26 thoughts on “Picture This”

  1. ‘Geez, was I ever as bad as this guy?!’ ‘No, Mr. Nixon, of course not . . .’ | Opinion

    by carl Hiaasen in Miami Herald

    The ghost of Richard Nixon sat down in his favorite armchair in front of the television. He still didn’t know how to work the remote, so the ghost of H.R. “Bob” Haldeman turned on the TV and handed the former president a glass of red wine.

     

    “What channel?” Haldeman’s ghost asked.

     

    “Anything but Dan Rather.”

     

    The ghost of Haldeman got tired of reminding his former boss that the pesky Rather had been gone from CBS for years. He put on the Fox News network, which was broadcasting live from the Rose Garden at the White House.

     

    “I never liked those outdoor press things,” the ghost of Nixon remarked sourly. “You’d always hear those damn hippies raising hell across the street in Lafayette Park. The anti-war crowd, you know. Did we ever find out who was paying them?”

     

    Haldeman’s ghost said, “Still working on that, Mr. President.”

     

    Just then, on television, the current non-ghost president entered the Rose Garden and announced that he’d just walked out of a meeting with Congressional Democrats because they were all out to get him.

     

    “Welcome to the club,” muttered Nixon’s ghost, and took a loud sip of wine.

     

    On TV, the mortal president began to fulminate, veering from one random topic to another —investigations, infrastructure, the Mueller report, his unfairly persecuted son Don Jr. On it went.

     

    Fascinated, the ghost of Nixon edged forward in his chair.

     

    “Didn’t his staff give him a list of talking points?” he asked.

     

    “He pays no attention to his staff,” Haldeman’s ghost explained. “He likes to wing it.”

     

    “Is he insane, or is this just an act?” Nixon’s ghost signaled for more wine. “They said I was nuts for talking to the White House portraits in the middle of the night, but I was drunk as a skunk at the time. What’s this guy’s excuse?”

     

    Haldeman’s ghost shrugged. “Trump doesn’t drink. We’ve had this discussion before.”

     

    The Rose Garden tirade went on for 12 full minutes. The ghost of Nixon watched transfixed, his expression pinched and brooding. Afterward, when the Fox commentators began chattering, he told Haldeman’s ghost to mute the volume.

     

    “Bob, that was the most unconvincing, half-assed denial of a cover-up I’ve heard,” the ghost of Nixon said. “Mine were so much better.”

     

    “Absolutely, Mr. President. Your denials were rock-solid. The gold standard.”

     

    “Well, until the day I resigned.”

     

    “This fellow won’t ever do that,” said Haldeman’s ghost.

     

    “You think they’ll actually impeach him? That’s what he seems to want.” The ghost of Nixon gazed out the window, his mood sinking as it often did. “Maybe I should’ve gone the impeachment route instead of quitting. Made those bastards drag me from the Oval Office kicking and fighting.”

     

    The ghost of Haldeman was accustomed to such maudlin talk. “Mr. President, they don’t have the votes in the Senate to convict Trump. That wasn’t your situation during Watergate. You did the honorable thing by sparing the nation a long, divisive trial.”

     

    “That’s right — and the damn liberal media, they claimed I did it just for the pardon!”

     

    “History will judge you kindly,” said the ghost of Haldeman, a line he used no less than 10 times a day to placate his old friend.

     

    But the face of Nixon’s ghost was a familiar mask of bitter intensity.

     

    “Bob, I could be spiteful, paranoid and anti-Semitic, but I never paid hush money to a porn star! I never hid my IRS returns from the public! I never grabbed women’s privates and bragged about it! I never got campaign dirt from the Russians, even in the McGovern race! And I never ordered anyone working for me to defy a Congressional subpoena. I might’ve asked them to tidy up their testimony a little, but —”

     

    “Mr. President, all you ever did was lie about a third-rate burglary.”

     

    “Exactly! Compared to this guy, I was a model commander-in-chief. My face ought to be up on Mount Rushmore next to Lincoln and FDR!”

     

    It wasn’t unusual for the ghost of Nixon to mix up his Roosevelts after a few drinks. Haldeman’s ghost said nothing.

     

    “Bob, answer me this. Trump tells more lies before lunch every day than I told in all six years I was there. How on Earth is he still sitting in that office? And don’t get me started on his hair! Did he steal that stupid wig from Carol Channing?”

     

    “Time for your nap, Mr. President,” Haldeman’s ghost said gently. “Don’t worry. I’ll wake you up for ‘Jeopardy!’”

     

    “That kid with the name I can’t pronounce — he’s still winning?”

     

    “Yes, he is.”

     

    Hmmm,” said Nixon’s ghost, rising. “I guess that’s all right.”

