Donald Trump

It’s Not Locker Room Talk, It’s Sexual Assault

Two weeks ago an audio recording of Donald Trump, obtained and released by the Washington Post, caused an understandable amount of outrage in the public.

The recording is a disgusting and vulgar conversation between the current presidential candidate and Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood” back in 2005, in which Trump describes his sexual advances of a married woman, saying to Bush “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… Grab ‘em by the pussy. You can do anything,” and other very explicit things about women.

Although there are many, many people who are rightfully outraged that the man who is currently running for the most important job in the nation thought that speaking about women in such a demeaning manner was okay, there are still too many people who are still blindly defending his bigotry.

Using the logic of “All men talk about women that way when they aren’t around. It’s just locker room talk,” to attempt to justify blatant misogyny and normalization of rape culture.

But the thing that they don’t understand, or maybe just completely refuse to recognize, is that what he said isn’t infuriating just because it’s Trump saying something ignorant and stupid, like he always does.

It’s not harmless talk, or just “boys being boys.” They aren’t “just words” as Trump keeps saying. It needs to be taken more seriously, especially since Donald Trump is actually an alleged rapist.

He is currently in the middle of civil litigation for the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl.

The now adult “Jane Doe,” whose actual identity has not been revealed, claims that Trump along with a registered sexual offender, Jeffrey Epstein, sexually assaulted her in 1994. Epstein served 13 months in 2008 for the solicitation of an underage girl for prostitution. Both deny these allegations.

The case will be brought to court on December 16th, which is well after the election date. If Trump were to win, he could attend a civil trial only weeks after being elected President of the United State for the sexual assault of a minor.

And Jane Doe isn’t the only woman coming forward after the release of the tapes. A former journalist at People Magazine says Trump physically assaulted her in 2005. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” Natasha Stoynoff writes in a recollection of the incident published by People Magazine on October 12th.

The New York Times also released an article on the 12th of this month, which includes the testimonies of two other women who claim they were touched inappropriately by Trump in the past.

Donald Trump was never qualified to be president to begin with, but people still backed him anyways.

But we need to stop encouraging this behavior, it’s only going to get worse.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Daniel Oines/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

For All The People That Think “Locker Room Talk” Is No Big Deal- Just Read This

The following piece was originally posted on Facebook. We have republished it here with the permission of the author. 

By Ashley Draper Sanchez

Many people who know me now, don’t know about or have only heard me tell of my days as a teenager with extremely large breasts.

My first memory of realizing my body was different than others was in the 5th grade.

My teacher handed me a note and told me to give it to my parents, and not to read it. Of course the very first chance I got, I tore it open.

It was a letter from my teacher, asking my mother to please take me to get a bra as my playtime in PE had become “distracting” for everyone else.

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I was excited to need a bra! Even at the age of eleven I knew that a bra meant womanhood-maturity!

I was always an older soul in a little body and thought that this would be a step towards being taken more seriously. That night we ventured to the local department store, and I’ll always remember the size of my very first bra; 32 B. I remember my mom being shocked. My physical development had seemed to happen overnight. I blame the hormones in the milk

We drove home and as soon as we got there, I ran to my room and put it on. I turned to face my baby pink full length mirror hung on teddy bear wallpaper.

I looked at myself, thinking “I look like the ladies in the magazines!” I smiled widely. As a 5th grader I felt a sense of worth in my appearance.

I want you to let that sink in and think about it for a moment.

It didn’t take long for that feeling to go away. Just one short year later (and one full cup size bigger) I entered the world of Junior High.

And as soon as I crossed the threshold of my middle school, the lie I believed (that looking like a magazine cover would make me happy/loved/respected), melted away into the ugly truth behind a very real rape culture driven by female objectification and misogyny.

I spent the majority of those middle school years in the counselor’s office, and made excuse after excuse to not have to face my classmates on a daily basis. I was shamed by my classmates male and female alike for the way I looked.

By the time I was in eighth grade I weighed barely 100 lbs, but wore a DD cup bra. I was assaulted and tormented on an almost daily basis. Let me just recount some of the incidents I clearly remember:

The boys would whisper and plot…and then “accidentally” bump into me and grab my breasts. This was almost a weekly occurrence.

