POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 46: TSAR WARS

Week 45 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 23, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-45-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-bf4226b63a4e

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Photo I took of a t-shirt through a shop window in Budapest, Hungary. September 2017
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Artist Subdude. London, England. September 2017
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London, England 09/17
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Artist Subdude. London, England 09/17

Week 45 is the week of Paul Manafort — who now in retrospect, seems an even more odd choice by Trump for campaign manager. As Mueller zeroes in on Manafort and Flynn, almost every Trump campaign and WH staffers, past and present, is being drawn in to the expanding Russia probe. This week several regime members drew heat for unrepentant kleptocracy.

This week DHS informed 21 states they were targeted by Russia, strangely a year later and on a late afternoon on Friday. Trump, who benefitted from a slight approval rating reprieve courtesy of positive media coverage, continues to deny Russian involvement and to act erratically and unbefitting of the office on both foreign policy and domestic issues. Trump also continues to ignore what is shaping up to be a humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

  1. In a series of bizarre Sunday morning tweets, Trump referred to Kim Jong Un as the “Rocket Man,” retweeted a criticism of a NYT story, and retweeted two of his own tweets.
  2. Trump also retweeted a GIF of him hitting Hillary with a golf ball in the head, sparking criticism for the violent imagery against a female political opponent. Elected Republicans remained silent.
  3. The original account of the golf GIF was @Fuctupmind, whose Twitter feed is full of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ tweets.
  4. Trump began his first UN remarks by mentioning Trump World Tower, “I actually saw great potential right across the street to be honest with you.”
  5. Trump threatened to “totally destroy” N. Korea, and using his new nickname for Kim Jong Un, said, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission.” N. Korea’s ambassador walked out before Trump’s speech started.
  6. Trump also said, “I will always put America first,” and urged other leaders to do the same. Several analysts compared Trump’s speech to the 1920’swhen traditionalist reacted to changing times by stoking hate of others.
  7. WAPO’s Asia Pacific reporter noted Kim Jong Un’s regime tells N. Korean people every day that the US “wants to destroy them and their country. Now, they will hear it from another source” — Trump.
  8. On Wednesday, in an escalating war of words, N. Korea’s foreign minister likened Trump to a “dog barking.
  9. On Thursday, while threatening escalation, Kim Jong Un called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard.” N. Korea analysts noted it is unprecedented to have Kim Jong Un himself directly attack a US leader.
  10. On Friday, the LA Times reported aides repeatedly warned Trump not to deliver a personal attack on Kim Jong Un at his UN speech, saying insults could irreparably escalate tensions.
  11. Pew Research reported America’s image has suffered since Trump took office. In a survey spanning 37 nations, just 22% have confidence Trump is doing the right thing in international affairs, versus 64% for Obama.
  12. As tensions rise with N. Korea, 76% of S. Koreans and 72% of Japanese say they have no confidence in Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.
  13. Trump also blasted Iranian leaders as a “corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy,” and said “the Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions,” and an “embarrassment” to the US.
  14. On Friday, Iran showed off its new ballistic missile at a military parade in Tehran. President Rouhani said, “when it comes to defending our country, we will ask nobody for their permission.”
  15. At a bilateral meeting, Trump praised Turkey’s authoritarian leader Erdogan, saying: “We have a great friendship.” Erdogan is the subject of international condemnation for his brutal crackdown on dissidents.
  16. State authorities in NH are investigating the wounding of an 8 year-old biracial boy as a possible hate crime. The boy was pushed off a picnic table with a rope around his neck by teenagers.
  17. US Army recruiters are canceling contracts with hundreds of immigrant recruits, exposing some to deportation. Recruiters claim the move is to eliminate onerous background investigations from the enlistment process.
  18. Newsweek reported white supremacists are recruiting on college campuses. At University of Houston, flyers reading “Beware the International Jew” and “Imagine a Muslim-Free America” were hung around campus.
  19. McClatchy reported the Trump regime is considering a policy which would fast-track the deportation of thousands of unaccompanied Central American teenagers who arrived at the southern border.
  20. More than 150k children who arrived at the southern border, escaping violence and poverty in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, would be sent back when they turn 18, without seeing an immigration judge first.
  21. NPR reported parents traveling within Texas to a hospital to get their two-month old a lifesaving operation were arrested and put into deportation proceedings. A hospital nurse may have tipped border patrol off.
  22. Under Obama, immigration agents avoided enforcement actions at hospitals, schools and churches. The Trump regime rounds up people in the country illegally at those places, even if they have no criminal record.
  23. Guardian reported Trump has assembled the most male-dominated government in decades, with 80% of nominations for top jobs in the Trump regime going to men.
  24. On Friday, DeVos formally rescinded Obama-era policies campus sexual assault meant to protect victims, instead siding with men’s rights advocates. No formal policy was put in place, just a higher burden of proof.
  25. WSJ reported as Trump’s temporary travel ban expired Friday, DHS may replace it with a targeted approach that will impact nine countries, only one of which is not majority Muslim. Trump has no business interests in the six already on the list, it is uncertain about the additional three.
  26. A triathlon scheduled to take place at Trump National golf course in NC, originally named “Tri at the Trump” then rebranded “Tri for Good,” was canceled amid controversy. This would have been the race’s fourth year.
  27. WJAR-TV, one of RI’s most watched television stations, said it is being forced by its owner Sinclair Broadcast Group to broadcast multiple programs favorable to Trump.
  28. AP reported the Republican Governors Associations quietly set up a media outlet, “The Free Telegraph.” Critics called the website, which makes no mention of a being a product of an official party committee, propaganda.
  29. On Monday, Trump said he was looking into staging a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue for July 4th.
  30. On Wednesday, in a speech at a lunch with African leaders, Trump praised the health care of Nambia, a nonexistent African country.
  31. Nicaragua announced it will sign on to the Paris climate accord — leaving only Syria and the US outside it.
