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martes, 19 de enero de 2021

 

Trump May be on Trial, But the System that Produced Him will be Acquitted

BY JONATHAN COOK


JANUARY 19, 2021

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/01/19/trump-may-be-on-trial-but-the-system-that-produced-him-will-be-acquitted/

It is a fitting end to four years of Donald Trump in the White House.

On one side, Trump’s endless stoking of political grievances – and claims that November’s presidential election was “stolen” from him – spilled over last week into a mob storming the US Capitol. They did so in the forlorn hope of disrupting the certification process of the electoral college vote, which formally declared his opponent, Joe Biden, the winner.

On the other side, the Democratic party instituted a second, unprecedented impeachment process this week, in the slightly less forlorn hope that Trump leaves office disgraced and humiliated, foreclosing any possibility he can run again in 2024.

Barely concealing its alliance with the incoming Biden administration, Silicon Valley has shut down Trump’s social media megaphone. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has lobbied the joint chiefs of staff to cut an “unhinged” Trump out of the chain of command, in a move that was reportedly rejected out of hand by Pentagon officials because they told the New York Times, it would amount to a “military coup”.

And Biden, who boasts that he was the author the Patriot Act years before 9/11, has been touting a new “domestic terrorism” bill, as though the US did not already have a plethora of ways to crackdown on dissent, of both the legitimate and the illegitimate varieties.

With this as the backdrop, Washington DC is designating the inauguration of Biden a “national special security event”.

Authoritarian tribes

All this is not just the latest sign that the US political system has degenerated into a tawdry theatre. It is growing evidence that US politics is devolving into a permanent confrontation between two authoritarian tribes. Both are convinced that the other side is un-American, perverting the true republic. Both are unwilling to compromise, believing they share no common ground. And ultimately both are fighting for a rotten cause.

This is not a divide between ethical and unethical politics. This clash is now a bitter grudge match. It is civil war by other means. Not only is the chasm between these rival camps widening, but the real criminals are making off – as they always do – with the loot.

Each tribe has been coalescing for a while now around a center of gravity. On the Republican side, that became clear with the emergence of the Tea Party and the birther movement during Barack Obama’s tenure. But it took Trump’s election as president in 2016 to create a proper oppositional center of gravity on the other side.

Those in the Democrat tribe who now disdain Trump and his supporters for their desperate refusal to accept November’s result overlook how they greeted Trump’s victory in 2016. They struggled to accept the legitimacy of that outcome too, even if they did not resort to the overt violence of the mob at the Capitol.

It began with arguments that, while Trump might have won the electoral college vote, he lost the popular vote. Four years ago, the electoral college also faced self-serving accusations that it had disenfranchised the majority.

The Democrat tribe took to the streets as well, in protest marches in cities across the US under the banner of the Resistance, denying Trump was their president. That was understandable, given his personal behavior and the policies he advocated. But it did not end there.

Russian conspiracies

The disavowal of the Trump presidency quickly regressed into a dangerous narrative – one that has never properly gone away, despite the dearth of evidence to support it. The claim was not only that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win, but that Trump himself had actively colluded with Russia to steal the election from his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Anything that had damaged Clinton – including emails showing that the Democratic leadership rigged its own primaries to make sure she was the party’s candidate rather than Bernie Sanders – got sucked into that vast conspiracy theory. That included the messenger of these bad tidings: Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange.

For years, the Democrat tribe has invested its considerable energies in fruitless efforts to prove its theory, including the first bid to remove Trump through an entirely self-defeating impeachment process.

None of this could be justified politically. It was a Democrat counterpoint to Trump’s MAGA slogan: “Make America Great Again”. Democrats promised the much less catchy SAPD: “Save America from President Deplorable”.

Antagonistic tango

For this tribe, Trump was an illegitimate president from the outset, one whose election to the highest office in the land revealed something unwholesome about their country they preferred to avert their gaze because it might implicate them too. Removing Trump largely eclipsed the struggle to improve the lives of ordinary Americans.

The obsession with Trump above everything else seemingly rationalized any means – fair or foul – to be rid of him. Few thought about how this would look to his supporters or to those not already safely ensconced in one or another tribe.