Sitting in the courtyard, a group of eighth grade boys took turns throwing stuff in my direction to see who could score a “basket” in my cleavage. My worth that day was relegated to “3 points”.

An older student approached me, and asked if I could settle a bet with him and his friends, “How big are your nipples?! They must be huge!”

Many boys claimed to have made out with me, slept with me, and felt up my breasts. Some said they were fake, others said they were real. No one cared I had hardly ever held a boys hand in real life.

On what I am guessing was a dare, a boy leaned over in algebra and undid my bra in the middle of a test.

I got a special note from my doctor that I wouldn’t have to participate in PE, because during my first semester I was traumatized as I had to run a lap around the gym to the audience of boys in the stands cheering me on and catcalling as I jogged by.

The author (L) with her husband.

The author (L) with her husband.

In the cafeteria in 6th grade, I was asked by a boy if I could squirt some milk into his cup because the lunchroom was all out. He then offered to let his black friend do it so that the milk would be “chocolate”.

In 7th grade a group of girls would whisper the word “slut” whenever I walked by. I didn’t even know what that word meant.

In 7th grade I had a guy ask me if he could see how many pencils he could stick in my cleavage. I let him, and then cried for 30 minutes in the bathroom afterwards. My worth that day was 7 pencils.

I was offered $25 to let a group of boys see my boobs.

One day I wore a graphic t-shirt that said 49 on it. The rest of the day I was called “49 DD”.

From that day forward (much to his shagrin) I wore my older brother’s oversized shirts to school.

I cannot count the times my bra straps were snapped, or the many incidences in which I would look over a see a group of boys making “motor boating sounds” or even the amount of times males would lose their filter all together and yell out something like “damn girl! Your tits are huge!”

I moved schools and states in 10th grade. It didn’t take a full day at my new school for the rumor of me being “a stripper in downtown Atlanta” to take hold.

My breasts were fondled, mocked, ogled, hit, objectified…and as they were all of those things, so was I.

By the time I was in high school, I looked in the mirror and had the same thought I had that day I tried on my very first bra, “my worth is based on how I look” but this time there was no smile. I was so much more, wasn’t I? Wasn’t I funny…and kind? Wasn’t I smart? I thought I was. I was failing many classes because I spent them crying and hiding.

From the time I was 11 until I was 18, even adult men would ogle me in public. My sweet grandma on my mother’s side, who has a pretty severe case of dementia, can still recount with gusto being with me in the grocery store when I was 13 and hearing a grown man make a loud comment about my breasts. My sweet grandma went off on him, and then I consoled her.

My father was a minister and I recall finding a letter written to him from a member, about me being a “distraction” at the church.

Now I was keeping people from God. What kind of foul creature was I?

I had money thrown at me out of cars.

Grown men in cars would roll down their window and ask me how much for a “titty f***?”

This is just a sampling for you. A “locker room talk” pupu platter, if you will.

I graduated high school weighing 105 lbs with FF breasts. The moment I turned 18, I submitted a claim to insurance to have a reduction done. I was told over the phone it would take 30-60 days to hear back but to please fax my photos and documentation. They called me back two hours later with a fully funded approval for surgery.

I have physical scars that remind me of that time in my life, but the emotional scars are far more prominent. I struggle daily with self worth.

It’s something my husband and I are working through together, but it affects me and my marriage every single day. The only reason I made it through as in tact as I did is because I knew Jesus, so I ultimately knew I was loved and had worth in who I was in him.

Sometimes the assault was physical, sometimes it was verbal but let me tell you the damage is the same.

For those of you who don’t think “locker room talk” has lasting effects, watch my face when I receive a compliment and witness my inability to comprehend your sincerity.

For those of you who don’t think it’s “that big of a deal” watch my breathing get faster when a male approaches me without my husband near.

For those who’d call it harmless, if you could only see how many tears I shed some mornings as my husband consoles me while I breakdown about my “worthlessness” and inadequacies.

These boys and men, they felt a sense of ownership over me and my body. A seemingly innate dominance, and what’s worse, I was dehumanized through the process in which they exerted their false sense of ownership.

Where did they learn that this was okay? Who told them this was acceptable? There are so many answers to this question.

But the biggest one is; American Culture. The porn industry, the media, the President (yes, Bill Clinton was president at the time and I was compared to Monica Lewinsky more than once). A women’s worth lies in their sexuality, and the men get to assign that worth.

