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As Congress Re-opens, TX 25 Indivisible Groups and Others to Rally for Democracy Reform

Former TX 25 Congressional Candidate Julie Oliver to Speak

AUSTIN— On January 3rd, Indivisible groups will organize across the country at the offices of their members of Congress, calling for their strong support for the democracy reform bill that Democrats are expected to introduce that day. (H.R. 1).

Indivisible TX 25 East Austin, Indivisible Eanes / West Austin, TX25 Indivisible Driftwood/Dripping Springs, TX 25 Indivisible We Stand, and Wimberley Indivisible along with several of our allied groups: Common Cause, Fair Maps TX, and Jolt, will rally together on the first day of the new Congress to show their commitment to holding our elected officials accountable to passing bold, progressive legislation over the next two years, starting with H.R.1. This event will be undertaken in an effort to remind Representative Roger Williams of the importance of preserving and protecting our democracy against blatant attempts to erode it.

These actions are part of the Indivisible movement’s “Whose House? Our House!” national day of action. After helping build the “blue wave” that put Democrats in control of the House of Representatives, Indivisible groups will be asking their representatives to publicly demand that H.R. 1 be a bold, progressive, comprehensive democracy package that includes reforms on voter empowerment and access, money in politics reforms, and corruption fixes.

Indivisible 25 East Austin

WHAT: “Whose House? Our House!” Kickoff Rally

WHO:  Members of local TX 25 Indivisible groups, Jolt, Fair Maps Texas and Common Cause

Guest Speakers:

  • Amanda Gnaedinger, Common Cause
  • Stephanie Swanson, League of Women Voters
  • Julie Oliver, Former TX 25 Candidate
  • Cristina Tzintzún Ramírez, Jolt Texas
  • Chito Vela, Former TX State House candidate
  • Ash Hall, Texas Civil Rights Project
  • Justin Nelson, Former candidate for Texas Attorney General

WHERE: Austin office of Rep. Roger Williams

1005 Congress Ave #925, Austin, TX 78701

WHEN: Thursday, January 3, from 4-5:30 p.m.

 

# # #

 

Take Action Newsletter: Whose House? OUR House, Christmas in Tornillo, Open Letter to Paxton and Abbott

Take Action

Christmas in Tornillo: An Indivisible Dispatch

Christmas in Tornillo

“Like everything this administration does, the detention of youthful asylum seekers is as chaotic and dehumanizing as possible.”

Read more in this post from TX10 Indivisible about spending Christmas in Tornillo—and how you can help the children detained at the West Texas Detention Facility.

Open Letter from ADAPT of Texas to Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton

In this letter, our friends at ADAPT of Texas call out Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton for their attempted dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. They specifically highlight two areas of the ACA that currently have a direct positive effect on people with disabilities of all ages: pre-existing conditions protections, and community long-term services and supports.

Read and share this letter on social media. Make sure Paxton and Abbott see it!

How your voices are making a difference

  • Donny is in hiding but for his panicked Twitter effluvia
  • the House will not seat the North Carolina Republican currently under investigation for fraudulent election practices
  • Mueller might have a naked selfie of Individual 1 (*shudder*)

Read more VOICES

Events

Whose House? Our House. Join the January 3 Day of Action.

On January 3rd, Indivisible groups will organize across the country at the offices of their members of Congress, calling for their strong support for the democracy reform bill that Democrats are expected to introduce that day. (H.R. 1).

TX25

Julie Oliver with daughterHere in Austin, the main in-person action is at Rep. Roger Williams’s downtown office, hosted by Indivisible TX25 East Austin and featuring former candidate Julie Oliver! (Read the full press release.)

WHAT: “Who’s House? Our House!” Kickoff Rally

WHO: Members of local TX 25 Indivisible groups, Jolt, Fair Maps Texas, and Common Cause

Guest Speaker: Julie Oliver, former TX 25 Congressional candidate

WHERE: Austin office of Rep. Roger Williams

1005 Congress Ave #925, Austin, TX 78701

WHEN: Thursday, January 3, from 4-5:30 p.m.

TX10

Where's McCaul?

Over in Rep. McCaul’s district, organizers with TX10 Indivisible are encouraging constituents to contact their representative’s office to demand a town hall—something McCaul hasn’t done in nine years. Here’s a script:

Representative McCaul,

It’s a new Congress — Voting rights, ethics, and the undue influence of big money in campaigns are high on our list.

