Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Congress Is Tired; We Have A Sham Deal; Romney Favors Bork, How America Could Collapse and Hacking Around…

The Congress Is Tired; We Have A Sham Deal; Romney Favors Bork,  How America Could Collapse and Hacking Around…

LONDON (Reuters) - A technology firm has told British legislators it was aware of the deletion of hundreds of thousands of emails at the request of News Corp unit News International between April 2010 and last month, parliamentarian Keith Vaz said on Monday.
The revelation came in a letter by the firm, HCL, to the Home Affairs Select Committee, of which Vaz is chairman.
"I am most surprised by the contents of the letter sent on behalf of HCL," Vaz told Reuters. "The fact that so many emails have been deleted at the request of News International raises a number of further questions which we will continue to probe."
British police are investigating the extent of phone-hacking at the now defunct News of the World Sunday tabloid which was owned by News International, the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
The paper had long maintained that illegally hacking into the voicemails of celebrities and members of the royal family had been confined to one "rogue reporter" who was jailed for four months in 2007.
But police now have a list of 4,000 possible targets including a missing schoolgirl, later found murdered, and families of victims of the 2005 London bombings, as well as politicians and celebrities.
Last month, senior police officers appeared before Vaz's committee and said News International had tried to "thwart" an original inquiry into phone hacking at the paper five years ago.
HCL told the committee in its letter that it had been involved in nine separate episodes of email deletion but did not know of anything untoward behind the deletion requests.
HCL says it is not the company responsible for emails on the News International system that are older than a couple of weeks. It says another unnamed vendor is responsible, but confirms it has co-operated with this vendor in deleting material.
It said that since it was not the company that stored News International's data "any suggestion or allegation that it has deleted material held on behalf of News International is without foundation."
News International said in a statement it had been actively working since January with the police on email data and other computer information which may be relevant to their inquiry.
"NI keeps backups of its core systems and, in close co-operation with the (police's) Operation Weeting team, has been working to restore these backups," the company said.

Anonymous Hackers Give Murdoch's News Corp. Taste of Own Medicine

he hackers at News Corp. have become the hackees--surely that's a word in modern parlance--of Anonymous and LulzSec, who released email login details of two former News of the World editors and are threatening to divulge more.

A tweet from an Anonymous member named Alex included e-mail login details for Rebekah Brooks under her maiden name, Rebekah Wade. Brooks is the former News of the World editor at the center of a major hacking scandal, in which News Corp.

newspaper employees accessed the voicemails of the United Kingdom's royal family, celebrities and a murder victim, among others. Anonymous also revealed an e-mail password hash for former News of the World managing editor Bill Akass along with phone numbers for a few current and former employees of The Sun, another News Corp.-owned paper.

"Sun/News of the world OWNED," Anonymous member Sabu wrote on Twitter. "We're sitting on their emails. Press release tomorrow."

The data dump follows an earlier attack by Lulz Security on The Sun'sWebsite, in which the hackers planted a false story on the death of News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch. Judging from the Twitter posts of Anonymous members, News Corp. has already shut down its DNS servers as a protective measure against further attacks.

For Anonymous, attacking News Corp. is an easy way to improve its image, capitalizing on outrage over the News of the World scandal. It's also part of a broader hacking effort called AntiSec, which aims to cause chaos among governments and corporations.

But really, this is just great irony. Following the scandal, other News Corp. outlets have tried to portray the company as a victim of hacking and media pile-ons, rather than a perpetrator. Now, it's actually true.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

A few months ago, a friend in the entertainment industry told me of a new business model in Hollywood: hoarding videotapes. Apparently, the earthquake in Japan knocked offline a Sony factory that makes certain types of tape. That factory was also in the tsunami zone, so now there’s a serious tape shortage threatening the television industry. The NBA scrambled to get enough tape to broadcast the NBA finals; one executive told the Hollywood Reporter, “It’s like a bank run.”

