June 16, 2014

Try Not To Lose THIS One, Lois.

Perhaps we should email this little gem from Consumerist to Lois Lerner?

How to Not Suck at Dealing with Old Paperwork

It's good advice for anyone, actually. Especially this part:

"If you prefer digital to paper, you can download account statements and keep the electronic versions, but make sure they have a place to live that’s beyond your hard drive.


If your computer ever gives you the dreaded blue screen of death, you need to be sure you still have access to your documents."

The Dog Ate My Computer!

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything. It's not that I haven't had a lot to say; it's just that most of it has been said in rambling emails to close friends. I need to get back in the habit of sharing my discontent with all of you.

That said, I had prepared a post on the missing Lois Lerner emails, but then I realized that Dan Mitchell said nearly everything I said, and probably said it better. So I'll link to his post on it. The only thing I would add is to ask you all one question:

If it were you or I that claimed--to the IRS--that the emails they requested for our audit just happened to be lost due to a "computer crash," how do you think they would respond? And take a second to realize that, unlike organizations such as the IRS, most of us likely don't have any kind of backup or redundancy for our home systems.

I can make a pretty good guess how they would respond.

"Computer crash" is the modern equivalent of "the dog ate my homework!" I hear it far too often from students who are looking for a deadline extension. Of course, most of them don't realize the extent of my computer skills, and are stuck when I begin asking them for further details, or just call them on outright fibs.

We ought to handle the IRS with a similar technique. That is, have the Justice Department and/or FBI confiscate all computers related to the missing emails--all servers or clients that created, transmitted, or stored the emails--and have them run through by forensics experts. They may not be able to recover any, but it might be worthwhile trying to find just what happened to them. And if the drives turned out to have been wiped? Well, that in itself seems a bit suspicious, don't you think? It's like a crime scene where they found no forensic evidence of an intruder, but also no evidence of the residents (which you would naturally expect to find in the place where they lived). The logical conclusion would be that the scene was cleaned and sterilized on purpose.

People keep calling this a "scandal," but it seems at this point to be more than that. It's beginning to look, in toto, like a crime, and we ought to begin investigating it as such.