Drug War

I Guess it Depends on the Meaning of the Word "Soros"

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Imagine a "Saint Koch" cover. Go ahead, try.

Jane Mayer, 2010:

Of course, Democrats give money, too. Their most prominent donor, the financier George Soros, runs a foundation, the Open Society Institute, that has spent as much as a hundred million dollars a year in America. Soros has also made generous private contributions to various Democratic campaigns, including Obama's. But Michael Vachon, his spokesman, argued that Soros's giving is transparent, and that "none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests." The Kochs have given millions of dollars to nonprofit groups that criticize environmental regulation and support lower taxes for industry. Gus diZerega, the former friend, suggested that the Kochs' youthful idealism about libertarianism had largely devolved into a rationale for corporate self-interest. He said of Charles, "Perhaps he has confused making money with freedom."

Jane Mayer, 2004:

Soros said that he tries to maintain a strict separation between his financial and his philanthropic work. Yet he acknowledged, "There are occasionally symbiotic moments between political and business interests." He cited one example: an attempt to set up a public-policy think tank in England which had at first looked like a fruitless venture; it had landed him in what promised to be one of the most boring conferences of his life. But, chatting with British notables, he caught a serendipitous glimpse of a way to break into the closed world of the British bond market, which he soon did. It became "one of the most rewarding weekends of my life," he said. "I made many millions."

Well, John, at least your metro friends are fans of for-profit higher education. WHOOPS!

I went looking for such dissonances in Mayer's big Soros profile (which I had nice things to say about at the time), but I ended up getting distracted by something else entirely: The piece opens with an extended 2004 anecdote about a strategy meeting between five billionaire Bush-haters about how to depose 43 after his first term. Three of them–Soros, Peter Lewis, and John Sperling–happen to be among the biggest bankrollers of organizations dedicated to legalizing (at the least) marijuana. So I guess my question to these Kerry/Obama backers is, how's that working out for ya?

And it's not just drugs. Here are some of Soros's Mayer-reported concerns about politics in the aughts:

The Bush Administration, he said, has exploited the terrorist threat to consolidate its own power, in ways that threaten the country's core democratic values. […]

According to Soros, the war in Iraq attempted to spread democracy in precisely the wrong way—at gunpoint. "Democracy can only be built if local forces are eager to see it established," he said. More broadly, he feared that the detention of terrorist suspects in Guantánamo Bay, and the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison, would undermine America's ability to champion human rights. (Soros suggested that the Bush Administration's meek reaction to Vladimir Putin's recent retreat from democracy in Russia was a consequence of our compromised credibility.) […]

Soros, who describes himself as an agnostic, contended that Bush's religious beliefs are in conflict with America's democratic traditions. "The separation of church and state, the bedrock of our democracy, is clearly undermined by having a born-again President," he said.

I always forget--is it "glibertarian" to criticize Bush for this, or just Obama?

Seriously, how's all that working out? Did Obama de-consolidate power? Not so's you could notice. Democracy at gunpoint? Well, there are certainly a lot more of the things (gunpoints) in Afghanistan. Guantánamo Bay is as open as it was in 2004, and America's ability to champion human rights is currently being undermined by, among other things, the Obama Administration's assertion that the federal government can kill a U.S. citizen without trial. Conversely, if George Soros was looking for a get-tough-on-Russia president, then he certainly backed the wrong horse, and if anyone was thinking they were electing a secret secularist in November 2008, they were either not paying attention or deluding themselves that a core campaign tactic and rhetorical crutch would be thrown aside the day after Rick Warren's Inauguration prayer.

The Soros piece is certainly worth a re-read for the media/political studies completists among you (especially in comparing it to Mayer's Koch-slam). One nostalgia-making undercurrent throughout is that lefty billionaires had miles to go before they could erase the gap between moneybags Republicanoids, let alone reverse the tide of creeping one-party-GOPism. Like most political fear-fads, this belief vanished into the memory hole with the re-ascendance (both electorally and financially) of the former opposition, and now we've cycled back to the Scaifegoating era of looking for mustache-twirlers to explain why Americans aren't as thrilled with their Oval Officer as Joe Klein is.

I defended Soros from Republican attacks back in 2003.

NEXT: Da, Prime Minister

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  1. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

    1. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaax

      1. Kids, settle down. You’re getting scroll bar all over the floor.

        1. Muck off, ewe tea-sucking Paul bagger.

  2. “According to Soros, the war in Iraq attempted to spread democracy in precisely the wrong way?at gunpoint.”

    Soros is doing his best to make sure that nobody anwhere can do anything at gunpoint – including defend themselves from criminals.

    He is notorious for bankrolling gun control groups.

    1. [citation needed]

      Ignoring his international political donations, he backs pro-MJ groups and pro-Democratic groups and Democratic candidates (unless you are saying the fact that he supports Democratic candidates in itself is an pro-gun control donation). I’ve heard of nothing saying he gives directly to groups such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence or the like.

