How Your Voice Are Making a Difference: 17 states are suing the Trump administration

Fallout continues after Sinclair Broadcasting’s “must-read” propaganda distributed to its news anchors became public. (If you haven’t seen this disturbing mashup of dozens of anchors reading the exact same text like animatronic puppets, it’s must-watch.) Sinclair failed to offer a convincing defense for its brainwashing attempts, and now former employees are speaking outSinclair is seeking regulatory approval for a $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, whose portfolio includes 42 stations. Regulatory limit is 39 percent; this would jump their market reach to 72 percent. UHF versus VHF loophole shows how Sinclair can own so many stations despite federal law. It’s urgent that we contact our lawmakers and demand that they close this loophole—and block Sinclair’s buy of Tribune media—and protect the regulations that prevent this kind of propaganda media from being disseminated over such a huge market share.

Democrat won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time since 1995, shrinking that state’s conservative majority to one. And a Democrat leads in TN to replace Bob Corker’s congressional seat. A record number of women are running for House seats—more than 300, most of them Democrats.

In Texas, Senate candidate and Ted Cruz challenger Beto O’Rourke has outraised Cruz in three of the last reporting periods—most jaw-droppingly in this last period, when O’Rourke’s grassroots campaign raised a staggering $6.7 million from more than 141K donors, with the average donation a little over $40 (unlike Cruz’s heavy special-interest funding). O’Rourke is traveling through Texas holding dozens of city halls for constituents…again, totally unlike Cruz, who has been hiding from his and refusing to make appearances for any but his GOP donors.

Despite the mentally deranged dotard’s war on immigrants and opposition to DACA (the “Dreamers” program allowing children brought into the country with their parents to work toward citizenship), his administration has approved 55K new applications for the program this year alone.

Now 17 states are suing the Trump administration over the citizenship question they are proposing adding to the 2020 census.

In Russia-investigation news, Robert Mueller is investigating whether former Donald campaign adviser Roger Stone met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, suggesting a connection between Donald’s campaign and the Wikileaks hacks into Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails supported by Russian intelligence. And CNN broke the story of yet another Donald adviser who pushed government agencies during the campaign to review materials from the dark web that he thought were Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

Mueller has evidence that Betsy DeVos’s brother may have lied to Congress about ties between the Trump campaign and a Putin associate.

The first sentencing was handed down in Robert Mueller’s investigation—a Dutch lawyer (and suspected Russian spy) who lied to the FBI about his affiliations with Russian military intelligence and contacts with Donald’s campaign has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $20K fine. I like to think of this as the amuse bouche of the many-course meal to come. In related news, and a direct refute of Paul Manafort’s lawsuit claiming Mueller exceeded his authority in prosecuting Manafort for his work with the Ukraine government and possible Russia ties, records reveal that Donny’s own DoJ’s office did indeed specifically offer Mueller that authority.

Inside the White House, embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt is in hot water yet again—this time for using an obscure emergency hiring provision in his EPA department to bring on board a slew of former lobbyists, aides, and friends. He also made extravagant requests of his department—like a $100K-per-month private jet service and a bulletproof desk…no, really—and when senior staff criticized how he was planning to spend taxpayer money, he had them reassigned. Then he bypassed the White House’s refusal to give two of his personal aides (ages 30 and 26) raises and did it anyway, in the amounts of $56K and $28K, respectively. Your tax dollars at work! But wait…there’s more! While renting a room in the luxury town house of a lobbyist for an energy company for a paltry $50/night (a rate that also included a room for his grown daughter, a fact the EPA’s lead ethics investigator now says wasn’t disclosed when he looked into whether the rental violated federal gift rules), Pruitt approved a pipeline-expansion plan for that same company. Wait, hang in there…there’s still a bit more corruption: This same lobbyist was also a campaign donor for Pruitt’s run for attorney general in Oklahoma. If you’re having trouble keeping track of all this (and why wouldn’t you?), here’s a handy cheat sheet on all the reasons Scott Pruitt is coming under fireSixty-four House Democrats have asked Donald to fire Pruitt, and in the mass exodus of staff from the White House, rumor has it that John Kelly is gunning for Pruitt next. Perhaps Pruitt modeled his spendthrift ways on now-departed secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who spent $12 million on consultants to “redesign” the state department. (I do not think “drain the swamp” means what the GOP thinks it means…)

Speaking of departing staffers (and if you’re having trouble keeping track of that too, here’s an excellent compendium of who all has been flushed down the toilet of this administration), national security head H. R. McMaster blew back a parting shot at this administration on his way out the door, denouncing Russia’s actions and the very stable genius’s lack of meaningful sanctions imposed on that country for its meddling in our 2016 election—“we have failed to impose sufficient costs.” McMaster’s words carried extra sting coming immediately on the heels of Donny announcing at a news conference, “No one has been tougher on Russia than I have.”

