Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Same As It Ever Was

(Mike Luckovich via GoComics.com)
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His Picture Is NOT In The Dictionary Next To “Good Lawyer”

The incredible unveiling of Rudy Giuliani, Ace Defense Counsel™ continues apace, as Talking Points Memo documents:

After Giuliani claimed on Sunday that Trump never signed a letter of intent for the project, CNN obtained a copy of the letter, which contained Trump’s signature. [link in the original]

Chris Cuomo actually had the gall, the infinite gall, to brandish the signed letter, complete w. Donald Trump’s self-implicating scrawl, on live camera!  What’s an Ace Defense Counsel™ to do?

Never fear, never flinch, and always remember the last refuge of the fidelity-challenged: “who you going to believe, me, or your lying eyes.”

In the interview with the Daily News, Giuliani refused to acknowledge that he told CNN Sunday that “no one signed the letter.”

“I don’t think I said nobody signed it,” Giuliani told the Daily News.

Ummm.  Rudy.  There is videotape!

Anyway, says Ace Defense Counsel™, what’s a little light conflict of interest.  Seriously, folks, what do you expect a perpetually-skating-the-edge-of-bankruptcy to do?  And who the f**k cares anyway?

But Giuliani argued during an interview with New York Daily News that the letter is “bullshit because it didn’t go anywhere.” [link in the original]

According to this line of analysis by our Ace Defense Counsel™, if an attempted coition fails to reach fruition, it don’t count.   That is, one can remain mostly virginal, as long as you don’t fully enjoy yourself.

This is funny.  It really is.  It would be more so, of course, if it wasn’t so damn serious, if this weren’t the state of affairs that emerges when small time and stupid crooks wield enormous power.

But even as we live in fear for our selves, our republic, and the world…we can still take unfeigned pleasure at the sight of Rudy Noun-Verb-911 Giuliani showing himself to everyone being what New Yorkers have known for a long time: a Flatbush fugazi.
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Images:  Jean de Paleologu, Poster for Loïe Fuller at the Folies Bergère, 1897.
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Albrecht Cuyp, Cows in a River, c. 1650


Poe’s Law Open Thread: Mick Mulvaney to Become “Acting” Chief of Staff

No matter how broad your satire, it’s simply impossible to outdo the Squatter-in-Chief.

Mick Mulvaney is the GOP’s go-to guy when it comes to not doing jobs they don’t want done. He’s put in some busy months doing his best to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, while nominally remaining in charge of the Office of Managment & Budget, so I guess it was decided he’s ready for a fresh challenge: Not-managing access to the Oval Office Occupant.

Only remaining question: Did it simply occur to Donny Dollhands that a guy who loved not-doing important jobs was just the right Repub to not-do this one? Or, given Mulvaney’s known proclivities, was there an actual offer of payment made — either to Trump for the announcement, or to Mulvaney for accepting, or both?


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Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: Has Stone Roger’d Himself?

He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede…

Per CNN:

Roger Stone said Thursday that he does not have a joint defense agreement with President Donald Trump’s legal team, nor are the two sides sharing information.
Stone, an informal political adviser to the President who was in Washington for a speech, also said he is refusing to testify now to the Senate because it would not be public testimony, despite previously testifying before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors.

“Because I am clearly under investigation now and no attorney in their right mind would allow you to put yourself in that jeopardy,” Stone said when asked why he wouldn’t testify to the Senate. “Because this is not about Russian collusion, it’s about the parsing of words. It’s about process crimes and perjury traps, and I decline to participate.”

He said he would be willing to reconsider requests from the Senate if he could testify publicly.

Stone would not say if he would invoke his FIfth Amendment right to not testify in order to avoid incriminating himself if contacted by special counsel Robert Mueller, telling reporters that was a “hypothetical.”…

From Politico, “Why Roger Stone won’t shut up”:

Defying the advice of pretty much every defense lawyer in America, Roger Stone won’t stop talking.

The longtime political adviser to President Donald Trump gives lengthy interviews about his role in the 2016 presidential election. He writes combative op-eds about Robert Mueller, who is investigating him. He invites reporters into his home for open-ended hangout sessions.

It’s all part of a pre-emptive counterattack against the special counsel’s Russia investigation, which many legal experts believe is inexorably closing in on Stone.

And if you didn’t know better, you might think Stone is enjoying himself…

…[H]e appears unfazed that his media saturation makes him an open book for Mueller’s prosecutors as they assess whether the truth of the 2016 campaign makes him a criminal or just a crude braggart. Even lawyers he’s consulted with admit it’s a risky move considering Mueller has held other people’s public commentary against them in court.

