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***The cost of lying to win

by IdiotSavant Fri Sep 22nd, 2006 at 07:26:20 AM EST

Yesterday, we learned that the ruling Hungarian Socialist Party had lied to win Parliamentary elections earlier in the year, deliberately misleading the public about the state of the economy and the effectiveness of their policies in order to win another term. Today, there were riots in Budapest.  Cars have been set alight, and a TV station stormed by protesters demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Now the opposition is threatening to boycott Parliament, while Hungary's president is calling it a "moral crisis" and calling on Gyurcsány to recognise that he has undermined people's faith in democracy.

This is the first real test of democracy in post-Soviet Europe, and it will be interesting to see how things go. While there's clearly some appetite to settle things by street protests and rioting, the proper method in a democracy is to work within Parliament to break up the ruling coalition - and if that fails, to vote the bums out at the first opportunity.  

(From No Right Turn - New Zealand's liberal blog)

***To diaries by wab - with important updates in comments by DoDo.


Display:
and if that fails, to vote the bums out at the first opportunity.

Best of luck.  Hope it works better in Hungary than in the U.S.A.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 02:17:11 AM EST
Ha ha ha... he he he... HA HA HA... BWAHAHAHA... <sob>

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:56:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Name a single democracy where the government in power DIDN'T do that. Lie to win? Standard practice everywhere.
by messy on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 01:17:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Governments lie.  This one has lied more than most, but there's an established political remedy for that sort of behaviour, and it isn't burning cars in the street.
by IdiotSavant on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:01:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, it's my parents' fault. They arrived in Budapest yesterday on a holiday...
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 02:18:46 AM EST
LOL!

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 03:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hope they are fine though.

Bitsofnews.com Giving you the latest bits.
by Gjermund E Jansen (gjans1@hotmail.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 03:06:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably. I'm just hoping they don't get over-enthusiastic and join in.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 03:13:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I now only work in Budapest (having moved to a nearby town), but can I be of any help to them?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:46:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't heard from them so I doubt there's a problem ... they're moderately hardy that way.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was a teenager and was away from home my mother always joked that I only called when I had a problem ;-)

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 06:00:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My brother says they'll call when they get out of jail.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 06:27:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is the excitement relative to the touristy parts?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The touristy parts extend over a large area. The Parliament is a touristy part itself. The state TV building (on the now off-limits square on which there is also the US Embassy) is a few blocks away from there. But until the evening, I think they can visit even the Parliament without trouble; they'll see a few hundred yeering people on one side behind cordons.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:50:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]

the proper method in a democracy is to work within Parliament to break up the ruling coalition - and if that fails, to vote the bums out at the first opportunity.  

proper = Anglo-Saxon. We French would probably disagree...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 03:17:56 AM EST
1437, 1514, 1604-6, 1678-1688, 1703-1711, 1794, 1848-1849, 1918, 1956 --   Hungarians will disagree too...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:11:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While on the subject of Hungarian revolutions...
With the 50 years anniversary this year of the Hungarian 1956 revolution, are you planning a nice historical diary on the events by any chance DoDo?...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:38:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was asked to already half a year ago, so I am planning a whole mini-series! It now looks like a five-part one:

  1. Precedents (history & main forces that caused it, I post it maybe on the 21st)
  2. Outbreak (events of October 23)
  3. Turmoil (this revolution didn't have the time to consolidate)
  4. Battle (the Soviet invasion and resistance, what was behind it, I'll post it early november)
  5. Aftermath (from retribution to exploitation by current politics)

If I face time constraints, some parts might be merged...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:45:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
proper = Anglo-Saxon.

Pretty much.  We really don't do revolution or street protestsdown here in New Zealand.  In the 80's, when our government betrayed us by campaigning on one platform then pursuing completely different policies once elected, we screamed and pouted, and then voted to replace them.  The replacements naturally did exactly the same thing.  So we changed the electoral system to ensure a state of permanent minority government, in the hope that minor coalition parties would act as a check on that sort of behaviour.  So far, it seems to have worked quite handily.  Unfortunately, we had to live through 12 years of betrayal to get there...

by IdiotSavant on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:23:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good for you! Now if only that recipe could work out here... I'd fully support a change of the system to a more proportional one here BTW.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:36:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now if only that recipe could work out here...