The scars of youth don't heal as quickly as we would want. Photo Credit: Chad Cooper/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The scars of youth don’t heal as quickly as we would want. Photo Credit: Chad Cooper/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

That is what our children are being taught on a daily basis.

“Boys will be boys!” Do you know how many well intentioned people told me that to console me? Guess what affect that had? It set up a pattern of “settling” from me that led me into some unhealthy and abusive relationships.

Last night when I heard Donald Trump brush off his comments as “locker room talk”, there was a feeling of desperation and panic that rose up in me that I hadn’t felt for 15 years.

My 5 year old daughter lie asleep in her room mere feet away from my TV screen. In one moment I could see her closed door, behind which she slept peacefully unawares, and his face on the screen at the same time. And I was angry.

By elevating and looking past this type of behavior you are saying it’s okay.

You are telling young boys that degradation is normal, that assault is okay, that you can tear down half the human race and still rise to the most powerful and venerated position in the world.

This is not progress. There is no policy, no bill, no appointment that is more important to me than stopping the evil that is rape culture.

Because that’s what this falls into. I don’t subscribe or adhere to any type of excuse that allows humans to brush off reproachable behavior. This idea that “it’s just the way they are” or “they’re going to do it anyway” has to go away.

We have to start expecting and demanding more of ourselves as human beings, and a big part of that is NOT electing someone who engages in the verbal or physical assault of someone else.

Many people would say Hillary has verbally assaulted victims, and that’s fine if you believe that. Don’t vote for her either.

This isn’t an endorsement of a candidate. It’s a denouncement of behavior we’ve clearly approved of or settled for, to bring us to this place in history.

Real, good, amazing people exist out there. Unfortunately none of them are running for president.

It’s a broken system, it’s a broken country. But can we come together and agree that our daughters deserve more?

Can we teach them to raise their standards and not tolerate behavior or treatment that diminishes their worth as human beings?

Can we start by raising OUR standards as a country? By demanding and raising up leaders who have vision, experience, plans, AND integrity? No more excuses. No more “boys will be boys” and “politicians will be politicians”.

America, all I can do is tell you the same thing my sweet amazing husband has to tell me almost daily, to get me into the right frame of mind when I doubt my worth and tears fill my eyes. And hope you believe it.

“I love you. You are the standard by which I measure everyone else. I struck gold when I found you, and I’m the luckiest person in the world to call you home. You deserve the best”

You do. I do. WE do. My five year old daughter does. STOP the madness. Don’t settle, America.

No matter what happens on November 8th, I will teach my daughter and my sons that it’s not okay. It’s not the way it is or the way it’s supposed to be.

And even if we can’t get there now, maybe the next generation of voters will demand more from each other and God willing, more from their leaders.

My first and last political post of the season. Carry on.

This was originally posted on Facebook by Ashley Draper Sanchez.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jenni C/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Trump’s Sexism Is Literally Bad For Your Kids According To Experts

By Brian D. Johnson, PhD and Laurie Berdahl, MD

Donald Trump’s remarks about women during the presidential campaign and the years preceding it have often been termed sexist, cruel, misogynistic, and degrading.

While many parents are concerned about the negative impacts these comments may have on their daughters’ self-esteem and on equality for women in the workplace, we believe they have even farther-reaching, more deleterious implications for our children and society

As an ob-gyn physician and a child psychologist who raised our kids together, we’ve been increasingly concerned about the trend in sexualization of women and children.

We think that Trump’s behavior promotes this extremely detrimental process, which is linked to many problems including male aggression and violence against women and girls.

As opposed to undergoing healthy sexual development, girls are now pressured to grow up sexualized.

Interpreting the American Psychological Association’s Taskforce Report, any one of the following indicates sexualization of a girl: 1) she or others believe that her value is mainly or solely based on her sexual appeal or behavior; 2) her sexiness equates with a narrowly defined, unrealistic standard of physical attractiveness; 3) she is not a person but an object (a thing) to be evaluated and used by others for sexual purposes; or 4) sexuality is imposed on her (such as child sexual abuse).

Research clearly shows that sexualization imposes dangerous beliefs and behaviors on both girls and boys.