One of Donald’s DoD appointees resigned after CNN dug up his “birther” posts on Facebook, where he also called President Obama “the Antichrist.” It’s a shame similar criteria don’t force all of those who furthered the conspiracy to resign, specifically the birther-in-chief.

Two of the settlement agreements with women who accused Bill O’Reilly of harassment have been made public and detail O’Reilly’s herculean attempts to silence the women and keep his actions under the carpet.

Donald laid down further sanctions on Russian companies, politicians, and business leaders.

Conspiracy theory site Infowars and shlock jock Alex Jones are being sued (again)—this time for recklessly misidentifying a man as the Parkland school shooter and labeling him a “commie” who supported ISIS.

Meanwhile a Chicago suburb has unanimously voted to ban assault weapons within its borders. To no one’s shock, the NRA is threatening to sue. But in Massachusetts, a federal judge upheld that state’s ban on assault weapons. The tide of public opinion is turning despite Congress, the White House, and the NRA’s attempts to hold it back.

Don John’s support among women is tanking—from 41 to 35 percent—even while his support from men rose 3 percent in what the Harvard poll codirector called “the Stormy effect.”

Madeleine Allbright sounds the alarm about fascism creeping closer. Want to see an example of how democracy can creep toward fascism? Look to Hungary. Tens of millions of Americans have participated in protests and rallies in the last two years—1 in 5 people in the U.S. Much of that is thanks to you, warriors—stay in the game!

Enter to Win Pod Save America Tickets

Jon, Jon, Tommy, and Dan. You know their names. You know their voices. They are the hosts of the wildly popular Pod Save America podcast, and they have been critical in amplifying the voice and energy of the resistance, all while bringing some much-needed fun to the fight.

Now, they’re coming to Austin for a live Pod Save America on March 9, 2018 at the Moody Theater.

The event is sold out, but you and a friend can still go to the show.

Enter your name and email to be included on our email action list and you will be included in the drawing to win two floor tickets to the show.

If you are already on our email list, you’re already entered, but you can get more chances to win by getting your friends to sign up too. Just make sure they list your name and email in the “Who Sent You?” section. When your friends sign up for our email list, you’ll both be entered for a chance to win the tickets.

Board members of Indivisible Austin and their families are excluded from the drawing.

Ask Michael Dell to Resign from the Manufacturing Council

***UPDATE August 18, 2017***

Michael Dell sent a statement to employees. While it decries “hatred, violence, racism, and terrorism racism,” it does not mention the manufacturing council or the president’s comments.

***UPDATE August 16, 2017***

Trump shut down the Manufacturing Council after several CEOs quit.

Michael Dell was not among those quitting. (A meeting of the council was scheduled for later in the day, and it was widely expected that the council would disband on its own.)

Michael Dell’s silence is confounding. It doesn’t matter that he is a major Republican donor; many Republicans have issued strong statements condemning hate groups and Trump’s tacit endorsement of those groups.

If Michael Dell wants to continue attracting talent from Austin’s diverse workforce, he needs to condemn the president’s statements, and explain his decision to stick with the council when other CEOs were fleeing. Because no one wants to work for a leader who lacks moral clarity.

***Original post below***

In January, Donald Trump announced the creation of a Manufacturing Council to work with the administration’s efforts on job creation. The council consists of business leaders from a broad range of industries. It’s a largely symbolic council; they seldom meet, and it’s unclear, what, if any jobs have been created as a result. But symbols matter — especially now, when hate groups draw inspiration from Nazism and other dark forces of history.

In the aftermath of the white supremacist domestic terrorism in #Charlottesville and the Trump administration’s inadequate response, a diverse coalition of activists are pressuring the members of the council to resign. Austin-area Indivisible groups will join those pressuring these CEOs.

We have decided to start local with Michael Dell. As CEOs resign, we will move on to others.

This is a campaign that needs social media to be successful! Companies have staff specifically tasked with monitoring social media, watching out for negative tweets and comments about their brand in real time. Join us in creating a tidal wave of demands that Michael Dell denounce this administration’s tolerance for bigotry and hatred, and its cozy relationship with white supremacists and anti-Semites, and resign from the Manufacturing Council.

