POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 56: RESIST by LADY PINK

This week, a brand new mural by legendary street artist Lady Pink was created at Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida for Art Basel week. I’m putting the piece up before the list because just by looking at each letter in the word “R E S I S T,” which she spelled out…you can see imagery that effectively represents the horror show, that we call 2017 in AmeriKKKa:

Week 55 of trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

December 2, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-55-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-da7c2cad25cb

This week marked further erosion to our failing democracy. Attacks on, and deconstruction of our free press is happening at an alarming rate, as conservative billionaires buy up media outlets, some of which are then precipitously shuttered. Republicans in the Senate passed a tax bill whose primary beneficiary will be people like Trump and regime members, without any debate, scoring, hearings, or even a chance for senators to read a bill which impacts one-sixth of the US economy.

This week Trump continued his bigoted attacks on marginalized communities, dividing us at home and embarrassing our country on the world stage. There was disturbing reporting on Trump’s mental health, including his continued belief in conspiracy theories. With events and his actions this week, Trump’s net approval gap (-29) matched an all-time low.

This week was the second bombshell in the Mueller probe, as Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and agreed to cooperate. Flynn’s testimony in court documents ties in Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Flynn’s ongoing cooperation will likely ensnare many higher-ups, including Trump.

Late Saturday, in retaliation for RT being told to register as a foreign agent in the US, Putin signed a law that allows the Russian government to list any foreign media operating in the country as a foreign agent.

Late Saturday, Trump tweeted Fox News is “MUCH more important” than CNN in the US, and “CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

CNN Communications tweeted in response, “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news.”

Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden slammed Trump: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

On Sunday, Time Inc. was purchased by Meredith with a $650 million equity investment from the Koch brothers. A former EIC of Time Inc. added of the Koch involvement, “there is no question that it’s a media influence play.”

On Monday, Trump tweeted attacks at CNN again: “We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted” in their coverage of Trump.

As per Week 54, Trump’s DOJ sued to block AT&T’s pending merging with Time Warner, saying CNN would need to be spun off first. Per Week 52, Rupert Murdoch has made approaches to AT&T’s CEO to purchase CNN.

WAPO reported Trump is obsessive in his tv-watching, including using a TiVo. On Monday when he sent the tweet, Trump did not have his daily intelligence briefing, which left him more time to watch television.

On Tuesday, AT&T’s CEO said the company will offer concessions to get the merger done, but will not sell assets, including CNN.

LA Weekly’s staff was gutted Wednesday, including nine of the 13 editorial staff and all but one staff writer, as Semanal completed their purchase. The ownership of Semanal is a mystery.

On Friday, the LA Weekly, the second largest publication in Los Angeles, issued its last print edition. The website was not updated, and the social media accounts were dormant. The media outlet was quickly shut down.

Walmart pulled a t-shirt offered on its online store, which read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED,” after a journalist advocacy group told the retailer it found the shirt threatening.

On Monday morning, Mick Mulvaney showed up at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offices with bags of donuts. Deputy Director Leandra English sent an email to her colleagues, saying she hoped everyone had a great Thanksgiving break, signed as “acting director.”

On Monday, English sued the Trump regime over its appointment of Mulvaney to head the CFPB. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the deputy director serves as acting director when the director role is open.

On Tuesday, US District Judge Timothy Kelly, recently appointed to the federal court by Trump, refused to block Mulvaney from taking over as acting director of the CFPB.

On Thursday, Mulvaney told Fox Business Network that the authority wielded by the CFPB “should frighten people,” adding “there is no accountability to Congress.”

Reuters reported in a Thursday evening email to her CFPB colleagues, English said of reports due in December “to be sure that these are still on track,” and signed the email, “Leandra English, Acting Director.”

On Monday, at an event to honor Native American veterans, Trump evoked his nickname for Warren: “…we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.”

John Norwood, general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said Trump’s nickname “smacks of racism,” and that using the reference as a derogatory insult was “insulting to all American Indians.”

The National Congress of American Indians criticized Trump for making remarks during an event meant to honor “code talkers” — Native Americans that acted as communications specialists during WW2.

Trump was also criticized for standing before a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who is known for his harsh treatment of Native Americans as president, and who famously signing the Indian Removal Act.

