EARlabs - Larry Johnson (c) 2007
The title track of “The Castration” contains the troubling voice sample “please castrate me” and with this disturbing image we receive Ryu’s second virtual Dark Winter album following his previous and equally disquietingly titled release “The Depressed”.
While Dark Winter specializes in dense, beatless, sometimes noisy, dark ambient drones and occasional shadowy, electronic rhythms, there’s evidence of a more thought-provoking and noticeably more minimal direction in Ryu's newest contribution to the Dark Winter discography having the rather unsettling title of “The Castration”. Listening to “Feldmans on the Koryakhut”, “Walk Along the Cloud Mazeran, or “Mujyun (Contradiction)” will immediately reveal that there’s something exceptionally different here.
The initial two tracks "Schizo Voltaile Traqlzr" and "Marxisto et Incestr" illustrate well the more traditional experimental sounds that I’ve come to love - cold, shimmering electronics, noisy (but not too harsh) cacophony, and abstract rhythms. Included in the former are schizoid-like vocal rambling augmented by some equally psychotic sweeps of electric noise and, in the latter, fragmented percussion, twisted laughter, watery noise, and inharmonious piano samples.
With the arrival of “Feldmans on the Koryakhut”, a gloomy, minimal edginess emerges. Reversed sounds, haunting female voice samples, and a lingering background of grayish electronic pitter-patter all come together to allow an overriding melancholic ambiance to stretch out its aural fingers and pull the listener in. The title track begins with a murky layer of electronic noises that quickly blends in with a variety of discordant acoustic samples eventually becoming a thick amalgam of distorted sounds. Rising above this noisy and blurred soundscape is some post-modern blather containing the plea, “Mr Capitalism, please castrate me.” The final request for castration is followed by the dim simplicity of “Walk Along the Cloud Mazeran” containing a looped droning chord surrounded by shards of woody and metallic percussion and eerie electronics.
Along with “Feldmans on the Koryakhut”, “Mujyun (Contradiction)” is tagged as one of two “suggested listening” tracks and rightly so. A private battle is being waged here as the warm sounds of processed samples of Spanish guitar compete with some cold digital minimalism and hoarsely whispered vocal samples creating an inescapably tense atmosphere of melancholy.
He was born in a peasant family in the village of Sveti Gregor (now in the Ribnica municipality in Lower Carniola), in what was then the Austrian Empire. His father died when he was a child. After finishing the state gymnasium in Ljubljana in 1884, he entered the Roman Catholic seminary. He was consecrated priest in 1888, and sent to the theological faculty in Vienna by the bishop Jakob Missia. There, he became acquainted with the new Austrian Christian Social movement of the charismatic politician Karl Lueger. Krek graduated in 1892, and was appointed vicar in the Ljubljana Cathedral. From 1985, he taught philosophy at the Catholic seminary.
He soon became involved in politics within the conservative Slovene People's Party. In 1897, he was elected representative to the Austrian Parliament. In 1900, he decided not to run for a second turn. In 1901, he was elected representative in the Provincial Diet of Carniola.
Already in his early Viennese years, Krek had published critical articles against liberalism. Influenced by the ultra-conservative thought of the Roman Catholic bishop of Krk Anton Mahnič, and by the encyclic Rerum novarum, he attacked the liberal economic system as being anti-social and anti-democratic. Between 1898 and 1907, Krek organized several peasant and worker's co-operatives, and transformed the Slovene People's Party from a conservative clerical party into a mass political movement propagating social emancipation on the basis of Catholic political ideology. As the result such mobilization, the People's Party won by landslide the first elections by general suffrage in Austria in 1907, gaining 20 of the 24 Slovene seats in the Austrian Parliament. Krek was among those elected.
In the parliament, Krek proved to be a powerful orator. He proposed several measures for social welfare, but was frequently blocked by the conservative leadership of his own party, led by the powerful Ivan Šušteršič. In 1909, Krek founded the Yugoslav Labor Association (Jugoslovanska strokovna zveza), which would become and remain the biggest trade union in the Slovene Lands until its dissolution in 1941.
