Wynwood, Miami, Florida. 8dec18

DECEMBER 08, 2018

Week 108

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-108/

This week featured the normalcy and tranquility of the funeral of George H.W. Bush, juxtaposed with bombshells of damning information on Trump coming from the Mueller probe and other investigations. As the Mueller probe is reportedly nearing its close, Mueller’s team filed court memos relating to three of its most high profile defendants: Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, and Paul Manafort. The Southern District of New York also filed a memo on Trump Friday —including the clearest implication yet that Trump committed felonies. As the country awaits Mueller’s final report, Trump’s White House has no plans to counter it in place, but rather will reportedly wing it.

This week major stock indexes tumbled more than 4%, erasing all the year’s gains, as economic data softened, showing Trump’s trade tariffs and the growing budget deficit are slowing the economy. As Trump’s second year comes to a close, he reportedly has no vision or strategy for 2019, save for his xenophobic and racist agenda, and instead is distracted by the Mueller probe and the incoming Democratic House majority. Continued shake-up in personnel plague the regime, and many key roles remain vacant, or are filled with loyalists who are unqualified.

Artist: Claudia Labianca. 3dec18. Wynwood, Miami, Florida.
  1. As votes continued to be tallied, Democrats secured the largest midterm margin in history for House races of 9.6 million votes (8.5%). The previous record was 8.7 million votes in 1974, months after Watergate.
  2. Bloomberg reported Trump and Putin did chat Friday night on the sidelines of the G20. Trump had canceled a scheduled formal meeting. Russian media had insisted the two would have an “impromptu” meeting.
  3. Press secretary Sarah Sanders defended the informal meeting in a statement, saying “As is typical at multilateral events,” Trump “had a number of informal conversations with world leaders.”
  4. On Sunday, Axios reported Alan Dershowitz is still advising Jeffrey Epstein about legal issues. Dershowitz helped Epstein get a sweetheart plea deal from then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, now Trump’s labor secretary.
  5. A bombshell story in the Miami Herald revealed dozens of women alleged Epstein molested and raped them when they were underage. Epstein has ties to Trump, Bill Clinton, Dershowitz, and other powerful men.
  6. On Monday, Sen. Ben Sasse sent three letters to senior Justice Department officials, asking them to open investigations into federal officials who handled the Epstein case, calling it an “epic miscarriage of justice.”
  7. On Tuesday, Epstein settled a suit filed by lawyer Bradley Edwards, who said Epstein had damaged his reputation, silencing women who were his alleged victims and were expected to testify.
  8. The Houston Chronicle reported Peter Sean Brown, 68, a U.S. citizen born in Philadelphia, was held for deportation to Jamaica by ICE after being processed for a probation violation over testing positive for marijuana.
  9. ICE was called in by Monroe County’s sheriff Richard Ramsey, who is being sued by the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center for unlawfully arresting and detaining a U.S. citizen.
  10. Monroe is one of more than a dozen Florida counties that in January 2018 entered a new arrangement with ICE under which sheriffs are compensated $50 for extending the detention of “criminal aliens.”
  11. The new NAFTA deal, signed at the G20 summit, watered down protections for LGBTQ individuals, taking away the wording that prevented discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  12. The Justice Department named Kerri Kupec as a senior spokesperson. Previously, Kupec worked at Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ group, designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  13. Boston Globe reported police are investigating a man who allegedly pushed over a Hanukkah menorah near Harvard University’s campus, then rode away on his bicycle, as a possible hate crime.
  14. Schindler’s List,” the epic film about the Holocaust, returned to theaters, 25 years after its initial release.
  15. Conservative pastor and commentator E.W. Jackson lamented the election of two Muslims, saying “The floor of Congress is now going to look like an Islamic republic,” adding, “The threat to humanity is Islam, period.”
  16. Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to serve in Congress, responded tweeting, “Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America…And you’re gonna have to just deal.”
  17. On Thursday, monthly figures released by the Department of Homeland Security show the number of people arrested or denied entry along the Mexico border reached a new high in November.
  18. U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained a record 25,172 members of “family units,” and 5,283 “unaccompanied minors.” Together these make up 60% of the 62,456 arrested or denied entry, up from 60,772 in October.
  19. On Thursday, NYT reported Victorina Morales, who served as Trump’s housekeeper at his golf club in Bedminster for five years, is an undocumented immigrant, having crossed the U.S. border illegally.
  20. Morales, who is Guatemalan, say she was hurt by Trump’s equating Latin American migrants with violent criminals. She also said there are several undocumented immigrants working for Trump’s club in Bedminster.
  21. Morales said when she was interviewed for the job, she had no legal working documents. When Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, a maintenance worker helped her procure a realistic-looking green card.
  22. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported days before migrants set out from Honduras, an imposter hijacked the Facebook account of Bartolo Fuentes, and used it to boost the caravan’s numbers.
  23. Fuentes is a well-known activist, journalist, and lawyer. The imposter used the phony account to send Facebook messages falsely claiming that established migrant groups were organizing the caravan.
  24. On Wednesday, WAPO reported according to email obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, a White House appointee at Veterans Affairs silenced a VA diversity chief in the aftermath of Charlottesville.
  25. Diversity chief Georgia Coffey, who pushed for a forceful condemnation by Trump and a statement from VA leaders (40% of VA employees are minorities), was told to stand down as part of a White House directive.
  26. WAPO reported Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in a 1995 speech praised Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy as a “martyr to the ‘Lost Cause,’” and an “exceptional man in an exceptional age.”
  27. On Friday, self-professed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. was found guilty of first-degree murder for killing Heather Heyer in Charlottesville during the white-supremacist “Unite the Right” rally and counter-protests.
  28. Fields will now face a federal trial on hate crimes that carries the possibility of the death penalty. There aremore trials and lawsuits to come, including one against Jason Kessler, one of the rally’s organizers.
  29. Ammon Bundy quit the militia movement in solidarity with the migrants in a video on Facebook, saying nationalism is the opposite of patriotism, and criticizing Trump for demonizing Central American migrants.
  30. On Monday, in a pair of tweets, Trump lashed out at Michael Cohen, who he said has done “TERRIBLE” things “unrelating to Trump,” has “lied for this outcome,” and should “serve a full and complete sentence.”
  31. Trump also tweeted that Cohen “makes up stories to get a GREAT & ALREADY reduced deal for himself, his wife and father-in-law (who has the money?) off Scott Free.”
  32. Merriam-Webster reported online searches for the definition or spelling of scot-free spiked 3,100 %, and mused on Twitter: “‘Scot-free’: completely free from obligation, harm, or penalty. ‘Scott Free’: some guy, probably.”
  33. Also on Monday morning, Trump tweeted praise of Roger Stone, saying “he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies” about Trump, and “nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”
  34. Trump also tweeted “Bob Mueller (who is a much different man than people think) and his out of control band of Angry Democrats” only want lies, adding “The truth is very bad for their mission!”
  35. Trump’s tweet was widely condemned. George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, tweeted “File under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1512,” the sections of the federal code dealing with obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
  36. On Monday, Eric Trump attacked Conway, tweeting “Of all the ugliness in politics, the utter disrespect George Conway shows,” adding Kellyanne “is great person and frankly his actions are horrible.”
  37. On Monday, NYT reported that in May 2017, Manafort discussed a deal with Ecuador’s incoming president, Lenín Moreno, to help negotiate a deal to hand over Julian Assange to the U.S., in exchange for a fat commission.
  38. Manafort also pitched himself to a range of governments facing various challenges, including Puerto Rico, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the United Arab Emirates, presenting himself as a liaison to the new Trump regime.
  39. On Monday, a federal judge said the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland could move forward with subpoenas for records from Trump’s hotels in their emoluments clause lawsuit.
  40. On Monday, Yahoo News reported Mueller’s prosecutors have told defense lawyers in recent weeks that they are “tying up loose ends” in their investigation of the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  41. Mueller’s team has told Congressional investigators looking to issue new subpoenas for testimony that their investigation has reached a mature stage and they have spoken to almost everybody they want to talk to.
  42. On Monday, Roger Stone’s attorney said in a letter that he was invoking Fifth Amendment’s protection, declining to share documents and testimony requested by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  43. On Tuesday, in a heavily redacted sentencing memo filed by the special counsel, Mueller recommended that Michael Flynn serve no prison time, citing his “substantial assistance” with several ongoing investigations.
  44. Flynn has been cooperating since he was forced out as national security adviser in February 2017, including19 interviews, providing “firsthand information,” and turning over documents and communications.
  45. The memo noted Flynn’s “early cooperation was particularly valuable” given his “long-term and firsthand insight,” and his guilty plea “likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming.”
  46. The memo also noted Flynn’s “record of military and public service distinguish him from every other person who has been charged,” adding, “senior government leaders should be held to the highest standards.”
  47. An addendum to the memo identified three matters in which Flynn is cooperating: collusion with Russia, and heavily redacted sections possibly related to obstruction of justice, and an unknown “Criminal Investigation.”
  48. On Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani told NBC News that he is not concerned about Flynn, saying “If he had information to share with Mueller that hurt the president, you would know it by now,” adding, “They don’t have bupkis.”
  49. On Thursday, WSJ reported a federal grand jury in Virginia has sought more information on efforts overseen by Michael Flynn’s private company Flynn Intel Group to discredit a U.S.-based Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen.
  50. Federal prosecutors have also asked for information on several people involved in the project, including Ekim Alptekin, the Turkish businessman who financed it. Alptekin claims the Turkish government is not involved.
  51. On Monday, in a rare lame-duck session, Wisconsin Republicans moved ahead with a bill to move the 2020 presidential primary date, costing the state millions, to benefit a conservative state Supreme Court justice.
  52. With an incoming Democratic governor, the proposal would also shift power to the GOP-controlled legislature. Protestors banged on the Capitol doors and chanted “Respect our votes!” and “Shame!”
  53. A spokesperson for the Democratic Governors Association called the GOP “banana republic dictators,” and said they are ignoring the will of the people. A top GOP legislator said they “don’t trust” the incoming governor.
  54. In Michigan, where Democrats won governor, attorney general, and secretary of state, GOP lawmakers introduced measures that would water down authority on campaign finance oversight and other legal matters.
  55. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin senate approved 81 of outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker’s appointees for membership on boards, authorities, and councils. Walker also appointed a judge and two district attorneys.
  56. On Wednesday, Wisconsin’s Republican-controlled legislature passed legislation which consolidates power in the GOP-led legislature at the expense of the incoming governor and attorney general, both Democrats.
  57. Among other things, the legislation erodes the ability of the governor to enact laws, and requires the legislature to approve whether the state can pull out of a federal lawsuit, like repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
  58. Hours later, Republicans who control Michigan’s legislature striped campaign-finance oversight power from the incoming secretary of state, and moved to give the GOP-led legislature additional powers.
  59. On Monday, the Charlotte Observer reported Leslie McCrae Dowless, who worked for Republican Mark Harris’ campaign in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, is at the center of a voter fraud investigation.
  60. Dowless has a criminal record, including felony fraud. The election board subpoenaed Harris’ campaign Monday, and has collected information that high-level campaign officials may have been aware of Dowless’ activities.
  61. The probe is focused in on irregularities in mail-in balloting, mostly from Bladen County, where an unusually high percentage of Black (36%) and Native American (55%) ballots were not returned, versus whites (18%).
  62. On Tuesday, a North Carolina woman admitted to “harvesting” ballots for Harris. She was paid $75 to $100 a week and gave the ballots to Dowless. It is illegal in North Carolina for a third party to turn in absentee ballots.
  63. On Thursday, Democrat Dan McCready, who conceded the day after the election, withdrew his concession. Harris said Friday he would back a new election if potential fraud altered the election result.
  64. The Charlotte Observer called for a new election. However, after past unsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Kris Kobach, and others, national Republicans were silent.
  65. HuffPost reported incoming House Oversight Committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings wants to call Brian Kemp to testify before Congress about allegations of voter suppression to help his campaign.
  66. An analysis by Forbes revealed that Trump shifted $1.1 million of campaign-donor money donors meant for his 2020 re-election into his business by continuing to charge his campaign for hotels, food, and rent.
  67. Politico reported email accounts of four senior aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee were surveilled for several months. The intrusion was detected in April 2018 and reported to the FBI.
  68. Senior Republicans were not informed about the hack. NRCC officials said they were conducting their own investigation and feared that revealing the hack would compromise efforts to find the culprit.
  69. On Monday, in a memo published to the FCC website, chair Ajit Pai admitted “half-million comments” on net neutrality were “submitted from Russian e-mail addresses.” Pai had earlier denied Russian involvement.
  70. The memo also indicated that over half of the almost 22 million comments came from phony, temporary, or duplicate email addresses, and reportedly only 17.4% of the comments were unique.
  71. Pai also rejected two Freedom of Information Act requests filed by NYT and BuzzFeed, seeking “IP addresses” and “server logs,” respectively, associated with public comments submitted on net neutrality.
  72. On Tuesday, more than 400 former Justice Department officials and attorneys serving both parties said in a letter they are “disturbed” by Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.
  73. On Tuesday, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed concern in a letter to DOJ officials about Whitaker’s financial disclosure forms, which were only recently certified as true by ethics officials.
  74. Whitaker also has not confirmed whether he has initiated an ethics review of possible conflicts, now four weeks after his appointment. The DOJ declined to discuss recusal issues.
  75. On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mattis approved an extension of active duty troops at the U.S.-Mexico border through January 31. The Pentagon estimated the cost of the deployment through December 15 is $72 million.
  76. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that under acting director Mick Mulvaney, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s publicly announced enforcement actions by the bureau have dropped about 75% from recent years.
  77. In the past year, at least 129 employees have left. Mulvaney appointed staffers with no relevant experience, who previously worked for the financial sector or against the bureau, and paid salaries of up to $259,500.
  78. On Thursday, the Senate voted 50-49, along party lines to confirm Trump nominee Kathleen Kraninger to lead the CFPB. Kraninger has no relevant experience, and is expected to continue a business friendly approach.
  79. Trade group Consumer Bankers Association, whose members include Bank of America and Wells Fargo, celebrated Kraninger’s confirmation, as she becomes one of the country’s most powerful banking regulators.
  80. On Monday, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, called for the end of Obama-era subsidies for electric vehicle purchases, which were created by Congress, without specifying how he would do so.
  81. On Wednesday, nations assembled in Poland for climate talks. Reports show global carbon emissions reached a record in 2018, an estimated growth of 2.7%.
  82. The biggest growth in emissions came from India (6%), China (5%), and the U.S. (2.5%), while dropping in the European Union (-0.7%). The United Nations Secretary General said, “We are in deep trouble.”
  83. On Thursday, Trump’s EPA proposed rolling back a major Obama-era climate rule, loosening restrictions on future coal power plants. Coal advocates cheered, although the industry has not been adding capacity.
  84. On Thursday, the Trump regime said it would roll back Obama-era protections of the habitat of the endangered sage grouse bird, in a move to free up nine million acres of land for oil and gas drilling.
  85. On Sunday, Trump bragged of reaching a trade truce with China at the G20 summit, claiming China will “immediately” begin buying more American agricultural products and drop its 40% tariffs on American cars.
  86. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer and daughter of the founder of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada and extradited to the U.S. to stand trial for violating sanctions against Iraq.
  87. On Tuesday, amid President Xi’s silence on a supposed deal, Trump tweeted “I am a Tariff Man,” saying he was prepared to impose higher levies if Xi did not live up to the agreement Trump claims they reached.
  88. In a break from the usual protocol for top-level trade talks, the U.S. and China did not release a joint statement on the talk that took place Saturday, instead issuing two very different readouts of what occurred.
  89. On Tuesday, the Dow tumbled more than 800 points and bond yields plummeted on investors’ doubts over the U.S.-China trade truce.
  90. On Tuesday evening, Trump tweeted, “we are either going to have a REAL DEAL with China, or no deal at all,” claiming we will reach a deal “either now or into the future,” adding, “China does not want Tariffs!”
  91. On Wednesday, while the markets were closed for the funeral of George H.W. Bush, Trump tried to assure markets, tweeting, “Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said.”
  92. On Wednesday, during the funeral for George H.W. Bush, observers noted a feeling of nostalgia for a bygone era of mutual respect and admiration of leaders pre-Trump. At the request of the Bush family, Trump was invited.
  93. The scene was palpably awkward as Trump and Melania sat next to former presidents and first ladies, including Obama, whom he called illegitimate, Hillary whom he said should be in prison, and Bill, whom he said assaulted women.
  94. Trump sat with his arms crossed, and did not recite the Apostles’ Creed or sing hymns. NYT reported Trump was miffed by so many ceremonial events not related to him, but proud of himself for remaining civil.
  95. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported that when aides and advisors tried to get Trump to tackle the growing budget deficit in April 2017, which was projected to continue to grow, he said, “Yeah, but I won’t be here.”
  96. On Wednesday, General Motors CEO Mary Barra said she will keep an “open mind” about closing an Ohio plant, acknowledging the anger publicly expressed by Trump and the Ohio’s two U.S. senators.
  97. On Thursday, the Commerce Department announced the U.S. trade deficit hit a 10-year high, increasing 1.7% to $55.5 billion, the highest level since October 2008.
  98. On Thursday, the stock market plummeted again on fears over U.S.-China trade relations at a global economic slowdown, down again by 780 before rebounding to close the day slightly lower.
  99. On Friday, the Dow tumbled again, losing more than 500 points, and wiping out all gains for the year, amid a weaker-than-expected jobs report and China-U.S. trade tensions.
  100. On Tuesday, CIA director Gina Haspel briefed a group of Senate leaders on the agency’s conclusions on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Senators from both parties said it was clear that the Saudi crown prince was behind it.
  101. Leading Democrats called for a full Senate briefing by Haspel. It was unclear what, if any, actions the Senate would take. In Week 107, Mike Pompeo and Mattis had echoed Trump’s reluctance to blame the crown prince.
  102. On Wednesday, WAPO reported within months of the 2016 election, Saudi-funded lobbyists booked 500 rooms at Trump Hotel DC, spending more than $270,000 to house six groups of visiting veterans.
  103. On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stood by his commitment to not vote to advance Trump’s judicial nominees until the bill to protect Mueller gets a vote.
  104. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee said in January they plan to refer transcripts to Mueller’s team of interviews with Kushner, Donald Jr., Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Rhona Graff, Hope Hicks, and Keith Schiller — to be reviewed for possible falsehoods.
  105. On Wednesday, Daily Beast reported on a target letter sent to Paul Erickson, a longtime Republican operative who was Maria Butina’s boyfriend, from federal investigators saying they may bring charges.
  106. The letter sent in September by the U.S. attorney’s officer in Washington, says investigators are considering charging him under Section 951, the law barring people from secretly acting as agents of foreign governments.
  107. On Thursday, Mother Jones reported the Trump campaign and the National Rifle Association used intertwined consultants to spearhead TV ad buys at the height of the 2016 election.
  108. Both the NRA’s and the Trump campaign’s ad buys were authorized by the same person: National Media’s chief financial officer Jon Ferrell. Experts say the arrangement appears to violate campaign finance laws.
  109. On Thursday, CNN reported prosecutors and defense attorneys for Maria Butina, may be near a plea deal. The judge canceled an upcoming hearing and said subpoenas planned for American University may be withdrawn.
  110. On Thursday, Trump cited his 50% approval at Rasmussen, and blamed Mueller for it not being higher, tweeting “Without the phony Russia Witch Hunt” it would be at 75%, adding, “It’s called Presidential Harassment!”
  111. On Thursday, the Atlantic reported Trump’s White House has no plan for how to counter the Mueller report. Instead the regime is winging it, with no strategy in place for responding, other than an expected Twitter spree.
  112. Aides say Trump would likely ignore a plan anyway, so crafting one is futile. Former officials also noted the difficulty in coming up with a strategy when Trump has not been forthright about what happened.
  113. On Thursday, CNN reported in the days after Trump fired Comey, then-acting FBI director Andrew McCabe opened an obstruction of justice investigation before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed.
  114. McCabe and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein viewed Trump as a leader who needed to be reigned in. An obstruction probe was previously considered, but did not start until Trump fired Comey on May 9, 2017.
  115. The probe included the Comey firing, and the Oval Office conversation where Trump asked Comey to drop the investigation of Flynn. Sources say the FBI would only open an investigation if a crime was suspected.
  116. On Thursday, shortly before 10 p.m., CNN’s New York offices received a phoned-in bomb threat, indicating there were five bombs in the building.
  117. The NYPD said they responded to a call from CNN reporting the threat at 10:08 p.m. The building was evacuated and shortly after, the show was broadcast from the street. Employees returned shortly before midnight.
  118. On Thursday, Trump tweeted “FAKE NEWS — THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” at 10:08 p.m.
  119. On Thursday, the Guardian reported that Mueller’s team has interviewed Trump’s adviser in London, Ted Malloch, about his frequent appearances on RT, considered by U.S. intelligence to be Russian propaganda.
  120. Malloch was contacted by Jerome Corsi on August 2, 2016 at Stone’s behest, to visit Assange and get an update on email releases. On that day, Assange appeared on RT and said he would release additional emails.
  121. On Friday, in a series of seven angry morning tweets, Trump attacked Mueller and his team, accusing them of conflicts of interest saying, “Robert Mueller and Leakin’ Lyin’ James Comey are Best Friends.”
  122. Trump also claimed prosecutors have “wrongly destroyed people’s lives,” citing “Andrew Weissman’s horrible and vicious prosecutorial past,” and the woman prosecutor whose name he could not remember in Corsi’s case.
  123. Trump also mentioned Rosenstein, who he said is conflicted, along with “Bruce Ohr (and his lovely wife Molly), Comey, Brennan, Clapper, & all of the many fired people of the FBI.”
  124. Trump also responded to the Atlantic story, tweeting “We will be doing a major Counter Report to the Mueller Report,” adding “This should never again be allowed to happen to a future President.”
  125. On Friday, Comey testified behind closed door to the House Intelligence Committee. An exasperated Comey told reporters he had been aggressively questioned about the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
  126. Comey had fought the congressional subpoena in court, pushing for a public hearing. Republicans, who will have a House majority for just two more weeks, will call Comey back on December 17.
  127. Politico reported amid slow-motion staff shake-ups, the regime is in a holding pattern: Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of a legislative vision for 2019 beyond border security and a new trade deal.
  128. Of the 706 key roles in the executive branch which require Senate confirmation, just 382 (54%) have a confirmed nominee, while 125 (18%) positions have not had a nominee named yet.
  129. On Thursday, in his first speech since being fired as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson said Trump directed him to do things that were illegal, and that he learned of his firing through Trump’s tweet congratulating Pompeo.
  130. On Friday, Trump responded, tweeting “Pompeo is doing a great job,” but Tillerson “didn’t have the mental capacity needed,” and was “dumb as a rock” and “lazy as hell,” adding, “I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.”
  131. On Friday, CNN reported chief of staff John Kelly is expected to resign in the coming days. Although in the summer, Trump had asked Kelly to stay on for two more years, the two are no longer on speaking terms.
  132. On Friday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has questioned Kelly on his recollection of an episode that took place after new reporting emerged that Trump had tried to fire Mueller.
  133. On Friday, Trump appointed former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert as U.S. ambassador to the UN. Nauert had little experience in government or foreign policy before joining the State Department in April 2017.
  134. As the State Department spokesperson, Nauert has made missteps, including citing D-Day as the height of U.S.-German relations. At Fox News, she spread conspiracy theories and shared xenophobic storylines.
  135. On Friday, also via Twitter, Trump announced the nomination of William Barr, who served as attorney general for the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993, to become his attorney general.
  136. Barr supports a strong vision of executive powers. He also has criticized aspects of the Russia investigation, saying Mueller hired too many prosecutors who had donated to Democratic campaigns.
  137. Barr also has defended Trump calling for a new criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton, saying he saw more basis for investigating Uranium One than the alleged conspiracy between Trump’s associates and Russia.
  138. On Saturday, Trump said Kelly will leave the White House by the end of the year. While Nick Ayers is the leading candidate to become chief of staff, the replacement for Kelly is still unclear.
  139. On Friday, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found overall 54% of Americans believe the Mueller probe is fair, versus 33% who say it is a “witch hunt,” and 13% are unsure.
  140. Only Republicans were against Mueller, with 17% saying the probe is fair and 77% a witch hunt. Democrats (82%) and Independents (55%) said the probe was fair, versus a witch hunt (10% and 30%).
  141. On Friday, Giuliani told CNN that Mueller’s team believes Manafort is lying to them about Trump, although he said he was not sure the information would show up in the special counsel’s filing today.
  142. On Friday, the Southern District of New York and special counsel Robert Mueller filed new, separate court papers ahead of next Wednesday’s sentencing of Cohen.
  143. The documents portrayed Cohen as a criminal who deserves little sympathy or mercy, and who lied and held back information from the FBI. The document said he should be sentenced to “substantial” prison time.
  144. The documents said “Cohen successfully convinced numerous major corporations to retain him as a ‘consultant’” by promising access to to the Trump regime, and profited by “more than $4 million dollars.”
  145. The SDNY memo said “While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows.”
  146. The SDNY memo said “Individual 1” (Trump) was directly involved in efforts to buy the silence two women, intended to influence the campaign, and thereby constituted violations of campaign finance law, a felony.
  147. Mueller’s memo revealed a previously unknown November 2015 contact between Cohen and a “trusted person” in the Russian Federation offering the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level.”
  148. Mueller’s memo described planning a meeting between Trump and Putin, and that Cohen discussed this with Trump prior to suggesting it in a September 2015 radio interview, as Putin was about to visit New York City.
  149. Mueller’s memo also cited Cohen’s lies to Congress “obscured the fact that the Moscow Project was a lucrative business opportunity that sought, and likely required, the assistance of the Russian government.”
  150. Mueller’s memo said if completed, the Trump Organization could have received “hundreds of millions of dollars from Russian sources in licensing fees and other revenues,” and discussions continued during the campaign.
  151. Mueller’s memo said Cohen also provided “relevant information” about contacts with people connected to the White House between 2017 and 2018, the first indication of his involvement with post-election matters.
  152. On Friday, in a heavily redacted document, Mueller’s team said Manafort lied about five major issues after agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, including his “contact with administration officials.”
  153. The document also revealed that despite Manafort saying he had no contacts with the Trump administration post-inauguration, he was in contact with officials in early 2018, even after being indicted in late 2017.
  154. The document also cited evidence of undisclosed electronic communications with Konstanin Kilimnik, who Mueller has said has ties to a Russian military intelligence unit, as well as travel records and meetings.
  155. The filing said Manafort has met with Mueller’s team 12 times, and at four of those meetings, prosecutors from outside the special counsel’s office attended. He also testified twice before a Mueller grand jury.
  156. The special counsel also said Manafort of lied about a $125,000 wire transfer, and lied in connection with an investigation separate from the Mueller probe. Manafort will be sentenced in March.
  157. Shortly after the documents were released, Trump tweeted, “Totally clears the president. Thank you!” Sarah Sanders added the Cohen filings “tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”
  158. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “AFTER TWO YEARS AND MILLIONS OF PAGES OF DOCUMENTS (and a cost of over $30,000,000), NO COLLUSION!”
  159. Later that morning, Trump quoted Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera, tweeting, “This is collusion illusion, there is no smoking gun here…after millions have been spent, we have no Russian Collusion.”
  160. Trump also tweeted, “Time for the Witch Hunt to END!”
  161. On Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision denied the Trump regime’s request to enforce a ban on asylum for any immigrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border.
  162. The panel said the regime’s ban is inconsistent with an existing U.S. law: “Just as we may not, as we are often reminded, ‘legislate from the bench,’ neither may the Executive legislate from the Oval Office.”
  163. On Saturday, the fourth weekend of anti-government protests turned violent in Paris, as police cracked down on thousands of “Yellow Vests” protesting a planned increase in a fuel tax and Macron’s economic policies.
  164. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, erroneously blaming the riots on the climate change agreement, saying “People do not want to pay large sums of money… in order to maybe protect the environment.”
  165. Trump later tweeted, “Maybe it’s time to end the ridiculous and extremely expensive Paris Agreement,” falsely claiming the U.S. was “the only major country where emissions went down last year!
  166. The State Department told a senate subcommittee China has “indefinitely detained” at least 800,000 Muslim minorities in internment camps, forcing them to renounce Islam and embrace the Chinese communist party.
  167. NYT reported Denmark’s immigration minister announced that roughly 100 unwanted migrants who have been convicted of crimes but cannot be returned to their homeland will be housed on a tiny, hard-to-reach island.
  168. Like much of Europe, Denmark has had a surge in migration in 2015 and 2016, prompting a populist, nativist backlash. Advocates say they are monitoring for possible violations of Denmark’s international obligations.
  169. Trump’s Department of Agriculture finalized the rollback of the school lunch regulations championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. The program was designed to provide healthier foods for 30 million children.


I’m in Miami this week and the sidewalks are talking. 29nov18. Wynwood, Miami, FL.

DECEMBER 01, 2018

Week 107

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-107/

This week started with escalations, both between Russia and Ukraine, and at the U.S.-Mexico border. Heartbreaking images and video surfaced from Tijuana of migrants from Central America, including women and children, some in diapers, being showered with tear gas from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. As Trump and the regime sought to justify the use of force, and Republicans remained almost universally silent, others condemned the action, including the Auschwitz Museum which invoked the uprise of Hitler. This, as data and reporting continues to point to a dangerous uptick in right-wing violence and acts of, and normalization of, hate.

This week the Mueller probe was center stage, as Trump stepped up his attacks to discredit Mueller ahead of the findings being released. The week started with focus on Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone as possible conduits between the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks. Until a bombshell Thursday, when Michael Cohen outlined in a plea agreement how he misled Congress about negotiating on the Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen said negotiations continued until June 2016, and that Trump and his children were also in the loop. Cohen’s documents made clear that other members of the regime, including Donald Jr., may have lied to Congress, and also called into question Trump’s written answers in the Mueller probe, submitted under oath in recent days, on his and his campaign’s contact with Russians.


