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Rep. Steve Cohen on Introducing “Articles of Impeachment” against President Trump and more on the GOP Tax Bill!

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Steve Cohen “Trump has violated the Constitution, and we have introduced five articles of impeachment.” (Photo Credit: ABC News)

Rep. Cohen, accompanied by a half-dozen Democrat, introduced five “Articles of Impeachment” against President Donald Trump, accusing him of obstruction of justice and other offenses.

Leading the charge in bringing other colleagues on board—who at the time of this interview were growing in numbers the outspoken Congressman—likely sees his way through the fog of a Republican stronghold viewed by many as a “long-shot” impeachment effort. All hope is not lost, Democratic leaders stepping over the threshold of uncertainty to board the “impeachment train” from a legal and political path realize what’s at risk for this country by remaining silent.

Despite the overwhelming sentiment that “Trump” is bad for this country, from most Democrats, some lawmakers opted to have little to do with impeachment efforts before Mueller’s findings because the lawmakers believe the impeachment campaign riles up Trump’s GOP base, a critical bloc in next year’s midterm elections.

Rep. Cohen noted that numerous Democrats “constrained by strong Trump supporters” in their districts were unlikely to back the resolution.

The five articles introduced by Democratic leaders accused the president of obstruction of justice related to the FBI investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, undermining the independence of the federal judiciary and other offenses.

“We have taken this action because of great concerns for the country and our Constitution and our national security and our democracy,” Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., said at a news conference to announce the effort.

“The time has come to make clear to the American people and to this president that [Trump’s] train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end through impeachment,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN). (Photo: CSPAN).

Cohen, along with several co-sponsors of the motion, claim Mr. Trump has obstructed justice in his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, violated the foreign emoluments clause by taking money from foreign powers, violated the domestic emoluments clause by profiting off of the Trump brand during his presidency, undermined the federal judiciary by pardoning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio and undermined the freedom of the press with his persistent badgering of the news media.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (IL-04) made the following statement:

“Congress has the power of impeachment when behavior by the President puts the nation and our laws at risk and I think we are at that point, despite the ongoing, important investigations. Congress needs to step in when there is evidence that the President is interfering with the judicial branch, obstructing or disrupting investigations, or if the President is profiting improperly from his office. This is the start of a long process and it needs to get started now because as a Member of Congress and as a member of the Judiciary Committee, it is my job.”

Congressman Al Green (TX-09) made the following statement:

“This brings us another step closer to impeachment.”

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (OH-11) made the following statement:

“In the nearly 300 days since he was sworn in, it has become evident that President Trump is a clear and present danger to our democracy. It is high time that Congress take a serious look at the President’s actions,” said Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, (OH-11). “If those actions are found to be in violation of the Constitution, then the Congress of the United States needs to do the job the American people elected us to do.”

Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY13) made the following statement
:

“Donald Trump is a threat to our national security and to our justice, and once and for all, we are taking a stand to formally call for his impeachment in the name of our constituents, in support of our Constitution, and for the protection of our Democracy,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Trump is dangerous and nearly every month that he has served in office, Americans have witnessed some violation of our values, civil liberties, and access to opportunities that represent who we are at home and to our allies around the world. Mr. Trump is failing and has turned back the clock on the more than 50 years of progress our country has made in civil rights and equality. He has obstructed justice, violated the Constitution, and undermined the independence of our judicial system and the freedom of the press. The evidence is there, and the course of action is clear. It’s time to impeach Trump now.”

Cohen called for the House Judiciary Committee, to begin impeachment hearings immediately. Although he doesn’t expect the House to act upon the articles, he says it’s the committee’s responsibility to hold hearings on the matter.

This isn’t Cohen’s first attempt at impeachment— the Congressman accused President Trump of having violated the foreign emoluments clause, stating afterwards, the effort found little support, even among members of his own party. For this resolution, Cohen says he has several Democrats on board. Though he concedes that “it’d be a stretch to say” that House leadership was on board with the legislation.

