A few gems from Viktor Orbán’s “strong and proud” Hungary

There are just too many topics that have piled up in the last few weeks that deserve at least a mention. So I decided that today’s post would be a potpourri.

Lex Felcsút

Hungarians like to use the Latin “lex” for “law” when a piece of legislation proposed by the Orbán government is specifically designed to circumvent already existing legal constraints or has been enacted for the specific benefit or disadvantage of individuals. Here are a couple of examples. When Viktor Orbán wanted György Szapáry, who was over the age of 70, to be Hungary’s ambassador to Washington, he simply changed the law, raising the upper age limit for diplomats. When he wanted Zsolt Borkai, an Olympic champion and former lieutenant colonel in the Hungarian Army, to become a Fidesz member of parliament, the five-year moratorium on members of the armed forces for political office was lowered to three. Thus, Lex Borkai.

In 2015 the Demokratikus Koalíció sued FUNA, the foundation that runs the Felcsút football academy, after the foundation refused to release all the documents between January 2013 and November 2015 that pertained to the billions of tax-deductible forints the foundation received from large corporations. The foundation’s position was that the money certain sports clubs receive this way is not considered to be “public money.” The Székesfehérvár court didn’t agree. It ruled that the so-called TAO money in support of sports facilities (Corporate Tax Program) is considered to be public money and instructed FUNA to provide documentation of their finances. FUNA appealed, but in February the Budapest Appellate Court ruled that the books of the foundation for the required period should be made public. The ruling this time was based not on the public nature of the TAO support but on FUNA’s designation as “a publicly useful nonprofit” (közhasznú) organization. Within 15 days FUNA was supposed to deliver the documents to DK.

Those who had been distressed over this murky set-up full of opportunities for corruption were thrilled. “Here is the end,” said Magyar Narancs in February 2017. But not so fast. Nothing is that simple in Orbán’s Hungary. First of all, 15 days came, 15 days went, and no documents arrived. At that point the Demokratikus Koalíció sued. And the case was moved to the Kúria, Hungary’s highest court, for a final decision. There is no decision yet, but the government doesn’t leave anything to chance. On June 27 Magyar Nemzet noticed a small change in the TAO law enacted by parliament a few days earlier. Sports organizations are henceforth no longer designated as “publicly useful nonprofit” entities. If the appellate court decided that the documents must be released because FUNA is a publicly useful organization, the way to deal with this problem is simply to abolish the designation. That’s why this latest fiddling with the law is called Lex Felcsút.

The Poster War

Another perfect example of Fidesz inventiveness when it comes to legislation is the recent law nicknamed Lex Simicska. After a couple of abortive attempts, the Fidesz majority pushed through a law that should have required a two-thirds majority by amending a piece of existing legislation that needed only a simple majority. President János Áder dutifully signed a clearly unconstitutional law. You may recall that these Jobbik billboards, the target of the law change, featured not only Orbán but also Lőrinc Mészáros and Árpád Habony. Jobbik made the right decision when it included these two on their posters. Only yesterday Iránytű Intézet (Compass Institute) released a poll on the popularity of Habony and Mészáros, in addition to that of politicians. These two are at the very bottom of the heap. Habony is most likely seen as the symbol of Fidesz’s very aggressive method of communication, while Mészáros is the symbol of corruption. Clearly the Hungarian people like neither.

A 2010 Fidesz poster right next to Hungária Circus in Hatvan / Source: 24.hu

Lajos Simicska’s firm, Mahír, gave a substantial discount to Jobbik, which Fidesz tried to portray as concealed party financing. But selling advertising spots is like any other business venture where there are no fixed prices. Sometimes they are cheaper–for example during winter. Sometimes they are more expensive–for example, at election time. And, I assume that in certain circumstances personal preferences may play a role. For example, in Jobbik’s case, Simicska’s by now intense hatred of Viktor Orbán must be taken into consideration. Or, conversely, when Simicska worked hand in hand with Viktor Orbán for the good of Fidesz, he gave, as we all suspected, a very good price to his own party. In fact, at the very beginning of the 1990s Simicska purchased Mahír for that very purpose.

