Beltway Insider: Obama Promises Broadband To All; Singapore Mourns; Germanwings Murder Suicide at 6K Feet

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President Obama has announced he will host the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi at the White House in April as he attempts to build continued military and political support in the global fight against the ISIS and strategic alliances in the region.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, increased five percentage points to 48% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President decreased five percentage points to 47%. 

Obama Expands USA Broadband Program

President Obama in announcing his vision for a 21st century America, during the January 2015 State of the Union, proposed a “infrastructure complete with the fastest internet possible, to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”

Acting on that promise the President introduced this week his Broadband USA initiative program designed to increase the availability faster, high speed, and internet service to 98% of all regions within the United States including the underserved, Americans who may experience substandard living conditions and rural areas of the nation.

The President’s plan of action created first a council, co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, and included more than 25 government agencies and other stakeholders dedicated to furthering this objective.  

Introducing the agenda for the council, who are under an imposed 150 day deadline and will report to the President with a clear plan detailing how each agency will advance the goal, in well thought out and implementable strategies, including budget and regulatory actions with the end result of reaching the national goal of providing 98% of Americans with access to high-speed, mobile broadband.

State Autonomy Verses Federal Regulation

One of the major and defining points within the President’s plan to increase Broadband includes building on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) landmark decision to promote local choice which shifts broadband laws from national or federal decision making to allowing individual states the autonomy to enact law which best suits its needs.

“The FCC last month independently decided to take action against two of the nineteen state laws that restrict communities from deciding what broadband solutions fit their needs.  This step forward helped unserved and under-served communities, many of whom have no way to stay economically competitive absent a municipal provider of broadband. As a result, communities in two states — Tennessee and North Carolina — will no longer be held back from setting up municipal networks like successful examples in Chattanooga and Wilson, where those networks affordably deliver broadband speeds around 100 times the national average,” said Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, in a released statement.

Other key agenda items include a mobile spectrum auction, which the US government plans to set in motion the highest-grossing auction of mobile spectrum in American history, which essentially allows the government to use an auction to sell the right, or licenses, to transmit signals over the airways. Since July 1994, the FCC has conducted 87 spectrum auctions, which raised over $60 billion for the U.S. Treasury.

Expanding Access to the Disenfranchised

Expanding access to broadband in rural and underserved Areas, an initiative that was fueled in the Recovery Act, the bill passed began during the height of the worst economic recession since the great depression and allocated over $7 billion of that funding into this challenge of increasing broadband connectivity, especially those who live in sub-standard conditions, under-served and impoverished areas, which will be the last to see significant change as the recession lessens.

This commitment increases the opportunity that disenfranchised will have the same access to high speed, 4G Broadband options as those in denser populated and more developed regions of the country.

Singapore Mourns

Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Father and Prime Minster of Singapore, a brilliant visionary who spearheaded the Asian island nation’s economic and cultural boom, died this week. He was 91.

The Asian leader, an exceptionally gifted and incorruptible governor of the island nation, held his leadership role for more than three decades. Revered and respected globally, he is the only leader to have taken an impoverished nation from third world status to first world status in a single generation. Stepping down in 1990, he ensured his country retained stability in transition while he was still physically strong and mentally alert to advise and oversee, a statesman emeritus.

His commitment, drive and devotion to a single quest, which didn’t allow for deviation by minute matters or other ideas assisted his vision. He remained true to his belief in a strong relationship with the United States and westernization particular in strong financial agendas which brought all currencies to his country and turned the nation into a desired capitalist marketplace.

President Obama, Vice President Biden Eulogize

President Obama said of Lee Kuan Yew, “A visionary who led his country from Singapore’s independence in 1965 to build one of the most prosperous countries in the world today, he was a devoted public servant and a remarkable leader.  Minister Mentor Lee’s views and insights on Asian dynamics and economic management were respected by many around the world, and no small number of this and past generations of world leaders have sought his advice on governance and development.”

Vice President Biden also spoke highly of the esteemed leader said, “Lee was a visionary leader who understood the importance of economic integration and effective governance to building a thriving, modern economy.  His commitment to delivering excellence in public service was exemplary. I valued his insights on Asia, geopolitics, and economics, which have shaped the thinking of many around the world.  Lee’s legacy lives on in the nation of Singapore. He was a believer in the importance of America’s enduring role as a resident Pacific power and a friend and admirer of the United States.”

 

Former President Clinton Leads Delegation

The Honorable William J. Clinton, Former President of the United States, will lead the presidential delegation which includes The Honorable Kirk Wagar, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore, The Honorable Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State, The Honorable Steven Green, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore, The Honorable Thomas Donilon, Former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

Germanwings Crash

The world continues to mourn the tragic and senseless loss this week as evidence revels the cause behind the disaster which brought down Germanwings Airbus 320-200, driving the 747 at full speed into the French Alps, was human, a deliberate large scale mass murder suicide.

