Viktor Orbán’s regime under fire at home and abroad

It is difficult nowadays to write a post about the Hungarian political scene since it is almost impossible to predict what may happen in the next few minutes on the streets of Budapest, which are again filled with demonstrators.

One thing I have been pondering today in view of the latest U.S.-Hungarian clash over the Central European University (CEU) is the Orbán regime’s total ignorance of the workings of the U.S. government. Throughout the presidential campaign, interest in the Clinton/Trump duel was just as intense in Hungary as anywhere else in Europe. Yet day after day it was apparent that a great many journalists as well as politically engaged citizens were unfamiliar with even the most basic principles of the U.S. electoral law. I found this depressing. But when politicians who are supposed to make decisions affecting U.S.-Hungarian relations are ignorant of how U.S. diplomacy functions, we are in real trouble. And unfortunately, this is increasingly the case.

In the last three years the whole Hungarian diplomatic corps was decimated, and their places were filled with party loyalists who had no diplomatic experience. But even those who in the past 20 years were in important diplomatic positions and who are considered to be Atlantists, i.e. working for better U.S.-Hungarian relations, can come up with mind-boggling idiocies. The latest example comes from Zsolt Németh, undersecretary of the foreign ministry between 1998 and 2002 and again between 2010 and 2014. Commenting on Hoyt Brian Yee’s message to the Hungarian government, he said that Yee’s report on the U.S. government’s support for CEU is “only an opinion and in any case we are talking only about a deputy assistant secretary. Moreover, as far as I know, he has held this position for the last few years, so we ought to wait for the answer of the present American administration as to whether we can sign an agreement that would make CEU’s continued work possible.” What dilettantism and what arrogance, said Zsolt Kerner of 24.hu. The Orbán government assumed (and of course hoped) that the American response still reflected the thinking of the Obama administration. But a few hours after Németh’s comment Mark C. Toner, spokesperson of the State Department, confirmed Yee’s message. The most important sentence of Toner’s lengthy answer to a journalistic question was: “We’re urging the Government of Hungary to suspend implementation of the law.” The message cannot be clearer. The simplistic view of the Orbán government that, for Hungary, “Democratic rule is bad, Republican rule is good” was once again proved wrong. How could Viktor Orbán have forgotten his bad luck with George W. Bush after 9/11 when his insensitivity or perhaps planned insult got him into deep trouble with the Republican administration for the rest of his term?

Viktor Orbán has been a great deal more successful in his dealings with the European Union. For years he has been hoodwinking the hapless “bureaucrats.” But the “Stop Brussels” campaign and the farcical questionnaire of the so-called National Consultation helped them see the light. At last the College under the chairmanship of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans decided “to take stock of the issues at hand, in an objective, facts-based and law-based manner” concerning “the compatibility of certain actions of the Hungarian authorities with EU law and with our shared values.” Timmermans outlined the issues the European Commission and Parliament considered troubling. Heading the list was the fate of Central European University, but right after that came the announcement that “the Commission … decided that it will prepare and make public its own response to the Hungarian Government’s ‘Stop Brussels’ consultation.”

The current European Commission

Moreover, Timmermans accused Hungary of not abiding by Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty, which reads: “The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.” The sins of the Orbán government are numerous: its attack on CEU and the NGOs, lack of transparency of funding, asylum questions, disregard of human dignity and freedom, and a lack of respect for human rights, tolerance, and solidarity. Of course, we have heard all this before, but what’s different this time is that Timmermans announced that they will complete the legal assessment of the Hungarian situation as soon as possible and “the College will consider next steps on any legal concerns by the end of the month.” In the European Union, where everything takes months if not years, the Hungarian issue seems to have priority. The EU’s criticisms didn’t go unnoticed in Poland. Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski, in an interview with MTI, the Hungarian news agency, labeled Timmermans’ announcement “blackmail.” Péter Szijjártó called it a “pathetic accusation.”

I left to the end a development that I find extremely important. Viktor Orbán’s whole political system relies on a three-pronged parliamentary structure. Fidesz is the “center power” with two opposition groups on its flanks: Jobbik on the right and assorted smaller parties on the left, where the right and left have diametrically opposed ideologies. This was the situation in Hungary between the two world wars, which ensured the government party’s supremacy from 1920 to 1944. The genius of this arrangement is that these two poles, due to their ideological incompatibility, are unlikely to unite against the middle.

But in the CEU case Jobbik opted to join ranks with the left. In Hungary 25% of parliamentary members can demand a review of a law by the Constitutional Court, even if it has already been signed by the president. LMP decided to invoke this procedure to trigger a Court review of the new anti-CEU law. To reach the 25% threshold LMP needed to muster 50 votes. If only LMP (5), MSZP (28), and all the independents (11) were to vote for the initiative, they would come up short. But Jobbik decided to add its 24 votes. Demokratikus Koalíció (4), whose members sit with the independents, opted not to join the others because DK doesn’t consider the Fidesz-majority Constitutional Court a legitimate body. Thus, 64 members of parliament joined together in an action against Fidesz. Of course, the Jobbik spokesman emphasized that the decision was made only to save the rule of law in Hungary, and he kept repeating that this doesn’t mean an endorsement of George Soros or his university. But the fact remains that Jobbik decided to join the rest of the opposition. (At the time of the vote on the law on higher education they simply didn’t vote.) This Jobbik decision may have significant consequences.

