Special forces operations like the one in Yemen are nothing new. America’s elite troops have found themselves on the frontlines constantly since 9/11, conducting operations everywhere from the dusty back alleys of North Africa to the snow-capped mountains of Afghanistan.
There’s a solitary man at the financial center of the Ferguson protest movement. No, it’s not victim Michael Brown or Officer Darren Wilson. It’s not even the Rev. Al Sharpton, despite his ubiquitous campaign on TV and the streets.
Rather, it’s liberal billionaire George Soros, who has built a business empire that dominates across the ocean in Europe while forging a political machine powered by nonprofit foundations that impacts American politics and policy, not unlike what he did with MoveOn.org.
Mr. Soros spurred the Ferguson protest movement through years of funding and mobilizing groups across the U.S., according to interviews with key players and financial records reviewed by The Washington Times.
In all, Mr. Soros gave at least $33 million in one year to support already-established groups that emboldened the grass-roots, on-the-ground activists in Ferguson, according to the most recent tax filings of his nonprofit Open Society Foundations.
Flemming Rose is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Jacob Mchangama is director of the Copenhagen-based think tank Justitia.
Remember George Orwell’s Ministry of Truth? In his dystopian novel “1984,” its purpose was to dictate and protect the government’s version of reality. During the Cold War, Orwell’s book was banned behind the Iron Curtain, because readers perceived the novel as an allegory for their own repressive regimes.
It was a serious crime to distribute information defaming the Soviet social and political system. Such criminal laws were widely used by the Kremlin to silence dissidents, human rights activists, religious movements and groups fighting for independence in the Soviet republics. Similar laws were on the books in East Germany, Poland and other Eastern bloc countries.
Thankfully, today this landscape is much changed, but increasingly there are disturbing echoes of the past. Amid a debate about the rising influence of fake news and the danger it poses to the political and social order in the West, democratic politicians in Europe have proposed sanctions — and even prison terms — for those found responsible for distributing false information.
George Soros is having a very good crisis. Other investors are wilting, political power structures are being upended and market economists are scrambling to fashion new theories, but the world’s most famous speculator is having a belated heyday.
“It is, in a way, the culminating point of my life’s work,” the 78-year-old says in his heavy Hungarian accent during an interview at his London mansion.
If Soros had retired from the money markets at 48 to become a philosopher – which was his life plan when he set up his own Wall Street hedge fund at the age of 43 – the world is unlikely to have heard of him, as either an ideas man or a money man. Even if he had ended his career 20 years later, he would have been remembered as little more than the big-stakes gambler who “broke the Bank of England” with his 1992 bet against the pound that earned him $US1.1 billion.
At 68 Soros had just predicted a global financial collapse which did not happen, just as he had done a decade earlier; his pet theory of market behaviour, which he calls “reflexivity”, had been largely ignored; and his political donations had bought him little sway in Washington. Yet today, he says, all those strands seem to have come together – “the American election, the financial crisis, the theory of reflexivity, so it is actually a very stimulating period”.
In preparing to shut down the federal government in November 1995, before President Clinton’s veto of the second continuing resolution to keep federal agencies operating, the Clinton Administration made the customary distinction between “essential” employees, who would remain on the job, and “non-essential” employees, who would be furloughed. For the U.S. Department of Education, the Clinton Administration determined that 4,394 of the department’s 4,937 employees — or 89 percent — were “non-essential” and would be furloughed for the duration of the budget impasse.1
Unwittingly, the Clinton Administration confirmed what Congress should recognize: America does not need a federal Department of Education. Congress should take the opportunity afforded by the budget process to return to states, local governments, and parents the authority and responsibility for education.
The BLS considers someone working 2 hours a week just as employed as someone working 40 hours a week. The employees certainly wouldn’t consider these jobs equivalent, but they are equivalent for purposes of the official unemployment rate.
Since December of 2012, I’ve written a number of articles on how the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (“BLS”) official unemployment rate is a poor barometer for measuring labor market health principally because of how the BLS determines who is in the labor force. The BLS removes people from the labor force unless they’ve looked for a job in the past 30 days. This is like looking at a professional baseball player’s batting average but ignoring the at bats where he didn’t get a hit unless they happened in the last 30 days. Doing so might tell you something, but it wouldn’t tell you what kind of season he’s having. This is part of the reason why Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton recently wrote in an excellent article that the official unemployment rate is “extremely misleading.”
The KLA achieved victory with the help of United States and NATO bombers attacking Serbian forces.
At the time, President Bill Clinton portrayed the KLA as freedom fighters challenging Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic — a genocidal monster who died in a Hague prison cell in 2006. A few years ago, grateful Kosovars erected a bronze statue of Clinton in downtown Pristina, their capital.
But now, it turns out, members of the KLA were probably monsters, too.
“Our separatists are always good guys,” said Alan Kuperman, a public affairs professor at the University of Texas who has written about the moral hazards of intervening militarily for humanitarian purposes, speaking to VICE News. “Neither side was the good guy or the bad guy in this conflict in Kosovo. The way the story was portrayed in the 90s was always a caricature.”
The overlap with the US position on Russia’s involvement in Ukraine is troubling, said Kuperman.
“We condemn these separatists in Ukraine because they shot down a civilian plane,” he said. “They are evil, and Russia is bad for supporting them. But our separatists in Kosovo were trafficking in humans, in drugs, and allegedly in organ parts. But we’re not bad for supporting them. There’s a real double standard or hypocrisy.”