Donald Trump

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    This week, the tension surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the accusations of sexual assault against him by Professor Christine Blasey Ford continues to climb.

    On Tuesday, President Donald Trump attended a campaign rally in Mississippi, where he proceeded to publically mock Ford’s account of the sexual assault. In a CNN video of the rally, Trump is seen denouncing the validity of her claims with a malicious impersonation of her trial speech:

    “How did you get home? ‘I don’t remember.’”

    “Where is the place? ‘I don’t remember.’”

    “How many years ago was it? ‘I don’t know… I don’t know.’”

    He continues his attack on her legitimacy while mocking her for testifying, “I only had one beer.”

    Trump supporters in the crowd can be seen cheering in agreement, encouraging his words as he goes on to say, "A man’s life is in tatters, a man’s life was shattered.”

    While it’s shocking to hear this type of public dismissal coming from the President of the United States, his perspective unfortunately isn't unique. In a BBC video from the rally, one woman says, “Young men in particular, I have a son, I don’t think that they are going to be able to seek justice if that sort of thing happens. I know young boys will be falsely accused of things.” But this hyper-focus on men’s lives being “shattered,” or the idea of them having to live in a culture of fear, is in direct contrast with the facts.

    The National Sexual Violence Research Center (NSVRC) reports that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime, and 1 in 3 women will experience some form of contact sexual violence. Furthermore, rape is the most under-reported crime, with 63% of victims never reporting to the police. False reports concerning sexual assault cases are calculated to be between 2-10%, and this doesn’t take into account the likelihood that many of these "false" cases could have easily been true, but were simply not supported by enough hard evidence or witness for the case to succeed.

    It is crystal clear that coming out publicly with an experience of sexual assault is no easy feat. Ford’s safety, along with that of her family, has been compromised, with death threats, harassment, and malicious intent, now furthered by a speech from the President. Additionally, Trump’s antagonistic approach to Ford’s lack of clarity surrounding specific accounts of the assault fails to consider the mind-altering effects that trauma and PTSD can have on someone’s memory.

    The reality is that we live in a culture where a woman’s word is always ridiculed. Where, despite staggering evidence proving a culture of sexual violence, women are doubted and defamed, and rarely supported. A culture where women experience fear on the daily for their safety, and then their credibility is ruthlessly challenged when they try to speak out. A culture that doesn’t want them to win, and was never set up for them to win. It’s imperative that we examine not just this one incident, but the greater implications surrounding the culture of fear that women experience.

    The Kavanaugh case illustrates both the power and futility of speaking a truth. While Ford inspires many women who have experienced sexual violence, she also represents how torn down a woman can be for choosing to come forward. Despite the efforts of those who use low attempts to bring a strong woman down, Christine Blasey Ford has an equally powerful and ruthless web of people who stand behind her and are ready to see this broken system changed for good.

    top photo: CNN

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    A trial examining the effects of abortion ‘reversal’ has been stopped due to safety concerns for the participants. Carried out at the University of California in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researcher Dr. Mitchell D. Creinin wrote the study was investigating “the efficacy and safety of mifepristone antagonization with high-dose oral progesterone.” The trial ended when three women were rushed to the emergency room with extreme hemorrhaging; one received a blood transfusion.

    Those participating, it is worth noting, were already scheduled for a voluntary abortion and had consented to continuing their pregnancy for the experiment. As with most terminations, to induce a medical abortion, a two-pill dose of mifepristone and misoprostol is prescribed throughout a 24 hour period. Mifepristone stops the embryo from forming, while the latter forces a somewhat induced labour. It is seen as the most common and least invasive of methods. Not only that, but it is extremely effective and safe for the patient. Religious Pro-life groups and extreme Right-Wing Conservatives, however, have been vehemently pushing for a reversal pill to be available and offered to those seeking abortions— because what if, they argue, a woman changes her mind?

    In the study, patients ingested misoprostol followed by either progesterone or a placebo. Initially, the enrollment number was supposed to be at 40, because of finishing early the trials stopped at 12. Two individuals pulled out due to side-effects such as vomiting, nausea and bleeding (from each group) and three has such severe side effects they were rushed to the hospital. This may seem like a positive indication that the conclusion would be that this method is ineffective and hazardous, yet because it was halted the authors wrote, “Patients in early pregnancy who use only mifepristone may be at high risk of significant hemorrhage.”

    It’s difficult to believe these groups are truly trying to protect a woman and child’s health and safety by adding more trauma to people who are already going through the tough process of having an abortion and changing their mind, only for it to be too late. An ironic trend among pro-life women is the defense of having experienced it themselves, and feel remorse for their decision; believing their vindication lies within forcing others not to have the choice they once excercised.

    Conservatives argue that abortion rights should be dismantled because fetuses are potential children, and children are seen as gifts from God who should be protected. Even with this display of empathy, there is a staggering lack of concern given to the well-being of either the mother or child once the child is actually born. There are several legitimate reasons why women who become pregnant might be afraid to bring a child into the world besides their own personal or medical reasons for not wanting to take on this responsibility. For example, the lack of care and supportworking single mothers receive, the microscopic gun control laws that allow for the high-rates of school shootings nationwide, or the fact that children of low-income families are much less likely to have access to affordable healthcare (4.3 million in 2018), all of which is supported by the aforementioned groups.

    The national dialogue on abortion and reproductive rights are viciously divided by partisan politics, particularly in the Trump administration. In his presidency so far, he has proposed to block federal aid to Planned Parenthood and is constantly threatening to overturn Roe v. Wade. This year, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act was signed, preventing nearly all abortions in the state and could potentially imprison any professional that carried out one for life.