Had they wished to understand, they needed only look to the storming of the Capitol last week. How they felt watching the building being ransacked – a Deplorable putting his feet up contemptuously on Pelosi’s desk – was how Trump’s tribe felt watching their president being denounced as a Russian agent and dragged through impeachment proceedings.

This mood is not likely to dissipate. The two political tribes are locked in an antagonistic tango, mirroring each other’s moves, each other’s grudges, each other’s sense of victimhood. Much more unites them than they would ever care to admit.

Festering culture war

This may be the pathology, but what of the cause.

What we see here is the culmination of a festering culture war stoked by an unhealthy investment by both sides in a simple-minded and highly divisive identity politics.

Much has correctly been made of the white supremacist of the most loyal sections of Trump’s tribe, and that was on show again during the invasion of the Capitol. The confederate flag, the neo-Nazi slogans, the T-shirts extolling the Jewish supremacy of Israel are all indicators of a toxic politics of white grievance that may be less articulated but is still felt by a wider swath of Trump’s supporting constituency.

 

This ugly identity politics is rightly rejected by the other tribe, but is nonetheless mirrored in its equally deep commitment to identity politics. The progressive coalition of identities at the core of the Democratic party may be more reassuring to modern sensibilities, but has served in practice to accentuate to parts of the Trump tribe the supposed threat to their white identity.

This is not to equate the justified struggle of Black Lives Matter against endemic racism, including in the police, with the reactionary forces seeking to preserve some notion of white privilege. It is to simply observe that when the political field of battle exclusively revolves around identity, then one cannot be surprised if each side continues to frame its struggle in precisely those terms.

Those who live by the identity sword are likely to die by that same sword.

The Trump tribe want their president and the Republican party more generally, to guarantee white supremacism they fear is being eroded as the Democrat party flaunts its progressive, multicultural credentials. The Democrat tribe, meanwhile, wants to challenge the old order – and most especially reactionary institutions like local police forces – that have been an oppressive bulwark against change.

This dynamic can lead only to permanent confrontation, bitterness and alienation.

Class struggle

There is a way out of the dead-end culture war that pits one tribe against the other. It is to formulate an alternative, popular politics based on class struggle – the 99 percent against the 1 percent. But neither the Republican nor the Democratic leadership, or the respective medias that cheerlead them, has any interest in encouraging a political realignment of this sort.

The Democratic Party is not a vehicle for class struggle, after all. Like the Republican party, it is designed to preserve the privileges of an elite. Its biggest donors, like the Republicans, are drawn from Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Big Pharma, the arms industries. The political battle in the United States is between two parties of capital united by far more than divides them.

The shadow play of US politics is the enervating, the antagonistic confrontation of identities described above. While ordinary Americans get stoked into a mutual tribal loathing by a corporate media that profits from this theatre of hate, the elite enjoys a free hand to pillage the planet and the commons.

While we fixate on identities that have been crafted to divide us, while we remain immersed in the surface of politics, while we are distracted from the real battle lines, those elites prosper.

Political paralysis may not harm the establishment. But it is profoundly damaging to us, the 99 percent when our communities are being ravaged by a pandemic, when our economies are in meltdown when the planet is on the brink of ecological collapse.

We need a functioning political system that reflects popular priorities, like Medicare For All, a dignified minimum wage and free college; that understands the urgency of the challenges posed by multiple crises; and that can marshal and channel our energies into solutions, not into endless, irresolvable confrontations based on grievances that have been cultivated to weaken us.

Trump is not the enemy. That target is far too small and limited. The class he belongs to is our enemy, as is the system of privilege he has spent the past four years upholding and his successor will defend just as assiduously.

Whether Trump is ultimately convicted or not in the Senate, the system that produced him will be acquitted – by Congress, by the new president, by Wall Street, by the corporate media.

It is we who will pay the price.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

domingo, 17 de enero de 2021

 

MUNDO DIVIDIDO Y EN CRISIS PERMANENTE

El próximo miércoles Joe Biden tomará posesión de la presidencia de Estados Unidos, en medio de una de las crisis mundiales más profundas de los últimos 120 años[1], pues no sólo enfrenta la pandemia del Covid-19, con cientos de miles de muertos, millones de infectados y los hospitales saturados en numerosas ciudades, sino los efectos del obligado confinamiento y disminución de actividades económicas y sociales, por lo que su entrante administración tendrá que endeudarse por cerca de 2 millones de millones de dólares más, para dar algo de alivio a la población en general y a diversos sectores de la economía, mientras la distribución y aplicación de las vacunas aprobadas, logra su objetivo de detener la pandemia.

