich etc.). Any discourse always necessarily displaces other discourses and the Russia meddling discourse displaces a lot of very important discourses (like the Zinoviev letter).

webber
Guest

Again, you made the same mistake “an issue that doesn’t seem to be relevant to the average American voter”… Again I’ll remind you, the average American voter did not vote for Trump. Just keep repeating that to yourself.

Bowen
Guest

Mine was a rhetorical question. I already knew the answer. Do the likes of you always have to be so arrogant? Beware your hubris.

Member

Trump’s favorable rating has always been lower than his unfavorable rating, i.e. more people dislike him than like him: http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/donald-trump-favorable-rating

Here’s Obama’s for comparison: http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/obama-favorable-rating

Member

They are fully functioning today. I was expelled from the country 36 years ago, and still the same people are sitting in the government today. Alex Pintér. Usw.

Ferenc
Guest

OT
Interesting interview with Lovász László (president of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, MTA), not because of what is said by him (almost nothing…), but because of how he is pushed to say anything at all:
http://hirtv.hu/alinda/lovasz-laszlo-1379326
Like watching somebody trying to push a donkey, so don’t count on just one serious action from MTA at all, to me seems better to ride real horse.

Member

I’m surprised that no one has yet mentioned the obvious takeaway from today’s post, which is that the Obama administration’s policy towards Hungary has clearly had a moderating effect on the Hungarian regime over the past 6-odd years. It’s just that this influence was not very visible until now.

I know that it’s fashionable in the comments on this site to bash the US and especially its ambassadors to Hungary, but it’s now hard to deny that the US has played a big role in shaping the actions of the Hungarian government.

Observer
Guest

NGOs becomes the current “internal enemy”, reloaded though.

The fascist light regime hardens.

Member

Éva, excellent piece as usual. I have a suggestion. Miklos Haraszti proposed the opposition to crave Fidesz to change the order for voting. It could be an interesting topic, because no one reacted to his proposition.

Observer
Guest

Eva,
I am not sure M.Haraszti is worth it, just as a couple of others of the same mold, he’s theorizing too much, often confusing the desirable with the possible, to put it mildly. BTW I was surprised to hear TGM talking less nonsense these days.
Your overviews and some of the comments here are closer to the reality in my estimate.
E.g. a small test of MH,’s main tenet:
– How many times has Orban stepped back for reasons of embarrassment, decency, international opinion, even legality ?
– What is the likely hood that LMP and Jobbik will boycott ?
– How many phony ad hoc parties are going to fill the ballot ?

If you feel very much like having an article, better ask Lászlo Keri (at least he confessed his misjudgement).

webber
Guest

Why not ask Haraszti? He might produce something worthwhile.
He has certainly written very interesting things in the past.
And why not ask Keri as well.

Guest

I assume that the Hungarian constitution allows freedom of speech no matter whether its is pronounced by an individual or a group and no matter how it is financed.

It takes money to be heard.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Observer
Guest

Jean P.

Of course you’re right. This is why they always count the millions in the “war chest”, this why Simicska reinvested many of the stolen billions into media outlets. Without him there would be no Fid regime today.

Ad this is why Hungary is not a democracy anymore: opposition denied money and media vs a regime flush with hundreds of billions of our stolen money to be used against us.

Member

Szilárd Németh, an illiterate, bullying, racist and misogynist thug, more at home in a kocsma brawl than in a modern democracy, typifies perfectly the fascist dictatorship.

The NGOs are the last of the opposition to the dictator, they, must of course, be crushed.

Their (the NGOs) biggest problem has been that the average Hungarian voter couldnt give two hoots about state corruption as long as Orban reduces their electricity bills. That is the reality.

Have they managed to switich one voter? I highly doubt it- this is not to denigrate their work, at the very least, they have provided an invaluable archival record of the regimes many crimes. But Orban is picking on them not out of necessity but out of petty vengeance.

