POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 23: BANG BANG !

Week 22 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 15, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-22-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fdf7960cacd6

Week 22 has, by far, the most items related to Trump-Russia ties. This week, the word “probe” progressed to “scandal,” signaling an acceptance that some sort of collusion occurred. Trump continues his attempts to divert attention from this story by bombing and provocation without a strategy or plan. Two days of bombing have earned him his first two days of positive press. Meanwhile, as we approach the 100-day mark, Trump has accomplished little and his regime is in disarray.

  1. Six weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. Trump continues to claim, without evidence, that Susan Rice committed a crime by spying on the Trump campaign.
  3. The Trump regime has articulated five different policies for Syria in the last two weeks. As the week closed, he still hadn’t settled on one.
  4. Reuters reported that the Assad regime was warned by Russia (after Russia was warned by Trump) of the impending US strike, and was able to mostly evacuate the target.
  5. Tillerson attended a G7 meeting, where he was a dissenting voice on imposing more sanctions on Russia. Tillerson said of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, “Why should U.S. taxpayers be interested in Ukraine?
  6. Tillerson ditched his press pool while meeting with Putin. Tillerson claimed he and Putin found very little to agree on.
  7. As news about the Trump-Russia collusion in our election seeped out this week, Trump and Putin sought to display a deteriorating US-Russia relationship, with Trump saying relations were “at an all-time low.
  8. The next day, Trump tweeted an odd, unprompted reassurance, “Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia. At the right time everyone will come to their senses & there will be lasting peace!”
  9. Buzzfeed reported Pyotr Levashov (Peter Severa), a Russian hacker, was detained in Spain for ties to a computer virus linked to the US election. His wife said he was arrested for being “linked to Trump’s win.”
  10. WAPO reported that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant to monitor Carter Page in connection with an investigation of the Trump campaign’s connection to the Russia’s effort to swing the election in Trump’s favor.
  11. WAPO also reported that the first 90-day FISA warrant was issued in July 2016, and has since been renewed by the FISA court more than once.
  12. In an ABC interview, Page said he couldn’t guarantee he did not discuss easing of sanctions with Russian contacts at a meeting in July in the Russian capital, “We’ll see what comes out in this FISA transcript.”
  13. According to the Steele dossier, also discussed at that July meeting was the sale of a 19.5% stake in Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company — allegedly in exchange for lifting of sanctions.
  14. CNN reported that classified documents reviewed by Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee contradict Nunes’s and Trump’s claims that Susan Rice did anything unusual or illegal.
  15. Financial records obtained by AP confirmed at least 2 payments totaling $1.2mm paid by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine on the so-called Black Ledger to Manafort’s consulting firm in the US.
  16. After consulting with federal authorities, Manafort said he would register as a foreign agent for his past work on behalf of pro-Russia interests in the Ukraine.
  17. Manafort became the second in Trump’s inner-circle to retrospectively register as a foreign agent, Flynn being the first for his work with Turkey.
  18. A DC lobbying firm which was that was directed by Manafort and Gates also retroactively registered as a foreign agent for work to promote a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party’s interests in Washington.
  19. The day after Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign, he set up a shell company which secured $20mm in loans, including $3.5mm from Spruce Capital, which has connections to a post-Soviet fertilizer oligarch, Alexander Rovt, who also has ties to Trump.
  20. Buzzfeed reported on a bizarre story involving Trump attorney Michael Cohen taking a $350k check from a Russian NHL player, which was meant to be passed along to Cohen’s client, a Russian women in Florida for payment on a condo, but instead Cohen cashed the check and kept it.
  21. Former MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove said Trump borrowed from Russiaas a lender of last resort after the 2008 financial crisis.
  22. The Guardian reported British spies were the first to spot the Trump team’s links to Russia dating back to late 2015. GCHQ shared the suspicious activity with their counter-parts in US intelligence.
  23. Germany, Estonia, Poland, Netherlands, France and Australia also relayed material on the Trump campaign’s links to Russia to US Intelligence during 2016.
  24. The head of GCHQ met with CIA Chief Brennan in July 2016 — per The Guardian, the matter was deemed so sensitive it was handled at “director level.” This meeting allegedly precipitated Brennan’s one-on-one meetings with the Gang of Eight, described in Week 21.
  25. CNN confirmed The Guardian reporting, citing sources in the US congressional and law enforcement, and US and European intelligence.
  26. CIA director Pompeo had harsh words for Wikileaks, including a “hostile intelligence service,” and said Russian military intelligence used WikiLeaks to release hacked DNC emails.
  27. Pompeo also described RT, as Russia’s “primary propaganda outlet” and said it actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.
  28. Ironically, while part of Trump’s campaign, Pompeo had cheered on Wikileaks, tweeting a Restate article, “BUSTED: 19,252 Emails from DNC Leaked by Wikileaks”
  29. Offering no evidence, Stone told POLITICO the Obama administration got a FISA warrant on him. Stone has admitted communication with both Guccifer 2.0 and Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks.
  30. Maddow observed the serious press and agencies rushing in this week to take credit for having uncovered the Trump regimes collusion with Russia — meaning the scandal has entered a new phase as accepted.
  31. The House Intelligence Committee sent Rep Quigley to Cyprus as part of its Trump-Russia probe. Week 19’s list noted some of the extensive ties between Cyprus and the Trump regime.
  32. The Department of Justice released 90 pages under the FOIA about voting machine malfunctions in PA, MI, WI, FL and NC.
  33. As Trump neared the 100-day judgment mark, POLITCO described the WH as a “pressure cooker” to show results, when little has been accomplished.
  34. As power continued to consolidate in the hands of the Trump family, Trump’s WH drew comparisons to a “family business.”
  35. Unabated personnel drama plagued the WH the entire week, as snipes continued between Bannon, Kushner and Trump.
  36. After Trumpcare failed (twice), Trump had promised to take on tax reform next, saying a plan was forthcoming. This week Trump’s WH scrapped this effort, saying they would not produce a tax plan.
  37. WSJ reported that Trump’s federal hiring freeze, put in place day 1 of his administration, put correctional officers at risk, could delay payments to veterans, and prevent disabled and retirees from getting social security.
  38. The next day, Trump lifted his Federal hiring freeze.
  39. During the hiring freeze, thousands of positions remain vacant including more than 350 at the EPA alone. CNBC blamed the pace on “Trump’s close involvement” and “turf wars” in his inner circle and Cabinet.
  40. Trump threatened to undermine Obamacare to get Democrats to the negotiating table. Specifically, he would hold back subsidy payments to healthcare companies providing insurance to low-income Americans.
  41. The Government Accountability Office said it’s investigating whether the Trump transition team followed federal guidelines and ethics rules during the transition.
  42. DeVos said she would scrap Obama’s plan for tougher federal oversight and new rules for student-loan servicers. Coincidentally, DeVos has significant holdings in one such servicer, Performant Financial Corp.
  43. Trump appointed crony Don Benton, a salesman, to director of the Selective Service System, overseeing the military draft. This is the first time since 1941 a person with no military experience has been chosen.
  44. Allan Lichtman, the American University who predicted the winner of the last eight presidential elections, predicted Trump will be impeached.
  45. CREW and others sued DHS under the FOIA for failing to disclose visitor logs of the WH, Mar-a-Lago and Trump Tower.
  46. On Friday, the Trump regime said they will not release the WH visitor logs, breaking with a practice started under President Obama.
  47. The rationale for not releasing visitor logs were “security risks”’ and to save taxpayers $700k over the next three years. A weekend in Mar-a-Lago costs taxpayers an estimated $3mm.
  48. Trump is on track to spend more in his first year, than Obama spent in all eight years in office.
  49. Trump Hotel DC is facing new legal challenges under the emoluments clause from a watchdog group represented by constitutional lawyer Laurence Tribe, who noted a “major infusion of value” from the GSA.
  50. A deal for a Trump-branded hotel in Dallas with a developer Mukemmel Sarimsakci, known as “Turkish Trump,” collapsed. Sarimsakci said the Trump Organization had been vetting potential investors in the deal.
  51. Bloomberg found that of Trump’s 10 most engaged followers on Twitter, five are confirmed robots and three appear to be bots.
  52. A Florida court of appeals ruled against Trump, saying he owed a paint company $300k for stiffing them on work done and supplies provided at the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort.
  53. Trump completely reversed himself on several key campaign positions this week. China is no longer a currency manipulator, NATO is no longer obsolete — nor is Ex-Im Bank, and he likes the job Yellin is doing.
  54. Trump credited new-found knowledge from China’s leader (N Korea) and business leaders like Boeing’s CEO (Ex-Im Bank). Boeing donated $1mm to Trump’s inauguration, and as mentioned in prior weeks, China has granted many goodies to Trump, including 38 new trademarks.
  55. Trump’s Treasury Department oddly placed Germany on its new special currency “monitoring list.” Germany’s currency is the Euro.
  56. In a FBN interview Trump described eating “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” with China’s leader — giving a free advertisement to Mar-a-Lago catering — then got the country he bombed wrong (said Iraq).
  57. Spicer made shocking statements regarding Hitler and the Holocaust at Tuesday’s press briefing. He used the term “Holocaust center” rather than concentration camp, and in comparing Hitler to Assad, said the former had never used chemical weapons on his own people.
  58. The Anne Frank Center called on Trump to fire Spicer. The Trump regime has amassed a steady stream of anti-Semitic behavior, including omitting Jews from the WH International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement.
  59. No one from the Trump family attended the WH Passover Sedar, unlike his President Obama and Michelle who attended every year.
  60. NBC reported on Gorka’s ties to Vitezi Rend, a Nazi-linked group, including wearing his honorary medal from the group at Trump’s Inaugural ball.
  61. In a speech on Tuesday, AG Sessions ordered prosecutors to crack down on illegal immigrants more aggressively, claiming gangs and cartels are turning U.S. cities into “war zones.”
  62. ICE quietly detained 367 immigrants this week in raids across the country. ICE claims the raids are focused on “criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives” — advocates say this is not true.
  63. A mother of four in Cincinnati was deported after appeals. Maribel Trujillo had no criminal record in her 15 years here, and has children aged 3–14 years-old, the youngest of which has special needs.
  64. On Thursday, the “mother of all bombs”- the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat — in Afghanistan. Trump refused to say if he had ordered the strike, and even if he knew about it.
  65. Trump said he gave total authorization to “my military” — a reference appropriate for a dictatorship, not a democracy.
  66. While his popularity continues to flounder, Trump got his second day of positive press for dropping the MOAB (the first was the Syrian bombing).
  67. Trump has yet to declare a strategy in Afghanistan or appoint an ambassador. The $16mm cost MOAB killed 36 ISIS fighters — a cost of roughly half a million per fighter.
  68. Late Thursday, Trump also issued confrontational statements about N. Korea, threatening a pre-emptive strike. N. Korea’s vice foreign minister says Trump is “making trouble” with “aggressive” tweets.
  69. Trump spent Friday in Mar-a-Lago, golfing and avoiding the press. Friday marked Trump’s 18th time golfing, compared to other presidents at this point: Obama 0, W Bush 0, Clinton 3.
  70. As Tax Day approaches April 18th, thousands are expected to march today in cities around the country to protest Trump being the only modern day president to not release his tax returns.

