Alan Grayson's Journal
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Do you remember “Joe the Plumber”? If not, you’re better off. But let me remind you – because now “Joe the Plumber” is attacking me. “Joe the Plumber” recently called me a “piece of nose slime.” (Which, as a plumber, he may see a lot of.) “Joe the Plumber” also called me a “dreg of society.” (A “dreg” is the sediment in a liquid. So if anyone knows about dregs, it’s a plumber.) “Joe the Plumber” has now joined Bill O’Reilly, Allen West and Mike Huckabee in their recent attacks on me personally.
If disgusting political attacks like calling a Member of Congress a “piece of nose slime” make you feel ill, then click here, and give us the support we need to fight back.
By the way, “Joe the Plumber” is not named Joe, and he’s not a plumber. If there were a way to belie the word “the,” I’m sure that “Joe the Plumber” would do that, too.
His real name is Samuel Wurzelbacher. In 2008, he claimed that he was a plumber, working for A.W. Newell Corp. in Ohio. But in Ohio, plumbers are licensed, and Joe didn’t have a license. So he’s not a plumber. As Gov. Rick Perry might say, “Oops.”
“Joe the Plumber” made around $40,000 a year not doing his not-plumbing. In his Walter Mitty imagination, though, he somehow was going to buy Newell Corp. Newell has sales of up to $2.5 million a year, according to Manta.com. How could “Joe the Plumber” buy Newell Corp.? The same way that a sparrow devours an elephant, I guess.
Not-yet-President Obama came to “Joe the Plumber’s” town of Toledo, Ohio, in 2008. At an Obama campaign event, “Joe” took that magical mental leap from personal failure to personal success, and told/lied/BS’ed Obama that “Joe” was “getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year – your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”
“Joe the Plumber” was “getting ready” to buy that company in much the same way as Kim Kardashian is “getting ready” to end the civil war in Syria. It could happen. But I doubt it.
Aren’t you sick of right-wing fakers like “Joe” the “Plumber”? Click here to show your support for the Member of Congress whose bumper sticker reads: “Grayson. Truth.”
Anyway, Candidate Obama gave “Joe the Plumber” a substantive analysis of how “Joe’s” non-purchase of “Joe’s” non-plumbing business would affect “Joe’s” non-income and “Joe’s” non-taxes. Obama then added that Obama’s tax plan was necessary in order to reduce taxes on the middle class, which would add customers to “Joe’s” non-business. As Candidate Obama put it: “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s going to be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re going to be better off . . . if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you. Right now, everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody. I think that if you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”
You may recall the shock and horror which the right-wing noise machine manufactured over the concept that “if you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” The same shock and horror that the right-wing noise machine manufactured over President Obama’s statement in 2012 that “if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” (Props to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.) History repeats itself – first as tragedy, and second as farce. (To quote someone else who, by coincidence, also wrote about spreading the wealth.)
Back the first time, in 2008, “Joe the Plumber” jumped, with both feet, into the ensuing distortion-fest. He said that the President’s answer would put us “one step closer to socialism.” He said that the answer showed that our first African-American President could “tap dance . . . almost as good as Sammy Davis, Jr.” He said that he could never support Obama, because of “questions” about “Obama’s loyalty to our country.”
For Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, a star was born. A dim, dopey, dense, doltish and deficient star, but a star nonetheless.
“Joe the Plumber” gave up his non-plumbing career, and became a “motivational speaker.” His talk consists of witty observations like asking why Senator Chris Dodd hasn’t been “strung up” yet. If you’ve ever actually listened to him, you know that his audience surely feels motivated to learn proper grammar.
Here are some of “Joe the Plumber’s” more recent bon mots:
(1) “Joe” says that both the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide were caused by gun control.
(2) “Joe” says that the way to stem illegal immigration is “going to Mexico, and start shooting.”
(3) “Joe” says that he would not let anyone who is “actually homosexual” near his children.
You might think that no one would listen to a schmo like this, but you would be wrong. In fact, “Joe the Plumber’s” website has drawn over one million visitors in a month. His website is one-stop shopping for anyone looking for folly, inanity, imbecility, dementia and lunacy. Not to mention constructive criticism, like calling me a “piece of nose slime” and a “dreg of society.”
And that’s really the heart of the matter. Not that “Joe” the “Plumber” calls me a “piece of nose slime” and a “dreg of society,” but that upwards of one million Tea Party stooges hear those words, and are poised to try to defeat me in November. Which is why I need your help, to fight back.
