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How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: 5/22: “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him.”

No, that’s not “Things Americans say about Donald Trump” (or at least not just that). That’s from a statement Kim Jong Un issued referencing security adviser John Bolton, while making noises about backing out of Donald’s much-vaunted meeting with the mentally deranged dotard in chief. I know this is hard to believe, but the very stable genius seems to have been braggadocios before having any reason to. Talks with North Korea are seeming less likely after Kim Jong Un announced his country would never stop their nuclear program in exchange for economic dealings with the U.S. Does this mean Don John won’t get his self-touted Nobel Peace prize?

Elsewhere in the world, things are getting so bad even Rex Tillerson is full of warnings about Donald and the demise of democracy…but there’s lots and lots and lots of progress to report this week. (So much is going against Donald’s administration, in fact, that apparently even Sarah Huckabee Sanders couldn’t figure out how to spin it—the White House canceled three briefings on successive days last week.)

GOP Smackdowns

The Senate voted to overturn the FCC’s attempt to repeal net neutrality rules 52-47. Though the measure likely won’t pass the House nor make it through the White House, it’s a sign that some GOP senators (or at least John Kennedy, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins) understand that they have a duty to protect America and her people, and perhaps others may locate enough of a spine to stand against Donald and his cronies’ efforts to dismantle her democracy.

In further evidence, the Senate also backed the intelligence community’s findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections to benefit Donald.

And 20 Republicans in the House have signed a petition to force a vote on DACA to give Dreamers legal residency status and offer a path to citizenship, despite Paul Ryan’s increasingly frantic and petulant efforts to stifle the rebellion. Just five more GOP signatures, together with all the Dems in the House, will force a debate on the issue.

Plus a nearly $1 billion GOP farm bill Ryan championed failed embarrassingly in the GOP-controlled House.

Dems flipped a House seat in Pennsylvania on Tuesday—bringing the total number of flipped seats since Donald’s attempted coup of our government to 41. Many of these seats involved women—more on that below.

Donald’s ethics disclosure released Wednesday listed money reimbursed last year to Michael Cohen, who paid off Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) for her silence. Donald’s recent statements (along with those of diarrhea-mouthed Rudy Giuliani) that he did indeed pay Cohen back for paying Clifford were an attempt to clear him of campaign finance violations—and they indicate that this repayment was for that purpose. Which interestingly opens up a new ethical and legal can of worms, as he didn’t disclose it earlier, and lied about it before.

Russia

The Office of Government Ethics filed a letter with Rosenstein, deputy AG for the DoJ and in charge of Mueller’s Russia investigation, alerting Rosenstein to the payoff as a debt that may be relevant to “any inquiry” the DoJ is pursuing. It's Mueller TimeWonder which one they mean? Former White House ethics czar and unlikely superhero Walter Shaub says the letter is “tantamount to a criminal referral.” (BTW, if you aren’t following Shaub’s Twitter account, you should be.)

Grassley released thousands of pages of the Trump Tower emails.

Mueller has subpoenaed the social media expert for one of Donald’s chief advisers in the 2016 campaign, Roger Stone.

Cohen solicited the government of Qatar for $1 million for access to Donald’s incoming administration in late 2016—in other words pitching the sale of influence on our government to a foreign power.

Three months before the 2016 election, Donald Jr. and several other Donald aides met with a Middle Eastern emissary offering them help in winning the election for Donald. Don’t worry…Mueller’s on it.

A federal judge denied Paul Manafort’s bid to have Mueller’s indictment of him dismissed—for the second time—calling Manafort “an obvious person of interest.”

Manafort seems to having his own karmic smackdown, as his former son-in-law has decided the time has come to plead guilty and cooperate with Robert Mueller. Know what time I mean? I think you do…

The Law Against Republicans

A district judge in Seattle had to actually forbid the federal government from continuing to state that a Mexican man ICE is trying to deport has gang ties—because they have presented zero evidence of it. While he was at it the judge forbade ICE to revoke the man’s work authorization or DACA enrollment. Thank god for the judicial branch—it’s the only grown-ass adult in the room at the moment.

Oh, wait, the UN is also an adult—the General Assembly voted 128 to 9 to declare Donald’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital null and void, a sharp (and humiliating) rebuke to the man-baby in chief.

Good old California, along with 18 other states, filed papers in support of a lawsuit filed by multiple Planned Parenthood branches to prevent the federal government from blocking funding for family planning services.

The Justice Department as well as the FBI are investigating Cambridge Analytica. The whistle-blower who first alerted about the company’s privacy law violations has testified that CA dictated that only Republican causes and companies were to be accepted.

An executive at Novartis, the drug company that paid Donny’s embattled lawyer Michael Cohen $1.2 million for possible access to and sway with Donald, has resigned. He seems be taking a page from Donald and to erroneously believe this will put a stop to any further investigation.

An appeals court judge denied Donald’s attempts to halt Summer Zervos defamation lawsuit.

Three top Dem senators requested a multiagency inspector general investigation (a rare request) into why this administration has not enacted congressionally mandated Russia sanctions.

 “Draining the Swamp”

The White House eliminated the top cyber policy post, saying they wanted to “streamline authority.” Hmmm…why could Donald want to get rid of experts in cybersecurity and shorten the chain of command of those responsible for stopping it?

Betsy DeVos’s education department is dismantling a unit responsible for investigating fraud at for-profit colleges (like Trump University, and also schools where some of DeVos’s top hires in the department formerly worked).

