The IRS Crosses the Anthony Weiner Line

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The IRS Crosses the Anthony Weiner Line

Kazran: Are you really a babysit­ter?
11th Doc­tor: (shows psy­chic paper) I think you’ll find I’m uni­ver­sally recog­nised as a mature and respon­si­ble adult.
Kazran: It’s just a lot of wavy lines.
11th Doc­tor (look­ing at the paper) Yeah, it’s shorted out. Finally, a lie too big.

Doc­tor Who A Christ­mas Carol 2010

It was just over three years ago , Anthony Weiner, one of the upcom­ing stars of the Demo­c­rat party, was brought down by a twit­ter scandal.

There were sev­eral key moments from the CNN inter­view to Andrew Breitbart’s impromptu press con­fer­ence that hurt him, but what really did in the hus­band of Hillary Clinton’s clos­est aide was the abil­ity of non-​political twit­ter uses to under­stand he was lying:

Rep. Weiner is a man of national promi­nence, a ris­ing star in the Demo­c­ra­tic Party, fre­quently on TV, a past and likely future can­di­date for mayor. He knows and is known by thou­sands of movers, shak­ers, mem­bers of the press and politi­cians on the city, state and national levels.

Yet, as of yes­ter­day, he was fol­low­ing fewer than 200 oth­ers — and, with all those famous folks to choose from, one of the few he fol­lowed was Cor­dova, a 21-​year-​old col­lege stu­dent who lives nearly 3,000 miles away in Bellingham,Wash.

Run that though your head for a sec­ond and at the same time remem­ber two impor­tant facts about Twitter:

1. If two peo­ple fol­low each other on Twit­ter, they can send pri­vate mes­sages unseen by others.

2. The dif­fer­ence between a direct mes­sage, seen by only the recip­i­ent, and a pub­lic tweet, seen by the world, is a sin­gle character.

The biggest prob­lem for Weiner and his defend­ers on the left is not blog­gers from the right. It’s the details of “#wein­er­gate” can be under­stood by mil­lions of ordi­nary peo­ple in 140 char­ac­ters or less.

You can’t have “plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­ity” when even non-​political peo­ple know your story is BS.

And as of today that’ where the IRS scan­dal story is.

When Lois Lerner pleaded the 5th before con­gress many of us assumed that it was to cover up for the admin­is­tra­tion how­ever while this was a log­i­cal con­clu­sion one could make the case that Ms. Lerner was only cov­er­ing for her­self, after all if he was vio­lat­ing law due to her own zeal it would be in her inter­est to avoid testifying.

How­ever the IRS claims not only that her emails were lost but were not recov­er­able by pro­fes­sional change the equation.

30 years ago there were enough peo­ple who had not worked in a job that involved e-​mail or in a col­lege with an e-​mail server or worked in a gov­ern­ment job where reg­u­lar back­ups were a fact of life, like­wise recov­ery soft­ware was rare or nonexistent.

Today those jobs are com­mon & recov­ery appli­ca­tions are down­load­able free of charge on the net..

That means every­day ordi­nary peo­ple who have no inter­est in any­thing polit­i­cal can grasp that what the IRS is claim­ing is bogus even if they don’t read The Blaze’s piece by an IT pro explain­ing how this is sim­ply not feasible

Sev­eral con­ser­v­a­tive sites talk about this non­sense but that doesn’t mat­ter, con­ser­v­a­tives already dis­like and dis­trust this admin­is­tra­tion, so that’s not cause for worry. What is sig­nif­i­cant are pieces like this:

Six weeks after the scan­dal broke, I chas­tised House Repub­li­cans for cherry-​picking evi­dence and jump­ing to con­clu­sions. In the same col­umn, I urged the pres­i­dent to be trans­par­ent: pave way for inves­ti­ga­tors to ques­tion wit­nesses under oath and sub­poena the White House and his own re-​election cam­paign for related emails and other documents.

