POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 44: MASK OF HORROR

Week 43 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 9, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-43-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-d1621f9224f8

This week the Mueller probe edged towards engulfing Trump’s entire inner-circle. Also of great import, Facebook finally admitted to the company’s role in allowing Russian bots to infiltrate our election. Speculation grew that a foreign entity influenced our election, and that the Trump campaign was complicit.

This week the Trump regime continued its assault on marginalized communities and women, rescinding DACA and taking away protections for victims of campus sexual assault. A second major hurricane illuminated the extent to which the Trump regime has already deconstructed federal agencies like the EPA and State Department.

  1. Late Saturday over Labor Day Weekend, the DOJ unceremoniously announced there is no evidence Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump did not apologize to Obama for this frequently repeated, false claim.
  2. Trump visited Hurricane Harvey survivors in Houston seeking shelter at the NRG Center. While preparing to serve lunch, Trump said his hands were “too big” to fit in the plastic serving gloves.
  3. As he left the shelter, Trump told survivors, “have a good time everybody.”
  4. The Pentagon miscalculated the number of troops deployed the Harvey: command said 6,300 were deployed, but the actual number was 1,638.
  5. On Saturday afternoon, AP reported that while many ultra-polluted Superfund sites in Houston were flooded, and there was concern about toxins spreading, the EPA was not on scene.
  6. The EPA responded with a statement on Sunday, in which the agency personally attacked the credibility of the AP reporter: “Michael Biesecker has a history of not letting the facts get in the way of his story.”
  7. The EPA said the Superfund sites were inaccessible, but they had used aerial imaging in their assessments. AP reported its staff had used a boat, vehicles and gone on foot to reach seven of the sites.
  8. WAPO reported the EPA has taken the unusual step of putting a Trump political operative, John Konkus, who has little environmental policy experience, in charge of dolling out hundreds of millions of EPA grants.
  9. The GAO will investigate hiring practices by the EPA. Agencies are not supposed to hire industry lobbyists for two years, but the EPA allegedly skirted those orders using a provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  10. Trump nominated David Zatezalo, a former chief executive Rhino Resources, a company which repeatedly clashed with federal regulators over safety, to run the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
  11. Trump nominated Jim Bridenstine, a representative from Oklahoma who has denied climate change and has no science credentials, to lead NASA. This is the longest in its history that NASA has been without a leader.
  12. CNN reported ahead of his Senate confirmation, parts of Bridenstine’s online presence were scrubbed, including radio and video interviews, and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts belonging to his campaign.
  13. Following a nuclear test by N. Korea which unleashed a 6.3-magnitude tremor Saturday, on Sunday, Trump was openly critical of S. Korea, tweeting, “their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work.”
  14. NYT reported Trump’s antagonistic comments recently have made S. Korea question their alliance with the US, which stretches over 67 years.
  15. Later that day, Mattis addressed the press and said, “our commitments among the allies are iron-clad.” Mattis repeated that commitment in a statement on Wednesday.
  16. This marked the third time in a week that Mattis’s message has differed from Trump (see Week 42), in addition to his statement to troops in Week 42 about upholding American values in the era of Trump.
  17. WSJ reported that nearly 400 EPA employees have left in recent days, leaving the agency with its lowest staffing in almost 30 years.
  18. The Pentagon dramatically scaled back the number of reporters traveling with Mattis overseas to just six: one wire service, one newspaper, a radio pool reporter, and a three-person pool television crew.
  19. AP, the oldest and largest American wire service, which provides news to thousands of print and broadcast clients and has traveled with the defense secretary for decades, will not be included in all trips.
  20. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed the scope of Trump’s second Muslim Ban, ruling extended family members are exempt.
  21. The Trump regime filed papers with the Supreme Court in support of a Christian baker in Colorado, who a state court ruled against for refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.
  22. The US Commission on Civil Rights issues a letter denouncing Trump’s pardon of Arpaio, citing Arpaio’s repeatedly violating the of civil rights of Latinos and defying a federal court order, amongst other violations.
  23. Trump’s DHS planned a massive nationwide raids to target 8,400 undocumented immigrants, described as “the largest operation of its kind in the history of ICE” for later this month.
  24. NBC reported the “massive roundup” plan was canceled late Thursdaydue to Hurricane Irma and damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
  25. Sessions announced nonsanctuary jurisdictions would get “priority consideration” in a grant program called COPS. While Obama had used to the program to promote trust between officers and community, Sessions and Trump are using it to crackdown on immigrants.
  26. On Thursday, at the same time as Donald Jr.’s senate testimony, DeVos said she will roll back Obama-era directive on campus sexual assault at a speech at George Mason University. She did not take any questions.
  27. DeVos said she would develop a replacement that she said would do a better job of “balancing the rights of victims and the accused.” Men’s rights advocates applauded DeVos for listening to their side.
  28. On a call with survivor advocates Friday, Biden said DeVos “does not speak for the American people,” and called on advocates to meet with college and university administrators and “demand they step up.”
  29. CBC News reported on a spike in international undergraduate and graduate applications to Canadian universities in the wake of Trump.
  30. As part of the NAFTA negotiations, Canada demanded that the US end its “right to work” laws in place in some states. Canadian officials say these laws gut unions by starving them of money.
  31. ACLU reported ICE has asked the National Archives and Record Administration for permission to begin destroying 11 types of records, including those related to sexual assaults and solitary confinement.
  32. A Republican in the House referred to a female colleague challenging his amendment as “young lady” and said she “doesn’t know a damn thing what she’s talking about.” He later apologized.
  33. The FBI will probe the brutal arrest by Utah cops of a nurse who followed hospital policy and refused to draw blood (Week 42).
  34. In Iowa, a photo of five high school boys in wearing KKK hoods and burning a cross circulated on social media. The boys were suspended.
  35. Rachel Maddow ran a segment on how Trump has given white nationalists like Bannon and the alt-right a path to power.
  36. An Atlantic piece, “Donald Trump is the First White President,” spoke of Trump’s white support, the undertones of racism successfully harnessed in his campaign, and his obsession with the negation of Obama’s legacy.
  37. USA Today investigated membership in Trump’s clubs and traced 4,500 members. For the first time in US history, wealthy people have close access to a president as a result of payments that enrich him personally.
  38. USA Today found membership includes 50+ executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials. Two-thirds played on a Trump course one of the 58 days he was there.
  39. Republican leaders prevented a vote on a bill in the House which would have banned federal spending at Trump businesses.
  40. Rep Pascrell’s motion to demand Trump release his tax returns was voted down 21–14 in the House Way and Means Comm, helping Republicans avoid a more public vote in the full House. This breaks a 40-year precedent of presidents making their tax returns public.
  41. The GAO will investigate Zinke’s threat to withhold support for Alaska over Murkowski’s Obamacare repeal vote. In Week 42, the OIG closed its investigation after the two Alaska senators refused to participate.
  42. A lawsuit filed against Trump’s Election Integrity Commission alleges that at least two members are using personal emails for office business.
  43. Kobach authored an article at Breitbart claiming out-of-state voters changed the outcome of the NH senate race in 2016. This claim is false.
  44. Kobach and the Election Integrity Comm will arrive in NH next week to discuss, among other things, “election integrity issues affecting public confidence.
  45. NH Senators Shaheen and Hassan issued a statement condemning Trump’s Election Comm for misleading the public. They also called on NH’s Secretary of State to resign from the commission.
  46. Heading back from summer recess, WSJ reported on the unusually strained relations between Trump and Republicans, saying Trump invited leaders to Bedminster, “but they were unable to coordinate schedules.
  47. NYT reported as late as an hour before the DACA decision was announced on Tuesday, administration officials expressed concern that Trump didn’t fully grasp the details of rescinding DACA or its impact.
  48. Instead of facing the public, Trump sent Sessions to speak to the press on Tuesday to be the face of ending DACA. Sessions claimed DACA was “deemed illegal by, I think, just about every legal expert.
  49. Javier Palomares, the CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, resigned from Trump’s National Diversity Coalition over Trump’s decision to end DACA.
  50. A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found just 15% believe DACA should be rescinded, while 76% believe Dreamers should be allowed to stay.
  51. On Tuesday, in a nighttime tweet, Trump signaled he may be open to changing his mind on DACA, saying if Congress can’t pass something in six months, “I will revisit this issue!”
  52. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement denouncingTrump’s decision to end DACA.
  53. Bannon told CBS’s “60 Minutes” he disagrees with Trump on ending DACA, but blasted the US Conference of Catholic Bishops saying they are opposed to DACA because “they need illegal aliens to fill the churches.”
  54. VOX noted despite Trump’s tweet, the government is already winding down DACA, as the Trump regime is no longer accepting new applications from young immigrants.
  55. On Thursday, Trump again tweeted his assurance to Dreamers, falsely claiming if you “are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!”
  56. CNN estimated 983 undocumented immigrants per day will lose protection they previously enjoyed under DACA, as the two-year tenure of their status expires.
  57. At an Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, after Republican leaders and Mnuchin advocated for a 18-month hike for the debt ceiling, Trump unexpectedly sided with “Chuck and Nancy” for a three-month hike.
  58. Later at a rally in North Dakota, Trump called Democratic senator Heitkamp, who is running for re-election, a “good woman,” and said, “these are great people. They work hard. They’re for you 100 percent.”
  59. On Wednesday, after months of denying Russia had purchased advertisement there, Facebook issued a bland headline, “An Update On Information Operations On Facebook,” admitting this wasn’t true.
  60. Facebook told Congressional investigators Wednesday that the company sold $100k of advertisement to Internet Research Agency, a “troll farm” in St. Petersburg with a history of pushing pro-Kremlin propaganda.
  61. Facebook reported that roughly a quarter of the ads were “geographically targeted.” The ads focus was to amplify divisive issues like LGBT matters, race issues, immigration and gun rights.
  62. Daily Beast calculated that $100k in Facebook ads could have reached as many as 70 million users if amplified in a sophisticated manner.
  63. NYT reported on the sophisticated ways “troll farms” manipulated and disseminated news on Facebook and Twitter during the 2016 election. Former FBI agent Clint Watts called it a “bot cancer eroding trust.”
  64. NYT also found some of the most aggressive and misogynistic Bernie Sanders supporters were actually Russian bots and trolls
  65. A WAPO columnist speculated that Trump would not have won without the help of an organized Russia attack on Facebook. A NYT op-ed decreed: “Facebook Wins, Democracy Loses.
  66. Reuters reported Facebook turned over data to Mueller about Russian involvement, including copies of advertisements and data about buyers. Mueller is probing whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
  67. Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intel Comm said Facebook’s Russia disclosure is the “tip of the iceberg” on election interferencethrough social media.
  68. McClatchy reported Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies may be subpoenaed. A former prosecutor said Facebook ad buys suggest “numerous crimes, including conspiracy to defraud” the US.
  69. USA Today reported Russia has interfered in at least 27 European and North American countries’ elections since 2004.
  70. Nunes, who had recused himself as House chair, lashed out at Sessions in a letter for not sharing FBI and DOJ documents related to the Steele dossier. Nunes also threatened Sessions and Wray with a public hearing.
  71. Vanity Fair reported Gowdy is also waging a war to discredit the Steele dossier. Gowdy claims subpoenas are necessary because the FBI and DOJ haven’t supplied the documents underlying the dossier.
  72. Trump attorney Michael Carvin filed a brief asking a federal judge to toss out lawsuit that accuses the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russian operatives to publish stolen DNC information on WikiLeaks.
  73. In Week 23, the DOJ said it was preparing charges against Assange, with Sessions saying Assange’s arrest is a priority. Strangely, this never happened and now the Trump regime is defending WikiLeaks.
  74. As a news conference in China, Putin said, Trump is “not my bride, and I am not his groom.”
  75. On Thursday, Donald Jr. meet with the Senate Judiciary Comm behind closed doors. Only one senate Republican attended the hearing, and stayed for only about five minutes.
  76. Feinstein, the ranking Democrat, said Donald Jr. has agreed to public testimony, and if he doesn’t follow through he will be subpoenaed. Grassley, who Trump offered federal support for the ethanol industry in Week 42, said no final decision has been made.
  77. Donald Jr. claimed he took the meeting with Veselnitskaya and others because she might have damaging information “concerning the fitness, character or qualifications” of Hillary.
  78. NPR obtained a copy of Donald Jr.’s four-page statement in which he said Veselnitskaya “provided no meaningful information,” and the meeting was “primarily focused on Russian adoptions” and the Magnitsky Act.
  79. Donald Jr. disclosed, for the first time, three phones calls with Agalarov before the June 9 meeting, the content of which he couldn’t recall. He said he had no recollection of any documents left by Russian visitors.
  80. Donald Jr. also said he did “not collude with any foreign government and do not know of anyone who did,” and that he hoped the interview had fully satisfied the senate inquiry.
  81. Newsweek compiled a list of Donald Jr.’s rationales for taking the meeting. Thursday’s testimony was his fifth version so far.
  82. After Donald Jr.’s testimony, Democratic senator Coons issued a memo citing statute 18 U.S.C. 1001(a) & ©(2), which outlines the punishments for lying to Congress.
  83. CNN reported Mueller will seek to interview the staff aboard Air Force One present as Trump helped craft the misleading statement issued by Donald Jr. about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower.
  84. Mueller wants to know how the statement was put together, whether information was intentionally left out, and who was involved. Mueller considers the aides who helped craft the statement to be witnesses.
  85. In Donald Jr.’s senate testimony, he claimed he was not aware of what role, if any, his father might have played in drafting the statement.
  86. WAPO reported Mueller has alerted the WH that his team will seek to speak with six Trump insiders, including Hicks, Priebus, Spicer, McGahn, and one of McGahn’s deputies, Burnham.
  87. Mueller also expects to question Josh Raffel, a WH spokesperson who works closely with Kushner, as well as possibly Trump family members, including Kushner.
  88. Each of the six was privy to internal discussions in areas being investigated by Mueller including the Comey firing, Trump’s inaction on Flynn, and possible coordination with Russia.
  89. Daily Beast reported Mueller wants to speak with Hicks about what happened on Air Force One as Trump crafted Donald Jr.’s statement.
  90. Daily Beast also reported efforts are underway to organize a legal defense fund for WH staffers. Legal fees related to the Mueller probe are expected to be high with lawyers likely billing $500–1k per hour.
  91. Late Friday, POLITICO reported Hicks hired Robert Trout, a highly regarded attorney, to represent her in the Mueller probe.
  92. CNN obtained the 17-page Trump Tower Moscow letter of intent, signed by Trump in October 2015, the day of a Republican primary debate. The property would be named Trump World Tower Moscow.
  93. The deal would have given Trump perks including a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales, and the opportunity to name the hotel spa after his daughter Ivanka.
  94. During the campaign, Trump said he had “nothing to do with Russia.
  95. On Friday, Trump hosted Russia’s new US ambassador Anatoly Antonov in DC. Russia media reported that Antonov describe the meeting as “warm.” US media was not informed of the meeting.
  96. Antonov said Russia did not interfere in the US election. Two years ago, the EU put Antonov on its list of officials subject to sanctions, citing his involvement in supporting the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine.
  97. Dmitry Firtash, a Ukrainian industrialist and top-tier Russian mob associate with ties to Manafort is fighting US prosecutors’ efforts to bring him to Chicago for a bribery trial. He remains in Vienna on $174mm bail.
  98. Asked for comment on the second major hurricane in two weeks, Pruitt said Hurricane Irma isn’t the right time to talk about climate change.
  99. On Thursday, by a 31–0 vote the Senate Appropriations Comm allocated $51bn for the State Depart and foreign operations, nearly $11bn more than requested by the Trump regime.
  100. On Friday, the committee blasted the Trump regime in its report saying its approach to foreign policy weakens US standing in the world.
  101. On Friday, the State Dept was criticized for its response to Hurricane Irma which had already affected thousands of Americans in the Caribbean Islands. A task force was set up Friday, after the storm hit.
  102. State Dept employees point out there is currently no Under Secretary of State for Management, who would typically be in charge of State’s response to a storm of Irma’s magnitude.
  103. In another move towards what Bannon had called the “deconstruction of the administrative state,” the OMB issued a memo directing “a net reduction in total incremental regulatory costs” for agencies.
  104. WSJ reported Trump is unlikely to nominate Cohn to Fed Chair when Yellen’s term comes up in February, citing Cohn’s criticism of Trump’s Charlottesville response in a FT interview (Week 41).
  105. NYT reported Kelly is trying to be welcoming to Cohn, but WH aides say Trump is freezing Cohn out by employing a familiar tactic: refusing to make eye contact with him.
  106. Bannon told CBS’s “60 Minutes” Christie didn’t get a position in Trump’s cabinet because Christie wasn’t loyal after the “Access Hollywood” tapes.
  107. Bloomberg reported key Trump aide’s said Trump is rattled by the pending departure of longtime bodyguard Schiller. Aides described Schiller as the “emotional anchor” for Trump in the WH turmoil.
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I am currently in Budapest, Hungary and was hoping to not have to see this face. But, unfortunately, this is going to be a popular nightmare mask for people all over the world this Halloween. The world continues to just laugh and laugh… – Added to the image is Australian street artist CRiSP’s “Selfie This” sticker. I felt it was appropriate. 9SEP17.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 43: C H U M P

