Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sheldon And Miriam Adelson-- Two Dangerous Crime Figures Considered Too Big To Jail


Sheldon and Miriam Adelson spent more money on federal election campaigns-- all $150 million of it going to bolster right-wing Republicans-- than anyone else in the country. Is it because they're so patriotic that they just feel compelled towards civic mindedness? No. Adelson is an agent of Communist China and the crooked wife is an Israeli. Both have become fabulously wealthy fronting for the Mafia in Las Vegas and for organized crime triads in Macao. Adelson has ensnared the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, a Mormon gambling addict, with immense amounts of credit and has become privy to all the secrets China (and Israel) are interested in from this country.

Adelson, as we've been explaining for several years, has a lot of agendas, many of which-- a passionate hatred of working people and unions, an extreme agenda towards Zionism that encourages Israel to take over Arab land and expel Palestinians from their homes, for example-- he shares with McKeon. But Adelson, who is under multiple investigations for serious criminal activities at home and abroad, is also looked at as a cat's paw inside the American political system for communist China. Most of his wealth is derived from his gambling and prostitution businesses in southern China, specifically Macau. He is also Mitt Romney's biggest donor, Eric Cantor's biggest donor, John Boehner's biggest donor and the Republican Party's biggest donor. He tried using his Chinese billions to finance a peaceful coup d'etat in the U.S. So how does McKeon fit in? This is what we reported last July:
McKeon, who poses as a devout Mormon, is addicted to gambling. And he's a loser. What [Kevin] McCarthy's staffers have leaked is that he's lost very large sums of money at Adelson's casino. He hasn't reported these losses-- which is a crime. He gets the highest national security briefings, briefings the man he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to is very interested in. He's always welcome at the Venetian Hotel on the Strip, where he's a well-known figure... and where he keeps getting deeper and deeper in debt to Adelson (and Red China). I might add, tangentially, that although there isn't a single casino in CA-25, McKeon is one of the top recipients of gambling contributions in the House ($34,700 so far... the year is young) and that he has a record of supporting the agenda of the big casino companies that bribe him patriotically donate large sums of money to his political career.

Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee have now gone to Boehner and demanded he remove McKeon as chairman because they perceive him as a "potential" threat to national security. Boehner called him in for a meeting. But instead of firing him, he told him to "take care" of the gambling debts before it becomes public.
Yesterday's NY Times finally reported that Adelson now admits he broke the law bribing Chinese officials in building his Macao gambling empire. He couldn't worm his way out of it any longer and has confessed to the SEC that he "likely" violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials.
The disclosure comes amid an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the company’s business activities in China.

 It is the company’s first public acknowledgment of possible wrongdoing. Ron Reese, a spokesman for the Sands, declined to comment further.

The company’s activities in mainland China, including an attempt to set up a trade center in Beijing and create a sponsored basketball team, as well as tens of millions of dollars in payments the Sands made through a Chinese intermediary, had become a focus of the federal investigation, according to reporting by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal in August.

...The Sands’ activities in China came under the scrutiny of federal investigators after 2010, when Steven C. Jacobs, the former president of the company’s operations in Macau, filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit in which he charged that he had been pressured to exercise improper leverage against government officials. He also accused the company of turning a blind eye toward Chinese organized crime figures operating in its casinos.

Mr. Adelson began his push into China over a decade ago, after the authorities began offering a limited number of gambling licenses in Macau, a semiautonomous archipelago in the Pearl River Delta that is the only place in the country where casino gambling is legal.

But as with many lucrative business spheres in China, the gambling industry on Macau is laced with corruption. Companies must rely on the good will of Chinese officials to secure licenses and contracts. Officials control even the flow of visitors, many of whom come on government-run junkets from the mainland.

As he maneuvered to enter Macau’s gambling market, Mr. Adelson, who is well known in the United States for his financial and political clout, became enmeshed in often intertwining political and business dealings. At one point he reportedly intervened on behalf of the Chinese government to help stall a House resolution condemning the country’s bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics on the basis of its human rights record.

...Success in Macau has made Mr. Adelson, 78, one of the richest people in the world. He and his wife, Miriam, own 53.2 percent of Las Vegas Sands, the world’s biggest casino company by market value. Last year, Forbes estimated his fortune at $24.9 billion.

Mr. Adelson became the biggest single donor in political history during the 2012 presidential election, giving more than $60 million to eight Republican candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, through “super PACs.” He presides over a global empire of casinos, hotels and convention centers.
Which Republican leaders met with him before the election to discuss changing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act to keep him and Miriam out of prison? Like the Adelsons, they belong in prison themselves. Will that happen? Will there be any accountability? Not likely, not in a country where the political elites define the evolution of public corruption. Most of Adelson's candidates lost and he failed to win the White House or the Senate back for the Republicans. But he gave Boehner $5 million and he gave Cantor $5 million. That's pretty hefty protection money.

