Net neutrality legislation unveiled by Republicans today would gut the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the broadband industry.
As expected, the bill forbids the FCC from reclassifying broadband as a common carrier service, preventing the commission from using authority it has under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This is the statute the FCC uses to regulate landline telephone providers.
The bill—full text here—also targets a portion of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Section 706 of the Act instructs the FCC to accelerate deployment of broadband to all Americans “by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.” The FCC is considering using this authority to preempt state laws that limit the rights of cities and towns to build broadband networks.
That will be off the table if Republicans get their way. The bill text amends communications law “to prohibit the Commission or a State commission from relying on section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as a grant of authority.” It also defines broadband as an “information service,” preventing the FCC from treating broadband providers as common carriers.
Here’s a fascinating bit of news from Ferguson, Missouri, where one of the grand jurors in the Darren Wilson case is suing prosecutor Bob McCulloch, saying he presented a distorted picture of the case to the jurors and the public.
The grand juror, referred to only as “Grand Juror Doe” in the lawsuit, takes issue with how McCulloch characterized the case. McCulloch released evidence presented to the grand jury and publicly discussed the case after the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson, then a Ferguson police officer, in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American.
“In [the grand juror]’s view, the current information available about the grand jurors’ views is not entirely accurate — especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges,” the lawsuit says. “Moreover, the public characterization of the grand jurors’ view of witnesses and evidence does not accord with [Doe]’s own.”
“From [the grand juror]’s perspective, the investigation of Wilson had a stronger focus on the victim than in other cases presented to the grand jury,” the lawsuit states. Doe also believes the legal standards were conveyed in a “muddled” and “untimely” manner to the grand jury.
With the remarkable disrespect shown to New York’s Mayor de Blasio by the NYPD recently, it’s instructive to go back and reread what de Blasio said that sent New York’s finest into such paroxysms of rage. Via Michael Tomasky:
This is profoundly personal for me. I was at the White House the other day, and the president of the United States turned to me, and he met Dante a few months ago, and he said that Dante reminded him of what he looked like as a teenager. And he said, I know you see this crisis through a very personal lens. I said to him I did. Because Chirlane and I have had to talk to Dante for years, about the dangers he may face. A good young man, a law-abiding young man, who would never think to do anything wrong, and yet, because of a history that still hangs over us, the dangers he may face—we’ve had to literally train him, as families have all over this city for decades, in how to take special care in any encounter he has with the police officers who are there to protect him.
That’s it, folks; the cause of all this anger and disrespect.
The same people who called for no protests until slain officers are laid to rest, protest. At the funeral. pic.twitter.com/0MakOpopcw
Do any of the cops who participated in this ugly public tantrum understand how crass and unsympathetic it makes them look? Police Outside Cop Funeral Turn Backs on NYC Mayor.
NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of officers outside the church where a funeral was held for a policeman killed along with his partner in an ambush shooting turned their backs on the mayor as he spoke during Saturday’s service.
A sociopathic career criminal goes on a rampage in Brooklyn, shoots his girlfriend and two police officers, then kills himself. Then the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, goes on television and blames Mayor de Blasio and the “Black Lives Matter” protesters for it.
One killer on a rampage is now equal to every protester against police brutality. It’s beyond outrageous.
And even worse — now the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association is actually ranting about being a “wartime police department:” Updates on Fatal Shooting of Two N.Y.P.D. Officers.
A statement purporting to be from the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the biggest police union, blamed Mr. de Blasio for the shootings.
“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions and policies,” read the statement, “and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”
They’re declaring war on the protesters? Because of one crazed individual who is already dead?
The usually buried systemic racism is right on the surface now. It’s getting really ugly out there.
The PBA is now denying they issued the “wartime” memo. But even if they didn’t, as you can see from the video above, their public rhetoric is every bit as inflammatory as the now-disputed memo.
Here’s the full text of the memo in question:
At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the option of the patrol supervisor happens to be. IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest. These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when Police Officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis. The mayors hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.
Dick Cheney and many other Bush administration officials were lying about torture, and now we have proof.
After reviewing thousands of the CIA’s own documents, the committee has concluded that torture was ineffective as an intelligence-gathering technique. Torture produced little information of value, and what little it did produce could’ve been gained through humane, legal methods that uphold American ideals.
I had long since come to that conclusion myself. As special agent in charge of the criminal investigation task force with investigators and intelligence personnel at Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, and Iraq, I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding. And the Senate Intelligence Committee—which had access to all CIA documents related to the “enhanced interrogation” program—has concluded that abusive techniques didn’t help the hunt for Bin Laden. Cheney’s claim that the frequent waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “produced phenomenal results for us” is simply false.
The self-defeating stupidity of torture might come as news to Americans who’ve heard again and again from Cheney and other political leaders that torture “worked.” Professional interrogators, however, couldn’t be less surprised. We know that legal, rapport-building interrogation techniques are the best way to obtain intelligence, and that torture tends to solicit unreliable information that sets back investigations.
Yes, torture makes people talk—but what they say is often untrue. Seeking to stop the pain, people subjected to torture tend to say what they believe their interrogators want to hear.
The report is essential because it makes clear the legal, moral, and strategic costs of torture. President Obama and congressional leaders should use this opportunity to push for legislation that solidifies the ban on torture and cruel treatment. While current law prohibits these acts, US officials employed strained legal arguments to authorize abuse.
Demonstrators marching from Ferguson to Missouri’s capital to protest the police shooting death of Michael Brown were met with opposition as they passed through a rural town.
Television station KRCG reports that some people in Rosebud shouted obscenities and held signs telling them to “go home” and someone put an empty bottle of beer, a melon and some fried chicken in the path of the protestors.
The Columbia Missourian reports that at least one person displayed a Confederate flag, and the back window of a bus traveling with the marchers was broken by a bullet.
Here’s Eric Holder’s announcement that the justice department will launch a civil rights investigation into the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
For the record, here’s George Stephanopoulos’ complete 45-minute interview with officer Darren Wilson, in which Wilson basically repeats the story he told the St. Louis County grand jury.
The grand jury testimony in the Darren Wilson case reveals some shockingly lax procedures by the Ferguson and St. Louis County police departments: Unorthodox Police Procedures Emerge in Grand Jury Documents.
When Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson left the scene of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the officer returned to the police station unescorted, washed blood off his hands and placed his recently fired pistol into an evidence bag himself.
Such seemingly unorthodox forensic practices emerged from the voluminous testimony released in the aftermath of a grand jury decision Monday night not to indict Wilson.
The transcript showed that local officers who interviewed Wilson immediately after the shooting did not tape the conversations and sometimes conducted them with other police personnel present. An investigator with the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office testified that he opted not to take measurements at the crime scene.
“I got there, it was self-explanatory what happened,” said the investigator, whose name was not released, in his grand jury testimony. “Somebody shot somebody. There was no question as to any distances or anything of that nature at the time I was there.”
The investigator, described as a 25-year veteran, did not take his own photographs at the scene of the shooting because his camera battery was dead, he said.
Perhaps the most outrageous thing: police never tested Wilson’s gun for Michael Brown’s fingerprints. Since one of the main points of Wilson’s story was that Brown grabbed his gun, why wasn’t this done?