Week 42 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

September 2, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-42-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a1fbe96c91ca

Despite being a summer week heading into Labor Day weekend, Week 42 is the longest list so far, with the most items relating to Trump-Russia. News reports indicate the Mueller probe in moving ahead on many fronts, and uncovering damaging evidence about the Trump regime.

This week Trump was unable to control the narrative. Media accounts paint a disturbing picture of a leader who is stormy, depressed, angry, unsteady and increasingly isolated. Resignations and firings continue en masse, as Trump’s WH continues to be filled with drama and showcase his inability to work with others and hire talent.

Stories less covered continue to detail bigotry towards, and stripping away rights and protections of, marginalized communities and women. Another continuing theme is the dismantling of government programs and initiatives, alongside instituting authoritarian measures.

  1. WAPO reported before Trump pardoned Apraio, he had asked Sessions to have the Justice Dept drop their case.
  2. Ten days before Hurricane Harvey, Trump revoked Federal Flood Risk Management Standard, an Obama-era set of regulations designed to make federally funded infrastructure less vulnerable to flooding.
  3. On Sunday morning, as Houston was flooding, Trump promoted a book by Sheriff David Clarke on Twitter: “great book by a great guy, highly recommended!
  4. Former OGE director Shaub noted it is a government ethics violation to use public office to endorse any product, service or enterprise.
  5. Clarke, who has been the subject of repeated allegations of mistreating inmates in his jails, abruptly resigned as Sheriff on Thursday. Speculation grew that he would be taking a position in the Trump regime.
  6. On Sunday, when asked by Chris Wallace about Charlottesville, Tillerson said, “I don’t believe anyone doubts the American people’s values,” — and when asked on Trump’s response, “The President speaks for himself.
  7. Also on Sunday, a video emerged on Facebook of Mattis telling troops, “You just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”
  8. On Tuesday, again going against Trump, Mattis announced transgender troops will be allowed to remain in the military pending the results of a study by experts.
  9. On Wednesday, shortly after Trump tweeted on N. Korea: “Talking is not the answer!” — Mattis contradicted Trump’s statement and told reporters, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”
  10. Buzzfeed reported ICE left 50 immigrant women and children stranded at a bus station in San Antonio as Hurricane Harvey approached.
  11. On Monday, Trump reversed an Obama-era policy, allowing police to receive surplus military gear.
  12. Buried in a bill that Trump signed into law is a provision which allows police warrantless searches in parts of VA, MD and DC. Amidst the chaos, there was almost no media coverage.
  13. In Salt Lake City, a nurse was forcibly arrested after she followed hospital protocol and refused to let the police draw blood from an unconscious patient who was not a suspect and faced no charges.
  14. Televangelist Jim Bakker said Christians would start a civil war if Trump is impeached. Roger Stone expressed a similar sentiment in Week 41.
  15. A group of evangelical leaders in Tennessee released the “Nashville Statement,” which denounced gay marriage and condemned acceptance of “homosexual immorality or transgenderism.”
  16. Reuters reported that Confederate flag sales have boomed since Charlottesville. One company said their orders quadrupled.
  17. A federal judge in San Antonio temporarily blocked a Texas ban on sanctuary cities from going into effect on Friday.
  18. Trump’s HHS cut the advertising budget for Obamacare by 90%. Lowering enrollment is a way to compromise the ACA.
  19. The ACLU said it is deeply concerned about reports of abuse and retaliation by ICE of their clients who are participating in a class action suit to stop the immediate deportation of any Iraqi nationals.
  20. A decorated marine, George Ybarra, who served in the Persian Gulf War was transferred to an immigration center in AZ. Although a federal judge ruled Ybarra is a citizen, ICE continues to work to deport him to Mexico.
  21. The Trump regime said women’s right will not be part of their demands in negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan.
  22. Mnuchin said the Treasury Dept may scrap plans finalized under Obama to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill to replace Andrew Jackson.
  23. The Trump WH removed a list of 250+ schools under investigation by the Obama administration for violating Title 9 by mishandling campus sexual assault, signaling an end of enforcement and accountability.
  24. Trump ended an Obama-era rule which required companies to collect pay data for workers of different genders, races and ethnic groups.
  25. The Trump regime’s Transportation Dept abandoned an Obama-era plan of local-hiring for public workers. The program was meant to help offset longstanding racial and gender imbalances in the construction industry.
  26. Sessions’s DOJ will retry the woman who prosecutors say disrupted Session’s Senate confirmation hearing by laughing.
  27. USA Today reported anti-protester bills are gaining traction in Republican controlled statehouses. So far, twenty states have proposed bills with restrictions on right to assemble and protest, and six have approved bills.
  28. The Interior Dept’s watchdog group dropped its investigation of the threat by Zinke to Murkowski over her vote to repeal Obamacare, after the two senators from Alaska declined to be interviewed.
  29. The GSA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is undertaking a formal review of how the agency has handled the Trump hotel DC lease.
  30. Trump’s Election Integrity Comm apologized after being chastised by a district judge their failure to disclose documents publicly as required.
  31. In addition to his position as vice chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, Kobach will become a regular columnist at Breitbart.
  32. On Monday, in a press conference with Finnish President Niinistö, Trump defended his decision to pardon Arpaio. When asked the timing, Trump said, “In the middle of a hurricane, even though it was Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally.”
  33. Trump confused two Finnish women journalists with dirty-blond hair of being the same person, saying “Again. You’re going to give her — the same one?” Niinistö responded, “No, they are not the same lady,”
  34. Trump also falsely claimed Finland is buying Boeing fighter jets. Niinistö pushed back in a tweet Monday, calling this “ankka,” which translates to a falsehood or fake news.
  35. On Tuesday, Trump visited Austin. He did not tour areas heavily hit by Hurricane Harvey or meet with any victims. By Tuesday, Harvey had dumped more rain than any storm in history in parts of Texas.
  36. Trump praised FEMA administrator Brock Long, saying he “has really become very famous on television over the last couple of days.”
  37. Trump acknowledged the crowd, “What a crowd, what a turnout!” — but failed to mention or acknowledge the 15 casualties, tens of thousands of displaced, or irreversible damage caused by Harvey.
  38. Trump wore a USA hat during the visit with a 45 on the side. This merchandise is for sale on Trump’s website for $40.
  39. Ari Fleischer, press secretary for W. Bush, said of the visit, there was “something missing” and that was “empathy for the people who suffer.
  40. As Hurricane Harvey continued to devastate, AP reported the Republicans are considering cutting $1bn from disaster accounts to help finance Trump’s wall.
  41. NYT reported on voting irregularities in the 2016 election: voters being told they were ineligible to vote, or turned away from polls, or sent to other polling place in several blue counties in swing states.
  42. Little digital forensic investigation has been done to examine the impact in at least 21 states whose election systems were targeted by Russia.
  43. Academic and private election security experts warn future elections, including next year’s midterms, could be subject to hacking since nothing has been done to improve or build an effective defense.
  44. Moyers & Company reported pro-Russian bots have been taking up right-wing causes after Charlottesville. A case study was done their impact on the narrative around Berkeley.
  45. Bloomberg reported on the growing sophistication of pro-Russian bots, which are already taking a role in sowing seeds of discord in the US, and taking on Trump critics like McCain.
  46. Experts say the Russian bots never left after the 2016 election, and are sharpening their attacks for upcoming elections in 2018 and 2020. The bots are learning to mimic human behavior.
  47. WAPO reported during his run for president, in late 2015 to early 2016, Trump was seeking a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. Michael Cohentook the lead for Trump. The deal was never publicly disclosed.
  48. Felix Sater urged Trump to come to Moscow, and said he could get Putin to say, “great things” about Trump. In late 2015, Trump started to publicly praise Putin. Shortly after, Putin offered praise of Trump in return.
  49. Sater said, at Trump’s request, he traveled to Russia with Ivanka and Donald Jr. A lawyer for the Trump Organization said they happened to be there at the same time.
  50. NYT reported on emails between Cohen and Sater which were turned over Monday to the House Intel Comm. Sater emailed Cohen, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”
  51. Sater said he lined up financing for Trump for the Trump Tower in Moscow through VTB Bank, a bank under US sanctions for its involvement in Russia’s efforts to undermine democracy in Ukraine.
  52. VTB is also majority-owned by the Russian government, as are other banks in The Weekly Lists including VEB, Alfa Bank and Sberbank — all of which have ties to Trump and his aides.
  53. In an email, Sater bragged about his Russia connections, saying, “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putin’s private chair at his desk.”
  54. Ivanka told WAPO she did not recall sitting in Putin’s chair. She also said she was not involved with Cohen’s discussion on the project, except to recommend architects.
  55. ABC reported in October 2015, four months into his presidential campaign, Trump signed a letter of intent for Trump Tower Moscow.
  56. Rachel Maddow noted the day Trump signed the term sheet was the same day as the third Republican primary debate. Trump seemed off and had a poor performance that night.
  57. WAPO reported in mid-January 2016, Cohen emailed Putin lieutenant Dmitry Peskov to ask for his assistance with the stalled Moscow project and to arrange “meetings with the appropriate individuals.”
  58. The email is the first known direct outreach by a senior Trump aide to a senior member of Putin’s government. Cohen told Congressional investigators that he did not receive a response.