Mural by Jersey-based artist Jay Mack Muzik https://www.instagram.com/jaymackmuzik/ in Wynwood, Miami, Florida. 29nov18.
  1. WAPO reported right-wing violence is on the rise. Terrorism researchers say the trend started with white anxiety about Obama’s presidency, and has accelerated in the era of Trump.
  2. From 2010 through 2017, 92 of the 263 incidents of domestic terrorism were committed by right-wing attackers. Researchers say at least 20 people have died so far in 2018 in suspected right-wing attacks.
  3. On Saturday, The Guardian reported the British Parliament used its legal powers to seize internal Facebook documents, including confidential emails between senior executives, and with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
  4. The move is unprecedented. The documents allegedly contain significant revelations about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls that led to Cambridge Analytica being able to collect user data.
  5. On Sunday, the Independent reported the U.K. High Court will rule as early as Christmas whether Brexit should be declared “void,” citing a legal case by the criminal investigation into Leave funder Arron Banks.
  6. The superintendent of the Baraboo School District told parents the district is “not in a position to punish” students who made an apparent Nazi salute in a prom photo, saying “we cannot know the intentions in the hearts.”
  7. The 10-day investigation involved local authorities, parents, and others. The letter states, “because of students’ First Amendment rights, the district is not in a position to punish the students for their actions.”
  8. Police in Alabama fatally shot Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., a 21 year-old Black man who formerly served in the U.S. Army, at a Birmingham mall, after they mistook him for the gunman in a mall shooting.
  9. On Monday, a day before the run-off race for senator in Mississippi, two nooses were found hanging from trees, along with six “hate signs” at the state Capitol in Jackson.
  10. Dallas Morning News reported Ro Lockett, a 28 year-old Black man shopping with a friend and their sons, was handcuffed outside a Stonebriar Centre store after being falsely accused of shoplifting.
  11. WAPO reported an autopsy of Roxsana Hernandez Rodriguez, a transgender asylum seeker, who died in ICE custody weeks after arriving in the U.S. from Honduras, revealed she was beaten while in custody.
  12. Hernandez was part of a group of migrants that arrived in early May as she tried to escape violence she faced as a transgender woman. Transgender Law Center, on behalf of her family, plans to file a lawsuit.
  13. On Wednesday, AP reported the Trump regime has waived FBI checks on 2,100 caregivers and short-staffing mental health workers, putting the safety of 2,300 migrant teens living in tent cities at risk.
  14. Initially, the Department of Health and Human Services had planned to keep migrant children in the tent city in Tornillo for just a few days, but as the migrant children population ballooned, now talk is of making the detention camp 10 times as big.
  15. BCFS, a San Antonio nonprofit, runs Tornillo. The cost per night per child is $1,200, significantly higher than the $775 officials have publicly disclosed, and almost five times the cost of a typical youth migrant shelter.
  16. On Wednesday, Elizabeth Midlarsky, a Jewish professor and Holocaust scholar at Columbia Teachers College,found two spray-painted red swastikas, and the word “YID” scrawled on a wall outside her office.
  17. On Thursday, Sen. Tim Scott, the sole black GOP senator, gave the deciding opposition vote to Trump nominee Thomas Farr to the federal bench, citing Farr’s support of racially discriminatory election policies.
  18. In the New York Review of Books, Columbia professor Bernard Harcourt argued Trump is fueling a toxic blendof antebellum white supremacy, twentieth-century fascism, and European far-right movements of the 1970s.
  19. Harcourt warned Trump has enabled an upsurge of white nationalists and extremist organizations like Atomwaffen, Proud Boys, and Rise Above Movement, that threatens to push the country into violent social conflict.
  20. Two New York University researchers found that Trump in 2016 appealed to men who are secretly insecure about their manhood, calling it the “fragile masculinity hypothesis.” The same pattern continued in 2018 House races.
  21. The study measured search terms, like “erectile dysfunction,” “penis size, and “hair loss.” Fragile masculinity was not a factor for Republicans Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008, or House races in 2014 and 2016.
  22. On Sunday, Trump congratulated himself on falling oil prices, tweeting, “So great that oil prices are falling (thank you President T).” Trump also issued a warning to the Fed, “Inflation down (are you listening Fed)!”
  23. On Sunday, a judge denied George Papadopoulos’ request to delay the start of his prison time, saying he must report to a federal prison camp in Oxford, Wisconsin to begin his 14-day sentence on Monday.
  24. On Sunday, attorney Alan Dershowitz told “ABC This Week” the Mueller report is going to be “devastating” to Trump. Dershowitz added that he knows that Trump’s “team is already working on a response to the report.”
  25. On Sunday, Russia opened fire on and seized three Ukrainian ships that were sailing off the coast of Crimea. Ukraine said it was a Russian “act of aggression.” Moscow said the ships had illegally entered its waters.
  26. On Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection fired tear gas into Mexico to repel Central American migrants approaching the border. Traffic in both directions was suspended at the port between San Diego and Tijuana.
  27. Tensions had been rising as thousands of migrants arrived in Tijuana, and camped outside a sports stadium.Mexican police broke up the migrants’ daily protests on Sunday, triggering a rush toward the U.S. border.
  28. CBP was backed by U.S. military police, San Diego police, and the California Highway Patrol. Migrants, many with young children who were sick and hungry, were trapped between U.S. and Mexican forces.
  29. Hundreds of mostly Honduran migrants were subjected to a volley of canisters of tear gas. Photos and videos emerged of young children, some in diapers, suffering from exposure to tear gas.
  30. An AP reporter noted “Children screamed and coughed. Fumes were carried by the wind toward people who were hundreds of feet away.” A mother trying to run with her baby, said the gas “asphyxiates you more.”
  31. Mexico’s Interior Department said about 500 people attempted to rush the border. U.S. authorities put the number at 1,000. Mexico said it would deport 98 of the migrants.
  32. On Monday, Trump tweeted “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border,” adding, “We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”
  33. On Monday, when asked by reporters if he was comfortable with tear-gassing children at the border, Trump responded “They had to use [it] because they were being rushed by some very tough people.”
  34. Trump also said there was “tremendous violence” during the confrontation with authorities,” adding “three Border Patrol people yesterday were very badly hurt through getting hit with rocks and stones.”
  35. A statement by CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan on Monday contradicted Trump, saying four agents were struck by rocks “but were wearing protective gear and did not suffer serious injuries.”
  36. Trump also falsely claimed “Obama had a separation policy; we all had the same policy. I tried to do it differently.” Obama did not have a separation policy, but Trump officially did with his “zero tolerance” policy.
  37. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement some migrants “sought to harm CBP personnel,” and some “women and children in the caravan are being used by the organizers as human shields.”
  38. On Monday, the Auschwitz Museum tweeted the Holocaust did not start with gas chambers, it “gradually developed from words, stereotypes & prejudice through legal exclusion, dehumanisation & escalating violence.”
  39. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the tear gas used on migrants, commonly known as CS gas, is considered a chemical weapon, and has been outlawed on the battlefield by nearly every nation, including the U.S.
  40. According to a biological and chemical weapons expert, research has noted that an infant exposed to CS gas develops severe pneumonitis and requires a month of hospitalization. Effects are not yet well documented.
  41. On Monday, in two tweets, Trump complained about CNN’s coverage and suggested that the U.S. government start its own worldwide television network in order to “show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”
  42. The Daily Beast reported according to emails obtained by the Sierra Club through the Freedom of Information Act, then EPA Chief Scott Pruitt chose topics for interviews on “Fox & Friends,” and knew questions in advance.
  43. In response to the reporting, Fox said it is disciplining employees involved in the email exchange with an aide to Pruitt. Fox would not say who was being disciplined or how, noting that it was a personnel matter.
  44. Sinclair Broadcasting distributed a two-minute commentary to its 200 local television stations featuring former Trump White House official Boris Epshteyn defending the use of tear gas on migrants at the border.
  45. Echoing language used by Trump, Epshteyn said, “The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country.” As of Wednesday morning, the segment had aired on at least two dozen Sinclair stations.
  46. Later Wednesday, Sinclair tried to distance itself from Epshteyn, tweeting, “The opinions expressed in this segment do not reflect the views of Sinclair Broadcast,” and “they are labeled clearly as commentary.”
  47. Author Margaret Atwood announced she will write a sequel to her landmark book “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is also a popular TV-series. “The Testaments,” set 15 years later, will be released September 2019.
  48. Atwood tweeted, “Dear Readers, everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.
  49. Christine Blasey Ford, who has received continued death threats, moved houses four times, and hired private security since testifying, said she would donate remaining GoFundMe money to sexual assault survivors.
  50. Blasey Ford, who has not been able to return to work, said of testifying, “Although coming forward was terrifying, and caused disruption to our lives, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to fulfill my civic duty.”
  51. On Monday, Solicitor General Noel Francisco urged the Supreme Court to turn down cases on whether Trump had legally installed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, saying the lower courts should weigh in first.
  52. On Monday, ABC News reported Jared Kushner was behind the push to inflate the Saudi arms deal to $110 billion, well over the actual number which is closer to $15 billion, to solidify the new alliance with crown prince MBS.
  53. On Tuesday, national security adviser John Bolton defended his decision to not listen to tape of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, telling reporter, “I don’t speak Arabic,” and adding “What do you think I’ll learn from it?”
  54. On Tuesday, The Guardian reported that the White House is preventing CIA director Gina Haspel from briefing the Senate on Jamal Khashoggi’s death.
  55. Instead, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis will brief the Senate on U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia, ahead of a vote on whether to support the Saudi’s military campaign in Yemen.
  56. On Monday, Trump attacked the Mueller probe in two tweets, saying, “When Mueller does his final report, will he be covering all of his conflicts of interest in a preamble.” There is no evidence of conflicts of interest.
  57. Trump also tweeted, “many campaign workers, people inside from the beginning, ask me why they have not been called (they want to be),” adding “there was NO Collusion & Mueller knows it!”
  58. On Monday, Jerome Corsi told CNN he is refusing to sign a plea deal with Mueller’s team, saying “They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie.”
  59. In a statement following Corsi’s comments, Roger Stone said the special counsel was harassing Corsi “not for lying, but for refusing to lie,” and continued to maintain his own innocence.
  60. On Monday, the special counsel said in a filing that Paul Manafort had breached the plea agreement he signedtwo months ago by repeatedly lying, saying he should be sentenced immediately.
  61. The filing notes Manafort’s “crimes and lies” about “a variety of subject matters” relieve the special counsel of all promises they made to him in the plea agreement. Defense lawyers disagreed Manafort had violated the deal.
  62. On Tuesday, The Guardian reported Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2013, 2015, and in March 2016. Manafort joined the Trump campaign on March 29, 2016.
  63. An internal document by Ecuador’s intelligence agency described Manafort as “one of several well-known guests. It also mentions “Russians.” In a statement, Manafort denied meeting Assange.
  64. On Tuesday, Trump again attacked Mueller in two morning tweets, saying the probe is a “Phony Witch Hunt” and that “Mueller and his gang of Angry Dems are only looking at one side, not the other.”
  65. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted “at least 3 major players are intimating that the Angry Mueller Gang of Dems is viciously telling witnesses to lie about facts & they will get relief,” adding, “This is our Joseph McCarthy Era!”
  66. On Tuesday, NYT reported that Kevin Downing, a lawyer for Manafort, repeatedly briefed Trump’s lawyers on discussions with Mueller’s team after Manafort agreed to cooperate — a highly unusual arrangement.
  67. Rudy Giuliani defended the briefings, telling NYT they provided valuable insights about the probe and where it was headed, adding the information could help shape a legal defense strategy and public relations campaign.
  68. The briefings did not break the law, but did contribute to a deteriorating relationship between lawyers for Manafort and Mueller’s team. Downing assured Trump’s team that Manafort had not implicated him in wrongdoing.
  69. Last year, John Dowd broached the idea of pardoning Manafort and Michael Flynn. When asked by reporters Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said she had no knowledge of any conversations about a pardon for Manafort.
  70. NBC News reported according to legal experts the arrangement could amount to obstruction of justice or witness tampering if Manafort disclosed confidential information or Trump’s team discussed a pardon.
  71. On Tuesday, Corsi provided WAPO with a copy of a draft document of his statement of offense prepared by Mueller’s team as part of the plea deal, detailing ties between WikiLeaks and key associates in Trump’s orbit.
  72. According to the document, Corsi emailed Stone in early August 2016 about WikiLeaks’ plans. Nearly 10 weeks later the group published John Podesta’s hacked emails in October.
  73. Also in the document, Stone wrote to Corsi on July 25, 2016, urging him to find out Assange’s plans: “Get to [Assange] [a]t Ecuadorian Embassy in London and get the pending [WikiLeaks] emails.”
  74. Giuliani said Trump does not recall speaking to either Stone or Corsi about WikiLeaks, and that Trump’s legal team lodged a complaint last month with the DOJ about the Corsi document including Trump’s name.
  75. In the document, Mueller offered to let Corsi plead guilty to a single felony count of lying to federal investigators. Corsi rejected the deal. Giuliani said Mueller overplayed his hand: “They’ve screwed it up.”
  76. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted about the Mueller probe, saying “Wait until it comes out how horribly & viciously they are treating people, ruining lives for them refusing to lie. Mueller is a conflicted prosecutor gone rogue….”
  77. On Wednesday, CNN reported in Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions, he claimed Stone did not tell him about WikiLeaks, and that he was not told about the June 9 Trump Tower meeting involving Donald Jr.
  78. Both inquiries are central in the probe of whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump’s written answers could be subject to criminal charges if they are found to be false.
  79. On Wednesday, Trump told the New York Post that he never discussed a pardon with Manafort, adding “but I wouldn’t take it off the table. Why would I take it off the table?”
  80. Trump also ripped the Mueller probe, claiming Manafort, Stone, and Corsi were all asked to lie by the special counsel, saying “If you told the truth, you go to jail.” Trump also repeated his charge, “this is McCarthyism.”
  81. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that Manafort allegedly lied to Mueller’s team about his personal business dealings and about his contacts with his associate, Konstantin Kilimnik.
  82. The context is these statements do not appear to be central to the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. It is unclear if Mueller’s team plans to accuse Manafort of additional lies.
  83. On Wednesday, WAPO reported that Mueller is looking into Trump’s late night calls to Stone from a blocked number during the campaign, to see whether Stone served as a bridge between Trump and WikiLeaks.
  84. According to the draft document of Corsi statement, Stone was in regular contact with Trump campaign officials, including “then-candidate Donald J. Trump.” Stone said Trump initiated the calls.
  85. Stone told the Post that he never discussed WikiLeaks with Trump, adding phone conversations are not that important, saying “unless Mueller has tape recordings of the phone calls, what would that prove?”
  86. According to phone records Trump’s team turned over to Mueller, there were numerous calls between Stone and Trump throughout the campaign. In midsummer, Trump associates wanted to know WikiLeaks’ plans.
  87. Corsi forwarded a request from Stone to Ted Malloch, an informal Trump adviser in London, to visit Assange and see what he has planned for the weeks leading up the election. It is not clear if Malloch did visit.
  88. On Wednesday, Trump retweeted a image posted by account “@The_Trump_Train,” which depicted Mueller, Obama, the Clintons, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, and others behind bars.
  89. Trump also retweeted a false claim from this account, “Illegals can get up to $3,874 a month under Federal Assistance program…RT if you agree: If you weren’t born in the United States, you should receive $0 assistance.”
  90. On Wednesday, Trump defended his retweeting a photo of Rosenstein behind bars, telling the New York Postin an interview, “He should have never picked a special counsel.”
  91. On Wednesday, legislation brought to the floor to protect Mueller by Sens. Jeff Flake, Chris Coons ,and Cory Booker was blocked. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it a “solution in search of a problem.”
  92. A new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found 84 farms in the Upper Midwest filed for bankruptcies in the 12 months ended June 2018, double the number from the same period in 2013–2014.
  93. On Monday, GM announced it plans to cut 14,800 jobs U.S. and Canada and end production at several North American factories, the first significant downsizing since its bankruptcy, citing lower sedan sales.
  94. The cuts would reduce GM’s annual costs by $4.5 billion by the end of 2020, freeing up money to invest in electric and self-driving vehicles. In reaction to the news, the company’s stock rose 4.8% on Monday.
  95. On Monday, Trump told GM CEO Mary Barra to stop making cars in China and open a plant in Ohio, “They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly,” adding, “You’re playing around with the wrong person.”
  96. On Tuesday, GM stock tumbled after Trump threatened the company, tweeting, “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO…We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars.”
  97. It was not clear what subsidies Trump was referring to. The only related item is a $7,500 plug-in tax credit, which goes to the consumer, not the company. GM is also close to the 200,000 electric car cap on the credit.
  98. On Tuesday, in a wide-ranging, 20-minute interview with WAPO, Trump blamed Democrats, the Chinese government and the central bank for any economic weakness and recent declines in the stock market.
  99. He had especially tough words for his appointee Fed Chair Jerome “Jay” Powell, saying “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit,” adding, “the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
  100. When asked why he did not reappoint Janet Yellen, he said she impressed him greatly during an interview, but he believed that the 5-foot-3-inch economist was not tall enough to lead the central bank.
  101. Trump also bragged that the stock market was up 38% since he took office. This is false: the Dow Jones industrial average is up 25%, a smaller increase than during Obama’s first two years in office.
  102. Trump again questioned the CIA’s assessment that the Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s assassination, saying “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. But he denies it. And people around him deny it.
  103. Trump said of the recent climate change report, “One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence,” and “You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean.”
  104. On Wednesday, Fed Chair Powell said he now sees current interest rates “just below” neutral, a departure from his remarks two months ago, suggesting the Fed was near the end of raising rates.
  105. On Thursday, Trump again attacked GM, tweeting “General Motors is very counter to what other auto…companies are doing,” adding they are “pouring into the U.S.” and BMW “just announced a major new plant.”
  106. In the tweet, Trump also repeated his frequent false claims that “Big Steel is opening and renovating plants all over the country” — a claim which has been repeatedly debunked by fact checkers.
  107. BMW issued a statement in response to Trump’s tweet, saying, “We can confirm that we are considering building an engine plant in the U.S.,” saying the option has been under consideration for the past few years.
  108. On Wednesday, at 11:39 p.m., Trump continued his attacks on the Mueller probe, tweeting, “So much happening with the now discredited Witch Hunt. This total Hoax will be studied for years!”
  109. On Thursday, at 6:54 a.m., Trump again attacked the Mueller probe in two tweets, saying “Did you ever see an investigation more in search of a crime?” and calling it “a total disgrace.”
  110. Trump called the probe an “illegal Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt,” which he said “has shattered so many innocent lives,” and falsely claimed has wasted more than $40 million (a tweet Tuesday claimed $30 million).
  111. On Thursday, German authorities raided Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt over allegations of money laundering. The public prosecutors office said 170 officials were involved in the raid.
  112. The investigation is directed at two employees and other individuals, and is based on details in the Panama Papers; although prosecutors alleged there were “sufficient indications” for the suspicious nature before that.
  113. On Thursday, Michael Cohen made a surprise appearance before a federal judge in the Southern District of New York to plead guilty to lying to Congress about his role and timing related to the Trump Tower Moscow.
  114. Cohen said he lied about negotiations on Trump Tower Moscow ending January 2016, before the Iowa Caucuses, saying they continued until June 2016, after Trump had secured the Republican nomination.
  115. Cohen gave false answers in 2017 to both the Senate and House intelligence committees in order to be consistent with Trump’s “political message.” Trump said, “I have ZERO investments in Russia,” in January.
  116. Cohen said he also lied in saying he “never agreed to travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow project and ‘never considered’ asking Individual 1 to travel for the project.” Individual 1 is Trump.
  117. Cohen said he also “discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project with Individual 1 on more than the three occasions,” and “briefed family members of Individual 1 within the Company about the project.”
  118. Cohen continued discussions on the project with “Individual 2,” Felix Sater, as late as June 2016. Cohen discussed traveling to Russia in May, and having Trump travel there after the Republican National Convention.
  119. Cohen also lied about not receiving a response and thinking the project was halted, admitting he had a 20 minute phone conversation with an assistant to Dmitry Peskov, a senior aide to Putin, on land and financing.
  120. Cohen told the judge he lied to “to be loyal to Individual 1 .” A prosecutor from Mueller’s team was present in the courtroom. Cohen’s lawyer said he has cooperated in the Mueller probe, and will continue to cooperate.
  121. When asked about Cohen’s plea deal as he left for the G20 summit, Trump said “Cohen is lying and he’s trying to get a reduced sentence for things that have nothing to do with me,” adding, “He’s a very weak person.”
  122. Trump also told reporters, “This was a project that we didn’t do, I didn’t do . . . There would be nothing wrong if I did do it.” This contradicts his earlier statements to reporters and on the campaign trail.
  123. On Thursday, in a tweet sent while aboard Air Force One, Trump canceled his scheduled meeting with Putin at the G20, citing “the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia.”
  124. Earlier in the day, as he left the White House, Trump told reporters the meeting with Putin was still on. Russian officials were caught off guard by Trump’s abrupt cancelation.
  125. On the flight to Argentina, Trump tweeted plugs for several favorable books, including ones “by@GreggJarrett and @JudgeJeanine Pirro” saying “Go get them now, the phony Witch Hunt is well explained!”
  126. As Trump arrived at the G20, a giant Baby Trump blimp was launched by activists. The blimp was created for Trump’s visit to London, and was also used at his recent trip to Paris, before being shipped to Buenos Aires.
  127. That evening, just after Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show was over, Trump quoted Alan Dershowitz, tweeting, “He (Mueller) has no authority to be a roving Commissioner. I don’t see any evidence of crimes.”
  128. On Thursday, Yahoo News reported Mueller’s team is additionally looking at Ivanka and Donald Jr.’s roles in Trump Tower Moscow, which sources say was independent of Cohen’s efforts
  129. On Thursday, BuzzFeed reported as part of the negotiations, Cohen discussed plans to give Vladimir Putin the $50 million penthouse in Trump Tower Moscow in a conversation with a representative of Dmitry Peskov.
  130. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump has tried to expand his real estate brand to Russia for 30 years, including traveling to Moscow and unveiling four ultimately unsuccessful attempts before running for president.
  131. The latest attempt began in September 2015, and according to court documents ended on June 14, 2016, the day WAPO reported Russia was suspected to be behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee.
  132. On Thursday, federal agents stormed the City Hall office of Alderman Ed Burke in Chicago, papering over office windows. Burke was recently defeated in his re-election over his property-tax reduction work for Trump.
  133. Over 12 years of working for Trump, Burke’s law firm, Klafter & Burke was allegedly able to cut the property taxes on Trump’s downtown tower by more than $14 million. Burke stopped working for Trump last summer.
  134. On Friday, Trump sent two tweets, admitted he “lightly looked at doing a building somewhere in Russia,” saying “Against all odds, I decide to run for President & continue to run my business-very legal & very cool.”
  135. On Friday, NPR reported Donald Jr.’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2017 conflicts with Cohen’s account. Donald Jr. claimed there was no contact on Trump Tower Moscow during 2016.
  136. On Friday, at the G20 summit in Argentina, Saudi crown prince MBS and Putin were seen greeting each other by smiling, having an exuberant handshake, then firmly embracing.
  137. On Friday, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr said his committee has worked with and made multiple referrals to Mueller for criminal prosecution, saying, “If you lie to us, we’re going to go after you.”
  138. On Friday, at a hearing for Manafort, Mueller’s team said they are considering new criminal charges, contending Manafort obstructed justice and committed additional federal crimes since entering a plea agreement.
  139. Manafort’s attorneys denied that he violated the plea deal and said they will rebut the government’s filing after they see it. Manafort, who is currently in prison, waived his right to appear in court.
  140. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Mueller’s team to provide a report by December 7 detailing how Manafort breached the agreement, and tentatively scheduled March 5 for Manafort’s sentencing.
  141. On Friday, CNN reported that after visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago in March 2018, Cohen believed Trump would pardon him if he stayed on message and protected his boss. Lawyers for both were in steady communications.
  142. In the days following the raid on Cohen’s home and office, Trump started to distance himself from Cohen, saying Cohen only did a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. Cohen knew the game had changed.
  143. On Friday, in a filing seeking a lenient sentence, Cohen claimed he was in “close and regular contact” with Trump’s White House staff and legal team as he prepared a statement for Congress on Trump Tower Moscow.
  144. Cohen said his false statement was based on Trump team efforts to portray that contact by Trump, his campaign, and company with Russia “as having effectively terminated before the Iowa caucuses of February 1, 2016.”
  145. Cohen’s lawyers claim Cohen kept Trump “apprised” of his contacts with Russia during the campaign, and that his false statement to Congress arose from his loyalty to Trump, who they referred to throughout as “Client-1.”
  146. Cohen’s lawyers asked for a sentence of time served, citing his cooperation with Mueller, guilty pleas on payments to silence women, and cooperation in the ongoing federal investigation into the Trump Foundation.
  147. Late Friday, Trump again plugged Hannity’s show, tweeting, “Watch @seanhannity on @FoxNews NOW. Enjoy!”
  148. On Wednesday, California Democrat TJ Cox declared victory, giving Democrats their 40th pick up in the House in the midterm elections. Democrats picked up seven seats in California alone.
  149. On Thursday, retiring House Majority Leader Paul Ryan cast doubt on the “bizarre” California election results, saying “This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is.”
  150. On Friday, AP retracted its call in a North Carolina 9th Congressional race, saying the board of elections delayed certifying results over “claims of irregularities and fraudulent activities related to absentee by-mail voting.”
  151. The race was called for Republican Mark Harris, after Democrat Dan McCready conceded on November 9.Harris had a lead of 905 votes out of 283,000 counted. The GOP has held this district since the early 1960s.
  152. Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Maggie Hassan, along with survivors, called on Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos to rescind the just released campus sexual abuse policies, calling it a major step backwards.
  153. On Wednesday, NBC News reported the Veterans Affair Department privately told Congress that veterans who did not receive their full GI bill payments due to a computer glitch, would not be reimbursed.
  154. On Thursday, after pressure from members of both parties of Congress, the VA reversed course and promised pay veterans the full amount of benefits they are due under the Forever GI Bill.
  155. On Friday, six additional White House officials were reprimanded for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits public employees from conducting political activity in their official roles.
  156. The staffers included Raj Shah, Jessica Ditto, Madeleine Westerhout, Helen Aguirre Ferré, Alyssa Farah, and Jacob Wood. All deleted their social media posts that were in violation for supporting Trump
  157. The Office of Special Counsel also issued guidelines Friday, warning federal workers to avoid workplace talk about impeachment and #resistance for the next 705 days — until the day after Election Day 2020.
  158. On Friday, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by Politico, Secretary Nielsen requested the deployment of civilian law enforcement officers to the U.S.-Mexico border as early as next week.
  159. Current and former U.S. officials described the request, which would draw officers from other cabinet departments who in most cases have duties entirely unrelated to border security, as unprecedented.
  160. On Friday, documents released under the FOIA revealed months after joining the advisory board of World Patent Marketing in 2014, Whitaker fielded angry complaints from customers that they were being defrauded.
  161. One customer even showed up at Whitaker’s office in Iowa. As a U.S. attorney, Whitaker was a spokesperson for the company for three years, even participating in national television ads promoting the company.
  162. When the FTC subpoenaed Whitaker for his records in October 2017, he missed the deadline to reply, then made clear he had been named chief of staff for Jeff Sessions. Whitaker never provided any of his records.
  163. The FTC eventually filed a complaint against the company for cheating customers and making false promises. Some clients lost their life savings. In May 2018, the company paid a $25 million settlement and shut down.
  164. On Friday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said Whitaker will appear before his committee in January, when a new Democratic majority will begin ramping up oversight of the Trump regime.
  165. On Friday, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York ruled against the Trump regime’s move to withhold grant funding from law enforcement agencies of so-called sanctuary cities.
  166. Judge Edgardo Ramos called the move illegal and unconstitutional. The ruling blocked the regime from enforcing those conditions on New York, New York City, and the six states that challenged the requirements.
  167. On Friday, a federal judge put off an immediate ruling on James Comey’s request to invalidate a subpoena from House Republicans to appear at a closed-door session, asking for additional legal briefs over the weekend.
  168. In the first half of Affordable Care Act registration, enrollment is down from 2.8 million last year to 2.4 million, with the biggest drops in Pennsylvania (down 25%), Missouri (down 25%), and Ohio (down 20%).
  169. Advocates note the enrollment period has been cut in half to just 45 days, less advertising, and government spending to help consumer has dropped from $63 million in 2016, to $36 million in 2017 to $10 million this year.
  170. On Saturday, WSJ reported that the CIA has intercepted at least 11 messages sent by crown prince MBS to his closest adviser, who oversaw the team that killed Khashoggi.
  171. Trump spoke briefly to the Saudi crown prince at the G20 summit. The exchange between the two leaders was not scheduled. A White House official sought to downplay the interaction as exchanging pleasantries.


NOVEMBER 24, 2018

Week 106

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-106/

There is no such thing as a slow holiday news week in the era of Trump! This week, in the chaos of news and not normal, reporting of Ivanka Trump’s use of a personal email account for White House business — remarkably similar to Hillary Clinton’s private server on which Trump fixated throughout his 2016 campaign and beyond — was barely mentioned in the news 48 hours later.

This week there were more alarming breaks from norms, including Trump siding with Saudis over U.S. intelligence on the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump bypassing advice by White House counsel to give troops at the U.S.-Mexico border the right to use lethal force, Trump attacking the admiral who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, and once again Trump attacking the Judiciary Branch for ruling against him — this time drawing the ire of both Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts and the American Bar Association.

With just weeks until the Democrats take control of the House and can subpoena and investigate, and as the Mueller probe lurks into its final stages, Trump is increasingly frantic and belligerent. Trump continues to cozy up to authoritarians and break from norms, including concern for human rights. At home, a notable rise in the normalization and occurrence of hate crimes and the rise of white supremacists continues.

