“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

The GOP Minister of Election Finance: Sheldon Adelson

Sucking the life out of democracy (Editor’s Inbox)

June 02, 2015 12:00 am  •  

The Citizens United decision by the five conservatives on the Supreme Court in 2010 has allowed conservative billionaires to become kingmakers in our democracy.
Sheldon Adelson, one of the world's wealthiest people, in 2012 became the largest single donor to political causes in American history. His fortune is over $36 billion; he gave more than $100 million, made possible by the Supreme Court's rulings, to campaigns.
Adelson invited Republican presidential hopefuls to a late April weekend to what was called the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas. This event is often referred to as the “Sheldon Adelson Primary” because the invited Republicans are there to seek the blessing of Adelson and his nearly unlimited campaign riches by kowtowing to his national and international political views.
The person who can most closely parrot the litmus test given by his lordship will be Adelson's chosen one to carry his Republican banner for our presidency.
It behooves our people to know of a few things about kingmaker Adelson. One of his demands is unwavering support for Israel from all Republican candidates. Along with his casinos in Nevada and Macao, he also owns the Israeli HaYom, an Israeli daily newspaper that aided the election of Benjamin Netanyahu. He opposes a separate Palestinian state.
Adelson, because of his great wealth pays millions in taxes despite his tax loopholes, and yet some Republican candidates this year have called for eliminating the capital gains taxes which would give Mr. and Mrs. Adelson an additional $139 million in tax cuts.
It is extremely disconcerting that wealthy kingmakers like Sheldon Adelson are sucking the breath of life out of our democracy by expecting Republican presidential candidates to “kiss the ring“ of one man who expects the abeyance of whomever he anoints with his millions to act as he wants.


  1. LAS VEGAS — Some of Zionism’s wealthiest supporters will gather in Las Vegas this weekend to consider how they can most efficiently use their money to undermine the growing support for Palestinian liberation on college campuses and throughout American society.

    Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul and frequent big-dollar donor to conservative political candidates, called for the private summit at the Venetian, Adelson’s luxury hotel on the Vegas Strip, to gather top donors and pro-Israeli organizations to plan better ways to oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, particularly its growing support among college and university students.

    Supporters of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine are alarmed that a record number of college campuses — 15, up from 13 in the previous year — adopted resolutions during this academic school year demanding that their schools end investment in Israel.

    This summit is just one of several recent attempts by the wealthy to undermine support for the BDS movement and improve Israel’s failing image in the United States. In March, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) identified the sources of $10 billion in anti-BDS movement spending, a list that included Adelson. And the WikiLeaks archive of the Sony hack revealed that many top Hollywood figures are seeking ways to use their unique position to create pro-Israeli propaganda.

    In addition to his casino empire, Adelson is known for his monetary support of conservative politicians and causes. Aside from generous donations to candidates like Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush, he has spent millions opposing the legalization of cannabis and fighting online gambling.

    1. Ah, the "zionist" label...

      Yep he is a Jew, he's a zionist....

      Just like your words on the previous thread...

      "Deuce ☂Wed Jun 03, 09:11:00 AM EDT
      You forgot about the Bulldozin Chosen mowing down an American girl. That doesn’t count for much to an Israeli-firster."

    2. Supporters of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine

      Ah, so Palestine exists?


      But there are DISPUTED lands.

      The arabs who call themselves "Palestinians" claim the same lands as the Jews that are the Nation of Israel.

      As of this writing there is no nation called Palestine, except on paper.

      If it were real? They could have a border dispute and join most nations of the world...

    3. Yep your scrubbing of my posts, right on cue.

    4. Hard to argue a point with a person like you that just erases points of discussion.....

      That's how it's done in the arab world.... In Iran.

      and here.

    5. just say the magic word and go back to your echo chamber.

    6. Listen to the Zionist Adelson, in his own voice. Is he the sort of man that you want making US political decisions and turning elections? He didn’t like his choice of uniform, it had the wrong colored white star with only five points, the US star. His star is blue with six points. Listen to his words.

