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Mike German was fired by the FBI for exposing their cover up. He now works for the ACLU and is speaking out about how the government targets people based on religion and politics, with little oversight.  (Source: Network World)
Feds have little respect for your privacy, Constitution

The police are watching you.  If you're the wrong religion, they'll spy on your every move.  If you voice the wrong political opinions they'll be watching you.  According to Mike German, a 16-year veteran with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations, this is happening right in the U.S.

Mr. German has become the FBI's worst nightmare.  Fed up with the abuses of privacy he was seeing, he complain to higher authorities and was promptly fired by the FBI.  Recently he became the ACLU's Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy [press release]. And he's speaking up about what he witnessed.

States Mr. German in a recent interview with Network World:

The most disturbing thing we've uncovered is the scope of domestic intelligence activities taking place today. Domestic spying is now being done by a host of federal agencies (FBI, DOD, DHS, DNI) as well as state and local law enforcement and even private companies. Too often this spying targets political activity and religious practices. We've documented intelligence activities targeting or obstructing First Amendment-protected activity in 33 states and DC.

He says that this Orwellian atmosphere could leave the U.S. a far different beast than the proud beacon of freedom it once was.  He states, "The biggest threat is that the increase surveillance of political activity will create a chilling effect that will dissuade people from exercising their rights, which will cause significant harm to participatory democracy."

He states that the "War on Terror" will continue to serve as an excuse for federal agencies to trample civil liberties.  He says that there are no clear-cut guidelines as to when you get put on a "watchlist" and are spied on by federal agents.  It's impossible to find out if your on a list and equally impossible to dispute or ask to be removed from a list.  

He also blasts TSA "enhanced pat-down" procedures and body scanners, calling them "unreasonable invasions of privacy that do not enhance security."

Given the Supreme Courts interpretation that privacy is a fundamental human right and thus Constitutionally protected by the Ninth Amendment, and given the First Amendments protections concerning freedom of speech and religion, Mr. German's claims are alarming.  Are U.S. federal employees deliberately spying on citizens and violating their rights, without the slightest legal accusation?

It'd be easy to dismiss Mr. German's claims as the words of a disgruntled employee.  But consider Mr. German's story of his departure from the agency:

I left the FBI when the DOJ Inspector General failed to investigate an FBI cover-up of a failed FBI counterterrorism investigation I reported, or protect me from official retaliation that resulted. I reported the information to Sen. Grassley and resigned. Grassley put pressure on the IG, so almost two years later the IG issued a report that showed the FBI falsified and backdated records about the case and retaliated against me for reporting it. I joined the ACLU two years later because I knew from my counterterrorism work that protecting civil liberties and keeping law enforcement accountable is what keeps America safe from terrorism and other crime.

Mr. German was clearly vindicated in the case that led to his dismissal.  The fact that the FBI tried to cover up its own wrongdoing and then punished Mr. German certainly damages its credibility and offers support for Mr. German's claims.

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I know
By zmatt on 2/8/2011 10:22:38 AM , Rating: 5
that some people aren't going to like what he did, however (and the founders agreed on this) people like him are essential to keeping our country free. Just because someone is in the American government is no indication that they are perfect or free from abuse of power and they are capable if given the opportunity of the same abuses we have seen elsewhere. it's just a fact of human nature. I don't agree with most things the ACLU has done, but federal law enforcement seems to act with impunity sometimes. When a private citizen commits a crime people hear about it and we go after them. But what about when the FBI commits a crime? Obviously the facts show they cover it up and hope nobody finds out. They should be held accountable. And by accountable I mean government officials should be tried by the same standards as private citizens. No getting off with a slap on the hand or a reprimand.

RE: I know
By gamerk2 on 2/8/2011 10:44:33 AM , Rating: 2
Well, people like me have been complaining for well over a decade; glad someone is finally starting to take notice...

Also, hi FBI guys! :D

RE: I know
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 11:56:27 AM , Rating: 1
I guess they've got cameras in my house then.

RE: I know
By saganhill on 2/8/2011 1:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, please stay where you are, we will pick you up shortly.

RE: I know
By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:05:43 PM , Rating: 3
Just ignore the click of my safety being turned off. ;)

RE: I know
By HolgerDK on 2/9/2011 3:29:30 AM , Rating: 5
Thats ok, we'll just use the cameras to determine your blind spot.

RE: I know
By jhb116 on 2/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: I know
By Kurz on 2/9/2011 12:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Then there is no accountability for supervisors who are supposed to oversee their people.

RE: I know
By superPC on 2/8/11, Rating: -1
RE: I know
By mcnabney on 2/8/2011 11:06:25 AM , Rating: 1
This is how whistleblowing is supposed to work.

Dumping hundreds of thousands of documents, most of which aren't illegal - just embarassing or enlightening, is not whistleblowing.

RE: I know
By zmatt on 2/8/11, Rating: 0
RE: I know
By StinkyWhizzleTeeth on 2/9/2011 2:05:58 AM , Rating: 3
I thought he only released about 1% of the documents he has.

