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.” In other words: guilty as charged.
This is not, to be sure, the first time that Soros has revealed himself as a dispenser of Godwin's Law. In The Age of Fallibility -- a bluster-heavy rant against America, its “feel-good society,” and its economic “market fundamentalism” published last summer -- Soros posed the rhetorical question: “Is it valid to compare the Bush administration to the Nazi and communist regimes?” Soros ruled unhesitatingly in the affirmative. Sure, he allowed, the U.S. was a “functioning democracy” while “Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were totalitarian dictatorships.” But concerned citizens must look past this “glaring contrast,” he urged, “because then we can discern some surprising similarities.”
And which similarities might those be? First, there was the “unbridled pursuit of self-interest and self-indulgence” and a societal “revulsion” to both, a connective tissue that, in Soros’s judgment, made the United States the modern offspring of Nazi Germany’s forerunner in the Weimar Republic. In Weimar Germany, this revulsion manifested itself in the Nazi rule. In the US there was the comparably troubling “rise of religious fundamentalism.” Second, Soros wrote, “the Bush administration and the Nazi and Communist regimes all engaged in the politics of fear.” As if to underscore his historical illiteracy on this point, Soros explained that the “9/11 attacks had their counterpart in the Reichstag fire in Germany and the Kirov murder in the Soviet Union.” (In view of its inability to prevent even minor policy debates from leaking into the media, can it really be the case that the Bush administration declared a one-party state and purged political opponents by the thousands without arousing suspicion?)
There was more along these lines. Citing yet another supposed similarity, Soros wrote that “in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and present-day America, political life came to be dominated by a movement that originated outside the parliamentary system and seized state power.” Thus, according to Soros, the German Nazis and the Russian Communists find their logical match in the “conservative movement” within the Republican Party. Not least, there were “similarities in propaganda methods.” Here, however, Soros maintained that the United States was actually more pernicious than its Nazi and Soviet analogues. His reasoning was that “the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and Communist propaganda machines.” (At least this would explain why the Bush purges remain unknown.)
To point out the flaws of these comparisons would be to invest them with unearned seriousness. In any case, Soros made it clear that even he thought them unlikely to convince the lay reader. Conceding that his equation of the United States with Nazism and Communism won him few supporters -- outside, that is, the left-wing blogosphere, which found his Nazi analogies entirely on point -- Soros lamented: “Why does the general public not react in the same way?”
A better question might be: Where does George Soros, of all people, summon the nerve to smear his political opponents as Nazis? If anyone ought to be wary of a critical examination of the Nazi era, it is Soros. Though one finds only vague and sporadic mention of it in his books, all written with the conceit that a worldly power-broker is speaking inconvenient truths to power, the billionaire activist has his own uncomfortable ties to the Nazi genocide.
To examine these, one has to go back to 1944. In the aftermath of the German invasion of Hungary in March of that year, Soros’s father Tivadar conceived of a plan to safeguard his Jewish family from the occupiers. All were given false names with young Soros, then 14, becoming the suitably gentile sounding Sandor Kiss and posing as the godson of an official in the Hungarian ministry of agriculture. Throughout 1944, as the Nazi Final Solution to Hungarian Jewry took its murderous course -- within months half of Hungary’s prewar Jewish population had been killed or shipped to their slaughter at Auschwitz -- Soros traversed the country in the company of repossession officials, looking on as they confiscated property whose owners had been freshly deported to the death camps. At times, Soros reportedly served notices of eviction to deportees.
On one level, it’s difficult to blame Soros for doing what he needed to survive. Yet there has always been something unseemly about the unfeeling manner with which Soros has recalled that chapter of his life. As flagged by Martin Peretz in the New Republic, when asked in a 1998 interview on “60 Minutes” whether he was traumatized by the experience of dispossessing his coreligionists, Soros gave an arresting answer: “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.” In his mania for demonizing America‘s political leadership, Soros seems to have forgotten that there is at least one prominent figure implicated in the real -- as opposed to imagined -- crimes of the Nazi era. And it’s not President Bush.
Casting further suspicion on the legitimacy of Soros’s Nazi analogies are his strained ties to the Jewish state. While addressing a fund-raising conference for Israel in 2003, Soros claimed that the resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe could be partially attributed to the “policies of the Bush administration and the Sharon administration.” The Anti-Defamation League’s Abraham Foxman, no stranger to overreaction, nonetheless echoed the sentiments of many in the Jewish community when he pronounced Soros’s comments “absolutely obscene.”
This would be an equally fair description of Soros’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he sees as a “vicious circle of escalating violence,” a familiar bromide that posits a false moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinian rejectionists unabashedly seeking her destruction. More recently, Soros has floated plans to fund a “progressive” alternative to the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, apparently on the grounds that the lobbying organization is too supportive of Israel. Details are still vague, but early reports indicate that it will be on the model of the Israel Policy Forum, the liberal advocacy organization that has never let the lack of a credible Palestinian negotiating partner temper its enthusiasm for negotiations (read: Israeli concessions). The IPF’s director, David Elcott, is among the names linked to Soros’s project.
All this may seem of parochial interest. Why should anyone concern themselves with a blowhard financier whose politics are as extreme as his wealth? One reason is that Soros has in recent years committed much of that wealth to charting the course of the Democratic Party. In the 2004 election cycle, Soros’s spent more than $23 million on a campaign to defeat President Bush. Even as that effort foundered at the polls, the political landscape is now dotted with Soros-funded political action committees like America Coming Together, MoveOn.org, and the Center for American Progress, all vying to steer the Democrats leftward. Scratch a left-wing interest group and you’ll likely find Soros cash.