    7. Ah the DREADED ZIONIST label..

      How horrible a Jew to think that Jews have a right to their own self determination on their historic lands...

      the crime.

    8. yep King Deuce doesn't have the GUTS to post what is and is not acceptable.

      In the Deuce's standard it is ok to call the Jews of the world, FRAUDS...

      Christ Killers...

      Having Dual loyalties.

      But don't dare question the motives of Deuce...

    9. Only racists think in terms of Jews, Catholics, blacks or other ethnic and religious groups. Someone that uses the terms “Shits” to describe Shias is a racist. Someone that refers to their Jewish Lawyer comes to mind You don’t have dual loyalties. You are not that ambiguous. Your loyalties are not split, they are to Israel and you see everything in terms of racial and ethnic superiority. Your team name for that is “Jews”. That is your definition. You are an “American” as long as it does what is in Israel’s interest. And to be clear, the current right-wing fascism of the Likud.

      I will continue to take down your libels and racist comments, your diversions and absurdly weak deflections that you use to hide the bankruptcy of argument.

  2. Rebuttal:

    There are more billionaires behind the Democrats than behind the Republicans. More millionaires too.

    Note: I hate the capital gains tax.

    I might be living comfortably if it weren't for the damned capital gains tax, a tax on the passage of time, a tax on inflation.

    How the capital gains tax works in Mr. Adelson's business, which is sucking off the weakness of people, I don't know.

  3. NEW YORK — Supporters of Palestine and sympathetic attorneys are fighting back against a slew of accusations of anti-Semitism that they say aim to obstruct their work and obscure Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights through inflammatory rhetoric.

    “False accusations of anti-Semitism and support for terrorism are one of a range of strategies being employed by Israel advocacy groups to undermine the movement for Palestinian rights in the U.S., including legal challenges, legislation as we’re seeing in several states right now, and pressure on universities to censor and punish students and faculty who advocate for Palestinian rights,” Radhika Sainath, a staff attorney at Palestine Legal and cooperating counsel with the Center for Constitutional Rights, told MintPress News.

    On May 18 the two organizations released findings of 60 accusations of anti-Semitism made by Israel supporters against students and faculty at U.S. campuses “based solely on speech critical of Israeli policy” in the first four months of 2015 alone.

    Cases documented in the groups’ briefing ranged from spurious accusations by pro-Israel students, to violent threats against events supporting Palestine, to outright attempts by university administrations to ban them on grounds they might cause “discrimination complaints.”

    “As support for Palestinian rights grows, so too have attempts by groups uncritically supporting Israeli state policies to silence advocates for change, by pressuring institutions to censor and punish advocates, making legal and other threats against individuals and groups speaking out, or, as our latest findings show, labeling them as anti-Semites,” Sainath said.

    “This latter strategy is widespread, and is related to coordinated efforts to create a new definition of anti-Semitism that would encompass criticism of Israeli policies.”


    1. “Construed to silence any criticism of Israeli policies”

      Many of these accusations use a “working definition of anti-Semitism” posted as a draft text on the website of the European Union’s Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, now the Fundamental Rights Agency, in 2005.

      Never adopted by the agency or any other EU body, the definition, which disappeared from the site “during a clear out of ‘non-official’ documents” in 2013, conflated anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel.

      Among other claims, the text charged that “claiming the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor” or “’[a]pplying double standards’ to Israel” constituted anti-Semitism.

      Despite its removal by the EU agency, portions of the draft remain cited in a fact sheet on “defining anti-Semitism” hosted online by the U.S. State Department.

      In a section entitled “What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?,” the document warns readers against attempts to “demonize” or “delegitimize” the country, or apply “double standards” to it.

      The department’s promotion of the discarded definition has come under fire by a group of over 250 faculty, as well as more than 16,700 petition signers, in a campaign organized by Jewish Voice for Peace.