Below are my original photos taken over a period of time in New York:

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Queens, New York 8apr17

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by artist CDRE

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Make America Great Again, spotted on Long Island at the abandoned Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital. 26mar17

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Please stay tuned for next week’s post of POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 24!

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 21: CRIME SCENE

Week 20 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

published April 1, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-20-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-d73e7ecbb05b

For the third week running, Trump has lost control of the narrative. His legislative agenda has ground to a halt — a sign of his waning political capital; however, he continues to fundamentally change the values and fabric of our country in a myriad of alarming ways. Russia’s interference in our election is now an accepted notion, and words like “collusion” and “cover up” entered the fray this week as all eyes turned to examining the Trump regime’s role.

  1. Four weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. The Sunday Times reported that during Merkel’s visit to the WH, Trump handed her a £300bn invoice for money he falsely claimed Germany owed to NATO.
  3. On Sunday, Trump announced that Kushner would lead a newly formed White House Office of American Innovation, giving him broad authority over federal bureaucracy. Kushner already has a significant portfolio.
  4. On Monday, NYT reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee will question Kushner about two meetings he arranged with Kislyak during the transition.
  5. Kushner will also be questioned on a previously unreported meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB). Gorkov is former KGB, and was appointed by Putin to run VEB, a bank under US sanctions for three years.
  6. Kushner and VEB gave different public accounts of why they met.
  7. VEB paid the legal bill as a secret “third party” for their employee, Evgeny Buryakov, at his trial for spying in the US for Russian Intelligence.
  8. Kushner arrived for a ski vacation in Aspen on the same day as Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, one of Putin’s closest confidants. Abramovich’s wife is also friends with Ivanka.
  9. China’s Anbang walked away from the planned purchase of 666 Fifth Avenue, which would have netted Kushner $400mm — a sign that the Chinese government is uncertain of the Trump regime’s longevity.
  10. Changing course, Ivanka will become a federal employee. In her new role of Assistant to the President, the highest staff title, Ivanka will have the same rank as McMaster.
  11. In January, Trump attorneys had said Ivanka would resign from her business positions. She is still listed as CEO of a NY based business.
  12. Ethics filings released on Friday showed that Ivanka and Kushner, despite their new roles, will remain as beneficiaries of real estate and investment businesses worth about $741mm.
  13. Ivanka will also maintain her stake in the controversial Trump Hotel DC, which netted her between $1–5mm from January 2016-March 2017, and value her stake between $5–25mm.
  14. Ethics filings also revealed that Bannon earned $917k in the past 12 months, more than half of which comes from Mercer related entities.
  15. Trump again took credit for jobs created before he took office: this time a $1.2bn investment by Ford that was planned in 2015.
  16. Per WAPO tracking, so far Trump has taken credit for jobs created before he took office 11 times.
  17. Trump’s anti-immigrant policies are scaring eligible families away from safety net programs like SNAP, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program and free school lunches.
  18. ICE arrested five Green Card applicants in Lawrence, MA when they showed up for their scheduled appointments at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. All are scheduled to be deported.
  19. A federal judge in Hawaii extended the order blocking Trump’s second Muslim Ban.
  20. Trump has been named in more than 50 lawsuits filed by individuals, arising from his Muslim Bans.
  21. Trump signed an EO which legalizes discrimination against LGBTQ federal employees.
  22. Trump excluded LGBTQ people from the US Census, removing categories for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
  23. At a WH women’s event, Trump said “If I weren’t president, [women’s empowerment] would be a very scary statement. We can’t compete!” He also asked the crowd is they knew about Susan B. Anthony.
  24. Trump’s lawyer said the Zervos sexual harassment-related lawsuit, suing Trump for defamation, should be put on hold because it will “distract the president from his duties.”
  25. On the back of the failed Yemen raid and the Mosul bombing that left 200 civilians dead, Trump declared Somalia a war zone, lifting Obama’s civilian protection rules for airstrikes.
  26. WAPO reported a growing sense of panic and mistrust among civilians in Iraq and Syria amidst a record number of casualties by US-led airstrikes.
  27. NBC reported that 40% of US colleges reported a drop in international student applications because of Trump’s policies like the Muslim Ban. Foreign students generate $32bn in revenue and 400k jobs.
  28. Trump approval hit a new low at Gallup: 35% approve, 59% disapprove. Ratings this week are the lowest ever for a new president.
  29. Trump will not throw the ceremonial first pitch in the Nationals opening day, making him the second since Taft in 1910 not to do so.
  30. USA Today reported Trump and his companies have been linked to at least 10 former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to organized crime or money laundering.
  31. WNYC reported three all-cash real estate purchases by Manafort in New York. One purchase was for $10mm at Trump Tower in 2006 — the same time Manafort entered a $10mm contract with a pro-Putin Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, to help strategize on influencing US elections.
  32. Deripaska took out quarter page advertisements in the WAPO and WSJ denouncing the AP story, and offering to testify to Congress.
  33. On Monday, Nunes unilaterally cancelled all scheduled hearings and meetings for the week. He refused to share his source for the leaks.
  34. On Tuesday, WAPO reported that the Trump regime tried to block Sally Yates from testifying at the House hearing.
  35. WAPO also reported that both Yates and Brennan had made clear that parts of their testimony contradict statements made by the WH.
  36. On Thursday, NYT identified two WH officials, Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis, as the ones who gave Nunes intelligence reports. Ellis formerly worked for Nunes, and Cohen was brought in by Flynn and kept on by Trump/Bannon/Kushner despite McMasters’ desire to fire him.
  37. WAPO identified a third WH source involved in leaking information to Nunes: John Eisenberg, top lawyer for the National Security Council, on which Bannon sits.
  38. E Randol Schoenberg uncovered that Ezra Cohen-Watnick’s wife Rebecca Miller did PR for Putin.
  39. Barton Gellman raised the specter of unchartered territory — that these leaks could indicate that the Trump WH is spying on the FBI.
  40. On Friday, Schiff met with Trump and was given the materials. In a statement, Schiff said nothing he had seen warranted a departure from normal review procedures. He also questioned why senior WH staff leaked to Nunes, who then shared the info back with Trump’s WH.
  41. CREW and Democracy 21 requested an OCE inquiry into whether Nunes violated House ethics rules.
  42. Robert Wasinger, a former Trump campaign official, transition team staffer and Trump appointee became the second staffer to leave without signing an ethics pledge. Wasinger is now working as a lobbyist.
  43. ProPublica reported the Trump regime is refusing to respond to inquiry letters from Congressional Democrats, including the letters sent by Senate Democrats to Wilbur Ross in Week 18.
  44. The man behind the #Calexit Campaign — an effort to break California from the rest of the country — splits his time between living in San Diego and Russia, and has ties to a group reportedly backed by the Kremlin.
  45. BBC verified a key claim in Steele’s dossier — a Russian diplomat named Kalugin (misspelled in the dossier as “Kulagin”), who was head of the embassy’s economic section in Washington, was a spy.
  46. BBC also confirmed contact between the Trump campaign and Russia, including sharing of voter rolls in key states like MI and PA.
  47. The identity of ‘Source D’ in the Steele dossier, source of the most salacious details, was confirmed to be Belarusian American businessman Sergei Millian, who also had ties to Trump campaign officials.
