Alan Grayson's Journal
Member since: Sat May 22, 2010, 01:02 PM
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It has been widely reported that I recognized, several months before the martial law scenes from Ferguson, Missouri, how problematic it is to put military weapons and equipment in the hands of police officers, and that I introduced and forced a vote on an amendment in the House to prevent that. It also has been widely reported that I lost that vote. We then saw the consequence of that sad outcome on our TV screens and computer screens. I want to share with you some of the points that I made when that amendment was under consideration. I will tell you what was said in opposition to my amendment. And then, in light of what we saw in Ferguson, I want you to tell me how you would have voted.
To have military weapons in the hands of the police is a blatant violation of Sir Robert Peel’s “Nine Principles of Policing,” which has been the gold standard of police conduct for two centuries. Here are those principles:
· To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
· To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
· To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
· To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
· To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour , and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.
· To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.
· To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
· To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.
· To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.
With that in mind, I introduced an amendment to prevent any further distribution of armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, toxicological agents, chemical agents, biological agents, launch vehicles, guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, and nuclear weapons by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to police departments in the United States. The amendment did not restrict the distribution of guns or ammunition.
The purpose of my amendment was to address a growing problem throughout our country, which is the militarization of local law enforcement agencies, and the resulting friction between the police and the policed.
The New York Times had recently reported that police departments around the country had received thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment and hundreds of silencers, armored cars, and aircraft directly from the Department of Defense. These are military weapons and materiel.
I thought, and I still think, that this is appalling. That is why my amendment tried to prohibit the Department of Defense from gifting military-grade equipment, such as aircraft—including drones—armored vehicles, grenade launchers, silencers, and bombs to local police departments. I believe that those weapons have no place in our streets, regardless of who may be deploying them.
As The New York Times article ‘‘War Gear Flows to Police Departments’’ explained:
“Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs. Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of ‘barbering without a license.’ One South Carolina sheriff’s department now takes a new tank that it received from the Department of Defense with a mounted .50-caliber gun to schools and community events. The department’s spokesman calls that tank a ‘conversation
Forgive me, but I just don’t think this is the way I want my America to be. I think that our police should act like public servants, not like warriors at war. My view of America is one where our streets are safe, and they don’t resemble a war zone, no matter who is deploying that equipment. We don’t want America to look like an occupied territory.
After I made these simple and brief points to my colleagues in the House, a certain distinguished gentleman from New Jersey then beat his chest about 9/11. I’d like to try to explain to you his argument that the 9/11 tragedy somehow justifies giving landmines, torpedoes and missiles to local police departments. But in order to explain it, I would have to understand it, and I just don’t.
Then an esteemed colleague from the Great State of Florida made this comforting point: He said that you can always find misuses of any equipment that is given to the police, but it is the responsibility of local communities to keep the police in check. In other words, tanks don’t kill civilians; it’s the tank occupants who kill the civilians. Which really begs the question: How is the community going to keep the police “in check” if it’s the police who have the tanks, the helicopters and the chemical weapons?
In response to these points, I invited any opponent of my amendment to cite a case – any case, at any time, in any place – where the police in any American community actually had ever used military weapons for a necessary and proper purpose. I asked them to identify any act of terrorism that was thwarted by handing to police officers helicopters that are militarized, handing them bombs, and handing them the military gear that you would expect to see only on the battlefield.
For that invitation, there were no takers.
I therefore pointed out that those weapons simply are not being used to defeat terrorism in our streets. Instead, they are being used to arrest barbers in Orlando, and to terrorize the general population.
And then I made a very important point, one which unfortunately was borne out very quickly in Ferguson, Missouri. I said that such weapons often are used by a majority to terrorize a minority.
Someone had to say it.
And I added that we all know of many cases— both recent and in the deep, dark past—where the police used their weapons improperly, and brutally. It used to be that they could only use billy clubs or guns that way. But now, they can use helicopters and bombs. And before long, I suppose, given the “anything goes” logic of the Defense Department’s Section 1033 program, the police will be able to deploy nuclear weapons.
That is not an America that I want to live in. And I’m not going anywhere else, any time soon.
In my finale, I pointed out that without my amendment, DoD is free to provide the police with weapons of mass destruction, deployed within our borders, with no strings attached. Unfortunately, no one in the House seemed concerned by that.
That was the sum and substance of the debate. I haven’t left anything out.
I’m a Democrat, and the Democrats are a minority in the House of Representatives. So for me to win, I have to attract Republican support. I did that. The strength of my arguments, or perhaps my wit and charm, enticed 19 Republican House Members to vote in favor of the Grayson Amendment. If you check, you will find that there are exceedingly few House Democratic amendments that win that kind of GOP support.
There are 199 Democrats in the House. 19 + 199 = 218, the magic number in the House of Representatives. 218 makes a majority.
Unfortunately, the House Democrats abandoned the Grayson Amendment in droves, and it went down to defeat. Hence Ferguson.
But that was then, and this is now. I want to know something else today – how you would have voted. What if you were in Congress? Would you have voted for the Grayson Amendment or against it?
At some point, I’ll share the results.
With that amendment, I was ahead of the new cycle, ahead of the crowd. But isn’t that what leaders are supposed to do? Lead?
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Sep 5, 2014, 05:42 PM (15 replies)
Democracy for America (DFA), the largest membership group for Democrats, sent this note to its members on Sunday. DFA has named Rep. Alan Grayson it’s “#1 Hero in the House.” :
A true progressive leader is someone who anticipates a problem before it becomes a national crisis.
Thanks to Ferguson, Missouri, the entire country now knows that the militarization of our local police is a huge problem that threatens our safety and our freedoms.
Police militarization isn't news to Rep. Alan Grayson. He was already leading the fight against it in Congress, before it became national news.
In June, two months before Ferguson, he proposed an amendment that would have blocked the Pentagon from transferring military surplus to local police agencies. Had that amendment been in place a few years ago, St. Louis County police might not have had the armored vehicles and sniper rifles that they used to threaten peaceful protesters.
Alan Grayson's bold, progressive leadership on demilitarizing the police is just the latest example of why it is so important that we have him in Congress. Alan Grayson fights for our values when few others will. That makes him a hero -- and it makes him a right-wing target.
DFA is endorsing Alan Grayson because we cannot afford to lose an ally like him in Congress. Will you chip in $20 today to support this progressive leader?
Alan Grayson's leadership has repeatedly changed the conversation in Congress and won important progressive victories.
When he and Congressman Mark Takano joined forces to write a letter vowing they would never vote to cut Social Security, it sparked a revolt among House Democrats who successfully saved Social Security -- for now.
That kind of leadership is why Republicans desperately want to defeat him. In 2010, they beat Grayson during the Tea Party wave. But Grayson fought back in 2012 and won, thanks to his unashamed embrace of progressive values.
We can't let Tea Party extremists take down Grayson in 2014. He's asked DFA members for their help, and I hope you'll respond. From protecting and expanding Social Security, to fighting corporate power, to demilitarizing our police, and so much more, Alan Grayson is a leader we cannot afford to lose.
Alan Grayson has stood with us when we needed him the most. Now it's time for us to stand with him. Chip in $20 now to re-elect Alan Grayson to Congress.
Thank you for standing up for a progressive hero.
Charles Chamberlain, Executive Director
Democracy for America
Posted by Alan Grayson | Tue Sep 2, 2014, 02:25 PM (0 replies)
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, 01:27 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, 05:02 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, 07:39 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, 03:41 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, 08:35 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, 04:06 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, 06:59 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, 08:46 PM (4 replies)