Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Billionaires For Bombs

Thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision which wed money to politics, the billionaires running the place have thumbed their noses at representative democracy and are now more brazenly dictating foreign policy and starting wars. The American Republican Party and Israel's Likud Party are, for all intents and purposes, one and the same entity, led and funded by Sheldon Adelson and a sordid little cabal of predatory high rollers.

The latest kerfuffle that has everybody shouting "treason" and "sedition" involves freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) doing an end-run around the White House's nuclear negotiations with Iran and getting most of his Goplikud cronies in Congress to sign a letter to Iran, warning that once President Obama leave office, all deals are off, so let's call the whole thing off while we are still ahead.

Cotton's biggest financial backers just happen to be the Adelson-funded Club for Growth and Wall Street billionaire Paul Singer, whose stated main life objective is to bomb the hell out of Iran. A veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Cotton, the great young Neocon hope of the future of the Forever Wars, beat incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor last fall with two-thirds of his campaign war chest coming from outside his state.

Vice President Joe Biden yesterday issued a strongly-worded statement on the GOP's breach of protocol regarding the Iran negotiations, but without even bothering to note the slimy connection among Wall Street and Israel and domestic senatorial perfidy. From Politico:
“In 36 years in the United States Senate,” Biden said,“I cannot recall another instance in which senators wrote directly to advise another country — much less a longtime foreign adversary — that the president does not have the constitutional authority to reach a meaningful understanding with them.”
Cotton responded to Biden on Tuesday, saying that he and the other senators who signed the letter are “simply speaking for the American people.”
Just so you know, The American People are now defined as the Multinational Oligarchy. In this particular case, the American People are named Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer. Their money speaks for all of us, regardless of who we voted for in the last election.

Singer, who specializes in loading  foreign countries like Argentina down with debt, the better to plunder them in the future, openly and unabashedly wants to start a war with Iran for the future plunder of all its oil. He's largely gotten a pass from the corporate media for his malevolence, because he's the "rare moderate Republican" who backs gay rights -- not least because he happens to have a gay son. But as a 2014 profile of him in The Nation reveals,
First and foremost in Singer’s hawkish foreign policy portfolio is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank whose scholars have promoted “crippling sanctions,” bombing Iran, and sought to downplay how ordinary Iranians might react to a pre-emptive bombing campaign. The hedge fund mogul contributed $3.6 million to FDD between 2008 and 2011, making him the organization second-largest donor after Home Depot founder Bernard Marcus.
“Too much has been made in the West of the Iranian reflex to rally round the flag after an Israeli (or American) preventive strike,” wrote FDD’s Reuel Marc Gerecht in 2010. And in October 2013, as Washington and Tehran were engaged in the early stages of an unprecedented diplomatic d├ętente, FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz and Gerecht, writing in The Washington Post, called for the passage of more sanctions, a move which would have certainly hindered diplomatic progress, because “abandoning the long quest for atomic weapons would be an extraordinary humiliation for Iran’s ruling class. That isn’t going to happen unless Iran’s supreme leader and his guards know with certainty that the Islamic order is finished if they don’t abandon the bomb.”
Before Biden went apoplectic over the seditious Tom Cotton, his boss had mouthed a few mealy words about "donors" interfering with his negotiations with Iran, but he was quickly shouted down by the incensed Billionaires for Bombs party. Could the reason that Obama and Biden are now keeping mum about the big money behind Cotton's letter be that a Hillary Clinton booster is also behind the Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran campaign? His name is Richard Perry, and he gives generously to her foundation as well as to the right-wing Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Again, from The Nation:
Perry, the media-shy owner of Barneys and manager of the Perry Capital hedge fund, runs in the Clintons’ New York City and Hamptons social circles. He gives to the Clinton Foundation and, along with his wife, makes no secret of his support for Hillary Clinton’s future political aspirations. A 2007 New York Times profile of Richard and his wife, Lisa Perry, describes two large portrait photographs of Hillary Clinton adorning the hallways of their penthouse apartment. In a Tablet magazine profile two years ago, Lisa Perry explains that she lost interest in politics because she “really wanted Hillary to be president.” Despite that disappointment, she contributed to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, though her husband, who had contributed in 2008, gave no money.
The Democrats can't call out the Goplikuds' dirty money without also calling out their own dirty money. So they'll pretend that this is all about a naive young Arkansas upstart named Tom Cotton and the Republicans' lack of respect for President Obama. 

* Update 3/11: Never thought I'd hear myself write this, but Tommy Freedom has written a good column on this same subject: Sheldon Adelson as the Doctor Evil character, de facto leader of the not-so-free world. Unfortunately, our favorite chin-stroking pundit does not follow his Eureka moment to its logical conclusion, and call for the ditching of Citizens United.

So which do you prefer: Goplikuds or Republikuds? 

Update #2: Mondoweiss has more on the Republikud letter ostensibly written by Cotton, (reportedly at a $1 million price-tag) pointing out more of the money/bribery details. Friedman's former Times colleague, Bill Kristol, was allegedly the scribe behind the bribe. This scandal is starting to make Hillary's emails smell like roses. I can't wait for the media to start asking her about her own donors. I can't wait for Eric Holder to convene a grand jury. I probably wait in vain.


Zee said...

“Too much has been made in the West of the Iranian reflex to rally round the flag after an Israeli (or American) preventive strike[?]”

