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Feeling the pinch | How your voices are making a difference

Well. Robert Mueller filed a flurry of new disclosures, and things are getting juicy. Russians interacted with at least 14 of Donny’s associates, most of them in the inner circle, Including Jared and Don Jr. Don John is directly implicated in trying to buy the silence, during the campaign, of the women he had extramarital affairs with, and Manafort told “discernible lies” as the Cohen filing indicates that Russia was making contact with Donny’s campaign as far back as 2015. Stay tuned, friends—I suspect there’s still lots more juice to be squeezed as the noose closes around the neck of Individual 1 and his cronies.

Certainly at least one White House staffer is feeling the pinch—almost immediately after Mike Pence’s boy Nick Ayers was reported to be the heir apparent to John Kelly as Kelly vacates the position of chief of staff, Ayers tweeted fresh on the heels of Mueller’s filings that not only won’t he be taking the job, but he’s fleeing the White House entirely by year’s end. Seems like the first rats are fleeing the sinking ship. And while Donny and Rudy Giuliani keep bleating the usual baseless denials, former Donald associate (and erstwhile lawyer) Chris Christie seems to see the writing on the wall, stating that the “very definitive” verbiage in Mueller’s filings would indicate a high level of confidence in the findings, likely including more “than just one witness.”

Former national security adviser and current felon Michael Flynn has apparently been extremely so helpful to the investigation, sitting for 19 interviews, that Mueller declined to seek sentencing for him, citing Flynn’s “substantial assistance.” Mueller has also reportedly interviewed John Kelly, the White House chief of staff who is finally joining the exodus of staff away from the administration amid what by all accounts has been ferocious tension.

House Dems say that once they take over the House, they will provide Mueller with transcripts of all interviews pertaining to Russian collusion that were withheld from the investigation by Republicans.

Meanwhile the DC and Maryland attorneys general subpoenaed the Trump organization, the IRS and dozens of other entities to determine whether Don John is profiting off the presidency in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

And that leads us right to…

Republicans Reconsidering

Senators demanded a briefing from CIA head and Donald appointee Gina Haspel on the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after the White House blocked her from last week’s propaganda “briefing” by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who denied that any “direct” evidence linked Mohammed bin Salman to the murder (which Democratic senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member of the foreign relations committee, called “misleading”).

Following Haspel’s briefing, a bipartisan group of senators condemned the Saudi crown prince, stating that there was “zero question” he was complicit in the murder (which our CIA ascertained weeks ago with “high confidence,” despite Donald’s rejection of American intelligence findings and continued defense and support of the crown prince that Republican senator Bob Corker called “unacceptable”). Even Trump toady Lindsey Graham said, You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi,” and stated he will no longer support arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Now the bipartisan group of senators wants MBS formally blamed and punished.

Tucker Carlson—Tucker Carlson!—says Trump is not capable, has failed to deliver on his goals, and that the Republican Party “will die” without changes. (How are you enjoying your first bite of reality, Tucker? Join the rest of us—we’ve been feasting on it for years now.)

Rex Tillerson stated that the Very Stable Genius is undisciplined, doesn’t read, and frequently wanted to break the law. (And how are YOU enjoying your first bite of reality, Rex?)

After Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, said on a FOX Business segment that it’s “not anti-Semitic” to criticize Soros. A Fox Business Network host later apologized for the segment.

Blue Wave

Democrats won their 40th pickup in the House this past week when another Republican conceded in California, bringing their total winning vote margin for the 2018 elections to 9.5 million votes, beating the all-time record of 8.7 million votes in 1974 after Nixon’s resignation, where Democrats picked up 49 seats.

Republican Corruption

In North Carolina, investigations into voter fraud are continuing, despite denials from the GOP—ironically usually the party crying “Voter fraud” at every turn. Their silence this time is likely due to the fact that the investigation centers around a political operative who worked for a GOP candidate, and that the GOP had early warning about potential voter fraud that they ignored.

Donald’s unconcerned about his benefit-the-wealthy tax cuts swelling national debt ($21 trillion and counting) because he “won’t be here” when it comes due. Not his problem, apparently.

Recently released emails reveal that a top White House appointee to the VA tried to silence his department from condemning white nationalists after the Charlottesville rally.

And the Washington Post discovered documents that reveal that a month after the election, Saudi lobbyists paid for 500 rooms at Donny’s DC hotel, which were used a lure for veterans who were brought all-expenses-paid to DC to lobby against a law Saudis opposed, but were not told whose interests they were furthering nor who was funding their stay. And undocumented workers employed by Donald in his reports came forward, and Rex Tillerson admitted that the president asked him to do things that were illegal (good of you to finally speak up, Rex).

