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FBI Violated Electronic Communications Privacy Act 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes to tell us of a report from the Washington Post which alleges that the FBI "illegally collected more than 2,000 US telephone call records between 2002 and 2006 by invoking terrorism emergencies that did not exist or simply persuading phone companies to provide records." The report continues, "E-mails obtained by The Washington Post detail how counterterrorism officials inside FBI headquarters did not follow their own procedures that were put in place to protect civil liberties. The stream of urgent requests for phone records also overwhelmed the FBI communications analysis unit with work that ultimately was not connected to imminent threats. ... FBI officials told The Post that their own review has found that about half of the 4,400 toll records collected in emergency situations or with after-the-fact approvals were done in technical violation of the law. The searches involved only records of calls and not the content of the calls. In some cases, agents broadened their searches to gather numbers two and three degrees of separation from the original request, documents show."
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FBI Violated Electronic Communications Privacy Act

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  • Duhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:21AM (#30819468)

    Your tax dollars aren't being used to your benefit. Your never going to get propper health care when it's more profitable for politicians to sell you out to insurance companies for 'campaign contributions'

    I can't even find out how much my insurance company will cover for a given procedure. They refuse to tell me until its to late.

    But the FBI can break the law and spy on me all day...

  • Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:24AM (#30819534) Homepage

    When even the Supreme Court doesn't hold up the constitution as a valid basis there is not much that we can do except for revolt - but even if you get a critical mass to do that, they'll just stick the army on you or use near-lethal weaponry.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:25AM (#30819550) Homepage Journal

    And they have been able to twist the "healthcare" debate into a discussion about government taking away "freedoms"... while this is going on under their noses.

    We've got a lot of people here in the US right now that are running after not only RED herrings, but blue, pink, orange and red pokadotted herrings as well.

  • by rhsanborn (773855) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:26AM (#30819568)
    This is exactly why we protect our civil liberties. A lot of people are willing to hand over exceptional rights to the government to make them safe from terrorism. The reason we don't do that is because the government abuses our rights. Proponents for strong government say it's a slippery slope argument, fortunately, we now have the evidence of wrong-doing to point back and show why rights need to be protected, and people responsible for abusing those rights should be severely prosecuted.
  • by snowraver1 (1052510) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:28AM (#30819596)
    Some Judges need to let some guilty people walk to teach the FBI that they have to play by the rules. I don't know how often that happens in the USofA, but clearly it's not enough. I know that in Canada, it is not that uncommon to have evidence invalidated because of invalid collection technique.
  • Re:Surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:34AM (#30819648)
    Because revolution has never been bloodless. O.o

    People revolt because they feel they have no other option and there are leaders strong enough to rally them. Look at the shit people took in Iraq and never revolted.
    Yet, look at Indias revolution.

    History shows that revolution happens, but only after years of oppression. Here in the USA, we get perceived renewed hope every 4, 6, to 8 years. Problem is, the "other guy" always did it even though those that actually did it have been in power throughout. Congress.... we really need to clean house.
  • by gninnor (792931) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:34AM (#30819652)

    This is a false dichotomy. Giving away civil liberties does not equal more safety. There is much more that can be done to prevent crime and violence that would be much more productive than wasting time money and effort on wire tapping, and that is just legal wire tapping, not this.

  • Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirBigSpur (1677306) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:34AM (#30819656)
    Is anyone actually surprised by this?
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:37AM (#30819690)

    Some Judges need to let some guilty people walk to teach the FBI that they have to play by the rules.

    How does that punish the FBI? We the People, then have to deal with the criminals.

    Instead, punish the FBI, by punishing the FBI. Fire their asses.

  • by RichMan (8097) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:38AM (#30819706)

    How about making some of the guilty in the FBI do the perp walk?

    Deliberate illegal acts should lead to jail time. Law enforcement officers are not above the law.

  • by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:39AM (#30819714)

    You clearly have absolutely no fucking idea how unlikely you are to die in a terrorist attack, particularly in a pre-Patriot Act world. By your logic, we should all give up any semblance of freedom and have our government lock us away in cages to prevent automobile deaths.