  59. Peskov confirmed Wednesday that he received Cohen’s email asking for his help in getting the stalled Trump Tower Moscow project moving again, but said he did not respond or share it with Putin.
  60. In Week 15, Sater and Cohen were involved in a back-channel plan to get US sanctions against Russia lifted. In Week 17, Alex Orono, a Russian working with them on this plan, died suddenly.
  61. Sater has cooperated with US authorities in the past, signing a plea deal with Andrew Weissmann, who is now part of Mueller’s special counsel.
  62. Yahoo reported Swalwell, a Democrat on the House Intel Comm said the panel may call Trump to testify on the Trump Tower Moscow deal to clear up past conflicting statement.
  63. Trump has publicly said of Sater, if he was sitting in the same room, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” It is believed Sater was conducting business for Trump through 2016.
  64. NYT reported on an eight page letter from Cohen’s attorney to the House Intel Comm giving a point-by-point rebuttal to the Steele dossier and “vehemently” denying Russian collusion.
  65. CNN reported the “WV” referenced in Week 41 was Rick Clay of West Virginia, who tried through Trump aide Dearborn to make contact with Russians, allegedly to discuss their “shared Christian values.”
  66. NBC reported Mueller’s team is investigating Trump’s role in crafting Donald Jr.’s response to the June 9 meeting, and whether Trump knew about the meeting and tried to conceal its purposes.
  67. FT reported Akhmetshin gave testimony under oath for several hours on August 11, another sign Mueller is looking closely at the June 9 meeting.
  68. Guardian reported after news that the Senate Judiciary Comm would interview Donald Jr. on the June 9 meeting, Trump called the committee chair Grassley to offer Iowa federal support for the ethanol industry.
  69. Grassley tweeted about Trump’s phone call offering support. Also of note from Week 41, the Senate Judiciary Branch will shortly vote on whether to make the Fusion GPS testimony on the Steele dossier public.
  70. CNN reported Mueller’s special counsel has issued subpoenas for Manafort’s former attorney, Melissa Laurenza of Akin Gump, and to his current spokesperson, Jason Maloni.
  71. POLITICO reported Mueller is teaming up with NYAG Schneiderman on its investigation into Manafort and his financial transactions. The two teams have shared evidence and talked frequently in recent weeks.
  72. Mueller’s and Schneiderman’s team has pressured Manafort by approaching his family and former business partners. Several people and firms who have worked with Manafort have been subpoenaed.
  73. Trump has privately discussed his pardon powers with aides. State and federal investigators believe potential of a pardon has influenced Manafort’s decision on cooperating. Trump cannot pardon state crimes.
  74. WSJ reported on Manafort’s close relationship with Russian oligarch Deripaska. The two worked together from 2004–2015 in counties with Russian political interests including Ukraine, Georgia and Montenegro.
  75. As per Week 28, Deripaska has offered to give testimony to Congressional investigators in exchange for immunity. That offer is still being rejected, for not wanting to interfere with Mueller’s probe.
  76. NBC reported Manafort turned over notes taken during the June 9 meeting to Congressional investigators and Mueller. The words “donor” and “RNC” appear in close proximity. It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections.
  77. Daily Beast reported Mueller enlisted help from the IRS’s Criminal Investigations unit, an elite investigative entity that focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering.
  78. One of Mueller’s top deputies, Andy Weissmann, has worked with the CI unit extensively. The CI unit would have access to Trump’s tax returns.
  79. Bloomberg detailed the massive debt Kushner has outstanding against his family’s real estate investment in 666 Fifth Avenue. To pay off looming debt, the family has sold off properties and forgone new deals.
  80. Kushner Cos. bought the building near a market high and has tried to get China and sovereign funds to buy the property or refinance part of the debt. These efforts may be influencing US foreign policy as per Week 35.
  81. Speculation is Kushner’s outreach to VEB and Kislyak could have been related to real estate financing.
  82. WSJ reported lawyers for Trump have met with Mueller and submitted memos arguing Trump didn’t obstruct justice by firing Comey. They also claim Comey is not a reliable witness. Experts say this is highly unusual.
  83. Axios reported Russian diplomats continue to die unexpectedly. Russia’s ambassador to Sudan was the seventh diplomat to die since November.
  84. Rep DeSantis floated an amendment to end the Mueller probe and stop Mueller from looking into activities prior to June 2015. DeSantis is a Trump loyalist and is considering running for governor of Florida in 2018.
  85. WAPO reported on Trump’s WH during a “summer of crisis,” citing Trump’s “dark mood.” Trump is fighting with Kelly, Tillerson and Cohn, and friends say, “He’s turning on people that are very close to him.”
  86. WAPO reported Kelly refused to join Trump on stage in Phoenix after Trump prompted, “Where’s General Kelly? Get him out here. He’s great.”
  87. WAPO also reported Trump continues to call friends and outside advisers, including Bannon, from his personal phone when Kelly isn’t around.
  88. POLITICO reported on the shrinking West Wing, citing three factors: 1) Kelly’s careful review process, 2) five open-ended Russia investigations making it hard to hire, and 3) Trump’s dark mood over the summer.
  89. Eight of the 28 members of the Nat’l Infrastructure Advisory Council resigned. In a letter, the cyber-security experts said Trump “threatened the security of the homeland,” citing Charlottesville and withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.
  90. Trump lashed out at, then fired longtime aide George Gigicos because of the small crowd size at this Phoenix rally last week.
  91. Responding to criticism about unfilled key roles in the executive branch, Trump tweeted to @foxandfriends: “We are not looking to fill all of those positions. Don’t need many of them — reduce size of government.”
  92. ProPublica reported while Trump continues to leave key executive branch positions which require Senate confirmation unfilled, he has quietly installed more than 1k political staffers.
  93. Many of these hires are regulating industries they used to work in. Most names are kept secret. These employees working in the shadows face must less scrutiny, and answer to no one but the WH.
  94. The RNC chief of staff, Sara Armstrong resigned. Armstrong is the sixth RNC staffer to leave in the past month.
  95. FP reported two top State Dept officials resigned in what was called “Black Friday.” One State Dept official said “Dissatisfaction is a big factor” for why diplomats continues to take early retirement or new jobs.
  96. Longtime Trump aide Keith Schiller, best known for hand delivering the letter to Comey about his firing, is leaving the WH.
  97. Indictments were issued for 15 security guards of Turkey’s Erdogan, who in Week 31 had attacked protested outside the Turkish embassy in DC.
  98. The UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein slammed Trump’s attacks on the media, warning Trump’s rhetoric could provoke violence: “ultimately the sequence is a dangerous one.”
  99. Zeid also raised concern about Trump’s “worrying remarks” about women, Mexicans and Muslims, and issue like immigration.
  100. NBC reported on a focus group in Pittsburgh, where voters including those who voted for Trump expressed “abject disappointment” in his tone and leadership. Also noted was Trump’s lack of empathy.
  101. A Pew Research poll found just 16% of Americans like the way Trump conducts himself. The poll also noted a deterioration in Republican support: a third agree with Trump on only a few or no issues.
  102. At Gallup daily tracker, Trump matched his biggest net disapproval of -27 (approve 34, disapprove 61), with the trend continuing lower.
  103. A Fox News poll found voter satisfaction with the direction of the country declined to just 35%, and 56% think Trump is tearing the country apart.
  104. On Friday, NYT reported Mueller has obtained an early draft of a letter giving Trump’s reasons for firing Comey.
  105. WSJ reported an excerpt from the draft. Paraphrasing, Trump wanted to convey: “You’ve told me three times I’m not under investigation but you won’t tell the world, and it’s hampering the country.
  106. POLITICO reported the decision to fire Comey was made in Bedminster, where Trump huddled with Kushner and Miller. McGahn, Priebus and Bannon warned Trump against it, saying it would trigger a firestorm.
  107. NYT reported Trump was supposed to golf that weekend, but it rained, so instead he stewed inside about Comey and the Russia investigation. Trump ordered Miller to draft the letter.
  108. After returning from Bedminster Monday, May 8, Trump handed copies of the letter to senior officials including McGahn and Pence in the Oval office. McGahn was alarmed and tried to stop the letter.
  109. On May 8, Rosenstein got a copy of the letter, and agreed to write a separate memo. May 9, the letter was replaced with a simpler rationale for firing Comey: his handling of the Clinton email investigation.
  110. In an op-ed, McCain blasted Trump, saying Congress doesn’t answer to him despite his recent attacks, “We must, where we can, cooperate with him. But we are not his subordinates.”
  111. On Thursday, Sanders said Trump promised to donate $1mm of his “personal money” to Hurricane Harvey victims. On Friday, when pressed on where the money was coming from, Sanders said she wasn’t sure.
  112. At a signing ceremony in the Oval office Friday, religious leaders took turns praising and thanking Trump for his response to Hurricane Harvey.
  113. NYT reported on Kelly’s unhappiness serving under Trump, telling an associate it was “by far the hardest job he had ever had.” Trump likes to surround himself with former military men from “central casting.”
  114. Trump berated Kelly after the Phoenix campaign rally. Kelly told WH staff members “he had never been spoken to like that during 35 years of serving his country,” and he would not let it happen again.
  115. Kelly has not been able to get Trump to stop binge-watching Fox News, Trump’s primary source of information. Trump does not have web browser on his phone, despite his frequent retweets of story links.
  116. In a radio interview, Eric Trump said the negative media coverage was impacting his father: “It important to keep in context. Otherwise, quite frankly, you’d probably end up killing yourself out of depression.”
  117. On Friday, a day after Trump ordered Russia to close three US outposts, a fire was reported at the DC diplomatic annex, and smoke was coming out of the chimney at the consulate in San Francisco on a 100 degree day.
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Photo by: Paul Hehn in Portland, OR

