If you read nothing else today, read this Bloomberg article about Ted Cruz's top benefactor, the certifiably looney tunes wingnut billionaire, Robert Mercer. He makes the Kochs look like Ike by comparison.
I don't know why so many of these right wing billionaires are susceptible to conspiracy theories and fringe ideology but there are quite a few of them. Some come more from the conservative Christian side of things but this one is a full blown weirdo, with wingnut ties with everyone from Murray Rothbard to Andrew Breitbart. This is just a short excerpt:
Robinson saw Mercer again last August, at a DoubleTree airport hotel outside of Los Angeles. A group called Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, of which Robinson is a longtime member, was holding its 33rd annual meeting. Founded to promote civil defense during the Cold War, it’s transformed over the years into a forum on many of the same fringe-science topics that Robinson covers in his newsletter. It’s been run for decades by Robinson’s friend Orient, the Arizona physician. Attacks on mainstream climate science are a staple, but the range of material is broad. One recent presentation spun a theory about links between John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the deaths of his brother and son.
The weekend kicked off with a tour of the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. At the DoubleTree, one speaker warned that the aim of Obamacare was to collapse the U.S. health-care system and recommended that the audience start stockpiling medications and finding doctors who would work for cash. Another speaker discussed the controversial theory that low doses of radiation are beneficial to human health. A retired heart surgeon from Seattle spent almost an hour arguing that HIV does not cause AIDS; rather, he said, the link was invented by government scientists who wanted to cover up other health risks of “the lifestyle of homosexual men.”
In an interview, Orient says she knows little about Mercer other than that he’s attended several of the conferences and has been a “generous” donor to them. In addition to arranging the events, Orient heads a separate group that opposes government involvement in health care, and she writes frequently in the far-right media. In December she posted an article about the San Bernardino killings, suggesting that the government failed to stop the attacks because it’s “on the other side.”
At the DoubleTree, a surprising number of strands from Mercer’s interests intersected. Breitbart.com, the populist website he funds, dispatched a reporter to cover the meeting. The Heartland Institute, a climate-skeptic think tank to which he’s given more than $4 million, sent its science director to present his plan to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency. Another speaker warned of the dangers of Agenda 21, the UN program that’s a frequent target of a Mercer-funded activist. George Gilder, a techno-evangelist and bitcoin advocate who recently wrote a monograph for the Mercer-funded gold-standard project, was on hand. And of course there was Robinson, who shared a lunch table with Robert and Rebekah Mercer. As usual, he says, Robert Mercer didn’t have much to say.
There's more. Much more.
He has given Ted Cruz 11 million dollars, the largest single donation to anyone in this campaign. And Trump is right about one thing. Cruz has been bought, it's just that he hasn't been bought by Goldman Sachs as Trump suggests. He's been bought by this guy and we know it because of this. If there's one thing Mercer is obsessed with above all others it's the fringy "Gold Standard" theory:
It’s hard to know exactly how much attention Cruz pays to Mercer’s views, but he’s breathed new life into one of Mercer’s pet issues. During two nationally televised debates last fall, Cruz called for a return to the gold standard. “We had it for 170 years of our nation’s history and enjoyed booming economic growth,” he declared in November.
It's hard to know if Cruz really believes that but it doesn't matter, does it?