Since the challenges confronting U.S. foreign policy in President Obama’s second term are going to be significant — with moments of decision looming on Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, the fighting in Gaza and more — it would be helpful to get this next phase started on a reasonably bipartisan footing.
The president should know that there are Republicans willing to work with him in addressing these crises and that he will be stronger overseas if he has broad support at home. But Republicans also need to do their part to show that the partisan sniping of the recent campaign season is over and that they know it is time to get serious again. One place to start would be to back off their promises to oppose the nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice as secretary of state.
I say this not because I carry a particular brief for Rice. Both she and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the two most often mentioned for the position, are well-qualified for the job. Were the president to choose either of them, the Senate should vote to confirm.
But the idea that Rice should be disqualified because of statements she made on television in the days after the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, strikes me as unfair…
The film’s 52-year-old writer, director and producer, Sam Bacile, said that he wanted to showcase his view of Islam as a hateful religion. “Islam is a cancer,” he said in a telephone interview from his home. “The movie is a political movie. It’s not a religious movie.”
Mr. Bacile said he raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors, whom he declined to identify. Working with about 60 actors and 45 crew members, he said he made the two-hour movie in three months last year in California.
The film has been promoted by Dr. Jones, who said Tuesday that he planned to show a 13-minute trailer that night at his church in Gainesville, Fla.
“It is an American production, not designed to attack Muslims but to show the destructive ideology of Islam,” he said in a statement. “The movie further reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad.”
AT&T (T) is heating up its retaliatory campaign against the Federal Communications Commission for denying its $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. Speaking at a conference, AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson claimed once again that the merger’s death directly resulted in AT&T’s raising mobile data prices 30 percent earlier this year, The Hill reported.
Stephenson chose an apt pulpit. He delivered his speech before the Milken Institute, founded by and named after junk-bond trader Michael Milken, who was convicted of felony securities violations in 1990 and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Neither Milken nor Stephenson has any great love for regulators.
We have heard Stephenson’s refrain before. He tried to make the same case to analysts and investors in the fourth-quarter earnings call, claiming the FCC was picking winners and losers in the mobile industry. Without T-Mobile’s 4G airwaves, AT&T doesn’t have enough capacity to meet the enormous mobile data deluge generated by millions of new smartphones, which in turn is forcing AT&T to raise data prices—or so Stephenson’s argument goes.
The truth is no one forced AT&T to raise prices. AT&T just raised prices because it wanted to. It’s just scapegoating the FCC, whether to make some petty point or to deflect attention away from a good old-fashioned money grab. AT&T had, and still has, plenty of headroom to grow its network capacity. Let’s break down why.
• While it’s true AT&T raised prices on its low- and mid-tier data plans, it also raised its data caps significantly. A $30 per-month customer now gets 3 GB per month rather than 2 GB for $25. If AT&T is so hard up for capacity, why is it inviting its customers to consume more gigabytes for less cash? AT&T is actually gaming the system here a bit, because it knows few customers can conceivably consume 3 GB per month on a smartphone. Still, AT&T effectively lowered its per-megabyte rates for mobile data, which is not something a carrier strapped for capacity would do.
• AT&T still has plenty of networks it can build. AT&T’s initial 700 MHz LTE rollout is only a third complete. It’s also sitting on a bunch of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum that it hasn’t even touched yet. Ma Bell could also follow T-Mobile’s and Sprint’s examples and refarm the spectrum used by its inefficient GSM networks for HSPA and LTE. Eventually AT&T will need to go out and get more spectrum—there’s no denying that—but today it’s nowhere near exhausting its airwaves. There’s nothing stopping it from building its networks more quickly. It has the money: $39 billion to be exact.
• AT&T’s problem isn’t that mobile data traffic is growing too quickly; it’s that mobile data revenues aren’t keeping pace. AT&T’s mobile data traffic is doubling every year, but it’s only adding an incremental number of new smartphone customers every year. What gives? AT&T’s existing customers are consuming more megabytes, but since they’re nowhere near their caps, they’re not paying anything more. This is AT&T’s own fault, though, because of the way it structured its original smartphone plans. AT&T sold customers big buckets that very few people could consume each month. Now that customers are actually eating the gigabytes they have paid for, AT&T is complaining it’s running out of capacity. It’s hard to be sympathetic.
This isn’t the last we’ve heard from Stephenson on the issue. Much of AT&T’s public communications since the merger’s failure have been direct or indirect assaults on regulators. Ma Bell even used the Super Bowl as an excuse to decry its so-called capacity problems. And as long as AT&T keeps making these claims, we’ll continue to dispute them.
TheCall Detroit participants are denying that the event is anti-Muslim or directed against any group. The truth is organizers have been demonizing Muslims, freemasons, homosexuals, Mormons, and others for well over a year in preparatory events and conference calls. Some quotes are included in the first article of the series and following are more from conference calls with John Benefiel and Cindy Jacobs, a member of the national leadership team for the event. These calls provide a window into their unique and frighteningly creative methods for scapegoating of others.
Transformation Michigan, led by Rick Warzywak, has been the leading state coordinator for the “spiritual warfare” events leading up to TheCall Detroit. Warzywak was instructed by Lou Engle, co-founder of TheCall, to develop both the state and national leadership teams for the Detroit event. Transformation Michigan, an affiliate of the Oak Initiative, hosted numerous conference calls concerning TheCall Detroit throughout the year, which included leading NAR apostles and prophets and the national leadership team for 11/11/11 event. Engle and Warzywak participated in pre-Call events in locations around the state. TheCall, has held large venue events across the U.S. and in other nations since 2000.
Following is a partial transcript of a conference calls with Apostles John Benefiel and Cindy Jacobs, two of the apostolic authorities over the 50-state “prayer warrior” networks of the nation’s apostolic and prophetic movement or New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Jacobs and Benefiel were both endorsers of Rick Perry’s prayer event in Houston, which was organized by leadership of TheCall and the International House of Prayer.
An extraordinary short film about the dangers of fascist lingo and attitudes infiltrating the American culture, in 1947, after WWII was officially over. Striking how familiar nearly every word of this is in the light of today’s world. Very scary that it is still familiar.