What to do if Mueller is fired

Since the Cornyn Stakeout in May 2017, and the appointment of Robert Mueller as special prosecutor in the Russia investigation, we have shied away from Russia-related calls to action. Our movement is built on empowering  individuals to make a difference, and it’s hard to see where we can make a difference on this front.

Now, with the alarming uptick in chants of “fire Mueller” on Fox News and other media, and the complicity of our MoCs, we’re encouraging people to prepare for Mueller’s firing. Use this tool from MoveOn to find out what’s happening in your area. This is the plan in Austin, which will be updated in the event of Mueller’s firing.

***Update***

The event shows as full. We’ve contacted the organizers. In the meantime, this is what it says when you sign up:

Where:
The Texas State Capitol
1100 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704

Host notes:

THE DECEMBER 31st @ 5am IS A PLACEHOLDER BECAUSE WE DONT KNOW IF AND WHEN THIS RALLY/MARCH WILL HAPPEN. IF YOU HEAR ON THE NEWS THAT DJT FIRED MUELLER, CHECK HERE AND ON FACEBOOK MARCH FOR TRUTH GROUP AND/OR YOUR FAVORITE RESISTANCE GROUP FOR DETAILS

We’ll be sure to post updates here, on social media, to our email list, etc.

In case you missed it, our John Cornyn seems pretty comfortable with the prospect of Mueller getting fired:

Firing Mueller is a third rail that cannot be touched. Call your Senators and House representatives. Tell them that you support the Mueller investigation, wherever the facts lead, and that it must be protected by Congress. Senators on both sides of the aisle have introduced bills to protect Mueller, but so far, the GOP doesn’t think it’s necessary.

And by the way, this is what John Cornyn had to say about Bob Mueller last May:

“Robert Mueller is perhaps the single-most qualified individual to lead such an investigation, in my view, and he’s certainly independent. As a former F.B.I. Director, the longest-serving F.B.I. Director since J. Edgar Hoover, he, by any measure, has the experience and the credibility and the credentials to conduct a nonpartisan investigation and come to a conclusion based on the facts alone.”

We’ll update this post as new information comes in.

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
Indivisible Austin
Indivisible Rosedale Huddle
Indivisible SATX
Indivisible TX 25 East
Our Revolution South Austin
Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT)
Planned Parenthood Texas Votes
Progress Texas
The Texas Drought Project
TX-10 Indivisible
TX21Indivisible
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

True or False: If you depend on the ACA for health insurance, your subsidized costs won't change much because if everyone has insurance, the markets are stable.

Correct

Time to buy stock in GoFundMe!

The Trump Tax Scam would repeal the ACA's individual mandate, which would lead to an estimated 1 million Texas leaving the insurance marketplace--driving up premiums for everyone.

Read more at TrumpTaxScam.org >>

Incorrect

What are you, some kind of communist?

The Trump Tax Scam would repeal the ACA's individual mandate, which would lead to an estimated 1 million Texas leaving the insurance marketplace--driving up premiums for everyone.

Read more at TrumpTaxScam.org >>

 

You spend more than 10% of your income on medical expenses. Is that tax-deductible?

Correct

That's right! The Trump Tax Scam repeals the medical-expense deduction.

Each year, nearly 9 million Americans claim a deduction on their taxes for their medical expenses. This deduction is only available to people who spend 10% or more of their income  on medical expenses, so it benefits people who have very high medical expenses, such as those with chronic illnesses and the elderly. In 2015, they claimed approximately $87 billion in deductions, meaning that each filer saved nearly $10,000 on their taxes—a huge boost for people who are already spending tens of thousands of dollars on medical care and long-term care. The Trump Tax Scam repeals this deduction, meaning these 9 million people—75% of whom are 50 or older, and 70% of whom have annual incomes of $75,000 or below—would see drastic increases in their taxes as a result.

The bill also repeals the credit for clinical expenses of testing orphan drugs.  Some 30 million Americans suffer from a disease covered by this program, and many are waiting for a cure or more effective therapy. Without tax incentives to test treatments for these diseases, patients could literally die.

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

Incorrect

Sorry, peasant! The Trump Tax Scam repeals the medical-expense deduction. Better start a GoFundMe.