      “Such prohibitions that are so vague that they could be, and have been, construed to silence any criticism of Israeli policies,” Simona Sharoni, an Israeli-American professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at SUNY Plattsburgh, said in a statement distributed by the group.

      In an open letter sent on May 18, the academics warned that “this overbroad definition diminishes the ability to identify and address incidents of true anti-Semitism when they do occur.”

    2. The fact is, the hysterical claim of anti-semitism against critics opposed to the right wing war mongers in Israel and their flacks in the US is clear evidence that Israel and its agents and allies have lost the battle to defend Israeli State policies. Name-calling and smearing opponents is all that is left. This strategy has failed miserably everywhere including here.

    3. Actually the destruction of the islamic world by their own hand proves the point of the need for Israel.

  4. Something very significant happened in the U.S., today. Interest rates took off. Personally, I think it is a very positive sign - a sign of a strengthening economy. The fact that it happened concurrently with a weakening of the Dollar reinforces (in My mind) that fact.

    I'm taking the "over" on Friday's Jobs number.

  5. Bob,
    Alba now (Amy) said democracy isn't for everyone. Not every country in this world
    should be democratic. It comes with time. Amy said she thinks the new fellow ruling
    with an iron fist in Egypt may be just fine. She said the Egyptian people aren't
    ready for democracy. They are bright but very backward. They aren't capable or ready
    to think for themselves yet. Interesting huh? She said the Egyptian people are
    nothing like Americans. They like their simple life. They haven't tried thinking for
    themselves. That's part of why her family left. Amy is gorgeous, well educated,
    extremely bright so I find her perspective most interesting.


    1. I find it most interesting too.

      I'd add any country that embraces Islam really isn't 'ready' for democracy.

      (maybe the Kurds excepted)

  6. >>>We cross-checked the Open Secrets list of the top 100 individuals donating to outside spending groups in the current election against the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires and found that, as of June 19, there were 22 individuals on the Open Secrets list who were billionaires. Of those 22 billionaires, 13 -- or more than half -- gave predominantly to liberal groups or groups affiliated with the Democratic Party. The other nine gave predominantly to conservative groups. (A list of billionaires and how much they donated can be found here.)<<<

    How many billionaires support the Democratic vs. Republican parties?

    By Lauren Carroll on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 4:28 p.m.

    While the Deucean Thesis FAILS, it fails not by much.

    In truth, the billionaires and millionaires come close to cancelling one another out, with a nod to the Dems.

    How many votes are really 'for sale' in this manner in the USA ?

    I know mine isn't, and I doubt yours is either.

    Makes good propaganda though, until one looks into it.

    1. Can we say that Rufus supports the Party of the Billionaires ? The Party of the Pin Striped Suited Bankers ? The Party of the Exploiters ? The Party of the Filthy Rich ?


      Yes, we can, but of course we shouldn't, and it is much more complex than all that.

    2. Daily Caller Donald Trump donated heavily to Democrats, especially during the 2006 Democratic wave election

    3. The Donald and The Rufus walk hand in hand......


    4. You're just sore I made a fool - rather you made a fool - of yourself on your predikktin'.

    5. No, I just don't like fools bandying my name in public.

    6. Didn't Rufus proclaim his prediction that a certain city in Iraq would be ISIS free?]]

    7. Yep the same Rufus that said, if he lived in Gaza he'd be a hamas member...

      and yet screams with daily joy when america bombs isis...

    8. I hate terrorists, and murderers. Connect the dots.

    9. I set the Over/Under at 2 weeks, and invited bets. I didn't bet.

    10. Rufus IIWed Jun 03, 09:51:00 PM EDT
      I hate terrorists, and murderers. Connect the dots.

      And yet you call Israel murderers for bombing Hamas in Gaza and America has done worse in Iraq....

      Why one standard for Israel and no standard for America which doesn't even share a border with Isis?

