Thursday, January 26, 2006

Abramoff and Lapin: The dark side

Even as halfwits like Katie Couric mindlessly parrot the GOP Newspeak talking point that the Abramoff scandal is a bipartisan scandal -- as if! -- my old friend Mike Hood at BlatherWatch earlier this week took us down memory lane to point out the sewer from which Abramoff crawled -- along with his friend and, eh, spiritual mentor, the right-wing Rabbi Daniel Lapin, whom Hood dubs "David Duke's favorite Jew."

That's not a smear. Lapin in fact writes the kinds of things about Jews that haters like Duke -- whose current book, Jewish Supremacism, is a classic anti-Semitic screed -- just love to quote.
Lapin continued: The sad fact is that through Jewish actors, playwrights, and producers, the Berlin stage of Weimar Germany linked Jews and deviant sexuality in all its sordid manifestations just as surely as Broadway does today. Much of the filth in American entertainment today parallels that of Germany between the wars.

"Indeed, it does," Duke writes glowingly, "It is interesting to note that there a few Jews in America who are concerned about the destructive influence of many powerful Jews. He [Lapin] is concerned not only because he believes that such evil is against his own morality but that it also inevitably brings down Gentile wrath upon Jews. The amazing thing is that there are so few honest voices like that of Rabbi Lapin."

Lapin and Abramoff have been closely linked for much of his ascent -- and the source of that link goes back to both of them simultaneously crawling out of the racist swamps of the apartheid South African government that was finally dismantled in the 1990s.

Lapin grew up in South Africa and still has a distinct Afrikaner accent. Abramoff, meanwhile, got his start defending the apartheid government -- which, even back then, was as close to a nest of white supremacists you could find without donning white hoods and Nazi regalia.

Hood explains all this, and goes on:
As we dug deeper into Lapin's past, there's something darker than mere far-right Republican politics- there's a pattern of recurring disdain for anything in the 3rd World- especially that inhabited by dark-skinned "idiots," "troglodytes," or "morons," as his friend and cohort Jack Abramoff called the Native Americans he was shaking down.

There's no question the ultra-religious Abramoff shares the racial and cultural imperiousness of his friend, spiritual mentor and business associate, Rabbi Lapin. Abramoff has had no compunction making millions cynically exploiting the ignorance and corruption (and by implication, the inferiority) of under-developed nations- from the American Indian tribes to the unregulated sweat shops of Saipan to black South Africans.

That Lapin hails from Apartheid-era South Africa where racism was strictly codified and staunchly defended with Christian arguments, we think, is more than of passing interest.

It was in South Africa that Abramoff began his friendship with the Lapin brothers.

His long, well-documented affinity with the now-defunct racist regime started in 1983, when, as chairman of the College Republican National Federation, he helped pass a resolution condemning "deliberate planted propaganda by the KGB and Soviet proxy forces" against the South Africa regime. Apartheid was never mentioned.

In the late '80's, Abramoff shot his rank, potboiling, virulently anti-Communist action movie, "Red Scorpion," in South Africa. He was assisted by the separatist regime who provided extras, military equipment and locations in Namibia for the movie.

It was later revealed that the movie itself was funded by the racist government, though Abramoff incredibly denies knowing that.

When shooting was done, Abramoff, guided by his infamously haywire moral compass, and rationalized by his world class disdain for the wogs, disappeared from South Africa, stiffing everyone- actors, extras, and technicians. He apparently got his from the government and lowered his overhead by fucking over the help.

During the film production, Abramoff met younger brother David Lapin, another rabbi/businessman who sent him home to LA with an introduction to his brother Daniel, and a long term friendship ensued which included Abramoff helping found Lapin's non-profit Toward Tradition in 1991, and serving as board chair and board member until he was quietly expunged in 2005 after his indictment.

In the early '90's, Abramoff worked for the racist South Africa government directing the International Freedom Foundation (IFF) a phony "conservative think tank" later revealed to be an intelligence-gathering and propaganda operation secretly funded by the apartheid government to trash Nelson Mandela, the ANC and massage the international pariah state's image.

IFF drew prominent wingnuts like clown/zealot Alan Keyes; Congressional wingnuts like Sen. Jesse Helms, Reps. Dan Burton and "B-1" Bob Dornan; who served as advisers and delegates to international forums.

In 1994, Abramoff's religious sociopathy reached new heights when he took as a client the kleptocratic Mobutu Sese Seku, the Zairian despot also tied to the business misadventures of right-wing Christian clergyman/businessman and Lapin friend, evangelist Pat Robertson; who also has a penchant for seeking profits by joining corrupt, despotic 3rd World regimes in shaking down their citizenry.

Hood's piece is quite thorough, and well worth your time reading in its entirety.

More on Lapin and Abramoff here and here. Lapin's self-defense is here.

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