Wednesday, May 23, 2018
What the Microsoft Antitrust Case Taught Us (NY Times Op-Ed by Senator Richard Blumenthal and Prof. Tim Wu)
Were Big Oil monopolists -- like Henry Morrison Flagler and John Davison Rockefeller -- pikers by comparison to Gates, Zuckerberg and other computer-based pirates of today?
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Ex-adviser to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai arrested on fraud charges
By Nicolas Vega April 17, 2018 | 4:54pm | Updated
The former top broadband adviser to FCC chairman Ajit Pai has been arrested on charges that she tricked investors into pouring $250 million into a phony fiber-optic scheme.
Elizabeth Pierce, who briefly served as chair of Pai’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee last year, was charged with one count of wire fraud on Thursday, and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.
In August, the Federal Communications Commission said Pierce left for unspecified “personal reasons,” with Pai adding that she did “an excellent job” during her four-month stint at the committee’s helm and that he was “sorry to see her go.”
Last week, Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Pierce conned two New York-based investment companies by claiming that her company, Quintillion, had already nearly $1 billion in contracts for a fiber-optic system that would connect Alaska to the continental US.
“As it turned out, those sales agreements were worthless because the customers had not signed them,” Berman said. “Instead, as alleged, Pierce had forged counter-party signatures on contract after contract.”
Berman said the investors were left “with a system that is worth far less than Pierce had led them to believe.”
Quintillion said that it has been “cooperating fully” with authorities during the investigation.
Florida congressional delegation gives thumbs-down to offshore drilling BY TONY PUGH
May 17, 2018 02:36 PM
Updated May 17, 2018 03:28 PM
Florida's congressional delegation, citing the state's vibrant tourism industry, delivered a unanimous, bipartisan and stern message of opposition to offshore energy exploration during a hearing on Capitol Hill on Thursday.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats took turns blasting the idea of putting fossil-fuel development near the state's 825 miles of pristine beaches in order to boost energy production and oil company profits.
"Why should Florida suffer so they can make more money?" said Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Naples.
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fort Lauderdale, and the Democratic co-chairman of the Florida's 29-member delegation, vowed to be the "last man standing against offshore drilling."
While Ken Lawson, president and chief executive of Visit Florida, the state's official tourism marketing arm, told lawmakers that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion "will always serve as a stark reminder of what happens when we do not make our beaches, our waters and our environment our top priority."
BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded roughly 50 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, triggering an 87-day spill that released an estimated four million barrels of oil and gas. Along with 11 who died, 17 others suffered serious injuries and 115 people were evacuated from the rig, which sank.
The hearing comes as the Trump administration nears a decision on whether to allow seismic testing for fossil fuel deposits along the Atlantic Coast.
In January, the Trump administration dropped Florida from its plan to allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in most U.S. coastal waters.
The decision, in response to appeals from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, prompted calls for similar carve-outs from lawmakers in other coastal states like New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina. But similar exemptions have not been provided.
To cap off his 100 days in office, Trump signed an executive order that will expand offshore oil drilling in federal waters and open other areas that were previously off limits to new oil and gas exploration. McClatchyAP
Expanding offshore U.S. oil exploration is necessary to maintain America's ranking as the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas, said Ken Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute. Milito testified that even though the U.S. is a net exporter of oil, the country still consumes 18 to 20 million barrels per day.
"Moving forward, we've really got to look at where the opportunities might be for our industry to continue to provide" for the nation's increasing demand for oil and natural gas, Milito said.
The Trump administration has been sympathetic to those concerns, advocating for expanded exploration off the California coast, in the Arctic and in the Atlantic Ocean.
But environmentalists, business leaders and lawmakers along the Eastern Seaboard have rallied in opposition.
They fear that, if approved, seismic testing could lead to actual offshore drilling in the 330,000-square mile area of Atlantic Ocean from Florida to Delaware bay where the seismic testing has been proposed.
Representatives Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, have introduced the Marine Oil Spill Prevention Act that would extend a moratorium on drilling off much of Florida's Gulf coast from 2022 to 2027.
The bill would also make oil companies pay a greater share of oil-spill cleanup efforts and create a Gulf Coast Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, that would work to avoid oil spills by tracking energy-industry activity and recommending safety practices.
Tony Pugh: 202-383-6013, @TonyPughDC
Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article211341194.html#storylink=cpy
Sean Shaw endorsed by three state attorneys
May 17, 2018
Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw announced Wednesday that three state attorneys are backing his campaign for the Cabinet post.
The endorsements came in from Dave Aronberg of the 15th Circuit, Jack Campbell of the 2nd Circuit and Andrew Warren of the 13th Circuit. Each cited a different strong point in their statements backing the Tampa Democrat’s bid to replace termed-out Attorney General Pam Bondi.
“I’m endorsing Sean Shaw to be our next Attorney General because he has a proven track record as a fearless advocate for consumers and a financial watchdog for Florida taxpayers,” said Aronberg, also a former state Senator. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact the opioid epidemic is inflicting on our communities, and I know that Sean Shaw will target those responsible for this epidemic and will help local prosecutors keep our streets safe.”
Campbell’s endorsement invoked Shaw’s “proven track record” of fighting to keep children safe.
“I’m supporting Sean Shaw because we need a partner in the Attorney General’s office to crack down on those who seek to harm our children in our communities and over the internet. I look forward to working with Sean on this invaluable mission,” he said.
Warren added, “Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Sean Shaw on common sense criminal justice reforms that keep our communities safe and offer second chances to those who deserve them. Sean has my endorsement because I know he will bring that same mindset of results-oriented reform to the Attorney General’s office. Floridians deserve a truly independent watchdog committed to ensuring equal protection under the law, and they will have that when Sean Shaw is elected Attorney General.”
Shaw is currently in his first term as a state Representative and is the leading Democrat in the Attorney General race. Before elected office, he served as the state’s insurance consumer advocate under former CFO Alex Sink. The state attorney endorsements follow a recent endorsement from the Florida Police Benevolent Association.
“I am extremely grateful for the support of State Attorneys Aronberg, Campbell, and Warren as we seek to return the power of the Attorney General’s office back to the people of Florida, where it belongs,” Shaw said. “I look forward to working with these highly respected members of law enforcement as Attorney General to fight back against the opioid epidemic, keep our children safe, and institute smart criminal justice reforms to make ensure fairness and equity for all those who come into contact with the law.”
Shaw faces Ryan Torrens in the Democratic Primary. Running on the Republican side are former circuit court judge Ashley Moody and state Reps. Jay Fant and Frank White.
The primary election is Aug. 28.
DONALD TRUMP hired a failed presidential candidate, blinkered black brain surgeon BENJAMIN SOLONON CARSON, SR.. to eviscerate Fair Housing laws. TRUMP and his father were successfully sued for massive housing discrimination violations in the Nixon Administration, when the TRUMP crime family refused to rent to blacks and only allowed Jews in certain buildings. Thank God for judicial independence and Article III courts, halting these oppressors.