The Calm Before the Storm: Most Shocking Details from Stormy Daniel’s 60 Minutes Interview

Image: Wall Street Journal

Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name, ‘Stormy Daniels,’ is a 39-year-old adult film star who has recently become one of the most well-known names in politics, all because she is the center of an affair scandal with the most powerful man in the world. Just days before the 2016 election, Daniels signed a non-disclosure agreement which stated that she could not discuss any sexual relationship between her and Donald Trump, and she received $130,000 from then-candidate Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. Many watchdog groups and lawyers believe that, since this ‘donation’ from Cohen went unreported to the Federal Election Commission, President Trump may have committed a significant campaign violation that could land him in federal court.

However, Daniels believes that the agreement is invalid because Donald Trump failed to sign the document.

Now, she wants to talk openly about the affair. Despite facing threats from Trump’s legal team that includes over one-million dollars in fines, Daniels spoke publicly on one of America’s most viewed cable television shows, 60 Minutes, on Sunday with Anderson Cooper, in what has notoriously become known as “Stormy Daniels Day.” In her interview, Daniels did not discuss campaign violations or election law. Instead, she discussed, in shockingly great detail, her sexual encounters with Trump and her [non-sexual] encounters with his legal team. Below are the most shocking details from Daniels’s interview, and as a fair warning, they are not for the faint of heart.

1: She Had It Coming

Although Daniels insists that the sexual encounter with Trump was entirely consensual, she did state that she felt obligated to engage because she “had it coming for making a bad decision.” Daniels went on to say, “Well, you put yourself in a bad situation and bad things happen, so you deserve this.” Despite the sense of obligation, Daniels refuses to be seen as a victim and has asked people to stop praising her as a #MeToo movement hero because it damages the credibility of actual victims. 

2: Magazine Mayhem

One of the most detailed parts of Daniels encounter with Trump had long been rumored on the internet, and it is not a pretty thing to imagine. Daniels claims that during their first encounter Trump had taken out a magazine in which his face was the cover and began to brag about himself. Daniels then asked Trump if talking about himself normally works, and then she went on to tell him that “Someone should take that magazine and spank you with it,” by which he was taken back. Daniels then went into great detail about the interaction, stating, “He turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know had underwear on and stuff and I just gave him a couple swats.”

3: Marriage Troubles

During the time of the alleged sexual encounter between Daniels and Trump, Trump’s third wife, Melania Trump, had just given birth to their son Barron. When Daniels asked Trump about their encounter interfering with his marriage, Daniels alleges that Trump stated, “Oh yeah, yeah, you know, don’t worry about that. We don’t even—we have separate rooms and stuff.” During the airing of Daniels segment on “60 Minutes,” Trump and Melania were in separate states, which only fueled the speculation of long-rumored marriage problems. 

4: Mirror Image

During their encounter Daniels alleges that Trump compared her to his daughter, presumably Ivanka, stating, “Yeah. He was like, ‘Wow, you—you are special. You remind me of my daughter.’ You know—he was like, ‘You’re smart and beautiful, and a woman to be reckoned with, and I like you. I like you.'” Many people have long accused Trump of having sexual feelings towards his daughter, especially after an interview was released which he stated that he would be dating his daughter if they weren’t related. Daniels and Ivanka were around the same age during the alleged encounter and images from that time show a resemblance between the two. 

5: Harassment and Harm 

In May 2011, Daniels agreed to tell her story to a sister publication of In Touch magazine for $15,000 dollars. Daniels says she was never paid after Trump threatened to sue the magazine, and says a few weeks later, she was threatened by a man who approached her in Las Vegas. In the interview, Daniels described the threat in detail, stating, “I was in a parking lot, going to a fitness class with my infant daughter. T—taking, you know, the seats facing backwards in the backseat, diaper bag, you know, gettin’ all the stuff out. And a guy walked up on me and said to me, ‘Leave Trump alone. Forget the story.’ And then he leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’ And then he was gone.” Although Daniels has no idea who the person was, she claims that if she saw him again she would “100%” be able to identify him. In a press conference the morning after the interview aired, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said that President Trump does not believe the claims made by Daniels, including that she was physically threatened. 