POLITI’KKK’S OF GRAFFITI 42: DISOBEY

Week 41 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 26, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-41-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-13247a760fd8

Week 41 is full of content about Trump-Russia, and indications that the Mueller probe is closing in on Trump and his regime. News stories indicate that despite Trump’s public indifference and belittlement of the probe, he is privately consumed by it, and acting in ways which could well be construed as, and lead to charges for, obstruction of justice.

In the two weeks since Charlottesville, our country is consumed in flames of hate, and Trump is fanning those flames. As well, he continues his unimpeded march to authoritarian power, neutralizing the judicial branch with an unethical pardon, and attacking members of his own party in an effort to silence them. So far, the latter is largely working, and as this week comes to a close, remaining checks and balances to save our democracy are eroding, and Trump appears to feel fully in power.

  1. Following the counter-protest march of over 40k in Boston, Trump tweeted the country needs “to heel.” Trump used the misspelled word four times in two consecutive deleted tweets, before correcting it to heal.
  2. Rev. Bernard, pastor of a megachurch in Brooklyn, became the first member of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board to resign over Charlottesville.
  3. No WH officials were made available for Sunday political talk shows.
  4. On CNN Sunday, Carl Bernstein urged reporters to interview Republicans on or off the record about whether Trump is mentally fit to lead.
  5. A NBC News/Marist poll found Trump’s approval in three key battleground states has eroded: Michigan 36 approve/55 disapprove, Pennsylvania 35/54, and Wisconsin 34/56.
  6. NPR reported some Liberty University graduates are returning their diplomas to protest school President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s ongoing support of Trump, even after Trump’s remarks on Charlottesville.
  7. Former HHS secretaries from both parties urged Republicans to move quickly and stabilize Obamacare as Trump threatened to continue withholding key payments to insurers.
  8. Sunday night, when asked by reporters for his reaction to five sailors injured and 10 missing after the USS John S. McCain collided with a merchant ship, Trump responded, “That’s too bad.”
  9. USA Today reported Secret Service agents have already hit the federally mandated pay caps meant to last the entire year for protecting Trump. Under the Trump regime, an unprecedented 42 people have protection.
  10. Secret Service cited Trump’s frequent weekend trips to his properties, and his family’s extensive business and vacation travel. Secret Service spent $60k on golf carts, revenues which go to the Trump Organization.
  11. Trump disbanded a federal advisory panel for the National Climate Assessment which helped policymakers and private-sector officials incorporate the government’s climate analysis into long-term planning.
  12. Since being established in 1990, the National Climate Assessment is supposed to release reports every four years. The next assessment would have been due in 2018.
  13. Trump’s Interior Dept ordered the National Academy of Sciences to halt its study of health risks and harm caused by mountaintop coal mining in Appalachia.
  14. New Yorker reported on the dismantling of HUD under a thoroughly uninformed Sec Carson. There are still no nominees for major parts of HUD, including the Federal Housing Administration and many others.
  15. Carson’s team removed online training materials meant to help homeless shelters provide equal access to transgender people, and pulled back a survey to reduce LGBT homelessness.
  16. Interior’s Inspector General confirmed in a letter it is investigating Sec Zinke’s pressure on Sen Murkowski to vote yes on the Obamacare repeal.
  17. An ABC News/Washington Post poll found 9% of Americans say it’s acceptable to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views. This meshes with the 10% who say they support the alt-right movement.
  18. The Anne Frank Center tweeted in alarm, “1 in 10 adults in U.S. say neo-Nazi views acceptable — 22 million Americans. Evil epidemic of hatred.”
  19. The poll also found that 3 in 10 Trump supporters accept or are indifferent to white supremacists.
  20. Singer Billy Joel wore a Star of David during the encore of his sold-out show in NYC.
  21. Brandeis University was closed and evacuated Wednesday after the school received an email with a bomb threat.
  22. HuffPost reported a spike in anti-Semitism in the two weeks since Charlottesville. ADL provided a list of more than two dozen incidents involving swastikas, broken glass and neo-Nazi propaganda.
  23. A coalition of major rabbinical groups canceled their annual High Holidays call, saying Trump’s “words have given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism.”
  24. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged the US government to reject racial hatred and violence. The statement was released online after Trump’s mixed messages on Charlottesville.
  25. The Girl Scouts’ CEO wrote a letter to families with resources to talk to girls about what they are hearing in the news, and hate and violence, adding lying about what really happened can “undermine her trust.”
  26. Twenty organizations have pulled their charity events from Mar-a-Lago in response to his comments on Charlottesville.
  27. Daniel Kammer, the State Dept Science Envoy, resigned in an open letter citing Trump’s “attacks on core values of the United States.” The first letter of the seven paragraphs spell the word, IMPEACH.
  28. On his radio show, Trump’s nominee for Department of Agriculture Sam Clovis said “LGBT behavior” is a choice, and that legalizing gay marriage could lead to the legalization of pedophilia.
  29. Liz MacKean, the BBC journalist who broke the news of the torture of gay men in Russia, died of a stroke at the age of 52.
  30. Trump signaled he is likely to end DACA, the Obama program which allows young people who came to the US illegally as children to remainhere. As many as 1 million immigrants could be affected.
  31. The DHS announced it will require holders of employment-based visas to be interviewed in order to update their status. More than 100k visa holders could be impacted.
  32. The Brennan Center and Protect Democracy Project filed a lawsuit for info on communication between government agencies and the Election Integrity Comm. The agencies did not respond to a FOIA request.
  33. On Tuesday, the DOJ modified its warrant, dropping its request for IP addresses from DreamHost for an anti-Trump site, disruptj20.org.
  34. On Thursday, a court ordered DreamHost to turn over the data requested. The court asked the DOJ to disclose its method for searching the data to minimizing data on innocent third-party visitors to the site.
  35. In a WAPO op-ed, activist Melissa Byrne described being grabbed, cuffed and questioned, and her banner confiscated, by the Secret Service without having been read her rights at a Starbucks in Trump Tower.
  36. On Monday, Trump delivered his second address to the nation. Reading from the teleprompter he asked the American people to trust him in sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan.
  37. Trump opened the speech with a call for unity. Historian Michael Beschloss noted this was the first time a leader “had to start a speech on war and peace by vowing that he opposed bigotry and prejudice.
  38. Trump’s speech was full of his typical bellicose terms, like “overwhelming force,” but offered little in the way of strategy and substance.
  39. Of note, three generals now seem to have Trump’s ear: Kelly, McMaster and Mattis. As recently as Week 38, Trump had scoffed at adding troops. He also compared Afghanistan to a 21 Club renovation.
  40. There is not yet a confirmed US ambassador to Afghanistan.
  41. 24 hours after his address to the nation, Trump headed to a campaign rally in Phoenix, despite pleas from the Mayor of Phoenix in an op-ed and on air that it was not a good time for Trump to visit.
  42. Despite his calls for unity Monday, Trump delivered a 72-minute dystopian speech in which he repeatedly attacked the media and “others” — again targeting marginalized communities.
  43. Trump referred to the media as the enemy of the American people, saying “They don’t like our country.” After the speech, many in the media expressed concern about their safety.
  44. Trump also threatened to shut down the government in the fall if Congress did not approve funding for his Wall.
  45. Despite his advance promises not to, Trump attacked McCain and Flake, the two senators of Arizona, in his speech without using their names.
  46. Also, despite promising not to do so, Trump insinuated he would pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio, citing the legal system not treating him fairly.
  47. Trump did not mention the accident involving the USS John. S McCain, or the continuing search for missing sailors during his speech.
  48. WAPO reported as Trump ranted and rambled, “hundreds left early.” The room was only partially filled as Trump began to speak.
  49. Police used tear gas to disperse crowds of thousands of protestors after Trump’s speech. Police helicopters circled downtown Phoenix.
  50. In a likely violation of the Hatch Act, Ben Carson appeared on stage in Phoenix, after being introduced as the Secretary of HUD.
  51. NPR fact-checked Trump’s speech, and found numerous false and misleading statements.
  52. Ahead of the rally Tuesday, Trump met with potential Republican challengers to primary Sen Flake in 2018. During the brief meeting, Trump referred to the senator as “the flake.”
  53. After Trump’s Phoenix speech, former director of National Intelligence Clapper told CNN he questioned Trump’s “fitness to be — in this office.” ”
  54. Clapper said understanding the levers of power available to a president, he found the speech “downright scary and disturbing.
  55. Clapper also said Trump could be a threat to national security. He worries about Trump’s access to nuclear codes, noting it a fit of pique, “there’s actually very little to stop him.”
  56. Trump tweeted asking if Clapper “who famously got caught lying to Congress,” would share “his beautiful letter to me?” Clapper said he had handwritten almost identical notes to both candidates for Election Day.
  57. CNN reported Wednesday that the WH was preparing paperwork and talking points for surrogates ahead of Trump pardoning Arpaio.
  58. On Monday, in a later-deleted Instagram post, Mnuchin’s wife, Louise Linton bragged about traveling on a chartered government plane, and about the lavish fashion brands she was wearing.
  59. On Wednesday, CREW requested information on authorization of the chartered airplane. Typically, secretaries fly on commercial flights for domestic travel.
  60. Ethics groups also filed requests to learn if the trip to Fort Knox, KY was planned so Mnuchin and his wife could view the solar eclipse near the path of totality.
  61. On a sudden, unannounced trip to the Middle East, Kushner was snubbed by the Egyptian foreign minister who canceled their meeting without officially citing a reason. The meeting did later take place.
  62. NPR reported Trump’s approval with women is at a historically low 29%. Trump’s approval with men is much higher (43%).
  63. NYT reported on a brewing war between Trump and McConnell, as the two haven’t spoken for weeks. McConnell questioned whether Trump can salvage his presidency.
  64. McConnell also questioned Trump’s understanding of the presidency, and claimed Trump was “entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.
  65. NYT also reported on an August 9 call with McConnell, which Trump initiated, Trump brought up healthcare, but was “even more animated” about McConnell’s refusal to protect him from the Russia investigation.
  66. After the NYT story broke, another Republican senator called the reporter to say Trump is “consumed with Russia.
  67. POLITICO reported on more clashes between Trump and Republican senators over Russia. In additional to Trump public admonishments of McConnell, McCain and Flake, Trump also targeted Corker and Tillis.
  68. Trump tried to convince Corker the Russian sanctions bill wasn’t good policy, saying it was unconstitutional and would damage him. Trump berated Tillis for his bi-partisan bill to protect Mueller from being fired.
  69. Including these contacts, WAPO counted seven times so far Trump has attempted to influence actions related to the Russia investigation.
  70. On Tuesday, Glenn Simpson, founder of private research firm Fusion GPS who hired Steele to produce the dossier, testified for 10 hours in front of the Senate Judiciary Comm. He also provided 40k pages of documents.
  71. The Senate Judiciary Comm will vote on releasing the testimony to the public. Rachel Maddow said Simpson’s lawyer has given the okay to release the testimony and documents publicly.
  72. WAPO reported CIA director Pompeo, Trump’s close ally, required the Counterintelligence Mission Center, which investigates possible collusion between Trump and Russia, to report directly to him.
  73. Current and former agent expressed apprehension about conflict of interests. There is “real concern for interference and politicization,” and that Pompeo may bring newly discovered information to the WH.
  74. Pompeo spends more time at the WH than his predecessors. He also defended Trump’s comments on Charlottesville, saying Trump’s condemnation of bigotry was “frankly pretty unambiguous.”
  75. Pompeo has also shown a willingness to handle political assignments for the WH: for example calling news agencies, speaking on condition of anonymity, at the WH’s behest to dispute a NYT article on Trump-Russia.
  76. In an internal CIA memo released under the FOIA, former CIA director Brennan wrote some in Congress don’t get the “gravity” of Russia election meddling.
  77. Kushner Cos., the real estate company 0f Kushner’s family, switched to a public relations firms with crisis management expertise.
  78. NYT reported on Rinat Akhmetshin, one of the attendees of the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower, and his extensive and deep ties to Russian intelligence, government and oligarchs.
  79. Akhmetshin has worked on behalf of several Russian oligarchs to hack adversaries’ emails and documents in order to buffer their case. Mueller is interested in why Akhmetshin attended the June 9 meeting.
  80. CNN reported Congressional investigators unearthed an email from Rick Dearborn, a top campaign aide who is now Trump’s deputy chief of staff, about an individual seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin.
  81. WSJ reported Mueller is looking into Flynn’s role in seeking Hillary’s emails from Russian hackers, along with now deceased GOP operative Peter W. Smith.
  82. Investigators have examined intel reports which detail Russian hackers discussing how to obtain emails from Hillary’s server, and then transmit them to Flynn via an intermediary.
  83. NBC reported Mueller issued the first grand jury subpoenas to executives who worked on an international campaign organized by Manafort, a significant step in the inquiry which also focuses on Trump and Kushner.
  84. Mueller’s team is examining lobbying done by Manafort for a Russia-backed Ukrainian political party from 2012–2014. According to recent financial disclosures, Manafort was paid $17mm between 2013 and 2014.
  85. USA Today reported on a Russian propaganda Twitter network aimed at American audiences which consistently spreads links from alt-right media including Breitbart, True Pundit and Gateway Pundit.
  86. Roger Stone told TMZ if Trump is impeached the country would break out into civil war, saying “You will have a spasm of violence in this country, and insurrection, like you’ve never seen.”
  87. NYT reported on Trump Hotel DC, the now highly profitable meeting place for Trump family members and surrogates, lobbyists and journalist. Trump continues to profit from the hotel operations.
  88. The hotel is also described as a “safe zone for Trump supporters.Richard Spencer stayed at Trump Hotel DC, and met with white nationalist Evan McClare, as he planned the Charlottesville rally.
  89. WAPO fact checker reported Trump’s list of false and misleading claims had topped 1,000 items early in the week. By week’s end, the list approached 1,100 items, one of the busiest weeks of lying yet.
  90. After Icahn resigned in Week 40 ahead of a story on his influencing regulations to his financial benefit, the Trump regime stated unlike a government employee, Icahn had “no official role or duties.
  91. Icahn financially benefitted from his 82% stake in CVR Energy. The company had accumulated a large short position in biofuels blending credits, called RINs, the price of which fell when Icahn’s proposal on the biofuels regulation was reported in February, netting him a huge return.
  92. On Friday, Trump attacked another Republican, saying Corker is constantly asking if he should run in 2018, and “Tennessee not happy!” Corker had questioned Trump’s fitness to serve in Week 40.
  93. In an interview with FT, Cohn was openly critical of Trump’s Charlottesville response, saying Trump “must do better” in condemning neo-Nazi and white supremacists.”
  94. Fed Chair Yellen spoke out openly against the Trump regime’s efforts to roll back banking regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, saying these regulations have made the banking system safer.
  95. Changing course, Bloomberg reported the WH no longer plans to work with Congress to produce a joint tax plan, instead relying on the House and Senate to hash it out. Trump said he will rally the public instead.
  96. The WH rapid response director, Andy Hemming is leaving. Hemming had worked from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. every weekday blasting out stories favorable to the Trump regime.
  97. The RNC passed a resolution to condemn neo-Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists, despite pushback from several Republican members. The resolution did not, however, mention Trump.
  98. A Quinnipiac poll found that 62% of Americans believe Trump is dividing the country.
  99. As Trump left the WH Friday afternoon, a reporter asked, “do you have a message for the people of Texas?” Trump responded, “Good luck to everybody.”
  100. Hours before Hurricane Harvey, thought to be the worst hurricane in 12 years, hit landfall in Texas, with the country anxiously watching, Trump issued a directive and a pardon.
  101. Late Friday, Trump signed a directive that precludes transgender individuals from joining the military. Mattis has six months to develop a plan to implement the order, and discretion over those already serving.
  102. Trump’s directive also bans DoD from paying for medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.
  103. Late Friday, Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an elected official who defied a federal court’s order to stop violating people’s constitutional rights. Arpaio had been found in contempt of court in his ongoing case.
  104. The NYT Editorial Board had noted with a pardon of Arpaio, Trump would show “his contempt for the American court system,” and also send a “message to other officials that they may flout court orders also.”
  105. Questions arose about whether Trump’s pardon of Arpaio was testing the waters and sending a signal to those under investigation by Mueller.
  106. Late Friday, Trump adviser Gorka left his post as deputy assistant in the WH. In a letter, Gorka said he resigned. Trump aides said he was fired.
  107. Shortly after 11 pm EST, Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 storm. The National Hurricane Center said it expects “catastrophic and life-threatening” flash flooding and dump 15–30 inches of rain.
  108. The Trump regime imposed sanctions on Venezuela; however, Citgo was exempted. As cited in Week 25, Citgo donated $500k to Trump’s inauguration, and that money may have come indirectly from Russia.

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Sagacious street artist Plastic Jesus in Los Angeles, CA – August 2017

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 39: INCOMPETENT & UNWORTHY HE IS

Week 38 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

August 5, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-38-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-4730486b719a

This week, as his popularity hit new lows, Trump and his regime’s white nationalist push became more conspicuous and aggressive. Trump continues to irreverently lie — one such false statement on Donald Jr.’s June 9 meeting could directly implicate him in covering up the Russia scandal, which entered a new phase as Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington DC.

As a continuation of a theme over the past two weeks, the Republicans are finally pushing back on Trump, as Congress took steps to keep him in check. Trump seems prepared to fight Congress, along with battles he is already waging against the judicial branch and the media.