EPA head Scott Pruitt—among many other ethical and potentially legal violations—sought to block publication of a nationwide water contamination crisis regarding a class of toxic chemicals that has contaminated water supplies near sites across several states, citing concerns about “a public relations nightmare.”

former Trump campaign aid is helping a Russian firm owned by a Russian billionaire with close ties to Putin avoid U.S. sanctions.

Donald named the entirely unqualified and inexperienced brother-in-law of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, who is also transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, as head of a Labor Department agency responsible for paying back dissolved pensions. Please reread that sentence and remind yourself this is happening in the U.S., not a nepotistic banana republic.

Republicans Violating Ethics

China—which was just given a bye on sanctions for a major cell phone company and a tariff exemption by Donald—is offering a $500 million loan to a state-owned Indonesian amusement park that will feature three Trump-branded properties.

Gina Haspel, Donald’s embattled CIA nominee who was directly involved in torture of POWs, recanted and finally stated torture to be wrong. Just in time for the vote on her confirmation (which went through).

In about as clear an indication yet of the banana republic regime Donald would like to be leading, he directly tried to coerce the postmaster general into doubling shipping rates for Amazon—the company headed by his archnemesis, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post. The postmaster, Megan Brennan, pushed back and attempted to educate the president of the United States about the law and democracy, informing him that those rates are bound by contracts and changes would have to be reviewed by a regulatory commission.

Gun Control

The city council of Boulder, Colorado, voted—unanimously—to ban semiautomatic rifles.

On the same day a school shooter in Santa Fe, TX, killed 10 people, high school students advocating for gun-reform laws were arrested outside Paul Ryan’s office.

Former Austin police chief Art Acevedo posted a no-holds-barred status on his Facebook page after the Santa Fe school shooting, stating, among other direct rebukes of politicians’ inaction in the face of NRA money, “This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and inaction, it’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing).”

Civil and social rights advances

Women won the living crap out of some primary elections. In Pennsylvania, a state with exactly zero female representatives in Congress, twenty women ran on the democratic ticket in the primaries in PA, and seven will be on the ballot in November. Women won 16 of the 19 House Democratic primaries, eight black women won primaries, and in four states (Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia), women won 63 percent of the primary nominations.

The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement reversed an earlier decision to offer continuing education credits for a course taught by an ex-FBI agent based on a conspiracy theory that Muslim groups want to overthrow the U.S. government and implement Islamic law, in which he calls Islam “barbaric and evil” and dark-skinned airport security workers “jihadists” and “terrorists.” The commission revoked the credits it had given members for the course.

At a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in California, a barista refused to serve a man making racist comments to a Muslim patron—and her bosses backed her up. (Starbucks: Take note. The coffee giant had yet another racist incident this past week when a barista wrote “Beaner” on a cup instead of the patron’s name, Pedro.)

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Lawyer Aaron Schlossberg—whose very public racist rant against employees speaking Spanish in a restaurant went viral—is experiencing the great karmic bitch-slap of life: hiding from the press, dealing with a rash of bad reviews on his firm’s Yelp page, and probably looking at the end of his career. He’s also the target of a complaint filed with the state court disciplinary system for misconduct for the rant. In true I <3 NY style, New Yorkers held a fiesta outside his apartment building, and an online campaign raised money to hire a mariachi band to follow him around and play for him.

Nobody in the private sector seems to want to hire anyone who worked for Donald.

Where Has All Our Common Sense Gone? Remarks at the NRA Convention

I gave these remarks at the Texas Gun Sense press conference outside the NRA convention on May 4. Today, once again, children were slaughtered at school because our lawmakers refuse to take any meaningful action to protect them. With each mass shooting, families and communities are devastated, and the community of survivors grows ever larger. After a murderer cut our children down today in their classrooms, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declared a war on doors, as though they were the real culprits in today’s deaths. There is evidence to support reasonable gun reform, and it doesn’t include trapping our children inside their schools in violation of fire codes, common sense, and common decency. We need serious people in office who will pursue policies that protect our children and communities, not guns.

My name is Lisa Goodgame, and I’m the President of Indivisible Austin. We are a chapter of the national grassroots movement focused on defending democracy and holding our member of Congress accountable. We believe that gun violence prevention is one of the biggest issues we’ll face in the coming year and in the next legislative session. I speak to you today not only as an activist and advocate, but as a gun violence survivor.

In the middle of the night of October 2, 1993, my 18-year-old sister Rani Goodgame was murdered in Houston. Two young guys shot her and another young woman at a party and she died at the scene. She had just started college at the University of Houston and she planned to pursue a degree in sports psychology. But instead of graduating and having a long life ahead of her, she was cut down in a hail of bullets.

I stand here as a member of the ever-growing community of gun violence survivors. Twenty-four years to the day of my sister’s murder we woke up to news of the massacre in Las Vegas. That day the survivor community grew by thousands. Twenty-four years to the day of the shooting at Parkland my family got the notification of the latest victim impact hearing as one of her murderers comes up for parole. That day the survivor community grew by thousands.

I’m here today to represent survivors who can’t be here to speak, but I’m also here to issue a challenge to our lawmakers.

Today our senators Cornyn and Cruz will the address the NRA convention. They are both A+ rated by the NRA, but they are failing our children, communities and schools because they are beholden to the gun lobby’s special interest and letting our children die.

Our children are a special interest.

