POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 25: “MOLOCH!”

Week 24 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 29, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-24-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-2ecfe069542f

Today marks day 100 of the Trump regime. Despite the Republicans having control of the House and Senate, Trump has yet to tally a single legislative accomplishment. He was obsessive this week in pushing for Trumpcare 3 ahead of the 100-day mark; but the Resistance, which continues to grow in number and fervor, headed him off.

And all the while, the drumbeat of Russia grows louder. This week, Speaker Ryan acknowledged Russian interference. Trump’s involvement has evolved from a “Trump-Russia probe” to a “Trump-Russia scandal,” and this week, to a “Trump-Russia cover-up.” As this unfolds, concern grows that Trump will seek to distract attention by starting a war. The one constant throughout the weeks is Trump’s attempts to enrich himself and his regime through a growing list of conflicts of interest and corruption.

  1. Speaker Ryan acknowledged that Russia interfered with our election, and said US probes could help our allies prevent similar interference.
  2. As Le Pen advanced to the French presidential election runoff, Putin is using many of the tools successfully employed in the US to target France.
  3. WikiLeaks released more top-secret CIA documents. Our media has by and large stopped covering the WikiLeaks document dumps.
  4. A group of psychiatrists at a conference held at Yale Medical School cited a “Duty to Warn” about Trump being dangerously ill.
  5. Of the ten items listed on Trump’s contract with the American people for the first 100 days of his administration, he accomplished none of them.
  6. The State Department and two US embassies promoted Mar-a-Lago on their website with a 400-word blog post. After public outrage, the post was removed.
  7. NYT reported the State Department is likely to remain largely unstaffed into 2018. Trump has yet to fill 200 leadership jobs which require Senate confirmation. Tillerson is taking no action either.
  8. Similarly, as the Trump regime launched its tax plan, the Treasury Department does not have a single confirmed appointee in positions tasked with reforming the tax code.
  9. Trump’s tax reform plan was launched with Mnuchin handing out a one-pager with broad details and no numbers.
  10. Democrats, including former Obama ethics chief Norm Eisen noted Trump’s tax reform could save him hundreds of millions of dollars. Without tax returns, it’s impossible to know his total benefit.
  11. Beyond State, the slow pace of nominations in the first 100 days has left cabinet agencies in limbo. Only 26 of the 556 senior positions which require Senate confirmation have been filled.
  12. Haley was the only member of the Trump regime to condemn the abuse and killings of gay men in the Russian republic of Chechnya. Days later, the State Department said they want to clear her remarks in advance.
  13. UN diplomats were invited to the WH, but Tillerson was not included. Haley was there, and Trump publicly threatened to fire her, “Does everybody like Nikki? Good, otherwise she could easily be replaced.”
  14. In his first 100 days, Trump has an unprecedented number (15) of appointees who got fired, withdrew or quit.
  15. Carl Bernstein said there is a “serious belief” in the FBI and Congress that there is an active cover-up underway by the Trump regime of their involvement with Russia.
  16. On Monday, Yahoo reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe had stalled due to lack of staffing and Sen Burr’s unwillingness to sign off on witness requests.
  17. Democrats in the Senate Intelligence Committee hired April Doss, the former head of intelligence law at the NSA. Burr refused to bring on additional staffing, saying staffing levels were already sufficient.
  18. Trump picked ally Dana Boente to take over the Justice Department unit’s probe of Trump-Russia. Boente was last named by Trump as an interim acting-AG on the Monday Night Massacre (firing of Yates).
  19. On Tuesday, POLITICO reported that Flynn’s lobbying work for Turkey came to him via Dmitri Zairian, a Russian with ties to the Putin regime.
  20. The WH denied a request by House Oversight Committee leaders Chaffetz and Cummings to release documents related to Flynn.
  21. Shortly thereafter, Chaffetz and Cummings addressed the press, saying Flynn may have broken the law by not disclosing payments from Russia.
  22. The next day, Chaffetz posted an explanation on Facebook of why he was leaving office, citing a foot injury. His explanation was met with much skepticism.
  23. Friday, Cummings said the WH is “covering up” for Flynn. Sen Blumenthal said there is “powerful, mounting, incontrovertible evidence” of a violation of criminal law.
  24. The Pentagon’s internal watch dog group opened an investigation into whether Flynn took payments from foreign governments after leaving the military.
  25. Democrats on the House Oversight Committee released documents showing the Pentagon warned Flynn not to take foreign payments without advance approval from the military. Flynn did not seek approval.
  26. Spicer blamed Obama for Flynn having security clearance, neglecting the fact that Obama fired Flynn, and Trump appointed him to NSA.
  27. NBC reported the Trump team did do a background check on Flynn as part of him becoming NSA. Despite their public denials, senior transition team members like Pence and Sessions would have seen the information.
  28. Michael Cohen said he may sue Buzzfeed for publishing the Steele dossier, which includes allegations that Cohen traveled to Prague in August to meet with Russians.
  29. The Guardian reported that Steele had also alerted the UK government with two memos about collusion between Trump and Russia. His contact in the US appears to have been with McCain, not Comey.
  30. Steele’s memo also reported that four members of the Trump regimetravelled to Prague for secret discussion with the Kremlin in August/September 2016 on how to pay hackers for penetrating the Democratic party computer systems.
  31. Peter Severa, a Russian hacker whose wife said he was “linked to Trump’s win” in Week 22, was indicted in Bridgeport, CT on eight counts related to the Kelihos botnet malware.
  32. Rep Ciciline, a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, requested the Inspector General open an investigation into the firings of Yates and Bharara. Yates will testify on May 8th in a Senate hearing.
  33. Trump made 16 false claims in a bizarre interview with AP. He also made at least 15 comments which AP classified as “unintelligible.”
  34. Also in the AP interview, Trump bragged about getting highest ratings since 9/11 coverage.
  35. Trump said he planned to keep on his controversial press secretary, Spicer, because “the guy gets great ratings.
  36. After a second EO was blocked, Trump said he would “absolutely” consider proposals to break-up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This threat was compared to the type of action of a dictator might take.
  37. The Trump regime set up a VOICE (Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement) hotline for callers to report on immigrants. The hotline was flooded with calls with reports of space aliens.
  38. A federal judge in San Francisco temporarily blocked the Trump regime efforts to withhold money from sanctuary cities.
  39. WAPO reported on ICE data which shows half of the immigrants arrested had no criminal convictions or had committed traffic offenses.
  40. Supreme Court Justice Roberts spoke out against Trump’s immigration plan, describing the regime’s interpretation as “prosecutorial abuse” for making it easy to strip citizenship for even lying about minor infractions.
  41. Trump’s Muslim Ban suffered another setback as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request for an 11-member court review.
  42. A report by the ADL revealed that anti-Semitic incidents in the US rose by 86% in the first three months of 2017, over the same period last year.
  43. Trump proposed budget would strip all funding from a State Department bureau that promotes the rights of women around the world.
  44. A Trump supporter stormed a cafeteria at a Kentucky university and asked about political affiliation, before stabbing two women.
  45. Trump’s USDA rolled back Michelle Obama’s school nutrition standards.
  46. Mnuchin said Trump will not release his tax returns, adding Trump “has given more financial disclosure than anybody else.
  47. NYT reported that Kushner recently financed real-estate transactions in NYC through the Steinmetz family, who are under investigation for bribing a government official in Guinea to secure mining rights.
  48. The investigator who found Florida AG Bondi did nothing wrong by accepting $25k of campaign cash and then dropping the investigation of Trump U, ignored key evidence already unearthed.
  49. POLITICO reported that Lewandowki’s DC firm is offering foreign clients in-person meetings with Trump, Pence and other senior regime members.
  50. HuffPost’s Christina Wilkie compiled a public spreadsheet to identify $107mm of donations to Trump inauguration. Discrepancies have been found, and the regime has yet to explain where unspent monies went.
  51. Ivanka was booed for defending her father at a conference for female business leaders in Berlin.
  52. WAPO reported that workers endured long hours and low pay working at factories used by Ivanka’s company in China.
  53. Facebook revealed fake accounts were used on its platform to sway the US election. Facebook also indicated its findings do “not contradict” the January 6 report issued by the US Director of National Intelligence.
  54. Commerce Secretary Ross said the Trump regime would impose a 20% tariff on Canadian softwood lumber.
  55. On Wednesday morning, Trump said he was considering withdrawing from NAFTA. By the evening, amidst confusion and without a reasonable explanation, he changed course and said the US would remain.
  56. Trump ceremoniously summoned the entire US Senate onto a bus to the WH for a closed-door meeting on N Korea. To the Senators’ frustration, nothing was offered beyond public information. Stagecraft.
  57. Trump gave another disturbing 100-day interview to Reuters, for which the first headline to break was “there is a chance of a ‘major, major conflict with North Korea.”’
  58. Trump also bemoaned to Reuters about missing his past life, and added, “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.
  59. Trump brought a printed map handout to his Reuters interview to showcase his electoral win.
  60. Trump also asked WAPO in his 100-day interview to put his electoral college handout on their front page.
  61. The US economy grew at just 0.7% in the first quarter, the weakest showing in three years. Expectedly, Trump did not comment or tweet.
  62. The Resistance claimed another victory as Trumpcare 3 failed to muster support in the House, despite the GOP’s 47 seat advantage.
  63. Fallout from the O’Reilly ouster continued, as CNN reported FoxNews is now under federal investigation by USPIS and the Justice Department for settlement payments and the overall environment at the network.
  64. A new CNN/OCR poll found that 2/3 of Americans do not believe Trump is honest and trustworthy.
  65. Koi, the restaurant in Trump Soho, became the latest Trump business to suffer a decline in business and close. Unlike Trump Hotel DC, Koi didn’t have the benefit of foreign diplomats patronizing it to win favor.
  66. The Trump regime announced Friday that the EPA website would be undergoing changes, and then removed climate science from public view.
  67. The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will go on without Trump tonight. He will instead hold a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

All photos taken by me as I walked the streets of NYC & Philadelphia in March & April 2017:

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Moloch
[moh-lok, moluh k]
noun
1.a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice ofchildren by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35.
2.anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice:the Moloch of war.
3.(lowercase) a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australiandeserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
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DCIM100GOPROG0125570.DCIM100GOPROG0115569.DCIM100GOPROG0315589.IMG_1790DCIM100GOPROG0165574.IMG_1685IMG_1357

Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 26!” 

