Alan Grayson's Journal
Member since: Sat May 22, 2010, 01:02 PM
Number of posts: 394
Number of posts: 394
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Courage. Make a Difference.
A while back, we announced a contest, inviting people to submit images for the campaign. Then, we invited everyone to vote on it - "Choose Your Campaign." Several thousand of us voted; thank you all for picking our winner. The winning image is "Courage: Make A Difference," submitted by Francis Shimandle.
We invited Mr. Shimandle to take a bow, and say a few words. Mr. Shimandle is a professional graphic designer; his clients have included McDonalds, Olympia Beer, Vienna Beef and Tootsie Roll (mmmmmmmm, Tootsie Roll). Interestingly, Mr. Shimandle says that he is not a Democrat, but rather "fiercely independent." He explained the inspiration for his work:
"My interest in Alan Grayson, and therefore my submission of entries in the contest, stems from feeling that he believes in the stands he takes, and takes them no-holds-barred. Too few of the current crop of public servants really do this. The chord he strikes for truth and his reality-based efforts demand support, and in my mind are best characterized by his signature closing word of 'courage.' As I mentioned in our brief phone conversation, it is my sincere hope that Alan not only regains his congressional seat, but eventually is motivated to run for President after what we wish to be a second term for President Obama. Many in Washington are gifted speakers and campaigners - as politicians. Few are responsible, effective accomplishers. Alan Grayson is one such, and I want to see him back doing what needs to be done."
Mr. Shimandle wins the $500 prize, and our sincere thanks. With typical graciousness, Mr. Shimandle said, "The cash prize is nice, but it's more important to keep moving forward."
If you would like to have a poster derived from Mr. Shimandle's beautiful work, that poster, and others, are up for sale at our brand-new Grayson Store. There, you can also buy Grayson t-shirts, polo shirts, mugs and bags. (No Gucci handbags, though; for those, you can try the Romney Store.)
Why should you? Because all the stuff at the Grayson Store looks really good. Because a small amount of each purchase goes to help our campaign. And because nothing is sexier than a Grayson t-shirt.
Thank you again, Mr. Shimandle, for capturing the essence of this campaign. And thank you, everyone, for all of your support.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Tue Jul 31, 2012, 02:44 PM (7 replies)
Translation: Stop the War.
When Darcy Burner was running for Congress in 2008, her house burned down. No one was hurt, but she and her husband and son had to leave, quickly.
So everyone got to see what Darcy wears, or doesn’t wear, at 7 a.m. in her own home.
Darcy was wearing an anti-war t-shirt. See for yourself – it says “Stop the War” in computer code.
That’s Darcy, in a nutshell. Anti-war – even in private, where no one but her family could see it.
Darcy also supports full employment, universal healthcare, taking corporate money out of politics, ending discrimination, making higher education affordable for everyone, improving pay and benefits, and reducing inequality. Both publicly, and at 7 a.m. in her home, with no one around but her family.
That’s important. We’ve had a lot of supposedly “progressive” candidates who can carry a tune during their campaigns, but then forget the lyrics after they are elected. Darcy won’t be that way. She is who she is who she is.
I have often said that we don’t just need more Democrats, we need better ones. If Darcy is elected to Congress, she will be a very good one.
Darcy lost by a narrow margin in 2008. She is running again, her primary is a week from tomorrow, and the latest poll shows one point between her and her key rival.
It’s a horserace. And it’s time to place our bets. Please click here to support Darcy Burner, because we can count on her to be what she says that she is.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Jul 30, 2012, 10:42 AM (3 replies)
Next Tuesday, civil rights legend Congressman John Lewis faces a primary. His opponent is attacking Lewis for being too old to serve in Congress. Lewis is 72 years old.
Ronald Reagan was one year older than that when he said in 1984, jokingly, “I’m not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” John Lewis could say the same.
For the record, the Constitution establishes a minimum age for Congressman – 25 – but not a maximum age. It’s actually against the law to discriminate on the basis of old age, and it has been since 1967.
Strom Thurmond made it all the way to age 100. John Lewis has 28 years left to get there – only 14 elections to go!
Someone named Mitt Romney – you may have heard of him -- tried the same tactic against Ted Kennedy in 1994, when Kennedy was a young lad of 62 (and Romney was 15 years younger). Mitt Romney criticized Kennedy for “old-style politics.” When they debated, Kennedy brushed aside Romney’s “age-ist” attacks, and hit Romney hard on the issues: “I’m pro-choice; my opponent is multiple choice.”
