Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel vs. Robert Mercer and Rebeka Mercer (i.e., the meaning of TRUE CHANGE)
In the wake of Hillary Clinton’s recent fundraising along the East and West coasts, the Republican National Committee has released a new web ad claiming the Democratic presidential nominee is out of touch with “everyday Americans.”
The 19-second video, titled “Hillary Clinton’s Liberal Elite Summer Tour,” begins with an image of an airplane bearing Clinton’s logo. A voiceover resembling an announcement from a flight attendant names some of the stops on Clinton’s schedule, including Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Martha’s Vineyard.
“Please use caution in opening the overhead bins, as Hillary’s baggage may have shifted during flight,” the “flight attendant” says as the ad ends.
Clinton spent her weekend on Martha’s Vineyard and held a fundraiser in Nantucket. On Tuesday, Clinton is headlining a $33,400-per-guest event being hosted by Justin Timberlake and his wife, actress Jessica Biel.
“Hillary Clinton claims she’s running to be a champion for ‘everyday Americans,’ but her busy week of fundraisers with her friends in the wealthy liberal elite show who she’s really fighting for,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “Rather than visit flood-ravaged Louisiana or end her more than 250-day streak without a press conference, she’s taking her private jet from coast to coast raking in piles of campaign cash to fund her status quo campaign.
“Donald Trump is the candidate of true change in this election, and he is leading a grassroots movement to put an end to business as usual in Washington and make a difference in the lives of all Americans.”
— New RNC ad attacks Clinton’s fundraisers, Rebecca Morin, Politico, yesterday
Amid the widespread media focus last on the Trump campaign’s shakeup that ended Paul Manafort’s reign there (such as it was) and brought in Breitbart alum Steve Bannon as campaign CEO (interesting title, but whatever) and elevated Trump pollster Kellyann Conway to campaign manager, a critical aspect of this, though reported in-depth by the New York Times and a couple of other major news outlets, has, clearly, not made it mainstream: that Trump’s actual current puppeteers are the father-daughter duo of Robert Mercer and Rebeka Mercer. And who they are.
So let me introduce them to y’all, by borrowing heavily from an in-depth article by Nicholas Confessore titled “How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s Campaign,” published in last Friday’s New York Times:
Last week, as Donald J. Trump endured one of the most tumultuous stretches of his presidential campaign, a few longtime allies in New York conservative circles met for dinner and a drink. As the evening progressed, the conversation turned to an inevitable topic: What would it take to give Mr. Trump his best shot at winning?
A few days later, one of the guests, Stephen K. Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, would become Mr. Trump’s campaign chief in a sudden shakeup. But it was a guest without a formal role in the campaign, a conservative philanthropist named Rebekah Mercer, who has now become one of its most potent forces.
Mr. Bannon’s ascension on Wednesday — urged on Mr. Trump by Ms. Mercer, among others — shows how a cadre of strategists, “super PACs” and political organizations quietly nurtured by her family have emerged to play a pivotal role in Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.
Over more than half a decade, Ms. Mercer’s father, the New York investor Robert Mercer, has carved an idiosyncratic path through conservative politics, spending tens of millions of dollars to outflank his own party’s consultant class and unnerve its established powers. His fortune has financed think tanks and insurgent candidates, super PACs and media watchdogs, lobbying groups and grassroots organizations.
Many of them are now connected, one way or another, to Mr. Trump’s presidential bid. Mr. Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is a veteran Republican pollster who previously oversaw a super PAC financed by the Mercers. Mr. Bannon oversaw Breitbart, an outlet that has often amplified Mr. Trump’s message and attacked his perceived enemies. Mr. Mercer reportedly invested $10 million in Breitbart several years ago, and most likely still has a stake: A company sharing an address with Renaissance Technologies, the hedge fund Mr. Mercer helps lead, remains an investor in Breitbart, according to corporate documents filed in Delaware.
Mr. Trump is also relying on Cambridge Analytica, a voter data firm backed by Mr. Mercer, whose staff members are working with Mr. Trump’s vendors to identify potential Trump supporters in the electorate, particularly among infrequent voters.
A Mercer-backed super PAC supporting Mr. Trump is now being shepherded by David Bossie, a conservative activist whose own projects have been funded in part by the Mercers’ family foundation, according to tax documents.
