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I post these PUBLIC CITIZEN announcements . Solely as a source for information we may not otherwise get a chance to hear . While I most often agree with many of their causes . I post these as more informational than political .
Are only an opportunity for me to present issues that some may not know about . That is my intent .
PLEASE DISREGARD the requests to
Awareness of the issues is my concern .
Do you people believe what we are seeing in this country in 2021 . These people are acting less than immature . More like grade school mentality .
They had 8 years of practice . With President Obama . It was easy for them then . To beat down and defeat everything he tried to propose . Because they held the Senate . And they were heavy racists . He was the first black President . At that time . There was no one who could stand up to them and say " STOP THIS " .
Now after 4 years of whatever that was . They are trying the same childish tactics . Not even giving Biden 1 inch . Not trying to work across the aisle .
Because they do not know how . Think about it . No one has ever stopped them . All they know is their backwards thinking . Intelligence , reason and logic . Do not exist in their brains .
All of us need to get familiar with " The For the People Act" . Because it details comprehensively . So many areas of concern . With smart and well thought out solutions . That will and can be the turning point for us the US . And also the world .
" The For the People Act"has real answers . Real solutions . On a larger scale than ever before . Yes . It means bigger government . We are in a bigger hole . And the only people trying to dig us out for the betterment of us the people . Are the geniuses that have put together
" The For the People Act"
Last edited by Paul on Tue 20 Jun 2023, 12:47 pm; edited 3 times in total
Public Citizen firstname.lastname@example.org via salsalabs.org
Donald Trump has retreated to Mar-a-Lago and is banished from Facebook and Twitter.
The Republican Party seems to be eating itself alive.
Here in the U.S., we are at long last getting a handle on the COVID-19 crisis.
The Biden administration is advancing some progressive priorities.
Sunny days and warm weather are on the horizon.
But ... As it devolves further into a bastion of pure spite and racial resentment, the Republican Party is trying to destroy the very fabric of democracy.
Republican legislators in 47 states are pushing reactionary, discriminatory voter suppression laws.In just the past few weeks, the Republican governors of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and Texas have enacted legislation that makes it harder for people — very particularly, people of color — to vote.
Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, has made it abundantly clear that he will do everything he can — including doubling down on his shameless abuse of the Senate filibuster, a relic of Jim Crow — to stonewall progress at every turn.
While many Americans have been vaccinated and are understandably eager to get back to their pre-pandemic lives, far too many Americans still aren’t vaccinated, and the crisis is worsening in much of the world.If we don’t take the lead on making sure the whole world gets vaccinated, not only will millions die, but deadlier strains of the coronavirus — maybe even vaccine-resistant mutations — WILL make their way to America and the pandemic will come roaring back here.
The Biden presidency will be as progressive as we push it to be. There will be times for carrots, and there will be times for sticks, but we can’t stand by and just assume that everything is going to be fine.
And Trump is already plotting his next run at the White House. If he “wins” in 2024, our country may well be looking at President-for-Life Donald (or Ivanka) Trump.
I don’t mean to be cynical. In fact, I’m hopeful. I’m also realistic.
Public Citizen has been a force for progress for so long (half a century!) precisely because we look for potential pitfalls and roadblocks then come up with bold, innovative paths through, over, and around them.
We know that hope alone will not bring about progress.
We have to be honest about what’s in the way of progress and then confront it with all we’ve got.
Which brings me to a secret I’m going to share with you: When things seem to be going in a better direction for the country, donations to Public Citizen tend to drop off considerably. In a way, it’s understandable, as people catch their breath and let their guard down.
But Public Citizen never lets our guard down. And since we do not take money from Big Business or Uncle Sam (our independence and integrity just aren’t for sale) everything we do depends on Public Citizen supporters like you chipping in when you can.
We don’t need to match the billionaires and multinational corporations dollar-for-dollar, but we do need a baseline level of real-world financial resources to take them on and win.
There are reasons to be hopeful, to believe we have a fighting chance to make real progress.
And there are — unfortunately but decidedly — reasons to believe that we are at a tipping point, that if we ease up now, all we’ve accomplished, even our democracy itself, could be undone by the forces of authoritarianism and plutocracy.
The racist, militant mob was out for blood.
And not just that of Democrats.
Had they found Vice President Mike Pence, they may well have assassinated him.
But yesterday, Senate Republicans (who themselves were under attack on January 6) exploited the shameful Jim Crow relic known as the filibuster to block the establishment of an independent commission to investigate that fateful day when our democracy very nearly fell prey to fanatical authoritarianism.