In the last few years, economists have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about bank runs. A bank run happens when depositors think a bank is weak and scramble to get their money out before it collapses. “Tight coupling” of financial institutions, like when banks are overly dependent on each other, can create a cascading series of problems for the system itself. We saw this with Lehman Brothers when it went bankrupt.
Its AAA-rated debt instruments lost value unexpectedly; that caused money market funds that held those presumably safe bonds to suddenly lose value. A shadow bank run was the result, as investors rushed to withdraw from the money market funds.
Worryingly, there’s been very little consideration of how systemic collapses can happen in another, perhaps more dangerous realm—the industrial supply system that keeps us in everything from medicine to food to cars to, yes, videotape. In 2004, for instance, England closed one single factory, which caused the United States to lose half of its flu vaccine supply.
Barry Lynn of the New America Foundation has been studying industrial supply shocks since 1999, when he noticed that global computer chip production was concentrated in Taiwan. After a severe earthquake in that country, the global computer industry nearly shut down, crashing the stocks of large computer makers.
 This level of concentration of the production of key components in a globalized economy is a new phenomenon.
 Lynn’s work points to the highly dangerous side of globalization, the flip side of a hyper-efficient global supply chain. When one link in that chain is broken, there is no fallback.
Lynn has continued to study industrial supply shocks and says, “What I have found most interesting recently is the apparent role supply chain shocks played in triggering a synchronized slowdown of industrial economies in April—production down (in USA, China, Europe, Southeast Asia), jobs down, demand down, GDP numbers down—due almost entirely to the loss of a single factory that makes microcontroller chips for cars.”
Today, the problem manifests as shortages of videotape or auto parts, but the global supply chain is so tangled and fragile that next time it could be electronics, weaponry, or even food or medicine.
As Lynn noted in an interview with Dylan Ratigan, China controls 100 percent of the national supply of ascorbic acid, which is a basic food preservative.
Leading oncologists are already warning that we are experiencing severe shortages of generic yet pivotal cancer drugs, because there’s no incentive for corporations to make them.
According to Lynn’s groundbreaking book End of the Line, the essential problem is a basic shift in the way that American multinationals operate. In the 1980s, the competitive manufacturing threat from Japan led most large companies to eliminate waste in their production facilities. As a result, they stopped keeping spare parts on hand.
Eventually, companies began outsourcing production itself, as profits came increasingly from extractive monopolistic power over an economic system.
Walmart is an important example; its profits come from the power it can exert on its suppliers, telling them what to make and how to make it, while the company itself functions as a giant autocratic marketplace and trading operation.
Increasingly, this is the model of success in our global economy. Boeing, Cisco, Apple—all of them rely on their power over an ecosystem of production facilities halfway around the world. They have become rent extractive profit-machines, which is a relatively new phenomenon.
It was in the 1990s that American multinationals, spurred by government policy, began outsourcing operations to China.
At the same time, the Clinton administration steadily relaxed antitrust enforcement, leading to massive corporate consolidation and the creation of the virtual firm.
By the early parts of the last decade, the ideal American multinational made its profits by using its market power to gut labor and supply prices and by using its political power to eliminate taxation.
All of this turned giant American institutions against making things. This is why we rely on a British factory to make our flu vaccine, why global videotape production was knocked offline by a tsunami and why that same event slowed the gigantic auto industry.
US corporate leaders now see the idea of making things as a cost of doing business, one best left to others.
What has happened as a result is that much of the production for critical products and services that make our economy run is constructed by a patchwork global network of suppliers all over the world in unstable regions, over which we have very little control.
An accident or political problem in any number of countries may deny us not just iPhones but food, medicine or critical machinery.
Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, has made the case that America needs to be building things here, investing here and manufacturing here.
We need the know-how and the ecosystem of innovation.
The more corporate America seeks to push production risk off the balance sheet onto an increasingly fragile global supply chain, the more it seeks to wound the state so there is no body that can constrain its worst impulses, the more likely we will see a truly devastating Lehman-style industrial supply shock.
There’s a good amount of grumbling about the state of American infrastructure—collapsing bridges, high-speed rail, etc. But American infrastructure is not just about public goods, it’s about how the corporations that enforce, inform and organize economic activity are themselves organized.
Are they doing productive research? Are they spreading knowledge and know-how to people who will use it responsibly? Are they creating prosperity or extracting wealth using raw power? And most importantly, are they contributing to the robustness of our society, such that we can survive and thrive in the normal course of emergencies?
The answer to all of these questions right now is “no.”
And while this may not be hitting the elite segments of the economy right now, there will be no escape from a flu pandemic or significant food shortage. The re-engineering of our global supply chain needs to happen—and it will happen, either through good leadership or through collapse.
This means that our government and our society needs to reorient our economy toward manufacturing and rededicate our corporations to productive uses.
This will require a new conception of antitrust laws to ensure that monopolistic or oligopolistic practices in pivotal industries aren’t placing our culture at risk.
It means understanding the networks of suppliers and sub-suppliers. And it means ending the race to the bottom that pushes deflationary pressures on labor and the social safety net. All of this can insure a more robust culture and economy, one which can withstand national security or environmental challenges.
The sooner our leaders, both in public and private institutions, recognize how highly vulnerable we are to a societal collapse, the better chance we have of avoiding collapse.
Forgetting lessons of the Holocaust: European, Israeli and Jewish right-wing ...
And in an equally ironic twist, some members of the very Israeli and Jewish groups Mr. Breivik and other representatives of Europe's extreme right wing see as their potential allies believe there is virtue in an association with racist and often ...See all stories on this topic »-