  48. The FBI raided an obscure casino in Saipan run by a Trump protege, which has attracted attention over its huge revenue and cash flows. Board members include Trump transition team member Woolsey.
  49. On Thursday, Flynn’s lawyer said he had offered his testimony to the FBI and the House and Senate intelligence committees in exchange for immunity. Per his lawyer, Robert Kelner, so far there are no takers.
  50. The next morning, Trump tweeted that Flynn should ask for immunity in this “witch hunt.”
  51. Robert Kelner tweeted on November 12, 2016, “A prediction: Donald Trump will make novel and unusual use of the President’s pardon power. An under-utilized tool of political power.”
  52. Jeremy Bash, an ex-intel official, said Flynn could only get immunity if he could deliver evidence against someone higher up the chain: Trump.
  53. A federal judge approved the $25mm Trump University settlement for defrauding more than 6,000 students, and with all the news, no one really noticed.
  54. NBC reported that the Obama administration was so concerned that Trump would destroy documents related to the Russia probe, that they created a list with serial numbers and hand delivered it to all members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  55. At a press conference before Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, Burr said Russia hired more than 1,000 hackers to create fake, anti-Hillary news. Warner added that Russia targeted key swing states, including MI, PA and WI.
  56. The Senate Intelligence Committee held its first day of hearings on Thursday. All experts who testified concurred on Russia’s involvement.
  57. Former special agent Clint Watts testified that one of reason Russia’s attacks were so successful is Trump and his team amplified and seemingly coordinated with propaganda coming out of Russia.
  58. As proof that Russia wasn’t only aiming to hurt Hillary, but rather to buoy Trump, Watts testified that Russia interfered in the Republican primary to undermine candidates, including Rubio.
  59. Rubio shared at the hearing that during his presidential campaign, his staff had a hack attempts from Russian IPs. Also, this week a second attempt was made to hack his former members of his campaign staff.
  60. CBS reported the FBI is probing whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian Intelligence to carry out cyberattacks on the DNC and other targets in 2016
  61. Trump’s personal lawyer of more than 15 years, was named lead attorney for Sberbank, a Russian bank which is majority owned by the Russian government. Sberbank faces charges in US federal court for racketeering.
  62. WAPO reported that nearly one out of every three days while in office, Trump has visited a Trump branded property.
  63. The Center for Public Integrity noted that Wilbur Ross, while charged with Trump’s trade policy, maintains a stake in a shipping company that flies the Chinese flag, and visits Iran and Russia.
  64. Trump insider Rudy Giuliani is defending an alleged Iranian money launderer. Giuliani did not notify the court of his role, as is generally required. He also visited Turkey to discuss the case with Erdogan. The case it being heard in the Southern District of NY (formerly Bharara).
  65. In a letter to the federal judge on Friday, the federal prosecutor on the case disclosed that Giuliani tried to go around him, and cut a deal between the Turkish and U.S. governments.
  66. Senate Democrats called for an ethics probe of Mnuchin for promoting a movie he produced during a public interview on March 24th. Mnuchin said Friday it was not his intention to promote the movie.
  67. ProPublica reported that while in Congress in 2016, HHS Price bought stocks in 6 pharmaceutical companies, then used his connections to help scuttle a rule that would have hurt the companies’ profit.
  68. The Oklahoma Bar launched an investigation into whether Pruitt lied under oath in his testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing by saying while AG he only used his professional email for AG business.
  69. The State Department has gone dark. Since the IJR interview of Tillerson in which he signaled regret over taking SoS, both John Bolton and Condoleezza Rice have been invited to the WH by Trump.
  70. WAPO reported that many career diplomats in the State Department have been instructed not to speak to Tillerson directly, or to make eye contact.
  71. Senators in the House Armed Services oversight subcommittee urged Trump to fill Pentagon positions to “ensure that the American people know about and have a means to address instances of waste, fraud and abuse in their government.” Only one position has been filled (Mattis). Bannon and Kushner have blocked other picks.
  72. Trump friend and insider Carl Icahn, stands to significantly benefit from several of Trump’s policies, including a regulation that if put in place will save CVR Energy, of which Icahn owns 82%, $206mm per year.
  73. Newsweek reported that Comey wanted to go public in July with information on Russia’s campaign to influence the election, but in a meeting with Kerry, Lynch, Johnson and Rice, was told not to proceed.
  74. When asked by a reporter about Flynn during an EO signing ceremony, Trump walked out of the room without signing the orders.
  75. NPR reported that Trump has started to employ “Whataboutism” — a Russian propaganda tactic commonly used by Putin. When criticized, Trump will say someone else is worse.

Originals photos by me, in NYC March2017:

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IMG_0239Please continue following the weekly posts of “Politiks of Graffiti” on TOKIDOKI!

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 19: AMERICAN PSYCHO

Week 18 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published March 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-18-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-f948c7fb7910#.yexbgkmf9

Events and actions this week lend credence to an evolving theme: Trump isn’t all that interested in typical legislative stuff like passing healthcare or his budget — his passion and focus are on enriching himself, and making America white.

This week was also unfamiliar territory for Trump: he couldn’t control the narrative the entire week. We’re learning Trump is great on offense, but inept on defense.

As Trump’s wiretap claim entered its second week, Trump still offered no evidence to support it. Conway backed Trump saying, “microwaves that turn into cameras” can spy on us. Spicer said Trump didn’t mean wiretapping literally when he tweeted about wiretapping.

OMB Mulvaney claimed Obama had been “manipulating” jobs data.

The Trump regime had its second email scandal in two weeks. WSJ reported that Tillerson used an email alias – ‘Wayne Tracker’ — while at Exxon, to discuss climate change.

Kushner is set to net $400 million on the sale of a NYC office building to a Chinese firm with murky links to the Chinese power structure.

Ivanka imported 53 metric tons of Chinese goods while her father was making his ‘Buy American’ speeches.

A businesswoman with ties to Chinese Intelligence and the Chinese ruling elite purchased a penthouse in a Trump property for $15.8 million.

These ties, along with the 38 trademarks granted to Trump in Week 14, as Trump readies to host China’s PM at Mar-a-Lago. Trump has shifted on both his “One China” policy and trade war threats in recent weeks.

Trump insider Stone told AP he may have been the subject of surveillance by Intelligence for his possible role as a foreign agent for Russia.

Former WH staffer Crowley, who was fired for plagiarism, took a job as a foreign agent for a Ukrainian oligarch with ties to Russia.

Reuters uncovered that Russian elite have invested close to $100 million in Trump luxury towers in Southern Florida.

The yacht of Trump financial backer Robert Mercer, was spotted in the British Virgin Islands next to the yacht of Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian oligarch mentioned in Week 17 for his multiple connections to Trump and Wilbur Ross.

Mercer also has close ties to Bannon, and collaborated with him on at least five ventures, including Breitbart News.

A document released Thursday showed that Flynn received three formerly-undisclosed payments from Russian interests, totaling $70,000.

WSJ broke that Flynn also had an interaction with a Russian-British national while he was head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which he failed to report, as required.

Russia continued provocations: a Russian spy ship reappeared in the US eastern seaboard, just 20 miles south of a U.S. Navy submarine base.

News of the DOJ’s findings that Russian agents were behind the Yahoo hacking, brought Russia interference back front and center.

As things heated up on Russia in the Senate, McCain accused Rand Paul, on the Senate floor, of “working for Vladimir Putin.”

Further to Week 17’s Deep State theme, Trump opened the week signing an executive order on a “reorganizing” of the executive branch, which opened the door to the Trump regime dismantling federal agencies.

