Jewish Right Wing Extremist Sheldon Adelson’s Long And Malignant Reach


Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson

In the organized Jewish world, billionaires – no matter how objectionable – are lauded and courted.

Sheldon Adelson is no exception.

His high profile, embarrassing attempts to buy the American electoral process are reviled behind the closed doors of many Jewish federations and Jewish charities. But publicly, Adelson is praised for his donations to Jewish causes. The criticism he so richly deserves is absent, because the federations and the charities want a shot at getting some of Adelson’s money.

Israel has strict laws governing campaign donations from non-Israelis. The law has been skirted in years past. But to do in Israel what he’s done in America, Adelson would have to hold Israeli citizenship.

So the billionaire found another way to shape Israel’s political landscape, and with it the political landscape of Jewish communities worldwide.

He used the Chinese method of illegal trade to legally weaken and in some cases destroy the Israeli media.

The JTA reports:

…The past few months have seen an implosion of the Hebrew press. Maariv, a tabloid founded in 1948 and for its first 20 years Israel’s largest circulation daily, recently was placed in the hands of a court-appointed trustee and could shut down within weeks, leaving 2,000 people jobless. Haaretz, Israel’s leading broadsheet, did not print on Oct. 4 due to a staff protest of 100 proposed layoffs. Israel’s Channel 10 TV is in deep debt to the government and faces possible closure.

Many in Israel blame Israel Hayom, a staunchly conservative, freely distributed paper funded by American casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, for aggravating the crisis in Hebrew media.

The tough environment “is exacerbated by the fact that in Israel we have the most generously funded free newspaper in the world,” said Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz, who before starting the site in February was editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post. “That’s made life hard for all the publications in Israel.”

The boom in English-language media in Israel is due in part to the limited audience for Hebrew-language news: Israel has fewer than eight million citizens, many of whom prefer the Arabic or Russian press to the Hebrew dailies. Editors of English publications here say Israeli media are looking for audiences overseas to sustain their operations, and there appears to be a limitless appetite around the world for news and opinion on Israel.

“There’s an audience for news coming out of the Jewish world,” said David Brinn, managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. And because most news content is free online, people interested in Israel news will visit any number of news sites — so new publications do not necessarily threaten older ones, Brinn said.…

Adelson put out a free daily newspaper to compete with Israel’s established media, a paper with a real (if very politically slanted) reporting staff, a paper that is not ad driven and has no real pressure to make money.

In effect, he gave away free t-shirts, jeans and hoodies at Walmart until most American t-shirt, jeans and hoodie manufacturers went bankrupt, giving Walmart a near monopoly.

But in this case, Walmart is Israel’s political right wing.

Adelson is an oligarch, a man who benefited from shady dealings with foreign governments, dealings that have made Adelson exceedingly wealthy – and many of his competitors and customers exceedingly poor.

Adelson also allegedly has ties with Chinese organized crime and is alleged to have laundered money for them along with promoting prostitution and violating a slew of American laws in the process.

If Adelson’s money turns out to be dirty – and I suspect that will eventually be the case – that would mean Mob money unduly influenced America’s elections and Israel’s social fabric and political landscape.

But even if Adelson’s money is clean, Adelson isn’t. He may not be a criminal under law, but he is still a malevolent actor seeking to buy election results and manipulate public opinion in a country he doesn’t even live in.

Thirty or forty years ago, someone behaving like Sheldon Adelson would have been almost universally ridiculed.

Today Adelson is treated like a king.

Money buys Sheldon Adelson many things.

Lets hope that the US election and the State Israel are not among them.

Mitt Romney IS the Economic Crisis


Mitt Romney IS the Economic Crisis

Robert Reich says the attacks on Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital miss the larger point, one which even the White House is not prepared to acknowledge: Mitt Romney is not simply a callous vulture capitalist, he is the living embodiment of the financial catastrophe that brought this country to the edge of ruin.

[T]he real issue here isn’t Bain’s betting record. It’s that Romney’s Bain is part of the same system as Jamie Dimon’s JPMorgan Chase, Jon Corzine’s MF Global and Lloyd Blankfein’s Goldman Sachs—a system that has turned much of the economy into a betting parlor that nearly imploded in 2008, destroying millions of jobs and devastating household incomes. The winners in this system are top Wall Street executives and traders, private-equity managers and hedge-fund moguls, 
and the losers are most of the rest of us.

