Can it only be a year until we can finally say goodbye to Chuck? Once an actual senator, Chuck Grassley has turned into little more than a teabag tool as he uses his seniority and influence to stop anything and everything that would keep your government and mine functioning. Since Obama became president, it has been pretty apparent that Chuck sees his mission as an obstructor of the first order.
In short, Chuck allows little if anything to happen in his capacity as Senate Judiciary chair. Since the Senate Judiciary Committee is really important, Chuck can gum things up pretty damned good. Currently, Chuck is in a snit because he didn’t get in on the early Hillary Clinton email action. Chuck thinks the State Department isn’t giving him enough respect, so no more diplomats for them.
“I will object because the Department of State has failed to fully respond to almost a dozen outstanding letters dating back to 2013,” Grassley said. “In addition, on August 20, 2015, my staff met with Department officials in an effort to prioritize material for production. The Department has failed to comply with its commitments.”
Grassley has sent multiple request[s] to administration officials, including the State Department, over issues ranging from human trafficking to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails. The Iowa Republican noted that his objections were partly tied to Congress’s probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server. […]
With Wednesday’s hold, Grassley is now blocking 22 State Department nominees. He added the decision to block on Egan’s nomination “is not intended to question the credentials of Mr. Egan in any way.”
This follows on the heels of his one man mission to stop all appointments to the federal judiciary. Chuck decided on his own it seems that there will be no more judges approved by his committee while Obama is president. Wouldn’t want that. He’ll no doubt wait for President Trump or President Carson to make any moves. Let’s see how bad it is. According to Matt Sinovic of “Why Courts Matter Iowa”:
“Senator Grassley is on pace to be the most obstructionist Judiciary Committee chair since 1953,” Sinovic says.
Grassley took over as Judiciary Committee chairman in January. The committee conducts hearings and votes on the people the president nominates to serve as federal judges. A handful of nominees have made it through that process so far this year.
“There are 67 vacancies across the country, including 31 that have been declared judicial emergencies and what that means is that these vacancies have been languishing so long that Americans are waiting for their day in court,” Sinovic says. “According to the Alliance for Justice, the total number of days for those 67 vacancies that have been open is for 28,533 days.”
When people say the government doesn’t do a damned thing, then that is our Chuck they are talking about.
He has taken time to vote to close Planned Parenthood however, showing that there is a pulse. No doubt as long as Chuck can he will work to put women in their place.
Stopping government at the bargain rate of only $175,000 a year. Can I get a refund?
In case you missed the vote taken Thursday, the senate failed to pass the short term spending bill that would keep the government open past Oct. 1st. A key provision of that spending bill was defunding Planned Parenthood. Thus a yes vote for the bill would at the same time be a vote to defund PP. This would be a major blow to the health care of women, especially poor women, in this country.
As expected, Iowa’s Republican senators both voted to defund PP.
With an election campaign coming up next fall it seems rather arrogant of Grassley to tell half of the voters of Iowa that he doesn’t support one of Iowa’s mainstay healthcare institutions for women’s health. However, most can remember Grassley’s “standing in the schoolhouse door” approach to the PPACA and his “pull the plug on Grandma” moment as part of his attempt to stop that bill.
Grassley stands for the wealthy. He has opposed any attempt to make health care more accessible for everyone throughout his career.
Grassley is so out of touch with Iowa. Next year will be a good time for him to be retired.
Rob Hogg, Tom Fiegen or Bob Krause will be happy to help him retire.
Three fine examples of Republican leaders in Iowa and what they really think of the average Iowan.
First is not an elected official, but WHO radio personality Jan Mickelson whose program is essentially Republican propaganda.
Second we have a story about a Grassley appearance in Clarinda with a very insightful comment by a reader:
From the story:
Regarding the economy, you would think that the area’s struggling agriculture would be a major concern for Grassley’s audiences.
“Surprisingly, that’s not coming up,” he said. “And, you’d expect that come up when you’re losing a dollar for every bushel of corn you grow. I think it comes up through trade issues. But, people aren’t saying you’ve got to do something to get corn back up to seven-and-a-half dollars, because they probably realize you’d be better off making five dollars for six dollars on a bushel of corn, rather than seven or eight dollars.”
