George Klein, friend of Elvis Presley and longtime radio host, dead at 83

George Klein, the deep-voiced radio personality who became friends with Elvis Presley in high school and stayed close to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll throughout his career, has died. He was 83.

Presley’s former wife, Priscilla Presley, told The Associated Press that Klein died Tuesday at hospice in Memphis, Tennessee. Priscilla Presley said Klein had been suffering from illness, including pneumonia, for about two weeks. She said she had been in constant contact with Klein and Presley’s other close friends, including Jerry Schilling and Marian Justice Cocke, while Klein was ill.

Klein met Elvis Presley in 1948 at Humes High School in Memphis and they were close friends until the rock ‘n’ roll icon died in 1977. Klein was part of Presley’s entourage, known as the “Memphis Mafia,” and enjoyed telling stories about the times he and Presley spent together.


Priscilla Presley said her former husband liked Klein’s outgoing personality, his loyalty, and his sense of humor. She called their friendship a “guy’s thing,” with their own inside jokes and “their own language.”

Elvis Presley used to affectionately call Klein “GK.”

“Their friendship was golden, truly golden,” she said in a phone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard George say anything bad about anybody.”

Presley served as Klein’s best man, and Klein was a pallbearer at Presley’s funeral. Klein appeared in his friend’s film, “Jailhouse Rock.” When Presley was posthumously inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Klein made the acceptance speech.

“Personally, Elvis was a great friend to me,” Klein said in the speech. “You know, I never saw Elvis refuse an autograph. I never saw Elvis refuse a handshake. I never saw Elvis refuse to take a picture with anyone.”


Klein hosted a radio show featuring Presley’s music on Sirius XM. He had also hosted radio and television shows in Memphis dating to the 1960s. Klein was known throughout the city, speaking at charity events for no pay, Priscilla Presley said.

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, a former head coach at the University of Memphis, said on Twitter that he would talk basketball with Klein before and after games.

“He has been an unbelievable ambassador for the city, for Graceland, for Elvis Presley and his family,” Calipari wrote.

In recent years, several friends of Elvis Presley — Scotty Moore, Red West, D.J. Fontana — have died. Priscilla Presley said she has thought about that, and calls it “a reality check.”

“It hits home,” she said. “He’s the last of our history, in many ways.”


Funeral arrangements have not been released.

George W. Bush delivers pizza to secret service detail amid government shutdown

Former President George W. Bush wanted to thank his Secret Service detail for continuing to work without pay amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

In this case, his gratitude took the form of pizzas he delivered right to them on Friday.

Bush posted a photo of the delivery deed to his Instagram, adding that he and his wife, Laura, were “grateful” for their detail and the hundreds of thousands of other federal workers laboring without pay.


“@LauraWBush and I are grateful to our Secret Service personnel and the thousands of Federal employees who are working hard for our country without a paycheck,” his Instagram post read.

As the partial government shutdown entered its 28th day, the former president urged leaders on both sides of the deep political divide to reach some accord.

“It’s time for leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown.”


The shutdown stems from a disagreement over funding for a barrier at the nation’s southern border. President Trump is demanding $ 5.7 billion in funding for a wall but Democrats won’t sign off on it.

The White House said Friday that Trump will make an announcement Saturday afternoon regarding the situation.

Lonely George was the last Hawaiian tree snail of his kind. He died, and an entire species has gone extinct.

The Achatinella apexfulva was one of the first species discovered on the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources says.

The Achatinella apexfulva was one of the first species discovered on the Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources says.

(CNN)Lonely George has died.

