Why the left is trying so hard to shut up 501c4 groups...

Because in every other category of tax-exempt groups with some level of allowed political activity, the Left is dominant. They raise more money via 501c3s (often by funneling money through government grants, such as ACORN did), and more money via unions (especially public employee unions). Where they can obtain donor names, they can pressure donors to right-leaning groups or causes to stop donating or start publicity campaigns with charges of bigotry, such as we see continually in the gay-marriage debate.

Fri Jul 25 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obamacare flunks GAO audit for fraudulent benefits

Now, however, the problem has expanded from failed enrollments to successful enrollments that shouldn’t have made it. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a small test of the site, which the Obama administration claims is functional now, to see whether the system could prevent fraudulent enrollments. In twelve attempts, the GAO succeeded in eleven fictitious enrollments.

If there were proper protections against fraud, the system would be unable to redistribute wealth to illegal immigrants. So, instead we get a system that lacks the technical means to detect fraud and fails over to human beings who are unwilling to detect fraud. Meanwhile it's kicking people off the doctors they were promised they could keep, and it isn't even saving money.

A lot of people believed in Obamacare as something that would help them, or their friends, or their family, or "the poor" generically. They were wrong. They were, in fact, lied to. Slowly, as the pleasant promises of fork-tongued politicians give way to the cold hard truth of reality, they are realizing it.

Fri Jul 25 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

So,why would the IRS inspector general shut Koskinen down?

Koskinen claimed that IRS inspector general J. Russell George told him “not to do any further investigations or interviews” with employees pertaining to hard drive crashes, and that’s why he did not voluntarily provide a key witness to congressional investigators. But Koskinen later admitted that the inspector general never told him not to cooperate with Congress.

Assuming Koskinen is being honest about having been told that, the only reason I can see for such a request would be if Koskinen's interviews and investigations were actually interfering with the IG's own investigation. Such as using "interviews" to intimidate witnesses into shutting up, or taint their memories of what actually happened with after-the-fact insinuations.

Fri Jul 25 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Landmark Legal Foundation asks judge to sanction EPA for destroying emails

Landmark Legal Foundation today asked Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth to sanction the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages that may have helped document suspected Agency efforts to influence the 2012 presidential election.

The "attempt to influence the election" involved withholding proposed regulations until after the election took place, something that seems a relatively minor point. What is more serious is that continuing pattern of this administration in seeking to conceal and refusing to release internal communications to the public, even though the public is legally entitled to see them under the Freedom of Information Act.

Thu Jul 24 18:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missing the point on IRS bonuses

Some idiot in the Washington Post is objecting to the House eliminating funding for IRS and VA executive bonuses:

These legislative actions demonstrate the willingness of Congress to renege on long-standing practices and promises to federal employees, promises enshrined in law. For example, the section of the U.S. code regarding senior executives says: “To encourage excellence in performance by career appointees, performance awards shall be paid to career appointees.”

I wonder what color the sky is on his world. If he thinks that the IRS and VA senior executives have been performing with excellence, it's got to have different chemistry or physics.

Besides, the IRS can use the money to upgrade their email system to one that can actually respond efficiently to Congressional investigations.

Thu Jul 24 17:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

I've been saying from the beginning...

... that Lerner's hard drive should have been recoverable. As it turns out, technical experts at the IRS agree with me. It's the nontechnical management team who have been claiming that no data could be recovered -- and refusing to seek outside help in performing that recovery.

I could accept not wanting to seek outside help to recover relatively insignificant email messages from an IRS employee, given that there are thousands of IRS employees and many of them will experience computer problems at one time or another, and handing the hard drive to an external contractor to recover data could risk exposing confidential taxpayer information. Such concerns are not unreasonable. But most of those employees are not management, making important decisions on IRS policy that need to be preserved. Most of them did not have a hard drive "crash" shortly after receiving a demand from Congress for their emails pursuant to an investigation. Most of them were not already involved in a lawsuit (the Z Street lawsuit) that should have placed a litigation hold on all of Lerner's email traffic.

Even then, I could understand not trying to recover her emails. It's possible there was a misunderstanding about whether the data was recoverable. It's possible someone said "Hey, we can get everything back from the email server", and then no one ever did. It's possible that a series of boneheaded decisions were involved.