  32. Trump blocked a woman with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on Twitter. Laura Packard had tweeted Graham-Cassidy would jeopardize the lives of people like her who rely on Obamacare exchanges for coverage.
  33. AP reported lawmakers across the country introduced dozens of bills this year which would close or limit public access to a wide range of government records and meetings.
  34. The Trump regime has removed links to taxpayer-funded climate data on the U.S. Geological Survey website. A search for “Effects of Climate Change” had 2,825 items in December and today has zero items.
  35. WAPO reported that in a memo to Trump, Interior Sec Zinke is recommending modifying 10 national monuments created by Obama, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four.
  36. Justice Gorsuch campaigned for McConnell in a speech in McConnell’s hometown on Thursday. In Week 21, McConnell passed the filibuster-ending “nuclear option” that allowed Gorsuch to get confirmed.
  37. WAPO reported Democrats are introducing The Hotel Act, legislation which would ban federal officials from using taxpayer fund for travel expenses at Trump-owned properties or locales.
  38. POLITICO reported HHS Sec Price used a private-jet for travel, breaking precedent. Price has been an outspoken critic of federal spending, and has developed a plan for department-wide savings at HHS.
  39. POLITICO also reported Price traveled by private by private plane at least 24 times since early May, costing taxpayers more than $300k. Many flights were to conferences, so dates were known well in advance.
  40. The most frequent justification for chartered flights is lack of comparable options. POLITICO found several commercial flight options at comparable times for five chartered flights Price took last week.
  41. WAPO reported according to a senior administration official, the WH did not approve Price’s travel on chartered planes.
  42. On Friday, WAPO reported the HHS Inspector General is investigating Price’s use of two dozen chartered flights in recent months.
  43. ABC reported Treasury Dept investigators are also looking into a charter flight Mnuchin took from NY to DC on August 15 at a cost to taxpayers of $25k. There are ample flight and rail alternatives available for this route.
  44. For a third time, Republicans in the Senate tried to pass healthcare without using regular order or trying for any bi-partisan support. McCain’s vote against these tactics will likely cause Graham-Cassidy to fail.
  45. The Trump regime continued to sabotage Obamacare: HHS announced it will shut down the @HHSgov website for 12 hours during all but one Sunday in the remaining six weeks of open enrollment season.
  46. Jeff Mateer, Trump’s nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas, in two 2015 speeches, described transgender children are evidence of “Satan’s plan,” and lamented that states were banning conversion therapy.
  47. WAPO reported the EPA has spent $833k on Pruitt’s round-the-clock personal security detail over the past three months, doubling what was spent by his predecessors, and amid massive cost cutting for the agency.
  48. According to a copy of his schedule obtained by WAPO, Pruitt met regularly with executives from the auto, mining and fossil fuel industries — in some cases shortly before making decisions favorable to them.
  49. POLITICO reported a review of Trump’s pick for USDA hires reveals the agency is full of campaign staff and volunteers, many of whom have little or no federal policy experience or knowledge about agriculture.
  50. Trump’s picks are also being paid above their pay scale. One former truck driver is being paid the highest levels on the federal government’s pay scale, a GS-12, earning $80k annually, although he has no college degree.
  51. Former Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo said he will need to liquidate part of his children’s college fund to pay for specialized legal representation in the Mueller Russia probe.
  52. Flynn’s siblings launched a legal-defense fund to help defray the costs of the Russia probe. The family will not disclose the identity of donors, raising concerns from ethics experts.
  53. Reuters reported Trump is using money donated to his re-election campaign and the RNC to pay for his legal fees related to the Russia probe.
  54. CNN reported the RNC spent $231k in August to cover Trump’s legal fees, paying personal attorneys Sekulow $131k and Dowd $100k.
  55. The RNC has also payed nearly $200k of Donald Jr.’s legal fees for the Russia probe in August.
  56. WSJ reported the Republican Party is funding Trump’s legal defense in the Russia probe with help from a handful of wealthy individuals, including a Ukrainian-born American with close business ties to Russian oligarchs.
  57. NYT reported Donald Jr. has decided to forego his Secret Service protection, citing he wants more privacy.
  58. Jody Hunt, Sessions’ chief-of-staff and Trump’s pick to be assistant AG of the DOJ’s Civil Division, was present at a key meeting between Sessions, Comey and Trump, at which Trump asked all but Comey to leave.
  59. Sessions new chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, said Mueller’s Russia probe is turning into a “witch hunt,” and said Rosenstein should “order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation.”
  60. On Tuesday, Senate investigators canceled a meeting with Michael Cohen, saying he broke an agreement by releasing a statement and speaking to the media. NBC reports the committee will subpoena Cohen instead.
  61. Guardian reported on the eighth person at the June 9 Trump Tower meeting: Ikray “Ike” Kaveladze, saying he is an associate of some of Russia’s richest and most powerful people.
  62. Kaveladze was involved in the 2013 takeover of Stillwater Mining by Norilsk Nickel, a Russian mining firm owned by an associate of Putin — the first Russian company to take a majority stake in a US company. Kaveladze served on the new company’s board.
  63. NYT reported on two Trump lawyers, Cobb and Dowd, overheard by NYT reporters while discussing over lunch a clash within Trump’s legal team over how much to cooperate with Mueller.
  64. Per the overheard conversation, WH officials fear that colleagues are wearing wires for Mueller. NYT reported in the aftermath McGahn erupted at Cobb, and Kelly reprimanded him.
  65. CBS reported FBI surveillance of Manafort during 2016 picked up conversations between Manafort and Russians about the campaign, and may also include conversations between Manafort and Trump.
  66. WSJ reported Mueller’s team interviewed deputy AG Rosenstein about Trump’s firing of Comey in June or July. Mueller has independence on his investigation, but ultimately answers to Rosenstein.
  67. Rosenstein said Trump shrugged off any potential consequences for firing Comey. Rosenstein also turned over the May 8 memo from Trump which outlined his rationale for firing Comey, to Mueller’s team.
  68. CNN reported Manafort was wiretapped by the US government. The wiretap was first authorized by the special court that handles FISA warrants in 2014 when Manafort was the subject of a FBI investigation.
  69. The surveillance was discontinued late last year for lack of evidence, then restarted by the FBI under a new FISA warrant for ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which extended into early 2017.
  70. NYT reported on aggressive tactics being employed by Mueller’s investigator against Manafort, including prosecutors telling him they planned to indict him as they searched his Virginia home.