With him went an entire species.
Formally known as Achatinella apexfulva, the 14-year-old Hawaiian tree snail was the last of its kind on the planet.
He had been lonely since shortly after his birth, living in a captive breeding facility at the University of Hawaii as part of a final attempt to save his species and others from extinction.
    The Achatinella apexfulva now joins hundreds of snail species that have vanished from the Hawaiian islands over the last several decades, University of Hawaii Professor Emeritus Michael Hadfield said.
    “The number of species in Hawaii was somewhere approaching 800 in 11 different families,” he said. Three-fourths of those species, he said, are now extinct.
    “They were the best known tree snails, big and pretty snails, once hyper abundant in the forest … of the island,” Hadfield said of the Achatinella genus — which included Lonely George. “There’s no doubt that only 10 or so of those (species) still exist, and none of them will survive in the next 10 years.”
    “The extinctions have just been horrendous.”
    Hadfield ran a conservation lab for a large group of snails in the family to which Lonely George belonged. The lab studied the snails’ population growth and, in 1997, collected the last ten known snails in George’s species. Most of them later died, leaving only George.
    The Department of Land and Natural Resources called George’s death “a significant loss to locals as he was featured in numerous articles and hundreds of school children have viewed him over the years.”

    Why are the snails dying?

    Snails were once numerous in Hawaii. But the populations have been decimated by invasive species, including rats, and habitat destruction.
    Rats, which arrived on the island by ship, have been gulping down the largest snails. Meanwhile, the Rosy wolfsnail — introduced as “biocontrol” more than 50 years ago — and chameleons arriving in Hawaii as pets also have been eating native snails.
    “As far as we can tell, the Hawaiian tree snails evolved with no predators, so they never developed defense mechanisms,” Hadfield says.
    What’s more, snails are losing their habitat, and climbing higher up in the mountains of the islands.
    “Pigs, goats, and deer degrade forest vegetation and fragment snail populations,” coordinator for the Snail Extinction Prevention Program David Sischo wrote.

    “They’re gone”

    Melissa Price, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii says she didn’t realize how dire the situation was until one of her favorite snail species — the Achatinella lila — went extinct last April.
    “They’re rainbow colored, some striped, some deep black with an orange stripe around them,” she said. On hiking trips, she would count snail populations. The Achatinella lila species went from 300 species three years ago, to one in April.
    The last few are in captive breeding programs. “They’re gone in the wild.”
    Because she’s a younger professor in the field, Price said she wasn’t a part of the teams of biologists who saw the snails migrate higher and higher into the mountains.
    When she observed the snails on mountain tops during hiking trips, she said she didn’t realize she was seeing the last ones.
    “It’s surprisingly devastating,” she says. “They’ve been disappearing in the last two, three years. The rate of extinction is just really alarming for me.”
    “This is the story that we’re seeing in every single species, we had to go up to the mountain tops to see them, when they would have been all over the island (in the past).”
    And without the snails, Price said the forest is missing an important component.
    “The (snails) eat the biofilm of leaves, they must help keep the trees healthy,” she said. “They decrease fungal abundance on the leaf surface and increase diversity of the fungal community.”

    Another George?

      Biologists have saved some of George’s DNA, Hadfield said, meaning the possibility exists that the world hasn’t seen the last of the world’s loneliest snail.
      “Gene banks are being expanded all over the world,” he said. “Somewhere, some day, maybe we can use this to re-establish a George.”

      George Washington can lead us out of our national turmoil

      Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch are the authors of “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington,” which is now available in bookstores everywhere. The views expressed in this commentary are their own. View more opinion on CNN.

      (CNN)For the past few years, American politics has been in a state of turmoil. We’ve endured a version of political leadership characterized by near-constant outrage, bombast, bragging, personal attacks and the brazen flaunting of power. The national discourse seems fueled by insults and rage. And public faith in our institutions is eroding fast.

      We’re a long way from the leadership of George Washington, whose very name evokes American patriotism and power. His stereotypical image is one of a strong, formidable leader who gave us — and made us — our best.
      Brad Meltzer

