Posts Tagged ‘Federal Communications Commission’

Taxation without representation: Obama wants to impose addition “fee” on cellphones

by Stephen Levine on Friday, August 16th, 2013

This is article 276 of 307 in the topic Taxation/IRS

Why should we be surprised that Obama, once again, is skirting the United States Constitution and usurping Congressional tax making powers …

Obama wants to tack on $5-a-year phone tax to fund high-speed Internet in schools – critics blast ‘end run’ of Congress and ‘endless expansion of program at the expense of rate payers’  —  That’s one way to “cell” a fee hike.

Unwilling to ask Congress for extra funds to pay for high-speed Internet connections in schools, President Obama is instead looking to tack yet another charge on cellphones through the Federal Communications Commission.

The new program, called ConnectED, would expand an existing school-wiring effort and cost each cellphone user about $5 a year, said White House officials. In New York City, the ubiquitous mobile devices already carry 10 separate city, state and federal fees and charges — and that doesn’t include sales taxes.

Obama is relying on the fee hike to avoid dealing with a Congress that White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest yesterday described as “dysfunctional.”  Read more at “President Obama eyes fee on cellphones to fund Internet wiring efforts at schools –

Bottom line …

Another unconstitutional executive branch action. And, nobody in the Republican House appears willing to call Obama to task for his continual breach of Congressional powers. The common carriers are now so brazen they make up their own “official sounding” fees and the money flows directly to the bottom line and executive bonuses. All of the Public Utilities Commissions are political creatures and unlikely to do much for consumers other than to help work out simple billing disputes.

And, lest we forget … everytime something is allocated to education, it usually bypasses the students in the classroom and winds up in the underfunded union pension funds or as salary support for current personnel.

— steve

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by Stephen Levine on Monday, August 12th, 2013

This is article 486 of 576 in the topic Media

In another example of the overreach of the federal government into the private affairs of corporations and individuals, we see that the Acting FCC Chairwoman, Mignon Clyburn commenting on the contractual dispute between CBS and Time Warner Cable.

As reported in various media sources …

“Quite frankly I am deeply disappointed that the parties seem to be unable to reach a retransmission agreement,” she said. “I am really distressed that consumers and viewers are being adversely affected and my primary concern remains with them. We will continue to urge both parties to stay and resolve in good faith this issue as soon as possible.”

I’m ready to consider appropriate action if this dispute continues.”

“The commission is actively monitoring the status of this particular dispute, and is in touch with both parties,” Clyburn said.

Feelings versus facts …

The Federal Communications Commission was established to allocate broadcast frequencies, set technical standards, insure that equipment and personnel did not adversely affect the broadcasting system, and to license stations and operators. There is no authority to engage in social engineering or to set aside contractual legal relationships between parties.

But like all progressive socialist democrats. Clyburn is all about feelings, appearances and perceptions …


Mignon L. Clyburn is currently serving as Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, following her appointment by President Barack Obama on May 20, 2013. As Commissioner, she is serving a second term as a Democrat on the Commission, for which she was sworn in on February 19, 2013 following her re-nomination by the President and confirmation by the United States Senate.

Clyburn began her service at the FCC in August, 2009, after spending 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. She served as its chair from July 2002 through June 2004.

Prior to her service on the PSC, Clyburn was the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African American community. She co-owned and operated the family-founded newspaper for 14 years.

A longtime champion of consumers and a defender of the public interest, Commissioner Clyburn considers every Commission proceeding with an eye toward how it will affect each and every American. She is a strong advocate for enhanced accessibility in communications for disabled citizens, and works closely with representative groups for the deaf and hard of hearing. She has fought to promote strong competition across all communications platforms, believing that the more robust and competitive the marketplace, the less need there is for regulation. However, when the market is not adequately addressing consumer concerns, Clyburn is an outspoken champion for smart, targeted regulatory action. She has pushed for media ownership rules that reflect the demographics of America, affordable universal telephone and high-speed internet access, greater broadband deployment and adoption throughout the nation, and transparency in regulation. Commissioner Clyburn is a member of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Federal-State Joint Board on Separations, and the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services, all of which she chaired for three years during her first term at the FCC.

