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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.

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

 

 

 

Training: Protest Safety & Verbal Self-Defense on May 3, 2017

On Wednesday, May 3, TX21 Indivisible is excited to host a session on protest safety and verbal assertiveness led by Susan Schorn. The workshop will take place from 6:45-8:45 p.m. at the Manchaca Road Branch library, 5500 Manchaca Rd., Austin TX 78745.
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)

Please wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to move around (all activities can also be done seated)!

This workshop is part of TX21’s monthly educational series and is free and non-partisan. All are welcome – tell your friends!

Susan “George” Schorn is a writer, martial artist, and self defense advocate. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children, and trains and teaches at Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense.

 

Four things you can do to stop SB4

The time has finally come–the Texas House of Representatives is going to debate and vote on SB4 on Wednesday.

SB4 is the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill that will undermine community policing efforts and will affect our neighbors, our workforce, kids in our schools, and the relationship between police and our communities. This doesn’t just affect the immigrant community, it impacts everyone who may be asked to prove he or she is a citizen.

Here are 4 things you can do to help stop this terrible bill:

  1. Call your Texas House rep and ask them to vote AGAINST SB4:
    “Hi, my name is ________ and I am calling to demand that the Representative OPPOSE Senate Bill 4 in any form. [My family / Texas students / Texas children] deserve/s to live without fear, and to live lives of dignity and prosperity. Please tell the Representative that Texans OPPOSE SB 4 and they must too.”
  2. Join Indivisible Austin’s emergency conference call TONIGHT at 8 p.m. with representatives from United We Dream and Workers Defense Project
    Dial-in Number: 1-(712) 770-8067
    Conference Code: 409542
  3. Join Texans from across the state at the Capitol on WEDNESDAY to fill the gallery–let our representatives know we’re watching
    There are several events scheduled at the Capitol on Wednesday:
    9am – TRUST Coalition press conference, WEST Steps of the Capitol (*location changed from South to West steps*)
    10am – Person to Person Outreach for Representatives Going Into the House Chamber
    6pm – Prayer Vigil in the Rotunda
  4. Call, text, or email your friends and family members in other parts of the state and ask them to do #1!
    Here’s a target list of Texas House reps who need to hear from their constituents! Our representatives in Austin are on the right side of this issue, but there are reps across the state who need phone calls.

We have ONE LAST CHANCE to stop SB4 and protect immigrant families in our state. Please join us in rising to the challenge to #StandIndivisible and give it all we can!

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: In which a sexual predator is relieved of his position

(Not that sexual predator. Yet.)

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

It was a great week full of progress, and ample signs of growing dissatisfaction with Republican leadership.

science march sign

 

April 25: Emergency Conference Call on SB4: “Sanctuary Cities” Bill

Our next conference call is on the night before the full Texas House votes on SB4, the “Sanctuary Cities” bill. We are lining up guest speakers, including Jose Garza of Workers Defense Project and Chris Valdez and Karla Perez Ramirez of United We Dream. Watch this space for more detail.

WHAT: Indivisible Austin Conference Call

WHEN: Tuesday, April 25 at 8 p.m. CT

HOW: Call 1-(712) 770-8067 / Conference Code: 409542

Facebook event

About Karla Perez Ramirez

Karla is the statewide coordinator for the United We Dream UndocuTexas campaign and a beneficiary of DACA. She is a second year law student at the University of Houston Law Center and Board member of United We Dream. English/Spanish.

About Chris Valdez

Chris works with United We Dream on Texas communications, is a court-appointed special advocate through Child Advocates in Harris County and is based in Houston. English dominant/Spanish proficient.

About Jose Garza

Jose Garza, Executive Director, Workers Defense ProjectJose Garza is Executive Director of the Workers Defense Project. Jose, who started at WDP in January 2016, is a native Texan who has devoted his career to the fight for working families and immigrant families. His homecoming to WDP is inspired by a “deep belief that this state can be a place where working families can get ahead.” (Barragan, AAS)

Jose started his career in Washington, D.C., where he worked for Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, attended law school at Catholic University, and worked for a federal district judge. He returned to Texas for the first time in 2006 to work on the border as an assistant public defender at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, and then as an assistant federal public defender in the Western District of Texas.

In 2010, Jose returned to Washington, D.C. to serve as the Deputy General Counsel for the House Com­mit­tee on Education and Labor. He went on to work as Special Counsel to the National Labor Rela­tions Board, and most recently he served Secretary Tom Perez as a senior policy official at the U.S. Department of Labor. Garza brings extensive experience working with local, state and national labor organizations to build opportunity for working families and immigrant families.

