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Secret audio reveals Maine teacher ranting about politics, mocking Trump-supporting parents

Shocking audio obtained by The Maine Wire reveals a Maine public school teacher subjecting a student to a racially charged political rant and telling the middle schooler his conservative parents only support former President Donald Trump because they are uneducated.

The audio, which was recorded in April, features the voice of Ann Cook, a resource room instructor for Gray-New Gloucester Middle School. It was recorded in secret by a middle school student who was concerned with some of the conversations he had had with Cook, including conversations about her and other students’ sexuality.

In the audio, the teacher tells the student that his Trump-supporting parents are uneducated victims of propaganda before proceeding to make several questionable or outright false claims about Trump, President Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris.

[RELATED: Hermon Teachers Union: If you don’t like classroom content, buy a new house and move]

“Your father and stepfather are just caught up in the propaganda,” Cook tells the middle schooler. “They believe the lies. And that’s the whole point of lying is that people believe it just ‘cause you say it.”

Cook says that when she sees someone wearing a Trump MAGA hat, she thinks to herself, “that’s somebody who needs to be educated.”

The instructor denigrates former president Trump, claiming he doesn’t pay taxes, while praising the supposed accomplishments of Biden and Harris. She also claims that white people do not go to jail for drug crimes and that “rich white men” are afraid they won’t make as much money because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

[RELATED: Oxford Hills School Board Votes to Require Staff Keep Student “Gender Identity” Changes Secret from Parents]

It’s not immediately clear what prompted Cook’s bizarre political rant during the 8th grader’s study hall. It is also not clear whether other students were in the room at the time.

“[Trump] doesn’t pay taxes,” Cook said. “I pay taxes but he doesn’t pay taxes because he cheats the system.”

“He’s a liar and a cheater and he’s not that smart,” she said. “And apparently he’s not that nice either.”

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Trump’s critics in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media have often falsely accused Trump of failing to pay his taxes. Unlike previous presidential candidates since 1976, Trump did not release his tax returns while running for or holding office. According to tax documents that have become public, Trump has paid millions in federal taxes despite reporting business losses over the years.

Asked whether Biden and Trump got college degrees, Cook tells the student Biden is very well educated but Trump went to a poor college.

“Biden is very well educated,” she said. “Trump has a degree from a college, a very very low level college. And he was a very poor student.”

Trump graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1968. Wharton is widely regarded as one of the best business schools in America.

Biden attended the University of Delaware and later received a law degree from Syracuse University. Biden, who has been caught several times plagiarizing both in his academic career and his political career, has claimed that he finished at the top of his class at Syracuse, but school records show he graduated the law school ranking 76th in a class of 85. Biden has also been caught embellishing his academic record and fabricating accomplishments on several occasions.

In the recording, Cook lavishes Vice President Harris with praise, telling the student that the former California Attorney General helped incarcerate pedophiles and get African-Americans released from prison.

She also tells the middle schooler that American law enforcement does not incarcerate drug offenders if they are white.

“Throughout her career, she’s been guided by the words she spoke the first time she stood up in court, Kamala Harris, for the people,” Cook tells the student. “She specialized in prosecuting child sexual assault cases, putting pedophiles behind bars,” she tells the middle schoolers. “Do you think that’s a good thing to do? I do too.”

“She created a groundbreaking program to program Instead of putting men in jail – usually its men, usually its men of color, because we don’t put white people in jail for these things – she came up with a program to help them earn a high school diploma and get a job rather than put them in jail,” Cook said.

“Do you think that’s a good thing?,” she said. “I think that’s a good thing.”

Harris has been broadly criticized by civil rights activists for her enforcement of drug laws against predominantly minority communities.

Harris’ presidential campaign against Biden famously imploded when U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) revealed during a debate that Harris was responsible for jailing thousands of black men on low level drug charges.

When the student says that his father told him gas prices have gone up because of the policies of President Biden, Cook tells the student his father is wrong, that gasoline prices have actually gone up because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and that “rich white men are afraid they’re not going to be making as much money.”

Although Harris has publicly touted her work on sex crimes and child victimization, her record on the issue is more complicated. As San Francisco’s District Attorney, she stopped that office’s cooperation with victims of the Catholic Church’s systemic abuse of children. Although Harris’ predecessor had built a case against the San Francisco Archdiocese based on several victim’s testimony, Harris declined to pursue the case and refused to make public damning documents sought by victims.

The parent of the student who took the recording asked not to be identified but is known to school district officials because he reported the content of the recording.

After the audio was disclosed to the district, the distract did not take any disciplinary action against Cook. She remains a resource room teacher for the middle school, according to the district’s website. The parent has never met Cook.

The students’ parents kept the audio secret for several months because they feared the teacher and school district officials might target the child and their other children for recrimination.

“I waited to share the recording because I didn’t want him to be targeted at school,” the parent said.

Emails shared with The Maine Wire show the parent communicating concerns with the school district’s principal and sharing the audio recording in September.

Rick Riley-Benoit, the principal of the middle school, said in an email that he had a conversation with Cook after the parents complained.

Riley-Benoit said he had not heard the audio. The email chain shows the audio was sent to Riley-Benoit in September.

The student who took the audio also told his parents that Cook has had conversations about sexuality. According to the parent, the student said Cook told him about her relationships with other women and encouraged him to explore his sexuality, although there is no audio of that conversation. The student also alleged that Cook showed him school files containing private personal information about other students as part of her conversations concerning sexuality.  

Riley-Benoit did not respond to questions regarding these alleged conversations. Nor did he respond to questions regarding the school’s policy on discussing teachers’ and students’ sexuality.

Cook did not respond to an email requesting an interview.

The revelation of political indoctrination in a Maine public school comes as government-run schools across the country are under fire for the perception that teachers and administrators are inserting left-wing politics in place of traditional instruction. Controversial theories about race and gender are increasingly being taught as settled facts rather than the opinions of teachers and academics.

The Maine Wire has submitted a Freedom of Access Act request to the school district seeking public records that may shed light any internal deliberations over Cook’s bizarre rant to the 8th grader.

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Blue City Pledged Its Buses Would Go Electric. Now It’s Making Drastic Route Cuts


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Laurel Duggan on March 23, 2023

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed cutting routes for its DC Circulator bus program in half to save money after the city pledged to shift its buses to all electric or zero-emissions.

The city is set to have every new bus be either electric or zero-emission by 2030, which is projected to make the entire fleet electric or zero-emission by 2045, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). Bowser’s new budget proposal, which was unveiled Monday, would cut the city’s Circulator bus routes in half, she acknowledged in a Wednesday press conference; another city administrator acknowledged that the electrification program had been costly in the same conference.

In addition to going electric, Washington has moved to make all bus rides free, which is expected to take effect in the summer.

“What you will see in my budget proposal is we don’t make huge new program investments, and that is the context that we entered this budget year in, and that I hope continues throughout the discussion,” Bowser said in the press conference. “We also, because we’re having this transit discussion, looked very closely at our costs for the DC Circulator, the ridership of the DC Circulator and how it fits into the larger transit discussion, and made the decision to recommend eliminating three of the six routes.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

American News Outlets That Took Money From TikTok Downplay Fears Of Chinese Influence


The Daily Caller News Foundation Laurel Duggan on March 22, 2023

Major American media outlets that receive funding from TikTok have emphasized the app’s popularity and expressed skepticism about the app posing a potential national security risk in their coverage of efforts to ban TikTok, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation found.

TikTok bought ads in The New York Times and Washington Post, including a four-page NYT ad with a QR code linking readers to a website boasting of the company’s security investments, and sponsored a popular Axios newsletter, according to Ad Age. The purchases were part of a PR blitz from TikTok ahead of a Thursday congressional hearing as the U.S. considers banning the app.

Axios published an article Wednesday, the day before TikTok CEO Shou Chew is scheduled to testify before Congress, emphasizing the app’s popularity. The article claimed TikTok’s massive popularity made it difficult for lawmakers to argue that its national security risks outweigh the desires of the app’s millions of American users.

A March 10 Washington Post article referred to concerns about TikTok’s algorithm and user data being vulnerable to propaganda and espionage as “speculation.” A Tuesday article in the Post claimed repeatedly that the U.S. government had provided no evidence to support its concerns about the Chinese spying threat.

A Tuesday New York Times article claimed the threat from TikTok was “largely theoretical” and acknowledged “a handful of cases of abuse,” but said the Biden administration hadn’t presented sufficient evidence of a systemic effort to advance the goals of the Chinese government.

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is under investigation by the FBI after ByteDance employees used TikTok data last year to track the location of journalists who were reporting on the company; ByteDance has acknowledged the surveillance and condemned the employees responsible for it. TikTok keeps an internal mapping tool of users’ personally identifiable information, including live updates on U.S. users, which employees jokingly call “NSA-to-go,” according to Forbes.

Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul introduced legislation in February that would modify the Berman amendment to the International Emergency Powers Act, which limits the president’s authority to regulate certain informational material, in order to allow President Joe Biden to ban TikTok. The White House banned TikTok from government devices in January, and the Treasury Deparment has threatened to ban the app if ByteDance doesn’t divest its shares.

The NYT, the Post, Axios and TikTok did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Maine AG Warns of Sophisticated Vehicle Sale Scam Targeting Mainers

The Maine Attorney General’s office issued a warning Thursday about an ongoing online scam involving the fraudulent sale of used and antique motor vehicles.

Scammers are impersonating Maine businesses and individuals associated with those businesses, using their names to advertise vehicles for sale and trick buyers into wiring thousands of dollars for vehicles they will never receive, the AG’s office said in a press release.

These scammers are registering fraudulent website domains using the names of Maine businesses, as well as email addresses associated with those domains. Although not physically based in Maine, they are spoofing phone numbers with 207 area codes. The scammers are also using legitimate-looking documents, such as Bills of Sale with vehicle details and VIN numbers, and have accounts at major U.S. banks to receive funds.

Victims of the scam have reported wiring thousands of dollars under the assumption that they are purchasing vehicles from a Maine business. After receiving the money, the scammers may continue to communicate about the delivery of the vehicle, providing plausible excuses and even tracking information.

Eventually, however, they cease communication and the vehicle never arrives.

The AG’s office does not believe any Maine business or individual is associated with the scam.

Victims of this scam are urged to submit a consumer complaint to the Maine Attorney General’s office using the online form and to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

If you are considering a similar transaction involving a business based in Maine, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Maine Attorney General’s office immediately at (207) 626-8849.

Faulkingham Pitches $1,000,000 State Contribution to Lobster Legal Defense Fund


A public hearing will be held Thursday to discuss a bill aimed at providing financial support to the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), a group that represents Maine’s lobster industry.

The bill, proposed by House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), would provide the MLA with a one-time contribution of $1,000,000 to offset large expenses the organization has incurred in recent years as it fights against burdensome federal regulations.

“The Maine lobster industry is under attack,” said Faulkingham, who continues to work his own lobster boat while serving in the legislature.

“It is facing crippling regulations and industry collapsing lawsuits,” said Rep. Faulkingham. “This bill is a move toward leveling the legal playing field by supporting the lobster legal defense fund. It will benefit the fishing families that put food on our table and the thousands of workers that depend on the Maine lobster industry.”

The proposed funding would be transferred to MLA over the next two years to offset legal costs the group incurred fighting proposed federal regulations from the federal Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over the past two years.

NOAA claims that the regulations are intended to reduce the number of endangered right whale in lobstering gear, but the agency has no evidence that any right whales have died as the result of Maine lobstering gear.

The proposed NOAA regulations would impose a significant equipment cost on lobster boat captains. And many lobstermen suspect that the rules are really aimed at crippling the lobster fishery to make way for off-shore wind developers.

[RELATED: Maine Pols Brag About Stopping Unscientific Lobster Regs in Monsterous $1.7T Omnibus Bill…]

Bolstering the legal defense fund would provide security for Maine lobstermen as the conflict with federal regulators is destined to return once the temporary moratorium on new rules that Maine’s congressional delegation secured in a recent omnibus bill expires.

In addition to legal battles, the fishery has been adversely impacted by high fuel costs, high bait costs, and what appears to be a coordinated smear campaign by left-wing environmentalist groups.

On top of all that, lobstermen are now competing with the burgeoning off-shore wind energy industry for control of the Gulf of Maine. And that industry has powerful friends in high office, including Maine Gov. Janet Mills.

[RELATED: Biden Admin Ignored Fed Scientists’ Warning on Off-Shore Wind Turbines: Bloomberg…]

Last year, the a non-profit operated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the London-based Marine Stewardship Council both moved to remove sustainability designations for the Maine lobster — moves that resulted in several restaurants and supermarkets, like Whole Foods, joining a boycott.

Faulkingham expressed his concern for the Maine lobster industry, which he says is “under attack” and facing potentially devastating regulations and lawsuits.

Ironically, at the same time NOAA has sought harsher regulations on Maine’s lobstermen and publicly claimed Maine’s lobstermen threaten the endangered whale, NOAA scientists have privately said off-shore wind development, which the Biden Administration strongly supports, could imperil the whales.

[RELATED: Maine Lobster Groups File Defamation Case Against Monterey Bay Aquarium…]

The public hearing will be held by the Committee on Marine Resources in the Cross Building, Room 206, at 1:00 PM. The hearing is expected to draw attention from various stakeholders in the industry, including fishermen, environmental advocates, and lawmakers.

The outcome of the public hearing will have a significant impact on the future of Maine’s lobster industry and could set the tone for how the state addresses regulatory and legal challenges moving forward.

Lisbon Police, Border Patrol Expose Elaborate Human Smuggling Scheme; 17 Foreign Nationals Deported


LISBON, Maine – Border Patrol agents in Lisbon have uncovered what federal immigration officials called an “elaborate human smuggling scheme,” leading to the removal of 17 undocumented non-citizens from an alleged stash house.

Federal immigration officials said the individuals were living illegally in the U.S. and working illegally for an unidentified company in Massachusetts.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its agents have encountered more than 100,000 individuals crossing the southern border illegally every month since February 2021. In December alone, CBP reported 251,978 encounters with inadmissible visitors. That’s the most illegal border crossings CBP has ever reported for one month, according to the available data.

[RELATED: Asylum Seekers Continue to Flow Into Southern Maine: Portland Sees 756 New Arrivals in 2023…]

The migrants, hailing from Nicaragua and Guatemala, highlight a growing trend of undocumented non-citizens transiting in and out of the State of Maine, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol said in a press release.

The discovery took place on March 21, 2023, when agents from the Rangeley Border Patrol Station conducted a follow-up investigation based on information provided by the Lisbon Police Department. The investigation, initially related to a hit-and-run accident, led agents to a house in Lisbon where the 17 undocumented non-citizens were found.

William J. Maddocks, Chief Patrol Agent of the Houlton Sector, emphasized the importance of apprehending those entering the country illegally to protect local communities and the nation. He also stressed the need to prevent criminal activity from going unchecked, stating that “immigration law violations are no different, and criminal activity without consequence is not in our community or national interests.”

“U.S. Border Patrol will continue to protect our local communities here in Maine and the U.S. as a whole by ensuring those illegally entering the country are apprehended,” said Maddocks.

It was determined that the undocumented non-citizens were employed by a Massachusetts-based company that had rented the house to provide them with accommodation.

[RELATED: Illegal Border Crossings Into Maine Spiked in 2022, Still Lower Than N.H. and VT…]

“We are seeing a sharp increase in the flow of illegal labor in and out of Maine,” Maddocks said. “Housing 17 people in one house is unsafe and degrading.”

He also noted that the exploitation of undocumented populations would persist as long as there are no consequences, vowing to continue issuing civil penalties, fines, and seeking federal criminal prosecution through the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The migrants were transported to Rangeley for processing.

During this process, it was discovered that two Guatemalan individuals had re-entered the United States after being previously removed, a felony crime punishable by a fine and up to two years in prison.

Four undocumented non-citizens were found to have already entered the United States illegally along the southwest border and were in removal proceedings. They were subsequently released to await immigration proceedings.

[RELATED: U.S. Border Patrol, Knox Sheriff, Rockland PD Can’t – Or Won’t – Provide Details on Seven Foreign Nationals Arrested in Midcoast Maine…]

The remaining subjects from Nicaragua and Guatemala were entered into removal proceedings under Title 8.

The Lisbon Police Department did not respond to an inquiry about their role in the removal operation.

The U.S. Border Patrol action comes one month about seven Guatemalan foreign nationals were detained in Rockland on the suspicion that they were involved in an organized criminal operation that has targeted Home Depot locations throughout Maine.

Robinson Talks Maine Education with PJ Media’s Megan Fox [VIDEO]

Maine Wire Editor-in-Chief Steve Robinson joined PJ Media’s Megan Fox this week to discuss Maine’s education system and recent Maine Wire reporting regarding Maine schools.

You can watch the first full video of the interview here:

Fed Raises Interest Rates To Highest Levels Since 2007


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Jason Cohen on March 22, 2023

The Federal Reserve hiked its target federal-funds interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point Wednesday, the ninth in a series of hikes that started in March 2022.

The hike brings Fed’s target rate to a range between 4.75% and 5% with the Fed maintaining its pace of slowed increase. Most economists expected a quarter-point interest-rate hike in an effort to bring inflation down, but the current banking calamities contributed to the possibility of a pause, according to Bloomberg.

As of Wednesday morning, markets were estimating over 90% odds that the Fed would hike rates by a quarter-point, CNBC reported. This brings rates to their highest level since late 2007.

“I think that’s most likely,” Peter St. Onge, research fellow in economics at The Heritage Foundation told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The trade-off for them is higher rates put more stress on banks.”

Until the recent banking disasters, officials suggested they would definitely hike interest rates, according to CNBC.

Lower rates guarantee continued inflation, said St. Onge. But since reducing inflation through interest rate hikes is what contributed to recent banking sector turmoil, there is a conflict in goals, according to CNBC.

Although they do not believe it is necessary yet, U.S. officials are studying possible ways to increase Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) coverage to more bank deposits as a strategy to stave off a financial crisis, according to Bloomberg.

Additionally, “Similar actions [to bailing out SVB and Signature Bank] could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion,” Yellen said in her speech at the American Bankers Association Washington Summit.

Powell “doesn’t want to keep [rates] flat or cut, because I think he’s afraid that that would signal distress,” said St. Onge. “People would conclude that the problem is bigger, and they’re trying to paper it over and sort of let the whole thing quietly go.”

“The Fed has simply become too unpredictable. … This is the same Powell who promised that a 75-basis-point hike was ‘off the table’ and then promptly delivered three in a row,” E.J. Antoni, research fellow for Regional Economics at the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “After it has walked back so many positions, I have no confidence in predicting this Fed’s actions.”

Following the Fed’s decision to raise rates, we should anticipate volatility to persist in the financial markets, according to Antoni.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

U.S. Attorney Demands Return of FTX Dirty Money, Including Maine Dems’ $100,000


The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York is demanding that politicians and political committees that received donations from disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried — or his employees — hand over the illicit funds to the U.S. Marshals.

[RELATED: Top FTX Executive Nishad Singh Gave Maine Democrats $100,000…]

The Maine Democratic Party, which received $100,000 from Nishad Singh, the 3rd ranking employee at FTX, has yet to say whether it will comply with the demand.

Two representatives of the Party did not respond to an inquiry from the Maine Wire.

The U.S. Attorney’s demand letter, first reported by Semafor, says those “donations represent the proceeds of Bankman-Fried’s crimes.”

The letter suggests the illicit funds could be clawed back by the government under civil asset forfeiture laws if they’re not turned over voluntarily.

As of December, the Maine Democrats had not developed any plans for the money, according to a report in the Bangor newspaper.

Maine Democratic Party Chairperson Bev Uhlenhake told the paper in December her party was in a “holding pattern” until the courts sorted out the matter.

“I need a lot more information,” she said. “What I will say is that we will navigate in the most ethical way possible.”

Now that the courts are issuing clear guidance to anyone who received the tainted cash, it remains to be seen how Uhlenhake will handle the money, which has reportedly already been spent.

To comply with the U.S. Attorney’s instructions, the Maine Democratic Party will need to raise $100,000, knowing that it will have to be turned over to the U.S. Marshal.

Bankman-Fried is thought to have given roughly $40 million to political candidates in the 2022 election cycle, including Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican.

Although most of his reported contributions went to Democratic politicians, several of his employees made major donations to Republican candidates.

Bankman-Fried has also said that he “donated dark” to Republicans in order to avoid public backlash.

Collins’ office told the WSJ last year she intended to make a donation to charity in the amount of Bankman-Fried’s contribution.

(Ironically, Semafor discloses that Bankman-Fried is also a major investor in Semafor…)

Maine Pension Fund Will Continue Investing in Fossil Fuels Well Beyond 2026 Despite “Divestment” Law


Maine became the first state to require the state’s employee pension fund to divest from fossil fuel-related stocks — a celebrated victory in environmentalists’ battle against carbon emissions and global warming.

But a report from the Maine Public Employee Retirement System (MPERS) suggests Maine’s public pension system will be profiting from fossil fuel stocks long after the 2026 deadline set by lawmakers.

That’s because Maine’s Constitution and laws taken together require MPERS to prioritize paying pensioners over left-wing climate goals.

MPERS Chief Executive Officer Rebecca M. Wyke said in an email lawmakers were clear in the original bill that the divestment directive would not override the fiduciary responsibility fund managers have.

“In Public Law 2021, c. 231, the 130th Legislature specifically conditioned its directive to divest on “accordance with sound investment criteria” and “consisten[cy] with fiduciary obligations”,” said Wyke.

“In doing so, the Legislature recognized the Board’s fiduciary obligations as trustees to administer the trust solely in the best financial interest of members as pension recipients,” she said.

In other words, the news shouldn’t be a surprise.

Maine’s Attorney General has confirmed MPERS’ interpretation of the law, stating in a letter that the fund is still required to place its fiduciary responsibility – i.e. that duty to make money – above the duty to cleanse its portfolio of hydrocarbon sins.

The AG’s letter stated that the divestment statutes reiterate, rather than modify, the MPERS’ fiduciary obligations. That means Maine’s public pension fund must continue to invest in and hold fossil fuel stocks if that’s the best way to get retirees paid.

In 2021, when Gov. Janet Mills signed the bill into a law, it was heralded as a first-in-the-nation effort to combat global warming. Other states, like New York, had made promises to divest from companies on the global warming naughty list, but Maine was the first to require it.

Whereas environmental activists envisioned a fossil free fund by 2026, with that money instead invested into wind turbines and solar panels, the reality is that MPERS will only have shed 1/3 of its fossil fuel-related investments by that date.

MPERS is under no obligation to achieve total divestment from the carbon-intensive energy sector if doing so would conflict with MPERS real job: making money.

Maine’s continued investments in fossil fuels, even beyond 2026, will be sour news for climate change activists who saw the divestment directive as something that might actually have a meaningful effect on carbon emissions.

Many of those who testified in favor of the bill seemed to believe that Maine lawmakers had the ability to lower global temperature averages. Some even said it was “morally wrong” to continue investing in fossil fuels.

Francesca Gundrum of Maine Conservative Voters implored lawmakers to consider the existential threat of the climate crisis.

“In order to keep warming below 2.7°C, the International Energy Agency calculates that the fossil fuel industry will need to leave at least 80% of their reserves of coal, oil, and gas unburned,” said Gundrum.

“In 2019, the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change determined that limiting warming to 1.5°C is necessary to prevent the most catastrophic losses associated with climate change,” she said.

There is scant scientific evidence that a divestment activity as small as called for by the Maine law would have any affect whatsoever on global greenhouse gas emissions, especially considering other major and unpredictable contributors to carbon emissions, such as solar activity, volcanos, and the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline.

State Treasurer Henry Beck seemed to admit that the law would not actually have an impact on energy production in 2022, when skyrocketing energy prices placed the law under greater scrutiny.

After former Republican Gov. Paul LePage said he would repeal LD 99 if re-elected to a third term, Beck, a close ally of Mills, admitted to a TV reporter that the law hasn’t affected fossil fuel companies.

“I don’t believe it’s affected the large oil companies, the international oil companies, at all,” said Beck.

“As soon as we reallocated those funds, someone else bought them, and oil companies have been quite profitable in the past several years,” he said. “It took probably a few seconds for those stocks to switch over.”

At the time, Beck and the reporter interviewing him were attempting to downplay LePage’s criticism of the divestment directive amid a political campaign.

But Beck’s point suggests he and potentially others involved in managing Maine’s finances knew all along the move would not have any impact on emissions or the profitability of fossil fuel companies.

However, the environmentalists’ argument has generally been that Maine taking the first step makes it more likely that other states and even countries will follow suit. Then, if more people take similar steps, you might actually begin to decrease emissions, drive energy companies out of business, and achieve a global climate stasis.

Yet so far only Vermont and Oregon seem to be considering following Maine’s lead. And there’s no indication whatsoever that the People’s Republic of China, which is responsible for 27 percent of all carbon emissions and one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, will be reining in its emissions anytime soon.

While the law is unlikely to have an impact on carbon emissions, it has resulted in some new costs and busywork for MPERS.

MPERS’ Board of Trustees had already adopted a passive, index-based approach for public markets and a due diligence-based approach for private markets, including consideration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. In October 2021, the Board voted to maintain its current investment approach while directing staff to explore alternative strategies for avoiding fossil fuel investments.

[RELATED: Maine Solar Power Project Linked to Chinese Forced Labor…]

In November 2021, a plan to engage a specialty consultant was approved to review the portfolio’s exposure to fossil fuels and evaluate investment implications from the divestment statute. A working group, comprising staff, MainePERS’ general consultant, and external investment professionals, developed a request for proposals (RFP) for the engagement.

Eventually, MPERS hired NEPC, formerly New England Pension Consultants, to advise on the funds approach to divestment.

A November 2022 report by NEPC revealed that MainePERS’ fossil fuel investments accounted for 7.63% of its holdings. That meant achieving a fossil fuel-free portfolio by 2026 would require disposing of significant existing investments and fundamentally changing MainePERS’ investment approach. All of those otherwise unnecessary transactions would come with costs.

The Board of Trustees is expected to modify the System’s Investment Policy Statement to acknowledge the divestment statute, require annual divestment reporting, and provide guidance on investments with fossil fuel exposure.

[RELATED: Maine EV Goals Put Green Ideology Over Lives of Cobalt Mining Congolese Children…]

Most of MainePERS’ fossil fuel exposure lies in private market investments, particularly within the infrastructure and private equity asset classes.

According to the MPERS report, the portfolio’s exposure to fossil fuels is projected to decline by approximately one-third by 2026 — a far cry from what environmentalist’s had imagined would happen.

The clash between green idealism and reality may come for other parts of the Mills Administration’s environmentalist agenda as well.

Mills has pledged a series of elaborate green energy goals, with timelines seemingly plucked from thin air, including the goal of getting 100 percent of Maine’s electricity from renewable power by 2050. Mills has also said she wants to have more than 200,000 electric vehicles on Maine’s roads by 2030.

Both of those goals will come with their own practical considerations, as well as moral hazards.

Investigative reporting by the Maine Wire has found, for example, that a Mills-backed solar power project in Augusta purchased solar panels from a sub-contractor accused by the Biden Administration of exploiting forced labor in western China.

Other reporting has extensively documented the cost of human suffering involved in mining the rare earth metals required to make EV batteries.

Janet Mills Goes Beastmode on Maine’s “Culture Workers”


On Monday morning, the Cultural Alliance of Maine, a group purporting to represent “culture workers” in Maine, had a Zoom call with Democratic Gov. Janet Mills that did not go as planned.

“We had the opportunity to talk state cultural policy with Governor Mills LIVE at a special CAM Convening on Monday, March 20th,” the group cheerily writes on its website.

The meeting coincided with Mills and Secretary of State Shenna Bellows proclaiming a week in March as “Maine Cultural Heritage Week”. But other than the symbolic proclamation, Mills didn’t appear very enthusiastic about supporting CAM and the 71 “culture workers” on the call.

CAM was looking for support for Maine’s artists, actors, and poets via a number of policy changes and bond proposals, but Mills wasn’t in the mood for it.

In LePagesque style, Mills rejected almost every request made by CAM leadership, often in gruff terms, including their requests for her to support bond proposals, new tax increases, and tax credits for artistic instutitions.

In one poignant moment, CAM leader Mollie Cashwell tells the harrowing tale of the Penobscot Theater Company, which is struggling to pay its $20,000 per year sales tax. She asks whether the theater company can get special consideration for its tax burden.

“I don’t have any suggestions for how to survive in the economy,” said Mills.

“I don’t think there would be any appetite for increasing sales tax exemptions,” she said.

Request after request, Mills shoots down in similar fashion.

The one bone Mills tossed to CAM on the call was Mills’ claim that she has stacked the Maine Library Commission with progressive activists.

“Speaking of libraries, I just, a few months ago, appointed a number of people to the Library, State Library Commission, who I hope will be, um, making that body a solid engine, uh, progressive engine for, um, enhancing our libraries across the State of Maine,” she said.

Then the governor pulls the oldest trick in the book to duck out of a time-waste meeting: having a staffer interrupt with urgent business.

You can view a lightly edited version of the meeting here, or you can watch the Maine Wire super cut below:

Harrington Wants Honest Disclosure of Taxpayer Funded Political Campaigns


Sen. Matt Harrington (R-York) has introduced a bill that would require candidates who receive taxpayer funding for the state election campaigns to honestly represent the source and nature of the funding.

Presently, candidates who take taxpayer money to spend on campaign materials refer to themselves as “clean candidates,” a relic of the name of the law that allows politicians to take taxpayer funding to further their political careers.

The so-called “Maine Clean Elections Act” (MCEA) has created the unearned perception that taking taxpayer money for a political campaign is in some way ethically superior to self-funding a campaign or relying on donations from friends or local businesses.

Sen. Matt Harrington (R-York)

Harrington wants to clear up the confusion.

His bill would require candidates who receive MCEA funds to include the words “public funds” in the disclaimers on their political advertisements, commercials, and mailers.

The bill, LD 790, aims to bring more transparency to campaign financing and inform the public about the use of taxpayer money in political campaigns.

Supporters of taxpayer funding for political campaigns, such as the non-profit group Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, argue that the proposed change is discriminatory as it would require an additional disclosure statement on all campaign communications. However, Harrington believes that if the program is as popular as its opponents claim, there should be no hesitation in being transparent with Maine’s citizens.

A 2013 investigation by the Maine Wire found that very few Maine taxpayers actually support the MCEA where it counts: with their wallets. Maine Revenue Service records showed at the time that just 7 percent of Maine tax filers checked a box on their tax returns to contribute one dollar to the MCEA funding. Which means a whopping 93 percent of Maine taxpayers care so little about the program they won’t even offer it a dollar.

Supporters of MCEA have also argued that taking money from taxpayers and giving it to politicians for their campaigns would reduce the influence of outside money on Maine politics. But there is no evidence that this has happened.

In the 2022 election cycle, Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook), who took taxpayer money for his campaign, simultaneously benefitted from an unprecedented amount of outside spending on his behalf.

Campaign finance records show Jackson’s allies spent more than $750,000 attacking his opponent or boosting his campaign. In practice, Jackson could call himself a “clean election” candidate while benefiting from the same big money politics that supporters of the law considered “dirty.”

Harrington’s bill would not change the requirements for candidates who rely on traditional sources of campaign funds, who must still disclose that they authorized the communication and who paid for it.

“The issue here is the opponents fear that Maine people will push back against the program if they learn their tax dollars are being spent on mail, lawn signs, and bumper stickers,” Harrington said.

The Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee has scheduled a work session for LD 790 on Wednesday, March 22 at 2 p.m.

Biden Administration Accused of Misusing Federal Resources Against Parents at School Board Meetings


A House of Representatives committee has released a report Tuesday on the Biden Administration’s alleged misuse of federal law enforcement and counterterrorism resources against parents voicing concerns about controversial curricula and education-related policies at local school board meetings.

The Judiciary Committee’s Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government was formed to investigate the myriad ways government resources have been leveraged to target political dissidents and protect incumbent political power.

The committee is chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who has been a fierce critic of the misuse of government resources for political ends. Last week, the committee interviewed Matt Taibbi and Michael Schellenberger, the “Twitter Files” journalists who have exposed an elaborate censorship scheme involving U.S. law enforcement agencies and even Maine Sen. Angus King.

[RELATED: Angus King Doubles Down on “Enemies List” Censorship of Critics…]

This week the committee is looking at Attorney General Merrick Garland’s October 2021 decision to issue a memorandum directing the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to examine and address threats posed by parents at school board meetings.

At the time, Garland’s decision to effectively label parents exercising their constitutional rights “domestic terrorists” was broadly ridiculed in conservative media.

The Biden Administration declined to cooperate with the investigation during the 117th Congress. However, whistleblower disclosures and a National School Boards Association (NSBA) report suggest collusion between the administration and the NSBA to justify the use of federal resources against parents.

[RELATED: Maine School Meeting Erupts Into Bullying and Smears Over DEI Policies: “You just straight up f****ng racist.”…]

On February 3, 2023, Jordan subpoenaed the Justice Department, FBI, and Education Department for documents to advance the Committee’s oversight and inform potential legislative reforms.

According to the report issued Monday, initial documents indicate that the Biden Administration misused federal resources for political purposes, with no compelling nationwide law-enforcement justification for the Attorney General’s directive.

U.S. Attorney’s offices reported that there was no legitimate law-enforcement basis for using federal resources to investigate school board-related threats. Furthermore, most threats reported had little connection to school board matters.

Around the time Garland was using federal resources to investigate school board critics, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin was rising in the polls on the strength of an education reform agenda. Youngkin had criticized the introduction of progressive politics into Virginia’s public schools, and his message was resonating with voters.

The documents suggest that the Administration’s actions were a political offensive to quell discord over controversial education curricula and unpopular school board decisions.

[RELATED: Maine School’s “Civil Rights Team” Accused of Bullying at Rowdy School Board Meeting on Parental Rights…]

In response to the subpoena, the FBI acknowledged opening 25 “Guardian assessments” of school board threats, with six investigations run by the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division.

Two of those investigations were even referred to the “Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate,” though the report did not include further information on those inquiries.

None of these investigations have resulted in federal arrests or charges and only one warranted opening a “full investigation,” highlighting the political motives behind the Attorney General’s actions.

The Committee argues that the weaponization of law enforcement powers against American parents exercising their First Amendment rights is dangerous. They have called on Attorney General Garland to rescind his memorandum, which he has refused to do.

Trump Indictment Coming Wednesday, Daily Mail Reports


UPDATE: Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that the grand jury vote that could potentially lead to an indictment for former President Trump was called off.

The Daily Mail reported Tuesday that a source has said former President Donald Trump will be indicted on misdemeanor charges Wednesday, but he will not be arraigned until next week.

As of Tuesday evening, American outlets had yet to confirm the scoop, but Daily Mail reported the following:

Donald Trump will likely be indicted on Wednesday but won’t appear before a judge in New York until next week, DailyMail.com has learned.   

‘There will be no arraignment this week,’ a source familiar with the proceedings told DailyMail.com exclusively on Tuesday. 

The former president, who is currently in Florida, is expected to be formally charged tomorrow, after which the Manhattan District Attorney’s office will reach out to Trump and his Secret Service detail to make arrangements for his surrender, according to the insider.

The indictment would mark the first time a former president has ever been charged with a crime.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. is said to be investigating Trump over “hush money” payments the former president allegedly made to Stormy Daniels following an affair. The allegation is that Trump improperly used campaign funds to make the payment, which would be a misdemeanor.

Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels or making the payments.

One of Bragg’s first initiatives as DA was to establish a policy of not prosecuting certain crimes or downgrading felony charges to misdemeanor charges.

The case against Trump is broadly viewed as a politically motivated bid to impair the former president’s 2024 campaign for president.

Are FOAA Requests Hate Speech? Lawmakers Will Decide


The Judiciary Committee of the Maine State Legislature held a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would clarify that public record requests submitted pursuant to Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) are not “hate speech.”

Maine’s FOAA allows anyone to request certain government records that would otherwise be unavailable to the public.

But some government employees have bristled in recent months at requests for records related to controversial topics related to Maine’s public schools.

“With the comments last week from [Education Commissioner Pender Makin] saying that academics will take a back seat to teaching postmodernism and critical theory, I think we can expect to see a big rise in FOAA requests,” said Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris), the lawmaker who introduced the bill.

[RELATED: Maine Education Chief: “Academic Learning” Takes Backseat to Social-Emotional, Gender, and Race…]

“At the end of the day we should be doing everything we can to protect our constituents’ right to know,” he said.

Several lawmakers on the committee seemed confused about the rationale for Andrews’ bill, which may be in part because Maine media paid scant attention to the November proceedings of the Right to Know Advisory Committee meeting.

In November, Right to Know Advisory Committee member Victoria Wallack, who also serves as the communications director for the Maine School Management Association (MSMA), said that she considered it “hate speech” for people to submit public records requests to school systems related to gender identity policies.

“Our great concern with the Freedom of Access request our districts have been receiving is that they target gay, lesbian and transgender students,” she said.

“If these types of targeted FOIA (sic) requests are allowed to go forward — and make no mistake, these requests are intended to discourage public support for all students regardless of their gender identity — it will be despicable misuse of the FOIA (sic) law,” she said.

Gender identity policies have become increasingly controversial in several Maine communities, leading parents, activists, and journalists to submit FOAA requests seeking more information about those policies.

Wallack’s comments were reported on exclusively by the Maine Wire and later picked up by several national media outlets.

At the time Wallack made those comments, many right-of-center activists took them as a sign that Democratic lawmakers would face pressure from the powerful public school lobby to limit the scope of Maine’s already lax public access law.

Andrews has introduced several other bills that would empower public records requestors and bring Maine’s public access laws more in line with places with robust government transparency laws, like Illinois and the city of Baltimore.

But what exactly inspired Wallack to conclude that some public records requests were hate speech?

Following Wallack’s remarks, the Maine Wire submitted a FOAA request to MSMA for any requests they’ve received which the organization considered hate speech.

In response, MSMA Executive Director Steve Bailey could not provide an example of a public record request that contained hate speech, as the term is commonly understood.

MSMA was not able to produce records concerning the “hate crime” FOAA requests Wallack had referred to, Bailey said, because her comments were based on anecdotes that the organization had heard about on phone calls.

“Vicki Wallack and I have participated in numerous phone calls from member school districts that have raised issues regarding the safety of students that included hate speech and/or threats against students in the Maine public school system,” Bailey said in an email. “There have been numerous conversations held such as this throughout this challenging time period.”

Because the “hate crime” FOAA requests were only mentioned on “numerous phone calls” with unnamed parties, Bailey could not provide copies.

The Maine Wire asked Bailey to provide more specific information about which schools had received the “hate speech” FOAA requests, and when they received them, but Bailey did not respond to that request.

In the initial FOAA response, he did say that some of the emails he received from citizens requesting public records and some comments on social media were interpreted by MSMA as threats toward MSMA employees.

“In addition to the emails I’ll describe and provide, the comments and rhetoric evident on certain social media posts provide an additional context of hate speech/threats against employees of the Maine School Management Association,” he wrote.

“Bold font, an accusatory tone, derision, and arrogance were evident within the emails – and while that may have not been the intent, that was the way the emails were received due the manner in which they had been crafted,” said Bailey.

Rather than hate speech, Bailey’s complaint with public record requests MSMA has received appears to be that the requestors were unkind and not sufficiently deferential to government employees.

There is no requirement in Maine’s FOAA that individuals seeking public records be nice to government employees.

Bailey provided three email chains in which he highlighted the problematic text from a public records requestor, all of them written by parental rights activists from the Maine First Project, notably public school gadfly Shawn McBreairty.

In Bailey’s view, McBreairty’s requests for public records were threatening because he informed MSMA employees that his request “should take a 12 year old about 5 minutes” and “any legitimate business would have this on hand.”

McBreairty, who regularly uses FOAA to obtain information about the non-public operations and deliberations of Maine’s public schools and their administrators, had previous requested employee compensation data from MSMA.

Most government agencies produce compensation data fairly easily and quickly in response to FOAA requests.

Bailey also flagged, in response to the FOAA request for examples of “hate speech,” an email Maine First Project President Larry Lockman, a former Republican lawmaker from Amherst, sent to his subscribers encouraging people to show up to a Right to Know Advisory Committee public hearing.

In that email, Lockman said “legions of Cultural Marxists zealots who run the indoctrination camps are wailing that they’re being “harassed” by parents filing Freedom of Access Act requests.”

Lockman’s email contained a screenshot of an email from Wallack (obtained via FOAA) that showed she was specifically targeting McBreairty.

In the third email Bailey provided to the Maine Wire, McBreairty is seen telling Wallack, “I feel like you are targeting me and I feel violated by your email. Your hateful comments seem misplaced and I request you apologize, in writing.”

Bailey highlighted the request for an apology as an example of threatening speech.

The MSMA is a non-profit organization that serves and supports public school boards and superintendents in Maine.

Unlike other non-profits operating in the state, MSMA is subject to FOAA because it was created via statute in 1971.

MSMA offers various services, including training programs for school board members and superintendents, legal assistance, policy development support, and legislative advocacy.

Polewarczyk Introduces Bill to Repeal Maine’s Ranked-Choice Voting Law


Rep. Ed Polewarczyk (R-Wiscasset) announced Tuesday that his bill to repeal Maine’s ranked-choice voting law will have a Public Hearing on Wednesday.

The controversial law has faced criticism since its implementation in 2016, with proponents claiming it promotes a more democratic election process, while opponents argue that it is confusing and disenfranchises voters.

In a statement, Polewarczyk said, “There are increasing complaints from constituents that the ranked-choice experiment has failed to deliver on its promises. It produces false majorities, frequently exhausts thousands of ballots cast on Election Day, is confusing, and disenfranchises voters who are already unlikely to vote. It is time to return to a simpler, easy-to-understand system where the candidate with the most votes wins.”

The bill, titled “An Act to Repeal Ranked-choice Voting,” seeks to remove ranked-choice voting from Maine’s election process and revert to the previous method of determining a winner based on the plurality of votes. The text of the bill can be found here.

Ranked-choice voting, which was approved by Maine voters during the 2016 election cycle, allows voters in some state elections to rank candidates in order of preference on their ballots. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their voters’ second-choice preferences are redistributed among the remaining candidates. This process continues until one candidate obtains a majority of votes.

