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Congressman questions IRS Commissioner about Obama’s birth certificate

Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen about the lost Lois Lerner emails and other things:

Doggett: I believe that there has been a long-term commitment to hamstring, to encumber, to underfund the Internal Revenue Service, and discredit it, and the whole concept of progressive taxation in this country. Now let me ask you, to the seriousness of this investigation, and sir, have you ever been in Benghazi?

Koskinen: No.

Doggett: Do you know if you or Ms. Lerner have ever had any responsibility for anything having to do with Benghazi and our embassy there?

Koskinen: No.

Doggett: How about Area 51 out in Roswell, New Mexico, where all those space aliens allegedly came. Have you ever had any responsibility for that?

Koskinen: No.

Doggett: Have you ever had custody of the President’s birth certificate?

Koskinen: No.

Doggett: Well, Commissioner, I believe one of the mistakes you’ve made in dealing with the Committee today is that you did assume professionally this was a serious inquiry. I believe it is an endless conspiracy theory that’s involved here that is being exploited solely for political purposes. I don’t approve of Ms. Lerner. I don’t approve of the way the IRS handled all these matters. But I think there is a much larger cover-up issue here. And it is the desire of our Republican colleagues cover up these purported social welfare organizations that don’t want to disclose the secret corporate campaign contributions that they rely on to pollute our democracy.

H/t to Birther Report.


You use that word “archive,” but I don’t think it means what you think it does.

A couple of things have led me to think about archiving this week. The first is the brouhaha about a crashed hard drive at the IRS, and the IRS claim that all the backups are overwritten after 6 months. When is an email a record? What are the retention policies at the IRS? I lack the motivation and the stamina to examine this question in detail, but for the brave souls that might want to dig deeper, I offer these documents:

There is, of course, the occasional variance between policy and practice in the real world.

The other thing that made me think about archiving is the recent going offline of the Orly Taitz ESQ web site. Naturally, when such a site goes offline for a while, there is something on it needed. The Wayback Machine is a great source to find old web pages, but a fair portion of Orly’s site is not in the Wayback Machine for some reason. The Google Cache captures some things, and some sites, including Orly’s site and this one, get republished by Before It’s News. BIN provides us a copy of Orly’s article that some suggest is the reason her web site has been taken down. Here is the advice of “Attorney Orly Taitz” from the article:

Now there are a lot of lost Mexican children, who wandered into the US territory. Well, it is time for every American to become a good Samaritan and help the lost Mexican children by driving them to the border and taking them to thecustody of Mexican border patrol, so that Mexican border patrol that speaks Spanish, can reunite them with their families in Mexico.

Bizarre! Attorney Taitz is giving advice that could result in anyone who follows it ending up in federal prison.

What hit home for me is that over 700 articles on my own web site are not in the Wayback Machine for some reason. Some missing articles are current, but many date back as early as 2010. Ouch! I have been busy coding software yesterday and today to deal with this problem. What I did was to use the WordPress API to download the URLs of all the posts on this blog into a database. I then used the Wayback Machine API to determine which of them were not in the Wayback Machine archive. I then developed a system for adding them. Right now, I have to push a couple of buttons to scroll to the next missing page and add it. I’ll automate that shortly. I just have to be careful not to add to fast, or I’ll get kicked off as an attacker. A 5-second delay seems to work pretty well.

Dr. Conspiracy’s guide to hard drive recycling

Because of interest in a recent story about an unrecoverable hard drive used by Lois Lerner of the IRS, I took a few minutes to explain why a recycled drive might not readable. Here is

Dr. Conspiracy’s guide to hard drive recycling

If you are a government agency with surplus computer equipment, it is important that sensitive data not fall into the wrong hands such as a Republican-led Congressional committee, or a right-wing talk show host, when that equipment is taken out of service. This handy tutorial shows how to erase information from a hard drive before recycling.

Specifications for hard drives include limits on the amount of shock the drive can absorb without damage. Since the goal of the procedure is to prevent the drive from performing, shock is a good first step in making the drive unreadable. As a professional government employee, it is important to dress professionally when carrying the procedures in this tutorial. The following illustration shows one measured way to apply shock to the drive:


After the procedure the drive should look similar to this:


A second limiting factor in a hard drive’s ability to function properly and retain its data is temperature. Here you will want to review the “storage temperature” on the drive and apply heat in excess of the published limit. Be sure to wear safety glasses when carrying out this procedure:


Here is the hard drive following application of the elevated temperature procedure:


Most drives have a warning against opening the drive, as this can introduce dust and other foreign matter that can render the drive unreadable. The following illustration shows one method for opening the hard drive. First select an appropriate tool such as this:


Insure that you have a clear area around you when opening the drive:


The following detail photo shows the proper placement of the tool on the drive:


The following illustrates how the hard drive should look after completing of the procedure. Note that the procedure should be repeated until the drive is clearly open.

IMAG0012_croppedAfter concluding the simple three steps above, you can be assured that data will not be read from the hard drive by the wrong people.