Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Encourages Federal Employees to Spy on One Another

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am


In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents.

. . . .

Under the program, which is being implemented with little public attention, security investigations can be launched when government employees showing “indicators of insider threat behavior” are reported by co-workers, according to previously undisclosed administration documents obtained by McClatchy. Investigations also can be triggered when “suspicious user behavior” is detected by computer network monitoring and reported to “insider threat personnel.”

Federal employees and contractors are asked to pay particular attention to the lifestyles, attitudes and behaviors – like financial troubles, odd working hours or unexplained travel – of co-workers as a way to predict whether they might do “harm to the United States.” Managers of special insider threat offices will have “regular, timely, and, if possible, electronic, access” to employees’ personnel, payroll, disciplinary and “personal contact” files, as well as records of their use of classified and unclassified computer networks, polygraph results, travel reports and financial disclosure forms.

Increasingly, government employment is about not sticking out. They want a smooth ball of mediocrity, and anyone who sticks out gets whacked.

Obama is the king of this mentality. The fact that he ordered this is not surprising at all.

Lois Lerner in 2011: Receiving a Thick Questionnaire from the IRS Is a “Behavior Changer”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 am

A reader sends a very interesting tidbit buried in a November 17, 2011 article about the IRS and not-for-profit universities. The article is about the IRS making inquiries into “whether schools improperly claimed tax-exempt status for taxable businesses.” At the end of the article is this fascinating quote:

Lois Lerner, the IRS’s director of tax-exempt organizations who is overseeing the investigation, says many schools are rethinking how and what they report to the government. Receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS, she says, is a “behavior changer.”

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 7.29.12 AM
Above: Lois Lerner, Behavior Changer

Freedom Works had a timeline of the IRS scandal here, and it’s interesting to see how Lerner’s quote fits into the beginning of that timeline. The entry in bold is my personal addition to the timeline based on the quote above:

1 March, 2010 – IRS officials start targeting organizations with “tea party”, “patriot”, and “9-12” in their names.

27 June, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, learns of the inappropriate targeting. She initiates an audit of the office involved, but the targeting continues.

17 November, 2011 – Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Operations, tells Businessweek that receiving a thick questionnaire from the IRS is a “behavior changer.”

Staffers preparing for the return of Lois Lerner to the witness chair in Congress, please take note.

House GOP to Push Individual Mandate Waiver to Level Playing Field with Business

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:14 am

Across the country, politically aware people are asking the question: How is it that business gets a one-year exemption from ObamaCare penalties, but individuals don’t? To those people, I say: your lobbyist did a poor job.

What’a that? You don’t even have a lobbyist?!

Well, to quote the mechanic as he looks at your car at and shakes his head sadly: “Dere’s your problem right dere.”

Well, the House GOP is looking to do something about it: namely, pass a bill that gives individuals the same pass that Big Business is getting. The New York Times, which does not like the proposal, does not disguise its hostility in its “news” article on the move, characterizing the bill as Republicans “seizing” on an “opening” to exploit the situation and divide Democrats:

Seeing Opening, House G.O.P. Pushes Delay on Individual Mandate in Health Law

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders on Tuesday seized on the Obama administration’s one-year delay of a mandate for larger employers to offer health insurance or face penalties, demanding the same postponement for the mandate on individual insurance purchases and promising a series of showdowns aimed at dividing Democrats from the White House.

After more than two years of voting repeatedly and unsuccessfully to repeal the health care law, Republicans believe they are getting traction thanks to what they see as the Obama administration’s self-inflicted wound over the employer mandate.

The message is not: Republicans try to bring fairness to the implementation of ObamaCare, but rather: crafty Republicans try to exploit political situation.

Of course, both are occurring, but only one narrative suits the newspaper’s point of view, so that’s the one they push.

Anyway, I think this is a grand idea — especially in light of the fact that a poll shows that applying the waiver to individuals as well as business is very popular: 41% support it as opposed to 12% who oppose it.

Maybe we can achieve repeal the same way Congress passes a budget: we don’t — but we achieve the same thing with “temporary” bills, one year at a time, until the political climate changes.

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