Climate Change Advances

Fishermen in Oregon and California are suing 30 companies, mostly Big Oil, for their role in concealing their knowledge of the deleterious effects of climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels, and causing global-warming related damages to area fisheries and sea life populations.

In the face of increasingly urgent reports of the pace of global warming, the first major utility company in the U.S. has committed to going completely carbon free by 2050 (and 80 percent by 2030).

Justice

The jury in the trial of the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who plowed down Heather Heyer in Charlottesville found him guilty of first-degree murder.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Pretty much everything in the first section of this newsletter. Plus this magical thing happened when Rudy Giuliani doesn’t know how to use the interwebs. As did this one when Donald again showed he doesn’t know how to use the English language.

Pop the popcorn, warriors! I do believe we’ve hit a tipping point and things are only going to get more interesting from here.

Take Action: Get the new Indivisible #TXLEGE Guide

New Resource: Get the Indivisible TXLEGE Guide

Last weekend, it was standing-room only at our first TXLEGE Training at the state capitol. Thanks to all who came out in the cold and rain. We’ll do another one very soon! We also released a brand-new Indivisible guide, specifically for advocacy in the Texas Legislature. It’s free!

Get the guide >>

Sign up for TXLEGE updates >>

Vote on Tuesday

Be A Texas VoterFor those who didn’t vote early, Election Day is Tuesday, December 11. At last check, only 3% of Travis County had voted.

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

Also worth noting that we vote in the Texas primaries in just 15 months!

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>

Check here for polling locations >>

Take Action

It’s time to hold John Cornyn accountable for Trump’s tweets

We’re trying something new over at senatorjohncornyn.com. With good reason, we mostly ignore Trump’s tweets—after all, Indivisible was founded on holding Congress accountable, not on the president’s weaponizing of social media.

But… John Cornyn and most of the GOP also ignore Trump’s tweets, which creates an unspoken agreement to pretend that the president isn’t lying, bullying, and confessing to crimes on Twitter. We’re self-gaslighting.

While we remain mostly focused on passing good legislation, stopping bad legislation, and electing better people, we’re carving out space to troll John Cornyn. If you’d like to get involved, head over to the first installment of “Unhinged S*** that John Cornyn enabled this week.” (We’re being more profane on that site. You have been warned.)

Take the pledge to fire John Cornyn >>

Tell Gov. Abbott to appoint a Secretary of State who will upgrade our ancient voting machines

Texas Secretary of State Rolando PablosTexas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos announced last week that he was stepping down. This position is appointed by the Governor—not elected, as in other states. Rep. Celia Israel issued a letter calling on Gov. Abbott to appoint someone who focus on improving Texas’s election infrastructure. “The vote is the bedrock of our Democracy,” she writes, “if we don’t provide funding for new machines and improved technologies, these machines will fail. Call Abbott’s office at (512) 463-2000 to show your support for Rep. Israel. You can also call your Texas representatives and ask them to join Rep. Israel in calling for the modernization of Texas elections.

Find your state reps >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Democrats won their 40th pickup in the House
  • Robert Mueller filed a flurry of new disclosures
  • A magical thing happened when Rudy Giuliani didn’t know how to use the interwebs

Read more >>

Events

Tuesday, December 11

Election Day

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>

Check here for polling locations >>

Texas Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence

Texas Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence meeting is Tuesday, December 11 in the Legislative Conference Center at the Capitol room E2.002. The Coalition meeting will be from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. There will be snacks! You will not want to miss this pre-session meeting to discuss legislative priorities for Coalition partners and other important topics. The Coalition will also be live-streamed on facebook.com/txgunsense.  Please RSVP info@txgunsense.org if you can join us.

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

Willy Wonka - not showing signs they are slowing

The midterms are past. We made tremendous gains in protecting democracy and bringing accountability to both Washington and Austin.

We’re not slowing down.

Now is the time for us to use our power and press the advantages we’ve gained in DC and in our own statehouse.

We’re not slowing down. We’re speeding up and doing more: the new Indivisible TXLEGE Guide, our training for more than 200 activists, pressing our representatives to truly represent us, and more organizing. The 2020 primaries are only 15 months away, and we need engage and activate another 250,000 Texans to close the gap.

We’re just getting started and we need your support to do it all.

Take Action: Tell Cruz and Cornyn to end US support for the Saudi War in Yemen

Vote Early!

Early voting runs until Friday, Dec. 7. Election Day is Tuesday, December 11.

