ORLANDO, FLORIDA STREET ART: Artists Willie (Wie) Soto & Ric (The Ruler) Sosa

More information about these two talented artists and the rest of their team, can be found at: http://spraycancity.com/

15apr17. Orlando, FL

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POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 25: “MOLOCH!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Moloch
[moh-lok, moluh k]
noun
1.a deity whose worship was marked by the propitiatory sacrifice ofchildren by their own parents. II Kings 23:10; Jer. 32:35.
2.anything conceived of as requiring appalling sacrifice:the Moloch of war.
3.(lowercase) a spiny agamid lizard, Moloch horridus, of Australiandeserts, that resembles the horned lizard.
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DCIM100GOPROG0125570.DCIM100GOPROG0115569.DCIM100GOPROG0315589.IMG_1790DCIM100GOPROG0165574.IMG_1685IMG_1357

Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 26!” 

POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 24: NO FASCIST USA

Week 23 of Donald Trump’s presidency: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

April 22, 2017 https://medium.com/@Amy_Siskind/week-23-experts-in-authoritarianism-advise-to-keep-a-list-of-things-subtly-changing-around-you-so-3cd5704e674a

This week the Trump-Russia scandal continued to unfold, but that wasn’t the big story. What stands out in Week 23 is the kleptocracy — a pattern of conflicts of interest and pay-to-play — and the Trump regime’s utter irreverence towards ethics and past standards.

As the 100-day mark approaches, Trump has no legislative accomplishments and his foreign policy can best be described as an embarrassing mess. Instead, Trump seems focused on enriching himself, his regime, and his business contacts. The pace and boldness of corruption whiff of a man who is aware his days in this gig are numbered.

