Thanks for Coming After Me, IRS

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

 

Jerry Lewis on Tax Day image public domain

Jerry Lewis on Tax Day
image public domain

The IRS came after me, and I’m smiling. Yes, smiling.

No, I don’t enjoy paying taxes. In fact, I’m appalled by the way the government misappropriates or flat out pilfers half of what it takes, and then our “leaders” refuse to balance the budget. . . . No, I’m smiling because the IRS came after me. Allow me to explain.

A while back, I went to my mailbox and found hate mail from the IRS. I felt ill when I saw the envelope. Not because I’ve been dishonest on my taxes, but because when it comes to the IRS, no news is ever good news.

Sure enough, I opened it, and it was a demand for thousands of dollars plus penalties and interest from two years ago.

WHAT??!! I immediately became 100% focused, something that usually only happens when I’m writing fiction, flirting with my husband, or writhing in the throes of childbirth.

Reading through the letter, I didn’t have the first flaming clue what they were talking about. Some transaction I didn’t remember involving an exchange I didn’t recognize and money I neither spent nor saved because it never existed.

I pulled out my records, and after much gnashing of teeth, rapid-fire consumption of gluten-free pretzels, and screaming of expletive deleteds that would make Spanish sailors blush, I found what they wanted, and why. And . . . here’s the smile part . . . I found they only had it half right.

There was definitely an error, but it was an error in MY favor.

Delighted, I immediately answered the IRS with a thank you note for pointing out my unclaimed tax return, and I attached the documentation to prove it. I seriously considered charging them penalties and interest for the free loan they enjoyed from me for the past couple of years, but if I could count, I never would have gone to law school. I deemed that little bit of gloating to be too time-consuming, so I passed.

The result? I haven’t seen any money yet, but this past Saturday, I did receive a single sentence note of apology added to the backside of a form letter. . . . Yes. I’ll bet they are sorry.

So what’s the moral of this story on this Tax Weekend? Be sure to take all of your deductions, and if the Boogie Tax Man comes knocking at your bank account, don’t freak. He just might be doing you a favor.

Do you have any Tax Day stories to share? I’d love to hear them.

All the best to all of you for a week of substantial returns.

 

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SPYCRAFT: Essentials for Writers…Taking the Fiction Out of Fiction

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

Dear Readers and Fellow Writers . . . We are pleased to announce that our upcoming release, SPYCRAFT: ESSENTIALS FOR WRITERS, is now available on pre-sale at Amazon with a release date set for June 5.

 

What do the main intelligence agencies do and where do they operate? How do they recruit personnel? What are real life honey pots and sleeper agents? What about truth serums and enhanced interrogations? And what are the most common foibles of popular spy fiction?

 

With the voice of over forty years of experience in the Intelligence Community, Bayard & Holmes answer these questions and share information on espionage history, firearms of spycraft, tradecraft techniques, and the personalities and personal challenges of the men and women behind the myths.

 

Don’t be fooled by the title. This book is for anyone who wants to learn more about the inner workings of the Shadow World.

 

“As a writer, I’m always looking for those books that open my eyes to the shadowy ways the world truly works. I found just such a resource in the insightful, well-researched, and oftentimes humorous book by Bayard & Holmes, Spycraft: Essentials for Writers. For any author, this is the new bible for crafting stories of espionage. It’s also perfect for anyone who wants to know the lengths nations will go to keep or steal secrets and the methods they will use to do so. This is a bombshell of a book.”

—James Rollins, NYT bestseller of The Demon Crown

 

“Bayard and Holmes have done readers and writers of the espionage genre a great service. This tome illuminates the ‘inside baseball’ terminology we often see used, providing valuable context to the reader. Importantly, they do not just focus on the CIA, but go broader and cover some of the differences in other parts of the US Intelligence Community. From novices to experts, I suspect everyone will find something in this book that they did not know before.”

