Search This Blog

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Move along, nothing to see here

From Restating the Obvious, a year ago:

... RtO cannot restate the obvious about the imaginary IRS scandal. It will have to state the position as if it were new, although it really isn't. The key points are: 1. The Teadiots and conservatives were not singled out. Other, evidently leftish groups, also had to demonstrate their fitness for the 501(c)4 exemption. For example, Progress Texas. The difference is, the leftists have not been caterwauling about it. 2. What the IRS did was completely ordinary and necessary. In 2010, there was an explosion in new groups, partly, probably, because of the egregious Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case.

Now:

“Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.” — President Barack Obama when asked in February if corruption was to blame for the IRS singling out Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption for extra scrutiny.

“WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service said Friday it has lost a trove of emails to and from a central figure in the agency’s tea party controversy, sparking outrage from congressional investigators who have been probing the agency for more than a year.” — from the Associated Press, June 13.

Rrrrrright.

Progressives want the gummint to run our lives. Yet neither it, or its minions, can manage something so simple as basic backup properly.

(This isn't a pop quiz, so the correct answers are: 1) Yes, they were. 2) No, it wasn't. And for the bonus round, further proof progressives have absolutely no respect for the Constitution. From the Citizens United decision: Although the First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,” §441b’s prohibition on corporate independent expenditures is an outright ban on speech, backed by criminal sanctions. And that is just a start.)

67 comments:

erp said...

Skipper, do you believe this wasn't deliberate?

Clovis e Adri said...

There is a drawback here, for a corporation is not a person. That they should have the same "freedom speech rights" does not necessarily follows.

Also, the IRS email problem is easily solved, you just need to call the NSA and ask for their copies.

erp said...

The Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue and came to the opposite conclusion.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

The speech rights of a corporation are fundamentally those of its citizen members. The ruling simply means joining together as a corporation does not deprive citizens of their free speech rights. Otherwise you could easily say that while writers at, say, the New York Times have free speech, the NY Times itself doesn't and what it prints can therefore be controlled by the government.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Let us also note that this is in violation not only of IRS regulations, but would be considered criminally negligent by the IRS if done by a private organization. As usual, it is simply unacceptable to the MAList viewpoint that any principles, rules, or regulations that are needed for others should apply to them.

Harry Eagar said...

I would accept free speech rights for a corporation in politics if it were formed to do politics, or if it asked its owners what political things they wanted to say, but not for giant corporations with millions of owners.

Not everybody who works for the Times gets to contribute to editorials, nor does the Times claim to speak for those who don't, nor do they contribute to the finances of the Times.

You have a case in which the IRS sanctioned a taxpayer for losing records? Perhaps you do, but I cannot recall one.

I know private businesses that do not backup competently, and once worked for one that lost ALL its records in a fire at its IT contractor.

Howard said...

AOG made the point succinctly about corporations, Walter Hudson elaborates a bit more.


“Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.” — President Barack Obama when asked in February if corruption was to blame for the IRS singling out Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption for extra scrutiny.

The moment those words came out of his mouth, my thought was that the Prez was making a serious bid to go back-to-back for lie of the year.

These guys but Nixon to shame when it comes to acting as lawless thugs.

Howard said...

But wait, there's more:

Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison.

Emails obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Lois Lerner cooking up plans with Justice Department officials to talk about ways to criminally charge conservative groups that are insufficiently quiet.

...

There’s that jail thing again. They just can’t resist that totalitarian impulse against political opponents.

Other campaigns have had speech regulator attorneys — even Republicans. Trevor Potter was John McCain’s head lawyer in 2008, and he founded the now Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center. He helped cook up the McCain-Feingold speech regulations.

Scads of well-funded groups also exist to stamp down free speech, groups like Common Cause and Demos.

The new, more sinister IRS scandal is deadly dangerous to Democrats. It isn’t dangerous because bureaucrats took too long to approve tax exemption applications. It’s dangerous because it reveals the authoritarian impulses of powerful Democrats. First they tried to shut up political opposition through threats and bureaucracy. Then we learn yesterday that Democrats and leftists at the Justice Department, the United States Senate, and the Internal Revenue Service were discussing jailing political opponents.

Just wait until the American people learn more about the modern American version of history’s speech regulators.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] I would accept free speech rights for a corporation in politics if it were formed to do politics, or if it asked its owners what political things they wanted to say, but not for giant corporations with millions of owners.

