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Citizens Un-united of America

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | April 12th, 2017

Random thoughts of our great leader

Our leader does not particularly like Republicans. They are crooks who helped ruin the country. The mainstream news media is the enemy of the American people. The Clintons were terrible for the country. When we invaded Iraq we should have taken all of the oil under their sands.

Nuclear weapons are not so bad. The residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are actually healthier because of all the radiation! We should build more nukes because nuclear accidents are no big deal.

The civil rights laws were a big mistake because there are no white racists in America. Climate change is a big hoax perpetrated on the American people by environmentalists. The less government the better. The people don’t trust government.

Actually these are the thoughts of Robert Mercer, a billionaire hedge fund tycoon, who is the principal financial backer of President Donald Trump, expressed long before King Donald started his campaign for the presidency.

So many of the issues expressed by King Donald when he campaigned have been picked up by him through conversations with a man and family who have provided him with the many millions allowed by Citizens United.

I have used the term “great leader” for Mercer and Trump because they both possess the charm, duplicity, and vindictiveness of the leader of North Korea. North Koreans always refer to King Jong-un as “Great Leader.”

Trump’s money man

Every citizen who has become “Un-United” from our democracy by the dumping of dark money on our politicians should read Jane Mayer’s article in the March 27 issue of the New Yorker.

Robert Mercer and family, through King Donald, have become our principal great plutocratic leaders, with their assistants the brothers Koch. I have admired and read Jane Mayer for many years. She wrote for the Wall Street Journal at first, then became their chief White House correspondent.

She also has written two very important political books: “Dark Money” and “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.” She has won practically every major journalism award during her career. She is also an expert on the travails of the Middle East. When she writes or talks, I read or listen.

Mercer, a former computer scientist and executive at IBM, is co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a very profitable hedge fund. He is the principal developer of computer algorithms used in stock trading on Wall Street.

Although he hardly says a word and has been called an automaton by underlings, he has been nosing around the extreme right and national libertarian politics for two decades. He picked on Bill and Hillary Clinton first. Mercer declared the Clintons ran a drug-running operation out of the Mena, Arkansas airport and that Bill and Hillary had killed a number of political opponents.

Several stories of this nature appeared in the American Spectator, a far-right scandal sheet. I’m surprised the Democrats didn’t track Mercer and his family until a short time ago. No wonder the Democratic National Committee fired their entire staff. I’m a news junkie and I never heard of this guy until last year. The DNC should have put him on the front page daily.

Random billionaires writing eight-figure checks

Trevor Potter, the president of the nonpartisan watchdog Campaign Legal Center, described our situation after the five Republican-appointed members of the Supreme made the Citizens United decision: “Now a single billionaire can write an eight-figure check and put not just their thumb but their whole hand on the scale—and we often have no idea who they are (that’s why it’s called “dark money”). Suddenly a random billionaire can change politics and public policy—to sweep everything off the table---even if they don’t speak publicly. And even if there’s almost no public awareness of his or her views.”

Mercer is not a gregarious person. People describe him as awkward socially. In fact, The Wall Street Journal once quoted him as saying he preferred the company of cats to people. (But people who have played poker with him say he is a superb player. It must be that computer-like mind.)

People who actually read books say that Mercer is a follower of Ayn Rand who drummed up the philosophy of Objectivism, the art of being completely selfish. Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and former head of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan are other prominent advocates of Rand. After the 2007 Bush recession, assisted by both Ryan and Greenspan because neither pushed for more regulation of Wall Street, Greenspan admitted he had not thought bankers could be so crooked.

Mercer has said human beings have no inherent value except for the money they make or have. He loves cats. He says, “A cat has value because it provides pleasure to humans, but a person on welfare has negative value. But if a person makes a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.” (I wonder if he feels the same about the teacher who taught him calculus, computer programming, and algorithms.)

A former assistant recalled: “He thinks society is upside down—that government helps the weak people get strong, and makes the strong people weak by taking their money away by taxes.” (By the way, out of the top taxed 35 countries in the world, we rank 33rd. Talk about tax oppression!) He evidently has read Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and has swallowed it whole.

