40 thoughts on “Picture This”

  1. Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.
    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming!
    Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
     
    [W.B. Yeats]

  2. a timely opinion piece by hotpress newsdesk: 
    The World In Chassis: A Rough Beast Slouches Towards Bethlehem
     
    Everywhere you look, threats and chaos. President Donald Trump’s project is still in progress. Basically, it’s to disrupt the international order until it best suits American interests. Old alliances have been sundered and bizarre new friendships formed. Scorn him we might, but his own fanbase likes what it sees. So does Vladimir Putin, though that may simply be a mentor’s pride. The Chinese are a key target for Trump, but they’re keen on stability as they quietly extend their reach, across to Europe with their One Belt One Road initiative, a vast project to connect Asia and Europe, and on into Africa, with investment, aid and military support. In Britain, meanwhile, they move the chairs around the deck of the Titanic while the band plays on.
     
    Blame the banks and the financiers, the wolves of Wall Street for priming the stove. Blame the tech moguls for greed, naivety and what can only be called clueless blue-sky thinking. Everything was going to be brilliant. They’d give us stuff for free in return for our agreement to be farmed, herded and harvested. It never occurred to them that others might get in on their act or that their data systems could be hacked and pillaged, loosing demons and trolls upon the world; facilitating the expression of hatred, bile and racism; and breathing life into the Orcs and undead of the far right.
    [continues]

  3. artist rendering of Canadian border hedge
    Jamie, thanks.  love the Canadians and like the final quote from your link:
    News of the cross-country shrubbery came as a surprise to many Americans, who were pretty sure they’d heard that the Canadians had already planted one of those two years ago, in the days following the U.S. decision to elect a discarded traffic pylon – found in a ditch on the road to nowhere – as their leader.
     
    “No,” corrects Candy. “That was a joke. This time we’re serious.”
     

  4. it’s almost that time!  tomorrow is FESTIVUS!  here’s a carol to put you in the mood

     
    and here are 5 things you should know to prepare for the big day

  5. the hill:
    Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced early Saturday morning that she would again donate her salary to a charity for every day the federal government is shut down.
    “I cannot take a salary during a government shutdown knowing that so many federal workers in Nevada and across the country will go without pay,” Cortez Masto tweeted shortly after the shutdown began at midnight. “I’ll be donating my salary to a Nevada charity for every day of the Trump shutdown.
    Cortez Masto also criticized President Trump for bringing the country “into yet another crisis right before the holidays.” “We should be working together to end to this shutdown,” she wrote in another tweet.
    The Nevada Democrat also donated her salary to constituents during a government shutdown in January.
    [continues]

  6. From Paradise California, which was destroyed last month by a wild fire
     
    Resident who lost his home in the fire, decorates for Christmas
    “I put Christmas lights up and went to the dollar store and bought one dollar Christmas stockings to hang over the chimney and fireplace and put battery-powered lights around (the property) to make it festive,” Andrews commented.” it has become a cheerleader to let’s rebuild our town.”
    He said he is trying to stay positive that is the reason for the Christmas lights and stockings.
    “I’m on the top of the hill by Bille (Road) by Skyway, I’m kind of out there in front of everybody and I want to keep people motivated and I keep spirits up,” Andrews said.” I found Christmas lights and did something goofy.”

     

  7. Pogosays:December 21, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    “So I will take the mantle,” he [IMPOTUS] said [last week]. “I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.” “The Democrats now own the shutdown!” Trump insisted in one of his Friday morning tweets.

    “Dumbass.  Wear your mantle proudly.”

    Pogo, SFB was talking about swiping the fireplace mantle piece that was in the background of the photo.

  8. …or he could wear a yoke, hitched to a sled full of rocks, while also wearing an orange jumpsuit- in keeping with the theme.

  9. wapo:
    Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, has resigned in protest of President Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
     
    His resignation, confirmed by a State Department official familiar with the matter, comes on the heels of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s announced departure earlier this week over differences with the White House over foreign policy, immediately following Trump’s decision. Mattis said he would stay on until February to ensure a smooth transition.
     
    McGurk’s departure is effective Dec. 31, an earlier exit than his intended departure in mid-February, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. McGurk submitted his resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday, the official said.
    The resignations send a negative signal to foreign partners whose support is crucial to containing Islamic State forces, said experts and former officials.
    […]
    “Anybody coming into this role will have a very difficult time being credible with our foreign partners,” said Nicholas Rasmussen, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Obama and Trump. “Obviously our diplomats are only as credible as the willingness of their country to live up to their commitments, and that has been undermined significantly in this case.”

