Episode #36: R.I.P. Rocket Simpkins' Wife

Welcome back to another episode of Is There Something In This? with your old mates Scott Dooley and Jason Chatfield.

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April 9th @ Caveat, New York City: Special Mystery Guest Tix:

May 17th @ NCSFest California: Special Guest Bob Mankoff! Tix:

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This week:

  • Dools, the human Skip button

  • Health results on Instagram

  • LaCroix is a place on Earth

  • Shoutout to @SopranosHandGestures

  • Homeless guy Ablutions at the Health Club

  • Dools is block-happy on Twitter

  • Chatto's Jacksonville Wedding Adventure

  • No shirt, No shoes, No Cell Service

  • Life is Black Tie Optional

  • Accidental wrong wedding attendant

  • Vanuatu VS Gold Bullion

  • Synchronized Wedding Dances

  • Cocaine-addled Wedding DJ

  • Put the brisket in the duffel bag

  • I'll shoosh a bitch

  • Mississippi Marriage License

  • Stolen valour wedding crasher

  • Con Air was underrated

  • Superior music listener

  • Obligatory Ellis J Rosen mention

  • Cart before the horse guy

  • Jack-in-the-box as surprised as you are

  • Rambly nonsensical questatements

  • Larry David goes full Larry David on someone

  • Frasier reunion - what's the point? The dog's dead.

  • What's your hashtag?

  • It's getting serious... she's starting to talk about hashtags

  • Obligatory Praying mantis joke

  • Judges getting married

  • Please do not feed the drunk grandma

  • A timely dig at Paul Mercurio

  • Employees must wash hands

  • In Russia, hands wash employees

  • Pre-wedding weigh-in

  • PallBearer VS Ring Bearer

  • and a way-too-detailed pitch for Fast and the Furious 9... featuring Rocket Simpkins...

Suggestions this week:

@PaulCaggegi - Longer lasting rings

@AndyEngel - Polar Vortex Climate Change Screening

@milliechatfieldmusic - "Bit of a strange mood"

@billhopeart_art - Neurotic Dancer, TumbleWilliam, Balloons full of sighs, Clam cabaret

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MAD Magazine: Orange is the New Stone

Illustration for today’s MAD Magazine. (Link)

Story (via The New Yorker):

Robert Mueller Got Roger Stone

On Friday morning, Roger Stone, President Trump’s longtime political adviser and ally, who has been a fixture in Republican politics since the Nixon Administration, was arrested by the F.B.I. The office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, issued a seven-count indictment, which charges Stone with obstruction of an official proceeding, false statements, and witness tampering. It also makes the case that Stone acted as a conduit of information between the Trump campaign and Julian Assange as Assange’s organization, WikiLeaks, released e-mails that the Russian government had stolen from the Democratic Party and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in an effort to help Trump win the Presidential election.

The charges stem not from the original acts themselves but from Stone’s alleged lies about them. In September, 2017, Stone testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that he had “no e-mails, no texts, no documents whatsoever” or any other materials that discussed hacked documents or conversations about Assange. As in the case of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager (and Stone’s former business partner), and that of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, we see that it is not wise to lie when asked, under oath, if you have any specific e-mails and texts. Once again, the government had all the incriminating receipts.

Perhaps the most surprising detail of the indictment is that Stone, a famous braggart, often downplayed the significance of his role as a conduit between the Trump campaign and Assange. He was not, as he has previously said, simply guessing and making vague predictions about the actions WikiLeaks was likely to take; he was an active participant in its attempts to cause chaos in the 2016 Presidential election. In texts sent on or about October 2, 2016, Stone expressed confusion that WikiLeaks had not released e-mails related to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as he had expected. That same day, he sent an e-mail to a friend, who is identified in the indictment as Person 2 and appears to be the radio host Randy Credico, with the subject line “WTF?,” in which he asked why Assange had cancelled a press conference.

The first week of October, 2016, was a crucial one for the Trump campaign and for the country. Trump was trailing Clinton by about four points in the polls, and the conventional wisdom was that he had no chance of winning the Presidency. In the e-mails quoted in the indictment, Stone began that week by complaining that a high-ranking official on Trump’s campaign wouldn’t return his calls. By October 4th, the official—who has been identified by CNBC and in previous reporting by the Times as Steve Bannon, who was the head of Trump’s campaign at the time—had contacted Stone directly, asking when Assange planned his next e-mail release. Stone reassured him that Assange would release “a load every week going forward.” On October 7th—shortly after the Washington Post published the “Access Hollywood” tape, in which Trump brags about sexually assaulting women—Assange began releasing e-mails stolen from Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. An unnamed associate of Bannon wrote, in a text to Stone, “well done.”

