Consumer Watchdog's Podcasts
Welcome to our Podcasting Series, where you can listen to recent commentaries and analysis about news of the day from the seasoned advocates at Consumer Watchdog.
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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Jamie joined Norm this week immediately after the unelected Board of Covered California voted to ignore President Obama's request to delay the thousands of policy cancellations. Jamie begins by asserting that the biggest fallacy is not to do with price - though many of the new policies do cost more - but instead is whether or not these new policies are in fact better. Though we have thankfully begun to weed out junk policies through the ACA, the problem with the policies that are being sold under the ACA - particularly in LA county - is that they have a much smaller network of doctors and hospitals. This is yet another example of how insurers have gamed the system in California in order to provide less coverage for more money and exactly why Consumer Watchdog has asked for an extension on cancellations until we can get these excessive rates under control. That time should be when California voters are given the choice on the November 2014 ballot.
Thursday, 14 November 2013
In light of the President's news conference today asking insurance companies to delay cancellations of their non-ACA compliant policies, Jamie and Norm try to dissect what actually is happening. The issue that arrises, as Jamie points out, is the power of the president to require insurance companies to implement such reprieves is murky and as far as we can tell insurance companies aren't too keen to follow his recommendations. And even as this interview is going on, Jamie points out that we know that insurance companies in california want to get people into these new polices as they are more costly and cover significantly less in terms of claims and doctors/hospitals. What will be really interesting as things progress over the next few weeks is if health insurers will comply with the President's request and come down on the side of the consumers.
Friday, 8 November 2013
John and Norm pick up where they left off last week in the discussion of Google and their privacy issues in Europe. But with the passage of time from last week to this week, there have been some incredible developments in the case, including John's name being passed around the press. The story starts with the proposed Antitrust settlement between Google and the EU that was circulated to concerned parties. What was discovered was that the settlement as currently proposed does nothing to attack the real problem - the favoring of Google products/services in search results. But because the documents were deemed confidential, Google was trying to sweep all of this under the rugged because ironically, they thought making it public would give people too much information about their practices. Listen along as John gives Norm and his listeners the latest on the case and a prediction of what hopefully will happen if Google doesn't change their ways.
Friday, 1 November 2013
Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director John Simpson joins Norm this week to discuss the current happenings in online privacy - including the new revelations that the NSA was breaking into Google and Yahoo data centers oversees. These continual privacy violations have driven some really strong outrage in the European political arena. In turn, we have seen a push for stronger privacy rules - including much more stringer data regulations hopefully being enacted which would require companies who turn over data to agencies to inform the user whose data is being transferred that it is happening. Even better, many of these new regulations come along with truly meaningful fines if companies/governments break the rules which is something that is lacking in the US. And as European nations and the US continue discussions on Free Trade Agreements, these privacy guarantees could become US practice as well. For now though, online privacy laws have been more successful at a state level like laws recently passed in California and Oklahoma.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Jamie and Norm continue the discussion on the effects of the Affordable Care Act roll out and talk about the real issues that are facing consumers as they look to the future of their health insurance. What is happening in California - and many other states as well - is that health insurance companies are taking plans that aren't currently ACA compliant and canceling them - even though it wouldn't take much to bring them up to code. In turn they are creating new plans that are compliant and forcing those customers who were covered under soon to be cancelled policies into buying these new ones for up to twice the cost. Consumer Watchdog and California's Insurance Commissioner have been up in arms about this end around the ACA, but unfortunately the bureaucrats at Covered CA are so tight with the big three insurance companies (Shield, Cross and Kaiser) that they are continue to let this corporate money grab continue. This is what people should really be concerned about when looking at Obamacare and not the issues with the website itself.
Thursday, 17 October 2013
With the incredible amount of corporate and governmental tracking going on involving the internet, the need for strong international privacy protections has never been greater. To begin with, Jamie points out that there is something much more intrinsic about privacy laws in Europe where privacy rights are viewed as inalienable - as opposed to the culture in the US where if a profit can be made, privacy laws can be bent. To that end, the European Parliament is currently debating the "European Data Protection Regulation" and Consumer Watchdog - along with 22 other public interest groups - have written in strong support of its enactment. Our hope is that as privacy rights continue to build internationally that sooner or later they infiltrate the corporate culture of America and take root here as well.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Jamie joins Norm this week to discuss a fight that is very near and dear to Norm's heart as they talk about the dire effects that proposed merger between Cumulus Radio and Dial Global/Westwood One would have on local radio. This merger would create a radio duopoly (combined with Clear Channel) and would give control of over 1,000 - 1,300 stations to these vertically integrated companies and would give them free access to control what content was produced leaving many without their tried and true local sports, talk and news. As a result, Consumer Watchdog has officially asked the Department of Justice and the Obama Administration to protect the public airways and deny the merger.