  3. But Michael Vachon, his spokesman, argued that Soros’s giving is transparent, and that “none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests.”

    Utter. Horseshit.

    All that pot legalization money is fine, but is Soros invested in any green energy/carbon reduction schemes?

    But even that isn’t where the money really is, for Soros. For him, the real money is in financial and securities regulation. The bill that Obama just signed is very, very friendly to very large players, like Soros. What a coinky-dink, no?

    Soros made his billions by betting against currencies. If you were thinking the most money to be made in the history of the universe would come your way when the dollar collapsed due to unsustainable spending, would you support Dems? I think you would.

    Occasional symbiotic moments, my ass. This guy’s political expenditures are about 90% investments in his business, with a thin gloss of unconventional pot legalization on top.

    1. “but is Soros invested in any green energy/carbon reduction schemes?

      Yes, he is investing in green energy:
      http://www.dailyfinance.com/st…../19193275/

      He also has a lot of money in natural gas and oil, so he’s playing both sides of that equation. No profiterring here. None at all.

    2. As usual you are off base, RC Dean. Soros is no “leftist” in your limited purview – he is merely a freedom-first anti-fascist capitalist who rightly saw the Bush/Cheney regime as a rightward lurch to an anti-liberty American Authoritarianism. He still seeds capitalism and SECULARISM.

      The latter is where conservatives lose their bearings. Ayn Rand called Reagan “anti-freedom” for his reliance on Christian Dominionism and rejected conservatism in full.

      I can only quote Diderot – “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

      I don’t expect conservatives to understand.

      1. The Soviets killed their Tsar and lots of Priests as well and freedom did not come, in fact they had less freedom after these murders then before. So Diderot was wrong, killing the Kings and Priest just opens the door for others to step in.

        1. Kings and priests are useless apparatus in an Open Society so perhaps the crucial word from Diderot is “last”.

          But as you note a power vacuum can lead to problems.

          I find it interesting that as Teabaggery is slightly ascendent this week and intellectuals deride it Reason finds occasion to jigger two of our best minds today – Hitchens and Soros.

          The right has no one respectable.

          Period.

          1. Soros is one of our best minds, in 2010? While I have appreciated his books in the past, “The Bubble of American Supremacy” and most of his political commentary since 2003 have been pretty slipshod in comparison. And I hated Bush almost as much as he did.

            1. I’m impressed that you’re able to take shrike seriously, Matt.

              1. Get down, bitch.

                Its lamentable that Hitchens and Soros are aging and dying but your dismissive attitude to their freedom legacy speaks much about yourself.

                1. What Hitchens and Soros have done for freedom?!? That’s kind of random. What about what Julia Childs did for freedom, or who was the actor that played Mr Roper on Three’s A Company? What did he do for freedom? No less meaningful that what you put out there as an argument.

                  Shrike, you are just weird.

                  1. What did Norman Fell do for freedom?

                    Norman Fell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1924. He graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in drama. During World War II, he was an Air Force tail gunner in the Pacific. After the war, he studied acting and obtained small parts in television and on stage. His first regular TV appearance was in the comedy series “Joe & Mabel” (1956). His best known TV role was that of Stanley Roper, the landlord in the very popular “Three’s Company” (1977), which debuted in 1977, and its short lived spin-off, “The Ropers” (1979).

                    1. Best rebuttal I have ever had! Thank you very much for that awesome response. I was picking names at random and came up with a better example than Shrike.

            2. I had to write a summary of Alchemy of Finance for a professor I was helping out one summer when he took ill. He just wanted to know if it was worth his time to read it himself.

              No on that, good buddy.

          2. Yet as the Soviet Union showed, Kings and Priests can arise out of ordinary people, Stalin as king and a whole army of priests preaching their religion of communism. All it requires is the desire for power and creation of ideology to support it. So if you expect a world without Kings and Priests you would have to change human nature since people desire power and create ideologies to justify themselves. The Soviets tried to change human nature with their “New Soviet Man” and they failed just like everyone one else who tries to change human nature and that includes your “best mind” Soros

          3. Oh, just fucking great… shrike is back.

            Eaten any good books lately, shrike?

            1. My wife and I just watched that episode last night. I spat rice pudding on her legs at that line.

              It was worth it.

              1. I steal from the best!

        2. They killed all the lawyers, as well. IIRC.

          1. well then it wasn’t all bad

        3. I don’t seem to recall Mao, Pol Pot or Kim Il Sung elbowing each other to be the first into the pew on Sunday, either.

      2. “Freedom first” apparently somehow means ‘backing Obama’. Is the word “shrike” some anachronistic word for ‘huge tool’?

        1. “Stupidity” will do just fine.

      3. Anti-fascist? Is that before or after he gleefully accepted the 2 billi from Barry O to buy up Petrobras?

    3. considering Soros’ largest (disclosed) position is in GLD ETF… Obama & Bernanke might as well be working for the guy!