We want you, our representative, to strengthen our voting laws to include online voter registration, to end gerrymandering, and to restore the Voting Rights Act.

We want you to require that all political organizations disclose their donors.

We are here, we are watching and we will hold you accountable.

Your constituent, (name) (zip code)

Contact Michael McCaul’s Austin office:

Phone: 512-473-2357

Email: amanda.mcpherson@mail.house.gov

January 8—Save the Date: Millions March Texas 2019

Austin Justice Coalition hosts a day of action at OUR Texas State Capitol. It’s a day of solidarity, a day of accountability, as we tell our elected officials what we want to see come out of this legislative session.

RSVP with Austin Justice Coalition

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

Looking back on a year of progress in Central Texas

In 2018, Indivisible Austin:

  • Knocked on nearly 2,500 doors for Beto & other progressive candidates
  • Called more than 5,000 Central Texas voters
  • Helped increase voter turnout in our target precinct by 78% (!)
  • Coordinated with March On Texas to send 90,000 postcards to Texas voters
  • Researched, wrote and sent 52 weekly action emails with scripts for MoCs, calls-to-action for local issues, activist spotlights, resistance calendar items, and the ever-critical Moment of Zen
  • Co-hosted the Families Belong Together rally that drew more than 20K people + 45 other events
  • Co-hosted a Town Hall for Our Lives led by Austin students
  • …and so much more

A gift to Indivisible Austin, large or small, helps us continue to do this work. As we move into 2019, we’ll be focused on the 86th session of the Texas Legislature as well as the new session of Congress. It’s an exciting time as we build on the wins that our collective efforts as a progressive movement made in 2018.

Panicked Twitter effluvia | How your voices are making a difference

Not much news during this holiday week, and while 2018 shall go in the annals as another stage in the shitshow of this presidency, there’s still much to feel hopeful about.

As the year ends, Donny is in hiding but for his panicked Twitter effluvia as he finds himself backed ever tighter into a corner of his own making, between Mueller’s tightening noose (and here’s hoping that if there really is a naked selfie, we need never scorch our eyes with it); the state-level investigations against Individual 1, his companies and “charity,” and his finances (like the recent news that the New Jersey attorney general is investigating evidence that a supervisor at one of Donny’s hotels knowingly broke the law in procuring false documentation for undocumented immigrants working at the facility.); and Don John’s ill-advised doubling down on appealing to his dwindling base with stunts like the government shutdown and the advice to furloughed workers that they should offer painting and carpentry work to their landlords in place of rent during the shutdown he already owned in full despite his recent attempts to distance himself.

In other news of the resistance holding the line against Republican corruption, incoming House majority leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House will not seat the North Carolina Republican currently under investigation for fraudulent election practices. And acting AG Matthew Whittaker was revealed to have lied on his resume and government documents to claim All-American academic honors he doesn’t have.

That’s it for this (relatively) quiet New Year’s lead-up week, warriors. Open the champagne tonight—but make sure to save one good bottle…. I have a strong suspicion we’ll have more to celebrate before long.

Christmas in Tornillo: An Indivisible Dispatch

Background

The Trump Administration is currently detaining more than 14,000 migrant children across the country. An estimated 2,400 of them are at the West Texas Detention Facility in Tornillo, Texas, 40 miles east of El Paso. The children in Tornillo are asylum seekers between the ages of 13-17, most from Central American countries hoping to be reunited with relatives in the US; they are officially unaccompanied, although some traveled with relatives such as aunts and uncles and were separated at the border.

Detention

Like everything this administration does, the detention of youthful asylum seekers is as chaotic and dehumanizing as possible. They are housed in large tents and given limited recreation, no education, and nearly no help preparing asylum claims. Speaking to the Texas Tribune, Tornillo schools Superintendent Rosy Vega-Barrio stated “we have the same access that the whole world has, which is none.” Water provided to the children is over-chlorinated to the point of foaming as it exits the tap, and they struggle to choke it down. Staff and the rare visitors are provided bottled water. BCFS Health and Human Services, a faith-based organization that runs Tornillo, states that the cost of running the facility is $750 per night per child.

