The sickening stench of a polluted political waterfall is pouring into the abyss.
Just about everyone who’s anyone in Nevada connected in any way to politics or media is spouting praise for Harry Reid, the unbearable United States senator who somehow managed to transmute himself into the great imposter who’s now impersonating the face of American liberalism. Newspaper op-eds, mayors, governors, congressmen, his fellow senators — and most sickening of all, media — continue to toss bogus confetti, applauding his so-called “leadership” while very likely quietly whispering to themselves, thank goodness that loathsome son-of-a-bitch is finally leaving office.
In case you missed the news, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) announced last Friday that he won’t seek re-election, come 2016. He’s suffered several setbacks recently, both political and personal.
They are not one and the same. The only resemblances they share are being octogenarians, an accumulation of vast wealth, and a tenacious determination to spend huge sums of money contributing to political campaigns and much broader international causes. Both are Jewish. The similarities between Soros and Adelson abruptly end there.
Yet, whenever critics allude correctly to how dangerously egomaniacal and shamefully dubious Sheldon Adelson and many of his extremist ideas are, his well-funded army of defenders, apologists, and enablers point an accusatory finger at George Soros.
Sure, Soros unwaveringly supports liberal candidates and progressive causes, not just in the U.S. but all over the world. Don’t blame Adelson for supporting Republicans, they insist — he’s just countering the influence of Soros who supports Democrats. Adelson’s wealth and influence presumably balance out.
Thing is, they don’t balance out. Soros gets defamed. Adelson skips free.
There is absolutely zero moral equivalency between these two powerful men. They share no common virtues, nor motives. There’s no question as to which power broker is truly dangerous, not just making a mockery of the political system we presumably cherish, but also threatening America’s increasingly fragile foreign policy, which has become globally unsustainable — and frankly self-defeating.
Here’s just one example: An unapologetic war hawk and an unwavering Zionist positioned to the right of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Adelson has openly declared he wants to drop an atomic bomb on Iran. [READ MORE HERE] Such an incendiary comment should instantly disqualify any other fanatic from being taken seriously in a reasonable discussion of current events among civil people. But this fanatic is a billionaire. So, he’s not considered a crackpot. He’s afforded a place at the head of the Republican Party dinner table. Indeed, when the fanatic just so happens to be the 12th-richest man on earth and is in the midst of holding his own “political primary” to interview and then handpick who might become the next Republican Party presidential nominee (which happened in 2015), as well as the driving force behind federal legislation in Congress (which is happening now), he’s not just a fantasyland kingmaker playing a hypothetical game of political Monopoly. Not a single Republican has the courage to call out nor stand up to this bold-faced bully. Shame on them. They are cowards. Every single one of them.
While Adelson’s financial support and personal belief system not only puts America’s inherent goodwill and prospective role as a peacemaker seriously at risk, his so-called counterpart George Soros bequeaths the vast bulk of his financial support to international causes with which he has utterly no personal connection. Soros has nothing at all to gain when he gives away his billions. It’s easy (and selfish) for Adelson to act entirely in his own self-interest in blindly supporting his beloved Israel, and the ultra-conservative Likud Party’s expansionist agenda (such as continuing to build illegal settlements in the West Bank, in defiance of international law, including the United States own objections). On the other hand, it’s far more unusual — and quite commendable — for Soros to give away his millions (actually billions) to progressive movements throughout the world, on every continent, intended to help the most disenfranchised members of societies. Soros is a champion of the oppressed, regardless of race or religion, while way too often Adelson is a champion of the oppressors.
Adelson’s shameless support for Israel is a matter of public record. Yet, he doesn’t appear to do much elsewhere, or anywhere, at least relative to his vast wealth. Meanwhile, consider this short list of Soros-funded causes:
Support for Black students to attend Cape Town University in Apartheid South Africa for the first time, during the 1970s and 1980s;
Financial backing of dissident movements in Eastern Europe and Russia before the fall of the Iron Curtain;
An estimated $4 billion in contributions (so far) to pro-democracy movements in Eastern Europe and Russia in the post-Soviet era;
Hundreds of millions in contributions for universities in Russia and Africa;
$50 million to a campaign in Africa to help poor villages and eradicate diseases;
Soros has given money to several separatist movements, particularly Kosovo independence;
$1 million to legalize marijuana in California. He’s also given large sums to movements in other states when decriminalization has been placed on the ballot;
$600 million per year to fund Open Society Foundations, which “shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights — and economic, legal, and social reform. In the last 30 years, Soros has contributed about $11 billion to such organizations;
In 2009, Soros donated $35 million to the State of New York to be ear-marked for underprivileged children and given to parents who were poor and caught in the bureaucratic snafu of not qualifying for state or federal aid
Let’s get the facts straight. Most of Sheldon Adelson’s charitable contributions and political initiatives directly benefit causes with which he has some vested personal or financial stake — often connected to Israel, Jewish organizations, and his properties (casino gambling). There are rare exceptions, of course. What organizations he does fund are usually branded with his own name, for maximum publicity sake, which isn’t necessarily to say that Adelson isn’t sincere about helping others. Just that all this giving sure seems to necessitate a glowing reflection on the mirror. Not so, with Soros.