But a clear reminder of the benefit of being in the public eye came on Monday, when Trump cited Stone’s vow, made on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” a day earlier, that he would never testify against the president. Trump approvingly tweeted that the stance took “guts!”

The next day, Stone’s friend and former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo sent out a mass email announcing the creation of a GoFundMe legal defense fund for Stone’s legal bills “to pay the costs he’s incurring due to his two year torture.” Caputo said Stone, who posted an Instagram image of himself last month wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigar in a beach chair, has “lost everything.”

“Staying quiet isn’t going to attract contributions,” said Kendall Coffey, a Miami-based former federal prosecutor who briefly discussed joining Stone’s legal defense team in mid-2017. “Staying low profile offers no benefits for him.”…

Well, Michael Cohen’s sentencing is due tomorrow, but people are trying not to get our hopes up…



Late Night ‘2018 Remains Impossible to Parody’ Open Thread: Even Robot Sex Researchers Have Standards

*I* didn’t wanna google ‘Steve Bannon sex robots’, either. Here’s what came up when I searched just his name, from the Hill Reporter:

Since being fired by Donald Trump in August of 2017, Steve Bannon has been busy speaking at different conferences. Some of these conferences are staples for Republican figures while others are just plain weird.

The weirdest conference of all was the 4th International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots. Bannon was tabbed to become the Keynote speaker at the ACE conference which was merged with the robot sex conference.

The announcement of Bannon as keynote speaker led to immediate backlash. Speakers meant to appear alongside Bannon began to drop out of the conference.

Peter Gray, a former Boston College professor who was to appear as a keynote speaker at ACE, said, “Bannon’s alt-right brand is personally odious to me and, more importantly, by association would work against my credibility and that of the causes to which I am passionately devoted.”…

To take advantage of Bannon’s appearance in Montana, ACE event organizer Adrian Cheok attempted to schedule a debate between Bannon and a University of Montana professor.

Due to heavy push back on multiple fronts, the merged conference and the debate have all been cancelled…

It was somewhat reassuring to find out, per Wired, that ACE stands for “Advances in Computer Technology”:

ACE is run by Adrian David Cheok, the director of an independent research lab called the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia and a professor at City, University of London. Cheok says he chose to invite Bannon to speak after seeing his talk on YouTube at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit last year, which had similar economic nationalism and anti-immigration themes. As a number of researchers pointed out, ACE is not a political or even an industry conference—it’s a scholarly venue meant to provide a place for academics to share their work…

One academic pointed out the only tangentially related experience Bannon possesses is his involvement with Internet Gaming Entertainment, which made a profit by having low-wage videogame players in China earn virtual credits that were then sold to wealthier players in other parts of the world. “The business practices of that company alone ought to disqualify Bannon from being presented as anything other than a cynical operator,” says Jeff Watson, a professor of interactive media and games at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts…
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Trump Crime Cartel Open Thread: “I AM NOT A CROOK”

I figured it was intended to be more like The Apartment, only for murders instead of extramarital assignations. Which is a whole different can of worms, but hey — foreigners! Watcha gonna do?

BuzzFeed News first reported in May on the secret dealings of Cohen and his business associate Felix Sater with political and business figures in Moscow.

The two men worked furiously behind the scenes into the summer of 2016 to get the Moscow deal finished — despite public claims that the development was canned in January, before Trump won the Republican nomination. Sater told BuzzFeed News today that he and Cohen thought giving the Trump Tower’s most luxurious apartment, a $50 million penthouse, to Putin would entice other wealthy buyers to purchase their own. “In Russia, the oligarchs would bend over backwards to live in the same building as Vladimir Putin,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin.” A second source confirmed the plan.

Sater, a brash real estate promoter who pleaded guilty to racketeering in 1998 and became a longtime asset to US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, had worked with the Trump Organization on deals in the past and said he came up with the idea. Cohen, Sater recalled, said, “Great idea.”…

Another sidebar: Trump and his minions knew Sater had ratted out prior partners to the FBI, but they trusted him into their deals anyway. Did Donny Dollhands actually believe he was smart enough not to get caught the same way, or was he just that desperate for anyone who might help him make some ready cash?


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Excellent Read(s): Trump Is A Thief & A Tax Cheat, As Well As A Lousy Businessman

Well worth the time it takes to read the whole thing. From the NYTimes, “Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father”:

President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.

But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.

These maneuvers met with little resistance from the Internal Revenue Service, The Times found. The president’s parents, Fred and Mary Trump, transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, which could have produced a tax bill of at least $550 million under the 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances.

The Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, tax records show…

But if you’re pressed for time, they’ve provided a Shorter: “11 Takeaways From The Times’s Investigation Into Trump’s Wealth”


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