As I write this, tens of thousands are demonstrating in Budapest, all over the city. The cause is no longer just CEU and the NGOs but democracy and a free Hungary.

April 12, 2017
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Roderick Beck
Guest

Well, it is refreshing.

Charles Gati
Guest

You’ve summed up the situation so well. It pains me to see how little understanding of Washington there is among the current leaders of the Hungarian government. On the basis of personal knowledge, I can also add that Hoyt Yee’s mission to Budapest re CEU was “cleared” by the new team at the National Security Council (White House) at a very high level.

It is true that Yee held his present — and for Hungary crucial — position at the State Department under Obama, but he had high positions under the Bush Administration as well. He is a professional, not a political appointee. I am surprised that even such (formerly?) Atlanticist experts as Zsolt Nemeth believe that the Trump Administration would “remake” America’s relations to the world, including Hungary. When it comes to assessing the performance of the Orban government, there is far more continuity in Washington than change. Serious people should know that campaign rhetoric must be studied for what it is, not for future policy direction.

webber
Guest

Charles Gati – make no mistake of it, all this nonsense is for domestic consumption. It’s an attempt by Orbán’s people to convince the few atlanticists still backing Fidesz that the US actually is with the Party, and that “Orbán has a plan.” Until and unless Fidesz changes course, and drops its Russian alliance, the more critical Washington is, the better. These boys understand nothing but “no” in the bluntest terms. They think they can trick stupid Americans.

Istvan
Guest
I would say from watching live coverage of the demonstration at Kossuth Square Eva is clearly correct that the signs often called for a return to democracy, for Orban to go, and there were many EU flags present. From the audio I could clearly hear the chant: Russians go home! The demonstration really was a flash demo organized on the internet and via text messaging. I saw or heard of no clear attempt to occupy the square using a tactic similar to Kiev’s Independence Square or Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but maybe that situation has evolved I don’t know. One thing that is amazing about all of this is the number of live video feeds available. We shall know is some hours if there was any coherence to promote an occupation and a more protracted struggle with Orban and his police forces as has happened elsewhere where spontaneous demonstrations evolved into protracted fights with authoritarian governments. My guess is that the demonstrators are good citizens of Budapest who were tired of Orban and Fidesz, One lesson of Kiev and Cairo is for police is to use force very sparingly and when deemed necessary by the authoritarian powers to use it decisively… Read more »
Alex
Guest

The government deployed riot police replete with gas masks and body armor for the first time at Kossuth on the 12th. They were organized into large squadrons around the sides of the parliament, and in a line guarding the entire perimeter, and of course in front of the entrance many men deep. Until then only about 100 riot police had been held in reserve near Szabadsàg and yellow vested regular police were actively policing, including in front of the entrance of parliament. There were absolutely no regular police the other night. It’s hard to say exactly but I estimated 1000 and perhaps more riot police. They behaved themselves professionally but were menacing in their black uniforms and gear. Given that there has been no violence and the crowd is made up mostly of students and very peaceful middle aged folk and even some children with their parents on the periphery, there was no credible security justification for this show of force.

aida
Guest

With a bit of luck and a fair wind behind it we have reached that crucial point described by Winston after Al Alemain in WW2: “the end of the beginning”.
The clique have made a number of miscalculations. Serial mistakes are usually individually manageable. A caleidescope of cock ups is more difficult to manage when they all come up at the same time. It gives the clique’s opponents an opportunity to close in at the crucial time. This is no more than the end of the beginning, but it might just soon lead to the destruction of the Orban regime. This is a disastrous administration on a catastrophic scale which threatens to poison the world on a scale not dissimilar to Brexit.

Observer
Guest

Yes.
The EU, however, holds one of the three keys to the solution – the EU subsidies have kept and keep the Hun economy afloat and fill in the regime’s political war chest, in addition to their pockets.
The current cycle budget funds have been “booked” over 100%, boasted J.Lázár, and we can expect a turbo charged absorption in the run up to the 2018 elections. In view of the corruption probes/findings there may well be huge amounts to be claimed back. Instead of paying or facing proceedings the already isolated Orban, without any prospects of more money coming, may just as well opt out of the EU, keeping the corruption spoils and playing the kuruc hero posture at the same time.
The hapless Hungarians will foot the bill.

aida
Guest

Neither Washington nor the EU are in the regime change mode. They both hold crucial powers but their exercise is never straightforward. In the first place there must be clarity of the objective on which there is consensus. In the EU’s case there is the need to comply with the EU’s own rules and procedures.
Then there is the achievablity of the objectives by the available means together with the unintended consequences scenario. Vide: the Iraq war waged by Bush/Blair.
Any externally encouraged or imposed solution has losers and often becomes divisive. By dealing only with the obvious and immediate issues this may encourage change internally that might achieve the objective in time. Ultimately it must be a decision for the Hungarians how they want to live.

Guest

“Ultimately it must be a decision for the Hungarians how they want to live.”

Yes, if they get a fair chance to express it.

A fair electoral law is a safeguard against civil war.

Observer
Guest

Aida
The blame rests with the EU nevertheless. They had/have tons of evidence and should have suspended the funding, as a duty to their own tax payers.
Ditto with the fascist stealth coup d’etas, although it’s legally more complicated. In both cases it was a political decision, changing the rules would have been easier in 2012.

