Report: President Trump Picks Former Verizon Lawyer Ajit Pai To Head FCC

from the populism-schmopulism dept

As many expected, Donald Trump has chosen former Verizon lawyer and current FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to head the FCC, according to a report by Politico. According to two anonymous insiders “familiar with the decision,” Pai, who met with Trump on Monday, should be formally announced as FCC boss in short order. Pai recently proclaimed that net neutrality’s “days are numbered” under Trump, while stating that the reformed FCC would be taking a “weed whacker” to “unnecessary regulations” like the FCC’s net neutrality rules and its new consumer broadband privacy protections.

Politico rather soft sells the controversy that Pai will represent to those who don’t think technology policy should be dictated by Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter Communications:

“Pai is already a familiar name in tech and telecom policy debates. He?s a fierce and vocal critic of many regulations passed by the commission’s Democratic majority, including the 2015 net neutrality rules that require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally and are opposed by the major broadband companies.”

Let’s be clear here. Pai has supported the incumbent duopoly providers on nearly every issue of substance. He has vilified net neutrality to an often-comic degree, falsely claiming the rules encouraged dictators in North Korea and Iran and led to a massive slowdown in industry investment. He has consistently refused to even admit the U.S. broadband market has a competition problem. He’s made it abundantly clear he wants to eliminate every FCC consumer protection function, and, alongside fellow Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, has even repeatedly voted down holding AT&T accountable for outright fraud.

If you’re looking for somebody who will rubber stamp every Comcast request shoveled in his general direction, Pai is certainly your man. If you’re looking for an FCC leader who’s going to care about consumer issues or the plight of the startup or small business in a word dominated by massive, ever-consolidating telecom conglomerates, you’re about to get a master class in disappointment. The irony, of course, is that Pai is about as far from the “populist” rhetoric President Trump leaned on to get elected as one can get:

Yes, nothing quite says “man of the people” like a former Verizon lawyer who has fought tooth and nail against every single effort to hold large ISPs accountable to the public. On any given day, if the wind is right and with enough pressure, Pai may just be convinced to occasionally do the right thing. But as the leader of an agency tasked with keeping Comcast from viciously savaging both consumers and the competition, it’s not really physically possible to make a more controversial and uninspired selection.

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Companies: at&t, comcast, verizon

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Comments on “Report: President Trump Picks Former Verizon Lawyer Ajit Pai To Head FCC”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

ahem… would?

I submit that it already had, and long ago.

Like that old joke where a guy asks a girl to sleep with them for a million bucks and she says yes…
he then asks… well how about for 100 and she then says no, she is not a hooker.
his reply is, we have already established that you are for sale, now we are just negotiating the price.

The same is said here… were are just negotiating this administrations terms for the regulatory capture.

And you are correct that people have goldfish political memories.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So we’ve identified the problem.

Do you have any suggestions on fixing it? Are you the anon who always shows up in the comments to say the FCC needs to be eliminated (or scaled back to just regulating the spectrum, which appears to be the Trump Administration’s intent)?

I submit that what we really need is campaign finance reform and stronger preventions against the revolving door between government and industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Do you have any suggestions on fixing it?”

Many have been made by myself and others, you just keep ignoring them and then saying no one ever makes a suggestion. Typical tripe, I guess you clowns did not learn with the ascension of Trumpalo. You can lie, ignore, or marginalize people with your own special brand of stupid but it does not always work.

You really are as thick this this guy right here…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

yea I know right?

there is just no way to look over the past articles here at TD and know any better.

You folks need to understand the difference between not liking someones solutions and someone not offering a solution. It was a favored lie of Obama as well, no wonder many of his sheeple have adopted the same.

Solutions have been offered on all sides to the point where the terms Pro-Regulation and Anti-Regulation are as equally presumptive as right/left, lib/con, rep/dem, and up/down. You have a specific narrative to push and you double down on the stupid in the process. Pro-Regulation does not mean anything regulation goes and neither does anti-regulation mean zero regulation of any kind.

If all you have for a tool is a hammer, then all problems begin to look like nails.

For Democrats, the tool of choice is marginalization, which means every problem becomes something to be marginalized.
White privilege? marginalize it!
Anti-PC rhetoric? marginalize it!
Anything not in alignment with your agenda? marginalize it!

In this way you treat others as insignificant or without contribution. The democratic party is the party of hubris, and pride does goeth before the fall! Hillary & possibly the whole Clintoon family recently experienced it along with many whine without cheeze democrats!

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Do you have any suggestions on fixing it?"

Many have been made by myself and others, you just keep ignoring them and then saying no one ever makes a suggestion. Typical tripe, I guess you clowns did not learn with the ascension of Trumpalo. You can lie, ignore, or marginalize people with your own special brand of stupid but it does not always work.

In other words, no.

