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Gee Terry, who could have imagined

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Posted: 07/21/2014 6:19 PM

Gee Terry, who could have imagined 


It seems as though everyone at the IRS who corresponded with Learner experienced a hard drive crash?  I can only imagine that this tax exempt unit work is taxing on the hardware?  That's the only thing we know for sure, right?  biggrin

Well, I guess we also know that Holder isn't going to follow Lanny Davis' suggestion that he appoint an independent counsel to investigate.  But hey, I wouldn't either.  After all, we know Davis is just another right wing political hack who is motivated by racial animus to dis this President.  In fact, just between you and me pal, I hear Snowden will disclose Davis is like a Manchurian Candidate type of guy who was planted in the Rodham circle back in high school.  But you can't tell anyone... OK?
Here's a toast with one last pour, may it last forever plus a minute more;
May fortune sing you her sweet song; to live and love way past long
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Posted: 07/21/2014 6:44 PM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined 


given how poorly the IRS IT dept appears to have been run it is hard to believe that they would have been systematic and efficient in re-using all the tape cartridges for backup, of course finding them is another issue, no idea if they kept them at a remote IRS site or with Iron Mountain.......
Eric

"And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving.  What's-a behind me is not important."
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Posted: 07/21/2014 10:42 PM

Hard drive failures 


rjnwmill wrote: It seems as though everyone at the IRS who corresponded with Learner experienced a hard drive crash? I can only imagine that this tax exempt unit work is taxing on the hardware?
This article says that given the age of the IRS's equipment and the typical useful life of a hard drive, hard drive crashes must have been common at the IRS during the time in question:

Are lost IRS e-mails “unbelievable”? Not really. . . .

A study by Backblaze found that 22 percent of hard drives fail within four years, with half failing within six. In 2011, the last major hardware upgrade the IRS had made to laptops and desktops was a buy from Hewlett-Packard in 2002, so desktop drives were likely dying like flies.
The acting Commissioner testified that the IRS has had 2000 hard drive failures this year. Link

It would appear that hard drive failures occurred in the normal course at the IRS.
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Posted: 07/22/2014 12:14 AM

Re: Hard drive failures 


Ah yes Terry... a reasonable defense.  But hey, after an event has occurred 2,000 times in the course of routine business, wouldn't you expect the institution, one with serious records retention requirements, to develop some simple protocols to insure important business records aren't lost?

Do you have a link to the protocols that were circulated broadly to IRS staff?  A link that highlights Lerner's efforts to insure that her staff understood the risk after her own loss?  A link where, based on her personal experience, she asks her direct reports to make sure they are keeping the required hard copy records?  Or how about a link that highlights where you personally recommended that a client electively ignore a common business risk; a risk that might compromise legal compliance or might put business records necessary for expected oversight in jeopardy?

As a believer in the old adage, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me", I am always intrigued by what people don't do.  I guess Lerner doesn't share this belief?  biggrin
Here's a toast with one last pour, may it last forever plus a minute more;
May fortune sing you her sweet song; to live and love way past long
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Posted: 07/22/2014 7:02 AM

IRS Budget request 


In May, 2013, the IRS submitted their budget request, asking for a $1 billion (9%) increase to $12.9 billion over the $11.8 billion of the prior year, with an FTE headcount request of 4,752 additional people on top of the 96,200 FTEs already employed there.

The requested increase was justified because of the anticipated burden from the ACA, among other things. The ACA has 50 tax provisions, including eight which will require new builds.

But what's interesting to me is that they reduced their request for "Business Systems Modernization" by about 9%, from $330 mms. to $301 mms.  Now that may be because they were winding down their massive contract with CSC.  And their IT budget is already $1.8 trillion.

It's interesting because if you read this testimony from the Treasury Inspector General, there are massive problems and challenges throughout the IRS, not just from the ACA, but from fraud, the Tax Gap (difference between withholdings and ultimately what is owed), unassessed penalties and other activities, and throughout the report it is stated that upgraded systems would help.  It was just announced that Goodwill's systems have been hacked.  Can you imagine how easy it would be to hack the IRS, with their ancient crappy systems?

And yet...they don't appear to be asking for more on the systems modernization side.  Interesting.

I wonder if it's a passive aggressive move; e.g., build as much permanent budget and hire as many FTEs as possible, then seek emergency funding for tech upgrades.  In my business, it's the opposite...when prioritizing expenditures, computer security, privacy, capability and redundancy all demanded priority over the rest.  Not so at the IRS.   From my perspective, it's difficult to understand leadership who so clearly underinvests in technology.
"Après moi le déluge" Louis XV
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Posted: 07/22/2014 8:55 AM

Re: Hard drive failures 



terry2 wrote:
rjnwmill wrote: It seems as though everyone at the IRS who corresponded with Learner experienced a hard drive crash? I can only imagine that this tax exempt unit work is taxing on the hardware?
This article says that given the age of the IRS's equipment and the typical useful life of a hard drive, hard drive crashes must have been common at the IRS during the time in question:

Are lost IRS e-mails “unbelievable”? Not really. . . .

