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California and Trump Administration Battle over New California Net Neutrality Law

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed toughest net neutrality law in the United States requiring internet providers to always maintain a level playing field online, triggering an immediate lawsuit by the Trump administration.

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Sacramento, CA, United States (4E) – California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed toughest net neutrality law in the United States requiring internet providers to always maintain a level playing field online, triggering an immediate lawsuit by the Trump administration.

Gov. Brown signed Senate Bill 822 (S.B. 822) into law on Sept. 30. The new law seeks to re-establish net neutrality as the core principle by which internet service providers treat all data carried over their networks within California.

The new law’s full title is the “California Internet Consumer Protection and Net Neutrality Act of 2018.”

S.B. 822 extends to the state’s 40 million residents a host of legal protections aimed at limiting the power of Big Telecom, or the few companies that sell internet subscriptions to nearly 100 million U.S. broadband customers.

“I’m very grateful to the governor for really taking a hard look at this and understanding that if the federal government refuses to protect net neutrality, that California has a responsibility to step in,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, S.B. 822’s principal author

While other laws prohibit companies such as AT&T and Verizon from throttling or blocking internet traffic on a whim, S.B. 822 also cancels a number loopholes not addressed in the underlying rules of the 2015 Open Internet Order repealed by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December 2017.

“SB 822 sets a standard that other states can and should follow,” said Barbara van Schewick, director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. “Existing state-level laws and executive orders have just copied the text of the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules, leaving out critical protections. By contrast, SB822 includes the important protections and clarifications in the full Order which explained the rules and closed known loopholes.”

The law takes aim at “zero rating” schemes where ISPs incentivize the exclusive use of their own apps and services over those offered by competitors by not subjecting them to ISP-imposed data limits.

The U.S. Department of Justice wants to stop the new California law, arguing it creates burdensome, anti-consumer requirements that go against the federal government’s approach of deregulating the internet.

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Politics

North Korea Threatens to Cancel Denuclearization Talks over Latest Sanctions

North Korea angrily blasted the latest United States sanctions, saying this move by the Trump administration could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever.”

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Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor

Pyongyang, North Korea (4E) – North Korea angrily blasted the latest United States sanctions, saying this move by the Trump administration could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever.”

North Korea denounced the latest U.S. sanctions, which Washington imposed on three top Noorth Korean officials for serious human rights abuses and censorship. It expressed “shock and indignation” at the new U.S. sanctions while accusing Trump of being “bent on bringing… relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire.”

Pyongyang noted Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” will be his “greatest miscalculation.”It urged Trump to return to the confidence building that was hoped for following the summit in Singapore last June between Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Washington said it imposed the sanctions after a U.S. Department of State report revealed human rights abuses committed by the men. The U.S. Department of Treasury named those sanctioned as Ryong Hae Choe, an aide close to Kim, who leads the Workers’ Party of Korea Organization and Guidance Department. Also sanctioned was State Security Minister Kyong Thaek Jong sand Propaganda and Agitation Department head Kwang Ho Pak.

The sanctions freeze any assets the three North Koreans might have under U.S. jurisdiction. It also generally prevents them from making transactions with anyone in the United States. The sanctions were announced as the State Department released a report on North Korean human rights and other abuses.

The State Department report said human rights abuses in North Korea “remain among the worst in the world and include extrajudicial killings, forced labor, torture, prolonged arbitrary detention, rape, forced abortions, and other sexual violence.

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Chris Matthews Predicts Trump Might Resign “in the Coming Weeks”

Liberal pundit Chris Matthews, who hosts the talk show, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, told his TV audience about his hunch Donald Trump might resign in the coming weeks as part of a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

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New York, NY, United States (4E) – Liberal pundit Chris Matthews, who hosts the talk show, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, told his TV audience about his hunch Donald Trump might resign in the coming weeks as part of a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Matthews also said Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump could be the “next dominoes to fall” in the Mueller investigation. Trump’s children might face prosecution and possible prison time for their roles related to Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.

“But what if the prosecutor were to offer the president an alternative,” asked Matthews. “What if he were to say he would let the children walk if the old man does the same? That would mean giving up the presidency in exchange for acquittals all around — not just for himself, but for all his kids.”

He said Trump might have to emulate former Vice President Spiro Agnew, who resigned in 1973 as part of a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison time in a tax evasion case.

“Leverage the office while you still have it,” said Matthews in a piece of advice to Trump.

“So let’s watch the probable events of the coming weeks bring all this to a breaking point,” he said. “It is going to be historic.”

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US Senate Passes Criminal Justice Reform

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to decrease America’s substantial prison population by lowering some mandatory federal sentences, giving inmates added opportunities to earn reductions in jail time, and encouraging prisoners to better themselves so they are less likely to return to crime upon release.

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Washington, DC, United States (VOA) – The U.S. Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation to decrease America’s substantial prison population by lowering some mandatory federal sentences, giving inmates added opportunities to earn reductions in jail time, and encouraging prisoners to better themselves so they are less likely to return to crime upon release.

Passing 87-12, the First Step Act was hailed by proponents as a long-overdue retooling of the federal criminal justice system, an effort that drew resounding support from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as President Donald Trump.

“Congratulations to the Senate on the bipartisan passing of a historic Criminal Justice Reform Bill,” Trump tweeted shortly after the vote. “I look forward to signing this into law!”

“The bill makes smart changes to our criminal justice system in ways that will make it fairer, more humane, and more just,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said.

“This legislation is proof that we can be tough on crime and more compassionate to those who deserve a second chance,” Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker said in a statement.

The bill retroactively ends the discrepancy in federal sentences for drug offenses involving crack and the powder form of cocaine, which would reduce jail time for thousands of prisoners convicted of crack offenses.

The legislation also reduces some mandatory sentences, gives federal judges more flexibility to make exceptions to mandatory prison terms, and allow inmates to earn greater sentence reductions through good behavior and vocational training.

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