A lo anterior se suma una profunda división político-social entre los sectores de la población que apoyaron al saliente presidente Trump y la heterogénea coalición que apoyó a Biden en las últimas elecciones presidenciales, contextualizada por la irrupción de lo seguidores de Trump en el Capitolio el pasado 6 de enero, lo que ha sido aprovechado por el establecimiento político-militar de Washington para desatar una verdadera cacería contra los grupos más extremistas y movilizados del trumpismo y en general de la derecha estadounidense.

Ante ello, dichos grupos ya hablan abiertamente, en los pocos espacios de las redes sociales en los cuales aún tienen permitido manifestarse, de “rebelión”, “guerra civil”[2] y secesión”, lo que profundiza el sentido de alarma en el llamado Deep State, que prevé, para los próximos meses, un recrudecimiento de las divisiones dentro de la sociedad estadounidense, que apenas hace unos meses fue testigo de violentas manifestaciones de la “izquierda” en contra de la brutalidad policiaca dirigida contra las minorías raciales.

Por si fuera poco, Biden ha llenado su gabinete con los representantes del establecimiento político-militar más comprometidos con la nueva Guerra Fría contra Rusia y China, y con la estrategia de dominio completo del Medio Oriente por parte de Israel, con lo que es previsible que las medidas adoptadas por la administración Trump que recrudecieron la rivalidad entre grandes potencias, y que potenciaron las agresiones israelíes y las de sus nuevos aliados árabes en contra de Irán y en general en contra de la rama chiíta del Islam, no sólo no se detengan, sino que aumenten; con el riesgo de  que ello lleve a una conflagración militar mayor en los distintos escenarios en donde se confrontan las grandes potencias y especialmente en el Medio Oriente, en donde Israel no tiene obstáculo alguno en su estrategia de eliminación de los que considera sus enemigos (Irán, Siria y los palestinos).

La élite político-económico-militar de Occidente está obsesionada con detener al crecimiento económico, militar y tecnológico de China; y a la vez, evitar que Rusia desarrolle todo su potencial, lo que está exacerbando las diferencias entre ambos campos, dificultando así la búsqueda de puentes de entendimiento y colaboración para hacer frente a los retos que la humanidad tiene, como la pandemia del coronavirus, la crisis económica resultante, el continuado deterioro del medio ambiente, el aumento de la pobreza y las desigualdades; y con ello, los mayores flujos migratorios en todo el mundo.

Los países más avanzados del mundo se están convirtiendo en fortalezas para evitar que los “problemas” que según ellos vienen de otros países, los afecten más (enfermedades, migraciones, crimen organizado, competencia económica), con lo que sólo agudizan las crisis en distintas regiones del planeta como Africa, América Latina y partes del centro de Asia y del Medio Oriente, tal como lo demuestra el acaparamiento de las vacunas contra el Covid-19, dejando atrás a los países que no han desarrollado las vacunas o que no tienen los recursos suficientes para adquirirlas.[3]

Como vemos, la principal potencia mundial tiene enormes retos domésticos que le generarán un gran desgaste, y a la vez está obsesionada con mantener su hegemonía mundial, con la clara oposición de China y Rusia que no pretenden subordinarse a los dictados de Washington; todo ello en medio de una pandemia que aún no cede, pues el proceso de vacunación de cientos de millones de personas llevará meses (si no es que un par de años), la economía aún sigue en serios problemas para recuperarse y los estragos del cambio climático y la profundización de la pobreza y las desigualdades en varias partes del mundo, mantendrán las tensiones entre países y zonas desarrolladas y subdesarrolladas, así como por la competencia por recursos naturales y mercados.

En suma, un mundo cada vez más dividido, en medio de grandes problemas mundiales, a los que las miopes élites pretenden dar soluciones parciales y/o nacionales. Falta de visión, de inteligencia y de solidaridad. Más o menos lo de siempre.