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 24: NO FASCIST USA

Week 23 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 22, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-23-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-3cd5704e674a

This week the Trump-Russia scandal continued to unfold, but that wasn’t the big story. What stands out in Week 23 is the kleptocracy — a pattern of conflicts of interest and pay-to-play — and the Trump regime’s utter irreverence towards ethics and past standards.

As the 100-day mark approaches, Trump has no legislative accomplishments and his foreign policy can best be described as an embarrassing mess. Instead, Trump seems focused on enriching himself, his regime, and his business contacts. The pace and boldness of corruption whiff of a man who is aware his days in this gig are numbered.

  1. Seven weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. American Oversight, a group of liberal lawyers, is suing the DOJ and FBI seeking proof for Trump’s wiretapping claim.
  3. Trump has yet to offer any evidence or apologize for his accusations that Susan Rice committed a crime by spying on his campaign.
  4. The New Yorker reported not only did bi-partisan members of the House find nothing in the Rice intercepts, but also the rationale came clear: per an intelligence source, the WH said, “We are going to mobilize to find something to justify the President’s tweet that he was being surveilled.
  5. Trump hosted a disastrous Easter Egg Roll, including telling the children, “We will be stronger and bigger and better as a nation than ever before,” and forgetting to lift his hand to his heart during the National Anthem.
  6. NYT reported on violations and a raft of potential conflicts-of-interest as Trump appoints former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants to craft policies in industries where they formerly worked.
  7. OGE director Shaub noted that Trump rolled back an Obama requirement that appointees not accept jobs in agencies they recently lobbied, and that Trump has granted waivers allowing appointees to take up matters which benefit their former clients.
  8. WAPO reported 168 corporate interests have made requests to Trump for regulatory relief, all likely to be granted, “especially those designed to advance environmental protection and safeguard worker rights.”
  9. On Tax Day, breaking precedent with every modern-day president, Trump did not release his tax returns, nor explain why.
  10. WSJ reported that in the first quarter, Trump’s campaign funds paid $500k to Trump’s companies including hotels, golf clubs and restaurants.
  11. Trump raised $107mm for his inaugural, doubling Obama, although Trump’s crowds and festivities were markedly smaller. It’s unclear where unspent money has gone, while numerous “pay-to-play” stories emerge.
  12. For example, Rachel Maddow reported on a $666,ooo gift from a businessman named R. W. Habboush, which led to a meetings between his son and both an NSC official and Bannon to discuss how to open up business with Venezuela, which is heavily sanctioned by the US.
  13. Trump dropped his campaign promise to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts on prescription drugs after meeting with pharma lobbyists.
  14. Ivanka was granted China trademarks during dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. As reported in Week 22, Trump also changed his position saying China does not manipulate its currency.
  15. FT reported Manafort stepped in to the China action, advising Chinese billionaire Jiehe on how to access to Trump’s $1tn infrastructure plan.
  16. CREW filed an amended complaint to its emoluments challenge against Trump in federal court, adding new plaintiffs who claim they’ve been “directly harmed by a loss of business and wages.”
  17. Dow Chemical donated $1mm to Trump’s inauguration, then asked the regime to ignore a study on its pesticide which was “originally derived from a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany,”
  18. Trump billionaire outside adviser, Steve Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone which has significant holdings in China, stands to gain from US-China policies he helped to shape.
  19. USA Today reporters pieced together that Trump companies own 400+ luxury condos and homes worth $250mm up for sale or rent presenting people, corporations or foreign interests an opportunity gain influence through purchases.
  20. Further, since Trump launched his presidential bid, Trump companies have sold at least 58 units for $90mm — almost half to LLCs. Since Election Day, 14 units have been sold for $23mm — half to LLCs.
  21. The House Oversight Committee sent a letter asking Trump for details on how and when the Trump will donate profits made from foreign government officials. Reps Cummings and Chaffetz signed the letter.
  22. Two days earlier, without explanation, Chaffetz said he would not run for re-election in 2018, and that he may leave office early to return to the private sector.
  23. Despite denials by the Trump, Erik Prince’s had close ties to the Trump regime, including riding the Acela with Conway, providing advice to Trump’s inner-circle including Flynn, and entering Trump Tower through the back entrance.
  24. As mentioned in Week 21, Prince had a one-on-one meeting with a Putin insider in Seychelles on January 11. He is also Betsy DeVos’s brother.
  25. Without explanation, the national security official leading the DOJ investigation into whether the Trump regime colluded with Russia, abruptly resigned.
  26. CNN reported that the FBI used information in the Steele dossier, which they independently confirmed, for their FISA warrant against Page.
  27. CNN reported Russia tried to use Trump advisers, including Page, to infiltrate the campaign. Page is one of several advisers US and European intel found to be in contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
  28. The DOJ said is it preparing charges against WikiLeaks founder Assange, with Sessions saying Assange’s arrest is a priority. Strangely, the Trump regime has turned on Assange, after lauding him during the campaign.
  29. Sessions left open the possibility of prosecuting US news organizations for publishing leaked information, and stories on the Trump-Russia scandal continue to pour out.
  30. As part of a custody battle, InfoWars’ Alex Jones said he is a “performance artist.” As noted in Week 19, InfoWars and Breitbart are under FBI investigation for their roles in Russian hacking of our election.
  31. NBC compiled a seating chart of attendees at Putin’s December 2015 RT celebration dinner. Other than Flynn seated next to Putin, Stein was also at Putin’s table and Assange appeared via satellite. NBC also reported on efforts by RT to promote Stein (and hurt Hillary) in the primary.
  32. The House Intel Committee announced it will reopen its Trump-Russia probe ex Nunes. Yates, Comey, Rogers, Brennan and Clapper have all been invited to testify.
  33. Nikolai Andrushchenko, a Russian journalist and Putin critic, was beaten to death by strangers. He is the 12th “mysterious” Russian death in recent months.
  34. Like their interference in the US, Russian sources are flooding French social media with fake news ahead of France’s election.
  35. Reuters reported on a Putin-linked think tank that very purposefully and carefully orchestrated an attack on the US election. Fake news, pro-Kremlin bloggers and cyber-attacks were all part of the plan.
  36. Exxon sought a US waiver to resume drilling in their Russian jv with Rosneft — a deal forged by Tillerson, who is ring fenced from Exxon for only one year. Amid outcry, permission was denied by the Treasury Dept.
  37. The UK Election Commission has launched an investigation of Farage’s Leave.EU for its funding. The involvement of Cambridge Analytica — which also allegedly has ties to Bannon and the Mercers and the Russian hacking of the US election — was not declared to the election watchdog.
  38. Sessions said he was “amazed” that a US judge “on an Island in the Pacific” (aka Hawaii) could block Trump’s Muslim Ban.
  39. Sessions took a fact-free swipe at another ethnically diverse city, saying New York City was soft on crime and plagued by gangs murders.
  40. ICE immigrant arrests were up 33% in the first two months of the Trump regime, including a doubling of noncriminal arrests.
  41. The first protected DREAMer, Juan Manuel Montes, who is 23 and have lived here since age 9, was deported by Trump.
  42. Trump ally Rep Steve King celebrated the deportation by tweeting a photo of a frosty beer mug with the words, “First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one’s for you.
  43. Ironically, a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of Montes has been assigned to Judge Curiel, the jurist infamously attacked by Trump for his Mexican heritage during the Trump University case.
  44. Trump signed an executive order to review high-skilled H-1B immigration visas.
  45. Trump’s order does not, however, impact low-skilled H2A or H2B visas. According to CNN, Trump businesses have received 1,024 H-2B visas since 2000, and Trump Vineyards has received 64 H-2A permits since 2006
  46. In a troubling provocation, Russian aircraft were spotted flying off the coast of Alaska four times in four day this week.
  47. Amidst silence from Trump and our State Department, pogroms of gay men in Russia’s Chechnya region escalated. Russia also banned Jehovah’s Witnesses, claiming “extremist activities.”
  48. Trump shocked US and international officials when he called Turkey’s Erdogan to congratulate him on passage of a referendum which allows Erdogan to further consolidate power as an autocrat. International monitors have said the vote was not “genuinely democratic.”
  49. Trump held a secret meeting at Mar-a-Lago with former presidents of Colombia, threatening to undermine the country’s peace agreement with rebel leaders. The meeting was arranged by Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and was not on Trump’s schedule.
  50. Meanwhile, at a speech in WI, Trump called some of Canada’s trade practices a “disgrace” and claimed NAFTA is “a disaster for our country.”
  51. In another embarrassment of US foreign policy, Trump promised “we are sending an armada”– the USS Carl Vinson carrier group was being deployed to waters off the Korean Peninsula. This was not true.
  52. Mattis and McMaster also made similar misstatement about the USS Carl Vinson’s location. While traveling in the region, Pence assured our allies the misstatements were “not made intentionally.”
  53. On Wednesday, Tillerson said that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. On Thursday, Trump said Iran was not in complaint.
  54. Trump offended our S. Korea allies with a claim that the country “actually used to be part of China.” Trump apparently gleaned this “knowledge” from his conversation with Xi Jinping.
  55. For his upcoming visit to London, Trump demanded a carriage ride with Queen Elizabeth II down a strip that leads to Buckingham Palace.
  56. Three month in, Trump has only filled 4% of key roles in the executive branch. And with all the international hot spots and conflicts, the State Department remains largely vacant, including Deputy Secretary.
  57. A State Department official who helped shape the Iran nuclear deal was summarily reassigned for criticizing Conservative Review and Breitbart.
  58. The Surgeon General was also quietly dismissed on Friday evening, without explanation or a full-time replacement.
  59. DeVos’s pick to head the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said she faced discrimination for being white.
  60. In his first three months of office, Trump has made 417 false or misleading claims.
  61. Trump first quarter job approval stood at 41%, the lowest of any modern day president by 14 points in Gallup polling.
  62. The Resistance claimed a major victory, bringing down FoxNews icon Bill O’Reilly. Some speculated that the rise of Trump, and his backing of O’Reilly after recent allegations, laid the groundwork for O’Reilly’s fall.
  63. Hundreds of thousands are expected to march on Earth Day in the global March for Science in DC and at 609 satellite locations.