If forced to guess, I would say that the IRS and its White House mas­ters are guilty of gross incom­pe­tence, but not cor­rup­tion. I based that only on my per­sonal knowl­edge of – and respect for – Obama and his team. But I shouldn’t have to guess. More impor­tantly, most Amer­i­cans don’t have a pro­fes­sional rela­tion­ship with Obama and his team. Many don’t respect or trust gov­ern­ment. They deserve what Obama promised nearly six weeks ago – account­abil­ity. They need a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion con­ducted by some­body other than dem­a­gogic Repub­li­cans and White House allies.

Some­body like …. a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor. Those words are hard for me to type two decades after an inno­cent land deal I cov­ered in Arkansas turned into the run­away White­wa­ter investigation.

Noth­ing has changed. The White House is stonewalling the IRS inves­ti­ga­tion. The most benign expla­na­tion is that Obama’s team is polit­i­cally expe­di­ent and arro­gant, which makes them des­per­ate to change the sub­ject, and con­vinced of their insti­tu­tional inno­cence. That’s bad enough. But with­out a fiercely inde­pen­dent inves­ti­ga­tion, we shouldn’t assume the expla­na­tion is benign.

by Ron Fournier an MSNBC reg­u­lar and this by GOP critic Doug Mat­a­co­nis

The reac­tion strikes me as being fairly rea­son­able when taken in the con­text of the inves­ti­ga­tion. IRS offi­cials from the Com­mis­sioner on down had pre­vi­ously told the com­mit­tees inves­ti­gat­ing this mat­ter that they had all of Lerner’s emails and that they would be pro­duced as soon as they could be made avail­able. Indeed, that’s an assur­ance that was made on sev­eral points over the course of the past year. A sud­den announce­ment that some unknown por­tion of these com­mu­ni­ca­tions have been mys­te­ri­ously “lost” is obvi­ously going to raise sus­pi­cion and even if those sus­pi­cions prove to be unfounded, they do raise sev­eral legit­i­mate con­cerns. For exam­ple, Fed­eral record­keep­ing laws require gov­ern­ment agen­cies such as the IRS to main­tain copies of all com­mu­ni­ca­tions, includ­ing elec­tronic com­mu­ni­ca­tions, for a cer­tain per­son of time. One part of those laws pro­hibits offi­cial busi­ness from being con­ducted in a man­ner so as to avoid stan­dard backup and stor­age sys­tems, which would mean that Lerner should not have been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with out­side groups about IRS busi­ness on her per­sonal com­puter unless those com­mu­ni­ca­tions were being backed up along with all other com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Indeed, politi­cians at sev­eral lev­els of gov­ern­ment and in both par­ties have got­ten into trou­ble when it was dis­cov­ered that their staff was using non-​government email to com­mu­ni­cate about gov­ern­ment busi­ness. If that’s a com­mon occur­rence at the IRS, then it’s a prob­lem that reaches beyond Lois Lerner because it makes it harder for Con­gress to con­duct its nec­es­sary over­sight functions.

These pieces are both on plat­forms read by the left and while Mat­a­co­nis tries to play the incom­pe­tence card (not a hard one to play when dis­cussing gov­ern­ment) nei­ther he nor Fournier is will­ing to pre­tend the IRS’ story doesn’t smell. It’s no sur­prise, there is only one way a lib­eral news out­let can deal with the prob­lem of this story caus­ing read­ers to con­clude the IRS is lying, ignore it:

What about the miss­ing emails? Nary a word on the front page. Or the next page. Or the next or the next. The edi­to­r­ial page has a stern piece about “The Soros Cycle of End­less Cash” — oh, wait, no, it’s not about the left-​wing bil­lion­aire George Soros. My mis­take. What he does with his money is his busi­ness. It’s about — can you guess? — yes! The Koch broth­ers, the men the Times just loves to hate. But about the miss­ing emails in one of the most dis­gust­ing polit­i­cal scan­dals in recent times, the deploy­ment of the IRS with its vir­tu­ally unlim­ited pow­ers, against polit­i­cal oppo­nents of the admin­is­tra­tion? Noth­ing. Nada. Rien.

