POLITIKS OF GRAFFITI 145: IF YOU ARE WARNED NOT TO PROTEST, THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. YOU KNOW THAT, RIGHT?

AUGUST 17, 2019

Week 144

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember. https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-144/

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Pic from Brick Lane Art, August 2019. Artist: SubDude London. 

This week Trump’s beloved economy faltered under pressure from his trade war with China, a ballooning U.S. budge deficit, and other global factors. An anxious Trump, realizing a strong economy is essential to his re-election, lashed out at the Federal Reserve, while confiding in allies his plan to blame any downturn on Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Meanwhile his shrinking inner-circle of sycophants assured him forecasts were wrong.

“The Mooch is right. I’m a FAT FUCK.” Liege, Belgium. 17aug2019

Trump held two rallies this week, one at a Shell Chemical plant outside Pittsburgh, where later it was revealed union employees were mandated to attend — “No scan, no pay” —  and warned not to protest. At a second rally in New Hampshire, Trump rambled, veering off script and repeating points he made earlier in the speech.

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Brussels, Belgium. August 2019

Channeling Obama, a 45 supporter makes a statement, and a reminder that our election system is corrupted. New York City. June 2019

This week the concerns of an uprising and mainstreaming of white nationalism continued, while Trump regime officials continued to make blatantly racist and xenophobic statements, and defend cruel and inhumane treatment of people of color. The Republican Party remained silent, instead seeking to downplay white nationalism and blame Democrats. Trump urged his authoritarian ally in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to deny entry for two Muslim members of Congress — an unprecedented thwart of democracy. Protests heated up in Russia and Hong Kong.