All photos taken by me:

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Cocoa Beach, FL 21apr17. Kind of hard to believe that veterans would support a FIVE-TIME DRAFT DODGER, so let’s hope it’s a SAD JOKE. Pussy Power from NYC reigns supreme in this photo.
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Philadelphia, PA 12apr17
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NYC, apr17
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NYC, apr17
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Cocoa Beach, FL 21apr17
 Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 25!”

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 23: BANG BANG !

Week 22 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 15, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-22-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fdf7960cacd6

Week 22 has, by far, the most items related to Trump-Russia ties. This week, the word “probe” progressed to “scandal,” signaling an acceptance that some sort of collusion occurred. Trump continues his attempts to divert attention from this story by bombing and provocation without a strategy or plan. Two days of bombing have earned him his first two days of positive press. Meanwhile, as we approach the 100-day mark, Trump has accomplished little and his regime is in disarray.

  1. Six weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that Susan Rice committed a crime by spying on the Trump campaign.
  3. The Trump regime has articulated five different policies for Syria in the last two weeks. As the week closed, he still hadn’t settled on one.
  4. Reuters reported that the Assad regime was warned by Russia (after Russia was warned by Trump) of the impending US strike, and was able to mostly evacuate the target.
  5. Tillerson attended a G7 meeting, where he was a dissenting voice on imposing more sanctions on Russia. Tillerson said of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?
  6. Tillerson ditched his press pool while meeting with Putin. Tillerson claimed he and Putin found very little to agree on.
  7. As news about the Trump-Russia collusion in our election seeped out this week, Trump and Putin sought to display a deteriorating US-Russia relationship, with Trump saying relations were “at an all-time low.
  8. The next day, Trump tweeted an odd, unprompted reassurance, “Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!”
  9. Buzzfeed reported Pyotr Levashov (Peter Severa), a Russian hacker, was detained in Spain for ties to a computer virus linked to the US election. His wife said he was arrested for being “linked to Trump’s win.”
  10. WAPO reported that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page in connection with an investigation of the Trump campaign’s connection to the Russia’s effort to swing the election in Trump’s favor.
  11. WAPO also reported that the first 90-day FISA warrant was issued in July 2016, and has since been renewed by the FISA court more than once.
  12. In an ABC interview, Page said he couldn’t guarantee he did not discuss easing of sanctions with Russian contacts at a meeting in July in the Russian capital, “We’ll see what comes out in this FISA transcript.”
  13. According to the Steele dossier, also discussed at that July meeting was the sale of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company — allegedly in exchange for lifting of sanctions.
  14. CNN reported that classified documents reviewed by Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee contradict Nunes’s and Trump’s claims that Susan Rice did anything unusual or illegal.
  15. Financial records obtained by AP confirmed at least 2 payments totaling $1.2mm paid by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine on the so-called Black Ledger to Manafort’s consulting firm in the US.
  16. After consulting with federal authorities, Manafort said he would register as a foreign agent for his past work on behalf of pro-Russia interests in the Ukraine.
  17. Manafort became the second in Trump’s inner-circle to retrospectively register as a foreign agent, Flynn being the first for his work with Turkey.
  18. A DC lobbying firm which was that was directed by Manafort and Gates also retroactively registered as a foreign agent for work to promote a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party’s interests in Washington.
  19. The day after Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign, he set up a shell company which secured $20mm in loans, including $3.5mm from Spruce Capital, which has connections to a post-Soviet fertilizer oligarch, Alexander Rovt, who also has ties to Trump.
  20. Buzzfeed reported on a bizarre story involving Trump attorney Michael Cohen taking a $350k check from a Russian NHL player, which was meant to be passed along to Cohen’s client, a Russian women in Florida for payment on a condo, but instead Cohen cashed the check and kept it.
  21. Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove said Trump borrowed from Russiaas a lender of last resort after the 2008 financial crisis.
  22. The Guardian reported British spies were the first to spot the Trump team’s links to Russia dating back to late 2015. GCHQ shared the suspicious activity with their counter-parts in US intelligence.
  23. Germany, Estonia, Poland, Netherlands, France and Australia also relayed material on the Trump campaign’s links to Russia to US Intelligence during 2016.
  24. The head of GCHQ met with CIA Chief Brennan in July 2016 — per The Guardian, the matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at “director level.” This meeting allegedly precipitated Brennan’s one-on-one meetings with the Gang of Eight, described in Week 21.
  25. CNN confirmed The Guardian reporting, citing sources in the US congressional and law enforcement, and US and European intelligence.
  26. CIA director Pompeo had harsh words for Wikileaks, including a “hostile intelligence service,” and said Russian military intelligence used WikiLeaks to release hacked DNC emails.
  27. Pompeo also described RT, as Russia’s “primary propaganda outlet” and said it actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
  28. Ironically, while part of Trump’s campaign, Pompeo had cheered on Wikileaks, tweeting a Restate article, “BUSTED: 19,252 Emails from DNC Leaked by Wikileaks”
  29. Offering no evidence, Stone told POLITICO the Obama administration got a FISA warrant on him. Stone has admitted communication with both Guccifer 2.0 and Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.
  30. Maddow observed the serious press and agencies rushing in this week to take credit for having uncovered the Trump regimes collusion with Russia — meaning the scandal has entered a new phase as accepted.
  31. The House Intelligence Committee sent Rep Quigley to Cyprus as part of its Trump-Russia probe. Week 19’s list noted some of the extensive ties between Cyprus and the Trump regime.
  32. The Department of Justice released 90 pages under the FOIA about voting machine malfunctions in PA, MI, WI, FL and NC.
  33. As Trump neared the 100-day judgment mark, POLITCO described the WH as a “pressure cooker” to show results, when little has been accomplished.
  34. As power continued to consolidate in the hands of the Trump family, Trump’s WH drew comparisons to a “family business.”
  35. Unabated personnel drama plagued the WH the entire week, as snipes continued between Bannon, Kushner and Trump.
  36. After Trumpcare failed (twice), Trump had promised to take on tax reform next, saying a plan was forthcoming. This week Trump’s WH scrapped this effort, saying they would not produce a tax plan.
  37. WSJ reported that Trump’s federal hiring freeze, put in place day 1 of his administration, put correctional officers at risk, could delay payments to veterans, and prevent disabled and retirees from getting social security.
  38. The next day, Trump lifted his Federal hiring freeze.
  39. During the hiring freeze, thousands of positions remain vacant including more than 350 at the EPA alone. CNBC blamed the pace on “Trump’s close involvement” and “turf wars” in his inner circle and Cabinet.
  40. Trump threatened to undermine Obamacare to get Democrats to the negotiating table. Specifically, he would hold back subsidy payments to healthcare companies providing insurance to low-income Americans.
  41. The Government Accountability Office said it’s investigating whether the Trump transition team followed federal guidelines and ethics rules during the transition.
  42. DeVos said she would scrap Obama’s plan for tougher federal oversight and new rules for student-loan servicers. Coincidentally, DeVos has significant holdings in one such servicer, Performant Financial Corp.
  43. Trump appointed crony Don Benton, a salesman, to director of the Selective Service System, overseeing the military draft. This is the first time since 1941 a person with no military experience has been chosen.
  44. Allan Lichtman, the American University who predicted the winner of the last eight presidential elections, predicted Trump will be impeached.
  45. CREW and others sued DHS under the FOIA for failing to disclose visitor logs of the WH, Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower.
  46. On Friday, the Trump regime said they will not release the WH visitor logs, breaking with a practice started under President Obama.
  47. The rationale for not releasing visitor logs were “security risks”’ and to save taxpayers $700k over the next three years. A weekend in Mar-a-Lago costs taxpayers an estimated $3mm.
  48. Trump is on track to spend more in his first year, than Obama spent in all eight years in office.
  49. Trump Hotel DC is facing new legal challenges under the emoluments clause from a watchdog group represented by constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe, who noted a “major infusion of value” from the GSA.
  50. A deal for a Trump-branded hotel in Dallas with a developer Mukemmel Sarimsakci, known as “Turkish Trump,” collapsed. Sarimsakci said the Trump Organization had been vetting potential investors in the deal.
  51. Bloomberg found that of Trump’s 10 most engaged followers on Twitter, five are confirmed robots and three appear to be bots.
  52. A Florida court of appeals ruled against Trump, saying he owed a paint company $300k for stiffing them on work done and supplies provided at the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort.
  53. Trump completely reversed himself on several key campaign positions this week. China is no longer a currency manipulator, NATO is no longer obsolete — nor is Ex-Im Bank, and he likes the job Yellin is doing.
  54. Trump credited new-found knowledge from China’s leader (N Korea) and business leaders like Boeing’s CEO (Ex-Im Bank). Boeing donated $1mm to Trump’s inauguration, and as mentioned in prior weeks, China has granted many goodies to Trump, including 38 new trademarks.
  55. Trump’s Treasury Department oddly placed Germany on its new special currency “monitoring list.” Germany’s currency is the Euro.
  56. In a FBN interview Trump described eating “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” with China’s leader — giving a free advertisement to Mar-a-Lago catering — then got the country he bombed wrong (said Iraq).
  57. Spicer made shocking statements regarding Hitler and the Holocaust at Tuesday’s press briefing. He used the term “Holocaust center” rather than concentration camp, and in comparing Hitler to Assad, said the former had never used chemical weapons on his own people.
  58. The Anne Frank Center called on Trump to fire Spicer. The Trump regime has amassed a steady stream of anti-Semitic behavior, including omitting Jews from the WH International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.
  59. No one from the Trump family attended the WH Passover Sedar, unlike his President Obama and Michelle who attended every year.
  60. NBC reported on Gorka’s ties to Vitezi Rend, a Nazi-linked group, including wearing his honorary medal from the group at Trump’s Inaugural ball.
  61. In a speech on Tuesday, AG Sessions ordered prosecutors to crack down on illegal immigrants more aggressively, claiming gangs and cartels are turning U.S. cities into “war zones.”
  62. ICE quietly detained 367 immigrants this week in raids across the country. ICE claims the raids are focused on “criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives” — advocates say this is not true.
  63. A mother of four in Cincinnati was deported after appeals. Maribel Trujillo had no criminal record in her 15 years here, and has children aged 3–14 years-old, the youngest of which has special needs.
  64. On Thursday, the “mother of all bombs”- the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat — in Afghanistan. Trump refused to say if he had ordered the strike, and even if he knew about it.
  65. Trump said he gave total authorization to “my military” — a reference appropriate for a dictatorship, not a democracy.
  66. While his popularity continues to flounder, Trump got his second day of positive press for dropping the MOAB (the first was the Syrian bombing).
  67. Trump has yet to declare a strategy in Afghanistan or appoint an ambassador. The $16mm cost MOAB killed 36 ISIS fighters — a cost of roughly half a million per fighter.
  68. Late Thursday, Trump also issued confrontational statements about N. Korea, threatening a pre-emptive strike. N. Korea’s vice foreign minister says Trump is “making trouble” with “aggressive” tweets.
  69. Trump spent Friday in Mar-a-Lago, golfing and avoiding the press. Friday marked Trump’s 18th time golfing, compared to other presidents at this point: Obama 0, W Bush 0, Clinton 3.
  70. As Tax Day approaches April 18th, thousands are expected to march today in cities around the country to protest Trump being the only modern day president to not release his tax returns.