Our communities are a special interest.

Our schools are a special interest.

In his pro-NRA op-ed in the Dallas Morning News, Sen. Cruz called those of us who are calling for commonsense gun reform “dunces” and “extremists.” No one speaking here today is either of those things. We aren’t dunces. We’re seeking policy change that the vast majority of Americans and Texans support. A Quinnipiac poll released on April 19 found that 94 percent of voters support universal background checks. 55 percent overall support stricter gun laws, and 53 percent want an assault weapon ban.

The majority of Texans are not dunces and they are not extremists. We are ready for political and policy change, and we’re ready to end the NRA’s stranglehold on our lawmakers.

My Sister Was Murdered With An Assault Weapon, and Better Gun Laws Might Have Stopped It From Happening

Note: This article, by Indivisible Austin Board President Lisa Goodgame, was originally posted on xojane.com in April 2013. 

Surviving sisters Lisa and Rani, with a photo of their youngest sister, who was murdered

“Her death created a rift in our family. We will always be the Goodgames before and the Goodgames after. Because she was so young, after is proving to be a very long time.”

On the night of October 1, 1993 the phone rang just as we were all climbing into bed.

Well, not quite all. My youngest sister was asleep at a friend’s house, and my parents and I were home, having returned late from a Friday night dinner.

My other sister, Rani Goodgame, wasn’t with us. Three young criminals had shot and killed her using an illegally acquired automatic weapon, among other guns. The phone was ringing to tell my parents that they needed to come identify her body.

Two of the shooters were under eighteen, and one was out on bond for another murder he’d allegedly committed a few weeks earlier. They shot another young woman that night, too. Fortunately, she survived.

My sister was 18 and had just started college. That night, all she was doing was sitting in her car outside a party. Three boys murdered her in a spray of more than 100 rounds shot from a weapon that would be banned less than a year later.

Like so many victims of gun violence, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

RIP

Early Saturday morning, the calls started coming as people heard the morning news report on the radio. Incredulous, they asked if they had just heard that a Goodgame had been shot and killed. I sat in the vestibule outside the rabbi’s office at the synagogue, waiting for him to arrive before Saturday morning services so I could tell him that one of the Goodgame girls, whom he’d known since birth, had been murdered. We didn’t think that he’d answer the phone since it was Shabbat.

I returned home to find media camped out on our street, hoping to interview us. Two days later, hundreds of people attended her funeral, which was filmed in its entirety by the local television stations.

In the following months and years, I watched my family struggle in the aftermath of losing a child, grandchild, and sister to violence. My parents seemed lost in a way I can never expect to understand, in a way I hope never to know.

My youngest sister seemed to barely make it through school that year. She and Rani were close in age and had almost always been at the same school at the same time. Her best friend had been ripped away without a moment’s notice, without a goodbye.

My relationship with my sister was in a difficult place when she was killed. We had argued the week before when she decided to move out of our parents’ home. The last conversation we had still rings in my skull. When somebody dies unexpectedly, there’s a lot of unfinished business and tangled emotions. I was angry with my sister at the time of her death. It was an anger that, had she survived, we probably would have worked through and been able to move on. Now and forever, that chance of reconciliation is gone.

At the time, I couldn’t release the anger I felt toward her. I was in shock for several months, and once I got past the denial, I found myself stuck in anger. My anger manifested itself in several ways, but the most disturbing were the nightmares I’d have in which the gun was turned on me. Maybe that was my brain’s way of moving me from anger to bargaining — if only I had been the one to die…

It took years for the anger to finally dissipate, and for me to be able to remember my sister as she was for most of her life: a goofy, smiling dancer and gymnast who loved our dogs and made a silly, pouty bottom lip when she didn’t get her way.

Her death created a rift in our family. We will always be the Goodgames before and the Goodgames after. Because she was so young, after is proving to be a very long time. After has included campaigns to keep her killers from getting paroled. This last year, since the 19th anniversary of her death in October 2012, has been an especially rough one, and not just because the 20-year mark is fast approaching. It’s been a difficult year filled with hideous acts of gun violence and the ensuing political polarization capped off by the Senate’s deeply disappointing actions yesterday.

At a time when a majority of Americans, as measured by every major poll, support stronger background checks, a ban on high capacity ammunition clips, and a ban on assault weapons, our legislators have let us down by failing to listen to the majority. They have failed to do their duty as our representatives. For me, it’s personal because the weaknesses of our laws in all three areas contributed to the climate that made it possible for three criminals, two of whom were minors, to acquire the assault weapon that killed my sister.

Sometimes it feels as though people forget about the victims and those left behind. As they clamor for their right to own any and all varieties of gun, they also sow fears and distrust that the government wants to track gun owners for the express purpose of confiscating their legally acquired and owned weapons.

Members of my own family do this. I see their posts online, the ones that garner comments calling people like me, who want smarter laws but who aren’t inherently anti-gun, “violent political extremists” because we voted for Democrats. The comments that question whether people like me are patriotic, whether we are true Americans.

I love my family, but sometimes I hate their ideals. They love me, and I’m sure they hate mine. When the issue is taxes or health care reform, I can write off our differences. But when the issue is something that touches me and the friends and families of the 3,514+ people who have been killed by gun violence just since Sandy Hook, I can’t set it aside so easily.

I can’t simply hide the wall posts and pretend they never happened. I want to make them understand, but I don’t know how to and I feel helpless. At this juncture our positions are firmly held and we, like so many Americans, are confounded by the other’s beliefs.