The thousands of job losses caused by Bain’s “bad bets,” while providing rich fodder for the Administration’s campaign ads, are really just a microcosm of a self-perpetuating, labyrinthine tax system geared to rewarding the wealthiest with the privilege of betting their fortunes on money they’ve neither earned nor done anything to deserve, with little or no personal risk. Reich calls it “casino capitalism:”

The biggest players in this system have, like Romney, made their profits placing big bets with other people’s money. If the bets go well, the players make out like bandits. If they go badly, the burden lands on average workers and taxpayers.* * *

The fortunes raked in by financial dealmakers depend on special goodies baked into the tax code such as “carried interest,” which allows Romney and other partners in private-equity firms (as well as in many venture-capital and hedge funds) to treat their incomes as capital gains taxed at a maximum of 
15 percent. This is how Romney managed to pay an average of 14 percent on more than $42 million of combined income in 2010 and 2011. But the carried-interest loophole makes no economic sense. Conservatives try to justify the tax code’s generous preference for capital gains as a reward to risk-takers—but Romney and other private-equity partners risk little, if any, of their personal wealth. They mostly bet with other investors’ money, including the pension savings of average working people

.So when Romney touts his business acumen, he’s really bragging about his ability to take advantage of a tax code rigged by himself and others like him to skew the playing field in such a way that in reality poses very little personal risk to himself. For example, another “loophole” in the Tax Code permitted Romney, as a private equity partner, to place virtually unlimited amounts into a tax-deferred IRA by allowing Romney and his partners to grossly underestimate the “value” of their contributions, because the Code only considers a partnership interest in terms of its “future value.” You and I (and ninety-nine percent of Americans who did not have the good fortune and connections to work for a private equity firm) are limited to deferring a few thousand dollars per year from taxes. Mitt Romney’s IRA, according to Reich, approaches 100 million dollars.

The Tax Code also makes interest on debt tax-deductible, fostering a huge incentive to substitute debt for equity, leading to debt-fueled bets made by banks and financial institutions intent on “leveraging America to the hilt,” and culminating in the economic catastrophe that the Bush Administration was forced to finally confront in 2008, and that we still find ourselves mired in today.

But for the banks, private equity firms, hedge funds and other financial institutions who brought on the crisis–and for Mitt Romney– there was no catastrophe. Two-thirds of all income gains realized between the mid-1980’s and 2007 were in the financial sector, showered on the people who made their livelihood playing with other people’s money. People like the folks at Bain Capital, who structured their deals so they would always profit, even though some of the companies they funded ultimately collapsed under the weight of excessive debt. And when the collapse ultimately occurred, the same people who had profited mightily from leveraging the rest of the country were given a massive bailout. The fact is that the economic crisis directly felt by nearly all “ordinary” Americans was never really felt by the people who caused it. That’s the benefit of playing with other people’s money.

The Tax code is an opague behemoth, unfathomable to most Americans. When Americans think of tax issues, they think of income tax rates, they think of how their tax money is spent. They generally don’t think in terms of whether interest on debt obligations may be deductible, because your average American doesn’t have the wherewithal to get his hands other people’s mortgages. But the folks who are attempting to buy the election for Mitt Romney think of nothing else. While people like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers have their pet social issues to amuse themselves, the real issue here is and has always been taxes, or, more correctly, ways to avoid paying taxes.

We’ve entered a new Gilded Age, of which Mitt Romney is the perfect reflection. The original Gilded Age was a time of buoyant rich men with flashy white teeth, raging wealth and a measured disdain for anyone lacking those attributes, which was just about everyone else. Romney looks and acts the part perfectly, offhandedly challenging a GOP primary opponent to a $10,000 bet and referring to his wife’s several Cadillacs. Four years ago he paid $12 million for his fourth home, a 3,000-square-foot villa in La Jolla, California, with vaulted ceilings, five bathrooms, a pool, a Jacuzzi and unobstructed views of the Pacific. Romney has filed plans to tear it down and replace it with a home four times bigger.We’ve had wealthy presidents before, but they have been traitors to their class—Teddy Roosevelt storming against the “malefactors of great wealth” and busting up the trusts, Franklin Roosevelt railing against the “economic royalists” and raising their taxes, John F. Kennedy appealing to the conscience of the nation to conquer poverty. Romney is the opposite: he wants to do everything he can to make the superwealthy even wealthier and the poor even poorer, and he justifies it all with a thinly veiled social Darwinism.

