Late-Night RussiaFvckery Open Thread: The Sideshow Artistes

Hey, remember “Putin’s best friend in Congress” Dana Rohrabacher? He lost his sweet sinecure, but he’s still out there grifting!

Elsewhere, Roger Stone is arguing that he can’t be gagged, because he’s no Kim Kardashian, per CNN:

Roger Stone is trying a new tactic in arguing against a federal judge who may restrict what he says in public: He’s claiming he’s not much of a celebrity…

His speech shouldn’t be restricted, because his lifeblood is writing and speaking about politics and fashion, his attorneys say. But while he’s known in some circles, Stone is nowhere near as famous as Kim Kardashian, his attorneys argued. That lack of fame means he will be able to have an unbiased jury when his case goes to trial.

“While Roger Stone may be familiar to those who closely follow American politics, he is hardly ubiquitous in the larger landscape of popular consciousness,” his attorneys wrote.

“An example of how limited and narrow his public presence is, is that Kim Kardashian has 59.5 million followers on Twitter,” they added. Stone, meanwhile, has no Twitter presence (he was banned by the service in 2017). Stone has 39,000 followers on Instagram, while Kardashian has 126 million, his legal team argued…
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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!


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Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Pre-Friday Sparring


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Matt ‘Big Dick Toilet Salesman’ Whitaker seems to have conceded his latest argument:


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Working through CSR actuarial value games 2014-2017

WARNING This is esoteric even for me.

I’m trying to wrap my head around incentive structures for insurers to design silver plans in a Silverload world. I need to write out the old system first.

Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) subsidies in the 2014-2017 period offered insurers some interesting incentives on how they could line up their actuarial value of the base silver plan and the CSR variants. CSR was a dollar for dollar reconciliation of the difference between what the insurer would have paid on any given claim for the baseline silver plan and what it paid out on a CSR variant plan. Insurers (in most states) have the option of designing their own silver plan benefit structures. Games can be played once the mechanics are understood.
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Trump Crimes Open Thread: Follow the (Inaugural Committee) Money

Remember all those stories about the immense sums that somehow leaked away during the preparations for Trump’s extremely underwhelming inauguration? How The bill from the Trump International Hotel was more than $1.5 million. And there was a documentary, overseen by a close friend of Melania Trump’s, that was ultimately abandoned…. “?

Well, it may not technically be illegal to throw money at one’s cronies — or at least it might be hard to document — but the rules about who gets to donate those funds are strict. Per the Washington Post:

Only U.S. citizens and legal residents can legally donate to a committee established to finance presidential inaugural festivities…

The subpoena also specifically seeks all communications with one donor, Los Angeles venture capitalist Imaad Zuberi, as well as the firm with which he is affiliated, Avenue Ventures. The company donated $900,000 to the inaugural committee, records show…

Trump’s inaugural committee raised a record $107 million to fund events and parties surrounding his assumption of office in January 2017, more than twice the amount raised to fund President Barack Obama’s inaugural in 2009.
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