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>
Check here for polling locations >>

Take Action

Tell Cruz and Cornyn to end US support for the Saudi War in Yemen

Last week, in a surprise rebuke to the President, the Senate voted 63-37 to advance a resolution to stop the US support for the Saudi war in Yemen. Less surprising is that Senators Cornyn and Cruz were among the 37 who are on the wrong side of this issue.

The Senate is likely to take up the resolution again this week. There is still time to change minds. Call Cruz and Cornyn and ask why they continue to support a war in which 85,000 children under age 5 have died from starvation since 2015. Also ask them to support their colleagues Corker and Menendez’s demand for a determination on the role of the Saudi Crown Prince in their role of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The President continues to side with autocrats over the American people. We need our Congress to do their job and provide a check on Trump’s corruption.

Read Indivisible’s resource on the conflict in Yemen >>
Read House and Senate scripts from Celeste Pewter >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Contributions to the NRA went down $55 million
  • George Papadopoulous reported to prison
  • A section of the street in front of the Saudi embassy in DC will be renamed Jamal Khashoggi Way

Read more >>

Events

TX LEGE 2019 Training

TXLEGE 2019 Training

Are you stumped by how the Lege works? Want to engage on specific issues next session? Join us December 8th for an Indivisible #txlege training.

  • Session 1: This is Your Capitol
  • Session 2: Engaging with Advocacy Organizations
  • Session 3: Lunch with Lawmakers

9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Texas State Capitol, 1100 Congress Ave.

Auditorium and Legislative Conference Center (both are located on the lower level in the Capitol Extension)

Lunch provided (training is free, $10 suggested lunch donations for lunch and materials gratefully accepted)

RSVP here >>

Want to keep up with #txlege alerts? Sign up for our special #txlege email list >>

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

The further we get from the election, the more we see how significant our gains were. The more we see how significant our gains were, the more we realize just how much farther we have to go just to get back to even, with all that Trump has done to our country—and “back to even” isn’t good enough for our marginalized communities.

But now, with the tremendous gains that we saw in the election, we can also see a path forward to celebrate, protect, and expand democracy and human rights to drive justice, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve got a long way to go. Go with us. Help us get there by making a gift to Indivisible Austin today.

Frantic last gasps | How your voices are making a difference

 

Oh, friends, what you are seeing in this last week are the frantic last gasps of a man and his cronies who are beginning to understand that the noose is tightening around their necks too tightly now to break free. Let’s just plunge right in, shall we?

Mueller Time

Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, after having already earlier pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations (making him the 33rd witch to be charged, if you’re counting), and he is singing like Billie Holliday about all Donald’s secrets—including that Don John continued to seek financing for his Russian property during the 2016 campaign (and blatantly lied about it), while he was proposing loosening sanctions on—wait for it!—Russia! Including a $50 million penthouse the very stable genius apparently promised to Putin.

Mueller is also investigating ties between Paul Manafort and Julian AssangeAssange and Roger Stone, and Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, as well as Donny’s middle-of-the-night calls to Roger Stone during the campaign.

George Papadopoulous reported to prison, and Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of lying after striking a plea deal with federal prosecutors and says he should be sentenced immediately. He’s is said to be considering retrying Manafort.

And all of this is showing so very, very clearly that Donny is the central player in Mueller’s investigation—although apparently Ivanka and Donny Junior have major supporting roles too. Which explains Don John’s increasingly panicked tweets attacking it, including retweeting an image of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein behind bars, apparently because he “should never have picked a special counsel,” which Donald apparently believes to be a jailable crime. (Well, it may very well prove to be…but not for Rosenstein…)

Meanwhile, Jeff Flake—perhaps in an attempt to atone for his unconscionable support of Brett Kavanaugh—has refused to confirm any of Donny’s judicial nominees until Mitch McConnell allows a vote on the floor to protect Mueller’s investigation.

Here’s a handy li’l list of everyone who’s been charged and convicted (so far!) in the Mueller investigation.

In possibly related news, Deutsche Bank headquarters was raided by the German government—170 police and tax assessors—as part of a money-laundering probe related to the Panama Papers. You may remember Deutsche Bank as one of the only financial institutions that would still offer loans to inept businessman Donald Trump prior to his presidency.

Federal investigators also raided the offices of a tax attorney in Chicago who did work for Don John.

And in a related category…

Republicans Against the Law

Acting attorney general and Donny crony Matthew Whittaker is having a hell of a week. He was shown to have had early warnings of fraud accusations from a company he nonetheless continued to promote; recently revealed documents show he misled the Federal Trade Commission when he took over as the Justice Department’s chief of staff; and he’s being investigated for Hatch Act violations (along with five other of Donny’s White House staff).