—Doug Patteson, Film Technical Advisor and Former CIA Officer

 

 

Americans Tricked Into Working For Russia

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

 

Actual Photo of Russian Subversion In Progress

 

Subversion, subversion, subversion . . . When Americans are divided and allow ourselves to see our own countrymen as the “other,” we give our enemies, such as Russia, opportunities to tear our nation apart. When Americans say, “I disagree with you, but you are my brother, and that’s what matters most,” we stand strong against interlopers.

America’s enemies would encourage our internal divisions and self-hatred as a nation. In doing so, they don’t only prey on the haters among us. They prey upon well-meaning people who would work to solve our social problems.

These Americans Were Tricked Into Working for Russia. They Say They Had No Idea.

They probably didn’t.

Outrage with a Grain of Salt–NSC, Bannon, & the Washington Post

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

The Unholy Threesome of Big Media, Big Politics, and Big Business is never happier than when the public is outraged. Outrage means profits. Outrage means political steam. Outrage means the propaganda of foreign billionaires that would mold us and countries that would dismember our nation is getting through. Public outrage means the media has served its foreign and domestic masters well.

 

Canstock, Journal des Voyage (1879-80)

 

Such realities as political leaders selling out to foreign billionaires, Taliban and drug lords growing fat on American taxpayer dollars, and the entire city of Flint, Michigan facing a third year without clean drinking water are swept aside in the torrent of outrage over Harambe, bathrooms, and now hysteria-inducing headlines about President Trump. With media outlets great and small churning out “fake news” and “alternative facts” attributed to “unnamed officials,” “an official who spoke on condition of anonymity,” or even “a source close to officials familiar with the case,” Americans are starved for reliable information.

Social media exacerbates this truth famine by offering a public eager to feed its hysteria addiction with shares and retweets.

Even the most popular media outlets, such as the Washington Post,* publish outright lies with clickbait headlines, only to retract the entire stories two days later. But at that point, their aims are fulfilled. The stories are already viral slop in the social media Trough of Outrage, and a society addicted to its own anxieties has sucked it up without pausing to breathe. And the retractions? Crickets. The damage is done.

Enough.

To counteract this unprecedented tsunami of deceit, we invite people to look beyond the outrage to evaluate a few facts. We label Outrage, Facts, and Opinion accordingly so that there are no misunderstandings. We also include links to articles that we believe might help our readers understand today’s evolving world dynamic.

If we stick together and take the outrageous bombardment with a grain of salt, we eventually might slog our way out of this Information Cesspool.

 

Outrage

President Trump appointed Steve Bannon to the National Security Council and “ousted” the country’s most senior military and intelligence officials as regular members of the Principals Committee.

Facts

  • The National Security Council (“NSC”) is a combination of White House staff, military staff, intelligence staff, and anyone else the president wants on it. Its purpose is to advise and assist the president on national security and foreign policy and to help the president coordinate those policies among the various branches of government. Its members include a wide variety of experts and officials in areas from drug control policy to economic policy to Justice Department issues.
  • The Principals Committee is a subset of the NSC. Members of the Principals Committee are required to attend all meetings of the NSC regardless of the meeting agenda.
  • President Trump removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the Principals Committee of the NSC.
  • President Trump added White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon to the Principals Committee of the NSC.
  • Steve Bannon is the former editor of Breitbart. He is also a former US Navy officer and was a special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. He holds a master’s degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.
  • At this point in time, Trump can legally appoint Mickey Mouse to the NSC if he so desires. Just because no one ever has appointed Mickey Mouse to the NSC doesn’t mean it’s illegal or unconstitutional. It’s Trump’s council.

What this means for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence:

Oh, happy day!

We all know how in every bureaucracy, corporate or governmental, people at all levels clamor for the opportunity to leave their work piling up on their desks to attend meetings, particularly when those meetings have nothing to do with their specialties? . . . Yes. Exactly. . . . The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence are no different. They have full plates without being required to attend meetings that have nothing to do with the military or intelligence communities. Trump’s order relieves them from such an inefficient waste of their time.

