Melania Trump is the kind of First Lady that America has been deprived of for far too long. Despite being married to the most controversial presidential candidate in American history, Melania Trump remains an enigma. Although the famous former model seems to have it all, Melania’s testimony tells the story of someone who’s struggled against all odds – and overcame.

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Melania Trump has graced the covers of the most prestigious fashion industry magazines. But like many Americans today, Melania’s success was the result of a courageous work ethic and humble beginnings.

Melanija Knavs was born on April 26, 1970 in the small Slovenian railroad town of Sevnica – long before she changed the spelling of her name to pursue a modeling career. Despite the struggles many Slovenians faced during the country’s Communist times, the Knavses worked extremely hard to give their children a positive upbringing.

Melania’s mother, Amalija Ulcnik, worked developing patterns at a factory that manufactured children’s clothing. She had met Viktor Knavs in 1966 who worked as a chauffeur for a nearby town’s mayor. They instilled Melania and her sister with conservative values such as putting family first and having exceptional work ethic. "I love my childhood. It was a beautiful childhood," Melania said. Her son, Barron (10), speaks Slovenian fluently and uses it to speak with his grandparents, who now live near the Trumps in New York at Trump Tower.
Melania’s father left his job as a chauffeur to become a salesman at a state-owned car company in Ljubljana, Slovenia and found his family an apartment there – all to provide his children with exceptional education opportunities with their new prestigious address.

Amalija’s career as a seamstress had a profound impact on Melania. Once Melania learned to draw, she would sketch her own designs, and her mother or sister, Ines, would sew them. Melania also made her own jewelry.
Amalija spent evenings after work sewing clothing for herself and her two daughters. Instead of wearing clothes from the store, the Knavses designed and sewed every thing they wore. Melania’s childhood friends remember her always being dressed elegantly and carrying herself with confidence – there was always something striking about her.

Melania’s modeling career began when she was 16-years-old at a modeling contest when she attracted the attention of photographer Stane Jerko, whose test photos of the breathtaking teenager resulted in her signing with a modeling agency in Milan.

Despite her success as a model, Melania’s goal was to become a designer. So she applied to the School of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, becoming one of the few to pass the school’s notoriously difficult entrance exams.

While pursuing her degree in design and architecture, Melania remained focused in school. She didn’t drink, or party, nor did she smoke. Even with the temptations surrounding her as a college student and successful model, Melania lived a quiet homebound life. "She kept to herself, she was a loner. After a shoot or a catwalk, she went home, not out. She didn’t want to waste time partying," Jerko remembers.

After obtaining a degree in design and architecture at the University of Ljubljana, Melania was jetting between photo shoots in Paris and Milan – but Melania had even bigger dreams. Melania knew that if she wanted to achieve her goals she would have to move to America.

Melania finally made it to New York in 1996 after landing an American modeling contract – but nothing could prepare for the struggles that were down the road.

Shortly after she began pursuing her modeling dreams in America, Melania struggled to find work because she was considered "too old." The modeling industry isn’t friendly to models once they hit their later twenties, and at just 26-years-old, Melania was worried her best days were already behind her.

Melania went to castings every day, but photographers continued picking someone else over her, and often someone younger. She was having a difficult time supporting herself, and endured the challenging season while being overseas, away from her tight-knit family back in Slovenia.

Eventually, Melania got her "big break" and it wasn’t long before she graced the magazines covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, British GQ, In Style, New York Magazine, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Allure, Self, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Elle. But nothing could prepare her for the life-changing experience she would eventually encounter during her thriving modeling career…

While at a party during the New York Fashion Week in the fall of 1998, Melania met Donald Trump. She was a tall, shy brunette at just 28-years-old – while Trump was a brash 52-year-old real estate mogul.
"I didn’t know much about Donald Trump," she says of their first encounter. "I had my life, I had my world. I didn’t follow Donald Trump and what kind of life he had."

Although Trump attended the party with a date, he was instinctively drawn to Melania. When Trump’s date went to the bathroom, he seized the opportunity to chat for a few minutes with the Slovenian model he’d noticed.
Unlike the women who swooned every time the famous billionaire approached them, Melania remained unimpressed. When Trump asked for her number, she refused and instead asked for his contact information – she didn’t want to be just another woman he called, and she waited an entire week before calling him. Melania was curious to see if Trump would submit a business number. "I wanted to see what his intention is," she explains. "It tells you a lot from the man what kind of number he gives you. He gave me all of his numbers."

