I interviewed Alan Grayson on my radio show on March 18th. The link to the podcast is here.
This segment of the transcript of the interview covers our discussion of the TV series, House of Cards, foreign money in US elections and NSA, Snowden, Greenwald and how the US has become a surveillance state.
R.K.: And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philly and South Jersey. Also available on iTunes under my name, Rob Kall, K-A-L-L and at opednews.com/podcasts.
My guest tonight is Congressman Alan Grayson.
You have written recently about the Koch Brothers. I think they're the tip of the billionaire iceberg. Have you seen the series, House of Cards? Is that something members of Congress are watching and talking about?
A.G.: Occasionally. You know honestly it's not terribly realistic but I enjoy it as entertainment. We don't really, members of Congress generally do not toss small women off of roofs but leaving that aside, I'm referring to the English version by the way in case there's some ambiguity about that. The American version features an even uglier death but I'm not going to ruin it for anybody.
R.K.: Well there's one piece in it that I wanted to get to and it's not really a spoiler, it shows how an American billionaire uses China to funnel money in to affect US elections and it seems to me to be a very plausible thing that has become possible since Citizens United. Is anybody looking at that? Is anybody looking at the way, with all this money sloshing around, these hundreds of millions of dollars, that foreign money is influencing American elections?
A.G.: Well the answer is I am looking at it and I've introduced a bill to end it. We introduced eight bills right after the Citizens United decision that said that corporations are people and money is speech. We introduced eight bills which we call our Save Democracy Platform and one of them was a flat prohibition on foreign corporations making any expenditures to influence US elections. You would think that would be a no-brainer, the Supreme Court said in its decision that it's constitutional but in fact we haven't been able to get any traction to get that passed.
R.K.: That's sad. Okay, moving on. You have worked as an attorney with Whistleblowers. What's your take on the NSA revelations of Ed Snowden and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras?
A.G.: Well I've discussed this extensively publicly, I think what they've uncovered is a massive and pervasive violation of our constitutional rights. There is no conceivable justification for the NSA getting a report on every single phone call that any human being in the United States makes, including, by the way, this one since I'm calling into you and not in a studio.
There's also, let's think about this for a minute. Obviously you don't do your show in secret, so there may be no expectation of privacy in this particular case but we're not doing anything wrong. As far as I can tell. You may think of the show as subversive but honestly you're not an Al Qaeda member and you know it's something that basically goes right to the heart on what it means to have free speech. You're talking to me, we're sharing our thoughts and our words with other people, this, if anything is protected under the constitution, it's got to be this.
And yet, notwithstanding the NSA gets a report about the fact that I called you, to the fact that we spoke for a certain amount of time, what day it was, what time it is, and this is true of every single phone call that gets made in America today. It's been true for several years. What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? You know, right now we're so guilty that you can't even prove yourself innocent.
The government is going to get information about you, your personal life, your web browsing, your internet habits, your purchasing activities, the government is going to get information about you, the library books you check out at the library, the letters you send, every single letter that's sent to this country now is photographed. Did you know that? Every single letter is photographed. Everything that goes through the postal system is photographed. Why? Does this make us any safer?
How many terrorist attacks were thwarted by the fact that the NSA got a report on this call? I can't think of any. You know, it's expensive, the budget, the black budget is fifty billion dollars every year, that's fifty billion with a "b." It actually does nothing, absolutely nothing to make us safer. One of my republican colleagues, Justin Amash delved into this and he couldn't find a single example, not one single example of a terrorist that was thwarted because of information that was taken through domestic surveillance and it went all the way back to 9/11. Not one single example.
R.K.: And he brought a bill up-
A.G.: So why are we doing it?