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“LOVES the NRA.” Lier, Belgium. 15aug19. 
  1. WAPO reported Trump crossed 12,000 false or misleading claims on August 5, his 928th day since taking office. He has averaged 20 lies per day since crossing the 10,000 mark on April 26.
  2. About one-fifth of his lies relate to immigration, and the percentage has grown since the government shutdown over his wall. Trump also lies frequently about trade, the economy, and the Russia investigation.
  3. On Monday, the Twitter account for the House Judiciary Committee tweeted, “We are considering all Article I remedies to Presidential misconduct, including articles of impeachment.”
  4. The panel added, “We will continue our investigation. We will hold @realDonaldTrump accountable. This is America. And no one is above the law. Not even the President.”
  5. On Saturday, Trump retweeted conspiracy theories, tying the death of Jeffrey Epstein to the Clintons, and spreading an unsubstantiated claim that Epstein was on suicide watch, in contrast to his regime’s statement.
  6. On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Trump on “Fox News Sunday,” saying Trump“just wants everything to be investigated,” and criticizing those connecting Trump to Epstein.
  7. On Sunday, the New York City medical examiner’s office said it had completed an autopsy of Epstein, but that it needed more information before determining the cause of death.
  8. NBC News reported that the FBI, which does not normally look into suicides at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility, is also looking into the case out of an “abundance of caution.”
  9. On Sunday, NYT reported that Epstein was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes, but that protocol was not followed. Also procedure for a recent suicide attempt is to have a cellmate, but Epstein’s was transferred out.
  10. WAPO reported Epstein’s guards, who were working overtime, had not checked on him for “several” hours. Also his cellmate, a former police officer in custody on murder and narcotics charges, was not present.
  11. On Monday, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler and ranking member Doug Collins launched a bipartisan inquiry into the circumstances of Epstein’s apparent suicide.
  12. On Saturday, Trump attacked his former press secretary and friend, Anthony Scaramucci, tweeting he “was quickly terminated (11 days) from a position that he was totally incapable of handling.”
  13. Trump also tweeted of Scaramucci’s television appearance criticizing him, “he knows very little about me,” adding, “Anthony, who would do anything to come back in, should remember the only reason he is on TV.”
  14. On Sunday, Scaramucci responded, tweeting he had supported Trump until he “said things that divide the country,” adding, “eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country.”
  15. On Monday, Scaramucci told CNN that Trump should be replaced as the GOP presidential candidate in 2020, citing “the racially charged comments, the divisive tweeting,” saying Trump’s rhetoric “is not helping the country.”
  16. On Monday, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told PBS that during Trump’s visit in Week 143, Trump chastised him, “You’re a RINO” (Republican in Name Only) when Margo corrected Trump about crime statistics in the city.
  17. On Wednesday, former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh apologized for helping elect an “unfit con man” in an NYT op-ed, and made the case for someone on the right to launch a 2020 primary challenge against Trump.
  18. Walsh said of Trump, “We’ve had enough of your lies, your bullying, your cruelty, enough of your insults, your daily drama, your incitement, enough of the danger you place this country in every single day.”
  19. On Sunday, Trump attacked MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch, tweeting, “So funny to watch Little Donny Deutsch on TV with his own failing show,” saying he and CNN’s Erin Burnett would call and “BEG” to be on “The Apprentice.”
  20. Trump added, during the 2016 election “I would watch as Joe Scarborough & his very angry Psycho wife(?)” push Deutsch “to the point of total humiliation,” but he did not fight back because “he wanted to stay on TV.”
  21. On Tuesday, Trump attacked CNN host Chris Cuomo over threatening a man who called him “Fredo,” tweeting, would Cuomo “be given a Red Flag for his recent rant?” and “He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon.”
  22. Trump seemed to be making a mocking reference at “red flag” laws which grant authorities the power to remove guns from those who have been deemed unstable. Trump also tweeted of Cuomo, “He’s nuts!”
  23. Ivanka has called for stricter background checks and “red flag” laws. Donald Jr., who the WSJ reported Trump called his “my gun expert” at a recent fundraiser, is against both. Trump has taken no action on guns.
  24. Trump also tweeted of Cuomo, “I thought Chris was Fredo also,” adding, “The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN.” Trump retweeted attacks on Cuomo and CNN from his allies and family all day Monday.
  25. Later Monday, Trump also tweeted, “When a Conservative does even a fraction of what Chris Cuomo did with his lunatic ranting, raving, & cursing, they get destroyed by the Fake News,” adding, “We never learn!”
  26. Later Monday, Trump also attacked CNN, tweeting, “Without being stuck at an airport, where CNN buys (at a big price) an uninterested audience, they’ve got nothing going,” adding CNN “is BAD for America!”
  27. On Monday night, CNN stood by Cuomo. On Tuesday, before heading to a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump told reporters that Cuomo’s behavior is like “a totally out of control animal,” and that he “spews lies every night.”
  28. Trump also defended his promoting conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death, telling reporters the retweet “was from somebody that is a very respected conservative pundit. So I think it was fine.”
  29. When asked if he truly believes the Clintons are involved in Epstein’s death, Trump responded “I have no idea” and highlighted Bill Clinton’s relationship with Epstein, adding he is demanding a “full investigation.”
  30. On Saturday, tens of thousands of Russians protested in Moscow over Putin’s refusal to allow a slate of independent candidates on the city council elections ballot for September.
  31. Unlike past protests, this was an authorized rally, which featured speakers and entertainers. Some among the crowd shouted, “Putin is a thief.” Heavily armed police detained 135 people.
  32. On Monday, NYT reported U.S. intelligence officials are scrambling to understand an explosion that released radiation off the coast of Northern Russia during testing of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile.
  33. The incident killed seven Russians, marking one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl. The Pentagon and other agencies have described the nuclear missile as a potential new kind of threat.
  34. On Monday, thousands of anti-government protestors stormed the Hong Kong International Airport. The protest began in June over legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
  35. The protest led to over 150 flights being canceled. The government of China said protestors had “begun to show signs of terrorism,” also citing previous actions including a gasoline bomb.
  36. On Tuesday, when asked by reporters about the Hong Kong protests, Trump called it a “tough situation,” and said he hopes the situation will work out “for everybody, including China.”