    Professionals within the medical industry have suggested there is no proof that such a pill could work, especially without endangering the mother. The general consensus is that there is a lack of evidence and a high chance of risk by not completing the two-pill dose. When speaking to VICE News, Chris Zahn, VP of the journal in which the study was published, said, “Even with its limitations, [the] study raises safety concerns about not completing the evidence-based regimen. Mifepristone is not intended to be used without follow-up misoprostol treatment.”

    There is still no significant evidence that there is a possible reversal abortion procedure. Some may say this study is sufficient. Others may jump on the fact that it was never completed, therefore, discrediting any warnings and findings as inconclusive. And, regardless of the little to no evidence, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Utah, and South Dakota have laws in place that require doctors to give patients information about a reversal pill. Other states in the U.S. from Ohio to Wisconsin to Texas all have similar bills upcoming in State Congress, like the Second Chance at Life Act at the Federal level.

    When it comes to women’s rights and safety, it seems some political groups will comfortably overlook scientific data and professional expertise from those within the medical field just for their own political gain and career achievement.

     

    Photo Courtesy of freestocks via unsplashed

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    The government shutdown has been going on for 26 days and counting—the longest stretch in U.S. history, CNN reports. Cardi B, who has spoken up about political issues and current events before, took to Instagram to express her thoughts.

    “Our country is in a hellhole right now, all for a fucking wall,” the “I Like It” rapper said. “We really need to take this seriously. I feel like we need to take some action.”

     

     

    The video was posted last night, and has amassed 10,000,000 views and counting. Among these viewers were Democratic Senators Brian Schatz and Chris Murphy, who hilariously tweeted back and forth with Senator Chuck Schumer, trying to decide whether or not to retweet the clip.

    “Guys, I’m still holding my breath. Are you gonna RT Cardi B or not?” Schumer tweeted.

    In all seriousness, though, Cardi raised some important points. She mentioned that yes, there was a shutdown under Obama, but that was about healthcare, which is significantly more important than a wall. (“So your grandma could check her blood pressure, and you bitches can go check your pussy at the gynecologist!”) She also drew attention to the fact that Trump has ordered federal employees to return to work without pay.

    “Bitch, I’m scared,” she said. “This is crazy.”

    Top photo from "I Like It" via YouTube / Cardi B

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    Donald Trump Jr. spoke to DailyMailTV about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, saying that the current climate of #MeToo makes him nervous for his sons, The Cut reports.

    Judy GIF

    In a joint interview with his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, during a campaign swing for GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale, Trump Jr. said, “I’ve got boys and I’ve got girls. When I see what’s going on right now, it’s scary for all things.” When asked whether he was more scared for his sons or daughters, the president’s ‘First Boy’ retorted, “Right now, I’d say my sons.”

    Working Girl Face Palm

    His mansplaining didn’t cease there as he continued, “For the people who are real victims of these things, when it is so obviously political in cases like this, it really diminishes the real claims.” In reality, research has shown that false reporting accounts for just between 2 and 10 percent of sexual assault allegations. Guilfoyle went on to add, “I think it’s important, in terms of doing an investigation, to get the facts out there and find out. But, people need to be careful to understand the politics involved as well and what motivations people may have.”

    Motivations? Like Dr. Blasey’s motivation to offer testimony, at the risk of her personal livelihood, to help government leaders decide whether to grant an alleged sexual predator a lifetime position to the highest court in the nation? Guilfoyle's questioning of people's "motivations" reads as a passive agressive attempt to discredit Dr. Blasey and trauma victims as a whole. 

    Trump and Guilfoyle’s shoddy justifications, in their sympathy for those accused, are not surprising considering over 20 women have accused the president of sexual assault. Additionally, Guilfoyle left her hosting job at Fox News over allegations of sexual misconduct in which she was reportedly “showing personal photographs of male genitalia to colleagues (and identifying whose genitals they were).” 

    If Donald Trump Jr. is so concerned for his son's futures amid the #MeToo era, he should consider taking the time to teach them about appropriate behavior and boundaries towards women. It's really not that hard, Don. 

    Oprah GIF

    Header photo via Sebastian Vital on Flickr 

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    As we draw closer to the midterm elections, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are pushing for all Americans to seriously consider our country's future. As the current administration deteriorates into more of a moral clusterfuck than anyone could have predicted, it’s becoming more difficult to keep track of core issues between all the information and Twitter distractions. As Clinton puts it in an op-ed, published on Sunday in The Atlantic, “I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball of course being American Democracy.”

    During a speech on September 7th at the University of Illinois, Obama attempted to separate Trump from the biases between Democrats and Republicans, Vox reports. Obama asserted that non-Democrats should reject the current brand of Republicanism in the United States, saying, “It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say that we don’t threaten the freedom of the press because they say things or publish stories we don’t like…It shouldn’t be Democratic or Republican to say we don’t target certain groups of people based on what they look like or how they pray.”

    In her essay, Clinton echoes these sentiments, saying, “When you start seeing politics as a zero-sum game and view members of the other party as traitors, criminals, or otherwise illegitimate, then the normal give and take of politics turns into a blood sport.” While Clinton is quick to mention that the hyperpolarization of politics is “not a symmetrical problem” and faults “the increasing radicalism and irresponsibility of the Republican Party,” she and Obama believe the Trump administration’s policies go beyond party affiliation and call into question basic human rights.

    Clinton outlines five areas where Trump’s corrupt administration proves detrimental to the future of the presidency and democracy at large. The first is his “assault on the rule of law.” It’s no secret that Donald Trump has always considered himself to be above the law. Even before announcing his campaign for presidency, Trump’s crooked moral compass is well documented in the business world between his tax loopholes and bankruptcies. He lied, cheated, bullied, took advantage of people, and disguised his conduct as shrewd deal making. He told The New York Times, “I have an absolute right to do what I want to with the Justice Department.” His lawyers agree, of course.

