Obama’s Homeland Security Dept. Promotes Al Jazeera

Obama’s Homeland Security Dept. Promotes Al
Jazeera

February 16th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

National security has fallen so far under Barack Obama that a high-ranking
official in the Department of Homeland Security is berating American cable
companies for not carrying Osama bin Laden’s favorite television network.
Juliette Kayyem,
the assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the DHS, wrote an op-ed
in the Boston Globe this week entitled, “Let
US See Al-Jazeera.”
(Capitalization in original.) In it, she rakes ign’ernt
Americans over the coals for not appreciating Al Jazeera English (AJE), the
Anglophone counterpart to Al-Jazeera. Kayyem writes that cable providers should
be “promoting engagement in the Arab world” by “bringing a major player in the
Arab world to American audiences.”
Typical of the Obama administration’s approach to all forms of conflict,
Kayyem wants America to step aside, promote Islamic interests, and hope our
enemies will reciprocate our selfless acts of goodwill. In this case, she wants
a major Islamic fundamentalist propaganda outlet beamed into 300 million infidel
homes. “AJE’s battle with the cable carriers is major news in the Middle East,”
she writes. Not carrying the network “sends a message to the Arab world.”
Although she reassures her readers, “Cable companies have no obligation to run
programming,” she warns that shunning AJE is “understood by the Arab world as a
value-laden decision about America’s lack of desire to hear from the Arab world
about the Arab world.”
There is the little matter of the Al-Jazeera’s famously close relationship
with terrorists and long history of….
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more
.

Killing the Czars: House Republicans Fight Obama’s Executive Power Grab

Killing the Czars: House Republicans Fight Obama’s Executive Power Grab

January 7th, 2011

Ben Johnson, FloydReports.com

Congressional Republicans have wasted no time fighting back against Barack Obama’s plan to rule by executive fiat. Only days into their new majority in the 112th Congress, conservatives have introduced measures to end the most egregious offenses: abolishing the unelected system of czars, repealing Net Neutrality regulations, and preventing the EPA from imposing job-killing carbon dioxide standards on power plants. The imperative steps will prevent an imperial overreach and minimize the damage Obama can do the American people. However, if they hope to succeed, Republicans need to move beyond these necessary defense mechanisms and present a coherent and comprehensive program of limited, constitutional government.

Nothing so perfectly encapsulates this president’s push to federalize every aspect of American life better than his team of czars. These multiple dozens of ideologues — unelected and unconfirmed, because they are unelectable and unconfirmable — exercise power in every aspect of our lives from the environment, to domestic violence, to the automobile company we collectively purchased for the UAW. On Wednesday, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-LA, introduced a bill co-sponsored by 28 others to abolish all federal czars. His proposal, which is supported by 28 other Congressmen, would eliminate anyone who….

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FCC Chair Pitches Restraint In Net Neutrality Obama invades the Internet

FCC Chair Pitches Restraint In Net Neutrality

Julius Genachowski’s “Third Way” aims for moderate regulation of broadband to protect consumers while encouraging investment and innovation by Internet providers.

By W. David Gardner,  InformationWeek
<!– –>May 6, 2010
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=224700985

Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski revealed his “Third Way” to attempt to solve the Net neutrality issue that has been dogging Internet regulation negotiations for weeks. Genachowski’s plan generally calls for regulation of Web transmission by Internet service providers, but would renounce some requirements on carriers, such as rules that they would have to share lines with competitors.

In a statement Thursday, the FCC chairman said he supported a “restrained approach” to broadband Net neutrality regulations, “one carefully balanced to unleash investment and innovation while also protecting and empowering consumers.”

Genachowski’s approach is likely to be criticized by major carriers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon Communications, which want as little regulation as possible. However, firms like Google and Skype that rely on unfettered access to broadband are likely to support Genachowski.

The FCC chairman was clearly trying to pick his way through a complex minefield of regulations and arguments, but his “Third Way” is likely to be praised, challenged, and discussed from a variety of quarters. To start, however, Genachowski is certain to see his approach approved by his two Democratic colleagues on the FCC, commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn, giving him a three-to-two endorsement over the two Republican commissioners.

While much of the issue is mired in arcane regulatory jargon, the results of the latest chapter in Net neutrality are likely to influence a wide sweep of Americans and measures ranging from delivery of broadband in rural areas to encouraging new investment and competition in broadband services.

Genachowski had been examining the issue since April, when a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that the FCC couldn’t sanction Comcast for blocking Bit Torrent from transmitting traffic over the Internet. Genachowski asked FCC general counsel Austin Schlick for legal guidance and Schlick suggested the “Third Way” approach.