But when the number of computer crashes by parties linked to Lois Lerner has advanced from just Lerner, to a current total of "less than 20" but definitely at least 9, I get suspicious. When the IRS tells us the backup tapes are not recoverable, and then has to backtrack on that, I get suspicious. When IRS management produces "contemporary" emails showing that "every effort" had been made to recover Lerner's hard drive and then has to later admit that not only was the data, originally described as "unrecoverable", actually "probably recoverable" with outside help that IRS management refused to authorize, and at one point actually described as "recovered", I get suspicious.

Thu Jul 24 16:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Jim Jordan versus IRS Commiss Koskinen

Thu Jul 24 15:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Trey Gowdy versus IRS Commiss Koskinen

Thu Jul 24 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Reason has some ugly quotes from police officers

They are commenting on the death by choking during the course of an arrest of a man suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes. Read the whole thing, but I wanted to call out some specific parts that seemed significant to me:

Anytime a person says "I'm tired of it. It stops today." That will almost always end with the use of force. He made that decision, not the Police. The Police must effect the arrest and rise above any resistance.

This guy is capitalizing "Police" like I would capitalize "Constitution" and other people would capitalize "God". That makes me really uncomfortable. Furthermore, resisting arrest should not automatically result in a death sentence, particularly if resistance is passive or with non-lethal means.

I could care less how the public perceives us when we're in the right and if YOU were any kind of law enforcement professional, you would understand that officer safety is FAR more important than public perception.

The only authority a police officer has comes from the public. If the public do not think he is in the right, based on accurate and complete information, then he is not in the right, and the correct response is to adjust his behavior to conform to the public standard or find a different line of work.

Again if Mr walking heart attack had simply put his hamburger shovels behind his back, he wouldn't have had a heartbattackmfor over exerting himself. The NYPD did absolutely nothing wron. Tomthe guys slamming these NYPD officekrs, I and many here wouldn't want any of you guys around us on a critical,incident. Hopefully you guys are desk jockeys.

All typos, misspellings, insults, grammatical errors, missing letters, and so on in the above are preserved intact from the comment Reason posted. Frankly, I don't want the guy who posted that around me in any "critical incident", though he doesn't seem likely to be a success at a desk job either.

I have nothing against responsible law enforcement officers who remember that they are public servants rather than public masters. I only wish there were more of them.

Thu Jul 24 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The wrong way to do immigration enforcement

Chris Burg describes an Arizona border patrol checkpoint that apparently harasses people living in the region on a daily basis. The enforcement action described ("All US Citizens here?" "US Citizens") is completely ineffective, but still a major inconvenience; imagine being stopped for speeding on your drive to work every single day. That would get old pretty fast.

Running this sort of blanket checkpoint is frankly unAmerican in addition to being about as pointless as the TSA's groping. I have to question whether it is being done deliberately to cause Americans to become fed up with border enforcement.

Stop people entering the country at the border, including measures to delay crossing until an interception can take place. Use drone surveillance technology along the border to identify illegal crossers, follow them (or their vehicles), and intercept them. All of this can be done without harassing ordinary people who are going about their daily lives without crossing borders.

Thu Jul 24 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Koskinen admits IRS has found backup tapes

Each time this guy gets caught in a lie, he takes a single step backwards and invents a new lie:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know "how they found them" or "whether there's anything on them or not." But he said the inspector general's office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any "recoverable" material.

The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes "no longer exist because they have been recycled."

It also seems that the IRS knew about missing emails in February rather than April:

According to Kane, it was confirmed on February 4 that Lerner’s hard drive had crashed... “Despite this awareness, Commissioner Koskinen failed to mention any problems with Ms. Lerner’s emails during his March 26, 2014, testimony before the committee,” the letter said. “Likewise, Ms. Duval failed to mention any issues with the IRS producing all of Lois Lerner’s emails during a meeting with bipartisan committee staff on April 4, 2014.”

As each lie and cover up attempt is revealed, they retreat back to the next line of defense. They will delay and delay and delay to avoid actually producing Lerner's emails until after the election, or possibly never.