Already in the late 1890s, Krek convinced the Slovene People's Party to seek a close alliance with Ante Starčević's Croatian Party of Rights. Krek's aim was to establish a unified state of South Slavs within Austria-Hungary on the basis of the tradition of Croatian historical rights. Krek was a convinced supporter of the idea of the unity of South Slav peoples, and many later commentators, including the historian Lojze Ude and Communist politician Boris Kidrič, reproached him with "Slavic romanticism" and "Yugoslav nationalism".
In 1917, Krek became the proposer and leader of the so-called May declaration (Slovene: Majniška deklaracija), which proposed the creation of a state of South Slavs under Habsburg rule. The declaration developed in a mass movement in the Slovene Lands, and Krek traveled extensively to Dalmatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to popularize the movement there, too. He died of exhaustion when returning from one of his travels. His ideals were realized only after his death and the collapse of Austria-Hungary, first with the creation of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
He was buried in the Žale cemetery in Ljubljana.
song title;mazoho to sado
short stuff from their myspace
japanoise heavy tokyo usyukuro grunge nyk merzbow schizopoiesis staley stockhausen tool dark ambient pagan coltrane glicth nsk
Warren Buffett is the company's chairman and CEO. Buffett has used the "float" provided by Berkshire Hathaway's insurance operations (a policyholder's money which it holds temporarily until claims are paid out) to finance his investments. In the early part of his career at Berkshire, he focused on long-term investments in publicly quoted stocks, but more recently he has turned to buying whole companies. Berkshire now owns a diverse range of businesses including railroads, candy production, retail, home furnishings, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales; newspaper publishing; manufacture and distribution of uniforms; as well as several regional electric and gas utilities.
Berkshire Hathaway traces its roots to a textile manufacturing company established by Oliver Chace in 1839 as the Valley Falls Company in Valley Falls, Rhode Island. Chace had previously worked for Samuel Slater, the founder of the first successful textile mill in America. Chace founded his first textile mill in 1806. In 1929 the Valley Falls Company merged with the Berkshire Cotton Manufacturing Company established in 1889, in Adams, Massachusetts. The combined company was known as Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates.
In 1955 Berkshire Fine Spinning Associates merged with the Hathaway Manufacturing Company which was founded in 1888 in New Bedford, Massachusetts by Horatio Hathaway. Hathaway was successful in its first decades, but it suffered during a general decline in the textile industry after World War I. At this time, Hathaway was run by Seabury Stanton, whose investment efforts were rewarded with renewed profitability after the Depression. After the merger Berkshire Hathaway had 15 plants employing over 12,000 workers with over $120 million in revenue and was headquartered in New Bedford, Massachusetts. However, seven of those locations were closed by the end of the decade, accompanied by large layoffs.
In 1962, Warren Buffett began buying stock in Berkshire Hathaway. After some clashes with the Stanton family, he bought up enough shares to change the management and soon controlled the company.
Buffett initially maintained Berkshire's core business of textiles, but by 1967, he was expanding into the insurance industry and other investments. Berkshire first ventured into the insurance business with the purchase of National Indemnity Company. In the late 1970s, Berkshire acquired an equity stake in the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), which forms the core of its insurance operations today (and is a major source of capital for Berkshire Hathaway's other investments). In 1985, the last textile operations (Hathaway's historic core) were shut down.
Berkshire's class A shares sold for $99,200 as of December 31, 2009 (2009 -12-31)[update], making them the highest-priced shares on the New York Stock Exchange, in part because they have never had a stock split and never paid a dividend, retaining corporate earnings on its balance sheet in a manner that is impermissible for private investors and mutual funds. Shares closed over $100,000 for the first time on October 23, 2006 and closed at an all-time high of $150,000 on December 13, 2007. Despite its size, Berkshire has not been included in broad stock market indices such as the S&P 500 due to insufficient liquidity in its shares; however, following a 50-to-1 split of Berkshire's class B shares in January 2010, Standard and Poor's announced that Berkshire would replace Burlington Northern in the S&P 500, on a date to be announced.