Mr. Bannon has worked particularly closely with the family in recent years.
“I think they have complete confidence, and rightly so, in Steve Bannon’s decisions and what he brings to the table politically,” Mr. Bossie said. “He has been smart and successful in running these different political operations. And those things have come to the Mercers’ attention.”
The Mercers, who rarely grant interviews, declined through a spokesman to comment. Mr. Mercer, 70, a mathematician and competitive poker player who spent his early career at I.B.M., joined Renaissance in the 1990s and rose to become the co-chief executive, earning hundreds of millions of dollars along the way.
Today, he and his wife, Diana, live on a sprawling estate on Long Island’s North Shore where, according to court records, he installed a $2.7 million model railroad set (and later sued the vendor for overcharging him). [Italics added.]
Like many elite donors, the Mercers shun mainstream media attention — even while financing alternative outlets that provide content for conservative activists. That includes not just Breitbart, but also the selfdescribed watchdog organization Media Research Center and the Government Accountability Institute, home to Peter Schweizer, the author of “Clinton Cash,” a book examining the Clinton family philanthropies. (Mr. Bannon cofounded the institute and Ms. Mercer, 42, has served on its board; she also coproduced a documentary based on the book and released last month, just before the Democratic National Convention.)
They have given to libertarian organizations, such as the Cato Institute, and political organizations like the Club for Growth, which spends millions of dollars each election cycle in Republican primaries, hoping to promote orthodox conservative policies on taxes and spending. The Mercers are also significant donors to the sprawling political network overseen by the political activists Charles G. and David H. Koch, which is also libertarian-leaning. [Italics added.]
But unlike the Koch brothers, who remained neutral in the Republican primary and have said their organizations will focus on congressional races this fall, the Mercers were deeply involved in the Republican nominating battle this year. And they have shown a taste for more bare-knuckled and populist politics than most of Mr. Mercer’s fellow hedge fund magnates.
The family originally backed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a more traditional conservative but one who, like Mr. Trump, is disliked by much of the party establishment. During the early phase of the campaign, Mr. Mercer donated $13 million to a super PAC supporting Mr. Cruz. In doing so, he broke with many peers in the elite donor world, who looked to candidates like Jeb Bush or Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
The Mercers maintained close control over the group’s purse strings, installing Ms. Conway to oversee the group and coordinate with several other pro-Cruz groups, an unusual move for a super PAC. During the Republican primary, the group ran ads questioning Mr. Trump’s conservative credentials, hoping to outflank Mr. Trump.
But the Mercers moved to support Mr. Trump after he won the nomination. They were helped in part, according to a person who asked for anonymity to describe the family’s thinking, by Mr. Trump’s growing emphasis on traditional conservative ideas, such as tax cuts. [Italics added.] And the family broke with Mr. Cruz in highly public fashion after his speech at the Republican convention, when the Texas senator refused to endorse Mr. Trump and instead suggested that Republicans should “vote your conscience” for candidates “up and down the ticket.”
In an extraordinary rebuke, the Mercers issued a rare public statement, calling themselves “profoundly disappointed” in Mr. Cruz. In late June, the Mercer-financed super PAC quietly reformed as Make America Number One, now a pro-Trump entity. Mr. Bossie, a longtime conservative activist who has produced documentaries about the Clinton family and illegal immigration, is leading the group, which is likely to raise more money from the Mercers to pay for attacks on Hillary Clinton.
Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin contributed reporting.
Yeah, yeah, okay, I didn’t borrow heavily from the Confessore piece; I borrowed the whole thing. But the italics are mine, so … fair use? In return, I will say that Confessore’s reporting is, in my opinion, unfailingly awesome.
What matters here is, I would hope, obvious: Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, George Clooney, and the folks who attend their, and other Hollywood types’, fundraisers, for Clinton, for the DNC, for Senate and House candidates, for other down-ballot candidates, are donating to politicians whose platform—and in the instances of Dem incumbents running for reelection, their actual legislative votes—run counter to their financial interests. Sometimes very significantly.
That likely also is true of many of those Martha’s Vineyard fundraiser hosts and attendees.
