Total Pageviews

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The End Of Capitalism, Or Not Just Yet?

One of the readers of this Blog, has written to me:

"Olgi, tudom Te sokkal inteligensebb vagy, hogy meghajolj ezelott a "leftist" garbage-hez. Just look at the guy before Orban: comunist---terrorist Gyurcsany. Who should be in jail for the rest of his life. There can NOT be true democracy in Hungary, until these old-time communists/actually "vulture" capitalists die out, and disappear from the face of the hungarian political scene. "
Janu Altrichter
And he is definitely right. Viktor Orban has been given one month to straighten out his act.

So, let's bring our focus home, to the United States economy. Today we are going to deal with weather capitalism is in crisis, or not.

Here is the opinion of Support FPIF, a think tank of researchers on Foreign Policy:

Gingrich’s indulgence in the rhetoric of class warfare – which goes well beyond anything that President Obama has dared – reflects the political insurgency that is taking place within both major parties. The populists are lining up against the plutocrats, with the tea party and the Occupy movement providing the shock troops. Such rebellions against the elite take place on an almost cyclical basis – progressives against the Gilded Age wealthy, New Dealers against the financiers, Reaganauts against the Republican blue bloods. If the U.S. economy improves and the threat of another major global downturn recedes, then perhaps both the tea party and Occupy will melt away. Obama will go back to his Wall Street-friendly rhetoric and the Republicans will deem Gingrich’s neo-Marxist tactics a failed experiment.

But with the U.S. economy still stagnant and the House of Euro collapsing in on itself, capitalism is indeed facing a crisis of confidence. For the Financial Times, which is running a series on the current challenges facing capitalism, the problem boils down to how much business executives get paid. Capitalism needs adult supervision because a few bad eggs have bent the rules to their own benefit, and this supervision best comes from, drum roll please, the state.

“Capitalism needs the state,” the FT editorializes, “not to run the economy but to regulate how individuals run it and have them face the consequences of their actions.” The state, in other words, has to step in to save capitalism from itself, but only in the limited fashion of a schoolmarm disciplining the disruptive elements. The FT provides space for Occupy London’s somewhat more radical critique, but the overall message of the series is one of irritated reproach: The super-wealthy have been making it increasingly difficult for the conventionally wealthy to go about their business of racking up profits according to the traditionally skewed rules of the game.

The Economist has a somewhat different take on the matter. Capitalism in general isn’t in crisis, just the Western, laissez-faire variety. Asian-style capitalism has recovered rather quickly from the financial crisis. “State capitalism is on the march, overflowing with cash and emboldened by the crisis in the West. State companies make up 80% of the value of the stock market in China, 62% in Russia and 38% in Brazil,” the magazine points out. “They accounted for one-third of the emerging world’s foreign direct investment between 2003 and 2010 and an even higher proportion of its most spectacular acquisitions, as well as a growing proportion of the very largest firms.”

But where the Financial Times practically begs the state to pay more attention to the economy, The Economist is leery of the state capitalism that has guided the economic success in China, South Korea, Singapore, and elsewhere. The magazine raises doubts about “the system’s ability to capitalise on its successes when it wants to innovate rather than just catch up, and to correct itself if it takes a wrong turn. Managing the system’s contradictions when the economy is growing rapidly is one thing; doing so when it hits a rough patch quite another. And state capitalism is plagued by cronyism and corruption.”

The Economist and the Financial Times have squared off on the issue of where to strike a balance between the guiding hand of the state and the invisible hand of the market, an age-old debate. They both recognize that the go-go days are over. Reasonable capitalists can disagree about the proper mix, but their goal is the same. They’ll tweak the original recipe but won’t fundamentally alter the ingredients or the final product.

Which brings us to Francis Fukuyama. In its special anniversary issue devoted to the last 90 years of thinking on global issues, Foreign Affairs invited the big-picture guy behind the “end of history” thesis to reflect on “the future of history.” More than 20 years ago, Fukuyama predicted that the triumph of liberal democracy would spell the end of serious ideological debate and thus the end of history. He has since revised his argument considerably, since many ideological challenges to liberal democracy have persisted—nationalism, religion, militarism—and history, red in tooth and claw, soldiers on. The two key challenges he identifies in his Foreign Affairs essay are China’s state capitalism and widening inequality. To Fukuyama’s dismay, the Left has not fashioned a plausible alternative to the unregulated market that has so palpably failed.

“For the past generation, the ideological high ground on economic issues has been held by a libertarian right,” Fukuyama writes. “The left has not been able to make a plausible case for an agenda other than a return to an unaffordable form of old-fashioned social democracy. This absence of a plausible progressive counter–narrative is unhealthy, because competition is good for intellectual –debate just as it is for economic activity. And serious intellectual debate is urgently needed, since the current form of globalized capitalism is eroding the middle-class social base on which liberal democracy rests.”

Fukuyama and the Right are taking the challenge of Occupy in some ways more seriously than traditional liberals. They understand that widening inequality challenges the very underpinnings of capitalism (much as the Right understands that climate change, as Naomi Klein points out in a Nation article last year, challenges the essential logic of capitalism). What Fukuyama really wants is for the “responsible” Left to come up with a middle-class-friendly alternative to what he considers a more dangerous populism. He fails to recognize that the standard of living of the U.S. middle class depends in large part on the global inequality sustained by our current economic system.

Despite his misunderstanding of the sustainability of the middle class—and his naïve commitment to a marketplace of ideas already tilted in favor of the wealthy—Fukuyama does raise an important point about the lack of compelling synthesis coming from the Left. We await a modern Marx who can shake up the Left just as surely as the Right with a trenchant critique of the current economic orthodoxy and a game plan for transformation. The Left, after all, has long been committed to a similarly unrestrained growth paradigm, from the industrial model of communism to the stimulus packages of progressive economists.

This Marx will produce not a manifesto for the middle class. Rather, the new synthesis will fuse economics and environmentalism in a way that fundamentally reorients both disciplines. Marx pioneered political economy; Marx 2.0 will pioneer planetary economy. It’s not just about greening capitalism, as if enough solar cells and Prii will save the world. Our current economic system has reached its planetary limit.

The confusions of our political classification system suggest that we stand at the verge of a new era. The task is not, as The Economist, the Financial Times, Francis Fukuyama, and Newt Gingrich all believe, to save capitalism or the middle class. The stakes are much higher than that. The rising waters will overwhelm Left and Right both. The future might be “storm socialism,” as Christian Parenti argues in TomDispatch, with big government expanding to deal with big weather. Or, if the next Marx is out there somewhere scribbling away, the future might be an entirely different economic system altogether.

All Over the Map

We’ve just published a new collection of World Beat columns. All Over the Map: The Best of World Beat is available as an e-book for $4.99. It contains more than 125 columns, so you can have all your favorites in one place and catch up on the issues that you might have missed. Remember the column about the Qosbi Show? The one about the politics of overseas adoption? Obama’s Nobel Prize? The Yes Men? Wild and crazy Albanian politics? The first electoral win of the Occupy movement? The foreign policy of the Republican presidential candidates in verse? The geopolitics of Facebook? The art of torture?

You can get all this and more for one low, low price.

And if you’re a faithful reader and haven’t missed an issue, please consider giving All Over the Map as a gift to friends and family. Let’s spread progressive foreign policy to e-book readers and tablets all over the map!

Drug Wars, Egypt, Iran

Egyptians recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of their Tahrir Square uprising. But the folks who are celebrating in earnest after their electoral victory are the Islamists. Some worry that Egypt will go the way of Saudi Arabia and theocracy. Foreign Policy In Focus contributor Ahmed Souaiaia disagrees. “By rejecting democracy, the Salafists attempted to discredit the representative governance model,” he writes in Egypt and the Islamists. “Now, the participation of more than one Islamist group in local and national elections takes religious absolutism out of the equation and empowers the people to determine their political leaders and institutions.”

Tensions continue to rise between the United States and Iran. President Barack Obama made reassurances during his State of the Union address that the United States is pursuing diplomatic options. But this is not really true.

“By all appearances, the Western approach is solely designed to achieve Iranian capitulation to Western demands that it dismantle its nuclear research program,” writes FPIF contributor Richard Silverstein in An Alternative to War with Iran. “It is not designed as an open-ended negotiation in which both sides are open to compromise to achieve a mutually agreed-on objective. The United States and Israel are little interested in acknowledging Iran’s perceived interests or compromising over its nuclear program so that each side will end up with some of its key interests satisfied.”

Meanwhile, the civilian death toll in Mexico’s drug war remains staggering. Much of the burden of this war falls on women. “It’s rare to hear the voices of the women who bear the brunt of the drug war,” reports FPIF columnist Laura Carlsen from a recent Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in Mexico City. “Their pain doesn’t make headlines. Some need anonymity to remain alive. Many have been granted protective measures by the government or international human rights organizations because of the extreme threats they face.”

Finally, in our Focal Points blog, we look at the foreign policy elements of the State of the Union address, Scotland’s secessionist ambitions, and more on Boko Haram in Nigeria.

We're America and We'll Breach Whatever Perimeter We Want

By Russ Wellen

January 31, 2012

It's just other countries' tough luck that they're not separated from potential threats by two oceans like we are.
A Year after Tahrir

Foreign Policy In Focus is a network for research, analysis and action that brings together more than 700 scholars, advocates and activists who strive to make the United States a more responsible global partner. It is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington.

The Institute for Policy Studies is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice and the environment in the U.S. and globally. It works with social movements to promote democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate and military power.