RE: I know
By Micronite on 2/8/2011 10:51:05 AM , Rating: 2
I certainly don't envy anyone tasked with public protection. We demand that we be kept safe, but we also demand privacy. It is a major conundrum that at least for the last ten years or so has been a major struggle for anyone in that position.
Keeping a balance between violating privacy to maintain freedom or perhaps violating freedom to maintain safety is a delicate subject I'm willing to let others juggle.

RE: I know
By superPC on 2/8/2011 10:58:49 AM , Rating: 2
there is a way around that if we really want to do it. blind surveillance. like blind experiment in drug testing. the people doing surveillance and data collecting doesn't know who their watching and the people analyzing the data doesn't know from where the data came from or who it belong to. that way everyone gets their privacy while at the same time being watched all the time.

RE: I know
By MrBlastman on 2/8/2011 12:07:11 PM , Rating: 4
While you try to make it sound okay, this part bothers me:

that way everyone gets their privacy while at the same time being watched all the time.

How do you have privacy if you are being watched all the time? That is pretty contradictory. By saying that, it is like saying eveyone in the United Kingdom is quite happy about the hundreds of thousands of cameras everywhere watching and recording their daily lives and are not bothered in the slightest bit by it--even to the extent they never refrain from acting normally at all times.

I myself wouldn't fancy being watched constantly as okay, even if the people watching me didn't know who I am. The fact is, if they wanted to know who I am, they _could_ find out by taking that video feed or audio and then cross-referencing it with records in databases (or the internet--a big reason I never, ever use sites like Facebook). If they had to, they could take my picture out onto the street and knock on doors until they got an answer.

No thanks.

RE: I know
By The Raven on 2/8/2011 11:05:53 AM , Rating: 3
I like your comment, but if you mean that you are willing to leave your freedom (and the freedom of others) up to others to juggle, then I must disagree. I'd like to be able to choose how much freedom I have.

Who has two thumbs and the same motto as New Hampshire? This guy.

RE: I know
By bildan on 2/8/2011 11:08:17 AM , Rating: 5
I respect both law enforcement agencies and the ACLU. Checks and balances are important.

Where law enforcement goes wrong is when they try to make their admittedly difficult job easier by ignoring Constitutional protections. We can't allow them to do that and retain our freedoms. That's where the ACLU comes in.

It's worth remembering the ACLU doesn't defend criminals, it defends the Constitution.

RE: I know
By FITCamaro on 2/9/2011 10:43:23 AM , Rating: 3
Yes because a person's "freedom" to illegally enter this country is a protected right under the constitution.

That made me laugh. The ACLU obviously takes cases that sometimes do protect people's ACTUAL rights. But someone's right not to be offended? No. Someone's right to make it so that others can't practice or have their rights? No. And definitely not someone's "right" to break the laws of this nation.

RE: I know
By Lerianis on 2/14/2011 7:44:22 AM , Rating: 1
No, it's a human right to live wherever you wish in the world, regardless of an immigration law that violates those human rights.

I'm personally for just scrapping our immigration laws and allowing anyone who comes to this country who wishes to, say that they cannot get public services unless they become an American citizen or permanent resident, and moving on.

RE: I know
By mmatis on 2/8/2011 2:49:01 PM , Rating: 5
EVERY "Law Enforcement" officer in the United States has taken an oath of office to "...preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution..." That Constitution includes the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Amendments. What is being described here is a violation of the 4th Amendment. ANY "Law Enforcement" that participates in this activity is in DIRECT violation of their oath of office, and is therefor NOT "Law Enforcement" but instead merely Thugs with Guns. The stench is overwhelming. And it smells like pig.

RE: I know
By zmatt on 2/8/2011 6:19:59 PM , Rating: 2
In a society such as ours it is very easy to commit a crime. However to commit one and get away with it is near impossible, and that is the main deterrent. This works most of the time however it isn't perfect ie: suicide bombers or lunatics. Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. things fall apart, accidents happen, there are terrible people. Trying to make ourselves 100% safe from crime of all sorts is impossible and trying to do so will only waste time and resources. But people still try and lets be honest, the reactions to terrorist attacks can be and tend to be more damaging than the attack itself. the end goal of terrorism in the end is to terrorize your opponent into bending to your will.

RE: I know
By kingius on 2/9/2011 11:19:06 AM , Rating: 2
Quite right. Not only does getting caught need to be a given but a harsh punishment needs to be also. When a teenager throws a brick through a car window and ruins a young lady athelete's face permanently... and receives only a £200 fine for it... well, it doesn't matter that you can get caught, does it?

RE: I know
By zmatt on 2/9/2011 4:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a shame. I'm not familiar with the Uk legal system. can they sue him?

RE: I know
By Lerianis on 2/14/2011 7:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, they can.... though, I am wondering why the guy just got a fine? Even in the U.K., someone who did that would usually be put in prison for at least a short period of time!

