Lord Butternuts’ brother Freddy was a disappointment to his father, family patriarch and tycoon Fred Senior. In a way, that disappointment cleared a glide-path for LB to please the old man without much real effort. Freddy did not meet his father’s expectation that his oldest son would be a killer. In this family’s parlance, “killer” was a positive personality attribute. Being a killer meant being utterly invulnerable. This in the telling by Mary, LB’s gutsy niece and Freddy’s daughter.

In 2018 the New York Times reported that LB received “at least $413 million” from his daddy over the course of decades. The favored one conspired with Daddy to shield the largesse from inheritance and gift taxes “by setting up a sham corporation and undervaluing assets to tax authorities.” Just what a “killer” would do.

Fast forward to present, to our time, in a civil fraud case brought by New York’s Attorney General, the judge ruled that LB, together with a collection of co-defendants and ne’re-do-wells including Fred’s grandbabies, Eric and Don Junior, inflated the value of assets at least in part to mislead lenders and cheat the taxes.

Fiddling with the finances is, so it seems, a key part of the family business model. In the judgment, the New York court ordered the defendants to pay more than $450 million as a penalty for the family fraud, representing “disgorgement” of the financial benefits they received illegally.

He hasn’t got the cash. He tells his lawyers to delay, delay and find a way to make it go away. The best they can do is plead poverty even though the very thought is off brand. It’s an “insurmountable difficulty,” they say, a “practical impossibility.” Oh, dear.

The favored one has had a string of wives and eye-candy short-term girlfriends, some of them paid performers. Not lovers, surely. It is hard to imagine that emotion toward him being found within the imagination of any of these women. Yet they all, in one way or another, consented, or not, to reflect his greatness. LB himself found the women to be useful, but the one time in his life he experienced real love was on the Capitol Mall one day upon a January.

He reminisces: “There was a lot of love. I’ve heard that from everybody. Many, many people have told me that was a loving crowd.” At the time, one can imagine, he was snacking on Quarter Pounders with fries and watching TV, so he may have missed the expressions of love bubbling over on the Mall with bear spray, stun guns, pepper spray, machetes, baseball bats and flagpoles and assorted firearms and other weapons of love.

Five people died of the love there. In the ensuing seven months, four police officers who were there died by suicide. So much love.

LB moved out of the White House that January, but why did he leave if he “actually” won the election, as he has said a thousand times? He once called the White House a “dump,” so maybe that’s the reason he left the place. He has also called it a “beautiful” White House, but logical consistency has never been a concern. Anyway, he prefers all the gaudy of a Mar-a-Lago. It’s part of the brand, and being frogmarched out of the White House wouldn’t look killer.

Still, he must have felt he deserved compensation for the inconvenience of moving out. This would explain why he felt justified in carting off boxes and boxes of national security secrets and other personal memorabilia. The purloining of national archive materials could not have been accidental. This was not a Biden oversight. He ordered it to be done. Bigly.

He took the boxes down to Florida to monetize the plunder and trade state secrets with Vlad. Just having the stuff to show off to his wealthy guests at Mar-a-Lago was worth a bunch of bragging rights.

The stable genius has turned his indictment for mishandling classified documents into a money machine, a rich instrument of retribution. His loving followers send him their hard-earned dollars while they scream about inflation and the price of eggs. Do they know the genius has been siphoning off their campaign contributions to pay his lawyers?

Do they care? The lawyers have no incentive to scrimp when it comes to their hourly rates, and LB will pay whatever they ask–$50 million last year alone–so long as he’s using other people’s money to do it. Spending other people’s money and welshing on his debts has been his standard operating procedure for decades, ever since he took Daddy’s money.

He has made fools of his followers. He gave them magic red hats and made them want to spend their disposable income on golden ugly sneakers. Hats and sneakers and flags and t-shirts are talismans of their devotion. The fools buy all the paraphernalia to show their allegiance and because the stuff gives them the power to be him.

If he can spout nonsense and falsehoods, so can they. If he can denigrate and demonize and call people vicious names, then that is allowed. The personal boundaries become obscured: “They’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you—and I’m just standing in their way.” He seeks retribution, so they must want it too. If he emulates Orbán, then they must exalt the dictator. These are the “policies” they say they like.

As Abe Lincoln may or may not have said, but surely must have believed: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

Some of the fools are beginning to wise up.

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