Below are my original photos taken over a period of time in New York:

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Queens, New York 8apr17

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by artist CDRE

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Make America Great Again, spotted on Long Island at the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital. 26mar17

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Please stay tuned for next week’s post of POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 24!

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 22: THE FARCE AWAKENS

Week 21 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 8, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-21-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-76e6d196aab5

Over the past three weeks, Trump’s approval plummeted as he struggled to take back the narrative amidst legislative failures and a ubiquitous Russia. He floated several attempts to deflect, and replace Russia as the lead story: the Obama wiretapp, the Nunes brouhaha, the Susan Rice unmasking — but none seemed to work. This week he figured out a way to take back the narrative — one commonly used by autocrats — he started a war.

  1. Five weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. Seeking to deflect from his growing unpopularity and Russia stories, Trump segued his Obama story to “a crooked scheme” involving Susan Rice spying on the Trump regime.
  3. Citing no evidence, Trump said Susan Rice had committed a crime. Experts debunked his claim, saying unmasking is routine for an NSA.
  4. The LA Times Editorial Board launched a scathing six-part series on the Trump presidency: “Our Dishonest President.”
  5. Since taking office, Trump has made 367 false or misleading claimsaccording to the WAPO.
  6. Rejecting Trump’s defense, a Kentucky federal judge said a lawsuit against Trump for inciting violence at a campaign event could proceed.
  7. Trump’s popularity plunged to 34% in an April IBD/TIPP poll, including a significant loss of support among rural voters (56% to 41%) and white men (58% to 49%).
  8. A Quinnipiac poll found a similar drop in approval by Trump key demographic white men: 58% to 47%.
  9. The US jobs report for March was dismal, weakest in almost a year. Unlike February when Trump took credit for a strong report despite his short time office, this time there was no comment.
  10. ProPublica reported that despite his pledge to remove himself from his business interests, Trump can pull money from any of his businesses, at any time, without disclosing it.
  11. At a WH press briefing, Spicer defamed ProPublica, calling it a “left-wing blog.” ProPublica issued a strong response and statement of facts, including the Trump trust documents which were revised on February 10.
  12. While under consideration for a major national security role, Stephen Feinberg said he wants to keep his stake in Cerberus, which is the 17th biggest US Army contractor in 2015.
  13. Breaking from Trump’s pledge to “drain the swamp,” POLITICO reported that Trump ex-staffers are cashing in through foreign lobbying work.
  14. Trump has left the WH Office of Science and Technology vacant, filling just one position with the former chief of staff for Peter Thiel. As discussed in past lists, Trump is installing “spies” into agencies, while leaving key roles without appointed candidates.
  15. Researchers said the Trump regime has been deleting scientific data collected by government agencies. One scientist said, “It’s a bloodbath.
  16. In violation of the Hatch Act, Dan Scavino Jr., social media director and WH advisor, tweeted at a member of the Freedom Caucus that he was a “big liability” and should be primaried. He later changed his Twitter bio to “Personal @Twitter Handle.”
  17. Without public announcement, Trump issued an EO changing the order of succession within the DOJ.
  18. Twitter filed a lawsuit after the Department of Homeland Security requested they reveal the identity of an anonymous account which has been critical of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office
  19. On Friday, DHS dropped its request, and Twitter withdrew its lawsuit.
  20. The Twitter account for the US agency which controls the US nuclear force, US Strategic Command, tweeted an article by Breitbart.
  21. Expanding his already huge portfolio of responsibilities, Kushner traveled to Iraq with General Dunford. The trip became the stuff of parody in a piece titled, “Jared Goes To Iraq! A Picture Story.
  22. WAPO reported Kushner Iraq trip violated protocol in that it was confirmed before they landed.
  23. Kushner’s increasing foreign relations portfolio led to questions of whether he has become the “defacto secretary of state.”
  24. The city council in Cambridge, MA passed a resolution calling for Congress to begin an impeachment investigation into Trump.
  25. Trump invited Egyptian President el-Sisi to the WH, and did not mention human rights abuses. Families of Americans being held prisoner in Egypt also said Trump had ignored their pleas for help, after Trump on the campaign trail, excoriated Obama for not prioritizing prisoners in Iran.
  26. On #EqualPayDay it was noted that Trump had quietly signed an EO taking away Obama-era protection for women workers.
  27. Trump cut all funding to UNFPA, a United Nations agency that works on maternal and reproductive health.
  28. Trump defended serial sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, calling him “a good person” and saying, “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”
  29. In the first three months of 2017, hate crimes in NYC doubled over last year. Most crimes were anti-Semitic, with an uptick in anti-black incidents as well.
  30. The NY State Supreme Court ruled that NYC can destroy immigrants municipal ID information, as part of the City’s effort to protect undocumented immigrants from being deported by the Trump regime.
  31. An Indiana restaurant owner was deported overnight by ICE to Mexico, despite pending legal actions. According to NPR, none of his lawyers were notified.
  32. FT reported that the FBI plans to create a special unit to coordinate its investigation of Russian interference with the election.
  33. Before resigning as NSA, Flynn did not reveal income he received from Russian-related entities during 2015 for speaking fees.
  34. Yahoo reported that Trump abruptly pulled out of meeting scheduled for February with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia and a close ally of Putin, over disclosed ties to organized crime.
  35. ICE whisked away Evgeny Buryakov, the Russian spy mentioned in Week 20. At trial, Buryakov’s attorney fees were paid by his employer VEB, a Russian Bank whose head secretly met with Kushner in December.
  36. BuzzFeed reported that former Trump advisor Page met with an undercover Russian spy in 2013, and passed along information.
  37. WAPO reported Erik Prince, Trump insider and brother of Betsy DeVos, attended a secret meeting arranged by the UAE with a Russian close to Putin in Seychelles on January 11, opening a back-channel to Russia.
  38. A UAE crown prince also had a meeting with Flynn, Kushner and Bannon in December. In an unusual breach of protocol, the UAE did not notify the Obama administration in advance.
  39. CNN reported the FBI is investigating links between Alfa Bank and Trump Organization servers, indicating an intention to communicate. During the campaign, 80% of Trump Org server lookups were done by Alfa Bank and 19% by Spectrum Health, which is led by Betsy Devos’s husband.
  40. NYT reported that Kushner omitted his multiple meetings with Russians in filling out his Questionnaire for National Security Positions.
  41. In a video obtained by Forward, Trump’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, Gorka, publicly supported a violent anti-Semitic militia group.
  42. On Thursday, Nunes temporarily stepped away from chairing the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russia, citing an ethics complaint by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
  43. In a letter that afternoon, the Republican chair of the House Ethics Committee announced they too are investigating Nunes for the “unauthorized disclosure of classified information.”
  44. Confusion reigned in the Trump regime after the Assad chemical bombing. Without citing specifics, Trump said he changed his Syria policy, but no one else in the regime seemed to know details.
  45. Without a formal announcement, Trump removed Steve Bannon from the National Security Council. Jennifer Jacobs, a Bloomberg reporter, broke the story after reading it in a notice published in the Federal Register.
  46. POLITICO reported that mega-donor Rebekah Mercer convinced her close ally Bannon not to resign. Reporter Jane Mayer has uncovered that the Mercers stand to avoid $6.8bn in taxes under Trump.
  47. The National Security Council page on whitehouse.gov is blank, save for these words: “Check back soon for more information.”
  48. NYT reported that as early as July, the CIA had evidence of Russia’s efforts to get Trump elected, and that Trump advisers were likely working with the Russians.
  49. In August, CIA director Brennan met with the Gang of Eight to share his findings. Reid has pushed repeatedly to inform the American public, but McConnell questioned the findings and pushed for a softer version of a public letter, striking any reference to Russia.
  50. As noted in Week 4, McConnell had also been the roadblock to Obama going public in October with more explicit information on Russia’s attempted interference with our election.
  51. Also as noted in Week 4, shortly after the election, Trump chose McConnell’s wife as his nominee for transportation secretary.
  52. On Friday, McConnell passed the filibuster-ending “nuclear option” for Supreme Court picks. One columnist referred to him as “the man who broke America.
  53. Trump had also pushed McConnell towards the nuclear option. One expert in authoritarianism said of autocrats, “They will continue to rewrite major rules and disregard norms.”
  54. Wars within the Trump regime continued this week, with open animus between Kushner and Bannon, and rumors that Bannon and Priebus could be on their way out.
  55. All the while, power continues to consolidate into the hands of Trump, Ivanka and Kushner. In the executive branch, only 4% of key roles are filled and 92% still have no nominee.
  56. In a PR stunt that fell flat, Trump donated his $78,333 paycheck to the Park Service. Ironically, Trump’s budget calls for deep cuts to the Interior Dept, which includes the Park Service, of 12% or $1.5bn.
  57. On Thursday, amidst a continued fall in approval and a growing drumbeat of Russia, Trump used provocations by North Korea and Syria as an opportunity to threaten war against both.
  58. On Thursday night, while in Mar-a-Lago meeting with China’s President Xi, Trump launched an attack on Syria .
  59. Trump did not seek approval or notify Congress ahead of time. He did however, give advance notice to Russia.
  60. Trump cited Assad’s use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, including children, as justification. Ironically, one of Trump’s first actions in office was his Muslim Ban, which banned Syrian refugees. Also per PolitiFact, on the campaign trail, Trump promised to remove existing Syrian refugees from the US.
  61. Also of note, the Trump regime has been responsible for killing hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, in the failed Yemen raid, and then in Mosul where pamphlets told citizens not to leave their homes.
  62. Pentagon released a video of the US strike Thursday night, which they claimed, “Initial indications are that this strike has severely damaged or destroyed Syrian aircraft and support infrastructure and equipment.
  63. Nine civilians, including four children, were killed by Trump’s airstrike.
  64. By the next day, the Assad regime was again launching airstrikes from the airfield Trump’s attack had supposedly destroyed.
  65. The media loved Trump’s show of force, and on Friday Syria become story one, displacing Russian interference and ties to Trump.
  66. The Onion ran the perfect parody of the situation on Friday, “Trump Confident U.S. Military Strike On Syria Wiped Out Russian Scandal.” Other pundits used the euphemism, Wag the Dog.
  67. To complete the stagecraft, the Trump regime released their version of the Situation Room photo. This version was taken in Mar-a-Lago, and included Spicer, two Goldman Sachs executives, Commerce Secretary Ross, and Kushner glaring over at Bannon.

The streets of New York are full of artistic political statements. Here are some I found in March 2017:

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Please stay tuned for next week’s post in this continuing series…

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 21: CRIME SCENE

Week 20 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

published April 1, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-20-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-d73e7ecbb05b

For the third week running, Trump has lost control of the narrative. His legislative agenda has ground to a halt — a sign of his waning political capital; however, he continues to fundamentally change the values and fabric of our country in a myriad of alarming ways. Russia’s interference in our election is now an accepted notion, and words like “collusion” and “cover up” entered the fray this week as all eyes turned to examining the Trump regime’s role.

