Sunday, 19 May 2013

DDoS-for-hire service works with blessing of FBI, operator says | Ars Technica





http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/ddos-for-hire-service-works-with-blessing-of-fbi-operator-says/

DDoS-for-hire service works with blessing of FBI, operator says

A website that accepts payment in exchange for knocking other sites offline is perfectly legal, the proprietor of the DDoS-for-hire service says. Oh, it also contains a backdoor that's actively monitored by the FBI.

Ragebooter.net is one of several sites that openly accepts requests to flood sites with huge amounts of junk traffic, KrebsonSecurity reporter Brian Krebs said in a recent profile of the service. The site, which accepts payment by PayPal, uses so-called DNS reflection attacks to amplify the torrents of junk traffic. The technique requires the attacker to spoof the IP address of lookup requests and bounce them off open domain name system servers. This can generate data floods directed at a target that are 50 times bigger than the original request.

Krebs did some sleuthing and discovered the site was operated by Justin Poland of Memphis, Tennessee. The reporter eventually got an interview and found Poland was unapologetic.

"Since it is a public service on a public connection to other public servers this is not illegal," Poland was quoted as saying. He continued:

"Nor is spoofing the sender address [illegal]. If the root user of the server does not want that used they can simple disable recursive DNS. My service is a legal testing service. How individuals use it is at there [sic] own risk and responsibilitys [sic]. I do not advertise this service anywhere nor do I entice or encourage illegal usage of the product. How the user uses it is at their own risk. I provide logs to any legal law enforcement and keep logs for up to seven days."

Poland went on to say:

"I also work for the FBI on Tuesdays at 1 PM in Memphis. They allow me to continue this business and have full access. The FBI also use the site so that they can moniter [sic] the activitys [sic] of online users.. They even added a nice IP logger that logs the users' IP when they login."

An FBI spokesman would neither confirm nor deny the claim, but Krebs said security researchers have found the site bizarrely includes the ragebooter.net user name in the flood of data directed at the target websites. Even more intriguing, someone hacked the site in March and leaked the users table, spilling the usernames of e-mail addresses of people who used the service. The list could contain a fair amount of data, since Ragebooter.net appears to average more than 400 attacks per day.

 










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The IRS Is Seeing Everything You Do Online





 

http://www.moneynews.com/FinanceNews/IRS-online-email-warrant/2013/05/17/id/505059?s=al&promo_code=13885-1

The IRS Is Seeing Everything You Do Online

Friday, 17 May 2013 11:33 AM

By Michael Kling




IRS may be watching your online activities — including what you post on social media sites, what you sell online, even what you write in emails and text messages.

Some tax experts and civil liberties groups are disturbed by what they call the agency's secretive practices. Taxpayers know little about how it uses big data and "robo-audits."

"It's well-known in the tax community, but not many people outside of it are aware of this big expansion of data and computer use," Edward Zelinsky, a tax expert at Cardozo Law School and Yale Law School, told U.S. News & World Report.

"I am sure people will be concerned about the use of personal information on databases in government, and those concerns are well-taken."

Anything you do or say on the Internet can be used against you in IRS enforcement actions, he stressed.

The IRS spent about $1 billion in its recent data-mining modernization.

As a result, the agency's is rolling out an effort to deploy sophisticated data-matching and pattern-recognition technology, and match up taxpayer returns with third-party information, according to U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George.

The IRS is collecting massive amounts of data, tracking Internet users' online movements, and using Social Security numbers, health records, credit card transactions and other information that private companies cannot obtain, according to U.S. News.

The IRS Criminal Tax Division has long believed that it can read your emails without a warrant, said American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Nathan Freed Wessler, citing IRS documents. The ACLU examined 247 pages of IRS records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request to learn if the IRS obtains search warrants before reading emails, texts, and other digital communications.

"So does the IRS always get a warrant?" Wessler wrote in an ACLU blog post.
"Unfortunately, while the documents we have obtained do not answer this question point blank, they suggest otherwise."

The agency should be upfront about its policies and obtain warrants, he argued, saying the federal law on email access is hopelessly outdated.

"Let's hope you never end up on the wrong end of an IRS criminal tax investigation. But if you do, you should be able to trust that the IRS will obey the Fourth Amendment when it seeks the contents of your private emails."

The Sixth Circuit Court Appeals Court in United States v. Warshak ruled that the IRS must obtain a warrant to read private emails, but the IRS has not said if it now obtains warrants everywhere or only in the Sixth Circuit.

