Has Magneto Met His Match?
The Soros Effect
George Soros has had more of an impact on American life than any living private donor--certainly no other billionaire has had a higher ROI on political donations than Soros. Regular readers may remember a study we shared last 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.
Soros-funded DAs seem to be in the news doing something awful every other week, such as Manhattan's Alvin Bragg prosecuting Daniel Penny for defending subway riders from a repeat violent felon.
Why George Soros Made Our Cities More Dangerous
Soros explained himself in a WSJ op/ed last year ("Why I Support Reform Prosecutors"). In a nutshell: 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. This might be true if blacks committed crimes at the same rate as whites, but that is not the case. As Steve Sailer pointed out recently, according to FBI data, blacks made up 60.4 percent of all known homicide offenders in 2021, despite comprising about 13% of the U.S. population. In other words, the black homicide rate is about ~9x the white homicide rate. There is a similar disparity in rates of other crimes.
That the difference in crime rates between blacks and whites is greater than the difference in incarceration rates between them (~9 > 5) suggests that our problem is that we have too few people in jail, not too many. That Jordan Neely was still free to menace fellow subway riders after committing several serious felonies in the past is evidence of our under-incarceration problem.
There are two possibilities when it comes to George Soros's intent here. One is that the arithmetic I've laid out above is beyond the grasp of one of the all time greats of quantitative finance. The other is that Soros knows that his prosecutors' policies are leading to more crime, and has decided to pursue this evil tack anyway. Elon Musk seems to have settled on the second possibility.
George Soros As Magneto
Elon Musk drew a lot of attention this week by comparing Soros to the Marvel character Magneto. For those unfamiliar with the Marvel universe, the video in this tweet summarizes the parallels between Magneto and Soros, but the ones that drew the most attention were that, like Soros, the fictional Magneto was ethnically Jewish, and a Holocaust survivor.
Elon Musk courted controversy when he drew parallels between Soros and Marvel Comics' character Magneto.— Catch Up (@CatchUpFeed) May 17, 2023
The comparison calls for us to delve into the complex backgrounds of both figures, exploring the lasting impact of their shared experiences as Holocaust survivors and the… pic.twitter.com/M3DyooP2Of
Our friend Isaac Simpson, who writes at The Carousel and runs the based marketing agency Will, put it a bit more pithily in his excellent essay in The Federalist ("Show Me A Hero"):
Supervillains, usually out of resentment from past wrongs, decide to take out their fury on the world by trying to conquer it. They are the “final boss” in a third-act showdown, the brain criminal behind the body criminals that the superhero faces in the first act. At the core of supervillain efforts always lies some half-brained moral plan about how things will be better for everyone once they’re in control, even if we can’t understand it yet.
George Soros, a “global citizen,” never sets foot on the streets of cities he corrupts by electing ultra-liberal DAs that refuse to enforce the laws. Working-class, ordinary people have to send their children through dangerous filthy parks and subways because a random man from Hungary has decided it must be so.
Soros shares a similar backstory to the X-men supervillain Magneto, which is why Elon Musk just tweeted that Soros “reminds [him] of Magneto,” and that Soros “wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. He hates humanity,” which is something you’d only say about a supervillain. Magneto turned against humanity after being thrown into a concentration camp during World War II. A Hungarian Jew, Soros is also a Holocaust survivor who helped the Nazis confiscate fellow Jews’ property, something he is on record saying he doesn’t regret.
Even as crime rates spike and innocent people pay the price for Soros’ strange ideology, his true motivations remain shrouded. But they aren’t really mysterious at all. Sometimes the simplest explanation is the right one. Soros isn’t “like a supervillain,” he literally is one. He’s driven by a genuine hatred of humanity. That’s it.
Accusations Of Antisemitism As A Shield
Inevitably, leftists called the Magneto comparison antisemitic. "Elon Musk doesn’t understand George Soros — or Magneto — but he’s great at antisemitism", wrote someone called PJ Grisar at The Forward; "Elon Musk's antisemitism was inevitable", wrote Yair Rosenberg at The Atlantic. Thanks to Elon Musk's ownership of Twitter, they got perhaps more pushback than usual.
Venture capitalist David Sacks wrote in a longform tweet:
George Soros has been so uniquely destructive to law & order in American cities that there’s a name for the carnage he’s wrought: “Soros DAs.” His organization described its strategy to Politico in a 2016 article: it would change the law, not by going through legislatures, but rather by buying under-funded DA elections. His DAs would then change the law through the abuse of prosecutorial discretion.
Soros’ strategy worked because few were paying attention to hyper-local DA elections. No one expected out-of-town money to come in and seek to radically change their quality of life. Now that the results are clear, many more people are paying attention. This has caused some in the mainstream media and leftwing political groups to attempt to portray any criticism of Soros as anti-semitism. This is absurd.
Soros sought to have an outsized impact on public policy. He should not be immune from criticism. In any other context, the influence of money in politics would be a legitimate topic of conversation. Indeed, it is highly appropriate in a democracy to recognize when a special interest has subverted the public interest.
Erstwhile liberal Aimee Terese pointed out that the left has had no problem calling right-leaning Jews evil:
Libs are full of shit, they use accusations of antisemitism to protect Soros from criticism, the kind of criticism they routinely levy at people they disagree with. It's just a weapon and you don't have to listen to them. Tell them to shut up. pic.twitter.com/SG0KgTo1Hf— Aimee Terese (@aimeeterese) May 17, 2023
And former Trump White House staffer Stephen Miller pushed back at the ADL's attempt to call Musk an antisemite:
What a tired, malicious and outrageous slander, Jonathan. I condemn your comments as an American, as a Jew, and as someone who cherishes civilization. George Soros is the most prolific private funder of the most radical and destructive policies—from demolishing sovereign borders…— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) May 16, 2023
Here's the full text of Miller's longform tweet:
What a tired, malicious and outrageous slander, Jonathan. I condemn your comments as an American, as a Jew, and as someone who cherishes civilization. George Soros is the most prolific private funder of the most radical and destructive policies—from demolishing sovereign borders to fomenting racial division to eliminating the rule of law and on and on. For you to state or suggest that criticism of Soros and his abominable policies is somehow anti-Semitic is the most vile slander. And by falsely deploying this grave term for such dishonest, malignant and nakedly political purposes it is you who has betrayed our community. Shame on you.
(PS you should take a look at Soros’ disturbing comments about Israel).
For readers surprised by that last statement, see, for example, "Israel's War Against George Soros".
Overall, Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter continues to pay dividends in expanding the Overton window of American discourse. Hopefully, this will lead to more pushback against Soros and his prosecutors.
In Case You Missed It
In a trade alert at the beginning of this month ("Betting on Another Regional Bank"), I mentioned I had identified a regional bank with similar characteristics to First Republic before it posted its final earnings report, Fulton Financial Corporation (FULT 1.23%↑). My trade was vertical spread expiring in September buying the $10 strike puts and selling the $7.50 strike puts for a net debit of $0.28. I sold half of my contracts for a net credit of $0.75 last week, for a gain of 168%, so I'm playing with the house's money on the rest.
Since then, FULT has climbed about 13% on the recent rally in regional banks. This might not be a bad time to enter that trade if you think this rally is a dead cat bounce.
If this regional bank rally continues, I'll probably add some new bets against regional banks. If you'd like a heads up when I do, feel free to subscribe to my trading Substack/occasional email list below.
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