Now we know how good a price Fidesz got from Simicska in 2010 when the whole country was plastered with Fidesz posters. Someone made sure that 24.hu got all the documentation covering Fidesz’s deal. Fidesz paid 63% less than Jobbik did for its recent billboards. One billion forints worth of advertising was purchased for 23 million! That’s a real bargain, all right. But that’s not all. Fidesz ordered 4,700 billboards for 23.2 million forints, and they got an additional 1,300 posters gratis. Thus, Fidesz had 6,000 billboards and posters as opposed to MSZP’s 2,000 posters and Jobbik’s fewer than 500 during the 2010 election campaign. But, of course, these parties didn’t have such a generous benefactor. Nor did they have such well-funded party treasuries.

State support of parochial schools

I just read that the Orbán government spends 200,000 forints on children who attend parochial schools and only 54,000 on those who attend public schools. If all children were considered equal, public schools should receive 112.5 billion forints more than they get now. I feel very strongly about this issue, and I find the trend of passing public schools gratis to various churches unacceptable. The kind of education children receive in parochial schools, given the extremely conservative nature of Hungarian churches, may have an adverse effect on Hungarian society as a whole. Moreover, how can the Orbán government justify that kind of discrimination against most of its own young citizens?

Shooting galleries for school children

I left the best for last. Even the Associated Press reported about two weeks ago that Hungarian educational authorities are currently evaluating the installation of shooting galleries in schools to increase the variety of sports available to students. Officials of the Klebelsberg Center insist that the idea has absolutely “nothing to do with aggression and violence.” I saw a high-ranking official of the Center talk about this plan with great fervor in a TV interview, but about two weeks later came the denial. Márta Demeter, formerly an MSZP member of parliament, asked István Simicskó, minister of defense, about the veracity of the news. He flatly denied any such plans. He claimed that the Klebelsberg Center’s inquiries from school principals about appropriate locations for shooting ranges have nothing whatsoever to do with “the long-range defense development program” of his ministry. I’m sure that the Center’s inquiry and Simicskó’s earlier plans of building shooting ranges all over the country are connected. I also suspect that reactions to the notion of putting firearms into the hands of 13-14-year-olds were so negative that the great plan had to be abandoned.

Conclusion

That’s all for today, but I think these few examples are enough to demonstrate that something is very wrong in Viktor Orbán’s “strong and proud” Hungary.

July 2, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
exTor
Guest

I attended Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto in the second half of the 1960s. The school, built in 1908, had a rifle range in the basement. The only reason I knew of its existence was that the former range had been turned into a dropin center for the students, which was a natural thing, being part and parcel of the hippie mentality that pervaded the decade. I was cool with its use. I have no knowledge of the range’s actual shooting use.

Shooting ranges for schools as an adjunct to a sports program is preposterous. Better to build proper facilities for real physical activities, however those cost a lot more than shooting ranges. I guess Viktor Orbán is trying to get more bang for the buck. Make that more fix for the forint.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Observer
Guest

I suspect this idiotic idea is taken from Polish regime. While the Poles are preparing to fight the Russians whom are the Hungarian shooting youth going to fight ? Soros? He will pass away by then.

Istvan
Guest
As may or may not be known in Hungary or by Eva, numerous public high schools built up to the 1970s in the USA had live fire ranges used by the junior reserve officers (JROTC) training program. The high school I attended in Chicago, had one, it was Lakeview High School and I began my military career in that JROTC program. This article http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-11-09/news/9911090105_1_jrotc-programs-army-jrotc-chicago-public-schools discusses the destruction of that program in 1999 in Chicago. I formally opposed the closure of the program and objected to the US Army agreeing to close the program. Now JROTC students generally get their rifle training in summer camps ( for example https://armyandnavyacademy.org/summer-programs/ ). Is this a form of military indoctrination of youth, the answer is yes. Combat is without question best carried out by very young people aged 17 to 28. Every solider is scared in the first battle. If they say they are not, I think they are liars. The younger the solider the more optimistic they are about the possibility of surviving combat, the older you get the more cautious you become during combat in my opinion. Repeated rifle training makes for instinctual practice. We know from psychological studies that once the… Read more »
bimbi
Guest

@ Istvan 9:45 a.m.

Well, up there in Chicago Istvan, you should know all about shooting. What was your President saying the other day about Chicago? 1,840+ shootings so far this year? Something about sending in the Feds?

Go ahead with your gun training dude, you never know when you are going to need it. Or is it really just the fault of all those m*th*r f*ck*rs who occupy the south and west side of your fair city?