 










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The Palestinians are Not Stateless. They are STATEFREE - And Why That's a Huge Advantage

The Palestinians are Not Stateless. They are STATEFREE -
And Why That's a Huge Advantage

My Husband and I were discussing the Issue of Statelessness.

It occurred to me, as an Israeli, that Statelessness can have decided Advantages; if one sees the matter properly and sees the Opportunity therein.

After learning that the British "gentlemen" who debated ratifying the Balfour Declaration decided to vote in favor of the creation of the State of Israel on the proviso that it functioned as the "Ulster of the ME"; I realized that becoming a State is only possible if the established powers can integrate that State into the International Munitions (and probably Drugs) Markets.

The Jews were freer to be Moral when we did NOT have a State. We were not more vulnerable when we were not concentrated in one small geographical area either.

My Husband suggested calling people who are not bound by citizenship in a State STATE-FREE, instead of Stateless.

There are many STATE-FREE Peoples all over the world and, if they reach out to one another, including to the many SEPARATIST Movements around the world, they could become a Force to Be Reckoned With.
The strength of the Multinational Banks and Corporations resides precisely in their being Supra-National.
To fight them, we need Supra-National Businesses, which STATE-FREE People can form.

My recommendation to the PALESTINIANS is to reach out to other STATE-FREE Peoples instead of insisting upon Statehood, which will require that you give up your Morality and accept other constraints that you will come to hate.

Reach out the the Basques who run the Cooperative MONDRAGON - a tremendously successful Cooperative.
Reach out to the Frisians.
Reach out to the Sami.
Reach out to the Roma.
There are so many, MANY STATE-FREE Peoples in the world.

Reach out and do not allow yourselves to be limited by artificial borders.

Instead of being one Organ in the Body of Humanity, limited in place, become the Lifeblood of Humanity, present and essential Everywhere.

http://www.mondragon-corporation.com/ENG.aspx

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

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How the FBI's online wiretapping plan could get your computer hacked







http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/17/how-the-fbis-online-wiretapping-plan-could-get-your-computer-hacked/?print=1

How the FBI's online wiretapping plan could get your computer hacked

The FBI is pushing for expanded power to eavesdrop on private Internet communications. The law enforcement agency wants to force online service providers to build wiretapping capabilities into their products. But a group of prominent computer security experts argues that mandating "back doors" in online communications products is likely to compromise the security of Americans' computers and could even pose a threat to national security.

The fundamental problem is that eavesdropping facilities are a double-edged sword. They make it easier for the U.S. government to spy on the bad guys. But they also make it easier for the bad guys to hack our computers and spy on us. And, the researchers say, the Internet's decentralized architecture makes it particularly hard to build effective and secure wiretapping capabilities online.

Since the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), telephone companies have been legally obligated to build wiretapping capabilities into their telecommunications equipment. But CALEA didn't apply to Internet-based communications technologies. The result, the FBI says, is that its surveillance capabilities are "going dark," as criminal suspects increasingly shift to digital communications platforms that don't offer real-time interception capabilities.

In response, the government is reportedly seeking to impose CALEA-type requirements on Internet services. But rather than mandating the implementation of specific surveillance standards, as the original CALEA did, the government's proposal would fine online service providers who failed to comply with a wiretapping request from the government — leaving it to each individual firm to decide the best way to comply.

Crucially, according to reporting by The Washington Post, the FBI proposal would apply even to "Internet phone calls conducted between two computer users without going through a central company server." In a paper published Friday by the Center for Democracy and Technology, more than a dozen prominent computer security experts warn that such a requirement would be a disaster for the security of online communications.

If information isn't flowing through a central server, then the only way to intercept it is to add surveillance software to the user's PC. But popular software is constantly being probed by hackers seeking vulnerabilities they can exploit. The more complex a system, the more likely programmers are to make mistakes that could provide hackers with an opening. And surveillance features are particularly dangerous, the researchers argue.

"The cleverest and most dangerous cyber-attackers are those who are able to not only compromise a system but also to evade detection," they write. "That is also precisely the objective of a government surveillance solution."

Even worse, a huge number of companies could be forced to comply with the government's proposed regulations. Ed Felten, a computer scientist at Princeton and one of the paper's authors (and, full disclosure, my graduate adviser) points out that a growing number of companies are adding peer-to-peer communications capabilities to their products. For example, many multi-player video games include built-in facilities for players to communicate with each other in real time.