Christmas in Tornillo

Pictured: guards leading children away from activists singing and waving flags into a large tent. Photo credit: Calvin MacDougal

Christmas in Tornillo

Pictured: activists walking the perimeter of the detention center. Photo credit: Vanessa MacDougal

Christmas in Tornillo

Pictured: water source for Tornillo detainees. Photo credit: Joshua Rubin

Christmas in Tornillo

Pictured: activists returning soccer balls which the guards have refused to retrieve. Photo credit: Vanessa MacDougal

Release

Release of the detainees is similarly chaotic and confusing. ICE has typically coordinated with local shelters when freeing people. However, in the last week, they have dropped off approximately 800 people at the El Paso Greyhound station. Local charities such as Annunciation House were not informed in advance of the huge influx. The former detainees were not provided with bus tickets or appropriate clothing for the chilly weather. Due to the shutdown, ICE is not responding to requests for information about why they chose this path of action.

What You Can Do

There is, and will continue to be, a group of protesters and activists outside the facility. All who are able to participate are welcome. Unfortunately, Tornillo is very remote from nearly everything, including Austin, so this is probably not possible for most people. Keep the pressure up locally! Call our Senators and US Representatives, and visit their offices. Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes Tornillo, has called on the Trump administration to close the facility, so other Republicans may also be open to persuasion. The shameful human rights abuses and the staggering cost are both good talking points.

Annunciation House has an Amazon wish list! Make purchases here. 

Read More

https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-border-patrol-death-20181225-story.html?fbclid=IwAR0Il5ePxdx3LUBCQTTXZiIDun_GSC8gbJEZWSAbecgqqdMpF4KK-1BthpM

http://www.kut.org/post/ice-continues-release-asylum-seekers-public-park-el-paso-texas?fbclid=IwAR27zMAzOt03wMipPJtL_P8ShJhMAtT0AiRFakD6YLXJamcj-CtAC66oxDc

https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/24/us/el-paso-immigrants-ice/index.html

https://www.kvia.com/news/border/number-of-migrant-children-living-at-tornillo-detention-center-grows/894700856

https://www.texastribune.org/2018/11/28/tent-city-texas-migrant-children/

http://time.com/5485344/migrant-children-christmas/

https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/local/el-paso/2018/12/18/republican-rep-hurd-trump-administration-close-tornillo-tent-shelter/2349311002/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/02/us/southwest-key-migrant-children.html?fbclid=IwAR3sswAffJqO-RCCuVJREhUb4dusUQ9dCFGuOncPPrtDVxqblihVlA3KGwY

Open Letter from ADAPT of Texas to Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton

Reposted with permission from ADAPT of Texas

Dear Governor Abbott and Atty General Paxton:

ADAPT of Texas is concerned about the lawsuit you are leading that, if successful, will rule that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional.

The ACA has significantly improved health care in the state of Texas. These improvements include several aspects of community long term services and supports. What are some of the benefits?  Examples include:

  • Required essential benefits in health insurance plans;
  • Elimination of annual and lifetime maximum benefits cap;
  • Allowing young people to stay on parent’s insurance until age 26;
  • Protections for people with pre-existing conditions;
  • Increased Medicaid match for home & community services.

Even with these improvements Texas leads the nation with the largest number and percentage of uninsured people.  Texas has the largest number of uninsured children – 10.7% – more than twice the national average. These numbers could have been significantly reduced in the past few years; however, Texas has chosen not to avail ourselves of the Medicaid Expansion.

ADAPT of Texas wants to highlight two areas in the ACA that currently have a direct positive effect on people with disabilities of all ages.

COVERAGE FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

All disabled people, regardless of age, have a pre-existing condition, many have more than one.  This fact is often overlooked when discussing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are a disability issue.  The protections for people with pre-existing conditions in the ACA not only require insurance coverage, this coverage must be offered for the same price as insurance coverage for people without pre-existing conditions. In addition, the ACA provides a subsidy so people with less income can afford this important coverage.

Texas recognized the need of people with pre-existing conditions before the ACA and created a High Risk Pool.  This pool was shut down when the ACA became law. Though the coverage was not bad, it was outrageously expensive, completely unaffordable to thousands of Texans.  The result? Texans with pre-existing conditions, who were not on Medicaid and/or Medicare and were not wealthy, were often uninsured, were sicker or more disabled, and even died because of lack of coverage.