Cross your fingers and give it time? That seems to be what democracy really needs in order to stick - time for Hobbesean tactics to become unthinkable...

by IdiotSavant on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:49:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well... some background and details.

Now at least for some four, maybe eight years, Hungary is in a state of 'cold civil war'. Meaning there are two political camps, which for long relied on polarisation of the electorate, and for long have abandoned the unwritten rules of democracy. This was driven by the right-wing block, which doesn't excuse the left-wing block's mirroring, but the right-wing went further: by integrating the far-right, playing with fire.

What we saw this night is only the latest escalation of a long-running (far)right-wing protest "culture", which included lots of angry protests with revolutionary rhetoric, disrupting election events and even public ceremonies, and a number of previous attempts at idiots' revolution. For example four years ago, when the right-wing claimed election fraud (despite having been in government), some loons closed off a bridge over the Danube for a day, calling for Parliament's takeover, and were then dispersed by police.

More on that below, here the conclusion is: there is indeed a moral and political crisis, but it is wider and exists for longer.

Now for the elections. If you check my coverage (all linked back from the last diary), two things should transpire that modify IdiotSavant's characterisation: (1) that the government was lying was an open secret obvious to anyone who looked at the (economic) facts (I predicted 'reforms'), (2) the election campaign was totally disconnected from reality on both sides, with the opposition promising 14th-month pensions for retirees and Slovakian-style tax cuts at the same time.

Gyurcsány's "we lied" speech should be put in context. It was at a party conference a month after the elections. Gyurcsány, a former Party Youth cadre turned millionaire businessman turned politician is more (neo)liberal than his party, and this speech was aimed at pushing back any resistance to his 'reforms'. Someone recorded it with not the simplest tools, and timed the leak to the 100th day of the new government. PM Gyurcsány and Socialist Party bosses were all over the media within hours of the leak, issuing the "yes we lied, and now we cut the spirale of lies, we're proud" rhetoric, while the main opposition party, the right-populist Fidesz seemed in disarray. Thus it is not only possible that the leak came from within the Socialists, but some speculate that it was a cunning strategy from the leadership itself.

At any rate, on Sunday and yesterday, the right-wing street protesters came out in cities across Hungary, a hard core of some 500 maintaining a permanent protest before Parliament. The hard core means people like:

Various flag-wavers (the flag in front has the white-red stripes of an onetime royal flag that was re-used by the WWII-time Hungarian fascists [Arrowcrossers], and the outline of pre-1918 Hungary):

Mostly university student youth aligned with the far-right irredentist group "Sixty-four Shires Youth Movement" [reference to the 64 shires of pre-1918 Hungary], guys like these:

People from the football hooligan-skinhead nexus:


Yesterday/today night, with some 10,000 supporters, in an idiots' copy of the events of 1956 (when revolutionaries took over state media - but now we have private media too), they moved over to the public television building and stormed it, with inept police reacting too late and chaotically. Given the football hooligan element, it shall come as no surprise that rooms in three stories of the building were ransacked, and six cars were burned or overturned.

What shoud be worrying is the integration of "civilised" right-wingers (like the 10,000 cheering on the rioters, and the right-wing private news TV covering the events) with these far-right rioters (a few hundred). On the other hand, one word from right-wing leader Orbán would be enough to get hundreds of thousands on the street, but he won't risk that, the ghosts he called are too scary even for him, just like four years ago. So there is no direct threat to democracy, instead the 'cold civil war' will continue in a hollow democracy.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:13:41 AM EST
Messy stuff. So you predict a wind down and eventual dispersal of the protests?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:23:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That already happened, kind of. The Budapest protest was the only 'permanent' one, and those at the TV building were dispersed in the early morning.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:26:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Scanning news sites, I find that there are anywhere from a few dozen to one hundred protesters at the Parliament right now, and they expect another swelling of the masses by the evening, also with some countryside groups joining in.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:22:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a tradition of giving people a free ride and a packed lunch to come from the countryside to demonstrate in the capital?

Franco was famously filled the Plaza de Oriente for patriotic rallies with a "bus and sandwich" strategy.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There may or may not be free lunches and bus rides when right-wingers protest in the capital, I don't know, but I'm sure there are enough faithful to fill a place if Orbán calls without such promotion, and in this case, I (that is the interviewed protesters in my interpretation) only meant smaller groups of people from the hardcore.