Thursday, 3 October 2013
Jamie and Norman delve into the hot topic of the week which is the roll out of the nationwide Insurance exchanges. These exchanges are huge victories for consumers as it forces health insurance companies to finally offer policies to everyone regardless of medical history and price them on factors other their medical history. Not only that, the insurance companies can no longer cancel a policy simply due to a clerical error or omission on enrollment application. These are all significant victories - especially the fact that we are now protected from going bankrupt simply because of medical emergency. Not only that, but we are now seeing the so-called junk insurance plans going away as companies are forced to abide by Obamacare's consumer protections. Jamie notes this is a great step in the reform process but that we must continue to fight for more - including rate regulation.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
After another huge week and victory for online privacy, Jamie and Norm discuss the decision handed down by a federal court in the case against Google and their Gmail snooping. The case - which concerned how privacy laws should govern emails that are sent from non-Gmail users to Gmail accounts - brought about Google's admission that users have no legitimate expectation of privacy and that they had the right to open and scan emails in order to serve better ads. The Court, however, announced in its decision that this practice and even the practice of scan Gmail users' emails indeed violate the Wiretapping laws, marking a huge victory for online privacy as it stands now and hopefully for years to come.
Thursday, 12 September 2013
Jamie and Norm continue the discussion of internet privacy and delve deeper into how last week was a seminal week in the fight for online privacy. That's because federal courts took up two cases to determine whether or not invasion of privacy laws should apply to Google and other online giants. The first case involved the unauthorized opening of emails and the second dealt with the continued fallout over the infamous Google "Wi-Spy" case. Jamie updates Norm's audience listeners on the victory in the Wi-Soy case showing that Google should be liable under federal wire tapping laws. The second verdict in the case where Google admitted that people who email Gmail users have 'no legitimate expectation to privacy' is still outstanding. This all leads to the concept that we need a Do Not Track law for our lives to cover not just our mobile and internet devices, but all technology (cars, etc.) that can track us where ever we go - which is why Consumer Watchdog is drafting a 'Do Not Track' ballot measure.
Thursday, 5 Septemberber 2013
Jamie and Norm continue the discussion about the concerns the public should have on the federal government and private industry snooping on our every moves online. This segment is devoted to the court date that Google had today in order to determine whether or not they should be subject to the invasion of privacy laws set up to protect the public in California. Of course Google says they shouldn't be held accountable because they are on the internet and not using wiretaps, but we all know that they use their data dossiers to serve ad after ad to users. Furthermore, the results of today's hearing and subsequent rulings potentially could be catostrosphic to consumer privacy if products like Google Glass are able to work free of privacy laws and protections.
Friday, 23 August 2013
Carmen and Norm pick up the conversation this week and discuss the continued failings of state medical boards around the country. The discussion stems from a report published this week in the USA Today that exposes how patients are continually put in harms way by the very regulatory bodies that are supposed to be there to protect them. This report which investigates and analyzes 10 years of nationwide data, shows that these supposed consumer protection boards are continuously failing to discipline dangerous doctors to the point that the USA Today found "serious misconduct that put patients at risk." Carmen and Norm then discuss the movement - the Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act - afoot to ensure the changes need to put patient safety back at the forefront in California and ensure that dangerous and drug abusing doctors are taken care of once and for all.
Sunday, 18 August 2013
Consumer Watchdog's Executive Director Carmen Balber joins Pat Thurston on KGO Radio to discuss California's disastrously outdated medical malpractice caps, Planned Parenthood's misguided opposition and the future of safe and reliable medical institutions in the state.
Thursday, 15 August 2013
Jamie joins Norm this week to discuss the news that Google actually acknowledged that people who send emails to Gmail accounts should not have an expectation of privacy. The acknowledgment came out in a legal brief in a class action privacy case and was circulated through out the news world by our Privacy Project Director John Simpson. In an attempt to quell fears, Google put out a statement claiming that it respects its users privacy. Well which way is it, are they lying to the court or just lying to save face in the court of public opinion? Either way, users should certainly be wary of the privacy implications of using or sending email to a Gmail account.
Friday, 9 August 2013
Jamie rejoins Norm this week to discuss the epidemic of toxic pollution in California. One of the problems is when we have toxic waste from various industries, the government is not doing its job to ensure that it is disposed of in a safe manner. Of course, industry wants it done in as quick of a fashion as possible, but that only serves to put the population at more risk of harm. That is why Consumer Watchdog filed a lawsuit today under the CEQA provisions of California to stop the destruction of the radioactive Boeing plant at Santa Susana in Simi Valley. If the destruction is allowed to move forward, Boeing would send pieces of these buildings - which used to service plutonium - to metal non-toxic waste sanctioned metal recyclers and could potentially end up as zippers on your pants or steel in your buildings or even metal on your baby strollers. Even worse, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control says 'sure it's radioactive, but it's a safe level of radioactive.' There is no such thing as safe radioactivity and Californians deserve to be protected from it.
Thursday, 25 July 2013
Consumer Watchdog's Executive Director Carmen Balber joined Norm this week to discuss how 2014 will be "The Year of the Patient" at the ballot. Balber announced the partnership with Bob Pack - the former Netzero Exec and creator of the California CURES database - and Consumer Watchdog in the filing of a ballot measure to finally bring the laws governing patient safety and victims' rights into the 21st Century. The 37 year-old cap on non-economic damages set at 250,000 will finally be indexed for inflation if the "Troy and Alana Pack Patient Safety Act" passes and will finally give victims and their families the rights they have been unfairly denied for so long. This ballot measure - if qualified - will join Consumer Watchdog Campaign's "Health Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act" on the 2014 ballot and provide a great 1-2 punch for patients rights and safety in California.
