Jared Kushner’s Unusual Background May Place Him Beyond The Law In Pile Of Scandals

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Michael J. Matheron, July 15, 2017, reporting from Air France flight 234 on my way home after mistakenly thinking July 15th was Bastille Day (slapping myself on forehead).

Since Jared Kushner’s rapid and inexplicable rise to the top echelon of advisers to the inexplicable President Trump, nary a word was heard from him until June 19 at an American Technology Council get together. Watching, and now hearing, Mr. Kushner, one cannot describe him as dynamic;  statuesque perhaps, but not dynamic. During the last week we’ve learned “he” attended the now infinitely infamous Junior Donald meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and a growing number of others. [See our exclusive here] Then on July 12th McClatchey reported that investigators are concerned about whether the digital campaign operation that Jared Kushner directed had assisted Russia with its meddling in our November 2016 election. Bob Mueller’s inbox is two stories high!

“Jared” in resting state during battery recharge

Mr. Kushner, however, may be at least partially immune from any subpoenas, demands, or requests, either as a witness or a suspected perpetrator. You see, “Jared Kushner” is a Disney Autonomatronic character. [pron. Auto-No-Matronic]

Back Story. Mystery surrounded Jared Kushner, a seemingly hollow man, until today when Disney Studios announced that for nearly 15 years “Jared Kushner” was an audio-animatronic (AA) character who was, in 2008, updated to a new, more lifelike Autonomatronic figure. Prior to then, as an AA, “Jared’s” last posting was to the Tokyo Disneyland attraction “Pirates of the Caribbean” where “he” appeared as “Wiggly Wobbly,” a shy cabin boy and constant companion of Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp in the franchise’s movies). “Jared” played many roles during his eleven years as a fully automated plastic, nuts and bolts, wholly programmed Disney AA character. Most of his roles were ones where his haunting appearance was an asset. As a zombie during “his” final AA stint in 2008  on Disney’s iconic “It’s A Small World After All” ride at Disney Orlando, Disney’s Animatronics development program chose “him” as a candidate for upgrade.

“Jared’s” head with other AA characters’, on assembly line for routine maintenance (3rd from left)

Unlike AA, Autonomatronics allowed Disney engineers to program “Jared” to do more than simply stand about in one place, zombie-like, looking terminally spaced, and whose only job was to simply mouth pre-recorded tapes. The AA appearance is similar to the apparently human Jared Kushner we’ve wondered about since we first encountered him. Autonomatronic , though, can somewhat realistically react like a human being to a few key stimuli in their immediate environs. A 2009 Disney Parks Blog post explained it this way when discussing a prototype, “Otto”:

“Otto,” 2008 prototype

‘We’ve unveiled the first-ever Disney figure that can hear, see and sense whether or not you’re in the room. . . The figure can sense if you’re happy, hold conversations and react,’ according to Imagineer Scott Trowbridge.
. . .
Autonomatronics technology is different from
Audio-Animatronics [AA] technology. Audio-Animatronics technology repeats a pre-programmed show over and over again. Autonomatronics technology is driven by sophisticated cameras and sensors giving Otto the ability to make choices about what to say and do.

Otto can also detect a number of things about a crowd, including how many people are in attendance. And Otto knows if you’re smiling, too. But your smile will be obvious if you’re a lover of things high-tech.”

Enter Donald J. Trump. Seeking a suitably obedient personal assistant for himself and a husband for his daughter Ivanka, Mr. Trump signed a contract for the purchase of “Jared” on October 24, 2009. “Jared” and Ivanka married the following day. In quick succession “Jared” and Ivanka produced three children, a feat that stands as a Nobel Prize level accomplishment for Disney imagineers and engineers.

Legal questions abound, of course, when considering “Jared’s” legal responsibility and mental capacity as a key figure in the Russiagate probes. “He” has certain human attributes. “He” can walk. “He” can talk. “He” can react to a limited amount of stimuli. And apparently “he” can squire three children. Nonetheless, legal culpability requires a normal carbon-based human brain. According to the usual leaking spigots at DOJ and the FBI, Disney informed Special Prosecutor Mueller that “Jared” has an I.Q. somewhere between a tsetse fly and a pound of hamburger, neither of which Mueller normally considers compos mentis enough to form a mens rea.

(“Jared” counted Chris Christie as “three”)

Nonetheless, as Disney’s Scott Trowbridge explained in 2009, Autonomatronic characters can “detect a number of things about a crowd, including how many people are in attendance,” a number that changes every day. Perhaps “Jared,” being a cross between a calculator and a digital memory storage device, could bring some finality to the question despite his uselessness for other purposes. Also, exceptions exist. During Mueller’s FBI Directorship he oversaw the prosecution of Manuel Noriega and John Gotti, both of whom either were “dumb as stumps or astoundingly cagey.” We’ll continue coverage of this development. Next on “Jared’s” list, though: a thorough oil change and battery update.

“Jared” has caused consternation among lawyers on both sides of the investigation. Staff members are already redacting all non-room-size related comments from emails and all other written or verbal communications from “Jared” and any references from the human actors responding to him in their correspondence. Add another two stories to Mr. Mueller’s inbox!

From this reporter’s view, however, the biggest takeaway from this saga ought to consist of admiration for the imagineer geniuses who put “Jared” in such high places. Congrats Disney,  only you could have thought this one up!

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Michael Matheron

From Presidents Ronald Reagan through George W. Bush, I was a senior legislative research and policy staff of the nonpartisan Library of Congress Congressional Research Service (CRS). I'm partisan here, an "aggressive progressive." I'm a contributor to The Fold and Nation of Change. Welcome to They Will Say ANYTHING! Come back often! . . . . . Michael Matheron, contact me at mjmmoose@gmail.com

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