WHAT’S ON SHELDON ADELSON’S MIND? IS THE OWNER OF THE SANDS AND VENETIAN CASINOS IN LAS VEGAS AND MACAU CONCERNED WITH GLOBAL POLITCS OR PERHAPS MONEY WITH HIS HUGE POLITICAL DONATIONS?
Sheldon Adelson recently became one of the richest men in the United States, his fortune is estimated at 25 billion and he now is one of the all time biggest political donors. He gave millions to Republican Presidential contender Newt Gingrich in the primaries and now millions more to candidate Romney. He is reportedly to have said that he will donate up to $100 million to see that President Obama is not re-elected. He donates not only to Romney directly but also to super Pacs like Crossroads GPS run by Karl Rove (approximately 10 million) Pacs founded by the Koch Bros ( approximately 10 million) and other Pacs for the election of Republican Congressional candidates (about 10 million). He is even funding a Pac targeting Jews in swing states hoping to pare off a few Jewish voters who as a group normally vote almost unanimously for Democratic candidates. He believes a few points will help turn the vote to Romney in close swing states especially those with large Jewish populations.
The argument he makes to persuade Jewish voters to change their allegiance from the Democrats to the Republicans is that Obama is in favor of a two state solution based on the 1967 borders in Palestinian and he was rude to Netanyahu when he last visited the White House ostensibly with his concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. This sounds like pretty thin gruel to entice a change in a long term political alignment. This is particularly true of a rich newcomer.
What else could be his motive for such huge donation? It is known that the Justice Department is looking into to his dealings in Macau with the Peoples Republic of China. Macau is the only place under PRC control where gambling is allowed. Prior to China’s takeover it was a Portuguese colony for five hundred years.
Gambling was dominated for forty years by one man, Stanley Ho, rumored to be under control of the Triads or Chinese under world. When the PRC took over they were persuaded to allow Las Vegas style gambling. Sheldon Adelson was a prime mover in that change an brokered deals to build casinos on Macau an island across the Pearl River Estuary from Hong Kong. Steve Wynn and the MGM Grand followed him there and built casinos. Now the gross amount spent on gambling in Macau is about five times that of Las Vegas making it the largest legal gambling center in the world. This is the source of Adelson’s recent increase in wealth so as to enable him to be a significant donor in American politics. Senator John McCain questions if this is not in fact a foreign powers intrusion into American politics through a cutout.
The question arises if there has been a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which forbids and makes it a crime for American companies doing business in foreign countries to pay for influence in their business dealings. In otherwards they can’t pay bribes to secure favorable treatment. What Adelson had to do to have the PRC break the Triads forty year hold on gambling in Macau and secure the right to build casinos on Chinese territory is of interest to the Justice Department.
Beyond that there is the question of criminal interests in the Macau operation. It is illegal for a Chinese citizen to take money outside of China even for the purpose of going to Macau, a Chinese special administrative region. Thus most Chinese travel to Macau in junkets many of which are conducted by organized crime who also facilitate credit for use in Macau. In addition the junket organizers collect any debts owed to the casinos. So this creates an unhealthy relationship for the casinos that under Nevada law cannot associate with criminals under penalty of fines and loss of their gambling licenses.
Adelson’s primary interest may to obtain favorable legislation to enable him to do business in Macau without violating the FCPA or the Nevada gambling laws. He apparently believes that a Republican controlled government will be less regulatory, more laissez faire toward business and maybe inclined to repeal the FCPA or at least soften its application. The Nevada regulators are not likely to do anything to incur the wrath of a major casino owner. Nevada is considered to be a Republican stronghold despite the fact that the Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is from there. However if the Democrats lose control of the Senate Mitch McConnell is likely to be the Majority Leader of the Senate. It will be interesting to see what Adelson will do if the Republican’s lose. Move to Macau?
Chief Justice John Robert’s Ruling On Affordable Healthcare. Beware Of A Conservative Writing a Ruling Thought By Liberals To be a Victory
Filed under: Bew, Ruling On Affordable Healthcare, Uncategorized
IS HE LIKELY TO BECOME THE REHNQUIST OF THE COMMERCE CLAUSE?
WHAT ABOUT THE “HAPLESS TOAD?”
Chief Justice Robert’s decision to vote to uphold the affordable care act and also write the opinion in a split 5-4 decision on the basis of the Tax Power may look like a victory for the millions of uninsured souls in the United States. However his limiting the bounds of the Commerce Clause and refusing to uphold the requirement that the States expand Medicaid, ruling their participation was discretionary, means the conservatives will have grounds to further limit Congressional Statutes in other areas.