Not-Joe the Not-Plumber probably is upset with me because when he ran for Congress in 2012, we exposed his twaddle, and we raised $10,000 for his successful Democratic opponent. Meaning that Joe the Plumber’s promising political career as a Tea Party icon went down the drain. Which is exactly what Not-Joe wants to do to us.
Monday marks our FEC report cut-off date. We are under attack. It’s time for us to circle the wagons, and return fire. I need your help, and I need it now. We need to hire canvassers, collect petitions, set up phone banks and hand out campaign literature – right away. Every dollar counts. Our deadline is midnight on Monday. Please contribute today.
Rep. Alan Grayson
P.S. You may have heard this before, but the best way to help our campaign is to make monthly contributions. So please click here to contribute $20.14 each month. Help us fight back.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Thu Mar 27, 2014, 06:43 PM (4 replies)
I understand that you have to have a thick skin to be in politics. But I’m starting to think that I need an elephant’s hide. Or a flak jacket. Or both.
Recently, Tea Party star Joe the Plumber called me a “piece of nose slime.” Former Rep. Allen West revealed on national television that he “prays for my defeat.” Fox News propagandist Bill O’Reilly called me “crazy.” Former Gov. Mike Huckabee called my supporters “sick puppies.” So how long was it going to be, before national radio host Mark Levin chimed in and called me a “circus clown”?
If vicious personal attacks like calling a Member of Congress a “circus clown” make you feel ill, then click here, and give us the support we need to fight back.
For what it’s worth, I like circus clowns. I love the way that dozens of them pop out of those tiny little cars. My kids enjoy the suitcase gags, the juggling, and the magic tricks. But regardless of my affection for circus clowns, I am not one of them. Rather, I am a progressive, and the “most effective Member of Congress,” according to Slate magazine. Which is precisely why Mark Levin is calling me a circus clown. If I weren’t so effective, then they would ignore me.
And Mark Levin has an audience – a gullible audience, but nevertheless, an audience. Each week, 7.5 million people listen to his radio show. That’s the same number as Glenn Beck’s.
Lest you think that this is an isolated instance, an anomaly of some kind, here are some other harsh terms that right-wingers have flung at me during the merry month of March alone:
Do you remember the “Swift Boat” attacks against Presidential candidate John Kerry? Through endless repetition of lies and insults, they took someone who was a genuine war hero, and made him seem like a coward. We can’t let that happen again, to me or to any other victim of what Hillary Clinton called the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
What if you were the target of these vile, depraved and degrading personal attacks? What if it were you?
I’m willing to stand up in the face of this brutal character assassination, and continue to fight for the common good. But I can’t defeat them all by myself. I need your help, and I need it now. Every dollar counts. Monday marks our FEC report cut-off date. Please contribute today. And the best way to help our campaign is to make monthly contributions.
I’ll do my part. But I need you to do yours. Please support our campaign today.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Wed Mar 26, 2014, 12:40 PM (12 replies)
We batted .500 in the Illinois Congressional Primaries a week ago. Luis Gutierrez won, and George Gollin lost. If you helped either candidate, or both, thank you very much.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about Susanne Atanus. GOP voters nominated her to run against Rep. Jan Schakowsky, in IL-9.
Even most Tea Party candidates are smart enough not to say what they really think. Not Susanne Atanus. It’s as if she had a chyron crawling across her forehead.
In a candidate debate at the Chicago Daily Herald, Atanus said that her top issue is the economy. The solution to our economic problems, Atanus said, is to eliminate the S&P, Dow Jones and Nasdaq indices. (While we’re at it, why don’t we eliminate unemployment by eliminating unemployment reports? How about achieving immortality by prohibiting death certificates?)
Here is more from the Daily Herald:
She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as in response to gay rights and legalized abortions. “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions," she said. "Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it's in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."
She then elaborated on her views about religious meteorology with the aptly-named Windy City Times:
"Everybody knows that God controls weather," Atanus said. Atanus said that the snap of cold weather to the Chicago area, as well as the string of tornadoes and other adverse weather, is God's response to the passage of same-sex marriage in Illinois. She also adds that
"God is super angry," she said.] “Gay marriage is not appropriate, and it doesn't look right, and it breeds AIDS," Atanus added later.