Berkshire's CEO, Warren Buffett, is respected for his investment prowess and his deep understanding of a wide spectrum of businesses. His annual chairman letters are read and quoted widely. Barron's Magazine named Berkshire the most respected company in the world in 2007 based on a survey of American money managers.
As of 2005[update], Buffett owned 38% of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire's vice-chairman, Charlie Munger, also holds a stake big enough to make him a billionaire, and early investments in Berkshire by David Gottesman and Franklin Otis Booth resulted in their becoming billionaires as well. Bill Gates' Cascade Investments LLC is the second largest shareholder of Berkshire and owns more than 5% of class B shares.
Berkshire Hathaway is notable in that it has never split its shares, which not only contributed to their high per-share price but also significantly reduced the liquidity of the stock. This refusal to split the stock reflects the management's desire to attract long-term investors as opposed to short-term speculators. However, Berkshire Hathaway has created a Class B stock, with a per-share value originally kept (by specific management rules) close to 1⁄30 of that of the original shares (now Class A) and 1⁄200 of the per-share voting rights, and after the January 2010 split, at 1⁄1,500 the price and 1⁄10,000 the voting rights of the Class-A shares. Holders of class A stock are allowed to convert their stock to Class B, though not vice versa. Buffett was reluctant to create the class B shares, but did so to thwart the creation of unit trusts that would have marketed themselves as Berkshire look-alikes. As Buffett said in his 1995 shareholder letter: "The unit trusts that have recently surfaced fly in the face of these goals. They would be sold by brokers working for big commissions, would impose other burdensome costs on their shareholders, and would be marketed en masse to unsophisticated buyers, apt to be seduced by our past record and beguiled by the publicity Berkshire and I have received in recent years. The sure outcome: a multitude of investors destined to be disappointed."
Berkshire's annual shareholders' meetings, taking place in the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska, are routinely visited by 20,000 people. The 2007 meeting had an attendance of approximately 27,000. The meetings, nicknamed "Woodstock for Capitalists", are considered Omaha's largest annual event along with the baseball College World Series. Known for their humor and light-heartedness, the meetings typically start with a movie made for Berkshire shareholders. The 2004 movie featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role of "The Warrenator" who travels through time to stop Buffett and Munger's attempt to save the world from a "mega" corporation formed by Microsoft-Starbucks-Wal-Mart. Schwarzenegger is later shown arguing in a gym with Buffett regarding Proposition 13. The 2006 movie depicted actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and Nicollette Sheridan lusting after Munger. The meeting, scheduled to last six hours, is an opportunity for investors to ask Buffett questions.
The salary for the CEO is US$100,000 per year with no stock options, which is among the lowest salaries for CEOs of large companies in the United States.
Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. He played a significant role in the peaceful transition from Communism to Capitalism in Hungary (1984–89), and provided Europe's largest ever higher education endowment to Central European University in Budapest. Later, his funding and organization of Georgia's Rose Revolution was considered by Russian and Western observers to have been crucial to its success. In the United States, he is known for having donated large sums of money in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush's bid for re-election in 2004. He helped found the Center for American Progress.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker wrote in 2003 in the foreword of Soros' book The Alchemy of Finance:
George Soros has made his mark as an enormously successful speculator, wise enough to largely withdraw when still way ahead of the game. The bulk of his enormous winnings is now devoted to encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become 'open societies,' open not only in the sense of freedom of commerce but—more important—tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior.