A wiretapping mandate could greatly increase the complexity of these products, raising development costs and increasing the likelihood of security vulnerabilities. Chris Soghoian, a computer security researcher and the principal technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, notes that even the largest technology companies struggle to keep their products secure. "Google has hundreds of engineers doing nothing but security," he says. Yet Google is still routinely discovering new security problems in its most popular products.

Perhaps the most serious concern the researchers point to is the danger a wiretapping mandate could pose to national security. Many government agencies use the same communications software as do private firms. Which means that wiretapping mandates could make the software the government itself uses less secure.

"When vulnerabilities in the equipment such as back doors and malicious code can be exploited by another country it becomes a priority and a national security concern," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) at an October hearing. Rogers was referring to Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunications companies Rogers suspected of helping the Chinese government to spy on Americans. But Soghoian argues the same point applies to backdoors mandated by the U.S. government. They will make American communications technologies more vulnerable to online attacks. And no one has more resources to devote to looking for security vulnerabilities than foreign governments.

This is more than a hypothetical concern. In 2005, the Greek government discovered that an unknown party was intercepting the phone conversations of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis and dozens of other senior officials in the Greek government. They had been under surveillance for almost a year.

The attack was made possible because the Greeks were using off-the-shelf telecommunications equipment. Thanks to CALEA and similar laws in other countries, the gear came with built-in wiretapping capabilities. The wiretapping feature was only supposed to be activated with the approval of Greek authorities. But someone, likely a foreign government, figured out how to activate the wiretapping feature without the Greeks noticing.

According to the authors of the CDT paper, an Internet version of CALEA would be much worse. Right now, only large, sophisticated telecommunications firms are subject to CALEA requirements, and they have carefully-designed procedures to ensure that wiretapping capabilities are not abused. An Internet version of CALEA could apply to many more firms, including many small software firms that can't afford to hire dedicated personnel to design, administer, and audit their surveillance capabilities. So it's likely that some of those firms will make mistakes that will leave many users' computers vulnerable to attack.

Worst of all, the researchers say, the proposed mandate is unlikely to even be effective. People who want to evade surveillance will inevitably find ways to modify the software on their computers to deactivate the eavesdropping feature, just as many people today "jailbreak" their smartphones to activate forbidden features. Indeed, some popular communications software is open source, making it trivial to build a version of the software with the wiretapping feature removed. So an Internet wiretapping mandate will do little to help the government spy on the bad guys, while reducing security for everyone else.

According to Matt Blaze, a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania and another paper co-author, the current debate over online wiretapping echos the debate over cryptography in the 1990s. During the Clinton administration, the federal government sought to limit the use of cryptography out of fear that it would undermine the government's surveillance capabilities. They promoted a "key escrow" regime in which Americans who used encryption would be required to provide the encryption keys to the government for use in subsequent investigations.

By the mid-1990s, research by Blaze and others had demonstrated that the government's key escrow scheme was impractical. Meanwhile, the spread of full-strength cryptographic software proved unstoppable. So by the end of the decade, the Clinton administration — wisely, in Blaze's view — gave up and stopped trying to limit the use of cryptography. They concluded that it was more important for law-abiding Americans to have secure communications capabilities than to continue to wage a hopeless war against cryptography.

Blaze believes that policymakers today should draw the same lesson. "It's hard enough to build a system that tries to solve the relatively simple problem of people who want to communicate securely," he says. Adding a requirement that the government be able to intercept the communication makes the process "much more complex and therefore much harder to do securely."

 










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Obama is Evil




http://sheikyermami.com/2013/05/19/obama-is-evil/

 

Obama is Evil

by sheikyermami on May 19, 2013

The recurring leitmotif in all their actions and policies from the very first day of Obama's first term in office has been: Destroy for the sake of destruction

Obama's Fruits of Falsehood

by EDWARD CLINE May 17, 2013

There is an understandable reluctance in President Barack Obama's critics – a reluctance verging on a fastidious decorum and civility regarding the office of the President – that stops them from making the ultimate judgment of President Barack Hussein Obama and his administration. It is a damnation they have avoided. Perhaps it is too horrible for them to contemplate. They can excoriate him over the details of his policies and actions, but never quite reach a logical conclusion. Perhaps they believe he isn't beyond redemption.

However, I don't think I'm putting my life at risk by stating, without apology, regret, hesitation, or trepidation that: Obama is evil. Even if he never committed another evil action, he is irredeemable. As irredeemable as Richard Speck or Charles Manson.

