The Progressive's Guide To Raising Hell - Interview w/ the author/activist Jamie Court @ 8PM CST
Democracy Interactive - April 7, 2011
Join us at DemocracyInteractive.com's DI Radio tonight at 8PM CST for a conversation with author Jamie Court, about his book The Progressives Guide To Raising HellMr. Court is also the president of Consumer Watchdog, which has offices in Washington, DC and Los Angeles.
Court is an early pioneer the HMO patients' rights movement in America and has led successful corporate and political campaigns to reform HMOs, insurers, banks, oil companies, drug makers, and utilities.
Listen to the show.
Blue Shield Rate Hikes Invoke Outrage, Calls for Premium Regulation
Uprising Radio - January 12, 2011
The non-profit health insurance company Blue Shield has announced its plans to increase premium rates for Californians by a whopping 59%. Leading the call for regulation is Consumer Watchdog, a group known for its work on regulating auto insurance rates in California.
Listen to the show.
Using Populism to Influence Political Change
It seems logical that if 70% of Americans support a specific political policy, it should be made law. Yet, lawmakers continue to pass legislation that the majority of Americans oppose. The outrage over the insurance purchase mandate in the federal health care reform bill could derail the policy from going into effect in 2014. If so many people are opposed to the idea, why was it included in the legislation? The author of the "Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell" talks about how the power of the people can influence political change.
Listen to the interview over at KPBS.
The sticks and carrots of health care reform
PRI's Marketplace - Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Marketplace's Gregory Warner looks into what will motivate people to buy health insurance.
TEXT OF STORY
Kai Ryssdal: Here's another educated guess as we move on. We're all probably more familiar with the Commerce clause of the Constitution now than we were earlier this week. A federal judge ruled on Monday the government can't use the powers in that clause to force people to buy health insurance. The Supreme Court will probably have to decide. But a lot of people have started looking at that part of the health care law known as the individual mandate more closely.
We asked Gregory Warner at the Health Desk at WHYY in Philadelphia whether there might be an alternative to it.
Gregory Warner: First I called Randall Bovbjerg. He's a senior fellow at the Urban Institute. He told me this:
Randall Bovbjerg: The mandate is a very important but not totally essential part of this approach to get everybody to buy coverage. It's the stick, there is a carrot.
The carrot is the part of the reform law that makes insurance more affordable, the subsidies and regulations. To stay with that analogy, just a moment, some of those now praising the federal judge for striking down that individual mandate say, "We need more carrots!"
Jamie Court is author of "The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell."
Jamie Court: So the key to getting people in to the health care system doesn't have to do with the stick of a tax penalty, it has to do with the carrot.
Make insurance affordable enough and people will buy in.
Stuart Altman: If the carrot is beautifully wrapped, and very expensive, of course!
Stuart Altman, professor of health economics at Brandeis University, says the country can't afford that carrot. He says -- barring some more draconian way of lowering health costs -- the only alternative to the individual mandate is another stick, like making insurance more expensive each year you don't buy it.
Read the transcript or listen to the interview over at Marketplace.
KQED's The Forum with Michael Krasny
Tue, Dec 14, 2010 -- 10:00 AM
Do progressives need to get mad to get "change?" Jamie Court claims they do. Court -- early champion of HMO patients' rights, outspoken advocate for consumer protection and leader in corporate and political reform movements -- joins us to discuss his new book, "The Progressive's Guide to Raising Hell."
Host: Michael Krasny
- Jamie Court, author, president of Consumer Watchdog in Los Angeles and commentator on public radio's "Marketplace" and in the LA Times
Listen to the interview at KQED.org.
An Inside Look at Google's Loudest Critic
CNET - December 3, 2010
WASHINGTON--In a small brownstone on a quiet tree-lined street in the shadows of the Capitol building, four people are plotting against the most powerful company on the Internet.
Tuesday is a busy day at the Washington office of Consumer Watchdog, an advocacy group generally focused on health care and insurance companies but with a prominent sideline as arguably the most vocal critic of Google. Office is perhaps an overstatement: the space reminds me more of a college graduate's first apartment than an office. But it's a temporary home to Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court and his disciples as they gear up for a conference that Google CEO Eric Schmidt probably wouldn't rank among his favorites.
Court, chief spokesman John Simpson, Washington coordinator Carmen Balber, and social-media strategist Josh Nuni are planning the Future of Online Consumer Protections conference, which was taking place Wednesday amid the Federal Trade Commission's release of a report that threw the government's weight behind a "Do Not Track" list for the Internet: a controversial sentiment among companies that make their money advertising on the Web. They've been handed an early Christmas present courtesy of the European Commission, which chose to announce its decision to formally investigate Google on the eve of Consumer Watchdog's conference as Simpson almost gleefully fields calls from reporters asking for reaction to the investigation.
In between drafts of a blog post he's preparing for The Huffington Post on the do-not-track concept, Court issues orders, approves a $5,000 expenditure to Webcast the conference, and holds forth on the evils of Internet advertising companies, insurance companies, and Google. He also thinks it would be a good idea if I read his book, a suggestion repeated more than a few times. "If you let engineers run the world, you're not going to be accountable," Court says, enunciating a popular criticism of Google that despite all its engineering prowess, it doesn't exactly understand how to operate in the real world.