  71. To get the search warrant, Mueller’s team had to show probable cause that Manafort’s home contained evidence of a crime. To pick the lock, prosecutors had to persuade a judge Manafort would destroy evidence.
  72. Also of note: Mueller’s team first learned of the emails between Donald Jr. and Russians to set up the June 9 meeting through NYT reporting.
  73. WAPO reported Mueller has requested extensive records and email correspondence from the WH for 13 categories which investigators for the special counsel have identified as critical to their probe.
  74. Mueller’s agents have zeroed in on Manafort and Flynn. Their past associates are being questioned on whether they tried to conceal consulting work that could have benefited foreign governments.
  75. NYT reported requests relate to the areas of Flynn’s hiring and firing, the Comey firing, and Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak at which he said the Comey firing has relieved “great pressure” on him.
  76. Documents are also sought for communications with Manafort, as well as Trump’s campaign foreign policy team: Carter Page, J. D. Gordon, Keith Kellogg, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz.
  77. Other areas include Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak, Spicer’s statements on Comey’s firing, and the June 9 Trump Tower meeting and the WH response to that meeting.
  78. Axios reported Spicer’s colleagues say he filled “notebook after notebook” at meetings during the campaign and then at the WH. Spicer was known for keeping copious notes.
  79. When Axios’s Mike Allen texted Spicer for a comment, Spicer responded, “From a legal standpoint I want to be clear: Do not email or text me again. Should you do again I will report to the appropriate authorities.”
  80. WAPO reported that less than two weeks before the RNC Convention, Manafort made an offer in an email through an intermediary to give Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska a private briefing.
  81. Manafort and Deripaska had a business relationship in which Manafort was paid as an investment consultant. Deripaska is one of Russia’s richest men, and someone Putin turns to on a regular basis.
  82. Manafort emails indicate he may have been looking to get paid money owed by past clients using his role and influence as Trump’s campaign manager. An email in April asked, “How do we use to get whole?”
  83. Also of note, Deripaska claimed Manafort siphoned off $19mm of funds intended for investments— for which Deripaska sued in US court. It is possible Manafort was looking to wipe that debt away.
  84. Also in email, Manafort communicated with Konstantin Kilimnik, his long-time man in Kiev who attended Soviet military school, using code terms like “OVD” for Deripaska and “black caviar” for possible payments.
  85. NYT reported in order to help defray his legal expenses, Manafort is working for allies of the leader of Iraq’s Kurdish region on a referendum on Kurdish independence from Iraq. The US opposes the referendum.
  86. As part of that work, Manafort may leave the country and return to the region in the coming days for the vote.
  87. NYT reported New York-based law firm Skadden, Arps has been asked by the DOJ for documentation related to work arranged by Manafort for Viktor Yanukovych, the Russia-aligned former PM of Ukraine.
  88. The work was part of an effort to shield Yanukovych from international condemnation for his government prosecuting and convicting the former Ukrainian PM Tymoshenko without evidence and for political reasons.
  89. Skadden, Arps has returned half the $1.1mm in fees the firm received. It is unclear if the document request relates to Mueller’s Russia probe, and its focus on Manafort.
  90. Former Trump campaign manager Lewandowski, while defending Trump, said he hopes Manafort, Stone or any others on the campaign who colluded with Russia in 2016, “go to jail for the rest of their lives.
  91. Mueller brought in Stephen Kelly, fmr congressional affairs chief for the FBI, to act as a liaison to Capitol Hill. Kelly will be a point of contact and keep congressional investigators up to date on the special counsel’s probe.
  92. Twitter will meet with the Senate Intel Comm next week relating to the committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the US election.
  93. Bowing to pressure from lawmakers and the public, Facebook will release 3k ads bought by a Russian agency to congressional investigators. Facebook also vowed to be more “transparent.”
  94. Daily Beast reported Russians used Facebook to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during the 2016 election. The page for one such group, “Being Patriotic,” was closed by Facebook in August 2017.
  95. On Friday morning, Trump defended Russia from Facebook ads as being a “Russia hoax,” while attacking Hillary, tweeting the greatest influence was “the Fake News Media “screaming” for Crooked Hillary Clinton.”
  96. USA Today reported, according to the FBI, as many as 39 states had their election systems scanned or targeted by Russia. Several states are now considering switching back to paper ballots.
  97. On Friday, DHS contacted election officials in 21 states to notify them they had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the 2016 election. This was the first time government officials contacted the states.
  98. DHS did not make names of the 21 states public, citing privacy. BuzzFeedreported state officials are outraged, and wanting to know why it took DHS a year to inform them. Sen Warner called the delay “unacceptable.”
  99. PA and WI, states with odd voting patterns which were the subject of recounts, were among the 21 disclosed as of Friday night. Officials in FL, another surprise on election night, said they were also a target of Russia.
  100. On Friday night, fmr DNI Clapper said US Intel’s findings on Russia’s election interference “did serve to cast doubt on the legitimacy” of Trump’s victory, and expressed concern that Russian interference will continue.
  101. On Friday night in Alabama, at what was supposed to be a campaign rally for Sen Luther Strange, Trump said of his support of Strange, “I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake.
  102. The campaign rally turned out to be a 90 minute rant, including Trump again deriding Kim Jong Un, calling him “little Rocket Man.
  103. Trump also said of Colin Kaepernick who took a knee in protest, NFL owners should respond by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field.”
  104. The next morning, Trump tweeted about Stephen Curry, a member of the NBA Champion Warriors who had expressed reservations about going to the WH: “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!
  105. A WAPO opinion writer described how Trump is making Americans sick: including rising blood pressure, a surge in mouth-guards for night-time teeth clenching and grinding, and unusually busy psychotherapists.
  106. Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, decimating the island and leaving 3.5mm without electricity for months. On Friday, 70k were evacuated over concern of a failing dam. Trump did little to mention or address this crisis.
  107. The Trump regime plans to rollback Obama-era limitations on drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefields.
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LONDON, ENGLAND STREET ART:   BREXIT? SHAKEN NOT STIRRED