Trump ally Betsy DeVos weighed in, and in a rare rebuke, said of Trump’s ‘Pocahontas’ comment: “…I think that we can all do well to reflect on the things we say before we say them.”

NYT reported Trump is questioning the authenticity of the “Access Hollywood” tape. Shortly after he took office, Trump told a GOP senator he wanted an investigation, saying “We don’t think that was my voice.”

Since then, Trump has continued to suggest the voice on the tape is not actually him. Advisers say Trump continued to hold on to a series of conspiracy theories, including that he won the popular vote.

In recent months, Trump has also questioned the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate behind closed-doors, including telling at least one senator.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the 2001 death of a Scarborough aide: “…will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the ‘unsolved mystery’…” This claim is false — the cause of death is known.

On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group. The videos purport to show Muslims assaulting people and smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.

British PM May condemned Trump saying in a statement: “it is wrong for the president to have done this…Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

The leader of the Church of England called on Trump to delete the retweeted videos, saying “It is deeply disturbing that the President of the United States has chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists.”

The Dutch government responded to Trump on Twitter, saying the child in in the video is not a migrant : “Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands.”

Multiple State Department officials warned the WH that Trump’s anti-Muslim tweets could increase threats at US embassies in the Middle East, which are already on high security alert.

Late Wednesday, at 1 a.m. GMT, Trump fired back at the leader of our closest ally, first tweeting at the wrong account, @theresamay, which is a private account with six followers.

Fourteen minutes later, Trump deleted the tweet and tweeted at PM May, “don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”

NYT reported immigration arrests are up 40% under Trump, whose regime targets anyone living in the country illegally for arrest and deportation. Obama had focused on arresting serious criminals and recent arrivals.

In some states like Georgia and the Carolinas, arrests are up 80%. In Atlanta, neighbors try to warn each other as ICE cars patrol — leading many to miss work, keep their kids out of school, or not come home.

Chaos erupted in a Brooklyn, NY courthouse after ICE agents arrested Genaro Rojas Hernandez in the hallway. Hernandez is the fortieth individual taken into custody by ICE agents inside a NYC courthouse.

On Sunday, following a cascade of criticism, the NYT issued a semi-apology after readers accused the paper of normalizing a Nazi. The paper interviewed one the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville.

On Monday, the US District Court for DC ruled the Trump regime cannot ban new transgender recruits from enlisting while the case is being heard. The judge also blocked the ban on funds for gender reassignment surgery.

On Thursday, Trump wrote a proclamation to commemorate World AIDS Day on December 1. Noticeably absent were any references to communities most at risk, including LGBTQ people and people of color.

ONE Campaign released a report on Trump’s WH proposed $800 million cut to HIV/AIDS efforts which experts predicts could result in millions of new HIV infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Daily Beast reported Trump bragged to a reporter from Maximum Golf, “there is nothing in the world like first-rate pussy” while scanning the diners at Mar-A-Lago and spotting and a young socialite in 2000.

POLITICO reported WH ethics lawyer James Schultz resigned last week after almost a year in the WH, and plans to return to private practice.

Bloomberg reported the WH is weighing a ban for employees on using personal mobile phones, raising concerns for staff they will be cut off from family and friends. Trump has repeatedly complained about leaks.

On Monday, Maliz Beams, a top State Department official appointed by the Trump regime, resigned after just three months. Beams served as a special adviser to Rex Tillerson, and was closely involved in efforts to reorganize the agency.

WSJ reported as Trump’s one-year anniversary in the WH approaches, senior officials warn of “significant turnover,” saying there is a lengthy list of WH aides and cabinet members potentially on their way out.

BuzzFeed reported Trump’s WH and the CIA are considering a set of proposals to pay millions of dollars for former US intelligence officers to run privatized covert actions and intelligence gathering.

On Friday, reversing an Obama-era proposal, Trump’s EPA said it will not issue a rule requiring hard-rock mining companies to pay for the costs to clean up their mines when they’re finished.

On Friday, a federal judge ruled the Trump regime can’t delay an Obama-era immigration rule which lets foreign start-up founders into the US without a visa, after venture capitalists group and others sued.

In a letter, Sen. Chris Coons reminded Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein he had given them two weeks for an explanation of why Dana Boente was forced to resign. After no response, Coons demanded to have his question answered.

