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Another Day, Another Allen West E-Mail to Me
23 July 2015 - 12:50pm
Allen West Was in My Inbox Yesterday
21 July 2015 - 8:51pm
May I Have 7 Minutes of Your Time?
17 July 2015 - 7:54pm
You Really Ought to See This Video
15 July 2015 - 6:00pm
The Euro – A Burning House With No Exit
14 July 2015 - 12:02pm
Another Day, Another Allen West E-Mail to Me
23 July 2015 - 12:50pm

At 3:23 am this morning, there was a tremor in the Force. No, it was not the planet Alderaan being destroyed – that doesn’t happen until Episode IV. The tremor was caused by another e-mail that landed in my inbox touting Allen West for Senate. 

This is the same Allen West who once called me “despicable,” “demeaning” and “disgusting” – the Triple Crown of insults starting with the letter “D”. Perhaps West was angling for the Nobel Prize in Literature, if it were awarded by Sesame Street. 

We need to stop Allen West from entering the Senate. Please contribute whatever you can to our Stop Allen West fund. Every dollar counts. 

Why Allen West? Because, the e-mail says, “In Congress, Allen West was a principled conservative and a leader in the Tea Party movement.” 

You can see what this is all about. You thought that the Tea Party was dead. Well, apparently, it is undead. And all of the reanimated corpses have an insatiable hunger to see Allen West in the Senate. 

Allen West is a hero to the Tea Party. Is that what we want to see in the U.S. Senate? No-No-No! Help make sure that that never happens, by donating to our Stop Allen West fund. 

West thinks that I’m a Marxist. (Karl, not Groucho.) How do I know that? Because he said so. On April 10, 2012: 

Weird Question: “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialists?“ 

Weird Allen West Answer: “It’s a good question. I believe that there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.” 

Yes, yes, you can put away the rubber hoses, I confess – I’m a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. In fact, it’s a matter of public record that I’m the Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus PAC. (“The horror! The horror!” as that other famous colonel, Colonel Kurtz, would say.) Hence Allen West has concluded that I’m a commie. 

So, basically, if you support justice, equality and peace – if you’re in favor of progress, for goodness sake – then West thinks that you’re a Communist. 

The Tea Party group “Restore American Liberty” says that “Allen West is the strong conservative leader needed to take on the Democrat in the general election and help the Republican Presidential nominee win Florida’s electoral votes.” 

Don’t let that happen! Contribute $20.16, $50 or $100 to our Stop Allen West campaign today. 

In 2012, Allen West left Congress, and I returned to Congress. It was a massive Allen/Alan upgrade. Let’s keep it that way. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for the U.S. Senate 

“I ain’t missing you at all,
Since you’ve been gone.
I ain’t missing you.”


- John Waite, “I Ain’t Missing You” (1984). 

Allen West Was in My Inbox Yesterday
21 July 2015 - 8:51pm

So there I was yesterday, minding my own business, not looking for trouble, and what pops up in my inbox but a note with the following headline: 

“With Your Help, Allen West Will Bring Bold Conservative Leadership To The U.S. Senate!” 

Blood pressure immediately rises 25 points. Keep calm, I tell myself. Allen West was supposed to move to Dallas a couple of months ago. Maybe he’s running in a Texas Senate race next year. 

But no, as the French would say. I read on: 

“It Is Vital That Allen West Wins The Florida U.S. Senate Race!” 

Good Lord! That’s my race! 

We need to stop Allen West from entering the Senate. Please, please, contribute whatever you can to our Stop Allen West fund. 

Let me tell you about Allen West. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. He was deployed to Iraq in 2003. In Taji, he arrested an Iraqi police officer, and ordered four of his soldiers to beat the police officer in the head and body. West then pulled out his gun, held it right next to the police officer’s ear, and discharged the weapon. 

West was prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for assaulting the police officer. He actually faced over a decade in prison, but he was offered a deal in which he would pay a $5000 fine and avoid prison time on condition that he leave the military. He took the deal. 

So Allen West tortured an innocent Iraqi police officer. Is that what we want to see in the U.S. Senate? NoNoNo! Help make sure that that never happens, by donating to our Stop Allen West fund. 

West served one term in Congress, swept in by the Tea Party wave in 2010. It was not pretty. When it was his turn to serve dinner to the Congressional Black Caucus, he served only chicken wings, from Chick-fil-A. (Maybe only right wings; I don’t really know for sure.) 

