Apollo’s Leon Black, Found in Serial Child Rapist Jeffrey Epstein’s Black Book, Patronized Strip Club in Russia With Trump

Apollo’s Leon Black really needs to be more discriminating in his choice of friends and what he does with them. From the top of a new story in the New York Times (hat tip reader Bryan):

Two decades before he ran for president, Donald J. Trump traveled to Russia, where he scouted properties, was wined and dined and, of greatest significance to Senate intelligence investigators, met a woman who was a former Miss Moscow.

A Trump associate, Robert Curran, who was interviewed by the Senate investigators, said he believed Mr. Trump may have had a romantic relationship with the woman. On the same trip, another Trump associate, Leon D. Black, told investigators that he and Mr. Trump “might have been in a strip club together.” Another witness said that Mr. Trump may have been with other women in Moscow and later brought them along to a meeting with the mayor.

The report contains this photo “likely taken from at the Brooke Group party” at the Kempinski Hotel in 1996, which is what Black had to ‘splain:

Black describes his role in the 1996 trip as to introduce Trump around; the footnotes depict him, as the Japanese would put it, as well networked:

The strip club (and going to a “discotheque”) wouldn’t amount to much if it were not part of a pattern. From a 2019 post on Black’s unseemly relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein:

It wasn’t just that Black’s name appeared in Epstein’s famed black book. Since 1997, Epstein served as an “original trustee” of the Leon Black Family Foundation. Black has disavowed state filings that listed Epstein as on the board through 2012, years after Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to solicitation of prostitution. Black claims the state filings were inaccurate and said he asked Epstein to resign in 2007.

This relationship alone is enough to raise eyebrows. Men at Black’s level are hyper-attentive to their personal wealth. The notion Leon Black, who has access to the best tax experts in the world, and himself is a renowned financier, would hire someone with no credentials in tax or accounting to advise on his affairs would seem nonsensical had it not actually happened.

More bad news dripped out. The Wall Street Journal published a long expose, Jeffrey Epstein Burrowed Into the Lives of the Rich and Made a Fortune, Bloomberg reported Jeffrey Epstein Had a Door Into Apollo: His Deep Ties With Leon Black, with insider accounts of how Epstein was permitted to approach Apollo principals to pitch his “tax strategies”. An individual mentioned as hosting one meeting disputed that it had occurred. Black issued a denial that didn’t address a key Bloomberg claim: that Black had allowed Epstein to solicit senior executives at Apollo. Black merely said that Epstein had never done business with Apollo.2

Black first sent an e-mail to employees, then wrote his investors, then read the employee e-mail as part of Apollo’s quarterly conference call. The investor presentation failed to address a New York Times account that a Black-controlled entity had given $10 million to an Epstein charity in 2015.

In addition to covering this ground in a post last week, we also described how CalPERS has featured in this story:, making pious shows of discomfort and earnestly seeking an explanation. We reminded readers that Apollo was central to CalPERS’ decline, by virtue of Apollo’s and four other investment firms with ties to Apollo’s mind-bogglingly large “pay to play” fees by CalPERS that funded bribes to CalPERS’ CEO, eventually landing him in Federal prison. Using some conservative assumptions, it also looks as if CalPERS was had by Apollo in the deal Apollo proposed to kiss and make up. We’d anticipated that outcome when we wrote about the CalPERS pay to play scandal in 2014.

Admittedly, compared to the Epstein, um, friendship, hanging out with Trump and going to a going to a strip club in isolation isn’t a big deal if that’s all it amounts to. If you work on Wall Street, going to strip clubs with clients is part of the job.

However, in New York City, that entertainment doesn’t have the significance it does in most other parts of the world. Strippers in NYC really are strippers; the clubs lose their licenses if there’s prostitution. A friend, an aspiring ballerina who turned to stripping to pay her student debt, said if any man tried to touch her at the club, he was immediately tossed out, and the bouncers made sure to get all the strippers into cabs at the end of the evening.