Slowly disappearing ROA…

Subdude
Gee Street Art
HIMBAD
Fanakapan

Gray day, Greyhound.
Dscreet

HNRX
Jimmy C
Australian artist CRiSP
Alex Senna
C215
HIMBAD
D*FACE

Rick and Morty by Cloakwork and Kos Kreations
Eye Contact
Happy Pez!
Toulouse, France-based graffiti pioneer MADEMOISELLE KAT
STIK

19sep17 London, England

LONDON, ENGLAND: CONTEMPLATION

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St. Saviors Southwark War Memorial: bronze sculpture designed by Philip Lindsey Clark. “Give honour to the men of St. Saviours Southwark who gave their lives for the empire 1914–1918.”
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Contemplation.

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MANYOLY: a French artist who “loves expressing her ideas by painting women’s faces with powerful colors.” http://www.isupportstreetart.com/interview/manyoly/
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Visual artist and illustrator: STEDHEAD. She is from the Isle of Man and is currently based in London.
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Irish artist: EOIN

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Legendary London graffiti writer Tizer of the ID Crew. @tizerone on Twitter.
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Ghost Writers Crew

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THIRSTY BSTRD: a French visual artist from Paris.

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Philadelphia, PA – based artist: Pyramid Oracle

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“Numb” by ALO (Aristide Loria), a London-based Italian artist.                                                      19sep17 London, England

LONDON (BRIXTON) ENGLAND: LOVE WITH A CHERRY ON TOP

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Messages to Network Rail to save the arches and stop the forced evictions. Unfortunately for the longstanding businesses, from what I’m witnessing, Network Rail is moving forward as planned. 

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Nelson Mandela. “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

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Brixton Market
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The Underground: Brixton Station

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David Robert Jones was born on 8January1947 in the family home at number 40 Stansfield Road, Brixton, London, SW9 9RZ. This iconic mural by Australian artist Jimmy C has now been protected with a piece of plexiglass. Overexcited fans defaced the mural after Bowie’s death, so the town council voted to protect it.

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The Foxes and Cherries sculptures were created by Buckinghamshire-born artist Lucy Casson in 2010 and can be found above Brixton market on the south-west corner of Electric Avenue and Electric Lane.

 

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Cool shutters.

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London’s had a tough year, but the communities support each other.

17sep17 Brixton, London, England

 

LONDON STREET ART: BANKSY vs. BASQUIAT vs. HARING

My Monday started out calmly enough…and then I received an instant message from a friend saying “Quick!” ~ with a link to a Guardian article about the newest Banksy piece (two, actually) that popped up at the Barbican Centre over the weekend. So, I dropped everything ~ due to my past history with Banksy’s NYC Residency in 2013 ~ https://www.amazon.com/My-Month-Banksy-October-2013/dp/1494258447 ~ and the anxiety ensued – feeling like it was a race against time, to get there, document it…in case other people had ideas ~ like vandalizing it, covering it up, etc…. ~ and I’m just passing through London, so I needed to figure out the best way to get there. Not wanting to influence your interpretation (although, there is one caption in the middle explaining Basquiat’s crown) while viewing the photos, I placed my analyses at the very bottom of the post. Would love to hear your thoughts: 

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Wanted to confirm its authenticity by going to Banksy’s official IG page…

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The Banksy part is the Basquiat getting patted down by the police. The Keith Haring-inspired bit was added and I don’t know by whom…It looks like the skater sees the pat down by the police and is like “Hey, wait a minute. You forgot your crown!” and is leaping over the officer to put it on Basquiat’s head in order to nullify the invasive search. “A crown appears frequently in the early work of Jean-Michel Basquiat signaling his ambition and understanding of art history. Many artists used their monarchs to symbolize their own majestic powers and Basquiat, lacking one, continued the tradition in his own way. Besides, Basquiat was ambitious and out to become king of the pack. One friend who knew him early on wrote: “He could walk into a thrift store with five bucks and come out looking like a king. In fact he basically behaved like a king who had accidentally switched lives with an identical pauper.” http://www.everypainterpaintshimself.com/article/basquiats_crownsIMG_0935IMG_0936IMG_0937IMG_0938IMG_0941IMG_0942IMG_0943IMG_0944IMG_0945IMG_0946IMG_0947IMG_0951IMG_0957IMG_0959IMG_0962IMG_0963IMG_0964IMG_0970IMG_0971IMG_0982DCIM100GOPROG0036928.IMG_0996DCIM100GOPROG0056964.IMG_0997IMG_0999IMG_1001IMG_1002IMG_1003IMG_1004IMG_1005IMG_1006IMG_1008IMG_1009IMG_1012IMG_1013IMG_1014IMG_1017IMG_1018IMG_1019IMG_1020IMG_1021IMG_1022IMG_1023IMG_1024IMG_1025IMG_1026IMG_1027IMG_1028IMG_1030IMG_1033IMG_0756IMG_0769