Here’s the thing about the filibuster:
A lot of people — even some members of Congress — seem to think that the filibuster encourages bipartisanship.
But in practice it does the exact opposite.
- Not that long ago, filibusters were relatively rare, and it took only 51 senators to advance most bills.
- Senators from the two major parties might fight tooth and nail, but at the end of the day, once either party got to 51 “yea” votes, what would actually happen is that senators who had been opposed would come onboard so that they could try to influence the exact language of the legislation and so that they could get some credit for something that was going to pass anyway.
- In other words, avoiding the filibuster facilitated bipartisanship!
- But now, all it takes is for Mitch McConnell to invoke the filibuster and everything grinds to a halt, with the only “winner” being obstructionism and rank partisanship.
- That isn’t how this is supposed to work.
- The filibuster originated by accident, and does not even appear in the Constitution. The Framers, imperfect though they were, never intended for the Senate to be rendered essentially dysfunctional by a minority of its members.
As vital as a bipartisan January 6 commission would be, there is even more essential legislation — the For the People Act (a.k.a. H.R.1 / S.1) and the John Lewis Voter Advancement Act perhaps most critically of all — that Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans will stonewall if the filibuster remains an option.
Tell Senate Democrats:
The filibuster is a relic of Jim Crow that has been exploited primarily to maintain white supremacism and to stonewall popular, progressive legislation. And, contrary to what some believe, it actually *impedes* bipartisanship. It is time to join together and consign the filibuster to the history books.
Over the weekend, Senator Manchin published an op-ed citing a dedication to “bipartisan compromise” for his refusal to support the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1) — a commonsense and popular bill in Congress to protect voting rights and strengthen our democracy.
But here’s the thing:
If a Republican is punching you in the face, it is not “partisan” to block those punches.
And if the Republican Party is jamming through racist, anti-democratic laws in state after state — that are based on their own utterly false claims of election fraud, including the Big Lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, and that even give them the power to unilaterally overturn elections — it is not “partisan” to block those attacks either.
The Republican Party is so fanatical in its pure obstructionism and rank partisanship that Senate Republicans would not even break ranks to overcome a filibuster engineered by Mitch McConnell to stymie an independent commission to investigate the January 6 assault on their own workplace, the U.S. Capitol.
Join us in sending this message to Senator Joe Manchin:
Respectfully, Senator, the Republican Party is waging war against the very foundation of our democracy.
How much “bipartisanship” will there be if Republicans succeed in their current crusade to permanently take control of Congress and the White House — along with dozens of state legislatures and governors’ mansions — through racist voter suppression and partisan gerrymandering?
Whatever value there is in the ever more elusive pursuit of bipartisanship in Congress, it simply must not be elevated above the absolute imperative of preserving democracy itself.
The For the People Act is overwhelmingly popular with everyday Americans, who favor it two-to-one in polls. That’s the bipartisanship and national unity you should be looking at instead of hoping to find agreement from elected officials who have chosen to elevate their narrow, partisan self-interest above civil rights and democracy.
Please continue to search for 10 Republicans who will agree to meaningful reform that addresses the multifaceted crises of our democracy. But if you can’t find them, then America needs you to support the For the People Act and some adjustment to the filibuster.
Here is the latest .
killer police robots
Public Citizen wrote:
I’m not making this up.
In a matter of days, one of America’s largest cities may give its police force the green light to use robots to kill people.
And if somewhere as liberal as San Francisco allows this dystopian insanity, it is only a matter of time
before cities and towns all across the country approve killer police robots.
Of course, those in favor of deploying law enforcement robots with lethal force are saying things like “only in extreme circumstances.”
But we’ve seen over and over and over again that when law enforcement is given military grade equipment and authority to use it — even if that authority is supposedly limited — they will use it where it wasn’t justified and they will use it against already marginalized groups, including poor people and people of color. And they won’t be held accountable.
Do you want to live in a world where the police — given everything we know about how law enforcement operates in America — can use robots to annihilate human beings?
prosecuting Donald Trump for January 6
It has been almost two years since Donald Trump — in an attempt to remain in power illegally that would have ended American democracy as we know it — incited a violent mob to storm the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
And Trump has *still* not been formally charged for any crimes related to his attempted coup.
But the congressional January 6th Committee is wrapping up its groundbreaking work and will soon ask the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute individuals based on its extensive investigation.