Attempting to disparage John Lewis’s civil rights accomplishments, Lewis’s African-American opponent said recently: “This election is not about where we were 45 or 50 years ago in the past.” Lewis replied: “If it hadn’t been for what I and others did 45 and 50 years ago, he wouldn’t be able to run.”
Having served with John Lewis, I can attest that he is a very effective Member of Congress, both inside and outside the Capitol Building. In 2009, Lewis was arrested for protesting genocide in Darfur. That protest made national news, because John Lewis was there. How many 69-year-olds – or people of any age -- would put themselves on the line that way?
What it comes down to is this: If all you’ve got to say in a political campaign is: “I came out of my mother’s womb after the other guy did,” that ain’t much. Especially against John Lewis’s heroic, lifelong record of enormous accomplishments. There is no statute of limitations on heroism.
Please help John Lewis return to Congress. As my grandmother used to say, “Biz hundert un tsvantsig.” (“May he live to 120.”)
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Jul 27, 2012, 01:43 PM (16 replies)
Today is the cutoff date for our "Pre-Primary Report" to the Federal Election Commission.
In our report, we disclose our contributions, our disbursements, and our "cash on hand."
Why is this one important? Because it's the last one that will be disclosed before October 15. And Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, the superPACs and the corporate special interests decide where to deploy their sewer-money attack ads around Labor Day, six weeks earlier.
This Pre-Primary Report is the last financial report that they will see before they decide whom to torpedo, strafe, firebomb, nuke and annihilate.
To make a contribution before the deadline, click here.
If we file a weak report, then they will attack. They exploit any sign of weakness. If we file a strong report, then they will go somewhere else. Because a strong report shows that if they attack, then we can fight back.
They don't like it when someone fights back. They like their victims weak and defenseless. And your contributions give us strength.
Click here, and give us strength.
If you have given before, then thank you, and this would be a good time to give again, if you can. If you have not given before, then now is the time. Every dollar counts, because every person counts.
We need your help - today.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Wed Jul 25, 2012, 12:29 PM (0 replies)
Alan Grayson was a terrific Congressman during the term he spent in Congress. As a freshman member of the House of Representatives, he changed the national debate on health care, and made it stick.
The Republicans have hated him for it ever since. They spent millions against him, to get him out of Congress in 2010. But now he's back.
Already, the Right Wing has spent five million dollars telling absolute lies about Alan on television. In fact, the ads are so bad that Politifact labeled them as "Liar, liar, pants on fire."
Alan is one of the smartest people in Congress. He tells the truth. Sometimes people don't like to hear the truth in politics. But boy, do they ever need it, up in Washington! What a bankrupt group of people!
We can have a good Congress. We can make it full of people like Alan Grayson. But we need your money to do it. The Right Wing is going to outspend us by a lot.
We don't need a lot of money, but we do need your $5 or $10 or $20 or $100, right now.
On the internet, go on Alan Grayson's site, and let's make this work.
This is a great country. But you can't make this a better country by teaching people to hate each other.
Alan Grayson is somebody who gets things done, stands up for what's right, and tells the truth. And boy, do we need people to tell the truth in Washington right now!
Gov. Howard Dean
P.S. (from Alan's campaign) Alan Grayson has an FEC financial report deadline tomorrow. It's the last FEC report from his campaign that Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers will see before they decide where to spend all of their special-interest "sewer money." Right now, Alan Grayson really needs your help.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Tue Jul 24, 2012, 05:18 PM (3 replies)
Last week, one of my opponents put out an ad saying that if I'm elected, then next year, I will triple gas prices, prohibit guns and ammunition, and close down children's lemonade stands.
I assured him that I would not do any of those things. Nor would I remove the tin foil from his skull.
That made me think of some more things that I probably won't do next year:
(1) Institute universal healthcare.
(2) Provide jobs to 20+ million underemployed Americans.
(3) Make pensions and sick leave and paid vacations the norm.
(4) End corporate welfare.
(5) Re-institute progressive taxation.
(6) Provide higher education to every student who wants it.
(7) Take corporate money out of politics.
(8) Purge us of discrimination against minorities, women and gays.
(9) Reduce the brutal, pervasive inequality.
(10) Bring the troops home.
No, I don't think that I'm going to accomplish any of those things next year. But if I'm elected, I'm going to try. I'm sure going to try.
Click here to support a candidate who knows where he wants to go, whether or not he gets there right away.
P.S. We have an FEC financial report deadline on Wednesday. It's the last FEC report from our campaign that Karl Rove will see before he decides where to spend all of that special-interest "sewer money." This week, we really need your help.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Mon Jul 23, 2012, 01:11 PM (7 replies)
Alan Grayson was on national TV last night, discussing Republican healthcare plans for seniors and the uninsured. Their old plan was “don’t get sick”; their new plans are far worse. This is what Alan said:
REV. AL SHARPTON: Joining me now is former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, now running again for office in Florida's 9th district. Congressman, thanks for joining me.