1 – People interacting with Banksy pieces is an extension of the art itself…

2 – A man approached me and asked me “Do you think this is OK to do?” I replied “Do you?” He said “I asked you the question.” Me: “I’m asking YOU.” He replied: “No, I don’t. This is vandalism.” I said “Well, I love it.” Him: “It’s a Grade II building.”  (Grade 2 listed building restrictions and Grade 2 listed building regulations:  Restrictions are there to protect the historic significance of the building.  Any change which affects the listed fabric of the building is illegal unless approved by your LA (Local Authority). http://www.heritage-consulting.org/grade-2-building-restrictions

I said “It’s obvious that this is a collaboration between Banksy and the Barbican and that they approved it.” (Just taking note of their security staff protecting it)  Him: “Well, if they did, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble!” Me: “I guess we’ll know more in the next few weeks as people research it more and write about it.” He left in a huff.

3 – Some observations I made with the main piece:

a. The female police officer appears to have a red dot on her forehead which I relate to the Hindu religion. I can’t figure out why it’s there. “A vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi_(decoration)

b. I was disappointed with her right hand, thinking Banksy got lazy with his stenciling, but it’s more likely that he intended for his signature style to MERGE into Basquiat’s. And that makes it a brilliant move.

c. The “POLICE” stencil on the back of the male officer – it doesn’t CLEARLY spell out P O L I C E. You can barely see the “I,” if at all, and the “C” almost looks like another “O.” Why? He’s the best stencil artist. Why is this unclear?

The second, smaller piece:

1 – “Watching the Basquiat Crowns go round and round…” The ticket stand hearkens back “Dismaland” to me. The ferris wheel, an allusion to the London Eye?

a. The aluminum foil crown on the ground below the piece, was strategically placed there by the people running it. Trust me, you weren’t allowed to take it, so that’s another indication of the ‘staging’ of this event. 

“I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.” ~ Basquiat

“Nothing is important…so everything is important.” ~ Haring

“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”  ~ Banksy

There’s already a lot of controversy surrounding these two new pieces. Again, people are calling Banksy a ‘sell-out.’ This time, for seeming to fall right into the advertisers’ pockets by doing these blatantly obvious ‘promotional pieces’ for the upcoming Basquiat show at the Barbican Centre. So, the quote from him above, is quite interesting…

Political Analysis:

I saw on Facebook that people were wondering when someone was going to wring a political message out of this, so here you go:

a. Possibly there’s a message related to the lack of freedom and ease of entry into the U.K., especially with the current ‘Brexit attitude.’ It may be saying that even if you’re Basquiat, you’re still black, and we’re going to make it very difficult for you. Or, that can go back to the sea I have that the female officer is Hindu and this is Banksy promoting diversity in the U.K.

I’m an unapologetic fan of Banksy and had the time of my life covering his “NYC Residency” in October 2013. If you’re interested in learning more about that, please click on the link and pick up a copy of my book. 🙂 https://www.amazon.com/My-Month-Banksy-October-2013/dp/1494258447

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 45: “PEOPLE REALLY F@&@ING HATE ME”

Week 44 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 16, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-44-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-7fbc1a8d7e01

Front and center this week were reports on Russia’s use of social media to influence the US election, possibly with help from the Trump regime. As well, a slew of reporting continued to build the evolving mosaic of connections and quid pro quo between members of the Trump regime and Putin allies.

Trump’s short-lived pivot ended abruptly late in the week when he again evoked “both sides” on Charlottesville, then started an embarrassing tweet storm about a tragic bombing in London. An interview by Rachel Maddow of Hillary on her new book, provided a momentary pause and wake up call for how much our country has changed — both our global standing and government competency — under a leader who admires, and aspires to authoritarianism.