House Democrats introduced five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump today – from obstruction of justice for interfering in the Russia investigation to making charges of fake news against the media from the bully pulpit. (Photo Credit: ABC News).

LeNora Millen, Editor with Exposure Magazine spoke with Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) from his Washington office on December 7th to discuss the introduction of the “Articles of Impeachment.” and the Controversial GOP tax reform bill. Though Cohen spoke of other Democratic Collogues coming on board to support the “Articles of Impeachment,” At the time of the Interview—The co-sponsors of the impeachment resolution announced in the media were: Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) Congressman Al Green (D-TX), Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH), and Congressman John Yarmuth of Kentucky (D-KY).

Millen: Congressman Cohen you’ve been vocal for several months about taking action against President Donald Trump—warning that his actions have become “a danger to democracy.”  Five other House Democrats have also formally introduced five articles of impeachment against the president.

As ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee, you have also acknowledged the limitations of your proposal and your expectations.

You stated that you didn’t expect the House Judiciary Committee, which is operated like a branch of the administration, to take up hearings. You were also clear on telling the press that it would be likely that you would be facilitating briefing in lieu of hearings.

Could you expound further upon your thoughts on how you propose briefings would grant leverage where the House Judiciary Committee cannot.

Congressman Cohen: The House Judiciary Committee chair is very much a supporter of President Trump and in all hearings, we’ve had, he has not had any hearings on anything related to President Trump and Russia or President Trump in firing Director Comey or anything else. All he’s been interested in is urging investigations of Hillary Clinton, and her emails, which is a bit strange since Hillary Clinton is a private citizen who could do no damage to the United States of America while the President of the United States; if he in fact is influenced by Russia and has debts to Russia can do immeasurable harm to the United States of America.

It’s a usual thing, so I just don’t think they’re going to take up hearings—they almost operate as a branch of the administration, so briefings is the only way we can get out information to the public about the offenses that they’ve committed, [measurable] as far as we believe, impeachable offenses like emolument clause, like obstruction of justice, so we want to educate the public, that was part of why we introduced the resolution and why we’re going to have briefings because we’re not getting it through the judiciary committee; when you’re not getting it through the sources where it should be, avenues where it should be then you have to create your own method of getting information out.

Millen: Senate would need a two-thirds majority—correct me if I’m wrong, but from my little understanding a two thirds majority is needed to find the president guilty. Should that happen, the president of course would be removed from office and the vice president would take the presidents place. How do you respond to those who say that you have no chance of success on impeaching President Trump in a Republican controlled House?

Congressman Cohen: No chance, you never know. As Bob Mueller continues to bring out more information they could stonewall this, but I think they’re enough Republicans some will react to the truth—and the truth I think will be damning and others might respond to public pressure. I think at the end of Bob Mueller’s investigation we’re going to find some information that makes us recoil in horror on how there was collusion between the administration and Russia in influencing the election and winning the election, and accordingly that the election was as John Lewis has said from the beginning, it was “illegitimate”—an illegitimate presidency and illegitimate election and that our country is at risk because of the relationship he had with Russia. So, I think if that occurs, there’s a chance that they [Republicans] could come around. You just have to hope that the truth is something that influences people regardless of their political affiliation.

Millen: You mentioned something about the public becoming more educated, you’re absolutely right. I’ve taken time to go back and look over the five “Articles of Impeachment” accusing President Trump, which I follow you quite often, it most certainly keeps me on my toes.

The five articles of impeachment accusing President Trump of obstruction of justice for his decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, I notice it had two emoluments clause violations, there was something about undermining the independence of the federal judiciary, and undermining the freedom of the press, which you cite as the foundation of making your case for the impeachment of President Trump.

You were also quoted as saying, “The time has come to make clear to the American people and to this President that his train of injuries to our Constitution must be brought to an end through impeachment.”

You went further to state:

“I believe there is evidence that he attempted to obstruct an investigation into Russia’s interference with the U.S. presidential election and links between Russia and the Trump campaign, most notably the firing of FBI Director James Comey.”