Right-wing NGO: Protesters refuse to sing 'Hatikva'
Jerusalem Post
“This should be a protest for all Israeli organizations, Left and Right, because centralization and monopolies do not know the difference between right and left wing,” My Israel chairwoman Ayelet Shaked said. “Therefore, we decided [on Friday] to join ...See all stories on this topic »

French far-right founder Le Pen insists Norway's 'naivete' to blame for attacks
Sacramento Bee
By CLARE BYRNE PARIS -- The founder of France's far-right National Front party, Jean-Marie Le Pen, on Saturday stood by his contention that Norway's government was more to blame for the recent massacre than the right-wing extremist who carried out the ...See all stories on this topic

Norway right-wing leader resents link to confessed-killer Breivik
Toronto Star
Siv Jensen said that Anders Behring Breivik kept a low profile when a member of her right-wingparty and never discussed his murderous plans. Karl Ritter Associated Press OSLO—The leader of Norway's right-wing Progress Party on Tuesday said former ...See all stories on this topic

Norway's right-wing on defensive after attacks
The Associated Press
Now one of Europe's most successful right-wing parties is on the defensive after one of its former members massacred 77 people in the name of fighting immigration. The Progress Party has confirmed that Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed perpetrator ...See all stories on this topic »

Domestic Terror Takes Roots in the West

The petit right wing terror and Islamic terror with extended networks have gained grounds in the Western world for few years.
As the world was concentrating on the main stream Al Qaida terror in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East, the emerging domestic extremism from both immigrants and indigenous folks in prosperous societies of the west gradually sprang out.

The fatal bombing and assault in Norway stands out as a typical example of extremism rooted in the west.
"The greatest threat of large-scale attacks come from individuals and small groups of extremists who subscribe to radical Islamic or far right-wing ideologies," said Gary LaFree, director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).
The right wings as well as the Islamists groups are the fastest-growing extremist organizations in the United States and Europe. As right wing activities are small in volume and size, the authorities are unable to identify the source and strength behind such groups.
Right wing terrorism is a kind of quixotic ideology with single activist or a few members. The past and present right wing terror seems to be an isolated attempt to grab the publicity of the media and crowd. But the aftermath is turbulent, creating unwanted panic situation.
Right wing anti-government groups grew by 60 percent in 2010 over the previous year, START reported, accelerating the overall growth of militia groups.
Islamic terror always sticks to religious roots and Right wing is dependent upon ethnic norms and values. This makes the difference between the right wing terrorism from of its Islamic counterpart.
While the Islamist extremists cherish keen religious interests or mission across the globe, the right wing terror is mainly focused on economic dignity of communities and groups. It is a kind of intolerant instinct against the quick success of the immigrant groups.

Root Cause Of Domestic Terror

The number of anti -immigrant groups gained in European soil following the financial stress and the unemployment among the indigenous people.
The anti-immigrant protests in London in yesteryears also sparked the interests of the right wing groups and it galvanized the mushrooming of new small anti-immigrant and right-wing groups in the kingdom.