Thursday, 11 July 2013
Jamie rejoins Norm after the July 4th holiday break and discusses the current push to update the horrendous law governing medical malpractice and medical negligence in California. The duo discuss a recent column in the Los Angeles Times by Pulitzer Prize winner Mike Hiltzik about the adverse effects MICRA has had on the rights of patients, victims and their families. For almost 38 years, the legislature has continued its sad practice of being run by the medical and malpractice insurance lobby and a result has never indexed the MICRA cap for inflation. A cap that stood at $250,000 in 1975 would be worth over $1.1 million today and despite the call by the author of the original bill to index the cap, the Legislature is powerless against the power of the lobbyists and thus have done nothing. Jamie discusses how this inaction will change with the help of a ground breaking ballot measure to bring this law into the 21st century.
Friday, 21 June 2013
Jamie and Norm revisit the topic of the disclosure that the NSA had been mining data from major US internet companies without concern for consumer privacy. And even worse consumers don't have the ability to say no to the tracking that goes on out there by the government. All the while, the government is trying to keep their actions secret basically saying, they should get privacy but consumers shouldn't. That said, Jamie did say that last week consumers did received positive news as Mozilla announced that their Firefox browser would begin blocking cookies from 3rd party sites - in effect disallowing sites that the user had not visited from tracking people online. While this isn't a full Do Not Track guarantee, as put forward by Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Blumenthal (D-CT), this is a significant first step.
Thursday, 13 June 2013
Jamie joins Norm this week to discuss the disheartening trend of health insurance companies forcing their customers to order their prescriptions through mail order pharmacies and to give up on their neighborhood pharmacy. These new policies - which Consumer Watchdog has fought Blue Cross and won against - unduly harm those with sensitive medical conditions like HIV/AIDS as these drugs are now out in the open for their friends, neighbors and coworkers to see. Not only that, but when you force people to give up their local pharmacies, Jamie points out, you've now forced them to give up their neighborhood pharmacists who know the prescriptions they are on and know the potential issues that might happen if mixed incorrectly. So not only is a huge privacy issue, the forced mail order prescriptions could have a dire effect on patient safety - which why Consumer Watchdog is continue to fight United Healthcare and others to stop the practice.
Thursday, 6 June 2013
In light of the disclosure that the NSA has been partnering with Verizon and other telecommunications firms to intercept all phone traffic, Jamie and Norman discuss the frontal assault on our privacy by the government and private industry. What we've faced is a wholesale disregard for American's expectations that they won't be spied on or tracked by their government all under the name of the Patriot Act. Despite all the public justifications the reality is that the whereabouts and who we talk to can be tracked at any given moment. Government tracking aside, the bigger problem lies when a private organization - Google - has the ability to use that tracked information to sell you to the highest advertising bidder as a commodity.
Friday, May 31 2013
Jamie rejoins Norm to discuss the upcoming implementation of Obamacare and healthcare insurance exchanges in California. To date, California's the biggest state to get a health care insurance exchange market place up and running. While the hardworking staff should be commended for getting the marketplace up and running so quickly, the fact that it is being billed as a panacea by the health insurance companies is trouble. For when you pull the curtain back on it, the exchange really just is a open market subject to the whims of major companies. In fact, in most California markets, three major companies (Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Kaiser) dominate over 80% of the business which once again decreases competition and drives up cost. And though these companies argue that the exchange proves that we don't need more reform, the truth is we need rate regulation in order to ensure that these exchanges actually provide affordable care.
Thursday, May 09 2013
Jamie returns to the airwaves to tell Norm about the largest and best selling piece of fiction in American today - medical costs and the associated bills. What makes this fiction even better is that the ending changes depending on where you live and what hospital you check into. Unfortunately, this story is having catastrophic effects on the American public and needs to be rectified and Jamie tells Norm how to do it: Standardization of medical costs or in other words a procedure in one hospital should have the same base cost as an analogous procedure does in a different one. Yes, excellence in care will still be rewarded with good doctors and facilities being able to receive better compensation, but consumers need to know that they will be protected from arbitrary price gouging.
38 is Too Late Special Feature: Bob Pack and the Quest to Overturn 38 Years of Unfair Malpractice Protection
Thursday, May 02 2013
Norm is joined this week by special guest Bob Pack - NetZero software pioneer and tireless advocate for the reformation of the medical malpractice and doctor supervision system in California. Bob and Norm discuss the brand new initiative launched yesterday by Consumer Watchdog and victims families in Sacramento to reform the medical malpractice law that set the cost of a child's life at $250,000 back in 1975. Since Jerry Brown signed the bill into law back then the value of everything else has gone up, except for the price of a child's life. The discussion also highlights the provisions of the initiative that will help clean up California's doctor discipline system that has seen too many lives lost to over prescribing and reckless doctors - including Bob's two children who were lost to a doped up driver fresh from doctor shopping.
Friday, April 26 2013
Jamie and Norm return to a topic that has had Consumer Watchdog buzzing for the past few years - what happens when Obamacare goes into effect later this year, and unscrupulous health insurance companies have a captive market and no regulations. If they are left unattended, health insurance companies will continue to run roughshod over the pocketbooks of Californians as they raise rates by double - and some times triple - digits. But with the Health Insurance Rate Public Justification & Accountaibility Act on the 2014 general eleciton ballot, Californians have a chance to escape the captive market and reign in greedy health insurance companies before it's too late.
