Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fiddling while the world burns

The NYT recently published an expose about Orange Julius's finances which was extremely important and extremely ignored, like most important stuff. One reason it was ignored is that it was long and complicated and tedious to read, so Nancy LeTourneau tries to make it accessible for you.

The first thing you need to know is that he has lied about his business acumen his entire life. He did not, as he claims, build a fortune out of what he calls a "small" million dollar loan from his father. In fact, his father started transferring assets to him when he was just learning to walk and eventually gave him a total of $413 million. Which he squandered. In 2004 he was broke.

Then he suddenly mysteriously started spending millions of dollars to buy money-losing golf courses and overpay for other real estate assets with $400 million of mysterious provenance. Well, we actually do have a  guess about where it came from -- laundering money for Vladimir Putin's gangster buddies. Vlad doesn't need to have video of him with prostitutes (though he certainly might) because Vlad owns him. And made him president. As LeTourneau concludes:

Of course, that raises the question of where the $400 million in cash came from. I’m pretty sure Robert Mueller is interested in the answer. You might remember that when James Dodson asked Eric Trump about that, he said, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
This demonstrates that Donald Trump might be the worst businessmen in America. He squandered his father’s entire fortune and might very well have gotten a Russian bailout about a decade before deciding to run for president. Even the most financially-challenged among us should be able to understand that sorry tale.
So this tool holds state power while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- an apolitical body consisting of the leading scientists who study the earth's climate -- tells us we have 12 years to avert global catastrophe. This while a Category 5 hurricane, the most powerful hurricane ever to make landfall in the Florida panhandle, threatens to kill and render homeless a whole lot of reliably Republican voters. And what does the self-made man have to say about it? Absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, if the Turkish government is to be believed, Julius's buddy Mohammed Bin Salman murdered a Saudi dissident the Saudi embassy in Turkey, and there are indications U.S. intelligence may have had advance knowledge of the plot and did not warn him. As Josh Marshall concludes:

The final, most important part of the puzzle is the relationship between the head of the current Saudi government and the Trump family. MBS has developed close ties to President Trump, even closer ties to Jared Kushner and financial ties with both. The Saudis even play a significant role in one part of the Russia investigation. They were one of the government’s most thrilled with Trump’s election. The relationship between the Crown Prince and the Trumps is deep and has geopolitical and personal financial dimensions.
These are all extraordinarily corrupt ties. They bring together young and headstrong princelings like MBS and Jared Kushner who are capable of all manner or willful and dangerous actions. Thus far we have only very limited information. But there’s a distinct possibility that Trump administration dirtied its hand in this affair. This bears very close scrutiny.
The point is, while Trump cultists think he's Making America Great Again, he's actually a  tool of foreign powers who most certainly do not share our values or align with our interests. He's been insulting allies, wrecking alliances, and praising and buddying up to the the most loathsome tyrants on earth, while enabling mass destruction. And this is just fine with the Republicans in congress. 

It is terrifying.


Don Quixote said...

It sure as fuck IS terrifying. We are ancient, declining Rome. We are worse.

Why is the truth so fucking hard to get at now, and so unimportant to people?

I guess because we are worse than ancient Rome ... history seems to need to repeat itself, even when computers and digital media that store it exist.

Anonymous said...

With the recent Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, the terrible NYT and now this article from what is clearly a Trump hater, it's clear that the accusation industry is vibrant and strong.

People are not up in arms about any of this because 1) No one has shown them real evidence and 2)They've seen NYT and other lefty publications make outlandish and unsubstantiated accusations before trying to undo the 2016 election.

When and if Mr. Mueller has something to show us, I'll be interested as will we all.

But, for now, no one seems to be interested in unsubstantiated accusations.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm "Anonymous"--a.k.a., Gay Boy Bob--and I'm the author of the previous ignorant, nonsensical comment.'

I haunt this site for reasons I won't disclose, but I really am as stupid as you think I am. I speak for the whole world, and I lie in assigning words and motives to others that are just puerile.

But I keep coming back! I hope to annoy you with my asinine posts. But deep down, I suppose I know no one takes me seriously. I'm an ass.

Cervantes said...

Mueller's accusations are pretty well substantiated, actually. He's secured numerous guilty pleas and convictions and has several close Dump associates as cooperating witnesses. He's laying low until the election but the doors will blow off shortly thereafter. BTW, that's why Nikki Haley announced her resignation now. She knows what's coming.

Regarding preppy frat boy Kavanaugh, somehow the new working class hero, lots of accusations are totally substantiated, including being a violent, sloppy drunk; an ideological extremist; and a remorseless pathological liar. The only reason he hasn't been proven to be a rapist is because he can't get it up.

Anonymous said...

It's difficult to imagine that after a year and a half, Mr. Mueller's just sitting back, "laying low", until after the election. Why would anyone who wants to "get Trump" do that if they had the goods? It makes no sense. It's just stupid.

And hey, as I stated previously, I didn't like Kavanaugh or, Balsy Ford or any of those other shitty prep-school ivy-league fuck-sticks.

But what I dislike even more is the accusation industry where evidence and corroboration aren't important. It's not who we should be. It's certainly not who *I* am.

And it appears that the dirty political smear-job on Justice Kavanaugh is boomeranging on the perpetrators as evidenced by the overnight evaporation of the opposition party's 10 pt advantage gong into this election. They did this to themselves.

