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Sheldon Adelson and "the gambling capital of the world": Using big Chinese bucks to buy American elections

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This is one of those patented Maddow Show first segments. It starts one place, moves to another place, and suddenly ties everything together with a bang.

Macao is introduced at the 1:00 mark. Once you get past the athletes-and-smog reference, you're into the main part. If you really feel the need to speed along, start at 2:10 — but be sure not to miss China-U.S. population graph at 2:10.

That population ratio — 4:1 — is the key to the whole segment. 4:1 helps define the size of the gold mine Sheldon Adelson is working.

"Macao ... is the gambling capital of the world" (3:20; my emphasis). That's a whole lot of gold to work with.

Maddow's bottom line has to do with the risk of Adelson being prosecuted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

My bottom line is that the Chinese government is pumping money as fast as it can into the pockets of Las Vegas–and–Macao casino owner Sheldon Adelson. And with that money Adelson is buying as much U.S. election as he can.

Any guesses whether Obama and his seemingly White House–directed Justice Dept. will actually do anything like a meaningful prosecution. (Hint: Jon Corzine is still a free man, and last I heard, still an Obama fundraiser.)

Watch (to watch large in a separate tab, click here). Stay at least through the start of the interview at 12:00, though the interview with ProPublica is excellent.

A reminder:
  • U.S. industrial policy — Enrich global billionaires at the expense of the American people (true for both parties).

  • Chinese industrial policy — Enrich global billionaires to the benefit of the nation of China.
"Free trade" y'all. (I'll have more on this in a bit.)

Adelson is mining for gold the casino gambling jones of the whole of China. A good part of that gold is going straight to the 2012 election. And the Chinese know it.

Any guess what side-deals Adelson has with the Chinese government if Romney wins? Any bets how he says Thank you?

When foreign money buys your elections, you're a "client state" (look it up). This is what we did and do to our colonies. Now it's being done to us.

Spelling note just for fun.

"Macao" is the original Portuguese name and spelling, and the region (a peninsula and a small group of islands) was the location of the first Portuguese (and first western) settlement in China (mid-1500s under the Ming, a strong dynasty).

Later Chinese emperors became weaker and weaker vis-à-vis the west, and after the Opium Wars, Macao became first a wholly-controlled city (1864) and then a straight-up Portuguese colony (1887), similar to British-controlled Hong Kong and Singapore.

"Macau" is a more modern Portuguese spelling than "Macao" but both are used (my paragraphing):
The form "Macao" was the original Portuguese spelling, and has been retained in most European languages. ... [Thus] "Macao" is the traditional English spelling.

However since the handover of administration from Portugal to China in 1999, the government of Macau considers both "Macao" and "Macau" to be acceptable English spellings of the name, whereas in Portuguese "Macao" has long been abandoned and just "Macau" remains the official spelling.
So why do I stick with "Macao"? Because the sound "ao" and its nasal version "ão" are so common in Portuguese — and so lovely — that it marks the language for me. Plus the Portuguese, in their wisdom, haven't respelled any of those other "-ao" places (like Curaçao, Bilbao [which is admittedly in Spain, but Portuguese-sounding], or even Makawao, a Portuguese cowboy town on Maui).

Nor are the Portuguese respelling any of their liquid -ão words, like coracão (heart).

So I like the -ao in Portuguese, and I'm keeping it. Lord knows why the Chinese former-colony was respelled and not Curaçao, for example, but that's on them. As the wikipedia says:
The present Chinese name [of Macao is] 澳門, Àomén.
I'll switch to that spelling when the rest of the world does. In the meantime, we all know how to spell Adelson — m-o-n-e-y.


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