The Shared Agendas of George Soros and Barack Obama
By Discover The Networks
While George Soros was busy bankrolling his battalion of established activist groups and launching a few new ones of his own, he quite naturally looked toward the upcoming presidential election of 2008 with great anticipation, eagerly awaiting the day when George W. Bush would finally leave office. The question was, who would replace him? In recent years, all indications had been that Soros favored Hillary Clinton above most, if not all, other potential Democratic candidates for President. But now there was a new face on the scene¯a young, charismatic U.S. senator from Illinois named Barack Obama¯who seemed not only to share virtually all of Soros's values and agendas, but also appeared to be a highly skilled politician who stood a good chance of getting elected to the nation's highest office.
In December of 2006, Soros, who had previously hosted a fundraiser for Obama during the latter's 2004 Senate campaign, met with Obama in Soros's New York office. Just a few weeks later¯on January 16, 2007¯Obama announced that he would form a presidential exploratory committee and was contemplating a run for the White House. Within hours, Soros sent the senator a contribution of $2,100, the maximum amount allowable under campaign-finance laws. Later that week, the New York Daily News reported that Soros would support Obama rather than Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, though Soros pledged to back the New York senator were she to emerge as the nominee. But it was clear that Soros considered Obama to be the more electable candidate of the two. Most importantly, Obama's economic and political prescriptions for America were wholly accordant with those of Soros.
Obama's anti-capitalist background and views are well documented: His father was a communist; his mother was a communist sympathizer; in his youth he was mentored by the communist Frank Marshall Davis; he sought out Marxist friends and professors at Occidental College; he attended Socialist Scholars Conferences in New York; he was trained in the community-organizing methods of Saul Alinsky, a communist fellow traveler; he developed close ties to the pro-socialist community organization ACORN; he developed close personal and political ties to the infamous Marxists (and former domestic terrorists) Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn; he was hand-picked for his first political office by Alice Palmer, a pro-Soviet figure in Illinois; in the 1990s he became a member of the New Party, a socialist political coalition; he had close connections to the Midwest Academy, a radical training ground which author Stanley Kurtz has described as a “crypto-socialist organization”; and he spent twenty years attending the church of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who preaches the Marxist doctrines of liberation theology. As President, Obama appointed Carol Browner, a former “commissioner” of the Socialist International as his “environment czar”; he employed a White House communications director (Anita Dunn) who cited Mao Zedong as one of her “favorite political philosophers”; he appointed a “science czar,” John Holdren, who views capitalism as a system that is inherently destructive of the environment; he appointed Van Jones, a longtime revolutionary communist, as his “green jobs czar”; and he strongly favors the redistribution of wealth, both within the U.S. and across international borders. The list, of course, could go on and on.
George Soros, too, harbors many negative views about capitalism and free markets. “The entire edifice of global financial markets has been erected on the false premise that markets can be left to their own devices,” says Soros. “We must find a new paradigm and rebuild from the ground up.” According to Soros, the capitalist “belief that everybody pursuing his self-interest will maximize the common interest … is a false idea.” Calling the global capitalist system “deeply flawed,” Soros maintains that “as long as capitalism remains triumphant, the pursuit of money overrides all other social considerations.” As Soros sees things, capitalism “is today a greater threat than any totalitarian ideology.” Lamenting that “the richest 1 percent of the world's population receive as much as the poorest 57 percent,” Soros suggests that only by reining in “global capitalism” can that gap be narrowed. He further complains that global capitalism, by encouraging the free flow of money across international borders, reduces the vital “ability of the state to provide Social Security to its citizens.” “The globalization of financial markets has rendered the welfare state that came into existence after World War II obsolete,” Soros explains, “because the people who require a social safety net cannot leave the country, but the capital the welfare state used to tax can.”
Soros's proposed remedy for this problem is a worldwide war on poverty that would transform the entire planet into a global welfare state, a sort of open-society alliance where “a kind of international central bank” could redistribute wealth from rich populations to poor ones. Toward this end, Soros announced in September 2006 that he would donate $50 million to the United Nations Millennium Project, a massive redistributive scheme calling for the governments of wealthy countries to commit 0.7% of their GNP to promoting “the economic development and welfare of developing countries.” Heading this Project (from 2002-2006) was Jeffrey Sachs, the economist who had worked with Soros in Russia during the Bill Clinton administration. As evidenced by his participation in the Millennium Project, Sachs has radically altered his former pro-capitalist positions. Indeed, in recent times he has praised socialists as “both the heirs and the leaders of the world's most important and most successful political path”; he has lauded their “strong commitment to universalist ethical principles and fiscal re-distribution”; and he has voiced regret that America's lack of “commitment to re-distribution” has “enabled a massive underclass to develop.”
Similarly, George Soros sees “the global capitalist system in its present form” as “a distortion of what ought to be a global open society.” He suggests that if the “market fundamentalism in America” were “eliminated,” then “the public interest would be better served” by way of “a more equal distribution of wealth.”
In a November 2008 interview, Soros was asked whether he supported programs falling under the rubric of “big-government” or “European-style 'socialism.'” He replied, “That is exactly what we need now. I am against market fundamentalism. I think this propaganda that government involvement is always bad has been very successful—but also very harmful to our society.”
In October 2009, Soros told a Central European University audience that “there is a deep-seated conflict between capitalism and open society.” He observed, moreover, that “Karl Marx['s] proposition” of communist redistributionism “was a very attractive idea” that might well have succeeded if not for the unfortunate fact that “the communist rulers put their own interests ahead of the interests of the people.” “The failure of the central planning model did not prove the validity of the free enterprise model,” says Soros. “... There is a better way of looking at the world. It is based on the postulate of radical fallibility, according to which all our constructs are flawed in one way or another. Specifically, both models—Communism and free enterprise, or market fundamentalism, as I have rechristened it—are deficient; the deficiency in each one can be cured only by taking some elements from the other.”