  1. When asked about Hurricane Irma, Trump took the opportunity to compliment the Coast Guard’s branding: “If you talk about branding? No brand has improved more than the United States Coast Guard.”
  2. Axios reported according to an adviser, Trump finally realized: “People really f@&@ing hate me.” The adviser noted Trump’s need for affirmation may have led to his sudden embrace of Schumer and Pelosi.
  3. WH social media director Dan Scavino Jr. tweeted then deleted a video, which he incorrectly attributed to Miami Airport during Hurricane Irma.
  4. FP reported on growing concerns within the CIA that due to his personal beliefs, Trump ally Pompeo is rolling back the agency’s diversity mandate.
  5. In June, senior CIA management abruptly canceled an event with the Matthew Shepard Foundation, in honor of their late gay son. Shepard’s death led to some of the country’s first federal hate crime laws.
  6. On Sunday, Trump announced his sixth wave of US Attorney nominations: 41 of the 42 were men.
  7. On Monday, Trump nominated six to become US attorneys. All six where white men.
  8. Trump’s NASA nominee Bridenstine was quoted as saying the agency should be reorganized, and “expansion of human knowledge” about space and Earth should be removed from NASA’s objectives.
  9. The UNC Board of Governors approved a ban on litigation which effectively ended the civil rights center work benefitting low-income and minority groups at UNC’s law school.
  10. ICE arrested a 34 year-old father of two in Santa Fe, using his younger brother, who was in HHS custody, as bait.
  11. Phoenix New Times reviewed ICE arrest records and found that employees at two Motel 6 locations in predominantly Latino neighborhoods were alerting ICE on undocumented guests.
  12. After an outcry on social media, Motel 6 said it would stop sharing guest lists, but has yet to acknowledge if this was only done at the local level, and to explain why employees were collaborating with ICE.
  13. NYT reported the Trump regime is considering lowering the refugee quota to below 50k, the lowest level since 1980, and less than half the 110k admitted by Obama in 2016.
  14. An ABC News affiliate reported DACA recipients are being detained for hours at Texas border checkpoints, with no explanation as to why. Border Patrol claim it’s new protocol.
  15. A federal judge in Chicago blocked DOJ’s rules under Sessions which required sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get public safety grants, like the COPS program in Week 43.
  16. In the wake of Charlottesville, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The resolution called Heyer’s murder a “domestic terrorist act.”
  17. The resolution urges Trump and his regime to speak out against hate groups, and called on the DOJ and federal agencies to use all resources to improve data on hate crimes, and address growth of hate groups.
  18. On Tuesday, the House unanimously approved the resolution, and on Wednesday, press secretary Sanders said Trump “ looks forward” to signing the resolution.
  19. Instead, on Thursday, Trump claimed that both sides were to blame in Charlottesville, repeating his charge that those who resisted the neo-Nazis and white supremacists were as much to blame as the alt-right crowds.
  20. WAPO reported POLITICO’s editors warned staff on topics like physical attacks on journalists and white supremacy: “Try to stay away from those things because some of them are partisan.”
  21. Trump nominated Eric Dreiband to lead the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Dreiband testified against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and represented UNC in banning transgender people from using the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity.
  22. In her book “Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History,” reporter Katy Tur detailed an unwanted kiss from Trump while covering his campaign. Tur said she was “mortified.”
  23. Axios reported that according to an internal memo, the CDC is cracking down on employees communications with the press. The memo says not to speak to reporters, “even for a simple data-related question.”
  24. On Monday, Trump’s DOJ said in a court filing that a judge should erase her finding that Arpaio violated a court order and was guilty of criminal contempt — a symbol of vindication.
  25. Two legal advocacy groups filed challenges to Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, saying it was unconstitutional because it undermines the power of the judicial branch.
  26. Salon reported Trump has formed at least 49 new businesses since he announced his run for presidency, and continuing since he took office. He has done almost nothing to separate himself from his businesses.
  27. McClatchy reported despite Trump’s pledge not to work with foreign entities, a construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on Trump’s new golf club development in Dubai.
  28. BuzzFeed reported Trump International Beach Resort in Florida has asked the government for permission to hire more temporary foreign workers. Trump has sought more than 380 H-2 visas since June 2015.
  29. Florida AG Pam Bondi will start next week on Trump’s commission to combat the opioid crisis. In April, an ethics commission cleared Bondi of accepting a $25k donation from Trump at the same time she received a complaint on Trump University for fraud, which her office dismissed.
  30. In a September report on executive branch agency waivers and authorizations, the OGE noted the WH has refused to provide information requested and to answer follow-up questions on secret WH waivers.
  31. The Secret Service released just 22 of the visitor names to Mar-a-Lago in response to an April FOIA filing by CREW and two other groups. All 22 names were all related to Japanese PM Abe’s February visit
  32. The limited disclosure violated a federal judge’s order to turn over all visitor names from Jan 20 — March 8, 2017. Trump has spent 25 days at Mar-a-Lago. CREW promised to head back to court.
  33. WAPO shared a receipt sent to “National Security Council” from Mar-a-Lago, showing taxpayers were billed the “rack rate” of $1,092 for a two-night stay. Mar-a-Lago is 99% owned by Trump’s revocable trust.
  34. Derek Harvey, the controversial former Mideast chief for the NSC who was fired by McMaster, is going to work for Nunes.
  35. At Trump’s behest, McConnell is considering making the blue slip, a way for individual senators to block a nominees from their home states, advisory instead when it comes to appeals court nominees.
  36. POLITICO reported, in a reversal of internal policy, OGE said WH staffers may accept anonymous donations from lobbyists to legal defense funds.
  37. Late Friday, after scrutiny from the POLITICO story, OGE clarified its rules, saying contributions to legal defense funds from anonymous donors, as well as those from lobbyists and foreign governments, are unacceptable.
  38. ABC reported Mnuchin requested use of a government jet to take him and his wife to their honeymoon in Europe, prompting an “inquiry” by the Treasury Dept’s Office of Inspector General.
  39. CREW sued the Treasury Dept for documents relating to Mnuchin’s use of a government plane to travel to Kentucky with his wife Louise Linton. The Treasury Dept failed to respond to a prior request for disclosure.
  40. Trump’s Election Integrity Comm convened its second meeting in NH. Of note, the list of witnesses included no people of color or women, but instead allies of Kobach and tarnished academics.