Friday, 19 April 2013
The Poor, Poor Over-Scrutinized Health Insurance Industry Wants the Public to Feel Sorry For Them - Fat Chance!
Thursday, 4 April 2013
To the sound a millions of tiny violins, the insurance companies of California cried foul this week when they were publicly called out for unjustly raising rates. The companies - led by Anthem Blue Cross and their increase on 7k small businesses - felt slighted by the Department of Insurance using a grant from the Affordable Care Act to pay for outside actuary help in deteremining the legitimacy of rate hikes. The insurance industry wined that this new partnership puts too much scrutiny on them. Maybe they can find comfort in their billions of unreasonable annual profits.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Carmen - Consumer Watchdog's Executive Director - joined Norm this week to discuss the opening salvo in act two for health reform in California - the fight to make it affordable. With Obamacare being implemented in full by the beginning of 2014, health insurance companies are doing their best to make their products unaffordable to consumers - especially in California where despite rate hikes being completely unjustified there is no mechanism to stop them. That is, there is no current mechanism. If Californians approve of the Health Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act in November 2014, California will join 35 other states and finally give the government the right to tell health insurance companies to stuff their greed and care about their customers for once. Health insurance companies are lining up to spend millions upon millions to fight reform, but with the groundswell of outraged consumers speaking up, reform is only a matter of time.
Friday, 15 March 2013
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court joined Norm to discuss last week's heart wrenching hearing in front of the California State Legislature where victims' families pleaded for reform of the state Medical Board now that is has become a vehicle for physician protection and not consumer protection. He described the details these shocked and bereaved families members shared as they described how their now-deceased relatives were over prescribed medications by pill pushing doctors - some of whom were simply out for profit. In the face of entrenched and monied opposition to reform, the emotional stories of these victims' families seemingly had an effect on the hardened legislators. Jamie and Norm also discuss the decades old law that inhumanely caps the amount of money that a victim of malpractice can recoup even in the case of serious injury.
Thursday, 7 March 2013
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court joins the Norman Goldman Show to discuss the myriad issues concerning our online privacy. To start, Jamie commends Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) for introducing his Do-Not-Track bill back into the Senate. It would codify a policy that the FTC has already endorsed and finally force browsers to respect user requests to browse anonymously. The conversation then shifted to the privacy concerns associated with Google's new Glasses. Just think what can be tracked by the video camera in them and where that data can be sold. Google's new biological data farm will allow corporations to see our lives through our eyes and privacy will never be the same.
Thursday, 28 February 2013
In light of continuous increases in gas prices in California, Jamie and Norm discuss the dirty trick being played by California's oil refiners. Those gas shortages and refinery shut downs, they claim drive up prices? A sham! Unlike most states that have gas reserves of 3 to 4 weeks, California's oil refiners are keeping only 10 to 20 days worth of gas on hand. So when their refineries mysteriously go off line, they can increase prices all they want. And this comes just as a merger of two California refiners (BP & Tesoro) that would give over 50% of the refinery inventory to just two companies.
Thursday, 21 February 2013
Jamie and Norm discuss Consumer Watchdog's newly released Golden Wasteland report and it's scathing account of mismanagment and buck passing going on at California's Department of Toxic Substances Control. California communities are suffering as their soil and air are being polluted by serial violators of California's stringent environmental laws, but those violators - several of which are operating with expired permits - are given cursory slaps on the wrists by DTSC and nothing else. As Jamie was detailing out what the report called for, word broke out of Sacramento that Senator DeLeon has called for a full legislative investigation into how DTSC could let this violation of the public trust and health continue to occur.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
Consumer Watchdog's Executive Director Carmen Balber joins Norman this week to talk about the shortcomings of 'force-placed' insurance. Many consumers - who let their homeowners insurance laspe for a short amount of time - are greeted by insurance forced upon them by their mortgage holding banks that is both expensive in cost and short in benefits. But guess what? Even if you get your homeowners' insurance back up after only a few days, many times you are responsible for the cost of the remaining period of the forced-placed. Talk about about a disproportional penalty for missing a payment.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
With President Obama's second term beginning 11 days ago, Jamie and Norm investigate the next steps in the implmentation of Obamacare. 2013 will see many of the crucial aspects of the Affordable Healthcare Act put into place, but the question is, will health insurance really be affordable? Premiums continue to raise and in California there is currently nothing that can be done to stop them from destorying the livelihood of hardworking consumers. Jamie shares the progress of Consumer Watchdog Campaign's 2014 ballot measure to force health insurance companies to publically justify their rate increases before they take effect.
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project Director John Simpson pinch hits for Jamie on this week's Norman Goldman podcast. Norman and John discuss how one simple email can result in countless popup advertisements pertaining to the subject of the original email. John points out that this is just another example of Google and other internet companies turning their users into commoditized products and selling them to advertisers.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
Jamie and Norman discuss the baffling decision made by the FTC to simply slap Google on the wrist instead of bringing a full antitrust case against the internet giant. The FTC not only missed an opportunity to really change how Google unfairly ranks their searches, but truly missed the target in terms of what it should have been looking at - Google's information monopoly. The case now lies in the hands of state's Attorneys General - like Texas - and with the new head of the US Department of Justice's antitrust unit.