  1. Four weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. The Sunday Times reported that during Merkel’s visit to the WH, Trump handed her a £300bn invoice for money he falsely claimed Germany owed to NATO.
  3. On Sunday, Trump announced that Kushner would lead a newly formed White House Office of American Innovation, giving him broad authority over federal bureaucracy. Kushner already has a significant portfolio.
  4. On Monday, NYT reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee will question Kushner about two meetings he arranged with Kislyak during the transition.
  5. Kushner will also be questioned on a previously unreported meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB). Gorkov is former KGB, and was appointed by Putin to run VEB, a bank under US sanctions for three years.
  6. Kushner and VEB gave different public accounts of why they met.
  7. VEB paid the legal bill as a secret “third party” for their employee, Evgeny Buryakov, at his trial for spying in the US for Russian Intelligence.
  8. Kushner arrived for a ski vacation in Aspen on the same day as Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, one of Putin’s closest confidants. Abramovich’s wife is also friends with Ivanka.
  9. China’s Anbang walked away from the planned purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue, which would have netted Kushner $400mm — a sign that the Chinese government is uncertain of the Trump regime’s longevity.
  10. Changing course, Ivanka will become a federal employee. In her new role of Assistant to the President, the highest staff title, Ivanka will have the same rank as McMaster.
  11. In January, Trump attorneys had said Ivanka would resign from her business positions. She is still listed as CEO of a NY based business.
  12. Ethics filings released on Friday showed that Ivanka and Kushner, despite their new roles, will remain as beneficiaries of real estate and investment businesses worth about $741mm.
  13. Ivanka will also maintain her stake in the controversial Trump Hotel DC, which netted her between $1–5mm from January 2016-March 2017, and value her stake between $5–25mm.
  14. Ethics filings also revealed that Bannon earned $917k in the past 12 months, more than half of which comes from Mercer related entities.
  15. Trump again took credit for jobs created before he took office: this time a $1.2bn investment by Ford that was planned in 2015.
  16. Per WAPO tracking, so far Trump has taken credit for jobs created before he took office 11 times.
  17. Trump’s anti-immigrant policies are scaring eligible families away from safety net programs like SNAP, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and free school lunches.
  18. ICE arrested five Green Card applicants in Lawrence, MA when they showed up for their scheduled appointments at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. All are scheduled to be deported.
  19. A federal judge in Hawaii extended the order blocking Trump’s second Muslim Ban.
  20. Trump has been named in more than 50 lawsuits filed by individuals, arising from his Muslim Bans.
  21. Trump signed an EO which legalizes discrimination against LGBTQ federal employees.
  22. Trump excluded LGBTQ people from the US Census, removing categories for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
  23. At a WH women’s event, Trump said “If I weren’t president, [women’s empowerment] would be a very scary statement. We can’t compete!” He also asked the crowd is they knew about Susan B. Anthony.
  24. Trump’s lawyer said the Zervos sexual harassment-related lawsuit, suing Trump for defamation, should be put on hold because it will “distract the president from his duties.”
  25. On the back of the failed Yemen raid and the Mosul bombing that left 200 civilians dead, Trump declared Somalia a war zone, lifting Obama’s civilian protection rules for airstrikes.
  26. WAPO reported a growing sense of panic and mistrust among civilians in Iraq and Syria amidst a record number of casualties by US-led airstrikes.
  27. NBC reported that 40% of US colleges reported a drop in international student applications because of Trump’s policies like the Muslim Ban. Foreign students generate $32bn in revenue and 400k jobs.
  28. Trump approval hit a new low at Gallup: 35% approve, 59% disapprove. Ratings this week are the lowest ever for a new president.
  29. Trump will not throw the ceremonial first pitch in the Nationals opening day, making him the second since Taft in 1910 not to do so.
  30. USA Today reported Trump and his companies have been linked to at least 10 former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to organized crime or money laundering.
  31. WNYC reported three all-cash real estate purchases by Manafort in New York. One purchase was for $10mm at Trump Tower in 2006 — the same time Manafort entered a $10mm contract with a pro-Putin Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, to help strategize on influencing US elections.
  32. Deripaska took out quarter page advertisements in the WAPO and WSJ denouncing the AP story, and offering to testify to Congress.
  33. On Monday, Nunes unilaterally cancelled all scheduled hearings and meetings for the week. He refused to share his source for the leaks.
  34. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that the Trump regime tried to block Sally Yates from testifying at the House hearing.
  35. WAPO also reported that both Yates and Brennan had made clear that parts of their testimony contradict statements made by the WH.
  36. On Thursday, NYT identified two WH officials, Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis, as the ones who gave Nunes intelligence reports. Ellis formerly worked for Nunes, and Cohen was brought in by Flynn and kept on by Trump/Bannon/Kushner despite McMasters’ desire to fire him.
  37. WAPO identified a third WH source involved in leaking information to Nunes: John Eisenberg, top lawyer for the National Security Council, on which Bannon sits.
  38. E Randol Schoenberg uncovered that Ezra Cohen-Watnick’s wife Rebecca Miller did PR for Putin.
  39. Barton Gellman raised the specter of unchartered territory — that these leaks could indicate that the Trump WH is spying on the FBI.
  40. On Friday, Schiff met with Trump and was given the materials. In a statement, Schiff said nothing he had seen warranted a departure from normal review procedures. He also questioned why senior WH staff leaked to Nunes, who then shared the info back with Trump’s WH.
  41. CREW and Democracy 21 requested an OCE inquiry into whether Nunes violated House ethics rules.
  42. Robert Wasinger, a former Trump campaign official, transition team staffer and Trump appointee became the second staffer to leave without signing an ethics pledge. Wasinger is now working as a lobbyist.
  43. ProPublica reported the Trump regime is refusing to respond to inquiry letters from Congressional Democrats, including the letters sent by Senate Democrats to Wilbur Ross in Week 18.
  44. The man behind the #Calexit Campaign — an effort to break California from the rest of the country — splits his time between living in San Diego and Russia, and has ties to a group reportedly backed by the Kremlin.
  45. BBC verified a key claim in Steele’s dossier — a Russian diplomat named Kalugin (misspelled in the dossier as “Kulagin”), who was head of the embassy’s economic section in Washington, was a spy.
  46. BBC also confirmed contact between the Trump campaign and Russia, including sharing of voter rolls in key states like MI and PA.
  47. The identity of ‘Source D’ in the Steele dossier, source of the most salacious details, was confirmed to be Belarusian American businessman Sergei Millian, who also had ties to Trump campaign officials.
  48. The FBI raided an obscure casino in Saipan run by a Trump protege, which has attracted attention over its huge revenue and cash flows. Board members include Trump transition team member Woolsey.
