POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 149: “EMBOLDENED REGIME”

SEPTEMBER 14, 2019

Week 148

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-148/
IMG_1807
New York City, September 2019

As Congress returned to session, House Democrats had conflicting messages on impeachment. The Trump regime’s Justice Department seized on the divergence, saying lawmakers were not entitled to see the full Mueller report or grand jury information — the rationale used for seeking the documents. The emboldened regime also said it would pursue criminal charges against Trump opponent former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, and more stories emerged of the regime threatening agency officials in the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration. The Supreme Court again sided with Trump on an important anti-asylum decision, and Trump took new steps to roll back protections against the environment.

IMG_1840
New York City, September 2019

 

The Air Force said it would investigate crews’ stays at Trump’s property in Turnberry, Scotland, and almost 40 visits were identified. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thumbed their noses at the emoluments clause, headlining events at Trump Hotel DC. A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling that will allow a Emoluments Clause lawsuit to proceed.

IMG_8037
New York City, September 2019

 

This week, Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David days before the anniversary of 9/11. The invitation was canceled and days later he fired his third national security advisor, giving him the highest turnover in presidential history of senior foreign policy advisors and NSAs. The Taliban visited Moscow later in the week.

IMG_8398
New York City, June 2019. Artist: Captain Eyeliner
IMG_8580
Graffiti up high in New York City, June 2019: “Open All Borders”

 