  1. Seven weeks have passed since Trump’s tweet accusing Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower. He has yet to offer any evidence or apologize.
  2. American Oversight, a group of liberal lawyers, is suing the DOJ and FBI seeking proof for Trump’s wiretapping claim.
  3. Trump has yet to offer any evidence or apologize for his accusations that Susan Rice committed a crime by spying on his campaign.
  4. The New Yorker reported not only did bi-partisan members of the House find nothing in the Rice intercepts, but also the rationale came clear: per an intelligence source, the WH said, “We are going to mobilize to find something to justify the President’s tweet that he was being surveilled.
  5. Trump hosted a disastrous Easter Egg Roll, including telling the children, “We will be stronger and bigger and better as a nation than ever before,” and forgetting to lift his hand to his heart during the National Anthem.
  6. NYT reported on violations and a raft of potential conflicts-of-interest as Trump appoints former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants to craft policies in industries where they formerly worked.
  7. OGE director Shaub noted that Trump rolled back an Obama requirement that appointees not accept jobs in agencies they recently lobbied, and that Trump has granted waivers allowing appointees to take up matters which benefit their former clients.
  8. WAPO reported 168 corporate interests have made requests to Trump for regulatory relief, all likely to be granted, “especially those designed to advance environmental protection and safeguard worker rights.”
  9. On Tax Day, breaking precedent with every modern-day president, Trump did not release his tax returns, nor explain why.
  10. WSJ reported that in the first quarter, Trump’s campaign funds paid $500k to Trump’s companies including hotels, golf clubs and restaurants.
  11. Trump raised $107mm for his inaugural, doubling Obama, although Trump’s crowds and festivities were markedly smaller. It’s unclear where unspent money has gone, while numerous “pay-to-play” stories emerge.
  12. For example, Rachel Maddow reported on a $666,ooo gift from a businessman named R. W. Habboush, which led to a meetings between his son and both an NSC official and Bannon to discuss how to open up business with Venezuela, which is heavily sanctioned by the US.
  13. Trump dropped his campaign promise to let Medicare negotiate bulk discounts on prescription drugs after meeting with pharma lobbyists.
  14. Ivanka was granted China trademarks during dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. As reported in Week 22, Trump also changed his position saying China does not manipulate its currency.
  15. FT reported Manafort stepped in to the China action, advising Chinese billionaire Jiehe on how to access to Trump’s $1tn infrastructure plan.
  16. CREW filed an amended complaint to its emoluments challenge against Trump in federal court, adding new plaintiffs who claim they’ve been “directly harmed by a loss of business and wages.”
  17. Dow Chemical donated $1mm to Trump’s inauguration, then asked the regime to ignore a study on its pesticide which was “originally derived from a nerve gas developed by Nazi Germany,”
  18. Trump billionaire outside adviser, Steve Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone which has significant holdings in China, stands to gain from US-China policies he helped to shape.
  19. USA Today reporters pieced together that Trump companies own 400+ luxury condos and homes worth $250mm up for sale or rent presenting people, corporations or foreign interests an opportunity gain influence through purchases.
  20. Further, since Trump launched his presidential bid, Trump companies have sold at least 58 units for $90mm — almost half to LLCs. Since Election Day, 14 units have been sold for $23mm — half to LLCs.
  21. The House Oversight Committee sent a letter asking Trump for details on how and when the Trump will donate profits made from foreign government officials. Reps Cummings and Chaffetz signed the letter.
  22. Two days earlier, without explanation, Chaffetz said he would not run for re-election in 2018, and that he may leave office early to return to the private sector.
  23. Despite denials by the Trump, Erik Prince’s had close ties to the Trump regime, including riding the Acela with Conway, providing advice to Trump’s inner-circle including Flynn, and entering Trump Tower through the back entrance.
  24. As mentioned in Week 21, Prince had a one-on-one meeting with a Putin insider in Seychelles on January 11. He is also Betsy DeVos’s brother.
  25. Without explanation, the national security official leading the DOJ investigation into whether the Trump regime colluded with Russia, abruptly resigned.
  26. CNN reported that the FBI used information in the Steele dossier, which they independently confirmed, for their FISA warrant against Page.
  27. CNN reported Russia tried to use Trump advisers, including Page, to infiltrate the campaign. Page is one of several advisers US and European intel found to be in contact with Russian officials during the campaign.
  28. The DOJ said is it preparing charges against WikiLeaks founder Assange, with Sessions saying Assange’s arrest is a priority. Strangely, the Trump regime has turned on Assange, after lauding him during the campaign.
  29. Sessions left open the possibility of prosecuting US news organizations for publishing leaked information, and stories on the Trump-Russia scandal continue to pour out.
  30. As part of a custody battle, InfoWars’ Alex Jones said he is a “performance artist.” As noted in Week 19, InfoWars and Breitbart are under FBI investigation for their roles in Russian hacking of our election.
  31. NBC compiled a seating chart of attendees at Putin’s December 2015 RT celebration dinner. Other than Flynn seated next to Putin, Stein was also at Putin’s table and Assange appeared via satellite. NBC also reported on efforts by RT to promote Stein (and hurt Hillary) in the primary.
  32. The House Intel Committee announced it will reopen its Trump-Russia probe ex Nunes. Yates, Comey, Rogers, Brennan and Clapper have all been invited to testify.