The senator says the recent fluctuation in commodities demonstrates the need for free trade agreements.
Tom Klemesrud · Retired Hollywood editor at Self Employed Investor
Senator Grassley, when you were down to Palm Beach, Florida weeks ago at that swank hotel at the $10,400 a plate dinner that Marco Rubio arranged for you, (in return for showing him around at the Iowa State fair yesterday), did the people in Clarinda seem concerned about why Cuban-Americans are giving you all that money?
I’ll bet it has something to do with you opposing the normalization of trade with Cuba that so many Iowa farmers wants to have happen. Don’t you, Senator Grassley, consider this a betrayal of the farmers’ interests?
Third from our friends at Progress Iowa a story about Governor Branstad working hard to make his mansion more luxurious after cutting school funds and other monies for public services. Hey, Terry, how about sharing the pain a little? You know, we are all in this together?
While the Governor was vetoing money for K-12 education, mental health institutes, and our universities, he was busy raising money behind the scenes for a private foundation to put in and restore a reflecting pool at his Terrace Hill mansion.
Those are Branstad’s shameful priorities — a reflecting pool at his mansion, not Iowa’s public services.
On Tuesday, August 25th there will be a public meeting at 9:00 AM held at the Terrace Hill gift shop, where Iowans can give input about the pool. Will you join us?
Our request is simple: every dollar the Governor has raised should be put toward restoring his harmful vetoes — not his new pool.
Thanks for all you do,
Action Alert from Progress Iowa:
For the past six months, Senator Grassley has refused to schedule a nomination hearing for Judge Felipe Restrepo in the Judiciary Committee. He is obstructing the Restrepo nomination despite the Judge’s extensive qualifications, past support in the U.S. Senate, and despite the support he has received from his home-state Senators – one Republican, one Democrat.
Judge Restrepo’s vacancy has now been declared a state of ‘judicial emergency’ — with people needlessly awaiting their day in court because of Senator Grassley’s obstruction.
Senator Grassley promised not to play politics with our courts when taking over chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee; it’s time for him to live up to that promise.
Will you call today and ask Senator Grassley to stop obstructing the Restrepo nomination?
Thanks for all you do,
P.S. Sen. Grassley doesn’t get it, that justice delayed is justice denied. Tell him to stop obstructing the Restrepo nomination today.
Bribery by ALEC in Georgia uncovered by the press last week. (starts at 0:18)
The story is just beginning to emerge from the Justice Department of the corruption that J. Dennis Hastert undertook as Speaker of the House from 1999 to his ouster in 2007 and beyond. Our readers are plenty able to follow the story on their own. I just want to comment on a couple of aspects.
First, corruption by public officials to me is among the worst crimes that can be committed. Using an office of power and steering public funds to cronies for a bribe is bad enough, but it also means that some other public good will not receive budget considerations they deserve. In many cases this could be money that may make life and death differences to poor people.
Second, is there any better example of why money should be as well separated from politics as possible. There should also be a separation of lobbyists from the corridors of power. Any meeting between a lobbyist and any decision maker or someone who has access to a decision maker should be scheduled, made public, and be open to anyone to attend, especially the press. Sunshine is the best disinfectant for corruption.
Third, have you given much thought to how thoroughly corrupt the Bush II administration was? From Cheney steering the country to war and making HUGE amounts of money on his Halliburton stock to Abramoff, and now to Hastert. We will be finding out soon that Sibel Edmonds tried to turn Hastert in, but John Ashcroft put her under a gag order.
Fourth, the case of Sibel Edmonds who tried to tell the Hastert story 10 years or more back shows how valuable whistle blowers are. Along with Edward Snowden and Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, like what they did or not, they exposed some deep and very harmful corruption in our government. No wonder the powers that be are so afraid of them. We are a democracy folks. We need the truth to keep this democracy functioning.
Finally, are we starting to understand why Republicans were so afraid of Loretta Lynch. In the month or so of her tenure, high profile cases are getting the attention they deserve. Baltimore, FIFA and now Hastert. I hope she is just warming up. Wall Street and the banksters need her attention.