BTW it happened multiple times earlier that right-wing peasants came up to Budapest with or without their tractors, for a protest rally or blockade.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:53:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two-three details somehow got lost while I edited the above...

issuing the "yes we lied, and now we cut the spirale of lies, like everyone else for 7-8 years, we're proud" rhetoric

...

but some speculate that it was a cunning strategy from the leadership itself. For, overall, the "now we cut the bullshit and speak honestly" rhetoric may be sellable to the majority and thus even help the PM.

...
On the other hand, one word from right-wing leader Orbán would be enough to get hundreds of thousands on the street, but he won't risk that, because the pro-revolution masses of the most faithful aren't the majority, and the ghosts he called are too scary even for him, just like four years ago.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Added detail: of the 125 hurt, 102 were policemen.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:29:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another angle to this mess is that the capital Budapest has long been a bastion of the left/liberal block (giving a capital-countryside angle to the polarisation). All wings of the right-wing would like to take it over in the local elections next month, but apparently with opposed strategies: the far-right believes in taking it with a stronger storm than ever before, the 'moderates' seem to believe they can only do it by abandoning prior elections' rhetoric.

Budapest elected the same (liberal) major on the four previous occasions, but the man grew grey in the job by now, and got into some troubles. So the right-wing candidate Tarlós, who was a district major and who runs officially as an independent (without Fidesz's emblem on his campaign posters), but who is a law-and-order populist and power-hungry in the style of French right-wing Presidential hopeful Sarkozy, pulled equal in the polls.

Tarlós' reaction to the riots was tortured: he previously accepted the endorsement of his candidacy by another major far-right youth group: Jobbik, a short for right-wing youth community that also reads "the right one", with both meanings; they used to be Fidesz-aligned, but ran with a small far-right party in the elections. They too participated in the events, so Tarlós had to say that 'people are right to protest, but not right to attack policemen and destroy property, so if it is proved that Jobbik guys are responsible for breaking policemen's shields, I'll reject their endorsement'.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:45:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(major/mayor?)  (MAY JOR or MAY JUH vs. MAIR or MAY UH)

(English "major" is a military position--"Sergeant Major", etc.)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 10:03:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for pointing that out -- I was using the two forms interchangeably without thinking.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 10:22:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another one of my pet peeves is principal v. principle.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:22:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Diary!

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:47:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm reluctant to open a new diary when someone else already did so on the same subject.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When this one has had its run it might be good to have an overview.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:59:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, if I have time (will be travelling Thu-Sat).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:03:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the write-up. And thanks also to IdiotSavant for writing up the media version.

When I heard the same media version on the radio this morning I felt I had to check this on European Tribune. And sure enough this is the only paper that is sure to have knowledgeable correspondents in Budapest.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:28:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the write-up.

I'll echo that thanks - the reason I posted here was precisely to see if someone local would pop out of the woodwork with better information.  And as a result, I've learned a lot more about Hungarian politics...

by IdiotSavant on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:42:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some news:

  • Eyewitnesses from the protesters confirm that the bulk of the rioters were football hooligans. What is noteworthy that they were from the 'supporters' of the two clubs that have the strongest rivalry (one of which is traditionally the football club of the police).

  • The leaders of the protesters presently before Parliament (around 300 an hour ago) changed direction, they now want to legalise their protest with police.

  • Comparisons with other countries circulate, the conclusion: in no EU country have so few people caused so much trouble in recent times, pointing to police ineptness. (For example, despite threats, they "didn't expect" a move to the TV, forces ordered to the site were told to expect 30 peaceful protesters rather than 300 violent ones and 3000 supporters.)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:58:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More news:

  • The "Critical Mass" biker protest for Friday was called off, the organisers fearing that it would be hijacked.

  • Another Fidesz district major mad some strained noises against violence, fearing for votes.

  • Meanwhile, more paranoid excuses from a right-wing leadership distancing itself only implicitely: a Fidesz speaker called for an investigation into whether secret service agents have been instrumental in creating the riots, as those "benefitted only the Socialists".