  1. On a Fox News interview, Conway advised WH staffers not to address Trump by his first name, and to treat him with “deference and humility.”
  2. On his Sunday show, Fareed Zakaria cautioned with Trump in power, the US faces something worse than being feared or derided — the US is “becoming irrelevant.”
  3. On Sunday, Putin ordered the US diplomatic missions in Russia to reduce their staff by 755 personnel, the single largest forced reduction, comparable only to the months after the Communist revolution in 1917.
  4. The Trump regime had no response to Putin’s order on Sunday, or for the entire week.
  5. ProPublica reported Customs and Border Protection is set to jumpstart Trump’s wall in a Texas national wildlife refuge. The agency will use money allotted by Congress for other purposes.
  6. A spokesperson for Pruitt’s EPA told WAPO the agency will make changes to the EPA Museum. For example, the exhibit on Obama’s Clean Power Plan will be removed, and coal may be added.
  7. CBN News reported nearly all of Trump’s cabinet officials attend Bible lessons with a pastor who compares Trump to biblical heroes.
  8. In a statement released Tuesday, 56 retired generals and admirals came out against Trump’s transgender military ban, arguing it would be disruptive and degrade military readiness.
  9. CBC News reported Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is being used to house a surge in asylum seekers crossing from the US. More than 1k crossed from the US into Quebec in July alone.
  10. The NAACP issued its first-ever travel advisory for a state. NAACP cited Missouri legislation making discrimination cases harder to win, recent racist incidents, and racial disparities in traffic enforcement.
  11. Kobach appealed an order requiring him to answer question under oathabout two documents containing plans for changes to US election law.
  12. A top EPA official, Elizabeth Sutherland, resigned after 30 years at the agency. In a scathing letter, she wrote, “The environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth.”
  13. The Trump regime will redirect resources of the DOJ toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies, which the regime claim discriminate against white applicants.
  14. ProPublica reported Candice Jackson, DeVos’s pick to head the Civil Rights Office, said she faced discrimination for being white while at Stanford because of a help section reserved for minority students.
  15. WAPO reported Lizandro Claros Saravia, a standout soccer player who had a scholarship to play college soccer, was deported to El Salvador along with his brother after going to ICE to report he got into college.
  16. Documents released to the Daily Beast under the FOIA show high-level DHS officials ordered staff to stiff-arm members of Congress and treat lawyers with deep suspicion in the first hours of Trump’s Muslim Ban.
  17. In an ICE press release, the agency admitted in Kelly’s final sweep as DHS head, designed to catch Central Americans who had come to the US as family unit, 70% of those captured were not people being targeted.
  18. Tillerson’s State Dept is considering eliminating the promotion of democracy from its mission statement.
  19. Amateur hackers at the DefCon conference in Las Vegas were able to exploit vulnerabilities in five voting machine types within 24 hours.
  20. POLITICO reported that by firing of Priebus, Trump severed one of his few remaining ties to the Republican Party.
  21. In a bombshell story, WAPO reported Trump dictated Donald Jr.’s misleading statement claiming Russian adoption was the rationale for the June 9 meeting, while flying back from the G20.
  22. While at the G20, the NYT asked for comment on their pending story. Ivanka, Trump and Kushner met on the sidelines with advisers, who recommended telling the truth. Trump disregarded all advice.
  23. WAPO further reported Kushner’s lawyers first learned about the June 9 email trail while researching their response to Congressional investigators weeks prior. Advisers and lawyers for Trump, Donald Jr. and Kushner had mapped out a strategy for disclosing the information.
  24. WAPO further reported that with this misleading statement, Trump is now directly implicated in trying to cover up Russia scandal.
  25. The day after reports that Trump crafted Donald Jr.’s statement, CBS reported Congressional investigators requested Donald Jr.’s phone records around the time of the June 9 meeting.
  26. Trump ally former Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for defying a court order to stop detaining suspected undocumented immigrants.
  27. Phoenix New Times reported Arpaio was a no-show for his pre-sentencing hearing on Thursday.
  28. Ahead of his first cabinet meeting with Kelly as chief of staff, Trump referred to the Cabinet Room as a “board room.
  29. Sec of Interior Zinke told GQ in an interview that Rick Perry was didn’t understand what his position is about, “I think he thought his department was more about energy than…science. Mostly, it’s science.”
  30. WAPO reported lobbyists are taking credit in the Trump era for writing bills to protect their industry that are passed in Congress with minimal input from the public, and little of no discussion in Congress.
  31. NYT reported Lewandowski has a new “advisory” business, which again is testing the ethical boundaries of Trump giving significant access and power to friends and loyalists not on the government payroll.
  32. WAPO reported Secret Service vacated its command post inside Trump Tower following a dispute over terms of the lease for the space. The post has been relocated to a trailer on the sidewalk.
  33. Six months after leaving office, Pence handed over state-related emailstransmitted from his personal AOL account. Some requests for Pence’s emails are more than a year old.
  34. Pence’s attorney, also a top fundraiser for Trump and Pence, determined which emails to release, raising concerns from watchdog groups.
  35. A US Court of Appeals ruled that 17 states and DC could pursue the Trump regime for their efforts to sabotage Obamacare.
  36. Ivanka said, “We are committed to supporting the American worker,” as 100% of her companies’ goods are manufactured overseas, and the Trump Organization and Eric’s winery seek to bring in foreign workers.
  37. WSJ reported the US attorney issued subpoenas to Kushner Cos. Employees and Kushner family members have allegedly been offering green cards in exchange for $500k investments in their properties.
  38. Kelly asserted his authority as chief of staff on Monday, firing Scaramucci immediately.
  39. Kelly’s first priority will be to gain control of the information that reaches Trump, with a goal of cutting out backchannels and bad information.
  40. Kelly reportedly called Sessions to tell him his job is safe.
  41. CNN reported Kelly was so upset about the handling of Comey’s firing, Kelly called Comey afterward and said he was considering resigning.
  42. On Tuesday, bowing to criticism on transparency, Tillerson held his first press briefing, saying he is not “very happy” with Congress’ vote to sanction Russia.
  43. Tillerson acknowledged the understaffed State Dept: 22 of 24 assistant secretary slots are either unfilled or staffed by Obama holdovers.
  44. On Tuesday, Greg Andres, a former DOJ official, became the 16th member of Mueller’s team. Andres has vast experience with white-collar crime, including fraud and illegal foreign bribery.
  45. On Tuesday, a story on Golf.com recounted a scene at Trump’s Bedminster golf club, in which he tells members the reason he stays away from Washington is because the White House is a “real dump.
  46. On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “I love the White House, one of the most beautiful buildings (homes) I have ever seen,” and referred to Golf.com as “Fake News.”
  47. On Thursday, Golf.com responded with a podcast about the story, saying at least 8 people heard Trump call the WH a dump.
  48. At a tense July 19 meeting with generals, Trump complained about the options in Afghanistan, saying, “We are losing.” Trump also compared US efforts to the renovation of the 21 Club, infuriating the generals.
  49. Trump complained the US wasn’t getting a piece of Afghan’s mineral wealth, and said he was considering firing Gen. Nicholson.
  50. As Kelly established an organizational structure, McMaster fired two Bannon loyalists from the NSC: Rich Higgins and Ezra Cohen-Watnick.
  51. As the turf battle heated up between McMaster and Bannon, rumors circulated that Trump may send McMaster off to Afghanistan to replace Nicholson.
  52. On Thursday, McMaster cleared Susan Rice and said she will keep her top-secret security clearance. Circa reported Trump was not aware of McMaster’s decision.
  53. Conservative media turned on McMaster, calling him a “sycophant” and “deeply hostile to Israel and Trump.” A new app that tracks Russian troll activity also found “firemcmaster” as the most tweeted item.
  54. NPR reported on a lawsuit that alleges Fox News and Ed Butowsky, a wealthy Trump supporter, with the knowledge of the WH, created a fake story about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks to help Trump deflect from Russian involvement.
  55. The story started May 10, the day after the Comey firing. A few days later, Butowsky texted Wheeler, the expert suing for being inaccurately cited in the story, that Trump “wants the article out immediately.”
  56. ABC reported Spicer met with two Fox News contributors about the Seth Rich story at the WH, and asked to be “kept abreast of developments.”
  57. Yahoo reported the lawyer who is suing Fox News on behalf of Wheeler will seek to depose Trump and Spicer.
  58. Reporter Andrew Feinberg, who worked at Sputnik, said he was pushed to cover the Seth Rich story: “It’s really telling that the White House is pushing the same narrative as a state-run Russian propaganda outlet.”
  59. Newsweek reported Russia is using LinkedIn to target critics by damaging their reputations and chances for employment, and possible exposing them to physical harm beyond social media.
  60. On Wednesday, flanked by senators Cotton and Perdue, Trump introduced a bill to slash immigration levels in half over the next decade.
  61. Trump said the bill, named the RAISE Act, will favor green card applicants who speak English, financially support themselves, and contribute to the economy.
  62. AP fact checked Trump’s speech and found it was full of false statements.
  63. The bill was sharply rebuked by Democrats and Republicans. Catholic Bishops issued a strong statement against RAISE, saying it will weaken family bonds and impact ability to respond to those in crisis.
  64. At a contentious press briefing after the RAISE Act announcement, Stephen Miller said the 1883 “huddled masses” poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty doesn’t matter since it was “added later.
  65. Miller also acted aggressively towards a NYT and CNN reporters. Miller said CNN’s Jim Acosta, son of Cuban immigrants who did not speak English, had a “Cosmopolitan bias.
  66. ‘Cosmopolitan’ is an anti-Semitic term used by 20th century authoritarian regimes.
  67. The Anne Frank Center tweeted that Nazis found Anne Frank on August 4, 1944, after her family was denied entrance to the US in 1941, for “Reasons refugees hear now.
  68. Trump told the WSJ the head of the boy scouts called him to say his jamboree speech was “the greatest speech that was ever made to them.” The Boy Scouts denied any call from national leadership was made.
  69. Trump also told the WSJ that Mexican president Peña Nieto called him and told him fewer people were crossing the border. This is also a lie.
  70. WH press secretary Sanders revised Trump’s statements to say an individual Boy Scout leader called Trump, and the statement from Peña Nieto took place in a conversation at the G20.
  71. On Wednesday Trump signed the Russia sanctions bill behind closed doors and with no press coverage. Trump criticized Congress, but said nothing of Russia interference or the 755 US embassy members removed.
  72. In a statement, Trump called the measure “significantly flawed.” Trump also said it “encroaches on the executive branch’s authority to negotiate,” adding, “I built a truly great company worth many billions of dollars.”
  73. On Thursday, Trump again attacked Congress, tweeting, “Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low,” and you can thank “the same people that can’t even give us HCare!”
  74. McCain responded, “You can thank Putin for attacking our democracy, invading neighbors & threatening our allies” for the dangerous low.
  75. Russia PM Medvedev said the Trump regime “has demonstrated full impotence.” He also tweeted the Trump regime has shown its “total weakness” in handing power to Congress “in the most humiliating way.”
  76. On Wednesday, Trump approval dropped to new lows: Rasmussen (38 approve), Gallup (36–60) and Quinnipiac (33–61). Trump used to cite Rasmussen as his favorite when his approval there reached high 50s.
  77. Quinnipiac also found American voters say 54–26 that they are embarrassed to have Trump as a leader.
  78. On Thursday, two bipartisan pairs of senators (Graham/Booker, Tillis/Coons) released legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller without good reason.
  79. Buzzfeed reported the RNC has instructed staff not to delete or modify any documents related to last year’s campaign, given “the potentially expansive scope of the inquiries and investigations.”
  80. WSJ reported Mueller impaneled a grand jury in Washington to investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, a sign his inquiry is growing in intensity. Trump’s special counsel Cobb, was not aware.
  81. A grand jury is already impaneled in Alexandria, VA to investigate Flynn. The second grand jury and recent hires shows the investigation has entered a new phase. The location gives Mueller’s team easy proximity.
  82. Reuters reported grand jury subpoenas have been issued in connection to the June 9 meeting between Donald Jr., Veselnitskaya and others.
  83. On Thursday, Trump held a campaign rally in WV in which he called the Russia investigation a “hoax,” and presided over cheers of “Lock her up!”as he called for an investigation into Hillary’s deleted emails.
  84. Also of note at the rally, the supporters standing behind Trump as he spoke, a group typically carefully selected by staffers, was 100% white.
  85. As the Senate adjourned for the summer, WAPO reported this is a historically unproductive period of governance as Republicans had no major legislative achievements despite controlling Congress and the WH.
  86. The Senate unanimously agreed to a “pro forma” sessions before leaving for break, meaning Trump cannot make recess appointments. Murkowski, attacked by Trump in Week 37, did the wrap-up.
  87. The Interior Dept’s Office of the Inspector General launched a preliminary investigation of Zinke’s threats to the Alaska senators in an apparent effort to sway Murkowski to vote for the Obamacare repeal.
  88. NBC reported SCL Group, a private British behavioral research company related to Cambridge Analytica, was awarded several contracts by the State Dept.
  89. On their website, SCL Group advertised “our methodology has been approved by” with the State Dept and NATO logos. After NBC’s report, NATO and the State Dept asked that their logos be removed.
  90. AP reported Flynn will file an amended public financial filing to show he entered into a consulting agreement with SCL Group, a subsidiary of Cambridge Analytica.
  91. Cambridge Analytica is funded by Trump ally the Mercers, and per Week 26 is under investigation for possible interference in both Brexit and the 2016 US election.
  92. Flynn’s amended filing will also include $28k from the Trump transition team, and $5k as a consultant for an aborted Middle East nuclear power deal. Per Week 32, that Middle East deal was a venture with Russia.
  93. CNN reported that one year into the FBI’s Russia investigation, now headed by Mueller, the probe has expanded to focus on possible financial crimes, some of which are not connected to the 2016 elections.
  94. Investigators are looking into whether financial laws were broken, and whether Trump dealings could put members of the regime in a compromising position with Russia.
  95. Further, the FBI noticed a spate of curious communications between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence in the summer of 2016,including contact with Manafort on information damaging to Hillary.
  96. CNN also reported Page has been under a FISA warrant since 2014.
  97. VOX reported that as many as 10 or more senior intelligence officials, including Comey and McCabe, are likely to be interviewed as part of Mueller’s obstruction of justice investigation.
  98. WAPO released the transcripts of Trump’s phone calls with Mexican President Peña Nieto and Australian PM Turnbull during Trump’s first week in office.
  99. When Peña Nieto said Mexico would not pay for the wall, Trump responded, “You cannot say that to the press,” acknowledging talk about the wall was more about image management than economic policy.
  100. Trump told Peña Nieto he won New Hampshire (a lie) because the state is “a drug-infested den.”
  101. Despite Trump claiming early on that reports of him berating Turnbull on the call were “fake news,” the transcript does confirm this. Trump told Turnbull he had a more pleasant call earlier with Putin.
  102. Trump balked at taking refugees from Australia as required in a deal struck by Obama, saying he hates taking these people, and they could “become the Boston bomber in five years.”
  103. As Trump departed for a three-week vacation at this golf course in Bedminster, GQ labelled him “the laziest president in American history.
  104. Likewise, the cover of Newsweek referred to Trump as “Lazy Boy” and pictures him a chair watching television and eating junk food. The accompanying article refers to him as “America’s boy king.
  105. Staffers of Republicans on the House Intel Comm traveled to London to track down Steele, author of the dossier. POLITICO reported growing tensions as Democrats on the House Intel Comm, Sen Intel Comm members, and Mueller were not notified.
  106. In a press conference Friday, Sessions threatened the DOJ may prosecute journalists over suspected leaks. Sessions also said he is reviewing the DOJ’s policies affecting media subpoenas.
  107. NYT reported Mueller’s special counsel made its first formal request to the WH to hand over documents. Mueller seeks information on the financial dealing of Flynn related his company’s work for Turkey.
  108. Flynn was paid $530k. Investigators want to know if the Turkish government was behind the payments, and if Flynn Intel Group made kickbacks to Ekim Alptekin, for concealing the source of the money.
  109. Flynn’s now third version of financial disclosure forms list $1.8mm in income, $400k more than in his prior forms.
  110. Failing to register as a foreign agent is a felony, and trying to hide to source of money by routing it through a private company, and using kickbacks to a middle man, could lead to criminal charges.

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 36: GAG ME ~ maga…

Week 35 of ‘36% liked’ (as of today) trump presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

July 15, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-35-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-b903f89596c9

I’m pleased to share that “The Weekly List” has found a safe home at the Library of Congress. May future generations learn from our slow slide to authoritarianism, and never let it happen again!

This week the bombshell story about Donald Jr.’s emails, the first direct evidence of possible collusion and intent between the Trump campaign and Russia, dominated media coverage and conversation. But as with each week, amidst the bedlam, there were a myriad of less-covered, important stories on how the fabric of our country is changing, and kleptocracy is omnipresent.

