Late Night Schadenfreude Open Thread: It’s All Fun & Games Until You Tweak the Wrong Oligarch

It’s the mixture of high crimes & low comedy (cf: Watergate’s ‘plumbers’, or Spiro Agnew’s literal envelopes of graft money) that guarantee a scandal that will run and run!

They can use the money Bezos extracts from David Pecker!

39 replies
  1. 1
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Pecker deserves every last joke made about him by 11 year olds.

    He’s irredeemable slime.

  2. 2
    Mary G says:

    This timeline is entirely too weird.

  3. 3
    akryan says:

    I just can’t anymore. I need to escape to one of the bubble universes where none of this is happening.

  4. 4
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @akryan: You found the alternate timeline where Hillary was inaugurated on 1/20/17?

  5. 5
    My Side of Town says:

    Does this mean that the mf45 campaign is colluding with the National Enquirer to extort Amazon?

  6. 6
    Aleta says:

    Via ABL:

    Steven Mazie @stevenmazie

    Supreme Court *grants* stay of 5th-circuit ruling in June Medical Services v. Gee, blocking onerous abortion-clinic regulations from taking effect in Louisiana. Chief Justice Roberts votes w/ four liberal justices to apply a 2016 precedent from which he had dissented.

    Justice Kavanaugh writes a dissent, joined by Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas. These four would have denied the stay because, they say, the challenge to the Louisiana law raises an “intensely factual question” that shouldn’t be resolved before the law goes into effect.

    Imani Gandy @AngryBlackLady

    Our fellow law nerds know that we aren’t out of the woods yet. This is just a stay. But considering how pessimistic I was, I am going to enjoy my evening and focus on being a buzzkill tomorrow.

    We will have a pod for you tomorrow on what the stay means, what’s up with Brad McBeer’s dissent, and what to expect next.

  7. 7
    Aleta says:

    From AL’s link

    Conor Marcus Shaw @ConorMarcusShaw

    AMI’s non-prosecution agreement that allowed it to avoid indictment for Cohen’s campaign finance crimes required that AMI not commit any new crimes. If AMI did so while attempting to extort Jeff Bezos, SDNY could likely go back and charge AMI for the hush-money FECA crimes too.

    In general, corporations tend to get good deals like this one because prosecutors are worried about collateral damage to employees or owners who played no role in the misconduct. Non prosecution agreements are rare for even the most deserving individuals.

    Here, AMI appears to have been skirting or violating federal laws to shield political allies from negative stories and to attack perceived enemies.

    If that is part of what AMI does, prosecutors may wonder whether the damage caused by an indictment would truly be collateral.

    The conduct of AMI, like that of others embroiled in high-profile investigations, should prompt us to think harder about the enormous benefits that corporations get in our legal system and whether we should require more of them.

    I’m not suggesting that more aggressive criminal enforcement is the answer. (I actually think we should give more human beings the breaks we give incorporations) But we have come a long way from the idea that allowing entities to incorporate is an exercise in social welfare.

    The reason why we need more disclosure and regulation when it comes to campaign related activity, to corporate ownership, to the movement of foreign and dark money through our financial systems, etc. is that these hidden forces are shaping our society—and not for the better.

  8. 8
    Aleta says:

    12.14.18 By Asawin Suebsaeng, Maxwell Tani, Lloyd Grove
    Jared Kushner Replaced Michael Cohen as Trump’s National Enquirer Connection
    The president’s son-in-law grew tight with David Pecker during the early months of the administration.

    Interesting article now. Including Kushner’s way of putting things out to look like like it is reporting. “During the early months of the Trump era, Kushner performed the task admirably, discussing with Pecker various issues over the phone, including everything from international relations to media gossip, according to four sources familiar with the situation. “

  9. 9
    Aleta says:


    It was an easy choice, given that the two men had a pre-existing relationship. Two people with direct knowledge of their acquaintance say that Kushner and Pecker got to know each other years before Trump’s election, when Pecker was thinking about forging a business relationship with Kushner, who at the time owned The New York Observer.

    Two other knowledgeable sources say that then Observer Editor in Chief Ken Kurson, a close friend of Kushner’s, had even visited the AMI offices in 2016, and sat in on an editorial meeting.

