Archive for Corruption

It’s There if You Want to Find It

And you’re telling me Lois Lerner’s emails are lost forever? What do you think I am, an a**hole?

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Sitting incongruously among the hangars and laboratories of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley is the squat facade of an old McDonald’s. You won’t get a burger there, though — its cash registers and soft-serve machines have given way to old tape drives and modern computers run by a rogue team of hacker engineers who’ve rechristened the place McMoon’s. These self-described techno-archaeologists have been on a mission to recover and digitize forgotten photos taken in the ’60s by a quintet of scuttled lunar satellites.

The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) has since 2007 brought some 2,000 pictures back from 1,500 analog data tapes. They contain the first high-resolution photographs ever taken from behind the lunar horizon, including the first photo of an earthrise (first slide above). Thanks to the technical savvy and DIY engineering of the team at LOIRP, it’s being seen at a higher resolution than was ever previously possible.

“We’re reaching back to a capability that existed but couldn’t be touched back when it was created,” says Keith Cowing, co-lead and founding member at LOIRP. “It’s like having a DVD in 1966, you can’t play it. We had resolution of the Earth of about a kilometer [per pixel]. This is an image taken a quarter of a f***king million miles away in 1966. The Beatles were warming up to play Shea Stadium at the moment it was being taken.”

In 1966 Lois Lerner would have been joining the local chapter of SDS, I believe.

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We May Be A-Holes, But We Ain’t No…

I can’t say it, but while we’re on the subject of bodily orifices:

An email exchange released by a Republican-led House committee investigating scrutiny by Lerner’s unit of GOP political groups seeking tax-exempt status suggest she’s no fan of conservative talk radio.

“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP … The right-wing radio shows are scary to listen to,” read an email to Lerner from an unidentified sender in November 2012 as Congress was probing the matter.

“Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many a**holes,” Lerner replies.

“And I’m talking about the hosts of the shows. The callers are rabid,” another email to Lerner, apparently from the same person, shows.

“So we don’t need to worry about alien terrorists. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner responds.

I don’t have a problem with the language. I hear it every day out and about, sometimes from flesh and blood. But I do have a problem with who said it. And what she could have done to my…orifice by any number of her jack-booted thugs. No wonder she tried to claw the files off her hard drive with her gnarled talons.

And it’s not just conservatives:

Emails uncovered by the House Ways and Means Committee show that the State Department was involved in the IRS’s attempt to deny tax-exempt status to Z-Street, the pro-Israel organization founded and run by AT contributor Lori Lowenthal Marcus, based on Z-Street’s pro-Israel positions that conflicted with Obama administration policy. This is known as “viewpoint discrimination,” and is strictly illegal.

In an April 16, 2009 email, Treasury attache to the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem Katherine Bauer sent IRS and Treasury colleagues a 1997 JTA News article sent to her by State Department foreign service officer Breeann McCusker. The subject was whether 501(c) groups buying land in Israel’s disputed territories were engaged in “possible violations of U.S. tax laws.” The article chronicles the controversy and whether “ideological activity” can “legally be financed with the help of U.S. [tax] dollars.”

“Thought you might find the below article of interest—looks like we’ve been down this road before,” Ms. Bauer wrote. “Although I believe you’ve said you can’t speak to on-going investigations, I thought it was worth flagging the 1997 investigation mentioned below for you if it can be of any use internally when looking for precedence [sic] for the current cases.” A Treasury spokesman declined comment on Ms. Bauer’s behalf.

The “current cases” would have been applications like Z Street’s in which Israel-related activity was apparently being scrutinized for its ideological and policy content. The government says Z Street got special scrutiny because it was focused in a region with a higher risk of terrorism, which is hard to believe and in any case doesn’t explain all of the IRS’s behavior.

It doesn’t cover, for instance, why one questionnaire we’ve seen from the IRS to another Jewish group applying for tax-exempt status asked, “Does your organization support the existence of the land of Israel?” and “Describe your organization’s religious belief system toward the land of Israel.” No matter the answers, they should not affect the processing of an application for 501(c) status. The State-IRS emails reveal a political motivation for IRS scrutiny that gives Z Street powerful evidence for its suit charging IRS bias.