Clyburn is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking, Finance and Economics.

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Massive Obamaphone fraud continues

by John Lott on Sunday, August 4th, 2013

This is article 488 of 526 in the topic Government Spending

Here is one reporter for National Review who received three different Obamaphones, essentially tripling the telephone time that she receives free from taxpayers

Confession: You’re paying my phone bill.

In the past month, I have received three shiny new cell phones, courtesy of American taxpayers, that should never have fallen into my hands.

The Federal Communications Commission oversees the so-called Lifeline program, created in 1984 to make sure impoverished Americans had telephone service available to call their moms, bosses, and 911. In 2008, the FCC expanded the program to offer subsidized cell-phone service, and since then, the expenses of running the program have soared. In 2012, the program’s costs had risen to $2.189 billion, up from $822 million before wireless carriers were included. As of June, there were 13.8 million active Lifeline subscriptions. . . .

Here is a story from MSN Money:

The so-called Obamaphone project has a noble goal to help low-income Americans pay for mobile phones, allowing them to have contact numbers for job interviews or to access emergency services.

But now conservative activist James O’Keefe is alleging that the program is prone to fraud. Undercover cameras taped salespeople telling applicants for phones under the Federal Communications Commissions’ Lifeline program that once they get a device, they can do whatever they want with it, including selling it.

One employee at a Stand Up wireless location in Philadelphia looked the other way when an undercover actor said he was going to sell the phone for heroin. “Hey, I don’t judge,” the employee said.

At another location, a saleswoman in an outdoor tent operated by Stand Up Wireless told an actor to take the phone to a pawn shop to find out its worth. One undercover actress told a salesperson at a TerraCom store that she wants to sell the phone to buy an “awesome pair of shoes.” . . .

Up until recently those applying for the plan weren’t even asked to show that they were eligible.  From the WSJ:

Until last year, FCC rules didn’t require carriers to certify to the FCC that subscribers were eligible. Consumers could self-certify, and in many states documentation wasn’t required. 

Carriers said many of the disqualified subscribers simply didn’t reply when asked to prove their eligibility. They also said the FCC rules on self-certification, and the absence of a national database of participants, made it hard to keep ineligible people from signing up.

The FCC said it is investigating allegations that some Lifeline providers violated the rules, though it declined to comment on that probe. Carriers that don’t properly confirm eligibility can be fined up to $150,000 for each violation for each day of a continuing violation, up to a maximum of $1.5 million. In egregious cases, a carrier could lose its ability to participate in the program. . . .

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Raising American Beauties – Gardening with the Father of Lies

by Rev. Michael Bresciani on Sunday, April 21st, 2013

This is article 21 of 42 in the topic Moral Values

tn_Van_Dyke.jpgIn an episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran from 1961 to 1966, Rob Petrie (Van Dyke) heard his pre-adolescent son using an unacceptable word in his vocabulary. It upset his parents who labored to find the best way to tell their son not to use the word.

At work, Petrie typed the word on his office typewriter and it was found by a producer for the show Mel Cooley, (Richard Deacon.) He grimaced as he discovered the word on Rob’s typewriter, which was never actually spoken or revealed throughout the entire episode.

His reply fit the show to a tee, but it also reminds us of how far we have come with our belief that progressivism and liberalism is what we need.

Cooley said, “Isn’t that taking progressive education a little too far.”

tn_Mel-Cooley.jpgCooley died in 1984, but can only imagine what he might say today as progressivism drags the world down to the social dregs all at the same time it touts the philosophy that it is in fact, society rising to a new high level of freedom and expression?