COMMUNITY LONG TERM SERVICES AND SUPPORTS

There are many sections in the ACA that do not directly impact health insurance yet have a significant effect on the health care delivery system.

The Community First Choice (CFC) Option is a section in the ACA that improves the individuals’ health by delivering long term services and supports in a community setting.  Study after study shows that people of all ages who need personal care supports prefer and benefit from services and supports in the community. Not only do these people prefer and see health benefits from community services and supports, they save the state millions of Medicaid dollars.  Texas provides CFC services to people with disabilities and, thanks to the ACA, receives a 6% Medicaid enhanced match.

If the Texas led lawsuit prevails, protections for pre-existing conditions, CFC and the 6% Medicaid enhanced match goes away.

ADAPT of Texas asks you not to target Texans with disabilities and to drop off the lawsuit and work with us to develop a health care delivery system, including community long term services and supports, that meet the needs of people with disabilities of all ages and incomes.

We ask for a meeting to discuss the above issues.  Please let me know the day, time and location that works for y’all.

For an Institution and Barrier Free Texas,

Bob Kafka, Organizer

ADAPT of Texas

bob.adapt@sbcglobal.net

A Christmas Poem

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the House

Not a critter was stirring, not even a mouse

A president’s tantrum over funding a wall

Had shut down the government, for jobs big and small

Eight hundred thousand federal workers

Across this great land, Texans to New Yorkers

Will work not at all or will work without pay

And hope that their checks arrive post-Holiday

And let’s not forget thousands more sub-contractors

Janitors, servers, cashiers, and plate-stackers

Whose pre-Christmas paychecks just won’t ever come

Because Trump’s GOP is unspeakably dumb

In just a few days, the House becomes ours

And Pelosi and friends will check Trump’s power

On Flores! On Chip! On Williams and McCaul!

On Carter! And Cornyn! Dash away all!

Your caving to autocrats truly is stunning

But voters remember… 2020 is coming

Take action: Trump’s latest temper tantrum and the showdown over the wall >>

Shining a Light on Christmas in Tornillo

This Christmas, 2,500 immigrant migrant children will remain incarcerated in a government-run facility in Tornillo, TX. In Rep. Bill Flores’s hometown newspaper, pastor T. Carlos Anderson and Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project remind us of the lesson of the Christmas story:

“Retelling this biblical story should remind us of our moral responsibility to provide shelter, care for those in need, and not let our society’s current heightened polarization impede our efforts…”

“The best of our traditions require that we live together under just laws. Religious and moral teachings help infuse our society with compassion: to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, demand equal treatment for all, welcome the migrant, and dialog constructively with those whom we disagree. The only question about these practices is how we do them, not whether we do them.”

Activists from all over the country are holding vigil in Tornillo this Christmas, and we’ll be reporting on their efforts next week. Support them through organizations like RAICES and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

How your voices are making a difference

  • Congress passed a bipartisan bill revamping the criminal justice
  • The Justice Department banned bump stocks on guns
  • Paul Ryan’s gone

Bye, Felicia >>

Congress Critter of the Week: Rep. Roger Williams

“The biggest issue in my district is: build the wall.”

Rep. Roger Williams (TX-25)
Roger Williams

That’s what Rep. Roger Williams told reporters when asked about temporarily funding the government while the debate continues over Trump’s stupid wall.

If Williams ever—ever!—spoke to constituents in his district, he would know that this is not true. Not even a little bit. We asked Julie Oliver, who ran against Williams and has actually spoken to thousands of Texans in TX25—from across the political spectrum—whether “the wall” was ever mentioned even once as an issue regular folks care about. Her response:

The wall is a metaphor for GOP racism and xenophobia. Williams knows that and exploits it nonetheless. That is despicable. If you are in his district, give him a call and let him know what you think about “the wall.”

Your Moment of Zen

 

Bye, Felicia | How your voices are making a difference

Happy holidays, warriors! In case you need some holiday cheer, there is a LOT this week. Let me explain. No, there is too much—let me sum up.

Mueller Time

Two of Michael Flynn’s former business associates have been accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey, throwing a wrench in FOX and the Trump base’s attempt to paint Flynn as an innocent hero framed by Mueller.