With the 2008 presidential election getting into high gear, another issue has come to the fore. Last month Soros announced that he was throwing his substantial clout behind the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic star from Illinois who has cast himself as a pragmatist unwilling to play the game of political division. Yet there are few public figures more divisive than George Soros. In the interest of his moderate image, Obama should decline Soros’s support. Better still, he might ask Soros to apologize for slandering the country that has given him every opportunity to prosper. Spurn the self-styled prophet of the Democratic Party? Admittedly, it’s a lot to ask. Call it the audacity of hope."
By Timothy Ball
Monday, February 5, 2007
"Global Warming, as we think we know it, doesn't exist. And I am not the only one trying to make people open up their eyes and see the truth. But few listen, despite the fact that I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and was a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. For some reason (actually for many), the World is not listening. Here is why.
What would happen if tomorrow we were told that, after all, the Earth is flat? It would probably be the most important piece of news in the media and would generate a lot of debate. So why is it that when scientists who have studied the Global Warming phenomenon for years say that humans are not the cause nobody listens? Why does no one acknowledge that the Emperor has no clothes on?
Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets.
No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?
Maybe for the same reason we believed, 30 years ago, that global cooling was the biggest threat: a matter of faith. "It is a cold fact: the Global Cooling presents humankind with the most important social, political, and adaptive challenge we have had to deal with for ten thousand years. Your stake in the decisions we make concerning it is of ultimate importance; the survival of ourselves, our children, our species," wrote Lowell Ponte in 1976.
I was as opposed to the threats of impending doom global cooling engendered as I am to the threats made about Global Warming. Let me stress I am not denying the phenomenon has occurred. The world has warmed since 1680, the nadir of a cool period called the Little Ice Age (LIA) that has generally continued to the present. These climate changes are well within natural variability and explained quite easily by changes in the sun. But there is nothing unusual going on.
Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling.
No doubt passive acceptance yields less stress, fewer personal attacks and makes career progress easier. What I have experienced in my personal life during the last years makes me understand why most people choose not to speak out; job security and fear of reprisals. Even in University, where free speech and challenge to prevailing wisdoms are supposedly encouraged, academics remain silent.
I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libellous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures. Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint.
In another instance, I was accused by Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki of being paid by oil companies. That is a lie. Apparently he thinks if the fossil fuel companies pay you have an agenda. So if Greenpeace, Sierra Club or governments pay there is no agenda and only truth and enlightenment?
Personal attacks are difficult and shouldn't occur in a debate in a civilized society. I can only consider them from what they imply. They usually indicate a person or group is losing the debate. In this case, they also indicate how political the entire Global Warming debate has become. Both underline the lack of or even contradictory nature of the evidence.
I am not alone in this journey against the prevalent myth. Several well-known names have also raised their voices. Michael Crichton, the scientist, writer and filmmaker is one of them. In his latest book, "State of Fear" he takes time to explain, often in surprising detail, the flawed science behind Global Warming and other imagined environmental crises.
Another cry in the wildenerness is Richard Lindzen's. He is an atmospheric physicist and a professor of meteorology at MIT, renowned for his research in dynamic meteorology - especially atmospheric waves. He is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has held positions at the University of Chicago, Harvard University and MIT. Linzen frequently speaks out against the notion that significant Global Warming is caused by humans. Yet nobody seems to listen.
I think it may be because most people don't understand the scientific method which Thomas Kuhn so skilfully and briefly set out in his book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions." A scientist makes certain assumptions and then produces a theory which is only as valid as the assumptions. The theory of Global Warming assumes that CO2 is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and as it increases temperatures rise. It was then theorized that since humans were producing more CO2 than before, the temperature would inevitably rise. The theory was accepted before testing had started, and effectively became a law.
As Lindzen said many years ago: "the consensus was reached before the research had even begun." Now, any scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a sceptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists. This has reached frightening levels with these scientists now being called climate change denier with all the holocaust connotations of that word. The normal scientific method is effectively being thwarted.
Meanwhile, politicians are being listened to, even though most of them have no knowledge or understanding of science, especially the science of climate and climate change. Hence, they are in no position to question a policy on climate change when it threatens the entire planet. Moreover, using fear and creating hysteria makes it very difficult to make calm rational decisions about issues needing attention.
Until you have challenged the prevailing wisdom you have no idea how nasty people can be. Until you have re-examined any issue in an attempt to find out all the information, you cannot know how much misinformation exists in the supposed age of information.
I was greatly influenced several years ago by Aaron Wildavsky's book "Yes, but is it true?" The author taught political science at a New York University and realized how science was being influenced by and apparently misused by politics. He gave his graduate students an assignment to pursue the science behind a policy generated by a highly publicised environmental concern. To his and their surprise they found there was little scientific evidence, consensus and justification for the policy. You only realize the extent to which Wildavsky's findings occur when you ask the question he posed. Wildavsky's students did it in the safety of academia and with the excuse that it was an assignment. I have learned it is a difficult question to ask in the real world, however I firmly believe it is the most important question to ask if we are to advance in the right direction."
Dr. Tim Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (www.nrsp.com), is a Victoria-based environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. He can be reached at [email protected] "
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