Guess who’s sitting at the right hand of King Donald

Why, it’s Steve Bannon, of course, that grizzled evil ultra right-wing Rasputin of Breitbart News fame who has been Robert Mercer’s political guru for years. Bannon has taken millions from the Mercer family, has latched onto them, used them as a personal piggy bank, and convinced them to invest in some of his own enterprises such as Breitbart News and a data-analytics firm.

Trump, a narcissistic know-nothing billionaire with only one interest -- himself -- has proven to be a perfect puppet for Mercer and Bannon. Bannon, at that time executive chairman of Breitbart News, and David Bossie, the power behind the Citizens United dark money Supreme Court case, romanced Trump and got Mercer and his daughter Rebekah to pour millions into Trump’s candidacy and numerous right-wing front groups. Bannon was paid $750,000 a year to manage Breitbart News after their $10 million investment in it.

Mercer has always had the libertarian philosophy that government is not only arrogant but inefficient in all things, although some early Pentagon funding through the secretive program DARPA helped him to become a billionaire. He still maintains that individuals should not be supported by the government.

Nick Patterson, a former employee of Mercer’s who is now a computational biologist at the Broad Institute, says: “He’s (Mercer) used his money very effectively. He’s not the first person in history to use money in politics, but in my view Trump wouldn’t be president if it were not for Bob (Mercer). It doesn’t get more effective than that.”

By 2011 the billionaire Mercers had joined the billionaire brothers Koch in an attempt to defeat Barack Obama in 2012. The Mercers attended the 2011 annual meeting of billionaires formed by the Kochs to defeat the Democrats on a national basis. They threw $25 million into the kitty to beat Obama. They lost that battle but lived to contribute millions to King Donald in 2016. So meet the power plutocrats and friends behind a bewildering and bewildered president.

Mercer and his family live the life of kings and plutocrats and protect their money with passion. Mercer is still fighting a 2014 IRS decision that he avoided a $6.8 billion tax bill. The IRS is demanding payment but with their “employee” in the White House, he probably will avoid paying it.

Living high off the hog -- and eating even the tail and squeal

The Mercers own a large Long Island waterfront estate they have named the Owl’s Nest. He loves big expensive toys and big guns. He has a $2.7 million model train set that choo-choos around a landscape set the size of a basketball court in his estate basement. He has a private pistol range and is part owner of Centre Firearms, where he enjoys the country’s largest collection of machine guns. He also owns weapons Arnold Schwarzeneggergroper used in the movie “The Terminator.”

He has a domestic staff at Owl’s Nest which includes a butler and physician who always travel with him. In 2013 he was sued by members of the staff for failing to pay overtime and for deducting pay as punishment for poor work. One worker lost pay because she failed to fill shampoo bottles when they were two-thirds empty! The case was settled but it was kind of a laugher in court. I wonder if that’s where King Donald got the idea of stiffing workers on his projects.

Mercer currently has a 203-foot yacht he calls the Sea Owl. It has a crew of 18 and features a hand-carved tree that twists through four levels of decks. It has an elevator, a spa pool, and a self-playing Steinway. Now, that’s rich, when you own a Steinway and you don’t even have to play it to enjoy it.

The Mercer family always satisfies its desires one way or other. When a Manhattan bakery, the site of their favorite cookies was going to close, they bought the bakery to solve that little problem. The daughter Rebekah bought six apartments in Trump Place in New York for $28 million and combined them into one apartment. A good “Christian,” she home-schools her four children so they are not corrupted by the public schools.

A scientific display of Christian right-wing crap In Oregon

And then there is the really weird stuff. Arthur Robinson, a biochemist, sheep rancher, and climate change denier in Oregon is supported by the Mercers. They gave him $1.6 million to support his Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

So far he is storing 14,000 samples of human urine collected somehow around the world. He thinks he can find new ways of extending our life span through the study of urine.

Robinson thinks climate change is a “false religion.” He claims he has a massive group of 30,000 scientists who are skeptical of global warming.

He calls himself a “Jesus-plus-nothing-else” Christian, so he is a hero to the Christian right who home-schools his six children like Rebekah Mercer does. He says the “socialist” agenda of the public schools is “evil” and represents “a form of child abuse.”

This whole story is just about enough to force me to pitifully crawl to prayer in a desperate attempt to convince un-united citizens to try to save the Un-united States from the united plutocrats.

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