Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

IRS ethics lawyer facing possible disbarment, accused of lying

And they’re just getting to this now?

A lawyer in the IRS ethics office is facing the possibility of being disbarred, according to records that accuse her of lying to a court-appointed board and hiding what she’d done with money from a settlement that was supposed to go to two medical providers who had treated her client.

The disciplinary arm of the D.C. Court of Appeals has recommended that Takisha McGee, a section manager in the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, lose her law license over the charge, which stems from a personal injury case she worked about a year before she joined the tax agency.

Ms. McGee, who recently gave a speech to the Florida bar titled “When your license to practice before the IRS is on the line,” acknowledged in a phone interview Tuesday that her own job is on the line as she fights disbarment proceedings.

“Does it keep me up worrying? Yes,” she said. “As it relates to my job, may I possibly lose it? Yes, I face that fact each and every day.”

The case could pose a credibility issue for the IRS, whose professional conduct office is the watchdog charged with ensuring all tax professionals “adhere to professional standards and follow the law.”

Despite that duty, the office has dispatched Ms. McGee to lecture professionals about the importance of maintaining high ethical standards.

Pot, meet kettle…

The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets

Smithsonian

Ultimately, the scientists won the lawsuit. The court ruled in 2002 that the bones were not related to any living tribe: thus NAGPRA did not apply. The judge ordered the corps to make the specimen available to the plaintiffs for study. The government appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which in 2004 again ruled resoundingly in favor of the scientists, writing:

because Kennewick Man’s remains are so old and the information about his era is so limited, the record does not permit the Secretary [of the Interior] to conclude reasonably that Kennewick Man shares special and significant genetic or cultural features with presently existing indigenous tribes, people, or cultures.

During the trial, the presiding magistrate judge, John Jelderks, had noted for the record that the corps on multiple occasions misled or deceived the court. He found that the government had indeed acted in “bad faith” and awarded attorney’s fees of $2,379,000 to Schneider and his team.

“At the bare minimum,”kennewick-hero.jpg__800x600_q85_crop Schneider told me, “this lawsuit cost the taxpayers $5 million.”

Owsley and the collaborating scientists presented a plan of study to the corps, which was approved after several years. And so, almost ten years after the skeleton was found, the scientists were given 16 days to examine it. They did so in July of 2005 and February of 2006.

From these studies, presented in superabundant detail in the new book, we now have an idea who Kennewick Man was, how he lived, what he did and where he traveled. We know how he was buried and then came to light. Kennewick Man, Owsley believes, belongs to an ancient population of seafarers who were America’s original settlers. They did not look like Native Americans. The few remains we have of these early people show they had longer, narrower skulls with smaller faces. These mysterious people have long since disappeared.

IRS lawyer: Lois Lerner’s Blackberry deliberately destroyed after start of congressional probe

FoxNews

Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.

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 Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”

That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

“We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News.

“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

Report Details Hamas’ Responsibility for Destruction of Gaza Strip

FreeBeacon

A declassified intelligence report released by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) this week showed Hamas terrorists have been firing rockets at Israel from heavily populated civilian areas, including churches, United Nations facilities, Red Cross stations, hospitals, schools, children’s playgrounds, and a number of other areas.

The report, which was declassified by the IDF earlier this week, includes previously unreleased statistics and military surveillance videos showing Hamas launching missiles from many of these civilian locations, which constitutes a war crime.

New evidence is presented that Hamas used several United Nations schools run by the Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) as a base from which to fire rockets and mortars.

The revelation is likely to prompt further scrutiny of UNRWA’s activities during the most recent conflict, including the discovery of multiple rocket stashes that were later returned by UNRWA to Hamas.

At least 1,600 of the 3,600 rockets fired since July 8 at Israel by Hamas originated from civilian strongholds, according to the declassified report.

This included: Three rockets fired from churches, four from Red Cross stations, 10 from amusement parks, 20 from first aid stations, 30 from U.N. facilities, 41 from hospitals, 50 from children’s playgrounds, 85 from medial clinics, 248 from schools, 331 from mosques, and 818 from areas such as graveyards and power plants.

GAO: Pentagon Broke Law in Bergdahl Case

RollCall

The Defense Department violated the law when it didn’t tell Congress before transferring five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Qatar in return for the Taliban’s release of captured Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Government Accountability Office said in a legal decision made public Thursday.