So in response to the greatest Economic crisis since the Depression, the Republican Party has coalesced behind the crisis’ own walking, talking, living embodiment. The mantra that such a person represents the class of “job creators” is just a newly packaged form of Social Darwinism: survival of the “fittest” at the expense of economic “inferiors.” This philosophy was embraced and expanded by 19th Century “thinkers” such as William Graham Summer (cited by Reich), and now channeled by the Republican Party in foisting upon us its nominee for the Presidency:

In 1883, Sumner published a highly influential pamphlet entitled “What Social Classes Owe to Each Other”, in which he insisted that the social classes owe each other nothing, synthesizing Darwin’s findings with free enterprise Capitalism for his justification.[citation needed] According to Sumner, those who feel an obligation to provide assistance to those unequipped or under-equipped to compete for resources, will lead to a country in which the weak and inferior are encouraged to breed more like them, eventually dragging the country down. Sumner also believed that the best equipped to win the struggle for existence was the American businessman, and concluded that taxes and regulations serve as dangers to his survival.

It’s hard to find a better description of the Republican Party platform or Mitt Romney’s campaign, wouldn’t you say?

When Romney simultaneously proposes to cut the taxes of households earning over $1 million by an average of $295,874 a year (according to an analysis of his proposals by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center) because the rich are, allegedly, “job creators,” he mimics Sumner’s view that “millionaires are a product of natural selection, acting on the whole body of men to pick out those who can meet the requirement of certain work to be done.”

Reich believes too few in the Democratic Party are willing to acknowledge the obvious, either because they are similarly tethered to Wall Street’s millions, or because to acknowledge that Romney is in fact the perfect face of the economic crisis would be to acknowledge the overwhelming pervasiveness of the problem. And to acknowledge the scope of the problem would require them to come up with solutions. Circling above all of this discussion, of course, is the haunting shadow of Citizen’s United. But for Reich, the “clear and present danger” facing this country is the plutocrat about to accept the Republican nomination for the Presidency–

at the very time in our nation’s history when these views and practices are a clear and present danger to the well-being of the rest of us—just as they were more than a century ago. Romney says he’s a job-creating businessman, but in truth he’s just another financial dealmaker in the age of the financial deal, a fat cat in an era of excessively corpulent felines, a plutocrat in this new epoch of plutocrats. That the GOP has made him its standard-bearer at this point in American history is astonishing.

The face of every foreclosure, of every job loss, of every dream of retirement or a secure future wiped out by what we euphemistically call the “financial crisis” will mount the stage at his Party’s convention in Tampa Bay this August

The Corruption of US Politics By Jewish Right Wing Extremist Sheldon Adelson


Sheldon Adelson Obliterates Democracy at Home and Abroad

“My political leanings are far to the right….
Attila the Hun was too liberal for me.”
–Sheldon Adelson, 2010If you’ve been paying any attention to Election 2012, you have undoubtedly become familiar with Sheldon Adelson. The casino magnate and Republican Party benefactor – worth $20.5 billion according to Forbes magazine – is fully committed to defeating President Barack Obama, and to that end has pledged to spend as much as $100 million.

Beyond Adelson’s anti-Obama advocacy lies two greater causes; un-wavering support for right wing Israeli politicians and organizations; and, urging the US government to take more muscular action against Iran.

In addition to dumping boatloads of money into Republican Party war chests, Adelson has almost single-handedly destroyed what has historically been a pretty vigorous newspaper culture in Israel.