  1. On Saturday, at the GOP California convention, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale predicted, “the Trumps will be a dynasty that lasts for decades,” citing Ivanka, Donald Jr., and Jared Kushner.
  2. On Tuesday, Trump posted an image in Twitter and Instagram with a “TRUMP 2024” campaign banner, continuing his repeated musing that he will continue beyond the Constitution’s two-term limit.
  3. On Saturday, WAPO reported National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration staffers were ordered in a September 1 directive not to contradict Trump on his false claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama.
  4. On Saturday, Trump attacked NYT reporter Peter Baker, calling him an “Obama flunky,” and saying of his reporting “THIS IS NOT TRUE. I said, VERY EARLY ON, that it MAY EVEN hit Alabama. A BIG DIFFERENCE.”
  5. Trump also called it “FAKE NEWS,” and said he “would like very much to stop referring to this ridiculous story, but the LameStream Media just won’t let it alone,” saying they are “defrauding & deceiving the public.”
  6. On Saturday, just before midnight, Trump tweeted a bizarre video of himself holding a laser pointer in front of a Hurricane Dorian forecast map, and using it to distract a cat labelled CNN.
  7. On Sunday, Trump bragged about his work on criminal justice reform, and tweeted, “@johnlegend and his filthy mouthed wife, are talking now about how great it is — but I didn’t see them around when we needed help.”
  8. Trump also tweeted complaining black anchor “@LesterHoltNBC doesn’t even bring up the subject” when he interviewed him, adding “the people that so desperately sought my help when everyone else had failed.”
  9. Later Sunday, John Legend tweeted, “imagine being president of a whole country and spending your Sunday night hate-watching MSNBC hoping somebody, ANYBODY, will praise you. Melania, please praise this man.”
  10. Chrissy Teigen, who Trump blocked on Twitter two years ago, responded, “lol what a pussy ass bitch. tagged everyone but me. an honor, mister president.”
  11. On Monday, before departing for a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump told reporters people were standing in line “trying to get into the arena” and are “soaking wet.” It was not raining in Fayetteville.
  12. On Monday, NYT reported Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross threatened to fire top employees at NOAA last Friday, after the Birmingham office contradicted Trump on Dorian hitting Alabama.
  13. Ross’s threat resulted in the unsigned NOAA statement issued in Week 147 disavowing the National Weather Service’s position, which resulted in widespread anger that the agency was being used for political purposes.
  14. The Commerce Department said Ross “did not threaten to fire any NOAA staff over forecasting and public statements about Hurricane Dorian.” The Commerce Deparment’s inspector general did not respond for comment.
  15. On Tuesday, NOAA released an internal memo sent by the agency’s acting chief scientist on Sunday, saying he will investigate why the agency backed Trump’s false claim about Dorian and Alabama.
  16. On Wednesday, NYT reported on Trump’s orders, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told Wilbur Ross to have NOAA publicly “correct” the forecasters claiming that Dorian would not hit Alabama.
  17. A senior official said Trump told his staff to have the NOAA publicly “clarify” the forecasters’ position, leading to the unsigned statement on Friday.
  18. On Saturday, Trump said he canceled scheduled “peace negotiations” with Taliban leadership and separatelywith Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David after a U.S. service member was killed in Kabul.
  19. The meeting was scheduled four days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11. Trump tweeted, “Unbeknownst to almost everyone,” the leaders “were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday.”
  20. Trump also tweeted, “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” adding, “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire…they probably don’t have the power to negotiate.”
  21. Trump pledged to end the war in Afghanistan and withdraw troops. However on Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told “Meet the Press” that “any reduction in our forces will be based on actual conditions.”
  22. Pompeo refused to answer when he learned about the meeting with the Taliban, when he learned the meeting was canceled, or why they would host the Taliban days before the 9/11 commemoration.
  23. Pompeo told “Fox News Sunday,” the Defense Department has “full authority to do what they need to do” to protect U.S. forces. Trump was the main person pushing for the Camp David meeting.
  24. On Sunday, NBC News reported the meeting was first discussed on September 1 at a meeting in the Situation Room, and was vehemently opposed by national security adviser John Bolton and State Department officials.
  25. On Monday, Trump denied reporting that he had overruled Vice President Mike Pence and others when arranging the Taliban meeting, tweeting “This Story is False!” and blaming “the Dishonest Media.”