First, after the ultra conservative and wrongheaded decision in Citizens United calling corporate political spending a First Amendment free speech right by “citizen” corporations which nullified long held opinions and statues that corporations had limited rights under the Constitution but did not carry the full political rights of a human citizen. Corporations had only the limited economic rights of a fictional corporate citizen needed for business pursuits like the right to enter contracts and sue to enforce them. Further corporations have shareholders who do have the rights of the human citizens contemplated by the Founders. So the Citizens decision was unnecessary and a doubling of the rights of economic entities over human citizens if one assumes that most shareholders will donate money and vote in much the same way as the corporations they hold shares in. Also corporations have spent ample amounts of money on lobbyists to carry their message to our elected officials. Obviously extending all the benefits of free speech with the ability to spend unlimited amounts to elect who that official shall be was never contemplated by the Founders or any other Court until the Roberts Court. Perhaps a CEO with a full treasury will run for political office using corporate money thus eliminating the middle man entirely. If Roberts had denied The Affordable Care Act it would have been another political decision based on a twisted interpretation of the law and the role of the Supreme Court as in Bush v. Gore and Citizens United. However sustaining the AFCA on the Taxation power when he didn’t need to is not much better as there was ample prescedent under the Commerce Clause.
If Roberts had voted with conservative Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito the Affordable Health Care decision would have gone down in history as the equivalent of the Dred Scott decision which held that African Americans were not citizens and had no standing to sue under the Constitution and that blacks were chattels belonging to their masters even when they were taken to free Federal territories. Thus Roberts would have condemned millions of uninsured Americans to the bondage of living without or with inadequate medical care. Confronted with this reality he took the most conservatively prudent course although as a conservative it must have been an abhorrent result for him. Otherwise he would be characterized in history in the same manner as Roger Taney, the Chief Justice who wrote the Scott decision, on slavery.
More ever he did not sustain Affordable Health Care under the Commerce Clause as most pundits thought the Act would stand or fall. Thus he drew limits to the application of the Commerce Clause which has been the basis of upholding many laws opposed by business interests like the upholding of the Environmental Protection Act to the benefit of some localized, hitherto unheard of species of a “hapless toad.” The toad was the subject in Rancho Viejo, LLC v. Norton A case involving the Environmental Protection Act and the Commerce Clause in which he wrote a dissent. While that case was an extreme one it did validate the strength of the Commerce Clause in invoking Federal power over the States. There will be many other instances where the limitation in the Affordable Care case will also be applied i.e.: labor laws, health and safety laws and other laws coming under the Commerce Clause. The Occupational Health And Safety Act is one Act that comes to mind. That Act will be in jeopardy of being circumscribed by this ruling for example.
Limiting the Federal Governments power to compel States to expand Medicaid even when the Federal Government would pay the bulk of the cost under its Tax and Spending power was an instance of clearly limiting Federal power over the States and affirming the argument that the Constitution was only a grant of limited power to the Federal Government by the States.
Further Roberts could have avoided this by sustaining the Act under the Commerce Clause. Now the eight million people who would have been covered won’t be covered if States opt out. Twenty six states sued to invalidate the Act so it is unlikely they will participate. This will have a direct effect on commerce between the States because now those “hapless” people not covered will be encouraged to move to states that have opted into Medicaid This will have a clear impact on interstate commerce. So obviously the Commerce Clause would apply and the Act is constitutional for this reason alone. Thus the “hapless” uncovered people would have been treated at least as well as the “hapless toads.”
The mandate argument was a fiction created by the conservatives. Roberts himself proved there was no mandate saying it was a penalty enforceable by the Tax Power as many other benefits and penalties are under the Tax Code. It was a non issue constitutionally.
Like his predecessor, Chief Justice Rehnquist, who Roberts clerked for and whose career legacy is his limiting the application of landmark criminal law cases like Gideon (right to a lawyer) Miranda (right to remain silent and consult a lawyer and no coerced confessions) and Mapp (search and seizure rights), Roberts apparently has taken a first step in limiting the application of the Commerce Clause to business activity to the detriment of the public and strengthening the old argument about States’ rights under the Tenth Amendment which in the last century took second place to the Commerce Clause in invoking Federal power over a broad range of issues involving uniform enforcement of law over all the states . So Roberts is likely to become the Rehnquist of the Commerce Clause.