  1. After the G20, Pope Francis warned about “dangerous” international alliances, including the one between the US and Russia.
  2. On Sunday after returning from the G20, Trump sent a bizarre set of tweets, including his apparent acceptance that Putin did not meddle in our election, and his plan to set up a Cyber Security unit with Putin.
  3. After widespread condemnation of his Cyber Security unit idea, Trump tweeted Sunday night that he didn’t really mean it.
  4. US officials say Russia government hackers were behind recent cyber-intrusions into the administrative and business networks of a US nuclear power plant and other energy companies.
  5. Reuters reported European infrastructure networks have also recently been hacked, and the Russian government is thought to be the culprit.
  6. An Arkansas bill scheduled to go into effect July 30 would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion without notifying the man who impregnated her, even in cases of rape.
  7. On Monday, Capitol police arrested citizens protesting the GOP health care bill outside of Republican senate offices.
  8. A federal judge halted the deportation of 1,400 Iraqi nationals, including many Christians fearing persecution. The Trump’s regime efforts to deport took on new urgency because Iraq has agreed to accept deportees.
  9. An Iranian cancer researcher traveling on a valid visa to the US to work as a visiting scholar at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, was detained at Logan Airport, along with his wife and three children.
  10. Pew Research found the percentage of Muslim refugees has steadily declined under Trump from 50% in February to 31% in June, while the percentage of Christian refugees has increased from 41% to 57%.
  11. A federal judge’s ruling in Hawaii narrowed the scope of Trump’s Muslim Ban by vastly expanding the list of family relationships with U.S. citizens that visa applicants can use to get into the US.
  12. Trump ally Steve King called for using federal funds set aside for Planned Parenthood and welfare programs like food stamps to be reallocated for funding Trump’s Mexican Wall.
  13. POLITICO reported that Trump and his regime are quietly working with conservative senators Cotton and Perdue to cut the number of legal immigrants allowed into the US by half over the next decade.
  14. According to a memo obtained by WAPO, the Trump regime is considering expanding the DHS’s power to expedite the deportation of illegal immigrants, a major expansion of the agency’s power.
  15. DeVos met with MRA groups who believe campus sexual assault is a hoax, including The National Coalition for Men, an organization with a history of harassing and intimidating alleged sexual-assault survivors.
  16. DeVos also met with Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), an organization SPLC described as promoting misogyny. SAVE has lobbied against efforts to address military sexual assault, calling it a “witch hunt.”
  17. Ahead of these pivotal meeting, Candice Jackson, the acting assistant secretary for civil right at the Education Dept said 90% of campus sexual accusations come after drunk sex or break-ups. She later apologized.
  18. Sessions delivered a speech to Alliance Defending Freedom, a group designated as an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the SPLC in 2016, off camera on Tuesday. The DOJ refused to release his remarks.
  19. Rep Martha McSally stood on the House floor Wednesday in a sleeveless dress and open-toed shoes to say she would not comply with the dress code in the chamber and Speaker’s lobby.
  20. On Friday, female members of the House wore sleeveless clothing to work, tweeting in support of “Sleeveless Friday.”
  21. Price’s HHS quietly defunded teen pregnancy programs designed by the Obama administration to fund scientifically valid ways to help teenagers make healthy decisions that avoid unwanted pregnancy.
  22. The ACLU filed a suit against Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, saying it isn’t following federal law requiring it to be open to the public.
  23. Trump’s Election Integrity Commission published a 112 page document of public feedback (mostly negative), which exposed personal informationincluding email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of some.
  24. Over 3k Colorado voters have canceled their registrations since Trump’s Election Integrity Commission requested voter roll information.
  25. A non-partisan campaign finance watchdog group filed a complaint with the FEC alleging Price improperly used his congressional campaign fund to promote his confirmation to HHS Secretary.
  26. Center for Public Integrity reported Bannon failed to properly disclose more than $2mm in mortgage debt on his financial disclosure form.
  27. Trump’s expected pick for chief of the Wage and Hour Division of the Dept of Labor, Cheryl Stanton, was named in a lawsuit last year for allegedly not paying her house cleaners.
  28. WAPO reported that while Trump has chastised companies for outsourcing jobs and Ivanka branded herself a feminist, Ivanka’s clothing lines are exclusively produced at low-wage foreign factories, and women employees are not well treated.
  29. After Trump’s much ballyhooed deal with Carrier to keep American jobs, Indiana has lost 5k manufacturing jobs since February.
  30. WSJ reported the CEO of a OpenGov, a small start-up that Kushner’s brother has a stake in, got a seat at a WH roundtable for prominent technology-industry leaders last month. Kushner owned the stake before selling it to his brother early in the year.
  31. POLITICO reported that conservative Sinclair Broadcasting increased “must run” segments featuring former Trump adviser Epshteyn to nine times per week, across its affiliates.
  32. Sputnik, a Russian government-funded news outlet, started broadcasting on 105.5 FM last week from K-Street offices, a few blocks from the WH.
  33. Within 24 hours of announcing “The Weekly List” will be archived in the Library of Congress, I was the target of two hit pieces in Sputnik News, one in RT, and other various Russia-friendly blogs.
  34. NYT reported that Pence has quietly hosted at least four private dinners, and has more in the works, to court big donors and corporate executives.
  35. The Trump regime’s deregulation teams is full of appointees with deep industry ties. NYT and ProPublica reported on 71 appointees with industry links, including 28 with potential conflicts.
  36. Intercept reported Kushner tried to get a half-billion loan bailout for his 666 Fifth Avenue from a Qatar sovereign wealth fund, and the deal not coming to fruition may have influenced US policy towards Qatar.
  37. USA Today reported a US Golf Association exec told USGA executive committee members that Trump threatened to sue the organization if it moved the 2017 US Women’s Open from Trump‘s golf club in Bedminster.
  38. Trump tweeted: “I will be at the @USGA #USWomensOpen in Bedminster,” advertising one of his properties again.
  39. Documents released to WAPO under the FOIA show the State Dept spent more than $15k for rooms at the new Trump hotel in Vancouver.
  40. At the behest of Bannon, Trump aides Prince and Feinberg, both who benefited from military contracting, developed an alternative plan to the one proposed by the Pentagon for Afghanistan. Their plan was to rely on contractors (mostly non-American) instead of American military troops.
  41. Twitter users who were blocked by Trump’s personal account are suing him in federal court, saying he violated their First Amendment rights.
  42. Trump tweeted that Comey had “leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION” and “That is so illegal!” The Columbia law professor who received some of Comey’s memos, said the memos he received were not classified.
  43. Saturday evening, NYT reported that Donald Jr., Kushner and Manafort met with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer with close Kremlin ties, at Trump Tower on June 9, 2016.
  44. Donald Jr. initially claimed the meeting was related to an adoption program. Kushner had failed to disclose the meeting in his security clearance. Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign manager at the time, had no comment on the meeting.
  45. On Sunday, NYT reported Donald Jr. met with the Veselnitskaya after being promised damaging information on Hillary. The meeting took place two weeks after Trump became the GOP nominee.
  46. On the question of whether Trump campaign colluded with Russia, NYTnoted Donald Jr.’s meeting is “the first public indication that at least some in the campaign were willing to accept Russian help.”
  47. A spokesperson for Trump’s lawyer told the NYT, “the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.”
  48. Donald Jr. hired attorney Alan Futerfas to represent him in the Russiaprobe, adding to a long list of attorneys defending Team Trump.
  49. WAPO reported the acquaintance who set up the meeting was Rob Goldstone, who was active in the Miss Universe pageant and works as a manager for Russian pop singer, Emin Agalarov.
  50. As news was breaking on Donald Jr., Russia’s Lavrov threatened that Russia is “considering specific measures” as retribution for Trump not returning two compounds seized by the Obama administration.
  51. On Tuesday, Donald Jr. preemptively tweeted his email exchange in setting up the Trump Tower meeting. Donald Jr had been contacted by the NYT for comment, asked for more time, then tweeted.
  52. Shortly after his tweet, the NYT story broke. In addition to the emails, the story details the changing accounts by all involved parties.
  53. Per emails, Donald Jr was offered information that “would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father,” and “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”
  54. Donald Jr.’s response was: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.
  55. Donald Jr. forwarded the email chain — with the subject line, “Re: Russia — Clinton — private and confidential” — to Kusher and Manafort ahead of the meeting.
  56. The email was sent by Rod Goldstone on behalf of a mutual friend, Emin Agalarov. Emin is the son of Aras Agalarov, a real estate tycoon referred to as the “Donald Trump of Russia,” who has close ties to, and was awarded the “Order of Honor of the Russian Federation” by, Putin.
  57. The meeting took place in Trump Tower, one floor below Trump’s offices.Trump continued to deny knowledge or involvement all week.
  58. According to emails, the meeting took place at 4:00 pm. Donald Jr. said it lasted 20–30 minutes. At 4:40 pm same day, Trump tweeted in response to a tweet by Hillary, “where are your 33,000 emails that you deleted?”
  59. Julian Assange tweeted, “Contacted Trump Jr this morning on why he should publish his emails (i.e with us),” indicating he has been in contact with Donald Jr.
  60. WAPO reported Donald Jr. changed his story about the meeting with Veselnitskaya four times in the first four days of the story coming to light.
  61. NYT reported Trump personally signed off on Donald Jr.’s first statement Saturday night saying his meeting with a Russian lawyer was to discuss adoption policy — a known lie.
  62. After releasing his emails, Donald Jr. gave an interview to Fox News telling his side of the story. Trump called his son “a high-quality person” and added, “I applaud his transparency.”
  63. Yahoo reported that Trump had a Moscow real estate deal with Aras Agalarov, the same Russian oligarch who set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya, to construct a Trump Tower in Moscow.
  64. A letter intent was signed by Trump, then as the presidential campaign got underway, Donald Jr. was assigned to take the lead. Ivanka also looked at spots for Trump Tower Moscow with Emin Agalarov.
  65. The deal did not happen because the Russian economy floundered, in part because of US and EU sanctions imposed after Crimea and Ukraine. Doing away with US sanctions could help put the deal back on track.
  66. In April 2016, Emin and Aras Agalarov told WAPO they wanted Trump to be elected. Emin said Trump’s election would be “an amazing breakthrough” that would forge peace between Russia and the US.
  67. CNN reported Mueller’s investigators plan to examine the meeting and email exchanges disclosed by Donald Jr. as part of their broader Russian-meddling investigation.
  68. On “The Late Show” Tuesday night, Joe Scarborough announced he is leaving the Republican Party. “It’s a shame there are so few Republicans speaking truth to power,” Scarborough tweeted.
  69. NYT reported Tuesday that Trump’s long-time personal attorney and lead counsel for the Russia probe, Kasowitz, has been the target of Trump’s frustration and ire, and may resign.
  70. ProPublica reported that as Trump’s lead attorney on the Russia probe, Kasowitz is unable to see classified information because he isn’t seeking security clearance, and may have trouble getting one.
  71. On Wednesday night, Kasowitz threatened a stranger in an email, saying “I’m on you now,” and “Watch your back, bitch,” etc. Later, he apologized through a spokesperson, saying he was working late that night.
  72. McClatchy reported that Congressional and DOJ investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states.
  73. Kushner, who is already a “person of interest” for the DOJ investigations, will be investigated for his role overseeing the digital operations, and for possible cooperation with Russian efforts.
  74. Of note, the Russians knew to target women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan. Clinton lost WI, MI and PA by a combined 77,744 votes out of 13.9 million ballots cast.
  75. WSJ reported that in light of Donald Jr. emails, US intel investigators are re-examining conversations captured in the spring of 2015 of Russian government officials discussing associates of Trump.
  76. Rep Brad Sherman of CA introduced articles of impeachment against Trump. Rep Green of TX was the only other Democrat to join.
  77. AP reported that Trump’s mysterious friend “Jim,” who Trump frequently referenced on the campaign trail and more recently ahead of his trip to Paris, may not actually exist.
  78. Trump faced heavy criticism after telling France’s first lady during his first state visit to the country, “You’re in such good shape.”
  79. Democratic members of the House Judiciary Comm sent a letter to Sessions asking why the DOJ settled a $230mm Russian money laundering case against Prevezon for $6mm two days before trial in May.
  80. Veselnitskaya represented the family of Pyotr Katsyv, whose son owns Prevezon. Democrats want to know is she was involved at any point in settlement negotiations.
  81. Prevezon was part of Russia’s largest tax fraud scheme. Magnitsky, the lawyer who exposed the alleged fraud, was jailed, tortured and killed in Russia. Veselnitskaya has been trying to undo the Act in his name.
  82. The case against Prevezon was initially brought by US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump.
  83. Axios reported Trump’s outside legal teams wants him to wall off Kushner from discussing the Russian investigation with Trump.
  84. On Thursday morning, NPR reported Sessions had defied a judge’s order by not supplying the required forms to show his foreign contacts. The court’s 30-day deadline expired Wednesday.
  85. Later that afternoon, a day late, the DOJ did release one heavily redacted page of Sessions’s SF86, showing only that he had checked a box “no” on whether he had met with any foreign governments in the past 7 years.
  86. New Republic reported that Trump’s relationship with Russia dates back to the 1980s, and over decades Russia has laundered money through Trump’s real estate and casinos.
  87. Gorka told CNN that Trump is considering returning the Russian compounds because “we want to give collaboration” a chance. US intel found evidence the compounds were used for spying on the US.
  88. Thursday, Trump said he would invite Putin to the WH at the right time. Trump also continued to not acknowledge that Russia who hacked our election, saying it could have been China or N. Korea.
  89. NYT reported that Kushner has supplemented his federal disclosure form three times, adding more than 100 foreign contact names.
  90. Chicago Tribune reported that Peter W. Smith, the GOP operative who detailed his efforts along with members of the Trump campaign to get Hillary’s deleted emails from Russian hackers, committed suicide.
  91. Smith’s interview with WSJ’s Shane Harris was the first report of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Smith’s suicide happened nine days after the interview occurred.
  92. Smith left a curious suicide note, citing a bad turn in his health, and writing, “NO FOUL PLAY WHATSOEVER.” Harris said when he spoke to Smith, he had no indication “he was ill or planning to take his own life.
  93. NBC reported at the June 9 meeting, Veselnitskaya was accompanied by Rinat Akhmetshin a Russian-American lobbyist, and former Soviet counterintelligence officer with ongoing ties to Russian intelligence.
  94. AP confirmed that Akhmetshin attended the meeting. Donald Jr. had not disclosed Akhmetshin’s attendance, not had Kushner in his forms.
  95. Daily Beast reported Akhmetshin was previously accused in federal and state courts of orchestrating an international hacking conspiracy.
  96. Grassley, chair of the Sen Judiciary Comm, called on Donald Jr. to testify as early as next week. Grassley said he would subpoena him if necessary.
  97. Grassley filed a complaint against Akhmetshin in March, saying he was effectively engaged in lobbying work as an unregistered agent for Russian interests. Akhmetshin lobbied for Congress to repeal the Magnitsky Act.
  98. FP reported that the private email account of a top US intelligence officer working in the secretive arm of the State Dept focusing on Russia, was hacked. Russia is suspected of being behind the hack.
  99. Yahoo reported Trump lawyers knew about the emails three weeks ago, although Trump claimed he learned about them, “a couple of days ago.”
  100. Friday, CNN said there were at least 8 people at the Donald Jr./Veselnitskaya meeting.
  101. On the Friday Fox News hand-off from Shepard Smith to Chris Wallace, Smith said “Why is it lie after lie after lie?….The deception, Chris, is mind-boggling…Where are we, and why are we getting told all these lies?” Wallace answered, “I don’t know what to say.”
  102. Veselnitskaya told WSJ that she had been meeting regularly and sharing information with Russian authorities and Russia’s top prosecutor, Yuri Chaika — the “Crown prosecutor” referenced in Goldstone’s emails.
  103. Amid a legal team shake-up, Trump hired Ty Cobb to become point person inside the WH for matters related to Russia, and Kushner lawyer Jamie Gorelick stepped away from representing him on Russia.
  104. Maddow reported on a lawsuit filed by United to Protect Democracy on behalf of three citizens against Trump and Stone for their role in the public sharing of information hacked by the Russians. If it goes to trial, discovery could reveal information on how stolen info was disseminated.
  105. Friday, a judge order a retrial of the Code Pink activist who was arrested after she laughed during Sessions’s confirmation hearing.
  106. Lawyers for the only known DREAMer to be deported, filed supporting statement showing ICE agents wrongly forced him across the border.
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NYC-based street artist Andrea Cook. – photo by me in Chisinau, Moldova. 15july17.
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“Use Your Collusion, Vol. 1” by Orlando-based artist Andrew Spear.

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 35: TWITTER TWAT

Week 34 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

July 8, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-34-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-a15f5f9de76b

This is arguably the most alarming weekly list so far. A plot that has played out week-by-week as Trump alienated our allies while cozying up to authoritarians, followed by his embarrassing behavior at the NATO and G7 meetings, culminated this week at the G20 with US isolationism. This videohttps://goo.gl/VR1zxi, which traces weekly not normal items, explains why Putin is the winner in this new world alignment.

This week Trump amped-up his assault on the media, including encouraging violence. With this, Trump has distracted the country and media, and taken back the narrative. In the atmosphere of chaos, this week also stands out for the number of important stories that received little or no media coverage.

  1. As more and more states refused to comply with what Trump described as his “very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL”, he questioned, “What are they trying to hide?
  2. By midweek, 44 states and DC refused to provide some or all of the voter roll data requested by Trump’s Election Integrity Commission.
  3. States are denying the request based on concerns over privacy and federal overreach, and also concern that the effort of identifying voter affiliation will be used to purge Democrats from voter rolls.
  4. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a Hatch Act complaint against Kobach, saying he used Trump’s commission to solicit political campaign money.
  5. A Maryland official, Deputy SoS Luis Borunda, resigned from Trump’s commission.
  6. Several experts on the regulatory process told The Hill that Trump’s commission may have violated the law by failing to submit the requests to states through OIRA, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act.
  7. A DOJ letter sent to 44 states’ election officials on the same day Kobach and Pence made their requests, asks states to detail their compliance with the NVRA. This request also raised concerns about voter purging.
  8. At a rally in DC Saturday night, Trump continued his attacks on the “fake” media, saying, “I’m President and they’re not.”
  9. On Sunday, Trump tweeted a video created by a Reddit user from both his personal account and the official @POTUS account, showing him violently wrestling down a person whose face is the CNN logo.
  10. The Reddit user was named “HanAssholeSolo” and his posts were full of anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and other white supremacists materials.
  11. The Reddit user later apologized, but Trump did not. The parents and wife of the CNN reporter who covered the story received around 50 harassing phone calls. Allegedly, CNN did not defend the reporter.
  12. As Trump continued his anti-CNN rhetoric, the cable network’s anchors and executives received death threats and other harassing messages.
  13. Following Trump’s tweet, three media watchdog groups have started to do something they never imagined: documenting violent threats and actions against the media in the US.
  14. Maine’s Governor LePage said he makes up stories to mislead the press. LePage also called the media “vile” and “inaccurate.”
  15. NYT reported the Trump regime discussed using the pending merger between Time Warner and AT&T as leverage over CNN.
  16. On Thursday, Trump media ally Daily Caller reported the WH doesn’t support the merger if Zucker still heads CNN.
  17. Trump ally and Bannon patron Bob Mercer bought 2.5mm shares of Time Inc., owner of Time magazine in the first quarter of 2017. Per Week 33, David Pecker, owner of National Enquirer is also interested in Time Inc.
  18. Maddow reported that TRMS was sent a forged NSA document. Maddow speculated this was an attempt to trick her show into reporting a false story, and hence weakening her credibility and dulling that storyline.
  19. Maddow said that other media outlets may also be receiving forged documents as well, citing recently retracted stories at CNN and Vice.
  20. POLITICO reported on the Trump regime’s obsessive crackdown on leaks from the intelligence community, which has led to an “increasingly tense and paranoid working environment” in the national security community.
  21. On Sunday, protestors gathered at rallies in dozens of cities around the country to call for Trump’s impeachment.
  22. NBC reported that in Trump’s first 168 days in office, he spent 50 days at Trump properties and 36 days at Trump golf resorts.
  23. NYT reported that while working with industry players, not EPA staff, Pruitt has moved to undo, delay or block 30 environmental rules, a rollback larger in scope than any other in the agency’s 47-year history.
  24. Several states sued over the EPA’s decision to keep a Dow pesticide, which studies show can harm children’s brains, on the market. Per Week 33, Dow spent millions lobbying and donated to Trump’s inauguration.
  25. The Wisconsin assembly passed a bill which would block students from protesting conservative speakers on college campuses.
  26. NYT reported the Trump regime’s latest anti-immigrant tactic is to target undocumented parents suspected of having paid to have their children smuggled into the US.
  27. POLITICO reported that Trump insider Stephen Miller has been holding meetings with agencies on how to further curb the entry of refugees. Miller clashed with Tillerson, who demanded autonomy.
  28. A new law in Florida allows parents and residents to file complaints with school boards to challenge what’s taught in science classes.
  29. Attorneys general for 18 states and DC sued DeVos and the Dept of Education over a decision to roll back rules put in place to help students who have been defrauded by their colleges.
  30. Devos’s Dept of Education may stop publishing the list of college and universities in violation of Title IX for mishandling campus sexual assault. The Obama Administration started the list to hold schools accountable for an issue which impacts 1 in 5 college women and 1 in 20 college men.
  31. WAPO reported the WH gender pay gap until has more tripled under Trump, with female staffers earning on average 63% of what their male counterparts make. This is the biggest WH gender pay gap in decades.
  32. Female journalists were banned from the Speaker’s lobby, a room area where reporters speak to members of Congress, because their sleeveless dressed were not viewed as “appropriate attire.”
  33. In a 53 page memo to the court, Trump attorney Kasowitz argued for the dismissal of a sexual harassment lawsuit against Trump, claiming Trump cannot be sued in state court while in office.
  34. The Auschwitz Memorial condemned a political video posted by Louisiana Republican Clay Higgins, which the congressman filmed inside an Auschwitz gas chamber.
  35. At a protest outside Sen Portman’s office in Columbus, OH, a woman in a wheelchair was pushed out of her chair to the ground by a police officer.
  36. The KKK plans a rally in downtown Charlottesville today, and warned that many of its 80–100 members and supporters will be armed.
  37. Pro-Trump Twitter operatives are marketing their services to candidates and others, promising to mobilize their followers and networks for pay.
  38. Guardian reported investigators are looking into whether the Trump campaign and far-right websites coordinated with Russia in spreading fake news. Sen Warner noted key voters in swing states were targeted.
  39. Motherboard reported on an analysis of the Twitter bots that helped Trump, and found the same bots and alt-right narrative emerged in the French election against Macron.
  40. On July 4, NRP tweeted the Declaration of Independence, and was attacked by Trump supporters who called it “propaganda” and “spam.
  41. A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found Trump’s net approval with Independents has fallen by 17 points since he took office.
  42. The poll also found that the majority (54%) of Americans believe Trump did something illegal or unethical with Russia.
  43. While his predecessors Clinton, W. Bush and Obama celebrated July 4th by visiting troops, Trump spent the day on a Trump-branded golf course. McCain, Warren and Graham visited troops in Afghanistan.
  44. Despite his recusal, Sessions spoke to Fox & Friends about the Trump-Russia probe, offering advice to Mueller on hiring practices and tempo.
  45. WSJ reported the OGE will release an additional two dozen ethics waivers just filed for Trump regime members working on issues they handled in their private-sector jobs. Trump has already granted as many waivers to WH officials as Mr. Obama did in his eight years in office.
  46. The State Depart’s Office of the Inspector General said the State Dept and USAID have failed to adequately track more than $30bn of foreign aid.
  47. In a survey of 35k employees in the State Dept and USAID, workers said they were concerned about the future of their agencies and the lack of support from the Trump regime and Tillerson.
  48. An Indiana nonprofit is suing Pence’s successor for keeping residents in the dark on the deal between the Trump regime and Pence with Carrier. The group’s request for information in December went unanswered.
  49. In another sign the Trump regime won’t take civil rights seriously, Trump nominated Eric Dreiband to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. Dreiband has spent his career defending companies from charges of discrimination.
  50. One of the DOJ’s top corporate crime watchdogs, Hui Chen, resigned, saying holding companies to standards the Trump regime wasn’t living up to was “creating a cognitive dissonance that I could not overcome.”
  51. Walter Shaub, director of the OGE resigned in frustration, six months before his term ended, saying, “It’s clear that there isn’t more I could accomplish.” Shaub and OGE have 24 items in The Weekly List.
  52. Shaub said in post-resignation interview that Trump’s ethics program is “a very serious disappointment,” and that his efforts to get basic information from the regime was “like pulling teeth.”
  53. CREW filed an ethics complaint against Kushner, saying he failed to make the required disclosure of his ownership interest in Cadre. The online real estate investment company has a value of $800mm.
  54. The Russian sanctions bill, which passed in the Senate 98–2, stalled in the House as Republican Pete Sessions, chair of the House Rules Comm, said it would make American energy companies less competitive.
  55. WSJ reported energy companies including Exxon and Chevron, and other industries, are lobbying against the Russian sanctions bill, saying it would hurt their business with Russian partners.
  56. Trump Organization renewed more than 1k web domains, including many which refer to Trump and Russia, like TrumpTowerMoscow.com., indicating possible interest in future development.
  57. Axios reported that Russian government-owned Sputnik news is coming to the DC airwaves after taking over a FM radio station. The FCC has not yet been notified according to a spokesperson.
  58. Matt Tait, who is cited in the WSJ story on possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia on Hillary’s deleted emails, wrote an op-ed, “The Time I Got Recruited to Collude with the Russians,” to tell his story.
  59. Tait said it was clear to him that Smith knew Flynn and his son, well, and that they knew the “dark web” was likely Russia but didn’t care. Tait warned it could be “part of a wider Russian campaign against the US.”
  60. Tait also received a document titled “A Demonstrative Pedagogical Summary to be Developed and Released Prior to November 8, 2016,” which list four groups involved, including group one which listed: Bannon, Conway, Clovis, Flynn and Lisa Nelson.
  61. McClatchy reported a Kremlin documents shows Kaspersky Lab, a leading global seller of anti-virus programs, has ties to Russia’s spying apparatus. Kaspersky’s certification has a FSB military intelligence unit number.
  62. Kaspersky security software is available globally, including at Target and Walmart. The company also serves as a subcontractor for US federal software contracts, and was used by the DNC last summer.
  63. CNN reported that Russia is stepping up spying efforts in the US post the US elections. Officials cited said Russia feels emboldened by the lack of a significant retaliatory response by Trump and Obama.
  64. US Intel estimates that Russia has 150 operatives in the US. Since the election, many have tried to sneak in under the guise of business.
  65. Strangely, the State Dept reportedly continues to grant temporary duty visas to suspected Russian intelligence officers, despite knowledge.
  66. AP reported on a lawsuit filed by Coalition for Good Governance, saying Georgia’s 6th Congressional election results should be voided because of previously identified problem with the touchscreen voting system.
  67. The suit cites the work of a private cybersecurity researcher who found that a misconfigured server had left Georgia’s 6.7 million voter records exposed to hackers last August.
  68. Republican SoS in Georgia, Brian Kemp blamed the media for developing a false narrative about Russia hacking, and said states are doing enough to keep elections secure and “anything to the contrary is fake news.
  69. WSJ reported that Mueller has hired an “absolute cream of the crop” team of 15 top attorneys with experience in national security, public corruption and financial crimes for the Russia probe.
  70. FT reported Russian-born Sater has agreed to co-operate with an international investigation into a money-laundering network. Per Week 32, Sater has extensive ties to organized crime and the Trump family.
  71. In their campaign for the upcoming election, Merkel’s party has dropped the reference to the US as a “friend.” Four years ago, her party referred to the US as Germany’s “most important friend” outside of Europe.
  72. Bloomberg reported China and Germany have stepped up to lead this year’s G20 summit, a role formerly held by the US.
  73. Pew Research found that 17 of the 19 G20 countries in their survey look to Merkel, not Trump, to lead in world affairs.
  74. Guardian reported Trump considered a sneak visit to Downing Street in order to avoid massive UK protests en route to or from the G20 summit. After the story broke, the WH said Trump would not visit.
  75. Instead, on his way to the G20, Trump chose to stop off at Poland, despite the new far-right government’s authoritarian leanings including cracking down on judges and the media.
  76. AP reported the Polish government promised the WH cheering crowds as part of the invitation. Members of the ruling party and pro-government activists bussed in groups of people for Trump’s speech.
  77. Trump gave another of his dystopian speeches in Poland, saying Western civilization was at risk of decline because of “radical Islamic terrorism” and government bureaucracy.
  78. At a news conference in Poland, Trump said he thinks meddling in the US election was done by Russia, but “it could have been other people in other countries” and that “nobody really knows for sure.”
  79. Also on his trip to Poland, Trump continued to dismiss and belittle US intelligence, saying, “Do we even have seventeen intelligence agencies?
  80. The day before Trump was set to meet with Putin, seemingly as a bargaining chip, The Moscow Times reported the Russian embassy to the US is accusing the US of “kidnapping” a man accused of cyber-fraud.
  81. Ahead of his meeting with Putin, top Senate Democrats sent a letter to Trump saying not raising Russia’s interference in our election would be “a severe dereliction of the duty of the office to which you were elected.”
  82. LA Times reported that in preparing Trump for his meeting with Putin, aids had written a list of “tweet-length sentences,” which summarize the main points.
  83. Trump met with Mexico’s Pena Nieto at the G20. After the meeting, Trump was asked if Mexico will pay for the wall to which he responded, “absolutely.” Mexico’s foreign minister said the wall was not discussed.
  84. Friday, without provocation or reason, Trump tweeted a random lieabout Podesta: “Everyone here is talking about why John Podesta refused to give the DNC server to the FBI and the CIA. Disgraceful!”
  85. At the G20, Trump and Putin met for 2:16 hours off-camera, behind closed doors. The meeting was originally scheduled to last 30 minutes.
  86. Only Tillerson and Trump were present from the US side, despite media speculation that McMaster and Fiona Hill would be included.
  87. Lavrov and Tillerson gave different accounts of what happened behind closed doors. Lavrov said Trump told Putin some circles in America were “exaggerating” allegations of Russian interference in the US election.
  88. Sally Yates tweeted Trump’s refusal to confirm Russian interference“insults career intel pros & hinders our ability to prevent in future.”
  89. Tillerson’s version differed, but both said they agreed to put whatever happened behind them: “There was not a lot of re-litigating of the past.” Tillerson added, “This is a very important relationship.
  90. Russia faces no consequences from Trump for interfering in our election. It was unclear if Trump returned the two Russian compounds seized by Obama as punishment for Russia interfering in our election.
  91. In an op-ed, “Trump Caves to Putin,” conservative journalist Stephen Hayes laid out an indictment of how Trump bowed to Putin on Russian interference and foreign policy. Elected Republicans however were silent.
  92. AP reported Saturday that Putin said, “he thinks Trump believes his denial of Russian meddling in US vote, but better to ask Trump himself.”
  93. Ivanka took her father’s seat at a G20 meeting on Saturday. Normally, government ministers or senior officials would take such a role.
  94. Trump isolated the US from other G20 countries on a series of policies ranging from climate to free trade.
  95. The US abstained from signing onto the G20 communique on climate-related issues, the sole country at the summit to do so.
  96. As the summit came to a close, leaders feared for that the G20 summits may be ineffective while Trump is in office. President Macron said, “Our world has never been so divided.”
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Artist: Subdude in London, England

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 27: THE DAY DEMOCRACY DIED (VERY NIXONIAN)

Week 26 of donald trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

May 13, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-26-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-61ba023aee54

What stands out in Week 26 is our normalization of a leader who bold-faced lies to us, and the ease with which Trump continues to indulge in this behavior. We’ve entered uncharted territory: Trump fired the FBI director in charge of investigating him and his regime’s ties to Russia, and admitted he did so because of the investigation.

