This image of Sheldon Adelson wheeling his way out of a busted Romney Victory Celebration seems so telling to me. This sad old man, with his badly dyed hair, who thought he could buy the election, unable to even walk away with dignity. In the end, he did not really understand our country. His own personal piqué at having to pay more taxes is a kind of Madame LaFarge gesture, but the Sans Culottes are right outside the walls of his Venetian Palace and some of them are even inside, cleaning the drunk gamblers barf off the bathroom floor. If there is any justice, he will be in jail at this time next year for bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Can you imagine what Karl Rove’s life has been like for the last 36 hours? All those billionaires ringing him up asking, “what the fuck happened?”, knowing full well that they had bet the house on a loser, not because of any great principle, but simply to keep their tax cuts and get rid of the EPA and Dodd Frank. In the last minutes of his expiring bet on Tuesday Night, when Rove tried to get Fox News to reverse their call that Obama had won, it revealed the smallness of the man and the deep failure of the whole exercise the Rove and Murdoch tried to foist on the American public.
And then there are the true bastards of this game, the Koch Brothers. Almost singlehandedly responsible for the climate change denial industry, they threatened their employees who didn’t vote for Romney. They spent their millions trying to keep from having to clean up all the dirty plants they run that poison our air and water.Good luck with that, boys.
The question must be asked. Do we have to go through this again in two years? Have these assholes learned their lesson? I doubt it. Hopefully some investigative reporter will really uncover the dark corruption of the Super Pac system. How much did Karl Rove make off Crossroads? Who were the secret donors who tried to stop California’s Prop 30 at the last moment? How is the Koch’s Super PAC a Social Welfare organization under the IRS code?
Donald Trump tweeted we need a revolution after his losing bet on Romney failed. If he and his billionaire buddies try to steal an election one more time, there will be a revolution, but it won’t be one the Donald is happy about, because the pitchfork brigades will be outside Trump Tower looking for his comb over scalp.
Romney, meanwhile, once referred to the deal as emanating from “the glorious days of Drexel Burnham,” saying, “it was fun while it lasted,” in a little-noticed interview with American Banker magazine.
The “glorious” part, for Romney at least, was that he used junk-bond financing to turn a $10 million investment into a $175 million profit for himself, his partners, and his investors. It marked a turning point for Romney, according to Marc Wolpow, a former Drexel employee who was involved in the deal and later was hired by Romney to work at Bain Capital.
“Mitt, I think, spent his life balanced between fear and greed,” Wolpow said. “He knew that he had to make a lot of money to launch his political career. It’s very hard to make a lot of money without taking some kind of reputational risk along the way. It’s just hard to do. It doesn’t mean you have to do anything illegal or immoral, but you often have to take reputational risk to make money.”
But there is a far darker tale to be told of the influence of the former Junk Bond King on our current Presidential race. If I was to tell you that the current Republican Presidential nominee and the four largest contributors to Republican Super Pacs are all intimately tied to one convicted felon banker, would you not think it some sort of Oliver Stone conspiracy movie?
But it is true. Mike Milken is responsible for the billion dollar fortunes of Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons and Ken Griffin, the top three Super Pac donors. In addition both Rupert Murdoch and David Koch were clients of Milken and Koch serves as Chairmen of the Board of Milken’s Prostate Cancer charity.
I have no idea what Milken’s mission is other than his belief that banking and environmental regulations are “harmful to capital formation” and his steadfast support of Likud party politics in Israel. I know he has tried with both Clinton and Bush to get a pardon without success.
Is the fact that Milken was responsible for the fortunes of both the candidate and his main corporate sponsors mere coincidence or something more sinister?
What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economywe’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives.
Part of this character assassination is the continuing “Obama is not a Christian” bullshit that we hear from Santorum, Gingrich and even the Reverend Franklin Graham. And this is where I get pretty sad, because in some ways we have regressed culturally since 1961. In 1962 Major General Edwin Walker, who had been forced to resign from the Army after writing that Harry Truman and Eleanor Roosevelt were communists, organized a counter demonstration by local armed Klansmen against the integration of the University of Mississippi.
After a violent, 15-hour riot broke out on the campus, on September 30, in which two people were killed and six federal marshals were shot, Walker was arrested on four federal charges, including sedition and insurrection against the United States. He was temporarily held in a mental institution on orders from President Kennedy’s brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
So in 1962 a crackpot like Walker was sent to a mental institution. Today, he would probably have a right wing talk radio show with millions of listeners. In 1962, fringe organizations like the Klan or the John Birch Society were forced to the margins of society and had no access to the mass media. That is not the case today. The crazy anti-science screeds financed by the Koch Brothers or the “Obama is a socialist” rants backed by Adelson are proof that, with enough money, the truth can be obliterated and that Joseph Goebbels was right—“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”