    4. And we all know we should just trust his spokesman, without any investigative follow-up.

  4. Do I have to draw you a picture?

    IT’S DIFFERENT WHEN WE DO IT!

    1. We’re gonna do it? I gotta thrill up my leg Jane!

    2. Rupert Murdoch gives millions of dollars to Republican causes thus making him the coming of the anti-christ except perhaps a weaker while yet simultaneously bloated scoundrel and phony philandering philanthropist partisan pissant.

      George Soros is no less an American hero than George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy using his Open Society institute to shatter down the Republicans gates guarding the great palace of servitude, slavery surrender, sorrow and sad sodomists that they want to call America.

      1. *takes off glasses*

        NOT UNDER MY WATCH!

        *puts glasses back on*

        1. Keith, do you giggle just a little when you pen that tripe?

          1. Or was that satire? It’s impossible to tell the difference.

            1. No, T.F.* Olbermann really believes what he says.

              *T.F. = That Fuckhead. I refuse to utter his real first name… or IS it?

  5. No, I have to do this my way. You tell me what you know, and I’ll confirm. I’ll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that’s all. Just… follow the money.

    1. Hi, Mr Eisenhower!

      1. Is it proper to call him “Mr Eisenhower,” or should you say “Mr President” or “General Eisenhower” or something?

    2. You aren’t claiming to be “Deep Throat” Mr. President, are you? You were dead for about three years before Watergate occurred!

  6. George Soros is to libertarians as Joe Arpaio is to conservatives? Arpaio positions himself as a tough-on-crime populist and many conservatives are blind to his thuggery and indifference to constitutional rights. Soros throws some ‘legalize pot’ money around and libertarians ignore the ‘ban guns’ money and the ‘campaign finance reform/suppress political speech’ money and the ‘American people will need to be de-Nazified after Bush’ rhetoric. If conservatives should re-think their support for thugs like Arpaio ( and, as a libertarian-leaning conservative, I think they should), should Soros be given a pass because he supports one libertarian plank?

    1. Yes. I like to smoke pot.

      1. Does he support sheep fuckers?

    2. Are you not able to understand Matt Welch’s viewpoint in the article above, or do you think that Jane Mayer is a libertarian? Maybe search the comments for “Soros” and find out how much libertarians love that guy.

    3. If Sheriff Joe had been elected President we wouldn’t have had all these problems for all these years.

      Besides, any sheriff that shows his support for a cure to breast cancer by making the inmates were pink is alright in my book.

  7. Soros’s giving is transparent, and that “none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests.”

    Tell that to folks living in Rosia Montana. After what he accomplished in ruining what would’ve been a revitalization of a severely economically depressed area -TO SERVICE HIS OWN ECONOMIC INTERESTS- I would not piss on him were he on fire.

    For those interested, here’s some details.
    http://www.mineyourownbusiness.org/

    1. I would not piss on if he were on fire either (great Salton Sea reference!), but any other time, he would be an apt target.

  8. It’s safe to assume that ideological billionaires are true believers rather than just trying to improve their profits, because backing ideologies rather than polticians is a horrible investment. It’s a lot cheaper to buy a loophole than change the state of the discourse. If you’re looking to maximize your ROI, you make sure both parties are sufficiently buttered up, with a little something extra for the side that is in power. Being ideologically flexible means you can get brudensome regulations dropped when the Rs are in charge and slapped on your competitors when the Ds are in charge.

  9. This guy’s political expenditures are about 90% investments in his business, with a thin gloss of unconventional pot legalization on top.

    I don’t think Soros is stupid or does anything gratuitously?or out of principle?so I assume he (and others like him) understands the pot pseudo-legalization fad as serving his interest in some non-face-value way, via some combination of TEAM BLUE! vote driving, regulatory-authority expansion, arbitragable piecemeal federalism re: quasi-legal commodities, or whatever.

    If he’s really not-stupid, he sees it as an upper-class white solidarity thing, like gay marriage, that gives the red/blue division a personal psychological depth and permanence that can later be put to supervillainous use. But I don’t know if he’s a real supervillain or just an incredible asshole.

  10. Doesn’t this just boil down to religion? Lefties couldn’t stand Bush’s big government pap because he invoked the G-Word when doing it instead of Mother Earth or whatever the new fad is this week.

  11. Soros is a douch. Time-Warner is most leftist propaganda trash rag in the world. Yes,worse then The Guardian. They and Disney Corp can pound sand as far as I’m concerned.

  12. I think we should all calm down.

    I hope Matt’s diabolical plan to can get a few million of those Soros dollars for Reason works.

  13. Soros is just controlled opposition…the Bilderberg guys say “hey, what happens if the masses realize the war on drugs is a scam? how could we fuck the people if they ended one of our biggest imprisonment moneymaking schemes?!”….Soros says”Guys don’t worry about it, I fund large portions of the ‘legalization’ movement, that way if it gets big I will be able to easily misdirect the energy into something we can make even more money off of…like government funded pharmeceutical treatment programs for all” ….you guys laugh at me but just watch! I bet my mental model of this has more predictive ability than your naive shit mental model.

