The sinister, omnipresent moneybags of the American left, George Soros, knows that distraction and misdirection make for a good defense. So do his many lackeys and sympathizers in the American media.
Recently, the left has built up two conservative billionaire brothers as their latest bogeymen. I am referring to the libertarians Charles and David Koch, who fund, among other groups, Americans for Prosperity. First Barack Obama lambasted them, and his minions in the media dutifully followed. Jane Mayer's 10,000-word article in the New Yorker, titled "Covert Operations: the billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama," has been widely cited in other liberal media. In reality, the brothers have long funded a variety of causes years before anyone had ever heard of Obama. Regardless, Mayer's article was criticized as shameful by others, including a trenchant bit of criticism by Mark Hemingway in the Washington Examiner. One of Hemingway's points was right on target: Mayer's barely visible coverage of George Soros, sugar daddy of the Democratic Party and an early, ardent and generous supporter of Barack Obama. Hemingway excerpts a paragraph from Mayer's article and notes some omissions:
But this passage from Mayer's piece is also worth noting, as a measure of the article's bias:
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 idea that Soros' giving is transparent is laughable -- he's given millions to the Tides Foundation, a byzantine organization notorious for obscuring finding sources on the left ... Further, Soros was very influential in setting up the Center for American Progress think tank and many other liberal organizations in the last decade. If any billionaire has waged war against a president recently, it's Soros' campaign against Bush. To dismiss any concerns about Soros' political spending while saying that the Koch brothers are at the center of a dark conspiracy is absurd.
Mayer just let the claim that Soros has no monetary interest when he gives money stand unchallenged -- and that was shameful. Where was the famed New Yorker fact-checking department? Did they get laid off?
Let me expand on Hemingway's commentary, in light of the view that somehow Soros's giving has zero to do with his financial interest -- or, as his spokesman spins, "none of the contributions are in the service of his economic interests." New York Times theatre critic turned frothing attack dog columnist of the left Frank Rich has started promoting this theme: Soros is Santa Claus or Mother Theresa. This Sunday, Rich had his typical invective-filled column -- also railing against the Kochs -- and then gave us this whopper:
Soros is a publicity hound who is transparent about where he shovels his money and "like many liberals -- selflessly or foolishly, depending on your point of view -- he supports causes that are unrelated to his business interests."
What planet do Mayer and Rich live on? Soros obviously has his financial interests in mind when he gives, and he knows how to use his billions to make more billions by tapping his friends in high places in the Democratic Party.
For example, Soros has made a boatload of money off his huge investment in the Brazilian oil company, Petrobras, a company that has benefited mightily from its deep offshore oil reserves. Barack Obama had the U.S. Export-Import bank extend billions of dollars of loans to underwrite Petrobras's offshore oil development. Soros positioned himself to reap big gains just days before his pal in the White House pushed for billions in loans to Petrobras -- a company from a country that can certainly tap the financial markets on its own to raise funds to tap oil off its shores. The company did not need easy money from American taxpayers. Yet there was Soros, who somehow was prescient enough to roll the loaded dice in taking a major stake in Petorbras. He got a double-dip type of return when Barack ("never let a crisis go to waste") Obama shut down deep-water oil exploration off America's own energy-rich coasts -- further enriching the prospects for Petrobras and George Soros.
Soros's pet think-tank, the Center for American Progress, constantly pushes green schemes. Democratic politicians are on board, as well. This group includes Barack Obama who, runs after one electric battery, solar power plant, and windmill after another (when he is not on the links or listening to live music at the club he created in the East Room of the White House). How generous have Obama and the Democrats been to the green schemers? The grand champion of budget-busting departments has been the "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Program," which received $1.7 billion in 2008 and $16.8 billion in 2009, a 1,014% increase in just one year. Media reports over the past year or so have tied numerous Democratic donors to these "ventures." They have been richly rewarded with taxpayer dollars.
What a great scheme! Give thousands to Obama and various Democrats and get billions back in our taxpayer dollars. Who is a big investor in "clean energy," by the way? Why, none other than George Soros, who announced back in October 2009 that he would invest at least $1 billion in "clean energy." The Center for American Progress is closely tied to the Obama administration (see "Soros-Funded Democratic Idea Factory Becomes Obama Policy Font") and serves as its hiring hall, not to mention as the fourth or fifth branch of government (or so it seems -- I have the Center for American Progress as a Google search term, and the employees of that tank are all over the media landscape, as well as D.C.). Soros knows how to use leverage, and the millions he put into the Center for American Progress (and into the election of Barack Obama and other leftist Democrats) will reap big returns -- at our expense -- in the years ahead.
Whatever happened to all the hullaballoo regarding hedge funds? Back in 2008 and early 2009, Democrats were busy blaming Wall Street, hedge funds, and Republicans for the financial crisis. We were promised that hedge funds would be regulated to the point of harmlessness, that their investors would have to be disclosed, their positions monitored, their leverage controlled. What happened to those promises? Well, that did not suit hedge fund managers -- not at all. So the promises went away.
And who was one of the biggest hedge fund titans out there? Why, it happens to be none other than George Soros, who made billions in 2008 from the financial and housing collapse and then made billions more in 2009 as the Democrats bailed out Wall Street. Who was the major beneficiary of hedge fund campaign money in 2008? Barack Obama, eclipsing the long-time champ in this area, Christopher Dodd, the Senator from Connecticut (Hedgefundland) who chaired the Senate Banking Committee. In 2008, I noted that Obama was "The Hedge Fund Candidate."
Obama, Dodd, and fellow Democrats just forgot that crusade against hedge funds, and Soros continues to rake in billions. George Soros -- who is the number-one funder of so-called 527 groups (such as MoveOn.Org) -- gets his money's worth whenever and wherever he puts it to work. He finds his best leverage in the Democratic Party.
And a bonus pitch.
I have written quite a bit about the riches we have in America in the form of shale gas. Soros has investments in the energy industry that would be harmed if our cheap and plentiful reserves were tapped to their full extent. Among his holdings are a huge one in InterOil that has big reserves of natural gas in New Guinea. Democrats are now trying to shut down our shale gas industry by attacking "fracking" -- a method that is used to extract the gas from the shale rock that holds it. There is plenty of evidence that fracking is safe and sound -- it has been used for many years. Nevertheless, the industry is under attack by Democrats in Congress such as Ed Markey, by Obama's EPA, by the Center for American Progress, by Pro Publica -- an outfit created and funded by Soros pals Herbert and Marion Sandler -- and recently by MoveOn.org. Soros must be getting desperate, as Americans crave cheap natural gas, to bring in MoveOn.org, which has heretofore focused on the purely political sport of bashing Republicans and electing as many left-wingers as it could -- including, of course, the biggest of them all, Barack Obama.
One could go on. Soros is an enterprising man and legendary investor. He figured out sooner and better than anyone else how to buy political power and bend politicians to his will. He is not a goody-two-shoes, as partisans on the left try to portray him. He has benefited hugely from leverage, and the best leverage he enjoys is when he "gives" money in ways that are really investments (payoffs, bribes?) in disguise. Shame on Mayer, Rich, and others who hide this history. They also are all but puppets in the hands of George Soros.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.