AND Leon Levy's view point in Financial Times:
Is capitalism at a tipping point
by RICHARD LAMBERT, nov.23, 2011 FT

Its camp is gone, but the Occupy movement will grow

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a symptom of a growing public disquiet about the workings of market capitalism. As such, Monday night’s decision to close down the camp in New York City is unlikely to check the protests: if anything, the reverse may be true.
Public support for free markets is based on two broad arguments. The first is that they deliver more efficient outcomes than the alternatives. The second is that over time they create increased prosperity for society at large. Both these assumptions have taken a severe jolt in the past few years.
We now know that the efficient market theory is for the birds, and that market failures can have devastating consequences for wide sectors of the public. We also know that the fruits of economic success have become increasingly unevenly distributed. In the US, all the growth – and more – in recent years has flowed to those at the very top. The upper one per cent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year, double the proportion 25 years ago. Those in the middle have seen their real incomes fall over the same period, precipitously so in the case of those with only high school qualifications.
Rising income inequality. Very slow economic growth. High unemployment. It’s no wonder that even a number of politicians on the right have started to express a degree of sympathy for those who have been demonstrating around the world in recent weeks. The fact that the protesters have no clear agenda is irrelevant. They represent concerns that many people can relate to, and they are unlikely to go away.
So it may be that capitalism is approaching some kind of tipping point, away from the winner takes all culture of the past three decades. If left unchecked, public disquiet will sooner or later bring a political response, maybe in the form of much more aggressive regulations and progressive tax systems. These could be at least as damaging as the free market fundamentalism that they would seek to replace.
Much better for business itself to recognise that it has a real economic interest in the well-being of the societies in which it operates; that success or failure is not just determined by earnings per share or profits per partner; and that a successful market economy has to be built on a degree of trust and mutual respect. Capitalism has adapted to changing political and social pressures in the past, and now is time for it to do so again.
The writer was director-general of the CBI and is a former editor of the FT

Comments (91)

Post your own comment
Sorted by oldest first | Sort by newest first
1. Report jzampolin | November 15 2:42pm | Permalink
And where is there free market capitalism? In the U.S? Is that the assertion?
2. Report Alex Benavente | November 15 2:45pm | Permalink
Excellent, short note. Changes are needed.
3. Report manuel gutierrez | November 15 2:49pm | Permalink
The failure we've seen recently is that of 'crony' capitalism, not market capitalism. For the most part, the latter has not been allowed to operate in the US, or most other countries in fact.
4. Report Apostle | November 15 3:01pm | Permalink
Accurate view of symptoms, incorrect diagnosis, bad prescription.

Symptoms: Very slow economic growth. High unemployment. Uncertain future.

Wrong diagnosis: Free market principles; Bad prescription: Lecture on morals + more regulations.

Right diagnosis: Excessive entitlements, govt spending and corruption, crony capitalism, inflexible labor market chaining the Prometheus of our times

November 18, 2011 2:18 am
Accede to Europe’s long-term direction of travel
From Mr James Brooke Turner.
Sir, Martin Wolf (“Saving the dream of centuries”, November 16) reminds us of the fate of the Roman and Han empires and makes his call for Germany to play its singular role in realising that dream of European unification. (As he says: “Power brings responsibility. Germany alone has the power.”) He could have added that building successful empires such as that of Rome is a long-term endeavour, rarely comfortable, and with few nations subscribing willingly. It is hard for new states to coalesce and assimilate their identity within a century, let alone a year. Nations such as the UK, France, Italy, even Germany and the US did not appear fully formed overnight, but took a tortured and usually bloody route to their present, relatively peaceful status quo.
Historians of the future may well look back on this economic crisis as part of the force majeure that prompted the formation of a new Europe. Of course there will be ebbs and flows from day to day and year to year, but the direction of travel over decades and even centuries is undeniable, and probably unstoppable. We should remember that nation-forming is best achieved with a proverbial, not literal, gun to the head. These are such times to accede to the inevitable.
Says James Brooke Turner, London SW2, UK "

C. Also:

By Robert Lenzner, Forbes Staff
11/17/2011 @ 2:31PM |3,063 views
"Capitalism At A Tipping Point"
This is the title of an FT op-ed piece by Richard Lambert, former FT editor as well as former director-general of CBI, the umbrella group for all British industry– and I am proud to say a very old and dear friend. Given the sovereign and bank crisis in Europe and the absolute need to institute severe fiscal cuts in the U.S. “tipping point” is not such a great exaggeration as you might expect. Can social unrest be the next step after more or less peaceful OWS, Occupy Wall Street. (Even the Council on Foreign Relations had an exploration of OWS’ significance this week.
There is no debate over the generally accepted finding that over the last 30 years “the fruits of economic success have become increasingly unevenly distributed in the U.S.” The latest figures show that there is “rising income inequality, very slow economic growth and high unemployment.” If 1% of Americans now take 25% of the nation’s income– double the amount of 25 years ago in the mid-1980s– then you can understand the rise of Occupy Wall Street and the depressing spectacle of 45 million people on food stamps and below the poverty cutoff line ( less than $22,000).
There are some greedy people who adore the winner take all philosophy of finance, and who don’t give much of a damn for poor people. Look at that idiot Herman Cain blasting the poor for not making a fortune from pizza.
When I studied business in the early 1960s at Columbia University, the concept of a successful and highly regarded corporation was one that balanced maximizing profits with keeping its many constituencies content– and by constituencies I mean the shareholders, who own the company, the employees who make it go, the customers that buy the products– and last but not least– the community that supports the company and in return gets help and contributions to remain vital.
All of this seems like quaint nostalgia. Yet, Lambert ends up preaching that “business itself (ought) recognize that it has a real economic interest in the well-being of the societies in which it operates: that success or failure is not just determined by earnings per share or profits per partner; and that a successful market economy has to be built on a degree of trust and mutual respect.”
I don’t know Richard; after witnessing the near collapse of civilization from the greed and short-sightedness of Wall Street– and witnessing the right’s attempt to foist it all off on government, I am more inclined to think the law of the jungle predominates. Everyone is trying to get the biggest piece of pie for themself, and to hell with their neighbor– just as I was told by one of my closest friends in the financial community, the late wise Leon Levy.

After posting 3 points of view, what is your opinion.
Send or post comments here.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Invitation to the White House and Horty Miklos

Invitation To The White House II And Hungary’s Junky Democracy
Posted on 2012/01/29 by olgalazin


———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Olga
Date: Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 8:32 PM
Subject: What do you want to ask me?
To: Olga Lazin , Vaughn_De_Spenza

The White House, Washington

Good afternoon,

Today, I was in Michigan. Yesterday, it was Colorado and Nevada. Before that, it was Iowa and Arizona. The day after I delivered my State of the Union Address to Congress, I took off to connect with ordinary Americans around the country, talk more about our Blueprint for an America Built to Last, and get some feedback.

That’s why I’m writing you.

On Monday we’re going to do something a little different. At 5:30 p.m. ET, I’ll walk into the Roosevelt Room across the hall from the Oval Office, take a seat, and kick-off the first-ever completely virtual town hall from the White House.

All week, people have been voting on questions and submitting their own, and a few of them will join me for a live chat.

What do you want to ask me?

This is going to be an exciting way to talk about the steps that we need to take together at this make-or-break moment for the middle class.

We have to foster a new era for American manufacturing — rewarding companies for keeping jobs here at home and eliminating tax breaks for those who ship jobs overseas. We have to invest in homegrown energy in the United States — starting with an all-out, all-of-the-above energy strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. We have to build an economy that works for everyone — where every hard working American gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and the rules are the same from top to bottom.

I’m ready to get started, but I know you have questions and ideas for ways to help. So let’s hear them:


President Barack Obama

This email was sent to
Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House

The White House • 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW • Washington, DC 20500 • 202-456-1111

Olga Lazin, Ph.D

CAPAction American Progress AF
Center for American Progress Action Fund is the Center for American Progress’ sister organization. Help us share a progressive vision for America. #p2



New York Times

Pressed by Europe, Hungary Backtracks on New Laws (January 19, 2012)


Times Topic: Hungary

ON Jan. 2 the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, along with his entourage, surrounded by a large group of police officers, celebrated himself in Budapest’s opera house. He was christening his newly minted Basic Law, which has replaced our Constitution. The document has put an end to the Republic of Hungary and pluralistic democracy, and assuming it remains in force, ensures the rule of the current administration for a long time to come.

Guests entered behind a wall of wooden slats draped in black, and left by the rear exit, while 100,000 people demonstrated out front along Andrassy Boulevard. But state television showed nothing of this. Klubradio, which reported the public criticism, will be silenced next month, stripped of its broadcast frequency.

My homeland is beginning to resemble the post-Soviet dictatorships of Central Asia; some are even calling it Orbanistan. A number of young Hungarians are planning to leave, many for Western Europe. Most are the bolder, more talented ones, like their predecessors who left in the fall of 1956, after the communists crushed the Hungarian revolution.

The ones who are staying generally talk about what they should do with their modest savings, since the government has already reached into their private pension accounts. The state has appropriated what it can, putting everything under central control, into its own hands.

It would be one thing if our economy were doing well. But the three leading credit rating institutions have put it into the lowest possible category: junk. A junk country, with a junk administration and a junk prime minister.

The dismal economic prospects should be enough to dislodge Mr. Orban and his followers, replacing these dilettante court adherents with an administration of technocrats until the next scheduled elections, in 2014. Instead, the country is consumed by a civil cold war between the pseudo-right and the pseudo-left.

The main players are the children of mostly small-time rural party cadres, some of them former functionaries in the Communist Party youth group, or in the party itself. From that same fold came two different sides, their politics fueled by different resentments.

Rural Hungary, from which Mr. Orban and his conservative Fidesz party draw their base, is alienated by criticism from urban intellectuals, who tend to back the left. Though Mr. Orban and his colleagues might sometimes strive to close the gap like dutiful pupils, more often they are insulted and take satisfaction in fantasies of revenge. Their striving has them standing constantly on tiptoe, eager to identify themselves with the nation and with working people.

I myself am a devotee of neither right nor left, but cast my lot with a democracy that allows all to speak, so we can see what kind of people are trying to lead us. Democracy’s main benefit is its protection, guaranteed by law, of the dignity of its citizens from humiliation at the hands of their leaders. It protects the weak from overweening power, and gives them the tools to protect themselves if need be.

What gives any society or its leader absolute authority over us? In Hungary, it is the fact that two-thirds of Parliament offers an automatic nod to the wishes of their little leader at every vote.

And what does he do with that support? Mr. Orban’s Hungary — an anti-European member of the European Union, a five-legged lamb — puts its own sovereignty ahead of its European affiliation, affixing the label “national” to everything, including the sovereignty of its administration.

This neo-populist, sometimes neo-fascist intelligentsia clings to the romanticism of the nation-state as its ideological scaffold. National pathos is also good for silencing domestic criticism; my countrymen easily warm to the slogan, “One people, one state, one leader.”

