U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2016

Darren Hauck/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Clinton campaign to participate in Wisconsin recount
Hillary Clinton’s campaign will participate in the Green Party-instigated presidential recount in Wisconsin, campaign counsel Marc Elias said Saturday. “Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise [the recount] option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides,” Elias wrote in a statement at Medium. “If [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein follows through as she has promised and pursues recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we will take the same approach in those states as well.” Were the recounts to flip all three states to Clinton — an unlikely prospect — she could unseat President-elect Donald Trump.

Source: CNN, Medium

2. Trump team says recount is a ‘scam’ run by ‘sore losers’
President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday and Sunday to label recount efforts underway in Wisconsin and possibly Michigan and Pennsylvania a “scam” that will change “nothing” about the election results. Trump critiqued Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who is funding the recount project, as well as Hillary Clinton, whose campaign announced Saturday they would participate in any recounts Stein arranges. Top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway also blasted the recount plan, calling its supporters a “pack of sore losers.” “After asking Mr. Trump and his team a million times on the trail, ‘Will HE accept the election results?’ it turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein can’t accept reality,” she said.

Source: Associated Press, The Hill

3. Obama, Trump respond to Castro’s death
“At this time of Fidel Castro’s passing, we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” President Obama said in a response to the former Cuban president’s death on Saturday, adding, “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.” President-elect Donald Trump took a more forcible tone, condemning the late Castro as “a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.” Trump expressed hope that Castro’s demise will bring greater freedom to Cuba after years of “firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights.”

Source: The Guardian, The Week

4. Canada’s Justin Trudeau criticized for effusive Castro eulogy
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came under heavy criticism Saturday after he issued a statement expressing “deep sorrow” at the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, calling him a “remarkable leader” and “a legendary revolutionary and orator” who “made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.” Trudeau did not mention Castro’s notorious human rights record and suppression of dissent. A #TrudeauEulogies hashtag on Twitter soon saw users imagining Trudeau warmly remembering figures like Pol Pot, Darth Vader, and Adolf Eichmann. Cuban-American Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) slammed Trudeau’s comments, with Cruz asking why “young socialists idolize totalitarian tyrants.”

Source: The Guardian, The Hill

5. Syrian government captures key parts of rebel-held Aleppo
Troops representing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies reported Saturday they captured key portions of eastern Aleppo, the besieged Syrian city that has been decimated by brutal fighting and bombing since 2012. The government-aligned forces reportedly planned to split the rebel-held territory into two smaller areas, seizing the largest rebel-held neighborhood in between. At least 200 civilians have died in east Aleppo thanks to Assad regime bombardment in the last 12 days alone, while about 20 civilians, including 11 children, were killed by rebel bombs in government-controlled west Aleppo in the same time.

Source: Reuters, Yahoo News

6. Jerry Falwell Jr. says he turned down a role in the Trump White House
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. said Saturday he turned down President-elect Donald Trump’s offer to make him education secretary thanks to personal reasons and obligations at Liberty. Falwell was rumored to be a contender for the position before Trump announced his nomination of Michigan’s Betsy DeVos, whom Falwell labeled an “excellent choice.” The scion of one of conservative evangelicalism’s most notable institutions, Falwell has long come under criticism for his enthusiastic support of Trump, whose personal history many have argued is anathema to the principles the Falwell name traditionally represented.

Source: Politico, The Hill

7. Letters threatening genocide, praising Trump sent to California mosques
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that photocopies of a handwritten letter threatening genocide against Muslims and praising President-elect Donald Trump was sent to at least three California mosques. “You are evil. You worship the devil. But your day of reckoning has arrived,” reads a copy of the note released by CAIR, alleging Trump will “do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.” The San Jose Police Department is investigating the incident. Trump himself has denounced such acts and told people engaging in this type of behavior to stop.

Source: Los Angeles Times, CBS News

8. Israeli troops clash directly with ISIS for the first time
Israeli forces killed about four militants reportedly allegiant to the Islamic State with an airstrike Sunday in what is believed to be the first direct fight between Israel and ISIS. No Israeli soldiers were killed in the encounter, which occurred in the disputed Golan Heights territory along the Israel-Syria border. Israeli Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the Israeli troops came under fire from “Shuhada al-Yarmouk, an [ISIS] affiliate,” and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel would not allow ISIS “elements or other hostile elements use the cover of the war in Syria to establish themselves next to our borders.”