RE: I know
By mindless1 on 2/10/2011 6:16:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like some of those Rose Colored Glasses you're wearing. People get away with crimes all the time, probably the majority of the time the law is broken nobody is held accountable though I have to suspect that the worse the crime is the less likely someone will get away with it, and yet suspecting it doesn't necessarily make it true.

Then there is the idea of what "getting away with it" really means. If someone robs a bank and is sentenced to 20 years but gets out on parole in 10, didn't they half get away with it? Further, if wikipedia is correct, "the clearance rate for bank robbery is among the highest of all crimes, almost 60 percent.", doesn't seem to indicate people aren't getting away with crimes.

RE: I know
By Lerianis on 2/14/2011 7:55:06 AM , Rating: 2
No, they did not 'half get away with it'.

By tmouse on 2/8/2011 12:12:20 PM , Rating: 5
I'm somewhat confused why this is even here. It's not really tech, and by his statement he has been with the ACLU for 2-6 years so it's not news, unless he just got a promotion. Even then it's not really news. Is it just worthy of being here because another tech site (network world) put the story up and we need the filler? Are we going to be slammed with whistleblower stories now? By his own admission he is now 6 year out from the FBI so I highly doubt any news will come of this. As for the FBI keeping tabs on people for religious reasons or political ideology that story has been out for decades.

RE: Timeline?
By UNHchabo on 2/8/2011 12:33:33 PM , Rating: 3
Well, the timing can at least be explained by the fact that he did an interview with Network World that was published just yesterday.

As for the tech side, a fair amount of surveillance was/is happening over the NSA's network monitoring equipment, and that's the part that people seem to be most upset about, for better or for worse.

Personally, I'm far more upset about the Supreme Court decision saying it's okay for the FBI to enter your property without a warrant to put a tracker on your car, unless you have a fence.

RE: Timeline?
By tmouse on 2/8/2011 1:42:30 PM , Rating: 3
Is it just worthy of being here because another tech site (network world) put the story up and we need the filler?

So in short that was the reason.

By MrWho on 2/8/2011 12:22:39 PM , Rating: 3
Does that mean that atheist anarchists are off the grid?

By HrilL on 2/8/2011 1:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
They're targeted too... If not more because they're not part of the general norm. Pretty much if you're not in the norm then you're probably a person of interest.

By hiscross on 2/15/2011 9:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
So I'm a white Christian does that mean I am in the clear?

By overlandpark4me on 2/10/2011 11:48:25 PM , Rating: 3
Now where is that exploding jacket manual?

Which is it?
By The Raven on 2/8/2011 12:21:59 PM , Rating: 2
Mr. German has become the FBI's worst nightmare. Fed up with the abuses of privacy he was seeing, he quit the FBI and became the ACLU's Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy

Mike German was fired by the FBI for exposing their cover up. He now works for the ACLU and is speaking out about how the government targets people based on religion and politics, with little oversight.

By Uncle on 2/8/2011 1:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
Look any body thats been in a government position such as the FBI signs confidential disclosure agreement or NDA's, what ever you want to call them. So anything of value he won't divulge, otherwise he will be arrested. I'd be more inclined to think he is a Mole and the ACLU better watch out.

Just a career move
By mkrech on 2/8/2011 4:38:30 PM , Rating: 2
He is simply trying to build a career path the the DOJ.

Buffett on class warfare....
By croc on 2/9/2011 2:03:07 AM , Rating: 2
“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Perhaps the words of a wise man should be listened to...

By Dr of crap on 2/8/2011 11:03:32 AM , Rating: 3
Yes, I agree. The FBI should be accountable on this.
And if there are extreme poeple out there they should be under watch.
If you are not with the normal group and you are doing suspect things, then you should be watched closely.

However, not everyone falls into that watch list and those should be left alone.

By Schrag4 on 2/8/2011 11:35:29 AM , Rating: 5
And if there are extreme poeple out there they should be under watch.
If you are not with the normal group and you are doing suspect things, then you should be watched closely.

Although I think I understand what you're saying, the danger that most of us see is that the determination of what is extreme or not normal, as you put it, could one day soon change to include your views just because they're not consistent with those who are in power and want to keep themselves in power. I know I sound paranoid, but I don't think I'm really that paranoid, I just understand the danger.

Just out of curiosity, what would you consider extreme or not normal? The War on Terror suggests we should watch muslims. Are you OK with that? What if your group (I don't know what groups you fit into by the way) does something crazy tomorrow? Are you OK with being watched now just because now you fit the profile? I'm really playing devils advocate here, and would like to know what you and others think. To me, this is a complicated issue, and I also think it's important.

By MojoMan on 2/8/2011 1:31:22 PM , Rating: 2
Well thought out. Good point. I would LOVE to see a reply to your very logical questions.

