POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 31: TWITTER TWAT

Week 30 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 10, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-30-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-9705fea03cc9

This week all eyes were on the Comey testimony, which opened the door for what could be obstruction of justice, an impeachable offense. Despite Republicans controlling the House, Senate and White House, legislative progress has largely come to a halt amid weekly and sometimes daily bombshells, as all eyes turn to the Trump-Russia scandal. Also of note is the complete disarray of the Trump regime, and the difficulty Trump is having hiring staff and even finding legal representation.

  1. In the aftermath of terrorists attacks in London Saturday night, Trump attacked the Mayor tweeting, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”
  2. The US ambassador to the UK contradicted Trump, tweeting from the embassy account we “Commend the strong leadership” of the Mayor.
  3. Trump used the attack as an opportunity to promote his Muslim Ban, “I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” Ironically, the Trump regime spent months denying it was a “ban.”
  4. Trump also criticized Sessions, tweeting the DOJ should have stayed with the first Muslim ban, “not the watered down, politically correct version.”
  5. Experts said Trump’s tweets would likely hurt the chances on appeal at the Supreme Court.
  6. NYT reported that Trump is fuming at Sessions, especially over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
  7. Mattis tried to reassure allies at a conference in Singapore, asking them to “bear with us” after Trump’s disastrous foreign trip.
  8. POLITICO reported that Trump’s national security team was blind-sighted when he left out the planned language reaffirming US commitment to Article 5 from his NATO summit speech in Brussels.
  9. A noose was found at a construction site in DC, marking the third noose found in the DC area this week.
  10. The Ku Klux Klan applied to hold a rally in Charlottesville on July 8th.
  11. Reuters reported that the Trump regime is seeking to reopen hundreds of cases of illegal immigrants who were granted a reprieve under Obama.
  12. Buzzfeed reviewed more than 50 reports of school bullying, and found that kids nationwide are using Trump’s words to taunt their classmates.
  13. Kim Weaver dropped her run for Congress against Trump ally, Steve King, after receiving multiple death threats.
  14. POLITICO reported that Tillerson has made himself largely inaccessible to staff and outsiders, funneling all inquiries through two staffers.
  15. The Mayor of Los Angeles said ICE’s aggressive raids could cause high tensions in his city to boil over: “I fear a tinderbox out there.”
  16. Canadian searches for flights to US cities have dropped by 43% since Trump’s first proposed Muslim Ban.
  17. Ivanka continued her efforts to reset her image, appearing on the cover of US Weekly with a headline, “Why I Disagree with My Dad.”
  18. Questions arose of whether it is constitutional for Trump to block users, given he Twitter communicate about domestic and foreign policy.
  19. Trump filed a 6 month extension for filing his 2016 taxes. His rationale for the extension is unknown.
  20. WSJ reported Saudi Arabia’s lobbyists and consultants spent $270k at the Trump Hotel DC as part of an effort to lobby Trump against a bi-partisan Act that lets Americans sue foreign countries over terrorist attacks.
  21. The DOJ argued Trump can accept payments from foreign governments, saying the emoluments clause doesn’t apply to “fair-market commercial transactions” like payments for hotel rooms and golf club fees.
  22. As questions remain on why Kushner met with VEB’s Gorkov, Bloombergreported that Kushner is seeking a $250mm loan to pay back Chinese investors for a New Jersey luxury tower. US banks are wary to lend.
  23. WNYC reported the Kushner family is set to lose $6.5mm in annual tax credits for a property in Jersey City.
  24. The acting US ambassador to China resigned over Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord.
  25. The head of the US Patent Office resigned.
  26. 85% of the top science jobs in Trump’s executive branch remain unfilled and do not have a nominee.
  27. The chief executive of Newseum warned that Trump’s denigration of the media would lead to the “delegitimization of journalists,” and encourage authoritarians to target reporters and newspapers around the world.
  28. Rep Gianforte agreed to pay $50k to the Committee to Project Journalists in a civil settlement for assaulting journalist Ben Jacobs.
  29. Mueller brought in several, well-known attorneys with relevant experience to join his special counsel Russia probe, including Michael Dreeben, the DOJ’s top criminal law expert.
  30. Yahoo reported four top law firmed turned down requests to represent Trump citing his unwillingness to listen to advice, potential harm to recruiting and client relationships, and his history of not paying bills.
  31. Forbes reported that at a charity golf tournament run by Eric Trump for St. Jude Children’s Research, $1.2 million of expenses paid to the Trump Organization had no documented receipts.
  32. Additionally, $500k was re-donated to other charities (4 of whom subsequently held tournaments at Trump golf courses), and $100k was funneled though the Eric Trump Foundation to the Trump Organization.
  33. The NY Attorney General’s office said it will look into these payouts by Eric Trump’s Foundation.
  34. Flynn turned over more than 600 pages of documents to the Senate Intel Comm. Most are business records, but also some personal documents.
  35. The Intercept published a leaked top-secret NSA document which detailed the efforts of Russian hackers to target a voting-software supplier and more than 100 local election officials just prior to Election Day.
  36. The FBI arrested the leaker: 25 year-old Reality Winner, a federal contractor in Augusta, Georgia. The FBI was able to track the leak to Winner after The Intercept provided a copy to the NSA for comment.
  37. Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intel Comm said Russian attacks on our election were broader and targeted more states than reported in The Intercept.
  38. Sen Klobuchar asked that the Senate Rules Comm get a classified briefing on the Russian vote hacking attempts.
  39. Deutsche Bank ignored the House Democrats’ request for information on Trump’s accounts and possible ties to Russia.
