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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 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.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Would you like to meet Nancy Pelosi? She is joining us in Orlando next Friday, and one fortunate supporter who contributes to our campaign today or tomorrow will have that opportunity. If you’re the winner, we will fly you to Orlando at the campaign’s expense, and you can shake hands – and hug – the first female Speaker of the House, and the highest female elected official in American history.
If you would like a shot at meeting Nancy Pelosi, then contribute to our campaign today. Or tomorrow. But today would be better.
Let me allow Nancy Pelosi to introduce herself, with the special remarks that she made on behalf of all women when she was elevated to Speaker of the House in 2007:
"This is a historic moment – for the Congress, and for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren't just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today, we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters, the sky is the limit, anything is possible for them.”
If you would like to meet the special person who not only uttered these words, but made them a reality, then show your support for our campaign, and keep your fingers crossed that you can join Nancy Pelosi – and me – next Friday.
It was Nancy Pelosi who mobilized against and defeated George Bush’s crazy notion to risk our Social Security money in the stock market (down by 2% today alone, by the way, which would mean $25 a month less for every Social Security recipient).
It was Nancy Pelosi who showed her respect for war-weary Americans by opposing George W. Bush’s “surge” in Iraq, which prolonged the war and set the stage for the chaos there today.
It was Nancy Pelosi who insisted on comprehensive and affordable healthcare for all Americans, when Rahm Emanuel and so many others were willing to throw in the towel after Scott Brown won the special election to replace Edward Kennedy in the Senate.
Nancy Pelosi – one of the greatest leaders of our time, and one of the greatest female leaders of any time. It’s too late for you to meet Cleopatra and Joan of Arc, but it’s not too late for you to meet Nancy Pelosi – if you contribute today and you are selected to join us.
I’m a very tough audience. But I have enormous personal respect for Nancy Pelosi. This may be the only chance that you will ever have to meet her in person. Take it.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Yesterday, I told you that for the first time in four months, an independent poll shows Senate Republican “Leader” Mitch McConnell running behind his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. I asked you to contribute to Grimes. If you did, fine. If you didn’t, then I’m asking again, with more reasons why.
If there is anyone who deserves to lose this year, it’s Mitch McConnell. Click here to help make it happen.
Alison Grimes herself has captured the essence of what is wrong with McConnell. Here is what she said: “If the doctors told Sen. McConnell he had a kidney stone, he would refuse to pass it.” Like he refuses to pass everything else.
Here are a few more comments, in response to yesterday’s note:
“I can’t look at that face anymore, and that mean attitude working Americans.” – Maura R.
“Before filibustering Mitch McConnell took $467,800 from PACs and executives make a profit off the students.” - Jeremy C.
“I’m not a proctologist, but I know an a**hole when I see one.” - Ted F.
“He is paid for by the Koch Brothers. Has no mind of his own anymore.” – Jean M.
“He’s a disgrace to turtles everywhere.” - Mary M.
“What a worthless soul. What a worthless life. What a worthless career.” – Kraig M.
“Well, he wanted to make sure Obama was a one-tmer. He was wrong, and now it is his turn to go into retirement, with the voter’s help.” - Viggo L.
“Looks like he’s been alive since colonial times.” - Gene R.
“He is out of touch with reality, like the rest of his rich friends in Congress who never practice what they preach. Their religion is money, oil and hating Obama.” - Bonnie W.
“I am sure there are some really rich people in Kentucky who just love this guy. Why in the world, however, would any of the other 99% vote for him? I just don’t get it.” – Allen H.
“That eternal frown comes from knowing he’s going straight to Hell when he dies.” - Bret H.
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.
Our last poignant critique of the “esteemed gentleman from Kentucky” comes from Joel P.:
“I simply loathe this man. He could have done SO much to move our nation forward. And he took the money and the low road, to pit Americans against Americans for the degradation of our political process, our financial well-being, our land, air, and water, our wounded souls.”