      Brad Meltzer

      Josh Mensch

      Josh Mensch

      In researching “The First Conspiracy,” a book about a secret plot to kill George Washington during the Revolutionary War, what struck us most — and what made us reflect most deeply on the politics of today — was not his strength. Instead, it was a different set of qualities: modesty, humility and selflessness — even when those closest to Washington plotted against him.
      In 1776, powerful British sympathizers in the colonies hatched a plot against Washington — some say to kidnap him; others say to kill him. Either way, George Washington’s life was in danger. The plot itself was led by Governor of New York William Tryon, but the most surprising turn came when Washington’s elite unit of soldiers — his trusted bodyguards, also known as “Life Guards” — turned against him. They were supposed to be the best of the best. Indeed, Washington personally selected these men.
        It was a handful of these Life Guards who switched sides and joined the Loyalist conspiracy. How did Washington react when he learned about this plot? He didn’t rant and rave. Instead, he helped launch a methodical and top secret investigation.
        Rather than focus on himself or even on the enemies who might have killed him, he focused on maintaining the army’s morale and reputation in the face of a potential scandal. After a court martial, one of the conspiring soldiers was hanged in front of 20,000 witnesses. But ultimately it was Washington’s measured and calm response, while his life was in danger no less, that helped him prevail after this potentially devastating threat to his leadership.
        George Washington and his army make camp at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania during the winter of 1777 - 1778.

        George Washington and his army make camp at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania during the winter of 1777 - 1778.

        Washington’s modesty and selflessness were in evidence from the beginning of his public career. In May 1775, when he arrived in the city of Philadelphia as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Washington was a 43-year-old Virginia landowner not well known outside his home colony. He was thrust into a position of national significance because he possessed something almost every other delegate lacked: military experience. He was one of a few potential candidates to create and lead an army in a brewing war with England. Suddenly, everyone was studying this Virginian closely.
        A physically striking man, Washington carried himself with the poise of a former military officer. But what almost every delegate noticed most about him was how modest and gracious he was. In a chamber where many were competing to talk the most and the loudest, Washington spoke quietly. More often, he listened.
        When it came time for the delegates to formally select who would take command of the army, Washington’s modesty took on an almost comic dimension. When his name was announced as a candidate, he literally fled the chamber, to prevent even the appearance of vanity. John Adams, who nominated him, remembered the moment: “Mr. Washington, who happened to sit near the door, as soon as he heard me allude to him, from his usual modesty darted into the library room.”
        When Washington received the command, his words of acceptance were almost entirely self-effacing: “I beg it may be remembered, by every gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.”
        General George Washington makes his triumphal entry into New York after the British left the city in 1783.

        General George Washington makes his triumphal entry into New York after the British left the city in 1783.

        Was Washington’s restraint and modesty an indication of weakness? On the contrary, it was precisely these qualities, combined with a tireless work ethic and an unmistakable dedication to his army, that earned him almost universal respect.
        Arguably, Washington’s greatest achievement of the Revolutionary era did not come on the battlefield. In 1783, after almost eight years of fighting, the mighty British army finally surrendered to Washington’s forces, and the question now for the colonies was: what should happen next?
        At this moment, some believed that Washington himself should seize power from the Congress and, backed by his army, become the self-appointed leader of the colonies. One officer suggested he declare himself king; or, if that term was distasteful, to choose a different word, but wield equivalent power.
        In the late eighteenth century, such a power grab by a conquering military leader was the most expected outcome. How would Washington meet this moment?
        He voluntarily ceded his power — and retired.
        When King George III of England learned of this, he reportedly said “if he does that, he must be the greatest man in the world.”
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        The general’s retirement was short-lived. In 1789, he was elected the first president. One of his first gestures was to reject the address of “His Highness” or “His Excellency;” instead he chose the more democratic “Mr. President.” After two terms, he voluntarily left office, setting the precedent for term limits and the peaceful transition of power.
        Modesty, humility and selflessness — remember when those were American values?
          As the nation’s first chief executive, Washington set the standard of not just a humble president, but a humble presidency — an office meant to serve the public, not to serve itself.
          Which brings us to today. For the past few years, America has endured a political climate that is the opposite of Washington’s modest ideal. In the midst of this turmoil, it’s worth reconsidering a return to those simple virtues of modesty, humility and selflessness, embodied by the great leaders in America’s history — starting with our first.

          Brad Meltzer explores secret plot to kill George Washington in Fox Nation special

          Nearly a decade ago, Brad Meltzer made an accidental discovery about one of the crucial moments in the life of America’s first president, George Washington.

          Meltzer, 48, was researching for his next fiction book when he came across a history fact – in a footnote – regarding the 1776 plot to kill the founding father, which prompted him to keep digging until he unraveled a full account.