  49. On Thursday, Flynn’s lawyer said he had offered his testimony to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees in exchange for immunity. Per his lawyer, Robert Kelner, so far there are no takers.
  50. The next morning, Trump tweeted that Flynn should ask for immunity in this “witch hunt.”
  51. Robert Kelner tweeted on November 12, 2016, “A prediction: Donald Trump will make novel and unusual use of the President’s pardon power. An under-utilized tool of political power.”
  52. Jeremy Bash, an ex-intel official, said Flynn could only get immunity if he could deliver evidence against someone higher up the chain: Trump.
  53. A federal judge approved the $25mm Trump University settlement for defrauding more than 6,000 students, and with all the news, no one really noticed.
  54. NBC reported that the Obama administration was so concerned that Trump would destroy documents related to the Russia probe, that they created a list with serial numbers and hand delivered it to all members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  55. At a press conference before Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, Burr said Russia hired more than 1,000 hackers to create fake, anti-Hillary news. Warner added that Russia targeted key swing states, including MI, PA and WI.
  56. The Senate Intelligence Committee held its first day of hearings on Thursday. All experts who testified concurred on Russia’s involvement.
  57. Former special agent Clint Watts testified that one of reason Russia’s attacks were so successful is Trump and his team amplified and seemingly coordinated with propaganda coming out of Russia.
  58. As proof that Russia wasn’t only aiming to hurt Hillary, but rather to buoy Trump, Watts testified that Russia interfered in the Republican primary to undermine candidates, including Rubio.
  59. Rubio shared at the hearing that during his presidential campaign, his staff had a hack attempts from Russian IPs. Also, this week a second attempt was made to hack his former members of his campaign staff.
  60. CBS reported the FBI is probing whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Intelligence to carry out cyberattacks on the DNC and other targets in 2016
  61. Trump’s personal lawyer of more than 15 years, was named lead attorney for Sberbank, a Russian bank which is majority owned by the Russian government. Sberbank faces charges in US federal court for racketeering.
  62. WAPO reported that nearly one out of every three days while in office, Trump has visited a Trump branded property.
  63. The Center for Public Integrity noted that Wilbur Ross, while charged with Trump’s trade policy, maintains a stake in a shipping company that flies the Chinese flag, and visits Iran and Russia.
  64. Trump insider Rudy Giuliani is defending an alleged Iranian money launderer. Giuliani did not notify the court of his role, as is generally required. He also visited Turkey to discuss the case with Erdogan. The case it being heard in the Southern District of NY (formerly Bharara).
  65. In a letter to the federal judge on Friday, the federal prosecutor on the case disclosed that Giuliani tried to go around him, and cut a deal between the Turkish and U.S. governments.
  66. Senate Democrats called for an ethics probe of Mnuchin for promoting a movie he produced during a public interview on March 24th. Mnuchin said Friday it was not his intention to promote the movie.
  67. ProPublica reported that while in Congress in 2016, HHS Price bought stocks in 6 pharmaceutical companies, then used his connections to help scuttle a rule that would have hurt the companies’ profit.
  68. The Oklahoma Bar launched an investigation into whether Pruitt lied under oath in his testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing by saying while AG he only used his professional email for AG business.
  69. The State Department has gone dark. Since the IJR interview of Tillerson in which he signaled regret over taking SoS, both John Bolton and Condoleezza Rice have been invited to the WH by Trump.
  70. WAPO reported that many career diplomats in the State Department have been instructed not to speak to Tillerson directly, or to make eye contact.
  71. Senators in the House Armed Services oversight subcommittee urged Trump to fill Pentagon positions to “ensure that the American people know about and have a means to address instances of waste, fraud and abuse in their government.” Only one position has been filled (Mattis). Bannon and Kushner have blocked other picks.
  72. Trump friend and insider Carl Icahn, stands to significantly benefit from several of Trump’s policies, including a regulation that if put in place will save CVR Energy, of which Icahn owns 82%, $206mm per year.
  73. Newsweek reported that Comey wanted to go public in July with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the election, but in a meeting with Kerry, Lynch, Johnson and Rice, was told not to proceed.
  74. When asked by a reporter about Flynn during an EO signing ceremony, Trump walked out of the room without signing the orders.
  75. NPR reported that Trump has started to employ “Whataboutism” — a Russian propaganda tactic commonly used by Putin. When criticized, Trump will say someone else is worse.

Originals photos by me, in NYC March2017:

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IMG_0239Please continue following the weekly posts of “Politiks of Graffiti” on TOKIDOKI!

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 19: AMERICAN PSYCHO

Week 18 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published March 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-18-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-f948c7fb7910#.yexbgkmf9

Events and actions this week lend credence to an evolving theme: Trump isn’t all that interested in typical legislative stuff like passing healthcare or his budget — his passion and focus are on enriching himself, and making America white.

This week was also unfamiliar territory for Trump: he couldn’t control the narrative the entire week. We’re learning Trump is great on offense, but inept on defense.

As Trump’s wiretap claim entered its second week, Trump still offered no evidence to support it. Conway backed Trump saying, “microwaves that turn into cameras” can spy on us. Spicer said Trump didn’t mean wiretapping literally when he tweeted about wiretapping.

OMB Mulvaney claimed Obama had been “manipulating” jobs data.

The Trump regime had its second email scandal in two weeks. WSJ reported that Tillerson used an email alias – ‘Wayne Tracker’ — while at Exxon, to discuss climate change.

Kushner is set to net $400 million on the sale of a NYC office building to a Chinese firm with murky links to the Chinese power structure.

Ivanka imported 53 metric tons of Chinese goods while her father was making his ‘Buy American’ speeches.

A businesswoman with ties to Chinese Intelligence and the Chinese ruling elite purchased a penthouse in a Trump property for $15.8 million.

These ties, along with the 38 trademarks granted to Trump in Week 14, as Trump readies to host China’s PM at Mar-a-Lago. Trump has shifted on both his “One China” policy and trade war threats in recent weeks.

Trump insider Stone told AP he may have been the subject of surveillance by Intelligence for his possible role as a foreign agent for Russia.

Former WH staffer Crowley, who was fired for plagiarism, took a job as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Russia.

Reuters uncovered that Russian elite have invested close to $100 million in Trump luxury towers in Southern Florida.

The yacht of Trump financial backer Robert Mercer, was spotted in the British Virgin Islands next to the yacht of Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch mentioned in Week 17 for his multiple connections to Trump and Wilbur Ross.