Yesterday afternoon, I heard President Obama’s speech while I was driving home. I was amazed at how angry he sounded, and it was an anger that I know reverberated through the Senate chamber as Vice-President Biden announced that the hard-fought compromise had failed. Had I been there, standing shoulder to shoulder with the other victims (and yes, we who live in the after are victims, too), I would likely have shouted “Shame on you!” too.

Three sisters

It’s taken me almost 20 years to be able to write this story. I have told it many times to friends and co-workers. I haven’t so much chosen to remain silent as felt that the story wasn’t ready to be told. Today on that car ride home, the story came to life.

You may not agree with me. You may think I’m using pathos to appeal on this issue. You may think the minority of Senators who blocked the bill and its amendments from moving forward yesterday were right.

We’ll have to agree to disagree, and hopefully, one day soon, America’s lawmakers will listen to the majority of their constituents. Democracy is rough go sometimes. Let’s hope it goes the people’s way sometime soon.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”

Week of 5/15: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”

Some weeks the “Russia” and “Republicans Against the Law” sections are hard to distinguish…so for this week they’re combined:

Michael Cohen may be guilty not only of bank fraud, but of accepting payments from Russian oligarchs to replenish the account from which he made payments such as those to silence Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels). Cohen used a shell company to make the payments that received deposits from Russian oligarchs, as well as several companies (like AT&T) with business before the White House. Here’s the official brief from Avenatti and Associates, Clifford’s legal representative, and here’s the numbers breakdown. Nonpartisan ethics watchdog group Public Citizen has stated it wants to launch an investigation into whether Cohen should have registered as a lobbyist for his role brokering influence with Donny-boy.

Speaking of the coming storm, several sources close to Donald revealed that he knew about the payments to silence Clifford at the time he vociferously denied it.

Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation despite increasingly shrill panicked Twitter attacks from Donald and his mouthpiece, FOX News. One ex-Trump aide who was interviewed offered a window into the scope of the investigation: “Every question they asked me, they already had the answers to.”

Mueller rejected requests from the White House (which no doubt fears Donald’s vomiting up incriminating truths in a face-to-face interview) for Donald to answer questions regarding the Russia investigation in writing.

Ben Carson is being sued for suspending a fair-housing rule meant to discourage housing discrimination.

Donald hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to create a “dirty ops” campaign against Obama appointees championing President Obama’s Iran nuclear disarmament deal.

Senator Robert Menendez is publicly questioning Donald about a letter written from the Trump Organization to Panama’s president during the legal battle of the Trump-branded hotel in that country to divorce itself from the Trump name and organization for mismanagement. As the Post put it: “That was an extraordinary request: a company owned by the U.S. president asking directly for help from the government of an American ally.”

A Scottish newspaper reported that the Donny-led U.S. government paid thousands of taxpayer dollars to the Trump hotel in Scotland for VIP stays.

Civil and social rights advances:

Women won 16 of the 19 Democratic House primaries last Tuesday, including eight black women; 63 percent of primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia (the four states that held primary elections last week); and secured half the major party nominations for the House in West Virginia. One of the primary winners included Rachel Crooks for a state legislature seat in Ohio, a woman who accused Donald of forcibly kissing her against her will.

Connecticut joined 10 other states and the District of Columbia in passing a bill to give its presidential electoral votes to the national popular vote winner.

A group of moderate Republicans are joining with Democrats in the House to force a vote on DACA and protect Dreamers.

Ohio overwhelmingly voted for a bipartisan ballot measure to make redistricting law fairer and combat partisan gerrymandering, andsimilar ballot measures could be coming in Missouri, Michigan, Colorado and Utah.

A federal judge has given Texas until Thursday to show how it will comply with the National Voter Registration Act by allowing divers to register to vote when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, per a decades-old federal law.

“Draining the Swamp”

Senior White House staff is pressuring Donald to fire Scott Pruitt, under scrutiny for multiple ethical, legal, and financial violations of his office.

Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly nearly resigned after a 30-minute tantrum from the man-baby-in-chief about her failings to secure the border.

One of the State Department’s top advisers on nuclear proliferation resigned in the wake of Donald’s withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal.

Congress, the public, and Meghan McCain are calling for the termination of one of Donald’s communications aides after she allegedly commented in a briefing that McCain’s strongly stated objections to Don-John’s nominated CIA director Gina Haspel (“Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying,” McCain says) that it didn’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.” As the White House berated its staff for the leaks but not the comment, nor issued any apologies, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called it “a pretty disgusting thing to say.” The initial report of the aide’s comment came the same day an air force lieutenant mocked McCain—a POW and a military hero—during a TV appearance on Fox Business, saying, “The fact is…it worked on John. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'” Keep it classy, Trumpies.

The Unintended Irony Files:

On the same day that Melania Trump announced her somewhat grammatically mystifyingly named “Be Best” initiative to focus on children’s health and well-being, her husband announced plans to cut the Children’s Health Insurance Program by a whopping $7 billion.

The same week Donald rescinded $252 million set aside to cope with Ebola, and his top biodefense expert left the National Security Counsel, an Ebola outbreak sprang up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Feel-good Stories of the Week:

A secretary for a law firm quietly amassed millions over her 67-year tenure there by observing her bosses’ investment strategies—thenleft the bulk of her fortune ($8.2 million) to go toward scholarships for needy students. California passed a regulation requiring all new homes built after 2020 to have solar powerNo one wants to host the 2020 GOP convention. If you take in no other news this week,watch Auntie Maxine Waters magnificently hand Republicans their asses over attempts to roll back antidiscrimination laws in the auto industry.

