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5 Right-Wing Scumbags Bankrolling Dangerous (and Plain Weird) Conservative Causes

Much ink has been spilled about the Koch brothers. But there are plenty of other wealthy right-wingers promoting dangerous policies.
 
 
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A non-insane observer of American politics might wonder why our elite policy makers are considering curbing our budget deficit by cutting Social Security and Medicare payments all while further lowering tax rates for high-income earners.

The answer is that most of our political class and establishment media have bought into the meme that rich people are so super-special that if we hurt their feelings by making them pay the same amount in taxes that they paid in the 1990s, they will get so depressed they will lose the will to work and no one in the country will ever have jobs again.

While this idea may seem insane to all sane people, it’s actually one of many ideas promoted over the past several decades by wealthy right-wingers who have plunged significant sums of money into conservative think tanks, political candidates and advertising campaigns. You see, for some reason rich Americans aren’t content to have five yachts and a butler named Willivers -- rather, they seem obsessed with having the entire country leave red, white and blue smooch marks all over their rear ends.

And just who are these multimillionaire propagandists, you ask? Well, I’m sure you know all about the Koch brothers and Rupert Murdoch, since they’ve all been relatively high-profile lately. But there are plenty more right-wing sugar daddies out there. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Right-Wing Sugar Daddy #1: Sheldon Adelson

Like most neoconservatives, Adelson’s goal in life is to make sure the United States and Israel remain in a state of perpetual warfare against Arab countries until most of the world is destroyed. Adelson, who made his fortune as a Las Vegas casino mogul, made headlines in 2007 when he funded Freedom’s Watch, a neoconservative advocacy group that supported wars wherever and whenever it could find them.

The group’s first campaign was a $15 million ad blitz urging Americans to support the Iraq troop surge. One of the group’s most notorious ads featured an Iraq war vet who lost both his legs during the war imploring Congress to keep funding the war indefinitely because “if we pull out now everything I’ve given and sacrificed will mean nothing.” The ad also shamelessly conflated the Iraq war with the September 11 terrorist attacks by showing pictures of the World Trade Center burning as the vet firmly reminded Americans that “they attacked us.”

From there, the group held a conference hyping up the dangers of Iran and radical Islam in general. Freedom’s Watch disbanded in late 2008 after a sizable chunk of Adelson’s spare cash went up in smoke -- quite possibly the only good outcome from the global financial crisis.

Although Adelson’s impact on U.S. policy is relatively small, he is much more of a factor in Israel where he invested a reported $180 million to launch the free Israel Hayom tabloid in 2007. The Israeli media apparently refer to the paper as “ Bibi-ton” because it serves as a propaganda rage for Netanyahu’s hard-line Likud government. The paper, which now has the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in Israel, mercilessly attacked the government of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, particularly his handling of the 2006 mini-war with Lebanon (sample headline, per the New Yorker: “The Ass-Covering of the Government”). Adelson was also upset that Olmert had the audacity to support a two-state solution where Palestinians are actually given some level of autonomy over their lives.

Right-Wing Sugar Daddy #2: Richard Mellon Scaife

Scaife got his start in politics by giving Richard Nixon’s campaign $1 million in 1972 and he hasn’t looked back since. As an heir to the Mellon fortune, Scaife didn’t exactly have to pick himself up by his bootstraps on his way to the top. And instead of doing something useful with his life, Scaife has blown hundreds of millions of dollars keeping wastoids like Jonah Goldberg employed by funding conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation, newspapers such as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and right-wing opinion rags such as the American Spectator.