Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Who is Robert Mercer ?

Robert Mercer? Who's he? He hadn't entered my mental card index until a few days ago. Seems he's been one of the shadowy figures lurking behind The Donald, The Bannon; and with sticky fingers in The Brexit too; reputed to be on the edge of billionaire-dom, and a longtime computer whiz. A whirl around the net's back alleys threw up some detail. From a fellow-blogger:

Robert Mercer, Cambridge Analytica, and Why It All Matters
by Robert Selth at his blog Sea Wolf.

First paragraph:
Over the past several months, a series of three articles by a journalist named Carole Cadwalladr have appeared in the Guardian. These articles detail the connections between the US billionaire Robert Mercer (now notorious as the money behind Trump), the data firm Cambridge Analytica (which he owns), and a vast, extraordinary campaign of psychological profiling and manipulation, conducted over the internet, and intended to alter beliefs and voting behaviour on a massive scale. The articles touch on a remarkable range of problems and questions, from the probability of large-scale intervention in the Brexit referendum and 2016 American election by a small nexus of reactionary individuals centred around Mercer, to the landscape of international cyberwarfare and how cutting-edge technology is evidently being used to sway elections in unprecedented and frightening ways.

Yikes! Big big money is one thing but "psychological profiling and manipulation"? Up with that we should not put - not ever!

 Click on image for clearer view

There's lots of stuff around the internet about Mercer and his doings. I looked for specific information on his personality, as seen by those who know him. Here are some snippets I gleaned:

He's a man of few words.
The Guardian called Mercer "brilliant but reclusive." Newsweek's headline declared him "mysterious." Bloomberg: "Secretive." You get the idea. In a 2010 book, Mercer referenced a 40-minute speech he gave and said it was "more than I typically talk in a month." That same year he told the Wall Street Journal, "I'm happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody."

One source told the New Yorker that Robert believes “human beings have no inherent value other than how much money they make. A cat has value, he’s said, because it provides pleasure to humans. But if someone is on welfare they have negative value. If he earns a thousand times more than a schoolteacher, then he’s a thousand times more valuable.”
Robert has also been described by people who know him as brilliant, but also weird. Apparently one of his favorite things to do is walk around and whistle, and the same source told the New Yorker, “He can barely look you in the eye when he talks.” (HERE)

His personality is very interesting. Mercer is the co-C.E.O. of Renaissance Technologies, which is among the most profitable hedge funds in the country. A brilliant computer scientist, he helped transform the financial industry through the innovative use of trading algorithms. But he has said little about his political views.

Through a spokesman, Mercer declined to discuss his role in launching Trump. People who know him say that he is painfully awkward socially, and rarely speaks. “He can barely look you in the eye when he talks,” an acquaintance said. “It’s probably helpful to be highly introverted when getting lost in code, but in politics you have to talk to people, in order to find out how the real world works.” In 2010, when the Wall Street Journal wrote about Mercer assuming a top role at Renaissance, he issued a terse statement: “I’m happy going through my life without saying anything to anybody.” According to the paper, he once told a colleague that he preferred the company of cats to humans.

He seems like he has Asperger's syndrome, a.k.a. high-functioning autism.

According to another former employee, RM also apparently believes that the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki made Japanese people away from the blast zones healthier.

RM also supported Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and he claimed that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a big mistake. That employee claims that RB believed that black people were better off before that act, and also that there are now no white racists in the US, only black racists.

NP also recalls clashes with RM about climate change -- RM does not believe that it is real, and that if it is real, it would be beneficient.

Unpleasant, bordering on repulsive then!

A little astrology:

Data from Astrodatabank: Born 11 July 1946 in San Jose California at 4.25 AM

Sun and ascendant in Cancer - and Saturn too! I need look no further to discover how such an an obscenely wealthy and technologically brilliant guy is seen as reclusive and introverted. Cancer - symbolic crab of the zodiac - values, above all, the protection and isolation afforded by its shell. Ultra sensitive, cautious and quite oddly and unnecessarily shy, there is no way someone with Sun and rising sign in Cancer would ever be an ebullient extrovert. Show me one and I'll take that back! Mercury in Leo might have helped Mercer overcome addiction to his shell but Mercury in his case is conjunct Pluto, planet of (among other things) secrecy, darkness, control - even, possibly, manipulation.

Mercer's natal Moon is in Sagittarius - his emotional core is quite different from his outer nature. His family and closest friends would likely have a different take on his personality, having felt benefit of the warmth and joviality of Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius.

There's what astrologers call a T-square in Mercer's chart: two challenging square angles linking to an opposition, forming a triangle. Here we have the opposition from Sagittarius Moon to the conjunction in Gemini, with squares from both to Mars in Virgo. First interpretation of this coming to my mind is a kind of echo of the contrast between Mercer's Sun and Moon. The Airy and warm sides of his nature constantly challenged, held in check, by Mars (energy, aggression) in critical, down to Earth Virgo.

What about Mercer's technological brilliance ? We look to astrological Air (mental acuity) for that, and find his North node of the Moon conjunct Uranus in Airy Gemini; Jupiter also in Air, in Libra, links to the Gemini emphasis via harmonious 120 degree trine aspect. There lie his credentials as technological virtuoso.

It all fits - as does the overall "shape" of planets in his chart: all planets are grouped within just half of the zodiac circle. Astrologers call this a "bowl" shape. Astrologer Bob Marks interprets thus:
When one half [of the zodiac circle] is empty, it seems to give painful recognition that something is missing, that there is an area of existence from which they are excluded, and the entire life may be spent trying to fill that void. This is why those with Bowl horoscopes frequently seem to be on a mission. And they do have a tendency to get involved in causes.
Whatever the causes driving Mr Mercer, I'll wager they're never for the good of The Great Unwashed - to the absolute contrary in fact!


Twilight said...

Comment received by e-mail from the UK

Your post about Robert Mercer rang a bell when I saw the words Cambridge Analytical. I wrote this a couple of weeks ago -
.... but I didn't do a follow up on the second part of the Beeb's Silicon Valley programme. The second one was rather more worrying than the first because it went into the details of how Cambridge Analytical was used in the Trump election campaign and then using the psychological profiling you mention, the campaign were designing very personal adverts to go into people's Facebook or twitter accounts etc. It was ironic that Zuckerberg was very anti-Trump and yet his own technology was used to benefit the Trump campaign.

These tech wizards are virtually indistinguishable from their machines; mechanical thinking instead of intuitive thinking. Or as in the Niels Bohr quote "You are being merely logical instead of thinking!"

I have never been worried about Artificial Intelligence because it can easily be subverted, as the Trump campaign proved, and because the people who create AI systems are not particularly intelligent. They might have very higf IQ but that means nothing. Clive Sinclair was chairman of Mensa for a number of years but his famous C5 'car' was easily the stupidest car ever created! But he still thought it was a good idea even after Stirling Moss drove it and told him it was the most dangerous thing he had ever driven.

Twilight said...

JD ~ Thank you for these observations. Mercer is one scary dude! These types ought not to be let loose on we "common people"! A quote from Edward Bernays (Propoganda):

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. ...In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons...who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”