By contrast, former Goldman Sachs CDO salesman Tetsuya Ishikawa, in his barely fictionalized account, described the more typical type of entertainment. He was handed a large amount of cash by his boss and instructed to take a prime target out on a weekend day, to a privately owned castle out in the IIRC German countryside, and pay for whatever the client wanted. Gorgeous naked women were sashaying around the beautifully manicured grounds serving drinks and snacks. The client fairly quickly made his choice and took three with him inside, to one of the bedrooms.

Mind you, the Senate had zero interest what Black was paying for. But the report does give the impression that Black saw himself a squiring Trump around, which also suggests he was hosting Trump at least some of the time. And the basis for Black’s willingness to be of assistance was that Apollo was and is a major player in commercial real estate.

Most financial players at Black’s level are careful about appearances, even overseas. It would be more circumspect to hang out with Trump most of the evening, beg off a need to break away (calls to Asia!) and let a junior mind Trump if he wanted ogle and maybe fondle foxy ladies. And that was before the #MeToo era. CalPERS, which loves to wrap itself in the ESG (“environment, social, governance”) mantle, has stood by her man Black despite his hard-to-defend involvement with Epstein even after his conviction. The older incident of being too accommodating to Trump is a foot fault by comparison, but CalPERS has already been put on notice that Black may have even more skeletons in his closet. So what is more important, CalPERS’ pretenses of virtue or its inexplicable loyalty to private equity?

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44 comments

  1. ObjectiveFunction

    Perhaps I’m just jaded but this all seems like pretty pedestrian stuff compared to, e.g. Stormy Daniels.

    Strip clubs and other hijinks are a standard part of informal relationship building and most companies have an affable “Chief Entertainment Officer” who knows what’s where. It’s male dominated, sure, but women execs aren’t excluded, even Muslims. And I’ve never personally seen a situation where it was considered impolite to decline. But that’s just my lens, fwiw.

    The problematic guys who act like its a bachelor party generally aren’t the “deciders”, it’s the midlevel contractors who don’t get away from their wives much.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I pretty much said the strip club per se was no big deal but it’s the fact of Black himself taking Trump there, as opposed to a minion, which they set Black up to have it commemorated for all time in a Senate record. It’s really sloppy for a guy at his level.

      By contrast, I have detailed accounts another prominent PE firm which I am sure are true given the source, where the firm has rented out townhouses in NY and London and stocked them with women for both top partners and top clients to use. They are on private leafy streets, and I guarantee they have regular security sweeps to make sure no one is tailing the patrons when they visit.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Someone I know very well funded much of her college years in the escort industry in London from the mid ’00’s’ to about 5 years ago. She went from working in a well known upmarket lap dancing club to escorting men in the finance world before and after the last crash. In the club the girls were expected to be discreet and not sell more than a view – but certainly plenty of them made private arrangements for later.

        She left dancing for a few years and she was making serious money jetting around in private parties on jets – her extreme lack of curiosity in who she was meeting was probably a selling point. Most of her customers paid themselves so far as I know, but I suspect there were also corporate gigs – from what I understood from her the payments were usually indirect (i.e. via an agency) and discussions of money were verboten during the ‘escort’. But she’s also had a history of, shall we say, personality issues that I would guess meant that she was not considered for any very discreet events so her clients were very much the mid-rank of that world. She was more or less pushed out of that business I think for the precise reason that she was not considered ‘safe’ (I’m surmising here, she was never very clear, but I know she found that lucrative clients ‘dried up’ after a number of far too public incidents). I met a few of her colleagues over the years (I used to crash at her flat when visiting London) and they were remarkably gossipy and loose-lipped about famous clients (celebs rather than the uber rich, women as well as men), which probably made them highly unsuitable for the corporate world.

        There is an old cliche that rich men don’t pay escorts for sex – they pay them for discretion, for not asking awkward questions, and to walk away with a smile the next morning and not call back. I suspect the women are very well screened for those characteristics. This is one reason why I find the whole Epstein situation so puzzling. There are no shortage of beautiful young women willing to be available and very discreet in exchange for a good chunk of hard cash. There should be no reason for manipulating young girls in such an overt manner. Unless of course, that was part of the turn on for him and Giselle. But I still find it puzzling that so many very rich and powerful men didn’t seem to realise that they were dealing with a powder keg in having so many girls around who were not 100% professional about their tasks, which must surely have been obvious to anyone not entirely in denial.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          The nickname Lolita Express wasn’t applied to Epstein’s private jet excursions for no reason. A fair number of the people choosing to partake of what Epstein was supplying weren’t just interested in discrete beautiful adult women. They wanted something they couldn’t get going to the accomdating strip club.

