Patterico's Pontifications

6/30/2013

Would the IRS Let YOU Get Away with Fraud? The Answer Might Surprise You!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:42 pm

Thr answer is: why, sure! . . . if you’re an illegal immigrant, that is:

Howard is a tax examiner at the IRS’s ITIN processing center in Austin, Texas.

The large, unmarked building in south Austin is where the IRS decides whether to issue an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to the millions of illegal immigrants who apply for them. An ITIN allows undocumented workers to file tax returns and pay taxes, a legal requirement for those who earn income in the United States … even those who come to the country illegally.

But 13 Investigates discovered the ITIN system is plagued by abuse and fraud.

. . . .

“We were being told by upper management to ignore fraud, to assign ITIN numbers and … pay out refunds to people who are lying,” Howard explained. “It’s a license to steal when you allow that.”

Howard and five other tax examiners at the ITIN processing center in Austin all told WTHR the same thing: for years, IRS managers have instructed them to “look the other way” while processing ITIN applications that appear to be filed fraudulently – even when those applications contain clear signs of criminal activity.

For example, Howard received a stack of ITIN applications for dozens of children attending the same school in South Carolina. (Adult tax filers can request an ITIN for a child if they want to claim that child as a dependent in order to get child tax credits and a larger tax refund.) When he researched that school, he discovered it didn’t even exist. When Howard reported the apparent scam to his bosses, he claims his managers ordered him to approve the applications anyway.

The matter is now being examined by the Inspector General.

UPDATE: The linked story is a year old, but there is a report in the Austin American Statesman today concerning the Inspector General’s investigation. Problem is, the current article is behind a paywall, so it’s impossible for nonsubscribers to tell exactly what is going on today.

It’s clear that the IRS has not seen the end of scandal. Not even close.

6/29/2013

Is Obama Collecting Data on Gun Owners?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:31 am

Free Beacon:

Senators are questioning whether the National Security Agency collected bulk data on more than just Americans’ phone records, such as firearm and book purchases.

A bipartisan group of 26 senators, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to detail the scope and limits of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities in a letter released Friday.

“We are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,” the senators wrote in the letter.

The NSA’s surveillance program has come under intense scrutiny following a leak revealing the agency harvested the phone metadata of millions of American citizens.

The senators noted that the federal government’s authority under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is broad and rife with potential for abuse. Among the senators’ concerns was whether the NSA’s bulk data harvesting program could be used to construct a gun registry or violate other privacy laws.

Wyden, as we know, has this way of asking questions that he already knows the answers to.

Maybe a back-door national gun registry will be one of the revelations we’ll hear from Edward Snowden. If he isn’t too busy appeasing the various anti-free-speech thugs whose help he needs to escape from us, that is.

I have given myself permission to be disgusted by both Snowden and the U.S. Government these days. There may not be that many good guys, but there are plenty of bad guys to go around.

6/28/2013

A Little Perspective on Gleen Grenwald’s Possible Involvement in the Theft of Classified Information from the U.S. Government

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:29 pm

Edward Epstein in the Wall Street Journal:

Before taking the job in Hawaii, Mr. Snowden was in contact with people who would later help arrange the publication of the material he purloined. Two of these individuals, filmmaker Laura Poitras and Guardian blogger Glenn Greenwald, were on the Board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation that, among other things, funds WikiLeaks.

In January 2013, according to the Washington Post, Mr. Snowden requested that Ms. Poitras get an encryption key for Skype so that they could have a secure channel over which to communicate.

In February, he made a similar request to Mr. Greenwald, providing him with a step-by-step video on how to set up encrypted communications.

So, before Mr. Snowden proceeded with his NSA penetration in March 2013 through his Booz Allen Hamilton job, he had assistance, either wittingly or unwittingly, in arranging the secure channel of encrypted communications that he would use to facilitate the publication of classified communications intelligence.