On Tuesday, Coons also called for hearings into possible presidential interference, citing reports last month that Trump interviewed candidates for positions with oversight in districts where he has business dealings.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported the Manhattan DA’s office is interviewing 10 to 20 of Paul Manafort’s work associates and lenders, including Stephen Calk, whose bank provided Manafort with three loans totaling $16 million.

Calk was named as an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016. In Week 36, the loans to Manafort represented 24% of Calk’s bank’s equity capital and typically the bank focuses on loans to military members.

Investigators are also examining real estate transactions involving Manafort’s immediate family and former son in law. Unlike federal charges, those found guilty of a state crime cannot be pardoned by Trump.

POLITICO reported lawmakers are scrambling to put any measures in place to help secure the nation’s voting system and prevent hacking in the 2018 election. Voters in Texas and Illinois have primaries in just three months.

Senators complained about the lack of urgency with proposed legislation yet to hit the floor, and the House companion bill in limbo. Trump has yet to acknowledge Russian hacking of the 2016 election.

WAPO reported Flynn’s role in Mideast nuclear projects, as cited in Week 44, could compound his legal issues. Flynn served as an adviser to two Washington-based companies pursuing Middle East deals in 2015.

ACU Strategic Partners proposed a partnership with Russia and IP3/IronBridge proposed working with China. In various filings in 2016 and 2017, Flynn did not initially disclose his connection to ACU.

In a presentation to King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, IP3 listed Flynn as Formidable US Leadership. Lawmakers were not informed of Flynn’s relationship with IP3 according to Rep. Elijah Cummings .

Intercept reported Erik Prince met with Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), on his trip to Seychelles cited in Week 21. The trip was allegedly to set up a back-channel between Trump and Russia.

Prince claimed he was in Seychelles on business. RDIF is under US sanctions, meaning Prince could have violated sanctions against Russia. Prince will testify to the House Intel Committee later this week.

Rachel Maddow reported that with the addition of the Dmitriev, so far, there have been 19 Russians identified as having met with Trump campaign officials.

BuzzFeed reported the Senate Intel Committee has requested information from Twitter on 45 Russia-linked accounts that tweeted propaganda about Trump, Brexit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2016.

On Thursday, Reza Zarrab, who is now cooperating with US prosecutors, implicated Erdogan in a NY court, saying the Turkish PM personally authorized a transaction on behalf of Iran in a money laundering scheme.

Prior to cooperating, Erdogan had enlisted Flynn to get Zarrab released in exchange for a large payout in Week 53. In Week 20, Zarrab was represented by Rudy Giuliani who flew to Turkey to meet with Erdogan.

CNN identified radio host Randy Credico as the intermediary between Roger Stone and Julia Assange during the 2016 campaign season. Credico has been subpoenaed by the House Intel Committee to testify.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee, expressed concern that Sessions refused to answer if he was ever instructed by Trump to take any action he believed would hinder the Russia investigation, in a closed-door meeting with the committee.

NBC News reported Donald Jr. will meet with the House Intel Committee next week. Lawmakers want to know about the June 9 meeting at Trump Tower and his May 2016 encounter with Alexander Torshin at an NRA event.

On Wednesday, Russian state-funded RT had its US Capitol credential revoked. The Congressional Radio & Television Correspondents’ Galleries cited RT being forced to register as a foreign agent by the DOJ.

On Friday, in retaliation, the Russian government will consider the resolution next week which would ban American journalists from accessing the lower chamber of its parliament, the Duma.

On Thursday, Manafort struck a revised bail deal with prosecutors to pledge four properties worth $11 million as bail, clearing the way for him to be released from the house arrest.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump urged senior Republicans in the Senate, including Richard Burr who chairs the Senate Intel Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Burr said Trump told him the investigation was overshadowing his first year and he wanted to see it come to an end. Burr also said committee members were approached by Trump, and shared their conversations.

Trump expressed these sentiments to Roy Blunt, who serves on the committee, while flying on Air Force One to Springfield, MO in August. Trump told Blunt he wanted “to wrap up this investigation.”

Trump complained to Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in phone conversations about the continuing investigations, and blamed McConnell as leader for not shielding him.