          After dedicating 20 years to writing thrillers, the author spent the past three years working on his first non-fiction book and eventually teamed up with writer and documentary producer Josh Mensch to publish “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington.”

          Now the pair is uniting once more for the Fox Nation exclusive “Brad Meltzer’s Secrets of George Washington” where they unveil the “first conspiracy,” all while investigating other little-known tales about Washington.

          “So nearly a decade ago, I find one of the great secrets I’ve ever seen about George Washington, in a footnote, of all places,” said Meltzer in a release sent to Fox News. “A footnote! It’s where all the greatest secrets always are. And in this footnote, it was a story about a secret plot to kill George Washington. I was like, ‘Wait, wait! A secret plot to kill George Washington. I need to look it up.’ And I start digging… into this story.”


          According to Meltzer, a group of soldiers were handpicked in 1776 to serve as Washington’s bodyguards and became hailed as “Life Guards.” However, some of them were actually part of the plot. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these soldiers, along with the governor of New York and mayor of New York City, reportedly launched a deadly plot against Washington.

          When Washington learned of the treasonous plan, he quickly ordered the arrest of the guilty parties. Not only did he gathered 20,000 troops and citizens in an open field, but he also hanged Thomas Hickey, one of the conspirators, for all to see. Meltzer noted it was the largest public execution of its time in all of North America.

          For the Fox Nation special, Meltzer visited the location of the hanging site, which was originally an empty field but is now New York City’s bustling Chinatown.

          Most of the show was also shot in Fraunces Tavern, which is recognized as the oldest standing structure in Manhattan. It is the same spot were Washington famously addressed his troops after defeating the British in New York.

          And according to legend, Washington was almost killed there in a different matter — by a plate of poisoned peas.

          Fox Nation is a streaming subscription service you can access through your phone, tablet, computer and select TV devices. It is a members-only destination for Fox News’ most passionate fans featuring exclusive new content.

          How a New York governor once plotted to assassinate George Washington

          On June 25, 1775, William Tryon — the governor of the British colony of New York and a fierce loyalist to the crown — returned to New York City after a yearlong trip overseas. As such, he fully expected to be greeted by a public procession on Broadway.

          Tryon disembarked from his boat and was indeed met with a parade, but there was just one problem: It wasn’t for him.

          That same day, the new Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, George Washington, had arrived in the city and was met with a hero’s welcome. Adding insult to injury, Tryon was not only forced to wait several hours for Washington’s procession to end, he also had to put up with a crowd jeering — at him.


          “Tryon, accustomed to calling the shots in his own colony, must be appalled that this enemy … would parade through Manhattan right under his nose. New York is Tryon’s city, and the public should be cheering for him — not for some usurper,” write Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch, authors of the new book, “The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington and the Birth of American Counterintelligence” (Flatiron Books), out Jan. 8.

          It was at that moment, two months after the start of the American Revolutionary War, that Tryon likely first heard of the army’s formation. He immediately realized that this Washington fellow posed a threat to running his colony his way.

          Two months after the start of the American Revolutionary War … Tryon … realized that this Washington fellow posed a threat to running his colony his way.

          For Washington, Tryon was as dreaded an ­enemy as he’d find: one who would try to end both his life and the burgeoning new nation, embroiling the commander in chief’s housekeeper, and even his bodyguards, in his plot.

          And yet, Manhattan still boasts a 67-acre park — home to The Cloisters and some of the city’s most beautiful green space — named for the man who wanted Washington dead.

          And yet, Manhattan still boasts a 67-acre park — home to The Cloisters and some of the city’s most beautiful green space — named for the man who wanted Washington dead.

          Tryon was born to an aristocratic family in Norbury Park, England, in 1729. He fought against the French in the Seven Years War before a bullet to his leg in the 1750s ended his military service.

          Seeking opportunity in the colonies, he was named governor of North Carolina in 1765. There, he made clear how he would deal with those who defied the crown.

          A few years after his appointment, a group of North Carolina farmers organized a revolt against the high fees and taxes they were required to pay to the British. Many of these men couldn’t feed their families, yet the tax was, the authors write, “imposed directly by Governor Tryon, to pay for a vast, lavish palace he was building for himself … This luxurious Governor’s mansion, known everywhere as ‘Tryon’s Palace,’ became a symbol of royal greed and corruption.”

