PROTESTER MUGGED AS PRESS CLUB HONORS NUTTY BILLIONAIRE
A grieving parent who lost one of his children to a drug overdose attempted to tell the National Press Club on Thursday that billionaire George Soros has to be stopped in his campaign to put John Kerry in the White House. But as he held up a photograph of his dead child and began to speak, Steve Steiner was quickly surrounded by security personnel who grabbed and muzzled him. He was roughed up and led away, suffering a dislocated shoulder, a punch to the back, threats of more physical violence, and five hours in the hospital undergoing X-rays and other tests. After the commotion, Soros gave his own speech and received a National Press Club coffee mug as a token of appreciation.
Steiner told AIM that he was accused of “trespassing,” when he had a ticket to the event, and that he simply wanted people to see a picture of his dead 19-year-old son, Stevie, and to explain why Soros-supported legalization would only make the drug problem worse. This “disruption” occurred before the official program was underway and Soros had been introduced. There was nobody else at the podium at the time. Yet security came down on him like a ton of bricks. Steiner wasn’t sure if the people pulverizing him were associated with Soros personally or the National Press Club.
Meanwhile, less than an hour earlier, at an event just down the hall, a personal representative of the billionaire, Michael Vachon, interrupted a press conference called by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) to present evidence that Soros has been violating campaign finance laws in his multimillion dollar effort to put John Kerry in the White House. Vachon interrupted the question-and-answer period by shouting that the NLPC allegations were false and that he and a Soros lawyer were there to answer any questions. No press club security personnel were there to remove him from the room or to tell him that Soros could answer the allegations in his own press club speech. Peter Flaherty of the NLPC permitted Vachon to speak rather than make more of a scene by demanding that he cease his provocative activities. However, Flaherty later issued a press release accusing Vachon of having “disrupted” the news conference. The NLPC had paid $700 to rent the room to get their message out, not have the event disrupted by paid agents of Soros.
Steve Steiner, of course, wasn’t supposed to get anywhere near Soros or the press-club podium. He was not one of the press-club officials or special “guests of Soros” on the dais of the National Press Club. He was not there to get one of dozens of free copies of the Soros book, The Bubble of American Supremacy, that were being handed out for free. Steiner was one of about 20 representatives of anti-drug groups who had paid $35 to attend in the hope of forcing the billionaire to explain and defend his support for drug legalization. They fear that Soros, who is spending more than $20 million to defeat President Bush, will run the nation’s drug policy if Kerry is elected and that a Kerry administration would move toward tolerance and acceptance of illegal drugs. Kerry is on record in favor of “responsible” drug use, has endorsed the scam known as “medical marijuana,” and has even joked about “toking” the drug.
The Soros press-club performance was bizarre. During the question-and-answer session after the speech, Soros claimed that he did not support drug legalization but that he favored the distribution of heroin to addicts under “controlled conditions” such as they do in Switzerland. This is a form of legalization. The Swiss government gives heroin addicts their fixes in government facilities, where they “shoot up” with needles, also supplied by the government. Soros said that he, too, advocates “clean needles” for addicts, at taxpayer expense, so they can avoid getting diseases as they get high and kill themselves by other means. For Soros, abstinence from drugs and “cold turkey” withdrawal are not the main options.
Although he said that marijuana was harmful to young people because it destroys their ability to think and causes memory problems, he said that he opposes the “criminalization” of the problem. So, in effect, he does favor the legalization of marijuana. He said marijuana should be addressed like the tobacco problem, through “persuasion” and “education,” but quickly noted that the anti-tobacco message was being lost on many young people, who are, in fact, smoking more cigarettes these days.
Contradicting oneself is apparently not a problem for a billionaire who is regarded by many in the media as some kind of great philosopher and expert on the world’s problems. Were it not for his wealth and power, he would be dismissed as a crank or an eccentric. Bluntly speaking, he’s a nut.
In other matters, he commented that although he opposes the Iraq war, he thinks we need more troops there. The currency speculator said he’s comfortable with the recent decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission to impose regulations on his mysterious financial “hedge fund,” even though he lobbied against them. Finally, Soros, an atheist, said he’d go live in a monastery if Bush wins re-election. I came away from the event concluding that he was even more of a flip-flopper than his candidate Kerry.
Members of the press club audience were not allowed to ask questions directly of Soros. They had to write them down on cards that were submitted to the National Press Club president, who screened them. Steiner, the founder of Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMAD), feared that the questions would not convey the emotion and grief of parents who have lost children to the drug problem. After the incident, National Press Club security personnel proceeded to warn other people in the audience that they, too, would be evicted if they attempted to confront Soros with unapproved and unscripted questions. In fact, the security official said that if one person at a table disrupted the Soros speech, all of the people at the table would be thrown out.
The word had gone out—no one would embarrass Soros on the final day of his national speaking tour to defeat Bush.
The events illustrated how Soros has emerged not only as a financial patron of John Kerry but a beloved figure of the Washington, D.C.-based national press corps, who regard him as a “philanthropist.”
In addition to the NLPC press conference, a “National Summit to Stop Drug Legalization by Exposing and Opposing Soros” was held earlier in the day at the House Rayburn office building. This is where Steven Steiner and other parents of children killed by drugs presented their testimonies.
The event also featured Donnie R. Marshall, a former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Robert Charles, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Robert Dupont, former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; veteran anti-drug activist Joyce Nalepka, founder of “America’s Children Drug-Free,” and others. Accuracy in Media contributed a presentation on the media’s love affair with George Soros, in which we documented how press groups and news organizations are on the Soros payroll. You can read that report at: [Link]
Joyce Nalepka revealed that the Bush and Kerry campaigns had been asked to respond to three questions about the need to prosecute the war on drugs. The answers from the Bush campaign showed a determination to keep illegal drugs out of the hands of America’s children. The Kerry campaign refused to respond, despite ten different requests for answers to the questions. That would seem to indicate that Kerry may be in the back pocket of George Soros. And Soros has very deep pockets indeed.
C-SPAN ignored the anti-Soros events but covered his National Press Club speech. C-SPAN has also featured Soros speeches or presentations on September 28, September 16, and June 3 of this year. For someone who can easily spend what it takes to get press attention, Soros has received an awful lot of free media attention from C-SPAN —and the rest of the media as well. Some might say all of this coverage constitutes an illegal campaign contribution to the Kerry campaign. But anger in this regard seems to be reserved only for Sinclair Broadcasting and its alleged support for President Bush.
Don’t look for journalists to pursue the story of how the media have helped Soros and, therefore, Kerry. And don’t look for them to get to the bottom of why Steve Steiner was assaulted and by whom. That story might make Soros and his mouthpiece look bad.
© 2004 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights
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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.
Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly
Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington
Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.
Steiner told AIM that he was accused of “trespassing,” when he had a ticket to the event, and that he simply wanted people to see a picture of his dead 19-year-old son, Stevie, and to explain why Soros-supported legalization would only make the drug problem worse.