 

Actual photo of DNI emerging from three-hour meeting on economic policy.

 

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence still have permanent invitations to every meeting they would like to attend, and they are still full members of the NSC. In other words, if they want to participate in any and all NSC meetings, they are welcome to do so, but if they are busy fighting jihadis, Russians, or over-reaching Chinese, they don’t have to put everything on hold to attend meetings on economics, the UN, or drug control policy.

Bayard & Holmes Opinion

We are delighted on behalf of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence. Also, we have no idea why Trump would appoint Bannon to the National Security Council. We do know that foreign individuals and hostile countries are inundating Americans with propaganda these days, even in the most “prestigious” journalistic rags. Propaganda is, indeed, a national security issue . . . Let’s face it. If anyone knows about propaganda, it’s the former editor of Breitbart. Only the editors of the New York Times or Washington Post would be as qualified. Perhaps Bannon has been persuaded to use his superpowers on our behalf?

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Outrage

Steve Bannon ordered the Department of Homeland Security to ignore the Federal Court injunctions and continue enforcing Trump’s temporary ban on immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Facts

  • The office of Director of Homeland Security is a Cabinet position. Cabinet positions answer directly to the president.
  • Retired Marine General Kelly is the Director of Homeland Security. His boss is President Trump.
  • Steve Bannon is nowhere in the chain of command and has no authority to “order” anyone in the government or outside the government to do anything.

Bayard & Holmes Opinion

Aside from those pesky chain-of-command issues, does anyone seriously believe a doughy rich boy like Bannon can order this guy to do anything? Just saying.

 

General John Kelly, USMC

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Outrage

Trump exempted countries where he holds business interests from the “Muslim ban.”

Facts

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Outrage

White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon circumvented presidential chain of command and paid a personal and unscheduled visit to DHS Director Kelly’s office to confront him over green card waivers to Trump’s presidential memorandum on immigration.

Facts

  • This was published by the Washington Post on January 28.
  • The columnist who wrote about this outrageous behavior, Josh Rogin, attributed the information to “two administration officials familiar with the confrontation.” No word yet on who those “two administration officials” might be. They could literally be the “official file clerks to the secretary of the new guy in Human Resources.”
  • White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated there had been no confrontation in person or otherwise between Bannon and Kelly.
  • On February 4, the Washington Post amended the article and issued a statement admitting that neither Rogin nor anyone else at the publication checked their facts, and that the White House denied the confrontation took place.

Bayard & Holmes Opinion

We are amazed that Josh Rogin ever passed a freshman journalism class. Sadly, we are not amazed that Washington Post hired him. WaPo has recently upgraded its normal procedures for “not checking facts” in the interests of maintaining its standards and traditional dedication to journalistic integrity.

Bottom Line

Washington Post isn’t the only media outlet hiring creative writers these days. We all need to take everything we read and everything we hear with a grain of salt.

Piper’s Favorites of the Week:

The World as Seen by Donald Trump – Le Monde Diplomatique

The Intellectual Yet Idiot – Incerto

Read Draft Text of Trump’s Executive Order – Huffington Post

Everything I Need to Know About Russian Interference I Learned from College Pranks – Defense One

An Invasion by Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine – The Interpreter, Institute of Modern Russia

What outrageous rumors have you heard this week? Do you have any you would like us to look into?

* ‘Fake News’ And How The Washington Post Rewrote Its Story On Russian Hacking Of The Power Grid

 

FBI and Clinton’s Intent — What Difference Does It Make?

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

FBI Director James Comey basically said this week that Clinton was negligent with top secret, classified, and confidential information, but she did not “intend” to commit any crimes, so they recommend letting her off.

How can this be? Other than the fact that this is the Obama administration, and he’s not going to let the FBI or the Clinton’s good friend Loretta Lynch destroy the Democratic Party by indicting their candidate?

