Reads Around The Internets - Orca Gives New Meaning to the Phrase "Killer App"

shocknews Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly under the radar finds that made our eyes pop.

 

OECD - China Will Exceed the United States in Four Years

The OECD has a new report showing China will fly past the United States and be the world's largest economy in four years. Clinton and Congress basically outsourced our economy to China in 2000. In a space of little more than a decade the U.S. will lose their economic power completely to China.

The balance of economic power is expected to shift dramatically over the next half century, with fast-growing emerging-market economies accounting for an ever-increasing share of global output, according to a new OECD report.

Divergent long-term growth patterns lead to radical shifts in the relative size of economies. The United States is expected to cede its place as the world's largest economy to China, as early as 2016. India’s GDP is also expected to pass that of the United States over the long term. Combined, the two Asian giants will soon surpass the collective economy of the G7 nations. Fast-ageing economic heavyweights, such as Japan and the euro area, will gradually lose ground on the global GDP table to countries with a younger population, like Indonesia and Brazil

 

The "Killer App" Orca May Have Cost Romney the Election

What poetic justice. A get out the vote app, Orca, was supposedly to be team Romney's ultimate weapon against Obama's massive GOTV machine. Instead Orca may have cost Romney the election. Guess who built it? Why Microsoft and an unnamed application company who supposedly offshore outsourced the development! Hey campaigns, Hire American isn't just a campaign slogan, it really pays if you want something to work during critical times.

Orca turned out to be toothless, thanks to a series of deployment blunders and network and system failures. While the system was stress-tested using automated testing tools, users received little or no advance training on the system. Crucially, there was no dry run to test how Orca would perform over the public Internet.

Part of the issue was Orca's architecture. While 11 backend database servers had been provisioned for the system—probably running on virtual machines—the "mobile" piece of Orca was a Web application supported by a single Web server and a single application server.

Incredible story of sheer technical incompetence including even VoIP phones being misconfigured. That's what you get people when you outsource your technology. The story also shows how technology is making or breaking campaigns.

 

Mortgage Fraud Architect Now Runs Chase's Foreclosure Victim Compensation Fund

Propublica has dig out a fox in the hen house of Chase Bank.

An executive who the Justice Department says facilitated a scheme to defraud Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is now spearheading JPMorgan Chase's role in the government's program to compensate victims of the big banks' abusive foreclosure practices.

 

Think Just the GOP Cheat? Not in California

Propublica again shows how the Democrats gerrmandered districts in California to obtain a super majority and one party rule.

Last year we wrote about how Democrats used front groups, disingenuous testimony, and other aggressive tactics to manipulate California’s independent redistricting commission. The effort was meant to create safe seats for the Democratic Party and in particular for incumbents.

 

Let Them Eat Cake is the New Jobs They Won't Do

We have a very nice call out on the lies politicians say when they import more foreigners and outsource our jobs.

The four word phrase, “Let them eat cake” is often attributed to 18th Century French Queen Marie Antoinette, purportedly in response to being told that the peasants of France had no bread to eat. It is likely that the quote was never uttered by that member of French aristocracy in the days before the French Revolution. However, while she may not have made that statement it is clear that she and the other members of the elite of French society could not relate to the daily suffering of their far less fortunate fellow citizens and in fact, treated them with abject contempt.

Today the leaders of the United States are not suggesting that the poor eat cake but politicians from both sides of the political aisle provide the disingenuous claim that illegal aliens do the work that Americans won’t do. Many of these politicians such as Chuck Schumer, the Senator from New York and former President Clinton have never even held a “real job!” They graduated from college and immediately set about getting elected- working within a political system that bears no relationship to the world that most people live in. These politicians truly live and operate in a parallel universe!

 

More Excessive CEO Pay for Being Fired

The Citigroup CEO is ousted. So of course he gets $15.5 million:

Citigroup said it will pay $15.5 million to Vikram Pandit, its former chief executive who resigned from company last month, as well as to his top deputy.

The bank said on Friday the payments to Pandit and former Chief Operating Officer John Havens reflect the progress the bank made in 2012 and work they did in some earlier years.

The statement came less than a month after board members led by Chairman Michael O'Neill told Pandit privately that his work was not satisfactory, sources said at the time.

 

Power Outages and Sandy

The lack of outrage over Sandy is incredible. Huge areas still are without power, yet it isn't being made a priority or turned over to FEMA. New Jersey is in tent cities which they call prison. The time estimates for power to be restored get longer and longer. People are blaming the utility companies, yet one has to wonder where is the national guard and utility repair teams from outside of the area? Heck of a job there...

"Thirteen days to fix a pole? What, are you kidding me?" Mangan said. "Governor Cuomo has to get rid of LIPA. We have to find out if Minnie or Mickey is running that service and have them put the power on for these people. It is a disgrace."