6: Threats and Denial

In January of 2018, Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, publicly released statements signed by Daniels in which she stated that there was never any hush money paid to her and that the encounter never happened. Daniels stated in the interview that she was pressured into signing it, not because of any physical harm, but because her legal team told her that “They can make your life hell in many different ways”. Daniels believes that “they” was referring to Cohen and Trump’s legal team.

Daniels’s 60 Minutes interview will most likely remain in the spotlight for the next 24 hours, but this is not the end of her story. Daniels’s lawyer has hinted at several key pieces of evidence in his possession and has stated that this is just the beginning. Even if Daniels had fabricated her story Trump’s lawyer did, in fact, pay her illegal campaign “funds,” and Trump failed to report them to the FEC, which could mean serious legal trouble. 

Make America Great… For Once

Although we do not regularly acknowledge it, for many of us who are in our early to mid-20s, we are the last of the “house phone generation.” We are the last of those who did not spend the entirety of our everyday lives surrounded by technology. We are the last of those not connected to devices every day. The social implications of this reality are arguably the reasons why things are increasingly being said and done in modern times without any regard for the real world repercussions of these words and actions.

As a political operative for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on the ground in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, I decided to do my best to fight for sensible leadership in such a world because I understood the risks of having a socially and emotionally incompetent president as the leader of this great nation. When Donald Trump won the election in November 2017, despite the man that he had shown us all to be, I wanted to believe that his administration would appreciate the gravity of their newly elected and appointed positions.

I was so damn wrong.

The election of 45 almost decidedly made the reality of identity politics in America ‘right versus wrong’ in a world where it was just ‘Democrat versus Republican’ before. Differences in philosophy have very quickly shifted to differences in morality. Every “Make America Great Again” hat is a loud vote for discrimination. A loud rallying cry to all who support the rhetoric plastered on the hats to ‘make America hate again.’

Admittedly, I never understood the MAGA slogan as anything but a blatantly coded message of white supremacy. When I would ask Trump supporters what the phrase meant, none could really give me any definitive elements of what it would take to make America great. The usage of the word “again” especially bewilders me because it implies that we must go back to some period in this nation’s history where things were better. My biggest problem is that I can think of no such time period.

Challenge yourself to interrogate this concept and think about a time when America has been better than it is right now in terms of social progress, even with an unqualified Trump leading the way. Should we go back to the time when thousands of Native Americans were slaughtered for occupying lands that they had called home for generations? Should we go back to a time when LGBTQ existence was unacknowledged because of how much of a societal taboo it was? Should we go back to the time when women were powerless accessories to society if they were without a man to represent them? How about taking a visit to the days of slavery or the viciousness of the Jim Crow era that saw many people of color mistreated on a systemic level?

Our America is more progressive now than it has ever been and even still, we have so far to go. There is a divide between police and black and brown communities that needs to be addressed in order to make America great. There are members of the LGBTQ community still fighting in 2018 to enjoy their right to peaceably exist and live life on their own terms. There are women in 2018 still fighting for the right to make the same wages as their male counterparts for the same work. Equality must be established in order to make America great. There are hardworking immigrants in 2018 that are fighting for their right to enjoy the American dream free of persecution. There are Muslims in 2018 that are fighting for their right to peacefully practice their religion in light of post-911 xenophobia and the sensationalism of such by even some of our top government officials. Acceptance must happen for America to be great. When all of these things have begun to happen, we can finally make America great for once.

Ironically enough, Donald Trump stands in stark opposition to all of the things that could actually make America great. Equality and acceptance aren’t the kinds of words that come to mind when I’m forced to think of a man who has disrespected and offended so many different groups of people. Just recently, he referred to a set of very noble nations as “shithole countries.” That’s spicy talk from a guy who’s doing his very best to turn this great nation into a shithole country with his tweets, divisive rhetoric, and blatant disregard for the level of decorum and honor professionally required of the office he holds.

Will Michael Flynn be Prosecuted by the Logan Act?

Image: Toronto Star

On November 30th, Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. This raised questions about the Trump administration and the “Logan act.” The Logan Act forbids Americans from unauthorized negotiations with foreign governments, especially those that seek to “defeat the measures of the United States” aimed at those same countries. In short, it protects the ability of the U.S. government to conduct foreign policy without interference from private citizens.”