A couple of African-American Members told me that West did this weird thing – he would pretend that you didn’t exist. (Ralph Ellison, take note.) If you were in an elevator with him, and you said hello, he would just totally ignore you. And sure enough, when our paths crossed a couple of years ago on Capitol Hill, he pretended that I didn’t exist. He totally ignored me. 

The Tea Party group “Restore American Liberty” says that “Allen West is the strong conservative leader needed to take on the Democrat in the general election and help the Republican Presidential nominee win Florida’s electoral votes.” Don’t let that happen! Contribute $20.16, $50 or $100 to our campaign today. 

Don’t let the Tea Party make a comeback. Let’s nip this in the bud. Please help us today. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for the U.S. Senate 

May I Have 7 Minutes of Your Time?
17 July 2015 - 7:54pm

Most campaign announcement videos look like someone played MadLibs with drivel:
LeadershipRobustFutureTaxcutsEconomyValuesVisionChangeStrategicIncentiveAccountabilityGood. 

I really tried hard to do something different with mine. I didn’t want it to be a concatenation of clichés, a pastiche of platitudes. I wanted it to mean something. 

So we put together a video explaining why I’m running for the Senate, and what it will mean to you (not to me, to you) if I’m elected. 

If you haven’t done so already, please take a look. 

Here is what I say at the end of the video: 

In the past two years in Congress, I have written more bills, passed more amendments on the Floor of the House and enacted more of my bills into law than any other Member of the House – #1, out of 435 of us. Slate magazine labeled me the most effective Member of the House. Because of all the good we have done, more than 100,000 supporters have given their hard-earned money to our campaign. That’s more than any other Democrat in the House. In 2012, and again in 2014, I was the only Member of the House of Representatives who raised most of his campaign funds from small donors – not lobbyists, or special interests, or millionaires, or multinational corporations. I don’t work for them; I work for you. I am unbought, and unbossed. I owe nothing to anyone but the People. 

I wake up each day knowing that there are 700,000 Floridians who are counting on me to do something good for them in their lives. Next year, with the voters’ support, that number will be over 19,000,000. I will do my best to help every one of us, whenever we need help. I will work hard to be your representative, your champion and your friend. 

If you want to learn more, or you want to join us and show your support, then go to the website SenatorWithGuts.com. I’m Congressman Alan Grayson, candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida, and I approve this message of justice, equality and peace. Thank you. 

Maybe words like this mean something to you. If so, then come take a look at our video. Forward it to your friends. And while you’re at it, maybe you could toss in a few shekels for our campaign – yours and mine – for justice, equality and peace. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson 
Candidate for the U.S. Senate 

You Really Ought to See This Video
15 July 2015 - 6:00pm

We’ve put together a video explaining why I’m running for Senate, and what difference it will make if I’m elected. 

Please take a look. 

Here is what I say at the beginning of the video: 

I’m Congressman Alan Grayson, and I would like to explain why I’m now a candidate for the U.S. Senate. I grew up in the tenements in the Bronx, surrounded by people who were different from me, and from each other. People of different races, different languages, different religions – even the food that we ate. And I learned from that that our differences are not something to overcome, or tolerate, but rather something to cherish. The things that make us different are the things that make us special. And with so much in common as human beings, we all deserve equality, dignity and respect. 

I was a sick child. I had to go to the hospital four times a week for treatment. Luckily for me, my parents both had good union jobs that provided health coverage to them and to me, even when they were on strike. If not for that, I might not be alive today, and talking to you. That’s why it’s so important to me that everyone, young or old, rich or poor, can see a doctor when he or she is sick. 

Where I grew up, you had to work hard just to survive. And I realized that if people had genuine opportunity, unchained by poverty, prejudice, poor health, poor education or discrimination, then we all would be better off. I’ve met plumbers who could be engineers, truck drivers who could be lawyers, nurses who could be doctors. That’s the real American Dream – to be all that you can be. And when everyone is better off individually, then everyone is better off together. 

Maybe words like this mean something to you. If so, then come take a look at our video. Forward it to your friends. And while you’re at it, maybe you could toss in a few shekels for our campaign for justice, equality and peace. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for the U.S. Senate 

“If your life were on video tape,
Wouldn’t everything be all right?”
 

- “Video Tape,” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (1984). 

