Senator Ben Cardin: Human Rights in Hungary

The following remarks by Ben Cardin, senator from Maryland, were delivered on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Friday, December 13, 2013. Senator Cardin is deeply interested in foreign affairs and sits on the Committee on Foreign Relations. He is also the co-chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, otherwise known as the Helsinki Commission. Senator Cardin addressed the Senate in this capacity on Friday.

* * *

US Senate

Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, earlier this year I chaired a Helsinki Commission hearing on the situation in Hungary. Today, I would like to revisit some of the issues addressed by our witnesses.

Since the April 2010 elections, Hungary has undertaken the most dramatic legal transformation that Europe has seen in decades. A new Constitution was passed with votes of the ruling party alone, and even that has already been amended five times. More than 700 new laws have been passed, including laws on the media, religion, and civic associations. There is a new civil code and a new criminal code. There is an entirely new electoral framework. The magnitude and scope of these changes have understandably put Hungary under a microscope.

At the Helsinki Commission’s hearing in March, I examined concerns that these changes have undermined Hungary’s system of democratic checks and balances, independence of the judiciary, and freedoms of the media and religion. I also received testimony about rising revisionism and extremism. I heard from Jozsef Szajer, a Member of the European Parliament who represented the Hungarian Government at the hearing. Princeton constitutional law expert Kim Lane Scheppelle, Dr. Paul Shapiro from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Sylvana Habdank-Kolaczkowska from Freedom House presented compelling testimony.

Unfortunately, developments in Hungary remain troubling.

Even though Hungary’s religion law was tweaked after the Constitutional Court struck down parts of it, it retains a discriminatory two-tier system. Moreover, the Parliament is empowered with the extraordinary and, for all practical purposes, unreviewable power to decide what is and what is not a religion.

This month, the government announced it is launching an investigation into the Methodist Evangelical Church, a church persecuted during communist times. Today, the Methodist Evangelical Church is known for its outreach to Roma, work with the homeless and is one of the largest charitable organizations in Hungary. As I noted at the Helsinki Commission hearing in March, it is also one of the hundreds of religious groups stripped of official recognition after the passage of Hungary’s new religion law.

The church has now complied with submitting the necessary number of supporters required by the law and, as a reply, the government has announced an unidentified “expert” will conduct an investigation into the church’s beliefs and tenets. This step only reinforces fears that parliamentary denial of recognition as a so-called “Accepted Church” opens the door for further repressive measures.

Veneration of Hungary’s wartime regent, Miklos Horthy, along with other anti-Semitic figures such as writer Jozsef Nyiro, continues. In November, a statue of Hungarian Jewish poet Miklos Radnoti, who was killed by Hungarian Nazis at the end of 1944, was rammed with a car and broken in half. At roughly the same time, extremists staged a book burning of his works along with other materials they called “Zionist publications.” At the beginning of December, two menorahs were vandalized in Budapest.

Reflecting the climate of extremism, more than 160 Hungarian nationals have been found by Canada this year to have a well-founded fear of persecution. Almost all are Romani, but the refugees include an 80-year-old award winning Hungarian Jewish writer who received death threats after writing about anti-Semitism in Hungary, and was stripped of his honorary citizenship of Budapest on an initiative from the far-right Jobbik party, supported by the votes of the ruling Fidesz party.

While there are many who suggest the real problem comes from the extremist opposition party Jobbik, and not the ruling government, it seems that some members of Fidesz have contributed to a rise in intolerance.

I am particularly troubled that the government-created Media Council, consisting entirely of Fidesz delegated members, has threatened ATV–an independent television station–with punitive fines if it again characterizes Jobbik as extremist. If you can’t even talk about what is extremist or anti-Semitic in Hungary without facing legal sanctions, how can you combat extremism and anti-Semitism? Moreover, this decision serves to protect Jobbik from critical debate in the advance of next year’s elections. Why?

Other new measures further stifle free speech.

Unfortunately, and somewhat shockingly, last month Hungary amended its defamation law to allow for the imposition of prison terms up to 3 years.

The imposition of jail time for speech offenses was a hallmark of the communist era. During the post-communist transition, the Helsinki Commission consistently urged OSCE countries to repeal criminal defamation and insult laws entirely. In 2004, for example, the Helsinki Commission wrote to Minister of Justice Peter Barandy regarding the criminal convictions of Andras Bencsik and Laszlo Attila Bertok.