          The governor sent a group of mercenaries to meet several hundred of the protesters. “Tryon’s forces overwhelmed the poorly armed farmers, killed or wounded several dozen, and shackled the group’s leaders,” the authors write. “The leaders were quickly tried … for treason.”


          Those declared guilty were to be “hanged by the neck … cut down while yet alive … [their] bowels should be taken out and burned before [their] face … [their] head should be cut off, and [their] body should be divided unto four quarters, which were to be placed at the King’s disposal.”

          Such was justice under Gov. Tryon, who was transferred in 1772 to New York, where he curried favor with influential families.

          And once Washington entered the scene, Tryon was “determined to strike back at the revolutionaries and reassert his power.”

          But by fall, revolutionary fervor continued to grow. City leaders were being tarred and feathered by angry mobs, or chased out of town altogether.

          Tryon was determined to reclaim his city. “If political solutions fail, then other means are necessary,” the authors write.

          Continue reading this story in the New York Post.

          Christmas Day re-enactment of George Washington crossing Delaware river nixed for second year in a row

          For the second year in a row, George Washington just couldn’t cross the Delaware River.

          The annual re-enactment of Washington’s 1776 crossing of the river was canceled – this time due to high river conditions and just a year after the event was canceled due to low water levels.


          The organizers made the disappointing announcement Monday, saying the river crossing won’t take place on the Christmas Day due to high river conditions following recent rainfall.

          Re-enactor John Godzieba, right, portrays Gen. George Washington as he leads others along the banks of the Delaware River, Tuesday Dec. 25, 2018 in Washington Crossing, Pa.

          Re-enactor John Godzieba, right, portrays Gen. George Washington as he leads others along the banks of the Delaware River, Tuesday Dec. 25, 2018 in Washington Crossing, Pa. ((AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma))

          The crossing — which was the trek that helped to turn the tide of the Revolutionary War — is the highlight of the annual event that draws thousands of people to the banks of the river in Washington Crossing, Pa., and Titusville, N.J. It also features Washington rallying the troops and other historical speeches and processions

          During the original crossing, boats ferried 2,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 18 cannons across the river. Washington’s troops marched eight miles downriver before battling Hessian mercenaries in the streets of Trenton.

          The speeches and other ceremonies of the re-enactment event occurred as usual on Tuesday, but the highly-anticipated crossing was nixed for the second year straight.


          In this Dec. 25, 2016 file photo, John Godzieba, as Gen. George Washington, second right, stands in a boat during a re-enactment of Washington's daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the Delaware River in Washington Crossing, Pa.

          In this Dec. 25, 2016 file photo, John Godzieba, as Gen. George Washington, second right, stands in a boat during a re-enactment of Washington’s daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the Delaware River in Washington Crossing, Pa. (AP/Mel Evans)

          Last year, low water levels also forced the organizers to cancel the famous crossing re-enactment. The river’s water level needs to be at least 9 feet above sea level to use the usual Durham boats, and recent water levels have been around 8.3 feet.

          Organizers said last at the time that a “pretty significant amount” of precipitation would be needed to raise the river’s water levels in time for the event.

          The celebration last year was partly saved by a nonprofit that lent the event’s organizers six handmade, 12-foot rowboats that could be used in low-water level conditions.

          The Associated Press contributed to this report.

          George Soros: Billionaire philanthropist the far right loves to hate

          George Soros rarely shrinks from controversy and has identified with liberal and even radical causes in the US.

          George Soros rarely shrinks from controversy and has identified with liberal and even radical causes in the US.

          (CNN)When the Financial Times pronounced Wednesday that the philanthropist George Soros was its “Person of the Year,” Twitter ignited with partisan congratulation and animosity.

