I have refrained from saying much about politics since the new administration began for a number of reasons.
Even before the Obama administration it had become increasingly clear that Federal politics had moved away from legislation and governance based on policies to serve the people, to a partisan culture of winning for the party. This was openly said during the recent Alabama U.S. Senate race, when many said they would support an awful candidate before they would vote for a member of the other party. Thus the result was much closer than it should have been.
The current Republican majorities in the House and Senate have passed legislation without the input, or a single vote from the Democrats. They have used any means to avoid debate or the ability to compromise, and improve, legislation that is overwhelmingly unpopular with the majority of Americans. And have intentionally inflated the Federal budget so they can justify the coming efforts to cut social safety nets. At the same time they have approved additional billions of dollars to the already bloated military budget.
The amazing fiscal dishonesty is on full display, when, during the Obama administration, Republicans refused money for social programs unless cuts were made in other social programs. Now that the Republicans are in power, there is no such fiscal restraint/constraint.
The widespread implementation of gerrymandering and voter suppression laws make it more difficult to challenge incumbents. Fortunately, there is a wave of new candidates and increased voter participation.
Although the Democratic party most often reflects my values, this criticism of the Republican party is not because of differences related to policy, but because of the corruption of the processes to create and implement policy based legislation.
Finally, we are learning more and more about Russian interference in our elections. Here once again we are seeing party over people, as Republicans try to divert attention from the Russian investigations. So we are faced with the prospect of continued Russian interference in future elections.
There are multiple instances of the President obstructing justice related to these matters.
The reason I felt I had to write to Senator Grassley was because of his attempts to withhold the damaging information we now know is in the testimony by Fusion GPS about Russian interference in the last election. And we know that the Senator knew this when he tried to suppress it. I am very grateful to Senator Feinstein for her courageous decision to release the transcripts.
Additionally, it is a grave injustice to suggest criminal charges against Chris Steele, who did a professional job of investigation, and of alerting the Federal Bureau of Investigation when he began to think he was witnessing a crime in progress. Suggesting criminal charges against him is simply persecution.
Congress was reluctant to impeach Richard Nixon, and that only happened when the people spoke out and insisted. We seem to be approaching a similar situation today, and we need to speak out, again. That is why I wrote the following letter to Senator Grassley and the Des Moines Register.
Dear Senator Grassley,
I am very disappointed by your refusal to release the testimony by Fusion GPS. And especially upset by the false characterizations you made about the testimony.
But most especially by your referral of Chris Steele to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges when it is now clear he did us a great service.
The least you could do is withdraw that request.
I am very glad Senator Feinstein released the transcript.