For the last week, hundreds of thousands of good Turkish citizens have been peacefully protesting -- first, the planned closing of Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul, and then their government's reaction. Their government has been beating them, kicking them, and using tear gas on them (sometimes even firing tear gas canisters into folks' homes!), while claiming that foreigners with their foreign social media have been foreignly corrupting Turkey with their foreignness, and also their foreignness. But since beating peaceful protestors is wrong, Amnesty International helps you tell the Turkish government to can it already. The Turkish government ought to be happy to see so many people out in the streets because they give a damn about what happens in their country, but they're not -- they're a government whose ruling party hasn't been seriously challenged in over ten years, and they've become more restrictive of its citizens' media and free speech rights as the years have gone on. So they might want to listen this time, or they'll become a relic with a quickness.
Did you know corporations could patent genes? Apparently they can, and they have patented over 40 percent of the human genome, even though typically you don't get to patent stuff that occurs in nature. But if some corporation or other has patented almost half your genes, that means said corporation can legally stop, say, your doctor from drawing your blood and testing any part thereof patented by someone else. This doesn't happen very often in practice, praise the Lord, but Myriad Genetics has patented two genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) that can cause breast and/or ovarian cancer if they're mutated, and one in 400 women may carry the mutated gene. But you may never find out if you're one of them, because Myriad has been stopping any clinic that tests for breast or ovarian cancer from actually testing for those mutated genes. The Supreme Court is mulling whether to allow this madness to continue, but in the meantime the ACLU helps you tell the U.S. Patent Office to stop issuing genes for patents until the Court makes up its mind.
Meanwhile, the WalMart strikes continue in advance of the corporation's annual shareholders' meeting, and WalMart has responded by getting a restraining order from an Arkansas judge forbidding anyone from walking onto WalMart property unless they're shopping. Some of these shareholders might be shopping for somewhere else to put their money, maybe? So American Rights at Work and Jobs for Justice help you tell WalMart to make their workers' lives better. It ain't as if they ain't got the cash -- four Walton family members rank in the world's top 20 billionaires, with a collective worth of over $107 billion. I suppose some folks respond well, that must be how they got so rich! But they should look in the mirror and ask themselves: is that how we want to get rich? By cutting our workers' hours and making them work odd hours and paying them less than they need to live on so they have to get food stamps and Medicaid? Really, anyone can do that. But not everyone can go on strike when they're already living on the edge. That takes courage.