Source: Yahoo News, Haaretz

9. Bourbon Street shooting kills 1, wounds 9
Nine people were injured and one killed in a mass shooting early Sunday morning in New Orleans’ historic French Quarter. The attack occurred at an intersection of Bourbon Street, a popular tourist area busy with Thanksgiving visitors and attendees of Bayou Classic Weekend, a college football event. Two men were arrested on the scene for illegal possession of firearms, but one of them was wounded in the shooting and the other has not been described as the perpetrator. Investigation is ongoing, and the names and condition of the victims are yet to be released. This is the second mass shooting in the French Quarter in three years.

Source: CNN, The Times-Picayune

10. Actor Ron Glass dies at 71
Emmy-nominated actor Ron Glass died Friday night of respiratory failure, his agent, Jeffrey Leavett, told CNN Saturday evening. He was 71 years old. Best known for his role as Det. Ron Harris in Barney Miller, a police sitcom that ran from 1975 to 1982, and his role in Firefly, Glass more recently appeared in shows including Friends, CSI, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Ron was a private, gentle, and caring man,” Leavett said. “He was an absolute delight to watch on screen. Words cannot adequately express my sorrow.”

Source: CNN, NPR

U.S. Politics

Army Corps of Engineers plans to evict Dakota Access protest camp

CREDIT: AP/John L. Mone

THINK PROGRESS

The announcement comes as dozens of protestors were arrested at a Bismarck mall on Black Friday.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced plans on Friday to evict the Oceti Sakowin camp in North Dakota, saying anti-pipeline protestors have until December 5 to leave. The camp is a key site in the ongoing fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial $3.8-billion pipeline project that would run through the only water supply for the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

The pipeline protestors — who call themselves water protectors — face arrest if they don’t vacate the camp in time, Col. John Henderson of the Corps said in a letter delivered to Tribal Chairman Cave Archambault II on Friday. Citing weather and safety concerns, Henderson claimed the decision was “necessary” to shield the public from “the violent confrontation between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area.”

In a statement issued in response to the letter, Archambault II said that the Tribe was “deeply disappointed” by the decision, but reiterated their commitment to protecting the water supply and opposing the pipeline’s construction, particularly the section that would impact the Oahe Lake. “The best way to protect people during the winter, and reduce the risk of conflict between water protectors and militarized police, is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing, and deny it now,” he said.

The Dakota Access pipeline is a 1,172 mile project that would move close to half a million barrels of crude oil per day through the Dakotas, Iowa, and Illinois. The project would run under a portion of the Missouri River that sits than a mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. For months, tribal members and Indigenous activists concerned that a spill could devastate the tribe’s sole water supply and destroy sacred sites have been protesting the pipeline’s construction, amid increasing tension between law enforcement officials, who have deployed tear gas and water hoses against hundreds of protestors. According to NBC, a protestor was hospitalized after a grenade nearly blew off her arm.

Meanwhile, more than 30 protestors were arrested at a mall in Bismarck, North Dakota on Black Friday, in a rally planned to coincide with the busiest shopping day of the year. Chaotic video footage captured of the incident shows police arresting dozens of protestors, many chanting “Water is Life.” At one point, they appear to hurl a woman to the ground.

“They just grabbed that woman by the hair, they pulled her down by the hair,” someone says.

Last month, more than 140 people were arrested and dozens injured after law enforcement officials deployed pepper spray and bean bag shots to remove protestors from a camp; earlier this month, police officers pepper sprayed dozens of protestors standing waist-deep in water and shot at least two with rubber bullets.

“My kids get maced every single day,” Eryn Wise of the Indigenous Youth Council told ThinkProgress’ Laurel Raymond. “They tease me and say that the mace doesn’t hurt as bad anymore. I wash it out of their hair, and I’m sick and tired of having to use the water that we’re fighting for to wash the pain off of them.”

Prominent environmental organizations have condemned the aggression, as well as the recent announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“This attempt to dislodge water protectors from their own lands as they stand up for their rights and protect their heritage is a disrespectful and disappointing decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” the Sierra Club said in a statement following the Army Corps’ announcement. “If anyone should vacate this land, it is Energy Transfer, the company recklessly pushing this pipeline. The Sierra Club continues to stand with our tribal allies as they peacefully organize in this historic effort, and it is clear we are all determined to continue to keep up this fight in the weeks and months to come.”

