08/14/2019 09:02 PM 5G dispute turns nasty [by ConSigCor]
High-stakes dispute turns nasty, pits 5G technology against weather forecasting

Aug. 5, 2019

By Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporter

The National Academy of Sciences planned a two-day summer workshop to address a high-stakes question: Could the development of next generation 5G wireless undermine the accuracy of information gathered by weather satellites?

On July 16, less than a week before the scheduled start, the event was canceled because many of the “most knowledgeable about the topic” were reluctant to participate, according to a statement released by the National Academy of Sciences.

The science workshop was a casualty of a nasty dispute within the federal government that has pitted Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials who say the 5G technology can be safely developed against NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials who say tighter restrictions are needed to prevent a serious threat to data collection by polar-orbiting satellites.

How this gets resolved could have serious implications for the accuracy of forecasting, which will be increasingly important in a warming world expected to have more extreme weather events. It will also have repercussions for a U.S. wireless industry eager to deploy a transformative technology that offers much faster data speed.

The rhetoric heated up this spring as the FCC announced plans to auction off a band of the electromagnetic spectrum near the frequency that polar-orbiting satellites use to monitor water vapor.

In the months since, federal officials have negotiated behind the scenes to try to find common ground over what strength of 5G transmission signals would be allowed on that portion of the spectrum.

But publicly, federal officials have continued to lob shots at one another.

In July Senate testimony, Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, citing an unreleased study by his agency, said that up to 70 percent of the water-vapor information from the polar-orbiting satellites could be lost as that part of the spectrum is developed by 5G companies. This information is crucial for building models that meteorologists use to make forecasts.

“Some of the data could be interfered with, it could be corrupted … it would affect our ability to predict weather, without question” said Bridenstine, who recommended the FCC require the 5G companies to transmit signals on that part of the spectrum at much lower levels.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai, in a June 11 letter to Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, slammed the NASA study as filled with errors and unrealistic assumptions that created a “parade of horribles” about 5G development that have “no basis in reality.”

“In short, the Commission’s decisions with respect to spectrum have been and will continue to be based on sound science and engineering rather than exaggerated and unverified last minute assertions,” he wrote.

Cantwell, a Democrat, is the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FCC, NASA and NOAA. She has been on high alert about the potential for 5G development to harm the accuracy of multiday forecasting vital to tracking major storms and floods.

In the Northwest, these predictions are critical during fire season and inform fishermen and other mariners of turbulent weather.

In a letter last week to federal agency leaders, Cantwell urged them to resolve the dispute.

“When it comes to the lives, property, the economy and our national security, it is the responsibility of the entire federal government to get this right,” Cantwell wrote.

The Seattle Times reached out to the FCC and NOAA for an update on 5G negotiations, and spokespeople for the agencies declined to comment.

More 5G spectrum

The FCC spring auction was backed by the Trump administration, which wants to make the U.S. the global leader in 5G technology, which will make it easier to develop faster and more reliable wireless connections, and greatly increase the capability to gather, process and analyze information.

This is expected to have wide-ranging impacts on education, health care, automotive and other industries, and President Donald Trump wants the U.S. to have, by 2020, more 5G spectrum than any other country.

“The race to 5G is on, and America must win,” Trump said in April appearance with Pai in the White House.

To help make that happen, the FCC is “pushing more spectrum into the marketplace,” updating policies and “modernizing” outdated regulations according to a policy document published on the commission website.

NOAA and NASA officials have repeatedly said they also support 5G development but don’t want it to harm a satellite network that cost taxpayers $18 billion to develop, according to a June letter that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sent to Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
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08/13/2019 04:55 PM Meanwhile, In Hong Kong [by airforce]
Protsters have shut down the eighth busiest airport in the world for a second straight day, and things are getting tense. The People's Liberation Army is reportedly staging in a nearby city, A senior British official wants to grant the protesters UK nationality,

The last report I've seen is that the police are retreating from the airport. Maybe they're hoping to defuse the situation, or maybe the Army is about to move in.

Onward and upward,
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08/13/2019 10:44 AM Social Media Censorship [by ConSigCor]
First Look: Proposed Executive Order on Social Media Censorship

Trump going after Silicon Valley's anti-conservative bias

By Kelen McBreen | INFOWARS.COM Monday, August 12, 2019

A leaked draft of a White House executive order dealing with internet censorship reveals the plan to change the way the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the moderation of social media sites.

Leaked to CNN Business, the order would allow the FCC to oversee content moderation for websites like Facebook and Twitter.

The executive order also brings the Federal Trade Commission into the mix, allowing the agency to investigate and file lawsuits against companies who violate the new policies.

The draft is subject to change as it is still in its infancy, but the main purpose will be to tackle the anti-conservative bias of Silicon Valley.

“Protecting Americans from Online Censorship,” is the working title of the order according to a summary.

In May, the Trump administration launched a website for Americans to share their personal stories of political censorship by social media companies.