And by evil I do not mean evil by accident, or by omission, by hypocrisy, by happenstance, by character flaw, by insanity, or even by criminal negligence. I mean: Consciously, purposefully, determinedly evil.

Obama is a public figure. His policies and actions are fair game for observation, examination, and evaluation. They're there for all to see. His private life also has been made public, from his closeness to America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Wright to his frequent golfing outings to his numerous lies and cover-ups. There is not a single speech of Obama's, not a single pubic gesture of his or a piece of legislation he has signed or vetoed, that has not telegraphed his malevolent motives and intentions.

It is fruitless to take him to task on incompetence or willful negligence or over a character flaw or even over his ostensible "pragmatism," which tends to backfire when his pragmatism encounters the pragmatism of seasoned veterans like Vladimir Putin. One can understand Mark Steyn, as he wrote in "The Benghazi Lie" on May 10th about the insouciance of Obama and Hillary Clinton about why Benghazi happened:

And, in the most revealing glimpse of the administration's depravity, the president and secretary of state peddled the lie even in their mawkish eulogies to their buddy "Chris" and three other dead Americans. They lied to the victims' coffins and then strolled over to lie to the bereaved, Hillary telling the Woods family that "we're going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video." And she did. The government dispatched more firepower to arrest Nakoula Basseley Nakoula [maker of the "Innocence of Muslims" video on YouTube] in Los Angeles than it did to protect its mission in Benghazi. It was such a great act of misdirection Hillary should have worn spangled tights and sawn Stevens' casket in half.

Steyn issues a warning to Obama's and Clinton's defenders and apologists, that they, too, can be policy fodder:

The dying Los Angeles Times reported this story on its homepage…under the following headline: "Partisan Politics Dominates House Benghazi Hearing." In fact, everyone in this story is a Democrat or a career civil servant. Chris Stevens was the poster boy for Obama's view of the Arab Spring; he agreed with the president on everything that mattered. The only difference is that he wasn't in Vegas but out there on the front line, where Obama's delusions meet reality. Stevens believed in those illusions enough to die for them.

One cannot say the same about the hollow men and women in Washington who sent him out there unprotected, declined to lift a finger when he came under attack, and in the final indignity subordinated his sacrifice to their political needs by lying over his corpse. Where's the "partisan politics"? Obama, Clinton, Panetta, Clapper, Rice, and the rest did this to one of their own. And fawning court eunuchs, like the ranking Democrat at the hearings, Elijah Cummings, must surely know that, if they needed [to], they'd do it to them, too.

The subtitle of Steyn's column is, "A failure of character of this magnitude corrodes the integrity of the state." I beg to differ. This particular failure of character had nothing to do with the integrity of the state or of the office. A character, if it is fundamentally malign, as Obama's is, cannot fail unless it is opposed. And he has been opposed only haphazardly. Yes, Cummings and Rice and Clapper can be sacrificed, if need be. In fact, by extrapolating Obama's penchant for sacrifice, of partisans and American lives overseas alike, one can imagine that he can and will throw Hillary to the wolves, as well, if that will buy him time.

Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish in his May 11th column, "With Blood on Their Hands," ends his column on the Lady Macbeth theme on which it is pegged, about the morbid senselessness of Obama's and Clinton's policies:

The social revolution of her 1969 thesis [Clinton's Wellesley thesis on Saul Alinsky] is once again here, and like most revolutions, it's a bloody mess. Once again social values are under attack by radicals while soldiers die overseas without being allowed to fight back. And the radicals care for nothing for the blood that they spill for their radical revolution. Not the blood of a single man or of a thousand men.

"What is a traitor?" Lady Macduff's son asks his mother, before being murdered by Macbeth's assassins. "Why, one that swears and lies," his mother replies. "Who must hang them?" her son asks. "Why, the honest men," she answers. "Then the liars and swearers are fools," he says, "for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them."

The liars and swearers have hung up the honest men from Benghazi to Kabul to Capitol Hill. And the traitors walk through the night with blood on their hands and do not even see.

Nor, as Greenfield notes, will they wail in remorse or in fear of the consequences of being party to murder, as Lady Macbeth did. If they see blood on their hands, well, that's life, isn't it? What difference does it make? They are not guilt-ridden, not shaking with fear of moral disapprobation. After all, they will think: Aren't we the epitome of the oblige noblesse of altruism and sacrifice? Sometimes that duty requires self-sacrifice, as well, but we won't go there, because if we sacrificed ourselves and not someone else, who would be left to be, well, moral?