    11. First is was all Iraq to be ISIS free by 4th of July. There is still 30 days of hope I suppose, but we all know it's off the wall.

      Then it was Ramadi was not going to fall, then it fell, then it was to be retaken in a couple weeks. I forget how long ago that prediction was but maybe there is a week remaining. Goferit.

      If I made predictions such as these I wouldn't want my name bandied about in a public place, either.

      What shall I call thee ?

      General R is what I've hit upon.

    12. I am extremely dootful (doubtful), as my Aunt used to say, that ISIS can 'take' Baghdad. I have my doots about that.

      They can raise hell but it is simply too big.

      The Shia may not want to fight in ISISland, and who can blame them, but they will, I think, fight for Baghdad. And then there are the Iranians who would not wish to see Baghdad 'fall'.

      If I were commanding ISIS I would simply fakaroo about taking Baghdad but concentrate on shoring up my position elsewhere.

      But then I would never command ISIS in the first place. And I have always had trouble making a command stick in my own home, even with my cat.

    13. The cat's behavior when I tell her not to scratch the couch is to scratch the couch a few more times then turn her back to me raise her tail showing me her asshole and then walk slowly away.

      When she meows at night I am trained now to immediately get up and let her out.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. The Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, controls about one-third of Iraq and Syria. The Sunni militants have destroyed a number of ancient Iraqi sites in recent months including Nimrud and Khorsabad as well as the 2,000-year-old city of Hatra.


    "These ruins that are behind me, they are idols and statues that people in the past used to worship instead of Allah," one ISIS militant said in the video. "The Prophet Muhammad took down idols with his bare hands when he went into Mecca.

    We were ordered by our prophet to take down idols and destroy them, and the companions of the prophet did this after this time, when they conquered countries.”

    1. Makes much much better sense to ceremoniously circumambulate a rock in Mecca.


    The Japanese are beginning to put toilets in elevators.

    1. So, what happens when you are taking a dump on an express 'down' elevator?

    2. :)

      I knew there had to be some weak spot in the idea.

      I don't know what happens then and I don't want to find out, either.

    3. Hold your fire until the rapid deceleration begins ?

    4. Or the rapid acceleration begins ?

      It's so confusing.

      Ask General R.

      He knows his outhouses.

  10. The two Israeli-firsters on this blog take a certain amount of glee in taunting those that had hopes for a quick victory over ISIS. From the beginning I had doubts that ISIS would be defeated easily and was appalled by US support for made-up Syrian opposition groups that were clearly favored by the usual suspects in Washington. It was strange that Israel was providing air support and medical assistance to the ISIS forces described as Syrian opposition. It was not so strange that the Saudis and Turks favored ISIS as long as they controlled them.

    ISIS could not have survived and thrived without external support and Sunni connivance. It got both.

    Israel’s Unlikely Alliance
    Is Israel helping al-Qaeda in Syria?

    by Asa Winstanley

    Considering the history of anti-Israel rhetoric that has emanated from al-Qaeda leaders over the years, it is no surprise to find skepticism expressed over the idea that Israel is now in an active alliance with one affiliate of al-Qaeda. Some critics have dismissed this analysis as a “conspiracy theory.”

    There is no doubt that an Israeli–al-Qaeda alliance seems unlikely on the surface (although I have written elsewhere laying out the reasons to believe it nevertheless is happening).

    In a 2002 “letter to America,” the justification “You attacked us in Palestine” appears at the top of a list of reasons Osama bin Laden gave for why they were “fighting and opposing you.” He alleged that “the American people have . . . affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians.”

    This line of argument has long been part of al-Qaeda’s rhetoric. But in fact, the record shows extremely little in the way of violent attacks on Israel by this extremist sectarian movement. Its main targets have largely been US and other Western civilian and military targets on one hand, and Muslim civilian targets on the other (especially, in the last decade, sectarian attacks against Shia Muslims in Iraq).