The Call for Global Government
Soros's desire for a worldwide welfare structure is consistent with his general preference for some form of global government. In 1998 he wrote that “insofar as there are collective interests that transcend state boundaries, the sovereignty of states must be subordinated to international law and international institutions.” “The greatest opposition to this idea,” he added somberly, “is coming from the United States.”
Soros has continued to espouse this perspective ever since. At a 2003 event, a questioner asked Soros whether he and his foundations could “help to bring more foreign influence into the United States instead of relying on what is essentially a balance between Democrats and conservative Republicans, which hasn't worked and is not about to start working.” Soros replied:
“I think you put your finger on a very important flaw in the current world order. And that is that only Americans have a vote in Congress. And yet it is the United States that basically determines policy for the world. That is a flaw in the current setup. I don't think you can correct it by giving the Chinese government a vote in Congress. But it is a flaw, and I think this is where American leadership is needed, to take into account and respect the interests of others as well, in order to retain the dominant position we currently enjoy.”
This call for increased “foreign influence” in American political life is congruent with President Obama's position on the matter. In March 2009, for instance, Obama appointed Harold Koh, the dean of Yale Law School, as legal advisor to the U.S. State Department. Koh is an advocate of transnationalism, a concept arguing in favor of “global governance” as opposed to the constitutional sovereignty of independent nation-states. This perspective holds that the world's most challenging problems are too complex and deep-rooted for any single country to address effectively on its own. The solution, says Koh, is for all members of the international community to recognize a set of supranational laws and institutions whose authority overrides those of any particular government.
In March 2007, Koh chastised the U.S. for having “unwisely disengaged from various institutions that promote fundamental human rights, chief among them the International Criminal Court [which would subordinate American criminal-justice procedures in certain cases to those of an international tribunal] and the newly established Human Rights Council” of the United Nations¯a Council whose membership includes a number of nations known for their unrestrained anti-Semitism and human-rights abuses. President Obama ultimately announced, in 2009, that the U.S. would join the Council for the first time. In November 2010, this Council made headlines when it harshly berated America for its alleged discrimination against Muslims, its barbaric police practices, its use of torture against enemies abroad, and its religious intolerance.
Another Obama official¯Eric P. Schwartz, the administration's assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration¯formerly served as director of the U.S. Connect Fund, a Soros-financed organization that promotes global governance.
Just a few days after Barack Obama was elected President, George Soros stated: “I think we need a large stimulus package which will provide funds for state and local government to maintain their budgets¯because they are not allowed by the constitution to run a deficit. For such a program to be successful, the federal government would need to provide hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition, another infrastructure program is necessary. In total, the cost would be in the 300 to 600 billion-dollar range....”
Soon thereafter, as one of the first priorities of his presidency, Obama pressured Congress to pass a monumental $787 billion economic-stimulus bill whose text was 1,071 pages long¯and which few, if any, legislators read before voting on it. Obama stressed the urgency of passing this bill at the earliest possible moment, so as to forestall any further harm to the U.S. economy. Notably, the legislation repealed numerous essentials of the 1996 welfare-reform bill against which George Soros had so strongly rebelled. According to a Heritage Foundation report, 32 percent of the new stimulus bill—or an average of $6,700 in “new means-tested welfare spending” for every poor person in the U.S.—was earmarked for social-welfare programs. Such unprecedented levels of spending did not at all trouble Soros, who said: “At times of recession, running a budget deficit is highly desirable.” In December 2009, Obama concurred again—outlining a set of new multibillion-dollar stimulus and jobs proposals while explaining that America must continue to “spend our way out of this recession.”
In a 2008 interview with Bill Moyers, George Soros derided wealthy Americans who wished to have their tax burden lightened. According to Soros, such people were selfishly eager to “enjo[y] the fruits” of their affluence even as they viewed the act of “paying taxes” as “an absolute no-no”—indeed something veritably “unpatriotic.”
By Soros's telling, taxes are inherently desirable in good times and bad alike. In 2010, for instance, he stated that although the U.S. economy was in the midst of a prolonged downturn, it would be imprudent for lawmakers to extend the Bush-era tax cuts which were due to expire on January 1, 2011; such a course of action, he warned, would be “the wrong policy” and would cause the recession to deepen further. Soros proposed, instead, that the existing tax rates be permitted to return to their previous, higher levels, and that whatever extra revenue those elevated rates might generate should be used to finance yet another federal “stimulus” program. This suggestion was consistent with the funding priorities Soros has long pursued through his Open Society Institute. A substantial percentage of the organizations bankrolled by OSI favor high taxes to fill the coffers of an ever-expanding, government-run welfare state.
Likewise, Barack Obama's long track record in support of high income taxes, capital gains taxes, and estate taxes for “the wealthy” is well documented. Thus it was not surprising that Obama, through most of his early presidency, adamantly opposed any extension of the Bush tax cuts beyond their scheduled expiration date. But as the economy foundered and the President's popularity waned—to say nothing of the historic losses suffered by congressional Democrats in the midterm elections—Obama began to restrict his calls for a tax hike only to those in the highest income brackets. In the end, the President, recognizing that the electorate fiercely opposed higher taxes for anyone, pragmatically agreed to extend all the Bush tax cuts for two more years—a move that displeased George Soros greatly.
Soros's public stance in favor of higher tax rates for the wealthy is nothing short of remarkable, in light of the fact that he himself has taken some noteworthy measures to avoid paying taxes of his own. Consider, for instance, that his multi-billion-dollar Quantum Fund is actually incorporated on the tiny island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles, located in the Caribbean. As such, Soros avoids paying U.S. taxes on it. Americans who invest in his Fund likewise escape the tax man entirely. Their interest, dividends, and capital-gains earnings are taxed only if they are brought into the United States. And these investors are precisely the types of high earners who, according to Soros, should be willing to do their “patriotic” duty and pay the taxes that they can well afford; the minimum investment for the Quantum Fund is $100,000.
