By Derrick Crowe
April 5, 2018
Open Secrets has exposed Robert Mercer, the hedge fund/automation gazillionaire behind Cambridge Analytica, as a massive funder of Islamophobic Facebook and Google advertising targeting swing voters in the 2016 cycle.
The group, a social welfare organization called Secure America Now, worked hand in hand with Facebook and Google to target their message at voters in swing states who were most likely to be receptive to them.
And new tax documents obtained by OpenSecrets show that the money fueling the group came mostly from just three donors, including the secretive multimillionaire donor Robert Mercer.
The ad campaign is such an example of pure hatred that I won’t embed or link to the videos directly here. Suffice it to say that they are some of the worst pieces of anti-refugee and anti-Muslim propaganda on social media. OpenSecrets’ piece is more focused on the dark money environment that allows this kind of spending to go on. Discovering Mercer’s involvement was a bit of a coup on their part, as this kind of spending is usually shielded from view by lax IRS regulations and enforcement on dark money groups. But for me, the real story here is just how far the machine owners like Mercer and their corporate allies are willing to go to protect their place at the top while automating all of the other jobs away, cementing massive, miserable inequality.
Remember what Stephen Hawking said in his final Reddit post:
“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.”
So just to be clear: Mercer is the money man behind an information warfare firm that sold its services to Trump. He allied himself with Facebook and Google to target swing voters with hate messages, messages Facebook and Google were happy to get paid to deliver and then use as case studies to pitch their advertising services to other customers. In other words, machine owners are going to war to ensure they can get rich while impoverishing and endangering everyone else. Those are the steps they are willing to take to preserve their privileges at the top of the economic food chain.
These people will shred our common life to keep us from demanding economic justice.