* 1 Family
* 2 Early life
* 3 Emigration
* 4 Business
o 4.1 Currency speculation
o 4.2 Public predictions
o 4.3 Insider trading conviction
o 4.4 Sports
* 5 Philanthropy
o 5.1 Political donations and activism
+ 5.1.1 United States
+ 5.1.2 Eastern Europe
+ 5.1.3 Africa
+ 5.1.4 Drug policy reform
+ 5.1.5 Death and dying
* 6 Philosophy
o 6.1 Education and beliefs
o 6.2 Reflexivity, financial markets, and economic theory
o 6.3 View of potential problems in the free market system
o 6.4 Views on antisemitism
* 7 Wealth
* 8 Relation to Hungarian Politics
* 9 Books
o 9.1 Authored or co-authored
o 9.2 Biographies
* 10 Journalism
o 10.1 Authored
o 10.2 About
o 10.3 Scholarly perspectives
o 10.4 Speeches
o 10.5 Commentaries
o 10.6 Interviews
* 11 References
* 12 External links
Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of the Esperantist writer Tivadar Soros. Tivadar (also known as Teodoro) was a Hungarian Jew, who was a prisoner of war during and after World War I and eventually escaped from Russia to rejoin his family in Budapest.
The family changed its name in 1936 from Schwartz to Soros, in response to growing anti-semitism with the rise of Fascism. Tivadar liked the new name because it is a palindrome and because it has a meaning. Although the specific meaning is left unstated in Kaufmann's biography, in Hungarian, soros means "next in line, or designated successor", and in Esperanto, it means "will soar". His son George was taught to speak Esperanto from birth and thus is one of the rare native Esperanto speakers. George Soros later said that he grew up in a Jewish home, and that his parents were cautious with their religious roots.
George Soros has been married and divorced twice, to Annaliese Witschak, and to Susan Weber Soros. He has five children: Robert, Andrea, Jonathan (with his first wife, Annaliese); Alexander, Gregory (with his second wife, Susan). His elder brother, Paul Soros, a private investor and philanthropist, is a retired engineer, who headed Soros Associates, an international engineering firm based in New York, and established the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for Young Americans. George Soros' nephew Peter Soros, a son of Paul Soros, is married to the former Flora Fraser, a daughter of Lady Antonia Fraser and the late Sir Hugh Fraser, and a stepdaughter of the late 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter.
 Early life
Soros was thirteen years old in March 1944 when Nazi Germany took military control over Hungary. Soros worked for the Jewish Council, which had been established during the Nazi occupation of Hungary to forcibly carry out Nazi and Hungarian government anti-Jewish measures. Soros later described this time to writer Michael Lewis:
The Jewish Council asked the little kids to hand out the deportation notices. I was told to go to the Jewish Council. And there I was given these small slips of paper...It said report to the rabbi seminary at 9 a.m....And I was given this list of names. I took this piece of paper to my father. He instantly recognized it. This was a list of Hungarian Jewish lawyers. He said, "You deliver the slips of paper and tell the people that if they report they will be deported.
To avoid his son's being apprehended by the Nazis, Soros's father paid a Ministry of Agriculture employee to have Soros spend the summer of 1944 living with him and posing as the godson. Young Soros had to hide his Jewishness even as the official was overseeing the confiscation of Jewish property.
In the following year, Soros survived the battle of Budapest in which Soviet and German forces fought house-to-house through the city. Soros first traded currencies and jewelry during the Hungarian hyperinflation of 1945–1946.
Soros emigrated to England in 1947 and graduated from the London School of Economics in 1952. While a student of the philosopher Karl Popper, Soros worked as a railway porter and as a waiter. A university tutor requested aid for Soros, and he received 40 pounds from a Quaker charity. He eventually secured an entry-level position with London merchant bank Singer & Friedlander.
In 1956 Soros moved to New York City, where he worked as an arbitrage trader with F. M. Mayer from 1956 to 1959 and as an analyst with Wertheim and Company from 1959 to 1963. Throughout this time, Soros developed a philosophy of "reflexivity" based on the ideas of Karl Popper. Reflexivity, as used by Soros, is the belief that the action of beholding the valuation of any market by its participants, affects said valuation of the market in a procyclical 'virtuous or vicious' circle.
