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Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

George Soros responds to Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert's insinuation that Soros received funding from drug money.

via New York Daily News
You know, I don't know where George Soros gets his money. I don't know where -- if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from," Hastert mused. An astonished Chris Wallace asked: "Excuse me?" The Speaker went on: "Well, that's what he's been for a number years -- George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there." Wallace: "You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?" Hastert: "I'm saying I don't know where groups - could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know."
George Soros
You do a discredit to yourself and to the dignity of your office by engaging in these dishonest smear tactics. You should be ashamed.

For the Speaker of the House of Representatives, even in the midst of an election season, to descend to a level of political discourse where innuendo and slander replace reason, truth and argument is unacceptable.

This past Sunday, on national television, you suggested that I might be a criminal simply because I have exercised my First Amendment rights to dissent from the policies of the Bush administration...

I must respectfully insist that you either substantiate these claims -- which you cannot do because they are false -- or publicly apologize for attempting to defame my character and damage my reputation.

PDF of Letter from Soros

via Cory @ Boing Boing

UPDATE: Video of the show on The Daily Recycler via Talking Points Memo.


I actually took it to mean "drug legalization groups" or "drug companies" given Soros' previous views on legalization (legallize pot, coke, etc.), but Hastert didn't really clarify it much (after given a few chances) and it does sound kind of odd. Kind of "whacky-out-there" odd for Hastert, who (although pretty conservative) is not known to go out on a limb like this often.

But make no mistakes: Soros is not a "squeaky clean" kind of guy. He has no friends in the Republican administration, and when the Democrats were in power they kept him at arms length. He may not be with the cartels, but he more than likely uses their banks down in the Netherland Antilles, and he profits from a number of currency trades that some feel harms developing nations.

See the citations in Wikpedia for more:

Hmm... I was sort of wondering the same thing. Why would the drug mafia want to make drugs legal? They would probably make less money. Maybe he was referring to the drug company cartels. He could have said, "drug companies" if he wanted to be clear though. "drug cartel" does sounds a lot like the drug lords.

Hastert used the word "groups" twice, even when he heard the word "cartel". Groups in DC speak means political groups or associations, and I've never heard it to refer to the drug lords. Gangs, mafia, warlords, cartels, and dealers yes, but never "groups."

Still, Hastert could have cleared this up pretty easily. I suspect he just didn't care if he was misquoted re: Soros given Soros v. Republican battles.

George Soros is upset because his name is being smeared. Awww...poor billionaire.

By the way, there is a great picture of Hastert in the NYTimes today. He's the one on the right with the tall glass full of foam (beer).

What a tool Soros is, he puts his name and money in the ring and can't take criticism. Poor baby...

Chomper, there's a very real difference between criticism and slander. I suggest you do a little investigation as to what those differences are.

OK, for review, let's make sure we're all on the same page here...

Silly and transparent comments by Soros-funded group about George Bush: OK.
Silly and transparent comments by Bush's friends in Washington about George Soros: Not OK.

Specious accusations against George Bush by left-leaning 527s such as America Coming Together: OK.
Specious accusations against John Kerry by right-leaning 527s such as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: Not OK.

What color is your double-standard?

Did this dude already forget about Iran-Contra ? Who did finance his dirty wars with drug money ? Wasn't it Reagan and Papa Bush ?

This is some funny stuff.
I just love parlor tricks... uh... I mean politics... dang, folks... I mean George Soros is something else... the guy came up... blasted outta some crazy shit in eastern europe when he was a kid. Busted his ass in the new world and eventually put his mind and his vision to the test and came up... I mean, dang, folks are gonna cap on this guy for everything, but ya just gotta have some compassion.
I mean... people say he destroyed the British pound some years back, but he was just forecasting markets and doing a damn good job of it.
Now, he's come up and wants to have a hand at shaping the world into a place he'd be happier living in (through bankrolling health initiatives in third world countries, for instance.)
I mean... even the Drug Policy Alliance stuff... I've never seen him close to quoted as being all about 'legalization.' Decriminalization, perhaps, but this guy doesn't think drugs are good for people and he doesn't want 'em around... he just sees them as a public health problem and not a criminal justice problem.
And, well, having worked at a drug treatment center for some time, I can really see his point there. Imprisoning people with addictions (and, oftentimes, mental health issues) don't work... it just causes more strife.
Anyways.... I ramble.
The point is... all us little people who haven't got Soros's kinda paper need to back off, 'cos he's a damn genius and worked that out.
And if you disagree with his politics, cool... that's what's great about living in this world... ya got a tongue.

Yeah... that's my peace.


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Soros responds to drug money insinuation from Semioclast: Propaganda and Disinformation
September 1, 2004 12:17 PM

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Hastert: quieter, as effeminate, as Gingrich... but still a bitch: Joi Ito's Web: Soros responds to drug money insinuation Read More