So now we know it wasn’t because of her skin color or her gender that Republicans feared her. It was because she might actually be competent and honest. Bad traits to Republicans. No doubt that is why Grassley and Ernst voted against her.
Last words on Hastert. I hope he is convicted and they lock the cell door behind him and lose the key.
Iowa Leaders Call on Senator Grassley to Hold a Confirmation Hearing for Judge Restrepo
DES MOINES & WATERLOO, IOWA – Iowa leaders today met with Senator Chuck Grassley’s staff in Des Moines and Waterloo to stress the need to hold a confirmation hearing for Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo, and inquired why he is not among those being considered during Wednesday’s Judiciary Committee meeting.
After meeting with Senator Grassley’s staff, a number of local leaders issued statements in advance of tomorrow’s committee hearing:
Sue Dinsdale, Executive Director, Iowa Citizen Action Network:
“When he took over the judiciary committee, Senator Grassley led us all to believe he would not play politics with our courts. Unfortunately, the Senator has let down Iowans and Americans by blocking a number of judicial appointments, including even holding a hearing for Judge Restrepo. We can’t afford to wait any longer while Senator Grassley delays, delays, and delays.”
Matt Sinovic, Executive Director, Progress Iowa:
“If justice delayed is justice denied, then Senator Grassley is responsible for denying justice to far too many across the country. Our courts should be free from political influence, and the kind of petty gamesmanship being shown by Grassley with his refusal to even hold a hearing for Judge Restrepo.”
Chris Schwartz, Director, Americans for Democratic Action Iowa:
“Senator Grassley is building a legacy of obstruction, if he doesn’t hold hearings soon his legacy as an obstructionist will be written in stone.”
Joe Henry, State Director, League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa:
“It’s time for Senator Chuck Grassley to stop holding up the appointment of Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo. This vacancy on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals is considered a judicial emergency. Yet Senator Grassley who heads the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has refused to hold a hearing on Judge Restrepo’s appointment even though the judge has the support of the senators from his home state and was unanimously appointed to his current position as a U.S. District judge by the U.S. Senate. Judge Restrepo has provided Senator Grassley with detailed responses to a long list of his questions, and has made many efforts to address any alleged concerns our senator may have. Our court system needs to be adequately staffed, and our government has an opportunity to do that with Judge Restrepo’s appointment. Senator Grassley has only let two of the seven people President Obama nominated to fill judgeships have hearings. Our senator needs to stop playing politics with our judicial branch and let these qualified individuals have their chance before the committee.”
Donna Red Wing, Executive Director, One Iowa:
“Senator Grassley would do well to remember that Judge Restrepo is a respected veteran attorney and judge. Before his appointment to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, he served as a state and federal public defender, a civil rights attorney, and a federal magistrate judge, among other accomplishments. Only two years ago, Judge Restrepo was unanimously confirmed for his seat on the District Court by both the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate. We respectfully ask that Senator Grassley immediately schedule a hearing for Judge Restrepo, and all the other judicial nominees languishing on his watch.”
It has been more than six months since President Obama nominated U.S. District Judge Luis Felipe Restrepo to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Restrepo was born in Columbia, became a citizen in 1993, and earned his degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate to his current post as a judge in the Eastern District just two years ago.
Despite past public statements of support from home state Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey, Senator Grassley has refused to hold a confirmation hearing for Restrepo.
Why the holdup on Third Circuit judge nominee?
Long past time to let 3rd circuit nominee Restrepo have his hearing
Charles Grassley, like it or not, will be up for re-election in 2016. There is no time like the present to let him know what he should be doing for the people of Iowa. Joni Ernst is in her first months and has already taken many steps that should be making her unpopular among voters. Like it or not, they are our senators and they need to hear from us.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) may be up for a vote in the senate next week. My expectation, as I am sure yours is, is that Grassley and Ernst will vote for fast-tracking the TPP in lockstep with other Republicans. Remember this vote is not to approve the TPP, but to give the administration the ability to negotiate and approve the TPP basically behind closed doors. This is not what representative democracy is about.
Approving a trade pact the size of TPP in the dark just tears at all the basic tenets of democracy. From what we know TPP will affect every segment of our society. We have also learned that there are many troubling aspects to problem resolution within TPP that may overrule our laws from outside. Not a situation that America should allow itself to get into.
There appear to be many other troubling aspects of the TPP but we do not know for sure what is in this pact since all negotiations have been under super secrecy. The latest rumor is that the TPP is based on the model of the recent (2011) trade pact with South Korea (KORUS) that has been disastrous for the United States. That agreement has sent yet more American jobs offshore while greatly expanding our trade deficit. TPP will do the same on steroids. America can not afford the TPP.
Here is what I will send to our senators:
I am writing to ask that you vote against fast track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership. This trade agreement will affect all aspects of the American economy and possibly aspects of out day tot day lives. In a democracy such as ours, any act that will have this much affect on the daily lives of our citizens should have open debate so that all sides may be brought out. There should also be plenty of time and opportunity for common citizens to offer input.
Please vote against fast tracking authority for the TPP when it comes to the senate floor.
Here are the email links for Grassley and Ernst:
Speculation may have been spurred last night on Iowa Press when former governor and current US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said he would not rule out putting his name on a ballot again.
From the radioiowa news story:
Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack says he wants to come back to Iowa and he isn’t ruling out another run for political office. Vilsack has served in President Obama’s cabinet since January of 2009, as the nation’s ag secretary.
“I have been really blessed and privileged by this state and the one thing I definitely want to do, regardless of the future, is I want to come back here and I want to contribute in some way,” Vilsack says. “I don’t want to go some place else. I want to come back home because this is where the people of Iowa gave me all these extraordinary opportunities and I will be forever indebted to them.”
Vilsack, who grew up in Pennsylvania, met Christie Bell of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in college and adopted her hometown as his own after the couple married. Vilsack was elected mayor of Mount Pleasant and won a seat in the state senate before being elected governor in 1998. Vilsack won reelection in 2002, but did not seek a third term, saying eight years was enough. He’s not ruling out the idea of putting his name on an Iowa ballot again, though.
The first thought would be that Vilsack would most likely be interested in a state wide office. The major state wide office that would be up in the next election would be US senator. That seat is of course occupied by Chuck Grassley. In 2016 at the time of the next election, Grassley will be completing his 36th year as a senator and his 58th year in a legislative position. Over the years Grassley has embarrassed Iowans over and over, but somehow he keeps getting re-elected. Defeating Grassley will be a monumental task even at the then age of 83.
Here is an ad from his last run to remind us what an embarrassment Grassley can be:
Vilsack will have the name recognition that many of Grassley’s opponents have not had. He also will be running in a presidential year which historically has helped the Democratic turnout. As things are shaping up now, a national ticket with Hillary clinton at the top may add a spur to that turnout.
Just speculation folks. Removing Grassley from the senate should be a top priority for Iowans.
Below is a letter to the editor from Muscatine County Democratic chair, Don Paulsen
Forty-seven Republican U.S. Senators, including Iowa’s Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, have shamefully and illegally tried to sabotage negotiations between the United States and Iran. The New York Daily News goes so far as to call them traitors. It’s pretty clear they have violated the Logan Act, which reads as follows-
“Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or any officer thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” (from Lestatdelc, Daily Kos, 3/10/15)
Indépendant U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders made this statement, “It appears that for most of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, a war if Afghanistan and a war in Iraq were not enough. They now apparently want a war in Iran as well. President Obama is working with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China to negotiate a peaceful means to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. These negotiations must be allowed to continue and, hopefully, will succeed. It is an outrage that my Republican colleagues are trying to sabotage that effort.”
No one wants Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Perhaps if the Israelis would allow international inspectors into their facility at Dimona the world would know how many nuclear bombs the Israelis have. That would certainly give any nation in the Middle East pause. Mutually Assured Destruction is still a valid point.
As for Grassley and Ernst, please resign immediately.
Ed. note – if you have never been outraged, you should be now. Will you do something?