The Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice have been investigating allegations of ties between Sheldon Adelson’s Macau casino and Chinese organized crime rings and prostitution for the past year. ABC News reports a former Sands Casino executive has charged that the Asian business operation relied on the Chinese triads which organized junkets for “high roller” gamblers and prostitution to service their “other” needs. It reports that on the same day Adelson arrived for a major business meeting at the Chinese enclave 100 prostitutes were arrested within the hotel. The charges are being investigated under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which governs crimes like corporate bribery.
Newt Gingrich, not one to observe the highest standards of ” family values” himself with his three wives and history of philandering, might want to explore whether this represents the highest standards of moral values for a Republican presidential candidate. And if it doesn’t trouble Newt, it might trouble some Republican primary voters. They might want to spend a moment thinking how many acts of prostitution or bribery contributed to the $10-million (the largest private gifts ever-given in U.S. campaign history) Adelson has funneled into Gingrich’s campaign, with the likelihood of tens of millions more should his fair-haired goy proceed farther in the primary process.
To see how Adelson has gamed another political system as a model for what he’ll do here in the States, we have to look no farther than his pimping for Bibi Netanyahu over the past decade or more. It is far cheaper to buy the Israeli political system than America’s. All Adelson needed to do was bankroll a new, free newspaper, Yisrael HaYom, to the tune of $40-million annually. The paper was Bibi’s alter ego. Just imagine the Washington Times with infinite resources, free, and distributed nationally. That’s what the Israeli paper’s role is inside Israel. Bibi himself credits it with creating a permanent rightist majority in Israeli politics. The result is the worst political and media system money can buy. Is that what we want here in America?
I don’t begrudge Adelson’s his constitution-given right to influence the electoral process with his contributions (though I do begrudge the absurd ruling of the Supreme Court which turned Presidential elections into Las Vegas casino-style politics). Nor do I begrudge Gingrich the right to accept gifts from donors. After all, “money is the mother’s milk of politics” to quote California’s Big Daddy Jess Unruh. But my problem is with WHO he’s taking the money from and how much he’s taking.
If Supreme Court justices, Congress members, and the U.S. voter don’t all understand the perniciousness of a presidential candidate running a successful candidacy through the support of a single fabulously wealthy, and arguably corrupt individual, then they will get the leader they deserve and the country’s stature in the world will decline even faster than it would under otherwise natural processes.
The Newt-Adelson relationship reminds me more and more of Citizen Kane, in which Charles Foster Kane runs for governor on the strength of his fabulous riches, only to be derailed by exposure of his moral failings. The difference for Newt is that his money man has infinitely deep pockets and Americans have shown themselves willing to overlook Newt’s moral peccadilloes (so far).
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.