An exercise in deep hypocrisy and imperial arrogance

The Hungarian parliament has passed a law which requires foreign funded NGOs, such as Soros-paid Helsinki Committee, Human Rights Watch, etc. to declare that they are funded from abroad.

Donald Trump’s Department of State has issued this very strongly worded statement:

Statement on Government of Hungary’s Legislation Impacting Non-Governmental Organizations

The United States is concerned by the Hungarian parliament’s passage of legislation that unfairly burdens and targets Hungarian civil society, which is working to fight corruption and protect civil liberties. By portraying groups supported with foreign funding as acting against the interests of Hungarian society, this legislation would weaken the ability of Hungarians to organize and address concerns in a legitimate and democratic manner. If signed into law, this would be another step away from Hungary’s commitments to uphold the principles and values that are central to the EU and NATO.

The Hungarian law is actually a softened version of the Foreign Agent Registration Act of the USA.

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An explanation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act

No, nothing has changed at all in the international relations between the USA and Hungary since Donald Trump took office.

Update:  The Hungarian government’s spokesman has just responded to the statement of the US State Department:

 

In the USA Soros organisations could never do what they are doing in Europe – Reaction to the recent statement from the US Department of State

The most recent statement by the US Department of State is another stark example of double standards, since the regulation in force in the USA is much stricter than that in Hungary. In the USA Soros organisations could never do what they are doing in Europe.

The Act on the Transparency of Organisations Funded from Abroad has been subjected to an ongoing disinformation campaign in the international media, strongly assisted by Soros organisations. It is regrettable to see even the US Department of State being misled on this issue.

If they were accurately informed about the published legislation, they would certainly recognise that the Hungarian law is based on the American model – the FARA Act, or Foreign Agents Registration Act – but is much less restrictive than its US counterpart. In the United States of America, since 1938 there has been a requirement for organisations funded from abroad to be registered. The Hungarian proposal, which is much more lenient than the American regulations, in no way restricts the right of free association or the functioning of non-governmental organisations. The Act includes a single new element: the foreign funding of such organisations must be made transparent, just as it is in the United States.

We would like everyone to see which organisations funded from abroad are seeking to influence Hungarian public life and migration policy in accordance with foreign interests. An overwhelming majority of Hungarians support the legislation: in the recent National Consultation, ninety-nine per cent of respondents supported adoption of the legislation.

 

 

 

The World Congress of Families in Budapest

This morning Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has opened the Budapest Demographic Forum/Budapest Family Summit which is now being held under the auspices of the global World Congress of Families.  WCF  is an annual congress which is dedicated to families (as meant by normal, decent people or as it is defined in Hungary’s Constitution:  a life union of exactly one man and exactly one woman and their children!) and it’s an important forum for conservatives throughout the world.

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Incidentally, on this occasion, George Soros’ CEU university, which (unfortunately) the last couple of posts of mine were about, didn’t miss either to promote their sick left-liberal views:

The Central Eastern European region is quickly becoming a key player in the support of regional anti-gender movements and global right-wing politics. For example, the World Congress of Families and the International Organization for the Family, a large coalition of conservative organizations from around the globe, will host their annual conference in Budapest in late May under the theme “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again.” Such developments require serious academic engagement and persistent multidisciplinary discussion.

With our invited guests we will review the gendered and hetero-normative aspects of right-wing discourses on the family, the root causes of such discourses and policies, and their consequences for LGBTQ rights and reproductive justice. The panel will provide an overview of the geopolitical stakes in focusing on particular formations of the family, as well as on the support for LGBTQ equality and reproductive justice in the post-Cold War world order. We will take a closer look at the Hungarian context and the role of discourses on the family in local and regional politics. This discussion between scholars and activists offers an intersectional perspective on gendered discourses and politics in light of the globalized right-wing movements.