Erica Hellerstein

U.S. Politics

White House insists hackers didn’t sway election, even as recount begins

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I’m certain that the POTUS had no choice but to put on a unified front for the sake of…if not the appearance of comity within the American political process…

POLITICO

The Obama administration said it has seen no evidence of hackers tampering with the 2016 presidential election, even as recount proceedings began in Wisconsin.

“We stand behind our election results, which accurately reflect the will of the American people,” a senior administration official told POLITICO late Friday.

“The federal government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting our electoral process on election day,” the official added. “We believe our elections were free and fair from a cybersecurity perspective.”

Green Party candidate Jill Stein on Friday filed for a recount in Wisconsin and has several days to file for recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, two other states whose results she has called into question, citing hacking fears. The three normally Democratically leaning states were crucial to Donald Trump’s victory.

Stein’s campaign began fundraising efforts to file for recounts in those states following a report from New York magazine that said prominent cybersecurity experts were urging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to contest the results there. The leading voting security specialist from that group later clarified that there was no actual evidence of hackers meddling with the vote tallies, and said they were simply encouraging an audit just to be sure.

On Saturday, the Clinton campaign broke its long silence on the issue with a statement from the campaign’s general counsel, Marc Elias.

In a post on Medium, Elias confirmed that independent experts had briefed the campaign on potential irregularities that could be the result of hacking, but he said that ultimately the campaign found no “actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology.”

The senior Obama administration official reiterated the government’s accusation that Russia had directed its hackers to go after U.S. political organizations and political operatives’ email accounts with the goal of interfering in the election.

Moscow, the official said, “probably expected that publicity surrounding” leaked emails and documents “would raise questions about the integrity of the election process that could have undermined the legitimacy of the president-elect.”

The official had earlier provided the statement to The New York Times.

U.S. Politics

‘What a Pack of Losers’: Kellyanne Conway Blasts Clinton Campaign For Joining Recount

conway-bashedited

Wait?  What?  Those “losers” are exercising their Democratic rights guaranteed them via the Constitution of the United States of America. (ks)

MEDIAITE

Earlier today, a lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s campaign stated that they will join in on the recount efforts initiated by Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein in Wisconsin. While Marc Elias stated in his Medium post that the campaign “had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking,” they would take “the same approach” if Stein follows through on her promises of recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan, along with participating in the one already scheduled in Wisconsin.

Until now, President-elect Donald Trump and his team have remained quiet about Stein’s recount efforts. However, now that the Clinton camp is jumping into the fray, that is no longer the case.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway slammed the Clinton campaign, essentially labeling them hypocrites while calling them “sore losers.”

“What a pack of sore losers,” Conway said in a statement to Bloomberg. “After asking Mr. Trump and his team a million times on the trail, ‘Will HE accept the election results?’ it turns out Team Hillary and their new BFF Jill Stein can’t accept reality.”

“Rather than adhere to the tradition of graciously conceding and wishing the winner well, they’ve opted to waste millions of dollars and dismiss the democratic process. The people have spoken. Time to listen up. #YesYourPresident,” Conway said.

Conway was obviously referring to the concerns over Trump saying that he would leave the country in suspense on whether he’d accept the election results. He continually harped about the election system being rigged on the campaign trail.

While the margin of victory in the three states that will be recounted is relatively tight — a combined 107,000 — it is still highly unlikely that any of the three will flip on a simple recount, something Elias himself conceded in his post.

Meanwhile, Clinton national popular vote lead continues to rise. As of today, Clinton now leads by over 2.2 million votes and it appears that when it is all said and done, Hillary will win the popular vote by two points and nearly 3 million.

recount

Regarding funding for the recount efforts, Stein has raised over $5 million in just a few days and has now set her target for $7 million. This has raised a number of questions over her intents with the fundraising, as initially she said she would need $2.5 million and is now claiming any unused money will go to other efforts.

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[image via screengrab]

U.S. Politics

Letters To California Mosques Praise Donald Trump, Promise Genocide

THE HUFFINGTON POST

“You Muslims are a vile and filthy people.”

Religious leaders in California are calling for a police investigation after identical letters were sent to local mosques hailing President-elect Donald Trump and calling for death to Muslims.

The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement asking for increased protection after the hate-filled letters were discovered at the Islamic centers of Long Beach and Claremont as well as a mosque in San Jose.

The handwritten and photocopied letters, received over the course of the week, were signed by “Americans for a Better Way.” They call Muslims “a vile and filthy people” who “worship the devil” and evoke Trump.

“There’s a new sheriff in town — President Donald Trump. He’s going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And, he’s going to start with you Muslims,” the letters read. “He’s going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews.”