This new law, raced through under an expedited procedure in the wake of a by-election controversy in which allegations of voter manipulation were traded, was quickly criticized by the OSCE representative on Freedom of the Media. I share her concerns that these changes to the criminal code may lead to the silencing of critical or differing views in society and are inconsistent with OSCE commitments.

Hungary was once held up as a model of peaceful democratic transition and is situated in a region of Europe where the beacon of freedom is still sought by many today. I hope Hungary will return to a leadership role in the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy.

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39 comments

  1. The last paragraph is regrettable, and, in fact, ridiculous:

    “Hungary was once held up as a model of peaceful democratic transition and is situated in a region of Europe where the beacon of freedom is still sought by many today. I hope Hungary will return to a leadership role in the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy.

    This undercuts the seriousness of the situation; as if the Hungarian situation is a minor deviation that can be righted easily. Nonsense. It’s time for westerners to realize that
    Hungary is a template for the deconstruction of democracy in the former communist countries. It should be dealt with seriously and a near-panic mode.

  2. Well, once again its clear, that nobody else can/will/would/could solve the Hungarian’s problem but the Hungarians.
    Or else, we are going down the sewer, just what we deserve in this case.

  3. Vigyázz, Omladozó támfal !!! (Attention: Crumbling retaining-wall)
    Senator Cardin put together some good information but provided a weak summary.

    One bad jolt and the house of cards could come crumbling down.

    It seems like I am a spectator at a circus where the Orbanists are the major clowns doing a rather good perfromance.

    The tickes are free for the asking. Just stay for the cleanup, please.

  4. In a meeting with Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Szijjártó offered Israel access to Hungary’s 7 billion cubic meters of state-owned gas storage.

    “We could be a central European distribution hub for Israeli gas, and hope we will learn about your export strategy as soon as possible,” Szijjártó said.

  5. Un extrême de l’extrêmes, Toroczkai of Jobbik was elected mayor of a village in county Csongrad on Sunday.

    nol. hu/belfold/toroczkai_laszlo_lett_asotthalom_polgarmestere

    He was a leader at the violent siege of the public television in 2006

    http://index.hu/belfold/torocz6539/

  6. 1. Crooked business interest pushed the orbanists into power.
    2. There is a suspicion that kadarian political operators played a role in creating the dissident status of the fidesz.
    3. The current scarred civil servants will never rise against their masters.
    4. The victims of communism wanted to believed in their knights on white horses.

    What is the excuse of the rest of the 80-90% of the nation.

  7. To add insult to injury, it is highly likely that, if the Senator delivered this speech in the Senate chamber on a Friday afternoon, he was speaking to a chamber that was empty, save for the few people that are required to be present at all times. This Congress is now known as the highest paid and least productive in the history of the country. If a nation falls in Eastern Europe, and no one is in Congress to hear it, does it still make a noise?

  8. Paul– I can tell you what Fidesz will say. NSA surveillance in Budapest among other places/regularly killing of innocent folks in Yemen and other places etc./prosecuting journalists and charging them with conspiracy to spy (threat of life sentence)/Guantanamo in 2013 and so on.

    Well, actually Fideszniks are pretty diplomatic so they will not mention any of these. But probably they will not lose much sleep over this statement, however true it might be (most of it is, indeed, and kudos to Cardin that he spent any time on Hungary).

    That said, I loved this statement especially: “The imposition of jail time for speech offenses was a hallmark of the communist era. During the post-communist transition, the Helsinki Commission consistently urged OSCE countries to repeal criminal defamation and insult laws entirely.”

    Now, please read this, carefully (though admittedly it is not about defamation, it is about the speech offenses): http://www.salon.com/2011/05/27/cardin/

    Guess it would be too much legalese here to invoke the First Amendment and its jurisprudence up until now. Anyway, this is now the global reality.

  9. Ms KKA :
    If a nation falls in Eastern Europe, and no one is in Congress to hear it, does it still make a noise?

    It did, at least on this blog. But unfortunately I think the Hungarians are too busy going about their Christmas shopping at the moment to actually be listening or caring.

  10. Peter Szijjarto: “We could be [substitute any ludicrous idea]”. Of course, we “could” be anything. Too bad, we won’t be. We will remain the land of Fidesz.

    Note that that part of Csongrád where Torockai won is very solidly right wing. The point you mention you have anything to do with communists(translate: Együtt, LMP, DK, MSZP or any reeincarnation of “reds”) you are politically over. There are many such parts in Hungary. These people will rather cut their own legs then to vote for MSZP or Együtt — that, after 3 years of Fidesz rule. in 2014 expect Jobbik to win a lot of votes in rural places. It seems that the solution to Fidesz is not the left, but it is more of the same, only even more radical and (the voters naively hope) less corrupt. The fall only started guys, the bottom is far far away in the future.

