Call To Action: NO on Matthew Kacsmaryk

Thanks to Indivisible East Bay for their ongoing work focused on the federal judiciary. They have researched and prepared many calls-to-action, including this one, to push back on Trump’s extremist judicial nominees.

Background: Matthew Kacsmaryk has been nominated for a judgeship in federal district court (Northern District of Texas). He is now a lawyer for the First Liberty Institute, known for its extreme opposition to women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. He has opposed the rule under ObamaCare for coverage to include contraceptives. In Washington State he opposed a law that pharmacies are required to provide emergency birth control.

Kacsmaryk’s writings even include criticism of no-fault divorce.

On equality for LGBTQ persons, Kacsmaryk has opposed same-sex marriage, and he has supported laws allowing hospitals, businesses, and landlords to discriminate against LGBTQ persons because of religious beliefs. Kacsmaryk appears to have worked against any effort to ensure equality for the LGBTQ community.

This nominee’s extremism is noteworthy even among Trump’s other court picks, who are often very conservative. Please call your Senators to vote against Kacsmaryk’s nomination for a lifelong appointment as a federal judge.

Script: Hi, my name is [name] and I’m a constituent calling from [zip code]. I’m calling to urge you to vote NO on the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk to the federal district court. Kacsmaryk’s career has been to oppose women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights to an extreme degree. I am worried that Kacsmaryk will be a partisan and extreme judge, and I am against his nomination for a lifelong position on the federal court. Please vote NO on Kacsmaryk’s nomination.

Sen. Cornyn 512-469-6034
Sen. Cruz 512-916-5834

More information:

Alliance for Justice report on Matthew Kacsmaryk
Vetting Room report on Matthew Kacsmaryk
People For the American Way: Letter Against Kacsmaryk’s Nomination
National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA): Letter in Opposition to Kacsmaryk’s Nomination

 

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Inexorable Progress

Judging by his customary angry-baby tantrum whenever it looks like the spotlight is about to shine on his misdoings, Donald must be getting pretty nervous about what Steve Bannon might have revealed to author Michael Wolff, whose incendiary new book claims to shed behind-the-scenes light—unflattering light at best—on Donald’s campaign, administration, and person. After an “I know you are but what am I” tweetstorm calling into question Bannon’s sanity (as if no one were questioning it already), Donny desperately tried to block the book’s release, his lawyers sending a cease-and-desist to Bannon and the president of Henry Holt, the publisher. The author, however, responded that he has tapes of Bannon and Donald’s former deputy chief of staff to corroborate, and thanked Donald for making his book an advance bestseller on Amazon; the publisher as a result decided to release the book this past Friday, four days early. This sent Donny into an even greater tizzy, tweeting that he’s “like, really smart” and “a very stable genius” as he bemoaned the fact that libel laws were too lenient, and White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said with a straight face that the fact that people can even besmirch the president was “disgusting,” and—in a coup de grâce of irony—that Donald “believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact, when it certainly and clearly is not.” Meanwhile Breitbart considers whether to fire Bannon, and the Mercer billionaires that back the outlet have severed ties with him, as a panicked White House has banned cell phones from the West Wing. Welcome to the circus.

New revelations indicate that Donald instructed his lawyer Don McGahn, to convince Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia probe, despite the Russian contacts Session lied about, which prompted his resignation. This would constitute obstruction of justice, and Mueller is said to be investigating it as a key element of his probe.

Donald abruptly shut down his sham voting fraud commission, formed after his false claims that it was voter fraud that resulted in his losing the popular vote by 3 million. The commission had been beset by problems since its inception, from its illegal requests of states to provide voter information to lawsuits to its exclusion of Democrats in its functions—and hasn’t produced a scrap of evidence to support its assertions of widespread voter fraud.

Mike Pence and his family were greeted by their neighbors on their Colorado ski vacation with Make America Gay Again banners.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts announced an initiative to protect court employees from sexual harassment after group of nearly 700 former and current law clerks sent Roberts a letter requesting action.

Alabama senator Doug Jones was sworn into the Senate, closing the GOP majority to 51-49…a narrow margin that may shift entirely away from Republicans in 2018.

Washington State’s attorney general has filed suit against Motel 6 for routinely handing over to federal immigration agents info about registered guests without any reasonable suspicion, probable cause or search warrants, including circling names that sounded Latino.

One of the women who accused Roy Moore of statutory sexual contact with her when she was 14 has sued the failed senate candidate for defamation after he attacked her character in the wake of her allegations against him.

Donald’s false or misleading claims while in office are approaching the 2,000 mark, a grim milestone that defines his presidency at a rate of nearly six lies a day. In case America is missing the Orwellian overtones of his reign thus far, Donald gave a video statement at a White House press conference at which he sat 150 feet away. Like the Wizard of Oz.

