FCC chairman ‘won’t hesitate’ to regulate broadband like a utility if proposed rules fail

[Note:  This item comes from friend Bob Frankston.  DLH]

FCC chairman ‘won’t hesitate’ to regulate broadband like a utility if proposed rules fail
By Sean Hollister
Apr 29 2014
<http://www.theverge.com/2014/4/29/5666112/fcc-chairman-promises-title-ii-regulation-if-net-neutrality-rules-fail>

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is offering the most stalwart defense yet for his controversial new net neutrality rules. After a huge backlash and two failedattempts to convince angry internet denizens that the FCC isn’t about to destroy net neutrality in the name of corporate profits, the former cable industry lobbyist is addressing specific fears about how the new proposal could affect consumers in a new blog post.

Perhaps most significantly, he states that should this attempt fail, he won’t hesitate to do what many furious individuals have been asking for all along: to reclassify and regulate internet service providers as a utility, just like traditional telephone service.

“If the proposal before us now turns out to be insufficient or if we observe anyone taking advantage of the rule, I won’t hesitate to use Title II,” writes Wheeler, referring to an option that would let the FCC regulate ISPs much like landline phones.

But Wheeler believes we can get to an “open internet” faster and with less work by adopting his new proposal. “We can use the court’s roadmap to implement Open Internet regulation now rather than endure additional years of litigation and delay,” writes the FCC leader.

“I won’t hesitate to use Title II.”

He argues that by setting a “commercially reasonable” standard for what broadband providers can and cannot do when discriminating against traffic, we’ll be in a better place than we are now.

In 2010, the FCC attempted to adopt rules for an Open Internet, but they were struck down by a court in January when they went beyond the organization’s authority. The FCC had two options. The first was to expand its authority over broadband providers by reclassifying them as common carriers (utilities) using Title II of the Telecommunications Act. The second was to use some very specific language the court suggested and set up a “commercially reasonable” standard by which they could discriminate against some traffic here and there, such that the FCC would have a way to punish Comcast or AT&T if they did something clearly anti-competitive.

Wheeler picked door number two.

[snip]

Manufacturing enemies

[Note:  This item comes from friend David Rosenthal.  DLH]

From: “David S. H. Rosenthal” <dshr@abitare.org>
Subject: Manufacturing enemies
Date: April 30, 2014 at 16:26:05 PDT
To: dewayne@warpspeed.com


How America kept fighting a war it had already won — and made things so much worse
What happens when tens of thousands of U.S. troops arrive in a country with no viable enemy? They simply create one
By ANAND GOPAL, TOMDISPATCH.COM
Apr 30 2014
<http://www.salon.com/2014/04/30/how_america_kept_fighting_a_war_it_had_already_won_%E2%80%94_and_made_things_so_much_worse_partner/>

It was a typical Kabul morning. Malik Ashgar Square was already bumper-to-bumper with Corolla taxis, green police jeeps, honking minivans, and angry motorcyclists. There were boys selling phone cards and men waving wads of cash for exchange, all weaving their way around the vehicles amid exhaust fumes. At the gate of the Lycée Esteqial, one of the country’s most prestigious schools, students were kicking around a soccer ball. At the Ministry of Education, a weathered old Soviet-style building opposite the school, a line of employees spilled out onto the street. I was crossing the square, heading for the ministry, when I saw the suicide attacker.

He had Scandinavian features. Dressed in blue jeans and a white t-shirt, and carrying a large backpack, he began firing indiscriminately at the ministry. From my vantage point, about 50 meters away, I couldn’t quite see his expression, but he did not seem hurried or panicked. I took cover behind a parked taxi. It wasn’t long before the traffic police had fled and the square had emptied of vehicles.

Twenty-eight people, mostly civilians, died in attacks at the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Justice, and elsewhere across the city that day in 2009. Afterward, U.S. authorities implicated the Haqqani Network, a shadowy outfit operating from Pakistan that had pioneered the use of multiple suicide bombers in headline-grabbing urban assaults. Unlike other Taliban groups, the Haqqanis’ approach to mayhem was worldly and sophisticated: they recruited Arabs, Pakistanis, even Europeans, and they were influenced by the latest in radical Islamist thought. Their leader, the septuagenarian warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, was something like Osama bin Laden and Al Capone rolled into one, as fiercely ideological as he was ruthlessly pragmatic.