Mr. Orban lost office once, in 2002, and is determined not to lose again. His hardened instinct for power tells him that this is the time to be tough. One year after his 2010 return to office, the Media Authority, which he heads, suspended Klubradio — our only independent radio station, with hundreds of thousands of listeners — on a trumped-up pretext. Some of its shows were critical of the government.

What is the point of this crafty text he has declared as the new constitution, in which there is no longer any guarantee of intellectual freedoms? It aims to ensure that his rule is as lasting as that of the quasi-fascist Miklos Horthy, from the 1920s to the 1940s, or that of the communist Janos Kadar, who took over after the 1956 revolution and ruled until 1988.

But the future is not entirely dark. Any system founded on propaganda and credulity is doomed to collapse sooner or later. I have been a satisfied witness to the fall of two authoritarian regimes, fascism and communism. The end of the third is in sight. Since it is built on falsehoods, its fall will be less than graceful. We might have managed to avoid this disease. At least, I hope, we shall learn from it.

Gyorgy Konrad is the author, most recently, of “A Guest in My Own Country: A Hungarian Life.” This essay was translated by Jim Tucker from the Hungarian.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on January 19, 2012, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: Hungary’s Junk Democracy.

Pro VO:

és még sok minden van,az éremnek mindig két oldala van!

A Mai sajto-ból:
Lehúzta Magyarországot az IMF

2012. január 25., szerda 15:19 |

Kemény kritikákat fogalmaz meg az IMF Magyarországról készített országjelentése. A dokumentum szerint nem csak a rossz külső körülmények, hanem kormányzati hibák sora is kellett az ország körüli problémák kialakulásához. Külön kiemelik a végtörlesztés és az ágazati különadók okozta károkat, kritizálják az adó- és munkaügyi szabályozás változásait. A jelentés szerint a kilátásaink nem túl jók, a növekedésünk lassabb, a hiányunk nagyobb lehet, mint amekkorát a kormány és Brüsszel vár.
Mi ez az országjelentés?

A Nemzetközi Valutaalap minden tagjánál évente automatikus felülvizsgálatot végez, és erről egy úgynevezett IV. cikkely szerinti országjelentést tesz közzé. Ez a dokumentum tehát a Valutaalapnál normál menetrend szerint készül, közzététele független attól, hogy hazánk novemberben hitelkérelemmel fordult Washingtonhoz és Brüsszelhez; az IMF-delegáció még november 9-én hazánkba érkezett a jelentés elkészítése miatt. Jelzésértékű viszont abból a szempontból, hogyan látják Magyarországot azok, akiktől a kormány előrejelzései szerint 17-20 milliárd eurónyi hitelcsomag nagyobb részét várjuk.

Lassul a gazdasági növekedés, a kormányzati lépések piaci megítélése nagyon negatív – olvasható a Nemzetközi Valutaalap szerdán nyilvánosságra hozott országjelentésében [1]. Az elemzés szerint 2008-2009-es válságot követő szerény, 1,3 százalékosra becsült fellendülés a németországi exportnak volt köszönhető, lényegében ez volt a növekedés motorja. Az idei kilátásokról megjegyzik, hogy nemcsak az eurózóna válsága hat negatívan a magyar gazdaságra, hanem a belpolitikai hibák is.

Pesszimista várakozások

Az eurózóna krízise a külső keresletet fogja vissza, ezért június óta az EU-ba irányuló export lassul. A belföldi fogyasztást a szigorodó hitelfeltételek, a devizahitelek miatt egyre magasabb törlesztőrészletek, az alacsony bérnövekedés, a magas munkanélküliség és a fogyasztói bizalom meredek visszaesése korlátozza. Eközben a középtávú növekedés szempontjából kiemelten fontos beruházások szintje is meredeken csökken a kiszámíthatatlan politikai környezet és a bőséges túlkínálat miatt.

Az IMF országjelentésében szereplő makrogazdasági prognózis a legtöbb ponton kedvezőtlenebb a kormány előrejelzésénél, ugyanakkor egyes pontokon nem a Valutaalap a legpesszimistább. Így például Washingtonban még arra számít, hogy idén növekedni fog a magyar gazdaság – bár a kormány 0,5 százalékos előrejelzésénél kisebb magyar GDP-bővülésre számít –, miközben több nemzetközi szervezet már komoly magyar recessziót vár, az EBRD a héten közzétett jelentésében például 1,5 százalékos visszaesés [2] szerepel.

IMF: A magyar gazdaság főbb mutatószámai
2011 2012 2013



Költségvetési egyenleg, GDP-%



Államadósság, GDP-%



Infláció, éves átlagos



Munkanélküliség, %




A túlzottdeficit-eljárást fenntartó Európai Bizottsághoz hasonlóan az IMF sem hisz abban, hogy Magyarország akár idén, akár jövőre meg tudna felelni a 3 százalékos GDP-arányos költségvetési hiánynál jobb egyenleget előíró maastrichti kritériumoknak. Sőt, a Valutaalap arra számít, hogy jövőre már a 4 százalék alatti szintet sem tudjuk tartani. Ezzel párhuzamosan nem hisznek a további államadósság-csökkentésben sem, ugyanakkor arra számítanak, hogy jövőre mérséklődhet a magyar munkanélküliség.

szép nagy hirdetés – ismerje meg új hirdetési formátumunkat, a Roadblockot!
Amit jó volt és ami nem

Az IMF a tavalyi kormányzati lépésekről azt írja: számos jelentős strukturális és politikai jellegű reformlépés történt, ezek közül a Széll Kálmán-tervet emelik ki, mely célja a költségvetés kiadási oldalának átalakításán keresztül a középtávú növekedési feltételek javítása volt.

A dokumentum megjegyzi, hogy egy sor egyéb intézkedés jóval ellentmondásosabb. A jelentés ezek között említi a devizahitelesek támogatását (végtörlesztés, árfolyamrögzítés), az adó- illetve a munkaerőpiac szabályozásának változásait is. Ennél is nagyobb negatív hangsúllyal emeli ki az ágazati különadók kivetését (kiskereskedelem, energia, távközlés, bank) és a magánpénztári rendszer államosítását.

Az elemzés szerint a lépések miatt a kormány költségvetési és a jegybank monetáris mozgástere is korlátozott lett, ami pénzpiaci (államadósság-finanszírozási) és inflációs veszélyeket hordoz.
Sok a kockázat

A 2010-2011-es túlterjeszkedő költségvetések, elsősorban az adócsökkentés miatt a strukturális hiány már a GDP 3 százalékára nőtt. A 2012-es költségvetés a Széll-terv, az áfa és a jövedéki adók emelése miatt ugyan jelentős megszorításokat tartalmaz, miközben elmaradunk az úgynevezett növekedési potenciálunktól. Ráadásul a nemzeti bank 7 százalékra emelte az alapkamatot az inflációs kockázatok, a gyengélkedő forint és a finanszírozási nehézségek miatt.

A dokumentum szerint a növekedésünk 2013-tól fokozatosan javulhat, de ebben meghatározóak lesznek az eurózóna növekedési kilátásai. Az viszont biztos, hogy egy darabig még a potenciális lehetőségeink alatt teljesítünk majd. Ráadásul sok lefelé mutató kockázat van, beleértve a külső finanszírozási hiány kialakulását is – állapítja meg az IMF.
Drága lett a hitelezés

A kisebb növekedés, az Európa-szerte visszafogott tőkeáramlás és a kormányzati lépések együttesen tartják nyomás alatt a pénzügyi szektort.

A bankok helyzetét nehezíti, hogy a háztartások és a vállalatok 90 napon túl késedelembe esett hiteleinek az aránya 14 százalékra emelkedett. Emiatt a céltartalékokat emelni kell, amit a bankadó és a végtörlesztés hatásai nehezítenek. A szektor nyereségessége összességében meredeken csökkent.

Bár a pénzintézetek tőkemegfelelése még mindig jóval meghaladja az előírt minimumszintet, de ehhez néhány külföldi kézben lévő pénzintézetnél tőkeemelésre volt szükség. A szektor likviditása megfelelő, a finanszírozás egyre rövidebb lejáratú és drága – ez szintén kockázatokat hordoz.
Kisebb növekedés

Az IMF európai stábja 10 nappal a jelentés január 3-ai elkészülte után egy kiegészítést is csatolt a szöveghez, amiben az elmúlt időszak fejleményeire reagál, több helyen módosítva az előrejelzéseket, és élesebb kritikát megfogalmazva a kormány intézkedéseivel kapcsolatban.

A csatolmány szerint a friss adatok alapján tovább csökken a GDP növekedése, miután decemberben 2009 szeptembere óta nem látott mélypontra esett a fogyasztói bizalom, és már a harmadik egymást követő negyedévben több tőke távozott az országból, mint amennyi beáramlott.
Veszélyben a hiánycél

Bár a kormány a két és fél százalékos GDP-arányos deficitcél tartására 120 milliárd forinttal növelte a költségvetési tartalékokat, azt mégis veszélybe sodorja, hogy a Bankszövetséggel kötött egyezség értelmében a kormány átvállalja a végtörlesztéssel kapcsolatos terhek egy részét. Ez önmagában a GDP 0,4 százalékának (nagyjából 112 milliárd forintnak) megfelelő kiadást jelent, ami nem szerepel a 2012-es költségvetésben.

Emellett a GDP 0,2 százalékával növeli a kiadásokat, hogy a kormány kompenzációt nyújt azoknak a vállalatoknak, amik a megszabott mértékben emelik azoknak a dolgozóknak a fizetését, akik rosszul jártak az egykulcsos adórendszerrel.

Ennek megfelelően a költségvetés hiánya az IMF szerint eléri a GDP 3,9 százalékát, ami már jócskán meghaladja az unió 3 százalékos küszöbét is.
Problémás az egykulcsos adó bebetonozása

A jelentés kifogásolja, hogy a kizárólag kétharmados többséggel módosítható pénzügyi stabilitási törvény bebetonoz több „ellentmondásos” reformot:

* az egykulcsos adórendszert;
* a magánnyugdíjrendszer államosítását azzal, hogy az államhoz irányítja a befizetéseket, és megnyitja a magánpénztáraknál maradt tőke államosításának útját;
* a költségvetési felelősség jogi hátterét. Ezzel kapcsolatban az IMF kifogásolja, hogy az államadósságra vonatkozó szabály nem megfelelően korlátozza annak növekedését, hiszen akkor is növekedhet, amikor a gazdasági növekedés úgy lassul, hogy még a potenciális növekedés fölött jár – magyarán nem valósul meg maradéktalanul az a cél, hogy az állam akkor költhessen többet, amikor recesszió van, és akkor kevesebbet, amikor növekedés.

