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CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Grassley: White House catered to lobbyists on LightSquared review.

#CRONYFAIL: LightSquared Goes Bankrupt After Network Plans Are Scrapped.

CRONY CAPITALISM (CONT’D): Documents show Obama’s FCC used regulatory muscle to destroy LightSquared’s competition.

TESTIMONY: Scott Pace on Lightsquared and GPS.

DOCUMENTS: Lightsquared Shaping Up As The FCC’s Solyndra. I think we’re going to find that every federal department has its own Solyndra.

THE HILL: FCC moves to kill LightSquared over GPS interference concerns. “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) moved to reject LightSquared’s planned wireless network on Tuesday after the president’s top adviser on telecom issues said there is ‘no practical way’ to prevent the network from disrupting GPS devices.”

LIGHTSQUARED UPDATE: Transportation official: LightSquared ‘not compatible’ with flight-safety devices. “He told lawmakers on the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s subcommittee on Aviation that LightSquared would disrupt GPS systems that pilots use to help them navigate in low altitudes, including devices that warn them when they are getting too close to terrain. Porcari said the Federal Aviation Administration has spent $2 million testing LightSquared’s network. He called spending that amount of money to review a private company ‘quite unusual.'” But the White House was very interested.

LIGHTSQUARED UPDATE: Businessman accused of trying to bribe senator denies wrongdoing. “Todd Ruelle, a businessman accused of inappropriately trying to pressure Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to support wireless startup LightSquared, denied any wrongdoing in a letter to Grassley on Wednesday.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Lightsquared Trouble Deepens With Grassley Allegations.

UPDATE: Zerohedge: Obama Puppetmaster Warren Buffett Biggest Winner From Keystone Pipeline Rejection. “As it turns out, it is not just natural resources and aquifer purity that Obama had in mind when sealing the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. No – it appears there were far more relevant numerial metrics that determined Obama’s decisions. Such as the bottom line number of Buffett’s Burlington Northern, which according to Bloomberg, is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. . . . So those wondering how it is that AAR railroad statistics continue to be so very strong, it is not because the economy actually justifies it.”

SO SINCE GPS ISN’T A DONOR, IT MUST GO: Advisory Board Says Lightsquared Can’t Coexist With GPS.

LIGHTSQUARED FLUNKS AGAIN: “At this point, some people at the FCC and in the White House should start feeling a little … nervous. Yesterday afternoon, the Departments of Defense and Transportation released a joint statement stating that LightSquared is about as bad on navigational equipment as everyone knew it would be.”

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: LightSquared lobbyists pushing MN legislators to demand action from Klobuchar, Franken.

IT’S NOT JUST LIGHTSQUARED: Regulators could sanction Falcone over trading.

Philip Falcone, a hedge fund manager who became an overnight billionaire by betting on the collapse on the U.S. housing market, is now fighting to keep his career afloat.

The investor, who has since bet much of his Harbinger Capital Partners money on a cash-strapped wireless telecom company, said on Thursday that U.S. securities regulators are considering filing civil fraud charges against him and what is left of his once $26 billion hedge fund empire. . . . Harbinger now manages less than $4 billion and roughly half of the money is tied up in its investment in LightSquared LP, the upstart wireless telecom on which Falcone has bet the ranch. LightSquared is running low on cash and its outstanding debt trades at a steep discount as its fortunes have floundered due to a number of technical issues.

Recently the company’s technology was said to interfere with the global positioning system, the widely used technology involved in everything from navigation to managing irrigation. Some lawmakers have accused the Federal Communications Commission of fast-tracking LightSquared’s project, although the agency says its process has been engineering-based.

“Now the FCC is faced with the real possibility that it made a multibillion-dollar grant of valuable spectrum to someone who could be charged with violating securities laws,” said Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. “The FCC chairman should lead the effort to provide documents and offer insight into how the agency decided to give Mr. Falcone, Harbinger Capital and LightSquared this multibillion-dollar grant.”


POLITICALLY CONNECTED TECHNOLOGY: LightSquared disrupts 75% of GPS receivers in gov’t testing. “The saga of LightSquared added a new chapter last night, as Bloomberg reported on the preliminary result of tests of the satellite Internet provider’s service in relation to GPS devices. The Obama administration has pushed LightSquared as a provider for its ambitious broadband expansion over the objections of the military, which warned that LightSquared’s operations would interfere with the satellite-based navigational system. The draft summary of the November testing shows that the military was right to be concerned.” That’s just a draft. It’ll be rewritten to show that there’s no reason to worry.