    1. I really don’t see how you can believe that Soros is stupid but all you message board commenters are smart and realy understand things so well.

      face it. soros is not stupid…he jsut doesn’t give a fuck about us and probably has a mental image of “common man” and sees it as a half retarded fragile ape that deserves to be fucked over and lied to. If people believe the lies then it just confirms his beliefs….I can almost sympathize with a guy like that when I’m in a bad mood. Hell, people try to tell the naive libertarians about this and they answer with slurs and exclamations of “Troofer!”…and then you actually think that what fed defender NYT times columnists like Tyler Cowen are creating a marginal revolution and this is the best of all possible systems etc.

  14. I think Soros’ giving is all about keeping a balance. If the ultra-right is gaining, he’ll give to the ultra-left. Trying to make sense or consistency of it beyond that is ridiculous.

    And the strategy might seem ridiculous–except that Soros saw what happens when the extreme right is unchecked…

    The man survived Nazi occupation by hiding in plain sight!

    One of his jobs was to go around handing Jews notices that they were to report to such and such a place to be railroaded to a furnace somewhere–he was a Jew! …who survived Nazi occupation by hiding in plain sight at a time when the Nazis were exterminating Jews.

    If you don’t consider Soros and his seemingly otherwise unrelated and uneven attempts to level the playing field so that the right never completely gets the upper hand again? Then nothing he does makes any sense.

    If you see it for what it is, it makes perfect sense. Never forget. Never again. It’s as simple as that.

    1. Soros survived Nazi occupation… only to grow old, bitter, and resentful of any non-leftist government. Quite the quandary.

  15. I doubt he has changed much.

    Sounds like he’d be perfectly happy to hand us our orders to march into concentration camps if it made him a buck.

    1. Bullshit.

      When he handed out those notices to report to such and such a place? He always told them–if you show up? They’ll kill you.

      The man lived an amazing life– He makes his way to London to be taught by none other than the Father of Falliblism–which he applies to the investment world and makes billions!

      And what does he do with it?

      He spends the rest of his life fighting extremism on the right, wherever it’s found… Fully developed or still in the bud! He’s one of the most pragmatic people I can think of!

      …and he is no danger to freedom loving libertarians in the least–but he’s a big danger to our adversaries.

      Try walking in his footsteps? Most of us would have fallen on our faces and died.

      1. When he handed out those notices to report to such and such a place? He always told them–if you show up? They’ll kill you.

        What’s your source for that?

        1. I was going by memory, but I see references to it on his wiki…

          “And there I was given these small slips of paper…It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 a.m….And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, “You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported.[16]

          To avoid his son’s being apprehended by the Nazis, Soros’s father paid a Ministry of Agriculture employee to have Soros spend the summer of 1944 living with him and posing as the godson. Young Soros had to hide his Jewishness even as the official was overseeing the confiscation of Jewish property.[17]”

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_soros

          1. I know little of Soros’ bio but you would expect a collaborater to say that. “But we hid Jews in the attic!”

            1. George Soros wasn’t a collaborator.

              Anybody who says otherwise is lying.

              1. I don’t know about the Nazis, but Soros’ collaboration with Jim Rogers sure paid off.

                1. Ken, just because Soros hates the far-right – as everyone should – doesn’t excuse his love for the far-left, which everyone should also hate.

                  1. I didn’t say it excused it.

                    I did say it explained it.

              2. So, he collaborated with the National Socialists, and has continued his love for totalitarian leftist ideologies ever since?

                Nazis may have been to the right of communists, but they are to the left of anything we call ‘right’.

                In fact, they are to the left of much of what passes for >admitted< leftist thought these days.

                That would place them on the far left–a place that Soros revels in, no?

                And, Ken, it is usual to question the ‘good word’ of someone whose career during the Nazi era was to send Jews to the camps–no matter how he protests his innocence today.

            2. That is also what you would expect someone who hid Jews in the attic to say.

      2. It’s hard to hear you with that big pair in your mouth.

        1. Say what you want…

          Dude lived an amazing life. I don’t happen to agree with a lot of what he does, but you can’t take anything away from the man for what he’s done.

          Pretty amazing track record on the accomplishments front.

          1. The 60 Minutes transcript: take of it what you will 1) he was a man created by circumstances not in his control to be someone you should not trust, 2) be that as it may, there is no reason to trust him even you can sympathize with his circumstances given the number of people he fucked over, 3) that balance he purportedly seeks has only helped to create a world where the worst aspects of the right and left dominate.

            And whatever, ‘an amazing life’ is suppose to mean, I don’t really give a fuck. David Lee Roth has lived an amazing life, but I have no reason to envy or cherish either man.

            KROFT: (Voiceover) To understand the complexities and contradictions in his personality, you have to go back to the very beginning: to Budapest, where George Soros was born 68 years ago to parents who were wealthy, well-educated and Jewish.