Much of the Espionage Act spells out intent to hurt the US or aid a foreign power as an element of a crime. In other words, the criminal had to WANT to hurt the US or aid a foreign power. If the prosecutor cannot prove that was the purpose of the violation, then there technically was no violation. The person is not guilty if the US was hurt by accident, or a foreign power was helped by accident.

For example, Bradley (Brianna) Manning intended to hurt the US by releasing classified information to the public and our enemies. Edward Snowden intended to release classified information to the public and to our enemies that would hurt the US and/or aid foreign countries. Edward Lin was caught red handed selling top secret information to China.

The FBI says that while Clinton did almost without doubt release top secret, classified, and confidential information to our enemies, the FBI believes her that she did not “intend” to hurt the US or aid a foreign country. The FBI said that because it believes her more-than-careless security practices were not INTENDED to hurt the US and/or help our enemies, the fact that they DID result in our enemies having access to our top secrets is irrelevant.

Note that I said “much of the Espionage Act.”

The FBI is ignoring 18 US Code Sec. 793 (e), (f), however, which has specifically different language . . . Those subsections say that a crime has been committed if a person acted “with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, Note: “reason to believe” and “is to be used.”

Other laws regarding the handling of classified information hold a violation at the standard of “gross negligence.” It is no stretch that Comey’s description of “extreme carelessness” and “negligence” could be considered “gross negligence.”

Under that standard, it is preposterous to argue that a woman who was First Lady for 8 years, senator for 8 years, and thoroughly briefed on security before entering the office of Secy of State did not have reason to believe that anyone able to tap into her server could use the information to injure the US or to the advantage of a foreign nation.

So the FBI is ignoring subsections (e) and (f) of the Espionage Act and hanging its hat on this . . . Did Clinton INTEND for our enemies to glean that information from her unsecured server to use against the US or for their own benefit? That is an answer we will never know, but considering all of the Chinese, Middle Eastern, and other foreign money backing the Clintons, anything is possible.

I have said this once before . . . Clinton was First Lady for 8 years. She was a senator for 8 years. She received a thorough briefing on security measures before she became Secy of State. After all of that experience and all of those instructions, she still CHOSE to flagrantly violate those security measures to play Hide the Shell with top secret and classified emails, thus almost certainly dessiminating our top secret information to our enemies.

There are only two possibilities . . .

She is either a ruthless criminal, or she is too stupid to be president.

Meme 2016 Hillary Laws Are For The Peasants

And if you’re thinking that you can do what Clinton did if you are also entrusted with State secrets, think again . . . Comey made it clear that similar circumstances could still result in an indictment for anyone else.

Mom’s Dating Tips — Bonds of Love or Bonds of Crazy?

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

Everyone is a head case. The only question is whether they are a head case you can live with. ~ Mom

In the first article, First Be Happy Alone, we looked at why the first step to being happy with someone else is learning to be happy alone. A full cup attracts a full cup. If you’re happy alone, then it’s time to open yourself to the world of opportunities.

Opening yourself means you have to get rid of pre-conceived notions. The fact is that you might not know what you need. Trust that God, Life, the Universe, your Higher Power, or simply your Inner Good Sense does know. In other words, don’t stay trapped in a box of what you think you want. Open yourself to what you need.

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Think Outside Box

 

Relationships are journeys of discovery. They are not enactments of pre-conceived fantasies.

Forget thinking that you must have crazy hot chemistry the moment your eyes meet. Crazy hot chemistry – the kind that makes you want to jump a stranger right there in the produce section of the grocery store – is exciting and makes us feel alive and tingly, but it’s still CRAZY. The fact is that our hottest attractions occur when our own crazy meets a compatible crazy. Crazy sucks onto crazy like a fanatic sucks onto dogma. Crazy is not a basis to build a life together.

Crazy is attracted to crazy in the hope that if you can fix each other’s crazy, it will somehow fix your own. In reality, though, the only thing crazy can build together is more crazy. This results in one of two inevitabilities. You spend your lives in an increasingly miserable death spiral, OR, one of you gets better, and the bond is broken. The classic example is the alcoholic and the co-dependent. They either die inch by inch together in alternating ecstasy and misery without ever building a stable life, or one of the two gets better, and the relationship falls apart.