    The New York Times also reports that Trump told White House aides that regardless of the law, he expected Attorney General Jeff Sessions to protect him. He also pressured the Justice Department to go after his political opponents. In Trump’s mind, unceasing loyalty to him is more important than adherence to the constitution. This is fundamentally un-American and a radical departure from the Founders’ definition of a Republic where no one is above the law.

    Clinton raises further concerns about “the legitimacy of our elections,” calling out voter suppression, partisan manipulation and Trump’s blatant resistance to stop Russia’s interference. Which brings us to Trump’s acute hostility toward journalists and the media. According to fact-checkers at The Washington Post, Trump has made 5,000 false or misleading claims while in office averaging at 32 a day. When asked by 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl why he’s always attacking the press, he said, “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.”

    And let’s not forget the many conflicts of interests, abuses of power and violations of ethics rules in this administration! Trump is profiting off of the presidency, point blank. Industry lobbyists, foreign governments and Republican organizations do business with Trump’s companies and hold events at his properties. Where do you think that money’s going?

    In her last point, Clinton says that there’s “a racial subtext” to everything Trump says. I’m going to take it a step further and say Trump is without a doubt, racist. He says Haitian and African immigrants are from “shithole countries.” He ignores the suffering of Puerto Ricans, even refusing to believe that Hurricaine Maria caused nearly 3,000 deaths. He said an American judge couldn’t be trusted because of his Mexican heritage. He failed to condemn hate crimes against Muslims.He lashes out at NFL players protesting against systemic racism.He referred to white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia as "very fine people" an attitude Obama referenced this in his speech, asserting, "We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination, and we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers. How hard can that be? Saying that Nazis are bad." For her part, Clinton writes, "Hate speech isn’t 'telling it like it is.' It’s just hate."

    In one of the more disturbing violations from this administration, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is, as Clinton says, "running wild accross the country." They're terrorizing communities, with federal agents forcefully separating children from their parents and even confronting citizens for speaking Spanish. Despite court orders and public outcry, 12,800 children are still being detained, according to The New York Times,the highest number of detained children yet. Under Trump, nearly every federal agency has scaled back enforcement of civil rights protections. These facts and instances send a clear message that Trump's adminisration believes that not all Americans are created equal and therefore don’t deserve the same rights as others.

    So what can we do? Clinton believes reforms will need to be made in response to Trump’s abuses of power. For one, presidents should be required by law to release their tax returns and not be exempt from ethics requirements and conflict-of-interest rules, and elections must be improved and protected. But she says, first and foremost, we need to “mobilize massive turnout in the 2018 midterms.” So now is the time to register and vote, because “Democracy may be our birthright as Americans, but it’s not something we can ever take for granted.”

    Header photo: Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons

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    More disgusting accounts of Brett Kavanaugh’s treatment of women have surfaced, dating back to his years as a high school student at Georgetown Preparatory, The New York Timesreports. Kavanaugh’s yearbook page reveals a high schooler immersed in sports, drinking and parties at the beach. In addition to these typical jock activities, there was an odd mention of “Renate Alumnius"—a reference to a student at a Catholic girls’ school named Renate Schroeder, now Renate Schroeder Dolphin.

    Renate’s name appears numerous times in the Georgetown Prep’s 1983 yearbook on students' pages, as well as in a group photograph with nine football players, including Kavanaugh, labeled the “Renate Alumni.” Two of Kavanaugh's classmates say the "Renate" comments were regarding the men’s unabashed discussion of their sexual exploits with Renate. A former Georgetown Prep student told The New York Times, “They were very disrespectful, at least verbally. I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”

    Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford are scheduled to testify on Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning accusations that he sexually assaulted her in high school. Thus, his time at Georgetown Prep is being carefully examined. This past month, Renate Schroeder Dolphin, as well as 64 other women who knew Kavanaugh in high school, signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee stating that “he has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.” Dolphin was unaware of the yearbook jabs when she signed the letter on September 14th.

    In a statement to The New York Times, Dolphin said, “I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago. I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way. I will have no further comment.” 

    Alexandra Walsh, one of Kavanaugh’s lawyers, also issued a statement, which read, “Judge Kavanaugh was friends with Renate Dolphin in high school. He admired her very much then, and he admires her to this day. Judge Kavanaugh and Ms. Dolphin attended one high school event together and shared a brief kiss good night following that event. They had no other such encounter. The language from Judge Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook refers to the fact that he and Ms. Dolphin attended that one high school event together and nothing else.” In a response by way of her lawyer, Dolphin says, “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him.” 

    In a sad attempt at damage control, Kavanaugh defended his behavior in high school with the typical "boys will be boys" rhetoric. He told Fox News, “People might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school—I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit.” Many of his former peers recalled Georgetown Prep having a culture of objectifying women at the time. One classmate mentioned Kavanaugh and his friends were part of the school’s “fratty” culture and talked a lot about “sexual conquest with girls.” 

    While it should be common sense that an attempted rapist should not have a seat on the Supreme Court, many Americans don’t care whether or not he’s guilty. You know, 'cause Boys will be boys, right? He was just drunk, everyone does stupid things when they’re drunk, right? And It happened so long ago, so he shouldn’t be held responsible, right?  He can’t still be like that, right? It’s all just locker room talk, right?

    These defenses were used in Brock Turner’s trial. They were used during Trump’s campaign. And they’re now being used with Kavanaugh. What’s arguably most disturbing about these arguments is that they come to the direct conclusion that these men are, in fact, guilty. Kavanaugh’s statements on Fox News reveal that perhaps he did do exactly what Dr. Blasey is accusing him of, but, according to him, it shouldn’t matter because it was just high school. Such notions reinforce dangerous beliefs that the future of a man holds more value than the future of the woman he assaulted. And yet, people still wonder why women don’t immediately come forward to report trauma, when such reports that have historically been met with doubt and shame.

