U.S. Government

Views on the OCCUPY Amendment

This is a guest op-ed by Greg Colvin, a partner at the firm Adler & Colvin, originally published at OurFuture.org.

As the struggle in the streets intensifies, and Occupy Wall Street refuses to remain silent, it's good to know there are champions in Congress who have stepped up to the challenge of amending the US Constitution. It's called OCCUPIED: Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy, here.

CMD Opposes Gutting of Telemarketing Regulations

The Center for Media and Democracy is asking Congress to reject a bill that could "open up everyone's cell phones, land lines, and business phone numbers, without their consent, to a flood of commercial, marketing and debt collection calls," according to a letter signed by the Center and a number of public interest groups. The Mobile International Call Act of 2011 amends the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a statute that regulates telemarketing and limits telephone solicitations and robo-calls. The bill purportedly makes sensible updates to the TCPA to allow consumers to be notified about fraud, appointment cancellations, drug recalls, late payments, and the like. However, other provisions of the bill would allow businesses to make pre-recorded robo-calls "for any commercial purpose that is not a solicitation." This applies to any consumer's cell phone, even for those that have placed themselves on the Do-Not-Call list. The bill also exempts modern automated predictive dialers from the TCPA, "permitting repetitive 'phantom' calls to cell phones doctor's offices, hospital rooms and pagers."

The Supreme Court Will Uphold Health Care Reform, and Here's Why

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act who believe the Supreme Court will declare the law unconstitutional are going to be disappointed next year when a majority of the nine justices vote to uphold it. It will likely be a 5-4 decision, but moderate conservative Anthony Kennedy will, I'm confident, recognize that without the law, the free-market system of health insurance, so highly valued by conservatives, will implode, sooner rather than later.

Supreme Court healthcareThe high court announced earlier this week that it will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law next March. A decision is expected in June, just a few weeks before the parties hold their conventions. Regardless of which way the justices go, the decision will ensure that health care reform will be as contentious a campaign issue as it was in 2008.

Business Leaders Call for Election Spending Transparency

Saran wrapExecutives from major American corporations are calling for greater transparency in election spending, alleging the shadowy, secretly-funded groups that spent hundreds of millions on the 2010 elections are distorting the democratic process. Groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, they say, will spend an increasing amount in future elections and political scandal will follow. Meanwhile, Wisconsin leaders promote even greater election secrecy.

Nurses Take the Message "Heal America Tax Wall Street" to 60 Congressional Offices

Heal AmericaAcross the country on September 1, nurses will converge on local congressional offices to demand a tax on Wall Street financial speculation, a move they say is a step towards healing the nation, trimming the deficit, and preserving social programs.

National Nurses United (NNU) is planning a day of action in over 60 congressional offices in 21 states. In Wisconsin, the group is sponsoring a soup kitchen outside of Rep. Paul Ryan's Janesville office "to provide residents with the sustenance they are not getting from Paul Ryan," says NNU spokesman Charles Idelson.

New Documentary Explores Subconscious Manipulation by Corporations and Others

It's our responsibility as journalists to let the public know who is paid by what corporation, or if they're representing the government. Otherwise, it's unforgivable. The media is our lens on the world. And it is absolutely critical we trust the media. Because, ultimately, when people are terrorized, when people are targeted, when people are marginalized, that does not make any of us safer.

- Amy Goodman, interview in "Programming the Nation?" documentary

To Save Billions, the Government Should Pay Doctors to Make House Calls

Dr. Bruce Kinosian still makes house calls, and he's proud of it. In fact, he introduces himself as a physician who goes to see his patients in their homes rather than insisting that they come to see him at his office.

Independence at HomeHe's convinced that if more doctors did what he does, we could eliminate billions of dollars we currently spend in this country in an often-futile -- and almost always incredibly expensive -- effort to get people well.

Much of that savings, he says, would accrue to the Medicare program, making it unnecessary for Congress to even consider eliminating benefits or raising the eligibility age.

Kinosian, associate professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, is a leading advocate of the Independence at Home (IAH) program, which quietly has been saving the Department of Veteran's Affairs (and taxpayers) lots of money -- and improving the quality of life for thousands of veterans -- for nearly three decades.

Six Extreme Right-Wing Attacks by ALEC in State Governments

By Lisa Graves and Brendan Fischer (initially published by TruthOut.org).

"Model" bills voted on by corporations through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) touch almost every aspect of American life. The Center for Media and Democracy has analyzed and made available over 800 ALEC model bills to allow other reporters and the public to track corporate influence in state legislatures across the country (and in Congress) at ALECExposed.org. Here is a quick summary of six of the many "hot" topics on the ALEC corporate-politician agenda this year.

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