And now we have this fleeting, once-in-a-sexennial 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 as I said yesterday, the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. If McConnell wins, there is a good chance that he will be Senate Majority Leader on Jan. 5, 2015. If McConnell loses, then it gets very, very hard for the Republicans to take over the Senate. And if Mitch McConnell loses, he’s nothing.
It’s time to switch. Ditch Mitch!
Click here to help banish Mitch McConnell from our lives, forever.
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.” That’s an award that tastes even better than Rock Lobster.
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” . 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?
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”).
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.
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.
Hi. Before I say anything else, I want to say thank you -- thank you very much -- to the 3000+ supporters who contributed to our “Oh-My-God-it’s-the-end-of-the-quarter!!!!” campaign. We raised almost $200,000 in contributions and pledges. If you didn’t contribute, fear not – we can still accept your EOQ cash, as in right here.
But we still have campaign bills to pay, and we still need mucho dinero between now and Election Day. So Howie Klein at Blue America PAC has once again stepped forward to provide a little extra motivation to our donors this week: the chance to receive the RIAA-certified award for the B-52’s most beloved album, “Cosmic Thing.” (Hey, man, the B-52’s, as in “Love Shack.” Where were you in 1989?) Anyone who contributes here to our campaign this week has a chance to be selected. Oh, and the winner gets something else, too, but if you want to know what that is, you will have to click here to find out. (Which reminds me of an old joke: “How do we keep all of our awesome supporters in suspense? I’ll tell you later.”)
For avoidance of doubt, I want to make it perfectly clear (in the Nixonian sense) that this offer refers to the B-52s the singing group, not the B-52s the long-range bombers. Obviously, it’s very important to avoid confusion on this point, so let me offer this helpful guide as to how to distinguish one from the other:
The bomber delivers up to 70,000 pounds of weapons. The band delivers up to 70,000 pounds of fun.
The bomber’s nickname is BUFF, which stands for “Big Ugly Fat F***er.” The band is not known by that name.
The bomber was started in 1946. The band was started in 1976.
The bomber can fire air-launched cruise missiles. The band cannot.
On at least six different occasions, the bomber has crashed while carrying nuclear weapons. (I’m serious.) This has never happened to the band.
The bomber is made by Boeing. The band was made by their mothers and fathers. (Not to be confused with the Mamas and the Papas.)
Boeing charges $54 million for a single B-52. The B-52s charge considerably less than that for a single.
On the other hand, here is something that they have in common: The bomber is capable of carrying out its strategic mission without dependence on advanced and intermediate bases controlled by other countries. So can the band.
With that in mind, I hereby invite you to establish your eligibility to receive the RIAA-certified award for the B-52’s best album, “Cosmic Thing,” by making a contribution to our campaign.
Please do so willingly and voluntarily, without any fear of retribution or reprisal if you fail to do so, because neither the bombers nor the band are under my command.
Look, would you please lay a few drachmas on the table for a chance to win the thing? Thanks.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Nobody’s perfect, I know. But I must be pretty darn close to perfect. Because in order to attack me, the Republican Party has to lie.
Recently, the National Republican Congressional Committee, apparently at a loss as to how to launch any legitimate attack against me, charged that I “abused” my “frank mail privileges and used taxpayer money to distribute a self-promotional DVD to (my) constituents.”
First, the term is “franked,” not “frank.” This refers to items mailed to constituents and paid by our Congressional office budget. If you’re going to attack me, GOP, please learn how to spell.
Second, the fundamental purpose of “franking” is to inform your constituents about what you are doing on the job. This isn’t an “abuse”; it’s something that’s specifically authorized in the U.S. House of Representatives by House Rule XXIV.
Third, the DVD that the Republican Party is complaining about was approved unanimously, in advance by the House Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, which consists of three Democrats and three Republicans. All three of those Republicans voted in favor of our informational DVD, and yet now the Republican Party is assailing me over it.