Soros realized, however, that he would not make any money from the concept of reflexivity until he went into investing on his own. He began to investigate how to deal in investments. From 1963 to 1973 he worked at Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, where he attained the position of vice-president. Soros finally concluded that he was a better investor than he was a philosopher or an executive. In 1967 he persuaded the company to set up an offshore investment fund, First Eagle, for him to run; in 1969 the company founded a second fund for Soros, the Double Eagle hedge fund.
When investment regulations restricted his ability to run the funds as he wished, he quit his position in 1973 and established a private investment company that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund. He has stated that his intent was to earn enough money on Wall Street to support himself as an author and philosopher — he calculated that $500,000 after five years would be possible and adequate.
He is also a former member of the Carlyle Group.
Soros is the founder of Soros Fund Management. In 1970 he co-founded the Quantum Fund with Jim Rogers, which created the bulk of the Soros fortune. Rogers retired from the fund in 1980. Other partners have included Victor Niederhoffer and Stanley Druckenmiller.
In 2007, the Quantum Fund returned almost 32%, netting Soros $2.9 billion.
 Currency speculation
On Black Wednesday (September 16, 1992), Soros's fund sold short more than $10 billion worth of pounds sterling, profiting from the Bank of England's reluctance to either raise its interest rates to levels comparable to those of other European Exchange Rate Mechanism countries or to float its currency.
Finally, the Bank of England withdrew the currency from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, devaluing the pound sterling, and Soros earned an estimated US$ 1.1 billion in the process. He was dubbed "the man who broke the Bank of England." In 1997, the UK Treasury estimated the cost of Black Wednesday at £3.4 billion.
The Times of Monday, October 26, 1992, quoted Soros as saying: "Our total position by Black Wednesday had to be worth almost $10 billion. We planned to sell more than that. In fact, when Norman Lamont said just before the devaluation that he would borrow nearly $15 billion to defend sterling, we were amused because that was about how much we wanted to sell."
Stanley Druckenmiller, who traded under Soros, originally saw the weakness in the pound. "Soros' contribution was pushing him to take a gigantic position."
In 1997, during the Asian financial crisis, then Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad accused Soros of using the wealth under his control to punish ASEAN for welcoming Myanmar as a member. Soros has denied Mahathir's accusations. The nominal US dollar GDP of ASEAN fell by US$9.2 billion in 1997 and $218.2 billion (31.7%) in 1998.
 Public predictions
Soros' May 2008 book, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets, described a "superbubble" that had built up over the past 25 years and was ready to collapse. This was the third in a series of books he's written that have predicted disaster. As he states:
I have a record of crying wolf.... I did it first in The Alchemy of Finance (in 1987), then in The Crisis of Global Capitalism (in 1998) and now in this book. So it's three books predicting disaster. (After) the boy cried wolf three times . . . the wolf really came.
He ascribes his own success to being able to recognize when his predictions are wrong.
I'm only rich because I know when I'm wrong... I basically have survived by recognizing my mistakes. I very often used to get backaches due to the fact that I was wrong. Whenever you are wrong you have to fight or [take] flight. When [I] make the decision, the backache goes away.
In February 2009, George Soros said the world financial system had effectively disintegrated, adding that there was no prospect of a near-term resolution to the crisis. "We witnessed the collapse of the financial system[...]It was placed on life support, and it's still on life support. There's no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom."
 Insider trading conviction
In 1988, he was asked to join a takeover attempt of the French bank Société Générale. He declined to participate in the bid but did later buy a number of shares in the company. French authorities began an investigation in 1989, and in 2002 a French court ruled that it was insider trading, a felony conviction as defined under French securities laws and fined him $2.3 million, which was the amount that he made using the insider information.
Punitive damages were not sought because of the delay in bringing the case to trial. Soros denied any wrongdoing and said news of the takeover was public knowledge.
