Soros Group Vows To Stay In Hungary Despite Plans For Government Crackdown On NGOs

Submitted by Joseph Jankowski via,

The Open Society Foundations has vowed to continue operations inside of Hungary despite plans from the country’s ruling party to crackdown on NGOs funded by the Hungarian-born George Soros.

Hungary plans to use “all the tools at its disposal” to “sweep out” NGOs funded by Soros, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments,” Szilard Nemeth, a vice president of the country’s ruling Fidesz party, told reporters on Tuesday.

“I feel that there is an opportunity for this, internationally,” because of Trump’s election victory, state news service MTI reported Nemeth as saying.

Hungarian lawmakers will debate legislation allowing the European Union member to audit NGOs, according to the country’s parliamentary agenda.

The Open Society Foundations responded to the planned crackdown on Wednesday, saying that the NGO will stay put and continue working inside the country.

“The Open Society Foundations will continue to work in Hungary despite government opposition to our mission of fairer, accountable societies,”’ the organization’s president, Christopher Stone, told Bloomberg News.


“In Hungary and around the world we are more focused than ever on working with local groups to strengthen democratic practice, rights, and justice.”

Hungry’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who ironically received Soros funded scholarships to study at British universities, has made public his plans to build what he calls an “illiberal state,” similar to Russia and Turkey.

“I don’t think that our European Union membership precludes us from building an illiberal new state based on national foundations,” Orban said in a 2014 speech. He listed Russia, Turkey and China as examples of “successful” nations, “none of which is liberal and some of which aren’t even democracies.”

Orban has said that civil society groups funded from abroad were covers for “paid political activists,” and accused Soros of being a prominent member of a circle of “activists” trying to undermine European nations by supporting the migrant crisis.

Soros gave nearly $10 million to Clinton super PAC Priorities USA during the presidential campaign and handed another $33 million to the group through Open Society Foundations (OSF), which he funds and controls.

The liberal billionaire has also come under fire for giving more than $33 million in grants to the Black Lives Matter movement through his foundations.

In late 2015, Russian Prosecutor General’s Office recognized Soros’s Open Society Institute and another affiliated organization as undesirable groups, banning Russian citizens and organizations from participation in any of their projects.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the activities of the Open Society Institute and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation were a threat to the foundations of Russia’s Constitutional order and national security.

No. 860: December Labor Conditions, November Trade Deficit and Construction Spending

(SGS Subscription required) • November Trade Deficit Widened Sharply, Setting the Stage for the Worst Quarterly Real Merchandise Trade Deficit Since 2007, and Taking a Large Chunk Out of Fourth-Quarter 2016 GDP Growth
• Nonsense Employment Detail: Payrolls Rose 156,000 in December, Gained 703,000 in Last Four Months, but
Full-Time Employment Rose 35,000 in December, Flat (-8,000) in Last Four Months
• Annual Growth Rates in December Payroll and Full-Time Employment Fell Sharply, to Multi-Year Lows; Nonfarm Payrolls at Weakest Growth Since Exiting the Recession
• Household Survey Revisions Were Minimal for Widely Followed Details, yet January Unemployment Data Face a Series Break, while the Payroll Survey Faces Net Downside Benchmark Revisions Next Month
• December 2016 Unemployment Rates Mixed: U.3 Rose to 4.7% from 4.6%, U.6 Eased to 9.2% from 9.3%, ShadowStats-Alternate Rate Eased to 22.7% from 22.8%
• Despite a Monthly Nominal Gain and Downside Prior-Period Revisions, Real Construction Spending Remained Down by 22% (-22%) from Recovering Its Pre-Recession High
• December M3 Annual Growth Notched Higher to 3.9% Versus an Upwardly Revised 3.8% in November; Still Down from 4.5% in June

Hungary To Launch Crackdown On All George Soros-Funded Organizations

In a dramatic example of blowback against the establishment in the post-Trumpian world, Hungary announced it plans to crack down on non-governmental organizations linked to billionaire George Soros now that Donald Trump will occupy the White House, according to the deputy head of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party, cited by Bloomberg.

The European Union member, and native country of Soros, will use “all the tools at its disposal” to “sweep out” NGOs funded by the Hungarian-born financier, which “serve global capitalists and back political correctness over national governments,” Szilard Nemeth, a vice president of the ruling Fidesz party, told reporters on Tuesday. No one answered the phone at the Open Society Institute in Budapest when Bloomberg News called outside business hours.

“I feel that there is an opportunity for this, internationally,” because of Trump’s election, state news service MTI reported Nemeth as saying. Lawmakers will start debating a bill to let authorities audit NGO executives, according to parliament’s legislative agenda.

