IRS Hands Equifax $7.25 Million No-Bid Contract to Help “Verify Taxpayer Identities”

❝ With no apparent sense of irony, the nation’s tax collectors have awarded embattled credit-reporting agency Equifax a contract to assist the IRS in verifying “taxpayer identities” as well as assist in “ongoing identity verification and validations,” according to contract award posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database.

The no-bid contract, which pays $7.25 million, is listed as a “sole source” acquisition, meaning the IRS has determined Equifax is the only business capable of providing this service — despite its involvement in potentially one of the most damaging data breaches in recent memory…

❝ Equifax, of course, is facing intense criticism over a cybersecurity incident which reportedly compromised the personal information of roughly 145 million Americans. The company’s former CEO, Richard Smith, was taken to task on Tuesday while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Smith resigned last week amid backlash over the company’s handling of the breach.

Republicans and Democrats alike lambasted the former chief executive over Equifax’s response. Representative Greg Walden was perhaps the harshest in his criticism: “I don’t think we can pass a law that fixes stupid…”

Not a case I would say of “The blind leading the blind” — more like “Stupid leading the incompetent”.

Nutball bigots force school closure over class writing a single sentence in Arabic


A meaningless image in parts of the United States

Schools in Augusta County in Virginia were closed Friday and a weekend holiday concert and athletic events were canceled amid an angry backlash about a school lesson involving the Islamic faith.

Officials said they had not received any specific threats but were alarmed by the volume and tone of the complaints, including some from outside Virginia…In response, additional police were stationed at county schools Thursday.

In a statement, school officials said: “We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County school board, out of an abundance of caution.”

Anger over the lesson has escalated since a teacher at Riverheads high school had students in her class complete an assignment one week ago. It involved practicing calligraphy and writing a statement in Arabic.

The statement translated to: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

At a forum Tuesday, one parent said the assignment promoted a false religious doctrine, while other parents expressed outrage. Some demanded that the teacher be fired…

School officials said the aim of the lesson was to illustrate the complexity of the written Arabic language, not to promote any religious system.

In a statement, district officials said they will use a different example of Arabic in future classes.

The assignment was given by Cheryl LaPorte, a longtime teacher at Augusta County Schools, in a World Geography class at the high school. In the course of learning about different regions around the world, the Staunton News Leader reports, students also study the regions’ culture, which includes its predominant religions.

I have this problem with devotees of religion as a component of patriotism. Using mythic ideology to justify bigotry and ignorance is not an excuse for shutting down education. The fools who forced this are as much of an embarrassment to Americans as individuals as it is to the whole nation.

Political hacks whine about ISIS driving Toyota trucks


Here’s a militia convoy in Libya – with armament captured from Gaddafi’s army

Toyota has been put on the spot by the U.S. government, which has asked the Japanese car maker to explain just how Islamic State has got hold of hundreds of its four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The Toyota Hilux pickup — a model similar to the Toyota Tacoma that’s sold in the U.S. — and Toyota Land Cruisers have become fixtures in the terror group’s propaganda videos…

“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said one former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Mark Wallace….

This crap article doesn’t quote any official government complaint – just whining from news-as-entertainment sources and one out-of-work political appointee.

Wallace is currently chief executive for the Counter Extremism Project, which aims to expose terrorists’ financial networks. “I don’t think Toyota’s trying to intentionally profit from it, but they are on notice now and they should do more,” Wallace added.

The Counter extremism Project was founded by a group of unemployed Bush hacks mostly well-known as pimps for Israel’s apartheid Netanyahu government. Starring former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman.

Questions about ISIS’s use of the vehicles have circulated for years, with the terror group believed to have repurposed older Toyota trucks as well as acquiring hundreds of new vehicles. In a recent ISIS parade, more than two-thirds of the vehicles were white Toyotas with black emblems, and there also were small numbers of other brands such as Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu…

Tracking who buys and sells used trucks and cars in the Middle East is a farce that could only be thought up by the American flavor of right-wing creep.

The fact is the Toyota HiLux is the most popular pickup truck in the world. Reliable and durable, they last for years. Most of what you see on the tube are diesel-powered, produced by Toyota in Thailand. Bought, stolen or volunteered to serve just about every insurgency and counter-insurgency. They satisfy the needs of most folks in the Middle East regardless of end use. Pretty much everyone in desert country buys white cars and trucks.