Each year, nearly 9 million Americans claim a deduction on their taxes for their medical expenses. This deduction is only available to people who spend 10% or more of their income  on medical expenses, so it benefits people who have very high medical expenses, such as those with chronic illnesses and the elderly. In 2015, they claimed approximately $87 billion in deductions, meaning that each filer saved nearly $10,000 on their taxes—a huge boost for people who are already spending tens of thousands of dollars on medical care and long-term care. The Trump Tax Scam repeals this deduction, meaning these 9 million people—75% of whom are 50 or older, and 70% of whom have annual incomes of $75,000 or below—would see drastic increases in their taxes as a result.

The bill also repeals the credit for clinical expenses of testing orphan drugs.  Some 30 million Americans suffer from a disease covered by this program, and many are waiting for a cure or more effective therapy. Without tax incentives to test treatments for these diseases, patients could literally die.

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

 

You lost everything in Hurricane Harvey. Does Trump have your back?

Correct

That's right!

The Trump Tax Scam repeals the casualty loss deduction to help cover reconstruction costs. After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, how can our Texas senators support this?

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

Incorrect

Sorry, peasant!

The Trump Tax Scam repeals the casualty loss deduction to help cover reconstruction costs. After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, how can our Texas senators support this?

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

 

You're a teacher who pays out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. Is this expense tax-deductible?

Correct

Correct! The Trump Tax Scam repeals a significant list of credits and deductions that currently help students and teachers, including the $250 deduction for teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses, like supplies for their classroom.

However, if you are a corporation, your business expenses continue to be deductible. So get busy incorporating yourself, peasant!

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

Incorrect

Sorry, peasant! The Trump Tax Scam repeals a significant list of credits and deductions that currently help students and teachers, including the $250 deduction for teachers’ out-of-pocket expenses, like supplies for their classroom. 

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

 

You're a veteran seeking a job. The proposed tax plan provides incentives to employers who hire vets.

Correct

That's right!

The Trump Tax Scam would eliminate the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which is designed to encourage employers to hire more people from certain target groups—including unemployed and/or disabled veterans.

According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, “nearly 300,000 veterans benefitted from The Work Opportunity Tax Credit between 2013 and 2015” alone. Republicans voted to send this bill to the floor on the eve of Veterans Day.

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

Incorrect

Sorry, peasant!

The Trump Tax Scam would eliminate the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which is designed to encourage employers to hire more people from certain target groups—including unemployed and/or disabled veterans.

According to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, “nearly 300,000 veterans benefitted from The Work Opportunity Tax Credit between 2013 and 2015” alone. Republicans voted to send this bill to the floor on the eve of Veterans Day.

Support our troops, indeed.

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

 

You're a graduate student whose university waives your tuition. Should that waiver be counted as taxable income?

Correct

Correct! By taxing tuition waivers, the Trump Tax Scam would dramatically affect people's ability to pursue a graduate degree. So long, smarty-pantses!

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>

Incorrect

What? You thought graduate students would continue getting away with living on five years' of ramen and caffeine to get a worthless advanced degree?

By taxing tuition waivers, the Trump Tax Scam would dramatically affect people's ability to pursue a graduate degree. So long, smarty-pantses!

Visit TrumpTaxScam.org to learn more >>


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

Rally for Peace at John Cornyn’s Office – Nov. 9 at 12:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Indivisible Austin, Beyond the Bomb Austin Chapter, and TX10 Indivisible

President Trump is attempting to normalize the idea of a nuclear war with North Korea. Such a war would have devastating human, and environmental consequences. Senator John Cornyn is the second ranking member in the Senate and sits on the Senate Intelligence committee.

On Thursday, November 9th from 12:30 to 2:30 we will rally at Cornyn’s office to oppose nuclear war and support legislation placing checks and balances on the President’s current unilateral ability to launch a nuclear weapon.

WHAT TO BRING: – Bring a sign stating you oppose nuclear war. Or a sign stating why you support removing first strike capability. Or a sign supporting peace or opposing war generally. – Wear a poppy as a reminder of Armistice day which is celebrated on November 11th and is the day the first “War to end all wars” (WWI) ended.