Melania’s confidence and shocking reaction to the wealthy playboy made Trump even more attracted to her. Trump could tell Melania was beautiful AND intelligent, and he was willing to do whatever it took to win the woman of his dreams. "I’m not starstruck," she explains. "We had a great connection, we had great chemistry, but I was not starstruck. And maybe he noticed that."

Many are quick to criticize Donald and Melania’s marriage due to their age difference, but after learning more about Melania – it’s easy to understand that these two were made for each other. Melania’s reserved personality and traditional values balance Trump’s assertive personality and controversial behavior.

Melania’s traditional values can be seen in her absence from Trump’s campaign trail. Instead of being on the road with her husband, Melania chose to be at home in New York City to raise their 10-year-old son, Barron.
Despite the Trumps’ luxurious lifestyle, Melania refuses to let their son be raised by a nanny. "It’s my choice not to be there [on the campaign trail]," Melania said. "I support my husband 100 percent, but … we have a 10-year-old son together, Barron, and I’m raising him." "This is the age he needs a parent at home," she added.

When Donald Trump told his wife he wanted to run for president, Melania said they discussed it in depth and she encouraged him to run. "I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America," she said. "He loves the American people and he wants to help them."

Although she’s not out on the campaign trail, Melania stays involved in her husband’s campaign behind-the-scenes. "She’s told me a couple of times during the debate, she was very happy with my performances, if you would want to call them a performance," Donald Trump said. "But she said, ‘You could tone it down a little bit on occasion,’ which I understand."

Melania revealed the biggest untruth about her husband is the perception that he’s "nasty." "He’s not," Melania said. "He has a big heart and a very warm heart. You see who he is on the campaign trail all the time and on television, and I think – you know America needs a strong leader and a tough leader and he knows what he’s doing." "He is who he is," she says. "Even if you give him advice, he will maybe take it in, but then he will do it the way he wants to do it. You cannot change a person. Let them be. Let them be the way they are."

Melania’s passion for philanthropy are just a glimpse of the difference she could make as our First Lady. Some of the philanthropic causes she’s been involved with include the Martha Graham Dance Company, the Police Athletic League, the Boys Club of New York, The American Red Cross and Love Our Children USA.

Though she may not have experience in politics, Melania Trump is equipped to help her husband out on the diplomatic front: in addition to her native Slovenian, Melania speaks four other languages: English, French, Serbian and German. "She’s an incredible mother, she loves her son, Barron, so much. And I have to say, she will make an unbelievable First Lady," Donald Trump said.

Melania Trump’s life story is a vivid illustration of the American dream. Her humble roots, exceptional work ethic, and devotion to family clearly sets her apart.

Captain Rick: Historic US Election Upset. Trump wins by a landslide, when MSM (Main Stream Media) and US polls predicted the opposite. US Polls and News Media were SO WRONG! Their credibility has sunken to ZERO!
The following report is authored by a fellow WordPress journalist based in the UK.

Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

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The world is still in a state of bewilderment. Trump’s shock victory as President baffled both the people absorbing Mainstream Media polls, and those behind Big Media themselves. Clearly many were oblivious to the subtle influence that alternative media had on individuals across the United States. Of course, much of this exposed the Clinton campaign, which increased hatred towards her, and led to proliferation of anti-establishment rhetoric in general.

Yet social media played a huge part in this. Various outlets, especially Facebook, acted as a safe haven for various non-Western MSM outlets to flourish. They have now dethroned the mass media corporations that played a gigantic role in influencing public thought for over a century. But with the political establishment of America and Europe being repeatedly exposed, and the mainstream media being revealed as its mouthpiece, the public are increasingly seeking information elsewhere. Numerous polls in the United States show…

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Captain Rick: The Senate and House passed a short-term spending bill that prevented a government shutdown at the end of the week. It has White House backing.