Nearly a year later, in September, 2017, Stone not only lied to the House Intelligence Committee about these communications but also sent messages to others who had been asked to testify before the committee, encouraging them to lie as well. To Person 2, he wrote, “Stonewall it. Plead the fifth. Anything to save the plan’ . . . Richard Nixon.” In other exchanges, according to the indictment, Stone “told Person 2 that Person 2 should do a ‘Frank Pentangeli’ before HPSCI in order to avoid contradicting Stone’s testimony,” a reference to a character in “The Godfather: Part II,” who had planned to testify against the Corleone family but was pressured to deny any recollection of key events.

In 2008, Stone, a proudly self-described “dirty trickster,” described his political “rules” to Jeffrey Toobin, one of which was “Lay low, play dumb, keep moving.” For decades, Stone has alternately played a clownish buffoon and serious political insider. It’s a surprisingly effective strategy, forcing the public to wonder if a man who says so many wild things and behaves so flamboyantly can also be a potent force, shifting the world according to his will. A frequent guest on InfoWars and other fringe conspiracy-media outlets, Stone has presented himself as somewhat desperately trying to foster communication between Trump and Assange. But the e-mails in the indictment show that Stone may have played a crucial role in the election, intervening with both the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to influence the timing of key events.

From Stone’s indictment and other documents released by the special counsel’s office, including Manafort’s indictment and Cohen’s sentencing memo, we now see that, from at least November, 2015, through October, 2016, key figures in the Trump campaign and on the business side of the Trump Organization were in regular contact with a variety of actors close to Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin. The figures on Trump’s side were often falling in or out of his favor. Stone was close to Trump until August, 2015, and then was forced to fight for relevance. Trump’s business associates Felix Sater and Michael Cohen were intensely engaged in developing a Trump Tower Moscow project until, by June, 2016, they, too, seemed to step away. Manafort ran Trump’s campaign from June to August, 2016, while also communicating with Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs, before he, too, was tossed from Trump’s inner circle.

Were these contacts largely disorganized, or could they have been coördinated by someone within Trump’s orbit? The most significant person in the Stone indictment appears in a single line, in the passive voice, and seems to have had more authority than almost anyone on the Trump campaign. According to the indictment, “a senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact Stone about any additional releases and what other damaging information Organization 1 [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign.” Who did this directing? Why did Mueller avoid naming the person? Could it possibly have been Trump? Or—as one must still allow—was Trump, somehow, an innocent dupe surrounded by scheming scoundrels?

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Happy Halloween from New Orleans! (Happy Hall-orleans!)

Well, it's that time of year again. The leaves are turning the colour of the President's cheeks and strangers are walking by each other dressed as slutty superheroes without batting an eyelid. That's right, it's the midterms Halloween!

I'll be spending my Halloween in one of the spookiest, haunted place on earth this week: New Orleans. Nola has one of the biggest and craziest Halloween festivals in the world, and I'm keen to get blotto and wander through it, sketching the madness around me.

From there, Justin Smith and I will head to South Carolina to play a weekend at the Carolina Comedy Club, Thu 1st - Sat 3rd.

I've always been a little bit baffled by how big a deal Halloween is in America. As I wrote soon after moving to the US in 2014"America gets behind Halloween like Australia gets behind literally nothing. There’s no holiday we have that even comes close to the saturation that Halloween gets in the US. Not even Australia Day. Or a Masterchef finalé." Read more...

The shops and pharmacies are packed to the brim with candy and costumes, and who can forget the wonderfully tasteful Halloween costumes available... like, Sexy Ebola Nurse, Sexy Ruth Bader Ginsberg, or my personal favourite...

You can see 2014 Jason chatting at excruciating length to ABC News Breakfast about the phenomenon by clicking below. Or click here to watch.

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Episode #24: Slighted by an Eskimo

We're doing a live pod! 10/7, 7pm at Muchmore’s in Brooklyn
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Another cracking episode of Is There Something In This?, discussing things like…

  • Jason gets detained at Heathrow

  • Flying from New York to Melbourne for a football game

  • Ice addict at a parole hearing

  • Golders Green is a sh_thole

  • Halloween Mask Burglars

  • I could sooner organise a robbery than brunch

  • Tragedy Plus Time Equals Comedy (Cellar Appearance)

  • Mushroomdick soup

  • Ernie and Bert-hday New Yorker cartoon

  • Arguing with strangers about the sexual orientation of puppets

  • Querying meal service in detention

  • Inuit Airlines

  • Merlin has written a tell-all parchment

  • Instagrammar Nazi

  • Courtroom Caricaturist

    ...and of course your wonderful listener suggestions. Be sure to send yours in via DM to @jasonchatfield on Instagram.


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