          Miss Moscow was too old for them.

          Couple that with a time where you were more likely to get arrested for trying to “wash” someone’s windshield to hustle a dollar rather than defrauding an entire state, and why shouldn’t indulged men think nothing of tasting the candy.

          Reply
          1. Harry

            Sitting on the trading floor of a bank in the 90s I saw a remarkably beautiful but very young girl wander past me, dressed in a very expensive fur coat and flanked by several senior execs of the bank. She had an enormous ruby on her finger. So Iarge that even I noticed it.

            I asked who she was and was told she was Boris J* (giving away the bank) new girlfriend. I said she looked a bit young. I was told she was 16. She had been Prokhorov’s girlfriend, but she had aged out of the position and had now been handed down.

            For what little its worth. This was not the most scandalous thing I came across in my time there.

            Reply
        2. EoH

          As others have said, Epstein seemed to specialize in underage sex – by definition, child rape. That’s doubly illegal and harder to turn a blind eye toward. Penalties for getting caught are significantly higher. Epstein’s operation would have required more manipulation of the girls, more callousness and cynicism, and more backhanders (cash, favors, freebies) to law enforcement, prosecutors, and local pols.

          Reply
      2. Harry

        I was in Moscow during the 90s. I remember well what my younger colleagues were up to. I also remember what the visitors liked to do when they visited. I would be curious which club they went to. The venues might make it very clear whether they were there to look or to buy.

        Of course, Mark Ames might already know. Its sort of on his beat. From memory, I think there was a rather plush one near (or in) the Kempinski. Was a bit above my pay scale, so I cant comment. But it was definitely more a location to find professional ladies than it was a place to watch alternative dance.

        20 years ago, Mr Black would have been just starting out with his private equity fund. Was he in Moscow looking for cheap assets? I would imagine that’s part of why Trump was there. Real estate was very cheap in Moscow 20 years ago.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, Apollo was started in 1990 and was a real estate powerhouse out of the gate. Steve Ross was doing a lot of business with them early on. Agreed their PE business took longer because PE generally was not raising tons of money post the LBO wipeout of the early 1990s but that wasn’t the basis of Black’s interest in Trump.

          Reply
    2. Michael Fiorillo

      Wait, Stormy Daniels?

      Do you mean the porn star and her s#*>bag (and now convicted felon) lawyer, who convinced addled liberals and the #McResistance TM that she’d magically remove Trump?

      Good times, that.

      Reply
      1. EoH

        You mean Stephanie Clifford, the sex worker film producer with poor judgment in lawyers, who did more for years to expose Donald Trump’s lies than House Democrats?

        Reply
  2. RZ

    I’m not sure what this article is about other than women taking money to strip or have sex. A voluntary exchange. Any long term Washington player probably has a pretty solid idea how it works.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Epstein’s victims were voluntary? Seriously???

      And the rest is straw manning. I made a point of saying that going to strip clubs was so common as to be dog bites man.

      However, paying for prostitutes is another matter. You forget that Eliot Spitzer explained in the documentary Inside Job that the way to have gotten Wall Street firms after the crisis was to bust individual employees for paying for drugs and hookers out of company budgets (which was widespread but done in a way that the employee would be on the hook for doctoring up or knowingly accepting fake invoices), then flipping them to provide testimony on financial frauds. Spitzer did note the irony in his recommending that strategy.

      And it’s worse for a money manager like Apollo to be doing it than a securities brokerage firm. Fiduciaries are held to a much higher legal and appearance standard.

      And prostitution is illegal in Russia too.

      You need to bone up on who the biggest investors in private equity are: public pension funds. They are really big on ESG, as in they insist all the companies they invest in be model corporate citizens.

      You can also rest assured Black was not paying for entertainment on his own personal nickel. On top of that, it pretty certain the cost of entertainment was allocated to an Apollo fund, as opposed to the Apollo corporate entity. Look, these guys charge personal jet rides on Valentine’s day to their funds, so this would be less of a stretch.