 

Training: “Media Training for Activists” on May 6, 2017

Start: May 06, 2017
10:30 AM to 12:30 PM
Yarborough Library • 2200 Hancock Dr., Austin, TX 78756

The work you’re doing is at the forefront in the fight to resist authoritarianism and defend democracy! Talking to the media is an important part of our work as activists–but it can be nerve-racking and intimidating. Let’s fix that!

In this training you’ll learn how to:

  • Draft a media advisory and press release about your organization or event
  • Find the right journalists to contact with your story
  • Develop interview skills–practice your message and stick to it!
  • Look and sound your best for TV and radio

Our training will be led by organizers and activist PR pros from several Austin-area indivisible groups.

You’ll come away with a new set of skills and several helpful templates for media communications.

All are welcome at this training!

RSVP FOR THIS EVENT

Training: “How to Plan & Attend In-Person Indivisible Actions” on April 30, 2017

April 30, 2017
2:30 PM to  4:00 PM
Manchaca Road Library • 5500 Manchaca Rd., Austin, TX 78745

Have you been to an action or 6 at your member of Congress’ office and wondered, wow, how did those organizers get so organized?

Have you thought, gosh, I’d like to plan a meeting, program, or demonstration but I don’t even know where to start?

Or have you just been reluctant to go to your member of Congress’ office because you don’t know how things would work when you got there?

Then come to our first-ever training on how to plan and attend in-person actions!

You’ll come away with creative ideas and practical tips for organizing and attending a successful event or meeting for your group.

All are welcome at this training!

RSVP FOR THIS EVENT

Training: “Indivisible 101” on April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
United Christian Church
3500 W Parmer Ln
Austin, TX 78727

Instructor: Noah Masterson, Indivisible Austin co-founder and Board Vice President

New to the Indivisible movement? Ready to #Resist Trump but aren’t sure how to get started?

Join this basic training on what Indivisible is all about. You’ll learn:

  • How to adopt Tea Party tactics for progressive change
  • How we use Austin’s six gerrymandered congressional districts to our advantage
  • How we have been successful in blocking the worst of Trump’s policies

Feel free to pack a lunch!

RSVP FOR THIS EVENT

 

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: The Beginning of Donald’s Downfall

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

Once again this week there is much to celebrate and congratulate yourselves for in fighting against the co-opting of our country by Donald and his profiteering administration.
How Our Voices Are Making a Difference
  • As Donald one by one disavows his allies as quickly as their incriminating ties to Russia are revealed (Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, et al) Steve Bannon is losing influence and status in the White House faster than cockroaches scattering from the light. You’ve helped keep the heat on Donald and co. regarding his white-nationalist top adviser, and Bannon was removed last week from his (entirely inappropriate) post to the National Security Council. Infighting with Jared Kushner yielded a sharp rebuke and later a startlingly tepid defense from Donald.
  • Three organizations are suing the White House to gain access to the visitor logs, under the Freedom of Information Act, after the White House squirreled them away from public view–they are also requesting to know who meets with the president at Mar-A-Lago and Trump Tower.

Our progress comes in slow, incremental steps–but it’s blisteringly clear that keeping the heat on Donald and his far-right GOP defenders is curbing their most egregious actions and helping keep them in check. Don’t let up! Keep defending our nation and our democracy by letting your MoCs know that you are watching them, and holding them to the standards of our nation and Constitutional government.

Resistbot is a great tool for doing this easily, especially for those with limited time or bandwidth to make direct phone calls to MoCs. Text “RESIST” to 50409. They will find your elected officials and turn your texts into daily letters to Congress that are proven to be read and have an impact. All it takes is a few sentences from a real-life voter to get their attention. (And if you are inclined, throw them a few bucks–like so many of the wonderful resistance tools that sprouted up after the election, this is run entirely by volunteers and donations.)

Anything you do, even just donating, even just adding your voice to a petition, makes a difference. (But remember, calling, writing, and visiting your MoCs is the single most impactful thing you can do.)

Another wonderful new tool makes this easier than ever: Dial Congress is an extension for Google Chrome that turns news stories, Wikipedia pages, and Google searches into a congressional phone directory. From Slate, “If you’re reading an article that mentions any member of the House or Senate, the browser extension will highlight that person’s name. If you mouse over, say, a reference to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the phone number for her Washington office pops up on your screen.”

Why We Fight Gerrymandering

Democracy in America is in trouble. All across the political spectrum, Americans feel alienated from their government. They find it distant, ineffective, corrupt, and interested primarily in serving the powerful at the expense of everyone else. Many millions have given up in frustration, feeling powerless to do anything. Others have embraced partisan warfare, turning our politics into a zero-sum battle for total dominance. The spirit of compromise is seldom seen, and idealistic belief in the promise of democratic self-rule seems almost hopelessly naïve. These are the conditions under which authoritarians rise and republics fall — believing the system has failed them, people look to strongmen for salvation.