  33. Nikolai Andrushchenko, a Russian journalist and Putin critic, was beaten to death by strangers. He is the 12th “mysterious” Russian death in recent months.
  34. Like their interference in the US, Russian sources are flooding French social media with fake news ahead of France’s election.
  35. Reuters reported on a Putin-linked think tank that very purposefully and carefully orchestrated an attack on the US election. Fake news, pro-Kremlin bloggers and cyber-attacks were all part of the plan.
  36. Exxon sought a US waiver to resume drilling in their Russian jv with Rosneft — a deal forged by Tillerson, who is ring fenced from Exxon for only one year. Amid outcry, permission was denied by the Treasury Dept.
  37. The UK Election Commission has launched an investigation of Farage’s Leave.EU for its funding. The involvement of Cambridge Analytica — which also allegedly has ties to Bannon and the Mercers and the Russian hacking of the US election — was not declared to the election watchdog.
  38. Sessions said he was “amazed” that a US judge “on an Island in the Pacific” (aka Hawaii) could block Trump’s Muslim Ban.
  39. Sessions took a fact-free swipe at another ethnically diverse city, saying New York City was soft on crime and plagued by gangs murders.
  40. ICE immigrant arrests were up 33% in the first two months of the Trump regime, including a doubling of noncriminal arrests.
  41. The first protected DREAMer, Juan Manuel Montes, who is 23 and have lived here since age 9, was deported by Trump.
  42. Trump ally Rep Steve King celebrated the deportation by tweeting a photo of a frosty beer mug with the words, “First non-valedictorian DREAMer deported. Border Patrol, this one’s for you.
  43. Ironically, a federal lawsuit brought on behalf of Montes has been assigned to Judge Curiel, the jurist infamously attacked by Trump for his Mexican heritage during the Trump University case.
  44. Trump signed an executive order to review high-skilled H-1B immigration visas.
  45. Trump’s order does not, however, impact low-skilled H2A or H2B visas. According to CNN, Trump businesses have received 1,024 H-2B visas since 2000, and Trump Vineyards has received 64 H-2A permits since 2006
  46. In a troubling provocation, Russian aircraft were spotted flying off the coast of Alaska four times in four day this week.
  47. Amidst silence from Trump and our State Department, pogroms of gay men in Russia’s Chechnya region escalated. Russia also banned Jehovah’s Witnesses, claiming “extremist activities.”
  48. Trump shocked US and international officials when he called Turkey’s Erdogan to congratulate him on passage of a referendum which allows Erdogan to further consolidate power as an autocrat. International monitors have said the vote was not “genuinely democratic.”
  49. Trump held a secret meeting at Mar-a-Lago with former presidents of Colombia, threatening to undermine the country’s peace agreement with rebel leaders. The meeting was arranged by Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and was not on Trump’s schedule.
  50. Meanwhile, at a speech in WI, Trump called some of Canada’s trade practices a “disgrace” and claimed NAFTA is “a disaster for our country.”
  51. In another embarrassment of US foreign policy, Trump promised “we are sending an armada”– the USS Carl Vinson carrier group was being deployed to waters off the Korean Peninsula. This was not true.
  52. Mattis and McMaster also made similar misstatement about the USS Carl Vinson’s location. While traveling in the region, Pence assured our allies the misstatements were “not made intentionally.”
  53. On Wednesday, Tillerson said that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal. On Thursday, Trump said Iran was not in complaint.
  54. Trump offended our S. Korea allies with a claim that the country “actually used to be part of China.” Trump apparently gleaned this “knowledge” from his conversation with Xi Jinping.
  55. For his upcoming visit to London, Trump demanded a carriage ride with Queen Elizabeth II down a strip that leads to Buckingham Palace.
  56. Three month in, Trump has only filled 4% of key roles in the executive branch. And with all the international hot spots and conflicts, the State Department remains largely vacant, including Deputy Secretary.
  57. A State Department official who helped shape the Iran nuclear deal was summarily reassigned for criticizing Conservative Review and Breitbart.
  58. The Surgeon General was also quietly dismissed on Friday evening, without explanation or a full-time replacement.
  59. DeVos’s pick to head the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said she faced discrimination for being white.
  60. In his first three months of office, Trump has made 417 false or misleading claims.
  61. Trump first quarter job approval stood at 41%, the lowest of any modern day president by 14 points in Gallup polling.
  62. The Resistance claimed a major victory, bringing down FoxNews icon Bill O’Reilly. Some speculated that the rise of Trump, and his backing of O’Reilly after recent allegations, laid the groundwork for O’Reilly’s fall.
  63. Hundreds of thousands are expected to march on Earth Day in the global March for Science in DC and at 609 satellite locations.

All photos taken by me:

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Cocoa Beach, FL 21apr17. Kind of hard to believe that veterans would support a FIVE-TIME DRAFT DODGER, so let’s hope it’s a SAD JOKE. Pussy Power from NYC reigns supreme in this photo.
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Philadelphia, PA 12apr17
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NYC, apr17
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NYC, apr17
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Philadelphia, PA 12apr17
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NYC, apr17
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NYC, apr17
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Cocoa Beach, FL 21apr17
 Please come back next week for “Politiks of Graffiti 25!”