CrushU (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

[i]stronger preventions against the revolving door between government and industry.[/i]

While good in theory, these preventions could also prevent Subject Matter Experts from holding political office, one of the severe problems we have in the tech sectory. (People who know how Tech works don’t hold public office.)

I do agree that people who used to literally campaign for certain proposals or laws should probably not be put in charge of approving/denying those proposals.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I was unaware that the President had such powers, dictate to industry what they will pay their non-minimum wage employees.

With corporations raping everything that does not fight back, is it any wonder that a wage gap increases. Hell, those friggin banksters even got a bonus after trashing the world economy – as if that was what they were being measured by. So yeah, lets just blame one person for everyone else’s screwups.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately the left hasn’t slowed that transfer down at all. DId you see the top 8 richest people own half the worlds wealth? Yea, full of lefties. You guys are drinking the kook-aid. Just line up behind them and keep giving them your money on the false promise that they will give some of it back to you.

TruthHurts (profile) says:

You seem to have forgotten something important...

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government.

So see, Trump really is for government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The only issue is that he, Trump, aka PotUS, only considers corporations as people.
To Trump, human beings are just bags of mostly water waiting to be stepped upon by the psychophantic imbeciles that he’s selected to head up the federal agencies he’s allowed to muck with.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: You seem to have forgotten something important...

On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons,


Citizens United did no such thing and I wish people would quit repeating this. Corporations have always enjoyed some of the same rights that individuals do, for example the right to own property and the right to enter into contracts. Some individual rights, like the right to vote or the right to marry, corporations will never have.

All Citizens did was to reinforce that groups of like-minded people have First Amendment rights as a group.

Here is how the Brennen Center for Justice puts it:

Citizens United did not grant corporations personhood. Corporations already had it. As lawyer David Gans has documented, despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution never mentions corporations, corporate personhood has been slithering around American law for a very long time. The first big leap in corporate personhood from mere property rights to more expansive rights was a claim that the Equal Protection Clause applied to corporations. Source

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: You seem to have forgotten something important...

It’s an issue of semantics (as all law is).

Santa Clara is the primary SCOTUS case cited in establishing the precedent of corporate personhood (as noted in your link). The problem is that it didn’t, really; the reference to corporate personhood was in a headnote, wasn’t intended to be recorded at all, and certainly wasn’t intended as precedent-setting.

Citizens United defined the principle of a corporation’s right to free speech in a clearer, less ambiguous, and presumably more precedent-setting way than Santa Clara. To say that it established corporate personhood is reductive, but I wouldn’t say it’s incorrect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You seem to have forgotten something important...

And some kind of personhood is needed given that you can sue a company at all in a criminal case.

What is needed is a delineation between corporate personhood and individual personhood. Right now you should incorporate to do almost anything since it is cheaper, more effective and less risky when you hide activities behind a corporate alias. It has always been so, but with the establishment of corporate personhood enjoying these rights, you are bad off not using an alias. (says the AC!)

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Appointment

No no, getting rid of the agency entirely would be a bit too obvious, instead what you want to do is get rid of any power it might have, perhaps under the guise of ‘streamlining the agency to better allow it to focus on it’s core job’ involving gutting it’s funding, changing the law so that it can only apply it’s power extremely narrowly, or both.

Then you staff it with people that will rules as you like to make sure that whatever power it does still have will be used as you desire.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“socialist decisions of the FCC”

Specifically, what decisions are these to which you refer and what exactly in them associates them with any particular political leaning?

“They really didn’t appear to have the authority to enact legislation”

I was unaware that the FCC authored legislation, are you willing to share details? I thought only congress did that sort of thing (even though they don’t actually write anything)

“So suck it up.”
Ummmm – I’m sucking anything, but thanks anyways.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

whoa… socialism in general likes regulation, even though it is not the only ism that does. You need to bone up on some political sciency thingies.

Regulation = Law (usually done by the agencies which is unconstitutional as OP stated as congress lacks the authority to grant agencies law or regulation writing powers)
Legislation = Law (provided by the legislative branch which is comprised of the House and Congress)

So of regulation and legislation carries the same weight of law behind them… then they are one and the same! A distinction without a difference!
Surely this is not the first time you have run across the government using forked tongue words to muddy the constitutional waters?

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"It’s fun to watch liberal snowflakes getting all upset because the socialist decisions of the FCC are likely to get overturned."

By ‘socialist decisions’ you mean consumer protection rules that attempt to prevent big corporations from ripping off the public, stop anti-competitive and anti-consumer behavior and protect your privacy, and which have broad non-partisan support from the public? What the hell kind of sociopath are you that you would celebrate overturning that? Or are you just another paid shill or someone who’d benefit directly from this at the public’s expense?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Socialist decisions are the type made to benefit the public without consideration to the effects on the business side. Artificially limiting pricing or business models can create situations where the product just is no longer available.

