By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is running against some—but not all—billionaires. On Saturday, at a campaign appearance in South Carolina, he singled out the Koch brothers as “greedy.” But Roger Morgan, the author of a book on hedge fund operator and billionaire George Soros, wonders how greedy Soros has been, and whether the media will bother to take a look. He notes that the hedge fund operator’s net worth rose from about $9 billion before President Obama took office to over $24 billion today.
How did this happen? Was he just a good investor? Did he have inside information? Was he the beneficiary of crony capitalism? Why don’t the investigative reporters get busy on this story?
We have searched in vain for anything in the public record suggesting that socialist Sanders is concerned in the least about how Soros has made his money. While the Koch brothers make products that are useful to people, Soros manipulated and exchanged currencies to make his initial fortune. He was convicted of insider trading in France. His currency manipulations against the Bank of England, which damaged the Pound and hurt the investments of ordinary people, earned him $1 billion.
These maneuvers would seem to make him a more attractive target for a socialist like Sanders. Yet, Sanders is silent on Soros. Why?
The answer, quite simply, is that Soros has poured a lot of his money into socialist causes. One of the biggest causes into which Soros has poured millions of dollars is the legalization of dangerous drugs. In March, when Sanders spoke at Marianne Williamson’s Sister Giant conference, he appeared on the same stage as Lynne Lyman, California state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a major Soros-funded group. Williamson, a so-called New Age spiritual teacher, ran for Congress andadvocated legalizing marijuana.
Publicly, Sanders supports decriminalization and “medical” marijuana. But Chelsea G. Summers of the New Republic discovered a 1972 Sanders letter to a local newspaper, in which he said he supported abolishing “all laws dealing with abortion, drugs, sexual behavior (adultery, homosexuality, etc.)” as part of his campaign for the governorship of Vermont.
Does this mean the legalization of LSD, heroin and cocaine?
In addition to the marijuana legalization movement, Soros money has financed the “Occupy” movement and various other Marxist-oriented groups such as Critical Resistance, founded by long-time communist Angela Davis. Her goal is to empty the prisons because, she argues, they are filled with victims of capitalism.
Soros isn’t the only billionaire financing groups or causes that Sanders believes in. Others include billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, billionaire gay activist Tim Gill, and billionaire anti-Second Amendment advocate Michael Bloomberg.
But Sanders only wants to talk about the billionaires who support conservatives or Republicans.
When Sanders appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on September 14, 2014, host Chuck Todd tried to not let Sanders get away with his charges against the Koch brothers without having to answer for the left-wing billionaires behind socialist causes and the Democratic Party. The issue at the time was the Supreme Court decision called Citizens United that allowed corporations, labor unions and others to exercise First Amendment rights of free speech and political advocacy in elections.
Sanders said, “The Koch brothers and the other billionaires are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars. That is not a way you bring about change. We’ve got to mobilize the American people.” Todd responded, “Let me ask you on that billionaire front: Is there such thing as a—If a billionaire agrees with you on issues are you okay with them participating in the process? Or do you think this entire process, whether it’s Tom Steyer or Michael Bloomberg or the Koch brothers?”
Sanders tried to evade the question, saying, “Chuck, I think Citizens United will go down in history as one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever. I think it is opening up the road to oligarchy in the United States of America, where the billionaires, like the Koch brothers…”
This somewhat confusing exchange then ensued:
Todd: Left or right?
Sanders: Left or right, but it’s mostly right. Let’s be clear about it. It’s not fair to give…
Todd: This year it’s, yeah, they have, they’re…
Sanders: And it will always be.
Todd: …spending more money.
Sanders: It will always be. Look: The Koch brothers are going to spend four-hundred million dollars. Do you know what their agenda is? Do you know what they believe in? Let me tell you what they believe in. This is what they told us. They want to end Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. More tax breaks for the rich and large corporations. Nobody in America wants that except the billionaire class. And yet they are now able to put hundreds of millions of dollars into the political process. This is a real danger to American democracy.
Todd let Sanders get away with far too many wild charges in that exchange. First of all, the charge about the “billionaire class” wanting to completely end all social welfare programs is a gross exaggeration. Some of these programs clearly have to be modified before they go broke. According to the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Social Security last year paid $73 billion more in benefits than it raised from taxes. Sanders should be pressed on his irresponsible failure to support measures to reform the system to make sure those who paid into it get their benefits.
What’s more, it’s not the case that so-called right-wing billionaires are more active than those on the left. In 2014, PolitiFact, a group that purports to review political claims for factual accuracy, reviewed a list of 22 billionaires active in politics and found that 13—or more than half—gave predominantly to liberal groups or groups affiliated with the Democratic Party. The other nine gave predominantly to conservative groups.
According to Sanders, the Koch brothers are hoping to spend $400 million in this election cycle. Contrast that figure with the fact that, over the last 32 years,according to their own estimate, the Soros-funded Open Society Foundations had expenditures of almost $12 billion. In 2014, the Open Society Foundations said they had expenditures of $827 million.
These figures are not, of course, considered direct spending in elections or on behalf of candidates. But these funds support organizations that engage in political activities that may have even more of an impact than the money that goes directly into issue advocacy or the indirect and direct funding of campaigns. For example, over the 32-year period, the Soros Foundations concede they spent $1.5 billion “to promote reform in the United States on issues such as criminal justice, drugs, palliative care, education, immigration, equal rights, and democratic governance.”
All of these are loaded terms that involve substantial sums of money for left-wing political activities. The term “criminal justice” means getting people out of prison. The word “immigration” means more legal immigrants and illegal aliens in the U.S. The word “drugs” means making dangerous mind-altering substances more available to the public. And on and on it goes.
One of those terms, “palliative care,” is worth additional review and comment, especially because the Republicans have failed to stop Obamacare, and it is continuing to take root and unfold. Ione Whitlock of LifeTree, Inc., a pro-life group, has called “palliative care” a form of “imposed death” to be used on old people whose lives are said to be too costly for the health care system to maintain. LifeTree has documented Soros support for what Whitlock calls the “Big Death” lobby, being implemented under the Obamacare legislation.
Since Bernie Sanders seems to be so concerned about the elderly losing their Social Security benefits, perhaps he ought to take a look at what the Soros-funded “Big Death” lobby is up to. The aim seems to be to get the elderly out of the way so they don’t collect benefits.
Sanders can’t possibly defend that, can he?