  10. trump says he has $10B!LL!ON$.
    If he’s so hot to help the US defend itself with a wall, let him put in the $5B!LL!ON$ !
    Wear your extortionist’s mantle proudly, Proud Boy.

  11. Trump is negotiating with the wrong people.
    Mexico is supposed to pay for this wall,he should be shutting down their government. I’m sure they won’t mind.

  12. There’s a magnificent oped piece in yesterdays’ Journal by a former Marine who’s now in school at Wharton. I’m going to try to get it, but I might need Pat’s help. The author’s name is Tommy Meyerson.

  13. Ah, here’s the article:
    ‘The Cost Of Betraying Syria’s Kurds.’
    “I returned this year from military service in northeastern Syria, where the U.S. has supported local Kurdish, Arab and Syriac Christian militias in a grim campaign to dislodge Islamic State. Now refugees are returning to their homes, and locals are starting to rebuild after five years of fighting and nightmarish ISIS rule. In most places I was greeted by civilians thankful for the U.S. presence. I’ll never forget the little girl who ran up in a recently liberated market town and hugged my leg, refusing to let go.

    But this fragile rose blooming in the desert will likely be crushed if the U.S. departs.
    With peace finally in sight, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week threatened to invade northern Syria and “cleanse” the region of our Kurdish partners. After a phone call with Mr. Erdogan, President Trump tweeted that the U.S. may soon pull all 2,000 troops from Syria. The best way for the U.S. to avoid dishonor and calamity is to walk back this policy shift and publicly commit to safeguarding its Kurdish partners until a durable peace agreement can be reached.
    The U.S. and the West have quietly relied on the Syrian Kurds to sacrifice their young men and women by the thousands to defeat the Islamic State. Thanks largely to their efforts, ISIS in Syria has gone from a fearsome juggernaut to a ragged band of die-hards trapped in a shrinking patch of wasteland.
    The partnership dates to 2014, when the Kurds mounted an inspiring last-ditch defense of Kobani against ISIS’ advance. The Kurds could have halted and focused on consolidating their own territory, but at America’s urging they expanded their effort against ISIS. In a coalition with Arabs and Syriacs of the Euphrates River Valley, they’ve swept south to dislodge ISIS from one-third of Syria.
    I met many young Syrian fighters of all ethnicities, who under Kurdish leadership were determined to liberate their lands from Islamist despotism. In Raqqa and along the Euphrates I witnessed firsthand as steady trains of field ambulances carried Kurdish casualties in battle after battle. The Kurdish-led civil administration does the heavy lifting of guarding hundreds of ISIS’ most dangerous foreign fighters while their home countries drag their feet on extradition.
    The West owes them a debt for the price they’ve paid. Instead, a U.S. departure would threaten them with disaster. Already Mr. Erdogan has directed two invasions of Syrian border regions—in 2016 north of Aleppo and this January in the northwestern Afrin region. Mr. Erdogan labels America’s Syrian Kurdish partners “terrorists,” links them with separatist rebels in Turkey, and suggests resettling their land with Arab refugees from elsewhere in Syria.
    The Kurds have earned a reputation for fighting bravely, but without U.S. air power their prospects against a modern army with a robust air force would be grim. An invasion would force Kurdish forces to pull back from the front lines against the remnant of ISIS, allowing the jihadists to regroup and proliferate. It would likely spawn a fresh humanitarian catastrophe, including areas that have been mostly spared the worst of Syria’s civil war.
    I heard frequently from Kurds about their fears of ethnic cleansing should Turkey invade. Invasion would also leave the door wide open for the Assad regime to launch an assault with help from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. I witnessed just such an incursion attempt by regime elements this February, while the Kurds were distracted with Ankara’s invasion of Afrin—an incursion repelled only by U.S. firepower.
    A pullout would harm U.S. interests as well. It would shred America’s credibility as a counterterrorism partner world-wide, while abandoning a strategic area and making it harder to check jihadist, Iranian and Russian ambitions. Mr. Trump should make clear the U.S. stands with the Syrian Kurds and won’t permit a Turkish invasion. No one wants American troops to stay in Syria forever, but U.S. interests and honor demand that they stay for now.
    Mr. Meyerson, a former U.S. Marine, is a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

    Appeared in the December 21, 2018, print edition as ‘The Cost Of Betraying Syria’s Kurds.’

  14. Flatus… thanks for posting that Marine’s oped piece.  Hopefully more and more people in our armed services will wake up to what the real trump is all about…  himself.  Once he starts losing military support… he’ll be dead in the water for 2020.  So sad…  hugely and bigly sad.