Thursday, 3 January 2013
Jamie and Norman spend their first segment of 2013 discussing how the next wave of Obamacare implementation will effect the pocketbooks of everyday Californians. California just received permission from the Obama administration to set up it's own health care exchange so that residents can go to one place to have access to health insurance. But with our rate regulation, will the marketplace even be filled with affordable options. Jamie and Norm finish by talking about the future effects of the 2014 ballot measure in CA sponsored by Consumer Watchdog Campaign to institute rate regulation in California.
Thursday, 21 December 2012
Ever wonder why you get credit card applications in the mail after you open a new one? Or even drug company online ads after you search on WebMD? Your information is being collected by so-called Personal Data Brokers and many consumers don't even know about it. Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court discusses this secretive practice of commoditizing consumers and how the FTC is working to uncover the practices and how consumers can correct faulty information or opt-out all together.
Thursday, 29 November 2012
Hyundai has been marketing its so-called 'fuel-friendly' fleet to American consumers for years as the EPA gave them an original MPG rating that was very favorable. Turns out, however, that the EPA just re-rated 4 models - Sonata Hybrid, Elantra, Accent and Veloster - and now they all have lower MPG ratings than before. Jamie and Norm discuss how Consumer Watchdog's work helped bring about these new and correct ratings and what is being done to help consumers who bought these cars under false pretexts.
Thursday, 15 November 2012
With gas prices in California spiking to over $5, many in California were told that it was because oil companies had shut down parts of their refineries for maintnence and safety purposes. As Jamie and Norm discuss, these reports and the official documentation to back them up appear to be false. Hear what Jamie has to say about these greedy oil companies and their actions taht caused consumers to have to pay over $5 at the pump.
Thursday, 8 November 2012
With the 2012 Presidential Election over, Jamie Court looks back at how the monied interests lost out to populist messaging. In contest after contest, from Karl Rove's $400 million debacle on the Presidential race, to George Joseph's $17.4 million waste in losing Prop 33, voters rejected attempts to buy their votes all over the country.
Thursday, 1 November 2012
As we close in on election day, secretive outside interests are attempting to hijack the vote on several ballot initiatives in California and other states. Jamie Court discusses what our current options are for exposing their influence and money to sunlight, as well as what reforms should be pursued in the future.
Thursday, 18 October 2012
After a few week's hiatus, Jamie and Norm catch up on what's been going on, including an ironic twist of fate for Google, an oil industry putting profits before people, and billionaires taking over California's ballot initiative process.
Thursday, 20 September 2012
Jamie and Norman discuss a possible plan to open the floodgates of top-level domains to the highest bidder. Do you look forward to a future where .eat is controlled by Google, .shop belongs to Amazon, or .word is controlled by Microsoft? They don't either.
Thursday, 13 September 2012
Jamie is back on the Norman Goldman show to discuss the double-edged sword that is the ballot initiative process. In particular, they discuss CA Prop 33 on November's ballot which is a cynical and deceptive attempt by a billionaire insurance executive to trick the public in to voting for higher insurance rates.
Thursday, 30 August 2012
Thursday, 12 July 2012
Jamie and Norman review the current threats to our privacy through both illegal 'hacking' of private data, as well as a lack of enforcement against those companies that would ignore our wishes for the sake of their own profits.
Thursday, 5 July 2012
Jamie and Norman discuss what the next steps are for ensuring not only that all Americans are insured, but that their coverage is both affordable and effective - two imperatives that point toward state based regulation, tailored to their residents needs.
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Jamie Court and Norman Goldman discuss and explain how a "death spiral" works, why it was illegalized two decades ago, and how Consumer Watchdog is putting a stop to the hidden practice.
Thursday, 7 June 2012
With out of control levels of money clogging elections, and threatening our democratic process, Jamie Court shares sound advice with how the proverbial David can fight the myriad corporate Goliaths.
Thursday, 31 May 2012
Google's new self-driving cars represent a major leap forward in technological prowess. But the question of why Google would chose to invest countless man hours and capitol in persuit of a technology that part of their core mission. ...or is it?
Tuesday, 24 May 2012
If you've been to a grocery store or farmers market lately, you've likely been approached by someone holding a clipboard, asking you whether you are registered to vote or if you would sign a petition to support this or that proposition.
But did you ever stop to wonder what kind of compensation these workers receive? As it turns out, most workers canvassing the entrance to your favorite food stand get paid by the signature — anywhere from a dollar fifty to three dollars per John Hancock.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
Only a few days remain in our relentless statewide push to collect 800,000 signatures from California residents so we can all have the right to vote on whether or not health insurers should have to justify their rate hikes before they take effect. Details of how and why California's model for regulation is the most effective in the nation are discussed...
Thursday, 3 May 2012
As the time to collect signatures from California residents winds down, the campaign to finally make health insurers justify their rate hikes before they can take effect sits on a precipice. Having already collected over six hundred-thousand signatures, that number still sits below the total goal of 795,000. While the fate of the proposition is in question, there is no question of what will happen if it does not make it to a vote...