This legislation allows Congress to ‘kick the can down the road’ until after America elects a new President and new members of Congress. With a bunch of ‘lame ducks’ residing in congress at that time, you can bet they will again ‘kick the can down the road’ with another short-term spending bill to fund the government until after a new President and Congress take office in January. That’s when the excitement begins …

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Fights over raising the debt limit broke out between the Obama White House and ruling Republicans in Congress in 2011 and 2013, unsettling Wall Street and foreign investors. The two sides struck a deal in 2015 to suspend the debt limit until Obama left office. The federal debt limit has been suspended since late 2015, but the law is set to be reinstated on March 16, 2017. The current debt limit of $20.1 trillion will be breached and another funding emergency will be at hand to prevent another U.S. government shutdown.

Government shutdowns in the past have become a ‘joke’ in that certain federal employees are told to stay home without pay, until Congress passed legislation to fund the government, which often included increasing the national debt and awarded compensation for all lost pay … meaning their time off was really an extra paid vacation; an insult to hard working employees of ‘Main Street’ America. The ‘Shutdown Game’ can not continue much longer because America is coming ever so close to falling off of the real and pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’. Many federal programs like Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare and even Social Security are projected to implode in coming years without serious spending/taxation reform.

The U.S. National Debt has more than doubled since President Obama took office; from $9 trillion to $19.5 today. It is exploding at rate of $1.35 trillion each year. More than $10 trillion of ‘red ink debt dollars’ have been spent to keep the federal government functioning during the Obama Administration.

About 15% of money spent by the federal government has no revenue to support the expenditure and thus adds to the national debt. Much of this debt spending goes to states and cities in the form of federal grants. Our states and cities ‘drink up’ the grants like it is ‘free money coming from heaven’. Their philosophy is ‘if we don’t get the grant, some other city or state will’. What an awesomely greedy and fiscally reckless way to think. Shame on every city and state in America for slurping up these slush grants which add to the mushrooming U.S. National Debt. Our cities and states are a main contributors to the growing problem of America’s National Debt … debt which will be placed upon future generations to pay back … including our children and grand children. It’s a serious matter to think about.

I hope the next President and Congress will begin to balance the budget and curtail deficit spending. Saving America from falling off of the real and pending ‘Fiscal Cliff’, will not be easy. It will require ‘belt tightening’ by people, cities and states across America and most importantly by the U.S. Federal Government and our elected representatives in the U.S. Congress.

Captain Rick: The option to hail a ride in a self-driving car, which was science fiction just a few years ago, will soon be available to Uber users in Pittsburgh, the first time the technology has been offered to the general public. Within weeks customers will be able to opt into a test program and summon an autonomous Ford Fusion. But since the technology has not been perfected, the cars will come with human backup drivers to handle any unexpected situations.

Eventually there will come a day when driverless cars become common place and will be much safer than the large percentage of todays cars with idiots behind the wheel, texting and doing everything but paying attention to driving, including those driving under the influence. I would feel much safer having cars around me that pack a million dollars worth of technology watching the road and controlling the vehicle, than ones driven by idiots not watching the road at all.

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Uber has a self-driving research lab in Pittsburgh. Uber-branded test cars have been on Pittsburgh roads for several months. Other companies including Google are testing self-driving cars on public roads, but  none offers rides to regular people. As an enticement, the autonomous rides will be free. If I lived in Pittsburgh, I would be one of its first riders.

It will be a few years before autonomous cars will acquire a license to drive on their own. This is a way to get autonomous cars out there and become accepted on the roadways. New technology begins somewhere. Pittsburgh is one of those places and Uber is an innovative, driving force. The real breakthrough for autonomous cars will happen when a company puts one on public roads without a backup human. For now, like a motorcycle canyon jumper with a safety net, Uber isn’t ready to take the big leap … but perhaps one day soon it will be.

Captain Rick: The U.S. Trade Deficit widened to $44.5 billion in June, significantly passing economist’s guess of $43.1 billion and 8.7 percent higher than a revised May deficit of $41 billion. This represents an annual rate of $534 billion. That means nearly a half trillion dollars earned by Americans each year are floating to places like China and Mexico to support their economy and GDP instead of America’s.
 
The U.S. trade deficit is caused by many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is because of poor trade deals like NAFTA, which send billions of dollars to Mexico each year to feed their economy, instead of adding to the U.S. economy. The last thing America needs is Obama’s TPP trade deal, which resembles NAFTA on steroids. Another big reason is because of U.S. labor unions, which push for higher wages and benefits for members, with the notorious outcome of forcing American companies to shut down manufacturing in the U.S. and move it to places like China and Mexico to reduce labor expense and increase profit. 

