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Along with the mass gathering of phone call records and emails, the Obama Administration has also been gathering all of your financial information. This data is then combed through by government computers which search for any anomalies contained in the data. If financial transactions look suspicious, not only you, but possibly other people you have associated with are then investigated. The reverse is also true. If you had any financial transactions with someone the government deems suspicious, you may also become a target.

And if the government feels like it, it can also target you at random, even if you have done nothing wrong.

What is the government agency which wields  so much power over the lives of ordinary Americans?  It is known as the IRS.

There are several factors that govern who the IRS chooses to audit. Firstly, some tax returns are chosen for audit through the screening of a computer. An IRS computer compares data from a return to average numbers from other people’s tax returns in similar situations looking for variances. The data that is reviewed by the computer are things like charitable donations, interest income and variations
from averages in your income bracket or zip code. If a major variance is detected, that tax return is chosen for audit.

Secondly, tax returns are chosen for audit based on comparisons with other documents like your W2s. The computer sees if your tax return matches up with your W2 and if there is a mismatch, that return is called for audit.

Thirdly, there is the category called “related examinations”. This is where returns may be selected for audit when they involve issues or transactions with other taxpayers, such as business partners or investors, whose returns were selected for audit. And finally, some returns are selected for audit purely at random.

Don't be swayed by naysayers who say the activities of the IRS are a necessary function of government.  There are many who can arrest to the abuse of powers by this agency.  

These  groups are well aware of this problem and are doing their best to stop these jack booted thugs in their tracks.  The include groups such as Posse Comitatus, We the People Foundation, the NRA and other right wing  groups and politicians.

Even as IRS Director Charles Rossotti warned Congress about an epidemic of tax cheating which had reached $195 billion a year, Senator Phil Gramm in May 1998 denounced the agency. Peddling myths of jack-booted IRS agents tormenting American taxpayers, Gramm called on Rossotti to fire his 50 worst employees. Gramm concluded:

    "I have no confidence in the Internal Revenue Service of this country. You do not have a good system. This agency has too much unchecked power."

"...Delaware Republican Senator William Roth's Finance Committee held hearings in 1997 and 1998, Mississippi's Trent Lott decried the IRS' "Gestapo-like tactics." Frank Murkowski (R-AK) similarly denounced those supposed "Gestapo-like tactics" while excoriating the Agency, "You don't need to send in armed personnel in flak jackets." Don Nickles of Oklahoma raged, "The IRS is out of control!" Meanwhile, GOP pollster and wordmeister Frank Luntz quizzed focus groups with his favorite question, "Which would you prefer: having your wallet or purse stolen or being audited by the IRS?"

I'm thinking of creating a petition in support of these great men. Anybody with me?


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

    by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:34:29 AM PDT

  •  Uh, doesn't (9+ / 0-)

    Turbo Tax basically do the same thing?  I've had flags raised by them if I put incorrect info in.

    And you are praising Republicans from the 1990's???????

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:40:30 AM PDT

    •  I think it's a perspective comparison (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jennybravo, sunbro

      That sort of thing, you know.


      by otto on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:42:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No I'm not supporting Rethugs (8+ / 0-)

      This diary is snark. Maybe poor snark, but snark all the same. My point is that reasonable people have no problem with the the government having all of our financial information. This is information we won't even share with family members or our best friends. But we trust the government with it.

      So maybe some people are overreacting to the government having records of phone numbers.

      Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

      by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:48:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah (6+ / 0-)

        merkley, udall, and wyden are known to overreact. and it's not just records of phone numbers. that's an absurd simplification.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:50:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly, folks willingly (6+ / 0-)

        give over an astonishing amount of personal data to non-governmental organizations:   to open a credit card, get a thingy for a keychain for supposed discounts at grocery stores, to banks just to open an account, Facebook, Twitter, what we reveal on DKos and other sites.  

        There's a law against anyone requiring our SS # but -- when has it ever been enforced -- every goddammed credit card company requires it.  Employers require it just for a fucking interview.

        This country has willingly sacrificed privacy decades ago -- and it has gotten worse with the infatuation with electronic toys which can track your every move and transaction.

        Sure, I hate spying by the government -- but I'm hardly shocked.  I'm more shocked at the number of people who abandon their lives to Facebook and twitter.

        " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

        by gchaucer2 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:57:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My CABLE company wants my SS#. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jennybravo, gchaucer2, JerryNA

          I rarely try to do any financial transaction, and some not financial, that doesn't ask for SS# for "purposes of identity"

          20 years ago, when I was in car sales, we were required to get a SS# before a person could even test drive a car. No deal in the works. Just a test drive. Many refused to give it, but the purpose was to do a quick snoop into the credit file while they test drove so that management could determine from the get go if this person was going to be worth "wasting" time on to negotiate. I didn't keep that job for long. For just those kinds of reasons.

          But almost every website I go to, I have to click "I agree" before I get any benefit. There's also an implied agreement for using the site, even if they don't have a pop up or a block until you click it. As they say, "Ignorance of the Terms Of Service is no excuse" or something like that. . .