      And Black looks silly to have been caught out this way. As I said, the well established practice is to make a junior or at worst mid level employee the person who handles the entertainment.

      Reply
      1. edmondo

        Paying for prostitutes in Moscow is not illegal in the US. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make, but Trump’s policies are a hell of a lot more obscene than his sexual proclivities. Rich men buying sexual favors is not exactly breaking news.

        Reply
      2. Ramon Zarate

        Yves Smith. I have reread the article and reread my comment. How you conclude that I think Epstein’s victims were voluntary is beyond me. I trust your reply is to another comment.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, my reply is to your comment. >40% of that post was about Epstein. And you implicitly charge me as the one with a reading comprehension issue?

          Reply
          1. Ramon Zarate

            In the past I have always found this an intelligent site worth visiting, It’s your website, it’s your choice. Goodbye.

            Reply
  3. Burns

    Think you guys are missing the bigger angle here. The fact that all this took place in Russia is of huge significance, and I’m 110% sure that Russian intel has or had a 24/7 detail on a guy like Black doing business in country. These sorts of discreet activities are the bread and butter of kompromat and they certainly also took notice of Trump.

    If I had to guess, these escapades from Trump’s younger years are probably what the Russians have on him. I’m also sure if you had the skill and opportunity to fully examine his financials you’d find criminal behavior, probably money laundering links to Russian organized crime utilizing real estate.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      *Sigh* You must be new here. We’ve covered this terrain at nauseating length and think Russiagate is nonsense. Mueller had two years and didn’t find anything. Read Aaron Mate for long form takedowns. I don’t have the time or patience for a rehash.

      Trump has dated and married swimsuit models for years. One of his girlfriends met him at a model party at Mar a Lago. She didn’t have swimsuit. He took her back to one of the bedrooms and opened a drawer, which was full of suits for her to choose from. He was a non-druggie but hard partier. And there’s no evidence he ever hired prostitutes. He’d sometimes pay women for sex afterwards, and they were offended and upset, because they were not pros, they thought they were dates, and he was basically paying them to go away.

      Now in Russia he might have to pay for company, but I have to tell you, NYC is full of Russian “models” who show up at parties for free hoping to get close to men much less rich than Trump.

      In other words, Trump was/is shameless and the idea that the Russians would get anything that could embarrass him after New York Magazine had been making fun of his escapades for years is a stretch.

      As for money laundering, there’s no evidence Trump did anything other than flounder around in Russia. That Senate report shows he dragged his escort girls around with him to 1996 meetings and was seen as a fool. He later set up a corporate entity that did no business. He did have an architect draw up plans for some sort of fantastical development and tried to get the attention of Putin as a possible buyer of the best unit. He was so devoid of contacts there that his stooge had to call an official (public) number, as in Trump had no inside connections whatsoever. Trump’s “Russia” guy was ex-con Felix Sater, who was more accurately ex-international Jewish mob than Russian mob. Sater had turned evidence to get his sentence reduced, which means no crook and no one honest would trust Sater.

      As for money laundering, you clearly don’t even understand the concept. Every NYC developer of any significance has sold units to Russian nationals. There was one year when 70% of the condos sold in Brooklyn were sold to Russians. And no real estate seller is implicated in money laundering, unless they took cash for the purchase. Banks are responsible for anti money laundering checks. They have the “know your customer” obligation, not the real estate seller.

      Better trolls, please.

      Reply
  4. Rod

    Spitzer did note the irony in his recommending that strategy.

    Talk about someone that just disappeared into the ether just as his Star was rising…
    along with his yarn diagrams…
    not too funny all that now…

    Reply
  5. DorothyT

    Re: Leon Black/Apollo and CalPERS

    You’ve got to go back to at least 1991 when Drexel failed, Milken went to prison, and Leon Black founded Apollo based on a CA politician’s collusion with him to purchase “failed” Executive Life Insurance’s junk bond portfolio. More than 400 issues supporting benefits for 390,000 policyholders. At the time, the world’s largest junk bond portfolio in the world. As California’s dean of political reporters, Dan Walters, wrote:

    California got burned in the early 1990s when Leon Black, fresh off a career with the scandal-tainted Drexel Burnham Lambert junk bond shop, set up his own investment firm and persuaded the state’s new insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, to seize a supposedly insolvent Executive Life. Executive Life had a fat portfolio of junk bonds that Black had helped assemble, and Garamendi allowed him to broker a deal with some French buyers who, it turned out, had illegal backing from a French government bank.

