Rally at Cornyn’s to end the #TrumpShutdown, Jan. 23 at 11:30 a.m.

Trumps siad he woud be the one to shut down government over wall and he did. Source: indivisible.org

Hosted by TX10 Indivisible

WHEN: Wed. Jan. 23 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: This is the Chase Tower on the corner of 6th and Congress. The tower has paid parking, and the 801 and 803 CapMetro buses stop nearby.

WHAT: Federal workers are working for free and struggling to pay their bills. National parks are being desecrated. Court trials are being postponed. Tax refunds may be delayed. Where is Sen. Cornyn in this? Pinning the blame on Democrats and holding out for a pointless and destructive $5 billion wall.

Asked by the Washington Post whether he was receiving a lot of calls to end the shutdown, Cornyn replied “not many, not many.” Let’s send a message he can’t ignore! Visit Cornyn’s office in downtown Austin and tell his staff the government needs to re-open, and we don’t want Trump’s ridiculous wall. Bring letters or postcards to the Senator as well.

RSVP with MoveOn or on Facebook (or just show up)

Take Action Newsletter: Impeachment roundup; Support local food banks; National call-in day to end the #TrumpShutdown; Rally at Cornyn’s; general body meeting

Impeachment Resource Roundup!

Buzzfeed reported last week that Donald Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow. This would be suborning perjury and would be a Very Big Deal. Although Mueller disputed some of the reporting—it’s hard to say which parts—the chances of the House impeaching the president just rose significantly. Below are recommended resources on the subject.


Take Action

Call John Cornyn and Ted Cruz about…

Ending the Trump Shutdown

Trump’s latest “deal” to end the shutdown is a nonstarter. As United We Dream Austin points out, the deal offers no permanent solutions and would leave thousands of immigrants at risk of deportation. Our nation is reaching a breaking point. Tell Cruz and Cornyn to pressure McConnell to allow a clean vote to reopen the government—which the House has passed, and which the Senate also passed mere weeks go.

See the Events section below about visiting Cornyn’s Austin office at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday Jan. 23. Wednesday is also a national call-in day of action!

Read: Trump’s latest temper tantrum and the showdown over the wall

Support local food banks

The Trump Shutdown is hitting us close to home. When the Central Texas Food bank held an event last Wednesday, 90% of attendees were federal workers. The food bank has put out an urgent call for resources:

Most requested donation items: peanut butter, canned chicken breast or tuna, canned low sodium vegetables, canned fruit in its own, juice (no sugar added), dry pinto beans, brown rice, non-fat dry milk powder, 100% whole grain cereal.

Call Cruz, Cornyn and your House rep about…

The “thousands more” children separated from their parents at the border

NBC reported last week that thousands more children may have been separated from their parents than the administration originally told us. A leaked document reveals the administration’s plan:

“…the entire family would be given an order of ‘expedited removal’ and then separated, placing the child in the care of HHS…”

This is government-sanctioned kidnapping. No child should suffer such cruelty. Call your reps and that, especially in light of these new revelations, they publicly denounce the administration’s family separation policy. Demand hearings. Demand that it end.


How your voices are making a difference

From one of our actions last week: Mohasif Motawakil, the Afghan interpreter who was detained and held by ICE in Houston, had his visa canceled, and was threatened with deportation, despite having risked his life to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, has been released after 7 days.

Read more ways your voices are making a difference


TXLEGE News

Sign up for #TXLEGE updates


Events

Monday, Jan. 21

MLK March, Festival, and Food Drive

The Annual Community March celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy while uplifting diversity and multi-culturalism in our city. The MLK Community March kicks off on Monday, January 21, 2019 at 9 a.m. with a short program at the MLK Statue on the University of Texas campus. More info at www.mlkcelebration.com.

Find Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service Opportunities

Wednesday, Jan. 23

Visit Sen. Cornyn’s Office About the Shutdown

Federal workers are working for free and struggling to pay their bills. National parks are being desecrated. Court trials are being postponed. Tax refunds may be delayed. Where is Sen. Cornyn in this? Pinning the blame on Democrats and holding out for a pointless and destructive $5 billion wall.

Asked by the Washington Post whether he was receiving a lot of calls to end the shutdown, Cornyn replied “not many, not many”. Let’s send a message he can’t ignore! Visit Cornyn’s office in downtown Austin and tell his staff the government needs to re-open, and we don’t want Trump’s ridiculous wall. 11:30 a.m., Chase Tower, 221 W. 6th St.