Progressives have given us the twisted wonders we now call, ‘political correctness,’ “the religion of peace,’ feminism and free abortion provided by government,’ ‘the gay agenda and same sex marriage’ and atheistic education for all, regardless of race color or creed – and previous religious education.

We can’t argue with progress, unless we want to ask the most serious question of all. Exactly where are we progressing to? Is it upward, is it forward or are we speeding headlong to the precipice of hell itself?

Of late the push by progressives and the liberals to ease up on everything has invoked two responses from two very divergent sources, the Bible and the FCC. (Federal Communications Commission)

The FCC has opened itself up for a period of time to public comments on whether we think more nudity and foul language should be allowed on television. What we have is, a government agency formed to ride herd on open filth and nudity asking the public if it’s OK to lift the floodgates a little higher and let the swill through!

Responsible pastors and indeed, real prophets and preachers of the gospel have well warned that these penchants are the emerging immorality and the clear signs of a failing nation. Since neither they, nor the bible they are quoting from, allow any apologies, because the source is considered to be God himself, we will quote the entire passage without comment.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa 5: 20)

Progressivism and its twin sister liberalism are today’s little imps of perversion, societal perversion, and we needn’t ask where they are getting their inspiration from.

Now we can hear the filth of the rappers reflected in the daily conversations of high school and junior high-schoolers and the progressive answer to that is, to attack homeschoolers who have left the criminally negligent public schools so their kids won’t grow up believing that expletives and filth are what we expect as part of their normal adulthood.

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Former Attorney General Urges Probe of Al Jazeera

by Cliff Kincaid on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

This is article 430 of 576 in the topic Media

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s call for a congressional “inquiry” into Al Jazeera’s purchase of Al Gore’s Current TV gives hope that the controversial transaction benefiting the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood can still be derailed.

At a Breitbart News-sponsored forum during last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Mukasey said, in response to a question from this writer, “I think if an American medium is controlled by a political force from abroad, that’s a proper subject for inquiry.”

That political force is the Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Its financial backer, which owns Al Jazeera, is the undemocratic and authoritarian government of Qatar. Mukasey’s speech to the Breitbart event was about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S.

At the same time, U.S. military veterans are speaking out. Larry Bailey, co-founder of a group of veterans and supporters of the Special Operations communities of the Armed Forces, tells Accuracy in Media that Congress should examine the “penetration” of the U.S. media market by Al Jazeera because the pro-Jihadist television channel only spells “more trouble within our society.”

Bailey, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, founded Special Operations Speaks (SOS).

Fox News commentator Lisa Daftari has suggested that the new “Al Jazeera America” channel could inspire violence and terrorism by stirring up Muslims in cities such as heavily-Arab Detroit, Michigan, where one of its bureaus is scheduled to open.

The Obama Administration, which supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt with foreign aid and weapons shipments, has refused to subject the Al Jazeera deal to any official scrutiny.

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski asking what, if any, agency review procedures and oversight processes came into play regarding the transaction. But Genachowski is stonewalling and has not responded. Murphy holds a senior position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Murphy’s office told AIM, “We’re not surprised the FCC has not even acknowledged, let alone responded to, Chairman Murphy’s inquiry. But he is not deterred and will keep pursuing this deal even if he goes it alone.”

Although stories in the U.S. are appearing about hundreds of students and journalists flooding “Al Jazeera America” with job applications, there are reports coming in from abroad about journalists leaving the channel in disgust and outrage.

The German magazine Der Spiegel ran an article titled, “After the Arab Spring: Al-Jazeera Losing Battle for Independence,” on how the channel’s slanted coverage is sparking resignations by news personnel and complaints of editorial interference from the Jihadist-supporting Arab regime paying the bills.

In a column titled, “The collapse of Al-Jazeera’s credibility,” Ghaffar Hussain, a writer and commentator on Middle Eastern issues, expands on some of the evidence in Der Spiegel, noting that Al Jazeera is known for airing “propaganda for the Muslim Brotherhood” and its sponsors in Qatar.