In a window in NYC. 14nov18


Artist SacSix. https://www.instagram.com/sacsix/
Artist Captain Eyeliner. https://www.instagram.com/captain_eyeliner/
NYC 23nov18
NYC 21nov18
  1. WAPO reported that of the 277 women who ran in the midterms, a record 124 have won so far. In the next session, there will be 102 women in the House of Representatives, 13 in the Senate, and 9 governors.
  2. As midterm votes continued to be counted, Democrats held a popular vote lead over Republicans in the House of more than 8.6 million votes, the largest midterm margin since Watergate, and will pick up nearly 40 seats.
  3. A Quinnipiac University poll found nearly 60% of Americans disapprove of the way Trump is handling race relations. Republicans approve by 76%, while Democrats disapprove by 93%.
  4. On Saturday, on his trip to California where 76 have died in the wildfires, Trump claimed Finland does not have wildfires because crews “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things” to clear forest floors.
  5. On Sunday, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview he spoke to Trump briefly about forest management in Paris, but that he has no idea where Trump got the idea that raking is part of his country’s routine.
  6. On Saturday, while traveling to the Asia-Pacific in Trump’s stead, Vice President Mike Pence laughed off the suggestion that Trump questioned his loyalty, saying he “was tempted not to dignify it with a comment.”
  7. On Sunday, two days after the White House demanded “decorum” at press conferences, Trump tweeted, “So funny to see little Adam Schitt,” misspelling incoming House Intelligence Committee chair Schiff’s name.
  8. On Sunday, Trump told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace he would not overrule his acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker if he decides to curtail the Mueller probe, saying, “I would not get involved.”
  9. Trump also claimed he “did not know [Whitaker] took views on the Mueller investigation” before appointing him, adding, “I think we’ve wasted enough time on this witch hunt…probably, we’re finished,”
  10. When asked by Wallace about retired Adm. William McRaven, who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden, Trump called him a “Hillary Clinton fan” and an “Obama backer.”
  11. Trump attacked McRaven, saying he should have apprehended bin Laden sooner. McRaven had publicly defended former CIA director John Brennan in an op-ed when Trump revoked his security clearance in Week 92.
  12. On Monday, Trump attacked McRaven, tweeting, “we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did,” claiming he (Trump) wrote that in his book “just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center.”
  13. Trump also tweeted, “We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars…Fools!” Trump’s claim on his book is untrue: there is one mention of bin Laden, but it was after he was already one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.
  14. On Monday, the Republican National Committee’s Twitter account joined Trump in attacking McRaven, claiming he was on “Hillary Clinton’s short list for Vice President in 2016,” and, “He’s hardly a non-political figure.”
  15. McRaven’s name did appear on a lengthy list of possible Clinton 2016 running mates, as well as on one for Trump, although McRaven did not endorse a candidate. McRaven has recently been battling leukemia.
  16. On Tuesday, reporters asked Trump why he has yet to visit troops in a combat zone, breaking precedent of heads of state throughout history. Trump said he plans to visit a war zone, but did not specify where or when.
  17. Trump claimed he has not visited troops because he does not want to associate himself with wars he views as failures. He has also cited the long flights and potential security risks as reasons he has avoided visits
  18. San Francisco Chronicle reported that a record 14,056 migrant children are in Department of Health and Human Services custody, topping a record from two months ago, in an already overburdened system.
  19. Under Trump, ICE background checks on sponsors has resulted in arrests of undocumented adults who come forward to take custody of the children, leaving more children spending time in holding facilities.
  20. Previous administrations did not use immigration status in determining the release children into sponsor care. HHS has opened tent facilities in Texas which can house thousands more children.
  21. NYT reported the price tag for the regime reuniting families separated under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy is $80 million and rising with 140 children still in custody — an average of $30,000 per child.
  22. On Monday, WAPO reported documents filed in a challenge to a question on the 2020 Census survey revealthe Trump regime privately discussed the possibility of sharing future census information with law enforcement.
  23. Experts warn such a move could have a chilling effect on response rates, as well as cautioning that the Justice Department does not have the authority to change the rules.
  24. On Monday, the Seattle Times reported a yogurt store owner called 911 on behalf of the employees at the store who complained about an “unwanted subject,” saying customers are “kind of scared because he looks suspicious.”
  25. The man, Byron Ragland, was doing his job supervising a parent-child visit. Ragland is also a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, a psychology student at the University of Washington, and a Black American.
  26. A white woman in Phoenix went on a racist rant when Lennys Bermudez Molina asked if she could sit in an open seat next to her, saying “I prefer white — let’s just put it like that.” Molina recorded a video of the conversation on her cell phone.
  27. The white woman continued, “I would prefer the whole freaking nation to be white. How about that?” adding “Oh, it’s going to happen. You’re going to be wiped out, trust me.”
  28. College campuses reported an uptick in anti-Semitism. Cornell University reported three swastikas in 9 days, and at Duke University, a tribute to victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre was defaced by a large, red swastika.
  29. On Monday, the Guardian reported, according to a document released by Washington state law enforcement,the FBI now classifies far-right Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.”
  30. The document revealed that the “Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses,” and “have a history of misogyny and glorifying violence.”
  31. On Wednesday, NBC News reported the sister organization, The Proud Boys’ Girls has also been classified as “extremist.” A female sheriff’s deputy in Washington state was fired in July for her affiliation to the group.
  32. On Friday, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes publicly claimed in a video to have quit the far-right group, saying “I am officially disassociating myself from the Proud Boys.”
  33. McInnes blamed his departure on the “NYC Nine,” eight of whom have been arrested by the NYPD, claiming “I am told by my legal team and law enforcement that this gesture could help alleviate their sentencing.”
  34. PBS “Frontline” released the second part in their series, “Documenting Hate: New American Nazis,” which reported on the resurgence of white supremacist groups, and their recruiting inside the U.S. military.
  35. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe protested outside the U.S. Capital on Thanksgiving Day over Trump’sDepartment of Interior’s alternative interpretation of the Indian Reorganization Act to take away their land.
  36. WOSU Radio reported the Ohio legislature is weighing a bill during the lame duck session which would ban abortion entirely, and would allow criminal charges against both doctors and pregnant women seeking abortions.
  37. A federal judge in Mississippi struck down an abortion ban after 15 weeks, passed by the state legislature in March. The judge derided the legislation, saying its “professed interest in ‘women’s health’ is pure gaslighting.”
  38. The judge also noted despite the state ranking as the most medically challenged for women, the state leaders are silent on expanding Medicaid and “our alarming infant and maternal mortality rates.”
  39. On Tuesday, a group of 38 Republicans in the House sent a letter to Trump, calling on him to scrap protections for LGBTQ workers included in the newly negotiated NAFTA trade proposal with Mexico and Canada.
  40. On Friday, the Trump regime asked the Supreme Court to bypass the usual legal process, and to immediately take up Trump’s transgender military ban and rule on the issue in its current term.
  41. The Solicitor General asked the court to consolidate the challenges to the ban and rule on this issue, saying “The decisions imposing those injunctions are wrong, and they warrant this Court’s immediate review.”
  42. Lawyers representing challenges said there is no need to abandon the norms of the Supreme Court waiting to take action until regional appeals courts have ruled, questioning the urgency of the Trump regime.
  43. A rule change was proposed by Nancy Pelosi which would overturn a 181-year ban on religious headwear on the floor of Congress, as Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first two Muslim American women in Congress.
  44. On Monday, Politico reported the general overseeing the deployment of troops at the U.S.-Mexico border said the troops will start heading home in the coming days, having completed the missions for which they were sent.
  45. Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan said the first troops have started to leave and all the troops will be home by December 15, in time for Christmas, as originally expected.
  46. On Tuesday, Buchanan’s command appeared to backpedal on his statement, which seemed to suggest the deployment was unnecessary, saying “no specific timeline for redeployment has been determined.”
  47. On Wednesday, WAPO reported, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo, the Trump regime is considering sweeping new measures which would force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases are processed.
  48. The regime’s plan, known as “Remain in Mexico,” would be a major change from current screening procedures, which generally allow those who fear returning to their home countries to avoid immediate deportation.
  49. Trump has repeated said he despises the current system, known as “catch and release,” which allows migrants to remain in the U.S. until they can get a hearing with an immigration judge. Trump has pledged to end it.
  50. Under the plan, asylum seekers would have to meet a higher bar in the screening procedure — that they fear persecution in Mexico—in order to meet the requirement for immediate admission into the U.S.
  51. On Thursday, Politico reported on a fiery West Wing meeting presided by Trump Monday on the topic ofgranting the troops at the U.S.-Mexico border the right to use lethal force to defend border patrol agents.
  52. John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen were initially against the measure, saying it was beyond Trump’s constitutional powers. Pitted against all the other attendees including Trump and Stephen Miller, the meeting devolved into a melee.
  53. Also at the meeting was Chris Crane, president of ICE and Brandon Judd, president of the border patrol union. Kelly and Nielsen finally agreed, and Kelly signed a Cabinet declaration granting the military the authority.
  54. The move by Trump ran afoul of guidance by acting White House counsel Emmet Flood, who cautioned Trump it would likely run into constitutional roadblocks. The decision came after dozens of meetings.
  55. On Monday, in a departure of its nearly 100 year tradition of having a comedian headline its roast, the White House Correspondents’ Association announced presidential biographer Ron Chernow will headline this year.
  56. On Monday, CNN asked for an emergency hearing after Trump threatened to revoke Jim Acosta’s press pass again. That afternoon, bowing to pressure, the White House said his press pass has been “restored.”
  57. On Monday, the White House issued new rules for reporters, including how they can ask questions. The press corps did not agree to the new rules, which the correspondents’ association said it had “no role” in crafting.
  58. On Monday, WAPO reported that a record request by liberal watchdog group American Oversight revealed that Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business in 2017.
  59. White House ethics officials learned of the emails in responding to the request. Emails were sent to White House aides, Cabinet officials, and her assistants, many in violation of federal records rules.
  60. The private email account was on a domain shared with Kushner. In the emails, she discussed or relayed official White House business. Ivanka’s attorney claimed none of the messages contained classified information.
  61. The domain “ijkfamily.com” was set up by Ivanka and Jared in December 2016 through a Microsoft system. Emails were prescreened for security problems by the Trump Organization, but stored by Microsoft.
  62. Ivanka discussed government policies and official business fewer than 100 times, and shared her official schedule and travel plans with herself and her personal assistants  fewer than 1,000 times.
  63. On Tuesday, when asked by reporters, Trump defended Ivanka, saying “Just so you understand, Ivanka Trump did some emails, they were not classified like Hillary Clinton,” adding, “they were not deleted.”
  64. Trump also said, “Ivanka Trump can handle herself. They are in the historical records, no deletion whatsoever,” adding, “It is all fake news.”
  65. When reporter April Ryan, a Black woman, asked Trump, “Elijah Cummings wants to investigate Ivanka’s emails. What do you say, sir?” Trump pointed at her, turned away, then asked the group, “What else?”
  66. On Monday, Mueller’s team filed a brief, saying Mueller’s powers are still intact, writing “Whitaker taking charge of the Russia probe “neither alters the special counsel’s authority…nor raises any jurisdictional issue.”
  67. The explanation came in response to a case brought by former Roger Stone aide Andrew Miller against Mueller, claiming Mueller is an unlawful prosecutor because Trump did not appoint him and he was not Senate confirmed.
  68. On Monday, Senate Democrats Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Mazie Hirono sued to block Whitaker from serving as acting attorney general, saying his placement in the post was unconstitutional.
  69. The lawsuit, which is the third filed to block Whitaker, cites that the Vacancies Reform Act does not allow for the appointment of people to cabinet-level positions who have not been senate confirmed.
  70. On Monday, CNN reported the watchdog group American Oversight said in a letter sent to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics that the DOJ had failed to provide a copy of Whitaker’s public financial disclosure reports.
  71. Whitaker has likely had to file two sets of public financial disclosures since joining the Justice Department last year. Federal ethics law requires the reports be available to public requestors within 30 days of their filing.
  72. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Whitaker has received more than $1.2 million over three years from Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), which described itself as a new watchdog nonprofit.
  73. FACT, which says it is dedicated to exposing unethical conduct by public officials, has no employees, but allowed Whitaker to regularly appear in the media. In 2014, the IRS approved FACT for tax-exempt charity status.
  74. WAPO analyzed Whitaker’s 200 plus television and radio appearances from 2014 to September 2017, andfound an overwhelming focus on Democrats, including 750 mentions of Hillary and 185 of Mueller.
  75. FACT was founded 2012 under a different name and mission. At the time, Whitaker, was a U.S. attorney with a legal practice in Iowa that paid him $79,000 a year. The source of funding remains unclear.
  76. On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the inspector general to investigate Whitaker’s communications with the White House, citing concerns he shared confidential information about the Mueller probe.
  77. Schumer also wants the inspector general to investigate whether Whitaker “provided any assurance” to Trump or other White House officials “regarding steps he or others may take” related to the Mueller probe.
  78. On Wednesday, CNN reported the Office of Special Counsel opened an investigation into a possible Hatch Act violation by Whitaker, for taking donations for a 2014 senate run while serving as chief of staff at the DOJ.
  79. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from accepting political contributions. The $8,800 of contributions were made in January and February to repay debt from his unsuccessful run for a Senate seat in Iowa.
  80. On Tuesday, NYT reported Trump told former White House counsel Don McGahn in the spring that he wanted to order the DOJ to prosecute two of his political adversaries, Hillary Clinton and James Comey.
  81. McGahn said no, and told Trump he had no authority to order a prosecution. He also had White House lawyers write a memo warning Trump could face a range of consequences, including impeachment.
  82. Trump privately continues to float ideas, like appointing a second special counsel to investigate Clinton and Comey. He has also attacked the integrity of DOJ officials, saying they are on a “witch hunt” to bring him down.
  83. Trump has also been frustrated FBI director Christopher Wray would not open an investigation on Clinton for her role in Uranium One and the Clinton Foundation, calling his appointee “weak” for not pursuing her.
  84. On Wednesday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told The Hill “of course she [Clinton] should be investigated” for obstruction of justice, citing “destroying evidence in a gross and massive way,” meaning deleted emails.
  85. On Tuesday, a federal judge blocked Trump’s proclamation targeting some asylum seekers, ordering the Trump regime to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the U.S.
  86. Judge Jon Tigar of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, “Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.”
  87. On Tuesday, when asked by reporters about the ruling, Trump called it a “disgrace,” and labeled Judge Tigar “an Obama judge.”
  88. On Wednesday, in a highly unusual public statement, when asked by an AP reporter, Chief Justice John Roberts rebutted Trump’s statement, saying an “independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”
  89. Roberts said, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” adding, “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best.”
  90. On Wednesday, Trump responded in two tweets, saying, “Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have “Obama judges,” adding, “It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an “independent judiciary.””
  91. Trump also tweeted, “Please study the numbers, they are shocking. We need protection and security — these rulings are making our country unsafe,” adding, “Very dangerous and unwise!”
  92. On Wednesday, the American Bar Association took the unusual step of issuing a statement criticizing Trump’s attacks on the 9th Circuit Court, saying judicial independence is critical to American democracy.
  93. ABA also said “when government officials question a court’s motives, mock its legitimacy or threaten retaliation,” they “erode the court’s standing and hinder the courts from performing their constitutional duties.”
  94. On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, Trump tweeted, “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuitis a complete & total disaster,” adding “It is out of control, has a horrible reputation.”
  95. Trump later tweeted, “79% of these decisions have been overturned in the 9th Circuit,” citing Fox News. Trump also called the 9th Circuit a “dangerous disgrace” and a “dumping ground” for “easy wins and delays.”
  96. In a scathing series of tweets, George Conway, Kellyanne Conway’s husband, refuted Trump’s claims about the 9th Circuit as untrue.
  97. On Monday, Reuters reported Germany halted all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and imposed a travel ban on the 18 Saudis linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering the 26 countries in the EU.
  98. On Tuesday, in an extraordinary statement, Trump sided with the Saudi Crown Prince MBS over the findings by U.S. national intelligence agencies on the killing of Khashoggi.
  99. Trump’s 633 word, crude statement with exclamation points ignored known facts, stating, “It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!
  100. Trump added “We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder…In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” adding Iran’s crimes are worse anything Saudi Arabia has done.
  101. In his statement, Trump also came close to embracing the conspiracy theory of Khashoggi’s critics in Saudi Arabia, that he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an “enemy of the state.”
  102. Trump also wrote, “The world is a very dangerous place,” and repeated his false claim that alienating the Saudis would put $110 billion in military sales at risk. So far just $14.5 billion in sales have been booked.
  103. On Wednesday, when asked by reporters if he was motivated by personal gain, Trump said, “I don’t make deals with Saudi Arabia,” and “I don’t have money from Saudi Arabia.”
  104. Trump also falsely claimed siding with Saudis would keep the price of oil down, telling reporters if we break out relationship we will “see oil prices go to $150 a barrel.” The Saudis are considering cutting output.
  105. On Tuesday, the editorial board of WAPO condemned Trump, saying he has slandered Khashoggi and betrayed American values, and his actions let dictators know “they can murder their critics and suffer no consequences.”
  106. The Post compared Trump’s move with his siding with Putin on Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying he had “affinity for a brutal and reckless leader by disregarding the findings of the U.S. intelligence.”
  107. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Saudi Arabia is accused of torturing at least eight of the 18 women’s-rights activists imprisoned this year without being formally charged with any crime. At least one tried to commit suicide.
  108. Torturing women is unprecedented according to activists. At least four who were subjected to electric shocks and lashings, one was sexually assaulted, and many were kept in solitary confinement for several months.
  109. On Wednesday, Trump celebrated low oil prices, tweeting “Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” Experts say the fall in price has little to do with Saudi Arabia.
  110. On Friday, the WSJ reported that the recent downward trend in oil prices is due to a surge in crude production from the U.S. petroleum industry combined with a weakened global growth, not related to Saudi and OPEC output.
  111. On Thursday, Denmark and Finland joined Germany in halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
  112. On Tuesday, a photo of Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith wearing a Confederate soldier’s hat and holding a rifle surfaced on Facebook. The photo was taking during a 2014 visit to the Jefferson Davis Home.
  113. On Tuesday, Trump defended Hyde-Smith’s lynching comment in Week 105, dismissing her comment as a joke, and adding “She is a tremendous woman and it is a shame that she has to go through this.”
  114. Following the lynching comment, several corporations, including Pfizer, Amgen, Walmart, AT&T, and others asked to have their campaign donations to Hyde-Smith returned.
  115. On Tuesday, Hyde-Smith offered a qualified apology, saying her comments did not mean she would “enjoy any type of capital punishment,” and “for anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize.”
  116. On Thursday, as Vice President Pence stood in for Trump at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, he broke from Trump, directly confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin on election interference.
  117. Pence told WAPO of his conversation, “So I looked at him and I said, ‘We know what happened in 2016,’” adding, “I’m very aware of what you’ve said about that, but I’m telling you we’re not having it.”
  118. On Wednesday, Mueller’s team urged a judge to deny a request from a former George Papadopoulos to delaythe commencement of his two week jail sentence, which is scheduled to begin November 26.
  119. George Papadopoulos’ attorney filed a motion, saying sentencing should be delayed pending the case challenging the constitutionality of Mueller’s appointment as special counsel.
  120. On Wednesday, AP reported Trump was set to be interviewed by Mueller’s team on January 27 at Camp David, but Trump’s lawyers balked. John Dowd sent a feisty letter disputing Mueller’s authority to question Trump.
  121. Reportedly Trump wanted to do the interview, but Trump’s lawyers, after being informed of the 16 topics Mueller wanted to cover from Mueller team prosecutor James Quarles, canceled the interview.
  122. This week, Trump’s lawyers handed over his written answers to some of Mueller’s questions, after a hard fought battle to compromise. Trump answered only questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  123. Trump’s team refused to answer questions about whether he has tried to obstruct the investigation into possible coordination between Russia and his campaign. It is unclear if Mueller intends to push for more answers.
  124. On Thursday, House Republicans subpoenaed James Comey and Loretta Lynch to testify privately. Comey tweeted, “I will resist a “closed door” thing because I’ve seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion.”
  125. On Friday, WAPO reported Jerome Corsi, an associate of Trump and Roger Stone, is in plea negotiations with Mueller’s team. Corsi provided research on Democratic figures during the 2016 campaign to Stone.
  126. Corsi cooperating could shed light on whether Trump or his advisers were connected to and had knowledge of WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic emails in 2016, a key part of Mueller’s inquiry.
  127. The New Yorker reported Emma Briant, an expert on disinformation at George Washington University, has unearthed new emails from October 2015, revealing the earliest documented role played by Steve Bannon in Brexit.
  128. Emails show Bannon, then vice president of Cambridge Analytica, owned largely by Robert Mercer, was in the loop for discussions with the leaders of Leave.EU, a far-right nationalist organization.
  129. Mueller’s investigations into foreign interference in Trump’s election, and British probes into Brexit, have increasingly become interwoven, including the role of the Russian Ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko.
  130. Investigators from both countries are also looking into the role of Nigel Farage, the former leader of Euroskeptic U.K. Independence Party, who was an ally of Bannon and Trump, and also visited Julian Assange in 2017.
  131. On Thursday, Trump started the day tweeting, “HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!” then devolved to warning of “bedlam, chaos, injury and death” at the U.S.-Mexico border if law enforcement cannot do their job.
  132. In the morning at a press gaggle, when asked by reporters at Mar-a-Lago what he was thankful for, Trump responded, “for having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country.”
  133. Trump continued, “I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.”
  134. When asked how he would rate the job he is doing, Trump responded “Look, I hate to do it, but I will do it. I would give myself an A-plus. Is that enough? Can I go higher than that?
  135. Trump also broke with tradition, using the Thanksgiving morning conference call with military members in five countries overseas to instead weigh in on several controversial political issues.
  136. Trump again criticized the 9th Circuit, saying “We get a lot of bad court decisions from the 9th Circuit, which has become a big thorn in our side,” adding, “We always lose…then you hopefully win at the Supreme Court.”
  137. Trump also said, “it’s a terrible thing when judges…tell you how to protect your border,” calling it a “disgrace.” Later in the day he said “judicial activism” prevented security officials from protecting the border.
  138. He blamed “the world” for the death of Khashoggi, dismissing the finding of the CIA that Saudi Crown Prince MBS was to blame, instead claiming the crown prince hated the death even more than Trump did.
  139. After claiming “Nobody’s done more for the military than me,” Trump made numerous false claims about military, and asked commanders what they were seeing in their regions on a call which is publicly broadcasted.
  140. Trump bragged about sending troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, even as troops are being pulled back, and expressed no doubts about the constitutionality of giving soldiers the right to use lethal force there.
  141. Trump had Thanksgiving dinner at Mar-a-Lago, which he has dubbed the “southern White House,” hosting a large crowd of more than 500 paying members along with his family.
  142. Before leaving for Mar-a-Lago, Trump bemoaned to reporters “being president has cost me a fortune.” In addition to other business like Trump Hotel DC, Mar-a-Lago is now charging $200,000 a person for members.
  143. NBC News calculated that in Trump’s first 673 days in office, he has spent almost one-third (217) at a Trump property, and about one-quarter (165) golfing at a Trump golf property.
  144. On Friday, New York state Supreme Court threw out Trump’s motion to dismiss, and said the NY attorney general’s lawsuit against the Trump Foundation can proceed.
  145. The judge noted a separate case has determined Trump is not immune to civil actions while serving as head of state, and said allegations of wrongdoing were strong enough to let the case go forward.
  146. On Friday, the White House quietly released a massive new federal report by the National Climate Assessment warning that national disasters like wildfires and hurricanes are worsening because of global warming.
  147. The report found warming-charged extremes “have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration,” and contradicted Trump who has been unwilling to acknowledge global warming as a cause.
  148. The report warned of worsening conditions, noting the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, costing the U.S. nearly $400 billion since 2015.
  149. A co-author noted the recent wildfires in Northern California can be attributed to climate change, saying “a warm, dry climate has increased the areas burned over the last 20 years.”
  150. The report found the Lower 48 states have warmed 1.8 degrees since 1900 with 1.2 degrees in the last few decades alone. By the end of this century, the U.S. will be 3 to 12 degrees hotter.
  151. The report, written by outside scientists and officials from 13 federal agencies, was released on Friday afternoon, the day after Thanksgiving, prompting advocates to accuse the Trump regime of trying to bury it.
  152. Trump tweeted about cold weather on Wednesday, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS — Whatever happened to Global Warming?”
  153. Trump tweeted again on Thursday: “This is the coldest weather in the history of the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, and one of the coldest Thanksgivings on record!”
  154. The report addressed this: “Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity … Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase.”
  155. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a food safety alert warning to consumers to throw away romaine lettuce due to an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened 32 people in 11 states.
  156. Wired reported that after disease outbreaks linked to food, in 2011, Obama’s Food and Drug Administration issued rules requiring produce growers to begun testing their water, starting in 2018.
  157. However, Trump’s FDA, bowing to pressure from the farm industry and Trump’s overarching dictate to eliminate regulations, earlier this year shelved the water-testing rules for at least four years.
  158. Trump and his Mar-a-Lago guests were spared from the romaine lettuce scare on Thanksgiving. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Friday morning that the contaminated lettuce likely originated in California.
  159. On Friday, the Hollywood Reporter revealed Bill Shine, the White House communications chief will be paid by both the White House and Trump ally Fox News this year and next, according to his financial disclosure form.
  160. Shine started his White House position on July 5, and had an unusually long extension of 68 days for filing his form. Whitaker released Shine’s form on the Friday after Thanksgiving.


I’m in New York City this week and there’s no shortage of ‘political art commentary’ on display…

Located on the Lower East Side in New York City. 16nov18.

NOVEMBER 17, 2018

Week 105

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

Reporting this week indicates Trump is reeling from the midterms, as additional House seats were called for Democrats, possibly leading to a 40 seat pick-up, as well as the Mueller probe, from which additional indictments are expected soon. This week Trump skipped many duties typically carried out by a head of state, instead brooding and threatening to fire more cabinet level officials — the regime continues to operate in utter dysfunction.

As wildfires raged in California, with 71 dead and more than a thousand missing, Trump blamed forest management, insulted the firefighters risking their lives, and showed a complete lack of empathy for the residents impacted. Trump skipped more ceremonies for fallen soldiers in Paris for Armistice Day and in the U.S. for Veterans Day.

Trump stoked fear of election tampering with false allegations, as other Republicans in close races followed his lead. His tone continued to be divisive, as the FBI reported an alarming rise in anti-Semitic and other hate crimes. Trump continues to alienate the country’s traditional allies, while taking unusual actions seeming to protect Kim Jong-Un and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

