Tom Lantos: Degrees of Outrage

Tom Lantos (D. – California) is the Chair of the House Committee of Foreign Affairs. While reading ESPN’s website, I came across an article in which Lantos called for some action to be taken by the league against Michael Vick (see the quote from Lantos’ press release below). This is not a defense of Michael Vick or dog fighting, but of the principle of innocence before proven guilty. To my knowledge, the “jury is not in” with respect to Vick’s role. And perhaps more importantly, I am concerned about this heretofore unknown Congressman ratcheting up his outrage for Michael Vick while striking a much more conciliatory tone with Warren Buffett.If I didn’t know any better, I’d think Tom Lantos was full of shit. Actually, I don’t know any better.

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“I am outraged that one of the National Football League’s superstars is affiliated with such a heinous enterprise as dog fighting,” Lantos wrote in the letter to Goodell. “Your strong rebuke of dog fighting – and those who promote it – will send the message that this all-too-prevalent practice has no place in a civilized society.I will view anything less than the strongest repudiation of Mr. Vick’s involvement as tacit support for this atrocious activity.”
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Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today congratulated Fidelity Investments for joining the growing movement to sever financial ties to the government of Sudan, and urged others to join in the effort to cut off support for such ties as long as the genocide continues in Darfur.

Fidelity has announced that it is reducing by 91 percent its ties to a company doing business with the government of Sudan, PetroChina Co.

  blog it

On Berkshire Hathaway’s role, Lantos could only muster this:

“But others, most prominently Berkshire Hathaway, are yet not as enlightened as they need to be.”

So, let me get this straight…In Tom Lantos’ world, multi-billionaire Warren Buffett profiteers on the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Africans and he needs enlightenment (more information, another seminar, a new study, an invitation to participate on a task force) and a football player alleged to be engaged in a heinous crime immediately warrants repudiation and a Congressional investigation.

Yep, Lantos is full of shit.  I hope Warren can pony up some contributions to Lantos for the “kid-gloves” treatment he’s getting from the Chair of this House Committee.

 It seems that Tom Lantos has only skimmed the surface here.  There is so much more that needs to be addressed here.  What of the cushy relationship between California’s governator and Warren Buffett?

But in a report entitled “Berkshire Hathaway, PetroChina and the Darfur Genocide,” Sterling’s group reported substantial links between Buffett’s investments and the government in Sudan. The Chinese oil business in Sudan is being directed by the China National Petroleum Co., the parent company of PetroChina, and is feeding the oil revenues in Sudan and thus the military.

“CNPC’s operations in Sudan have also paved the way for a hugely concerning arms trade between China and Sudan. For example, Sudanese government troops and militias have used Chinese-made helicopter gunships, based at CNPC airstrips in the country, to conduct raids on civilians.”

Sterling said requiring Buffett to divest his entire PetroChina portfolio would be a drastic measure that would likely sink the stock. Rather, he said, Buffett should use his financial clout to make changes from within PetroChina. “No single individual will have more of a voice in that company,” Sterling said. “It’s definitely something China would listen to.”

Again, none of this is to suggest in the slightest way that dog fighting is not some low-down dirty, despicable shit.  It most certainly is.  However, all of the facts are not in with respect to the target of this outrage…and more importantly, if Congressional leaders are going to issue statements about “outrage” it damn well better be about things like Buffet and China’s relationship with the Sudan.


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