George Soros: A missing moral compass

In my “real” facebook world, there’s been a lot of outrage over Glenn Beck’s excavation of George Soros’ adolescent work for the Nazis, work Soros (a Jew) engaged in to stay alive while passing as a Christian in Nazi occupied territory.  Liberals howl “How dare Beck judge Soros? ” But is that what Beck is doing or is Beck judging the person that helpless boy grew up to become?  I don’t know, because I don’t watch Beck, but here is the argument I would make if I had Beck’s forum.

A lot of people have, through circumstances, been forced to do heinous things to survive.  As a child, I certainly met my fair share, since I grew up in a world of Holocaust and Killing Field survivors.  I knew people who worked dragging bodies out of the ovens; I knew people who sorted the teeth and hair removed from the dead bodies; I knew people who worked as slave labor in the factories, making weapons the Nazis used against the Allies; I knew Germans who survived Soviet concentration camps; and I knew people who survived the Killing Fields in ways that too terrible for them to describe.  I wouldn’t dream of judging them.  I have no right to judge, and I have no will to judge them.  When one is completely brutalized and intentionally de-humanized, one does things that would be unthinkable in ordinary circumstances.

What distinguishes all the people I knew, though, when compared to George Soros is the fact that they judged themselves.  Without exception, each knew that, even though unwillingly, he or she had been complicit in deeply immoral acts, and each spent a lifetime seeking redemption.  All of them worked hard and were exemplary citizens, whether that simply meant avoiding doing harm or whether it involved more active engagement in altruistic acts.  Neither the absence of external judgment nor their own knowledge that they were responding to overwhelming external forces took that edge off.  They suffered twice, first in the doing and then in the ever-lasting guilt.  But it was the guilt that made them people of exceptional decency and humanity.

Just yesterday, I read a book describing another such soul.  The book is Anthony Flacco’s The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders. For those unfamiliar with the story, as I was when I picked up the book, Sanford Clark was a 13 year old boy who, in 1928, ended up living on an isolated chicken farm with his uncle.  Unfortunately for Sanford, his uncle was a psychopathic serial killer who abducted young boys, brutally raped and generally tortured them, and then murdered them. Sanford differed from those boys only in that his uncle needed his labor, so stopped short of murdering him. Sometimes the “labor” his uncle demanded consisted of feeding the imprisoned boys, digging their graves or even participating in their murders.

When the uncle was finally arrested, Sanford was the chief witness against him.  (By the way, I’m not telling you anything that’s not on the book jacket.  This is not a suspense story; it’s the day-to-day details that make it riveting.)  Where things get really interesting is the life Sanford led after he was finally rescued from this hell hole.  He was consumed by guilt, but his moral compass demanded that his act of contrition consisted of leading a good life.  He worked hard, married, fought in WWII, and raised children.  He was well-liked in his community.  He could never forget what he had seen and done, nor could he forgive himself, but his moral compass demanded that he contribute to the world as best he could.

All of these stories, the ones I heard growing up, or the ones we read about in books such as The Road Out of Hell, have a clear message:  even the most horrific youthful experiences need not destroy a conscience.  Soros, however, seems to have no conscience whatsoever about his complicity with the Nazis.  Unlike the people I knew growing up, who lived with and worked daily to expiate their guilt, when he looks back, he’s good with it all.  When Soros was interviewed about his wartime experiences on 60 Minutes, he expressed no regret whatsoever (emphasis added):

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.

The only real question one is left with after reading the above is whether Soros was always a sociopath, or whether the war made him one.  As I said, I know people who went through worse than he did, and came out human.  He didn’t.  He came out a very intelligent animal, by which I mean that he lacks the moral compass that, to me, is the single most important distinction between humans and animals.

So, whatever Glenn Beck said, he’s right that there’s a problem with Soros’ engagement with the Nazis during the War:  The problem with Soros isn’t what he did to survive; it’s that he doesn’t care what he did to survive.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

The media, Richard Scaife, and the never ending Soros connection

Do you ever feel that George Soros is a malevolent spider, sitting in the middle of a leftist web, trickling his money down thousands of filaments towards disparate ends, all aimed at achieving the same goal — the destruction of Israel and the end of America as the preeminent democratic power in the world? His name crops up so often, in connection with so many things that are worrisome when it comes to attacks on the administration and on Israel. Today yielded two such moments.

The first came to my attention in an email that DQ sent me. He directed my attention to an AP story that reporting on a study that purports to support the “Bush lied, people died” mantra:

A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The study concluded that the statements “were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses.”

The study was posted Tuesday on the Web site of the Center for Public Integrity, which worked with the Fund for Independence in Journalism.

