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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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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.

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