“The Boss” by SacSix https://www.instagram.com/sacsix/ Lower East Side, NYC. 16nov18.
“We All the People” by Individual Activist https://www.instagram.com/individualactivist/ East Village, NYC. 16nov18.
Anti-Nationalist sticker in the East Village, NYC. 14nov18.
“Vote for My Future Please.” On Houston St. NYC. 17nov18.
  1. The estimated voter turnout for 2018 midterms was over 115 million votes, or roughly 49% of the eligible voters, the highest turnout of any midterm since 1914.
  2. The Democrats’ “blue wave” was propelled by an increase in Latino vote margin from a 26% in 2014 to 40% in 2018, women vote from 4% to 19%, single voters from 13% to 24%, and college graduates from -3% to 20%.
  3. Democrats also benefited from voters under 30, whose margin grew from 11% to 35%, as well as a slight tick up in Black American voters and some GOP voters. Independent voter margin went from -12% to 12%.
  4. Federal Election Commission filings revealed that Republican campaigns and PACs spent at least $3.2 millionat Trump-owned and branded properties in the two years leading up to the midterms.
  5. Oxford Dictionaries announced the Word of 2018 is “toxic,” citing a 45% increase in look-ups of the word, and that it was used in many situations.
  6. On Thursday, the Toronto Star reported by their count, Trump made 815 false claims in the month leading up to midterms. Previously, it took Trump 286 days from the time of taking office to make 815 false claims.
  7. On Saturday, the president of the California Professional Firefighters (CPF) ripped Trump for his tweets earlier in the day to withhold federal payments to the state for what is the deadliest wildfire in the state.
  8. In a statement, the CPF president said, “threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.”
  9. On Sunday, Trump tweeted “With proper Forest Management, we can stop the devastation constantly going on in California. Get Smart!”
  10. On Sunday, Axios reported Trump also threatened to cut off federal relief for Puerto Rico, claiming, without evidence, that the island’s government is using federal disaster relief money to pay off debt.
  11. On Monday, Trump tweeted “The California Fire Fighters, FEMA and First Responders are amazing and very brave. Thank you,” and changed course, saying he “approved an expedited request for a Major Disaster Declaration.”
  12. On Sunday, Trump traveled separately from other world leaders in Paris, and didn’t join the other leaders when they walked side-by-side while bells tolled to mark the signing of the armistice to end World War I, 100 years ago.
  13. Trump reportedly looked on to the ceremonies grimly, except brightening and flashing a smile when Vladimir Putin approached, in contrast to Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel who had switched their demeanor to “steel resolve.”
  14. A White House spokeswoman said Trump arrived separately due to “security protocols.” Putin also did not participate in the procession, and told Russia’s RT network that he and Trump spoke during the luncheon.
  15. In a speech, Macron issued a rebuke of Trump’s label of nationalist, saying “patriotism is exactly the opposite of nationalism,” and soldiers died to reject “selfishness of nations only looking after their own interest.”
  16. On Monday, Trump stayed at the White House and did not visit Arlington National Cemetery, skipping the Veterans Day observance held there every year since 1954.
  17. On Tuesday, in a tweet, Trump blamed the Secret Service for him skipping the scheduled Saturday visit to a cemetery for fallen U.S. soldiers outside Paris in Week 104, saying he “suggested driving. Secret Service said NO.”
  18. Trump also attacked Macron in a series of tweets, threatening tariffs, erroneously claiming Macron wanted a European army against the U.S., and saying Macron “suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France.”
  19. Trump also tweeted, “By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France,” adding, “MAKE FRANCE GREAT AGAIN!”
  20. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the French government criticized Trump, saying, “Yesterday was November 13, we were marking the murder of 130 of our people…common decency would have been appropriate.”
  21. On Sunday, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, told “Meet the Press” that acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker would be his committee’s first witness come January.
  22. Axios reported incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff plans to probe whether Trump abused White House power by targeting and trying to punish the Washington Post and CNN.
  23. On Monday, a prom photograph taken last spring of roughly 60 high school boys from the Baraboo School District in Wisconsin making a Nazi salute went viral online, sparking outrage.
  24. The photo was tagged #Barabooproud, with the boys dressed up in suits. School and police officials are now promising to look into the photo, while The Auschwitz Memorial Twitter page and others denounced it.
  25. WAPO reported a photo taken from further back also shows parents or other adults taking their own pictures of the group. The photo was posted on Twitter in May 2018 by Jake Boll, a history teacher at the school.
  26. On Tuesday, the FBI released its annual hate crimes statistics: overall hate crimes rose 17% in 2017, a jump that was partly driven by a spike in anti-Semitic incidents up 37%, to 938, while anti-Muslim incidents fell.
  27. Hate crimes based on race or ethnicity jumped by 18% in 2017 to 4,131, with crimes against black people increasing by 16%, the most in the category. The rise in total hate crimes is the biggest since 2001.
  28. On Tuesday, a D.C. area man who described himself as a white nationalist and became a follower of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter on social media was arrested on gun charges after relatives contacted authorities.
  29. Authorities seized two kits to convert semi-automatic AR-15s into fully automatic rifles. Authorities said the man, Jeffrey Clark, “fantasized about killing ‘Jews and blacks’” and believed there would be a civil war.
  30. On Wednesday, a drunk man attending a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof” in Baltimore stood up in the balcony and shouted “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” while reportedly making a Nazi salute.
  31. Many in the audience went running, and one attendee said, “I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.’” Police said the man was motivated by his hatred for Trump.
  32. On Thursday, a federal judge in Montana ruled against neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, saying coordinating a “terror campaign” against a Jewish real estate agent cannot be dismissed on First Amendment grounds.
  33. NPR reported on Trump reshaping the judiciary, and the breakdown of his nominees: 77% of Trump’s 152 nominees are men, compared to 58% Obama’s 392 nominees.
  34. On race, 84% of Trump’s nominees are white, compared to 63% under Obama. Of Trump’s 48 appellate nominations, none are African-American or Latino, and only nine are women.
  35. On Friday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced a sweeping overhaul coming soon of how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault and harassment, giving new rights to the accused.
  36. The new proposal would replace Obama-era guidance, and would reduce liability for universities, tighten the definition of sexual harassment, and allow schools to use a higher standard in evaluating claims.
  37. In Week 42, DeVos rescinded Obama’s 2011 guidance and promised to replace it. The proposal, cheered by men’s rights groups, also gives the accused the ability to cross-examine their accusers.
  38. On Monday, NBC News reported information technology glitches at the Department of Veterans Affairs have resulted in GI Bill benefit payments covering education and housing to be delayed, or never delivered.
  39. Hundreds of thousands are believed to be affected overall. More than 82,000 are waiting for their housing payments as of November 8, with only weeks remaining in the school semester, leaving some homeless already.
  40. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump is preparing to fire Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in the coming weeks, or sooner. Trump has bemoaned Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement.
  41. Trump is expected to nominate a hardliner. Meanwhile, firing Nielsen would leave a leadership void at the third-largest agency. The deputy secretary job at DHS has been vacant since February, and has no nominee.
  42. On Tuesday, ABC News reported that amidst the latest staff shakeup, Trump is also actively looking at replacements for Chief of Staff John Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers.
  43. On Tuesday, the office of First Lady Melania Trump issued a statement calling for the firing of deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, after she had a series of run-ins with the first lady’s office.
  44. On Wednesday, Mira Ricardel left her role at the White House, where she was one of the highest-ranking female members in the regime, and was reassigned. It was unclear what Ricardel’s next position will be.
  45. On Tuesday, Scott Phillips, Trump’s appointee to Southeast regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was indicted by a grand jury on Alabama ethic charges.
  46. Charges include soliciting a thing of value from a principal, lobbyist, or subordinate. In his prior job, Phillips accepted money from and worked with a law firm and one of its clients to fight the EPA.
  47. Trump nominated Lana Marks, a handbag designer and member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago to be his ambassador to South Africa. Marks is the fourth Mar-a-Lago member to get a U.S. ambassador position.
  48. A spokesperson for the first lady announced Trump and Melania will not attend the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors, marking the first time a head of state will miss the ceremony twice in the history of the awards.
  49. The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, a 59% increase from $63.2 billion from a year earlier. The ballooning shortfall is driven by the GOP tax cuts, spending hikes, and an aging population.
  50. On Monday, as stocks sold off, Trump blamed the sell-off on the Democrats, tweeting “The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!”
  51. NYT reported conservative lawyers who are part of the Federalist Society are forming a group called “Checks and Balances,” organized by George Conway, husband of Kellyanne and a frequent Trump critic.
  52. More than a dozen lawyers will be part of the group, warning peers to speak up about what they say are the Trump regime’s betrayals of bedrock legal norms, and to do more to protect the Constitution.
  53. On Sunday, top Democrats in the House and Senate sent a letter to Lee Lofthus, an assistant attorney generaland the Justice Department’s chief ethics officer, asking whether he had advised Whitaker to recuse himself.
  54. On Tuesday, the state of Maryland asked a federal judge for an order declaring that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein is the acting attorney general, not Trump appointee Matt Whitaker.
  55. Maryland says Whitaker’s selection violated federal law and exceeded the appointment authority in the Constitution, and that federal laws say when the attorney general role is vacant, the deputy attorney general takes over.
  56. On Tuesday, amid pressure from Democrats, Whitaker said he would consult with Justice Department ethics officials about “matters that may warrant recusal.” He is not obliged to act on the advice.
  57. On Wednesday, GOP Sen. Jeff Flake and Democrat Sen. Chris Coons went to the Senate floor and tried to bring up legislation which would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired.
  58. Sen. Flake said Trump “now has this investigation in his sights and we all know it.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell objected, saying the legislation is unnecessary because he believes Mueller will not be fired.
  59. Later Wednesday, Sen. Flake, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that he will not vote to let judicial nominees advance or be confirmed unless GOP leaders hold a vote on the legislation.
  60. On Wednesday, WSJ reported in early 2015, Whitaker called the owner of Ripoff Report and angrily demanded the removal of all negative reports about World Patent Marketing (WPM).
  61. The angry calls suggests Whitaker took a more active role than previously known in shielding WPM, where he was a paid advisory-board member. The company was shut down last year by the Federal Trade Commission.
  62. The anonymous complaint on Ripoff Report, dated Jan. 9, was posted by a person claiming to be a former WPM employee. Whitaker was paid $9,375 as an advisory-board member, and appeared in two promotional videos.
  63. On Wednesday, top Democrats in the House who will chair committees in January sent letters to Whitaker, the FTC, the founder of WPM, and others requesting more information about Whitaker’s role.
  64. On Friday, Washington lawyer Tom Goldstein, on behalf of opponents to Whitaker’s appointment, filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to rule that Whitaker is not legally qualified for the job.
  65. The motion asserts Whitaker cannot be in the position because he was not Senate confirmed and the Constitution requires confirmation for a cabinet-level job, so Rod Rosenstein should be acting attorney general.
  66. On Monday, NYT reported a Center for Strategic and International Studies study revealed satellite images of 16 hidden bases in North Korea, showing the country is moving ahead with its ballistic missile program.
  67. The sites were long known to U.S. intelligence agencies, but left undiscussed since Trump claimed he had neutralized the nuclear threat. North Korea offered to dismantle a major launching site, but did not do so.
  68. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted that the NYT story is “inaccurate” and “more fake news,” saying, “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new,” and “I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”
  69. On Tuesday, LA Times reported after midterm losses and knowing Democrats will investigate him, along with indictments likely coming in the Mueller probe, Trump has “retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment.”
  70. Trump has reportedly lashed out at both senior and junior aides, with aides saying he is furious and trying to decide who to blame for midterm loses. Trump has retreated from typical duties of the head of state.
  71. Trump skipped a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Tuesday, and a Wednesday trip by Defense Secretary James Mattis to the U.S.-Mexico border to visit troops ordered there by Trump because of the “caravans.”
  72. After making the “caravans” a central issue ahead of midterms, Trump has not mentioned them since the election. Troops remain at the border until Trump gives the order for them to leave.
  73. Trump is also skipping the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, sending Pence instead. Leaders of Russia, India, South Korea, and China are all attending regional summits to broaden their influence.
  74. On Tuesday, WAPO reported on Trump’s “five days of fury” including a call from British PM Theresa May to congratulate him on the midterms on Friday, on which he proceeded to berate her on several unrelated issues.
  75. Trump officials also noted his foul mood, saying he is brooding over midterm losses and the Florida recount. He erupted at his staff over the media coverage of his decision to skip the cemetery visit last Saturday.
  76. Trump was also angry at Macron’s comments. A senior official said Trump was frustrated with the trip, and wants to make changes to his staff, including considering names for a new chief of staff on the flight home.
  77. On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Nielsen visited troops at the southern border. Mattis described the deployments to the border as “great training,” and warned troops not to pay attention to news coverage.
  78. On Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported on Trump’s post-midterm blues and one of the most turbulent weeks of his time in office, with one former West Wing staffer saying “This is a level of insanity I’ve never seen before.”
  79. Trump initially took midterm losses in stride, thinking he won, but as he heard commentary about the suburbs not liking him, he became furious and proceeded to fire Jeff Sessions and attack reporters.
  80. According to one Republican briefed on the discussions, the real reason Trump did not want to go to the cemetery outside Paris on Saturday was because he was worried “his hair was going to get messed up in the rain.”
  81. On Monday, conservative author Jerome Corsi told listeners on his daily live-stream that he expects to be indicted in the Mueller probe for lying to investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.
  82. Corsi, who is also an associate of Roger Stone, told listeners “the Department of Justice is run by criminals,” adding: “I think my crime really was that I supported Donald Trump.”
  83. On Monday, in a text message to WAPO, Stone said he has not been contacted by Mueller’s team, and that “perhaps they have squeezed poor Dr. Corsi to frame me,” adding of Corsi, “He has his own demons.”
  84. On Monday, an ABC News reporter caught Michael Cohen walking in Union Station in Washington D.C. CNBC reported Cohen was there, along with his attorney Guy Petrillo, to speak with Mueller’s team.
  85. On Tuesday, NBC News reported Trump’s legal team is close to completing written answers to questions posed by Mueller. The answers pertain only to Russian interference in the 2016 election, not obstruction of justice.
  86. On Wednesday, WSJ reported Mueller’s team is investigating whether Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit radio personality Randy Credico, a possible witness in the Mueller probe.
  87. Filmmaker David Lugo said he testified to a grand jury about a blog post Stone helped him draft which was harshly critical of Credico. Bill Samuels said he was questioned about Credico’s reaction to threatening messages.
  88. Prosecutors are examining emails between Stone and Credico that involve his decision to plead the Fifth Amendment before Congress. Samuels said Credico was intimidated almost to the point of a nervous breakdown.
  89. On Wednesday, NBC News reported six days before WikiLeaks began releasing John Podesta’s emails, Roger Stone exchanged text messages with Credico, with Credico texting: “Hillary’s campaign will die this week.”
  90. Two days later, Credico texted “I think it’s on for tomorrow.” Stone texted “I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp.”
  91. On Friday, a U.S. attorney inadvertently revealed in an unsealed court filing that Julian Assange has been charged. The attorney working on the case had urged the judge to keep the matter sealed “until Assange is arrested.”
  92. The case had been sealed until early September, but was noticed by Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who tweeted about it Thursday night.
  93. On Friday, WSJ reported the DOJ is preparing to prosecute Assange, and is increasingly optimistic it will be able to get him into a U.S. courtroom. Assange has recently clashed with his Ecuadorian hosts.
  94. Prosecutors have considered publicly indicting Assange to try to trigger his removal from the Ecuadorian embassy. Charges may involve the Espionage Act for disclosure of national defense-related information.
  95. Assange’s attorney said they have heard nothing which would indicate a criminal case against his client is imminent. An extradition request from the U.S. for Assange would likely go to British authorities.
  96. On Thursday, a judge refused to dismiss Mueller’s indictment of Concord Management and Consulting, owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch known as “Putin’s chef” due to his close ties to Putin.
  97. The indictment related to Concord’s funding part of a Russian effort to influence the 2016 election. Concord is accused of using a sophisticated fraudulent social media campaign to influence the election.
  98. In October, the DOJ also charged Concord’s accountant and Prigozhin’s bookkeeper, Elena Khusyaynova, for seeking to interfere with the 2018 U.S. midterm elections by sowing “discord in the U.S. political system.”
  99. On Thursday, in a four tweet tirade under continued pressure for appointing Whitaker, Trump lashed out at Mueller, claiming, without evidence “the inner workings of” Mueller’s “investigation are a total mess.”
  100. Trump also tweeted of Mueller’s team, “They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want.”
  101. Trump also tweeted of Mueller’s team that “they are a disgrace to our Nation” and a “gang of Democrat thugs,” calling the probe, “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”
  102. Trump also falsely claimed, “The only “Collusion” is that of the Democrats with Russia and many others. Why didn’t the FBI take the Server from the DNC?” adding “Check out how biased Facebook, Google and Twitter are.”
  103. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized the tweets, saying Trump “continues to wage an all-out campaign to obstruct” Mueller, adding that he put Whitaker in charge “for one purpose — to end the investigation.”
  104. On Thursday, WAPO reported Trump spent more than four hours meeting with his attorneys Monday, and 90 minutes Wednesday night working on written answers to Mueller’s questions.
  105. Rudy Giuliani said Trump’s legal team has not decided if they will answer all of Mueller’s questions, which are exclusively about events pre-election, saying “there are some that create more issues for us legally than others.”
  106. On Friday, Trump told reporters he had finished answering Mueller’s questions but has not submitted answers yet, saying “I write the answers. My lawyers don’t write answers,” adding, “I answered them very easily.”
  107. Trump also expressed concern that even thought his lawyers helped, investigators are looking to catch him perjuring himself, saying “I’m sure they’re tricked up, because, you know, they like to catch people.”
  108. When asked about his anti-Mueller Twitter storm on Thursday, Trump said “No, I’m not agitated. It’s a hoax,” adding “The witch hunt, as I call it, should never have taken place. It continues to go on.”
  109. On Friday, NBC News reported lawyers for Russian operative Maria Butina have entered into negotiations with federal prosecutors. Butina is accused of acting as an agent of Russia in the D.C. area.
  110. In the court filing Friday, prosecutors requested the court extend the current phase of the case for an additional two weeks, to give both sides time to continue the negotiations.
  111. On Saturday, on Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s show, GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell alleged voter fraud and voting irregularities in her midterm loss, without providing any evidence to back her claims.
  112. On Monday, Trump tweeted the Florida races should be called for Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis, saying an “honest vote count is no longer possible” and claiming without evidence ballots were “massively infected.”
  113. In an email to her supporters, GOP Rep. Mimi Walters accused Democrats of trying to “steal this Republican seat” in California, and overturn “the will of the voters” by advocating for the counting of all votes.
  114. Also in California, Republican Young Kim accused her opponent’s campaign of “physical ballot tampering” even though the county registrar denied this, then suggested something nefarious could be afoot.
  115. In a video published Sunday, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi.), who is in a runoff against Democrat Mike Espy, who is a Black American, said if a cattle rancher “invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”
  116. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said in statement Hyde-Smith’s comment on public hanging was “beyond disrespectful and offensive,” adding the state’s history includes “one of the highest numbers of public lynching.”
  117. On Monday, Sen. Hyde-Smith refused to apologize, and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant defended her saying, “I am confused about where the outrage is at about 20 million African-American children that have been aborted.”
  118. On Tuesday, Georgia state senator Nikema Williams, a Black woman, was arrested by capitol police during a protest over ballot counts. Williams told Mother Jones, “Never did I imagine my day was going to end in jail.”
  119. On Friday, Democrat Stacey Abrams ended her fight for Georgia governor without formally conceding, saying declaring that an “erosion of our democracy” had kept many of her backers from the polls.
  120. Abrams offered a blistering attack of Brian Kemp, and said she will launch Fair Fight Georgia to pursue accountability in Georgia’s elections and integrity in the process of maintaining our voting rolls.
  121. Abrams and Democrat Andrew Gillum of Florida both lost battles for governor by a narrow margin. Abrams would have been the first black woman governor in the country, and Gillum Florida’s first black governor.
  122. On Wednesday, in an interview with the Daily Caller, Trump renewed his call for national voter ID laws, falsely claiming, “If you buy a box of cereal, you have a voter ID.”
  123. Trump also complained, without providing evidence, about illegal voting in Florida, and stated that Democrats “sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again.”
  124. Trump also bragged about his victory in Florida in 2016, saying “the panhandle was so devastating to ‘Crooked Hillary’…And I won by, you know, I won by a lot of votes. I call it four Yankee stadiums.”
  125. When asked about Whitaker, Trump changed the subject to Mueller, saying “He’s heading this whole big thing; he’s not Senate confirmed.” The special counsel is not a position that requires senate confirmation.
  126. Trump also falsely claimed of Mueller’s team, “You have 17 people — half, many of them worked for Hillary Clinton, some on the foundation.” No members worked for Clinton, and just one was connected to the Clinton Foundation.
  127. Trump also warned, without evidence, that violent leftists and Antifa members may “mobilize,” saying it would mean “big trouble,” and the left “better hope that the opposition to Antifa decides not to mobilize.”
  128. On Tuesday, CNN sued the Trump regime, asking a court to restore Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, alleging violations of the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act.
  129. On Wednesday, the deputy assistant attorney general representing the regime said in court that Trump could bar “all reporters” from the White House for any reason he sees fit, saying there is no First Amendment right.
  130. On Wednesday, Fox News filed an amicus brief in support of CNN, saying “passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized,” adding “we do support a free press, access and open exchanges.”
  131. On Friday, in a win for CNN, the federal judge ruled that Trump must immediately restore Acosta’s White House pass.
  132. Later Friday, press secretary Sarah Sanders her team is working on establishing “standard practices” for reporters for future press briefings, saying “we’ll see how long that process takes.”
  133. Sanders also said “I think the very basic minimum is that if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”
  134. On Thursday, NBC News reported the White House is looking for ways to expel Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, in order to appease Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who views Gulen as an enemy.
  135. Last month, the Trump regime asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of remove Gulen, in order to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government over the death of Jamal Khashoggi.
  136. The regime had the DOJ and FBI reopen Turkey’s case for his extradition, and asked Homeland Security for information about Gulen’s legal status. Career officials at the agencies pushed back at the White House.
  137. Gulen has lived in the U.S. for almost two decades under a Green Card and denies any involvement in the failed coup in Turkey. The White House made requests after Secretary of State Pompeo returned from Riyadh.
  138. This marks the second time the Trump regime has re-examined extraditing Gulen. The first took place under the former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, whose ties to Turkey were investigated in the Mueller probe.
  139. On Friday, WAPO reported that the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, in contrast to the Saudi government’s claim he was not involved.
  140. CIA officials said they have high confidence in their assessment after examining multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call between the prince’s brother and Khashoggi, and an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate.
  141. Over the past weeks, the Saudis have offered multiple explanations for the killing, then last week a Saudi prosecutor charged 11 alleged Saudi participants and said he would seek the death penalty against five of them.
  142. Trump has avoided pinning the blame on the Crown Prince, who is a close friend of Jared Kushner, despite seeing evidence. This week the Treasury Department sanctioned 17 individuals involved in Khashoggi’s death.
  143. On Friday, portions of a “Fox News Sunday” interview of Trump were released. The host, Chris Wallace, said after interviewing Trump he does not think there is a chance he will sit for an interview with Mueller.
  144. Wallace noted Trump makes a big point of emphasizing that he “wrote the questions and then they were edited by the lawyers,” and that Trump spent several hours this week, including Monday, with his lawyers.
  145. Trump uncharacteristically admitted he had made a mistake, saying he “should have” visited Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans Day ceremonies on Monday, adding, “I was extremely busy on calls for the country.”
  146. Trump told Wallace the regime is going to “create rules and regulations for conduct…We’re doing that,” and if Acosta “misbehaves” at a future press conference “we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference.”
  147. When Wallace asked Trump whether he agrees that climate change may have contributed to the fires in California, Trump said, “Maybe it contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management.”
  148. Trump again blamed poor forest management for the wildfires, telling Wallace “I’ve really learned a lot,” and if the forest areas had been raked out “you wouldn’t have the fires.”
  149. As of Friday, at least 71 were dead and more than 1,000 listed as missing in California’s deadliest and most destructive fire. Nearly 10,000 homes have been destroyed.
  150. On Saturday, speaking to reporters, Trump blamed California’s forest management for the wildfires as he left for California, “We will be talking about forest management…It should have been a lot different situation.”
  151. Trump added, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.” Trump has gone back and forth from praising to criticizing fire fighters this week.
  152. Trump also told reporters he is prepared to shut down the federal government next month if Congress failsto give him the money he wants to build his wall, saying “this would be a good time to do a shutdown.”
  153. Trump invoked the caravan for the first time since the midterms, saying “when you look at the caravan, when you look at the mess, when you look at the people coming in,” to make the case for his wall.
  154. Democrats have accused Trump of using the deployment as a political stunt. The Pentagon plans to recall the troops on December 15 unless Trump extends their “border support” mission.
  155. On Saturday, Trump said he would speak with his appointee, CIA Director Gina Haspel, about Khashoggi’s killing, after telling reporters that morning “we haven’t been briefed yet,” before leaving for California.
  156. Trump was briefed by Haspel and Pompeo on the flight to California. Trump had already been shown evidence of the prince’s alleged involvement in the killing, but has looked for ways not to blame MBS.
  157. WSJ reported that with midterms completed, drug company Pfizer plans to raise prices on 41 drugs in January, after bowing to pressure from Trump over the summer when the company rolled back some increases.
  158. As the week came to a close, the Democratic lead in the U.S. House popular vote moved up to 7.3%. In 2010, widely seen as a GOP “wave” cycle, Republicans won the U.S. House popular vote by 6.6%.
  159. On Saturday, about 25 self-described conservatives, including members of white nationalist groups the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, showed up for what had been billed a “We the People” rally at Independence Mall in Philadelphia.
  160. Hundreds of counter-protesters showed up to protest fascism and hate. For weeks, the event has attracted intense reaction online due to comments made or shared on social media.
  161. The rally location was close to historic Congregation Mikveh Israel synagogue, where 35 people were worshiping at the regular weekly Shabbat service in progress, in what person said was “in defiance.”
  162. At the rally, multiple fights erupted between counter-protestors and white supremacist group the Proud Boys. At least four people were arrested near Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center.


The Weekly List from Amy Siskind

Week 104

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.



In the midterms this week, Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, picking up between 35-40 seats, in an election dubbed “The Year of the Woman.” A history making 100 plus women will head to the House next session, as Democrats celebrated their upcoming check on Trump for the first time since he took office. As the week ended, senate races in Florida and Arizona and governor races in Florida and Georgia were still undecided, as Trump and his allies stoked false claims of voter fraud and interference by Democrats.

Americans did not get a chance to catch their breath, as the next day Trump took a major step towards ending the Mueller probe, forcing out Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and installing a crony who has been critical of the probe, and talked of starving it of funding to end it. Grassroots activists mobilized with protests nationwide to “Protect Mueller.” Post-election reporting indicated Trump is “depressed” ahead of possible indictments coming soon from the Mueller probe, including possibly of his son, Donald Jr.