POLITICO reported on the growing paranoia and dysfunctionality in Trump’s executive branch. One staff member said, “people are scared.”

Tillerson mirrored Trump, saying the proposed slashing of the State Department’s budget would make it “much more efficient,” while offering no vision or strategy for foreign policy.

As mentioned in Week 17, much to the consternation and over objections by our media, Tillerson did not bring press along on his first trip to Asia. He did, however, bring one reporter from conservative media IJR — who coincidentally had written a glowing piece about him two weeks prior.

Friday, Tillerson said the US was prepared to take military action against North Korea, if necessary. Tillerson cut his trip to South Korea short, citing fatigue.

Saturday, Tillerson stood by his decision not to allow the media along on his trip to Asia, saying, “I’m not a big media press access person.”

A Federal Judge in Hawaii halted Trump’s second Muslim Ban the day before it was set to go into effect, saying the Ban is unconstitutional and discriminates based on religion.

The Federal Judge also cited remarks made by Miller and Giuliani on TV in his ruling.

Conservative media IJR (same as on Tillerson’s plane) speculated that Obama’s visit to Hawaii and was behind the ruling. IJR next day added an editor’s note to the article, and soon thereafter, the reporter resigned.

Buzzfeed reported that Nick Ayers, a top adviser to Pence is an investor in the IJR.

Trump held a campaign rally in Nashville, TN on Wednesday in which he chastised the Federal Judge who ruled against his Muslim Ban, claiming incompetence, before transitioning the crowd to cheers of, “Lock her up!”

Trump’s ranting about the halt of his second Muslim Ban at the Nashville rally — “This is watered-down version of the first one” – could be a death blow to his chances in an appeal, which he does plan to file.

WAPO reported on a second internal report prepared for the Trump regime, again with data undercutting the premise of his Muslim Ban.

Trump’s Nashville campaign rally was half full; while thousands of protestors outside chanted things like, “bless your heart.”

Gorka, Trump’s top counter-terrorism advisor, was reported to be a sworn member of Hungarian group listed by our State Department as ‘under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany’ during World War II.

In Netherland’s race for prime minister, the candidate associated with Trump lost with unexpectedly poor results. Some in Europe noted that Austrian and Dutch elections point to a Trump backlash.

At a photo op before his Michigan speech, Trump said publicly to the governor “Come on, governor — even though you didn’t endorse me….I never forget.”

WAPO’s Fahrenthold followed up on three promises made by Trump on November 8: donating his salary, giving away leftovers from Inaugural Committee, and donating profits derived from foreign governments use Trump hotels to the US Treasury. Trump has given $0 so far.

On Friday, the Trump Organization announced it will wait until 2018 to start donating profits from foreign government in his hotels.

Anti-Semitic threats continued. CNN created a map to show how widespread Jewish bomb threats have become: so far in 2017, 159 bomb threats in 38 states.

Trump’s Muslim Ban took another blow from a Federal Judge in Maryland who suspended the part of the ban that prevented visas from being issued. Trump and his surrogates continued the “judicial overreach” and need to change this imbalance of power, talking point.

Trump’s budget got off to a disastrous start when OMB Mulvaney said of cutting funds to Meals on Wheels, it’s a program, “not showing results.” Words ‘Meals’ and ‘Wheels’ trended on Twitter for the rest of the day.

WSJ reported that tax cuts for the wealthy in the GOP’s tax plan would save Trump millions.

Part of Trump’s 2005 tax return was leaked to reporter David Cay Johnston, who shared them on The Rachel Maddow Show. Trump called it “fake news,” Maddow called the scoop, “a drop of water in the desert.”

NJ legislature passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.

Continuing his efforts to drain the swamp, Trump nominated his fifth Goldman Sachs employee to a role as Deputy Treasury Secretary.

Ethics documents showed that Liddell, Trump’s director of strategic initiatives, has $3–4 million in stock holdings of 18 of the companies, whose CEOs attended a meeting with he and Trump.

By midweek, Republicans including Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, were turning on Trump for his wiretapping claim. Ryan joined him too.

The Senate Intelligence Committee issued a formal statement that there is no evidence of any surveillance (going beyond wiretapping) or Trump Tower during or after the campaign. The statement was issued 15 minutes before the WH daily briefing.

At the daily briefing, which started an hour late, Spicer said Trump stands by his allegation that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

Spicer also parroted allegations first made on Fox News, that Obama used British intelligence agency GCHQ to spy on Trump. GCHQ issued a strongly worded refute of this ridiculous claim.

Friday morning, UK media reported the US made formal apology to Britain for the WH accusation that the GCHQ wiretapped Trump Tower.

That afternoon, Spicer denied that an apology was made, saying, “I don’t think we regret anything,” while Trump commented on the matter, “We said nothing. All we did was quote a very talented legal mind.”

With cameras rolling, Trump refused when asked by Merkel, to shake her hand.

Multiple pictures surfaced of Ivanka inexplicably seated next to Chancellor Merkel at the meeting.

Trump misspoke during the press conference with Merkel, referring to the US as a “company” instead of a country.

Also at the press conference, Trump turned to Merkel in answering about his wiretap claims by Obama and said, “At least we have something in common perhaps.” He claimed he got the information from Fox News.

After the press conference, Fox News’ Shep Smith said on his show, ‘Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, in any way. Full stop.’

Oklahoma Rep Cole became the first congressional Republican to call on Trump to apologize to Obama for his false wiretapping claim.

Friday is was announced that Trump’s DOJ is working to speed deportations, shifting immigration judges to 12 US cities where they claim there are more immigrants who have committed crimes.

Cases continued to surface of non-criminals being targeted for deportation, including a mother of six in Chicago during a routine check-in with ICE. Her congressman was handcuffed defending her.

Canada’s version of the Girl Scouts — the Girl Guides — canceled all trip to the US citing concerns over Trump’s Muslim Ban, and it’s message.

Rep Steve King said Blacks and Hispanics “will be fighting each other” before overtaking whites in population. Few in the GOP condemned him, as King continued to the TV circuit re-iterating his white nationalism.

The Trump regime went to court to try to bring the consumer protection agency created by Sen Warren after the 2008 recession, under direct control of Trump, opening the door to dismantling it.

The WH “1600 Daily” email blast mistakenly included a very obviously satirical article from WAPO, “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why.”

Continuing his pattern of hiring insiders, Trump plans to nominate Kellyanne Conway’s husband to a powerful post overseeing the Federal government’s lawsuits, including the Muslim Ban.

Republicans continue to face energized, raucous crowds when returning home. Sen Ernst faced a packed crowd, which frequently booed her.

The House Intel Committee sent a letter to the FBI, CIA and NSA demanding info on whether Flynn was being surveilled. The House Intel Committee oversees the FBI, CIA and NSA, yet the agencies did not comply. Rachel Maddow in a segment called it “nuts” and “not normal.”

Open hearings in Congress on Russian interference start next week: March 20th in the House, and March 30th in the Senate. McCain said on upcoming Trump-Russia probes, “ I think there’s a lot of shoes to drop from this centipede.”

Courageous artist Karen Fiorito depicts Nazi dollar signs and clown 🤡 mushroom clouds. Arizona.
Artist Tom Blackford in London, care of notbanksyforum.
Artist Maria Acevedo, care of weartasone instagram.




Please continue to follow this weekly series of art intimidating trump…

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 18: THE DEEP STATE

Week 17 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published March 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-17-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-ae9bf7c02ace#.hmzos3rl9

This week, some threads from past weeks’ lists continue to unwind: Trump and his regime’s ties to Russia, conflicts of interest, and the dysfunctional and largely unstaffed executive branch. But the broader story of Week 17 is an underlying shift away from democracy, and it’s not subtle at all!

Under the auspices of Trump’s #2 Bannon, our democracy as we know it is transitioning under a term used widely this week: the Deep State. Know this term! A Deep State is a paranoid, authoritarian vision of a regime under siege and being infiltrated — in this case by Obama and his loyalists. This authoritarian vision has been used by the Trump regime as justification by for their ever-increasing need to consolidate power into the hands of a trusted few — transforming our democracy into an authoritarian state, and making it harder to get to the truth on the many troubling matters.

As we headed into Week 17, Trump refused to back off his claims tweeted Saturday morning in Mar-a-logo that Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. Trump demanded that Congress investigate his claim.

Trump provided no evidence for his wiretap claim. Sunday morning on Meet the Press, former DNI Clapper said “I can deny” that Trump Tower was wiretapped.

Sunday, FBI’s Comey also denied Trump’s claim, and asked the DOJ to publicly reject Trump’s wiretapping claim. The DOJ has not rejected Trump’s assertion.

