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F.C.C. Chairman Moves to Roll Back Telecom Rules and More in Politics Today

by Countable | 4.20.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1. Ajit Pai, F.C.C. Chairman, Moves to Roll Back Telecom Rules

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is taking the next steps to unwind Obama-era rules and other regulatory efforts that had restricted the abilities of telecommunication companies and broadcasters.

The two specific items to be voted on Thursday include a plan to make it easier for broadband providers to charge other businesses higher prices to connect to the main arteries of their networks. The action would clear the way for internet service providers like AT&T and CenturyLink to raise connection fees charged to hospitals, small businesses and wireless carriers in many markets where there is little or no competition for so-called backhaul broadband service.

The other item up for vote is a move to ease the limit on how many stations a broadcast television company can own. The action is expected to invite more consolidation in that sector.

Read more at the New York Times.

2. Democrats Reload for Georgia Runoff, But Party Divisions Remain

Democrats Wednesday launched the second phase of their fight to capture a long-held Republican House seat in Georgia, but the party’s attempts to unify remain hindered by lingering internal divisions.

While Mr. Ossoff’s candidacy is drawing national attention and has been a rallying point for many grass-roots activists, he has run as a traditional Democrat without adopting the fiery tone powering the liberal resistance to President Donald Trump across the country.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

3. Judge whom Trump criticized as 'hater' now hearing key deportation case

Last summer, U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel of San Diego was thrust into the center of the presidential campaign....Curiel presided over the lawsuit against Trump University and was heavily criticized by then-candidate Donald Trump in a way that some critics considered racist.

Now Curiel is back in the national spotlight, in a case involving President Trump and his immigration policies...Curiel has been assigned the case of Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, 23, who claims he was wrongly deported to Mexico by border agents in Calexico in February. His lawsuit specifically seeks to force the government to release information about his case.

Read more at the LA Times.

4. Trump to Revive 1962 Law to Explore New Barriers on Steel Imports

Mr. Trump plans a signing event at noon Thursday to mark a special investigation under the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows emergency trade sanctions on "national security" grounds, according to an administration statement.

The probe would be conducted under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act...a particularly powerful tool because, unlike other trade challenges, it doesn't require the U.S. to prove that American industry has been harmed by foreign competition in order to take action to restrict imports. Instead U.S. officials can recommend action proactively to protect national security.

But it has clear drawbacks. U.S. officials might find it hard to show that domestic production of steel -- traded heavily around the world -- is vital to national security. Also, if Mr. Trump moved to restrict steel imports, then China or another country affected could retaliate against U.S. products in similar fashion, trade lawyers say. The countries could also challenge Washington at the World Trade Organization and win the right to retaliate.

Read more at Fox News.

5. Across Los Angeles, toxic lead harms children in neighborhoods rich and poor.

...unknown to residents and city leaders until now: More than 17 percent of small children tested here have shown elevated levels of lead in their blood, according to previously undisclosed L.A. County health data...That far exceeds the 5 percent rate of children who tested high for lead in Flint, Michigan, during the peak of that city’s water contamination crisis.

The county and city of Los Angeles have dedicated lead prevention programs that work with at-risk families...The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible, and the programs’ broader goal is to prevent any exposure. But success hinges on many actors, and assistance from agencies such as the CDC, the department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency. Like other regions, L.A. faces a looming hurdle in attacking hazards: President Donald Trump’s federal budget proposals would sharply cut funds for many lead-related programs.

Read more at Reuters.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: br1dotcom via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(41)
  • Chris
    04/20/2017
    ···

    Internet neutrality is crucial to the success of our country. Imagine if Verizon charged you more to use Netflix or Hulu than their own streaming service. They could also charge YOUR OFFICE and those of YOUR CONSTITUENTS to access websites of their choosing, or make them unusable slow. Internet access is a public necessity and should be treated as a utility. Anything less hobbles the citizenry--and we WILL get less, because WE ALWAYS HAVE when business is allowed to make the rules.

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  • Ryan
    04/20/2017
    ···

    Abandoning net neutrality is akin to abandoning the people. Unlike some regulations, a guaranteed open internet actually protects the people from being taken advantage of.