The New York Times, of course, has gotten tremendously excited about the story and expanded on it. Significantly neither report makes any mention of George Soros, but they could have — since the organization that came up with this “study” is not an independent fact-finding entity but is, in fact, a Soros entity:

Nowhere in these articles do either news organization bother to inform their reader of the partisan nature of the CPI. Besides Soros, it gets financing from the Streisand Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Los Angeles Times Foundation. The FIJ shares most of its board members with the CPI, which hardly makes it a separate entity in terms of its political direction.

The indefagitable Daffyd at Big Lizards, in his inimitable style, rips apart the supposed conclusions emanating from this Soros organization, deconstructing every carefully written word that implies, without being able to say (’cause it would be a lie), that Bush did, in fact, lie. For example:

Here are the specific charges:

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

“It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida,” according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. “In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003.”

One notes that “Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members” — isn’t that a lovely grammatical construct? — do not deny that Iraq was “trying to… obtain” WMD, even though they appear to include such claims under the category of “false statements.”

Nor do they deny the administration’s claim that Iraq had “links” with al-Qaeda. They merely dispute the meaningfulness of those links… and dub that another “false statement” by the president and his administration.

Michelle Malkin has a nice compilation of other bloggers who have managed, fairly easily, to destroy the fragile fabric that the “study,” the AP and the New York Times have created to mask the fact that the only lie is the implication that there was a lie. I’m sure, given my grammatical skills, I could do the same too, although (a) that would be carrying coals to Newcastle given the superior intellectual minds that have already bent themselves to this task and, in any event, (b) I want to go back to that Soros problem. As you may recall, this post is not about the “study,” which is just one strand in the Soros web, but instead is about Soros’ reach. So, onward….

This clunky study, which did not befuddle the blogosphere, but that certainly succeeded in poisoning the minds of ordinary readers who do not read with skeptical, grammar-driven, Soros-knowledgeable minds, is not the only Soros filament today.

Over at the American Thinker, Ed Lasky has written a real stunner of an article about Obama’s Soros connection. It’s a two degrees of separation story, because there is no charge in it that Obama has had any direct contact with Soros (although he has, in fact, had precisely that kind of contact). The article’s actual focus is Robert Malley, whom Obama has tapped as his Middle East advisor. I’d never heard of Malley before this article, and hope never to hear of him again — and it would be a real “God forbid” if he ever shows up in a Presidential cabinet.

The difficulties with Malley start with his father and, though Lasky freely admits that a son shouldn’t be held accountable for the sins of his father, it’s clear that that Malley junior is an apple that hews close to the Malley senior tree (and how’s that for wild metaphorical writing). First, Malley Sr:

His father Simon Malley was born to a Syrian family in Cairo and at an early age found his métier in political journalism. He participated in the wave of anti-imperialist and nationalist ideology that was sweeping the Third World. He wrote thousands of words in support of struggle against Western nations. In Paris, he founded the journal Afrique Asie; he and his magazine became advocates for “liberation” struggles throughout the world, particularly for the Palestinians.

Simon Malley loathed Israel and anti-Israel activism became a crusade for him-as an internet search would easily show. He spent countless hours with Yasser Arafat and became a close friend of Arafat. He was, according to Daniel Pipes, a sympathizer of the Palestinian Liberation Organization — and this was when it was at the height of its terrorism wave against the West . His efforts were so damaging to France that President Valerie d’Estaing expelled him from the country.

Now, you can’t blame a child for the company his father keeps, but Malley junior definitely appears to want to join the party. As Lasky details with example after example, Malley himself has been a Palestinian shill from top to bottom, writing a whole series of anti-Israel articles that can be easily be proven to be false, and consorting with the usual anti-Israel crowd. And since this is a post about Soros, you won’t be surprised to find that Soros is one of the names that crops up on Malley’s resume:

Robert Malley is the Director of the Middle East/North Africa Program at the International Crisis Group (ICG). Given the impressive title of the group, one might expect it to have along and impressive pedigree — say long the lines of the well-regarded Council of Foreign Relations. In fact, the group is rather small and it has a short pedigree. More importantly, it has ties to George Soros. Soros is a man who has supported a wide variety of groups that have shown a propensity to criticize America and Israel; a man who has made clear his goal is to break the close bonds between America and Israel ; supported the views of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer whose work on the issue of the “Israel Lobby” has been widely criticized for factual inaccuracies, shoddy research, and has been called “anti-Semitic” in the Washington Post; a man who has taken steps to counter the supposed political influence of the pro-Israel community in America; a man who has also been a key financial backer of Senator Obama’s; and a man who can activate a wide variety of 527 (c) and other activist groups for any politician he supports.

