July 10, 2015

GOP Was in the Senate Minority and Opposed OPM Head Archuleta’s Nomination; AP Blames Data Breaches on Inadequate Funding

Of all the media memes ever attempted, the one blaming Republicans for the fact that now-resigned Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Aruchleta was confirmed is high on the list of the most ridiculous ever. A reasonably close runnerup is the idea that Congress failed “to adequately fund OPM.”

Matt Balan at NewsBusters covered CNN’s ridiculous tweeted claim that “Republicans acknowledge … they didn’t properly vet Archuleta’s qualifications.” It’s as if only Republicans — who, I must remind the media herd, were in the minority in the Senate in late 2013 when she was confirmed and who mostly opposed her by a 35-8 margin — were the only ones responsible for vetting this woman. Why isn’t the press asking Harry Reid why his Senate Democratic Party majority didn’t do its job? Far more fundamentally, did the president’s responsibility for selecting competent people vanish when Barack Obama was elected?

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April 13, 2015

NY Times Editorial Board Melts Down in Deceptive Rant Over GOP’s ‘Racist’ ‘Insurrection’

On Saturday evening (published in print on Sunday), the editorial board at the New York Times had an epic meltdown over the Republican Party’s allegedly shabby treatment of President Barack Obama.

Although its title claimed that the GOP had entered “A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks,” nothing truly new seemed to prompt this rant. Its primary focus was the letter 47 GOP Senators led by Tom Cotton of Arkansas sent to Iran’s leaders. But that was a month ago, on March 9. The Times’s take on that letter was so embarrassing that it tried to keep curious readers from actually seeing it, forcing them to click through to two other items before deigning to expose them to its almost bland but legally and constitutionally accurate text.

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February 22, 2015

Lenovo’s Consumer Betrayal: A National Security Betrayal Too?

Via Zero Hedge, covered in several other places:

Lenovo Group, the largest computer manufacturer in the world, has made a rather stunning admission that they have been pre-installing tracking software on their PCs.

The tracking software is made by a company called Superfish, which apparently paid some “very minor compensation” to Lenovo for putting the software on people’s computers.

The Superfish program is a total disaster.

It has image recognition algorithms which essentially monitor what a user is looking at… then suggests relevant ads based on what it thinks you might like.

This is not only REALLY high up on the creepy scale, it also completely destroys Internet security.

the tracking software basically fools a web browser into believing that a connection is secure when it’s not… all for the purpose of pushing more ads in your face.

This scheme is so powerful that even if users uninstall the Superfish software, the security breach still remains.

This is so flagrant I have to imagine that even the NSA is shocked.

After its initial approach of being completely unapologetic and dismissal, Lenovo is now groveling for forgiveness.

Sadly, I think there’s reason to doubt that it’s only about ads.

Yes, Lenovo is majority publicly-held. But it’s also a China-based company. It’s not unreasonable to expect that it would be receptive to “requests” for “cooperation” from the Chinese government run by the Peoples Army to engage in security-related mischief that goes well beyond ad placement.

One clue that there may be a lot more to this than meets the eye is the defiant “initial approach” noted in the final excerpted paragraph.

November 21, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘It’s Long Past Time to Restore Voters’ Privacy’) Is Up

Filed under: Activism,Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:14 am

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Sunday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

November 4, 2014

Daily Caller: Jeanne Shaheen Conspired With White House and Lois Lerner On IRS Targeting Scandal

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:38 am

Wow:

Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was principally involved in a plot with Lois Lerner and President Barack Obama’s political appointee at the IRS to lead a program of harassment against conservative nonprofit groups during the 2012 election, according to letters exclusively obtained by The Daily Caller.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) did not want to publicly release 2012 correspondences exchanged between the IRS and Jeanne Shaheen at her personal Washington office: the agency delayed releasing the information to a major conservative super PAC multiple times, even threatening to see the super PAC in court, according to emails. 

“The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue,” IRS chief counsel William J. Wilkins, a White House visitor described by insiders as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo to “Senator Shaheen” on official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.

The memo, obtained by TheDC, briefed the Democratic senator about a coordinated IRS-Treasury Department plot to target political activity by nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups. The plot was operating out of Lois Lerner’s Tax Exempt Government Entities Division.