  11. “If a nation falls in Eastern Europe, and no one is in Congress to hear it, does it still make a noise?”

    Excellent!

  12. Tappanch, this made me want to vomit, but we also have the nationalization of the engineering service. This is not a hoax.

    http://444.hu/2013/12/16/allomsitjak-a-mernoki-munkat-nagyon-nagy-a-felhaborodas/

    http://cink.hu/allamositasi-nap-van-a-mernoki-szakmat-is-allamositot-1484037012

    Which is funny in a way, when there are so many outsourced lawyers (Tompi Deutsch is also preparing to open his money-laundering office) working (supposedly) for the state, even though it has tons of them already in house.

    I can’t stop being astonished, day after day, even after three years of amok running.

    But rest assured, the worse is indeed far away, protest votes will go to Jobbik and Jobbik’s ideas are even crazier.

  13. tappanch :
    FYI:
    “Hungary seeks Israeli gas as an alternative to Russian supply”
    http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Exclusive-Hungary-seeks-Israeli-gas-as-alternative-to-Russian-supply-335083

    This is really worth a read. Not only is it a real brain twister – the idea that Israel-hating Fidesz (“they are buying up Hungary”) should seek to make itself dependent on Israeli gas – but it also includes these words of wisdom:

    “Szijjártó prided himself on the fact that Hungary took an independent approach than the EU would have like on a variety of issues. While nuclear power was headed south in many places, he noted, Hungary was ramping it up from 43% of its electricity supply to a projected 60-70%.

    While the EU issued guidelines in its Horizon 2020 platform that defined Israel within the green line, Hungary expressed unhappy with the developments. And while the EU pushed a platform of human rights and diversity, Hungary was forcefully embracing its Christian heritage.

    “The [European Union’s] economic crisis is caused by a crisis of values, which is more serious,” he said. “In Europe if you say you are proud to be Christians, it is not the mainstream. When you speak about family, they tell you have to say ‘families,’ because there is more than one type of family. We say that there should be a husband who is a man and wife who is a woman and children.””

  14. Let me jot down the areas of fideszization so far:

    1. agricultural land
    2. gambling
    3. tobacco shop licenses
    4. language teaching
    5. civil engineering

    Additional areas of nationalization with deliberate lowering of standards:

    1. public schools, curriculum, teachers,
    2. public hospitals

    Please help me, did I leave out something?

  15. “…more than 160 Hungarian nationals have been found by Canada this year to have a well-founded fear of persecution. Almost all are Romani,..”
    Unfortunately, the crime rate among Romani (gypsies) is high…

    “In November, a statue of Hungarian Jewish poet Miklos Radnoti, who was killed by Hungarian Nazis at the end of 1944, was rammed with a car and broken in half.”
    Don’t hold up to ridicule yourself, it was a trivial traffic accident, the perpetrator was drunk…Sloppy job of your informer.

  16. tappanch :
    Let me jot down the areas of fideszization so far:
    1. agricultural land
    2. gambling
    3. tobacco shop licenses
    4. language teaching
    5. civil engineering
    Additional areas of nationalization with deliberate lowering of standards:
    1. public schools, curriculum, teachers,
    2. public hospitals
    Please help me, did I leave out something?

    pharmacies
    reorganization of taxi licences (in Budapest)

  17. istvami:
    ““…more than 160 Hungarian nationals have been found by Canada this year to have a well-founded fear of persecution. Almost all are Romani,..”
    Unfortunately, the crime rate among Romani (gypsies) is high…”

    Some Romani (gypsies) are criminals, some are not. All Romani (gypsies) are in fear of persecution.

    ““In November, a statue of Hungarian Jewish poet Miklos Radnoti, who was killed by Hungarian Nazis at the end of 1944, was rammed with a car and broken in half.”
    Don’t hold up to ridicule yourself, it was a trivial traffic accident, the perpetrator was drunk…Sloppy job of your informer.”

    The story told by the police cannot be checked because the evidence was speedily destroyed.

  18. Fidesz acquired a lot of energy assets too.

    Apparently (per Szijjarto’s statement) Fidesz calculates with the building of Paks II.

    Since MSZP also supports it, (and why not, this will be the biggest bonanza ever and they sure hope that some crumbles will fall even for the “Szoci”s, not only to Közgép) it will likely be built. At least they will start it and then it will be a couple of tens of billions of HUF already and so it would be too much, this will not be another Bős-nagymaros, so we will complete it.

