I'm Right Again Dot Com
A new commentary every Wednesday - April 12, 2017
MEET ROBERT MERCER —Part II
According to Webster's Dictionary, an algorithm is "A sequence of steps for programming a computer to solve a specific problem." (Nearly every time I type the word, I either misspell it or feel a need to run it through a spell checker.) It's one of those hot words made popular by computer programming geeks. There are few opportunities to use it in conversations, but here goes...
Sporadically, over a period of some three to four years, I attempted to determine how Sergey Brin and Larry Page, students in computer technology at Stanford University, wrote the code using a computer language called Hypertext Markup—for an algorithm that would rank responses for questions we scufflers in the crowd are prone to ask our computers—for example, "who is Robert Mercer, businessman?"
Brin and Page, "super-geek-geniuses, invented an advertising platform that makes them billions of dollars and added a new noun and verb, "Google," and "To Google" to every major language on this planet. In fact, I googled the name of Robert (Bob) Leroy Mercer and the company he co-founded, Renaissance Technologies, numerous times while writing two pieces about him in the past two weeks.
I think that most of we "normal," middle-IQ people have a fascination for geniuses; Edison, Einstein, Ford, Hawking, Howard Hughes, Tesla and the like, while at the same time are bemused by some of their idiosyncrasies. Einstein was noted for either not preferring to wear or forgetting to wear socks. My take is that Bob Mercer is an avid fan of fake news stories—especially those dealing with conspiracies. To him and others of the alt-Right, we would like to remind them that the real world is crazy enough!
Bob Mercer, born in New Mexico 70 years ago, was wired to become a computer programmer. I recently read that he once stated that he preferred the company of cats to human beings. He composes algorithms that cause computers to do miraculous things with investment "products" that are bought and sold on stock markets.
I say, "More power to Mr. Mercer in this endeavor. He deserves every penny earned by his genes and ingenuity."
However, according to Jane Mayer, author of a book, "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Radical Right," persons like Mercer gained an inordinate advantage in their "hobby" of "politics" by the Supreme Court ruling of 2010 that removed virtually all limits on how much money corporations and non-profit groups can spend on federal elections and how much money individuals can give to Political Action Committees (PACs).
The brunt of Ms. Mayer's book is this: "Since the Supreme Court Ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, power has tilted away from the two main political parties and toward a tiny group of rich mega-donors."
Our take-away: The minds of We the People are being manipulated by billions of dollars worth of political advertising. There is little hope of ever expecting the recipients of this largess, the media, to be so foolish to object on our behalf. This system is rigged so that our lawmakers will never disrupt the established order of things. The manipulators gain more and more power by controlling our minds with advertising and controlling the politicians with contributions.
Our only hope are those valiant few among us who mount the ramparts and inveigh upon the rest of we lemmings to not follow the money over the precipice.
-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken
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