[1] Primera Guerra Mundial (1914-1918), Revoluciones Mexicana (1910-17) y Rusa (1917), Pandemia de la Influenza (1918-1920), Depresión económica mundial (1929-1933), Surgimiento del fascismo y del nazismo (1922-1933), Expansionismo del nazismo y del nacionalismo japonés (1933-39), Segunda Guerra Mundial (1939-45),, Guerra Fría (1945-1990), Guerra de Corea (1950-53), Crisis de los misiles (1962), Guerra de Vietnam (1964-1975), Guerra de los Seis Días (1967), Crisis petrolera (1973-79), Guerra en los Balcanes (1991-2001), Primera Guerra del Golfo (1991-92), Genocidio en Ruanda (1994), Atentados terroristas del 11/S (2001), Segunda Guerra del Golfo (2003), Crisis económica (2008-09), Guerra en Siria (2011-2018), Pandemia de coronavirus (2019 2021), Cambio Climático y agudo deterioro ambiental.

[2] https://www.unz.com/proberts/is-americas-future-a-civil-war/?

[3] El mecanismo Covax sólo podrá ofrecer vacunas para el 20% de la población de los países que lo conforman. https://www.who.int/es/initiatives/act-accelerator/covax

 

sábado, 16 de enero de 2021

 

Why were US media silent on Pfizer vaccine deaths?: Global Times editorial

By Global Times Published: Jan 15, 2021 

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202101/1212939.shtml

Twenty-three elderly Norwegian people died after receiving Pfizer vaccines. Thirteen of them have been assessed and common side effects may have contributed to severe reactions in them, according to the Norwegian Medicines Agency. 

Norway is a small Northern European country and only about 25,000 people have been vaccinated with Pfizer vaccines. Twenty-three deaths are a large number. But surprisingly, mainstream English-language media did not report the incident immediately, as if they had already reached a consensus. Major US and UK media were obviously downplaying their deaths.

In contrast, those major Western media will immediately hype any unfavorable information about Chinese vaccines and try to amplify their impact on public psychology. For example, the data on China's Sinovac vaccine was lower than expected in Brazil, and it was reported everywhere in Western media. The death of a Brazilian volunteer who participated in the trials also became a major event in Western media. But it was later proven that the death had nothing to do with the vaccination, and Western media lost their interest.

The COVID-19 vaccine is a serious scientific issue. The current pandemic situation is extremely critical. It is the fundamental interest of all mankind to have more vaccines to fight COVID-19. However, some mainstream US and British media are taking the lead in putting geopolitical labels on vaccines. They are meddling in political stances with the scientific attitude toward vaccines, using their propaganda to promote Pfizer vaccines and smearing Chinese vaccines.

In fact, the research and development of all COVID-19 vaccines are relatively hasty. They should have gone through more sample tests and longer clinical verification before being fully introduced to the market. But time does not wait, and the pandemic does not wait. The vaccines have been promoted to the front line of the COVID-19 fight with a much faster speed.

If there needs to be some comparison, then China's inactivated vaccine definitely has a more solid foundation in safety than Pfizer's mRNA vaccine. The inactivated vaccine technology has been very mature and has undergone decades of clinical testing. But it is the first time that the mRNA technology was applied to the vaccine. This large-scale promotion of Pfizer's vaccine is a continuous process of large-scale testing on human beings.

We believe the US and some Western countries do not have better choices now. Mass vaccination of Pfizer is a must. Even if there are risks, these countries would rather bear them. As long as they can save the lives of most people, they would accept the pros and cons. Western mainstream media turned a blind eye to the death of the 23 people, which can be regarded as a part of their acceptance of the "big picture."

Western media's crude double standards on vaccines and their unhealthy mindset show that the US and UK mainstream media's mentality toward China has gone highly geopolitical. Double standards have become political correctness for them. They are no longer objective in terms of competition with China. Attacking China is their desperate goal.

In terms of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese society and the Chinese government have regarded science and objectivity as priorities. In a practical and realistic manner, China has squarely faced the reality that Chinese vaccines lacked sufficient data. Chinese COVID-19 vaccines have been put on the market but are conditional. Vaccination priority will be given to high-exposure populations between 18 and 59 years old, not the elderly. No senior Chinese official has come out to openly endorse Chinese vaccines. Most praises about China's vaccines are from abroad. Many leaders of developing countries have taken the lead in injecting Chinese vaccines based on their countries' data of Phase III trials.

