Archive for Sheldon Adelson

The Kochocracy

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la cucaracha Charles Koch KochocracyVia Lalo Alcaraz

Another snark-filled guest post by the one, the only Will Durst, who's having a little fun with those pesky, corporate 1%ers. Or as Will calls them, the Kochocracy. Take it away, Will:

THE KOCHOCRACY

In the bad old days, medieval German Lords figured out how to pocket some quick coin by charging a toll on the primitive paths meandering across their lands. The money wasn’t used to improve the roads or better the lives of the peasants or clean the rivers their pigs pooped in but rather heighten the piles in their treasury. Even back then, you just couldn’t have enough pewter candlesticks.

These were the first robber barons. Literally. Rich people whose sole pursuit was to survive to become richer people. A criminal aristocracy. A term history has proved redundant.

During the Gilded Age, the flushest 1% of the country held 1/3 of the national income. In the 1920s, this figure ramped up to 2/5ths. Molehills compared to today’s mountainous wealth, where the richest 400 American families control more money than the poorest 165 million of their fellow citizens put together. And if all 165 million were knelt end to end, those 400 families would have footrests from any compass point.

6 members of the Walton Family have accrued as much money as the bottom 41% of all Americans. Now, how hard would it be for them to cover the health care of WalMart employees? They’d still be worth as much as the bottom 34%. How many pewter candlesticks does one family need? You’d think they could get them wholesale.

In decision after decision the Supreme Court has equated money with free speech. Which would be great if it meant the more we spoke, the more we’re worth. But, alas, no. That’s not the deal. Pretty much the opposite, come to think of it.

Rich people have exploited these high court rulings like foxes given skeleton keys to the Tyson chicken empire. Any politician who espouses lowering taxes on the rich and blunting the powers of the poor gets backed. With unlimited sums. Of course the poor have free speech too, but we might as well be whispering downstage at a Metallica concert.

A plutocracy is a society where the rich make the rules- quickly becoming our norm. The 9th richest man in the world, Sheldon Adelson, focuses on politicians whose Israeli policies most closely mirror his. That’s it. One issue. In 2012, he gave 90 million to various GOP presidential candidates. And in the next election cycle, he is reportedly ready to triple that number, recently holding auditions in Las Vegas for his own personal presidential candidate American Idol. Once again: not Clay Aiken.

The most Darth- like of the new Robber Barons are the Koch Brothers, (rhymes with rock) David and Charles, each richer than Adelson. These self- made inheritors of a vast oil empire are responsible for jumpstarting the Tea Party and ALEC, and are now hand picking candidates all over the country; pouring in vast amounts of money to get them and their skewed legacies elected. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is one of the first generation Kochbots. And a bit glitchy.

If so desired, the Koch Family could spend a billion dollars a year for the next 85 years buying politicians. Bankrupting the rest of us through Kochbot legislated tolls on the primitive paths meandering across Koch owned lands. Especially egregious when ALL lands are Koch owned. Get ready for the American Kochocracy.

Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed political comic. Go to willdurst.com to find about more about his new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG,” info about the documentary film “3 Still Standing,” and a calendar guide to personal appearances.

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"Here's what your money is buying right now..."

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gop your money

We have written countless posts about the Supreme Court's terrible Citizens United decision, followed by their latest debacle, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the other appalling Supreme Court ruling that favors billionaires and allows them to influence our election outcomes.

Even Garry Trudeau couldn't keep quiet about it any longer: The Koch brothers can buy anything, including Doonesbury!  As I said in that post, a very few obscenely wealthy individuals are able to spend lavishly on candidates, politicians, and potential votes while, try as you might, your money simply can't compete with the endless supply of cash donated by the corporate big boys.

And with that, another installment of today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Money won't buy you votes," Opinion, April 20

Sure, money won't buy the vote of a regular person, but it sure can buy members of the state legislature or Congress. Here's what your money is buying right now:

Profits on gun sales fund the National Rifle Assn. and ensure that even when little kids get slaughtered at school, universal background checks won't pass the Senate despite the fact that about 90% of the country supports them.

Wealthy people who make money from investments make sure they don't get taxed at the same rates as wage earners.

Money strangles the implementation of banking reform. And it makes sure that no matter how many floods, fires or hurricanes we have, nothing is done about climate change.

Best of all, money buys donors the ability to hide behind "social welfare" organizations so nobody knows who's doing these evil things.

Joanne Zirretta

Aliso Viejo

**

A large war chest doesn't guarantee victory, as Republican Meg Whitman learned in 2010 when voters elected Democrat Jerry Brown governor by a wide margin.

