We Stand Indivisible Against Hate in Austin

UPDATE: Please scroll to the bottom of this post for an update from Scholz management.

An Indivisible Austin member was targeted for abuse by a group of white supremacists today and their car was vandalized.

Today, neo-Nazis held a hate-filled rally at the State Capitol in Austin to claim that “Tomorrow Belongs to Texas” (a reference to the song from Cabaret and a favorite of prominent racist Richard Spencer, despite the fact that it was written by a gay Jewish progressive). They then headed over to Scholz Garten for an after party. They lied and misrepresented their group’s true nature to the Scholz management. Reports suggest they represented themselves as a veterans’ group, not only hiding their own name, but stealing valor from real veterans.

Indivisible Austin happened to be holding an event at Scholz at the same time. We had a sign posted, and several members were wearing their IATX t-shirts or had bumper stickers on their cars. One of our members, dressed in an IATX shirt, left the meeting a little early, and was verbally attacked with anti-Semitic slurs and videotaped by these people. This person then found that their car, which had progressive bumper stickers, had been vandalized.

We have contacted the Austin Police Department, the Anti-Defamation League, and reached out to Scholz management to understand how and why this happened. We trust that they were deceived by a group with bad intentions.

If you were at Scholz’ around 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 17 and you witnessed any part of the assault, please contact us at Board@IndivisibleAustin.com or DM us through Facebook or Twitter.

Scholz Garten is well-known as the home of Texas progressive social gatherings, and Indivisible Austin will not stand by while bigots turn it into a home for hate groups. We have decided to carry on with our previously scheduled happy hour there next Saturday at 5:30 p.m. If you plan on coming, please show your solidarity with an Indivisible or other progressive t-shirt.

From Scholz management:
Hello Scholz Friends,First thank you for bringing yesterday’s incident to our attention, we share the same concerns as yourselves and are saddened that anyone was made to feel unsafe in our establishment.

We were asked, with rather short notice, to accommodate a party to be hosted Sat June 17. The group represented themselves to our staff as “TBT” and that they were a “Veterans group.”  While we searched for information on “TBT Veterans” we found nothing good or bad and confirmed the booking. There was no mention of participating in a march or their actual name. Based on today’s events we now understand they misrepresented themselves and misled our Scholz events team, management and staff. Please rest assured we would never give any group on the side of Hate a platform for any reason.

The question “Does anyone know anything about these Frank- Hot Dogs, Cold Beer people who are now running operations?” was posed.  The new operators have run many local businesses for decades that promote Diversity, Unity, Inclusion, and Love. The owners have spent time on many non-profit and charitable boards and have had a hand in raising awareness and funds for many righteous causes. We have prepared and distributed Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of Austin’s homeless and Safe Place, driven cargo trucks full of supplies to Standing Rock, Raised money for West Texas Fire Relief, Autism Awareness, Cancer Awareness, aGLIFF, Love-a-Bull, Boys and Girls Club of Austin, ACLU and more. We’re not patting ourselves on the back by any means but we do want you to know that we take Austin, Texas, our businesses, our guests, life, love, happiness and equality very seriously.

We will do everything to continue to support the great groups who call Scholz home and can reassure you Hate groups like Tomorrow Belongs to Texas are not welcome in this place of acceptance.

With love, Scholz Owners, Staff & Family

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.

New Analysis of U.S. House Health Care Repeal Proves How Damaging it Would Be

By Stacey Pogue, Center for Public Policy Priorities, May 25, 2017

Today the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its “score” of the U.S. House-passed health care repeal bill. Earlier this month the House took the short-sighted and unusual step of voting to pass the “American Health Care Act” before the CBO scored it, and now we can see why. The score reveals terrible news that House members did not want to face as they rammed the health care repeal bill through.  The bill will cause millions of people to lose their health insurance coverage in order to pay for big tax breaks for wealthy individuals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies.

