Things That Matter

Democrats Are Demanding An Impeachment Inquiry After Stalemate In Subpoena War With Trump

Progressive Democrats like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders have been calling for an impeachment inquiry since news of Russian interference broke. As that investigation has developed, Congress has become concerned that the executive branch is ignoring its subpoenas, arguing that it effectively eliminates congressional oversight. Trump’s consistent resistance to congressional investigations has prompted a growing number of House Judiciary Committee members to agree that Congress should launch an impeachment inquiry.

As social media continues to be an effective avenue to communicate with legislators, folks have been taking to Twitter to add their voice to a growing quell of support for an impeachment inquiry.

An impeachment inquiry is not the same thing as impeachment as we know it.

@Dru8376 / Twitter

The Trump administration has ignored all Congressional subpoena requests. By invoking an impeachment inquiry, Congress would legally strengthen their asks. The purpose of an inquiry is to gather more information to discover whether a president is indeed threatening American democracy or perhaps not.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes not to impeach would weaken the Constitution.

@AOC / Twitter

If the House of Representatives doesn’t vote on impeachment, AOC argues that it would be in violation of their oath to uphold the Constitution and preserve the rule of law.

Yes, even if the GOP-controlled Senate blocks the inquiry.

@AOC / Twitter

The reason talks of impeachment have floated without any action for so long is because some members of the House believe that to do so without knowing they have GOP support in the Senate would look like bad politics. Freshman Congresswoman AOC has that oath fresh in her memory and is trying to keep politics out of it. AOC argues it’s the House’s duty.

She argues that the unwillingness to impeach, with so much public support, is damaging the public’s trust in democracy.

@AOC / Twitter

The politics involved are substantial. When the GOP impeached Clinton, the following 1998 midterms were catastrophic for the party. It is really important that our elected leaders take the calls for an impeachment inquiry very carefully.

For those of us who aren’t entrenched in the swamp, the whole situation begs the question.

@jazzman2ez / Twitter

What is going on here? The President has gone so far as to reach out to censor witnesses, who are no longer employed by the government, from testifying on public documents.

Speaker Pelosi is not on board with an impeachment inquiry just yet.

@CarGar94 / Twitter

Trump’s public approval rating is at an all-time high for the president at 42 percent. Still, Pelosi only wants to follow through on proceedings if something so immoral happens that most Republicans would get on board.

The latest shoe to drop was when POTUS blocked former Counsel Don McGahn from testifying to Congress Tuesday.

@mari45678 / Twitter

McGahn is a key witness given that he’s the most-cited witness in Mueller’s investigation report. He also testified to Mueller witness accounts of Trump’s interference with the probe.

The #ImpeachmentInquiryNow hashtag is officially trending after McGhan defied his subpoena.

@kingJesCon / @LuisFMorales68 / Twitter

#TrumpObstructedJustice also trended for a long time showing the overwhelming frustration with the current administration. There has been a lot of news about the administration’s willingness to work outside of the proper realms, yet they seem to skate by unfazed.

Texas Representative Joaquin Castro spoke out on Twitter, agreeing that impeachment may be the only option left.

No one is calling for an impeachment. That needs to be made clear. U.S. citizens are calling for the Congress to do their job and open an inquiry into whether or not the president committed impeachable offenses. One would think that someone with nothing to fear would be fine with an inquiry.

Ultimately, citizens are calling for truth.

@TuckContreras / Twitter

What Americans are witnessing is a block to some truth. Many believe that Trump is making himself look guilty by blocking this information to Congress.

Some citizens are calling on our representatives to impeach.

@angelx644 @neodem / Twitter

Right now, that means Democrats are looking at Speaker Pelosi to begin proceedings. According to Vox, Pelosi told reporters that impeachment is becoming a growing option.

When they are saying unless you have a legislative purpose, you cannot ask any questions [and] you cannot investigate — one of the purposes the Constitution spells out for investigation is impeachment,” Pelosi told Vox. “So you can say, and the courts would respect if you said, ‘We need this information to carry out our oversight responsibilities, and among them is impeachment.’

No inquiry has been submitted yet, but America is watching.

@PatrickRandall / Twitter

Some Democrats believe they can simply jail or fine administration officials who deny subpoenas with contempt of court. Representative Bill Pascrell told Vox, “We don’t need impeachment. The authority and powers of the Article 1 branch are very clear; they’re laid out. And the penalties are laid out as well. So I say invoke the penalties, you gotta put the heat on these boys. We have the law on our side.”