 

CAIR

 

CAIR leaders in San Francisco and Los Angeles didn’t initially want to bring the letters into the public spotlight to avoid copycats, but they acknowledged the need for police intervention once the diatribe was sent to a number of jurisdictions across the state, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“We urge local law enforcement authorities to work with Muslim community leaders to ensure the safety of all houses of worship,” CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo said in a statement. “Our state’s political and religious leaders need to speak out against the mainstreaming of Islamophobia that we are witnessing in California and nationwide.”

Though Trump has said he isn’t aware of campaigns across the country to intimidate and hurt Muslims since his victory, the problem is rampant.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked more than 700 acts of this kind of bias intimidation and harassment targeting Muslims, blacks, Latinos, immigrants and LGBTQ people since Election Day, though not every incident has been independently verified. The Huffington Post’s Christopher Mathias has identified at least 13 incidents in which Muslims have been attacked, harassed or threatened in Trump’s name.

San Jose police are reportedly investigating the letters. It wasn’t immediately clear whether police departments across the state would ramp up security in response to CAIR’s statement.

CAIR urges Muslim community members to report any incidents to police and to the organization’s civil rights department by calling 202-742-6420 or by filing a report online.

Andy Campbell

U.S. Politics

How would computer hackers have rigged the US election against Hillary Clinton? A computer scientists explains

hillary.jpg

Hillary Clinton speaks to the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, U.S., November 16, 2016 REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The following is mere speculation at this point, however, knowing that such hacks are possible leaves room for thoughts on the issue.  (ks)

THE INDEPENDENT TECH

It would be relatively easy to construct a system that would lie in wait, until it was needed

The election might have been rigged against Hillary Clinton, some experts have claimed. And activists are now launching campaigns to have those votes checked.

It isn’t yet clear how that hacking would have taken place, in such a way to ensure that Donald Trump won the vote, if it did happen. But one of the experts that is consulting with the Democrats has laid out a possible scenario of how that hacking might have happened – and why it would have gone unnoticed.

J Alex Halderman, a professor at the University of Michigan, has written about how it might have been that a state or other hackers broke into the election process and allowed it to be swung for Donald Trump. If such a scenario did happen, it would represent one of the most significant cyber attacks in history, and could throw the entire Presidential election into disrepute.

“First, the attackers would probe election offices well in advance in order to find ways to break into their computers,” he wrote. “Closer to the election, when it was clear from polling data which states would have close electoral margins, the attackers might spread malware into voting machines in some of these states, rigging the machines to shift a few percent of the vote to favor their desired candidate.

“This malware would likely be designed to remain inactive during pre-election tests, do its dirty business during the election, then erase itself when the polls close. A skilled attacker’s work might leave no visible signs — though the country might be surprised when results in several close states were off from pre-election polls.”

Professor Halderman made clear that was just one way that the election might be hacked, and that it could have happened in a number of different ways. But he did say that it would make sense that someone would try such an attack – even if it does seem like it would be noticed and probably foiled.

He pointed to the example of hacking of the email account of the Democratic National Committee as well as John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, both of which led to personal emails being leaked. He also pointed to clear hacking of voter registration systems as an example of the fact that people have already looked to interfere with the running of the election.

In those hacking attempts, official have put the blame on Russian hackers. It does appear that people within the country have sophisticated enough cyber weapons to make their way into voting systems.

Even in advance of the election, concerns were widespread that it would be easy to hack into the voting machines that were being used and . Edward Snowden shared a video just before the election that showed hackers breaking into a voting machine using only a £24 memory card.

Professor Halderman wrote that the strange results probably weren’t a consequence of the cyber attack, and were probably a consequence of polling data being wrong. But he nonetheless urged that people in the battleground states that might have been hacked – critical places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – petition for urgent recounts so that the paper votes can be counted and the chance that the election was rigged can be checked.

Andrew Griffin

U.S. Politics

Sunday Talk: Make America Grift Again

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SUNDAY TALK

This week, as PresidentElect Donald Trump went about the business—and I do mean business—of building his #CabinetOfDeplorables, the full scope of his many conflicts of interest finally began to come into view.

Even the crooked media, which had heretofore been all too willing to turn a blind eye towards his wholly unprecedented corruption, took notice.

And so it came to pass that @realDonaldTrump summoned the top TV news anchors and execs to his gilded tower in order to berate and humiliate themoff-the-record, of course.