A study by Backblaze found that 22 percent of hard drives fail within four years, with half failing within six. In 2011, the last major hardware upgrade the IRS had made to laptops and desktops was a buy from Hewlett-Packard in 2002, so desktop drives were likely dying like flies.
The acting Commissioner testified that the IRS has had 2000 hard drive failures this year. Link

It would appear that hard drive failures occurred in the normal course at the IRS.
hard drive failure does not necessarily mean you lose all your data.  I've had hard drive failures at work where all the data was recovered from the drive (and if they failed to recover the data from the drive they had backups that were run weekly so I would have lost some of the most recent data but not most of it as for most people their net data change is about 2% per week).
Eric

"And now my friend, the first-a rule of Italian driving.  What's-a behind me is not important."

Last edited 07/22/2014 8:56 AM by 82lsju

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Posted: 07/22/2014 9:40 AM

Re: Hard drive failures 


I haven't been following this that closely, but I would expect that some if not all of the mail would be also saved on the relevant servers. Certainly routing information should be available. And you might always query the NSA, which should have the metadata records. tongue

FWIW, I am still of the belief that this doesn't trace to the White House, for pretty much the same reasons the Valerie Plume affaire was a non starter as a Bush scandal - too little bang for the buck to be worth it. But it is more and more likely that there is a case there, against these administrators. The claim that all this evidence was lost IN ITS ENTIRETY is particularly difficult to believe.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 07/22/2014 10:04 AM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined 



What's most troublesome for me -- and I suspect others here -- is that this happened in 2011.   And yet it was not reported to the proper oversight authorities for two years and it was not reported to Congress, who was investigating, until the last possible second.

I appreciate that it's the IRS,  but they appear to do what they want,  when they want, without any regard for the law.....

Ultimately, it may wind up completely innocent,  but they present themselves as completely guilty doing everything they can to delay, stall, and cover-up.
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Posted: 07/22/2014 10:06 AM

Re: IRS Budget request 


Mick, I don't doubt that the IRS faces many challenges, including technology issues. So far as I can tell, the IRS's top priorities with respect to technology seem to be:

- The systems that process, file, and store taxpayer information, including tax returns, withholding payments, estimated tax payments, payroll tax payments, refunds, etc. In 2012, the IRS rolled out a couple of major modernized systems to replace legacy systems in this area -- Customer Account Data Engine 2 (CADE 2) and Modernized E-File.

- Data security and network security.

- Customer service systems for responding to inquiries from taxpayers and professionals.

- Systems for detecting and preventing tax fraud.

- Cash and financial systems for tracking and managing all the money that flows through the IRS.

So far as I can tell, the IRS technology program was focused more on these areas than on upgrading employees' computers or permanently archiving all employee emails.

The IRS business modernization program is a 15 year old program that resulted in the implementation of the CADE 2 and Modernized E-File systems, among other things. I don't know what the proper budget for that program might be. You noted that the IRS's budget request for fiscal 2014 called for a reduction in the business modernization budget. However, the IRS's budget request for fiscal 2015 calls for an increase in that budget. I can't say what the appropriate level might be or how that budget should be allocated among various systems.

I agree that the IRS has problems with outdated systems and spotty implementation. But of course, that does not suggest that anybody intentionally destroyed evidence to cover up illegal conduct.

Last edited 07/22/2014 11:37 AM by terry2

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Posted: 07/22/2014 11:03 AM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined 


I don't think this reflects initial corruption by Obama, but the failure to put this matter before a Grand Jury is just another instance of the passivity that plagues this Administration.

When I am completely frustrated, I call Obama 'Pretty Boy' in recognition of his anxiousness to please. But Holder is simply corrupt - and was known to be so - one of the worst appointments of recent times.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 07/22/2014 11:05 AM

Re: Hard drive failures 



Genuine Realist wrote: I haven't been following this that closely, but I would expect that some if not all of the mail would be also saved on the relevant servers. . . . The claim that all this evidence was lost IN ITS ENTIRETY is particularly difficult to believe.
You are correct. Some of Lerner's emails were preserved on the IRS's email servers. 

I know that it has been widely claimed that Lerner lost all her email in its entirety. That's just plain wrong. The IRS never said that.

The IRS wrote a letter explaining it as follows.

- All employee emails were retained on the IRS's email servers for as long as those emails were in the employee's Outlook mailboxes -- the Inbox, folders within the Inbox, Sent Items, Deleted Items. So, everything that was in Lerner's Outlook mailboxes at the time of the computer crash would have been on the email servers and would not have been lost.

- There was a limit to the storage capacity of each employee's Outlook mailboxes. When that limit was reached, employees needed to delete old emails to make room for new ones. Any emails they kept in their mailboxes would remain on the email servers. Any emails they deleted would no longer be retained on the servers.

- When employees deleted emails from their Outlook mailboxes, they had the option of saving copies of these deleted emails on their hard drives, but they were not required to do so. Lerner apparently saved some of her deleted emails on her hard drive. These emails, having been deleted from her Outlook mailboxes, were no longer on the email servers. These are the emails she lost in the computer crash. She didn't lose all of her emails -- only her personal copies of the emails she had deleted from her Outlook mailboxes and saved on her hard drive.