Trump called Sen. Thom Tillis, who in August introduced a bipartisan bill limiting the president’s power to dismiss special prosecutors, over the summer. Tillis said Trump “just asked me where my head was” on the legislation.

AP reported Bronze Star LLC, a newly-created Florida company, won $30 million in contracts from FEMA to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting for repairs to Puerto Rico.

Bronze Star had never won a government contract or delivered tarps or plastic sheeting before. These urgently needed supplies were never delivered, so FEMA cancelled the contract and will restart the process.

Vox reported two social science researchers concluded the death toll in Puerto Rico is closer to 1,085, 20 times the official count of 58, based on examining historical averages of deaths in September and October.

USA Today reported Trump’s actions have sparked an aggressive cottage industry of ethics watchdog groups, which are closing tracking and challenging his every move with lawsuits and filing requests.

CREW filed a complaint asking the DOJ to investigate whether Kris Kobach is improperly getting a financial benefit from serving as vice chair of Trump’s Election Integrity Committee. In Week 54, Donald Jr. campaigned for Kobach.

On Tuesday, a US District Judge approved a preservation subpoenas issued by the attorneys general of MD and DC to twenty-three Trump businesses including Mar-A-Lago, as part of an emoluments lawsuit.

POLITICO reported Trump gave Kellyanne Conway the approval to criticize AL senate candidate Doug Jones on tv. In Week 54, former Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub filed an ethics complaint against Conway for this violation of the Hatch Act.

In an interview with Esquire, Sen. John McCain said of Trump, “I think he’s a person who takes advantage of situations,” adding “I don’t think he has the fundamental underpinnings of principles and beliefs.”

Dictionary.com announced its Word of the Year is complicit. Use of the word spiked on April 5 when Ivanka was asked if she and Kushner were complicit, and on October 24 when Sen. Jeff Flake said, “I will not be complicit.”

On Tuesday, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer abruptly pulled out of a scheduled lunch with Trump and Republican leaders to discuss budget and immigration issues after Trump sent an abusive tweet about “Chuck and Nancy.”

Amid efforts to repeal net neutrality, FCC chairman Ajit Pai accused Twitter of having “double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users.” He did not specify which accounts he was referring to.

On Thursday, NYT reported Trump’s WH has developed a plan to fire Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. In turn, Pompeo would likely be succeeded by Sen. Tom Cotton. Trump has not signed off on the plan by Kelly.

CNN reported the reports that Trump would be replacing Tillerson were meant to express Trump’s deep displeasure with Tillerson and publicly shame him.

On Friday, Trump denied Tillerson is on his way out, tweeting, “The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon — FAKE NEWS!” Trump added in, “(I call the final shots).”

Bloomberg reported Tillerson is increasingly concerned about secret talks between Kushner and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, fearing the talks could backfire and leave the region in chaos.

Tillerson and senior officials in the State Department have been left in the dark on Kushner’s discussion to create Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, the House passed a measure which requires members, employees, interns, fellows, and other short-term staff, to complete a program that includes anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training.

On Thursday, Trump’s FBI director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee his agency has taken steps to “get in front” of future threats from Russia. This is the first news or suggestion of this.

On Wednesday, Trump told a crowd in MO the Republican tax bill “is going to cost me a fortune.” This statement is false. NYT describes the proposal as “almost tailor-made to enrich the president and people like him.”

AP fact-checked Trump’s speech in MO and found numerous false statements, citing “Trump’s tax fiction” and “embrace of propaganda” relating to the anti-Muslim videos.

On Thursday, the Republicans brought a tax bill to the floor for a vote. There were no hearings or real debate on the bill, and members of the Senate did not have a chance to read this version before the vote.

After the vote was well underway and almost complete Thursday evening, the Senate Parliamentarian ruled a fiscal trigger, important to winning over Corker’s support, will not work under Senate rules.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department’s inspector general launched an inquiry into whether the department hid its analysis as referenced by Secretary Steven Mnuchin of the Republican tax bill, or whether no such analysis exists.

On Friday, Republicans again brought the tax bill up for a vote. Hours before the vote, Democrats were handed copies of the bill with handwritten changes scribbled in the margins.

Late Friday evening, Schumer’s motion to give the senators two days to read the 479 page tax bill was voted down 52–48. He tweeted, “in my long career in politics, I have not seen a more regressive piece of legislation.”