NEW Pocket Guide with 2018 Election Info!

You know those neat little pocket guides we hand out at marches, rallies, and meetups? Now you can print your own!

The pocket guide has been updated for election season! Block walking your neighborhood? Take some with you to hand out to neighbors. The pocket guide now has:

  • contact info for all 6 U.S. Reps and Sens. Cornyn & Cruz
  • NEW state lege and Austin City Council contact info
  • NEW comprehensive voter information for 2018

Download the PDF and print double-sided in black & white

Show up to support the Austin Sanctuary Network at City Council!

Indivisible Austin is a proud active member of the Austin Sanctuary Network, supporting asylum seekers and immigrants finding refuge here in Austin, and advocating for immigrants rights throughout Texas and America!

Keep Alirio Safe

On Thursday, May 10, join us and the ASN in supporting a City wide resolution showing solidarity with the courageous Sanctuary leaders in Austin and all over the United States. This resolution will show support for

sanctuary for three individuals living at houses of worship in Austin, and urging federal officials to prevent their deportation

Moreover it will show Austin’s support for national Sanctuary efforts, and leaders like Edith Espinal in Ohio, Juana Luz Tobar Ortega in North Carolina, Carmela Apolonio Hernandez in Philadelphia, and Alex Rene Garcia in St. Louis as well as our Austin Sanctuary leaders Alirio Gamez, Hilda Ramirez and her 12 year old son Ivan Ramirez.

Join us at Austin City Hall for the passage of this monumental resolution that will be one of many more to come all over the United States!

Click here to RSVP and for more information

Thursday, May 10
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Austin City Hall
301 W 2nd St, Austin, TX

Call Congress to Protect SNAP on May 8

What: Call-In Day to Protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

When: Tuesday, May 8

​Who: Call your member of Congress at 888-398-8702

Please share this action alert widely and use the downloadable social media graphics from Children’s Defense Fund-Texas below 

Adapted from CPPP‘s SNAP action alert:
About 3.8 million Texans — kids, the elderly, people with disabilities, veterans and workers who don’t earn enough to feed their families — turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly “food stamps”) to help buy food every month. It is the nation’s most effective anti-hunger program.

Now, SNAP is at risk because of proposals in the Farm Bill, the legislation that includes this vital program. The Farm Bill would make it harder for millions of working mothers to put food on the table by taking away or cutting their food benefits. In all, the proposal would cut the actual money families receive to buy food by more than $17 billion and instead would spend billions setting up a new system of untested work programs and requirements with punishing penalties.

RSVP on Facebook to join the National Call-in Day and let Congress know you oppose cuts to the SNAP program

Call your member of Congress on May 8 at 888-398-8702

Sample script/talking points:

  1. Identify yourself as a constituent calling about pending legislation.
  2. Tell them you want your representative to oppose the current Farm Bill, because it would:
    1. Cut food assistance for struggling families in your community, and
    2. Misuse those same funds to expand a bureaucracy that sells the promise of work, but won’t deliver results.
  3. Give a concrete example from your experience to demonstrate why you care.
  4. Provide your full mailing address and ask to receive a response from your member of Congress.
  5. Thank the staff member!

 

Right click to download and share these images on social media:

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Protect SNAP national call-in day

Protect SNAP national call-in day

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”

Week of 5/8/18: “That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”

Russia

Donald’s allies among the far-right GOP in the House have escalated attacks on Donald’s own DoJ, drafting articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein, a Trump-appointed Republican who is guilty of doing his job and observing the letter of the law, rather than being a Donald flunky. Rosenstein is having none of that nonsense, decrying the document “nobody has the courage to put their name on” and asserting that “theDepartment of Justice is not going to be extorted” and that he will obey the rule of law despite their threats. BOOM, bitches—Rosenstein in ya face.

Donald, despite claims that “many lawyers and top law firms” want to represent him, is losing yet another member of his legal team, as Ty Cobb announced his retirement at the end of the month. At this rate Don John may wind up representing himself. He may be called upon to do so sooner than later—as he continues to resist being interviewed by investigation lead Robert Mueller, Mueller is bringing up the possibility of a presidential subpoena before a grand jury. Interestingly the only lawyer on Donald’s team who had the security clearances to discuss these negotiations with Mueller, John Dowd, has left.

This leads us right to…

Republicans against the Law

Donald’s new lawyer, the wild-eyed, mouth-foaming Rudy Giuliani, stated on FOX that contrary to Donald’s earlier statements that he didn’t know about the Stormy Daniels payout that his lawyer Michael Cohen made with his own money, he in fact did, and repaid Cohen. That might mean no campaign finance violations if it didn’t come out of campaign money, but it could violate campaign finance lending laws if it wasn’t documented—and more than that, former OGE ethics lawyer and unlikely superhero for right and justiceWalter Shaub says it means Donald has admitted to filing a false financial disclosure. Other legal analysts believe it may offer new leads and evidence in the Russia investigation. And Neil Cavuto, a news host on FOX, of all miraculous places, laid into the president about his trail of lies and contradictions: “I guess you’ve been too busy draining the swamp to stop and smell the stink you’re creating. That’s your doing. That’s your stink. Mr. President, that’s your swamp.”

