Obamagate is real, and the Nunes memo, which has detonated like a bomb in the face of official Washington, forced a reckoning. While evidence of political interference in the intelligence and national security sectors by the Obama administration has piled up relentlessly over the past few weeks, it wasn’t until the infamous memo that those stories became impossible to sweep under the rug, and demanded a response. And, of course, Republicans in particular have wrung their hands over that. “We are shocked, shocked,” many of them intone seriously, “that the Obama administration tried to politicize every inch of their administration.”
Really? You’re shocked? Because I thought the Obama administration’s willingness to play politics with seemingly impartial branches of government was well-established. Granted, the scale of the offense in this case is greater than most previous offenses. Yes, the story of how flagrantly the Obama administration corrupted the intelligence community is impressive for its sheer brazenness, and rightfully deserves the comparisons to Watergate it’s getting. But when it comes to politicizing America’s government infrastructure, we’ve known the Obama administration was this brazen for a while. In fact, when it came to achieving the preferred policy outcomes of their donors, the Obama administration already showed it was perfectly willing to leverage national security years back.
To explain this, let me take you back to 2011, when it emerged that Gen. William Shelton, then the head of Air Force Space Command, had been pressured by the administration to alter testimony before Congress in order to favor the interests of Democratic donor Philip Falcone. Specifically, Shelton was asked to voice support for policies that would have favored Falcone’s then-new company, LightSquared. Shelton refused, and told his story to reporters, who ran it as a tech-oriented coda to the then-developing Solyndra scandal.
As it turned out, Shelton’s decision to blow the whistle was very, very wise, because LightSquared soon became a Solyndra in its own right. You see, after receiving billions in government funding, as well as illegally-granted licenses, from the Obama-era FCC, Lightsquared ended up forced into bankruptcy when multiple other federal agencies had the bad taste to point out that its entire business model not only would fail, but could end up indirectly taking the GPS industry with it thanks to its poorly thought out technological plans. Without getting too far into the weeds, LightSquared’s business model relied on using a particular band of spectrum (essentially, the equivalent of a lane in a highway, but for digital data, not for cars) that GPS companies also used to make their products work. The problem was that what Lightsquared was doing was more or less the equivalent of a drunk driver swerving around the lane, and would’ve eventually caused the digital equivalent of a thirty car pileup. And yet, the Obama administration tried to conscript Air Force Space Command into being an apologist for one of their many sugar daddies. With that kind of disregard for basic prudence, is it any wonder they also thought they could get away with turning intelligence agencies into opposition research arms of the DNC?
Like so much else that was puerile and ugly about the Obama administration, the Trump administration now has to clean this up. And they won’t just have to do it at the FBI. In the intervening years, Lightsquared has emerged from bankruptcy under a new name – Ligado – this time backed by Obama bundler Reed Hundt. And much like the rest of the Obama and Clinton brigade, Hundt appears to be incapable of learning from past mistakes, because while Ligado has paid lip service to playing nice with its fellow tech companies, it has apparently gotten tired of this flirtation with repentance and is once more asking the FCC for special favors. This, despite the fact that their business model remains just as precarious and unsafe as it was in 2011.
Fortunately, this time they’ll have to convince not a scraping Obama-era flunky, but the FCC’s Honey Badger himself, Ajit Pai. And if he stays true to form, Pai will prove that just as cronies like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page got drained out of the swamp by the Trump administration, so too will the likes of Ligado get hoovered out.
But let that pass, for ultimately, the Lightsquared/Ligado fiasco is nothing more than a canary in a coal mine: a coal mine whose dark and twisted tunnels ended with the bleak and blatant politicization of America’s national security apparatus. Perhaps we should have paid attention when the Obama administration subjected even arcane topics like spectrum policy to a “politicization today, politicization tomorrow, politicization forever” approach. But we didn’t, and now there’s that much more swamp to drain. With any luck, as House Speaker Paul Ryan put it, the compromised decision-making process of the Obama administration will be cleansed from the federal government altogether.
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BACK TO WORK: Ford Motors Announces They Intend to Begin Reopening Plants on Apr. 6
Ford does not want to suspend production for months because of coronavirus.
Ford Motor Co. announced on Thursday that they intend to begin reopening some of their plants on Apr. 6, as the iconic automaker hopes that the coronavirus pandemic will not sideline their business for long.
Ford said last week that they would be suspending all production at their facilities indefinitely. They made the decision along with General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with union workers spooked because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
While Ford wants to resume their operations as quickly as possible, their plans are not written in stone. They could re-evaluate their time frame if the coronavirus pandemic worsens over the next ten days.
“We will continue to assess public health conditions as well as supplier readiness and will adjust plans if necessary,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America, said in a statement.
GM and Chrysler have not issued any possible schedule for resuming operations at the present time. If all goes according to plan, Ford will re-open the Hermosillo Assembly Plant on Apr. 6 for one shift. It would then open many more facilities across the country on Apr. 14.
The other corporate titans of Motor City may be skittish about reopening because of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian restrictions on industry. Whitmer has issued an edict forcing all supposedly non-essential businesses to shutter until Apr. 13.
“The current trajectory we’re on seems a lot like Italy,” Whitmer said earlier this week. “We’ve got to do everything in our power to keep that from happening in Michigan.”
“This is an unprecedented crisis that requires all of us working together to protect our families and our communities,” she added. “The most effective way we can slow down the virus is to stay home. I know this will be hard, but it will be temporary. If we all come together, get serious, and do our part by staying home, we can stay safe and save lives.”
While public officials like Whitmer may have the best of intentions, their forced shut-down of the economy may cause more lasting damage to the country than the coronavirus ever could.
“The situation is fluid and can change week to week,” said Jim Cain, a spokesman for GM. “We don’t have firm return-to-work dates at this time.”
Americans are desperate to go back to work as the social safety net is strained like never before during these trying times. A dubious record was set for jobless claims filed in March, with three million Americans filing for unemployment benefits. President Trump hopes to have the country back on track by the Easter holiday.
“I think there are certain people that would like it not to open so quickly,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I think there are certain people that would like [the economy] to do financially poorly, because they think that would be very good as far as defeating me at the polls.”
He added: “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily — I don’t do that. But the country wants to get back to work.”
It will not be easy for President Trump to pull the nation out of the grip of media-driven mass hysteria that has resulted from the coronavirus pandemic.
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