Have you read the decision?

I betting not. Because if you had, you wouldn't have made that statement.

When the left says, with its usual devotion to truth and accuracy, that the ruling gives corporations the rights of persons, they (as AOG noted above) completely invert the ruling.

To clear things up for you, the ruling (among other things) notes that nowhere in the Constitution do individuals lose their individual rights when forming a corporation (or any other multi-person entity).

And then there is yet another problem peculiar to progressives, and also found nowhere in the Constitution: somehow the Constitution gives more speech rights to some corporations than others. Of course, since that gives government a veto over speech, then for progressives that is a feature, not a bug.

Apparently, we would have to depend upon you to decide for us which corporations were too giant for their members to speak without your permission, and which (like Citizens United) weren't. Again, for you, feature, not bug.

Finally, as I noted from the text of the decision, the 1A wording is as absolute as it gets.

By all means read the decision. It is quite interesting. Scalia's concurrence is brilliant. Stevens' dissent is a dissembling mess. Somehow, he gets through it without scarcely mentioning the 1A.

[Clovis:] Also, the IRS email problem is easily solved, you just need to call the NSA and ask for their copies.

Brilliant!

(BTW, I neglected to mention that your explanation of how a ring laser gyro works was very clear and concise -- thanks.)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Mr. Eagar;

No, you wouldn't because you didn't like the Citizens United decision which was explicitly for a corporation formed for a political project.

As for the IRS and corporate records, I've had it happen to me where the IRS claimed I owed a lot more tax and had I not had detailed records, I would have paid unowed taxes, which would seem to be a sanction to me. I suppose the IRS agent was simply lying to me to get more money - would that be better? Is lying here too?

Annoying Old Guy said...

Howard;

If you want another example, look at the so called "John Doe" investigation in Wisconsin and the reaction of the local left, which is to support it even if the charges are completely bogus.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] You have a case in which the IRS sanctioned a taxpayer for losing records? Perhaps you do, but I cannot recall one.

In case you didn't know, the IRS requires retaining all financial records for seven years.

IRS: We are going to audit your 2008 return.

You: Ummm ... I got my hard disk from the same place you got yours, ByByBits.com

IRS: Okay. You owe us ... 3 plus 8, carry the 9 ... wait, calculating interest and penalties ...

Either this Administration is the most corrupt in modern US history, or the most incompetent.

Although, considering it is led by the Fraudster in Chief, I suppose there is no reason to choose.

Speaking of Obama, and the CU decision, brings to mind Obama's utterly disgusting comments about it in the State of the Union speech.

erp said...


Harry: I would accept free speech rights for a corporation in politics if it were formed to do politics ...

Darned decent of you Harry.

Hey Skipper said...

[AOG:] As for the IRS and corporate records, I've had it happen to me where the IRS claimed I owed a lot more tax and had I not had detailed records ...

The IRS claimed I owed them a significant chunk o' change plus interest and penalties for my 2009 taxes.

The problem, which should have been obvious to even a graduate of an inner city high school, was that they presumed I got the stock I sold that year for free.

Fortunately, I being more competent than the IRS, and reasonably certain they would never accept the kind of story they expect us to swallow whole when it comes from them, I keep detailed records, both locally and off site.

So I was readily able to provide the data they already had on their tax forms which they cannot read. And despite the error being theirs alone, it took three laps around that particular flagpole before they backed off.

A couple previous lives ago, I was general manager at a small electrical engineering company. The IRS deposited, but failed to properly credit, a quarterly pay roll tax deposit.

They did not answer phones. Their response to letters was more letters demanding the information I had already given them in previous letters (i.e., a copy of the cancelled check they miscredited, sum of year to date payments, copies of year to date checks, etc).

They very nearly shut us down. We ended up having to pay a lawyer nearly as much as the misplaced payment to straighten up their stumbling, drooling, blinkered, pig ignorant, clinically idiotic, staff.

Even with infinitely detailed records.

And this is the IRS Harry trusts -- despite manifest evidence to the contrary -- to impartially apply tax exemptions.

This is the gummint Harry trusts to decide what political speech should be allowed to us by them (thereby getting the entire premise of the Constitution comfreakingpletely bassackwards).

This is the kind of DMV/IRS/VA ad infinitum incompetence with which Harry and all progressives hope to infuse our entire society.

