Public Citizen

politico.com
Liberals cribbing from conservatives’ playbook to attack Trump
Activists are modeling their efforts after Judicial Watch’s successful efforts to antagonize Clinton. By JOSH GERSTEIN

The post-election scramble to build a liberal version of Judicial Watch is underway. The working theory: if you can’t beat ‘em, copy 'em.

Activists and donors on the left looking to avenge Hillary Clinton’s loss have zeroed in on how the conservative watchdog peppered the Democratic nominee with lawsuits over her use of a private email server and managed to drag out the damaging story through much of the election year. Some are eager to create a similar organization to try to take a pound of political flesh out of incoming President Donald Trump.

“Judicial Watch has a $30 million budget, and they had a significant impact on the election,” Clinton ally David Brock said. “And if we’re heading into an administration that looks like it could well be as corrupt as the gilded age, we need to significantly reinforce the capacities for an aggressive ethics watchdog.”

Some liberals view the task as particularly urgent given the Democratic Party’s minority status in both the House and Senate. That means Democratic lawmakers will have difficulty demanding access to government records or forcing hearings on Trump administration actions, unless Republicans decide to join in.

"Any time there’s one-party rule, people should be terrified. What remains of the traditional checks and balances is evaporating, just as Trump and Pence are assuming office,” said transparency activist Ryan Shapiro. “The press and transparency groups are some of the few things remaining that can make sure the public knows what government is up to.”

Read more here

On Permanence in Transit

Next Wednesday, January 18, at 6 p.m., writer Ben Rawlence and associate curator Sean Anderson will discuss how areas of displacement affect the making of and response to architecture today.

In conjunction with the exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter, this discussion is part of MoMA’s Citizens and Borders program series. Info and tickets.

[Tobias Hutzler. Nizip II, Container Camp. 2014. Courtesy of the artist]

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Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque - Isfahan, Iran

Located on the eastern side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the mosque was built between 1603-1619 during the Safavid dynasty. It was built for the Lebanese Shia cleric Sheikh Lotfollah who was invited to Iran by the Safavid rulers. Sheikh Lotfollah’s salary came directly from the Shah.

The purpose of the mosque was for it to be a private mosque for the royal court, unlike the Shah Mosque which was larger & meant for the public. It was only centuries later when the mosque was open to the public that ordinary citizens & also westerners could have access to it & could admire the beautiful architecture. The mosque is an architectural masterpiece of Persian-Islamic architecture.

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#CitizensUnited, Explained with Dogs

OK, so I have no idea whether there’s any crossover between Merlin fans and Parks & Rec fans in my followers, but I could not get the idea of a Merlin Parks & Rec AU out of my head. Just:

  • Arthur Pendragon works as the deputy director of the Parks department in Pawnee, Indiana. Blonde, little bit selfish, charismatic, begrudgingly loved by all the other workers- could describe Leslie or Arthur both honestly
  • Gaius, the director of the Parks department, who’s known Arthur since he was a child and gives him the difficult advice he needs to hear
  • Arthur’s half-sister Morgana is the dark, antisocial intern who later becomes Gaius’ assistant
  • And Gwaine is Tom, obviously. Imagine Gwaine selling Snake Juice and being a club promoter. Gwaine running Entertainment 720.
  • Anyway, at a public forum, a Pawnee citizen and beautiful nurse named Guinevere asks Arthur to fill in the pit behind her house. Arthur vows to make it into a park and he and Gwen soon become best friends.
  • Then who should come into town but Kilgarrah, an upbeat rule-maker, and Merlin Emrys, a sarcastic little shit, two state auditors in charge of evaluating Pawnee’s budget.
  • Merlin gets stuck figuring out the Parks budget, which would be fine if he was just working with the practical director Gaius, but he has to deal with deputy director Arthur’s constant badgering to not cut anything from the Parks budget.
  • Arthur complaining to Gwen about the new state auditor being a “cute fascist hardass” (word for word from Leslie Knope, because the more I think about it the more these two have identical personalities)
  • Merlin and Arthur slowly grow to like each other, but when Merlin asks Kilgarrah if he can date someone in the Pawnee government, Kilgarrah says it’s against the rules
  • AND! Gwen tries to comfort Arthur about Merlin rejecting him by setting him up on an online dating site and he gets matched with Gwaine. Who gets such a kick out of it that he pretends he and Arthur are in love until Arthur kisses him to shut him up.
  • (bonus: Morgana tries to set up Gwen and Gwaine and it’s an utter disaster. Then… ignoring all Parks & Rec canon… Morgwen happens because that would be wonderful. I do not ship Ann and April but can you imagine the dynamic of goth local government intern Morgana with friendly and beautiful nurse Guinevere… this AU is everything to me)
  • Gwen telling Merlin, “You’re nice. I can see why Arthur likes you” and Merlin absolutely losing it the way that Ben did in that one episode
  • Kilgarrah sends Merlin and Arthur on a road trip to Indianapolis. Take this moment to imagine Gwen saying, “Oh come on, you’re clearly dying to be together. You could literally get a room,” and Arthur replying, “Yeah and I could literally get a-fired!”
  • Merlin and Arthur go to dinner and Merlin launches into the, “Pawnee is a very special town… with nice blonde hair… and I look forward to the moments in my day that I get to spend with the town…” speech.
  • Imagine every single iconic Ben x Leslie moment, but with Merlin and Arthur instead. EVERY SINGLE ONE GAH I’M DYING, I’M DEAD
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Waucoma, Iowa
Population: 257