Genachowski also appears to have received important backing from Senator John D. Rockefeller and Congressman Henry Waxman, both Democrats, before he announced his Third Way statement Thursday

Schlick reviewed proposals, including one to keep Title I authority to oversee broadband as it generally now is or to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. As currently defined, broadband is viewed as an information service and the FCC has little oversight over it. The carriers generally support keeping the Title I classification, while Google, Skype, and public interest groups wanted broadband to come under Title II.

“I have serious reservations about both of these approaches,” said Genachowski, adding that Schlick found the third way: “a legal anchor that gives the Commission only the modest authority it needs to foster a world-leading broadband infrastructure for all Americans while definitely avoiding the negative consequences of a full reclassification and broad application of Title II.”

Genachowski’s Third Way approach will be open for public comment, which is expected to be vigorous on both sides of the issue.

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

WASHINGTON—In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks. 

The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates. 

Breaking a deadlock within his agency, Mr. Genachowski is expected Thursday to outline his plan for regulating broadband lines. He wants to adopt “net neutrality” rules that require Internet providers like Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc. to treat all traffic equally, and not to slow or block access to websites. 

The decision has been eagerly awaited since a federal appeals court ruling last month cast doubt on the FCC’s authority over broadband lines, throwing into question Mr. Genachowski’s proposal to set new rules for how Internet traffic is managed. The court ruled the FCC had overstepped when it cited Comcast in 2008 for slowing some customers’ Internet traffic. 

In a nod to such concerns, the FCC said in a statement that Mr. Genachowski wouldn’t apply the full brunt of existing phone regulations to Internet lines and that he would set “meaningful boundaries to guard against regulatory overreach.” 

Some senior Democratic lawmakers provided Mr. Genachowski with political cover for his decision Wednesday, suggesting they wouldn’t be opposed to the FCC taking the re-regulation route towards net neutrality protections. 

Getty ImagesFCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, whose authority over broadband lines has been questioned by a federal court, plans to use regulation on traditional phone networks to establish rules for Internet providers. 

FCC

FCC

“The Commission should consider all viable options,” wrote Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, W.V.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D, Calif.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a letter. 

At stake is how far the FCC can go to dictate the way Internet providers manage traffic on their multibillion-dollar networks. For the past decade or so, the FCC has maintained a mostly hands-off approach to Internet regulation. 

Internet giants like Google Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., which want to offer more Web video and other high-bandwidth services, have called for stronger action by the FCC to assure free access to websites. 

Cable and telecommunications executives have warned that using land-line phone rules to govern their management of Internet traffic would lead them to cut billions of capital expenditure for their networks, slash jobs and go to court to fight the rules. 

Consumer groups hailed the decision Wednesday, an abrupt change from recent days, when they’d bombarded the FCC chairman with emails and phone calls imploring him to fight phone and cable companies lobbyists. 

“On the surface it looks like a win for Internet companies,” said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus. “A lot will depend on the details of how this gets implemented.” 

Mr. Genachowski’s proposal will have to go through a modified inquiry and rule-making process that will likely take months of public comment. But Ms. Arbogast said the rule is likely to be passed since it has the support of the two other Democratic commissioners. 

President Barack Obama vowed during his campaign to support regulation to promote so-called net neutrality, and received significant campaign contributions from Silicon Valley. Mr. Genachowski, a Harvard Law School buddy of the president, proposed new net neutrality rules as his first major action as FCC chairman. 

Telecom executives say privately that limits on their ability to change pricing would make it harder to convince shareholders that the returns from spending billions of dollars on improving a network are worth the cost. 

Carriers fear further regulation could handcuff their ability to cope with the growing demand put on their networks by the explosion in Internet and wireless data traffic. In particular, they worry that the FCC will require them to share their networks with rivals at government-regulated rates. 

Mike McCurry, former press secretary for President Bill Clinton and co-chair of the Arts + Labs Coalition, an industry group representing technology companies, telecom companies and content providers, said the FCC needs to assert some authority to back up the general net neutrality principles it outlined in 2005. 

“The question is how heavy a hand will the regulatory touch be,” he said. “We don’t know yet, so the devil is in the details. The network operators have to be able to treat some traffic on the Internet different than other traffic—most people agree that web video is different than an email to grandma. You have to discriminate in some fashion.” 

UBS analyst John Hodulik said the cable companies and carriers were likely to fight this in court “for years” and could accelerate their plans to wind down investment in their broadband networks. 

“You could have regulators involved in every facet of providing Internet over time. How wholesale and prices are set, how networks are interconnected and requirements that they lease out portions of their network,” he said. 

—Niraj Sheth, Spencer E. Ante, Sara Silver and Nat Worden contributed to this article.

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