Things That Matter

AOC Is The Clear Winner Of The Michael Cohen Congressional Hearing

Michael Cohen testified for hours in front of the House Oversight Committee about his knowledge of President Trump and his business dealings before and after becoming president. While Republicans tried to tarnish Cohen’s character and discredit his testimony, Democratic members of the committee were ready with their questions. The true star of the hearing is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) with her succinct and thought out questions regarding Trump’s questionable tax filings, which he has refused to release. Here’s a look at how AOC kept her cool after a long day of testimony and helped further the committee’s investigation into Trump’s finances.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t hold anything back when questioning Michael Cohen and people noticed.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

AOC questioned Cohen about President Trump’s tax filings and finances towards the end. It was a long and tedious day filled with questions, accusations, and the occasional tantrum from Republican members of the House Oversight Committee. The New York representative was so concise with her questions that some question whether or not she truly was a bartender before becoming a Congresswoman.

She only had five minutes for her questions and she knew what she was after. First, The National Enquirer.

Credit: @Osman__13 / Twitter

AOC is known for her strong and precise questioning and her questions for Cohen were more of what we have come to expect from the freshman congresswoman.

AOC: “Mr. Cohen, I’d like to quickly pick up on some previous lines of questioning before getting into my own so I may go a little quickly to get it all in in five minutes.”

“First, my colleague from Vermont had asked you several questions about AMI, the parent company of The National Enquirer. In that, you mentioned a ‘treasure trove of documents’ in David Pecker’s office relating to information assembled from all of these catch and kill operations against people who potentially had damaging information about the president. You also mentioned that the president was very concerned about the whereabouts of these documents and who possessed them.”

“Does that treasure trove of documents still exist?”

Cohen: “I don’t know. I’ve asked David Pecker for them.”

AOC: “So you would say that the person who knows the whereabouts of these documents would be David Pecker?”

Cohen: “David Pecker, Barry Levine, or Dylan Howard.”

Her biggest moment was when she asked Cohen about Trump’s tax dealings, particularly with his golf courses.

Credit: @funder / Twitter

AOC: “Thank you very much. The last thing here, the Trump Golf Organization currently has a golf course in my home borough of the Bronx, Trump Links. I drive past it every day going between the Bronx and Queens. In fact, the Washington Post reported on the Trump Links Bronx Course in an article entitled, ”Taxpayers Built This New York Golf Course And Trump Reaps The Rewards.” That article is where many New Yorkers and people in the country learned that taxpayers spent $127 million to build Trump Links in a ‘generous deal allowing President Trump to keep almost every dollar that flows in” on a golf course built with public funds. This doesn’t seem to be the only time that the president has benefitted at the expense of the public.”

“Mr. Cohen, I want to ask you about your assertion that the president may have improperly devalued his assets to avoid paying taxes. According to an August 21, 2016 report by the Washington Post, while the president claimed in financial disclosure forms that Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida was worth more than $50 million he had reported otherwise to local tax authorities that the golf course was worth ‘no more than $5 million.’”

“Mr. Cohen, do you know whether this specific report is accurate?”

Cohen: “It’s identical to what he did at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor.”

AOC: “To your knowledge, was the president interested in reducing his local real estate tax bills?”

Cohen: “Yes.”

AOC: “And how did he do that?”

Cohen: “What you do is you deflate the value of the asset and then you put in a request to the tax department for a deduction.”

AOC: “Thank you.”

This isn’t the first time AOC has gotten witnesses to attest to the questionable tactics employed by President Trump.

Earlier this month, AOC questioned a panel of government watch dogs to discuss the broken campaign finance laws. In her line of questioning, AOC laid out a series of hypothetical questions about what she, as a congresswoman, was able to legally get away with.

The panelists admitted to AOC that not only can she accrue as much money as possible from special interests. Not only could she leverage that money to create legislation helping the special interests, she can also use her own position to make large sums of money.

After figuring out what she could get away with as a congressperson, AOC flipped the script. The asked the panel is there is anything stopping the president from participating in the same shady tactics. The answer was no.

AOC is using her time in Congress to expose the parts of politics that have long been hidden from the American people.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

AOC has spoken up about issues like marijuana legalization, climate change, and the need for fair wages that provide people enough to live on. However, she is also shedding light on some questionable practices by lobbyist and congressional colleagues.