Oh, and Atanus also wants to repeal the separation of church and state in the First Amendment. "I believe that maybe there should be an amendment to get that out of the Constitution, because God will never go away," Atanus said. Even if all the tornado victims and the AIDS patients wish he would.
Look: Barring an untimely death for one or the other (in case God really wants to get His hands dirty), the good people of the 9th Congressional District in Illinois are going to elect either Susanne Atanus or Jan Schakowsky to Congress in November. There are no other candidates on the ballot. That’s it.
I think that we had better make sure that it’s Jan Schakowsky.
I can tell you lots of good things about Jan Schakowsky. Like her jobs bill that I’ve cosponsored, which would put millions of Americans back to work. But that’s not what this is all about.
Susanne. Atanus. Must. Be. Defeated.
In 1991, when ethically-challenged Gov. Edwin Edwards ran against neo-Nazi David Duke for Governor of Louisiana, the bumper stickers read: “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.” This time, the choice is a lot easier than that.
There isn’t always someone to vote for. But there is always someone to vote against. Please help Jan Schakowsky defeat Susanne Atanus today.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Mar 24, 2014, 05:37 PM (9 replies)
After countless revelations about the NSA’s rampant domestic surveillance of innocent people, a group of experts, hand-picked by the President himself, have issued a report with specific recommendations to rein in the NSA. The Review Group carefully analyzed the NSA’s activities, and recently proposed changes that would protect our personal privacy, at no expense to our national security.
These proposals were presented as a coherent, comprehensive plan – and they should be treated as such. The President gave a speech recently and announced that he would accept a few of these proposals, but not all of them. That’s not good enough. No one – not the President, nor the Defense Department, nor the so-called “Intelligence Community” – should get to cherry-pick which proposals they’ll actually implement. The Review Group set forth a global program, not a menu.
We shouldn’t have to trade our privacy and freedom for our safety. And we don’t. The Review Group’s recommendations proved that point, and showed us the way forward.
The Review Group’s program is a serious start to reining in the spying-industrial complex. But without our support, that program will suffer crib death.
The spying-industrial complex will never reform itself. They never met a byte they didn’t like, or want. That’s why I’ve introduced the “Big Brother Is Not Watching You Act” – to curb the NSA’s infatuation with spying on innocent Americans.
If you agree, then please sign your name on our petition at MindYourOwnBusinessAct.com, and I’ll deliver your signatures to the White House.
Why? Because we are human beings – free, autonomous men and women who cherish our privacy, and respect the privacy of all others.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:16 PM (4 replies)
This is a leaked copy of a secret memo written by the Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, dated Nov. 10, 2014:
Dear Fellow Republicans:
I hate to say that I told you so, but I told you so.
I warned you almost two years ago that the Republican Party had to extend its appeal to Hispanics. Instead, we kicked up a s**tstorm over stalling on immigration reform, and we lost the House because of it. And now, we’ve got a big, fat load of nothing.
Perhaps I’m the only who noticed that:
(a) The Hispanic vote is the fastest-growing part of the electorate, increasing its percentage of the total vote by 1% every year;
(b) The Hispanic vote is concentrated in states like Texas and Florida that we must hold in order to be considered a national party; and
(c) In the 2012 Presidential election cycle, we lost the Hispanic vote by a ridiculous 68% to 30%.
So we already were skating on thin ice, going into the 2014 mid-term elections. And what did we do? We started jumping up and down on that thin ice, we crashed through it, and we drowned.
It should have told us something when Senators like Rubio, McCain and Flake, Republicans representing states with lots of Hispanic voters, said that we needed immigration reform. The Tea Party kept yelling that we would lose big if the undocumented won a path to votership. Yet the Republican Senators who supposedly had the most to lose from this, those very ones, spoke out for immigration reform.
And it should have been obvious what we had to do, when a substantial number of Republican Senators came out in favor of a sane and rational immigration bill. The Tea Party was hoping that the immigration bill would meet the same fate as the April 2013 gun control bill – death by filibuster. They were wrong. Sen. McConnell couldn’t hold the Republican Senators together in a filibuster, because even at that early point, the polling showed that there were a lot more single-issue pro-immigration voters than there are single-issue pro-gun-control voters. And that was before all the fun started, in 2014, in the House of Representatives.
Boehner told us, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” And then he went into the usual Orange Man routine: lots of bills, lots of hearings, lots of meetings with “stakeholders,” lots of letters back and forth between House Committee Chairs and Obama Administration officials, lots of amendments, mark-ups in three different committees, etc., etc.
