CREDO helps you tell your House Reps to oppose "free" trade "fast-tracking" because of the damage "free" trade deals could do to our environment. (The Union of Concerned Scientists provides a similarly-themed action alert.) Apparently the European Union has decided to put off banning over 30 pesticides linked to cancer and infertility, all because they don't want to run afoul of that other massive "free" trade treaty, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP). To think that the mere threat of a "free" trade agreement could prevent a continent-wide legislative body from protecting its good citizens from ingesting pesticides that could harm them! And that's not the only "free" trade news hook lately, as the WTO ruled that our country-of-origin laws violate both the TBT and GATT (which has given Congress an excuse to try to repeal those laws). What we don't always understand -- and given that Tha Bush Mobb acted like this wasn't the case in re the Geneva conventions, we have good reason to be confused -- is that when the Senate ratifies a treaty we negotiate with other nations, it becomes the law of the land. So let's tread carefully here.
Meanwhile, the FCC has lately ruled that the big telecom corporations can, in fact, voluntarily help consumers block robocalls, robotexts, and telemarketing calls, without running afoul of federal "call completion" rules, which (as you might imagine) mandate that big telecoms shouldn't let so many calls drop, especially in rural areas where they haven't built out very much. I wonder why this was even an issue -- if a consumer has the technology to block calls, how does a big telecom get blamed for not "completing" them? I suspect the big telecoms were throwing that out there just to muddy up the debate, since that's what they do best. Some left-leaning writers have suggested that the FCC rules would cripple market research and political polling -- both of which do benefit society generally and which are exempt from Do Not Call lists for that reason -- but if the consumer makes the decision to reject robocalls, I don't think such "crippling" will happen. So Consumers Union helps you tell big telecom corporation CEOs to provide free tools to consumers so we can block robocalls from reaching our phones.
Finally, a Louisiana domestic violence worker has begun a petition on Change.org which helps you tell Google to stop giving addresses for domestic violence shelters and putting them on their maps. Won't that prevent domestic violence victims from finding help, you ask? Not realistically, no -- domestic violence victims may not escape their situations for a long time, for reasons you can easily imagine, and generally not until they've made many contacts with with domestic violence workers. A domestic violence shelter is not the kind of thing you just go looking for -- unless, of course, you're a domestic violence abuser, in which case you're more than likely going to stalk your ex, an obsession made far easier by giving out information about domestic violence shelters, and that could be life-or-death for the victim. And why ask Google? Because domestic violence abusers may not think to use a different search engine (since, as Robert Reich pointed out the other day, Google is so big it's become a verb) -- and other search engines will follow Google's lead anyway.