The Logan Act accusations started in the summer of 2016 when Donald Trump told Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. In February, the White House said that they were confident Michael Flynn didn’t say anything that violated the Logan Act. Should the Trump administration be worried? No, no one has ever been prosecuted through the Logan Act. It’s mainly just used as a political scare tactic. Newsweek wrote about how Michael Flynn probably won’t be convicted:

What the Act criminalizes is an unusually harmful subset of communications with foreign governments: ones intended to “defeat” concrete “measures” of the United States, or to undercut the authority of a sitting President by altering how foreign governments will resolve pending “disputes or controversies. In other words, the Logan Act’s limited domain ensures that transitional figures won’t be jailed for swapping pleasantries with foreign leaders or even engaging in substantive foreign-policy discussions with the United States.”

I don’t think Michael Flynn intended to do any of this especially since he’s a decorated general and was on the transition team.

Early Tuesday morning, a U.S District Court judge ordered Robert Muller to turn over any information on Michael Flynn tbe used for sentencing. A sentencing date has not been yet announced, but people have been speculating sometime in February. The majority of political sites are saying that it is going to be hard to prosecute Michael Flynn.

If they would try to prosecute Michael Flynn they would also have to prosecute Nancy Pelosi For violating the law when she went to Syria against the State Department’s wishes. Last year Robert F. Turner chimed in:

Ms. Pelosi’s trip was not authorized, and Syria is one of the world’s leading sponsors of international terrorism. It has almost certainly been involved in numerous attacks that have claimed the lives of American military personnel from Beirut to Baghdad.

Jimmy Carter also violated the Logan act. The OPU blog stated when he visited Hamas in 2008. He said that no one from the State Department told him not to, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had said:

The State Department had explicitly informed Mr. Carter that it opposed his plans to meet with leaders of Hamas.

Will these two ever be tried under the Logan Act?

Alabama: A Man Who Allegedly Molested Eight Minors Is Probably Your Next Senator

Image: ABC News

A man who convicted a man of the murder of four children is currently losing to a man who allegedly molested/dated eight minors in a Senate race in Alabama—what a time to be alive!

It has been such a crazy month with the countless sexual assault allegations ever since #MeToo started trending. The charges of sexual assault on Roy Moore dropped a little over a week ago, but there’s no sign of them slowing down. Just last night, four more women came forward with claims against the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.

Moore, born in 1947, was the oldest of five. Following high school, he attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in 1969. He subsequently served in the US Military, stationed in Vietnam, returning to his hometown of Gadsen in 1977.  That year, Moore began working for the office of the district attorney. He quit his job to run for the county’s circuit-court judge as a Democrat. He overwhelmingly lost in the primary to a fellow attorney, Donald Stewart. Shortly afterward, Moore left Gadsden to live in Australia for a year. He returned to Gadsen in 1985, the same year he got married.

In 1986, Moore decided to give it another shot and run for Etowah County’s district attorney, but he lost to fellow Democrat Jimmy Hedgspeth. Following his defeat, he decided to simply return to private practice in the city.

In 1992, the year that he had switched to the Republican Party, Etowah County’s circuit judge, Julius Swann, died in office, and the Governor of Alabama was to make a temporary appointment to fill the vacant seat. Jimmy Hedgspeth, Moore’s former political opponent who ran the D.A.’s office, recommended Moore, and Moore was installed in the position that he had failed to win in 1982. Moore ran as a Republican in the 1994 Etowah County election and was elected to the circuit judge seat.

Roy Moore was known as the “Ten Commandments Judge” for his refusal to take down a  plaque of the Ten Commandments that hung behind his bench. In 1995, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued him over the religious plaque and Moore’s tradition beginning sessions with prayers, saying such actions were unconstitutional and disregarded the separation of church and state. Moore told NPR:

Separation of church and state never meant to separate God from government. The First Amendment never meant to divide our country from an acknowledgement of God. It’s time to stand up and say, we have a right under our Constitution to acknowledge God.