    ,,, Black, it would seem, concluded that California’s clueless officials were sources of easy money and by and by, set his sights on the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the nation’s largest pension trust fund.

    The CalPERS relationship with private equity became ‘interesting’ after that time. Note the CA state politicians who were on the CalPERS board for some years. And note the PE firms who were involved with Apollo in slicing and dicing the issues in that portfolio, which, not incidentally, was composed of junk bond deals created by Drexel and Black. (BlackRock was created at that time as Blackstone was under contract to the state as a consultant in ‘handling’ the portfolio.) The French deal mentioned here was more of a ruse created by Black, imho.

    Executive Life, the largest insurance company seized at the time by an insurance commissioner (now Congressman John Garamendi) was not insolvent as his research clearly showed before he seized it, and as was borne out afterwards. One might say this was the biggest public-private fraud carried out in plain sight at the time. Hundreds of thousands of lives were affected as losses to retirees, structured settlement annuitants, life insurance beneficiaries were in the billions. Garamendi’s claim that 95% were made whole completed an extraordinary fraud.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Drexel actually filed for bankruptcy in Feb, 1990. Blackstone and BlackRock have nothing to do with Drexel or Leon Black. Blackstone was founded in 1985 by Pete Peterson and Steve Schwarzman, out of Lehman. BlackRock was very briefly affiliated with them, and was founded by Larry Fink, former First Boston fixed income chief who blew up First Boston by misvaluing the “nuclear waste” tranches of government backed mortgages.

      Note CalPERS didn’t start doing PE until 1991 and they didn’t invest early on with Apollo, but they could easily have done deals out of the fixed income side and real estate portfolios.

      Reply
  6. Amfortas the hippie

    I had a blues band in 1989-1990, regionally significant, in exurban houston(ie: beer joints).
    the beer joint that was our home base was where i hid out from the cops…and often parked the van in the woods behind.
    there was an old, toadlike man who would arrive late in a beaten up limo, with a tall drink of water cowboy as chauffeur.
    the latter would escort/carry the former….always drunk by this time…into the beer joint, and a remuda of lovely, lingerie wearing young women would discorge from the limo.
    he’d slap a couple of benjamins on the bar, and the doors would be locked(closed early), and whomever happened to be there would get a private show.
    This guy was one of my band’s biggest fans.
    so he hired us to play his birthday party, at his heated indoor pool…in like a greenhouse, but landscaped.
    all the local biggwigs, from the county judge to the superintendent to the sheriff…all of them, drunk as skunks, snorting coke off the pubic mounds of nubile young women…and going into a private room…
    once it occurred to me that knowing about this might be dangerous, i was nervous as a cat.
    I know i’ve related this tale before…but i think it’s germane.
    this kind of behaviour trickles down into the bottom rung of the elite…the local…even the more or less rural local power structure.
    at that party, there were paid photographers wandering around, and real estate guys and the baptist preacher proudly posing with a chicha in each hand.
    I was friends with one of the older girls(23) in that old toad’s harem…she kept her lips sealed for the most part…refused to answer my curiosity.
    but she let slip enough for me to know what compromat was, ere i’d ever heard the word.
    and that was 30 years ago.
    deep, abiding corruption is nothing new.

    Reply
    1. Harry

      Yes, its often quite dangerous to be a witness. I was never on the inner circle of what went on in Moscow. Never invited to the bachelor parties or private parties. However a very young very beautiful young lady I knew there had a tragic end. Apparently she had locked herself in her apartment and intravenously injected a greater than survivable “speedball” combo. I found this quite hard to believe then, and impossible to believe now. Folk who intravenously inject tend to not wear halter tops in my experience.