A jegybanktörvényt is kritizálják

Az IMF szerint a decemberben elfogadott jegybanktörvény több ponton is sérti az MNB vezetőinek autonómiáját:

* egy fővel növeli az alelnökök számát, miközben az elnökből és az alelnökökből álló igazgatótanács egyszerű többséggel hozott döntéseinél csak két tagnak kell jelen lenni, amibe nem feltétlenül tartozik bele az elnök;
* a jövőben a kibővített monetáris tanács végre is hajthatja az általa meghozott döntéseket és megszabhatja az igazgatótanács jogköreinek egy részét, miközben a korábbi törvény értelmében csak az elnöknek volt végrehajtói jogköre;
* az elnök helyett a miniszterelnök jelöli az alelnököket és a monetáris tanács dönt a munkaterületeikről.

A jelentés megjegyzi, hogy a mostani új törvény kevesebb mint három éven belül már a tizedik változtatás a jegybankot érintő szabályozásban, az ilyen változékony környezet pedig önmagában sem támogatja az MNB függetlenségét.

Emellett a monetáris tanács jogköreinek kibővítése csökkenti az igazgatótanács cselekvési autonómiáját, ráadásul az MNB szerint a működési igények nem indokolják a harmadik alelnök kinevezését, így ebben a kontextusban ez is aggályokat vet fel a kormányzati befolyásolással kapcsolatban. A jelentés szerint a jegybankelnök, nem pedig egy, a kormány által kinevezett tagokból álló monetáris tanács a legalkalmasabb arra, hogy meghatározza az elnök helyetteseinek feladatait. Így ennek megváltoztatása, főként annak fényében, hogy a kormány gyakran kritizálja a jegybanki döntéseket, figyelmeztető jel lehet az MNB függetlenségével kapcsolatban.

Az IMF kritikái részben megegyeznek azokkal az okokkal, amik miatt az EU múlt héten kötelezettségszegési eljárást jelentett be Magyarország ellen. Orbán Viktor tegnap Brüsszelben bejelentette, hogy legtöbb kifogásolt passzust hajlandó törölni a kormány, ugyanakkor két ügyről nem tud lemondani, ezek esetében további tárgyalások lesznek: a jegybank vezetőinek eskütételi kötelezettségéről, és Simor András jegybankelnök fizetésének csökkentéséről.


Címkék: végtörlesztés, köztisztviselő,közalkalmazott,devizahitel
Ötszázmilliárdnyi devizahiteltől szabadulnának a közszolgák

[origo]|2012. 01. 17., 18:55|Utolsó módosítás:2012. 01. 17., 19:16|

9 komment

Címkék:végtörlesztés, köztisztviselő, közalkalmazott, devizahitel

Még ezen a héten dönthet kormány arról, milyen hitelkonstrukcióval segítene az állam a devizahitelt végtörleszteni kívánó közalkalmazottakon és köztisztviselőkön. A közszférában több mint 70 ezer ember jelezte tavaly év végéig végtörlesztési szándékát, az állami vállalatok dolgozóival együtt tartozásuk meghaladja az 500 milliárd forintot.

Több mint 70 ezer, a közszférában dolgozó munkavállaló jelezte tavaly év végéig, hogy élni kíván a devizahitelek végtörlesztésének lehetőségével – közölte az [origo] érdeklődésére a Kormányszóvivői Iroda. Összesen 70 706 köz- és kormánytisztviselő, illetve közalkalmazott jelezte végtörlesztési szándékát, törlesztendő hitelük összesen valamivel kevesebb mint 445 milliárd forint. Az állami tulajdonú gazdasági társaságoknál további 11 227 alkalmazott jelentette be munkáltatói segítség reményében törlesztési szándékát, ők több mint 67 milliárd forintnyi hitelt adnának vissza 180 forinton rögzített kedvezményes svájci frank árfolyamon.

Orbán Viktor miniszterelnök karácsony előtt írt levelet a közszolgálatban dolgozóknak, ebben arra bíztatta őket, hogy jelezzék végtörlesztési szándékukat a munkahelyükön, mert “a kormány segítséget kíván nyújtani az Ön devizahitelének rögzített árfolyamon történő végtörlesztéséhez – kedvezményes kamatozású forinthitel biztosításával” (a kormányfő teljes levelét elolvashatja ezen a linken). A részletek kidolgozását Orbán Viktor januárra ígérte. A kormány televízió és újsághirdetésekkel is végtörlesztésre buzdította a közszféra dolgozóit és az állami tulajdonú cégek alkalmazottait.

A parlament november 21-én tette lehetővé, hogy a munkaadók adómentesen legfeljebb 7,5 millió forint támogatást adjanak alkalmazottaiknak a végtörlesztéshez. Az országgyűlés azonban egy hónappal később, december 23-án módosította a végtörlesztés szabályait, és előírta, hogy a a végtörlesztéshez nyújtott vissza nem térítendő támogatást legkésőbb 2011. december 31-ig át kell utalni a munkavállalóknak. A Kormányszóvivői Iroda egyelőre nem tudta megmondani, hogy eddig hányan kaptak támogatást.

Bár vissza nem térítendő támogatást január 1-től nem lehet nyújtani, a munkáltatók továbbra is adhatnak adómentesen kedvezményes hitelt – írta az [origo]-nak a Kormányszóvivői Iroda. Sőt, a munkáltató ezt a kölcsönt el is engedheti, feltéve, hogy az összeg nem haladja meg a lakás értékének 30 százalékát. Az így elengedett összeg legfeljebb ötmillió forintig adómentes.

A törvény szerint azoknak, akik jelezték végtörlesztési szándékukat január 30-ig kell fizetniük, vagy egy bankhitelről szóló kötelező ígérvényt bemutatniuk. A Kormányszóvivői Iroda közleménye szerint Matolcsy György gazdasági miniszter már tárgyalt a bankokkal egy, a közszférában dolgozóknak nyújtandó forinthitel kialakításáról. Ennek részleteiről egyelőre nem közöltek információt.

Az Index hétfői információi szerint a kormány már aznapi ülésén tárgyalta volna a nemzetgazdasági tárca javaslatát, amely öt éven keresztül két százalékpontos kamattámogatást tartalmazna, ám erről erről kedd estig semmit nem jelentettek be. A Kormányszóvivői Iroda az [origo]-val azt közölte: a kormány ezen a héten három ülést is tart, és még a héten megszülethetnek a szükséges döntések.



Udvozlom, Olga

It aims to ensure that his rule is as lasting as that of the quasi-fascist Miklos Horthy, from the 1920s to the 1940s, or that of …

Check out also:


Thursday, January 26, 2012
Spending Christmas with my family is a great deal for me. I watched Duna TV every day, and enjoyed the snow falling. I missed snow for 21 years now. On TV I have seen a lot of people on foodstamps, and lack of future, a dissillusioned youth, frightened by the lack of work places. Meanwhile: Flag of Hungary Budapest, Hungary Thursday, January 19, 2012 Lovely place. But politicians are dirty-handed. The forint slides every day, though. Hungary is testing investors' nerves to breaking point as the government struggles to square its economic policies with financial reality. The forint on Thursday morning touched a record low against the euro of Ft324 after domestic yields in Budapest hit crisis levels. The government had to pay 9.96 per cent in a bond swap auction for one-year paper while the yield on 10-year bonds rose to 11.34 per cent. Moreover, It was enough to force Viktor Orbán, the prime minister, into action – and start a retreat from his reluctance to ask the International Monetary Fund and the European Union for aid Hungarian Parliament Hungarian Parliament . At a hurriedly arranged press conference, Tamas Fellegi, the chief negotiator, pledged to seek a fast agreement with international lenders saying the government wanted to strike a funding deal "as soon as possible". Mr Fellegi explained Hungary would be prepared to sign a precautionary standby agreement with the Fund. Separately, János Martonyi, foreign minister, told the FT in an interview: “We are ready to negotiate about anything and everything. There are no preconditions on our side. Budapest’s markets recovered slightly on the news. The forint ended at Ft319.7 to the euro, flat on the day and bond prices firmed. But Hungary’s fight with the markets is not over. Mr Orbán has simply won a bit of breathing space. With the currency down about 20 per cent since last summer, and foreign exchange debts looming large over the government and over private borrowers, the risks of a debt-driven financial meltdown remain at critical levels. Benoit Anne, a strategist at Société Générale, says: “Hungary is the most vulnerable country in the emerging markets universe at this point.” Timothy Ash, head of emerging market research at RBS, said in a note: “Hungary will eventually conclude a new IMF arrangement this year – the only question is does it happen before-after a period of more aggressive market dislocation?” Will he comply with EU demands?" Olga Lazin from Budapest. Read more:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Miért Szeretem Magyar Országot

Why Do I love Hungary?

Drága Barátaim!

Végre látható és megtudható mik történnek, Orbán Viktor itt lesöpörte és zsebre tette a brüszeli uniós parlamentet a bal liberális tájékozatlan,felkészületlen, támadókkal együtt,utána volt egysajtótájékoztató is,ahol szintén kiállt az országunkért,ahogy ezt még senki nem tette,aki ezt nem így látja,azzal nagy baj van,menjen orvoshoz azonnal.......:-)
Hallgassátok szeretettel, mindenkit csókolva

“Mindenki abol gazdalkodik amibol van.” L.Z.barátom.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s combative prime minister, already had support this past week:

a Hősök teréről, és hat óra körül a Parlamentnél a Szózat és a székely himnusz eléneklésével véget. A fáklyával vonuló tömeg több mint százezres lehetett, mert a felvonulók megtöltötték a Kossuth teret és az Alkotmány utca egy részét is. A magyar zászlókat lengető résztvevők többször skandálták azt, hogy "Viktor, Viktor", és a náluk lévő táblák többsége is a kormányfőt éltette.
A Belügyminisztérium, amely általában nem szokta a tömegrendezvények létszámát megbecsülni, szombat esti közleményében azt írta, hogy "a békés, jó hangulatú eseményen közel négyszázezren vettek részt. Emberemlékezet óta Magyarországon ekkora tömeg még nem demonstrált a kormány és politikája mellett". A minisztérium hozzátette, hogy rendőri intézkedésre nem volt szükség.