But what money does allow is for the wealthy to buy the loyalty of politicians. The handful of GOP presidential hopefuls who visited billionaire Sheldon Adelson recently offer proof of that.

Most Americans agree that the latest Supreme Court rulings loosening campaign finance rules were steps in the wrong direction.

Kyle Laurent

Newhall

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GOP woos the Jews: The Awkward Moments

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GOP woos the jews chris christie Sheldon Adelson Jeb Bush

Potential Republican 2016 presidential contenders went out of their way to woo the Jews yesterday, specifically billionaire Sheldon Adleson. The elitest of the elite (read: wealthiest) GOP donors showed up in Las Vegas at a Very Special Event. Members of the Republican Jewish Coalition were holding auditions, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush were strutting their cringe-worthy stuff in one way or another.

Citizens United does it again: How to win buy friends politicians and influence people elections.

Being one of many Jews who would never open my wallet for any of those possible candidates, I tend to find humor in situations like these. And this time I found it courtesy of an article in the Los Angeles Times that included some of the more awkward moments.

Let's begin with how Gov. "Heartbroken" tried to shake off his Bridgegate scandal and how determined he was to rescue his damaged career by kissing Adeleson's ass bank account:

For Christie, Saturday's tryout showed the potential for missteps when governors wade into foreign policy at this early stage. During an otherwise warmly received speech, Christie's mention of a helicopter flight over "occupied territories" — terminology used by Israel's critics — during his trip to Israel sent murmurs and whispers of surprise through the conservative audience.

Oops, "murmurs and whispers of surprise" couldn't have done much to salvage his image. So much for Gov. "Who Moi?" and his efforts to restore some of the credibility he never had.

Scott Walker's anemic overtures to Jews whom he couldn't believably relate to at all went this way:

The candidates' attempts to connect with the audience appeared awkward at times. Walker emphasized that he decorates his house during the holidays with Christmas lights as well as a menorah candle. He also noted that his son's name, Matthew, means "gift from god" in Hebrew.

Via onamatopoeia.wordpress.com

You've heard of Christian Mingle? This "What Happens in Vegas Pays in Vegas Moment" was a little like Jewish Mingle. A speed dating version of courting a roomful of donors. John Kasich's version of flirtation was trying to ingratiate himself by flaunting his first-name basis palsy-walsitude with Sheldon:

Kasich, who had been sitting next to Adelson at the Saturday luncheon, addressed him by name repeatedly throughout his post-meal remarks, as if the conversation was one-on-one.

Allow me to address these opportunists by name: Chris, Scotty, John, Jeb, can we talk? Don't pretend you're BFF with obscenely wealthy Jews when you're not; don't try to impress Jews with embarrassing references to your trip to Israel; and pleaseohplease don't attempt to convince Jews that you, an Evangelical Christian, are "one of them" because your Christian kid's name happens to have a Hebrew origin or meaning.

Seriously, don't.

What next, asking Adelson if he's a Scorpio?

More here.

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Casino company headed by GOP donor Sheldon Adelson says it "likely" broke bribery law

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tick tick boom

As you may recall, Sheldon Adelson and his wife donated nearly $92.8 million to outside political spending groups (including $23 million to Karl Rove's super PAC American Crossroads), per the Center for Responsive Politics. First he backed Newt Gingrich's failed campaign for president, and then Willard Romney's. No one else even came close in terms of trying to buy influence.

And as you also may recall, Adelson is the 12th-richest American, with his wealth estimated at $20.5 billion. So all those donations were a mere drop in the bucket for him. According to this Wall Street Journal report, he plans to spend even more the next time around. If at first you don’t succeed, buy, buy again.

You may also recall that Adelson, who is under DOJ investigation, said President Obama would go after him, but Romney wouldn’t. Why is he in legal hot water?

The Las Vegas Sands Corp., controlled by Romney donor Sheldon Adelson, is the target of a U.S. money-laundering probe.

Company of Newt Gingrich’s big donor, Sheldon Adelson, has alleged ties to bribes, Chinese mob.

Now, per the L.A. Times, the casino company Sheldon McBigBucks heads admits to "probably" breaking the law:

The Las Vegas casino company headed by high-profile Republican donor and billionaire Sheldon Adelson said it probably violated a federal law that prohibits the bribery of foreign government officials.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. said its auditors found that "there were likely violations" of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bars Americans from bribing foreign officials to secure an advantage. The disclosure was made in a filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. [...]

Adelson's company said it did not expect the findings to materially affect its finances or force it to restate financial results.

It must be nice to have enough money to buy your way out of legal problems and into political access and election outcomes.