For its part, Google is mostly bemused by Consumer Watchdog's brand of activism, which generally sends eyes rolling in Mountain View, Calif., but there's no doubt that Court has gotten Google's attention in the past: a Google executive so angered by Consumer Watchdog in 2009 sent a letter to one of its major donors, the Rose Foundation, urging it to revoke its funding. The executive, Bob Boorstin, later apologized.
"We're always happy to engage with groups that are interested in constructive solutions. But given Consumer Watchdog's tactics--calling for Google's breakup, releasing information about the home Wi-Fi networks of Congress members, working closely with Microsoft and our other competitors--coupled with the fact that they don't represent any actual consumers, we have doubts about how serious they are," said Adam Kovacevich, a Google spokesman, in a statement.
Truth be told, in Court's mind Google simply exerts too much influence regardless of its intentions. He thinks of Google as a utility, a necessary component of modern life but the master of a space in which competition isn't necessarily a benefit. In that light, Simpson argues several times on Tuesday during conversations with reporters that he doesn't want competition among rival firefighting concerns in his hometown, but he damn sure wants those firefighters to be scrutinized and regulated.
But what Court says he's most worried about is the vast amount of data that Google gathers on Internet-surfing habits, especially when it comes to children using Google. In fact, when Consumer Watchdog was looking for funding in 2008 to expand its mission from insurance gadfly to Internet pest, Court says he specifically asked the Rose Foundation, a California-based charitable organization, for $100,000 to target Google--not Internet privacy in general, but Google--because of the company's well-known thirst for data.
That grant was followed by a smaller one in 2009, but Consumer Watchdog mostly pays for its anti-Google activities through its general fund of donations and proceeds from legal activities, which apparently was flush enough in September to support a $25,000 outlay to run a video with an extremely creepy depiction of Schmidt in New York's Times Square for six weeks.
Over lunch at a diner a block away from Consumer Watchdog's Washington, D.C., office, Court flashes a sheepish grin when asked about the video, which depicted Schmidt as a creepy ice-cream truck driver bent on gathering as much data about the children on his route as possible. He doesn't exactly apologize for the characterization, believing that when you're up against powerful interests in a hyper-media-oriented 21st century, you can't exactly file a critical position paper and hope for the best.
Court says an activist organization with limited resources isn't in a position to refuse a creative ad campaign donated by a sympathetic cartoonist whom Court declines to identify. Indeed, many who would normally be sympathetic to Consumer Watchdog's cause as a preeminent Google critic winced at the video, yet Court suggests that January will bring another anti-Google campaign similar to that video, although he ruled out another tour through Times Square.
Court is sensitive to charges that he's a tool of the corporate interests that oppose Google, a list probably headed by Microsoft and AT&T and comprising any number of Internet companies stepped on by the search giant's relentless push into nearly anything it finds feasible and ripe for disruption. He denies receiving funding directly from such companies, arguing that while he could definitely solicit such donations, accepting that money would bring a rash of unintended consequences.
Read the entire article over at CNET.
Firedoglake Book Salon
November 14, 2010
Welcome Jamie Court, author and president of Consumer Watchdog, and Host, Jerome Armstrong, founder of MyDD.com.
[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell: How to Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws, and Get the Change We Voted For
Jerome Armstrong, Host:
Don’t Hope– Get Mad and Do Something!
The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell might struck you first, as it did me, as a sort of ‘path not taken’ over the past political cycle, but its also a path forward. Jamie Court understands the political landscape, exactly what happened, and how it could have been avoided. This is not a book that wallows in being right, but instead focuses on where to go next. Ballot measures play a large role. Many of the activists here, having just come out of activist participation in the Marijuana initiatives, will gain from the insights of this book.
How To Win Grassroots Campaigns
The main thrust of the book is to provide the reader/activist with the understanding of political tactics that work. How to win the battles over public opinion. Though Court comes at this from a progressive viewpoint, the truths and tactics he presents are non-ideological in their application and success. For this alone, for activists looking to make an impact, the book is worth studying as a textbook.
In short, Court provides the antagonist with tactics that have proved successful. There are tables and systematic approaches laid out (here’s one example that I blogged about recently ), such as “five steps necessary for any campaign to succeed at creating change” and “ten rules of populist power” that turn the tables against a powerful opponent. Court provides from his own experience for examples; most of that happens in California.
Tipping Point: How Obama lost the popular support
Healthcare is not the only focus of the book, but its a big one, and though Court talks about a lot of other issues, his insight around the healthcare issues is the passion. There’s been a lot of print about how in the world Democrats managed to lose popular support this past political cycle. Court points to the mandatory purchase of corporate healthcare as the tipping point. It was a tin ear moment when Democrats sided with the corporations over people– the ‘third rail’ of populism.
Following Scott Brown’s victory in MA, partisans embraced the unpopular mandate with a maddening suicidal tribalism. Obama had stridently campaigned against the unpopular mandate, but now it was necessary “to save Obama’s presidency” they argued. And to make their point, they threatened exile to naysayers and a primary to any obstructionists.