  37. Demonstrations turned violent Tuesday as protestors at the airport clashed with police. Trump has been criticized for not commenting on the protests and defending democracy as other lawmakers on both sides have done.
  38. Later Tuesday, Trump tweeted U.S. intelligence informed him “the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong,” adding, “Everyone should be calm and safe!
  39. On Wednesday, Trump defended the leader of China, tweeting, “I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people,” and “He is also a good man in a ‘tough business.’”
  40. Trump also offered to meet with Xi, tweeting, “I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?”
  41. Trump also tweeted Wednesday, then retweeted Thursday, that China is “eating the Tariffs” while “The American consumer is fine,” adding, “China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!”
  42. On Sunday, NYT reported the El Paso shooter’s 2,300 word manifesto echoed words used by conservative commentators, including “invasion” and “replacement” — words used in the right-wing fringes until recently.
  43. The Times analysis found 300 Fox News programs in the past year have referenced an immigration “invasion,” and found a “shared vocabulary of intolerance” between conservative commentators and the manifesto.
  44. On Sunday, WAPO reported Trump, who considers himself a branding expert, has been unable to shake the label of “racist” — which makes him furious. He has lashed out on Twitter and in public comments to no avail.
  45. On Sunday, NYT reported officials in the Department of Homeland Security have felt that they cannot broach the topics of domestic terrorism and white supremacist violence with Trump because he is not interested.
  46. Reportedly, former secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sought a regular meeting with Trump to brief him on domestic terrorism and other topics, but her proposal was rejected by the White House.
  47. Instead the department has been told to focus on foreign terrorism and immigration, and to pay little attention to domestic extremism. Incidents of white supremacist propaganda have increased 182% in 2018.
  48. On Sunday, Richard Clayton, 26, a white supremacist, was arrested after making online threats about a shooting at a Walmart in Florida, saying “3 more days…then I get my AR-15 back. Don’t go to Walmart next week.”
  49. On Sunday, NYT reported that Taylor Dumpson, the first African-American female student body president of American University, won a $725,000 judgment over neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin for inciting trolls to target her.
  50. The judgment is the third against Anglin, publisher of the website The Daily Stormer, in the last three months. In all, Anglin owes more than $20 million to three people, but has yet to pay a cent.
  51. On Saturday, NYT reported the Trump regime has taken steps to revoke the certification of an outspoken immigration judges’ union which has been critical of some of the regime’s policies, in an effort to muffle dissent.
  52. The regime filed a petition claiming the National Association of Immigration Judges should be decertified, saying its members are considered “management officials” ineligible to collectively organize.
  53. On Saturday, the American Bar Association took the unusual step of raising alarms that judges are receivingintensified personal threats, which have been further amplified by social media.
  54. On Sunday, thousands of Jewish Americans marked the holiday of Tisha B’Av, an annual day of mourning, by protesting in D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, and more over the Trump regime’s immigration policies.
  55. The protestors organized around “Never Again.” In NYC, dozens of protestors, including some rabbis, were arrested after conducting a prayer service outside the Amazon store in downtown Manhattan.
  56. On Monday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus demanded answers on the Mississippi raids, saying its “purpose is to instill fear in Latino and immigrant communities,” adding, “Latinos are already living in terror.”
  57. The Hispanic Caucus tweeted data showing Immigration and Custom Enforcement “has increased their total number of detention beds to over 55,000. This is well above what Congress appropriated for beds.”
  58. On Monday, the Trump regime issued a new rule, called the “public charge” rule, which would enable officials to deny green cards to migrants they believe will receive public benefits like food stamps or Medicaid.
  59. Starting October 15, the new rules will allow customs and immigration officers not only to consider whether an applicant currently receives benefits, but also make a determination on whether they will in the future.
  60. On Monday, Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, defended the ruleon NPR, saying it was part of Trump “keeping his promises” to reduce the “burden on the government.”
  61. Cuccinelli twisted Emma Lazarus’ words on the Statue of Liberty, saying, “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”
  62. On Tuesday, Cuccinelli defended his statement, telling CNN the Statue of Liberty poem is about “people coming from Europe” and that America is looking to receive migrants “who can stand on their own two feet.”
  63. On Tuesday, two California counties filed lawsuits challenging the regime’s “public charge” rule, calling it “arbitrary and capricious,” and saying it “flouts federal law, and seeks to usurp Congress’ authority.”
  64. On Wednesday, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on CNN of Cuccinelli’s rewrite of the Statue of Liberty poem, “I’ve been a refugee twice. … I think that it is one of the most un-American things I’ve heard.”
  65. On Wednesday, 13 states filed a lawsuit against DHS over the new “public charge” rule. States included Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and New Jersey.
  66. On Tuesday, acting ICE Director Matthew Albence defended Mississippi raids that left children abandoned, saying, “The parents or the individuals that are breaking the law are ultimately the ones that are responsible.”
  67. Albence said of a video showing a young girl crying, “Many officers, on a daily basis — when an officer goes in to arrest somebody for a crime of domestic violence, one of the children in there is going to be crying.”
  68. On Tuesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she has “no intention” of accepting unaccompanied migrant children for shelter in her city, in reaction to a request by a federal contractor, Dynamic Service Solutions.
  69. Similarly, top local officials in Northern Virginia also pushed back at Department of Health and Human Services request to house unaccompanied migrant children there, citing the unacceptable policy of family separation and other issues.
  70. On Wednesday, Ohio AG Dave Yost suspended facial-recognition databases for law enforcement officers, following a report by the Post which found FBI, ICE, and other federal agencies were mining data without permission.
  71. On Wednesday, NBC News reported ICE records obtained by a government watchdog group show the number of detainees put in solitary confinement rose by 15.2% during the first 15 months of Trump’s time in office.
  72. The watchdog group the Project On Government Oversight also found of those in solitary, “a strikingly high proportion have mental illness.” The trend of the data indicated the level of solitary confinement will continue to rise.
  73. On Wednesday, at a Never Again Action protest at Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island, Thomas Woodworth, a correctional officer, drove his pickup truck into a crowd of protestors. The facility works with ICE.