Advocates for gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams in Georgia filed a federal lawsuit alleging widespread voting rights violations by GA sec of state Brian Kemp.

Republicans Reconsidering

In a direct rebuke to Don John for his defense and support of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. intelligence has ascertained “with high confidence” directly ordered the murder of journalist Jamar Khashoggi, Congress voted 63-27 to end all aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and demanded a CIA briefing on Khashoggi’s murder after CIA head Gina Haspel was excluded from a prior one. MBS has become a pariah in the global community (to everyone except the president of the United States).

Meanwhile a neighborhood organization in DC has approved a motion to rename a section of the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi Way.

More and more Republicans are challenging Donny’s defense of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince the CIA has ascertained with “high confidence” ordered the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott says he will block confirmation of Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr amid racial controversy about Farr’s defense of voter ID laws that the courts said disenfranchised African American voters.

Republican Mia Love smack-talked Donald as she conceded in Utah.

Republicans in Texas are actually criticizing a fellow Republican for anti-Muslim actions: Tarrant County precinct chair Dorrie O’Brien is advocating removing vice chairman Shahid Shafi solely on the basis of his religion.

Crazy Sh*t that Regularly Happens Now

In a gross violation of journalistic ethics, FOX News actually coordinated its interview questions with the EPA for its interview with former department head Scott Pruitt and allowed Pruitt to see the questions ahead of time.

A journalist directly confronted Donald about his lie that the Obama administration had the same family-separation policy Donald’s administration enacted, to the world’s horror.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

A Dallas grand jury indicted the fired officer who killed an unarmed black man (Botham Jean) in his apartment.

In Saint Louis, four police officers have been indicted for the brutal, unprovoked beating of an unarmed black man (who happened to be an undercover cop) in a group protesting, ironically, the acquittal of another police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man.

The Miss Universe pageant has its first openly trans contestant (Miss Spain, Angela Ponce), after legal action in 2012 filed by a transwoman who was disallowed from the competition.

Ken Paxton (of all people) wrote an opinion that Gov. Greg Abbott can remove a Confederate plaque at the Capitol that offers misleading, nonfactual info about the purpose of the South’s rebellion.

Your Feel-good Stories for the Week

What, all the above wasn’t feel-good enough for you?!

Okay, how about this: Contributions to the NRA went down $55 million this past year, and membership dues decreased by $35 million.

After announcing that veterans whose benefits were shorted because of a VA error would not be getting the money they were owed due to ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs computer problems, the GOP administration backtracked after public and congressional outcry—veterans will receive the benefits they earned.

Finally, this sweet story about the unlikely friendship that developed between George H. W. Bush and Dana Carvey, the SNL comedian who regularly skewered him on the show, will remind you of a time when there were decent human beings in the White House.

Take Action: Teargas at the Border

Vote Early in the City Council Runoff Elections

Austin City Council District Map

There are runoff elections in districts 1, 3, and 8. Find your City Council district.

Early voting for runoff elections runs from Thursday, Nov. 29 to Friday, Dec. 7. Election Day is Tuesday, December 11.

  • Residents of City Council Districts 1, 3, and 8 can vote in those races.
  • League of Women Voters will host City Council runoff forums between the candidates on Monday, Nov. 26 inside council chambers at Austin City Hall. District 1’s forum will kick off at 6 p.m., District 3 at 7 p.m. and District 8 at 8 p.m. The forum will also be livestreamed ATXN.tv.
  • All Austinites can vote for the seats in AISD District 9 and ACC Place 8.

View Austin Chronicle Endorsements >>

Check here for polling locations >>

Take Action

Tell your reps to condemn the use of teargas and deadly force at the border

Yesterday, US Customs and Border Protection fired teargas on asylum seekers at the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana. Eyewitnesses reported that the wind carried the gas to babies and children in the crowd. Seeking asylum is not illegal, and historically asylum seekers have been permitted to stay in the US while their claims are reviewed. It’s important that we continue to pressure Members of Congress to make clear that the escalating attacks on asylum seekers are unacceptable.

Before yesterday’s teargas incident, the Trump administration issued a “cabinet order” loosening the engagement restrictions of US troops at the US/Mexico border. Specifically, it grants them permission to engage in some law enforcement roles and use lethal force. This is a shocking breach of institutional norms and a possible violation of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act.