      What I cant explain is how they locked the door on the inside and then got out of the apartment. But what my colleagues explained to me is she was dating someone in the Mayor’s administration in Moscow, at the same time she was dating other people. This was considered poor form and involved certain security risks.

      I have no way of knowing if this was true. But 27 is no age, even in Moscow.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        it was eye opening, to say the least.
        (and i’m no prude…i don’t care what kind of sex weirdness folks get up to, so long as there’s consent and everybody’s of age.)

        it fit for me into a broader context of my life back then: the cop crusade. when i was 18 i got a call from a female friend, then 17 1/2, to pick her up, all black and blue on the side of the road.
        turned out that her dad was a pillar of the community…his brother the chief of police, and i….having interfered with his private business(abusing his daughters)…was to made a pariah.
        cops didn’t even know about the real story, but believed what they were told, that i was a dangerous criminal mastermind, dealing heroin and trafficking in slaves….while couch surfing and living in a van while working at a pizza joint,lol….bathing in creeks and stock ponds.
        playing that party was just confirmation that i wasn’t nuts and imagining things…there really were smoke filled rooms where high crime and (locally) big bidness intersected, directives were given out regarding the disposition of certain threats/undesirables…and everything was like the Godfather.
        stories like the Franklin Coverup and the Epstein thing fit right into this narrative framework, and never surprised me in the least.
        I haven’t been back there in almost 30 years….i go around the whole area, when i must go to houston.

        Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    I can’t help but regard Trump’s presence as secondary here. Sure he likes women but it seems mostly from a boasting viewpoint by saying he had a porn star or a model or Miss New York. Locker room stuff. It does not appear that he has an interest in underage stuff and he once had a public dig at Epstein for liking young stuff. But what does interest me here is the people involved. Being a male I was of course interested in that German nookie circus being staged for top clients in that castle. So I began to wonder. What about business clients that were not interested in these ‘nackt mädchen’ but had more exotic tastes. Who wanted something on the young side. Who was sourcing the young girls to make these clients happy? Statistically they must exist and would be willing to give big value contracts to those who can satisfy their ‘tastes.’ So how does that particular supply line work?

    Reply
  8. John Beech

    Interesting read – but – nothing shocking. Travel the world and you’ll quickly figure out sex is just sex and nobody cares . . . except in America where we pretend and have blue laws on the books. What a crock!

    Far more honest of Democrats to just say, ‘We got our heads handed to us by this clown and payback is a beatch’ than to hound us from watching their product due to incessant bellyaching and finger pointing.

    Mr. Biden, respectfully, what are you for? Stand up like a man and tell me your position on taxes, jobs, regulations, immigration, trade, war/troops overseas, etc.

    1. Taxes – Biden will work to raise them. Said as much.
    2. Jobs – Biden’s been OK with jobs going overseas thus far, what’s new?
    3. Regulations – Biden represents the status quo ante – more regulations.
    4. Immigration – illegals exert downward wage pressure – that’s OK with Biden.
    5. Trade – Biden took his son aboard AF2 to sign a deal. Strike you as OK?
    6. War/troops overseas – Biden represents the status quo ante, again!
    7. Diplomacy – status quo ante – same people as got us Libya!

    Add to it, Biden opposed school busing, supported the Crime Bill, and eulogized Strom Thurmond . . . who’s the real racist? VP decision? Seems a vagina and black were ‘the’ considerations. Seriously, what’s color or sex have to do with qualifications? I mean Californians rejected Harris in the primaries (or would have overwhelmingly had she not quit before the primary). Me? I’m thinking Abrams doesn’t know the meaning of the word and if she wasn’t attractive enough, Atlanta’s mayor stood up to the governor and certainly would have been a fine choice in addition to being a black female! And with respect to Biden’s mental acuity? Dunno, they’re keeping him away (with a complicit MSM). Meanwhile, Biden’s opponent? Orange man bad seemingly sums it up, but let’s review the actual Trump’s record;