RSVP and more info

Thursday, Jan. 24

Healthcare Issues at the 86th Texas Legislature

Join advocates from Indivisible Austin, Children’s Defense Fund-Texas and the Cover Texas Now coalition to learn about healthcare issues at the 86th Texas Legislature. 6:30 p.m. at the Willie Mae Kirk Library, 3101 Oak Springs Dr. More info on Indivisible or Facebook.


Congress Critter: Chip Roy

Contributed by Lucas Schaefer

Chip Roy

Over here in TX21, Rep. Chip Roy was one of seven Republicans to vote against back pay for federal workers after the government shutdown ends. In an up-is-down, black-is-white bit of gaslighting, Roy claimed in an op-ed in this week’s Statesman that he was doing this to prevent future shutdowns. An alternate proposal: if Chip actually wanted to prevent future shutdowns how about he and his fellow Republicans stop shutting down the government every time they don’t get their way?

Chip also conceded that “reasonable people can disagree” on border security, which makes us wonder why Republicans have proven more than happy to hold the entire federal government hostage until Democrats submit to their demands. We’d encourage you to visit Chip’s Austin office to express your views on the matter, but Chip hasn’t bothered to open one. Nor has he scheduled his first town hall. (Apparently, Chip believes people who do work, like TSA agents, shouldn’t be paid while people who don’t work, like Chip, should be). In the meantime, pick up the phone and give Chip a piece of your mind: (202) 225-4236.


Indivisible Austin General Body Meeting—Vote on a preferred Date!

Indivisible Austin would like to invite you to join us at monthly meetings open to the public. To identify a meeting time which works best for the largest number of folks, we’ve created an anonymous poll—so please indicate which day(s) work for you.

Take the poll


Your Moment of Zen


Funding the Fight

Even with the House flipping, it feels like everything is getting more chaotic.

The fear of accountability seems to have ratcheted up the cruelty and incompetence to new heights. That’s why having voices consistently, steadily pushing us forward, keeping an eye out for inflection points where real differences can be made, is so important.

That’s why Indivisible Austin is here, to keep us moving forward together, with our eyes open. Be a part of that work. Make a gift today.

Afghan Interpreter Released from ICE Custody | How your voices are making a difference

Rudy Giuliani is just melting right on down, stating that he “never said there was no collusion” (after bleating for months that there was no collusion, a lot of times, on the record), desperately backpedaling as Mueller’s noose draws a bit tighter. Expect to see the jackals turn on each other more and more as Mueller closes in.

Republicans Reconsidering

Donny’s former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, denounced Don John’s shutdown, calling it “completely wrong.”

Although all but 11 Senate Republicans, as is their wont, decided to support Don John in his efforts to curry favor with Vladimir Putin (for surely no nefarious, illegal, or treasonous reason), in the House more than a whopping 130 Republicans joined Dems in a (mostly symbolic) rebuke of Donny’s decision to relax sanctions on one of Daddy Putin’s business cronies.

GOP lawmakers removed Steve King from all Senate committees after his recent racist comments about white nationalism, and King is being encouraged to step down from Congress. House voted to declare white nationalism a “hateful expression of intolerance.” (Watch out, there, Donny…!)

HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude resigned in the wake of Donald’s GOP administration making moves to cut off aid to still-recovering Puerto Rico and over housing policy disputes.

Republicans against the law

A second federal court halted the GOP administration’s attempt to roll back ACA coverage and allow employers to deny birth control coverage based on religious beliefs.

federal judge ruled against the illegal citizenship questions Wilbur Ross and Donald’s GOP administration tried to add to the 2020 census, saying Ross “violated public trust.”

The inspector general for the federal General Services Administration found that the agency improperly ignored guidelines for the Emoluments Clause spelled out in the Constitution by allowing Individual 1 to maintain his hotel lease on a former U.S. post office facility.

Republican Corruption

At the direction of the mentally deranged dotard, Michael Cohen paid the owner of a tech services company to doctor poll results for the Very Stable Genius during the 2016 campaign.

The inspector general of the National Credit Union Administration, alerted by a whistleblower, uncovered extravagant expenses claimed by the agency’s head and chief of staff, including claiming alcohol expenses contrary to department rules (like a $45 18-year-old glass of whiskey) and a $250 Uber Black ride (because the head of the department complained about “schlepping around in somebody’s Civic).

