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Should I Run for the US Senate?
1 July 2015 - 8:13pm
I’m Not Going to Insult Your Intelligence. Today.
30 June 2015 - 10:35am
A Good Rule of Law: Mind Your Own Business
27 June 2015 - 9:16pm
If At First You Don’t Succeed . . . .
22 June 2015 - 10:21pm
It’s Time to Burn Up the Phones
11 June 2015 - 3:35pm
Should I Run for the US Senate?
1 July 2015 - 8:13pm

You are a supporter. That’s why I send you these notes. Now, I need to ask you an important question. 

Should I run for the U.S. Senate? 

I’ve been thinking about this decision for a long time. 

If I do decide to try to join Elizabeth Warren and other good Progressive Democrats in the Senate, I need to know that I have your support. 

If you think that I should run, please let me know, by contributing $20, $50, $100, $250 or even $500 today. 

Every day, inequality is soaring. Social Security checks are worth less and less. The minimum wage is stuck at $7.25. America is the only advanced country without paid sick leave and paid vacations. Thirty million of us still can’t see a doctor when we are sick. College education is hopelessly expensive. The yoke of discrimination still weighs heavy on so many necks. And the law itself is up for sale to the highest bidder. 

Someone has to fight back. And that “someone” is me. 

You are one of many people who serve on the front lines, fighting for justice, equality and peace. People like you were grassroots leaders when Democrats took the Senate and the House in 2006, and took the White House in 2008. 

Now we must stand together, and do it all over again in 2016. 

My grandfather survived the Great Depression by going to the dump each day, and finding something that he could sell. I worked my way through Harvard by cleaning toilets, and then as a night watchman on the midnight shift. I know what it’s like to struggle; very few of today’s candidates and elected officials do. That’s why I fight so hard to improve the lives of ordinary people. 

Your early support, now, will confirm that I can win this race, and make me feel that I’m doing the right thing. Contribute whatever amount you can, and show that you’re on our side. Every dollar counts. 

When I returned to Congress in 2013, many Democrats were dispirited and defeatist. But during the 113th Congress, I wrote more bills than any other Member of the House of Representatives, passed more amendments on the Floor than any other Democrat, and had more of my bills signed into law than any other Member of the House, Democratic or Republican. The amendments I successfully passed through the U.S. House of Representatives have sought to transfer millions of dollars from military operations to medical research, increase bilingual housing counseling by 50%, restore almost half of the proposed cuts to HUD’s Housing for the Elderly Program, protect our privacy, and eliminate federal contracts for contractors who have cheated the government previously. 

Salon magazine said that I’m the most effective Member of Congress. Business Insider said that I’m the most productive Member. And Time magazine said that I’m a stand-out Member in a do-nothing Congress. 

What I’ve shown is very simple: That progressive Democrats can fight – and win! That’s leadership. 

What worked in the House can work in the Senate. But only with your support. 

Contribute $20, $50, $100, $250 or even $500 today at ActBlue now, and I’ll know that I can count on your support. 

The next few days will make the difference. I need to know that I can count on you. 

So what do you think? 

Should I run for the Senate? And will you help? 

Courage, 

Rep. [Sen.?]Alan Grayson 

I’m Not Going to Insult Your Intelligence. Today.
30 June 2015 - 10:35am

I respectfully submit that you should contribute to our campaign today, before the midnight FEC deadline. 

However, to be perfectly honest, nothing terrible will happen if you do not. 

The Earth will not tilt wildly off its axis. 

We will not suffer any unusual number of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes or other natural disasters. 

Barack Obama still will be President of the United States. Vladimir Putin still will be managing the other team. 

E still will equal mC2. Pi will remain pi. 

Nevertheless, despite the fact that basic fabric of human existence will remain the same either way, I think that you should contribute to our campaign today. 

If you do not contribute, it’s safe to say that fresh water will not turn to blood. There will be no plagues of frogs, lice, flies, diseased livestock, boils, hail or locust. The skies will not turn dark any earlier than dusk. And for sure, it will have no effect on the health and wellbeing of your firstborn child. 

All of that is true. But nevertheless, you ought to donate, right now, to our campaign, ideally by clicking on this very sentence, before the period. 

I cannot say for a fact that your contributing to our campaign will make you wiser, or wittier, or more beautiful. (As we both know, there is barely any room for improvement.) I can’t state for certain that a donation from you will mean that you will win the lottery next week, or that you will go to heaven at some indeterminate point thereafter. 

Leaving that aside, here is what I can tell you, for sure: your hard-earned cash goes toward justice, equality and peace. And those things are priceless. 

But wait! There actually is one thing that you are GUARANTEED to earn if youcontribute today!! What’s that, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked. 

Will you earn a raise? Not necessarily. 

Will you earn the adoration of your peers? Not necessarily. 

Will you win the next election? Well, you won’t, but I will. 

No, this is what you earn: my thanks. 

Thanks. Now go ahead and do it. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson 

A Good Rule of Law: Mind Your Own Business
27 June 2015 - 9:16pm

Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision was a great victory for LGBT rights. But it also was a great victory for something that rests right at the heart of the human experience, the paramount legal doctrine of M.Y.O.B. 

Mind Your Own Business. 

Reporters love to generate controversy. In a TV interview yesterday, a reporter asked me, “What do you have to say to all of the millions of opponents of gay marriage?” 

I replied thusly: “Mind your own business.” 

OK, I’ll admit that that response will not earn me the Nobel Peace Prize. But I’m making an important point here. What difference does it make to Person X if Person Y marries Person Z? Seriously. 

I sometimes give a speech where I go through a mock agenda for a Tea Party conference. One of the items on the agenda, from 2 pm to 3 pm, is a colloquium on“How Gay Marriage Destroyed My Straight Marriage,” moderated by No One. And attended by No One. 

(Now that I think about it, most Tea Partiers who might attend that colloquium wouldn’t know what a colloquium is. And for sure, they couldn’t spell it. Or as they would write, “spel it.”) 

Let’s face it: whenever anyone sticks his nose into other people’s business, something bad happens. The war in Iraq. The NSA spying on everyone because I-don’t-know-why. Chinese cyberattacks. Even the Patriots stealing opponents’ signals. Hey, everyone, just mind your own business! 

One of the basic functions of the U.S. Supreme Court, which we just saw in spades, is to prevent a prejudiced majority from employing the law as a device to stick their noses into the business of “discrete, insular minorities.” That phrase comes from the most famous footnote in U.S. Supreme Court history, footnote 4 of the decision United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U.S. 144 (1938). Here’s the good part: 

“[P]rejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry … .” 

(Congratulations, you just passed the bar exam. Now good luck finding a job.) 

In Carolene terms, the LGBT community is a discrete, insular minority. Prejudice against gays means that they cannot rely exclusively on political processes to protect them from prejudice and inequality. Therefore, in yesterday’s decision, after a “searching judicial inquiry,” the U.S. Supreme Court did so. Q.E.D. 

So yesterday’s decision was not merely a victory for our LGBT friends. It was a quantum leap forward in how we see each other – with a very healthy respect. We mind our own business. 

Or, as Pope Francis put it, “Who am I to judge?” A very good question, for all of us. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson 

“It doesn’t matter much to me.” 

- The Beatles, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” (1968). 

If At First You Don’t Succeed . . . .
22 June 2015 - 10:21pm

This is becoming ridiculous. 

A month ago, the Senate voted against the “Fast Track” trade giveaway bill. But the job thieves didn’t give up – they held another vote, a week later. Thanks to some mumbo-jumbo regarding currency manipulation, 13 Democrats switched sides, and Fast Track passed the Senate. 

Two weeks ago, the House voted against the Senate’s Fast Track bill or, more specifically, the “trade assistance” part of the bill. But the job thieves didn’t give up – they held another vote, a week later. Thanks to some mumbo-jumbo regarding trade assistance, 28 out of 188 House Democrats voted in favor of Fast Track, which sent it back to the Senate, minus trade assistance. (For the names of those House Democrats, see our last e-mail.) 

The Senate will vote again on Fast Track, tomorrow. Basically, they’re just going to keep voting on it, until you get screwed. 

Are you starting to see a pattern here? The job thieves are relentless. So we have to be relentless-er than they are. We need to be just as tireless, steadfast, resolute, persevering, unflagging and indefatigable as they are – more so. We can’t give up. 

Which means that we need to hit the phones. Again. 

Reproduced below, for whatever purposes you deem fit, are the names, addresses and URLs of 13 Senators who really, really ought to hear from you. And here is what they should hear, here:

(1) Our trade debt stands at eleven trillion dollars ($11,000,000,000,000.00). That’s more than $35,000 for every human being in America – including you. “Fast Track” would pave the way for new trade bills that would increase that. How are we ever going to pay that money back?
(2) Fast Track applies to whatever the Executive Branch calls a trade agreement, even if it has nothing to do with trade.
(3) Fast Track unconstitutionally restricts Congress from holding hearings, conducting investigations, debating a bill and offering amendments – basically, its job. In fact, it could restrict each House Member to only 83 seconds of debate.
(4) No other bills get this special treatment – not bills on taxes, or Social Security, or defense, or transportation, or healthcare. Nothing.
(5) Fast Track applies to trade bills that the Executive Branch hasn’t even released to the public.
(6) None of the “standards” that Fast Track sets for trade agreements is enforceable – not one single standard. 

Hear, hear! 

Tell them “NO” on Fast Track! Call or e-mail – just do it. Below is a list of every Senate Democrat who voted to let Fast Track steamroll over us, a month ago. Pick one, pick them all, and MAKE THEM LISTEN. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson 

Bennet, Michael F. - (D - CO)
261 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5852
Contact: www.bennet.senate.gov/contact/ 

Cantwell, Maria - (D - WA)
511 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3441
Contact: www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-maria 

Carper, Thomas R. - (D - DE)
513 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2441
Contact: carper.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-senator-carper 

Coons, Christopher A. - (D - DE)
127A Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5042
Contact: www.coons.senate.gov/contact/ 

Feinstein, Dianne - (D - CA)
331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-3841
Contact: www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/e-mail-me 

Heitkamp, Heidi - (D - ND)
110 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2043
Contact: www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact 

Kaine, Tim - (D - VA)
388 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-4024
Contact: www.kaine.senate.gov/contact 

McCaskill, Claire - (D - MO)
730 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-6154
Contact: www.mccaskill.senate.gov/contact 

Murray, Patty - (D - WA)
154 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2621
Contact: www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme 

Nelson, Bill - (D - FL)
716 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5274
Contact: www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill 

Shaheen, Jeanne - (D - NH)
506 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2841
Contact: www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/ 

Warner, Mark R. - (D - VA)
475 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2023
Contact: www.warner.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Contact 

Wyden, Ron - (D - OR)
221 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5244
Contact: www.wyden.senate.gov/contact/ 

It’s Time to Burn Up the Phones
11 June 2015 - 3:35pm

“Burn up the phones” – what is that, some new cyberterrorism threat? A wild new “app”? Nope; it’s what happens when you, and like-minded others, exercise your right to be heard. 

It’s time to burn up the phones on Capitol Hill. 

The Powers That Be have set a vote on the horrific “Fast Track” bill tomorrow. (I would call it “execrable,” but I’m not exactly sure what that means.) 

If you care about anything, anything at all, then please pick up the phone, call (202) 224-3121, ask for your Congressman, and register your disapproval. Say this: “Vote NO on Fast Track.” 

If you feel that your talk needs to be pointed, then here are your talking points: 

(1) Our trade debt stands at eleven trillion dollars ($11,000,000,000,000.00). That’s more than $35,000 for every human being in America – including you. “Fast Track” would pave the way for new trade bills that would increase that. How are we ever going to pay that money back?
(2) Fast Track applies to whatever the Executive Branch calls a trade agreement, even if it has nothing to do with trade.
(3) Fast Track unconstitutionally restricts Congress from holding hearings, conducting investigations, debating a bill and offering amendments – basically, its job. In fact, it could restrict each House Member to only 83 seconds of debate.
(4) No other bills get this special treatment – not bills on taxes, or Social Security, or defense, or transportation, or healthcare. Nothing.
(5) Fast Track applies to trade bills that the Executive Branch hasn’t even released to the public.
(6) None of the “standards” that Fast Track sets for trade agreements is enforceable – not one single standard. 

Or you can just say that you’re tired of Middle Class America getting hosed. I sure am. 

If you have a Democratic Congressman who “gets it” on Fast Track, then you can call one of these undecideds instead: 

Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) – (202) 225-3341
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) – (202) 225-2040
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) (202) 225-2861
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) – (202) 225-2645
Rep. John Carney (D-DE) – (202) 225-4165
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) – (202) 225-8020
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) – (202) 225-3236 

Try flattery – there’s plenty of that in Washington, D.C. “Sir or Ma’am, if you vote against Fast Track, your courage and leadership will ring in dulcet tones for generations to come. You will become a legend, not only in your own mind, but in the minds of every living human being, and fetuses too. Vote against Fast Track, and when you walk amongst your people, as they glance downward in respect, they will sing your praises: basses, baritones, tenors, contraltos, sopranos and even falsettos. They will shower you with flowers – not only mere annuals or biennials, but perennials that will bloom in the same manner as your overwhelming renown. You will be beloved and worshipped by considerably more than 50.1% of the electorate. If you vote against Fast Track, then everyone – and I mean everyone – will like the cut of your jib.” 

Look, it’s showtime. Make the call. Let’s try to inject some democracy into the plutocracy. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson 

Candidate for Congress (D-FL)

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