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My Opponent is Smearing Me, So I Need Your Help
24 October 2014 - 4:44pm
Last Chance: Nancy Pelosi, Me, and You
11 October 2014 - 2:09pm
Let’s Get Rid of the Obstructionist-in-Chief, Mitch McConnell
7 October 2014 - 2:44pm
GOP Idiocy: Imprison the Nephews for What the Uncles Did?
6 October 2014 - 3:37pm
If You Haven’t Read Anything Else, Read This
30 September 2014 - 6:48pm
My Opponent is Smearing Me, So I Need Your Help
24 October 2014 - 4:44pm

My opponent has just rolled out a disgusting attack website, proclaiming that I’m “without honor.” Her dirty gutter-site spews out utterly specious attacks on my personal life and my professional experience, in lieu of anything resembling an actual discussion of issues.

What does my opponent’s smear-site say about jobs? Nothing.

Healthcare? Nothing.

Education? Nothing.

Foreign policy? Nothing.

The budget? Nothing.

The gap between rich and poor? Nothing.

Taxes? Nothing.

Just trash, slime, muck, crud and scuz. What President Clinton called “the politics of personal destruction.”

My opponent is wrong on the issues. She’s done nothing to help the voters. So all she can do is denigrate me and vilify me, dragging my name through the mud.

So help us fight back. Please – help us fight back.

The great majority of my opponent's dreck-site is just slanderous swill about my personal life. But once in a while, something resembling an actual issue insinuates itself into the stream of calumny -- in a very revealing way.

Here are a few more things that my opponent’s sewer-site chastises me for:

My call for stricter campaign finance laws (which she argues makes me “hypocritical,” apparently because we have so many small donors).

My successful battle to prevent crooked contractors who cheat the taxpayers and the troops from getting new federal contracts (because this supposedly constitutes an attack on “small business”).

My support for a new Planned Parenthood clinic in my district (because she says that it supposedly would “target Hispanics for destruction”; in the GOP lexicon, a pap smear is “destruction”).

My sympathy for the 80,000 people in my district who are undocumented (because, according to my very confused opponent, all Hispanics are “legal US citizens”).

My statement that the Army’s failure to take responsibility for huge increases in cancer and other serious health problems near a base where it tested unconventional weapons was “illogical and cruel” (because the Army denies any responsibility).

Yes, I wish that sewer money would get the hell out of politics. Yes, I think that war profiteers should be punished, not rewarded. Yes, I think that women should have full health coverage. Yes, I feel for the undocumented who live in the shadows. Yes, I believe that the military should accept responsibility when it ruins the lives of innocent Americans.

And for that, my opponent is condemning me.

Look, it’s showtime. The election is just 10 days away. We cannot let my opponent’s lies defeat our truth. Please contribute to our campaign today, so that we can set the record straight.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

Last Chance: Nancy Pelosi, Me, and You
11 October 2014 - 2:09pm
We’re extending this offer through tomorrow: one of our contributors this week will be invited to join Nancy Pelosi and me in Orlando for lunch next Friday, and the campaign will pick up the tab. Will it be you? Click here, make a contribution, and we’ll let you know.

Let me tell you a story about Nancy Pelosi that illustrates her awesomeness. You won’t hear this from anyone else.

Last year, a Democratic Member of the House got into some hot water for saying something harsh about the Republicans. Undoubtedly well-deserved, but nevertheless harsh.

I know what you’re thinking. No, it wasn’t me. Not that time, anyway.

The Right-Wing Umbrage Machine seized on this, and this Democrat took quite a beating in HateLand. Bill O’Reilly was riled. Mark Levin was livid. Michael Savage was savage. It was the Full Monty of faux indignation.

The national media gets its cues from Fox News, so Nancy Pelosi knew that she was going to be asked about it at her next news conference. Probably within the framework of some fake moral equivalence, like this: “Ted Cruz said something utterly moronic last week, but then your guy said this other thing, so what’s the difference, nanna nanna boo boo?”

Now, if Nancy Pelosi were, let’s say, John Boehner, she would have just cut the guy lose. And then driven a truck over him. Because that’s what Boehner does.

That’s not what Nancy Pelosi does.

She called up this other Member, and she asked him what he thought she should say. I italicize because, believe me, this is quite unheard of in Washington, DC. The people in charge don’t ask, they tell. They direct. They order.

Nancy Pelosi asks.

He said that it would do no good for her to criticize him.

She agreed.

She then asked him what he thought he should do. Again, she asked him, she didn’t tell him. He told her that he had made a poor choice of words, and he would apologize for that and that alone. Which is what happened.

Now if this Member of Congress had been a Republican, you would have found his naked corpse in a dumpster, in a very dark alley, with an icepick sticking out of his back. And carved into the hilt of the icepick would be the initials “J.B.”

(And not to get off the subject, but J.B. consumes an awful lot of J&B. Probably to dull his conscience.)

In other words, Nancy Pelosi is not only the highest elected woman in American history, she is not only a great progressive leader, but she also is a decent human being. A very decent human being.

And you have one chance, and only one chance to meet her – in warm, sunny Orlando next Friday. Please contribute to our campaign, today or tomorrow, and that chance is yours.

The illustration for this note depicts Nancy Pelosi as Rosie the Riveter. Rosie the Riveter was an American cultural icon, representing women who made heroic efforts to fill rough manufacturing jobs during World War II, when so many men left those jobs to fight in the armed forces. In real life, Rosie the Riveter was Rosie Bonavitas in the Convair military aircraft plant in San Diego. Evans and Loeb wrote a song about her in 1942, which became a huge nationwide hit.

Rosie Bonavitas passed away in 1966. It’s too late to meet her. But you still have a chance to meet an even greater real-life hero, Nancy Pelosi, if you donate to our campaign today or tomorrow.

And there’s a big bonus: Whoever joins Nancy and me next Friday also will receive the B-52’s quadruple-platinum album award for their album “Cosmic Thing.” Thanks to Howie Klein, of Blue America.

The election is almost upon us. This would be a good time for you to help. Last chance, last dance. It’s time for you to enhance our chance, with some finance. Don’t look askance, and for sure, don’t fall into a trance. Left-click right here, help us out, and I’ll hope that it’s you who joins us in Orlando next Friday.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson


Let’s Get Rid of the Obstructionist-in-Chief, Mitch McConnell
7 October 2014 - 2:44pm

Big news out of Kentucky last Thursday: For the first time since June, an independent poll shows Obstructionist-in-Chief Sen. Mitch McConnell running behind his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

If there is anyone who deserves to lose this year, it’s Mitch McConnell. Click here to help make it happen.

On Jan. 21, 2010, Mitch McConnell was sitting two seats to my left. We were seated in the U.S. Supreme Court courtroom, to hear the Court’s decision in the Citizens United case. That courtroom is known as the Second Highest Court in the Land, second only to the Supreme Court’s private basketball court, on the floor above.

I came prepared for the worst. I already had introduced four bills to try to blunt the Supreme Court’s ruling. I feared that the Supreme Court would open the floodgates to a huge wave of sewer money in politics, and my fears were well-founded.

Mitch and I were the only two elected officials in the room. Between us sat Floyd Abrams, a once-revered First Amendment lawyer who had since given his soul over to the Dark Side of the Force.

McConnell was there for a good reason -- because he had planned the whole thing. He had been pushing this anti-democracy litigation for years, all the way to the Supreme Court. He desperately wanted to establish the constitutional right of every billionaire to buy and sell elected officials, as he sees fit. (To be fair, every homeless person has the same right – just not the same money.)

I listened in horror as Judge Kennedy read his chosen excerpts from the decision. On MSNBC that night, I labeled it “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case” [which ruled that the federal government could not prohibit or limit slavery in the federal territories, and that slaves had no rights in court, among other things]. I added that “if we do nothing, you can kiss this country goodbye.”

Mitch McConnell, two seats to my left as the Supreme Court handed down its decision, was not horrified. On the contrary, he was giggling. Or gurgling. Or some other sound was coming out of some other orifice; in Mitch’s case, it’s hard to tell.

According to legend, Nero fiddled while Rome burned. McConnell giggled. Or gurgled, as the case may be.

And now we have a chance to get rid of Mitch McConnell. If that sounds like something that you’d like to do, then left-click right here, my friend.

With one brief exception, Mitch McConnell has held America hostage since he became the Republican Senate Leader in 2007, almost eight years ago. The filibuster, the Senate rule that requires 60 out of 100 votes on most matters, has made Mitch McConnell a de facto dictator. Between 1920 and 1970, filibusters averaged one per year. As soon as McConnell took over for the Republicans, they doubled. Now they have reached 100 each year. Which means one thing: if Mitch McConnell doesn’t like it, it’s not going to happen.

Time after time, legislation that is overwhelmingly popular with the American public is murdered by Mitch McConnell. Why don’t we increase the minimum wage? Because Mitch McConnell doesn’t want to. Why don’t we have universal background checks for gun purchasers? Because Mitch McConnell doesn’t want that. Why don’t we have immigration reform? Because Mitch McConnell says no. Why doesn’t the federal government recognize medical marijuana use? Because Mitch McConnell doesn’t like the idea.

There was only one significant period in the past eight years when America wasn’t trapped in Mitch McConnell’s thrall. That was the period between July 2009, when Sen. Al Franken was sworn in (after McConnell’s nearly endless maneuvering to prevent that ended) and April 2010, when Senator Kennedy cast his last vote. (And Kennedy, being very ill, had missed votes for several months before that.) During that short time, the Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate, and when they stuck together, they could pole-vault over McConnell’s roadblocks. But other than that, it’s been gridlock, baby, 24/7/52, for eight years straight.

And now we have this fleeting, once-in-a-sexennial (sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) opportunity to expunge Mitch McConnell from public life. Please, show your support for Alison Grimes, if only to send McConnell packing off to Grinchland, KY, or whatever hell-hole he came from.

And remember, the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. If McConnell loses, then it gets very, very hard for the Republicans to take over the Senate. If McConnell wins, there is a good chance that he will be Senate Majority Leader on Jan. 5, 2015. If he loses, he’s nothing.

After 30 years of Mitch, it’s time to switch.

Isn’t it worth a few of your hard-earned rubles to banish Mitch McConnell, forever?
Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

P.S. As we announced on Sunday, anyone who contributes to our campaign between now and Friday has a chance to win the quadruple-platinum album award that the B-52s (the band, not the bomber) received for their album “Cosmic Thing.” If you win the award, then I’ll meet you by the third pyramid (“Mesopotamia”).

GOP Idiocy: Imprison the Nephews for What the Uncles Did?
6 October 2014 - 3:37pm

Last year the House Foreign Affairs Committee “marked up” an Iran Sanctions bill, taking amendments from committee members before sending the bill to the “Floor” for a House vote.

I offered five amendments. They all passed.

It’s hard to believe, I know, but there actually is a spirit of bipartisanship on the Foreign Affairs Committee, so things went smoothly -- until it was Tom Cotton’s turn.

Some background on Cotton: The Bush Administration created a secret program, of questionable constitutionality, that aggressively monitored the finances of alleged terrorists. The New York Times uncovered the program, and reported it. Tom Cotton, private citizen, called for the arrest, conviction and incarceration of the editor and two reporters who reported on the secret program.

In a deep red district in Arkansas, that soapboxing was good enough to get Cotton elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Which plopped him down on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, with me.

No matter what the subject before our committee might be, Cotton always has to hold forth on how much he loves America. According to Cotton, he really, really loves America. Almost in the biblical sense.

Let me put it this way: When I hear Cotton, I think of Lady Macbeth, another great patriot. “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”

Which, in Arkansas, qualifies Cotton for the U.S. Senate. Yes, Tom Cotton is running for the U.S. Senate.

And we have to try to stop him. Click here, if you want to lend a hand, and keep this schmo out of the U.S. Senate.

So anyway, there we were, trying to pass a bill that would keep Iran from getting nukes, and Cotton thought that he had come up with the perfect idea: imprison all of the Ayatollah’s relatives. Not the Ayatollah himself, just his relatives.

Cotton offered an amendment that would extend sanctions under the bill not only to the high government officials of Iran, but also to their relatives “to the third degree of consanguinity.” In case you missed the quiz on consanguinity, that’s children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, grandparents and great-grandparents.

But somehow, not second cousins twice removed. It must have been an oversight.

The enforcement mechanism for our sanctions is a criminal penalty. Specifically, five years in a federal prison. So if the Ayatollah violated our sanctions law, and his entirely innocent niece visited the United States, she’d get five years in the slammer under the Cotton Amendment. Just for being the Ayatollah’s niece.

By the way, the Cotton Amendment is a constitutional threefer: it violates three different provisions of the U.S. Constitution at the same time. They are the Fifth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, and the very rarely heard of “Corruption of Blood” clause. It’s rarely heard of because almost no one is so stupid as even to contemplate punishing the relatives of wrongdoers.

Except for Tom Cotton.

We CANNOT let this a loser like this be elected to the U.S. Senate, where he can do even more harm. Please contribute to his opponent’s campaign, and stop Cotton while he still can be stopped.

When Cotton offered his amendment, I was tempted to say, “Now wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute.” But that would have been disrespectfully to Bugs Bunny and possibly others, so I didn’t. Instead, I patiently pointed out the constitutional infirmities of the Cotton Amendment.

To their credit, the Republican Members of Congress have some regard for the oath that they took to preserve the Constitution (as they see it), so there were certain murmurings on the other side of the aisle. The GOP Chairman asked Cotton to withdraw his amendment, and he reluctantly did so.

I thought that that would be the end of it. But no. Cotton came to me afterward, and offered to “work with me” to put his amendment back in the bill before the House voted on it. As one Harvard Law School graduate to another, I asked Cotton how he thought that imprisoning nieces for the acts of their uncles was constitutional. He told me, “they’re just foreigners; they have no rights.”

I think that he pronounced it “feriners.”

Seriously, it’s bad enough that someone like this got elected to the House. We have to stop him before he makes it to the Senate.

If Tom Cotton lived in Gotham City, he would reside at the Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. But since Cotton’s home is Arkansas, not Arkham, that makes him a Congressman instead, and now a U.S. Senate candidate.

Cotton’s opponent is Senator Mark Pryor. Pryor is not my favorite Senator, but Tom Cotton makes Mark Pryor look like Mother Theresa.

There have been four polls of the Cotton-Pryor race this month. Three of them have Cotton ahead. Cotton’s average lead is four points, with a huge 14 percent undecided. In other words, it’s a very tight race.

And, of course, the fate of the Senate hangs in the balance. But you knew that already.

When I wake up on Wednesday, November 5th, I want it to be with two thoughts on my mind:

(1) We won.
(2) Tom Cotton lost.

And I’m asking your help to do it. Click here, to defeat Tom Cotton and -- if you want -- to help reelect me.

C’mon, make a difference.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

P.S. As announced yesterday, anyone who contributes to our campaign between now and Friday has a chance to win the quadruple-platinum album award that the B-52s (the band, not the bomber) received for their album “Cosmic Thing.” If you win the award, you can place it on the wall of your own Love Shack.

 

If You Haven’t Read Anything Else, Read This
30 September 2014 - 6:48pm

Here is a sad fact: Truth appears to have little if any utility in politics today. Despite my best efforts.

In both 2006 and in 2008, I ran as a pro-peace House candidate, the only one that Central Florida has ever seen. Reporters asked me, "When should we leave Iraq?" I replied, unequivocally, We never should have occupied Iraq in the first place, and we should have left a long, long time ago." No pussyfooting.

I said this in a Congressional district that the GOP had held for 34 years straight. That didn't matter to me. The truth is what mattered to me. I spent four years prosecuting war profiteers in Iraq, and I knew that the only ones who benefited from that war were bin Laden, Exxon and Halliburton.

I was hoping for an elevated discussion of the pros and cons of the war in Iraq. I was disappointed. One day during the 2008 campaign, one of my
three-year-olds ran screaming from the living room. He had seen a GOP ad on TV that featured my head being sliced in half, diagonally. He thought that I was dead.

That's the price that you pay for telling the truth.

I'm willing to keep telling the truth, no matter what. But I need your help to do it.

I lost in 2006. I won in 2008. When I was sworn in, I represented a district where one out of every four people had no health coverage. They couldn't see a doctor when they were sick. Studies have shown that the uninsured have a 40% higher risk of death each year than the uninsured do. One out of every 1000 uninsured dies each year because he or she has no health coverage. In my district, that was almost 200 constituents each year.

So I did something else that Central Florida had never seen before: I became a strong advocate for universal healthcare. In one public event after another, I patiently explained the need for it. I was hoping for an elevated discussion of the pros and cons of universal healthcare. I was disappointed.

I remember when the President came to Congress to explain his healthcare plan. The GOP obtained an advance copy of the speech. When he invited them not simply to criticize his plan, but to offer a plan of their own, they started waiving some papers in the air. I had no idea what the GOP plan was, so when his speech was over, I went to their side of the Floor of the House to see. All I found were blank pieces of paper. The following day, on national TV, I explained what I had observed, and I announced the GOP's healthcare plan for them: "Don't get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly."

Hate radio and Fox News whipped up a frenzy over that. Shortly thereafter, at a town hall meeting, a large group of Tea Party protesters from outside my district circled the building, and started to chant rhythmically, "F**k Alan Grayson." Two of my children were there that night. They heard the chants. Right-wing media reported, falsely, that I had used them as "human shields."

Not long after that, a woman called my house. One of my twins, then five years old, hit the speaker button. Thinking that he was me, she told him, "If you vote for healthcare, I'll kill you." This time, he ran screaming from the kitchen, not the living room.

That's the price that you pay for telling the truth.

Let me say this again: I'm willing to keep telling the truth, no matter what. But I need your help to do it.

Like Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), I took on the Koch Brothers. But I did it in 2010, before it was fashionable. In one column after another, I exposed how the "Kochtopus" was destroying public discourse in this country, and instilling fear in Democrats. I pointed out that the Koch Brothers would be the single largest beneficiary of the Keystone XL Pipeline, because they owned much of the refining capacity at the end of the pipeline in Texas. They stood to make billions if the pipeline were approved.

In response, the Koch Brothers unleashed what may be the most vicious personal attack against a sitting Member of Congress that this country has ever seen. All told, there was $5.5 million in disgusting attack ads spent against me, more "sewer money" than any House Member had ever faced, anywhere in America, ever. They called me a liar. They called me a loudmouth. They called me a national disgrace. In one ad, they depicted me as a clown. In another, a dog.

The average person in Orlando, my neighbors, saw those ads 70 times. Seventy times.

My five children saw those ads.

That's the price that you pay for telling the truth.

What do you want in a leader? Someone who is not afraid. Someone who has the strength to stand up to the bullies. Someone who won't kowtow to the rich and powerful. Someone who can tell right from wrong. Someone who wants to do something, not just be something. Someone who will fight for the greatest good for the greatest number. I can be all that; I have been all of that. But I need your help, to pay for my campaign. Every dollar counts, because every person counts.

I lost again in 2010. But I won in 2012. And when I returned to the U.S. House of Representatives, I looked around the Floor of the House, and I realized that most of the winners actually were losers. They had lost the will to legislate. They had lost the will to help their own constituents. They had lost the will to fight. They're not reaching for the stars; they can barely reach their own rear ends. All that they care about is the next election, and maybe that longshot chance to scale the next rung on the political ladder. They hope that one day they can be a Senator or a Governor, and even more useless than they are right now.

I'm not like that. I know that there are millions of people who are counting on me to do something good for them. And I'm not going to let them down.

Let me be clear about this. I'm not asking for your sympathy. I'm not a martyr; I'm a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, one of only 12,000 in our history. I'm proud of what I do, and I'm especially proud of the way that I do it.

I passed more amendments both last year and this year than any other Member of the House. I wrote more bills than any other Member of Congress. We are kicking you-know-what. And that's exactly why I'm asking not for your sympathy, but instead for your help. I want to keep doing it.

Our bumper stickers say: "GRAYSON. TRUTH." That means something to me. And I pay a price for it. We all do.

One price that I pay is that I can't turn to the Koch Brothers to finance my re-election campaign. Nor the other billionaires, nor the millionaires, nor the multinational corporations, nor the lobbyists. They're all backing my opponent; they always do. I have no one to turn to but you. And I can't offer you a tax break, or a bailout, or a no-bid contract, or a subsidized loan, or "regulatory relief." All I can offer you is the will to fight for the common good.

My election is barely five weeks away. I need your help, and I need it now. Please make a substantial contribution to our campaign. You know that you can count on me. And now, I need to count on you. Click here to show your support for Justice, Equality, Peace and . . . Truth.

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

Candidate for Congress (D-FL)

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