    In a brief telephone call Thursday, Kurson told The Daily Beast that although he had visited the AMI offices, he had never sat in on an editorial meeting. According to Kurson, he had been seeking senior AMI exec Dylan Howard’s advice on how to “pivot to video,” the digital journalism buzz term describing social video content, and Howard had briefly shown Kurson around the office. AMI declined to comment.

    It seems as though (I don’t really know) Kurson he did a lot work for the campaign in helping the stories from Wikileaks get a start in the Observer. (A story somewhere quoted writers there who spoke of Kurson’s strange maybe secretive interferences with certain stories.) Kushner tried to give Kurson a vague title of a job at the WH last year, but the FBI refused.

    I guess everything sounds like a cover up to me now, which is a disorder caused by lying immoral Republicans.

  10. 10
    Martin says:

    @Aleta: Additionally, Lauren Sanchez is a California resident, and we have laws against sextortion:

    Penalties for Sextortion
    This new law is an amendment to current law, so you face the same penalties for sextortion that you would for extortion.
    Any person who is convicted of this crime is guilty of a felony that carries two, three or four years in county jail.
    In addition, an unsuccessful attempt at sextortion is also a crime under Penal Code Section 524. Attempted extortion is a wobbler offense. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you face up to 364 days in county jail. Felony attempted extortion is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

    The pictures as described in the email to Bezos fall under this bill. Even if the extortion was unsuccessful it would be a crime, and I can’t imagine in this case that it wouldn’t be a felony.

  11. 11
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    As a distraction from Bezos dick pics, the story of a cat named Fluffy.

    Apparently, and I have no idea if this is even possible, Fluffy of Kalispell Montana was frozen solid during the recent cold snap, found in the snow then taken to a vet and thawed out.

    All seems well. Good on Fluffy.

  12. 12
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:
    That is one cool cat.


  13. 13
    André Alessi says:

    David Pecker picked a peck of pickled dick pics.

  14. 14
    Ian R says:

    @Martin: A felony, and also a violation of AMI’s non-prosecution agreement with SDNY. Pecker tried to sextort the wrong billionaire.

  15. 15
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @André Alessi:

    David Pecker picked a peck of pickled dick pics.

    And got punched in the pecker for being such a pile of poo.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Dunning has just been thoroughly Krugered.

  17. 17
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Murdered in a dream?

  18. 18
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Viva BrisVegas:

    Apparently, and I have no idea if this is even possible, Fluffy of Kalispell Montana was frozen solid during the recent cold snap, found in the snow then taken to a vet and thawed out.

    As you know from reading the story, not actually “frozen solid”, just ice-coated & very very chilled. Every medical drama has at least one episode where someone who’s been ‘frozen’ (fallen through the ice, stranded in the snow) is carefully-yet-dramatically revived… and those stories are actually fact-based. Most winters here in New England, we get at least a few stories about human victims under similar circumstances — so often, in fact, that people can be unrealistically disappointed when the ‘popsicle lazarus’ effect doesn’t work. (A small child might be revived after 15 minutes in a sub-frozen river, but a middle-aged drunk who gets trapped underwater for two hours when he drives his pickup across a not-frozen-enough pond to get to his ice-fishing cabin, not hardly.)

  19. 19
    Patricia Kayden says:

    The shoes keep dropping. But I’m waiting to hear Sarah Huckabee Sanders inform us in a condescending tone that this has nothing to do with Trump. Lol

  20. 20
    Viva BrisVegas says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    I’ll take your word for it as it makes more sense, but this was in the story:

    “”She was frozen,” said executive director of the Animal Clinic of Kalispell Andrea Dutter. Her body temperature was below what the clinic’s thermometers could read, minus 32 degrees. ”

    I suppose one should always be skeptical.

  21. 21
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: Ah, I made the mistake of assuming we were both reading the original Washington Post story:

    She was frozen,” said Andrea Dutter, executive director of the Animal Clinic of Kalispell. It wasn’t a rock-solid kind of frozen. But her body temperature was below what the clinic’s thermometers could read — 90 degrees. A cat’s normal internal body temperature is 101 degrees.

