Category Archives: “Intelligence”

Broke? No. Incompetent, yes…

The IRS Is Still Using Windows XP, Has A Cybersecurity Staff Of 363 People

In the last few years, tax return fraud has become a serious problem at the state and federal levels, thanks to the growth of e-filing and security holes in IRS and third-party tax software systems. Is the IRS to blame for this trend? There are really only two options: the IRS is either broke or incompetent.

CNN puts it in slightly different terms, asking whether the agency is broke or unable to allocate the budget that it has to protect all of the data that it collects about us. The agency has 10% fewer employees than it did five years ago, but processes more tax returns and also has even more work since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, processing health insurance information and assessing penalties when needed.

While maybe better technology could help the IRS finish more work quickly, there’s a catch: they still have computers running 13-year-old Windows XP, and even their fraud-catching software is two decades old. The agency employs fewer cybersecurity staff than it used to, even as one would think the demand would go up as e-filing has become more popular.

At the same time, the “incompetent” thing might also apply: a new anti-fraud program was supposed to be finished three years ago, and is late and over-budget. Congress is still punishing the agency for what some members of Congress consider “lavish” spending in recent years on things like conferences and training videos. However, when it’s innocent taxpayers who end up with their identities stolen and their tax refund sent to the other side of the world, that punishment is affecting the wrong people.

They need to lay off the Vegas parties…And upgrade their freakin’ equipment!

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Government, IRS

Christie to pull New Jersey from Common Core

TheHill

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he will pull his state out of Common Core, a move that could bolster his standing with grassroots Republican primary voters opposed to the education standards.

In an afternoon speech at Burlington County College in New Jersey, Christie said the program, which was implemented under his predecessor, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), has “brought only confusion and frustration.”

“It’s now been five years since Common Core was adopted and the truth is that it’s simply not working,” he said, according to remarks provided by his office. “It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents and has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work. Instead of solving problems in our classrooms, it is creating new ones. And when we aren’t getting the job done for our children, we need to do something different.”

Christie’s decision will be viewed in light of his political ambitions. He’s considering running for president but trails badly in the polls as he seeks to recover from the scandal surrounding lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

Common Core has become toxic on the right, with virtually every Republican presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush vowing to kill the standards if elected president.

Christie set up a panel last year to investigate the program’s implementation. In recent months, he’s become increasingly vocal about his misgivings, saying he had “real concerns” about “how it’s being rolled out” during a November appearance on a New Jersey radio show.

On Thursday he argued that federal meddling has spoiled the education standards, which have become a symbol of government overreach among many on the right.

“I have heard far too many people – teachers and parents from across the state – that the Common Core standards were not developed by New Jersey educators and parents,” he said. “As a result, the buy in from both communities has not been what we need for maximum achievements.

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Common Core, Education, Government

Why doctors quit

Dr.CharlesKrauthammer

I hear this everywhere. Virtually every doctor and doctors’ group I speak to cites the same litany, with particular bitterness about the EHR mandate. As another classmate wrote, “The introduction of the electronic medical record into our office has created so much more need for documentation that I can only see about three-quarters of the patients I could before, and has prompted me to seriously consider leaving for the first time.”

You may have zero sympathy for doctors, but think about the extraordinary loss to society — and maybe to you, one day — of driving away 40 years of irreplaceable clinical experience.

And for what? The newly elected Barack Obama told the nation in 2009 that “it just won’t save billions of dollars” — $77 billion a year, promised the administration — “and thousands of jobs, it will save lives.” He then threw a cool $27 billion at going paperless by 2015.

It’s 2015 and what have we achieved? The $27 billion is gone, of course. The $77 billion in savings became a joke. Indeed, reported the Health and Human Services inspector general in 2014, “EHR technology can make it easier to commit fraud,” as in Medicare fraud, the copy-and-paste function allowing the instant filling of vast data fields, facilitating billing inflation.

That’s just the beginning of the losses. Consider the myriad small practices that, facing ruinous transition costs in equipment, software, training and time, have closed shop, gone bankrupt or been swallowed by some larger entity.

This hardly stays the long arm of the health-care police, however. As of Jan. 1, 2015, if you haven’t gone electronic, your Medicare payments will be cut, by 1 percent this year, rising to 3 percent (potentially 5 percent) in subsequent years.