Rather than showing contrition for former security adviser (and again…current felon) Michael Flynn’s actions in betraying his country and lying about it to the FBI, on the eve of Flynn’s sentencing his lawyers issued a sentencing memo furthering the right-wing conspiracy theory that a three-star, 33-year military veteran was somehow “tricked” into admitting to lying to the FBI without a lawyer present. The stunt will likely cost Flynn unexpected jail time, as the judge was far from amused, stating his “disdain” and “disgust” that Flynn “sold out [his] country,” and asking whether his actions rose to the level of treason. Right before that, the commander of cheese tweeted to wish the confessed felon good luck.

A DoJ ethics official advised the Matthew Whitaker, Donny’s acting attorney general, that he should recuse himself from the Russia investigation due to conflicts based on his past writings against Mueller. Which potential nomineeWilliam Barr also has. Neither has made any indication of removing himself from overseeing the investigation.

To the shock of no one, Donald toady Roger Stone, currently under investigation by Mueller as to whether he lied about connections to Wikileaks, admits he lied in pushing false stories on Infowars, one of the several right-leaning media sites that simply doesn’t care whether its stories are true or false.

If you’re feeling confused over all the Trump-Russia investigations (and why wouldn’t you? There are 17 separate ones), here’s a handy guide.

Democracy Actually Working

This was such a promising category this week, as Congress actually started working together to pass meaningful legislation and defying Donald. And then. FOX News impugned Don John’s virility and he shut the government down to prove what a man he is. And sadly the GOP has now officially sold its soul to Individual 1 by letting the RNC be subsumed by the very stable genius’s reelection campaign. RIP, GOP.

But in that brief little shining interim, we got this:

Congress passed a bipartisan bill revamping the criminal justice system by an overwhelming 87-12. The legislation provides for shortened sentences, and offers training and other programs to help rehabilitate the incarcerated and diminish recidivism.

The Justice Department banned bump stocks on guns like the one used to slaughter 58 people in Las Vegas and wound hundreds more.

The Senate unanimously approved a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime, after almost 100 years of attempts in previous legislatures that inexplicably failed.

Donald off the Rails

I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this category as Mueller’s noose tightens and rat Don and his cronies have nowhere to go at the end of the maze. But for now…

After Donald announced—out of dead nowhere—that he would pull all U.S. troops out of Syria (after a conversation with Turkey’s brutal despot Erdogan, and to Putin’s praise that his lackey “Donald” was correct to do so), Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned in a stinging letter of rebuke for the mentally deranged dotard. Immediately on its heels, a major U.S. envoy to an anti-ISIS coalition also submitted his resignation letter.

Republican Corruption

After the NY attorney general opened an investigation, Donald has agreed to dissolve his fraudulent charity amid investigation into its “shocking pattern of illegality.”

In both his 2016 and 2020 election bids, Don John used a shell company to buy ads in illegal coordination with the NRA.

Texas agriculture commissioner Sid Miller has once again been investigated for ethics violations in misusing taxpayer money for his personal use. Last time it was for the “Jesus shot” (you got me); this time it’s for using taxpayer funds for personal travel to travel to and compete in a rodeo. Sigh. Miller will be fined—just $500, but the violations are piling up.

Republicans Reconsidering

Two more GOP lawmakers—these congresswomen in Kansas—have publicly abandoned the Republican party.

Republicans Against the Law

The Supreme Court ruled that Donald may not begin immediately denying asylum to those who cross the U.S.-Mexico border (and Despite having malignant nodes removed in her lungs, Notorious RBG voted FROM HER HOSPITAL BED against the administration’s attempt to do so).

Social and Civil Rights Advances

An internal CBS investigation of former head Les Moonves found that allegations against him of sexual misconduct were credible, and that he was fired for cause and will not receive his $120 million severance package.

Pope Francis warns clergy accused of sexual abuse that the Church will not shield them and they should “hand yourself over to human justice” (and to “prepare for divine justice, which is basically the freaking pope letting sex offenders know they’re going to hell, which ought to chill some sexual-predator blood).

Fox’s Tucker Carlson, who immediately lost one advertiser last week after his comments that immigrants make America “dirtier” and “poorer,” has gone on to lose his network 13 more for the same reason. Carlson refuses to apologize, instead doubling down on his position and calling the boycott “a tactic—a well-worn one.” (The public wouldn’t have to wear it out so much, Tucker, if FOX would stop stating false, racist, sexist, and offensive things.)