Anyway, here are the major points PM Orbán made in his opening speech:

  • Europe is losing big time concerning the reproduction of her population. There are two approaches to solve this existential crisis: immigration and  supporting families … which is the Central European way.
  • Orbán said that his government is strongly committed to solving  Hungary’s demographic crisis by supporting Hungarian families instead of supporting mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa, which is still the preferred “solution” in Western and Northern Europe.
  • Hungary has succeeded in stopping the illegal mass immigration at her Southern borders.  “If that’s possible at all, Hungary will more even more resolute to defend her borders, regardless of any EU disapproval”, said Orbán.
  • Hungary lost about a million people in the last few decades and that’s more than our loss in WWII.  There were 10,8 million people living in Hungary in 1980 and now there are only 9.8 million.
  • Hungary’s fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) now stands at 1.5.  Orbán pledged that his government will increase the fertility rate to the level which is necessary to replenish the population, that is to 2.1, by 2030.
  • He announced a number of pro-family measures for 2018.  He also emphasized that Hungary’s subsequent governments must also exhibit this kind of supportive attitude for families.

The announced measures are the following:

  1. More family tax breaks, focussed on two-child families.
  2. 50% of the student loan will be paid by the government for those women who have student loans.  The student loan will be paid off entirely by the government for those women who have three or more children!
  3. Child care support will be provided for an additional year for women with degrees in higher education. Student mothers will be provided with this benefit until their child is two year old.
  4.  The Hungarian families with mortgages will be paid one million Forints (3250 EUR/2820 GBP/3660 USD) for their third child and one million Forints for each one after.
  5. The government initiates a “huge programme” to build, or to renovate, crèches (day care centres)
  6. Soon the Hungarian families living abroad may also have access to Hungary’s “baby bonds”. (This is a type of treasury bond with the objective of stimulating savings for children by their parents. Parents must make small monthly contributions and, in return, the child receives a guaranteed minimum amount tax-free upon turning 18.)
  7.   The government establishes a “family studies” think-tank which PM Orbán expects to become of international fame.

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Is Donald Trump another Hillary Clinton?

After four months into Trump’s presidency, I cannot see any kind of “new beginning in the Hungary-USA relations”.

Today the State Department of the USA has issued yet another, rather brutal, press statement in defence of George Soros’ CEU university.

The United States again urges the Government of Hungary to suspend implementation of its amended higher education law, which places discriminatory, onerous requirements on U.S.-accredited institutions in Hungary and threatens academic freedom and independence.

The Government of Hungary should engage directly with affected institutions to find a resolution that allows them to continue to function freely and provide greater educational opportunity for the citizens of Hungary and the region.

The U.S. Government has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary.

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Well, if the U.S. Government, unlike every other government of the affected foreign universities in Hungary,  “has no authority or intention to enter into negotiations on the operation of Central European University or other universities in Hungary” then George Soros’ university will be closed. It’s simple as that.

No,  Heather Nauert , who signed the press release, is not a relic from the Obama administration. She was appointed a month ago and she used to work for Trump-friendly Fox News.

 

Update:  I’ve just seen the response from Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The Hungarian government wants an agreement on CEU and we regret that there’s no support from the US administration for that.  Our negotiator, the Prime Minister’s emissary Kristóf Altusz has been waiting for an official reply from our American partner for more than three weeks. A press release is very far from being an official diplomatic response.  This is most regretful considering the fact Hungary and the USA made three agreements in education matters in the last few decades. Hungary respects academic freedom and nobody endangers the independence of universities. The Hungarian higher education law is not discriminatory and none of the affected foreign universities, or the ambassadors of the host countries, for example that of China or Malaysia, raised objections. Three of the affected USA universities also seem to be cooperative.

Orbán’s response to the EU

As most of my readers will know, the hysteria about George Soros CEU university is still going on and PM Orbán visited Brussels this week twice.  Please listen to his Wednesday speech in the European Parliament here:

Unfortunately I don’t know about an English language video for  the press conference which Orbán gave in Brussels later on Wednesday.  I’d say that was pretty good indeed. 🙂
After EC president Jean-Claude Juncker had official talks (!) with George Soros in the building of the European Commission on Thursday, obviously to pull strings against Hungary, PM  Orbán attended the meeting  of the European People’s Party, which his Fidesz party is a member of, and the EU summit on Brexit on Saturday.  There wasn’t really much new compared to what you may gleam from the above video.
By “popular demand” (from my Twitter followers), I’ll translate the official press release which summarized his stance at the end of the day. I haven’t seen an English version yet.
Hungary’s prime minister has stated on the executive meeting of the European People’s Party that Hungary’s government is open to cooperation with the European Commission in every unresolved legal issues.
As  we did in the past, we intend to settle the infringement procedures against Hungary via agreements. Hungary’s prime minister has clarified again that the Hungarian government is not adamant about closing George Soros’ Central University in Budapest. However no university may enjoy privileges. Hungarian laws apply to everybody. Higher education institutions, which don’t provide actual education and operate as off-shore mailboxes,  will not be allowed by the Hungarian laws in the future either.
Hungary’s prime minister has clarified that the National Consultation launched by the government is not against Europe. On the contrary, its purpose is to reform the European Union which malfunctions in many respects at the moment and it needs renewal.
The prime minister asked help from the European People’s Party so that the energy union proposal of  the European Commission, which would substantially increase the energy bills of the Hungarian families, should be withdrawn.
Concerning the issue of migration,  he stressed that Hungary is unable to accept the illegal migrants’ unchecked immigration  and the Hungarian government is going to keep the border fence, which defends Hungary and Europe, under any circumstances.
Bertalan Havasi
Manager for the Prime Minister’s Press Office

Hope this helps to clarify the situation.  The global mainstream media is busy posting fake news like “Hungary’s Orbán accepts EU demands”….

Please raze Soros’ university to the ground and salt its earth

The uncanny howling about Soros’ CEU university hasn’t subsided since last Wednesday.  The “whole world” protests against “Orbán’s grave attack against Hungary’s most prominent university”. Open letters, interviews, newspaper articles, a copious amount of media reports on a few thousand strong demonstration in Budapest, a long (and growing) queue of politicians, including Christian Democrat ones!, condemn Hungary because of the attack on… whatever. You know the drill.

According to this German article, “Hungary says no to science”.   Now let’s have a quick look at that what we should actually say “no” to.  I found a list of some theses which were submitted (and accepted!) at CEU last year.  All of them are written in English and they can be read in full at the provided links.  Please decide for yourself if they are scientific works or if you agree with me that they are left-liberal political pamphlets.

1. Dispossession and futurelessness : at the confluence of marxism and queer theory 

The thesis compares the work of  Lee Edelman, the eminent figure of queer theory with the work of Hungarian Communist philosopher György Lukács.

2. Playing with identity : a study on the Budapest BDSM community

The thesis analyses the narratives of Sado-Masochists, with special regard to the role of games.

3. Blasphemy as tool for institutional critique

Through a number of cases, the thesis presents how blasphemy plays a role in post-Soviet art.

4. In the name of the mother : media discourse, nationalist ideology and the politics of reproduction in post-socialist Macedonia

This thesis reveals how media spreads nationalist ideology in Macedonia with the help of traditional sex roles and “the typification of the female body”.

5. Polish exceptionalism : hate speech laws between supra-national standards and national politics

This thesis examines why Polish  hate speech laws are substandard to international ones and why Polish criminal law does not provide protection for victims of hate speech motivated by bias on grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation.

6. Becoming and being : the experiences of young feminist men in Iceland

This thesis reviews life experiences of young Icelandic feminist males.

7. Qu(e)’erying the Qur’an : how non-heterosexual Muslims in London articulate sexual citizenship narratives

“This thesis aims to situate the phenomenon of “homonationalism” into lived experience in order to lay bare the contextual specificities of queer Muslim subjectivites in London, UK and to examine the local refigurations of power that informants enact therein. Through fieldwork at an inclusive Mosque in London, and interviews with queeridentifying Muslims, this ethnographic approach is dedicated to analyzing how those considered inauthentic in homonationalist imaginaries, and who are often elided in critical discourses of homonationalism itself, articulate narratives of sexual citizenship that challenge the regulatory codes of a universalizing script of homonormative sexuality, and how they make these pleas for belonging through a parallel reconstitution of Muslim normativities. ”

8. Migration in the Mediterranean : the smuggler as scapegoat

According to the thesis, even though illegal migration has been going on for decades,  human traffickers have been made scapegoats recently.