Istvan
Guest

Believe it or not bimbi Chicago’s murder rate is not the highest in the USA. Chicago is not even in the top 30 in the USA, East St. Louis Illinois at the geographic bottom of our State has the highest rate in the country. JROTC cadets are not prone to gun crimes because of rifle training from anything I have looked at here is one study http://www.ufpj-dvn.org/ed-com/JROTC_Pema_Mehay.pdf

Bimbi youth in many nations that have not fought wars for years go through marksmanship classes, Switzerland is the best known. Of course rifle shooting is also an Olympic sport and Hungary always fields a team. Interestingly the liberal US documentary film maker Michael Moore was a highly trained youth shooter and is now an opponent of the NRA, but still a supporter of the 2nd amendment. The idea of youth marksmanship classes in Hungary and elsewhere isn’t necessarily part of a drift towards fascism, it is in my opinion part of normal self defense training for a nation state.

Istvan
Guest

Here is an article on predicting gun crimes in Chicago https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/us/armed-with-data-chicago-police-try-to-predict-who-may-shoot-or-be-shot.html you may find interesting bimbi. By the way gun crimes by people in the higher income brackets are pretty rare regardless of race in the USA. It’s largely driven by inter gang warfare in Chicago, like it is in Central America, or the elsewhere in the world. My Hungarian relatives who have visited here are also freaked out by guns in general but intrigued by my own gun vault wanting to see it. They seemed amazed my weapons are legal here.

Jean P.
Guest

Istvan: Marksmanship…. is in my opinion part of normal self defence for a nation state.

Might be useful if the nation state is attacked by a fusilier regiment.

bimbi
Guest

@Observer 6:36 a.m.

“…whom are the Hungarian shooting youth going to fight ?”

Gosh, I would have thought it was blindingly obvious in VO’s new quasi-fascist state. The answer is simple, other Hungarians, of course.

Why else does Hungary with a population of 9,5 million have three private armies (Orban’s TEK, Matolcsi’s National Bank Brigade and Kover’s Parliamentary Paratroopers? Plus the regular army and the police etc, etc.

Just in case any serious state of conflict (triggered, of course by
Mr. Soros) should arise…

Observer
Guest

Orban’s patent disregard of the law, the democratic or of any principles for that matter, his brazen, in your face lying, ubsatiable greed, etc are the reasons why I use the disparaging “gypsy horse trader”, this is what transpires fron all these examples.

Member

Hello Observer,

you started to call the Orbán-Fidesz-Mafia gang “fascist” a while ago.

Some prominent Hungarians now agree as a reaction to the new Soros campaign:

Lajos Bokros:
“At last it must be spoken out, so I speak it out: The prime minister of Hungary is a fascist”
(“Ki kell mondani végre, ezért kimondom: Magyarország miniszterelnöke fasiszta.”)

Gabor Török (conservative political scientist, who once supported Fidesz):
“Open antisemitic propaganda built on lies = fascism”
(“Hazugságon alapuló nyílt antiszemita propaganda = fasizmus”)

http://index.hu/belfold/2017/07/03/bokros_orban_fasiszta/

P.S.: I’m proud to have translated the sentences without using a dictionary. The moment gets nearer, when I can start to argue with Hungarians about politics.

Member

Bokros open letter on Budapest Beacon now available in English:
http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/bokros-orban-fascist/48164

I love Bokros’ clear descriptions of the regime. There is also a longer interview in English with him in Budapest Beacon:

Obviously I was wrong with Török. He didn’t say, what I was quoting, but posted a text from 1984 on his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/torokgaborelemez/photos/a.358313682311.163488.325474587311/10154515304702312/?type=3&theater

I think, it is the same text, which Tappanch posted in english recently.

petofi
Guest

The ‘distance’ that Bokros is from power, is equal to the distance that the citizenry is from,
intelligence, logic, and integrity.

Woe to Hungary.

But, as I always say, “HAJRA MAGYAROK!!”

tappanch
Guest

It is absolutely not important, but Török’s quote comes one page later than mine in my 2008 (English) edition,

my quote yesterday: “As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed onto the screen.” etc. etc.

Török: “… the sight or even the thought of Goldstein produced fear and anger automatically. He was an object of hatred more constant than either Eurasia or Eastasia” etc. etc.

Fuego
Guest

Don’t forget that Bokros is one of the most disliked persons in Hungary.

His name is synonymous with ruthless cost cutting, downsizing and financial restrictions.

Moreover, he is looking like, acting like, smelling like a professor and average people all over the world just hate experts who tell them how to behave and what to think and if they think differently than they are racists and dumb country bumpkins.