Some are in tent cities which are like prison:

Inside the giant billowy white tents, the massive klieg lights glare down from the ceiling all night long. The air is loud with the buzz of generators pumping out power. The post-storm housing - a refugee camp on the grounds of the Monmouth Park racetrack - is in lockdown, with security guards at every door, including the showers.

No one is allowed to go anywhere without showing their I.D. Even to use the bathroom, "you have to show your badge," said Amber Decamp, a 22-year-old whose rental was washed away in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

The mini city has no cigarettes, no books, no magazines, no board games, no TVs, and no newspapers or radios.

 

More on the Fiscal Cliff

Bill Black has more on the fiscal cliff, including Tim Geithner's role:

Treasury Secretary Geithner, who is not an economist and who has consistently demonstrated that he does not understand economics became Obama’s principal economic advisor. Geithner was a Republican who became an Independent as a fig leaf. He disdained public sector spending, even in response to a Great Recession.

From Zach Goldfarb’s excellent profile of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s success inside the Obama administration:

The economic team went round and round. Geithner would hold his views close, but occasionally he would get frustrated. Once, as [then chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers Christina] Romer pressed for more stimulus spending, Geithner snapped. Stimulus, he told Romer, was “sugar,” and its effect was fleeting. The administration, he urged, needed to focus on long-term economic growth, and the first step was reining in the debt.

Wrong, Romer snapped back. Stimulus is an “antibiotic” for a sick economy, she told Geithner. “It’s not giving a child a lollipop.”

In the end, Obama signed into law only a relatively modest $13 billion jobs program, much less than what was favored by Romer and many other economists in the administration.

 

Occupy Money

Common Dreams has a good overview of Professor Margrit Kennedy's work on how credit and the resulting interest jacks up prices and is a glorified wealth transfer.

In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released last week, Professor Margrit Kennedy writes that a stunning 35% to 40% of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35% to 40% cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed” but because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.

 

Some People Take Out Their Sore Loser On Others

Right after Obama won re-election, a flurry of angry CEOs laid off their workers. Murray CEO even said an insulting prayer:

Robert E. Murray read a prayer to a group of company staff members on the day after the election, lamenting the direction of the country and asking: “Lord, please forgive me and anyone with me in Murray Energy Corp. for the decisions that we are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you have helped us build.”

On Wednesday, Murray also laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy, blaming a “war on coal” by the Obama administration.

 

Sign the Petition

Naked Capitalism has a petition against Erskine Bowles as Treasury Secretary.

The word is that Erskine Bowles, who most recently headed the so-called “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform” which might more accurately be called the “National Commission to Increase Unemployment and Make Old People Die Faster” is the top pick on the short list of candidates for the next Treasury Secretary.

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inappropriate emails

The dalliances of high military brass is simply filling up all of the press airspace at this point. Beyond "WTF" the real juice is what is this all really about? It seems very similar to the claim a U.S. embassy was attacked over a youtube. Wag the dog.

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Fire everyone involved - but they want distractions from JOBS

Notice how the media and politicians and big business constantly need some issue that has nothing to do with jobs? Remember 2010 GOP was all about jobs, jobs, jobs, voted in, talked about abortion, and the "fiscal cliff" of 2010, and the 2012 election. Dems same thing, Obama is going to make jobs #1 issue, "laser-like focus," but dealt with every other issue, including a Cambridge police investigation that took the President's attention and the media covered. Funny, jobs just didn't require a "beer summit" or a summit of any kind involving the average American. There's always some other issue the media and big business and politicians can create or focus on.

Look, if military commanders had relationships that broke their obligations to their families and military law, then fire them and courtmartial them if appropriate. If relationships threatened national security via blackmail, everyone knows those threats, deal with it. Writers and other individuals broke their marriage vows and got involved in things other people would/should be fired for for completely unprofessional conduct, fire them and hold them accountable. But this is purposely covered to the exclusion of jobs, absolutely purposely.

Before this story was covered 24/7, it was the election of 2012 and the 2 years leading up to that and the "fiscal cliff." Uncertainty too must be mentioned at least 1000 times per day, unemployed Americans suffering and outsourcing are not. And the EU crisis/ponzi scheme that goes on for 4+ years now. And Romney's dog on a roof. And the shooting in Florida that got 24/7 media coverage for a few months. Syria, before that Libya, and Iran.
You know what's never covered and for the reason that the politicians and the people that bankroll them know they make $ every day it's not covered and kill more American jobs every day it's not covered? Jobs, outsourcing, and visa abuses. And if there's not a national or international issue to distract folks, the media and politicians will focus on local crime stories like the Florida mother that was tried for killing her daughter that CNN/Nancy Grace covered and screamed on the airwaves about for month after month. The media plays its role like good servants, and the people that prosper from distractions love that the media for it.

