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September 3rd, 2010
06:28 PM ET

Why do doctors' offices have to be so darned rude?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

"Insurance?"

I was calling a new doctor for an appointment, and rather than saying something pleasant, like "Hello," the very first word out of the receptionist's mouth was "Insurance?"

Oh, well. "Yes," I answered. "Yes, I have insurance."

The woman's reply rocked me back a little, simply because of the complete rudeness of her tone.

"IN! SUR! ANCE!"

She bit off each part of the word, just to make it clear she deeply disapproved of my response. I eventually ascertained that she wanted to know the name of my insurance provider before she'd be willing to let me even speak to the person who scheduled appointments.

I wasn't just being doc-blocked from the doctor, I had to justify myself simply to be allowed to speak to the office scheduler.

Fortunately, my company provides me with relatively good insurance, and after providing the doctor's various gatekeepers with a complete identity-theft kit worth of information, I was granted the privilege of an introductory appointment with the great man himself.
FULL POST


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Opinion
August 26th, 2010
04:42 PM ET

Inside look at Pentagon's cyberdefense strategy: The battlefield beyond bad flash drives

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

One issue that’s caused a lot of concern is Lynn’s admission that the United States was the victim of a cyberattack in 2008. The attack was caused by an infected flash drive, which propagated attack software throughout a military network
One issue that’s caused a lot of concern is Lynn’s admission that the United States was the victim of a cyberattack in 2008. The attack was caused by an infected flash drive, which propagated attack software throughout a military network

The September/October issue of Foreign Affairs is now available online and within its virtual pages is one of the most important cyberwar articles in modern history.

Written by United States Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn III, the article is as important to understanding America’s global cyberwarfare strategy as the Monroe Doctrine was to understanding America’s approach to foreign affairs.

It should be noted that Secretary Lynn is the #2 person at the Pentagon, effectively the Pentagon’s chief operating officer and operates as the Secretary of Defense by delegation in the absence of SecDef.

Read More...

Follow David on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the ZATZ magazines. He is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts and a top expert on saving and creating jobs. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Opinion
August 4th, 2010
12:48 PM ET

In the Senate, where does immigration politics end and racism start?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

What does it say about our current congressional leadership when senators from South Carolina, Kentucky, and Arizona appear to be giving serious consideration to repealing the Constitutional amendment that gave citizenship to slaves?

To me, it's just another way to say, "business as usual in Washington".

OK, so here's the story. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States has a section that gives certain rights to Americans. It gives citizenship to people born or naturalized in the United States. It also allows everyone in the U.S. the protection of due process.

Back before the Civil War, due process wasn't available to everyone, and certainly not enslaved people. In fact, in the Dred Scott decision of 1857, the Supreme Court held that African Americans weren't citizens (and never could be) and weren't subject to any sort of protection under the Constitution.

Blacks were fair game prior to the 14th Amendment.

Now, Senators Graham, McConnell, and Kyl are talking up the idea of taking back the protections afforded by the 14th Amendment. They're trying to turn the clock back 150 years.

Yes, yes we do have a black president. No, of course there's no connection (or so they'd have you think).

Instead they're firing off this political trial balloon to appeal to the anti-immigration forces arrayed throughout America. They're asking just why someone should get the protection of America just because he or she was born on our soil?

FULL POST


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Raw Politics
July 12th, 2010
10:10 AM ET

I hate stupid hate

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

Hate mail, especially constant, rude, and often disturbing hate mail doesn't bring people to their side. It certainly doesn't inspire someone with an audience, like me, to want to plead their case.
Hate mail, especially constant, rude, and often disturbing hate mail doesn't bring people to their side. It certainly doesn't inspire someone with an audience, like me, to want to plead their case.

Most days now I often begin or end my day getting hate mail. Oh, I've gotten hate mail and even death threats over the years. That's part of the territory when you put yourself out there in front of the public. But this hate is different. This hate comes in the forms of new insults, unreasoning rage, and illogical and often self-contradictory diatribes. It comes almost every day.