I followed this case after you came before the media and I noticed that in an interview with Axios, President Trump’s, lawyer John Dowd claims the “President cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

Dowd goes on to say that the president’s tweet did not admit obstruction. ‘That it is an ignorant and arrogant assertion.’ However, the Department of Justice have also treated President Trump’s frequent Twitter posts as official statements.

What do you have to say about an attorney or lawyer who would make that statement, but the department of justice have already used those (Trump’s) twitter post as official statements?

Congressman Cohen:  A lawyer gets paid by a client and has a duty as a lawyer for the client to represent the client in whatever way he can, and it seems like that’s what you got, a lawyer who Trump has paid for doing the best he can to represent his client.  I don’t think you’re going to find hardly anybody else that he hasn’t paid that would make such a statement.

Millen: I watch the briefings quite often in between time when I have a slow day, and I did watch White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders respond to the “Articles of Impeachment.” She states that time spent calling for Trump’s impeachment “would be better spent focusing on tax relief for American families and businesses.” She went further to say—”It’s disappointing that extremists in Congress still refuse to accept the President’s decisive victory in last year’s election.”

What are your thoughts on the “extremists label” and Huckabee Sander’s assertion about the “Articles of Impeachment” which Huckabee Sanders points to her feeling like it’s an extremist label to attach to the president.

Congressman Cohen: She is his spokesperson and that’s her job to say those kinds of things and there’s nothing extremist about suggesting a violation of the Constitution, which I think all of them are very well structured and supported in our resolution and the president has violated them.  I think President Nixon spokesperson said up to the end that it was a “witch-hunt,” he hadn’t done anything at ‘all’ that was wrong, and that it was just a “political witch-hunt.”  That’s what political spokespeople do even for the most despicable president.

Millen:  Americans and many others around the globe look to the White House podium for “factual” information, but as of late it’s been rather questionable—So, I truly understand.

Moving away from the “Articles of Impeachment” is there anything else you need to add? I also have a few questions about the GOP tax reform bill.

Congressman Cohen: We now have eight sponsors and we expect we’ll have ten by the end of the week, and we think they will be gradually increasing. Part of the reason for introducing it was a moral compunction that this man is a bad human being, bad for America, bad for government, bad for democracy, and bad for tolerance, justice, and the American way of life.  But also, getting people to start to think about impeachment and try to move the “impeachment train” forward and I think we’re doing that.  Two new members came on this week and we think two more will come on by the end of the week and then we should have a few more by the Christmas time. We’re just going to try to make progress and continue to get people—and maybe one day we’ll have a Republican, who knows.

Millen: Who knows absolutely?  Thank you for adding that vital information to this portion of the interview on the “Articles of Impeachment.”  Moving into the GOP Tax Reform Bill, which threw me for a loop, I had no idea when I woke up the next morning what to expect.  But, I did hear President Trump called the tax cut the “biggest in the history of our country,” however, The Washington Post Fact Check Team gave that statement four Pinocchio’s. According to their calculations, an easier way to compare this tax bill to the tax cuts under past presidents is to look at how big the cut is as a size of the economy, which is measured by gross domestic product. Reportedly, Trump’s tax plan works out to about 0.9 percent of GDP in the first four years, far smaller than the 2.9 percent of GDP tax cut passed under President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

Analyst are saying (some of them) that most Americans are likely to see a small reduction in taxes under the plan. At the same time, from what I’ve been reading, many Americans will reportedly pay more, particularly those who do not take the standard deduction. People who make in the high hundreds of thousands of dollars a year or just over $1 million a year could see the biggest benefits. Congressman Cohen, based on what you know so far about the GOP tax bill, is this a fair assessment?

Congressman Cohen: I think it’s a very fair assessment, by far the greatest benefits go to millionaires and the upper one percent. At one time it was 50 percent and I think in the House Bill it would benefit [50 to 70 percent] of the benefits. The House Bill went up to the upper one percent; and I think even after the Senate changes some it would still a very large percentage.  I don’t know what the “Conference Committee” report looks like, but if your income is over a million dollars and/or if you have an estate that’s over ten million dollars and you’re a married couple, you’re going to benefit greatly.