The original case was dismissed, but in 1996, a Montgomery County Judge, Charles Price, initially ordered Moore to stop the prayer but he allowed the Ten Commandments plaque to be displayed. However, Price ordered the plaque removed after visiting Moore’s courtroom the following year. The case was again dismissed.

When Moore was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court in 2000, he took his fight over the Ten Commandments even further. Now, he was designing and planning a two-and-a-half ton granite obelisk inscribed with the Ten Commandments to be placed in the lobby of the Alabama Judicial Building. The Montgomery Advertiser states:

Moore had not told his fellow justices he was planning to install the monument, but brought a company into tape the installation of the monument in the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building. Sales of the tapes later helped pay for his legal defense fund.

In 2002, a federal district judge ruled that the new statue was unconstitutional, violating the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. A deadline for removing the monument was instated and ignored by Moore in August 2003. A panel ruled that Moore had violated the judicial ethics code, and Moore was removed from the bench.

Just after a decade after being removed from the bench, Moore successfully won back his seat on the Alabama Supreme Court in 2012. No, he didn’t resurrect his Ten Commandments monument, but with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage, Moore ordered state judges to protest it and enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriages instead. In response to Obergefell v. Hodges, Moore wrote:

The Court’s opinion speaks repeatedly of homosexuals being humiliated, demeaned, and being denied ‘equal dignity’ by a state’s refusal to issue them marriage licenses.

That attempt to defy yet another court order resulted in another appearance before Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary, and he was suspended for the rest of his term in 2016, however, Moore’s age has prevented him from any chance of running again in 2018.

Now, Moore has decided to run for Senate in Alabama, and many shocking and revealing allegations have been put against him. He has been accused by eight women of sexual assault, and people are not happy.

This story was broken by the Washington Post, but the saddest part of all this is that Moore will probably still win.

Nate Cohn, a writer at the Upshot and the New York Times’ political data guru, said:

I don’t see any reason to assume Moore is in serious jeopardy.

When asked how much does he think this scandal might affect Moore’s chances to be elected, Cohn said:

My honest answer is that I don’t know. Alabama is an extremely conservative state that is deeply polarized along racial lines. Hillary Clinton might not even have received 15 percent of the white vote in Alabama last year. For Doug Jones to win, he might need to double that number. So this is not an easy task at all for the Democrats.

Cohn was asked by Slate whether there is any other state in the union that would be more likely to elect Roy Moore than Alabama. To that, he responded:

No. In Mississippi, the white vote is more conservative, but black voters are a much larger share of the electorate. If you had a revolt against a Republican candidate and black turnout was high, I think you can imagine how the Democrats get over the top there in a way that is tougher to imagine in Alabama. The argument the other way is that Alabama has better-educated metropolitan areas like Birmingham or Huntsville where maybe you can imagine that a Republican revolt would be modestly more likely than it would in Mississippi. But no, I think Alabama is basically as tough as it gets for Democrats.

Seeing what the political expert has said, it’s heartbreaking to think that an alleged child molester could beat a perfectly qualified Democrat just because of the political polarization in our society.

Yes, it is possible that he could win and be kicked out of the Senate, something that hasn’t occurred in over 150 years, almost immediately, but it’s not about whether he serves or not. It’s about whether the citizens prefer a child molester and a man who has been kicked off the bench of the Alabama Supreme Court not once, but twice, over a perfectly qualified candidate, simply because they are too dedicated to their political party. I truly hope Alabama makes the right decision, but it’s their decision to make, not mine.

While the Alabama Republican Party has not taken back their endorsement of Roy Moore, many Republicans and Democrats alike have called for him to drop out of the race.

In the end, who knows whether he will win or not? This entire election is ensured to be a toss-up, even though it should just be handed on a silver platter to the one who is not a child molester.

Have Your Dentures Been Missing for the Last Week? Did You Vote in Portland, Maine? We May Have Found Your Teeth.

Image: Fixodent

First reported seven days ago by the Portland Press Herald, a local paper, and eventually reported 4,000 miles and an ocean away in Malta, if you haven’t heard about your own teeth by now, all of us here at WTP Magazine are sure hoping this works.

So you didn’t realize by breakfast time that you can’t chew? It’s fine. We all skip breakfast some days. We just want to make sure you get your dentures back safe and sound.