Proponents of ranked-choice voting argue that it prevents the “spoiler effect” often seen in traditional plurality voting systems, where a third-party candidate can split the vote, leading to the election of a candidate with only a plurality of support. In Maine’s recent gubernatorial elections, both Democratic Gov. John Baldacci and Republican Gov. Paul LePage were elected with twice with a non-majority plurality of the vote.

Following LePage’s election and re-election, Democratic activists pointed to the “spoiler” role of independent Eliot Cutler as unfairly skewing the election outcome. As a result, ranked-choice voting has largely been a left-wing political priority in Maine. Supporters also claim that ranked-choice voting encourages more civil campaigns and fosters greater voter participation.

However, opponents, like Polewarczyk, argue that the system is confusing for voters, leading to an increased number of invalidated ballots and disenfranchised voters. The upcoming Public Hearing on the bill will allow for further debate on the merits and drawbacks of ranked-choice voting in Maine, though the chance that it prevails are slim considering the current composition of the legislature.

In 2018, Pew Charitable Trusts reported that, due to voters potentially misunderstanding or improperly filling out ballots, some 9,000 ballots didn’t count in the final tally.

The Maine Wire has asked the Secretary of State’s office for information about how many ballots were similarly not counted in the final round of ranked-choice voting, but that office has not responded to our inquiry.

DeSantis Wants to Ban CBDCs; Maine Lawmaker Wants to Support Them

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday new legislation to protect Florida residents from federally controlled Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

“The Biden administration’s efforts to inject a Centralized Bank Digital Currency is about surveillance and control,” said DeSantis at a Monday press conference.

“Today’s announcement will protect Florida consumers and businesses from the reckless adoption of a ‘centralized digital dollar’ which will stifle innovation and promote government-sanctioned surveillance,” he said. “Florida will not side with economic central planners; we will not adopt policies that threaten personal economic freedom and security.”

[RELATED: Beware the Digital Dollar and CBDCs…]

A key part of DeSantis’ legislation would expressly prohibit the use of a federally adopted CBDC as money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).

In Maine, however, the legislature will soon be considering legislation that would do just the opposite.

LD 91, “An Act to Adopt the National 2022 Amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code,” would redefine “money” to exclude bitcoin while including future CBDCs. The bill was introduced by Rep. Stephen Moriarty (D-Cumberland).

The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is a comprehensive set of standardized laws governing commercial transactions in the United States.

It was created to promote consistency and uniformity in business practices across state lines, making it easier for businesses to operate in multiple states.

The UCC was first published in 1952, and it has since been adopted, with some variations, by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.

[RELATED: Maine Bill Would Redefine Money to Exclude Bitcoin, Enable CBDCs…]

The UCC covers a wide range of topics related to commercial transactions, such as the sale of goods, negotiable instruments, bank deposits and collections, letters of credit, investment securities, and secured transactions.

Moriarty’s bill has not garnered much attention outside of the Maine Wire, but it could represent one of the most significant financial reforms under consideration in the current legislature.

In an interview with the Maine Wire, Moriarty said his proposal would likely result in a study commission to examine how the UCC 2022 national amendments can best be integrated into Maine’s existing statutes.

“The real goal is to tailor our commercial laws such that we, as a country consisting of 50 jurisdictions, can function in commercial transactions with a new reality, or a new means of doing so,” said Moriarty.

Moriarty, an attorney in his non-legislator life, said the UCC amendments require substantial legal work in order to incorporate with existing Maine statutes, and that’s why the bill was introduced last year as a concept draft. He expects LD 91 will result in a study commission that will work on this task in preparation for a future session or legislature.

Moriarty said the UCC amendments would leave the door open for CBDCs, but said he didn’t have the background to say what the benefits of a CBDC would be.

“These folks that spent three years writing this must have known what they were doing, and what the issues were, and the concerns were, and I’m sure they had a view toward the future in the long run because nobody wants to go through this process what, every two, three, four, five years,” he said.

A CBDC would be a digital form of a country’s sovereign currency that issued and regulated by its central bank. In theory, it would represent a digital equivalent of the physical banknotes and coins in circulation, and it would be designed to operate alongside traditional forms of money. Advocates for CBDCs say they are intended to leverage digital technology to enhance the efficiency, security, and accessibility of the monetary system.

CBDCs differ from Bitcoin, which is decentralized and not regulated by any central authority. While Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies like Ethereum operate on decentralized networks and rely on cryptographic algorithms for consensus and security, CBDCs are centralized and governed by the issuing central bank.

This centralization allows for greater control over the money supply, as well as the ability to implement and enforce monetary policy more effectively.

Opponents of CBDCs believe they will be abused to provide a central government with a powerful tool to surveil and control its citizens.

“Defend the Guard” Bill Introduced in Augusta


Maine lawmakers will soon decide the fate of a proposal that would require a formal declaration of war from the U.S. Congress before Maine’s national guard can deploy abroad.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin), is part of a broader movement aimed at getting state legislatures to reassert their constitutional authority over national guard units and reduce America’s involvement in “forever wars.”

A national group is working with lawmakers in every state to propose similar legislation.

If passed, the bill would lead to the recall of Maine guardsmen currently deployed abroad in undeclared wars.

“Over these last twenty years, the men and women of the fifty state national guards have accounted for nearly half of the active duty troops in Washington, D.C.’s undeclared forever wars in the Middle East,” said Brakey.

“The Constitution requires Congress to declare war before sending our guardsmen into foreign battlefields,” he said.

The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee has yet to set a date for the bill’s work session, but Brakey said he expected it to be scheduled a few weeks from now.

Mills Admin Has Removed Ability of the Public to See How Students & Schools Are Doing


Growing up as a kid in Maine public schools I can recall teachers complaining about the annual standardized tests they gave us, bubble-in pencil style. I remember chuckling pretty hard when I heard them make the argument—no kidding—that “Tests are not a good way to judge people.” Even as a teenager, I was aware enough to ask myself, if this was true, why did every teacher I had from first grade through high school give me tests that made up a major part of my grade?

The fight by teachers’ unions across the U.S. to ensure that scores of these annual assessments are not used in any way in evaluating teacher and school performance has been as much in the forefront of education policy as anything else in recent decades. In this struggle, parents demand some measurable indicators of accountability and progress while teachers’ unions argue against having any statewide tests at all. The reason for testing students each year is to allow the public to measure the quality of learning in their local schools by comparing it with previous years and with other schools.

Thanks to decisions made by the Maine Department of Education (MDOE), parents, taxpayers, school boards, and the public at large no longer have any measures to gauge the progress, or lack thereof, in their local public schools.

Not wanting this information to be available is understandable. As recently as the 2018-19 school year, the results from statewide assessments showed that four in ten students were below or well below expectations in science. Likewise, roughly 44% of all students did not meet expectations in “English Language Arts.”  Worst of all, in the enormously important category of mathematics, two out of every three students failed to meet expectations. In our tech dependent world, this is a critical problem.

Fast forward through the pandemic, when parents complained that their children were simply not learning at all in the online classes that local schools cobbled together as best they could in the absence of any statewide strategy. The state found a new assessment that it said better suited the circumstances. The results were remarkable. Suddenly, more than 80% of students at every grade level met the “At or Above Expectations” in math and “English Language Arts.” Strangely, in what had been our students’ best subject, two-thirds of them now scored below expectations in science.

The new assessment was provided by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and has been used by local schools in Maine for years. However, this was designed to assess each student individually and help inform their teachers about the best approach to help that specific student learn. It was not designed to measure the progress of all students in learning the basic and essential concepts outlined in the state’s education standards. The difference, described as “normative” and “summative” assessments, is common knowledge in the educational profession.

For those who noticed the sudden and amazing leap in student achievement last year, MDOE warned that NWEA is “not the same type of assessment. The student data or results cannot be compared.” However, this is exactly the purpose of annual assessments. Without the ability to compare results from one year to the next, how can anyone determine if schools are improving or declining? This, it turns out, is exactly the point of the new assessment. They cannot. While doing the bidding of the teachers’ union MDOE has left itself unable to determine where added resources are needed, and which schools should receive additional support.

The new scores from these tests did two things quite effectively. First, by removing the data that showed how far from “meeting standards” most students in Maine really are, they muted the criticism that learning was not improving in our schools despite more and more funding aimed at the state’s fewer and fewer students. Secondly, they appeased decades old complaints from teachers’ unions that do not want the public to see the results lest they use them to hold schools accountable.

Upon seeing the new assessment strategy, the U.S. Department of Education recognized what MDOE was up to and cried foul, informing them that it intended to withhold certain federal funds due to the inadequacy of the assessment and labeling Maine schools “high risk.” Though the Trump administration initially took this position, the Biden DOE has continued to hold Maine accountable on the same point. In fact, the insistence on statewide assessments and their use in teacher evaluations has been supported by the last four administrations dating back to George Bush, two of them Republican and two Democrat.

Perhaps the most important feature of the summative assessment is that it reveals student outcomes across demographics. It helps identify, for example, poorer areas, or areas with certain racial makeups, and whether the students there are receiving the same quality of education as those in other areas. This is why President Obama continued to insist on these Bush-era assessment policies and their use in teacher evaluations, because they helped expose the lower quality of education, for example, in poor black neighborhoods in his hometown of Chicago. Maine no longer has this summative tool.

In 2015, the Obama administration threatened to withhold all $250 million dollars’ worth of federal funding for Maine’s local schools over this same issue. At that time, MDOE staff considered the same NWEA assessment that Maine is now in trouble for using and quickly determined that it did not accomplish the goals now required by four consecutive federal administrations. Surely, there are still staff people at MDOE who remember this exercise and made current Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin aware of it. If not, the assessment staff clearly understands the nature of their work and must have informed Makin of the shortcomings of her preferred instrument.

Last week, Makin admitted to the Legislature’s Education Committee that one of the factors considered in making the shift was that teachers complained about the annual assessments. She also admitted that MDOE spent $10 million on the useless assessment despite knowing that NWEA “would not be a valid way to assess schools,” then testified that USDOE has “never sanctioned another state in this way,” acknowledging that Maine’s strategy is uniquely inappropriate. This could be because every other state understands the difference between assessment types and knew better than to try to put one past the experts at USDOE.

Having removed the ability of taxpayers and school board members to judge whether their local school is improving or not in relation to previous years or to other schools in the state, MDOE has done the bidding of the teachers’ union and in doing so, risks the loss of federal funds and earned the designation of our schools as “high risk.”

The Maine Education Association (MEA), the state’s largest teachers’ union, claims to be “the voice of education professionals in Maine,” though its membership does not include all teachers and other education professionals. Far from it.

In fact, one of the members of the Education Committee who asked pointed questions of Commissioner Makin at last week’s meeting is Rep. Sheila Lyman (R-Livermore Falls), a retired thirty-six-year classroom teacher. This is Lyman’s second term in the Legislature and the MEA has endorsed her opponent in both of her elections, even though neither opponent was a teacher.

This is not the only time the Mills administration has done the bidding of the MEA. During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak in Maine in 2020, Makin wrote to MEA leaders,  “If you all have any specific guidance you’re sharing, we’d love to match your collective message!” indicating that MDOE was eager to allow the MEA to take the lead in the state’s communication strategy. This cozy relationship between the MEA and MDOE, has done little for educators. One study last year ranked Maine 44th out of 50 states for teachers for the second year in a row.

In response to a question from one incredulous legislator, who inquired, “Are you saying our test scores aren’t dipping?” Makin replied “It depends which test scores.” Having put Maine on the naughty list with USDOE risking federal money and implementing an assessment program that doesn’t even attempt to accomplish what is intended, Makin has denied the public and educational decision makers the information they need to effectively manage local schools.

In light of the growing public awareness of, interest in, and at times even outrage at what is happening in Maine’s local schools of late, MDOE’s strategy of effectively eliminating statewide assessments will only further erode the trust between parents, local school boards, and the state’s educational establishment which, more and more, seems to be advocating for an agenda that is far removed from the goals and wishes of Maine families.

Letter: Why Was an Alleged MCEA Fraudster Allowed to Finish Race?


A most basic right, that of fair and honest elections, is the cornerstone of our representative form of government. A Maine Clean Election Act (MCEA) funded elected official recently resigned after being charged with 20 counts of Aggravated Forgery (a felony), and 13 lesser crimes regarding his MCEA funding. His Republican opponent, also an MCEA candidate, lost by less than 300 votes after being outspent 3.4 to 1. Many of the signatures in question were stamped received in Augusta on April 11,2022 almost all were stamped as received prior to June 4.

This writer asks, why was this candidate allowed to continue, to finance, and ultimately to win an election?

The MCEA process is very prescriptive. There is a 56-page 2022 Legislative Candidate Guidebook and a 13-page Candidate Quick Guide available online. MCEA provided almost $4 million in taxpayer funding to House and Senate candidates in 2020. In a one-person one-vote process, any registered voter in a candidate’s district may make a single $5 donation during the campaign. This donation serves two purposes, the first is to show that the candidate has enough popular support from the voters to be a viable candidate and qualify for public money. The second is to receive money from the clean election fund. At present house candidates receive about $83 in public funds for each $5 donation, up to $11,000 for House candidates.

The clean election process is set up to minimize election fraud but lacks some of the requirements used in other election processes. It depends only on the contributor’s signature to establish the identity of the contributor without any verification. Each form also requires the circulator to sign a statement attesting to the following: “(1) I collected the qualifying contributions (2) to the best of my knowledge and belief, the signature is the signature of the person whose name it purports to be (3) the contribution came from the personal funds of the contributor, (4) I did not give anything of value to the contributor in exchange for their contribution and signature.”

This is followed by the signature of the circulator, the date, and their phone number. If the contribution is cash, a second form must be filled out. This second form requires that the name of the contributor be printed, followed by a signature. The form also has the printed instruction, “Notice to the Circulators: Cash contributors must also sign the Receipt and Acknowledgement (R&A) Form.” This second form is not required for checks or money orders as checks must be signed and a signature is also required on the back of the money order. Unlike other election processes, signatures are not required to be compared to the voter’s signature on file. MCEA depends on the honesty and integrity of the circulator and criminal penalties of up to $10,000 per offence to ensure compliance.

There are victims when people break laws. An honest opponent suffers consequences. Properly collecting and documenting contributions is a structured and often slow process. While a circulator might be able to collect dozens of five-dollar bills in a brief period, just a handful of transactions can be accomplished if the rules are followed. The clean election fund itself is defrauded when forged signatures are used to support the release of funds. Forging people’s signatures is a form of identity theft. The people working on both campaigns who invested time and money in support of their candidates now have an election that must be repeated. The state itself is a victim as a new election is required at a considerable time and cost making the taxpayer a two-time loser.

Polling shows voters want fair elections and to trust the election process. It is time for Maine’s legislature and court system to stand up and protect our most basic right – that of fair and honest elections. Punishing people who break the law and requiring signature verification as part of every MCEA process would be a good start.

Joe Grant, Wiscasset

Homeschoolers: Beware of School Choice Policies!


If there was a trap set for you, would you want to know how to identify it? Homeschoolers and those considering educational options should know: not all that glitters is gold. Likewise, just because a bill falls under the umbrella of “school choice” does not mean it’s in the best interest of homeschoolers.

“Fund Students not Systems” and “the Money follows the Child” are appealing slogans promoting school choice efforts. But homeschoolers must understand that the policies connected with those slogans sometimes come with catches. The students who participate in some of these school choice options will actually become part of a regulated system, including content offering determined by government-approved lists. Freeing up more money to support education choice and freedom should not come with strings attached, but often times it does.

“One who receives the shekels, must accept the shackles”

Today’s homeschoolers are following in the footsteps of courageous pioneers in the 70’s who reclaimed their rights as parents to direct their children’s education. The mantle passed on to us. It is our responsibility therefore to guard and protect the path paved for us over the last 50 years. Every self-determined homeschooler understands the immense sacrifice of time and treasure required to do this job well. The proof has been in the pudding. In the state of Maine, homeschoolers currently have tremendous autonomy and have yielded tremendous results. Research has shown repeatedly that homeschoolers excelled both academically and socially, winning national spelling bees and matriculating as well as being sought after by Ivy league.

Due to remote teaching during the pandemic, the composition of Maine’s homeschooling community has changed significantly. Many parents were in shock as they witnessed first-hand what their children were being taught in public schools. In disgust these parents began to homeschool. Being essentially backed into a corner, so-to-speak, these new homeschoolers had no time to fully consider or fully prepare materials, or to analyze the cost/benefit factors. It was an emergency and action needed to happen.

Many of the new homeschoolers are now realizing that homeschooling involves great expense, both in time and money. It’s a tough adjustment to shift from the public school mindset where everything is “free,” to homeschooling where it’s just the opposite. It’s very frustrating. Yes, we pay taxes and now also pay for our child’s education. It’s a financial hit. The temptation to accept any school reform — regardless of the strings that come attached — will be very great. But both veteran homeschoolers and rookies would do well to carefully consider the tradeoffs of any proposal to shake-up education funding.

Homeschoolers must not sacrifice autonomy in exchange for the almighty dollar. One surefire way to accomplish this is to keep any reform, whether it’s vouchers, school choice, or charter schools, entirely separate from homeschooling.

Homeschooling, is the only option for genuine, real autonomy. Hard stop! Once funds of any type — vouchers, tax credits or Education Savings Accounts — are accepted, even if work is done at home, this is not genuine homeschooling. Someone else hold the reins. Of course, as we have seen in other states, in the beginning those reins are very loose. But in a short time they become shorter and shorter.

It is the nature of government programs to grow and grow and reduce the sphere of human freedom and autonomy. In education reform, this means rules and regulations will inevitably proliferate. And the vehicle the government will use to impose on homeschoolers who accept taxpayer funding will be the curriculum, materials, and resources. Never forget, where the government spends, the government regulates. As other states have already demonstrated, pre-selected vendors will provide the pre-approved materials. Additionally, there is a tracking of all expenditures which can easily regulate limitations on purchases. As I write this, the NH legislature is entertaining a bill to alter the current law for the state’s Education Freedom Account (ESA). Lawmakers can’t help themselves.

Please keep in mind, once a parent accepts state or federal funds for any program, they will have to sign a contract. Contracts have rules and regulations. A parents will forfeit and/or risk the ability to determine the curriculum, which can easily vary from child to child. Other states who have gone ahead of Maine with either tax credits, ESAs or vouchers have demonstrated these encroaching restrictions. We have no excuse to be naive. Alaska and California began with loosely regulated ESA program. As time marched on, regulations became more restrictive, impacting curriculum selection and especially restricting religious curricula. Taxpayer funded education programs have many names: school voucherscharter schools, and different species of education savings accounts, like Education Freedom Accounts, Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, or Individualized Education Accounts. They story is the same.

Looking back at more than 30 years of experience mentoring homeschoolers here in Maine and beyond, I sense a shift occurring. It has been exacerbated by the COVID lockdowns and vaccine mandates for school aged children who can not use religious or philosophical exemptions for refuse certain vaccines. These parents have been forced into the homeschool world, not so much for ideological reasons but as a matter of necessity.

As Maine considers school choice reforms, and homeschoolers look to navigate the political debate, here are some questions we should consider before choosing to support a given reform:

  • What mechanisms are in place to prevent future legislatures and/or bureaucrats from changing the current rules?
  • What curricular options are available now?
  • Where may I access curriculum and other resources?
  • What are the specific requirements to participate?
  • What state assessments are required? Is there a specific threshold to meet for these assessments? What happens if that is not met?
  • How does the law protect the autonomy of homeschoolers ?
  • If a homeschooler changes their mind but don’t want to participate through the remainder of the year, what are the consequences?
  • Republicans have been the driving force behind all the destructive education policies since the 90’s; No Child Left Behind, Standards Based Education, Common Core, Proficiency Based/SEL Education and now The School Choice Agenda, all part of the Global Agenda derived from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Where is the proof this won’t destroy the only truly autonomous choice, homeschooling?
  • Will bill sponsors in Maine insert specific language to exclude or exempt homeschoolers from the ‘school choice’ language? If not, why not?

As an advocate for homeschooling in the truest sense of the word, I encourage parents to be vigilant and alert to protecting and preserving homeschool liberties. Homeschoolers need to cut through the hype and look under the hood of any policy which may erode or control homeschooling autonomy. For more than 5 decades, homeschooling has been a tremendous way to educate children. Stand firm and hold the course.

The Shrinking National Interest: Patten


This weekend marked the twentieth anniversary of America’s invasion of Iraq, and for those of us who spent time in the sandbox, it is a poignant moment.

When I first came back in 2005, I was having lunch with an old professor in the faculty club of the university I’d attended when Doug Feith, Donald Rumsfeld’s deputy for policy (and one of the notorious neo-cons whom General Tommy Franks had singled out as the dumbest of the lot), walked in. My professor’s face wrinkled as she snarled “nobody asked us before they hired him.” Then her expression softened as she turned to ask me if, seeing all that I had, whether I thought the war was a mistake.

I didn’t say ‘Yes,’ but I didn’t say ‘No’ either. We’d just had a reasonably successful election in Iraq and turned the government over to the Iraqis. Regardless of my own sweat equity in the project and this bias that comes with it, I still thought removing Saddam Hussein and giving the Iraqis a shot at self-governance was an accomplishment of some sort.

Nearly a decade later, I was back in Baghdad and overnighting at the al Rashid hotel when I realized to my shock and horror that it was impossible to get a drink. That was because Baghdad was no longer an independent capital, but rather a satrap of the next-door power, Iran. More awful than a sober night in Iraq was the recognition that we’d ‘liberated’ the country only to turn it over to our sworn enemy.

Now two decades after “shock and awe,” it is worth taking a moment to consider what in fact we reaped.

According to essayist Sohrab Ahmari, writing in the New Statesman Friday, the Iraq war made Donald Trump inevitable. Say what?

Think about it: the invasion is President George W. Bush’s legacy while turning the country over to Tehran is in large part the handiwork of his successor, President Barack Obama, who ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011. Obama’s successor, Trump, won the U.S. presidency in 2016 by promising to build a wall and put America first.

Costly, far-flung wars like Iraq and Afghanistan cycled millions of Americans through these inhospitable countries and led tens of millions of Americans back home to question why we were there in the first place. Were it not for gathering sense of regret, current President Joe Biden would not have been able to get away with his bungled and humiliating retreat from Afghanistan in August 2021.

All of this said, the current Iraqi government still looks a little better than the Taliban to whom we surrendered in Afghanistan, but that is really just a question of degree. Historians of tomorrow may decide that it was in fact the over-extension of American power in 2001 that inevitably led to our weakened state today.

Last week, regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia shook hands in a peace accord brokered not by America, but by China. That was only possible, former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Faisal bin Turki told France 24, because both sides see China – and not the U.S. – as an “honest broker.” We are falling off the map, either because America is simply no longer the global power it once was, or because we have learned our lesson about interventionism and have elected to pull back.

Ahmari’s point linking Iraq and Trump traces back to an iron rule of electoral politics. Free of pressure or duress, voters will always support the candidate they feel cares most about them. In our context, that is anyone who isn’t the globalist, military-industrial complex be it led by neocons or bleeding hearts. For further evidence of this, look at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ statement last week that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a regional conflict not in America’s vital interests.

Whether or not former Navy JAG officer really believes this or is simply trying to protect his right flank from Trump is less important than what his rejection of a global policeman role says about American politics today.

No one has ever won the American presidency by promising to entangle us in another country’s war – in fact our first president warned us against foreign entanglements in his farewell address. Even Bush the younger pledged a humbler America in his 2000 election campaign, despite the fact his subsequent actions were 100% to the contrary of that promise. Sure, 9/11 turned things on their head. But when the elites send the children of ordinary Americans to fight forever wars, the nation’s patience wears thin.

Knowing what you know now, would you have done that thing twenty years ago? In the case of Iraq – especially after never finding the weapons of mass destruction that were our casus belli, most of us would agree that it was a mistake. Of course we can’t undo the past, but we can try to make sure the next time we go to war it is for the right reason.

Education Bill Would Bring Unprecedented Transparency to Public Schools


A transparency and accountability revolution could be coming to Maine’s public schools if a proposal backed by several lawmakers on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee wins enough support to become law.

L.D. 1129 — “An Act to Enact the Curriculum Transparency Act” — would require the creation of an online transparency portal that would allow parents to access student test data, classroom materials, curriculum content, and even records and details related to third-party contractors hired by the school.

The proposal would give parents and policymakers unprecedented insight into how schools operate.

For the first time in the history of Maine’s public school system, taxpayers would get an in-depth, data-driven look at how schools spend money, how students have performed over time, and whether Maine’s education system is succeeding — or failing — to prepare Maine’s students for college and the workforce.

The transparency program would be wildly popular with Maine voters.

The Maine Wire / Co/Efficient polling has shown a vast bipartisan majority of Maine voters think public schools should place curriculum content on the Internet so parents can see what their children are being taught, including most majorities of both parties’ voters.

But it remains to be seen whether the legislature, which is controlled by Democrats and their powerful allies in the teachers’ unions, will get behind the proposal.

[RELATED: Overwhelming Majority of Maine Parents Want Curriculum Posted Online…]

L.D. 1129 was sponsored by Rep. Heidi Sampson (R-Alfred), a former member of Maine’s Board of Education.

So far only Republican lawmakers have joined her in supporting the transparency push.

The bill’s other supporters include: Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin), Sen. Marianne Moore (R-Washington), Rep. Edward Polewarczyk (R-Wiscasset), Rep. Barbara Bagshaw (R-Windham), Rep. Gary Drinkwater (R-Milford), Rep. Kathy Javner (R-Chester), Rep. Michael Lemelin (R-Chelsea), and Rep. Katrina Smith (R-Palermo).

If passed, the bill would require local school boards to adopt policies that ensure content used in the classroom is available for the public to inspect online.

Professional development services and other programming involving a third-party would now be subject to greater transparency as well.

Currently, schools have no obligation to be proactively transparent about which firms they’re hiring for professional development. Nor do they have to provide the public with information about third-party contractors they’re bringing into the school, unless that information is specifically requested under the Freedom of Access Act.

Going through the FOAA process can take months. For example, the Maine Wire has requested recordings of professional development seminars administered by the Maine Department of Education, including Zoom video recordings with contractors, but those records still have not been turned over after nearly six months.

Outside contractors are often used to coach teachers on how to use new pedagogical techniques or teach new content, including controversial new programs like social-emotional learning and content based on race and gender. Those seminars are couched in terms of “cultural sensitivity training,” but they’re often used as a vehicle to bring progressive political ideas and experimental programs into schools.

Sampson’s bill would also require all of these programs to be open to the public and video recorded, with the video going online for at least three years. And every program involving outside entities would require pre-approval by the school board.

Student performance would also become far more transparent if Sampson’s bill passed. That is, parents of students — or parents of prospective students — would be able to use a simple online portal to see how students at a given school have performed in recent years.

That means a family looking to move to Maine doesn’t need to scrounge around on the Internet trying to find a school ranking list from a random website or magazine.

Instead, they could simply pull up the transparency portal for a given school district and see for themselves how effective that school’s teachers have been at educating students.

The bill would require schools post three years worth of data on how students performed on state assessments.

Right now, student assessment transparency is headed in the opposite direction.

There has been some controversy in Maine over student testing because the Maine Department of Education made changes to state testing that were not in line with federal requirements.

As a result, the federal Department of Education has threatened to withhold Title 1A funding from Maine’s Education Department.

[RELATED: Maine Schools Could Lose Fed Funding Over Assessment Changes…]

At a public hearing on Wednesday, Commissioner Makin initially denied that Maine students’ test scores had fallen in recent years.

But when she eventually admitted that National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) had indeed fallen, she said that the test scores don’t really matter anyways.

However, because of the changes made to student testing in Maine, it’s harder for parents to make an apples-to-apples comparisons with student data collected in recent years.

Some student testing data is available for inspection through the federally mandated Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) portal operated by the state.

But the portal is glitchy, inconsistent, and very user-unfriendly. (See for yourself.)

Sampson’s bill would also restrict schools from offering coursework based on social-emotional learning concepts or racial equity ideas sometimes described as Critical Race Theory.

Under the bill, schools would be required to offer classes and curriculum materials that “ensure schools meet the purpose of education as provided in the Constitution of Maine and disseminate the knowledge needed to ensure the rights and liberties of United States citizens in the State.”

Feds, Stanford, Social Media Censored True Claims About COVID-19: Twitter Files


The 19th installment of the Twitter Files courtesy of independent journalist Matt Taibbi came out Friday.

The new information expands what the American public knows about the shocking lengths to which the federal government and large tech companies went to censor and deceive the American public.

The latest story features the “Virality Project,” a creature of Stanford University that was later embraced by nearly every large social media company and the federal government.

The goal of the project was to identify people on social media who said things about COVID-19 that the government didn’t want them to say.

When speech the government didn’t like was identified, social media companies were tapped in to censor or restrict the visibility of that speech.

In the course of Taibbi’s investigation, he identified several instances in which Virality Project and government operatives flagged speech that was true for censorship — and not just speech we later learned was true, but speech the operatives knew was true at the time it was posted.

Subjects were targeted for censorship if they posted anything that might make someone hesitant to take an mRNA vaccine.

That included links to stories about celebrities who died after taking a vaccine or stories about vaccine-related side effects.

That also included anyone who suggested natural immunity could be just as effective as the vaccine.

And it also included people who suggested that those who had gotten the vaccine were still contracting the virus at fairly high rates.

Of course, even the medical establishment has now admitted that natural immunity is significant, the vaccines don’t prevent transmission, and, yes, there have been vaccine-related injuries as the result of the COVID-19 shots.

The Virality Project reviewed and coordinated censorship on YouTube/Google, Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, Medium, Tiktok, and Pintrest — a dragnet that captured a vast amount of online discourse.

“This story is important for two reasons,” Taibbi wrote.

“One, as Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success. Government, academia, and an oligopoly of would-be corporate competitors organized quickly behind a secret, unified effort to control political messaging,” he wrote.

“Two, it accelerated the evolution of digital censorship, moving it from judging truth/untruth to a new, scarier model, openly focused on political narrative at the expense of fact,” he wrote.

The media in Maine have for some reason ignored the highly newsworthy revelations emerging from the Twitter files, including the revelation that Maine Sen. Angus King conspired with Twitter and Facebook to have people who were critical of his 2018 Senate campaign permanently banned from the social media platforms.

Regardless of the opinions of a handful of newspaper editors who might not even understand social media in the first place, Taibbi’s reporting on the Twitter Files remains one of the most significant stories of the year.

You can follow his entire thread here:

In Viral Clip, Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen Explains Why Silicon Valley Bank Gets Special Treatment


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was in Congress Thursday to provide information regarding the extraordinary decision to rescue depositors at the now-defunct Silicon Valley Bank.

SVB was the favored financial institution of Silicon Valley tech start-ups and global warming-related enterprises. The bank was also a leader in the ESG movement and embraced progressive causes, like Black Lives Matter.

In normal capitalism, enterprises that took risks and were irresponsible with investments would fail, and the people who trusted those enterprises with their money — a de facto endorsement of their activities — would lose as a result.

But in America, we don’t have capitalism. We have something else. So it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the federal government bent the rules to help out people connected with SVB’s failure.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) began the hearing by asking whether the community banks in his home state would receive similar preferential treatment.

“A bank only gets that treatment if a majority of the FDIC board, a super majority, a super majority of the Fed Board, and I, in consultation with the president determine that the failure to protect uninsured depositors would create systemic risk and significant economic and financial consequences,” said Yellen.

If that process sounds convoluted and like regulators are making it up as the go along, well…

Lankford’s obvious concern is that the favored treatment SVB received will cause depositors with other community banks to worry that their funds wouldn’t receive the same special treatment from Yellen, the Fed, the FDIC Board, and Biden.

If they are worried about getting special treatment for their money, the obvious step would be to place their money in a bank that is big and politically connected. It’s a real concern, one that apparently a lot of depositors are having, because flows into the largest, most politically connected banks have increased majorly this week.

Media Goes Nuts Over Claim Ron DeSantis Once Ate Pudding with Fingers


The mainstream media — the same guys who once hyperventilated about President Donald Trump getting two scoops of ice cream while his guests got one — is now going after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over story from the left-wing Daily Beast that he once ate pudding … with his fingers.

According to not one but two(!) source, two real sources, DeSantis once ate pudding in 2019 using three fingers during a flight from Tallahassee to Washington, D.C.

The story, real or not, now enters two long lists: 1) stories about politicians’ weird eating habits; and 2) thinly sourced stories attacking Republican candidates for the flimsiest of fake reasons.

On weird eating, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is said to have eaten a salad with a comb. Former N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s love affair with candy is well known, as is Trump’s obsession with McDonald’s. But former Ohio Gov. John Kasich has to take the cake. The man demolished pizza, italian subs, spaghetti — anything he could get his hands on time and time again while the cameras were covering his doomed 2016 presidential bid.

In terms of flimsy stories attacking Republican contenders, though, this story from Jacob Lahut at the Daily Beast easily cracks the top ten. (Lahut, by the way, looks like the kind of guy who’s dipped his fingers in a pudding cup a time or two…) The top item in this category must be the Boston Globe’s 2012 report that Mitt Romney once, in 1983, on a family trip, put the family dog Seamus’ kennel on the roof of the car because he was having some diarrhea. The affair is memorialized for all time on Wikipedia as “Mitt Romney dog incident“.

DeSantis, who is expected to run for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, has irked Florida and national political reporters by denying them access and refusing to talk with them.

Will that strategy ultimately help him win the White House? The proof will be … in the pudding.

Mr. Kamala Harris Says Hate Behind Holocaust Now Seen at School Board Meetings


The hatred of Jews that led to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany is similar to the frustrations expressed by parents attending school board meetings in America, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff said Wednesday at the SXSW conference.

“Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews,” said Emhoff. “How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?”

“Hate is interconnected. You see it in the discourse in the country right now. You see it in the divide that we have. Just going to school meetings, you see that hate that is out there,” he said.

Emhoff is not the first person to compare parents who attend school board meetings to vile and violent extremists.

The National School Boards Association in 2021 apologized after they published a letter labeling parents “domestic terrorists” and insisting that they should be subject to Patriot Act surveillance if they complain about schools.

[RELATED: Maine School Bans Controversial Book About Transgender Teenage Girls from HS Library…]

The White House had requested that memo, and Merrick Garland also responded by directing the FBI to get involved in school board-related conflicts.

In Maine, several school board meetings in the past year have hosted vociferous debates involving disagreements as to how schools should operate.

While some school officials and community members believe schools should supply students with hypersexualized books and counsel them to change genders without their parents knowledge, others have argued that parents should have greater control over the educational and health choices of their children.

At least one Maine school officials has recently said parents and journalists who seek public records from schools are engaging in “hate speech” if they seek records about school’s gender identity policies.

Vicki Wallack, an official from the Maine School Management Association (MSMA) and a member of Maine’s “Right to Know” advisory committee, said public record requests directed at her and her organization were not requests for information, but were instead bigoted attacks on marginalized communities.

Rep. Marc Malon (D-Biddeford) has introduced legislation that would direct the Maine State Police to issue an annual report on “domestic terrorists.”

The annual report must include information on threats against “local and state governmental bodies, public officials and critical infrastructure,” categories that would include school boards.

Rather than school board disputes, recent domestic terrorist cases connected to Maine have involved far left extremists targeting law enforcement.

A Kennebunkport man has been arrested twice for Antifa-related domestic terrorism in Atlanta.

Another Mainer was arrested this month for participating in acts of domestic terror directed against cops, also in Atlanta.

Connecticut Rep. Comey Busted for DUI


A Connecticut State Representative has lost her committee assignments Friday after she was arrested for crashing her car in what cops believe was an alcohol-related event.

Rep. Robin Comey, a Democrat of Brandford, crashed her car late Thursday night in Hartford.

The 55-year-old woman was charged around 6:30 pm with Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

For Connecticut politicos, news of the arrest immediately brought to mind an event one year ago in which Comey, on the floor of the House of Representatives, was slurring her words while talking about an early childhood education bill.

Comey admitted to drinking some wine before the floor debate, but she also said she was ill.

The state’s Democratic House Speaker Matt Ritter released a statement early Friday morning saying Comey would be stripped of her committee and leadership assignments until further notice.

Comey’s car flipped during the crash, but no other vehicles were involved, and no one else was harmed in the crash.

Media: “Strongest Evidence Yet” an Animal Started Pandemic


Several media reports surfaced this week claiming that “researchers” had discovered new evidence that the COVID-19 virus did not, in fact, come from a virology lab in Wuhan, China.

Instead, the epidemic that crippled the world’s government and economies for more than a year emerged from raccoon dogs sold at the infamous Wuhan wet market.

The Atlantic and the New York Times both carried stories on Thursday and Friday relating the raccoon-related findings.

From the New York Times:

“An international team of virus experts said on Thursday that they had found genetic data from a market in Wuhan, China, linking the coronavirus with raccoon dogs for sale there, adding evidence to the case that the worst pandemic in a century could have been ignited by an infected animal that was being dealt through the illegal wildlife trade.

“The genetic data was drawn from swabs taken from in and around the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market starting in January 2020, shortly after the Chinese authorities had shut down the market because of suspicions that it was linked to the outbreak of a new virus. By then, the animals had been cleared out, but researchers swabbed walls, floors, metal cages and carts often used for transporting animal cages.

The wet market was an early villain for those who disputed the lab leak theory and considered it a racist conspiracy to suggest that a lab that studied bat viruses in Wuhan could be linked to the emergence of a bat virus epidemic in Wuhan.

But there appear to be a few issues with the study.

For example, the “raccoon dog” material that was tested were tested long after the emergence of COVID-19. Also, some of the samples they tested contained multiple species DNA, including human DNA, suggesting the material they studied was, as the Times puts it, a “jumbling together of genetic material from the virus and the animal” that “does not prove that a raccoon dog itself was infected.”

The Times further notes that even if study showed a raccoon dog had COVID-19 in Jan. 2020 “it would not be clear that the animal had spread the virus to people.”

The Atlantic and New York Times stories seem to be a case of science transmogrifying into clickbait headlines, and the preponderance of the evidence still suggests that the virus emerged for the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The lab-leak theory has been politically controversial because the U.S. government funded non-profits who in turn subcontracted with the Wuhan lab.

Meaning, in other words, Tony Fauci’s government agency provided funding to the lab that begat the pandemic — a highly inconvenient fact.

Silicon Valley Bank Parent Company Files For Bankruptcy


The Daily Caller News Foundation Jason Cohen on March 17, 2023

SVB Financial Group, the parent company for California tech lender Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York Friday, the biggest filing of its kind since Washington Mutual Inc. in 2008.

SVB, which was SVB Financial Group’s main business, was taken over by federal regulators after it collapsed due to a bank run last week, with the Federal Reserve intervening to insure depositors. The bank announced it was filing for bankruptcy Friday in a bid to preserve the value of its assets.

“The Chapter 11 process will allow SVB Financial Group to preserve value as it evaluates strategic alternatives for its prized businesses and assets, especially SVB Capital and SVB Securities,” William Kosturos, Chief Restructuring Officer for SVB Financial Group, said in a statement. “SVB Capital and SVB Securities continue to operate and serve clients, led by their longstanding and independent leadership teams.”

SVB is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and not included in the Chapter 11 filing, according to The Washington Post. Bankruptcy offers a court-supervised reorganization to assist SVB Financial Group to find buyers for its assets besides SVB because it is under federal control, according to Reuters.

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Pentagon ‘Actively Working’ To Find Doctors Who Will Provide Hormones, Puberty Blockers For US Military Kids Abroad


The Daily Caller News Foundation Micaela Burrow on March 16, 2023

Department of Defense (DOD) medical providers in Europe are stepping up efforts to identify civilian providers of hormone therapy and other sex-change treatments for the children of U.S. military personnel stationed abroad, Stars and Stripes reported Wednesday.

DOD has only one physician stationed on the continent who specializes in transgender treatments for minors, leading to a recent decision to discontinue medical treatment and counseling for new patients, Stars and Stripes reported, citing military health officials. Providers at U.S. military medical facilities in Europe have increased referrals to local health care facilities and are looking for more that will accept the Pentagon’s military health plan, Tricare.

Tricare is “actively working to identify additional clinics who can provide care” to dependents of American servicemembers seeking sex change options, a spokesperson for the Landstuhl hospital serving the Rheinland-Pfalz Army base in Germany, told Stars and Stripes.

Staff shortages at Landstuhl prompted it to stop accepting new patients in October, the spokesperson explained.

Landstuhl is the only other U.S. military hospital in Europe that provides transgender services, including counseling, hormone therapy and puberty blockers, to minors, Defense Health Agency spokesperson Peter Graves told Stars and Stripes. Since 2016, those services have been paid for under Tricare, although the program does not support sex change surgeries for minors.

The hospital in Germany did not disclose how many transgender military children it had on its treatment roster “to protect patient privacy … (and) to avoid connecting the dots,” Sanchez told Stars and Stripes.

However, the number has increased rapidly since Tricare began providing hormones and other related treatments to transgender military members and their families, according to the outlet.

A study found that the number of transgender minors in the military health system increased from 135 in 2010 to 528 within the first four months of 2017, Reuters reported.

Just two clinics within an hour’s drive of Landstuhl offer transition-related procedures, Stars and Stripes reported.

German medical professionals say American children should be able to obtain regular, patient-specific visits with gender transition providers in English.

“These are in-depth conversations about gender identity,” Stephanie Lehmann-Kannt, a pediatric endocrinologist at Saarland University Hospital in Homburg, told Stars and Stripes. “It is not enough that the patient says, ‘I’d like to be a girl,’ and receives puberty blockers,” she said.

Germany requires individuals who wish to transition to complete at least 12 counseling sessions before starting on hormones, since both testosterone and estrogen treatments can lead to long-term negative effects on fertility, Lehmann-Kannt told Stars and Stripes.

She rejected patient inquiries from two American military families sometime in the last two years, citing her long waitlist and lack of ability to provide long-term care for the patients, according to Stars and Stripes.