Pentagon officials “did not notify the relevant congressional committees at least 30 days in advance of the transfer,” as required by law, GAO General Counsel Susan A. Poling said in a letter to nine Republican senators who had sought the analysis.

What’s more, Poling said, “because DOD used appropriated funds to carry out the transfer when no money was available for that purpose, DOD violated the Antideficiency Act,” which “prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations exceeding an amount available in an appropriation.”

The GAO ruling provides legal backing for the position that the administration flouted the notification requirement — a view held by most Republicans and more than a few Democrats. The GAO does not address other issues that many lawmakers have raised about the merits of the exchange.

The requirement for a 30-day notice of transfers is part of the fiscal 2014 defense authorization law ( PL 113-66 ). Moreover, the fiscal 2014 Defense appropriations act ( PL 113-76 ) prohibits spending on any transfers that do not comply with the authorization law’s requirements.

Defense Department lawyers told the GAO that they believe the transfers were lawful regardless of the notification requirement, but Poling said the GAO did not accept that argument.

Pentagon officials also told the GAO that the notification requirement is unconstitutional. They argued that it “would have interfered with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. service members.”

The GAO did not assess the validity of that claim.

Padma Lakshmi and ‘Top Chef’ crew find Teamsters’ Local flavor bitter

BostonHerald

seiu-union-redefinedThe Charlestown-based Teamsters Local 25 — the crew that drives for most TV and movie productions made in Massachusetts — reportedly harassed and threatened the cast and crew of Bravo’s “Top Chef” while the show was filming in Milton earlier this summer, but a network source said the ugly incident won’t deter them from returning to Boston in the future.

“It was an isolated incident but we had a great experience overall shooting in Boston,” the source told the Track. “I don’t think it would prevent us from coming back. Boston is a great city with a lot to offer.”

According to Deadline.com, the Teamsters threw up a picket line while the hit TV cooking competition was filming at the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton. The union types were miffed because Bravo was using production assistants to drive their cars and not the union. When “Top Chef” star Padma Lakshmi arrived on the set, picketers called her a “(expletive) whore,” our source confirmed, and threatened to “bash that pretty face in.”

The picketers lobbed sexist, racist and homophobic slurs at the rest of the cast and crew for most of the day, the website reported, and when production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made. The union protest was confined to just that one day during “Top Chef’s” two-month shoot.

Local 25 president Sean O’Brien was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday, according to spokeswoman Melissa Hurley.

“As far as we’re concerned, nothing happened,” Hurley said. “This is typical of nonunion companies who often make excuses for why they won’t hire union labor.”

Wow. The White House finally used the “T” word…

James Foley Killing Was a Terrorist Attack, White House Says

The White House said Friday that the beheading of American journalist James Foley by ISIS militants constituted a terrorist attack against the United States.

“When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack — that represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen,” said Ben Rhodes, the White House deputy national security adviser.

Rhodes also told reporters that ISIS, which controls huge swaths of Iraq and Syria, poses a greater threat today that it did six months ago, in part because of ransoms it has obtained through other kidnappings.

ISIS at one time demanded $132 million for Foley’s release. The United States does not pay ransom to what it deems terrorist organizations.

He said that the White House is “taking it very seriously,” including airstrikes against ISIS, support for Iraqi and Kurdish forces and support for the Syrian opposition.

Investigations Underway, Suspected Voter Fraud In Virginia And Maryland

DailyCaller

Virginia Voters Alliance, an election integrity group, has called attention to the surprising amount of duplicate voter registrations in Maryland and Virginia, challenging the view that voter fraud is nonexistent, Watchdog reports.

According to the Virginia Voters Alliance (VVA), the state has decided to term these as inactive voters, meaning that they join the total of 43,896 Virginia and Maryland voters who are eligible to vote up until 2019.

As state officials have taken little action, Fairfax General Registrar Cameron Quinn has announced she intends to step in, although since there are an estimated 14,646 duplicate registrations, it’s a race to the clock to remove them before the voter database freezes 60 days before a general election.

“We can’t do anything with that volume of names in the time we have,” Quinn said, according to Watchdog. For Quinn, the best option is to send out letters to all of the duplicate voters in Virginia, asking them to clarify their status.