    Header photo via The White House

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    On Thursday, September 27th, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, with bravery and conviction, testified in front of the Senate that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, CNN reports. In front of a committee consisting mostly of male lawmakers, Dr. Blasey articulately recalled painful details of the assault. She cooperated and expressed a desire to be helpful to the committee in her recollection of events. As a nation, we watched her relive her trauma as she answered questions that seemed grounded in doubt and cross-examination.

    Dr. Blasey testified to remembering specifics of the evening from how she got home to the bedroom where Kavanaugh and other young men attempted to rape her. She stressed, “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter… the uproarious laughter” of the men who held her down and covered her mouth as she tried to scream. Her voice shook as she openly admitted to being terrified but maintained that sharing her experience was her “civic duty.”

    After Dr. Blasey’s testimony, Kavanaugh gave a belligerent and rage-fueled defense, blaming Democrats for what he called “a calculated and orchestrated political hit” intended to deny him a seat on the Supreme Court. He refused to support an FBI investigation of the allegations and even asserted that any resistance to his confirmation “amounted to revenge on behalf of the Clintons,” NPR reports.

    Following an exhausting day of questions and speculations, the American Bar Association issued a statement requesting the Senate Judiciary Committee hold off on Kavanaugh’s nomination until an FBI investigation is conducted. Previously, the ABA gave him their highest rating of “well-qualified.” Robert Carlson, the ABA’s president, wrote, “Each appointment to our nation’s Highest Court (as will all others) is simply too important to rush to a vote. Deciding to proceed without conducting additional investigation would not only have a lasting impact on the Senate’s reputation, but it will also negatively affect the great trust necessary for the American people to have in the Supreme Court.”

    On Friday afternoon, the Judiciary Committee voted to approve Kavanaugh's nomination, which now moves to a full floor vote. However, Senator Jeff Flake voted to approve the nomination "on the grounds that he would get support to request a floor vote delay and a one week FBI investigation," reports CNN. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not committed to the FBI investigation and may move forward without it; but if he does move the nomination forward without an FBI investigation, Flake has said he will vote against Kavanaugh for the final confirmation vote. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins have not yet announced how they will vote. 

    Flake's reversal happened hours after two sexual assault survivors, Ana Maria Archila and Maria Gallagher, confronted him in an elevator on Friday morning after he gave a statement saying he would vote to approve Kavanaugh's nomination, reports the New York Times.  

    “I was sexually assaulted and nobody believed me,” Maria Gallagher told Flake. “I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter. [...] Don’t look away from me. Look at me and tell me that it doesn’t matter what happened to me, that you will let people like that go into the highest court of the land and tell everyone what they can do to their bodies.”

    top photo: C-Span

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    Kellyanne Conway, who’s currently serving as a counselor to President Trump, has a daughter named Claudia who’s gone viral in recent days. Claudia Conway, the 15-year-old has been posting TikToks like many people her age do. Many of the TikToks that Claudia has posted are blatantly against Trump, the person that her mother works for and often defends.

    So far, she has over 96,000 followers on TikTok. Conway's early videos largely didn’t have political messaging, but her account slowly became more political as time went on, which isn’t surprising given the fact that she comes from a very political family. Conway has posted many TikToks that have garnered mass attention over recent days because of outspoken videos that go against her mother’s boss. Conway got more attention when New York Times journalist Taylor Lorenz shared a tweet with Conway's TikTok videos.

    In her most viewed TikTok, Conway confirms that Kellyanne Conway is her mother and also states that “you can have your own opinions, not influenced by your parents at all, simply by educating yourself.” She goes on to say that her views have nothing to do with her mother’s.

    @claudiamconway

    Reply to @charlie_b69 bye bye now ? ps. ACAB ?

    ♬ original sound - shortfakeblonde

    In an interview with Insider, Conway touched on this again, saying that “people look at me and are like ‘oh, that’s Kellyanne Conway’s daughter,’ she must love Trump. In reality, I really don't.” She states that her own and her mother's views “could not be more opposite.”

    In another TikTok, Conway identifies herself as someone who is anti-Trump, a leftist, and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter and anti-cop movements. And a caption for one of her earlier political TikToks states, “I love Trump but replace ‘love’ with ‘think we should extinguish.’”

    She says that because she grew up in a conservative family, she “was only exposed to those views for a very long time.”

    “I decided to educate myself and think for myself,” she tells Insider. “I'm still a kid, of course...I took the time to educate myself and took the time to branch out and be exposed to other sides and other biases and whatnot.” It seems that she also wants to educate people through her videos, saying that her intent on TikTok is to “inform people and spread love.”

    In the same interview, Conway states that she and her mother frequently argue over politics. “My mom is my best friend but we do fight all the time over politics, and I’m always shut down by my entire family.” She also admits that she and her father, a very outspoken opponent of President Trump, are the only members of her conservative family that are not Trump supporters. Her father supports her activism and, she adds, "thinks it's awesome that I'm speaking for myself and expressing my views."

    Conway affirms that she loves both of her conservative parents, despite the fact that they do not agree politically. Conway also posted a TikTok asking people who follow her not to comment hateful things to her parents, saying they’re both amazing people.

    Conway has said that her mother asked her to take down her TikToks, but she respectfully declined, arguing she has the right to her own freedom of speech.

    For now, she’s just focused on finishing high school, but in the future, she’s interested in doing more social justice work. “I think that's what I want to do when I'm older, like social justice activism," she tells Insider.