And so many years later, his followers are still fighting.  Even with the U.S. withdrawing the bulk of its troops this year, up to 10,000 Special Operations forces, CIA paramilitaries, and their proxies will likely stay behind to battle the Haqqanis, the Taliban, and similar outfits in a war that seemingly has no end. With such entrenched enemies, the conflict today has an air of inevitability — but it could all have gone so differently.

Though it’s now difficult to imagine, by mid-2002 there was no insurgency in Afghanistan: al-Qaeda had fled the country and the Taliban had ceased to exist as a military movement. Jalaluddin Haqqani and other top Taliban figures were reaching out to the other side in an attempt to cut a deal and lay down their arms. Tens of thousands of U.S. forces, however, had arrived on Afghan soil, post-9/11, with one objective: to wage a war on terror.

As I report in my new book, No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, the U.S. would prosecute that war even though there was no enemy to fight. To understand how America’s battle in Afghanistan went so wrong for so long, a (hidden) history lesson is in order. In those early years after 2001, driven by the idée fixe that the world was rigidly divided into terrorist and non-terrorist camps, Washington allied with Afghan warlords and strongmen. Their enemies became ours, and through faulty intelligence, their feuds became repackaged as “counterterrorism.” The story of Jalaluddin Haqqani, who turned from America’s potential ally into its greatest foe, is the paradigmatic case of how the war on terror created the very enemies it sought to eradicate.

The Campaign to Take Out Haqqani: 2001

Jalaluddin Haqqani stands at about average height, with bushy eyebrows, an aquiline nose, a wide smile, and an expansive beard, which in its full glory swallows half his face. In his native land, the three southeastern Afghan provinces known collectively as Loya Paktia, he is something of a war hero, an anti-Soviet mujahedeen of storied bravery and near mythical endurance. (Once, after being shot, he refused painkillers because he was fasting.) During the waning years of the Cold War, he was beloved by the Americans — Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson called him “goodness personified” — and by Osama bin Laden, too. In the 1980s, the U.S. supplied him with funds and weapons in the battle against a Soviet-backed regime in Kabul and the Red Army, while radical Arab groups provided a steady stream of recruits to bolster his formidable Afghan force.

American officials had this history in mind when the second Afghan War began in October 2001. Hoping to convince Haqqani (who had backed the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the post-Soviet years) to defect, they spared his territory in Loya Paktia the intense bombing campaign that they had loosed on much of the rest of the country. The Taliban, for their part, placed him in charge of their entire military force, both sides sensing that his could be the swing vote in the war. Haqqani met with top Taliban figures and Osama bin Laden, only to decamp for Pakistan, where he took part in a flurry of meetings with Pakistanis and U.S.-backed Afghans.

His representatives also began meeting American officials in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, and the United Arab Emirates, and the Americans eventually offered him a deal: surrender to detention, cooperate with the new Afghan military authorities, and after a suitable period, he would be free to go. For Haqqani, one of Loya Paktia’s most respected and popular figures, the prospect of sitting behind bars was unfathomable. Arsala Rahmani, an associate of his, who would go on to serve as a senator in the Afghan government, told me, “He wanted to have an important position in Loya Paktia, but they offered to arrest him. He couldn’t believe it. Can you imagine such an insult?”

[snip]

Re: Manufacturing enemies

[Note:  This comment comes from friend David Rosenthal.  DLH]

From: “David S. H. Rosenthal” <dshr@abitare.org>
Subject: Re: Manufacturing enemies
Date: April 30, 2014 at 16:31:19 PDT
To: dewayne@warpspeed.com

And, of course:

<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/afghan-opium-production-explodes-billions-spent-us-report>

David.

Afghan opium production explodes despite billions spent, says US report
Report by DC’s Afghanistan war watchdog found opium cultivation unaffected by $7.5bn US spent to combat it
By Spencer Ackerman in New York
Apr 30 2014
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/afghan-opium-production-explodes-billions-spent-us-report>

Opium cultivation is estimated to be at an all-time high in Afghanistan, despite the US spending $7.5bn to combat it.