This is now a scandal that involves a conspiracy between different departments of the federal government, strongly implying a coordinating effort senior to the Departments of State and Treasury. Which would be…the White House.

This is so incriminating that a full court press is being invoked to delay further discovery. The lawsuit filed by Z-Street in 2010 is the furthest along of any judicial inquiries into the IRS scandals. And the IRS is doing everything possible to slow it down:

On Monday the IRS filed an appeal of the judge’s decision denying its motion to dismiss Z Street’s case. The government says the action stops all discovery while the appeal is pending, a process that could take months or even years. By filing the appeal on the last possible day, the Justice Department is running out the clock on discovery during the remainder of the Administration.

This is a whole lot of effort to prevent discovery in a case that is not even seeking damages.

Maybe you believe this is nothing, or very little. Maybe you think nothing of an IRS Commissioner signing into the White House hundreds of times during the period in question. Maybe you think it was entirely normal for the revolutionary Tea Party spirit of 2010 to have evaporated into thin air by 2012. And maybe you think this “most transparent administration ever” contents itself with critics and alternate viewpoints. You can think that, it’s a free country.

But here in Literalville, we have a saying: whatever you’re smoking, I want some.

PS: And maybe you think that a regime that persecutes pro-Israel nonprofits and that insists on an armistice that leaves a genocidal gang of killers in power truly “has Israel’s back”. Lay off that [bleep], man. It’s scrambling your brain.

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CSI: IRS

Okay, enough already. The Lois Lerner Show has jumped the shark:

House investigators said Tuesday that the computer hard drive of ex-agency official Lois Lerner — a key figure in the IRS targeting scandal — was only “scratched,” not irreparably damaged, as Americans have been led to believe.

GOP-led Ways and Means Committee investigators, in their quest to recover missing Lerner emails, learned her hard drive was damaged but recoverable by talking to IRS information-technology experts, after the government originally refused to make them available, according to the committee.

“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” said committee Chairman Dave Camp.

The Michigan Republican said the new information also raises more questions about potential criminal wrongdoing at the IRS because the committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical hard drive was recycled and potentially shredded.

In addition, learning that the hard drive was only scratched also raises questions about why the IRS refused to use outside experts to recover the data.

“In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data,” the committee said Tuesday in a release.

House investigators said they also are trying to determine whether the scratch was accidental or deliberate.

“If the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened, we could put an end to this,” Camp said. “Our investigators will not stop until we find the full truth.”

Then it’s been renewed for another season. Because there’s no way the Obama regime is going to come clean.

Democrats say there is no scandal and that Republicans are trying to turn it into an election-year issue.

That’s what happens with lies and evasions: they never go away.

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Doing Well By Doing Bad

I’ve finally found the one person who benefited from the jihadist entity known as Gaza:

[W]hile most of the Gaza population tries to deal with the difficulties of daily life, it seems that one sector at least has had few worries about their livelihoods – Hamas leaders and their associates.

Someone who has benefitted financially is the former Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. Before 2006 and Hamas’ shocking electoral win and subsequent dominance of the Palestinian government, 51-year-old Haniyeh was not considered a senior figure in Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But according to reports in the past few years, Haniyeh’s new-found senior status has allowed him to become a millionaire. This is an unusual feat, given that he was born to a refugee family in the al-Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

In 2010, Egyptian magazine Rose al-Yusuf reported that Haniyeh paid for $4 million for a 2,500msq parcel of land area in Rimal, a tony beachfront neighborhood of Gaza City. To avoid embarrassment, the land was registered in the name of the husband of Haniyeh’s daughter. Since then, there have been reports that Haniyeh has purchased several homes in the Gaza Strip, registered in the names of his children – no hardship, as he has 13 of them.

At least with regards to his eldest son, it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree, given his arrest on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with millions of dollars in cash in possession, which he intended to take into Gaza.