Clinton's aggravated but arrogantly elitist protest on January 23rd, 2012, of "What difference, at this point, does it make?" about the lives lost at Benghazi sums up Obama's approach to things. Nothing matters to him at any point. Clinton is desperate to salvage her chances for the presidency. Obama is so hollow, so malign, so filled with the poisonous glop of hatred, he cannot feel desperation for anything.

I think the outrage expressed by Mark Steyn and others over Obama's and his cohorts' actions and behavior is misplaced; it is a response which resists acknowledgement that Obama is what he is: evil. But all the details about the Benghazi cover-up and the Seal Team killings in Afghanistan which are coming out, not to mention his de facto alliance with the omnivorous Muslim Brotherhood, only confirm the evil. As in any portrait of any Dorian Gray, the devil is in the details. But the brushstrokes make up the portrait. It's the sum of those brushstrokes that matters. It's what you see when the canvas is finished and the artist steps aside after explaining how all the brushstrokes work.

So, I'm going the extra mile by saying what must be on everyone's minds: Obama is evil.

So are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and all the other policy makers and advisors in his administration. The recurring leitmotif in all their actions and policies from the very first day of Obama's first term in office has been: Destroy for the sake of destruction. Out of destruction will come construction of a world more to our liking. Sacrifice your own allies, if necessary, such as Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, if it will sustain the falsehood and allow us to continue to destroy without obstruction or surcease.

But Clinton, Holder and all the others have merely been enabled by Obama. They are his vindictive flying monkeys, the stinking, badgering Harpies of Hussein.

Or, try this analogy on for size: They are the human bagworms killing this country and abbreviating our lives. Bagworms can strip a tree of its protective bark and foliage and leave it to die, exposed to disease and the elements. Obama wishes to strip this country of its defenses to leave it and us exposed to the machinations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Vladimir Putin, and other predators.

But, what, after all, is evil?

The Oxford English Dictionary has two principal definitions. The first is "morally depraved, bad, wicked, vicious." The second is: "Doing or tending to do harm; hurtful, mischievous, prejudicial." I would amend the second definition to read: Doing or wanting to do harm, to be hurtful, to be insidiously nihilistic. It would complement the first definition.

You cannot accuse him merely of fiddling while Rome burns, even though it becoming apparent that he ordered the arson. After all, Obama is not blindfolded and whacking a stick at a piñata to see what falls from it once he's smashed it. He stuffed the piñata himself, presented it to the country as a gift, and dropped it in the country's lap. It has broken open and what has spilled from it is offal and excrement and toxic bile.

You doubt it? Take a look at the shape of the country. At the character of our foreign relations.

You will excuse the imagery. I am not given to exaggeration. I have been calling this man evil for years. I have never hesitated to identify the reality of the man and of his motives. It was time to be frank and that cannot entail decorous language or distaste for acknowledging the moral repulsiveness of this creature. Kid gloves don't agree with me. It is time to divorce the office from the man who occupies it, to make a distinction between the dignity of the office and the low character of the man who works every day to rob it of every vestige of dignity.

What must be understood by Americans is that, whether it's Benghazi or the Afghanistan Seal Team killings or what he's done to this country economically and politically since taking office in 2009, is that he doesn't mind these things happening. The "perfect" world message propagated by Obama and his stooges in the MSM isn't possible. He knows this if his stooges don't. His perfect "transformed" America is a continent lying in ashes, overrun by Third World illiterates and religious barbarians picking through the ruins and savaging the survivors. At the present, the only thing he might be worried about is how a full-blown Congressional investigation of Benghazi might hurt his being able to continue doing what he's been doing. He is only afraid of being found out.

And the only thing that might worry Clinton is how it might sink her chances of running for president in 2016. But, down deep, that hatred of existence, and of this country, and of us, is her driving force, as well. It just isn't as obvious.

Obama is more obviously evil. That is the long and short of it.

Read more: Family Security Matters http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/obamas-fruits-of-falsehood#ixzz2TfdyJtkQ

 









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The IRS Abuse Scandal Keeps Growing





 

I hope it is not lost on all who survey this mess that any Chief Executive is responsible for the overarching priorities and culture of the organization he or she heads.  

 

In the case of the IRS abuse, it is no excuse (even if it's true, which I doubt) if only low-level/front-line functionaries were involved.  Try as he might to spin his way out of this, Obama is responsible for the organizational tone and culture in which these acts incubated and were executed.  And his history, going back to his first runs for office, is one of dirty tricks-- particularly wanton disregard for the privacy of individual records of things like his opponent's divorce records.  So leaking information and meddling with organizational processes for partisan gain is his established modus operandi, not that anyone outside our little echo-chamber is aware of it.