In any event, I’m not sure why the funds raised by the liberal elite in Hollywood and Martha’s Vineyard, in the service of reducing their own fortunes, is more pernicious than the tens upon tens of millions of dollars provided by two people transferring the money from a sprawling estate on Long Island’s North Shore that, according to court records, features an installed $2.7 million model railroad set, and from other homes owned by one or another of the two, in the service of propping up campaigns for president and Congress whose explicit tax, expenditures, and regulatory plans—not to mention quieter federal legislative proposals—would directly and dramatically increase their already-exorbitant wealth and enable the fully tax-free passage of that wealth from themselves to their heirs.
Heirs, here, being a legal term of art, but it does double duty here as in “heir to the [fill-in-the-blanks] fortune” of common parlance.
Although presumably Ms. Conway can explain it, since yesterday, according news reports, she said in a TV interview that she’s chomping at the bit to see Trump campaign on his tax plan, which, she said, lowers taxes for … the middle class! Who are in the tax bracket that will save them hundreds of thousands of dollars each year under Trump’s income tax proposal and who will be relieved to know that their wealth in excess of $5 million (or whatever the current level is above which is subject to the estate tax) will pass to their heirs (both uses of the term here) tax-free.
And while Trump is campaigning in, say, Ohio and Pennsylvania on his tax plan, maybe he’ll discuss also who will have his ear when it comes time to fill such positions as National Labor Relations Board members, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Commerce, head of the Federal Communications—and Attorney General. As well as chief of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
To name only a handful of appointees that, y’know, maybe could matter to some of those Rust Belt blue-collar workers, former and present.
And then there is the matter of Trump’s promise, repeated time and again, to appoint Supreme Court justices who will ensure the continued viability of Citizens United issued, 5-4, in 2010. And of Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, a bizarre 5-4 opinion fabricating a constitutional ground on which to strike down Arizona’s matching-campaign-funds statute that applied to elections for state office. This issue is dead only if Trump wins and does as he’s promised: Nominate Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia.
Yesterday’s NYT Opinion section featured a lengthy piece by former Times Washington Bureau chief Hedrick Smith that made that clear. Titled “Can the States Save American Democracy?”, Smith writes:
In the pushback against Citizens United, 17 states and more than 680 local governments have appealed to Congress for a constitutional amendment, either through a letter to Congress, referendums, legislative resolutions, city council votes or collective letters from state lawmakers.
In the most prominent case, California’s 18 million registered voters get to vote in November on whether to instruct their 55 member congressional delegation to “use all of their constitutional authority” to overturn Citizens United. Washington State is holding a similar referendum. In 2014, a Democratic amendment proposal to allow regulation and limits on electoral spending won a 5442 majority in the Senate, strictly along party lines, but fell short of the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster. Now bills calling for a 6 to 1 match of public funds for small campaign donations up to $150, or requiring disclosure of funders for campaign ads, have wide Democratic support, but are blocked by Republican opposition.
Yet out in the country, even in some reliably red states, reform movements have sprouted. South Dakota is one, thanks to three petition drives. One seeks to make primaries nonpartisan and another calls for an independent redistricting commission. A third is for a ballot measure, similar to one in Washington State, that would create a $50 tax credit for each voter to donate to a political candidate; ban campaign contributions exceeding $100 from lobbyists and state contractors; and mandate that independent groups speedily disclose the top five contributors to political ads and electioneering communications made within 60 days of an election.
In April, Nebraska’s Republican-dominated Legislature voted 2915 to set up an independent redistricting commission. Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, vetoed the bill, but reformist legislators promise a revised proposal in the next session.
Everyone, of course, knows about Citizens United, but no one knows about that Arizona matching-funds opinion. Nor does anyone know about the string of 5-4 Supreme Court opinions rewriting, for example, the Federal Arbitration Act to provide what the Act does not provide, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), the statute that delineates key aspects of access to federal court, to provide the diametric contrary to what it actually says and had been accepted as saying since it was enacted in about 1970.
There are other critical rewritings of “codified” law—provisions of the Constitution and legislative enactments, including the very wording of the Constitution’s Eleventh Amendment—also regarding threshold access to federal court, as part of the Supreme Court’s makeover of American law in the vision of the Conservative Legal Movement.
To which Trump’s two funders/puppeteers aggressively subscribe.
And here’s what really matters: Trump himself will not win; that train has left the station and will not be returning. And in recognition and acceptance of that, the RNC apparently plans to soon start trying to sell their Senate and House incumbent and new candidates a check on Clinton. Which would seem to raise the issue of what policies she would propose that a majority of voters want checked.