The NYT will wait to cover the reac­tion rather than the story in order to keep their tech savvy read­ers in the dark and pre­vent them from ask­ing the obvi­ous ques­tions to the IRS like these from Sharyl Attkisson:

  • Please pro­vide all doc­u­ments and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it hap­pened through the IRS’ dis­clo­sure to Con­gress Fri­day that it had occurred.
  • Please pro­vide the doc­u­ments that show the com­puter crash and lost data were appro­pri­ately reported to the required enti­ties includ­ing any con­trac­tor ser­vic­ing the IRS. If the inci­dent was not reported, please explain why.

all this not with­stand­ing Eric Holder is still Eric Holder & Barack Obama is still Barack Obama so it is unlikely that a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor will be named, at least not until the Democ­rats & media decide it is too costly to not name one, but the abil­ity of apo­lit­i­cal peo­ple to under­stand the false­hood being advanced com­bined with the impos­si­ble posi­tion the IRS claim puts any lib­eral not try­ing to get a show on MSNBC in if asked about this means that like Anthony Weiner while it may take time, per­haps years to fin­ish this inves­ti­ga­tion the out­come is not in doubt.

Update: Pulled stray redun­dant word

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Kazran:   Are you really a babysitter?
11th Doctor: (shows psychic paper) I think you’ll find I’m universally recognised as a mature and responsible adult.
Kazran: It’s just a lot of wavy lines.
11th Doctor (looking at the paper)  Yeah, it’s shorted out. Finally, a lie too big.

Doctor Who A Christmas Carol 2010

It was just over three years ago , Anthony Weiner, one of the upcoming stars of the Democrat party, was brought down by a twitter scandal.

There were several key moments from the CNN interview to Andrew Breitbart’s impromptu press conference that hurt him, but what really did in the husband of Hillary Clinton’s closest aide was the ability of non-political twitter uses  to understand he was lying:

Rep. Weiner is a man of national prominence, a rising star in the Democratic Party, frequently on TV, a past and likely future candidate for mayor. He knows and is known by thousands of movers, shakers, members of the press and politicians on the city, state and national levels.

Yet, as of yesterday, he was following fewer than 200 others — and, with all those famous folks to choose from, one of the few he followed was Cordova, a 21-year-old college student who lives nearly 3,000 miles away in Bellingham,Wash.

Run that though your head for a second and at the same time remember two important facts about Twitter:

1. If two people follow each other on Twitter, they can send private messages unseen by others.

2. The difference between a direct message, seen by only the recipient, and a public tweet, seen by the world, is a single character.

The biggest problem for Weiner and his defenders on the left is not bloggers from the right. It’s the details of “#weinergate” can be understood by millions of ordinary people in 140 characters or less.

You can’t have “plausible deniability” when even non-political people know your story is BS.

And as of today that’ where the IRS scandal story is.

When Lois Lerner pleaded the 5th before congress many of us assumed that it was to cover up for the administration however while this was a logical conclusion one could make the case that Ms. Lerner was only covering for herself, after all if he was violating law due to her own zeal it would be in her interest to avoid testifying.

However the IRS claims not only that her emails were lost but were not recoverable by professional change the equation.

30 years ago there were enough people who had not worked in a job that involved e-mail or in a college with an e-mail server or worked in a government job where regular backups were a fact of life, likewise recovery software was rare or nonexistent.

Today those jobs are common & recovery applications are downloadable free of charge on the net..

That means everyday ordinary people who have no interest in anything political can grasp that what the IRS is claiming is bogus even if they don’t read The Blaze’s piece by an IT pro explaining how this is simply not feasible 

Several conservative sites talk about this nonsense but that doesn’t matter, conservatives already dislike and distrust this administration, so that’s not cause for worry.  What is significant are pieces like this:

Six weeks after the scandal broke, I chastised House Republicans for cherry-picking evidence and jumping to conclusions. In the same column, I urged the president to be transparent: pave way for investigators to question witnesses under oath and subpoena the White House and his own re-election campaign for related emails and other documents.