Rachel Maddow does her usual great job of putting the complicated Sheldon Adelson-related story in context:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Billionaire GOP donor Sheldon Adelson's motto: If at first you don't succeed, buy, buy again.

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Sheldon Adelson, whose donations to help Newt Gingrich win the GOP primary went toward the 28-minute documentary film, “King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town,” also did a 180 and spent a whopping $150 million to help Willard M. Romney defeat President Obama. How astute.

That all worked out well for him, didn't it? At least America can be proud that money didn't buy the presidential election... this time.

So what's a loser to do? Well, according to this Wall Street Journal report, spend even more the next time around. If at first you don't succeed, buy, buy again:

"I happen to be in a unique business where winning and losing is the basis of the entire business," said Mr. Adelson, who directly backed one winning and eight losing candidates in the November election, including Mitt Romney. "So I don't cry when I lose. There's always a new hand coming up." [...]

Mr. Adelson's 2012 donations were double what he spent in 2008, and looking ahead, he said, he was ready to again "double" his donations.

"I'll spend that much and more," he said in his first extensive postelection interview. "Let's cut any ambiguity."

Forbes magazine estimates Mr. Adelson's net worth at $21.5 billion.

Citizens United, how can Sheldon ever thank you?

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Sheldon Adelson, who is under DOJ investigation: Obama will go after me, Romney won't

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Two recent flashbacks:

The Las Vegas Sands Corp., controlled by Romney donor Sheldon Adelson, is the target of a U.S. money-laundering probe.

And Company of Newt Gingrich’s big donor, Sheldon Adelson, has alleged ties to bribes, Chinese mob.

So with that in mind, Politico's Mike Allen wondered what Adelson's primary motivation is for supporting Mitt Romney. Could it be the federal criminal investigation into his company's business practices? HuffPo's Ryan Grim reports:

In a wide-ranging, two-hour interview with Politico's Mike Allen published Monday, Adelson himself answered the question.

The top reason Adelson gave for backing Romney and opposing President Barack Obama is "self defense," as Allen put it, referencing the probe into Las Vegas Sands Corp. "Adelson said a second Obama term would bring government 'vilification of people that were against him.' He thinks he would be at the top of that list and contends that he already has been targeted for his political activity," Allen wrote. [...]

In other words, Adelson is spending millions of dollars to curry political favor in the United States, hoping to fend off charges that he spent millions of dollars to curry political favor in Asia.

A kajillionaire is trying his best to buy the election for a guy who he believes will go easy on him legally, and for good reason.

And to think there are people out there who still think we don't need campaign finance reform...

H/t: Dan Froomkin

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WSJ: Las Vegas Sands Corp., controlled by Romney donor Sheldon Adelson, target of U.S. money-laundering probe

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow does her usual great job of putting a complicated Sheldon Adelson-related story in context in the above video.

Prior to that show, back in January, this story came to light: Company of Newt Gingrich’s big donor, Sheldon Adelson, has alleged ties to bribes, Chinese mob in which there was this from ABC:

The casino company run by the principal financial backer of Newt Gingrich‘s presidential bid, Sheldon Adelson, has been under criminal investigation for the last year by the Department of Justice and the Securities Exchange Commission for alleged bribery of foreign officials, according to corporate documents.

In a separate civil lawsuit, a former executive of the company has alleged that Adelson ordered him to keep quiet about sensitive issues at the Sands casinos on the Chinese island of Macau, including the casinos’ alleged “involvement with Chinese organized crime groups, known as Triads, connected to the junket business.” The triads — Chinese organized crime syndicates — are allegedly involved in organizing high stakes gambling junkets for wealthy Chinese travelers. [...]

The Venetian-Macao, a casino owned by the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, was also the subject of a reported “sex-trade crackdown” that occurred in 2010 on the same day Adelson arrived on the island for meetings with government leaders in Macau, according to published accounts in 2010. Chinese press reported that authorities found more than 100 prostitutes inside the casino.

Today, there is this headline over at HuffPo: Las Vegas Sands Target Of U.S. Money-Laundering Probe, WSJ Says (h/t: @Gr8RDH):

CHICAGO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Las Vegas Sands Corp, controlled by billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, is the target of a federal investigation into possible violations of U.S. money-laundering laws, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

The Los Angeles U.S. attorney's office is looking into the casino company's handling of the receipt of millions of dollars from a Mexican businessman, later indicted in the United States for drug trafficking, and a former California businessman, later convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, the Journal said, citing lawyers and others involved in the matter... The Journal said there are no indications that actions by Adelson, who is the company's chief executive officer and largest shareholder, are being investigated.

Adelson's name just keeps popping up everywhere, doesn't it?

Tick, tick, tick....

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