Social and Civil Rights Advances

From one of our actions last week: Mohasif Motawakil, the Afghan interpreter who was detained and held by ICE in Houston, had his visa canceled, and was threatened with deportation, despite having risked his life to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, has been released after 7 days—thanks in no small part to YOUR efforts from last week’s action, warriors!

James Watson, the scientist famous for his unsubstantiated “studies” that link race to intelligence has been stripped of all his titles by the lab where he worked.

The chancellor of UNC approved the removal of the remnants of a the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue pulled down by protesters last August (for which the university Board of Governors, which had planned to restore the monument, pushed her out of her job months early—way to go, old white men).

Michigan State president resigned in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, after accusing the victims of Nassar’s sexual assault of “enjoying” the “spotlight.”

Gillette launched this lovely ad, which made some fragile and defensive folks on the right lose their offended minds at the idea that men should stand up for those who are bullied, not harass women, and be held to the same standards as any other human being. But the ad may tap into a much larger groundswell of support for these notions, like Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad that generated such outrage on the right–yet “drove a spike in sales, social engagement and online buzz, all of which helped the company emerge from a slump.”

R. Kelly was dropped by his record company, RCA, on the heels of a documentary that explores the many stories of sexual abuse he perpetrated against underage girls over the years that the music industry largely ignored until recently.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

In the wake of news that VP Mike Pence’s wife is working at a school that expressly disallows gay students and teachers, John Oliver did this glorious thing.

This is just flat-out hilarious. And SAD!

This group is trying to restore civility to public discourse.

Take Action Newsletter: End the shutdown; free a detained Afghan interpreter; Austin Women’s Rally; Fire John Cornyn!

NEW: Joint Statement to the 86th Texas Legislature from Texas Indivisible Groups

TXLEGE is in session! Download our guide!

Calls to Make

Call Cruz and Cornyn about…

The shutdown and border wall

Trumps siad he woud be the one to shut down government over wall and he did. Source: indivisible.org

“Mess with Texas!”

“Fence me in!”

That is the message our senators are telling President Trump over the stupid, unworkable border wall. Cruz and Cornyn joined the president last week in McAllen, and pretended that they hadn’t just spent two years fully in control of the government. Instead they now blame Democrats for failing to fund “border security.” This is all such a sham that it’s hard to even write about. But people are suffering and it’s important to make our voices heard.

Tell Cruz and Cornyn:

  • To pressure Leader McConnell to allow a floor vote on the spending bills that have passed the House. (Remember the Senate unanimously voted to fund the government just days before the shutdown.)
  • To provide back pay to both federal employees and contractors
  • A declaration of emergency on false pretenses would be grounds for impeachment
  • Redirecting funds from Harvey recovery and other actual emergencies is a nonstarter—and we expect senators from Texas to fight for Harvey survivors. (Cornyn says he is, but what about people in Puerto Rico? Florida? California?)

You can also write a letter to the editor about the shutdown.

Call John Cornyn about…

Intervening on behalf of the Afghan interpreter currently detained in Houston

An Afghan interpreter—who assisted U.S. troops—and his family were detained at Houston’s George Bush airport and threatened with deportation. The given reason was that they had opened an envelope of paperwork that was supposed to remain sealed. The interpreter’s family has been released, but he remains in custody, and all of the privileges afforded their refugee status—including their visas—have been revoked.

On Dec. 24, John Cornyn tweeted a link to a Daily Caller article with the headline “Afghan And Iraqi Interpreters Risk Death, Wait Years For Legal US Visas While Migrant Caravan Demands Immediate Entrance.”

If Sen. Cornyn is serious about his support for Afghan interpreters, he should join Reps. Al Green, Sheila Jackson Lee, Joaquin Castro, and Lloyd Doggett to intervene and correct this injustice.

This story developed over the weekend and may have changed by the time you read this. Follow RAICES on Twitter or Facebook for the latest.

Call your House rep about…

Contractor back pay

HR 339 has 30 cosponsors (none from Central Texas, though!) and should proceed to a vote. This letter from Sen. Chris van Hollen (D-MD) has some good language to borrow when you call.

If you are in TX21—Chip Roy’s district…

Rep. Chip Roy was one of one of only seven Republicans who voted No on providing back pay to furloughed government workers.

How your voices are making a difference

The new Democratic majority in the House…

  • Introduced legislation to require background checks on all gun sales.
  • Forced the GOP to own the government shutdown
  • Forced treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain why he lifted sanctions on three Russian companies

Read “The walls are closing in | How your voices are making a difference”

Fire John Cornyn!

