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Bernie Ziebart

The Engineering Perspective

The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.

Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.

Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.


IRS; the multipurpose vindictive tool

The purpose of of the IRS has become clear.  It is the hammer used to intimidate opponents, silence any alternative voices and demonstrate a mean-spirited, vindictive, petty and tyrannical force as an example to anyone else who might want to wander off of the reservation.  Yes, they also do a little moonlighting as a tax collection agency.  


Senator Sheldon Whitehouse raised the idea of criminal charges for conservatives who are not sufficiently quiet and charged that they falsely completed an IRS tax exemption form.

 “Too much speech is bad. Groups who talk about things leftists find uncomfortable are necessarily political and thus should never have 501(c) tax exempt status. Criminally charge any group that said on their IRS tax exempt form that they were not political if they say things the left finds uncomfortable. Get Eric Holder’s Justice Department on the case.”

The email was obtained by Judicial Watch.


On August 31, 2011, after 6 years with Sonasoft, on a non-compete contract with a San Diego based firm, the IRS just cut off the contract; for no stated reason.  The only reason given was "Reason For Modification" was "Change Order". 


Sonasoft claimed that it had offered email backup services to the IRS from 2005 to 2011, but the services were terminated without explanation.  

Did they hire a different company after 8/31/11?  And if they did, would they have required Sonasoft to transfer the data to the new company for continuity of services?

The contract termination came 10 days after Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed and just prior to the crashes of 6 of Ms. Lerner’s senior IRS fellow employees. 

Following the coincidental computer failures; the hard drives were destroyed (recycled) as were the servers and back-up tapes.


IRS official Lois Lerner planted a question from an audience member at an American Bar Association meeting. She used her answer to apologize for -- and favorably spin -- the agency's actions, and then later claimed that the apology came as an unprompted response to a question.

On April 16, the White House counsel's office first learns of the findings of the IRS inspector general's report from the Treasury Department. Senior officials, including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, learn about the inspector general's investigation the week of April 22, but they don't inform President Obama.

President Obama appears in a press conference claiming that he was outraged when he read about the abuses by the IRS in the paper. He said that he will not tolerate abuses by any Federal agency. He will get to the bottom of it and hold the responsible parties accountable for any wrong doing.

“I promise you this,” he said in a press conference, “The minute I found out about [the IRS scandal], then my main focus is making sure that we get the thing fixed.”  The President has said he is confident that multiple investigations under way into tax officials who inappropriately targeted conservative groups would “figure out exactly what happened” and “who was involved”.

Obama demands and receives Miller's resignation on May 15 and appoints a new acting IRS commissioner, Daniel Werfel.

Congress holds its first official hearing looking into IRS scandal on May 17, in which Steven T. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner who resigned two days earlier, says the agency was guilty of “horrible customer service” but that its motives were not political.


In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Obama proclaimed there was not even a "smidgen" of corruption at the IRS, despite the fact his administration's own investigations are still underway. Obama's assurance seemed good enough for most of the media.

After stonewalling the investigation for over a year, the IRS claims that the requested E-mails were lost in a bizarre, coincidental yet explainable set of circumstances. Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI) finds the entire scenario to be ‘unbelievable’.


1.       In the past 6 years the Heritage Foundation was subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies. In the 8 years prior to that there were no instances of audit or inquiry. Coincidence?   I think not.

2.       What is the Democratic solution for the IRS? More money for better computer systems. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) concluded by saying the government needs to “invest” more in the IRS to improve its information management system. “Lost data under the Bush administration (Mr. Levin, the Bush administration was no longer in power in 2011), coupled with the number of computer crashes at the IRS, clearly demonstrate the need for government agencies to have adequate budgets to invest, upgrade and maintain information technology,” he said.

3.       Levin’s comments were echoed by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who accused Republicans of purposefully underfunding the IRS in order to undermine the progressive taxation system. (talk about conspiracy theories)

4.       The Democrats are circling the wagons like they always do to protect their party. The mantra is “Party first, nothing else matters.”

5.       Nothing that has been presented by the IRS in the congressional hearings is even within the realm of possibility, yet the mainstream media believes it to be gospel. Whatever happened to investigative reporting?  

6.       Scott Walker did not lose a single E-mail in two separate investigations in an agency with far less computing capabilities and back-up systems than the IRS. But if he had destroyed all of the computers, servers and back-up tapes in his office, the media would be less willing to believe that it was coincidental.  

7.       The loss of the files is a calculation by the Obama administration. They believe that it will be easier to peddle the theory of lost E-mails than to explain the contents of the E-mails.

8.       When looking up ‘mean-spirited, vindictive, petty and tyrannical’ in the new Webster’s Unabridged dictionary, a picture of Obama and Democratic Party will pop up. This scandal is the definition of ‘mean-spirited, vindictive, petty and tyrannical’.  Why did the IRS do this?  Because it could.

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