Thanks for taking action.
For democracy and justice,
- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
In many ways, this is not surprising.
- Sinema has voted more conservatively than any Democratic senator besides West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.
- Sinema thwarted efforts over the past two years to make billionaires and Big Business pay their fair share in taxes.
- Sinema has taken millions in campaign contributions from Corporate America, including Big Pharma, Big Oil, and the prison-industrial complex.
- Sinema has repeatedly stonewalled progress on critical legislation, including by blocking filibuster reform needed to win commonsense measures that would protect our democracy from the Republican Party’s embrace of outright authoritarianism.
- And Sinema has a history of taking contrarian and regressive stands seemingly, at least in part, for the national attention it gets her.
But even if not exactly surprising, this latest maneuver from Senator Kyrsten Sinema is nonetheless cynical and petty and self-serving. The people of Arizona and the rest of the country deserve better.
Click now to send a message to Senator Kyrsten Sinema: You say you are “independent.” How about announcing your independence from corporate campaign contributions and getting serious about legislation that will actually help everyday Americans?
Thanks for taking action.
- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
Or maybe you heard about us for the first time just in the past few months.
Either way, you might be wondering:
“In the 50 years since Public Citizen was founded, what have you done?”
“How did Public Citizen’s 500,000 supporters make a difference this year?”
“What’s in store for 2023?”
Let’s dive in.
50 YEARS OF CITIZEN-DRIVEN PROGRESS
We’ve been around since Richard Nixon was president. (Who would’ve thought back then that someone would one day disgrace the presidency more than he did?) Literally millions of people have been part of Public Citizen’s essential and historic work throughout the past half century.
Here are just a few examples of real, lasting progress that Public Citizen activists and supporters like you have made possible over the years:
Airbags In Every Car
That was us. We battled Detroit for decades. We didn’t stop until we won. And now nobody would buy — and no company would try to sell — a new car without airbags.
Getting Dangerous Drugs Off the Market
Through expert and diligent work in the courts and in federal agencies, we have forced some two dozen unsafe medications to be taken off the market, saving countless lives. And we have pressured the FDA to require stronger warning labels for numerous other medicines.
Freedom of Information Act
Thanks to our advocacy, Congress made the Freedom of Information Act into a vital open records tool that has allowed the American people to find out about government surveillance, unsafe foods and medicines, FBI spying on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and much, much more.
Banning Red Dye #2
This carcinogenic, and now infamous, food coloring was banned because of our four-year campaign to pressure the FDA — which was (and still is) far too cozy with corporate America — to do its job and protect consumers.
We played a critical role in the passage of the landmark Superfund law to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous waste and to allow the EPA to recover costs from those responsible.
Releasing Nixon’s White House Tapes
We led the litigation that ultimately resulted in the release of 4,000 hours of Richard Nixon’s secret tape recordings from the White House. Then we led the litigation that disclosed Nixon’s secret grand jury testimony. (We keep at this stuff.)
Exposing the Enron Scandal
Our research revealed possible favors by politically connected government regulators to Enron — a name now synonymous with willful corporate fraud and corruption.
Overturning Citizens United
From the moment the Supreme Court handed down its disastrous Citizens United ruling in 2010 — allowing billionaires and Big Business to spend unlimited sums interfering with elections — we have been a leader in the nationwide movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling and protect our democracy from the scourge of money in politics.
Again, those are just a handful of highlights. This list could go on for pages and pages.
WHAT YOU AND PUBLIC CITIZEN DID THIS YEAR
Of course, as impactful as our work has been over the past 50 years, the work we’re doing together — to fight corporate power, to hold government accountable, to defend democracy — never stops.
Here’s just a small sampling of what Public Citizen — that’s you, me, and 500,000 supporters all across America — took on in 2022.
January 6th and Donald Trump’s Big Lie
We worked tirelessly to support the congressional investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol and Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. On the day the hearings launched, we helped organize public watch events across the nation — which themselves generated news. We’ve elevated the January 6th Committee’s work in the press and on social media. And we’re organizing nationwide events around January 6, 2023, to demand accountability.
Big Pharma’s Price Gouging
For years, we have led the charge in Congress to empower Medicare — the world’s largest purchaser of medications — to negotiate prices with Big Pharma. That effort paid off with a measure in the landmark Inflation Reduction Act that allows Medicare, at last, to negotiate fairer prices for some key drugs. And this is only a first step. We will build on this initial success to provide America’s consumers with even more relief from Big Pharma’s greed.