For girls, it’s associated with lower self-esteem, early initiation of sexual activity, depression, and anxiety, risk factors for being victimized by manipulation, and sexual, dating, and domestic violence.

Female sexualization makes both boys and girls more likely to be accepting of stereotypical gender roles and sexual aggression and violence against women, and to have lower empathy for victims.

When boys and young men believe that women are supposed to be sexual objects and men are to be dominant and aggressive, they’re more likely to mistreat women and commit rape.

Read More: What The Election Of Florida’s Racist, Conspiracy Believing Governor In 1916 Should Teach Us About 2016

Essentially, sexualization may function to keep girls “in their place” as objects of sexual use and beauty, while at the same time promoting aggression and violence against them.

Boys can but are less likely to be sexualized.

What does this have to do with Donald Trump?

Raising emotionally healthy and behaviorally smart children who don’t intentionally harm others based on gender or other differences requires that parents and other authority figures demonstrate belief in gender equality and respect for human dignity and work to stop the scourge of bullying.

Trump’s consistent, overt valuation of women such as former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, news anchors and reporters, celebrities, and political opponents based on body features like weight, buttocks, and breast size cannot be misconstrued—it clearly indicates belief that females are not equal to males but are objects to be rated by body type, demeaned, dominated, and used.


Trump after giving a speech at an October rally in Arizona. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The double standard for male Trump surrogates, for whom physical characteristics like weight appear inconsequential, and hiring campaign associates accused of sexual harassment and domestic violence support this.

Donald even minimized and accepted sexual violence in the military as an expected consequence of having female and male soldiers working together.

This demonstrated his probable belief in a common rape myth: that rape is an impulsive, uncontrollable act of sexual gratification for men when they’re around women.

Yet he also benefits from women who may not fit his mold of acceptable, sexualized female “looks,” but who excuse his reprehensible remarks as silliness or blame victims for being too sensitive.

Read More: The One Thing Clinton and Trump Need During the Next Debate According To Business School Professors

These remarks aren’t silly, but deadly serious.

Trump has even shown sexualized attitudes toward children including his own daughters. When asked about one-year-old Tiffany, he remarked that she was a really beautiful baby who has her mother’s legs and then making a gesture indicating breasts, commented that time will tell if she got her mother’s breasts.

Who says that about their baby girl?

A believer and promoter of sexualization of girls would.

Inappropriate statements about daughter Ivanka’s beautiful body and desire to date her (if he weren’t her father) have also emerged.

Upon meeting his good friends’ daughter, Paris Hilton when she was 12 years old, he reportedly said, “Who the hell is that?” and recounting the story said, “At 12, I wasn’t interested. . . but she was beautiful, ” reflecting attitudes that can result in abusing children sexually.

He later claimed to watch Hilton’s teenage sex tape that was leaked against her will.

In addition, Trump bullies women, as he tries to humiliate and dominate by using taunts, threats, sexual comments, rumors, lies, and name-calling, including referring to them as animals like pigs or dogs to dehumanize and reduce empathy for them.

Dehumanization and reduced empathy are common elements of an aggressive or violent perpetrator’s psyche allowing him or her to intentionally harm others for personal gain, free from a pesky conscience.

Bullies often manipulate people.

We believe that when Donald says, “I love women,” it reflects his love for what they can do for him rather than any interest in their well-being.

After all, he verbally attacks women who disagree with him.

Likely narcissism doesn’t afford him the ability to consider opinions different from his self-serving ones, making it difficult to nonaggressively react to other people’s perspectives, or to perceived challenges to his ego.

He instead uses classic modes of male dominance: interrupting women when they’re talking, and dismissing concerns or questions as indicating mental instability, “neuroticism,” or even—yes, really—menstruation!

By the way, when adults in children’s lives promote bullying or sexualization, or don’t speak up against others who do, it condones these behaviors.

So you can really help your kids by recognizing and expressing your disapproval of these practices, and by expecting kind and respectful treatment of men and women as whole people with thoughts and feelings.

Presidents are prominent authority figures who influence the behavior of others, including youth, and who should represent a nation’s overarching values—at least in a democracy.

As the leader of the free world, our next president will be in a position to either help reduce violence and aggression and promote gender equality shown to be vital underpinnings of good childhood outcomes for both boys and girls, or, alternatively, to usher in new heights of degradation of our daughters, harming their health and safety.