  40. Thursday, Deutsche Bank blamed privacy laws for preventing the bank from disclosing the information requested.
  41. At a Senate Intel Comm hearing Wednesday, Coats, Rogers and Rosenstein largely refused to answer senators’ questions. One conservative journalist called it contempt of Congress.
  42. A pro-Trump PAC ran ads attacking Comey as a “showboat” and a failure on the day of his testimony.
  43. WAPO reported Coats told associates Trump asked him to intervene to get Comey to back off the FBI’s investigation of Flynn in its Russia probe.
  44. Sources said the ask was made at the end of a briefing at the WH, when Trump asked everyone to leave the room, except Coats and Pompeo.
  45. NYT reported the day after Trump asked Comey to end the investigation of Trump, Comey told Sessions not to leave him alone with Trump.
  46. ABC reported that Trump lashed out repeatedly at Sessions in private meetings about recusing himself from Russia, and that Sessions in turn suggested he could resign.
  47. After allegations Nunes was behind the House Intel subpoenas on “unmasking,” Nunes refused to confirm if he had stepped aside in the Russia probe.
  48. VOX reported that Comey had spoken to three senior FBI officials (Rybicki, Baker, McCabe), who could vouch for his story that Trump asked him to shut down the Flynn investigation.
  49. Trump’s approval hit a new low in a Quinnipiac poll: approve 34%, disapprove 57%. Of note, Trump is almost underwater with white men!
  50. A senior State Dept official will travel to Russia to help solve the “irritants” in our relationship.
  51. Putin threatened Sweden with a military response to “eliminate the threat” if the country joins NATO.
  52. Former DNI Clapper said “Watergate pales” compared to what the US is confronting now.
  53. Ahead of his testimony Thursday, on Wednesday the Sen Intel Comm released seven pages of Comey’s testimony.
  54. Highlights include: unusually frequent contacts with Trump, Trump requested a loyalty pledge, Comey documented all contact, Trump focused on Russian hooker report, and Trump asked him to let Flynn off.
  55. Trump’s pick for FBI director, Wray, works for a law firm that counts among it’s clients Russian-state oil companies Rosneft and Gazprom
  56. Comey testified in an open session Thursday. Major networks covered the testimony as over 19 million watched. Many in DC caught “Comey fever” and played hooky to watch at restaurants and pubs.
  57. Among the highlights: Comey said Trump lied about him and the FBI; that Sessions had no choice but to recuse himself; and that he was fired because of the Russia investigation.
  58. Comey said he took notes starting directly after the first meeting on January 6 because he was concerned Trump “might lie.” Comey did not feel the need to take notes with Obama or W Bush.
  59. On Trump’s threat of having taped his conversations, Comey said, “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.” This spurred another round of demands by Democrats for Trump to produce the tapes, or admit he lied.
  60. Comey said Sessions seemed uncomfortable when Trump asked him to leave the room, “My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn’t be leaving.” Comey said the same of Kushner.
  61. Comey said he leaked a memo about his meeting with Trump through a friend at Columbia to the NYT in hopes of getting a special counsel appointed.
  62. Comey testified he has given his memos to Mueller, and suggested the special counsel is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
  63. Comey said there was no doubt that Russia interfered in our election, saying, “they’re coming after America” and “they will be back.” He also noted this is an attack on our democracy, not a particular political party.
  64. Trump’s lawyer, Kasowitz responded, included a written statement where he misspelled President. He also got the timeline of the Comey memo wrong, and falsely accused Comey of leaking classified information.
  65. After the Comey testimony, Republicans mostly shied away from the camera this week, while Speaker Ryan offered a tepid defense for Trump’s actions: “he’s just new to this.
  66. Numerous Trump surrogates spent the days surrounding Comey’s testimony by trying to smear him as a liar and attention seeker.
  67. NBC reported that during the Senate Intel Comm’s closed hearing, senators learned about a third, undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Russia. This confirms an item in Week 29, which the DOJ denied.
  68. PM May suffered a major setback in the UK elections, as her Conservative Party lost the majority. Her party’s loss also could spell trouble for Brexit.
  69. Senate Intel Comm staff will interview Kushner next week. NBC reported that Congress wants to ask Kushner if he was seeking funding for his NYC tower.
  70. Pelosi told MSNBC that she is looking into why Trump picked Saudi Arabia as his first country to visit. Past presidents, going back to Reagan had visited close allies Canada or Mexico first.
  71. Pelosi also said she is looking into why while at the visit in Saudi Arabia, Trump had cleared the room.
  72. Trump and Tillerson had an embarrassing difference in foreign policy on Qatar as Tillerson said there should “be no further escalation by parties in the region,” and Trump sided with Saudi Arabia and others, slamming Qatar as a sponsor of terrorism.
  73. Trump’s attorney said he would file a complaint against Comey for leaking his memo to his friend at Columbia.
  74. According to a letter from the US Office of Special Counsel, Trump’s social media director Scavino violated the Hatch Act in April when he tweeted a call to oust a member of the House. He was issued a warning.
  75. In a Friday speech with the president of Romania in the Rose Garden, Trump switched course again and said he would support Article 5 of the NATO pact.
  76. Trump also called Comey a liar and a “leaker,” and that Comey’s testimony showed there was “no collusion, no obstruction.”
  77. Trump also said he would be willing to tell his side of story under oath, “100 percent,” but still would not confirm if the “tapes” really exist.
  78. Top Democratic donor Tom Steyer called for impeachment hearings over obstruction of justice.
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Artist NYChopper: work in progress at Welling Court in Queens, NY. 10june 2017. Photo: Nicole Gordon
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Artist NYChopper: work in progress at Welling Court in Queens, NY. 10june 2017. Photo: Nicole Gordon
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Artist SubDude London in East London, UK. 