Bencsik András újságíró, a rendezvény egyik szervezője a felvonulók számát egy millióra becsülte. Az [origo]-nak a rendezvény után azt mondta, hogy a békemenettől azt reméli, hogy így külföldön is észreveszik, hogy nincs diktratúra. "Csak akkor lehet mozgósítani egy millió embert a kormányért, ha megindul a magyarok lelke" - fogalmazott Bencsik András, és hozzátette: "ilyenre Európában még nem volt példa".
"Nem vagyunk bóvli szavazók"
"Te, András, mi lesz a teendőnk a békemenet közben" - kérdezte délután fél négykor Bencsik Andrást egy huszáregyenruhába öltözött férfi. "Csak annyi, hogy jöttök és vonultok" - választolta Bencsik András. A huszár egyenruhás férfi az [origo]-nak elárulta, hogy hatan érkeztek Tökölről, a Mikecz Kálmán bandériumból, hogy "a huszárok is a kormányt éltessék".
Egy piros-fehár-zöld sálat viselő nő azt mondta, hogy azért érkezett a lányával és a barátnőjével, hogy Orbán Viktorért álljon ki. "Megmutatjuk, hogy sokan vagyunk, és nem vagyunk bóvli szavazók" - mondta nő. Egy férfi, aki az erdélyi Sepsiszentgyörgyről érkezett, azt mondta, hogy 22 órát vonatozott azért, hogy "részvételével meghálálja Orbán Viktornak a magyar állampolgárság megadását".

Egy nő, akinek nagytányér méretű kokárdáját két biztosító tű tartotta a kabátján, azt mondta: "én Orbán Viktorért vonulok, meg, na jó, Schmitt Pálért is". A köztársasági elnök plágiumügye többször is szóba került a rendezvény résztvevői között. Egy férfi azt mondta, hogy szerinte "Schmitt Pálért külön felvonulást kellene szervezni, hogy ő is érezze az emberek szeretetét".
Egy pécsi nő elárulta az [origo]-nak, hogy egy utazási irodánál dolgozik, és négy buszt szervezett Budapestre. Szerinte nagyon fontos, hogy sokan vonuljanak a kormányért, és hozzátette, hogy "nekünk van szükségünk a több százezres békementre, nem a kormánynak". Azt nem mondta meg, mennyit kellett fizetniük a buszra szálló felvonulóknak.
Széles Gábor, Pataky Attila, Bayer Zsolt és Bencsik András vezették a menetet. Kattintson a további képekért!
Széles szerint a Valutaalap "jó útnak" számít
"Így már könnyebb lesz a tárgyalás a Valutaalappal" - kiáltott fel egy nyugdíjas nő délután négy órakor, amikor már több tízezren lehettek a Hősök terénél. Az [origo] által megkérdezett résztvevők azt mondták, hogy "a békemenet az IMF-nek is üzenet, hogy nem ők határozzák meg a magyar miniszterelnök személyét". Egy nő azt mondta, hogy szerinte "Orbán Viktor úriember, hogy a történtek után leül tárgyalni a Valutaalappal".
Az Andrássy úton induló felvonulókat többek között Bayer Zsolt és Bencsik András újságírók, Széles Gábor nagyvállalkozó és Pataky Attila vezette. Ők egy molinót cipeltek, amelyre azt írták: Nem leszünk gyarmat - We will not be a colony, utóbbi a magyar felirat angol nyelvű fordítása. Bayer Zsolt az [origo]-nak azt mondta: "a külföldi sajtó hozzáállását megváltoztatja, ha külföldön is látják, hogy a kormánynak erős támogatottsága van".

Széles Gábor egy kokárdát tűzött a kabátjára. Az [origo]-nak ezt azzal indokolta, hogy ezt könnyebb vinni, mint egy zászlót. Széles Gábor a békemenetről azt mondta:
"ez a kormány hitét erősíti, hogy jó úton jár". Az [origo] kérdésére, hogy az IMF-fel megkezdett tárgyalás "jó útnak" számít-e, hiszen Orbán Viktor és Matolcsy György korábban elutasította a Nemzetközi Valutaalap segítségét, Széles Gábor azt válaszolta: "az ami, az IMF-fel történt, kommunikációs probléma, lesz megállapodás szerintem, az IMF-kontroll pedig ezután teljesen normális".
A Belügyminisztérium becslése szerint nyégyszázezren vettek részt a felvonuláson. További képekért kattintson!
Két nő görög zászlókat tartva vonult a békemenetben. Az egyik nő azt mondta, hogy a férje görög, és azért tartja a zászlót, "amelyet valaki sajnos izraelinek nézett", mert nemcsak a magyarokért, hanem a görögökért is vonul. "Görögországban sajnos már átvette az irányítást a Valutaalap, és kormányt is váltott, nem szabad, hogy itt is megtörténjen".
"Soha nem leszünk gyarmat"=colony to the EU

A felvonulókat vezető Pataky Attila egy fehér lepelt viselt, rajta egy rószaszín szívvel, illetve egy felirattal, amelyen az állt:
"A kétségből az egységbe". Az énekes az [origo]-nak azt mondta: "szakrális jelentősége van a békemenetnek". Szerinte a felvonulók a szeretet jegyében a nemzet egységéért mennek, és hozzátette: "az embereknek és az égnek mutatjuk fel a szeretetet, mert mi a fény gyermekei vagyunk, és feladatunk a Kárpát-medence szívcsakrájának őrzése". Az [origo] kérdésére, hogy ez mit jelent, azt mondta: mindenki nézzen utána az interneten.
A békemenet nagyjából másfél órán keresztül haladt az Andrássy, illetve a Bajcsy-Zsilinszky úton keresztül a Parlament felé. Útközben a résztvevők többször elénekelték a Tavaszi szél vizet áraszt és a Kossuth Lajos azt üzente kezdetű dalokat és a székely himnuszt. A felvonulókat többnyire megtaposolták útközben, az LMP-székháznál viszont az erkélyről "Új ellenállás" feliratú táblákat mutattak nekik. Erre a felvonulók közül többen dühösen azt kiabálták: "gyertek le".
Este fél hét körül ért véget a rendezvény a Kossuth téren. Képriportunkért kattintson!
A Kossuth térre fél hat körül érkeztek meg a folyamatosan Orbán Viktor nevét skandáló résztvevők, akik alig tudtak beljebb menni, mert ekkor már a tér szinte tele volt. Bayer Zsolt mikrofont ragadva azt mondta: "ritkán hatódom meg, de most sikerült". Bayer hozzátette, hogy "ország, világnak üzenjük, hogy a kormány nincs egyedül, és üzenjük Európának, hogy soha nem leszünk gyarmat".
Széles Gábor és Bayer Zsolt ezután könnyes szemmel hallgatta a Szózatot és székely himnuszt, amelyet csak másodszor sikerült elénekelni. Az első próbálkozás közben ugyanis Széles Gábor magához ragadta a mikrofont, és az éneklést félbeszakítva megköszönte azt, hogy az emberek nagy számban jelentek meg a felvonuláson, majd azt mondta: "leborulok a nemzet nagysága előtt". A résztvevők közül is többen könnyeztek. A tömegben álló idősebb nő azt mondta az [origo]-nak: "ez életem legszebb napja". Majd hozzátette: "ja, és amikor megszületett a kislányom". Quote

Monday, January 23, 2012

If I Was the Mayor of Budapest

If you were mayor of Budapest, what would be the first thing you'd do? Make sure city employees don't lose their pensions? Support green business startups? Or maybe fight back against cuts to crucial local services?

This isn't just a hypothetical scenario—it's exactly what more than 4,000 Fidesz just like you have been thinking about since taking the first step to run for elective office. And they're not just running for mayor. They're exploring running for offices including school board, town council, and state legislature in cities and towns across the country.

If you've ever thought, "I've got some ideas for doing things differently in Budapest" or seen a local politician and thought, "If that were me, things would be different," then it's time to join thousands of other progressives across the country and run for office.

And if you decide to run, you won't be alone. You'll be part of a nationwide progressive strategy to take back local offices in 2012 and beyond. To help give you the resources you need to run a competitive campaign, we've partnered with the New Organization Institute to provide you with online training and strategic advice. Trust me—running for office is easier than you think. So what do you say?

Yes, I'd consider running for office.

I am going to run as a Fidesz representative.
That's exactly what we're going to do in 2012—but with a wave of candidates who will stand up for the 99% in communities across the country of Hungary.

If you decide to run, you'll gain access to the New Organization Institute's great online training programs. And to help progressive candidates in 2012, they've created a comprehensive set of candidate guides. Here are some examples of what you'll have access to:

* Expert online courses on how to run your own campaign and how to get started
* Help finding the elected position that's right for you
* An online community so that you can ask questions and share advice with other progressive candidates around the nation
* A database of time-tested strategic campaign tips, and more

So if you've ever wanted to change things in California, or imagined yourself running for office in Los Angeles, now's the time.

What do you think? Are you in?
Yes, I'd consider running for office.

Thanks for all you do.

Dr Olga M. Lazin

The Daily Hungarian:
The Daily Hungarian: Orban faces more heat
January 20, 2012 10:24 am by Peter Spiegel Not even cute, and a lot of work…viktor orbanel

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban listens to MEPs during Wednesday's debate in Strasbourg
The buzz around Brussels since Viktor Orban’s appearance before the European parliament Wednesday has been that the Hungarian prime minister got the better of the parliamentarians, coming across as conciliatory and reasonable in the face of occasionally hectoring MEPs.
But Hungary’s troubles in Brussels are far from over. In addition to continued European Commission resistance to giving Budapest much-needed financial aid until it overhauls a new law critics believe threatens the independence of the central bank – a topic of discussion today when Hungary’s lead negotiator meets in Brussels with Olli Rehn, the Commission’s economic chief – next week is going to be a rough one for Orban’s government.
Most unexpectedly, the three Benelux countries – Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg – have asked that Hungary be discussed at Friday’s meeting in Brussels of all 27 national Europe ministers. Although no decisions will be taken, the move for the first time takes the Hungarian issue from the realm of EU technocrats to that of national politicians, where things could get more heated.
High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.
Brussels takes another whack at Orban
January 18, 2012 11:32 am by Joshua Chaffin
4 inShare1 1

Hungary's Viktor Orban during his address in Strasbourg last year. Brussels Blog will be live blogging his appearance on Wednesday .
Viktor Orban, Hungary’s combative prime minister, already had a lengthy list of Brussels’ critiques to rebut during an address today at the European parliament in Strasbourg, which the Brussels Blog is planning to live blog when it begins at 3pm local time.
Expectations are high after last year’s rowdy appearance, and the list of particulars has only grown in the last 24 hours: the European commission, the European Union’s executive arm, on Tuesday declared three new Hungarian laws in violation of the EU treaties, and warned that one may threaten the independence of the country’s central bank.
Just this morning, however, the commission added to the list again, hitting out at Orban – who prides himself on ridding his country from Soviet communism – for failing to respect “media freedom and media pluralism”, the same criticism he faced in Strasbourg a year ago.
In a letter sent to Budapest on Tuesday night, Neelie Kroes, a commission vice president, questioned the Hungarian government’s commitment to protecting a free press. In particular, Kroes referred to recent decisions by Budapest not to renew local radio licenses for KlubRadio, an opposition radio station.
“The respect of media freedom and media pluralism is not only about the technically correct application of EU and national law but also, and more importantly, about implementing & promoting these fundamental principles in practice,” Kroes wrote. “The commission will remain particularly vigilant on both aspects.”
The last time the Orban government fell afoul of Brussels over its treatment of the press was just over a year ago, on the eve of Hungary’s first turn at the helm of the EU’s rotating presidency. In December 2011, Orban pushed through a controversial media law that critics said was an attempt to muzzle a free press. Among other measures, the law created heavy fines for reporters and publications found guilty of wrongdoing, and established a review board with close ties to the government.
The law, as well as its timing, infuriated Hungary’s European partners. MEPs seized on Orban’s appearance in parliament that January – a ceremonial occasion to launch a new presidency – to tear into the prime minister. Some claimed the country, which joined the EU in 2004, was ill-suited to lead the bloc. One suggested it was treading a path toward totalitarianism.
Hungary subsequently adjusted the laws, though critics argued it amounted to a few tweaks rather than a wholesale change. Whatever the case, it was plain to any visitor in Strasbourg that day just how much a red-faced Orban relished the conflict.

Continue reading: “The Daily Hungarian: Orban faces more heat”
Live blog: Viktor Orban at the EU parliament
January 18, 2012 , by Peter Spiegel

Viktor Orban, Hungarian prime minister. AFP/Getty Images
Welcome to our live coverage of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s appearance before the European parliament, where he intends to defend his government’s recent actions against accusations they are anti-democratic. All times are GMT.
The Brussels Blog’s Peter Spiegel in Brussels and Stanley Pignal in the parliament’s second home in Strasbourg will be anchoring coverage, with contributions from other FT reporters who write about central and eastern Europe.
Continue reading: “Live blog: Viktor Orban at the EU parliament”
Tags: Hungary, Viktor Orban
Posted in EU | Permalink
Brussels takes another whack at Orban
January 18, 2012 11:32 am by Joshua Chaffin
4 inShare1 1

Hungary's Viktor Orban during his address in Strasbourg last year. Brussels Blog will be live blogging his appearance on Wednesday .
Viktor Orban, Hungary’s combative prime minister, already had a lengthy list of Brussels’ critiques to rebut during an address today at the European parliament in Strasbourg, which the Brussels Blog is planning to live blog when it begins at 3pm local time.
Expectations are high after last year’s rowdy appearance, and the list of particulars has only grown in the last 24 hours: the European commission, the European Union’s executive arm, on Tuesday declared three new Hungarian laws in violation of the EU treaties, and warned that one may threaten the independence of the country’s central bank.
Just this morning, however, the commission added to the list again, hitting out at Orban – who prides himself on ridding his country from Soviet communism – for failing to respect “media freedom and media pluralism”, the same criticism he faced in Strasbourg a year ago.


An awkward start to Denmark’s EU presidency
January 12, 2012 12:27 pm by Peter Spiegel
4 inShare3 0

Barroso, left, at Thursday's news conference with Denmark's Thorning-Schmidt in Copenhagen
A good chunk of the Brussels press corps has been in Copenhagen this week for the formal kick-off of Denmark’s turn at the EU’s 6-month rotating presidency. Days of back-to-back ministerial briefings and ceremonial events have focused intensively on the Danish government’s “green growth” agenda – down to the green skirt-clad Danish National Girls Choir performing “Plant a Tree” at a concert attended by EU bigwigs Wednesday night.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Stalinist Constitution?!

For the sake of Transparency, here is the Live Brussels Blog. In it Viktor Orban is compared to Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, for dirty dealings, and was asked to straighten out the new Constitution, he calls Stalinist:

Live blog: Viktor Orban at the EU parliament
January 18, 2012 1:44 pm by Peter Spiegel

Viktor Orban, Hungarian prime minister. AFP/Getty Images
Welcome to our live coverage of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s appearance before the European parliament, where he intends to defend his government’s recent actions against accusations they are anti-democratic.

SUMMARY: The European parliament has gone on to other business, but Orban has left the building, so we’re wrapping up our live coverage. A quick summary:
Although there were some fireworks, they mostly came from MEPs on the ideological left and not from Orban himself, who sat through the entire session and remained decorous throughout. A letter Orban sent to Barroso, obtained by the FT, was even more conciliatory. A sign of things to come? The Hungarians have a month to respond to the European Commission’s legal action, so the clock is ticking.

Hungary's prime minister Orban listens to the debate before delivering his closing remarks.
17.08 After enduring more than three hours of criticism and complaint, Orban kept his cool in his closing. For the most part he was accommodating, inviting MEPs to read the country’s new constitution (assuming they can get hold of a reliable translation). Orban said his government will “factor in” the commission’s suggestions on the judiciary retirements. He also said his government accepted most of Brussels’ points on central bank reforms. The exception is the commission’s opposition to a plan to require the country’s central bank president to swear an oath to the state, which the EU believes compromises the bank’s legal requirement towards the broader European economy as a member of the ECB board.
Still, Orban’s gracious tone was somewhat undercut by his insistence that the day’s debate “wasn’t just about concrete facts” and was driven by “hatred based on partisan politics.” There was applause when he finishes, although not from Cohn-Bendit and Verhofstadt. In fact, Dany is shaking is head.
16.58 Viviane Reding, the EU’s justice commissioner who is known for her sometimes bombastic comments, has taken a fairly restrained tone in summing up the debate. “The ball is in the court of the Hungarian government. Rapid changes would be in the interest of Hungarian citizens and the European Union,” Reding said, urging the parties to get down to “brass tacks and solve these problems.”
16.46 As the debate goes on, it’s becoming clear the centre-left parties are trying to use Orban’s unpopularity outside of Hungary to tarnish the European People’s Party, the centre-right party grouping that Orban’s Fidesz belongs to. Here’s a tweet from the main centre-left party, the Socialists & Democrats group. For the uninitiated, “EC” refers to the European Commission.
EC has not named all the problematic laws, says S&D MEP. #EU Conservatives governments don't dare to criticise #Orban #Hungary
16.35 Kester Eddy,
the FT’s correspondent in Budapest, has been talking to Hungarians as the Orban debate has been going on and, in a very unscientific cross-section, is finding very little interest in the proceedings. Still, having done much his survey on the traditionally lefty Pest side of the Danube, there’s plenty of criticism of Orban’s government:
Still Zoli, a 28-year old maintenance worker from outside the southern city of Szeged, said he was supportive of Brussels’ legal action against Orban’s government.
“I’m with the EU on this one,” Zoli said. “It’s quite right that they have go at the government. They definitely need checking out.”
On the other side of the Danube, Kazmir Varga, a retired property developer, waiting for his train to Veszprem, was more sympathetic to Orban.
“In my opinion [what the government is doing] is justified; it doesn’t harm anyone,” he said. “The EU can criticise, that’s allowed. It’s another question that the prime minister and the central bank governor don’t get on well. But the prime minister leads the country, not the central bank.”
16.15 We have gotten our hands on the letter Orban sent this morning to Barroso. To say it is conciliatory would be an understatement. It starts out full of praise for the Commission and promises to take the requests to change three Hungarian laws seriously:
“We have immediately started with our thorough analysis of all the points raised. In this context, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the European Commission and to you personally that you have decided to seek a legal solution to this very complex matter. I can guarantee that my government and I will do everything that is necessary in order to settle these questions in a satisfactory manner and as fast as possible.”
Orban goes on to stress the same point he made in his address to the parliament: he believes most the changes the Commission are requesting are technical in nature and could be easily fixed:
He says: “It is my assessment that regarding the overwhelming majority of the points raised by the Commission, we will be able to rapidly resolve the problem…. [C]oncerning the remaining issues, we also fully share the principles articulated by the Commission, notably the independence of the Central Bank, the Judiciary and the Data Protection Agency; nevertheless, we might need further technical consultations in the coming days in order to clarify certain issues.” V.O.

15.57 Andrew Duff, a British Liberal Democrat MEP, is tweeting the Orban debate. He thinks that Cohn-Bendit’s comparing Orban to Chavez and Castro was unfair.
#Cohn-Bendit comparing #Orbàn to #Chavez goes a bit far, however.
January 18, 2012 3:00 pm via Twitter for iPadReplyRetweetFavorite

Andrew Duff MEP
15.38 The chair has just announced there are 15 more parliamentarians who have lined up to speak.
Nominally, they are given a minute or two apiece, but most go over their time, so it could be a while until Orban speaks again.
15.32 Stan in Strasbourg has an update on whether Orban will speak again:
It seems Orban is going to be allowed to make some closing remarks, according to diplomats, though nothing is confirmed as of yet.
Last year, at a similar address at the parliament, it was in latter comments that Orban’s irritation become increasingly visible. If he was advised to keep his emotions in check this time, he has kept to it. He has sat through the criticism that has been heaped on his government with little expression so far.
Barroso is also patiently sitting through the backbenchers, though the chamber itself is less than a quarter full.
15.24 The debate has now shifted from the European parliament’s major party leaders to the backbenchers. Stan in Strasbourg says it’s still unclear whether Orban will be given the opportunity to respond to the criticism at the end of this round of statements. In the meantime, the European Commission has released a copy of Barroso’s speech here.
15.15 In defence of Orban, Jozsef Szajer, an MEP from Orban’s Fidesz party and the main author of the new Hungarian constitution, takes the floor. He starts by taking offense at Cohn-Bendit’s implication that Orban has supported politicians with anti-Semitic pasts. “Jews are not afraid in Hungary,” Szajer said. “I don’t think you know us.”
15.01 Next up is an impassioned Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the French Green once known as “Dany le Rouge” during his 1960s student protester days. He has just said Orban is headed down the path of Castro, Chavez “and all of those authoritarians and totalitarian governments that we fought with you.” He rejected Orban’s argument that he was merely changing a Stalinist-era constitution, saying, “we must be mad…how did [we] admit a country into the Union with a Stalinist constitution?” He acknowledged Orban had a 2/3 majority in parliament, allowing him to pass through any laws he wanted, but added: “The minority of Hungary has the right not to live in fear, Mr Orban.”

Guy Verhofstadt, head of the Liberals
14.56 Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister who heads the parliament’s centrist Liberals, is chastising Barroso for not going far enough. “Let’s be clear Mr Barroso, there is more at stake,” Verhofstadt said. He called on the European parliament to take further steps — a clear reference to taking action to strip Hungary of its voting rights in Brussels. He then turns to Orban: “To say there is no problem in Hungary today, I am astonished at that.” After praising Orban’s history as an anti-Soviet dissident, he added, “I’m afraid you’re on the wrong path. Verhofstadt has gone long, and is now getting cut off by Schulz.
14.47 The fireworks begin. Hannes Swoboda, a centre-left parliamentarian from Austria, lectures Orban on the need for him to obey European values. “You are undermining the freedoms you fought so hard far,” he told Orban, as the Hungarian prime minister sat without any facial reaction. “You have to make sure Hungary lives up to the criteria” that new applicants to the EU have to, he added.
14.33 Orban has already wrapped up his opening remarks and MEPs are now getting their turn. Unlike last year, Orban was humble and deferential to the parliament. All the new laws and the new constitution are “based on European principles and values.” He also said the country was “on the brink of collapse” when he came into power, justifying dramatic changes.
14.40 As his government has since the beginning of the controversy, Orban argues the challenges from the European Commission are only technical in nature. “The problems that have been raised by the commission could easily be resolved,” he said. “There’s not a single objection that has to do with the Hungarian constitution.”
14.37 Orban begins. “Allow me to say first of all…what is happening in our country is an exciting process of renewal.”
14.30 Barroso is largely repeating his announcement from yesterday, where the Commission announced legal proceedings against three Hungarian laws passed last month. Our story is here, and the Commission’s announcement is here. “We will not hesitate to take futher steps if deemed appropriate,” Barroso said. Such moves are dependent on how Orban responds, he added. “We don’t want a shadow of a doubt on the democracy of any of our member states.”
14.28 Wammen was short and sweet. Next up: Barroso. “We have to be clear on values,” he begins. Orban will follow Barroso.
14.26 Stan in Strasbourg reports that Orban has entered the chamber.
14.24 The debate is started by Nicolai Wammen, the European minister for Denmark, holder of the EU’s 6-month rotating presidency. “All EU member states must comply with the rules of the treaty,” says Wammen.
14.22 Shulz finally announces the start of the Hungarian debate.

Martin Schulz, the German social democrat and new president of the European parliament
14:17 Although Orban’s address was supposed to begin at the top of the hour, parliamentarians are still struggling to get through administrative matters — namely the election of “quaestors”, MEPs who look after the financial and administrative issues in the parliament. It’s going rather slowly. Technical experts are being called into assist with the electronic voting system. “Are your voting machines working?” asks Schulz? “They’re not?”
José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, is sitting by looking bemused, but so far no sign of Orban.
14:10 Stan in Strasbourg reports:
The Hungarians still don’t know if Orban will only be able to give a speech, or will given the opportunity to react to the political statements from European parliamentarians made after his speech. “This is 50-50,” says a Hungarian official.
14:06 German Martin Schulz, the centre-left MEP who was elected the new president of the European parliament, has just called the chamber back into session. Starting off with administrative matters.
14.04 Stan Pignal in Strasbourg reports that if Orban is looking for friends, he may find them in other new member states of central and eastern Europe, who either fear they may be next in the firing line after Hungary, or actually appreciate Orban’s fighting style.
One issue of most concern to the new member states is the growing sentiment in the European parliament of invoking so-called “Article 7” of the EU treaties, which would allow the EU to strip Hungary’s voting rights in Brussels for violating European values. The article was adopted after Austria allowed a far-right party into its governing coalition in 2000.
As an example of the support from other new member states, Stan points to a resolution introduced – but not passed – in the Lithuanian parliament yesterday that essentially tells the EU to butt out of Hungary’s business:
[T]he process of the European integration cannot invade the foundation of the national state but it has to encourage the understanding and respect for each other among nations and cultures and to help them to reach welfare, instead of enforcing unacceptable and alien [principles]…. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania [should] strictly disapprove the initiatives of supranational institutions of the European Union or separate EU member states to restrict the sovereignty of the Hungarian nation to stick to those social norms and practices of the Western states, which look valuable for them and to reject those, which are unacceptable for autonomous EU member-state.
13.59 For those looking for information on how to watch the debate online, the European parliament’s press service provides this tweet:
#EP debates political developments in Hungary with Orbán, Barroso, Danish EU Minister Wammen at 3pm, live here:
January 18, 2012 9:45 am via webReplyRetweetFavorite

EP PressService
13.56 If you haven’t read it yet, take a look at fellow Brussels Blogger Josh Chaffin’s post on actions taken this morning by the European Commission seeking more information on moves by Orban’s government to withhold licenses for an opposition radio station.
Neil Buckley, the FT’s eastern Europe editor, notes that the new EU concerns that Orban is seeking to muffle critical media could undermine the government’s recent argument that last year’s controversy over Hungary’s new media law was much ado about nothing and is now water under the bridge.
Kester Eddy, our man in Budapest, also points out that the Hungarian opposition has been fuming about the EU’s handing of the media law for months, saying Brussels allowed Orban to continue on with only cosmetic changes to the law. Commission officials have noted they are limited in what they can do, however. EU legislation gives Brussels only limited powers to force national governments to change domestic laws.
13.50 Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU Commissioner in charge of home affairs, appears to be in Strasbourg preparing for the Orban debate, according to her Twitter acocunt:
Hungarian PM Orban will soon speak in EP debate at his own request. Can be an interesting debate/CM
January 18, 2012 1:43 pm via Twitter for iPhoneReplyRetweetFavorite

Cecilia Malmström

Hungary's EU minister Eniko Gyori
13.45 Stan Pignal reports that Strasbourg has been a hive of activity ahead of this afternoon’s debate, which starts at 3pm local time. Eniko Gyori, Hungary’s EU minister, briefed reporters this morning with a conciliatory tone, downplaying the differences in opinion between Brussels and Budapest.
She said that the legal actions launched by the European Commission yesterday against three Hungarian laws passed with a new Hungarian constitution in December were “extremely ordinary”, the kind brought against other countries with regularity.
“After reading [the letters] carefully, we do not see difficulty in complying,” Gyori said. Some of the outstanding issues will be released in a matter of days, she insisted, others clearly will take longer.
Gyori also warned that if anyone was to gain from the hard-line stance taken in Brussels it would be Jobbik, the xenophobic far-right Hungarian party, which has seen its support surge in recent months.
“Who takes benefit from the current situation? It is Jobbik,” she said. “The more you criticise the country based on allegations and not on facts, the more [they benefit]. I do not want public opinion in Hungary to be pushed closer to the extreme right.”
József Szájer, a European parliamentarian from Orban’s centre-right Fidesz party who helped draft the new Hungarian constitution, blamed the crisis in part on the notoriously complex Hungarian language, which he claimed had resulted in cultural crossed wires. With relatively few Hungarians fluent in foreign languages, the media has been spoon-fed by a limited number of sources, he surmised.
But he too appeared relaxed about the mounting confrontation with Brussels, claiming that some tension was inevitable considering the scale of change being undertaken by the new government. “This is nothing else than the rebuilding of the state,” he said.
Tags: Hungary, Viktor Orban

High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. See our Ts&Cs and Copyright Policy for more detail. Email to buy additional rights.

Cecilia Malmström

Hungary's EU minister Eniko Gyori

13.45 Stan Pignal reports that Strasbourg has been a hive of activity ahead of this afternoon’s debate, which starts at 3pm local time. Eniko Gyori, Hungary’s EU minister, briefed reporters this morning with a conciliatory tone, downplaying the differences in opinion between Brussels and Budapest.
She said that the legal actions launched by the European Commission yesterday against three Hungarian laws passed with a new Hungarian constitution in December were “extremely ordinary”, the kind brought against other countries with regularity.
“After reading [the letters] carefully, we do not see difficulty in complying,” Gyori said. Some of the outstanding issues will be released in a matter of days, she insisted, others clearly will take longer.
Gyori also warned that if anyone was to gain from the hard-line stance taken in Brussels it would be Jobbik, the xenophobic far-right Hungarian party, which has seen its support surge in recent months.
“Who takes benefit from the current situation? It is Jobbik,” she said. “The more you criticise the country based on allegations and not on facts, the more [they benefit]. I do not want public opinion in Hungary to be pushed closer to the extreme right.”
József Szájer, a European parliamentarian from Orban’s centre-right Fidesz party who helped draft the new Hungarian constitution, blamed the crisis in part on the notoriously complex Hungarian language, which he claimed had resulted in cultural crossed wires. With relatively few Hungarians fluent in foreign languages, the media has been spoon-fed by a limited number of sources, he surmised.
But he too appeared relaxed about the mounting confrontation with Brussels, claiming that some tension was inevitable considering the scale of change being undertaken by the new government. “This is nothing else than the rebuilding of the state,” he said.

Dr. Rivera | January 22 11:05pm | Permalink
Get him by his "goat' got him in dirty dealing, you want him to act the right wa, so they are doing it politely, requested him to straighten out his act; it means he will be suspende from the EU, and the nation will turn on him; he is now on watch notice, he is under scrutiny! I hope he goes along with the EU requirements! Dr Lazin & Dr Rivera


------ Jobbik, Fidesz, etc.