The CBO is the non-partisan, official number cruncher for Congress. The “score” lets Congress and the public know both how much the bill will cost to the federal budget, and how many millions of people will lose health insurance coverage. Full analyses will take more time, but our initial analysis shows that compared to current law under the Affordable Care Act / ObamaCare:

  • In 2018, 14 million more Americans will be uninsured under the AHCA than would have been under the ACA, and by 2026 that number will grow to 23 million more uninsured. Of that 23 million:
  • 14 million Americans will lose coverage in Medicaid by 2026, due to deep cuts ($834 billion over ten years) to the program. In Texas, Medicaid pays for more than half of all births, covers more than 40 percent of all children, and pays for the care of two-thirds of people in nursing homes. The dramatic cuts to Medicaid will harm millions of low-income Texans and our health care system and put strains and local governments and taxpayers.
  • 9 million additional Americans will lose private health insurance by 2026, 6 million in the individual market and 3 million losing employer-sponsored coverage. The AHCA slashes subsidies, and out-of-pocket premiums increase for people who buy on their own insurance — especially for people age 50-64, people in rural areas, and people who are low-income. The bill would reduce funds for premium subsidies by $276 billion over 10 years.
  • $664 billion in tax cuts to wealthy individuals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies paid for by huge cuts to the programs that keep insurance affordable for low- and moderate-income Americans: Medicaid and subsidies in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Now the U.S. Senate has taken up this bad bill. Small tweaks cannot solve all of the problems the AHCA creates. The Senate should scrap the AHCA and start over again with promises that:

  1. CBO Score: The Senate will not vote on a bill until the CBO has scored the version of the bill they are actually voting on;
  2. Coverage losses are unacceptable. At least as many people should have coverage under the AHCA as the ACA;
  3. Medicaid will be protected, not raided to pay for tax cuts; and
  4. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs will not be increased shifting the heaviest burdens to the lowest income, people in rural areas, people ages 50-65, and people with pre-existing conditions. Simply making bare-bones coverage cheap for people who are young and healthy, while raising costs and causing coverage losses or grossly inadequate benefits among all others is not a real—or acceptable— policy solution

VIRTUAL PHONE BANK to stop AHCA!

This is a request URGENT assistance from Will Hurd’s district, TX23. He is still undecided on the vote, according to his staff. If you can make some phone calls tonight and tomorrow, please help!

Hello Austin Resistors! As you know there may be a vote on the GOP Health Care Bill very soon. This bill is even more dangerous than the first GOP Health Care bill because it strips away protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

We stopped this bill once, and if we work together we can stop it again! There are lots of exciting things happening tomorrow in San Antonio to pressure Rep. Will Hurd to vote no. And there are many ways you can help!

  1. Come to the “die-in” and rally they are staging at Hurd’s north side office at noon: https://www.facebook.com/events/210978522738386/
  2. Make calls TONIGHT and TOMORROW to constituents in TX23, to ask them call Hurd’s office and urge him to vote no. You can do this by clicking this link: https://www.openvpb.com/vpb_bycode/960422Q-9588
  3. Make calls TONIGHT to recruit other resistors to attend the “die-in” and day of action. To do this please private message your email address to Amy Kroll.

Thanks for fighting with us!

Take action TODAY to stop ACA repeal

The vote to repeal the ACA is now scheduled for TODAY!

If you can go to your representative’s office and make your case in person, today’s the day!

If you can’t, keep making calls!

Here are the changes to the bill demanded by the House Freedom Caucus that make it so much worse. Remember, this bill didn’t get a vote yesterday because some members thought it was brutal enough.

This bill is terrible and it’s getting worse. What moderates may not know is just how bad eliminating essential health benefits are.

  • Covering pre-existing conditions would only be on paper. Plans will not over basic services, even prescription drugs, that people need to treat their conditions to stay healthy.
  • Charging women more than men. No longer requiring plans to cover maternity care would mean that insurance companies would once again be able to penalize women and charge them more.
  • Removing Essential Health Benefits effectively obliterates out-of-pocket caps and reinstates annual and lifetime limits. Because annual and lifetime limits apply only to essential health benefits, insurers could once again put a cap on how much care one receives but not on how much people owe. Those with employer-sponsored coverage will be at risk too.

ASK: Vote no. We need every member to PUBLICLY oppose the health care repeal bill as soon as possible. We need people to publicly say they are going to vote no so when the time comes for them to vote we already have them on record so they will be less likely to flip.

Week of Action on ACA Repeal aka NO #Trumpcare

Update: Please RSVP for our Tuesday night conference call, where we’ll discuss ACA repeal

The Affordable Care Act faces a critical repeal vote this Thursday.

This is a do-or-die moment for the ACA. Exactly seven years to the day of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, the House of Representatives will be voting to repeal it and replace it with Trumpcare—a plan that would lead to 24 million Americans losing their health care.

We’ve put together some resources to help you speak with your member of Congress or their staff about the harm ACA repeal will do to Texans.

This week we need to call our members of Congress and demand that they reject Trumpcare.