According to sources in Gaza, Haniyeh’s wealth, like others high up in Hamas, came primarily from the flourishing tunnel industry. Senior Hamas figures, Haniyeh included, would levy 20 percent taxation on all of the trade passing through the tunnels.

No wonder they want a ten-year truce: business has been good. For the rest of Hamastan, however, not so much:

Do I have to pay Haniyeh a fee for using that image of a tunnel? Sue me, fatso.

PS: The more one learns about the invented species palestinias, one comes to realize that their support among the Left has nothing at all to do with themselves, but everything to do with their sworn enemies: Jews. Hamas and the Left share that.

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Total Wow.

Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, considering run for Mayor

To get a sense of the President of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, watch this (probably not in the office):

Nice, right? Just the sort of person you want in charge of your child’s education. So maybe Mayor is a better title for her?

Karen Lewis’ potential bid for Chicago Mayor has moved beyond just a thought — it’s an “organic,” growing movement, the fiery Chicago Teachers Union president said.

Lewis revealed on Monday she already has an unofficial exploratory committee in the works, a chairperson has been named and her camp is working to have a representative in each of the city’s 77 neighborhoods.

Since an Early & Often poll released Sunday put Lewis at a 9-percentage-point advantage over Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Lewis’ phone has been ringing non-stop, she said.

“They’ve been coming from all over the country,” Lewis said in an interview Monday. “Facebook is blowing up. Twitter is blowing up.”

Lewis lashed out at Emanuel camp’s initial response to the poll published by the Sun-Times political portal. An Emanuel political spokesman called the poll numbers “laughable.”

“There are a variety of ways to look at these problems, but laughable isn’t one of them,” said Lewis, the mayor’s top critic during the closing of 50 schools. “That is how people feel — that they’ve been laughed at and ignored.”

Lewis said she’s still not made a final decision on whether to enter the contest.

But she is already thinking about strategy. That involves drilling down to the community level on resident concerns and having a representative for each of the city’s 77 official community areas.

Perhaps she can be President of the United States someday. Foreign leaders can imagine her in jail, sitting on one of those little toilets.

- Aggie

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Smidgen of Corruption Update

Another red line is crossed:

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Jonathan, let me bring you in now. [...] Presidential overreach, executive orders they think sort of undercut Congress, but you know, you’ve been following this, their complaints for the last few years, really. Legally speaking, is there any kind of a case here?

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW: Oh, I think there is a case against the president for exceeding his authority. I happen to agree with the president on many of his priorities and policies, but as I testified in Congress, I think that he has crossed the constitutional line.

KORNACKI: Where has he crossed it? Like what specific issue has he crossed it on?

TURLEY: When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There’s no license for going it alone in our system, and what he’s done, is very problematic. He has shifted $454 million of the ACA from appropriated purpose to another purpose. He’s told agencies not to enforce some laws, like immigration laws. He has effectively rewritten laws through the active interpretation that I find very problematic. While I happen to agree with him, I voted for him, I think this is a problem.

One broken law is a tragedy. A million is a statistic.

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Lois, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do!

Seriously, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry (from laughter):

Congressional investigators have uncovered emails showing ex-IRS official Lois Lerner targeted a sitting Republican senator for a proposed internal audit, a discovery one GOP lawmaker called “shocking.”

The emails were published late Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee and pertain to the woman at the heart of the scandal over IRS targeting of Tea Party groups.

The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012.

“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to Exam?” she wrote.

Her colleague, though, pushed back on the idea, saying an offer to pay for his wife is “not prohibited on its face.” There is no indication from the emails that Lerner pursued the issue any further.

America’s Madame Defarge has blood dripping from her knitting needles. But was she acting alone?

“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., said in a statement.

“At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights.”

Grassley, incidentally, is a member of the Senate Finance Committee — which is one of the congressional panels investigating the IRS over the targeting scandal.

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., told Fox News that the revelation that Lerner tried to scrutinize Grassley over an invitation is another example of the administration using the agency as a “political tool, as a weapon.”