    Story art: Gabriella Shery is an illustrator, graphic designer, and comic artist from Brooklyn, New York. You can find her work on Instagram at @gabshery, or on her website at gabriellashery.com
    TikToks @shortfakeblonde

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  • 800px Donald Trump closeup b362e

    This morning, The Wall Street Journal asserted that Trump “personally directed” his former attorney Michael Cohen and son, Eric Trump, in planning efforts to stop adult film star Stormy Daniels from further sharing details of their affair.

    The Journal wrote that, according to several individuals close to the situation, Trump suggested Cohen get a restraining order to prevent Daniels from speaking with the media. He also said that he would pay all costs and that Cohen should work with his son on necessary paperwork, reported NBC.

    This is major, since—as Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti wrote on Twitter—the news “describes what we have been saying for months and what Trump and Cohen denied repeatedly.” 

     

     

    Back in January, the Journal revealed that Trump and Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, around the time of his election, to stay silent about the affair, which Trump continues to deny—though Cohen admitted to the hush money and pleaded guilty to multiple federal crimes in August. 

    But despite Trump’s attempts, Daniels won’t stay silent. Her memoir, Full Disclosure, is out today. In it, she shares the details of her affair with Trump, her thoughts on how it was revealed to the public, and the constant manipulation and harrassment from Cohen and her former attorney Keith Davidson, wrote the Hollywood Reporter. (She also shares some, uh, unsavory information about Trump’s penis.) 

    After all, as Daniels says in her book’s synopsis: “Standing up to bullies is kind of my thing.”

    Top photo via Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore

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    1280px Voting United States 8d9dc

    November 6 is the midterm elections, and—no exaggeration—you have all the power. The power to boot Trump’s puppets from Congress. To upset an administration that weaponizes racism, rewards abusers, and assails basic human rights. So even if you’re tired, even if you’re busy, even if your dog just died the same day your s.o. left: Go vote. 

    But still, we get it. Voting can be overwhelming (confusing, boring, ect.). It helps to have a game plan—here’s ours.

    (And here’s a guide for Spanish speakers, pass it along to anyone who may need it!)

    First, be informed! There are a lot of great tools online to easily explain your ballot candidates. 

    Ballotpedia is a nonprofit encyclopedia with a wealth of information. It also maintains a sample ballot lookup. ProPublica, the nonprofit newsroom, also offers tools such as ElectionBot and Represent that compile helpful articles relating to candidates.

    Still haven’t registered? You may be in luck! Sure, registration closed weeks ago in most states, but residents of 17 states and Washington, D.C., can register on Election Day. Check if your state is one of them!

    Know where and when to vote! Polling places usually open at 6 or 7 a.m. and close at 7 or 8 p.m., but double-check online anyway. Nass.org makes it easy to find your nearest location. Remember, though, that the longest lines are going to be around mid-morning, so if your schedule allows it, maybe aim for later in the day. Get together some friends or family and carpool to the polls—it’s easier to stay motivated in a group. No transportation? Lyft is offering free rides!

    Bring the right stuff.Two-thirds of states expect residents to provide identification to vote. Requirements vary by state; some states only accept photo ID, some allow provisional ballots in place of identification. The National Conference of State Legislatures has an easy-to-read map of requirements by state. Also! Don’t let yourself (or anyone else) get intimidated at the polls. Any fellow pollster harassing an individual over citizenship can refer their ass to the voting rights set out by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    So, rally yourself. Think of election night 2016; remember that oh-god-make-it-stop horror as the numbers came in. This Tuesday, let’s do better. 

    Top Image: Wikimedia Commons Commons 

     

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  • Trump 95bacResearchers at The George Washington University have formally raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2,975 from the initial estimate of 64. The Puerto Rican government has officially accepted this number. President Trump, however, disagrees.

    Thursday morning, he tweeted, “3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.” He then continued, accusing Democrats of conspiracy: “This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!" 

    The absurdity of that last sentence is profound. Trump does not love Puerto Rico. At best, he is ambivalent towards its 3.3 million American citizens. At worst – which we arrived at months ago – he is contemptuous to deadly consequences. Nearly 3,000 US citizens died from Hurricane Maria. 64 from the immediate storm; thousands more succumbed to heat and insufficient funds. My family, thankfully, was not of those thousands.

    My mom was born in Caguas, a city within the island’s largest valley. I loved her childhood stories, mango orchards and rolling hills. I don’t know if those orchards still stand. I do know that days after Trump left Puerto Rico, only a quarter of cellphone towers worked and only half the island had running water. In July, FEMA reportedempty warehouses and ill-qualified staff  on the island. 

    Last month, power fully, finally, returned the island, the New York Times reported. 

    Throughout, questions of accountability loomed. Puerto Ricans charged FEMA with mismanagement, Trump blamed Puerto Rican officials of incompetence. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, a steadfast leader who has endured consistent ire from Trump, blasted his tweets, saying, "In a humanitarian crisis, you should not be grading yourself. You should not be just having a parade of self-accolades. You should never be content with everything we did. I'm not content with everything I did, I should have done more. We should all have done more," Cruz told CNN's Anderson Cooper. Trump instead perpetuates the delusion of “unsung success.” 

    That delusion has been present since October. While in Puerto Rico he toured wealthier neighborhoods that had been saved from most wreckage. On that same visit, he compared the (at the time) inaccurate death toll with Hurricane Katrina’s, saying “16 versus literally thousands of people” had died. Together, my family watched him on TV hurling paper towel rolls.

    But did Puerto Rico ever have a chance of being prioritized by the federal government? After all, the Times reported last year that “only 54 percent of Americans know that people born in Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, are U.S. citizens.” While thousands of Americans slowly died of heat and illness, the mainland discussed the NFL and Roseanne Barr.