  15. ny times:  For Trump, ‘a War Every Day,’ Waged Increasingly Alone
    When President Trump grows frustrated with advisers during meetings, which is not an uncommon occurrence, he sits back in his chair, crosses his arms and scowls. Often he erupts. “Freaking idiots!” he calls his aides. Except he uses a more pungent word than “freaking.”
    For two years, Mr. Trump has waged war against his own government, convinced that people around him are fools. Angry that they resist his wishes, uninterested in the details of their briefings, he becomes especially agitated when they tell him he does not have the power to do what he wants, which makes him suspicious that they are secretly undermining him.
    Now, the president who once declared that “I alone can fix” the system increasingly stands alone in a system that seems as broken as ever. The swirl of recent days — a government shutdown, spiraling scandals, tumbling stock markets, abrupt troop withdrawals and the resignation of his alienated defense secretary — has left the impression of a presidency at risk of spinning out of control.
    At the midpoint of his term, Mr. Trump has grown more sure of his own judgment and more cut off from anyone else’s than at any point since taking office. He spends ever more time in front of a television, often retreating to his residence out of concern that he is being watched too closely. As he sheds advisers at a head-spinning rate, he reaches out to old associates, complaining that few of the people around him were there at the beginning.
    Mr. Trump is said by advisers to be consumed by the multiplying investigations that have taken down his personal lawyer, campaign chairman, national security adviser and family foundation. He rails against enemies, who often were once friends, nursing a deep sense of betrayal and grievance as they turn on him.
    “Can you believe this?” he has said as he scanned the torrent of headlines. “I’m doing great, but it’s a war every day.”
    “Why is it like this?” he has asked aides, with no acknowledgment that he might have played a role. The aides, many of whom believe he has been treated unfairly by the news media, have replied that journalists are angry that he won and proved them wrong. He nods in agreement at such explanations.
    As the president vents, he constantly rattles off what he sees as underappreciated accomplishments. “Look what I did for Mexico and Canada,” he has told allies. “Look what’s happened with terrorism.”
    The portrait that emerges from interviews with about 30 current and former administration officials, personal friends, political allies, lawmakers and congressional aides suggests a president who revels in sharp swings in direction, feels free to disregard historic allies and presides over near constant turmoil within his own team as he follows his own instincts.
    […]
    The days are filled with conflict, much of it of his own making. More advisers are heading for the door. The divisions are widening, not closing. If it is a “war every day,” there are no signs of peace.
    “What I’m trying to figure out is where does it end,” Mr. Goldstein said. “The language gets coarser on all sides. The respect for the office of the presidency seems less to me than it was. How do we move people back? Or are we in the new reality?”

  16. repeated from above for emphasis:
    He spends ever more time in front of a television, often retreating to his residence out of concern that he is being watched too closely

  17. Right now the Executive Branch of the United States is being lead by an old man with serious cognitive problems, who is of low intelligence, senile, narcisstic, and possibly showing advanced syphilis infection symptoms.  His current set of enablers are white supremacists and his immediate family.  It looks like all, repeat that, all of his real staff are gone now.  He has no controls over his impulses now.  His brain is so, shall we put it mildly, shot, that he does not live in our world.  He does live in a world that none of us will comprehend as it is only in his chocolate pudding brain.

    Sitting around trying not to spend money while on furlough. Can’t treat it as a vacation as bills are due and there is no guarantee that we will be paid for the time.  For me there are phone calls from importers that will not be answered, hundreds of emails requesting support that will not be read, and an inability to create the next version of the program.  It costs others time and money that I am not supporting them. 
     

  18. oy  Let’s continue to point out that the entire Republican Party – Ms Not Romney is to blame for  this.  There are no good Republicans now

  19. Limbaugh is a provable racist, drug addict, and pervert.  He has now taken over the US government thanks to the paranoid great orange traffic cone. 

  20. KGC, I think there are some good Republicans out there. We just need a way of identifying them as being true members of the Party of Lincoln.

  21. Mr Flatus, 
    At this time, the only good republican is an xrepublican. Any republican who is fighting trumpence tooth and nail is okay, however there doesn’t appear to be such an animal. 
    We’ll see if any Lincoln followers begin to redeem themselves in Iowa in the next two months. Any that have to wait until March to jump in are just in it for themselves.
     

  22. Naming Erdogan to be our new Secretary of Defense isn’t quite as bad as picking putin to do the job. I suppose there isn’t an American that trump can trust to do the job.
    I know, I’m over the top on this. It isn’t as though he sold America’s harbors to the funders of Arab terrorism. That was babybush/cheney. 

  23. Festively is December 23?  I never realized I was born on a holiday. I always thought I was born 2 days before a holiday. Now I learn it’s both. 😎

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