And he has the gall to call them, tediously, Teadiots.

erp said...

Passport agency isn't far behind. My 16 year old granddaughter is scheduled for a three-week photographic trek through India with the National Geographic.

Her visa, the final piece of the application was supposed to arrive by FedEx on Monday. However, it was sent to somebody else with her picture on it and her passport is at the Indian embassy in New York ??? and they can't find it or the rest of the incredibly voluminous paperwork.

My daughter who would probably make most of us look slipshod, has meticulous records and started the paperwork six months ago.

If it isn't straightened out, not only will the child not be able to join the others, but the cost of the trip, $14,000 plus dollars, will be down the drain.

The excursion begins on July 3.

Harry Eagar said...

'No, you wouldn't because you didn't like the Citizens United decision which was explicitly for a corporation formed for a political project.'

You cannot be that dense. Does CU limit itself to corporations like CU?

It does not.

As I said, I have no problem with people banding together to pursue self-interest. That would be you guys.

I have a problem with handing an unelected elite power to coerce 'speech' by millions of people.

Skipper's supposed practical objection is trivial. We balance the interests.

A practice the rightwing has decided no longer works, obviously.

Hey Skipper said...

[Harry:] You cannot be that dense. Does CU limit itself to corporations like CU?

How is that relevant to the Constitution. The 1A places an explicit limit on government's ability to limit political speech: it may not. Period.

If collectivists such as yourself don't like it, then by all means pass a new amendment. But until then, you are stuck with the very clear intent and meaning of the 1A as it stands.

I have a problem with handing an unelected elite power to coerce 'speech' by millions of people.

This is where collectivists, for baffling reasons, seem to think handing one kind of unelected elite power -- corporations -- to coerce* speech is unacceptable, but handing another kind of unelected elite -- corporations -- is mighty fine.

Somehow, the New York Times falls into one pile, but not the other.

Of all the places where collectivist criticism of CU -- and there are a great many -- is bollocks, this is perhaps the paramount one. You wish to hand to politicians the power to decide which kind of corporation a corporation is.

Given the IRS's predations, and politicians' abiding desire to squelch all criticism, what could possibly go wrong?

In a few hours I'm heading to a place where the government has just that power: China.

When I get there, 2/3 of the internet will be off limits, and what is left will be achingly slow.

Why? Because a bunch of big gummint dullards have appropriate themselves the power to decide what people get to see and read.

That is where progressives want to go. Having been there, I want none of it.

*coerce: a perfect example of leftist language abuse. Of course, speech can do no such thing.

Worse, progressives are immune to the fact that plenty of times -- e.g. Cantor -- money guarantees nothing.

I'll bet you still haven't read the CU decision.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Speaking of being dense, I would also like an explanation for how the CU decisions allows an "unelected elite to coerce ‘speech’".

And since Eagar is always asking for examples, here is one exactly on Skipper's point about how to use labeling to achieve bias in a putatively neutral regulation. If you dig in you find that "political advocacy" websites were blocked, it just a matter of deciding which websites to label that way. That's Eagar's vision for control our of political system, it seems.

erp said...

We [fascists] balance the interests.

A practice the rightwing [fascists] has decided no longer works, obviously.


Absolutely. It won't be long now when the final clamp is tightened and when it is, I doubt you'll like it because foot soldiers like you won't be among the elite.

BTW - you might want to supply your definition of "rightwing" (as I've requested upteenth times) because using the word as you do, doesn't make sense.

Annoying Old Guy said...

As for the IRS and records, The Economist disagrees, along with Megan McArdle.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Also, let us note the targeting of Tea Party organizations is not the only crime at issue.

Harry Eagar said...

You misread McArdle.

I get that rightwingers have decided that balancing the interests is bad policy, presumably because it would allow Obama to accomplish government. But our politicians did it for centuries until recently.

I see my crack about unions went right over your heads.

erp, I have defined rightwinger for you more than once, most recently as 'Pat Boone.'

erp said...

Pat Boone is a definition of rightwinger? I don't know much about pop music or culture, so I googled him up. The Wikipedia entry is astonishing! Did you write it?

Annoying Old Guy said...

No, I didn't misread McArdle. Let me quote her, since you obviously misread her. I've bolded the key part for you so you don't miss it again.