A WH spokesperson rejected Comey’s assertion that Trump’s wiretapping claim is false. Trump regime members continued to dance around the lack of evidence all week, refusing to deny Trump’s false claim.

WAPO reporters, in a disturbing piece, described Trump’s fury and instability over the weekend. Further to story, reporter Costa tweeted: ‘Trump woke up in good spirits, per his confidants. Read the papers and watched early cable shows, liked that they covered his allegations.’

Upon returning to the WH, Monday was the first weekday that Trump’s schedule was entirely closed to the press.

Other members of the Trump regime acted erratically, including Stone who was suspended from Twitter for his misogynistic rants. Later in the week, Stone admitted to being in contact with Guccifer 2.0, the DNC hacker, during the campaign.

After his flip-flopping on Russian contact in Week 16, this week Page, without offering evidence, said his phone may have been tapped.

As the week closed out, Trump had still not been in contact with Comey or the FBI about his wiretapping claims. Trump’s sources for his claim were right wing media, Breitbart and Mark Levin.

Trump signed a second Muslim Ban order, ignoring the findings of the DHS report he ordered, this time targeting six countries.

Four states sued to stop the ban, including the state of Hawaii which used Stephen Miller’s own words on TV, that the revised travel ban is really just like the original, as evidence.

Alex Orono, the Ukrainian businessman who arranged the ‘peace plan’ meeting between Cohen, Sater and Artemenko mentioned in Week 15, died suddenly.

The first imports of Russian steel arrived at a port in New Jersey.

Trump WH announced, contrary to an executive order that Trump signed requiring the use of domestic steel in US pipelines, that the Keystone XL builders can use non-US steel.

AP reported on how Trump’s DC hotel has become the central hub of political capital in DC. Several of Trump’s cabinet members are living at his hotel as well. Trump still financially benefits from the property.

The top official in charge of the public buildings at the GSA, who was in charge of overseeing Trump’s DC hotel, resigned. Trump will get to appoint his replacement.

Cork Wine Bar in DC sued Trump for unfair competition over Trump’s DC hotel saying, “President Donald Trump’s ownership constitutes unfair competition and we are asking the courts to stop it.”

Young people in a Sweden suburb said Russian TV crew tried to bribe them to riot. Trump has largely gone quiet on his assertions of a terrorist attack in Sweden.

McClatchy reported on the curious overlap between the luxury plane of the same Russian billionaire who bought Trump’s Florida home (delivering Trump a $60mm profit) with Trump at event in Charlotte and Concord, NC. A spokesperson for the oligarch said, “Mr. Rybolovlev has never met Donald Trump.”

CNN reported on a speech given by Kislyak in October 2016 in which he denied meeting Trump or his campaign team during the 2016 election. We now know that is a lie on many counts.

On Sunday, after N. Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan, Trump and the State Department had no response for over 5 hours. The State Department eventually issued a statement after 10 pm.

Shortly after Trump had lunch with Tillerson, the WH issued a statement congratulating Exxon on a new program.

The WH press release contained full paragraphs copied verbatim from Exxon’s press release.

Bureau chiefs wrote a letter saying they were “deeply concerned” that Tillerson did not bring the press on a trip to Asia to visit important allies. Letter also says of the action, “it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation’s leaders.” Spicer claimed this was due to cost savings by Tillerson.

MSNBC’s Mitchell was kicked out of two State Department press briefings for trying to ask Tillerson questions. The briefings turned out to be solely photo ops.

Mexico’s top diplomat came to DC and skipped the normal channels going straight to the WH to meet with Kushner, McMaster and Cohn. The State Department did not know about the meeting.

In a statement, the State Department asked the NYC Medical Examiner not to disclose the cause of death for Russian UN ambassador Churkin.

Tillerson still doesn’t have a Deputy, and most of the diplomats with expertise in senior roles have been fired or left the State Department. Fmr Ambassador Hill said the vacuum of leadership is “unprecedented.”

ProPublica reported that Trump has quietly installed 400 insiders to be his ears and eyes in the executive branch.

As of March 10, 96% of key positions in the executive branch remain unfilled. Trump has nominees in the confirmation process for only 8% of positions requiring Senate confirmation.

More reporting of Trump’s failed Yemem raid indicated carelessness with civilian casualties, and that despite the WH taking credit for a successful mission in which they recovered intelligence, that was not in fact that target of the mission; rather, it was a key member of al Qaeda.

A top general took responsibility for the failed Yemen. Trump had blamed the generals in Week 15 — atypical of a commander-in-chief.

Widespread anti-Semitism continued across the country, including a bomb threat to the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, vandalism at the largest synagogue in the Pacific Northwest on Shabbat, and incidents at two Maryland schools.

Wikileaks announced another data dump they claim came from the CIA. This time, the media largely did not bite: questioning instead whether Russia was the source of the data, and whether the purpose was to distract from Trump’s wiretap claims and Russian ties.

A large portion of the Wikileaks dump are from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, the unit assigned by Obama to respond to Russia’s interference in our election.

Two days later, Nigel Farage visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London (March 9th). On February 25th, Farage had dinner with Trump, Ivanka and Kushner.

Costco started stocking the popular Orwell book, “1984.”

Gold star father Khizr Khan canceled a speaking engagement in Toronto, saying he was notified that his travel privileges were under review. At the end of the week, there were still open questions about this curious case.

The ACLU filed an ethics complaint against Session in Alabama over his Senate confirmation testimony about contact with Russia to “determine whether he violated the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct.”

The Office of Government Ethics director wrote a letter to Trump’s deputy WH counsel on the decision not to discipline Conway, saying he remains “concerned” about the Trump aide’s “misuse of position,” and that her evading punishment risked “undermining the ethics program.”

Bannon and Breitbart increasingly used the term “deep state” to describe an imagined “covert resistance” to Trump, largely composed of Obama loyalists. Deep state is a term generally used by authoritarian regimes.

Fox News’ Hannity tweeted Thursday it was time for Trump ‘to purge the deep state saboteurs from the government.’

On Friday, Rep Steven King also suggested that a purge of federal staff needs to happen.

Same day, when asked in the WH Daily Briefing, Spicer did not reject the concept of the Deep State.

That afternoon, without any notice, Sessions asked all 46 remaining Obama appointed US attorneys to resign.

On Wednesday Three watchdogs had asked the US attorney for the Southern District of NY (home to the Trump Organization) to investigate whether Trump effectively receives benefits from foreign entities, in violation of the Constitution.

The US attorney for the Southern District of NY is Preet Bharara, who was invited to Trump Tower in November and asked by Trump to stay on, only to be asked to resign in the Sessions sweep on Friday. As of today, Bharara is refusing to resign.

POLITCO reported that Europeans are concerned about Bannon and Trump’s efforts to undo the European Union. Commerce Secretary Ross, who has ties to Russia per Week 16, is also anti-EU.

Trump golf properties enjoyed an unprecedented boom of sales, as people seek access to Trump. Eric Trump bragged, “I think our brand is the hottest it has ever been.”

The New Yorker reported on one of Trump’s questionable and likely illegal deals in Baku, Azerbaijan (a former Soviet republic). Ivanka oversaw the deal, which was linked to corrupt oligarchs and terror financiers.

Russia broke a 30 year-old nuclear treaty with the US, deploying a missile with nuclear capability which threatens Europe. US Generals briefed Congress, but the Trump regime did nothing about it.

Muhammad Ali Jr. was again detained at an airport in DC, this time, ironically, after meeting with lawmakers to discuss his being detained last month.

In a filing this week, Flynn admitted that he had worked as a foreign agent during the campaign, lobbying Trump on behalf of the Turkish government, and earning $530,000 for his work.

Examples emerged of how Flynn’s lobbying role may have interfered with US policy, such as during the transition when Flynn held approval of a Kurdish plan to seize Raqqa. The Obama WH had worked for months on this plan.

Flynn also had written an op-ed, published on election day, calling Turkey “our strongest ally” against ISIS, and recommending we extradite “radical cleric” Gulen.

Information in Flynn’s filing also revealed a possible bribe attempt to get an email sent by Hillary regarding Benghazi re-marked as classified.

Spicer said Friday that Trump did not know that Flynn was working a secret foreign agent, as evidence mounted to suggest otherwise.

In a morning interview with MSNBC, a former Trump transition team member said Trump and the transition team knew about Flynn.

Pence said he didn’t know about Flynn. It was uncovered that Rep Cummings had sent Pence a letter on this topic in November. In an awkward interview with Bret Baier Friday, Pence offered up twice that this was the first he had heard of it — not responding to a question asked.

A story that had been dismissed four months ago about computer server connection this past summer between a Russian bank and the Trump Organization, re-emerged, as sources reported the FBI is investigating.