The proposed executive order will ask the FTC to open a public complaint docket to investigate such instances.

With the establishment’s focus on Russian meddling in American elections, social media’s power to influence elections has been largely ignored.

As a top scientist recently revealed, Google and Facebook could single-handedly swing any election.

This order could be the first step to making sure online political censorship doesn’t alter the 2020 election outcome.
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08/09/2019 11:58 AM Gun Sales Surge After Mass Shootings [by ConSigCor]

Gun Sales Surge After Mass Shootings, Trump Gun Control Promise

"People are realizing that even a trip to Walmart isn’t safe these days."

By Steve Watson | Friday, August 09, 2019

In the wake of the shootings in Dayton and El Paso, and ahead of potential gun control legislation being enacted by President Trump, firearms sales have surged, as Americans look to protect themselves.

The Washington Examiner reports that gun shops are seeing an uptick in business, particularly from first time buyers.

“While we have seen a measured rise in sale of certain tactical rifles and accessories this week, most customers are looking for concealed carry handguns,” said Justin Anderson, Marketing Director of Hyatt Guns in Charlotte, N.C.

“Just this week we have fielded hundreds of calls from people that have never purchased a gun before. Our concealed carry training classes are filling up quickly.” Anderson added.

“People are realizing that even a trip to Walmart isn’t safe these days and they want to be able to protect themselves.”

“Remember that nothing stops a lunatic bent on carnage better than a law abiding citizen with a gun. I continue to urge people to get a gun, get trained with that gun, and carry, always,” he added.

FBI Figures show another jump in purchases and background checks, with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System showing that 2019 is likely to be the second biggest year since 2016, when sales soared in anticipation of Hillary Clinton winning the election.

The figures show that there have been close to 16 million background checks in the first seven months of the year.

After President Trump said Monday that he was mulling legislation for stronger background checks, stocks of gun companies also surged, while the market more broadly slumped.

We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2019

The Washington Post claims that Trump “has repeatedly told lawmakers and aides in private conversations that he is open to endorsing extensive background checks.”

The report claims that “the president has discussed with aides the idea of a Rose Garden bill-signing ceremony for gun-control legislation,” and states that Trump has also asked lawyers about what he could enact through an executive order.

Trump’s waivering on the issue has prompted a warning from the NRA.
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08/08/2019 01:45 PM Foreign Aid Frozen [by ConSigCor]
Foreign Aid Frozen Until Trump Finds Out Exactly Where The Money Is Going

The Trump administration’s Office of Management and Budget wrote a letter on Saturday, addressed to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan. In it, they notified the State Department that they are freezing most of the foreign aid money congress already approved.

The government’s fiscal year ends on September 30. Various foreign aid accounts have “extra” money still sitting in them. OMB put a temporary hold on these “unobligated funds” until they can determine how much is on hand now, and what it was intended to be used for.

Depending on the information they get back, the OMB may suggest that Congress “cancel” the appropriated funds, called “rescission,” or “reprogramming” the funds to other uses.

An official for the U.S. Agency for International Development reports that between $2 billion and $4 billion is at stake. The unnamed official is convinced they’re not going to get the money back in the end. “It is pretty clear they will try to rescind the money.” Even if OMB decides to be nice after the probe, the flow won’t start again for a while. “It’ll be a long process,” the unnamed official protested.

The funds would be frozen, they wrote, until “three business days after” they get “an accounting of how much remains in specific accounts and how the funds are being spent.”

OMB made it clear in their letter that they won’t be handing out a single penny in new money until after the State Department and USAID show what happened to the money they already have, and explain why they didn’t spend that money. After all, they claimed to need it so desperately.

Liberals are screaming that the decision “undercuts” Congress. Liz Schrayer, with the US Global Leadership Council, is furious. “These are programs that are in our interest. If we take ourselves off the playing field, we do it at our own peril.” New York Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel backs her up. The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee is convinced this is a “dangerous action,” and he vows to fight. “This Administration’s contempt for Congress is astounding. When Congress decides how much we spend on foreign assistance, it isn’t a suggestion. It’s the law, backed up by the constitution.”

OMB spokesperson Rachel Semmel told CNN that progressives can cry all they want. “It is incumbent on all Federal agencies to properly use funds provided by Congress.”

“In an effort to ensure accountability, OMB has requested the current status of several foreign assistance accounts to identify the amount of funding that is unobligated. On behalf of American taxpayers, OMB has an obligation to ensure their money is being used wisely.”

She went on to state, “if an agency can’t even tell us how much money is in the account, I have no confidence in their ability to tell me where the money is going to go to.”

“the accounts that are being looked at include programs that many over the years have considered wasteful, like ones that would pay for solar panels in the Caribbean, a space program in Pakistan, soccer camps in Guatemala, and foreign aid to countries that aren’t in the best interest of US foreign policy.”

Cuts in foreign aid:
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