    1. Taxes – lower and because I pay quarterly taxes, I’d rather pay less. You?
    2. Jobs – excoriates those taking jobs out of the country. I like this – you?
    3. Regulations – has reduced regulations. Do you favor more regulations?
    4. Immigration – has made it harder to enter and stay WITHOUT permission.
    5. Trade – Certainly hasn’t rolled over for the special interests, agreed?
    6. War/troops overseas – No new wars. This is a positive development!
    7. Diplomacy – actually moved our embassy to Jerusalem (as previous administrations promised but didn’t), plus has extracted more $ from EU, Japan, and South Korea for our defensive presence, and has our allies building up their navies and armed forces! Would you rather we foot the entire bill as before? Biden and his handlers have certainly been OK with that befoer, so what makes you think things will change if they get back in office? Just wondering. Oh, and there’s the matter of an actual peace treaty between UAE and Israel – but – there’s no talk of a Nobel because orange man bad!

    Bottom line? Maybe it’s because I’m in an older demographic but I look at what a man does versus what he says. Trump may be an amoral jackass of the first water. A man I’d never want in my home for a dinner party – but – unlike the professionals, he actually has a record of keeping most of his political promises.

    1. Yes, he’s been opposed on his wall but God knows he’s tried.
    2. Confronted by an incessant lie regarding Russia, he’s soldiered on.
    3. His administrations has suffered leaks and non-stop opposition.
    4. He hasn’t done squat for health care, and I resent this, but is Biden better?

    Anyway, orange man bad, so it’s OK to let the MSM inform your opinion. And if you don’t believe me, just turn on the news. Show me they’re not anxious for you to vote their choice. Show me they’re not intent on inflaming your views. They want Biden in office. Me? I wonder why?

    As fairly as possible; Biden is possibly a senile old man. And his running mate may be fairly characterized as a flexible in terms of her political conviction. Are you 100% OK with that?

    Is your support rooted in the fact Biden won’t tweet at the vocabulary level of his demographic? Or could it be because Biden says what he’s thinking only for his handlers to walk it back? Is he ‘really what you want? Please, man up and look at the results instead of mere words, then decide what’s best for you and America.

    Me? I’m not surprised the Europeans are against him. Do you find favor when your landlord wants to increase the rent, or does it make him a greedy asshole? Does European opinion carry more weight than whats actually good for you?

    John, still deplorable.

    Reply
    1. Laputan

      This is completely unhinged. Have a look at your 1-7 list again.

      1. Taxes – lower, yes, but mostly for the obscenely rich.
      2. Jobs – who cares what he says? Has his public shaming brought back any jobs back yet?
      3. Regulations – this is a bad thing…unless you dislike internet privacy, net neutrality, the disclosure of fracking chemicals, strip-mining public land, etc.
      4. Immigration – how do you obtain said permission?
      5. Trade – the one area where of his that could be considered a slightly mitigated disaster.
      6. War – he almost kicked off WWIII in the assassination of Soleimani and his decision has cast a pal on US/Iran relations that is bound to last quite a while.
      7. Diplomacy – you actually think moving the embassy to Jerusalem was a positive move? Or that the expansion of the MIC in other NATO countries is something to celebrate?

      Reply
    2. flora

      ” nobody cares ”

      Who is this “nobody” you reference? Is it other powerful men, men who don’t care about other men’s daughters? Or men who assume their own daughters and wives are safe, so why rock the boat?

      Decades ago, in the town I grew up in, a local builder became known to the friends of his daughters, girls in jr high then, as an abuser of his daughters. He wasn’t a police chief or an important govt/pol official. He couldn’t drop a hammer on anyone. When the fathers of the girls who were friends with the abusers daughters found out what was going on they took him aside at some point (I only found this out decades later) and told him that if his abuse didn’t stop he’d disappear and no one would know what happened to him. They meant it and he knew it. They cared about their daughter’s friends. And may have worried about their own daughters’ safety around this man. He was in many homes as a successful remodeler and builder.

      The threat was that if any new allegations came to the ears of the men from the mens’ daughters or wives then this abusive fellow was toast. No new allegations ever came to light.

      If the abuser had been a police chief or a local pol, someone who could drop a hammer on the fathers of the girls friends, then it might have been different.

      So again, who is this “nobody cares” you are referencing? The abusive powerful?

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding: see Tara for an example (I believe her) of the powerful still getting away with a form of ‘droit du seigneur’. That doesn’t mean “nobody cares”. It means in power politics nobody cares about the less powerful.