All while the Hispanic vote was coming to a slow boil.
And then the party-line House Floor vote, and Boehner’s refusal to put any Senate bill up for a vote, and Boehner’s refusal to appoint House-Senate conferees. At which point, the Hispanic vote boiled over.
For once, the White House communications staff got it right. Instead of the President assailing “Congress,” the President assailed the Republicans. And he hit us where it hurt, calling out Republicans as heartless and soulless. The “Mean Party.” I particularly well-recall when our supposedly “Muslim” President quoted Matthew 25:40 from the King James Bible: “Truly I say to unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Plenty of Hispanics came right out and called us racists.
And then, as the clock ticked down, the protests – Oh God, the protests. Undocumented workers saying that they had worked for weeks and never been paid. That they had worked 70 hours each week in the hot sun, and hadn’t been paid enough to feed their hungry babies. Teenagers pleading for the chance to remain in the only country that they could remember, and not be exported like farm animals to a place that they had never known. Women testifying that they had been raped, but were afraid to go to the police, because they feared deportation and permanent separation from their own families.
And then the Tea Party lunatics started showing up at the protests with guns, and threatening “citizen arrests.”
And then crazy Sheriff Arpaio started making real arrests.
Every night, on the news. For weeks. Then months. While the House Republicans engaged in vigorous onanism.
We thought that we had a lock on the House of Representatives. We had that huge 10-to-1 post-Citizens United advantage in sewer money. We had the ridiculously gerrymandered congressional boundaries that in 2012 had delivered lopsided Republican House delegation majorities of:
-- 13 to 5 in Pennsylvania;
-- 12 to 4 in Ohio;
-- 8 to 3 in Virginia;
-- 9 to 5 in Michigan; and
-- 17 to 10 in Florida,
– all states that President Obama had won in the same year. (How else could we lose the national House vote by 1.6 million, and still end up on top by 35 seats? Hah!)
Well, we learned that we didn’t have a lock on the House. And we lost it in a way that nobody expected, except that one guy in Central Florida. (For sure, the Three Stooges, Rothenberg, Cook and Sabato, never saw it coming.) We got the Hispanics so incensed that they voted 90-to-10 against us, just like the African Americans do, every time.
After the 2012 election, there were 19 House Republican seats in districts that were 25% Hispanic or more. We managed to lose them all. Every single one of them.
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – gone, after 25 years.
Ken Calvert, Buck McKeon and Ed Royce – all gone, after 22 years. (McKeon must have seen it coming; he retired.)
Hispanics were so riled up against Republicans that even tokenism didn’t work for us. Diaz-Balart and Nunes (Portuguese, actually) were swept out, along with Pearce and Farenthold.
At the last minute, there was a Republican push in Texas to remove party identification from the ballot, but that went nowhere. So Farenthold, Neugebauer, Conaway, Poe and Culbertson all kicked the bucket.
And it turned out that our great Republican “victory” in taking redistricting away from the Democratic-controlled California Legislature (while keeping control in all the states where we’re on top) didn’t help us at all. In California, we lost Valadao, Miller, Nunes, Denham, Calvert, McKeon, McCarthy, Cook, Royce and Hunter. We went from 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans in California to 44 Democrats and 9 Republicans. Could the Democrats in the California Legislature possibly have done any worse to us? (Answer: “No.”)
Part of the problem was that a lot of our people just didn’t know how to run in a competitive race. Take Randy Neugebauer – please. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to shout out “Baby Killer!” at another Member of the House in the midst of a debate on healthcare – when 40% of all Hispanics in America have no health coverage whatsoever. In 2012, Neugebauer won by 70 points. In 2014, he lost by eight. (Luckily for Rep. Joe Wilson, someone else given to vigorous expostulation at inopportune moments, Wilson’s district is less than 5% Hispanic.)
Losing those 19 seats just killed Republicans in the House. (We had only 17 to spare.) The Democrats actually gained seats in the Senate – including one in Texas, which is now just under 40% Hispanic. Farewell, GOP filibusters in the Senate!
But we still have the Supreme Court, right? Well, maybe not, since Justice Scalia, now 78 years old, went into the hospital last month, and he hasn’t come out yet.