    I'd rather be dead then a slave.

  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:39AM (#30819722) Homepage
    According to TFA, the US DOJ started investigating the FBI over this issue in 2006. Why aren't FBI agents in jail right now? And why didn't the Washington Post ask this question?
  • Re:Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:39AM (#30819726) Journal
    Soldiers are citizens too. And tend to dislike firing on their own countrymen.

    Most successful revolutions have had a large chunk of the army on their side as well. Although you do need a pretty corrupt government for this to happen, and the Us is nowhere near there yet.
  • by Shatrat (855151) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:42AM (#30819774)
    It happens all the time and it doesn't really do anything but put criminals back on the streets.
    What should be done is convict the criminal and then turn around and convict the investigator who broke the law during the course of the investigation.
    What you propose is just 'two wrongs make a right as long as two different people commit them'.
  • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:42AM (#30819778)

    You sir, are an idiot.

    The probability of getting killed by a terrorist attack is so low that it shouldn't be any valid excuse to give away your privacy.
    Bend over if you'd like, but please let others fight for their rights.

    "Post PS": "personal PC" is just wrong

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:43AM (#30819798)

    I'd like to believe these are all good people, but sometimes even good people get carried away and need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law... to the top of knowledge and 1 more level of accountability.

    Jail time is needed.

    I've seen people fired for policy violations in the private sector. Anyone who knew about these violations needs to be fired even if they didn't actively participate.

    The FBI needs to be cleaner than any other law enforcement agency in the USA. They haven't lost my trust, but they are headed that way.

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:46AM (#30819830)

    Most successful revolutions have had a large chunk of the army on their side as well.

    And most unsuccessful revolutions have been crushed by the army. Funny how that works out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:46AM (#30819834)

    That doesn't really help, because very often the illegal wiretapping is used to find evidence that can then be collected through traditional methods.

    This kind of thing is often very politically expedient -- wiretap your oppenent and find his weakness, and then expose them and force him to step down.

    The illegal wiretapping needs to be dealt with as a criminal offense. Subverting the Constitution shouldn't be treateed lightly.

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:50AM (#30819894)

    Total number of Americans killed in Terrorist attacks in the last decade: ~3000 (No, soldiers fighting a way don't count)
    Total number of Americans killed in car accidents in the last decade: ~400,000

    I have to wonder what the benefit of having "the ability to travel" is if the end result is being killed in a car accident. Being alive is a prerequisite to enjoying travel, being dead means you'll never travel anyway. We should be preserving life now, as the most important first step, and we can focus on preserving our ability to travel later since we'll still be alive to work for it.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by megamerican (1073936) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:50AM (#30819902)

    Many American's, whether they are democrat or republican aren't very happy with Obama because he promised two major things with healthcare: he would not force people to buy insurance and that he would televise healthcare discussions with insurance and big pharma companies.

    He did a complete 180 on both of those promises. Many democrats realize what Congressman Dennis Kucinich said, that the current healthcare bills are bailouts to the insurance companies and wall street.

    On topic for the FBI; they have always broken the law in very deliberate ways. Go read about the FBI's COINTELPRO operations.

    You can watch this documentary: COINTELPRO: The FBI's war on black America [google.com]

    Or you can read this Church Committee Report [icdc.com] on how the FBI illegally spied on Martin Luther King Jr. for years, using the Communist scare to justify their actions (the more things that change...)

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons why people don't trust their government and it has nothing to do with what color fish people enjoy consuming. This country was founded on the principle of treating government actions with a large dose of skepticism.

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:51AM (#30819914)

    FBI officials told The Post that their own review has found that about half of the 4,400 toll records collected in emergency situations or with after-the-fact approvals were done in technical violation of the law. (emphasis added)

    It seldom happens here anymore because of the idea of "technicalities". Certain factions in the US -- chiefly the one that, with unconscious irony, is always calling for "law and order" -- have brainwashed large portions of the public into believing that the law doesn't or at least shouldn't matter in cases where the outcome displeases them. When someone is acquitted because law enforcement agencies trampled all over the law during their investigation, they are regarded as "getting off on a technicality", and it generally triggers a backlash against the rule of law and accusations that the courts in question are "soft on crime". Of course, what has happened is that the courts in question are actually tough on crime even when the crimes are committed by law enforcement, and they are far-sighted enough to know that treating law enforcement agencies as being above the law is the royal road to serfdom, but the yokels don't get it. In their view, the function of the law is to dish out punishment, not to maintain actual order, and anything that gets in the way of punishing people -- often including their actual innocence -- angers them.