Stephanie Clifford (Stormy Daniels) is suing Donald for defamation for his comments about her after the artist’s rendering of the man she claims threatened her on Donald’s behalf. Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant who also claims sexual harassment by the pussy grabber in chief, is also suing for defamation.

Eighteen states are suing Donny’s administration over its plans to relax Obama-era greenhouse-gas emissions standards, and California is suing the EPA directly.

Along with the ACLU and another reproductive health organization, Planned Parenthood is suing the administration over proposed changes to the Title X program that will have a negative impact on low-income families, such as touting the “rhythm method” over comprehensive reproductive health services.

Marco Rubio stated in an interview with the Economist that despite the promises of the GOP with their new tax plan, there’s “no evidence whatsoever that the money’s [from corporate tax cuts] been massively poured back into the American worker.”

Michael Cohen—Donny’s lawyer whose records were seized last month—has been hit with $200K more in state warrants for unpaid taxes on his businesses, bringing his grand total to nearly $300K (so far). Interesting things happen when Robert Mueller finds criminal charges against those he’s investigating who might have information relating to Donald when those people are looking to save their own skins…

Investigation into Ronny Jackson—Donald’s personal physician who last week withdrew from his nomination to head the VA upon multiple allegations of ethics violations—may be bolstered by revelations that there were top-level concerns aired about Jackson’s actions last year…By VP Mike Pence’s physician, in part based on Jackson’s treatment of Pence’s wife, Karen. Who then abruptly resigned Friday.

Republican Missouri governor Eric Greitans, facing multiple charges of felony, is refusing to step down from office, so a group of MO lawmakers is convening to consider impeachment proceedings.

“Draining the Swamp”

Ethics watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed a request for investigation into Mick Mulvaney, against acting head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, with the Senate Budget Committee and the inspector general for the Federal Reserve for allegedly misleading a Senate panel committee last year about his real estate dealings in his confirmation hearing.

Thomas Homan, Donald’s appointee to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has stepped down six months after being appointed.

In the wake of Scott Pruitt’s abuses of his position and taxpayer dollars as head of the EPA, his closest officials are resigningone of whom is a top aide fined $125,000 by the FDIC a year ago (around the time Pruitt hired him) and banned from the banking industry for life. Pruitt’s offenses continue to come to light—most recently with revelations that he apparently picked places he wanted to travel and asked his friends and political allies to invent reasons to charge these trips to taxpayers, and that he spent $100K—twice what was initially reported—on a trip to Morocco arranged by a lobbyist who subsequently received a $40,000/month contract from the Moroccan government. Oh, and he secretly bought a house with a lobbyist.

Taking a page from Donald, Paul Ryan basically fired the House chaplain, who often leads prayers for the poor and less fortunate, which apparently cannot be tolerated in the House—along with Father Patrick Conroy’s Catholicism, apparently, which seems to offend the Protestant and evangelical Pharisees in the House. But after Ryan asked for and received the chaplain’s resignation, the chaplain realized Ryan didn’t have cause to fire him, and rescinded the resignation.

Gina Haspel, Donald’s pick to head the CIA, controversial for her role in the torture of interrogated detainees,sought to rescind her nomination Friday, but was talked out of it by the White House.

Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for the White House under George W. Bush—and outspoken critic of Don John—has announced he is leaving the Republican party to run for Al Franken’s Senate seat in Minnesota as a Democrat.

Gun reform:

Parkland students—and even some NRA members—are citing hypocrisy after the NRA announced that all firearms would be prohibited when Mike Pence spoke at the gun-lobbying organization’s annual meeting. Apparently guns are too dangerous for Pence at the annual meeting of gun owners, but just fine for schools.

Meanwhile this idiot running for governor in Georgia (oh, hometown, you are embarrassing me so much lately) ran an ad in which he held a loaded gun on a teenager—to the outraged response of even gun owners for “breaking the first two rules of gun safety: treat every gun as if it’s loaded and don’t point a gun at anything or anyone you don’t intend to kill.”

Social and civil-rights advances:

Australian Cardinal George Pell will face trial over sexual abuse allegations against children, making him one of the most senior Catholic prelates to be brought to trial.

In north Texas, 57 members of a white supremacist gang were charged with drug trafficking and a kidnapping conspiracy, while a white nationalist has been convicted of malicious wounding for beating a black man at last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA and may face up to 10 years in prison. The two black men arrested in Starbucks for doing nothing (except being black) have settled with Philadelphia for a symbolic $1 each, and the city will also donate $200K for a program to help young entrepreneurs.

Despite Don John’s puffed-up bluster about immigration, the U.S. is allowing groups of the Central American caravan of asylum seekers to cross the border.

Cambridge Analytica is shutting down and declaring bankruptcy after its breaches of privacy in gathering info from Facebook users resulted in public outrage and the loss of clients. The company will continue to face potential investigations and sanctions from regulatory agencies around the world.

Arizona teachers achieved a 20 percent pay raise and more than $130 million additional dollars invested in schools by the state after their weeklong class walkout, and North Carolina looks to be following suit any second.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week:

Enjoy this brilliant takedown of attacks on Michelle Wolf’s White House Correspondence Dinner monologue, using quotes from Donald’s own sphinctery mouth. Speaking of being repelled by Don John, residents of his Trump Place building on the Upper West Side went to court to battle for the right to remove Donny’s name from their building—and won. Feeling bleak and hopeless about the state of the world? Take comfort: It’s been worse—a lot worse, plenty of times, and author and historian Jon Meacham thinks it’s going to get better, too.