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wag the dog, media distraction, something like that

Has to be. Since when is "shirtless photo" anything at all, or make headlines? Right on and those vacation shots of people in bathing suits is just so clearly provocative, complete with bad tan lines and pot bellies. ;) This is clearly some sort of media blackout with b.s. snow.

General emailing photos of his junk, well, gee, ok, yet O'RLY? People in the military are supposed to have no sexuality at all to serve or ???

I think we're going to see something serious underneath all of this B.S., as in a bait-n-switch on something important to the American people, such as social security or national security or something.

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The real sin of General Petraeus

The real outrage, or sin of General Petraeus is how could the director of the CIA be so unbelievably stupid as to send email with explicit sexual anything? Or use email at all?
He knows technology these days is one gigantic spy machine. He was head spy!

That's #1 on why this whole "scandal" sounds wag the dog. Here is this guy, he's head spy, director of the CIA, knows full well all of the technologies and analytics going on these days that spy, massive amounts of data coming in everywhere to identify you, to analyze, even predict behavior, where someone is at any given time, what they are doing, their patterns.....and he would use Google gmail? It doesn't add up. Even if you're on a self-destruct sexual obsession acting out psycho madness temporary insanity whatever thing, it still doesn't add up. I can't imagine anyone who is head of the CIA, even sexually obsessed to the point they were out of their gourd, being that stupid.

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See, their methods are already working - they're distracting you

They're sucking you in. They focus on a story, cover it enough, go off in different directions each one with talking heads (e.g., what was the scandal? should affairs be courtmartial material? are affairs threats to national security by CIA directors? how many pushups did the woman actually do on "The Daily Show"? Who is the other woman? Who's worse in an affair - the married/unmarried man or married/unmarried woman?). Have fake experts on TV 24/7 on Fox, MNBC, CBS, in the NYT, WaPo, dedicate at least 1/2 of all editorials to it and nothing else, and mission accomplished.
And in every word and every word and minute devoted to these issues, there are fewer words and minutes devoted to jobs, China's gains through or designed losses, political corruption that benefits corporate donors, Social Security, Medicare, and our economic collapse brought by the same people that sponsor corporate TV "news" and other entertainment selling us products and spin. Until the next story they focus on or create to the exclusion of news that requires deep policy analysis and coverage. Just think of how many affairs and people behaving badly could be dealt with quickly and effectively while the media gives it just a few minutes and could do a decent job of it. No, instead it becomes the sole issue. Of course there are reasons this is done. Oh, look, there's another issue waiting in the wings as soon as this one is done to death by the puppetmasters. Is it a shooting in Iowa I never thought would matter to the entire world until CNN told me it mattered? Or a new burger that is too fatty according to Mayor Bloomberg? Or an airplane that has seats that are too narrow for the morbidly obese and we must know about 24/7? Did Mayor/Governor/Senator whoever just say something stupid/have another affair/kick a cat or dog? Must know, so the media tells me so.

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eh, beyond the obvious we're a giant spy machine

why it's in the comments. No way will a sex distraction "scandal" be on our front page. Privacy on the other hand and selling of our data, marketing, probing, profiling is huge business and we saw in election 2012, it was who had the best technology to spin the populace.

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BBC summarized press conference - Petraeus is #1 distraction

Oh yeah, John McCain wants "Watergate" like hearings, WH press conference was apparently steered heavily towards the affair, etc. to the exclusion of other issues. Damn, jobs still not a concern? I guess we're f*cked again, if only jobs mattered to the rich boys and girls collecting our funded paychecks. Again, conduct the investigation off the TV screens, let Broadwell go to prison if she was handling classified docs improperly/illegally (serving in Reserves in Counterintel while appearing in the media and writing books - WTF and how is that allowed in the US govt/military at any time?), same with everyone else that handled or disclosed secrets, judge militarily or criminally where appropriate men and women involved.