          The announcement seemed to sum up 2018: an elite, metropolitan and global publication honoring a man loathed by populist, nationalist and indeed anti-Semitic adversaries.
          The FT described the 88-year old Soros as “the standard bearer of liberal democracy and open society,” which is precisely why populists love to hate him. One tweet said the FT’s definition of liberal democracy was “aka one world government under globalist socialism.”
          Since 1979, the Hungarian-born billionaire has poured $ 32 billion of the money he made as a hedge-fund manager into liberal, democratic causes through his Open Society Foundations. Even before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he was sending copy-machines to Hungary to help the sprouting reform movement.
            In the US he has supported liberal causes, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, and he’s delved into the partisan snake-pit. He used millions of his own money in 2004 to try to prevent the re-election of George W. Bush, telling the New Yorker that Bush was “just chosen as a figurehead, an acceptable face for a sinister group” that ran his administration.
            In the past decade Soros has earned the animosity of the emergent “illiberal elite” — Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Russia and Turkey, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, to name but three. And he’s become the bogeyman of the far right in the United States.
            George Soros is frequently vilified by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

            George Soros is frequently vilified by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

            Targeted by the right

            Both in the US and abroad, Soros’s immense wealth (not least through currency trading), his Jewish heritage and patronage of liberal causes have fed conspiracy theories. He is often called a “globalist” by his enemies, one of a cabal involved in a plot to destroy US sovereignty.
            Former Fox News host Glenn Beck has described him as a “puppet-master” aiming “to bring America to her knees financially.”
            Right-wing radio host Michael Savage has told his audience, which averages 10 million listeners, that Soros should be arrested for meddling in elections.
            Little wonder perhaps that Russian troll factories seeking to influence the 2016 US election generated “dozens of posts blaming George Soros for a myriad of complaints across dozens of the right-targeted Instagram accounts and Facebook Pages,” according to a recent report prepared for the US Senate.
            President Donald Trump himself has embraced some of the conspiracy theories about Soros. In his closing campaign ad in 2016, Trump featured video of Soros over the words “…for those who control the levers of power in Washington and the global special interests.”
            Last month Trump said he wouldn’t be surprised if someone was funding the migrant caravan making its way through Mexico, as had been alleged by a contributor on the Fox Business Network.
            “George Soros?” a reporter asked.
            “I don’t know who, but I wouldn’t be surprised. A lot of people say yes,” Trump said.
            Others have gone further — much further. Soros received the first of several pipe-bombs sent to individuals critical of Trump in November. The man accused of sending those devices, César Sayoc, had repeatedly mentioned the billionaire on Twitter.

            Explosive device found near George Soros' home

            Explosive device found near George Soros' home

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            Soros told the Financial Times: “The fact that extremists are motivated by false conspiracy theories about me to kill hurts me tremendously.”
            After the pipe-bomb incident, Soros’ son Alexander blamed the atmosphere unleashed by Trump’s election, writing in the New York Times: “A genie was let out of the bottle, which may take generations to put back in, and it wasn’t confined to the United States.”
            Indeed, Soros has made many enemies across the Atlantic. When he was a student, Viktor Orbán received a scholarship to study in England from a Soros-supported foundation. Now he is Hungary’s Prime Minister and his government has taken aim at the Soros’ financed Central European University in Budapest, pushing through legislation requiring NGOs to register as foreign agents. The university has since moved many of its courses to Vienna.
            Students and teachers of the Central European University protest in Budapest in April 2017 over moves to force it to close.

            Students and teachers of the Central European University protest in Budapest in April 2017 over moves to force it to close.