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SubDude London. June 2017. London, England, UK.
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SubDude London. June 2017. London, England, UK.19030262_2289888577902385_8856758324072423941_n19059288_2289888727902370_6814893311459251430_n18952809_2289888714569038_7478800350446585725_n
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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 30: COVFEFE

Week 29 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 3, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-29-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-c9e9f26fc799

This was an abbreviated week with Memorial Day and Congress out of session. Republicans were largely in hiding. Without the background noise in DC, two major themes played out: the spreading Russia crisis, and the shaping of a new world order.

Even before Megyn Kelly’s prime-time interview of Putin, Russia has become a national obsession. Several bombshells on Trump-Russia broke this week, as the collusion puzzle continues to piece together. And seemingly at Putin’s behest, a new world order is shaping with Trump distancing himself from our democratic allies, and cozying up to brutal authoritarian states.

  1. As the Trump-Russia scandal spread, Donald Jr, Eric and Eric’s wife Lara met with GOP leaders to discuss strategy. Donald Jr and Eric were supposed to steer clear from politics while running the family business.
  2. SoS Tillerson, Exxon’s former CEO, was present in Saudi Arabia at the same time Exxon’s current CEO was signing a major deal with state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
  3. The Trump regime planned to quietly sell $1.2mm of semiautomatic handguns to Ergodan’s security guards. After these guards beat American protestors at the Turkish embassy in DC, members of Congress objected.
  4. Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported that during his Brussels visit, Trump complained to the Belgian PM about his difficulties in setting up golf courses in the EU.
  5. In the final leg of his trip, Trump continued to ignore US press. Trump was the only G7 leader to not hold a press conference after the summit.
  6. The WH omitted the name of the husband of Luxembourg’s gay PM from the caption of a photo taken at the NATO summit. It was later corrected.
  7. Merkel warned Europeans that the US and Britain are no longer reliable partners, and that Europe “must take its fate into its own hands.
  8. Macron said his prolonged, white-knuckled handshake with Trump was “not innocent,” telling French media, “we must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones.”
  9. In an interview with Megyn Kelly, Putin it would be a good thing for Moscow if NATO were completely “falling apart.”
  10. In sharp contrast to Trump, on Monday France’s Macron stood on stage next to Putin and called Russian media outlets “organs of influence and propaganda.” France also accepted LGBTQ refugees from Chechnya.
  11. While visiting Australia, McCain sought to reassure our important ally, telling them Trump’s actions have “unsettled many Americans as well.”
  12. CNN reported that Trump’s return from his first foreign trip finds him lonely and angry. One source said, “I see him emotionally withdrawing. He’s gained weight. He doesn’t have anybody whom he trusts.”
  13. A furious Trump threatened a WH shake-up again and again this week amid the broadening Russia crisis; however it also became clear that few are interested in working for Trump.
  14. Trump’s Communications Director quit Tuesday. Other than that, no changes were made this week despite all the drama.
  15. Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, withdrew his name from consideration to lead the Civil Division of the DOJ.
  16. Reuters reported that Trump FBI director search has become “chaotic,”and said Trump interviewed candidates for 10–20 minutes, and in one case, mostly talked about himself.
  17. AP reported Trump gave his cell number to world leaders and urged them to call him directly, raising concerns about security and secrecy.
  18. Trump’s Twitter account experienced a strange surge of followers in the month of May. Nearly half his new followers are likely fake accounts.
  19. Rolling back 40 years of progress, the Trump regime plans to disband the Labor Department division responsible for policing discrimination among federal contractors.
  20. Also as part of this move, Trump will also roll back protections for the LGBTQ community, and for victims of campus sexual assault.
  21. Amid racial tensions in Portland, OR after a two men were killed by a white supremacist while coming to the aid of Muslims women, a Republican said the party should use militia groups at public events.
  22. Three days after the Portland attack, Trump tweeted attack was “unacceptable;” although he did so through the @POTUS Twitter account, not the personal account he typically uses.
  23. One hundred eighth graders on a field trip to DC refused to pose with Paul Ryan. One student added, “I don’t want to be associated with him.”
  24. WNYC reported Trump SoHo plans layoffs, citing in the past five months room and event bookings are down sharply.
  25. As Trump lost the appeal in federal court on his second Muslim Ban, the regime gave US embassies broad discretion to limit travelers through intensified screening measures for visa applicants.
  26. In another act of violence against US media, several windows at the Lexington Herald-Leader were shattered by bullets.
  27. Texas’s House passed SB 4, which attempts to abolish “sanctuary cities” by making local officials who refuse to enforce the Trump’s regime’s extremist measures liable and subject to removal from office.
  28. A Texas state representation, Matt Rinaldi, called ICE on SB 4 protesters. He also threatened to “put a bullet in one of his colleague’s heads” during a scuffle on the House floor.
  29. A man arrested for failing to pay fare on Minneapolis light rail faces deportation after undergoing inappropriate questioning by a transit officer on his immigration status. The exchange was captured on video.
  30. In Michigan, ICE agents ate breakfast at an Ann Arbor restaurant, complimented the chef on the waffles and bacon and eggs and toast, and then went to the kitchen area and arrested three restaurant workers.
  31. A Guardian article described ICE agents as “out of control” and “getting worse” as arrests of non-violent undocumented immigrants explode across the country. Agents have also been accused of targeting protestors.
  32. The Trump regime filed a petition with the SCOTUS to appeal the second Muslim Ban rulings. Ironically the Ban, marketed as imperative to protecting America, had a 90 day tenor. It is now over 120 days later.
  33. A noose was found at the segregation exhibition of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  34. NYC sculptor Alex Gardena, upset about the Fearless Girl statue looking at the bull, placed a statue of a urinating dog next to the girl.
  35. Signaling his lack of knowledge on governing and his continued authoritarian bent, Trump tweeted the Senate ‘should switch to 51 votes, immediately, and get Healthcare and TAX CUTS approved.’
