Alan Grayson's Journal
Member since: Sat May 22, 2010, 12:02 PM
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Number of posts: 485
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Hey, there. Sorry that you haven’t heard from me for a while. I was a bit preoccupied by our Tuesday Florida Democratic primary – which we won by 49 points. Of course, I would have preferred to pontificate by e-mail, but I actually did lose a Democratic primary once, and I’m going to make sure that that never happens again.
The show must go on.
Since our last episode, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri killed an unarmed African-American teenager. The police officer shot him somewhere between six and eleven times. According to some eyewitnesses, the victim, Michael Brown, was shot in the back. Then Brown turned around, with his hands up, and shouted “I don’t have a gun – stop shooting!” At which point the officer shot him shot several more times, and killed him.
Since I grew up in the Bronx, I have some general familiarity with that scenario. In 1978, a Bronx police officer was convicted of beating a Puerto Rican to death – while he was in custody.
In 1994, a young man in the Bronx was arrested for accidentally hitting a police car with his football. His brother expressed dismay to the officer about that arrest, crossing his arms across his chest. The officer then arrested the brother, for “disorderly conduct,” and literally choked the life out of him; the coroner listed the cause of death as “compression of his neck and chest.”
In 1996, a Bronx police officer frisked an African-American male, Nathaniel Gaines, on the “D” Train, and found that he was unarmed. One stop later, at 167th Street, overlooking the Grand Concourse on the southbound platform, one stop before Yankee Stadium, the officer ordered Gaines to disembark. The officer then shot at Gaines five times, including four times in the back, and killed him. Gaines was a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, he had no criminal record, and he had never been arrested.
In 1999, four Bronx police officers approached an unarmed Guinean immigrant named Amadou Diallo and ordered him to “show his hands.” Misunderstanding them, presumably because his native language was Fulfulde and not English, Diallo reached into his pocket and took out his wallet. The officers shot him 41 times, and killed him.
And in the meantime, in 1997, New York City police arrested Abner Louima, a Haitian-American, and then sodomized him with a broomstick. But that was in Brooklyn. My parents used to warn me about Brooklyn.
I could go on. Sadly, I could go on and on and on. But what is the point? Police brutality is a reality. And you can’t miss it, unless you literally close your eyes to it – which all-too-many people seem willing to do.
Let’s start with Fox News. When I listen to Fox News, I feel torn. I just can’t decide: Are they idiots, or are they fools? Are they nitwits, or are they imbeciles? Are they morons, or are they jerks? Are they blockheads, or are they boneheads? They report, and we decide.
Remember how you used to hear the phrase “clever like a fox”? Since Fox News, you don’t hear that anymore.
The primary Fox “talking point” regarding the killing of Michael Brown is that Brown may or may not have been in a convenience store earlier in the day, and that he may or may not have stolen some cigars from that store. Fox has been playing the convenience store video footage in an infinite loop. But there is little or no evidence that the officer knew of the store incident, or that he connected it to Brown.
And if he did, then so what? Even under sharia law, if you steal a few cigars, the worst that can happen is that you get your hand cut off. Not eleven shots from a high-caliber weapon.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that our Constitution permits the death penalty only in cases of first-degree murder, and treason. Not cigar theft. If 11 bullet holes for stealing some cigars is not “cruel and unusual punishment,” then I don’t know what is. It’s definitely cruel, and I certainly hope that it remains unusual.
The other major Fox talking point is “why aren’t we talking about all of the black-on-black violence, and the black-on-white violence?” OK, let’s talk about that. I can give you dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of white police officers killing unarmed black men. I just gave you several from my younger days in the Bronx, alone. The Bronx represents well under one percent of the population of the United States, and my “younger days” were, sadly, quite a while ago.
Now, Fox News, give me an equal number of examples of black police officers killing unarmed black men. Also, give me a list of black police officers killing unarmed white men.
I’m waiting . . . .
Anyone who thought that electing our first American-American President would end racism in America must be sorely disappointed this week.