By no means has the Quantum Fund been Soros's only foray into tax-avoiding, offshore business enterprises. Indeed, Soros's real-estate company, Mapeley Steps, is headquartered in yet another tax haven, Bermuda. In 2001 this firm purchased more than 600 buildings from Inland Revenue (Britain's equivalent of the IRS) and then leased them to the British government for a princely sum—but paid no taxes, thanks to the Bermuda address.
Just as Soros has spoken out against calls to reduce income taxes, so has he consistently sided against proposals to lower or eliminate the estate tax (a.k.a. “death tax”), calling it “a valuable taxation” because it “does not interfere with wealth creation” and it “increases social equality.” In 2003, Soros and some fellow billionaires went so far as to sign a public letter stating that a repeal of the estate tax “would enrich the heirs of America's millionaires and billionaires while hurting families who struggle to make ends meet.” Yet Soros has creatively found a way for his own heirs to avoid paying any estate taxes, as he once explained:
“A charitable trust is a very interesting tax gimmick. The idea is that you commit your assets to a trust and you put a certain amount of money into charity every year. And then after you have given the money for however many years, the principal that remains can be left [to one's heirs] without estate or gift tax. So this is the way I set up the trust for my children.”
Environmental and Energy Policy
George Soros is an avid proponent of cap-and-trade, a tax-based policy proposal designed to reduce Americans' consumption of fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—and to speed up the nation's transition to alternate forms of energy such as wind and solar power.
The idea of cap-and-trade is founded on the planted axiom that the carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by human industrial activity create a greenhouse effect that is causing the earth's climate to grow dangerously warm. Under cap-and-trade regulations, companies would be subject to taxes or fees if they exceed their government-imposed limit for CO2 emissions. Economists predict that such legislation, if enacted, would impose colossal costs on businesses¯costs that would be passed on to consumers, who in turn would pay anywhere from several hundred to several thousand extra dollars each year in energy costs. But to Soros, such a policy is well worth the price. “Dealing with global warming will require a lot of investment” and thus “will be painful,” he acknowledges, but “at least” it will enable humankind to “survive and not cook.” When asked in 2008 whether he was proposing energy policies that would “create a whole new paradigm for the economic model of the country, of the world,” Soros replied succinctly, “Yes.” By Soros's reckoning, America today has “a great opportunity,” through cap-and-trade, “to finally deal with global warming and energy dependence.”
In 2009, Soros announced that he intended to spend $10 million over a ten-year period to fund the formation of a new Climate Policy Initiative, designed to address global warming by “help[ing] nations achieve low-carbon development” in “the new energy economy.” In remarks he made at a January 2010 Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations, Soros impugned the U.S. as “the laggard” that, by not endorsing the initiatives which that been proposed a month earlier at an international climate-change conference in Copenhagen, had failed to provide adequate leadership with regard to environmental policy.
Barack Obama, like Soros, is an unwavering backer of cap-and-trade. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said: “[U]nder my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations.”
The principal motive underlying the cap-and-trade policies that Obama and Soros support has been articulated by Obama's “regulation czar,” Cass Sunstein, a longtime proponent of “distributive justice” whereby America would transfer much of its own wealth to poorer nations as compensation for the harm that U.S. environmental transgressions have allegedly caused in those countries. Sunstein speculates that “desirable redistribution” can be “accomplished more effectively through climate policy than through direct foreign aid.”
Transforming America Through Immigration
In the spring of 2006 and again a year later, television viewers were treated to innumerable images of massive throngs of demonstrators flooding the streets of cities all across the United States, as they protested America's allegedly unjust and punitive immigration policies. The participants in these rallies demanded such things as amnesty for illegals, paths to citizenship, expanded guest-worker programs, loosened border controls, an end to workplace immigration raids, and a generalized expansion of rights and privileges for illegal immigrants in the United States. These grievance-filled spectacles generated considerable public anxiety; in their size, scope, and execution, they were reminiscent of the “velvet revolution” demonstrations that Soros had bankrolled in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The following groups¯all heavily funded by, or otherwise affiliated with, George Soros and his Open Society Institute¯were among the key organizers of the “immigrant-rights” demonstrations: ACORN, the American Friends Service Committee, the Center for Community Change, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Council of La Raza, and the Gamaliel Foundation.
The immigration-related agendas of Barack Obama fit hand-in-glove with those of the foregoing Soros-affiliated activist groups. Indeed, the President has repeatedly called for “comprehensive immigration reform”¯a euphemism for incremental amnesty. This is but an extension of the voting record that Obama compiled in the U.S. Senate, where he opposed workplace immigration raids; favored a “path to citizenship” so as to “bring people out of the shadows”; advocated laws that would permit illegal aliens to obtain driver's licenses; supported the DREAM Act, which would allow illegals to attend college at the reduced tuition rates normally reserved for in-state legal residents; and opposed a Senate amendment calling for the withdrawal of federal assistance to “sanctuary cities” that flout federal immigration laws.
In 2007 and 2008, Obama was a featured speaker at the annual conventions of the National Council of La Raza, which lobbies for racial preferences, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens. He lauded those in attendance for having worked so hard to “strengthe[n] America together.” “It's been the work of this organization for four decades,” Obama said, “lifting up families and transforming communities across America. And for that, I honor you, I congratulate you, I thank you, and I wish you another forty years as extraordinary as your last.”
While generally adorned with carefully crafted rhetoric of human rights and “family reunification,” there is in fact a more politically sinister motive underlying Obama's and Soros's support for groups that would not only transform illegals into U.S. citizens, but would also open the floodgates to further mass immigration from impoverished countries below America's southern border. Obama and Soros alike are well aware that the vast majority of first-generation Hispanic immigrants, once naturalized, tend heavily to vote Democrat. Thus there is a great imperative to import, naturalize, and register as many of these voters as possible in the most expedient practicable manner. The ultimate, long-term objective is to establish a permanent Democratic voting bloc in the U.S. for generations to come.