  36. China arrested one activist, and two others disappeared, after investigating alleged labor abuse at a factory that makes Ivanka’s shoes.
  37. Sen Judiciary Comm chair Grassley called for an investigation into a Chinese co marketing investments in a property partly managed by Kushner using EB-5 visas (granting visas for $500k investments).
  38. McCain said Russia is a bigger threat to the US than ISIS, and said “We have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to change the outcome of our elections.”
  39. POLITICO reported as Mueller ramps up his Russia investigation, Trump aids are responsible for preserving materials, despite many using auto-delete apps. Destroying materials could expose aids to criminal charges.
  40. On Meet the Press, Clapper said of the Kushner-Russia reports his warning light was clearly on, and “all of us in the intelligence community, very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians.”
  41. NYT reported that the FBI is investigating Kushner’s motives for meeting with Gorkov, head of VEB, a Russian state bank, and whether it had to do with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
  42. CNN reported on intercepted conversations during the 2016 election which reveal Russians believed they had “derogatory” information on Trump and some of his tops aides that could be used to influence them.
  43. At a Recode conference, Hillary said the Russians “could not have known how best to weaponize that information” without help from Americans.
  44. Trump’s close confidant and personal attorney, Michael Cohen was asked by House and Senate investigators “to provide information and testimony” on contacts he had with Russia. So far Cohen has declined.
  45. The House Intel Comm sent a preliminary request for information to former Trump aid, Boris Epshteyn.
  46. The New Yorker reported that Trump reached out to ally Roger Stone, who is at the center of congressional and FBI investigations, on May 11th and told him, “good job.”
  47. CNN reported that Congress is investigating a possible third undisclosed meeting between Sessions and Kislyak.
  48. The House Intel Comm issued seven subpoenas Wednesday on the Trump-Russia probe — four subpoenas related to Russia investigation, and three were issued to the NSA, FBI and CIA on “unmasking.”
  49. Schiff said no Democrats were consulted on the “unmasking” subpoenas. Democrats on the House Intel Comm said that Nunes violated his Russian recusal by issuing these subpoenas.
  50. The WH finally disclosed waivers granted. VOX reported that Trump has granted more lobbyist waivers in 4 months than Obama did in 8 years!
  51. The waiver granted to Bannon for communicating with Breitbart may have violated ethics rules, as it was granted retroactively.
  52. WH Office of Management Director Mulvaney said the day of the CBO “has probably come and gone.”
  53. It has been 36 days since the State Dept held a daily press briefing.
  54. POLITICO reported the WH ordered agencies not to comply with Democrat’s oversight requests, as Republicans fear the information could be used against Trump. None of these requests have been honored so far.
  55. Trump tweeted at 12:06 a.m.: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe…” While Twitter stayed awake lambasting Trump, the tweet remained up until morning, when it was replaced by a humorous version.
  56. When Spicer was asked about the Trump tweet the next day, he refused to admit wrong or a mistake instead saying, “The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant.
  57. Amid outrage by corporate CEOs, US and international politicians and experts, and a clear majority of US citizens, Trump formally withdrew from the Paris Accord with another of his hallmark dystopian speeches.
  58. While delivering his speech, Trump referred to a casino robbery in a Manila casino as an “act of terrorism.” This was a false statement.
  59. Trump also bragged in his speech about adding one million jobs. The actual number is closer to 600k. Trump’s top economic adviser Cohn said Trump was using the ADP number, ignoring its own government report.
  60. May’s nonfarm payroll number came in Friday well below expectations (138k actual vs. 185k expected).
  61. After Trump pulled from the Paris Accord, Ivanka sought to recreate her image, tweeting support for the LGBTQ community and being featured as the “most powerful Jewish woman.” Both were met with outrage.
  62. A poll by POLITICO/Morning Consult found support for Trump impeachment is rising: 43% this week, up from 38% last week.
  63. WAPO reported that the Trump regime is moving to return the two US compounds the Obama administration had taken away from Russia as punishment for interfering in the 2016 election.
  64. Yahoo reported that days after taking office, the Trump regime tasked the State Dept with finding ways to lift economic sanctions, to return the two US compounds, and to relieve tensions Russia
  65. As these were the same State Dept employees that helped develop punitive measures, they were alarmed and rallied congressional allies.
  66. WAPO reported that while Kushner and VEB’s Gorkov have given different accounts for why they met, shortly after their meeting, Gorkov met with Putin in Japan.
  67. Congressional investigators are looking into whether Kushner was vulnerable to Russian influence because his real estate holding are over-leveraged, and whether this led to his meeting with Gorkov.
  68. WAPO reported that Kushner financed a luxury skyscraper in Jersey City using federal loans meant to help poor, job-starved areas.
  69. NBC reported that five current and former officials say Trump participated in a private meeting in April 2016 with Kushner, Sessions and Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel.
  70. Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the FBI’s Trump-Russia scandal, in part for meeting with Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in March.
  71. James Comey is scheduled to testify in front of the Senate Intel Comm next Thursday, and is expected to say that Trump asked him to back off the investigation of Flynn.
  72. ABC reported that Comey is angry, saying Rosenstein and Sessions never relayed any concerns about his job performance before firing him.
  73. NYT reported that Trump could try to block Comey’s from testifying citing executive privilege. As of today, Trump has not decided if he will try to block Comey’s testimony.
  74. Going a step further than Trump, Putin said maybe “patriotically minded” private Russian hackers meddled in the US election
  75. DOJ’s Weissman, who oversaw foreign bribery and bank cases, is joining Mueller’s Russia investigation team.
  76. AP reported Mueller has taken over a separate DOJ criminal probe into Manafort, which predates the 2016 election.
  77. Mueller may also expand his inquiry to investigate Sessions’s and Rosenstein’s roles in firing Comey.
  78. Reuters reported special counsel will also probe Flynn’s ties to Turkey.
  79. POLITICO reported the Trump regime is pushing Congress for legislative victories as Trump grows impatient; but as the Trump-Russia scandal heats up, it’s unlikely any legislation will be passed in coming months.
  80. Today, Americans in 150+ cities will participate in the “March for Truth”to demand the urgency and transparency on Trump-Russia.

