Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Spare a Thought for Some of the Losers

"Hey Benjamin, wassup?
Remember how much you intervened and tried to influence the presidential elections here in the States?"
"Yeah. Why?"
"Oh, no reason  :) "
How one Israeli humourist imagined the conversation.

OK, so Barack Obama is not the kind of guy we'd like to see as president  Not the sort of person his opponents claimed. He's not a socialist, he is not that great a reformer, he isn't going to curb the power of Wall Street and he may not even stop those murderous drones. 

But those people on the Left who are saying this election is meaningless are not just off the wall, they are out of touch, and maybe they are not even admitting their own feelings. Smile, your face won't crack! There are more important things than staying pure and proving how much cleverer you are than the poor deluded masses. And besides, if you see nothing to rejoice at in the winner, just take a look at those that lost.

The right-wing headbangers who denounced Obama "the Muslim", Obama "the Red", with everything from home-made posters to magazine articles and radio shows, must be asking themselves what went wrong.  The Tea Party alliance of hate preachers, tax dodgers, loud-mouthed lumpen and vulgar rich, some of whom encouraged the English Defence League thugs in Britain, have suffered a set-back whatever they say.

Tea Party movement-backed candidates lost to Democrats in Indiana and Missouri, among other states, undermining Republican chances of seizing control of the Senate. Six Tea Party caucus members were defeated at the polls, plus another seven who retired, lost a primary or sought higher office. Both tea party candidates who ran for the Senate, Reps. Denny Rehberg of Montana and Todd Akin of Missouri lost.

Tea Party congresswoman Michelle Bachman held on to her seat in Minnesota, but Allen West lost in Florida and Joe Walsh in Illinois. West, a leading member of the Tea Party Caucus had denounced a number of Democrats as 'traitorous Communists', and spent $13million to hold on to his seat - nearly four times as much as his opponent Patrick Murphy raised.

It's true the Tea Party is not dead. It is boasting of the way it took over the Republican agenda. This was shown by the way Mitt Romney vowed to repeal federal health care laws not too different from the ones he supported when he was governor of Masachusetts. But in taking the wheel in the Republican Party and steering it to more reactionary social policies they ran it on to the rocks.

Billionaire property man Donald Trump is not happy at all with the way the election has gone.Trump kept shouting the odds about Obama's not being a real American, and demanding to see his birth certificate, offering $5 million dollars to charity if the President could produce it, even as people were starting to show more interest in seeing Republican Mitt Romney's tax returns. they asked what was patriotic about stashing millions in offshore tax havens.
This morning as the results came in Trump took to Twitter to attack the US electoral system, the Electoral College and the whole business. "This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy! "
"Well, back to the drawing board!" Trump tweeted shortly after several networks, including Fox News, called Ohio in the president's favor, sealing the win. "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"

Oddly, Trump had not seen anything wrong with the system before, say back in the days of Bush and the hanging chads in Florida. If his march on Washington fails to materialise he will have to console himself with playing the laird on his golf course with his honorary degrees in Scotland.

 Abroad, one man who was assuring colleagues earlier this year that Obama did not have long to go was Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He was confident his government could ignore US strictures not to expand settlements, and count on US backing if and when it attacked Iran. It looked as if he was right. Netanyahu had lectured Obama in the Oval office, A supposed "snub" in not inviting him to the White House after his performance at the UN was made part of the anti-Obama campaign. Romney accused the President of being prepared to "throw Israel under the bus", held his fundraiser in Jerusalem, and promised to move the US embassy there, even as the harassment and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian residents was getting worse.  

Now as one Israeli commentator tells us:
"If there is one loser in the U.S. election outside the U.S., it is Benjamin Netanyahu – and all of Israel knows it. No one is fooled by his denials that he backed Romney and opposed Obama as demonstratively as he possibly could. The widespread conviction, now that Obama has won four more years in the White House, is that Bibi has endangered Israel’s relationship with America in a way that is unprecedented in its recklessness. No Israeli prime minister ever took sides in a U.S. presidential election like Netanyahu just did, and his side lost.

If Romney had won, people here would be hailing Bibi right now as a genius, a prophet. But Obama won, which makes Bibi, in Israeli eyes, a screw-up of historic magnitude. He went and tracked mud on the Oval Office carpet right in front of the president’s eyes. The president couldn’t say anything during the campaign because of American domestic politics, but the campaign’s over and now Israelis are wondering when and how this newly-liberated president is going to take revenge on them for their prime minister’s spectacular arrogance. Conclusion: The only way to get America back on our side is to get rid of Bibi.

Already before the election it was becoming evident that the Romney-Netanyahu ticket was failing to convince one important sector of the electorate - the American Jewish community. Even some of the most notoriously pro-Zionist figures like former New York mayor Ed Koch, writer Elie Wiesel and lawyer Alan Dershowitz who might have been expected to oppose Obama came out saying that he was not so bad after all, that he had not let down Israel, and what's more, his social policies were in line with Jewish values. Perhaps they were moving with the wind. It is reckoned that about 70 per cent of the Jewish voters supported Obama for a second term.

That left Romney-Netanyahu with a minority including some seriously dodgy business figures and flamboyant characters even by Tea Party standards. The Republican's biggest backer, who also finances a freesheet called Israel Hayom supporting Netanyahu , was Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson. Back in August, The New York Times wondered whether his effort to put Mitt Romney in the White House had anything to do with a federal criminal investigation into his company's business practices.

The Times editorial page mused that "since Mr. Adelson's financial future is riding on the outcome of these federal investigations, it is legitimate to ask whether he has motivation for supporting the Republican ticket so lavishly, beyond his sharp disagreement with the Obama administration's position on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process."

The top reason Adelson gave for backing Romney and opposing President Barack Obama was "self defense," referencing the probe into Las Vegas Sands Corp. "Adelson said a second Obama term would bring government 'vilification of people that were against him.'

Adelson's casino empire, the bulk of which is based in Asia, is being investigated for bribery and money laundering.  "When I see what's happening to me and this company, about accusations that are unfounded -- that kind of behavior ... has to stop,"

In other words, Adelson was spending millions of dollars to curry political favor in the United States, hoping to fend off charges that he spent millions of dollars to curry political favor in Asia.
Among a number of stories in the press lately, The New York Times dove into the murky China-dominated world in which Adelson's casinos thrive:
Federal investigators began looking into the Sands's China activities after the former president of the company's Macau operations filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit in 2010. The former executive, Steven C. Jacobs, charged, among other things, that he had been pressured to exercise improper leverage against government officials in Macau, and that the company had turned a blind eye to Chinese organized crime figures operating in its casinos. (The Jacobs lawsuit raised questions about payments to another well-connected local figure -- a lawyer and legislator in Macau -- that were recently explored by ProPublica and are also part of the federal bribery investigation.) The Sands declined to respond to a detailed list of questions provided by The Times more than a week ago, saying in a statement that it was cooperating with the inquiries and was confident that once they were concluded "no current member of senior management will have been found to have been involved in wrongdoing."

Adelson said he was willing to spend $100 million or more to unseat President Obama. As it is,after first backing Newt Gingrich he spent about $30 million supporting Romney and various other Republicans who were unsuccessful. You would think a man who made his fortune from punters gambling away their money would have been smarter placing his own bets.

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