  26. Trump also tweeted, “I view much of the media as simply an arm of the Democrat Party,” calling them “corrupt,” and “extremely upset at how well our Country is doing under MY Leadership,” adding, “NO recession.”
  27. On Tuesday, Trump fired John Bolton, his third national security advisor, over disagreement in handling foreign policy in Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan. Trump announced the firing on Twitter.
  28. Trump tweeted, “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House,” adding, “I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning.”
  29. Shortly after, Bolton texted “Fox & Friends” co-host Brian Kilmeade, saying he was watching the show and disputed Trump’s account, saying, “let’s be clear, I resigned.’”
  30. On Tuesday, NYT reported with Bolton fired, Trump has gone through more senior foreign policy and national security advisers than any other president, including those considered the experienced adults in the room.
  31. Experts said Bolton’s departure suggests Trump is essentially his own national security adviser. Regardless of who replaces him, it is unlikely to be an important position as Trump will make all decisions on his own.
  32. On Monday, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford announced he would primary Trump in the 2020 GOP primary. In Week 147, South Carolina was one of four states that said it would not hold a primary.
  33. On Monday, Trump mocked Sanford, tweeting Sanford said he was away hiking on the Appalachian Trail, “then was found in Argentina with his Flaming Dancer friend,” adding “sounded like his political career was over. It was.”
  34. On Monday, CNN reported on a previously undisclosed secret mission in 2017 in which the U.S. extracted a top spy in Russia, over concerns Trump and his regime would mishandle classified intelligence and expose him.
  35. Concern about the duration of his and other spies’ cooperation with the U.S. started at the end of Obama’s time in office, and grew over the 2017 assessment of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
  36. The decision to extract the top spy came shortly after Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in which Trump disclosed highly classified information on Israel.
  37. NYT reported the midlevel Russian official had been cultivated over decades, and rose up the Russian government ranks, eventually landing a position in the highest levels of the Kremlin.
  38. When intelligence officials revealed the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the media picked up on details of the CIA’s source. The extraction took away one of the CIA’s most important sources.
  39. It also took away intelligence’s view inside the Kremlin on planned interference in the 2018 and 2020 elections. The asset was in Putin’s inner-circle, and was instrumental in confirming Putin ordered interference.
  40. Some foreign intelligence officials say Trump’s closed-door meetings with Putin and his tweets about delicate or classified information have concerned overseas sources.
  41. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Pompeo called reporting on extracting a spy from Russia “materially inaccurate” and “factually wrong,” without providing any information on supposed inaccuracies.
  42. On Tuesday, CNN reported Trump has repeatedly expressed opposition to using intelligence gathered by foreign spies, including spies that provide crucial information on what is happening in hostile countries.
  43. Trump has said privately that using foreign spies can damage U.S. relationships with the countries and undermine his personal relationships with foreign leaders. Trump also has doubted the credibility of spies.
  44. On Thursday, Facebook sanctioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s page for saying voters should oppose a government composed of “Arabs who want to destroy us all — women, children and men.”
  45. Facebook said the post violated its hate speech policy. Netanyahu denied writing the post, saying it was a staffer’s irresponsible mistake.
  46. On Sunday, Politico reported arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border plummeted to 51,000 in August, down more than 60% from the peak in August, after the Trump regime struck a deal with Mexico in June.
  47. Mexico agreed to the deal, which heightened enforcement by Mexican authorities and expands the program know as “remain in Mexico,” after Trump threatened tariffs.
  48. Trump tweeted a quote by the National Border Patrol president: “In 22 years of patrolling our Southern Border, I have never seen Mexico act like a true Border Security Partner until President Trump got involved.”
  49. On Sunday, hundreds of Hurricane Dorian survivors in Freeport, Bahamas facing dire living conditions, boarded a ferry heading to Florida. A crew member announced those without a U.S. visa had to disembark.
  50. Customs and Border Protection blamed the incident on the ferry operator. There was a bipartisan call by lawmakers to waive the visa requirement. Dorian left at least 44 dead in the Bahamas.
  51. On Monday, acting CBP commissioner Mark Morgan claimed there was “confusion,” but that said this was a “humanitarian mission” so Bahamians would be allowed in “whether you have travel documents or not.”