Fusion GPS published this op-ed in the New York Times defending their investigation that yielded the infamous dossier on Donald (you know the one…complete with golden showers). In it the company discusses the 21 hours of testimony they gave to three congressional committees that the GOP-led committees stifled, and they share some of their testimony the congressional committees have refused to release about the dossier that was funded by Republicans as well as the Clinton campaign.

2017 sucked on many levels, but don’t overlook the big-picture global progress inexorably being made, despite Donald and the minions. And record numbers of women are running or seriously considering running for governor across the country—79, leaving the previous record of 34 (in 1994) in the dust, and dozens of women are running for office in Texas.

12/18: How Congress Stole Christmas: Santa Resists

View & RSVP to this event on Facebook

How Congress Stole Christmas: Santa Resists

Does this holiday season leave you feeling like it’s a wonderful life… if you’re in the 1%?

It’s never too late to tell our elected officials how we feel, and probably more important now than it’s been all year, with competing heinous versions of tax bills dancing like rotten sugarplums through our nightmares. So join Santa Claus in a visit to Senators Cruz and Cornyn, to let them know why they are getting stockings full of coal for Christmas 2017.

We’ll kick off a short program with a guest speaker or two at 3pm outside Sen. Cruz’s office, and then take some video of regular constituents telling why they are giving him a lump of coal in his stocking. When the stocking is full, Santa and his elves will present Sen. Cruz’s staff with the stocking, and the rest of us will carol our way 6 blocks to Sen. Cornyn’s office by about 3:45 for the same (program, video, Santa visit). We plan to end at 4:30 with some closing thoughts about this year of resistance.

We will have some paper and markers at both offices for you to write your reasons for giving lumps of coal, but if you want to come prepared, make sure you write yours on black paper or cardstock because that’s the color of coal! And that’s all they get.

Sponsors:
ADAPT of Texas
Austin DSA
Children’s Defense Fund- Texas
Indivisible Austin
Indivisible Rosedale Huddle
Indivisible SATX
Indivisible TX 25 East
Left Up To Us
Muslim Solidarity ATX
Our Revolution Central Texas
Our Revolution South Austin
Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT)
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
Progress Texas
TARA (Texas Alliance of Retired Americans)Austin chapter
Texas Sierra Club
The Texas Drought Project
TX-10 Indivisible
TX21Indivisible
University Democrats
Workers Defense Project

Check back for updates in the coming days as we add event sponsors, speakers, and other details, and refine the timeline.

Video and Photos from the Street Theater Outside John Cornyn’s Office Protesting the #TrumpTaxScam

On the national day of action to protest the Trump Tax Scam, a troupe of activists calling themselves Tiny Jazz Hands put on quite a show outside Sen. John Cornyn’s office.

Take this quiz to see if you get a tax break from the Trump Tax Scam

Correct
Incorrect

 

Correct
Incorrect

 

Correct
Incorrect

 

Correct
Incorrect

 

Correct
Incorrect

 

Correct
Incorrect

Call Senators Cornyn and Cruz NOW

Caller: Hello! My name is [NAME] and I’m calling from [part of state]. I’m calling to let Senator [Cruz / Cornyn] know that I strongly oppose the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This tax bill is a scam that will give massive cuts to the wealthy, paid for by leaving tens of thousands of people in Texas uninsured, raising premiums, and raising taxes on middle-class families.

Staffer: The Senator is in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. He thinks it is important that we reform our broken, complex tax code so that middle-class families can benefit.

Caller: This tax bill won’t help middle class families get ahead. Every single provision intended to help the middle-class expires, but the corporate tax cuts are forever. Even worse, the CBO estimates that health insurance premiums will increase 10% more per year than they would without this bill and we know 13 million more people will be uninsured!

Staffer: I’ll pass your thoughts along to the Senator.

Caller: Yes please do, and please take down my contact information so you can let me know what the Senator decides to do.

Thank John Cornyn for Introducing Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Background Check System and Encourage Ted Cruz to Add His Name

As we enter the holiday season, we’re giving thanks where it is due.

We join Moms Demand Action and other advocacy groups in applauding Senators John Cornyn and Chris Murphy (D-CT) for introducing bipartisan legislation to improve the criminal background check system.

We also call on Ted Cruz to join his fellow Texas senator and add his name to the bill. 90% of Americans support universal background checks for all gun sales; tightening this legislation this should be a no-brainer for all lawmakers.

Almost 10 percent of Sutherland Springs’ population was wounded or murdered by gunfire. We need to break the kabuki-theater cycle of: People get shot, we call for action, they call for thoughts and prayers, we condemn their inaction and thoughts and prayers as useless and demand legislation, they say it’s too soon to politicize it, the NRA does something stupid or nothing at all.