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
We take you inside the economics of signature gathering for petitions. Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, says there's a street war going on to get initiatives on the November ballot.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
Following several years of championing the effort to get traction on this $1.5 Billon annual ripoff of drivers, a number of lawsuits are finally compelling the major oil companies to implement corrections to the way gas is priced at the pump.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
With Google's introduction of their first beta-model of functional Google Goggles - a reality enhancing visor worn like glasses - the acolades for this revolutionary product have been rolling in. But few people other than Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court have raised the question of why Google is making this product...
Thursday, 29 March 2012
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court is back on this week's installment of the Norman Goldman show to discuss the future of American health care as the Supreme Court appears set to invalidate most or all of the proposed health care law. Invalidation of the mandate could even open the door to a more civil form of universally accessible health care.
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Norman Goldman and Jamie Court discuss the pervasive nature of unchecked health care rate hikes, and how the insurance giants can raise rates 20% and then convince the public they're getting a great deal. The solution? Make them publicly justify their rates, and seek approval before implementing. Sign the petition at JustifyRates.org.
Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Radio host Norman Goldman and JustifyRates.org Campaign Manager Carmen Balber talk about how citizens can take on the health insurance companies.
California voters can download, print, sign and return the official ballot petition at JustifyRates.org to make health insurance companies get rates approved before they take effect. The all-volunteer initiative campaign will rein in health insurance premiums that have increased 153% in the last decade - 5 times the rate of inflation.
Thursday, 2 February 2012
Jamie Court announces the launch of the Justify Rates initiative, which is seeking to put a proposition on the 2012 ballot that would force health insurers to publicly justify their rates - under penalty of perjury - before they take effect.
Thursday, 26 Janurary 2012
Jamie Court discusses the implications of Google's choosing to compile all its users data into one profile and sell it to advertisers, as well as altering search results to favor their own products and services.
Thursday, 19 Janurary 2012
Jamie Court discusses the effectiveness of the anti- SOPA and PIPA social media campaigns, as well as the future of intellectual property rights in what he describes as a battle between privacy and piracy.
Jamie Court talks with Norman Goldman about the destruction of our 7th Amendment rights through corporate-directed arbitration clauses.
Thursday, 12 Janurary 2012
Jamie Court discusses the spread of arbitration clauses in contracts which undermines a person's right to a trial in court. Making matters worse, arbitrators are hired by corporations, and as such rule in favor of the corporation an overwhelming percentage of the time.
Jamie Court announces his intention to get a proposition on the 2012 ballot to regulate health insurance costs in the state of California.
Thursday, 5 Janurary 2012
Jamie Court discusses the hows and whys of getting a proposition on the 2012 ballot that will allow California citizens to choose whether they want health insurers to have to publicly justify their rate hikes before they take effect.
Thursday, 15 December 2011
Jamie Court discusses the implications of the national health care law, which is slated to be reviewed by the Supreme Court next year. He also discusses Obama's decision to protect a key provision of the law against waivers requested by certain states.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
Jamie Court discusses how corporations like those in "The Dirty Thirty" list use tax loopholes and massive lobbying efforts to take without giving back to our country, and infringe on our rights and liberties at the same time.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Jamie Court discusses the scope and consequences of recent revelations regarding the "Carrier IQ" program loaded on every Android smartphone - which cannot be turned off or deleted - and reports on every move and / or keystroke performed by the user.
Thursday, 3 November 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses why the national nurses union is marching on the office of Tim Geithner, and how he is a major source of oppositon in getting Wall St. to pay their fair share of taxes on the money they make every day.
Thursday, 27 October 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses the trajectory of the Occupy Wall St. movement, and the mounting opposition to their prolonged presence at the entrance to the halls of power.
Jamie Court discusses health insurance rate regulation in CA and putting a proposition on the ballot.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Jamie Court, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, discusses plans to put an initiative to add a state-run health care public option on California’s 2012 ballot.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses the health insurance rate regulation bill AB 52 making it out of the California Assembly with only 7 votes in opposition.
Jamie Court discusses the need to enact AB 52 - a proposed law that would require health insurers to ask the Insurance Commissioner's permission before raising rates.
Thursday, 26 May 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses the newly revealed millions in annual salaries for the top executives at Blue Shield of California - a supposedly non-profit health insurer - and how those salaries coupled with their attempt to raise rates by 86% this year serves as a clear argument as to why Californians need the Assembly Bill AB 52 to be made into law.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses how the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, being lead by Elisabeth Warren just issued new rules making homeowner/mortgage contracts simpler and easier to understand.
Jamie Court spells out the necessity of tough and fair state-run rate regulation for health insurance.
Thursday, 12 May 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court spells out the necessity of tough and fair state-run rate regulation for health insurance. With all U.S. citizens being required to purchase private insurance plans starting in 2014, the states must step forward to ensure those policies are both affordable as well as comprehensive.
Jamie Court Discusses Online Privacy and the Nation's First Hearings On a Proposed "Do Not Track Me" Law in California
Thursday, 5 May 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses the issue of online privacy and the forces aligned against your rights. The nation's first legislative committee hearings over a proposed "Do Not Track Me" law were held in California this week. Despite an overwhelming presence of lobbyists from Big Tech, the proposal made it out of committee on a 3-2 vote.
Jamie Court Discusses Gas Prices and the Supreme Court's Devastating Decision Against Class Action Rights
Thursday, 28 April 2011
In this week's spot on the Norman Goldman Show, Jamie Court discusses the price of oil and how speculation is driving the price up, rather than on the ground / real-world costs. He'll also discuss the Supreme Court's ruling that class action lawsuits cannot occur if there is an arbitration clause in the contract.
