3. is WAD, you can only influence planets below a certain population threshhold, I believe it is somewhere around 1.5 billion. It is not a cliff, though, but rather a cap, I think at 1.5 billion for example it caps at like 90% influence and goes down from there. Once you reach 3+ billion you wont be able to influence it at all.
2. is... well, pirate bases/fortresses have terrible defense and, on top of that, the Smuggler/Mercenary facility defense bonus is not working. I reported this though.
I ate the batter of the bulge at Hans' Haus of Luftwaffles