What you can do:

  1. Tweet @Dell and @MichaelDell, asking Michael Dell to resign from this council. Retweet others who are doing the same. (Suggested hashtags: #QuitTheCouncil #DitchDell.)
  2. Visit the Dell Facebook page and write a post with your concerns, and send them a direct message, too.
  3. Call Dell at 1-800-624-9897 and demand that Michael Dell leave the Manufacturing Council.

Ben Wikler of MoveOn has an insightful Twitter thread about why social media pressure works on brands and companies:

 

 

Come on Down to the Indivisible Central Texas Roundup and Town Hall with Ezra Levin!

Please join us on June 24th at the Indivisible Central Texas Roundup and Town Hall with Ezra Levin!

Indivisible groups in Central Texas have become POWERHOUSES of activism. We want to celebrate all that you’ve done, and build for the future. So we’re excited to invite y’all to come on down for the Indivisible Central Texas Roundup with our special guest Ezra Levin, Co-Executive Director of The Indivisible Project!

The Roundup includes an afternoon of learning, networking, and recharging for Indivisible group leaders, super-volunteers, and passionate supporters – folks who are very engaged in their local Indivisible groups and ready to take their activism to the next level. Our learning sessions will be followed by a Town Hall (ticketed and open to the public) with Ezra.

You can order your Central Texas Roundup T-shirt here (women’s and men’s styles available)!

When
Sat, June 24, 2017
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM CDT (Full schedule below)

Roundup location and additional program details will be provided after registration.

Tickets: $20. Please RSVP here.

Full Schedule

12:30 Check-in
1:00 Welcome + Icebreaker
1:20 Transition to sessions
1:30 Organizing 101 (this session covers both breakout periods)
1:30 Protest Safety/Verbal Self-Defense Training
1:30 Tech Resources for Organizers
1:30 Q&A: Legal & Financial Concerns for Indivisible Groups
2:25 Break
2:35 Media Training for Organizers
2:35 Tech Resources for Organizers
2:35 Q&A: Legal & Financial Concerns for Indivisible Groups
3:30 Mix & Mingle break, transition to Town Hall
4:00 Town Hall with Ezra Levin, Co-Executive Director, Indivisible Project
5:30 Happy Hour at Scholz Garten (no host, no ticket required)

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: We Remember Those Who Fought Before Us

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

You marvelous patriotic people are keeping the heat turned up to 11 on Russia–and things are starting to cook:

  • Fired national security director Michael Flynn has taken the Fifth and refused to surrender his personal records regarding his possible collusion with foreign governments to Senate subpoena. Combined with his previous (refused) request for immunity, it’s growing ever clearer that there’s plenty to hide. The Senate Intelligence Committee followed up with two new subpoenas to Flynn’s businesses.
  • The Washington Post has learned that in March, Donald asked the heads of two U.S. intelligence agencies to publicly deny James Comey’s revelations that Donald’s campaign was under criminal investigation by the FBI. “The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said.
  • Oh, and remember that mysterious highly placed White House Trump adviser who was also coming under the FBI’s microscope for possible affiliations with Russia? Yeah…it’s Kushner. To be clear, that doesn’t mean he’s a target, or central focus, of the investigation, but a person of interest who may help shed light on the extent of Russia’s meddling into our last elections.
  • And in another sign that those with vested interests in Donald and his agenda are panicking, conservative blowhard and conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity showed his hand in a tweet this week. In trying without any evidence to connect slain DNC staffer Seth Rich with the hack of the DNC, rather than Russia, as all 17 intelligence agencies have agreed, Hannity openly revealed his endgame: to try to shift blame from and exonerate Donald. Yet another sign that GOP loyalists are feeling the noose tighten around their necks.
  • In other good news, Donald’s unconstitutional, racist Muslim ban was once again frozen by a federal court–this time on appeal–and once again the court cited Donald’s own words about the ban in defending its decision.
  • The White House backed down in the face of unyielding demands from watchdog agency the Office of Government Ethics (and public outcry) and has agreed to provide the ethics waivers the OGE requested for lobbyists lobbying in the fields in which they recently worked, against regulations, which it had previously refused to release.
  • In New Hampshire, voters flipped a reliably Republican house seat blue, and in Long Island (which Donald won by 23 points), voters flipped a state assembly seat Democrat as well.
  • The Supreme Court struck down racially gerrymandered districts in North Carolina this week. Following on the heels of three federal courts doing the same in Texas, this is a positive development for fairer representation in these artificially manipulated districts.
  • Advertisers are fleeing Sean Hannity’s FOX show in response to his dogged perpetuation of a baseless and debunked conspiracy theory about slain DNC staffer Seth Rich (even in the face of direct pleas from Rich’s family). It’s yet another brick in the FOX crypt, amid a flurry of other signs (like its recent third-place drop in ratings) that America may be fed up with the network’s stream of misinformation and propaganda.