            Anti-Semitic slurs

            In Hungary’s election this year, Orbán accused his erstwhile benefactor of encouraging the flow of Muslim migrants into Europe. Orbán’s election campaign included billboards picturing a laughing Soros with the slogan: “Don’t let Soros have the last laugh.”
            Bulcsú Hunyadi, senior analyst at the think tank Political Capital in Budapest, said Orbán had portrayed Soros as the “main machinator” of migrants who would “destroy the Christian, traditional identity and ethnic homogeneity of the continent.”
            Orbán also used traditionally anti-Semitic innuendo in his attacks on Soros. Berating “Uncle George” at a rally in March, he said Hungary’s enemies were “not open but hiding; not straightforward but crafty; not honest but base; not national but international; does not believe in working but speculates with money.”
            The far right in France has picked up the theme. In May, the magazine Valeurs Actuelles, ran the headline “The Billionaire Plotting against France: Revelations on George Soros, the Global Financier of Immigration and Islamism.”
            Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also played the anti-Semitic card in his attacks on Soros. Just last month, he told a meeting that “the famous Hungarian Jew” had been behind protests in 2013. He claimed Soros was trying to divide and destroy nations — prompting the Open Society Foundations to cease operations in Turkey, citing “an increasingly hostile political environment.”
            Soros’ organization was expelled from Russia in 2015, and this summer Putin went so far as to compare him with the Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prighozin, who’s alleged to have organized the Russian troll factories and is under US sanctions. Soros “meddles in all sorts of situations around the world,” Putin said.
            Despite the onslaught, Soros seems undaunted — even energized. In July he tweeted: “I must be doing something right to look at who my enemies are.”
            Soros rarely shrinks from controversy and has identified with liberal and even radical causes in the US. Writing last month in the Jewish magazine, Tablet, James Kirchick noted that Soros had donated to several of the groups involved in the protests against Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
            “Polarization, tribalization, partisanship, and a general breakdown in civic discourse are all serious problems in America right now,” Kirchik said. And Soros himself — by supporting groups such as MoveOn — “must answer for some of the damage.”

            Forces against him

            Soros seems to believe that the tide is running against his ideas. In a speech in Brussels last year he warned the EU was surrounded by hostile governments: in Russia, Turkey, Egypt and “the America that Trump would like to create but can’t — but can’t.” He lamented “the rise of anti-European, xenophobic parties that are motivated by values that are diametrically opposed to the values on which the European Union was founded.”
            Recognizing the forces ranged against him, he has doubled down — transferring to his foundations a further $ 18 billion of his wealth. Among current projects: advocating for a 2020 census in the US that would better represent minorities, and the “Best for Britain” campaign, which seeks a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
            Soros speaks about two formative experiences that still guide his work. In Nazi-occupied Hungary, his father provided other Jews with false identity papers to help them survive. “Not only did we survive, but we managed to help others. This left a lasting mark on me,” Soros has written.
            And as a student in London he was taught by the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, author of “The Open Society And Its Enemies.”
              Soros’ foundations were named after the book, in which Popper writes: “If we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”
              It’s a declaration that has driven George Soros for much of his life.

              Jerry Stiller confused by George Costanza’s heritage on ‘Seinfeld’

              Jerry Stiller — who famously played George Costanza’s dad on “Seinfeld” — says he was always confused about the on-screen family’s heritage.

              In a video appearance at the Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot gala at the Mandarin Oriental on Monday, the veteran comic said, “It was never really clear if the Costanzas were Jewish or Italian or what they were. Jason [Alexander, who played George], Estelle [Harris, who played Estelle Costanza] and I were given the name Costanza, which sounds Italian, but there were episodes where I cooked Jewish food and ate knishes and kasha varnishkes in bed.”

              Stiller added, “When people asked me about this, I would simply say it was because we were a Jewish family in the witness protection program.”

              A replica of Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment is part of the Tel Aviv, Israel, museum’s new exhibit on Jewish humor.

              “What about the Costanzas’ living room? What are we, chopped liver? Oy, serenity now!” Stiller quipped.

              George H.W. Bush secretly sponsored a Filipino child for 10 years. Read some of the letters they sent each other

              (CNN)Even after his death, George H.W. Bush continues to warm our hearts.

              The 41st President sponsored a 7-year-old boy in the Philippines for ten years using a pseudonym, the nonprofit who connected them revealed.