Well, either that or what policies the Republican donors want checked. And what policies they want to force as part of, say, the annual appropriations bill, including those quietly inserted during the night before the bill comes to a floor vote.
I’ve repeatedly argued here at AB, including here last week, that a fatal problem with Senate and House campaigns for Dems is that they think that “nationalizing” elections for Congress is something that works against rather than for Dems. I’ve said that this is so only to the extent that Dems think triangulating on economic issues and running entirely on culture-wars issues—running a campaign that, to borrow from Mitt Romney, is an apology tour, albeit with such things as legitimate -rape matters thrown in. And of course that extent has been pretty darn broad. Until this cycle—at least to some extent.
But not to a large enough extent. After Labor Day, Bernie Sanders will begin campaigning around the country, holding rallies not just in support of Clinton but also with—with—some Dem Senate and House candidates. So this will change, I would think.
But as for the Clinton campaign itself, which has the creativity and guts of the chair I’m sitting in, I offer a suggestion: How about an ad featuring Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in which they compare their financial gain or loss that of Robert and Rebeka Mercer under Trump’s plan and then under Clinton’s? (Jeff Weaver, Bernie’s campaign manager, could put together something attention-grabbing, informative and funny; I know he could. And I’ve read that he’s now working informally with the DNC.)
Change? You say you want change, Rust Belters?* Be careful what you wish for. Or at least hope you don’t get it.
True change. The lady promised true change. She wasn’t kidding.
*Look, I’ve said roughly 800 times here (rounding out the figure) that Trump will not come close to winning Rust Belt blue-collar workers. But it’s critically important also to turn both houses of Congress blue.
For roughly that same number—800 (rounding out the figure)—of reasons.
I’ll insert a couple more links, regarding Supreme Court opinions I describe here, tonight. I don’t have time now, and I want to get this posted as early as possible. Because, well … I think it contains darned important information.
It’s worth noting that the GOP party platform called for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall (while at the same time, in typically incoherent fashion, called for the repeal of Dodd-Frank). There have been remarkably sharp attacks on Wall Street greed and recklessness coming from Republicans, many of them rather die-hard conservatives. In addition, the repeal of Citizens United is widely popular among the citizenry on both left and right, with polling numbers in the 70s. There are going to be some serious efforts made to pass a constitutional amendment repealing Citizens United as well as further restraints on Wall Street. Of course, once those measures gain a little steam and Fox is given the order by the Koch Suckers and Mercers of the world to create the “reality” that such measures are really leftist socialist dreams, support from the right will be diminished as the herd is rounded up once again to be turned into hamburger meat.
And these impulses are not reserved to populist tides. Mark Carney is the Governor of the Bank of England. He said, “The financial system should be the servant of the real economy. As one of my international colleagues recently remarked, ‘it is time the banks stopped swanning around like the Queen of England and resumed their traditional role as handmaidens to industry’.” Joseph Stieglitz recently said that the neo-liberal program has been widely rejected by “academia” as a failure. A truly Progressive surge of energy is in effect and happening as we speak.
You’re exactly right that what this election cycle has been about, even more than the racism and xenophobia that Trump has brought to the surface, is that large swaths of the public has had it up to here with the choke hold that mega-donors and corporate lobbyists have on government in virtually every respect–and with the Supreme Court that gave us Citizens United.
Which is why all Clinton has to do in response to Trump’s promise of more Antonin Scalias on the Supreme Court is utter two words: Citizens United.
It has become plainly and painfully obvious that the big 6 banks do not want any justice to take place with HRC. They have way more power, influence and money than any Mercer, Koch or Timberlake ever dreamed. They are who is controlling and pulling the strings attached to HRC. The real big money is at work and the Sanders liberal movement is done. So is the “rule of law” does not come above the rule of profits over people and countries. Trump has a huge mountain to climb to get to the promised land as he has almost every oligarch, elite Washington establishment insider and MSNM against him. I cannot believe that the totally corrupt HRC has the unions and minorities voting for her but it shows just how if one lies often enough people will begin to believe them as truth. Obama tried to do good by bailing out Wall St., pulling out of Iraq and starting Obama Care but the Clinton’s took full advantage of these opportunities with personal self enrichment and self gratification at every chance they got..