The U.S. has one of the world’s most relaxed transgender treatment regulations, according to a study by Do No Harm. Most European countries have implemented greater hurdles to accessing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex change operations, determining that most or all treatments available are experimental.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Janet Mills Blows Off Historic “State of the Tribes” in Snub of Maine’s Indigenous Peoples

For the first time in nearly two decades, leaders from Maine’s indigenous tribes came to the Maine State House on Thursday to offer a “State of the Tribes” address.

Nearly every Maine state official was there, including Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland).

Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, State Archivist Kate McBrien, State Auditor Matt Dunlap, and Attorney General Aaron Frey all showed up.

Two Maine Superior Court Justices, Rick E. Lawrence and Andrew M. Read, were in attendance.

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (ME-CD2) was in attendance, and Sen. Angus King, Sen. Susan Collin, and Rep. Chellie Pingree sent representatives on their behalf.

But there was one conspicuous absence: Gov. Janet Mills.

Mills skipped the “State of the Tribes” ceremony on Thursday without providing a reason for her absence.

Given her fraught relationship with the tribes over tribal sovereignty negotiations, there are questions as to whether Mills’ absence was intended to send a message to tribal leadership.

That is, did Mills skip the ceremony to show the indigenous tribes where they really rank in Maine’s political pecking order? Was her absence a rebuke of the tribes, and of U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (ME-CD2), for trying to go around her with a federal bill?

More than one State House source described the governor’s absence Thursday as a “huge middle finger” to the tribes.

William “Billy” Nicholas, the chief of the Passamaquoddy reservation at Indian Township, said Mills originally said she was going to attend the event but cancelled a few days before without giving a reason.

“She didn’t give a reason, and I haven’t heard from her personally or professionally,” Nicholas said.

[RELATED: Maine Education Chief: “Academic Learning” Takes Backseat to Social-Emotional, Gender, and Race…]

He said Mills typically communicates with him through staffers, but he never received any contact from her staff either about her skipping the event.

“It was a historic day. Attendance by the governor of Maine would of topped it off,” he said. “I think her presence was necessary, but she wasn’t there.”

Nicholas said he’s always attended events like State of the State addresses or inaugurations when he’s received invitations. Asked whether Mills was sending a signal about her position in ongoing negotiations over a tribal sovereignty bill, Nicholas said he hoped that wasn’t the case.

“I’m hoping that whatever she had going on, if it was personal or professional, that it wasn’t something she could get out of,” he said. “I don’t really know because a majority of the leadership from Maine, congressional leadership and others, were there. So I can only guess that it was something personal.”

“I don’t know if she had a medical appointment,” he said.

Mills did not respond to an email asking for a statement on her absence from the ceremony.

Maliseet Tribal Chief Clarissa Sabbatis, Chief Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, and Chief Kirk Francis of the Penobscot Indian Nation all joined Nicholas for the ceremony — the first time all four tribal chiefs have ever come together for an event.

Although the negotiations over tribal sovereignty legislation have at times been tense, the four chiefs who addressed Maine’s political leadership avoided acrimony and instead focused on telling the story of the Wabanaki tribes within the stories of America and Maine.

For example, Francis told the story of Chief Joseph Orono and other leaders traveling to Watertown, Mass., in 1775 to present grievances to the provincial government of Massachusetts, which at the time included Maine.

Orono was there to negotiate. In exchange for land around the Penobscot River and an end to the killing of his people by colonists, Orono committed his men to fighting alongside Americans in the Revolutionary War.

“Since the American Revolution, Penobscot people have fought in every military conflict,” Francis said.

But the chiefs were also clear about their desire to achieve the same benefits other tribes have received from the federal government under legislation spearheaded by former President Richard Nixon.

Federal law entitles Native American tribal organizations to certain federal assistance, but a law enacted by Maine in the 1980s, and ratified by Congress, make state government a kind of middleman between the tribes and Washington, D.C.

Maine has been an outlier in this regard, and state leaders have often thwarted tribal decision making. While the tribes would like to be treated like every other tribe and deal directly with the federal government, the Mills administration has fought to maintain the state’s middleman status.

Francis said the tribes are seeking the right of self-determination and inclusion in federal laws and programs that benefit other Native American tribes.

“The federal policy of self-determination has been reaffirmed by almost every president since Nixon,” he said. “Yet in Maine we are stuck in 1980s policy, and the tribes have had to commit significant resources towards trying to advocate on a case by case basis to be included in federal laws that are passed and are supposed to apply to us.”

“We are capable of self-governance, and should be treated as partners rather than threats to the future of the state,” said Francis.

The last time Maine’s Native American tribes gathered in Augusta for a State of the Tribes ceremony was March 11, 2002.

Legislative documents show that Speaker Ross and President Jackson invited Mills to Thursday’s ceremony more than two weeks ago on March 1.

12 days later she sent a letter saying she would be “unable to attend the address.”

“We have different histories, but today we call this beautiful place we know as Maine our home,” she said in the letter.

“I look forward to the ongoing discussions between my Administration, the Wabanaki people, and the State Legislature,” she said.

The letter doesn’t offer an explanation for her absence.


As part of the ceremony, a bipartisan group of lawmakers passed a joint resolution recognizing the inherent dignity and historic legacy in Maine of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, the Mi’kmaq Nation, the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Motahkomikuk, and Passamaquoddy Tribe at Sipayik, and the Penobscot Nation.

But the chiefs are looking for more than happy feelings from Augusta.

At issue are the provisions of two laws, one state and one federal, that attempted to resolve indigenous land claims against American governments once and for all. In the 1970s, the Penobscot and the Passamaquoddy had laid claimed to nearly two-thirds of the entire state. Those laws settled the land claims, and they have controlled the relationships between the tribes, the state of Maine, and Washington, D.C., ever since 1980.

The Maine law — the Maine Implementing Act (MIA) — subjected the tribes to all of the laws of Maine as part of a negotiation between the state and the tribes, while the federal law — the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act of 1980 (MICSA) — ratified the MIA and created a trust fund to purchase land for the tribes. The federal law aimed to “finally extinguish” any aboriginal land claims the tribes had against American governments by giving them a large pot of money they could use to acquire land, in addition to reservation lands already under tribal control, in Maine. Importantly, MIA and MICSA created the unique status for Maine’s tribes that excludes them from certain federal laws.

[RELATED: Pursuit of “Environmental Justice” Brought Maine to Brink of Sludgepocalypse…]

When the issue of indigenous claims came before the State Legislature last year, more than 1,500 people came out to testify on a version of the tribal sovereignty bill, mostly in favor of it. The whole panoply of left-wing pressure groups — even the teachers union, environmental groups, and LGBTQ activists — expressed support. But Mills remained lukewarm to the proposal, and many Republicans also didn’t get on board.

At the same time negotiations were happening in Augusta, the Mills administration was aggressively opposing a federal bill from Rep. Jared Golden (ME-CD2) that would have amended MICSA without including the state in the negotiations. Mills didn’t like being cut out of the equation.

In testimony to the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on the Indigenous Peoples of the United States, Mills’ chief counsel Gerald Reid made it clear Mills would have nothing of it. As counterparty to the original MICSA, Reid said, Maine (a.k.a. Mills) expected to be consulted on any amendment.

“The Mills Administration was not consulted in the development or drafting of H.R. 6707, and we learned about the bill only shortly before it was printed in the House,” said Reid.

In addition to settling land claims, MICSA also prevented some federal laws from applying to Maine’s tribes in the same way they apply to other federally recognized tribes when they would “affect or preempt” Maine’s jurisdiction.

That means Maine’s tribes, unlike every other states’ tribes, are treated differently under federal law. That different treatment is something the Mills administration is fighting to maintain.

Reid told Members of Congress that confusion and ambiguity over which federal laws would apply to Maine’s tribes, and when, would spawn confusion and litigation and untold chaos. Rather than blanket extension of federal law to Maine’s tribes, the Mills administration told Members of Congress each federal law should be decided on a case-by-case basis, something that would maximize the Mills’ control over the tribes. Mills objections to H.R. 6707, as expressed by Reid, at times seem more personal than substantive.

Golden, who was thanked specifically by tribal officials on Thursday, successfully managed to have the bill included in package of amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is typically must-pass legislation. Had the bill passed, Golden would have successfully gone around Mills to secure a major victory for the tribes. However, Sen. Angus King, a close political ally of Mills, later stripped the amendment out of the larger bill before it passed.

Back in Maine, lawmakers never sent Mills a final version of the state bill, in part because Mills asked them not to.

“I do not wish to have a confrontation over LD 1626,” Mills told tribal leaders.

That was a signal to legislative leaders that Mills would prefer not to pull out the veto pen, and the message was received. Lawmakers acquiesced to Mills’ desires, and the bill died when the legislature adjourned in May. Mills did sign a more limited bill that gave the tribes control over online sports betting in Maine and some tax exemptions, but tribal leaders were clear at the time that the limited provisions of LD 585 were not a replacement for LD 1626.

The state-level negotiations have boiled down to what parts of the Maine Implementing Act (MIA) to keep and what to amend.

In those negotiations, Republicans have objected to specific requests from the tribes.

For example, Republicans could not support continuing to treat the tribes like municipalities, including by providing revenue sharing, if they’re going to be fully sovereign.

But people familiar with the negotiations who spoke anonymously with the Maine Wire in order to speak honestly said Mills’ precise objections have never been clearly articulated, something which is apparent in Reid’s federal testimony, in which he specifically says the Mills administration just didn’t like being cut out of the equation.

Two people said her opposition to the tribal sovereignty bill was personal and that many lawmakers from Mills’ generation also opposed the bill.

The sense is that those who were around when the original 1980 law was passed are reluctant to support changing it, as changing now would imply the state got it wrong 43 years ago.

Mills was an Assistant Attorney General from 1976 to 1980, so she may have had familiarity with the original state and federal laws. If so, she hasn’t said.

But Mills may have protested a little too much in a statement to media on the eve of the tribal sovereignty bill’s demise:

“I recognize the Tribes’ desire to see LD 1626 become law,” said Mills, “just as I hope that the Tribes and lawmakers recognize that my concerns about the legislation are based in policy – and are not personal…”


Chief Nicholas said he’s narrowly focused on achieving full sovereignty for the tribes and the economic freedom that it would entail.

“The only bill that is necessary is one that addresses tribal sovereignty, on reservation, within our trustlands. Period,” said Nicholas. “The recognition of our tribal sovereignty, which was intact prior to the 1980 [MICSA]. That doesn’t take any land from anybody.”

“It doesn’t ask for any money. It recognizes the sovereignty of the Wabanaki tribes in Maine within their respective territories — tribal sovereignty to be able to function as a sovereign. Not limited sovereignty,” he said,

“That’d be the only bill I’d ever be interested in,” he said. “Everything can be negotiated within that bill.”

For Nicholas one of the biggest benefits of sovereignty would be economic freedom. Specifically, freedom from regulatory red tape and regulations that prevent the tribe from starting businesses, securing investments, and growing their local economy.

Under the current law, the tribe has tremendous difficulty securing investments for economic development, he said, because the law stipulates that banks cannot foreclose on trust land.

That means every bank considers it too risky to give a business loan to someone who wants to build on the reservation.

“We can’t just go get a loan from a bank to build a gas station on reservation because Citgo and Exxon or whoever might be, they can’t foreclose on trust land property or reservation,” he said. “So we have to front money to do these types of things, whether it’s a grocery store, whether it’s a gas station, or a huge economic development project.”

There are other areas where the existing laws also limit economic growth on tribal lands, like some of their gaming businesses, including high stakes bingo.

“If those restrictions were gone, we could add to our gaming facility there and be able to keep that as high stakes bingo with limited gaming opportunities that would provide more jobs in Washington County, but we can’t do it because the state stops us,” he said.

“There’s too many restrictions to get capital because of the Settlement Act,” he said.

“On reservation and in trust lands, we would be able to do economic development projects that we’re restricted from right now that would bring in the revenue,” he said.

[RELATED: Buyer’s Remorse: MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, Maine’s 2nd Largest Union, Files Complaint After Mills Blows Off Talks…]

Nicholas couldn’t say why Mills has been so adamantly opposed to extending the tribes full sovereignty and economic freedom.

“It’s ironic because the majority of the people on every reservation vote for Governor Mills,” said Nicholas, who is a registered Republican. “They may not like all the decisions that get made, but they predominantly vote Democrat.”

“I don’t usually attend many Zoom calls with the governor, only because you kinda know the answer,” he said.

“I just hope that in this legislative session — and for whatever reason why she wasn’t there today — that we continue to work closely to unify, and unite, and maybe have a meeting soon to get on the same page with what works.”

Majority White Countries Get Special Attention from the Maine Legislature


From 1984 to 2022, Maine’s legislature passed more than 40 resolutions featuring foreign nations. Ireland, Israel, Taiwan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Greece, and Ukraine all make the list.

In 2023, we’ve added second one for Ukraine — just in case Vladimir Putin didn’t hear us the first time.

Amid the clamor of debate last week on the second symbolic resolution, more than one observer quietly asked: Why are Maine lawmakers giving Ukraine special attention when there is so much evil, oppression, and conflict in the world?

It’s not the first time since the start of Russia’s illegal and barbarous invasion of Ukraine that people have wondered why American liberals and many Republicans seem to have a special place in their hearts for the majority white European country.

The American media, both political parties, and large swaths of the American people have reacted to the events in Ukraine in a way they never reacted to equally devastating events in Syria and Yemen, and on the African continent.

Rep. Rebbecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth) has introduced both of the resolutions featuring Ukraine, but she hasn’t — despite being in office for more than a decade — introduced a single resolution supporting a non-majority white foreign country.


Why has she not introduced a resolution encouraging the federal government to support the brutalized populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Haiti, or Somalia?

After all, these crises have a much more proximate connection to Maine, considering Maine has become the premier destination for refugees fleeing conflict and oppression in those nations.

In her remarks, Millett said Russia’s actions meet the United Nations’ definition of genocide.

That’s precisely what refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo say they’re fleeing.

They’ve said as much in the pages of the Portland Press Herald, Millett’s hometown paper.

Yet we see no impassioned speeches in Augusta for the present-day genocide of black people in central Africa. (We see no resolutions for suffering on the African continent at all in the entire history of the Maine legislature, with the exception of some Reagan Era support for sanctions against South Africa.)

And where are the symbolic bills for the people of Yemen? For eight years, Yemeni people have been devastated by a civil war, with involvement from North Korea, Iran, and Saudi Arabia on opposing sides of the conflict. Tens of millions of civilians lack access to sufficient food and clean water. Hundreds of thousands have died.

But Millett and other Maine lawmakers only have speeches for white Europeans in Ukraine.

Would Millett offer resolutions regarding African or Middle East conflicts if the victims were white, like her, as she has done with Ukraine? Is she guilty of implicit bias or perhaps something more overt? Why do white Ukrainians command the attention and support of the Maine legislature in a way that the black and brown people of Africa and the Middle East never have?

I’m not saying Millett is racist, I’m just noticing an odd pattern in the global events she and other lawmakers have deemed worthy of symbolic resolutions.

Here’s another odd pattern: white Europeans in Ukraine didn’t get this kind of support when Vladimir Putin illegally annexxed Crimea in 2014.

Less than 10 years ago, when Putin annexed Crimea, the very same characters now solemnly inveighing about the duty of Americans to stand with Ukraine were M.I.A. Liberals didn’t change their Facebook avatars or buy Ukrainian flags en masse. America didn’t open up our pocketbook to pour money into the conflict (at least, not to the present extent). Politicians didn’t run around accusing their opponents of secretly supporting the Kremlin. Instead, Obama exercised restraint, and Americans shrugged. Similarly, when Obama abandoned plans for a European missile shield to counter Russia in 2009, he was never labeled a Putin stooge. Indeed, liberals chortled gleefully when Obama told then-Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back” after Romney said Russia was a top geopolitical foe.

So what exactly has changed in American politics? Why is Obama’s 2014 realist policy now Republicans’ 2023 secret support for Putin? And why has Ukraine become a cause célèbre for Maine’s liberals in a way that Syria, Yemen, African nations — or Ukraine in 2014 — never did?

My suspicion is the cause is petty old politics.

The social divisions of the Trump Era, the virtue signalling, the caustic social media flame wars, the dialed-to-eleven screechy all encompassing crisis-mode cable news, the bitter personalization of politics — all of it has carried over to the Ukraine debate. In the same way that “Trump Bad, Hillary Good” became the dominant moral code on the left, “Ukraine Good, Russia Bad” has become the new orthodoxy. Supporting Ukraine — without limit or caveat — has become a litmus test for American liberalism, an unthinking in-group signal that you’re one of the smart, big-hearted people who really “gets” what’s happening in the world. Support for Ukraine is The Current Thing (TM), having now eclipsed masks and vaccinations. Hanging that Ukraine flag, which most wouldn’t have recognized 5 years ago, is a symbol to neighbors that you’re compassionate, that you’re not one of those yucky MAGA people.

It’s no longer enough to merely debate politics, because the politics you support are now a part of your personality, your morality. Good people support Ukraine, bad people support Russia.

Unfortunately, bringing this kind of moral absolutism to complex matters of international relations precludes our ability to have nuanced debate about the prudent course America ought to take. One consequence of this nuance-destroying moral absolutism was the the mindless groupthink on display last week in Augusta — and the invective hurled at anyone who strayed from the orthodox moral belief system. The entire debate boiled down to: Ukraine Good, Russia Bad. Any deviation from that, any search for nuance, was condemned in the harshest terms possible.

Lawmakers, and many in the media, displayed a lack of understanding of the distinction between supporting a tyrannical dictator, on the one hand, and questioning the wisdom of unrestrained U.S. involvement in what could become World War III, on the other. Republicans expressed skepticism of escalated U.S. involvement in the war. Some wondered how a nation $30 trillion in debt could justify writing Ukraine a blank check. Others urged a different resolution that called on U.S. leaders to seek a diplomatic end to the war. Not a single Republican elected official in Maine “supports Putin,” but more than a few share an aversion to foreign entanglements and a healthy skepticism in the United State’s ability to shape world events through military power.

In other words, more than a few Maine Republicans have taken the realist approach to Ukraine that Obama pursued in 2014 over Crimea.

Yet in response to Republicans emulating Obama’s foreign policy, supporters of the symbolic resolution seized on this deviation from the new moral code to call the heretics and unbelievers “Nazis” and “Putin stooges.” This puerile way of engaging in political debate isn’t helpful, but it does free those supporting the resolution from the burden of having to answer tough questions.

For example, not one person who voted in favor of the pro-war resolution last week articulated a limiting principle on U.S. involvement in the conflict. The considered opinion of Maine’s liberals — and a fair number of Republicans — seems to be that America should continue giving money and weapons to Ukrainian officials until Vladimir Putin is dead and Russia has lost the war.

So the obvious question is: How much money should the U.S. commit to those goals? Is it $200 billion? $500 billion? $1 trillion? I’ve never heard anyone waving a yellow and blue flag name a number. Likewise, how many more American troops should we deploy to Eastern Europe? How many Americans should die so Ukraine gets to decide what its border with Russia looks like? Should we, as Rep. Jared Golden has advocated, supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets? And what do we do if those American jets are used against civilian targets inside Russia?

For all his faults, President Obama was at least willing to reckon with these hard questions in 2014, and perhaps that’s why he chose restraint and prudence over bellicose virtue signaling.

UPDATE – Deering High School Claims “History of Drag” Event Planned by Students


Deering High School “co-principals” Alyson Dame and Dr. Jake Giessman emailed the Deering High School mailing list Wednesday regarding the “History of Drag and Queer Joy Discussion” taking place tomorrow at te public school.

In the email, the administrators claim the event was organized by students.

(Original story follows the screenshot.)

Deering High School in Portland will host two of Maine’s most famous drag performers, Gigi Gabor and Chartreuse Money, to discuss the “History of Drag and Queer Joy” with students on Friday.

Gabor and Money are well-known drag entrepreneurs.

Gabor started Curbside Queens in 2020, traveling across the state to perform in people’s driveways out of a pink minibus. The company now boasts a rotating cast of eight of “Maine’s best Drag performers” that are available to book for private events. A 50 minute show costs only $250.

Money was a 2019 and 2021 nominee for “Best Drag Performer” in the Old Port Awards.

The public school posted about the event via an Instagram account affiliated with Deering’s Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator.

The ELOC at Deering High School is supposed to help students get internships, perform volunteer work, and search for jobs.

According to the Instagram post, the event was organized by Reva Eiferman, a Spanish teacher.

Border Patrol Chief Says DHS Doesn’t Have ‘Operational Control’ Of The Southern Border


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Jennie Taer on March 15, 2023

Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lacks “operational control” of the U.S.-Mexico border during a House Homeland Security Committee field hearing.

Republican committee chair Mark Green asked Ortiz if DHS had “operational control” amid an influx of illegal migrants. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered more than 2.3 million migrants in fiscal year 2022 and more than270,000 between October and January.

“Does DHS have operational control of our entire border?” Green asked.

To which Ortiz responded: “No, sir.”

[RELATED: U.S. Border Patrol, Knox Sheriff, Rockland PD Can’t – Or Won’t – Provide Details on Seven Foreign Nationals Arrested in Midcoast Maine…]

Green then played a clip of DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testifying that the department has “operational control” over the southern border.

“Chief Ortiz, do you think that Secretary Mayorkas is lying there?”

“Sir, when you talk about operational control, about ten years ago we used operational control as a measuring stick of our effectiveness along the southwest border. My new strategy is geared towards mission advantage,” Ortiz responded.

Green continued to press Ortiz on whether he found Mayorkas to be lying in his statement, but the border chief dodged the question.

“I didn’t see the rest of the testimony there, sir,” Ortiz said.

“It’s either ignorance or it’s lying,” Green said, adding that there’s been 1.3 million illegal migrants known to evade federal southern border authorities.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Nigerian Brothers Detail Jussie Smollett Hate Crime Hoax

Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett caused an international scandal when he claimed in 2019 to have been assaulted in a vicious hate crime one night in Chicago.

Two MAGA thugs, he claimed, attacked him, tried to hang him with a thin noose, and sprayed bleach on him while he was trying to get a Subway sandwich.

It was, everyone quickly agreed, a homophobic and racist attack inspired by President Donald Trump and the ugly band of deplorables who supported him.

Police released video supposedly showing Smollett with the noose around his neck.

Kamala Harris, then a California Senator with her eyes set on the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, called the attack an “attempted modern day lynching.”

Harris wasn’t the only American liberal to immediately condemn Smollett’s MAGA attackers.

All across the country, the Democratic Party, Hollywood, and the liberal news media cried out for Justice for Jussie.

Turns out, Smollett paid for two Nigerian brothers to stage a hate crime against him because he thought it might help his career.

Smollett was later sentenced to 30 months probation and $120,000 in restitution.

Those brothers spoke with Fox News this week from the scene of the alleged crime.

As is usually the case, comedian Dave Chappelle had the best take on the whole imbroglio.

Harris eventually admitted she blew the call on this one.

Maine Education Chief: “Academic Learning” Takes Backseat to Social-Emotional, Gender, and Race

Traditional academic learning — like reading, writing, and math — should be a lower priority in Maine schools than social-emotional learning and programming on race and gender, Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin told lawmakers on Wednesday.

“Academic learning is definitely going to take a backseat to all of these other pieces,” Makin told lawmakers on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

Makin’s comments came amid a legislative hearing on the federal Department of Education’s recent threat to withhold Title 1A administrative funds due to issues with Maine’s student testing.

Near the end of the hearing, Republican lawmakers asked Makin about the tradeoffs that come when a school decides to focus on equity, diversity, gender theory, and social-emotional programming.

In response, Makin expressed the view that students are physiologically incapable of learning about math, reading, and writing unless teachers first address their social-emotional needs.

“I guess, I would say it really does come down to brain science,” Makin said.

“Every child in the room needs to feel safe. If one person doesn’t feel safe in the room, the children who feel pretty safe and sure about themselves feel less safe,” she said.

“Your child who is in a classroom who observes the marginalization or bullying or diminishing of another human being, that creates fear in the uninvolved child who is in that setting,” she said. “It creates conditions that are averse to the high academic goals that we set for our students.”

Education Commissioner Pender Makin

Makin, a former public school administrator, has served as Gov. Janet Mills’ Education Commissioner since 2019.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a controversial approach to childhood education that has been increasingly adopted by schools across the country.

Under SEL, school personnel become responsible for teaching children self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. That can include the value of shaking hands and making eye contact, conflict resolution, or listening to others and having empathy.

When implementing SEL, many domains previously thought to be the role of parents fall into the purview of educators, administrators, guidance counselors, social workers, and other school personnel.

“SEL Can Be Thought Of As Healthy Humaning,” the Maine DOE website says.

SEL is inextricably bound up in modern progressive theories about equity and gender are brought into public schools.

In Maine, education officials rely on the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS) to inform their approach to SEL, and they believe MIYHS data show bullying on the basis of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender is the top obstacle to making sure all students feel safe and succeed academically.

[RELATED: Maine’s High School Students Are Far More Likely Than Peers to Identify as LGBT. Why?…]

SEL is controversial because it serves as the vehicle for progressive theories about gender and race, sometimes described as “gender ideology” and “Critical Race Theory” (CRT).

On gender, this includes, for example, telling young students that there are dozens of potential gender identities they can choose from, that gender is a social construct unrelated to biological sex. It also includes telling students that sometimes doctors make a “mistake” when observing the gender of a newborn child, as was done through a now-deleted Maine DOE video.

For CRT, this includes, among other things, teaching students that white people have inherent privilege, while non-white students have inherent victimhood. CRT is also the driving force behind the “equity audits,” which more and more Maine schools have hired diversity consultants to perform.

In Makin’s view, adopting this politically charged approach to teaching in public schools is necessary in order to make all students feel safe enough to engage their prefrontal cortexes in academic learning. In the SEL framework, only by teaching these theoretical beliefs about gender and race can bullying be eliminated from the classroom.

For Sampson, the SEL approach is counterproductive and ultimately undermines academic learning.

“They’re turning teachers into psychologist and therapists,” Sampson said. “They’re making children anxious about gender and race when they’re emotionally immature and can’t handle this stuff.”

“You tell a child that they have white privilege, that they can be any gender they want, and the result is a confused, traumatized child who can’t learn the basics,” she said.

Rep. Sheila A. Lyman (R-Livermore Falls), a retired public school teacher, questioned whether the prioritization of social-emotional learning meant teachers would be assuming the role of parents.

“As a practitioner, I know the time restraints,” said Lyman. “I worked with many many children that had some huge social-emotional needs.”

“So I have an abundance of questions and potentially concerns when I hear you say that this may be the priority,” said Lyman.

“There’s a lot of concerned folks right now, with dealing with the academic piece, the social-emotional piece, what’s going to be the priority, where do parents get to weigh in, and how is it heard and listened to,” she said.

In response, Makin clarified her remarks about “academic learning” taking a “backseat” and provided lawmakers with a lesson in brain chemistry.

“I’m not saying we take over the parenting. I’m saying the brain will prioritize for us, and the learning won’t happen until those other pieces are in place, and we know that,” said Makin.

“When I said the priority: Our absolute goal, as a school system, a public let’s say Pre-K through 12 school education system, is to get kids academically and you know ready in all those different ways to enter the world and to be successful for their next step,” said Makin.

“The priorities, what I was trying to describe is, in the brain. The brain prioritizes for us. The brain will not learn the math or the reading or any of the other content areas when in dysregulated, coursing with cortisol and norepinephrine, it will — like the little editor in their head is going to get pushed out of its seat, and the dysregulation takes over,” she said.

“Learning won’t happen for the children until they are regulated,” she said. “So that’s the prioritization for us.”

Lawmakers also asked questions about the falling Maine student test scores — a measure of the quality of Maine’s schools.

Makin at first seemed to deny that Maine’s test scores have slipped in recent years.

“Why are we continuing to see this decline? Do you have any explanations for it?” asked Rep. Heidi Sampson (R-Alfred).

“I don’t know that we in Maine are seeing a specific decline,” said Makin.

Last October, the release of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), sometimes called the Nation’s Report Card, showed sharp decreases in math and reading from 2019 to 2022, including reading scores at the lowest level in three decades.

[RELATED: Secret audio reveals Maine teacher ranting about politics, mocking Trump-supporting parents]

Makin said missing a year and a half of school during the government lockdowns, homelessness, substance use disorders, and generally heightened levels of anxiety have all contributed to the challenges Maine’s students and schools are confronting.

“What we are seeing is a huge increase in mental health,” she said. “We have a crisis of disengagement.”

Rep. Barbara Bagshaw (R-Windham) later pressed Makin on her claim that student test scores haven’t fallen in recent years.

“You don’t think our test scores are slipping?” asked Bagshaw.

“It depends which test scores,” said Makin.

She said Maine has seen lower test scores on the NAEP than in previous years, but she questioned whether high test scores should really be the goal anyways.

[LISTEN BELOW: Maine Wire EIC Steve Robinson joined WVOM’s Ric Tyler this morning to talk about Education Commissioner Pender Makin’s remarks…]

“At the end of the day, do we value high test scores above all else? And if we do, there is a guaranteed way that I could get our test scores moving forward. What we do is we teach to the test,” she said, adding that doing so could come at the expense of student creativity.

In response to the federal Department of Education’s threat to withhold money from MDOE over changes to student assessments, Makin assured the committee that her agency had responded appropriately and that the $117,000 in administrative funding under Title 1A funding was not at risk.

Makin’s view that traditional academic instruction must take a backseat to progressive ideas about social-emotional learning, race, and gender is diametrically opposed to what most Maine residents want from their public schools.

In a Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll, bipartisan majorities said they wanted Maine’s public schools to get away from DEI and gender-based programing and focus more on the basics, like reading, math, writing, and science.

[RELATED: MAINE WIRE POLL: Most Maine Voters Say Schools Should Get “Back to Basics,” Ditch DEI and Gender Programming…]

77 percent of Maine voters said schools should be focused on the basics rather than spending time on how gender, sexuality, and race impact the lives of everyday Americans, including 91 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of Democrats in the poll.

Sampson, who has previously served on the Maine State Board of Education, said in a phone interview that giving traditional academic instruction a backseat in Maine schools would a recipe for disaster.

“Children are unable to learn in this type of environment,” she said. “That’s why test scores are down.”

“Commissioner Makin revealed her priorities, and they’re not the priorities Maine parents wants.”

Women’s College Has ‘No Plans’ To Allow ‘Trans Men,’ Nonbinary Applicants Despite Student Pressure

The Daily Caller News Foundation Jason Cohen on March 15, 2023

A women’s college in Massachusetts announced it will not revise its admission policy after students voted to allow all transgender and nonbinary applicants, according to a Wednesday statement.

Wellesley College students approved the non-binding initiative on Tuesday after it was unanimously supported by the Wellesley College Government Seniors in February. Paula A. Johnson, college president, responded to the vote that there are no current plans to update the admission policy, which currently excludes biological women who identify as men.

“For nearly 150 years, Wellesley’s mission has been to provide an excellent liberal arts education to women who will make a difference in the world,” Johnson wrote. “Wellesley admits eligible applicants who consistently identify and live as women, including cis, trans and nonbinary students. Wellesley is also an inclusive community that embraces students, faculty, and staff of diverse gender identities.”

Johnson acknowledged the result of the referendum but clarified that “there is no plan to revisit our mission as a women’s college or our admissions policy.” The college will “continue to engage all students in the important work of building an inclusive academic community where everyone feels they belong,” the statement read.

The students also voted in the referendum for the college to adopt gender-neutral language to be more inclusive to transgender and nonbinary students. The college is not obligated to abide by the vote and it was intended to demonstrate the support of the student body toward these changes, the Wellesley News reported.

“It’s important that all members of this community feel seen. Some transgender male and nonbinary students whose identities have evolved during their time here say they feel excluded by the College’s use of the words ‘women’ and ‘alumnae’ — and feel that their individual identities are not embraced,” Johnson wrote in a March 6 statement to the community, according to Wellesley News. “At the same time, many students who are committed to Wellesley’s mission as a women’s college and who identify as women have been publicly criticized for their view and have felt pressured to describe Wellesley as a historically women’s college.”

Wellesley College and the Wellesley College Government did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Meet The Seven GOP Senators Who Voted To Confirm Biden Nominee With Ties To Alleged Chinese Communist Intel Groups


The Daily Caller News Foundation Philip Lenczycki on March 15, 2023

Seven Republican Senators voted on Wednesday to confirm Eric Garcetti, President Joe Biden’s nominee for ambassador to India and former Los Angeles mayor, despite his ties to individuals belonging to alleged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence front groups.

Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Todd Young of Indiana voted to confirm Garcetti following a delay of over 20 months arising from allegations that, while in office, he helped cover up sexual assaults committed by his former aide, Rick Jacobs. The confirmation vote, 52-42, also comes just days after the Daily Caller News Foundation revealed that a mayoral fund set up by Garcetti accepted over $1 million in donations from individuals who belong to alleged CCP influence and intelligence fronts.

“We need an ambassador to India,” Graham told the DCNF.

“As a former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I know firsthand that this is a critical U.S. diplomatic position,” Hagerty told the DCNF. “Our relations with India are vital to our strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

Cassidy, Collins, Daines, Marshall and Young did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

Shortly after the 2014 founding of the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles — a nonprofit which reportedly allowed donors to further Garcetti’s agenda without donating to his political campaign — the organization began accepting funds from Dominic Ng, president and CEO of East West Bank, and Walter Wang, head of JM Eagle, who both have ties to alleged CCP intel front groups, the DCNF recently reported.

Wang donated $200,000 to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles in 2014 and $1 million in 2020, according to multiple media reports.

Ng, whom Biden appointed to represent the U.S. at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), donated $20,000 to Garcetti’s nonprofit in 2014, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Garcetti first came under fire in 2020 after his deputy chief of staff, Jacobs, was accused of sexual harassment by a former Los Angeles Police Department officer, Matthew Garza.

Subsequently, Naomi Seligman, Garcetti’s former communications director, alleged that Jacobs kissed her.

“It’s heartbreaking not just for me and the other whistleblowers and victims in this case, but also for those who are living through sexual harassment and abuse right now and look to our political leaders to protect them if they come forward with credible evidence,” Seligman told the DCNF. “Predators persist in their abuse only if enablers in positions of power allow them to.”

“Eric Garcetti enabled, tolerated and covered up years of sexual abuse,” Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit which represents Seligman, said in a statement. “The Senate has voted against its own values, against the truth and against the interests of our relationship with the world’s largest democracy.”

In addition to receiving over $1 million in donations from members of alleged CCP intel front groups, Garcetti also headlined events in both the U.S. and China alongside such individuals, the DCNF determined.

In 2014, Garcetti traveled to China with a trade delegation and met Qiu Yuanping, the “executive vice chairman” of the China Overseas Exchange Association (COEA), an organization to which both Ng and Wang belonged.

COEA allegedly serves the United Front Work Department (UFWD), a CCP agency identified as a “Chinese intelligence service” by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in 2016.

Garcetti also met with representatives from the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries on multiple occasions in both the U.S. and China the DCNF discovered.

The Embassy of India did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Two Million Americans Missing from Work Force: FGA


In a speech Monday concerning the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), President Joe Biden praised the health of the American economy under his leadership.

“We’ve made strong economic progress in the past two years. We’ve created more than 12 million new jobs, more jobs than any president has created in a single four year term. Unemployment is below 4 percent for 14 straight months,” Biden said. “Take home pay for workers is going up, especially for lower- and middle- income workers.”

Despite high levels of inflation and other signs of economic trouble, the Biden White House have regularly touted the strength of the economy.

But according to the Foundation for Government Accountability, Biden’s pollyanna analysis of America’s economic picture glosses over a major sign of profound dysfunction in the economy.

Namely, the fact that two million Americans are missing from the workforce since the start of the pandemic.

From FGA Andrew Welhouse:

The Left and the liberal media are working overtime to convince us the economy is just fine. 

Unfortunately for them, we can see the cracks with our own eyes. The American people know that bank failures, grocery inflation, unaffordable housing, and $50 to fill up the tank are not the signs of a working economy. 

Adding to the anxiety, a new report has identified a warning sign below the surface—more than two million workers who should have returned to the labor force, but didn’t. Based on paycheck data and direct deposits, Bank of America found that work is way down compared to before the pandemic. Highlights from the report:

  • The “Missing Millions”: More than “two million workers should have come back to the labor force but haven’t.”
  • Not Just Baby Boomers: “[P]rime-age workers (Millennials and Gen X) are exiting the labor force too, specifically lower-income workers in the restaurant and retail sectors.” Boomers are retiring—and Gen Zers are dropping out.
  • An Ongoing Problem: This isn’t going away on its own. According to the report, this is “unlikely to be resolved in the near term, [and] we think labor supply could face more persistent headwinds.” 

Unfortunately, the very same liberal policymakers and talking heads are actively opposing a solution in Washington, D.C., that could give a major boost to the workforce: work requirements for able-bodied adults as part of food stamps and Medicaid. Work requirements are already a part of public housing and childcare assistance, because government programs were never supposed to be a replacement for work.

Before the pandemic, we knew what worked in lifting people from welfare to work—work requirements. Some, especially the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program included measures to encourage an end result of rejoining the workforce. 

However, that goal seems to have changed in Washington, D.C.

Read the rest of FGA’s analysis here.

Maine Lobster Groups File Defamation Case Against Monterey Bay Aquarium


Several groups representing Maine’s iconic lobster fishing industry announced Wednesday they have filed a defamation lawsuit against an environmentalist non-profit that has called the fishery unsustainable.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, through its non-profit Seafood Watch, said last year that it was placing Maine lobster on it’s so-called Red List, a list of items it says good observant environmentalists should not eat.

The activists urge supermarkets and restaurants not to buy or sell items on its list.

The London-based Marine Stewardship Council, another group that sells its logo like a “stamp of approval” for seafood, followed suit.

[RELATED: Republicans Want to Defend Maine Sovereignty Over Lobstering Waters, Punish Lobster Boycotters…]

As a result, some restaurants and supermarkets, including Cheesecake Factory and the Jeff Bezos-owned Whole Foods, stopped selling Maine lobster.

Whether the nonprofits’ advocacy campaign against the Maine lobster is having a big impact is hard to say, but the Maine lobstermen are fighting back.

Republican lawmakers have introduced bills in the current session of the legislature that would strip companies of tax-breaks if they boycott Maine lobster.

And now, a coalition of groups, including the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, are suing Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seafood Watch.

According to the lobstermen, Seafood Watch’s analysis of sustainability is based on unsound, bogus science.

It remains to be seen whether that argument translates into a successful defamation case.

The bogusness of some lobster-related science has been the topic of intense political debate for more than a year in Maine and Washington, D.C.

Environmental activists, including some employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have said more stringent regulations are needed on the gear used by Maine lobstermen to protect the endangered right whale.

[RELATED: Maine Congressional delegation backed HUGE spending increases for agency threatening lobster industry…]

But Maine lobstermen have pointed out relentlessly that NOAA and the activists can’t even prove that Maine lobstering gear has caused a single whale death. And that’s using NOAA’s own science.

[RELATED: Biden Admin Ignored Fed Scientists’ Warning on Off-Shore Wind Turbines: Bloomberg…]

For lobstermen, the whole affair smells fishy, especially when it turns out NOAA scientists and many environmentalists are fervent supporters of offshore wind power.

Last year, Bloomberg obtained emails that showed NOAA scientists privately expressing concerns that offshore wind-power development could threaten endangered mammals.

[RELATED: Landlocked Congressman Targets Maine’s Lobstermen Over Whales…]

But that same agency has only ever publicly attacked the lobster.

Will the crustacean defamation claim prevail?

It’s a high bar to pass. The lobsterman will have to show that Seafood Watch knew that it was making false claims, or should have known, and acted negligently or malevolently.

Maine’s congressional delegation secured a temporary moratorium on new lobster regulations last year as part of a larger omnibus bill.

But left-wing lawmakers have already introduced legislation to undo the temporary pause.

Asylum Seekers Continue to Flow Into Southern Maine: Portland Sees 756 New Arrivals in 2023


Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa continue to arrive in southern Maine, with many of them crossing the southern border as part of a massive surge in illegal immigration over the past three years.

Portland City Officials told the Maine Wire the city has received 756 new arrivals since Jan. 1, 2023.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its agents have encountered more than 100,000 individuals crossing the southern border illegally every month since February 2021.

In December alone, CBP reported 251,978 encounters with inadmissible visitors. That’s the most illegal border crossings CBP has ever reported for one month, according to the available data.

While most of the individuals crossing the southern border illegally have historically been from Latin American countries, CBP data shows recent border crossings involve large numbers of migrants who are not from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador.

More than 150,000 of those CBP encountered in December were listed in the citizenship grouping “Other,” which includes migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

Local media have reported that many of the families in the current surge have come from Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti.

At least some of those migrants are finding their way to Maine and making a claim of asylum.

Maine’s cities have struggled since 2019 to accommodate the new arrivals, who often rely on General Assistance and municipal services for basic necessities.

The influx of foreign nationals has stretched municipal budgets and resources, with Portland’s Interim City Manager Daniella West saying last month that the city had reached its limit.

“The City of Portland doesn’t have additional facilities we can use in this capacity right at the current moment,” West told WMTW.

This isn’t the first time a Portland city official has said the city is at its maximum capacity.

Last May, Portland Health and Human Services Director Kristen Dow said in an email to federal officials, including Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, that Portland had no more room:

I am writing this email to alert you to the fact that as of the date of this email, there is no further shelter OR hotel capacity in Portland, Maine. We have been over capacity in our shelter for quite some time and have now reached the point where the hotels we have been utilizing are also full.

Please know, that as a result of our capacity limitations, if your organization sends a family to Portland, Maine they are no longer guaranteed shelter upon their arrival to our shelter. Additionally, because our staff are spread quite thin, it is not guaranteed that we will be in a position to aid individuals in their search for emergency housing. I ask that you all share this information widely within your organizations and with families you are working with.

The message seems not to have worked, as families continue to arrive in Maine seeking accommodations and community.

Asylum seekers in southern Maine are currently being taken care of by a jerry-rigged patchwork of shelters, churches, and hotels. All of them were supposed to be temporary arrangements, but some of them have become homes for going on three years. While various proposal have been made at the state and regional level to construct affordable housing, living space isn’t being built at a rate that can keep up with net in-migration.