Trump’s former campaign manager Manafort my face charges Ukraine for his involvement with mass police shootings of protesters in Kiev in 2014, allegedly tied to Russia.

At a WH press briefing Friday, some members of the media literally laughed at Spicer for his explanation of why Trump accepted and took unwarranted credit for this month’s jobs report, while in the past saying the jobs was phony.

As Week 17 drew to an end, and Trump marked his first 50 days in office, the media was widely critical of the frequent lies and assertions without evidence made by Trump. A concern emerged about Trump’s credibility should a crisis emerge.

On Friday morning, Spicer broke a 1985 federal rule which forbids government officials from publicly commenting about the jobs report within one hour of the release, when he commented via a tweet.



12mar17.

Stay tuned for weekly posts of POLITIKAL GRAFFITI

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 15: PUPPET & HIS MASTER

Week 14 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published February 18, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-14-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-fa64639043b9#.ydms0os51

After a slight reprieve last week, this week was again chaos, and the longest weekly list so far. An overarching theme to watch is the consolidation of power: positions in the executive branch are going unfilled and layoffs continue. Meanwhile, Trump, his children, and his small circle of insiders are making all major decisions domestically and abroad.

Trump was tested in his first national security incident, as N. Korea launched intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Trump, at Mar-a-Lago hosting PM Abe, conferred with a small circle of aides AND Abe, using a flashlight app that could have been compromised. Trump then proceeded to stop by a wedding for a photo-op at his club.

The public exchange was captured by a member of the Mar-a-Lago club, who posted it publicly on his Facebook page.

After staying mum about Flynn over the weekend, Trump spokespeople went from saying Flynn “enjoys the full confidence,” to Trump is “evaluating the situation” on Monday. That evening, Flynn “resigned.”

Flynn became the third Trump advisor to resign over inappropriate ties to Russia (others are Manafort and Page).

After firing Flynn, Trump pivoted to blaming the media and intelligence for leaks. He referred to intelligence in quotes, again. Trump also denied any wrongdoing by Flynn.

The NYT reported that several Trump campaign aides had repeated contact with Russia in the year before the election. CNN reported in fact, Trump aides were in constant contact with Russian officials.

Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight Committee, chose to investigate leaks, but not Trump and his regime’s connections to Russia.

AG Sessions refused to recuse himself from investigations into Trump and his regime’s ties to Russia, despite his ties to Trump during the campaign.

As Trump’s battle with intelligence agencies intensified, he brought in loyalist, billionaire hedge fund manager Feinberg to lead a broad review of the intelligence agencies.

The FBI released 400 pages of records from their race discrimination probe of Trump’s real estate company in the 1970s.

The WSJ reported that the Pentagon has no records of approving Flynn’s Russian-TV payment.

WAPO reported that Trump staffers are so scared of being accused of leaking to the media, that they are now using an unsecured secret chat app called Confide to communicate.

After her Senate confirmation, DeVos removed a website for disabled students. After outrage by Democratic senators and the public, it was restored.

A Gallup poll found that Americans see US world standing as the worst in decades. Only 29% think world leaders respect Trump.

The Windsor, Ontario school board cancelled all student trips to the US, citing ‘safety and equity’ concerns.

Trump picked a longtime friend for the post of Ambassador of Austria because Park is a big fan of the ‘Sound of Music.’

Democrats in public, and Republicans in private (mostly) voiced concern about Trump’s mental health. Mental health professionals also warned about Trump.

WH senior policy advisor Miller was awarded “bushels of Pinocchios” for a series of lies told on Sunday talk shows. Pundits compared his tone, demeanor and content to that of propaganda minister.

In one of his first actions as AG, Sessions signaled he would not pursue states that refused to enforce Obama’s transgender policy.

The list of stores dropping Trump lines continued to grow.

In joint press conferences with heads of state from Japan, Canada and Israel, Trump took two questions each time from only friendly news sources, and refused to take any from the major media present.

Bloomberg reported that while Trump was making calls about the cost of Lookheed’s F-35, the CEO of rival Boeing was in the room.

SoS Tillerson irked his Russian counterpart in their first meeting, when he made journalists leave the room before his opening remarks. “Why did you shush them out?” Lavrov said.

A federal judge in Virginia granted an injunction against Trump’s Muslim Ban. By the end of the week, Trump said he would not appeal.

Trump’s efforts to deport immigrants broadened to include a Dreamer, and detaining a woman who was seeking a protective order against an abusive boyfriend. ICE refused to respond to inquiries by Democrats, as deportations escalated.

The Pentagon may propose sending troops to Syria in response to Trump’s order to come up with proposals to fight ISIS.

After meeting with Trump, Canadian PM Trudeau urged deeper EU-Canadian ties due to Trump’s isolationist policies.

The director of the Office of Government Ethics said there was a “strong reason” to think Conway violated rules, and that disciplinary action is warranted for her on-air comments to buy Ivanka’s brand.

In a room of all white men, Trump signed the repeal of transparency rules for oil companies to disclose foreign payments.

The 23 Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee voted not to require Trump to release his tax returns.

Russia dealt Trump several provocations including: placing a ship outfitted with spying equipment 30 miles off Connecticut’s coast; deploying a cruise missile, in violation of an arms control treaty; and buzzing a US warship in the Black Sea.

Meanwhile, Russian backed forces continued to escalate violence in Ukraine.

Russian-TV’s coverage of Trump started to become less flattering.

The WSJ reported that Trump appointee for Commerce, Ross, wants to keep his stake in 11 entities that he would affect as commerce secretary.

The week after Trump announced he would support China’s “One China” policy, China awarded Trump valuable rights to his name in the form of a 10-year trademark for construction services.

When asked about the alarming rise of anti-Semitism in the US during his press conference with Netanyahu, Trump shifted to bragging about his electoral college victory.

The WSJ reported that US intelligence agencies are withholding information from Trump, citing concerns that information would be leaked or compromised. The DNI and CIA denied this is happening.

Sos Tillerson was conspicuously absent from Trump’s meetings with heads of state. Tillerson also did not invite the customary press corp to accompany him on a truncated trip to a Group of 20 meeting.

POLITICO reported on the frustration of Tillerson, Mathis, Kelly and Pompeo for being left out decision making. Kushner is described as a “shadow Secretary of State,” running his own foreign policy.

The already gutted State Department conducted additional layoffs, a sign that key foreign policies will be made at the WH.

Mother Jones reported on a classified memo for intelligence on how to prepare Trump’s Daily Brief: “less material, less nuance, less dissent.”

Rachel Maddow reported in the Kushners family to desire to buy the Marlins, as the owner who is selling the team is considered by Trump for the plum job of Ambassador to France.

Trump hit his lowest approval level in a Pew Research poll: approve 39%, disapprove 56%, and in Gallup Daily tracking poll: approve 38%, disapprove 56%.

Six of Trump’s staffers were escorted out of the WH after failing their FBI background checks.

Newsweek’s Eichenwald reported that US allies in Europe are conducting their own intelligence operations to assess Trump ties to Russia.

Ten members of Trump’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders resigned citing, “portrayal of immigrants, refugees, people of color and people of various faiths as untrustworthy, threatening, and a drain on our nation.”

Trump hosted an unhinged, lie-ridden, impromptu 80 minute press conference. A GOP Senator texted CNN’s King, ‘He should do this with a therapist, not on live television.’

Also at the press conference, Trump insulted reporter April Ryan when she asked if he planned to arrange a meeting with the CBC. Trump replied, “Do you want to set up the meeting? Are they friends of yours?”

Also when asked by a Jewish reporter about anti-semitism, Trump called him a liar, told him to sit down, and said anti-Semitism was coming from “the other side.”

WAPO reported that Flynn lied in a January 24 FBI interview, denying sanction discussions with Kislyak. Lying to the FBI is a felony offense.

Harward turned down the offer to replace Flynn, citing a chaotic WH. According to a friend, Harward described Trump’s offer as a “shit sandwich.”

Petraeus also bowed out of consideration for NSA, citing the inability to pick his own staff.

Kushner met with Time Warner executives to complain about CNN’s coverage of Trump. Time Warner has a pending merger with AT&T, which requires governmental approval.

Trump held his first 2020 campaign event today in Florida. A Craigslist ad, which offered money for enthusiastic attendees, was taken down.

AP reported on a leaked draft memo which shows Trump is considering using 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.

Germany’s Minister of Defense warned the US against hurting European cohesion, abandoning core Western values and cozying up to Russia.

Trump tweeted, then deleted, then expanded his list of media outlets and tweeted, that the media is the “enemy of the American people” — a slogan also used by Lenin and Stalin.

After a closed door meeting between Comey and the Senate Intelligence Committee before leaving for recess, Rubio tweeted, “I am now very confident Senate Intel Comm I serve on will conduct thorough bipartisan investigation of #Putin interference and influence.”