In the last few days, I’ve spoken to a lot of lobbyists (or as I like to call them, “the owners”) – at least the ones who still take my calls. They weren’t happy even before the election. Nothing was moving through Congress, which means that nothing was moving for them. But now, with the Democrats holding the White House, the House, and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, I’ve got nothing to offer them.
The Chamber of Commerce doesn’t care about abortion. It doesn’t care about the Second Amendment, or about gay marriage, or about prayer in the schools. The Chamber of Commerce cares about tax breaks and drilling rights and deregulation and no-bid contracts and bailouts. And now, we here in the GOP have no way to help them.
And the electorate? They now see us Republicans exactly as so many of us really are: as callous, bigoted tools.
Gentlemen, we have taken the biggest special-interest money machine in the history of the world, and we have destroyed it. By defeating some immigration bill that millionaires and billionaires and multinational corporations actually would have benefited from.
Stupid is as stupid does.
Speaker-Elect Nancy Pelosi already has told us what she, personally, will introduce H.R. 1: The Immigration Reform Act of 2015. With an 18-month path to citizenship that leaves several months to register all of those undocumented Democrats before the 2016 election. Consolidating the permanent Democratic majority.
Goodbye, Texas. Goodbye, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. In every national election from Day One, the Democrats now start with 30% of the national vote from African-Americans and Hispanics, and then they see how far they can run up the score. In other words, the Grand Old Party is now the Grand Dead Party.
Stick a fork in us. We’re done.
In case you couldn’t tell, this is fiction, at least today. But by November 2014, it might be fact. We shall see.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Tue Mar 18, 2014, 11:30 PM (8 replies)
Let me tell you why Rep. Luis Gutierrez deserves our support in his primary tomorrow.
Picture this: You’re driving in your car, making your typical morning commute. All of a sudden, federal agents pull you over, handcuff you, throw you in the back of an SUV, and incarcerate you. Here’s the thing -- you have a good job and a good home. You work hard, every day, to provide for yourself and your family. You follow the laws and you nurture your children. You want them to live productive, healthy lives, just as you do. But that existence is but a distant memory now. (Philip K. Dick fans, think of “Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said.”)
Not because of anything you did. But because of where you were born.
Because when you were a small child, your parents brought you to the United States. Land of the Free – except for you. That was their decision, not yours. It was entirely beyond your control; you didn’t even know how to feed yourself yet, much less how to choose your home. Now you’re stuck in jail on the charge of unlawful entry into the United States. In other words, you’re undocumented and unwanted. You are dispossessed, despised and damned. And so, after months (or maybe even years) of being treated like a felon, you’re shipped back to the country where you were born, and expelled from the only country that you know. Government agents deport you to a place where you may not even speak the language, with no money, food, shelter or identification.
Your parents brought you to the United States to make a better life for you. But in one fell swoop, that better life is over, and your life is torn asunder.
I picture the interview with the immigration official: Q. Why were you born in Mexico? A. Well, I wanted to be born in the United States, but giving birth to me was an important moment in my mother’s life, and I thought that I should be with her.
The New York Times Editorial Board recently shed some light on these inhumane practices: “The Obama administration, in expanding the surge of immigration enforcement begun under President George W. Bush, has detained and deported nearly two million people. The overwhelming majority are dealt with swiftly and summarily, without ever receiving a hearing before an immigration judge. Others who challenge their deportation … wait for years to get a resolution of their cases. Still others, lacking aggressive lawyers, languish forgotten in federal lockups across the country.”
That is the reality faced by a large chunk of the 11 million undocumented people in our country today. And it’s shameful. We’d call them “second-class citizens” – if they were citizens at all.
The undocumented may not be forgiven, but at least they are not forgotten. They have a champion in Congress: Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Congressman Luis Gutierrez has dedicated himself to being an advocate for the undocumented.
Luis Gutierrez has been a friend of the friendless, a voice for the voiceless. He faces a primary election tomorrow. Now it’s time for us to be his friend, and show him our support.
Last year, Rep. Gutierrez made a serious personal sacrifice in order to be the champion of the undocumented. He stepped down from his powerful position as the #3 Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, a subcommittee Ranking Member, so that he could devote himself to immigration reform on the House Judiciary Committee.