For people like Trump who allegedly are worth a ‘billion dollars’ the elimination of estate tax, if you’re a billionaire it will mean four hundred million dollars to your family. Five Billion, which is what Trump claims he’s worth it would mean that this is worth about a billion six hundred million for his family.

The “Big Buck’— is to the wealthiest people in this country and the elimination of the 40 percent of the estate tax and that’s what it’s about and that’s what Trump’s about. Everything Trump does is about him. It’s even trickled down with the billionaires.  He wants to help the ones that gave him all this money the Sheldon Adelson, the Koch’s and all the people who helped to elect him, but it’s really about him.

Millen: There’s so much concern about the Medicaid, the Medicare, even students I’ve spoken with a few of them—they’re concerned about their student loans, their Pell grants because the tax bill is so ambiguous.  At this point it’s difficult for some people to know what’s going to happen when it comes to the elderly and the disabled.  We’re watching this really close because right now to some of us, it feels like we’re going to be the one’s who suffers most, the middle-class and the poor.

Congressman Cohen: Well there’s no question about it because it’s taking money out of the federal government’s hands and giving it to these corporations and extremely wealthy people and others for that matter.  Most of these corporations and extremely wealthy people.  The revenue projections that they make and what they call dynamic scoring are not accepted by any legitimate respected economist that I know of.  They all say it’s just a pipe-dream that they would have any kind of appreciation in the growth of the economy to make up for what they’re giving up. But the fact is, retired government employees are not getting much of an increase on their retirement right now. They will get nothing in the future.

Medicare and social security will be on the chopping block.  The house bill– Medicare was going to be cut about a trillion dollars.  Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will be the first place they make cuts.  Social programs—whether it’s Pell grants, whether it’s SNAP payments, whether it’s LIHEAP, which is low income eating energy programs, whether it’s housing for the poor, whether it’s healthcare, community health centers, children’s plans, you name it, they’ll all be cut.  They will come and say, “Oh we need money, we have to cut, cut, cut,” but the billionaires and the corporations will have their money with the permanent cut and they’ll be living fine.  The people who need it, the people with disabilities who need wheel-chairs and who need treatment, they will suffer.

Millen: That is frightening to think about. I’ve read that if the bill is passed this year, it’s scheduled to take effect, January 1st. Some people have been asking me, and I’m not sure about when it’s going to take effect because I don’t know enough about the bill.

Congressman Cohen: I think it takes place January 1st, that’s the plan.  Of course, the Conference Committee can do something difference, but the odds are that’s what it will be.

Millen: Congressman Cohen, I appreciate you for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview—any final words to your constituents and readers of Exposure Magazine Congressman?

Congressman Cohen: Only that I’m honored to represent them and that I’m just horrified at what is happening in Washington, with our policies and our perspectives on what our purpose is. Our purpose should be to help people who are in need to get into the middle-class and not to help the wealthiest and the corporations have more and more money.

Editor’s Notes:

With the mark-ups on the last minute push by the GOP’s passage of the tax-bill, social programs that are supposedly *exempt may not be fully protected. Medicare, the Social Services Block Grant, student loans, and mandatory spending in the Affordable Care Act (other than exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion), among others, would all be on the chopping block. Medicaid, Social Security, SNAP, and all social safety net programs are exempt from this sequestration

Cuts to Medicare are capped at 4 percent, about $25 billion per year, meaning cuts to the other mandatory spending programs would have to make up the difference. Based on Republicans’ current plans to pass a $1.5 trillion tax cut, the Congressional Budget office CBO calculates that would be about $111 billion in cuts across the board, in addition to the $25 billion cut to Medicare. OMB can’t pick and choose which programs to cut.

Because OMB is limited in which programs it can cut from, the CBO estimates this would actually result in $85 billion to $90 billion in cuts.