     

     

  2. THAT is a very well disguised fridge, Mr Sturgeone. I’ll bet that the Guggenheim is dying to lay hands on it.

  3. When it dies he plans to remove the doors and hang em on the wall…..
    i got some kind of air antenna for the little tv…..it brings in GRIT channel…..all westerns, all the time…..I’ve seen so many western movies and tv shows I’m beginning to recognize all the cows…..

  4. the guardian drops a few gossipy tidbits from Acosta’s new book  The Enemy of the People [subtitled A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America, will be published on 11 June]. here’s a sample:

    True to the style of Washington political reporting often complained about by Trump, Acosta mostly uses unnamed sources, many of whom are said to have spoken over social drinks. They are often blunt in their assessment of their boss. A “senior White House official” tells Acosta: “The president’s insane.” A “former White House national security official” says staffers were not sure the president had not been “compromised” by Russia.

    […]

    Among events leading up to his expulsion from the White House, there are run-ins with Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer, who is quoted as calling Acosta a “fucking weasel” and shown shouting abuse over a CNN caption. There follow bruising battles with Spicer’s successor, Sarah Sanders, whose approach to the job, including lying freely and cutting press briefings almost to zero, Acosta criticizes heavily – even though, he writes, “we had all been for drinks with her” and she could “throw back her Maker’s and Coke with the best of them”[continues]

  5. So Acosta perpetuates the “fun to have a maker’s mark and coke with” myth
    I wouldn’t want to have anything with Suckabee Slanders  – let alone socialize   check please

  6. by George yesterday:

     
     
    @gtconway3d

     

     

    It’s simple. The reason why Trump loves to talk about impeachment, and why he blathers on about it more than most Dems, including Pelosi and all his 2020 opponents combined, is that it concerns what matters to him most, more than his job, and more than the country—himself

    @gtconway3d

     

     

    Politically, of course, he’d be better off if he’d just shut up about it, just as he would have been far better off if he’d never fired Comey, never tried to obstruct Mueller, and never tweeted the words “Witch Hunt.”  But he’s a pathological narcissist.  He can’t help it.

    @gtconway3d

     

     

    Pelosi gets all this.  She’s playing him like a drum.

     

  7. wonkette: Trump To Give Farmers Another Twenty Or Fifty Bucks Each, NOW SHUT UP ABOUT IT

    Donald Trump plans to spend another $16 billion to bail out farmers who have been hurt by Donald Trump’s trade war with China, according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. That’s on top of the $12 billion bailout Trump already promised farmers last year. That seems like a really smart way to run a trade war: Raise prices on consumers, and then send taxpayer funds to pay off farmers who are losing business, so maybe they’ll keep voting for Trump.

    Perdue explained the subsidies were necessary to offset China’s retaliatory tariffs on US ag products, which is totally unfair for China to do, after all:

    “Well, President Trump feels what they’re trying to do is really outlast him and that’s not gonna work. Their economy has hurt a lot more than our agricultural economy and that’s why President Trump has authorized a $16 billion facilitation program,” Perdue said Thursday morning on Fox Business.

    Perdue said that the farmer aid will be paid for by an equivalent amount the US expects to pull in through tariffs. But Perdue also claimed that “China’s gonna pay for these” — a false assertion made repeatedly by Trump.

    Let’s say that one more time very slowly: American consumers pay for the tariffs when importers raise their prices to cover the import duties. China isn’t paying diddly, although the tariffs are designed to hurt China by reducing imports.

    CNN notes, helpfully, that at least Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, acknowledged earlier this month that the costs of imported goods are paid by US businesses and US consumers, although even then Kudlow insisted China would “suffer” because reduced imports would hurt its GDP. Pity that nobody in the CNN video thought to ask Kudlow whether he has informed the Great Man who actually pays tariffs.

    Politico notes that the timing of the bailout announcement is kind of crap, since it’s planting season and the prospect of government payouts may lead some farmers to switch to

    crops that receive higher payouts from the aid package, such as soybeans. That would add to already record supplies and further depress prices that have been falling for five years.

    Sounds like some of that crazy supply and demand we keep hearing about. Someone should look into that, but the USDA has been busy boning its own economists, so don’t expect a peep out of them!

    We’re sure the new bailouts will be every bit as good for the average farmer as the first round was. The Environmental Working Group estimated the top ten percent of bailout recipients received 68 percent of all the money, leaving many farmers affected by the market disruption with little to show for their heroic duty in the Trade War. In Iowa, for instance, dozens of corn farmers got subsidy checks for $25 or less, woohoo! But others made out like bandits, getting even more than the “maximum” $125,000 subsidy thanks to a loophole that allows multiple related persons to make bailout claims.

     

    “These numbers match trends EWG has been tracking for years, which indicate that federal farm subsidies tend to benefit the largest, most financially secure farmers — or those who have a financial interest in a farm, but may never set a foot on it, let alone drive a tractor,” said Sarah Graddy, an Environmental Working Group spokeswoman.