        (And for anyone reading this who thinks working class dads don’t care about their daughters’ and their daughters’ friends safety, family-blog family-blog.) Oddly, one of the few things l like about T is he seems a relative faif in abusing power for sex. I mean, he’s almost ‘decent’ compared to … what’s is name.

        Reply
        1. periol

          “Oddly, one of the few things l like about T is he seems a relative faif in abusing power for sex. I mean, he’s almost ‘decent’ compared to … what’s is name.”

          I’m sorry, I just can’t with this sentence. Whatever “faif” means, Trump has a terrible track record. You just haven’t looked far enough, or have whitewashed your memories.

          I have worked for several men who felt free to abuse power for sex. I always stood up to it and refused to be part of those games. There is something sick and wrong with our society that causes us to try to justify, even in part, rather than confront these men who abuse others for sex with their power. Just because it’s been this way for a long time doesn’t make it right.

          The evangelicals hand-waved his history away, but they are famously hypocritical. There is no way, even by comparison, that Trump is “almost ‘decent'”. There is nothing decent about abusing power for sex.

          Reply
  9. Bobby Gladd

    Interesting.

    Meanwhile, we may be at T-75 days and counting as we slouch toward the end of U.S. Democracy.

    BTW, the identity of “Q” has been revealed. The #MyPillowGuy. ;)

    “Oleandrin, growin’ outside my door, soon they’re gonna bloom up in Annadale…”

    Reply
  10. Leo The Conflicted

    post today by calpers cheerleader Leo Kolivakis
    The problem is CalPERS is such a politicized shop that if you so much as sneeze the wrong way, reporters and government politicians and bureaucrats will be all over you.

    It’s completely and utterly ridiculous which is one reason why large US public pensions will always lag their Canadian counterparts.

    Don’t get me wrong, rules are rules, they’re there for a reason and everyone must follow them, but it’s the political charade I can’t stand and all these holier than thou bloggers like Yves Smith at naked capitalism who keeps harping at CalPERS the same way some religious zealot harps on the word of God.

    I honestly can’t stand sanctimonious nonsense from Yves Smith (aka Susan Webber) or CalPERS’s board members who think there is something very sinister that is going on.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Leo carries on like a jilted lover.

      He used to post here and we tossed him off after flagrant plagiarism, in the form of posting an ENTIRE New York Times article under his byline with a one sentence intro. When we told him this was not on, he sent the most abusive e-mail I have ever received. I should have retained it to shut him up. Marshall Auerback and Ed Harrison, to whom I sent it back then, were utterly appalled and still remember that it was vile.

      For a plagiarist to carry on about legal standards is rich, particularly because he also also cheerleads for PE and refuses to learn enough about the limited partnership agreements to understand how widespread the abuses are. He’s over his head and whining as important reporting goes because he lacks the chops and attention span to do anything other than act as an industry mouthpiece.

      Reply
      1. What is a Journalist?

        Yves conduct primary research, discovering important information through her network and PRAs, much of which CalPERS is determined to keep buried. Leo has probably never requested a Public Records Act; there is no need, he just writes what CalPERS tells him.

        Yves thinks/assesses/evaluates/draws connections. Leo writes about his feelings, as if writing a diary.

        Yves is a journalist. Leo, while apparently a nice guy, is not.

        CalPERS dedicates massive effort to secure favorable press coverage. That is understandable. But what remains a bit of a mystery is why some press such as the Sacramento Bee and bloggers such as Leo are willing to be such an easy accomplice.

        Reply
  11. Pym of Nantucket

    I get the impression that the friendship list of Epstein has more of Trump’s enemies than supporters. Same with Weinstein’s circle of pals. Methinks some newspapers protest too much.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The fact that the NYT put the 1996 visit at the top of its article strongly says that huge intel report (over 900 pages) didn’t come up with much.

      Re Epstein, we posted a link to his little black book, so I suggest you analyze if this interests you rather than surmise. It may turn out you are confusing prominence (Clinton) with number. Dershowitz was also an Epstein buddy and he’s a Trump defender. Just sayin’

      Reply

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