9. Constructing identity through the Hungarian “migration” discourse

The abstract is  gibberish  like “On the other hand, the feeling of instability aided the ontological insecuritization process, which was utilized to establish a situation where everyday routines were not working and the ontological insecuritization became possible”, but I guess the thesis argues that Orbán’s government uses the threat of the illegal migrants to Hungary to strengthen racism and xenophobia among Hungarians.

10. Anti-liberalism and antisemitism in dualist Hungary

The thesis presents anti-liberalism and anti-Semitism through the case of Kárpátalja (Transcarpathia) .

11. Hope of failure : subverting disgust, shame and the abject in feminist performances with menstrual blood

Er… check out the link if you really do want to know more details about this particular piece of progressive train of thought.

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Darth Soros

I think the list speaks volumes indeed. Metaphorically speaking, Soros’ university in Budapest should be razed to the ground and sowed with salt.  Mr. Orbán, please do so!

The Soros university controversy

The Hungarian Education Office prepares a regular review about the higher education institutions in Hungary. The latest review has revealed problems in 27 of the 28 foreign universities operating in Hungary, regarding their operational licences and course accreditations as well as problems with their cooperation with the state.  The American McDaniel College, which defines itself as a liberal institution, was the only foreign university which was fully cleared.

Based on these findings, the Hungarian human resources ministry submitted an amendment to the higher education law this Tuesday evening. The proposal includes that  foreign universities in Hungary could operate only under an international agreement to be concluded between the university’s home country and the Hungarian state. 

On the very next day, on Wednesday, the global media (Reuters, BBC, Washington Post, etc.) was full of articles like this one in the Guardian  They were all bashing Hungary hard for “attacking academic freedom” and what have you.  All the articles were really wailing only because of CEU (Central European University), a private university founded and paid by billionaire George Soros, the mastermind behind Europe’s flooding with illegal migrants.

Incidentally this quote from The Guardian made me giggle:

The university’s departure would deal a serious blow to higher education in Hungary and the country’s reputation as a regional leader.

The left-liberals have been telling us for ages what an unimportant and side-lined country Hungary has become since 2010 (when Orbán took office)…

The liberal mayor of Vilnius (Latvia’s capital) released a much publicized public letter on Wednesday morning, stating that they’d be happy to host CEU.  (Please, do so!)

usempbceuThe USA embassy in Budapest was up in arms immediately as well and they issued this statement:

Together with some Democrat politicians in the USA, the American president of CEU issued threats regarding “the relations between the USA and Hungary”.   President Michael Ignatieff also insisted on his Wednesday press conference that “CEU complies with regulations and these issues must be discussed in talks”

Today the State Department of the USA has also issued a statement:

The United States is concerned about legislation proposed by the Government of Hungary on March 28th that imposes new, targeted, and onerous regulatory requirements on foreign universities. If adopted, these changes would negatively affect or even lead to the closure of Central European University (CEU) in Budapest.

CEU is a premier academic institution accredited in the United States and Hungary, with staff and students from over 100 countries. It has strengthened Hungary’s influence and leadership in the region through its academic excellence and many contributions to independent, critical thinking.

We urge the Government of Hungary to avoid taking any legislative action that would compromise CEU’s operations or independence.

I wonder if President Trump is concerned about Soros’ university, too?

Prime Minister Orbán has responded to the hysteria briefly this morning in his regular fortnightly radio interview: “even if you’re a billionaire, you’re not above the law”. Whether CEU could operate in Hungary in the future would depend on talks between the USA and Hungary and on a future agreement between the two countries.  Answering a question whether negotiations would be held with the CEU, he said that “all the CEU has to do is to comply with the law.  We’re not going to have talks with them because they are not the US government even if that’s what they might want to be”

ceu

The Business School of George Soros’ Central European University

Well, I certainly keep my fingers crossed that CEU will not provide courses in “gender studies” in Budapest soon.  The Soros network must be driven out of Hungary as soon as possible.

Update:  Response of the Government of Hungary to the press statement of the Department of State of the United States of America

The Government of Hungary found it with surprise that the Department of State of the United States released a press statement that is based on factual errors.