"t is only plausible if the IRS is managing its IT systems so badly that it is very easy to lose critical records -- or for abusive employees to destroy the evidence of their misbehavior. A private company under investigation that responded to regulators, or a judge, with this sort of explanation rather than producing the requested documents would rightly expect to be handed an adverse judgment or a whopping fine."

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
The speech rights of a corporation are fundamentally those of its citizen members.
The ruling simply means joining together as a corporation does not deprive citizens of their free speech rights. Otherwise you could easily say that while writers at, say, the New York Times have free speech, the NY Times itself doesn't and what it prints can therefore be controlled by the government.
---

Quod erat demonstrandum. I can't see a counter-argument to that.

Actually, it never occurred to me before that, while other corporations would have their speech silenced, Media Corporations would of course keep producing their opinions nonetheless. It does not look to make sense such discrimination. I've paid attention to Stevens contrary opinion, and took it to heart, without ever realizing that flaw. Gosh, am I dumb or what...

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

I am appalled by your description of the IRS problems in that company in your engineering times.

Really, that could well have happened down here, but in the USA? That's another thing you don't learn in movies...

Now, as if that was not news enough, the link AOG presented on schools having political bias in their firewalls is... amazing. I guess that must be some exceptional and rare thing (or so I hope), but not even here such a thing would happen.


Sometimes I may have complained here about the chaos we live in down here. Maybe I never mentioned the upside of it: in chaotic places it may be hard to organize things for the best, but it is equally hard to organize things for the worst. So, even in our most fascist times, we were still a paradise of freedom compared to well organized places that went bad (think Germany and Nazism).

In other words, no political group here would be competent enough to delete speech of the contrary political spectrum in schools. Or even by use of the IRS. That's a tiny bit of comfort I take on the usual incompetence of our politicians.

erp said...

Clovis, it isn't only the politicians. There is a leftwing, conspiracy, is too mild a word. Practically everyone in a position of authority is on the same page. That is academe, and I mean probably 98% same with the media. You won't get hired in any school from nursery to graduate school if you admit to being conservative. In my long life I never met a conservative or heard anything but the party from any of the probably hundreds of people I met throughout the school years of my three kids in three different states and certainly none in the major institutions of higher learning with which I've had contact.

We conservatives may be in the majority, but we won't win any elections because at this point voter fraud is rampant and dirty tricks are the rule.

If a conservative seems to be a threat, they can always find somebody, man or woman, who will "reveal" that that person, male or female, abused him or her ... and on it goes.

I don't believe anything I read in the major media outlets and here's an example of why.

Harry Eagar said...

And yet Pat Buchanan, a rightwinger if there ever was one, got his start as a newspaperman.

But you just go on making things up, erp, if it makes you feel better.

Clovis, a newspaper is exactly the sort of business set up to be political that is unexceptionable.

Until recently, almost all of them were closely, even individually held.

The move of newspaper companies into the stock market apparently changed the rules (and the rghtwingers have jumped on that), but it did not really alter anything about the way news is gathered and sold. (The situation was different among magazine publishers.)

It is also true, contrary to erp's fantasies, that newspapers have been overwhelmingly right and preponderantly far right for the entire history of the US.

So have the academies. If she knew the first thing about the history of her own country, she'd realize that.

erp said...

Here are a couple more reasons I distrust anything in the popular media: Global Warming and the NYT.

Thank G*d the UK still has a press worthy of the name.

erp said...

Buchanan may be a rightwinger aka fascist, but he's not a conservative, so don't bother with that old canard.

Now that we have your attention explain that cartoon and also how unions can target one company and not another. You must be proud of their techniques. Tell Clovis all about them.

The last major conservative paper closed down 50 years ago.

erp said...

The academy has been leftwing since intellectuals at the beginning of the 20th century became enchanted with the Soviets, but it was balanced by those who had their heads on straight. Our cultural revolution of the 60's started the leftward trend until by the 80's, those kids got into the academy and now it's game over.

Annoying Old Guy said...

So, Mr. Eagar, you say that newspapers aren't objective sources of information, but politically oriented entities? You also write that most of the "right wing" newspaper failed, implicitly leaving primarily left wing ones. I think some one else may have made a claim about current newspapers being politically oriented with a left wing view, which IIRC you strongly disputed. Can we now take that claim as generally accurate?

Clovis e Adri said...