MEETING SPOT: -We will meet on the corner of 6th and Colorado promptly at 12:30 PM

PARKING OPTIONS: – Chase Bank Tower Parking is $11.00 (entrance on Colorado between 6th and 5th) – There is metered parking in the surrounding area as well – TX State and Capital lots will not be available because they are reserved on weekdays

Come Early, Be Loud, & Help Save the Planet!

View this event on Facebook >>

Tell John Cornyn to Withdraw Support for Judicial Nominee Jeff Mateer

We call upon Senator John Cornyn to publicly withdraw support from Jeff Mateer, who is nominated for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.  We request that the senator vote against his confirmation both in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate Floor.

Mateer has called a first grader part of “Satan’s plan” because she is transgender. Regardless of where Sen. Cornyn stands on civil rights for the LGBT community, surely he can agree that someone who would make such a cruel and biased statement is not fit to serve as a judge.

We were heartened to hear that Sen. Cornyn is reviewing with his staff the new information that has come to light about Jeff Mateer, and we believe the only appropriate response to the nominee’s bigoted remarks about Sen. Cornyn’s LGBT constituents (and his other disqualifying statements) is for the senator to immediately withdraw his support.

Mateer doesn’t believe the Constitution protects  any LGBT civil rights. He says, “I’ve read the 14th Amendment thousands of times…I don’t see anything about right to same-sex marriage. I don’t see anything saying right to homosexuality. I don’t see anything about right to privacy.”

But that’s not surprising from someone who doesn’t even believe the Constitution protects religious freedom, saying that there is no “provision in the Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state verbatim.”

We encourage the senator to take his role of advice and consent on behalf of Texas, and as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee very seriously. If he rubber stamps this unfit judge, he puts loyalty to President Trump above ensuring that the people of Texas can rely on an fair and decent judiciary.

Call to Action

Please call Sen. Cornyn today and say:

Thank you for reviewing the new information that has come to light about Jeff Mateer who is up for a lifetime seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Calling a young child part of “Satan’s plan” because she is transgender makes Mateer unfit to serve on the federal bench. Please publicly withdraw support from this nominee and vote against his confirmation in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate Floor.

So you’re meeting with a staffer. Now what?

During the Cornyn Stakeout last week, I, on impulse, walked into the Chase Bank Building, rode the elevator to the 15th floor, and knocked on the door to Cornyn’s office. Next thing I knew I was sitting face to face with a young staffer. Now what?

I had my talking points about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s–and especially John Cornyn’s–lackluster response to Russian election interference, but it seemed weird to launch into that. When there is a human being sitting a few feet away, the dynamic is very different compared to speaking on the phone or firing off angry tweets.

She may have been more nervous than I was. I’m a tall man in an Indivisible Austin t-shirt and for all she knows I am about to start shrieking at her, or worse. So I explained, calmly, that I was from Indivisible Austin, one of the organizers of the stakeout, and that we aren’t scary. I joked that most of the Indivisible activists look like our moms, and in fact, my mother is an Indivisible activist in rural Texas. (See, we’re not all Austin hippies, either.)

The staffer smiled, and let her guard down a bit. Sure, she was being paid to listen to my concerns, and we might disagree vigorously on many things; but it was clear that a human connection was forming.

I believe these human connections, seeking common ground, will save our Democracy.

Paraphrasing what I said:

On the AHCA

“Getting people to question facts is a hallmark of authoritarianism. When John Cornyn called CBO data ‘fake news,’ that sent a dangerous signal. The CBO score may not be perfect, but it’s the only data we have, and the Congressional Budget Office is as nonpartisan as it gets. For our Democracy to function, we need to have agreed-upon facts. If we can’t agree on facts, our Democracy dies.”

On withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord

“Sen. Cornyn signed a letter encouraging Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Cornyn and other Republicans like to point out that the treaty is not legally binding. But one thing we have learned from the Trump presidency is that norms and traditions uphold our Democracy far more than laws do. By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, we send a message that we no longer take seriously the bonds, however symbolic, between the U.S. and our global allies. Additionally, climate change is a nonpartisan issue, affecting everyone. We can disagree about the means with which to solve the problem, but we first need to agree on the basic fact that it is happening.”