Explaining the nature of the “Arab Spring” and the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, which were supported by the Obama Administration, he wrote, “The only reason Al Jazeera supported political dissidents pre-Arab Spring was because the Qatari royal family opposed secular dictators such as Mubarak and Gaddafi. Not because they were dictators but because they were largely secular and despised the clout Qatar sought to wield.

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Congressman Murphy Seeks Probe of Al Jazeera

by Cliff Kincaid on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

This is article 424 of 576 in the topic Media

Rep. Tim Murphy, who holds a senior position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, has called on the Obama Administration to explain whether Al Jazeera’s purchase of Current TV from former Democratic Vice President Al Gore was given any federal review and scrutiny.

But Al Jazeera is working furiously to stop the mounting congressional interest and now has three lobbying firms working to stop any hearings or investigations into the deal.

Once known as the voice of Osama bin Laden, Al Jazeera is the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood and its various terrorist affiliates. Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, supports foreign Jihadists, including Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction.

Rep. Murphy told Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski in a letter that “foreign ownership of media outlets” in the U.S. should be reviewed by the FCC and he questions what, if anything, the FCC did in regard to the Al Jazeera transaction. He says “the rules governing foreign ownership of U.S. news networks” would seem to apply in this case.

Murphy notes that the deal “would increase Al Jazeera’s broadcast footprint ninefold, beaming the channel into 40 million American homes.”

A news release quotes Murphy as saying, “There are legitimate concerns about the sale of an American news channel to a media corporation owned by a foreign government. And under this Administration, the FCC has been especially sensitive to consolidation efforts by television networks and other outlets, which has prompted me to make this inquiry.”

“The Federal Communications Commission has in the past moved assertively to define its role in media-consolidation efforts,” notes the Murphy letter. For example, he says, “in the case of the Comcast-NBC Universal merger, the FCC conducted an aggressive legal review of the matter resulting in a settlement of $800,000 to the U.S. Treasury by Comcast, according to records made public by your Enforcement Bureau.”

Murphy continued, “I would expect that foreign ownership of media outlets in this country falls under a similar category of scrutiny and interest. Concerns over the deal have already been raised by carriers such as Time Warner, and the cable company has announced that it will drop the newly proposed ‘Al Jazeera America’ channel from its packages.”

But in addition to hiring the K Street lobbying firm of DLA Piper to lobby on its behalf, the channel has hired Global Policy Initiatives and TCK International to represent it on Capitol Hill, according to a report from the Center for Public Integrity.

On January 4, AIM released a statement calling the transaction “an unacceptable danger to American citizens by further adding to the potential for home-grown Jihadists inspired by Al Jazeera’s inflammatory programming.”

In addition to Al Jazeera’s collaboration with terrorist groups, AIM said the hearings should examine:

  • The fact that 30 public television stations around the U.S. are already airing Al Jazeera in violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.
  • Al Jazeera is not complying with the Foreign Agent Registration Act and labeling its broadcasts as foreign propaganda paid for by the pro-jihadist government of Qatar.

Michael Thompson of WorldNetDaily recently reported on our efforts, while conservative talk radio host Michael Savage has denounced the deal and urged congressional hearings into the transaction.

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by Stephen Levine on Monday, August 27th, 2012

This is article 33 of 45 in the topic Cyber space

Once again the Federal Communications Commission is attempting to plunder the pockets of American taxpayers to engage in socialistic wealth redistribution scheme. Similar to that implemented by the Universal Service Fund to insure that everyone in remote areas of the United States has access to telephone service. Or the tax that provides for specialized telephone equipment supplied to people with impaired hearing, sight or other disabilities. We are speaking of BILLIONS of dollars which are flowing through the government to government-regulated special interests.

How many people were aware that $4.5 BILLION of the Universal Service Fund was simply paper-designated to an Internet subsidy called the “Connect America Fund?”

Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity for full participation in our economy and society – for all Americans. For that reason, the FCC has adopted comprehensive reforms of its Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) systems to accelerate broadband build-out to the 18 million Americans living in rural areas who currently have no access to robust broadband infrastructure. This reform will expand the benefits of high-speed Internet to millions of consumers in every part of the country by transforming the existing USF into a new Connect America Fund (CAF) focused on broadband. <Source: FCC>

How many people know that there is a non-governmental organization (with its own well-paid bureaucratic structure) involved?

The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is an independent, not-for-profit corporation created in 1997 to collect universal service contributions from telecommunications carriers and administer universal support mechanisms (programs) designed to help communities across the country secure access to affordable telecommunications services. USAC carries out its functions as the administrator of the federal universal service programs and universal service fund (USF) under the oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). USAC administers universal service programs for high cost companies in rural areas, low-income consumers, rural health care providers, and schools and libraries. <Source: USAC>

And that the Board of Directors governance appears to be stacked in favor of the special interests?

USAC’s Board of Directors represents the universal service stakeholder community.

Three (3) directors represent incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) made up from the following:

  • one for Bell Operating Companies (BOCs),
  • one for ILECs other than BOCs with annual operating revenues over $40 million, and
  • one for ILECs other than BOCs with annual operating revenues less than $40 million.

Two (2) directors represent interexchange carriers (IXCs) (i.e., long distance companies) made up from the following:

  • one for IXCs with over $3 billion in annual operating revenues, and
  • one for IXCs with less than $3 billion in annual operating revenues.

Three (3) directors represent schools that are eligible to receive discounts.

One (1) director represents libraries that are eligible to receive discounts.

Two (2) directors represent rural health care providers that are eligible to receive discounts.

Seven (7) directors, each representing one the following:

  • wireless providers,
  • competitive local exchange carriers,
  • cable operators,
  • information service providers,
  • low-income consumers,
  • state telecommunications regulators, and
  • state consumer advocates.

USAC’s chief executive officer is also a Board member. <Source>

And that the head honcho is a Washington-type liberal lawyer?

Scott Barash is the Acting CEO of USAC. He joined USAC as its first in-house attorney in 1999.

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House to examine proposal for United Nations regulation of the Internet

by Doug Powers on Sunday, May 27th, 2012

This is article 26 of 45 in the topic Cyber space

The United Nations has a simple business plan when it comes to wresting control of as much of the world as possible: Pronounce yourself the global arbiter of human rights, then declare everything a human right.

The UN has already said Internet access is a human right, so naturally the best way to police that human right is to put the UN in charge of the Internet.

A House subcommittee will soon consider this possibility:

The proposal is backed by China, Russia, Brazil, India and other UN members, and would give the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) more control over the governance of the Internet.

It’s an unpopular idea with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and officials with the Obama administration have also criticized it.

“We’re quite concerned,” Larry Strickling, the head of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

He said the measure would expose the Internet to “top-down regulation where’s it’s really the governments that are at the table but the rest of the stakeholders aren’t.”
The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold the hearing and hear testimony from Robert McDowell, a Republican commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC); David Gross, a former State Department official; and Sally Shipman Wentworth, the senior manager of public policy for the nonprofit Internet Society.

Because when you think “Internet freedom” you think China and Russia. Don’t worry though, the UN wouldn’t have a Internet “kill switch” (they call theirs an “enemies of human rights emergency denial-of-service button” — definitely not the same thing).

What’s to consider? Nancy Reagan’s “just say ‘no’” rule applies to anything that would grant the United Nations more authority over anything.

A pair of Congressmen have already introduced legislation opposing any resolution allowing UN control of the Internet, but the above story is something to keep an eye on — as is this.