Funding for Dirty Energy
With allies, we won a major victory when insurance giant AIG committed not to underwrite or invest in new coal, tar sands, and Arctic drilling projects. Averting climate catastrophe means we must transition away from fossil fuels as urgently as possible. One key to doing that is to stop funding and insuring even more coal and oil extraction.
Nursing Home Deaths from COVID-19
We won a series of legal decisions holding nursing homes accountable for recklessly exposing patients and workers to COVID-19 with fatal consequences.
Threats to Democracy
We spearheaded the major coalition that pushed for transformative democracy reform, passing legislation in the House of Representatives and bringing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to the brink of passage in the Senate. That legislation would guarantee and expand the freedom to vote, end extreme racial and partisan gerrymandering, end Dark Money, and start to drive Big Money out of elections. While lockstep Republican obstructionism prevented the bill’s passage this year, we are not about to give up fighting to preserve voting rights and the foundational principles of democracy.
This list of hard-fought progress in the past year could go on and on, too.
WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO TOGETHER IN 2023
Here are just some of our priorities for the coming year:
- Continue our decades-long campaign to win Medicare for All. America is the only rich country on Earth that leaves millions and millions of its citizens at the mercy — or lack thereof, more accurately — of private, for-profit insurance companies. We will not stop until every American has affordable, quality health care.
- Press the Department of Justice to get far more serious about investigating and prosecuting corporate crime, which takes a truly immeasurable toll on our society — monetarily and in terms of injury and death — even as street crime dominates headlines and Republican fear-mongering.
- Build even more support — at the grassroots and within the corridors of power — for legislation like the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act to protect voting rights and secure our democracy.
- Win a rule from the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on Big Tech surveillance and privacy incursions.
- Through ongoing advocacy directed at the White House, see to it that President Biden uses his existing authority and issues an executive order requiring companies that do business with the federal government to disclose their political spending.
- Block Republican attempts to privatize and cut Medicare or to repeal Medicare’s authority to negotiate drug prices.
- Build on recent successes to demand that more banks and insurers stop propping up fossil fuel projects.
- Get more states (we already have 22) to pass resolutions in support of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s anti-democratic Citizens United ruling.
- Confront Big Pharma’s immoral price gouging head on by pushing the Biden administration to authorize generic competition for cancer drugs that taxpayer dollars helped develop in the first place.
- Get across the goal line in our decade-long drive for OSHA to put commonsense rules in place to protect workers from extreme heat on the job. (Did you know that heat kills more people in America each year than floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes combined?)
- Oppose fossil fuel exports that are hurting American consumers and the planet we all live on just to put more money in Big Oil’s already overflowing pockets.
- Grow the movement to roll back bloated and wasteful Pentagon spending.
- Keep standing up to Republican voter suppression schemes and win protections for state and local election workers.
- And much, much more. We are going to be VERY busy.
So there you go.
Some examples of big things that everyday people have been able to do over the past 50 years, what we accomplished together this year, and where we’re going to focus our collective power in 2023 — all by working together as part of this shared project called Public Citizen.
And in case you don’t know, Public Citizen accepts no funding from Big Business or Uncle Sam. Our independence and integrity simply aren’t for sale. Never have been. Never will be.
That means everything we do together depends on individual supporters chipping in when they can to help make sure we have the real-world resources to continue fighting corporate power, holding government accountable, and defending democracy.
This is perplexing for at least three reasons:
- One, Trump told us over and over again that he couldn’t release his taxes because he was being audited by the IRS. Turns out Trump was lying. How shocking.
- Two, a 40-year-old IRS rule stipulates that “the individual tax returns for the president and the vice president are subject to mandatory review.”
- Three, the IRS fulfilled its duty by auditing Barack Obama each year he was in office and by auditing Joe Biden each year of his presidency so far.
Someone at the IRS decided to shirk this established responsibility and give Trump a pass.
Did someone else give an order to that someone? Was that someone just fearful? Or was that someone appointed with the understanding that they would prevent the IRS from following its own rules?
Public Citizen is demanding an explanation.
To IRS Commissioner Douglas O’Donnell along with his boss, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and her boss, President Joe Biden:
We need to get to the bottom of this. Why did the IRS fail to audit Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018? Who made that decision? Did Trump himself order the agency not to do its duty? Give us the story and make all relevant correspondence public so we can see for ourselves.
Click to add your name.
Thanks for taking action.
- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen