President Trump, Melania Trump Test Positive for COVID-19

Live update Oct 3, 2020: Trump expected to head to Walter Reed hospital after positive test; Biden tests negative for coronavirus

Robert Reich @RBReich

“Shh don’t tell the Republicans, but at Walter Reed they have socialized medicine.”

By John Wagner,
, Colby Itkowitz, Josh Dawsey, Matt Viser and Amy B Wang, Oct. 2, 2020 at 2:17 p.m. PT | Original Washington Post article here.

President Trump is expected to be taken to Walter Reed Medical Center Friday afternoon according to two administration officials, less then 24-hours after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus.

Earlier today, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that Trump is experiencing “mild symptoms” after he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. The first lady said on Twitter that she, too, has “mild symptoms” but is “overall feeling good.” Trump will postpone or make virtual all of his previously scheduled campaign events, his campaign manager said Friday.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign announced that Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have both tested negative for the coronavirus.

With 32 days until the election …

  • The president’s infection has upended the campaign. A fundraiser in Washington and a rally in Florida were scrapped, and Trump plans to remain in self-isolation at the White House. His campaign manager said all previously scheduled events involving Trump or his family would be postponed or changed to virtual events.
  • Democratic nominee Joe Biden wished Trump and the first lady a “swift recovery” in a morning tweet. He is scheduled to campaign in Michigan on Friday.
  • Vice President Pence and his wife have tested negative, according to a spokesman.
  • Photos and video: Tracking Trump’s movements before his positive coronavirus test
  • Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who attended Trump’s announcement Saturday of his Supreme Court pick, said he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate for 10 days.
  • Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel disclosed that she had tested positive.
  • How to vote in your state: The Post’s guide to registering and casting your ballot.

Continue reading “President Trump, Melania Trump Test Positive for COVID-19”

AT&T took $283 Million But Didn’t Deploy Required Broadband in Mississippi

Mississippi asks FCC to investigate AT&T’s “pattern of submitting false data.”

By Jon Brodkin, Oct 1, 2020 | Original Ars Technica article here

A man with an umbrella walking past a building with an AT&T logo.

Enlarge / A man walks with an umbrella outside of AT&T corporate headquarters on March 13, 2020, in Dallas, Texas.

AT&T falsely told the US government that it met its obligation to deploy broadband at more than 133,000 locations in Mississippi, state officials say. Since 2015, AT&T has received over $283 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund to expand its network in Mississippi. But the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) said it has evidence that AT&T’s fixed-wireless broadband is not available to all the homes and businesses where AT&T claims it offers service. The PSC asked the FCC to conduct "a complete compliance audit" of AT&T’s claim that it has met its obligation.

A letter sent to the FCC sent Tuesday by all three Mississippi PSC commissioners states:

"Our investigation has found concrete, specific examples that show AT&T Mississippi has reported location addresses . . . as being served when, in fact, the addresses are without service under their [Connect America Fund] obligations. This pattern of submitting false data to the USAC [the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the program on the FCC’s behalf] merits a full compliance audit by the FCC, USAC, or whichever appropriate agency. We feel it is our duty to alert you to this issue."

The PSC told the FCC that its "staff is more than willing to cooperate with any part of this investigation" and can provide "all documents, subpoenas, and data requests that we have propounded in this effort."

The evidence isn’t public because "AT&T Mississippi filed the evidence in question under seal at our agency," the letter said.

Continue reading “AT&T took $283 Million But Didn’t Deploy Required Broadband in Mississippi”

Trump FCC Is Using Junk Data to Downplay Broadband Woes

By Gigi Sohn, Sept 29, 2020 | Original Wired opinion piece here.

Gigi Sohn (@gigibsohn) is a distinguished fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Institute senior fellow and public advocate.

Tens of millions of Americans have either cripplingly slow or no internet at all. And the FCC’s shameful practices are making a bad situation worse.


Fiber optic internet cable sits looped into an 8 formation

Without real-world data, the FCC can’t determine which areas of the country need a leg up.

YOU CAN’T FIX a problem you don’t understand, and it’s very clear that the Federal Communications Commission under Donald Trump doesn’t want to understand its failure to make affordable broadband available to all Americans. During a pandemic when Americans are forced to work, learn, and get their health care online, the FCC’s refusal to accurately measure US broadband connectivity gaps has quickly shifted from administrative farce to outright tragedy.

Once each year, the law requires the FCC to determine whether broadband is "being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion." If not, the agency is supposed to take concrete steps toward fixing the problem. While the Trump FCC pantomimes these obligations, the reports it issues rely on poor methodology, unsound logic, and flawed data, resulting in a distorted view of America’s broadband problem and government policy based on little more than magical thinking.

The FCC’s 2020 Broadband Deployment Report, released last June, claims the number of Americans without access to broadband sits somewhere around 18.3 million. But third-party reports have suggested it’s closer to 42.8 million. Tens of millions more Americans are trapped under a broadband monopoly, a tally experts say is also undercounted by the FCC.