To recap: The administration ordered the military to consider lethal tactics at the border, and days later Customs and Border Protection dispersed crowds with tear gas. Before it escalates further, the situation requires swift congressional response. CALL CRUZ, CORNYN, AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and tell them to issue a statement condemning the administration’s executive overreach and its reprehensible treatment of asylum seekers.

Additional script and talking points on San Ysidro  >>

(Hat tip to TX10 Indivisible for contributing to this call-to-action)

Tell your reps to condemn Trump’s bizarre statement on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Last week, the President released a rambling, seemingly dictated and unedited statement, filled with falsehoods, about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

As the Post put it: “One cannot dismiss the possibility that Trump’s personal profiting off the Saudis is shaping U.S. policy.” Rep. Lloyd Doggett is urging the President to enforce sanctions. We need other lawmakers to speak out.

Call your HOUSE member and ask them to obtain and declassify the CIA report that places the blame for Khashoggi’s murder squarely on the Saudi regime. (And thank Rep. Doggett for his advocacy on this issue.)

Tell CRUZ and CORNYN to condemn Trump’s weak, factually inaccurate statement that absolves Saudi Arabia of all responsibility while potentially benefiting Trump’s business interests.

Read a script and talking points from Celeste Pewter >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Good election news keeps trickling in
  • A federal judge blocked Donald’s ban on migrants seeking asylum
  • Seventy percent of Americans think Mueller should be allowed to complete his investigations

Read some good news for a change >>

Events

Monday, Nov. 26

City Council Candidate Forum, Austin City Hall. Meet the D1 candidates at 6 p.m., D3 at 7 p.m., and D8 at 8 p.m. You can also watch online at ATXN.tv

Thursday, Nov. 29

Previewing the 86th Legislature: A Texas Tribune Symposium, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center, 2110 San Jacinto Blvd.

Indivisible Austin Women’s Coffee Meetup, 11 a.m. at NeWorlDeli, 4101 Guadalupe St. This is intended as a safe space for women (and those who identify as women) to get to know each other, network, discuss our activism activities, check in about how we’re holding up, and see if we can offer help, resources, and connections for our various resistance activities.

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

The further we get from the election, the more we see how significant our gains were. The more we see how significant our gains were, the more we realize just how much farther we have to go just to get back to even, with all that Trump has done to our country—and “back to even” isn’t good enough for our marginalized communities.

But now, with the tremendous gains that we saw in the election, we can also see a path forward to celebrate, protect, and expand democracy and human rights to drive justice, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve got a long way to go. Go with us. Help us get there by making a gift to Indivisible Austin today.

 

Good election news keeps trickling in | How your voices are making a difference

In a week in which Donald once again dismissed the findings of American intelligence, supported and defended a brutal regime the CIA judged as having murdered a citizen, neglected to exhort followers to “lock her up” after his daughter was found to have used private email for government business, suggested on a visit to a wildfire-ripped city whose name he could not remember that the answer to forest fires lay not in addressing climate change but raking, and named himself when asked what he was thankful for, amid other unhinged comments from Mar-A-Lago on Thanksgiving, believe it or not there was still plenty to feel optimistic about.

Two weeks after the midterms, good election news keeps trickling in: another Democrat edged out a Republican, adding to the Dems’ sweep of the House as final election results trickle in—this one in Utah, with a GOP candidate Donald decried as a “loser” for not sufficiently embracing him. And Texas State students who demanded more access to polling places may have played a decisive role in swinging Hays County blue.

Republicans Against the Law

Don John threatened to revoke Jim Acosta’s press pass to the White House the moment the court order restoring it expired at the end of the month—until CNN threated a lawsuit. The White House subsequently announced the full restoration of Acosta’s pass.

federal judge blocked Donald’s ban on migrants seeking asylum at our border after a challenge in court by immigrant rights groups.

In Mississippi, a federal judge blocked a state law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks.

federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Donald for misuse of funds in his personal charity can proceed.

Supreme Court judge John Roberts—the Republican-appointed leader of the court—criticized Donald for politicizing the judiciary.

The FBI now classifies the white nationalist far-right group the Proud Boys as an extremist group for its history of misogyny and glorifying violence.

Environmental Advances

The Coast Guard has ordered a company that has spilled more than a million barrels of oil into the gulf since 2004 to clean up its ecological disaster.

The first climate report authored by several different agencies within Donald’s own GOP administration  say they are more certain than ever that climate change poses a severe threat to Americans’ health and pocketbooks, as well as to the country’s infrastructure and natural resources.