As a reminder, Orban was the first European leader to publicly back Trump’s campaign, and was reportedly invited by Trump to visit the US; he has ignored criticism from the European Commission and U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration for building a self-described “illiberal state” modeled on authoritarian regimes including Russia, China and Turkey. In 2014, Orban personally ordered the state audit agency to probe foundations financed by Norway and said that civil society groups financed from abroad were covers for “paid political activists.” As a result of Trump’s victory, Orban has felt empowered to further last out against Europe’s established structures, and its core supporters.

As Bloomberg notes, Orban and his administration have repeatedly singled out NGOs supported by Soros, a prominent Hillary Clinton and Democratic Party supporter, with a wide network of organizations that promote democracy in formerly communist eastern Europe.

Orban is not alone: Trump has also accused the 86-year-old billionaire of being part of “a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.” In a pre-election commercial, he showed images of Soros along with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, all of whom are Jewish. The Anti-Defamation League criticized the ad for touching on “subjects that anti-Semites have used for ages.”

Since then things have changed, however, and Trump has retained the services of two prominent Goldman alumni, Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, to serve on his administration. His current thinking on George Soros is unknown.

Is the mainstream media relevant anymore?

Years ago the number of ad dollars spent on online advertising overtook the amount spent on offline advertising (TV, print, radio).  This demographic shift was presented as form, not essence.  It was presented as the evolution of media, firms were adapting and changing.  But something much deeper was happening, it’s the end of an industry cycle called ‘media’ which is being replaced by ‘independent online media’ like Zero Hedge for finance, and thousands of other sites for their respective topics.  Although the MSM (Main Stream Media) fights this, it’s bigger than them, it’s not something they can control.  People who are holding on to their newspapers are old and dying (no offense, Grandpa).  Cursive writing is no longer being taught in schools – and why should it?

Along with this shift comes a new host of problems as well, children addicted to social media oblivious to the ‘real world’ – but in the context of the MSM, it’s just a swan song they are singing loudly ‘we are still relevant! we are still relevant’  The fact is the old MSM model doesn’t work.  State sponsored media like the BBC and PBS has always been at the core of investigative journalism, anyway.  WaPo is losing money at an alarming rate.  From 2013 we’re talking 85% drop in profit:

The Washington Post Co. on Friday reported bad news for its newspaper division, with revenue totaling $127.3 million for the first quarter of this year — down four percent from 2012 — and an operating loss of $34.5 million.  Overall, the company posted a profit of just $4.7 million, an 85 percent drop in earnings from the net income of $31 million for the first quarter of last year.

But what are we talking about?  WaPo is a big example but there are many.  Exceptions such as Bloomberg are different because, they are not supported by media.  Bloomberg never was a media outlet, Bloomberg provides an information service to traders and technology – and charges ALOT for it.  Central banks trade on Bloomberg Terminals.  The news division is something they do in order to advertise their core business.  This model is sustainable.  WaPo, NYT and others, will likely not exist in the years ahead – in the best case they will *really* evolve into a different model.  

The fact that the MSM missed the election to such a large degree was akin to a ‘nail in the coffin’ signaling the end of the MSM completely.  

Independent blogs, resources, and other sites will be the center of a new online media ecosystem.  Checkout one example –

As a loyal ZH contributor, we’re happy to be a part of this shift. 

We are often reminded of systems used in times past, as we will one day remember about the days of CNN and New York Times:

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No. 859 – SPECIAL COMMENTARY, YEAR-END, YEAR-AHEAD Economic and Financial Review and Preview

(SGS Subscription required) • Consumer Expectations Soar Along with Anticipated Changes to that Former Malarial Swamp on the Potomac
• New Fiscal Stimuli Could Boost Economic Activity by Early-2018
• Yet, the Near-Term Continues in Renewed Tumble, Never Having Recovered Fully from Its Collapse into 2009
• Intensifying, Headline Downturn Threatens Resurgent Fed Pressures for Expanded Quantitative Easing and Intensified Dollar Debasement
• Budget-Deficit Issues Should Refocus Global Currency Markets on Long-Range U.S. Sovereign-Solvency Concerns
• Sovereign-Solvency and Quantitative-Easing Issues Threaten to Crash the U.S. Dollar and Stocks, Roiling Financial Markets by Mid-2017
• Long-Range Economic and Financial-Market Health and Stability Depend on Resolving Both the Misdirected Policies of the Federal Reserve and the Solvency Concerns of the Global Markets
• Given Issues of Fed Independence and Ingrained, Systemic Intransigence, Early Resolutions of the Fed and Solvency Problems Are Not Likely
• Accordingly, Massive U.S. Dollar Selling, Debasement and Hyperinflation Remain the Primary Risks to Domestic Economic and Political Stability; Precious Metals Remain the Proven and Established Primary Inflation Hedge