This bill is a small step in the right direction.

As Angela Turner, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action says, “This bill alone will not solve our gun violence epidemic, but it will make common sense improvements to the background check system, help keep guns away from domestic abusers and criminals, and ultimately, save lives. Congress should set politics aside, and pass this into law.”

Script for Senator John Cornyn

Thank you for working across the aisle on commonsense gun legislation. A majority of mass shooters in this country have histories of domestic violence, and we’re glad that Sen. Cornyn is working in a bipartisan way to address gaps in the background check system that allow people with dangerous histories to obtain firearms. We hope this signals a willingness to take additional steps to confront the epidemic of gun violence in our country.

Script for Senator Ted Cruz

Your colleague, John Cornyn, has cosponsored a bipartisan bill to address gaps in the background check system that allow people with dangerous histories to obtain firearms. I encourage Sen. Cruz to join his colleague and add his name to this bill. Almost 10 percent of Sutherland Springs’ population was wounded or murdered by gunfire. If that is not enough to get Senator Cruz’s attention on gun violence, then what is?

Join us on Saturday, Nov. 18 to demand that Ted Cruz give NRA blood money to victims of gun violence

Tax plan shell game hurts middle-class Texans

Who is the Tax Cut and Jobs Act for? What is it really meant to do? Create jobs? No. Regardless of how you normally vote, you know this bill doesn’t pass the smell test. It has one priority: cutting taxes for the wealthiest, by shifting the burden to everyone else.

Take our quiz to determine if you’ll get a tax break from the Trump Tax Scam >>

The House version of this scam gives the top .3 percent of Texans 52 percent of cuts. That’s 83,000 out of the nearly 28,000,000 Texans. Imagine the residents of Mission, Texas getting more tax cuts than the rest of the state combined. It would be farcical, if it wasn’t so serious.

The most narrow yet extreme of these cuts may be the elimination of the estate tax, which applies to only the largest .2 percent of estates. A married couple can pass on $10.9 million to their children before any estate tax is due. Do you know anyone who has $11 million to pass on? Rep. Michael McCaul, the wealthiest Texan in Congress, would save $38.7 million. However, this change is really about Sen. Ted Cruz’s desire to save non-Texan Robert Mercer hundreds of millions more. Never mind the expense to the country that provided the environment and secure conditions necessary for them to amass their stunning wealth.

Congress’ tax plans are shell game, offering slightly reduced rates and an increased standard deduction with one hand, while yanking away essential credits and deductions with the other. Important supposed benefits for the middle class include increased child tax credits as well as new credits for essentially every other member of the household. When taken together, these might be enough to make up for the elimination of personal exemptions, which deduct more than $4000 of taxable income for each person in your household. With the introduction of the Senate version of the bill, all the supposed tax benefits for middle class folks will disappear in 2025 — but the corporate tax cuts will be permanent.

You have major medical expenses? Sorry, no deduction. Want an education? Tax credits and deductions for student loan interest are gone. Buying a house with a $750,000 mortgage? Only interest on $500,000 is deductible. Lost everything in a disaster, like so many in Houston and the Gulf Coast? Now you’re really out of luck, because the property loss deduction is lost.

And now the Senate has decided to turn its version of the tax bill into a stealth attempt to repeal the ACA. There’s no question that it will cause premiums to go up and at least 13 million people uninsured by 2027.

Some may end up with a scrap of a benefit for a few years, but many won’t. Even those who do actually see a cut will see it turn into a tax increase by 2027 when the tax cuts for individuals phase out.

Extraordinary cuts will be required to pay for this — cuts that will disproportionately target health care programs that millions of Americans depend on. The House’s budget plan depends on more than $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, which is even higher than any of the ACA repeal plans. We expect an immediate $25 billion cut to Medicare, and a total of $500 billion in cuts to Medicare.

All of this is for what? So Wells Fargo can rebuild shareholder value? So the children of billionaires can inherit even more money?

No. It’s not right, and it shouldn’t happen. Tell your representatives that it can’t happen. They work for all 28 million Texans, not just the 83,000 at the top.

Join the Nov. 18 Statewide Rally to Tell Ted Cruz to Give Blood Money to Gun Victims

View this event on Facebook

Multiple Indivisible groups will be hosting a rally in support of the victims of gun violence on Saturday November 18 at Senator Ted Cruz’s office in Austin. This is a statewide action, with sister rallies occurring in Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. Please join us as we tell Ted Cruz that we stand against the NRA and with the victims of gun violence.

