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


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.”

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: Nunes, Bannon & Rice – Oh My!

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

  • Susan Rice. This may seem like an odd “positive” to cite, but consider that the trumped-up (pun unavoidable) accusations Donald and conservatives are levying against a national security adviser doing exactly her job is one of the clearest signs yet that Donald is terrified as the Russian noose tightens around his neck–and he’s desperate to do anything he can to divert attention from his own potentially illegal, treasonous actions.

    Here’s the short story: Rice is “accused” of asking intelligence agencies to “unmask” (or remove from redaction) the names of American citizens incidentally captured on surveillance of known Russian actors. To draw a comparison, let’s say that the FBI captures a conversation between a known foreign operative and an American citizen who is offering to procure weapons for an enemy nation. Normally the name of Americans inadvertently captured are “masked” to respect their privacy, but in a case like this, of course the name of the American in question would be of great, acute, extremely germane interest to national security and intelligence. Is it a kook making empty promises, or a true threat to our national security: an American selling weapons to our enemy?

    That’s the well-established (and quite common) precedent Rice would have followed if indeed she did ask for the unmasking to the president and a very limited group of direct security advisers of Americans colluding with Russia in interfering in our elections. Here’s an excellent and more in-depth explanation in The Atlantic, and one in the NYTimes.

    But the short story is, how damning facts were revealed is of far less importance to ongoing criminal investigations into the Trump administration than the actual info revealed, and Donny can try his hardest to redirect, but our intelligence agencies will continue to “unmask” any involvement he and his associates may have had in colluding with Russia. And that’s good news indeed that you can cheerfully share with anyone who tries to fan up an argument based on this White House-distributed distraction propaganda.

  • Health care: Thanks to constant pressure from citizens like you, plans by Mike Pence and the far-right Freedom Caucus for a draconian new health care plan that would have allowed states to opt out of the coverage requirements imposed on insurers — including mental health, maternity services, and substance abuse services, and to also opt out of the law’s requirement that insurers cover people with serious diseases and pre-existing conditions–died another death this week. If your MoCs are the moderate Republicans being “blamed” for resisting substandard health care “reform,” call and say thank-you!

  • Donald’s conflicts of interest: In a scathing letter, a major investment fund fired its elite law firm, Morgan Lewis, for its role in enabling Donald Trump to use the presidency to line his pockets by approving his flimsy attempt to imply that he had divested himself of his business interests.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: Running Scared on Russia

Republicans as well as Dems are pushing back against Trump’s draconian budget–and resisting funding the infamous (and ridiculous) border wall.

Donald and company are running scared on Russia. Michael Flynn has asked for immunity in exchange for testifying–a request the FBI is not entertaining.

Heat mounts with calls to replace Devin Nunes as head of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation because of mounting evidence that he is enmeshed directly with Donald and the White House and cannot be impartial, after it was discovered that two White House officials helped provide him with classified intelligence reports in an attempt to deflect attention onto Donald’s baseless wiretapping claims.

Jared Kushner is now in the hot seat for possible involvement in the alleged collusion of Donald and his campaign with Russia; and the White House is scrambling to block former attorney general Sally Yates’s testimony regarding Michael Flynn’s involvement prior to his resigning for lying about his contact with Russia.

Donald is desperately trying to deflect–by tweeting more unfounded accusations, this time against the Clintons regarding Russia.

This all looks a lot like panic from the Republican administration as the spotlight grows brighter on their activities.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: Saving the Affordable Care Act

Really, let’s just revel in the one big fat win of the week: No ACA repeal. Despite having control of literally every aspect of government right now, Trump and the Republicans in the House couldn’t come up with a better plan, or unite themselves enough to reach agreement.

This is hopeful for so many reasons:

  • We keep a health-care system that provides coverage for nearly all Americans. Planned Parenthood isn’t defunded. The disabled, mentally ill, and addicted retain access to services. Women retain basic health care coverage.
  • It shows that Donald’s influence isn’t nearly what he asserts it to be—despite direct involvement and exhortations to both sides of Republican resistance, he failed at the art of the deal—largely because, as a historically unpopular president who lost the electoral vote more bigly than any other president, his threats to turn lawmakers’ constituents against them have no stinger. That means he has a lot less power and control than he’d like America (and Congress) to believe—and that means we can expect ever more pushback from moderate Republicans who are beginning to realize that the tide has turned and that political expediency involves listening to their constituents—us—rather than Donald.
  • Finally, it shows that our voices are have power. Keep calling. It makes a difference.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: March 19, 2017