That there are 14,646 duplicate registrations between Fairfax County, Virginia and Maryland is evidence, according to President Reagan George of VVA, that voter fraud is still an active and important concern. “There are procedures in place, including a hearing before the Fairfax Board, for the registrar’s office to expeditiously remove these duplicate registrations from the online database system,” he added, in response to the timeline concerns Quinn cited moving forward.

More progress has been made on the Maryland side. The duplicate registration information is now in the hands of the state prosecutor. If a voter is convicted of voter fraud in Maryland, the voter will still be allowed to vote, as the charge itself only amounts to a misdemeanor. However, in Virginia it is classified as a false statement, which can result in a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

“What we want to know is whether these voters will have been investigated to the point that they will not be permitted to vote in the general election in Virginia,” Cathy Kelleher, president of Election Integrity Maryland, said.

This should put the fear into Barry, as well…

“As I sit here constantly hearing and watching you execute innocent men, women and children in the Middle East I chuckle. Why do I chuckle you may ask? Well let me explain something to you cowardice fools who think you are so tough behind all your propaganda videos. You are scaring a population that doesn’t know how to fight, you’re bullying the weak.

You say Islam is the religion of peace, but since when does terrorizing the innocent and beheading men, women and children constitute peace? WTF? But keep in mind, what did Saddam’s troops do when we came rolling into town? They surrendered, twice… So all your empty threats of coming to America and raising your flag over the White House amuse me more than any of you sick, sadistic bastards could ever imagine or comprehend.

In 2012 there was about 21.2 million veterans in the United States. Do you understand what that means? Let me break it down for you. That means there are literally millions of disgruntled, dysfunctional, pissed off veterans who have been dealing with years of abuse from their government stabbing them in the backs and having to watch their friends die because you Islamic extremist idiots can’t seem to act like normal human beings and stop terrorism and the violence.

It’s one thing to take over an Islamic state, but if my memory serves me correctly, I’m pretty sure we plowed through Fallujah in 4 days. Better yet, it took us about month to control your entire country. At this point, with 13+ years of war under our belts, how long do you think it would take us to do it all over again? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one. Do you really think you stand a chance on US soil? Do you really think it would be smart to poke that bear? Remember, never bite the hand that feeds you.

Remember we are armed to the teeth in the US and I can promise you this… the Geneva Conventions will not apply to you. You attack us and there will be no mercy. We will bring the righteous hand of God down upon you and crush you. The ball is in your court now ISIS. We are more than ready to arrange your so called “meeting” with your 72 virgins and send you to your “prophet” Mohamed.”

– Nick Powers

Don’t make us angry. You won’t like us when we’re angry…

Let’s call it like it is…

Money And Power: The Real Reason For The NSA Spying On Everyone

NSA whistleblower, Bill Binney, lays this out plain and simple. The real reason for all this NSA surveillance is about money and power. “Stop terrorism” is secondary. After pointing out that all of this data collection has been basically useless in stopping terrorism (as confirmed by multiple independent accounts of the NSA’s activities), the interviewer asks Binney why the NSA keeps doing it:

So why do they keep doing it?

Money. It takes a lot of money, you have to build up Bluffdale [the location of the NSA's data storage center, in Utah] to store all the data. If you collect all the data, you’ve got to store it, you have to hire more people to analyze it, you have to hire more contractors, managers to manage the flow. You have to start a big data initiative. It’s an empire. Look at what they’ve built! Have you ever looked around all the buildings they’ve built up because of 9/11?

So that’s what it’s all about, expanding the budget for the intelligence community?

If you have a problem, you need money to solve it. But if you solve that problem, you no longer have the justification to get money. That’s the way they view it – keep the problem going, so the money keeps flowing. Once you build up this big empire, you have to sustain it. … Look at the influence and power the intelligence community has over the government. They [the government] are giving them everything they want, they’re trying to cover up all their tracks and their crimes. Look at the influence and power they’re gaining.

As Clay Shirky famously noted years ago, “Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” That appears to absolutely be the case here. It’s why there’s so much FUD. The NSA and the rest of the intelligence community has built up the threat to be this huge issue that requires huge dollars as well. And once they have the huge dollars and the giant staff, they have to keep that up. So they have to create a continuing problem for which they are the solution — and since it’s all (mostly) done in secret, you get this nefarious circle (as opposed to virtuous), in which more FUD is spread, more money flows in and everyone has to justify themselves to keep it all going.

Whistleblowers like Binney and Snowden actually disrupt that circle and put a threat to the money flows.

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