    Why would Israel and other western powers align themselves with such a movement, even on a limited, tactical basis? Surely any such support would eventually lead to “blowback” in those countries?

    The latter point may be accurate, but based on the available evidence, it seems that Israeli planners consider it an acceptable risk — as do their US and European counterparts.

    It is true that there are conflicting opinions in Israel about how to respond to the Syrian civil war, including which of the various sides and factions to support. This has been a developing debate within Israeli military, intelligence, and political circles.

    1. {...}

      In May 2013, an anonymous senior intelligence official reportedly told the London Times that Israel would grudgingly rather see Assad maintain power than see the rebels win: “Better the devil we know than the demons we can only imagine if Syria falls into chaos.” The Times said that Israeli intelligence thinking was that “an intact, but weakened, Assad regime would be preferable for the country and the whole troubled region.”

      Seven months later, former Israeli military Chief of Staff Dan Halutz publicly stated that “the regime in Syria kills its citizens every day, but we must acknowledge that the opposition in Syria is composed of Muslim extremists like al-Qaeda.” The Times of Israel summarized the government position thusly: “Officials and analysts have gone back and forth since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011 as to whether Israel prefers that Assad stay in power or that the rebels topple his reg.”

      This latter point seems true. Western governments at first seemed convinced that their semi-covert intervention in favor of the rebels would inevitably result in the fall of the Assad government. As former Mossad chief Efraim Halevi wrote in Foreign Affairs in 2013, “like most other countries, Israel believes that it is only a matter of time until the Syrian leader is forced from power.”

      When it became clear that was not going to happen any time soon, they began to shift policy. The persistence of Iranian and Russian military support for the Syrian government seems to have surprised the rebels’ Western, Gulf, Turkish, and Israeli supporters. Since then, other Israeli officials, and former officials, have stated in far clearer terms that they would prefer Assad to be defeated, or at least significantly weakened.


    2. {...}

      More recent reports on Israeli thinking, combined with credible reporting from the ground in Syria, suggest that the elite consensus has swung towards conditional coordination with the Nusra Front — al-Qaeda in Syria.

      The Nusra Front has controlled a key crossing point on the Golan Heights since August 2014, and the Israelis have been providing logistical support (and possibly arms) over the ceasefire line during that time. What appears to be the first explicit confirmation in the Israeli press of this came last month when Israel Today reported the army had treated in its field hospital “a member of the Al-Nusra Front.” Crucially, these fighters are sent back to fight in Syria after being cared for — something that would never happen with captured Hamas or Hezbollah fighters.

      Why are they doing this? Has Israeli suddenly converted to Wahhabism? Have they suddenly developed an affinity for the theories of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri? Do they seriously consider credible the promises last week from Nusra Front leader Abu Muhammad al-Jolani not to use Syria as a base from which to attack the West?

      Of course not. Indeed, it is precisely in Israel’s self-interest for civil war in Syria to continue for as long as possible.

      Divide and rule is the classic imperial strategy, one that the British and French empires ruthlessly pursued in the region for decades, and America has continued as the current imperial hegemon (particularly during its direct occupation of Iraq). And despite occasional important differences with the United States, Israel is, in many respects, the spear tip of imperial interests in the region.

      Israel’s position has evolved on this, and a strengthening of the alliance between Hezbollah (the Lebanese resistance movement) with the Assad regime is a major factor in this evolution.

    3. {...}

      Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the US, stated in an interview almost a year ago that Israel wants to “let the Sunni evil prevail” over the greater “evil” of Iran and its regional proxies. Speaking in the context of a massacre of Iraqi soldiers, he seemed to argue that Israel should allow the “Islamic State” to win. His justification for this policy was that Iran has greater weaponry. Oren held a similar position as long ago as September 2013.