It’s time to fight Trumpcare 2.0

Remember way back in history, five weeks ago, when we successfully fought the House bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and strip healthcare from 24 million Americans?

Well, here we go again. The latest version of the bill is even worse than Trumpcare 1.0, and will likely come up for a vote on April 28 the week of May 1.

Some of the finer points of this new bill:

  • Takes us back to the dark days when people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and cancer couldn’t get health insurance. The plan would allow insurers to charge more to people who are sick, leading to premium increases upwards of tens of thousands of dollars for coverage that is unlikely to meet their health care needs.
  • Allows states to get rid of the essential health benefits, which would roll back the clock to the days of skimpy plans without coverage for maternity care, substance use disorders or mental health services. This means, for example, that women will have to pay more for coverage that actually meets their health care needs.
  • Unbelievably, Congress has chosen to exempt themselves and their staffs from key provisions of this damaging bill. If it’s not good enough for them, why is it good enough for the people they represent?
  • The new plan also keeps intact draconian cuts to Medicaid, jeopardizing care for millions of low-income seniors, people living with disabilities, children and low-income parents.

Recommended script when you call your representative in the HOUSE:

Good [morning/afternoon]. My name is [NAME] and I live in [CITY/TOWN], [STATE]. As a constituent, I think it’s critical for all people to have affordable and high-quality health coverage, so I strongly oppose efforts to repeal the ACA. 

[OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: ADD 2-3 SENTENCES ABOUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL STORY AND WHY THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT TO YOU]

The latest health care repeal plan would not only raise premiums and cause millions of people to lose coverage, it would allow insurance companies to deny coverage for basic health services like maternity care or prescription drugs, and it would gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It also exempts members of Congress and their staff. If it’s not good enough for you, it’s not good enough for me.

I’m asking that you oppose this plan.

Additional resources

ACA REPEAL SCHEME IS BACK WITH A NEW, TERRIBLE TWIST (CPPP)

ADMINISTRATION, CONGRESS CONSIDERING MORE DAMAGING NEW TWIST ON ACA REPEAL: TEXAS IMPLICATIONS (CPPP)

Community Catalyst

Social Media Graphics

Why is the ACA repeal bill not good enough for Congress?

Latest ACA repeal bill would charge women more

 

 

 

Train to Register Voters!

There is an easy way to help expand the voter rolls in Travis County and beyond. You can become a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR) of voters. With 159 people a day (net) moving to the Austin area, according to this report, it is imperative that we stay on top of voter registrations.

Regularly schedule VDR training at the Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751 is the first Tuesday of each month with session scheduled 10:30-11:30 am, 12:30-1:30 pm, and 6:30-7:30 pm. Call 512.854.9473 for more information.

Training only takes about an hour and thanks to our awesome Travis County Registrar of Voters staff, they have recently made available to us a number of additional training days. Please take advantage of this training as soon as you can. Once trained, your VDR credentials are good through December 2018! What’s more, if you like, you can take advantage of the generous reciprocal VDR opportunity with Williamson County, so that you can register voters who live in that county as well.

So, you’ll know how to respond the next time a coworker mentions that they just moved to a new apartment over the weekend or you get introduced to a new employee who just moved here from out of state. You can ask, “Are you registered to vote at your current address?” And you can make it easy for them to get registered!

Each training session requires an RSVP so that they can have the correct number of materials available. Below are the next three special training days. Sign up now!

Upcoming Protest Safety/Verbal Self Defense Training

On Saturday, March 18, we’re offering another session on protest safety and verbal assertiveness from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Northwest Family YMCA, 5807 McNeil Drive, Austin, TX 78729. Please RSVP here (note that this site only accommodates 25 people, so don’t wait to register). We’ll cover

  • Grounding and emotional self-regulation techniques for public speaking/civic conflict situations
  • De-escalation and other group safety skills
  • Tactical nonviolence planning essentials
  • How to take control of a conversation (being rude for the right reasons)

To help make this session as focused and practical as possible, you’ll be asked to answer a few questions after you register.

This meeting will be free and non-partisan. Tell your friends!