Bokros may be right re Orban being a fascist but what he says is just irrelevant in Hungary.

As many people said it before as long as people like Agnes Heller and Lajos Bokors are upset nothing will change.

When popular people like Olympic medalist or football players are telling the government to change things then Orban will listen.

Make interviews with real opinion leaders not liberal professors. Average people can’t have more fun when they see liberal intellectual complain – then they know Orban (or Trump fro that matter) is onto something.

Member

I know Bokros, dear Troll!

For me, as a non average people, he is a good guy and has more knowledge than any bad hungarian football player.

If you like listening to non intellectual, non liberal, popular opinion leaders, then I suggest for you to leave this blog. There are lot of better ones for people like you.

petofi
Guest

@ Winston

Your stuff is spot on.
However, forget about arguing with Hungarians–they’ll just dismiss you as a Zionist apparatchik!

Simply, you can’t argue with Hungaricos: they don’t know what ‘objective’ and ‘logical’ means…

Member

@petofi I actually don’t want to argue with Hungarians, I am going to convince them to become proper democratic people 🙂

jopa
Guest

Petofi te nagyonn hulye lehetsz.

jopa
Guest

You all can kiss OV ass.

Member
When I was in high school I already loved to shoot targets with air rifles. I spent my allowance in shooting galleries sometimes. When I was in 6th grade, a man came up to me and watched me shoot, then asked me, if I want to do it as a sport. I did. For two years I was trained as a shooter with .22 rifles, but my eyesight was weak, so I did not qualify for the bigger league. I don’t thing there is anything wrong teaching children 12 yeas old and above to handle firearms PROPERLY. In our society, it is advantageous, since many households have guns. It is also an American tradition, mainly in the country and farms. In Hungary it should be also beneficial for the children, if the education is for the purpose of firearm safety. However, in a socialist country and especially in a dictatorship like Hungary is now, nothing is being done only for the safety of the population. I think, anterior motives must be driving the initiative in the minds of the criminals, who masquerade as the Government of Hungary. FOR EXAMPLE: IF SAFETY OF PEOPLE WOULD BE A PRIORITY, INSTEAD OF BUILDING… Read more »
Member

mandatory shooting practice for school children <—-
Horthy's mandatory "levente" membership (1921-1944)

Member

Hungary is in the constant state of insanity.
We got to Orwellian lows now that government propaganda billboarded “Goldstein” portrait all over the country with a call on it:
“do not let Soros laugh at the end”.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Hungary ……state of insanity’

Borders it from rational eyes and in looking at the ‘gems’ above we can note that those in power indeed know exactly what they are doing. A good deal of thought and machination goes into everything they do. At this point all the electorate just waits on are more and more shoes to drop. It is inevitable as a boring sunrise and sunset. Perhaps something of importance regarding the politics of disarray…

‘The unknown is the largest need of the intellect’….E. Dickinson

Only then Magyars might keenly understand and grasp how disastrous are the harbors they are visiting. It is perhaps the only way out from the morass.

petofi
Guest

“Do not let Soros laugh at the end.”

What a disgusting add. Worthy of Nazi Germany and Goebbels.

robimorri
Guest

@petofi (what a nasty way to steal a respected name from Hungarian history)… Just to enlighten you … Soros is not a Jewish fate person even if he had Jewish parents. He is a traitor of the fate, a disgrace of the Hungarian Nation and a money hungry moral-less predator of the animal race of Humans. So when it comes to fighting him, nobody should be called upon for anti-Semitism. His is not welcome in Israel at all. Not that he attempted to go there to the best of my knowledge.

Guest

And you, Robimorri, are a disgrace not only to Hungarians but to mankind!

The best thing about you and your companion trolls is that you’re so easy to recognise – bad English, bad Hungarian, bad manners and an a**hole!
I and probably most people here wouldn’t mind if Eva just deleted you – there are so many Hungarian/Fidesz newspapers, tv shows and even billboards where you can show your idiocy, you don’t need to come here to spoil an intelligent discussion.

wikt
Guest

He’s probably Istvan Lovas again, the crazy, madly fidesznik and pro-Russian foreign affairs “journalist”.

exTor
Guest

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/30/weve-lost-democracy-on-the-road-with-turkeys-justice-marchers#img-1

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/02/world/europe/recep-tayyip-erdogan-turkey-protest-march.html … NEW YORK TIMES

AntiErdoğan protests are ongoing in Turkey, the most recent being the March for Justice, which set off June 15th from the capital Ankara. It’s skedded to terminate about 350 kilometers later in Istanbul on July 9th.

