Hungary has passed a coronavirus response law that gives sweeping powers to the government. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán can now rule by decree, and there are jail terms of up to five years for anyone accused of spreading “misinformation,” including social media posts. Read the rest
Balazs Sarkadi from the Hungarian band Bankrupt ("a refreshingly energetic blend of 90s indie, hip hop and punk rock") writes, "President Trump mocked Greta Thunberg in a recent tweet, which sparkled the idea of a song in which he elaborates his point of view on climate change in a Twitter rant addressed to Greta. The mash-up music video of Minor Problem by Bankrupt is a funny and at the same time cringey compilation of Trump's most awkward moments and loosely associated footage.
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Viktor Orban and his far-right, xenophobic, conspiratorial Fidesz party have led Hungary through a string of catastrophes, from its handling of Middle Eastern migrants to its ouster of the internationally famous Central European University to the passage of a slave labor bill that allowed employers to require hundreds of hours of mandatory overtime that needn't be paid for for years to the creation of a parallel system of partisan "administrative courts" to investigate government corruption and electoral fraud.
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"I met a gin soaked bar-room queen" in... Budapest?
Australian personality Greg Grainger is backed up by the Graingerettes, a group of women all decked out in traditional Hungarian dress, in this rousing cover of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." It was recorded sometime in 1990 and was downloaded from on old VHS tape.
(Everlasting Blort, Miss Cellania) Read the rest
Last week, Viktor Orban's authoritarian government rammed through a pair of massively unpopular laws: the "slave labor" law (employers can require up to 400 hours/year of overtime, and take up to three years to pay for it); and a law creating a parallel system of "administrative courts" dealing with "government issues" like voter fraud, overseen by political appointees from within Orban's regime.
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Hungary's far-right, xenophobic government rose to power by exploiting racism and economic anxiety, just like Trump -- and just like Trump, they've pursued an agenda that uses performative racist cruelty to distract people while they enact policies that make the rich much richer, at everyone else's expense.
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Tibor Helényi created a lot of great posters for films screened in the Hungarian People's Republic during its communist era, like these posters for the original Star Wars trilogy. Read the rest
In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, London Business School organizational behavior scholars Niro Sivanathan and Hemant Kakkar used empirical methods to find the socioeconomic circumstances that predict when voters will elect "dominance-style" strongman leaders like "Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Rodrigo Duterte, Nicolás Maduro and Recep Erdogan."
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A teenager discovered that the website of Budapesti Közlekedési Központ -- the public transit authority in Budapest -- would allow you to edit the price you paid for your tickets, so that purchasers could give themselves massive discounts on their travel, and when he told the authority about it, they had him arrested and issued a press-release boasting about it. Read the rest
I finally got around to checking out Tiszta Szívvel (Kills on Wheels), the Hungarian film about a paralyzed hit man. The opening titles really set the tone. Read the rest
After 70,000 people marched in Budapest against a new Hungarian law that targeted the liberal Central European University, the Hungarian government has dangled a possible escape rope: Education Secretary Laszlo Palkovics said that "CEU could issue diplomas if it extended a license agreement with its Hungarian sister school to teach its courses." Read the rest
Joe writes, "Hungarians rose up in one of the largest protests against the seven-year rule of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Sunday, protesting against new legislation that could force out of the country one of its top international universities." Read the rest
CEU is an American university in the heart of Budapest, founded by George Soros, who is no friend of the far-right, xenophobic Prime Minister Viktor Orban -- which may be why a new law requiring all foreign universities in Hungary to have a branch in their home country uniquely endangers CEU. Read the rest
Sebastian Gorka is one of the Brietbarters that Trump took with him to the White House, where he serves as "counter-terrorism adviser." He's also a non-metaphorical Nazi. Read the rest
Noemi writes, "After closing down Hungary's largest opposition paper (online archive included) Hungarian Prime Miniter Viktor Orban is steadily and methodically turning back the clock on 27 years of history, steadily edging back towards a dictatorship -- except this time with a fascist face. He is testing how far the beleaguered EU will allow him to stretch the boundaries of democracy. This is where the attention of European democratic efforts need to be directed. Not in kindergarten tantrums about sandwich spreads." Read the rest
The Cold War was a boon to animators, who were able to express the subversive views that the mainstream wouldn't dare whisper -- see, e.g., Jay Ward's "Boris and Natasha" -- but the toons from the other side of the Iron Curtain are all but unknown in the "Free World." Read the rest
The parliamentary vice-president from Fidesz -- the largest faction in the Hungarian government -- has asked parliament to "ban communication devices that [law enforcement agencies] are not able to surveil despite having the legal authority to do so." Read the rest