If you ask a sociologist for a definition of “the government,” he or she will not mention Social Security, or the fire department, or the public school system, or our national parks. The sociological definition of the “government” is the entity that has a monopoly on the legal use of force. In every nation on Planet Earth, only the military and the police have the legal right to exercise force, up to and including deadly force. And that makes it tragic when that force is used indiscriminately or – even worse – discriminately.
In 1969, the American psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published a book about how people facing death deal with death. She said that there are five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
When it comes to the reality of brutality by our peace officers, too many of us are still in that first stage: denial.
And if the killing of Michael Brown weren’t bad enough, then we had to watch military weapons deployed by those same “peace” officers on our city streets. But this note is long enough already, so I’ll save that subject for next time.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Aug 29, 2014, 12:27 PM (3 replies)
This op-ed appears on page 6A of today’s edition of USA Today:
Rep. Alan Grayson: American people say, 'No'
Alan Grayson, 8:03 p.m. EDT August 10, 2014
Who is right on military intervention in Iraq: President Obama, or the American people? I say that it's the people.
A recent Pew Research Center poll asked Americans, "Do you think the U.S. has a responsibility to do something about the violence in Iraq?" "No!" said 55%. Fewer than 40% said yes. Most Democrats, Republicans and independents are opposed.
We all know the history: U.S. soldiers invaded and occupied Iraq, looking for "WMDs" that weren't there. That 10-year war cost us the lives of 4,425 American soldiers, left roughly 250,000 with permanent brain abnormalities from IEDs, etc., and cost us $2 trillion — approximately 2.5% of our national net worth, accumulated over 200 years.
Isn't that enough?
We left when the government of Iraq refused to extend the Status of Forces Agreement. Now Iraqi leaders want our help again. But the U.S. military is not a yo-yo.
The stated "mission" of the Iraq War was to build up a million-man armed force to defend Iraq. We did that. That force is fed by $100 billion in oil money each year. Yet it has been defeated, again and again, by what one Arab official called "a few hundred psychopaths." Iraqi soldiers outnumber the Islamic State by more than 100 to 1, but they won't fight.
In one town, a band of ISIS fighters announced their approach with a devastatingly effective weapon: a bullhorn. Iraqi soldiers fled.
If the Iraqis won't defend themselves, then why should we? And when will we start solving our own problems?
This effort makes a mockery of the Powell Doctrine. No national security interest is threatened, we don't have a clear strategy, we're not using overwhelming force, and we have no way out.
We have to get past this bizarre notion that every time there's something in the world we don't like, we bomb it.
Mr. President, when it's our money, and it's our blood, then it's our decision. And now, the American people are saying "No!"
"Ain't gonna study war no more.
Gonna lay down my sword and shield.
Down by the riverside."
— Down By the Riverside (1918).
Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Aug 11, 2014, 04:02 PM (8 replies)
The end of the Grayson moneybomb is approaching rapidly. We hate to disagree with Shakespeare. But in this case, we have to.
In Macbeth, the protagonist says:
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time.”
(Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5, lines 19-21.)
Well, that’s not how it seems to us. Our days don’t creep by. Our days bolt by, like an Olympic bobsled event. Like 293 consecutive somersaults. Like we’re strapped to an ICBM.
And this day – Moneybomb Day – is almost gone. (Unless you happen to live in Japan, in which case it’s already gone.)
Our “100 Days to Victory” moneybomb has featured moving and memorable testimonials from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, liberal legend Dennis Kucinich, and actor-activists Martin Sheen and Mike Farrell. What they’ve all been trying to tell you is this:
It’s important to have Alan Grayson in Congress. He not only needs your help. He deserves your help.
If you are the cynical sort, then you may discount all this as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” (Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5, lines 26-28.) But that would be wrong. Because Alan Grayson is different, and Alan Grayson makes a difference.
Alan Grayson likes to tell a story about a Member of Congress whom he met before he was elected. He asked her, privately, what she thought was the best thing about the job. He anticipated that she might mention Congressional Delegation trips to foreign lands, or maybe meeting the rich and famous. Nope. She told Alan that the best thing about being in Congress is “all the good you can do for people.”
