Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – March 28, 2014

Taking a page from “American Idol” or the “Miss America Pageant”, right wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson is summoning Teapublican candidates to audition – the prize? His multimillions. Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spent $1 million taxpayer dollars on an “internal discussion”. The takeaway from this “impartial” report – Chris Christie knew nothing about Bridgegate and can’t remember anyway. And finally, as Americans and the United Nations continue to bemoan the Russian annexation of Crimea, a short history lesson on annexations is in order.

Showtime for Sheldon

Sheldon Adelson, best known for being the eighth wealthiest man in the world (he owns the Las Vegas Sands Company) with hotels and casinos in Las Vegas and Macao. In the last few years he has been making a name for himself as the personal piggy bank of rightwing causes having given over $30 million to conservative candidates in 2012 alone.

Now he has organized what can only be described as a series of auditions for prospective Teapublican 2016 presidential candidates. He has virtually summoned over a half a dozen of these hopefuls to come and dance before his Las Vegas throne in the hopes that he will anoint one of them with the holy oil of his fortune.

Aside from the unseemly sight of the possible next president of the United States kowtowing before the head of a gambling empire, it is unsettling to know that the pursuit of campaign cash has now come to this golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.

Elephantine Memory Loss

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie commissioned an “internal investigation” headed by an attorney who is a former deputy of Rudolph Giuliani, a major supporter of Chris Christie. Clearly this “internal investigation” is missing even a gossamer thread of impartiality.

The “investigation” trashes the Christie staff members who Governor Christie already deposited under the bus two months ago. It also concludes that Governor Christie knew nothing about Bridgegate in real time and that, in any event, he cannot remember anything that was said to him about the four day tie up of the busiest bridge in America at the time the George Washington Bridge was intentionally blocked.

It remains to be seen whether federal or state investigations will vaporize the implausible notion that a known serial micromanager would allow the George Washington Bridge to be blocked without his consent, or at least its knowledge.

But if Chris Christie thinks that anyone will actually buy the results of his “internal investigation” I have a bridge that I would like to sell to him.

Calling Peabody and Sherman

It is fair to say that at the beginning of this year most Americans, and certainly most Teapublicans, couldn’t find Crimea on a map even if you led them to the Black Sea. Now, of course, the Russian annexation is being touted as one of the worst acts of international thuggery since…? Actually, that is a good place to start because this country and many others (who voted to condemn Russia in the United Nations last week) have employed annexation as a very real part of foreign policy.

Consider the history of U.S. annexations in a fashion very similar to the Russia-Crimea scenario – West Florida – 1810, Texas – 1845, New Mexico – 1848, Hawaii – 1898, Puerto Rico, Philippines and Guam – 1898.

Of course annexation has a global tradition. Consider Indonesia – East Timor, 1975, Morocco – Western Sahara – 1975, Israel – East Jerusalem, 1967.

The point is that annexation is far from unknown in world history, right up to the present. And while there may be very real objections to Russian annexation in Crimea, it is more than a little disingenuous to suggest that this is one of the more outrageous international actions ever seen. In reality, we have always seen that annexations take place when they serve the foreign policy objectives of the annexing country.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!

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