  52. Morgan added, “we still need to vet you to make sure we’re not letting dangerous people in.” Later Monday, Trump told reporters we “have to be very careful,” adding, “everybody needs totally proper documentation.”
  53. Trump also told reporters, “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States — including some very bad people and very bad gang members.”
  54. On Tuesday, CNN reported the Trump regime will not grant temporary protected status, a form of humanitarian relief, to people from the Bahamas displaced by Dorian.
  55. A source said that Trump was at odds with senior administration officials who were for granting TPS. Mark Morgan told CNN people fleeing the Bahamas will be reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis.
  56. On Wednesday, the Texas Observer reported the Trump regime is conducting asylum hearings in makeshift tents by the ports of entry in Laredo and Brownsville and not allowing journalists access.
  57. The media is normally allowed to attend immigration hearings. After journalists were turned away, DHS issued a statement saying tent facilities “will not be open to in-person public access,” including media.
  58. On Wednesday, Newsweek reported ICE is building a “state-of-the-art urban warfare” training facility at Fort Benning, Georgia that will include “hyper-realistic” simulations of homes and buildings in Chicago and Arizona.
  59. On Monday, a federal judge issued a nationwide order barring the Trump regime policy which denies asylumto migrants crossing the border if they failed to obtain asylum in another country along the way.
  60. The regime’s new policy had effectively banned most Central Americans fleeing persecution and poverty. On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said Trump’s DOJ had “sought relief” from the Supreme Court.
  61. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court, in a brief, unsigned order said the Trump regime can continue to bar asylum seekers while the legal fight plays out in the courts.
  62. This marks the second time the Supreme Court has allowed the regime’s immigration policies to move ahead, including using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money to be transferred in July to build Trump’s wall.
  63. The rules reverse longstanding asylum policies which allowed migrants to seek haven no matter how they got to the U.S. The case will likely return to the Supreme Court, and take months to do so.
  64. Trump celebrated the order, tweeting, “While congress continues to do nothing,” the regime is using “every tool in the toolbox to try and solve the crisis at our southern border.”
  65. On Wednesday, WAPO reported Trump regime officials toured an unused California facility once used by the Federal Aviation Administration as a possible place to relocate homeless people.
  66. Ahead of Trump’s visit to the state next week, he directed aides to conduct a major crackdown on the homeless, some living in tent camps, saying, according to an aide, “how the hell we can get these people off the streets?”
  67. As part of Trump’s directive, the regime is considering razing tents and creating temporary facilities or refurbishing government facilities. Some officials questioned government’s role in operating homeless shelters.
  68. On Wednesday, California lawmakers passed a bill banning private prisons, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, from operating in the state. The bill next moves to the Democratic governor.
  69. On Friday, WAPO reported Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and other top regime officials plan to visit California next week as part of Trump’s plan to crack down on the state’s homeless.
  70. Reportedly Trump has taken an interest in the state’s rising homeless as a way to blame Democrats of doing nothing to address the issue. Carson’s trip could coincide with Trump’s visit to California for fundraisers.
  71. On Wednesday, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs warned on his show about the “pervasive” funding efforts of George Soros and said that the “tentacles” of the Jewish billionaire “work against sovereignty, work against our laws.”
  72. On Thursday, the city of Muskegon, Michigan fired Police Officer Charles Anderson after an investigation into Ku Klux Klan and Confederate memorabilia found at his home.
  73. On Friday, in a letter, House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler and Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee Chair Zoe Lofgren demanded the regime consult with Congress on refugee admissions.
  74. The letter was sent to Secretary of State Pompeo, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and pointed to the law which mandates the regime discuss refugee admission with Congress.
  75. The letter cited the regime’s cut to possibly zero admissions would “undermine our nation’s core values, including our historic commitment to refugee resettlement, and critical foreign policy interests abroad.”
  76. On Monday, Trump praised activist shareholder Elliott Management which he said is “now involved with AT&T. As the owner of VERY LOW RATINGS @CNN,” adding, “perhaps they will now put a stop to all of the Fake News.”