  41. Gizmodo reported on a document obtained from the DOJ which shows Sessions was lobbied by Heritage Foundation to exclude Democrats, mainstream Republicans, and academics from Election Integrity Comm.
  42. The author of the letter from Heritage, Hans von Spakovsky, participated in Kobach’s NH meeting, on a panel. Spakovsky has led the charge for strict voter ID laws for more than a decade.
  43. In a statement, Alan King, a Democratic judge from Alabama on Trump’s Election Integrity Comm, criticized the commission for overzealous effortsto purge people from voter rolls in favor of more affluent voters.
  44. ProPublica investigated the Election Integrity Comm’s use of emails and found no instructions or training has been given. Some commission members are using private email which violates federal law.
  45. On Monday, Mexico withdrew its offer of aid to help Hurricane Harvey victims, noting Trump failed to send condolences to Mexico for a magnitude 8.1 earthquake and hurricane.
  46. NYT reported that in a WH meeting, Kelly likened Mexico to Venezuela under the leadership of the Chávez regime, and suggested it was on the verge of a collapse which would have repercussions for the US.
  47. Despite an ongoing DOJ investigation into Malaysian PM Najib Razak for misappropriating billions of dollars from a government fund he controlled, Trump invited him to the WH for a friendly visit.
  48. Najib has also been criticized for human rights violations under his leadership. He and his entourage stayed at the Trump Hotel DC.
  49. Yahoo reported Russian news agency, Sputnik, is under investigation by the FBI into whether it is acting as an undeclared propaganda arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
  50. Andrew Feinberg, Sputnik’s former WH correspondent, turned over emails to the FBI. Feinberg said supervisors regularly “would say, ‘Moscow wants this or Moscow wants that.’
  51. Feinberg also told MSNBC many of the popular articles from right-wing media outlets like Breitbart, Infowars and Gateway Pundit and were prominently featured on Sputnik’s website.
  52. RT, the Russian state-owned outlet, said it will be required by the FBI to register as a foreign agent in the US, signaling their content will be viewed as propaganda of Moscow.
  53. Russian journalist Latynina fled Russia with her family following a series of attacks. Latynina writes for an independent newspaper and Friday received a prize for defending human rights and freedom of the press.
  54. Priebus and McGahn both hired lawyer William Burck to represent them in the Mueller Russia probe.
  55. POLITICO reported lawyers for former and current Trump aides are advising clients not to lie for Trump. Lawyers are also warning clients that being connected to Trump won’t protect them from criminal charges.
  56. WSJ reported some of Trump’s lawyers concluded earlier this summer Kushner should step down. Among their concerns were undisclosed meeting with Russians, and mentioning Mueller probe to other WH staff.
  57. Also knowing the June 9 meeting was yet to come out publicly, lawyers had prepared talking points for Kushner’s resignation, blaming the toxic political environment and him being used as a weapon against Trump.
  58. Russian politician Vyacheslav Nikonov, a member of the Duma, said on live TV that Russia stole the US presidency. The TV show focused on the US’s diminishing power on the world stage.
  59. Daily Beast reported Russia used Facebook’s event-management tool to remotely organize and promote political protests, including an August 2016 anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rally in Idaho.
  60. The event was hosted by “SecuredBorders,” outed as a Russian front in March. When their Facebook page was taken down last month, the group had 133k followers.
  61. Former FBI agent Clint Watts noted this group is an example of the next step in Russian influence: “The second part of behavior influence is when you can get people to physically do something.”
  62. In the months leading up to the Idaho rally, there were dozens of stories on right-wing websites like Infowars and Breitbart implying immigrants were taking over Twin Falls.
  63. Business Insider reported on another Russian-link Facebook group: “Heart of Texas,” which had over 225k followers, and was taken down by Facebook last week.
  64. The group started by posting anti-Hillary memes, then became shifted as Election Day neared. Starting in November, “Heart of Texas” organized a series of anti-immigrant, anti-Hillary rallies across Texas.
  65. ProPublica reported Facebook enabled advertisers to target ads towards users who expressed interest in categories like “Jew hater” and “How to burn jews.” After ProPublica contact them, Facebook took these down.
  66. Bloomberg reported that Russia’s effort to influence US voters through Facebook and other social media is a “red-hot” focus of Mueller, as well as possible links in that effort to the Trump campaign.
  67. WSJ reported Facebook has given Mueller more details on Russian ad buys, including copies of the ads and details about the accounts that bought them and the targeting criteria they used.
  68. While Congress has the power to subpoena Facebook for “basic subscriber records” and to call witnesses, Mueller’s search warrant compels Facebook to disclose much more detailed information.
  69. Vanity Fair reported that Congressional investigators and Mueller are focused on whether any Americans helped Russia target social media to impact crucial swing districts and wavering voter demographics.
  70. In an interview with Forbes after the election, Kushner bragged about the Trump campaign’s online efforts, and said he had a technology expert “give me a tutorial on how to use Facebook micro-targeting.
  71. Questions also emerge about possible ties between Kushner and Parscale to data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, whose major investor is Robert Mercer, a patron of Bannon.
  72. Senate Intel Comm ranking members Burr and Warner said they are likely to ask representatives from Facebook to publicly testify on Russia’s activity on their platform during the 2016 election.
  73. Sen Warner tweeted that groups linked to Russia which used Facebook to meddle in the 2016 election paid in Rubles.
  74. A campaign finance reform group, headed by the former chair of the FEC Trevor Potter, said Facebook was an “accomplice” in a Russian influence scheme, and called on the company to publicly release Russian ads.
  75. BuzzFeed obtained a proposal delivered by a Putin diplomat to Trump three months into office detailing a wholesale restoration of diplomatic, military, and intelligence channels between Russia and the US.
  76. Members of the WH and State Dept did not dispute the authenticity of the proposal. Delivering the proposal meant Russia believed Trump would not hold alleged 2016 election interference against them.
  77. Daily Beast reported the Trump campaign has begun turning over documents to Mueller. The Mueller probe is broad, and it is treating the WH, transition team, and campaign as separate legal entities.
  78. At a press briefing Tuesday, Sanders said the DOJ “should certainly look at” prosecuting Comey, claiming he had leaked privileged information to the media and offered false testimony to Congress.
  79. On Wednesday, Sanders again said Comey, essentially a political opponent, should face criminal charges for leaking a memo to the NYT.
  80. Sanders also said ESPN reporter Jemele Hill should be fired for her Monday tweet referring to Trump as “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