Mercer also has close ties to Bannon, and collaborated with him on at least five ventures, including Breitbart News.

A document released Thursday showed that Flynn received three formerly-undisclosed payments from Russian interests, totaling $70,000.

WSJ broke that Flynn also had an interaction with a Russian-British national while he was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he failed to report, as required.

Russia continued provocations: a Russian spy ship reappeared in the US eastern seaboard, just 20 miles south of a U.S. Navy submarine base.

News of the DOJ’s findings that Russian agents were behind the Yahoo hacking, brought Russia interference back front and center.

As things heated up on Russia in the Senate, McCain accused Rand Paul, on the Senate floor, of “working for Vladimir Putin.”

Further to Week 17’s Deep State theme, Trump opened the week signing an executive order on a “reorganizing” of the executive branch, which opened the door to the Trump regime dismantling federal agencies.

POLITICO reported on the growing paranoia and dysfunctionality in Trump’s executive branch. One staff member said, “people are scared.”

Tillerson mirrored Trump, saying the proposed slashing of the State Department’s budget would make it “much more efficient,” while offering no vision or strategy for foreign policy.

As mentioned in Week 17, much to the consternation and over objections by our media, Tillerson did not bring press along on his first trip to Asia. He did, however, bring one reporter from conservative media IJR — who coincidentally had written a glowing piece about him two weeks prior.

Friday, Tillerson said the US was prepared to take military action against North Korea, if necessary. Tillerson cut his trip to South Korea short, citing fatigue.

Saturday, Tillerson stood by his decision not to allow the media along on his trip to Asia, saying, “I’m not a big media press access person.”

A Federal Judge in Hawaii halted Trump’s second Muslim Ban the day before it was set to go into effect, saying the Ban is unconstitutional and discriminates based on religion.

The Federal Judge also cited remarks made by Miller and Giuliani on TV in his ruling.

Conservative media IJR (same as on Tillerson’s plane) speculated that Obama’s visit to Hawaii and was behind the ruling. IJR next day added an editor’s note to the article, and soon thereafter, the reporter resigned.

Buzzfeed reported that Nick Ayers, a top adviser to Pence is an investor in the IJR.

Trump held a campaign rally in Nashville, TN on Wednesday in which he chastised the Federal Judge who ruled against his Muslim Ban, claiming incompetence, before transitioning the crowd to cheers of, “Lock her up!”

Trump’s ranting about the halt of his second Muslim Ban at the Nashville rally — “This is watered-down version of the first one” – could be a death blow to his chances in an appeal, which he does plan to file.

WAPO reported on a second internal report prepared for the Trump regime, again with data undercutting the premise of his Muslim Ban.

Trump’s Nashville campaign rally was half full; while thousands of protestors outside chanted things like, “bless your heart.”

Gorka, Trump’s top counter-terrorism advisor, was reported to be a sworn member of Hungarian group listed by our State Department as ‘under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany’ during World War II.

In Netherland’s race for prime minister, the candidate associated with Trump lost with unexpectedly poor results. Some in Europe noted that Austrian and Dutch elections point to a Trump backlash.

At a photo op before his Michigan speech, Trump said publicly to the governor “Come on, governor — even though you didn’t endorse me….I never forget.”

WAPO’s Fahrenthold followed up on three promises made by Trump on November 8: donating his salary, giving away leftovers from Inaugural Committee, and donating profits derived from foreign governments use Trump hotels to the US Treasury. Trump has given $0 so far.

On Friday, the Trump Organization announced it will wait until 2018 to start donating profits from foreign government in his hotels.

Anti-Semitic threats continued. CNN created a map to show how widespread Jewish bomb threats have become: so far in 2017, 159 bomb threats in 38 states.

Trump’s Muslim Ban took another blow from a Federal Judge in Maryland who suspended the part of the ban that prevented visas from being issued. Trump and his surrogates continued the “judicial overreach” and need to change this imbalance of power, talking point.

Trump’s budget got off to a disastrous start when OMB Mulvaney said of cutting funds to Meals on Wheels, it’s a program, “not showing results.” Words ‘Meals’ and ‘Wheels’ trended on Twitter for the rest of the day.

WSJ reported that tax cuts for the wealthy in the GOP’s tax plan would save Trump millions.

Part of Trump’s 2005 tax return was leaked to reporter David Cay Johnston, who shared them on The Rachel Maddow Show. Trump called it “fake news,” Maddow called the scoop, “a drop of water in the desert.”

NJ legislature passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.

Continuing his efforts to drain the swamp, Trump nominated his fifth Goldman Sachs employee to a role as Deputy Treasury Secretary.

Ethics documents showed that Liddell, Trump’s director of strategic initiatives, has $3–4 million in stock holdings of 18 of the companies, whose CEOs attended a meeting with he and Trump.

By midweek, Republicans including Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, were turning on Trump for his wiretapping claim. Ryan joined him too.

The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a formal statement that there is no evidence of any surveillance (going beyond wiretapping) or Trump Tower during or after the campaign. The statement was issued 15 minutes before the WH daily briefing.

At the daily briefing, which started an hour late, Spicer said Trump stands by his allegation that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

Spicer also parroted allegations first made on Fox News, that Obama used British intelligence agency GCHQ to spy on Trump. GCHQ issued a strongly worded refute of this ridiculous claim.

Friday morning, UK media reported the US made formal apology to Britain for the WH accusation that the GCHQ wiretapped Trump Tower.

That afternoon, Spicer denied that an apology was made, saying, “I don’t think we regret anything,” while Trump commented on the matter, “We said nothing. All we did was quote a very talented legal mind.”

With cameras rolling, Trump refused when asked by Merkel, to shake her hand.

Multiple pictures surfaced of Ivanka inexplicably seated next to Chancellor Merkel at the meeting.

Trump misspoke during the press conference with Merkel, referring to the US as a “company” instead of a country.

Also at the press conference, Trump turned to Merkel in answering about his wiretap claims by Obama and said, “At least we have something in common perhaps.” He claimed he got the information from Fox News.

After the press conference, Fox News’ Shep Smith said on his show, ‘Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.’

Oklahoma Rep Cole became the first congressional Republican to call on Trump to apologize to Obama for his false wiretapping claim.

Friday is was announced that Trump’s DOJ is working to speed deportations, shifting immigration judges to 12 US cities where they claim there are more immigrants who have committed crimes.

Cases continued to surface of non-criminals being targeted for deportation, including a mother of six in Chicago during a routine check-in with ICE. Her congressman was handcuffed defending her.

Canada’s version of the Girl Scouts — the Girl Guides — canceled all trip to the US citing concerns over Trump’s Muslim Ban, and it’s message.

Rep Steve King said Blacks and Hispanics “will be fighting each other” before overtaking whites in population. Few in the GOP condemned him, as King continued to the TV circuit re-iterating his white nationalism.

The Trump regime went to court to try to bring the consumer protection agency created by Sen Warren after the 2008 recession, under direct control of Trump, opening the door to dismantling it.

The WH “1600 Daily” email blast mistakenly included a very obviously satirical article from WAPO, “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why.”

Continuing his pattern of hiring insiders, Trump plans to nominate Kellyanne Conway’s husband to a powerful post overseeing the Federal government’s lawsuits, including the Muslim Ban.

Republicans continue to face energized, raucous crowds when returning home. Sen Ernst faced a packed crowd, which frequently booed her.

The House Intel Committee sent a letter to the FBI, CIA and NSA demanding info on whether Flynn was being surveilled. The House Intel Committee oversees the FBI, CIA and NSA, yet the agencies did not comply. Rachel Maddow in a segment called it “nuts” and “not normal.”

Open hearings in Congress on Russian interference start next week: March 20th in the House, and March 30th in the Senate. McCain said on upcoming Trump-Russia probes, “ I think there’s a lot of shoes to drop from this centipede.”

Courageous artist Karen Fiorito depicts Nazi dollar signs and clown 🤡 mushroom clouds. Arizona.
Artist Tom Blackford in London, care of notbanksyforum.
Artist Maria Acevedo, care of weartasone instagram.




Please continue to follow this weekly series of art intimidating trump…

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 18: THE DEEP STATE

Week 17 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published March 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-17-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-ae9bf7c02ace#.hmzos3rl9

This week, some threads from past weeks’ lists continue to unwind: Trump and his regime’s ties to Russia, conflicts of interest, and the dysfunctional and largely unstaffed executive branch. But the broader story of Week 17 is an underlying shift away from democracy, and it’s not subtle at all!

Under the auspices of Trump’s #2 Bannon, our democracy as we know it is transitioning under a term used widely this week: the Deep State. Know this term! A Deep State is a paranoid, authoritarian vision of a regime under siege and being infiltrated — in this case by Obama and his loyalists. This authoritarian vision has been used by the Trump regime as justification by for their ever-increasing need to consolidate power into the hands of a trusted few — transforming our democracy into an authoritarian state, and making it harder to get to the truth on the many troubling matters.

As we headed into Week 17, Trump refused to back off his claims tweeted Saturday morning in Mar-a-logo that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump demanded that Congress investigate his claim.

Trump provided no evidence for his wiretap claim. Sunday morning on Meet the Press, former DNI Clapper said “I can deny” that Trump Tower was wiretapped.

Sunday, FBI’s Comey also denied Trump’s claim, and asked the DOJ to publicly reject Trump’s wiretapping claim. The DOJ has not rejected Trump’s assertion.