It gives me hope that people down deep don't like bullies.

Mark said...

With one of the strongest hurricanes in recent years hitting Florida and Georgia, causing untold and certainly at the time unknown damage and injuries, Donald Trump said, "God bless them," and left for a campaign rally because he didn't want to disappoint his followers. If Obama had done that, the Republicans would have called for his crucifixion. Even aside from walking away from a disaster, if Obama had just had campaign rallies in the middle of his first term he would have been crucified. I'm convinced Trump is a psychopath. He doesn't even pretend to know the right words for any particular situation. "God bless them." He couldn't even come up with the standard response to school shootings, "My thoughts and prayers are with them." What a horrible person he is.

Don Quixote said...

I am so completely in agreement with your perspective, Mark. It just seems so incredibly OBVIOUS. Yes, Shitler is a psychopath. But so was Bush ... and his daddy ... so many Republicans are. Not reality-based people to begin with. Shitler is, indeed, a horrible person, a complete failure with no integrity who is wrong about EVERYTHING.

But his megalomania aside, there are so many Republicans just like him! Of course, if the Democrats had been in power, he'd be a Democrat. Per his sociopathy, Kavanaugh was his choice for the court because Kavanaugh said, "You bet your ass I will!" when asked if he'd pledge his unwavering loyalty.

They both have no loyalty except to power. They are empty, bankrupt, null and void. Pathological liars. Racists, sexists, worse than pigs, who are actually smart and nice animals.

Anonymous said...


Whining and complaining that everyone you disagree with is somehow personally, down deep, a horrible person doesn't explain much. These are politicians. Anyone could also point to Menendez, Clinton (both of 'em), Al Franken, etc. No one votes for a choirboy.

What would be more helpful is if you could focus on their political beliefs, philosophy and the actions they took or didn't take and why you might disagree that it's helpful.

A good start might be President Trump's unwavering dedication to the promise he made to address the illegal immigration into the US. Is that a goal a president should have? If so, how is he going about it in a wrong way? Why? If it's not a position a president should have, then why? Can you support your ideas?

Just vomiting hate about someone personally doesn't do much for your position nor does it help you get to the issues.

Anonymous said...

I might add that if postmodernism is the driving philosophy for the hard left where there is no objective truth to be sought, no evidence driven positions and everything is a social construct with no real value, then all of that asking for logic above is for shit.

If that's the case, just say so

Mark said...

" ...vomiting hate about someone personally ..."
Hmm. Project much, anonymous?

And, by the way, you mistake contempt for hate.

Anonymous said...


This might clear up some of the mystery as to why Trump supporters stick with him.

From WaPo:

Mark said...

I followed the link! Yes! Yes! That explains everything! It explains why at Trump's pre-election rallies all his supporters were chanting "Move the embassy! Move the embassy!" Or "Roll back regulations! Roll back regulations!" Or, "Appoint young conservative judges! Appoint young conservative judges!"

Yes, yes, that explains it all.

"Anonymous" said...

Hi again, "Anonymous" here ...

I'm an asshole. Plain and simple.

"Anonymous" said...

PS I can't WAIT for Cervantes to either institute a registration system for his blog (because I'll refuse to identify myself--everyone KNOWS I'm an asshole), or just get rid of the comments section.

The first choice seems better, because it'll get rid of me while allowing valid contributors to continue to have the ability to voice their rational opinions--while disallowing gremlins like myself.

I apologize to all the readers of this blog for my stupid, trouble-making activities on this site.

Anonymous said...


Yes, it *does* explain it all.

Promises made during the campaign...promises kept.

When you keep you promises to those who voted for you, you get their support.

It ain't that complicated

Mark said...

I'm so sorry, Anonymous. I'm afraid I was being subtle. I should have spelled it out for you.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anonymous, and I'm an asshole . . . forgive me, Mark and all the other readers of this blog, for being such an asshole. I just can't stop myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm Anonymous. I'm a loser. I'm an angry Caucasian man. I just can't stop myself from writing stupid fucking lies on this blog, and insulting people ... Cervantes, please start some kind of registration or delete comments entirely. I won't register because I'm a Christian but I'm gay, and I hate myself. Please stop me before I comment again!

Anonymous said...


What you want to focus on is the small warts and not look at the whole frog.

If you only read one-sided sources that are biased against Trump, all you'll see is the warts.

Anonymous said...

Mark, actually I've had a sudden awakening ... Trump is a loathsome, misogynistic, egomaniacal asshole! total narcssist ... you're right about all you've been saying. I'm sorry I've been so blind. My god, how could I have been such a snarky asshole? I'm truly sorry. You've been correct all along. Don't know how I awakened ... just glad it happened. Better late than never.

If you see any further invidious posts from me, I'm sorry. I'm like a Jekyll/Hyde. But I'll work on it. Truth is truth--and when I'm in "Hyde" mode, I'm full of shit.

Don Quixote said...

Why are so many of my friends, work acquaintances and countless others I know behaving as if it is "normal" to have a taunting, reckless, sociopathic, narcissistically-disturbed, virulently racist, foreign-government-owned, pathologically-lying sexual predator for a "president"? Do you think the future of humans on Earth is a joke?

This is PRECISELY the dire situation George Washington warned about in his 1796 Farewell Address.

But what the hell did he know, anyway?