            When the Nazis occupied Budapest in 1944, George Soros’ father was a successful lawyer. He lived on an island in the Danube and liked to commute to work in a rowboat. But knowing there were problems ahead for the Jews, he decided to split his family up. He bought them forged papers and he bribed a government official to take 14-year-old George Soros in and swear that he was his Christian godson. But survival carried a heavy price tag. While hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews were being shipped off to the death camps, George Soros accompanied his phony godfather on his appointed rounds, confiscating property from the Jews.

            (Vintage footage of Jews walking in line; man dragging little boy in line)

            KROFT: (Voiceover) These are pictures from 1944 of what happened to George Soros’ friends and neighbors.

            (Vintage footage of women and men with bags over their shoulders walking; crowd by a train)

            KROFT: (Voiceover) You’re a Hungarian Jew…

            Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.

            KROFT: (Voiceover) …who escaped the Holocaust…

            (Vintage footage of women walking by train)

            Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Mm-hmm.

            (Vintage footage of people getting on train)

            KROFT: (Voiceover) … by — by posing as a Christian.

            Mr. SOROS: (Voiceover) Right.

            (Vintage footage of women helping each other get on train; train door closing with people in boxcar)

            KROFT: (Voiceover) And you watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

            Mr. SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

            KROFT: In what way?

            Mr. SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and — and anticipate events and when — when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a — a very personal experience of evil.

            KROFT: My understanding is that you went out with this protector of yours who swore that you were his adopted godson.

            Mr. SOROS: Yes. Yes.

            KROFT: Went out, in fact, and helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.

            Mr. SOROS: Yes. That’s right. Yes.

            KROFT: I mean, that’s — that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

            Mr. SOROS: Not — not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t — you don’t see the connection. But it was — it created no — no problem at all.

            KROFT: No feeling of guilt?

            Mr. SOROS: No.

            KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?

            Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c — I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was — well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets — that if I weren’t there — of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would — would — would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the — whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the — I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.

            1. Couple things?

              One, you should post the link to that transcript. Not because I doubt its authenticity, just ’cause of etiquette.

              Two, I find it unconscionable to expect someone at the age of 14 to stand up and make some kind of demand of the person who’s protecting him. When he could have been outed and sent to a camp at any moment?

              People had to do all kinds of things to survive the holocaust–that’s part of what made it so awful. It turned normal everyday people into people who had to choose between standing up for their principles and survival.

              And in that light, it’s as clear to me as day that Soros was a victim of the Nazis there, not a collaborator. If you want to call him a collaborator for what he did, then you have to call all the other Jews who worked as slave labor in German industry collaborators too. The dichotomy wasn’t really false for him and them–there was playing along on the one hand, and then there was death on the other. I hope to God I’m never confronted with such a choice.

              And regardless, if you look at what Soros has done since then, it all seems pretty explainable when you consider everything he’s done since then in the light of preempting a relapse into that horrific very real world. I take him at his word that his experience in World War II defined him–I can’t imagine how that wouldn’t affect a person permanently. I’m also surprised he didn’t lose his mind.

              Third, I’m not nominating the man for President. I’m not saying he should run for the Senate. He’s a private person, and he can do what he wants with his money as far as I’m concerned. Personally, I prefer that kind of philanthropy to government action by politicians–it’s the same kind of strategy I see with the Reason Foundation. Maybe not the same goals–but I’d trust the Reason to represent me and my goals more so than I do any politician. I think private citizens supporting their causes are more influential than any politician in government is or can be.

              It’s pretty amazing what one guy like Soros with deep pockets can do, and in that light, he’s also a pretty amazing guy.

              But he’s not a politician. He doesn’t owe me anything. He doesn’t owe you anything. He doesn’t owe anybody anything. He’s not a politician, just like I’m not either. I don’t owe anybody anything, no matter what they say. I don’t owe you anything either. I appreciate the hell out of Soros for that–he’s got all that freedom, and he doesn’t owe an explanation to anybody.

              That’s pretty freakin’ cool in my book.

              1. I lifted the copy from Snopes.com from the editors in a forum where they were debunking or at least putting in context the question if he was a Nazi collaborator. I saw the interview and I’ve seen the transcript before and nothing looked out of place.

                http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=43876

                Your dismissal of the claim was a bit too much of a simplification of his life and circumstances and then addition of When he handed out those notices to report to such and such a place? He always told them–if you show up? They’ll kill you was, well, too pat to be the truth.

                So, if he did not cooperate with the bribed official who was his caretaker, he could have been outed in your view and that gave legitimacy to his actions (I don’t have a problem with this part), but at the same time he also possessed the moral courage to warn all of the Jews he gave those notices too (Every time!) and thus save them like a heroic, fourteen year old Schindler and do so without arousing suspicion of what he was doing? Come on! Do you seriously believe that bullshit?

                1. I know for a fact that people had to do much worse things to survive the holocaust.

                  Much worse.