Fire John Cornyn!Enjoy the latest posts on senatorjohncornyn.com:

Take the pledge to fire John Cornyn

Events

Saturday, Jan. 19

Austin Women’s Rally 2019

Austin Women's Rally January 19, 2019

Indivisible Austin will have a table at the annual Austin Women’s Rally, which takes place at the Capitol from 2 to 5 p.m. This rally is for the general public to gather in support for women, in their fight for equality and equity. This rally is an expansion upon the annual Texas Reproductive Rights Rally, as it coincides with the date of that event.

Full statement: Join the Austin Women’s Rally on January 19

Funding the Fight

Even with the House flipping, it feels like everything is getting more chaotic.

The fear of accountability seems to have ratcheted up the cruelty and incompetence to new heights. That’s why having voices consistently, steadily pushing us forward, keeping an eye out for inflection points where real differences can be made, is so important.

That’s why Indivisible Austin is here, to keep us moving forward together, with our eyes open. Be a part of that work. Make a gift today.

Your Moment of Zen

 

 

The walls are closing in | How your voices are making a difference

Could Donald’s engineering of the longest government shutdown in history be another of his distraction techniques to call attention away from the revelation that PAUL MANAFORT SHARED 2016 POLLING DATA WITH AN ASSOCIATE TIED TO RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE?

Or that in 2017 the FBI opened an investigation into a SITTING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES on suspicion that he was WORKING ON BEHALF OF OUR GREATEST ADVERSARY, RUSSIA?

I think it might….

Could it also be a desperate attempt to deflect from the news that Natalia Veselnitskaya—the Russian lawyer of Trump Tower meeting fame—was charged with obstruction of justice by federal prosecutors in a separate civil tax-fraud case that reveals her deep ties to the Kremlin? And that Michael Cohen will be testifying publicly before Congress on multiple illegal actions he took at Donny’s direct behest?

Or news that the White House may have intervened directly with the DoJ in the case against casino magnate, Don John crony, and huge GOP donor Steve Wynn for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act? And then the White House subsequently revised those violated rules to favor employers like Wynn…? Mmmm, methinks perhaps so.

And so let’s call this next section…

The Walls

I don’t mean just the one Donny wants to build, but the ones closing in on him….

All four living ex-presidents put the lie to Donald’s claim that any of them supported his compensatory wall (the one Mexico was supposed to pay for, remember? And that every single Congressperson in districts bordering the proposed wall uniformly opposes), and certainly not Donald’s holding the government hostage with demands for exorbitant funds for his meaningless Waterloo.

Eight House Republicans broke with the GOP to back Democrats’ legislation to reopen the Treasury and IRS without Donny’s border-wall funds. Naturally Don’s #1 toady Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to the Senate floor.

Yet another federal works union—this one Border Patrol—is suing Don John over lack of pay during his shutdown. And the Airline Pilots Association (representing 61,000 pilots) letter to Donald warned that the shutdown is putting flying safety at risk.

Food banks and GoFund Me accounts are being set up for victims of the GOP shutdown—many of whom are selling off possessions to scrape by while not being paid thanks to the White House, which advised them to do chores for their landlords,while the Coast Guard suggests furloughed employees do odd jobs, hold yard sales, and consider declaring bankruptcy. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell was in hiding when the Senate adjourned early on Friday, having still refused to allow a vote on legislation approved by the House to end the shutdown—the very same legislation he himself helped propose weeks ago and that passed unanimously in the Senate.

And Donald shouldn’t look to the veteran who raised $20 million in a Go Fund Me drive to build the wall, either—Brian Kolfage is being forced to refund every single donor’s money when it was revealed that he will not be using the funds as promised. Kolfage, a right-wing conspiracy theorist with a history of questionable fund-raising, is trying to reroute the funds to a nonprofit called We Build the Wall Inc., featuring former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on its advisory board…in no conflict of interest or shady ethics violations whatsoever. J

White House Chaos

Donny can’t seem to fill his latest hot potato of a job—so far a retired senator and a retired general have turned him down to replace Jim Mattis as secretary of defense.

U.S. Security Adviser John Bolton directly contradicted Donald’s impulsive announcement about withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. And then Donald contradicted Bolton’s contradiction and said troops absolutely WERE going to be withdrawn immediately, bigly! And then all that moved out of Syria was some equipment. No one seems to know what the hell is happening in foreign policy. Or really anything within the White House walls.