Constituents Take Ted Cruz to Task on NRA Ties

Gun Safety Advocates: Donate NRA Contributions to Families Gun Violence Victims

WHO: Indivisible Austin, Wilco Indivisible, Indivisible Houston, Pantsuit Republic Houston, Indivisible Austin, Indivisible TX Lege, TX21 Indivisible, TX20 Indivisible, TX23 Indivisible, TX28 Indivisible, TX35 Indivisible-San Antonio, and Women’s March on Washington-San Antonio and many more

WHAT: Statewide action 

WHEN: Saturday, November 18th, 2017, 10:00 AM

WHERE: Offices of Senator Ted Cruz in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio

WHY: To demand the surrender and donation of NRA contributions and push for comprehensive gun reforms.

Given the recent shootings in Sutherland and Las Vegas, The People are taking mass action across Texas to raise awareness for comprehensive public safety protections from shootings. This Saturday, protests at the offices of Ted Cruz will call on the Senator to donate the $360,000 he has taken from Ammo lobby to the families of the victims of gun violence. The action also calls for closing gun loopholes by demanding universal background checks and universal criminal data sharing.

Stricter gun laws in the name of public safety and protections for the masses are popular with the public. A recent Gallup poll shows that 96% of Americans believe in universal background checks for all gun purchases, while 64% of Americans say they support stricter gun laws. An overwhelming majority believe stricter gun laws would reduce mass shootings in the United States.

It’s time to put an end to business as usual for the Ammo Industrial Complex, which has gotten away with endangering The People while lining the pockets of politicians and turning them into gun lobby surrogates. The NRA’s silence in the wake of the death of concealed carrier Philando Castile and the organization’s violent propaganda against peaceful advocates shows that the NRA is less concerned with protecting the 2nd Amendment than they are undermining the First Amendment and turning blood in the streets into cash in the bank.

Tell John Cornyn and Ted Cruz to withdraw their endorsements of Roy Moore

Update:


Both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have endorsed alleged child molester and nominee to the US Senate, Roy Moore. Along with Rand Paul—who is home with six broken ribs—they are the last senators still supporting Moore, despite considerable pressure.

Let’s keep that pressure on.

Before the latest, extremely credible allegations, we already knew that Roy Moore was unfit for office. He was twice removed from the Supreme Court bench in Alabama, both times for defying the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution. He is a theocrat who believes we should be governed by the bible. He denied custody to a mother of her three children because she was a lesbian. He’s also a birther, claiming that President Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. He believes Rep. Keith Ellison shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the House because he’s Muslim. Moore has called for the impeachment of judges, including Supreme Court justices, who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage rights. He plans to rid the Senate of the filibuster.

Sen. Cornyn, at least knew it too. He flip-flopped on his original endorsement of Moore’s opponent, saying, “Getting thrown off the Supreme Court of your state twice, I don’t think, is a credential that commends you for membership in the United States Senate.”

Now Cornyn is doing the typical “express-concern-without-doing-anything-to-fix-the-problem.” In regard to the allegations of sexual assault on a minor, he told the Texas Tribune: “I think it’s up to the governor and the folks in Alabama to make that decision as far as what the next step is.”

And this bit from the Tribune on Ted Cruz was especially interesting/pathetic:

Cruz is in a particularly complicated political position. Prior to The Washington Post’s report, Brietbart News had its own pre-emptive story that was highly defensive of Moore. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon runs the website and recently threatened to challenge every GOP senator in their primaries with the exception of Cruz. 

Call to Action:

Call Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and ask what, exactly, it would take for them to disavow Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore. At what point is a GOP candidate so unqualified—and frankly disgusting—that he would no longer have their support?

More ways to help defeat Roy Moore in Alabama >>

30+ Texas Health Groups Send Urgent CHIP letter to Washington

Cross-posted, with permission, from the Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP)

Kids' health care can't wait. Renew CHIP now

With a quickly approaching deadline—after which 400,000 Texas kids could be dropped from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—over 30 leading Texas health care and advocacy organizations sent a joint letter to U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and Governor Greg Abbott urgently requesting intervention.

As part of the Children’s Health Coverage Coalition, the groups are asking federal leaders to renew CHIP funding as soon as possible.

Waiting to resolve CHIP funding until the end of this year is not an option, because any delay in funding could cause significant disruptions to families staring in early December.

Kids in Texas’ 53 counties affected by Hurricane Harvey might be especially vulnerable, as families struggle to rebuild their lives.

View a copy of the letter here. Texas CHIP enrollment data by county for August 2017 is available here.

Read more about CHIP and CHIP funding here.

To speak to leaders of some of the groups that signed on, please contact:

Children’s Defense Fund- Texas; Dr. Laura Guerra-Cardus LGuerraCar@childrensdefense.org  (713) 419-8422

Texas Pediatric Society, The Texas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; contact Tricia Hall, Executive Director, C: 512-370-1506

Oliver Bernstein, Center for Public Policy Priorities, 512.289.8618