Photo by: Dusty Rebel. NYC, November 2018
Photo and art by Miami 305’s own, ATOMIK. November 2018.
9Nov18. Stony Brook, LI, NY
Photographer unknown. Meme made by me. 6November2018
  1. In Tallahassee, Florida, Scott Beierle, 40, shot and killed Nancy Van Vessem, 61, and Maura Binkley, 21, and injured five others at a hot yoga studio, before killing himself.
  2. Beierle had recorded numerous misogynistic and racist videos, and had been accused of touching women’s buttocks without their consent. He expressed his disgust at women online and urged ‘incels’ to fight back.
  3. In an extensive article, the New York Times Magazine reported on the rise of white nationalism, and how U.S. law enforcement failed to see the threat coming, and now do not know how to stop it.
  4. White nationalism is no longer on the fringes, but has entered the political mainstream. A report produced by the Brennan Center for Justice calls out the DOJ for its “blind spot” when it comes to domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
  5. On Saturday, at a campaign rally in Florida, Trump bragged about sending the U.S. military to the border, as troops began putting up chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire earlier in that day.
  6. Trump also said it’s “a little suspicious how those caravans are starting,” insinuating, without evidence, that the Democrats were behind it.
  7. WAPO reported Trump’s military deployment, along with National Guard forces at the U.S.-Mexico border since April, could cost $200 million by the end of the year. Trump has asked the military to slash next year’s budget.
  8. NYT reported that according to analysis of data, the Trump regime has sharply lowered financial penalties against banks and big companies accused of malfeasance, mirroring the regime’s deregulatory agenda.
  9. Under Trump there has been a 62% drop in penalties imposed by the S.E.C., and a 72% decline in corporate penalties from the Justice Department’s criminal prosecutions.
  10. On Sunday, without citing evidence, using his position as Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brian Kemp’s office announced the Democrats were under investigation for allegedly trying to hack the state’s voter registration files.
  11. Trump appeared with Kemp at a campaign rally, but neither made mention of the investigation. Late Sunday, a spokesperson for Kemp said a person named Rachel Small had allegedly talked about trying to hack Kemp.
  12. On Sunday, Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose tweeted that Trump should stop his “unauthorized use” of the band’s music at his rallies “without the songwriters’ consent,” adding “Can u say ‘shitbags?!’ ”
  13. On Monday, NBC and Facebook said they would stop running a 30-second inflammatory ad by Trump’s political team that featured Luis Bracamontes, saying it was racist. Both had run the ad over the weekend.
  14. Later that morning, Trump ally Fox News also said it would stop running the ad on Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. CNN had refused to run the ad from the start, calling it “racist.”
  15. When asked about the ad being pulled by reporters later Monday, Trump responded, “You’re telling me something I don’t know about,” adding “We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective, based on the numbers.”
  16. When asked about critics who called the ad offensive, Trump responded, “A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive a lot of times so, you know.”
  17. On Monday, HuffPost reported hundreds in armed militia groups are headed to U.S.- Mexico border followingTrump stoking fear of the “caravans,” sparking concern from the U.S. military.
  18. On Monday, in a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department plans to monitor voting and investigate voter fraud, without specifying what fraud-related issues the department will be looking for.
  19. Sessions also said, “we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded,” and “fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated.”
  20. Shortly after, Trump tweeted “Law Enforcement has been strongly notified to watch closely for any ILLEGAL VOTING which may take place,” adding anyone caught will be subject to “Maximum Criminal Penalties.”
  21. In another tweet, Trump accused CNN of airing “Fake Suppression Polls” and engaging in“false rhetoric,” although he provided no evidence or explanation of what he was referring to.
  22. On Monday, the Des Moines Register reported DOJ personnel will be sent to a county in northwest Iowa, which has a large population of immigrants, to monitor the vote.
  23. On Saturday, Trump tweeted “rumor has it that Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is paying for Facebook ads,” adding, “Donnelly is trying to steal the election? Isn’t that what Russia did!?
  24. On Monday, WAPO reported that members of Russia’s lower house of parliament will be in the U.S. to help certify the integrity of the midterms, ensuring that the vote lives up to international democratic standards.
  25. The news was first reported by Russia-state media outlet Tass, which said two member of parliament will be examining cybersecurity, gerrymandering, voting rights, and campaign financing in the U.S.
  26. On Monday, Trump told reporters he “probably” will not be meeting with Vladimir Putin this weekend in Paris as scheduled, saying instead they will meet at the G20.
  27. On Monday, Facebook announced on the night before midterms it pulled down 115 “inauthentic” Facebook and Instagram accounts due to concerns “they were linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency.”
  28. After being out on the campaign trail for Democratic candidates in recent days, Obama gave his closing argument for voting in a series of tweets, including, “The character of our country is on the ballot.
  29. On Monday, Vanity Fair reported Trump has been working to absolve himself of any blame if the GOP loses the House. Trump claims he has brought crowds and excitement, and it would be worse without him.
  30. A West Wing official who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee said with Mueller likely reporting his findings shortly, that other than Trump, Roger Stone and Donald Jr.will face the most exposure.
  31. Concern is Mueller will be able to prove that Donald Jr. perjured himself to investigators when he said he did not tell Trump beforehand about the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting.
  32. On Monday, in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting, Trump said of his tone during his first two years in office, “I would like to have a much softer tone. I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do.”
  33. On Monday, in an apparent last-minute pitch to women who polls show overwhelmingly support Democrats this election, Trump brought Ivanka, Kellyanne Conway, and press secretary Sarah Sanders to a rally in Indiana.
  34. On Monday, watchdog group CREW reported Ivanka’s fashion brand won first trial approval for 16 new trademarks from the Chinese government in October, the largest number in a single month since Trump took office.
  35. On Monday, Fox News host Sean Hannity, who said in a tweet that he would not appear on stage with Trump, campaigned on stage with him in Missouri the night before midterms.
  36. Hannity’s first remark on stage was “by the way, all those people in the back are fake news.” Following Hannity, Trump introduced Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, and praised her opening monologues as “always brilliant.”
  37. CNN Business reported Fox News staffers have anonymously expressed outrage over Hannity’s rally appearance, saying “a new line was crossed,” and “I am so f — -ing mad.” Hannity was supposed to interview Trump.
  38. On Tuesday, Fox issued a statement saying, “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” adding “This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
  39. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Taiwanese supplier Foxconn, which Trump has used as an example of bringing jobs to the U.S., is considering bringing Chinese workers to Wisconsin due to the tight U.S. labor market.
  40. A report by the Lexington Herald-Leader found that Kentucky has fewer coal jobs than when Trump took office, shrinking from 6,550 jobs in the first quarter of 2017, to 6,381 this past quarter.
  41. On Tuesday, Le Monde reported Dmitri Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch who purchased a mansion from Trump in 2008, was detained in Monaco, and is under investigation for corruption and influence peddling.
  42. On Tuesday, voting irregularities were reported in several states. Several states extended voting hours including two precincts near Spelman and Morehouse College in Georgia, and Harris County in Texas.
  43. On Tuesday, in the midterm elections, Democrats took back control of the House, while Republicans kept control of the Senate. As of Saturday, Democrats had picked up 35 House seats, with more counts pending.
  44. In an election some dubbed as the “Year of the Woman,” for the first time in history, there will be more than 100 women in the House, including the first Muslim American (two) and Native American (two) women.
  45. A total of 34 new women won House seats, 33 of whom are Democrats, beating a previous high set in 1992, with close races still to be decided. Most of the women replaced incumbent men.
  46. They join 66 House women who were re-elected. There will be at least 100 women in the House next session, the largest number in U.S. history. The party gap is large: Democrats 87, Republicans 13, with races pending.
  47. Democrats also did well at the state level, flipping seven governorships, six state legislative chambers, and more than 300 state House and Senate seats.
  48. Democrats also added control of the trifecta — the legislative chambers and the governor’s office —  in seven more states: Maine, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico, and New York.
  49. With Democrats having 26 senate seats in play to Republicans having just 8, Democrats won 8 of the 10 senate seats in swing states, with the final two, Arizona and Florida, still undecided by weeks end.
  50. WSJ reported following midterm success, and after another mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, the Democrats plan to pursue the most aggressive gun-control legislation in decades.
  51. In the midterms, Democrats beat at least 15 House Republicans with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, while the candidates elected to replace them all scored an “F” NRA rating.
  52. On Wednesday, Vanity Fair reported according to friends who watched the midterms with Trump at first “his mood was great,” thinking he could defy political gravity, “but that was before everything went bad.”
  53. Trump insiders fear the White House is not set up to defend itself from the Democrat House onslaught. Trump reportedly is thinking what they could they release about him, and how does it work politically for him.
  54. Insiders also reportedly say Trump is “very depressed” about Donald Jr. possibly facing indictment. According to three sources, Donald Jr. has told friends he could be indicted as early as this week.
  55. On Wednesday, Trump warned House Democrats about investigating him, tweeting if they “waste Taxpayer Money investigating us,” then “we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them.”
  56. Trump also tweeted to warn “pundits or talking heads” against not giving “us proper credit for this great Midterm Election,” saying, “just remember two words — FAKE NEWS!”
  57. On Wednesday, the Department of Defense dropped the term “Operation Faithful Patriot” for the deployment of 5,200 military at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the operation will now be referred to as “border support.”
  58. On Wednesday, Trump held a post-midterms press conference and was openly hostile to the media. Trump attacked CNN saying, “When you report fake news, which CNN does a lot, you are the enemy of the people.”
  59. Trump also attacked CNN’s Jim Acosta, telling him to put down the mic, and saying “CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person.”
  60. When NBC’s Peter Alexander defended Acosta, Trump went after him as well, saying “Well I’m not a big fan of yours either, to be honest with you. You aren’t the best.”
  61. Trump attacked Yamiche Alcindor of ”PBS Newshour” when she asked about his using the label “nationalist,” responding, “That’s such a racist question,” and “I love our country. I do. You have nationalists. You have globalists.”
  62. Trump called out the Republicans by name who lost in midterms after rejecting his support, saying “They did very badly,” adding “I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad.”
  63. Trump threatened to retaliate against Democrats if they investigate him, saying “if they do that then all it is is a war-like posture,” and “They can play that game but we can play it better. It’s called the U.S. Senate.”
  64. Trump also said the Mueller probe is a “hoax,” and “a disgrace, it should have never been started because there was no crime,” saying the only reason he has not fired Mueller is because it might make him look bad.
  65. On Wednesday night, the White House revoked Acosta’s press credentials. Press secretary Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” who was trying to take the microphone as the rationale.
  66. On Thursday, reporters and new organizations of all political leanings slammed the White House for barring Acosta. The White House Correspondents’ Association also condemned the move.
  67. On Thursday, a CNN executive accused the White House of using a ‘doctored’ video to justify revoking Acosta’s press credentials.
  68. On Wednesday, at Trump’s request, Sessions resigned as attorney general. Sessions’s resignation letter reads, “Dear Mr. President, At your request, I am submitting my resignation.” The letter is not dated.
  69. WAPO reported Sessions received a call from Chief of Staff John Kelly on Wednesday morning telling him Trump wanted him to resign. Sessions wanted to finish the week, but Kelly said Wednesday would be his last day.
  70. Shortly after, Trump tweeted that Sessions would be replaced on an acting basis by Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, and added “a permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date.”
  71. A DOJ official said Whitaker would assume authority over the Mueller probe, and that his role will be subject to the normal review process for conflicts.
  72. Trump has told advisers that Whitaker is loyal and would not have recused himself in Sessions’ shoes. Rod Rosenstein went to the White House that afternoon for what an official said was a pre-scheduled meeting.
  73. Whitaker has said in the past the Mueller probe has gone too far, should be given a budget “so low that his investigation grinds to almost a halt,” and that the finances of the Trump family should not be under scrutiny.
  74. On Wednesday, Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, and Elijah Cummings, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, sent letters to top White House officials demanding that they preserve records following the firing of Sessions.
  75. On Wednesday, Guardian reported Whitaker was paid to sit on the advisory board of World Patent Marketing, which was ordered in May to pay a $26 million settlement as part of a vast scam of aspiring inventors.
  76. Emails filed in federal court show from August 2015 Whitaker used his role as a former federal prosecutor in a threatening email to a customer of World Patent, who had complained to the Better Business Bureau.
  77. On Thursday, CNN reported Trump had already begun reviewing with his lawyers the written answers to questions from special counsel Robert Mueller when he fired Sessions.
  78. Roger Stone continues to be a focus. On Thursday, Mueller’s team is set to appear in court to defend its authority as another one of Stone’s former associates aims to quash a subpoena for grand jury testimony.
  79. As Mueller’s team begins to write its final report on the Russia probe, the White House is looking to hire as many as two dozen lawyers for the counsel’s office as Democrats take control of the House.
  80. On Thursday, George Conway and Neal Katyal, Obama’s former solicitor general, wrote in an op-ed that Trump’s appointment of an acting attorney general, bypassing the Senate, is unconstitutional and illegal.
  81. The two lawyers also asserted in their op-ed that since his appointment is unconstitutional, anything Whitaker “does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.”
  82. On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that in a summer 2017 interview on a conservative political talk-radio show, Whitaker said “The truth is there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign.”
  83. On Thursday, NYT reported in a 2014 interview, Whitaker said the courts “are supposed to be the inferior branch,” and criticized the Supreme Court’s power to review legislative and executive acts.
  84. On Thursday, CNN reported Whitaker has close personal ties to Sam Clovis, who has been interviewed in the Mueller probe. Whitaker was Clovis’ campaign chair in 2014 when he ran for state treasurer in Iowa.
  85. Des Moines Register republished a 2014 article on Whitaker, in which he says he would only support federal judges who have a Biblical view: “If they have a secular world view, then I’m going to be very concerned.”
  86. On Thursday, “Protect Mueller” demonstrators took to the streets in cities and towns across the country to protect the Mueller investigation, after the departure of Sessions and appointment of Whitaker.
  87. According to protest organizers, progressive groups were able to mobilize about 100,000 people at approximately 900 nationwide “rapid response” rallies just one day after Sessions’ resignation.
  88. On Friday, CNN reported that the backlash to the Whitaker appointment has caught the White House by surprise and raised concerns about his ability to remain in the post if he remains in the headlines.
  89. On Friday, speaking to reporters, Trump tried to distance himself from Whitaker, saying “I don’t know Matt Whitaker,” and “I didn’t speak to Matt Whitaker” about the federal probe into Russian election interference.
  90. On Friday, Vox reported Whitaker privately advised Trump last year on how the White House might be able to pressure the Justice Department to investigate the president’s political adversaries like Hillary Clinton.
  91. At the same time, Whitaker, as chief of staff to Sessions, was advising him and Rosenstein on how to counter Trump’s demands that the DOJ open an investigation into whether the FBI “infiltrated or surveilled” his campaign.
  92. When asked by CNN’s Abby Phillip, who is a Black woman, whether he wanted Whitaker to “rein in Mueller,” Trump responded, “What a stupid question,” adding “You ask a lot of stupid questions.”
  93. When asked about revoking Acosta’s press credentials, Trump attacked reporter April Ryan, also a Black woman, saying “you talk about somebody that’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing.”
  94. In two days, Trump has aggressively attacked three Black women reporters: PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor, Phillip, and Ryan. In an op-ed Ryan wrote of Trump long track record of publicly insulting Black women.
  95. Trump also threatened to revoke the credentials of additional White House reporters if they did not “treat the White House with respect,” saying “When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place for me.”
  96. On Friday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls to pass legislation to protect the special counselafter several Republicans called on him to do so, saying, “It’s going to be allowed to finish.”
  97. McConnell also dismissed concerns over Whitaker’s appointment, saying he serves at the pleasure of Trump, and adding “I think this will be an interim, a very interim AG.”
  98. On Friday, the WAPO Editorial Board wrote that even as legal experts spar over whether his appointment without a Senate confirmation is constitutional, Whitaker is unfit for the job.
  99. On Wednesday, the Trump regime rolled out a rule that will exempt employers from providing insurance coverage for birth control if it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
  100. The rule, which will take effect in 60 days, would roll back an Obama-era birth control rule which required employers must cover all forms of contraception under Obamacare.
  101. On Wednesday, Patrick Casey, head of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, whose members marched in Charlottesville in 2017, posted a picture on Twitter of himself standing in front of the White House.
  102. In the tweet, Casey writes, “Evropa has landed at the White House!” The group’s motto, “You will not replace us,” echoes the “Jews will not replace us” chants of white supremacists in Charlottesville.
  103. On Thursday, lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said she is continuing to receive death threats. Dr. Ford has had to move four times, and has been unable to return to her job as a professor at Palo Alto University.
  104. On Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized after breaking three ribs. Trump told reporters, “I wish her well. She said something very inappropriate during the campaign.”
  105. On Thursday, the San Francisco Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump regime must preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begun under Obama.
  106. The ruling rejected the regime’s claim that ending DACA was not reviewable by the courts. The regime took the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to review the case before the appeals court had ruled.
  107. On Thursday, the Trump regime invoked national security powers meant to protect the against threats from abroad, saying Trump can deny asylum to anyone who does not enter the country at an official port of entry,
  108. Trump is reportedly planning to deny asylum to migrants from Central America, whom he dubbed the caravans. The new rules draw upon the same authority he used to ban travel from Muslim countries in his Travel Ban.
  109. On Friday, in a setback for the Trump regime, a federal judge blocked construction on the 1,179-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline, saying the regime failed to follow established rules and procedures for decisions like these.
  110. The judge said the Trump regime failed to present a “reasoned explanation” for the move and “simply discarded” the effect that construction would have on climate change.
  111. When asked by reporters about the ruling, Trump said “It was a political decision made by a judge,” adding, “I think it’s a disgrace.”
  112. On Friday, WAPO reported that in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s new memoir she says she will never forgive Trump for advancing the false birther claim about her husband, which endangered her family.
  113. When asked about this by reporters, Trump said Michelle was undoubtedly paid a lot of money to write her book, and shifting to Obama said, “I’ll never forgive him for what he did to our United States military.”
  114. Trump also told reporters that he won the election not because of collusion with Russian, but because he was the better candidate and Clinton “didn’t know what the hell she was doing.”
  115. When asked about Acosta, Trump said “he’s a very unprofessional guy,” and denied the video was altered, saying “Nobody manipulated it. Give me a break,” adding “It wasn’t doctored. They gave a close-up view.”
  116. Trump was also agitated that the Florida and Arizona senate races, which appeared to go Republican on election night, still had outstanding votes to be counted and were undecided.
  117. Of Arizona, where counting of mail-in ballots continued, Trump said Democrat Kyrsten Sinema’s votes seemed to be coming “out of the wilderness.”
  118. On Friday, in a series of eight tweets, Trump tweeted, “Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption — Call for a new Election?” adding, “We must protect our Democracy!”
  119. Trump appeared to be referencing a Fox News segment discussing a lawsuit by the Arizona GOP on Wednesday over the counting of mail-in ballots, which was later settled Friday, allowing the votes to be counted.
  120. Trump said “what’s going on in Florida is a disgrace,” adding of Republican Rick Scott, “He easily won, but every hour he seems to be going down,” and “I think people have to look at it very cautiously.”
  121. Trump had tweeted Thursday night, “Law Enforcement is looking into another big corruption scandal having to do with Election Fraud in #Broward and Palm Beach. Florida voted for Rick Scott!”
  122. On Friday, Trump also tweeted about the Georgia governor race where Brian Kemp declared victory but votes are still being counted, saying Republican Kemp “ran a great race in Georgia — he won. It is time to move on!”
  123. Trump also tweeted, “You mean they are just now finding votes in Florida and Georgia — but the Election was on Tuesday?” and “Let’s blame the Russians and demand an immediate apology from President Putin!”
  124. Trump tweeted Democrats sent their “best Election stealing lawyer, Marc Elias,” to Broward County, then they started “miraculously” finding votes, adding “I am sending much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!”
  125. Trump also tweeted, “Rick Scott was up by 50,000+ votes on Election Day, now they “found” many votes and he is only up 15,000 votes. “The Broward Effect,” adding “How come they never find Republican votes?
  126. Trump tweeted in 2016 he was winning by so much in that Broward County, which was “probably getting ready to do a “number,” couldn’t do it because not enough people live in Broward for them to falsify a victory!
  127. On Friday, Sen. Marco Rubio, in a series of tweets, suggested “democrat lawyers are descending on #Florida” to steal the election. He also referenced Broward County. Trump thanked him in a tweet.
  128. On Friday, standing on the porch of the Governor’s Mansion for a press conference, Scott accused “unethical liberals” of plotting to steal a U.S. Senate seat from him.
  129. Scott said he asked the state enforcement agency under his control to investigate the Broward Supervisor of Elections. A spokesperson for the agency said Scott did not submit a request, adding “We do not have an active investigation.”
  130. On Friday, Hannity said on his show, “This is a disgrace that they get to do this election in and election out,” adding “somebody needs to go to jail here, if this keeps happening.” Scott nodded along as Hannity spoke.
  131. Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted, without evidence, that there are “shenanigans going on in Broward and Palm Beach,” and in another tweet, “it didn’t work with Kavanaugh and it won’t work with @ScottforFlorida.”
  132. On Saturday, the Florida secretary of state, Republican Ken Detzner, ordered recounts of the senate and governor races, an unprecedented review of two major races.
  133. On Friday, WSJ reported Federal prosecutors have gathered evidence of Trump’s central role in hush payoffsto Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, which violated campaign-finance laws.
  134. In August 2015, as a presidential candidate, Trump met with David Pecker, chief executive of AMI. Pecker offered to use the National Enquirer to buy the silence of women about their sexual encounters with Trump.
  135. The Journal found that Trump was involved in or briefed on nearly every step of the agreements. He directed deals in phone calls and meetings with Michael Cohen and others. Cohen, Pecker, and Trump no longer speak.
  136. Cohen, who Trump called “my attorney” in April 2018, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations. Federal prosecutors who investigated Cohen are now examining business dealings by the Trump Organization.
  137. On Saturday, in a tweet, Trump attacked authorities in California, claiming “gross mismanagement of the forests” is the cause of the state’s wildfires, and threatening federal aid, “Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”
  138. Nine people have died, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated in a spate of wildfires this week as a result of the Camp Fire in the area of Paradise, California.
  139. On Friday, Trump traveled to Paris for ceremonies to honor the military in World War I as part of Armistice Day. He was scheduled to attend the military parade, after his plans to hold one in Washington were scuttled.
  140. On Friday, shortly after landing in Paris, Trump tweeted French President Macron’s call for a European army is “very insulting,” adding “Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!”
  141. Macron has warned his fellow European nations that they can no longer rely on the U.S. to defend them. His latest remarks came after Trump decided to pull out of a key 1987 nuclear treaty with Russia.
  142. On Saturday, Trump canceled a visit to the U.S. military cemetery outside Paris at the site of a 1918 battle in which U.S. and French forces fended off German troops during World War I, due to rainy weather.
  143. The battle, in which more than 1,800 died, looms large in the history of the U.S. Marines Corps. Chief of staff John Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, his wife, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit instead.
  144. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron did attend ceremonies for their fallen at cemeteries outside Paris.
  145. On Saturday, Trump named seven who will receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom award. The group includes Miriam Adelson, wife of Sheldon Adelson, both of whom gave $56 million to GOP Super PACs this cycle.
  146. On Saturday, NYT reported that the 5,600 American troops who were rushed to U.S.-Mexico border by Trump have little electricity, will receive no combat pay, and face holidays away from home.
  147. Military morale is an issue. The deployment orders last through mid-December, meaning the troops will miss Thanksgiving, and have little to do beyond providing logistical support, unless Trump declares martial law.


Week 102 of a nationalist government: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 27, 2018

This was a heartbreaking week in America, after several domestic attacks left the country shaken, frightened, and on edge. On Monday, an explosive device mailed in a package to the home of George Soros was discovered. Then starting Wednesday, one by one, 13 more packages addressed to high profile Democrats, all of whom were Trump critics and people Trump had publicly and repeatedly attacked, were found. There was a deadly shooting of two Black Americans in a supermarket in Kentucky, minutes after the shooter was unable to gain access to a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown. Then, the week closed with mass shooting during Shabbat services at Pittsburgh’s oldest Jewish congregation, killing 11 and injuring 6, likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history, which was charged as a hate crime.

Unlike his predecessors, Trump was unable or unwilling to rise to the occasion and seek to unite and comfort the country. Instead, he blamed the media, lightened but continued his attacks on political opponents, and complained these crimes were distracting from his messaging ahead of midterms. Trump also refused to call out hate or the rise of white supremacist groups, who view themselves as on his side and his defenders. Instead, Trump announced he is a “nationalist” — a term with historical connotations to white nationalism, seemingly a guiding philosophy behind much of his regime’s actions and policies. All the attacks this week were carried out by middle-aged white men.

Here is the whole piece of “Make America Dumb Again,” as promised last week. It is an expansive mural located under a roadway in Mainz-Kastel (Wiesbaden), Germany. Photo taken 20October2018.


  1. On Saturday, Trump warned of non-existent voter fraud, tweeting “All levels of government and Law Enforcement are watching carefully for VOTER FRAUD,” adding, “Cheat at your own peril.”
  2. On Sunday, Carl Bernstein told CNN that Trump is already having discussions at the White House for plans to call the midterms “illegitimate” if Democrats win the House by a small margin.
  3. Bernstein said his sources tell him Trump’s plan is to throw legal challenges into the courts, sow confusion, declare victory, and say that the election was illegitimate.
  4. On Saturday, at a rally in Nevada, Trump falsely claimed that Californians are “rioting” in protest of sanctuary cities, saying “They’re rioting now. They want to get out of their sanctuary cities.”
  5. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that the caravan of Central American migrants is full of criminals, claiming the group will bring waves of crime and drugs over the border, and “this country doesn’t want them.”
  6. Trump also claimed that the “fake news media” is the Democrats’ “single greatest ally.” The crowd then pointed to reporters at the rally and booed at them.
  7. Trump also promised a new “major tax cut” for middle-income people “just prior to November.” The House is out of session until November 13.
  8. On Monday, Trump told reporters that the regime plans to produce a “resolution” calling for a 10% tax cut for middle-income earners, leaving confused White House staffers scrambling to understand what he meant.
  9. On Monday, NYT Editorial Board wrote ahead of the election, Trump is “lyin’ up a storm,” both at this campaign rallies and on Twitter, noting Americans are “already exhausted” and this is “really bad for the country.”
  10. On Monday, Politico reported Trump is distancing himself from a possible GOP midterm thumping, telling confidants he does not see it as a referendum on himself and will blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  11. On Sunday, the NYT reported the Department of Health and Human Services is leading an effort to change the legal definition of sex under Title IX and to narrowly define gender as determined by genitalia at birth.
  12. This marks the most dramatic move by the Trump regime yet in its efforts to roll back recognition and protections of transgender people under federal civil rights law and reverses policy by the Obama administration.
  13. On Thursday, the Guardian reported the Trump regime is seeking to eliminate the word “gender” from U.N. general assembly policy statement documents, most often replacing it with “woman.”
  14. Nelson Diaz, chair of the GOP of Miami-Dade County, apologized for “unbecoming” action after organizing a protest involving members of the “Proud Boys” outside congressional candidate Donna Shalala’s office.
  15. A Latina woman with family visiting from Guatemala was verbally harassed for speaking Spanish by a white woman at a restaurant in Virginia, saying “You get the f — — out, back to your f — — — country.”
  16. On a Ryanair flight, a white man went on a tirade about sitting next to a black woman in a wheelchair. The flight attendant then asked the black woman and her daughter to move to a different row.
  17. David Thomas Sr., a Veterans Affairs official, took down a portrait of the KKK’s first grand wizard from his office after a WAPO reporter explained who the subject is. His senior staff is mostly Black Americans.
  18. Gay bars in Nashville received pamphlets with the acronym and images of the Statue of Liberty (L), a gun (G), a beer bottle (B), and Trump (T). Thegun pictured is the one used in the shooting at Orlando nightclub Pulse.
  19. NBC News reported on a robocall in Florida targeting Andrew Gillum, in which a man impersonating him says, “Well hello there. I is the negro Andrew Gillum,” and “My state opponent, who done call me monkey…”
  20. ABC News reported Bruce Alexander, who is accused of touching a woman’s breast twice on an airplane flight, told authorities “the president of the United States says it’s OK to grab women by their private parts.”
  21. The FBI arrested Robert Rundo, the leader of Rise Above Movement, a violent California neo-Nazi gang, who fled the country for Central America, on a federal conspiracy charge.
  22. Rise Above Movement members were involved in violent activity at protests throughout California in 2017. Rundo and three other gang members were charged with inciting riots.
  23. On Sunday, CNN reported Gwinnett County, northeast of Atlanta, faces two federal lawsuits after rejecting hundreds of mail-in absentee ballots, disproportionately impacting Asian American and Black American voters.
  24. An analysis done by WAPO showed Georgia’s “exact match” policy could clear just 70% of eligible voters and disproportionately impacts Black American and Hispanic American voters.
  25. Rolling Stone reported on a leaked audio of a “Georgia Professionals for Kemp” campaign event last Friday in which Brian Kemp raised concern about his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout operation.
  26. Kemp can be heard saying it “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote.” Abrams’ campaign continued to call on Kemp to resign as Georgia’s Secretary of State.
  27. On Tuesday, USA Today reported the Georgia NAACP filed complaints with state election officials, alleging some voting machines mistakenly registered votes cast for Abrams as votes for Kemp.
  28. On Wednesday, a federal judge in Georgia sided with the ACLU,temporarily blocking the state from tossing out absentee ballots on which voters’ signatures do not match the ones on their voter registration cards.
  29. On Thursday, a federal judge in Georgia issued a formal injunction, stopping Georgia from rejecting absentee ballots because of signatures deemed not to match those on file.
  30. On Thursday, NYT reported Georgia state Democratic officials said more than 4,700 vote-by-mail applications were missing in DeKalb County, one the state’s most populous and liberal-leaning regions.
  31. On Thursday, police arrested Jason Donald Wayne, 28, in North Carolina after he threatened to assault a black GOP campaign worker who was working at an early voting location in Charlotte.
  32. On Thursday, AP reported after moving the sole polling place for 27,000 residents outside city lines in Week 101, Dodge City, Kansas, election official sent voters notices listing the wrong place to cast their vote.
  33. Kansas Director of Elections Bryan Caskey admitted that the notices were “confusing,” and said he informed Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox she needed to send another notice with the correct location.
  34. On Friday, the ACLU sued Dodge City over voter access. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order that would force Ford County to open a second polling place in time for midterms in Dodge City.
  35. On Friday, ABC 13 reported at some voting machines in Texas, when votersselected the straight-party vote for Democrat, their vote for Senator, on the last page of the ballot, was changed to Republican Ted Cruz.
  36. On Monday, the Supreme Court shielded Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross from having to answer lawyers’ questions in a lawsuit challenging his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census form.
  37. WAPO reported the Trump regime is politicizing the traditionally non-partisan Board of Veterans’ Appeals, judges who determine whether an injured veteran is entitled to lifetime benefits. This is unprecedented.
  38. The White House rejected half of the candidates selected by the board chairwoman, after requiring them to disclose their party affiliations. Of the four rejected, three were Democrats and one was an independent.
  39. On Tuesday, after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, national security adviser John Bolton announced Putin and Trump will meet in Paris one-on-one just five days after the midterms.
  40. The scheduled meeting marks another reversal by Trump. In July, after the controversial meeting between Trump and Putin in Helsinki, the White House said the two would not meet again until “after the Russia witch hunt is over.”
  41. Guardian reported in 2001, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh lobbied to ensure Timothy Tymkovich would secure a lifetime appointment as a Colorado federal judge. Tymkovich is now handling Kavanaugh ethics complaints.
  42. A USA Today/Suffolk poll found the “Kavanaugh effect” makes Americans more likely to vote for Democrats (35%) than Republicans (27%) in the midterms.
  43. A study conducted at Arizona State University, and published in the Journal of American College Health, found 25% of college students have “clinically significant event-related distress” resulting from the 2016 election.
  44. The study argues event-related distress can predict future distress and diagnoses of PTSD, a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.
  45. The most useful predictors of stress were sex, political party, and religion — more so than race or social class. The majority of students — 76% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans — said they were stressed.
  46. On Sunday, WAPO reported special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has been aggressively pursuing leads on whether Roger Stone, or any other Trump associates, had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks’ plan to release hacked emails.
  47. In addition to Randy Credico, Mueller’s team is also examining Stone’s relationship with conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, and whether Corsi was a conduit between Stone and Julian Assange.
  48. Mueller’s team is also examining if Stone lied in his Congressional testimony about his contact with WikiLeaks.
  49. On Thursday, Mother Jones reported in early January, Stone sent a text message to Credico saying he was working to get a pardon from Trump for Assange, writing “It’s very real and very possible. Don’t fuck it up.”
  50. On Tuesday, NYT reported in recent days the United States Cyber Command has been targeting individual Russian operatives, telling them they have identified them and are being tracked, in order to deter them.
  51. On Thursday, House Republicans interviewed George Papadopoulos behind closed doors for roughly seven hours. Republicans claim his testimony raises questions about the start of the FBI’s Russia probe.
  52. Trump ally Rep. Mark Meadows said that Papadopoulos’ testimony shows the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia should never have been started.
  53. On Monday, WAPO reported Trump has settled on a strategy of fear, laced with lies and racially tinged rhetoric, as a way to motivate Republicanvoters to get to the polls for the midterms, instead of touting his achievements.
  54. Trump is especially focused on the caravan, which he claimed is full of gang members, violent criminals and “unknown Middle Easterners. Stephen Miller is one of the chief authors of Trump’s rally remarks.
  55. On Monday, in a series of tweets, Trump attacked the “caravan” of migrants from Central America, claiming without evidence, “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.”
  56. Trump also tweeted, “every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming… blame the Democrats,” and he threatened again to substantially reduce foreign aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
  57. On Monday, when asked by reporters for proof there are terrorists in the caravan, Trump said, “take your camera, go into the middle, and search. You’re going to find MS-13, you’re going to find Middle Eastern.”
  58. A WAPO journalist called out the media for amplifying Trump’s caravan messaging with non-stop coverage, using his words like “caravan crisis” and “onslaught,” employing false-equivalency, and not calling out his lies.
  59. On Monday, at a rally in Texas, Trump delivered a speech laden with lies and fear mongering, reminiscent of his 2016 campaign. He also evoked nationalism directly.
  60. Trump told a string of lies, including that the Democrats will kick seniors off their health insurance, end coverage for pre-existing conditions, and destroy the Social Security retirement system.
  61. Trump also lied that Democrats will give illegal immigrants free cars and abolish our borders. Trump also said Democrats are behind the migrant caravan and lied the caravan includes people from the Middle East.
  62. Trump also told the crowd, “You know, they have a word. It sort of became old-fashioned. It’s called a nationalist,” adding “we’re not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I am a nationalist. Use that word.”
  63. Trump also said “Radical Democrats want to turn back the clock. Restore the rule of corrupt, power-hungry globalists,” adding, “a globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well,” but not “our country so much.”
  64. On Tuesday, when pressed by reporters for proof that there are Middle Easterners in the caravan, Trump responded, “There’s no proof of anything. But there could very well be.”
  65. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that there will be forthcoming proof to show Democrats are paying for the caravan of migrants.
  66. On Tuesday, former KKK leader David Duke celebrated Trump saying he is a nationalist, tweeting Trump “Defends the Rights and Heritage of White People & White people love him for it!”
  67. On Tuesday, in an interview with the WSJ after another down day in the markets, Trump again attacked Fed Chairman Jerome Powell. There is no precedent for a U.S. leader publicly criticizing a Fed Chair.
  68. Trump said of Powell, “every time we do something great, he raises the interest rates,” adding it “almost looks like he’s happy raising interest rates.”
  69. Trump added, “To me the Fed is the biggest risk.” When asked if he regrets nominating Powell, Trump said it’s “too early to say, but maybe.”
  70. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 600 points, continuing its correction. Year-to-date, the Dow is flat.
  71. On Wednesday, NYT reported when Trump calls old friends on one of his iPhones, Chinese and Russians spies often listen in and gather information on how to best work with Trump and affect policy change.
  72. Trump’s aides have warned him that his calls are not secure, but he refuses to stop using his cell phones. Officials who spoke to the NYT said they did so out of frustration with his indifference towards electronic security.
  73. China uses information from the calls to understand how Mr. Trump thinks, what arguments tend to sway him and which of his friends they can use to sway him in order to keep a trade war from escalating.
  74. Aides said Trump’s longtime paranoia about surveillance gives them hope that he is not discussing classified information on calls. They also take comfort that Trump rarely reads the intelligence he is shown.
  75. Trump is supposed to swap his two cell phones for new ones every 30 days but rarely does so, citing inconvenience. Last year, Trump left one of the phones in a golf cart at his Bedminster club and had to scramble to find it.
  76. On Thursday, Trump attacked the NYT in two tweets, saying it “wrote a long and boring article,” calling it “so incorrect” and “soooo wrong,” adding, “I only use Government Phones.”
  77. Hours later, Trump tweeted “the New York Times has a new Fake Story” saying “I rarely use a cellphone, & when I do it’s government authorized. I like Hard Lines.”
  78. On Thursday, several Democrats, citing the NYT report, called for an investigation into Trump’s cell phone use and whether he compromised classified information.
  79. On Thursday, WAPO reported CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed Trumpabout her trip to Turkey, where she reportedly listened to an audio recording capturing the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.
  80. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia acknowledged its agents had murdered Khashoggi in a “premeditated” operation. Trump has yet to take any action against the Saudis or condemn the killing.
  81. On Thursday, the judge overseeing the New York attorney general’s lawsuit against Trump’s foundation said she will wait to hear if a sitting president can be sued before proceeding with the state’s case.
  82. A New York appeals court is currently weighing that question in a defamation lawsuit against Trump brought by Summer Zervos.
  83. On Thursday, at a WAPO event, Newt Gingrich said if Democrats take the House and subpoena Trump’s tax records, likely forcing a Supreme Court fight, “we’ll see whether or not the Kavanaugh fight was worth it.
  84. On Thursday, Roberta Jacobson, who resigned as U.S. ambassador to Mexico in Week 68, said in an op-ed some chaos is normal at the start of an administration, but that under Trump “it has been extreme.”
  85. Jacobson also pointed out that about 30 ambassadorships still remain vacant, including those to vitally important countries.
  86. Jacobson also said the disconnect between the State Department and the White House seems intentional, leaving ambassadors in impossible positions and allies “infuriated, alienated and bewildered.”
  87. On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley referred Julie Swetnick and her lawyer Michael Avenatti to the DOJ for investigation over allegations they made false statements to Congress about Kavanaugh.
  88. On Monday, an explosive device was found in the mailbox of George Soros’s home outside New York City. Soros is a favorite target of right-wing groups, including Trump who recently claimed he paid for Kavanaugh protests.
  89. On Wednesday, in the early morning, reports came out in local New York media that a suspicious device was sent to the Clintons’ home near New York City. Shortly after, it was reported a package was also sent to the Obamas.
  90. Later that morning, the Time Warner Center was evacuated after a suspicious package was found. CNN anchors continued to provide coverage of what was happening from their cell phones on the streets near the building.
  91. By late morning, reporting indicated the packages contained a pipe bomb.The package sent to CNN was addressed to “JON BRENAN” [sic], a former CIA director under Obama and a frequent Trump critic.
  92. According to the FBI, all the devices were packed in envelopes lined withbubble wrap and bearing return addresses with the name “DEBBIE WASSERMAN SHULTZ” [sic], former chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.
  93. Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s offices were evacuated after a fifth device sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder, which was incorrectly addressed, was returned to her office.
  94. In the early afternoon, a sixth package addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters, whom Trump repeatedly refers to at his rallies as a “very low IQ individual,” was intercepted at a congressional mail facility.
  95. In the afternoon, speaking at the White House and reading off a teleprompter, Trump called the attempted bombings “despicable acts,” saying “we have to unify,” and “threats of political violence” have no place.
  96. In the afternoon, CNN President Jeff Zucker, in a statement, accused Trump of demonizing journalists, adding “The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter.”
  97. In the evening, a seventh package, also addressed to Rep. Waters was discovered at a mail facility near downtown Los Angeles. The facility was evacuated.
  98. On Wednesday, the FBI issued a statement to the public on the suspicious packages, describing the packages, who received them, and steps being taken to find who is behind them. Contact information was also given for tips.
  99. On Wednesday, House Republicans’ campaign committee launched a new ad attacking Soros as a “radical.” The ad is aimed at Minnesota House candidate Dan Feehan, who the ad says is owned by Soros.
  100. On Wednesday, AP reported, according to law enforcement officials, the pipe bombs that were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN were packed with powder and shards of glass.
  101. On Wednesday, CNN reported that the White House did not reach out toformer President Obama, the Clintons, or any of the other Democratic officials who received packages.
  102. Trump also refused to mention CNN as a recipient of a package in any of his remarks, including his call for unity.
  103. On Wednesday, WAPO reported the targets of the bombs are all people who Trump has directly and repeatedly attacked, using his bully pulpit. Republicans largely stood by him, denying his rhetoric was the cause.
  104. Also Wednesday, several of Trump’s supporters advanced the “false flag” theory on social media and talk radio, arguing the bombs could have been sent by liberals in order to reverse the “mob” argument.
  105. On Wednesday, at a rally in Wisconsin, before Trump arrived, the crowd burst into chants of “Lock her up.”
  106. Trump refrained from attacking his regular targets like Hillary, Rep. Waters, and Joe Biden and commented repeatedly on his restraint, saying“I’m trying to be nice,” and “do you see how nice I’m behaving tonight?”
  107. Trump decried the threats of political violence, saying “we want all sides to come together in peace and harmony,” but called on the media to end its “hostility.”
  108. Trump also said, “The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks.” Trump, however, did not take any responsibility.
  109. On Thursday, two additional pipe bombs were discovered that had been sent to former Vice President Biden. The packages were misaddressed and were intercepted at a U.S. Postal Service facility in Delaware.
  110. Also Thursday, a package to Robert De Niro was discovered. The package had been at the mailroom at his movie company, TriBeCa Productions, since at least Tuesday. De Niro has been a frequent critic of Trump.
  111. On Thursday, Trump again blamed the media, tweeting “a very big part of the Anger we see today” is caused by purposely false and inaccurate reporting” by the “Fake News,” and “Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
  112. On Thursday, John Brennan tweeted in response, “Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act.”
  113. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump is “certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages” any more than Bernie Sanders is responsible for “shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year.”
  114. Hours later, Sen. Lindsey Graham repeated the same false equivalency, tweeting, “I didn’t blame Bernie Sanders when a Bernie supporter shot Congressman Steve Scalise and I’m not going to blame Trump.”
  115. Fox Business host Lou Hobbs tweeted, “Fake News ― Fake Bombs,” adding “Who could possibly benefit by so much fakery?” Dobbs later deleted the tweet.
  116. On Thursday, at an Axios event in Washington, D.C., Newt Gingrich said he believes that the media has “earned” Trump’s attacks on them as “the enemy of the people.”
  117. On Thursday, more than 200 journalists, many well-known and most retired or semi-retired, signed a letter of condemning political violence as a part of a “sustained pattern of attack on a free press.”
  118. The letter also accused Trump of “utterly failing” to uphold his oath of office and said he is “actively working not simply to undermine the press, but to incite violence against it as well.”
  119. On Thursday, Trump tweeted about the migrant caravan in the morning, saying “I am bringing out the military for this National Emergency,” adding: “They will be stopped!”
  120. The caravan is more than 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border. It is unclear when or if the migrants will arrive or how many will seek to cross into the U.S.
  121. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was expected to sign deployment orders that could send 800 or more troops to the border of Mexico. The troops are expected to be in position next week.
  122. Later Thursday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told Fox News “everything is on the table” in response to the migrant caravan.
  123. Nielsen also echoed an afternoon tweet by Trump that said, “To those in the Caravan, turn around,” telling Fox News that any migrants who illegally cross the U.S. border “will be returned home.”
  124. On Thursday, NYT reported Trump is considering taking executive action to bar migrants, including asylum seekers, from entering the country at the southern border.
  125. On Friday, Daily Beast reported Bolton pushed a plan with Trump to send U.S. troops to the southern border to keep migrants out, circumventingNielsen, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and other White House officials.
  126. Bolton also rejected a proposal by the Department of Homeland Security to enlist the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to set up migrant camps in Mexico.
  127. Officials say Bolton was responding to Trump’s tweet, saying “CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER.” One senior official told the Daily Beast, “John Bolton is yelling fire in the crowded movie theater that is Trump’s mind.”
  128. An executive order would be a sweeping use of presidential power and would undoubtedly prompt legal challenges in federal courts.
  129. In the middle of the night at 3:14 a.m. Friday, Trump attacked CNN, tweeting, “Funny how lowly rated CNN” and others can criticize him, but when he criticizes them back, “they go wild and scream, ‘it’s just not Presidential!’”
  130. On Friday morning, an eleventh package was found addressed to Sen. Cory Booker, another Trump critic, which the FBI said was “similar in appearance to the others,” was found in Florida.
  131. Also Friday morning, a twelfth package addressed to former director of national intelligence James Clapper, another Trump critic, was discovered. It was addressed to the New York offices of CNN, where he works as an analyst.
  132. The package to Clapper was intercepted at a mail facility in Midtown Manhattan, where a worker recognized it as similar to other suspicious packages discovered this week and “froze it in the system.”
  133. Appearing on CNN shortly after the package was discovered, Clapper said “This is definitely domestic terrorism, no doubt about it in my mind,” adding, “This is not going to silence the administration’s critics.”
  134. After the two additional bombs had been reported, Trump took to Twitter, to complain first about the government spending “Billions of Dollars a year on Illegal Immigration. This will not continue.”
  135. Trump also complained “Twitter has removed many people from my account,” saying the company has “seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join,” and asking, “Total Bias?”
  136. Trump also complained “Republicans are doing so well in early voting, in the polls,” but that now “this ‘Bomb; stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows,” asking “Very unfortunate, what is going on.”
  137. By late morning Friday, NYT reported a man in Florida was arrested by federal authorities in connection with the pipe bombs sent to Trump critics.
  138. The pipe bomb suspect, Cesar Sayoc, Jr., 56, was taken into custody. Sayoc’s white van was plastered with stickers of Trump and Pence, Democrats with bulls-eyes on them and, one with “CNN SUCKS.”
  139. Sayoc worked formerly as a pizza deliveryman and strip-club worker, and he is a Trump superfan. He was very active on social media, frequently posting conservative talking points and conspiracy theories.
  140. Charges against Sayoc revealed a thirteenth package had been sent to Sen. Kamala Harris, which was discovered at a Sacramento mail facility. Sen. Harris has also been a vocal critic of Trump.
  141. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Sayoc was charged with five federal crimes, including the mailing of explosives. Charges could carry a maximum of 58 years in prison. He will be tried in the Southern District of New York.
  142. Sessions also said it is not yet known why Sayoc sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN, but said Sayoc “appears to be a partisan.”
  143. FBI Director Christopher Wray said 13 pipe bombs were sent to prominent Democrats and CNN, and that they were “not hoax devices.
  144. On Friday, speaking to reporters on the South Lawn, when asked if heplanned to reach out to the two former presidents, Trump said, ”If they wanted me to, but I think we’ll probably pass.”
  145. Trump says he knows the pipe bomb suspect was a supporter but says he bears “no blame” for the suspect’s actions. Trump again evoked the shooting of Rep. Scalise by a Bernie Sanders supporter.
  146. Later Friday, the FBI said a fourteenth package seized near San Francisco was sent to billionaire political activist Tom Steyer, an outspoken critic of Trump who has led a charge to have him impeached.
  147. On Friday evening, at a rally in North Carolina, Trump opened his remarks by pledging to do “everything in my power to stop” politically motivated attacks, and that “we must unify as a nation in peace love and harmony.”
  148. Trump then shifted to blame the media, saying “we do not blame the Democrat party for the radical, leftists,” adding “the media try to attack incredible Americans who are trying to support our movement.”
  149. Trump talked about sending troops to the border, “Watch next week what’s going to happen.” The caravan is still weeks from the U.S. border, and this week the number of migrants dwindled from 7,200 to 3,000.
  150. Trump also attacked Democrats, using old refrains including “Crooked Hillary” and “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer.” He also evoked Maxine Waters then stopped himself, saying “I want them to say, ‘He was so nice tonight.’”
  151. On Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement, “While we cannot say that Trump’s speech directly incites violence, it is clear that some people are influenced by it.”
  152. CPJ called on Trump to dial back the rhetoric: “Journalists across the country feel unsafe because of the constant hostility and belittling of their role in our democracy by the head of state. It needs to stop.”
  153. Central European University, a university founded by the philanthropistGeorge Soros, has announced it has been forced out of Hungary by the government of Viktor Orbán after 26 years.
  154. On Wednesday, Gregory Bush, 51, fatally shot two Vicki Lee Jones, 67, and Maurice E. Stallard, 69, at a Kroger supermarket in Kentucky. Bush did not know either victim. They were both Black Americans.
  155. Jeffersontown, Kentucky police said Bush had first tried to enter the First Baptist Church, a predominantly black church, minutes before the supermarket shooting, but was unable to gain access.
  156. On Saturday, Robert Bowers, 46, armed with an assault rifle and at least three handguns, went on a shooting rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue, the city of Pittsburgh’s oldest Jewish congregation.
  157. Eleven adults were killed in the attack, which the Anti-Defamation League called “likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.” Six were wounded, including four police officers.
  158. Bowers, who has a history of making virulently anti-Semitic statements online, burst into the synagogue shortly after Shabbat services began, and was yelled “All Jews must die,” then started shooting.
  159. The DOJ said it would file hate crimes and other criminal charges. On his social media, Bowers posted several messages supporting Trump’s political agenda, but others implying that Jews were manipulating Trump.
  160. In his first remarks on the shooting, Trump told reporters, “It’s a terrible, terrible thing what’s going on with hate in our country, frankly, and all over the world,” adding, “The results are very devastating.”
  161. When asked by reporters about stricter gun laws, Trump said “this has little to do with it” and asserted that if they had “protection inside, the results would have been far better.
  162. Speaking to the press shortly after, the public safety director on Pittsburgh, holding back tears said, “It’s a very horrific crime scene — one of the worst that I’ve seen, and I’ve been on some plane crashes. It’s very bad.”