And that, my friend, that is what this moneybomb is all about. We’re not talking about whether or not one human being gets elected to Congress. We’re talking about fighting for progressive principles, and . . . winning. We’re not talking about the final score on Nov. 4. We’re talking about justice, equality and peace. Yes, we’re talking about “all the good you can do for people.”
Now let us ask you a question: Do you know anyone else in public life who lets it all hang out this way? Elizabeth Warren, maybe? Well, she’s not on the ballot this year. Nor Bernie Sanders. Nor Dennis Kucinich. Nor Barney Frank. Nor Russ Feingold. Nor Paul Wellstone, bless the memory of him.
Alan Grayson is on the ballot this year. And he deserves your support. Before midnight tonight.
This is the end. But with Alan Grayson carrying our banner forward, it also is the beginning -- of something beautiful.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr., teaching a simple lesson: Don’t be silent.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Jul 28, 2014, 06:39 PM (2 replies)
Today, for our “100 Days to Victory” moneybomb finale, we bring you an extraordinarily moving and evocative message from actor-activist Martin Sheen. Sheen is America’s favorite fictitious President, residing in the “West Wing” for seven wonderful years. He also is an amazingly active activist, an outspoken leader against nuclear weapons and capital punishment, and in favor of peace, the right to organize, gun control, immigration reform, the environment and care for the homeless. As Martin Sheen puts it, “acting is what I do for a living; activism is what I do to stay alive.” Let’s hear what he has to say about our Congressman with Guts, Rep. Alan Grayson…
“Hello. I’m Martin Sheen, and for seven years, I played the role of President of the United States on the ‘West Wing.’
You know, the President’s most important responsibility is his own role as Commander-in-Chief, and his most important decisions are the decisions between war and peace.
In today’s Washington, D.C., Congressman Alan Grayson is perhaps the strongest American voice for peace.
Before he was elected to Congress, he prosecuted Iraq war profiteers.
He ran for Congress on a platform of peace in Iraq and Afghanistan and constructive relationships between America and the rest of the world.
Alan Grayson not only won that fight, but he also established a critical principle: that when it’s our blood to be spilled, and when it’s our money to be spent, then it’s our decision to make. ]
Tireless, tough, creative, articulate, honest, poised, and persuasive, Alan Grayson has become one of the bold leaders of the renewed peace movement here in America.
I support him, and I’m urging you to support him as well. Because Alan Grayson is what America needs right now.
Alan Grayson has won the long-promised blessing reserved for the peacemakers. Thank you.”
any link to see the Martin Sheen video.>
Why does Alan Grayson deserve your support in this “100 Days to Victory”moneybomb? Because Alan Grayson is a “ bold leader of the renewed peace movement here in America. ”
If you contribute today, every dollar that you give will be matched by two more, from two generous supporters. And if you give $20.14 or more, you will have a chance to join Alan in Orlando on Election Day.
Today is Moneybomb day. If you have been thinking about giving, the day is today, and the time is now.
Contribute now to help reelect the “strongest American voice for peace.”
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Jul 28, 2014, 02:41 PM (2 replies)
Here is the deal: For every dollar that you give in our moneybomb, we have two donors who have promised to match it.
$1 + $1 + $1 = $3.
Maybe you’d like to be able to give this campaign $75, but frankly, that’s a lot of money. Fine; you just give us $25, and the other two will give us another $50. Everyone’s happy.
But if you give $0, then they give $0. Everyone’s sad.
This offer is good through 11:59 pm on Monday, July 28, 2014. Void where prohibited. Blah-blah-blah.
You want to know how we did this? It was brilliant, if we do say so ourselves. (And if we don’t, then who will?) We went to two very generous progressive donors who had not yet given to our campaign this year. We told them that we have 100,000 supporters, and we’re confident that if they each pledged to give up to $X, then our supporters would match them dollar-for-dollar. And they said, “Fantastic! A win-win situation!”