Harry,

---
Clovis, a newspaper is exactly the sort of business set up to be political that is unexceptionable.
Until recently, almost all of them were closely, even individually held.
---

Maybe that was different in past, but as far as I can see, today newspapers are only one more Corporation you need to buy in order to set up a political empire for your group.

So every strong political group, be it Rightwing or Leftwing, has their own connections with those kinds of Corporation. Within this logic, why only Corpotarions named "newspapers" should be able to influence elections within 30 days of the ballot (because the CU decision was only about this little matter)? That's ensuring an artificial monopoly for those Media Corps., and I need to be coherent here with my general disliking of monopolies.

I still believe that the general argument ("Corporations are collections of people, hence should have the same speech rights") is not tight-proof. Corporations are only one more abstract level of organization and society usually allows itself to regulate such things with little complaint about constitutional rights.


Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

I went for the trouble of checking out the two last links you provided, on global warming and Walmart versus NYT.

I do not think they are good examples of media manipulation, to say the least.


The first relies on some unknown blogger full of wild accusations. I don't know about his temperature graphs, but his accusation of Ghana being bought to give Germany an easy time is surely bogus (had he waited the game to finish in a 2x2 draw, maybe he would realize so too). Maybe he was atempting sarcasm, though it did not look like so.

Back to his graphs, I find it amusing how you process your beliefs Erp. I can't see the point of you both siding with his criticism of people buying into "experts talk", and at the same time believing his own graphs without checking his links and the scripts he made to do them. Or better yet, I see the point: you buy into anything that quacks the way you like it.


Now, to the red lines on Walmart's answer to the NYT, much of their reply would qualify more as propaganda than arguments. Cutting to the most important point: they responded with a politifact link to counter Dems accusations they would be draining on taxpayers, due to a large share of their employees dependence on welfare. If you go for the link and read the politifact piece, you conclude the exact number given by Dems may be wrong, but there is no doubt the welfare dependance is widespread. In fact, the real defense Walmart had is that "the progressive policies intended it to be so", which is ironically what yourself repeats here everyday Erp.

So they modeled their business to take full advantadge of progressive policies, all the while mocking any progressive NYT columnist that may dare to criticize them. Chutzpah.

erp said...

What Walmarts did was correct the statements in the Times article to reflect the facts.

Walmarts is not the issue here. They've gone over to the dark side and are now among the crony capitalists, so will no longer serve their public if they can get away with it and make it much harder for others who want to compete by using our tax payer supplied tax breaks, exemptions, subsidies, etc.

The issue is that NYT article is full of lies, half-truths, etc. -- you know, their usual fare.

Make what you will of the other link. It has as much value as all the other data you believe to be true.

... and BTW - all my incoherency on the cartoon/unions is very coherent to those who are champions of them, like Harry. That's why he has studiously avoided speaking to the issue. There is no way he can describe what happened during those fateful years in a way that makes the union thugs of the time look anything but the thugs they were.

Annoying Old Guy said...

All;

another variant on the theme that giving federal agencies the power to label gives it the power to regulate politics. Eagar isn't worried about this because (as with the Old Media monopoly on political argument damaged by the CU case), he thinks he will be on the controlling side.

erp said...


Just another delusion. None of the foot soldiers will be on the controlling side and neither will be many women other than paramours.

It'd almost be worth it to see those who prostituted themselves tossed under that bus.

Hey Skipper said...

Now that I no longer in the collectivist paradise known as the People's Republic of China, where Blogger is completely blocked (because, dontchaknow, they are balancing interests) …

[Harry:] Clovis, a newspaper is exactly the sort of business set up to be political that is unexceptionable [sic].

[Clovis:] Maybe that was different in past, but as far as I can see, today newspapers are only one more Corporation you need to buy in order to set up a political empire for your group.


Clovis for the win.

Two words: Jeff Bezos.

Who makes into metaphorical road kill the very same collectivists who can't be bothered to read the CU decision.

[Clovis:] I still believe that the general argument ("Corporations are collections of people, hence should have the same speech rights") is not tight-proof.

Your command of English is really quite impressive, even to the point of using idioms and frequently getting them right. In this case, however, you meant "bullet proof".

Hey Skipper said...

In recent news, it seems the IRS bought a half-dozen hard drives from ByByBits.com


Hey Skipper said...

Oh, wait. I'm sorry, really I am. That link is the Reader's Digest version. My humble, abject, apologies.

Fixed.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

Thanks for the English correction.