  77. Trump also tweeted, “Also, I hear that, because of its bad ratings, it is losing a fortune,” and CNN “is bad for America.” He also said the media hates the U.S. and is “a fraudulent shame, & all comes from the top!”
  78. On Monday, CNN Business reported JP Morgan Chase created the “Volfefe Index”  — a mix of volatility and Trump’s “covfefe” tweet — to track the impact of his tweets on U.S. interest rates.
  79. On Sunday, the U.S. Air Force ordered a world-wide review of how it books overnight accommodations, following revelations in Week 147 of stops at Trump’s Turnberry resort.
  80. Additional times when the military stayed at Turnberry on stops have also been uncovered, including a stop on the way back from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar in September 2018.
  81. The chief spokesperson for the Air Force told Politico, “lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable. Therefore, we are reviewing all associated guidance.”
  82. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own)…NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”
  83. On Monday, NYT reported documents obtained from Scottish government agencies under the FOIA reveal Trump and Trump Org had a direct dealing with setting up a deal between Turnberry and Glasgow Prestwick Airport.
  84. Starting in 2014, the Trump Org entered into a partnership with Prestwick to increase private and commercial air traffic to the region. As part of the deal, the airport routinely sent crews to stay at Turnberry.
  85. Trump visited the airport in 2014, and promised to increase traffic. The Air Force told the Times on Monday they did not know how many military crews were sent to Turnberry, but they are going through vouchers.
  86. On Monday, Trump told reporters he was so wealthy military stays were inconsequential and dismissedPence’s stay at Doonbeg, as “Every time you find a person landing in an airplane within 500 miles of something I own.”
  87. On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended the military using Trump’s Turnberry as a stopover in Week 147, saying “ It’s just like any other hotel.”
  88. On Tuesday, the former FEMA deputy administrator in the Trump regime was arrested for allegedly taking bribes in the Hurricane Maria recovery from a company that got a $1.8 billion electric-grid contract.
  89. On Friday, Politico reported the Air Force released a preliminary tally showing crews stayed at Trump’s Turnberry up to 40 times, a number far higher than previously known.
  90. The tally does not include the number of crew members at Turnberry. House Democrats investigating the crews’ stays at Turnberry have not yet received any of the information they requested from the Pentagon.
  91. On Thursday, WAPO reported Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo were both scheduled to headline events for nonprofits that paid to rent the Trump Hotel DC on Friday.
  92. The speeches revealed Trump cabinet officials are willing to drive revenue to Trump and his family. According to documents, events in the hotel’s ballrooms have cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  93. On Friday, WAPO reported Pompeo spoke at a private event for the Concerned Women for America, a conservative nonprofit group, at the Trump Hotel DC, and lavished praise on the hotel.
  94. Pompeo said, “I look around. This is such a beautiful hotel. The guy who owns it must have been successful somewhere along the way,” adding, “That was for The Washington Post,” and gesturing towards reporters.
  95. On Friday, a federal appeals court in New York ruled that an Emoluments Clause case against Trump can move forward, after a lower court had thrown the case out.
  96. The lawsuit filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and others is the second emoluments lawsuit back on track — the other was filed by more than 200 members of Congress.
  97. The appeal court found that “Plaintiffs’ alleged injury meets the well‐established Article III threshold for economic competitors who allege that, because of unlawful conduct, their rivals enjoy a competitive advantage.”
  98. With the decision, Trump may be forced to open his business and personal finances to scrutiny in order to defend his actions and possible conflicts.
  99. Trump is also appealing two Washington federal court rulings which denied his request to dismiss the lawsuit brought by more than 200 members of Congress.
  100. On Tuesday, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found Trump’s approval dropped 6 points from a 44% peak in July, down to 38%, with 56% disapproving of the way he is doing his job.
  101. On handling of the economy, just 46% approve of the job Trump is doing, down from 51% in July, and just 35% approve of the way Trump is handling trade negotiations with China. Six in 10 say a recession is likely.
  102. On Tuesday, a new CNN poll found 60% of Americans do not believe Trump deserves a second term. Trump’s approval stood at 39%, same as it was in August, with 55% disapproving.
  103. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau reported for the first time since the Affordable Care Act took full effect in 2014, the share of Americans without healthcare increased from 7.9% in 2017 to 8.5% in 2018.
