How George Soros Made Our Cities More Dangerous
Regular readers may remember a study we shared back in June ("San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin Was The Tip Of The Iceberg") that detailed how George Soros's donations helped install at least 75 soft-on-crime "reform" district attorneys in cities across America:
In absolute terms, the numbers cited by the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) seem large: $40 million funneled into prosecutors' election campaigns by George Soros over the last ten years. But relative to the fortunes of right-leaning billionaires such as Peter Thiel (a Stanford Law alumnus), this is not a lot of money. One of the striking statistics the LELDF notes is that in many of these prosecutorial races, Soros money accounted for 90% of the campaign funds spent by either side. Soros essentially faced no competition in changing the face of American justice.
For an example of the results Soros achieved with this...philanthropy, consider the case of Philadelphia, where Soros supported the campaign of DA Larry Krasner. Via Philly Crime Update:
The Philadelphia Police Department released their weekly crime statistics yesterday that showed crime in Philadelphia is up 25% in 2022 compared to this time last year. This is a staggering increase especially after 2021 was the worst year for crime in the recorded history of Philadelphia.
Why George Soros Made Our Cities More Dangerous
Soros penned an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago defending his funding of these soft-on-crime prosecutors. I noted the key part in a tweet from my personal account at the time: namely, that Soros believes that blacks in America being five times as likely to be sent to jail as whites is prima facie evidence that our criminal justice system is racist.
"We need to acknowledge that black people in the U.S. are five times as likely to be sent to jail as white people."— David Pinsen (@dpinsen) August 1, 2022
Interesting stat, @georgesoros. How much more likely are they to commit crimes?
(h/t @kausmickey) https://t.co/XLjlB1pTi4
Of course, this would only be true if blacks were committing crimes at the same rate as whites. In fact, they are not. As social scientist Charles Murray pointed out in a recent book, black violent crime rates are about ten times higher than those of whites.
If anything, our criminal justice system is anti-racist, in that blacks are incarcerated at a lower rate than would be explained by their crime rates.
Why You're Not Supposed To Talk About This
The first reason is that racial differences in crime rates are essentially taboo in America. For evidence of how taboo they are, consider that someone as knowledgeable as George Soros is apparently unfamiliar with them.
The second reason being articulated now is fairly new and novel: that George Soros is Jewish. It's novel because Soros has long been criticized by other Jews for his foundations' actions in Israel (see, for example, the somewhat hyperbolically titled piece, "The George Soros Plot to Destroy Israel"). A recent piece by James Kirchick details the left's cynical tack of attempting to insulate Soros from criticism by accusing his critics of antisemitism. I've posted Kirchick's column in full below. Before we get to it, two quick notes. First, a follow up on our previous post, and second, a small criticism of one of Kirchick's claims.
A Follow Up On Our Previous Post
In our previous post ("The Market's Up, The VIX 's Down, But Risks Abound"), I included this chart showing our Portfolio Armor's top ten names have performed since we added a new security selection factor on June 24th:
What I didn't mention there is that we've also been tracking a "plain" version of our top names selected without the use of factors. We do that so we can make sure we're on the right track and adjust the magnitude of our factors going forward (how much better or worse they do than the plain version). The chart of the plain top ten from June 24th offers an interesting comparison:
The first thing you'll notice is that the performance was significantly worse without the factors: up 16.43% with factors, versus up 4.87% without them. The second thing you may see is that the new factor kept us out of bearish names such as the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TBT) and the Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares (TECS) which had run up a bit prior to June 24th. This suggests it is giving us better entry points on volatile names.
A Small Criticism Of Kirchick
On my personal Twitter account, I objected to analogy Kirchick made between antisemitism and fears of Monkeypox:
When I hear “Monkeypox” I think “gays”. Why do you think “blacks”?— David Pinsen (@dpinsen) August 11, 2022
“The impulse to connect ‘Soros’ with Judaism and Jewishness is not unlike the bigotry that associates the term ‘monkeypox’ with Black people”
I had forgotten that Kirchick is gay. In any case, below is his important piece.
The Sanctification of George Soros
How the left stopped worrying about Soros the billionaire and learned to love Soros ‘the Jew’
Two weeks ago, George Soros took to the op-ed pages of the largest paid circulation newspaper in the United States to explain why he has spent tens of millions of dollars backing progressive district attorney candidates across the country. “Americans desperately need a more thoughtful discussion about our response to crime,” the billionaire philanthropist began in a piece for The Wall Street Journal titled, “Why I Support Reform Prosecutors.” Decrying the “demagoguery and divisive partisan attacks that dominate the debate and obscure the issues,” Soros elucidated his reasons for championing prosecutors who support, among other things, abolishing cash bail, reducing prison time for violent offenders, and declining to prosecute whole categories of crime altogether.