So Rick Ellensburg was not just in touch with Snowden before he took the job with the purpose of stealing our secrets. Rick Ellers also set up secure communication paths with which to receive the secrets, before Snowden stole the secrets.

But let us have no talk of any possible prosecution of Ellison! Because that would be a STAIN ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT, I say!

After all, what does the First Amendment even mean if it doesn’t allow ideologues with a publishing capacity the right to coordinate a break-in to purloin our country’s most highly classified information?

Via narciso.

Zimmerman Prosecution Witness (?!): It Sure Looked to Me Like Trayvon Martin Was Beating Zimmerman

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 pm

The witness describes a darker-skinned person on top of a lighter skinned person, straddling him and making movements with his arms going downward.

He also said it looked like the darker-skinned guy was raining blows down on the lighter-skinned person MMA-style, and believes that the lighter-skinned person on the bottom was calling for help. But he was not 100% certain about this.

Sounds to me like the prosecution knew this guy was going to be called and did their best to put a positive spin on it, as best as they could. Problem is, his testimony is devastating to the prosecution any way you spin it.

UPDATE: Comments are closed. The thread is getting too big. New thread here.

Tommy Christopher: “Cracker” Is a Term of “Pride” in Florida

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:58 am

Tommy Christopher:

At the merciful close of key prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel‘s testimony in the trial of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, defense attorney Don West asked Ms. Jeantel to describe the “culture” that she said uses the word “cracker” to describe white people. “The area I was raised in?” Jeantel asked, to which West replied “Yes.”

As it turns out, in the area in which Rachel Jeantel was raised, the word “cracker” isn’t a racial slur at all, but rather, a proud nod to the region’s history, and one’s own ancestry.

Indeed. And when a black person calls a whitish looking Hispanic guy a “creepy-ass cracker,” that is when the sincerity of one’s tribute to the region’s history and pride in one’s own ancestry truly shines.

I needed a laugh today, Tommy. Thanks.

Flashback: Rubio in 2009: Reagan Was Wrong to Grant Amnesty

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

November 17, 2009:

Here’s something you seldom hear in a Republican primary: a candidate taking issue with Ronald Reagan.

It happened this afternoon when former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, who’s running in the GOP Senate primary against Gov. Charlie Crist, answered a question on immigration at a Martin County Republican Womens Federated meeting that drew more than 100 attendees.

Rubio delivered a six-minute discourse on immigration policy in which he brought up The Gipper’s support for the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to most undocumented workers who could prove they had been in the country continuously for the previous five years.

“In 1986 Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3 million people,” Rubio said. “You know what happened, in addition to becoming 11 million a decade later? There were people trying to enter the country legally, who had done the paperwork, who were here legally, who were going through the process, who claimed, all of a sudden, ‘No, no no no , I’m illegal.’ Because it was easier to do the amnesty program than it was to do the legal process.”

“If you grant amnesty, the message that you’re sending is that if you come in this country and stay here long enough, we will let you stay. And no one will ever come through the legal process if you do that.”

There is a Twitter debate this morning about how Republicans watch folks like Rubio lie and then forgive them. Makes us look like chumps. How can we ever vote for such a person again?

But there is a difference between primary challenges and general elections.

As for me, I will now oppose Rubio strongly in the presidential primaries, but his support for amnesty would not cause me to sit home and let Hillary win in a Rubio-Clinton general election. Any more than I would have sat home in 1980 if you looked into your crystal ball and told me Reagan would grant amnesty to illegals, or nominate Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court. Reagan was better than Carter and Mondale. Kennedy, as much as I despise him, is better than Stephen Reinhardt, who is the sort of judge Jimmy Carter liked to nominate.

But for now? Rubio has to pay a price. That price should be that he is out of the running in 2016. Let’s see if we can find someone who won’t blatantly lie to get elected.

Ted Cruz, anyone?