A closing note: the number of items we have normalized and/or forgotten about from the early lists is astounding. Each week brings new bombshells and scandals – stories that in normal times would be front page news for weeks or months — for example, Pence’s (Week 16) and Tillerson’s (Week 19) email scandals. In the chaos, we have forgotten.

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And to the increasing number of people equating our loathing of this person with being anti-American, I’ll just say that that is the absolute OPPOSITE of what we are. On the other hand, a true measure of being anti-American is actually dodging military service, not three times, not four, but FIVE times (!) when mandated to serve this country like everyone else at the time. Other examples of him being anti-American, hmm…how about…aligning with dictatorships (Russia, Philippines, Turkey) and destroying western relationships. He despises freedom and he’s convincing uninformed people (i.e. Fox News viewers) that if they don’t blindly follow his regime, then they are against our country. FALSE. We are FOR our country. You deserve better. Believe in your ability to THINK.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 26: FXCK THE PRESIDENT

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New York City, NY. March 2017.

Week 25 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 6, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-25-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-c9e266046627

The fabric and values of our country are transforming before our eyes. The Trump regime of billionaires and sycophants – with most Republicans cowering along in lock-step — continue to act and take actions that are greedy and cruel. As we hit Week 25, every subgroup of Americans not white, straight and male has been a target.

The beat of Trump-Russia continues, as does Trump’s mentally imbalanced leadership — for which there is increasing concern. This week the authoritarian themes of silencing dissent, and consolidating power and wealth were also front and center.

