With Senate Democrats and Republicans reaching an agreement to avoid changing filibuster rules -- Senate Republicans will graciously allow a vote on several Obama Administration nominees in exchange -- Daily Kos helps you tell the Senate to make the filibuster into a talking filibuster. Senators should actually have to talk to maintain a filibuster, as Rand Paul did for 13 hours not long ago; now they just "signal their intent" to filibuster and then go home, and that makes too many cowards far too powerful. I've received a few dozen action alerts over the past week calling for an end to the Senate filibuster entirely, but I didn't pass any of them along; I'm fully aware that calling for the filibuster's end was, for some, a negotiating tactic, but I'm a citizen, not a politico, and we citizens must advocate for what we believe to be right. They call it "honest counsel" for a reason, after all.
Meanwhile, the European Commission has begun investigating collusion on the part of BP, Shell, and Statoil, going back to 2002. The EC suggests that the three corporations might have violated European Union antitrust rules against reporting distorted prices and shutting other actors out of the price-reporting process. Sounds pretty arcane, doesn't it? But I'll bet the resulting inflated prices at the pump don't seem arcane. And you have to wonder why the United States doesn't investigate -- after all, BP and Shell are household names here, too. You have to wonder even more when you recall that Mr. Obama told Mr. Holder to monitor oil and gas prices back in 2011, and Mr. Holder launched the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group in order to do just that. I guess they ain't been doing very much working, so Public Citizen helps you tell the Justice Department to stop fraud in the oil sector.
In other news, Facebook still mulls letting children under 12 join up. What's the big deal? Children can't deal with sophisticated advertising, that's the big deal -- I was a relatively intelligent child and I was positively helpless in the face of TV ads. Praise the Lord that my parents and grandparents kept me on the straight and narrow! And TV advertising in the '70s was nowhere near as sophisticated as social media advertising is today -- even parents have little understanding of how facebook turns every photo and comment and click into a dossier that corporations can use to target you. And hello? Adults don't always grasp the ins and outs of relating to people and sharing information with them online; how much more difficult must that be for children? Thus the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood still helps you tell Facebook to avoid flinging ads at kids. I don't claim that parents should get a break from being parents. But I don't think corporations need to make parenting so much harder, either.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the Bureau of Land Management (or BLM) to require corporations to disclose all the chemicals they use when fracking on federal lands, then the Center for Effective Government still helps you do that. The BLM's current proposal lets corporations keep a few of their chemicals secret, and allows "disclosure" to a website funded by the gas drilling industry, and there is just no possibility for a conflict of interest there, no sir! Gas drillers often cite the need for "trade secrets." I've said it before and I'll say it again: no "right" to keep information secret from competitors trumps the people's right to know what the hell corporations are pumping into their water table. And if gas drillers want to use public lands, they have to play by public rules -- the people's rules, that is. It's a shame the BLM doesn't quite seem to grasp that. We'll have to tell them until they do.