Thu Jul 24 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Drug house robbery sting operations

Radley Balko opens the discussion, and Dave Hardy joins in:

One judge (I think it was Posner) has pointed out that the effect of these stings is to protect drug stash houses, which seems a bit paradoxical.

It's only paradoxical if you assume the cops aren't involved in the drug trade themselves.

Thu Jul 24 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Philadelphia loses concealed-carry privacy lawsuit

They are paying $1.4 million for improperly releasing applicant information.

Thu Jul 24 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lies, damn lies, and misrepresentations

“The IT professional in question told investigators that he was unable to recover the data on Lois Lerner’s hard drive – contrary to the GOP’s assertion that he said the data was recoverable. What’s more, he told investigators that he did not think Lerner’s hard drive crash was deliberate,” said Josh Drobnyk, a spokesman for the committee’s Democrats.

The IT professional said he could not recover the data, and recommended that the drive be sent to an external data recovery specialist who probably could recover the data.

What's interesting is that the old story was that Lerner requested the IRS technical staff spare no expense in taking whatever options available to recover the data; the new story is that the IRS declined to send the drive to an external contractor who likely could recover most of the data.

As for the claim that the technician "did not think Lerner's hard drive crash was deliberate", he has no possible way of knowing that and no reason to suspect it. That sort of hard drive crash could happen accidentally by dropping the laptop with the drive turned on (or throwing the laptop, or hitting it with a hammer...) and there's no real way to tell which one happened. What makes it suspicious is the timing, plus the lack of effort to recover the data combined with the claim that such efforts had been made.

Oh, and then there's the fact that the drive was listed as recovered at one point:

Additionally, committee investigators going through the IRS’s internal IT tracking system apparently found one reference to Lerner’s hard drive as being “recovered.” IRS employees, the release said, “were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry.

Yeah, I bet they weren't able to confirm or deny anything about that until they talked to their bosses.

Wed Jul 23 16:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Just how much data does the government keep when you travel?

An Ars Technica editor finds out, and doesn't like the answer.

Wed Jul 23 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Beretta moving from Maryland to Tennessee

They are citing proposed state-level gun control legislation as the reason for the move:

"During the legislative session in Maryland that resulted in passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013, the version of the statute that passed the Maryland Senate would have prohibited Beretta U.S.A. from being able to manufacture, store or even import into the State products that we sell to customers throughout the United States and around the world. While we were able in the Maryland House of Delegates to reverse some of those obstructive provisions, the possibility that such restrictions might be reinstated in the future leaves us very worried about the wisdom of maintaining a firearm manufacturing factory in the State," stated Jeff Cooper, General Manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp.

They had originally planned a more limited move while keeping the existing facility, but have since decided to drive home the lesson: even proposing gun control can cost your state jobs.

They aren't moving the administrative staff. Yet.

Wed Jul 23 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

To borrow the only wise words of Joe Biden...

... this is a big fucking deal:

Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner’s computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was “scratched,” but data was recoverable. In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data. That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable – including multiple years’ worth of missing emails.

We were told that the IRS had tried internally to recover the data, even sending the drive to their "criminal investigation" unit. We were told that Lerner instructed the IT staff to spare no expense. But now the truth is coming out -- not only was the drive only "scratched" (a condition which typically allows for data to be recovered), the IRS refused to use outside experts to recover the data.

And it gets better.

A review of internal IRS IT tracking system documents revealed that Lerner’s computer was actually once described as “recovered.” In a transcribed interview on July 18, IRS IT employees were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry “recovered.”

So even though we have... presumably faked, now? ... "contemporaneous" emails saying that Lerner wanted the data back very very badly and that it was just too bad that the computer had to be sent to the hard drive graveyard because no data was recovered... they actually DID recover data.

And then they threw it away. Or they claim they threw it away.

We still haven't seen any IT tickets indicating disposal of the asset, and the people who would have written those tickets were transferred around the same time.

It's clear the story is starting to unravel. Congress should keep pressing for technical details and interviewing, under oath, the people who actually do the work.

So how do you scratch a hard drive? If you're talking about a laptop, dropping it on the floor usually works, especially if the computer is actually running and accessing the disk.

Throwing it across the room will work just fine, too.

Stomping on it, hitting it with a hammer -- well, the hammer might leave a hard to explain mark on the outside.