Don’t you just hate cheap, dishonest political muggings like that? Well, it’s time to do something about it. Today is the last day of our quarterly FEC reporting period; please contribute $20 or more to our campaign, so that we can FIGHT BACK!
There’s more. Unfortunately, I happen to be one of the few Members of Congress who seems to know how to ask a question in a Congressional hearing. We each get five minutes with the witnesses. For most of the other Members, its 4:59 of senseless ranting, and then 0:01 of “Do you agree with me!?” If you ever watch C-SPAN, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I won’t do it that way. I assume that if we’re going to have a hearing, there may be interesting information that the witnesses may impart. So I ask real questions, and I expect real answers – no pussyfooting, no pretense, no prevarication.
Both the media and the public seem to find the novelty of real questions and real answers at a Congressional hearing quite engaging. That’s why the most-watched Congressional video of all time – my five-minute examination of the Fed’s Inspector General – has drawn over five million views on YouTube.
As a result, we have a treasure-trove of hearing examinations and Floor speeches that has found its own audience, on YouTube and elsewhere. I decided to share those with our constituents. I asked the staff how much it would cost to create and mail a postcard. Answer: 70 cents each. I asked how much it would cost to create and mail a DVD. Answer: 80 cents each. So we went with the DVD.
And our constituents loved it. We received countless compliments from them. They could finally see, with their own eyes, someone doing something useful in Washington, DC.
Which is why, I suppose, the do-nothing Republican Party considers it unethical.
Don’t let the GOP get away with this cheap shot. Contribute to our reelection campaign today, before the end of the quarter, and make sure that lies don’t beat truth.
By the way, this recent attack by the Republican National Congressional Committee neglects to point out that we mailed the DVDs back in 2010, more than four years ago. If they have to reach that far back to attack me during our 2014 campaign, I must have led an exemplary life for the past four years.
In fact, though, the disingenuous attacks began back then. One of my 2010 opponents filed an ethics complaint against me regarding the DVDs. Dismissed. But the Republican Party won’t tell you that.
Another opponent actually had the nerve to file a lawsuit against me regarding the DVDs. Dismissed. But the Republican Party won’t tell you that.
Instead, we have some hack flack for the Republican Party calling me an “unethical candidate,” and two trolling right-wing “news services” propagating that lie throughout my district.
C.H. Spurgeon once said that “a lie will go round the world while truth is putting its boots on.” To defeat the lie, we have to spread the truth. And we need your help to do it. Make your contribution of $20 or more today. Every dollar counts.
Rep. Michael Grimm is under indictment for underpaying his employees millions of dollars at a restaurant that he owned, and cheating on his taxes. You don’t see the Republican Party calling him unethical.
Rep. Vern Buchanan forced employees of his car dealerships to contribute to his campaign. You don’t see the Republican Party calling him unethical.
Rep. Scott Desjarlais, a doctor, broke Tennessee law by having sexual relations with two of his patients, and that fierce opponent of abortion advised one of them to get an abortion. You don’t see the Republican Party calling him unethical.
Speaking of abortion, Rep. David Valadao offered and passed an amendment to abort California’s high-speed rail project, because it would reduce the value of a dairy farm that he owns. You don’t see the Republican Party calling him unethical.
Why not? Because they’re all Republicans. It’s one rule for us, and no rules for them.
We need to defeat these mendacious onslaughts, and we need your help to do it. Our FEC fundraising deadline is today, and the November election is only five weeks away. It’s now or never. Make it now.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Here at Team Grayson, September 29th is a special day.
Today, September 29th, marks the fifth-year anniversary of when our Congressman with Guts, Alan Grayson, gave a landmark speech.
The Democrats had been on the defensive on healthcare reform for months, because of Sarah Palin’s “death panels” lie and relentless nonsensical attacks regarding “socialized medicine.” But the Republicans never offered any plan of their own to provide healthcare to the 40 million Americans without health insurance, and save the lives of the 45,000 Americans who die each year because they have no health coverage. When President Obama came to Congress and said to the Republicans, “Let’s hear your plan,” they waived their “plan” in the air at him. After the President’s speech, Grayson crossed the aisle on the House Floor, and discovered that the GOP “plan” was a blank piece of paper.