Once in a while you see a repainted Chevy – a present from American taxpayers to the Iraq Army – abandoned by soldiers running as fast as possible in the opposite direction from ISIS.

From the Borowitz Report: Zombie Jonas Salk rises from his grave to hunt idjits

The reanimated corpse of Dr. Jonas Salk, the medical researcher who developed the first polio vaccine, rose from the grave Friday morning on what authorities believe is a mission to hunt down idiots.

The zombie version of Salk, wearing a tattered white lab coat and looking “incredibly angry” according to one eyewitness, was seen advancing on the U.S. Capitol building at approximately 11 A.M.

While Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, hid in the Senate cloakroom, armed security forces repelled the zombie virologist, who, seemingly unharmed, moved on in search of new prey.

According to law enforcement, the reanimated Salk then stole a car and headed off in the direction of Trenton, New Jersey.

“We have reason to believe he’s coming for Governor Christie,” said a staff member from Chris Christie’s office. “Fortunately, the Governor is never here.”

With both Disneyland and Marin County on high alert, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security warned that, as long as the rampaging vaccine pioneer was at large, law enforcement would be stretched thin.

“Unfortunately, we do not possess the resources to protect every idiot in this country,” the spokesman said.

Gotta love satire from Andy Borowitz. He spends a delightful amount of time separating the two questions often examined in this blog – and many others. Does our nation lead the world in ignorant people – or stupid people?

Florida legislature forbids foreign law in state courts – WTF?

FloridaIdjits

Florida legislators voted to forbid use of foreign law in state courts on Wednesday, despite arguments that the measure was a cheap shot intended to insult Muslims.

The proposed law, sent to Governor Rick Scott by a 78-40 vote of the House of Representatives, restricts courts and arbitration tribunals from applying foreign law, legal codes and other legal doctrines in divorce and custody or child-support suits…

During a heated House debate, opponents said the bill was unnecessary and asked supporters to cite cases of Sharia law or other foreign doctrines being enforced in Florida…

Representative Jim Waldman, a Democrat from Coconut Creek, said anti-Islamic activists have started a myth about Muslims supposedly trying to use teachings of the Koran and laws of some Muslim countries, but that courts have rejected their pleas.

“This bill, this proposal, stems directly from a hatred of Muslims,” Waldman told the House. “It’s caught on across the country and many other state legislatures have dealt with this, and I find it reprehensible.”

The bill does not apply in corporate contracts between businesses, ecclesiastical matters or issues governed by federal treaty or international agreements in which the federal government pre-empts state laws.

No doubt there is a sizable chunk of Republicans in the Florida State Legislature – and voters, of course – who believe the essence of this law is to keep them furriners from outside the Confederacy from overruling Florida.

Jersey City coppers told to remove anti-government patch

Police officers believed to be members of an anti-government extremist movement have been disciplined, an official with the Jersey City Police Department said.

The group of men from the Emergency Services Unit were “Three Percenters,” a movement that believes the federal government must be resisted because it is taking away Americans’ rights, the Jersey Journal reported…

Followers “engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing,” including the notion that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States were carried out by the federal government, said the non-profit Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.

The “Three Percenters” take their name from the idea that only 3 percent of American colonists took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War, a Facebook page says.

Deputy Police Chief Peter Nalbach did not identify the officers who were disciplined.

The department took action after a letter sent to the Jersey Journal said some ESU officers wore a patch saying “One of the 3 percent.” A photo of a patch accompanied the letter.

Nalbach confirmed the officers were wearing a patch and that it was removed “because we don’t allow unofficial patches.”

Fitting for clowns using 3% of their brains.

Attempts to establish fascist cells inside police departments are nothing new in the United States or abroad. Whether recruiting is done from “natural talent” in the forces or cadres entering departments with the goal of building a presence – is unimportant.

Their goals are the same, individually and collectively. The task of civilians, the appropriate response from the body politic, is to root out racists, the stormtrooper mentality that always accompanies cowards and fear-mongers trying to redirect the armed branch of civil service into vicious, reactionary policies.