They will put up more of a fight than the free media, teachers, the independent judges et al, that is for sure. There are a lot of highly intelligent and courageous people working in that sector. But the EU is about as much use as chocolate teacup in protecting democratic norms; a fellow deranged fascist now rules in the White House and, as I said before, the Hungarian electorate is apathy personified.

pappp
Guest
People are poor and will vote for those who seemingly understand their immediate problems like utility bills. Liberals either understand that or will soon perish and give way to Fideszniks and Jobbik for good. There is no way average Hungarians will ever care about democratic issues, human rights, whatever when it’s about heating their apartments or paying their mortgage. The issue is that in a normal democracy (a normal, developed country) there exists some kind of decency which even without legal constraints prevents parties from acting like Fidesz does (ie. being geci as Lajos Simicska summed it up perfectly). But Fidesz is a party of lawyers which means they viscerally know that they can do absolutely anything if there are no legal prohibitions (including the lack of a possibility of successful prosecution). And since Fidesznik politicians are mean jerks (they are all selected and tested for such personality traits by the leader) who seek perverted enjoyment from tormenting people who dare to oppose them, they will do things like bullying and crushing NGOs. Forget the EU, the US, forget everybody. Only the masses of poor, uneducated, average Hungarians in living in Hungary can get rid of Orban and his system.
Ferenc
Guest

Just an additional thought about the NGO item.
OV/Fidesz wants the NGO ‘officeholders’ to submit financial/property statements just like members of parliament. Well is in general the real function of these statements? To avoid corruption, and corruption is happening only where people can take decisions about things in which a lot of money is at stake. The decision maker is (unofficially) given a certain part of the money at stake in exchange for a desired decision.
Then my question: NGO’s are in any position to decide about things in which a lot of money is involved?
No, they basically want to express opinions and guard certain rights (human, animal, etc), that’s all. So, where’s the whole bullshit about…..

pappp
Guest

It’s absolutely pointless to argue rationally about the issue. The moment you start rational arguments you ceded the discourse to Orban. No amount of rational argumentation or fact checking helped against Trump and Trump voters. In fact the continued media exposure only helped Trump’s messages to spread more efficiently.

New or at least different methods are needed not the liberal ideal of rational deliberation. It decidedly doesn’t work and in fact it makes the situation much worse because by continuing the discourse even more people get to know about the false charges.

Probably a reenergized, coordinated, new anti-corruption campaign would be needed (as a kind of counterattack) without any reference to the lies. Explanation implies apologizing which always looks bad (except if somebody really committed an illegal act, which isn’t that case here).

Guest

“…the liberal ideal of rational deliberation…decidedly doesn’t work and in fact it makes the situation much worse because by continuing the discourse even more people get to know about the false charges.”

Do you seriously mean that false charges should not be reacted to? Fidesz reacts to all charges – true or false – immediately.

pappp
Guest

There must be reaction, but what kind of reaction? If you argue rationally that it’s stupid to demand transparency because there’s already transparency, that whether they are in a position to decide about taxpayer money etc. it’s over, you yourself repeat the charges and people are not open to rational argument.

I’m no expert but I would say to any media question that (A) the government is lying (as always) about NGOs and (B) would bring up another corruption matter.

Guest

“There must be reaction, but what kind of reaction?”
Counterattack.

Guest

more people get to know about the false charges.

That’s the point of it! Of course combined with a thorough refutation which shows people how idiotic the whole thing was.

Let’s take an example from Germany:
The usual disreputable suspects like breitfart (can’t resist that …) etc reported on a thousand Muslims setting fire to a German church in Dortmund – of course everybody was flabbergasted there!
And the right wing fascist lunatics had a field day again.

Then the “lying mass media” (in Germany Lügenpresse) reported on what really happened – in the crowd having fun on New year’s Eve there were a few Muslim refugees and somehow a firecracker went into a net surrounding the church which is being repaired. the fire was put out quickly, nothing happened – it was just a big happy party …
I’m to lazy to give links – you can google it yourself.

In shock still
Guest
Ferenc
Guest

Somebody should have stood up at that ‘kornany info’ and say: “Sorry minister, I haven’t got a question for you, but give you the possibility to start your tape for the Xth time.”

Guest

And now for the good news:

Seems that Trump likes Hungarian women too, not just the other “Central East Europeans” that he married (and divorced when no longer fresh enough …):
Hungarian celebrity Kata Sarka claims President-elect Donald J. Trump invited her over to his hotel room in Moscow in 2013 at a party following that year’s Miss Universe beauty pageant, Hungarian online news portal index.hu reported yesterday, citing a story from tabloid paper Blikk from the end of last year.

Sarka is a model and occasional TV host as well as a businesswoman. She was voted the most beautiful girl in Budapest in 2007, and finished as the first runner-up in the 2007 Miss Universe Hungary pageant.

http://bbj.hu/culture/hungarian-celeb-claims-trump-invited-her-to-his-room-in-moscow-in-2013_127296
And nor the bad news (for Trump):

She also said that Trump is “not her type”. 🙂

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