Wednesday, January 18, 2017

You Think It Was All Putin? Meet Robert Mercer-- The Billionaire Behind Trump's Ratty Curtain


Strange and elusive Long Island hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer was the "thread between a seemingly random cast of actors" who turned Trump's foundering campaign around-- Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, David Bossie and Cambridge Analytica. Mercer and his equally contemptible daughter, Rebekah, had been eyeing SeƱor Trumpanzee ever since their first choice, right-wing fanatic Ted Cruz, dropped out of the primaries. Cruz and Trump don't have much in common but the Mercer's felt they could easily mold Trump into what they wanted by surrounding him with their own people and taking over the campaign. Mercer invested $15.5 million in Trump's campaign, making him Trumpanzee's single largest donor.
In 2015, Mercer had single-handedly catapulted Cruz to the front of the Republican field, throwing more than $13 million into a SuperPAC he created for the now failed candidate. But with the Trump campaign faltering and struggling for support, there's a second chance for the Mercers to make a big bet. The Trump campaign is well aware of this. In fact sources within Mercer's SuperPAC would later tell Bloomberg News that shortly after Cruz drops out of the race, Ivanka Trump and her wealthy developer husband, Jared Kushner, approached the Mercers asking if they'd be willing to shift their support behind Trump. The answer is an eventual but resounding yes.

In the months leading up to Trump's presidential win, the Mercers would prove a formidable force, Beginning after the disastrous Republican convention in July, they would furnish the Trump campaign with millions of dollars and new leadership. They would also furnish it with something more: a vast network of non-profits, strategists, media companies, research institutes, and SuperPACs that they themselves funded and largely controlled.

...The Mercers' political infrastructure is so entrenched that Rebekah Mercer herself sits on the 16-person executive committee of Trump's transition team. Mercer's foray into the White House may seem to have been born partly out of luck especially with Trump instead of Cruz as his stalking horse, but his rise to power was systematic and it was years in the making. The web of connections Mercer's built over the last decade is vast and complex. It includes efforts to dismantle tax law and weaken the IRS. It's about funding quack scientists and conspiracy theorists who blame the government for, among other things, for playing role in the San Bernardino massacre. Or of colluding with the United Nations and using Climate Change as an excuse to implement environmental laws meant to depopulate America's Midwest.

...Casino capitalism-- [with a healthy dose of tax fraud, to the tune of billions of dollars]-- has given people like Robert and Rebekah Mercer riches and power beyond most peoples' imagination. But the role of activist billionaires in American politics isn't new; it's just become stronger as wealth is concentrated in fewer hands. With the top 1% of Americans today holding onto 40% of the country's wealth and with much of that increase taking place in the finance and energy sectors of the economy, the rise of people like Robert Mercer and the Koch brothers reflects how billionaires have gradually taken more direct control over politicians and the state.

...In the end, there are no workers or little guys on the Trump team, only the allies of rainmakers Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the billionaires whose political hedge pushed Donald Trump into the White House.



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