Your Feel-good Stories for the Week

Just in time for the holidays, read this lovely piece on how we might talk about difficult issues with the ones we love from a place of shared humanity and connection. Silence in the face of racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and fear is acquiescence—but shaming and rage don’t change hearts.

Seventy percent of Americans think Mueller should be allowed to complete his investigations; 52 percent want legislation passed to protect it.

Take Action: Free Griselda

Donate to California Wildfire Disaster Relief

Take Action

New guides from the National team:

Tell ICE to release Griselda

The night of November 15, ICE officials retaliated against asylum-seeking mother Melvin Griselda Cruz Lopez by transferring her from the T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor to Laredo after she spoke out about her unjust detention.

Griselda was separated from her 5-year-old U.S.-citizen daughter Samantha when her abusive ex called immigration over a year ago.

Sign the Grassroots Leadership petition >>

Submit a public comment to stop Trump’s attack on immigrant families

On October 10, the Trump administration formally announced a proposed regulation that would dramatically broaden the “public charge” test that has been a part of federal immigration law for decades. The new rule could force immigrant families to choose between permanent legal status and their ability to access basic needs like healthy food, safe housing, and health care. Take action by submitting your public comment on or before December 10.

Submit a comment >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Texas Democrats flipped four key judicial courts
  • Two former McCain aides spoke out against their own party’s attempts to undermine the election in Arizona
  • Betsy DeVos is being sued—again

Read more ways the blue wave keeps climbing higher >>

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

The further we get from the election, the more we see how significant our gains were. The more we see how significant our gains were, the more we realize just how much farther we have to go just to get back to even, with all that Trump has done to our country—and “back to even” isn’t good enough for our marginalized communities.

But now, with the tremendous gains that we saw in the election, we can also see a path forward to celebrate, protect, and expand democracy and human rights to drive justice, equity, and inclusion.

We’ve got a long way to go. Go with us. Help us get there by making a gift to Indivisible Austin today.

 

The blue wave keeps on climbing higher | How your voices are making a difference

“The @NRSC & @SenCoryGardner are not only spreading lies & nutty theories, but undermining democracy.”

The blue wave keeps on climbing higher—this report shows why the phenomenal victories for Dems last Tuesday were overshadowed by a few high-profile disappointments, and why Dems—especially in Texas—should be celebrating their victories.

Despite disappointing results in Florida and Georgia’s high-profile recounts, last week’s election is the gift that keeps on giving for Dems. Kyrsten Sinema won the Senate in Arizona, making her the first Democrat from that state in Congress since 1988, the first female senator from the state, and the first openly bisexual woman in Congress.

In New Jersey, a House race was finally called for Democratic candidate Andy Kim against his Trump-loving opponent, leaving only one lonely GOP rep from the state in the House. Another Democrat flipped a House seat, this one in Southern California in a deep red Reagan district, and the entirety of formerly deep red Orange County is now blueDemocrats flipped another House seat in Maine’s new ranked-balloting system. In Colorado, independent voters overwhelmingly cited Donald as the reason they voted Democrat.

And here in Texas, Democrats flipped four key judicial courts, moving from holding a majority in just three of 14 appeals court seats to holding half.

Amid all this—likely partly because of it—the White House is off the rails. Donald attacked Emmanuel Macron after the French president made pointed comments against the nationalism Donny espouses openly; then he had another major Twitter tantrum in his mounting fear of what Mueller’s investigation may be uncovering; and then he made another unhinged fact-free propaganda appearance, this one with the Daily Caller. Even first lady Melania Trump isn’t immune from a meltdown: her office issued a formal statement that Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” And now reports have it that Donald is pathologically fearful over whether VP Mike Pence is loyal, not to mention his suggestion that insufficient raking of forests, not climate change, is the main cause of increasingly frequent and destructive forest fires like the two raging through Southern California.

Republicans Reconsidering

Two former McCain aides spoke out against their own party’s attempts to undermine the election in Arizona: “I ran @SenJohnMcCain political world for 10 years & can tell you what is going on in AZ is above board & by the rules,” one said. “The @NRSC & @SenCoryGardner are not only spreading lies & nutty theories, but undermining democracy.”

GOP Senator Jeff Flake has said he will refuse to vote to confirm any of Donald’s judicial appointees unless Mitch McConnell finally allows a proposed bill protecting Mueller’s investigation to come to a vote on the Senate floor. Senator Lindsey Graham—usually Donny’s obsequious toady—also stated that he supports the bill.