    Unfortunately, there's not a lot of sympathy among those types for enforcing proper police procedure. They're the same people who hold the view that if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't care about being searched. And it's true enough that they have nothing to hide inside their trailer parks, so why worry?

    I wouldn't expect anything to change until the "law and order" faction grasps the fact that the expression "technical violation of the law" has no actual meaning; something is in violation of the law or it is not, and if the law is to lead to justice, it must apply to everyone equally, whether it's a thug holding up a liquor store or a better-dressed thug illegally wiretapping American citizens.

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alinabi (464689) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:58AM (#30820014)

    Soldiers are citizens too. And tend to dislike firing on their own countrymen.

    That has rarely been the case throughout history.

  • Re:Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:58AM (#30820020)

    Police are just doing their job. They want their job to be easy and it is their boss's job to make sure they are not breaking the law

    No, part of a police officer's job is to uphold the law, it is no more their boss's job to ensure they are not breaking it than it is my parents' job (given I am an adult) to make sure that I'm not breaking the law.

  • by Grond (15515) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:58AM (#30820024) Homepage

    about half of the 4,400 toll records collected in emergency situations or with after-the-fact approvals were done in technical violation of the law.

    'Technical violation of the law' is also known as 'crime.' The degree to which the law has been violated may be relevant for sentencing, but it's irrelevant in determining whether or not a crime has, in fact, taken place.

    In true emergencies, Caproni said, agents always had the legal right to get phone records, and lawyers have now concluded there was no need for the after-the-fact approval process.

    So how many of these were actually true emergencies? And having the legal right to get something doesn't excuse getting it illegally. If the police have probable cause they can get a warrant to search my house. If they decided to skip getting a warrant and search it anyway, the results of that search are inadmissible even though the police could have done it legally. It should be no different in this case. In fact, in this case there's a statute specifically defining the crime, and it does not excuse a criminal act if it could have been done legally but wasn't.

    Bureau officials said agents were working quickly under the stress of trying to thwart the next terrorist attack and were not violating the law deliberately.

    That's not a legally recognized excuse. The intent that matters is the intent to intercept the communication, which was plainly present (this is not a case of accidentally tapping the wrong line or anything like that). Whether they knew what they were doing was illegal or whether they thought what they were doing was justified is irrelevant in this case, per the statute.

    Caproni said the bureau will use the inspector general's findings to determine whether discipline is warranted.

    Discipline? I hope that's just for starters. The ECPA provides for a jail sentence of up to 5 years per violation, and I would like to see prosecutors pursue significant jail sentences for the "senior FBI managers up to the assistant director level" that approved the procedures for emergency requests, particularly for those who did so "for two years after bureau lawyers raised concerns and an FBI official began pressing for changes." They betrayed the public trust and broke the law even after their illegal behavior was pointed out to them. It's utterly inexcusable.

    The federal government should also be made to pay the appropriate statutory civil fine to the parties whose phone records were illegally gathered, which is the greater of actual damages, $100 per day of violation, or $10,000. If $10,000 in statutory damages seems excessive, the government should take a look at the Copyright Act some time. And if 5 years in jail seems excessive, it should take a look at the penalties for growing certain plants in your back yard.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @11:59AM (#30820044) Homepage

    Some Judges need to let some guilty people walk to teach the FBI that they have to play by the rules. I don't know how often that happens in the USofA, but clearly it's not enough. I know that in Canada, it is not that uncommon to have evidence invalidated because of invalid collection technique.

    It's not uncommon in the US either for improperly acquired evidence to be invalidated, and depending on the importance of that evidence for the accused to walk. That's generally been the "teeth" in the 4th Amendment and the rules of evidence. It's why cops always read you your Miranda Rights, because Miranda was a guy who was pretty much as guilty as they come but was tricked into thinking he didn't have any rights and had to confess, so his confession was thrown out and he walked.