    Orban’s big feat would be to reach with the Russians that they built Paks II without any guarantee and from Russian government loans. Of course state debt would increase, but we would owe money to the Russians with whom we can always “negotiate”. They are not like the Western capitalists. So it is a question how this 10-12bn Euro financing will be solved (of course they will underestimate it so they will calculate with 5bn only at the beginning).

    Whatever it is Fidesz wants to build it (today’s news around Nyugati tér, even though office buildings are empty) and they will build, the bigger project the better and the likelier.

    Since the global money printing cannot stop without affecting “growth”, until there is a sign of inflation, there will be QE forever and Fidesz will be financed. The supposedly smart investors these days finance anybody there is so much liquidity. The question is when one thinks QE might end, or can it even end at all (see Japan, where despite all the money in the world they are struggling)? Fidesz will nicely bankrupt the country.

  19. An :

    tappanch :
    Let me jot down the areas of fideszization so far:
    1. agricultural land
    2. gambling
    3. tobacco shop licenses
    4. language teaching
    5. civil engineering
    Additional areas of nationalization with deliberate lowering of standards:
    1. public schools, curriculum, teachers,
    2. public hospitals
    Please help me, did I leave out something?

    pharmacies
    reorganization of taxi licences (in Budapest)

    Okmany iroda and limitation of size of supermarkets, pension funds?

  20. Ron :

    An :

    tappanch :
    Let me jot down the areas of fideszization so far:
    1. agricultural land
    2. gambling
    3. tobacco shop licenses
    4. language teaching
    5. civil engineering
    Additional areas of nationalization with deliberate lowering of standards:
    1. public schools, curriculum, teachers,
    2. public hospitals
    Please help me, did I leave out something?

    pharmacies
    reorganization of taxi licences (in Budapest)

    Okmany iroda and limitation of size of supermarkets, pension funds?

    nationalization of firefighters, police

    extra layer of bureaucracy filled with fideszniks – jaras

  21. tappanch :
    In a meeting with Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Szijjártó offered Israel access to Hungary’s 7 billion cubic meters of state-owned gas storage.
    “We could be a central European distribution hub for Israeli gas, and hope we will learn about your export strategy as soon as possible,” Szijjártó said.

    How the “Goj Bikers”would swallow this news, I wonder?
    Must be a real nightmare being Fidesz supporter nowadays: first the Russians, now Israel!
    …A moderate level of dizziness accepted, otherwise consult with your doctor or pharmacist…

  22. tappanch :
    Let me jot down the areas of fideszization so far:
    1. agricultural land
    2. gambling
    3. tobacco shop licenses
    4. language teaching
    5. civil engineering
    Additional areas of nationalization with deliberate lowering of standards:
    1. public schools, curriculum, teachers,
    2. public hospitals
    Please help me, did I leave out something?

    Orban’s first experiment with taking away time honoured rights from somebody and giving them to somebody else may be the disenfranchisement of the Hungarian Kennel Club (MEOE) in 1999.

    https://hungarianspectrum.wordpress.com/?s=kennel

    It seems that the MEOE has fought the decision for 14 years and finally won back their rights. MEOE has recently written on Facebook:

    ”We are pleased to inform all FCI members and contract partners, sympathisers and friends that on December 9th, 2013 a problematic 14-year period was ended in our Club: the MEOE received its State appointment from the Agriculture Ministry.”

    https://www.facebook.com/HungarianKennelClub

    To all the later victims: Don’t loose hope!

  23. Thanks for all your inputs.

    Let me categorize Fidesz activities into three categories:
    nationalization,
    market capture with 100% share for Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals,
    market distortion towards Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals.

    The lists are not in chronological order.
    * stands for announced measures not yet made into law.

    nationalization:

    1. public schools, teachers, curriculum
    2. public hospitals
    3. private retirement funds
    4. local firefighters
    5. local police
    6. credit unions
    7. utilities *

    market capture with 100% share for Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals:

    1. casinos & gambling
    2. tobacco monopoly licenses
    3. textbook publishing & printing
    4. prosecutors
    5. EU funds to Hungary
    6. jaras – extra layer of bureaucracy
    7. credit unions *
    8. foreign language teaching *
    9. civil engineering *
    10. weather forecast *

    market distortion towards Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals:

    1. courts
    2. agricultural land
    3. elections
    4. retail chains
    5. pharmacies
    6. cab licenses in Budapest