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President Obama Makes History

by Doug Powers on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

This is article 604 of 1015 in the topic Obama

nullWhen I write that President Obama has “made history,” I’m not referring to this obvious historic first or even the that that Obama is the first president to ever to run up the debt over $5 trillion on his watch. Those things are indeed historic, but the history that’s being made here is in the very literal sense:

The Heritage Foundation’s Rory Cooper tweeted that Obama had casually dropped his own name into Ronald Reagan’s official biography on, claiming credit for taking up the mantle of Reagan’s tax reform advocacy with his “Buffett Rule” gimmick. My first thought was, he must be joking. But he wasn’t — it turns out Obama has added bullet points bragging about his own accomplishments to the biographical sketches of every single U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge (except, for some reason, Gerald Ford).

Check it out for yourself on the “learn more about each president” page at Here’s one example from the Calvin Coolidge page:

On Feb. 22, 1924 Calvin Coolidge became the first president to make a public radio address to the American people. President Coolidge later helped create the Federal Radio Commission, which has now evolved to become the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). President Obama became the first president to hold virtual gatherings and town halls using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.

The Twitterverse finds this extremely mock-worthy, and rightly so.

In the Truman bio, the administration’s historians forgot to mention Obama’s role in the liberation of the Philippines during World War II, but I’m sure they’ll get around to it:


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Grassley to White House: Cough up LightSquared docs or I’ll block FCC nominees

by Michelle Malkin on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

This is article 83 of 246 in the topic Congressional Investigations

GOP watchdogs on Capitol Hill continue to chip away at White House stonewalls.

When last we visited the LightSquared scandal, one of the shady company’s partners was going under here in Colorado despite a $267 million fed loan and officials at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration were playing disclosure-ducking games.

The FCC is engaging in hide-the-docs, too. Sen. Charles Grassley has vowed to block Obama’s FCC nominees until the panel coughs up requested info:

The controversy over satellite-LTE carrier LightSquared could prevent the U.S. Federal Communications Commission from filling two vacant seats if a U.S. senator follows through on a threat issued this week.

In a statement on the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa vowed to hold up a full Senate vote to confirm Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai as members of the FCC unless the agency answers his questions about its handling of LightSquared. President Barack Obama nominated Rosenworcel and Pai to the FCC on Tuesday, but their appointments will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

Grassley, a Republican, has been fighting the FCC since he wrote a letter to the agency in April requesting information about its regulation of LightSquared’s proposed hybrid satellite and cellular network. The carrier has a satellite mobile data network and wants to also build an LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network on frequencies close to those used by GPS (Global Positioning System). In January, the FCC granted the company a waiver to sell wholesale access to the two networks separately, making an exception to current rules. It gave the waiver on the condition that there be no interference between the LTE network and GPS.

…Subsequent tests showed interference that effectively knocked out many GPS devices. LightSquared has adjusted its plans to minimize that interference and now says the problem could be solved through those changes and some affordable modifications to GPS receivers. But the company is still trading claims with GPS vendors and users over who caused the problem, what fixes can work and who should pay for them.

Grassley wants the agency to address concerns about GPS interference, but also about Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund that owns LightSquared. He cited U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into Harbinger and concerns that the company may have used past political contributions to influence the FCC toward granting the waiver.

The FCC declined to give Grassley the documents he asked for because he is not the chairman of a committee with direct jurisdiction over the agency, Grassley said.

Grassley’s statement on the FCC’s “radio silence:”

Radio Silence on New Wireless Service Draws Concern

A new wireless Internet network project appears on a fast track for government approval, despite concerns that it could jam the existing navigational systems used in farming, trucking, air travel, law enforcement, by the military and in general consumer navigation, and that the person funding the operation is a controversial hedge fund founder who’s reportedly under federal investigation for questionable financial dealings.

If anything, the shadows around the LightSquared project should have led the Federal Communications Commission to proceed with caution rather than step on the gas. Yet the opposite happened. The agency originally planned to take public comment on a key regulation necessary for green-lighting the project for only one week.

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