Suffice it to say, this was a total alpha male move, and one that no doubt invigorated the so-calledalt-right.”

The only thing that excites those cretins more than the prospect of imprisoning Hillary Clinton is the prospect of taking the Jewrun media down a peg or two.

And, fortunately for them, by all indications, Trump is more than happy to use every means at his disposallegal or otherwise—to make that dream an alternate reality.

 ____________________

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH); Roundtable: Helene Cooper (New York Times), Mark Murray (NBC News), Danielle Pletka(American Enterprise Institute) & Matt Bai (Yahoo News).

Face The Nation: Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Vin Scully; Virginia Tech Prof. Dr. Marc Edwards; 2016 Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes; Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York); John Shinholser & Honesty Liller (McShin Foundation); Bryan Stevenson(Equal Justice Initiative); Roundtable: Molly Ball (The Atlantic), Ed O’Keefe (Washington Post), Ramesh Ponnuru (National Review) & Ruth Marcus (Washington Post).

This Week: Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Roundtable: Dan Balz (Washington Post), Carol Lee (Wall Street Journal), Cenk Uygur (The Young Turks) & Republican Pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson.

Fox News Sunday: House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI); Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Roundtable: Michael Needham(Heritage Action for America), Gerald F. Seib (Wall Street Journal), Julie Pace (Associated Press) & James Rosen (Fox News).

State of the Union: Incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus; Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Roundtable: Former South Carolina State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D), Republican Strategist Alice Stewart, Former South Carolina State Sen. Andre Bauer (R) & Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: an interview with Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi (preview); and, a report on a family in Colombia with a genetic mutation causing Alzheimer’s that may help scientists prevent the disease someday (preview).

Late night shows:

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

Monday-Friday: Reruns.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Monday: Opera Singer Ryan Speedo GreenTuesday: Actor Mahershala AliWednesday:  Tomi Lahren (The Blaze);  Thursday: Comedian Chelsea Handler.

Elsewhere…

In her new book, Megyn Kelly raised questions about the integrity of some of her fellow journalists.

Fox News host Megyn Kelly claimed that some journalists who supported Donald Trump would pre-arrange difficult questions with the real estate mogul to preserve some appearance of neutrality.

Fox’s Howard Kurtz asked Kelly about the charge, which she laid out in her book “Settle For More,” that hosts on Fox and other networks relied on this arrangement to maintain credibility without putting any actual pressure on Trump’s campaign.

“Are you suggesting they were play-acting?” Kurtz asked.

“Yes. It was acting,” she replied, claiming that this information was “confirmed to me by more than one television executive.”

Kelly, who tangled with Trump repeatedly during the campaign, also wrote in her book that the President-elect routinely offered journalists gifts of free airfare and stays at Trump hotels in exchange for favorable coverage.

Meanwhile…

Megyn’s co-worker, Sean Hannity, urged President-Elect Trump to bring back the media blacklist.

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday said that, if he were Donald Trump, he would ban several major news organizations from covering the president-elect.

“@politico @CNN @NBCNews @CNBC @MSNBC @nytimes @ABC @CBSNews,” Hannity tweeted. “Are all biased and Corrupt. ‘Fake News.’ If I were @realDonaldTrump NO ACCESS!”

Hannity’s tweet comes on the heels of remarks on his Fox News show Tuesday night in which he urged Donald Trump to freeze out the press.

“The media already had its chance to cover Donald Trump fairly and honestly,” Hannity said. “They blew it. And in my opinion, it’s time to re-evaluate the press in this country, and maybe it’s time to change the traditional relationship that the press will have with the White House.”

And, finally…

“Morning Joe” Scarborough suggested that the press is doing Trump a big favor by not portraying him as “black Jesus”… or something.

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough asserted this week that Barack Obama’s presidency was easily undermined because he came into office like he was “black Jesus.”

During a discussion about Donald Trump’s improving approval ratings on Wednesday, Scarborough conceded that Obama was more popular after he was elected. But he said that the new president would benefit from low expectations.

“Obama came in as black Jesus,” the MSNBC host declared. “I don’t want to come in as redneck Jesus if I’m a president of the United States. You want to come in where people — like Ronald Reagan — actually underestimate you.”

“And the media, once again, has done Donald Trump a great favor,” he continued. “What have they told us over the past week? He’s a white supremacist, he’s a Nazi, he’s bringing Nazis back to America.”

WAR ON CHRISTMAS IS OVER!

IF YOU WANT IT

– Trix