    In conclusion, bailing out already wealthy agribusiness is an American tradition that isn’t likely to change this time around either, because the very term “agriculture subsidies” makes people’s eyes glaze over. Hell, I think this shit is outrageous, but I’m barely staying awake, the end. 

  8. NYTimes:   In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc

    For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

    But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

    Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.

    It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.

    […]

    North Korea was the first nation to co-opt the tool, for an attack in 2017 — called WannaCry — that paralyzed the British health care system, German railroads and some 200,000 organizations around the world. Next was Russia, which used the weapon in an attack — called NotPetya — that was aimed at Ukraine but spread across major companies doing business in the country. The assault cost FedEx more than $400 million and Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, $670 million.

    The damage didn’t stop there. In the past year, the same Russian hackers who targeted the 2016 American presidential election used EternalBlue to compromise hotel Wi-Fi networks. Iranian hackers have used it to spread ransomware and hack airlines in the Middle East, according to researchers at the security firms Symantec and FireEye.

    “It’s incredible that a tool which was used by intelligence services is now publicly available and so widely used,” said Vikram Thakur, Symantec’s director of security response.

    […]

    Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president, has called for a “Digital Geneva Convention” to govern cyberspace, including a pledge by governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than keeping them secret to exploit for espionage or attacks.

    Last year, Microsoft, along with Google and Facebook, joined 50 countries in signing on to a similar call by French President Emmanuel Macron — the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace — to end “malicious cyber activities in peacetime.”

    Notably absent from the signatories were the world’s most aggressive cyberactors: China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia — and the United States.

  9. also from nytimesTrump’s Targeting of Intelligence Agencies Gains a Harder Edge

    […]

    Ms. Haspel has been careful to cultivate a good relationship with both Mr. Trump and Mr. Barr, according to officials. But the latest inquiry will test her ability to stay in the good graces of her bosses, and the rank and file.

    Former officials said if Mr. Trump was intent on calling out individual intelligence officers as he has with the F.B.I., Ms. Haspel would face an outcry. “What the leadership should do is say, ‘I am vouching for the information. If there is a problem, the problem is with me,’” said John Sipher, a former C.I.A. officer.

    If Ms. Haspel shares the identities of C.I.A. informants outside the agency and the information leaks, he warned, she will lose credibility within the C.I.A.

    Mr. Schiff predicted that both Mr. Coats and Ms. Haspel would defend the integrity of their agencies against any attacks by the White House or give up their posts like former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

    “If it gets to a point they are asked to do things that are unlawful or jeopardize the men and women that work within the I.C., they should speak out,” he said, “and, if necessary, follow the example of Secretary Mattis.”

  10.  
    Did we learn anything from Michael Avenatti?

    “Some would argue at this point that I flew too close to the sun,” says Michael Avenatti as new indictments rain down on him. “As I sit here today, yes, absolutely, I know I did. No question. Icarus.”
    “Some would argue,” is an ironic Trumpian twist for the disgraced barrister, because no one—absolutely no one—other than Avenatti would argue that he is a figure from Greek mythology. Or that his shameless fabrications, thefts, frauds, and all-around assholery are, in any sense, Icarus-like.
    But who did we think he was?
    A super-sexy legal lion? A champion of the downtrodden? A folk hero, who would bring down a president?  A hero of the #Resistance? Presidential candidate? The left’s own Trump?

     An interesting take on a former Resistance hero.
    Jack
     

  11. My latest owl flew in from Alaska.  Spending the whole weekend enjoying the return of son, finding a Bar B Q suitable for steak,  gathering the clan (this matriarch thing is hard work) … By Monday I will have son, daughter, grandson, grandson, great grandson, miscellaneous daughters in law and sundry others not yet identified.

     

  12. Oh and most important, he who was born way too early is winning the battle after two surgeries.  

  13. Lol, i knew you’d take that in the spirit in which it was intended.
     
    This one’s over-played, but like the Man says…

    Never heard of an “Icarus complex” before, haha.

  14. I have a strict policy of listening to the entirety of every song i post- that’s how you know they’re good.  i’m not trying to waste your time with rubbish.
     
    Enjoy your party, Jamie.  Rarified air!

  15. Here’s one for you, pogo-
     

    Btw, Tame Impala is one guy, Kevin Parker, who writes, records, performs, and produces all this stuff, solo. That’s his original take on the Zeppelin sound. Genius!

  16. Bink, if I heard that and was asked what inspired the sound I’m no sure I’d come up with Zeppelin out of the gate. The guy is certainly talented, and by mentioning Zeppelin I can hear similarities but it’s kinda Zep with a lesser Page. 

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