CHISINAU, MOLDOVA 🇲🇩 GRAFFITI: WALL OF FAME 5

20july17. Chisinau, Moldova 🇲🇩 

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COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA STREET ART: ALOHA KE AKUA by DAVID ROTHMAN

Aloha ke Akua: To recognize ke Akua (God) as the supreme being, to acknowledge His hand in all things, and to be appreciative of His many blessings. Aloha: To love others as one’s self and to do so unconditionally, living a life of charity, compassion, and forgiveness towards others.                                                                                                            Artist David Rothman: https://www.drothmanart.com                                                       Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/davidrothmanart/

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Cocoa Beach-based artist David Rothman sitting down in front of his most recent mural. It can be found wrapping around the side and back walls of Jazzy’s: http://jazzysmainelylobster.com
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He can usually get a mural of this size done in about two days, but as you can see, he had serious storm weather to contend with on and off for a couple of weeks. It’s summer in Florida.

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He painted the whole back wall with brushes.

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DR used Hawaiian professional surfer Sunny Garcia as his inspiration. Though SG’s not what the mural’s ultimately about, it seems fitting that someone with this reputation “Garcia has been a controversial figure, depicted as both volatile and easygoing by those who have met him. He has served prison time for tax evasion and been arrested for fighting. According to ESPN, his nickname Sunny was given to him by his mother, due to his cheerful disposition as an infant. He is known as a tough competitor but also someone who owes success to the anger he feels when surfing, which he often takes out physically on his competitors,” ~ is seemingly seeking redemption in the “God is Love” theme.IMG_3412DCIM100GOPROG0015844.IMG_3639IMG_3666IMG_3663IMG_3661IMG_3652IMG_3648DCIM100GOPROG0015886.IMG_3668IMG_3667IMG_3679

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DR used spray paint on the side wall.
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Swirling ocean. Life. Movement. Energy. The artist lives and breathes what he creates…
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Completed back wall
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The black and white really adds a layer of ‘tempestuousness’ to the water.

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This shark in black and white just looks a bit more fierce.

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A cool depiction of one of the most intelligent animals on the planet: The Soul of an Octopus.

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june2017. Cocoa Beach, FL

A special shout out to Jazzy’s for supporting local art and helping to bring Cocoa Beach to its rightful place of being a Florida town worthy of featuring international artistic talent. And here’s to hoping that more Cocoa Beach businesses will “Catch the wave!” 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 33: THE GREAT POLITICAL SWINDLE

Week 32 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 24, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-32-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-252680d31be6

There were signs this week that our democracy is fading. The unusual process undertaken by McConnell in attempting to pass AHCA without Senate input or public support. Alarming evidence that Russia may have tampered with 2016 Election Day results, and possibly with help from the Trump campaign. The Trump regime taking steps to shut down access for the media, while our country burns in bigotry and hate.

Trump-Russia is still the dominate theme, as investigations open on new fronts, and Trump regime members go quiet and lawyer up. Trump continues to deny Russian interference, which will undoubtedly lead to it continuing in upcoming elections — of course to his benefit.