Thursday, 21 April 2011
Jamie Court discusses the implications of a POTUS visit, iPhone secret tracking, Earth Day, and traffic jams.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Despite the release of records to the public from the highly contentious Viacom v. Google Copyright Infringement Suit, depositions from major players within Google's increasingly secretive inner circle were kept from public scrutiny for untold reasons.
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Consumer Watchdog's Judy Dugan discusses how, after Obama's latest speech on health care reform, Anthem Blue Cross's announced 40%+ rate hikes remain an important ally in backing up his argument.
Tuesday, 12 February 2010
Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson comments on Google Buzz and the company's continuing problem with properly protecting the privacy of individual users.
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson discusses the ongoing breaches of privacy Google seems conveniently unaware of.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Judy Dugan discusses how, despite being exposed again and again as lies, several sources of misinformation useful in dismantling support for the Public Option remain active in the evolving debate meant to shape health care reform.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson discusses the false promise of control and privacy with Google's Dashboard.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Judy Dugan discusses the emerging market of medical tourism and how foreign countries are trying to woo American HMOs and Employers to make their hospitals "in network."
Tuesday, 21 October 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Judy Dugan explains how Medicare Advantage has been turned into a profiteering machine for private insurers.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jerry Flanagan takes a minute to discuss the travesty of ERISA, and how health insurers are free to deny coverage without fear of any form of legal reprisal for doing so.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court takes a minute to advocate strict regulation for any company hoping to get a piece of the impending health insurance deal running through Congress. He reminds us that history shows regulation is good for the consumer and for business.
Monday, 29 September 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Judy Dugan takes a minute to describe the dire circumstances surrounding the National Association Of Insurance Commissioners' attempt to write the framework for the national health care system, including plans that would circumvent state laws and leave little recourse for individuals when they have to sue.
Monday, 29 September 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Carmen Balber takes a minute to describe the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and the Big Banking forces aligned to gut, or stop it's implementation all together.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jerry Flanagan talks with Judy Dugan about the Senator Max Baucus' anemic health insurance reform bill and it's ridiculous price tag.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Consumer Watchdog's John Simpson discusses his testimony for a congressional committee investigating Google's book deal.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jerry Flanagan talks with Judy Dugan about the Senator Max Baucus' plan for health insurance reform and its pitfalls for consumers.
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jerry Flanagan talks with Barbara Bogaev about the mood found at town hall meetings when debating health insurance reform.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jerry Flanagan and Judy Dugan discuss why we need more legal accountability for health insurers federal health reform legislation.
Friday, 3 July 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Doug Heller and Jamie Court talk about how GM's bankruptcy deal is going to leave the victims of catastrophic accidents caused by crippling design flaws out in the cold, with no recourse and no compensation.
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Doug Heller and Judy Dugan talk about the President's announcement that he's overhauling fuel efficiency standards and about Consumer Watchdog's new report card on the best and worst technologies for getting cleaner cars.
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Jamie Court and Judy Dugan discuss how universal health care reform efforts in Washington, DC are going astray, and what's needed to get reform back on track.
Monday, 4 May 2009
Jamie Court and Doug Heller discuss Allstate's effort to use the financial crisis as an excuse to remove the insurance industry from state oversight.
Wedesday, 22 April 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and Judy Dugan discuss Costco's decision to sell temperature-adjusted fuel to consumers; and how this concession represents the first chink in the armor of Big Oil's multi-billion dollar fleecing of American consumers.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and John Simpson discuss their recent conversation with the US Justice Department about curbing Google's monopolistic power under the Google Books settlement.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Consumer Watchdog's Jamie Court and Doug Heller discuss and analyze the recent White House forum on Health Care.
Thursday, 2 April 2009
Jamie Court explains why "Arnold Care" wasn't a model for the nation.
Our Previous Podcast Series:
June 26, 2007 - 'Sicko' Could Cure American Apathy
Michael Moore's latest film comes out this week, and commentator Jamie Court thinks it might provide the emotional kick in the pants Americans need to finally demand universal health care and put private insurers out of business.
June 21, 2007 - Sue the Banks
OK, let's say you've been swindled. Who are you going to trust to get your money back - Uncle Sam or private plaintiffs' attorneys?
May 10, 2007 - The Market's the Problem with Health Care
Jamie Court says some of the biggest names on the Fortune 500 claim they want market forces to fix the problem of high health care costs. So they support the government making every American buy health insurance.
March 26, 2007 - Fuel Prices a Hot Topic
Jamie Court says it's simple physics. When it gets hot, gasoline expands. So you get less energy per gallon. Unfortunately, our gas pumps don't account for that.
February 26, 2007 - Health Security Is Now Mandatory Health Insurance?
Jamie Court says politicians and the medical insurance complex have morphed the universal heath care debate into a government campaign to force patients to buy health insurance.
February 9, 2007 - Three California Elections in 2008?
Jamie Court says California politicians are up to their dirty tricks. They're using the call for an early presidential primary as a Trojan horse to end term limits and keep their jobs in November. And saddling taxpayers with a $90 million bill to boot.
