If you want to know what’s wrong with our campaign finance laws – and our political system in a more general sense – look at the way Sheldon Adelson is buying the Republican nomination for his sock puppet, Newt Gingrich.
Right now, the anonymous donors to a political action committee, or PAC, can buy ads on behalf of – or against – a candidate, and spend unlimited amounts as long as there is no official connection between the PAC and any candidate. This degree of separation, however, is pure fiction: in reality, “former” aides to the candidate can and do operate these “Super PACs,” which are funded by one Daddy Warbucks or another: no overt coordination is necessary. What’s important here is disclosure, or the lack of it: the PACs don’t have to say who is funding these ads, only that the “Committee for Good Government” or some such semi-fictional entity is paying for it. In this way, Adelson – a casino billionaire, one of the richest people in the country – can drop a cool $10 million into the race (with more in the pipeline) and in effect buy the election, without the average voter knowing who is paying the bills. In short, Adelson can operate in the dark, as far as Joe Voter is concerned – and darkness is what the Adelsonian agenda requires above all.
So what is Adelson’s agenda?
He and his allies have been campaigning for war with Iran for years, not only here but in the Middle East. Adelson is a major financial backer of Israel’s ultra-nationalist Likud party, which calls in its platform for a “Greater Israel,” and he has backed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the hilt. The 16th richest man in the world, with his casino empire stretching from Macao to Las Vegas, he thought nothing of giving $60 million to Israel’s anniversary celebration. He is also a major backer of AIPAC, the most important pro-Israel lobbying organization – but downsized his contribution when the group signed on to the two-state solution advanced by both Republican and Democratic presidents – on the grounds that the plan means Israel is “committing suicide.” He supports the extremist – and increasingly violent – “settler” movement, and is the money-bags behind the “Clarion Fund,” which is responsible for flooding the US with anti-Arab propaganda. As a major contributor to the “Birthright” program, which sponsors trips to Israel by students from around the world, he addressed a recent Birthright gathering in Israel, where he declared:
“Read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why [Newt] Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people. There are a number of Palestinians who will recognize the truth of this statement.”
In spite of being a highly-paid and sought after “historian” of note, you’ll be surprised, I’m sure, to learn Gingrich takes his lessons from Adelson, whose academic credentials are far less impressive. Because Newt didn’t always believe the Palestinians are a figment of their own imaginations: this idea coincided with Adelson’s generous donations to Gingrich, Inc.
In a 2005 article for the Middle East Quarterly, Professor Newt opined that the Palestinians are “a relatively wealthy, educated, and cosmopolitan people,” who are “in some ways among the most international and most advanced people in the Arab world.” So advanced that they “invented” themselves? He also called for the US government to “establish a program of economic aid for the Palestinians to match the aid the U.S. government provides Israel.”
While Newt’s 2005 piece disparages the role of diplomacy, and attacks the present Palestinian leadership (including the Palestinian Authority/PLO) as nothing but a bunch of “terrorists,” he writes:
“The U.S. government should become the protector of the Palestinian people’s right to have a decent amount of land. The desire of some Israelis to use security as an excuse to grab more Palestinian land should be blocked by Washington even if that requires employing financial or other leverage to compel the Israeli government to behave reasonably on the issue of settlements. It is vital to our credibility in the entire Middle East that we insist on an end to Israeli expansionism. It is vital to our humanitarian duty to the Palestinian people that we protect the weaker party from the stronger power. It is vital that the world sees that our total support for Israeli security is not matched by a one-sided support for more extreme Israeli territorial demands.”
Upon receiving a record amount of $13 million from Adelson – the latest installment was a check for $5 million from Miriam Adelson, his Israeli-born wife – Newt the Historian woke up one morning to discover that there are no Palestinians – only a horde of drooling Orcs trespassing on Israeli land.
January 27, 2012
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
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