By VultureTX on 2/14/2011 4:53:00 PM , Rating: 3
religious group or most of a religious group--

if you are a devout Muslim and truly believe the words of the Koran and the words of Muhammad(the Hadiths) then yes you should be watched since you believe the laws,beliefs, and culture of your religion are divine and trump any local laws. (assault your wife, clip your daughters clit, lie under oath, give aid to muslim terrorists, etc.)

political views--

well if your political views is as anarchist activist then yes should be watched but you believe in destroying the state.
note: most anarchists are posers and only want to repeal rules/ lessen the state. But there is a active group which continues to try to destroy/overthrow the US government.

/no it is not a well written reply, just a couple of examples of real enemies of the state.

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 11:08:02 AM , Rating: 5
Those guns keep this country free. The right to bear arms is not for personal defense or for hunting. It is for defending our country from forces in the government itself when they get out of control. It's not a matter of "if" but rather "when". There will always be power mongers who want to take control of others. Having guns readily available to the general population keeps that in check, and it is, realistically, the only way.

Those "half-retarded inbred rednecks", as you put it, are the best defense against you being forced into a factory to work 14 hours a day with no bathroom breaks and forced to live in a 200sq ft concrete dorm room like they do in China. You want to live like the Chinese commoners? Go live there, and stop trying to turn this country into that horrid place. I'd rather be free.

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 11:20:41 AM , Rating: 2
Well you don't have to go that far. If he has a problem with guns, he should move to a neighborhood where you best be packing. Then he will change his mind. For everyone in suburbia who are safe and detached from reality, it is best not to make choices for others who might actually benefit from a gun TODAY.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 12:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument is just mind blowing. You must be in academia with your ability to have a brilliant logical argument.

By Duwelon on 2/8/2011 1:17:26 PM , Rating: 1
He's a 'daily show' liberal who thinks he's actually funny and his almost maniacal LOLs prove that. When you're led around the poitical landscape by shows that stretch truth beyond recognition and use a funny face to people who can't think critically,

By Dorkyman on 2/13/2011 12:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Can we generally agree that the number of times the f-word is invoked is inversely related to the intelligence of the commenter?

Thank you.

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 12:20:22 PM , Rating: 2
He went off a bit there, but he is't is a necessary evil. If everyone was perfect, we wouldn't need it. If it was perfect, we wouldn't want it. It is there to protect freedom (the US gov't anyway). When it does more than that, it should be stopped.

If you disagree, I wonder what you think the gov't is for.

By eggman on 2/8/2011 2:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
Who's freedom?

By The Raven on 2/10/2011 11:00:16 AM , Rating: 2
The freedom of it's citizens. What's not to get?

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:07:42 PM , Rating: 4
Yes because your clear ability to speak and bring forth a well thought out argument just reeks of a well educated person.

By eskimospy on 2/8/2011 8:12:40 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you get these absurd generalizations? People who work for a living?

Go look at the top 10 states for median income in the United States, then correlate them with who they voted for in the last presidential election. 9 out of 10 were blue states. (and 8 out of 10 are perennially blue) The 10 least productive states by median income are overwhelmingly Republican. 'Country folk' work for a living? Apparently not as productively as those librul folks do.

I know I'm silly to bring facts into an internet political argument, but some things are just too ridiculous to let slide.

By YashBudini on 2/14/2011 11:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Republicans: new money, small business

Yeah small:

Wall St

all mom and pop shops.

It's hard work to maintain premeditated obliviousness, isn't it?

Look at who supports the Republicans: new money, small business, country folks: people who work for a living.

Pfft, not only does Rupert Murdoch not work he's outspent Soros on his multi-facteted propaganda campaign many times over since the FCC first started giving him bj's.

By Adonlude on 2/8/2011 2:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
This guys post is the most inflamatory, profane, violent and rage filled post I have read today AND HE IS THE ANTI-GUN, ANTI VIOLENCE LIBERAL?!?!

Thats about par for the course...

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 6:27:51 PM , Rating: 3're not supposed to point out the hypocrisy.

By YashBudini on 2/14/2011 11:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
He's also the guest star on fair and balanced Faux as the "other viewpoint."

By eskimospy on 2/8/2011 8:03:51 PM , Rating: 2
They really, really aren't. The idea that a random collection of people with guns are going to stop the army/FBI/marines/government from instituting some police state requires humongous ignorance of how our military is actually set up. They have tanks, APCs, armor, and most importantly a lot more training than just about everyone in the country. It would be a slaughter, and it would slow down the descent into concrete dorm rooms by about 2 weeks. The only realistic way? What a joke.

What ACTUALLY prevents this from happening in reality is the institutional culture of the US and its military in particular. I spent quite a long time in the military, and the loyalty of commanders, soldiers, and sailors is far stronger to their country than it is to their commanders. THAT is why it wouldn't happen, not some hilarious Red Dawn fantasy where fat midwesterners keep America free.

I seriously have no idea where people concoct these fairy tales.

By Lerianis on 2/14/2011 8:07:40 AM , Rating: 2
You are assuming that ALL of the military would be on the side of the people trying to take over our government.