  • Funnily, leaders of all prominent far-right faces not directly under Fidesz were sighted at the TV building (some of which have very strong personal differences): the two youth movements, a mad blogger, leaders of an anti-semitic far-right party (most of whose voters and part of whose cadre was taken by Fidesz), and a skinhead leader who a few years ago was sentenced for planning an armed coup (and whom I met and debated in 1994 when he was a counter-protester at a media independence protest).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 08:18:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even more news: enter the European People's Party! Never failing to intervene in internal politics in each others' favour, they called on PM Gyurcsány to resign.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:09:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but this all seems pretty mild compared to what you see on the streets of Paris on a regular basis. maybe the word "riots" when applied to French demonstrations has been so trivialised that it fails to provide the necessary gradation between variout violent events.

But in Paris, the (very efficient) street cleaning staff are right behind the riot police...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 04:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Incidentally, the French 'riots' were among the comparisons, e.g. thousands of participants. (How many policemen were treated in hospital during the heat-up last year, BTW?) Also the yearly trouble with punk gatherings in Berlin.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:05:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The heavyweights speak:

  • The President (ceremonial post; won with right-wing votes in Parliament, but no party soldier) finally spoke about the events, calling them acts of common criminals, not excusable with anything and which must be confronted with all the powers of law enforcement. There must ba a sharp line between criminal action and the right for political protest. He said that just as "cynically awoiding basic moral issues" (e.g. lyig to voters) is unacceptable, so is giving implicit excuses for anti-constitutional activity. He denied analogies with 1956. He called on parties to consider in advance whether their mass events could get out of hand.

  • It was announced that Fidesz supremo leader Orbán will break his silence and speak in an hour.

Meanwhile, main anti-government protest organisers fully swung behind the line of calling for protests to be kept peaceful without explicitely denouncing the TV building riot. Including Jobbik, which denies participation in the violence last night.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:35:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Landscape after battle.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 09:38:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Evening update.

  • So Fidesz leader Orbán made his speech. It implies he wants to continue politics on the street. While he renounced violence in a half-sentence without details, he expressed support for peaceful protesters, and as a new twist, called for a limited-powers expert government for after the local elections in two weeks. Clever: should allay fears of a Fidesz power grab, while it would also allow Fidesz to not take responsibility of any austerity reforms of its own, and it has no chance of being followed.

  • The PM for his part claimed knowledge of the organisers by name and suggested that there was a script for it. About the latter, I'm sceptical, based on known details of the escalation (a small group demanded yesterday at 10 pm that it be allowed to read a petition live on TV, upon being rejected they threatened to come back in force, went to the Parliament where the football hooligans and a few thousand joined them, while police did nothing to prepare for the storm; again the protesters weren't allowed in, who started to push in, overwhelmed police made matters worse with a tear gas attack, but hooligans knew how to defend themselves...)

  • For long, all the various far-right groups I named demanded that a Soviet WWII memorial standing on the square before the TV be removed. Now they also defiled and damaged this monument, later showing removed stones to reporters. The attack was reported in Russia, linking it to Gyurcsány's upcoming visit to Moscow, but the Russian authorities issued a statement to the tune that they realise this wasn't the main issue last night and there is no link to the visit.

* There were again protests by a few hundred right-wingers in various countryside cities. Currently, the crowd before Parliament swelled again to around 3,000 (same as last night at this time). International media camped down, waiting for them to make trouble. This is how it looked a few hours ago - small crowd cordoned off on one side:

* Some new polls on the "we lied" speech: there is no absolute majority for resignation, while relative majority is inconclusive (Fidesz-aligned local branch of Gallup found one for resignation, Socialist-aligned Ipsos one against). But a near 60% majority wants "consequences".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 01:42:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Forgot a more slaptick element.

The only TV with a crew on site of the storming was the aforementioned right-wing private news TV, HírTV. Imagine if Fox News would try to appear serious like BBC, but with a great lack of professionalism (including the quality of graphics). On one hand, being exclusive, all other Hungarian channels and BBC rebroadcast their live feed. What the BBC probably didn't notice was that HírTV reporters on the ground and anchors were cheerleading for the "revolutionary youth", even admonishing police for not caring enough for their safety while they threw stones at police (one policeman's skull was broken and is still in critical situation).

The state TV boss drew consequences today by ordering out a HírTV crew rom the building when they came for a press conference...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 01:50:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I first read the blurb on the riots, having no idea what they were about or who was rioting, I instantly plugged in the assumptions drawn from my American-ness - I assumed the liars were right-wing stooges lying through their teeth like my own dear and respected president, and thus cheered the rioters in my head.