His insider trading conviction was upheld by the highest court in France on June 14, 2006. In December, 2006 he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming that the 14-year delay in bringing the case to trial precluded a fair hearing.
In 2005, Soros was a minority partner in a group that tried to buy the Washington Nationals of the National League. Some Republican lawmakers suggested that they might tamper with baseball's antitrust exemption if Soros had any interest in any baseball team. In 2008, Soros' name was associated with AS Roma, an Italian football team but the club was not sold. Soros was also a financial backer of Washington Soccer L.P., the group that owned the operating rights to Major League Soccer club D.C. United when the league was founded in 1995, but the group lost these rights in 2000.
Main article: List of projects supported by George Soros
George Soros (left) and James H. Billington.
Soros has been active as a philanthropist since the 1970s, when he began providing funds to help black students attend the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa, and began funding dissident movements behind the iron curtain.
Soros' philanthropic funding includes efforts to promote non-violent democratization in the post-Soviet states. These efforts, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe, occur primarily through the Open Society Institute (OSI) and national Soros Foundations, which sometimes go under other names (such as the Stefan Batory Foundation in Poland). As of 2003, PBS estimated that he had given away a total of $4 billion. The OSI says it has spent about $400 million annually in recent years.
Time magazine in 2007 cited two specific projects - $100 million toward Internet infrastructure for regional Russian universities; and $50 million for the Millennium Promise to eradicate extreme poverty in Africa — while noting that Soros has given $742 million to projects in the U.S., and given away a total of more than $6 billion.
Other notable projects have included aid to scientists and universities throughout Central and Eastern Europe, help to civilians during the siege of Sarajevo, and Transparency International. Soros also pledged an endowment of €420 million to the Central European University (CEU). The Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus and his microfinance bank Grameen Bank received support from the OSI.
According to National Review the Open Society Institute gave $20,000 in September 2002 to the Defense Committee of Lynne Stewart, the lawyer who has defended alleged terrorists in court and was sentenced to 2⅓ years in prison for "providing material support for a terrorist conspiracy" via a press conference for a client. An OSI spokeswoman said "it appeared to us at that time that there was a right-to-counsel issue worthy of our support."
In September 2006, Soros departed from his characteristic sponsorship of democracy building programs, pledging $50 million to the Jeffrey Sachs-led Millennium Promise to help eradicate extreme poverty in Africa. Noting the connection between bad governance and poverty, he remarked on the humanitarian value of the project.
He received honorary doctoral degrees from the New School for Social Research (New York), the University of Oxford in 1980, the Corvinus University of Budapest, and Yale University in 1991. Soros also received the Yale International Center for Finance Award from the Yale School of Management in 2000 as well as the Laurea Honoris Causa, the highest honor of the University of Bologna in 1995.
 Political donations and activism
 United States
In an interview with The Washington Post on November 11, 2003, Soros said that removing President George W. Bush from office was the "central focus of my life" and "a matter of life and death." He said he would sacrifice his entire fortune to defeat President Bush, "if someone guaranteed it." Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $5 million to MoveOn, and $10 million to America Coming Together. These groups worked to support Democrats in the 2004 election. On September 28, 2004 he dedicated more money to the campaign and kicked off his own multi-state tour with a speech: Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The online transcript to this speech received many hits after Dick Cheney accidentally referred to FactCheck.org as "factcheck.com" in the Vice Presidential debate, causing the owner of that domain to redirect all traffic to Soros's site.
Soros was not a large donor to US political causes until the 2004 presidential election, but according to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the 2003-2004 election cycle, Soros donated $23,581,000 to various 527 groups dedicated to defeating President Bush. A 527 group is a type of American tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 527. Despite Soros' efforts, Bush was reelected to a second term as president.
After Bush's re-election, Soros and other donors backed a new political fundraising group called Democracy Alliance which supported the goals of the U.S. Democratic Party. Soros supported the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which many hoped would end "soft money" contributions to federal election campaigns. Soros has made soft money donations to 527 organizations that he says do not raise the same corruption issues as donations directly to the candidates or political parties.