Here’s a script:

I’m calling to ask Congressman _____ to oppose Trumpcare. According to the CBO, Trumpcare will result in 24 million Americans losing their health care over the next 10 years. It will mean higher premiums for many Americans, worse coverage options, and even millions of people with employer coverage will lose their coverage as a result of this bill. Trumpcare also cuts $880 billion in funding for Medicaid, which will result in 14 million Americans from working families losing their coverage. It does all of this in order to give a major tax cut to the wealthiest Americans, insurance companies, drug companies and other corporations like medical device companies. This is unacceptable.

If the staffer says the CBO score is bad: That is not true. The CBO is a well-respected, nonpartisan office that does cost estimates of major bills to make sure that the public and Members of Congress understand the full impact of bills like Trumpcare. Republicans and Democrats alike have relied on CBO estimates for decades and so there is no reason to believe its analysis is wrong. The CBO score is clear in that millions of Americans will lose coverage because of Trumpcare.

Will Congressman _______ commit, publicly, to voting against Trumpcare?

Use the following to add more local detail to your phone calls and emails:

How many Texans will lose their health insurance by 2026 as a result of Trumpcare, and how much more will it cost them?

Use this interactive map from the Center for American Progress to find out.

How many will lose insurance in your Congressional district by 2026 as a result of Trumpcare?

Download this table from the Center for American Progress to find out.

What’s the true cost of Trumpcare in your Congressional district?

Find your district’s fact sheet in this memo from the Democratic staff of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the impact of the potential ACA repeal on each of the 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia. (These numbers do not agree exactly with the previous table, likely due to differing methodologies.)

How will tax credits change for people in your county?

While some younger people may do slightly better under Trumpcare, costs will skyrocket for Texans in their late fifties and early sixties. Use this interactive map from the Kasier Family Foundation to find out.

If you want a more in-depth exploration from very smart policy wonks of all the horrible things this bill will do, listen to last week’s emergency ACA call with Indivisible, the Center for American Progress, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Families USA.

Organize a vigil at your member of Congress’ office

Millions of lives hang in the balance. The House vote this coming week is the first step towards enactment of this devastating Trumpcare bill. But you and your Indivisible group have the power to stop this.

Centex Action Network in Waco has organized vigils at Rep. Flores’ office Wednesday and Thursday nights this week, and they invite Indivisible groups from across Texas and the nation to hold their own vigils at their member’s offices this week.

UPDATE: Many more vigils are happening!

Is your group holding a vigil? Let us know and we’ll add it to the community calendar.

CBO Score on repeal is out P.S. we’re all screwed

The Congressional Budget Office score is out, and #Trumpcare will throw 14 million people off insurance by 2018, rising to 24 million by 2026. All for a savings on the deficit  $337 billion over 10 years (which is virtually nothing–the US budget for 2015 was $3.8 TRILLION).
 
Per the CBO:
  • Premiums would rise by 15 to 20 percent in the near term
  • 7 million people would lose their employer coverage
  • Increased deductibles and out-of-pocket costs
  • 25% cut to Medicaid by 2026 (still affects states like Texas that didn’t expand Medicaid)
  • The monthly health insurance premium for a single 64-year-old who makes $26,500 would jump more than 700% (from $1,700 to $14,600)
 
You know what to do! Start making those calls NOW:
 
Sen. Cornyn, 512-469-6034
Sen. Cruz, 512-916-5834
Rep. McCaul, 512-473-2357
Rep. Flores, 512-373-3378
Rep. Smith, 512-912-7508
Rep. Williams, 512-473-8910
Rep. Carter, 512-246-1600
Rep. Doggett, 512-916-5921

Sign Up Now to Take Action on ACA Repeal!

Is health care repeal one of your top concerns? Then we hope to see you at the Capitol on March 6, along with 1000+ other health care activists and advocates!

While ACA repeal or replace or who-knows-what will happen in Congress, much of the implementation will be left to the states, especially with respect to Medicaid. That means we need to get in front of our #txlege members and tell them what Texans need!

If you want to #ProtectOurCare, join Indivisible Austin and the Cover Texas Now coalition on March 6 for the Rally to Protect Health Care + Lobby Day. In addition to the morning rally and press conference, you’ll be able to meet with lawmakers and staff in the afternoon. Austin locals may visit their own lawmakers, or they may join up with groups of concerned citizens from across the state–we’ve got people joining in from Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley, and El Paso! RSVP is required to prepare materials and lobby groups.

RSVP NOW