The cost of protecting Trump and his family is staggering. Obama averaged $12mm a year, while Trump’s 3 weekend visits to Mar-a-Lago alone cost $10mm, and the guards at NYC Trump Tower $183mm/year.

Rep Barbara Lee introduced legislation signed by 70+ House Democrats urging the removal of Bannon from the NSC.

PBS, Americorps, Legal Service Corp and the National Endowments for the Arts are all set to be eliminated in Trump’s preliminary budget.

Some Things We’ve Already Normalized:

Trump continues to financially benefit from his businesses, AND to gain additional revenues from his position of power (#35, China)

Very few open positions in the executive branch are getting filled.

Trump has still not come to agreement on the lease of his DC hotel on federal land.

Without an official government role, Ivanka Trump continues to attend meetings with heads of state and leaders of corporate America.

The Puppet & his Master (Trump & Bannon)

Magazine displayed on an Emirates flight as I was deplaning in Dubai.


MADE IN CHINA 🇨🇳

Please stay tuned next week for POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 16! Previous posts this way: https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/17/politiks-of-graffiti-14-lie-lie-land/

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 14: LIE LIE LAND

Week 13 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published February 11, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-13-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-26b5f975afeb#.lpea5mkq8

Given that we’re 13 weeks into this tracking exercise, starting this week I’ll be adding a section at the bottom of the list, “Some Things We’ve Already Normalized.” The goal is to remind us of items in the early lists, that at the time were unprecedented and shocking; but have long since been accepted and forgotten. We must remember what normal used to be to resist, and find our way back — and so we begin!

In a Fox News interview, when O’Reilly referred to Putin as a “killer,” Trump responded, “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”

Trump’s comments were condemned by leaders and voices on both sides. Putin demanded an apology from Fox News.

The NYT ran a disturbing story describing Trump first two weeks. Like the WAPO story cited in Week 10, Trump is reportedly still isolated — going upstairs alone at 6:30 pm, and maintaining a small inner-circle.

The NYT also reported that Trump wasn’t fully briefed on the EO he signed giving Bannon a National Security Council seat. Trump tweeted that he calls his own shots, and referred to the story as fake news.

The WSJ reported that arrests of Russian intelligence officers are likely linked to Russia’s US hacking.

Pelosi called on the FBI to probe Trump’s personal and financial ties to Russia, to explore whether Russia may be blackmailing him.

By the end of the week, 6 NE Patriots said they would not attend the Super Bowl celebration ceremony at the White House.

McClatchy reported on efforts to silence public opinion: the WH comment line is shut down, signatures aren’t being counted on petitions, and Federal agencies are no longer allowed to respond to requests.

On SNL, Melissa McCarthy delivered a devasting portrayal of Spicer. Days later, Trump is reportedly rattled, and rumored to be seeking a replacement.

Spurred into a consideration by a petition signed by 1.5 million citizens, UK officials announced that Trump would not be allowed to address the UK Parliament during his upcoming visit.

As of this week, key roles in the Executive Branch are empty. Of the 658 positions that are open and require Senate confirmation, Trump has appointed only 35 (8 are confirmed, and 27 await confirmation).

Trump continued to assert that the “very dishonest press” doesn’t report terrorist attacks. At first, the source of his claim appeared to be InfoWars. The WH later released a list of attacks, with several misspellings (all attacks on the list had in fact been covered).

The White House is still not open to the public. Tours typically resume shortly after the new president takes office.

As part of her lawsuit against Mail Online, Melania mentioned the “once-in-a-lifetime” merchandising possibilities she envisioned as FLOTUS.

Republicans in a House committee voted to eliminate the agency charged with protecting voting machines from being hacked.

Without explanation or warning, the USDA purged a page on animal welfare from it’s website.

Trump attacked the federal judges ruling on his Muslim Ban, and questioned the indepence of the judicial branch, saying, “The courts seem to be so political,” and threatening that any terrorist attacks would be the fault of these judges if they don’t rule his way.

Trump also referred to federal justice Robart, a W. Bush appointee who ruled against Trump’s Muslim Ban, as a “so-called judge.”

Trump nominee for the SCOTUS called Trump’s remarks, “demoralizing” and “disheartening.” Trump refuted, saying Gorsuch’s comments were misrepresented. In response, a spokesperson for Gorsuch said it was true.

During a debate on the confirmation of Sessions, Warren was formerly silenced by McConnell and Republicans for reading a letter by Coretta Scott King, in a refrain that will go into the history books: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” The rule cited by McConnell, Rule XIX, was not used on GOP men like Cruz.

A HuffPost story seemed to call Trump’s mental health into question, citing via leaks that Trump called Flynn at 3 a.m. to ask him about a weak dollar and the economy. A member of W Bush NSC added, “I genuinely do not think this is a mentally healthy president.”

In response to Trump’s failed raid in Yemen, according to the NYT, Yemenis withdrew permission for US antiterror ground mission. More stories came out questioning Trump’s decision-making process and truthfulness on the Yemen raid.

WSJ reported that Trump’s appointee to acting SEC Chair is seeking to get rid of the requirement under Dodd Frank that companies disclose the pay gap between CEO’s and their employees.

Trump tweeted, from both his personal account and the POTUS account, that Nordstrom has treated his daughter unfairly. He included a veiled threat, “She’s a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing.” Nordstrom cited lagging sales, and their stock rose 4.1% that day.

Trump’s attack against Nordstrom was widely condemned by ethics experts as a clear violation of federal ethics rules.

Next day, Conway said on Fox News, “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say.” Spicer later that day said Conway was “counseled.” Trump sided with Conway.

Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight Committee, called Conway’s statement, “wrong, wrong, wrong.” Next day, Conway made a snide remark about Chaffetz’s stormy townhall.

France’s spy agency, the DGSE, said Russia is actively working to get Le Pen elected. Le Pen announced that if she wins, Jews would have to leave France if they did not give up their Israeli citizenship.

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill that would require congressional approval for Trump to lift sanctions on Russia.

A Hitler’s Valentine’s Day card was handed out by a the College Republicans at Central Michigan University. Nationwide, anti-semitism incidents continue to escalate since Election Day.

Reuters reported that Trump did not get briefed prior to his phone call with Putin, and had to ask aides about the New START treaty.

Breaking 7 decades of presidential precedents, Trump said he will not rely on White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Democrats in the House moved to force a debate on Trump’s Russia business conflicts and ties.

Rachel Maddow reported in order to shield himself from having to pay for the clean-up of a failed SC business formerly owned by his son, Trump claimed to have no relationship to former owner.

Townhalls hosted by Republicans in Utah, Tennessee and others states had huge crowds show up and vociferously show their displeasure.

A national poll conducted by PPP found that 51% of Trump supporters think the “Bowling Green massacre” — a lie put forward by Conway in Week 12 — is justification for Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Courts again turned back Trump, this time in his efforts to scale back an Obama-era consumer protection designed to avoid conflicts of interests when brokers give retirement advice.

FLOTUS Trump again broke with tradition, not hosting the FL of Japan during her tour of Washington DC.

WAPO broke that despite his earlier denials, Flynn did indeed have conversations with Russia’s ambassador about sanctions while Obama was still in office. Flynn changed his version to having “no recollection.”

Aids for Pence, who had vouched for Flynn on Sunday tv, said Flynn had lied to Pence, and Flynn was his only source. When asked about this story, Trump feigned ignorance, despite WAPO having it on page 1.

In a meeeting with Senators, Trump again asserted voter fraud, citing alleged buses of Massachusetts people who voted in New Hampshire.

Trump has still not come to an agreement with Federal officials over his Trump DC hotel’s violation of lease.

After a conversation with the leader of Taiwan in Week 3, an action not taken by an American president in decades, Trump asserted his bumble was to show strength to China. Unceremoniously this week, Trump changed course, and said he would honor the ‘One China’ policy.

Without notice, days after Sessions is confirmed, federal agents started conducting mass immigration raids in at least six states. Citizens reported seeing check-points in several major cities.

CNN broke that US intelligence has corroborated some parts of the infamous Russian dossier. Spicer responded by attacking CNN for fake news reporting.

Gallup found that only 29% of Americans think Trump is respected in the world. 67% believe he is not.

Trump continued to actively lie this week. Protests and marches continued nationwide.

Some Things We’ve Already Normalized:

The first family is not living in the White House.

Trump is not receiving daily intelligence briefings.

Trump remains an Executive Producer of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

Media coverage of Trump includes images of his tweets.

Our Secretary of State is a former CEO of Exxon, who has close ties to Putin, and no government or diplomatic experience.

