Abby Brockman

Indivisible Somerville member and organizer

132 posts

The Good News

Trump’s DACA decision sparked nationwide protests, from Trump Tower to Cedar Rapids. Students in Colorado and New Mexico walked out of school en masse. More than 30 people—mostly faculty from several Boston-area universities—were arrested for blocking traffic on Mass. Ave. United We Dream members snuck into—and took over—a restaurant at Trump’s DC hotel, and Mijente built a Confederate statue of Jeff Sessions—then tore it down.


Resistbot had response-time issues Monday and Tuesday, thanks to the 160,000 requests from people wanting to make their voices heard about DACA.


Obama’s heartfelt post on DACA went viral.


Within minutes of the announcement, a slew of top CEOs and business groups slammed the move, warning of the human toll and its impact on the nation's economy. In addition to the expected tech CEOs, Jamie Dimon, General Motors, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spoke out. Microsoft and Marriott called on Congress to pass the Dream Act, with Microsoft’s CEO saying it should take priority over tax reform. Microsoft also offered to pay their DACA employees’ legal fees to fight deportation. New Uber head Dara Khosrowshahi, whose family fled Iran as a child, used his first tweet in the new post to condemn the DACA decision.


The national business coalition, founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg to advocate for immigration reform, has more than 100 corporate and conservative leaders lined up in at least 15 states to begin pressuring—via private meetings, letters to member of Congress, newspaper op-eds, and public events—Congress to act.


More than 400 CEOs—including from AT&T, Best Buy, Ikea, Kaiser Permanente, and Wells Fargo—signed a letter defending DACA.


The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops pledged support for Dreamers, calling the cancellation of DACA reprehensible.


A coalition of 16 attorneys general, including Maura Healey, filed to stop Trump's sunset of DACA, saying it violated due process, violated laws governing procedures for federal regulations, and was motivated by discriminatory reasons. The suit quotes inflammatory statements Trump made about Mexicans, including his attacks on a federal judge of Mexican descent.


Lawyers for the University of California system, which is headed by Janet Napolitano, also filed suit against the president’s DACA decision.


Democrats held the Senate floor into Wednesday night to protest Trump’s plan to end DACA.


Chuck Schumer indicated that if Republicans don’t bring to the floor a clean bill to protect Dreamers from deportation, Democrats will try to attach it to any must-pass legislation this fall.


Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced they would not return a “blue slip” to show approval for the nomination of Ryan Bounds to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in Oregon, saying they’d informed the administration they wouldn't greenlight any candidate that hadn’t been approved by a bipartisan judicial selection committee in the state. The Judiciary Committee generally doesn't proceed with hearings for judicial nominees without approval from the home-state senators, which is done by sending a blue slip back to the committee. Earlier last week, Al Franken announced he would similarly block the nomination of Trump’s choice for a seat on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Minnesota.


Trump’s deal with Democrats to extend the debt ceiling for only 3 months infuriated Republicans and made it easier for Democrats to fight for immigration reform and spending priorities.


Leaders at Washington National Cathedral, the closest thing in the country’s capital to an official church, have decided to remove two stained-glass windows honoring Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.


Yale’s Calhoun College, named for a founding forefather of the Civil War, has been renamed after Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a boundary-smashing computer pioneer and navel officer.


Charges of willful disruption of governmental processes were dropped against Dan Heyman, the reporter who pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price with questions in the West Virginia Capitol building in May.


An amendment to cut funding to Islamic Relief Worldwide, a respected Islamic international aid charity, failed when its author, Rep. Ron DeSantis, was unexpectedly absent from the House floor and did not offer the amendment for a vote.


Robert Mueller's team has approached the White House about interviewing staffers who were aboard Air Force One when the initial misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower was crafted. Mueller wants to know how the statement was put together, whether information was intentionally left out, and who was involved.


Just hours after Donald Trump Jr. testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, committee member Chris Coons sent an email detailing the statute regarding punishments for lying or withholding information from Congress and suggested it be kept in mind "in regards to Donald Trump Jr.'s testimony today."


The Senate Appropriations Committee defied Trump to vote 16 to 14 to restore $10 million in funding for the U.N. climate agency.