Currently, asylum seekers are receiving taxpayer-funded accommodations at several locations in the Great Portland area, a city spokesperson said.

The Oxford St. Shelter is hosting 210 asylum seekers; 77 are currently staying at a Salvation Army facility run by the Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition; 86 families, including 325 individuals, are currently staying at hotels in Saco staffed by Catholic Charities; and, 122 families, including 413 individuals, are currently staying at Portland’s family shelter, overflow spaces, or with local pastors.

In South Portland, several hotels just across the bridge from Portland have operated as de facto refugee camps since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A South Portland official said via email the city’s best estimate is that there are 600 asylum seekers staying in the hotels along the Maine Mall Rd.

“It could be closer to 500 or 700, so this is by no means an exact figure, since we do not track this information,” the spokesperson said.

City officials for South Portland and Portland couldn’t immediately say what the total number of arrivals has been during the current wave of migration, which began before the start COVID-19 pandemic. The Portland official said the city doesn’t even keep track of home many foreign nationals are receiving benefits from the city.

South Portland has been providing municipal services, such as police and ambulance, for the asylum seeker hotels, but city officials haven’t been responsible for managing their placements.

The hotels and motels aren’t cheap.

According to South Portland, the taxpayers are paying $7,200 per month per family, with that cost spread between municipal General Assistance and, before last December, federal money.

The asylum seekers living out of hotels and motels had previously had their stays paid for in part by two federal laws, one signed by former Republican President Donald Trump and the other by Democratic President Joe Biden.

That federal funding expired last year, but the state legislature approved last-minute emergency funding to keep the families housed through the winter.

Now rent is coming from state and local taxpayers.

The Department of Homeland Security requested an additional $24 million for 2023, on top of the $150 million appropriated in 2022, in order provide resources to communities absorbing large populations of foreign nationals.

Some of that federal cash has helped offset municipal spending on accommodations.

But resources are used up almost as fast as policymakers and government officials can appropriate them.

The consequence is a government response seemingly lurching from one crisis to the next while the migrant families exist in an uncertain limbo. The uncertainty presents a special challenge for local public schools, which have difficulties foreseeing how many students will enroll in a given year, along with the kind of language-based accommodations they will need to provide.

In South Portland, accommodations for the asylum seekers has been a thorny political issue, with some of the City Council seeking to prevent hotels and motels from accepting migrant populations in the future.

The city has also been debating an ordinance that would allow for one or more homeless shelters to operate within city limits, which would obviate the need for the hotels to serve people experiencing homelessness.

In the longer term, several plans are in the works to develop affordable housing options for the asylum seekers, including 100 units operated by Avesta Housing in Portland and South Portland, plus additional units in Brunswick.

But just as soon as Avesta, the Mills Administration, or some other group announces plans to build affordable housing to address the crisis, more migrants arrive, putting additional pressure on the system before the pressure release valve is even in place. And all that happens against the backdrop of a pre-existing housing shortage and a pre-existing homelessness problem.

Thanks to federal laws which limit how and when asylum seekers can get jobs, the path to financial independence for them isn’t clear.

Under federal law, asylum seekers are prohibited from working until 180 days after they’ve filed their application for asylum.

Then they need to apply for a work authorization, which can take another 12 months to get approved thanks to bureaucratic inefficiencies within the federal government.

If an asylum seeker is able to thread that needle and wait long enough, then they may be eligible to work legally.

However, there’s another fact that Maine’s immigration rights activists typically ignore: the federal government rejects the majority of asylum claims.

The denial rate for asylum claims has decreased under Biden, according to the University of Syracuse, but even in 2020 and 2021, just 29-37 percent of asylum seekers received federal approval.

Those whose asylum claims are denied do not receive legal status and are subject to removal proceedings.

Without permanent legal status, their options are to return to their nation of origin or try to live illegally in the U.S.

In some instances, that means working illegally, often for a lower wage, and only if they can find an employer willing to accept such an arrangement.

Or they can attempt to survive on the public benefits they’re able to collect.

Neither situation is conducive to the kind of financial independence that might one day allow them to pay for their own housing.

Members of Maine’s congressional delegation have all expressed support for the right of asylum seekers to work in Maine, but nothing has changed at the federal level.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Augusta has plans to formally request a federal waiver from the work restrictions, but people familiar with the legislation aren’t optimistic about the odds of success.

Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) has introduced a bill, co-sponsored by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) and House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor), that would direct the Maine Department of Labor to apply for a waiver from the federal government’s asylee rules.

Such a waiver would essentially give the green light to Maine employers to begin hiring asylum seekers without fear of stiff penalties for violating federal law. Asylum seekers would be free to work in the six months following an asylum application.

If the federal government denies the waiver request, then the other option would be for Gov. Janet Mills to unilaterally approve the right of the asylum seekers to work in open defiance of federal law.

In the past, cities and states have declared themselves so-called “sanctuary cities” — jurisdictions where federal immigration laws do not apply — so it’s not too big a stretch of the imagination to see something similar unfolding in Maine if the federal government won’t play ball.

White House Orders New PFAS Measures, Releases Federal Data


The White House on Tuesday announced new executive measures to regulate the level of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) permissible in drinking water.

Biden’s Executive Order places the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in control of establishing and enforcing a national clean water standard. In addition to the new directive, the White House released information about PFAS produced by the White House Office of Science and Technology.

PFAS chemicals, sometimes described as “forever chemicals,” are commonly used in various manufacturing processes.

The molecules contain a strong carbon-fluorine bond, which makes them useful for things like non-stick pots and pans. But that bond also makes them very durable and hard too destroy.

As a result, the chemicals have been found in Maine drinking water, Maine human waste, Maine farmland, and pretty much everywhere in the state.

In recent years, state lawmakers have passed several laws aimed at mitigating the effect of the chemicals, including a PFAS product testing requirement that took effect this year and a prohibition on the use of certain PFAS-containing fertilizers that took effect last year.

But the chemicals are difficult to remove from water using conventional water-treatment systems, which are typically focused on removing biological pathogens.

The information released by the White House Tuesday included blood PFAS assessments from the Centers for Disease Control, a blood PFAS assessment on firefighters from the Department of Veterans Affairs, food PFAS tests from the Food and Drug Administration, and wildlife testing performed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Alarmingly, the report includes a CDC investigation that found PFAS within the blood serum of 98 percent of 2,000 individuals included in the study.

The reports was commissioned as part of the National Defense Authorization Act approved by Congress in 2021.

You can read the report here:

Biden Calls for Enforcement of Existing Gun Laws


President Joe Biden said Tuesday he will sign an Executive Order on Tuesday that mostly calls on government officials to enforce existing gun laws.

The first item in the E.O. is a directive to the Attorney General to enforce existing background check rules for businesses that sell firearms.

The order tells the Attorney General to “do everything he can” to ensure that firearms sellers who may not be informed on background check rules comply with the law.

“Specifically, the President is directing the Attorney General to move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation by clarifying, as appropriate, the statutory definition of who is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms, as updated by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” the White House said in a statement.

Most of the other provisions in the order are similar calls to enforce existing laws more comprehensively.

The E.O. directs cabinet level agencies to raise awareness around the so-called “red flag” laws on the books in 19 states and the District of Columbia, for example.

Red Flag laws allow members of the public to warn law enforcement when an individual may be dangerous. Those individuals can be temporarily prohibited from purchasing firearms. According to the White House, some people might not know how to use Red Flag laws, so a public awareness campaign is needed.

Biden is also calling on Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to investigate the apparently large number of firearms that go missing during the shipping process.

Other parts of the E.O. target gun dealers. For example, Biden’s order will require the AG to publish a list of gun dealers who are found to have violated federal gun laws. And the Department of Defense will now use its large weapons purchases to further firearm safety, though the method for accomplishing this isn’t quite clear.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will also investigate the marketing of firearms, “including through the use of military imagery.”

The remaining provisions will enhance law enforcement’s ability to investigate shooting incidents and help victims of gun violence.

You can read the White House’s “fact sheet” on the order here.

Maine DHHS Wants $5,000 in Fees to Make Disciplinary Records Public

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has asked for $5,000 in fees before it will turn over several years’ worth of disciplinary records related to agency employees to the Maine Wire.

In response, the Maine Wire narrowed its Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request to include only records from the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS), but DHHS returned with a request for $2,950.

Dayna Collins, a public access officer at DHHS, attributed the exorbitant cost of the records request to the amount of time DHHS personnel would have to spend reviewing the documents for exempted material.

“All disciplinary records related to DHHS personnel are considered confidential and exempt from FOAA except for the final discipline,” Collins said in an email.

“It would take staff from the department an estimated 200 hours to review all disciplinary records from all DHHS personnel from 2017 to 2023 in order to see if there was final discipline issued to the staff member as all records leading up to that are statutorily exempted from FOAA,” she said.

The record request was submitted as part of a routine journalistic investigation into the operations of a government agency that has been beset with problems for years.

Annual reports by the Child Welfare Ombudsman have shown for several years that the child welfare agency is struggling to accomplish its mission, and a bipartisan coalition in Augusta is once again making the case for an aggressive reform of the agency.

Government agencies are allowed to waive fees for requests that aren’t commercial in nature, but DHHS has opted not to waive the fees.

That decision effectively places the records beyond the reach of most journalistic operations in Maine, which cannot afford to pay government fees.

Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) has submitted a bill for the current legislative session that would cap all FOAA fee requests at $600, but the bill has not been referred to committee yet.

The Maine Wire will continue to negotiate with DHHS in order to bring to light disciplinary records that might help the public better understand the problems that have plagued the child welfare agency

Inflation Rises Again in February: BLS


Inflation rose by 0.4 percent for February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

“Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 6.0 percent before seasonal adjustment,” the BLS said.

The largest contributor to increasing inflation was the cost of shelter, which accounted for 70 percent of the total increase.

The cost of food, household furnishings, and recreation all went up as well.

According to BLS’s inflation calculator, $1,000 in January 2021 had the same buying power as $1,150 today.

Wall Street’s main indexes climbed upon the release of the news, with many analysts speculating that a downward trend in inflation will cause the Federal Reserve to pause interest rate hikes.

Republicans Want Nuclear Power Back in Maine


Two Republican lawmakers are looking to bring nuclear power back to Maine.

Reps. Mark Walker (R-Baldwin) and Richard Campbell (R-Orrington) both have bills in that could potentially open the door to the generation of electricity using nuclear power in Maine for the first time since 1996.

Campbell’s bill would provide subsidies to companies that produce marine nuclear power modules.

According to the bill’s summary, those subsidies would be equivalent to the subsidies currently offered to solar and wind power manufacturers.

Those modules could then de deployed up and down Maine’s waterfront to provide power to coastal communities.

Walker’s proposal would form a study commission to evaluate the potential benefits of nuclear power.

Nuclear power first came to Maine with the construction of Maine Yankee Atomic Power Company’s Wiscasset facility, which operated from 1972 to 1996.

Maine Yankee was a 900 megawatt Pressurized Water Reactor that cost $231 million to build, which is $1.8 billion in today’s dollars.

From its very beginning, Maine Yankee had zealous opposition, including then-Gov. Ken Curtis and host of outside environmental groups.

But the plant’s opponents weren’t successful at convincing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend the its license before it started operating.

In 1980, 1982, 1985, and 1987, environmental groups unsuccessfully ran ballot initiative campaigns to have the plant decommissioned or nuclear fission generally prohibited in Maine.

Eventually in the 1990s, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cracked down on the facility, ordering them to make a host of safety upgrades. The owners decided those upgrades would be cost prohibitive, so the decommissioning process began.

Despite the relative safety of nuclear power, there remains a strong stigma against the technology. That sense of danger has only be exacerbated by accidents like Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Although it remains legal to build nuclear power plants in the U.S., the regulatory burden is so extreme that very few nuclear power plants have opened since the initial surge in construction during the 1960s and 1970s.

The last nuclear plant to open in America was in June 2016 in Tennessee. Currently, there are only 54 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

For comparison, the U.S. has 224 coal-fired power stations.

According to ISO New England, the company that operates Maine’s electricity grid, nuclear power from the Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire comprises 20-30 percent of Maine’s electricity generation on a daily basis.

Democrats Seeking Crackdown on Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers


Democratic lawmakers are looking to crackdown on Maine’s pro-life pregnancy centers.

The push for greater scrutiny on pro-life centers comes as Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and Democratic legislative leaders seek to expand legal abortion in Maine right up to birth.

Rep. Lori Gramlich (D-Old Orchard Beach) has submitted a bill that would empower the Attorney General’s office to police the speech of pregnancy centers to ensure that the facility isn’t tricking women into becoming moms rather than getting abortions.

“An Act to Prohibit Deceptive Advertising in Limited Pregnancy Services Centers” (LD 1137) would create an online portal for anyone to submit evidence that a pregnancy center was behaving deceptively to the Attorney General’s office.

[RELATED: Maine Democrats Want to Legalize Abortion At Anytime in Pregnancy Despite Mills’ Campaign Stance…]

The AG would then investigate to determine whether the center in question had violated the law.

If the AG finds a pregnancy center guilty of engaging in deceptive practices, the State can fine them up to $500.

Under the proposal, it would be a crime not only to make deceptive or misleading claims.

The bill would also criminalize the dissemination of “partial information,” though the bill doesn’t clarify exactly what constitutes “partial information.”

The bill states:

“A limited pregnancy services center may not, in connection with providing a medical or health counseling service related to pregnancy or pregnancy prevention, provide, disseminate or cause the dissemination of information, or provide only partial information, about pregnancy, pregnancy prevention or abortion that it knows or reasonably should know is deceptive or misleading. The prohibition in this subsection includes, but is not limited to, verbal statements and written statements in a newspaper, journal, pamphlet, publication or other written, recorded or electronic medium.”

Rep. Grayson Lookner (D-Portland) has introduced a similar bill, but the text of that proposed law has not been released yet.

Pro-life pregnancy centers in Maine offer a variety of services for expecting mothers. Many of them offer services completely for free. The Zoe Women’s Center in Rockport one such non-profit that serves people in Knox County, Waldo County, and parts of Lincoln County.

“We listen to people about the fears and obstacles they have around a pregnancy. If they want an ultrasound, we offer them an ultrasound. We show them how we can support them, how people in our community could support them,” said Leah Carle, Zoe’s executive director.

“We don’t force, manipulate or deceive. We just don’t do that,” she said. “But we do show them that they’re smarter and stronger than they might feel. We give them the hope that they can do it.”

Zoe operates under the supervision of a licensed physician and has a registered nurse on site to perform medical grade pregnancy testing. The center offers parenting classes, life coaching, and financial education. Expecting moms can also get free maternity clothing, kids’ clothing, diapers, toys, wipes, and other essential items for new parents.

Carle said the paperwork new clients fill out makes it clear that they do not provide abortion.

In addition, the center’s website offers information about abortion.

“We don’t refer them to go somewhere to get an abortion. We don’t do that,” she said. “And they know that from the first time they come in. We can give them information on that.”

Pro-life pregnancy centers across the country have been vilified by national political figures in recent years, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Warren announced last summer that she would introduce a bill that would empower the Federal Trade Commission to crackdown on the pregnancy centers because they do not offer abortions.

“These are deceptive outfits that front for groups that are trying to harass or otherwise frighten people who are pregnant to keep them from seeking an abortion, and they do so under the cover of pretending to offer abortion services,” Warren said in July.

New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has also targeted the pregnancy centers, telling Google last year that it should exclude pro-life centers from Google Maps searches for “abortion.”

The targeting of pro-life pregnancy centers comes amid a broader crackdown on pro-life activists by Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice.

In September, more than 20 FBI agents came to the house of Mark Houck, guns drawn, to arrest him for an alleged violation of the “Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.”

Houck, who is the founder of a Catholic men’s organization in Pennsylvania, was standing in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic praying when a pro-abortion activist confronted him and his 14-year-old son.

According to Houck, he shoved the pro-abortion activist to get him out of his son’s personal space.

For that transgression, the Justice Department wanted to lock him up for up to 11 years.

Houck was acquitted and has said he plans to sue the FBI.

In October, another 11 individuals were arrested because they protested at an abortion clinic in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee in March of 2021.

At the same time the DOJ has aggressively targeted pro-life activists, pro-life pregnancy centers across the country have been targeted by vandals.

In most of those cases, the FBI has failed to identify or apprehend a culprit, leading many conservative commentators to question the FBI’s priorities.

Mike McClellan, the policy director for Maine’s Christian Civic League, said pro-abortion groups are trying to gain a monopoly over health services offered to pregnant women by making it harder for pro-life centers to operate.

That pro-abortion lawmakers are working to limit the health care options available to Maine mothers shows their policies aren’t about women’s health.

“I call abortion a religion because this is clearly not about the health of women,” he said. “Where else in life would you not want options? The Abortion religion takes any other option other than abortion to be an attack.”

“I would ask readers of The Maine Wire to go check out their local Pregnancy Center and even support them,” said McClellan.

“Also, consider attending the April 4th LIFE Day at the Maine State House,” he said.

Maine’s Jobless Rate Is Under 3 Percent, But There’s a Catch


Maine’s unemployment rate dropped to below 3 percent for January, which would be stellar economic news for the state but for the labor force participation rate: 58 percent.

The labor force participation rate is an official measure of what percentage of Maine’s working age population is actually employed or actively looking for work.

The rate in Maine is currently the lowest labor force participation rate ever measured with the exception of August 2020, when the rate was 57.9 percent.

Data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve shows Maine’s labor force participation rate only dipped under 60 percent one other time: February and March of 1978.

In the months prior to the 2020 government lockdowns, Maine’s labor force participation rate was around 62 percent.

The rate had been declining for years — from 68.8 percent as of January 2000.

Over the past two decades, Maine’s labor force participation rate was usually higher than the national average. Not any more.

Currently the national average is 62.4 percent — far higher than Maine’s. And while both the Maine rate and the national rate took a hit during the lockdowns, the national rate has recovered much more of those losses than the Maine rate.

In January, Maine’s Department of Labor (DOL) released an analysis of the contradictory trends observed in the unemployment and labor force participation rates.

“In the last 2.5 years there has been a sharp divide between jobs and employment estimates derived from the two surveys, especially in the second half of 2022. Payroll jobs estimates indicate that there were 5,300 more nonfarm jobs in December 2022 than three years earlier; labor force and employment estimates indicate that there were 32,100 fewer people in the labor force and 37,200 fewer that were employed in December than three years earlier.”

But what’s the explanation? What’s causing this trend?

DOL’s potential theories include: changes in agricultural and self-employment trends, changes in the number of people crossing a state border to work, and changes in the number of people working multiple jobs.

But the department admits those trends are probably too minor to cause the significant divergence.

Instead the DOL economists conclude that the traditional method of measuring labor force participation probably isn’t working anymore. So rather than use the methodology in place for several decades, they come up with an alternative measurement of workforce participation

From the report:

“As nonfarm job estimates have historically been more reliable, gauging the ratio of jobs to the population likely provides a better indicator of employment rates in recent months. As demonstrated in the second chart on this page, the alternative employment rate based on the average differential between nonfarm jobs and employment rates provides a close proxy to official employment rates through the middle of 2020. After that there was a sharp divergence. This indicates that employment rates (and by extension labor force participation rates and employment and labor force levels) have been substantially understated for the last 30 months, especially in the latter part of 2022.”

In other words, the department is claiming that the labor force participation rate isn’t at historic lows, it’s just a broken measurement. Using the alternative method, labor force participation is actually much healthier.

[RELATED: MaineCare Expansion Tops 400k as State Begins Unwind…]

The Foundation for Government Accountability has another theory: Generous unemployment and welfare benefits are competing with employers and incentivizing many working-age Mainers to stay on the sidelines.

Nationally, the labor force participation rate has declined over the past two decades at the same time enrollment in various government benefit programs has increased.

This month, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility the federal government encouraged because of the pandemic will begin to unwind.

That means thousands of able-bodied childless adults will no longer be allowed to use MaineCare.

If Maine’s labor force participation rate begins to recover at the same time MaineCare eligibility shrinks, then you’ll have a strong piece of evidence to support the theory that generous benefit programs can keep workers on the sidelines.

Tucker Carlson Wonders What The Federal Gov’t Will Get In Return For ‘Backstopping’ Deposits At Failed Banks


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Harold Hutchison on March 13, 2023

Fox News host Tucker Carlson questioned what the federal government would get in return for “backstopping” deposits at failed banks like Silicon Valley Bank Monday.

“What we know is the Biden administration is backstopping these deposits, okay. But that’s not the end of the story, in some ways it’s the beginning,” Carlson, a co-founder of the Daily Caller News Foundation, said. “So here is where you pause and ask yourself a question that too few seem to be considering right now: They’re doing this, what are they going to get in return? Well, something for sure.”

Federal regulators shut down Silicon Valley Bank Friday after its stock price collapsed and customers began a bank run following the financial institution’s disclosure of a $1.8 billion loss on asset sales due to high interest rates, CNBC reported. Depositors who had accounts at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, which was shut down by regulators Sunday, will be able to fully recover their funds, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation announced in conjunction with the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Sunday.


“Remember that after 2008, the Obama administration, Eric Holder swooped in and imposed DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion standards on the entire financial sector, and that’s one of the main reasons our big banks are now increasingly incompetent and one of reasons Americans are so divided by race,” Carlson said. “Ideologues who used the 2008 bank bailout to kill American meritocracy, that’s a big step, mostly unacknowledged, but we are living with its consequences. So, you have to ask yourself, what are they going to do this time?”

“What we know we’re about to see bank consolidation, big banks eating little banks, and that means less competition, more consolidation means more government control,” Carlson said. “What are they going to do with that control?”

Carlson criticized White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for noting that the officials addressing the crisis were all black women, and said her comments were more likely to include runs on regional banks. Several regional banks, notably First Republic, saw their stock prices drop during Monday’s trading, according to Fox Business.

“If you want to make people less confident in regional banks, the banking system more broadly, if you wanted to induce a run on the banks, this is how you talk,” Carlson said, saying it was more important to know that banks were solvent. Carlson also noted reports that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona asked financial regulators if they had tools to censor social media in order to prevent bank runs.

A spokesperson for Kelly denied the reports in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The unsupported claim made by this blog post you referenced is false,” the spokesperson said in a statement to the DCNF. “On the briefing, Senator Kelly asked about *foreign adversaries* potentially trying to take advantage of this situation by spreading misinformation.”

“We have to ask the obvious question, how closer are we to some sort of disaster and to what extent are the people in charge abetting it?” Carlson asked.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Massachusetts’ Flavored Tobacco Ban Costs State $114 Million, Black Market Flourishing


(This article was originally posted at Maine Policy Institute’s Pine Tree Beat. Click here to access more of MPI’s policy related research and anlysis.)

Several years after Massachusetts imposed stricter tobacco regulations in June 2020—including a ban on all flavored tobacco products including e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes, plus a 75% tobacco excise tax hike—cross-border smuggling is up, tax revenues are down, and state inspectors are busier than ever.

That’s the takeaway from the latest annual report from the Massachusetts State Multi-Agency Illegal Tobacco Task Force (ITTF). 

A year after the ban went into effect in June 2020, regional tobacco usage had not changed; sales just moved across the border, primarily to low-tax New Hampshire. Seemingly, the only effects were substantially lower earnings for Massachusetts store owners and employees, and $114 million less in tax revenue in the first 12 months after the ban.

In last year’s report, the ITTF notes that Massachusetts’ “high tax rates on tobacco products other than cigarettes relative to other states provide smugglers an incentive to import such products from low-tax states and sell them to in-state buyers willing to illegally evade payment of the applicable Massachusetts tobacco excise.” As the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) notes, “Tobacco traffickers purchase cigarettes and/or OTP from low tax states and sell it in higher tax states.”

Perhaps an obvious bit of foreshadowing, it is difficult to see how regulators could have missed the extent of the massive recent spike in tobacco smuggling which took place in the last year. Menthol cigarettes and cigars made up the largest category of illicit tobacco seizures. MA State Police reported contraband cigarette seizures soared from just 40 packs in 2021 to more than 1,900 last year. In addition, seizures of illicit smokeless tobacco were up 800% year-over-year in 2022. 

In fact, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) has greatly increased its enforcement of state tobacco tax evasion, showing inspections jumping by more than 42% from Fiscal Year 2020 to Fiscal Year 2022. This has resulted in a considerable jump in seizures, showing that cross-border smuggling continues as well.

In a March 2 press release, the New England Convenience Store and Energy Marketers Association (NECSEMA) described this phenomenon:

“Contraband cigarette trafficking is exploding, especially in states with high tobacco taxes, or with tobacco bans in place. The profit margin for criminals is high for bootleg cigarettes and the risk is low as criminal penalties are minor. Massachusetts authorities are ill-equipped to deal with another illicit market product that criminals are increasingly using to fund organized crime rackets.”

“Both organized criminals and petty smugglers are reaping millions from this newly-created illicit market while the state is being forced to spend more and more on enforcement, with no long-term plan in place.”

The trend of lost tobacco tax revenue has also continued, though the largest drop was in the first year of the ban. Today, the state is bringing in 27% less from all tobacco-related products, nearly 30% less cigarette tax revenue, and 47% less revenue from smokeless tobacco compared to Fiscal Year 2019, the year before the ban went into effect.

Higher taxes on cigarettes can reduce use somewhat, but since policy efforts in this arena have focused on smokeless tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) also known as e-cigarettes, as well as combustible tobacco products, they seem to be backfiring on their intended purpose to protect the youth from the dangerous health effects of tobacco use. An analysis from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that “the health costs from greater youth smoking as a result of e-cigarette taxes may undercut or even outweigh benefits from reduced youth e-cigarette vaping.” 

Maine could be the next proving ground for these ineffective policies. Thankfully, LD 1693 and LD 1550—among other similar bills which would have imposed the same failing policies on the Pine Tree State— died upon adjournment last year. Seems as though lawmakers heard about Massachusetts’ experience and decided to forgo the same path.
Expect to see similar proposals make their way through the State House this session as well, especially since the out-of-state activists pushing a flavor ban have a strong ally in the Speaker of the Maine House, Rep. Rachel Talbot-Ross (D-Portland). Hopefully, these efforts will continue to fail and spare Mainers the unintended, yet obvious, consequences of failed prohibitionist policies.

Disclosure: The Maine Wire a project of the Maine Policy Institute.

Tax Cuts Increase Government Revenues – Always

In the news last week, President Joe Biden said he wants to increase taxes to “help save Medicare.” Maine Democrats said they not only want to increases taxes, but to create an entirely new payroll tax to fund paid family leave. With both the state and federal budgets enjoying record levels of tax revenue and both having recently spent huge sums of money beyond that of previous budget years, this push to raise taxes reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of budgets among our elected officials and the media that report on them.

Here in Maine, Democrats increased the size of the state budget from $7.1 billion to $10 billion, a 30% jump in just one budget cycle. In Washington, tax revenues grew by more than 25% in 2021 alone. Despite this, lawmakers on both levels are publicly advocating for new or increased taxes as a way to fund still more government spending. In both cases, those crafting budgets should be, but are surprisingly not, aware that revenue increases are spurred by cutting tax rates, not increasing them.

As the most recent example, the federal government has seen a massive increase in revenue since the 2017 so-called “Trump Tax Cuts” took effect. Passed in late 2017, these rate reductions were first in place for the 2018 tax year, and thus began to appear in revenue reports by the U.S. Treasury when Americans filed their tax returns in 2019.

Over the first four years, the Trump tax cuts led to an average annual revenue increase of 10.5%, a remarkable jump. Only the Clinton Tax Cuts from 1997-2000 came close to that growth with an average 8.5% annual increase. This is especially remarkable when one considers that 2020 saw a drop in revenue of 2.3% due to the onset of COVID. The following year, however, saw an incredible, never-before-seen leap of 25.7% in one year. Clearly, the tax cuts more than paid for themselves.

This windfall created what should be seen as an ideal situation. Congress left more money in taxpayers’ pockets, so they were happy. Republicans got their favored tax cuts, and Democrats had record amounts of money to spend of their favorite government programs. Instead, without bothering to look at past major tax cuts, Democrats and the media predicted doom and gloom.

Reuters: “The massive tax cuts signed into law in December, which Republicans said would pay for themselves, will balloon the U.S. deficit in years ahead, the Congressional Budget Office said.”

Washington Post: “The tax cut signed into law by Trump had an estimated revenue loss of a little under $1.5 trillion over 10 years.”

Forbes: “Less than a week after Treasury Secretary Mnuchin repeated the fanciful claim that the Trump tax cuts of 2017 would pay for themselves, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) proved him wrong.”

Senate majority Leader Charles Schumer: “The CBO’s latest report exposes the scam behind the rosy rhetoric from Republicans that their tax bill would pay for itself.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “If Republicans have their way, they will blow a huge hole in the deficit, gut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act – all just to fund deficit-busting tax breaks for the high-end.” Side note: If the deficit is bad, would not blowing a huge hole in it and busting it be beneficial?

Despite this evidence that they are wrong, national media are still decrying the “costs” of the tax cuts and the fact that neither party has the courage to repeal them. Less than a month ago, the Washington Post exhibited a remarkable inability to learn from the recent past when it argued that “Extending President Donald Trump’s individual tax cuts in full would add around $3 trillion to federal deficits over a decade.”

The article never explains how such a stark reversal in revenue trends would occur, probably because the author has no idea that the 2017 tax cuts led to such enormous gains in revenue. They are simply writing with the common belief that “tax cuts equal bad” without engaging in the simple exercise of actually checking the easily accessed revenue data.

Let’s be clear, large increases in revenue have never caused a deficit to increase. Blaming revenue growth for deficits is like saying, “I am much further in debt now because I got that big raise at work this year.” The Trump tax cuts delivered revenue gains of more than twice the rate of inflation for four years, including an unheard of 26% jump in one year alone, even in the face of a pandemic-driven economic downturn. To the extent that the deficit and debt rose after the tax cuts, the cause was increased spending, not revenue.

This is not opinion. It is simple mathematics. This is not an “analysis” of some set of fiscal reports. It is the record of actual deposits into the U.S. Treasury.

If those whose knee-jerk reaction to tax cuts is that they blow holes in budgets and increase deficits simply did some basic historical research they would find that the Trump tax cuts, though an unusually large example, were just the latest in a long line of major tax cut initiatives that have all had the same positive effect on federal revenue.

Under President George Bush, Congress passed a very unpopular set of cuts to tax rates, the largest of which became law in 2003. These led to an immediate, double-digit growth in revenue that, over the next four years, averaged 6.6%, nearly twice the rate of inflation. When recession hit in December 2007 with the bursting of the housing bubble, the Bush tax cuts left the federal treasury in much better shape than it would have been. By 2008, revenues were more than a quarter trillion dollars (28%) higher than they were just four years earlier. When President Obama took office, he reneged on his promise to repeal these tax cuts when advisors explained how effective they had been.

Following President Clinton’s tax cuts, federal revenue grew by more than 2.5 times the rate of inflation. President Reagan convinced Congress to cut tax rates twice during his term in office, both with revenue growth that exceeded inflation.

On a smaller scale, tax cuts have led to increased government revenue here in Maine as well. In 2011, the state legislature passed, and the governor signed, the largest tax cut in Maine history. Tens of thousands of low income Mainers had their tax liability eliminated completely, and everyone paid a lower rate. As they do with each federal tax cut proposal, critics of these cuts painted a doomsday scenario before the law passed and continued the same criticism even after it generated larger revenues. In the first two budget cycles under the new, lower tax rates, state government collected $135 million more than the budget required.

No amount of factual, statistical evidence, however, seems enough to convince naysayers that reducing tax rates is the best path toward raising more money for the big spenders in Augusta. Time and again they propose tax hikes as the way to raise revenue. Given the massive surpluses that the state has seen over the last few years, it is clear that Mainers are greatly overtaxed, and the circumstances are ripe for another round of revenue-boosting tax cuts. It is long past time we thought seriously about moving Maine out of its slot as the third highest-taxed state in the U.S.

Gen-Z Republican Reagan Paul Challenges Stereotypes

If you believe everything you read, see or hear in the mainstream media today, you could be forgiven for thinking that the young adults of Generation Z are lock-step leftists. Consider, for instance, a report three years ago by the Pew Research Center:

“Gen Zers are progressive and pro-government, most see the country’s growing racial and ethnic diversity as a good thing, and they’re less likely than older generations to see the United States as superior to other nations.”

But when a young woman testified before the Maine legislature’s Committee on Educational and Cultural Affairs last month in support of one of her first bills as a state legislator, Rep. Reagan Paul (R-Winterport) didn’t fit this cookie-cutter profile at all.

Poised, visibly a little nervous, but confident nonetheless, Paul, 23, makes the case for why Maine high school students should learn about the U.S. and the Pine Tree State’s constitutions.

“Only 16% of my generation are proud to be Americans,” Paul told the panel, “and there’s a reason for that.”

Her bill, LD 222, would mandate teaching the constitutions – state and national – as a means of helping students better understand and appreciate the rights and responsibilities they have as Mainers and Americans. It seems like a modest and reasonable request, especially to those who’ve lazily assumed our schools still teach civics. Spoiler alert: they don’t.

According to a 2021 report by the Fordham Institute, Maine schools are falling behind when it comes to a basic education in civics. More current trends like critical race theory and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programming appear to have eclipsed what was once a bedrock component of American schools’ curriculum.

“Schools today are teaching children to feel rather than think,” Paul told The Maine Wire.

Standing before the education committee last month, she represented at least a generation’s gap between the rule-makers and those to whom the rules apply. In this respect, she is a welcome breath of fresh air.

Two generations ago, Maine had a perennial candidate named Plato Truman. He was always on the ballot and always came in a distant third, but he had a memorable slogan: ‘Plato Truman – two great names, one great candidate.’ The Biddeford man passed away in 2021, but in a way, Reagan Paul has vindicated his promise.

“Our children are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn’t start and never wanted to fight,” Paul told the RSU 22 school board earlier this year. “We will not surrender this fight.”

She is referring to what she called the “hyper-sexualization of children” and controversial materials in school libraries across Maine that many have likened to pornography. The Maine Wire covered a recent debate in Windham schools involving parents irate at a book called “Gender Queer” and others that graphically depict sexual activity involving minors.

Not one to shy away from controversy, Paul has taken on a few others as well in her first several months as a state representative. She has introduced other bills create a voter identification system, allow individuals with conceal-carry firearms permits to be armed in schools, prohibit doctors from prescribing abortion via tele-health appointments, and authorizing the Public Utilities Commission to issue a Request for Proposals for small nuclear reactors.

“People tell me to avoid the controversial issues in order to get elected, and then re-elected, but I’m not doing this so I can serve my maximum number of terms,” she says, adding “I haven’t even decided yet if I’m running for re-election.”

Paul’s goal, she says, is to make a difference by standing up for her faith and conservative values. In flipping the House District 37 last fall, she defeated the progressive, Margaret English-Flanagan by nearly five points. She did it, she says, by knocking on over 4,000 doors.

“Honestly, when people came to the door and met me, a principled conservative, a lot of them were surprised, but I had people tell me they never vote Republican but would be supporting me,” she said.

Part of that may be the fact that Reagan Paul is a mold-breaker in a way. While she challenges the stereotype of Gen Zers as a left-leaning, aggrieved lot, she represents a different side of her generation that kindles a spark in the imaginations of those who feared her sort had been washed away by the times.

She worries about what she sees as a growing sense of despondency both generally, and with her peers. Last week, she wrote a moving post on Facebook about witnessing an attempted suicide outside Portland (the individual in question survived). When she got home, she co-sponsored a bill requested by the Town of Prospect to put a suicide barrier in the Penobscot Narrows Bridge from which at least a dozen souls leapt to their deaths since its opening less than twenty years ago.

“I’m just trying to make a difference,” Paul explains. For some who had questions about the moral bearings of the rising generation, she already has.

Former Psychic Medium Says Maine Republicans “Supporting Putin” by Opposing Ukraine Blank Check

Newscenter Maine invited a former psychic medium on its talking head program “Political Brew” this weekend to criticize Republican state lawmakers who opposed a symbolic war resolution.

Betsy Sweet, a perennial Democratic candidate turned media personality, has scrubbed her old website, SweetSpiritMaine.com, but archived versions of the site show that Sweet believes she can talk to dead people, Spirit Guides, and angels.

As recently as 2018, Sweet charged $40 per person for a “Spirit Sounds Reading Gallery” in which she would “bring you intuitive, healing messages from your loved ones.”

“I’ve come to the awareness that I can receive messages from loved ones who have passed, and from angels and spirit guides,” Sweet said, in the “About Me” section of her now-deleted website.

Sweet was invited on Newscenter Maine not for a seance or to help Don Carrigan communicate with his Spirit Guides, but because Carrigan apparently believes she has interesting things to say about Maine politics.

On this episode, Carrigan was seeking the psychic’s opinion of Republicans who opposed a symbolic resolution in support of continued U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s war against Russia.

“It was like the world’s upside down,” the psychic told Carrigan. “All of the sudden we have all these Republicans supporting Putin.”

Carrigan, a journalist, never challenged the medium’s false assertion. Nor did Republican commentator Phil Harriman.

In fact, Republicans explicitly condemned Russian dictator Vladimir Putin while expressing opposition to the symbolic resolution.

Republicans in the House questioned how the U.S. can offer a blank check to the Ukrainian government while the country is more than $30 trillion in debt. Others expressed concern about the risk of escalating a military conflict with a nuclear power.

Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) offered perhaps the most detailed testimony on the issue, suggesting a new resolution that would call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to seek a diplomatic end to the war.

Brakey also said he wouldn’t mind if Putin was strung up like Saddam Hussein, which is hardly “supporting Putin.”

On Brakey’s speech, the psychic medium said he “talked for a really long time.”

Brakey’s remarks have been viewed more than 60,000 times on social media, significantly more than the television audience of Political Brew.

Taibbi Tells Congress Angus King, Adam Schiff Sought Twitter Censorship

Journalist Matt Taibbi was in front of a congressional committee last week to answer questions about his ongoing reporting on the so-called “Twitter Files.”

As part of that reporting, Taibbi revealed that Maine Sen. Angus King gave Twitter and Facebook lists of people who were critical of King on social media during his 2018 re-election campaign, and many of those users were subsequently banned from the platforms.

[RELATED: Angus King Doubles Down on “Enemies List” Censorship of Critics]

In response to questioning from Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Taibbi said he had only seen records showing that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and King asked Twitter to censor content.

Connolly was trying to make the case that both Republicans and Democrats asked Twitter to engage in censorship to protect their political power. However, Taibbi has not found records in the Twitter Files showing that Republicans had similar access to Twitter’s content moderators.

“I have not seen an exchange from the Trump White House,” said Taibbi. “I have seen one from Congressman Schiff and one from Angus King.”

King has struggled to come up with a coherent explanation for why his 2018 campaign sought to have critics removed from social media.

The senator has not renounced or disavowed the tactic, and he seemed to suggest in a Newscenter Maine interview that asking large social media corporations to censor your opponents is just politics as usual.

Maine’s newspapers seem complacent with that explanation, with one newspaper editor even suggesting that King offering Facebook and Twitter an enemies list of targets to censor is not newsworthy.

‘Horrifying’: Huge Proportion Of Children Pursuing Gender Transitions Are Actually Autistic, Experts Believe


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Laurel Duggan on March 12, 2023

  • Adolescents with autism are overrepresented in the youth transgender population, and some medical professionals attribute this to autism spectrum traits such as obsessive thinking, vulnerability to body image issues and a sense of social rejection and isolation during adolescence. 
  • Dr. Susan Bradley, a Canadian psychiatrist who began working with gender dysphoric children in the 1970s, said she believed most of the children who sought gender transitions had high-functioning autism and were being exploited by the medical industry. 
  • “When somebody happens to mention that, you know, they’re trans or they hear about trans kids and go online, even if all they do is say, ‘I wonder if I’m trans,’ a lot of these kids are automatically accepted. ‘Well, you must be trans if you’ve even thought about that.’ And for them, that is a very helpful reaction, because all of a sudden, they feel as though that explains all of the trouble all the way along,” Bradley told the DCNF.

Children with autism make up an outsized proportion of the transgender-identified population, and autism spectrum traits make them particularly vulnerable to thought patterns that can lead youth to pursue gender transitions, according to research and medical professionals.

Transgender individuals are about three to six times more likely to be autistic than non-transgender people, research shows; the connection between transgenderism and autism has been a subject of interest for researchers since at least 2010, and the Gender Development Identity Service at Tavistock, the world’s largest pediatric gender clinic, came under fire in recent years over allegations that as many as 97.5% of its gender patients had autism. Dr. Susan Bradley, a Canadian psychiatrist and pioneer in treating gender dysphoria, told the DCNF that she now believes most pediatric gender patients are actually on the autism spectrum and are being exploited by medical professionals.

“When we were seeing these kids from a very young age, we had kids who would come into the clinic, a little girl who thinks she’s a boy or vice versa. It wasn’t uncommon to find that one of them thought they were a dog or a cat or something else,” said Bradley, who chaired the DSM-IV Subcommittee on Gender Disorders.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the official manual of the American Psychiatric Association, which is used for classifying and diagnosing mental disorders; Bradley led eight other doctors in establishing those guidelines in its 1994 edition.

Bradley began treating children with gender dysphoria around 1975, and over the years she observed that many of the patients had the traits of high-functioning autism, she told the DCNF. People with autism tend to focus very intensely on their subjects of interest and have great difficulty letting go of something once they believe it’s true, both of which make autistic adolescents particularly susceptible to issues with their gender identity and body image, she said.

“They have early difficulty with social understanding and the feeling that they don’t fit in; they struggle to understand that they are different in a certain kind of way that other people don’t understand either, and they often feel left out in peer groups. Many of them don’t have a good friend. They’ll often say other kids tease them or leave them out,” she said. “These kids are even less well equipped than your average teen to manage strong feelings, and they just get totally disregulated at times. That’s why they become so much more vulnerable, they get suicidal, they get anxious, depressed, very down on themselves.”

“When somebody happens to mention that, you know, they’re trans or they hear about trans kids and go online, even if all they do is say, ‘I wonder if I’m trans,’ a lot of these kids are automatically accepted. ‘Well, you must be trans if you’ve even thought about that.’ And for them, that is a very helpful reaction, because all of a sudden, they feel as though that explains all of the trouble all the way along,” Bradley told the DCNF.