By Schrag4 on 2/8/2011 11:19:22 AM , Rating: 2
I'd just like to point out that Jared Loughner's political views leaned extremely left. As much as you want to blame Sarah Palin and TP'ers for voilence, it just doesn't pan out. There are crazies on both sides, and to single one side out over the other is just childish.

I suppose you think people who share your views should be allowed to have guns but nobody else. Is that correct? Or should only the elite politicians be able to defend themselves? Please enlighten us on who deserves the right to defend themselves and who does not. (keep in mind that felons are already forbidden by law from being near a gun)

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 11:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
From what I understand he was neither a lefty nor a righty. I understand that he is just a plain old fruit loop.
And it really shouldn't matter, since it is equally likely that a homicidal whackjob could be of either persuasion.

But I think one thing that is universal is that be you crazy or sane, when you feel your freedoms are being taken away, you get more crazy and do something rash. Let's just say for argument's sake that this guy was with the GOP (since he shot a Dem). It seems that he did so because he feared the gov't monitoring his thoughts and what not. Then you have the gay dude who kills himself because he doesn't feel free to live as he chooses.

In both cases, the killer felt a lack of freedom which drove them to do what they did. Of course the AZ killer was just insane to begin with but I hope you get my point.

If the gov't wouldn't take away our freedoms then our lawmakers wouldn't have to worry about assasination as much.
But since we have voted to have the gov't control our lives in both social and economic aspects we have these problems to deal with.

(Oh and for all the people with their heads in the sand unexposed to natural law, you should've pointed out that felons still find ways to get guns.)

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 12:56:13 PM , Rating: 2
The government takes away nearly half of what I earn already and gives much of it to people who don't deserve it: both welfare recipients and bureaucrats who do nothing. Granted, there are people who need help, but it is not the place of the government to provide for them by taking away from others.

Some of the taxes I pay do go for needed things, I admit that, but when federal bureaucrats are making 20% more than their equal or near equal positions in private enterprise, with nearly no worry about being fired for incompetence or laziness, then I have issues with that.

you want to know what their taking away from me? My hard earned money. My lifestyle. I don't want to be rich, I just want to be able to pay for my 700sq ft apartment, drive to work and back, have my tv and internet, buy new computer parts once in a while, and eat. That's what I've been doing for the last 6 years. However, recent government activity have reduced the value of the dollar I earn, (making my rent, food, and computer parts increase in price) increased the taxes I pay, increase my energy costs substantially (my summer electric bills used to be $100 and now they're $160, and my winter electric bills have gone up from $70 to $110, all because of this renewable energy mandate) and substantially increased the cost of my gas for my car. (While the cost of oil is a part of the cost of gas, so is the production capacity of the refineries in this country, and 2 have been shut down while plans for 3 new ones to increase capacity have been shelved due to new federal rules and regulations, thus reducing the capacity of production by almost 10% while demand increased by more than 15%, increasing the cost substantially.) In addition, new government taxes on businesses is limiting their ability to increase the pay of their employees. My company has been on a pay freeze for the last two years, and is unlike to raise it in the next two, despite inflation being as high as it is.

In short, the government is taking away my life. I want to keep it. I have no spare money anymore, even though my income is equal to what it was 2 years ago when I had plenty.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:14:51 PM , Rating: 2
Don't worry they'll just keep taxing you until you too need government assistance to provide for yourself.

If you look at the health care bill, that's exactly what it does to some. They're taxing certain health plans as "cadillac" plans. Well then you may not be able to afford the plan you used to have so now you need the governments help to pay for it. Thus increasing their influence over you. And most people don't have the willingness to vote for someone that says they're going to end a benefit you need to get what you used to have or think you should have.

By eggman on 2/8/2011 2:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
What is your solution for the health care cost crisis? For the last 10 years my health insurance has gone up 3 times faster than my salary, and the plans get worse and worse.

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 4:39:48 PM , Rating: 2
I have a solution for that:

1. have malpractice cases tried before a panel of volunteer doctors. common people don't know when a doctor could have seen something coming and when they couldn't. Other doctors could. In addition, the doctors can declare the suit "frivolous" and charge the suer and his lawyer for the court costs. Trying a malpractice case in front of a regular jury is the biggest malpractice of all. malpractice insurance is the fastest growing cost to health care by a wide margin, usually taking as much as 60-80% of the doctor's take home pay. My uncle is a general medicine doctor, and pays $396,000 per year in malpractice insurance in Indiana. He takes home a little over $500,000. Making malpractice claims actually fair for both the doctor and the patient, instead of the decidedly one sided system we have now, and that cost will go down rapidly.

2. force the insurance companies to have a declared statement of covered procedures. If it is covered by a policy and the paperwork is filled out correctly, then they cannot deny the claim. If they deny the claim and all the paperwork is filled out correctly and the procedure is covered, they face fines on the order of 10 times the cost of that claim. Many insurance companies practice "deny first, have them resubmit before paying" practice. This increases the overhead costs in getting claims paid by the insurance company, and doesn't serve any purpose. Some idiot manager in an insurance company somewhere came up with this idea so they could keep their money for longer and earn more interest on it before paying the claim, but in the end it only serves to increase costs for everyone. This practice needs to be stopped.