Your Badass Democratic House in Action

In the scant two weeks since Democrats took charge in the House, here are some highlights of what they’ve already accomplished:

It’s nice to see accountability returning to government, and to see at least half of Congress remembering the American constitutional checks and balances of the legislative branch of government, rather than serving as an obedient extension of the executive branch.

Republican Corruption

South Carolina GOP Rep Tim Scott penned an op-ed condemning his party for staying silent on Iowa GOP Rep Steve King’s racist remarks about white supremacy, stating, “When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.”

In a blow to the party that tries to steal elections when it can’t win them, the Supreme Court denied the GOP’s motion to stop the redrawing of gerrymandered election maps in Virginia.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Cyntoia Brown, who killed the man who bought her for sex at the age of 16, was granted clemency by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, a Republican.

On the heels of the ouster of Les Moonves, accused of sexual harassment, CBS News named its first female president.

Why this took so long is beyond me, but the Texas lege finally agreed to remove a plaque at the Capitol that falsely says the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery. In 2019. But at least we’re getting there finally.

David’s Bridal features a lesbian couple in one of their commercials.

Who run the world? Shockingly (and welcomely), it might not be girls, but older women.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Watch as Republican strategist and commentator Ana Navarro ingeniously, hilariously handles the misinformation and windbaggery of Donald toady Steve Cortes (and stay tuned for when Chris Cuomo shuts Cortes down with a fabulous fact bomb).

RBG is a goddamned superhero.

Join the Austin Women’s Rally on January 19

Women across the country will celebrate the anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March on January 19, 2019. In Austin, there has been some confusion about whether there will be a local March. Several events have been posted on social media channels, some of which appear to conflict with each other. Hopefully this will clear up any confusion.

The short answer is there is one event, taking place on January 19th at the Texas State Capitol in support of women’s fight for equality and equity. The Austin Women’s Rally 2019 is an extension of the Texas Reproductive Rights Rally that takes place annually on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. This year the rally is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and you can get more information at the Facebook event. Full event details are also posted below.

There is no March associated with the event this year. Organizing a march in Austin has become increasingly challenging, and requires a lot of advanced notice and funding to accomplish. While some events listed on Facebook and other social media or event sites may identify themselves as a “Women’s March” on January 19 or 20, those are not affiliated with the Austin Women’s Rally or March On Texas. There are marches in other cities, including Houston, Dallas and San Antonio.

We’d love for everyone interested in an Austin event that supports women’s issues, join us at the Texas State Capitol for the Austin Women’s Rally on January 19, 2019.

Saturday, January 19, 2019 at 2 PM – 5 PM

Texas State Capitol – South Steps

1100 Congress Ave, Austin, Texas

Hosted by TRRR Texas Reproductive Rights Rally #roevwadetx

We hope this clarifies any questions you have, but feel free to contact any of our organizations for any additional questions:

Melissa Fiero, March On Texas/Women’s March On Austin 2017
marchontexas.com@gmail.com

Lisa Benjamin Goodgame, Indivisible Austin
ask@indivisibleaustin.com

Pantsuit Austin Team
Pantsuitaustin@gmail.com

Kym Whitehead, Austin Women’s Rally
texasreproductiverightsrally@gmail.com

Joint statement from Texas Indivisible groups: Dear Members of the 86th Texas Legislature

View PDF

Dear Members of the 86th Legislature:

Two years ago, a grassroots movement known as Indivisible started as local groups who met in living rooms, community centers, and places of worship across the state. We expanded our alliances with the many grassroots organizations who came before us. We joined forces and rallied against dangerous bills and proposals that attempted to gut our social safety nets, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and divide our communities (i.e. SB4, the “show-me-your-papers” bill). We decried discriminatory bathroom bills and attacks on reproductive rights. And we worked tirelessly on voter registration efforts, as well as volunteered and canvassed for political campaigns, to contribute to the huge electoral gains that progressives made in Texas.

That tremendous energy has not dissipated. In fact, we are newly committed to organizing at the state level and holding our Texas Legislators accountable.

Most recently, we noted that a bipartisan group of representatives came out in support of Rep. Bonnen (R-Angleton)’s nomination for Speaker of the House. We understand the need for a Speaker who will do the most good for Texas. And we expect that every lawmaker, including the next Speaker, will be mindful of the seismic shift in the Texas political landscape, powered by people who share a common set of values, and who will continue to vote for a bold, progressive agenda.