  1. For the first time since taking office, Trump visited Camp David.
  2. Russia renewed six unused Trump trademarks in 2016. Four of the six approvals were officially registered on November 8, Election Day.
  3. The Dept of Education said it will scale back civil rights investigations at public schools and universities, including rolling back Obama’s efforts to end campus sexual assault and protect transgender students.
  4. Six members of the Presidential Council on HIV/AIDS angrily resigned in a public letter saying Trump doesn’t care or have a strategy.
  5. Rick Perry, the Secretary of Energy, denied that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global warming.
  6. Sessions’ DOJ is exploring new legal theories to take on sanctuary citiesin court, and force them to aid in Trump’s deportation efforts.
  7. A Muslim teen was brutally beaten and killed while walking to a Mosque with her friends in Sterling, VA. A funeral vigil drew many, while the murder has yet to be charged as a hate crime.
  8. Trump Hotel DC will host a conference for anti-Islamic group, ACT for America, including a private tour. Neither the Trump organization or ACT would answer WAPO’s questions about the event and its cost.
  9. An attorney said his client was acting within his First Amendment rights when he disrupted a Black Lives Matter rally in Tennessee by wearing a gorilla mask and carrying a rope and bananas.
  10. NPR reported the Trump regime will not collect LGBTQ census data despite a HUD document obtained under the FOIA which cites this data as “essential.” Trump’s DOJ questions the “appropriateness” of sexual orientation and gender identity topics.
  11. Trump and his WH have made no mention or acknowledgment of June being LGBT Pride month.
  12. McConnell continued to secretly push AHCA in unusual ways. Not only is the closed-door bargaining not bipartisan, most Republicans haven’t seen the bill.
  13. NYT reported that Kushner’s team quietly reached out to high-powered criminal lawyers to represent him on the Russia probe.
  14. Sessions hired a lawyer to represent him in the Russia probe.
  15. Pence’s use of a private AOL email account to conduct government business is costing Indiana $100k in legal fees to process a large backlogof records requests.
  16. A lawsuit alleges private prison company GEO Correction donated to a Trump Super-PAC, in violation of federal law. Trump has adopted a pro-private prison policy.
  17. Mueller brought in Andrew Weissmann, a lawyer with expertise in witness-flipping.
  18. Speculation grew that Flynn is cooperating with the FBI, including by Sen Whitehouse, a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Comm.
  19. Flynn failed to report a 2015 Middle East trip on his security clearance forms. The trip was to discuss a U.S.-Russian partnership, financed by Saudi Arabia, to build nuclear reactors throughout the Middle East.
  20. NYT reported that despite concerns about Flynn being a security risk, Pompeo continued to give him classified briefings for three weeks.
  21. NYT also reported that even though he gave Trump briefings almost daily, Pompeo did not raise the issue of Flynn’s ties to Russia.
  22. ABC reported Senate investigators are looking into financial ties between the Trump campaign and Russia/Eastern Europeans businessmen to see if dealing involved organized crime or those subject to US sanctions.
  23. Several names associated with financing for the Trump SoHo have alleged ties to money laundering or Russian organized crime.
  24. One name is Felix Sater, who was twice convicted and served jail time, and as per Week 15, worked with Michael Cohen on a back-channel plan for a Ukraine and Russia ‘peace plan’ (with new leadership in Ukraine).
  25. Felix Sater, a Russian-born former partner with New York property developer Bayrock, worked with Trump and his children on projects around the world.
  26. Bloomberg reported an employee of Bayrock, Jody Kriss, said he quit because the firm was a front for money laundering. A federal judge said a lawsuit by Kriss against Bayrock could proceed as a racketeering case.
  27. In a CBS poll, Trump’s approval hit a new low (36%). He is also losing Republican support: 83% approve on Day-100 vs. 72% now.
  28. Mueller brought in a second lawyer from the Solicitor General’s office. Elizabeth Prelogar is fluent in Russian and while at Harvard Law, won an Overseas Press Club scholarship to study Russian media and censorship.
  29. On Monday, Spicer did an off camera, no audio broadcast press briefing. The Trump regime’s access to the media has become increasingly erratic.