 

Truman had his famous "The Buck Stops Here" sign on his desk.  Obama may have tossed that out along with the Churchill bust, but he is still accountable.

 

Our best hope is that the presstitutes might be sufficiently incensed by the simultaneous revelations of the Administration's monitoring of AP phone usage that they be receptive to another look at Obama's record and character.  Perhaps even the Khalidi tape that the L.A. Times has been sitting on for five years might yet see the light of day [http://pjmedia.com/rogerlsimon/2010/04/21/khalidi-obama-los-angeles-times/].  

 

One can hope.

 

--S.

 

 

 

The IRS Abuse Scandal Keeps Growing

M.D. Kittle|May. 18, 2013 1:00 pm

Reading the highly critical report by the Internal Revenue Service's auditor, you get the sense that rogue, lower-level agents ran amok, writing up watch lists, targeting conservative agencies, and stalling their applications for tax-exempt status.

At least IRS management has painted a picture of misguided underlings who acted "inappropriately," finally offering a mea culpa a couple years after claims that Tea Party groups being hung up, even harassed, by tax agents began filtering in.

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS' exempt organizations unit, apologized a week ago for front-line employees who inappropriately flagged for further review organizations with the descriptors, "tea party" or "patriot."

"We had a shortcut in the process. It wasn't appropriate.  We learned about it and we fixed it," Lerner said, emphatically denying that the segregation of applications and the lengthy delays in processing them merely based on conservative-sounding names had absolutely nothing to do with partisan politics.

But a report released late Tuesday by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the independent overseer of the IRS, points to lax management and at least ignorance of federal code governing tax-exemption review. And while TIGTA may not employ the term "targeted" in its scathing review, the auditor blasts the IRS for singling out conservative groups, asking them a host of unnecessary questions and, in many cases, grinding the application process to a halt.

More than anything, the IRS' "inappropriate" measures threaten public confidence, the report notes.

"The mission of the IRS is to provide America's taxpayers top quality service by helping them understand and meet their tax responsibilities and by applying the tax law with integrity and fairness to all.  According to IRS Policy Statement 1-1, IRS employees accomplish this mission by being impartial and handling tax matters in a manner that will promote public confidence," the audit states.

"However, the criteria developed by the (IRS) Determinations Unit gives the appearance that the IRS is not impartial in conducting its mission.  The criteria focused narrowly on the names and policy positions of organizations instead of tax-exempt laws and Treasury Regulations."

BOLO List

The audit depicts agents in 2010, earlier than IRS brass previously had stated, pulling out 501(c)(4) applications with "Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in the organizations name," as well as "political-sounding names." In May 2010, the Determinations Unit began developing a spreadsheet that would become known as the "Be On the Look Out" list, according to the audit. By August, the unit began distributing the first formal BOLO list.

A 501(c)(4) is designated for the promotion of social welfare and cannot include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.

"However, a section 501(c)(4) social welfare organization may engage in some political activities, so long as that is not its primary activity. However, any expenditure it makes for political activities may be subject to tax under section 527(f)," according to the IRS.

It is the IRS' tax-exempt division's job to sort all of that out.

The "look out" criteria were expanded over time, including:

  • Issues include government spending, government debt or taxes.
  • Education of the public by advocacy and lobbying to "make America a better place to live".
  • Statement in the case file critical of how the country is being run.

"By June 2011, the expanded criteria included additional names (Patriots and 9/12 Project) as well as policy positions espoused by organizations in their applications," the audit states.

The 9/12 Project refers to a group created by radio personality Glenn Beck.

Top IRS officials told auditors the BOLO lists were not influenced by an individual or organization outside the agency. They said only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party and the BOLO listing criteria before it was rolled out.

But it was "insufficient oversight" that allowed the "inappropriate" signaling out of certain groups to go on for so long, the audit notes.

"As a result, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months," according to the TIGTA report, which also notes IRS employees did not consider the "public perception of using politically sensitive criteria when identifying these cases."

Beyond that, the audit found the employees lacked knowledge of allowed activities under code.

The IRS' director of Rulings and Agreements, defending the agency's employees and management, told auditors the fact that the team of tax-exempt specialists worked applications that did not involve the Tea Party, patriots, or 9/12 groups "demonstrated that the IRS was not politically biased in its identification of applications for processing by the team of specialists."

