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Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:03 am
by AFTP
Famspear,

This whole thing with Andy started when I basically commented that with the lies and scandals that have been coming out of this Govt. it all looks like a cover up.

Andy then said "Then again, AFTP has never found a stone without a conspiracy under it."
I felt that unfair pointing out that from a non in the loop of Govt. person it looks like a cover up.
Andy came across to me as someone in the know and therefore out of touch with the "common man".

Also in my defense for those who remember, I never was a TP in the way people on this board are used to seeing.
I went to a seminar in the 90s and thought that Pure Trusts were legit and a legal way of reducing taxes. I even informed the IRS and since I never got a response thought it was true.

I later found out they were bogus and promptly dissolved them and paid all taxes owed.
I came to this board to hopefully convince hardcore TPs the error of their ways as well as others who had Trusts.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:23 am
by AndyK
And yet despite being given reasonable facts regarding the issue from "someone in the know" (as is OperaBuff), you persist in looking for a cover-up or a conspiracy.

Why can't you just accept a string of legitimate errors compounded by the ineptitude of certain employees as being a reasonable cause for the unavailability of e-mail messages prior to 2011?

It was clearly explained that, until some time in the recent past, IRS e-mail retention policies and procedures were grossly inadequate; that the agency was tuned to operating with paper copies of everything; and that a user's personal business computer sustained a non-recoverable hard drive failure.

Unfortunately, the facts don't fit into a corruption / conspiracy mindset.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:07 am
by AFTP
Andy,

I'm about over this.
Why do you persist in thinking I'm a conspiracy nut? :brickwall:
I never said it wasn't true.

I said I didn't know and to the "average Joe" it looks like a cover up.
Please reread my posts for clarification.

Clearly the record keeping system is broken.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:09 am
by Judge Roy Bean
AndyK wrote:...
Why can't you just accept a string of legitimate errors compounded by the ineptitude of certain employees as being a reasonable cause for the unavailability of e-mail messages prior to 2011? ...


Hmm ... could the reason for the alleged errors be motive? That's just as reasonable.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:19 am
by Famspear
AFTP wrote:Famspear,

This whole thing with Andy started when I basically commented that with the lies and scandals that have been coming out of this Govt. it all looks like a cover up.

Andy then said "Then again, AFTP has never found a stone without a conspiracy under it."
I felt that unfair pointing out that from a non in the loop of Govt. person it looks like a cover up.
Andy came across to me as someone in the know and therefore out of touch with the "common man".


I fail to see the logic of concluding that because someone is "in the know", that person is "therefore" somehow "out of touch" with the common man.

To me, "in the know" means that a person has specialized knowledge about a particular subject that the average person does not have. But having that specialized knowledge does not "therefore" make that person somehow be out of touch with the common man.

Having specialized knowledge of a subject might make the holder of that knowledge have a different view about the subject than the average common man has. But, that can usually mean that the holder of special knowledge is correct -- and that the average common man is wrong -- about the topic in question.

Also in my defense for those who remember, I never was a TP in the way people on this board are used to seeing.
I went to a seminar in the 90s and thought that Pure Trusts were legit and a legal way of reducing taxes. I even informed the IRS and since I never got a response thought it was true.


Good point. I would add that the average person might well conclude that because the IRS never responded, perhaps there was some truth to the "Pure Trusts" crap. But, as you pointed out, you later found out that they were bogus. Which means that you now know more about that scam that probably 90% of the average common persons walking around.

You have lots of specialized knowledge about tax scams, from your own study and from following the material in this forum. And, in a sense, that makes you different from the average American. You have better knowledge of this subject than the average person. You are "in the know".

But that doesn't mean that you're out of touch with the common man.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:36 am
by Jeffrey
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ ... story.html

On Tuesday, two key lawmakers said the IRS has also lost emails from six additional IRS workers whose computers crashed. Among them was Nikole Flax, who was chief of staff to Lerner’s boss, then-deputy commissioner Steven Miller.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:06 am
by JamesVincent
To be perfectly honest, speaking as an non-average Joe (or James, whichever), when I first saw this my reaction wasn't far off ATFP's. Then, after a moment of remembering the fact that the Army lost my records in between my two times of enlistment, I thought typical government agency. One of the things a buddy of mine does for the government is work on ways to ensure screwups like this don't occur, too bad he's in Kansas City, not DC.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:14 pm
by Duke2Earl
I worked at the IRS many years ago. I have not a single clue as to what actually happened with regard to the emails in question. However, if the the question is whether the the IRS can be stunningly incompetent, the answer is... absolutely. It happened repeatedly both when I worked there and often since. Also if the question is whether the IRS could pull of some sort of conspiracy and keep it quiet, the answer is.... it is so improbable as to be beyond belief. The IRS is poster child for the proposition that if 2 people know a secret, it is not longer a secret. Considering how underpaid, under resourced and barely competent the IRS actually is, it is almost miraculous how good a job they actually do. Many good competent people work at the IRS, unfortunately they are in the minority. And many of them leave due to the sheer frustration of continually beating their heads against the impenetrable wall of management. In short, I fully agree with the proposition "don't put down to malfeasance what can be explained with simple incompetence."

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:39 pm
by AFTP
Well put Famspear, point understood.
Thank you.

I just thought Andy's remark that I always look for a conspiracy wasn't a fair statement.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:15 pm
by Famspear
AFTP wrote:Well put Famspear, point understood.
Thank you.

I just thought Andy's remark that I always look for a conspiracy wasn't a fair statement.


Thanks, and thanks for putting up with me. As just about everyone here probably knows, I tend to be a pain-in-the-butt hair-splitter at times.

:)

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:18 pm
by JamesVincent
Famspear wrote:
Thanks, and thanks for putting up with me. As just about everyone here probably knows, I tend to be a pain-in-the-butt hair-splitter at times.