Finally and most importantly for the EU, the Orban case was a bad example how one can trample on the democratic norms and still get the money, a mouth wetting proposition to e.european wannabe dictators. The inertial of big political institutions often brings their downfall, EU is one of the worst examples: the unyieldy mechanism was designed for three big and three small democracies, now there are 28 many non democracies.
The future, if to be, is two speed EU or majority voting with sanctions (my preference).

The Hungarians will historically decide, but I don’t have two lives to wait for another 1953/1956/Gorbatchev development.

wrfree
Guest
Looking on a few years after Tusnafurdo where VO brought on the big ‘game change’ of going from a liberal to an illiberal one, it sure doesn’t look as if the country has increased their ‘competitiveness’ relative to Europe or the world. Magyarorszag still seems to be mired in troublesome problems with health care, the economy and education. VO looks to be swimming upstream without a paddle in those harsh rivers. ‘Going illiberal’ seems to have made the government irritable to the extent that their mentality of isolation has eroded a set of skills in the art of diplomacy and in their communications. They seem to have difficulty in ‘relating’. That means they are not ‘getting out’ much as the moat surrounds and the portcullis shut down in stone. In communications, their skills are below par preferring a rap-a-matic and defiant dialogue most concerned with simply talking from one side of the mouth rather than seriously listening. It is rather not hearing what the other has to say but to make sure they get the word out regardless. It remains to be seen if VO may one day ‘get it’ in his switch to ‘national’ democracy where sovereignity, respect for… Read more »
Member

Not that a malign nullity like Orban merits being quoted chapter and verse; but the fact is that he never mouthed the oxymoron “illiberal democracy.” He just said “illiberal state.” And that’s indeed literally accurate as a descriptor of the shameful mess he has made of the country. He might have added “illiberal and liberally plundered state”: He’s been, if anything, even faster in implementing the liberal plundering than the illiberal politicking…

Member

I remember, that on the press conference at Merkels visit in Budapest, she was asked something about illiberal democracy. Her answer was, that there is no such thing and that democracy is always liberal.
Orban insisted, that there is.

In his original speech, I remember to have read, that he mentioned the word illiberal at least four times.
Was it never together with democracy ?

wrfree
Guest

And I just would want to interject that Orban referred to 3 specific changes in the last decades that reoriented and realigned European and world views: the end of WWI, The end of WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall. These made him in hus analysis see that liberal democratic principles were found wanting in pushing Magyarorszag’s political, economic and social development forward in the 21st. His calculation was to build an illiberal state where his country would still still be ‘democratic’ , that is folding in ‘rights and freedoms’, in spite of the illiberal position. Results show he can’t do it. It is impossible and a charade.

As noted in this blog, he spoke with forked tongue as he as gone on an dismantling spree for the past 3 years. Perhaps another ‘big change’ has come around since that platform speech of his administration. The muzzle refuses to go on the public and it looks as if they are contemplating what it means to be somewhat of a ‘loyal’ dog. Democracy in action.

Dr. József Mengele
Guest

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exTor
Guest

Another SFB eructation.
[Read: shit-for-brains.]

MAGYARKOZÓ

webber
Guest

Gyurcsány’s “Demokratikus Koalíció (4), whose members sit with the independents, opted not to join the others because DK doesn’t consider the Fidesz-majority Constitutional Court a legitimate body.”

This is okay with you Gyurcsányistas too? This is a sign of practical political savvy? This is good, ethical politics?

Which is this, the fifth, or the sixth time that DK people have done something favoring Orbán in Parliament “by mistake”, “by chance” or out of “ethical standards” which nobody else (in the case in question) can understand?

You don’t convince voters in this way, to put it mildly. You send the law to the Constitutional Court, and you let it prove to the Hungarian people it is illegitimate, that it, like President Áder, simply will do whatever Orbán tells it to do. And if it doesn’t (in this case), if it finds the law to be unconstitutional, all the better.

You can call this dilletantism if you like (I think it is more than that) but you really cannot make any other excuse for DK. Basta.

Member

Come one Webber,
I notice, that each time Gyurcsany or DK is mentioned, it triggers Yorr attacks.

You must hate him very much!

DK clearly stated, why they stay away from parliament and that in crucial cases, they would attend.

Until now, there was no case, where DK votes were needed.

webber
Guest

Winston, that is not even an argument. “there was no case where DK votes were needed” you say? Pardon? How are you going to get opposition unity? The time is now. Not in a year. NOW. Who is breaking that, time and again? DK. End of argument.

I don’t hate Gyurcsány at all. I admired him when he took in refugees. But face the facts, please.

petofi
Guest

Gyurcsany is a poseur. He’d do better on the French stage in a farce….

Roderick Beck
Guest

He has a point. DK is helping the government.

Ferenc
Guest

There can be only one valid reason for not voting aka.boycott the Constitutional Court, and that is if after a victory over OV&Co, there can seriously be done something about the current members of the CC. I have read somewhere statements from Gyurcsany that he thinks they have found a way to do such.
Personally I’m very skeptical about any possibilities for such being realistic, so in my opinion the DK boycott is nonsense and the beginning of the end for Gyu&DK (simultaneous with OV&Co’s end going on now).

Member

I don’t have a personal opinion and cannot judge yet, whether it is good or bad to stay away from parliament.