                  There was an experiment I read about the Nazis at Auschwitz doing, where they packed dozens of mothers into a small chamber with their children. The walls of the chamber were pushed in, so half of them had to stand on top of the others–and then they started filling the chamber with water slowly. The ones on the bottom inevitably drowned.

                  It was unusual for a mother to climb on top of her daughter to try to survive, most of the women helped their daughters climb on top of them and held them up even as they drowned, but there were a few mothers who climbed on top of their daughters to survive…

                  Who should we blame for that? The mothers?

                  Not me. I blame the Nazis.

                  People will do all sorts of horrible things to survive. I don’t blame Soros for doing what he had to do to survive. I blame the Nazis for willfully and purposefully making that horrible circumstance necessary.

                  I see no reason to doubt that he warned those people that if they did what they were told, they’d be sent down the railroad. And everything he’s done since then has been perfectly consistent with that–everything he’s done has been about preempting the ultra-right.

                  So why should I doubt him? And even if he did things he didn’t want to do (at the age of 14) for fear for his life, why would I blame him for that?

                  I blame the Nazis for the holocaust, not the victims.

                  1. “I blame the Nazis for the holocaust, not the victims.”

                    I should have added that I don’t blame the survivors either.

                    I blame the Nazis.

                    1. One last objection, your line here:

                      But he’s not a politician. He doesn’t owe me anything. He doesn’t owe you anything.

                      Has he not put his money into the cause of campaign finance reform? Well, then, on the basis of that alone, he is in my debt because he has taken away a portion of my free action.

                    2. “Has he not put his money into the cause of campaign finance reform? Well, then, on the basis of that alone, he is in my debt because he has taken away a portion of my free action.”

                      Yes, but donating to political causes (unless it’s a bribe) is not profitable. So as punishment for that, the market takes away some of his capital. He loses some of his power in the deal.

                      So where’s the problem? It’s the invisible hand at work.

                      The people you should be angry with are the politicians who vote for and promote campaign finance reform (which I’m sure you are). The difference is that they GAIN power by forcibly removing your freedom, because their power is not tied to the invisible hand. Their power is sourced in the police and the military.

                    3. Yes, but donating to political causes (unless it’s a bribe) is not profitable. So as punishment for that, the market takes away some of his capital. He loses some of his power in the deal.

                      I am not a leftist, so therefore I am not an enemy of profit. Where the Hell do you get the idea that that is the substance of my complaint? My complaint is that he engaged in an activity whose end result was to restrict my freedom directly so a piece of his ass in in my debt, his motives be damned.

                    4. And the helpers? Do you blame them? The ones that confiscated the property and sent the Jews to the trains? They, too, are blameless?

                      I do not blame the German citizen, who heiled when he had to, who listened to the Fuhrer’s endless speeches dutifully.

                      But I say to myself, how many were employed in the confiscation jobs? Were these people who were not trusted? People who the nazis thought questionable? From what I read, and considering the profitability of such a job, I suspect that these ‘helpers’ weren’t untrustworthy folk in the Reich.

                      Are those people blameless?

                  2. you make many fine points that I already agreed with…but I still don’t trust anyone that portrays themselves as a hero in the theatrical battle between “left” and “right” where one side is “the evil” and the other is “the light”.

                    Oversimplified world view red alert! Soros ain’t dumb and he knows that left-right shit is BS right up front.

                2. Soros is like an Eastern European stripper. You can understand that a tough life made her the way she is but you would be a fool to carry money and vitals in a lose pocket anywhere near her.

                  I don’t begrudge Soros what he left out, as you said, the fault lies in the Nazis, but I do take interest in the counter factual information that is added, that arouses suspicion.

              2. Don’t let me get you riled though. Most nights you are on here, I learn something from you, and do so without having to buy you drinks and steak at the clubhouse like I have to do with my investor friends in real life!

                Soros has been an interest of mine since college. I’ve had it in for him since reading The Alchemy of Finance long before his involvement in American politics became known, but at the time, I knew him best for advocating world wide central bank with one currency. Now, you advocate that George, after you made your fortune playing the currencies?

                1. his theory of reflexivity book was pretty boring…I was prepared to really like the guy when I bought that.

                  Rodgers writes better books from a purely entertainment prospective.

                  1. Rogers freewheeling on a motorcycle memoir is a true classic.

        2. And just for the record…

          Your preoccupation with gay sex isn’t about me.

          I mean, I’m flattered and everything, but I don’t swing that way. Posting that kind of stuff anonymously is never gonna make it okay either; eventually you’re just gonna have to accept yourself anyway.