- The fact that Lerner lost her personal electronic copies of these deleted emails does not mean that these deleted emails were completely lost. Some of those deleted emails were saved by other IRS employees. The IRS says it found thousands of Lerner emails in the email files of other employees. Some of Lerner's deleted emails apparently were printed out. So, thousands of the "lost" emails were found in other places and have been turned over to Congress.
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Posted: 07/22/2014 11:13 AM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined WE AGREE AGAIN 


SOMEBODY CHECK AND SEE IF THE EARTH IS STILL ROTATING!
"...I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on."

Jack Handy
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Posted: 07/22/2014 11:15 AM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined WE AGREE AGAIN 


That scares me.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 07/22/2014 11:16 AM

Re: Hard drive failures 


Why then have they not been disclosed?

In any case, this long ago moved into 'tell-it-to-the-judge' country, rather than endless ex parte arguments.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 07/22/2014 11:30 AM

Re: Hard drive failures 


Genuine Realist wrote: Why then have they not been disclosed?
Those emails already have been disclosed. The IRS says it has turned over to Congress thousands of Lerner emails from the period before the hard drive crash.

In any case, this long ago moved into 'tell-it-to-the-judge' country, rather than endless ex parte arguments.
The IRS already told it to the judge. The IRS filed affidavits in court last week regarding the circumstances of the hard drive crash and the efforts that were made to recover the data.
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Posted: 07/22/2014 12:03 PM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined 



Genuine Realist wrote: I don't think this reflects initial corruption by Obama, but the failure to put this matter before a Grand Jury is just another instance of the passivity that plagues this Administration.
My problem with Terry's context, is the suggestion that the only damnable offense would be if the decision making in the tax exempt unit was driven by partisan politics and the directive to use political filters came from the oval office.

While I agree that would be a bad thing, Obama was not elected to be head political operator, first golfer, first fundraiser & first vacation taker.  His JOB is to run the government well.  He has, throughout his presidency, been 'Putinning' on the IRS, the VA, the border, Obamacare, Benghazi....  Just as laughable as the claims of Putin's acolytes that the victims from the Malaysian Air flight were embalmed before boarding, are Obama's repeated claims that he is the victim of solely partisan bickering and racism.  Frankly, Putin has nothing on this guy.  Scarier still, he got 51.5% of the electorate to buy into this hollow narrative through four years of failure.  And yes, I remember the posts that were seen in these parts in 2012.

By narrowing the discussion to hard drive failure rates and whether or not the President specifically ordered a particular policy that led to an easily foreseeable calamity, Terry attempts to dissemble.  Perhaps he should address whether, politics and term of office aside, whether the President's performance to date would justify a decision to terminate mid contract; a Walt Harris end to this presidency.  After all, there is NO doubt he has lied, that he hasn't shown an inclination to address the bureaucratic impediments that have impaired organizational effectiveness for decades, aggressively fired responsible executives...anyone remember how long Kathleen Sibelius lasted, reworked, renegotiated work rules to be able to terminate employees for underperforming?

But yes Terry, to return you to your comfort level, if the IRS had a 2% local hard drive failure rate annually, I find it odd that the people involved at the policy level in the political targeting scandal experienced a 30%+ failure rate.  That's sort of a six sigma outcome no?  biggrin
Here's a toast with one last pour, may it last forever plus a minute more;
May fortune sing you her sweet song; to live and love way past long
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Posted: 07/22/2014 12:09 PM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined WE AGREE AGAIN 


TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE.  IT'S GOOD FOR YOU.
"...I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on."

Jack Handy
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Posted: 07/22/2014 12:19 PM

Re: Hard drive failures 


I meant Lois Lerner, and I am referring to what is arguably significant administrative misconduct. I don't know whether there are specific federal statutes at issue with IRS neutrality, but a generic conspiracy charge is certainly colorable.

As you may recall, I didn't believe this when the scandal first broke, but there had been too much evidence of bias disclosed since then. The instant eagerness to audit a Republican Senator on the mere face of an invitation made a particularly negative impression. A senior IRS official should know better.

With respect to such a prosecution, the lost emails may be a separate offense, may be of evidentiary significance, or may mean nothing, i.e., the IRS explanation accepted. But  I do think the time has come to subject these declarants to a little cross examination.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

Last edited 07/22/2014 4:30 PM by Genuine Realist

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Posted: 07/22/2014 12:22 PM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined WE AGREE AGAIN 


I think you are the establishment guy, Doc.

My mother used to tell me, "Elwood, in this world, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so nice."  For years I was smart.  I recommend nice.  You may quote me. - Elwood P. Dowd

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Posted: 07/22/2014 12:59 PM

Re: Gee Terry, who could have imagined WE AGREE AGAIN 


NO, THE ESTABLISHMENT IS NOW PC SECPROG LIBTARD HYPER REGULATORY CROWD.  CALLING HOLDER CORRUPT IS ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT.
"...I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that's when I felt the handcuffs go on."

Jack Handy
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