Crazy love sparks the firestorm that burns down our world.

Lasting love is the hearth fire that warms us for a lifetime.

Bonds of love are bonds of solace and refuge that are built over time. They nurture each partner while nurturing the relationship. And don’t worry. This does not preclude hot sex. The difference is that the hot sex is real and solid, and you’re in the room with your mate and not lost in your head with someone you don’t even really know outside of crazy. It’s an exchange of nurturing love rather than an expression of needs that the relationship cannot fill.

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Hearth Fire with warming feet

 

Signs You’re Bonded in Crazy

This is not a comprehensive list, but it hits some major points.

  • You understand each other’s pain before the dessert course.

Bonds of pain are at the foundation of crazy love, and they can be a force of nature. Finding someone with matching scars is like reaching an island in an endless stormy ocean, and it is one hot, steamy island. But unless there is a great deal more to the relationship, you either indulge each other’s pain for the duration, or, the moment one of you starts to heal, the bond is broken.

  • You fall into bed and ask questions later.
  • You have the same strengths and the same weaknesses.
  • You overlook Red Flags* and plow forward without resolution.
  • You make excuses for the other person’s words and behavior.
  • You keep the relationship compartmentalized from your family and friends.
  • When you are together with family or friends, you act differently than you would if the other wasn’t there.
  • You treat the other like a fixer-upper, focusing on who the other can be rather than who the other is right now, today.

 

So much potential!

So much potential!

 

Signs You’re Bonded in Love

  • You learn each other’s life stories over time.
  • You become friends who genuinely enjoy each other’s company before you become lovers.

As we discussed in the last article, sex is easy. Love takes time and commitment. The vast majority of relationships that begin in the bedroom never make it to the altar, much less through a lifetime. Think of controlling yourselves as a way of respecting the sacred relationship you want to share. It also builds trust in that you show each other that you aren’t slaves to lust – something anyone married over a decade can tell you will be a potential danger to the relationship at some point. Establish that you are up to the challenges to come.

  • You have different strengths and weaknesses, preferably complimentary ones that will help you draw strength from each other.
  • There are no unmitigated Red Flags.*
  • You are comfortable with the other’s words and behavior.
  • You socialize easily with each other’s friends.
  • You are drawn to who the other is today, not who the other might be tomorrow.

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Family with a Home in its hands

 

At the heart, lifelong relationships are about time and boundaries. A dear friend once explained it to me like this . . .

You are in the center of multiple circles of fence. Not walls. Fence. When you meet someone, go to the outer circle, and stand behind your fence. Chat over the fence for a bit. If you’re comfortable with them, open the gate and let them in to where you were standing while you go behind the next fence. Wash, rinse, repeat. THE CHOICE TO OPEN A GATE IS COMPLETELY YOURS. You don’t owe an open gate to anyone. Not anyone. Most people will remain in those outer circles as acquaintances. Some will come in several layers and be good friends. And, in time, one will make it in far enough to be your mate for life, and a mate for life is worth the investment of a little time.

Now give yourself a hug and be good to yourself today.

Many blessings,

Mom

*Red Flags are signs that you’re barking up the wrong skivvies. We’ll talk about those next time.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Bayard & Holmes Official Photo

When it comes to dating, Piper Bayard did it wrong, and then she did it right. She’s now been happily married for over two decades and is passing on the tips that helped her find a solid partner in building a life and a family.

Piper Bayard, is also an author and a recovering attorney. Her writing partner, Jay Holmes, is an anonymous senior member of the intelligence community and a field veteran from the Cold War through the current Global War on Terror. Together, they are the bestselling authors of the international spy thriller, THE SPY BRIDE, coming soon!

THE SPY BRIDE Final Cover 3 inch

Keep in touch through updates at Bayard & Holmes Covert Briefing.