Republicans against the law

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the First Amendment and ordered the White House to temporarily restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s credentials, after they revoked it and CNN sued the White House for violations of the First and Fifth Amendments—for infringing on freedom of the press and denying Acosta due process. Even FOX News supports CNN’s suit against the White HouseSecret Service passes for White House journalists should never be weaponized,” said network president Jay Wallace. Even FOX News.

The state of Maryland has asked a judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general, rather than Donald’s crony Matt Whitaker, who has already demonstrated previous bias against the Mueller investigation.

Meanwhile Whitaker is wading through the muck of his own making: being investigated for his role in an investment promotion scam; sticking taxpayers in Iowa for hundreds of thousands of dollars when he and his company walked away from a mismanaged apartment-rehabilitation project they’d been behind; and facing mounting calls to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation based on his overwhelming prior public antipathy toward Mueller and the investigation.

Betsy DeVos is being sued—again—for failing to cancel student debt from for-profit colleges that have been shut down, the ruling judge calling her delays “arbitrary and capricious.”

A federal judge found that Georgia’s former secretary of state Brian Kemp violated the Civil Right Act in rejecting ballots based on an omitted or incorrect birth year.

A federal judge ruled that a Neo-Nazi publication constitutes hate speech and not protected under the First Amendment.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

For the first time since women were admitted to the Special Forces training program in the army in 2016, a woman has made it past the initial training stage and could become the first female Green Beret.

Celine Dion has co-created a line of gender-neutral children’s clothing.

In what is believed to be the largest private donation to a university, Michael Bloomberg donated $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins to make the university “need-blind,” aiding lower- and middle-income applicants by creating an admission system based on achievement regardless of ability to pay.

Texas GOP rep Dan Crenshaw, discussing his high-profile appearance on SNL last week to garner an apology from cast member Pete Davidson, explained his decision to appear on the show as an effort to promote civility and consideration.

Doctors issued a smackdown against the NRA after the strong-arm lobbying gun organization suggested doctors “stay in their lane” and not address gun violence.

This op-ed by Mitch McConnell exhorting bipartisanship was actually real, not an Onion spoof, and met with swift mockery on Twitter, where most of the tens of thousands of responses consisted of only two words: Merrick Garland.

Racist Rep Steve King, who just won reelection as the GOP senator from Iowa, dared the conservative publication the Weekly Standard to provide audio recordings of King calling immigrants “dirt,” denying he said it. The Standard happily produced the recordings, which proved he did.

Because people are awfully creative, this is a thing. Just in time for holiday gift giving!

Take Action: Stop Trump’s Unconstitutional Attack on Asylum Seekers

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What’s Next

In case you missed our post-election email: Our next steps remain the same. We will continue to defend our most vulnerable community members against the rising tide of global authoritarianism. We will continue to hold our elected officials accountable. And we will begin to focus on the next round of elections.

Get involved with #TXLEGE >>

Pledge to Fire John Cornyn in 2020 >>

Stop Trump’s Unconstitutional Attack on Asylum Seekers

Following the same playbook as the 2017 Muslim Ban, the Trump administration introduced new measures to deny asylum to people who cross our southern border. The ACLU and other partners have already filed a lawsuit. Of course, with Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, anything could happen.  The best thing you can do now is support these orgs:

The ACLU’s statement  explains that “Federal law specifically guarantees that ‘[a]ny alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States,’ at a designated port of entry or not, is entitled to apply for asylum.”

From RAICES: “For over 60 years the United States has joined other nations in giving asylum seekers the opportunity to seek safe haven. It is a sacrosanct principle of both U.S. and international law, and under no circumstances can it be taken away at the whims of a President who has shown no respect for the rule of law.”

Tell your reps that Matt Whitaker must recuse himself, and the Mueller investigation must be protected

Last week, after the firing (er… “resignation”) of Jeff Sessions, thousands of people took to the streets across the country to send a message that such obvious obstruction of justice will not be tolerated. Now we need to hold our reps accountable for the President’s actions. Call Cornyn, Cruz, and your House rep to demand:

  • Matthew Whitaker must recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation
  • Congress must launch investigations into Trump’s obstruction of justice—and Democrats should be publicly committing to do so when they take control of the House in January. (You can thank Rep. Lloyd Doggett for joining the marchers at City Hall in Austin.)

Read Indivisible’s latest resource on protecting the Mueller investigation >>

How your voices are making a difference

  • Democrats flipped the House
  • Women and LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers.
  • Erin Zwiener delivered both a win to the Texas house and a baby

Read more wins from last week >>

Action of the Week: You Voted

These races weren’t supposed to be close. And Texas voter turnout was the highest since 1970.