A “Living” Constitution
With fidelity to his “open society” tenet that truth is an ever-evolving and ever-elusive concept, George Soros firmly rejects the notion that the U.S. Constitution is a document of unique or unrivaled merit¯or, by logical extension, that its original intent must be permanently revered and adhered to, rather than deconstructed or reinterpreted as the changing needs and preferences of the times may dictate. In April 2005, Soros's Open Society Institute was a leading financial sponsor of a Yale Law School conference called “The Constitution in 2020,” promoted as an effort to produce “a progressive vision of what the Constitution ought to be.” Other major sponsors of the event included the American Constitution Society and the Center for American Progress¯both major recipients of Soros funding. Speakers at the conference repeatedly stressed the “evolutionary character of constitutional law”¯a premise crucial to the work of anyone who, like Soros, seeks to fundamentally transform a society.
Barack Obama, who himself has openly vowed to “fundamentally transform” the United States, shares precisely this same view of the Constitution. In his 2006 book The Audacity of Hope, Obama wrote that the Constitution “is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.” Moreover, he asserted that, if elected to the White House, he would not appoint a strict constructionist¯one who seeks to apply the Constitution's text as it is written and without further inference¯to the Supreme Court. True to his word, President Obama has thus far appointed two Supreme Court Justices¯Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan¯both of whom reject strict constructionism.
Sotomayor, for her part, is an advocate of legal realism, which the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) describes as a judicial philosophy that is “diametrically opposed to the concept of strict construction/originalism as advocated by conservative legal thinkers and judges.” TVC adds that according to legal realism: “[J]udges should do more than interpret the law or look to the original intent of the writers of the law or the Constitution. Judges should bring in outside influences from social sciences, psychology and politics, plus their own views, to craft the law….”
Suggesting that the public wrongly expects “the law to be static and predictable,” Sotomayor contends that courts and lawyers are “constantly overhauling the laws and adapting it [sic] to the realities of ever-changing social, industrial and political conditions.” Meanwhile, Elena Kagan has approvingly cited former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall's assertion that the Constitution, “as originally drafted and conceived,” was “defective.”
Promoting Socialized Medicine in the United States
As noted earlier, George Soros has long favored a greater role for government in the American healthcare system. During the political debate over “Obamacare” in 2009 and 2010, one of the most influential pro-reform coalitions was Health Care for America Now (HCAN), a vast network of organizations supporting, ideally, a “single-payer” model where the federal government would be in charge of financing and administering the entire U.S. healthcare system. HCAN’s strategy was to try to achieve such a system incrementally, first by implementing a “public option”—i.e., a government insurance agency to “compete” with private insurers, so that Americans would be “no longer at the mercy of the private insurance industry.” Because such an agency would not need to show a profit in order to remain in business, and because it could tax and regulate its private competitors in whatever fashion it pleased, this “public option” would inevitably force private insurers out of the industry.
In August 2009, Soros pledged to give HCAN $5 million to promote its campaign for reform. HCAN's organizational members include a host of Soros-affiliated organizations, among which are such stalwarts as the ACLU, ACORN, the AFL-CIO, the AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Center for Community Change, the Gamaliel Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens, MoveOn.org, the NAACP, the National Abortion Federation, the National Council of La Raza, the National Education Association, Planned Parenthood, the Progressive States Network, and USAction. Many of these member groups regularly receive large amounts of Soros funding directly from the Open Society Institute. Some of that money was undoubtedly used to bankroll the healthcare reform crusade, thus we can say with certainty that Soros's real contributions to the cause far exceeded the $5 million he gave to HCAN.
Terrorism As a Criminal Matter, Rather Than an Act of War
Ever since the al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, George Soros has emphasized that it is “more appropriate” for the U.S. government to treat such events as “crimes against humanity” rather than acts of war, and that a proper response thus involves “police work, not military action.” Numerous Soros-funded organizations espouse this view as well, as evidenced by their efforts to ensure that suspected terrorists are tried in civilian courts rather than in military tribunals. The latter venues, where military officers serve as the judges and jurors, are designed specifically to deal with offenses committed in the context of warfare. Significantly, they permit prosecutors to use secret evidence that may have been obtained by means of enhanced interrogation methods, whereas civilian courts forbid the admittance of such evidence. Among the Soros-funded groups that look with strong disfavor upon military tribunals are the American Constitution Society, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch.
Their perspective is very much in line with that of Barack Obama. Immediately following his inauguration, in fact, Obama's first act as U.S. President was to order the suspension of all military tribunals that had been established to adjudicate the cases of terror suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which continued to house more than 200 al Qaeda and Taliban combatants captured by the American military during its post-9/11 wars in the Mideast. Obama, like Soros, favors a criminal-justice-oriented approach to terrorism and thus would prefer to try the perpetrators in civilian court¯where they would enjoy the enhanced rights and protections that such courts afford to all defendants.
This approach to terrorism has set the tone for every member of the Obama administration. In March 2009, for instance, Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano broke with her agency's traditional practice of warning the American public about potential “terrorist” threats, and instead began referring to acts of terrorism as “man-caused disasters.” Two months later the Obama Justice Department¯again demonstrating its preference for treating terrorism as a law-enforcement issue rather than as a military matter¯ordered the FBI to read Miranda warnings to enemy combatants captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. In November, the Obama administration announced that it planned to try five Guantanamo detainees with alleged ties to the 9/11 conspiracy in a civilian court.