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Image: Portland Press Herald

The teeth were found by an election clerk at Merill Auditorium. They have been placed in a plastic bag and can be found at the City Clerk’s office in City Hall.

Reportedly, somebody had called the City Clerk’s office yesterday concerning the dentures, but the City Clerk, Katherine Jones, told The Rachel Maddow Show:

[T]he questions he asked did not match the dentures we have.

This statement obviously prompts one interesting question in particular: Did more than one person remove and misplace their dentures while voting in the same place in Portland, Maine?

We don’t know.

What we do know is that if you happen to have misplaced your teeth at Merill Auditorium while voting, then you should call the City Clerk’s office at (207) 874-8610 or (207) 874-8300.

If calling is somewhat of a problem because—well—you don’t have any teeth, emailing is also an option. You can email the City Clerk at klj@portlandmaine.com.

Whether it was something that was just so jaw-dropping on the ballot or whether the decision was just so hard that you had to pull out your teeth to think clearly, we sure hope that you find your teeth just fine.

Riding the Blue Wave: The Big Win for Democrats in the 2017 Election

Image: Ap News

Democrats all over America, on both local and state level, have a reason to celebrate for the first time since the 2016 General Election. This is because Democrats won gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey as well as countless victories on the local level. While many Republicans are downplaying the Democrats win as “Blue winning Blue,” party leaders such as Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says that he can “smell a wave coming.” That wave, of course, is referring to the 2018 Midterm Election where Democrats are projected to flip both the House and Senate. As the chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez said about the election:

We’re taking our country back from Donald Trump one election at a time. This is not just one night. It is a trend.

This recent off-year election was expected to set the tone for the midterms in 2018, and this clearly sent a message to Republicans.

Ralph Northam, the Obama-backed, Democrat in the race to be Virginia’s next governor, beat the Republican, Ed Gillespie, who was backed by President Trump. This sent a shock to many Republicans who expected to win the swing state—the only southern state Trump didn’t take in 2016. Later, Trump tweeted, “Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for.” Although Gillespie used many of Trump’s campaign policies and sent out a robo-call recorded by the President, he had refused to make any public appearances with him. It seemed like Gillespie was trying to distance himself from Trump, but his efforts came to no avail; a recent poll by The Washington Post showed that about 30% of Northam supporters voted for Northam to send a message against Trump. This win wasn’t the only big win for Democrats that evening; they picked up many local offices and elected several historic candidates.

https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/928074747316928513?lang=en

In New Jersey, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Phil Murphy (D-NJ), beat Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R-NJ), this election and has successfully ended the “Chris Christie Era” and took out another trump backed candidate. Virginia elected one of the nation’s first openly transgender State Representatives Danica Roem who ousted the ultra-conservative incumbent, Del. Robert G. Marshall. Another historic victory took place in Erie, Pennsylvania where the citizens elected Tyler Titus to serve on the Erie School Board, making him Pennsylvania’s first ever openly transgender candidate to be elected to office. Democrats also picked up multiple seats in the Virginia House of Delegates and won many local elections. While there are many reasons for Democrats to celebrate, they must not lose sight of the big picture.

The Democrats won many unexpected elections in states all over America, however some races couldn’t have been closer. In Erie, Pennsylvania, the race for County Executive was decided by approximately .3% with incumbent Kathy Dahlkemper at 50.15% of the vote and Republican challenger Art Oligeri at 49.64% of the vote. This difference shows that although the Democrats won they weren’t able to sit in comfort and won’t be able to until margins like this don’t exist.

The Democrats’ big win garnered some great publicity for the party and showed the Republicans that the Democrats are healing and ready to win, however, they shouldn’t stop working hard or take this for granted. With many close results in blue territories, Democrats need to revisit their strategy and focus more on grassroots campaigning. If all goes well, a much bigger “Blue Wave” could flood the midterms with a sea of blue and might just flip both the House and Senate.