Wed Jul 23 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Another NSA whistleblower speaks out

John Napier Tye is speaking out to warn Americans about illegal spying. The former State Department official, who served in the Obama administration from 2011 to 2014, declared Friday that ongoing NSA surveillance abuses are taking place under the auspices of Executive Order 12333, which came into being in 1981, before the era of digital communications, but is being used to collect them promiscuously. Nye alleges that the Obama administration has been violating the Constitution with scant oversight from Congress or the judiciary.

Read the whole thing.

Wed Jul 23 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lawyer defending IRS in court once worked for Lerner

This isn't necessarily a big deal, but it has three possible implications:
1) The obvious potential conflict of interest if the lawyer was himself implicated in targeting;
2) The personal interest in covering up activities related to his prior mnaager and friends;
3) The possibility that the lawyer himself would be a witness to some of the improper activity.

It's not really a big deal until one of those things actually shows up, though it would have been smarter for the IRS as an agency to find a lawyer without even the appearance of potential impropriety for this case.

Wed Jul 23 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

11 million new Democrats just in time for the midterms

Regardless of how Congress handles his request for more border resources, President Obama is moving toward a historic—and explosive—executive order that will provide legal status to a significant number of the estimated 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. One senior White House official says that while "what's happening at the border will provide atmospherics for the [president's] decision," it won't stop him from acting on the undocumented—probably before the midterm elections. The resulting collision over Obama's expected action could lastingly define both the Democratic and Republican parties for the burgeoning Hispanic population.

Obama does not have the authority to legalize illegal aliens by executive order. But that won't stop him from announcing it, and essentially zero states have significant citizenship verification requirements in place for ballot access. Even in voter ID states, if you have a driver's license and are in the polling book you are usually just fine. To get in the polling book, usually all you need to do is check a box saying you are a citizen. No one actually verifies that you are. Arizona tried to put in a proof-of-citizenship requirement, and lost in the 9th Circuit (appeals pending, last I checked). Colorado is handing out driver's licenses to illegal aliens.

Wed Jul 23 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did the NSA give the IRS tea party intel?

“For example,” Binney said in response to a question on how the NSA can use data and metadata to identify potential threats, “if you started to communicate with people involved in the tea party … and [the NSA] saw you were talking to somebody who was involved in setting up 501(c)3s, then they could alert the IRS to target you if you came in with a request.”

“Do you think the NSA actually did that?” Klein asked his guest. “Do you think the IRS partnered with the NSA potentially, to target the tea party?”

“I already know they have access to it,” Binney responded. “One of the answers that came from some of the testimony in Congress by people who are being asked those questions kind of implied that that’s exactly what they were doing.”

I don't know whether I believe this or not.

Tue Jul 22 16:35:26 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Freedom of the Photograph

We have freedom of the press, but our founders neglected to mention the freedom to photograph -- and that's making it easy for "security" to shut down photographers, even when they have obtained permission in advance that they don't actually need to take pictures of public buildings.

Tue Jul 22 15:35:26 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

TSA doubles fee on plane travel

Sure, slightly more than doubling a fee of $2.50 to $5.60 isn't that big of a hit, especially on plane tickets costing a hundred bucks minimum and significantly more than that on average. But in the aggregate, it will bring in over a billion dollars -- and not all of the money will be going to the TSA. Apparently it will be shuffled to other areas in need of funding.

It's just a shell game to bring in more revenue while claiming to hold the line on no new taxes. And it's disgusting.

Tue Jul 22 14:35:26 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Missouri gun rights amendment will be on the ballot

The ballot is August 5th and will be a positive step forward for gun rights in Missouri.

Tue Jul 22 13:35:26 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Did you think the Obama administration was surprised by the flood of illegals?

The Obama administration, in July 2013, quietly introduced a new regulation that critics say will dramatically increase Washington’s power over local zoning laws in every city and town that accepts federal block grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And it’s the federal grants that could be used as a hook in the nose of these cities, forcing them to house illegal immigrants against their will.

You would be wrong. They planned for it a year in advance. They are funneling the money being spent on feeding, housing, and caring for the health problems of the illegal aliens to their cronies.

Tue Jul 22 12:35:26 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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