READ: AOC Joins Impeachment Resolution After The Mueller Report

‘Bullying Crisis Has Become A Global Epidemic’⁠— Monica Lewinsky Talks Bullying In Her New Anti-Bullying PSA

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‘Bullying Crisis Has Become A Global Epidemic’⁠— Monica Lewinsky Talks Bullying In Her New Anti-Bullying PSA

Noam Galai / Getty images

There may be no better person placed in our culture to talk about online bullying and harassment than Monica Lewinsky. Her story has been co-opted and manipulated for personal and political gain purposes for over two decades now. It’s taken long enough for the culture to catch up. She’s been speaking up about this for years and finally, she’s in control of her own narrative. In her latest campaign, the PSA “Epidemic”, Monica Lewinsky wants to raise awareness about the silent and lethal epidemic that is online bullying. 

Online bullying is a silent and lethal form of harassment and Monica Lewinsky wants to raise awareness around this issue so we don’t miss the signs.

credit Youtube The Epidemic

In her latest campaign, the third of a series of ads designed to raise awareness about a silent and lethal epidemic, Monica Lewinsky wants to shine a light on how this silent and invisible this form of bullying can be, and how a psychologically challenging situation can quickly escalate and become physical. In “Epidemic”, we’re introduced to a teenage girl whose health seems to be deteriorating for no apparent reason over the course of the film.  First she stays home from school, she can’t eat, she can’t sleep. In a panic, she reaches out for a bottle of pills. The viewer sees her go from a normal teen to an unconscious girl in an E.R. It’s obvious that she’s been sick all along, but what’s the disease?

The words “The story is not what it seems” appear across the screen. “Go to the-epidemic.com/realstory to get the message.”

Once you follow the link, a new screen message asks viewers to enter their phone number. When the video starts over, the person watching it is receiving the same texts messages that Hailey, the protagonist of the film, is getting. The cruel messages are a deluge of threats, harassment and abuse. And by receiving the texts, viewers don’t just watch it all unfold, they experience it. “It’s like the difference between seeing something in 3D and seeing something in VR,” Lewinsky told Glamour of the campaign’s interactive elements. It makes the abuse that people face on the internet, through their phones, and IRL feel real, immediate, and dangerous. 

Although cyber-bullying happens online, the feeling can be very real, and it can even lead to sickness.

credit Youtube The Epidemic

The feeling of being bullied isn’t just one of fear and shame. Bullying can affect your physical and mental health in potentially dangerous ways. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being bullied can increase your risk of sleep difficulties, anxiety, depression, headaches, stomachaches, and more. Since bullying can lead to illness, it’s a sort of sickness in itself. Andd that’s exactly what Lewinsky is trying to convey in the PSA in partnership with advertising agency BBDO New York, and Dini von Mueffling Communications.

“We compare [bullying] to an illness for several reasons,” Lewinsky, an anti-bullying advocate, speaker, and former bullying victim, told Teen Vogue. “Just last year, a Pew Research Center survey found that 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. But the problem is, it can be hard to see the signs when somebody is going through something like this. With cyberbullying, even though it may take place online, it has offline consequences — and these consequences range from bad to grave.”

The film was a deeply personal project for Lewinsky who was bullied on a national scale in 1998.

credit Instagram @Notablelife Lewinsky was famously bullied on a national scale after her relationship with former president Bill Clinton went public when she was 24 years old and an intern at the White House. She has personal experience with how severe bullying can be and it’s something she’s spoken out about consistently. It’s that very issue which made this project a challenge she wanted to tackle. “It was hard for me to do this,” she admits. Drawing from her own experiences, Lewinsky, wanted to capture what she calls “that cascading feeling, that overwhelming feeling, the tsunami of texts that come in and the vitriol.” Not just in the video, but in the messages that participants receive. With “The Epidemic”, Lewinsky wants to show victims of bullying that they’re not alone and that they don’t need to remain silent about what they’re going through. 

While bruises and cuts are visible to parents, teachers, and friends, emotional wounds can be harder to spot.

Credit Twitter @MonicaLewnsky

“This is everybody’s worst nightmare—to miss the signs,” Lewinsky said on The Today Show. “And I think one of the best things that we can be doing is have these kinds of conversations, and what we hope to be a positive result from this PSA is that it brings awareness to the kinds of conversations parents should be having with their kids.” Lewinsky who is now 46 years old, remembers that when she was growing up, her parents would tell her, “Be home by sundown.” They wanted her to to be safe. But now, as she notes, “kids can be safe in their physical home, but they’re not emotionally safe because of what may be happening online.” 