Her use of social media has brought the real day-to-day of politics to all of our newsfeeds. Not only have we seen the process of getting your office in the Capitol building, we’ve even seen moments like the tweet above. Lobbyists hiring people to hold their spot in line for congressional hearings so they can put pressure on legislators to do as they wish and taking space away from the American public who wish to voice their opinions and concerns.

You can watch AOC’s full questioning of Cohen in the video below.

AOC came to Congress with many people in both parties questioning her ability to legislate. It seems fair to say that AOC is surprising her doubters and has become a very important voice in American politics. It has only been two months since she was sworn into Congress and she is already making major waves and causing major change.

READ: This Is The Part Of AOC’s Interview With Stephen Colbert You Should Be Talking About

AOC’s Average Priced Haircut Has Set Off A Twitter Storm On The Right But She’s Clapping Back

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AOC’s Average Priced Haircut Has Set Off A Twitter Storm On The Right But She’s Clapping Back

AP Photos

There is a lot that offends people about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: her Green New Deal, her socialism, her dancing, her previous employment as a bar-tender, and now, apparently, her hair.

On Wednesday, a story from a conservative news outlet that shall not be named—nor linked to—attempted to manufacture outrage over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s hair salon bill: There was a reported $80 cut, $180 for lowlights, and pure speculation about a $52 tip, for a grand total of approximately $312. The message? How dare a democratic socialist—and someone in the public eye whose appearance very much matters, for better or for worse—get a haircut at market price for a major metropolis?

Other publications have subsequently seized on the invented “controversy,” even if no one seems truly mad about it except for conservative talking heads. On the contrary, much of the outrage online seems to be on AOC’s behalf—that harping on her haircut is typical sexism and hypocrisy. How quickly the right is quick to ignore Mitt Romeny’s comparably priced $70 cut back in 2011, or John Edward’s $1,250 hair bills from 2007.

But as usual there isn’t much need to come to AOC’s defense when, in fact, no one is better at crafting the perfect response to hypocrisy and nonsense than AOC herself.

According to the paper, a self-described Democratic-Socialist shouldn’t be paying fair market price for a haircut.

“The self-declared socialist, who regularly rails against the rich and complains about the cost of living inside the Beltway, spent nearly $300 on her hairdo at a pricey salon she frequents in downtown Washington…” the article began.

Many on the right were incensed that the congresswoman hadn’t paid a visit to the subsidized Capital Hill barbershop.

Others drew attention to the article’s assertion that Ocasio-Cortez “could have saved roughly $100 for the same hairstyle at the government-subsidized Capitol Hill barbershop”.

“Her high-dollar hairdo stands in stark contrast to that of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former senator from Alabama who is a regular customer at Senate Hair Care Services,” the article said.

“At that place, open to members of Congress and the public, a men’s cut runs about $20, though men’s haircuts there and everywhere else are cheaper than women’s,” the article acknowledges.

Many questioned the choice of Jeff Sessions as a model. “Damn, why didn’t AOC ask for a rec from hair icon *checks notes* Jeff Sessions?” wrote one person.

Of course, AOC had the perfect response to all this BS.

The New York congresswoman noted that if you’re mad about her $80 haircut, which, by the way, she paid for herself, you’re bound to hate vice president Mike Pence’s $600,000 limo bill from his official visit to Ireland last month, which, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Pence billed to taxpayers.

Citing State Department contracts, CREW writes that Pence racked up the steep bill because, despite meetings in Dublin, the VP elected to drive four hours away in order to stay at…you guessed it…President Trump’s golf resort in Doonbeg.

So why is AOC’s private salon bill up for debate while Pence’s public limo tab flies under the radar? Sexism. Pure and simple.

And women on Twitter defended the Congresswoman, saying the ones who should be checking their privilege in the haircare wars were men.

It’s obvious men clearly have no idea how much women were routinely charged for haircuts and colour treatments.

“Sorry, you don’t get to create beauty standards that require women to spend hundreds or thousands a year to be considered presentable and then hate us for it,” tweeted the writer Jessica Valenti.

Right now it’s her hair, but the right has come for AOC for so many different things it’s hard to keep track.

And let’s be real. Even if AOC had followed the ‘advice’ and got a $20 bowl cut, she’d still drive them crazy because she is both effective and polished – a fact that makes her feel all that more threatening to her critics.