Meet the Primary Election Runoff Candidates!

Be A Texas VoterThe primary election runoff is May 22, with early voting from May 14-18. Several state and US districts are holding runoff elections. If you voted in the primary, you must vote in the same party’s runoff. But if you did not vote in the primary, you can vote in either party’s runoff.

Below are upcoming candidate forums, debates, and meet-and-greets. We’ll update this page as more events are confirmed.

Wednesday, May 2nd

HD46 Democratic Runoff Debate

7:30 p.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1164 San Bernard St. Hosted by KUT Austin.

Join us for a debate between the candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Texas House District 46.

Sheryl Cole for State Representative and Jose “Chito” Vela for State Representative are in the May 22nd runoff for the seat currently held by long-time State Representative Dawnna Dukes.

Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/192246558223278/

Saturday, May 5th

Meet the TX10 & TX27 Candidates in Bastrop

11 a.m. at Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard, Bastrop, TX. Hosted by the Bastrop County Democratic Party.

Featuring Tawana Walter-Cadien and Mike Siegel, who are running in TX10, and also Eric Holquin and Roy Barrera, who are running to represent TX27.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/212009829391326/

Town Hall for Our Lives featuring TX25 candidate Chris Perri and HD47 candidate Vikki Goodwin

5 p.m. at James Bowie High School, 4103 W Slaughter Ln.

Student-organized discussion with local Austin leaders as well as candidates for Congress. Panelists will include the local leaders and candidates as well as students from James Bowie High School. Panelists will include:

  • Chris Perri (candidate TX-25)
  • Vikki Goodwin (candidate TX-47)
  • Chris Evoy (AISD Police Department)
  • Dr. Craig Shapiro (Associate Superintendent of High Schools AISD)

Join to hear a Q&A session between the students and local leaders. Audience members will be able to ask questions and get involved towards the end of the event. Principals from the AISD district will be formally invited to listen in.

Eventbrite:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/town-hall-for-our-lives-austin-tx-tickets-45186265336

Sunday, May 6th

Primary forum w/ TX25 candidates and HD47 candidates

1:30 p.m. at Laura’s Library, 9411 Bee Caves Rd. Hosted by Indivisible Eanes/West Austin and Cuernavaca Action Group

Come meet the candidates for Congressional District 25 and Texas House District 27. This non-partisan event will give you an opportunity to speak with each candidate in a small group and ask them the questions that matter to you.

1:30 – 2:15 TX25 – Candidates invited are Julie Oliver, Chris Perri, and Roger Williams

2:30 – 3:00 HD47 – Candidates invited are Elaina Fowler, Vikki Goodwin, and Paul Workman

Registration using Eventbrite is requested but not required:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meet-the-runoff-candidates-tickets-44930669843

Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/231673737572107/

Monday, May 7th

A Democratic Candidate Forum for HD46 with Sheryl Cole & Chito Vela

6:30 p.m. at AFS Cinema, 6259 Middle Fiskville Rd. Hosted by The Texas Tribune.

Join The Texas Tribune for a candidate forum with the two Democratic hopefuls for House District 46.

Eventbrite:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-democratic-candidate-forum-for-hd-46-with-sheryl-cole-chito-vela-registration-44559574888

Friday, May 11th

Save the Date: Governors’ Debate with Lupe Valdez and Andrew White. 6 p.m.

6 p.m. at St James Episcopal 1941 Webberville Rd. Austin, Texas 78721

Join State Tejano Democrats, Texas Coalition of Black Democrats, Texas Young Democrats, Texas College Democrats, Texas Stonewall Democrats, and Travis County Democratic Party for a Grassroots Debate, with Lupe Valdez and Andrew White.

The debate will be moderated by Gromer Jeffers, political writer for the Dallas Morning News and Co-Host of Lone Star Politics on KXAS (NBC5). The event will be held at St. James Episcopal Church, ten minutes from downtown Austin. A live stream of the debate will be available at KXAN.com.

6:00 p.m. – Doors open
6:30 p.m. – Programing and instructions
7:00 p.m. – Debate

A limited number of tickets will be made available to the public on Tuesday May 8, at 6:00pm CST. The link will be published to this Facebook event page.

On the day of the debate, tickets will be honored up until 6:50pm, when all remaining available seats will be given to members of the public waiting in line at the venue.

Saturday, May 12th

***The Wilco Indivisible event originally scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled. We’ll update with any new events or if it’s rescheduled***

Monday, May 14th

TX21 Indivisible ATX Primary Runoff Candidate Forum

7 p.m. at FiberCove, 1700 S Lamar Blvd #338. Hosted by TX21 Indivisible.

Hear from candidates who want to represent Texas’ 21st Congressional District, and are headed to the primary runoff in just a few weeks:

  • Joseph Kopser (D)
  • Mary Wilson (D)

This is a rare chance to hear candidates from both parties at the same forum. There is only room for 100 attendees, so please arrive early to grab your seat.

Facebook event:
https://www.facebook.com/events/187054998773639/

Saturday, May 19th

TX31 Candidate Debate

10 a.m. at Sun City Ballroom 2 Texas Dr. Bldg A., Georgetown, TX. Hosted by Sun City Democrats, Florence Indivisible, Sun City Indivisible, Wilco Indivisible, and Cedar Park Indivisible.