January 25, 2007 - "Gold-plated" Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder
Jamie Court On Bushcare: "Gold plated" health insurance is in the eye of the beholder says Court, who believes, "Government must force insurers to price their policies more fairly before it taxes people who are unfairly charged."
January 2, 2007 - Gas-price conspiracy? You bet!
The 110th Congress will be sworn in on Thursday. Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi has promised a whirlwind first 100 hours of the session. On the Democrats' list of things to do is cut subsidies to the oil industry. Perhaps as a result, the American Petroleum Institute � that's big oil's main lobbying group � is launching a public relations offensive.
November 2, 2006 - Eminent domain's slippery, costly slope
Measures in four Western states would force local governments to pay property owners if regulations � such as zoning � reduce their property value. Commentator Jamie Court argues that would actually hurt taxpayers and homeowners.
October 11, 2006 - Take the Politics Out of the Money
Members of Congress are back in their districts campaigning hard, many on the dime of lobbying groups after not passing any lobbying and ethics reform. Commentator and consumer advocate Jamie Court says it all comes down to getting what you pay for.
August 24, 2006 - Taking the ZIP-code Out of Auto Insurance
FTCR's Jamie Court explains why the nation should follow California's lead.
July 07, 2006 - Lay's Legacy
Ken Lay may have left the earth, but FTCR president Jamie Court talks about how his spirit is still with us in this Marketplace commentary from American Public Radio...
June 22, 2006 - AT&T Wants To Takeover Your World....
AT&T is lobbying on capitol hill for a pay-tv deregulation bill that�s likely to make it to the President�s desk. FTCR President Jamie Court tells you what it means to you.
May 24, 2006 - Going After The Gasoline Price Gougers
The oil industry is gouging Americans. FTCR's Jamie Court explains what the government needs to do about it. Listen to his commentary from American Public Media's Marketplace program.
March 20, 2006 - Will Bush and Congress Undo States' HMO Patients Rights Laws?
Junk health insurance coverage that does not includes benefits required by state law will be all too familiar in every state if President Bush and Congress have their way. The Senate could pass a bill soon. Listen to Jamie Court's commentary from American Public Media's Marketplace program.
January 23, 2006 - "Go Ahead and Die" by Austin Lounge Lizards and FTCR
Watch the animated music video featuring a new song - Go Ahead and Die - by the Austin Lounge Lizards urging Americans to sink the Pirates of the Health Care-ibbean.
Watch Other Health Care Animations & Videos by FTCR - Stay Tuned for More Podcasts.
- Stop the Pig People From Outer Space (PPOs).
- Fight Big Pharma: Prescription Drug Bulk Purchasing.
- HMO Merger Watch: PacifiCare Pig Out.
December 8, 2005 - Should Your Auto Insurance Rates Go Up If You Live Near a Restaurant?
A new insurance industry study says your auto insurance rates should change if you live near a church or a supermarket. FTCR's Doug Heller explains why this scheme should never be used and why the current system of ZIP Code based insurance rates is just as bad.
October 31, 2005 - If You Don't Show, You Can't Vote "No"
Jamie Court says that Arnold Schwarzenegger and his corporate backers want voters to stay home from the polls during next week's special election. And here's why.
October 10, 2005 - Katrina Relief Efforts Need Public Works, Not GOP Contractors
Jobs are the ultimate hurricane relief, so how can it be that federal government sponsored relief jobs are going to out-of-state contractors? By FTCR President Jamie Court
October 7, 2005 - Oil Companies Exporting Heating Oil To Drive Up the Price
Oil refiners should not get tax breaks to export petroleum products to Japan and drive up the price in America. By FTCR President Jamie Court
September 28, 2005 - Will Frist Follow DeLay?
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been indicted,and Senate Leader Bill Frist is now under investigation for possible insider trading. FTCR has been speaking out about Frist's ethical lapses for the past two years. By FTCR President Jamie Court
September 21, 2005 - A Crude Offer Exposes American Oil Profiteers
OPEC has offered American oil refiners all the crude oil they want to to help restrain prices at the pump. OPEC's offer exposes the truth about the American oil industry: it intentionally keeps supplies low to keep the pump price high. By FTCR President Jamie Court
September 2, 2005 - Gas Gouging is Real
Oil companies have profited wildly with the jump at the pump. Here's what the president should do. By FTCR President Jamie Court
August 4, 2005 - Fighting Conflicts of Interest in City Hall
This week the Pasadena, California City Council voted to implement the toughest conflict of interest law in the nation - sponsored by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. FTCR President Jamie Court talks about the one catch...
July 13, 2005 - File a Claim, Lose Your Home Insurance?
Under a common insurance industry practice known as �Use it and Lose It,� many insurers punish customers by raising premiums or refusing to sell or renew a policy simply because the policyholder filed a claim in the past. The industry now tracks claims history through a national database much like a credit reporting agency. Insurance reformer Harvey Rosenfield talks about this industry scheme and why rules are needed to protect the public from being penalized simply for using their policy.
July 7, 2005 - The Case Against Cox to Head the SEC
Before entering Congress, Representative Chris Cox helped a client cover up one of the nation's biggest investment rip-offs, costing small investors up to $130 million. The man who protected a Wall Street swindler cannot be trusted to protect investors as the industry's top regulator. The Senate should reject Cox's nomination to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Fax Your Senator Today!