 

Barack Obama: “We were the change”

Image: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Last night, President Obama gave his farewell address in Chicago to a crowd of over 20,000 people. President Obama will leave office in nine days, and that change will be positive for some, and negative for others. Obama has stated, last night and at multiple other times, that the transfer of power to the next President can, and will, be a peaceful one. This election was seen as ‘different’ because you either ‘loved’ or ‘hated’ a candidate. The election turned out to be in Trump’s favor, and we all need to respect that, whether or not our views matched his because this election was a representation of our democracy.

“America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started.”

“Focus on the state of our democracy” was the main idea of Obama’s farewell address. Obama’s first topic was that we need to realize that “everyone has economic opportunity”. When he gave his first point, he was basically outlining the idea that no matter what race, gender, or sexuality you are, there is basically nothing stopping you from opening a business, presenting an idea, or putting yourself out there. Only we can remove the barriers that are preventing us from doing what we love to do, and sometimes we ourselves are the ones creating the barriers in the first place. In order to get the future we want, we must take risks in the process. As Obama said last night, for every two steps we take forward, we take one back. For women’s rights, this is extremely true because we are now able to vote and do many other things that men are able to do, we still have a very large gap in pay between men and women. The only way we can fix the problems we have is to go above our potential and make the changes ourselves and not wait for others to do so. Although we may have come very far within the past eight years, the “progress we’ve made is not enough.” We don’t have the right to complain about people being ‘lazy’ or an ‘ineffective citizen’ if we don’t give them the opportunities that they need in order to get back on their feet.

Obama’s second topic of the night was that we will never have a post-racial America. We have come farther than people back in the 1950’s would have ever thought we could come, but we’re not even close to where we need to be. Something Obama mentioned last night that interested me was that, in order to have large parts of the future workforce be able to do their job, we need to train them in order to do so. The racial diversity in the United States is noticeably growing, and by the time today’s kids are working, the people we consider ‘minorities’ now will be a majority of the population, therefore we need to look past race and give them the same opportunities that everybody else has. It may surprise many, but many people still want to have segregation be part of everyday life, including having separate housing and schools. A point that Obama brought up was that we need to keep the laws banning segregation and discrimination upheld, no matter the cost because there are people out there who are willing to do anything to have a separated America. The laws are not the only things that need to change; our hearts need to change as well, and if they do not change, we will be challenging what our founding fathers said regarding natural-born Americans. Do ‘minorities’ who were born as a natural citizen of the United States deserve the same rights as we do? Yes, they do. Many, many people are against Muslims entering our country because they think that they will be a threat. Back when the Italians, Irish, etc. entered our nation, people thought the same things about how they were going to ‘ruin our country.’ Obama mentioned that we are starting to only believe things that agree with our views, and we are not looking at what is actually going on around us. It’s almost like we block out information that we do not want to be true, and filter others so that we only hear what we want to hear. During these next four years, we need to come out of that ‘bubble’ and challenge ourselves.

“I reject discrimination against Muslim Americans, who are just as patriotic as we are.”

The third problem that Obama presented was that “politics are a battle of ideas.” With all of these biased news outlets, nobody knows what to believe anymore and that’s causing people to stay closed-minded and without a “common base of facts”. Without a common base of facts, we will be more separate than ever. Another extremely debatable political point that Obama made was that we have made much progress with the prevention and controlling of climate change, but many politicians think that there are bigger things to deal with first, politicians including Donald Trump, our future president. When the problem is denied, it betrays America. We can use the freedom that we have been granted by showing people the problem and making it known to everybody. We must act against the people who are saying that ‘minorities’ do not have the rights that everybody else has because they are trying to cause larger problems than there already are. Obama said, in his address last night, that we have to be “vigilant but not afraid”, which means that we must work with others to be able to gain the rights that we need.

Obama’s last topic of the night was that “our democracy is threatened when we take it for granted.” When we use our rights but do not give back to our people, we are, essentially, taking our democracy for granted. We should be looking for help in “rebuilding our democratic institution.” For example, if the issue of same-sex marriage is brought before the Supreme Court during Trump’s presidency, we need to remind the justices that marriage is a right and we should not be allowed to take that away from somebody. If Congress ends up making a decision that outrages many citizens of the U.S., the fault is entirely ours because we did not try hard enough to prevent them from passing the decision.

