For the first time in quite a while, this week Trump had no control over the narrative. What was supposed to be his Infrastructure Week, was quickly supplanted by the Rob Porter scandal, which carried over from Week 65 and escalated, highlighting the Trump White House dysfunction. Another mass shooting shook the country and left Trump and his regime flat-footed ahead of bombshell indictments unsealed by Mueller against Russians on Friday.
The indictments highlight what heads of US intelligence unanimously agreed to in Senate hearings, and what H.R. McMaster called “incontrovertible” — that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s continued denial of Russian meddling leaves him in an isolated and untenable position, as the country awaits his response to Russia.
Of note, this week there was push-back from inspector generals, watchdog groups, and the judicial branch against the regime’s kleptocracy and corruption — some of the first signs of accountability.
Jocelyn Morfii, an elementary school teacher at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School in Miami for seven years, was fired after marrying a woman. The principal said it was “difficult and necessary decision.”
After the indictments were released, Rosenstein held a press conference. Of note, he stood alone without Mueller or anyone from Mueller’s team. He said the defendants conducted information warfare against the US.
This week the country braced for radical actions by Trump relating to the Mueller investigation. Trump, his regime members, elected Republicans, and conservative media turned up the rhetoric and attacked the credibility of Mueller, the FBI, and the DOJ. In the seven months since Mueller was appointed, his special counsel has already charged four Trump regime members, with more expected from Trump’s inner circle.
Also of note this week is the broad-scale attacks on norms in our fragile democracy. Trump’s regime is actively deconstructing the agencies they run, stripping away rights and regulations, and making science and educational information disappear.
CNN accused Trump of online bullying. A spokesperson said, “In a world where bullies torment kids on social media to devastating effect” it is sad to see a leader doing this, adding “Leaders should lead by example.”
NYT reported Trump’s EPA has slowed actions against polluters. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has thus far filed 1,900 cases, one-third fewer than under Obama (2,900 cases) and one-quarter fewer than under W. Bush (2,600 cases) within the same amount of time.
On Tuesday, Trump attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a sexually suggestive and demeaning tweet, calling her a “lightweight” and “a total flunky for Chuck Schumer,” and saying she would come to his office “begging” for campaign contributions and “(and would do anything for them).”
Gillibrand responded in a tweet: “ You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame” you bring to the office.
On Thursday, Omarosa told Robin Roberts on ABC News: “as the only African-American woman in this White House, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally.” Roberts later quipped, “Bye, Felicia.”
My Monday started out calmly enough…and then I received an instant message from a friend saying “Quick!” ~ with a link to a Guardian article about the newest Banksy piece (two, actually) that popped up at the Barbican Centre over the weekend. So, I dropped everything ~ due to my past history with Banksy’s NYC Residency in 2013 ~ https://www.amazon.com/My-Month-Banksy-October-2013/dp/1494258447~ and the anxiety ensued – feeling like it was a race against time, to get there, document it…in case other people had ideas ~ like vandalizing it, covering it up, etc…. ~ and I’m just passing through London, so I needed to figure out the best way to get there. Not wanting to influence your interpretation (although, there is one caption in the middle explaining Basquiat’s crown) while viewing the photos, I placed my analyses at the very bottom of the post. Would love to hear your thoughts:
1 – People interacting with Banksy pieces is an extension of the art itself…
2 – A man approached me and asked me “Do you think this is OK to do?” I replied “Do you?” He said “I asked you the question.” Me: “I’m asking YOU.” He replied: “No, I don’t. This is vandalism.” I said “Well, I love it.” Him: “It’s a Grade II building.” (Grade 2 listed building restrictions and Grade 2 listed building regulations: Restrictions are there to protect the historic significance of the building. Any change which affects the listed fabric of the building is illegal unless approved by your LA (Local Authority). http://www.heritage-consulting.org/grade-2-building-restrictions
I said “It’s obvious that this is a collaboration between Banksy and the Barbican and that they approved it.” (Just taking note of their security staff protecting it) Him: “Well, if they did, they’re going to be in a lot of trouble!” Me: “I guess we’ll know more in the next few weeks as people research it more and write about it.” He left in a huff.
3 – Some observations I made with the main piece:
a. The female police officer appears to have a red dot on her forehead which I relate to the Hindu religion. I can’t figure out why it’s there. “A vermilion mark in the parting of the hair just above the forehead is worn by married women as commitment to long-life and well-being of their husbands.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi_(decoration)
b. I was disappointed with her right hand, thinking Banksy got lazy with his stenciling, but it’s more likely that he intended for his signature style to MERGE into Basquiat’s. And that makes it a brilliant move.
c. The “POLICE” stencil on the back of the male officer – it doesn’t CLEARLY spell out P O L I C E. You can barely see the “I,” if at all, and the “C” almost looks like another “O.” Why? He’s the best stencil artist. Why is this unclear?
The second, smaller piece:
1 – “Watching the Basquiat Crowns go round and round…” The ticket stand hearkens back “Dismaland” to me. The ferris wheel, an allusion to the London Eye?
a. The aluminum foil crown on the ground below the piece, was strategically placed there by the people running it. Trust me, you weren’t allowed to take it, so that’s another indication of the ‘staging’ of this event.
“I don’t listen to what art critics say. I don’t know anybody who needs a critic to find out what art is.” ~ Basquiat
“Nothing is important…so everything is important.” ~ Haring
“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” ~ Banksy
There’s already a lot of controversy surrounding these two new pieces. Again, people are calling Banksy a ‘sell-out.’ This time, for seeming to fall right into the advertisers’ pockets by doing these blatantly obvious ‘promotional pieces’ for the upcoming Basquiat show at the Barbican Centre. So, the quote from him above, is quite interesting…
I saw on Facebook that people were wondering when someone was going to wring a political message out of this, so here you go:
a. Possibly there’s a message related to the lack of freedom and ease of entry into the U.K., especially with the current ‘Brexit attitude.’ It may be saying that even if you’re Basquiat, you’re still black, and we’re going to make it very difficult for you. Or, that can go back to the sea I have that the female officer is Hindu and this is Banksy promoting diversity in the U.K.
Front and center this week were reports on Russia’s use of social media to influence the US election, possibly with help from the Trump regime. As well, a slew of reporting continued to build the evolving mosaic of connections and quid pro quo between members of the Trump regime and Putin allies.
Trump’s short-lived pivot ended abruptly late in the week when he again evoked “both sides” on Charlottesville, then started an embarrassing tweet storm about a tragic bombing in London. An interview by Rachel Maddow of Hillary on her new book, provided a momentary pause and wake up call for how much our country has changed — both our global standing and government competency — under a leader who admires, and aspires to authoritarianism.
Late Friday, after scrutiny from the POLITICO story, OGE clarified its rules, saying contributions to legal defense funds from anonymous donors, as well as those from lobbyists and foreign governments, are unacceptable.
NYT reported after Trump was told that Mueller was appointed, he berated Sessions in the Oval Office. Trump called Sessions an “idiot,” and said picking him for AG was the “worst decisions he had made.”
The New York meeting (reported in Week 21) took place last December, and was attended by Flynn, Kushner and Bannon. In an unusual breach of protocol, the UAE did not advise the Obama administration in advance.