Author: Derek

IRS To Require Signing Up With Third Party ID Verification

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

From the CBS Article:

Starting this summer, taxpayers wanting to access their online accounts on will be required to take a selfie and verify their identity with

The IRS says the move is necessary to protect taxpayers from potential identity theft, but privacy advocates say it’s invasive and point out that the company behind has a spotty record in verifying people’s identities.

So what will be required to sign up?

To sign up for an account, users need to provide an email address and a landline or mobile phone number, upload identity documents and take a selfie with a camera that will then scan the user’s face to verify their identity. If the application flags any issues with a taxpayer’s documents, the person will be asked to do a video chat or phone call with an representative.

According to the IRS spokesperson, I won’t need to do this to e-file my taxes, but…

…taxpayers will need to register with the new security system to see records of previous payments, see previous years’ transcripts or to access their Child Tax Credit portal.

So, here’s my thinking (not fully fleshed out). The IRS has a shitty track record on verifying taxpayers for fraudulent returns, but I don’t need to do all of this to file a return. The IRS is requiring the use of a private company to use public services, which grates my instincts. Yeah, I’m not being charged, but I didn’t decide on which company to use. I would have preferred a variety of acceptable verification sources rather than saying you will use Company we like. That just feels ripe for being forced to use the company with the best lobbying instead of the best product.

As for the privacy issues? In my book, it’s kinda of a wash. The feds haven’t exactly covered themselves in glory in protecting against data breaches any more than private companies.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike Part 10 Chapter 106

Jerusalem, Israel; 6 October 2011, 1600 hours local; Countdown: 2 months, 25 days

Quentin McLintock hated gollums. He learned a great deal about them over the past two years. The five-and-a-half-foot tall creatures’ flat black skin was decorated with blue painted runes. The runes marked the creatures as the reanimated warriors of Xipe Totec and bound their muscle and sinew to their ancient muscles. Unlike the zombies, gollums would never decompose away. They would fight until they were destroyed. Major Rabin snapped up his Tavor assault rifle and fired a quick burst at the oncoming gollums. The bullets struck their target, but the gollum didn’t even slow down its sprinting run. The minion laughed at Rabin’s shocked expression. Mateo pulled the Israeli soldier back to the rest of the group.

“Don’t waste ammo on them,” Mateo instructed Rabin, “Gollums are indestructible until you can break their medallion. Sport, slow them down a bit. Quentin, Jim-“ Mateo froze as he called their dead teammate’s name. The team had been pushing so hard, they had barely a few minutes before Jim’s body was boxed up and taken away. Mateo shook himself. “Quentin, Chief, get ready to get up close and personal. The rest of us will try and keep them under control.”

“Oh this is going to be fun to watch,” the minion taunted, hovering back up on top of a building. The team ignored him. Sport unslung his XM-25 grenade launcher. At least M&W brought their normal gear when the firm’s representatives met back up with them. Quentin fell into stance with his warhammer gripped tightly. He hated fighting these things. They were like rabid monkeys that never tired and were always trying to bury their obsidian axes into their opponents. Chief Stahl stood next to Quentin holding an entrenching tool in his hands. The rest of the team was behind and to their sides. Quentin turned back and nodded to Sport. The Brit unleashed a pair of grenades. The nice thing about the XM-25’s grenades was the operator could tell them when to detonate. Sport didn’t bother wasting fragmentation grenades on gollums. The things would just shrug off the shower of metal. Best thing for gollums were simple high explosive. The two grenades exploded about fifteen feet in front of the gollums and about ten feet in the air. The eight in the center were knocked off their feet by the concussion. The remaining four bounced off of buildings and bored down on Zombie Strike.

Gunfire erupted from the line. The team concentrated on just two of the gollums. They weren’t trying to stop them. They were just slowing them down so Quentin and the chief could take on the gollums two at a time. One gollum leapt at Quentin bringing its axe over its head. As it came down, Quentin blocked the gollum’s axe with his warhammer. The volcanic glass blade rang the metal head of the warhammer. Quentin snatched the gollum’s arm and slammed it into the ground. It tried to use the hard pavement as a springboard, but Quentin pinned it with a heavy boot. He blocked several frantic axe strikes as he grabbed hold of the gollum’s stone medallion. The half-dollar sized disc was etched with the mystical hieroglyphs and gave the gollum its invulnerability. As Quentin pulled the medallion’s leather cord tight, the gollum dropped its axe and fought frantically to keep its protective artifact. Strong as gollums were, Quentin was much stronger. The worn leather snapped. The gollum let out an unearthly howl. Quentin didn’t waste time and kicked the creature back out into the street. Robbed of its mystical protection, the Zombie Strike gunners quickly tore it apart with bursts of fire.