And it's stupid.

This isn't hate mail from the usual suspects. It's not hate mail from tea partiers or anti-abortion groups or loony liberals or fans of Apple gadgets (well, ok, I get a lot of hate from them, too).

No, this is hate mail from peace lovers.

It started about a month ago when I wrote an article for a tech column on how a well-known hacker had turned in an Army soldier who had allegedly given away secrets. The soldier had been arrested and federal agencies were investigating. He'd been entrusted with top-secret information and he leaked that information, an act which is against the law.

I called the hacker a patriot and the soldier a traitor.

FULL POST


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Opinion
June 24th, 2010
12:11 PM ET

What secrets (if any) are hidden in Elena Kagan's Inbox?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

U.S. Supreme Court nominee and Solicitor General Elena Kagan meets with senators on May 12.
U.S. Supreme Court nominee and Solicitor General Elena Kagan meets with senators on May 12.

One of the main indicators that a person is capable of postformal thought is the ability to hold two completely dissimilar thoughts in mind at the same time. And so it is that the subject I’m about to discuss is both cool on an epic scale at the very same time it’s really, really boring.

Here’s the exciting part. Imagine you could go back to the Clinton era (I know, some of you are already crying), and view White House emails right in an email client, just like it might have felt to send and receive them in the White House.

How cool is that? Remember, Clinton was in office just as the Internet was getting started, so many of our current email systems didn’t even exist back then. This was a time before the Bush administration’s whole missing email debacle, and waaay before systems like Gmail were even a twinkle in Google’s eye (Google, of course, didn’t exist then, either).

So let’s travel back in time to the 1990s

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Follow David on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the ZATZ magazines. He is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts and a top expert on saving and creating jobs. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Opinion
June 24th, 2010
10:42 AM ET

BP: the quiet rage that may become the perfect storm

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

Two months ago on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sinking into the sea. In its place is what is rapidly becoming the worst man-made natural disaster in American history.
Two months ago on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sinking into the sea. In its place is what is rapidly becoming the worst man-made natural disaster in American history.

Two months ago on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers and sinking into the sea. In its place is what is rapidly becoming the worst man-made natural disaster in American history.

In towns all around the initial spill zone - which are also the same towns that suffered under Katrina's wrath - there is fear, sadness, and growing anger. Those who live there and those who are covering the ongoing story have reported just how disturbing the situation has become - and it still has no end in sight.

Outside the Gulf region, the situation is different. Virtually every American is aware of the disaster, but most don't feel it personally. They just sense, deep in the core of their being, that something is very, very wrong.

FULL POST


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Gulf Oil Spill • Keeping Them Honest • Opinion
June 11th, 2010
10:47 AM ET

The census-taker came and all I got was this lousy article

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

All in all, it was a painless five minutes. Even so, there were two things I didn't like, and one thing that would have made it go a lot smoother.
All in all, it was a painless five minutes. Even so, there were two things I didn't like, and one thing that would have made it go a lot smoother.

Well, that was certainly anti-climactic. My wife and I are busy these days, so when the census forms came earlier in the year, they simply went on "the list" and have remained there, buried under some random pile of papers on a desk somewhere in the house.

Unlike Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann, who worried that the census would be "very intricate" and "very personal", we had no political reason to ignore the forms. We just had lots of items on our to-do list.

As it is wont to do, time passed. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, and we still didn't fill out the forms. So, yesterday, the doorbell rang.

It was...(cue ominous music)...the Census Taker.

FULL POST


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Opinion
May 28th, 2010
09:49 AM ET

Vice President Hillary Clinton?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

Reading tea leaves is not science. And what I'm about to discuss is an epic tea-leaf read. But it could make for an interesting strategy for 2012. Suspend a little disbelief and read on.

Here's the background. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hasn't spoken much on domestic policy since she took the foreign affairs gig. For someone so vocal during the campaign, it's been clear she's purposely sticking to her charter and staying out of domestic affairs.