The suspect in Oslo massacre published posts on internet focusing more about the impact of diversity on unity and appealing for an aggressive answer to pluralism that he said was destroying the spirit of the Europe as well as its culture.
The bombing of federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, in which 168 people were killed, was also executed by a right wing extremist.
The right wing never had an organized or extended network to undertake terror operations. Today, threats of Islamic terrorism as well as the threat from the domestic anti-government groups have been growing in west as a counter measure to each other.
"I have covered wars and terror attacks around the world for the last 30 years and now it has come to Norway... We've been so lucky in this part of the world. It happened every other place, but not here, and now it has happened." said Jon Magnus, chief correspondent on the foreign desk at Oslo newspaper VG.
Questioning Anders Behring Breivik, the convict behind the Oslo attack, unveiled his mission to give people a strong signal about the increasing presence of Muslim population in Norway.
"The operation was not to kill as many innocent people as but to give a signal that could not be misunderstood. As long as the Labour party keeps driving its ideological line and mass importing of Muslims then it must assume responsibility for this treason," said Breivik.
The Oslo terror attack also demands the world to identify the root cause of terror, that's unemployment and financial insecurity derived from the illegal immigration and cultural penetration on indigenous thoughts.

Right Wing Plot To Delegitimize Democracy? Many progressives, though certainly not all, are disappointed with President Obama for acquiescing to right-wing talking points about deficits and Austerity. It got worse yesterday. ...DownWithTyranny!

Many progressives, though certainly not all, are disappointed with President Obama for acquiescing to right-wing talking points about deficits and Austerity. It got worse yesterday. But it's still a touchy-- and some even say still nuanced-- topic in Democratic circles. But I think what all Democrats-- and hopefully most Americans-- can agree on is that the extremist obsession with delegitimizing Barack Obama, no matter how you feel about what a weak and ineffective president he is and how angry you may be that he caves to the corporate right, and his presidency is destructive to the country. The GOP version of a "debate" over how to handle the debt ceiling is an attempt at a modern day coup d'etat by the far right. Making the country ungovernable, wrecking the economy and threating the well-being of millions of families is standard operating procedure for fascistic movements. And it's a procedure that has been more and more put into action by the Republicans since Obama was elected.

This weekend they have pulled every parliamentary trick out of their black hat to force the country into default-- or force President Obama out of his comfort zone and into acting on his own to protect the country from their nilhilism in a way that will trigger immediate impeachment hearings. It has long been clear that the ONLY solution to this manufactured debt ceiling "crisis" is to pass a clean bill and then go back to fighting over competing agendas without jeopardizing the fiscal life of American families, businesses, the country itself-- and the world economy.

And as for the competing agendas, we've seen what the conservative agenda is: more grossly unfair tax cuts for the rich and lots of "shared" sacrifice of the rest of us. THEY ARE GUNNING FOR MEDICARE IN A BIG WAY. And after that they want to abolish Social Security by privatizing it. If we don't have a president willing to stand up and protect the values and principles behind Medicare and Social Security, it makes all the more crucial that we have Members of Congress who will.

We've been talking to Blue America's endorsed candidates about a statement that sums up where they stand on the competing agendas. In the end, former and future Congressman Alan Grayson wrote it and Ed Potosnak, Nick Ruiz, Ilya Sheyman and Norman Solomon signed onto it. Please read it carefully. Blue America won't be endorsing any candidates this cycle who can't embrace these ideas with heartfelt enthusiasm:
either collects Social Security benefits, or hopes one day to do so.  Virtually every one of us who works for a living contributes to Social Security, and earns the right to Social Security. For many of us, without Social Security benefits, we would have work until the day we die.

Every one of us either enjoys Medicare coverage, or hopes one day to do so. Virtually every one of us who works for a living contributes to Medicare, and earns the right to Medicare coverage. For many of us, when we are old and sick, Medicare coverage will be the difference between our own life and death.

Any one of us can fall prey to poverty. For some, poverty might come through sickness, injury, disability or medical bills. For others, it might come from a lack of education, or from discrimination and bigotry. Or it may come with unemployment or divorce. Regardless of how it happens, any one of us who is poor and sick, or becomes poor and sick, may need Medicaid coverage to alleviate terrible pain and suffering, and even to stay alive.

A just society is one that shelters the homeless, feeds the hungry, and heals the sick. It is one that honors our fathers and mothers. Our first responsibility as Americans is to meet our own needs, and to take care of ourselves. We are judged by how we treat the least among us, the most vulnerable among us.

Therefore, all we who sign this make the following pledge, to the voters of our districts and to all the American People:

We Are Against Any and Every Cut to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Not today, not tomorrow, and not ever. No way, no how. Not on your life, and not on mine, because both your life and my life may depend on it.