The argument for the decision was, that the parliament in Hungary has become merely a circus and gives Orbáns autocracy an excuse to claim, that there still is democracy

To boycott parliament was not invented by DK, it was discussed before also by political analysts.

DK has made that decision. It is like it is. To revoke it, wouldn’t be a good idea either.

Last but not least:
I am not a Gyurcsány fan either, but I feel forced to defend him here sometimes, because I find these attacks highly exaggerated.
There are others and lots of them, who deserve it more!

webber
Guest

What are you talking about? If you make a mistake, if your position is wrong, it’s always a good idea to revoke it. The sooner the better. But he won’t. (why defend the indefensible? I am criticizing policy and actions, every time).

Member

How do You know, that it was a mistake ?
Maybe it is better, that at least one party shows, that it doesn’t want to play the dictators’ game.

webber
Guest

Well, every time DK does that, it seems to end up doing the dictator a favor. I find that… objectionable.

Observer
Guest

Winston
Webber

You both have valid points, nothing is black and white. Politics is a very dynamic game and one has to think of his feet.

DK should have joined with reservation, stating their opinion re the CC (it would have been a win win situation for them ).

Opposition parties should have been walking out in noisy protest on more significant occasions (to disrupt the rubber stamp procedure and to make the news)!

GyF is a pol of high integrity by H standards, he is an inspiring speaker and pretty realistic. His fellows are under par however. DK badly needs creativity and freshness, and harder work perhaps, to attract more voters.

webber
Guest

One of the nicest things stuck on a lamp post at the protests last night referred to the revelation that a Russian computer code was embedded in the government’s website for it’s anti-EU “national consultation”, with slanted questions about Brussels. The small poster had two possible answers for the question it posed
“Do you agree that your personal data be sent to Moscow?”
Yes Да

Dr. József Mengele
Guest

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webber
Guest

Hello Zsolti! Did you get your messages last night? A lot of people were waiting for you. You promised you’d come. A shame you didn’t show up.

Dr. József Mengele
Guest

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exTor
Guest

If this SFB were half as intelligent as the average Jew, then this SFB would be (at least) twice as intelligent as he currently is.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

Look, here is an honest, straight person, who speaks out the real opinion of Orbán and Fidesz.
No more political correctness!

Guest

Yes, that’s the way these people are “thinking” deep down in their relevant body parts …
It’s important to have these kinds of statements – because otherwise many people wouldn’t believe that those fascists still exist in Hungary (and other countries too, obviously).
And let me repeat my opinion:
The almost 50 years of the Communist regime in Hungary means that many people are way behind the times (like in Poland, East Germany etc) and they converted directly from being Communists to being fascists (again)!

If you look at Germany eg, the support for AfD, NPD and other quasi fascist parties is at least twice or even three times as high in the East compared to the affluent West – the only exception being Bavaria. But the reactionary positions of many Bavarians are easily explained by the strong influence of the equally reactionary Catholic Church.

exTor
Guest

I cant let this slip by without comment.

Your position on neofascists (or possibly just plain antisemites) is facile, wolfi7777. No selfrespecting commie would ever switch to the right side of the political spectrum. How would you explain deep antisemitism west of Hungary? What about the United States, with the mouthings of racists like that nosejob nazi David Duke?

Antisemitism is primarily cultural, though the political system may be somewhat of a factor. I’m curious as to how antisemitic the former East Germany now is. I once read that Poland was the most antisemitic country in Europe. The comment may have been directed at the Poland that existed between the two World Wars, or it may refer to a longer (centuries-old) period up to and including World War Two. I have no idea about Poland now. Likely not much separates Poland and Hungary re views about Jews.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

I don’t know enough about the right wing “Christians” to say how deeply ingrained their antisemitism is.
What I wanted to explain is that the long time under “Communism” has destryoyed all democratic structures and thinking, that’s why imho so many people there fall prey to those extreme right wing ideas.
Antisemitism is only a small part of that, just like xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, mysogenia – any “other group” is hated by them!

They want a return to the good old “Christian” times, that’s it …

exTor
Guest

I’m not anticommunist, however I am antiCommunist, if you catch the distinction, wolfi7777. Read: antiStalinist. I dont intend on litigating the difference between little-cee communism and big-cee Communism, for that would be a whole nother book.

Like ‘liberal’ (and its related ‘libtard’), ‘communist’/’communism’ has had a bad rap/rep for a century. Those trying to score points throw around those words regardless of connectivity. Sometimes linkage to ‘Communism’ is valid, sometimes not. All I know is ‘communism’ never existed.

Capitalism exists. All comments are made from that starting point.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

I prefer the expression socialist or even better:
social democrat
Combine that with green and you find “Meine Wenigkeit”.

Guest

Orbán made the headline of Le Soir, one of the biggest newspapers in Belgium. Frans Timmermans’ press conference did not go unnoticed here. What’s interesting, and I agree with Eva’s post, is that Timmermans is the first Vice-President of the European Commission and if you watch the address he gave yesterday, he spent most of his speech time commenting the situation in Hungary.

In Le Soir’s article, it’s worth mentioning that the discontent with Fidesz is growing within EPP’s ranks, with some members, including big shots, openly saying it’s about time Fidesz MEPs are kick out of the political group. Sadly (but not surprisingly), a political analyst comments it’s unlikely it will happen any time soon.

Guest

Éva, can you please delete Mengeles silly posts.