Then, on Christmas Day of 2009, a Nigerian al Qaeda operative boarded a Northwest Airlines flight (from Amsterdam to Detroit) and attempted, without success, to blow up the plane in midair with a powerful chemical bomb. In public remarks soon after the incident, President Obama referred to the man as an “isolated extremist” rather than as a terrorist or a jihadist. In subsequent days the administration announced that it would offer the perpetrator a plea agreement to persuade him to reveal what he knew about al Qaeda operations in Yemen; if such an arrangement could not be worked out, the government planned to try him in federal civilian court.
In November 2010, al Qaeda terrorist Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani¯responsible for the deaths of 224 people in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania¯became the first Guantanamo detainee to be tried in civilian court and was acquitted on all but one of the charges against him.
The "Responsibility to Protect"
In March 2011, President Obama, without consulting Congress, authorized the involvement of the U.S. military in imposing a "no-fly zone" over Libya, to prevent President Moammar Qaddafi's forces from bombing rebels who were challenging his regime. On March 21, the White House announced the initiation of "a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster."
According to reports, Samantha Power, Obama's National Security Council special adviser on human rights, was instrumental in persuading Obama to take this action against Libya. Power is a longtime advocate of the doctrine known as the "Responsibility to Protect," which encourages the international community to intervene in a particular country's internal affairs -- with military force if necessary -- in order to thwart genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, which is the world's leading advocate of this doctrine, is funded by the Open Society Institute. In a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article, George Soros himself discussed the fundamentals of the Responsibility to Protect, writing:
"If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified. By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states' borders to protect the rights of citizens."
Organizations Where the Soros and Obama Agendas Intersect
By way of the many hundreds of pro-Obama groups that George Soros funds on a regular basis, there are literally thousands of political and financial ties that exist between Soros and the President. A comprehensive discussion of these connections could more than fill the pages of a large book. Nevertheless, a few key entities that serve as vital contact points in the Obama-Soros relationship are well worth noting here.
Center for American Progress
The Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) may well have more influence on the Obama presidency than any other organization in existence. This left-wing think tank formulates policy for the administration and supplies the White House with a steady stream of talking points designed to make that policy palatable to the public. In fact, as of December 2008, before then-President-elect Obama had even taken his oath of office, he had already pledged his intent to fulfill some of CAP's chief policy recommendations. These included the Center's call for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq coupled with a buildup of forces in Afghanistan, a plan to implement universal health coverage, and a plan to create “green jobs” designed to combat “global warming.” According to Bloomberg.com, CAP “has become ... an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the ... Obama administration.”
Emblematic of this was the synergy that Obama and CAP displayed in dealing with the disastrous BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the spring of 2010. In May and June of that year, when the crisis was at its height, Obama took his cue from the Center on a number of important occasions. For example:
On virtually every policy matter—health-care reform, fiscal policy, civil rights, immigration, housing, labor, national security, foreign policy, media, energy, or the environment—CAP's recommendations fit hand-in-glove with the Obama administration's values and agendas. In many cases, as in the examples cited above, the administration actually follows CAP's instructions. In a very real sense, George Soros dictates his policy recommendations to the Obama White House through the Center for American Progress.
- On May 4, CAP’s energy and environment expert, Daniel Weiss, advised Obama to create an independent commission to examine the causes of the crisis; eighteen days later, the President did exactly that.
- On May 21, CAP president John Podesta privately exhorted White House officials to name someone to be the public point person for the oil-spill response. A week later, the Obama administration announced that Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen would fill that role.
- On May 26, Daniel Weiss advised the White House to demand that BP immediately set up a multi-billion-dollar escrow account to pay damage claims to Gulf-state residents harmed by the spill. Some three weeks later, Obama issued precisely that demand.
International Crisis Group
One of the more significant beneficiaries of George Soros's funding is the International Crisis Group (ICG), a nonprofit organization that makes policy recommendations ostensibly designed to foster goodwill among nations. In 2008, the Open Society Institute gave a whopping $5 million to this entity, on whose executive committee Soros himself sits. One of ICG's leading figures is its Mideast director, Robert Malley, a Harvard-trained lawyer who in 2007 was named as a foreign-policy advisor to the Obama presidential campaign.
Obama has long held Malley, who formerly served in the Clinton administration, in high regard as a policy analyst. Over the years, Malley has penned numerous articles and op-eds condemning Israel, exonerating Palestinians, urging the U.S. to disengage from Israel to some degree, and recommending that America reach out to negotiate with its traditional Arab enemies such as Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. These views are of a piece with George Soros's “open society” ideal, whose moral relativism leads inescapably to the conclusion that one man's terrorist is indeed another man's freedom fighter¯and, by logical extension, that no nation should be so proud as to be unwilling to conduct diplomacy with its foes. In mid-2008, however, the Obama campaign severed its ties with Malley after the Times of London revealed that the ICG official had quietly been in regular contact with Hamas leaders as part of his work for ICG.
Notwithstanding Malley's fall from grace, Barack Obama's foreign policies have been, from the outset of his presidency, very much in line with the recommendations of the Soros-funded ICG. For one, Obama has often emphasized his willingness to negotiate with even the most unyielding enemies of the United States, and has sought to persuade Israel to take that same approach. Six days after his inauguration, for instance, Obama granted his first television interview as U.S. President to Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based network, where he stated: “[A]ll too often the United States starts by dictating ... and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved. So let’s listen.” He subsequently called on Israel to drop its “preconceptions” and negotiate for peace with Hamas, the terrorist organization whose founding charter remains irrevocably committed to the permanent destruction of Israel and the mass murder of Jews. Obama further signaled an eagerness to conduct “unconditional talks” on nuclear matters with Iran¯even as that nation was actively supplying high-tech weaponry to Hamas and Hezbollah, and even after its president had repeatedly declared that “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Not long thereafter, the Obama administration announced its desire to negotiate with Taliban “moderates,” with the aim of bringing the war in Afghanistan to a close.
