Ross Perot predicted the rise of Mercury-type consultant-lobbyists in 1992

"We've shipped million of jobs overseas and we have a strange situation because we have a process in Washington where after you served for a while you cash in, become a foreign lobbyist, make thirty-thousand-dollars a month, then take a leave (to) work on Presidential campaigns, make sure you've got good contacts, and then go back out."  (Ross Perot, 1992 Presidential Debate)

Is the idea of "two political parties" an illusion to make voters believe they have a choice?  Comedian George Carlin thought so...

Carlin was only half-joking.  In New Jersey, the top leaders of both parties share office space in the same law and lobby firms.  The same public relations firms/ political consultants advise both Democrats and Republicans -- as well as corporations and foreign governments.  Take Mercury Public Affairs as an example.

Once upon a time, there were campaign managers who came up through the ranks alongside the politicians whose careers they helped to manage.  From these managers came the first campaign consultants.  Regional or statewide at first, but with the centralizing power of the national committees and national money there soon came to be the "national" consultant -- recommended by one of the party committees or put in place by them.

But as more money washed into DC and was funneled into campaigns, that changed.  Consultants proliferated and firms became larger.  Following the money, a few either merged with or morphed into public relations and lobbying (government relations) operations.  Why not?  Corporations paid big for access to politicians and there is nobody politicians love more than the person who got them elected.

It was only a matter of time that things went global.  And that is how a number of New Jersey political operatives became members of an international firm that represents the interests of quite a few unsavory foreign governments.  These include Mo Butler, United States Senator Cory Booker's campaign consultant, former chief of staff, and "longtime advisor"; Michael Soliman, United States Senator and former Chairman of the Senate Committee of Foreign Relations Robert Menendez's political advisor and former State Director; and Michael DuHaime, Governor Chris Christie's campaign consultant and someone who has worked on several Republican presidential campaigns.

Mercury Public Affairs began in 1999 as a decidedly Republican shop with connections to the RNC and politicians like John McCain and Mitt Romney, around 2013 it embarked on a mission to "diversify" -- meaning making the firm "more bipartisan and full-service."  Mike DuHaime joined the firm in 2009, first as a "managing director" but swiftly rising to partner.  Michael Soliman joined Mercury in 2013 and became a partner in 2016.  Mo Butler joined as a "managing director" in 2016.  Mercury Public Affairs has 10 partners and 160 employees. 

Mercury Public Affairs is itself a subsidiary of an even larger international firm that handles the image-making for Russian President Vladimir Putin, receiving credit for, among other accomplishments, getting Putin's face on the cover of Time magazine -- as the "Person of the Year" for 2007.  Omnicom purchased Mercury in 2003.

Mercury Public Affairs has 18 offices worldwide -- including London; Mexico City; Washington, DC; New York; and Westfield, New Jersey.  The New Jersey offices (a satellite operates out of Trenton) of Mercury are the haunt of Messrs. DuHaime, Soliman, Butler, and other connected operatives like newspaperman Darryl Isherwood (former top political reporter for the Star-Ledger and editor of PolitickerNJ), and "Christie campaign vet" Mark Mowers. 

In January 2015, Michael Soliman registered with the United States Justice Department, pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, as a person representing the Embassy of the State of Qatar.  You must have read about Qatar in the news...Amnesty International has accused Qatar of being complicit in human trafficking and modern-day slavery.  Yes, slavery.  In fact, the United Nations gave Qatar one year "to end migrant worker slavery" or face an international investigation. 

Qatar is just one of freedom's garden spots represented by Mercury Public Affairs.  Remember the controversy in Uganda, when the President of that country decided that homosexuality was a crime that should be punishable by death?  Well, the law he wanted passed was "moderated" in December 2013, substituting life imprisonment for the death penalty.   In 2015, Mercury was brought on to provide public relations, lobbying, and media monitoring services with regards to the Office of the President and the Ugandan government in general on subjects beginning with "human rights" and ending with "good governance."  For which the contract calls for Mercury to be compensated at the rate of $50,000 per month, with $150,000 up front.

Mercury also represents individuals.  Folks like Khalid bin Saqr Al Qasimi, who in 2003 led an anti-American demonstration in which he personally burned an American flag.  For its work, Mercury pocketed a $30,000 monthly retainer, plus expenses.

In January 2016, Mercury Public Affairs partner Morris Reid negotiated a contract with Amsterdam & Partners, an international law firm with offices in London and Washington, DC.  The document is marked "confidential and privileged" but is public information under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.  In August of 2015, Amsterdam & Partners signed a contract with the Turkish Ambassador to the United States to provide legal services related to a "matter of importance" to the embassy.  The government of Turkey paid Amsterdam a retainer of $50,000 a month.