“These regulations have been in place since 1959,” Wilkins wrote. “We will consider proposed changes in this area as we work with Tax-Exempt and Government Entities and the Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy to identify tax issues that should be addressed” in designing new regulations and “guidance.”

“I hope this information is helpful,” Wilkins wrote. “I am sending a similar response to your colleagues. If you have questions, please contact me or have your staff contact Cathy Barre at (202) 622-3720.”

Shaheen got the inside info from the IRS, making it clear she was the point person in a group composed of six close Democratic colleagues including Chuck Schumer and Al Franken, who joined with Shaheen in quietly writing a letter to then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman expressing their concern about new nonprofit groups engaging in political activity in 2012.

The Tea Party movement actually started in New Hampshire in late 2007.

Maybe the Tea Party movement in New Hampshire can finish Jean Shaheen.

September 14, 2014

For Those Who Minimize the Reach of the Surveillance State

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:24 am

From WaPo’s Volokh Conspiracy blog:

… (It was an NCIS agent’s) “standard practice to monitor all computers in a geographic area,” here, every computer in the state of Washington

… The Navy … peeked into every computer in the State of Washington using the peer-to-peer file sharing program, “Gnutella.”

How much of this is routinely done without anyone’s knowledge, let alone oversight, outside of the government agencies involved?

Lots.

July 24, 2014

IBD on IRS BS

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:59 am

From a Wednesday editorial at Investor’s Business Daily (HT Doug Ross; link added by me; bolds are mine):

… On Monday, the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers, which deals with such technical questions regarding computer hardware and record retention on a regular basis and which has reacted with the same incredulity as the rest of us, released a list of six basic questions the IRS needs to answer.

1. First, what happened to the IRS’ IT asset managers who seemingly vanished during this critical period? IAITAM , which runs the only worldwide certification program for IT asset managers, says its records show that at least three IRS IT asset managers were moved out of their positions at the time of the May 2013 inspector general’s report that detailed the agency’s targeting practices. What can they tell us?

2. The hard drives in question are federal property and cannot be destroyed or recycled without proper documentation. “Proper IT asset management requires clear proof and records of destruction when drives are wiped or destroyed,” notes IAITAM President and founder Barbara Rembiesa. Where are these records?

3. IAITAM asks if the drives were destroyed by an outside IT asset destruction unit, a not-unusual practice among federal agencies. If so, it adds an entire second layer of documentation of the destruction of these assets, including who approved it.

4. What are the IRS’ specific policies and procedures on document retention when hard drives are damaged or destroyed? In most large private-sector organizations, hard drives and computers are just not tossed in the dumpster or dropped off at the local recycling center until recovery of the lost data is assured.

5. What is the disaster recovery policy at the IRS, an agency responsible for our most sensitive tax information, particularly in light of its statistically implausible number of hard drive crashes?

6. Where are Lerner’s emails from her BlackBerry device and what is on the enterprise server? Some have even suggested Lerner may have off-loaded her emails to what is known as a USB flash drive and still has them in her possession, another federal offense.

The IRS is counting on the general public’s relative ignorance of computer technology to believe its smoke-and-mirror cover-up.

But in the age of the iPad and iPhone, even a child knows that something does not compute here.

July 19, 2014

Nanny State on Steroids

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:22 am

Michelle Obama’s overreaching attempts to get people to “eat healthier” have gotten creepy:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to “nudge” Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.

The agency commissioned an “expert panel” to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.

The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

… “These strategies, in particular, draw on principles of behavioral economics to nudge consumers towards healthier choices,” the report said.

The panel came up with six preferred strategies: discount coupons for SNAP recipients; rebates of up to $60 for healthy purchases on EBT cards; buy one get one free deals for SNAP recipients; a targeted marketing plan to promote healthy food; a USDA loyalty card; and new specialized shopping carts.

… The cart would be color-coded, physically divided, and have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy “threshold” it would congratulate the customer.

There is no escaping people who want to treat us all like two year-olds, is there?

July 7, 2014

Juan Williams on the IRS Scandal: ‘There’s No News Here!’

This goes back to a week ago Saturday morning, but given the content and that it occurred on a weekend, it really needs more visibility.