Member

Nah, I kind of like them. They highlight the intellectual capacity of Orbanites. Not to mention bravery, because there is nothing more noble than threatening people from behind a fake name.

exTor
Guest

Good point, Alex Kuli. This SFB is the Hungarian equivalent of the Trumpist snowflakes in the US. Snowflakes are the white reactionaries who core the nonmajority electorate that enabled DJ Trump to grab the US presidency.

Éva is generally more tolerant with this website than I would be were it my baby. I’d summarily boot many more miscreants from this site. That said, Éva will undoubtedly deepsix this SFB ASAP.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

The Orbanists` main online propaganda site, Origo.hu has suffered a major hacking attack this morning. It has been told to behave and stop spreading “Putyinesque! propaganda 🙂

Member

It’s getting really exciting to follow the reactions online and in social media. Some are cautiously optimistic, while some opposition media and their commenters seem to think that yesterday’s demonstration was a “hipster” action of naïve young people (and “women, of course…”) and not aggressive enough to frighten Orbán and his boys. Meanwhile, the government is obviously hoping to divide the protests – this morning’s news were all about “calm down, boys, the CEU is not under threat”.

pappp
Guest

It was not a hipster action. And any kind of opposition action is good and must be welcomed.

The opposition (media) obviously doesn’t believe that it can prevail over Orban.

It internalized Orban’s narrative about him being invincible and this perhaps paradoxically shows how thoroughly defeated the opposition was, as the opposition accepted the entire discourse, the language which Orban provided to them. But luckily many have woken up.

The bottom line is people are very dissatisfied all over Hungary and nobody can deny that.

(From what I can gather not even die-hard fideszniks are happy and satisfied with the state of Hungary around them but for whatever reason they still decide to support Orban).

webber
Guest

I know two formerly diehard Fideszniks who protested yesterday.

webber
Guest

It wasn’t really about CEU at all last night though, was it? Didn’t you hear the slogans? Not too much about CEU, but they had some choice words for Bayer and Orbán. And those weren’t (just) hipsters. A lot of them came from the working-class parts of town, by metro and bus. My guess is the majority of them did.

Member

The massive turnout at the protests is heartening, as is the diplomatic slap-down from Trump’s people. At the same time, I remain skeptical and deeply concerned about CEU’s impact on the 2018 election.

Let’s say the best-case scenario happens, and Orban is forced to suspend or amend the law on higher education in a manner that allows CEU to stay. Orban’s most dedicated voters live in the videk. Fidesz can easily pass off the whole affair off as “foreign interference in Hungary’s domestic affairs,” “the power of the pro-migrant lobby,” and, under their breath, “the undiminished influence of Jewish capital.”

Given the anti-Semitic disposition and nationalist proclivities of country folk – especially the Bekemenet enthusiasts – the CEU issue could easily trigger a tsunami of pro-Orban sentiment in the countryside. Orban will also be able to bolster support for his pro-Russian, anti-EU policies.

The only way for the protesters to translate their outrage into ballot-box success is by winning hearts and minds in the countryside. So far, I don’t see any political leaders even contemplating such action.

webber
Guest

But it wasn’t about CEU last night. Listen to the slogans they were chanting. It’s much bigger than CEU now.

wrfree
Guest

Looks it. If VO’s move on CEU was a test in how far he could go I’d bet he is surprised by the reactions.
At this point most know by his attack on CEU and that nemisis of his Soros that he has obsessions that dangerously play to the autocrat in him. Befire he wanted to change a politucal system. With CEU he wants to oversee thought control in his backyard.

So I would suggest the more this fellow is in the oven the more people will come around, continue to stick a fork in him and eventually say ‘he’s done’. If some think VO has an upside they are in another universe. Tinpots sure have their glory in the sun but as another has said here they eventually descend to live under mushrooms.

petofi
Guest

Obviously, the math escapes most commenters: there are a great deal more anti-semites in Hungary than not. Hence, and therefore, stirring the anti-semite pot through the surrogacy of Soros, is a viable political tactic…

But of course, Orban does it to fool people that he needs to for the election. Nothing of the sort–the election is already in the bag…as it will be for many years to come.

HAJRA MAGYAROK!

Member
The EU still does’t take appropriate action against Hungary: 1. The EPP tries to delegate its problems with containing a non democratic party to the comission. Manfred Weber says, the comission must find out, what´s wrong. But the comission has nothing to do with his fraction. They cannot tell Fidez to leave. This is up to Weber and his fraction. He still doesn’t seem to be willing to act. 2. The comissions decisions from yesterday are the typical EU Wackelpudding. To open infringement proceedings on special cases is just not enough: We know all this: Orbán does double talk, dances his peakock dance and nothing will really change. Orbán is laughing at the EU. This I read in the press about the comissions’ meeting: – Timermans said: “In Hungary the rule of law is not threatened. In Poland there is. So a Art. 7 proceeding for Hungary is not appropriate.” This is a joke, isn’t it. Of course the rule of law is not threatened in Hungary, because there is no such thing. – Somewhere I read, that they want to start a dialog with Hungary, they say that with Orbán one can talk, in opposite to the poles. (Peacock… Read more »
pappp
Guest

Don’t trust the EU and the EPP.

Remember that Orban probably has some kompromat on Oettinger who so loyally supported Orban’s Paks2 efforts. You think Oettinger works for charity?