The Gingrich factorInterestingly enough, by dropping millions into the coffers of the failed candidacy of Newt Gingrich, Adelson kept the disgraced House Speaker viable long enough for two Israel-related factors to unfold: 1) Gingrich’s promotion of extreme pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian views, which moved all the other GOP candidates (except Ron Paul) to the right on Israel; and, 2) the inability of religious right and the Tea Party to settle on one candidate, handed the nomination to Mitt Romney, a longtime friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Adelson’s influence “has turned the Republican contest into a competition of extreme rhetoric, in which there is no room for compromise or diplomacy, and the only answer to any international problem is unmitigated toughness,” Gal Beckerman reported in The Jewish Daily Forward in January of this year. “No one wants to be outflanked by the right when it comes to foreign policy (no one, I should say, besides Ron Paul) and so Gingrich’s apparent parroting of Adelson’s hardline attitudes about Israel — and, I should add, Iran — means that the whole tone of the race is affected.”

Adelson out-AIPAC’s AIPAC

Beckerman pointed out that Adelson’s “positions [on Israel] are unambiguously right-wing and hawkish to the extreme. When it comes to the Palestinians, there is no one to be trusted.”

Beckerman noted that Adelson split with AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) because it “was not far enough to the right for him”: “After being a diehard supporter — funding a new building in Washington, D.C. — he split with the group in 2007 when it decided to support a congressional initiative, backed by the Israelis, to increase economic aid to the Palestinians. ‘I don’t continue to support organizations that help friends committing suicide just because they want to jump,’ he said at the time by way of explanation. He had the same reaction when Ehud Olmert, whom Adelson had once befriended, came to the conclusion that he had to pursue negotiations with the Palestinian leadership.”

Adelson told The Jewish Week last year that, “The two-state solution is a stepping stone for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Adelson’s involvement with Israeli politics is nothing new. In 2007, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Adelson “has been organizing delegations [to Israel] of Republican congressmen and senators for the past 15 years. ‘They all come back Zionists,’ Adelson said.”

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, are major funders of Birthright, a project that sends young Jews on free trips to Israel. Earlier this year, jta.org reported that over the course of Birthright’s 13-year history, the Adelsons had donated more than $140 million to the project.

The casino magnate has also been involved with overt Islamophobic endeavors. AlterNet’s Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel recently reported that Adelson had been distributing copies of the 2007 film Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West (2007) to Birthright participants. The film “demonizes all Muslims, and through explicit statements and rapid-fire images, makes clear the filmmaker’s view that there is a direct connection between Nazis and both Palestinians and Muslims,”

Adelson’s Israeli media grab

Adelson’s influence over Israeli politics has grown exponentially since 2007, when he founded a free daily newspaper, Yisrael Hayom (Israel Today), that had “a strikingly pro-Netanyahu line that quickly became Israel’s most-read newspaper with nearly 40 per cent of the market,” The Globe and Mail recently pointed out.

In many ways, Israel Today closely resembles both the Reverend Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times, which since its’ founding has essentially functioned as a house organ for conservative politics while losing tens of millions of dollars, and the media properties of Rupert Murdoch.

Since its advent, Israel Today has been unabashedly pro Netanyahu. It gave him a “vital boost in the knife-edge 2009 election when he regained the premiership [and it] …. has helped counter the negative coverage that continues to plague his administration, The Globe and Mail reported. .

According to The Globe and Mail, “Critics say [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has effectively become part of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign at Adelson’s behest, creating a rift with Obama and damaging Israel’s ability to work with the United States to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“While Adelson’s newspaper is not the only right-leaning media organ, it is helped by its owner’s willingness to operate at a loss, a luxury not available to other Israeli media.”

The paper “costs Adelson more than $30-million a year, according to a former business partner, Shlomo Ben Zvi.”

In 2010, Adelson told a media conference that his “political leanings are far to the right.” He then added: “Attila the Hun was too liberal for me.”

Newt Gingrich | Dangerous Right Wing Freakshow


Via:-|Noam Sheizaf

Newt Gingrich: The most dangerous man in DC

There won’t be a real difference between another Obama term and a possible Romney presidency. But Gingrich – with his ties to the Israeli right, destructive track record from the 1990s and very personal connection to Netanyahu – could turn out to be a real nightmare

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. More electable than Romney (photo: Gage Skidmore / CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Watching the American primaries makes for a mix of fun and moments of deep anxiety. Most of the time it’s like a good sports match, but every now and then you are reminded that the identity of the winner might have a real and clear impact on your life. After all, Israel has stopped being a foreign affairs issue in Washington a long time ago. Our very local politics are part of the strange and unpredictable American culture war; and – to quote Dimi Reider – our policies are often shaped by the myths, values and fears of people living far-far away.

