Just Foreign Policy joins with MoveOn to help you tell our President and Congress to pressure Turkey to free two journalists who reported on allegations of arms smuggling by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization to Syrian rebels. A Turkish court charged Messrs. Dündar and Gül with spying and "divulging state secrets" last week for reporting published in Cumhuriyet back in May, and given that Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkey a mere 149th out of 180 nations in press freedom, it's not difficult to surmise that the Turkish government won't be treating the two men particularly well in detention. What does Turkey have to fear, you have to wonder? It can't be that folks will think they're trying to topple Assad, a leader perhaps not even beloved by his own mother. Perhaps they're afraid folks will find out they're helping ISIS, and not even deliberately, either -- when arms go to war zones, they all too frequently don't wind up where they're supposed to. Whatever the reason, the good citizens of Turkey deserve to know what their government's up to.
Meanwhile, Denise Kinney, of Gig Harbor, WA, has started a Change.org petition which helps you tell Congress to ban advertising of pharmaceutical drugs on TV. Big pharmaceutical corporations spend more then $4 billion annually on drugs, and you better believe they cite that as yet another reason your drugs have to cost so much. Further, the only other nation that allows such drug ads on TV is New Zealand, and the American Medical Association has called for a ban on such ads. I'm not the sort of fellow who reflexively defers to experts; I'm not even the sort of fellow who's afraid to find out about health-related matters on his own. But I'm old enough to remember when you simply didn't see TV ads about specific drugs, and I also see the problem in constantly urging consumers to tell their doctors to try them out on drugs that may not work and may actually do them harm. And I keep coming back to all that money spent on advertising and wonder why it can't be spent on research -- and I keep thinking Big Pharma would rather they, and not your doctor, controlled what drugs you get.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the U.S. Postmaster General to institute postal banking services like check-cashing, bill-paying, and fee-free ATMs, then Sign for Good still helps you do that. Why should the U.S. Post Office provide these services? Because they're damn good at what they do, that's why -- no, they're only losing money because Congress mandated that they pre-fund their pension fund 85 years in advance, a requirement Congress makes of precisely zero corporations or other federal entities -- and because banksters, who always whine about "unfair" competition from the government, don't actually want to go into urban and rural areas that need banking services. But post offices can provide good, basic banking services, and thus prevent urban and rural communities from falling prey to payday lenders and their death-spiral of debt. Best of all, the Postmaster General doesn't need permission from Congress or the President to start basic banking services. Still, she could certainly use our encouragement, and we certainly shouldn't be parsimonious about giving it.