Theresa May and Donald Trump by UK artist Bambi

Photo: Ocean Morisset, New York City

Specific location unknown

Beavis and Butthead

Stay tuned for POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 15 coming soon!

Some previous links: https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/15/politiks-of-graffiti-12-amerikan-gothik/ AND https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/16/politiks-of-graffiti-13-nothing-to-see-here/ and many more… 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 13: NOTHING TO SEE HERE

Week 12 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.published February 4, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-12-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-1dd061886793#.l82fi9v15

An observation on Week 12: several of the most important items in this very long list are the ones not getting coverage: including Ukraine, and the many abuses of power to silence dissent and stomp on ethics. Conflicts of interest abound, unfettered.

Protests over Trump’s Muslim Ban took place all over the country and around the world. Thousands protested in major airports and cities, including many red states.

Trump’s EO was criticized by many, and supported by few. Christian leaders spoke our voraciously against prioritizing Christian refugees.

Innumerable horrid stories about the impact of the Muslim ban surfaced during the week. Spicer minimized its impact. Presidents of 598 colleges and universities wrote a letter of concern about the Ban.

Trump promoted Bannon, under a reorganization of the National Security Council, to a regular seat on the principals committee. Criticism and outrage of this move was widespread. Democrats proposed a bill to remove Bannon from the NSC.

A Federal Judge in NY issued a temporary order, blocking Trump’s EO from deportation of arrivals. Next morning, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that they would not abide by the court order, and would continue to enforce Trump’s EO. Four other Federal Judges issued similar temporary orders.

The Judicial Branch was removed from the WH website. It was later restored.

An op-ed, “Trial Ballon for a Coup?”, which included a diagram showing an almost completely gutted State Department, trended for an entire day.

In just 12 hours, more than 875k people in the UK signed a petition, demanding Trump’s state visit to Britain be canceled.

Germany’s Merkel, per her spokesperson, had to explain the Geneva Convention, and the requirement for the international community to take in war refugees on humanitarian grounds, to Trump.

Books topping the Amazon list included, “1984,” “It Can’t Happen Here,” and “Brave New World.”

Trump continued to say his Executive Order should not be termed a “Muslim Ban.” Trump insider Rudy Giuliana told Fox News, Trump had called him seeking advice for a ‘Muslim Ban’ and how to do it legally.

According the Sen Rubio, the State Department was instructed not to speak to Congress about Trump’s Muslim Ban.

On a day when the NYT described Bannon’s elevation and Michael Flynn stumbling, Flynn’s Twitter account was taken down.

AP reported the voter fraud expert chosen by Trump to conduct his voter fraud investigation, is registered to vote in three states.

POLITICO reported that several House Judiciary Committee aides secretly worked on Trump’s Muslim Ban. Their bosses were not aware of the EO or their staffs’ involvement.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates directed the Justice Department not to defend Trump’s Muslim Ban, citing the ban not being legal.

Hours later, Trump fired her, saying she “betrayed” the DOJ. Her memo was rescinded that same night. Trump’s action, named for a similar firing by Nixon, became known as the “Monday Night Massacre.”

WSJ reported that Trump’s tax plan, counter to changes proposed by Congressional Republicans, would preserve millions in tax benefits for Trump companies.

Days after Trump’s phone conversation with Putin, Russia escalated hostilities in the Ukraine. Among the chaos of the Muslim Ban, etc., few in the US noticed.

Six were killed in a mosque shooting in Quebec. The perpetrator was a white man, who “liked” Trump’s Facebook page. The next day, the Eiffel Tower went dark overnight in support. Trump, however, said nothing publicly about the attack.

The WH publicly stated that any State Department employees who disagree with Trump’s Muslim Ban should resign.

As Trump prepares to name his Supreme Court pick, for the first time in decades, no one is bothering to advocate for diversity anymore.

In relatiation for their coverage, Trump said he would no longer send his spokespeople to appear on CNN. On reporter noted, “They’re trying to cull CNN from the herd.”

Trump announced his Supreme Court nominee in reality-tv show type format, claiming he had invited both finalist to the prime-time announcement.

Trump’s sons, who are running his business supposedly walled-off, sat in the front row for the Supreme Court announcement, and mingled with politicians, including the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

WAPO reported that Eric Trump’s business trip to Uruguay in January for the Trump Organization, cost tax-payers nearly $100,000 in hotel rooms for Secret Service and embassy staff.

For a second day in a row, Trump personally attacked Schumer on Twitter: “Fake Tears Chuck Schumer.”

Trump canceled a trip to Milwaukee, where he was scheduled to deliver an economic address, due to the threat of protests.

The House Oversight Committee stopped accepting calls relating to investigating Trump.

As part of Black History Month, Trump cited Frederick Douglass, who he described as still alive, and Pence tweeted about a white man.

Trump’s first overseas raid ended in failure. Among the dead were a Navy SEAL and 15 women women and children, including an 8 year-old American. Trump has relaxed Obama’s stance on protecting civilians.

The Yemen raid garnered little media attention for days, until Reuters reported via US military officials that Trump “approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations.”

Spicer admitted that Trump was not in the Situation Room during the Yemen raid. He issued the green light while at dinner, and during the raid itself, Trump was busy sending unrelated, incendiary tweets.

In the third wave of mass disruption in January, 17 Jewish Community Centers (JCC’s) received bomb threats.

FLOTUS Melania Trump said she and Barron may never move to the WH.

Reuters’ Editor-in-Chief announced that their reporters would cover the Trump adminisration as an authoritarian regime.

On the day Tillerson was confirmed, the House killed a transparency rules which required oil companies to report payments to foreign governments. As Exxon CEO, Tillerson had lobbied against this provision.

The House’s move on transparency also impacts the ability to trace the owner of a 19% stake of Roseneft, mentioned in Week 11’s list.

In a phone call, Trump threatened his Mexican counterpart with sending US military to stop “bad hombres down there.” Next day, Trump said this was just meant to be “lighthearted.”

Trump’s first call with Australia, one of our closest allies, went terribly, and ended prematurely after, according to Australian media, Trump berated PM Turnbull.

Later that night at 10:55 pm, Trump tweeted Obama had agreed “to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia.” This is a lie: Obama accepted 1,250 refugees. Next day, McCain called Turnbull to express US support. Hoyer also issued a statement of support.

Trump opened his remarks at the National Prayer Service by attacking Arnold Schwarzenegger for “The Apprentice” getting low ratings. Trump continues to hold the role of Executive Producer of the show.

Later at the National Prayer Service, Trump promised to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which forbids churches from political activity in order to maintain their tax-exempt status.

Trump lifted sanctions, introduced by Obama in December, on Russia’s FSB. A former head of Russia’s FSB claimed this to be the start of a formal “anti-terror alliance” in the DUMA.

Virginia filed a contempt motion against Trump over his Muslim Ban, asking the US District Court to make sure that the federal government complied with the temporary restraining order.

At the hearing, the Justice Department said over 100,000 visas have been revoked as part of Trump’s Muslim Ban. The State Department later said the number was closer to 60,000.

NBC reported, via a FOIA request, that emails reveal Ethics officials warned Trump against an ‘unprecendented’ efforts to staff his cabinet without ethics vetting. Trump aides rebuffed OCE efforts.

As per the Week 11 List, Trump issued a Holocaust statement without mentioning Jews. This week, POLITICO reported the State Department’s draft statement did reference Jewish victims, but Trump team took it out.

Due to lower sales caused by boycotts, both Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus announced, they will no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s brand.

A poll by Public Policy Polling (PPP) revealed that 40% of registered voters support impeaching Trump. Polls asking during Nixon years, didn’t reach this level until 16 weeks into the Watergate scandal.

A former PM of Norway was detained for hours at Dulles Airport because his passport showed a visit to Iran in 2014.

Trump ordered female staffers to “dress like women.” Twitter mocked his words, with a campaign using the hashtag #DressLikeAWoman.

Conway continued telling outright lies, citing a fabricated Bowling Green Massacre as a rational for Trump’s Muslim Ban.

Trump said he would be “cutting a lot out of Dodd Frank” since his friends with “nice businesses” are having a hard time borrowing money, because of rules and regulations.

NPR reported that Trump faces 55 lawsuits in his first two weeks— as compared to 5 for Obama, 4 for W. Bush and 5 for Clinton.

The New Yorker and Vanity Fair canceled their involvement with White House Correspondents’ Dinner parties.

As the week came to a close, a federal judge appointed by President Bush ruled that Trump’s Muslim Ban EO be halted, nationwide, immediately.

Upcoming TIME cover.

Artist unknown.

Creator: Terry Young


Upcoming: POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 14

Previous posts: https://jacquelinemhadel.com/2017/02/15/politiks-of-graffiti-12-amerikan-gothik/