You can contact Bayard & Holmes in comments below, at their site, Bayard & Holmes, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Bayard & Holmes, or at their email, BH@BayardandHolmes.com.

Mom’s Dating Tips — First Be Happy Alone

Bayard & Holmes

~ Piper Bayard

I’ve often posted dating tips on FB. This post is in response to friends there who have asked me to elaborate . . .

“Seducing someone is almost as difficult as watching ice melt, but not quite. You can do better.” ~ Mom

 

Canstock 2015 Aug Melting Ice

 

It’s easy to find sex.

Almost all of the population wants it at any given moment of any given day, and regardless of your sexual orientation, half the horny people on the planet are potential sex partners.

But finding a life partner? That’s another matter altogether.

The most important step to finding a life partner is to learn to be happy alone. Yes, that’s right. Learn to be happy alone. That way, you won’t settle for a toxic relationship just because you’re afraid of the sound of your own head rattling around in an empty house.

But wait a minute, you say. If I were happy alone, why would I bother dating at all?

Because when you’re happy alone, you end up with more of yourself than you need. You develop an abundance of spirit that makes you want to share yourself with someone else. You are an overflowing cup that seeks another vessel to fill. That “other vessel” is the “We” of a relationship.

Relationships have an “I,” a “You,” and a “We.”

People who aren’t happy alone are half full cups. They find other half full cups and empty themselves into a third cup – the “We” cup. Since the “I” and “You” are now empty cups, they draw from the “We” without having anything left to nurture it, and the “We” runs dry.

People who are full cups attract other full cups, and together, they make a “We” cup that holds their overflow. The relationship is about giving to the “We,” and not about taking from it. The “We” is a creation born from abundance and not from want, so it doesn’t run dry.

 

Full "I" + Full "You" = Full "We"

Full “I” + Full “You” = Full “We”

 

Great, you say. So how do I start being happy alone?

  • First, clean your room. Seriously. Clean your room. Messy surroundings sap the spirit, and you’re going for abundance here.
  • Treat yourself with class. You matter.
  • Ask yourself what it is that you want someone else to give you, and find ways to give those things to yourself.
  • Figure out if you have unresolved pain. That’s the restlessness that keeps you overscheduling your life and seeking out social media in lieu of quiet time alone with your head.
  • Get help to resolve that pain. Find a competent professional or a good friend who can guide you to a better place, so that time alone with yourself doesn’t scare you anymore.
  • Make a list of twenty things you want to do in the next five years.
  • Turn off the computer, pick something off of the list, and go do it.
  • Get rid of the people in your life who don’t respect you. Likewise, get rid of the ones you don’t respect. You and your time are too precious to share with anyone who doesn’t feed your dreams and nurture your soul.
  • Cook good meals for yourself. Feeding yourself well is the most nurturing thing you can do for both your body and your soul.
  • Actively seek out laughter and beauty. Both fill the spirit and lead to happiness.

Now give yourself a hug and enjoy the feel of your own embrace. Stop waiting for someone to come along make you happy. Love yourself, and the happy will come, and with it, a fellow full cup.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Bayard & Holmes Official Photo

When it comes to dating, Piper Bayard did it wrong, and then she did it right. She’s now been happily married for over two decades and is passing on the tips that helped her find a solid partner in building a life and a family.

Piper Bayard is also an author and a recovering attorney. Her writing partner, Jay Holmes, is an anonymous senior member of the intelligence community and a field veteran from the Cold War through the current Global War on Terror. Together, they are the bestselling authors of the international spy thriller, THE SPY BRIDE, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

THE SPY BRIDE Final Cover 3 inch

 

Keep in touch through updates at Bayard & Holmes Covert Briefing.

You can contact Bayard & Holmes in comments below, at their site, Bayard & Holmes, on Twitter at @piperbayard, on Facebook at Bayard & Holmes, or at their email, BH@BayardandHolmes.com.