Scottish Cardinal Keith O'Brien finally stopping denying yesterday that he's been molesting boys for his entire career. Long deemed the most vicious homophobic bigot in the Catholic hierarchy, Britain's top Catholic now admits he was a sex predator for decades. Will he spend the rest of his life in prison? Sure-- in the same prison Adelson goes to, the prison of wealth and power that has no bars and no accountability. Last week in the NY Times Chrystia Freeland, evoked one of America's most brilliant Supreme Court justices, Louis Brandeis and his warning that “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
Brandeis’s cri de coeur was inspired by an indignant observation of the shenanigans of America’s robber barons during the Gilded Age. Today, we live in a data-driven age, and some careful students of the connection between money and politics have now amassed a powerful body of evidence to support Brandeis’s moral claim. A lot of it is assembled in a report by the progressive research organization Demos, published this week.

One of the most striking findings is the extent to which economic power translates into political power.

Institutionally, this is an era of unprecedented democracy-- one of the triumphs of the 20th century has been the extension of voting rights to all adults in a lot of the world.

But even in the United States, the country that thinks of itself as being the world’s leading democracy, it turns out that those rights do not translate into much actual political power. David Callahan, co-author of “Stacked Deck,” the Demos report, describes the superrich as “supercitizens, with an outsized footprint in the public square.”

“I think most Americans believe in the idea of political equality,” Dr. Callahan told me. “That idea is obviously corrupted when in 2012, one guy, Sheldon Adelson, can make more political donations than the residents of 12 states put together.”

The Demos study draws in part on the quantitative research of Martin Gilens, a professor of politics at Princeton University, in New Jersey, and author of “Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America.” Dr. Gilens, who focused on the divide between the top 10 percent and everyone else, found a high degree of what he calls political inequality.

“I looked at lots of survey data that indicated what people at different income levels wanted the government to do, and then I looked at what the government did,” Dr. Gilens explained.

“For people at the top 10 percent, you could predict what the government would do based on their preferences,” he said. “But when the preferences of people at lower income levels diverged from the affluent, that had no impact at all on the policies that were adopted. That was true not only for the poor but for the middle class as well.”

Dr. Gilens is a social scientist who is careful to stick to his data. But he told me he was “definitely surprised by the extent of the inequality.”

“If you value democracy, if you value the ability of people at all levels of income to shape government, which is what it means to be a democracy, then, yes, you should be very worried,” he said.

One reason this “political inequality” is significant is that it turns out the rich and the rest have different political preferences. These do not split easily along traditional partisan lines-- in fact, one of Dr. Gilens’s findings is that political inequality persists whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge. And in certain areas, like defense policy, there is no class divide.

But on an important set of economic issues-- deficit reduction, the minimum wage, free trade, regulation and progressive taxation-- the affluent are more conservative than everyone else.

“None of this might matter if the wealthy and the rest of the public had the same public policy preferences,” Dr. Callahan said. “But as we document, the wealthy do have very different policy preferences, particularly in the sphere of economic and fiscal policy and on trade and globalization. You see this on issues like taxation, or the minimum wage, or the general role of the government in society.”

This gap in policy preferences, the Demos report argues, is the explanation for one of the most puzzling and worrying consequences of rising income inequality-- its correlation with falling social mobility. Alan B. Krueger, the head of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, calls this the Great Gatsby Curve, and it is the most compelling reason to be worried about the growing chasm between the top and everyone else.

That link, which has best been documented by the Canadian economist Miles Corak, is mysterious. After all, a lot of today’s rising inequality has been driven by benign forces like the technology revolution and, as a result, today’s plutocrats are more likely to be self-made than they were three decades ago.

But once they become rich supercitizens, the Demos report argues, those at the top of the economic heap use their power to support policies that diminish social mobility. This is not because of malign intent-- there is no cabal of fat cats in top hats smoking cigars and plotting how to keep the proletariat down. Indeed, education, a key to social mobility, is a stated priority for the affluent.

The catch comes when there is a choice between personal self-interest, often in the form of lower taxes, and the expensive institutions of greater social mobility. And that is when the supercitizens opt to pull up the opportunity ladder behind them.

Beyond the campus green, Americans can be squeamish about viewing policy choices through the prism of economic self-interest. It is much more comforting to imagine the country is engaged in a high-minded and technocratic debate about what works best to serve the common good.

But that’s not what’s happening. The supercitizens are very effectively pursuing their own self-interest. Social opportunity, and even democracy, are under threat as a result.

Labels: , ,


At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

Good morning, yikes.

Now that the DOJ is "done" with the formerly not dangerous Aaron Swartz, perhaps Holder can grow a pair and go after this can of worms...

I would also like to Finally see the DeLay FROGWALK that we have been anticipating for many years here.

At 8:12 AM, Anonymous care4home said...

They look so happy...wonderful!

§ Apartment in Spain

At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what about criminal drug money laundering by Adelson's casino in Las Vegas ?
Don't tell me you haven't heard of Zhenli Ye Gon, Mexico's biggest drug kingpin who lost $125 Million at the Venetian while laundering drug money.


Post a Comment

<< Home