  74. The group of protestors included children and a protestor in a wheelchair. When protestors blocked Woodworth’s truck from making it through the gate, other guards surrounded protestors and fired pepper spray.
  75. In a statement, the Rhode Island attorney general’s office and the Rhode Island State Police said they are investigating the incident. Woodworth has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.
  76. On Thursday, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs defended the driver, saying he was “within his rights” to plow into ICE protestors on his way to work, and telling his viewers it “must just gladden your heart.”
  77. On Thursday, a federal appeals panel ruled that the Trump regime must provide edible food, clean water, soap, and toothpaste to migrant children as required under the 1977 Flores settlement.
  78. The panel tossed out the Trump regime’s challenge to a lower court, saying the regime was not required to provide specific accommodations, such as soap, as part of the Flores requirement that facilities be “safe and sanitary.”
  79. A legal advocate for child welfare at the National Center for Youth Law, said, “It should shock the conscience of all Americans to know that our government argued children do not need these bare essentials.”
  80. On Thursday, the Clarion Ledger reported ICE separated a 4-month-old breastfed baby from its mother. The mother was arrested while working at Koch Foods, where she had worked for four years, as part of a mass raid in Week 143.
  81. The father is now raising three young children on his own. He too faces possible deportation under the Trump regime, as part of proceedings stemming from an earlier arrest.
  82. On Friday, a federal appeals court delivered Trump a partial victory, narrowing the injunction on the asylum ban by allowing the regime to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, two of the busiest stretches.
  83. On Monday, federal prosecutors charged Justin Olsen, an 18 year-old white man in Ohio, with making threats against law enforcement. Olsen wrote, “in conclusion, shoot every federal agent on sight.”
  84. Olsen’s writings online expressed support for mass shootings, and also was for attacks on Planned Parenthood. He lived in a house with 25 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition.
  85. On Tuesday, a viral-video showed Michigan police stopping and questioning a black man who was walking into a restaurant, after a white woman called police to say he looked suspicious.
  86. The man was stopped by an officer, then three more responded to the scene and questioned him for almost an hour. On Thursday, the Royal Oak Police Department launched an investigation and apologized.
  87. Race Imboden, a member of the U.S. fencing team who earned a bronze medal at the Pan Am Games, took a knee on the podium during the national anthem to protest racial and social injustice.
  88. On Wednesday, the Des Moines Register reported Rep. Steve King asked a group in an argument to ban abortion, if we pulled out rape and incest from family trees, “Would there be any population of the world left?”
  89. King also told the crowd, “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.”
  90. On Friday, WAPO reported Jerri Kelly, a 46 year-old white woman in Wynne, Arkansas, held four black teenswho were going door-to-door to raise money for their football team, by gunpoint.
  91. Before the four knocked on her door, Kelly emerged with a gun, forced them to lie down, spread their legs and place their arms behind their backs. Kelly was charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment.
  92. On Monday, the Trump regime said it will change the way the Endangered Species Act was applied, making it easier to remove species from the list and harder to protect species from threats like climate change.
  93. The new rules allow regulators to conduct economic assessments to deciding if a species should be protected, and clears the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development where protected species live.
  94. On Monday, a study released by the American Meteorological Society found greenhouse gases reached record levels in 2018, and their global warming power is now 43% stronger than in 1990.
  95. Other findings included that 2018 was the fourth-warmest year on record, following behind 2015, 2017, and 2016 the warmest. Glaciers melted at a concerning rate for the 30th straight year, and sea levels for the 7th year.
  96. On Tuesday, a coalition of 29 states and cities sued to block the Trump regime from rolling back Obama-era restrictions on coal-burning power plants. The challenge is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  97. The Obama-era rule required states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2022 by closing heavily polluting plants. AG James said “the science is indisputable” and called the Trump regime’s plan a “do-nothing rule.”
  98. The case, which could go to the Supreme Court, could weaken future presidents’ power to regulate carbon dioxide pollution, and make it harder for the U.S. to tackle climate change.
  99. Trump selected William Perry Pendley as the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management. Pendley does not believe that government should have public lands, and has spent his professional life fighting it in court.
  100. On Wednesday, the Department of Labor proposed a new rule which would grant businesses with federal contracts “religious exemption” in hiring and firing, impacting employees who are LGBTQ and others.
  101. Acting Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella said the rule will “ensure the civil rights of religious employers are protected.” About one-quarter of U.S. employees work for an employer that has a contract with the government.
  102. On Monday, at a town-hall meeting with staff, NYT executive editor Dean Baquet said the Times can do a better job covering Trump, race, and politics, and called the headline mistake from last week a “fucking mess.”
  103. On Tuesday, the Times demoted editor Jonathan Weisman, citing “serious lapses” on social media. On Thursday, Trump tweeted that Weisman “Should have been Fired! Totally biased and inaccurate reporting.”
  104. Trump also tweeted of the Times on Thursday, “the paper is a Fraud, Zero Credibility. Fake News takes another hit, but this time a big one!”
  105. On Wednesday, Rep. Deb Haaland became the 123rd House Democrat to call for an impeachment inquiry. Including Rep. Amash the total count stood at 124.
  106. On Monday, government figures showed the U.S. budget deficit is up 27% from a year ago, bringing the deficit through July to $867 billion from $684 billion last year, and on track to top a trillion for the fiscal year.
  107. On Tuesday, Politico reported that over the past few days, economists at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America warned that Trump’s trade war with China has led to a rising risk of a recession.
  108. On Wednesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC the Trump regime would delay imposing some tariffs on China, saying it was not a trade concession to China, but a decision to help the American consumer.
  109. Ross claimed the “analytical work began well before” Trump imposed additional tariffs, and the market fell off July’s all-time highs.
  110. On Wednesday, Trump quoted a commentator on Fox Business in a tweet, saying “The Fed has got to do something! The Fed is the Central Bank of the United States, not the Central Bank of the World.”
