S4 E23 — When In Doubt, Follow the Money

Rebekah Mercer, who gained a fast reputation for aggressively involving herself in the campaigns of politicians she backed, made clear that as a condition of her financial support, she expected that campaigns would hire Cambridge Analytica to do their data work.

“5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72: “What is best for everyone? Considering the many opinions expressed, picking the right one seems complex… until you realize most people are speaking out of self-interest. Who really has the group’s best interests at heart?” Virgo

Hi and welcome to Saturday’s 23rd Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 9th day of April in the spring of 2022.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

Table of Contents

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E22Now, Who Could Argue With That?; S4 E21Not Since the War of 1812; S4 E20Resiliently Living Through Domestic and Global Chaos

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E23Free from the Pile of Rubble in Your Brain; S3 E22What’s the Experiment Got To Do with the Exodus from Barb’s Bunny Ranch?; S3 E21Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and My Curiosity Whisperer Walking a Yip-Yippy Dog;  S3 E20Celebrate the Anniversary of When Things Seemed So Normal 

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E23Gaping Loss No Amount of Mourning Will Heal; S2 E22Paranoid Rose Review and Traffic-Copped Check Out Lines; S2 E21Cycles of History Rhyming with Endlessly Disruptive Rhythms?; S2 E20Panic, Fertilizer and Least Expected Meaningful Moments;

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E23Day 23 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E22Day 22 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E21Day 21 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E20Day 20 of My 1-Year Experiment;


Follow the money.  

Joshua Green, in “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising” reminds us that in the 2016 campaign for president Trump was not the candidate whom the Mercers initially backed in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Ted Cruz was their first choice.

Kellyanne Conway

The Mercers gave $11 million to a Super PAC they established to support Cruz’s candidacy, hiring Kellyanne Conway to run it. I always wondered where she came from and how she made it into Trump’s administration.

Robert Mercer

Robert Mercer was co-CEO of the fabled quantitative hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.           

He collected machine guns and owned the gas-operated AR-18 assault rifle that Arnold Schwarzenegger wielded in The Terminator.          

He loved to dress up in costumes. Each year, Mercer and his family threw an elaborate, themed Christmas party at Owl’s Nest, his opulent waterfront mansion on Long Island’s North Shore.               

Mercer, who was then sixty-nine, had recently developed another late-in-life interest: politics.              

It might have been something to do with reading an Ayn Rand novel.

Green said, “He’s a guy with his own ideas, and very developed ideas.”              

Mercer wanted to bring back the gold standard and abolish the fractional-reserve banking system upon which the modern economy is built.                

He became eager to mount legal challenges to environmental laws, claiming they were part of a United Nations, which was bad, right?             

He started to become active just as the Supreme Court was getting ready to hand down its decision in the 2010 Citizens United case—opening the floodgates for wealthy individuals to take a larger and more active role in electoral politics.

By 2012 he contributed $25 million to the dark-money network of wealthy conservative donors organized by Charles and David Koch, and he gave millions more to Karl Rove’s Super PAC, American Crossroads.

Rebekah Mercer

But it was Rebekah Mercer his middle daughter who became even more actively involved in the family’s political giving.

Rebekah with Steve Bannon established “Glittering Steel” to make movies and political advertisements.

They focused on a dual mission — not only to influence politics but also to become a commercially successful producer of Christian-themed movies which tapped into one of Rebekah’s passions, because she home-schooled her four children.

Chuck Colson

She fell in with the evangelical group chaired by the reformed Watergate felon Chuck Colson—whose mission was to “shape culture from a biblical perspective.”

The network included the actor and director Mel Gibson, whose 2004 film The Passion of the Christ had been an unexpected hit.

Glittering Steel

But, Glittering Steel didn’t turn out any commercially successful films.

It did, however, produce the movie version of “Clinton Cash” that appeared in 2016, just as the general election race was kicking off. 

The film debuted during the Cannes Film Festival, on the French Riviera, where Rebekah Mercer entertained guests, including Bannon, aboard the family’s 203-foot luxury super yacht.

A list of active political Mercer-funded enterprises leading up to the 2016 election:

    1. Super PAC they established to support Cruz
    2. Glittering Steel to make movies and political advertisements.
    3. Karl Rove’s Super PAC, American Crossroads
    4. Cambridge Analytica — U.S. offshoot of a British data analytics company, Strategic Communication Laboratories,
    5. Government Accountability Institute a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) research organization
    6. Breitbart News’ long-planned relaunch

Cambridge Analytica

The fourth Mercer-funded outfit was a business after Robert Mercer’s own heart, given how he made his fortune. 

He invested in the US offshoot of a British data analytics company, Strategic Communication Laboratories.                