3. have all insurance companies use all the same forms. Have all the insurance companies send 3 delegates to a conference to establish the paperwork, not to exceed 4 pages, for all claims to be processed. Then have them meet ever 5 years to update the forms. This reduces the complexity of training required to fill out the forms, reduces the number of people required to fill out the forms, and reduces the error rate of the claims. This, in turn will reduce costs. The second fastest climbing cost in healthcare is forms and claims processing.

Do these things, which Obama didn't touch, and the costs of health care will fall quickly.

By eskimospy on 2/8/2011 8:23:24 PM , Rating: 2
Holy crap you're wrong. This is so false I don't even know where to start. The median malpractice cost for a GP in 2008 was $12,500; your figure was inflated by approximately 3168%. If your uncle is paying $396,000 a year, it's because he's Dr. Frankenstein.

The idea that doctors should be the jury at malpractice trials is the same idea as that police should be the jurors in police brutality cases. ie: an insanely terrible idea.

By FITCamaro on 2/9/2011 10:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
It depends on where you live. The article even states this. If you live in an area with a lot of trial lawyers with nothing to do, you'll pay drastically more since you'll have to carry a few million dollars in insurance. Trial lawyers have driven many good doctors out of the Orlando area. You now have to go to Tampa for many operations.

Doctors shouldn't be the jury at a malpractice trial. Just the damages on malpractice lawsuits should be capped. The doctor should pay to correct whatever he did wrong. Then if the mistake actually impacted the persons ability to work, they should compensate the person for the lost wages. That's it. There should be no such thing as damages for crap like "distress".

Now if the person died as a result of the malpractice, compensate the family for around 10 years of the persons salary. It shouldn't be a blank check essentially so the husband/wife never has to work again.

If the malpractice forever took away the persons ability to work, then fine, you can compensate them for that. But very few malpractice suits are this extreme.

By dgingeri on 2/9/2011 10:40:54 AM , Rating: 2
So what you're saying is that all those states where doctors are in short supply because malpractice insurance is too expensive, like Ohio, Florida, California, New York, are all just imagining it. There really isn't a shortage of doctors. We shouldn't be having problems finding doctors.

Have you ever tried to find a GP in Denver? It's like pulling teeth. In my last attempt, I called 8 offices in my area to find out they weren't accepting new patients. I have to drive over 20 miles, halfway across town, to get a doctor, and he's not very good.

You're also saying that regular people are capable of knowing better about what can be done to heal the human body and who can and can't be saved than doctors who have to go through 12 years of education and mentoring by other doctors.

My uncle happens to have never been sued directly in his 30 years of practice. (His office has been sued twice in suits that just tacked his name on the list because he ran the office, and a hospital he worked for was sued and his name was tacked on just because he was in the department.) Those numbers are what he told me a little over a year ago.

He also has 14 people in the billing department, 4 in the records department, 6 nurses, and three doctors in the office. his billing department costs the office $740k per year and the doctors cost them $850k per year, before he gets his pay. It's pretty sad that billing staff cost almost as much as two doctors.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 6:25:02 PM , Rating: 2
So you agree with a solution to raise that cost even further through taxes and mandating coverage for certain things you may not need or want?

Yeah that makes sense.

By eggman on 2/9/2011 4:53:16 PM , Rating: 2
I did not say anything like that.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:11:10 PM , Rating: 3
Well to start we can look at the $14,000 in taxes I paid last year. While at the same time half the population paid absolutely none. And a portion of that even got money back that they didn't pay. Furthermore, chances are those people, like yourself, think that people like me should pay even more so that they get more benefits that they don't have to pay for.

I don't mind paying taxes to fund legitimate functions of government. But given that we're spending well over a trillion a year we don't have, I think we've gone well past the legitimate functions of government that the constitution spells out. Not that someone like yourself respects said document.

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 1:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
I only paid $5000 in federal income taxes last year. However, I also paid over $3000 in federal excise taxes on gas, and $7000 in social security and medicare I will never see again. I bet you paid a lot more in both of those than I did. Don't forget about their hidden taxes.

If they don't get you one way, they'll get you another.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
How do you only pay $5000 in federal income tax and $7000 in Social Security?

And my $14,000 figure was all taxes combined. Social Security I'll never see again. So I group it in with income tax. Same with Medicare.

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 5:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
I got a $2500 credit for going back to college, and it was SS and medicare together. 15% of taxable income minus $2500 for the income tax and a straight 7.65% without deductions comes out that way. :)

By eggman on 2/8/2011 2:56:15 PM , Rating: 2
What do propose as a solution?

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 6:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
For taxation? I haven't put much thought into it except to think it is too complicated and too many back door taxes you don't see coming.