  30. When Spicer was asked if Trump believes that Russia interfered with our election on Tuesday, said “I have not sat down and asked him.
  31. While Spicer acknowledged he is helping find his replacement, Trump is considering new measures including limiting press briefings to once a week and asking reporters to submit written questions in advance.
  32. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson testified to the House Intel Comm that “Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election — plain and simple.”
  33. Also at the hearing, Jeanette Manfra, acting deputy undersecretary at DHS, said so far evidence exists that Russia targeted election-related systems in 21 states.
  34. Daily Beast reported that the DHS never ran a formal federal audit to see if votes were hacked.
  35. WAPO calculated that in Trump’s first 151 days, he has made 669 false and misleading claims.
  36. A NYT op-ed, “Trump’s Lies,” catalogued every lie told by Trump since he took office, noting: “…as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them.”
  37. Trump held a campaign rally in Iowa, and gave a speech full of factually incorrect statements. NYT described the rally as a “venting session.”
  38. At the Iowa rally, Trump defended his wealthy economic cabinet picks, saying “In those particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.
  39. Boeing announced layoffs at the South Carolina plant Trump visitedearlier this year where he promoted his “Buy America” pledge.
  40. Trump will hold his re-election campaign kick-off event on June 28 at the Trump Hotel DC. The cost is $35k per head, or $100k for host committee.
  41. While ignoring atrocities committed by numerous authoritarian leaders, Trump tweeted a falsehood, “Mexico was just ranked the second deadliest country in the world,” about our former close ally.
  42. Trump called new Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to congratulate him on his new role.
  43. Further to a BuzzFeed article in Week 31 citing multiple deaths in the UK at the hands of Russian operatives, The New Yorker reported on similarly mysterious deaths of Putin critics in the US.
  44. Tillerson proposed a three-point plan aimed at improving relations with Russia, including working together on cybersecurity.
  45. NYT reported that Trump’s WH is trying to get the House GOP to weaken the Senate bill that imposes sanctions on Russian.
  46. Rep Kevin Brady tried to block the Senate’s Russia sanction bill, saying it was “blue slip” violation — revenue bills must originate in the House.
  47. Democrats on the House Oversight Comm questioned why Kushner still has security clearance, and why Flynn kept his clearance, after public reports that both had undisclosed meetings with Kislyak.
  48. Rachel Maddow reported on a second bi-partisan letter to the Trump WH and acting FBI director McCabe questions Kushner’s security clearance.
  49. BuzzFeed reported that Bharara wrote a memo on March 9 to several senior DOJ officials outlining his concern about a third call from the WH. Bharara was fired on March 11.
  50. POLITICO reported that Trump has frequently lashed out at WH counsel McGahn for not doing more to quash the Trump-Russia probe early on.
  51. CNN reported that Coats and Rogers both told Mueller and the Senate Intel Comm in a private session that Trump suggested they say publicly there was no collusion between his regime and Russia.
  52. Coats told House investigators that Trump seemed obsessed with the Russia probe, and repeatedly asked him to publicly state there was no evidence of collusion.
  53. On Thursday in a cryptic tweet, Trump admitted he did not tape Comey, raising questions of whether his initial tweet was witness intimidation.
  54. Trump also continued to deny Russia hacked our election, and tweeted blame at Obama: “if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn’t they stop them?”
  55. Rachel Maddow reported on the many ways Russia, possibly with the help from the Trump regime, may have tampered with actual voting results on Election Day.
  56. WSJ reported Deep Root Analytics, a GOP data firm, left a proprietary data set with personal information on nearly 200 million votersunprotected online — where anyone could see it.
  57. Gizmodo reported the data leak contains detailed personal information on about 61% of the US population — including address, birthday, party registrations and views on issues for almost all registered voters.
  58. The RNC paid Deep Root $983k in 2016, but much of the data leaked came from The Data Trust, the GOP’s primary voter file provider. The RNC paid The Data Trust $6.7mm during the 2016 election cycle.
  59. The president of The Data Trust was Johnny DeStefano, who is now in head of personal for Trump.
  60. Dallas County, a heavily Democratic area, said its web servers were targeted multiple times by Russian hackers.
  61. Of the 600 IP addresses provided by DHS as possible Russian hackers, 17 associated with Russian computers tried to gain access to Dallas servers.
  62. Rachel Maddow reported that adjoining counties that were heavily Republican did not have any matches from the 600 IP addresses.
  63. WSJ reported on VR Systems, a software company whose product were used to check-in voters in 21 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. VR Systems software failed in heavily Democratic Durham county.
  64. Durham county was forced to issue ballots by hand, meaning longer lines, and likely depressed voter turnout. Trump won NC, but the race was very close.
  65. TIME reported the Russian hacking of our election was more widespread than previously reported, and included at least one successful attempt to alter voter information and theft of personal info on thousands of voters.
  66. TIME also reported that there was one confirmed case of manipulation of voter data — raising the specter of falsified votes.
  67. CBS reported the House Intel Comm investigation on Russia has expanded to probe whether Trump associates received information from hacked voter databases.
  68. Parscale, digital director for the Trump campaign, emerged as a central figure in the Trump-Russia probe. Pascale, known as “Jared’s boy,” reported to Kushner. His firm was paid $91mm by the Trump campaign.
  69. The House Intel Comm will interview Parscale to ascertain if information stolen by Russian hackers made its way to the Trump campaign.
  70. As he takes over as House Oversight Comm chair, unlike his predecessor Chaffetz, Gowdy said the committee will no longer probe Trump-Russia ties or violations of the emoluments clause.
  71. A NBC/WSJ poll found that by a 2–1 margin, Americans believe Comey over Trump. Just 27% approve of Trump firing of Comey.
  72. Friday, Trump told Fox & Friends he tweeted his lie about the existence of tapes in order to influence Comey’s account of their conversation — further raising the specter of witness intimidation.
  73. Also in the Fox & Friends interview, Trump left open the option of firing Mueller because of his “bothersome” friendship with Comey.
  74. A WAPO bombshell reported on a CIA report delivered only to Obama and three top officials in August, revealing Putin’s specific instructions to defeat or at least damage Hillary, and help elect Trump.
  75. WAPO also reported in the months ahead of the election, the FBI became alarmed by an unusual spike in temporary visa requests by Russia for officials with technical skills to enter the US. Permission was denied.
  76. The Obama administration’s response was mild and fairly muted, in part, according to WAPO reporting, concern that Russia would sabotage our Election Day.
  77. WAPO also reported on GOP efforts to block intelligence from informing the public, and from acting including the SoS of Georgia who called Johnson’s proposal to shore up voting as an assault on state rights.
  78. After the WAPO story, Trump again tweeted about Obama and Russian interference: “Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?”
  79. Trump continued to deny intelligence that Russia hacked our election, saying it was “probably was Russia.”
  80. NBC reported Trump has taken little meaningful action, and shown no interest in stopping Russia from hacking our next election, despite a slew of intelligence warnings that Russia will be back.
  81. McConnell rolled out the Senate version of AHCA, which only a small group white male senators and lobbyists were involved in crafting. The public is overwhelmingly against the bill. One journalist referred to the process in a column, “Our Fake Democracy.”
  82. Trump has yet to pass a single piece of major legislation despite control of the House and Senate. He seems largely disinterested and disengaged in this sphere.
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“The Great Political Swindle ~ La Gran Estafa Politica” by JuegaSiempre & Africa47 in Bogota, Colombia. Photo by: mrchemix.
Ohhh . . . . Drawing out political frustrations is so much fun !!! Paul Ryan's a lil puppet boy who's baby blues might as well be brown because he's completely full of shit.
“Ohhh . . . . Drawing out political frustrations is so much fun !!! Paul Ryan’s a lil puppet boy whose baby blues might as well be brown because he’s completely full of shit.” ~ Quote and illustration by Orlando, Florida-based artist, Andrew Spear.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 32: WOULD I LIE TO YOU?

Week 31 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

June 17, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-31-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-dd293e0dd49b

Another week for the history books: Trump is under investigation for obstruction of justice — a fact he confirmed through a tweet. With his increasingly erratic behavior, Trump has become his own worst enemy. While investigations by the House, Senate, FBI, federal investigators and special counsel into Trump-Russia steam ahead, Trump’s continued efforts to interfere with investigations may prove to be his ultimate undoing.

This week the tentacles of the Trump-Russia probe reached new members of the Trump regime, and several chose to lawyer up. Congress is singularly focused on Trump-Russia, save for McConnell’s odd, clandestine AHCA efforts.

  1. Trump canceled his UK visit, saying he didn’t want to come until the British public supports him. Large-scale protests were expected.
  2. Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ has been coined “the summer White House,” and similar to Mar-a-Lago, offers access — such as Trump crashing parties – as part of the marketing plan.
  3. Since taking office, Trump has been at one of his properties every 3.5 days, and at one of his golf courses every 6.2 days.
  4. On Sunday, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, said Trump is considering firing Mueller.
  5. Trump allies, including Gingrich and Conway, attacked Mueller, claiming he was biased for Comey, and that members of his staff have donated to Democrats of liberal causes.
  6. Gingrich also accused Mueller of being part of the “deep state” plot to undermine Trump.
  7. Bharara told ABC Sunday that Trump called him three times. Bharara was fired the day after he did not return the third call. Bharara noted Obama did not call him once while he served.
  8. Bharara also described his contact as “a little bit uncomfortable, and said reading about Trump’s contact with Comey “felt a little bit like deja vu.”
  9. Kasowitz bragged that he was behind the firing of Bharara. According to a ProPublica source, Kasowitz told Trump, “This guy is going to get you.”
  10. In response to a FOIA request, the Secret Service said it has no audio or transcripts of any tapes made in the WH. Trump has still not verified if he lied about the existence of tapes, despite promises to do so soon.
  11. Hundreds of Kremlin critics were arrested amid anti-corruption protests, including opposition leader Navalny who was detained near his home.
  12. A Moscow court sentenced Navalny to 30 days in prison for staging an unsanctioned rally. The WH and State Dept were silent on all of this.
  13. Gianforte was sentenced to a 180-day deferred sentence, and ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and 20 hours of anger management counseling for assaulting reporter Ben Jacobs.
  14. The 9th Circuit upheld an injunction blocking part of Trump’s second Muslim Ban. In their ruling, the judges cited Trump’s own tweets.
  15. Trump changed the expiration date of the Muslim Ban in an effort to prevent the Supreme Court from declaring it moot.
  16. Monday, in a bizarre display in front of cameras, Trump’s cabinet members took turns praising him.
  17. A journalist noted: “ Putin televises the beginnings of his cabinet meetings.”
  18. Rep Quigley introduced the “COVFEFE Act,” to require the preservation of Trump’s tweets. The original covfefe tweet was deleted.
  19. Also of note, Trump has been actively blocking users on Twitter, despite using his Twitter account for policy and other announcements.
  20. Trump’s approval sunk again in a new AP/NORC poll, with his net favorability falling to -29 (approve 35, disapprove 64).
  21. The AP/NORC poll also found that 7 in 10 Americans are at least moderately concerned that Trump or his campaign associates had inappropriate ties to Russia.
  22. A survey of CEOs, business execs, government officials and academics at the Yale CEO summit found that 50% gave Trump a “F” and 21% a “D” for his first 130 days in office.
  23. Bloomberg reported that Russian cyber hack of the US electoral system was far wider than reported — including 39 states in all. The attacks included incursions into voter databases and software system.
  24. Further, in Illinois, which became known as “Patient Zero” in the government probe, Russian hackers gained access to personal information on 15mm people, half of whom were active voters.
  25. Cindy McCain agreed to join the State Dept, after being aggressively courted by Trump.
  26. Dana Shell Smith, the US ambassador to Qatar, resigned.
  27. Trump’s EPA head, Pruitt, skipped much of the G7 environmental summit.
  28. The Dept of Energy said it will close an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology.
  29. At a Senate Appropriations hearing, Tillerson said he would not be staffing the State Dept until next year.
  30. Trump’s Commerce Dept removed sexual orientation and gender identification from its anti-discrimination policies.
  31. Trump appointed loyalist Lynne Patton, who planned Eric’s wedding and golf tournaments at Trump courses, to run the office that oversees federal housing programs in New York. She has no housing experience.
  32. OGE director Shaub responded to a request from four Senate democrats, saying Steve Bannon had in fact violated WH ethics rules, noting Bannon’s ethics waiver was retroactive and neither dated nor signed.
  33. USA Today reported that in the last 12 months, 70% of Trump property buyers have been LLCs, compared to 4% two years ago.
  34. China approved nine Trump trademark requests which were previously rejected. Intellectual property lawyers suggested “special treatment.”
  35. AP reported a company that partners with both Trump and Kushner is a finalist for a $1.7bn contract to build the new FBI headquarters.
  36. While Ivanka has made attempts to reset her public image, Guardianreported at her clothing factory in China workers complain of verbal abuse, impossible targets, and poverty pay.
  37. During Sen Judiciary Comm testimony, Rosenstein said he now agrees that Russia interfered in our election. Rosenstein had not taken a position during his confirmation hearings.
  38. On Tuesday, reporters at the Capitol were told they were no longer allowed to interview senators in the hallways, contrary to years of precedent.
  39. Karen Tumulty, a reporter for WAPO, was expelled from the Capitol for doing just that.
  40. Following a backlash, later that day Senate Republicans backed off from their restrictions on the media.
  41. DC police said they will charge 12 of Erdogan’s security guards for assaulting protestors outside the Turkish embassy.
  42. In response to a FOIA requests, a DC judge ordered the DOJ to produce Sessions’ clearance form, on which he was required to disclose contacts with Russians, within one month.
  43. The DC judge also ordered the DOJ and FBI to release any records of Priebus reaching out to the FBI to request they refute reports of communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  44. Tuesday, Sessions testified in front of the Senate Intel Comm, but largely refused to answer important questions. He did not mention any further contact with Russian officials, nor confirm the third meeting.
  45. McCain asked Sessions if he had “any contacts with any representative, including any American lobbyist or agent of any Russian company” at the hearing Tuesday. Sessions said, “I don’t believe so.”
  46. Guardian reported that Richard Burt, a lobbyist for Russia who helped craft a foreign policy speech for Trump, said he attended two dinners hosted by Sessions during the 2016 campaign.
  47. Burt also served on the advisory board of Alfa Capital Partners, a private equity fund in which Alfa Bank was an investor. Per Week 21, the FBI is looking in links between Alfa Bank and Trump during the campaign.
  48. Sen Kamala Harris was interrupted by McCain and then Burr during her questioning of Sessions. Harris was also scolded by Burr for not being “courteous” in the hearing last week of Coats, Rogers and Rosenstein.
  49. By a 98–2 vote, the Senate passed a new Russian sanctions bill which would impose additional sanctions, and limit Trump’s ability to lift them.
  50. WIRED reported on Mueller assembling a “dream team” of lawyers, including attorneys who specialize in money laundering and organized crime, and a former prosecutor for the Watergate investigation.
  51. On Wednesday, a lone gunman, who had volunteered for Bernie Sanders, shot at Congressional Republicans who were practicing for a baseball game at a park in Alexandria, VA. Extreme rhetoric was blamed.
  52. The next night as the bi-partisan game was being played, the Trump regime rescinded Obama’s protections for parents of ‘Dreamers,’ and reduced protections for ‘Dreamers.’
  53. In Ossining, NY, ICE detained a 19 year-old on the day of his prom and weeks before his high school graduation.
  54. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
  55. WAPO also reported that Mueller will interview Coats, Rogers and Ledgett as part of the investigation.
  56. In a poignant moment on primetime TV, Lester Holt said on NBC Nightly News, “NBC News has learned the president of the United States is now under criminal investigation.”
  57. Late Thursday, Rosenstein issued an odd statement prodding the media for “anonymous allegations” on Russia, and saying “Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true” anonymous sources.
  58. Pelosi predicted that Trump will “self-impeach.”
  59. On Friday in a tweet, Trump acknowledged he was under investigation, and described it as a “Witch Hunt.”
  60. Trump’s tweet also took a swipe at Rosenstein, raising questions of whether Trump would fire him. Doing so could make it possible for Trump to put in place a process to fire Mueller.
  61. Sen Feinstein said she is increasingly concerned that Trump will fire Mueller. In a strong statement she noted, “We’re a nation of laws that apply equally to everyone, a lesson the president would be wise to learn.”
  62. AP reported Trump advisors and confidant describe him as increasingly angry over the investigation and yelling at televisions carrying coverage.
  63. NYT reported that Trump’s private attorney, Kasowitz, has advised WH staffers not to hire private lawyers yet.
  64. Kasowitz was hit with ethics complaints in NY and DC over this advice.
  65. WAPO reported that Mueller is investigating Kushner for his finances and business dealings. This is in addition to previously reported investigations of Kushner’s meetings in December with Kislyak and Gorkov.
  66. WAPO also reported that the FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating the financial dealing of Flynn, Manafort and Page.
  67. CNN reported the House Intel Comm is planning to call Brad Parscale, the digital director for Trump’s campaign, in their investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
  68. CNN also reported that Kushner is under federal investigation for his role in overseeing Trump’s data operations, and is expected to talk to Senate investigators about the campaign’s data operation.
  69. Pence hired big-name experienced, top dollar lawyer with Watergate experience to represent him in the Russian probe.
  70. Pence’s PAC held a fundraiser in Indianapolis Friday night. When Rachel Maddow’s staff asked whether funds go towards legal costs, the response was: “His legal fees will be paid by non-tax dollars.
  71. Trump personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, hired counsel for the Russian probe. Cohen is under investigation by the special counsel, and will testify in front of the House Intel Comm on September 5.
  72. Michael Caputo, a Manafort ally who served as a senior communications adviser on Trump’s campaign, hired a lawyer. Caputo lived in Moscow, and in 2000 worked to improve Putin’s image in the US.
  73. Manafort and Page also hired counsel for the Russia probe.
  74. CNBC reported that the Trump regime is touting that they created coal jobs which might not actually exist.
  75. Putin offered Comey political asylum in Russia, continuing to publicly insert himself into US politics.
  76. BuzzFeed reported that 14 recent deaths in the UK appear tied to Russia.
  77. Frustrating House Republicans, Trump called their version of AHCA/Trumpcare — which he had celebrated in the Rose Garden — “mean,” and said he hoped the Senate would pass a better version.
  78. McConnell has been leading an oddly closed-door effort to pass AHCA in the Senate with no hearings or input. Open frustration was expressed by Democrats, some Republicans, and major patient advocacy groups.
  79. The OGE released Trump’s most recent financial disclosure Friday. Trump reported $315mm of loans, including $130mm from Deutsche Bank, the bank known for Russian ties which refused Democrats request for info.
  80. The 98 pages of financial disclosure showed a sharp rise in revenue at places Trump frequented including Mar-a-Lago and nearby golf courses.
  81. Trump also made $20mm at the newly opened Trump Hotel DC. Despite early promised to turn over payments from foreign government to the US Treasury, Trump is not tracking all payments.
  82. The Attorneys General for DC and Maryland sued Trump for breaching his constitutional oath by accepting millions in payments and benefits from foreign governments.
  83. Nearly 200 Congressional Democrats filed an emoluments lawsuit against Trump saying he has violated constitutional restrictions on taking gifts and benefits from foreign leaders.
  84. A Russian oil tycoon parked his giant yacht in front of the Statue of Liberty. The yacht was a gift from a Roman Abramovich, who in Week 20 was skiing in Aspen at the same time as Kushner and Ivanka.
  85. In an early sign of cracks from unfilled key roles in the executive branch, after the USS Fitzgerald collision, Trump was criticized for leaving the positions of US navy secretary and ambassador to Japan unfilled.
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Artist’s March in Wynwood Art District. Miami, FL. Photo: Alessandro Abate
Abdalla Al Omari
Syrian Artist Abdalla Al Omari depicting trump as a REFUGEE.
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Artist Christophe Verdon in Paris, France. Photo: Frederic Steimer

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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.