Let me explain what a sacrifice that is. Members of Congress join the Financial Services Committee for the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks: Because that’s where all the money is. It’s not just a honeypot, it’s a moneypot. Recently, Open Secrets pointed out that banking sector PACs already have dropped over $10 million in campaign contributions onto banking committee members during this election cycle, as much as all other PACs combined. As Open Secrets discreetly put it, the committee “has long been considered a ‘big money’ panel, with jurisdiction over (banks) that traditionally have been very generous with their campaign contributions to committee members.” And committee members, in return, have been “very generous” with regulatory “relief,” protection against competition, and bailouts. That’s what I loved about the Financial Services Committee when I served on it – everyone was always so “generous” to all of our Wall Street “friends.” Except for me, Luis Gutierrez, Chairman Barney Frank and a few others – all too few.
During the last Congressional term, the Public Campaign Action Fund calculated that the members of the Financial Services Committee had received $70 million in campaign contributions from the financial services sector. That’s over $1 million for each Member. Luis Gutierrez walked away from all of that cash to focus on his duties as Chair of the Immigration Taskforce.
Luis Gutierrez could have gotten all of the campaign cash he needed simply by remaining on the Financial Services Committee, and putting the arm on Wall Street lobbyists. Instead, he left that committee in order to bring millions of people out of the shadows. We should honor his sacrifice by supporting him in his election tomorrow.
Once dubbed the “Moses of the Latinos,” Congressman Gutierrez is the undisputed leader on Immigration Reform. We need him now, more than ever. Luis is up for reelection in a Democratic Primary on Tuesday, in his Chicago-area Congressional District. Join me in helping Luis part the Red Sea of bigotry by clicking here to contribute today: $5, $10, $25 or more will go a long way to ensure we retain a vocal proponent for the DREAM Act, and Immigration Reform.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Mar 17, 2014, 02:10 PM (2 replies)
Three years ago, I served with Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) on the House Financial Services Committee, a/k/a "Cesspool of Corruption."
At the time, the Sunlight Foundation bluntly noted that "top committee members have been the recipients of disproportionate campaign contributions from the very industry that they are tasked with regulating." The Sunlight Foundation identified twelve committee members who had received over one-third of their campaign contributions from the financial sector, which the committee regulates. Six Democrats and six Republicans.
Rep. Gutierrez wasn't one of them. Even though he was a subcommittee chair.
Luis Gutierrez hasn't taken dirty Wall Street money. Now he is facing a primary challenge on Tuesday. He deserves our help.
Here is how one Wall Street lobbyist who isn't afraid to mix metaphors puts it: ""It is almost like investing in a first-round draft pick for the N.B.A. or N.F.L. There is potential there. So we make an investment, and we are hopeful that investment produces a return." Whether you're talking football or finance, those lobbyists want a "return" on their "investment": regulatory "relief," protection against competition, lower capital requirements, bailouts, tax breaks, whatever. And, sadly, any Wall Street lobbyist who ever "invested" in Luis Gutierrez had to write off that investment, as a loss. (But don't feel bad for the lobbyists; there's plenty more where that came from.)
Now you know why the New York Times refers to the Financial Services Committee as the "cash committee." It recently reported that seats on that committee are "coveted" because of the special-interest campaign cash that they generate. Members of the Financial Services Committee pine for special-interest contributions like Charles Foster Kane ached for "Rosebud." But Luis Gutierrez isn't like that.
Luis Gutierrez didn't take all of that special-interest campaign cash. And now he has to campaign without it, this Tuesday. Luis Gutierrez doesn't work for Wall Street banks and lobbyists, he works for us. Let's show him that we appreciate his honesty and integrity.
I was on the playing field when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was being shaped and enacted. I saw who stuck their hands into the pockets of Wall Street lobbyists, and who didn't. Luis Gutierrez didn't. Although he was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, an extremely influential and powerful position, he didn't have his hand out. Just like Committee Chairman Barney Frank didn't have his hand out, either.
Luis helped give birth to the bill that gave us Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and is making the banks pay for their own bailouts. He has helped to put that awful phrase "too big to fail" out of our lives. He is helping us to return to a sane banking system. Which means that he won't be inundated by that gusher of cash known as "Wall Street campaign contributions."
Let me put this as plainly as possible: If we don't help Luis Gutierrez when he is facing an election challenge, then he'll be gone. And Members of Congress like him will be gone. Replaced, both Republicans and Democrats alike, with Wall Street tools and shills.
Is that what you want?