They advised foreign governments and militaries on influencing elections and public opinion using the tools of psychological warfare.

Steve Bannon

Robert and Bannon became owners of the American affiliate of SCL  christened Cambridge Analytica. 

In addition to his ownership stake Bannon took seat on the company’s board, according to Green.              

It was perfect for Bannon as a messaging and strategy that would be independent of the institutional Republican Party.

Bannon and Mercer weren’t the first.  

Fellow billionaires, David and Charles Koch also spent tens of millions of dollars building an alternative party structure, so disillusioned were they by the ineptitude of the GOP.

But the newer twist came from Robert’s daughter in the form of the deals she brokered.               

Rebekah Mercer, who gained a fast reputation for aggressively involving herself in the campaigns of politicians she backed, made clear that as a condition of her financial support, she expected that campaigns would hire Cambridge Analytica to do their data work.

Breitbart News

Here’s what the Clinton brain trust missed and were blindsided by, based on their assumptions about the presidential race.

Trump was still considered a carnival sideshow, Breitbart News a site for trolls and crazies, and Bannon a fringe figure who wouldn’t possibly factor into something as large and important as a presidential race. These were all assumptions the Clinton brain trust would come to bitterly regret.

Bannon’s genius took form when he insisted on facts that independents and media would believe as a way of discrediting the democratic nominee.

Bannon thought, conservatives needed to build a political case based on documented facts that would discredit Clinton in the eyes of the people whose support she would need to win the election—not just voters, but the media as well.

Hillary Clinton

Through Bannon and his interlocking groups, Mercers bankrolled the effort to discredit Trump’s eventual opponent, Hillary Clinton, 

To turn his strategy into action he deployed the fifth enterprise.           

That’s where the Government Accountability Institute came into play. Although it was funded by Mercer family money, GAI was, under the letter of the law, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) research organization whose work, if it had merit, could safely be taken up by reporters and producers at nonpartisan media outlets without exposing them to charges of political bias.

Green fills in some steps on the path to a Bannon partnership when Mercer’s interest in “right-wing politics began to blossom, they led him to charismatic, peripheral figures with dramatic, world-changing ideas—people such as Andrew Breitbart.” 

And how Mercer became convinced he should throw some money at the 6th on the list of his investments.

    • Robert Mercer met Breitbart in 2011 at a conference held by the conservative group Club for Growth.  And they led him to Steve Bannon,
    • Through Bannon, the Mercers agreed to invest $10 million to help finance Breitbart News’ long-planned relaunch.


Today’s Holiday Birthday:

You’ll like how the world molds to your vision. Somehow you find a way to dominate the factors that once seemed so out of your control and elevate your entire scene. You’re expected to play a role; you’ll do it in a way that pleases and fulfills you. Though you’re unconcerned with approval, life goes easier for you because of the applause.

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “You know how to spot a bad situation and avoid it. Some situations are, however, unavoidable. The best you can do is to keep moving forward with as much grace as possible.” Aries

Are you only talking about today, of about all the long-form research I’ve been backfilling to make sense of what happened, why it happened and what might happen in the 2022 and 2024 elections?

“3”  Steve Winwood, 71; Stevie Wonder, 69; Stephen Colbert, 56: “When you like people, you’ll go out of your way to see them smile, alleviate their stress or make them feel comfortable. Doing this for someone you don’t know or dislike… that’s nobility.” Taurus

Yeah, sure but I’m not feeling like a noble guy today.

 “5”  Steve Greene, 34; Steve Guttenberg, 61; Stephen King, 72: “What is best for everyone? Considering the many opinions expressed, picking the right one seems complex… until you realize most people are speaking out of self-interest. Who really has the group’s best interests at heart?” Virgo

Isn’t this the bedrock upon which our democracy and constitution operate?  Why has self-interest been weaponized and politicalized?  What’s the answer?

“4”  Steve Kerr, 54: “Education can be extremely expensive or completely free. A library or the internet provide access to the greatest minds in history. Taking advantage of this today is extremely advantageous.” Libra

Oh yeah, the Internet that’s what you want to do to use your critical thinking.  Am I right? No. The Twitters and Meta Facebooks of the world expose us to the least greatest minds.  Heaven help us.

“4”  Steve Nash, 45: “To believe everything serves a purpose will relax you. Whether this is true matters very little. From the relaxed place you will recognize your next good move and keep going forward.” Aquarius

I almost believed that this was about believing everything as in what a fool believes he sees.  But, then I reread it and felt I couldn’t believe how well it forecast my afternoon.  Totally unbelievable!

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12458 this week to 12559 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 212 viewers stopped by the week before.




    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate


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