Plus this: “Why is this important? Philip Falcone is a big donor to the Democratic Party, and he has billions of dollars at stake in LightSquared’s approval. Also, Obama himself was an investor in LightSquared at one point, as were or are a number of his associates. The resounding failure in this test makes it look like the White House pressured witnesses to back off of exposing LightSquared’s product as exactly the kind of dangerous problem that critics had maintained all along — with the intent to mislead Congress into moving forward with LightSquared’s government contracts.”

MORE ON THE LIGHTSQUARED SCANDAL: Emails: Dem lobbyist for LightSquared sought meeting at White House.

GPS SAVES THE WORLD, but who will save GPS?

The enemies threatening the future of the GPS are many:

Next-generation mobile broadband services angling for a piece of the electromagnetic spectrum relied on by GPS;
Cheap GPS jammers flooding the highways, thanks to consumers worried about invasive police and employer surveillance;
Cosmic events, like solar storms;
Future location technology that will ultimately push those services to places where GPS simply cannot go

“The results will be immediate and disastrous,” kicks off Stanford engineering professor Brad Parkinson, widely known as the father of GPS, while introducing the fifth annual Stanford University symposium on Position, Navigation and Time on Thursday.

Parkinson isn’t just presenting; he’s holding court. The renowned GPS pioneer and former combat airman is on a first-name basis with generals, and has taught the finer points of satellite location for decades. The audience contains a conspicuous number of his former students who have come from around the world to pay homage — many of them now among the world’s GPS elite. Throughout the day, he’ll interrupt speakers with questions from the floor, and each time be received with warm and universal deference.

Right now, though, he is hammering the FCC, and its tepid response to an influential rising mobile broadband player, Lightsquared, that may be threatening the integrity of GPS signals.

Yeah, but their political donations go to the right people.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION (CONT’D): Soros turns up in Obama’s LightSquared imbroglio. “As Republican lawmakers begin to dig into the White House’s cozy relationship with a startup wireless company and the wealthy Democratic donor who owns it, a new character has appeared on the story’s edges: liberal superdonor, conservative bete noire and controversial investor George Soros. Soros reportedly invested in the telecom company LightSquared through a hedge fund, and many of the nonprofits he finances have backed LightSquared in regulatory and policy disputes.”

How convenient.


LIGHTSQUARED UPDATE: White House offered “guidance” to second witness in LightSquared inquiry.

THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEKEND, if you were off, you know, having a life or something:

Erdogan, Egypt, and Food.

Thoughts on electronic publishing.

I propose more tax increases, and solicit reader suggestions.

“Green Jobs” and magical thinking.

Bill Quick unimpressed with the “Buffett Tax.” ““Is that it? Is that all you got left? Another freaking tax on rich people? Do you have any idea just how pathetic you’ve become? This sort of crap won’t even motivate your base any more.”

Is the Obama White House a hostile workplace for women? Or is that just the grumbling of affirmative-action babies?

Taxes, deficits, and the war on the young.

Bill Whittle: What We Did Right.

“Oh, what a huckster that John Edwards was!”

Getcher hyperinflation currency now!

Thoughts on Jon Huntsman. No, really, someone has thoughts on Jon Huntsman!

“So now it turns out that the Obama White House was warned privately in no uncertain terms last January against a fresh infusion of taxpayer cash to financially beleaguered Solyndra.”

The press and Obama: A disastrous love affair.

Lightsquared: Lawmakers Question White House Role In Wireless Project.

A Twitter Disaster.

On Mississippi and bigotry.

THE HILL: Watchdogs to pressure Obama after Solyndra, LightSquared.

LIGHTSQUARED: Lawmakers Question White House Role In Wireless Project.

LIGHTSQUARED: ANOTHER SOLYNDRA? “A pattern of providing White House support to favored companies — at taxpayer risk — is emerging.”

LIGHTSQUARED: The Next Obama Pay-For-Play Morass? “The Obama FCC took the lead in intervening on the donor, billionaire hedge fund manster Philip Falcone’s, behalf and granting his company called ‘LightSquared’ one of those coveted Obama waivers from existing law. Then Obama officials reportedly pressured a general to alter his testimony about the company’s impact on military satellite transmissions.”

WHITE HOUSE PRESSURES GENERAL ON BEHALF OF A POLITICAL DONOR? “The Pentagon has worried for months that a project backed by a prominent Democratic donor might interfere with military GPS. Now Congress wants to know if the White House pressured a general to change his testimony.”