    The thing is, it's not clear that any of these investigations resulted in actual arrests or charges or anything. It's not clear to what purpose they were getting these records. All I can see from the article is that the agents got these records by invoking "nonexistent emergencies". Well if the emergency was non-existent, it's not hard to imagine that the crime was non-existent too.

    The impression I get is basically the FBI going on fishing expeditions. Fishing expeditions that not only came to naught and violated civil liberties, but also overloaded their communications analysts with crap that had nothing to do with actual terrorist threats. So the FBI's counsel can say that they only "technically" violated the law but that the agents were only trying to stop the next terrorist attack, and hey that might even be true, but the practical result was they made it harder to stop the real terrorist threats with their sloppy and illegal work.

    Hey, who would have thought that the FBI "technically" violating the law would be a bad thing both to those who value civil liberties, and to "Ends justify the means" types?

  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:07PM (#30820154)

    If someone has a gun to your head you're probably not very worried about the misquitos, why? Because the gun is a larger and more immediate danger. You are 2 orders of magnitude more likely to die in a car accident than a terrorist attack (and even those numbers are skewed by the largest terrorist act in our nation's history, the real value is probably closer to 3 orders of magnitude).

    Yet we still invest hundreds of billions of dollars, give away our rights, and piss off the international community all in an effort to reduce deaths by terrorism. If we had put that same amount of money into things like high speed rail, improved roads, or enforcing drunk driving laws, we could have saved many more lives.

  • by macintard (1270416) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:14PM (#30820260)
    ...for the Hope & Change that was promised to me. So far, BO seems a lot like GWB, but with better speaking skills.
  • by cbiltcliffe (186293) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:15PM (#30820286) Homepage Journal

    No, you shouldn't convict the criminal based on illegally obtained evidence.

    The reason for this is simple.

    Do you know of every possible statute in your law that could put you behind bars if you violated it?
    In Canada, we have the Criminal Code, for which most violations have the option of a jail term. There are lawyers who have made it their life's work for decades to work with only the criminal code, and still don't have it all down.

    Then on top of that, there are the various tax, anti-terrorist crap, immigration, and other federal laws that could put you in jail. That doesn't even get to the provincial laws that could do the same. The Highway Traffic Act allows for jail terms for various things, although most of them are for obvious stuff like drunk driving, but still...

    Then there are municipal laws.

    Then there are all the laws at these three levels that could result in a fine, rather than jail time.

    Do you know every single one of these laws?

    Yeah....right.

    The reason illegal evidence is not allowed in court, is that if it were allowed, then every citizen of the entire country would be a criminal, in one way or another, and anyone could be put in jail for political reasons because, with enough digging, it's guaranteed that you'd be able to find something they did that was illegal. The legal system is so horrendously complex, that nobody, anywhere, can know everything there is to know about it.

    This goes for politicians, too, because there are known instances where one law contradicts another, and if you uphold one, you have no choice but to break the other.

    The US legal system is probably even more complex, being that the country is older, and has more states with their own laws.

    Don't pretend that all evidence should be allowed, or all it would take is for somebody to take a disliking to you, and all of a sudden you're in jail for breaking a law nobody knew about, and hasn't been enforced for a hundred years.

    If there's reasonable belief that somebody's broken the law, that's one thing. Get a warrant. That's why the system is set up that way. If there's no reason to believe somebody's done something wrong, don't go fishing. Screw off and leave them alone.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:23PM (#30820392) Journal

    The logical way that he could have done so would've been an employer mandate

    That's only "logical" if you operate in a vacuum and ignore the realities of running a business. Such a mandate would drive many companies out of business in the worst case or force them to lay off workers in the best case. You don't fix unemployment problems by burdening employers with unfunded mandates.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:34PM (#30820502) Homepage

    In the event you are joking, my response is this: lulzwut?

    In the event you aren't joking, my response is this: lulzwut?