Soros is a funder of the ICG through his Open Society Institute ; he serves on its Board and on its Executive Committee. Other members of the Board include Zbigniew Brzezinski (whose anti-Israel credentials are impeccable) and Wesley Clark (who called US support for Israel during the Hezbollah War a “serious mistake“; who has flirtedand who has been the direct beneficiary of donations made by Soros ; Wesley Clark has defended the actions of George Soros. with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

But let’s return to George Soros.

While it is true that the ICG receives funding from other sources, none of these donors are on the board; and a billionaire on the Executive Committee of the Board can wield a great deal of influence. Soros is a man who is legendary for his investment prowess. In this case, he again seems to have invested well — as he is proud to trumpet. When the ICG gave him a Founders Award, he spoke of how pleased he was with the work the group does (“my money is very well spent”), and he took particular pride in the work done “on the Palestinian question”.

As he should be, given his goals. Malley, as the Director of the Middle East/ North African program at the ICG, has assembled a group of “analysts” who reflect his (and Soros’s) views and who share their goals: a radical reshaping of decades of American foreign policy and a shredding of the role of morality in the formulation of American policy. These policies would strengthen our enemies, empower dictatorships, and harm our allies.

There he is again, that malevolent spider, with his web reaching out to encompass someone who is aiming to reach for the highest office in the land.

I’m not a big one for conspiracy theories, and I frankly don’t think you can ever have a conspiracy of one. You can, however, have a single power broker, a single megalomaniac, a single spider — and I think George Soros is that man.

Now, some may ask, what’s the difference between Soros and the Richard Mellon Scaife, the man who bent his millions to going after the Clintons? Well, I think there are a few differences. For one thing, there’s the little fact that Scaife was right about Bill Clinton’s sexual malfeasance, and I don’t think even the Clintons’ staunchest defenders can claim, with a straight face, that the Clintons didn’t leave a slimy trail of corruption behind them that is probably the only earthly object that, along with the Great Wall of China, can actually be seen from outer space. By contrast, with Bush, there are always allegations of lies and corruptions but, as this most recent study shows, they never go anywhere. Even a Democratically controlled Congress hasn’t been able to make anything out of the endless stream of accusations pouring out of the various Soros machines.

Another difference is that Scaife didn’t have the big dreams Soros does. Scaife wanted to get the Clintons out of the White House. Soros wants to see Israel blasted off the face of the earth, and America reduced to Third World status.

And there is one last, and much more worrisome, difference between Scaife and Soros, and it has to do with the media. Back in the dim, misty 1990s, I knew all about the evil Richard Mellon Scaife. I wasn’t much interested in politics and there was no internet to disseminate information about behind-the-scenes movers and shakers, but I still knew. Why? Because the MSM wanted me to know. There were regular articles in the New York Times, in Time, and in Newsweek, as well as stories on NPR — all of my main news sources during the 1990s — that routinely reminded me that the evil Scaife was funding the vast right wing conspiracy aimed at destroying the Clintons. As a citizen and news consumer, I was aware of him, and could approve, or disapprove, of his agenda depending on my political predilections.

The MSM does not provide that same service with regard to George Soros’ activities — with a perfect example being this morning’s “news” about Bush’s “lies.” Had this been the 1990s, and had this been a report from a Scaife organization about Clinton, assuming the media had had even bothered to report it, you can be damn sure readers would have been told that the report was funded by radical right wing billionaire Richard Scaife. With the current crop of anti-Bush articles, however, Soros is nowhere mentioned. And this pattern repeats itself over and over and over — Soros’ connection is never mentioned.

What stands in stark contrast is how the media reports about Soros himself, separate from all the pies in which he has big, money-dripping fingers. For example, here’s how the New York Times today described George Soros in a story about the opening of the World Economic Forum in Davos: “billionaire philanthropist George Soros.” And how about this hagiographic description in a 2006 story about his funding of a social (socialist?) experiment in Africa:

The financier and philanthropist George Soros said Tuesday that he was contributing $50 million to support a sprawling social experiment, organized and led by the economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, that aims to help villages in Africa escape grinding poverty.

[snip]

Mr. Soros’s contribution is a philanthropic departure for him. He has largely focused on fostering democracy and good government.

Some of you might be thinking right now that this Soros is just a good guy, using his millions to help improve the world. Perhaps a little more information about his words and his goals will help explain why I think the media is cheating by calling him just a “philanthropist” who is trying to “foster democracy”:

In 1979 Soros founded the Open Society Fund, and since then has created a large network of foundations that give away hundreds of millions of dollars each year, much of it to individuals and organizations that share and promote his leftist philosophy. He believes that in order to prevent right-wing fascism from overrunning the world, a strong leftist counterbalance is essential. Asserting that America needed “a regime change” to oust President Bush, Soros maintained that he would gladly have traded his entire fortune in exchange for a Bush defeat in the 2004 election. In a November 2003 interview with the Washington Post‘s Laura Blumenfeld, he stated that defeating President Bush in 2004 “is the central focus of my life”. . . “a matter of life and death.” “America under Bush,” he said, “is a danger to the world, and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.” Claiming that “the Republican party has been captured by a bunch of extremists,” Soros accuses the Bush administration of following a “supremacist ideology” in whose rhetoric he claims to hear echoes from his childhood in occupied Hungary. “When I hear Bush say, ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ ” he explains, “it reminds me of the Germans. It conjures up memories of Nazi slogans on the walls, Der Feind Hort mit (The enemy is listening). My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me.”

