Thursday, March 23, 2017

The man behind the Trumpian curtain: Robert Mercer (and the war on information)

Read this (or watch the video)!

Excerpts from
[New Yorker writer] Jane Mayer on Robert Mercer & the Dark Money Behind Trump and Bannon (Transcript, Democracy Now broadcast)

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about that moment [August 2016], … This was the time that [Paul] Manafort was forced out as the campaign manager for Donald Trump. The campaign was in disarray. He was being forced out because of his ties to Ukraine and Russia….

JANE MAYER: … Trump’s campaign was…floundering. It was in August, and there was headline after headline that was suggesting that Paul Manafort, who had been the campaign manager, had really nefarious ties to the Ukrainian oligarchs and pro-Putin forces….
     And the campaign was…spinning in a kind of a downward spiral, when, at a fundraiser out in Long Island, …Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of this hedge-fund tycoon, Bob Mercer, sort of cornered Trump and said, "You know, we’d like to give money to your campaign. We’ll back you, but you’ve got to try to, you know, stabilize it." And basically, she said, "And I’ve got just the people for you to do the job."
     …[O]ne being Steve Bannon…. The other was Kellyanne Conway, who had been running this superfund…for the Cruz campaign, that was filled with the money from the Mercers. And so she became the campaign manager. Bannon became the campaign chairman. And a third person, David Bossie, whose organization Citizens United was also very heavily backed by the Mercer family, he became the deputy campaign manager. So, basically, as Trump’s campaign is rescued by this gang, they encircle Trump. And since then, they’ve also encircled Trump’s White House and become very key to him. And they are the Mercers’ people.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: …Rebekah Mercer, whom you mentioned, is known—described as "the first lady of the alt-right." Now, you tried to get Rebekah and Robert Mercer to speak to you for this piece. What response did you get?

JANE MAYER: Oh, I mean, it was hopeless, clearly, from the start. They have nothing but disdain for…the mainstream media. Robert Mercer…he much prefers the company of cats to humans….
     His daughter, Rebekah Mercer, who’s 43 and has also worked at the family’s hedge fund a little bit and is a graduate of Stanford, she’s a little more outspoken. … But she doesn’t speak to the press….
. . .
     …Robert and his daughter Rebekah met Andrew Breitbart back—I think it was late 2011 or early 2012, speaking at a conference of the Club for Growth…. And they were completely taken with Andrew Breitbart. … Breitbart was outspoken and gleefully provocative and loved to offend people and use vulgar language just to catch their attention.…
     And…[Robert Mercer] was captivated by, I think, was Breitbart’s vision, which was, … "Conservatives can never win until we basically take on the mainstream media and build up our own source of information." He was talking about declaring information warfare in this country on fact-based reporting and substituting it with their own vision. And what he needed, Breitbart, at that point, was money….
. . .
JANE MAYER: …Andrew Breitbart had helped The Huffington Post get set up. And his idea was that he was going to launch The Huffington Post of the right. And so, he was setting it up, and his very close friend was Steve Bannon. ... So Bannon got the Mercers to put $10 million into turning this venture into something that was really going to pack a punch. And they were just about to launch it…when Andrew Breitbart died. … And that’s when Steve Bannon stepped in and became the head of Breitbart News.
     And in Bannon’s hands, it became a force of economic nationalism and, in some people’s view, white supremacism. It ran…a regular feature on black crime. It hosted and pretty much launched the career of Milo Yiannopoulos…. [It] just…became, as Bannon had said, a platform for the alt-right, meaning the alternative to the old right, a new right that was far more angry and aggressive about others….
. . .
     … [The Mercers] became the sponsors, really, behind [Breitbart News]. [Rebekah] reads every story, I’m told, … [T]here is a force behind Breitbart News that people don’t realize, and it’s the Mercer family. …[Breitbart News] pushed the conservatives in this country towards this economic nationalism, nativism, anti-immigration, pro-harsh borders, anti-free trade, protectionist. And it spoke the language of populism, but right-wing populism.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: … But can you also talk about the Government Accountability Institute…?

JANE MAYER: …You’ve got this family with all the money in the world, wanting to change American politics. And they hadn’t been very effective in their earlier efforts at this, until they joined forces with Steve Bannon…. And so, he very much focused their efforts on this information warfare, first with Breitbart…. And then, after 2012, when the Mercers were very disappointed that Obama got re-elected, at Bannon’s direction, they started to fund a brand-new organization called the Government Accountability Institute. It’s based in Tallahassee. It’s small. It’s really a platform for one major figure, Peter Schweizer, who is a conservative kind of investigative reporter.
     And what they did with this organization, which the Mercers poured millions of dollars into, was…drive the political narrative in the 2016 campaign. They created a book called Clinton Cash, which was a compendium of all the kinds of corruption allegations against the Clintons. And they aimed to get it into the mainstream media…. It was like an opposition research organization, sort of masked as a charity and nonprofit. And they took this book, Clinton Cash, gave it to The New York Times exclusively, early, and the Times then ran with a story out of it, that they said they corroborated. …
[This]…launched this whole narrative of Hillary Clinton as corrupt. And it just kept echoing and echoing through the media after that. So, it was a real home run for them….
 …[W]hat I finally was able to do what was talk to partners and people [the Mercers] work with in business and people who’ve known them a long time, who paint this picture of them as having these really peculiar beliefs, and based on kind of strange far-right media. …Bob Mercer…is convinced that the Clintons are murderers, literally, have murdered people. ... OK, so he’s driven by this just hatred of the Clintons and, coming into 2016, is determined to try to stop Hillary Clinton, and looking for a vehicle who would do that, who eventually becomes Trump….

Mayer’s New Yorker article:
How Robert Mercer exploited America’s populist insurgency.
By Jane Mayer



Anonymous said...

Dark money? I see dark money as anything supporting Democrats because they were on track to ruining America until the people took charge and voted in Trump.

This blog is a real snoozer. You think anyone actually reads it anymore? Please just close it up and go away.

Anonymous said...

You are so cute. Just adorable. Come over here and let me pat you on the head.

Anonymous said...

hey 4:38, you condescending prick, come over here and let me bitch slap you like you need!

Roy Bauer said...

5:02—"come over here"? Impressive words, oh brave, brave Anonymous!

Anonymous said...

Lots of us read the Blog. Why are you reading it unless you are unbelievably insecure watching Trump and company going down the drain while weakeniing this country.

We all need to work together so our boat does not sink. We are all humans before we are of this group or another.

Keep blogging, Sir Roy.

Anonymous said...

5:02 is all cwanky. Time for a nap. He looks so cute when he's sleeping.

Anonymous said...

And, anyways, if no one is reading the BLOG, why is he? Unless that is an act of kindness.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks the only ones reading this blog are the original 3 blogaderos and a handful of their friends. Other than that this blog dead.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I suggest to new faculty at Saddleback that they take a look at Roy's (and others) assessment of the history of this district. A number of said faculty do and then ask me and others questions about some points they read. It's useful to help some folks center.

Anonymous said...

hey Roy, don't be surprised when you get knocked on your ass in front of all your friends/minions.

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