  111. Trump also tweeted, “Correct! The Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late.” Trump also quoted Fox Business, saying of China tariffs, “but you can’t tell me that it has hurt our economy.”
  112. Later Wednesday, Trump again attacked the Fed shortly before the stock market close, tweeting, “China is not our problem, though Hong Kong is not helping. Our problem is with the Fed. Raised too much & too fast.”
  113. Trump also tweeted, “we are winning, big time, against China,” but “our problem is with the Fed,” and attacked the Fed Chair, “THANK YOU to clueless Jay Powell,” and the “CRAZY INVERTED YIELD CURVE!”
  114. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed down 800 points, its worst percentage drop of the year and fourth-largest drop of all time, on fears of a recession.
  115. On Wednesday, a new Fox New poll found Trump’s disapproval rating jumped 5 points from a month ago to 56%, one point below his record disapproval of 57% in October 2017.
  116. On Thursday, Trump blamed the media for the faltering economy, tweeting, “the Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.”
  117. Trump offered no evidence to back his claim. He also tweeted that thanks to him, “the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”
  118. On Thursday, WAPO reported that Trump is worried that a recession could imperil his re-election — his campaign counted on a strong economy. Regime members admitted they had not planned for a recession.
  119. Rather than officials in the regime making plans to stave off a recession, Trump’s economic advisers have been delivering an upbeat message on the economy, arguing it is stronger than many forecasters are predicting.
  120. Trump tweeted the U.S. economy is “the Biggest, Strongest and Most Powerful Economy in the World,” but privately he is anxious. Trump also has a conspiratorial view, telling allies he distrusts statistics in the media.
  121. Trump has privately told allies and aides that Fed Chair Powell will be a scapegoat for a recession. In addition to Trump’s trade war with China and exogenous factors, the regime’s economic message has been muddled.
  122. On Wednesday, Trump held an event at Royal Dutch Shell’s Complex outside Pittsburgh where he was scheduled to deliver a speech on the regime’s energy policies, but turned into a campaign speech.
  123. Trump took full credit for the construction of the plant he spoke at, saying “It was the Trump administration that made it possible,” even though it was initially approved in June 2016, while Obama was in office.
  124. Trump told the construction workers at the event that without him, they would be without a job, and claimed, without evidence, that his time in office was costing him $3 to $5 billion.
  125. Trump again mused about not leaving office after two terms, telling the crowd that to drive the press “totally crazy,” they should use “hashtag third term, hashtag fourth term.”
  126. Trump attacked his 2020 rivals, referring to “Pocahontas and Sleepy Joe,” and went off on a tangent on the Academy Awards, saying no one watches because they got sick of celebrities “disrespecting the people in this room.”
  127. On Friday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the large union crowd at Shell’s plant was given the option of showing up to Trump’s rally at 7 a.m. to get their card scanned and stand for hours, or not get paid for the day.
  128. In addition to the “No scan, no pay” warning, workers were informed if they missed Trump’s speech, they would not be paid overtime rates routinely built in for extra time during the week.
  129. Union workers were also ordered not to protest: “No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated…the event is to promote good will from the unions.”
  130. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported the Department of Labor abruptly canceled apprenticeship contracts with labor and business groups this week, prompting an outcry from unions that had supported Trump.
  131. On Friday, acting Labor Secretary Pizzella walked back the decision. A spokesperson did not reply to Bloomberg on what caused the reversal of course.
  132. On Wednesday, after a suspect shot six police officers in Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney said, “Our officers need help. They need help…They need help with keeping these weapons out of these people’s hands.”
  133. On Thursday, Kellyanne Conway attacked Kenney, a Democrat, tweeting, “What Philly sorely needs is a competent mayor who sufficiently respects and resources our brave men and women of law enforcement.”
  134. On Wednesday, 2020 Democrat candidate Julian Castro ran an ad on Trump favorite “Fox & Friends” blaming Trump for the mass shooting in El Paso, saying, “Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists.”
  135. On Wednesday, in a speech at an Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association, Speaker Nancy Pelosi cited “Moscow Mitch,” who “is the grim reaper” in listing all the House measures he has blocked.
  136. On Wednesday, two GOP committee chairs released a memo showing a prolonged investigation by staffers and intelligence could not prove China hacked Hillary Clinton’s private server, a 2016 conspiracy theory.
  137. On Thursday, Politico reported a 34-page report by the State Department inspector general’s office found Trump appointees in the departments engaged in “disrespectful and hostile treatment” of career staffers.
  138. The report also found Trump appointees harassed staffers whom they viewed as “disloyal” due to their suspected political views. One employee was forced out and others stripped of their duties.
  139. The report singled out two senior Trump appointees, Kevin Moley and Mari Stull, saying they have “frequently berated employees, raised their voices, and generally engaged in unprofessional behavior toward staff.”
  140. Stull told Foreign Policy the report is “politically motivated payback” for her efforts to implement “Trump’s agenda over the resistance of Deep State bureaucrats,” and said it contains “false and misleading information.”
  141. On Thursday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel, who had been advocating for the report’s release, called the report findings “offensive” and said that Moley should “resign or be fired.”
  142. On Wednesday, CBS News reported corrections officers may have falsified reports saying they checked on Epstein as required by protocol. One source said he may have been dead two to three hours before he was found.
  143. On Thursday, WAPO reported an autopsy found multiple breaks in Epstein’s neck bones, including the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such fractures have sparked controversies in contentious deaths.
  144. Jonathan Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, told the Post a hyoid break is more commonly associated with homicidal strangulation than suicidal hanging.
  145. On Friday, the New York City medical examiner concluded Epstein’s death was a result of suicide by hanging. He hanged himself with a bedsheet attached to the top of a bunk bed.
  146. On Thursday, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reversed himself and sided with Trump over Democratic leaders, prohibiting Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel.
  147. Hours before the decision, Trump tweeted “it would show great weakness” if Israel allowed the two to visit, saying “they hate Israel & all Jewish people,” and adding, “They are a disgrace!”
  148. Democrats said blocking U.S. lawmakers for practicing free speech is unacceptable and unprecedented. Trump views attacking the two, who are for a boycott movement against Israel and poll poorly, as smart politics.