On Russian election interference

“The original purpose of the Cornyn Stakeout was to send a message to Sen. Cornyn that Americans take very seriously the issue of a foreign power interfering in our Democratic process. Sen. Cornyn’s seemingly flippant attitude toward his own committee’s investigation is inappropriate. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. If Russia, or any foreign power, is influencing our elections in any way, that is dangerous to both parties, and to our nation as a whole. We need Sen. Cornyn to take this issue more seriously.”

I spent 15 to 20 minutes sharing my concerns with the staffer, who was very professional and polite, and took notes that she said she would deliver to the senator. It is quite possible that she was seething inwardly, disagreeing with everything I said… but I don’t really think so. Human beings are social creatures and instinctively seek common ground. And it is much easier to find that common ground in person, than on social media or phone calls.

This summer we’ll be kicking off a series of “air-conditioned activism”* events, centered around meetings with congressional staffers. We’re planning a toolkit to make your meetings with staffers as effective as can be, and we would love to hear what has and has not worked for you. We would especially welcome feedback from staffers. Please email vp@indivisibleaustin.com or leave a comment here.


*Many thanks to the Indivisible TX-25 Eanes / West Austin group for coining the term “Air-Conditioned Activism.”

 

 

Cornyn Stakeout: A Statewide Success

Cross-posted from cornynstakeout.com

The stakeout was amazing, y’all. Thirty-one groups came together from all over the state to hold John Cornyn accountable at each of his Texas offices, all day long, for four days. (See highlights here.)

As an all-volunteer community of citizen activists, this was a big commitment of time and energy, and we definitely got Sen. Cornyn’s attention. (We know because we talked to staff.) What Cornyn chooses to do now that he knows he’s under scrutiny is on him. So far he seems to be doubling down on his fecklessness. That will change, or he will be voted out.

But this is just the beginning. We Texans are stronger together, and won’t let our beautiful, but vast, geography get in the way of organizing. These are the groups that organized the stakeout, to whom we owe a Texas-size thank you.

Austin

TX21 Indivisible

TX25 Indivisible Eanes (West Austin)

Pantsuit Austin

TX-10 Indivisible

Indivisible South ATX

Indivisible TX-17

Women’s Action Group – Cedar Park/Round Rock

Wilco Indivisible

Dallas

Indivisible TX-03

Indivisible Oak Cliff

Indivisible TX-24

Indivisible06

Houston

Neighbors in Action – Indivisible!

PSR Houston

Visible Indivisible

Indivisible Houston

Indivisible Katy Huddle

Liberty County Indivisible

PSR Houston

Indivisible Cypress

Golden Triangle Indivisible

Indivisible TX-02

Indivisible TX-36

Emerson UU Advocates Indivisible Action Team

Lubbock

West Texans Concerned About Vladimir Putin

San Antonio

TX21 Indivisible

Indivisible Seguin

Concerned TX-27 Democrat

TX20 Indivisible

Indivisible NB

Tyler

Indivisible Smith County

Day One: Why We Need the Cornyn Stakeout

Cross-posted from cornynstakeout.com

Today is the first day of the Cornyn Stakeout. Citizen activists are making their concerns known at Sen. Cornyn’s offices all over the state.

Sen. Cornyn himself has reacted, if obliquely. His Houston office has a sign on the door cautioning protestors not to demonstrate on private property.

And there was this tweet:

Put aside that the article Cornyn’s references in the tweet gives clear examples of the mounting evidence that Russian interference tipped the election to Trump. As a member of the Senate Intel and Judiciary committees, it is John Cornyn’s JOB to find and parse that evidence, and above all to take that evidence SERIOUSLY.

This is why we are protesting. This is why, statewide, we are rallying outside Cornyn’s offices. John Cornyn’s fecklessness on Russia and other issues has entered dangerous new territory.

It’s not just Russia. Take this tweet, sent over the weekend:

What John Cornyn calls “fake news” is data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO)! If this is fake news, then there is no such thing as real news. This is so completely irresponsible of the second-most powerful person in the Senate, and he needs to hear about it, loudly and frequently.