Children with high-functioning autism previously showed up at eating disorder clinics with suicidal and anxious depression and body image distortions, but as pediatric gender clinics began cropping up, autistic adolescents began gravitating more toward those, Bradley said.

Chloe Cole, a young woman who underwent cross-sex hormones and a double mastectomy between ages 13 and 17 and now regrets medically transitioning, told the DCNF that doctors failed to meaningfully address her autism spectrum traits and the ways those impacted her gender identity.

“I’ve spoken to a non-transgender person who also was on the spectrum about some of my symptoms of dysphoria and how things like puberty felt for me, and she told me that’s literally just how it feels to be autistic and going through puberty,” Cole said. “It’s common for girls who have autism to present with some more traditionally masculine behaviors or more tomboyish personality. That was definitely my experience growing up and it made it more difficult for me to relate personally with other girls my age.”

Cole is suing the hospital and medical professionals who participated in her gender transition. Her attorneys argue that doctors should have offered her psychotherapy to address her autism spectrum symptoms and mental health issues, but instead made her gender dysphoria the top priority.

“It’s horrifying that none of these kids are really getting an appropriate screening, not only for autism, but really for a lot of other parts of their background that might play a role in the development of their dysphoria,” she said, listing social anxiety, personality disorders, depression and histories of abuse. “They’re just being allowed through the system and [their gender dysphoria] is just being treated as a completely standalone issue.”

The Clarke Institute of Toronto, which is now the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, opened its pediatric gender clinic in the mid-1970s, when clinicians were offering a therapy-centered approach and 80% to 90% of patients outgrew their gender confusion and came to terms with their biological sex, according to Bradley. The clinic eventually began putting minors on puberty blockers to alleviate gender distress in keeping with practices emerging out of the Netherlands; Bradley views this as a mistake, noting that blockers cement what would otherwise likely be a temporary transgender phase and carry serious physical side effects.

Dr. Lawrence Fung, a psychiatrist at Stanford University, believes there may be a biological factor that drives autistic people to identify as transgender and believes autistic people tend to be more androgynous; he told NPR more research was needed on the subject.

“Females on the spectrum seem to have more testosterone and masculine features on their faces. On the other hand, males on the autism spectrum – they have more feminine features,” he told the outlet.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), which vocally supports medical transitions for minors, acknowledges that “autistic/neurodivergent transgender youth represent a substantial minority subpopulation of youth served in gender clinics globally,” and the group encourages providers to pursue additional training on the needs of their autistic patients in its latest standards of care. The group notes that autism traits, including rigid thinking and differing abilities to consider and plan for the future, necessitate extra time and support for gender transition patients.

“The autistic mindset tends to see things in black and white, and so if a child doesn’t feel like a girl — and this might be because they don’t feel pretty enough to be a girl — then they believe they must be a boy,” Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist and founder of Genspect, an organization that’s critical of child transitions, told the DCNF.

“Autistic people also tend to be very literal and so they can believe if people use their preferred pronouns and names, then they must be a boy. Children on the spectrum also tend to be gender nonconforming, and nonconforming in many other ways, and this leads them to believe that perhaps they must be a boy,” O’Malley said.

Transgender identification has exploded over the past decade, especially among the youth population, and clinics offering gender transition procedures to children have boomed from approximately zero 15 years ago to a current estimate of 100 in the U.S., according to Reuters. About 300,000 minors in the U.S. now identify as transgender, and approximately 10,000 to 30,000 are seeking some form of gender-related medical intervention.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Young Americans for Liberty, GOP Reps Win Fight Against UMaine’s Vaccine Mandate


Young Americans for Liberty, a conservative-libertarian student organization with hundreds of members in Maine, and 45 Republican lawmakers successfully convinced the University of Maine System to abandon its controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate last week.

Chancellor Dannel P. Malloy said the UMaine system will no longer enforce the mandate starting with the beginning of the May 2023 term, a decision that comes weeks after Maine’s community college system dropped a similar mandate.

In February, more than forty GOP lawmakers sent a letter to UMaine’s leadership demanding it drop the requirement. However, they were told that the requirement could not be dropped for bureaucratic reasons.

In response, YAL student activists launched a pressure campaign that resulted in more than 250 emails and 150 phone calls urging the UMaine chancellor to abandon the mandate.

GOP lawmakers also used the little bit of leverage they had over ongoing budget negotiations to place additional pressure on UMaine officials. Republicans on the Education Committee told university officials they would not vote for additional money for the system so long as the mandate was in place.

Previously, the UMaine system had one of the most onerous vaccine requirements in the state.

Even students who took all of their classes remotely were required to get the shot. And all students and staff had to share their private medical data with the school system through PointNClick, the university’s “secure” online portal. The university hasn’t said what will happen now with the database of vaccination information it has.

Malloy did not mention the pressure he received to drop the mandate, but he instead attributed the decision to a decrease in the severity of COVID-19 variants and widespread vaccination in Maine.

“These factors helped inform the University of Maine System’s decision to lift the COVID-19 vaccination requirement effective with the May term and going forward,” Malloy said. 

Correction: This article originally misstated the number of GOP lawmakers who signed the February letter to the UMaine system.

Pursuit of “Environmental Justice” Brought Maine to Brink of Sludgepocalypse


Maine was brought to the brink of a man-made environmental disaster this week — a potential catastrophe that threatens to spill thousands of tons of human waste byproduct into Maine’s waterways.

At the center of the crisis is Casella Waste Systems, Inc., the company that operates the state-owned Juniper Ridge landfill in Old Town.

Casella processes thousands of tons of sludge from municipal waste treatment facilities across the state every month, but it announced last month that it would have to reduce the amount of sludge it accepted by as much as 60 percent.

As a result, municipal officials are dealing with a sudden glut of sludge and nowhere to bring it. The emergency options available to them, like trucking the toxic material to a facility in New Brunswick, Canada, will be very expensive for ratepayers.

At an urgent hearing Wednesday, elected officials accused Casella of fabricating the current crisis in order to bring about the repeal of environmental regulations.

“It would be nice if we could shift from using the situation we’re in now with regard to municipal waste and PFAS contamination, instead of using it as an excuse and leverage to try to get rid of really important public policies that prevent pollution and contamination in our state, if Casella could pivot and instead be partner and help us deal with these issues,” said Sen. Anne Carney (D-Cumberland).

But people familiar with the sludge crisis — and how we got here — tell the Maine Wire that Maine’s elected officials, and especially Carney, are to blame for approving “environmental justice” laws in 2022 that are now having unfortunate and entirely predictable consequences.

Although a temporary solution has been found, Maine is not out of the woods when it comes to avoiding a genuine sludge-related environmental catastrophe down the road.

The full story, beginning with the passage of two environmental laws in the 130th Legislature, is illustrative of how well-intentioned laws can have perverse and unintended consequences. And if lawmakers don’t learn the lessons of this man-made sludgepocalypse, they may be poised to repeat the very same mistakes, and soon.


Let’s start with sludge.

Sludge is a byproduct that comes from facilities that treat human waste. If your toilet is hooked up to municipal sewers, the stuff you flush ends up at one of these facilities. To treat the waste, they extract the water, strain it, add chemicals like chlorine, aerate it, and run a few other processes on the material. What emerges from that is the mud-like greenish-brown substance we call sludge.

Disgusting, right? Well unless you’re taking all of your Number Twos in a compost toilet, you’re contributing to the problem. Most of that sludge is transferred from wastewater treatment facilities to landfills, with much of that going to the Juniper Ridge landfill in Old Town.

The toxicness of sludge only grew in the human imagination when it was discovered that sludge, like millions of things Mainers use and consume everyday, has a high concentration of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, usually abbreviated as PFAS.

In brief, PFAS are large molecules used in myriad manufacturing processes, which means they’ve been found almost everywhere.

The harms of PFAS have been written about at length by environmental activists and health advocates, including reporters at various news outlets across the state.

PFAS is in sludge because PFAS is in people.

The chemicals can cause a host of severe health problems.

Famed environmental whistleblower Erin Brockovich, played by Julia Roberts in the eponymous blockbuster movie, has said PFAS chemicals may be lowering sperm counts and shrinking penises.

That means dealing with the toxins could be a matter of the survival of the human race.


Juniper Ridge Landfill (Source: Casella)

Enter Gov. Janet Mills, Sen. Anne Carney, and the rest of the 130th Legislature.

In 2022, lawmakers inked two bills relating to sludge and landfills, both of which Mills signed last April.

The first was LD 1911, a bill that banned the use of sludge on farms.

For several years, sludge was used as fertilizer on farmland, which inadvertantly poisoned the land with PFAS. Several farms, notably in Fairfield, were found to be contaminated with PFAS after using sludge as fertilizer. Ditto for nearby woodland critters.

LD 1911 made it so only approved landfills, like Casella’s, could accept the sludge, and sludge-related products could never be used as fertilizer. As a result, Casella’s intake of sludge at Juniper Ridge increased by 15 percent, i.e. over 1,000 tons of sludge per month. Many other landfills in Maine did not accept increased levels of sludge following the bill’s enactment.

Most everyone agrees that PFAS-laced sludge shouldn’t be spread on Maine farmland, but the consequence of LD 1911 was that after the law took effect in August, Juniper Ridge had a sludge surplus.

At the same time, lawmakers also approved LD 1639, a bill sponsored by Carney that stopped construction debris from being brought into Maine, processed, and deposited in Maine landfills.

Environmentalists rallied around the idea of stopping companies, primarily in Massachusetts, from exporting their waste to the Pine Tree State.

But that law had the unintended consequence of reducing Casella’s ability to safely incorporate sludge into its landfill, which is part of the reason why the company had to stop accepting deliveries of sludge from waste treatment facilities.

The supply of sludge went up beginning in August because of LD 1911, then the ability to process sludge went down in February because of LD 1639, and that’s where the current crisis comes from.

If it’s not frustrating enough that the entire crisis was created by the legislature, then consider also: it was not only entirely predictable, it was predicted.

Jeff Hanley, the former Republican lead on the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said the situation currently unfolding was obvious when the bills were passed, and he warned his fellow committee members that exactly this situation would happen.

“Because of these idiotic laws and all these boneheads making laws to make themselves feel good, we’re now at the edge of an environmental disaster,” said Hanley, who was termed out of the legislature last year.

Hanley worked for 20 years at Sappi, including 7 years in landfill management, but he said his expertise was ignored by Carney and other lawmakers when it came to passing laws concerning landfill management.

“I’m only high school educated, so I don’t know anything. They’re all much smarter than me. So they went ahead and passed feel-good legislation,” he said.

“Course, it might not feel too good soon.”

Carney, who has degrees from Haverford College, Harvard University, and the University of Maine School of Law, used LD 1639 to enshrine in Maine law the principle of “environmental justice,” which the law describes as “the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment regardless of ancestry, class, disability, ethnicity, income, national origin or religion.”

That’s the feel good part Hanley was talking about.

LD 1639 was also sold as an attempt to close a “loophole” that allowed out-of-state construction debris to be brought into Maine, recycled, and later used as a bulking agent for landfill sludge.

Another feel good aspect: Why should those flat-landers from Massachusetts dump their garbage in Maine anyways?

Another win for environmental justice!

ReSource facilities like the one pictured above process construction debris and bulk waste that is later reused as a stabilizing material for landfills that accept sludge. (Source: ReSource)

In practice, though, the law limited the ability of ReSource Waste Services, a Lewiston-based company, to provide Juniper Hill with processed construction materials that Casella used to stabilize the Old Town landfill. Sludge is totally unstable by itself, so keeping it safely stored in a landfill requires a bulking agent, i.e. the construction debris. The bulking agents from construction debris are particularly effective at stabilizing sludge. Without enough of the bulking agent from debris or other sources, building a landfill is like “building a pyramid of jello,” said Hanley.

Casella’s available oversize bulking agent decreased by 14 percent once Carney’s law took effect.

Because Casella is not legally required to accept sludge, and because they can no longer deal with the increased volume of sludge safely, they started limiting shipments from municipal waste treatment facilities in February, which in turn has caused a backup of sludge at the facilities.

Like Hanley, Casella warned precisely this scenario would be the result of passing LD 1639.

Casella representatives said passage of LD 1639 would “cause a reduction in the ability to dispose of wastewater sludge at the state-owned landfill.”

Casella added: “If a replacement source can’t be found, the facility would have to limit the amount of sludge accepted for disposal which could prove devastating for [the] Nine Dragons [paper mill] and municipalities across the state that rely on the facility for disposal of wastewater sludge.”

Before the 130th legislature got involved, the sludge arrangement made everyone money: Massachusetts-based entities paid ReSource to accept the construction debris, ReSource employed 40 Mainers to process the debris, and Casella got paid to accept ReSource’s recycled materials, which were then used to secure the landfill. All of this activity generated fees for the state while ensuring that the hazardous waste was stably stored at the landfill.

But lawmakers, convinced of the moral imperative that Maine no longer accept construction debris from Massachusetts, passed LD 1639 without offering an alternative plan to deal with the sludge — in the short-term or the long-term. And they set the date for it to take effect very quickly, this February.

With Casella no longer accepting sludge shipments at its Old Town facility, waste treatment facilities across the state are also taking extreme steps to store the backed-up sludge.

Farmington, for example, has a dumpster full of sludge awaiting processing. But other treatment facilities are, for the most part, relying on waste water storage tanks. The problem with that, though, is those tanks could potentially overflow into Maine’s waterways, a danger that could be exacerbated by a massive rain event.

“One of the most troubling things is that some of these waste treatment facilities have no storage capacity for sludge. They’re storing the sludge in overflow tanks, surge tanks. Monstrous tanks,” said Hanley.

“But they are used primarily to collect stormwater during heavy rain. If we have a big rain storm, these surge tanks can’t be shut off. They’ll overflow into the rivers,” Hanley said.

“You’re going to have a lot of sewage treatment plants in Maine that are going to be in very dire circumstances if we have a big spring run off,” Hanley said.

Rep. Mike Soboleski (R-Phillips), a Republican currently on the environmental committee, was more optimistic than Hanley about Maine’s capacity to deal with the current sludge abundance and the emergency steps municipal facilities are taking.

In recent days, Soboleski has been immersed in sludge, figuratively speaking. He’s talked with state officials and representatives from Casella, and he’s visited wastewater treatment facilities in Lewiston, Farmington, Waterville, and Augusta to inspect how waste treatment facilities are coping with the sludge deluge.

Although Soboleski was not in the legislature at the time, he said LD 1911 had to happen given what the state has learned about the dangers of PFAS. But he acknowledged that the two laws contributed to the current sludge glut without providing a forward thinking plan.

“That had to happen, the problem is dealing with the sludge now,” he said.

Soboleski said he’s confident the state will come up with a solution before the amount of sludge goes beyond crisis levels. Likewise, he’s confident that Maine’s treatment facilities aren’t at risk of a major environmental incident, so long as policymakers, state officials, and Casella act quickly — and Maine avoids a big rain storm.

“There’s a solution in the works,” he said. “We need to get away from using construction debris as a bulking agent and use more natural resources,” he said.

Jeff Weld, Casella’s Director of Communications, said the villainization of the landfill operator by activists, lawmakers, and some in the media has unfairly characterized the steps Casella has taken this year to prevent a genuine environmental catastrophe.

“They want to paint us as a villain. It’s just not the case,” said Weld. “If they understood the time, effort, and care that our people have put into this problem then they would realize it’s just completely false.”

Weld took issue specifically with lawmakers who have questioned Casella’s motives in refusing to accept additional sludge. He said the company’s decision was in the best interest of everyone in the state, as an unstable landfill could have caused serious health and environmental problems.

“The landfill was clearly unstable. They had to shut it off,” he said. “The interesting question asked yesterday was, do you have data to back up the instability.”

“In real time, in the real world, you’re not going to get a landfill engineer out here to spend seven days collecting data on this,” he said. “We’ve seen landfills collapse, people have died. These are real time decisions made by people in real time with real expertise. To insinuate that they’re making these decisions based on politics is just not true.”

Weld said lawmakers could have avoided the current crisis by prolonging the date at which LD 1639 took effect. In eliminating the out-of-state bulky waste so quickly, lawmakers were effectively forcing Casella to consider more costly short-term options to safely store the sludge, costs that are then passed along to municipalities and, ultimately, ratepayers.

“You have activist legislation being jammed down the pathway, and people aren’t listening to the people that are doing the work,” said Weld.

Right now, that short-term solution looks like truckloads of human waste — up to 90,000 gallons per day — streaming over the border to a facility in New Brunswick, an expensive temporary arrangement. If that became the new normal, so would the doubling — or more — of municipal sewer bills.

So Casella and policymakers are both looking for a more sustainable long-term fix. In response to Soboleski’s point that Casella should consider using natural resources as bulking agents, Weld said that that arrangement would also come with tradeoffs, not all of them obvious.

Wood chips are less effective as a landfill bulking agent than construction debris. Where 3.5 truckloads of sludge can be stabilized by one truckload of oversized bulky waste, he said it takes six truckloads of wood chips to have the same result for a truckload of sludge.

“Now you’re eating up landfill capacity,” said Weld.

Switching to wood chips, in addition to the increased costs and environmental impact on forests, would undermine one of the key goals of LD 1639, which was to ensure Maine’s landfill capacity was being used efficiently.

“LD 1639 was designed to maximize landfill capacity for Maine, not for Massachusetts, but you’re going to use more landfill space by using natural products,” he said. “Creating one problem in replacement of another problem is not a solution.”

On the cost of wood chips, there has been some suggestion that the state government could help offset the higher cost for mulch paid by Casella, but ultimately those increased costs are still falling on taxpayers and ratepayers. And Casella noted in their legislative testimony about the bill that switching to wood mulch would cause the price of that product to increase massively, which could have downstream effects for other industries in the state.

So what’s the long-term solution to avert the sludgepocalypse and ensure Maine is never again knocking on the door of sludgemageddon?

That’s still an open question, and the answer isn’t readily apparent.

On Feb. 24, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection granted Casella temporary permission to store some sludge at its Hawk Ridge Composting Facility in Unity. But that will not account for the total sludge volume that needs to be dealt with on a longer term basis.

Currently, Casella has reduced the amount of sludge Juniper Ridge will accept by roughly 4,000 tons per month, a 60 percent decrease, in order to avoid a crisis. Over the longer term, if Maine’s laws remain as they are, then the company anticipates it will accept 2,500 fewer tons of sludge than pre-LD 1639 levels.

In other words, the long-term reality is that Juniper Ridge will process 38 percent less sludge than before the 130th legislature got into the business of micromanaging landfills, which could lead municipal waste facilities across the state to once again face a costly, and potentially dangerous, sludge problem.

Weld said with the closure of end-site landfill facilities like Juniper Ridge across the north east, the best hope for dealing with the sludge crisis in a lasting way is the development of new technologies, like anaerobic digestion, a process that uses microorganisms to breakdown waste.

But those technologies are a ways off from realistically helping Maine cope with its sludge crunch.

For Weld, whatever solution policymakers arrive at must respect the fundamental reality that waste management occurs within an economic system that is responsive to economic incentives.

“There is no environmental sustainability without economic sustainability,” he said.

Watch: Maine Senator Calls for Ukraine Peace Talks, Denounces State’s Symbolic War Resolution


The Maine State Legislature continued Thursday to debate a symbolic resolution supporting continued U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s war with Russia, including increased funding for arms and aide to Ukraine in addition to the more than $100 billion America has already provided or committed.

While the resolution will have practically no impact on anything, it became a tool for lawmakers to express their virtue. On Tuesday, it was the House; on Thursday, the Senate.

In the face of a bellicose liberal majority that appeared at times willing to embrace World War Three, Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) unleashed a libertarian anti-war polemic that laid bare the long, sordid history of U.S. regime change across the world, as well as the military-industrial complex’s grip on American foreign policy and news media.

Rather than cheerlead for sending more money and bombs to Ukraine, Brakey urged his colleagues to consider a resolution aimed at peace, one that encouraged President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to prioritize a diplomatic solution to the crisis rather than a prolonged proxy war.

Brakey’s colleagues ultimately were not moved by his words, and a bipartisan majority approved the symbolic resolution.

Jim Jordan Spars With Dem Rep Over Censorship Of ‘Lawful Speech’ On Twitter


The Daily Caller News Foundation Harold Hutchison on March 9, 2023

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Democratic Rep. Daniel Goldman of New York sparred Thursday over allegations surrounding censorship by government agencies.

“We’re here talking about Twitter. Twitter,” Goldman, a former counsel for the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump, said during a hearing by the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. “And even with Twitter, you cannot find actual evidence of any direct government censorship of any lawful speech. And when I say lawful, I mean non-criminal speech.”

Thursday’s hearing featured testimony from journalists Michael Shellenberger and Matt Taibbi, who made multiple reports based on documents released by Tesla CEO Elon Musk after Musk closed his purchase of Twitter. The FBI reportedly paid Twitter $3.5 million between October 2019 and February 2021, according to Shellenberger.


The office of Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California pressed Twitter to censor a post mocking then-Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden after then-President Donald Trump re-tweeted it, according to documents provided to Taibbi. The State Department also pushed for censorship of posts that promoted the theory that COVID-19 leaked from a lab, Taibbi reported.

“I’d ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the following email from Clark Humphrey, Executive Office of the Presidency, White House office. January 23rd, 2021, that’s the Biden Administration, 4:39 A.M., ‘Hey, folks,’ — this goes to Twitter — ‘Hey, folks wanted to’ — I use the term Mr. — they use the term Mr. — Mr. Goldman just used — ‘wanted to flag the below tweet, and then wondering if we can get moving on the process for having it removed, ASAP,’” Jordan said, noting that the targeted tweet was from Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a left-wing environmental activist and opponent of vaccines.

Documents released by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana Friday included an April 14, 2021 email from White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty to an unidentified Facebook employee asking why videos questioning vaccines made by Fox News host Tucker Carlson and commentator Tomi Lahren had not been subjected to “reduction.”

“The First Amendment does not — is not absolute,” Goldman said.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Maine Moms Say School Retaliated With Child Welfare Agents After They Complained About Social Worker’s Gender Counseling

Two Maine moms say agents from Maine’s troubled child welfare agency paid them visits just days after they complained about a Damariscotta public school social worker who provided a 13-year-old girl with breast binders without informing her parents.

Both women said they believe the visits were retaliation by school officials — retaliation brought upon them because they objected to the school’s gender-related counseling for minors.

One of those moms is Amber Lavigne, the mother of the 13-year-old girl.

In December, Lavigne discovered personnel at the Great Salt Bay Community School (GSBCS) had provided her daughter two breast binders. Breast binders are compression garments used to flatten the appearance of breasts in order to begin a female-to-male social gender transition.

Lavigne later learned the binders were provided by 26-year-old Samuel E. Roy, a school social worker who had been assigned to her daughter without her knowledge.

After a few counseling sessions with her daughter, Roy provided the binders, and other employees at the school began using masculine pronouns to refer to the girl, Lavigne said.

AOS 93 Social Worker Samuel E. Roy (Source:LinkedIn)

At the time, Roy had only a conditional license from the state of Maine to practice social work, according to state records.

Lavigne was never told the school was providing medical equipment to her daughter and referring to her daughter as though she was a boy.

When Lavigne brought her concerns about the secret gender transition to the school, the school officials she met with were initially sympathetic, but they quickly circled the wagons in defense of school personnel.

So Lavigne filed an official complaint against Roy with the State Board of Social Worker Licensure. When she discovered another social worker in the school, Jessica Berk (Allen-Fumarola), was also aware of the binder, she filed a complaint against Berk as well.

That was Dec. 8.

Four days later, a case worker from Maine’s Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) was knocking on her door.

Around the same time, Amanda Merritt, of Bremen, also discovered her youngest son, an eight-year-old, had been receiving counseling from Roy without her knowledge.

“Samuel Roy called me on December 19 stating that [my son] was feeling depressed, apparently had suicidal ideation,” Merritt said.

She attributed her son’s distress to a death in the family. “His grandfather died last year. We talk about grandpa a lot. He’s eight,” she said.

She also noted that she’d been working two jobs, trying to make ends meet. According to Merritt, Roy said the boy was complaining that he wasn’t spending enough time with his mom.

So Merritt scheduled some time off and kept her son home from school to spend time with him.

But after learning about Lavigne’s situation, and how Roy had counseled another student at the school, Merritt decided she didn’t want Roy counseling her son anymore.

She called GSBCS Principal Kim Schaff and asked that her son receive a different counselor, a request Schaff granted.

On December 28, just a few days after her call with Schaff, a child welfare case worker from OCFS was knocking on Merritt’s door.

The case worker said her son told school employees he was afraid to come home, which contradicted the original complaint Roy expressed over the phone, that she wasn’t spending enough time with him.

Although Merritt had had previous encounters with OCFS, she immediately began to suspect that this encounter was the result of her complaint about Roy.

“I don’t think they would have been here had I not stood up for my kids,” said Merritt.

“I am 100 percent positive that this is retaliation,” she said.

Lavigne also believes her visit was retaliation for objecting to the school’s secret gender counseling for her daughter.

“I believe it was retaliation, as well as an attempt to bully me into silence,” Lavigne said.

“If there was ever concern that I was emotionally abusive to my child, why wasn’t a complaint filed with child protective services prior to the complaints I filed on the school social workers with the licensing board?” she said.

Both women kept quiet until now because they feared that publicly criticizing the school or government officials might lead OCFS to further retaliate by taking unjustified adverse action against them while their cases were open.

They are only speaking out now because their caseworkers have informed them that the investigations into allegations that they abused or neglected their children have been dismissed without findings.

“Their attempts to silence me have only further surfaced my natural instinct to protect my kids, and that natural instinct is stronger than any of the bullies attempting to wash this away,” said Lavigne.

Although the threat that OCFS might take their children away has abated — for now — Lavigne and Merritt are reeling from what they believe is politically motivated harassment brought upon them because they expressed skepticism or resistance to the school’s ideologically driven “gender affirming” practices.

The OCFS letter Lavigne received closing her case said she was investigated for the “allegation” that she had engaged in “Emotional Abuse – Low/Moderate Severity”. (Merritt has yet to receive a similar letter but said she was informed via text message by her case officer that her case was closed without a finding.)

So who made the allegations?

AOS 93 Superintendent Lynsey Johnston did not respond to an inquiry asking whether she or any AOS 93 employee contacted OCFS in response to Lavigne and Merritt’s complaints.

Allegations submitted to OCFS are confidential under state law, so unless the facts emerge in potential future litigation, they’ll likely never know who alleged that they were abusing or neglecting their children.

According to the OCFS website, anyone can report child abuse or neglect by phone.

The site says tipsters can request confidentiality or anonymity.

“If a report is deemed appropriate for investigation and assigned to a caseworker contact with the family should occur within three days of the report,” the website states.

OCFS Director Todd Landry did not respond to an email asking whether a parent interrupting or criticizing a school’s gender transition plan for their child could trigger a visit from child welfare agents.

OCFS, a division of Maine’s vast Department of Health and Human Services, is a troubled agency that has struggled in recent years to address systemic problems protecting children from harm.

In January, with the release of the 2022 Child Welfare Ombudsman report, OCFS faced renewed criticism and calls for the agency to be drastically restructured.

The allegation that visits from OCFS case workers may have been weaponized for political or ideological purposes will likely add fuel to the bipartisan calls for an overhaul of the agency.

“I am deeply concerned by the possibility that child protective services was called on parents who merely exercised their parental right to withdraw their child from counseling services with Mr. Roy,” said Rep. Katrina Smith (R-Palermo).

Smith was aware of Lavigne and Merritt’s interactions with OCFS, and the circumstances surrounding those visits, before the Maine Wire contacted her for comment.

“School Administrators must stop the war on parents and find respect for the parents rightful role in the life of their child,” said Smith.

Smith said she has introduced legislation at the State House that would require school officials to obtain written consent from parents or legal guardians before beginning gender transitions.

AOS 93 School Board Chair Samuel Belknap III (left) and Superintendent Lynsey Johnston (right) support keeping gender change information from parents in some cases.

Since Lavigne first went public with her story at a December school board meeting, Johnston and school board Chairman Samuel Belknap III have refused to answer detailed questions from the press, instead issuing vague statements about the matter on the school’s website.

[RELATED: Maine School Asserts Legal Right to Secretly Counsel Students on Sex Changes Without Parental Consent…]

In those statements, Johnston and Belknap have criticized Lavigne and the Maine Wire, though not by name. Maine’s legacy newspapers and corporate media have mostly avoided reporting on Lavigne’s story.

Roy’s actions appear to have violated at least two school policies, but the board has never addressed that issue publicly.

AOS 93 policies prohibit staff from asking students to keep secrets, as Lavigne said Roy did with her daughter.

Those policies also outline how staff are supposed to develop accomodations for gender non-conforming students, stating “a plan should be developed, in consultation with the student, parent(s)/guardian(s) and others as appropriate.”

[RELATED: Maine Mom Demands School Board Investigate Social Worker Who Counseled 13-Year-Old Into Secret Gender Transition…]

Although the AOS 93 policy contains the presumption of parental involvement in any gender-based accommodations, Lavigne was never consulted before school officials started using masculine pronouns to refer to her daughter.

Johnston confirmed last month that Roy remains an employee at the school, though school officials have refused to speak further about Roy’s employment or potential disciplinary actions because of laws protecting school personnel.

Lavigne has demanded, through her legal representatives, a thorough investigation of school employees’ conduct with regard to her daughter.

She is being represented by the Goldwater Institute.

Goldwater Institute attorney Adam Shelton has said AOS 93 violated Lavigne’s constitutional rights.

“After speaking with Ms. Lavigne and reviewing the relevant laws, we believe that these decisions violated Ms. Lavigne’s fundamental constitutional right to control and direct the education, upbringing, and healthcare decisions of her daughter, as protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Shelton said in a Feb. 1 letter to Belknap.

Read the demand letter Goldwater delivered last month to AOS 93:

AOS 93 school officials, for their part, appear to preparing to defend the school’s approach to socially transitioning minors without informing parents.

At a hastily organized morning board meeting last month, school board members went directly into a private executive session with an attorney from Portland-based law firm Drummond Woodsum to discuss potential litigation against the district.


Lavigne hasn’t heard back from the state regarding the complaints she filed against the AOS 93 social workers.

Typically, when a complaint is filed, the subject of the complaint will respond, and that response is made available to the complainant.

“[I]n most instances a copy of the response will be provided to the complainant unless there is a compelling reason such as the safety and welfare of a client,” Kristin Racine, an attorney with Maine’s Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation, said in an email.

Due to state law, Racine couldn’t address Lavigne’s two complaints or explain why Lavigne hasn’t heard anything from the state after three months. She did say, generally speaking, that there are instances where a complaint might be withheld from the complainant.

“Determinations on whether to provide the response in those instances when a concern is raised are made on a case-by-case basis by staff in consultation with board counsel,” said Racine. “Boards, however, always have the discretion to direct board staff to investigate a matter further or to seek additional information with regards to a complaint.”

One of the members of the State Board of Social Worker Licensure is Angela Fileccia, the Director of College Counseling at the University of Maine, where Roy’s LinkedIn page said he was a student as of December.

According to her LinkedIn page, Fileccia also previously worked at Northern Light Health in Bangor for four years, a period that would have coincided with when Roy was working with Northern Light in Bangor, according to his now-deleted LinkedIn page.

The Maine Wire asked Fileccia in an email whether the board intervened in Lavigne’s complaint and whether she had a pre-existing relationship with Roy that rose to the level of a conflict of interest. The Maine Wire also asked whether she recused herself from board business concerning Roy’s conditional license.

“Due to licensing board rules, I am unable to comment on any issue related to the board,” Fileccia said in an email.

Racine followed up on Fileccia’s behalf noting that no one from the state would be able to offer any comment on board members’ conduct concerning the investigation.

The transparency of government business has been an issue as Lavigne has pursued records related to her daughter’s counseling sessions with Roy.

On multiple occasions, Lavigne has asked the school to turn over the social worker’s records, but the school has adamantly refused to turn over those records, claiming that they are protected under the state and federal law.

However, Lavigne says her daughter never asked for those records to remain confidential and that they should be available to her legal guardian and the family’s attorneys.

In a Dec. 11 email chain between Lavigne and school board member Meridith Verney, Lavigne say she asked Superintendent Johnston on multiple occasions to turn over her daughter’s records.

But Johnston invoked the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as the reason why she would not.

[RELATED: Public School Worker Who Began Secret Gender Transition on 13-Year-Old Maine Girl Has Conditional License…]

In the email, Lavigne said she believed FERPA allowed school officials to withhold such records from parents only if they believed that turning them over would lead to child abuse or neglect.

“It seems as though they are alleging that my child would potentially be exposed to abuse or neglect if they released these records to me,” Lavigne wrote to Verney. “That is a large accusation that I won’t take lightly.”

“I find it interesting that they would allege something like this, yet send a chest binder home with my child and encouraged her to keep it a secret from us, hiding it in her bedroom,” she wrote.

Johnston and other school employees are mandated reporters — that is, they are required by law to contact OCFS if they believe child abuse or neglect is occuring.

If they believed Lavigne interrupting the secret gender counseling the school was providing her daughter amounted to child abuse, they would be bound by law to report their concern to the state.

In addition to not answering questions about the apparent policy violations at the school, Johnston has exploited weaknesses in Maine’s Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) to block the inspection of public records.

The Maine Wire submitted a Freedom of Access Act request for public records to AOS 93 seeking documents that might shed light on how the school handled an apparent violation of its policies.

The request sought records from Oct. 1 to Dec. 18 that mentioned “binder” or concerned Lavigne’s allegations.

(Screen shot of the FOAA request the Maine Wire submitted to AOS 93.)

In response, Johnston asked for fees totaling $1,075.

Exploiting FOAA’s fee provision in such a manner is a common tactic used by government employees in Maine to prevent media from obtaining public records.

In most instances, it’s entirely legal to ask for exorbitant fees.

However, for most journalistic organizations in Maine, such excessive fees are cost prohibitive, meaning government employees can legally place newsworthy records beyond the reach of journalists.

This is especially common when government employees believe that the journalists in question have an adversarial viewpoint or when disclosing the records would prove inconvenient or embarrassing for a government agency.

A narrower request, which omitted the words “binder” and “Robinson”, at Johnston’s suggestion, cost $150.

In response, Johnston sent to the Maine Wire 189 pages of documents consisting mostly of copies of emails the Maine Wire had sent to school officials requesting comment.

The few relevant records provided in response to the request show how school board members, led by Belknap, took steps to avoid communicating with reporters, with Lavigne, or in a format that would be available to journalists seeking public records after Lavigne expressed her concerns privately.

Publicly available meeting information and the emails show the AOS 93 school board has relied heavily on executive sessions, which are not open to the public, in order to avoid public scrutiny or involvement in their discussions of Lavigne’s case.

On Dec. 11, prior to Lavigne going public with her story, board member Meridith Verney wrote to Belknap: “I received a second email from Amber Lavigne. I imagine other Board members received the email as well. As instructed, I did not respond.”

To which Belknap responded, in part: “I have responded to Amber on every occasion where she has emailed me directly, so she is not being ignored.”

Other emails suggest the board developed a strategy to handle media inquiries after Lavigne spoke at the school board meeting.

“Thank you for following our procedure!” Belknap wrote to a fellow board member who had forwarded a request for comment from the Maine Wire.

Belknap never responded to the questions in that inquiry.


Lavigne believes child welfare officers targeted her at the direction of school officials because she filed a complaint against a school social worker who encouraged her daughter to socially transition genders.

If it’s true that OCFS visited her because school officials believed she was abusing her daughter on the basis of her complaint, then the worst fears of parental rights advocates will have been realized in Damariscotta.

Some parental rights advocates fear the trend in education is to criminalize parents if they do not support gender-related counseling, including the secretive counseling Lavigne’s daughter received.

The advocates believe parents who do not support gender transitions for their minor children will be considered abusive and targeted for scrutiny by child welfare agents at the direction of school social workers.

In Maine, the Legislature will soon consider whether to ratify a major substantive rule change from the Maine Department of Education known as Chapter 117, a controversial rule that will formalize the power social workers and guidance counselors have in Maine schools.

If the legislature approves of the rule, then some school social workers will be tasked with providing students “psychosocial evaluation, including diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and emotional disorders.”

Included under that broad umbrella will be the full range of gender-related services, and it’s not at all clear that parents will be kept in the loop as the role of social workers in schools expands.

Alvin Liu, President of Courage Is a Habit, a 501(c)3 parents rights organization, says Chapter 117 will inevitably undermine parents constitutional rights when it comes to the health and education decisions affecting their children

“The goal of Chapter 117 is to further solidify and extend the abilities of social workers and school counselors to work with outside organizations to provide breast binders, penis tuckers, puberty blockers and cross sex hormones; all while keeping it a secret from parents,” said Liu.

“The way Chapter 117 will do that is that the language is vague enough that it allows for transgender activists disguised as ‘mental health professionals’ to deem parents ‘unsafe and abusive’ if they do not succumb to their child’s transgender social contagion,” he said.

Last week, a Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll of nearly 2,000 Maine residents found 71 percent of Maine believe schools should not be able to provide gender transition counseling to minors without informing their parents.

Maine School Bans Controversial Book About Transgender Teenage Girls from HS Library

All across Maine, school boards are debating whether sexually explicit books should be available in public school libraries, especially books like “Gender Queer,” which contain cartoon images of minors having sex.

Now, Bonny Eagle High School in Maine has decided a controversial book about young girls becoming transgender is inappropriate for inclusion in the high school’s library.

The book that has been banned at Bonny Eagle, however, contains no illicit images or narrations of children having sex.

Instead, the book is a fact-based investigation by an award-winning journalist of the recent surge in young girls who identify as transgender and the social factors that may contribute to it.

The MSAD 6 system in Standish has rejected a donation of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters” by Abigail Schrier, Bonny Eagle board member Julie Anderson said Monday during a public meeting.

Anderson donated the book, along with two others, to help balance out the gender-related content in the library.

“It was decided by a few staff, although I’m not sure who the staff was besides the librarian, that Irreversible Damage was not appropriate for high school students,” said Anderson.

Bonny Eagle Superintendent Clay Gleason confirmed in an email that Shrier’s book has been rejected from the high school library.

He said the reason the book won’t go into the library is because it is intended for adults, as opposed to Gender Queer, which carries a 16+ rating.

“The main reason it wasn’t accepted was that it was seen as a book written to be a resource for parents with parents being the intended audience,” Gleason said.

Gleason didn’t say who ultimately made the call to ban Irreversible Damage from the school library.

Shrier is an independent journalist who holds an A.B. from Columbia College, a B.Phil. from the University of Oxford, and a J.D. from Yale Law School, and Irreversible Damage was named the “Book of the Year” by The Economist and has received international praise for its rigorous and scholarly examination of the subject matter.

“The book highlights stories about adolescents transitioning and the health and psychological issues they deal with,” Anderson said.

Currently, Maine’s public school libraries, including Bonny Eagle’s, are filled with books that romanticize gender transitions with fictional and quasi-fictional stories.

Shrier’s book, on the other hand, is journalistic look into the factors contributing to the massive surge in gender confusion and gender dysphoria diagnoses among young American women.

In particular, Shrier’s book examined the phenomenon known as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD), which some researchers believe may be playing a role in the increased rate of young woman saying they are transgender. Proponents ROGD hypothesize that social factors may play a role in the explosive growth of gender non-conforming young people witnessed over the past decade.

Such an investigation is especially relevant in Maine, where high school age young people are more likely than their peers in other states to say they are not heterosexual or cisgender, a trend that has increased sharply since 2017.

Yet Shrier’s book has drawn criticism from LGBT advocates who deny that the recent increase in young girls saying they are transgender may be caused in part by social factors. The suggestion that ROGD is at all a socially caused phenomenon separate from childhood gender dysphoria is generally dismissed on the left, though few peer reviewed studies on the subject exist.

Anderson noted at the board meeting that Bonny Eagle’s policies regarding library books calls for a balance of perspectives to be offered, especially on controversial topics.

With Shrier’s book effectively banned from Bonny Eagle’s library, Anderson believes high school students are missing out on an opportunity to learn about all sides of a controversial issue rather than just the side one political ideology, or one school librarian, would prefer they hear.

She said she submitted two other titles offered from a “feminist perspective” on the topic of gender ideology, but she hasn’t heard whether the librarian accepted those books.

[RELATED: Most Maine Voters Want Parent “Opt-Out” Option and Safeguards for X-Rated School Books: MAINE WIRE POLL…]

At the board meeting, Anderson pointed out that middle school students must get parental sign-off before students can participate in sexual education courses, but no such sign-off is required for students to access sexually explicit material in the school’s library.

“I would like to know why the library staff thinks hyper-sexualizing middle schoolers is appropriate,” she said. “When these types of books are in the library, I think they need parental consent.”

Although Maine schools have been slow to adopt policies requiring parental consent before students access explicit library materials, a bipartisan majority of Maine voters support such policies.

In a Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll of nearly 2,000 Mainers, 62 percent of respondents said they want “safeguards” in place at schools to ensure children are accessing age-appropriate material.

In the poll, 72 percent of respondents supported giving parents the right to “opt out” of materials they deemed too illicit for their children to access.

Watch Anderson’s comments below:

Greenbush Resident, Dominican National Arrested in Maine DEA Fentanyl Bust


A resident of Greenbush and a foreign national from the Dominican Republic were arrested by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (MDEA) Tuesday evening in a bust that seized 50 grams of fentanyl and roughly $30,000 in cash, the Maine State Police said Wednesday.

The Maine State Police said in a press release that Cleudy Confesor Carmona Mejia, 34, and Kelcie Curtis, 26, were arrested and are currently incarcerated at the Penobscot County Jail.

Bail was set for Mejia, who police said is from the Dominican Republic, at $50,000, while Curtis, who resides in Greenbush, had bail set at $35,000.

Greenbush, a town of less than 2,000 residents, is 20 miles north of Bangor.

Maine State Police, as part more than a year of investigation, have come to believe an out-of-state drug trafficking organization is responsible for importing and distributing “significant amounts” of fentanyl in northern Maine.