  149. Several prominent Democrats and organizations who have been critical of the two’s support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, urged the Israeli government to change course and allow them to visit.
  150. Like Trump, Netanyahu has reasons to sow discor: he is politically weak and facing an election on September 17, which if he wins, could keep him out of jail on corruption charges. He also presides over a declining democracy.
  151. Later Thursday, Trump doubled-down, tweeting: “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!”
  152. On Friday, Israel reversed course and said Rep. Tlaib would be admitted to see her 90 year-old grandmother, who lives in the occupied West Bank, citing a letter saying it might be her last chance to see her.
  153. Later Friday, Rep. Tlaib said she would not travel to Israel under “oppressive conditions,” which would have included a pledge in writing not to “promote boycotts against Israel” while there.
  154. Rep. Tlaib tweeted, “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal” is not what her grandmother wants for her, adding, “It would kill a piece of me.”
  155. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called it “outrageous,” saying he was not aware of any member of Congress being asked to agree to preconditions to visit Israel.
  156. On Friday, Trump attacked Tlaib again, tweeting, “Israel was very respectful & nice to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, allowing her permission to visit her “grandmother”” — putting grandmother in quotes.
  157. Trump also tweeted Tlaib, “grandstanded & loudly proclaimed she would not visit Israel. Could this possibly have been a setup?” adding, “The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!”
  158. Trump also tweeted, “Like it or not, Tlaib and Omar are fast becoming the face of the Democrat Party. Cortez (AOC) is fuming, not happy about this!” Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded with a laughing emoji.
  159. On Friday, Reuters reported her grandmother has not seen Tlaib since 2006, and her uncle said “She was going to slaughter a sheep” to make Tlaib’s favorite food. Tlaib’s grandmother said, “May God ruin Trump.”
  160. On Thursday, Beto O’Rourke, former congressman for El Paso and 2020 candidate said of Trump, “I’m confident that if at this moment, we do not wake up to this threat, then we as a country will die in our sleep.”
  161. On Thursday, Trump promoted another conservative book on his Twitter account, saying, “Go out and get Andrew McCarthy’s new book, “Ball of Collusion.” The book asserts there was collusion, but not involving Trump.
  162. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and Rick Dearborn, a former White House aide, to publicly testify before the panel.
  163. The subpoena calls for the two to appear on September 17, and testify about actions taken by Trump relating to obstruction of justice, as part of House Democrats decision on whether to move forward on impeachment.
  164. The panel has already approved subpoenas for ten additional witnesses, including Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, John Kelly, and Jared Kushner.
  165. On Thursday, Chair Nadler also received a letter from attorneys for Hope Hicks, saying despite the proximity of the calls with Michael Cohen, she was not aware of hush money payments, consistent with her testimony.
  166. On Friday, Lewandowski said he was “happy” to testify before Congress, telling Fox News, “I am an open book. I want to go and remind the American people that these guys are on a witch hunt, right?”
  167. On Thursday, Trump doubled-down on re-electing him for a strong economy, telling a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire even Americans who hate him “have no choice but to vote for me.”
  168. Trump mocked his 2020 rival while bragging about the economy even as it falters, saying, “Oh great. ‘Let’s vote for Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren” — again using a racial slur — “We have the best numbers we’ve ever had.”
  169. Trump also repeated many of the themes from his 2016 campaign, attacking Hillary Clinton, the media, Democrats, and U.S. allies in Europe. He also all but endorsed Corey Lewandowski in his 2020 run for senate.
  170. The Times described Trump’s hour and a half long speech as “rambling,” and “veering on and off script.” Trump also repeated points he had made earlier in the speech, as if not remembering he made them.
  171. Trump also mocked a man at his rally, saying, “That guy’s got a serious weight problem,” as several protestors were escorted out of his rally, and, “Go home. Start exercising.”
  172. Trump also said of the man, “Get him out of here please. Got a bigger problem than I do,” adding, “Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says, ‘What the hell have you just done?’”
  173. Later Thursday, aboard Air Force One on his way back to his Bedminster golf course, Trump called Frank Dawson, the man he mocked, to apologize, after learning Dawson was a supporter.
  174. Dawson told Fox News that evening, that Trump “didn’t see me rip the signs away from those three people that were sitting near us, adding, “I think he thought I was part of it, but I wasn’t. I was the good part of it.”
  175. On Thursday, WSJ reported Trump has repeatedly expressed interest in buying Greenland, a self-ruling part of the Kingdom of Denmark, with various degrees of interest, at dinners and in conversation with aides.
  176. People outside the White House describe it as an Alaska-type acquisition that would be part of Trump’s legacy. Trump is scheduled to make his first visit to Denmark next month.
  177. On Friday, leadership of Greenland responded, with Greenland’s foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger telling Reuters, “We are open for business, but we’re not for sale.”
  178. Other lawmakers responded with bewilderment, ridicule, and anger over Trump’s deeply inappropriate suggestion. In a formal statement, Greenland’s government said, “Of course, Greenland is not for sale.”
  179. By Friday, 126 House Democrats supported starting an impeachment inquiry. Of those, only one, Rep. Chris Pappas, is from a district that went for Trump in the 2016 election.
  180. An online petition to rename the street in front of Trump Tower as Obama Avenue was signed by more than 300,000 people; however, the local community board has moratorium against renaming streets.
  181. On Friday, hundreds came to the funeral of Margie Reckard, a victim of the El Paso shooting, after her companion of 22 years, Antonio Basco, invited the public saying he felt heartbroken and alone and had few relatives.
  182. On Friday, a memo of talking points being circulated among Congressional Republicans that was obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, revealed the GOP strategy is to downplay white nationalism and blame Democrats.
  183. The memo falsely described the El Paso massacre and other mass shootings as “violence from the left,” and gave arguments against gun control, and whataboutisms to counter questions.
  184. On Friday, Scaramucci told Vanity Fair that Trump is a “jackass” who is “crazy” and “narcissistic,” adding Trump “has got the self-worth in terms of his self-esteem of a small pigeon. It’s a very small pigeon.”
  185. Scaramucci also called Trump a “paper tiger,” cited his increased mental problems, and predicted he would drop out of the 2020 presidential race by March 2020.
  186. On Friday, an appeals court declined to halt the Trump regime’s rules to prohibit clinics that receive Title X federal funds from referring patients for abortions, meaning the rules will go into effect Monday.