Words matter, and parents need to speak out to protect their children.

For practical methods to squelch sexualization, bullying, and sexual violence, see the authors’ new book, WARNING SIGNS: How to Protect Your Kids from Becoming Victims or Perpetrators of Violence and Aggression and website

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Turner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

What The Election Of Florida’s Racist, Conspiracy Believing Governor In 1916 Should Teach Us About 2016

By Patricia Ray

A successful businessman with no political experience decides to run for office and finds success while taping into populist sentiment.

Sound like a modern political tale, huh?

As the old saying goes, nothing is ever truly new under the sun.

The 1916 Florida gubernatorial election was not an ordinary election and Sidney Johnston Catts was not an ordinary candidate.

He was a political outsider to say the least – an ordained Baptist minister in Alabama who later moved to Florida and became an insurance salesman.

Only a few years after moving to Florida, he decided to run for governor as a Democrat, despite having no prior political experience.

In addition to his lack of experience, Catts also was known for having outlandish beliefs.

He was staunchly anti-Catholic and anti-African American, and he believed that monks from St. Leo’s Abbey and the African American population of Florida would take over the state for Kaiser Wilhelm II, and if Germany won the war, Pope Benedict XV would move the Holy See to San Antonio, Florida.

Yep. He seriously believed that.

He even carried a gun in fear that the Pope has sent an assassin to kill him.

Cats giving his inaugural address. Photo Credit: Florida Memory.

Catts giving his inaugural address. Photo Credit: Florida Memory.

Catts advocated for radical ideas such as women’s suffrage, taxation of church property, and a state income tax, much to the chagrin of the conservative, Democratic-controlled Florida legislature.

Read More: The Incredible Story Of How A College Student Singlehandedly Changed The Constitution

At the same time, his racism went so far as to claim African Americans were “an inferior race” in response to lynchings in Florida.

Catts supported prohibition and did not attend his own inaugural ball because he opposed dancing.

Catts’ slogan was “Florida Crackers have only three friends in this world: God Almighty, Sears Roebuck, and Sidney Johnston Catts,” and he became known as the “Cracker Messiah.”


A political cartoon depicting the isolationist mood felt by many in 1916. Photo Credit: Jena Fuller/Flickr (CC by-SA 1.0)

“People did not take him seriously [as a candidate], and when they finally did, it was too late,” Dr. Gary Mormino, a Florida historian and the Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

As eccentric as Catts’ beliefs were, many of them resonated with the public.

Due to the anxiety of World War I, anti-German sentiments were high, and Catts’ fear mongering heightened anxieties.

Florida was a primarily Protestant state, with Catholics comprising less than 5% of the population at the time.

In the years before 1916, millions of Irish, Slavic, and Italian Catholics immigrated to the United States, and many people felt uneasy about these immigrants. The Protestant population largely was also in favor of prohibition, and Florida was already in the midst of becoming a dry state.

Catts played into the zeitgeist of the prohibition movement.

These views went hand in hand, and Catts claimed, “There is no question and rum and Romanism go together.”

Dr. Mormino describes Catts as a “larger than life figure” and attributes some of Catts’ success to his charisma and strength as a speaker.

People liked his message and viewed him as “one of them”.

In past elections, whoever won the Democratic nomination for Florida governor typically won, as the Republicans were a minority party in much of the American South.

Read More: The Infamous Borgia Family Is Still Around And More Important Than You May Think

But in 1916, the Democrats were spilt in Florida.

Catts originally won the Democratic nomination by a margin of 544 votes but then lost it to William Knott by a mere 23 votes after a recount.

The underhanded dealings surrounding the nomination and the recount garnered support for Catts and painted him as a martyr the party establishment had robbed of the nomination.


Catts (bottom left) with members of his family. Photo Credit: Florida Memory.

In wake of this support, he ran for the Prohibitionist party nomination and won, going on to win the election with 43% of the vote and becoming the first Florida governor to win as a third-party candidate.

During his term as Governor, Catts reformed the convict lease system. He also made labor and tax reforms, furthered his prohibitionist agenda, improved transportation systems, and passed legislation relating to the care of the mentally ill.