  104. The decrease in insured Americans was especially noteworthy given fewer Americans are living in poverty, and over that time frame the economy was strong.
  105. On Thursday, the heads of 145 companies sent a letter to Senate leaders demanding action on gun violence, calling it “simply unacceptable” for leaders to do “nothing about America’s gun violence crisis.”
  106. On Tuesday, Trump ally One America News sued Rachel Maddow, filing a federal defamation suit for $10 million after Maddow called it “paid Russian propaganda” on her July 22 MSNBC show.
  107. The suit contended Maddow’s comments were retaliation for OAN accusing Comcast of censorship for refusing to carry the channel. Maddow cited an OAN employee also worked for Russian-state media Sputnik News.
  108. On Tuesday, Republicans at a Senate Banking Committee hearing warned Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under-capitalized, and the housing finance system is worse off today than it was on the cusp of the 2008 crisis.
  109. On Wednesday, the anniversary of 9/11, Trump sparked anger after his first tweets of the day were about his trade war with China, saying, “China suspends Tariffs on some U.S. products. Being hit very hard.”
  110. Trump later tweeting a photo of himself and First Lady Melania with the words, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET.” Critics criticized Trump for forgetting, and inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David days before.
  111. On Wednesday, a new WAPO-ABC News survey found Trump polling behind the five top Democratic 2020 challengers in head-to-head match-ups.
  112. On Wednesday, before attending a 9/11 commemorative service, Trump attacked the poll in a series of tweets, calling it “phony” and “done by one of the worst pollsters of them all, the Amazon Washington Post/ABC.”
  113. Trump also tweeted this is a “suppression poll, meant to build up their Democrat partners,” adding he is “constantly fighting Fake News like Russia, Russia, Russia.”
  114. Trump also tweeted, “If it weren’t for the never ending Fake News about me” he would be leading over “the “Partners” of the LameStream Media by 20 points,” adding, “Sorry, but true!”
  115. On Wednesday, speaking at the 9/11 memorial, Trump said if attackers “come back to our country, we will go wherever they are and use power the likes of which the United States has never used before.”
  116. Trump added, “I’m not even talking about nuclear power. They will never have seen anything like what will happen to them.” It was unclear what Trump meant.
  117. On Wednesday, Republicans in the North Carolina House voted to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto by a vote of 55-9, while Democrats were at a ceremony commemorating 9/11. There are 65 Republicans in the House.
  118. Republican House Speaker Tim Moore, who had said there would be no votes that morning, said he took the opportunity to override the veto as he had promised to do.
  119. On Wednesday, BBC reported Queen Elizabeth II will honor former British Ambassador Kim Darroch, who resigned after his calling Trump “inept” and other disparaging things became public, as a lord.
  120. On Wednesday, the Oregonian reported at a U.S. Armed Forces swearing-in ceremony during a National Women’s Soccer League game in Portland, fans booed when enlistees were asked to pledge to obey Trump’s orders.
  121. On Tuesday, Politico reported as House Democrats return to DC, their leadership offered differing views on where the party stood on impeachment with 137 for an impeachment inquiry and 98 against it.
  122. Privately, Democrats worried the mixed messages could hurt them in court over access to key witnesses from the Mueller report. Their position in court has been based pursuing potential impeachment of Trump.
  123. On Thursday, WAPO reported a group of Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have begun mapping out a list of possible charges and articles of impeachment against Trump.
  124. The range of charges discussed included five possible areas of obstruction of justice, abuse of power by defying subpoenas, violation of campaign finance laws, and allegations of profiting off the presidency.
  125. Publicly, Speaker Nancy Pelosi still voiced opposition to impeachment, so articles may not move forward, but there is a growing move behind-the-scenes by Democrats to move ahead, even if the Senate does not convict.
  126. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was asked by reporters on Wednesday about the nature of what the House Judiciary is doing on impeachment, and appeared not to know, and later had to clarify.
  127. On Tuesday, WAPO reported senior government officials have privately expressed concern that Trump’s nearly $30 billion bailout for farmers suffering from his trade war with China needs stronger legal backing.
  128. Two Agriculture Department officials said the bailout could surpass the original intent of the New Deal-era Commodity Credit Corporation, which was used to create substantially more limited programs.
  129. On Thursday, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey proposed blocking the White House request for paying farm bailout money. Timing of the payouts is tied to congressional approval.