My biggest wish would be for congress to be more straightforward and honest in taxation. Cut out all the little various tax BS and keep it to one tax system. Each tax system has its own overhead, and having a bunch of little taxes like we have today is far, far more overhead than a couple big taxes.

However, congress wants to hide their tax increases so they can keep getting elected, so they spread them out all over the place. This takes more people to keep track of them, and that costs more money to keep those people around. Simplifying the tax system would remove loopholes and make it easier on everyone. We'd reduce government spending and by extension reduce our own tax burden.

I'm good at thinking up solutions, but few people actually do anything with them.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 6:26:47 PM , Rating: 2
Fair tax. So everyone pays taxes. And the poor don't get taxed on gas or food.

By CowKing on 2/8/2011 7:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
I never thought I'd see you advocate a progressive tax system.
i.e. people with more money pay more than people with less.

By FITCamaro on 2/9/2011 10:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
A fair tax isn't a progressive tax system. It is a set rate that EVERYONE pays. Progressive means that the more you make, the higher the tax rate you pay.

Under a fair tax system, just because I make more, doesn't mean I pay more in taxes. If I make a million dollars a year but only buy food, gas, some clothes, and thats about it, I'll still pay less taxes than the guy who does all that plus goes and buys new rims for his car, a new flat screen, etc.

A fair tax is just that. Fair. And the best part is, no IRS and no income tax returns to worry about filing. Of course it'll never happen at the federal level because you can't redistribute wealth through a fair tax since there is no Earned Income Credit with one. Or a child tax credit, EV credit, Solar power tax credit, etc.

By eggman on 2/9/2011 4:57:08 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 1:17:34 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a few (I'm not writing a dissertaion here):

Rights denied (Party responsible):
Gay marraige (R)
Polygamous marraige (D/R)
Free speech (mostly R, decency laws)
Substance use (R/D with the exception of weed)

Then there is the taxation without (true) representation.

It is just a mob rule situation now where the majority feels that it is ok to make the minority do what they think is right.

Why am I taxed to pay overpriced tuition? Overpriced healthcare? Overpriced houses? Why, why, why?

And these lists are nowhere near exhastive. So spare me the "oh wow, cry me a river" BS. And also remember that thought many people might be fine with the way things are now, they are still wary of how it got this way, and how that could take us to a very bad place (a la "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" type of outlook)

By Schrag4 on 2/8/2011 12:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
I will admit that on some issues he appeared far right, but he claimed to dislike Giffords because she was a "fake." Giffords was "targeted" (yes, with a bullseye) on lists of candidates that the extreme-left wanted defeated in favor of more-left-leaning candidates, after all. If I remember correcly, he lists The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf as favorites on his YouTube channel.

At any rate, I will grant you that he was first and foremost a homicidal whackjob. Political affiliation doesn't matter, and isn't required, to motivate someone like him to kill. My personal opinion is that he's an unstable individual who acted out and got "punished" in the form of being fired from jobs or suspended from school time and time again, until he couldn't take it anymore. Poor Giffords was merely an easy way for him to show the world that he didn't like being pushed around. (easy because she was local, accessible, and she "matters")

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:26:26 PM , Rating: 3
Apparently you've never heard of a guy named William Ayers who helped bomb police stations. You know helped run a group called Weather Underground? Oh yeah and helped educate a young man named Barack Obama.

And the guy who shot that Congresswoman was a mentally ill person who voted DEMOCRAT . He was not a Tea Party member. Please show me anyone who has identified with the Tea Party who has killed anyone in the name of the Tea Party. Sure there are anti-government types out there. That doesn't make them Tea Party activists.

How about all those liberals who said Sarah Palin who should be killed after the shooting in Arizona? How about all the liberals who threaten to beat up people like Ann Coulter when they come to a college campus. How about all the violent rallies that take place when liberals are angry? Show me a Tea Party rally that has been violent. You can't. One only has to browse Youtube to find examples of violence on the liberal side of things. I heard audio yesterday of liberals at a rally saying Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court should be sent back to the fields or killed. Same goes for Roberts and Scalia.

But yeah its the Tea Party that is racist and hateful. We just want Obama to not win the next election. As well as people who think like him. No one is saying to kill him. But this kind of stuff doesn't make Keith Olbermann's show so it didn't happen right?

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 2:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
Dan White shot Harvey Milk. They both were Ds just like the AZ shooting.

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 11:27:43 AM , Rating: 1
You forgot Muslim radicals (you know, like the ones who took down the Towers, or the one who shot up our men and women at Ft. Hood.

As stupid/ignorant as Palin is, she has yet to shoot anyone. Well she did shoot that deer with her dad lol.

Violent nutjobs are violent nutjobs. We should be mindful of them period regardless of religion, which I think we agree on. Let's just all focus on that since we agree.

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 12:40:34 PM , Rating: 1
Where did you mention Muslim radicals?

And BTW they incite hatred here at home too. Remember the Ft. Hood shooter for example?

Palin does it as much as you are right here in this thread. Look in the mirror bro.