Taking back a former topic of ours, have you read the memo and its repercusions?

Given the general state of compentence showed by your govt. lately, as wtinessed by those multiple hardware failures, how comfortable are you they are doing it right in this matter too?

As for that text you've sent on the matter, it did make a strong case for use of force in such situations, yet it never answered the most important point IMO: how can we rest assured such power will be used with restraint in future? In particular, supposing it gets common to drone-strike terrorists in your mainland too, how comfortable are you they will never choose targets due to political calculations? I am sure the IRS thing must be a great relieve at that matter, isn't it?

Clovis e Adri said...

Talking about English mistakes:

repercusions -> repercussions

relieve -> relief

I should read it again before hitting the send button.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] Taking back a former topic of ours, have you read the memo and its repercussions?

This boils down to a couple considerations: 1) Was Alwaki an enemy combatant? 2) If yes, then does the fact that he was a US citizen give him immunity from lethal force that he would not have otherwise enjoyed?

I don't hear anyone denying the first consideration.

So the real point of disagreement is on point two. Here the NYT implicitly concludes that Alwaki does get that immunity, without ever making the argument. I don't know if the editorial board was so convinced of their conclusion they didn't think an argument necessary, or understood that doing so would be extremely inconvenient.

They wish to impose civil legal constraints upon acts of war, yet they never spend a syllable on explaining why that should be so. Indeed, the memo the NYT criticizes includes a "public authorities justification" based on the "lawful conduct of war".

Somehow the NYT used police and fire response as analogies, yet completely excluded mentioning that seemingly salient point.

IMHO, progressives are among the most intellectually lazy people on the planet, right alongside religious zealots. How else to explain a such a glaring omission?

(Progressives have a striking tendency to link to something that seemingly proves a pet progressive notion. Near as I can tell, they expect people to their assertions on face value, because following the link almost always demonstrates that progressives are either lying, lazy, or stupid. Think Progress and MSNBC routinely pull that trick, as our own Harry Eagar's fawning reiterations have shown.)

Further compounding their eliding pivotal considerations, they conjure up capturing Alwaki. Well of course they do. As progressives, they have absolutely no skin in the game. Indeed, they rather give the impression they care rather less about the lives of the special forces guys that would be tasked to get Awlaki than they do about Awlaki himself.

... yet it never answered the most important point IMO: how can we rest assured such power will be used with restraint in future?

I don't know how to assure anything in the future, not even something so minor as completing this sentence.

As much as I think Obama not particularly intelligent, and particularly prone to fraud, I'm not worried this administration using armed conflict justifications outside legitimate armed conflict.

Absent some plausible scenario where the US can't bring normal law enforcement into bear within the US, and instead relies upon armed conflict justifications, then I think invoking such a possibility amounts to a slippery slope argument.

I think the potential ideological corruption of the IRS is very, very, serious. But that, as bad as it may be, is completely within the realm of civil society.

Perhaps I should dump the qualifiers. The IRS is paying a $50,000 fine for leaking donor lists for a conservative organization.

That is extremely nasty stuff, as Brendan Eich has learned.

I should read it again before hitting the send button.

I'd need scientific notation to count the number of times I've said that very thing to myself.

Clovis e Adri said...

Skipper,

---
IMHO, progressives are among the most intellectually lazy people on the planet, right alongside religious zealots. How else to explain a such a glaring omission? ["lawful conduct of war"]
---
I guess that assuming every anti-terrorist operation is within "lawful conduct of war" is the point you take for granted, while many others do not. So that may well justify the omission.


---
As much as I think Obama not particularly intelligent, and particularly prone to fraud, I'm not worried this administration using armed conflict justifications outside legitimate armed conflict.
---
Neither was I implying anything happening in the present administration. Such erosion of rights takes its toll slowly but inexorably.


---
I think the potential ideological corruption of the IRS is very, very, serious. But that, as bad as it may be, is completely within the realm of civil society.
---
It couldn't be more than that, since the IRS does not decide over life and death. Yet, other parts of your government presently does, with little (if any) oversight of other independent bodies. What makes you think they are insulated from "potential ideological corruption" is what needs some explaining, least you want to be accused of practicing the some "glaring omission" too...