  • by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:44PM (#30820634) Journal

    or enforcing drunk driving laws

    It's interesting that you complain about a loss of civil liberties and then use drunk driving as an example of something that needs more attention. The war on drunk driving has infringed on many of our civil liberties. In no particular order:

    • "Implied consent" laws pretend that the 4th and 5th amendments don't exist.
    • Police roadblocks where you have to account for your origin and destination to the friendly representative of the state are normally something associated with authoritarian regimes. Yet we embrace them for the sake of catching drunks.
    • People make arguments like "driving is a privilege" to support these policies, thus reducing the citizenry to children that need to be watched over by a benevolent parent.
    • The 0.08 law ignores the fact that most drunk driving accidents involve BACs of 0.15 or higher. It also pretends that everyone responds the same to alcohol, which isn't the case. One person might suffer no ill effects at 0.08, while another might be falling down drunk. Biology does not respond to hard limits in the same manner as an engineering or legal project.
    • The Government invents bullshit statistics to support these policies. One of my favorites is the statistic that "nearly half of all fatal accidents involve alcohol". Guess how they arrive at that number? They include accidents where a passenger had alcohol in his or her system.
  • by JonStewartMill (1463117) <idowindows@g3.14159mail.com minus pi> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:48PM (#30820686)
    In one sense, all those attacks DID succeed. They achieved their aim of frightening America's government into imposing ever more infringements on the freedom of its people, and frightening Americans into accepting those infringements.
  • by JonStewartMill (1463117) <idowindows@g3.14159mail.com minus pi> on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:13PM (#30821082)
    I didn't say "they hate us for our freedoms". They hate us for what we're doing to their freedoms (even if it's paradoxically the freedom to be restrictive of freedoms), and goading us into letting our government become more oppressive to its own populace is their revenge.
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:16PM (#30821142)

    U.S. citizens are expected to comply with tens of thousands of BS laws and regulations that come out of Washington DC, and are regularly prosecuted for violating them. By contrast, government employees (from the President on down) violate the 15-20 pages of the U.S. Constitution on a regular basis, and nobody is arrested or prosecuted. Why should WE have to read, understand and obey the massive volume of rules that they spew out every year when THEY refuse to obey a very simple set of rules governing their behavior? I guess it depends on who is breaking the law.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:35PM (#30821382) Homepage Journal
    But with everyone covered and everyone in the risk pool, everyone's costs go down.

    No, my costs go up because I'm forced to either buy insurance (which I don't need) or pay a penalty (for not buying insurance).

    Question: why should I have to use my money to cover the medical expenses of my next door neighbor who smokes half a pack a day? Or how about my other neighbor who thinks it's great to drink a case of beer every weekend by himself.

    What about some of the people I work with who waddle like hippos yet refuse to walk up one flight of stairs? (excluding those who legitimately can't walk due to arthritis and the like).

    Why must I spend my money to cover someone else? Why should I be forced to pay for something I don't want?

    And don't use that tired argument of how, if I need it at some point in the future, I'll have it because I could have been investing that money all along and be able to pay my bills if I ever need to. Nor will I ever be covered to the extent I've paid in. Ever.
  • by Fnord666 (889225) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:36PM (#30821390) Journal

    Instead, punish the FBI, by punishing the FBI. Fire their asses.

    Fire them? That should just be the start of it. Indictments, followed by a criminal trial, followed by a stint in prison if found guilty is what should happen to them. Will it? Probably not, but one can hope that there is still a shred of sanity left.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheWizardTim (599546) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:09PM (#30821844) Journal

    Why should you pay for police protection for your neighbor? Why should you pay for schools, when you don't have kids? Why should you pay for Air Traffic Control, when you are scared to fly? Why should you pay for a bridge you will never use? Why should you pay for someone to come up with and enforce building codes? Why should you pay for roads that you will never drive on? Why should you pay for farm aid to a wheat farmer when you can't eat wheat? Why should you pay for anything?

    We live in a society. We all live together. Even if you never use the fire department, you know they are there. You know that they will respond to the fire next door, and hopefully keep it from spreading to your house.