          I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

          by second gen on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:17:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Let's face it, privacy is an encumbrance. (0+ / 0-)

          In the world we live in, an insistence on the maintenance of private information is too much trouble. Like a lot of people, I make no attempt to hide personal information. That's why the intensity of this response to government surveillance of electronic communications leaves me somewhat bemused. I just assumed years ago that that's what was happening.

          Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

          by Anne Elk on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:33:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great, rhetorical games (8+ / 0-)

    You win.

    We shouldn't be concerned that private companies potentially have their hands on virrtually every communication in this country, because right wingers hate government.


    •  once upon a time (12+ / 0-)

      we all seemed to have a big problem with domestic spying. but that was back when bush was president. things have changed.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:46:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What saddens me most... (7+ / 0-)

        is the way this flip/flop will be used against democrats and liberals who protest the next time a GOP administration runs roughshod over our constitutional rights.

        We'll be dismissed as partisan hacks. This goofy approach implicates us all.
        Hell, maybe that's the genius of what the pro-spying wing of the party is doing.


        •  in the '80s (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blicero, jennybravo, dclawyer06, pgm 01

          some republicans were calling environmentalists "terrorists." this is fun.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:52:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think of all the many outrages... (3+ / 0-)

            and let-downs(in recent years) none frighten me more than this surveillance apparatus. In time, it's real powers will be used not to react to events but to determine and shape them.

            There was discussion in OPOLs diary of the use of MLK and the wiretapping Hoover did to intimidate and marginalize him. I wonder if Dr. King could rise to prominence in a society in which the powerful have tools as powerful as those now in the hands of the NSA?

            Greatest weapon in the history of mankind, I tell ya.
            Oh well, cheers!

            •  That's a little different, isn't it? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's one thing to target an individual citizen for their political activities and something a bit different when the search is conducted on everyone. It would be like only searching people at the airport who looked like they might be Libertarians. The TSA searches everyone who wants to fly. The government wants to search everyone who sends an email. What's the difference exactly? Why should the government assume that I mean to do harm to an aircraft? Isn't that a very intrusive dragnet? And if I have rights under the 2nd Amendment, why can't I take a gun onto a plane? Pretty obvious answer, right? But the government's argument might be that information is a gun in today's world. Hackers can send information that destroys a power plant or turns off all of the traffic lights in NYC. By searching everyone one, the government serves the rights of its citizens by protecting them. They might argue that information was a fundamentally different thing in the 18th Century, just as a musket is not an assault weapon. People in the 18th Century had an expectation of remaining in possession of their personal papers. It might be argued that, when you send an email through half a dozen servers to a friend overseas, you have no expectation of privacy.

              Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

              by Anne Elk on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:44:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Obviously (0+ / 0-)

          you aren't part of the "we" so I wouldn't really sweat it.


          by otto on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:59:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't even consider Obama when I think (4+ / 0-)

        about this issue. It's bigger than anyone. But we need to get a handle on it somehow - and Snowdon may have give us a tiny window to do it.

        Probably not, but maybe.

        •  I noticed Snowden didn't mention this admin... (5+ / 0-)

          at all in his sit-down with Greenwald.
          This isn't about a political party or a President.
          It's much, much bigger.

          Snowden and Greenwald apparently have more leaks to share. I hope they keep up the good work.

          •  I wish (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            doroma, dclawyer06, jan4insight

            Snowden and Greenwald would just release it all and stop playing games with it by trying to capture headlines for as long as possible.

            It feels like the Republicans IRS investigation and promises of even worse to come!!!  Greenwald was looking absolutely smirky when he told Lawrence O'Donnell he had LOTS more information to release.  If what is being done is so harmful and dangerous, let us all know right now.

            Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

            by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:28:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Snowden may not have (0+ / 0-)

            mentioned the Obama administration, but thousand of comments have have.

            Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

            by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:32:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But that's not him. (0+ / 0-)

              He's no dummy, his statements were concise and deliberate. If he'd thought President Obama was the central part of this surveillance state, he would've focused on him more.

              His silence on the matter hasn't done him any favors with loyalists. If he'd wanted to whip up cheap support from the right he would've mentioned Obama during the interview.

              He didn't.

      •  there are some significant differences (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in that Bush's were facially directly contrary to a statute.

        But, generally, if I object to Bush or another Republican having any Presidential power, where's the contradiction?  

        I think Bush is inept and motivated by bad faith, and his brother or Romney'd be the same, and I don't feel that about Obama.  That's why I voted for him.  That he hasn't claimed the ability to directly go around the other two branches is part of why i'm comfortable with him having that technological power, and not the Republicans.  Not objecting to Bush for no reason, just a narrower one.

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:07:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes (5+ / 0-)

          our guy is good, so he can do what he wants. their guy is bad, so he shouldn't.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:11:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He is doing what is legal (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and not claiming he has power to do any more than what is legally accepted. The law should changed.

            Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

            by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:19:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  i'm being somewhat tongue in cheek (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If the objection is that the programs, as disclosed, are inherently already problematic because the data collection itself if injurious, it wouldn't be a defense.  But I don't share that view, and never did, except to the extent Congress had then expressly forbidden it.  If the objection is more that the programs, as disclosed, could lead to abuse in the future, then who is in charge absolutely matters.  Not for nothing, I wouldn't completely trust Clinton as much with this stuff, out factors relating to discipline and restraint.    The power of the Presidency is broader and deeper in totally unrelated ways to this, which is why judgment, and therefore, elections matter.  

            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

            by Loge on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:21:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I thought (0+ / 0-)

      the big concern was the government having these phone numbers, etc. because of the power it wields.  We all know the phone companies and internet providers have it all.  The argument seems to be that these private companies can't hurt us and the government can.  

      I'm one of those people who figure if the government has my financial info and actually goes through it, I'm not that worried that it has access to the phone numbers I've called, especially since the government needs a court order to listen in my calls.

      Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

      by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:56:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  *sigh* Maybe you shouldn't be commenting (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pat bunny, greenbell, erush1345, pgm 01

        on these things. Seems to be a bit above your pay grade.

        I don't personally give two fucks if Facebook sells my likes or whatever.

        I care if someone's buddy over at SAIC puts someone on a list because he heard them mouthing off about single payer health at a protest.

        But I wouldn't expect you to understand the ramifications of all this stuff.

        •  I truly don't understand (0+ / 0-)

          the concern or may be "connection" is the word I want, between protests and the phone number records or data mining.  Were the phone calls from the protests recorded or examined? Isn't a court order needed to do this?  Can someone explain this? Is there something I'm missing.

          Please note that I do not support the treatment of the OWS protestors by the police and government.

          Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

          by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:16:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can discuss your financial info with the IRS. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But you cannot discuss your internet activity with private contractors – hired either by corporations or law enforcement agencies – in the domestic surveillance business .
            Let alone the NSA. That would be classified information.

            -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

            by pat bunny on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:25:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I believe (0+ / 0-)

              that there would need to be a court order for any action to be taken in regards to an individual's records.  Doesn't  it work the way a phone tap works? Isn't it fairly common for law enforcement to get court orders to examine phone call records and phone GPS information in criminal cases?

              As for private contractors, they are not only a security risk, but a huge rip off of taxpayer dollars.  But the Republicans will never agree to change their "private enterprise" initiatives regardless of the harm to the country or the economy.

              Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

              by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:44:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The US pays private companies BILLIONS (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pat bunny

            to help run all these surveillance programs.

            These private companies have huge webs of financial interests.

            Is it so hard for you to understand how companies with billions at stake might work to protect themselves and their investors against "threats"?

            Like people who get too mouthy about single payer health care or carbon taxes or so on?

            And do you understand that when you are in a virtual legal netherworld, there are no real rules?

          •  Here's a "connection" you should think about. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Earlier this year, a bill was introduced into the Pennsylvania legislature that would make it a felony to videotape farming operations in Pennsylvania – so-called “ag-gag” legislation that has already passed in Utah and Iowa, and has been introduced in several other legislatures. Many of the ag-gag bills draw on language crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act.” (In recent years ALEC has received considerable support from the natural gas industry). Section D of the ALEC bill defines an animal or ecological terrorist organization in broad terms “as any association, organization, entity, coalition, or combination of two or more persons” who seek to “obstruct, impede or deter any person from participating” not only in agricultural activity but also mining, foresting, harvesting, and gathering or processing of natural resources.

            The glass looks one way. When you become a terrorist for speaking out you are open season for the Surveillance Industrial Complex.

            -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

            by pat bunny on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:37:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Here's the link. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

              by pat bunny on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:43:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  That's what gets me (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pat bunny

              The corporations and Wall Street  have taken over this country. The middle class and the poor are getting poorer, but we keep letting ourselves get distracted from this true, horrible danger by allowing the Republicans to run the conversation. If you asked normal people if they are more concerned about the economy or the data mining, the vast majority would choose the economy.  My income has been cut by 20% due to the sequester furloughs. We won't be able to get by if this lasts much longer. And there a lot of people like us who are wondering why even the Democrats don't seem to care that much. They are busy chasing  so-called scandal after scandal and dancing to the Republicans tune to pay attention to the people who are really hurting

              We need Occupy Wall Street or a similar movement to refocus our attention on the power of big business.
              I am sick of this shit.,

              Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

              by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 01:00:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  You really should read my post from 2 hrs ago nt (4+ / 0-)

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:45:09 AM PDT

  •  A note (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dclawyer06, doroma, otto, VeggiElaine, Anne Elk

    I tend to rec all comments in my diaries unless they are downright insulting. I obviously disagree with some of the comments, but I appreciate that people took the time to read and comment in a diary I wrote.

    Be well, ~*-:¦:-jennybravo-:¦:-*~

    by jennybravo on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:03:35 PM PDT

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