Saturday, April 14, 2018


Kevin Drum in Mother Jones:

Those bank-killing Dodd-Frank regulations have really devastated Wall Street, haven’t they? Thank God for last year’s Republican tax cut. If not for that, Jamie Dimon could probably barely afford his yacht moorage fees anymore.

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Hungary shows how to destroy a democracy

Viktor Orban

From Andrew Sullivan in New York magazine:

So now we know how you do it.

I mean how you turn a prosperous 21st-century liberal democracy into an illiberal one, and then into a de facto dictatorship. There are no tanks; no mass arrests of opposition politicians; no coups; no direct assaults on the rule of law; and no new totalizing ideology. There is, in fact, no moment where you can definitively say that the liberal democracy has ceased to exist. 

But in Hungary, an upstanding member of the European Union, liberal democracy is now dead, pining for the fjords, nailed to the perch, an unmistakably ex-democracy...

The recipe is a familiar one by now. In a society where social mores, especially in the big cities, appear to be changing very fast, there is a classic reaction. More traditional voters in the heartland begin to feel left behind, and their long-held values spurned. 

At the same time, a wave of unlawful migrants, fleeing terror and deprivation, appear to threaten the demographic and cultural balance still further, and seem to be encouraged by international post-national entities such as the European Union. 

A leftist ruling party in disarray gives a right-wing demagogue an opening, and he seizes it. And so in 2010, Orbán was able to exploit a political crisis triggered by an imploding and scandal-ridden Socialist government, and, alongside coalition partners, win a supermajority for the right in parliament.

Once in power, that supermajority allowed Orbán to amend the constitution in 2011, reducing the number of seats in the parliament from 386 to 199, gerrymandering them brutally to shore up his party’s standing in future elections, barring gay marriage in perpetuity, and mandating that in election campaigns, state media would take precedence over independent sources. 

He also forced a wave of early retirements in the judiciary in order to pack the courts with loyalists...

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Later: See also on Axios: 1 Big Thing: The Starbucks case study.

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