6/27/2013

Bill Clinton: Three Cheers for the Decision That Said I Am a Homophobe!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:30 pm

Anthony Kennedy says those responsible for DOMA had the “purpose” to “disparage and to injure” same-sex couples:

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.

Bill Clinton signed DOMA. Therefore, Anthony Kennedy says Bill Clinton’s purpose was to disparage and to injure same-sex couples.

Bill Clinton praises the decision that labels him a bigot.

In my mind’s eye, I see Clinton clapping with that ^&%$ eating grin and saying hyuk hyuk!

IS IT OR IS IT NOT TRUE, MA’AM, THAT YOU FOLLOW GEORGE ZIMMERMAN’S BROTHER ON TWITTER?!?!?!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:18 pm

Oh, it’s just Twitter suggesting you should follow him? Um, OK, never mind then.

– Clueless Zimmerman prosecutor

Around 8:40 in this video, described here.

Painful.

L.A. Times Edits Trayvon Martin Statements to Make Him Look More Sympathetic

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:40 am

Here’s how the L.A. Times portrays a portion of yesterday’s testimony from the Zimmerman trial:

Jeantel is important in the case because she was the last person to talk with Martin and can discuss what he was saying in the crucial last moments of his life. On the night of Feb. 26, she was in Miami, talking on her cellphone with Martin, who was in Sanford visiting family. He told her he was going to the store to get some candy and a drink.

Then, she said, he became concerned.

“A man was watching him,” Jeantel said Martin told her, several times. “He said a man kept watching him.

“I asked him how the man looked like,” she said. Martin replied that he “looked like a creepy … cracker,” she said, using a slang term for a white person.

Jeantel said she warned Martin the man might be a rapist, which he laughed off. They continued chatting, but Martin then said that the man was still trailing him and that he was going to try to lose him. At that point, Jeantel said, she told Martin to run.

When I read this, I was interested in what got omitted from “creepy … cracker.” I watched a few minutes of the witness’s testimony on YouTube, embedded at Legal Insurrection, and the actual phrase was “creepy-ass cracker.”

They would say, of course, that they had to edit the phrase for language. Except that the L.A. Times uses the word “ass” all the time. I mean: all the time. I’ll just give you three examples from this month alone:

From a story about James Gandolfini:

When Gandolfini read the script, he told Vanity Fair in 2007, “I laughed my ass off. I was like, This is really different and good, and odd.”

From a whimsical piece about “zombie Olympics”:

While most zombies would be no match for a man who “kicks ass for the Lord,” these zombies manage to use their ability to successfully fall apart to maximum effect, crunching him on the neck with a head that had been kicked off into the sky.

And from an article about Wolfgang Puck and other chefs:

“That’s a new cook,” Choi said pointing to Favreau. “We’re kicking his ass.”

So the “we have to edit stories for language” excuse doesn’t fly. And guess what? There’s another thing Trayvon Martin said to his friend that got omitted from the story. Speaking of Zimmerman, Martin told his friend: “now the nigger’s following me.”

That is portrayed as “Martin then said that the man was still trailing him.”

They have always hidden stuff from you. With the Internet, these days you can figure out what they’re hiding.

6/26/2013

Gov. Perry Calls a New Session

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:00 pm

Some rare good news for the rule of law:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Wednesday called for a second special session of the Texas Legislature to reconsider an abortion bill that failed following a filibuster — cancelling the small victory the bill’s opponents thought they had won following a marathon filibuster by a state senator Tuesday night.

The new special session will start July 1 at 2 p.m. and will run for no more than 30 days.

“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas,” Perry said in a statement. “Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.”

Mob rule will not win the day.

Well done, Governor.

UPDATE: Here’s how the always hackish L.A. Times portrays last night’s events:

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 8.03.47 PM

There was a vote held, and the bill passed 19-10, but due to chaos in the chamber by a mob of Democrats, the bill was not signed.

That is portrayed as Davis and her allies “defeating” the bill.

They’re liars at the L.A. Times. That’s all they are, folks. Just liars.

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