Week 101: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 21, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-101-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-9f64ee517189

With midterms approaching, the country is electrified and on edge. This week Trump recycled themes from his 2016 campaign to help boost Republican messaging: stoking fear of “the others” (a caravan of immigrants), accusing Democrats of being the party of open borders and crime and claiming the left is encouraging violence (“the mob”). Journalists and watchdog groups in several states continued to report and document overt efforts by the Republican Party to suppress the votes of people of color.

In an alarming reveal of his authoritarian bent, Trump refused to condemn Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi despite a bipartisan Congressional outcry and diplomatic actions by world leaders. Trump also glorified Rep. Greg Gianforte at a campaign rally in Montana for shoving a journalist in 2017, sparking further condemnation for encouraging violence against the free press.

This week marked the first charges against a Russian, Elena Khusyaynova, for conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election. Trump continues to deny 2016 campaign ties to Russia or acknowledge Russian interference in our 2016 election. Reporting this week indicates the Mueller probe is speeding along and could be completed shortly after midterms.


Two closeups from two separate pieces I discovered yesterday in Mainz-Kastel, Wiesbaden, Germany. Full pieces of each will be shared in upcoming posts. 20oct18. 


  1. On Saturday, speaking to reporters, Trump defended separating migrant families at the border, saying the fear of being separated from children deters some immigrants, although this did not work in June.
  2. Trump told reporters of immigrants, “If they feel there will be separation, they don’t come. You’ve got some really bad people out there.” Trump claimed the influx is “because of how well our country is doing.”
  3. On Saturday, at a rally in Kentucky, Trump blamed Democrats for opening our borders and creating “a friendly sanctuary for murderous thugs from other countries who will kill us all.”
  4. Trump said of the investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, “what the crazy radical Democrats did to Justice Kavanaugh was a national disgrace,” adding “never has a man been treated so badly,”
  5. On Saturday, a video surfaced of the white nationalist, male-only “Proud Boys” brutally beating up several men after attending a lecture by their founder at the Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City.
  6. Three were arrested after the clash with protestors. A Proud Boy member can be heard saying “Are you brave now faggot?!’” Proud Boys has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  7. On Monday, the New York Police Department moved to quell criticism of their handling of the brawl, saying they were seeking nine additional members of Proud Boys and three anti-fascist protestors.
  8. Hate fliers were left on some residents’ lawns in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, that featured images of Hitler or the Ku Klux Klan, offensive language and a phone number. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
  9. A white woman in St. Louis, Missouri, was captured on a video trying to block a black man from entering his own downtown loft. She was later fired from her job working with an associated real estate company.
  10. This year’s White House Fellow class of 14 includes 13 with a military or law enforcement backgrounds in their biographies. Of the 14, only two are women, whereas under Obama women made up about half.
  11. According to a new poll conducted by YouGov and The Economist, nearly half of people who voted for Trump in 2016 believe men are discriminated against more than are LGBTQ people, women and most ethnic minorities.
  12. Intercept reported the Department of Health and Human Services is considering a request from a South Carolina Christian foster-care agency to deny Jewish, Muslim, atheist and agnostic parents the right to take in kids.
  13. On Thursday, House Oversight Democrats alleged in a letter that Trump intervened in the FBI headquarters project to help protect business for his hotel, Trump Hotel DC, which is a block away on Pennsylvania Avenue.
  14. According to newly released government emails, Trump met with General Services Administrator Emily Murphy, the FBI and White House officials on January 24, 2018, where he was directly involved in decision making.
  15. The letter from Democrats says the FBI’s decision to abandon the relocation plan, and instead construct a new building on the same site at higher cost, was to prevent Trump Hotel DC competitors from acquiring the land.
  16. Fast Company reported thatTrump signaled his support for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s candidacy for Speaker of the House after McCarthy’s PAC spent $154,000 to host a reception and dinner at Trump Hotel DC.
  17. Residents of a Manhattan condominium called “Trump Place” voted to remove Trump’s name from the building. Close to 70% of residents voted for the removal, which happened on Thursday.
  18. On Thursday, a report published by the Interior Department Inspector General found that Secretary Ryan Zinke violated agency travel policy by having his wife ride in government-issued vehicles with him.
  19. The Trump regime denied reports they were replacing the department’s independent watchdog, who is overseeing multiple investigations into Zinke, with a political appointee.
  20. On Thursday, Suzanne Israel Tufts reigned from her post at the Department of Housing and Urban Development after a mistaken announcement sent to HUD employees by Secretary Ben Carson.
  21. Secretary Carson informed staffers she would be leaving to take the job as acting inspector general at the Interior Department. The current acting IG, Mary Kendall, had not been informed that she was being replaced.
  22. On Sunday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll showed voter enthusiasm is up from 2014 especially for Democrats (63% in 2014 to 81% in 2018), 18–39 year-olds (42% to 67%) and nonwhites (48% to 72%).
  23. Voters favor Democratic candidates for the House over Republican candidates, 53% to 42%. Independent women voters favor Democrats over Republicans by a more than 2–1 margin (62% to 29%).
  24. On Sunday, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told “This Week” that the United Nations reports “overestimates” climate change, saying not to “panic” but to look at it in a “level-headed and analytic way.”
  25. Also on Sunday, Trump appeared on “60 Minutes.” He told Lesley Stahl that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “probably” involved in assassinations and poisonings, but “it’s not in our country,” adding “I think I’m very tough with him.”
  26. When asked about Russian interference in the 2016 election, Trump said“They meddled. But I think China meddled, too,” adding, “I think, frankly, China is a bigger problem.”
  27. When asked about his praise of Kim Jong Un despite his history of human rights violations, Trump said “Look, let it be whatever it is. I get along with him really well. I have a good energy with him. I have a good chemistry with him.”
  28. When pressed about whether he would resume his zero-tolerance policy at the U.S. Southern border, Trump falsely claimed Obama did the same thing and, when pressed, said “Lesley, it’s OK. In the meantime, I’m President, and you’re not.”
  29. Trump also said, “I don’t trust everybody in the White House.” Trump said of political people, “This is the most deceptive, vicious world. It is vicious, it’s full of lies, deceit and deception.”
  30. When asked about Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Trump said “I think he’s sort of a Democrat,” adding “We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves.”
  31. On climate change, Trump said “I think something’s happening. Something’s changing, and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s man-made.”
  32. When asked if he treated Dr. Christine Blasey Ford with respect, Trump said “I think so, yeah. I did,” adding, “You know what? I’m not going to get into it, because we won. It doesn’t matter. We won.
  33. Deadline Hollywood reported that Trump’s ratings for his “60 Minutes” interview took a nosedive, with 43% fewer viewers watching compared to his previous appearance in November 2016.
  34. On Sunday, while being asked about current Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp and voter suppression, Georgia Sen. David Perdue grabbed a phone away from a student member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America who was videoing the exchange.
  35. On Monday, in Georgia, senior citizens on a bus from their senior center to cast their votes were ordered off the bus over “concerns” about the “political activity,” which “isn’t allowed during county-sponsored events.”
  36. On Tuesday, WAPO reported hundreds of absentee ballots in suburban Atlanta have been rejected. Advocates say the move disproportionately impacts Black, Latino and Asian American voters.
  37. On Friday, an APM Reports analysis found Georgia has purged an estimated 107,000 people from the voter rolls, largely because they did not vote in a prior election, known as the “use it or lose it” policy.
  38. On Friday, a separate analysis done by Palast Investigative Fund found GOP candidate Kemp has improperly purged 340,134 Georgia voters from the rolls on the grounds they had moved, but they had not.
  39. On Monday, Tennessee Black Voter Project filed an open suit in Shelby County to inspect thousands of voter registration forms officials say are deficient. The group called it an “alarmingly high invalidation rate.”
  40. On Thursday, Wichita Eagle reported Dodge City, where Hispanics make up 60% of the population, moved its only polling place for midterms to outside the city limits to a facility more than a mile from the nearest bus stop.
  41. Leaders of the four largest tribes in North Dakota called a new court order “suppressive” and accused the state of attempting to disenfranchise Native American voters, saying they will fight to protect their right to vote.
  42. On Thursday, the Kansas City Star reported a conservative activist with Project Veritas who posed as an intern for Sen. Claire McCaskill had access to voter information and published a video from inside the campaign.
  43. McCaskill’s office called on Attorney General Josh Hawley, her 2018 senatorial opponent, to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate if the group violated state laws by recording and publishing the video.
  44. On Friday, the Kansas City Star reported the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party acknowledged the party sent mailers to 10,000 voters with false information about when their absentee ballots are due.
  45. On Monday, NBC News reported a Department of Homeland Security assessment issued last week found a “growing volume of cyber activitytargeting election infrastructure in 2018.” All attempts have been blocked.
  46. The assessment found “numerous actors are regularly targeting election infrastructure, likely for different purposes, including to cause disruptive effects, steal sensitive data and undermine confidence in the election.”
  47. The department’s Cyber Mission Center does not know who is behind the attacks. Countering Trump, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate she has not seen “any Chinese attempts to compromise election infrastructure.”
  48. On Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles dismissed a lawsuit from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels that claimed Trump defamed her. The judge also ruled that Trump is entitled to legal fees.
  49. On Tuesday, Trump had to nothing on his daily schedule. He sent a total of 22 tweets during the day, including a tirade of 12 tweets in the morning.
  50. Trump attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who revealed a DNA test showed she had Native American ancestry, calling her “Pocahontas (the bad version),” and “a complete and total Fraud,” adding the Cherokee Nation “don’t want her. Phony!”
  51. Trump also tweeted, “I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter),” adding, “Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”
  52. Trump also complained about the conflict in “Glen Simpson’s testimony to another House Panel” about contact with Bruce Ohr “to get (FAKE) Dossier to FBI,” asking “Where is Jeff Sessions?
  53. Trump also attacked Stormy Daniels over the lawsuit, referring to her as “horseface” and saying “she knows nothing about me, a total con!
  54. Trump’s name-calling of women is part of a pattern of demeaning women since his campaign, including incendiary comments on women’s faces, bodily functions and weight. He has also compared women to animals.
  55. Trump closed out the day tweeting again about Sen. Warren, saying “Her false claim of Indian heritage is only selling to VERY LOW I.Q. individuals!
  56. On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts said in a speech that despite “the contentious events” related to Kavanaugh in recent weeks, “the Supreme Court does not serve one party or one interest, but we serve one nation.”
  57. On Thursday, WSJ reported Justice Neil Gorsuch’s speech to a conference of Catholic legal scholars will be closed to the media. Speeches by his Supreme Court colleagues in recent weeks were made public.
  58. On Tuesday, Trump gave a wide-ranging interview to AP. Trump said he will not accept blame if his party loses control of the House in midterms, saying “No, I think I’m helping people” and “I’m 48 and 1 in the primaries.”
  59. When asked how he will handle investigations and impeachment by Democrats, Trump said “I think I’ll handle it very well…we have a witch hunt now going on, and I handle it very well, and there was no collusion.”
  60. Trump said Michael Cohen’s claims that Trump directed him to commit a crime are “false,” adding Cohen is “a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work. And what he did was very sad, when you look.”
  61. When asked about calling a woman horseface, Trump said, “You can take it any way you want,” adding “I had nothing to do with her. So she can lie and she can do whatever she wants to do. She can hire a phony lawyer.”
  62. When asked about climate change, Trump said, “I am truly an environmentalist,” adding “I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”
  63. When asked about separating migrant families, Trump said, “I covered it so nicely on ’60 Minutes,’ but they only put on pieces of it…although I heard that they did very nicely on the show. Did they do well?”
  64. On Tuesday, literary group PEN American sued Trump in federal court, alleging that “official acts” by Trump have “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution.”
  65. PEN America cites Trump’s meddling in the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner (parent of CNN), as well as his comments on WAPO owner and Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.
  66. Nearly 1,500 St. Lawrence University alumni and faculty called on the school to rescind an honorary degree awarded to Sen. Susan Collins citing “support of truth and for all of the victims of sexual assault and violence.”
  67. On Monday, Trump tweeted in response to the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, “Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen,’”adding “they are working closely with Turkey to find answer.”
  68. Moments later, Trump told reporters of his conversation with King Salman, “The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” adding “it sounded to me like maybe these could’ve been rogue killers.”
  69. Later Monday, seemingly following Trump’s lead, Saudi Arabia changed its story, saying Khashoggi was mistakenly killed during an interrogation ordered by a Saudi intelligence official who is a friend of the crown prince.
  70. Senators, both Republican and Democrat, urged swift action if Saudi Arabia is found responsible for killing Khashoggi. Senators said they will act if Trump did not take action.
  71. When asked about Khashoggi in his AP interview, Trump said “I think we have to find out what happened first,” adding “you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that,” comparing it to the Kavanaugh confirmation.
  72. On Wednesday, according to details in an audio recording in the Turkish news, all within a few minutes, Saudis severed Khashoggi’s fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.
  73. On Wednesday, NYT reported that Saudi Arabia made a $100 million deposit to the U.S. on Tuesday, the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh, to stabilize liberated areas in Syria.
  74. Trump also defended the alleged Saudi arms deal, which he said on Wednesday would create “450,000 jobs.” Over the past weekend, Trump had claimed the deal would create 50,000 jobs.
  75. On Thursday, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker warned the Trump regime that its intelligence information “clampdown” on the alleged Khashoggi killer “can’t go on.”
  76. On Thursday, WAPO reported hardline Republicans and conservative commentators are planning a whisper campaign to smear Khashoggi and protect Trump from criticism of his handling of the alleged murder.
  77. The group has been exchanging articles from right-wing outlets that have already been published. One means used to discredit Khashoggi is his association with the Muslim Brotherhood in his youth.
  78. On Thursday, Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner asserted, “Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Faulkner’s comments were echoed on the campaign trail by Virginia Republican Corey Stewart.
  79. Another area is questioning his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin Laden. Donald Trump Jr. amplified a tweet that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.”
  80. On Thursday, NBC News reported Twitter suspended a network of hundreds of Twitter bots that pushed pro-Saudi talking points in tweets and retweets at the same time about the disappearance of Khashoggi.
  81. On Friday, the Saudi government announced in a tweet by the Saudi Foreign Ministry that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, claiming he died during a fistfight.
  82. The Saudi government said it has fired five top officials and arrested 18 other Saudis. This is the first acknowledgment by the Saudis that Khashoggi, who went missing on October 2, was killed inside the consulate.
  83. On Friday, Trump broke from U.S. intelligence agencies, saying the Saudi’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death is credible, and calling the statement a “good first step” and a “big step.”
  84. Trump also said there was no need to cancel defense contracts, saying “we don’t use as retribution, canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs. I know it sounds easy and it sounds good.”
  85. World leaders denounced the Saudi account of Khashoggi’s killing. France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands suspended political visits to Saudi Arabia until more information is known about his death.
  86. On Monday, Sears announced it was closing 142 stores and filing for bankruptcy. Trump told reporters, “Sears has been dying for many years. It’s been obviously improperly run for many years. It is a shame.”
  87. The federal deficit ballooned to $779 billion in the fiscal year ended September 30, a 17% increase due to the Republican tax cut. Corporate tax collections fell by 31%.
  88. The deficit is expected to top $1 trillion in the coming year. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed federal spending and called for cuts to programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.
  89. As of Thursday, more than 1,100 people in Florida were still missing and the death toll had reached 34 from Hurricane Michael. Trump made a brief visit to storm-ravaged areas but otherwise largely ignored the hurricane’s impact and failed to acknowledge climate change’s role in increasingly severe weather.
  90. WAPO reported on anti-Trump fervor that has sparked a new movement of mostly college-educated women mobilized to turn the 2018 election. One organizer said, “we are fighting for the mortal soul of our country.”
  91. One survey of resistance groups showed 90% were women, 90% were white and 83% had either bachelors or graduate degrees. The median age was 55.
  92. Democratic campaign contributions measured by ActBlue show 4.5 million contributors so far in the 2018 cycle, with about 61% coming from women, compared with 1.5 million in 2014 with 52 % from women.
  93. Republican Women for Progress PAC, run by Republican women in Michigan, announced they will be backing Democrats in two key House races, citing Trump’s rhetoric and the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.
  94. In what campaign-finance experts say may be a first, outdoor clothing company Patagonia endorsed two Democratic candidates for Senate, Jon Tester in Montana and Jacky Rosen in Nevada, two close races.
  95. A spokesperson for the company said, “Public lands are center stage there, in Montana and Nevada,” adding “we felt by motivating our community to vote, we could help protect the public lands and waters in those places.”
  96. On Tuesday, Vanity Fair reported that despite having no formal cooperation agreement with the government, Michael Cohen has spent more than 50 hours providing information about ongoing investigations.
  97. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue his findings shortly after midterms. DOJ guidelines say to avoid disclosure close to an election that could be seen as influencing the outcome.
  98. Reportedly Mueller is close to rendering judgement on whether there was collusion between Russia and Trump’s 2016 campaign and whether Trump took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice.
  99. The timeline raises concerns about the probe itself: Trump has said multiple times he will fire attorney general Jeff Sessions after midterms, and deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein may resign or be fired too.
  100. On Wednesday, in a rare interview with the WSJ, Rosenstein forcefully defended the special counsel investigation into Russian interference, calling it “appropriate and independent.”
  101. Rosenstein also said “the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources,” and that the investigation was “appropriately managed.”
  102. On Thursday, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows called on Rosenstein to resign “immediately,” citing Rosenstein’s “unwillingness to come before Congress” and that he has not been “open and honest.”
  103. On Wednesday, White House counsel Don McGahn resigned, effective immediately. No explanation was given for the timing just weeks before midterms.
  104. Emmet Flood will temporarily take over McGahn’s role as White House counsel while Trump’s new appointee, Washington lawyer Pat Cipollone, waits for his background check to clear.
  105. On Thursday, the Guardian reported Aras Agalarov, who helped orchestrate the June 9 Trump Tower meeting, set up a new U.S. shell company in May 2016.
  106. The Russian accountant who helped set up the account has clients accused of money laundering and embezzlement. According to interviews and filings, Agalarov was preparing to move $20 million during the election.
  107. On Wednesday, CNN reported that Paul Manafort and his lawyers have visited Mueller’s office at least nine times in the last four weeks, an indication that the special counsel is moving at a fast clip.
  108. Mueller’s team is continuing to interview witnesses. Special counsel prosecutors have gathered a grand jury to meet in Washington on most Fridays and have visited the federal courthouse in Washington almost daily.
  109. On Friday, NBC News reported Manafort was rolled into a Virginia federal court in a wheelchair, wearing a green prison uniform, his hair visibly grayer. He was also missing one shoe.
  110. According to Manafort’s attorney Kevin Downing, there are significant issues with Manafort’s health. Downing asked for the court to expedite Manafort’s sentencing so he could be moved to a different facility.
  111. Judge T.S. Ellis decided Manafort will be sentenced on February 8 for financial crimes after a jury found him guilty in August.
  112. With another trial on separate charges still looming in Washington, the judge granted a request from Mueller’s team for more time to decide whether to retry Manafort or dismiss the remaining charges in Virginia.
  113. On Friday, the Justice Department announced it had charged Russian Elena Khusyaynova with conspiring to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, the first charges for interfering in the upcoming midterms.
  114. Khusyaynova managed the finances of “Project Lakhta,” an operation designed “to sow discord in the U.S. political system” by pushing incendiary positions on political controversies on social media platforms.
  115. Prosecutors said the project attempted to sow conflict along racial lines and at times advocated positions that directly opposed each other, with the objective of turning Americans against one another.
  116. Lakhta is the name of a neighborhood in St. Petersburg near the location of the troll farm Internet Research Agency. Project Lakhta’s operating budget from 2016–2018 exceeded $35 million, although not all its activities targeted the U.S.
  117. Funding was provided by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Prigozhin, an associate of Putin who is known as “Putin’s chef,” and two companies he controls: Concord Management and Consulting, and Concord Catering.
  118. The complaint was filed under seal in late September and kept secret for three weeks. It was unveiled due to National Security Advisor John Bolton’s pending trip to Russia and to raise public awareness about Russian political influence campaigns.
  119. On Friday, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement, “We are concerned about ongoing campaigns by Russia, China and other foreign actors, including Iran.”
  120. The office said the goal is to undermine “confidence in democratic institutions and influence public sentiment,” and to “influence voter perceptions and decision making in the 2018 and 2020 U.S. elections.”
  121. When asked by reporters about charges against the Russian national, Trump said it “had nothing to do with my campaign,” adding they “probably like Hillary Clinton better than me.”
  122. He also said that there was “no collusion whatsoever,” and shifted the blame to Obama, who he said “didn’t lift a finger” to stop Russia from interfering in the 2016 election.
  123. On Friday, WSJ reported Jerome Corsi, Roger Stone and associates of the late Peter W. Smith are all being investigated by Mueller’s team for their alleged contacts with WikiLeaks.
  124. Mueller’s team has Stone’s telephone records and evidence Smith had advance knowledge of the details surrounding WikiLeaks’ release of emails from a top Hillary Clinton campaign official.
  125. A caravan of 4,000 Honduran migrants headed north by walking, taking buses and hitching rides in cars and trucks to flee gangs and seek work and more stability for their families in Mexico or the U.S.
  126. On Monday, roughly 2,000 migrants had pushed past police into Guatemala. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted threats to cut U.S. aid to Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico if the caravan did not stop.
  127. On Tuesday, Trump also tweeted, “Anybody entering the United States illegally will be arrested and detained, prior to being sent back to their country!”
  128. On Thursday, Trump threatened to send the military to the border, tweeting he is asking “Mexico to stop this onslaught and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”
  129. Trump also claimed, without evidence, that Democrats are backing the caravan to bolster what he said was the party’s preference for “open borders and existing weak laws.”
  130. Bloomberg reported chief of staff John Kelly and John Bolton engaged in a profanity-laced shouting match outside the Oval Office on Thursday afternoon.
  131. The topic was immigration and the surge in border crossings, with Bolton criticizing the performance of the Homeland Security Department under Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Kelly defending her.
  132. CNN reported Trump was present for the beginning of the shouting match, but he later denied knowledge of it. The sharp disagreement sparked fears of further resignations from the regime.
  133. Reportedly the caravan issue has been the subject of several White House meetings in recent days — not only how to stop it, but also how to use the issue for midterms.
  134. On Friday, when asked by a NYT reporter what evidence he had that migrants trying to enter our country at the border are “hardened criminals,” Trump responded, “Oh please, please, don’t be a baby.”
  135. On Thursday and Friday, Trump tweeted using the hashtag #JobsNotMobs. Trump also repeatedly used the words at his rallies.
  136. On Thursday, protestors spelled the word “LIAR” in red, white and blue on the side of Mount Jumbo in Missoula, Montana, which was reportedly visible from where Trump held a rally that evening.
  137. Trump delivered a rambling 45-minutes long speech in Montana, veering from topic to topic. The rally was not carried live by cable TV networks. Before Trump spoke, the crowd warmed up by chanting “Lock her up.”
  138. Trump again celebrated his 2016 victory and, in discussing his accomplishments since, said the allegations against Kavanaugh were a Democratic “con job.”
  139. Trump called Democrats the party of “open borders” and of “crime,” and also said “radical, far-left Democrats” have “truly turned into an angry mob bent on destroying anything and anyone in their path.
  140. Repeating his mantra using the words mobs and jobs, Trump also said, “Democrats produce mobs, Republicans produce jobs.”
  141. Trump also acknowledged that Ronny Jackson “might not have been qualified” to head up Veterans Affairs, after claiming “Jon Tester led the Democrat mob in the effort to destroy the reputation of a great man.”
  142. Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a Guardian reporter in June 2017, saying “Any guy who can do a body slam, he’s my candidate, he’s my guy.”
  143. After the rally, the Guardian US editor issued a statement condemning Trump’s attack, saying “We hope decent people will denounce these remarks and that the president will see fit to apologize for them.”
  144. On Friday, the British government joined press freedom advocates and journalists in speaking out about Trump’s remarks, saying “Any violence or intimidation against a journalist is completely unacceptable.”
  145. The editor-in-chief of the Guardian wrote, “The world’s press would welcome a clear statement from the U.S. government that it remains committed to the rights of journalists everywhere to do their work without fear of violence or repression.”
  146. On Friday, Trump doubled-down on his praise for Gianforte at a signing ceremony, saying “Greg is a tremendous guy, tough cookie.”
  147. On Thursday, outgoing U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley broke with Trump at an event in New York, saying “in America, our political opponents are not evil.” Trump has frequently labeled Democrats “evil.”
  148. On Friday, Trump attacked Democrats as an “angry mob” on Twitter, using edited clips of Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder in which they are cut off in mid-sentence.
  149. NYT reported on discontent within the DOJ under Jeff Sessions as the department has shifted from the civil rights-centered agenda of Obama to hardline conservative views on immigration, civil rights and social issues.
  150. In his effort to transform the department, Sessions has ignored dissent, leading to infighting, several high-level departures and morale described as the lowest in memory. Many high-level positions remain unfilled.
  151. Trump has also stoked unease at the department. He assailed the prosecutor who won a conviction in the Manafort case and attacked the plea agreement struck with Michael Cohen.
  152. New Yorker reported on Sinclair Broadcasting’s growing influence as the largest owner of television stations, especially at the local level where newspapers have closed.
  153. According to Pew Research, 50% of Americans get their news from television, and 66% trust their local news station. Sinclair owns more stations in swing states than any other company.
  154. Sinclair has exploited loopholes in regulations meant to protect competition by buying small and mid-sized television stations and setting up shell companies that on paper appear to be separate entities.
  155. Reporters working for local stations purchased by Sinclair told the New Yorker they were forced to cover only certain stories, often citing inaccurate information or faulty premises. Many chose to quit.
  156. On Friday, Trump randomly tweeted, “When referring to the USA, I will always capitalize the word Country!” There is no evidence that Trump capitalizes the word country.
  157. On Friday, Trump held another campaign rally in Arizona. Trump continued his attacks on Democrats, whom he called an “unhinged mob,” and said, “vote for the jobs, not for the mobs.”
  158. Trump also spoke repeatedly about immigrants, resurrecting the phrase “bad hombres” to describe those entering the U.S. illegally. Trump said hospitals and schools are being “overrun” with immigrants.
  159. As of Saturday, more than 4.3 million Americans had already cast their ballots in midterm elections, a huge increase from the last midterm. In Georgia more than 300,000 residents have voted early, about 30% of whom are black.