But notice everyone that wants readymade distractions is quick to jump on this story. Yeah, Watergate type hearings on this? Forget the fact that politicians of both parties screw over the vast majority of Americans daily through their direct actions, allow their fellow politicians and bankster and elite buddies to party on (Corzine still free?! Murdoch still hacking phones and bribing cops? Banksters price fixing or foreclosing illegally on soldiers? No investigations and or prison or hearings? Seriously!?) for matters that affect us all. But we need Watergate hearings on this? Hey, during the hearings on terrorism, Libya, and Petraeus, maybe someone in the audience could ask how JP Morgan and Wells and Standard and HSBC and the other banks are being punished for laundering terrorist money because those banks take our money and help arm our enemies, so that involves politics, the economy, and our safety - that seems to be more important and cover the topics they want to talk about. Or how Koch is being punished for trading with Iran as recently as 6 years ago in direct violation of sanctions while Iran arms Hamas and has weapons factories in Sudan and arms the radicals throughout the Middle East region. Or is that not the "terrorism" that the honest Senators and Reps. want to talk about? Will the hearings cover reports that we are actually arming Syrian insurgents that include Al-Qaeda with Saudi Arabia and others funneling the weapons (without us even knowing who winds up with the weapons), while Iran is helping arm the Syrian govt.? Kind of twisted, we are arming Al-Qaeda while trying to overthrow a govt. and Iran is arming a sitting govt. We don't even know who to root for anymore. It's Afghanistan 1980s all over again with our enemies winding up with Stinger missiles and us returning to fight people we armed 20 years later when they turn out not to like us too much. The clowns in both parties really are running the circus.

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War on coal? Is there anything that's not a "war"?

War on coal, war on Christmas (not sure if Jesus or Santa or whoever was fighting them won), war on drugs, war on terrorism. I think there's a war on the middle class, but it's not declared by TV studios yet. War on free thinking, war on reading, war on American jobs, war on securing our national security via outsourcing, war on common sense by idiots.

War on coal? I like coal, massive respect for those that risk life and limb to dig it out. I like energy. And I like people that build companies that provide energy safely and treat their workers' lives and welfare as if it was their own. But I'm tiring of the "If I don't get my way, it's those damn Commies running me out of business" noise.
Same thing was done by the robber barons back in the day. It wasn't capitalism, it was business that often broke laws and many, many times was the antithesis of ethical practices. Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan, and the others are probably held in high esteem by those controlling our politicians nowadays, but anyone familiar with their lives and practices knows they weren't exactly role models for how all business should be conducted. And many, many workers were in a war, but a war to survive work conditions and armed gangs hired by the bosses.

Just to check the natural resources industries, China's got no war on energy. How are things for the coal miners? For the miners that die on a regular basis because of a lack of regulation + corruption? For entire rivers and communities that are dealing with environmental disasters caused by chemicals used by companies? Dams breaking? Etc.? Is that the dream? If only the nuclear industry didn't have so many rules and regulations. Damn, it must be war against nuclear power. Nothing could go wrong, right? And if it does, why, of course the CEOs and everyone else in charge would not fight accountability in court and would settle in the billions of dollars ASAP in the sense of fairness and justice for destroying a town, or city, or county, or nation or oceans or neighboring countries. I'm sure the CEO would willingly go to prison and not declare corporate bankruptcy to evade responsibilty.

Remember Massey Energy CEO on Fox blaming the feds and laws and regs for everything. And then remember the tragedy and everything he did? Was he a victim of a "war"? Let's ask Fox and the Chamber of Commerce.

I like "Harlan County USA" for a brief reminder of coal workers and what they were striking over back in the 1970s. It also gives a short summary of the industry (very brief).
Also, watch "Dangerous Journeys" on Current TV if you get it. Follow workers around the world. Great episode on sulfur miners in Indonesia that walk down into active volcanoes and get sulfur without protection. Basically they all lose their lungs, get cancer, and die very early under brutal conditions. Their pay is terrible, and they are paid in cigarettes (for spare money). Is that the dream of some American CEOs? If that's the case, by all means, I want them to spend a few weeks working there so they can experience the joys of such work. Not one complaint, we don't want to hear one.

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U.S. #1 oil producer

There was a report that if true AND safe means great news economically for the U.S. That the U.S. would be the #1 oil producer and thus energy independent in just 8 years.

Thing is, I'm not so sure on the validity, plus fracking is seriously damaging the environment, water supply.

Still checking it out but economically, not importing oil, energy would be a HUGE boost to the economy, jobs, trade, costs...HUGE.

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The Economic Populist is quoted by CBS News

My doomsday scenario on HFT as part of Obama nightmares for second term piece.

Not exactly right, it was the engineer had malware plus his ftp over onto the live server brought the resident malware/virus along for the ride onto the live server. It's a combination of bad programming, which we see happening continually in HFT, causing a lot of damage and the buggy code does proliferate plus the Chinese infecting U.S. trading systems, which in turn infects the globe.

Close nuf, you get the idea.

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Officially we are not a blog

Being a stickler for accuracy pays off and so as far as Google is concerned, we're a news source, which I prefer. The entire point of this site is no economic fiction, well cited articles.

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Fried Electrical Panels at Fault, Too

In some cases in New Jersey, the electricity from the power company is back but the electrical panel got damaged by the water that came flooding in. And of course furnaces and hot water heaters will often have to be replaced due to flooding too.

I don't know how much of the electricity problem is wiring vs. electrical companies. I wish I did know, I've been wondering.

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