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

In a hilarious response to the ridiculous Go Fund Me account a veteran started to raise money for Donald’s border wall (even though Donald promised his base that Mexico would pay for it), another Go Fund Me account was started to raise money for ladders to scale it. 😀 Thus far it’s raised XX—that’s a lot of ladders.

An ugly, slimy blind worm that lives underground has been named after Individual 1—Dermophis donaldtrumpi—after a sustainable building materials company paid $25K for the right in order to spotlight the GOP administration’s head-in-the-sand denial of climate change.

Barack Obama donned a Santa hat and handed out gifts in surprise visit to D.C. children’s hospital

Paul Ryan’s gone.

Bye Felicia

Take Action: Support Rep. Doggett’s demand for action on Yemen

Quick note: The ACA still stands, but… What’s Paxton’s plan if he kills the Affordable Care Act? 

Take Action

Call your reps to demand an investigation into the death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal

Jakelin

From our friends at VotoLatino:

The death of 7-year-old girl Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin in Border Patrol custody and the poor treatment of families in CBP detention are unacceptable.

Children like Jakelin desperately come here after escaping unimaginable violence and tragedy.

We are better than this. America is better than this.

As your constituent, I urge you to immediately call for an independent and rigorous investigation into how this tragedy happened and to identify reforms to CBP needed to prevent any mistreatment and separation of families. The new Congress should hold public hearings in January.

Read: Texas Tribune: Family of 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in federal custody speak out, call for “objective and thorough investigation” >>

Related: Government funding ends on December 21. Tell Cruz, Cornyn and your House rep “No additional money for the wall” >>

Support Rep. Doggett’s demand for action on Yemen

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. (Cruz and Cornyn, predictably, voted to continue starving Yemeni children with your tax dollars.)

In the House, however, Speaker Paul Ryan hid in the Farm Bill a provision to end House debate on Yemen. Rep. Lloyd Doggett is calling BS on this and needs your support.

Read Rep. Doggett’s statement or watch the video below, and then call your GOP House reps to demand action on Yemen. The House needs to follow the Senate’s lead to rebuke the White House’s claim that its activities in Yemen are not subject to the War Powers Act, and that the Saudi regime bears no responsibility for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

How your voices are making a difference

  • A bipartisan group of 44 former senators wrote an open letter to Congress urging members to stand up and protect democracy and put country over party
  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke finally resigned
  • Most Americans don’t believe Donald’s lies

Read “Donald’s Worst Week Ever” >>

#Cornyn2020

It’s hard work pretending Trump is a normal, functioning president, and not a corrupt Russian asset. But Big John is up to the task. Here’s the latest from senatorjohncornyn.com:

Congress Critter of the Week

Rep. Lamar SmithLamar “Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya On the Way Out” Smith embarrassed himself and the nation when he attempted to grill Google CEO Sundar Pichai about alleged liberal bias in search results. Basing his claim on easily debunked information, Smith insisted that a single employee could modify Google’s search results. As the San Francisco Chronicle points out, this was a huge missed opportunity:

“(Judiciary) Members could have (and should have) pressed Pichai about misinformation and radicalization on YouTube (Google owns the video-sharing site).

“Crucial questions about his company’s morphing relationship with China went unasked.

“…it’s galling that when the U.S. House of Representatives finally had the chance to ask him questions on Tuesday, the members treated him like he was Tech Support.”

Rep. Lamar Smith, you and your willful ignorance will not be missed.

Events

Jan. 3: Save the date: Whose House? Our House!

January 3 will be a nationwide day of action to remind our House reps: “We are here, we are paying attention, and we will hold you accountable for what you do.” More details to come. Here’s what we know so far:

  • TX21: 12 p.m. at Chip Roy’s Austin and San Antonio offices (exact locations TBD)
  • TX25: 4 p.m. at Rep. Roger Williams’s Austin office

If you are interested in joining or organizing an event, contact us.

Your Moment of Zen

Funding the Fight

In The Thick Of It

Be A Texas VoterA court ruling against the ACA, morally abominable treatment of migrant children, the erosion of voting rights and the power of voters: in Texas and across the nation Republican leaders are attacking human rights and the basic principles of democracy.

Rise up, with Indivisible Austin, to meet these challenges. After you’ve taken this week’s actions, take it one step further, and support Indivisible Austin today. With you, we can help even more people raise their voices.