By contrast, virtually all of Soros’ contributions (which are substantially greater than Adelson — both in gross amounts and longevity) go to places which have no bearing on Soros’ own fortune or financial well being. Adelson is a self-centered philanthropist who seems to expect a payback — be it in Las Vegas, Washington, or Tel Aviv. Soros appears far more motivated purely by humanitarianism, his sincerity bolstered by frequent anonymity. His monies have gone to more than 105 different countries.
Then, there’s the current congressional bill being debated before a House subcommittee, essentially bought and paid for by none other than Adelson. Most readers are at least familiar with the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA, which is House Bill 7o7), a disgraceful scrap of federal legislation pimped through the halls of a Republican-led Congress by elected officials who might as well be on Adelson’s personal payroll. RAWA intends to make online gambling illegal. Passage of RAWA would undoubtedly financially benefit Adelson and his company, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, essentially wiping out the prospective profits of casino competitors and opportunities for others eager to jump in and try and compete for a slice of America’s gambling pie. Adelson, not content to share anything and willing to buy anything or anyone, is perfectly willing to threaten politicians, travel to Washington to demand his bill gets introduced in committee, and is essentially granted royal head-of-state status as a guest on the front row when a foreign leader disgraced this nation a few weeks ago by directly lobbying to a joint session of Congress. This all begs the larger question….
Where’s George Soros? He’s not granted a front row seat in the chamber of the House of Representatives, even though he’s done far more for international causes which promote democracy. Soros is nowhere to be found lobbying our elected officials or threatening candidates with campaign money. Soros isn’t spewing hate, cheering for atomic bombs to be dropped on a nation that hasn’t invaded a neighboring country in 2,500 years. Soros isn’t supporting illegal settlements or an Apartheid-like regime which threatens to start another wave of terrorism. Soros isn’t raking in hundreds of millions in profits from shady business deals in Asia, which are under increasing scrutiny by regulators. Soros is no hypocrite, professing to protect defenseless children while encourage mom and dad to keep on hitting the ATM machine for one more cash advance. Adelson’s vast wealth has created real human victims. Measurable fallout. Soros’ wealth has saved countless lives and protected victims.
George Soros is no Sheldon Adelson. The Las Vegas billionaire can only wish he were such a positive force for good. He’s not. Adelson is the epitome of bad. He’s the manifestation of all that’s wrong with a corrupt corporate-controlled system where elected officials are leashed to the whims of the wealthy, not only just in politics now, but world affairs, as well.
There is no comparison.
Writer’s Note: Since this article appeared, Adelson has tirelessly lobbied the Trump Administration to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, which happened in 2018. He also purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal and endorsed Donald Trump. Interestingly, once Adelson bought the local newspaper, all coverage of Adelson’s legal problems in the U.S. and Macau disappeared.
Last night, Marieta and I had the great pleasure of dining out with Gary Thompson and his lovely wife, Gina. We attended the quarterly wine dinner at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, on West Charleston. This was about the tenth or so wine dinner we’ve enjoyed which was hosted at Carrabba’s. They’re always unique, offering good drinkable wines, at a reasonable price.
The highlight for us was visiting with Gary and Gina for almost three hours. Gary used to be my boss at the World Series of Poker. Now, he’s the spokesman for Caesar’s Entertainment, which has been in the news a lot lately. He’s what you would call a big shot. Before working in casino public relations, Gary was the managing editor for the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. He has quite a story, dating back to working for many years in New York City, and serving in Pakistan while in the Air Force during the 1960s. Gary is not only a fascinating man. He’s become a sort of mentor for me, although judging by my behavior, I didn’t exactly follow in his hallowed footsteps.
Loosely defined as Lebanese, Greek, Turkish, Armenian, Moroccan, Israeli, and Persian (Iranian) cooking, Mediterranean cuisine is relatively new to most American tastes, exploding in popularity only within the past 20 years or so. Now, different varieties of Mediterranean-themed restaurants can be found in most major cities, including Las Vegas.
I’m partial to Mediterranean cooking because the most common reactions to it are either very good or great. It’s also very healthy. I’ve experienced relatively few disappointments in the hundreds of meals enjoyed over the years, not only here in Las Vegas, but throughout the world. The only other two varieties of food where I can make this claim are: (1) Italian restaurants and (2) Thai cuisine. See my list of TOP TEN THAI RESTAURANTS IN LAS VEGAS here.
[Writer’s Note: See more photos of “The Lakes, Nevada” below]
When people ask me where I live — I answer “Las Vegas.”
However, when asked this same question by someone local, that calls for a more specific answer. My reply is that I live in a section of Las Vegas called “The Lakes.”
The Lakes seems like an odd name for a residential community anchored in the middle of the desert. I can’t blame people when they get confused, hearing about “lakes.” Some misunderstand the reference and think I live way out near Lake Mead. Others associate the name with “Lake Las Vegas” — a ritzy golf course development with million-dollar homes located on the eastern edge of the city.
Actually, The Lakes is located right smack in the middle of town on the west side. It’s about seven miles away from the Las Vegas Strip (a.k.a. Las Vegas Blvd.). It’s bordered by Durango to the east, and Hualapai to the west — then Sahara to the north, and Desert Inn to the south. If you keep on heading west from where I live, the next development towards the mountains is called Summerlin, which most people have at least heard of. Not so, with The Lakes.
The Lakes has an interesting history. In today’s column, I’m going to tell you more about The Lakes and convey its uniqueness as a desert paradise, and a really nice place to live.