Soros pledged to raise $75 million to defeat President Bush in the 2004 Presidential election, and personally donated nearly a third of that amount to anti-Bush groups (see The Shadow Party). He gave $5 million to MoveOn.org, the group that produced political ads likening Bush to Adolf Hitler. He also contributed $10 million to a Democratic Party 2004 get-out-the-vote initiative called America Coming Together, whose directors include representatives from the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the Service Employees International Union, and EMILY’s List. He further pledged $3 million to the Center for American Progress (CAP), a think-tank headed by former Clinton chief-of-staff John Podesta.

[snip]

While criticizing the Iraq War for the benefit of reporters at the January 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros unburdened himself of the view that Nazis were now running the United States government. “America needs to follow the policies it has introduced in Germany,” Soros explained. “We have to go through a certain de-Nazification process.” Lest there be doubts that Soros was actually likening his adoptive country to the Third Reich and the Bush administration to the Nazi nomenklatura, a Soros spokesman, Michael Vachon, moved quickly to dispel them. “There is nothing unpatriotic about demanding accountability from the president,” he said of Soros’s appeal for de-Nazification. “Those responsible for taking America into this needless war should do us all a favor and retire from public office.”

[snip]

Soros and his foundations have had a hand in funding a host of leftist organizations, including the Tides Foundation; the Tides Center; the National Organization for Women; Feminist Majority; the American Civil Liberties Union; People for the American Way; Alliance for Justice; NARAL Pro-Choice America; America Coming Together; the Center for American Progress; Campaign for America’s Future; Amnesty International; the Sentencing Project; the Center for Community Change; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Human Rights Watch; the Prison Moratorium Project; the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; the National Lawyers Guild; the Center for Constitutional Rights; the Coalition for an International Criminal Court; The American Prospect; MoveOn.org; Planned Parenthood; the Nation Institute; the Brennan Center for Justice; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the National Security Archive Fund; the Pacifica Foundation; Physicians for Human Rights; the Proteus Fund; the Public Citizen Foundation; the Urban Institute; the American Friends Service Committee; Catholics for a Free Choice; Human Rights First; the Independent Media Institute; MADRE; the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Immigrant Legal Resource Center; the National Immigration Law Center; the National Immigration Forum; the National Council of La Raza; the American Immigration Law Foundation; the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee; and the Peace and Security Funders Group.

The organizations he funds are a real giveaway. Some of them are the usual targets of conservative ire: the ACLU, the People for the American Way, NARAL, etc. But some of them are a little more, shall we say, extreme. How about the Lynne Stewart Defense Committee? You remember Lynne Stewart, don’t you? She’s the lawyer who aids and abets terrorists, and ended up imprisoned for doing so. And want about La Raza? That’s an organization that would like to see unlimited immigration and, in a best of all possible worlds, the reintegration of vast parts of the Southwest and California back into Mexico. You can go through the rest of the list and reach your own conclusions about where his money is going.

Now, thankfully, America is still a small “d” democracy, and Soros can hold his beliefs and put his money where he will. I happen to disagree strongly with his beliefs and regret that money flow, but I can’t stop it. However, when that kind of money is flowing in a single direction — Left — from one man, one would think that the MSM would find that sufficiently interesting to be newsworthy — to make it as worthy of mention as the inevitable references during the 1990s to Scaifes’ finger in every anti-Clinton pie, or to the lost War in Iraq in every War article. But the MSM doesn’t mention the Soros connection. That’s left to the blogosphere, which is read only by those who care a lot. Which means that those who care less than a lot are reading news articles such as the one that opened this post in which the MSM does not see fit to mention that the study was funded by the “far Left” or “ultra Progressive” George Soros, who has consistently been a foe of the Bush administration. And the ordinary man in the street, reading one more drop of poisoning dripping off the Soros web, is utterly unaware that he’s been tainted by that poison.

UPDATEAt least one British paper regards Soros with a little less warmth than the American media.  In reporting on Soros’ gloating comments about the weakening American dollar and its imminent destruction, the Telegraph describes him in the first paragraph as “The billionaire investor famous for “breaking” the Bank of England in the 1990s.”