Mejia and Curits, they said, are believed to be part of that organized operation.

“In recent weeks, MDEA investigators learned that members of this group were now operating out of home in rural Greenbush, Maine,” the state police said. “As part of the ensuing investigation, a number of undercover purchases of fentanyl were made from inside the Greenbush home.”

“Last night MDEA investigators, assisted by the Maine State Police Tactical Team, the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, the US Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), executed a search warrant on the Greenbush home,” they said.

The statement from the Maine State Police did not say where the organization it is investigating is thought to be headquartered.

The Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC), an intelligence arm of the Boston Police Department, has said for years that organized criminal operations based in the Dominican Republic control illegal heroin and fentanyl trafficking in Massachusetts.

Trump Has Double-Digit Lead Over DeSantis In Granite State: POLL


Daily Caller News Foundation Mary Lou Masters on March 8, 2023

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is down 41 percentage points in New Hampshire, an important early primary state, while former President Donald Trump rails ahead for the 2024 GOP nomination, a new poll shows.

DeSantis only received 17% of support when Republican primary voters were asked which candidate they preferred, and the former president topped the poll results with 58% of the votes, an Emerson College poll indicates. New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu garnered 7% of the votes, though the same poll shows he has a 64% approval rating among the state’s GOP voters.

Other polling data from January suggested that DeSantis was up in New Hampshire by 12 percentage points, but the next week, the former president pulled ahead by 11 percentage points.

In a head-to-head matchup between President Joe Biden and DeSantis, the president won with 42.3%, according to the state poll. Biden also won against Trump, but with a smaller margin of 3.7 percentage points.

Following Trump and DeSantis is former South Carolina Gov. and declared 2024 candidate Nikki Haley with 6% of the vote, and former Vice President Mike Pence with 4%. The other declared GOP presidential candidate and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy was not included in this polling question.

Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received 2% support, and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan trailed with 1% respectively. Hogan announced Sunday that he would no longer seek the Republican nomination in 2024.

Another question asked in the survey was among the declared 2024 GOP candidates – Trump, Haley and Ramaswamy – where they received 72.5%, 20.2% and 7.3%, respectively.

Democratic primary voters were asked if Biden should be the nominee in 2024 and 55.5% said no, they want someone different, and 44.5% said yes.

The poll surveyed 1,025 registered New Hampshire voters, and was taken from Mar. 3 – 5 with a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

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Lawmakers Want New Taxes on Workers, Businesses to Fund Paid Family Leave


Maine is poised to join thirteen other states and Washington, D.C., in creating a government program that levies new taxes on workers and businesses to provide paid medical and family leave to employees, but major details of the proposed law are still up in the air.

Given the composition of the legislature, it’s no longer even a question of ‘if’ Maine will pass a paid leave law, but what it will ultimately look like.

“It’s still not clear how they intend to pay for it, or what kind of formula they’ll put into the bill,” said Rep. Dick Bradstreet (R-Vassalboro), the lead Republican on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Housing.

“We made it clear that we need answers on this soon,” he said.

Often lawmakers pay scant attention to the unintended consequences of new rules on the business environment in a state that already has plenty, Bradstreet noted.

Bradstreet’s comments followed a presentation before the committee on Tuesday from the Commission to Develop a Paid Family and Medical Leave Benefits Program, the culmination of an effort spearheaded by Sen. Mattie Daughtry (D-Cumberland).

Daughtry joined forces last month with Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier (D-Lewiston) to introduce a bill that would create the new government program.

Like hundreds of other bills currently circulating through the legislature, that bill is still a concept draft.

However, the commission’s report offers a few details as to what the new rules would look like.

The program would create a new benefit administered by the Department of Labor or a different third-party.

The word “tax” isn’t mentioned once in the commission’s report; instead, the dollars taken from employees’ paychecks — and employers bottom lines — are referred to as a “contributions.”

Nonetheless, funding for the program would come from a yet-to-be-determined blend of new taxes on businesses and workers.

The report recommends that employers with fewer than 15 employees be exempt from paying the paid leave tax, though all employees would be subject to the tax. Larger employers would pay a paid leave tax rate based on total wages, the report recommends.

The blend of new taxes on business owners and their workers may be a 50-50 split, an 80-20, or 75-25, according to various options in Tuesday’s presentation. Precisely who shares what proportion of the tax burden for the new program is one of many details still up for debate.

In return for the new taxes, Maine workers would be eligible to receive payouts from the state when taking qualified leave. Qualified leave would include taking time off for a new child, caring for a loved one with a serious health issue, or emergencies related to a relative’s military deployment.

The commission estimates that standing up the program would cost $65 million to create the technology to administer the system — $15 million more than envisioned by those advocating for a paid family and medical leave ballot initiative.

“As a young woman and a small-business owner, this issue is particularly important to me,” said Daughtry, who co-owns a microbrewery in Brunswick.

“Not only do I want to be able to offer a benefit like this to my employees, but as someone who wants to someday start a family, it’s a policy I will also need,” she said.

Senate Democrats noted in a press release that 77 percent of Maine workers don’t have access to paid family and medical leave. Democrats also touted a recent poll that found a majority of Mainers support family and medical leave when asked about a hypothetical program paid for entirely by employers.

But the details — like who is paying what, who’s running the program, when are workers eligible and for how long — matter. And regardless of its final form, the new regulations and taxes would add another layer of bureaucracy and cost onto Maine’s businesses.

In a 2021 report, the Mercatus Center at Virginia’s George Mason University found Maine ranked among the most regulated states in the nation when it comes red tape for employers. The Maine Development Fund ranks the state as the country’s 10th most costly in which to do business. A recent study by the Maine Jobs Council found Maine ranks near the bottom of pretty much every economic ranking of states.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills did not request funding for a paid leave program in her biennial budget proposal last month, but backers of the emerging leave bill are hoping her administration will cooperate to find the funding for the program.

Hanging over the legislature on this question is the prospect of a citizens’ initiative should lawmakers not pass the new benefit this session.

In a July filing with the Commission on Ethics and Governmental Practices, the Maine People’s Alliance disclosed a donation of $250,000 toward the ballot initiative. The report disclosed that the group’s top donors included national progressive dark money funds, like the 1630 Fund and the Omidyar Network, two national left-wing groups that support progressive candidates and causes across America.

Chances are there’s more money where that came from. National progressive groups continue to rank the institution of a paid family and medical leave among their top priorities, according to activists.

Given the resources at play in pushing paid leave in Maine, the Daughtry-Cloutier bill is likely to gather momentum in coming weeks. Meanwhile, business owners in the state are already bracing themselves for this, and will be anxiously watching how the details play out.

The proposal — and the new taxes — could take effect as soon as Jan. 1, 2024.

“It would be better if they don’t try to ram this through at the end of the session,” Rep. Mike Soboleski (R-Phillips), another committee member who sat through Tuesday’s presentation noted. “This is something we need to carefully consider.”

New Angus King Letter Misleads Constituents Over Push to Censor Twitter, Facebook Users


The Maine Wire has obtained a new letter Maine Sen. Angus King is sending to constituents to explain why he conspired with social media companies to censor his political critics in 2018. Although King claims that his collaboration with Facebook and Twitter were aimed at fighting “misinformation,” the letter is itself misleading.

Further, CNN footage unearthed by the Maine Wire shows King making the exact claim that he now says was “misinformation” spread by his 2018 opponent, State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin).

King’s censorship push came to light last month when Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi revealed records that showed the King’s campaign sent an enemies list to Twitter and Facebook. The list included hundreds of social media users, many of whom were subsequently banned permanently from the platforms.

In the following weeks, King has struggled to come up with a coherent explanation for what his campaign did. King’s communications director initially sought to downplay the apparent censorship by telling Maine newspapers that the list included both conservatives and liberals, and that Twitter asked for the list, and that censorship was never the “express” purpose of the blacklist, which tracked when a user was censored.

King has never explained why the list includes Facebook users if the list only came into being because Twitter asked for it. Likewise, King has never reconciled his claim that the aim was never censorship with the documents themselves, which show that King operatives tracked whether social media users were, in fact, censored.

In the new letter, King offers yet another explanation for the conduct exposed by Taibbi.

The conspiracy to censor social media users began, King says, because of the video the Brakey campaign was circulating came with commentary that “created a false impression.”

The video in question shows King comparing alleged 2016 Russian hacking to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. But King claimed then, and claims now, that that’s not at all what he’s talking about.

“In 2018, my digital campaign team spotted a video being shared online that had been edited in such a way which, when presented with accompanying commentary, created a false impression of what I was discussing in a public meeting,” King wrote.

King has never offered an alternative explanation for what he was talking about in the video. Instead, King’s operatives have misleadingly referred to the video in question as “doctored.” But now King seems to have abandoned that false claim, instead pointing to “accompanying commentary.”

Now, the Maine Wire has uncovered CNN archive footage that shows King making the exact same comparison he now says is misinformation.

Readers can watch Brakey’s video and the CNN footage and decided for themselves who is spreading misinformation.

Comparing 9-11 to 2016 was clearly part of King’s rhetorical tool kit in 2017 and 2018. But when his campaign saw Brakey was making hay of the claim, King operatives took the extraordinary step of asking social media companies to engage in censorship on their behalf. King is now using the video he has falsely claimed is misinformation as the justification for the broader censorship conspiracy he engaged in.

Nothing King or his operatives have said about the Twitter Files disclosures stands up to even basic scrutiny.

More from the constituent letter: “The campaign staff reached out to Twitter’s content moderation team—as anyone else with such concerns can do—and asked them to inspect the posting and review it according to their policies, commonly referred to as Terms of Service, which are the rules that all users agree to abide by when they create their Twitter accounts.” (emphasis added)

King makes it seem as though his campaign filed a complaint within Twitter’s automated content moderation system, which any user can do. But that’s misleading. In reality, King’s campaign had access to high-level Twitter employees who prioritized King’s complaints — perhaps because King is a member of the Senate’s Intelligence Committee.

Average Mainers, including Brakey, would have found it impossible to get this kind of access to Twitter. King’s implication otherwise is outrageously false. King’s campaign manager was just a phone call away from Yoel Roth, the former Head of Trust & Safety at Twitter, one of the most powerful employees at the company. The Mainers who wound up kicked off of Twitter because of King’s blacklist would never in a million years have that kind of access.

Tellingly, Facebook isn’t even mentioned in the letter, nor have King’s operatives publicly acknowledged that the censorship campaign included not one, but two major social media companies. From the beginning, King’s campaign has made it seem like the blacklist was really Twitter’s idea, that they drew it up upon request. That’s simply false. The title of the file sent to Twitter is “Sus FB Accounts,” which shows King’s campaign already had the blacklist before the phone call and email with Twitter.

The facts simply don’t support King’s ongoing claim that the list only came into existence because of a request from Twitter. But King’s misleading explanations take advantage of voters’ lack of familiarity with social media and the Twitter Files, as well as the media curious incuriosity concerning the revelation that Maine’s junior senator conscripted social media companies into an elaborate censorship operation in order to keep his political power. Maine’s media has utterly disgraced itself by brushing off what in any normal media environment is massive, career-ending scandal.

Here’s the last whopper from King: “At the time of submitting this list, my campaign made it clear that we did not want to infringe on anyone’s free speech but simply asked Twitter to determine whether the postings in question violated their policies.”

However, the records Taibbi disclosed suggest King wasn’t interested in determining whether a specific post adhered to Twitter’s policies. The list they sent to Twitter didn’t flag individual postings or claims. The list flagged accounts. King’s statement in the letter is false on its face. And, like the rest of the statement, it elides over the fact that the campaign was also submitted the enemies list to Facebook. Again — the list was titled “Sus Facebook Accounts,” a fact King has never explained.

The Maine Wire emailed King communications director Matthew Felling and King campaign manager Toby McGrath to see if they have proof of this claim. McGrath, the operative who had the phone call with Twitter, hasn’t commented.

Felling provided the Maine Wire with a written statement that he previously provided to Fox News two weeks ago, but no further comment. The statement given to Fox mirrors much of the misleading language contained in the constituent letter.

“At no point did the campaign digital team ask for any action to be taken,” Felling said in the statement.


King has yet to renounce the censorship tactics he used in the 2018 campaign; nor has he said whether he would deploy similar tactics should he run again in 2024. So, as an educational example, if you want to see what actual misinformation looks like — as opposed to a real video that King simply finds inconvenient — here’s some misinformation created by The Maine Wire.

Here’s the full text of the letter King is sending to constituents:

Thank you for contacting me about steps my 2018 campaign took to address online disinformation. I appreciate the opportunity to walk through what actually happened and provide greater context to clear up any misunderstanding as to the actions and intent of my campaign in connection with this matter. 

In 2018, my digital campaign team spotted a video being shared online that had been edited in such a way which, when presented with accompanying commentary, created a false impression of what I was discussing in a public meeting. The campaign staff reached out to Twitter’s content moderation team—as anyone else with such concerns can do—and asked them to inspect the posting and review it according to their policies, commonly referred to as Terms of Service, which are the rules that all users agree to abide by when they create their Twitter accounts. In response, Twitter’s team said they would give the video a look and also invited the campaign to share other content that had raised similar concerns.

Campaign staff subsequently provided a list of accounts across the political spectrum that were sharing misinformation or appeared to be of suspicious origin, may have violated Twitter’s rules, or appeared to be located outside of the country. The final decision as to what to do with these accounts was up to Twitter, based upon their own policies.  

At the time of submitting this list, my campaign made it clear that we did not want to infringe on anyone’s free speech but simply asked Twitter to determine whether the postings in question violated their policies.

I understand that this is a difficult issue; neither I nor anyone else wants to see social media platforms become the “truth police” and thereby stifle open and vigorous debate. On the other hand, modern technology now makes it possible to create content which looks real but is demonstrably false. It has long been the practice that T.V. stations, for example, give broad latitude to political advertising but do, on occasion, refuse to run ads that are clearly false or misleading. So it is with social media as they try to navigate this question. 

I want to be clear: I welcome a vigorous campaign, but it needs to be centered on the debate of real, not made up, issues. There’s an old saying that “a lie can make its way around the world before the truth can get is boots on.” In the Internet age, that’s accelerated greatly and all of us are still trying to navigate this new reality. In the marketplace of ideas, we must always be wary of counterfeit goods.

Best Regards,

United States Senator

Biddeford Democrat Accuses Maine Republicans of Succumbing to Russian Propaganda


Rep. Marc Malon, II (D-Biddeford) wasn’t happy with his Republican colleagues who expressed skepticism of the symbolic resolution the House of Representatives debated Tuesday.

The resolution, which will have no practical impact on anything, consumed more than an hour of lawmakers time, as citizen legislators gave overwrought speeches about history, democracy, and the moral imperative that the U.S. continue to fund a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine.

Several Republicans expressed frustration that a state legislature would occupy its time with a meaningless gesture. Others warned of the risks of escalating conflict with a nuclear power. Still others wondered where all the money is coming from considering the U.S. is more than $30 trillion in debt.

But for Malon, skepticism of the resolution — or of the U.S.’s growing involvement in the war — was a sign his Republican colleagues were the victim of “Russian propaganda.”

“I found many of the Republican comments to be gross; and clearly influenced (unwittingly I’m sure) by Russian propaganda,” Malon posted to Facebook last night, in a thread bashing his Republican colleagues.

Unsubstantiated allegations of Russian influence — knowing or unwitting — have become a bedrock tool of rhetoric for modern liberal Democrats since the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

While party elder and former President Barack Obama once accused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of antiquated Cold War Era thinking for considering Russia a top geopolitical foe, the party has more recent embraced the politically useful tactic of claiming everything they oppose, Russians support.

The only problem is the rhetoric is far removed from facts.

The theory that Trump colluded with Russians to win his election has been thoroughly debunked.

After the 2016 dust settled, it became apparent that Hillary Clinton personally approved of an elaborate campaign to falsely smear Trump as a tool of the Kremlin. Even Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not conclude that Trump “colluded” with Russians. And, more recently, one of the FBI agents at the center of the Trump probe was recently arrested for colluding with the Russian oligarchs.

In terms of Russian propaganda, we also now know — thanks to Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi — about a coordinated effort to manufacturer a false narrative about Russian propaganda.

The so-called Hamilton 68 dashboard was a tool whose creators said measured the influence of Russian botnets. Various media outlets credulously used Hamilton 68‘s information as truth, telling their readers and viewers that Russian botnets — and therefore the Kremlin — supported all manner of Trump proposals and initiatives. But dashboard was little more than pseudoscience — a phony system that Twitter executives immediately flagged as bogus.

Nonetheless, the attempts by operatives from the political establishment and the Democratic Party to imply that everything conservatives do is somehow tied to mysterious Russian interests has had a lasting hold over many liberal Democrats.

Even Democratic elected officials, like Malon, appear to be influenced (unwittingly I’m sure) by totally false and thoroughly debunked narratives designed to advance the interests of Washington, D.C.’s political class and the military-industrial complex.

Overwhelming Majority of Maine Parents Want Curriculum Posted Online


Ever since the COVID-19 shutdowns led to Maine parents gaining greater awareness of what kids are learning in school, parental rights advocates have been pushing for greater transparency of schools’ curricula.

A recent Maine Wire poll of almost 2,000 respondents throughout the state finds an overwhelming number of likely voters now support a requirement for a school to post its curriculum online.

Overall, eight out of ten respondents favor posting the curriculum online, while 15 percent oppose doing so and another five remain undecided. While there is a significant ideological margin on this question between conservatives – 92 percent of whom say yes to online posting – more than half of liberals (53 percent) agree also, suggesting broader consensus.

Opposition grows slightly with advanced education, the survey shows. Nearly three-in-ten (29 percent) respondents with graduate degrees said no to fully disclosing all that’s being taught, or twice the overall average.

Also, residents of the 2nd Congressional District are three points (83 percent) more likely to support the idea than those is the 1st (77 percent).

Sen. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford) is one of multiple Maine Republicans who has introduced a bill this session for more transparency on how schools adopt their curricula. There are at least half-a-dozen bills before the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs calling for more clearly defined parental rights when it comes to schools.

But of all the questions posed on the parental rights survey, this notion that the curriculum should be out there for all to see enjoyed the highest support. On other questions about who should have the final say over what’s being taught, where the greatest influence on schools should be coming from, age-appropriate materials, and opt-outs on contentious material, significant majorities of respondents came down on the side of parental rights.

The survey was fielded between February 28 and March 1 via mobile phones, landline, and text messaging by Coefficient, a research firm with national reach. The Maine Wire will continue to report on its findings in-depth.

Maine Legislature Spends More Than an Hour Debating Symbolic Ukraine Resolution


The Maine Legislature spent much of Tuesday morning debating a symbolic resolution of support for Ukraine in the country’s ongoing war against Russia.

The resolution states, in part:

RESOLVED: That We, the Members of the One Hundred and Thirty-first Legislature now assembled in the First Regular Session, pause in our deliberations to condemn the egregious, unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine and voice our support for peace, diplomacy and an immediate end to the invasion; and be it further

RESOLVED: That we support the United States Government’s continued security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and imposition of consequences on Russia for its war of aggression; and be it further

RESOLVED: That we encourage the citizens of the State to support Ukrainian Americans and the people of Ukraine in their urgent time of need.

The joint resolution was offered by Rep. Rebecca Millett (D-Cape Elizabeth) and co-sponsored by, among others, House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) and Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook).

The resolution states that “the people of Maine recognize that they share democratic values with the people of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy.”

The more than an hour long debate was mostly an intellectual exercise, with various members of the citizen legislature attempting to share their deep geopolitical wisdom with colleagues or else to virtue signal their disdain for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The indiscriminate targeting of civilians and the mass forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, which meets the definition of genocide according to the 1948 genocide convention, exposes the evil hollowness of Russia’s quote one people unquote,” said Millett.

Millett also took the opportunity to speak at length about her own experience working in Ukraine with Peace Corps in the 1990s.

This is the second resolution in support of Ukraine that Millett has brought forward to the Maine legislature.

Some Republicans who opposed the resolution also spoke out, pointing up the meaninglessness of Maine passing symbolic resolutions on international matters.

“We have an obligation to serve the people of Maine,” said Rep. James E. Thorne (R-Carmel).

“We listened to everyone speak hear today when we should be listening to the problems the people in Maine have,” he said.

Other Republicans expressed their concerns with U.S. involvement in the conflict generally.

“Our country is printing billions and billions and billions of dollars to wage a proxy war with Russia,” said Rep. David Boyer (R-Poland).

“We’re stealing from the poorest Americans for the benefit of the military industrial complex,” he said. “We’re paying for Ukrainian pensions. Meanwhile, our own country’s infrastructure is crumbling.”

President Joe Biden himself has said that part of U.S. aid to Ukraine will be used to support the country’s public pension system.

“In spirit, I support the people, but I cannot support continued, unchecked and unbalanced money just going out not accounted for,” said Rep. Jeffrey Adams (R-Lebanon).

“I got a son in the Army, got a son in the Navy, they’re the ones that are going to do the fighting,” he said, warning of future Cold War-style escalations.

Sparks flew when Rep. Dan Sayre (D-Kennebunk) tied those Republicans who opposed the symbolic gesture to anti-Semitic movements of the 1930s.

In response to Sayre’s accusation, Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) made a point of order, and Sayre was advised to refrain from impugning the character and motivations of his colleagues.

The United States has given nearly $80 billion in humanitarian aid and military supplies to Ukraine, according to the Kiel Institute, a German think tank that has emerged as one of the best resources for tracking international aid flows to Ukraine.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) has introduced a bill to Congress that would require the U.S. government to conduct an audit of all the aid given to Ukraine. Although the bill has gathered some support from more mainstream Republicans, it’s unlikely to pass in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The resolution ended up passing the House of Representatives 87 to 54. Though the move is entirely symbolic, it will likely be a popular one in many of Maine’s more liberal communities where Ukrainian flags on display appear to outnumber American flags.

Newly Unearthed Jan. 6 Footage ‘Demolishes’ Dems’ ‘Insurrection’ Claims, Tucker Carlson Says


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Harold Hutchison on March 6, 2023

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Monday that footage of the Capitol riot “demolishes” claims by Democrats that an “insurrection” occurred on Jan. 6, 2021.

“We are about to show you surveillance footage from inside the United States Capitol. The images you will see were recorded 26 months ago today on January 6th, 2021,” Carlson, a co-founder of the Daily Caller and honorary board member of the Daily Caller News Foundation, said. “Until now, politicians have kept this tape hidden from the public. There is no legitimate justification for that and there never has been.”

Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the speaker of the House provided Carlson access to over 41,000 hours of video footage of the Capitol riot, Axios reported. Previous reports indicated that the amount of footage was 14,000 hours.

Hundreds of people stormed the Capitol building during the certification of the electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021. A Capitol Police officer shot and killed one of those who stormed the building.


“Once you see the video, you will understand why. Taken as a whole, the video record does not support the claim that January 6th was an insurrection,” Carlson said in a voice-over showing some of the released footage. “In fact, it demolishes that claim.”

“That is exactly why the Democratic Party and its allies in the media prevented you from seeing it,” Carlson continued. “By controlling the images you are allowed to view from January 6th, they control how the public understood that day.”

Carlson also addressed claims from Democrats and liberal media outlets who criticized the release of the footage to him.

“Our producers had unfettered access to the Capitol surveillance video. Neither the speaker’s office or the bosses at Fox News interfered in any way with our investigation. And the 40,000 or so hours of tape, most of it turned out to be irrelevant,” Carlson said. “Static shots of empty rooms and in some cases far from the Capitol itself. To find relevant videotape our producers were given the use of Capitol computers with advanced mapping software that made it easy to find what we were looking for.”

“The usual hyenas in Congress and on cable news have been howling about we are putting lives at risk by showing this tape to the public. Given that these are the very same people who support open borders and defunding the police, it is hard to take their complaints seriously. We do take security seriously,” Carlson added later. “Before airing any of this video we checked first with the Capitol police. We are happy to say the reservations were minor and for the most part they were reasonable.”

Carlson noted that the only change that was made was to obscure details of an interior door in the Capitol building.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

DCNF: Northern Border Residents Say They’re ‘Overwhelmed’ And ‘On Edge’ Over Illegal Migration Surge


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Jennie Taer on March 6, 2023

  • Residents living in an area of the northern border known as the Swanton sector, which encompasses parts of New York and Vermont, are fed up over the local impacts of an influx in illegal migration that has resulted in property damage and interruptions to their normally quiet lives.
  • The sector has seen a nearly 845% surge in illegal migration in the month of January, when Border Patrol agents encountered 367 migrants.
  • “Everybody in this area is on edge,” Northern border resident Dan Cowan told the DCNF. “We don’t have the holding capacity for Border Patrol or U.S. Customs. What are they gonna do with these people when they’re getting here? They’re not deporting them.”

CHATEAUGAY, New York  — Northern border residents in parts of New York and Vermont say they’re “overwhelmed” by the surge in illegal migrants moving south into their communities as they’re disrupting the locals’ daily lives, depleting already limited resources and causing damage in the area, the Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.

The northern border’s Swanton sector has seen a 845% surge in migrant apprehensions and a 900% increase in illegal migrants evading arrest in the month of January alone. Border Patrol apprehended and encountered 367 migrants in January—more than the number from past 12 Januarys combined—and residents of the area  told the DCNF that the influx has “everyone on edge” and that they have never “seen anything this bad.” 

(RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘It Hasn’t Stopped’: The Northern Border Is Wide Open And People Are Funneling Across)

“Our Biden administration, open borders, free everything,” Cowan said as he stood in his home near Chateaugay, New York.

The recent increase in illegal migration up north can be attributed to lax Canadian government travel requirements for many nationalities and a lack of manpower on the U.S. side, with Border Patrol agents deployed to address the influx at the southern border over the last couple of years.

There are roughly 2,200 Border Patrol agents stationed along the entire northern border out of the nearly 20,000 total agents patrolling all U.S. borders, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Our Biden administration, open borders, free everything,” Cowan said as he stood in his home near Chateaugay, New York.

“Everybody in this area is on edge,” he told the DCNF. “We don’t have the holding capacity for Border Patrol or U.S. Customs. What are they gonna do with these people when they’re getting here? They’re not deporting them.”

“I participated in reporting 16 in the month of January that had walked through and gotten picked up. Most of them I would say were either Mexicans or Guatemalans and the occasional Romanians,” Cowan said, sharing that he fears finding bodies of illegal migrants who didn’t survive the cold when the snow melts at the end of the winter.

“They need to be aware of what’s really going on in this country, they need to open their eyes to what’s happening. There are elderly people, my 81-year-old mother lives next door. We had a person that tried to get in my garage door right here,” he continued.

A resident of North Troy, Vermont, Jim Brewers, explained that his family’s normally quiet life on their farm has been disrupted by Border Patrol’s frequent patrols of the area and the damages caused by the surge in illegal migration. He also said he had a mother and her baby take refuge in his truck when the weather was twenty degrees below zero.

“I’m tired of the damages that I’m trying to fix,” Brewers told the DCNF.

“I see probably five to eight a week. It mostly looks like women and children. My sugar bush is a mile down the road, that’s full of tracks all the time,” Brewers added.

Border Patrol drops off illegal migrants who cross into the north with their court dates at nearby motels, the DCNF observed. Several groups dropped off in the area that were from Romania and Haiti told the DCNF they were trying to buy bus tickets to get to other cities further south.

The area doesn’t have the resources to support them, according to the residents in the area.

“It would overwhelm this town. Because there’s prisons here too and all of the families come up,” Mary Whalen, who’s from Franklin County, New York, told the DCNF.

“I don’t think Franklin County can handle much more and I voted for Biden. Still, I think there’s a limit to how many people should come across that border. I was hoping he wouldn’t let so many through,” Whalen said.

Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams began busing illegal migrants to Plattsburgh, New York, where they go to cross the border illegally into Canada. The situation has added to the number of migrants that have gone south via small northern border towns.

“These areas that have put themselves up as sanctuary cities, sanctuary states that have asked people to move along, I think [it] is very disingenuous,” Clinton County, New York, legislator Calvin Castine recently told the DCNF.

“Obviously, they’re taking some people, but I think putting themselves up as a city with 8.5 million people and then putting them on a bus and sending them to Clinton County with a 75,000 population … eventually ending up here in Champlain with a 5,500 population trying to cross the border, I think that they’re being a little bit disingenuous,” he added.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

New York Court System Must Rehire Employees Fired Over Vaccine Mandate, Provide Back Pay


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Katelynn Richardson on March 6, 2023

The New York State Unified Court System (UCS) must rehire and provide back pay with interest to employees fired as a result of the system’s vaccine mandate, the state’s Public Employment Relations Board decided last week.

Enforcement of the vaccine mandate must “cease and desist” and the system provide anyone who “lost accrued leave, compensation or employment” back pay with interest “at the maximum legal rate,” the New York Post reported. The decision will impact at least 25 fired court officers, New York State Court Officers Association president Dennis Quirk told the Post.

The UCS told the Daily Caller News Foundation it is “considering all further options.”

“We are reviewing the decision and considering all further options including an appeal,” a UCS spokesperson told the DCNF. “This ruling affects a bit less than 100 people.”

The system fired 103 employees and required four judges work from home last April, according to Reuters. In total, 200 workers resigned, retired, or were fired after the policy was implemented in September 2021, Quirk told the Post. In October, workers were denied a preliminary injunction against the policy.

Administrative Law Judge Mariam Manichaikul ruled that UCS did not meet the criteria for taking “unilateral action in an emergency situation” because it failed to negotiate with the worker unions, according to the Feb. 24 decision obtained by the Post. The UCS’ decision to cease talks in December 2021 “when no agreements had been reached nor impasse declared” is a “violation” of the Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, Manichaikul wrote.

“In adopting the Policies, UCS unilaterally implemented extensive procedures that implicate various terms and conditions of employment, including leave time, compensation, discipline, job security and medical privacy, all of which must be bargained,” Manichaikul wrote, according to the Post.

The mandate was discontinued by the state court system last month after a city court judge sued, arguing that his denial of a religious exemption was a violation of his constitutional rights, according to Reuters. New York City Mayor Eric Adams also ended the vaccine mandate for city workers in early February.

A Staten Island judge ruled in October that NYC sanitation workers should be rehired and given back pay, which the Adams administration is currently appealing, according to NY Daily News.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

State Workers’ Union Wants Big Pay Bump, Looser Telework Rules, and Expanded Parental Leave


The Maine State Employees Association announced Friday that it had filed a prohibited practices labor complaint against Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ administration.

The complaint alleges that Mills’ negotiator, Bureau of Human Resources Director Breena Bissell, is not negotiating in good faith.

You can read the full complaint here.

Democratic officials have so far remained quiet about the complaint.

Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook), who is known for his work with and on behalf of unions, has not responded to inquiries from the Maine Wire.

But House Minority Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) published an op-ed today addressing the Mills administration’s treatment of the union bargaining team.

Maine Democrats and the MSEA are typically sympatico, so what’s going on here?

Some have suggested that the complaint, which will have little real consequence for the Mills administration, is a clever ploy by Democrats to make it appear as if they’re taking a hardline in negotiating. Others have speculated that union officials haven’t been properly deferential to certain politicians, so elected officials are reminding them who’s boss.

In either event, the union doesn’t really have a strong hand to play. From Feb. 2021 to Dec. 2022, the MSEA went from 5,418 members in the executive branch to 5,058. Fewer employees equals less dues money, which in turn means less political muscle. Politically, MSEA doesn’t have any alternatives as they’ve alienated every Republican from York to Fort Kent, as Faulkingham points out.

In an email to MSEA members Monday, union head Dean Staffieri also included the list of bargaining demands the union is prepared to make — if it ever does get a meeting with Bissell. But given the way the Mills administration has treated negotiators thus far, these asks might be too tall an order.

PAY: The MSEA is asking for a $5.00 increase in the base rate of compensation, plus a 22 percent increase that takes effect this year. On top of that, they want another 15 percent in 2024. That pay increase is historic in size. For context: the last pay raise MSEA secured in 2021 was 2 percent the first year and 4 percent the second year, plus a minimum hourly rate of $15.00. MSEA is also proposing the the State pay the full cost of retirement contributions for workers covered by the agreement.

REIMBURSEMENTS: Right now, state workers get a $0.45 mileage allowance. They’re looking to knock that up to $.655. MSEA also wants the meal allowance for extended days increased to $10.00 for breakfast and $25.00 for dinner. On the health and wellness front, MSEA wants members to have a $100/month reimbursement to cover classes that improve physical and mental health.

TELEWORK: If the COVID-19 government lockdowns gave you a taste for that work-from-home life, you’re not the only one. The MSEA is proposing clearer guidelines for how members can work from home. Under the proposed agreement, any state employee would be able to request work-from-home privileges.

Supervisors would have to reply to their written request within ten days offering an approval or a “compelling reason” why the employee cannot work from home. Those compelling reasons cannot include any disciplinary action that has previously been taken against the employee (unless the action was related to working from home), the employee being on promotional or initial probation, that the employees supervisor is already working remotely, or that the location is not the employees home.

In short, it sounds like workers are sick of being told they can’t work from home because the boss already is, and they want to privilege of working from their camp or favorite vacation spot.

PARENTAL LEAVE: State workers currently get 28 days of paid parental leave, and they must take the leave no less than eight weeks following the arrival of the child. The MSEA is asking for 12 weeks of paid parental leave taken within a year of a child’s arrival.

HEALTH & SAFETY: The proposed agreement would create new protections for workers who believe their health and safety would be harmed by a work-related task or living situation. The MSEA also wants a $75 benefit to purchase “protective” eyewear.

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Maine Man Charged with Domestic Terrorism Following Left-Wing, Anti-Cop Riot in Georgia


A man from Maine was arrested on March 5 and charged with domestic terrorism following his participation in coordinated violent attacks on construction equipment and police officers at the proposed site of a police training facility outside Atlanta.

Colin Dorsey (Source: Atlanta Police)

Colin Dorsey, 42, was arrested and charged along with 22 other people. Atlanta Police did not identify where in Maine Dorsey resides.

The attack on law enforcement took place at the proposed site of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. Activists affiliated with “Antifa” have staged protests at the site for several months now.

“[A] group of violent agitators used the cover of a peaceful protest of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center to conduct a coordinated attack on construction equipment and police officers,” the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement.

“They changed into black clothing and entered the construction area and began to throw large rocks, bricks, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks at police officers,” they said. “The agitators destroyed multiple pieces of construction equipment by fire and vandalism. Multiple law enforcement agencies deployed to the area and detained several people committing illegal activity. 35 agitators have been detained so far.”

Among the other arrestees was Thomas Jurgens, a staff attorney with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center.

A Kennebunkport man has previously been arrested on two occasions for his participation in what police have called domestic terrorism at the same location.

GOP Leader: Union Complaint Shows Mills’ Priorities Don’t Include Working People

The recent announcement by Maine’s second largest union, MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, that it has filed a prohibited practices complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board against Governor Janet Mills and her administration got my attention. The complaint alleges that her Administration engaged in bad-faith bargaining and used unlawful tactics.

My first reaction when contacted for comment was that this is a ‘family squabble’ between a union that exclusively supports Democrats, including Janet Mills, to the exclusion of Republicans. The same union that represents workers at the Maine Turnpike Authority, Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, and Maine’s Judicial Department is continually silent when Republicans support pro-worker legislation favored by their members.

[RELATED: Buyer’s Remorse: MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, Maine’s 2nd Largest Union, Files Complaint After Mills Blows Off Talks…]

Still, the recent communication from President Dean Staffieri to state union members read cannot go unnoticed. “Today we filed charges of labor law violations over management’s continued refusal to come to the table and bargain,” said Staffieri. It is surprising to me that the Administration would not want to fairly hear the views of a union that represents over 5,000 executive branch employees.    

Maine Republicans are increasingly the party of workers. That shift has been occurring for a number of years. For evidence of this, one only has to look at who represents Maine mills towns and working class communities formerly represented by Democrats.

We have Republican House members representing Millinocket, Skowhegan, Sanford, Rumford, Mexico, and Jay, just to name a few. The Maine communities most immune to the unprecedented price increases for everyday necessities required to survive are the communities not represented by Republicans. The negative trends we are all experiencing are increasingly giving Republicans an opportunity to expand our party.

As the party of workers and their families, Maine House Republicans believe the affected union members and their bargaining units have a right to be heard. I am supporting MSEA-SEUI Local 1989 on this one because I support the fundamental rights of its members to negotiate fairly. Negotiating is fundamental to maintaining good working conditions, and fair wages. Failure to allow negotiations to take place is a betrayal of the workers that make our state government function.

I have not always supported every union demand, nor will I. House Republicans are committed to the success of all Mainers without favoring some individual groups over others. But, I will always support the rights of workers to negotiate fairly. I may not care for the exclusive devotion of MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 to Democrat office holders and seekers, but I do care for their members and their right to be heard.

Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winterport) is the Maine House Republican Leader.

Ford Seeks Patent for Remote Repossession Tech


If you miss the payments on your Ford F-150, Ford may soon be able to deactivate your ride with the click of a button.

The automaker applied for a patent on Feb. 23 related to technology that would enable them to remotely disable various features of their vehicles, The Drive reported last week.

According to the abstract of the application, the system they’ve created “pertains to systems and methods to repossess a vehicle.”

“In an example method, a first computer sends to a second computer, a message pertaining to a notice of delinquency of a vehicle-related payment. The message includes a request to an individual, such as a purchaser or a lessee of the vehicle, to acknowledge receipt of the message. The first computer may be associated with a financing agency (a bank or a lender) and the second computer may be a vehicle computer of the vehicle or a smartphone owned by the individual. When an acknowledgement is not received with a reasonable period of time, the first computer may disable functionality of a component of the vehicle or may place the vehicle in a lockout condition.”

The 14-page application goes on to detail how the system would work with manually driven and fully autonomous vehicles.

In the event that a customer is delinquent on payments for a self-driving car, Ford envisions a scenario where it might be desirable to remotely hijack the vehicle and order it to drive itself to a predetermined location.

The patent application doesn’t specify whether government agencies would be allowed backdoors into these systems, but it’s only a matter of time.

Here’s the patent application, welcome to the brave new world.

Twitter Files: “Global Engagement Center” Abuses Preceded Angus King’s Blacklist


Have you noticed the narrative around “disinformation” changing recently?

In his new, self-styled outlet Racket News, Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi examines three, interrelated streams of activity by the U.S. government, private consultants, and social media giants from 2015 to the present that – taken jointly – paint a troubling picture of efforts to “de-platform” voices it smeared at suspicious.

This analysis provides a new context in which to consider Sen. Angus King’s campaign reaching out to Twitter in 2018 to provide an “enemies list” of hundreds of “suspicious” accounts, many of which were Mainers and supporters of King’s opponent, State Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin), in that year’s election.

By the time King’s campaign did it, conspiring with social media firms to blacklist, de-platform, and smear political critics had become a cultural norm within the Washington-Palo Alto circuit.

In his reporting Thursday, Taibbi looked at the Global Engagement Center (GEC), an internal sub-agency within the State Department created under the Obama administration. The U.S. developed the GEC as a tool for better monitoring what the rest of the world says about us and correcting misperceptions. But what began as Uncle Sam’s PR firm morphed into an information weapon used by the political establishment against its enemies.

Following the election of Donald Trump in 2016, GEC’s focus shifted from Islamic extremism to “fighting disinformation.” A new breed of “disinformation warriors” was born – young people with minimal world experience who were somehow able to make calls about what was probable Russian interference, or – once that chestnut had been played for well more than it was worth – domestic extremists.

There were, for example, GEC-funded activities The Maine Wire reported on last month that commingled financing with left-wing billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ Open Society Institute to create a “Disinformation Index” that included a number of prominent conservative news sites in the U.S.

Taibbi’s report shows how a diverse array of interests developed a coordinated and sophisticated mechanism for controlling online dialogue. Government employees and often third-party contractors would create massive lists of social media handles, and then they would concoct some vital national security-linked reason why these accounts needed to be kicked off of Twitter.

For example, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFR), a project funded by the U.S. government and GEC, called on Twitter in 2021 to target more than 40,000 accounts it suspected of being paid operatives for India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The list the DFRLab gave Twitter looks remarkably similar to the list Sen. King’s staff supplied. And in both cases, Taibbi was able to contact multiple people on the list who were just ordinary social media users, not bots or paid Hindu nationalists.

In another instance, the “disinformation experts” at GEC tried to convince Twitter to suspend 5,500 accounts it said were engaged in coordinated manipulation on behalf of the Chinese. In that list, Taibbi was able to find ordinary Americans with no connection to the Chinese communists, including multiple low-level CNN employees.

According to Taibbi’s investigation, GEC used the “guilt by association” technique for investigating. Which in this case meant that users who retweeted a Russia-linked news story, for example, would be added to a list of accounts engaged in censor-worthy behavior. (Those techniques are similar to the now-discredited Hamilton 68 dashboard, which successfully convinced large media institutions that Russian botnets were promoting conservative causes on social media.)

Twitter, to their credit, sometimes proved skeptical of GEC’s lists and requests. However, in those instances, GEC would leak alarming reports of foreign influence operations to the media, who would in turn knock on Twitter’s door to ask why they were aiding and abetting malign foreign actors.

After recent confirmations that COVID-19 most likely originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, Americans are looking at the “disinformation” industry with fresh eyes. Through his painstaking work on the Twitter Files, Taibbi is doing us all a favor.

On Tuesday, he will be testifying before Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) committee on the weaponization of government.

It should be an instructive hearing.

FBI Admits Truth on COVID-19 Lab Leak, Signaling Interesting Times Ahead for U.S.-China Relations


Curse or proverb? That is the question often attached to an ancient Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times.” After news this week, ironically relating to the national source of that phrase, we may be on the verge of times so interesting, the last three years will pale in comparison.

The Biden administration has been executing a slow crawl, step-by-step admission that the COVID-19 virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China, first buried in a classified Energy Department report and then by a direct admission from FBI Director Christopher Wray that “The FBI has for quite some time now assessed that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan.” Baby steps. It came from Wuhan. Then from a lab in Wuhan. Then, it was an incident at a lab in Wuhan. What will the next step be and what is the full story they are leading us toward?

Before the next shoe dropped, however, a former Chinese scientist may have revealed the end game sooner than the administration could get there, and if it proves to be true, the significance would be massive.

