The $173 Million IRS Tech Team #Failed Adam Andrzejewski

Uncle Sam’s top tech team choked on game day.

The NFL has Super Bowl Sunday. Horses have the Kentucky Derby. The IRS has Tax Day. But not even 1,500 highly compensated tech employees at the IRS could keep the website running on the most important day of the year.

Although tax season is busy throughout March and April, it all comes down to one day. And this year, on April 17, when millions of taxpayers tried to file their 2017 tax returns on, they were halted by a system-wide computer failure, receiving the following notice:

“Planned outage: April 17, 2018 – December 31, 9999… We apologize for any inconvenience. Note that your tax payment is due although IRS Direct Pay may not be available.”

IRS Chief Information Officer Silvana Garza and her two deputy chief information officers, Karen Freeman and Marla Somerville, each made $185,100 in 2017. Additionally, Somerville received a $24,746 bonus, while disclosures show that Freeman received two bonuses totaling $61,766.

At the top of the list is the Director of Online Engagement, Operations Media. James Hammond held the position for five years before retiring to the private sector in 2017. As the senior executive in charge of the IRS website, Hammond made $240,100 – the highest base salary at the entire agency. Michele Causey was promoted to fill the spot. Ms. Causey left her executive officer position where she made $161,900 last year plus a $4,809 bonus.

The IRS handles plenty of confidential and sensitive information, and agency officials claim cybersecurity is a top priority. Rightly so, the cybersecurity employees at the IRS are highly compensated.

Condoleezza Rice Goes to the Seashore David Goldman

In Jules Dassin’s 1960 comedy Never on Sunday Melina Mercouri’s Piraeus demimondaine weeps at the awful denouement of “Medea,” but cheers up when the actors take their curtain call. They didn’t die after all, Mercouri exclaims, adding, “And they all went to the seashore.” Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has written a report, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, on the tragic failure of democratic movements in the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere, but with the sad bits left out. So convinced is she of democracy’s inevitable triumph that every story has a happy ending.

Iran’s regime “may for a time prevent the Iranian people from rising against their government, but it almost ensures that when they do, the landing will not be a soft one for the regime or the country.” Rice reports her “shock” when Hamas terrorists won the 2006 Palestinian elections urged by the State Department (so shocked, she says, that she called the State Department watch officer from her elliptical workout to confirm the news). She learned, she tells us, that “armed groups should not participate in the electoral process.” The remedy lies in “nurturing a diverse set of institutions…empowering entrepreneurs and businessmen, educating and empowering women, and encouraging social entrepreneurs and local civic organizations.” She praises former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who told her that the P.A.’s security services were “a bunch of gangsters,” but does not bother to mention that Fayyad was fired in 2013 after he failed to make a dent in the P.A.’s kleptocracy.

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Of Hosni Mubarak’s fall and the Egyptian military’s return to power she declares that “the Egyptian people were calling for [Mubarak’s] immediate ouster” in February 2011. By the people, she means the fraction of Egypt’s population that fit into Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Then the Muslim Brotherhood “won an impressive victory in peaceful elections.” Unfortunately, the Brotherhood’s president, Mohamed Morsi, had an “Islamic and autocratic tilt” and “was blamed, whether fairly or not, for attacks on religious minorities.” In July 2013 the military overthrew him, after “violent protests swept the country, with millions of Morsi supporters and millions of his critics facing off.”

In London, Three Billboards & a Jonathan In London on 17 April, three billboards eloquently protested the ongoing shame of antisemitism within the British Labour Party.   Legendary pro-Israel activist Jonathan Hoffman was interviewed that same day regarding Corbyn and the Corbynistas’ despicable stance.

John O’Sullivan As Goes Hungary…

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has married the disaffected blue-collar vote to traditional supporters of the mainstream Right. That’s why he’s loved and loathed across Europe—and why his government’s survival or rejection at the upcoming election has a significance far beyond his nation’s borders.

About a month ago in Hódmezővásárehely, a town in the south-east of Hungary (population 47,019, local attractions include thermal bathing), there was a small political earthquake. A local independent candidate in an election for the local mayoralty, Peter Marki Zay, who was supported by all the opposition parties, easily defeated the front-runner from the governing Fidesz party by a healthy margin of sixteen points.

This was a surprise on every count: the polls had suggested an easy Fidesz win; the town was regarded as a stronghold of Fidesz—an earlier mayor, Janos Lazar, is now effectively the deputy prime minister—and the national opinion polls have been predicting a major victory for the Fidesz party and Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the forthcoming general election on April 8.

Was this upset the promise of a bigger upset? If so, it would be an international upset, since Orban is a symbol of the “populist” upsurge throughout Europe and thus a scare-figure for the international Left, the European Commission, and those who see the election of populists as a threat to “liberal democracy”.

At once there was an outburst of optimistic rejoicing among Orban’s many opponents along the lines of … a Fidesz triumph wasn’t a foregone conclusion … if the opposition parties united as they had done in Hódmezővásárehely … the mathematics for an opposition victory were there … and so on. International reporters are now making their way to Budapest; the caravan has moved in for the kill.