We expect our state lawmakers to support:

  • Restoration of faith in our elections and the integrity of our elected officials, as evidenced by a commitment to voting rights, accurate data, fair elections, and real representation at every level of government.
  • High-quality, comprehensive, affordable healthcare to address the fact that Texas has the highest of the number of uninsured children (and residents) in the country. Access to preventative care is vital to addressing the deep health care disparities in our state, including higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among African American women.
  • Compassionate immigration policies that do not inflict harm on communities and that respect immigrants’ cultural, social, and economic contributions to the state.
  • High-quality public education and a commitment to meeting the educational needs of all students in public schools while addressing the practices and prejudices that feed the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Real solutions to reduce the epidemic of gun violence, beyond thoughts and prayers and “hardening” of public spaces.
  • Confronting climate change through the adoption of renewable and sustainable energy resources, in conjunction with innovative infrastructure development.

We believe in a Texas where our best days lie still ahead. And we look forward to continued partnerships that will work towards strengthening our democracy and our great state.

Signed,

Indivisible Austin

Indivisible TX 25 East Austin

TX20 Indivisible

Indivisible Houston

Indivisible FWTX (Fort Worth)

Indivisible TX 21 Austin

Indivisible Senate District 30

Indivisible Grapevine

Indivisible Fort Worth

Indivisible Rosedale Huddle

Texans R United

Indivisible TX 23

Indivisible Bryan/College Station

Indivisible Richardson

Indivisible SATX

Indivisible DFW

Indivisible Dallas

Indivisible Coppell/Valley Ranch

Indivisible TX 24

Indivisible Southlake

Indivisible Wimberley

Indivisible New Braunfels

Indivisible Katy Huddle

Indivisible 121

Indivisible Wilco

Indivisible Liberty & Chambers

Indivisible Denton

Indivisible Healthcare Fort Worth

Write a Letter to the Editor About the #TrumpShutdown

The federal government is shut down for very dumb reasons: Namely, so that Trump can avoid looking foolish over his obviously foolish wall, and because Sen. Mitch McConnell won’t allow a vote on something the Senate approved 100-0 just last month.

What can we do? We can support Rep. Lloyd Doggett and other House Dems. They must not cave. They must not offer any funding for the foolish wall, for which Trump is trying to extort $5 billion from American taxpayers even though he said Mexico would pay for it. So far, House Dems are holding strong! Call Rep. Doggett and say thanks, or “@” him on social media.

We can also call Senators Cornyn and Cruz. Cornyn is up for reelection in 2020 and might be more movable on this. Then again, he is a giant crybaby, so who knows. At least is staff is usually nice, so give them a call and a piece of your ear.

The other thing we can do is write letters to the editor. This is especially needed if you are a government worker or contractor affected by the shutdown. 

How to write a letter to the editor

Most papers limit the length of LTEs to 150-250 words. You can usually find the guidelines and a submission portal or email address on the Opinion page of your local paper’s website. If you are feeling very motivated and have a lot to say, consider extending your letter into an op-ed, which has a more generous 600-700 word limit.

Common elements of successful LTEs:

  • Facts to build an argument
  • An emotional hook to pull the reader in
  • A call to action to those in power & our fellow citizens

Read more tips on writing an LTE

Talking points to include

  • Trump says he could keep shutdown going for “months or years.”
  • Responsibility for reopening the government falls squarely on the United States Senate.
  • In December, The Senate voted 100-0 to fund the government through February. Why won’t McConnell allow another vote to the floor? His stated reason is that Trump won’t sign it, but Trump breaks promises all the time.
  • Senators Cruz and Cornyn need to realize:
    • Many federal workers live paycheck-to-paycheck and are struggling to pay bills
    • The shutdown negatively impacts the stock market
    • Contractors generally don’t get back pay after a shutdown
    • Why wasn’t this funding secured during the two years that GOP had complete control of government?

Once, again make your letter personal—how does the shutdown affect you or someone you know? Making it personal will drastically increase the likelihood that your letter is published.

Major Texas publications

Austin American-Statesman

http://www.statesman.com/opinion/letters/form/

Edited letters typically address a single idea and do not exceed 150 words.

San Antonio Express-News

letters@express-news.net

No hard word limit, but “shorter is better.” More details here:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/opinion/article/Sharing-your-views-with-the-San-Antonio-6744466.php

Houston Chronicle

viewpoints@chron.com

Max. 250 words. More details here (scroll to the bottom):

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/

Dallas Morning News

https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/2017/02/09/submit-letter-editor

Max. 200 words

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/submit-letter/

Max. 200 words

El Paso Times

http://static.elpasotimes.com/lettertoeditor/

Max. 225 words

McAllen Monitor

https://www.themonitor.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

Max. 300 words (very generous!)