The liberal media is weepy that they’re going to tear down the parking garage where Deep Throat met with Bob Woodward. I just hope that IRS HQ is declared a historic building. A site of such epic corruption needs to stand as long as Rome’s crumbling columns have (the only other site of equivalent venality).


The Corps of Rome in Ashes is entombed,
And her great Spirit rejoyned to the Spirit
Of this great Mass, is in the same enwombed

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Grim Milestone Watch

The Democrats debate whether anyone died under their administration of the VA health care system.

Good thing they have so many to choose from:

More than 1,000 veterans may have died in the last decade because of malpractice or lack of care from Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers, a new report issued by the office of Sen. Tom Coburn finds.

The report aggregates government investigations and media reports to trace a history of fraudulent scheduling practices, budget mismanagement, insufficient oversight and lack of accountability that have led to the current controversy plaguing the VA.

The VA has admitted that 23 patients have died because of delayed care in recent years, but the report, titled “Friendly Fire: Death, Delay, and Dismay at the VA,” shows many more patient deaths have been linked to systemic issues affecting VA hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S.

Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican and physician, says that if the VA’s budget had been properly handled and the right management had been in place, many of these deaths could have been avoided.

“Over the past decade, more than 1,000 veterans may have died as a result of VA malfeasance,” said Coburn, a three-time cancer survivor who says the government should offer veterans access to private hospitals.

“Poor management is costing the department billions of dollars more and compromising veterans’ access to medical care,” he said.

Twenty-three or over a thousand—how about we split the difference and say at least 512?

To which we in Massachusetts have contributed our small part:

Two psychiatric patients at a veterans facility in Brockton received no regular evaluations of their condition for years, part of a “troubling pattern of deficient patient care” that federal investigators say they have confirmed at veterans health care facilities nationwide.

One of the neglected patients at the Brockton Community Living Center who had been admitted for “significant and chronic mental health issues” was living in the 106-bed facility for eight years before he received his first psychiatric evaluation, investigators reported.

The other unidentified patient, although he was classified as 100 percent mentally disabled due to his military service, had only a single “psychiatric note” placed in his medical file between 2005 and 2013.

To be sure, these problems predate the Obama administration. But when you claim an issue as personal to you, as then-Senator Obama did with the VA system, you ought to be held to account.

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See No Evil

How the IRS investigates itself:

REP. TREY GOWDY (R-SC): You have already said multiple times today that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing. I want you to tell me what criminal statutes you have evaluated.

JOHN KOSKINEN, IRS COMMISSIONER: I have not looked at any.

GOWDY: Well, how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there’s not criminal wrongdoing if you don’t even know what statutes to look at?

KOSKINEN: I have seen no evidence that anyone –

GOWDY: Well, how would you know what elements of the crime existed? You don’t even know what statutes are in play. I’m going to ask you again. What statutes have you evaluated?

KOSKINEN: I think you can rely on common sense that nothing I have seen –

GOWDY: Common sense. Instead on the criminal code, you want to rely on common sense? No, Mr. Commissioner, you can shake your head all you want to, Commissioner. You have said today that there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and I am asking you what criminal statutes you have reviewed to reach that conclusion?

KOSKINEN: I reviewed no criminal statutes.

All you had to do back in the Bush years was say Donald Rumsfeld’s or Dick Cheney’s names and people would respond with spittled fury or deranged laughter. They became punchlines without jokes. Yet Lois Lerner can go underground; this ghoul, Koskinen, can lie and prevaricate before Congress; Hillary Clinton can shrug off terrorist murders; Eric Holder can be held in contempt (not just mine, but Congress’s); and on and on.

These people should be held in the stocks in a public square, and pelted with overripe produce.

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Is This Not the Face of the IRS?

Unless this is the face of the IRS:

But this is the true face of the IRS:

Incredulous lawmakers tore into IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over the agency’s claims that subpoenaed emails of ex-official Lois Lerner and other employees are gone forever because a hard drive was destroyed.