And now we’re telling you the same thing. But it’s only win-win if you give-give. And it’s lose-lose if you don’t-don’t. Hey, don’t leave us twisting slowly, slowly in the wind.
Would you like to know who these two anonymous benefactors are? Well, we’re not going to tell you, because if we did, then they wouldn’t be anonymous. (At least until our FEC report comes out.) It’s like that old TV show from the 1950’s called “The Millionaire.” You just see an arm reaching for the cashier’s check, and handing it to the executive secretary for delivery. “You sent for me, sir?” “Yes, Michael, here is the check.”
So please give us your check. Because life provides very few opportunities to triple your money, unless you’re at the racetrack. Citibank is now paying 0.01% interest on savings accounts. (For real.) At that rate, it would take you 1100 years to triple your money. We need your help in the year 2014, not in the year 3114, when Hillary Clinton the XXXIII will be running against George Bush the XXXV for President. Now, not then.
Oh, and just a reminder: we will be choosing one moneybomb contributor (donating $20.14 or more) to join Rep. Alan Grayson in Orlando on Election Day, or some other date that’s good for you. Come on, Mickey Mouse is dying to see you!
Anyway, the time has come. Please hit that CONTRIBUTE button below, with the warm feeling that whatever you give will be multiplied thrice. Not exactly like the fishes and the loaves, but still a very good deal.
Hoping for Continued Employment,
Posted by Alan Grayson | Sun Jul 27, 2014, 07:35 PM (5 replies)
For today’s moneybomb message, we have former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Congressman Kucinich, a proud progressive, was the only 2008 presidential candidate to have voted against occupying Iraq, and Dennis later brought articles of impeachment against President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Dennis has recorded a video urging you to support Rep. Alan Grayson’s reelection campaign. Here’s why:
“Hi. I’m Dennis Kucinich. I served with Alan Grayson in the United States Congress.
In the 16 years I spent in Congress, standing up, and working for peace, and speaking out whenever it was necessary, there were very few Members I met who are as committed - to peace, to social justice, to a fair economy - as is Alan Grayson.
When I saw the effort that was made to try to knock him out of Congress a few years ago, where interest groups raised over five and a half million dollars, I knew how important it was that people like you would be involved.
He's running for reelection, and he needs your help.
And we have to make sure that a voice that had the courage to stand up and stop this country from going into another war in the Middle East, a voice which fearlessly dedicated to the cause of peace – a voice which is uncompromising when it comes to exposing wrongdoing in government – that voice, Alan Grayson’s voice, needs to stay in Congress.
And he will, with your help.
Contribute generously to his effort to be reelected.
Let’s make sure that Alan Grayson, a Congressman with Guts, someone who has the willingness to stand up and speak out when it counts, will continue to be speaking out for all of us.
Thank you very much. I’m Dennis Kucinich. Keep Alan Grayson in the United States Congress.”
* * *
Let us explain further what Dennis Kucinich means when he says that Alan Grayson “had the courage to stand up and stop the country from going into another war in the Middle East.”
When the war drums are beating, who can you count on in Congress to sing the praises of peace? For as long as Dennis Kucinich was in Congress, you could count on Dennis. Today, you can count on Alan Grayson.
Last year, the United States was on the brink of war with Syria. In Shakespeare’s words, the military-industrial complex was “Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war.” The foreign affairs establishment acted as though war with Syria was inevitable. The news media thought that war would be good for ratings. All signs pointed to another U.S. war in the Middle East.
But one Member of Congress, Alan Grayson, was brave enough to say, “No. When it’s our lives, our blood, and our money, then it’s our decision -- the American people must decide.” Alan was everywhere in the news, doing seven national TV interviews in a single day, patiently explaining that a U.S. military assault would not remove chemical weapons from the Syrians, that it would strengthen radical fundamentalists, and that it would be both expensive and dangerous. He argued his case to his colleagues, to the media, to the American people, and to the world. And Alan Grayson ignited a populist revolt against military intervention hit Congress, with public e-mails, letters and phone calls running 100-to-1 in favor of peace.