I’m certain that Oettinger received something in return for his kind efforts and Orban knows what that something was. And Oettinger also knows that Orban knows.

And Orban will just let it be known to the CDU faction at EPP that, well, something may appear about their big man which they might not like unless of course… – EPP will not kick Orban out, it’s inconceivable.

Nope, nothing will happen. Orban will prevail on that front unfortunately, he and the Russians are way too smart against the clueless (and corrupt) Brussels bureaucrats.

Member

I think, that Oettinger doesn’t have much of a say in the EPP.
The CDU (Merkel) offered him the post as EU comissioner, because he didn’t perform well as politician in Germany.
He lost Baden Würtemberg to the Greens, which before was CDU-country since ever.

Concerning the comission, You might be right.
In any case Oettinger is one of those, I really hate (more than Gyurcsány :-)):
Typical right wing politician, who is lobbying businesses, making deals with corrupt dictators, the impacts don’t matter to him, no respect to his voters.

BTW: I do not think, that Orbán is smart, as You say, but the comissioners are too stupid:
They are negotiating their values (art. 2), which they always say that are not negotiable.

But anyway, the decisions are made by the leaders in the council. Can one set hopes on Merkel ? I don’t know.

Guest
Yes,Oettinger is an a**hole and also the laughing stock of most Schwabs, i e inhabitants of Baden-Württemberg, where he was prime minister once. You know the German state that was so dominated by the “Blacks” (CDU) that we had a saying: The CDU could nominate a black garbage can for parliament – it would be elected with a safe majority … His ineptitude (especially regarding his knowledge of English) on international matters is famous. Rather OT: There was a funny story a few years ago. Oettinger has been a customer of my favourite bar where he once was denied entry – because he and his companions wore the “uniform” of one of those patriotic right wing student associations (Verbindungen in German). It was all over the media -we had a big laugh! Im Wix gibt’s nix! He must have known that rule re uniforms but thought they wouldn’t apply it to him… For those who can read German: http://www.tuepedia.de/wiki/Boulanger I’m almost sorry that I was in Hungary on that day, would have been fun to watch. And even more OT: One of the pictures on the wall of the Boulanger shows Karl Marx and the proprietor of the bar is… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Laughingstock or not, when the Russkies pay one American operative (Manafort) 10 million per year for 10 years now, it certainly gets people salivating. Russian actions are clever because they perform more as an ad, than in itself: “You too can get this; and we’re the only ones so generous in the world. Just do what we ask.”

And many do.

Now, how do the pleasures of Democracy match up with that?

wrfree
Guest

Funny that ‘Im Wix gibt’s Nix!’ Reminded me of the great Variety headline: ‘Sticks Nix Hick Pix’..both have got a great ‘lilt’ to it.. And just a little humor on all the ‘isms’ I see bandied about here. They seem never to go away but kind of morph into each other… So ….

You have two tehens

Socialism: you give one tehen to your neighbor…

Communism: the State takes both and gives you some tej

Fascism: the State takes both and sells you some tej

Capitalism: you sell one and get a bika ..the herd builds..you sell and retire on the income…

And finally

Illiberalism: don’t even think about milking them… the State always gets first dibs with the ‘discount’..timetables for milking to be sent shortly for the big ‘squeeze’.. .the State duly encourages fences..who knows what the tehens will catch ‘out there?’ ….referendums on profits will always be on the docket though co-ops voting may not be conducive to outcomes…and furthermore be glad you’ve got two cows a country needs to be run..are we running a farm or what?…;-)…

petofi
Guest

The paymaster is not Orban–it’s the fellow with the big P.

Istvan
Guest

Well there was no move to turn the demonstration yesterday into a confrontational occupation in a manner similar to Kiev’s Independence Square or Cairo’s Tahrir Square. It just exhausted itself from everything I have read or seen in the Hungarian media. As always the glass is either halffull or half empty in this world depending on one’s perspective.

In general the government dealt with the demonstration with a resolve of – and this shall pass too. The ideologues of Fidesz attacked rhetorically in place of the police. It’s also impossible to determine how many people turned out because demonstrators moved from place to place. Clearly many younger people were present whose future is at risk and many of whom I suspect feared their own future plans for emigration within the EU are crumbling in front of them. One of my cousins, who is 18 sent me a snap chat message from the demo in Budapest last night, she really wants to get out of Hungary to the US or Canada soon as possible. But she has asked me if Trump is really as crazy as he seems, maybe Canada is better. Possibly Petofi could sponsor her?

exTor
Guest

Reminds me of a comment made by a Canadian after having been questioned about what he likes about Canada: “It’s not the United States.”

Hate to break it to you, Istvan, but many base their decisions –Canada or the United States– on that one (and apparently most crucial) difference.

Canada has a better reputation than has the United States. It has almost always had a better rep, going back to the Vietnam War days (and before).

I spent 6 decades in Toronto. Great place, many ethnicities. The Magyar community is quite large, though somewhat fractured. The Bloor West Little Budapest, where I used to occasionally go for Hungarian food, no longer exists. Farther along, Little Korea is growing.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

First off, the population difference is significant.
Second, the US is the engine of Capitalism which seems to require a lot of bodies to keep up Demand.
Or why, on god’s good green earth, would a country
of 350 million still need emigrants???