A topic that Obama mentioned was that the Constitution is just a piece of parchment with no power in itself unless we, the people, give it power. This is a great example of how nothing happens on its own, as our country would be in complete chaos right now if we did not have certain guidelines as to what we have rights to do. “Embrace the task that we’ve been given” is another point that Obama brought up last night. By embracing the task that we’ve been given, we can make America the greatest it can be and hopefully resolve many of the conflicts that have troubled our country. During his farewell address last night, President Obama mentioned that, if we are unhappy with our government officials, there is nothing stopping us from running ourselves. This is important because it shows where almost every politician started. At the end of his speech, Obama requested one thing from us all. His request was for all of us to believe in our ability to make changes, and those words will inspire many in the future. Many people will miss having Barack Obama as a President, but we are sure to have at least some good come from Trump’s presidency, as well as lessons learned.

Secret CIA Assessment Shows that Russia had Influenced our Election

Image: Inquisitr

For awhile now, before the eighth of November, we all heard the rumors about Russia attempting to influence our election. Do you remember that? Well, Intelligence Agencies have identified individuals connected to the Russian Government who provided WikiLeaks with the thousands of DNC emails, including those of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

Officials have recognized these individuals as being part of a larger scheme to boost Trump’s chances and lower Hillary’s.

It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other: to help Trump get elected.

According to the Washington Post, Senators were briefed on these matters sometime around September, but Mitch McConnell had voiced doubts about the validity of the intelligence.The Trump transition team has declined to comment on this issue.

The Trump transition team has declined to comment on this issue, though since the rumor was first spread, Trump has repeatedly assured us that there was no Russian hacking in this election, even this week to TIME Magazine!

[The hacking] could be Russia, and it could be China, and it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.

Though the CIA has proven that these individuals were responsible for hacking the DNC emails, questions are still left unanswered. The intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence pointing to officials in the Kremlin directing these hackers to pass the emails to WikiLeaks. According to the officials that spoke with the Washington Post, rather than government employees,  the individuals were “one step” removed from the Russian government. The deniability is still plausible because Russia has used operative middlemen for intelligence operations in the past.

The Obama Administration has been debating for months on how they should respond to the alleged Russian hacking because many officials were concerned about creating tension in Moscow and/or being accused of attempting to help Hillary Clinton.

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Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Image: Today

Donald Trump has finally been named TIME’s Person of the Year. “It is a great honor,” said the President-Elect on the Today Show this morning.

It means a lot, especially me growing up reading TIME magazine, and it’s a very important magazine, and I’ve been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year — and last year. But I consider this a very, very great honor.

Since his announcement of candidacy, he has been on the cover of many, many magazines. He has always had an obsession with putting his face on the cover of magazines, and so this only makes him feel even better about himself. Actually, Trump keeps all of the said magazines in his office and frequently jokes about them saying that he does not have time to read them all because there are so many. He has even referred to himself as a “supermodel, except like, times ten.”

Last year, when TIME announced Angela Merkel as their Person of the Year, Trump was openly disturbed that he was not the winner. TIME Magazine responded by saying throughout their entire existence, they have never chosen a presidential candidate as their Person of the Year, and if he won (he did), he would have a much greater chance of becoming the Person of the Year.

I was on their cover four, five weeks ago. They should have picked me for the ‘Person of the Year,’ but they didn’t. No, they should have.

Trump, at a Rally in Arizona, his first rally since the announcement from TIME in 2015, could not help but go on a rant about the magazine and their choice. You could see in what he says that was affected by the result.

I said I’m never going to get it because I’m not establishment. But every panel that I saw on television when TIME was — because, you know, it’s sort of cool, even though the magazine’s going down the tubes. No, it’s a cool thing. Most magazines are going down, in all fairness to them. It’s great, isn’t it? To watch these guys go down the tubes? Isn’t it great? I love it.

Trump had used his ‘political revolution’ as a reason he deserved the title and related this bad decision to the one that he believes the Emmys made when they did not give the award to The Apprentice.