The scope of Soros’ efforts has been extensive. Through a combination of direct contributions to candidates, subventions to political action committees, and funding of other third party groups via his Open Society Foundations, Soros has spent upwards of $40 million over the past decade helping to elect some 75 prosecutors in metropolitan areas ranging from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, Manhattan to St. Louis. His pursuit of this agenda has been met with no small amount of controversy, and in some cases active resistance. In San Francisco, the Soros-backed District Attorney Chesa Boudin lost a recall vote earlier this year following a disastrous tenure marked by sharp increases in both violent and petty crime rates. George Gascon, a Soros-backed prosecutor in Los Angeles, will also face a recall. It was no doubt in response to the backlash his public efforts have caused that Soros decided, not unreasonably, to defend his political interventions. “I have done it transparently,” he wrote in the Journal of his massive outlays, “and I have no intention of stopping.”
All well and good. America is a free country, and Soros has every right to spend his vast fortune however he wants within the boundaries of the law, as well as to justify that spending in the public square. The same applies to those of us inhabiting lower tax brackets, who have no less a right to criticize Soros for how he’s trying to influence American public life—which, to repeat, he is very much, and by his own admission, trying to do. That extremely rich people with grand ideological designs should not be immune to criticism—indeed, that they should be subject to even more of it than the rest of us—is a pretty widely accepted view in America, especially on the political left, where the maxim “behind every great fortune lies a great crime” has long been a guiding principle. Indeed, one might go so far as to say that this lack of deference to the wealthy and the titled is one of our major distinguishing national characteristics.
Or used to be. A week after Soros published his piece in the Journal under his own name, proudly and defiantly justifying his expenditure of vast sums aimed at sparking a revolution in the administration of municipal criminal justice, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio introduced an amendment to the $750 billion climate and tax bill aimed at stymying this agenda by providing funds for local law enforcement to keep violent criminals behind bars. The measure had no chance of passing, and when the Democrat-led Senate predictably rejected it, Rubio took to Twitter. “The democrats just blocked my effort to try & force Soros backed prosecutors to put dangerous criminals in jail,” he tweeted in complaint.
What followed was the sort of Pavlovian response one has come to expect from progressive politicians, activists, journalists, and other social media impact influencers whenever the name of their benefactor is invoked.
Soros, in case you couldn’t tell, happens to be Jewish, a fact that has absolutely nothing to do with his ideas about criminal justice reform, or with Rubio’s opposition to them. Yet it was this utterly irrelevant detail of Soros’ birth that the progressive hive mind seized upon, spurring its minions to attack an unsubstantiated presumption about Rubio’s motives to the exclusion of his substantive arguments. The rebuke from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten was particularly rich in light of her response to parents upset about their children being denied in-person schooling during the pandemic. “American Jews,” she said in April 2021, “are now part of the ownership class.”
Put aside the merits of the criminal justice policies Soros is trying to advance with his humongous largesse. Also put aside the fact that, while he was alive, the right-wing Jewish casino magnate Sheldon Adelson was routinely denounced by progressives in terms that, by their own lights, are no less “antisemitic” than what they accuse Rubio of fomenting. The question before us today is whether, in the course of criticizing activities that the country’s biggest progressive donor has undertaken “transparently” (his word), it is possible to even utter his name without being accused of bigotry.
The argument that the mere mention of the name “Soros” is tantamount to antisemitism, which is effectively the position of the progressive political, media, and activist elite, is made entirely in bad faith. Stating the plain and observable fact that some prosecutors are “Soros-backed” is no more of an attack on Jews than the broadcaster Soledad O’Brien’s warning to “full-time Florida residents,” an antisemitic dog whistle about God’s waiting room. If the mind of a Soros supporter, upon hearing his name, races immediately to an image of a “Jew,” and one who serves as a stand-in for “the Jews,” it’s probably not the motives of the critic that need questioning. The impulse to connect “Soros” with Judaism and Jewishness is not unlike the bigotry that associates the term “monkeypox” with Black people. It’s a form of essentialism that expects us to agree with the antisemites that “being Jewish” is somehow relevant to what Americans like Soros (or right-wing Jewish billionaires, for that matter) do with their time and money.
Those engaging in this rhetorical tactic are certainly not pursuing the “thoughtful discussion” that Soros says we “desperately need,” but rather the “demagoguery and divisive partisan attacks” he denounces. Worse, they’re minimizing the threat posed by actual antisemitism by cheapening the accusation.
If You Want To Stay In Touch
You can follow James Kirchick on Twitter here.