---
Perhaps I should dump the qualifiers. The IRS is paying a $50,000 fine for leaking donor lists for a conservative organization. That is extremely nasty stuff, as Brendan Eich has learned.
---
Some 10 years ago you could buy almost the entirety of our IRS database from some shady dealers in some crowded streets where they sell pirate copies of anything you may wish.

I nowadays believe the best system is the Scandinavian one, where your IRS declaration is public and free for anyone to see.

Hey Skipper said...

[Clovis:] I guess that assuming every anti-terrorist operation is within "lawful conduct of war" is the point you take for granted, while many others do not. So that may well justify the omission.

But they have never attempted to make that point. This editorial had a glaring, and completely unmentioned omission, and it was the one most pertinent to the subject at hand. Clearly the NYT Editorial board, like Harry here, counts on people not availing themselves of source information.

What makes you think [gov't organizations allowed to use deadly force] are insulated from "potential ideological corruption" is what needs some explaining ...

I'm not sure where you got that notion; guaranteeing the future is a fool's errand.

My point is that so long as the government distinguishes between situations that fit the definition of war, and those that to not, then your slippery slope simply does not apply.

Congress has authorized the use of military force in fighting Islamic terrorists (is there any other kind these days?).

The NYT could, but did not, argue that such use of force is always illegal, or it can argue that it is legal against all legitimate targets except those who happen to be American.

But it didn't. Just like the rest of the Left: in thrall to their own ideas, and too intellectually lazy to make an argument rather than trot out "conclusions" from on high.

I nowadays believe the best system is the Scandinavian one, where your IRS declaration is public and free for anyone to see.

Perhaps, but that isn't the issue here.

The IRS disclosed the donor list of a conservative political group to a collectivist political group.

The heck with $50,000. There are some IRS as*holes that need be to in prison.

Bret said...

Regarding the emails, I have to admit I have mixed feelings.

At my company, the rules are as follows:

1. Don't ever do anything illegal, unethical, or immoral.

2. If you're going to do something that might possibly be interpreted as being illegal, unethical, or immoral (and it had better not actually be so) to anyone on the entire planet, do not discuss it in emails.

3. Do not save emails.

4. We do not backup emails on our servers so once they're deleted, they're gone.

I believe emails should be private and confidential information, just like phone calls and in-person meetings.

Why should emails be treated any differently?

erp said...

Bret, aren't emails a way to do business, send and receive information, etc. If they're not saved or backed up, what happens to that record?

I retired before email was even a gleam in anyone's eye, so I really haven't had any experience with them in a work environment, but a lot of our personal, legal & financial stuff, etc. is done via email and I have backups of my backups. In fact, I just bought a 1TB portable drive so I could retire my gaggle of flash drives.

Bret said...

erp,

We use email all of the time and yes, it is important for business communications.

But you sort of bring up another problem with emails. They're sort of, a little bit, legally binding, but not really, depending on the lawyers, etc., so one has to be careful what you put in them in that sense as well.

Yet another problem is privacy concerns. Accidentally attach something that you didn't have a "right" to attach and that can get you into trouble.

Emails are a minefield from what I can tell and so my point is to be very careful what you put in them and to delete them when they have served their purpose.

No other form of communication is as dangerous as the email.

Hey Skipper said...

Emails are a minefield from what I can tell and so my point is to be very careful what you put in them and to delete them when they have served their purpose.

In large organizations, email is the primary way of keeping an account of who said what to whom and why. They form an audit trail just as much as financial records do, and need keeping for similar reasons.

When I worked in a Pentagon policy job, the only way to proceed was on the basis of decisions that had been made before I got there, and that would be true for the next person at that desk.

Back then (early 1990s) email was sort still in its infancy. Instead, we had communications on paper, and preserving them was important.

That the means are different doesn't change the ends.

Bret said...

Hey Skipper,

There're several differences between emails and memos.

Memos require far more effort than emails and as a result, I think, were generally more carefully thought out. An email response might take 20 seconds and in the heat-of-the-moment you can say stuff you'll regret later. By the time you've got the memo all typed up, and signed, and put in the envelope, and in the departmental mail, and delivered, you might have a change in heart and it's possible to recover.

Memos are slower and harder to distribute as widely and as a result the volume per person was just not as large.

The memo often goes to a single person and that person has the only copy of it. It isn't necessarily backed up anywhere unless you did a CC to file on it. Emails are forever now (well, not at my company), even when intended to be a private communication between two people.