If forced to guess, I would say that the IRS and its White House masters are guilty of gross incompetence, but not corruption. I based that only on my personal knowledge of – and respect for – Obama and his team. But I shouldn’t have to guess. More importantly, most Americans don’t have a professional relationship with Obama and his team. Many don’t respect or trust government. They deserve what Obama promised nearly six weeks ago – accountability. They need a thorough investigation conducted by somebody other than demagogic Republicans and White House allies.

Somebody like …. a special prosecutor. Those words are hard for me to type two decades after an innocent land deal I covered in Arkansas turned into the runaway Whitewater investigation.

Nothing has changed. The White House is stonewalling the IRS investigation. The most benign explanation is that Obama’s team is politically expedient and arrogant, which makes them desperate to change the subject, and convinced of their institutional innocence. That’s bad enough. But without a fiercely independent investigation, we shouldn’t assume the explanation is benign.

by Ron Fournier an MSNBC regular and this by GOP critic Doug Mataconis

The reaction strikes me as being fairly reasonable when taken in the context of the investigation. IRS officials from the Commissioner on down had previously told the committees investigating this matter that they had all of Lerner’s emails and that they would be produced as soon as they could be made available. Indeed, that’s an assurance that was made on several points over the course of the past year. A sudden announcement that some unknown portion of these communications have been mysteriously “lost” is obviously going to raise suspicion and even if those suspicions prove to be unfounded, they do raise several legitimate concerns. For example, Federal recordkeeping laws require government agencies such as the IRS to maintain copies of all communications, including electronic communications, for a certain person of time. One part of those laws prohibits official business from being conducted in a manner so as to avoid standard backup and storage systems, which would mean that Lerner should not have been communicating with outside groups about IRS business on her personal computer unless those communications were being backed up along with all other communications. Indeed, politicians at several levels of government and in both parties have gotten into trouble when it was discovered that their staff was using non-government email to communicate about government business. If that’s a common occurrence at the IRS, then it’s a problem that reaches beyond Lois Lerner because it makes it harder for Congress to conduct its necessary oversight functions.

These pieces are both on platforms read by the left and while Mataconis tries to play the incompetence card (not a hard one to play when discussing government)  neither he nor Fournier is willing to pretend the IRS’ story doesn’t smell.   It’s no surprise, there is only one way a liberal news outlet can deal with the problem of this story causing readers to conclude the IRS is lying, ignore it:

What about the missing emails?  Nary a word on the front page. Or the next page. Or the next or the next.  The editorial page has a stern piece about “The Soros Cycle of Endless Cash”—oh, wait, no, it’s not about the left-wing billionaire George Soros. My mistake. What he does with his money is his business. It’s about—can you guess?—yes! The Koch brothers, the men the Times just loves to hate. But about the missing emails in one of the most disgusting political scandals in recent times, the deployment of the IRS with its virtually unlimited powers, against political opponents of the administration? Nothing. Nada. Rien.

The NYT will wait to cover the reaction rather than the story in order to keep their tech savvy readers in the dark and prevent them from asking the obvious questions to the IRS  like these from Sharyl Attkisson:

  • Please provide all documents and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it happened through the IRS’ disclosure to Congress Friday that it had occurred.
  • Please provide the documents that show the computer crash and lost data were appropriately reported to the required entities including any contractor servicing the IRS. If the incident was not reported, please explain why.

all this not withstanding Eric Holder is still Eric Holder & Barack Obama is still Barack Obama so it is unlikely that a special prosecutor will be named, at least not until the Democrats & media decide it is too costly to not name one, but the ability of apolitical people to understand the falsehood being advanced combined with the impossible position the IRS claim puts any liberal not trying to get a show on MSNBC in if asked about this means that like Anthony Weiner while it may take time, perhaps years to finish this investigation the outcome is not in doubt.

Update: Pulled stray redundant word

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