  24. I forgot to add

    1. radio broadcast licenses, (100%)
    2, non-cable television channels (100%)
    3. film industry (100%)
    4. newspapers & magazines (distortion)
    5. theaters (distortion)
    6. museums,
    7. scholarly institutions of history (100%)

  25. Okay, you are serious about this:
    Churches, (Trade and Student) Unions limit negotiations, introduction of Strategic Bankruptcy (such as: Kapuvar Hus Zrt.), Monopoly/Hostile take over of :Takarek Penztar, Meat (pork) market, Special (tax free) Lunch Tickets, Credit Cards (Erszebet), Vacation Tickets, (Green) Energy (MOL), Road, Renovation,and Building Construction, Mining areas (such as in Zala), Palinka, Acquisition Raba, MOL, and a few other firms.

  26. My list:

    nationalization:

    1. public schools, teachers, curriculum
    2. public hospitals
    3. private retirement funds
    4. local firefighters
    5. local police
    6. credit unions
    7. weather forecast
    8. textbook publishing & printing
    9. utilities *

    market capture with 100% share for Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals:

    1. radio broadcast licenses
    2. tobacco monopoly licenses
    3. textbook publishing & printing
    4. EU funds for infrastructure & other EU-funds
    5. casinos & gambling *

    market distortion towards Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals:

    1. newspapers & magazines
    2. non-cable television channels
    2. agricultural land
    3. retail chains
    4. pharmacies
    5. theaters
    6. film industry
    7. cab licenses in Budapest
    8. civil engineering *
    9. textbook publishing & printing *

    public intsutions captured Fidesz (lead by ex-FIDESZ members):

    1. National Election Committee & election rules
    2. state prosecutor
    3. Media Council
    4. National Bank
    5. Budget Committee
    6. President
    7. Hungarian Competition Authority
    8. Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority
    9.Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Center
    10.public school districts and some principals of public schools
    11. county goverment officeces
    12.jaras – extra layer of bureaucracy
    13. scholarly institutions of history , histrorical Archives

  27. You will be happy to know that the ‘Erdélyi Magyar Nemzeti Tanács’ is ten years old, fighting for human rights and autonomy in Erdély.

  28. ““…more than 160 Hungarian nationals have been found by Canada this year to have a well-founded fear of persecution. Almost all are Romani,..”
    Unfortunately, the crime rate among Romani (gypsies) is high…”
    Also, many of the romas are uneducated (60-80% 8 class primary school) so most of the poor people are romas in Hungary. Most “refugees” goes to Canada for a better life, and many of them simply utilizes the system. They prepare and learn how to comply with immigration rules and create feasible and efficent reasons that qualifies for the authorities. Gipsies are not more persecuted in Hungary than enywhere else in the surrounding countries or Europe (actually here we do not burn illegal gipsy settlements as it happened several times in Italy (2008, Napoly, locals set fire the illegal camp for alleged attempt of child kidnapping, also authorities registered romas, with fingerprints, and evacuated many from illegal caps of Rome, Milano, Napoly), or Dale Farm/England (2011 – Irish travellers’ camps evacuated) and we do not kick out any of them like France did (2010, 2013 Lille, 2011 Marseille, 2013 Paris) or english villagers did from Meriden Warwick (local gipsies are kicked out from a land after three years of epic battle between locals and campers, 2013). Eastern European Romas rather go to better off countries like Canada where they are eligible to better unemployment/social benefit solutions. And that is why at the beginning of this year a lot of Hungarian romas were deported and sent back to Hungary… Canadians realised the livelihood refugee flood. And that’s why the Canadian goverment was making a PR campain in hungary in January 2013. Huge billboards appeared in Miskolc, placed next to roma neighbourhoods informing people about new immigration rules, about shortened immigration status evaluation procedure and quickstep expulsion decisions, so as to discourage people from going to Canada. When the major of Miskolc protested against being the target city the responsible Canadian minister stated that 40% of people are coming from that region, suspicion of human trafficing emerged as well, the romas of that region routinely tresspass and take advantage of the immigration system of overseas so some organised maffia were suspected behind the phenomena. (Is also reported by human right watch reports (2010), that in Hungary roma’s rights are violated by police, they are abused by them, and schools often segregate roma kids, which has truth in it, however it is rather not ethnical but social status (gap) problem. Romas are 6-8% of the population in Hungary, the prisons have 45-50% roma detainees mostly convicted for thefts and other small scale financial gain related crimes. Crime rate correlates with poverty and bad social status as it does in Canada as well. The Canadian aboriginals, who has a similar social status constitute 3% of population and represent themself in 20% in the prisons.