And how is it subtle according to people who think she has anything to do with the AZ shootings (and yes it was extremely tragic, but it is no massacre. You would be more persuasive if you stay away from the hyperbole). Targeting, reloading? Real subtle. And by the way if she was trying to get someone killed, do you really thing that she would incriminate herself that way while she is in the public spotlight? Well... it is Palin we are talking about lol.

If you love the gov't so much and think they should make all of our decisions for us, then you would like it better in China, The USSR, Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, etc. Feel free to leave. And when you miss limited gov't, you are always welcome to come back to the land of the free because it is just that, the land of the free. We just have to keep it that way.
Yes, that was my point: you have to monitor nutjobs if you want to prevent AZ-style massacres whatever their crazy beliefs are but FBI should not be this free-roaming agency as they are allowed since Patriot Act I and especially II.
Wait, so why are you so pro-gov't? You do know that the FBI is a branch of the gov't, right?

Anyway, based on that quote, you are in agreement with me and we can leave it at that if you want.

By The Raven on 2/9/2011 3:15:18 PM , Rating: 2
I mention "Muslim radicals " and I get rated down two comments in a row. Did you people not read what I said...?
Violent nutjobs are violent nutjobs. We should be mindful of them period regardless of religion , which I think we agree on. Let's just all focus on that since we agree.

By dgingeri on 2/8/2011 1:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
Did you happen to read anything about the guy who did the shooting in AZ? He's left leaning, not right, in his political views, but just barely left of center. NOT A RADICAL.

His issues extend from deep seeded depression and an educational system that, instead of helping him find the help he needed, just took the 'safe' road and booted him, taking away his future. He would never get accepted by another college after that. Instead of his friends helping him, they all withdrew, leaving him alone. Instead of his family helping him, they all withdrew, leaving him alone. They all took his hope away. Without hope, people do go crazy, and this is the result you get.

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 1:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
Please show me where Sarah Palin has said anything along the lines of "Go beat up liberals/minorities/blacks/etc" or "You should shoot any Democrat". I'll be waiting a while. However I can find numerous videos/writings of liberals saying people like Sarah Palin need to die.

For 8 years liberals talked about how Bush should be killed/impeached/etc. But when a conservative says that people with Obama's policies and beliefs need to be "targeted" to be defeated in elections, somehow now WE'RE the violent and hateful ones.

By mkrech on 2/8/2011 4:50:20 PM , Rating: 2
What, no profanity, no bold, no unnecessary white space (ya, your probably a bigot). Come on T2k, don't let me know on the over/under for your stress induced aneurysm.
Seriously though, relax dude, your making it to easy to repudiate your attempts to form a valid argument.

By mkrech on 2/8/2011 4:54:32 PM , Rating: 2
oops, typo
don't let me know on the over/under

should be:

don't let me down on the over/under
oooo, I kinda like that extra white space. ;)

By Misty Dingos on 2/8/2011 12:14:06 PM , Rating: 1
OK because I am nice person and I like to help people out, let me give you some advice.

1. People that are members of the NRA are not necessarily half-retarded inbred rednecks. What you are doing here is called stereotyping. It isn't really very nice and has been used by some really bad people. Like the Nazis , the KKK and the Democratic Party (just kidding about the Democrats there). So you should really stop stereotyping people.

2. I am not sure what you mean by Palin-like ignorant dumbfuck TP'ers. Are they women? In general any woman could be considered Palin-like because she is a woman. Or perhaps you meant just her hair color, which would be silly and I think you are more angry than silly. Perhaps you shouldn't use such vague descriptions next time. Now the "ignorant dumbfuck TP'ers" well I get that. The last time someone toilet papered my house I was pretty mad. But I think that trying to label them insane is probably not warranted. So the tip here is you should use a term like Evil-Do'er it makes you sound less angry and more reasonable. Which might persuade more people with your argument.

3. Yes violence is violence. But here you are stating the obvious. But the sad reality is that most violence is perpetrated by our loved ones. Sad but true you are more likely to be beaten or killed by someone you love than anyone else. So what you might propose is for the cameras to be removed from the streets and place them in the houses and apartments of America.

4. You should get some counseling. Really. The anger and venom you put in a simple post that is only mildly controversial is alarming. Go hug a puppy. (not to death! if the puppy can't breath you are doing it wrong.) You do realize that anger and violence often go together. Go to a local health center and tell them how angry you feel and perhaps they will give you some pills to calm you down because you need to.

There I feel so much better to have helped someone, even if he or she is an asinine, child throwing a tantrum.

By The Raven on 2/8/2011 1:25:31 PM , Rating: 2

Oh and you should've used the term profiling instead of stereotyping, in light of the subject matter ;-)

And hey! Not all Nazis were bad people! Now you are stereotyping!

By FITCamaro on 2/8/2011 2:45:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking its Keith Olbermann or one of those guys. Has about the same taste to it as one of their "news" broadcasts.

One sided
By FormerDemocrat on 2/8/11, Rating: -1
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