Poor people should get slower internet. New York attorney plans investigations of Trump. Trump’s election stunt cost $210 million [r/politics, Episode #9]

#1

Poor people should get slower internet speeds, American ISPs tell FCC

Analysis ISPs should be paid to provide slower internet speeds to poor people.

That’s the extraordinary upshot of a meeting between an ISP industry group and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In a letter recording a meeting between the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA) and the legal advisors to two FCC commissioners, the industry group “emphasized that the Commission’s goals would be better served by directing support to areas that lack any service at all and those that have access only below 10/1 Mbps.”

The current definition of broadband is 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up. That was introduced in 2015 and replaced an older, outdated definition of 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up.

But in order to meet its own broadband rollout targets, the current FCC has been trying to find ways to lower the 25/3 Mbps requirement. It initially launched an effort to backtrack from the current definition by equating mobile and fixed broadband and tried to redefine broadband as the average speed used by consumers in specific areas.

That fudge failed however after an outcry. And so last month, the FCC proposed a different solution: using its subsidy program for low-income households as a way to get around its current definition by expanding subsidies to ISPs offering only 10/1 Mbps.

#2

Incoming New York attorney general plans wide-ranging investigations of Trump and family

New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James says she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and “anyone” in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.

“We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.

James outlined some of the probes she intends to pursue with regard to the president, his businesses and his family members. They include:

  • Any illegalities involving Trump’s real estate holdings in New York, highlighting the October New York Times investigation into the president’s finances.
  • The June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a Russian official.
  • Examine government subsidies Trump received, which were also the subject of Times investigative work.
  • Whether he is in violation of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution through his New York businesses.
  • Continue to probe the Trump Foundation.

“We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law,” said James, who was endorsed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

#3

Mike Pence just cast a historic tie-breaking vote to confirm a judge the ABA called “not qualified”

Vice President Mike Pence made history Tuesday with a last-second tie-breaking vote to save, rather heroically, a federal judge nominee the American Bar Association had deemed unfit to serve in that role.

It was the first-ever tie-breaking vote to confirm a federal judge nominee — in this case, Jonathan Kobes, whom legal experts called a competent and capable person, just not Circuit Court judge material.

“The Committee believes that Mr. Kobes has neither the requisite experience nor evidence of his ability to fulfill the scholarly writing required of a United States Circuit Court Judge,” a September ABA letter addressed to the Senate Judiciary Committee said.

“None of the writing that we reviewed is reflective of complex legal analysis, knowledge of the law, or ability to write about complex matters in a clear and cogent manner — qualities that are essential for a Circuit Court judge.”

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 50-50 on Kobes for Missouri’s Eighth Circuit, leaving Pence, the president of the Senate, with the tie-breaking vote. Though tie-breaking Senate votes are essentially the vice president’s only official role, other than taking over for the president if he dies or resigns, it’s the first time that’s ever happened in a federal judicial confirmation vote, according to legal experts.

Trump ignited national controversy over his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, who was publicly accused of sexual assault and misconduct by numerous women. But Trump has also had a big effect on the less-scrutinized lower federal courts, which decide a majority of cases, appointing a vast array of judges at a faster rate than any other recent president at this point in his term.

#4

Trump’s election stunt at the border cost US taxpayers $210 million.

Deploying troops to defend against a “caravan” of migrants was an election stunt all along. Now we know just how much America paid for it.

Trump’s deployment of more than 5,000 American troops to the southern border – a mission that cannot in good conscience be called quixotic only because at least Don Quixote actually believed the windmills at which he was tilting were real monsters – will cost American taxpayers at least $72 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The real number is higher still because it includes Trump’s activation earlier in the year of the National Guard to the border, which cost a further $138 million. That means that it is now possible to put a price-tag on one of the most bare-faced and cynical election stunts in American history: $210 million.

Trump only talked about the so-called “migrant caravan” – which he framed as an invading army, playing to the fears of White Nationalists by describing them almost lasciviously as “young strong men” many of whom could be “Middle Eastern” – in order to activate his base in border states such as Texas.