Yes, but consider who the “Clinton…summer tour” ad is designed to appeal to.
It is worth remembering that this is “the people.”
What if they found a Leader who was smarter than Trump?
Congress makes legislation.
That fact escapes way too many people, and it seems to be etched into stone by the people with CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrome).
“The financial sector is far and away the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties, with insurance companies, securities and investment firms, real estate interests and commercial banks providing the bulk of that money.
The sector contributed generous sums to both parties until 2010 when donations began to heavily bias Republicans, which likely reflects the finance industry’s interest in overturning the financial regulations from the Dodd-Frank Act, implemented to protect consumers from predatory lending practices and risky financial decisions from the industry. In 2014, the industry as a whole contributed half a billion dollars to candidate and party committees, PACs as well as outside spending groups; 62 percent of the funds given to candidates and parties went to Republicans.”
Congress made the New Deal legislation, including Social Security, the Glass-Steagall Act, and the FDIC. It also made the National Labor Relations Act. Decades earlier, it made the Sherman Antitrust Act and created the national parks system. And decades later, Medicare and the environmental protection laws.
No one forgets this, EMichael. I’m not sure why you think they do. But every one of these laws originated–the idea for it, the structure of it–with the president and was pushed through Congress by him and his administration. Had Herbert Hoover been reelected, we’d be referring to 1930s federal legislation as the Old Deal. Or maybe, No Deal.
Trump doesn’t just have “almost every oligarch, elite Washington establishment insider and MSNM against him” – he has millions of people like me, too. Thank God we will never reach anything close to the “Promised Land” that Trump has in mind, which in reality means in that reptilian organ only a giant “TRUMP” blazing in the sky across the nation, accompanied by the music of the house band of the American Nazi Party. The Pro-Trump Derangement Syndrome is caused by drinking some strange water fouler than Flint’s that results in amorality and ceaseless intellectual hiccupping.
not quite. The people have had it up to here, but they don’t know what is causing “here.” All it takes is for someone to come along and blame it on the Blacks, the Mexicans, the Liberals, the Clintons… and, of course “The Banks” (the banks don’t mind being called names, just as long as you keep on voting for the people who let them write the laws.
The difference is that with Trump you get “hate thy neighbor in virulent form and that is likely to turn out worse even than rule by the banks.
Ms57 your ignorance is their power. Improvement usually means doing something we have never done before. People resist change because they become too focused on what they have to loose rather than what they have to gain. “The battle against entrenched power(Hitlery) is not only a battle for democracy,it is also a battle for efficiency and shared prosperity. Today’s markets are characterized by the persistence of high monopoly profits”… Joe Stiglitz book, Monopolies New Era.
Accusations of “ignorance” are fighting words. An accusation of “ignorance” from the likes of you is the definition of irony.
I write American Nazi Party. You write “Hitlery.” The American Nazi Party leader, Rocky Suhayda, says a Trump victory would present “a real opportunity for people like white nationalists.” William Ryan says, as if wisdom is no more than a toy at the bottom of the cereal box, “Gee whiz, fellers, les’ jus’ try sumpin’ new. Never tried American Nazism afore, les’ give her awhirl.”
Ryan, you are in bed with the American Nazi Party. If you want to try something new for the sake of it being new, try advertising; if that doesn’t work for you, try fixing your hat in place with a nail gun. Or perhaps, given the quality of your friends and the coherence of your comments, you’ve already tried that.
Just talking about this constant Hillary Wall Street thing when the facts show that the Street desperately wants the GOP in charge.
It will not stop her from continuously posting on the same topic.
And with the same method, though it changes now and then..
“As for the Clinton campaign itself, which has the creativity and guts of the chair I’m sitting in”.
Guess saying the Clinton campaign is gutless is about the same as saying they are running Clinton as a woman and nothing else, if a little less nuanced.
Ms57 you should go fund yourself as a comic or fiction writer where people can appreciate your insults and name calling skills.You always resort to insults due to lack of any intelligence of the facts on any real issues. You would be an excellent fiction or comic writer but it is obvious AB posts of any substance is not where your talent lies. Speaking of comic lies, your narrative is in full support of. Please go see today’s Michael Goodwin’s post at the WAPO will help you to gain better insight and perspective for your posts.