#BeATexasVoter It Feels Great

Table showing narrowing gap in GOP wins between 2014 and 2018

Your Moment of Zen

 

A gorgeous win for sanity | How your voices are making a difference

“Exit polls, Election Day polls and actual returns showed significant gains for Democrats in suburbs and among independents…. Democrats have captured the middle.”

If you’ve heard people bemoan that last Tuesday’s elections weren’t a decisive win for Democrats, please smack those voices down—Tuesday was a gorgeous win for sanity from the local level up—and the local level is where our movement builds and really matters.Democrats flipped the House, gained hundreds of legislative seats, secured the majority of state attorneys general, and garnered two-thirds of the seats up for grabs. Of those we didn’t, most were Republican-held seats in deep red areas that were always highly unlikely to flip.

Women and LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers. Not only did Minnesota elect its first openly gay Congresswoman, but she defeated Jason Lewis—remember him? The guy who bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t call women “sluts” anymore.

Want some numbers? For the Senate, the popular vote for Democrats was 40,558,262, or 55.4 percent; for Republicans it was 31,490,026 votes, or just 43.0 percent. (But read this article for an explanation of why we shouldn’t freak out over the inequity.)

Some environmental/conservation wins. In Georgia, up to $20 million of existing sales tax each year will go to land conservation; Florida banned oil and gas off-shore drilling; and in Nevada, electric utilities must now get 50% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

Here in Texas we flipped four influential state appeals courts—in Austin, Houston and Dallas—and Dems picked up 12 seats in the Texas house and broke the supermajority in the senate, meaning that they will now need Democrat support to bring bills to the floor. In Austin, 7 ballot initiatives were passed aimed at affordable housing, libraries and museums, parks, infrastructure, and health care, while we voted down a Koch-brothers-funded proposition to force unnecessary budget “audits.”  Despite heavy intentional redistricting by the GOP in the Dallas metroplex to ensure they would never lose elections in that area, the GOP nonetheless lost 12 of 14 seats there, flipped by the Democrats.

And just for symbolism, first-time candidate Erin Zwiener delivered both a win to the Texas house and a baby during her campaign, thus giving birth to the future while also working to create a better one. J 

Even where we lost, we showed how much progress progress is making in a year of record-breaking voter turnout: In dozens of races lost to Republicans they had to fight tooth and nail to eke out a win by the narrowest of margins. In heavily GOP-gerrymandered Texas, four historically double-digit GOP offices were won by scant single digits, and Beto came within a hairbreadth of defeating Rafael Cruz.

A few more juicy tidbits:

And if you really want a delightful treat, try to picture Mike Pence administering the oath of office to two Muslim women on a copy of the Qur’an, or the look on the face of the Colorado baker who refused a cake for a gay wedding when it sinks in who he now has for a governor. Is the federal government messed up? You betcha. And it’s discouraging that so many people are still supporting so much anti-American, anti-decency behavior. BUT…! Change happens from the ground up, and Tuesday showed that the earth is shaking, babies.

Meanwhile the GOP “family values party” demonstrated quite literally that there are no depths to which they will not sink in abandoning decency for party agenda by electing three indicted felons, a white nationalist, and a dead pimp. No, seriously.

Overall, this election was a win. And it just keeps getting better. As this article states, here is the key takeaway from this election that we must continue to build on [emphasis mine]: “Exit polls, Election Day polls and actual returns showed significant gains for Democrats in suburbs and among independents. In the Washington Post-Schar School Election Day poll of battleground district voters, independents preferred Democrats by double digits, and independent women favored Democrats by more than 20 points. Democrats have captured the middle. The polling also shows that young voters and racial minorities — the future American electorate — turned out in healthy numbers for Democrats.”

This is a marathon and not a sprint, folks. We’re not there yet, but Tuesday’s results should show us how effective our sustained efforts to safeguard democracy have been—and can continue to be if we stay in the battle.

Republicans Against the Law

Social and Civil Rights Advances

After last week’s Google-employee walkout, the company has announced it will no longer require forced arbitration for sexual harassment or assault claims.

Motel 6 will pay $7.6 in damages to Hispanic guests in a class-action lawsuit for illegally alerting ICE to guests they suspected to be undocumented immigrants. The company will also sign a two-year consent decree barring it from sharing guest data with immigration authorities absent warrants, subpoenas, or threats of serious crime or harm.

Republicans Reconsidering

Even FOX News found Donald’s ad too racist—the one about the immigrant who came in during George W. Bush’s administration, and was released by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and who killed two police officers.

Feel-good Stories of the Week

RBG is back, babies.

I got other ribs, bitches