Corpus Christi Caller-Times

http://static.caller.com/submit-letter/

No word limit stated

Waco Tribune-Herald

https://www.wacotrib.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/submit/

Max. 300 words

Lubbock Avalanche Journal

http://www.lubbockonline.com/opinion/20180731/write-stuff-how-to-submit-letter-to-editor

Max. 250-300 words

Don John’s baby-tantrum government shutdown over his compensatory wall | How your voices are making a difference

Nancy Pelosi is on yo ass, GOP. You on notice.

Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, on day 1 in the House, Dems voted for legislation that would end Don John’s baby-tantrum government shutdown over his compensatory wall—legislation the Senate voted on just two weeks ago and PASSED 100-0, but now Mitch McConnell—who, it’s worth noting, actually proposed the bill that originally passed unanimously in the Senate—refuses to bring it to the floor without Donald’s approval. And there you have the imploding GOP system of government—total hypocrisy, and total disregard for the separation and checks and balances of the branches of government. Yet Republicans did see fit to allow $10K annual raises for Mike Pence and hundreds of other Donny appointees while more than 800K federal workers go unpaid. That’s your GOP at work, America.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Incoming Democratic House Judiciary Chairman plans to re-introduce legislation to protect Robert Mueller. The legislation would provide recourse for Mueller and future special counsels to challenge any firings in the court system.

Republicans Reconsidering

Despite Donald’s doubling down on his government shutdown over a childish unwillingness to compromise on border wall funds, stating that he is happy to continue the shutdown for “months, or even years” even if he has to declare a state of national emergency to do it (um, Donny? Who do you think will continue to work and keep the government functional for months or years WHILE YOU ARE NOT PAYING THEM?), rumblings of discontent with his toddler tantrum are cracking the GOP. Thursday, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado became the first Republican in the chamber to publicly call for an end to the shutdown. He was shortly joined by Susan Collins of Maine and Shelly Moore Calito of WV.

In a WaPo op-ed, Tennessee GOP Senator Lamar Alexander said Donny should be “specific and reliable” like Obama in negotiations regarding the government shutdown, praising President Obama for keeping his word and prizing progress enough to find compromises with the Senate: “Government shutdowns should be as off-limits to budget negotiations as chemical weapons are to warfare,” Alexander rebuked the commander of cheese.

GOP Rep Tom Reed of New York, meanwhile, bucked the party line to offer his support for a set of House rule changes drafted by incoming Dems, praising Nancy Pelosi.

Retired army general Stanley A. McChrystal, former head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, had some strong words against the commander of cheese, calling him “dishonest and immoral,” and adding, “What I would ask every American to do is … stand in front of that mirror and say, ‘What are we about? Am I really willing to throw away or ignore some of the things that people do that are — are pretty unacceptable normally just because they accomplish certain other things that we might like?'”

Mitt Romney piled on in a scathing op-ed that flip-flopped him back to his censure of the Very Stable Genius (which morphed into obsequious brownnosing early in Donny’s tenure), stating that “the president has not risen to the mantle of the office” and “With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”

Former GOP House Rep John LeBoutillier, from Donny’s home state of New York, opined that Individual 1’s presidency will not survive 2019: “His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice.”

In the face of Donald’s continued rants, threats, and tantrums against federal reserve chairman Jerome Powell, Alabama Republican senator Richard Shelby spoke up in support of Powell, stating that he’s “doing a good job” and that Don John cannot fire him without cause.

These aren’t coincidences, warriors—more and more we are seeing a GOP willing to break with Donald…and that probably means the first rats are fleeing a ship they know to be sinking.

And so are some of his former supporters. The people of Jackson County, IN, which went for Donny in a huge way in 2016, are now confronting Don John and the GOP administration over its health and environmental regulatory rollbacks after a rash of cancers in the town’s children from a carcinogenic plume in an old industrial site supposed to have been cleaned up by the federal government decades ago.

Republican Corruption

A federal employees union is suing the Banana Republican in Chief over the government shutdown, claiming it’s illegal to force employees to work without pay.

The Justice Department (such as it is) is investigating whether former Interior Secretary and frequent ethics violator Ryan Zinke lied to his department’s inspector general during ethics probes.