“This is unbelievable,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., angrily told Koskinen. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”

Koskinen responded, “I have a long career. That’s the first time anyone’s said I don’t believe you.”

“I don’t believe you,” Ryan shot back again.

Earlier this week, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he’s been told that Lerner’s hard drive was simply destroyed.

“They just got rid of it,” he told Fox News. “It really looks bad and I’ve got to say it looks like a cover-up to me.”

Congress asked to see the emails, they claim the computer crashed. Congress asks to see the computer, they say they junked it. Next, they’ll subpoena Lois Lerner again, and the Obama syndicate will say she was aboard the missing Malaysian airplane. It’s time for the IRS to disappear. If Lois Lerner can get a new computer free of incriminating emails, we should be able to get a new revenue collections agency free of Stasi hacks and ghoulish crooks. Seems to me.

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Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

After 22 terms in Congress, he was just getting the hang of it!

Over his 40-year career, Rep. Charles B. Rangel, “the congressman from Harlem,” became one of best-known political figures in American politics and a defining voice in the nation’s black politics.

The longest-serving member of the influential New York delegation, Rangel was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus and over time came to represent one of the standards of Democratic liberalism.

But the campaign for the Democratic nomination, to be decided in a primary Tuesday, has turned into a debate about whether Rangel has stayed too long in office and whether he still best represents the interests of the district.

Through immigration and redistricting, what is now New York’s 13th Congressional District — a seat held by Rangel since 1971 and seen as the center of New York’s modern black political power structure — has seen a seismic demographic shift from majority black to majority Hispanic.

Hoping to seize on those demographics as well as the perception of Rangel’s waning political power in the years since he was formally censured by Congress in 2010 for ethics violations, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat is mounting a spirited challenge to the 22-term incumbent — a rematch of the 2012 race in which Rangel topped Espaillat by just 1,000 votes.

Don’t the Dominicans know how much Charlie Rangel loves their Republic?

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), who was until his recent troubles one of the House’s most powerful members, was found guilty Tuesday of breaking 11 separate congressional rules related to his personal finances and his fundraising efforts for a New York college.

Those charges pointed to a collection of infractions related to four central elements of the case: that Rangel improperly used his congressional staff and official letterhead to raise seven-figure donations from corporate charities and chief executives for a college wing named in his honor; violated New York City rules by housing his political committees in his rent-controlled apartments in Harlem; did not pay taxes on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic; and did not properly disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal financial assets.

We all gotta go sometime, Charlie, even corrupt Democrats. What a world, what a world.

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I Know Where Lois Lerner’s Emails Are!

Buried with Jimmy Hoffa! Once we find the highest profile victim of a mob hit, we’ll find the highest profile target of the Obama criminal family.

Start with the north end zone of Giants Stadium.

The top Republican on one of the House committees investigating the IRS targeting scandal reacted furiously late Wednesday to a report that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s hard drive had been recycled, making it likely that many emails sent to and from Lerner prior to the summer of 2011 will never be recovered.

The Politico report cited two anonymous sources, as well as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who confirmed that the Senate Finance Committee had been told that the hard drive had been discarded.

“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. “Official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.”

Are there no Woodwards among the press anymore? I’d take even one Bernstein. Heck, I’d accept Geraldo Rivera in a towel if he just asked the basic questions. Like, I don’t know, what kind of idiots do you think we are? Check that: we know what kind of idiots they are:

That was from the New York Times, if you didn’t catch it. You think someone like that is going to accuse Obama of Nixonian tactics? Even Nixon destroyed only 18 minutes.

Anyway, as any and all IT professional has already told us, there ought to be multiple back-ups, indeed possibly hard copies, of everything on Lerner’s computer. One could even access the computers of all of Lerner’s common correspondents to piece together an email trail. If the Iranian revolutionaries could piece together the secrets of the US Embassy in 1979, how hard could it be today if we really wanted to know?

PS: I am reminded of my favorite Doonesbury strip from over 40 years ago:

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