09-16-2011, 06:14 AM
I think so:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">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.

<span style='font-size: 17pt'>The four-star Air Force general who oversees Air Force Space Command walked into a highly secured room on Capitol Hill a week ago to give a classified briefing to lawmakers and staff, and dropped a surprise. Pressed by members, Gen. William Shelton said the White House tried to pressure him to change his testimony to make it more favorable to a company tied to a large Democratic donor.</span>

The episode —confirmed by The Daily Beast in interviews with administration officials and <span style='font-size: 11pt'>the chairman of a congressional oversight committee —is the latest in a string of incidents that have given Republicans sudden fodder for questions about whether the Obama administration is politically interfering in routine government matters that affect donors or fundraisers.</span> ...

Now the Pentagon has been raising concerns about a new wireless project by a satellite broadband company in Virginia called LightSquared, whose majority owner is an investment fund run by Democratic donor Philip Falcone.

According to officials familiar with the situation, Shelton’s prepared testimony was leaked in advance to the company. And <span style='font-size: 11pt'>the White House asked the general to alter the testimony to add two points:</span> that the general supported the White House policy to add more broadband for commercial use; and that the Pentagon would try to resolve the questions around LightSquared with testing in just 90 days. Shelton chafed at the intervention, which seemed to soften the Pentagon’s position and might be viewed as helping the company as it tries to get the project launched, officials said.

<span style='font-size: 11pt'>“There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in an interview. “The only people who were involved in the process in preparation for the hearing included the Department of Defense, the White House, and the Office Management and Budget.”</span> ...

Shelton finally gave his testimony Thursday, and made clear the Pentagon's concern about LightSquared's project.

<span style='font-size: 11pt'>The general told Turner's committee that preliminary tests of a new LightSquared proposal to use only a portion of the band that it was licensed originally in 2004</span> <span style='font-size: 14pt'>would cause significant disruptions to GPS.

He said the GPS spectrum was supposed to originally be a “quiet neighborhood,” meaning that lower strength signals could exist near the GPS spectrum. Speaking of the LightSquared plan, he said, “If you put a rock band in the middle of that quiet neighborhood, that’s a different circumstance.”</span> ...

<span style='font-size: 14pt'>“With this new set of facts, it starts to sound like a pattern of the White House improperly pressuring people at agencies involving decisions that affect companies tied to donors and fundraisers,”</span> Sloan said. <span style='font-size: 11pt'>“It’s always a problem when the White House is pressuring anyone’s testimony. I don’t care if you are a four-star [general] or a GS-15 [career employee], you should be giving your true opinion and not an opinion the White House is seeking for political expediency."</span> ...

<span style='font-size: 11pt'>Mr. Falcone and his wife have gave more than $60,000 in 2009 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.</span> Mr. Falcone has also given a smattering of money to Republicans.

At issue is a conditional Federal Communications Commission waiver granted in January to <span style='font-size: 11pt'>LightSquared to build cheap terrestrial wireless capacity in a section of the wireless spectrum close to the GPS bandwidth. Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund belonging to Falcone, owns a majority stake in LightSquared.</span>

<span style='font-size: 17pt'>"There was an attempt to influence the text of the testimony and to engage LightSquared in the process in order to bias his testimony,”</span> said Rep. Mike Turner. <span style="color: #3366FF">(Who jhappens to be someone I know quite well.)</span>

The FCC license has come under scrutiny because <span style='font-size: 11pt'>technical experts have warned that LightSquared’s proposal to build tens of thousands of ground stations for a wireless network could drown out the GPS signal.</span> On Tuesday, the FCC issued a public notice stating that LightSquared may not move forward on establishing its wireless service until further testing proves the GPS would not be harmed. ...

<span style='font-size: 11pt'>“The FCC’s fast-tracking of LightSquared raises questions about whether the government is rushing this project at the expense of all kinds of other things, including national security and everyone who uses GPS, from agriculture to emergency medical technicians,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA). “Without transparency, and with media coverage of political connections in this case, there’s no way to know whether the agency is trying to help friends in need or really looking out for the public’s interest.”</span>

In April, Grassley asked Genachowski to hand over all records of communications, including emails between Falcone and the FCC, and LightSquared and the FCC. Genachowski declined to turn over those records.

The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, published emails this week it had obtained showing meetings between White House technology advisers and LightSquared officials.</div></div>

LET THE DENIALS BEGIN! (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/09/15/lightsquared-did-white-house-pressure-general-shelton-to-help-donor.html)

09-16-2011, 12:34 PM
Wouldn't this be 'crony capitalism' instead?

Why would it be fascism, instead of that? Or are they really the same thing? No distinguishing characteristics? (disambiguation: not the Peyronie's disease kind)

09-16-2011, 12:49 PM
You could call it that ... but this is clearly a case of corporate and state power merging.