  130. In legislation to fund the government in November, Lowey left off the White House request which would allow them to avert the $30 billion spending cap they are expected to hit this fall.
  131. On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced the U.S. budget gap widened to $1.07 trillion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year, on higher military spending, rising rates, and Trump’s 2017 tax cuts.
  132. The deficit is the largest in seven years, during the last recession. A strong economy tends to narrow the deficit, but government spending grew by 7% over the period, while revenue grew just 3%.
  133. On Thursday, the Trump regime announced the repeal of Obama-era clean water protections which limited polluting chemicals that could be used near streams, wetlands, and other bodies of water.
  134. The rollback of the Clean Waters of the United States rule means polluters will no longer need a permit to discharge potentially harmful substances which will now be able to flow into waterways.
  135. On Thursday, Trump delivered a bizarre, incoherent hour-long speech at the House Republican retreat in Baltimore, in which he made several comments that were false or self-refuting.
  136. Trump appeared to struggle at times with his speech, mispronouncing VP Pence’s name, calling him “Mike Pounce,” as he named some notable Republicans in the crowd.
  137. Trump attacked Baltimore again, saying the city has “been destroyed by decades of failed and corrupt rule.” Trump said Los Angeles and San Francisco need to clean up their homelessness and he is addressing the issue.
  138. Trump claimed the Clean Waters Act “didn’t give you clean water,” falsely claiming, “by the way, today, we have the cleanest air, we have the cleanest water that we’ve ever had in the history of our country.”
  139. Trump also falsely and inexplicably claimed “there was nobody here” in America 25 years ago so “they probably had cleaner water.”
  140. Trump also railed against Obama-era energy-efficient light bulbs, saying, “What’s with the light bulb?” adding, “the bulb that we are being forced to use, number one…the lights no good I always look orange.”
  141. Trump also falsely claimed, “number two, it’s many times more expensive than that old incandescent bulb that worked very well and very importantly, I don’t know if you know this, they have warnings.”
  142. Trump also said, “And I said to one of the top people today, ‘Well they break a lot, don’t they?’ ‘Yes sir!’ ‘What do they do?’ ‘They just throw them away, they don’t care,’” and adding, “But they call it hazardous waste.”
  143. Trump also said of windmills, “If you happen to be watching the Democrat debate and the wind isn’t blowing, you’re not going to see the debate … ‘the goddamn windmill stopped!’” It was not clear what he meant.
  144. Trump also called MS-13 gang members “animals,” and hyperbolically added, “They take young women. They slice them up with a knife. They slice them up — beautiful, young.”
  145. Trump also mimicked deceased Sen. John McCain for voting against repealing Obamacare. Trump also told House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy he was “just like a cow” but “smaller.”
  146. The speech was dystopian and riddled with inconsistencies and lies, but Republicans mostly cheered, as they have done since he took office.
  147. On Thursday, after Beto O’Rourke said he would take away AR-15s at the Democratic debate, Texas Republican Representative Briscoe Cain tweeted, “My AR is ready for you Robert Francis.”
  148. Cain’s tweet sparked widespread criticism on Twitter. Later Thursday, O’Rourke responded, “This is a death threat, Representative. Clearly, you shouldn’t own an AR-15 — and neither should anyone else.”
  149. On Friday, Cain’s tweet was no longer visible. A spokesperson for Twitter said the company took it down because it violated its rule that “you may not threaten violence against an individual or a group of people.”
  150. On Friday, CNN reported that O’Rourke’s campaign press secretary said the campaign planned to report Cain’s tweet to the FBI.
  151. On Friday, Media-ite reported at least one Sinclair broadcasting station aired an advertisement during the Democratic debate of a photo of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burning.
  152. On Friday, a federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit filed by the parents of Seth Rich against Fox News for the cable TV network’s role in falsely linking Rich to the disclosure of DNC emails to WikiLeaks.
  153. On Friday, WSJ reported at last month’s G7 summit, Trump joked while waiting for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” to a room of Egyptian and U.S. officials.
  154. On Friday, USA Today reported the U.S. attorney in Washington, Jessie Liu, recommended moving forward with unspecified criminal charges against former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe.
  155. McCabe is a frequent target of Trump’s ire. McCabe’s attorneys appealed the decision to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, but their request was rejected by Rosen on Thursday.