He supported women’s rights and even appointed a woman to his staff. Despite opposition from the legislature, Catts was able to pass several legislative measures.

As you’ve probably guessed, there are many parallels between the 1916 Florida gubernatorial election and the 2016 presidential election.

Sidney Johnston Catts was a political outsider like Donald Trump whereas Hillary Clinton is seen as more of an establishment candidate, much like William Knott.

Many people also did not take Trump’s campaign very seriously until he won the Republican nomination.

In 1916, the fear of war fueled anti-immigrant sentiments towards Italians, Poles, and Slovaks, and Catts was able to play into the public’s fears, making his crazy ideas seem more palatable.

Today, fears stemming from 9/11 and other recent events has allowed anti-Muslim ideas and policies to gain alarming traction.

Read More: Why The White Working Class Really Supports Trump

For example, Trump has called for a blanket ban of Muslims from entering the country.

In 1916, the conditions were just right for Sidney Johnston Catts to win the seat of governor of Florida.

After leaving office, he ran for governor twice more and once for the U.S. Senate but was unsuccessful each time.

As strange as Catts’ gubernatorial election seems, some aspects of it are paralleled today, and perhaps this oddity of the past should be considered as we look to the future.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Public Domain/ Library Of Congress

Exactly How Often Did Trump Interrupt Clinton During The Debate?

Last night the entire nation turned on their TV’s to watch the first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Or, to more accurately describe it, viewers watched an hour and a half of Donald Trump spouting incoherent half-sentences, flailing his arms, and interrupting Hillary Clinton nearly every time she tried to speak.

To be frank, no one was expecting Trump to do well.

He doesn’t exactly have an track record for being the most comprehensible speaker to ever run for public office. (Cicero, he is not.)

But the blatant amount of unprofessionalism displayed by Trump, toward both Clinton and debate moderator Lester Holt, was shocking even for him.

Throughout the entire debate, Trump constantly disrespected his opponent and the moderator by talking over and interrupting them countless times.

Well not exactly countless, because we were keeping track.

28 times he interrupted, to be exact. (Some outlets, put the number as high as 51 times.)

People watch the first Presidential debate of 2016 at the LBJ Library in Texas. Photo Credit: LBJ Library/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

People watch the first Presidential debate of 2016 at the LBJ Library in Texas. Photo Credit: LBJ Library/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

28 separate times during Hillary’s allotted speaking time Trump felt the overwhelming need to blurt out whatever immature and asinine comment he thought of rather than respectfully allowing his opponent finish her 2 minutes or give her rebuttal before speaking.

Not every one of these 28 times was an intrusive or rude full comment.

Actually, he mostly interrupted with audible sighs into the microphone while she was speaking, or just plainly yelling “wrong” at her midsentence.

And these 28 times don’t even include the numerous times he spoke over or made rude comments to the moderator.

“You asked me a question, did you not?” was a phrase said by Trump more than once when Holt attempted to stop Trump’s incoherent rambling and move on to the next segment of the debate, even when Holt hadn’t even really asked him anything at all.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Lws & Clrk/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The Day The Bough Should Break

Cover Photo: The podium collapsing after Trump’s birther statement at the Old Post Office in Washington, D.C.

This morning, Donald Trump lied to the American people in front of a group of Medal of Honor recipients.

His lie was more insidious than his usual boasts and brags about his penis size and net-worth.

After hijacking cable news attention for over 30 minutes, having promised a press conference in which he would address his longhand belief that President Obama was not born in the United States, Trump said 67 words on the matter.

“Now not to mention her in the same breath but Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making American strong and great again. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you every, thank you.”

None of what he said is true and it needs to matter.

Hillary Clinton never personally mentioned the birther issue on the campaign trail. Her campaign never officially mentioned the birther issue on the campaign trail either.

Yes, some of her supporters did float the idea that Obama was not really from middle-America and may have been born in another part of the world.

But Trump is being supported by former KKK Imperial Wizard David Duke, so what are we are really talking about here?

Donald Trump did not “finish” the controversy. There never was a legitimate controversy.

President Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 to a woman who lived most of her early life in Kansas.

He is as much as an American citizen as any other, including Donald Trump.

Donald Trump had the temerity to use military veterans as a human shield and refused to take any questions after his breathtaking series of lies at the event.