Dr. Li-Meng Yan is a Chinese medical doctor and virologist who fled to the U.S. from Hong Kong in April 2020. Since that time, she has publicly drawn attention to her belief that the virus originated in a lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Upon publishing her conclusions, critics immediately attacked Yan’s research, her credentials, even her ethics. Anyone who cited her and her theories was labelled a “conspiracy theorist” and so-called “fact check” organizations rushed to dismiss her claims as false.

If she is to be believed—and why would anyone risk the wrath of the Chinese government on herself and her family if it were not true—there is one major factor that favors Yan over her critics. She actually worked on the COVID virus in a Chinese virology lab and understands the inner workings of such an operation. With this knowledge, Yan pointed out that viruses do not simply escape accidently from these facilities. An accidental lab leak, says Yan, “would be impossible given the protocols and other surveillance systems.”

In the past, the Washington Post argued similarly that “Too many perfect coincidences would have had to take place for it to have escaped from a lab,” and National Public Radio reported that there was “virtually no chance” that the virus escaped the lab because to do so “would have required a remarkable series of coincidences and deviations from well-established experimental protocols.” Strangely, none of these critics of the story seemed to entertain the notion that the leak might not be accidental or a coincidence, but rather an intentional act.

Which brings us to major revelations this past week. First, the U.S. government’s growing acknowledgement that Yan’s first major point was accurate, that the virus came from a lab in Wuhan. Upon reading about the Energy Department report and the FBI director’s admission, fact-check sites began quickly revising their assessment of the issue and making all kinds of excuses about their earlier attacks on the theory. Also, once-harsh critics have either fallen silent, tried to explain their earlier rejections of the idea, or continued to hold to them, claiming the government must be wrong. The tide, however, is turning quickly in favor of Yan’s point of view.

There is no institution, perhaps in the world, that has led the study of COVID-19 more thoroughly than the Johns Hopkins University. On Tuesday, Dr. Marty Makary, professor of surgery at the school, testified before a Congressional subcommittee and was asked about the origin of the virus.

“The [COVID] epicenter of the world,” he responded, “is five miles from one of the only high-level virology labs in China. It’s a no-brainer that it came from the lab. I mean, at this point, it’s impossible to acquire any more information, and if you did, it would only be affirmative.”

If many scientists, journalists, and policymakers who once dismissed Yan and what she has argued are now at least making room for the idea that she may have been right all along, one would think there would be a wider acceptance of her latest revelation. To date, however, very few significant news organizations have covered Yan’s latest conclusion that the virus was not only created in a Wuhan lab, but it was released by the Chinese government intentionally.

Imagine the implications. The Chinese government intentionally released COVID-19 on the world. In the U.S. alone, the virus contributed to the deaths of more than one million Americans. Worldwide, it was a factor in the deaths of at least seven million and likely many more. Is this the revelation toward which the Biden administration was slow-walking us with its progression of public acknowledgements? If so, what would be the response of the U.S. government to such a discovery?

For some perspective, the 1915 sinking of the passenger and cargo liner Lusitania was the final blow that pushed the U.S. government to join the fight in World War I. Nearly 1,200 passengers died when a German U-Boat torpedoed and sunk the vessel off the coast of England. Of these, 128 were American citizens. That war cost the lives of more than 116,000 American soldiers. A quarter century later, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the deaths of 2,403 Americans brought the U.S. into World War II. That war cost the lives of more than 400,000 Americans. After losing just shy of 3,000 people in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S embarked on the longest war in its history.

What then, will the U.S. do if Yan’s allegations are proven with irrefutable evidence? Though it is unlikely we will see U.S. jets and missiles firing on the Asian superpower, sanctions at least as strong as those imposed on Russia would likely befall the government in Beijing and its people. The result would be enormously devastating to China but also, and unavoidably, to the United States.

Hunter Biden’s laptop was framed as a crazy conspiracy theory until he acknowledged that it was his. The idea that the FBI was working with Twitter to silence conservative voices on the social media platform was only true in the minds of ultra-right wing zealots, until Twitter records revealed weekly meetings between the two. It took $44 billion for Elon Musk to uncover that truth. The media and the pundit class dismissed this same Chinese scientist when she said the virus originated in a lab, until the FBI acknowledged they had been convinced of the truth of it “for quite some time now.”

This history with Yan’s earlier story may be tempering the reaction to her latest, much more sinister revelation. They were burned once by doubting her, so they are not taking any chances this time. Perhaps, having seen so many “crazy conspiracy theories” turn out to have a basis in fact, Americans have grown tired of the knee-jerk reaction against anyone who posits a controversial new idea. Whatever the reason, there has so far been precious little reporting, good or bad, on Yan’s newest bombshell.

The End of the Chinese Empire

Beginning in 1980, with their nation’s population growing far too rapidly, the Chinese government implemented a “one-child-policy” that restricted each family to having a single child only. For nearly a half century this policy was the keystone of a wider program to limit the birth rate. While effective in its goal, the policy lacked a very important element—foresight. By limiting the number of births, the government started the clock on a demographic time bomb that is fast reaching the point of detonation.

By limiting the size of at least two generations of its people, the nation has arrived at a place where there are far more older, retired citizens than there are younger people who can generate the economic activity to support them. Without enough youthful workers the cost of labor, famously low in China for decades, has risen sharply, causing major manufacturing operations to seriously consider “reshoring” their operations to countries with cheaper labor, such as Mexico, whose costs are now one-third that of China.

Not surprisingly, the size of the country’s labor force peaked in 2015 and is now in the midst of a sharp downward trend as more older Chinese move out of the workforce and there simply are not enough younger people to take their place, drive the economy forward, and provide the communist government with the ability to care for its older population. Recently, the Chinese admitted that they had overcounted their population by a hundred million people, worsening the reality that the size of its younger population may be insufficient for its economic survival.

China is the world’s largest importer of food and energy. It is dependent on foreign imports of oil to help power its electrical grid. Spikes, or worse, permanent upward shifts, in world energy costs further darken China’s economic future. Demographic researcher and best-selling author Peter Zeihan wrote in 2022 that “China is by far the most vulnerable country in the world right now… Three decades of growth has strained the country’s electricity system; the country has no spare capacity—it runs all of its power generation flat out regardless of the input fuel—so any input shortage would at a minimum lead to large scale rotating blackouts.”

Enter the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the supply of oil and natural gas in the region. China is already looking at the possibility of economic collapse in the not-so-distant future. Within a year or less, we could see the Chinese economy failing in ways that it cannot correct. This is a country of 1.4 billion people. Imagine the reaction among a populace of that size to their government’s support of Russia in a war that could end very badly for Moscow and make permanent the decline in its outward flow of energy exports. Add to this the inability of Beijing to remedy energy and food shortages, and then mix in the reaction to the discovery that its leaders intentionally unleashed the COVID-19 virus on the world. This a recipe for epic disaster and deep destabilization in a nation of more than one-sixth of the World’s population.

Before you celebrate the potentially imminent demise of the ancient Chinese Empire, consider the enormous detrimental effect this would certainly have on the United States.

Look around your living room or kitchen. So much in our lives needs a lithium-ion or nickel-cadmium battery, or semiconductors or both. Not just the cell phones, laptops, and tablets, but the digital clock, the television, the game console, the cable box, and on and on, all made with the help of a group of about a dozen or more minerals.

A modern automobile, for example, can use as many as 3,000 semiconductors. More than two years ago, major automakers such as Ford, Mercedes, and General Motors closed plants because they lacked the microchips to make their products work. Local dealers saw their lots empty while they tried to maintain cash flow by shifting to used vehicles. The jump in prices for both new and used contributed significantly to inflation.

The automobile microchip shortage exposed the lack of additional capacity in the manufacturing world to meet the growing demand for technology. There are three billion more smartphones in the world today than there were in 2020. In 2021, customers across the globe bought seven million new electric vehicles, each of which, on average, requires a battery the size of 5,400 cell phone batteries. All of these rely on a combination of those minerals, and the supply of many of these are reaching their capacity in terms of mining and processing. Most of the mining rights, processing capacity or both of things like cobalt, lithium, nickel, copper, and rare earth minerals are controlled by China. Replacing its role in the production of these minerals, if it is possible at all, would take years, even decades.

As badly as the supply of semiconductors negatively impacted the auto industry, similar shortages are on the horizon for other products that we have become dependent upon in our daily lives, even with uninterrupted Chinese production. The rising cost of labor, the shortage of mineral deposits worldwide, and China’s suddenly much higher energy costs are sure to cause higher prices, if not outright shortages in the near future. And that’s if China remains as stable as it is today, which is increasingly unlikely.

If Dr. Yan’s tale of a diabolical act by the Chinese government proves to be true—and at this point that is an enormous “if”— every nation in the world that lost citizens to the pandemic—which is every nation in the world—would be pressured, if not compelled to join in a regime of sanctions that would quickly devastate an already fragile Chinese economy. Almost simultaneously, the resulting impact on its manufacturing output could very likely ignite a worldwide recession—or worse.

If the Biden administration is already aware of the true origins of the virus—remember, it took months for it to finally acknowledge that it “most likely” was released due to a lab “incident” in Wuhan—they must already be wrestling with their choice of responses to include bad or worse. Bad: Reacting harshly toward China, which would likely be the overwhelmingly popular choice among Americans, would cause immediate and lasting harm to our national economy, and destabilize the world’s economy for years to come. Worse: Reacting in any other way would essentially pardon an intentional act that led to the deaths of 458 times as many Americans as were killed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.

On Sunday morning, the Chinese government announced that it intended to increase spending on its military by nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars this year in order to “boost combat preparedness and enhance military capabilities,” despite a lack of a known military threat from any nation.

Perhaps it is anticipating such a threat.

We are about to live in very interesting times.

Liberal Minority Pushing DEI in Maine Schools, Most Want Back to Basics: MAINE WIRE POLL

A Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll conducted this week shows that most Maine voters want schools to get back to teaching the basics — like math, reading, science, and writing — while a small minority of self-identified liberals want a greater focus on diversity and equity programming.

[RELATED: MAINE WIRE POLL: Most Maine Voters Say Schools Should Get “Back to Basics,” Ditch DEI and Gender Programming…]

Most liberals in the survey also opposed greater transparency in public schools, like the posting of curriculum materials online for parents to review. A majority of liberals surveyed also said they didn’t want parents to have the right to protect their children from school content that they deemed illicit or obscene.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 Maine general election voters, 66 percent of self-identified liberals said teachers should spend more time promoting diversity and equity as opposed to math, reading, writing and science.

That left-wing bloc stands in sharp contrast to the large, bipartisan majority of Maine voters who want Maine’s schools to get back to the basics.

[RELATED: Large Majority of Maine Voters Oppose Secret Gender Transitions at Schools: MAINE WIRE POLL…]

93 percent of conservatives and 73 percent of moderates said teachers should not prioritize diversity and equity programming over core educational subjects. In terms of party identification, large majorities of both established political parties, as well as likely voters who aren’t a member of a political party, supported a return to traditional subject matter.

Bipartisan majorities also support greater transparency in public school curricula and stronger safeguards to ensure students are only accessing age-appropriate materials.

[RELATED: 80% of Maine Voters Want School Materials Posted Online…]

Curiously, despite the majority consensus on these hot button education issues, it is actually the liberal minority that is dictating what happens in Maine schools.

When it comes to school transparency, gender programing, Critical Race Theory, and parental rights, Maine’s policymakers and school board members have traditionally taken the liberal position. But the survey suggests that far more Maine voters are skeptical of the recent push for “woke” curriculum than support it.

Shadowy Left-Wing Group Spends Big on Maine Politics


From 2018 to the present, a powerful, out-of-state group played a huge role in influencing Maine elections using a kind of shell game to deploy resources to left-of-center causes. Arabella Advisors presides over a shadowy network of at least five separate “dark money” funds, all of which contributed to Maine entities during this period to the tune of at least $15 million, and probably more.

(Source: Capital Research Center)

What is “dark money” anyway? In 2010, the Sunlight Foundation coined the politically correct term to describe funds that go into elections without being specifically designated to one candidate or party. In Buckley v. Valeo, a 1976 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, the court designated “eight magic words” to define a political contribution, but designations outside those words – say for issue advocacy – is where “dark money” plays its role.

I first learned of Arabella Advisors in 2005, around the time Eric Kessler set it up. Kessler had been the National Democratic Institute’s country representative in Kazakhstan, where I had also worked and, like I was at the time, he was married to a Kazakh. As he explained it to me then, Arabella was set up to help ultra high net worth individuals give away their money to “good” causes. At the time, I wrote it off to just another example of the very rich virtue-signaling one another.

Since then, Arabella has grown into one of the major powerhouses for financing liberal causes that overlaps and in some instances succeeds and exceeds the giving of George Soros. Drawing its own funding from like-minded billionaires, Arabella supports groups across the spectrum of the modern Democratic Party.

According to the Capital Research Group, in 2021 it was a $1.6 billion network of affiliated funds that support the same causes nationally, and even globally. It blends political advocacy and charitable giving into an almost indistinguishable stew. That, together with the general assumption that they’re “the good guys,” has deterred most journalists from looking too closely at their activities.

In sheer size, Arabella-affiliated funds dropped the most money into Maine in the run-up to Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-Maine) 2020 re-election. From 2019-20, its funds funneled $10 million to a group called “Maine Momentum,” whose scant online presence claims it is dedicated to “expanding economic opportunity” – for political consultants in Maine, anyway.

One of the questions Influence Watch, an independent watchdog group, has examined of Arabella is potential funding of “fake” groups.

But beneath the big, eye-catching, seven figure contributions, Arabella funds have systematically supported other groups prominent in Maine leftist ecosphere. For instance, in the period from 2018 to 2021, the Maine People’s Alliance and its Maine Peoples’ Resource Center received about $6.4 million, $3.5 million of which in a lump sum in 2021. Because federal tax forms for 2022 are not yet available, the actual total is undoubtedly higher still.

“We get money into the hands of leaders doing critical organizing and activism for justice,” declares the website of the group Maine Initiatives. Arabella funds provided Maine Initiatives with over $700,000 over the last several years.

Other Maine groups that have received Arabella funding during this period include the Maine AFL-CIO, Mainers for Working Families, Maine Equal Justice, the Maine Women’s’ Lobby, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, the Maine Center for Economic Policy, the Mabel Wadsworth Womens’ Health Center, and Maine Gun Safety.

Nationwide, Arabella funds give to a constellation of similarly-focused groups in practically every state. Globally, they hand out tranches of funding for “capacity building” in every region, suggesting they are supporting some kind of programming similar to U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) grants, though it’s difficult to read through the vague descriptions. Kessler had worked as a USAID grantee, as had I, so he is familiar with its methodology.

Some of Arabella’s spending is hard to stretch to meet the idea of charity. For example, Arabella funds “granted” Perkins Coie, the law-firm that represented Hillary for America, over $10 million in recent years. This period overlaps with the firms legal defense of Michael Sussman, the Clintonista lawyer charged with lying to the FBI amid Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation of “Russia-gate” (he was acquitted by a DC jury that found while he may have lied, his lies were not important).

One of the charities with which Arabella co-mingled funds is the David and Lucille Packard Foundation – a major funder of the Monterey Aquarium and Seafood Watch, which last year “red-listed” the Maine lobster as non-sustainable. Another is the Susan Buffett Foundation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is Arabella’s largest funder, with almost half a billion in contributions. Also among its funders is a controversial Swiss billionaire named Hansjorg Wyss, who believes it’s his mission to attack Republican and promote Democrats, the New York Times reported.

Even left-of-center The Atlantic took a skeptical view of Arabella’s practices of moving money between its respective funds in a 2021 piece on what it called “the group you’ve never heard of.” It credits Arabella with helping the Democrats edge out Republicans in funding during the 2020 cycle.

There is a curious model for the kind of fundraising and contributions that Arabella embraces. It is the “obschak” which in Russian loosely means ‘common fund.’ One of the reasons Vladimir Putin never shows up on the Forbes’ list of billionaires is because experts have speculated his money is likely held in such a fund, common among Russian organized crime.

Of course this would never have crossed Eric’s mind…

Large Majority of Maine Voters Oppose Secret Gender Transitions at Schools: MAINE WIRE POLL


The question of whether school employees should inform parents and legal guardians when a student requests to transition gender or pronouns has roiled several Maine school systems over the past year. This conversation has only added to the broader debate over parents’ rights to know what’s happening in Maine schools.

Some parents have opposed so-called “gender identity” policies that allow or require school officials to conceal from parents information about a student’s mental health, including potential signs of gender dysphoria or gender confusion. On the other hand, school officials and liberal activists have said protecting the safety of students means schools must withhold certain information from parents if a child asks.

To learn more about where Mainers stand on this issue, the Maine Wire conducted a public opinion survey in partnership with Co/Efficient of nearly 2,000 likely Maine voters.

[RELATED: Maine Democrats Blow Off Gender Clinic Whistleblower Report, GOP Leaders Call “Disturbing”…]

The poll shows that 71 percent of Maine likely voters say schools should not be allowed to withhold information about student gender and pronoun changes from parents.

Asked, “Should public school employees be able to withhold information from parents or legal guardians about their child’s decision to change genders or use different pro-nouns?” 86 percent of conservatives and 68 percent of moderates said no.

50 percent of self-identified liberals said public school employees should be allowed to withhold this information from parents.

In terms of party registration, 81 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of Democrats, and 77 percent of unaffiliated general election voters said schools should not keep information about gender transitions secret from parents.

The poll results shed new light on a debate that has involved school boards across the state for well over a year.

In the Oxford Hills School District, two school board members were recalled by Paris voters after they lobbied for a policy that would have required school employees to keep gender transitions secret from parents.

The Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta has been embroiled since last December in a controversy surrounding a social worker’s decision to provide a 13-year-old girl with a breast binder without telling her parents. Other employees at the school also participated in the social gender transition for the young girl, but the girl’s mother was left completely in the dark.

[RELATED: Maine’s High School Students Are Far More Likely Than Peers to Identify as LGBT. Why?…]

A similar situation unfolded in the Winslow school as well. Emails obtained by the Maine Wire showed that a school counselor emailed a list of more than 80 school employees to inform them that a student had requested a name and pronoun change. However, in her email, the school counselor said no one at the school was supposed to tell the parents what was happening with their child.

At the center of all of these debates over parental rights and gender identity programming are well-funded left-wing activists and attorneys from law firms like Drummond Woodsum. In the Damariscotta and Oxford Hills school systems, Drummond Woodsum has worked with left-wing school board members to write and defend the districts’ gender identity policies. And documents obtained by the Maine Wire show how the firm has coached Maine school boards on how to limit parental input when dealing with these controversial topics.

[RELATED: Oppose Schools Secretly Gender Transitioning Kids? That’s Intolerance, Says Sun Journal…]

Rep. Katrina Smith (R-Palermo) has introduced a bill that would require parental approval before school employees begin social transitioning the gender of a student, LD 678, “An Act to Require Parental Approval for Public School Employees to Use a Name or Pronoun Other than a Child’s Given Name or Pronoun Corresponding to the Gender on the Child’s Birth Certificate.”

That bill hasn’t been reported out of committee yet, but it’s expected to become one of the more controversial topics the legislature tackles this session.

The Maine Wire / co/efficient poll was conducted from Feb. 28 to March 1 and included 1,982 likely general election voters. The survey methodology used mobile text-based responses and landline interviews. Results were weighted according to age, gender, education level, and party registration. The poll carries a margin of error of +/- 3.09%.

Buyer’s Remorse: MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, Maine’s 2nd Largest Union, Files Complaint After Mills Blows Off Talks

The MSEA-SEIU Local 1989, Maine’s second largest labor union, announced Friday that it has filed a prohibited practices labor complaint with the Maine Labor Relations Board against the administration of Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

“Today we filed charges of labor law violations over management’s continued refusal to come to the table and bargain,” said MSEA-SEIU Local 1989’s President Dean Staffieri, in an email to unionized state workers.

The complaint alleges that the Mills Administration, which is represented by Breena Bissell, Director of the Bureau of Human Resources, has engaged in bad-faith bargaining and used unlawful tactics.

MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 represents workers at the Community College System, Maine Maritime Academy, the Maine Turnpike Authority, Planned Parenthood of New England, and Maine’s Judicial Department. But state workers in the executive branch comprise by far the largest MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 bargaining unit, with over 5,000 members.

The MSEA is a juggernaut in Maine politics, with massive influence over policy decisions and a vaunted ability to turn out voters for Democratic Party politicians. In 2022, the state workers union endorsed and campaigned for almost every single Democratic legislative candidate.

The MSEA’s parent organization, the SEIU, is a major national political force whose considerable resources often find their way into the campaigns of Maine’s Democratic candidates, including Mills. Quantifying just how much the SEIU spends on politics is tricky, as much of the money flows through less-than-transparent channels. But some estimates peg the union’s 2020 spending at nearly $90 million. And the MSEA is known to be one of the top funders of left-wing 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 organizations in Maine, which perform various political activities and engage often in State House activism in Augusta.

But according to Staffieri’s email Friday to state employees, the happy marriage between the government union and the Democratic Party is on the rocks.

The root cause of the conflict appears to be Bissell’s allegedly illegal attempts to set the terms of a negotiation meeting.

“After the State’s chief bargainer, Breena Bissell, initially agreed to meet on Jan. 19th and Feb. 2nd, she then canceled both dates,” said Staffieri. “We offered two more dates, which she also refused.”

“While we made clear we would meet yesterday and communicated twice to attempt to set up logistics, Ms. Bissell made clear her demand that she and her team would not meet unless she was able to restrict the size of our negotiations team and exclude observers, including stating “I will pick your team for you”,” he said. “This behavior is unlawful and unacceptable.”

“We’re appalled by the behavior of the State’s chief negotiator and today filed charges of labor law violations for their failure to bargain in good faith,” said Staffieri.

Janet Mills poses with MSEA-SEIU 1989 members at a Sept. 2022 campaign event (Source:Facebook.com)

Staffieri, and director of organizing, Angela MacWhinnie, met privately Wednesday evening with Bissell, a union member with knowledge of the negotiations told the Maine Wire. The member asked to remain anonymous as he was not authorized to speak publicly about union negotiations.

The member said Bissell reiterated the pre-conditions of meeting and raised the prospect of cancelling the Thursday meeting if those pre-conditions were not met. When president Staffieri told Bissell of the MLRB complaint that the union would issue, Bissell replied with a LePagesque, “You gotta do, what you gotta do.”

The union member who talked with the Maine Wire said rank-and-file members felt betrayed by the Mills administration.

“Mills has betrayed union members and we should rescind our endorsement retroactively,” they said.

“We endorsed her and we campaigned for her, and we regret doing that at this point,” the MSEA member said.

“We have buyer remorse for Janet,” they said.

Director of the Bureau of Human Resources Breena Bissell (Source:Maine.gov)

Bissell, the hardball negotiator for the Mills administration, received compensation worth $151,440.46 in 2021, the most recent year for which state worker payroll records are available.

Union officials expect to win a judgement in their favor as the actions the Mills administration has taken to delay contract negotiations are, they say, clear and obvious labor law violations. However, the most the MLRB can do in practice is force a meeting between Bissell and the union.

Mills did not respond to an email asking her about the complaint. Bissell did not respond to an email asking her about the breakdown in negotiations and Mills’ level of involvement.

The appearance of a schism within the Maine Democratic coalition is a highly unusual for a political party that tends to keep its disputes in-house and under the radar.

The Democratic Party, rather than a group of voters who share a set of values or a vision for the proper role of government, is more akin to a hodgepodge of interests groups who successfully cooperate to get what they want out of government. For example, the environmentalist left often opposes what the blue-collar AFL-CIO trade union members support.

In this instance, it would appear that the MSEA-SEIU 1989 has designs on the surplus of federal money sloshing around state coffers. Before negotiations broke down, the union was poised to request a historic increase in compensation for state workers. But it seems Mills believes the money would be better spent on higher priorities, like mailing checks to voters or investing in Maine’s struggling public schools and hospitals.

Whether the rift between Maine’s top Democrat and the union that played a big role in getting her elected is a temporary spat or the start of a larger separation between state workers and the Democratic Party — only time will tell.

But a least one Republican official said he was sympathetic to the state workers struggles with Mills.

“I’ll be standing in solidarity with my union brothers and sisters,” said House Republican Leader Billy Bob Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor).

Read the complaint here:

Major University System Bans Diversity Statements In Hiring Practices


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Alexa Schwerha on March 3, 2023

The Texas A&M University System announced Thursday it will no longer allow diversity statements to be considered when weighing applicants for hire, according to a news release.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ordered all 11 universities and its eight agencies to stop requiring applicants to submit statements that outline their commitment to practicing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in their work, according to the release. Sharp required leaders to review employment and admission practices and said he would implement a standardized practice that limits applicant materials to a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statements about teaching or research philosophies and references.

“No university or agency in the A&M System will admit any student, nor hire any employee based on any factor other than merit,” the release reads.

The order comes after Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Chief of Staff Garder Pate sent a letter to state university leaders on Feb. 6 reminding them that using DEI as a hiring standard is illegal. The letter also said that taxpayer money cannot be spent to fund DEI programs and initiatives.

“The Texas A&M University System will continue its land grant mission by ensuring Texans from all walks of life are served by our institutions,” Sharpe said in the news release. “We believe serving Texas can be accomplished best by recruiting the brightest and most qualified students, faculty and staff.”

[RELATED: UMaine Professor Fired For Criticizing Mask Mandates Fighting for Her Free Speech Rights…]

The decision comes nearly one week after the University of Texas System suspended all DEI policies while the Board of Regents conducts a review. Texas Tech University announced in February that it would ban the use of diversity statements after a National Association of Scholars report revealed that its biology department weighed having a lesser understanding or commitment to embracing DEI as a candidate weakness.

Texas A&M University System did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Maine CDC Quietly Stops Sharing COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Data


The Maine CDC has quietly discontinued the public presentation of breakthrough data — that is, information which shows how often vaccinated Mainers are nonetheless contracting COVID-19, becoming hospitalized, and/or dying.

Maine CDC defines breakthrough cases as follows: “COVID-19 cases among individuals who have been fully vaccinated are referred to as vaccine breakthrough cases. Hospitalizations and deaths among these cases are referred to as vaccine breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths. “

On February 14, the Maine CDC stopped updating the breakthrough data and appended a brief disclaimer to the data portal.

“Maine CDC no longer shows the table of cumulative breakthrough data as of February 14, 2023. By now, 83.4% of the state’s total population has finished their primary series of vaccine. So, “breakthrough” cases of COVID are no longer a helpful way to know the burden of disease,” the Maine CDC said.

Most Maine Voters Want Parent “Opt-Out” Option and Safeguards for X-Rated School Books: MAINE WIRE POLL


A majority of Maine voters think public schools should have safeguards in place that prevent minor students from accessing books and other materials that are inappropriate for their age, a Maine Wire / Co/Efficient public opinion survey found this week.

By an even larger margin, Maine voters believe schools should allow parents to determine whether their children can access x-rated books and materials.

The results come from an exclusive Maine Wire / co/efficient poll conducted this week on the topic of parental rights in education.

62 percent of likely voters said schools should have safeguards in place to ensure students can only access material that is appropriate for their age level. That includes 80 percent of conservatives and 58 percent of self-identified moderates.

Liberal respondents did not support age-appropriate safeguards. According to the poll, 64 percent of self-identified liberals said schools should not have safeguards in place when it comes to the appropriateness of content minor students can access.

In terms of party registration, 80 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of unaffiliated voters supported safeguards, while Democrats were more divided on the topic. 47 percent of Democrats supported age-based restrictions, while 42 percent opposed; 11 percent of Democrats were unsure of how they felt about ensuring kids can only access age-appropriate material at school.

[RELATED: 6th Grader Reads from Lurid Library Book at Windham Middle School…]

On a related question, an even larger majority of Maine voters said they believe parents should have the option to “opt-out” of curricula that they have determined is illicit or inappropriate for their children.

72 percent of Maine voters approved of the “opt-out” and 8 percent were unsure. 88 percent of conservatives and 70 percent of moderates said the “opt-out” option was a good idea.

53 percent of self-identified liberals said parents should not be allowed to instruct the school to keep illicit or age-inappropriate material away from their children.

The overwhelming, bipartisan support for limiting minor students’ access to illicit school materials stands in stark contrast to what’s been happening in Maine schools.

[RELATED: Maine Mom Rips Hermon School Board Over Lack of Rating System for X-Rated Library Books: Listen…]

As controversial books, including books that depict children having sex, have come up for debate in school boards across the state, most boards have decided to continue offering the materials. Efforts to restrict minor students access to obscene and pornographic material has been equated to Nazi’s burning books and blamed on anti-LGBT bigotry.

Some school districts, like the Hermon School System, have resisted parents’ calls for a system that would ensure students are only accessing materials that are appropriate for their age level.

The Maine Wire will continue to release information and analysis from the Co/Efficient survey. Sign up for our mailing list to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

The results come from an exclusive Maine Wire poll conducted of Maine general election voters in partnership with co/efficient, a research and analytics company that has worked on national campaigns, as well as state and congressional campaigns across the country.

The Maine Wire / co/efficient poll was conducted from Feb. 28 to March 1 and included 1,982 likely general election voters. The survey methodology used mobile text-based responses and landline interviews. Results were weighted according to age, gender, education level, and party registration. The poll carries a margin of error of +/- 3.09%.

80% of Maine Voters Want School Materials Posted Online


A large majority — 80 percent — of Maine voters wants public schools to post all curriculum content on public websites so parents can see what’s going on in their children’s classrooms, a Maine Wire / Co/Efficient public opinion survey found this week.

Asked, “Should public schools be required to post education curriculum and materials online, so that parents and legal guardians can see what their children are being taught,” 80 percent of respondents said yes.

92 percent of self-identified conservatives, 78 percent of moderates, and 53 percent of liberals said the content should be placed online.

15 percent of respondents said the schools should not place curriculum materials online.

In terms of party registration, 90 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Democrats, and 84 percent of unregistered voters said the school materials should be posted online.

The poll results come as Maine schools — and lawmakers in Augusta — debate the extent to which parents should be involved in what happens at public schools.

The issue has surfaced repeatedly in school board meetings across the state, as parents discover that school libraries are promoting hyper-sexualized books and emphasizing programming around gender identity.

[MORE MAINE WIRE POLL: Most Maine Voters Say Schools Should Get “Back to Basics,” Ditch DEI and Gender Programming…]

Parental concern over the content of public school curricula began to grow during the COVID-19 government lockdowns. As public school kids began to take lessons remotely from home, parents got an inside peek at what’s happening in classrooms, and many didn’t like what they were seeing.

Sign up for the Maine Wire mailing list to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox!

These survey results come from an exclusive Maine Wire poll conducted of Maine general election voters in partnership with co/efficient, a research and analytics company that has worked on national campaigns, as well as state and congressional campaigns across the country.

The Maine Wire / co/efficient poll was conducted from Feb. 28 to March 1 and included 1,982 likely general election voters. The survey methodology used mobile text-based responses and landline interviews. Results were weighted according to age, gender, education level, and party registration. The poll carries a margin of error of +/- 3.09%.

MAINE WIRE POLL: Most Maine Voters Say Schools Should Get “Back to Basics,” Ditch DEI and Gender Programming

The majority of likely voters in Maine want Maine’s public schools to focus more on math, reading, and writing than on gender, sexuality, and race.

That’s the topline takeaway of a Maine Wire public opinion survey conducted this week of nearly 2,000 Maine likely general election voters in partnership with Co/Efficient, a leading research and analytics firm.

77 percent of Maine voters said schools should be focused on the basics, like math, reading, and writing, rather than spending time on how gender, sexuality, and race impact the lives of everyday Americans.

Just 16 percent of respondents said students should spend more time learning about gender, sexuality, and race, while 8 percent were unsure.

Those poll results show that recent trends in Maine schools since Gov. Janet Mills and Education Commissioner Pender Makin arrived on the job conflict sharply with what more than three out of four Maine voters actually want from their schools.

In recent years, Maine parents have seen schools focus increasingly on gender-related programming and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. This has included a rise in the number of hyper-sexualized books in schools, as well as the adoption of curriculum content inspired by left-wing theories about gender and race.

At the same time, Maine’s students’ standardized test scores have fallen.

[RELATED: Brunswick Junior High Kids Learn Flags for 15 Different Genders and Sexualities…]

Nonetheless, there remains a sharp ideological and partisan divide over whether schools should continue to focus on left-wing priorities at the expense of traditional schooling.

While 95 percent of self-identified conservatives and 74 percent of moderates said schools should get back to the basics, 51 percent of self-identified liberals said schools should focus more on gender and race.

Although liberals may seem to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to the education policies the Democratic Party supports, most Democrats disagree with the liberal minority when it comes to educational priorities.

91 percent of Republicans in the survey and 62 percent of Democrats supported a renewed focus on reading, writing, and math, as did 82 percent of unaffiliated voters.

Republicans, conservatives, moderates, moderate Democrats, and independent voters are all in agreement that Maine’s schools would benefit from a renewed commitment to traditional grade school subject matter.

[RELATED: Maine’s High School Students Are Far More Likely Than Peers to Identify as LGBT. Why?…]

In Augusta, a host of bills introduced by Republican lawmakers would impact how Maine’s schools handle these controversial topics, and this survey information is likely to embolden conservatives and moderates as they pursue reforms aimed at securing parental rights and school transparency. But whether those reforms can succeed in the face of opposition from the powerful liberal contingent of Democratic lawmakers is another question.

These results come from an exclusive Maine Wire poll conducted of Maine general election voters in partnership with Co/Efficient, a research and analytics company that has worked on national campaigns, as well as state and congressional campaigns across the country.

The Maine Wire / Co/Efficient poll was conducted from Feb. 28 to March 1 and included 1,982 likely general election voters. The survey methodology used mobile text-based responses and landline interviews. Results were weighted according to age, gender, education level, and party registration. The poll carries a margin of error of +/- 3.09%.

In the coming days, the Maine Wire will be releasing more insights from the poll.

Sign up for our mailing list to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Paris Lawmaker Wants New Regs on Lawmaker, Lobbyist, Non-Profit Revolving Door

Unlike its twin in Georgia, Augusta, Maine doesn’t have a literal swamp. But an increasing number of Mainers are concerned it’s becoming a figurative one where the boundaries between lawmaker and lobbyist are too thin, and where non-profits which receive state funds and often advocate on policy issues have too little oversight.

In 2021, lobbyists in Augusta raked in $4 million in fees (in 2019 it was $4.5 million), according to disclosures. Many legislators become lobbyists almost immediately after completing their elected mandates, as do key staff and appointed officials.

“They are the ones who have been sticking around through the different legislatures, the different governors. As a result, they are the ones with the institutional knowledge,” then freshman Rep. Chris Kessler (D-Portland) told the Maine Beacon in 2021. “You have your legislators who are perennials like John Martin, or those who served for a long stretch, took a couple years off and then go back at it like Seth Berry. But I didn’t understand how much influence the lobbyists in Augusta actually have.”

Rep. John Andrews (R-South Paris) has introduced two bills that create a longer cooling-off period for lawmakers before they can lobby their former colleagues. At the federal level, that is usually at least one year, which is also the practice in Maine since 2013, though through his bill LD 521, Andrews seeks to expand that period.

“This bill prohibits a Legislator from being employed by a state agency or a nonprofit corporation that directly or indirectly receives state funds for a period of 4 years after the Legislator’s term ends,” Andrews said when testifying in support of his bill this week, adding: “For too long there has been a revolving door in Augusta where legislators receive well paying government jobs shortly after their term ends. This gives the appearance of reward for voting for or sponsoring legislation that benefits a state agency or the government as a whole.”

Another Andrews’ bill, LD 514, would have the state audit non-profits that receive public money, which surprisingly is not the current practice.

“Maine has a deep and vibrant non-profit sector. This is a good thing and they do a lot of good work.  However, it is concerning to me that the State of Maine allocates large portions of money to non-profit organizations with little to no oversight of these tax payer funds,” he stated in favor of his proposed audit requirement. “In some cases, we may not know if the money they receive gets used for what it is intended for, with no data it is extremely hard to gauge the success of programs being funded.” 

Without any metric of performance or efficiency, it is difficult for the state to determine whether taxpayers money is best spent on one non-profit or another, Andrews argued.

Andrews is not alone in seeking to put new curbs on the influence industry in Augusta. One bill now before the legislator would prohibit those who donate to a governor’s inauguration committee from lobbying the same administration.

Both Andrews’ bills now sit for consideration by the legislature’s Committee on State and Local Government, chaired by Sen. Tim Nagle (D-Cumberland) and Rep. Holly Stover (D-Boothbay).

Landlocked Congressman Targets Maine’s Lobstermen Over Whales


When a senior congressman from a land-locked state in the American West drops a bill pertaining to the Atlantic right whale out of the blue, it just seems fishy.

But that is exactly what happened when Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) introduced a bill for the sole purpose of undoing the six-year pause on enforcement of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rules that Maine’s congressional delegation had wrestled out of budget negotiations late last year.

Grijalva’s “Rescue Whales Act” responds to the “existential harm” that six-year pause threatens, the statement his office issued at the time said.

Why? Grijalva doesn’t boast about the bill he sponsored earlier this week on his website or in the local Arizona press, which suggests he’s not appealing to constituents’ interests. The first public coverage of his bill was on news feeds of environmental groups over the past weekend.

A long-time progressive, Grijalva until recently chaired the House Committee on Natural Resources, where he welcomed the testimony of Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. Home to Seafood Watch, the group that “red-listed” Maine lobster last year, Packard’s Monterey Bay Aquarium has made fast enemies in the Pine Tree State.

After returning a $666 contribution to Packard last year, Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) introduced a bill to strip the aquarium of federal money in retaliation for its claim that Maine’s lobster fishery isn’t sustainable.

The full extent of Packard’s relationship with Grijalva remains unclear, though records indicate she and/or her organization frequently lobbied him on policy issues. During the Clinton administration, Grijalva had unsuccessfully sought the Secretary of Interior’s job. In the Trump administration, he took aim at then Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke, demanding his resignation.

Zinke responded by tweet, saying that it “must be hard for [Grijalva] to think straight from the bottom on a bottle,” and going on to recount how Grijalva settled a complaint from a former staffer who’d accused him of inappropriate behavior with a $50,000 settlement in public money.

At least one Maine lobsterman joined Zinke in questioning the congressman’s judgement.

“I would question the sponsor of that bill about the 23 whale deaths in the mid-Atlantic region over the last three months, and whether he is going to include a halt on offshore wind planning too,” Jason Joyce, a lobsterman from Swan’s Island told The Maine Wire.

“His bill is focused on the wrong target,” said.

Maine’s Congressional delegation said on Tuesday they’d oppose Grijalva’s bill. In a Republican-led House, it should face real challenges but still bears careful monitoring.

Jason T. Johnson, communications advisor for Grijalva and the House Natural Resources Democrats, touted ropeless gear in a written statement.

“There are real solutions, like ropeless gear, that can protect right whales without negatively impacting catch numbers,” Johnson said.

“Rep. Grijalva championed the passage of $20 million in funding in the FY 2023 omnibus to help transition the lobster fishing industry to ropeless gear,” he said.

“That’s the kind of answer I’d expect from someone who’s never hauled a trap,” Joyce said.

Maine School’s “Civil Rights Team” Accused of Bullying at Rowdy School Board Meeting on Parental Rights

At a raucous school board meeting Wednesday night, nearly 100 parents expressed their frustration and anger over how the Windham Raymond School System is handling parental concerns about sexually explicit books, intrusive student surveys, and gender identity programming.

At issue were several books that contain written and/or illustrated depictions of children engaged in various sexually acts, as well as surveys — from both the school and student-led groups — that ask children as young as 6th grade personal questions about their sex lives.

Multiple parents said the school’s recent focus on gender and sexuality had come amid a downward trend in the performance of students on standardized tests.

One Windham mom raised concerns about how programs led by the school’s “Civil Rights Team” around the topic of gender identity and sexuality had caused harassment within the school.

Kristen Day said students affiliated with one of RSU 14’s Civil Rights Teams harassed her daughter. When her daughter refused to speak about her sexuality, two students affiliated with the club began to bully her and call her homophobic.

“They insisted she was gay because she dressed gay and listened to gay music,” Day said of her daughter, who was a 7th grader at the time of the alleged harassment.

“She was then called homophobic because she wasn’t at least bi,” Day said.

“She’s not political, but she does not want to talk about her sexuality in school,” she said.

[RELATED: Maine’s High School Students Are Far More Likely Than Peers to Identify as LGBT. Why?…]

Civil Rights Teams (CRTs) operate in Maine schools as a project of the Maine Attorney General’s Office, and the nominal goal of the student organizations is to reduce “bias-motivated” bullying and harassment in schools.

Day said her daughter was harassed about her sexuality by students affiliated with the school’s CRT under the pretext of opening a discussion about student sexuality.

CRT members also created surveys for their peers to take with questions about sexuality and gender, and they pressured them to don “pronoun” pins, Day said.

In an email, Windham Superintendent Christopher Howell said school administrators were not aware of the kind of peer pressure or bullying Day’s daughter said she faced as a result of CRT activities.

“In short, the focus of [Civil Rights] teams is on helping to create a safe school environment for all,” said Howell.

“We are not aware of the Civil Rights Team being involved in the situation you’re referring to,” he said.

According to Day, who has had multiple kids go through the school district, the role of left-wing curriculum and programming in the schools has increased noticeably over the past three years.

“I’ve witnessed the dramatic change in our schools first hand,” she said. “It took over every aspect of this school for three years.”

Day also claimed that one of her daughter’s male teachers told the classroom on at least two occasions that he was uncircumcised, an event she said was the predictable consequence of school employees increasingly blurring public-private boundaries between.

Asked about this claim from Day, Howell said, “you have been misinformed,” but added, “I cannot speak to specific matters that involve employees.”

Day was just one of the parents who leveled fiery complaints against the Windham and Raymond schools’ recent decision to focus more time and resources on sex, sexuality, and gender.

Most of the parents took aim at pornographic library books like Gender Queer, a popular LGBT-themed book that includes cartoon images of children having sex.