The FCC push on net neutrality was a socialist decision. It is also unrealistic as the are trying to regulate what is offered on the internal networks of an ISP. Net neutrality, had it existed 20 years ago, would have outlawed AOL. What an ISP decided to offer as over the top services inside their own networks should not be a concern of the FCC. Trying to regulate that stuff isn’t going to benefit anyone, it leaves ISPs little reason to add connectivity or speed inside their own networks.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Artificially limiting pricing or business models can create situations where the product just is no longer available.

If ‘you must treat all traffic the same and aren’t allowed to treat some traffic different than others and/or charge more to one company/service than you do another for the same use’ is enough to bring down a company then I feel safe in saying that their ‘business model’ was broken well before that point and they deserve to crash and burn.

Or how about simple privacy protection rules, making it so the customer is able to understand what the ISP wants to grab and changing the process to op-in rather than opt-out(assuming the customer even can opt-out under the previous rules)? If something like that is enough to bring a company to their knees then once again I’d say they fully deserve the damage they suffer.

We’re not talking about poor, unfairly maligned companies that just want the best for their customers, these are companies with a well earned reputation among customers that is anything but good, and a history of doing everything they can to screw everyone in their pursuit of more money for less work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Socialist decisions are the type made to benefit the public without consideration to the effects on the business side. “

Is this straight out of your poly sci textbook?
I doubt it.

Your false dichotomy point of view distorts your perception.

“Artificially limiting pricing or business models can create situations where the product just is no longer available. “

and you think this only occurs in what you refer to as a socialist government.

Anonymous Coward says:

TD was just as alarmist when Wheeler took office.

Lawyers are mercenaries. That this guy was good at working for assholes, does not preclude him from being aware that he was working for assholes.

And it is worth pointing out that Wheelers regs were very appeasement oriented. They were not a technological transliteration of Constitutional principles, but more apologist compromises for past rapes, while the telecom sector still had its dick in the Constitution.

So it doesn’t really matter what they say at this point. Repealing some of the NN regs, isn’t a bad thing if they are replaced with regs that are in better conformance with the bill or rights.

timgolden (profile) says:

shame! shame! shame! on y'all [President(s) + OMB + Congress]

WE’RE CHAMPIONS here of CIVIL RIGHTS and this is why we want this agency,
to be one of the best in our portfolio.
– Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Thursday, May 3, 2007
EEOC case dumping scandal 2009 – 2017

in other words

U.S. Border Patrol Staffing 2009 – 2017 = 21,000 agents/yr
EEOC Budget and Staffing 2009 – 2017 = 2,200 employees/yr

in other words

U.S. Border Patrol Staffing 2009 – 2017 = 21,000 agents/yr
EEOC Budget and Staffing 2009 – 2017 = 666 investigators/yr
page 30 Chart 2 EEOC investigators assigned
shame! shame! shame! on y’all [President(s) + OMB + Congress]

timgolden (profile) says:

Q: what would JESUS spanking goliath (government) look like?

As the Chairwoman of the Senate’s Appropriations Committee,
Barbara Mikulski has always known that
– President Obama
May 3, 2015

timgolden (profile) says:

Q: are y'all pro-CHRIST or anti-CHRIST?

U.S. Department of Justice,
Fact 1: if Trump is pro-CHRIST then Trump is pro-woman
Fact 2: if Trump is pro-woman then Trump wants
every woman Taxpayer’s complainT to be investigated “in good faith”
Fact 3: if Trump is pro-CHRIST then Trump will (play Robin Hood =)
A) take $9.99 billion from the rich [Pentagon budget]
B) give $9.99 billion to the poor [EEOC + EBSA + EPA + OSHA budgets]
C) hire Bill (not Cosby not Clinton) Bratton to be EEOC chair
D) make him hire 5000 (competent + ethical) EEOC investigators
(retired detectives and military who were given pink slips)
E) let G-D watch workplace discrimination become a sin of the past
Fact 4: 666 EEOC investigators can’t investigate “in good faith” 100,000 complainTs/yr
Fact 5: if Trump isn’t pro-CHRIST then Trump is anti-CHRIST
bro(t)her! now (nunc) you (wee spirit) know G-D’S ABCs and 123s

timgolden (profile) says:

install breathalyzers in all (new + old) motor vehicles

U.S. Department of Justice,
Fact: I Told Geico (many moons ago),
“if y’all really want to save lots and lots of lives and money then
1) install speed cameras on all parkways and all expressways
so accidents don’t happen
2) set speed-limiters in all (new + old) motor vehicles to 75 mph
3) start pulling the data from all motor vehicles’ black boxes
when accidents do happen
4(e!) install breathalyzers in all (new + old) motor vehicles

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