Do you approve? Please show your encouragement to Alan Grayson, Ed Potosnak, Nick Ruiz, Ilya Sheyman and Norman Solomon at our Blue America Act Blue page. Actually, showing encouragement is only part of what we're asking. We need to help these guys get elected to Congress so they can put these ideas into practice.


So while John Conyers is calling for demonstrations at the White House against Obama's deal, Paul Krugman is brutally honest in theTimes: "Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels... [M]any commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong."

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.

Start with the economics. We currently have a deeply depressed economy. We will almost certainly continue to have a depressed economy all through next year. And we will probably have a depressed economy through 2013 as well, if not beyond.

The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.

Indeed, slashing spending while the economy is depressed won’t even help the budget situation much, and might well make it worse. On one side, interest rates on federal borrowing are currently very low, so spending cuts now will do little to reduce future interest costs. On the other side, making the economy weaker now will also hurt its long-run prospects, which will in turn reduce future revenue. So those demanding spending cuts now are like medieval doctors who treated the sick by bleeding them, and thereby made them even sicker.

And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction-- and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.

Republicans will supposedly have an incentive to make concessions the next time around, because defense spending will be among the areas cut. But the G.O.P. has just demonstrated its willingness to risk financial collapse unless it gets everything its most extreme members want. Why expect it to be more reasonable in the next round?

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.

Did the president have any alternative this time around? Yes.

First of all, he could and should have demanded an increase in the debt ceiling back in December. When asked why he didn’t, he replied that he was sure that Republicans would act responsibly. Great call.

...It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.

And Krugman's editors agreed with him. They were brutally honest too, calling the SatanSandwich deal "a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery."

From the Debt Debate to a Hostage Revolt

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL | The priorities of most Americans were casualties of this summer's melodrama in Washington. This reality will drive independent citizens to challenge both Republican zealotry and Democratic cravenness.
Jake Davis, 18, who goes by the online nickname of "Topiary," was charged with computer attacks on Sony, UK crime and health authorities and Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper arm News International.
Anonymous and LulzSec members have been arrested in the United States, Spain, Turkey, Britain and the Netherlands in recent weeks in a crackdown on attacks on targets seen by the activists as hostile to Internet freedom of speech…

AmpedStatus blog : David DeGraw

Here's his RSS feed: http://daviddegraw.org/feed/

The Obama Administration’s “Secret” Patriot Act Spys On Americans


Systemic Global Financial Instability Is Spreading Rapidly – Part I

Systemic Global Financial Instability Is Spreading Rapidly – Part II


Tim DeChristopher Fought Back Against The Organized Criminal Class – His Prison Sentence Exemplifies The Banana Republic Our Country Has Become

Congress apparently has no plans to disrupt their August recess to address the partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, despite pleas by the Transportation secretary, furloughed federal employees, and contractors ordered to stop work on halted projects.

The House adjourned Monday, after voting on the debt deal, and the Senate is expected to do the same Tuesday. The chambers don't return from their home states until September.

Doing the math, that means that the FAA will be without a budget and in partial shutdown for nearly seven weeks; and that's only if they pass a measure immediately after their return. Congress has not passed a regular budget for the FAA since 2007, instead passing continuing resolutions to fund the agency.

“Members of Congress should not get on a plane to fly home for vacation without passing an FAA bill and putting thousands of people back to work,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in comments made at LaGuardia Airport Monday. “Congress needs to do its job for the good of these workers, for the good of our economy and for the good of America’s aviation system."

Without a reauthorization, the FAA is unable to pay $2.5 billion for airport projects in all 50 states, according to a released statement from the agency. Nearly 4,000 FAA employees in 35 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico remain furloughed, and the Associated General Contractors estimates that 70,000 workers in construction and related fields can no longer work — or get paid — under halted contracts. Among those related fields are information technology. Research and testing of the NextGen air traffic control system, for example, is among the programs halted.

Apparently, the furloughed employees and halted projects are all funded by the Aviation Trust Fund, which comes from a federal tax on airline tickets. Among the areas funded by that tax, according to an FAA spokesperson, are facilities and equipment; research, engineering and development; and airport grants.

Contractors are already feeling the impact of the partial shutdown, with more than 200 projects halted. Beyond the lost revenue, some sources noted, contractors will likely have to deal with late payments, as invoices inevitably pile, and contract adjustments that may or may not incorporate extensions to the listed period of performance.

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