A WH spokesperson rejected Comey’s assertion that Trump’s wiretapping claim is false. Trump regime members continued to dance around the lack of evidence all week, refusing to deny Trump’s false claim.

WAPO reporters, in a disturbing piece, described Trump’s fury and instability over the weekend. Further to story, reporter Costa tweeted: ‘Trump woke up in good spirits, per his confidants. Read the papers and watched early cable shows, liked that they covered his allegations.’

Upon returning to the WH, Monday was the first weekday that Trump’s schedule was entirely closed to the press.

Other members of the Trump regime acted erratically, including Stone who was suspended from Twitter for his misogynistic rants. Later in the week, Stone admitted to being in contact with Guccifer 2.0, the DNC hacker, during the campaign.

After his flip-flopping on Russian contact in Week 16, this week Page, without offering evidence, said his phone may have been tapped.

As the week closed out, Trump had still not been in contact with Comey or the FBI about his wiretapping claims. Trump’s sources for his claim were right wing media, Breitbart and Mark Levin.

Trump signed a second Muslim Ban order, ignoring the findings of the DHS report he ordered, this time targeting six countries.

Four states sued to stop the ban, including the state of Hawaii which used Stephen Miller’s own words on TV, that the revised travel ban is really just like the original, as evidence.

Alex Orono, the Ukrainian businessman who arranged the ‘peace plan’ meeting between Cohen, Sater and Artemenko mentioned in Week 15, died suddenly.

The first imports of Russian steel arrived at a port in New Jersey.

Trump WH announced, contrary to an executive order that Trump signed requiring the use of domestic steel in US pipelines, that the Keystone XL builders can use non-US steel.

AP reported on how Trump’s DC hotel has become the central hub of political capital in DC. Several of Trump’s cabinet members are living at his hotel as well. Trump still financially benefits from the property.

The top official in charge of the public buildings at the GSA, who was in charge of overseeing Trump’s DC hotel, resigned. Trump will get to appoint his replacement.

Cork Wine Bar in DC sued Trump for unfair competition over Trump’s DC hotel saying, “President Donald Trump’s ownership constitutes unfair competition and we are asking the courts to stop it.”

Young people in a Sweden suburb said Russian TV crew tried to bribe them to riot. Trump has largely gone quiet on his assertions of a terrorist attack in Sweden.

McClatchy reported on the curious overlap between the luxury plane of the same Russian billionaire who bought Trump’s Florida home (delivering Trump a $60mm profit) with Trump at event in Charlotte and Concord, NC. A spokesperson for the oligarch said, “Mr. Rybolovlev has never met Donald Trump.”

CNN reported on a speech given by Kislyak in October 2016 in which he denied meeting Trump or his campaign team during the 2016 election. We now know that is a lie on many counts.

On Sunday, after N. Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, Trump and the State Department had no response for over 5 hours. The State Department eventually issued a statement after 10 pm.

Shortly after Trump had lunch with Tillerson, the WH issued a statement congratulating Exxon on a new program.

The WH press release contained full paragraphs copied verbatim from Exxon’s press release.

Bureau chiefs wrote a letter saying they were “deeply concerned” that Tillerson did not bring the press on a trip to Asia to visit important allies. Letter also says of the action, “it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation’s leaders.” Spicer claimed this was due to cost savings by Tillerson.

MSNBC’s Mitchell was kicked out of two State Department press briefings for trying to ask Tillerson questions. The briefings turned out to be solely photo ops.

Mexico’s top diplomat came to DC and skipped the normal channels going straight to the WH to meet with Kushner, McMaster and Cohn. The State Department did not know about the meeting.

In a statement, the State Department asked the NYC Medical Examiner not to disclose the cause of death for Russian UN ambassador Churkin.

Tillerson still doesn’t have a Deputy, and most of the diplomats with expertise in senior roles have been fired or left the State Department. Fmr Ambassador Hill said the vacuum of leadership is “unprecedented.”

ProPublica reported that Trump has quietly installed 400 insiders to be his ears and eyes in the executive branch.

As of March 10, 96% of key positions in the executive branch remain unfilled. Trump has nominees in the confirmation process for only 8% of positions requiring Senate confirmation.

More reporting of Trump’s failed Yemem raid indicated carelessness with civilian casualties, and that despite the WH taking credit for a successful mission in which they recovered intelligence, that was not in fact that target of the mission; rather, it was a key member of al Qaeda.

A top general took responsibility for the failed Yemen. Trump had blamed the generals in Week 15 — atypical of a commander-in-chief.

Widespread anti-Semitism continued across the country, including a bomb threat to the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, vandalism at the largest synagogue in the Pacific Northwest on Shabbat, and incidents at two Maryland schools.

Wikileaks announced another data dump they claim came from the CIA. This time, the media largely did not bite: questioning instead whether Russia was the source of the data, and whether the purpose was to distract from Trump’s wiretap claims and Russian ties.

A large portion of the Wikileaks dump are from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, the unit assigned by Obama to respond to Russia’s interference in our election.

Two days later, Nigel Farage visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London (March 9th). On February 25th, Farage had dinner with Trump, Ivanka and Kushner.

Costco started stocking the popular Orwell book, “1984.”

Gold star father Khizr Khan canceled a speaking engagement in Toronto, saying he was notified that his travel privileges were under review. At the end of the week, there were still open questions about this curious case.

The ACLU filed an ethics complaint against Session in Alabama over his Senate confirmation testimony about contact with Russia to “determine whether he violated the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.”

The Office of Government Ethics director wrote a letter to Trump’s deputy WH counsel on the decision not to discipline Conway, saying he remains “concerned” about the Trump aide’s “misuse of position,” and that her evading punishment risked “undermining the ethics program.”

Bannon and Breitbart increasingly used the term “deep state” to describe an imagined “covert resistance” to Trump, largely composed of Obama loyalists. Deep state is a term generally used by authoritarian regimes.

Fox News’ Hannity tweeted Thursday it was time for Trump ‘to purge the deep state saboteurs from the government.’

On Friday, Rep Steven King also suggested that a purge of federal staff needs to happen.

Same day, when asked in the WH Daily Briefing, Spicer did not reject the concept of the Deep State.

That afternoon, without any notice, Sessions asked all 46 remaining Obama appointed US attorneys to resign.

On Wednesday Three watchdogs had asked the US attorney for the Southern District of NY (home to the Trump Organization) to investigate whether Trump effectively receives benefits from foreign entities, in violation of the Constitution.

The US attorney for the Southern District of NY is Preet Bharara, who was invited to Trump Tower in November and asked by Trump to stay on, only to be asked to resign in the Sessions sweep on Friday. As of today, Bharara is refusing to resign.

POLITCO reported that Europeans are concerned about Bannon and Trump’s efforts to undo the European Union. Commerce Secretary Ross, who has ties to Russia per Week 16, is also anti-EU.

Trump golf properties enjoyed an unprecedented boom of sales, as people seek access to Trump. Eric Trump bragged, “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.”

The New Yorker reported on one of Trump’s questionable and likely illegal deals in Baku, Azerbaijan (a former Soviet republic). Ivanka oversaw the deal, which was linked to corrupt oligarchs and terror financiers.

Russia broke a 30 year-old nuclear treaty with the US, deploying a missile with nuclear capability which threatens Europe. US Generals briefed Congress, but the Trump regime did nothing about it.

Muhammad Ali Jr. was again detained at an airport in DC, this time, ironically, after meeting with lawmakers to discuss his being detained last month.

In a filing this week, Flynn admitted that he had worked as a foreign agent during the campaign, lobbying Trump on behalf of the Turkish government, and earning $530,000 for his work.

Examples emerged of how Flynn’s lobbying role may have interfered with US policy, such as during the transition when Flynn held approval of a Kurdish plan to seize Raqqa. The Obama WH had worked for months on this plan.

Flynn also had written an op-ed, published on election day, calling Turkey “our strongest ally” against ISIS, and recommending we extradite “radical cleric” Gulen.

Information in Flynn’s filing also revealed a possible bribe attempt to get an email sent by Hillary regarding Benghazi re-marked as classified.

Spicer said Friday that Trump did not know that Flynn was working a secret foreign agent, as evidence mounted to suggest otherwise.

In a morning interview with MSNBC, a former Trump transition team member said Trump and the transition team knew about Flynn.

Pence said he didn’t know about Flynn. It was uncovered that Rep Cummings had sent Pence a letter on this topic in November. In an awkward interview with Bret Baier Friday, Pence offered up twice that this was the first he had heard of it — not responding to a question asked.

A story that had been dismissed four months ago about computer server connection this past summer between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization, re-emerged, as sources reported the FBI is investigating.

Trump’s former campaign manager Manafort my face charges Ukraine for his involvement with mass police shootings of protesters in Kiev in 2014, allegedly tied to Russia.

At a WH press briefing Friday, some members of the media literally laughed at Spicer for his explanation of why Trump accepted and took unwarranted credit for this month’s jobs report, while in the past saying the jobs was phony.

As Week 17 drew to an end, and Trump marked his first 50 days in office, the media was widely critical of the frequent lies and assertions without evidence made by Trump. A concern emerged about Trump’s credibility should a crisis emerge.

On Friday morning, Spicer broke a 1985 federal rule which forbids government officials from publicly commenting about the jobs report within one hour of the release, when he commented via a tweet.



12mar17.

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