In the past, her clothes were the “controversy,” from that from-behind photo taken without her consent and tweeted (and later deleted) to the manufactured “outrage” over the borrowed $3,000 Gabriela Hearst suit she wore, fleetingly, for a photo shoot in Interview magazine. It’s almost as if people don’t think AOC deserves to dress, and look, the part of congresswoman.

Reliably, AOC had the sharpest reply to the latest wave of attention around her appearance. “Our policies, like Medicare for All, advance prosperity for working people,” she tweeted on Thursday of Democratic socialism. As for her critics: “They’re just mad we look good doing it.” Now that’s a hair flip.

A Twenty-One Year Old Man Overslept On His First Day Of Jury Duty And Now He’s Being Sentenced To Jail And Has A Record

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A Twenty-One Year Old Man Overslept On His First Day Of Jury Duty And Now He’s Being Sentenced To Jail And Has A Record

screenshot | NBC Nightly News

These days, it doesn’t take much poking around to know that our country’s judicial system is problematic, troublesome and inherently racist. A few months ago, when news broke out about the college admissions scandals, those following the news knew well that the wealthy parents who took part in the scam would walk away essentially scot-free. They weren’t wrong. 

Earlier last month, on September 13th, actress Felicity Huffman, one of the most recognizable names caught up in the admissions scandal, was sentenced to just 14 days in federal prison for her involvement in a case that saw her charged for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. Huffman’s case highlighted questions of inequity in our judicial system. Many were quick to point out that Huffman, like the other three dozen parents involved, were from extreme wealth and would undoubtedly be treated differently from poor or nonwhite defendants accused of admission and education fraud. For severe charges that were lobbed at white-collar crime convicts like former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling and took education opportunities away from students far less privileged than her own kids, Huffman received 14 days in jail. 

Twenty-one-year-old Deandre Somerville should have been so lucky. 

The Florida man from West Palm Beach was sentenced to 10 days in jail this past week after a judge found him in criminal contempt of court after he overslept and missed the start of a trial he had been selected to serve jury duty for. At the time, Somerville looked up the repercussions online and according to NBC News said that he “didn’t really see too much there. … [It looked like] nobody actually ever really went to jail for it.”  Because of this, he did not notify the court or its jury office.

Deandre Somerville was sentenced to 10 days in jail, one year of probation and 150 hours of community service for failing to show up for jury duty.

The 21-year-old was also told to write a letter of apology to the court and pay $223 to cover court costs. Speaking about his own sentence, Somerville told NBC that he felt as if he “didn’t need any rehabilitation… I just made a mistake.”

According to Somerville, his 10 days in jail were “traumatic.” Sommerville who recently moved in with his grandparents to help care for them had never been arrested before now has a criminal record for contempt and spent his 10 days in jail amongst hardened criminals and in fear. 

The judge who gave Somerville his sentencing stemmed from his duty to represent his Black community.

Speaking at Somerville’s formal apology in court, Judge John Kastrenakes, of Fort Lauderdale Florida, said that he wanted to “make an example” out of Somerville to ensure more people do not fail to show up to jury duty. “Mr. Somerville was the only African American on our jury and represented a very important cross-section of our community.”

But people of color have long been used to “make an example,” when privileged nonpeople of color have caused greater harm and damage and gotten off easy. 

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was quick to underline this point in a recent tweet shared with her profile. 

“Mass incarceration is our American reality. It is a system whose logic evolved from the same lineage as Jim Crow, American apartheid, & slavery. To end it, we have to change. That means we need to have a real conversation about decarceration & prison abolition in this country,” she wrote in a retweet of a post shared by comedian Chelsea Handler who also lambasted the judge for his decision. 

AOC’s retweet went onto highlight in a thread the flaws of our judicial system citing a recent experience she had meeting a woman who had been sent to Rikers as a teen.” Yesterday morning I spoke with a woman who was thrown in Rikers as a teenager. Put in solitary confinement for MONTHS, aka torture. Force-fed pills. The conditions were so bad, she too had drank out of toilets. A cage is a cage is a cage. And humans don’t belong in them,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

The young Congresswoman’s thread highlights the severe punishments people of color have and continued to endure at the cost of our country’s broken prison and judicial system. Her message is a reminder that the actual point of the prison system is to rehabilitate, not punish those who are incarcerated and sent to jail or prison.