    Race and legitimacy are indivisible factors in this disaster. Why didn’t Puerto Ricans deserve the same respect, and attention, as the victims of Hurricane Harvey? Trump toured Texas only four days after Harvey’s landfall. Trump waited six days after Hurricane Maria to agree to visit San Juan. Citizenship, and the federal obligations it demands, seems contingent on skin-deep qualifications.

    Puerto Ricans are resilient; I believe the expanding diaspora will be scarred, but recover. Whether this administration can recover from its self-perpetuated tragedy is another question. 

    Top photo via Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore

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  • Untitled Artwork 4 b1b4a

    Following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday that Ginsburg will be the first woman to lie in repose at the Supreme Court and the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. Rosa Parks, who was previously laid "in honor" at the Capitol, is the only other woman to be honored this way.

    Ginsburg’s memorial marks a historic milestone for the country, as she is only the second female Justice to serve after Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and the first to be memorialized on Capitol grounds. Already, groups of people have been gathering outside the Supreme Court to pay tribute to Ginsburg’s legacy.

    But feelings surrounding Ginsburg’s passing continue to be mixed, as that the Supreme Court vacancy has jeopardized legislation such as Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act. 

    Hopefully, the visibility of such risks will especially increase voter turnout and initiatives among young people, a demographic that holds exponential power when it comes to knocking Trump out of office.

    Ginsburg’s ceremony will take place on Friday morning, and will be a private event because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Story art:Gabriella Shery is an illustrator, graphic designer, and comic artist from Brooklyn, New York. You can find her work on Instagram @gabshery, or on her website at gabriellashery.com

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  • gaetz d6eb3

    Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida began an online feud with State Rep. Chris Latvala yesterday, which prompted the resurfacing of a rumor that Gaetz had a sexual point system when he worked in the Florida House. It was first brought up by a reporter for the Miami Herald, Marc Caputo, in 2013 when he wrote a Tweet breaking down the rules of the supposed game: “Hey ladies! Source: young male FL Reps have point-system contest for having sex: 1=lobbyist 2=staff 3=other legislator 6=married legislator.”

    Not much was heard about this rumor until now, despite Gaetz’s problematic behavior. He is, to put it lightly, a fellow brownnoser of President Trump and has condemned the media, Democrats, and Nancy Pelosi for his impeachment. “This is not about the Ukraine. It’s about power. Donald Trump has it and House Democrats want it. And so with no crime, no victim, no evidence, no proof, no agenda for America, this impeachment charade marches on, following no rules and adhering to no sense of honor,” he saidduring the hearings in December.

    He’s also on Fox News, like all the time, talking about how wonderful and great the president is and once, in his home state, tolda crowd with family members of the victims of Parkland at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, that guns weren’t the reason. Instead, he said, “the greatest driver of violence… was not the firearm, it’s the fact that we have an immigration system that allows people to come here violently.” Seems like a nice guy, right?

    And, he was arrestedfor a DUI in 2008, while driving a vehicle registered under his father's name (though the case was dropped, with a lot of suspicion surrounding his father’s contacts being the reason behind that). Gaetz is a third-generation politician and his father, Don Gaetz, has a shady past involving fraud within the medical industry. In a piece titled “How Matt Gaetz Used Daddy’s Money To Become Trump’s Favorite Congressman,” written by Mother Jones, it says, “In the late 1970s, his father co-founded a nonprofit hospice company that successfully lobbied Congress to allow Medicare and Medicaid to cover its services. Once the public money started flowing, the nonprofit became a for-profit corporation, Vitas, that grew into the country’s largest hospice care provider.” In 2013, however, the Justice Department sued the company for having defrauded Medicare with false claims “for services never provided or for patients who weren’t terminally ill.”

    More recently, he justifieddating 21 year-olds and appearing on their social media accounts with “I’m not a monk.” With all that, it would seem this Gaetz’s guy isn’t so wholesome. But, of course, there’s more. It all began with a Tweet from Chris Latvala, whose family members haven’t exactly been friends with the Gaetz’s, who appeared next to activist Reverend Al Sharpton; the caption reading “It was an honor to meet @TheRevAl today. #FlaPol.” To which Gaetz replied with comments about Sharpton calling police “pigs” and Jews “diamond merchants” finishing with “So that is pretty disgusting.” What’s more disgusting is what Latvalta insinuated in his follow up Tweet to Gaetz: That he created a point-based game, where members of the Florida House could gain them by sleeping with “aides, interns, lobbyists, and married legislators.”

     

    The argument swiftly descended into snide remarks about Gaetz’s DUI and Latvala's father’s resignation over sexual misconduct--Gaetz even said the word 'daddy'. There have been no other comments about these rumors, or whether an investigation will take place. It seems likely that, similarly to when it was mentioned before and Gaetz’s close connection to Trump, not much will follow.

     

    header image screenshot courtesy of PBS

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  • matildatrump eb8d9

    This week, we saw new life breathed into the beloved character, Matilda, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic and celebrated novel by the same name. Matilda was resurrected on the author's estate in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire as a playful statue in what TIME magazine suggests is a "temporary installation." Standing on a stack of books with hands on hips in a gesture of sassy defiance, she captures everything we remember the character to be: intelligent, fiercely independent, and always holding her own. Only this time, we experience Matilda with an unexpected and comedic narrative twist.

    Standing next to Matilda’s statue is a cartoonish rendition of Donald Trump, glaring down at her in anger and disapproval. The Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the author's estate, explained that this was actually a decision made by fans, reports CNN. When asked who would be Matilda’s adversary in 2018, the vote leaned heavily towards Donald Trump at 42 percent. Other contenders were Piers Morgan and Prime Minister Theresa May.