The PSA supports a several organizations, including Amanda Todd Legacy, The Childhood Resilience Foundation, Crisis Text Line, Defeat The Label, The Diana Award, Ditch The Label, Organization for Social Media Safety, Sandy Hook Promise, Sit With Us, Think Before You Type and The Tyler Clementi Foundation. If you or someone you know is being bullied, tell someone right away or call the bullying hotline to speak with a professional. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

Things That Matter

Here’s What The Candidates Had To Say About The Billionaires And Their Responsibilities To Pay Taxes

elizabethwarren / juliancastrotx / Instagram

Democrats have officially wrapped their third round of Democratic debates. Last night, 12 candidates for the Democratic nomination went head to head on the debate stage in Ohio. The biggest topics of the night were President Trump’s sudden withdrawal of troops in Syria leaving the Kurds vulnerable to Turkey’s attacks and what to do with billionaires. There were some clear winners and losers from the debate. Here is your quick breakdown from the candidates trying to be the Democratic nominee for president.

Elizabeth Warren delivered a powerful message on the inequalities of the abortion debate.

“I think there are a number of options. I think as Mayor Buttigieg said, there are many different ways that people are talking about different options and I think we may have to talk about them,” Sen. Warren said when asked if she’d add justices to the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights. “But, on Roe v. Wade, can we just pause for a minute here. I lived in an America where abortion was illegal and rich women still got abortions because they could travel. They could go to places where it was legal. What we’re talking about now, is that the people who are denied access to abortion are the poor, are the young, are 14-year-olds who were molested by a family member. We now have support across this country. Three out of 4 Americans believe in the rule of Roe v. Wade. When you’ve got three out of four Americans supporting it, we should be able to get that passed through Congress. We should not leave this up to the Supreme Court. We should do it through democracy because we can.”

The U.S. has seen a series of laws passed on the state level aiming to limit access to abortion. The laws have attempted to shutter Planned Parenthood clinics, which offer many more services than abortions, and Alabama’s law sought to put physicians in prison for 99 years for performing abortions. Louisiana has a law that is being heard by the Supreme Court this session that could force all but one doctor in the state to stop performing abortions.

Julián Castro spoke out about increasing police brutality and deaths at the hands of law enforcement.

“I grew up in neighborhoods where it wasn’t uncommon to hear gunshots at night,” former HUD Secretary Castro said when asked about preventing handgun homicides. “I can remember ducking into the backseat of a car when I was a freshman in high school across the street from my school, my public school because folks were shooting at each other.”

Castro continued by speaking about a topic that has been frequently discussed among the candidates, government buybacks of guns. Castro pointed out that he doesn’t like the idea of a mandatory buyback program since some people have not been able to define it. Furthermore, Castro states that if authorities are not going door-to-door then it isn’t going to be effective.

According to a Pew Research Center study conducted using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 39,773 people died from gun-related incidents in the U.S. in 2017. The deaths came from suicides, murder, law enforcement, accidents, and undetermined circumstances.

Castro also made a point to name the latest victim of deadly police violence.

Atatiana Jefferson was home in Fort Worth, Texas with her nephew playing video games when neighbors called the police to check up on Jefferson. The officer who killed Jefferson, Aaron Y. Dean, resigned before he could be fired, according to The New York Times and has been charged with murder in the death. It is also reported that there have been six police-involved killings in the Fort Worth area this year.

Beto O’Rourke doubled down on his plan to create a mandatory buyback program of assault rifles.

If someone does not turn in an AR-15 or an AK-47, one of these weapons of war, or brings it out in public and brandishes it in an attempt to intimidate, which we saw when we were at Kent State [University] recently, then that weapon will be taken from them,” former Congressman O’Rourke told the audience when asked about finding the weapons and taking them away. “If they persist, there will be other consequences from law enforcement. But the expectation is that Americans will follow the law.”

Bernie Sanders, fresh from a health scare, let the billionaires have it.

“When you have a half-million Americans sleeping out on the streets today; when you have 87 million people uninsured or under-insured; when you have hundreds of thousands of kids who cannot afford to go to college and millions struggling with the oppressive burden of student debt,” Sanders said. “Then you also have three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society, that is a moral and economic outrage and that truth is we cannot afford to continue this level of income and wealth inequality and we cannot afford a billionaire class whose greed and corruption has been at war for 45 years.”

The night was filled with other candidates bringing up issues of the opiate crisis, Russian meddling in American democracy, the need to bring dignity back to jobs, and Biden was confronted about the Ukrainian scandal his son is involved in.

READ: From Gun Reform To Immigration, Here Are The Highlights Of Last Night’s #DemDebate