A report released Wednesday by Washington’s Afghanistan war watchdog has found that the billions spent by the State and Defense departments on counter-narcotics since 2002 has been for nought. Opium-poppy cultivation takes up 209,000 hectares (516,230 acres) of land in Afghanistan, a 36% increase since 2012.

Drug use inside Afghanistan has spiked, according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. About 1.3 million Afghan adults were regular drug users in 2012, up from 1 million in 2009; regular opium users grew to 230,000 in 2009 from 130,000 in 2005. The population of Afghanistan is just under 32 million.

Beyond Afghanistan’s borders, about three-quarters of the world’s illicit opium products originates from the country, which sees its poppy cultivation concentrated almost entirely in the country’s southern and western provinces. Those areas – particularly Helmand and Kandahar provinces – were where the bulk of US and UK forces were deployed during the 2010-12 troop surge.

The interdiction efforts that the US and its Afghan partners continue to perform, however, are concentrated in eastern Afghanistan and the capital of Kabul, a shift away from the areas of cultivation. The inspector general attributes the shift to the drawdown of US forces, since the threat of attack in those areas is “generally less than the threat in the south and southwest”.

The drawdown, set to conclude by December 2014, is reflected in the decline of overall US counter-narcotics missions, barely any of which are performed unilaterally anymore.

In 2013, coalition and Afghan forces seized 41,000kg of opium, while Afghans produced 5.5m kilograms of it. Overall operations are down 17% since 2011, with opium seizures down 57% and heroin seizures down 77%. As well, much of the country’s drug trafficking is invisible or inaccessible to the Afghan forces the US mentors and funds.

“Drug labs, storage sites, and major trafficking networks are concentrated in rural areas that are increasingly off-limits to Afghan forces due the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) drawdown and declining security in these areas,” the report found.

While eradication accounted for a significant component of US counter-narcotics strategy during the mid-2000s, the US-led coalition shifted away from it in recent years, owing to a conclusion that crop destruction drove farmers and those dependent on them into the hands of the Taliban. The Obama administration and the US military once implored Afghans to growgrapes, wheat and pomegranates instead.

[snip]

Re: Muni nets are no substitute for net neutrality

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Tim Pozar.  DLH]

From: Tim Pozar <pozar@lns.com>
Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] Muni nets are no substitute for net neutrality
Date: April 28, 2014 at 10:40:51 PDT
To: dewayne@warpspeed.com

I am really surprised about the backlash against Ms. Crawford’s OpEd in the NYT from Mr. Reed and Mr. Isenberg.  In particular Mr. Isenberg’s is missing the point that Muni Fiber is a solution for NN.  He may be thinking of the Muni Fiber solutions that cities like Lafayette are doing where the city is the ISP and “Cable” TV provider as well as the layer 1 and 2 provider.  In that case, I would certainly agree that muni fiber will not be a solution.

If we can split out the OSI Layer 1 (Glass) and 2 (virtual connections) network from the Layer 3 (eg. ISPs) I believe muni fiber would be a solution.  In this arrangement, the city would provided the glass to the street addresses and eventually back haul this to a data center that is carrier neutral.  They city, or some other organization overseen by the city, would create virtual circuits between a street address and the data center.  A resident or biz owner in a town can then select from the competition of carriers in the data center to buy Internet Transit (or other services) from.  If the carrier is not performing for the rate they are charging, the end user can easily switch to another carrier who will.

Right now almost all communities have little choice between Internet providers so content providers and end users can be held hostage. Typically a community will have only one or two providers such as the RBOC and/or the cable company.  Aw we know, the cable company’s network is not open to other providers and the RBOC pays a lip service to being open with decaying copper infrastructure and copper being cut to support products like U-Verse.

A muni deployment that is carrier neutral, can provide the competition that will provide pressure on the carriers to have a network that performs for all (content providers and the consumers).

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Have Now Spread To Every Part Of The World

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Have Now Spread To Every Part Of The World

By MARIA CHENG
Apr 30 2014

LONDON (AP) — Bacteria resistant to antibiotics have now spread to every part of the world and might lead to a future where minor infections could kill, according to a report published Wednesday by the World Health Organization.