I think of emails as far more conversational than memos and therefore much more like a telephone conversation or texting than a memo.

Clovis e Adri said...

Bret,

I don't see emails as much different from this very blog, which is also a conversational experience.

If you are so weary of emails in your job, how come you maintain this library of your thoughts in the last 10 years?

Bret said...

Clovis,

To me, a blog is different than email because a blog is specifically a publishing mechanism. I know ahead of time that everything I write is completely public. Each post is one person pushing opinion onto the world, or at least anyone who will listen.

An email is generally private and often between two people or a relatively small group of people. At its core, when you write an email, you don't expect the entire world to have access to it.

And that's the problem. Email is either private or it's not. I believe that the vast majority of people expect their emails to be private. That's apparently an unrealistic expectation and that's why my company has the email policy it does. It's never been a problem so far, but it apparently could be at any time.

It stifles communication a bit, but so be it - everyone knows the rules and has to play by them.

Annoying Old Guy said...

I think one can have a debate about the wisdom of preserving corporate emails, but it is clearly the policy of the IRS and is also the policy they (and the judicial system) expect from corporations.

Bret said...

aog,

My understanding is that my policy of NOT preserving emails is perfectly legal as long as I'm not being sued or investigated and as long as I make it clear what my policy is. I believe that's true for any corporation.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Even with Sarbannes-Oxley? I'll have to check on that. In any event, the non-retention was in violation of IRS regulations.

Hey Skipper said...

[Bret:] Memos require far more effort than emails and as a result, I think, were generally more carefully thought out. An email response might take 20 seconds and in the heat-of-the-moment you can say stuff you'll regret later.

At both the Pentagon and Ford, that was not my experience.

They provided a finer grained detail of when who said what to whom. In large organizations, that is always important.

Further, working in a place where emails are kept forever, that is a pretty strong incentive to ensure they are appropriate and correct.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Another personal experience with the IRS and lost records.

Hey Skipper said...

In any event, the non-retention was in violation of IRS regulations.

Federal Law.

I'm sure Harry will soon tell us how that, too, is a Tea Party fantasy.

Hey Skipper said...

According to Harry, this never happened:

The Federal Election Commission recycled the computer hard drive of April Sands — a former co-worker of Lois Lerner’s — hindering an investigation into Sands’ partisan political activities, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Sands resigned from the Federal Election Commission in April after she admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activities on federal time and at federal facilities.

The twist is that Sands also worked under Lois Lerner when the ex-IRS agent — who is currently embroiled in a scandal over the targeting of conservative political groups — worked at the FEC’s enforcement division.

In a letter to FEC chairman Lee Goodman, Oversight chairman Darrell Issa and committee member Jim Jordan laid out Sands’ partisan activities and asked for records pertaining to the recycling of her hard drive and of the agency’s records retention policies.

Sands took part in a heavily partisan online webcam discussion from FEC offices and also operated a Twitter account with the handle @ReignOfApril which were sent during Sands’ normal working hours.


Yep, nothing to see here, move along.

Harry Eagar said...

You want to make something of lost business records? Bank of America.

I one worked for a woman whose business (in the same building as the one I worked for, but separate) lost ALL its records in a fire at its IT contractor. ALL.

So far as any evidence I have seen goes, the data practices at the part of the IRS where Lerner worked were deplorable but not nearly as bad as he average for US businesses.

Annoying Old Guy said...

If I could stop doing business with the IRS the way I stopped doing business with Bank of America, that would be relevant.

erp said...

Bank of America is Obama et al.'s piggy bank. What sane person not in on the scam does business with them?

Harry Eagar said...

'If I could stop doing business with the IRS the way I stopped doing business with Bank of America, that would be relevant.'

I think that is the most clueless post you have ever put up. The people I am talking about did not choose to do business with BofA and were not able to stop doing business with them. Because their records kept getting thrown away.

Where have you been the past 9 years?

Harry Eagar said...

'You also write that most of the "right wing" newspaper failed, implicitly leaving primarily left wing ones.'

There hasn't been a leftwing daily in America since the Star closed in 1949.

Annoying Old Guy said...

You seem to think everything I write now is the worst I have ever written. It's nice to be setting personal records.

Again, you fail to provide any cites or evidence. So whatever.

Hey Skipper said...

This didn't happen.

erp said...

IRS tapes that were deliberately destroyed have been "found," and Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the [Lerner's] Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.