Let's see now:

As I recall—and Wikipedia confirms—Iran fought a bitter eight-year war with Iraq from 1980-1988, during which Iraq—the invader—used everything including chemical weapons against the Iranians, with Iran suffering an estimated 200,000-220,000 casualties. But despite being in “revolutionary turmoil” at the outset of the war, Iran was on the offensive for the last six of the eight years of war and fought Iraq to a mutually-devastating standoff.


The Iranians don't sound like pushovers to me.

Should either the Israelis or the U.S. embark on an insane “preventive strike,” it seems likely—if it isn't already—that the Middle East will truly go up in flames from the Eastern Mediterranean all the way through Afghanistan, and maybe even beyond.

I do not want to see Iran “get the bomb,” because, IMHO, their theocratic government is truly mad. But that is not reason for either the Israelis or America to prove ourselves equally mad by initiating a “preventive strike.”

Far better to give the agreement that Obama claims to have with Tehran a chance to work, or failing that, to continue tightening the sanctions.

And, if the Iranians get—and are mad enough to use—“the bomb,” well, the United States knows enough about radioisotope signatures to know where that bomb came from and whom to incinerate by way of ending the matter.

But let us not be the first to strike.

Denis Neville said...

The USA should improve relations with Iran. A good relationship would also constrain Israel.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is not going away—it is a critically important rising power, a huge hydrocarbon power, with a sophisticated, educated population—in some of the same ways the People’s Republic of China was a rising power in the early 1970s and just as then President Nixon came to understand that the United States, for its own interests, had to accept this rising power in Asia, the United States now needs to accept this pivotal and rising power in the Middle East.

“It is imperative for the United States to do so now because, after a decade of counter-productive military adventures in the Middle East, our strategic position there is in free fall and we need a more constructive relationship with Iran to enable us to stop this strategically self-damaging pursuit of dominance in the region and instead pursue a balance of power approach that recognizes all of the important powers in the region and has constructive relationships with each of them.”

- Hillary Mann Leverett, “Why Iran's rise is a good thing,”


Iranophobia …

“There you have it: Not only is this casino mogul the unofficial head of the Republican Party in America (“he with the gold rules”), he is the uncrowned King of Israel — David with a printing press and checkbook instead of a slingshot and a stone. All of this came to the fore in Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday: the US cannot determine its own policy in the Middle East and the majority in Congress are under the thumb of a foreign power.

"Like a King Midas colossus, Sheldon Adelson bestrides the cause of war and peace in the most volatile region of the world. And this is the man who — at Yeshiva University in New York in 2013 — denounced President Obama’s diplomatic efforts with Iran and proposed instead that the United States drop an atomic bomb in the Iranian desert and then declare: “See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”

“Everything you need to know about Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress Tuesday was the presence in the visitor’s gallery of that man. We are hostage to his fortune. "


Meredith NYC said...

Karen.....Agree re Friedman. I said:
See NYT editorial from June 23, 2012--What Sheldon Adelson Wants.

“No American is dedicating as much of his money to defeat Obama as Sheldon Adelson....who also happens to have made more money in the last three years than any other American.

He is the perfect illustration of the squalid state of political money, spending sums greater than any political donation in history to advance his personal, ideological and financial agenda, which is wildly at odds with the nation’s needs.”

If Friedman cares at all about US democracy he could write something about overturning Citizens United—and do it in every column no matter what the topic, since it affects everything. But we get little discussion of this.

To find out our the future direction or our country, we citizens could just read a list of priorities of the richest billionaire donors to both parties. Let’s deal directly with the donors---why waste time and media hubbub with the candidates? We stand in line to vote for candidates as intermediaries on all issues. No one who gets the nominations can go too far outside the limits the donors set.

So we still don’t have universal h/c compared to dozens of other democracies where they pay for elections with public funds and have strict limits on donations.
Here, our billionaires audition our future leaders.

Our rw gop feels perfectly at ease in overstepping It’s role and undermining the president with letters directly to Iran. Our 3 branches are meaningless.

Meredith nyc said...

Karen.... Re the American Pie Chart you posted in your march 8, Times They Are a Changing----is it possible to find a chart for other advanced countries with more economic equality? Or some easy way to compare how much their billionaires own of their nation in comparison to us?

Jay–Ottawa said...

In case you missed it, this droll item found in the Comments over at TI. (10 March 2:49pm)

TEHRAN (The Borowitz Report)—Stating that “their continuing hostilities are a threat to world peace,” Iran has offered to mediate talks between congressional Republicans and President Obama.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, made the offer one day after Iran received what he called a “worrisome letter” from Republican leaders, which suggested to him that “the relationship between Republicans and Obama has deteriorated dangerously.”

Meredith nyc said...

@Jay in Ottawa
Thanks much for the Andy Borowitz line re Iran offer to mediate talks betw repubs and obama.

I found in on his New Yorker blog. We need this priceless humor to lighten the political gloom.

This is also a gem....
MARCH 2, 2015
Boehner Calls Netanyahu Closest Ally in Fight Against Obama.

All the usual lingo but applied to Enemy Obama.

Pearl said...

How Canada's right-to-die ruling could boost movement in U.S.
http://ti.me/1D6cOsv via @TIME

Pearl said...

Offering a Choice to the Terminally Ill http://nyti.ms/1AoLQbq

My comment to this editorial was that I was glad to be living in Canada at the age of 91. Practically all the comments to this editorial supported right to die legislation in the U.S. A hopeful sign.