ABC News reported Flynn’s lawyers met with Mueller’s team on Monday, a sign the parties are working on a possible plea deal.

House Democrats have forwarded Mueller information on more than a dozen foreign contacts and overseas trips by Flynn which were not disclosed during the process of renewing his security clearances.

On Wednesday, CNN reported Mueller’s team has postponed grand jury testimony of public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm, another indication the parties are working on a plea deal.

CNN reported Mueller’s team met with Kushner earlier this month. Sources say the conversation lasted less than 90 minutes, and was primarily related to Flynn.

WAPO reported Trump feel confident the Mueller probe will be completed by year-end, and that he will be exonerated. Trump has taken comfort from lawyer Ty Cobb, who initially said the probe would be done by Thanksgiving.

One outside adviser warned if there was no statement of exoneration by year-end, Trump would “blow a gasket.”

On Friday, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Sergey Kislyak in December during the transition period. Flynn also became the first WH official to cooperate in the Mueller probe.

Flynn, who was especially known for vigorously leading “Lock her up!” chants at Trump rallies, emerged from the courthouse to chants by hecklers of “Lock him up!

At lunchtime, the WH canceled an opportunity for reporters to question Trump about Flynn’s guilty plea. Reporters had hoped to pepper Trump with questions in passing, but instead were escorted to the press room.

Flynn’s discussions with Kislyak were an effort to undermine Obama on foreign policy before Trump took power. The transition team was led by Mike Pence, and senior members include Kushner, Reince Priebus and K.T. McFarland.

Flynn spoke to Kislyak on December 29 and asked that Russia not escalate after the Obama administration imposed sanctions. On December 30, Putin announced Russia would not take actions against the sanctions.

On December 30, Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) — I always knew he was very smart!” On December 31, Kislyak called Flynn to tell him no action would be taken, and Flynn called the transition team.

Court papers revealed Flynn was directed by a “very senior transition official” to contact foreign government, including Russia to discuss a UN resolution regarding Israeli settlements. The official was Kushner.

Bloomberg reported Kushner told Flynn he needed to get every foreign minister or ambassador from countries on the UN Security Council to delay or vote against the resolution, a possible violation of the Logan Act.

AP reported former deputy NSA K.T. McFarland is the person described as a “senior transition” official who Flynn contacted on December 29 to discuss what to communicate to Kislyak in response to Obama sanctions.

Flynn and Kislyak spoke five times on December 29. McFarland was in Mar-A-Lago at the time, as was Trump.

Trump lawyer Cobb sought to distance Flynn from Trump by stressing Flynn served as NSA “for 25 days,” and was a “former Obama administration official.”

The special counsel indicated the information provided to the court was a partial description of Flynn’s involvement: “these facts do not constitute all of the facts known to the parties concerning the charged offense.”

On Friday, Sen. Mark Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee issued a statement saying, “The Special Counsel’s probe has found illegal behavior stretching into the senior most levels of the White House.”

On Friday after the Flynn plea, Rep. Jerrold Nadler said the House Judiciary Committee has enough evidence to probe Trump for obstruction of justice.

On MSNBC, Michael Bechloss compared Flynn cooperating to when Dean turned on Nixon in Watergate, adding “There’s a very good chance that decades from now, we may look back on this day as a big day in history…”

ABC News reported in recent weeks, Flynn felt abandoned by Trump, and in the 24 hours before he agreed to cooperate, was concerned about the crippling legal costs if he decided to contest the charges.

On Friday, Washington Examiner reported Flynn will sell his house to offset legal costs from the Mueller probe.

On Saturday morning, Trump appeared before the media and expressed no concern about Flynn’s guilty plea. Trump told reporters three time that there was “no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted he fired Flynn “because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies.” This possibly points to obstruction of justice since shortly after, Trump asked Comey to let it go.

On Saturday, Trump’s net approval fell to -29 at Gallup (approve 33, disapprove 62). This matches Trump’s widest disapproval gap.

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MIAMI STREET ART: LADY PINK WORKING ON HER WYNWOOD WALL

Born in Ecuador, raised in Queens, NY, legend Lady Pink is working on a Wynwood Wall: ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

NOV30/1DEC13. Miami Beach, FL.