Please join us for a debate between TX31 Congressional Candidates MJ Hegar and Dr. Christine Mann, moderated by Patrick Svitek of the Texas Tribune.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1661087147302406/

And in case you missed it…

Videos from the April 21 candidate forum for the Democratic runoff election in Texas’ 10th Congressional District

 

 

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “Characteristic Mouth-Hemorrhaging”

Republicans against the Law

Donald called directly into his beloved Fox and Friends show, and with characteristic mouth-hemorrhaging, flat-out admitted that Michael Cohen represented him in the Stormy Daniels NDA. The one that he allegedly knew nothing about because Cohen was just looking out for his interests on his own, as a friend, and that would directly connect Donald to any criminal campaign finance violations.

Sean Hannity’s much-vaunted real estate ventures, revealed along with his association with Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, have been found to be connected to a property dealer who in 2016 pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and conspiracy for fraudulently buying foreclosed homes.

The Law Against Republicans:

A federal court ruled that Donald’s administration must continue the DACA immigration program (Dreamers) and reopen it to new applicants.

A federal appeals court has blocked Donald from delaying fines for “gas guzzlers”—cars that violate fuel efficiency standards.

Russia:

The Senate Judiciary committee voted 14-7 to advance bipartisan legislation protecting Robert Mueller’s investigation to the Senate floor for a vote. Mitch McConnell is still traitorously dead-set on keeping it from the Senate, and as majority leader will likely prevail, but the measure—which passed with Republican as well as Democratic votes (though not John Cornyn’s, and not Ted Cruz’s!)—is a strong signal to the White House that tampering with the investigation or firing Justice Department officials overseeing Mueller, or Mueller himself, would raise a clamor.

Donald’s alibi to Mueller for why he couldn’t have met with the prostitutes alleged by the Steele dossier has been shredded—though he insisted he never spent that night in Russia, flight records show he did. In true Trumpy fashion, Donald then insisted he never said he didn’t spend the night there, despite Comey’s notes immediately after two meetings with Donald stating that he did.

A federal judge dismissed Paul Manafort’s bid to block Robert Mueller from bringing further charges against him in the future.

The Blue Wave

Democrats flipped a state assembly seat in New York that has been held by a Republican for more than three decades—by an 18-point margin.

In an Arizona special congressional election, the GOP held on to the seat—but by a slim margin of only 5 points in a district carried by Donaldand the last two Republican presidential nominees by 21 points.

Democrats successfully blocked the Arizona legislature from changing the rules of special elections to avoid a vote to fill John McCain’s seatshould he leave office.

“Draining the Swamp”

The hearing of Don John’s entirely unqualified personal physician (who recently said Donald might “live to 200” if he ate his fruits and veggies) who was nominated to lead the department of Veterans Affairs (despite zero management experience) has been postponed upon as yet unsubstantiated allegations of past scandals regarding improper dispensing of medication, creating a hostile work environment, and excessive drinking on the job. Later in the week allegations expanded to include harassment of female staff and wrecking a government vehicle, yet still Sarah Huckabee Sanders bleats that he was an “impeccable” nominee for heading the VA.

Scott Pruitt appeared before two separate congressional hearings investigating Pruitt’s many ethics violations in office. An unrepentant Pruitt is trying to deconstruct his agency and facts in any way he can on his way down, though, finding any way he can to undermine scientific research into areas of his agency’s purview, like the effects of pollution and pesticide exposure, and incorrectly declaring wood combustion “carbon neutral.” The EPA’s inspector general is opening up new investigations into Pruitt upon further complaints and revelations about Pruitt’s abuses of office.

White House budget director and acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney flat-out stated he’s pay-for-play—that he met only with those lobbyists who donated to his campaign—and on FOX News only Sheperd Smith would report it.

Pennsylvania House rep Patrick Meehan, who had announced his pending retirement facing an ethics investigation for allegedly harassing a female staffer, announced he is stepping down immediately.

Social and civil-rights advances:

The mayor of Hoboken has made all public bathrooms in his city gender-neutral.

After a relatively short deliberation in his retrial for drugging and sexually violating a woman, Bill Cosby was convicted of all three counts of aggravated indecent assault, a charge that will carry years of jail time. (More than 60 women have lodged complaints of sexual misconduct allegations against Cosby.)

The golf course that kicked five black women off the links for playing too slowly and refused to refund their membership—though their rate of play was well within club policy and matched other players’—is facing investigation and the loss of local business.

Your feel-good stories of the week:

John Oliver is buying ad time on Sean Hannity’s show to try to educate Donald—who seems to take his policy decisions directly from his fellow Michael Cohen crony—about issues like the Iranian nuclear agreement.

The pope has had enough of your nonsense, evangelicals, hypocrites, and Pharisees, and stated that it was actually better to be an atheist than a bad Christian.

After Donald’s supercreepy series of public displays of affection with French president Emmanuel Macron during his trip to the U.S. (I guess because Melania won’t do it?), Macron pretty much ripped on everything Trumpian during a speech to Congress. He called out climate change deniers and the current administration’s lack of action on climate change in front of all of Congress—and was rewarded with standing ovations. He also called out as a parting shot “the fascination for new strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism” in a direct refutation of Donald’s governing “style.” As Madeleine Allbright tweeted, it’s been too long since we’ve heard a president speak in Washington of international cooperation and defending democracy.

Donny’s approval rating is back down to 39 percent.