Gender Queer featured prominently into the gubernatorial campaign between Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, with outside conservative groups running high-profile ad campaigns tying Democrats to the books availability in schools.

Amid conservative outcry, Gender Queer has become something of a cause célèbre, with left-wing activists raising money to purchase copies of the book for public libraries and advocating for getting the book into the hands of young children.

In one Gender Queer scene, two minors engage in sex acts. The book was available for middle school students to check out at the library.

Adam Zajac, whose son recently shook the community by reading from a different explicit book during a school board meeting, brought yet another book to the school board’s attention.

Zajac claimed that the book had secretly been removed from the school’s library amid heightened scrutiny of potentially inappropriate material the school’s librarian had made available to minor students.

[RELATED: 6th Grader Reads from Lurid Library Book at Windham Middle School…]

“‘Identical‘ … the story of two seven-year-old twins that are sexually assaulted by their father. Multiple times,” he said, before reading a lurid section of the book in which the fictional father engages in a brutal sexual assault of a child.

“This is the shit that we have going into our libraries and you’re complaining about anti-LGBTQ?” said Zajac.

“I’ve been attacked all week … because I’m sticking up for my children,” he said. “This is absolutely ridiculous.”

Debate over the role pornographic books should play in grade schools has trickled up into the State Legislature, where lawmakers will soon debate a bill from Sen. James Libby (R-Cumberland) that would create a formal process for removing obscene materials from classrooms.

An array of liberal groups, including the Maine Civil Liberties Union, have publicly opposed the bill.

[RELATED: Liberal Groups Fight to Keep Obscene Materials in Schools…]

Some parents questioned the propriety, and legality, of surveys that asked personal questions about children’s sexuality.

Steven Napolitano raised his concerns about the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey (MIYHS), which is a biennial survey that asks hundreds of questions of high school and middle school students.

The questions ask students, including as young as 6th grade, about drug use, sexual intercourse, the first time they engaged in oral sex, and the number of sexual partners they’ve had, he said.

“How do these survey questions support the approved RSU 14 curriculum? Where’s the data going? You won’t even share that with us,” he said. “You say it’s not traced, but they’re taking them on a computer with an IP Address that tracks it.”

“Stay in your lane, school,” he said. “And let parents parent.”

An analysis by the Maine Wire of MIYHS data showed that Maine’s high school students are far more likely than their peers in other New England schools to identify as non-heterosexual or non-cisgender, and rates of LGBT identifications among high schoolers have increased sharply in recent years, driven primarily by young women who say they are bisexual.

In her public comments at the meeting, Rep. Barbara Bagshaw (R-Windham) called out Drummond Woodsum, a left-wing Portland-based law firm that has contracts with multiple Maine schools.

She said the firm has played an outsized role in writing radical school policies and limiting parental involvement in school board meetings.

“I have watched the parents come before you for three years asking you to listen to their concerns,” Bagshaw told the school board,”and it seems like Drummond Woodsum is running these schools.”

“You’re listening to the parents, but you’re not hearing them,” she said. “They feel like they’re being shut out.”

“Our test scores are in the dumper,” she said. “We need to focus on education.”

Not everyone at the meeting wanted to remove books containing images of children having sex from the school library, and one man equated complaints about the sexualized materials to German Nazi’s burning books.

Several speakers accused other parents of only opposing sexually explicit books in schools because they are anti-gay bigots.

“This isn’t how you care about kids,” said former Windham student Jake Fuller. “You just care about your bigoted ideas and ignorances.”

At the same time parents have witnessed the Windham schools emphasize gender ideology, diversity, equity, and inclusion, students’ performance on standardized math and reading exams has declined.

According to student data available from the Maine Department of Education (MDE), less than half of all RSU 14 8th graders were proficient at math and reading in 2019.

Getting accurate data on how far test scores have dropped in Maine schools since 2019 is difficult thanks to changes MDE made to assessments.

Those changes — allegedly made by the MDE because of the COVID-19 pandemic — mean it’s difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison with year-over-year test score data. Because of those changes, the federal Department of Education has threatened to withdraw Title I funding from Maine’s schools.

Mt. Ararat School Board Chair to Resign (Maybe) Two Weeks After MSAD 75 Superintendent Resigned

The chaos surrounding the Mt. Ararat Schools (MSAD 75) continues this week following the revelation that School Board Chair Frank Wright penned a letter to the rest of the school board informing him that he planned to resign on March 9.

“In my efforts to bring us together as a working team, I have seemingly divided, I will be stepping down as chair, as of our next regular meeting,” he wrote in Feb. 21 email obtained via Freedom of Access Act request.

However, local radio host Jim Bleikamp, during his Wednesday morning WCME show, said Wright was having second thoughts about resigning.

Bleikamp confirmed as much in a phone interview

“I talked with him and he said that he is reconsidering that email,” said Bleikamp. “This morning, when I got the email, I called him, last night actually, he called me back this morning, and told me he’s reconsidering.”

Confusion over Wright’s intention to resign follows on the heels of the Feb. 9 resignation of MSAD 75 Superintendent Steven B. Connolly.

Bleikamp said he called Connolly after becoming aware of the email from Wright. Bleikamp requested the email as a public record and received it. But Connolly wasn’t interested in answering further questions about either resignation.

“Steve Connolly wanted to know the source by which I received the email, and I refused to tell him,” he said.

Broadly, the tumult in the school district is a microcosm into the growing turmoil in schools across the state, as competing visions for the future of Maine’s schools clash at acrimonious school board meetings.

Wright and Connolly both did not respond to a requests for an interview with the Maine Wire.

MSAD 75 includes the towns of Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Topsham, and Harpswell.

Connolly, who only took the job last July, becomes the sixth superintendent to leave the district in as many years.

In his resignation letter, Connolly said political and ideological divisions within the community prevented him from doing his job effectively.

“I find I have not been effective at managing the implicit divisions that exist based on political, personal, and ideological beliefs which, in my view, are stagnating the opportunity for systemic educational progress,” Connolly wrote.

Following that statement from Connolly, Wright told WGME that the superintendent’s resignation letter was a dig at Parents Rights in Education (PRIE), a conservative non-profit that advocates for transparency in school curricula.

Other media outlets continued with some variation of the narrative that right-wing activists had alienated the superintendent and were to blame for all the political divisions.

Wright’s statements to the media at the time were criticized by fellow board member Eric Lusk, who told the Maine Wire, “The board chair needs to distinguish between personal sentiments as opposed to speaking on behalf of the full board… To try to pin [the resignation] on Parental Rights in Education is the tail wagging the dog.”

Now, Wright appears to have admitted to fellow board members that he himself is responsible for political division within the school board and administration. Although that was enough cause for him to say he would resign a week ago, something has happened in the intervening days that led him to reconsider.

Allen Sarvinas, the head of Maine’s PRIE chapter, said Wright’s resignation email allows the public a more accurate understanding of the nature of the divisions within the school community.

“As an organization, we hope this gives a little credibility to the work we’ve been doing for three years,” said Sarvinas.

He said Wright and left-wing activists tried to pin the blame for Connolly’s resignation on PRIE, but that Wright received major backlash “behind the scenes” for his role in doing so.

Sarvarinas said the work PRIE has done in MSAD 75 will continue and that PRIE will be expanding into other school districts.

Wright, whose career included 27 years as a school teacher, has served on the MSAD 75 school board since 2019. He became the chairman last year, assuming a leadership role in a school district that, like many others, had been roiled by intense disputes over masking and other COVID-19 accommodations.

“The decision-making process can be fraught with disagreements, but my goal is really to create a sense of unity on the board and continue the peace process in order to be able to function as a cohesive unit,” Wright told the Harpswell Anchor last year.

“My way in which I would do that is by a consultative approach, which means that everybody’s voice is heard and everybody’s voice matters,” he said.

Although Sarvinas did not appreciate Wright attempting to pin blame for Connolly’s exit on his organization, PRIE doesn’t see Connolly as the source of the district’s strife.

Through public records requests, PRIE has uncovered emails which show what it believes to be inappropriate influence from the Merrymeeting Teachers Association on school board elections.

Although the teachers union has endorsed and campaigned for multiple current school board members, the school district’s attorney has said those members do not necessarily need to recuse themselves from votes relating to teachers, including collective bargaining agreements.

The end result is union-endorsed school board members voting on teacher pay packages endorsed by the union.

“In 2018, we watched our school district become targeted with official union and political party endorsements,” Sarvinas said.

After Connolly’s resignation, Sarvinas’ wife, Annalyse Sarvinas, threw her hat in the ring to be nominated by the Topsham select board to an open seat on the MSAD 75 school board.

Sarvinas, thanks to her and her husband’s role with PRIE, became the target of a sustained campaign by left-leaning community members to scuttle her nomination. The nomination instead went to Kimberly Pacelli, a former Drummond Woodsum consultant who now works for TNG Consulting.

Along with the increased union and left-wing political influence over the school board itself, Sarvinas has criticized some administrative employees at MSAD 75 for pushing a radical, far-left agenda.

“It’s up the people to pressure those in positions of leadership to corral this out-of-control self-serving bureaucracy,” he said.  

The Maine Wire has contacted Connolly and Wright for comment on these developments and will update the story when/if they respond.

Wright responded Wednesday evening:

“As I told Jim this morning I was not resigning my position as board chair as of yet, but that I had indicated I was in an earlier email to board members only. In the interim I have had a change of heart. As to you second question my response to the Portland station was taken out of context. I did not say that PRIE was responsible for Mr. Connolly’s resignation, I said that one need only read their national website to understand their position or where they were coming from. I in no way said that they were responsible.”

Biden Admin Is One Step Closer To Regulating Gas Stoves Despite Promising Not To


The Daily Caller News Foundation – John Hugh DeMastri on March 1, 2023

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesperson. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) moved one step closer Wednesday to potentially regulating gas stoves, weeks after its chair pledged not to ban the kitchen appliances.

Commissioner Rich Trumka Jr. called for the public to submit research related to the harmful effects of gas stove emissions, particularly in connection to childhood asthma, and cost-benefit analyses of potential solutions to those problems, according to the announcement. Trumka ignited a controversy in January when he told Bloomberg that “any option was on the table” when it came to regulating gas stoves, including an outright ban, drawing criticism from many Republicans and some Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The call for information is not, in itself, a call for regulation, but the results of the investigation could be used to justify future limits on the use of gas stoves, Bloomberg reported. Both the White House and CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric in January denied plans to ban the appliances.

“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” Hoehn-Saric said in a brief statement.

“The [request for information] does not constitute or propose any regulatory action or ban,” a CPSC spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “CPSC has been clear that there are no regulatory proceedings planned for gas stoves or range emissions.”

The CPSC also pointed the DCNF to Chair Hoehn-Saric’s prior statement.

“CPSC is an independent agency with the sole mission of keeping people safe from consumer products that pose an unreasonable risk of harm,” Trumka, who was appointed by Biden, said in the announcement. “The trust between CPSC and the American consumer exists because actions like the one we take today make clear that we only act in service to consumer safety. This Request for Information furthers our commitment to American consumers because step one in confronting a potential hazard is understanding its scope and the options for addressing it.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have argued that the emissions from gas stoves can cause respiratory illness, cancer, and heart problems, according to Bloomberg. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in February proposed rules mandating increased efficiency standards for new gas stoves and electric cooktops.

One December 2022 studyreferenced by Trumka in his original interview with Bloomberg, argues that 12.7% of all childhood asthma cases could be traced to gas stove use. The study was partially funded by a pair of advocacy groups that advocate for the electrification of households and to transition the U.S. away from oil and gas.

“I have boundless optimism in American ingenuity,” Trumka said in the announcement. “I am hopeful that by bringing this information-seeking process public, companies will create new solutions or notify us of their commitment to implement existing solutions that were previously unknown to us.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Parole Reform Poster Child Tried to Murder Maine Family with Machete


State lawmakers will soon consider a proposal to bring back parole for Maine’s incarcerated population, along with a handful of other recommendations from the Commission to Examine Reestablishing Parole.

Sen. Craig Hickman (D-Kennebec), a chair of that commission, has introduced a bill (LD 720) that would turn some of that commission’s recommendations into law, chief among them the restoration of parole – i.e. early release for prisoners – which has not existed in Maine for more than four decades.

The Commission, formed in the previous legislature, found what it called “staggering” racial disparities in Maine’s incarcerated population, and it recommended the creation of new pathways for rehabilitated prisoners to earn early release.

One of the top advocates for parole reform in Maine is an incarcerated man who recently began teaching a course at Colby College as a co-instructor despite being behind bars.

Leo R. Hylton (MDOC#70199) is a 32-year-old man currently incarcerated in Maine State Prison in Warren for crimes committed 15 years ago.

In recent years, as Maine policymakers have debated various changes to the criminal justice system, Hylton, who is a black man, has become something of a poster child for progressive prison reforms sometimes described as restorative justice.

Maine Public, in a 2021 story, quoted Hylton’s sister saying, “Leo has worked diligently to rise from a truly dark place. He’s now a light in this world again.” The story added that Hylton had become a mentor while in prison, but it does not mention the crimes that got him there. The left-wing Maine Beacon noted likewise noted Hylton had obtained a master’s degree, but it also did not share with readers his crimes. And, this week, the liberal Mother Jones magazine published the web version of a story that casts Hylton as a victim of circumstances beyond his control — his history as a foster child, for example — and a racist criminal justice system in Maine.

Abigail Glasgow, the author of the Mother Jones story, devotes a scant 25 words to the criminal acts that landed Hylton in prison.

But as Maine lawmakers consider making major changes to Maine’s criminal justice system — changes that would allow early release for men and women in circumstances similar to Hylton’s — the facts of Hylton’s case, and the cases of other potential parolees, should not be erased from news coverage. By all accounts, Hylton appears to have used his time in prison to educate himself and radically reorient his relationships with other people, and with God. But, in considering his potential early release, it’s necessary to consider his crimes.

In the early morning hours of May 27, 2008, Hylton, along with his foster brother Daniel S. Fortune, stole Hylton’s aunt’s car and drove to the home of former Maine state lawmaker William Guerrette. The brothers brought with them changes of clothing and gloves. Fortune armed himself with a long knife, while Hylton carried a machete. The men were after a safe which they had stolen weeks before — and they were prepared for violence.

After breaking into the family’s home and activating the security alarm, the men were confronted by Guerrette pleading with them to leave. Fortune struck him on his head, knocking him to the ground. Guerrette then scrambled to his bedroom to retrieve a handgun — a weapon he had earlier purchased specifically to defend his family from Hylton and Fortune after the earlier theft. When Guerrette’s handgun malfunctioned, Hylton struck him several times with the machete. What happened next is detailed in court records from Fortune’s trial:

“At this time, the ten-year-old daughter came out of her upstairs bedroom and looked over the railing to the first floor. Her father yelled at her to get back into her room. The girl saw a person come up the stairs toward her; that man, Hylton, “scaled the stairs as fast as [he] could” and struck at the younger daughter, who was “cowering against the wall,” at least four or five times as her father watched from below. Hylton later stated that the younger daughter was a witness and that he kept swinging at her even after she “[went] down” because he had to make sure there were no witnesses. The father tried to get to her, but Fortune was fighting him, “hitting” and “hacking” him, and knocking him down as the father slipped in his own blood. The father lost consciousness.

“As this was happening, the mother could hear horrible screaming. She tried the phone, but it was dead. She shut and locked the master bedroom door, ran into the bathroom and locked the door, pushed out the window screen, dropped to the ground, and started running. After she left the house, the mother heard someone kick in the bathroom door, so she ran through the woods to a neighboring house where the police were called. The older daughter, who had been sleeping in a bedroom in the lower level of the house, hid under her bed, eventually got her cell phone, and also called the police. The teenage son, who had been sleeping on the sofa in the game room in the main part of the lower level, started to go upstairs, but when the basement door slammed shut, he instead ran out the lower level doors and hid in the backyard.

According to court records, the first officer to arrive on the scene believed the ten-year-old daughter was dead because of the extent of her and her father’s “devastating and disfiguring life-long injuries.” Her father would later tell journalists his daughter required several major surgeries and needed to relearn how to perform basic tasks. Her life was permanently changed by the attack.

Hylton was arrested on May 29, 2008, and began cooperating with police. He confessed, on video, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2010. Under current law, the earliest Hylton could be released from prison is December 8, 2050. He was 18 when he attacked the young girl, and he would be 60 years old upon release.

However, the current legislature could lay the groundwork for Hylton to breathe free air earlier than that.

In March of 2022, a bill from Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos (I-Friendship) became law without Gov. Janet Mills signature. While his original bill would have simply re-established parole, the language that ended up becoming law instead created the commission whose recommendations are now up for a vote in the form of LD 720, the current parole bill moving through Augusta.

LD 720 is a concept draft right now, but the description of the bill indicates it will rely heavily on the commission’s 240 page report when written.

The fourth recommendation of that report is for Maine to re-establish parole. That item was supported 7-2, with opposition votes coming Commissioner Liberty and Rep. Scott Cyrway (R-Albion). Three other members abstained. Regarding the conditions for parole, the commission was also divided:

“During the commission’s discussion about reestablishing parole, some commission members expressed concern about making parole available to all sentences and suggested that the Legislature carefully consider whether to exclude certain types of sentences, such as repeat offenders in cases domestic violence and repeat offenders in cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation.”

In subsequent recommendations, the commission said the legislature should develop clear criteria for incarcerated individuals serving more than 20 years. In particular, the commission recommended that the legislature should construct eligibility criteria that might mitigate historical racial or ethnic biases against inmates.

“The membership of the [parole] board must, to the extent practicable, reflect the diversity of the State, including, but not limited to, diversity in geographic location, cultural and ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity and professional experience,” the report states, though it doesn’t say whether the commission would support identity-based quotas for board membership spots, which are typically gubernatorial appointments. The commission members differed over how they thought parole should be constructed and who should be eligible for parole, should it be re-established in Maine.

Who is eligible for parole and how the parole board operates will be determined by the legislature as it fleshes out LD 720.

Central to that debate will be questions over men like Hylton and their crimes.

How long should men who commit heinous, deliberate violence against children remain in prison?

What does society owe those who turn their lives around after they are deprived of their liberty?

Can men capable of such wicked crimes ever truly change their hearts? And what does it mean when they do?

What role does a victim’s lingering suffering play?

How does a society balance the human desire for justice and vengeance against the hopeful belief in the redemption of all men and the possibility of forgiveness?

These and other questions will soon come before the Judiciary Committee.

Teacher Allegedly Forced Girl To Use Male Pronouns, Causing Student To Be Suicidal, Lawsuit Says


The Daily Caller News Foundation – Reagan Reese on March 1, 2023

A New York teacher allegedly made a 9-year-old girl use a male name and pronouns, leading the student becoming suicidal, according to a January lawsuit.

The parents of a Terryville Road Elementary School fifth grader are suing Comsewogue School District and teacher Debra Rosenquist, who allegedly started addressing their child, a biological girl listed as “A.V.,” as “Leo” causing the 9-year-old child to suffer “humiliation,” “emotional pain” and “trauma.” The parents were notified that their daughter had said she was “confused about her gender” and drew a picture of a girl, writing, “I wanna kill myself,” the lawsuit alleged.

“Because A.V. did not identify as a male, she became so confused and distressed that she drew a picture of a girl that expressed suicidal ideation,” the lawsuit alleged. “Defendants knew or should have known of Rosenquist’s previously inappropriately persuading her nine and ten-year-old students transitioning from one gender to another and/or being gay when they did not express any such inclination, and other inappropriate conduct toward students, but did not remove Rosenquist from the classroom.”


The parents approved their daughters’ identity change as long as it was her decision, the lawsuit alleged. A friend had previously given their daughter the nickname “Leo,” referring to the astronomy sign, causing the parents to doubt that it signified a male identity.

As a result of the name change, the child was allegedly bullied as classmates formed a group chat without her to discuss her gender transition, the lawsuit stated. Students allegedly texted, “literally tho what is she??? Girl?? Boy???” and ““I swear if you add her Im [sic] going to kill you onto pieces [sic].”

The child’s parents found old Facebook posts which revealed that Rosenquist had been previously reported to the administration after she did not follow required lessons in class and “suggested that the kids ‘try being gay’ or try being a boy (if they were a girl) or girl (if they were a boy),” the lawsuit stated. Rosenquist allegedly read students “When Aiden Becomes a Brother,” a picture book about a biological boy who discovers he is actually a girl.

A.V. was eventually moved out of Rosequist’s classroom and despite parents complaints, the teacher allegedly remained employed at the school, the lawsuit stated.

“The District negligently, carelessly, recklessly and with deliberate indifference employed Rosenquist, continued to employ Rosenquist and continued to allow Rosenquist to have unsupervised contact with students, including but not limited to A.V.,” the lawsuit alleged.

Rosenquist could not be reached for comment and Comsewogue School District and the parent’s attorney did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Five Times the Establishment Spread “Misinformation”


You can put away your tin-foil hat now, the public service announcement advised. Those things we told you were ‘conspiracy theories’ are actually true, a White House spokesperson said on Wednesday.

If you missed that announcement, don’t feel out of the loop: it hasn’t happened yet. But bit-by-bit, things not so long ago we were told were true have in recent years been disproven. At the same time, news that was considered too unsettling or disruptive was “de-bunked” by experts.

These days, the difference between a “right-wing conspiracy theory” and “settled science” is just a few months or years.

We now live in an age where the terms “misinformation” and “disinformation” are freely cast about like blinders to avoid the sight of unpleasant truths. But it may be helpful to apply a more critical lens to these words, just as congressional Republicans did last year when the Biden administration tried to create a special disinformation governance board in the Department of Homeland Security to be headed by a 34-year old expert on the subject.

The track record so far suggests the bureaucrats of the federal government are the last people we want in charge of policing what is and is not “misinformation” or “disinformation.”

Take, for instance, five “misinformation” narratives that turned out to be true:

Hunter Biden’s Laptop – During the 2020 presidential election, 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter stating that news about Hunter Biden’s laptop reported by the New York Post was likely Russian disinformation. FBI officials told Twitter as much, though the blame game there continues like ping-pong as the current House committee on the weaponization of government hears conflicting takes from witnesses. Bottom line: they were all wrong. The laptop is real, and it really was Hunter’s. Big oops. Unsurprisingly, not one of the people who falsely claimed the laptop was Russian disinformation has suffered an iota of professional consequences for misleading the American people in order to influence an election.

COVID-19 origin from lab-leak – Speaking with FOX News Bret Baier on Tuesday night, FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted that the bureau knew “for some time” that the COVID-19 virus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. On Sunday, we learned the Department of Energy had reached the same conclusion. Ever since COVID-19’s outbreak in early 2020, those who said it originated in China were branded as racists or conspiracy mongers. Now, suddenly, the DoE, Wray, and a host of “authoritative” sources are openly admitting a fact that would have gotten you censored on social media for stating two years ago.

Masking prevents the spread of COVID-19 and natural immunity is not an adequate defense. Both of these claims were central to U.S. government policy as well as those of states in enacting masking requirements and vaccine mandates. These beliefs were basically a core religious tenet of the Covidians, and the fervor of their faith explains why we saw Maine high school kids playing basketball, for example, with cloth masks on. Recent studies show both officially accepted truths are indeed misleading. A new, authoritative study states that masks have close to zero impact on the virus’ spread, and The Lancet, a prominent medical journal, has just come out with a report indicating there is essentially no real difference between the effectiveness of natural immunity and that of the vaccine when it comes to catching COVID-19.

Russia installed Donald Trump as president –Beginning in the summer of 2016, the Hillary Clinton campaign aggressively pushed the narrative that Russian collusion propelled Donald Trump eventually to defeat her that November. Then, a fabricated “Steele Dossier” was presented to the FBI after the election prompting a major investigation of then-President Trump.

Led by former FBI director Robert Mueller, that probe led to the prosecution of a dozen or so individuals (disclosure: I was one of them) on process crimes totally unrelated to the original claims against Trump. But in 2019, Mueller ultimately determined the Trump campaign had not colluded with Russia. Earlier this year, the FBI arrested one of its own senior counter-intelligence officers involved in the probe who himself, they charge, was on the payroll of a powerful Russian oligarch. In other words, a top FBI agent was colluding with Russian oligarchs while investigating the false claim that Trump colluded with Russian oligarchs. What a coincidence!

Russian Bots Boost Right-wing Social Media – Throughout the 2020 election, newspapers of record claimed over and over again that whichever narrative was benefitting Trump or conservative candidates was, actually, part of a sinister plot by Russian bot networks. Sinister though Russia undoubtedly is, the narrative that bot networks manipulated from Moscow were shaping American news cycles unraveled this year when we learned the truth about Hamilton 68.

Hamilton 68 was a group led by some of the crustiest Washington, D.C. establishment figures. They claimed to have a proprietary model that proved — proved! — Russians were trying to help conservatives by manipulating Twitter. But, thanks to the Twitter Files, we now know that the “proprietary model” was total junk science. The model did not show any Russian shenanigans but instead showed normal conservatives tweeting about normal things. Nonetheless, the newspapers that breathlessly reported Hamilton 68’s scam findings have not issued retractions or corrections.

Bonus: The Iraq War – Governments telling lies isn’t a partisan trend, either. In 2004, the United States invaded Iraq on the basis of lie: that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Former Bush administration CIA director George Tenet even called this assertion a “slam dunk.” Mainstream media outlets eagerly banged the drums of war. Yet the sources of that intelligence have subsequently been discredited.

In promoting his new book about Republicans entitled “The Destructionists” on NPR this past August, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank took Terry Gross down his dark narrative of derangement in the GOP.

From Newt Gingrich to Karl Rove to Donald Trump, Republicans have been all about conspiracies, he argues. The problem with his analysis, though, is that the more we learn, the more apparent it becomes that the current crew in power are not being forthcoming.

In holding them to account, Republicans need to be careful about both hyperbole and red herrings. There are plenty of answers we still deserve, and if we stay focused – and balanced – more will certainly be revealed.

Chicago Dems Oust Lightfoot

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot failed to make the run-off in the second city’s Democratic primary Tuesday night, limiting her to one term in office that is soon to expire. While she was one of nine candidates in a crowded field, her performance in office coupled with Chicago’s skyrocketing crime were likely the decisive factors, analysts say.

Lightfoot is the first Chicago mayor in forty years not to win a second term.

Coming into office in 2019, Lightfoot pledged to undo the “systemic racism” that her campaign blamed for many of the city’s ills.

Yet her debut was in part overshadowed by the saga of actor Jussie Smollett, who concocted a story about being beat up and nearly lynched on Chicago streets by two “MAGA supporters,” who ended up being Nigerians he had paid to fake a racist attack.

She quickly made powerful enemies, including the police and teachers’ unions. At the same time, lawlessness in the city’s streets swelled:

“The last day of May 2020 was a Sunday,” native Chicagoan journalist Matt Rosenberg recalled in his book “What Next, Chicago?” “National Guard troops were protecting downtown Chicago as crowds gathered. Then business districts were attacked by bands of organized criminals. Some backed up large rented trucks for looting. Others removed and busted open ATMs. Some raided pharmacies for prescription drugs.”

Last year saw crime statistics hit their peak with the most crime Chicago has seen to date, while 2021 was the deadliest year Chicago has seen in a quarter-century.

Many mayors face crises, but the key to their surviving them often comes down to a public sense they are trying to make a difference.

Lightfoot, by contrast, often blamed others for the city’s woes.

In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Lightfoot suggested that many voters oppose her because she’s a black woman in power.

Chicago schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson will now compete in an April 4th run-off to determine which man will be Chicago’s next mayor.

Maine Schools Could Lose Fed Funding Over Assessment Changes


The federal Department of Education (DOE) is threatening to withhold money from Maine’s Department of Education (MDE) due to the state’s failure to meet student testing and data reporting requirements for reading, language arts, and mathematics.

In a strongly worded letter to Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin, a senior official with the DOE said Maine did not meet federal Title I requirements for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 schools years.

Those requirements include the adoption by state departments of “criterion-referenced academic achievement standards.”

Such standards allow parents to see when students are exceeding, meeting, or below state and federal standards.

Without those standards, parents have a harder time measuring the success of the school system in education children.

The letter cites a “lack of documentation indicating how MDE satisfied essential requirements of Title I of the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965]” for reading, language arts, and mathematics. For this reason, DOE is placing a condition on several Title I grants the state typically receives.

All told, Maine could lose $117,422 that’s usually distributed to local schools.

Last August, MDE announced changes to how the state would administer standardized testing, with a new focus on testing throughout the year to measure progress rather than testing only at the end of a school year.

Maine education officials told K12dive.com that they expected to have the issue resolved before the March 27 deadline established in the letter.

To do so, MDE will have to develop plans to align testing specifications and standards to federal requirements and prove later in the year that it executed on those federally aligned plans.

Read the letter here:

Increasing Use of “Concept Draft” Reduces Legislature’s Transparency, Undermines Public Hearings


Is the over-use of “concept bills” making the legislative process in Augusta less transparent? There is growing concern among current and former lawmakers as well as experts that it’s time to change the rules about when a lawmaker has to say what’s actually in their bill.

Like a placeholder, a “concept bill” is basically a detail-free statement of intent, like “An Act to Reform Education.” Under current rules in the Maine state legislature, a lawmaker can supply the actual text of the bill at the last possible minute making public scrutiny difficult if impossible.

In a loose parallel, former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said of the bill that birthed Obama-care, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” Sometimes, when the executive and the legislature are on the same side politically, that’s just how it goes.

Today, more than 200 bills introduced this session in Augusta are concept bills. Veteran Sen. Rick Bennett (R-Oxford) sees the practice being increasingly abused, which is why he’s introduced a proposed change to the legislature’s rules that would essentially strike the use of concept bills, except under specific circumstances.

“What I’ve seen is concept drafts are beginning to be used more and more,” said Bennett.

He said the reason for this was the artificial date of cloture which requires lawmakers to get bills in before the end of the December. “People are being encouraged to put in concept drafts rather than fully formed legislation because of the artificially imposed deadline,” he said, adding that the result of this is a host of bills that “aren’t ready for prime time.”

The concept drafts also undermine what is typically a transparent process open to voters, lawmakers, and even lobbyists.

“The public has no idea what the contents of a concept draft may be until the sponsor comes to the hearing with a better idea of what he or she is trying to do with the bill,” he said. “And so you end up with a public hearing which doesn’t fulfill a public purpose.”

Bennett said the legislature needs to take a hard look at how it manages its business.

“We should try some new things, one of which is to get rid of cloture, and the other is to get rid of concept drafts,” he said.

Getting rid of the December cloture deadline would allow lawmakers to benefit from learning more about their committees and the agencies they regulate prior to submitting legislation. An additional benefit to rule changes he’s proposed, he said, would be empowering the legislative branch in relation to the executive branch.

Bennett said he has reached out to Democratic leaders about the rule changes, but that there is a lot of inertia when it comes to tinkering with rules that have been in place for multiple legislatures.

Michael Cianchette, a former counsel to Republican Gov. Paul LePage, wrote an op-ed earlier this month in which he said there are some legitimate reasons to put a bill’s text on pause, such as having to wait for a court decision, but the practice has been over-used in recent years, he argues:

“(Some)times, legislators (or lobbyists) have big ideas they know will be unpopular with someone. Rather than submitting the substance in the ordinary course and letting the sometimes messy and heated lawmaking process unfold, ideas are hidden behind concept drafts. Then long, complex changes are sprung at the public hearing and people cannot digest the substance and engage effectively during the time for comment.”

It’s not just Republicans who are concerned. Former state senator Jill Goldthwait (I-Hancock) wrote in a Mount Desert Islander op-ed last week:

“A concept draft may be the product of the good intentions of a legislator (or pressure from constituents), but not a thoroughly developed idea for a change in Maine law. The sponsor’s enthusiasm may have cooled, or the reality of the session workload leaves the sponsor unable to attend the hearing or work sessions. The bill becomes an orphan. If no one on the committee has a passion for the subject, there will be little appetite for developing a bill under someone else’s title.”

In other words, the concept bills allow a false sense of commitment to an issue, and can open the door to half-baked changes to the law at the last minute.

Having studied the question, the Maine Policy Institute’s Jacob Posik believes: “There are two ways to fix this issue, as I see it. We can ban concept drafts altogether and require every bill to be submitted with official legislative language for the public to consider. Or, we can require two public hearings on every bill submitted as a concept draft, so the public has a legitimate opportunity to dissect the bill and render an informed judgment on its contents. (Disclaimer: The Maine Wire is a project of The Maine Policy Institute)

Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) chairs the joint rules committee, on which Bennett sits. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though Jackson had earlier told Maine Public:

“At this point, I don’t know that we’re in a problem or anything like that. But what I really want to make sure is, as often as possible, the public knows what a bill is about, that it goes to the right committee and that it gets a timely hearing,” which sounds a little bit like “nothing to see here.”

House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland)’s office also did not respond to a question on her position on “concept bills” on Tuesday.

Maine Bill Would Redefine Money to Exclude Bitcoin, Enable CBDCs


A bill before the Judiciary Committee would change the definition of “money” to exclude digital assets, like Bitcoin, and pave the way for the adoption of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

Rep. Stephen Moriarty (D-Cumberland)’s bill, LD 91, is a concept draft, so the specifics of the proposal won’t be available to voters until he introduces it to committee.

The concept draft process is increasingly being used by lawmakers. As a result, the such concept bills don’t go through the standard transparency that attends legislation submitted normally. But the bill description suggests that LD 91, if it passes, would adopt the 2022 national amendments of the Uniform Commercial Code as written by the Uniform Law Commission.

[RELATED: Beware the Digital Dollar and CBDCs…]

In the draft legislation for the UCC, there is a provision that would redefine money to exclude digital assets that are not offered by the government:

“Money” means a medium of exchange that is currently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. The term includes a monetary unit of account established by an intergovernmental organization, or pursuant to an agreement between two or more countries. The term does not include an electronic record that is a medium of exchange recorded and transferable in a system that existed and operated for the medium of exchange before the medium of exchange was authorized or adopted by the government. (Draft amendment in bold.)

Although the draft legislation would exclude bitcoin and other digital assets from the legal definition of money, it would leave the door open for new digital assets offered by centralized governments.

International groups like the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have openly speculated about using a so-called Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) to manage the international economy and facilitate social engineering.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has also published a paper exploring how CBDCs could be used in the American financial system.

When South Dakota lawmakers were considering a similar proposal to adopt the 2022 UCC amendments, conservative and libertarian members of the state’s Freedom Caucus opposed the measure because it was viewed enabling the adoption of CBDCs.

In a summary document explaining the purpose of the amendment, the Uniform Law Commission directly addresses Bitcoin:

“The current definition of “money” in the UCC is sufficient to include a virtual (fiat) currency authorized or adopted by a government, whether token-based or deposit account-based. But that definition also may include a medium of exchange in an electronic record (such as Bitcoin) that existed and operated as a medium of exchange before it was authorized or adopted as a medium of exchange by a government. The amendments, however, exclude from “money” such an electronic record that existed and operated as a medium of exchange before it was authorized or adopted as a medium of exchange.”

In other words, the Uniform Law Commission is seeking to use the UCC to stymie bitcoin adoption at the same time it paves the way for a government-controlled electronic cash under a CBDC system.

One of the author’s of the draft UCC legislation, Steven Wiese, gave a video presentation regarding the proposal, portions of which were obtained by South Dakota lawmakers. In the video, Wiese makes the intention of the proposed rules explicit.

“Bitcoin will not be money, because even though the definition provides for electronic money… it says that an asset that is adopted by a government as its medium of exchange will not qualify as money under the UCC if the electronic asset, such as bitcoin, existed before it was adopted by the government,” Wiese said.

“Because it exists, it’ll never be money for UCC purposes,” he said.

On benefits to CBDCs of adopting the amendments, Wiese seemed almost gleeful.

“Some central governments are talking about creating what’s called central bank digital currency, C.B.D.C., it rolls off your tongue — that could be money,” he said.

[RELATED: Increasing Use of “Concept Draft” Reduces Legislature’s Transparency, Undermines Public Hearings…]

Bitcoin has come under scrutiny by authoritarian governments because it allows for value to be transacted without a third-party intermediary — like a government agency or a major financial institution. Because of its resistance to censorship, bitcoin has been used by political dissidents, journalists, and humanitarian organizations working under hostile governments.

Bitcoin, which has a predetermined and immutable supply schedule, is seen by many as an alternative monetary system to the fiat U.S. dollar system. Whereas there will only ever be 21 million bitcoin in existence, the total supply of the U.S. dollar is dependent upon the whims of politicians, and there’s no end in sight to the money printing.

If authoritarian regimes hate or fear bitcoin because of the freedom it provides for users, they look favorably upon CBDCs for precisely the opposite reasons.

Most versions of CBDCs commonly theorized by centralized governments would be programmable. With programmable money, a government could determine how much money a user is allowed to spend, what they’re allowed to spend it on, and where. A CBDC could be programmed, for example, to limit a users spending in relation to carbon emissions or red meat consumption. Another commonly theorized programming option would be negative interest rates on checking and savings accounts, which would theoretically be used to encourage people to spend money and stimulate the economy.

Freedom advocates who have warned against the increasing slide toward CBDCs fear such technologies will one day be combined with a social credit system, like the one currently operated by the Communist Party in the People’s Republic of China, to control the behavior of citizens.

In addition to authoritarian governments, large financial institutions have also opposed bitcoin and other digital currencies in the past. According to Maine lobbyist records, Bank of America and the Maine Bankers association are both lobbying on LD 91.

Moriarity, the sponsor of LD 91, was not available Tuesday evening for an interview.

This is a breaking news story. If more information becomes available regarding the “concept” this story will be updated.

Maine GOP Wants UMaine to Drop COVID-19 Vax Rules

Republicans on the Maine legislature’s joint committee on education and cultural affairs today called on the University of Maine system to follow the lead of the Maine Community College system and drop the requirement that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before enrolling. 

The Maine Community College system scrapped its vaccination requirement for students throughout the state earlier this month.

[RELATED: UMaine Professor Fired For Criticizing Mask Mandates Fighting for Her Free Speech Rights…]

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Heidi Sampson (R-Alfred), Sen. James Libby (R-Cumberland), Rep. Sheila A. Lyman (R-Livermore Falls), Rep. Edward J. Polewarczyk (R-Wiscasset), and Rep. Barbara A. Bagshaw (R-Windham) said it’s time for the University of Maine to open its doors to everyone.

“Current science is clear that the policy requiring that all University of Maine System students be vaccinated no longer serves its original purpose and is now detrimental to student learning, student enrollment, and student health,” the legislators pointed out in what could be reference the noted Lancet medical journal recently conceding that natural immunity is just as effective as the vaccines.

“The public recognizes that what we know about science has changed and the public University system must change as well in order to better serve the learning, health and emotional wellbeing of our students. We commend Maine’s Community College System for recognizing this and showing leadership in lifting the vaccination requirement,” the legislative Republicans concluded.

While many U.S. colleges and universities do require vaccination of students, not all do. State universities in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and a handful of other states do not. Some institutions that have required students to get vaccinated have expressed concern about lost tuition revenue over the course of the pandemic.

Industry Experts See Portland Rent Control Backfiring Amid Maine Housing Crisis


Portland voters are hoping recent rent control ordinances will provide relief to struggling renters amid a growing housing crisis, but property owners and industry experts tell the Maine Wire the new rent control scheme — passed by socialist-sponsored ballot initiatives in 2020 and 2022 — may have perverse or unintended consequences.

Ironically, the new rent control regulations, intended to protect renters from unfair rent increases, may have actually led landlords to increase rents in the short-term beyond what they would have sought without the new rules.

“In our direct experience at our management company, the Portland rent control ordinance has largely backfired and achieved the inverse desired effect,” said Daren Hebold, a partner at LUX Residential, LLC in Portland.

“Thrust into scarcity mode by this artificial, legislated ceiling imposed upon their rental income, landlords are left with little choice but to grab the maximum allowed annual rental increase percentages for fear those limits will likely taper in coming years,” Hebold said.

“They are simply attempting to stay afloat with ever escalating operating costs, necessary capital improvement expenditures, rising interest rates and other non-recoupable costs,” he said.

That’s just in the short-term. Over the medium- and long-terms, industry veterans believe investment will flow to Portland’s surrounding communities in search of a friendlier environment for real estate developers.

Rents in Portland were already the highest in Maine, which likely contributed to popular support for ordinances intended to limit rent increases. Portland is the first city in Maine to adopt rent control, but South Portland is now looking at becoming the second.

The current rent control regime began in the fall of 2020 when the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) put up a ballot referendum question, which won by 57 percent. DSA’s victory was built on the failure of 2017 ballot initiatives and demonstrated the group’s organizational ability in campaigning during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Last fall, a second successful DSA-backed initiative imposed even more severe requirements on landlords.

So far, the reviews for Portland’s rent control regime, even in the liberal-leaning mainstream news media, are mixed.

Rents have only gone up 1.6 percent on average versus 2.5 percent in units exempted from controls. Landlords and tenants alike have faced confusion in complying with the new regime. And many of the new renters coming to Portland from places like Boston, New York and other very high rent regions are reaping the rewards of Portland’s rent control ordinance.

“People who need the help aren’t getting it,” said Brit Vitalius, president of the Rental Housing Alliance of Southern Maine, an advocacy group for area landlords. Now with 700 members, Vitalius says he’s seen a huge growth in members since the rent control question passed.

The reasoning behind the DSA initiative and rent control generally is the belief that landlords would simply get massive windfall profits without the caps.

This assumption collides with reality. In addition to taxes to taxes, general maintenance, and property management, landlords are constantly making capital improvements and – when scarcity like we’re seeing today exists – building more units. Under rent control schemes, they are dis-incentivized from investing in their current properties or investing in new ones. Available – not to mention affordable – housing stock stagnates and calcifies. Housing crises worsen.

At the same time, Vitalius points out, unit vacancy in Portland is close to zero.

Last fall, the second rent control measure reduced landlords’ ability to keep rents in pace with inflation. From the landlords’ perspective, this only tightened the vise.

John Finegan, associate broker with The Boulos Company, said different versions of rent control have been implemented in various American cities over the years, and not every rent control policy is the same.

“The devil is in the details,” said Finegan. “Each one has some formula. How it actually functions plays a very heavy hand i