  81. NYT reported after Trump was told that Mueller was appointed, he berated Sessions in the Oval Office. Trump called Sessions an “idiot,” and said picking him for AG was the “worst decisions he had made.”
  82. Trump blamed the Mueller appointment on Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia investigation, and said Sessions should resign. Sessions said he would quit and sent a resignation letter.
  83. Sessions later told associates the way Trump publicly demeaned him was his most humiliating experience in his decades of public life.
  84. Flynn refused a new request to appear in front of the Senate Intel Comm. Flynn has offered to testify before both the Senate and House Intel Comms in exchange for immunity, but neither committee accepted the offer.
  85. Top Democrats on the House Intel and Foreign Affairs wrote in a letter that Flynn concealed more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas tripsduring the process of renewing his security clearances in 2016.
  86. The foreign contact information came from three private companies advised by Flynn which were pursuing a joint venture with Russia in 2015 and 2016 to bring nuclear power to several Middle Eastern countries.
  87. WSJ reported Flynn continued promoting the project after he took the position of NSA in the Trump regime, even after NSC ethics advisers directed Flynn to remove himself from the project.
  88. Even after Flynn was fired by Trump, he continued to lobby the Trump regime on the project, including Cohn and Barrack, Jr. ahead of their May trip to Saudi Arabia.
  89. NBC reported Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn is the subject of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The inquiry is based at least in part on his work with Flynn Intel Group.
  90. CNN reported the DOJ refused the Senate Judiciary Comm’s request to interview two top FBI officials — Carl Ghattas and James Rybicki – on the firing of Comey, citing Mueller’s ongoing investigation.
  91. NYT reported Senate Judiciary Comm ranking members Grassley and Feinstein are considering subpoenaing members of the DOJ in their inquiry on Trump’s firing of Comey.
  92. CNN reported Susan Rice privately told the House Intel Comm that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the UAE came to New York late last year.
  93. The New York meeting (reported in Week 21) took place last December, and was attended by Flynn, Kushner and Bannon. In an unusual breach of protocol, the UAE did not advise the Obama administration in advance.
  94. Shortly after in January, Erik Prince, brother of Betsy DeVos, attended a secret meeting in Seychelles, arranged by the UAE, with a Russian close to Putin, allegedly to set up a back-channel for communications.
  95. WAPO reported DHS ordered all federal agencies to ban the use of a Kaspersky security software. Co-founder Eugene Kaspersky graduated from a KGB-supported school and worked in Russian military intelligence.
  96. The moves comes after the GSA removed the company from its approved vendor list, suggesting a vulnerability exists with Kaspersky that could give the Kremlin backdoor access to the systems the company protects.
  97. BuzzFeed reported that Flynn, Bannon and Kushner met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in NY days before Trump was inaugurated to push a deal which Flynn was advising on: nuclear power plants in the Middle East.
  98. An eye witness said at least half-a-dozen other people were with the trio at the Four Seasons bar. Flynn failed to disclose the meeting in security clearance forms, and Kushner disclosed it only in his amended forms.
  99. As part of the for-profit deal, reactors would be built by US companies and security would be provided by the Russian state-owned firm Rosoboron. Congressional approval would have been needed.
  100. In February, Abdullah visited the WH and met with Trump, Kelly and Mattis. A statement afterward underscored that the US “is committed to strengthening the security and economic partnership with Jordan.”
  101. Bloomberg reported at the time Veselnitskaya met with Donald Jr. at Trump Tower, she also represented real-estate company Prevezon, which was under criminal investigation for a money laundering case.
  102. In 2013, Bharara filed a civil suit against Prevezon. Sessions abruptly settled the case three days before trial in May for just $5.9mm. There was no mention of the ongoing criminal investigation.
  103. Democratic lawmakers want to know if the Trump team members put pressure on Sessions to settle the case after Bharara was fired.
  104. Bloomberg said in the criminal case several countries and banks including Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS and TD have supplied documents to the US to track more than $200mm that left Russia after a massive fraud.
  105. Business Insider reported that in the Prevezon criminal case, grand-jury testimonies are at a key stage. Prevezon is owned by the son of a powerful Russian government official.
  106. POLITICO reported Kyle Freeny, an attorney working on the DOJ’s highest-profile money laundering case, is joining Mueller’s team.
  107. Democrats flipped two very pro-Trump districts in special elections: there was a 28-point swing in NH, and a 31-point swing in OK.
  108. Benevity tracked a shift in donations made by Fortune 1000 US workers: ACLU went from #87 in 2015 to the top spot in 2017. SPLC went from #230 in 2015 to #17 in 2017.
  109. Early Friday morning, Trump took to Twitter after a bombing in London: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” and “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.”
  110. UK PM May publicly alluded to Trump’s tweet, saying she never thinks it’s helpful to “speculate” on “an ongoing investigation.” Friday, McMaster tried to clarify the tweets, saying Trump was speaking “generally.”
  111. Bloomberg reported PM May complained directly to Trump, saying she was unhappy with his response when he called to offer condolences.
  112. Joining his classmates at Yale, 185 of Mnuchin’s high school classmates from Riverdale Country School classmates called on him to resign.
  113. WSJ reported Rohrabacher contacted the WH trying to broker a “deal” that would end Assange’s US legal troubles, in exchange for a computer drive or other data-storage device that he said would exonerate Russia.
  114. Kelly intercepted the call and advised Rohrabacher the deal “was best directed to the intelligence community.” Kelly did not make Trump aware of Rohrabacher’s message.
  115. AP reported that despite a pledge by the Trump inaugural committee to give leftover funds to charities, nothing has been donated. The group has helped pay for redecorating the WH and the Pence’s residence in DC.
  116. Trump’s inaugural committee raised $107mm, a record amount and double what Obama raised for his well-attended inauguration. The amount of times to close out the books is also unusual.
  117. Pence’s press secretary Marc Lotter resigned. It was unclear what his next move will be. Pence recently replaced his chief of staff.
  118. In an Atlantic article, “How Trump Is Ending the American Era,” Eliot Cohen described the damage Trump has done, and continues to do to America’s global standing.
  119. On Friday, the Pentagon issued new guidance clarifying that transgender troops currently in the military can re-enlist in the next several months. This is yet another example in past weeks of Mattis going against Trump.

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