So five years ago today, armed with nothing but a few poster boards and a whole lot of courage, a freshman Democrat named Alan Grayson – the first Democrat to represent red downtown Orlando in 34 years -- walked onto the Floor of the House of Representatives, and spoke truth to power.
“The Republican health care plan: Don't get sick,” he explained.
But don’t worry, he added, because “The Republicans have a backup plan in case you do get sick. . . . If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly!”
For most of us, this was America’s introduction to Alan Grayson.
The sick who are too poor to see a doctor. Workers on minimum wage, who never get a day off. The victims of discrimination and bigotry. Good people facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Workers struggling to organize. Consumers who are cheated. A+ students who can’t afford university tuition. Basically, everyone who deserves a break.
And he was right.
That sublime send-up, that monumental mockery, that powerful pretense, that lively lampoon, put the GOP in its place. Alan Grayson gave Congress the push that it needed to pass the Affordable Care Act, and put America on the road to universal healthcare.
Five years have passed, and Republicans only have proven the truth of Alan’s words. They still don’t have a health plan.
Five years have passed, while Republicans remain steadfast in their opposition to helping poor people, sick people, and needy people. Five years have passed, and Republicans are still looking for opportunities to “defund Obamacare” and deny Americans the universal health care coverage that they deserve – the universal care that every other advanced nation in the world enjoys.
Five years have passed, and the Republican health care plan remains the same: Don’t Get Sick. And If You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly.
The Republican plan for the unemployed: Live Off Your Trust Fund.
The Republican plan for sick leave: Find Another Job.
The Republican plan for poverty: Decide to Be Rich.
The Republican plan for marriage equality: Pray the Gay Away.
The Republican plan for poor students: Get Your Rich Uncle to Pay Tuition.
The Republican plan for traffic jams: Fly Your Personal Helicopter.
The Republican plan for life-threatening illness: You Are in Our Prayers.
The Republican plan for immigration reform: Voluntary Deportation.
(That last one is for real; just ask Mitt Romney.)
If you want Alan Grayson to remain in Congress – to continue calling out the Republicans and their callous disregard for the human condition – then chip in $20.14 or more today.
Show your support for a Congressman with guts, courage, a head and a heart. Because somebody – somebody -- needs to tell the truth.
The dots were all connected.
The lines were barely drawn.
The secrets that night kept hidden,
Were left out in the dawn . . . .
I sat down on the curbstone.
I rubbed my eyes and coughed.
I rubbed my wrists and ankles,
And I thanked the Lord above.
Somebody, Somebody told,
They told the truth to somebody.
Somebody told the truth.
- Peter Case, “Somebody Told The Truth” (2010).
The final quarterly deadline for the 2014 Grayson for Congress reelection campaign is approaching rapidly. We asked famed actress Frances Fisher to explain why she supports Alan Grayson, and why you should, too. Frances played one of the central characters in “Titanic,” the second-highest grossing film of all time, and she stars today in the ABC TV drama hit “Resurrection,” the 11th most-watched show on TV. (The second season of “Resurrection” premieres tonight, at 9 pm.) You can see Frances’s moving video here. This is what she said:
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Last night, Rep. Alan Grayson was invited onto "All In With Chris Hayes" on MSNBC to give his perspective on Congressional approval of military action against ISIS, and the military's request for more war funding. The host explained that Republicans were attacking the President for not calling Congress back in session to debate a declaration of war against ISIS, when only GOP Speaker Boehner can call the House back in session, to "do its job." In short, the Democrats are rightly claiming that the Republicans need to call the House back in session, while the Republicans are wrongly claiming that it's the President's job to do so. Here's what went down:
Guest Host Ari Melber: At this point, much of the GOP leadership says if they were President, they'd make themselves actually do their jobs. Joining me now is Congressman Alan Grayson. Let's start right there, Congressman. What do you make of what I think is bizarre, even in our gridlock-bizarre politics, the claim (that) if the Republicans (were) in the White House, they would get this Congress not to act the way it has under Republican leadership?