  1. Trump delivered a campaign speech in Harrisburg, PA to mark his first 100-days. One pundit called it “the most hate-filled in modern history.
  2. Frustrated by his failures in the first 100-days, Trump took to Twitter and Fox News to demand changes in to “archaic” rules of the House and Senate, so he could consolidate his power.
  3. Trump called for a government shutdown in September to fix what he called a ‘mess.’ Republican leaders rejected this idea.
  4. Trump also blamed constitutional checks and balances for the chaos of his first 100 days, saying “It’s an archaic system … It’s really a bad thing for the country.
  5. Trump said he is open to meeting Kim Jong Un, saying “ I would absolutely be honored to do it.”
  6. Trump ally Erdogan fired 3,900 from the civil service and military as “threats to national security” in his second post-referendum purge. Trump has filled 5% of key roles in the executive branch.
  7. Tillerson sent a survey to employees ahead of a major State Department overhaul involving significant job and budget cuts. Tillerson has yet to name a deputy, or fill the key roles vacated by early resignations.
  8. In a CBS interview, Trump denied that Russia hacked our election, saying it “could’ve been China, could’ve been a lot of different groups.
  9. A massive coordinated hack and online leak of Macron’s emails occurred just 1 1/2 days before the French presidential election. Macron’s campaign blamed Russia for the attack.
  10. The leaks came within an hour of the midnight campaign blackout, during which politicians, media and citizens are legally required to pull back from any public election discussion.
  11. The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency accused Russia of gathering large amounts of political data in cyberattacks ahead of Germany’s September election.
  12. Sparking shock and outrage, Trump invited Philippines President Duterte, an authoritarian known for brutality, to the WH. Trump did not clear the invitation with the State Department.
  13. According to Duterte’s spokesman, Trump praised Duterte saying “you’re doing a great job.
  14. Amid concern with Trump’s embrace of authoritarian rulers, Tillerson said American values, such as human rights, should not be a condition for US foreign policy.
  15. Trump Tower in the Philippines continues to use videos of Trump and Ivanka as a key selling point.
  16. The Moscow Times reported that someone is throwing chemicals at Russian opposition, causing them to go partially blind.
  17. USA Today compiled a list of 38 Russians opposed to Putin who were victims of unsolved murders or suspicious deaths in the past three years. Two such deaths were related to the Steele dossier/Trump-Russia ties.
  18. McCain said he was “looking at other options” after Trump ally Corker backed off from imposing more sanctions on Russia.
  19. In violation of the Hatch Act, Secretary Ross accompanied Trump to Pennsylvania for a campaign event to raise money for Trump’s 2020 campaign, and WH staffer Sandra Sanders tweeted about it.
  20. On Tuesday, without taking questions, Spicer walked out of a room full of reporters, as the Trump regime was forced to accept most of the Democrats’ wish list in order to avoid a government shutdown.
  21. The OGE sent a letter to the WH and executive branch agency heads asking for copies of any waivers for Trump regime members from ethics rules. According to the NYT, at least two such waivers have been granted.
  22. The OGE says it wasn’t consulted about Ivanka’s job, saying she should be considered a federal employee and subject to those rules.
  23. Voice of America, a government-funded news agency, posted a story and tweeted about Ivanka’s new book, raising questions about the Trump regime’s use of government sources to promote private business interests.
  24. A State Department account (@GenderAtState) also likely violated federal rules by retweeting a post promoting Ivanka’s book.
  25. After pushback from his Cabinet, Trump started to dismantle his “shadow Cabinet” — young, inexperienced spies placed at federal agencies.
  26. The IRS is demanding $7 billion in back taxes from the Mercer’s hedge fund. The Mercers’ donations and ties to the Trump regime make it unlikely they will pay.
  27. Congress allocated a whopping $120 million for the Trump Family’s security costs. Costs include business trips to Vancouver and Dubai by Trump’s sons, and ski weekends in Aspen and Whistler for Ivanka.
  28. The WSJ uncovered that Kushner had failed to report $1bn of loans in his financial disclosure. He also omitted his stake Cadre, a tech startup with ties to Goldman Sachs, George Soros and Peter Thiel.
  29. POLITICO reported that at least nine members of Trump’s transition team have registered as lobbyists, despite a five-year lobbying ban.
  30. Wilbur Ross said the Syria strike — which he viewed with Trump and Chinese President Xi at Mar-a-Lago — was “after-dinner entertainment.”
  31. Priebus told ABC that the Trump regime “looked at” changing libel laws to go after the media for articles “that have no basis or fact,” and “writing stories about constant contacts with Russia…”
  32. A Code Pink activist who briefly laughed during Sessions confirmation hearing was convicted in Virginia. Two others will also face charges.
  33. Trump’s new FCC Chairman Pai said the FCC would investigate Colbert for a joke made about Trump and Putin and “take appropriate action.”
  34. AP reported that Republican House Chair Hensarling told dozens of government agencies to exclude communications with his committee from FOIA requests. He was widely criticized.
  35. Citing emails obtained under the FOIA, CBS reported that Trump had direct involvement in hunting the National Park Service official who tweeted photos of Trump and Obama’s inauguration crowds.
  36. Seemingly to counter his unpopularity, Trump has mentioned the election results on 39% of the days since November 8th.
  37. In an article in New Yorker, writer Evan Osnos reported that Trump’s fitness to service is “officially part of the discussion in Congress.
  38. Breaking a tradition of 18 years, a school district in Seattle canceled its international field trip over concerns of Trump’s border enforcement.
  39. Trump did away with a 16-year-old tradition of celebrating Cinco do Mayo at the WH.