J Street was founded in 2008 “to promote meaningful American leadership to end the Arab-Israeli ... conflicts peacefully and diplomatically.” Key to achieving this objective, says the organization, will be the development of “a new direction for American policy in the Middle East,” a direction that recognizes “the right of the Palestinians to a sovereign state of their own”—where Palestine and Israel exist “side-by-side in peace and security.” Toward this end, J Street supports “diplomatic solutions over military ones,” “multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution,” and “dialogue over confrontation.” Israel’s partner in such a dialogue would necessarily be Hamas, which holds the reins of political power in Gaza and steadfastly denies Israel’s right to exist. Yet J Street has cautioned Israel not to be too combative against Hamas, on grounds that the latter “has been the government, law and order, and service provider since it won the [Palestinian] elections in January 2006 and especially since June 2007 when it took complete control.” In the final analysis, J Street traces the Mideast conflict chiefly to the notion that “Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories have, for over forty years, been an obstacle to peace.”
The foregoing positions are largely indistinguishable from those of President Obama, who likewise favors a two-state solution whereby Israel and “a sovereign Palestine” would live “side by side—in peace.” To achieve such a resolution, he says, initiatives to construct additional Israeli settlements in the West Bank “have to be stopped.” In October 2009, Obama signaled his support for J Street's agendas when he sent national security advisor James Jones to deliver the keynote address at a J Street conference.
Another avid supporter of J Street is George Soros, though the billionaire initially tried to conceal that support from the public—for fear that his controversial reputation might scare off other potential backers. But in September 2010 The Washington Times revealed that from 2008-2010, Soros and his two children—Jonathan and Andrea—had given a total of $750,000 to the organization. It is worth noting, moreover, that J Street's Advisory Council includes a number of individuals with very close ties to Soros. Among them are the following:
Soros shares J Street's belief that Israel should recognize, and negotiate with, the Hamas-led Palestinian government. In the April 12, 2007 issue of the New York Review of Books, Soros penned an article titled “On Israel, America and AIPAC,” wherein he derided the Bush administration for “committing a major policy blunder in the Middle East” by “supporting the Israeli government in its refusal to recognize a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, which the U.S. State Department considers a terrorist organization.” In Soros' calculus, “This precludes any progress toward a peace settlement at a time when progress on the Palestinian problem could help avert a conflagration in the greater Middle East.” Added Soros:
“Israel, with the strong backing of the United States, refused to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government and withheld payment of the millions in taxes collected by the Israelis on its behalf. This caused great economic hardship and undermined the ability of the government to function. But it did not reduce popular support for Hamas among Palestinians ... [B]oth Israel and the United States seem to be frozen in their unwillingness to negotiate with a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas. The sticking point is Hamas's unwillingness to recognize the existence of Israel; but that [recognition] could be made a condition for an eventual settlement rather than a precondition for negotiations.… The current policy of not seeking a political solution but pursuing military escalation—not just an eye for an eye but roughly speaking ten Palestinian lives for every Israeli one—has reached a particularly dangerous point.”
By no means is Hamas the only Islamic terrorist organization which Soros views as a legitimate political entity and a suitable negotiating partner for Israel. Indeed, in early February 2011 he cast Hamas's ideological comrade, the Muslim Brotherhood, in much the same light. At the time, a massive wave of violent riots were taking place in Egypt—ostensibly triggered by public discontent over Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's autocratic rule, governmental corruption, and the country's widespread poverty. Meanwhile, there was much speculation that if Mubarak were to be forced out of office, the Brotherhood was likely to fill the power vacuum. Said Soros:
“President Obama personally and the United States as a country have much to gain by moving out in front and siding with the public demand for [a new Egyptian government of] dignity and democracy. This would help rebuild America's leadership and remove a lingering structural weakness in our alliances that comes from being associated with unpopular and repressive regimes [such as Mubarak's]. Most important, doing so would open the way to peaceful progress in the region. The Muslim Brotherhood's cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a constructive role in a democratic political system.”
Soros made that assertion even though:
(a) The Muslim Brotherhood—a supporter of Hamas, al Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad—had made it explicitly clear that it favored the dissolution of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
(b) The Muslim Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef, had stated that his organization has never recognized Israel and never will, adding: “Our lexicon does not include anything called 'Israel.' The [only thing] we acknowledge is the existence of Zionist gangs that have occupied Arab lands and deported the residents. If they want to live among us, it will have to be as [residents of] Palestine. If they want their own state, our only option is to object.”
(c) Muhammad Ghannem, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, told the Iranian news network Al-Alam that “the people [of Egypt] should be prepared for war against Israel,” emphasizing that “the Egyptian people are prepared for anything to get rid of this regime.”
Notwithstanding the Brotherhood's unequivocal contempt for Israel and the Jews, Soros lamented that “the main stumbling block” likely to prevent that organization from becoming part of a new “democracy” in Egypt “is Israel.” “In reality,” said Soros, “Israel has as much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East as the United States has. But Israel is unlikely to recognize its own best interests because the change is too sudden and carries too many risks. And some U.S. supporters of Israel are more rigid and ideological than Israelis themselves. Fortunately, Obama is not beholden to the religious right, which has carried on a veritable vendetta against him.”
As Aaron Klein reported in WorldNetDaily on February 6, 2011, the Middle East and North Africa Initiative of the Open Society Institute had recently provided “numerous grants to a wide range of projects that promote so-called democratic issues across the region, including in Egypt.” Some four months before the rioting started, OSI was seeking to expand its work in Egypt by hiring a new project manager for its Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, which was run in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative. OSI had also bankrolled the main opposition voice in Tunisia, Radio Kalima, a leading promoter of the January 2011 riots that forced Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign on January 14.
American Constitution Society
Heavily funded by the Open Society Institute, the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) is a Washington, DC-based think tank that seeks to push American jurisprudence ever-further to the left politically.