While the contract stipulates that the greatest security and confidentiality be observed, under the terms of the contract between Amsterdam and Turkey, third parties may be hired "as the Firm and the Client agree in writing are necessary to further the Engagement."  And so, in March of 2016, Amsterdam hired Mercury to perform work on behalf of the Turkish government for $20,000 a month -- above and beyond what was being paid to Amsterdam by Turkey.  It is in the contract between Amsterdam & Partners and Mercury Public Affairs that we learn what all this cloak and dagger is in aid of.  The Amsterdam-Mercury contract references an "investigation into Fethullah Gulen and his organization in the United States."  So who is Fethullah Gulen?

Gulen has been in the news since the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.  Gulen is a religious leader from Turkey, and a one-time political ally of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Erdogan is the increasingly authoritarian and Islamist President of Turkey.  He has been repeatedly in the news for purging the judiciary, jailing journalists who write unflattering reports, and successfully intimidating the opposition.  Erdogan had a law passed to allow the government to ban websites and he has promised to "rip out the roots" of Twitter.  He has even attempted to censor speech in other nations, in 2015 Turkey demanding that Germany prosecute a poet who had written some verse critical of Erdogan.

Erdogan and Gulen had a falling out over allegations of political corruption by Erdogan in 2013.  Gulen's books were banned.  First, he was indicted on charges that a Turkish judge threw out, but then was indicted a few months later for treasonable offenses that carried the death penalty.  Gulen fled Turkey, came to the United States, and was convicted in absentia. 

The government of Turkish President Erdogan has attempted to extradite Gulen back to Turkey to face punishment, but the government of the United States hasn't cooperated.  In the hours after the coup attempt, Erdogan was quick to blame Gulen, while Gulen put forward the theory that Erdogan had staged the coup himself in order to consolidate power.

Why does Mercury Public Affairs want to be a part of extraditing a moderate cleric to satisfy the rage of an Islamist dictator? 

Last year, Mercury Public Affairs was the subject of a subpoena in the on-going investigation into Russia's meddling in the United States presidential election in 2016.  According to the Washington Post, former FBI Director and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller obtained the subpoena seeking information about work Mercury had done for a pro-Putin political party in the Ukraine:

"The investigators asked Mercury for information about their public relations work at Manafort’s behest for a Brussels-based organization called the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, which pushed for improved relations between Ukraine and European countries. The Brussels group primarily advanced the interests of a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party that had been a client of Manafort’s before he joined the Trump campaign.

Mercury, which has prominent Republicans among its senior partners, had worked on the Ukraine lobbying project with the Podesta group, led by Anthony Podesta, brother of John Podesta, who led Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign."

The full article can be accessed below:

This is exactly what Presidential candidate Ross Perot warned about in 1992.  He said our politics was headed here and here we are...  some of New Jersey's "top political operatives" are now foreign agents (as far as the U.S. Justice Department is concerned).

How can any of this be good for our Republic?

Stuart Stevens is what's wrong with politics

Stuart Stevens has grown very fat off the system.  Year after year, campaign upon campaign, he's gotten rich off the Republican Party as one of the most inside of insider political consultants to the Washington, DC party bosses.  Stuart always gets his cut of whatever is going down.

Usually everything goes his way.  Some tame, docile, member of the GOP political establishment get's nominated and Stuart makes a bundle.  The candidate loses of course -- but the grease machine of corporate cronyism, lobbyists, wads of money, and consultants like Stuart, it keeps going on and on.  Winning and losing matters less than it did because not only does Stuart have corporate clients who are fully participating members of the grease machine, but he has foreign clients too.

Stuart Stevens ran Republican Mitt Romney's lackluster campaign for President four years ago.  Romney spent a lot of money but lost to a bigger insider, President Barack Obama.  This year finds Stuart upset because he doesn't have a seat at the table and isn't getting his cut.  The candidacies of anti-establishment outsiders like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have completely undone Stuart, who is now threatening to help the campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton by getting Republicans to vote for a throw-away third-party candidate.

Stuart Stevens is having a hissy fit because the citizens are refusing to do as they are told.  Democracy doesn't matter to Stuart, getting paid matters, and Stuart is willing to take a dump in the picnic basket if he doesn't get his own way.  More than a few establishment Republicans are applauding Stuart, not thinking about what would happen if we all adopted this attitude. Think of all the unmitigated bear shat you serve up as candidates and think of all the times we have dutifully supported them "for the good of the party"  -- and you don't even pay us like you do Stuart.

Stuart Stevens claims that he's betraying his party because he doesn't agree with what someone like Donald Trump "stands for," that he doesn't like Trump's "tone."  It's rather amusing, coming from someone who has worked for the political operations of foreign thugs.  One such thug, the former President of Albania, actually had his "special forces" shoot protesters at a rally.