“At first, and for many years, the town had a tardy growth, but the advent of the Davenport and St. Paul branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railway, in 1879, gave the village a new lease of life peopled with a class of public spirited citizens whose influence, money and enterprise.

The Waucoma mill was one of the earliest industries established in the town, and one which did more than anything else to bring trade and develop business. It was at first equipped with the old fashioned stone buhrs. but with the progress of the times it became a full roller system and turned out as fine a quality of products as any of its competitors. At present this mill is operated exclusively for the grinding of feed, buckwheat, etc., and has abandoned flour making since the failure in the spring wheat crops.

The first hotel in Waucoma was operated by Milo Goodell and was known as the Empire House. A little later it passed into the hands of “Uncle Bill” Scovil, who operated it after a manner peculiarly his own, for many years. The Commercial House and the Palace Hotel were later additions; the latter, and the best hotel Waucoma has ever had, was burned in January, 1907, and the Commercial suffered a similar fate in the autumn of 1908. In each case other property was destroyed, these being the greatest fire losses the town has ever sustained.“

“If you don’t actually care about Black people having equal protection under the law, why are you making suggestions to those who do? What are the critical elements that constitute a “riot” and when do riots offend you?

If we view rioting as a mass temper tantrum expressed through violence and property damage, white sports fans do that monthly. One group can burn and loot when a team scores less points than another, but when paid public servants kill citizens, we gotta be Bagger Vance?

Where are all the think pieces and coverage of the pathology of white culture every time white frustration vents violence and destruction? There is nothing “black” about rioting. How do you think we got all this land? Historically riots have been tools for intimidation, destroying populations, taking land and valuables.

Whites rioted throughout the early 1900s, slaughtering, burning and looting entire thriving black townships, just because of the adjective. You’ve watched hulking bullies with badges, robes and money brutalize, kill and cage human beings every year of your entire lives and said nothing.

So exactly what kind of violence don’t you like?

Police and policies have been rioting on our bodies, destroying people and property every single day of your lives. But here you come. When the beaten, marinated in centuries of trauma, pain and distress, manage to muster a response, here you come — squealing, revealing. You seem to really have when people do “things that aren’t helping” like contextualizing issues based on empirical evidence.

Things that “aren’t helping” happen every single day though. Which means you’ve had a million opportunities to research and contribute.

You have so much to say, yet we’ve never seen you out here before. Who shows up after the event and criticizes the audience’s reaction? So tell me again, what kind of violence it is that you detest? I keep forgetting. To Whom? From Whom? How Often? For how long? In order to what?

The reaction to oppression has always been spun and marketed as validation for the status quo… You want us to condemn black folks for being violent against PROPERTY, but you NEVER condemn police killing actual PEOPLE.”

—  Author and Activist Jesse Williams 

Alright this may seem v radical but I am all for complete gun control. The removal of ALL guns from the hands of the public. Private citizens do not need them. I just don’t see a reason for any person living their normal life to own a gun or ANY kind. I mean I guess (????) For hunting during designated seasons but even that is really unnecessary. I’ve known people killed in drive by shootings and people with personal experience being threatened with guns. My stepfather and mother used to argue about guns he had for hunting and because their domestic situation was HELLA abusive I grew up completely terrified that my stepdad would just up and decide to kill her or any of us one day. Guns have no place in anyone’s hands. White men and veterans in NRA t-shirts come into my job all the time and I don’t feel safe despite the “Responsible gun-owner” concealed carry slogans they wear proudly. I feel afraid. I get shaky and terrified any time I spot one because that shit makes me feel threatened not protected. Guns are so fucking unnecessary and I wish people were less fucking stupid about how much they “need” them. The right to bear arms is bullshit in modern society, sorry not sorry. If I could I would personally remove the guns from every person in the country and ban all gun sales forever.