Reading down in the comments, I learned that the rioters were in fact rabid nationalists with a vague fascistic odor about them, and cheered on the lying Socialist government.  Whatever it takes to win, and all.

Does this make me a bad person?  That is, aside from the fact that I was so grossly un-informed to begin with.

by Zwackus on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:11:48 AM EST
cheered on the lying Socialist government

Hungarian politics is a mess, but not that much of a mess. The rabid nationalist rioters weren't cheering on the lying government, they were hoping to topple it in a revolution. It was 'simply' nationalist protesters who cheered on the rabid ones.

Now what is a mess here using international political standards: it is the post-reformed-communist Socialists who head neoliberal reforms and align with Bush in foreign policy, while the right-wing opposition uses some altermondialist and anti-Bush rhetoric.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:17:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry I got it now: you cheered my lying government!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:18:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No problem.  
by Zwackus on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 08:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Myself, I feel between hell and a hot place. I want neither the government's 'reforms', nor these quasi-fascist elements gaining power from their opposition to it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:25:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was just going to ask, after reading your comments, where you stand.  When I wrote "Best of luck" before, it was with bitter cynicism.  But now that I understand the situation better over there, I say it with heartfelt compassion.  Well, if Fermi (or was it Szilard?) was right and Hungarians are indeed descended from super-intelligent aliens, hopefully you all will eventually be able to work this out alright.

(BTW, your Laughing Fourth diary helped a lot to understand things better, too.)

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:44:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was Fermi, refering to Szilard and others.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. During the Manhattan Project, Fermi used to sit in a council of five top theoretical physicists, the four other members of which were Hungarian emigrés (most or all Hungarian Jews). In the heat of debate, they would always switch to talking in Hungarian, leaving Fermi to sit around puzzled. So later on, when Fermi was asked whether he believes in Martians, he said something to the tune, 'yes of course, they are the Hungarians! They conspire speaking in a strange language no one understands...'

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:39:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm. So I didn't knew the whole story, in all its versions. Here is the version with Szilárd saying it. I find the Hungarians=Martians urban legend is one we know the exact source of.

Youz could also read the English version of a longer exposé on the Hungarian Martians by a late professor of mine at the university.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 08:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Youz could also read the English version of a longer exposé on the Hungarian Martians by a late professor of mine at the university.

Great catch.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 01:18:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
so cool we have eyes and ears in NZ!!!

fantastic breakdown, dodo, mahalo.

the only thought i have when i see the footage is 'i hope some lying politicians are quaking as they imagine the potential rage at lies they've told.'

like the fury if it came out that bush really was behind 9-11?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 12:49:23 PM EST
Can this first real test of democracy in post-Soviet Europe be connected with Russian-Hungarian gas talks which happened yesterday in Sochi? Mr Putin wants (god knows why) Hungary to be a centre of Russian gas distribution via the South-European gas pipe (is waiting to be built)?

(Disclaimer: sometimes i love creating conspiracy theories)
;-)

by lana on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 02:32:37 PM EST
No, it's all domestic, and in this country the Americans and Russia has preference for the same side; though there is a small Soviet angle (scroll upthread for image of damaged WWII memorial and accompanying text).

Putin's favouring of Hungary as gas and oil hub for new pipelines to the South might be due to good relations with the current government (previously culminating in Putin's February visit) and not that bad even with its predecessor, or mistrust of Romania (I recall the Gazprom claims of Ukraine selling gas to Romania during the big spat in January). What might matter more than pipelines (though I wonder what Jérôme can comment about how realistic it is, knowing the sector) is gas storage capacity to be built, which could (a) off-set Ukraine, (b) may be built with Gazprom involvement.

For me, it is also interesting that the sides agreed about supporting an upgrade the gauge-changing/reloading railway station Záhony, a project that also depends on Ukraine, and could possibly concern Poland.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:01:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Disclaimer: sometimes i love creating conspiracy theories

You'd feel really at home in a typical evening open thread...

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 05:25:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's Friday...any latest updates on this? I heard yesterday about possible curfews...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri Sep 22nd, 2006 at 07:28:04 AM EST


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