Melissa Favreault of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center warns: “Unless the tax cuts spur immense economic growth, which many prominent economists doubt based on decades of evidence, these cuts will harm future workers and Security and Medicare beneficiaries.”

According to Politifact, some 40 million Americans would pay higher taxes in 2027 than they would today. Older Americans would be hit particularly hard.  Not only might their taxes go up if they are not fortunate enough to inhabit the upper income echelons, but the tax legislation would automatically trigger $25 billion in immediate cuts to Medicare.  The projected $1.5 trillion tax cuts would add to the national debt would no doubt spur Republicans to pursue even deeper cuts to seniors’ earned benefits, leading to benefit cuts and higher eligibility ages for Medicare and Social Security.

Rep. Cohen Announces the Resolution for the Five Articles of Impeachment: Watch here!

What does impeachment mean?

According to the U.S. Constitution – Article 2 Section 4, the President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Congress has the ability to remove a sitting president from office before his term is finished – an authority granted by the Constitution. Along with the president and vice president, all civil officers in the U.S. can be removed from office if they are impeached and convicted of bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors, according to the Constitution.

The five “Articles of Impeachment” summarized here:

 

By LeNora Millen                           12-10-17

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Oklahoma Teachers Exercise their Voice

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Oklahoma Teachers Exercise their VOICE!

Oklahoma public school teachers banded together to strike for supplies and better wages

Have you heard the “tea” on the statewide teacher walk-out in the state of Oklahoma and the ripple effect it’s starting in the country? Well, if you haven’t and you’re the kind of person that need numbers and statics, which are important, don’t get me wrong. I hope that this article encourages you to take a deeper look into this now national situation and also, take a deeper look at your education system in your own backyard. However, in this article, I want to give readers a candid look inside of the protest from the perspective of a now local resident and a first time experience of anything like this.

I originally had no intention of attending the walk-out at the state capital here in Oklahoma City. To keep it all the way real, which I wouldn’t have it another way, I didn’t think it would last more than a day if it happened at all. Now I know, some of you are probably wondering why I’m glad you asked… While I’m not a public educator, I’ve lived in Oklahoma City for 10 years now and have worked closely with the public school system for the majority of my time here. Teachers have been complaining about things like lack of fair pay, little to sometimes no supplies and little to no budget to properly serve those with special needs, to name a few. However, even though this is a real problem, the teachers stay for something much bigger than themselves and their personal needs, they stay for the love of the children and communities they serve. Because, I know first hand of the passion and degree of selflessness it takes to continue to work under certain conditions, I didn’t think they would actually follow through with it.

April 2, 2018, was the first day of the protest and over 35,000 we’re said were in attendance. In my gut, I didn’t think it would last but thought they put forth a gallant effort to get the attention of Governor Mary Fallin and legislators. Day 2 a reported 38,000 was reported to have been in attendance, the people weren’t backing down. In fact, they said they weren’t moving until their voices were heard! I had the exhilarating experience of attending Day 3 of the protest at the capital with, again well over 30,000 people in attendance, standing strong. By this time, teachers from Tulsa Oklahoma banded together to make the 107-mile walk to the capital and the public educators in  Kentucky started a protest of their own. I’ve never actually experienced anything like that in my life and I wanted to give you my raw perspective on what it was like up close and personal.  I’ll start by saying that seeing the coverage is one thing but actually being there has had an entirely different effect and perspective for me as an individual.

On my way to the capital, I didn’t know what to expect, it was bumper to bumper traffic down 23rd street. I saw people walking from as far as three miles back with bright signs, picketing on their way to the capital. I would be lying if I told you I didn’t say a little prayer driving past them, just hoping I had a closer parking place just for me… whoa yes! Keep in mind, I just started doing research that morning and even with that, I didn’t know how deep it would be. I found a spot a little under a mile from the action and for that, I was grateful.

  Upon the first exit of my car, I felt an almost magnetic pull in the atmosphere that drew me towards the masses. It was a surreal feeling as if I couldn’t help it. I don’t think I’ve experienced a situation where I was standing near or in the middle of a crowd of people where most of the attendees stood in agreement of what they saw as the greater good for humanity. Sure, this amount of people fill-up arena venues and stadiums all over the world every day with numbers larger than this. However, this was an entirely different energy that surged among the masses.   