After NBC News reported that ICE was planning nationwide raids to target 8,400 undocumented immigrants later this month, the agency issued a statement saying it had cancelled nationwide enforcement actions due to Hurricanes Irma and Harvey.


On Labor Day, fast food workers went on strike, and other workers and allies held Fight for 15 protests in cities across the country to advocate for living wages and union rights.


A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously denied the administration’s appeal of a lower court ruling to exempt grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins from Trump's travel ban.


Robert Mueller alerted the White House that his team will probably seek to interview six current and former advisers to President Trump—including Hope Hicks, Sean Spicer, and Reince Priebus—who witnessed several episodes relevant to the investigation of Russia’s election meddling, including the decision to fire James Comey and administration inaction after warnings about Michael Flynn’s discussions with the Russian ambassador.


Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi is pressing ahead to allow women to marry outside the Islamic faith and to give them equal rights under the country’s inheritance laws. Currently, a Muslim woman is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim while men are allowed to marry women of any faith, and men typically receive double the inheritance of any woman.


EMILY's List has reported that 16,000 women have reached out to them about running for office.


A newly created marine sanctuary off the coast of Easter Island, one of the world's largest, will protect at least 142 marine species, including 27 threatened with extinction.


Mars, the maker of Snickers, Twix, and M&Ms, has pledged $1 billion to fight climate change, promising to add wind and solar farms in an additional nine countries by 2018 (wind already powers their U.S. and U.K operations) and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 27% by 2025 and 67% by 2050.

Actions 9/6 and 9/7

Wednesday

Keep up the fight for DACA. Check Facebook and Twitter for rallies and actions—there's one scheduled for the State House today at 4:00. Our senators have spoken out, but they haven't cosponsored the Senate Dream Act yet, and only 4 Mass Reps have signed on to the House version. For details and a script, see our Action post for last Tuesday 8/29.

Thursday

Counter the president’s efforts to decrease ACA enrollment. The president cut the ACA’s advertising budget by 90%, but Americans need care. Let’s use the power of social media to top 2017 enrollment of 11.4 million. Ready?

  • Twitter: Visit this link and retweet.
  • Facebook: Visit this link and share the pinned post.
  • Bonus: Share the countdown to enrollment weekly through 12/15.

Many thanks to Jen Hoffman for this one.

Actions 9/4 and 9/5

Monday

Defend DACA. Trump is likely to announce Tuesday that he’ll end DACA, destroy the lives of Dreamers. Let’s raise our voices now—everywhere we can and especially on Twitter, hashtag #DefendDACA—in one loud No. You can find suggested tweets to key members of Congress here. For more ways to fight back, see this useful list of actions from the Women’s March. And defenddaca.com is the clearinghouse for information and rallies

Permanent legal status is the only real protection for Dreamers, and there are two bipartisan bills before Congress, S.1615 in the Senate and H.R.3591 in the House, that will protect the future of these young Americans out of the hands of Trump and future presidents. See last Tuesday’s action for details and a script.

Tuesday

Celebrate Labor Day (one day late) by telling your Mass. legislators to support H.1033/S.999, an act to prevent wage theft and promote employer accountability. The estimated $700 million in wage theft that occurs here annually robs workers and their families of essential income and penalizes companies that abide by the law and are continually undercut by employers who cheat the system. This bill will give Maura Healey more tools to hold employers accountable when they violate wage laws, including the ability to bring wage theft cases to court for civil damages and to issue stop-work orders. Call or email your Mass. legislators and tell them to stand strong with workers by pushing for passage of H.1033/S.999. Please note: Sal DiDomenico sponsored this bill in the senate. If he’s your senator, you might choose simply to thank him for his leadership.

SCRIPT: Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [ZIP]. I’m calling to ask [LEGISLATOR’S NAME] to stand strong for workers by doing all s/he can to pass H.1033/S.999, an act to prevent wage theft and promote employer accountability. Employees are losing an estimated $700 million annually to wage theft, and companies that abide by the law are penalized when they’re undercut by competitors who cheat the system. This bill will give the attorney general the tools she needs to bring cases of wage theft to court. I appreciate the [SENATOR’S/REPRESENTATIVE’S] support. Thank you.