      Oren isn’t alone among the Israeli elite. Gilad Sharon — the son of the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who once called for Israel to “flatten all of Gaza” — stated last month that Israel may actually prefer the “Islamic State” terror group (whose origins lie with the al-Qaeda in Iraq group) to Assad and its Hezbollah and Iranian allies.

      He wrote:

      For as long as the northern border remained quiet, it was in Israel’s interests somewhat to see Syrian President Bashar Assad remain in power . . . But now that the Golan Heights border is starting to become a terror border . . . the fall of Assad’s regime would bring Islamic State to our borders — and that’s a problem. But it would also be a fatal blow for Hezbollah . . . Things aren’t quiet now, and thus Assad’s guarantee should expire . . . So who needs Assad? This is not a call for direct intervention in the civil war in Syria, but it’s good to know what’s good for Israel.

      This is consistent with what the consensus goal of Israeli policy in the Syrian civil war now seems to be: to let “both [sides] bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here,” as Alon Pinkas, a former Israeli diplomat, put it in September 2013.

      At the beginning of last month, Alex Fishman, a veteran Israeli security correspondent confirmed that “let them bleed” was now “the official policy Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has dictated to the security establishment in light of the events in Syria.”

      Israel may not want an outright al-Qaeda victory, but for the moment, they see support for al-Qaeda in Syria as the best way to prolong the civil war there. After all, if Hezbollah is busy fighting al-Qaeda (as it is in the Qalamoun mountains bordering Lebanon right now), the extent to which it can combat Israeli occupation forces will be limited. So the thinking seems to be.

      Or, more crudely expressed: if Arabs are busy fighting Arabs, they will not be fighting Israel.


    The Israeli/US alliance has been an absolute disaster for the American people. The cost keeps rising and in the end it will end badly.

  12. 6.2.15
    Asa Winstanley is an associate editor at the Electronic Intifada and an investigative journalist. He lives in London.

  13. RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia says the suicide bomber behind Friday’s attack on a Shiite mosque in the port city of Dammam that killed four people was a Saudi national.

    The Interior Ministry on Wednesday identified the bomber as 19-year-old Khalid Ayed Mohammed Wahabi Shammari. He disguised himself as a woman and blew himself up in the mosque parking lot after being prevented from getting inside.

    The ministry says the explosive used was RDX, a military-grade compound that was also deployed in a suicide bombing at another Shiite mosque a week earlier that left 22 people dead.

    The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for both attacks. It sees Shiites as heretics and seeks the overthrow of the Saudi monarchy.

  14. The proof of the pudding is in the eating:

    Now let’s wait for the Israeli response to this:

    Hezbollah has seized ground from insurgents near the Lebanon-Syria border, the group said on Wednesday, widening its joint offensive with the Syrian army to try to clear the area of militant groups including al Qaeda's Syrian wing.

    The Iran-backed Lebanese group said in a statement its fighters had seized three hilltops in the mountainous area east of the Lebanese town of Arsal, the target of an incursion last August by the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and Islamic State.

    Hezbollah fighters were now advancing towards a strategically important peak, it said.

    Hezbollah's support has been crucial to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the four-year-long Syrian conflict. Its operation in the Qalamoun Mountains north of Damascus is part of Assad's effort to shore up his control over western Syria.

    Assad has lost swathes of northwestern and eastern Syria in the last two months to an array of insurgent groups including both the Nusra Front and Islamic State, putting him under the toughest military pressure he has faced since the war began.


    Israeli response to victories over al Qaeda and Isis by attacking the defenders against Isis and al Qaeda will remove all doubts as to Israel’s intentions on keeping the wars by ISIS to last as long as possible. Nothing has changed since General Clark exposed the Neocon and Israeli plan to continuously and ruinously support the destabilization of the Middle East.

    What Rufus and DR should have said that without Israeli and Saudi support, ISIS should easily be defeated. That they were too optimistic is understandable. After all, who would have expected two of our most upstanding Allies, The Saudis and the Israelis to be supporting the likes of al Qaeda and ISIS?