 

Donald’s Worst Week Ever | How your voices are making a difference

SO MANY WITCHES! As Donald’s former attorney Michael Cohen heads to jail for a three-year sentence and former national security adviser (and, let’s not forget, current felon) Michael Flynn asked for leniency for his “substantial assistance” with Mueller’s investigation, now Russian spy Marina Butina pleaded guilty to operating on U.S. soil to further Russian interests.

Then National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. admitted to prosecutors that it bought and buried stories about women’s alleged affairs with Trump during the campaign at the request of the Trump campaign, further embroiling Individual 1 in hot legal waters.

And THEN federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether Individual 1’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent the $107 million it raised and whether some donors gave money to Don John’s incoming administration in exchange for access or influence on policy and administration positions.

Ivanka Trump negotiated rates for Trump hotels for Donald’s inauguration, an irregularity that caused one hotel exec to write a letter to Ivanka concerned about an audit. If the negotiated rates were inflated it’s a violation of the law.

After Nick Ayers announced he wasn’t interested in Donald’s chief of staff position and in fact was leaving the White House entirely, Donny can find no one interested in taking the position, so he named Mick Mulvaney as “acting” chief.

Donald called a meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that was recorded on camera, then tried blindsiding them to demand more money for his border wall. But instead Nancy Pelosi owned Don John and the Oval Office like a boss, she and Schumer leading Donald to take full responsibility for a government shutdown (which Republicans had begged him not to do), while Mike Pence did…well, literally nothing, and the Internet (and late-night TV) went wild.

In related developments as the first rats see the stern rising…

Congress Grows a Spine

The Senate voted—in a symbolic but powerful bipartisan statement—to condemn Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite Donald’s repeated refusal to accept American intelligence conclusions that bin Salman was directly responsible for the murder.

The Senate also voted across partisan lines to end U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-funded war in Yemen.

The Senate overturned Donald’s rule that politically active nonprofits don’t have to disclose donor information.

The House approved a resolution calling the persecution of Myanmar Muslims a “genocide,” while Donald keeps silent.

Justice for All

The House and Senate agreed on bipartisan sexual harassment bill ending taxpayer-funded settlements of congressional harassment suits, extend protection to unpaid congressional staff, like interns, and providing for the public identification of Congress members who settle such claims.

An Australian court found a Catholic cardinal guilty of child sexual abuse, making him the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged.

The neo-Nazi who killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens of others at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally has been sentenced to life in prison.

After three lower courts ruled that Medicaid recipients have a right to sue states that withhold funding for providers like Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court declined to review the ruling and the lower courts’ judgment will stand.

Republicans Reconsidering

A bipartisan group of 44 former senators wrote an open letter to Congress urging members to stand up and protect democracy and put country over party, saying, “the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld.”

A California chief justice has left the Republican Party, citing the Kavanaugh trial, which “greatly disturbed” her.

Civil and Social Rights Advances

A church in the Netherlands has been conducting services nonstop for six weeks to protect an Armenian family seeking asylum in the church from deportation; Dutch law prohibits police from interrupting a service to make an arrest.

More than 200 faith leaders and religious advocates gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border on Human Rights Day to protest the U.S. not allowing migrants their legal right to seek asylum.

A Boston Symphony Orchestra flautist is suing the organization after learning she is paid $65K less than her male counterpart.

The largest seminary in the Southern Baptist Convention issued an extraordinary statement acknowledging its role in institutionalized racism, admitting all its founders were slave owners and “deeply complicit in the defense of slavery.”

FOX News’s Tucker Carlson said immigrants make America “dirtier,” and advertiser Pacific Life promptly pulled its support.

After losing a court battle, Betsy DeVos is canceling $150M in student loan debt for 15,000 students.

Republican Corruption

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke finally resigned amid several investigations into his multiple ethics and finance abuses of office.

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee purchased between $50 and $100K of defense stock he bought days after encouraging a sharp increase in defense spending.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Mick Mulvaney, current director of the Office of Management and Budget, will take the role of chief of staff that no one—not even Chris Christie—wanted, after Mulvaney referred to Donald as “a terrible human being.”

Most Americans don’t believe Donald’s lies, according to a new Fact Checker poll by the Washington Post—fewer than 3 in 10 people and fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans are buying his nonsense.

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.