Hungary is a sovereign country which formulates its external relations in the spirit of mutual respect, goodwill and with the aspiration to reach compromise. According to our intentions, non-EU universities may operate in our country only if Hungary has entered into an inter-state agreement with the country of origin for the university. Accordingly, the Government of Hungary is ready to engage in talks with the Government of the United States with respect to György Soros’s university in Hungary.

Update on the 4th of April:   With the vote of every and each gov’t MP, Hungary’s parliament has passed the fast-tracked amendment to the education law today.

Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States to Budapest David Kostelancik has issued the following statement:

The United States is disappointed by the accelerated passage of legislation targeting Central European University, despite the serious concerns raised by the United States, by hundreds of local and international organizations and institutions, and by thousands of Hungarians who value academic freedom and the many important contributions by Central European University to Hungary.

The Central European University is a successful and prestigious American-Hungarian institution and has been an important component of the U.S.-Hungarian relationship for 26 years. The United States will continue to advocate for its independence and unhindered operation in Hungary.

Deputy Secretary State Kristóf Altusz of Hungary’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has summoned Mr. Kostelancik (and  Germany’s Chargé d’Affaires) tomorrow morning in response.

A new beginning in Hungary-USA relations

Réka Szemerkényi, an economist, political scientist and politician, has been Hungary’s Ambassador to the United States since 2015. She served as State Secretary for Foreign Policy.  She worked as a Senior National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán from 1998 to 2002.

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Mrs. Szemerkényi gave an interview a few days ago (see a  summary here). Let me summarize the most interesting points:

  1.  President Donald J. Trump has a “very positive” opinion of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and negotiations about a possible meeting of the two leaders are under way.
  2. She has already met with almost half of the U.S. government and the relationships have been so good that other embassies in the United States have asked her for advice and contacts.
  3. She has met and has spoken  with President Trump three times since he was inaugurated less a month ago. Out of more than a hundred ambassadors to the USA , only six were invited to that round table talk where she met President Trump last time.
  4. She has met Vice President Mike Pence.
  5. She has had talks with Attorney General Jeff Sessions three times. She has also met  Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Hungary has been “at the back of the queue” in Washington DC since 2001 when PM Orbán’s first government decided to buy new Swedish Grippen JAS-39 fighter jets instead of second-hand F-16’s under the presidency of George W. Bush.  The relations became particularly bad during the last few years of  the Obama administration, especially when the US embassy to Hungary was run by Charge d’Affairs Andre Goodfriend who directly meddled in Hungarian domestic politics.

Now it seems we’re getting to the “front of the queue”. 🙂

 

 

On conservatism

English philosopher and political thinker Sir Roger Scruton, who is held in especially high esteem in Central Europe and Hungary, gave a lecture on conservatism in the Danube Institute a few months ago. I’ve just noticed a video recording is now available.

 

 

 

 

Imperial hubris from the outgoing Obama administration

The outgoing Obama administration has hit a new low.

The State Department of the USA has issued a statement urging Hungary’s government that they should meddle in judiciary affairs in the interest of a convicted Syrian terrorist.

ahmed2

Ahmed H. led this attack on Hungarian-Serb border last year and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Hungarian court last week.

PR chief Tamás Menczer of the Hungarian Foreign Affairs Ministry responded to the US State Department with these words:

“we find it rather weird that the USA, which has been regularly lecturing the world about the separation of powers, now calls on a government to intervene in a court decision.

Maybe this is possible in the USA but it is not so in Hungary. It’s not the so-called “civil organizations” which decide in Hungary about those who commit crimes. The judiciary does and this is going to stay that way, irrespective of whether the State Department of the USA likes it or not. Attacking Hungary’s border, leading a charge against the Hungarian police for hours is a severe crime which is to be punished severely. Hungary is never going to call the American courts to account if they would sentence terrorists attacking American police.”

The triumph of reality over the politically correct liberal model

 

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The conclusion of an election model made by a well-known PC-liberal think tank.

 

Somehow Huffington Post forgot to publish this figure which shows  the time-dependency of their sophisticated mathematical model: 🙂

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