The other take-away of Week 26 is what you missed. We’re in such a state of constant chaos, it’s easy to overlook the ways the Trump regime continues to tear the fabric of our values, to loot every cent they can, and to move us further away from democracy.

  1. Despite Russian involvement, Macron defeated Le Pen handily in France’s presidential election, marking the third European country (Austria, Netherlands) to reject the Trump-like candidate since the US election.
  2. A shocking Guardian article detailed the use of data to influence the outcome of Brexit and the US election. Names tied to the scandal include Trump, Farage, Thiel, Bannon, and Mercer and his Cambridge Analytica.
  3. The article also warned that the Trump regime is already weaponizing US data for future elections, citing the company that helped Trump win has “been awarded contracts in the Pentagon and the US state.”
  4. While in Beijing for a meeting with potential investors for the family’s New Jersey project, Kushner’s sister mentioned Jared and the EB-5 visa program to market the investment. EB-5 visas allow immigrants a path to a green card for investing $500,000 in a project that creates US jobs.
  5. The Kushner family later apologized after being accused of kleptocracy by the media.
  6. A WAPO researcher who attended the meeting tweeted, “I was threatened, harassed and forced to delete recordings and photos of The Kushner family recruiting Chinese investors in US Green cards.
  7. Page said he would no longer cooperate with the Senate Intel Comm’s request, saying he wants information he requested on the “unjustified civil rights violations by the Clinton/Obama regime.”
  8. Eric Trump reportedly told a reporter back in 2014, when asked about funding golf courses, “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.
  9. Eric Trump later denied having said this, but Donald Jr. had similarly said at a real estate conference in 2008: “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.
  10. Trump-connected lobbyists are making millions at major companies and foreign governments by touting their access to the Trump regime.
  11. Goldman Sachs hired a top Trump campaign staffer, David Urban, as a lobbyist.
  12. Eight Senate Democrats asked regulators to investigate whether Trump friend Carl Icahn violated insider trading laws in the biofuel market.
  13. Wilbur Ross doubled down on the Trump regime rhetoric with Canada on tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber, and warned Canada that “threats of retaliatory action” are “inappropriate.
  14. Nikki Haley issued a strong statement on Venezuela, citing Maduro’s ‘disregard for the fundamental rights of his own people.’ As Venezuela’s state-owned oil company donated $500k to Trump inauguration, the rest of the regime has been silent.
  15. The State Depart has yet to resume daily press briefings.
  16. Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel revived the deleted EPA climate change webpage, which as cited in Week 24 was mysteriously taken down on a Friday night, and put the information up on Chicago’s website.
  17. Minutes after an ABC reporter asked Spicer why Trump’s campaign website still calls for a Muslim ban, that reference was deleted.
  18. Despite Trump’s promises to keep jobs in the US, Indiana’s Rexnord — in Pence’s home state nearby Carrier which Trump visited to much ballyhoo — is moving jobs to Mexico. Trump tweeted to blame Obama.
  19. On CBS’s “60 Minutes,” residents in Granger, IN lamented their neighbor, who had no criminal record and had been in the US for 20-years, being deported and separated from his wife and children, who are all citizens.
  20. AP reported the Trump regime targeted Haitian immigrants, seeking evidence of crimes as an excuse to deport them.
  21. A bill that passed the Texas house would allow adoption agencies to reject families on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.
  22. Dan Heyman, a Public News Service reporter, was arrested Tuesday night in West Virginia for persistently asking Secretary Price questions.
  23. Price commended the police who arrested the journalist.
  24. EPA dismissed five scientists from a major scientific review board, and replaced them with representatives from industries the EPA regulates.
  25. Later in the week, two EPA science board members resigned in protest.
  26. Trump signed an EO creating a commission on ‘election integrity’ to re-examine Hillary’s 3 million vote win and “fraud.” The commission will be led by Pence and noted xenophobe Kobach of Kansas.
  27. Rep Lewis issued a statement on the commission, saying “It’s only been 54 years since we were jailed, beaten, and killed for trying to cast a vote.”
  28. Reversing progress, Sessions instituted a tougher new criminal charging and sentencing policy — a noted failure from the 1980 and 1990s. Sessions policy will disproportionately impact people of color.
  29. ICE arrested 1,378 suspected “gang members” in what Fox Newscharacterized as the largest gang sweep ever.
  30. Trump tweeted that China ‘just agreed that the U.S. will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products’ into China again. This deal was brokered by Obama last September.
  31. FP reported on Bannon’s attempts to get NSA McMaster fired, calling it the WH “Games of Thrones for morons.” McMaster remains one of the few Trump senior officials who was not part of the campaign.
  32. When asked about NSC’s duties at a daily press briefing, McMaster said “a lot of what we do at the NSC is trying to keep up with the President.
  33. During the day of the Yates/Clapper hearing, Trump sent a total of 7 tweets at Yates, including one from the @POTUS account.
  34. CNN anchors Dana Bash and John King likened Trump’s tweets ahead of the hearing to “witness intimidation.
  35. Yates testified that she met with WH counsel McGahn twice to warn him that Flynn had lied to Pence about his conversations with the Russian envoy and therefore Pence’s public statements were false.
  36. Yates warned McGahn that Flynn was compromised and could be blackmailed by the Russians. Yates met with McGahn on January 26 and 27, and was fired on Monday, January 30, allegedly for saying she would not defend the Muslim ban.
  37. Despite her warning, Flynn remained as Trump NSA for 18 days, sitting in on important foreign meetings and receiving classified information.
  38. The day after the Yates/Clapper hearing, Sen Graham said based on what he heard, he wants to investigate Trump’s business dealings.
  39. After Trump blamed Obama for Flynn having security clearance, NBC reported Flynn never received the broader security clearance required for an NSA.
  40. Trump briefly changed his Twitter cover Monday night to a statement that Clapper said ‘there is “no evidence” of collusion w/Russia and Trump.’ Trump repeated this lie all week, including in a Friday morning tweet.
  41. On Friday, Clapper told Andrea Mitchell that he didn’t say what Trump claimed.
  42. ProPublica reported that part of Comey’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Comm on Huma Abedin was inaccurate. The FBI issued corrections just hours before Trump fired Comey.
  43. Following Clapper’s testimony on Monday, the Senate Intel Comm asked Treasury Dept agency FinCEN for more information on Trump’s business dealings.
  44. WSJ reported Friday FinCEN will provide info on businesses owned by Trump and family members to the Senate Intel Comm and the FBI. Ranking member Wyden is interested in shell companies and money laundering through property transfers.
  45. Vanity Fair reported that FBI sources said there are multiple inquiries in progress, including the cyber investigation and the business side. Bharara would have been investigating the business side as US AG SDNY.
  46. Late Friday night, the US Attorney SDNY Twitter account tweeted from acting AG Kim, ‘We will not allow the US financial system to be used to launder proceeds of crimes committed anywhere-here or in Russia.’
  47. On Friday, a bi-partisan group of 178 former US AGs and asst US AGs of SDNY wrote a letter to Rosenstein calling for a Special Prosecutor
  48. Law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius provided a letter showing Trump has limited business dealings with Russia. ABC reported Morgan, Lewis has deep ties to Russia and received a “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award in 2016.
  49. Trump’s initial stated basis for firing Comey was a letter from AG Sessions and Deputy AG Rosenstein, relating to Hillary’s emails. Of note, Sessions had agreed to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation.
  50. Comey became the third person, after Yates and Bharara, fired by Trump while investigating him. Mary McCord who was the DOJ assistant AG overseeing the Trump-Russia probe also resigned without explanation.
  51. Shortly after the firing, CNN reported grand jury subpoenas for business records have been issued to Flynn as part of the FBI’s Russia investigation.
  52. The Senate Intel Comm also subpoenaed Flynn after he declined to comply with their April 28th letter unless he was offered immunity
  53. Trump’s popularity hit a new low in a Quinnipiac poll: 36% approve, 58% disapprove. The poll was conducted before the Comey firing.
  54. The morning after firing Comey, Tillerson and then Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.
  55. Lavrov scolded Andrea Mitchell for asking Tillerson a question — “Who was giving you your manners, you know?” Tillerson did not intervene.
  56. Trump’s meeting took place at the WH, and included Lavrov and Kislyak. Photo credited to Russian news agency TASS emerged, showing of a joyous meeting. US media was excluded from both meetings.
  57. The WH readout of the meeting with Lavrov did not mention Kislyak. If not for Russian new agency photos, no one would know he was there.
  58. POLITICO reported the idea to exclude US press came from Putin. As did the insistence for the meeting at the WH.
  59. The Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to testify next Tuesday. He declined for now, saying he needed some time off first.
  60. NYT reported that days before the firing, Comey had asked Deputy AG Rosenstein for a significant increase in resources for the FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the US election.
  61. General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, said of Trump’s successive firing of Yates, Bharara and Comey, “…it’s beginning to feel a little bit like Nicaragua around here.
  62. FT said of Comey’s firing, “Putin chalked up another victory,” as Trump’s action resembles that of a non-democracy.
  63. Trump claimed that he followed the recommendation of his Deputy AG Rosenstein that Comey be fired over his handling of Hillary’s emails. By the next day, leaks led to multiple stories which contradicted that claim.
  64. This story would change again and again in the coming days — leaving surrogates having lied to the media. Pence said Trump fired Comey at the “recommendation of the Deputy AG,” seven times during a presser.
  65. WAPO reported that in fact Trump made a decision to fire Comey, and then met with Sessions and Rosenstein to craft a plan for how. Trump was totally unprepared for the media explosion and political backlash.
  66. Trump himself said in a NBC interview Thursday that he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he fired Comey, saying “…Russia is a made up story.”
  67. WAPO also reported that Trump was angry that Comey would not back his false Obama wiretapping claim, and that Comey focused on the Trump-Russia probe and not leaks.
  68. Reuters reported that Trump was infuriated that Comey would not preview his Senate testimony for Trump, Sessions and Rosenstein ahead of the May 3rd hearing.
  69. NYT reported that Trump and Comey’s dislike each another. Comey told associated that Trump was “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.
  70. WSJ reported that Comey had started getting daily instead of weekly briefings in the past three weeks due to potential evidence of collusion.
  71. WSJ also reported that on Monday, Comey briefed lawmakers on his request to boost the investigation, and requested additional personnel from Rosenstein.
  72. In an open-letter to Rosenstein, 20 attorney generals called for an independent investigation, saying Trump’s firing of Comey was a violation of the public trust.
  73. Trump abandoned plans to visit the FBI after the Comey firing. According to NBC, Trump was told agents might not provide a warm reception.
  74. McClatchy reported Comey sought to expand his Trump-Russia probe to include Manafort, citing Manafort earned $80–100mm for political and business consulting work done for clients, including a Russian billionaire.
  75. Rachel Maddow reported that despite earlier indications he would do so, Manafort has yet to register as a foreign agent. Also, Sessions would not confirm if he has recused himself from matters involving Manafort.
  76. WSJ reported the Justice Dept requested Manafort’s bank records as part of a probe into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
  77. WSJ also reported that NY AG Schneiderman and Manhattan DA Vance have been examining real-estate transactions by Mr. Manafort.
  78. On Thursday, acting FBI Director McCabe testified at a Sen Intel Comm open, televised hearing. McCabe said he will not update the WH on the Russian investigation.
  79. McCabe contradicted the Trump regime’s assertion that Comey was not well-liked at the FBI, saying “the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey.
  80. Also contradicting WH claims, McCabe called the Trump-Russia investigation “highly significant.
  81. Trump still claimed on Thursday that he had spoken to Comey three times about whether he was under investigation. When Sen Collins asked if that would standard practice, McCabe answered, “It is not.
  82. POLITICO reported Rosenstein arrived at the Senate Intel Comm’s office while the open, televised hearing was taking place. Burr and Warner left the hearing, for what Burr said was a meeting “we can’t push off.
  83. Sarah Flores, DOJ spokesperson lied that the meeting with Burr was previously planned, and is “nothing unusual.”
  84. NYT reported that at a WH dinner shortly after Trump took office, at Trump’s request, Comey declined to pledge his loyalty or discuss the Trump-Russia investigation.
  85. The dinner took place on January 27, the day after Yates initially informed the WH counsel that Flynn was compromised and subject to blackmail.
  86. Rudy Giuliani, who was also photographed at Trump Hotel DC the night of the Comey firing, was given a May 19 deadline by a judge in Detroit to produce his memo for Trump on the Muslim Ban.
  87. In a series of erratic early morning tweets Friday, Trump threatened to cease press daily briefings, and tweeted ‘Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!
  88. A source close to Comey said he is “not worried about any tapes.
  89. Presidential historian Michael Beschloss noted in a tweet, “Presidents are supposed to have stopped routinely taping visitors without their knowledge when Nixon’s taping system was revealed in 1973.”
  90. Top House and Senate Democrats demanded that Trump release any tapes of communication between he and Comey.
  91. Chaffetz asked the DOJ Inspector General to look at Comey’s firing. Democrats also asked him to look into whether Sessions has recused himself and whether the FBI investigation into Russia is properly staffed.
  92. Durbin and Feinstein called on Rosenstein to resign if he refuses to appoint a special counsel. Klobuchar said Senators plan next week to further push this demand in close doored meetings.
  93. On the backs of visit by Duterte and the Russian envoy, Trump will host brutal authoritarian Erdogan for a WH visit on May 16.

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Bumper sticker in a car window in Cocoa Beach, FL 11may17                                                 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 25: “MOLOCH!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Moloch
[moh-lok, moluh k]
noun
1.a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice ofchildren by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35.
2.anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice:the Moloch of war.
3.(lowercase) a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australiandeserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
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Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 26!”