Coming alone to something like this definitely has its pros and cons, but I decided to make the best out of this situation and take it all in. I took my time and literally observed everything before I actually arrived and walked straight into the nucleus of the action. To be honest, my mind was blown before I got there. The first thing I noticed was the amount of school age kids that were there to either stand with their parents or support their teachers. I’m not kidding, there was an almost equal ratio of teens to adults. Most made very creative signs that reflected their personal feelings and viewpoints. People of all races, colors, and creeds stood together in unity, standing for what they believed was right. 

  I was overwhelmed by the number of people that wanted to be a part of my candid coverage for Exposure Magazine. I walked next to different groups of people and gained many different perspectives, from both sides, although mostly from one, how affected the public education community and the children that are in it really are. Because people were literally standing there ALL DAY there were food vendors who volunteered their foods and services to the cause. Other services that we might not think of like water and restrooms were also provided and school-aged kids 18 and under had everything provided for them free of charge, from snacks, water, meals and even some local events were held around the city, and childcare in some places as well.

The photo (on the left) depicts not only the unity but the faith exercised by some of the teens in attendance at the protest rally. However, I must acknowledge some of the views from the opposing side as well. People were concerned that a rally like this could cause an uproar in not only the state of Oklahoma but the country as a whole, which could threaten not only overthrowing the government at a state level but eventually the country. There were also some angry parents across the state that were concerned that, they weren’t properly informed or considered during the uprising in standing against both local and state officials. Parents that are accustomed to their children going to school all day. The walkout could cause other unforeseen charges such as childcare, extra food, and transportation expenses. Some parents are concerned, if this goes on much longer, they too, are at risk of not having a job.  Some people think this entire protest can help create a lose/lose effect on children both home and at school. I completely understand and see this side clearly. Seeing this side so clearly made me want to take a deeper look at another viewpoint, just to even out the playing field so to speak.

 

As I walked through the massive amounts of people, reading the signs, listening to conversations and observing the different emotions throughout the capital, I found myself almost at the front of the stage which to me, served as the nucleus of the protest. This is where I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing teacher of Del City school district Joy A. Glenn Ahmad. She has been a teacher since 1976 and explained her viewpoint with literal tears in her eyes. Ahmad explained that the teachers demanded 200 million dollars from local and state officials which would cover a $6,000 raise to teachers, some whom haven’t seen a raise for over a decade and some who are only making it with the help of there spouses income to sustain their own family. The rest of the money would be used for much-needed supplies and educational material for the 700,000 students the public school system serves.

Students stand together and pray with teachers during Oklahoma Teacher Walkout 2018

Teachers voices were in fact heard and they were granted 50 million dollars, a quarter of what they were asking, which only would cover the much-needed raises for the teachers. This offer was rejected by the teachers and the strike continued as planned. Teachers claim that this was less about them and more about the students they serve and they refused to take a raise and leave the students needs out. To give me a clear perspective she shared the picture with me you see to the left.

The book cart shared among teachers and students

  I know, it seems like a cart with books on it, what’s the big deal, right? I thought the same thing until she explained to me that this was the cart of books shared between classes for teaching materials for both students and teachers. This cart is the only access to educational materials for the entire high school. I was shocked, to say the least, I couldn’t help but wonder if the parents who are against the protest are aware of the true condition of their children education. Were they aware that this was perhaps the reason for Oklahoma having the lowest test scores and reading scores in the country? Or, does the need to survive and provide for their families now take precedence over the future of their children and possibly the future of the leaders of the state of Oklahoma. This is obviously an “elephant in the room” that couldn’t be ignored anymore. What do you think? Are you aware, truly aware of your education system in your own backyard? This movement that now, has national attention will continue for week 2 in the state Oklahoma. Teachers claim, they will not back down until their voices are heard! This protest has potential to change the education system not only in the state but in the country. Don’t forget to keep up with both local and national news for up close and personal coverage. 

