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NEWS!  from July 2011 (updated: 10.02.2011, 13:17)  Previous month's news


  • Help turn the Maine Legislature Blue! Help us take back the Maine Legislature and re-elect our President by eating lobster by the ocean with old and new friends. What could be better? You can do all this by sponsoring and/or coming to the Knox County Democratic Committee's annual John Syrett Lobster Bake on Saturday, August 20th from 4 - 7 p.m. at the waterfront home of Ken and Barbara Wexler in Owl's Head, Maine.

    Click the ActBlue button below to contribute, sign up, and get more information.


  • Great Economic Development Strategy:
    "...treat college-educated young people as pariahs.

    Rather than encourage these people to begin to put down roots and get involved in the local community, ensure that you are as unwelcoming as possible. Accuse them of fraud. Blame them when local elections didn’t go the way you wanted. Put up barriers making it harder for them to vote locally."

    ...more at the BDN (07/28). Their editorial explains why Charlie Webster is so wrong.


  • Republicans begin attack on Motor Voters. Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers has expanded his investigation of voter fraud (following Charlie Webster's accusations that the Farmington town elections have been taken over by alien students) to include his Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where a "whistle blower" has said she accepted voter registration forms "from non-citizens," and then was ordered to cover it up (Bangor Daily News: 07/28).

    Our analysis of this issue suggests that Secretary Summers has been set up by one of our Democratic operatives in order to embarass him and his department as he wastes resources on a wild goose chase.

    Obviously, he has not recently availed himself of BMV services, where for mere mortals:

    • The wait (in Rockland) is at least 30 minutes, on a good day.
    • In 2005, when BMV was putting in a new computer system, the wait was interminable (or longer).
    • Processing a license renewal is another 15 minutes (including eye test and new photo).
    • For a license renewal, bring your U.S. passport or other photo ID and proof of Maine residency (utility bill addressed to you, etc).
    • Processing for a new license takes a little longer.

    We all want to ensure the integrity of the Maine election process, and we should prosecute voter fraud rigorously.

    However, if there is voter fraud at the BMV, it is happening V E R Y  S L O W L Y, and probably does not involve busloads of miscreants. We would hope Mr. Summers will put his limited resources into staffing up the BMV offices and quickly turn his investigation over to the Attorney General's office.


  • Governor does damage control in Portland. The Bangor Daily News (07/28) says the gov had to meet with Portland's mayor after published remarks by "... Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Norm Olsen, in announcing his resignation, claimed that the governor told him not to work with Portland on fishing issues because the city was against him politically..."

    Be sure to click on the audio link at the BDN page, where the gov accuses members of the press corps of being dishonest, apparently targeting, in particular, Rebekah Metzler of MaineToday.com :

    ...you have never written an honest thing since I've been governor...those who write print have been totally dishonest, totally unwilling to do your jobs...

    Matt Gagnon at Pine Tree Politics looks (unfavorably) at Norm Olsen's credibility.


  • elephantUniversity students are the axis of evil in voter fraud, according to Charlie Webster, chair of the Maine Republican party. Without evidence, he accused 206 University of Maine students of voter fraud in the 2010 election, and said there are potentially thousands of violaters at Maine's private colleges. Here's the BDN story (07/25).

    One wag commenting on the BDN story says:

    • Election winners never challenge the vote, so Charlie's veracity can't be questioned,
    • Voter fraud was clearly rampant in 2010, so
    • "Declare the 2010 election null and void and have a new election. It's the RIGHT thing to do."

    Here's the YouTube video of Charlie's press briefing, where he says, responding to a reporter's question about the change from same-day voter registration, "...we need to move it to 20 or 30 days; ...we need to have a picture ID...the two-day thing is nowhere's near enough, I believe...I hope the Legislature...offers legislation to move it to 20 days. Two days is not enough time to actually address any potential fraud..."


  • Lobster Festival Parade - Saturday, August 6. Amy Fischer and Diane Smith are going for a twofer, putting together another KCDC parade entry, building on the momentum of our wildly successful parade at the Thomaston 4th. Note that we are rallying one hour earlier than at Thomaston. More info here.
  • Peoples Veto Kickoff was Saturday, July 9th. The petition is to turn back a part of LD 1376, the legislation repealing same-day voter registration. We'll have a list of Knox County organizers of the petition drive (generally one per town), so you can find a petition circulator if they don't find you.

    Information about the Peoples Veto effort can be found here.

    Local signups:

    • Appleton: Jonathan Kreps: 785-2210.
    • Camden: Amy Fischer: 236-0616.
    • Cushing: Diane Smith: 354-8748 (leave a message).
    • Isle au Haut: Judith Burke: 460-0257.
    • Matinicus: Bill Hoadley 366-3830.
    • North Haven: Hannah Pingree: 867-0966.
    • Owl's Head: Kay Dodge: 596-6879.
    • Rockport: Lucie Bauer: 236-4734.
    • Rockland: To be announced.
    • Saint George: Robert Skoglund: 226-7442.
    • South Thomaston: Sally or Don Merchant: 594-7459, 975-1830, or 975-9393.
    • Union: Sue Fairer: 785-4826.
    • Vinalhaven: Karol Kucinshki: 863-2053.
    • Warren: Beth Hamblin: 273-8017. (Call anytime, day or night.)
    • Washington: Dot Connor: 845-2070.