In August 2009, Soros donated $35 million to the state of New York to be ear-marked for under-privileged children and given to parents who had benefit cards at the rate of $200 per child aged 3 through 17, with no limit as to the number of children that qualified. An additional $140 million was put into the fund by the state of New York from money they had received from the 2009 federal recovery act.
Soros is also thought to be connected to the self-described progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America. Although Media Matters has denied having any funding directly or indirectly from Soros, in April 2008, Soros hosted an event in his apartment that had guests such as Media Matters founder David Brock liberal commentator Paul Begala. Brock described that the plan intended to raise $40 million to run political attack advertisements against then presumptive Republican nominee for the 2008 US Presidential Election, Senator John McCain, through a group called The Fund for America and Progressive Media, whose key backer, according to politico.com, is Soros.
 Eastern Europe
According to Neil Clark in the New Statesman, Soros's role was crucial in the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. Clark states that from 1979, Soros distributed $3m a year to dissidents including Poland's Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union; in 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary and pumped millions of dollars into opposition movements and independent media.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Soros' funding has continued to play an important role in the former Soviet sphere. His funding and organization of Georgia's Rose Revolution was considered crucial to its success by Russian and Western observers, although Soros has said that his role has been "greatly exaggerated." Alexander Lomaia, Secretary of the Georgian Security Council and former Minister of Education and Science, is a former Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation (Soros Foundation), overseeing a staff of 50 and a budget of $2,500,000.
Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salomé Zourabichvili wrote that institutions like the Soros Foundation were the cradle of democratisation and that all the NGOs which gravitated around the Soros Foundation undeniably carried the revolution. She opines that after the revolution the Soros Foundation and the NGOs were integrated into power.
Soros' support of pro-democracy and pro-transparency NGOs has been decried in several semi-authoritarian countries: Some Soros-backed pro-democracy initiatives have been banned in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Ercis Kurtulus, head of the Social Transparency Movement Association (TSHD) in Turkey, said in an interview that "Soros carried out his will in Ukraine and Georgia by using these NGOs...Last year Russia passed a special law prohibiting NGOs from taking money from foreigners. I think this should be banned in Turkey as well." In 1997, Soros had to close his foundation in Belarus after it was fined $3 million by the government for "tax and currency violations". According to the New York Times, the Belarussian president Aleksandr Lukashenko has been widely criticized in the West and in Russia for his efforts to control the Belarus Soros Foundation and other independent NGOs and to suppress civil and human rights. Soros called the fines part of a campaign to "destroy independent society".
In June 2009, Soros donated $100m to Central Europe and Eastern Europe to counter the impact of the economic crisis on the poor, voluntary groups and non-government organisations.
The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa is a Soros-affiliated organization.  Its director for Zimbabwe is Godfrey Kanyenze, who also directs the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which was the main force behind the founding of the Movement for Democratic Change, the principal indigenous organization promoting Regime change in Zimbabwe.
 Drug policy reform
Soros has funded worldwide efforts to promote drug policy reform. In 2008, Soros donated $400,000 to help fund a successful ballot measure in the state of Massachusetts known as the Massachusetts Sensible Marijuana Policy Initiative which decriminalized possession of less than 1 oz (28g) of marijuana in the state. Soros has also funded similar measures in California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Nevada and Maine. Among the drug decriminalization groups that have received funding from Soros are the Lindesmith Center and Drug Policy Foundation.
Soros donated $1.4 million to publicity efforts to support California's Proposition 5 in 2008, a failed ballot measure that would have expanded drug rehabilitation programs as alternatives to prison for persons convicted of non-violent drug-related offenses.  
According to an interview in October 2009 it is Soros opinion that marijuana is less addictive but not appropriate for use by children and students. He himself has not used marijuana for years.
 Death and dying