:)


You? :shock:

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:39 pm
by Famspear
Duke2Earl wrote:I worked at the IRS many years ago. I have not a single clue as to what actually happened with regard to the emails in question. However, if the the question is whether the the IRS can be stunningly incompetent, the answer is... absolutely. It happened repeatedly both when I worked there and often since. Also if the question is whether the IRS could pull of some sort of conspiracy and keep it quiet, the answer is.... it is so improbable as to be beyond belief. The IRS is poster child for the proposition that if 2 people know a secret, it is not longer a secret. Considering how underpaid, under resourced and barely competent the IRS actually is, it is almost miraculous how good a job they actually do.....


I think this is absolutely right on point, based on my experience.

I have never worked for the IRS or any other government agency, but I have been dealing with IRS personnel at various levels for over 23 years, sometimes on a weekly basis.

My impression is that the vast majority of IRS people at every position are honest and are trying to do a good job. There is some "systemic" incompetency at the agency but, considering the gigantic tasks assigned to them, it's astonishing that what does get done -- gets done.

I have felt a lot of frustration over the years in dealing with IRS people, but much of it stems from what I believe is lack of proper training and especially lack of uniform training across the agency. For example: The Tax Practitioner Hotline. But, even here, I would say that about 80% of the time I deal with people at the Hotline, I get a competent person and a good result.

With Revenue Agents, Revenue Officers, Appeals Officers, and Chief Counsel attorneys, I have never really had a bad experience. I have had only brief contact with an IRS Special Agent (which was no problem for me, and the person with the problem was not my client).

I had one Revenue Officer many years ago with an attitude problem, who was not familiar with the limitations imposed on him by the Bankruptcy Code with respect his collection efforts, but no big deal.

In bankruptcy cases, the IRS does tend to violate the automatic stay, with computer-generated notices of intent to levy and even actual levy notices, where the texts of the notices clearly show that the IRS is aware of the bankruptcy. The generation of these notices by the computer is an example of the effect of the systemic incompetency. They're a bother to deal with -- rather like swatting at a pesky fly from time to time. I contact the IRS Insolvency unit and the problem usually goes away quickly.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:24 am
by Lambkin
As a so-called IT professional, I operate large-scale data backup services, and email legal hold and discovery services (at previous job). I think I understand the configuration they were using; I am not surprised that it wasn't very reliable. If you are saving data locally on laptops (the offline Outlook folders) and expecting to be able to restore it as a means of discovery, that is not going to be reliable. In corporate America, it is typical that you want to have many years of recoverable backups, depending on the regulatory or compliance requirements of the business. If you are not actually archiving every message going in and out, you will not be able to restore every message. So you need something that intercepts and archives every message and retains it for years in a searchable index. For example if you back up successfully once per day, you may not back up messages received and deleted within the same day. I think the problem at the IRS is that they are trying to control costs in a way that is in conflict with the goal of ensuring that every message is recoverable. In one 60,000+ employee enterprise I worked in, backups and off-site tape storage were the largest line item in the IT budget, so that's what they are dealing with. I was a bit surprised by the claims in the news that they recycle tapes after 6 months, which seems very short.

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:46 am
by Jeffrey
Plot twist:

As many as 30,000 lost emails from Lois Lerner -- the ex-IRS official at the center of the agency's targeting scandal -- have been recovered by federal investigators.


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/11 ... ake-weeks/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/ ... o-comment/

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:39 am
by notorial dissent
So the unrecoverable emails are suddenly back. My, my, my!!!!

Re: Controversial IRS official retires

Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:30 pm
by Hyrion
AFTP wrote:
Are the facts of the issue merely another part of the conspiracy and cover-up or are they a reasonable, rational explanation for what happened.

<snip>What I do know is the perception of what is happening.</snip>

Perhaps the answer is to acquire more information and change your perception then.

As the saying goes: a little knowledge can be downright dangerous. As was said on an episode of Start Trek Next Gen I watched last night (paraphrase) "so people gather what information they can then fill in the gaps with what their guts tell them".

Perhaps you should question your own gut instincts to see how much you can rely on them.

I find it highly amusing that the IRS only kept 6 months of retention data, but not surprising. I'm a software developer who - at one point - had a sufficient interest in computer security to aim for a PHD on the subject. No, I didn't actually go for the PHD... I simply outline that to indicate how strong my interest and eduction into the subject was.

Here's my opinion in a nutshell.

The avg politician is like the avg top-of-the-ladder business mind. They don't understand the need for the electronic office and tend to rebel against the concept as much as possible for as long as possible. Primarily (I hope) because it costs money, and they do not like to sign checks they think are absolutely necessary (not counting self-interest).

When they do finally give in on a particular point, they go with "the industry standard". Unfortunately, those standards have been set by Microsoft (my humble opinion). To give you an idea of what kind of standard Microsoft likes, they tried to push into the OOXML standard the fact that "the year 1900 is a leap year". In case you're not sure, 1900 is most definitely not a leap year.

When it comes to electronic security - there's another uphill battle for those of us in the trenches. Who needs security? Why is security needed? That's just a cost that doesn't do anything. It doesn't matter how many analogies we use that they should be able to easily understand. For example: are there locks on your doors? If security is useless, why don't you remove the locks from the doors to your building? But... who needs security? After all.... Microsoft software started without any security at all. So why should we need electronic security?

Sadly (or realistically depending how you view the world), if you open your eyes and look at society around you including in your own family/friends unit - you'll see much of the same errors that occur in Government agencies occuring in your very home (mothers home, friends home, etc). Not just the erros with regards electronic security, but all forms of human errors.

Why? Because people are human. Even government workers.

Whew... four paragraphs, that's some nutshell.