That's right, some political consulting businesses are no longer American enterprises but instead work for the interests of foreign potentates wherever there is lots of money to be made. Take Stuart Stevens' client Sali Berisha, the former President of Albania.  This guy is a real piece of work, as Wikipedia reports:

Sali Berisha was elected President on 9 April 1992... Berisha introduced Islam to the Albanian political scene, pursued re-Islamisation of the country to reverse decades of anti-religious policy under Communism. Non-Governmental Organisations from Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Muslim world were invited in to build mosques and schools and provide other aid, and introduce Wahhabi or Salafi Islam to Albania.

...The collapse of the Ponzi schemes towards the end of 1996, into which it is alleged that Albanians invested $1 billion worth of life savings from 1994, recapped the crisis. The schemes failed, one by one, from December 1996, and demonstrators took to the streets accusing the government of having stolen the money. Those demonstrations were then taken over by the opposition.

During the first ten days of March, the situation deteriorated, culminating in the desertion of large numbers of police and military, leaving their arsenals unlocked. These were promptly looted, mostly by militias and some criminal gangs, and for a time it looked like civil war would erupt between the government and rebels. Although the Prime Minister resigned immediately, Berisha refused opposition demands to step down, claiming he had to ensure continuity, and UN and European Multinational Forces were required to step in and take the situation under control. After their intervention in Albania, early elections were held in June 1997, leading to the victory of a socialist-led coalition of parties. On 24 July 1997, a month after the DP lost the 1997 elections to the left coalition, Berisha stepped down as President...

On 3 July 2005, Sali Berisha was able to lead a coalition of five right center parties into the 2005 parliamentary elections, which eventually won a majority of 74 MPs from a total of 140. He was appointed Prime Minister of Albania on 8 September 2005...

The 2009 elections were flawed and have been called as such by the socialist opposition, who have asked for a recount of the ballots. Berisha refused any recount of the votes... The political crisis between government and opposition worsened over time, with the Socialists abandoning parliamentary debates for months and staging hunger strikes to ask for internal and international support. The EU attempted a conciliation, which failed. The ongoing political crisis was one of the reasons for the EU's refusal to grant Albania official candidate status in late 2010.

On 21 January 2011, clashes broke out between police and protesters in an anti-government rally in front of the Government building in Tirana. Four people were shot dead from government special forces. The EU issued a statement to Albanian politicians, warning both sides to refrain from violence, while Berisha defined the protests and the subsequent charges by judges upon policemen as stages of an attempted coup against him - consequently using this to his advantage to further attempt to consolidate his grip on the state institutions. He accused the then President of having been part of the coup after the relations had soured between the two and he embraced his perceived victim status to install his own 'yes man' in the office.

...After his party's defeat in the 2013 parliamentary election, Berisha resigned as party leader, but he remained in parliament.

Another foreign politician who Stuart Stevens worked for is Joseph Kabila, the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January 2001.  He became President after his father, the dictator Laurent Kabila, was assassinated by his bodyguards.  The Kabila family has a long association with such memorable figures as Che Guevara, who worked with the elder Kabila in a 1965 coup attempt.  As a youth leader for Patrice Lumumba, the elder Kabila was present for the orgy of rape and murder that followed.

The younger Kabila (Stuart's client) received his military training in China at the Peoples Liberation Army National Defense University, in Beijing.  He became the commander of the "infamous" army of children -- taken from their families and conscripted -- known as the kadogos.  Up to 10,000 children, some as young as seven years old, were abused in this way.     The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has condemned the use of children in combat, calling it a violation of human rights as well as a war crime.

One of Kabila's first acts as president was to round up 135 people -- including 4 children -- and try them for the assassination of his father.  Dozens were executed and others faced torture and abuse.  President Kabila stood for election in December 2011.  We'll let Wikipedia take it from here: 

After the results were announced on 9 December, there was violent unrest in Kinshasa and Mbuji-Mayi, where official tallies showed that a strong majority had voted for the opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi.  Official observers from the Carter Center reported that returns from almost 2,000 polling stations in areas where support for Tshisekedi was strong had been lost and not included in the official results. They described the election as lacking credibility.  On 20 December, Kabila was sworn in for a second term, promising to invest in infrastructure and public services. However, Tshisekedi maintained that the result of the election was illegitimate and said that he intended also to "swear himself in" as president.

In January 2012, Catholic Bishops in DR Congo also condemned the elections, complaining of "treachery, lies and terror", and calling on the election commission to correct "serious errors".

On 19 January 2015 protests led by students at the University of Kinshasa broke out. The protests began following the announcement of a proposed law that would allow Kabila to remain in power until a national census can be conducted (elections had been planned for 2016).  By Wednesday 21 January clashes between police and protesters had claimed at least 42 lives (although the government claimed only 15 people had been killed). 

How after working for these monsters, after pocketing their bloody money, how does Stuart Stevens call a Republican like Donald Trump a "thug"?  It's a little ridiculous, isn't it?