The Weekly List podcast is here! You can find more information here by clicking here.

THE LIST — weeks 1–52 of The Weekly List is out as a book! You can order your copy by clicking here.

5000 union contractors listened to Trump speak at the Shell Chemicals Petrochemical Complex on August 13, 2019 in Monaca, Pennsylvania. It was later reported that workers were mandated to attend or be docked the day’s pay, and were told not to protest.POLITIKS

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NEW YORK CITY: WE’RE ON A ROAD TO NOWHERE

There’s a city in my mind.

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On hold
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East Village, 1st Ave

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1jun19. New York. (Talking Heads lyrics)

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA: NIETZSCHE’S DEMONS

I want to write down everything I know about being afraid, but I’d probably never have enough time to write anything else. Afraid is a country where they issue us passports at birth and hope we never seek citizenship in any other country. The face of afraid keeps changing constantly, and I can count on that change. I need to travel light and fast, and there’s a lot of baggage I’m going to have to leave behind me. Jettison cargo. ~Audre Lorde

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What if some day or night a demon were to steal into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live and have lived it you will have to live once again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unspeakably small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence — even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself…” ~Nietzsche

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a friendly platanito seller in the park. the kind of smile you welcome in the mornings.

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buying flowers
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eye contact

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Nietzsche’s demon, after all, comes to us when we are all alone, his question can be heard only in one’s “loneliest loneliness,” and therefore the answer cannot be given by consensus or on behalf of some impersonal institutions. It is, indeed, the most personal of answers — the one that always determines an individual choice. Of course you can choose anything you want, to raise children or get married, but don’t pretend to do it because these things have some sort of intrinsic value — they don’t. Do it solely because you chose them and are willing to own up to them. In the story of our lives, these choices are ours and ours alone, and this is what gives things, all things, value. Only when one realizes this is he or she prepared to face the eternal recurrence, the entire cycle, without the risk of being crushed. Only then is one able to say with Yeats, “[A]nd yet again,” and truly mean it. ~John J. Kaag

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a beautiful stranger walking by as i was taking pics of this mural in progress by gabriel dumani and hein. she stopped, smiled, posed, and then walked on without uttering a word. 

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i’d like to help this couple out, but i can’t be trusted with homemade liquor that i know nothing about.
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purple jeans made my day.

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street vendor leaning against his kiosk
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that mustache makes me uncomfortable. i’m sure he’s a nice guy, but…

 

Perhaps the hardest part of the eternal return is to own up to the tortures that we create for ourselves and those we create for others. Owning up: to recollect, to regret, to be responsible, ultimately to forgive and love. ~Kaag

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ticos like their subway sandwiches.

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every day is training day and don’t you forget it. 

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a tico walking by a crowd of tourists taking pictures of pigeons. 

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There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song — but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny. ~Pablo Neruda

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this guy is selling avocados illegally. i wouldn’t have known that had he not frantically blown past me with his avocado crate when two cops pulled up at the light. this pic was taken once he returned to his spot and the cops were out of sight. looking right at me. his eyes kinda saying “yeah, this is illegal. so what. buy some.”