Continue reading “Trump FCC Is Using Junk Data to Downplay Broadband Woes”

New CDC Estimates: Fatality Rate For COVID-19 Drops

By Tyler Durden, Sept 27, 2020 | Original ZeroHedge post here.

Submitted by Mark Glennon of Wirepoints

What’s are the real chances of dying if you are infected with COVID-19? Consider how low they are according to new numbers from the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC’s new estimate, for the first time, is broken down by age groups. Here is what the CDC calls its “current best estimate” of chances of dying from the virus if you get infected:

If you get infected, your chances of surviving are as follows:

Age Group Probability of Survival Frequency
0-19 99.997% 1 out of 34,000
20-49 99.98% 1 out of 5,000
50-69 99.5% 1 out of 200
70+ 94.6% 1 out of 20

Continue reading “New CDC Estimates: Fatality Rate For COVID-19 Drops”

10 GHz and Higher Waveforms in Dispute

Ken Foster & Niels Kuster Disagree on Averaging Times

By Louis Slesin, Sept 25, 2020 | Original Microwave News article here.

Very little has been written in the popular media about the waveforms used in 5G signals. Two outstanding questions are: How fast are the pulses? How powerful are they?

In 2018, Esra Neufeld and Niels Kuster of the IT’IS Foundation in Zurich issued a warning in a paper in Health Physics, urging that existing exposure standards be revised with shorter averaging times to address potential damage from short and strong pulses:

“Extreme broadband wireless devices operating above 10 GHz may transmit data in bursts of a few milliseconds to seconds. Even though the time- and area-averaged power density values remain within the acceptable safety limits for continuous exposure, these bursts may lead to short spikes in the skin of exposed people. … [Our] results also show that the peak-to-average ratio of 1,000 tolerated by the ICNIRP guidelines may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures, highlighting the importance of revisiting existing exposure guidelines.”

In a letter to the journal, Kenneth Foster of the University of Pennsylvania countered that their claims do not hold up:

“Because real-world communications technologies produce pulses of much lower fluence than the extreme pulses considered by Neufeld and Kuster, the resulting transients from them will be very tiny in any event.”

Continue reading “10 GHz and Higher Waveforms in Dispute”

Ajit Pai Keeps Using Bogus Data

To Claim the FCC’s Policies Are Closing The ‘Digital Divide’ . . .

Adapted from an article by Karl Bode, Sept 24, 2020 | Original Techdirt article here.

We’ve noted repeatedly that despite a lot of breathless pearl clutching from U.S. leaders and regulators about the "digital divide," the United States doesn’t actually know where broadband is (or isn’t) available. Historically the FCC has simply trusted major ISPs to tell the truth, despite their a vested interest in downplaying coverage and competition gaps to maintain their domination.

That hasn’t worked out particularly well. From AT&T to Barrierfree, ISPs routinely like to overstate broadband availability by millions of households. Despite repeated warnings this data is flawed, the FCC continues to use it anyway to claim the agency’s industry-cozy policies (like gutting the lion’s share of consumer protections) are paying huge dividends. They aren’t. Like so many Trump agencies, the FCC is simply massaging data to justify predetermined industry-dictated policy positions. It’s theater dressed up as serious adult policy.

The FCC’s methodology has also long been flawed, considering entire census blocks to be connected if just one home in a block can potentially get service. The results are ugly: the FCC’s $350 million broadband availability map all but hallucinates broadband availability and speed (try it yourself). It also excludes prices, in large part because ISPs don’t want the cost of monopolization clearly outlined to American consumers, press, and lawmakers.

Continue reading “Ajit Pai Keeps Using Bogus Data”

T-Mobile Responds to Specious Spectrum-Hoarding Accusations

Carrier battle heats up as FCC prepares to auction more spectrum.

By Jon Brodkin, Sept 23, 2020 | Original Ars Technica article here.

T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert speaks during a keynote at CES 2020 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

Enlarge / T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert speaks during a keynote at CES 2020 in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.

T-Mobile US CEO Mike Sievert yesterday fired back at AT&T and Verizon, saying the carriers’ complaints about T-Mobile obtaining more spectrum licenses show that they are afraid of competition.

Sievert wrote in a blog post.

"The duopolists are scrambling to block this new competition any way they can… Suddenly in the unfamiliar position of not having a dominant stranglehold on the wireless market, and preferring not to meet the competitive challenge in the marketplace, AT&T and Verizon are urging the FCC to slow T-Mobile down and choke off our ability to compete fairly for added radio spectrum,"

Continue reading “T-Mobile Responds to Specious Spectrum-Hoarding Accusations”

DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality In California

Sacrificing Consumer Protection, in the process

Adapted from an article by Karl Bode, Sept 22, 2020 6:22am | Original Techdirt article here.