Read the whole conversation at Firedoglake.com
Morning Edition - National Public Radio
September 23, 2010
Click here to listen to the program.
Uprising Radio/KPFK out of Los Angeles.
September 20, 2010
Listen to part one of the interview here, and part two here.
Southern California Public Radio
Listen to the interview here.
While Tea Partiers are darlings of the political press in the last few months, racking up several impressive wins in Senate, House & gubernatorial primary elections, just two years ago it was liberal progressives that were on the march. Emboldened by the end of George W. Bush’s term and the historic opportunity put a left-leaning, African American president in the White House, progressives turned out in droves and produced a solid Democratic majority in Congress. What a difference two years makes: with 2008 a distant memory, the Tea Party is now the movement of the moment, taking their small government, socially conservative ideals into the mainstream and crowding out disheartened progressives in the process. While 2010 looks like it belongs to the Tea Party there is sure to be an epic clash between these two movements in 2012. We get a glimpse of what sets progressives apart from Tea Partiers, and what policy battles they will fight from now until the next presidential election.
Jamie Court, author of The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell and president of Consumer Watchdog
Ryan Hecker, organizer of the Contract for America & Houston Tea Party Society member
KPOJ progressive talk radio
September 21st, 2010
Listen to the interview here.
Jamie Court "Mad As Hell" on NPR
Click this link to listen to the interview in its entirety. Transcript below.
Over the past several months Carl Paladino, the winner of New York’s Republican primary for governor — and a Tea Party favorite — invoked a theme that prompted wild cheers from his supporters: “I’m as mad as hell.”
And he’s not the only one who’s “not going to take it anymore.” Earlier this month, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley said, “We are mad as hell because since the Democrats took the White House and the Congress, we have awakened to some new horror.”
And all this “mad” talk isn’t confined to the right side of the political arena. Liberal commentator Jamie Court is “mad as hell” too, “and I don’t think any of us should have to take it again.”
The source material for this line, of course, is the 1976 movie Network. In the film Howard Beale, a washed up anchorman at the end of his career — and, at the end of his rope — vents his rage on the evening news:
“I want you to get up right now, go to the window, open it and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
The famous scene, unmoored from its context, sounds like a rallying cry. But in fact, it’s meant to be the pathetic ramblings of a lunatic. Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch, is described by one character as a “manifestly irresponsible man.”
Beale is also called a typhoid, a plague and smallpox. He is screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky’s critique on American society in the television era, legions of citizens tuning into a glowing box and unquestioningly, uncritically react to emotion rather than utilizing critical thought.
Is it a fair point?
New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael, who didn’t much like the movie, allowed that satire doesn’t have to be fair to be funny. After enough time, it doesn’t even have to be satire.
Fighting Mad Doctor's Disease
David Brown, NPR
April 29, 2004
Marketplace - National Public Radio
The following commentary was broadcast on Wednesday, April 28th on Marketplace (national public radio) - You can also listen to it here: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2004/04/28_mpp.html
DAVID BROWN, anchor: Perhaps you've seen the TV news pictures of doctors marching en masse in the streets demanding government caps on what juries can award injured patients. We've heard of doctors leaving the profession because insurance is just too expensive, but this month Jury Verdict Research released a study that questions the proposition bigger malpractice awards are the root of rising insurance claims. In fact, in 2002, jury awards in such cases were flat. Commentator and consumer activist Jamie Court offers his own diagnosis.
JAMIE COURT: Mad doctors disease is out of control. Striking doctors are not targeting insurance companies even though their profits went up a 1000 percent last year. Or threatening the few doctors who commit the majority of malpractice. They're targeting patients. Texas physicians recently created a Web site to blacklist patients who have sued for malpractice by not treating them. Some doctors in Florida want their colleagues to stop treating plaintiff's lawyers. Others want patients to sign contracts agreeing not to file a frivolous lawsuit before they even get treated.
So what's a patient to do when their doctor starts to show signs of this dementia? Start with some simple math. America spends more on dog and cat food each year than all medical malpractice payouts combined. Malpractice costs are a fraction of 1 percent of all health-care costs, but prescription drugs are 16 percent. So the next time your physician writes a prescription, ask for the generic. It won't be long before doctors stop getting those handouts of
Polynesian junkets from pharmaceutical reps who want them to push the most expensive drugs. Then there are those physicians who swear their fanatical fear of losses is driving them to prescribe unnecessary tests just to cover themselves. Consult the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment. It found so-called "defensive medicine" accounts for very few tests. So if your doctor's doubts about doing too many tests persist, report them to your HMO. The HMO will remind them very quickly that they'll be fired if they do anything unnecessary or even much that is.
Early awareness is key to stopping any disease. Let's start with wearing a button that reads, "Remember Hippocrates." After all, didn't the Hippocratic Oath say, 'First, do no harm,' not, 'End accountability for those who do harm.' Mad doctors must be stopped one head at a time before they infect the whole herd. In Los Angeles, this is Jamie Court for MARKETPLACE.
BROWN: Consumer activist Jamie Court is author of "Corporateering."
Your comments now: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the whole article here.