The inspector general's response: Sure, but all cases with Tea Party, patriots, or 9/12 in the statistical review were flagged and the applications were forwarded to tax-exempt specialists.

Waiting Game

Some applications were delayed more than three years, crossing two election cycles, the report notes. Of 296 total applications screened for further intervention, 160 had been open from 206 to 1,338 calendar days.

The IRS Strategic Plan 2009–2013 has several goals and objectives involving timely interaction with taxpayers, including enforcement of the tax law in a timely manner while minimizing taxpayer burden.

Applications were delayed in part by questions the inspector general deemed "unnecessary." The audit lists seven questions IRS agents had no business asking applicants

1. The names of donors.
2. A list of all issues that are important to the organization and asks that the organization indicate its position regarding such issues.
3. a) The roles and activities of the audience and participants other than members in the activity and b) the type of conversations and discussions members and participants had during the activity.
4. Whether the officer, director, etc., has run or will run for public office.
5. The political affiliation of the officer, director, speakers, candidates supported, etc., or otherwise refers to the relationship with identified political party–related organizations.
6. Information regarding employment, other than for the organization, including hours worked.
Information regarding activities of another organization -- not just the relationship of the other organization to the applicant

The audit notes overt double standards by an agency that demanded prompt information from applicants.

"These letters requested that the information be provided in two or three weeks (as is customary in these letters) despite the fact that the IRS had done nothing with some of the applications for more than one year," the TIGTA report states.

When the agency did in 2011 correct the criteria used in signaling out the conservative groups, IRS specialists "subsequently changed the criteria in January 2012 without executive approval because they believed the July 2011 criteria were too broad," the audit notes.

"The January 2012 criteria again focused on the policy positions of organizations instead of tax-exempt laws and Treasury Regulations.  After three months, the Director, Rulings and Agreements, learned the criteria had been changed by the team of specialists and subsequently revised the criteria again in May 2012," the report adds.

TIGTA has made nine recommendations to fix its problems, including "better documenting the reasons why applications potentially involving political campaign intervention are chosen for review." The inspector general also wants to the see the IRS develop and publish tax-exempt guidance, and "before each election cycle, expeditiously resolve remaining political intervention cases."

The IRS' response: Yeah, we see your point on seven of the nine recommendations, but we've got our own corrective action plans for the other two, thanks.

"TIGTA does not agree that the alternative corrective actions will accomplish the intent of the recommendations and continues to believe that the IRS should better document the reasons why applications potentially involving political campaign intervention are chosen for review and develop and publish guidance," the audit notes.

The IRS did not return a request for comment.

A version of this article originally appeared at Watchdog.org.

 










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This Is What Tyranny Looks Like




 

"It would scarcely be an exaggeration to say that the greatest danger to liberty today comes from the men who are most needed and most powerful in modern government, namely, the efficient expert administrators exclusively concerned with what they regards as the public good."  --F.A. Hayek

 

 


http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/05/this_is_what_tyranny_looks_like.html 

 

This Is What Tyranny Looks Like

Bryce Buchanan

Here is a woman we will need to learn much more about in the coming weeks. Sarah Hall Ingram is a highly valued employee at the IRS. In the last three years she has received $103,390 in bonuses for her excellent work. She was the Commissioner of the Tax-Exempt and Government Entitles Division. Under her leadership, groups that expressed a fear of large, out-of-control government were systematically crushed by her branch of our large, out-of-control government. They were specifically singled out for harassment for political reasons. Secret information about the conservative applicants was leaked to leftist opposition groups to facilitate further harassment.

This was an organized political operation using State power to silence opposition voices. It is part of every tyrant's playbook. It tells you everything you need to know about the current state of our country to see that those who favor a limited government, the explicit goal of our founding documents, are now considered enemies of the State.

In a 2009 speech, Ms. Ingram explained her approach:

As a practical matter, we cannot subject every application for tax-exempt status to a painstaking, leave-no-rock-unturned review. Nor can we audit every organization's 990 every year. Nor would you want us to do so, right? To govern is to choose, and we must choose appropriately which applications or 990s to focus most attention on.

It is clear now that by "choose appropriately", she meant to harass the limited-government groups endlessly and let liberal and Islamic groups sail right through the approval process.

The good news is that this woman is no longer in charge of that department. The bad news is that she has been promoted and is now the head of the IRS' Affordable Care Act office. She and her comrades could have access to all your medical records. They will "choose appropriately" who has trouble with the state-controlled medical system and who sails right through. They will decide if it is appropriate to share your medical history with others.