  40. Sen Casey blasted Trump and his regime for deporting a mother and her 5-year-old son back to Honduras, where they would face grave danger. Despite Casey’s efforts to intervene, the deportation is moving forward.
  41. According to the ACLU, Texas is about to become the first “show me your papers” state.
  42. The Trump regime fired chief usher Angella Reid, the first woman and second African American to hold the job. The job typically involves a long tenure, so this Friday afternoon firing was viewed with curiosity.
  43. Trump said he may not fund historically black colleges, a 25-year-old program, saying the funding may be unconstitutional.
  44. In a memo, Trump ordered his regime to end Michelle Obama’s girls education program, “Let Girls Learn.”
  45. After campaigning on cracking down on drugs, a line of attack that seemed racially based, Trump proposed cutting funding for the Drug Control Office, the agency charged with cracking down, by 95%.
  46. Rape charges were dropped against an immigrant teen in Maryland. Fox News had devoted days of coverage to the case, using it to validate Trump’s immigration agenda.
  47. Several outlets reported that Gorka would accept a role outside the WHafter being denied security clearance and over his associations with a Hungarian hate group. Gorka said these reports were “very fake news.”
  48. The Daily Beast reported that Trump and Bannon intervened to save Gorka, and for now, he will remain.
  49. On Wednesday, POLITICO reported that Lewandowski’s firm, Avenue Strategies, quietly signed a deal to represent Citgo, a US-based oil company owned by Venezuela, in its proposed sale to Russia’s Rosneft.
  50. Citgo has donated $500k to Trump inauguration. According to The Daily Beast, that money may have come from the Kremlin, at least indirectly.
  51. The owner of the 19.5% stake in Rosneft sold shortly after Carter Page’s July meeting with Putin allies in Russia, is still not known.
  52. A bi-partisans group of Senators called on Trump to block Citgo’s sale to Rosneft, citing concern that with control of Citgo, Russia could use its influence to counter US trade sanctions imposed in 2014.
  53. Amidst reports on Citgo and other questionable dealings, Lewandowski resigned from the Avenue Strategies, the firm he co-founded.
  54. Friday afternoon, Mark Green, Trump’s second pick for Army Secretary, withdrew as a nominee. Senators had expressed alarm at Green’s public homophobic statements, something Trump vetting missed or ignored.
  55. Rachel Maddow cited that Trump has yet to fill 57 of 58 senior level Pentagon positions which require Senate confirmation.
  56. Trump reportedly speaks to Rupert Murdoch almost every day. Some had speculated that Murdoch may be the biggest winner of Trump firing Bharara, as Fox News is under investigation in the Southern District.
  57. As the Senate Intel Committee got back on track, the Committee sent letters to several Trump insiders including Flynn, Manafort, Page and Stone, requesting records of their communication with Russia.
  58. Page said he planned to cooperate, but his records as a private citizen would be ‘minuscule in comparison’ to what the FBI had collected under a FISA warrant. Page was asked to list any Russian official or business executive he met with between June 16, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2017.
  59. WAPO reported that Trump transition staffers warned Flynn about contact with Kislyak. Flynn was warned on both Kislyak’s background and that contact with him would likely be monitored.
  60. WAPO reported Billingslea was among a small group of national security hands in the Trump transition team who were concerned about Flynn and Trump’s pro-Russia stance.
  61. AP reported the Obama administration was concerned about the request for info on Kislyak, and about Flynn’s contact with Russia. They also delayed telling the Trump team about planned sanctions against Russia.
  62. One punishment was to close two Russian compounds. AP reported the Obama administration feared if they told the Trump regime too far in advance, they might give Moscow lead time to clear information out.
  63. NBC further reported that the Obama administration gave the Trump regime only hours notice about closing Russian compounds.
  64. AP reported the Obama administration was also concerned about sharing info with the Trump transition team after classified documents were copied and removed from a secure facility.
  65. Sally Yates will testify Monday before the Senate that she gave a formal warning to Trump’s WH that Flynn was lying three weeks before he was fired. This contradicts the Trump regime’s version of what happened.
  66. Nine weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. This week Trump said it has “been proven very strongly.
  67. Rand Paul, a supporter of Trump’s false claim, also said he thinks Obama spied on him. Paul tweeted that he has requested info on whether he “was surveilled by Obama admin” or the Intelligence community.
  68. At an open Senate hearing, Comey reiterated that there was no spying on Trump Tower.
  69. On Thursday, Trump and the GOP passed a series of measures, including passage of Trumpcare/AHCA in the House, a watering down of Dodd Frank, and a ‘Religious Liberty’ EO which allows religious institutions to participate in politics, and power to decide on covering birth control.
  70. Beer was rolled in as the votes on Trumpcare were cast in the House, followed by a celebration at the WH — this, as more than 24 million Americans stood to lose healthcare coverage.
  71. After the vote and celebration, it became apparent that many House members never read Trumpcare or considered how it would impact their state/district. As House members returned home for an 11 day vacation, many hid and/or turned off their phones.
  72. Jason Chaffetz, who in Week 24 was noted to have left DC and halted his investigation of Flynn in order to get foot surgery, slithered back to DC to vote for Trumpcare.
  73. After Trumpcare passed the House, the non-partisan Cook Political Reportsaid the vote hurt the re-election prospects of 20 Republicans.
    DCIM100GOPROG0145572.
    New York City, NY. March 2017
    artist Stahler Skam, based in Portland, Oregon.
    Artist: Stahler Skam. Portland, Oregon.

