Friday, January 27, 2012

Chuck Grassley: Broadband Killer And Corrupt Hack


Last year here at DWT we asked "Is Chuck Grassley Still Capable Of Working For The Good Of The Citizens Of Iowa?" You probably knew the answer to this question then, but if not, you will by the end of this post.

In that piece I looked at Grassley's Gingrinchian use of racial code words, such as his attack on and opposition to Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice, because she clerked for and was mentored by the civil-rights pioneer and first African-American Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall.

Shameful, but not surprising. And his behavior since... has not changed. 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.

Perhaps one of the few true things to come out of John McCain's mouth over the past few decades was when he was heatedly discussing the Vietnam MIA issue with Grassley and Grassley asked him, "Are you calling me stupid," and he replied, "No, I'm calling you a fucking jerk!"

So this is who Chuck Grasssley is. But in his battle to smear a small telecommunications company approved by both the Bush and Obama administrations to provide more spectrum, more telecom competition and potentially create thousands of jobs, he's been acting crazy, even for him. I wonder why that is.

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:

So big GPS players such as Trimble and John Deere and their friends in the monopolized telecom business, who give generously to Grassley, have decided to just make this go away, even though, "the interference is a result of GPS devices receiving signals from outside of their designated frequencies."

So, once again it is GPS' fault, but they don't want to deal with it. So they have themselves their very own shill in Chuck Grassley, who has gone around telling lie after lie after lie about the project, to protect his bribers (more on that at the bottom) in the GPS and telco industries. He has even threatened the FCC's ability to function over this. Which I guess is nothing new from the obstructionist, deranged old crank.

You won't see Grassley asking why the tests on this GPS signal distortion-- which again is their fault-- were rigged against Lightsquared:
Exasperated by a government process that has left them scrambling to avoid bankruptcy, LightSquared filed a complaint with NASA’s inspector general’s office Thursday alleging that a key member of a panel that advises the government on GPS violated ethics laws.

Bradford Parkinson, second in command of a federal advisory board that has played an integral role informing the government’s views of the LightSquared-GPS controversy, “appears to have violated a federal conflict of interest statute” as a special government employee, the filing states.

Parkinson serves as vice chairman of the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board, which advises the Defense Department, the Transportation Department and a host of other federal agencies on GPS policy. Parkinson has a multimillion dollar stake in Trimble, a GPS manufacturing company at the heart of a campaign to derail the broadband company from entering the market.

You also won't see Grassley the gainsayer questioning the well-planned PR smear campaign that has tried to turn Lightsquared into an example of Democratic "crony capitalism," in the words of walking embolism Michele Bachmann.

And you won't see him wondering why Deere & Co. seem to be bribing countries abroad, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (perhaps it hits a bit too close to home for Grassley?). while Trimble partnered with a company that lobbied the U.S. Government to do business with Libya. But they're concerned about "planes falling out of the sky," right? What patriots!

Maybe this is the answer to the question (don't miss donors 4, 5, and 12):

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