In June 2008, ACS board member Eric Holder, whom president-elect Barack Obama would name as his choice for Attorney General five months later, spoke at an ACS convention. Predicting an Obama victory in the November election, Holder told his audience that the U.S. soon would be “run by progressives”¯of whom a “substantial number” were likely to be ACS members. By December 2008, several major ACS figures already had secured positions in the forthcoming Obama administration. That very month, in fact, one particularly influential former member of the ACS board of advisors, Hillary Clinton, was chosen to serve as Obama’s secretary of state.
ACORN and Project Vote
Manhattan Institute scholar Sol Stern writes that the Shadow Party member-group ACORN, while professing its dedication to “the poor and powerless,” in fact “promotes a 1960s-bred agenda of anti-capitalism, central planning, victimology, and government handouts to the poor”¯pushing for “ever more government control of the economy” and “anti-capitalist redistributionism.” ACORN's Independent Advisory Council has featured such Soros-affiliated luminaries as Andrew Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union, and John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress.
Obama, for his part, was the attorney for ACORN's lead election-law cases before joining the Illinois legislature. Also in the early to mid-1990s, he helped train ACORN's staff in the art of radical community organizing. In 1995 Obama sued, on behalf of ACORN, for the implementation of an Illinois motor-voter law which ultimately would become a breeding ground for voter fraud. He also served for several years on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago, which awarded a number of sizable grants to ACORN. When ACORN officially endorsed Obama for U.S. President in February 2008, the candidate welcomed the endorsement and told an audience of ACORN workers and supporters: “I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues that you care about my entire career.” That same year, Obama's presidential campaign quietly gave one of ACORN's front groups some $800,000 to fund a voter-registration drive on the senator's behalf. As of October 2008, ACORN was under investigation for voter-registration fraud in 13 states.
Project Vote is ACORN's Soros-funded voter-mobilization arm. From April to November of 1992, Barack Obama was director of the organization's Illinois chapter. In 2008, Obama's presidential campaign furnished Project Vote with a list of donors who had already given the campaign the maximum sum of money permitted by law. In turn, Project Vote representatives contacted those donors and urged them to make contributions to the ACORN affiliate¯funds which could then be used to support Obama's candidacy while technically complying with election-law limits on campaign donations. That same year, the Open Society Institute gave Project Vote $400,000.
In a massive mobilization aimed at helping Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008, this powerful Soros-affiliated organization dispatched approximately a million volunteers to work on Obama's campaign nationwide¯600,000 in battleground states and 400,000 in non-battleground states. In addition, MoveOn registered more than half a million young Obama supporters to vote in the battleground states, while adding a million young people to its membership rolls during the summer of 2008. All told, MoveOn and its members contributed more than $58 million directly to the Obama campaign, while raising and spending at least an additional $30 million in independent election efforts on behalf of other Democrats across the United States. In November 2003, Soros pledged $5 million to MoveOn.
More Soros-Obama Connections
Following is a brief overview of some prominent individuals with close political ties to Barack Obama on the one hand, and who also have been influenced in some significant way by George Soros's money, on the other.
A self-professed revolutionary communist who has long endeavored to ignite transformative revolution in the United States, Van Jones spent six months as President Obama's “green jobs czar” in 2009, until public controversy over his recently exposed radical past forced him to resign.
From 1996-2007, Jones headed the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which, claiming that the American criminal-justice system was infested with racism, sought to promote alternatives to incarceration. Between 1999 and 2009, the Baker Center received more than $1 million from George Soros's Open Society Institute.
In 2007 Jones launched Green For All (GFA), an organization “dedicated to building an inclusive green economy” that would provide a vehicle for large-scale wealth redistribution. One of GFA's major funders is the Open Society Institute ($75,000 in 2008).
Over the years, Jones has been a board member of numerous environmental and nonprofit organizations, including the Soros-funded Free Press and the environmentalist group Apollo Alliance, which was launched by the Soros-backed Tides Foundation. The Apollo Alliance helped craft portions of the $787 billion “stimulus” legislation that President Obama signed into law in early 2009. Specifically, the organization had a hand in writing the “clean energy and green-collar jobs provisions” of the bill, for which $86 billion was earmarked.
Today, Jones serves as one of twenty advisors to the Colorado-based Presidential Climate Action Project, which makes climate-policy recommendations for the Obama White House. Jones is also a senior fellow at the Soros-funded Center for American Progress (CAP)¯the think tank that promotes virtually all of Obama's political agendas.
Former New Leftist Andrew Stern served as president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the second-largest labor union in North America, from 1996 until April 2010. He was trained in the tactics of radical activism at the Midwest Academy, which received $10,000 from Soros in 1997. Stern also helped form America Votes, a Soros-funded coalition of grassroots, get-out-the-vote organizations.
And he sat on the executive committee of America Coming Together, to which Soros famously gave $10 million in 2003.
In 2008, Stern's SEIU spent approximately $60.7 million to help elect Barack Obama to the White House¯deploying some 100,000 pro-Obama volunteers during the campaign. Stern went on to become an immensely influential advisor to President Obama. As of October 30, 2009, the union magnate had visited the White House 22 times since Obama's inauguration¯more than any other individual.
In February 2010, Obama appointed Stern to sit on a National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
David Axelrod serves as a key strategist for Barck Obama. In 2004, Axelrod's political consulting firm received at least $229,000 from the Media Fund, a Soros-backed Shadow Party organization which ran some $53 million in pro-John Kerry presidential campaign ads.
On January 22, 2009, President Obama named Carol Browner to serve as his “environment czar.” Browner previously had been a “commissioner” with the Socialist International, an umbrella group for scores of “social democratic, socialist and labor parties” in 55 countries. She is currently a board member of the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Center for American Progress, and the League of Conservation Voters¯all of which are funded by George Soros.