Congressman Alan Grayson: Well, if Republicans were in the White House, we'd probably be engaged in eight or twelve wars right now. But we're talking about war and peace, not "After you, Alfonse. No, after you, Gaston." I don't think that's the way these decisions should be made.
Ari: And so what should happen?
Alan: What should happen is that Congress should be making the difficult decision that actually confronts America. The President is the Commander-in-Chief, but it's up to Congress to declare war. Secretary Kerry says that we're already at war and, therefore, this is something that the Congress should undertake.
Ari: And when you look at what we showed from across the pond, what did you think of the debate that they had (in the British Parliament)? Because one thing that was clear even in the short excerpt we showed was a real reckoning with the downsides here. And it seems that is in contrast, that vote that you guys did hold on the Syrian rebel piece was sort of a distraction, because we all know that this is much bigger than 5,000 rebel trainees.
Alan: Well, that debate ended up drawing interesting lines. First of all, the British Parliament voted in favor of air attacks, but not ground troops, and it drew a clear distinction in that regard. Secondly, Parliament voted in favor of attacks only in Iraq, not in Syria -- another interesting distinction that has so far eluded our government. And I think that when you debate this way, then you actually end up flushing out the real issues. But I don't expect that to happen in Congress. Look how many attended that debate in British Parliament. Look at how many were actually there. Compare that with the six hours of debate we had a week ago in the House of Representatives, on the President's request for half a billion dollars to train the so-called "moderate Syrian rebels." Nobody was in the room. Nobody was in the room. At this point, we're paying as much attention to each other in this Congress as Roman Senators did to Nero's horse. (Actually, it was Caligula, Nero's uncle, who appointed his horse to the Roman Senate. - Ed.)
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Ari: On that , you mention the half-billion, and you have, just out today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey saying they need more money. Take a listen to that.
--Begin video clip of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey-
Secretary Hagel: Well, as you know, we are generally spending roughly, since this effort started, $7 million to $10 million a day. That is being funded out of OCO, overseas contingency operations, and we are going to require additional funding from Congress as we go forward.
General Dempsey: So if you're asking me do I assess right now, as we go into the fall review for '16, that we're going to have budget problems? Yes.
--End video clip of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey--
Ari: What I think (is going on there) is that everyone remembers a little something called "the sequester," which was largely a product of the Tea Party's hostage-taking. And part of what it does, as you know, is automatically slow defense spending. How do you square that with the Pentagon now saying that they need all of this extra money?
Alan: Oh, I think they can drop a few bombs for only $500 billion a year (that the Pentagon already gets). I don't think they're going to have to run a bake sale any time soon. But what about the indirect costs? Why aren't we talking about that? The price of oil went up $3 a barrel this week. That means that drivers all across the United States and, in fact, all over the world, are paying 10 cents-a-gallon more this week than they did last week. That's costing us around $20 million a day. Why is there no discussion of that?
Ari: I hear you. And the last thing I wanted to ask you, Congressman, was, in the lame duck session, do you see an explicit vote on any authorization here?
Alan: No, I don't, but just to finish what I was saying a moment ago. Those attacks on those refineries in Syria, in the ISIS-held territory, led directly to that increase in oil prices. Why isn't anybody thinking that through? no, we're probably not going to address in the lame duck session. We're probably not going to address this year. I think what's going to happen is the futility of this idea that we can defeat ISIS (with) air attacks alone is going to become more and more apparent to people over time. And this war, like the war in Iraq for so many years, will just fade from the news, and be largely forgotten.
Ari: You might be right. We can (only) hope that you're wrong. Congressman Grayson, thanks for spending time with us tonight.
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