  • Our last meeting was Tuesday, July 12, at Stella Maris House in Rockland. The agenda is here. Highlights of the meeting:
    • About 20 attendees, including reps Joan Welsh & Ed Mazurek.
    • July 4th food booth reported a profitable effort with excellent management and volunteers, three fryolaters, and an extra day due to postponed fireworks. We are missing towels and shakers from the gear bin - please report you've found them to Katie Syrett or Mike Mayo.
    • July 4th parade reported great attendance and will carry momentum forward to the Lobster Fest in August.
    • July 4th political booth reported break-even $ and lots of chat.
    • The Old-fashioned Farm Picnic at Lee Webb's in Union is a go for 18 September.
    • The proposed Fall Fund Raiser/Thank-you Legislators pot-luck event has support but no leader.
    • We elected to the MDC Platform Committee: Carmen Lavertu, Selina Martin, and Gerald Weinand.
    • We elected Ed Mazurek rep to the MDC and Diana Beach as alternate, to correct a gender balance issue.
    • We elected Steve Melchiskey alternate representative to the chair, to the MDC.
    • We voted to support the People's Veto campaign.
    • We voted to treat the People's Veto campaign as local candidate during the fall (hopefully) campaign.

  • dollar signYou need revenue to balance the budget. James Surowiecki, writing in the New Yorker (July 11), describes the Greek debt crises as largely a revenue issue, because Greeks are world-class income tax evaders. He says, "Explanations of how Greece got in this mess typically focus on profligate public spending. But its fiscal woes are also due to a simple fact: tax evasion is the national pastime. "
  • loose cannonDid he really say this? The Free Press (6/23), reporting on the Governor's "Capitol for a Day" event at Camden Hills School last month:
    The governor interrupted her, saying conservation was too expensive, citing energy efficiency as an example. He said creating more energy efficient homes was costly, with little financial return, which wasn't practical in a state like Maine, where people earn low salaries.


  • (Click to enlarge)
    YES!! Who's your Daddy? We beat the R's in the parade! Thanks to organizers Amy Fischer and Diane Smith, we turned out 44+ participants, signs, hats and banners, a float, and a band to completely dominate the political side of the Thomaston 4th of July parade. More pix here.

    Let's carry this momentum right through to the elections.


  • How about cars that get 50+ mpg? Japan's got 'em, in part because the price of gasoline is over $7.00 per gallon (wikipedia). The NYTimes (07/06) has an interesting article on Suzuki's "Kei" cars. Unlike the Mercedes "Smart" cars, which struggle to get 40 mpg, the Kei cars seem to have enough room for a grocery bag.
  • Republicans risking U. S. debt limit crisis. Their latest demand for an agreement to raise the debt limit is a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. This NYTimes editorial (07/06) explains...
  • AmericanFlagThomaston 4th. Amy Fischer and Diane Smith are organizing our place in the Thomaston 4th of July Parade. More info here. Be there or be square!
  • Squandered opportunity. Ben Grant, chair of the Maine Democrat Party, tallies the failures of the Republican-led legislature in this BDN OpEd (7/02).
  • Clean Elections down the drain? On June 27th, the U. S. Supreme Court struck down the provision for matching funds in Arizona's clean elections law. The BDN's 6/29 editorial says:
    ...On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that a provision in Arizona's public campaign financing law provides additional money to publicly funded candidates who are being out-spent by privately financed rivals was unconstitutional. The Court's majority said the matching fund provision inhibits debate. Maine's clean election system has a similar provision...

    Without the matching funds provision, it is pointless to run for office as a publicly-funded candidate against opponents with bottomless purses.

    Conservative columnist George Will is positively gleeful in this BDN OpEd (6/30) attempting to explain why this is a First Amendment issue:

    ...There is evidence supporting what is intuitively obvious - that the matching funds provision was intended to suppress speech by candidates relying on voluntary contributions, candidates who knew their speaking would trigger tax dollars for their subsidized opponents. An internal memo for the Clean Elections Institute, which defends the law, contentedly noted that a privately funded candidate "may think twice about raising additional funds in a race against a Clean Elections candidate," so "it can be argued that millions of dollars in spending never takes place." Hence the law's purpose is to curtail political speech....

    The NYTimes (6/27) calls it The First Amendment, Upside Down saying:

    ...Justice Elena Kagan, writing in dissent, dissects the court's willful misunderstanding of the result. Rather than a restriction on speech, she says, the trigger mechanism is a subsidy with the opposite effect: "It subsidizes and produces more political speech." Those challenging the law, she wrote, demanded - and have now won - the right to "quash others' speech" so they could have "the field to themselves." She explained that the matching funds program - unlike a lump sum grant to candidates - sensibly adjusted the amount disbursed so that it was neither too little money to attract candidates nor too large a drain on public coffers. ...

    Read the decision here (395 KB PDF).


  • Appeals Court backs ObamaCare, agreeing that the government can require a minimum amount of health insurance for Americans. The 2-to-1 majority included a Republican appointed judge. The BDN (6/30) has more...
 

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