In Brussels Jean-Claude Juncker has crossed his fingers in the hope of an Orban defeat that would mark the second death for populism—this time perhaps a more permanent death than Emmanuel Macron’s slaying of populism in the French elections had proved before populism revived in the German and Italian elections.

Orban himself did not discourage this kind of speculation. Indeed, he voiced it himself. There’s no doubt that the opposition could win, he grieved. And his people have been wearing glum faces around town, shaking their heads mournfully, and regretting that Fidesz will probably not get the two-thirds parliamentary majority it won in the last two elections.

President Trump vs. the Foreign Policy Swamp by David Goldman

President Trump’s decision to postpone new economic sanctions against Russia on Monday brought some clarity to the foreign policy fight in Washington. The issue isn’t whether UN Ambassador Nikki Haley gets confused, as she waspishly denied, but the fact that the president is fighting the swamp single-handed. Here’s the Financial Times’ snarky Edward Luce in a blast email this morning:

The explanation is simple. Everyone in the Trump administration is really hawkish on Russia. Except the president. On most days the train simply keeps running without him. People such as Haley talk to Jim Mattis, the defence secretary, John Bolton, the national security advisor, Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and so on, and agree on what ought to be done.

Under the headline “Trump, a reluctant hawk, has battled his top aides on Russia and lost,” The Washington Post reported April 15 that the White House national security bamboozled the president about last month’s expulsion of Russian diplomats. Trump was told that he had to expel 60 Russians to match what the Europeans were doing.

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials — far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on…Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. “There were curse words,” the official said, “a lot of curse words.”

The incident reflects a tension at the core of the Trump administration’s increasingly hard-nosed stance on Russia: The president instinctually opposes many of the punitive measures pushed by his Cabinet that have crippled his ability to forge a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Turkey Targeting Greece – Again by Uzay Bulut

With the illegal seizures and occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974 and the Syrian city of Afrin this March — with virtually no global reaction — Turkey apparently feels unchallenged and eager to continue; this time, it seems, with the oil-and-gas rich islands of Greece.

“To take an interest in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Crimea, Karabakh, Bosnia and other brotherly regions is both the duty and the right of Turkey. Turkey is not just Turkey. The day we give up on these things will be the day we give up on our freedom and future.” — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 2016.

Turkish needs are in reality supplied by its association with the US. Turkish officials usually get whatever they want from the West, but they seem to have chosen to align themselves with Iran and Russia, possibly in attempt to blackmail the West for more.

Turkey has been harassing Greece consistently. Most recently, this week, on April 17, two Turkish fighter aircraft harassed the helicopter carrying Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the Greek Armed Forces Chief Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis as they were flying from the islet of Ro to Rhodes.

With the illegal seizures and occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974 and the Syrian city of Afrin this March — with virtually no global response — Turkey apparently feels unchallenged and eager to continue; this time, it seems, with the oil-and-gas rich islands of Greece.

A Culture of Murderous Hate at Fresno State When a university normalizes calls for the death of Republicans. Daniel Greenfield

2017 was a bad year at Fresno State. 2018 looks to be even worse.

In the winter of last year, Lars Maischak had tweeted, “To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better. #TheResistance.”

The next day he inquired, “Has anyone started soliciting money and design drafts for a monument honoring the Trump assassin, yet?”

Toward the end of the week, he proposed the mass murder of Republicans, “Justice = The execution of two Republicans for each deported immigrant.”

Maischak was a history adjunct at Fresno State whose topics had included, “Marx and Hegel for Historians.”

President Castro eventually clarified that calls to murder the President of the United States and millions of Republicans, “do not reflect the position of the University.”

Castro failed to clearly condemn Maischak’s murderous tweets. Instead Maischak took a voluntary leave “conducting research off campus”. His university faculty page appears to be active.

Had an adjunct called for the murder of Obama, the reaction would have been very different.

Now, Randa Jarrar, a tenured Muslim professor in Fresno State’s Department of English, responded to Barbara Bush’s death by calling the deceased 92-year-old woman a “racist”.

“I’m happy the witch is dead,” she gloated. “Can’t wait for the rest of her family to fall to their demise.”

Bay of Pigs Freedom-Fight: 57 Years Later How JFK’s voluntary betrayal led Cuban heroes to doom. Humberto Fontova

The Bay of Pigs freedom-fight transpired 57 years ago this week. Given that Hollywood and the mainstream media have finally gotten around to revealing the hideous truth about a Kennedy’s perfidy and how the media/Democrat complex helped cover it up (i.e. Teddy, Chappaquiddick), who knows, perhaps one day they’ll level with us about what really happened at the Bay of Pigs.

“I really admire toughness and courage, and I will tell you that the people of this brigade [Brigada 2506] really have that…you were let down by our country.” (Donald Trump, addressing Bay of Pigs Veterans at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami FL, 11/16, 1999.)

“It’s a great honor and I’m humbled for this endorsement from these freedom fighters—from TRUE freedom fighters… You were fighting for the values of freedom and liberty that unite us all. (Candidate Donald Trump, receiving endorsement of Bay of Pigs Veterans at the Bay of Pigs Museum in Miami FL, 11/16, 2016.)