Week 100 of something that’s becoming so hard to believe: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. 


October 13, 2018

This week as Republicans celebrated the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, polling told a different story: more Americans disapprove of the confirmation, are concerned about Kavanaugh politicizing the court and believe there should be further Congressional investigation. Under Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership, a record number of Trump judicial nominees have been pushed through, including restacking 15 percent of circuit court judges.

In the final weeks before midterms, Democrats poured record donations to House candidates, and Beto O’Rourke, the Senate candidate from Texas, pulled in a record-smashing haul of $38.1 million for the last quarter. Republicans sought to counter Democrats’ enthusiasm by riling their base by vilifying the left as paid protestors or a “mob” that threatens violence against the right. These tactics serve as an acknowledgment that traditional issues like tax cuts and the economy no longer excite the Republican base.

The disappearance and likely death of WAPO contributor Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly at the hands of the Saudi crown prince, along with the vicious murder of popular Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova — both government critics — drew international attention to the threat to human rights and the free press. Trump tried to side-step U.S. involvement, while sharpening his attacks on his Democratic rivals as scary, bad, evil, radical, and dangerous — and billing himself as the only one who can save his base from disaster.

After U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley became the latest on the growing list of senior official departures, Trump flirted with the idea of elevating Ivanka Trump to the position, repeatedly. For the first time since taking office, Trump’s campaign rallies no longer garnered live broadcast on Fox News, indicating a falloff in ratings.

Depiction of Brett Kavanaugh on a sticker in New York City. October 2018. Photo: Dusty Rebel
“Against Nazis” in Frankfurt, Germany. 4Oct18.
“Refugees Welcome!” in Dresden, Germany. October2018.
“Fuck Off, Bad People!” Dresden, Germany. October2018.
Edward Snowden in Asylum. Weimar, Germany. October2018.
  1. On Saturday evening, as Justice Brett Kavanaugh was being sworn in, protestors rallied and some pounded the doors of the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police said 164 people were arrested during the protests.
  2. Simultaneous protests took place in other U.S. cities including Denver, Atlanta, Cleveland and New York City. In Austin, Texas, protestors were arrested after blocking a bridge to demonstrate.
  3. On Saturday, Trump tweeted, “Women for Kavanaugh, and many others who support this very good man, are gathering all over Capitol Hill” adding “they are not paid professional protesters” with “expensive signs.”
  4. On Saturday night, at a rally in Kansas, Trump praised Kavanaugh and accused Democrats of trying to “plunge our country into gridlock and chaos,” adding that Democrats are the party of “crime.”
  5. Trump attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling her “Pocahontas” and saying “I have more Indian blood than her and I have none,” and falsely attributed a statement about Vietnam to Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
  6. On the way to the event, Trump told reporters he was certain Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had misidentified Kavanaugh as the perpetrator, saying “I’m a hundred percent. I have no doubt.”
  7. Robert Post, the former dean of Yale Law School, wrote Kavanaugh’s “very presence will undermine the court’s claim to legitimacy; it will damage the nation’s commitment to the rule of law. It will be an American tragedy.”
  8. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported neo-Nazis and racists are rejoicing over the Kavanaugh appointment as “open season” on women, as well as on LGBTQ and minority rights.
  9. David Duke made an anti-Semitic statement. Neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer featured a photo of bound and gagged women, including one tossed over a man’s shoulder, and an exploding Planned Parenthood clinic.
  10. On Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that Trump’s “third term thing is looking better and better.”
  11. On Sunday, Taylor Swift, in an Instagram post, broke her public political silence, encouraging her followers to vote in the midterms and slamming GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the Senate in Tennessee.
  12. Swift wrote in her post, “I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent.”
  13. On Monday, when asked about Swift’s statement, Trump told reporters, “I’m sure Taylor Swift…doesn’t know anything about her (Blackburn),” adding, “Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25% less now.”
  14. BuzzFeed reported Swift’s Instagram post caused a massive spike in voter registrations. Vote.org added 65,000 registrations in the 24-hour period after Swift’s post, compared to 56,669 registrations during the entire month of August.
  15. Metro Weekly reported a transgender student at a middle school in Virginia was left outside during a mass shooter drill after school administrators could not decide if she should shelter with boys or girls.
  16. Police in Hamilton, Texas, removed a yard sign showing a GOP elephant with its trunk up the skirt of a woman yelling “HELP!” that was painted by Marion Stanford during Kavanaugh’s Senate testimony.
  17. The sign, which also read “YOUR VOTE MATTERS,” was placed right below a sign supporting Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke. The policeman said there were complaints about the sign and that “it is pornography.”
  18. On Tuesday, HuffPost reported Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler engaged with racist and inflammatory content on his personal Facebook and Twitter accounts over the past five years, including in the past month.
  19. In August 2016, Wheeler defended Milo Yiannopoulos, who was banned from Twitter for encouraging his fans to harass “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones, who is a Black American.
  20. On Thursday, Wheeler told a reporter at E&E News that he does not remember liking a 2013 racist post that showed Barack and Michelle Obama looking at a banana, claiming he did it by mistake scrolling by.
  21. In an email obtained by BuzzFeed under a Freedom of Information Act request, then-Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly called Sen. Elizabeth Warren an “impolite arrogant woman” in an email to an aide.
  22. Michael Kalny, a Republican official in Kansas, resigned after saying on social media that “radical socialist kick-boxing lesbian” Native American Sharice Davids will be “sent back packing to the reservation.”
  23. Teresa Klein, a white woman in Brooklyn, New York, called the police, falsely claiming a 9-year-old black boy touched her behind a deli. The boy and another child burst into tears after Klein confronted them.
  24. The commotion was captured on video and posted on Facebook, where Klein was labeled “Cornerstore Caroline.” Klein later apologized on local television, but she continued to deny her actions were racially motivated.
  25. The Supreme Court refused to intervene with North Dakota’s new voter ID law after Native Americans residents challenged the requirement to show a street address in order to vote. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces a close race.
  26. In Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is the Republican running for governor, announced 53,000 voter registrations were flagged and would be put on hold. Of those on hold, 70 percent are Black Americans.
  27. On Thursday, Georgia NAACP and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights sued Kemp, seeking to reopen voter registration in Georgia to ensure the 53,000 registrants and others can vote in the midterms.
  28. On Friday, Kemp’s Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams called on him to resign. Kemp blamed the situation on “outside agitators.” Georgia has purged a total of 1.5 million voters between the 2012 and 2016 elections.
  29. Houston Chronicle reported Jacob Aronowitz, a field director for Democratic congressional candidate Mike Siegel, was arrested after delivering a letter demanding the county update the status of students.
  30. Aronowitz was arrested for taking a photo of a clerk receiving the letter to confirm it had been received. The clerk objected to having her picture taken and complained to a nearby bailiff, who called the police.
  31. WAPO reported Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his aides are fighting to not answer the question in court of which official pushed Ross to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
  32. On Monday, NYT reported on hearings in a New York immigration court, where Judge Randa Zagzoug had nearly 30 children to hear from, whose ages ranged from 2 through 17 years old in one afternoon.
  33. With the five-fold increase from May 2017 of children being held in federally contracted shelters, more and more children are coming to court, including children under the age of 6, which was a rarity until last year.
  34. On Tuesday, AP reported even though Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy ended, hundreds of children remain in detention, shelters or foster care, and more than 200 are not eligible for reunification or release.
  35. An investigation of court documents, immigration records and interviews found holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families without notifying their parents.
  36. New Yorker reported that in July, after crossing the border and being separated from her mother, a 5-year-old girl seeking asylum from Honduras was detained and persuaded to sign away her rights.
  37. On Thursday, Intercept reported, according to a new report published by Amnesty International, the number of families separated under “zero-tolerance” at the border may be thousands more than originally reported.
  38. Customs and Border Protection detail the separation of 6,022 “family units” — a term that sometimes refers to a family group. Amnesty estimates 4,000 children were separated, not 2,500 as reported by the regime.
  39. A representative from Amnesty International said the only way to get at the real number would be a congressional inquiry.
  40. On Thursday, CNN reported ICE put a 4-year-old girl on a plane to Guatemala to be reunited with her father. Her father was not informeduntil 30 minutes before her flight landed. He lives eight hours away.
  41. On Friday, WAPO reported the Trump regime is actively considering plans that could again separate migrant parents and children at the Southern border, seeking to deter the flow of families trying to cross illegally.
  42. The number of migrant family members charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August to a record level. Trump has been unable to fulfill his promise to build a wall or end the practice of “catch and release.”
  43. One option being considered is the called “binary choice” — detain families together for 20 days then give them the option of seeking asylum or allow the children to be taken into government custody.
  44. Other option being considered includes new rules to withdraw from a 1997 federal court agreement that limits ICE custody of children to 20 days and imposes production quotas on immigration judges.
  45. Flavio Musmanno was contacted by a supposed good Samaritan after losing his wallet working a construction job in Ohio. When he met up, the Samaritan turned out to be an ICE agent who arrested him. He is set to be deported.
  46. On Monday, Trump advocated reinstating a practice called stop-and-frisk to curb crime in Chicago, saying the agreement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the police department to end stop-and-frisk abuses was “terrible.”
  47. On Friday, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced the Justice Department would be sending more violent crime prosecutors to Chicago.
  48. Popular Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova was found dead this week. She had been raped and beaten to death so forcefully she was unrecognizable. Marinova is the fourth journalist killed in the EU since 2017.
  49. In Russia, just 58% of citizens said Putin could be trusted, down from 75% last year, and the lowest since level since 2012. Putin’s ratings skyrocketed after troops seized Russian-speaking Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
  50. Turkish investigators said they were probing the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen publicly entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi contributed to WAPO’s Global section.
  51. On Wednesday, WAPO reported crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, to Saudi Arabia from Virginia to detain him. Khashoggi refused to go.
  52. Khashoggi was later assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Jared Kushner, who has a close relationship with Mohammed bin Salman, and national security adviser John Bolton spoke to the crown prince, but Saudis provided little information.
  53. On Thursday, when asked about Khashoggi by reporters, Trump said, “this took place in Turkey and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, is that right? He’s a permanent resident.”
  54. Trump claimed that Saudi Arabia is “spending $110 billion on military equipment.” WAPO fact checker gave Trump’s claim “Four Pinocchios,” saying the $110 billion figure is not real and is unlikely to come to fruition.
  55. Trump has long and deep business ties to Saudi Arabia, which he bragged about on the campaign trail in 2015, while creating new foreign entities in the kingdom. The Saudis have purchased his yacht and apartments at his properties.
  56. On Saturday, Trump vowed “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia murdered Khashoggi, adding “Well, nobody knows yet, but we’ll probably be able to find out,” in an interview for “60 Minutes” set to air Sunday night.
  57. Atypical for a U.S. leader, Trump’s first foreign visit after taking office was to Saudi Arabia. The kingdom continues to funnel money to Trump businesses after Trump took office, including the Trump Hotel DC.
  58. On Sunday, WSJ reported GOP operative Peter W. Smith raised at least $100,000 to search for Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails. Smith mysteriously died 10 days after first speaking to the Journal in Week 35.
  59. Smith went to great lengths to remain secretive: donations were sent to a Washington, D.C.-based scholarship fund for Russian students, and he communicated using a Gmail account under the name “Robert Tyler.”
  60. Smith’s activities remain of interest to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, as well as the Mueller probe. Associates of Smith have been interviewed by investigators or summoned before a grand jury.
  61. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Smith met with Michael Flynn as early as 2015, before Flynn joined the Trump campaign. Smith told associates during the campaign he was using Flynn’s connections to help with the email project.
  62. NYT reported Rick Gates, as deputy chair of the Trump campaign, requested proposals in 2016 from Israeli company Psy-Group for fake online identities, social media manipulation and gathering intelligence.
  63. One proposal was to use bogus personas to target and sway delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention by attacking Ted Cruz. Another was for opposition research about Hillary Clinton and people close to her.
  64. The third proposal was for a months-long plan to help Trump by using social media to expose or amplify division among rival campaigns and factions.
  65. Joel Zamel of Psy-Group pitched the company’s services during a meeting on August 3, 2016, at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., which was also attended by George Nader and Erik Prince.
  66. Nader, who is cooperating in the Mueller, probe, and Zamel have given differing accounts of whether Psy-Group carried out social media efforts to help the Trump campaign. Nader paid him $2 million after the election.
  67. Mueller’s team has obtained copies of the proposals and questioned Psy-Group employees as part of its probe of Russia’s efforts to disrupt the 2016 election. Gates is now cooperating in the Mueller probe.
  68. The offices of Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency, a troll farm, was set ablaze. Earlier this year, more than a dozen employees of the operation were indicted in the Mueller probe for interfering in the 2016 election.
  69. New Yorker reported on ties between the Trump Organization’s server and Alfa Bank during the 2016 election, possibly a means of communication. NYT would not allow a reporter covering the story to go public.
  70. The reporter, Eric Lichtblau, uncovered in September 2016 that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into Russian contacts with Trump’s aides. The NYT ran a story October 31 saying there was no link.
  71. On Wednesday, Richard Pinedo was sentenced to six months in prison and six months’ home confinement in the Mueller probe. Pinedo is the third American to be sentenced to prison.
  72. Pinedo, who pleaded guilty to identity theft, cooperated in the Mueller probe. His testimony contributed to the indictment of 13 Russian individuals and three companies in Week 66.
  73. On Thursday, Judge T.S. Ellis II questioned Manafort’s plea deal with Mueller, calling it “highly unusual” to seek the dismissal of deadlocked charges only after Manafort has finished cooperating in the probe.
  74. The move has the potential to take away an incentive for Manafort to cooperate and could lead to details of Mueller’s investigative interests being made public. The parties will appear again in court on October 19.
  75. On Thursday, NBC News reported Trump’s attorneys are preparing written answers to questions from Mueller’s team. The questions focus on whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.
  76. Trump has continued to deny any collusion with Russia took place. There is still no agreement for an in-person interview between Mueller’s team and Trump.
  77. On Monday, a petition by progressive groups calling for the impeachment of Kavanaugh gathered more than 125,000 signatures.
  78. On Monday, Trump told reporters the sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Kavanaugh are a “hoax” generated by the Democrats, adding “It was all made up — it was fabricated, and it’s a disgrace.”
  79. On Monday, an attorney for Ford told MSNBC that Ford cannot return home for “quite some time,” saying, “the threats have been unending. It’s deplorable. It’s been very frightening.”
  80. On Monday, at Kavanaugh’s swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Trump falsely claimed allegations against Kavanaugh for sexual assault, “under historic scrutiny, were proven innocent.”
  81. In a break from precedent, Trump apologized to Kavanaugh: “On behalf of our nation…for the terrible pain and suffering you have been forced to endure” and decried the “campaign of personal destruction.”
  82. There is precedent for a ceremony in the White House: all sitting Supreme Court justices did have one except Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, although the others were done privately and without reporters attending.
  83. Kavanaugh thanked Vice President Mike Pence, several GOP senators and Sen. Joe Machin, and White House Counsel Don McGahn. Historian Michael Beschloss expressed concern Kavanaugh is going to be “very indebted” to Trump.
  84. On Monday, WAPO reported, in an effort to mobilize GOP voters, Republicans have cast the Trump resistance movement as “an angry mob” they say threatens the country’s order.
  85. Rep. David Brat said he is running against the “liberal mob,” and Senate candidate Corey Stewart decried “mob tactics,” characterizations meant to evoke fear of an unknown and out-of-control mass of people.
  86. That the GOP is fanning a culture war is also a tacit admission that many of the issues that Republicans had hoped to run on, including tax cuts and the economy, have not been enough to spark GOP voters’ enthusiasm.
  87. On Monday, in an op-ed in the Murdoch-owned WSJ titled “George Soros’s March of Washington,” Asra Nomani made sweeping and unsubstantiated claims that the Kavanaugh protestors were funded by Soros.
  88. On Tuesday, in an interview with a Kentucky radio station, Sen. Rand Paul said he was concerned that there “is going to be an assassination” as a result of the political climate.
  89. On Tuesday, Trump claimed in a tweet that the “paid D.C. protesters” who he falsely claimed were hired to protest the Kavanaugh confirmation, are now “REALLY protest[ing] because they haven’t gotten their checks.”
  90. Fix the Court, a nonpartisan group advocating for accountability and transparency on the Supreme Court, purchased the domain BrettKavanaugh.com and directed it to resources for sexual assault survivors.
  91. On Monday, a new CNN poll found negative views of Kavanaugh on the rise: 51% oppose his confirmation, up from 39% in early September. Support inched up from 38% in early September to 41% now.
  92. On Monday, Alaska’s GOP Party chairman said his committee could decide to issue a statement or withdraw support for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in next election because she opposed Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
  93. Eric Barber, a West Virginia city councilman who is pro-Kavanaugh, wrote: “Better get you’re (sic) coathangers ready liberals,” in a now-deleted Facebook comment to a private group.
  94. On Tuesday, a CNN poll found a record gender gap in party support, with women voters backing Democrats for Congress 63–33, while men backed the GOP 50–45. Overall, likely voters favor Democrats 54–41.
  95. On Wednesday, Trump’s White House announced the eighteenth wave of federal court nominees: thirteen men, zero women.
  96. All were successfully pushed through the Senate. Under Sen. Mitch McConnell, a record number of judges have been confirmed, including 29 to the circuit courts, 53 to district courts and two to the Supreme Court.
  97. Trump’s nominees now fill a whopping 15 percent of the circuit court seats. During Obama’s second term, McConnell allowed floor votes on only 22 of his judicial nominees.
  98. On Wednesday, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, FBI director Christopher Wray defended the “limited” scope of Kavanaugh background probe, saying it was “consistent with the standard process.”
  99. When asked by Sen. Kamala Harris if Kavanaugh misled Congress in his Senate testimony, Wray said “That’s not something I could discuss here.”
  100. When asked why neither Kavanaugh nor Ford was interviewed, Wray said “the investigation was very specific in scope, limited in scope” adding “the usual process was followed.”
  101. On Wednesday, Chief Justice John Roberts referred 15 judicial misconduct complaints filed against Kavanaugh, related to statements he made during his Senate hearings, to a federal appeals court in Colorado.
  102. The complaints relate to whether Kavanaugh was dishonest and lacked judicial temperament during his testimony. The Colorado appeals court is led by Chief Judge Tymkovich, who was nominated George W. Bush.
  103. Per Week 99, it is unprecedented for a new justice to face complaints. Merrick Garland, the chief judge in the D.C. circuit, recused himself. It is unclear if Colorado will close the case since Kavanaugh has been elevated.
  104. On Monday, Fox announced Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director, will become the chief communications officer of Fox, the new entity to be spun out of Murdoch assets sold to Walt Disney.
  105. Unlike most who have departed from the regime, Hicks remains close with Trump, including traveling with him on Air Force One in August, and is held in high esteem by many in the West Wing.
  106. On Monday, watchdog group CREW called on the Inspector General to investigate whether U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley violated federal ethics regulations by accepting flights on private planes.
  107. On Tuesday, in a surprise to Trump regime officials, Haley announced she was resigning at the end of the year, giving no clear reason for the timing four weeks before midterms.
  108. Haley frequently disagreed with Trump on foreign policy and reportedly had a strained relationship with John Bolton. In December, Haley said that women who had accused Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard.”
  109. Reporters and pundits speculated on why Haley resigned: everything from a 2020 run, to having penned the anonymous NYT op-ed, to taking Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat. Her resignation letter was dated October 3.
  110. Haley is the sixth cabinet official to depart, leaving just four racial or ethnic minorities and five women out of Trump’s 23 cabinet members
  111. Names floated to replace Haley included Dina Powell and Ivanka Trump. Trump later told reporters Ivanka would be “incredible” and “dynamite,” adding “But, you know, I’d then be accused of nepotism, if you can believe it.”
  112. On Friday, Trump tweeted, “everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador” but complained, “I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!” Ivanka tweeted Tuesday she did not want the role.
  113. On Monday, a landmark climate change report commissioned by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change painted a far more direpicture of the immediate consequences than previously thought.
  114. The report warns of worsening food shortages, wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 and says avoiding damage requires transforming the world economy at an unprecedented speed and scale.
  115. The report found if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) over preindustrial levels by 2040.
  116. On Tuesday, when asked about the U.N. report by reporters, Trump said “I want to look at who drew, you know, which group drew it.” Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, which gave rise to the report.
  117. Trump also told reporters “I want more industry. I want more energy,” saying of ethanol, produced in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Iowa, “it’s an amazing substance. You look at the Indy cars. They run 100 percent on ethanol.”
  118. On Wednesday, Trump wrote an op-ed in USA Today about Democrats’ “Medicare-For-All” plan. According to WAPO’s fact checker, almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood.
  119. The op-ed also contained incendiary statements, including “The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead. The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela.”
  120. USA Today Editorial Page Editor Bill Sternberg pushed on Twitter, writing “The degree of fact-checking is also apparent in the many hyperlinks in the digital version.” The links do not back up the claims in the editorial.
  121. On Thursday, bowing to criticism, USA Today fact-checked the op-ed and found “several instances where [Trump] misrepresented the facts and made misleading statements” about Medicare and health insurance in general.
  122. Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reported Trump and Putin may meet again in Helsinki next spring. Reportedly organizers are already looking for dates, and Valentine’s Day weekend is being considered.
  123. On Tuesday, Westmoreland Coal Co., one of the oldest coal companies in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy amid declining demand for coal.
  124. On Wednesday, the stock market plunged over 800 points, the biggest loss since February, on fears of rising interest rates.
  125. Trump blamed the Federal Reserve for stocks tumbling, telling reporters, “The Fed is making a mistake” about gradually lifting interest rates, adding, “I think the Fed has gone crazy.”
  126. On Thursday, Trump continued to attack the Fed, telling reporters the Fed’s monetary policy “is far too stringent,” adding “they’re making a mistake and it’s not right.”
  127. When Trump was asked by reporters whether he would fire Fed Chair Jerome Powell, he responded, “No, I’m not going to fire him. I’m just disappointed.”
  128. WAPO reported top FBI attorney James Baker said in a Congressional hearing last week that he took seriously a question by then acting FBI director Andrew McCabe about wiretapping Trump.
  129. Baker said McCabe took deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s suggestion of wiretapping Trump seriously. Baker said the proposal to wear a wire was dismissed by senior FBI and DOJ officials “within a couple of days.”
  130. Politico reported Fox News is no longer giving Trump’s campaign rallies prime-time coverage, signaling he is no longer getting high enough ratings to pre-empt programming.
  131. A reporter from New Yorker listened to Trump’s six rallies in October, given that they are no longer televised. She found a blatant disregard for the truth and a repeating of lies that have already been debunked.
  132. Amid the lies, Trump makes himself a hero in every story. While Trump paints a dystopian view of the country, the politicians he campaigns with are called upon to shower him with praise.
  133. Trump also uses pejorative nicknames, like “low I.Q.” Maxine Waters, “Crooked Hillary” and “Crazy Bernie,” and gives his supporters a deep sense of hate of others not in politics at every rally.
  134. Trump also decries Democrats as “scary, bad, evil, radical, dangerous.” He is the leader of law order and order, and he alone stands between his audiences and disaster.
  135. As Trump’s base remains loyal and their support does not budge, the concern is that Trump is creating a space to do the unthinkable.
  136. On Tuesday, at a campaign rally in Iowa, Trump accused Sen. Diane Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, of leaking “the documents.” The crowd responded with chants of “Lock her up!
  137. On Wednesday, at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, Trump accused Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia to affect the 2016 election while his crowd chanted “Lock her up!”
  138. On Thursday, authorities arrested Craig Shaver, a California man, for allegedly threatening to kill Sen. Feinstein. Prosecutors said Shaver made the threat in a September 30 email to the Senator.
  139. On Thursday, after receiving no prime-time coverage for his rallies this week, Trump pre-empted hurricane coverage on Fox News, appearing on “Fox & Friends” for a 47-minute long interview.
  140. When asked if he would fire attorney general Jeff Sessions and deputy Rod Rosenstein immediately after the midterm election, Trump replied, “Well, I actually get along well with Rod.”
  141. Trump criticized the Fed for the drop in the stock market. He also predicted partisan discord if Democrats won control of the House and noted some Democrats have already threatened to impeach Kavanaugh.
  142. The “Fox & Friends” co-hosts repeatedly tried to end the interview. Eventually, host Steve Doocy found an opening to end the interview, telling Trump, “Go run the country.”
  143. Later Thursday, Trump met with singer Kayne West in the Oval Office in front of reporters. Trump used the praise heaped on him by West at his rallies and as a means to suggest Black Americans should vote for him.
  144. Both former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen re-registered as Democrats.
  145. On Friday, Facebook revealed data was stolen from 29 million users, not 50 million, in September. The hacked information contained vital personal data, including name and phone number, email, location, gender and relationship status.
  146. On Friday, according to an August letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Chuck Grassley made public, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security clearance, along with five other aides, has been revoked at her request.
  147. The letter indicates Clinton’s request was done in quiet protest of Trump revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance in sync with Admiral William McCraven’s op-ed supporting Brennan.
  148. On Friday, at a campaign rally in Ohio, Trump cited lower unemployment numbers for Black Americans and asked black voters to “honor us” by voting Republican, falsely claiming “we have the best numbers in history.”
  149. Trump then praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee, calling Lee a “true great fighter” and “great general” and added Abraham Lincoln once had a “phobia” of Lee, whose support of slavery made his legacy contested.
  150. Trump also evoked the notion of the mob, claiming from the moment Kavanaugh was announced as his nominee, “an angry Democratic mob was on a mission to resist, obstruct, delay, and destroy him.”
  151. On Friday, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found more Americans disapprove of the Kavanaugh confirmation: women say it moves them to Democrats over Republicans by 16 points, while men are evenly split.
  152. The poll found 43% of Americans believe the court’s rulings will be more politically motivated with Kavanaugh on the court, compared with 10% who said they will be less political.
  153. The poll also found 53% of Americans support further investigation of Kavanaugh by Congress, while 43% are opposed. Among independents, 55% support further investigation, while 40% do not.
  154. Democrats are donating record amounts to House candidates heading into midterms: in the 70 most contested races, the GOP has reserved $60 million in TV ads, compared to $109 million for Democrats since late July.
  155. The head of a pro-Trump super PAC said “we’ve never seen anything like this before.” House GOP aides hoping to receive a late cash transfer from the Republican National Committee no longer expect that to happen.
  156. A new proposal by the Trump regime’s Park Department could restrict protests by effectively blocking them along the north sidewalk of the White House and making it easier for police to shut them down.
  157. The proposal would also curtail protests at Washington’s most iconic staging grounds, including the National Mall, Lafayette Square and the Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalks in front of the Trump Hotel DC.


Week 99 of toilet paper on the shoe of our democracy: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

October 7, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-99-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-c84bbf9b03c1

This was all predictable. The descent to authoritarianism follows a predictable path in history. Masha Gessen, one of the “experts in authoritarianism” I read before starting the project of making the weekly list, wrote this in a New York Review of Books article on November 10, 2016, “There is little doubt that Trump will appoint someone who will cause the Court to veer to the right; there is also the risk that it might be someone who will wreak havoc with the very culture of the high court.” Prescient indeed.