Good news this week, friends: Republican MoCs are beginning to push back against Donald and his agenda–with health care, with the budget, and with his baseless wiretapping allegations. That’s the clearest sign so far that our voices are being heard. Don’t let up! The reason these GOP lawmakers are finding their spine is that constituents like us are forcing them to answer for their cowardice and complicity. Keep those calls going–a few minutes a day has an enormous impact, especially when so many of us are doing it.
  • In the Texas Legislature, a bill was filed in satire of the many bills attacking women’s rights, turning similar legislation on men, to ridiculous effect. Perhaps like all good satire, it will help shine a light on how ridiculous current legislation attacking against women’s rights is.
  • Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland froze the Republican administration’s new Muslim ban even before it could take effect, ruling it as unconstitutional as the last version:
  • Heartening news of government working the way it is supposed to work–with cooperation from Republicans and Democrats in service and search of a higher good for all Americans–specifically in demanding a fuller investigation into allegations of GOP admin collusion with Russia.
  • 17 conservative Republican members of Congress announced they are supporting a clear statement about the risks associated with climate change, as well as principles for how best to fight it.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: March 12, 2017

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: March 5, 2017

There is so much positive news to share! We’re making a big difference. Now is not the time to relax our guard, though. We’re making headway, and fault lines are beginning to show. So it’s time to keep the heat on.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions finally recused himself from investigating Russia’s interference in our elections and the Republican administration’s collusion after news broke that he lied under oath in his confirmation hearings about not having had contact with Russia during the campaign. (He’s the second Republican cabinet member to perjure himself on this topic–the same thing brought Michael Flynn down.)

Look for more info of this nature to break. We also learned this week that President Obama’s White House made sure to secure and disseminate among intelligence officials with proper clearance the evidence about Russian/Republican admin collusion before leaving office, out of fears that it would be suppressed or destroyed. And thanks to top-notch investigative journalism by outlets like the Washington Post and NYTimes (support them! subscribe!), these stories are continuing to break. We won’t allow this to be swept under the rug, despite the efforts of the GOP.
And of course we had an amazing experience at Huston-Tillotson University with Rep. Lloyd Doggett, State Rep. Celia Israel, and 700 of our closest friends. If you were there, or there in spirit, you know that Indivisible is a positive, uplifting movement. It is bringing together people from all walks of life to oppose authoritarianism and defend democracy. Read more about it here.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: Feb. 27, 2017

Amid the usual cyclone of horrific news from the Republican administration’s White House, there is this enormous sign of our growing impact and reason for hope: The spirit of opposition that emerged after the inauguration spilled over into town hall meetings held across the country by Republican lawmakers on recess, and the GOP sees us now, and realize we are many and mighty–and they are afraid, as seen by their continuing efforts to discredit this huge grassroots movement as “paid protesters” of “liberal extremists,” rather than the organic bipartisan efforts of more than half the country to oppose the unconstitutional, unethical, potentially illegal actions of Donald and his toadies. Keep the heat on!

Constituents of Lamar Smith (TX-21) Gather to Ask Questions of their Missing Rep

Here in Austin and surrounding areas, more than 2,000 people attended Town Hall meetings for representatives in all five Republican congressional districts, plus one for Sens. Cruz and Cornyn.

This is just a sampling of the press that these events generated:

In Texas, Trump resistance offers town hall theater to mixed reviews (Austin American-Statesman)

Grassroots Group Holds Town Halls Despite Lack of Lawmaker Appearances (Spectrum News)

Voters Shame Cowardly Reps with Town Halls Hosted by Cardboard Cut-Outs (CommonDreams)

`Roger, Roger, Town Hall Dodger.’ Indivisible confronts a cardboard congressman (Austin American-Statesman)

Central Texans Are Holding Town Halls – With or Without Their Local Congressmen (KUT)

Hundreds seek audience with U.S. Rep. Roger Williams at Dripping Springs restaurant (Austin American-Statesman)

Constituents host mock town hall in Dripping Springs with messages to Congress (KEYE CBS Austin)

New groups looking to local congressmen for questions and scorn (KXAN)

B/CS citizens hold town hall to discuss Trump administration (KBTX)

Central Texas Republicans sidestep calls for town hall meetings (Austin American-Statesman)

During Visits to Districts, Austin’s Republican Congressmen Are Forgoing Town Halls (KUT)