The Atlantic magazine called Alan Grayson “the Democratic Congressman Who Thinks He Can Stop the War.”
And guess what? He did. We did.
And now it’s time to feed the dove of peace a little bird seed. Help keep Alan Grayson in Congress, so that he can hold high our banner of peace . Contribute today to the Congressman who is “fearlessly dedicated to the cause of peace” -- Alan
Posted by Alan Grayson | Sun Jul 27, 2014, 03:06 PM (3 replies)
As part of our 7/28 moneybomb, “100 Days to Victory,” we have a moving video today from actor/activist Mike Farrell. Mike is probably best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt in M*A*S*H. But he has a record as a political activist that stretches back for decades. Central American refugees are in the news today; Mike was helping them in 1985. He received the 2001 Humanitarian Award from the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), he was Chair of California’s Human Rights Watch for ten years, and he has been President of Death Penalty Focus for a decade. Two years ago, he led the effort to ban the death penalty in California, losing a statewide referendum by a very narrow margin. Let’s hear what Mike Farrell has to say about our Congressman with Guts, Rep. Alan Grayson…
“Hi. My name is Mike Farrell. I’ve been an actor and what is called a ‘political activist for more than 35 years.
I say ‘what is called a political activist’ because I prefer the term ‘citizen,’ and [br />
Successful political activism requires two things: you have to know where you want to go, and you have to get there.
Principles without action are pointless, and action without principles can be dangerous. You need both. And in Washington, none of our elected officials understands that better than Congressman Alan
Alan is a friend of mine. In the past year alone, he ran a people-powered campaign and returned to Congress in the biggest comeback in the history of the House of Representatives.
Alan formulated a “No-Cuts” pledge regarding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that drew almost three million signatures , and then he personally delivered the petition to our Democratic President and our Republican House Speaker.
Alan successfully marshaled public opinion, public officials, and the media against U.S. military intervention in Syria. Bless him for that.
And in a Republican-controlled House, Alan Grayson has passed more amendments than any other Member, Democratic or Republican.
His amendments are true to progressive principles, like his ban on torture by the military, his ban on weaponized drones in the United States, his prohibition on government contract awards to contractors who commit felonies, his 50 percent increase in funding for federal bilingual housing counseling, and his reallocation of tens of millions of dollars from the military budget to Gulf War Syndrome and cancer research.
No wonder Slate Magazine named Alan Grayson “the most effective Member of Congress.”
In short, Alan Grayson is a bold, fearless progressive, and he knows how to win.
We need Alan to remain in Congress, fighting for progressive causes and winning.
He’s America’s Congressman.
I support Alan, and I hope you will, too. Support Alan Grayson -- not next week, not tomorrow, but today. Thank you!”
We hope that you share Mike’s view: “We need Alan to remain in Congress… . He’s America’s Congressman.”
With your help, our “bold, fearless progressive” can continue fighting for the progressive causes we believe in. And he can win.
Click here, right now, to see Mike Farrell’s video or to support our “100 Days to Victory” moneybomb and contribute to the reelection of the “Most Effective Member of Congress”.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Sat Jul 26, 2014, 05:59 PM (2 replies)
We want to do something special for our moneybomb this week. So if you contribute, then you will have a chance to join me in November for our Election Night Victory Party in Orlando, Florida.
That’s at our expense. We will fly the winner to Orlando, and put up that lucky soul (or souls) at a very nice hotel.
Maybe it will be you. I hope so, because you know that I would enjoy spending time with you, right?
Now I’m aware of the fact that the election takes place on a Tuesday, and many of our supporters actually work on Tuesdays. So if the winner can’t make it to Orlando on Election Night, then any time between now and the end of the year is fine. But I’m hoping that the winner can make it on Election Night, because I would like to share the fun.
One more thing: the winner also gets to go to Disney World or Universal Studios. Your choice.