Istvan
Guest
Immigrants = reduced cost labor. Especially Hungarians, Poles, Romanians, Russians, etc with degrees in the sciences, or math who initially will often take jobs they are over qualified for. There are US employers who reap benefits until those immigrants work their way into the employment market and get a green card (permanent US residency). Normally they get admitted using the H-1B high-skill guest worker visa. This allows them to work in the United States for up to 6 years, and the complicated and obscure rules governing it allow companies and academic institutions to pay these guest workers low wages. Only a sponsoring employer can petition for an employee to change from H1B to green card status. This makes these immigrants incrediably good workers because its there employer who holds there future in their hands. I have one Hungarian relative working at a US research facility on an H-1B visa right now who is a graduate of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in mathematics. I have advised many Hungarian members of my family on this process, which some crooks charge big money for in Hungary. As you well know Petofi Hungary is filled with crooked experts of a wide… Read more »
Guest

Many Indians too, especially in IT.

Roderick Beck
Guest

You need to stop thinking solely in terms of cost. It is about getting the best talent and ideas. And the greatest ambition. Anyone who thinks in terms of cost is missing the Big Picture. It isn’t how much they cost – it is how much money they can make you.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Except the action is in the US. Let’s get real. How many Harvards and Stanfords does Canada have? How many Googles? Where is the real opportunity?

webber
Guest

The mood is different now than in previous demonstrations. This may boil down, but it will boil up again. Last night, they were shouting quite a lot at Bayer “Zsolti.” If Fidesz makes a misstep, and strikes out as Zsolti wants them to do, I think this could explode. If Fidesz keeps cool, it still will roil on, I bet. There’s a lot of pent up anger coming to the surface, and it will not go away.

gyurgyalag
Guest

Orban bets that those kids will go home for the Easter holidays and then this thing dies down.

webber
Guest

P.S. Never forget, the 2006 crackdown was preceded by “protesters” attacking the police at the T.V.

gyurgyalag
Guest

The police is in a much better shape now. Orban’s police won’t make the mistake Gyurcsany’s police made. I think Pinter and co. know that a tough response like Gyurcsany’s will surely backfire and can create sympathy for the demonstrators which is actually how Orban changed the narrative about those ‘unfortunate events’. I would be very surprised if these kids would burn down Fidesz headquarters or do something similar. They are too nice kids. Even in Ukraine just as in Hungary in 2006 at the TV headquarters the really violent stuff was carried out by extreme right wingers. Middle class kids don’t tend to revolt.

Ferenc
Guest

But in 2006 those “protesters” were just trying to copy 1956, and hoping for a new sort of revolution.
Now in 2017 the “real protestors” can go to the state RTV buildings and claim that their protest are not correctly reported nor represented in all those M1.etc media reports.
Like I wrote before I have watched the M1 news reports about sunday, and did so again about yesterday:
A COMPLETE DISGRACE OF JOURNALISM!!
All foreign media should directly stop all cooperation with the Hungarian state media, and on all levels!!

webber
Guest

And I might add that I think all opposition parties should agree not to talk with Nick Thorpe ever again, and not to answer his questions at press conferences, and to let BBC know this will be their policy, and that there is no problem with BBC, “send any other reporter”, but they won’t talk Thorpe. ALL his reports have a Fidesz slant.

Ferenc
Guest

OK, do something about Thorpe, but he is not influencing Hungarian voters, while M1&Co surely are.
So what can (best) be done about/against M1&Co?? I’m breaking my head, but just don’t know……

TKT
Guest

Is Hungary an independent country or a US dominated puppet who is being told? Looks like Independence was lost forever in Mohacs…

Guest

Hungary is (still – maybe not for long …) a member of the EU and when joining agreed to some democratic principles – look them up!
The EU is also not amused:
http://bbj.hu/politics/lex-ceu-amendment-could-be-probed-by-ec_131578

Member

“Looks like Independence was lost forever in Mohacs…”
Yes, and the rest of independence, when the stupid people voted for the EU.
Now You have the mess!
But at least the EU pays for opressing the Hungary, right ?

aida
Guest
It is not compulsory to join or to remain in the EU or for that matter in NATO. A number of European countries have chosen to stay outside both. If the matter of “independence” bothers the Hungarians they can follow the English out of the EU. They, like the English will discover what “independence” means. In Hungary’s case there is another possibility which is that they are thrown out for non compliance. Both Hungary and the U.K. face fundamental challenges. They each have an exaggerated sense of their ethnic superiority. There can be life outside the EU. Exposure to a cruel commercial world takes its toll mostly on the poor and the most vulnerable. When the point is reached that the impoverished disrupt civil order within the state and the rulers who try to control them resort to attacking their neighbours in wars is a matter of speculation, but we have seen this unfold in the years leading to WW2. Do you need an up to date reminder? When the English were presented this month gwith a document on their EU departure that challenged their sense of ethnic superiority over who owns Gibraltar a senior Tory threatened war. This sabre… Read more »
Member

Both Hungary and the U.K. … have an exaggerated sense of their ethnic superiority.
But for the UK, it’s hubris; for Hungary, farce.

Guest

Karl Marx is supposed to have commented on that:

History always repeats itself – the first time as a tragedy, the second time around as a farce.

Maybe he had studied Austria/Hungary too?

Roderick Beck
Guest

You mean the EU subsidizes Hungary.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Independence does not mean being a dumb rock.