          1. soros is good friends with the neo-con fascists…he helped put Hillary in as secretary of state…she was in their wierd worship group remember? Kissinger gave Gates, Jones, Petraus, H Clinton, barry his blessing. Nothing in the war policy has changed and it was clear it wasn’t going to change with all the CFR-left-right foreign policy establishment staying in place. Soros knew this full well, he went to the bildgerberg meetings with the same people. Unless you think Soros was dumb Ken? do you think soros is a dummy? No of course he is not.

            therefore he is a lying sack of shit who enjoyed eating jewish babies and then made a bunch of money selling the confiscated property after eating the babies. well he did admit that he enjoyed it…so he didn’t lie about that.

            1. That post is so ridiculous, it’s either totally sarcastic or totally serious.

              I’m goin’ with sarcasm. Am I right?

              1. Collaborating with Hillary Clinton should be a crime.

      3. He spends the rest of his life fighting extremism on the right, wherever it’s found… Fully developed or still in the bud! He’s one of the most pragmatic people I can think of!

        And he does this by funneling millions to the far left, which dutifully erects an all-powerful superstate which the far right can then step in and take over.

        The far left is not the antithesis of the far right, it’s the other side of the same coin.

        1. he also fights the rightwing by acting as a foil for the glenn beck tea party crowd….Glenn Beck points “that COMMUNIST HUNGARIAN wants to take your guns and legalize drugs!…do you want to legalize drugs!!”
          TEA PARTY CROWD…”NO, build more prisons…give the DEA more power to fight the George Soros Communists….yay PLAN COLUMBIA!!!”

          1. controlled opposition, political theatrics, WWF crowd control themes…learn the ways of mind control people.

            1. Do you work for Urkobold?

        2. Like I said, I’m not exactly in favor of a lot of what he’s done…

          …but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an explanation for it, and people keep seeming to do in depth pieces on the guy without even mentioning the most obvious motivation.

          It seems to have become common sense 9/11, that anytime someone starts talking about the motives for somebody doing something, it’s automatically assumed that you must be defending it. …which is completely false. Talking about the hijacker’s motives, for instance, doesn’t make anybody a terrorist sympathizer.

          I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing here, but just for the record–I can understand why somebody does something and completely disagree with what they’re doing.

          1. Unless he’s deciding on what to do on a particular day by using a random number chart, everyone has reasons for what he does. What I’m saying is that Soros, in stoking the boiler of statism, is assembling the very monster he claims to be fighting.

            He’s not a fool, he knows what he’d doing, thus it’s impossible to attribute decent motives to his actions.

      4. Uh, he’s single-handedly lowered the living standards of entire countries to make his fortune by reading into and then manipulating government mistakes made by federal banks.

        He’s no fucking saint and he is just as bad as Buffet when it comes to rent seeking from the government. The iconic savior bullshit, the same surrounding Buffet, is bullshit.

        He was a collaborator by every sense of the word. That’s pretty inescapable. The bad part is he even goes so far as to offer no remorse. Which is reprehensible.

        I’m a little skeptical of putting him, or anyone, on such a high pedestal. Especially considering his past.

        1. “Uh, he’s single-handedly lowered the living standards of entire countries to make his fortune by reading into and then manipulating government mistakes made by federal banks.”

          I’m sorry, so are you saying that what happened to the British pound wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Soros?!

          See, my problem would be with bad government policy and the people who made it, not with the investors who profited when their bad policy crashed into reality.

          For example, why would anyone blame investors for bad public policy decisions made by Greek Politicians; I’d blame Greek politicians for bad public policy–you see the problem with what you’re suggesting there?

          The only problem I have with somebody profiting by punishing a government for bad public policy is that it usually doesn’t happen soon enough. Bad public policy should be punished severely in the market place–thank God for investors who punish bad policy.

          Can you imagine how bad public policy would get without the market forcing some semblance of reality on politicians? That’s not George Soros’ fault. They should give him a medal.

          “He was a collaborator by every sense of the word. That’s pretty inescapable. The bad part is he even goes so far as to offer no remorse. Which is reprehensible.”

          “Inescapable”?

          I do not think it means what you think it means.

          1. He did more than take advantage and he did it to more than the pound. You’re okay with someone exploiting government policy inorder to profit in a zero sum situation (because of government involvement)?

            You can’t escape the fact he collaborated. By definition what he did was collaborate with people killing his own. I don’t care how you justify it.

            I don’t know if Soros is your uncle or sugar daddy, but you sure have him on one hell of a pedestal.

            1. I love when people exploit bad government policy. Bad policy should be exposed and the whistleblowers deserve to profit from exposing it.

          2. ken, agree with YOU here…how can you not like fighting the bank of England? fuck the pound, fuck the rubes that trusted the pound….they should have owned silver and gold pieces…they deserve to get fucked.

        2. It’s possible to seperate Soros the invester from Soros the politician.

          As an investor, he’s a slave to the market, and as such, should only be judged on his profits, which are staggering, and therefore, laudable.

          As a politician, he sucks. He’s never held office. He’s never won an election. So why should anybody care about Soros the politician?

          You guys are sounding like liberals. Blaming market participants for actions of politicians. Are investors responsible for the housing boom, or was it Bush, Frank, Dodd and Greenspan?