We stopped Trumpcare. Now we need to stop Congress from overturning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ban on the use of arbitration clauses to deny consumers their right to join class actions to sue banks and credit-card companies. Already passed by the House, the bill, S.J. Res 47, is likely to come up in the Senate this week. All Democrats are expected to vote against the repeal, so we’ll need to reach out again to friends in states with Republican senators. And the timing’s good—last week we found out that 1.4 million more fake accounts, many in states represented by Republicans, were opened by Wells Fargo, a company that used an arbitration clause for years to hide this illegal practice. Let’s urge our friends to tell their Republican senators not to let an outrage like that happen again. Here’s some wording they might use.

SCRIPT: Hello, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY]. I’m calling to urge the senator to vote against S.J. Res 47, the repeal of the CFPB’s arbitration rule. Allowing consumers to take group action against financial institutions is a consumer right and a necessary check against predatory and illegal practices of financial institutions. Wells Fargo used an arbitration clause for years to get away with hiding their practice of opening fake accounts. Please do all you can to keep anything like the Wells Fargo scam from happening again. Thank you.

The Good News

A federal judge temporarily blocked most of SB4, Texas’ tough new “sanctuary cities” law, which would have allowed police to inquire about people’s immigration status during routine interactions such as traffic stops.


The Senate parliamentarian told lawmakers that the ability of Senate Republicans to repeal Obamacare with 51 votes will end on September 30 when the budget reconciliation process expires. After that, it will take 60 votes to overcome a Democratic filibuster.


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions. The cooperation could provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate—in the event Manafort or anyone else is threatened with indictment or charged under New York law, there will be nothing Trump can do about it.


And more Manafort... Robert Mueller has issued subpoenas to a former lawyer for Paul Manafort and to Manafort's current spokesman, an aggressive tactic that suggests an effort to add pressure on the former Trump campaign chairman.


Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian lobbyist with deep ties to the Kremlin who attended a meeting between Trump's son and campaign officials and a Russian lawyer, testified for several hours before Robert Mueller’s grand jury, signaling that Mueller is including the Trump Tower meeting in his investigation.


Special counsel Mueller has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit, whose 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering.


Jeff Sessions' Justice Department confirmed that there's no evidence to support Trump's claim that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign.


The Tennessee attorney general, who joined 10 other attorney generals in a June lawsuit to force Trump to end DACA, has withdrawn from the suit. “Many of the DACA recipients,” he wrote to the state’s senators, “have outstanding accomplishments and laudable ambitions, which if achieved, will be of great benefit and service to our country.” He urged them to support the DREAM Act.


300 business executives signed a letter urging Trump to maintain protections by immigrants covered by DACA.


A federal judge ripped into President Trump’s “election integrity” commission for reneging on a promise to fully disclose public documents before a July 19 meeting, ordering the government to meet new transparency requirements and eliciting an apology from administration lawyers.


Fourteen Democratic attorneys general and officials from 6 cities and counties blasted the EPA for telling governors in a “legally incorrect” letter in March that they do not need to comply with a major climate change regulation despite the fact the Obama admninistration's Clean Power Plan is still on the books.


A federal judge blocked Texas from implementing new restrictions that would have banned a second-trimester abortion procedure.


John McCain called for Republicans to stand up to Trump in an editorial in the Washington Post. “Congress must govern with a president who has no experience of public office, is often poorly informed and can be impulsive in his speech and conduct,” he wrote. “We must be diligent in discharging our responsibility to serve as a check on his power. And we should value our identity as members of Congress more than our partisan affiliation.”


Jeff Flake defended his Muslim opponent against Islamophobic slurs.


Two sets of advocacy groups—the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal with OutServe-SLDN—are going to court to overturn the Trump administration’s ban on transgender troops.


By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, Fairfax County voters elected a candidate backed by the Democratic Party to a seat on the school board previously held by a Republican; the special election was cast as a test of the party’s strength in the Northern Virginia county.


With the help of Canadian advocacy group Rainbow Railroad, Canada has secretly brought in 22 gay Chechens—with more on the way—fleeing brutal treatment in Chechnya.


The Treasury’s inspector general is reviewing the flight taken by Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and his wife to Louisville and Fort Knox, Ky., following criticism of their use of a government plane on a trip that involved viewing the solar eclipse.


Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., a vocal supporter of President Trump who came under scrutiny for the conditions in his jails, resigned on Thursday.


Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, promised to personally defend undocumented immigrants who in the aftermath of Harvey are hesitant to seek help over fears of being deported.


The second Monday of every October will be celebrated as Indigenous Peoples’ Day rather than Columbus Day in Bangor, Maine, and Los Angeles.


Pushing back against Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the activist group Protect Democracy and a group of lawyers sent a letter to the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division arguing that the pardon goes beyond constitutional limits.


Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Jeff Flake criticized Trump for pardoning Arpaio, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called the pardon a "slap in the face to the people of Maricopa County, especially the Latino community."


Thousands of clergy joined the National Action Network and Rev. Al Sharpton to march for racial justice on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech in Washington, D.C.


On Monday, a multiracial coalition of faith, student, and community activists began a march from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C.to confront white supremacy.


Counterprotesters outnumbered participants by at least 70-to-1 at a rally in support of a monument to Confederate soldiers killed at Fort Sanders in Knoxville, TN.


Amanda Abramovich and Samantha Brookover were awarded $10,000 in damages for the harassment they received from staff at the Gilmer County, West Virginia, county clerk’s office when they applied for a marriage license. The county also apologized and agreed to require all officials and employees of the county commission and county clerk’s office to participate in a training program provided by Fairness West Virginia, an advocacy organization dedicated to the fair and equal treatment of LGBT West Virginians.


Journalist and activist Shaun King identified two of the white supremacists who assaulted Deandre Harris in Charlottesville.


People blocked from entering the United States under Trump's January travel ban can now reapply for visas to enter the U.S., according to a settlement reached in the case that temporarily blocked the travel ban back in January.


The California father whose ICE arrest was taped by his crying daughter has been reunited with his family, his deportation order dismissed.


The second-highest-ranking member of the Florida Senate, who’s also chair of the Banking and Insurance Committee, pledged a review of a state law that has allowed injured undocumented workers to be arrested and potentially deported rather than paid workers’ compensation benefits, after the country’s largest insurance fraud group called on Florida lawmakers to change the law.


Baltimore City officials marked a major milestone today as the thousandth pair of glasses was delivered to students through the Vision for Baltimore program.


Arms control advocates celebrated the opening of an internationally supported repository for nuclear reactor fuel that its backers believe will dissuade countries interested in nuclear power from developing the capability to make atomic weapons.


Fox News's parent company announced that it has pulled Fox News off the air in Britain because of low ratings, only a few thousand viewers per day. The channel was also regularly criticized for breaching Britain's strict television code.


The creator of Pepe the Frog—before it was co-opted by the alt-right—sued a man for using Pepe’s image in an Islamophobic book and settled the case. The book will no longer be printed, and all proceeds will be donated to a Muslim-American advocacy group.


Thousands of people participated in civil disobedience across Germany for the third year in a row to fight for climate justice.


The UN’s nuclear watchdog reported that Iran is staying within the main limits set down in a 2015 multilateral agreement that Donald Trump has insisted Tehran is violating.


As a coal plant closed, the Navajo Nation moved to solar.


A Brazilian court blocked an attempt by the country's president to allow mining in a massive protected reserve in the Amazon rainforest, a move that sparked condemnation around the world.


A fundraiser in memory of Philandro Castile, who often paid for students’ lunches in the cafeteria where he worked, has raised $7000 to help clear school lunch debts at St. Paul elementary schools.


And there’s the outpouring of kindness, generosity, and courage to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. I won’t repeat the many, many stories, but you’ll want to check out this human change of strangers rescuing an elderly man trapped in his car.

Actions 9/1

You can support S365, a bill to ensure that any future presidential candidate must submit his or her tax returns to appear on the Massachusetts ballot, by attending its hearing before the Joint Committee on Election Laws next Wednesday, September 6, at 1 pm. Testimony can also be submitted in writing to the Committee Chairs, Senator Anne M. Gobi and Representative John J. Mahoney. Address your email to Honorable Chairmen and Members of the Joint Committee. Pat Jehlen is the committee's Senate Co-Chair. If she represents you, it’d be a good idea to email Senator Jehlen as well.