His supporters regularly use racially charged rhetoric on social media and seem to be blind in their support for him.

And now he wants us all to erase five years of questioning the birthplace of the twice elected President of the United States Of America with two lies.

He never even apologized for what many have seen as a racially charged attack and attempt to delegitimize the first African-American President.

With 58% of Americans now approving of the job that President Obama is doing, today could turn out to be the day in which the bough breaks for Trump’s nationalist campaign.

We should all do what we can to make sure that actually comes to pass.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: / Twitter 

The VFW Just Took A Big Punch At Trump Over The Way He’s Talked About The Khans

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of the most powerful American Veterans organization in the nation strongly condemned Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump for his attacks on the family of a fallen soldier.

The strongly worded VFW statement comes on the heels of Trump’s continued swipes at Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the parents of an American soldier who died in Iraq in 2004.

“Election year or not, the VFW will not tolerate anyone berating a Gold Star family member for exercising his or her right of speech or expression,” Brian Duffy, the newly elected head of the VFW said in a statement. “There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed. Giving one’s life to nation is the greatest sacrifice, followed closely by all Gold Star families, who have a right to make their voices heard.”

The statement also says:

“Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump has a history of lashing out after being attacked, but to ridicule a Gold Star Mother is out-of-bounds.”

Duffy was only elected as the head of the VFW on July 27. He has previously said that he believes that soldiers should return home from war more emphatic.

Khizr Khan famously said in his speech to the Democratic National Convention that Trump lacks empathy.

“We must push a message that the VFW is an organization that has always been rooted in service to others, that we are an organization of doers, and an organization comprised of men and women who returned home from their wars and conflicts as better, more compassionate and confident human beings,” Duffy said after winning his role as the head of the VFW last week.

Arizona’s Senior senator John McCain has also bashed Trump over the way in which he has treated the Khan family.

“Arizona is watching,” McCain said in a 700 word statement. “It is time for Donald Trump to set the example for our country and the future of the Republican Party. While our Party has bestowed upon him the nomination, it is not accompanied by unfettered license to defame those who are the best among us.

“Lastly, I’d like to say to Mr. and Mrs. Khan: thank you for immigrating to America,” McCain said. “We’re a better country because of you. And you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Valerie Everett

It Doesn’t Matter That Ted Cruz Broke The “Pledge”

If you paid attention to the news in any amount whatsoever during the Republican national convention, you are probably aware that on the third night (July 20), Ted Cruz gave a speech where not only did he decline to formally endorse Donald Trump, but implicitly told voters not to vote for him if it violated their conscience.

Not surprisingly, this speech prompted much outrage from the party.

He was booed offstage.

Former allies such as Sarah Palin said that his career was over.

Rick Perry and Dan Patrick (the lieutenant governor of Texas) have been mentioned as possible primary opponents against Cruz when he runs for re-election in the Senate in 2018.

Donald Trump is reportedly so embittered that not only does he not want Cruz’s endorsement should he change his mind, and has talked about funding SuperPACs against him and John Kasich, who also refused to endorse, in future elections they run in.

Ted Cruz himself has since explained his reasoning behind his decision to not endorse Trump, saying that he is “not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and attacks my father.”

That, in his opinion, invalidated the pledge that all the candidates signed to support the eventual nominee back in September.

Or did it?

I am a Republican who supported Ted Cruz for the nomination prior to him dropping out on May 3.

As I saw many of my fellow Cruz supporters turn into former supporters over his decision not to endorse, I struggled to figure out whether I should do the same.

I sympathized with the content of his speech (so much, that the Trump-sponsored vicious reaction to his statements, which included emphasis on the importance of preserving the Constitution and the idea that voters must vote according to what they believe is best for our freedoms, prompted me to decide to vote third party even though I’m a registered Republican), but I wondered whether he should be judged for apparently failing to keep his word.

I eventually decided that he should not be judged regarding the so-called “pledge.” Why? Because the pledge was invalidated into non-existence in deed. Not by Cruz, but by Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican Party.

As I thought about how to respond, I remembered an event that took place on March 29, 2015, when Donald Trump also renounced the pledge at the CNN Town Hall event that evening.

According to Time, Trump’s decision to renounce the pledge violated the terms that would have made him eligible to be on the ballots in states that required a loyalty pledge.