Then there is the toll on doctors’ time and patient care. One study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that emergency-room doctors spend 43 percent of their time entering electronic records information, 28 percent with patients. Another study found that family-practice physicians spend on average 48 minutes a day just entering clinical data.

Forget the numbers. Think just of your own doctor’s visits, of how much less listening, examining, even eye contact goes on, given the need for scrolling, clicking and box checking.

Why did all this happen? Because liberals in a hurry refuse to trust the self-interested wisdom of individual practitioners, who were already adopting EHR on their own, but gradually, organically, as the technology became ripe and the costs tolerable. Instead, Washington picked a date out of a hat and decreed: Digital by 2015.

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Government, Health, ObamaCare, Technology

Astonishing fact about immigration in the U.S.

AllenWest

As IJReview reports, Coulter was appearing on Fusion TV with host Jorge Ramos to promote her new book Adios, America! She shocked Ramos when she claimed that the United States has already taken in ONE-FOURTH of the population of Mexico.

How can this be true?

In 2013, Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, Inc said in a letter that the number of illegal immigrants in the country is probably closer to 20 million, rather than the usual Homeland Security Department estimates of 11-ish million.

In case you missed it, Taylor had some very frightening things to say about the “assymetrical warfare” occurring on our borders.

Anyway, when you add Taylor’s 20 million to the 11.6 million LEGAL immigrants from Mexico, you get a total of 31.6 million people from Mexico.

IJ Review says in 2013, the CIA estimated the total population of Mexico at 120 million.

Voila! (or perhaps I should say “aquí”). Thirty-plus million is basically a quarter of 120 million.

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Government, Immigration, Mexico

GAO, TIGTA Warned Of IRS’s Lax Computer Security For Years Before Hack Of 100,000 Taxpayer Accounts On IRS Website

TaxProf

Following up on yesterday’s post, Hackers Gained Access To Old Tax Returns For 100,000 Taxpayers On IRS Website:  USA Today, Audits and Reports Warned of IRS Computer Safety Risks:

Government monitors repeatedly warned of IRS computer security risks long before Tuesday’s disclosure that identity thieves had stolen tax agency data for roughly 100,000 U.S. households.

“Computer security has been problematic for the IRS since 1997,” according to an October 2014 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the government monitor for the nation’s tax agency. So problematic, that TIGTA has ranked security for taxpayer data and IRS employees as among the tax agency’s top management challenges every year at least since 2004.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office separately warned last year that despite IRS computer security improvements, “weaknesses remain that could affect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of financial and sensitive taxpayer data.” Shortcomings identified by the GAO included the IRS’ failure to restrict physical access to computer resources, along with the use of weak encryption for authentication on many of the tax agency’s computer servers.

The IRS agreed with many of the findings and said corrections would be made. However, tax agency officials have contended that IRS budget cuts approved by Congress have made it harder to implement upgraded security safeguards.

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More Thoughts on Today’s Fifth Circuit DAPA Decision

PowerLineBlog

Here is the point: the Obama administration has launched a broad attack on the rule of law, extending over multiple fronts. It has sought not only to bypass Congress, but to reverse and annul federal legislation by executive order. It has directed federal agencies to carry out programs that were never enacted by Congress. All of this is happening at a time when many are questioning whether the entire apparatus of the administrative state–the fourth branch of government–is consistent with the Constitution.

At this moment in history, it is imperative that the federal courts be willing to review the administration’s executive orders (and those of any future administration) on the merits; that is, to determine whether they are constitutional and authorized by statute. The already-tangled history of Texas v. United States of America shows how doctrines of standing and justiciability can raise significant obstacles to such review. Judicial oversight is at best a cumbersome process, but in the months and years to come it is essential that judicial oversight be allowed to function.

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Abuse of Power, Constitutional, Government, Law, Politics

Another “unsurprise”

IRS hit by cyberattack, thousands of taxpayers’ information stolen

Fraudsters stole private information from the IRS on more than 100,000 taxpayers and used it to bilk the agency of tens of millions of dollars, Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday — though he insisted the breach didn’t affect most Americans.

The criminals gained access to the IRS through a new system called “Get Transcript,” which allows taxpayers to go online and get years’ worth of their own tax records. Mr. Koskinen said the perpetrators used information they already knew about taxpayers to fool the system into believing it was the taxpayer logging in, and then stole the transcripts with even more information.