It’s just like ‘The Apprentice.’ For the first three seasons, I should have gotten the Emmy for the Apprentice. Got the No. 1, got tremendous ratings. It was the hottest thing, and they picked these shows that were establishment — ‘Amazing Race.’ You fall asleep watching it. Okay? It’s not a race; it’s a sleeping contest. Because I’m not establishment in Hollywood, I’m not establishment politically, so Time magazine picked a woman who is destroying Germany. She let the migration come right into Germany. She’s destroying Germany.

While he expressed much joy in receiving the recognition this year, he was not a big fan of some of the wording on their cover where it said, “President of the Divided States of America.”

Since then, becoming the Person of the Year was Trump’s personal Holy Grail.

I guess this is great because it gives him something new about which he can boast.

An Eerie Election in Erie

Image: PBS

In August, I took a brief hiatus from graduate school to accept a job as a political organizer with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Although I had initially been a Bernie Sanders supporter in the Democratic primary because of his progressive vision for America, once that ship had sailed, and it was Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump in the general election I knew what I had to do to ensure that when the dust settled I was on the right side of history. I headed hours away from the comforts of my life in Washington, DC to Erie, Pennsylvania in support of Secretary Hillary Clinton and Democratic ideals. I also went with the aim of helping elect other down-ballot Democratic contenders in elections, bearing Obama’s presidency in mind and being intellectually honest in the fact that a democratic leader means nothing without the right supporting cast around them to assist in bringing their vision to fruition.

I arrived in Erie the day after Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine had visited to speak to the Erie residents. This visit came weeks after Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump had made a trek of his own to the top of Pennsylvania to check in on Erie voters and let them know that their votes mattered tremendously. Based on conversations held with locals upon my arrival to Erie, two things immediately became certain. First, residents were more energized by Trump’s visit than they were by Kaine’s because it is a long-standing tradition for presidential hopefuls to stop through Erie. Second, based on the first reality acknowledged, my team and I would have an uphill battle to fight if history was to be made, so we fought.

We traveled to local colleges and schools. We went to community centers and sporting events. Still, a truth remained— many of the millennials we were regularly in contact with realized how toxic a Trump presidency could potentially be for themselves and other groups that make up America, but they also could not come to grips with how Bernie was treated during the primaries.

In a world where Hillary Clinton’s trustworthiness was already on the ballot, the Democratic Party’s actions to undermine Bernie Sanders’ success in the primary coupled with Clinton’s proximity to Debbie Wasserman Schulz immediately following the whole ordeal gave rise to a perception that proved to be almost impossible to shake. For adults in Erie who have had Democratic leadership for the majority of recent memory without much improvement to the lives of everyday people, they were unenthusiastic about the prospect of a Democratic president being able to bring local change that Democratic mayors and senators of the past had failed to deliver. In the world of politics where perception is the reality, these perceptions effectively issued a death-knell to the idea of a Trump-Kaine victory. Donald Trump honed in the perception issues and played to them, constantly decrying how Bernie Sanders had been treated badly and asking what the electorate had to lose by voting for change. With this acknowledgment of wrongdoing at the top of the Democratic Party and the challenge he made to voters to try something different, Trump was able to catalyze a revolution within our loyalist voter base that showed on Nov. 8th when Trump became the first republican to win the state of Pennsylvania in twenty-eight years. A Republican populist with no political experience beating out a well-credentialed Democratic stateswoman taught us all a lesson in transformative politics and shattered all poll predictions.

On the back end of what can only be described as a political revolution, I am left not knowing how to feel. In the earliest days of president-elect Trump, there have been reports of members of the LGBTQ community committing suicide rather than facing an America where their very existence may potentially be challenged every day. There are further reports on social media of intolerant messages being placed on structures, women getting groped and Muslim-Americans being harassed. There have been protests in major cities all across the country, and I would argue that they have been speaking to a very real fear. Cabinet picks are typically one of the earliest indicators of how an administration will be run. Just recently, President-elect Trump has identified Steve Bannon, a man who has no respect for the plurality of this country, as one of his closest advisers. If this pick is to be a gauge of how the Trump administration will govern, Americans are rightfully scared. Given the fact that this nation’s success in now inherently tied to the success of the Trump presidency, I genuinely wish him well. My only hope is that his administration hears the cries made by many Americans, acknowledges them as legitimate concerns, and takes steps to move forward and be a president for all Americans.