On June 28, Juan Williams put in an appearance on a Fox News “Cashin’ In” show panel which discussed the IRS scandal. Host Eric Bolling discussed poll results revealing that three-quarters of Americans believe that the IRS deliberately destroyed emails, and overhwelmingly want to see people involved in destroying the emails to be held accountable. The video after the jump, accompanied by Mediaite coverage containing key quotes, will show that Williams not only insists that he is completely unimpressed with the newsworthiness of the story, but also believe that those who believe it to be important are engaging in a “paranoia conspiracy” (Warning: Those who are on blood pressure meds should make that they have taken them and have allowed enough time to pass for them to achieve their proper effect; bolds are mine):

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May 21, 2014

Teacher Involved With Common Core Development: My White Privilege Motivated Me

At a website called Girard at Large in Manchester, New Hampshire, proprietor Richard Girard videotaped and reported on the proceedings of a debate held at St. Anselm’s College on the Common Core educational standards — something you’ll almost never see anyone in the establishment press deign to do.

Girard appropriately described proponents’ descriptions of and arguments in favor of the standards “revealing,” “enlightening,” and “well, frightening.” Perhaps no statement made during the two-hour event Monday contained more of all three adjectives than one made by Dr. David Pook, a teacher at The Derryfield School in Manchester, about what motivated him to get involved with having input into the English Language Arts standards. Brace yourself (HT BizPac Review; specific audio segment is at this link; bolds are mine throughout this post; May 22 Update: Mr. Pook’s comment was slightly revised at the original link for accuracy; that revision is now reflected below):

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May 16, 2014

IRS Targeting Scandal: One-Year (Plus Several Days) Summary

Via Gateway Pundit, at a post which identifies George Soros-funded groups involved in encouraging/demanding that the IRS go after Tea Party and conservative groups —

The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved (links are in original):

Richard Nixon never got in the neighborhood of doing any of this. Barack Obama’s White House and the IRS out of Washington has orchestrated all of this.

May 8, 2014

Contemptible: AP Story Again Keeps Lois Lerner’s Name Out of Headline, Opening Grafs

Once again, as it did a month ago in two separate stories, the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, left the name of Lois Lerner, the former IRS official who ran its section on tax-exempt organizations, out of its headline and opening paragraph. This time, for good measure, AP reporter Stephen Ohlemacher didn’t reveal Lerner’s name until Paragraph 3.

Before getting to Ohlemacher’s journalistic malpractice, let’s take a look at the how the Politico handled the same story of Congress holding Ms. Lerner in contempt yesterday, and at one example of how the AP itself covered the story of another controversial figure’s anticipated congressional appearance in the 1980s.

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March 31, 2014

AP’s Word For Today’s System Crash at HealthCare.gov: ‘Stumble’

The Obamacare-loving press spares no effort in excusing and minimizing the scheme’s operational, systemic, and law-based failures.

Six months after launch, HealthCare.gov still isn’t functioning as intended. In fact, as of 8:47 a.m. this morning, the time stamp on an Associated Press report (also saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) by chief wire service Obamacare defender Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, the web site wasn’t functioning at all. Did the AP reporter tell readers the system had crashed, or was down? Oh heck no (bolds are mine):

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February 26, 2014

Latest PJ Media Column (‘Destructive Missions, Partially Accomplished’) Is Up

It’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

February 17, 2014

Rove Rips Former Ohio Gov. Strickland, Whose Admin Invaded Joe the Plumber’s Privacy, for Criticizing Christie

Filed under: Privacy/ID Theft,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:29 am

Democrat and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who has been “shadowing” Chris Christie while taking every possible opportunity to accuse New Jersey’s GOP Governor of either “lying” or of being “the most inept, incompetent chief executive imaginable,” tried his schtick yesterday morning on Chris Wallace’s Fox News show.

Unfortunately for Ted, establishment Republican and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove was there to do what the press should have been doing, namely calling out his blatant hypocrisy. But the clever Strickland managed to get in the last word. Viewers not familiar with the details of how Strickland’s Buckeye State government went after Joe the Plumber after his preelection encounter with Barack Obama in October 2008 will likely believe that the argument ended in a standoff. That situation needs to be remedied.

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