  156. On Friday, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff issued a subpoena, after publicly accusing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire of withholding an “urgent” whistleblower complaint.
  157. Schiff said a DNI has never prevented “a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the [IG] determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never.”
  158. Schiff also said, “this raises serious concerns” about whether White House, DOJ or other officials are trying to prevent “a legitimate whistleblower complaint” from reaching Congress, “to cover up serious misconduct.”
  159. Schiff said the complaint was filed last month, and was required by law to be shared with Congress nearly two week ago, saying it raises the specter of what is “being withheld to protect” Trump and other regime officials.
  160. On Friday, Trump’s DOJ told a federal court judge that House Democrats’ request made in July to have access to secret grand jury materials from the Mueller probe should be denied.
  161. The DOJ said Democrats have “come nowhere close to demonstrating a particularized need” for the information. House lawmakers said they need it to determine whether to move forward with impeachment proceedings.
  162. Lawmakers asked for access to the unredacted Mueller report, and transcripts of grand jury testimony related to Trump’s knowledge of Russian interference and links to members of his campaign.
  163. Lawmakers also want grand jury testimony on Trump’s knowledge of potential “criminal acts” by him and his associates. The DOJ called the requests an “extraordinary order” that was overly broad.
  164. The DOJ filing also seized on the ongoing debate among and conflicting statements by Democratic leaders in Week 147 over how to describe their impeachment inquiry — and relates to grounds for requesting information.
  165. On Friday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats on impeachment, saying, “How do you impeach a President who has helped create perhaps the greatest economy in the history of our Country?”
  166. Trump added, “All time best unemployment numbers, especially for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians & Women,” and “Number 1 in World & Independent in Energy. Will soon have record number of Judges.”
  167. Trump also tweeted he had “done more than any President in first 2 1/2 years despite phony & fraudulent Witch Hunt illegally led against him. WIN on Mueller Report, Mueller Testimony & James Comey.”
  168. Trump also tweeted, “You don’t impeach Presidents for doing a good (great!) job. No Obstruction, No Collusion, only treasonous crimes committed by the other side, and led by the Democrats. Sad!”
  169. On Friday, NYT reported the DOJ will honor the team of lawyers who worked to defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation process with one of its most prestigious awards.
  170. Attorney General Barr will present the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, the second highest award given by the department, to the group of lawyers.
  171. Then deputy AG Rod Rosenstein estimated he would need 100 lawyers around the clock to comb through Kavanaugh-related documents, and made a broad request for volunteers to U.S. attorneys.
  172. Some officials saw his outreach as an unusual insertion of politics into federal law enforcement. Typically, the Award for Distinguished Service is given to DOJ employees who worked on significant prosecutions.
  173. On Friday, AP confirmed Russian state news agency Tass reporting that the Taliban visited Moscow to meet with Russian officials, its first international trip days after Trump said his talk with the group are “dead.”
  174. On Saturday, Trump started his weekend of tweeting, saying, “A Very Stable Genius!” Thank you.” It was unclear what prompted his tweet.
  175. Shortly after, Trump attacked MSNBC weekend host Joy Reid, tweeting, “Who the hell is Joy-Ann Reid?Never met her, she knows ZERO about me, has NO talent,” adding, “Low Ratings. Fake News!”
  176. Trump then tweeted, “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” and “KEEP AMERICA GREAT!”
  177. On Saturday, BBC reported at a meeting in Washington on Friday between Brazil Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and Secretary of State Pompeo, the U.S. and Brazil agreed to promote private-sector development in the Amazon.

The Weekly List podcast is here! You can find more information here by clicking here.

THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler talks to members of the news media after a news conference announcing the repeal of landmark Obama-era clean water regulation at the headquarters of National Association of Manufacturers, an industry group that had opposed the Waters of the U.S. rule, September 12, 2019 in Washington, DC. The move rolls back the 2015 measure that placed limits on chemicals that could be used near rivers, streams, wetlands and other bodies of water that had stirred opposition from developers, farmers and oil and gas drillers.

Advertisements

One thought on “POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 149: “EMBOLDENED REGIME”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s