    The statues open up a dialogue about the importance of strong female protagonists. In the novel, the villain Miss Trunchbull instills fear and feelings of powerlessness into the children. Some unforgettable moments at the hands of Miss Trunchbull include her force-feeding a child chocolate cake until he’s sick and locking another in a tiny cabinet with nails protruding from the walls. Terrifying? Almost as scary as Donald Trump.

    In a current political climate that attacks women’s rights, bodies, and narratives, Matilda represents the value of standing up against abuse of power. Her use of telekinesis combined with her fervor to speak up for what is right gifted us with a timeless heroine.

    In The Independent article "Roald Dahl’s Matilda at 30: A Heroine Who Changed Lives," Daisy Buchanan writes:

    Female rage has always been a taboo. Like many women, I grew up being told that anger was an inappropriate emotion for little girls, and I was forbidden from expressing it. Yet Matilda’s rage gives her extra strings, and it becomes an extra source of fuel that… allows her to seek revenge and justice.

    Thanks to this reminder of Matilda’s iconic vigor and defiant rage, we can be re-inspired to be our own heros and heroines in the fight for justice.

    Photo Credit: CNN 

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  • 0e756978317e26b448b25d98cbc01c92 original 39275

    The moment we’ve all been waiting for—an RBG we can carry around with us!

    FCTRY is a product incubator that has created action figures of several notable figures including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton, and Barack Obama. Their newest figure, after many requests, will be Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    RBG 12fe6

    The company's CEO, Jason Feinberg, told USA Today, “The people have spoken and in these turbulent times of political uncertainty, a most unlikely hero has emerged—and that means it's time for us to make a new action figure!” The Kickstarter went up last Tuesday, June 5th, with an original goal of $15,000. By that evening, they had raised over four times their goal at a total of $67,000. Nearly a week, later the Kickstarter is up to $191,232.

    Feinberg also told USA Today, "We knew RBG was going to be popular because we had gotten so many requests to make her over the last year or two," but "What happened today is way beyond our expectations." 

    RBG

    The Kickstarter encourages people to donate by offering package deals of their action figures with clever names. For example, the “Nevertheless She Dissented” pack includes RGB and Elizabeth Warren, and the “To The Left” pack includes RBG, Warren and Sanders. There is also a “Fab Five” pack which adds in Obama and Hillary Clinton.

    Screen Shot 2018 06 11 at 2.23.56 PM f2356

    Screen Shot 2018 06 11 at 2.24.09 PM 1e185The proto-type for the action figures is hand sculpted out of clay by Seattle-based pro sculptor Mike Levitt. Then, $1 from each action figure goes towards a related cause to the figure.

    rbg

    So far, they have raised over $10,000 for the DNC with Obama action figure, and over $8,000 for the ACLU with the “Evil Trump” action figure. A portion of the proceeds from RGB will go to the National Women’s Law Center.

    Screen Shot 2018 06 11 at 2.37.54 PM 52649

    The Kickstarter will be open until July 10th, and their page notes, "stay tuned for updates. We've still got 33 days to go and we have a few fun things up our sleeve. Keep your eyes peeled for stretch goals, special offers, and a some sneaky surprises!" 

    All images via FCTRY

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  • 45ba112b 3707 4453 b3d0 bfdec5719851 AP State of Union Democratic Response dce95

    Last night’s State of the Union was full of some delightful positives (the Democratic women of the House of Representatives all wore white, a nod to the suffragists) and negatives (over an hour of Trump speaking). But the undoubtable highlight was Stacey Abrams’ speech, which made her the first black woman to give an official State of the Union response.

    Abrams’ response was full of moments of wisdom, including, “America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants, not walls.” She also referenced voter suppression, a major issue in America and one that Abrams herself watched happen in Georgia when she ran for governor last fall. 

    “Let’s be clear: voter suppression is real,” Abrams said. “From making it harder to register and stay on the rolls, to moving and closing polling places, to rejecting lawful ballots. We can no longer ignore these threats to democracy.” 

    Another important issue Abrams tackled was the recent government shutdown—the longest in U.S. history, and one that actually pushed back the timing of the State of the Union. “Making livelihoods of our federal workers a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States—one that denied every tenet of fairness, and abandoned not just our people, but our values,” she said. 

    Abrams ended with a note of hope, and a reminder that "with a renewed commitment to social and economic justice, we will create a stronger America together. Because America wins by fighting for our shared values against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That is who we are, and when we do so, never wavering, the state of our union will always be strong."

    You can watch the full response below, and read the entire transcript on PBS.

    Top photo via Flickr Creative Commons / Team Abrams

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  • Tammy Duckworth 113th Congress eadb7

    Senator Tammy Duckworth responded to Trump’s accusations of treason against Democratic members of Congress who refused to applaud his State of the Union address.

    The Illinois senator threw serious shade on Twitter on Monday evening:

    Screen Shot 2018 02 06 at 3.14.33 PM 65d40Via Twitter @senduckworth

    Duckworth, an Army veteran who lost both her legs while serving in Iraq, used the nickname as a reference  to Trump’s five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, one of which was for a bone spur in his foot, reports CNN.

    These deferments became controversial in 2015 when Trump lashed out at Vietnam War veteran Senator John McCain, writes Politico. “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” A Navy pilot at the time, John McCain endured years of torture and solitary confinement as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison.

    CNN reports that Senator Duckworth has called Trump a “draft dodger” before. However, “Cadet Bone Spurs” fits more into Trump’s lexicon of nicknames— compiled in a list by CNN. Throughout his campaign and administration, Trump has referred to his opponents with colorful monikers such as “Crooked Hillary” (Hillary Clinton), “Lyin’ Ted” (Ted Cruz) and “Little Rocket Man” (Kim Jong-un).