    We make choices as a society of things that benefit us all. Having police patrol the neighborhood and respond to calls, helps you and everyone else. Having schools helps kids become productive members of society and keeps them off the street. Air Traffic Control keeps planes from crashing in to one another, and falling on you. New building codes keep the roof over your head from falling on you in an earthquake. or from the wiring from catching on fire. I can go on, but I hope you get the point.

    We can't have a ME ME ME ME attitude all the time, and live with one another.

  • by tburkhol (121842) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:18PM (#30822000)

    So if I am over the speed limit I am in technical violation of the speed limit and I should not get a ticket

    Don't know about where you live, but around here, very few speeders get tickets. You really have to be 15+ MPH over the limit before they get interested, and that doesn't count all the miles of roadway where there's no officer even checking speeds. So yeah, if you're speeding, you're technically in violation of the law, but everyone has accepted that it's just not practical to enforce the letter of that law.

    Using "technical violation of the law" to describe these wiretaps is a way to tell us that, even though it's illegal, this is the way the organization operates on a day-to-day basis, because they consider it no more "illegal" than jaywalking. The comparison to speeding is especially apt, except that speeding is a relatively minor moving violation, whereas wiretapping violates one of the most fundamental rights enshrined in our Constitution.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @02:39PM (#30822378)

    Good argument until you're the one with an expensive condition. Then we shouldn't care about you either? Come on, even you're better than that. My guess is that you're not living such a healthy lifestyle that you can criticize others. Even healthy people get hurt at the gym. Say you injure yourself at a spinning class, do we let you die because you're stupid enough to exercise? Or how about the runner hit by a car? What about the poor man or woman who's been dealt a bad ticker by the genetic lottery?

    If we in the U.S. went to a single payer system, we could cover everyone for less. Period.

    Even if you have to cover smokers and waddlers, it would cost less because they tend to die sooner and quicker. Eventually, you will be sick. It's just a question of when and how bad. If you think you'll never use what you paid in, you're badly mistaken. A minor heart attack with placement of a stent will run upwards of $80,0000 today with nearly $200/mo in meds for at least the next two year. You obviously haven't known anyone who's been sick. I just hope when your time comes someone more compassionate than yourself is on the death panel.

    "But with everyone covered and everyone in the risk pool, everyone's costs go down." If that works for private insurance, just think of what it would do for Medicare. But then the anti-single-payer lobby would have you believe that it only works in the private sector.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:25PM (#30823174)

    About a year ago I was in a motorcycle accident. A simple lay-down that resulted in a broken leg. I was taken to Stanford hospital and put in a cast. The cast wasn't holding the bone in place, so they inserted a plate and screws. A complication arose: compartment syndrome. Five surgeries and two weeks later, I went home. Total bill: $290,000. Total amount I paid: $0.

    That's a bad example to make to justify mandatory health insurance. Injuries of that nature would have been covered under your motorcycle/automobile policy. In fact if you read your health insurance policy it almost certainly has an exclusion for situations where another insurance company is liable for your injuries.

    And fundamentally, it certainly should be so. The risk being described is in operating the motorcycle, rather than merely being alive. Higher utilization as a result of a wreck should drive up the cost of motorcycle insurance, not health insurance in general, because of the risk-reward nature of insurance.

    Further parties who felt the cost of motorcycle insurance were too high would be incentivized to lower their risks.

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:45PM (#30823454) Journal

    And as for the actual proposal, it's better than deficit-neutral over ten years

    My household budget would look pretty good too if I had ten years of income and only six years of expenses.....

  • Re:Duhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:59PM (#30823644)

    "There is no fucking hope when 'movements' like the 'birthers', tea-baggers, etc. have gained any significant traction at all, instead of being laughed right out of every single mainstream media outlet."

    Why not?

    A 'birther' wants to know that no one who lacks the qualifications for office may be elected. There's nothing catastrophic in this.

    A 'tea-bagger' wants no taxation without representation. Again, I fail to see the 'danger' of this idea.

    Please, enlighten us.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @05:52PM (#30825096)

    What we need are the names. Then those wronged by the FBI could file suit in Federal court, due to the seriousness of the allegation that they were involved in a terrorist attack.

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