After signaling Israel as a topic through which they can score easy points against the administration, the Republicans are engaged in an all-out competition over who is more Zionist. Some of the ideas they are promoting would put them in the hard right in Israel, somewhere between the radical settlers and the heirs of Kahane. Often, they simply betray a very misinformed and shallow view of the political reality. For example, even a right-wing Israeli government would hesitate before following Rick Santorum’s advice to annex the West Bank, since it would constitute a formal adoption of apartheid.

The two remaining viable candidates, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, are more knowledgeable and less prone to statements whose meaning they don’t fully understand.

Romney is a careful man. Seeing himself as the “inevitable” candidate, he is careful not to box himself in positions that could make his life as president harder. The former governor hasn’t committed to moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; he has refrained making degrading remarks like the one Gingrich made about the Palestinians, or from advocating ethnic cleansing like Mike Huckabee.

I would even go so far as to say that I don’t see a great difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Except for a brief moment in the first year of his presidency, Obama has continued with the approach of previous administrations, providing a diplomatic umbrella for the Israeli occupation while trying – with varying degrees of success – to somewhat slow settlement construction.

President Romney is likely to continue this path, while advocating the renewal of the “peace process” on Israel’s terms. One could even argue that a “moderate” Republican president would actually help progressives by forcing the Democrats to attack the administration’s Middle East policy from the left – something they are reluctant to do now. But even if you don’t buy this, given the last three years, there is little reason to believe that Romney would be that different from Obama or George W. Bush on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Newt Gingrich as the American Ariel Sharon

Newt Gingrich is a different story. Gingrich – a personal friend of Benjamin Netanyahu and a protégé of right-wing gambling billionaire Sheldon Adelson – is a real supporter of the settlements and the occupation; his views of the Palestinians are as distorted as they come; and he has shown his inclination to be more “pro-Israel” than Israelis themselves, when he helped Netanyahu in the 1990s in his efforts against the Rabin government and the peace process.

America’s current policies are bad enough, but Gingrich is smart enough, well-connected to the Israeli right and ruthless enough to cause way more damage than any other president we have seen. Other candidates – especially those on the evangelical right – seem to be just saying anything that sounds conservative on the Israeli issue. If elected, their inflammatory statements will have to meet the test of political reality. Newt, on the other hand, seems to mean what he is saying. His madness is all too real. By following one of his “out-of-the-box” ideas, he will set the region on fire.

The common wisdom is that Gingrich is unelectable. I find this to be only half true. Of the two leading Republican candidates, I think Gingrich is the more dangerous one. He is the one who could lose big time, but also pull a stunning upset against a sitting president. Romney, on the other hand, seems like the guy who would finish an honorable second.

I shared this thought with some American friends and they all dismissed it, saying that the Democrats would thank their lucky stars if Gingrich were to beat Romney. Perhaps. But to me, Gingrich seems like the American Ariel Sharon – an unelectable, unpopular politician, who came back from the political desert to lead his party due to unique circumstances, and during the time of national crisis was able to change the national conversation and win elections in a landslide.

Ariel Sharon was a corrupt outsider with a strange personal history and a reputation for dark backroom deals – but ironically, at a certain point all this played in his favor: Nothing his political rivals threw at him helped, because the public had already heard all the allegations – and more – against him. Israeli voters, made anxious by the second Intifada, were ready to give Sharon a shot. Wouldn’t the American public do the same during the worst economic crisis in almost a century?

The prospect of Newt Gingrich in the White House and Benjamin Netanyahu (or Lieberman?) in the Prime Minister’s Office, unlikely as it may seem now, is something that could keep me up at night.

Read Also: 2012: Netanyahu’s shadow war for the GOP begins? The strategic use of the “anti-Israeli” label in US politics