President Obama spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Mariano Rajoy of Spain, expressing the deepest condolences of both the United States and its people as both countries endured the meaningless suffering. He also offered both leaders key personnel and full assistance to aid the recovery mission.

Germanwings Flight AU 9525, the budget subsidiary of Lufthansa, originated in Barcelona, Spain and was nearly one hour into the just over two hour flight to Dusseldorf, Germany when Captain Patrick Sondheimer, an experienced and dedicated leader, exited the cockpit and was unable to regain entrance.

Andreas Lubitz, 27, a German citizen, the co-pilot on duty, then, it is assessed, locked the captain and other crew members out of the cockpit, and intentionally drove the airliner into a mountain in the French Alps.

Lubitz, who had an unknown medical history that included mental and physical issues, began pilot training in 2009 and even then exhibited signs of burn out completing the rigorous program in increments.

Dependency issues, anti-depressants, vision problems, and a recent bout with severe depression, excused medical absences in the form of doctor’s notes, urging of his physician to take time, and certainly that day, off, may have if acted on, alerted his employer of a larger looming problem, plagued the co-pilot who told no one of his acute, undetected and urgent need for mental care.

Recovery Mission

Both mechanical and cockpit black boxes have been recovered from the craggy and remote crash sight. The casing of the mechanical data recorder was so mangled from the impact the recording devise housed within the steel shell dislodged and has yet to be discovered.

The voice recorder provided last minute evidence to which French prosecutor Brice Robin, of Marseille, made his assessment and reenactment of the final minutes of Flight AU2595.

According to officials, conversation within the recorded time appeared normal, with commands exchanged between the Captain and Co-Pilot, the tone of the responses from Lubitz altered dramatically to a “curt” tone when the Captain Sondheimer began to initiate decent instructions. Minutes later he excused himself, exiting the cockpit, which apparently had no other airline personnel present. When he tried to reenter, affirmed through a series of knockings ranging from soft taps to loud banging, which also included a point where passengers understood the plane was in rapid decent and the Prosecutor stated loud and desperate screams could be heard.

French prosecutors have concluded, based on the evidence, Lubitz intentionally used the manual locking device to keep the captain from returning to the cockpit for the purpose of murder suicide.

As of today, no evidence has tied to action to anyone other than Lubitz, one man suffering from a depressed and altered mental state. He has not been associated with a terror organization.

French Air Traffic Control Attempt To Halt Decent

Spain ATC had handed off Germanwings to the French. At 10:31am, near the French coast of Toulon, the aircraft deviated from its flight pattern with a sharp and jagged decent. Repeated attempts to raise Flight AU 9525 went unanswered.

Taking evasive and precautionary measures, guided by safety and concern coupled by the recent terror attacks and rise of ISIS and other terror organization, a French Military Mirage jet was scrambled to intercept the flight. The decent time from 38,000 feet occurred over the course of ten minutes, leveling at 6,175 feet.

It is during this time frame, investigators say, Captain Sondheimer, repeatedly attempted to “knock on the door” although no confirmation if he attempted to knock down the cockpit door.

Federal aviation authorities put into place after September 11, 2001, mandatory self-locking security measures from inside the cockpit which prevent external entry and can be overridden internally.

No code or preset combination given to the Captain, pre-flight, is in place to override any internal manual, locked door or crew member sabotage.

AU 9525 Debris Field

Digital reenactments have suggested the Airbus drove at full speed creating a blunt force catastrophic explosion, initially bouncing, like a shudder or concussion, off the mountainside and barreling straight with unwavering force. The impact caused implosion, shattering pieces of the 25 year old aircraft and disintegrating. 

The debris field, expectedly, is spread over a wide area. With an elevation of 15, 782 feet the French Alps is considered the more difficult mountain ranges. The crash site is on the third peak or “Bishoprics” of the Alps.

Rescuers combing through the mountainside have been airlifted to the scene and with painstaking precision combing through the field and face of the mountain, flagging for investigators the smallest piece of evidence.

The fuselage, contents, and all pieces gathered at scene will be returned to an investigative lab where over the course of time be tagged, logged and then rebuilt as closely as possible to the original aircraft.

To date DNA has identified the remains of 78 passengers.

Lost

The passengers list reveled citizens from Spain, Germany, the United States, and Great Briton as well as 15 other nations. In addition to the 144 passengers, six crew members were also on board the doomed jetliner.

Germany and Spain lost a combination of 121 citizens, 70 Germans and 51 Spaniards. The United States, UK, Argentina and Kazakhstan each lost three citizens; seven nations lost two citizens each and six nation’s one each.

Sixteen teenagers, and two teachers, from Haltern am See, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany were also on board returning home after an exchange program in Spain. The Mayor, Bodo Klimpel, of the tiny village has stated it is the darkest day in the history of the town.  The German Opera on the Rhine, an Opera company based in Dusseldorf, lost two members of its company, Oleg Bryjak and Maria Radner.

For more information on President Barack Obama: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.org, Wikipedia.com

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