But let’s not hold our breath about the Hollywood/media complex finally coming clean about the Bay of Pigs as it just did about Chappaquiddick. So until that day arrives, here it is:

No, the invasion was not “doomed” from the beginning because of Castro’s “popular support” in Cuba—as the media/Democrat complex would have you believe.

No, the invasion was not “doomed” because the original CIA/military plans were “faulty”—as the media/Democrat complex would have you believe.

No, the “formerly rich, pampered and effete” Cuban invaders did not “quickly surrender,” as the media/Democrat complex would have you believe.

In fact, it was the voluntary actions of a Kennedy that lead to doom at the Bay of Pigs, same as at Chappaquiddick.

What Enoch Powell Got Right, and Wrong The legacy of the most famous British speech of the last half-century Dominic Green

Fifty years ago this month, the British conservative Enoch Powell gave his “Rivers of Blood” speech about immigration, which has become as legendary as it is infamous. A classics professor who once aspired to become viceroy of the British Raj, Powell was one of postwar Britain’s most intelligent conservatives. Romantic about British traditions and deeply skeptical of the emerging European superstate, he would become a mentor to the young Margaret Thatcher. But instead of forcing immigration onto the agenda and propelling Powell toward Conservative Party leadership, the Rivers of Blood speech pushed the issue to the fringe and Powell’s career into the ditch. Powell’s fall became a rallying cry for racists and immigration a wedge issue for Europe’s populist “new right” parties, thus preventing candid discussion of policy.

In April 1968, Britain’s Labour government enacted the Race Relations Act, making illegal racial or religious discrimination in housing, employment, or public services. In response, Powell attacked the cross-party postwar consensus, not just on race relations but also on broader questions of national identity. Two decades of mass immigration, he warned, had started a “total transformation to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history.” British society was “on the verge of a change”—and risking the kind of inter-ethnic violence that had stymied Powell’s ambitions to run India.

“As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding,” Powell said, and “like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood”—a classical allusion to the Sybil’s prophecy of civil war in the Aeneid. Less stylish was his description of immigrants’ children as “wide-grinning piccaninnies.” In response, the pro-European Conservative Party leader Edward Heath removed Powell from his position as Shadow Defence Secretary. In the East End of London, though, dockworkers marched under the slogan “Enoch was right.” Powell’s stance won working-class votes for Heath in the 1970 election. Many white Britons still mutter that “Enoch was right” behind closed doors whenever the subject of immigration comes up—which it does whenever people talk politics today.

Delusions of Justice American Jews should wake up to which side their most dangerous enemies are on. Joel Kotkin *****

Since the election of Donald Trump, prominent American Jews, notably in the Reform movement and among the intelligentsia, have lamented the resurgence of right-wing anti-Semitism, seeing it as the greatest threat to their community in the United States. The rise of xenophobic and often marginally anti-Jewish parties in Eastern Europe—even with fewer Jews left there to persecute—has deepened the alarm. Yet by far the greatest threat to Jews, not only here but also abroad, comes not from zombie fascist retreads, but from the Left, which is increasingly making its peace with anti-Semitism.

This shift was first made clear to me about 15 years ago when, along with my wife Mandy, whose mother is a Holocaust survivor from France, I visited the legendary Nazi-hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld. They predicted that the primary threat to Jews in Europe increasingly would come not from the centuries-old French Right, some of whom had supported the Nazis, but from the Left, in alliance with a growing Muslim population. Time has proved their assertion to be, for the most part, on target. In Sweden, for instance, never known for its persecution of Jews, only 5 percent of all anti-Semitic incidents, notes the New York Times, involved the far Right, while Muslims and leftists accounted for the rest. Germany’s recent rash of anti-Semitic incidents has coincided with the mass migration of people from regions where hostility to both Jews and Israel is commonplace. At European universities, where pro-Nazi sentiments were once widely shared, anti-Israel sentiments are increasingly de rigueur. The growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, aimed at cutting all ties with Israel, often allies itself with anti-Jewish Islamist groups, some with eliminationist agendas for Palestine’s Jews.

Of course, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism are not identical. One can criticize some Israeli policies—as many American Jews do, for example, on the expansion of settlements—without being an anti-Semite. But, as the liberal French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy argues, targeting the Jewish state while ignoring far more brutal, homophobic, and profoundly misogynist Muslim states represents a double standard characteristic of anti-Semitic prejudice. European progressives increasingly embrace this double standard. Generally speaking, the further left the European politician, the closer his ties to Islamist groups who seek the destruction of Jews in Palestine. Many left-wing parties—the French socialists, for example—depend more and more on Arab and Muslim voters, who come from countries where more than 80 percent of the public holds strongly anti-Jewish views. The Left’s animus toward Jewish causes has spread to Great Britain, where Labour Party head Jeremy Corbyn counts the leaders of openly anti-Semitic groups like Hamas and Hezbollah as allies. If Corbyn becomes Britain’s next prime minister—no longer inconceivable, given his strong showing in the last election—the consequences for Israel, and for Britain’s dwindling Jewish community, could be troubling.