The chief was already working on his second gollum. The first lay decapitated next to him withering away to bones in minutes. Quentin smiled and focused on the creature snarling and charging at him. Gollums terrified Quentin the first few times his team battled them. They seemed like unstoppable killing buzz saws. They were still dangerous. Seraph found that fact out when one pounced on her back in Odessa. Against a properly armed and prepared team, the gollums didn’t stand a chance. Quentin fell into his role. He waited as the team let a gollum close, and then as soon as he’d removed the gollums’ medallions, the shooters took them out. It was hard, nasty, and Quentin had to focus on his job. The chief grunted as a gollum managed to sneak a blow past. The axe bit deep into Stahl’s side. Quentin punched the gollum in front of him and whipped his hammer out. Stahl’s gollum collapsed as the hammer drove down on its collarbone. Stahl nodded thanks and the thrust out with his tool. The sharpened blade easily cut through the leather strap holding the gollum’s medallion in place. Almost before the gollum could wail in anguish, a burst of fire broke its head open. Quentin didn’t see the body fall. His own gollum tried to rake his face with bony fingers. Quentin grabbed the creature and shoved it to the pavement. Holding its wrists in one meaty hand, Quentin pounded the gollum’s medallion with his hammer. He’d nearly driven it through the gollum’s torso before the stone shattered. A single hammer blow to the gollum’s head ended it. There was the eerie post-battle silence as Quentin stood up from the withering corpse. He was breathing hard as he looked up at the minion. The Truth cultist cocked his head to the side, almost as if surprised by the outcome. Mateo replaced the magazine in his carbine before looking back up to the minion.

“Where’s Jocasta?” Mateo asked, his tone somewhere between bored and annoyed.

“You think I’m going to tell you?” the minion shot back, “You may have destroyed my warriors, but you won’t be able to escape this outbreak alive.”

“Listen, I really don’t have the time to deal with your stupidity. I’ll make this simple. Either tell me where Jocasta is or I’ll kill you and find her on my own,” Mateo said.

“You’re insane. You can’t kill me!” the minion replied.

“Jess, take the shot,” Mateo said quietly into the radio. The minion realized a half-second too late that the team sniper snuck off during the battle. He never felt the 7.62mm round as it hit perfectly at the base of the skull. Mateo turned back to the team, not even deigning to watch the body fall.

“Major, tell your people to expect a decapitation strike. It will probably be with gollums or whatever other creatures the Truth decides to use. It may be led by Jocasta,” Mateo said. As Rabin walked off to call his leadership, Mateo turned to Chief Stahl and The Steve. The team medic had the former soldier’s armor off and was inspecting Stahl’s wounds. “Is he good to fight?”

“The bad news is that he’s got some cracked ribs,” The Steve said, wrapping the chief’s mid-section with tape, “The good news is he’s only got cracked ribs. A little happy juice and he’ll be good.” The Steve gave his trademark thumbs-up and returned to wrapping up the chief. Rabin stormed back to the group.

“The prime minister is dead,” the Israeli reported, his face ashen, “They’re sending a helicopter for us.”

“What’s going on?” Mateo asked.

“I’m not sure,” Rabin said, “Some of the IDF is fending off the attackers. They said they were fighting nightmares.”

“Looks like they had another nursery,” Chief Stahl gritted out. Mateo looked grim.

“Major, as soon as that helicopter gets here, we’re going to try and rescue your people. Jocasta’s probably among them,” Mateo said, “You’d better tell your people to prepare a back-up plan if we fail. Those creatures will be much worse than those gollums we just fought.”

“What would you suggest?” Major Rabin asked.

“You still got nukes, right?” The Steve asked.

[Zombie Strike Part 10 Chapter 107]

Have A Plan – House of Worship Edition

Over the weekend a man took hostages at a Dallas synagogue. According to the article:

  • An armed suspect claiming to have bombs in unknown locations took a rabbi and three others hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville before noon Saturday, a source familiar with the situation told ABC News. One hostage was released uninjured at about 5 p.m. local time, Colleyville police said.*

The FBI’s Hostage Rescue team did their thing. Rescued hostages and killed the bad guy. So, why did this happen?