Yesterday, according to Ben Smith at Politico.com, Hillary spoke to the Brookings Institution on national security strategy. That's exactly what you'd expect from SecState.

But then she took an interesting foray into domestic affairs by saying, "The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues..."

The comment itself is what got Politico's attention, but her rare move into domestic policy is what caught mine. Although Mrs. Clinton prefaced her statement by saying it was her personal opinion, that made it even more interesting.

Why would she say such a thing when she's been so disciplined about her messaging? Especially with China and Korea heating up, the Middle East still simmering, and all sorts of other threats and risks across the world - why would she move to the topic of wealth disparity?

Well, here's one idea. What if she's getting ready to go back on the domestic stage? How could it possibly make sense for her or for President Obama?

FULL POST

May 27th, 2010
01:28 PM ET

What would it take to become a three-party nation?

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

American politics hasn't always been dominated by the Democratic and Republican parties.

The Democratic Party didn't arrive on the scene until 1828 and it took until 1854 for the early "modern" Republican party to enter the game.

Strangely enough, from 1792 to 1824, there was actually a "Democratic-Republican Party". That would almost be like having Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner on the same side. It boggles the mind.

Founding father John Adams famously described political parties as "the greatest political evil." Adams was a wise man.

Although Democrats and Republicans have been around for a long time, we've also had other major parties - including Federalists, Whigs, and even Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose party.

And now we have the Tea Party and/or the Conservative Party.

What are the chances that the Tea Partiers or Conservatives will form a viable third party? And if they did, where would they get their strength from? And who would they hurt?

FULL POST


Filed under: 360° Radar • David Gewirtz • Democrats • Republicans
May 4th, 2010
03:34 PM ET

When it comes to health care reform results, don't drink the Kool-Aid

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

Gewirtz: Keep an eye on insurance company practices.
Gewirtz: Keep an eye on insurance company practices.

I don't normally like to criticize other media outlets, both because it's poor professional practice and because they're generally smarter than me. But when it comes to wearing rose-colored glasses about something as important as America's health care, I feel the need to step up.

This week, The New York Times posted an editorial entitled "End to Rescission, and More Good News". This wasn't an editorial by one of their columnists, this was an official Times editorial.

In it, the editors crow about how, after getting spanked recently, insurers have decided to eliminate the practice of rescission four months earlier than the new law's September 2010 deadline. The editors describe this as early evidence that the health care reform law is starting to work.

Rescission, if you're not aware, is the practice where health insurance companies drop your coverage if you get too sick. I wrote about it in depth in The Healthcare Hostage Crisis: Insurance is no assurance last September.

Here's the thing. Each year, the American health care industry takes in considerably more than we spend on national defense. It's the single largest industry in the world - and in the history of mankind.

In other words, it's worth a lot of money.

Good PR is also worth a lot of money. Good PR deflects investigation, it reduces scrutiny, and it dampens down anger. So if the insurance companies can get some good PR for a change, it's good for their businesses over the long term.

Saying they're eliminating the practice of rescission is good PR. But our insurance industry has shown they're champions of gaming the system.

So here's my caution to all insurance company customers, members of the press, and America's political leadership: don't trust them all that much.

Keep an eye on insurance company practices. Insurance might not drop customers when they're sick, but will they delay payment? Will they decline coverage or make it harder for the patients to get care in other ways? Will they find other excuses to prevent paying out for the big procedures?

We're talking billions (and, over the longer term, trillions) of dollars here. We'd be fools to think America's insurance industry is just going to roll over and give in all that easily.

Follow David on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz.

Editor’s note: David Gewirtz is Director of the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute and Editor-in-Chief of the ZATZ magazines. He is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts and a top expert on saving and creating jobs. He is a member of FBI InfraGard, the Cyberterrorism Advisor for the International Association for Counterterrorism & Security Professionals, a columnist for The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, and has been a guest commentator for the Nieman Watchdog of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley extension, a recipient of the Sigma Xi Research Award in Engineering and was a candidate for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Letters.


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Health Care
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