Called “the most powerful women in the labor movement” by Fortune magazine and nicknamed the “Queen of Labor,” Anna Burger is dedicated to building the progressive movement in the United States. She has had a long career with the SEIU, where she currently serves as international secretary-treasurer. In February 2009, President Obama appointed her to his Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
Burger is also vice chair of the Soros-affiliated Democracy Alliance.
In 1990 Kevin Jennings established the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a Boston-area organization that is funded, in part, by the Open Society Institute. In June 2009, President Obama appointed Jennings as assistant deputy secretary of education¯or “education czar.”
A great admirer of Venezuela's Communist president Hugo Chavez, Mark Lloyd has served as a consultant to the Open Society Institute and as vice president of strategic initiatives at the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a legislative advocacy group that receives financial backing from George Soros. In July 2009, Lloyd, a senior fellow at the Soros-funded Center for American Progress, was appointed as President Obama's diversity chief at the Federal Communications Commission.
A former member of the radical Students for a Democratic Society, this self-described activist preacher has long championed the cause of communism. Unremittingly critical of the free-market system, Wallis has often impugned capitalism for its historical lack of success. “Our systems have failed the poor and they have failed the earth,” he says. “They have failed the creation.” In a January 2006 radio interview with Interfaith Voices, Wallis was asked to clarify whether he was in fact “calling for the redistribution of wealth in society.” He replied, “Absolutely, without any hesitation. That's what the gospel is all about.” Today Wallis is a spiritual advisor to President Obama.
George Soros' Open Society Institute has made grants to Sojourners, the leftist publication that Wallis founded, in the amounts of $200,000 in 2004, $25,000 in 2006, and $100,000 in 2007.
Stanley Kurtz, Radical In Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism (2010)
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2364 (The reference is to Carol Browner.)
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2434 (The reference is to Anita Dunn.)
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2368 (The reference is to John Holdren.)
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2406 (The reference is to Van Jones.)
George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998), p. 102
George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism (1998), pp. xvii
George Soros, George Soros on Globalization, p. 10
George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism (2000), p. 203
George Soros, George Soros on Globalization, p. 3
George Soros, “Avoiding a Breakdown: Asia's Crisis Demands a Rethink of International Regulation,” Financial Times of London (December 31, 1997); George Soros, Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (2000), p. 276.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/13/AR2006091300283.html ; http://www.unmillenniumproject.org/press/07.htm
George Soros, George Soros on Globalization, p. viii
George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy (2004), pp. 168-169
George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism (2000), p. xxix
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2385 ; http://pcr.hudson.org/files/publications/2008_Bradley_Symposium_Fonte_Essay.pdf
http://www.internationalrelations.house.gov/110/koh032907.pdf ; http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/227209/obama-joins-human-rights-charade-anne-bayefsky (Among the member nations are China, Cuba, Libya, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.)
http://townhall.com/Common/PrintPage.aspx?g=f52c747b-298a-465b-9d26-bce95f296633&t=c ; http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=33989
Michael T. Kaufman, Soros: The Life And Times Of A Messianic Billionaire, 2002, p. 135; Peter Schweizer, Do As I Say (2005), pp. 164-165.
Charles Ellis and James Vertin, Wall Street People: True Stories of Today's Masters and Moguls, Volume 2 (2001), p. 112.
“Revenue Sells 600 Buildings to Bermuda-Based Company.” Trends and Developments, Volume 8, Issue 10 (October 2002); Cited in Peter Schweizer, Do As I Say (2005), p. 165.
David Kay Johnston, “Dozens of Rich Americans Join in Fight to Retain Estate Tax,” New York Times (February 14, 2001)
Quoted in Michael T. Kaufman, Soros: The Life And Times Of A Messianic Billionaire; Cited in Peter Schweizer, Do As I Say (2005), pp. 165-166.
http://keywiki.org/index.php/George_Soros_-_Political/Financial_Stances ; http://www.climatepolicyinitiative.org/mission.html
Ben Johnson, “Who's Behind the Immigration Rallies?” FrontPageMag.com (March 29, 2006)
David Horowitz and Richard Poe, The Shadow Party (2006), p. 103
Richard Poe, “Soros Rewrites U.S. Constitution,” MoonbatCentral.com (April 9, 2005)
Scott Johnson, “The $80,000 Misunderstanding,” PowerlineBlog.com (April 9, 2005)
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/us/politics/30dems.html; http://theplumline.whorunsgov.com/health-care/george-soros-pledges-5-million-to-bankroll-health-care-reform-push-group-says/; http://nation.foxnews.com/george-soros/2009/08/11/soros-gives-5-million-liberal-health-care-group; http://www.newsmax.com/LowellPonte/obama-pelosi-acorn/2009/12/12/id/341854
George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy (2004), p. 18
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/viewSubCategory.asp?id=546; George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy (2004), p. 38.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/us/politics/11network.html (Executive Director Lisa Brown had been named as Obama’s White House Staff Secretary. ACS Board of Directors member Goodwin Liu had been named to the Obama-Biden transition team. Joining Liu on the transition team was another ACS Board of Directors member, Dawn Johnsen. Former ACS staffer Melody Barnes had been selected to direct the Obama administration’s Domestic Policy Council. Former ACS Board member Ronald Klain had been named chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/224610/inside-obamas-acorn/stanley-kurtz; Frank De Zutter, “What Makes Obama Run?” Chicago Reader (December 8, 1995)
http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1511 (These grants included $45,000 in 2000, $75,000 in 2001, and $70,000 in 2002.)
http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pdf/v1225223330.pdf ; http://michellemalkin.com/2008/08/22/acorn-watch-pt-ii-obama-hid-800000-payment-to-acorn-through-citizen-services-inc/
http://www.greenforall.org/about-us ; http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7554
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/09/the_sorosaxelrod_axis_of_astro.html ; http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0910/Axelrod_and_the_outside_groups.html