While authorities would also not confirm the demands made by the hostage-taker, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News he was demanding the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui. DeSarno said the hostage negotiation team was in contact with the suspect throughout the day.

If you are going to a place of worship, there are people who want to kill you. Because they hate your religion, because they hate the people in your church, synagogue, or mosque. Because they want to make a political statement. Because they just want to kill a bunch of people in a group.

Does your place of worship have a security plan and/or team? Are you carrying your weapon if your state allows it? Are you talking with your family and friends about what to do if the fecal matter impacts the turbine?

Don’t know where to start? Contact Ben over at Modern Self Protection. He has materials and done courses on protecting places of worship.

Clearing Out the Old Browser Tabs

First a couple of older tabs I meant to share back in November.

From Politico, an opinion piece that the Dems should stop pushing gun control if they want a chance in 2022. You know, since all those new guns weren’t being bought up only by old white guys.

From Reason is an article on how a couple of recent court rulings show how the narrative that the opioid epidemic wasn’t caused by drug companies.

Now for some more recent ones:

This onewas getting passed around by folks on Facebook who are instructors or do a lot of training classes. So, why am I sharing? Because I get asked about guns and self-defense a lot. It’s a good reminder that I need to meet that person at where they are.

This is a neat article about new information on the Clovis people.

Finally, Raylen Givens rides again!

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike Part 10 Chapter 105

Jerusalem, Israel; 6 October 2011, 1515 hours local; Countdown: 2 months, 25 days

Quentin McLintock pushed the woman to the street and brought the warhammer down. The zombie’s skull split open, spilling rotten brains on the street. Its companions let out their hunting moans as they turned to their new prey. Quentin heard echoing moans from dozens of throats. Maybe thirty or so zombies were now bearing down on him. Well, no one said the hero business would be safe or easy.

“Run,” Quentin told the frightened woman. She looked up at him in shock. Quentin pointed emphatically back down the street and barked, “Run, now!” The woman scrambled along the pavement for a few yards, found her feet, and sprinted back to relative safety. Quentin turned back to deal with the three zombies in front of him. He cursed to himself as he slammed the warhammer into the first zombie. This was not what the team expected when they landed in Jerusalem earlier in the day. Quentin spun and batted away the second zombie’s groping hands with the haft of his hammer. He swept his artificial leg out and knocked the third zombie off of its feet. As it struggled to get up, Quentin slid back out of the reach of the second zombie. He waited for it to take a couple of steps towards him before thrusting. The blow tipped the zombie backwards. As it fell, Quentin smacked its head like a baseball. The zombie stopped moving before it hit the ground. Casually, Quentin walked over to the last zombie still struggling to get up and dispatched it with a single hammer blow. Picking up a discarded newspaper, Quentin wiped the gore off of his hammer.

“Well that was nicely done mate,” Sport said jogging up the street. The diminutive Brit had his XM-25 slung across his back and was cradling a pump shotgun. “The woman’s fine, by the way.”

“One good thing, I guess,” Quentin said, looking at the four corpses on the street. Hunting moans echoed in the streets as more zombies started their slow shamble to the noise. “Have they located Jocasta?”

“Nope,” Sport answered, “Somewhere in this neighborhood. Let me tell you, the Israeli’s are a bit put out by that woman.”

“Not every day that their cultural minister turns out to be working for the Truth and unleashes a zombie outbreak in their sacred city,” Quentin said. “We’ve got to find her before the IDF or Mossad does.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Sport said, clearly not wanting to go over the day’s events. Quentin couldn’t blame him. It had been bad enough the first time. Sport motioned down a side street. “The boss wants us to meet up a few blocks over.” Quentin consulted the map on his PDA.

“Okay, follow me,” Quentin said. Sport grunted as Quentin started running.

“Not bloody natural for someone your size to run like a footballer,” Sport grumbled.

“I played football in college,” Quentin shot back.

“Real football, not that corruption of rugby you Yanks play,” Sport retorted. Quentin decided to let the little man have the last word. He was going to have a hard enough time keeping up with Quentin’s pace. In a few minutes, the two met up with the rest of Zombie Strike outside an abandoned professional office. Quentin grimaced at the sight of the tight-faced uniformed man standing next to his team leader. So, Mateo hadn’t been able to shake him yet. As soon as he saw Quentin and Sport, Mateo strode over to them.