              Through Compassion International, a nonprofit organization that uses local churches to help children in poor communities around the world, Bush sponsored a boy named Timothy. For a decade, the former President sent funds that went toward Timothy's education, extracurricular activities and some of his meals. The organization has shared some of Bush's letters with CNN.
              The Bush family was not available to comment on the letters, but Jim McGrath, a spokesperson for the Office of George H. W. Bush, confirmed the letters' authenticity.
                Once the sponsorship began, Bush began writing to the boy right away. He said in his first letter, send on January 24, 2002, that he loved Timothy from the get-go.
                "Dear Timothy,
                I want to be your new pen pal.
                I am an old man, 77 years old, but I love kids; and though we have not met I love you already.
                I live in Texas - I will write you from time to time - Good Luck. G. Walker"

                How it all began

                Bush first got the idea to sponsor a child in 2001, when he attended a Christmas concert in Washington.
                "Because the musicians were mostly Christian, they believed in our mission," Wess Stafford, the former president of Compassion International told CNN. During intermission, "they would tell the audience about us, and ask them if they would like to sponsor a child," he said.
                "All of the sudden, Mr. Bush, who was sitting only a few rows back and surrounded by security, raised his hand and asked for a pamphlet."

                According to Stafford, his security team was alarmed because they had no idea what exactly was going to be on the pamphlet, or if the information on it had been screened for authenticity. But that didn't stop Bush.
                "His top security called me and said 'this doesn't surprise me coming from him, but if he's going to sponsor this kid, we need to make sure the boy doesn't know who his sponsor is.' So, he signed all his letters to Timothy as 'George Walker,'" Stafford said.
                Bush's security team was mainly concerned for Timothy's safety, Stafford explained. They didn't want him to become a target if people found out the boy was in communication with a former US President.

                Keeping the secret was no easy task

                Due to security concerns, Stafford became in charge of screening each letter -- and Bush didn't make his job easy, he said, as he began providing more information than he was supposed to.
                "P.S. Be sure to say your prayers. I do every day," President Bush wrote.

                "P.S. Be sure to say your prayers. I do every day," President Bush wrote.

                "His letters were the most sweet, spirited letters I have read from any sponsor, but he kept giving hints as to who he could be," Stafford said. "He was really pushing the envelope."
                His first security breach: sharing a picture of his dog.
                "Here is a picture of our dog," he wrote. "Her name is Sadie. She has met a lot of famous people."
                "She is a very good dog she was born in England. She catches mice and chipmunks, and she runs like wind. G. Walker."

                He also mentioned that he was famous enough to get invited to the White House for Christmas.
                "Dear Timothy,
                I love that picture of you holding that 'World Time' gadget. I also have learned that you play the guitar - terrific!
                Timothy, have you ever heard of the White House? That's where the president of the USA lives.
                I got to go to the White House at Christmas time. Here is a little booklet that I got at the White House in Washington."

                Although sending presents was not allowed, Bush would send them anyway, specially when he found out Timothy loved to draw and paint.
                "Timothy would send him hand drawings and told the President how much he liked art, so he sent over color pencils, sketch pads, and paint," Stafford said. "I waited for my staff to go to the Philippines and send it with them. They would then bring it to the church Timothy was a part of, so he could collect his gifts."
                In one of the letters, Timothy thanked Bush for not forgetting about him.

                "Dear Mr. & Mrs. Walker,
                How are you? I hope you're in good condition.
                I would like to thank you for not forgetting me. You're so nice and good.
                God is so good to us. He gives us the body & will to get to where we want to go.
                Thank you so much for the book, I like it very much."

                Timothy finds out

                Luckily, Timothy never caught on to the hints in Bush's letters, and didn't find out who his sponsor was until he had graduated from the program.
                "After a while, my executive assistant, Angie Lathrop, took over the sponsorship, and after Timothy graduated at 17, she flew to the Philippines to meet him," Stafford said. "That's when she told him who his sponsor really was."
                Timothy was stunned, Stafford said. He really couldn't believe the man he had been writing letters to was once the President of a nation.
                Stafford said that Timothy told Lathrop he had no idea, and that the revelation was life-changing.
                That was the last time the nonprofit heard from Timothy, despite efforts to locate him, Stafford said.
                Compassion International works through partnerships with over 7,000 local churches in 25 countries around the world, and their main goal is to fund early education, help expectant mothers in need, and encourage those in poor communities to achieve great things.
                  People can sponsor expectant mothers, recent mothers, and children as young as four years of age, Stafford said.
                  "We may not know where Timothy is, but we know he's now living a successful life," Stafford said. "Sponsoring a child, even if they are still in the womb, can encourage them and guide them to become great human beings."