By the way, if you already have contributed to our moneybomb, don’t sweat it. Everyone who has contributed to our campaign since we announced the moneybomb on Wednesday has a chance here. Because if we didn’t do that, it would be creepy. And we try our best not to be creepy. Butif you contribute again, then you have two chances.
By the way, I’m with me all the time. And I love it. I’m sure you will, too.
I recognize that there are some people who don’t want to be with me on Election Night. Frankly, there are some people who don’t want to be with me at all. If you are one of those people, then we have a special offer for you: If you contribute $5000 or more to our campaign, then we will exclude you from this offer. You don’t have to be with me, ever. The same is true of all your friends. And your enemies. Especially your enemies.
(Footnote: we don’t want a slew of one-cent contributions; MasterCard and Visa would kill us. So only contributors of $20.14 or more qualify. $20.14, because it’s 2014 – get it?)
A trip to Orlando. Disney World or Universal Studios. And being with me on Election Night. Gosh-darn it, what else do you want in life?
Oh, and one more reason to contribute to our moneybomb by Monday: You know that you can count on me. Now I’m counting on you. Click here, and make our “100 Days to Victory” moneybomb a success.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Jul 25, 2014, 07:46 PM (4 replies)
Next up in support of our moneybomb this week is the House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Leader Pelosi is a progressive champion, the first female Speaker of the House, and the most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives. Here are some remarks that Leader Pelosi made about our Congressman with Guts, Rep. Alan Grayson.
“When the Supreme Court issued its wrongheaded Citizens United decision and opened the floodgates to unlimited, secret, corporate dollars in our campaigns, Alan Grayson stood up on national television, and expressed his deep concern and his love for our democracy.
He stood up for the democracy our founders intended: A government of the many, not a government of the money.
For his courage, Congressman Grayson became a target of special interest spending, but he never stopped fighting – even after millions in outside funds succeeded in removing him from office.
Alan Grayson refused to back down.
He ran again.
He raised money from grassroots and small donors.
And he won .
Now he’s continuing the fight.
No matter where you live, whether in Florida’s 9th Congressional District or in communities nationwide, you can count on Alan Grayson – but only as long as he can count on us .
Please join the 100,000 people who have backed his campaign so far.
Please show your support for Alan Grayson today.
With your help, we can keep him in Congress, fighting for you."
Leader Pelosi sums it up quite nicely: “You can count on Alan Grayson – but only as long as he can count on us.”
Ain’t that the truth?
With special interests and corporate crooks ready to spend millions to defeat Alan Grayson, he’s going to need our help now more than ever.
Contribute today to the Congressman you can count on: Alan Grayson.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Jul 25, 2014, 03:32 PM (9 replies)
Leading off our moneybomb this week is the House Democratic Whip Congressman Steny Hoyer. Here are some remarks that Congressman Hoyer made during a visit to Rep. Alan Grayson’s district not too long ago. Congressman Hoyer is a champion for the Middle Class, he serves as the second highest-ranking member of House Democratic Leadership, and he plays a critical role in shaping the Democratic platform. Congressman Hoyer supports Rep. Alan Grayson, and here he explains why you should, too. Take it away, Steny!
“In 2010, we had an awful, crazy election we lost a lot of good people. And some of them put their tail between their legs, and went away.
Alan Grayson didn’t do that.
Alan Grayson said, ‘I care too much about my country.’
Alan Grayson said, ‘I want to make sure that my people in Florida, in Central Florida, and in my country, reflect the values and the priorities and the vision that I think is important for this country.’
And that’s what Alan Grayson brings to this Congress.
I am asking you to reelect a Congressman who is making a difference, in Alan Grayson.
You tell them that they can make a difference. They have ways and means to do that.
Alan Grayson doesn’t need their money for his own sake. Alan Grayson doesn’t need their contributions.
America needs Alan Grayson. America needs your contribution.
Alan Grayson is the means to change this country."
And there you have it –
Contribute to Alan Grayson’s campaign today.
Contribute for America, because America needs Alan Grayson in Congress.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Jul 25, 2014, 08:56 AM (3 replies)