But don't worry. I heard the outgoing IRS Commissioner say in Friday's congressional hearings that he has reviewed the situation and found that there was "no partisanship" in the years-long practice of singling out conservative groups for IRS harassment. None at all. There is just no reason to think that specifically targeting one side of the political spectrum had anything to do with politics.

And when Commissioner Steven Miller was asked why conservative groups were targeted for prolonged scrutiny, he said that it just happened because people were trying to be efficient. Sure. Months and months of delays with endless demands for more paperwork is the efficient way to go.

Miller was forced to admit that secret information gathered from certain conservative groups was passed along by the IRS to their leftwing political opposition. So the IRS illegally gathered information and illegally passed it along for political reasons. Mr. Miller said that these actions were "inadvertent".

There is more evidence of direct lies from IRS officials in Kevin Williamson's column, "The Nine Lies of Lois Lerner". One thing we learn from Williamson's article is that the current campaign by some officials to act surprised and disappointed by the news of IRS criminality is just a scam to deflect their own culpability. Everyone knew the Inspector General's report on the IRS was about to be released. The IRS needed to jump ahead of the report and act concerned. They were not concerned for years prior to being caught.

Bryce Buchanan lives in Oregon and blogs at www.realitybatslast.com


Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/05/this_is_what_tyranny_looks_like.html at May 18, 2013 - 01:52:37 PM CDT

 










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New Leaflet: Wanted For Crimes Against Humanity








New Leaflet: Wanted For Crimes Against Humanity

Posted: 18 May 2013 02:53 PM PDT

A fourth leaflet has been created by an excellent writer who wishes to remain anonymous. You can read about how he uses these leaflets to educate the public by clicking here. The new leaflet is entitled: "Wanted For Crimes Against Humanity." You can download the PDF here:

PDF of Wanted For Crimes Against Humanity

Print it out and use it freely. Ideally you would print on both sides of the paper and cut it in half, giving you two small leaflets per page. The front has the picture shown here (wanted poster) and this is what it says on the back side:

In March 627 AD, the tribe known as the Banu Qurayzah were besieged and isolated by their Muslim attackers led by Muhammad. They twice offered to leave their stronghold but Muhammad refused their request. He insisted they surrender unconditionally and subject themselves to his judgment. Compelled to surrender, the Qurayzah were led to Medina. A third (and final) appeal for leniency was made to Muhammad by their tribal allies, the Aus. Again Muhammad refused. Instead he orchestrated a sentence of death to be placed on the Banu Qurayzah by appointing a man with a grudge against them to pass judgement.

About 800 men were led to trenches dug in the Market of Medina and there they were beheaded, their decapitated bodies buried in the trenches while Muhammad watched. Male youths who had not reached puberty were spared. Women and children were sold into slavery, some being distributed as gifts among Muhammad's companions. Muhammad himself took the most beautiful as his sex slave.


These actions are shocking enough in themselves but that Muslims should revere this man as their prophet is truly chilling. It goes a long way to explaining the typically awful treatment of non-Muslims by Muslims around the world today and ever since the dark dawn of Muhammad's religion, Islam.


Nor was this the only atrocity carried out by Muhammad and his followers. Opponents and critics were assassinated, tortured, and torn limb from limb by camels. Yet even today, Muhammad's example of conduct is viewed by Muslims as the one that should be followed by all Muslims. How scary is that!


Here's a little challenge for you, do something brave today: look up the Banu Qurayzah on Google and read about what happened. Look up Muslim persecution of Christians. This is persecution of some of the most defenseless people in the world today; small communities living in a sea of Muslim hostility, in places like Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq, Somalia. Places where non-Muslims show enormous courage. Out of respect for their courage show a little of your own.

 

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Michigan Federal Judge Allows Muslim Violence to Suppress Christian Speech





creeping posted: "Immediate Appeal Filed. via AFLC - American Freedom Law Center. A Michigan federal judge today dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by several Christian evangelists who were violently assaulted by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at an Arab festi"
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New post on Creeping Sharia

Michigan Federal Judge Allows Muslim Violence to Suppress Christian Speech

by creeping

Immediate Appeal Filed. via AFLC - American Freedom Law Center. A Michigan federal judge today dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by several Christian evangelists who were violently assaulted by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at an Arab festival last year in Dearborn, Michigan, which has the largest Muslim population in the United States. […]

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