Observer
Guest

FARCE of justice – Young Activist M.Gulyas brought to trial court in chains and heavily guarded, for attempting to a throw a can of paint at the president’s palace.

https://444.hu/2017/04/13/kezd-egeszen-szureallissa-valni-a-hetfon-letartoztatott-tuntetok-targyalasa

webber
Guest

They are not backing down. They have fired someone because he had a CEU degree. This is surely just one of several cases, because often people are afraid to talk. News here:
http://hirtv.hu/ahirtvhirei/ceu-s-diplomaja-miatt-repult-a-munkahelyerol-1392893

Elsewhere, university management is forbidding university teaching staff from signing petitions supporting CEU. This is a violation of the constitutional right to free speech, but then the CEU law amendment violates several constitutional rights. News here, along with legal advice for those who have been warned not to sign CEU petitions:
http://helsinkifigyelo.blog.hu/2017/04/13/nem_lehet_szankcionalni_az_egyetemi_oktatokat_a_lex_ceu_elleni_kiallasuk_miatt?utm_source=bloghu_megosztas&utm_medium=facebook_share&utm_campaign=blhshare

pappp
Guest

C’mon, Orban isn’t backing down just a few days after these actions.

Only completely delusional people could’ve concluded he was backing down or retreating. He is emphatically not.

In any case Orban will see what the EU and the EPP as to say because it will produce evidence for him about the state of the Commission/EPP which is important for future battles.

Orban will continue to play the game until the bitter end – he bets that both the EU and the EPP are fundamentally weak and dependent on him so by choosing the right enemies he will claim an easy victory and show to the liberals how impotent and useless the EU is. Orban will emerge victorious and that’s needed for him domestically.

Orban anyway went on a holiday and his clear ukaz is to push hard against those jewish liberals.

Orban is enjoying the game and is telling the world: bring it on. This was only the beginning, he has all the time in the world, and he is enjoying himself.

petofi
Guest

The CEU shenanigans is political theatre: the closer we come to the elections, the more Orban will relent…just to show his ‘magnanimity’, don’t you know.

Guest

Orban will emerge victorious
Only in his followers’ minds …

The EU has time enough – one day the topic “money” will be on the table.

And once again:
If Hungarians are happy with all the stealing – why should the EU care, it’s mainly Hungarians’ money, so if they are happy with it …

Like those orientals who would offer their king/high priest’s weight in gold (forgot the name of the group …) or the Catholics and their clergy.

webber
Guest

When will that day come, Wolfi, when the topic of “money” will be on the table? Now would be the time.

Observer
Guest

The EU banging on the table about the money is long overdue. A couple of smacks (sallèr) would have done a lot of good, as this is the language Orban well understands.

Roderick Beck
Guest

Is that why the government said today that CEU can stay by exploiting a loophole?

Strikes me that the Hungarian government seems to care a lot about the US government.

wrfree
Guest

Maybe. Signs seem to say in the colloquial, ‘hey bro you really don’t want to go ‘there’.
In anorher theater, it will be interesting to see what happens in reply if that Kimmy boy pushes his luck with a nuke test.

Member

Marton Gulyas was sentenced for 400 hours (10 weeks) of forced labor for his political act of hurling paint at the “presidential palace” (he missed). If he is not willing to perform the forced labor, he will be put in jail.

Member

I am sure the judge will get a nice promotion from Ms Hando. (Orban’s friend and the boss of the “independent” judiciary)

Member

The “crime” was committed 3 days ago.

Guest

The Hungarian justice system can be very fast – if it’s “necessary”!
Lesser crimes like murder or corruption with billions of HUF involved of course take a very long, long, long …time

Member

Wolfi,
those lesser crimes like corruption and murder are even not worth to be prosecuted.
We have a very wise prosecutor chief in Hungary.

Ron
Guest
Member

Judge: “Tourists could have been at the palace, this makes the crime more serious”.

Audience is leaving in protest.

Member

Correction: 300 hours of forced labor (7 1/2 weeks)

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170413_gulyas_marton_varga_gergo_festekszoro_itelet

Istvan
Guest

The Századvég Foundation (explained by Eva well in her essay http://hungarianspectrum.org/2016/04/12/the-szazadveg-saga-largely-useless-studies-commissioned-by-the-orban-government/ ) has quickly conducted a telephone questionnaire survey of Hungarians about the CEU law and guess what they conclude? No surprise here at all, the conclusion was “az derül ki, hogy a magyarok döntő többsége támogatja a felsőoktatási törvény elfogadott módosítását” [it turns out that the vast majority of Hungarians support the amendment of the Higher Education Act adopted.] By what happened last night you could have fooled me, no doubt those marching about were completely unrepresentative of the sentiments of the Hungarian people. Good thing there is objective polling being conducted.

Member

comment image

wrfree
Guest

tappanch… on the matter I too like others am heartened by the action…there are times when ‘sound barriers’ just have to be broken on certain points.

Member

Another Hungarian court fined demonstrators today for protesting the new anti-abortion laws in Poland a year ago. They “hurt the feelings of the Roman Catholics”, because one of them dressed as a bishop and handed over a token morning after pill that resembled a host.

http://www.magyarkurir.hu/hirek/a-fovarosi-itelotabla-precedenserteku-iteletet-hozott-keresztenyek-emberi-meltosaga-mellett

Member

The “criminally offensive” performance: https://www.facebook.com/az.en.valasztasom/videos/

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