If not, then click here. Show Luis Gutierrez, and show the world, that an elected official doesn't have to be on the take to survive.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Sat Mar 15, 2014, 09:31 PM (1 replies)
I’m really getting tired of listening to people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
One of the dirty little secrets of Congress is that many of us legislate in areas in which we are utterly bereft of knowledge. If ignorance is bliss, then some of our Members must be deliriously happy. (No wonder Sen. Ted Cruz is always smiling. Green eggs and ham. Yummy!)
Seriously, we have Members on the Agriculture Committee who couldn’t tell a plow from a harvester. We have Members on the Science Committee who couldn’t tell a proton from a photon. We have Members on the Foreign Affairs Committee who couldn’t locate Indonesia on a globe if their lives were at stake. And we have Members on the Intelligence Committee who are as dumb as . . . .
Well, you get the idea. And don’t even ask me about the Ethics Committee.
So that’s why I’m supporting George Gollin for Congress, and why you should support him, too. He actually knows stuff. Lots of stuff.
Even worse, to the extent that Members of Congress know any stuff at all, it’s always the same stuff. According to Roll Call, out of the 435 Members of the House, we have 187 businessmen, 156 lawyers, and 77 educators. Do the math. That leaves 15 Members.
For four years, I worked as an economist. As far as I know, I’m the only Member of Congress who can make that claim. Roll Call did not uncover anyone else. And believe me, whenever I start to talk economics in a Congressional hearing, the eyes glaze over. Quickly.
But don’t worry. Whenever we need an expert opinion on something, we can turn to the three former talk radio hosts in the House. (It was four, until one got caught inhaling cocaine.) Or perhaps we can benefit from the expertise of the former professional football player – whenever it’s third and nine on the Floor of the House.
This is why we need George Gollin in the House. The man actually knows what he’s talking about.
George Gollin is a physicist. In the 70s, he worked on muon scattering, to test quantum chromodynamics theory. (I’m not making this up.) In the 80s, he studied neutral K meson decay, to test for CP violation. (I swear that this is true.) In the 90s, he measured the production and decay properties of heavy quarks. (I kid you not.) Since then, he has specialized in the design and construction of electron-positron colliding beam facilities. (This is indeed bona fide.)
So we can elect George Gollin to Congress, or settle for yet another lawyer/businessman tool. What do you think? And as you consider that question, also consider that the U.S. Department of Energy spends roughly $10 billion a year in taxpayer dollars on physics research, with no one in Congress qualified to do oversight on that effort.
I serve on the House Science and Technology Committee. It is bleak, really bleak. A few months ago, one of our Members on the Committee said that evolution is “a lie straight from the pit of hell.” Most of the Members are climate change deniers. I keep encouraging them to transfer from the House Science Committee to the House Religion Committee, and follow their true calling. (There is no House Religion Committee, but their eyes light up anyway, when I tell them that.)
I need George Gollin’s help on the Science Committee, and in Congress. So we should help him get there.
Here’s another really good thing about George Gollin – he’s a liberal Democrat, and he’s not afraid to say so. In fact, that’s exactly what his TV ad says – that he’s a proud progressive Democrat. For that reason alone, he deserves our support. A progressive who is proud to be a progressive – how refreshing! I hope that this catches on.
By the way, there is another good progressive in this three-way primary, named David Green. I respect Green’s stands on the issues, but I don’t think that he has a chance to win. Gollin does.
George Gollin is in a tough primary race on Tuesday. It looks like he’ll come in ahead of David Green, but his real opponent is a Democrat-in-name-only, the choice of the local political machine, who appears to suffer from issuephobia. She’s a lawyer. Maybe Congress always will be crawling with witless lawyers and businessman, like vermin. But if someone like George Gollin can win, then maybe not. Maybe there is hope.
To help George Gollin win his primary on Tuesday, click here. Because George Gollin has both a head and a heart.
Rep. Alan Grayson
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Mar 14, 2014, 03:47 PM (5 replies)
A few weeks ago, we asked each one of our supporters to become a campaign “sustainer” – a donor who makes monthly contributions. Team Grayson said that we’d take our sustainers’ questions to the Congressman, in a series we call “Ask Alan Anything.” We’ve shared his video responses with you. Today, Congressman Alan Grayson wants to express his appreciation to all of those who signed up to sustain our campaign.
To see the video, click here.
I’m Congressman Alan Grayson. I want to say a special “THANK YOU,” not only to the individual sustainers who asked these questions, but to every sustainer, and to every supporter.
