World View: IT Systems a Continuing Disaster

World View: IT Systems a Continuing Disaster

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Moscow police arrest hundreds after a massive race riot
  • Al-Qaeda surges back in Iraq following U.S. withdrawal
  • IT systems a continuing disaster

Moscow police arrest hundreds after a massive race riot

Moscow police detain a man on Sunday (Reuters)
Moscow police detain a man on Sunday (Reuters)

Moscow police arrested more than 380 people on Sunday during a raceriot in which about 1,000 neo-Nazi ethnic Russian nationalistsattacked a vegetable warehouse run by natives of Russia’s southernprovinces in the North Caucasus who had migrated to Moscow. This wasthe worst race riot in some time between mostly Orthodox Christianethnic Russians and mostly Muslim North Caucasians. The riot wastriggered by the knife murder, on Thursday, of an ethnic Russian whilehe was out walking with this girlfriend, who later described theassailant as a Caucasian. 

Hundreds of police were sent in to bringthe riot under control, but some reports indicate that the police didnothing to stop the ethnic Russians from looting the warehouse.Moscow police promised to pay up to one million rubles for informationthat would help to identify and find the murder suspect. Russia Today and AFP

Al-Qaeda surges back in Iraq following U.S. withdrawal

Al-Qaeda has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years. The terror group hasshown it is capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks severaltimes a month, driving the death toll in Iraq to the highest levelsince 2006. 

Al-Qaeda’s forces have been bolstered by bombing attackson Iraqi prisons that have freed more than 500 inmates. The Syrianwar has been a major recruiting tool for al-Qaeda because genocidalmaniac president Bashar al-Assad is using heavy weapons to slaughterinnocent civilians, and Russia is following a disastrous policy ofsupplying an unlimited number of heavy weapons to al-Assad. 

In Iraq,the pace of terrorist killings has increased substantially every monthsince the American withdrawal, with most of the attacks conducted byal-Qaeda linked terrorists with Shia targets. On Sunday alone, 42people were killed in a new wave of bombings in most Shia-majoritycities. One intelligence official estimates that al-Qaeda now has atleast 3,000 trained fighters in Iraq alone, including some 100volunteers awaiting orders to carry out suicide missions. 

PresidentGeorge Bush’s “surge” into Iraq in 2007 beat back al-Qaeda, andreduced it to a “few small cells struggling to survive,” according tothe Brookings Institution. But now all of that work is coming undone.AP IT systems a continuing disaster

Long-time readers are aware that from the day it was first proposed in2009, I’ve referred to President Barack Obama’s health care plan as a proposal of economic insanity,because it’s a repeat of President Richard Nixon’s wage-pricecontrols, which were an utter, total disaster for the economy. (See “5-Jul-13 World View — Eurozone and Obamacare continue their parallel economic collapse”.) 

I had expected Obamacare to collapse for purely economic reasons, justas Nixon’s wage-price controls collapsed for economic reasons, despitethe kind of overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicansfor wage-price controls that is totally absent for Obamacare. Indeed, Obamacare is in fact collapsing for purely economic reasons. Theadministration has been forced to grant one waiver after another tolabor unions, Congress, and other political allies; it’s used the IRSto target its political opponents; and it was forced to postpone the

This is exactlythe kind of thing that Nixon tried to do to save his wage-pricecontrols as they spiraled into total disaster and collapse. The onlysignificant portion of Obamacare still remaining is the “individualmandate,” which is so full of holes and contradictions that it’sunlikely to survive the winter. 

But what I hadn’t foreseen is that a critical factor in the collapseof Obamacare may well be the IT systems. President Obama is callingthem “glitches” that will be repaired soon, but many people arewondering whether they can be repaired. I’ve suggested that perhapsthe Obamacare IT systems were developed by a group of kids outof college whose previous experience was to develop a web site asa homework assignment and had used this “expertise” in and other web sites. 

An article by Sean Gallagher of Ars Technica supports that suggestion and a lot more. He points out that actual federal employees who do ITwork have been retiring or are close to retirement and haven’t beenreplaced, so the government has been depending on youngprogrammers working for outside contractors to do the work.Furthermore, he points out that the federal government uses old,outdated hardware and operating systems and thatgovernment-implemented systems, typified by the US Army’s EnterpriseEmail (EE) program, are shoddy and would never be tolerated in thecommercial world. 

You might think that’s bad enough, Dear Reader, but now the storyis going to get much worse. 

Last week, there were some reports that the Obama administration hadpaid $634 million to contractors to implement Ichecked out the reports, and it turns out that the $634 million figureis wrong. The implementation cost was a “mere” $93.7 million. 

Are you kidding me? $93.7 million to build a high volumeweb site backed up by a database? And they’re BRAGGING about this asa low cost? This kind of project in the commercial world would havecost about $5-10 million, but adjusting for government bureaucracy oradditional technical complications, a figure of $20-25 million mighthave been reasonable though very expensive. $93.7 million is high byseveral multiples, especially in view of the shoddy results. 

So now we can see what must have happened. The Obama administrationpoured out tens of millions of dollars to a number of incompetentcontractors with bloated budgets, probably their political pals andcampaign contributors, who employed incompetent young Millennial andGen-X engineers and managers to implement, and you cansee the result. This is similar to the Air Force internet projectthat I worked on for General Dynamics before I was fired. 

And now the Obama administration is so desperate to save Obamacarethat it will do anything and everything to save it. It is nowgoing to spend additional tens of millions of dollars to try to Let’s see what happens. Ars Technica and The Blaze

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Russia, Moscow, North Caucasus,Iraq, al-Qaeda, Syria, Bashar al-Assad,, Obamacare, Richard Nixon, wage-price controls,Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, CACI, General Dynamics 

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