In thousands of instances the criminals turned around and used that same information to file fraudulent returns, stealing potentially close to $50 million from the government.

“This is not a security breach. Our basic information is secure,” Mr. Koskinen insisted in a call with reporters to discuss the theft, which had gone on for months — dating back to February — but was only caught last week.

It’s the latest embarrassment for the tax agency, which has been dealing with reports of political targeting, wasteful spending and poor management that meant it paid out billions of dollars in bogus tax credit claims.

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Obama’s answer to Bagdad Bob…

Dumbfounded Americans UNLOAD on Marie Harf’s unbelievable statement: ‘Iraqi forces held their lines’

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf gave the Iraqi army props following the fall of Ramadi.

Never mind that Iraqi forces cut and ran, surrendering the city to Islamic State militants.

“The Iraqi security forces have held their lines on the outside of the city,” Harf told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Wednesday.

Talk about putting lipstick on a pig, that’s taking spin to a whole new level.

Bloomberg columnist Josh Rogin posted Harf’s comment on Twitter and the reaction indicates that the Obama administration is fooling very few people these days.

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Cronyism, Democrats, Elitism, Entitlement, Government, Hypocrisy, Iraq, ISIS, Liberals, Middle East, Politics, President, Stupidity, Terrorism, Useful Idiots

Yeah. Sure…

DHS blames tech glitch for violating judge’s amnesty injunction

The Obama administration blamed a technology glitch for why it continued to approve new amnesty applications in February, even after a federal judge issued an injunction, telling the court late Friday that they are now begging about 2,000 illegal immigrants to tear up their three-year work authorizations.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Homeland Security agency that approved the deportation amnesty applications for Dreamers despite the judge’s order, insisted it’s corrected the immigrants’ records at headquarters, but said it’s also asking the immigrants themselves to send back their three-year documents and accept two-year papers instead.

The agency also told Judge Andrew S. Hanen that more botched cases could still be found as employees dig through tens of thousands of applications.

President Obama’s lawyers are desperately trying to head off punishment by Judge Hanen after several embarrassing missteps.

It worked with the IRS, right? And it took them how many months to come up with that excuse?

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Filed under "Intelligence", "Transparency", Abuse of Power, Cronyism, Democrats, Elitism, Entitlement, Government, Hypocrisy, Immigration, Liberals, President

Why we’ll never win the war on ISIS…

Senators On Jihad 2.0: We’ll Take Down ISIS With ‘Fancy Memes’

Because images and recordings of its atrocities have spread through the internet with amazing speed and ease, it’s tempting to view ISIS as a group of digital natives — people whose entire life has been filled with some sort of internet outlet for sociable sharing. The group seems to contain much sought after viral power, but that’s likely due to its audience spending an increasing amount of time viewing the world through a browser, rather than through nightly news reports and morning papers.

The perception is the truth and a few US senators are seeking to counteract ISIS’s viral power by utilizing the same playing fields. This may be a good idea, but it’s also providing for some inadvertent hilarity as legislators put two and two together and get Voice of America: Buzzfeed edition.

“There’s an obvious piece of legislation that we need to start working on,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., said during a Homeland Security Committee hearing on “Jihad 2.0“.

“Let’s face it: We invented the Internet. We invented the social network sites. We’ve got Hollywood. We’ve got the capabilities… to blow these guys out of the water from the standpoint of communications.”

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., backed his colleague’s appeal. “Look at their fancy memes compared to what we’re not doing,” Booker said, displaying examples of jihadist online postings.

This isn’t meant to be a total and preemptive condemnation of potential US efforts to engage ISIS on the digital battlefield. The problem is that the government is the entity least likely to do this effectively, seeing as it’s largely unused to deploying anything with subtlety or agility. That it’s calling on Hollywood to help it with its counterterrorism efforts is also a bit concerning, considering it conjures up images of Uncle Sam running a propaganda mill out of a studio backlot. Not only will this do little to sway potential ISIS sympathizers, but it’s also apt to turn more citizens against their government, even if they agree that ISIS is a worthwhile target.

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Filed under "Intelligence", Government, ISIS, Politics, Propaganda, Stupidity, Terrorism, Useful Idiots