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april 2019. San Jose, Costa Rica.

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA GRAFFITI: SOUN

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THERE ARE SO MANY PROLIFIC GRAFFITI WRITERS IN SAN JOSE; THEIR PIECES ARE EVERYWHERE! HERE ARE 10 PIECES FROM SOUN.

feb-apr2019. San Jose, Costa rica. 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA: NATURAL MYSTIC (Bob Marley)

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i’ve tried to find the answers to all the questions they ask. i know it’s impossible to go living through the past.
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when the rain fall, it don’t fall on one man’s housetop.
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woe to the downpressors. they eat the bread of sad tomorrow.
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as a man sow, shall he reap. and i know that talk is cheap.
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are you satisfied with the life you’re living?
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every day we pay the price with a little sacrifice.
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i don’t want to wait in vain for your love.
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in life i know there’s lots of grief.
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let jah moon come shining in.
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don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing’s gonna be alright. 
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rise up this morning. smiled with the rising sun.
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is there a place for the hopeless sinner who has hurt all mankind just to save his own beliefs?

 

Captions = lyrics from Bob Marley’s “Exodus” album.

april 2019. San Jose, Costa Rica. 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA GRAFFITI: DESK Pt. 1

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THERE ARE SO MANY PROLIFIC GRAFFITI WRITERS IN SAN JOSE; THEIR PIECES ARE EVERYWHERE! HERE ARE 10 PIECES FROM DESK. TO SEE MORE OF THIS ARTIST’S WORK: https://www.instagram.com/desk_modest/

feb-apr2019. san jose, costa rica. 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA GRAFFITI: NEGUS

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THERE ARE SO MANY PROLIFIC GRAFFITI WRITERS IN SAN JOSE; THEIR PIECES ARE EVERYWHERE! HERE ARE 10 PIECES FROM NEGUS. TO SEE MORE OF THIS ARTIST’S WORK https://www.instagram.com/negus_artevida/
FEB-APR2019. SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA. 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA GRAFFITI: NEUR Pt. 1

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THERE ARE SO MANY PROLIFIC GRAFFITI WRITERS IN SAN JOSE; THEIR PIECES ARE EVERYWHERE! HERE ARE 10 PIECES FROM NEUR. TO SEE MORE OF THIS ARTIST’S WORK: https://www.instagram.com/n32lt/
feb-apr2019. san jose, costa rica. 

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA: WE WILL BECOME SILHOUETTES (the postal service, chet faker, alt-j)

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you seem so out of context in this gaudy apartment complex. a stranger with no door key explaining that i’m just visiting. and i am finally seeing why i was the one worth leaving. 
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and i have to speculate that god himself did make us into corresponding shapes like puzzle pieces from the clay.
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smeared black ink. your palms are sweaty. and i’m barely listening to last demands. i’m staring at the asphalt wondering what’s buried underneath where i am.
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last week i had the strangest dream where everything was just as it seemed
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don’t wake me. i plan on sleeping in. 
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i feel i must interject here. you’re getting carried away feeling sorry for yourself. with these revisions and gaps in history. so let me help you remember. i’ve made charts and graphs that should finally make it clear. i’ve prepared a lecture on why i have to leave. 
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calm down, release your cares.
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and i want life in every word to the extent that it’s absurd.
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and i’m screaming at the top of my lungs pretending that the echoes belong to someone, someone i used to know. 
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i wanted to walk through the empty streets and feel something constant under my feet.
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…until our shells simply cannot hold all our insides in, and that’s when we’ll explode.
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i’ll be the fire escape that’s bolted to the ancient brick where you will sit and contemplate your day.
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i’ll be the waterwings that save you if you start drowning.
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i’ll be the phonograph that plays your favorite albums back as you’re lying there drifting off to sleep. 
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i’ll be your winter coat buttoned and zipped straight to the throat with the collar up so you won’t catch a cold.
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i want to take you far from the cynics in this town.
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we’ll cut our bodies free from the tethers of this scene. 
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start a brand new colony where everything will change. we’ll give ourselves new names (identities erased.)
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now i’m a novel made resourceful. i start a chain with my thought. 
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cold pain. i cannot sustain it. that’s what i’m thinking, not what i’m drinking. 
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these thoughts are pervasive. it’s not a statement but peace can be evasive. 
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melt my happiness. some kind of fucked up mess.  
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i need a bit of coffee and the warm sun. and the dusty ideas only half spun. 
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i’m not the reason you’re looking for redemption.
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is it absurd for me to hurt when everything else is fading? 
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i’m walking through each smile. 
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she may contain the urge to run away but hold her down with soggy clothes and breeze blocks
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do you know where the wild things go? 
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she’s morphine, queen of my vaccine. 
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she makes the sound, the sound the sea makes, to calm me down. 
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we can’t lose touch, but we can let go. 
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the nights of all my youth pressed into one glass of water. 
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painless with immense distance. 
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painless with a great closeness. 
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legions upon legions of craftsmen handmade my feelings. 

mar2019. San Jose, Costa Rica.