    “In November, a statue of Hungarian Jewish poet Miklos Radnoti, who was killed by Hungarian Nazis at the end of 1944, was rammed with a car and broken in half.”
    Don’t hold up to ridicule yourself, it was a trivial traffic accident, the perpetrator was drunk…Sloppy job of your informer.” – I agree, such a well illustrated case of this paranoia and destorted perception and poor journalist ethics. The first articles in a countryside newspaper “Kisalföld” did mention antisemitic reason, without proof, just to blow up the story as antisemitism sells well nowdays (and it is true that if it had been deliberate it would have rather been a terrible, evil, condemned act, as the statue depicts a famous and genious poet who gave us amazing soul lifting poems.) Other media jumped immediately on the news and reissued quickly, before it turned out that it is a hoax.
    “The story told by the police cannot be checked because the evidence was speedily destroyed.” – no evidence was destroyed, the statue was taken to the local city council to be renovated and reerected later as it was broken into two (made of granit). (Some early news even alleged that the statue was broken by roma metal thefts to be sold as scrap metal….- roma prejudice also sells well. The sculpture is granit.) The spot was investigated by police and the suspects were interrogated. The statue stands in a curve among bushes and there was a huge fog at the time of the accident, so the car happened to straighten the curve… There was no hatred against poor statue, not to mention the fact that how clever it is to break it with your mercedes, causing sizeable damage in your car and a pain in the neck for yourself.:-)

    Those teenagers who caused damage to the hannukkiyas also were caught quickly, some say immediately, some articles say, next day. The tore off the foamboard signpost from it. While I am sorry that it hurts the feeling of jewis people and it is clearly unacceptable, I would not consider it more than teenager vandalism, which is pretty common in the inner city streets by partying teenagers and equally unacceptable. (But antisemitic sentiment might have been a factor, though it was reported that they did not know that it is a religious symbol… though it is hard to believe as the sign was clear.)

    I would like to note also that democracy is well protected here as it is exactly democracy (unfortunately or luckily) that enables the 2/3 majority of the ruling party and all the legal and constitution amending steps that FIDESZ enacts. And if there were such a great antisemitism than jewish people would not held a world cogress in our contry this year. You can see the glass half empty or half full… It does true although that FIDESZ can not turn its power into good at many respects and fails to be reasonable or human or not self-interested, not self-centered and corruption shows up as well (the above posts mention and list fully areas of ill-resulted “FIDESZization” – those are real and true.). However FIDESZ protects excellently the international value and aim of democracy and politics, namely the power and greed. I think they completely comply with american (US) practices and attitude in that respect. They learned well from “the west” and by now they excelled in pure spiritless political logic. A mirror, that is what Mr. Ben Cardin is watching. (Funny though that they aim to fight the soulless money based economical/solely objective logic attitude, but they seem to utilize the same.)

  29. @Disillusioned guy: Name another country where paramilitary units in black uniforms march around Gypsy neighborhoods, intimidate and harass the local gypsies and the police is not doing anything about it.

  30. Owlman :
    My list:
    nationalization:
    1. public schools, teachers, curriculum
    2. public hospitals
    3. private retirement funds
    4. local firefighters
    5. local police
    6. credit unions
    7. weather forecast
    8. textbook publishing & printing
    9. utilities *
    market capture with 100% share for Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals:
    1. radio broadcast licenses
    2. tobacco monopoly licenses
    3. textbook publishing & printing
    4. EU funds for infrastructure & other EU-funds
    5. casinos & gambling *
    market distortion towards Fidesz-friendly companies & individuals:
    1. newspapers & magazines
    2. non-cable television channels
    2. agricultural land
    3. retail chains
    4. pharmacies
    5. theaters
    6. film industry
    7. cab licenses in Budapest
    8. civil engineering *
    9. textbook publishing & printing *
    public intsutions captured Fidesz (lead by ex-FIDESZ members):
    1. National Election Committee & election rules
    2. state prosecutor
    3. Media Council
    4. National Bank
    5. Budget Committee
    6. President
    7. Hungarian Competition Authority
    8. Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority
    9.Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Center
    10.public school districts and some principals of public schools
    11. county goverment officeces
    12.jaras – extra layer of bureaucracy
    13. scholarly institutions of history , histrorical Archives

    The list of institutions brought under Fidesz control has become too long to be easily overviewed. It would be simpler to list institutions not yet under control but it may not be wise to do so.

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