However, the Pfizer vaccine has been strongly promoted by the US administration and capital. Their potential risk has been deliberately downplayed by Western public opinion. And public opinion has created an impression that Pfizer's mRNA vaccine, which is being used for the first time, is safer than the Chinese vaccine.

Regrettably, Washington has promoted China-US confrontation and the US and its major allies have initiated their ideological frenzy. Is there any justice? They believe it is right to suppress China and wrong to be fair to China. Such an attitude has extended to serious scientific and humanitarian fields which should have been far away from politics.

Chinese people need to face such increasingly harsh ideological confrontation whether we are willing to or not. We must defend China's national interests and support our own country in an important competition. To weaken China's competitiveness, the US and its allies' public opinions have completely disregarded ethics. Their attitude toward China is nothing but geopolitical logic. We will not cringe from their attacks.

viernes, 15 de enero de 2021

 

ESTADOS UNIDOS SOMETE NUEVAMENTE AL GOBIERNO DE LÓPEZ OBRADOR

Al publicarse en el Diario Oficial de la Federación las normas que los agentes extranjeros deben seguir durante su estancia en México, se hizo una excepción para los estadounidenses pues “..se reconoce la vigencia del memorando de entendimiento celebrado entre el gobierno de Estados Unidos y el mexicano sobre procedimientos de cooperación en materia de actividades de procuración de justicia firmado en Mérida, Yucatán, el 15 de febrero de 1999[1], que tiene como objetivo la puesta en práctica de los pasos a seguir en la carta firmada por el procurador general de cada gobierno durante el encuentro que tuvo lugar el 2 de julio de 1998, en Brownsville, Texas[2], para concretar la coordinación y cooperación entre ambos países en actividades relativas al trabajo conjunto en temas de justicia que afecten a los dos países”.[3]

Esto quiere decir que, en el caso de los gringos, ellos pueden seguir operando como lo venían haciendo, y las nuevas reglas quedan establecidas para todos los otros agentes extranjeros (los del Mossad israelí han de estar atacados de risa), y los gringos quedan con el mismo esquema que han venido practicando desde los gobiernos tecnócratas neoliberales priistas, es decir, completa libertad para hacer lo que les dé la gana. Nada más que ahora consagrado ya en la misma Ley de Seguridad Nacional, y ya no en memorandos o minutas de reuniones entre autoridades de ambos países.

Quizás a cambio de esta nueva rendición al gobierno de Trump (ya de salida), es que la sometida Fiscalía General de la República anunció que no procederá contra el Gral. Cienfuegos, pues en voz del vocero de la fiscalía, Marcelo Ebrard -no perdón, es el Secretario de Relaciones Exteriores- se estableció que las “pruebas” aportadas por el gobierno de Estados Unidos no eran tal, y que el susodicho general está tan limpio como los pisos de la Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional.

De todas formas, el gobierno de Estados Unidos no dejó de señalar que se reserva el derecho de volver a acusar al general, por los delitos por los que ya lo había imputado; así que el ex secretario de la Defensa Nacional, no podrá dormir tranquilo por el resto de sus días.

Y lo mejor será que no viaje a algún país que tenga tratado de extradición con Estados Unidos, porque seguro que lo detienen nuevamente.

En fin, que lo que pareció una prometedora política del gobierno de López Obrador para ganar algo de margen de maniobra ante los prepotentes gringos, ha quedado como siempre, en pura “llamarada de petate”. Era mucho esperar de este gobierno.



[1] Durante los gobiernos de Ernesto Zedillo en México y William Clinton en Estados Unidos.

[2] Ibidem.

jueves, 14 de enero de 2021

 

Statue of Liberty is 'green with anger': Mexico president slams media curbs

By Reuters Staff


JANUARY 13, 2021

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mexico/statue-of-liberty-is-green-with-anger-mexico-president-slams-media-curbs-idUSKBN29I2BI

 

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday stepped up his criticism of restrictions on freedom of expression following moves by leading social media firms to suspend U.S. President Donald Trump’s access to their platforms.

Without mentioning Trump by name, Lopez Obrador said it was not right that private companies should appoint themselves arbiters of what was acceptable for global consumption.