          The beauty of the market is that it doesn’t make a damn difference what somebody’s personal or political philosophy is. Power isn’t distributed according to those. It’s distributed according to structure of consumer demand. If Soros’s actions as an investor meet consumer demand, which they clearly do, then he should be praised.

          1. Read my above response to understand why your line of argument is silly. I can’t fathom the species of libertarian who feels that a private actor is sacrosanct for no better reason than he is a private actor when that same person funds so many causes that have the restriction of freedom at its goal (whose damage far out way the good he he has done supporting the ACLU and ending the drug war ). Then while defending this malignant tumor of a liberal you say I sound like a liberal! Really strange.

            1. “I can’t fathom the species of libertarian who feels that a private actor is sacrosanct for no better reason than he is a private actor when that same person funds so many causes that have the restriction of freedom at its goal.”

              Regarding the first point–nice strawman! Speaking for myself, I have no problem criticizing private individuals for asinine behavior–see everything I’ve written about the jackhole Imam building the Ground Zero Mosque for recent examples.

              And regarding the second point, “…that same person funds so many causes that have the restriction of freedom at its goal”, care to be specific?

              He calls his organization “Open Society” for a reason, you should probably read a little about Karl Popper, and his “The Open Society and Its Enemies”…

              There’s an interesting argument in there about how tolerant societies should be tolerant of everyone–except those who are willfully intolerant. There’s actually been a running debate since Nazi Germany came to power–is it okay for a Democracy to vote itself out of existence?

              There’s certainly a strain of intolerance for intolerance in there, but it’s really hard to address a bogus blanket charge that someone “funds so many causes that have the restriction of freedom at its goal” without any specific examples…

              So what are you talking about specifically? …can you name something? I’ve seen the man help overthrow tenacious dictators in Eastern Europe…what exactly are you talking about “funding so many causes that have the restriction of freedom as its goal”?

              Name two.

  16. Imagine a “Saint Koch” cover. Go ahead, try.

    Maybe Reason should do one.

  17. OK that certainly makes a lot of sense.

    online-privacy.it.tc

  18. I don’t much about about Soros, so I read Wikipedia entry on him. Yadayada.

    On the right side of the page his vitals are displayed. Next to religion, it says: “None; Atheist”. It’s just a peeve, but God-damn-it, why is “atheist” capitalized?

    I’m an atheist (or an amystic to be more precise). I am not a member of a religion and “atheist” is not a proper noun.

    1. Just fix it…

  19. This is more of a chicken or egg situation. You go into some of these small boroughs in NYC, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the editor-in-chief jobs have been gone now for months and nothing’s replaced them. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to books or publishing or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-conservative sentiment or anti-Beck sentiment, their Koch hate as a way to explain their frustrations.

    1. Thanks John my monitor needed a coffee cleaning anyway.

    2. second that, brilliant allusion.

  20. Ken, yes some sarcasm/ridiculousness is included in my posts…I don’t think he ate babies…at least not when he was 14….but he is a Bilderberg guy, so he had to be politically aware connected enough to understand that Kissinger blessed Hillary in as Sec of State, Barrack as president …reappointment of Gates, Petraeus, Jones. All those moves were 100% consensus establishment CFR approved moves and they all matched up/foreshadowed 100% that nothing major was changing in US Foreign Policy…seriously have you been surprised? if you have it was only becuse you are totally ignorant.

    Do you read Foreign Affairs? They announce all this pretty fucking clearly. Soros is NOT illiterate and fucking deaf…he is NOT “fighting the right” anymore than Bill Clinton and George H Bush are fighting each other in a texas cage match.

  21. Hey Matt, you have been writing good stuff recently. What is the official Reason line onGary Webb now?

    Are you guys stil lselling he CIA story on that…he shot himself in the head four tims or some shit? and his ex-wife said bad stuff about him? does that sum up your view?

  22. He’ll be out of our hair soon enough when the grim reaper comes to get him. I wonder if history will see him as anything more than just another nut like so many other billionaire types seem to be.

    1. yep billionaires are all nuts…we the normal people know that the world is just as it is explained in Time magazine. We realy understand what is going on and don’t get misled in to crazy rabbitholes and questioning sceintific or political consensus.

    2. I would prefer that he through his vast resources into nanotech that saves himself and extends all of our lives a hundred years or so on average. Doing that could almost make up for financially backing McCain-Feingold. Almost.

      1. well, we have two choices to correct that sentence and make it work.

        I would prefer that he threw his vast resources into nanotech that saves himself . . .

        I would prefer that he, through his vast resources into nanotech, saves himself . . .

        Don’t recall which I picked the first time. Trying to cut back on caffeine.

  23. Matt,

    So how much did AFP pay you to rewrite your own history on Soros? How much integrity do you have equating Koch’s political spending reaping him likely BILLIONS in commerce and Soros’ support of marijuana legalization which reaps him, well, nothing.

    You are a coward.

  24. Very good information! thank you!
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