A Post-Stalinist Constitution?

Starting Today, I am going to post all discussions inside th European Union's Commission, debating problems in the EU countries:

LIVE BLOG: Bruxelles Blog:

January 18, by Peter Spiegel

AdvId: 2497392 AdId: 252203617 CrId: 46183696 Description:;251380;205;gif;FinancialTimes;728x90Leader/?

Brussels blog

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Remember When I was Little...

My Wonderful Family In Hungary:

A. Today's Lesson: Don't Change the constitution Unless A Rugged Dictator, the European Union Will Sue You!

Or: Mi A Baj Magyar Országal? El Durant a Viktor Orban & Attila Gruber Agya

In continuing the analysis of all things considered in Hungary, let us expose the situation here: Why Is the European Union Suing Viktor Orban? Is H ea Misfit? Or A Manipulator?

The European Union has asked Victor Orban to redo the Constitution, or else, Hungary will be kicked out of the European Union. I have deposed my papers for Hungarian Citizenship (hónósitás) at the XII-th District in Budapest in december, 2011. The officers Paládi Elek, and his colleague Takacs Timea, were very helpful and have filed my file right away, as all requirements were completed. I have video-taped the process. Naturally, I am really still very worried about the financial future of the country, as I encountered a cold, graffitti-filled Budapest when I visited the 15th to the 28th of December, 2011. What jumped out at me were the homeless people, quite ominous in this town of Budapest, wherever you turn; in front of the banks, in the metro, etc.

I quote here the Financial Times on why Orban Victor is putting the country in peril.

January 5, 2012

A Hungarian coup worthy of Putin By Philip Stephens "You could say that Europe has crises enough without worrying too much about a Hungarian dissident turned petty tyrant. Hungary, after all, is not even a member of the euro. To overlook Viktor Orban’s journey from anti-communist progressive to populist xenophobe (Jews and Gypsises according to Mark Feldman, see "Demolition of Democracy, the NYT, dec 22, 2011) would, however, be to repeat a mistake made about Greece. The troubles of Europe’s small powers can be a harbinger of bigger dangers around the corner. Hungary’s prime minister presents a reminder – should anyone on this continent need one – of the familiar trajectory from economic chaos to political authoritarianism. " Orban and his clique are dangerous men, especially his advisor, Attila Gruber, who is trying to shut up all dissenting voices, and menaces writers like myself.
Furthermore, this opportunist goes even farther, easily manipulating a debilitated Parliament:
The European Union has had two grand projects since the fall of the Berlin Wall: the single currency and the advance of democracy eastwards. The euro is now in serious trouble. Mr Orban sends a powerful message about the perils facing democracy. This week saw the introduction of Mr Orban’s new constitution. Suffused with ethnic nationalism, it reeks of an ambition for one-party rule. It promises repression of personal freedoms within Hungary and, through an extension of citizenship to Hungarian minorities elsewhere, threatens instability in ethnically-diverse neighbours. The constitution has to be seen alongside a slew of new basic laws and the gerrymandering of the electoral system. Together, they bestow inordinate power on the ruling Fidesz party. The prime minister can claim to have won the 2010 election fairly. Now he is deploying a two-thirds majority in parliament to deny opponents the same possibility. The authority of the courts has been limited and the judiciary subjected to closer political supervision. The constitution asserts state control over personal conscience and faith. Abortion and same-sex marriages are outlawed and recognised religions limited. Paradoxically for a politician so visceral in his hostility to post-Soviet Russia, Mr Orban’s version of democracy is one that would surely win plaudits from Vladimir Putin. Much as in Mr Putin’s Russia, the rule of law is subordinated to the entrenchment of one-party rule. As in Russia, Hungarians can still vote; citizens can protest and privately owned media can criticise Mr Orban. But this is faux democracy. State institutions, the courts and the national broadcaster are firmly in Fidesz hands. Mr Orban’s supporters point to the economic chaos inherited from previous socialist administrations, which mixed manifest incompetence with corruption. But the prime minister has reached beyond any reasonable effort to create a stable backdrop for recovery. Autocrats do not draw legitimacy from the sins of democratic predecessors. Mr Orban is a gifted politician. Ivan Krastev, the chairman of the Sofia-based Centre for Liberal Strategies and a leading central European scholar, describes him not so much as an ideologue as a “radical opportunist”. In moving from left to right across the political spectrum, Mr Orban has grabbed the chance to tap into Hungarian nationalism at a moment of crisis. Some would-be autocrats, Mr Krastev notes, play to people’s hopes and aspirations. He mentions Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan in this respect. Others prefer to harness fear and prejudice. Mr Orban belongs to this second category. A go-it-alone economic strategy – breaking loose from the EU and International Monetary Fund – has been drawn from the same nationalist playbook. As things have turned out, his economic prescription has failed. Tax cuts have not brought down Hungary’s debt and deficits. Government bonds have junk status. Foreign investors can no longer rely on the rule of law. “
Hungary is already in bankruptcy, as Iam writing this Blog:
“For all Mr Orban’s saying about negotiating with the IMF on his terms, Hungary is heading towards bankruptcy
And none of this makes Fidesz less dangerous than it already is, spreading hatred toward the N1 radio station, and against Gypsies. Centrist opposition parties have gained little from Mr Orban’s waning popularity. The ultra-right Jobbik party, with which Mr Orban has lately been flirting, has seen its support grow. This week’s protests in Budapest, which saw many tens of thousands rally against the constitution, may have marked a change in this political dynamic. For the first time disparate opposition parties and civil society groups showed a united front. The protesters, though, need leadership at home and support from abroad. If the west can call for political freedom in the Maghreb – or, for that matter, Belarus – it can surely do likewise in central Europe. So far the response has been muted. True, the European Commission has said that future financial help will be conditional on the restoration of central bank independence. Hillary Clinton has voiced US misgivings about threats to individual freedoms. Tut-tutting is not enough, however. A better start would be for other EU leaders to make public their dismay. Democracy is at the heart of Hungary’s bargain with the rest of the EU. Where are the tough statements from Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron? A second step would see Hungarian ministers shunned at EU meetings in Brussels. There is a fine line to be negotiated. The quarrel is with Mr Orban not the Hungarian people. But it should not be beyond the wit of European leaders to make clear this distinction. Greece should have served as a warning signal for the eurozone. Hungary is now shining a light on the political risks of economic failure. The nationalist right is on the rise across much of Europe – from the “True Finns” to the Dutch Freedom party and France’s National Front. Countries with weaker, democratic traditions are especially vulnerable. Europe should know by now the perils of contagion." RIGHT?!

Just look at Romania, already in flames from destabilization of the Hungarian population in dominant regions of Cluj, Targu Mures, and Miercurea-Ciuc, just to mention a few.

And this might lead to the devaluation of all little countries in the neighborhood: Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, where we have a Hungarian minority.

Block ouside noise, and find your center!
Number Two News Today:
E-mail from The White House Friday, January 20, 2012
Watch the State of the Union with Us
On Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Obama will give a State of the Union address

The White House Friday, January 20, 2012

Watch the State of the Union with Us

On Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET, President Obama will give a State of the Union address to Congress. He'll talk about where we find ourselves as a nation and lay out his agenda for the year ahead.

At the White House, David Plouffe -- a senior advisor to the President -- sat down to talk about the speech and how you can get involved.

Watch the video and share it with your friends:

SOTU Preview

To make sure you're getting the most out of the speech, we're also putting together an enhanced version of the State of the Union that you'll be able to watch as President Obama speaks. The enhanced version will be available at so be sure to tune in Tuesday at 9:00 p.m.

As the President outlines his goals for 2012, we'll pull out key facts and important data -- and go deeper to give you additional information.

This speech will be a big moment, and we hope you'll watch it with us. Learn more from David Plouffe, and don’t forget to tune in Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Stay Connected

Dear Olga,

Dee Dee is right -- we can break records this year. We can elect more women to Congress than ever before, but only if we have record-breaking support from our EMILY's List members.

One thing is clear: 2012 is an all-hands-on-deck year. If you're thinking that you can let others lead the way this year, believe me: we need you.

Click here to become an EMILY's List member today, so we can break records in 2012 and elect more women to Congress than we ever have before!

Let's do this hard work together and take our country back from the Tea Party extremists. They're fighting for a narrow ideology that would move our country backwards. With our line-up of superstar candidates and the support of all of you, we can stop them. Together we can make 2012 the new Year of the Woman.

Click here to become a member of EMILY's List today.

All the best,

Dr Olga Lazin

Dear feminist friends__

I took the podium in the White House Briefing Room as the first woman to ever hold the job. It's not always easy being first, but you know what made a huge difference? I wasn't alone: together, we'd just elected record-shattering numbers of women to Congress and truly changed the face of leadership in Washington.

Are you ready to do it again? With the support of the EMILY's List community, we could break the records we set 20 years ago, elect more women to the House and Senate than ever before, and make 2012 the Year of the Woman all over again.

But to do that, we need to break another record, and make sure that EMILY's List has more members in 2012 than ever before. It's critical to join EMILY's List right now, so that they have the resources they need to make sure there are more powerful women speaking out for us in the halls of Congress.

Olga Andrei

Click here to join EMILY's List today and help elect record-breaking numbers of women to Congress in 2012.

Of course, this is about more than just breaking records. It's about taking back the House from the Tea Party hostages who call themselves Republicans -- and about adding incredible women leaders to our ranks. We've made progress in 2011 with the victories of Janice Hahn and Kathy Hochul, and we've got another one coming in just a couple weeks with Suzanne Bonamici. Then we'll be just 25 seats away from taking back the House.

It's also about protecting our firewall in the Senate, reelecting champions like Stabenow, McCaskill, Gillibrand, and Feinstein. It's about adding women like Warren, Hirono, Berkley, and Baldwin to the roll call.

EMILY's List is out in front, helping make history in 2012. They've got more experience and more expertise than anyone in the business. I'm with them, as we fight to take back the House and hold the Senate. Won't you be there too?

Click here to join EMILY's List today and let's take our country back from the right-wing radicals.

It is going to take a shared commitment from all of us to win big in 2012. There's no better way to get started than by joining EMILY's List today. Thank you for all you do.


Dr Olga Magdalena Lazin

At the Mayor’s Offie, room #206. Citizenship department.