[SPOILER] PERSONA 5 CONVO : Sojiro Sakura vs. Protagonist

Host of a Talk Show – Because the bus was going the opposite way with passengers on it. And yet it is our public transportation. Us citizens can’t feel safe living like this.

Elderly Male Guest – That’s just terrible.

Elderly Female Guest – I wonder why these terrible things keep happening recently. Didn’t something like this happen a while ago, too?

Master – (Playing word puzzle)The hint to the vertical one is “the kind of shellfish which is cultivated to make pearls”. (sees Pego)…Oh, yeah.. they told me that you’d come today.

Elderly Male Guest – Thank you for your coffee. I’ll put the money on the table then.

Master – Thank you for coming.

Elderly Male Guest – This shop is located in a back alley. So at least we don’t have to worry about getting hit by cars.

Master – Get hit by cars?

Elderly Male Guest – You know, there were lots of strange accidents like vehicles went out of control or something. I’m just hoping that such accidents won’t happen around here.

Master – Well.. I’m not really interested in that kind of things.

Elderly Male Guest – Hahaha. See you next time then.

Master – (Murmurs)Ordered a coffee and sat there for 4 hours huh… so, what are you here for?

I need your assistance
> Where is Mr. Sakura? / Are you Mr.Sakura? 

Master - …Hmm. I am Sojiro Sakura. I’m going to take care of you for a year from now. I was thinking what kind of a bad kid it would be, so it’s you, huh. I don’t know if you heard, but one of my customer is a friend of your parents’… Oh well, come with me.

(They go upstairs to the attic room.)

Sojiro – This is your room. I’ll at least give you a bed sheet. You look like you have something to say, huh?

> This room is really big.
There are so many stuff in here.

Sojiro – Clean the room later by yourself. I will go home after closing the shop. So you’ll be here alone during night time. Don’t get yourself in trouble, otherwise I’ll throw you outta here. Get it? Well then… I heard about what happened to you. As I remember it was something like “You were protecting a woman who’s being harassed by a man and you got that man injured, so he sued you”, huh. Let me tell you something.. he sued you because you shouldn’t even get yourself involved with “adults’ businesses”. And it’s true that you hurt that man, isn’t it?.. Then you got expelled by your local high school because of your criminal record. You were forced to move to another place and transfer to a new school because of the court’s judgement. And your parents agreed… Anyway, so I have to take care of you troublemaker from now on. I won’t tell you anything else. All I can say is that taking care of you is just part of my “business”. Behave yourself during this one year, and you should be able to get rid of this probation.

> …Probation?
For one year…

Sojiro – If you cause any trouble, I’ll send you to a reformatory… Oh, we need to go to “Shujin” tomorrow.

Shujin?
> What are you talking about?

Sojiro – Shujin High School. The one you’ll be transferring to. We have to pay a visit to your teachers, since they don’t get students like you very often. Tsk.. such a waste of my precious Sunday… They delivered your package, I put it over there.

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I remember growing up watching Bill Moyers on PBS interview some of the great figures of politics and culture. I know him as one of the most highly respected figures in the world of journalism.

What you’ll find here is a little over twenty-one minutes of eloquent, succinct, ass-chewing rhetoric in the style of a Southern minister, lambasting the politicians who’ve been bought and those plutocrats and oligarchs who’ve bought them…

Pure brilliance.

Bill Moyers keynote at Public Citizen’s 40th Anniversary Gala (by PublicCitizen)

theguardian.com
Help us track public symbols or landmarks denounced as racist
Following nationwide calls to remove the Confederate flag, we are building an interactive map of public symbols across the US that are denounced as racist

We need your help! Is there a public landmark or symbol in your community you find racist or offensive? Send us a tip for our nationwide map. 

Classic Republican attack: cherry-pick one aspect of a complex issue and try to apply it to America. 

America has a unique situation: we have private health care providers that are paid by a combination of private and public insurance. 

America excludes citizens from health care. America has medical bills that bankrupt families. We are truly unique.

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Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg speaks with Robert Weissman at Public Citizen and then takes questions from the crowd.

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Journalist Bill Moyers delivers the keynote address at Public Citizen’s 40th Anniversary Gala. (by PublicCitizen)