This week, veering off norm after norm, and stoking a culture war between #MeToo and his newly coined #HeToo movement, Trump, with the help of Sen. Mitch McConnell plowed through to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee. Kavanaugh’s 50–48 confirmation vote margin was the lowest since Stanley Matthews’ 24–23 vote 1881. Bookending Gessen’s piece, this week in the New York Review of Books Christopher Browning, in a piece titled “The Suffocation of Democracy,” compares McConnell to Hitler-era German President Paul von Hindenburg — both of whom he refers to as “gravediggers” of democracy.

Meanwhile, the acts of hatred against “the others” continued this week. Trump again beat the familiar drum of white men as victims, this time at the hands of women who dare to find their voices. A bombshell article by the NYTrevealed the lie behind Trump’s campaign image of a self-made billionaire; reporters found his fortune was largely handed down by his father, much of it in a fraudulent manner.

Images from Weimar , Germany. September 2018:


  1. A Pew Research poll found America’s global image has plummeted under Trump, amid widespread opposition to his regime’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership abilities.
  2. The poll finds the world has significant concerns about America’s role in world affairs, citing isolationism and the U.S. doing less to help solve major global challenges. American soft power is waning as well.
  3. Trump polled the lowest among leaders of major powers, with 70% of those surveyed in 25 countries saying they have no confidence in him to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Just 27% have confidence.
  4. On Saturday, Trump visited West Virginia for a campaign rally where he bragged about his economic accomplishments. Under Trump, poverty in the state climbed to 19.1% in 2017 from 17.9% in 2016.
  5. Speaking on North Korea, Trump said he started off being tough with Kim Jong Un, but “then we fell in love, OK. No, really. He wrote me beautiful letters, and they’re great letters. And then we fell in love.”
  6. On Saturday, the Intercept reported that despite Kavanaugh’s claim at the Senate hearing that “I have no connections there. I got there by busting my tail,” his grandfather Everett Edward Kavanaugh also attended Yale.
  7. On Saturday, NBC News reported the White House counsel’s office has imposed severe limitations to the FBI investigation. The probe will not include interviewing Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Julie Swetnick.
  8. The FBI will not interview Kavanaugh’s Yale classmates about alleged excessive drinking or high school classmates about sexual references in his yearbook to see if witnesses would contradict his Senate testimony.
  9. Just four people will be interviewed: Mark Judge; Leland Keyser, a high school friend of Ford who she said attended the party but was not told of the assault; P.J. Smyth, another party guest; and Deborah Ramirez.
  10. WSJ reported the investigation is being “tightly controlled” by the White House, and the FBI will not have free rein to pursue all potential leads.
  11. On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted, “NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation,” adding, “I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion.”
  12. On Sunday, NBC News reported that despite Trump’s tweet, the FBI has received no new instructions from the White House about changing the limitations on the investigation.
  13. On Sunday, Sen. Diane Feinstein sent a letter to White House counsel Don McGahn and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a copy of the written directive the White House sent to the FBI.
  14. On Sunday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton told Face the Nation that Feinstein and her staff will be investigated over the leaked Ford letter. Feinstein repeated Monday that she and her staff did not leak the letter.
  15. On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway said on State of the Union that she was a victim of sexual assault, then seemed to use her admission to support Kavanaugh saying, “You have to be responsible for your own conduct.”
  16. On Monday, Trump told reporters he had instructed McGahn to have the FBI carry out an open investigation, with the caveat that the inquiry should accommodate the desires of Senate Republicans.
  17. Trump said he wanted a “comprehensive” FBI investigation and had no problem if the FBI questioned Kavanaugh or even Swetnick. Trump said he accepted Kavanaugh’s denials, calling confirmation process deeply unfair.
  18. On Monday, the Portland Press Herald reported Sen. Susan Collins wants the FBI to investigate the allegations brought by Julie Swetnick and not limit the scope of its investigation to those raised at the Senate hearings.
  19. The editorial boards of two Maine newspapers spoke out against Kavanaugh: the Portland Herald Press wrote “he doesn’t belong on the Supreme Court,” and the Bangor Daily News called him “unfit.”
  20. On Sunday, CNN reported the FBI spoke to Deborah Ramirez and she provided them with names of witnesses. On Tuesday, her attorney John Clune said none of the 20 witnesses had been contacted.
  21. On Sunday, the New Yorker reported the attorney for Elizabeth Rasor, a college girlfriend of Judge, repeatedly made clear to the Senate Judiciary Committee and FBI she would like to speak but has not heard back.
  22. On Monday, NBC News reported in the days leading up to Ramirez’s allegations becoming public, Kavanaugh and his team surreptitiously communicated with his Yale classmates about refuting the story.
  23. Kerry Berchem, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh Ramirez, said she has tried to get those messages to the FBI but has not heard back. Berchem emailed FBI agent J.C. McDonough a memo, along with screenshots of texts.
  24. In a text message between Berchem and Karen Yarasavage, both friends of Kavanaugh, Yarasavage said Kavanaugh asked her to go on the record in his defense.
  25. Texts show Kavanaugh tried to get a copy of a photo from a 1997 wedding of Yale classmates both he and Ramirez attended to discredit her. Berchem said Ramirez tried to avoid Kavanaugh that day, and she “clung to me.”
  26. Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath that the first time he heard of Ramirez’s allegation was in the New Yorker article published on September 23.
  27. A spokesman for judiciary committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley said that the texts “do not appear relevant or contradictory” to Kavanaugh’s testimony, calling it “another last-ditch effort to derail the nomination” by Democrats.
  28. On Monday, NYT reported in recent weeks hundreds of migrant children at shelters from Kansas to New York have been roused in the middle of the night and clandestinely transported a tent city in West Texas.
  29. The population of migrant children has grown fivefold since last year. Private foster homes and shelters that sleep two to three to a room, and provide formal schooling and legal representation, are overburdened.
  30. The children are in groups of 20, split by gender, and have no formal schooling and limited legal representation. The tent cities are unregulated, except for guidelines created by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  31. The children wore belts etched in pen with phone numbers for their emergency contacts. Some shelter staff members cried for fear of what was in store for migrant children being moved to tents.
  32. On Tuesday, NBC News reported a report by the DHS inspector general found “DHS was not fully prepared to implement the administration’s zero-tolerance policy or to deal with some of its after-effects.”
  33. Immigration law allows Customs and Border Protection to hold unaccompanied children for up to 72 hours. The report found one-fifth of the children were held at least five days and one longer.
  34. The report also found that while the Trump regime urged asylum seekers to come through ports of entry, overwhelmed facilities “likely resulted in additional illegal border crossings.”
  35. On Wednesday, a federal judge in California temporarily blocked the Trump regime from terminating temporary protected status for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, and Nicaragua.
  36. On Wednesday, CNN reported a surprise DHS inspection general visit to a privately run California ICE detention facility found nooses hanging in cells, misuse of solitary confinement, and delayed medical care.
  37. The facility is run by GEO Group, a private prison contractor that runs a number of large immigrant detention centers. GEO donated $250,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC and hired two former aides of attorney general Jeff Sessions in Week 50.
  38. Beverly Goldstein, a Republican candidate for Congress in Ohio, in a tweet blamed passage of an ordinance banning LGBTQ discrimination on the “illiteracy” of Black voters.
  39. Republicans in New York are referring to Antonio Delgado, an African American congressional candidate who is a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, as a “big-city rapper” in political attack ads.
  40. Linda Dwire was arrested in a Colorado grocery store, after another patron, Kamira Trent, called the police to report that Dwire was harassing two Mexican women for speaking Spanish.
  41. On Saturday, for the second time in the last 18 months, the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia was vandalized. 19 swastikas were painted on the center.
  42. The president of the center said, “This is getting to be a regular thing — it’s in the air around us, in the country around us,” and said that “expressions of support…are tinged with fatigue.”
  43. On Sunday, WAPO reported the Trump regime announced it will sue California in an effort to block that state’s new net neutrality law, which has been described by experts as the toughest ever enacted in the U.S.
  44. Just hours after California’s proposal became law, senior Justice Department officials told WAPO they will sue on grounds that the federal government has the exclusive power to regulate net neutrality.
  45. On Wednesday, FEMA sent a presidential alert via a text message. According to FEMA, unlike emergency alerts and Amber alerts, these presidential alerts cannot be turned off.
  46. The system was originally put in place under former George W. Bush for radio and TV, and later updated by Obama to include cellphones. This is the first time the system has been used.
  47. AP reported Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing rule changes that would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, breaking with decades of policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.
  48. The EPA cited a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and that a bit of radiation damage is good, like a little bit of sunlight.
  49. On Thursday, Foreign Policy reported Trump is considering firing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson over her pushback on his directive to stand up a separate Space Force in the U.S. military.
  50. Sources say Wilson has not figured out a way to disagree with Trump, and he therefore permanently sees her as “troublesome and ineffective.” Trump will make his final decision on firing her after the midterms.
  51. On Thursday, an article in the conservative Federalist called on WAPO to stop labeling op-ed columnist Jennifer Rubin a “conservative,” citing her non-support of Trump.
  52. On Thursday, NYT reported as Afghanistan frays, mercenary executive Erik Prince has been the talk of Kabul and is frequently introduced as an adviser to Trump.
  53. Prince is pushing a vision that his contractors could offer an official military withdrawal from Afghanistan against the wishes of the country’s president, who does not want foreign mercenaries.
  54. Prince has also tied his proposal to a favorite topic of Trump’s: exploiting Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, including rare earth deposits. Some officials in the Afghan government have tried to block Prince from getting a visa.
  55. On Monday, at a press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump insulted ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega. After calling on her and her thanking him, Trump said, “I know you’re not thinking. You never do.”
  56. On Tuesday, bowing to public scrutiny, the White House corrected the press conference transcript. The Monday version had read, “I know you’re not thanking. You never do.”
  57. Trump also derided CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins, wagging his finger and saying, “Don’t do that,” when she asked about Kavanaugh, then saying, “You know what, you’ve really had enough. Hey. You’ve had enough”
  58. On Tuesday, at a rally in Mississippi, Trump attacked Democrats are “holier than thou,” and, offering no proof, claimed one Senate Democrat drinks too much and encouraged the crowd to Google the senator’s name.
  59. Trump also mocked Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, imitating her Senate testimony, saying, “‘I don’t know. I don’t know.’ ‘Upstairs? Downstairs? Where was it?’ ‘I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”
  60. Trump also claimed because of the #MeToo movement men were going to be fired from their jobs after being unfairly accused of sexual harassment, saying, “Think of your husbands. Think of your sons.”
  61. On Wednesday, the three swing Republicans — Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski — criticized Trump for mocking Ford, with his remarks called “kind of appalling” by Flake “wholly inappropriate” by Murkowski.
  62. On Tuesday, a bombshell yearlong NYT investigative report found despite Trump’s campaign claims that his father gave him a $1 million loan that he turned into an empire, Fred Trump gave him $60.7 million in loans.
  63. In total, Trump received the equivalent of at least $413 million in today’s dollars from Fred Trump’s real estate empire, much of it through dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.
  64. According to a deposition by Robert Trump, the Trumps used padded receipts to justify rent increases in rent-stabilized buildings. “The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged.”
  65. In 1990 Donald Trump had one of his lawyers draft a codicil that would have changed his dad’s will. Fred Trump dispatched Trump’s sister to find a new real estate lawyer, rewrote the will, and signed it immediately.
  66. On Tuesday, CNBC reported, the New York state tax department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and, according to an official, “is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.”
  67. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about “the Failing New York Times,” saying, “Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
  68. On Wednesday, WSJ reported that if Democrats take control of the Senate in the midterms, Sen. Ron Wyden, who would chair the Senate Finance Committee, plans to ask for Trump’s tax returns.
  69. Trump dropped 11 more spots on the Forbes’ 400 list of the richest Americans. In the last two years, Trump’s net worth has dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion, dropping him from 121 to number 259.
  70. Forbes noted that Trump is actively trying, but failing, to get rich off his presidency. The Trump brand has suffered, and deeper reporting has revealed that Trump had been lying about valuations.
  71. On Thursday, AP reported experts say although the statute of limitations has passed for criminal charges, Trump could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in civil fines from state and from federal authorities.
  72. On Tuesday, WSJ reported Trump personally directed his then-attorney Michael Cohen in February 2018 to stop Stephanie Clifford from publicly discussing an alleged sexual encounter on “60 Minutes.”
  73. Trump told Cohen to seek a restraining order against Stephanie Clifford and to coordinate the legal response with Eric Trump and Jill Martin, an outside lawyer who represented Trump and the Trump Organization.
  74. Five days later, as instructed, Martin filed paperwork for a confidential arbitration proceeding. An arbitrator privately issued a restraining order against Clifford, who ignored it and went on television on March 25.
  75. On Thursday, New York attorney general Barbara Underwood said in a court filing that Trump caused his charitable foundation to break state and federal laws governing non-profit groups.
  76. Underwood wrote Trump’s use of the Trump Foundation “for his own personal benefit” justifies her request to ban him for 10 years from being involved in any non-profit group.
  77. On Monday, former FBI director James Comey rejected a request by House Judiciary Committee Republicans to appear at a closed hearing on alleged political bias at the Department of Justice and FBI, saying he would appear in a public hearing.
  78. Politico reported on Monday that Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team. Manafort’s attorneys, Richard Westling and Tom Zehnle, were also seen speaking with one of Muller’s lead prosecutors, Andrew Weissmann.
  79. On Tuesday, Politico reported Roger Stone associate Randi Credico told the Senate Intelligence Committee through his lawyer that he would plead the Fifth Amendment rather than testify in the panel’s Russia probe.
  80. On Tuesday, Politico reported Federal law enforcement officials referred a 2-year-old email hacking investigation related to Cheri Jacobus, an anti-Trump Republican, to Mueller’s team.
  81. On Tuesday, Politico reported Mueller is further downsizing his team of prosecutors, with Brandon Van Grack and Kyle Freeny returning to their prior posts at the Justice Department.
  82. Van Grack played a role in the Virginia bank and tax-fraud case, as well as Michael Flynn’s guilty plea. Freeny has “concluded her work here” per Mueller’s spokesperson. The number of prosecutors is down from 17 to 13.
  83. On Thursday, the DOJ unveiled indictments against seven officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency who were targeting top Olympic athletes, anti-doping organizations, and chemical weapons monitors.
  84. The DOJ announced that in the summer of 2016, GRU hacked drug-test results from the World Anti-Doping Agency and leaked confidential information about U.S. Olympic athletes on the internet.
  85. Three of the seven were previously indicted for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election as part of the Mueller probe.
  86. The Dutch and British governments earlier on Thursday also described GRU attacks. The Dutch described a hack at a chemical-weapons agency in Week 92, while the British government called the cyberattacks “reckless and indiscriminate.”
  87. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters in Brussels that the U.S. stands “shoulder-to-shoulder” with our NATO allies and pledged U.S. cyberoffense capabilities to other allies if asked.
  88. Daily Beast reported Russian deputy attorney general Saak Albertovich Karapetyan died in a helicopter crash. Media reports claimed the crash happened during an unauthorized flight in the Kostroma region.
  89. Karapetyan’s ties to directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya were exposed in a Swiss court this year as part of a plot to enlist a Swiss law-enforcement official as a double-agent for the Kremlin.
  90. He and Veselnitskaya together tried to recruit a high-level law-enforcement official who was supposed to be investigating the Swiss bank accounts of Russian oligarchs and mobsters.
  91. Veselnitskaya had helped to draft a document on behalf of the Russian government related to the fraud case against Prevezon. Karapetyan wrote the cover letter.
  92. On Tuesday, WAPO reported Republicans Senators emailed an explicit statement about Julie Swetnick’s sex life to reporters. Swetnick’s attorney Michael Avenatti says the FBI still refuses to interview her.
  93. On Tuesday, Majority Leader McConnell vowed to vote in the Senate on Kavanaugh’s nomination this week, even as attorneys for Ford, and others who have reached out to the FBI, have not yet been interviewed.
  94. On Tuesday, WAPO reported the FBI has completed the first four interviews and is now interviewing Tim Gaudette and Chris Garrett, high school classmates of Kavanaugh.
  95. The investigation is being led by the FBI’s Security Division, a branch that handles background checks. FBI director Christopher Wray, who was two years behind Kavanaugh at Yale, is also directly involved.
  96. On Tuesday, NYT obtained a 1983 letter written by Kavanaugh that contradicts his testimony before the Senate. In it he writes, “warn the neighbors that we’re loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.”
  97. Interviews with a dozen classmates and friends depict Kavanaugh as a member of a small clique of football players who celebrated a culture of heavy drinking, even by standards of that era, contradicting his testimony.
  98. On Wednesday, Rachel Maddow read a sworn affidavit from Elizabeth Rasor, which the FBI neglected to take, saying Mark Judge had conveyed “a degree of shame” about taking turns having sex with a drunk woman.
  99. BuzzFeed reported ethics complaints have been filed against Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit, including at least one related to his alleged lying about sexual assault allegations against him.
  100. Ethics experts say there is no precedent for what happens to the complaints if he is elevated to the Supreme Court. For now, the complaints are under the purview of DC Circuit chief judge Merrick Garland.
  101. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that, according to multiple sources, more than 40 people with potential information into the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh have not been contacted by the FBI.
  102. On Wednesday, James Roche, Kavanaugh’s freshman year roommate at Yale, said in an op-ed that Kavanaugh “lied under oath about his drinking and terms in his yearbook.” The FBI has not contacted Roche at any time.
  103. On Wednesday, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that 45% of Americans believe Ford is telling the truth, up from 32% before her testimony. Just 33% believe Kavanaugh is telling the truth.
  104. On Wednesday, the National Council of Churches, the nation’s largest coalition of Christian churches, said in a statement “Kavanaugh has ‘disqualified himself’” and “must step aside immediately.”
  105. On Wednesday, Ford’s attorneys wrote a letter to chairman Grassley, again saying the FBI has not contacted them despite Ford’s desire to be interviewed in the probe.
  106. When asked about the limited scope of FBI interviews, press secretary Sarah Sanders blamed it on senators, telling reporters, “We’re going to allow the Senate to make the determination of the scope.”
  107. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported the FBI lacks White House approval to interview Ford and Kavanaugh. Late Wednesday, McConnell started the clock for a Friday test vote on the nomination.
  108. Officials inside the FBI are concerned constraints placed on the investigation by Trump’s White House could damage the bureau’s reputation for finding the truth.
  109. On Wednesday, the NYT published an open letter by 650 law school professors in opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination. By Thursday, there were more than 2,400 signatures.
  110. On Wednesday, more than 1,000 Maine academics signed a letter urging Sen. Collins not to support Kavanaugh, citing credible allegations of sexual misconduct and an “angry demeanor” at the Senate hearing.
  111. On Thursday, the White House issued a statement at around 2:30 a.m. saying the FBI had completed its work and the materials were conveyed to Capitol Hill in the middle of the night.
  112. Deputy press secretary Raj Shah falsely said, “This is the last addition to the most comprehensive review of a Supreme Court nominee in history, which includes extensive hearings, multiple committee interviews.”
  113. The public was not allowed to see the FBI report. Only senators were permitted to review the materials.
  114. Although the FBI was given a week to complete their investigation, they stopped after just five days.
  115. Senators’ review took place in a secured room at the Capitol starting Thursday morning. Republican senators were permitted to see the information first. Time was limited to allow a vote on Friday.
  116. On Thursday, WSJ reported the White House believes the FBI report has no corroboration of sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
  117. NYT reported that as part of the inquiry, the FBI contacted ten people and interviewed nine of them. WAPO reported that it could confirm interviews with only six people.
  118. The FBI has not publicly explained why it stopped after talking with just five more people, nor did the bureaus explain why they did not interview Ford or Kavanaugh.
  119. The Senate Judiciary Committee tweeted, “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports…reviewed on a bipartisan basis…[is anything] related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.”
  120. Sen. Dick Durbin responded in a tweet, “This tweet is not accurate” and in a letter insinuated previous background checks of Kavanaugh had turned up evidence of either inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.
  121. Late Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on the Senate floor that the FBI reports show there was not a full and fair investigation. Instead, she said, it was sharply limited in scope and did not explore the relevant confirming facts.
  122. Sen. Warren also said the available documents do not exonerate Kavanaugh and that the documents contradict statements Kavanaugh made under oath at the Senate hearing.
  123. On Thursday, thousands protested Kavanaugh’s nomination outside the courthouse where Kavanaugh works, at the Supreme Court, and at two Senate office buildings. Protestors chanted, “We believe survivors.”
  124. The U.S. Capitol Police said 302 people were arrested in two Senate office buildings, including actresses Amy Schumer who said, “A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying women don’t matter.”
  125. On Thursday, Jen Klaus, the former roommate of Ramirez, told NBC News Senate committee staff members called her at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, put her on speakerphone, and asked about Ramirez’s drinking habits at Yale.
  126. Klaus said the staffers also suggested it was a case of mistaken identity, saying “It just gave me the impression they were suggesting perhaps it was (another classmate) who threw his penis in her face instead of Brett.”
  127. A Yale classmate, Kathy Charlton, told NBC News she tried to contact the FBI about text messages she received from a mutual friend of Kavanaugh ahead of the Ramirez story breaking.
  128. Charlton said three days prior to the New Yorker story, in a phone conversation, the former classmate told her Kavanaugh had called him and advised him not to say anything “bad” if the press were to call.
  129. After she spoke to a reporter, the friend texted Charlton, saying, “Hellllllooooo. Don’t F****** TELL PEOPLE BRETT GOT IN TOUCH WITH ME!!! I TOLD YOU AT THE TIME THAT WAS IN CONFIDENCE!!!”
  130. Both Charlton and Kerry Berchem made numerous attempts to get in touch with the FBI but did not hear back.
  131. Berchem told NBC News on Thursday she sent her third email to Mike Davis, the chief counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She briefly spoke to a staffer on October 3 and heard nothing further.
  132. On Thursday, speaking to a crowd of retirees in Florida, Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, a Republican, said Kavanaugh does not belong on the Supreme Court, saying he lacked the temperament.
  133. Late Thursday, Kavanaugh wrote an op-ed for the WSJ defending himself as an “independent, impartial judge,” explaining his behavior at last week’s Senate hearing as being “emotional” as a “son, husband and dad.”
  134. Late Thursday, the WAPO Editorial Board urged senators to vote “no” on Kavanaugh, citing “his partisan instincts.” This is the first time the Post has called for a no vote since 1987.
  135. On Thursday, at a rally in Minnesota, Trump mocked Al Franken’s resignation over sexual assault allegations, saying he folded “like a wet rag,” and mocked Franken, “‘oh, he did something,’ ‘oh I resign. I quit.’”
  136. On Friday, the American Bar Association said in a letter that its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary has reopened its evaluation of Kavanaugh in light of his testimony before the Senate last week.
  137. On Friday, when Sen. Grassley was asked by Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo if George Soros was behind the protestors who confronted Sen. Flake in the elevator, Grassley said, “I tend to believe it.”
  138. On Friday, in a morning tweet, Trump attacked survivors who had protested, saying “the very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad.”
  139. Trump also tweeted a conspiracy theory, saying “look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers
  140. An ABA spokesperson said the committee did not expect to complete its evaluation ahead of voting Friday, so the association’s assessment of Kavanaugh as “well qualified” rating stands, but it “must be read in conjunction with the foregoing.”
  141. Hundreds of female attorneys in Alaska said in a letter to Sen. Murkowski to vote no, and other Alaskans who are survivors flew to Washington D.C. to meet with her Thursday. On Friday, she voted no on cloture.
  142. On Friday, at a 3 p.m. speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Collins declared her support for Kavanaugh in a fierce 44 minutes-long speech. Her deciding vote ensured his confirmation.
  143. Seated behind her during the speech were the three other Republican women senators who were voting to support Kavanaugh. The GOP has only five women in the Senate.
  144. Before Collins’ speech started, protesters stood up in the gallery above her, yelling, “Vote no! Show up for Maine women!” After she finished her speech, McConnell led a standing ovation.
  145. Collins went on to blast Democrats and progressive organizations and to cite the oft-used GOP trope that she believes Ford was sexually assaulted but does not believe her recollection that it was Kavanaugh.
  146. Minutes after her speech, a crowdfunding site where activists have been raising money to defeat Collins in 2020 was inundated with pledges and crashed. The site raised more than $3 million dollars.
  147. On Friday, when asked by reporters why there are no Republican women on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Grassley cited the workload a deterrent: “It’s a lot of work — maybe they don’t want to do it.
  148. Grassley added, “My chief of staff of 33 years tells me we’ve tried to recruit women and we couldn’t get the job done.” Grassley later returned to clarify that the workload made it less appealing to both genders.
  149. On Friday, NYT reported that in the beginning of the week, Trump had called McGahn to tell him the FBI should be able to investigate anythingbecause they needed the critics to stop.
  150. McGahn reportedly responded that a wide-ranging inquiry like some Democrats were demanding would be potentially disastrous for Kavanaugh’s chances of being confirmed.
  151. McGahn noted since this was not a criminal investigation, FBI agents could not use search warrants and subpoenas. He said the White House could not order the FBI to rummage indiscriminately through someone’s life.
  152. Late Friday, Ford’s attorney criticized the investigation in a statement: “an F.B.I. investigation that did not include interviews of Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh is not a meaningful investigation in any sense of the word.”
  153. Experts said it was highly unusual for the FBI not to conduct those interviews, with one expert adding it was “indefensible” not to interview Ford. Investigators also did not review her polygraph results or therapist’s notes.
  154. On Saturday, anti-Kavanaugh protests continued, with hundreds protesting and more arrests.
  155. On Saturday, WAPO reported Chief Justice John Roberts received more than a dozen judicial misconduct complaints in recent weeks on Kavanaugh but chose not to refer them to a judicial panel.
  156. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the court on which Kavanaugh serves, passed complaints the court received starting three weeks ago on to Roberts.
  157. Henderson dismissed other claims as frivolous. In a statement Saturday, she said the complaints centered on statements Kavanaugh made during his Senate hearings, questioning his honesty and temperament.
  158. This is the first time in history that a Supreme Court nominee has been poised to join the court while a fellow judge recommends that misconduct claims against that nominee warrant review by the Chief Justice.
  159. According to experts, once Kavanaugh is confirmed, the details of the complaints could be dismissed. Supreme Court justices are not subject to misconduct rules governing these claims.
  160. On Saturday, Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50–48 vote, along party lines with the exception of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted yes, and Sen. Murkowski, who voted present.
  161. Kavanaugh’s two-vote margin was the lowest in modern history. The only lower margin of support for a Supreme Court justice was in 1881 when Stanley Matthews was confirmed 24 to 23.
  162. The state of Texas set a new voter registration record, with 15.6 million new registered voters ahead of the hotly contest midterm race between incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke.
  163. Election records show the state has added 400,000 voters since March alone. The state on average added just over 100,000 voters a year between 2002 and 2014.
  164. On National Voter Registration Day, a record 800,000 voters registered ahead of midterms. The campaign’s initial aim was to add 300,000 voters.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 99: “This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world.”

Dark days and I’m really feeling it as I travel through Germany watching my country and its very dark element become unrecognizable to me. How to return to that? It’s a sad, cruel joke and the entire world sees it exactly that same way. It’s an embarrassment and I can’t help but use an apologetic tone when replying “the USA,” when someone asks me where I’m from. The photos this week are from Tokyo (it translates into something like “kiss a dick”), here in Dresden, they really want to see David Hasselhoff become our next president (Germany LOVES him), and they have a “No Nazis” signature mantra echoing on the streets. Also, two very poignant pieces from Jim Carrey. “Entitled Little Shits” featuring that lying Kavanaugh, and “Why Don’t You Report?” featuring traitorous Lindsey Graham. Critics accuse Carrey of really ugly portraitures, but I have to ask, isn’t it all very ugly right now? His artwork is the most authentic representation we have right now ~ the TRUTH.

Roughly translates into “Kiss a Dick.” Tokyo, Japan. September 2018. Photo: Harukidude.


“Why Don’t You Report?” Lindsey Graham by Jim Carrey.
“Entitled Little Shits.” Brett Kavanaugh by Jim Carrey. 

Week 98 of this: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 29, 2018 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-98-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a1a9b7d4296a

This week our country was riveted as new allegations of sexual assault surfaced against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. On Thursday, 20 million Americans tuned in to the watch the Kavanaugh hearings. Despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming across as poised and credible, while a belligerent Kavanaugh delivered testimony riddled with inaccuracies, Republicans planned to push forward for a confirmation vote on Friday. In a stunning turn, the power of the #MeToo movement and protests changed a key senator’s vote early Friday, pushing off Kavanaugh’s confirmation and forcing Trump to open a one-week FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against his nominee.

This week Trump was literally the laughing stock of the world, as leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly laughed out loud at a braggadocious claim during his speech. On Thursday, Trump held an 80-minute news conference, only his fifth since taking office, which was panned by media outlets as “bizarre,” “insane,” and “surreal.”

Increasingly, our country feels at war with itself, as Trump and white male Republican leadership readied to push through Kavanaugh’s nomination at any cost, ignoring the voices of women. Trump’s push on Kavanaugh threatened the integrity of another institution, the Supreme Court, while he continued his attacks on the FBI, the Department of Justice, and, his favorite target, the media. Notable this week were comparisons of the Kavanaugh proceedings to a storyline in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Dresden, Germany 28sep18
  1. On Saturday, WAPO reported Trump’s advisers are counseling him not to fire deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, citing concern it would feed the Democratic narrative of a regime in chaos and hurt the GOP in the midterms.
  2. Aides say Trump will fire Sessions after the election anyway, so removing Rosenstein would just hurt Republicans. Aides also say Trump could revive the incident later if Mueller’s probe produces an unfavorable conclusion.
  3. The FBI Agents Association defended its members amid Trump’s vitriol, tweeting “Attacks on our character and demeaning comments” will not stop agents from dedicating “our lives to protecting the American people.”
  4. On Sunday, WAPO reported the fight for Kavanaugh risks exacerbating the GOP’s problem with women, as it reveals the party’s hyper-masculine mindset. All 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are white men.
  5. Trump is also pulling the party along with him in grievances about what he sees as injustice against accused men, setting the stage for white men dismissing women and attacking them with victim blame.
  6. Reportedly, Sen. Mitch McConnell called Trump last Friday to warn him that Trump’s tweets attacking Dr. Christine Blasey Ford were not helpfuland could cause new problems. Trump stopped attacking her over the weekend.
  7. On Saturday, the Trump regime announced a proposed rule which would make it harder to obtain visas or green cards for immigrants who have ever been dependent on public benefits, including Medicaid or food stamps.
  8. The rule would apply to immigrants already in the US legally as well as those seeking to enter. Disqualifying benefits would also include the Medicare Part D low-income subsidy and vouchers for Section 8 housing.
  9. The proposed rule is based on “public charge,” which was first implemented in the 1800s as a way to deny entry to immigrants who were likely to become a drain on the economy.
  10. The US already has a law that allows it to deny green cards to immigrants it believes could become “a public charge.” The rule would expand the definition to public benefit to programs like food stamps or Medicaid.
  11. Advocates say the new rule could cause about one-third of immigrants to drop or avoid signing up for benefits if enacted, leading to worse health outcomes and increased communicative diseases and poverty.
  12. On Monday, Trump declared himself an “absolute no” on the question of statehood for Puerto Rico, citing critics such as San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as his rationale.