In its first global survey of the resistance problem, WHO said it found very high rates of drug-resistant E. coli bacteria, which causes problems including meningitis and infections of the skin, blood and the kidneys. The agency noted there are many countries where treatment for the bug is useless in more than half of patients.

WHO’s report also found worrying rates of resistance in other bacteria, including common causes of pneumonia and gonorrhea.

Unless there is urgent action, “the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, one of the agency’s assistant director-generals, warned in a release.

WHO acknowledged it couldn’t assess the validity of the data provided by countries and that many had no information on antibiotic resistance available.

Health experts have long warned about the dangers of drug resistance, particularly in diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and flu. In a report by Britain’s Chief Medical Officer last year, Dr. Sally Davies described resistance as a “ticking time bomb” and said it was as big a threat as terrorism.

In 1928, Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin revolutionized medicine by giving doctors the first effective treatment for a wide variety of infections. Despite the introduction of numerous other antibiotics since then, there have been no new classes of the drugs discovered for more than 30 years.

“We see horrendous rates of antibiotic resistance wherever we look…including children admitted to nutritional centers in Niger and people in our surgical and trauma units in Syria,” said Dr. Jennifer Cohn, a medical director at Doctors Without Borders, in a statement. She said countries needed to improve their monitoring of antibiotic resistance. “Otherwise, our actions are just a shot in the dark.”

WHO said people should use antibiotics only when prescribed by a doctor, that they should complete the full prescription and never share antibiotics with others or use leftover prescriptions.

___ Online: www.who.int/drugresistance/documents/surveillancereport

Nearly half of Americans live with dangerous levels of air pollution, report says

Nearly half of Americans live with dangerous levels of air pollution, report says
By Adrianne Jeffries

Apr 30 2014

Forty-seven percent of Americans live in counties with potentially dangerous levels of air pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s 15th annual State of the Air report, a worrisome finding as climate change threatens to make air quality worse.

The two main pollutants measured were ozone, also known as smog, and particle pollution, the kind that comes out of exhaust pipes. Ozone can cause breathing problems and premature death. Particle pollution can increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma.

Ozone can cause breathing problems and an early death

The pollution data compiled in the report was taken from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The report used the EPA’s Air Quality Index, which ranks pollution levels into five tiers from “good” to “hazardous.” You can use the State of the Air website to look up air pollution levels in your zip code and compare metropolitan areas.

Ozone pollution levels were “much worse” than last year, the Association says, and are expected to worsen due to global warming. Particle pollution was down, however, due to environmental regulations. Ozone and particle pollution are especially dangerous for sensitive populations, like children and the elderly.

The finding follows a Supreme Court decision that reinforced environmental protection laws by upholding the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. The ruling authorized the EPA to impose extra limits on power plants that produce pollution that floats over state lines, and is likely to have a positive effect on overall air pollution levels.

State laws that ban municipal Internet will be invalidated, FCC chair says

State laws that ban municipal Internet will be invalidated, FCC chair says
But can the FCC preempt all 20 state laws that limit public broadband?
By Jon Brodkin
Apr 30 2014
<http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/04/state-laws-that-ban-municipal-internet-will-be-invalidated-fcc-chair-says/>

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told the cable industry today that he will “preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.”

Speaking at the Cable Show industry conference, Wheeler discussed how state governments have protected Internet providers from competing against cities and towns that build their own broadband networks.

According to a transcript of his speech provided by the FCC, Wheeler said:

[F]or many parts of the communications sector, there hasn’t been as much competition as consumers and innovation deserve. Given the high fixed costs and consequent scale economies, this isn’t especially surprising. But that makes it all the more important that we knock down public and private barriers to competition and avoid erecting new ones. It is equally important that we encourage competition wherever it is possible.

One place where it may be possible is municipally owned or authorized broadband systems. I understand that the experience with community broadband is mixed, that there have been both successes and failures. But if municipal governments—the same ones that granted cable franchises—want to pursue it, they shouldn’t be inhibited by state laws. I have said before, that I believe the FCC has the power—and I intend to exercise that power—to preempt state laws that ban competition from community broadband.

This statement follows up on a previous one in which Wheeler said he believes the FCC can target “legal restrictions on the ability of cities and towns to offer broadband services to consumers in their communities.”

[snip]