“Any luck?” Mateo asked in a low voice.

“No, just a few zombies,” Quentin answered in the same hushed tones. “Our friend is coming over.” The uniformed man stormed over.

“Mr. McLintock, my government is being very lenient in letting a team of armed foreigners run around the infected zone. I would appreciate you not abuse our trust in you by harrying off on your own,” Major David Rabin stated in slightly accented English.

“If he didn’t mate, that lady would now be prowling about looking to eat you,” Sport said, trying to catch his breath.

“While I appreciate your protection of an Israeli, please don’t expect me to believe that was the reason you two split off,” Rabin said, clearly not amused.

“Prove it otherwise,” Sport challenged.

“Enough,” Mateo said before Rabin could respond. “We still need to find the sorcerer.” Rabin shot Mateo a sidelong glance, but didn’t say anything. The career military intelligence officer still didn’t believe Zombie Strike about the true nature of Jocasta Cheveny. He was having a difficult enough time dealing with the idea that she raised the zombie horde. The idea she was a mystic in the service of a powerful, but secret cult in the service of an Aztec god was a bit too much for Rabin at the moment. The four men rejoined the rest of Zombie Strike.

“So where do we go now?” Chief Stahl asked.

“After the zombies,” Mateo answered, “She’s got to be there somewhere to control this many of them.”

“Matt, what if she’s not there?” Jess asked. Mateo gave his foster daughter a quizzical look and motioned for her to continue. “The question I keep asking is why. Jocasta already destroyed the Levant Scroll. Why didn’t she just leave through one of their portals? Why raise the zombies? What else could she be after?”

“Just for the record, you’re getting too smart,” Chief Stahl told Jess. The former soldier looked at his team leader. “She’s right. We’re looking at this wrong. The horde may just be a distraction to keep the Israeli authorities – and us – busy.”

“Hundreds of zombies as a distraction?” Rabin asked incredulously.

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Mateo said, mulling over Jess’s comments. “Okay, Jocasta destroys the Levant Scroll in a big, flashy news conference because she claims it’s a blasphemous document to all of the Abrahamic religions. Does so and orders the dead to rise causing a zombie outbreak. Do you think she knew we were in country?”

“She may know now, but doubtful when all of this happened,” Rabin answered, “My people were barely warned before that odd helicopter of yours landed.”

“Could she be after another artifact?” Mateo asked Quentin.

“I don’t know. I don’t think so,” Quentin said, searching his mind. “The Levant Scroll was the only item in Israel that was outside their possession. Nothing in the stuff we grabbed from them mentioned anything else.”

“How about regime change?” Chief Stahl suggested, “Israel’s one of the few countries that hasn’t been subverted by the Truth. What if they have their people ready to take during the fun and games?”

“How very perceptive,” a new voice said from above. The team all brought their weapons up. On top of a five-story building across the street from them, a minion stood. This one was male, dressed in the tight ninja suit that was the minion’s uniform. In his outstretched hands was a golden pyramid. Quentin figured the minion had a shield up. The Truth’s minions learned the hard way what happened when you confronted Zombie Strike without defenses. The minion stepped off the roof and levitated down to the street.

“Well, I can certainly see why my fellow Champions are worried about you,” the minion said, almost as if praising the team. “None of us expected anyone to figure out what was actually happening.”

“Dear God, what they said was true?” Rabin said. The minion looked at the major and laughed. The major flushed in shame and anger. He unslung the Tavor assault rifle and aimed it at the minion.

“Wait,” Mateo said, grabbing Rabin’s shoulder.

“Why?” Rabin demanded. Mateo wordlessly pointed down the street. The rifle nearly slipped out of Rabin’s hands as he saw the sprinting forms of a dozen gollums.

[Zombie Strike Part 10 Chapter 106]

I Lasted Eight Days…

Before buying a new gun this year.


As you may have read in a prior post, one of my gun wants was an upgraded sidearm. I’ve been carrying an M&P9 for the better part of ten years now. I decided to go with the M2.0 for two main reasons. First, because I like how the gun feels in my hand. Second, because it uses all of my magazines and holsters that I have for the M1.0. I also like the Flat Dark Earth color. Now, I just need to run a few hundred rounds through the M2.0 with all the magazines. Probably stagger loads between ball and self-defense ammo.