ALAN GRAYSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: As always, Florida will be close this year. Could the Medicare issue make the difference?
GRAYSON: Absolutely. You know, we do have a few senior citizens in Florida; you may have heard that. And, in fact, seniors are learning more and more about exactly how bad the Republican Ryan Plan is going to be for them. I think Ryan also has a sense of humor (referring to Ryan complimenting Mitt Romney for Romney’s sense of humor).
His plan is a joke, and the joke is on all of us. I think that all of us hope one day that if we're not already getting Medicare, we will be. And we don't want to have to pay an extra $6,500 in order to have it. But the more fundamental problem with his plan is that right now, seniors get care, and what Republicans want to do is substitute the care with a check that they know is not going to be enough for the care.
GRAYSON: It's some kind of scheme, some kind of game that they're playing on senior citizens. And it's a game of life and death. If they don't get the care they need, then seniors are going to die.
SHARPTON: Congressman, if a senior is watching right now, what do they need to understand that the Romney/Ryan plan actually says to them? What is it really proposing?
GRAYSON: First they need to understand that as soon as Mitt Romney does what he's promised to do in his first week in office, which is to get rid of Obamacare, that immediately means an extra $600 that they have to pay for their drugs every single year. Every year. That's what that means right off the bat. Then beyond that, even without any change in the law, simply allowing what they want in their budget to go into effect will mean thousands and thousands of dollars more that seniors will have to pay.
And it's not just seniors. You know, look, I'm in my 50s. One day, I'll be on this plan myself, and I would be paying more. So will people in their 40s, people in their 30s. There's no end to it. And for what? For what purpose? So that Mitt Romney can have a tax cut? You know, Mitt Romney wants millionaires in America to have a tax cut because Mitt Romney wants a tax cut. That's what it comes down to.
And he and his selfish friends are going to gut government and gut the economy for the sake of that. Now, we have a President who believes in good government, and we have a candidate who believes in no government. America can figure out which one is better for America.
SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, the President was in Jacksonville, Florida, today. Nationwide seniors are 10 percent of the population. But in Florida, they're 31 percent of the population. As you campaign around your district in Florida, are people talking about this? Are seniors talking about the difference between the Romney/Ryan plan and what the President is talking about?
GRAYSON: Yes. You've given the correct numbers on the proportions, but because seniors vote in higher numbers than younger people do -- and that will be true this year, like it is true every year -- you might see seniors making up as much as half of the electorate in Florida this year. And seniors are beginning to realize that Romney is basically conducting a shell game.
The interesting thing is when the President points out all these elements, deficiencies in what Romney's proposing for the country, Romney doesn't even take a stab at defending the Ryan Plan. He doesn't even try to do it, even though he's endorsed it in the past.
Romney can't explain why it's right, after the President explains why it's wrong. That means it's wrong.
SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the polling, Commonwealth Fund polled it, and people were reporting excellent coverage in the past year. Thirty-seven percent seniors on Medicare. Twenty-five percent employer-based health care. So, I mean, people know the difference and people know what's effective for them.
GRAYSON: Yes. Right now, one-third of the country receives its health coverage from the government. One-half of the country receives its health coverage from the private sector, from private insurance. And one-sixth of the country doesn't get any health coverage at all. That's 50 million Americans. And when have you ever heard Romney or any other Republican explain what they're going to do to give coverage to those 50 million Americans who can't see a doctor when they're sick? Now, I'll tell you, those 50 million Americans, they're sick and tired of being sick and tired. And they're disgusted with the Republicans, because the Republicans will never even take a stab at solving the problems in their lives.
SHARPTON: Congressman Grayson, thank you so much for your time.
GRAYSON: Thank you, too.
Alan Grayson: saying what you – and a whole lot of other people – are thinking. But no one else is saying. WE NEED ALAN GRAYSON IN CONGRESS. Click here, and show your support.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Fri Jul 20, 2012, 05:04 PM (2 replies)
One of my opponents has a new ad, claiming that I will shut down all children's lemonade stands.
He says that I won't be acting alone, of course. I will do it in concert with my "progressive cronies" - the actual term in the ad. Presumably in return for corporate PAC contributions from Big Lemon.
My opponent also claims that my "progressive cronies" and I will make gasoline so expensive (specifically, $10 a gallon) that people will "stop traveling to Florida" - again, an actual quote from his ad. So Disney World will have to change its name to Ghost Town, I guess.