Meanwhile the House Ethics Committee says Virginia Republican Rep. Thomas Garrett misused official resources and was “trying to run out the clock” on a departmental investigation thereof.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

The congressional freshman class of 2019 is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House, which includes the first Native American congresswomen, the first Muslim congresswomen, and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Congress is also more female than ever before, thanks to Democrats, rather than Republicans, who are actually losing female representation.

Millions of women in India—between 3.5 million and 5 million—formed a human chain stretching 385 miles to demonstrate for women’s rights, protesting their exclusion from Hindu temples when menstruating (despite India’s supreme court ruling that they be admitted).

In the “laughing/crying emoji” column, there is this headline and real-life story, which is from a legitimate media outlet and not The Onion, but that shows the state of the current GOP administration led by the mentally deranged dotard.

Take Action Newsletter: #TrumpShutdown; DHS hearings; HR1; Cornyn’s climate denialism; opening day of #txlege

Calls to Make

Call Senators Cornyn and Cruz about…

The Trump Shutdown

Trump says he could keep shutdown going for “months or years.” Call Cornyn and Cruz—especially Cornyn, since he is up for reelection in 2020—and ask if they’re really okay with federal employees being unable to pay their bills. Ask how they feel about the negative impact to the economy. And then ask if a stand-off over a wall is really worth this type of damage. Remind them contractors generally don’t get back pay during a shutdown. Remind them that the GOP has been in power for two years and couldn’t fund Trump’s ridiculous wall, so there is no way the House Dems will do it. Tell the senators to stop playing games with people’s livelihoods. (Major hat tip: Celeste Pewter.)

DHS hearings on the deaths of children in custody

Both John Cornyn and Ted Cruz are on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where fellow committee member Diane Feinstein has called for a hearing after two children died in the custody of Customs and Border Protection.

Call Senator John Cornyn about…

Cornyn’s climate denialism

It seems Big John, who took $1.6 million from the oil & gas industry in 2018, just doesn’t feel like climate change is much of a priority. The editorial board of the Houston Chronicle published this brutal take-down of John Cornyn’s sudden adoption of climate-change denialism. (Read our analysis over at senatorjohncornyn.com—and be sure to share it with him on social media; he’s unusually thin-skinned there.) Give him a call and let him know you support the Green New Deal, and expect him to get onboard or be voted out of office. Meanwhile, you can thank Rep. Lloyd Doggett for supporting the deal.

Call your House member about…

Supporting HR1

Call your House rep and tell them to support HR1, the landmark bill that would expand voting rights, curb gerrymandering, bolster ethics rules, and revamp how campaigns are funded. The Democratic-led House introduced this bill last week, partially in response to hundreds of grassroots groups rallying for its support. Protecting democracy is nonpartisan—tell your GOP rep to get onboard!

Find your representative

How your voices are making a difference

  • On day 1 in the House, Dems voted for legislation that would end Don John’s baby-tantrum government shutdown
  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler plans to re-introduce legislation to protect Robert Mueller
  • The congressional freshman class of 2019 is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House

Read on, Warriors

Events

Tuesday, Jan. 8

First day of the Texas Legislature

Join newly minted Central Texas reps for their swearing in ceremonies! The House gallery opens at 10:30 am and is open to the public on a first come, first serve basis. The ceremony begins at noon. Overflow rooms are available. You can also visit staff offices, where receptions will be held both before and after the swearings-in.

  • Rep. Erin Zwiener:  E2.416
  • Rep. James Talarico: E2.712
  • Rep. Gina Hinojosa: E2.314
  • Rep. Vikki Goodwin: E2.420
  • Rep. John Bucy: Reception in E2.028 before and after the ceremony. Office unveiling in E2.312.

Wednesday, Jan. 9

TX Lege 101 with Rep. Donna Howard & Rep. John Cyrier

6 to 9 p.m. Join Austin Tech Alliance, Glasshouse Policy and Leadership Austin for an evening of policy education. Capital Factory. 701 Brazos Street. 1st floor/Voltron room.

Register on Eventbrite

Action Spotlight: Whose House? Our House!

Activists outside Roger Williams's Austin office for a Whose House? OUR House! rally

Organizers from Indivisible groups in TX25 staged a “Whose House? Our House” rally outside the offices of Rep. Roger Williams. The event centered around support for H.R.1, a robust democracy reform bill including reforms on voter empowerment and access, money in politics reforms, and corruption fixes. The dazzling lineup of speakers included:

Props to Indivisible TX25 East Austin and all of the local candidates and activists who participated!

Your Moment of Zen