    According to her official Senate website, Tammy Duckworth was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in Iraq. After losing her legs and partial use of her right arm when an RPG hit her helicopter, she continued to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and later was appointed to Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs by President Obama. While a member of the House of Representatives, she served on the Armed Forces Committee. In addition to her work on the behalf of veterans, she has managed to run several marathons and acquire a Ph.D. while getting involved in a host of other issues and sitting on important committees in both the House and the Senate. She's also about to become the first Senator to give birth while in office

    You may have to resist the urge to say “Yasss, Queen” because Tammy Duckworth is such a fan of democracy. “Yasss, Senator” will do.

    Top photo via US Congress/Wikimedia Commons 

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  • MichelleButeau03 269 718df

    There is a lot on the line during all elections, but the combination of a pandemic, a president who takes away human rights, and continued civil unrest makes this one particularly stressful. The internet and its inhabitants cope with this stress through humor: Gen Z makes TikToks about what outfit they’re going to wear to the “Civil War” and Twitter millennials rag on TV pundits. Here are a few of these funny and insightful moments: 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    By Lauren Williams and Madeleine Janz 

    Header image photographed by Winnie Au
    Styling by Deirdre Govan; Makeup by Latisha Rankin; Hair by Falon Jaloi
    Mohair Coat: Universal Standard; T-shirt: Michelle’s Own; Jeans: Democracy 

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  • 294440 10150400166850042 830274145 nvia Facebook/White Stripes, photo by Autumn De Wilde

    It was a dark day when the White Stripes broke up on February 2, 2011. Since then, Jack and Meg White have apparently kept their distance from each other while Jack White has launched a solo career and Meg White has disappeared from public life. Things seemed tense between the two ex-spouses/fictional siblings/former bandmates, with Jack saying a few not-so-nice things about Meg in interviews and Meg, well, disappearing. But now, the White Stripes have reunited for a very important reason: to trash Donald Trump.

    See, Donald Trump used the White Stripes’ song “Seven Nation Army” in a campaign video without asking the White Stripes for permission. And it turns out that the White Stripes are not fans of Donald Trump — not at all.



    First, the White Stripes released a statement condemning Trump’s use of their music, and Trump himself. It’s the first time the White Stripes have spoken out as a duo — and the first time Meg White has spoken out at all — since their breakup five years ago. 

    “Regarding the use of ‘Seven Nation Army’ in a Donald Trump campaign video, The White Stripes would like to unequivocally state that they have nothing whatsoever to do with this video. They are disgusted by this association, and by the illegal use of their song,” they said.

    But a statement wasn’t enough — the White Stripes have also released some anti-Trump merch, a red T-shirt with the words “ICKY TRUMP,” a play on their 2007 song and album "Icky Thump." 

    14492446 10154417809530042 6907851482568092158 n


    As Billboard points out, the words are more than just a pun: the song “Icky Thump” contains lyrics that are pretty pertinent to Trump’s build-a-wall-to-keep-immigrants-out plan, and those lyrics are featured prominently on the back of the shirt: “White Americans, what / Nothing better to do / Why don’t you kick yourself / You’re an immigrant too / Who's using who? / What should we do? / Well you can't be a pimp / and a prostitute too." 

    The shirts are selling so fast that the website now issues a warning to expect a delay, but you can still place an order via thirdmanstore.com

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  • 48626160183 e65a8da726 k ee917

    Donald Trump gained notoriety for falsely claiming that President Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, was not a U.S. citizen and was lying about his birthplace. This statement was the genesis of the “birtherism” movement where people suspected Obama was lying about his nationality and demanded to see his birth certificate. Many people falsely claimed that Barack Obama was a Muslim. And despite there being nothing wrong with being a Muslim, it was a bald-faced lie, a movement rooted in racism and xenophobia. Even after President Obama showed his birth certificate, many people, including Trump, erroneously suggested that the birth certificate was somehow fake and continued with this conspiracy theory.

    Donald Trump is now back at it again, but this time, it’s with Kamala Harris, someone who was unequivocally born in California. In a “news conference,” Trump said that he heard that Harris “doesn’t meet the requirements” to serve as President or Vice President. It’s just another way of Trump trying to use racist rhetoric in order to tear down Black people. It should come as no surprise that this was Trump’s plan of action, because it’s almost exactly what he did to President Obama.

    Accusing someone of being from a different country just because their parents are immigrants — Barack Obama’s father was from Kenya, and Kamala Harris’ parents are from Jamaica and India — is 100% unacceptable and racist. To be clear, Kamala Harris is eligible to be Vice President and President of the United States. She was born in Oakland, California, making her a natural-born citizen, which meets the requirements to serve as either role. To suggest otherwise is to push a false narrative, something that Donald Trump has been doing ever since he entered the political sphere.

    While Trump didn’t outright say that Kamala Harris wasn’t born in the United States and he didn’t come to a definite conclusion in his so-called news conference, it was largely implied that he believed that she was ineligible. He said, “I just heard about it, I’ll take a look.” This isn’t a new strategy: when Trump was trying to discredit President Obama, he also used the same exact rhetoric of just asking questions and "wondering," but what it really did was spark a conspiracy theory, and that’s exactly what he did once again.

    There is nothing to look into because the requirements to be a Vice President or President are being a natural-born U.S. citizen, being at least 35 years old, and being a U.S. resident for at least 14 years. Kamala Harris meets these requirements, full stop. The birtherism movement during President Obama’s years in office was disgusting and racist, and it looks like history is repeating itself.

    Trump resorting to this kind of attack (a.k.a., something not at all based in reality) is a sign that he’s nervous. He’s grasping at straws, hoping that the American people won’t see through it. But we do, and we’ll show him we do when we vote him out in November.

    Header photo via Flickr Creative Commons / Gage Skidmore

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