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Photo: U.S. President Obama and Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President of the People’s Republic of China, and the Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission. Perhaps they are shaking hands on how well China is benefiting from current trade deals between the U.S. and China … at the expense of America.

Captain Rick: I want to share excellent journalism from a fellow journalist on WordPress. Its about ‘Brexit’ and the European Union.

Jonathan Fenton-Harvey

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Many of those lauding the European Union do still manage to find fault with it. This can be from its treatment of Greece, to the crony corporatism that flourishes within its protection. Yet these profoundly detrimental attributes will be ignored by those who want to remain; instead, they will focus on heaping praise onto how important the EU is in that it unites us, promotes peace, and prevents a possible war.

Yet to see through this grave misconception, consider the concept of the European Union for a minute. The name itself speaks volumes: ‘European Union’. When broken down, it’s essentially a body that encloses the European nations together, forces them to integrate, and unites the people within it.

Clearly yes, it does unite Europe. But what of the rest of the world?

Think about the situation with Russia. The EU has recently announced that it will place further sanctions on…

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Captain Rick: Having loved photography my entire life, an awarded Webshots photographer in the early 2000s, I became a Flickr PRO member shortly after its acquisition by Yahoo in 2005.

Flickr grew to become the one of the largest and best quality photo sites on the internet with over 12 billion photos and 100 million dedicated users.

The telecommunications giant Verizon announced that it will spend $4.8 billion to acquire Yahoo’s operating business, including popular online content such as Yahoo, Flickr and Tumblr.

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Verizon hopes that by pairing Yahoo with AOL, which Verizon bought in May 2015 for $4.4 billion, that the result will be a digital media unit that could compete with Google and Facebook. Having followed so many of these wild internet company purchases during the past decade or so, I have serious doubts that Verizon will be able to make that happen.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, a former Google exec, was hired in 2012 to turn things around at financially struggling Yahoo. Flickr’s core users were hopeful that it might get the attention it deserved. She allowed Yahoo to loose focus on Flickr, allowing the top site for photographers to slip in quality and innovation. Yahoo was desperately trying to appeal to the Instagram generation, and in doing so started to alienate Flickr’s core users, many of whom were professional photographers. As a Flickr Pro member, I often gave feedback … but it felt like no one was listening. Things would break and it would take eight to 10 months before someone would respond. We were members paying money for a service that wasn’t working. It was insulting to me and other photographers who had been using Flickr so actively for so many years. We were clearly not the target audience any more.

Marissa Mayer generated controversy in 2013 for saying “there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore,” when explaining why Flickr was phasing out its Pro membership at the time. As a Flickr Pro member for a decade, I protested loudly as did millions of other Pro members. She quickly apologized for the statement. Us Flickr Pro members saw it as extreme ignorance on her part. Flickr drew more flack the following year by putting 50 million Creative Commons licensed photos by users up for sale through its new Wall Art service. Although it was within its rights to do based on the licensing, the move left a bad taste in photographers’ mouths, and Flickr pulled the plug on the arrangement the next month.

Amid dwindling share of only 1.3% of a growing $187 billion global digital market, the best she was able to do is put Yahoo up for sale. Mayer will help in the transition, but it is not known if she will remain as a Verizon employee. I think that in view of her high salary and lack-luster performance of Yahoo and neglect of Flickr, it would be in Verizon’s best interest to let her go.

Yahoo, Flickr and Tumblr are set to officially become Verizon properties when the deal closes in early 2017, assuming anticipated government approvals occur.

My fear is that Verizon, being a giant in the mobile phone market, cares little about quality photography and photographers. I think Verizon will sell Flickr or perhaps just let it die as an expense it can write off. As a Flickr Pro member who has invested many hundreds of hours into building and supporting my Flickr Photostream and several high quality photo groups, I am deeply saddened by that thought. On the other hand, it is my hope that Verizon will realize the great photographic jewel that it will possess in Flickr and find a way to breathe new life back into it. If executed with excellence, Flickr will remain the top site for quality among serious photographers … like me.