This could have caused him to forfeit his delegates in such states that had already voted at the time, such as South Carolina.

That didn’t happen, and the question is, why?

Why didn’t Reince Priebus follow through with his own rules, especially considering that as a leader of the GOP establishment, Trump’s downfall perhaps would have benefited him?

I can’t say for sure, but I would not rule out the idea Priebus’ decision not to penalize Trump was related to his belief that Trump can make deals.

After all, he and Trump had no problem making deals (abeit, indirectly via a coalition of Trump supporters and establishment figures in the Republican National Committee) that threw out proposed amendments to the convention rules that would have limited the power of the party chair, and redistributed it in the hands of lower-ranking members who could have affected the outcome of the development of the party platform, if not the convention itself.

Regardless of Priebus’ motivations, his actions do not reflect kindly on the reputation of the party, which, based on them, has been attacking Cruz based on a false premise.

A pledge that is not enforced is not a pledge. It is a joke.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s The Argument For Why Liberals Should Vote For Donald Trump

There is literally no fucking argument for why a progressive or liberal person should vote for Donald Trump.

It doesn’t exist.

If you make the argument then you are not a liberal.

This is not rocket science.

Just vote for Hillary and get over yourself.

We can’t let an orange orangutan become President.

Photo Credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

End of article.


Share this with your liberal friends to get a rise out of them.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

All Quiet On The Case Western Front

This piece is part of RISE NEWS’ coverage of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to date information and check regularly on throughout the week. 

The third floor of Cleveland Public Library’s main branch is currently home to one of 18 touring copies of William Shakespeare’s 1623 First Folio and an original print of John James Audubon’s Blue Jay.

Swing by the library during the Republican National Convention, and chances are you’ll have both of them, along with every other artifact and tome in the collection, all to yourself.

Just before 6:00 PM closing time on Monday afternoon, librarians said they had seen no more than 30 people over the course of the entire day, less than one-fifth of the usual, non-Convention weekday traffic count.

This atypical tranquility might have registered as a minor curiosity amidst leather-bound labyrinths and underneath vaulted ceilings, where peace and quiet are familiar companions. But even around Cleveland’s downtown and waterfront districts, where Convention-week carnage of various orders and magnitudes has been predicted if not expected, unanticipated placidity was the order of the day, and it did not go unnoticed.

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A government vehicle used to block a road near the main demonstration site for protestors in Cleveland. Photo Credit: Rich Robinson/ RISE NEWS

“So far you haven’t seen anything bad happen, and I hope we don’t. I hope it stays peaceful,” Eric, a Cleveland-native said while walking on a break from his downtown catering job.

Eric had helped direct myself and another RISE NEWS reporter to Willard Park, one of three designated downtown protest zones, along with Public Square and Perk Plaza.

At Willard Park, demonstrators lounged without controversy or confrontation in the shade of trees and E-Z UP tents.

At Public Square, the locus of the day’s activity, speakers alternated through a prearranged schedule of turns at a stage and PA system with relatively little discord.

One man with an AK-47 slung across his shoulder drew a crowd, as did a lineup in hats embroidered with FEAR GOD and signs reading “HOMO SEX IS SIN,” but neither demonstration erupted into violence.

An unidentified black woman representing the Cleveland-based Imperial Women’s Coalition was arrested by a team of several police officers in the middle of her speech.

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An unidentified black woman representing the Cleveland-based Imperial Women’s Coalition being arrested by a team of several police officers during the first day of the RNC. Photo Credit: Jordan Cissell/ RISE NEWS.

Witnesses who had been in queue behind the stage when the woman was handcuffed speculated that she had had an outstanding warrant for her arrest from a prior interaction with officers within the past three to four weeks.

You would have been hard pressed to walk or drive through downtown on Monday without some interaction with the police, as officers led motorcades, directed traffic, and patrolled the streets and sidewalks by foot, by bike, and by horse.

Joining Cleveland Police Department and Ohio State Highway Patrol officers were badges from Indiana, Michigan, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, and California, walking reminders that the city has taken steps to prepare for outsized personalities and events both inside and outside of Quicken Loans Arena.

On Monday, at least, the tone outside was decidedly low-key.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Rich Robinson/ RISE NEWS

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