    oddo & subdude
    Artist: Subdude. Photo: Oddo Personnosrep. London, England. May 2017.

Stay tuned for next week’s artistic expressions of political discontent from around the globe…

 

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:

IMG_1105
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.
IMG_1463

DCIM100GOPROG0125570.DCIM100GOPROG0115569.DCIM100GOPROG0315589.IMG_1790DCIM100GOPROG0165574.IMG_1685IMG_1357

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

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 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 2: BAD HOMBRE

This will be a continuing series as Donald Trump’s mental issues become more and more apparent, thus inspiring artists all over the world to create against his oppressive policies. Amy Siskind is a highly successful Wall Street executive and the Co-founder and President of The New Agenda, a national organization working on issues including domestic violence, LGBT, sexual assault, and economic independence and advancement. She has been brilliantly documenting each week of Trump’s presidency, making lists showing what he has executively acted, who he has nominated, and various other nonsensical, inappropriate, and in some cases, illegal policy enforcements. We will start with Week 1, but in no time, I can assure you that these posts will catch up to present time, because artists are hungrily expressing the discontent of millions around the globe. Siskind decided to do this because “experts on authoritarianism advise people to keep a list of things subtly changing around us, so that we’ll remember.”

Week 1: published November 20, 2016

Acts of hate — for the first 400 per SPLC, I could name many that I had seen covered by the media. Then I noticed the count exceeded 700, and I realized I knew very little about those additional 300.

Reporters critique their own paper’s coverage of Trump, then delete it (see below tweet which disappeared overnight, after 2k+ retweets).

A president-elect is openly (on Twitter!) trying to take away our freedom of expressions, First Amendment rights: targets this week include SNL, NYT and Hamilton.

The media, including traditional media, covered an alt-right conference and published their demands, which included a ban on immigration for 50 years of anyone not white, and an all white nation.

Major media following Trump’s reality show storylines, instead of reporting as traditional media/journalism.

Democrats advocating for a Mitt Romney appointment to SOS — a man with whom we agree on almost nothing on policy, but because he is competent and not a racist or a bigot.

The pace of untraditional, unorthodox acts, and conflicts of interest by Trump are coming so fast and furious, they’re barely getting coverage.

Utter outrage by the left at the complacency and largely silence of our elected leaders. Watch of a Tea Party-esque type uprising.

A request for tolerance for, and understanding of, white supremacists.

https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-1-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-aa8738496f9#.m51ldcc8d

Artist: SubDude in London, England.
Photo taken in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: London, England.
Photo: Samuel Dylan Clayton at Protest March in Berlin, Germany.
Photo: Abigail Kafka at The Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic.
Artist: SubDude in London, England.
Artist: Eric Yahnker
Photo: Samuel Dylan Clayton in Berlin, Germany.
Artist: Eric Yahnker
Artist: SubDude in London, England.
Artist: Eric Yahnker

Stay tuned for “POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 3” and Amy Siskind’s ‘Week 2’ list…