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed that since they took these decisions, the Statue of Liberty in New York is turning green with anger, because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” Lopez Obrador told reporters at a regular news conference.

“What we want in Mexico is that liberties are guaranteed,” he said. “Zero censorship. Prohibition is prohibited.”

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are among the platforms that have at least temporarily cut off Trump due to concerns he could fan violent unrest following the storming of the U.S. Capitol building by hundreds of his supporters last week.

A combative leftist, Lopez Obrador in 2006 led massive protests in Mexico claiming he had been robbed of the presidency. He again cried foul when he was defeated in 2012, and finally won office by a landslide six years later.

A critic of Trump while in the opposition, Lopez Obrador as president has regularly paid tribute to the U.S. leader, who is widely disliked in Mexico for his insults against migrants, and threats to inflict economic pain on the country.

Lopez Obrador made passing mention of Twitter, which has permanently suspended Trump’s account, and Facebook.

He is not the only world leader to raise concerns about the measures taken by social media companies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said this week that she regarded the permanent suspension of Trump’s access to Twitter as problematic.

Lopez Obrador also expressed concern about an “invasion of privacy” by companies, giving as an example of what smartphones are able to learn about people’s personal lives and tastes.

miércoles, 13 de enero de 2021

 

Sheldon Adelson’s legacy of underwriting American militarism

JANUARY 12, 2021

Written by
Eli Clifton

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/01/12/sheldon-adelsons-legacy-of-underwriting-american-militarism/

Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s biggest single donor, Sheldon Adelson, died at age 87 on Monday night according to a statement issued by Las Vegas Sands Corp, the casino company he built. While Adelson is most associated with the flashy casinos he owns, first in Las Vegas and later in Macau and Singapore, his lasting impact on U.S. foreign policy — particularly U.S. relations with Israel, Iran, and China — and the emergence of far-right figureheads Donald Trump in the United States and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel places Adelson as one of the most influential and impactful political donors in U.S. history.

Adelson, the son of a Boston cab driver built a globe-spanning casino empire. His share of that business was worth $34.9 billion at the time of his death, a fortune Adelson and his political beneficiaries applied toward his self-avowed priorities of gaining influence over politicians and steering U.S. foreign policy toward war with Iran and unconditional support for Israel.

Media coverage of Adelson rarely discussed his policy motivations, even while noting his outsized role in contributing to Trump’s election. He and his widow, Miriam, contributed over $100 million to Super PACs supporting Trump in 2016 and 2020 and, in the 2020 election cycle alone, wrote about $250 million in checks to support Trump and GOP House and Senate candidates. But Adelson was a straight shooter who made no bones about what drove his political giving or what issues were foremost in his mind.

In 2013, Adelson proposed that then-President Obama should scrap nuclear negotiations with Iran and instead fire a nuclear weapon into “the middle of the [Iranian] desert.” That nuclear strike, said Adelson, should be followed up by a nuclear attack on Tehran, a city of 8.6 million people if Iran didn’t abandon its nuclear program.

And in 2008, the New Yorker reported Adelson saying, “I really don’t care what happens to Iran. I am for Israel.”

Adelson, whose widow is a U.S.-Israel dual national and who continues to practice medicine in Israel explained the central role of Israel in his philanthropy and “in our heart” said at a 2010 public event that “the uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform, it was an American uniform.”

“I’m a one-issue person. That issue is Israel,” he said in 2017.

Adelson’s prioritization of Israel was echoed by his political beneficiaries. Newt Gingrich, who was then running in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, told NBC’s Ted Koppel that Adelson supported his campaign because “He knows I’m very pro-Israel. That’s the central value of his life.”

Then-President George W. Bush, according to an anecdote repeated by Adelson and reported by the New Yorker in 2008, put his arms around Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, and told Miriam, “You tell your Prime Minister that I need to know what’s right for your people because at the end of the day it’s going to be my policy, not [Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s].”

His views on the Middle East and its ethnic and religious tensions were crude, but he had the ears of presidents and many House and Senate Republicans whose campaigns he financed with direct contributions and massive contributions to House and Senate leadership super PACs that distributed campaign funds to Republican candidates around the country.