The Euro – A Burning House With No Exit
14 July 2015 - 12:02pm

William Hague, the U.K. Conservative opposition leader and Foreign Secretary, once referred to the euro, the European Union currency, as a “burning house with no exit.” 

That sounds about right. 

If Greece leaves the euro, it will suffer the tortures of the damned. And if Greece stays in the euro, it will suffer the tortures of the damned. 

Listen, I love Greek tragedy as much as the next theatre-goer. Especially Sophocles. But this is ridiculous. 

Consider how we came to this point. Virtually all of the world’s economies got whacked, very, very hard, by the Crash of ’08. Essentially, “aggregate demand,” the total demand for goods and services, collapsed, because much of that demand had been sustained by borrowing against wealth (think, “home equity loans,” “margin loans,” etc.), and then wealth collapsed. When aggregate demand drops, there are only four ways out of that hole: 

(1) Borrow and spend (a/k/a fiscal policy). 

(2) Print and spend (a/k/a monetary policy). 

(3) Put everything on sale (a/k/a trade policy). 

(4) Say goodbye (a/k/a emigration). 

That’s it. There are no other solutions to that problem. 

So let’s look at what happened to Greece after the Crash of ’08, when aggregate demand collapsed. 

When Greece joined the European Community/Union in 1981, it had to agree to zero tariffs and the unencumbered movement of goods between Greece and other EC/EU members, as well as an external trade policy that is uniform throughout the EC/EU. So after the crash, Greece couldn’t impose tariffs, subsidize exports, establish import quotas, or anything like that. 

Trade policy – no. 

After Greece adopted the euro as its currency in 2001, it could no longer expand the money supply in order to spur domestic production. The European Central Bank had that authority, not Greece. Nor could Greece impose any capital controls to keep euros circulating within its borders. And as Greece’s economic problems deepened, capital fled the country. 

Monetary policy – no. 

A government accepting the euro as its currency must commit to keeping its annual budget deficit below a certain ceiling. Fair enough. But what happens if large chunks of government revenue are shipped outside the country to pay external debt, rather than circulating within the country? That just depresses aggregate demand more and more. Greece went into the Crash of ’08 with an external debt of around 300 billion euros – for a country of 11 million people. The mere interest on that debt (forget about principal) sucks an enormous amount of money up out of Greece each year, and sends it elsewhere. That made it impossible for the Greek government to borrow more money and spend it domestically, to restore aggregate demand (think “American Recovery Act”). And Greece’s creditors have insisted that the government run a “primary surplus,” meaning that net of the debt payments, the government actually removes money from the domestic economy. 

Fiscal policy – no. 

With no trade policy, no monetary policy and no fiscal policy, the Crash of ‘08 and the ensuing turmoil utterly crushed Greece’s aggregate demand. Gross domestic product has dropped 25% – the largest peacetime collapse in any advanced economy since the Great Depression. Unemployment in Greece was more than 25% before this month – imagine what it is now, after the banks were closed. That left desperate Greeks only one option: to leave. And, in fact, the population dropped by 1.5% in just four years. But there are very stiff barriers to exit; among other things, you have to learn a new alphabet. And the population drop further depressed aggregate demand, especially in the housing market. 

Emigration – no. 

John Maynard Keynes said that the government’s most important economic responsibility is to match aggregate demand to aggregate supply. Too much demand = inflation. Too much supply = unemployment. Greece simply has no tools to match that match. Domestic aggregate demand is far, far short of supply, and it’s getting worse. 

The superficial problem in Greece is the external debt. The deeper problem is the relinquishment of national sovereignty, the tools that are needed to raise domestic demand and bring about an economic recovery. 

And the alternative, the neologism-of-the-year “grexit,” where Greece just drops the euro? That is, in fact, the only alternative to the slow suffocation of the Greek economy. But no one wants even to think about how fiendishly complicated that might be. How do you mop up a currency that’s been sloshing around for 15 years inside your borders, and replace it with money backed by the “full faith and credit” of a bankrupt nation? 

At least for Greece, the euro is one of those many, many things in life that are wonderful in theory, and horrible in practice. And the amount of pain that has been inflicted is staggering. 

The house is burning. And there is no exit. 

Courage, 

Rep. Alan Grayson
Candidate for the U.S. Senate 

“Watch out – you might get what you’re after.” 

- Talking Heads, “Burning Down the House” (1983). 

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