(Here's one view of Grassley's investigation of the LightSquared project, which I haven't previously covered at this blog. For balance I've added several statements from Grassley in the comments blow. Incidentally, Grassley did change his position on PIPA last month. - promoted by desmoinesdem)
Many of us who became bloggers did so to keep politicians honest. As that pertains to our Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, it seems to be getting more difficult these days. Let's just peruse the docket of recent Grassley behavior as summarized by Howie Klein at Down With Tyranny:
Grassley viciously attacked Office of Legal Counsel chief Virginia Seitz because he doesn't like an opinion of hers– something even a former Bush appointee to this position, Jack Goldsmith, referred to as “name callling” and “misplaced.”
He was so rude to the victims of the massacre in Tuscon a year ago that they sent him a letter demanding an apology. And recently the hacker group Anonymous saw him as such a corporate shill for SOPA and PIPA that out of all the corporate whores whose Twitter accounts they could have hacked they thought Grassley's made the most sense.
Quite a list. But, as Howie points out, it gets even worse, when considering the shameful way he played the role of the demagogue in his witch hunt conducted at the expense of telecom company Lightsquared:
Without getting too much into the technical aspects of this fight, a small company, Lightsquared, wants to provide Americans with more options in their telecom choices. But major GPS players claim that their signal is being distorted by the Lightsquared signal, so they used the post-9/11 fear tactics we've gotten to know so well, warning Americans about “planes falling out of the sky” so they wouldn't have to participate in fixing this problem–and could make Lightsquared go away. Here is Harold Feld of Public Knowledge, a well-respected authority on spectrum challenges, on this problem:
Now make no mistake, Grassley's smears of Lightsquared, as Democratic Party crony capitalism, as dangerous to GPS, have actually led a staff member at the FCC to refer to what he's doing as “McCarthyism.”
The truth is that the interference in the GPS signal “is a result of GPS devices receiving signals from outside of their designated frequencies.” And whatever money Lightsquared did or did not give to any politicians, it might make one suspicious that Grassley's 4th and 5th biggest financial backers stand to gain handsomely from Lightsquared's failure.
So why is he trying to destroy a company that will create more telecom competition, generally a very good thing in our almost monopolistic system? That would be a good question to ask the Senator. You might want to also ask him why he doesn't devote the same level of due diligence to his backers who stand to benefit from this. For example, Deere & Co, his #4 financial backer, who is being investigated for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for bribing officials abroad.
So give the Senator a call and be polite. But firmly ask these questions, as they need to be answered if there to be any transparency when it comes to his recent bizarre actions.
Disclosure: I am not an official for Lightsquared. I am also not being compensated for this. As a long-time tech enthusiast, though, I am a big believer in the idea of expanding broadband access to all, especially in rural areas, so that all have an equal opportunity to access the greatest storehouse of human knowledge and wisdom: the open Internet.
LATE UPDATE from desmoinesdem: the FCC withdrew its preliminary approval to LightSquared. I posted Grassley's statement in the comments.