Adelson endorsed the view that Palestinians are an “invented” people, said “there isn’t a Palestinian alive who wasn’t raised on a curriculum of hatred and hostility toward the Jews,” and espoused the factually baseless claim that “not all the Islamists are terrorists but all the terrorists are Islamists.”

And on China, Adelson reportedly curried favor with the Chinese leadership and helped secure his initial casino license in Macau by persuading Rep. Tom Delay (R-Texas), then the House majority whip, to shelve a 2001 bipartisan resolution that called for the United States to oppose Beijing’s Olympics bid due to China’s problematic human rights record.   

He further deepened his ties to Beijing in 2015 when Sands appointed Wilfred Chen, a former member of the National People’s Congress, the new CEO and President of Sands China, whose Macau gaming license is up for renewal in 2022.

“Wilfred has a unique combination of private and public sector experience we think will be invaluable to the company at this point in our history,” said Adelson.

His influence over policymakers were remarked upon by then-candidate Donald Trump in 2015 who tweeted that Adelson was going to “give big dollars to [Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)] because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet.”

As he closed in on the nomination, Trump sought Adelson’s endorsement and his financial backing. Despite Trump’s history of anti-Semitic comments and associations, Adelson endorsed Trump, who quickly changed course on a number of positions, vowing to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and embrace Adelson’s unconditionally pro-Israel approach to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Even as Trump’s support from the alt-right grew, and evidence of strong support from neo-Nazis and anti-Semites posed challenges during Trump’s presidency, the Adelsons remained staunch supporters of his administration as it checked off the list of policies they cared about most: renouncing U.S. participation in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and initiating a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, slashing aid to Palestinian refugees, appointing Adelson-favored John Bolton as a national security adviser, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, acquiescing in the construction of more Jewish settlements on the West Bank, among other measures long sought by Netanyahu, another major beneficiary of the couple’s largesse.

The Adelsons applauded Trump, who awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson, and deplored the failure of most American Jews to support him. (77 percent of American Jews voted for Biden in the November election, according to a poll commissioned by J Street.)

In 2019, Miriam took to the pages of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which is owned by the Adelson family, to express frustration with her fellow Jews and lavish praise on Trump, writing:

By rights, Trump should enjoy sweeping support among U.S. Jews, just as he does among Israelis. That this has not been the case (so far — the 2020 election still beckons) is an oddity that will long be pondered by historians. Scholars of the Bible will no doubt note the heroes, sages and prophets of antiquity who were similarly spurned by the very people they came to raise up.

Would it is too much to pray for a day when the Bible gets a “Book of Trump,” much like it has a “Book of Esther” celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from ancient Persia?

Adelson’s final political act was to ferry Jonathan Pollard — a former U.S. Navy analyst who spent 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to spying for Israel — to Israel on one of his private 737s after Pollard’s travel ban was lifted.

Sheldon’s passing is unlikely to change the direction of the family’s philanthropy. Miriam has appeared to be committed to the same political causes as her husband. Indeed, her giving matched — often dollar for dollar in exact, same-sized, six- and seven-figure contributions — those made simultaneously by Sheldon. She may well inherit and manage most, if not all of the family’s $34.9 billion fortune.

She can also thus be expected to help sustain the ultra-hawkish pro-Likud echo chamber, which has included, among other groups, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the Israeli American CouncilUnited Against Nuclear Iran, the  Zionist Organization of America, the couple turbo-charged over the last two decades. They also provided tens of millions of dollars to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee over the years but abruptly withdrew their backing in 2007 because of its support in Congress for an economic aid package for Palestinians.

Adelson was also a leading actor in the Republican Jewish Coalition, a club of  wealthy pro-Israel megadonors, having served as its chairman for a number of years and hosting its conventions — which came to be known as “the Adelson primary” for the number of Republican presidential candidates who attended in hopes of gaining the Adelsons’ endorsement and campaign cash — at his Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.

The violent attack on the Capitol, last week, fueled by Trump’s calls for his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results, offered disturbing images of a Trump supporter wearing a sweatshirt with “Camp Auschwitz” emblazoned on it, gallows erected in front of the Capitol, and a host of white nationalist symbols on flags and t-shirts led only a few Trump megadonors — Stephen Schwarzman and Ronald Lauder — to condemn the violence.

The Adelsons never issued a statement.