Your monthly contributions mean everything to us. It’s what makes ‘it’ happen. You are the straw that stirs the drink. You make everything we do possible.
When we pass an amendment, it’s you passing an amendment. When we collect and deliver signatures, it’s you collecting and delivering those signatures. When we stand against cuts (to) Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, it’s you who’s doing that.
When we accomplish something for the sake of justice, equality and peace - it’s not just me, it’s you. And it’s us.
And I appreciate your help. I need your help. Let’s keep this going. Thank you very much.
If you haven’t already signed up to be a sustainer, then Congressman Grayson needs your contribution to help his reelection effort this November. Anything you can contribute - $5, $15, or $50 – means more help to fight against the multinational corporations, the special interests, the selfish millionaires and billionaires, the Tea Party Republicans, the Fox News lackeys, and every other shill, stooge and sap who is desperate to see Alan Grayson defeated.So become a monthly sustainer today.
Besos y Abrazos (“kisses and hugs”),
Posted by Alan Grayson | Wed Mar 12, 2014, 02:51 PM (1 replies)
We don’t often quote Ronald Reagan, but Reagan once said that politics was the second oldest profession, and that there isn’t much difference between that and the oldest profession (the oldest profession being, well, you know). When a corporate PAC gives a campaign contribution, and it wants something in return, that sure seems a lot like bribery. Is it? Congressman Alan Grayson answers that question below. He’s been answering the questions posed by his campaign “sustainers” – supporters who makes monthly campaign contributions.
In a series that we’re calling “Ask Alan Anything,” if you became a monthly sustainer, Team Grayson is taking your questions to the Congressman. Today, Allison asks Alan, “What is the difference between industry lobbying and bribery? Especially when large campaign contributions are involved? I see no difference.”
You can watch the video of Congressman Grayson’s response here.
Congressman Alan Grayson: Good question -- What is the difference between industry lobbying and bribery? In fact, only an artificial one. One is legal; the other one is not – and nobody knows why. We scratch our heads when we think about it. It’s very hard to understand.
The fact is that campaign contributions are just as necessary to most Members of Congress as their food, their rent, and their mortgage payments. They need them in order to survive in office and, in fact, they make all sorts of compromises to do so.
It’s a fact. You can look it up. It’s a fact that you can trace, one-to-one, the contributions that specific companies give to Members of Congress and the tax breaks they receive. You can trace, one-to-one, the specific contributions that Members of Congress receive from companies and the no-bid contracts they receive. In fact it is a huge problem, and maybe THE problem.
A lot of people think that the central problem that we have in Washington, D.C. today is the way we finance our campaigns. A $10,000 check to many Members of Congress, nominally for their campaign committees, are things that they are desperate to receive, and they are willing to do almost anything to get. And that’s a big problem.
I’m proud to be the only Member of Congress -- one of 435 -- whose House campaign last year successfully was financed mostly by small contributions. That’s right: (there are) 435 of us, and I’m the only one who actually made his campaign work by getting most of our contributions from people who gave $200 or less.
How do we do it? We do it this way: We reach out to people. We reach out individually. We make sure that people understand that I’m fighting, every day, for justice, equality, and peace.
In the long run, people will understand this situation is unsustainable. We have, in essence, a government that is up for sale to the highest bidder.
But I want you to know that whether you give $10, or $25, or $50, or $100, whether you are a monthly sustainer who gives $10, or $25 or $50, whatever that might be, what you’re getting in return is not a bailout, what you’re getting in return is not a tax break, it’s not a no-bid contract or regulatory relief. What you’re getting in return is someone who will fight against all of that, and somebody who will fight for you. Somebody who will fight for the common good. That’s what I’m here for.
Congressman Grayson – maybe he’s not one in a million, but he is one in 435. The only Member of the House of Representatives whose 2012 House campaign was financed mostly by small contributions. The only Member whom you can count on to be unbought, and unbossed. That’s what we need in Congress. See the video. And if you aren’t one already, then become a monthly sustainer today, to make sure that our voice remains heard in Congress.
Hab Dich Lieb (“We’re fond of you”),
He saw my complications,
And he mirrored me back, simplified.
And we laughed how our perfection,
Would always be denied.
"Heart and humor, and humility,"
He said, "Will lighten up your heavy load."
- Joni Mitchell, “Refuge of the Roads” (1976).
Posted by Alan Grayson | Wed Mar 12, 2014, 10:41 AM (3 replies)