    Looks like somebody misread the fahrenheit-to-centigrade conversion factor!

  22. 22
    satby says:

    @Viva BrisVegas: @Anne Laurie: our rescue currently has two kittens fostered that came into animal control with one of them that cold. The sibling was a little warmer and trying to keep her brother alive. They’re both very young and now are doing fine and getting socialized for future adoption.

  23. 23
    ET says:

    I was reading a Bloomberg piece on this development and some hedge fund owns like 80% of Ami. Also some big time hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman is also an investor. Wondering how they feel about their investment now.

  24. 24
    Bruce K says:

    Okay, so there’s some consensus that blackmailing Bezos is the real-world equivalent of blackmailing a Bond villain (over at LGM, someone commented that Bezos just needs a monocle and a Persian cat).

    Then it occurred to me: which Bond villains does Bezos embody?

    Elliot Carver from Tomorrow Never Dies is the gimme (newspaper owner). You’ve also got Hugo Drax of Moonraker (owns his own space program). Maybe Max Zorin from A View to a Kill? Who else? How many Bond villains did Pecker just piss off?

  25. 25
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Bruce K:

    that Bezos just needs a monocle and a Persian cat

    Doesn’t have to be Persian — he could use any long-haired cat and override the colour to #ffffff in the CSS.

  26. 26
    CliosFanboy says:

    @Bruce K:

    Lucius Fox : [to Reese] Let me get this straight, you think that your client, one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante, who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands, and your plan is to blackmail this person?

    [Reese’s face falls and Fox smiles]

    Lucius Fox : Good luck.

  27. 27
    Ken says:


    You found the alternate timeline where Hillary was inaugurated on 1/20/17?

    No, it’s the one where the remnants of humanity are being hunted down and enslaved by robots. But it’s still better than this one.

  28. 28
    mere mortal says:

    I’m not generally the sort that criticizes editorial decisions, but seriously, how is that Ronan Farrow tweet not above the fold?

  29. 29
    aretino says:

    Aside from the criminal liability, surely AMI and its execs have massive civil exposure in light of the Gawker case. And the damages … well, the revelations credibly cost the world’s richest man half of his fortune.

    I will be shocked if the National Enquirer is still in business at the end of next year.

  30. 30
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @Bruce K: Physically he most resembles an Ernst Blofeld with muscle from You Only Live Twice. That’s the one with the bald cat stroking guy. Played by Donald Pleasance…imitated by Mike Meyers as Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies.

  31. 31
    The Pale Scot says:

    You’re indicating that the National Enquirer, Bezos mortal enemy, hosts their site at Amazon Web Services?


    Fer sure some boffin that works at AWS is pleading to let off the chain just this once

  32. 32
    The Pale Scot says:

    @André Alessi: pickled penis pics.

  33. 33
    Raoul says:

    @ET: I suppose I might wonder what the hedgers might do, but I doubt they feel much of anything.
    Maybe a tiny prick of anxiety. But really, the moral cavity skimming that kind of money creates is devastating.

  34. 34
    JGabriel says:


    I need to escape to one of the bubble universes where none of this is happening.

    The other universes are all laughing at ours.

  35. 35
    JGabriel says:

    @André Alessi:

    David Pecker picked a peck of pickled dick pics.

    Or, just a suggestion: David Pecker picked a peck of pickled pecker pics.

  36. 36
    JGabriel says:

    @Anne Laurie: Actually, 32C = 90F. So it looks more like SMH mistook a grammatical dash for a mathematical minus sign.

  37. 37
    different-church-lady says:

    Entirely accidentally, Bezos has done more good for humanity with this than Zuckerberg will ever do in his lifetime.

  38. 38
    drdavechemist says:

    @Anne Laurie: Not only did they not do a conversion, they apparently interpreted a hyphen as a negative sign!

  39. 39
    Cathie from Canada says:

    @Anne Laurie: Actually there was a case in Saskatchewan in 1994 where a 2-year-old followed her dad outside when he left for work on a -20 below morning and then got locked out of the house. She was basically frozen when she was found two hours later but was successfully revived and has gone on to live a normal life.

Comments are closed.