The promise of a “great leader” is a false one; only we can fix what is broken. The Founders created this government to serve us, the American people, and if the government is failing in that service, it is our responsibility to do something about it. Fatalism, hopelessness, and nihilism get us nowhere — we must recommit ourselves to the ideals and hard work of democratic self-rule and take the system back for ourselves. The task seems almost impossibly huge, but this is America — there is nothing our can-do spirit and grit can’t overcome. A huge task such as this requires that we choose a place to start: to fix our broken politics, we must first take back control of our elections, and to do that we must put an end to partisan gerrymandering.

“A huge task such as this requires that we choose a place to start: to fix our broken politics, we must first take back control of our elections, and to do that we must put an end to partisan gerrymandering.”

First, a brief primer for those unfamiliar with gerrymandering. Every 10 years, the federal government conducts the census, after which seats in Congress are re-apportioned among the states based on relative shifts in population. After each census, the states undertake the process of redistricting — new election district maps are re-drawn to account for the change in the number of seats. In practice, all the districts, state and Congressional, are subject to change, so the district maps can change significantly every 10 years.

Our system of redistricting is inherently corrupt: the party that controls the state legislature draws the boundaries of the districts for every state and federal elected official. As you might imagine, the party in power uses this authority to draw maps that magnify its own power and weaken that of its opposition, often resulting in monstrously bizarre districts; the first such district was called the “Gerrymander,” and that name has come to describe any district drawn with absurd boundaries that serve partisan ends. Texas, as it turns out, has been one of the worst offenders — for decades, Democrats drew shamelessly gerrymandered districts, and Republicans are now returning the favor with a vengeance.

As an example of the power of partisan gerrymandering, consider the effect of Texas’ 2003 off-cycle redistricting, engineered by Tom DeLay. Prior to the redistricting, Democrats held 17 Congressional seats to Republicans’ 15; after the election following the redistricting, Republicans controlled 21 seats to the Democrats’ 11, a 6 seat swing. This huge swing was not the result of changes in population or a wave of political change; it was due almost entirely to how lines were drawn on a map. This is what happens when legislators are allowed to choose their voters.

“This huge swing was not the result of changes in population or a wave of political change; it was due almost entirely to how lines were drawn on a map.”

Partisan gerrymandering has tremendously corrosive effects upon our democratic system. Its tainted process and the absurd districts it produces are tangible evidence to the electorate that the system is rigged, eroding their faith in our elections. Gerrymandered districts can span hundreds of miles, joining together dissimilar communities with no real connection, resulting in “representatives” who represent little beyond raw, partisan power. The near-certainty of incumbent reelection in gerrymandered districts depresses turnout, discourages challengers from running, and contributes to elections being determined by small percentages of voters in increasingly partisan primaries. Artificially large legislative majorities are constructed, producing skewed policy outcomes and a false impression of ideological dominance. Partisan gerrymandering is a perversion of democracy, sacrificing fair elections and faithful representation to partisan advantage and the will to power.

This corrupt process has always been a problem in American politics, but the need to end it is greater now than it has ever been. The advent of Big Data and sophisticated statistical analysis have made it possible for parties to combine electoral, demographic, and consumer preference information in a way that allows them to predict with great accuracy how people will vote down to an almost individual level. The result is partisan gerrymanders of exceptional precision and durability, endowing dominant parties with artificially large majorities that are stable, even in the face of large changes in voter preference. These technical capabilities have only advanced since the 2010 redistricting, promising to make the next round of partisan redistricting even worse.

“Victory is possible: over 70% of Americans oppose partisan gerrymandering regardless of their political affiliation.”

We must act now, or risk America becoming a democracy in name only. This fight will not be short or easy — powerful entrenched interests in both parties do not want to surrender the power and security they gain from this corrupt system. Victory is possible: over 70% of Americans oppose partisan gerrymandering regardless of their political affiliation. Defending this system of institutionalized cheating is impossible, and no elected official wants to do it. If we are loud enough, organized enough, and persistent enough, we can force our representatives to publicly answer the question they do not want to hear: will you end partisan gerrymandering, or will you defend it? Faced with defending the indefensible, their system will crumble and we will take our first step in reclaiming the republic for the people.

Call to Action:

Call Cindy Burkett, chair of House Redistricting Committee, and Joe Straus, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives about Congressional district Redistricting. Ask why there aren’t hearings being held on bills that could end hyper-partisan, racist gerrymandering of Congressional districts in Texas. Bills awaiting hearing in committee are HJR 32/HB 369, HJR 74, and HJR 118. NONE of the redistricting bills introduced over the past 4 cycles have been called to hearing. That means that in the past 8 years, every effort to de-gerrymander Texas has been ignored.

Thanks to Degerrymander Texas. More info here.