#thatsall 

 

-Deonna Marie

 

Deonna Marie | The Gift of Voice, Professional Classical Singer, Vocal Coach, and Speaker

Facebook: @thegiftofvoice

Instagram: @thegift_ofvoice

Email:  deonnamarie2003@gmail.com

Youtube: Deonna Marie Cattledge

 

 

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The Former President Barack Obama Speaks: In your own ability to make a difference in your community and your country.

The Former President Barack Obama Speaks:

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Friend —

A little over a year ago, at my farewell address in Chicago, I asked you to believe. Not in a candidate, or a politician, or a party — in yourself.

In your own ability to make a difference in your community and your country.

For eight years in the White House — and long before that — I’d seen it happen time and time again: ordinary people who got involved, stayed involved, and pushed for a better future for this country we love.

That’s how change happens.

And this November, we have a chance to make that change happen in local and federal elections across the country. We cannot squander it.

Commit to vote in November 2018. Say you’ll fulfill your duty as a citizen, and that you’ll keep pushing for progress.

That faith I placed all those years ago in the power of ordinary Americans to bring about change — that faith has been rewarded in ways I couldn’t possibly have imagined.

In the past year, I saw people like Kim, an OFA volunteer in Virginia, bravely share her story during the health care fight — of how, before Obamacare, her 13-month-old son Isaac was on the verge of being kicked off insurance as he went through surgery after surgery. She spoke up, and helped save health care for Isaac and millions of Americans.

I saw folks in South Carolina identify a problem with their town’s outdated, dangerous school buses — then roll up their sleeves, do some organizing, and get the statehouse to fund new buses for Charleston’s kids.

And I saw a new generation of young leaders grab clipboards, collect signatures, and decide to run for office themselves.

Throughout 2017, I saw Americans all over the country step up, have the tough conversations, and speak out about the issues affecting us all. We have to keep it up in 2018 — because every ballot measure, every election, every conversation on an issue we care about — it all matters.

There are no do-overs.

So right now, I’m asking you to make a commitment: Seize the power you have. Speak up. Make this democracy work. Do not succumb to cynicism. And say you’ll vote in 2018 — there’s too much at stake this year to sit this out.

I’m in

Thank you,

Barack Obama

Reported by Tam Lawrence

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Trump Tweets About an ‘Insecure’ and ‘Biased’ Oprah Winfrey Over Her ’60 Minutes’ Segment

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Oprah Winfrey in a 60 minutes segment with a voter focus group on America’s political divide.  (Photo Courtesy of CBS News).

Donald Trump venting over the FBI and the Russia investigation took to Twitter on Sunday night in a tweetstorm attack on Oprah Winfrey following her “60 Minutes” segment on America’s political divide. Despite his denial of spending time watching television, his response to Winfrey stated otherwise.

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes,” tweeted Trump, “The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!”

Winfrey’s report followed up her September segment featuring the same panel of Trump voters and non-Trump voters in the battleground state of Michigan. The goal of the segment was to understand their thoughts on his presidency and direction of the country one year after he took office.

In the wake of Winfrey’s historic #MeToo speech during the Golden Globes in January, an #Oprah2020 movement took root, with many stars – including Meryl Streep and Steven Spielberg – calling on Winfrey to consider running. Days later, Trump addressed the speculation, telling the press, “Yeah, I’ll beat Oprah.”

In 1999, Trump thought Winfrey would be a good running mate.  At the time Trump said: “I know her very well. You know, I did one of her last shows. She had Donald Trump – this was before politics – her last week, and she had Donald Trump and my family. It was very nice.”

Oprah Winfrey, despite earlier rumors of a presidential bid, has been clear that she has no intention of running for president.  Making it clear on her intentions she said in a 60 Minutes overtime clip separate from Sunday’s report. “If God actually wanted me to run, wouldn’t God kind of tell me?”

@LeNoraMillen       02-20-18

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