After the FCC effectively neutered itself at telecom lobbyist behest, numerous states jumped in to fill the consumer protection void. As a result, California, in 2018, passed some net neutrality rules that largely mirrored the FCC’s discarded consumer protections. Laughing at the concept of state rights, Bill Barr’s DOJ immediately got to work protecting U.S. Telecom monopolies and filed suit in a bid to vacate the rules.

The DOJ’s central argument was that California’s attempt to protect consumers was somehow "anti-consumer." And the lawsuit largely centered on language the FCC had included in its net neutrality repeal (again, at Telecom lobbyist behest) attempting to ban states from filling the void created by the federal government no longer giving a damn. The courts so far haven’t looked too kindly upon that logic, arguing that the FCC can’t abdicate its authority over telecom, Then try to lean on that non-existent authority to try to tell states what to do.

Last week California filed its first brief (pdf) in its legal battle with the DOJ. ISPs are seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent California from enforcing the rules during the lawsuit. Again though, their primary argument continues to be that states can’t enforce net neutrality because the FCC said so.

Stanford Professor Barbara van Schewick continues to point out, is still nonsense no matter how many times industry and the captured U.S. government repeat the claim:

"According to case law, an agency’s decision to deregulate can only block the states from stepping in when the agency has the power to regulate and decides not to use it.

But when the FCC eliminated net neutrality in 2018, it also removed its own authority over broadband providers. In essence, the agency decided that broadband providers are not telecommunications companies that simply shuttle data back and forth (like a telephone company), but information service providers which interact with and alter data, like a website.

This removed any authority that would have allowed the FCC to adopt net neutrality protections. Thus, the elimination of net neutrality did not establish a calibrated federal deregulatory regime, as the U.S. and the ISPs argue; it simply reflected the FCC’s lack of authority. Simply put, the FCC’s 2018 Order created a regulatory vacuum, and you can’t conflict with a vacuum."

Continue reading “DOJ Continues Its Quest To Kill Net Neutrality In California”

Federal Judge Rules Against City of Berkeley’s Cellphone Radiation Warning Law

By Nathan Solis, Sept 17, 2020 | Original Courthouse News article here.


(CN) — A federal judge on Thursday ruled in favor of a wireless communication trade group five years after they claimed the city of Berkeley’s law that required retailers to warn customers about cellphone radiation violated their First Amendment rights. The judge concluded that the city’s ordinance is preempted by the Federal Communications Commission’s regulatory actions on radio frequency emissions.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen wrote in an 18-page order “the FCC could properly conclude that the Berkeley ordinance — as worded — overwarns and stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of balancing federal objectives by the FCC.”

The city’s 2015 ordinance required retailers to give customers guidance on avoiding radio-frequency exposure from cellphones. CTIA filed their lawsuit in the Northern District of California and the court ruled in their favor, finding the ordinance language problematic.

But a modified ordinance deleted the troublesome language and the court’s preliminary injunction was lifted. CTIA sought an appeal, which in 2017 the Ninth Circuit Court affirmed the district court’s ruling and the ordinance survived a challenge from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court vacated a prior ruling upholding the challenged law and sent the case back to the Ninth Circuit, mandating reconsideration in light of the high court’s decision to strike down California’s required disclosures on abortions services in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra in June 2018.

The Ninth Circuit Court again upheld the law July 2019 and it returned to the district court this July.

CTIA motioned for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the FCC in December 2019 issued an “opinion and order on radiofrequency emissions that upends the landscape of this case in several important ways, fatally undermining the city’s arguments in defense of the ordinance and the very basis on which the Ninth Circuit affirmed this court’s decision.”

The ordinance requires retailers to give notice that if customers

carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely.”

Continue reading “Federal Judge Rules Against City of Berkeley’s Cellphone Radiation Warning Law”

President Trump Orders Extensive Declassification

By Jeff Carlson, CFA, Sept 17, 2018 | Original post here.

President Trump issued an order on Sept. 17 for the immediate declassification of three series of documents related to the Russia investigation and the spying on his presidential campaign.

  • The first set of documents relates to the FISA spy warrant application on campaign adviser Carter Page, specifically pages 10–12 and 17–34 of the June 2017 Page FISA renewal.

  • The second set of documents relates to the series of FBI interviews with former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.

  • The third set of documents encompasses all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with the Page FISA applications.

In addition to the declassification of the documents, Trump has also directed the Department of Justice and the FBI to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation of former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, the lead FBI agent on the Russia investigation Peter Strzok, FBI lawyers Lisa Page, and Ohr. The released texts are to be fully unredacted.

This declassification order is broader than had been anticipated. A declassification of the sequence of redacted pages from the Page FISA documents, along with the interviews of Ohr, had been assumed. This order goes much further.

  • Pages 10–12 of the June 2017 Page FISA application relate to the Russian government’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

  • Pages 17–34 relate to Page’s coordination with Russian government officials on 2016 U.S. Presidential Election influence activities. A number of these pages are fully redacted.

Continue reading “President Trump Orders Extensive Declassification”