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  • Gail
    04/20/2017
    ···

    All these corporate appointments at big levels of government will result in injustice to citizens, suffering of citizens, destruction of the environment and loss of civil rights. It is blatantly obvious that Republicans are worshippers of money and corporate rule and heartlessly uncaring about the Constitution and the people. They do not deserve to serve in Congress. This latest move to tier the Internet and consolidate media power is incredibly undermining to freedom of speech and dangerous to the Republic as dissemination of information will be greatly affected. Please speak out against this travesty. Record numbers of Americans have already commented to the FCC begging them to keep net neutrality, all of which falls on the deaf ears of corporate shills.

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  • Norm
    04/20/2017
    ···

    This is just wrong period, I mean big brother needs a cage, I mean all those who would usurp personal rights have coal for souls, I mean this is the kind of stuff that promotes social unrest, I mean protests.

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  • evelynpsims
    04/21/2017
    ···

    I urge you to champion behind net neutrality. The internet has become overwhelmingly entrenched in American citizens lives it should be treated as a utility protected as well as regulated against large companies sabotaging access through bandwidth speeds or gauging added fees to consumer to view other offerings from smaller or competitive companies. The FCC is making a mistake to overturn regulations set during the Obama term.

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  • April
    04/21/2017
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    The FCC chairman's insistence that big telecommunications companies have little in their way to charge businesses (hospitals!) more to have their services is ridiculous. Please do what you can to stop this measure and others related to the internet and equal access for all.

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  • Elaine
    04/21/2017
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    Keep the internet free.

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  • Pam
    04/21/2017
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    Broadband providers should remain classified as utilities. The public is increasingly dependent on internet service to conduct everyday business. Therefore, access shouldn't be allowed to be restricted by providers whose sole purpose is to limit access to needed sites and services for profit. Their lobbyists are influencing the FCC with complaints about regulation burdens, but the burdens will be far greater for the public when internet access becomes more costly, more difficult or maybe even impossible.

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  • Jo
    04/21/2017
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    Nay! Telecommunications companies should not be allowed to raise connection fees for hospitals, etc. and news sources should not be owned by one company. Competition is good for the market.... and you need to pledge to vote NAY

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  • Dave
    04/21/2017
    ···

    Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is taking the next steps to unwind Obama-era rules and other regulatory. This will due in the small business and to get rid of competitors. The only companies the general public will see is the one that pays to play. So much for competition! Speak about a monopoly in TV station industry as well and corporate America screwing the American public, the only information you will get is the corporate news, just like the company towns. You will owe your soul to the company store! There needs to be a separation of corporations / business and state, just like churches. You can get this policy in Russia. Anyone who votes for this should be brought up for treason and Ajit Pai! This would be the down fall of democracy!

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  • KansasTamale
    04/21/2017
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    #4. Is Trump going to follow these rules he's working on?? If not, then nobody else should have to follow this regulation he's messing with. Trump used Russian steel when he built his last building. How's he going to manage if HE has to purchase American???

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  • Christine
    04/21/2017
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    This is so wrong!

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  • JaredThePoet
    04/21/2017
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    Yet again, more legislation that helps big corporations but blows back on the rest of us. Telecommunications Giants will love this, and since they mostly have monopolized the living hell out of the surrounding areas, there is no competition and sky is the limit. Get ready to pay higher fees (all us normal people).

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  • William
    04/21/2017
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    We need to have privacy when it comes to the internet. This isn't a question of right, but of civil liberty. Reading my data without a warrant is like reading my mail. Illegal. Looks like I will be using VPNs more than I do now.

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  • Sara
    04/20/2017
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    No! No!!!

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  • Pru
    04/20/2017
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    Internet neutrality is crucial to this country, and its development.

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  • Anita
    04/21/2017
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    Net neutrality is a necessity...period. It's shameful that corruption has become the order of the day and the primary driving force is the menace of dark money.

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  • Gloria
    04/21/2017
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    This will only put more money in the hands of fewer people !VOTE NO !

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  • Desiree
    04/21/2017
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    Make the internet a public utility. Damn Trump and his minions.

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  • Hershey
    04/21/2017
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    Please call an independent counsel of all those who are lobbying for Trump's support and/or signature. Outrageous!!! America first, not if it pulls the strings of Trump's wallet!

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