And, finally, my opponent says that people will no longer go hunting - the horror!! - because my "progressive cronies" and I will "outlaw guns and ammunition." I have to concede the logic of the latter part of that. What would be the point of outlawing guns, but not ammunition? Wouldn't it be really frustrating, having all that ammunition around, and not being able to shoot at anything?
Remarkably, my opponent says that I will accomplish all of this during 2013. Clearly, it will be a busy year.
I would like to assure my opponent, and all other right-wing paranoid crackpots, that I will neither eliminate children's lemonade stands, nor triple the price of gasoline, nor outlaw guns and ammunition. If I have a secret plan to do any of those things, it's so secret that even I don't know about it. It's like I'm the Manchurian Candidate, or something.
And while we're on the subject, I would like to inform my opponent that there are a few more things that neither I nor my "progressive cronies" intend to do:
(1) Make abortions mandatory.
(2) Socialize the means of production.
(3) Outlaw heterosexual intercourse.
(4) Tax breathing, or urination.
(5) Take away his velvet painting of dogs playing poker.
(6) Nationalize his underwear.
(7) Fill the sky with black helicopters.
(8) Remove the tin foil from his skull.
One more thing that I promise we won't do: we won't prevent imbeciles from throwing their hats into the ring. So my opponent can run for President in 2016, when Barack Obama is finishing his second term.
Are we clear on that? Good. Now let's get back to discussing the things that my opponent is so desperate not to talk about: Jobs, healthcare, homes and education. What's that? He has nothing to say? That's what I thought.
If you are sick and tired of wretched right-wingers hijacking public discourse with their stupid nonsense, raise your hand. Then lower your hand, and click "CONTRIBUTE."
Posted by Alan Grayson | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 01:24 PM (4 replies)
A few days ago, Current TV invited Alan Grayson on the air, to discuss Governor Rick Scott’s plan to reject federal money to provide healthcare to the poor. Here is what they said:
ELIOT SPITZER: Democrat Alan Grayson was a forthright speaker when he served in Congress and he still is today. It is a pleasure to welcome to the program former Florida congressman, Alan Grayson. Alan, thank you for joining us.
ALAN GRAYSON: Thank you.
SPITZER: You know I've got to ask you this question. You have seen what the House of Representatives has been doing today . Do you, in fact, really want to return to that chamber?
GRAYSON: Yes, because I still have hope that we can collectively make our lives better. That we can solve the problems that the country is facing. I do understand that not everybody feels that way. I do understand that there are powerful forces that are trying to prevent that. But I still have hope that things can be better and that we can solve our problems.
SPITZER: Well, optimism springs eternally in the hearts of the wise and so I applaud you for that. Having watched what the House has been doing, it is sometimes, there are just moments in despair. Now you are in Florida, from Florida. Your governor, Rick Scott, is one of the I think six governors primarily in the southeastern part of the country going out to Texas, as far west as Texas, governors who are saying we don't want to participate in the healthcare reform act, even if the federal government showers us with money. Rick Scott, who was the executive of a company mired in healthcare fraud when he was there. What is his logic? Why is he doing this? What is your perspective on this?
GRAYSON: Well, his logic is simple: personal corruption. He is trying to force poor people to go to his healthcare clinic chain, Solantic, and hand over what little money they have to him, in lieu of having the federal government pay for an expansion of Medicaid.
It’s just naked cruelty and corruption. Nothing more than that. And frankly, it's something that’s becoming more and more associated with the right wing and the Republican Party every day.
SPITZER:You know, I'm glad to see, Congressman, you have not lost your capacity to go right to the heart of the matter. Pull no punches and call it like you see it. Something that endeared you to many when you were in Congress. Obviously not everybody has lived through the sort of slings and arrows of your rather direct and forthright comments. In Florida, if I am correct, 21% of the public does not have health insurance. And so the question, and we've had this conversation just a few minutes ago with one of your former colleagues, when those 21% go to the hospital, get care, who pays for it?
GRAYSON: Well, the fact is that they can’t get that care. If you have cancer there’s no hospital in the country that’s going to give you free chemotherapy. It’s just not going to happen. All across the country there are forty thousand people, every year, who die because they don’t have health coverage. There’s three thousand in Florida alone. We have the third highest rate in the country. And frankly, a lot of those people would be getting the care they need if people like Rick Scott would simply cooperate and stop trying to pick fights with Barack Obama at the expense of the people of Florida.
There are literally thousands of people who will live if Medicaid is expanded in Florida, and die if it isn't. And their blood will be on Rick Scott's hands.
