THE PUBLIC EYE: Trump’s Puppeteers

Bob Burnett
Thursday December 01, 2016 - 04:56:00 PM

When historians work out the details of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential victory, the most important date is likely not to be October 28th -- when FBI Director Comey announced he had reopened the Hillary Clinton email kerfuffle -- but August 19th when Paul Manafort resigned as Trump campaign director. While Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon replaced Manafort, the real change happened behind the scene when reclusive billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, took control of the Trump campaign.

Who are Robert and Rebekah Mercer? What does their ascendancy mean for the Trump Administration?

70-year-old Robert Mercer is a computer scientist famed for his research in machine-translation algorithms. In 1993 Robert joined Long-Island-based Renaissance Technologies, which became the most successful quantitative hedge fund; Mercer is now its co-CEO. Recently Robert was identified as the largest Republican donor in the 2016 presidential contest. His political giving is directed by his 42-year-old daughter, Rebekah.

Before the Mercers took over the Trump campaign, they funded the unsuccessful presidential bid of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz suspended his campaign on May 3rd, after losing the Indiana primary, and lost the favor of the Mercers with his July 20th "vote your conscience speech" at the Republican convention. The Mercers renamed their superPAC "Make America Number 1" and shifted its focus to Trump. By election day they had invested more than $15.5 million in the superPAC.

The Mercer's enormous investments in Cruz and Trump reflect the ultra-conservative philosophy of Robert and Rebekah, and give us a good idea of what to expect from the Trump administration. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Filtering the Thinking

Jack Bragen
Thursday December 01, 2016 - 09:06:00 PM

It would be nice if antipsychotic or other medications simply provided accurate thinking, but this is not so. If medicated, a person subject to psychosis still has to work at it to obtain thinking that is mostly not delusional. This is because antipsychotic medications cause parts of the brain to slow down, allowing the potential for rational thought. However, there is no pill that can automatically provide accurate thinking. A person suffering from psychosis must learn or relearn how to think, and must learn to recognize and discard delusions. -more-

Mixed feelings on Fidel Castro’s legacy

Ralph E. Stone
Friday December 02, 2016 - 07:30:00 PM

The Cuban government will observe nine days of mourning for Fidel Castro. After two days of observances in Revolution Plaza in Havana, Castro’s ashes will be transported across the country to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. The final mass and ceremony will take place Dec. 4, and his ashes will be interred in the cemetery of Santa Ifigenia. -more-