Clearly Turkey is more restive than Hungary, especially in the wake of the recent failed coup attempt and the subsequent move by President Erdoğan to arrogate more power to himself.

A comparison of Turkey to Hungary would be inappropriate. For one, the level of political awareness is much higher in Turkey, mostly because of its proximity to the world’s most dangerous flashpoint.

Can one imagine an antiOrbán Magyarország march, say from a major city to Budapest? There are only 3 cities [Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc] that have greater-than-100,000 populations. The respective approximate distances for the 3 size-ranked cities are 200, 160 and 150 kilometers.

Even for corpulent Hungarians the distances are doable. Perhaps an antiFidesz protest should be arranged to work off the summer suet.

MAGYARKOZÓ

I_reborn
Guest
Sorry Eva B.S. for missing the tenth anniversary celebration of your blog, but I had something more pressing then elevating the quality of the comments to a higher level with my opinion. Please accept my belated congratulation for being able to maintain the blog for such a long time with the financial help of the Soros foundation. It must be a great feeling to be continuously rewarded for your hard work. There is an eloquent explanation of two Hungarian words that I would like to share with you and your faithful followers. SZERETET … szer-etet (nurtures) and GYŰLÖL … gyűl-öl (kills). I guess your uncontrollable hatred against everything happening in the „illiberal” Hungary must be taking its toll on you. I admire the devotion you are displaying every day to unmask the wrongdoings of the Orban government. While I am missing your recognition of the goods which would give the appearance of impartiality to your blog I am not surprised by the absence of such. What I would really like to read about here is a sensible explanation of how it is possible that in spite of all the nasty acts this government supposedly doing the Country is still running… Read more »
Kaganovich
Guest

Business as usual.

Andras Heisler – chairman of the Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization Mazsihisz – defends the omnipresent anti-Soros propaganda campaign basically claiming that its antisemitic angle is not what the government is intending, its merely coincidental.

By the way Mazsihisz is a post-communist federation of Hungarian Jewish communities which is entirely dependent on government handouts.

https://444.hu/2017/07/03/a-mazsihisz-elnoke-lehetetlen-kuldetesre-vallalkozott-megis-sikerult-megvedenie-a-kormanyt-az-uj-sorosozos-kampanyert

petofi
Guest

To, I-reborn & Kaganovitch…

Oh-oh, an infestation of black flies and mosquitoes…

Can’t you boys find a pile of shit somewhere and descend on that? I would think it more to your tastes…

robimorri
Guest

@petofi (what a nasty way to steal a respected name from Hungarian history)… did you call this blog a pile of shit? Not nice!

exTor
Guest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xdx5XQkA2g

Awhile back, Bill Maher got in shit for using the term ‘house nigger’ during an interview with a Republican politico. A lot of heat came down on him as a result. Bill Maher ultimately apologized for using ‘nigger’.

Some blacks weighed in saying they had no probs with Maher’s ‘nigger’ usage. Neither do I. Racism is context. It is correctoid posturing to totally proscribe the usage of ‘nigger’, whether by blacks or whites or others.

Where am I going with this? Kaganovich makes a good point, namely that Mazsihisz is a Jewish organization that is tasked with looking out for the interests of Jews in Hungary. Mazsihisz, financed by the government, does not have the nerve to state the obvious: Orbán’s antiSoros billboards are antisemitic. Kaganovich’s implication is that Mazsihisz is Fidesz’s ‘house nigger’. Aint no other way to look at them facts.

By the way, I used to do poetry. One of my pieces is called NIGGER. I did it at an openmike at York University in TO. I was somewhat nervous doing it, for there was a bunch of brothers in the house. I survived. No probs.

MAGYARKOZÓ

wikt
Guest

Median, whose polls are more or less reliable, says Laszlo Botka’s popularity significantly decreased, while Orban and most top Fideszniks gained a lot, even Gabor Fodor gained (significantly).

Fidesz’ brainwashing propaganda is everywhere, still I don’t know why Botka fell so hard. Not that Botka did much, still a -8% change is very rare.

tappanch
Guest

We could write an essay about the similarities and differences between the Goebbels-Hitler and the Rogan-Orban propaganda campaigns and way of governance in the 1930s and 2010s respectively.

But what connects the two even at first glance is the shameless amorality.

wpDiscuz