SPITZER: You were right to put this first and foremost in the context of the healthcare that is denied -- and the unbelievable costs to people, not financial costs, in terms of health that they will suffer; the consequences of not getting the healthcare they need. There was also the financial piece. Those individuals who go to an emergency room for instance and do get care when they are uninsured, that cost is borne by the hospitals and by the state. So states that turn down their involvement, their participation in the Medicaid program as expanded by this bill are giving away, and sacrificing huge amounts of money, and taxpayers in Florida are going to have to pay for that bill.
GRAYSON: Yes, in part, but many people will not get the care they need and they will die. Many people will remain sick. Many people will simply not be able to get healthy again because of the problems they face. And bear in mind that for the first three years, the federal government is picking up every single penny of the cost of expanding Medicaid to fifteen million poor people who can’t see a doctor when they are sick. The federal government is picking up every cent of that cost, and then in the following seven years, ninety percent of the cost. And on account of the simple fact that they don't like Obama and therefore they don't like Obamacare, Republican governors are engaging in a sadistic -- sadistic-- form of public policymaking by denying these people their care.
SPITZER: You are exactly right. I think the number, I may be off on this, but I think the number is that Florida would benefit to the tune of about $20 billion in federal expenditures to cover those healthcare costs that you are talking about. More important than the dollars, as you keep pointing out quite rightly, is the care that individuals who desperately need it would be able to get. It would also create 65,000 jobs is the number calculated in Florida alone. Obviously something that is important to your state. What does Rick Scott say is his alternative and this whole “repeal and replace” mantra? We know how fraudulent in a way that phrase is because there is no “replace” plan that has been represented in Washington by the Republicans. Does Rick Scott have anything to replace the healthcare reform act?
GRAYSON: I said more than two years ago that the Republican healthcare plan is: don't get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly. That was true then, it is true now, and it always will be true. They just don't give a damn. It's that simple.
SPITZER: And to talk raw politics for a minute, you are running for election in a new congressional district. You are out there campaigning, very hard as is indeed your nature. Does the public understand this message that you are articulating?Is the public responding to what you are saying?
GRAYSON: Yes, they are. I mean the polling in our district shows that most people are in favor of what is called “Obamacare,” because we have twenty percent of the public in Florida that doesn't have health insurance -- the third highest rate in the country. Forty percent of Latinos cannot see a doctor when they are sick in Florida. We have three million people in Florida who can’t see a doctor when they are sick and that has to end.
SPITZER: As you point out, twenty-one percent uninsured in Florida. Texas, one of those few states, with a higher rate, twenty-five percent. And, of course, Rick Perry, equally ridiculous in his opposition to healthcare in refusing to participate in the federal plan. Former Florida congressman Alan Grayson, great to have you on the program.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
Isn’t it great that someone in politics can go “right to the heart of the matter”? That someone “pulls no punches?" That someone "calls it as he sees it?" And as YOU see it? Click here, and show your support for that someone today.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Tue Jul 17, 2012, 03:32 PM (1 replies)
There is a general impression, on the part of many, that the Sixties was a decade-long haze of drugs and free love. I can't really say, since I was born in 1958. I know one person, however, who certainly did not experience it that way. That person is Congressman John Lewis.
John Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, who challenged racial segregation on the buses in the South. He also was the Chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
In 1961 and 1962, Lewis was arrested. Twenty-four times.
In Anniston, Alabama, Klan members deflated the tires of a bus that Lewis and the other Freedom Riders had boarded. Then they firebombed it.
In Birmingham, Lewis was beaten. In Rock Hill, South Carolina, two white men punched Lewis in the face, and kicked him in the ribs.
In Montgomery, a mob met the bus, took Lewis off the bus, knocked him over the head with a wooden crate, and left him unconscious on the bus station floor.
On one day in 1965, a day known as "Bloody Sunday," Alabama state troopers in Selma hit civil rights demonstrators with tear gas, charged into them, and beat them with clubs. They broke John Lewis's skull.
I've seen the scars on his head.
Somehow, all of that . . . pain . . . forged an outstanding Congressman. A champion on universal healthcare. A forceful proponent of gay rights. An apostle of peace.
This month, for only the second time in his 26 years in Congress, John Lewis faces a primary challenge. I don't know who is running against him, and I don't really care. Whoever he is, he has not earned the job the way that John Lewis has, and he can't do the job the way that John Lewis does it.
I'm just glad that there are people like John Lewis in Congress.
I'm asking you to help re-elect this great man, and this great leader. You'll feel good to help him, just as I feel good to know him. Click here.
Posted by Alan Grayson | Sat Jul 14, 2012, 12:54 PM (7 replies)