Maine Greens call to end culture of violence, hate

Friday, June 13, 2016

The Maine Green Independent Party released the following statement today in response to yesterday's Orlando, Florida shootings:

We in the Maine Green Independent Party offer our deepest condolences to the families and communities most affected by the mass shooting in Orlando at the Pulse nightclub on Sunday morning. The shockwave from this hateful act on Latinx queer Floridians is being felt by many of us up in Maine as we ponder what it means to live in a world where our very simple choices of who to love are considered grounds for murder.

THE MAINE GREENS CALL TO END CULTURE OF VIOLENCE, HATE.

The Maine Green Independent Party denies any supposition that the kind of hate crime committed in Orlando stems from religious affiliation with Islam. The negative and hateful responses to the Islamic faith around these kinds of incidents do nothing but further incite the culture of violence. In Los Angeles, another potential shooter was stopped before he could make any attacks. In Orlando the shooter’s parents confirmed that the shooter was openly hateful of gay people and not an actively practicing Muslim.

We also oppose the claim that the shooting in Orlando was the “largest mass shooting in US history” as most media outlets have been claiming. Such a claim erases the history of violence against native peoples in America including the shootings at Sand Creek, Wounded Knee and Bloody Island, each which took over 150 lives.

Many people are quick to point out the availability of high powered assault weapons as being one of the root causes for this kind of violence, but solely removing access to weapons would not remove the potential for this level of hate. The United States is a country built on the backs of slave labor and on the appropriated land of Native Americans. We exist in a patriarchal culture where violence is respected as a means to respond to disagreements. Our major political parties ascribe to platforms of endless war. The banning of assault weapons and stronger background checks will make a difference, but not the kind of difference a flat out refusal to engage in violence as a means of problem solving would potentially bring about. We can’t though, merely point out the history and struggle with violence and toxic masculinity. Many LGBTQIA+ people are working now to find words and find the courage to continue being who they are in public, when to do so is a risk.

If you are able, make it out to your local pride weekend, kiss your same-sex or non gender binary partner in public, dress yourself in a way that makes you feel empowered and at home in your body. Offer your support for friends and family who are struggling and show up for them. If you have a car, offer to drive your friends home at night. If you have money, consider donating to an organization that works on trans rights, or another issue important to you. Show up for each other. Don’t stop questioning and working to change this broken society, the world needs you now more than ever.

Thank you and in sorrow and hopefulness,

The Maine Green Independent Party


Maine Green Independent Party Response to Panama Papers

The Panama Papers have exposed the sordid tax avoidance schemes of the super wealthy and their efforts to avoid paying their fair share. The information about shell companies and offshore accounts has shed light on how these clandestine schemes pick the pockets of those who contribute to the cost of running our country. Though perusing the who’s who list of schemers is titillating, we should focus our attention on what this means to those of us not involved in such dealings. The unpaid taxes of those secretly hiding income and assets have to be made up somewhere else. That somewhere else is from you and me and the rest of Main Street America.

The Green Party refuses funding by corporations and PACs and is only beholden to average citizens. We support social issues that benefit everyday people, like universal health care, free education and a livable wage. If the unscrupulous members of the super wealthy class paid their share of taxes, these programs could be funded without increasing the burden on the middle class. That is why the Green Party is not the alternative, as activist Rosa Clemente so accurately stated, but the imperative.


Maine Greens Set Sights on Executive Director

Dear Maine Greens,

We are very encouraged by the support the Maine Green Independent Party has received from caucus attendance and participation. All around Maine we have dedicated members who live our 10 Key Values and want to see these values spread.

As you are aware, we do not accept funds from corporations, PACs and other organizations that would exert undue influence in return for their “donations”. While this allows us to remain independent from these influences, it does restrict our ability to spread our message to the people of Maine.

The MGIP would like to hire an executive director to help coordinate press releases and fundraising, and assist candidates and local groups. These tasks presently fall to our all-volunteer state committee, whose members are busy with families, jobs, school, running for office and other aspects of life. A director would make our party more efficient and our state committee more effective.

We need your financial help to grow our party and see our values spread to our neighbors. Some among us are sustaining donors who contribute monthly to our cause. Can you become a sustainer so we can have the means to hire an executive director?

To become a sustainer, go MaineGreens.org. Click the “DONATE” button and then the “BECOME A SUSTAINER” button. We appreciate your participation in our party in everything you do, be it raising your voice, attending events, running for local office- and offering your FINANCIAL support.

Sincerely,

Gil Harris and Trish Jackson
Co-Chairs, MGIP


Green Party Stands in Solidarity with #BLMLA7

The Green Party supports Black Lives Matter activists on trial for blocking a Los Angeles freeway, calls for charges to be dropped

Rosa Clemente, Green vice-presidential nominee in 2008, is among the seven defendants


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Green Party of the United States expressed its support for the BLMLA7: Seven Black Lives Matter activists who were arrested in Los Angeles, California, on November 26, 2014 for leading the shutdown of Freeway 101 and are now on trial.

Greens demand that the charges be dropped and call the two-week trial an attempt to silence protest against police violence targeting People of Color.

Among the BLMLA7 defendants is Rosa Clemente, an activist, journalist, and scholar and the Green Party's 2008 nominee for Vice President of the United States. (Interview with Ms. Clemente on the trial). The other defendants are Povi-Tamu Bryant, Damon Turner, Jas Wade, Todd Harris, Haewon Asfan, and Frederisha Dixon.


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Merrymeeting Greens support seven political solutions

Merrymeeting Greens Support Seven Political Solutions

GUEST COLUMN
BY FRED HORCH

The Merrymeeting Greens, a group of citizens active in the Maine Green Independent Party in communities surrounding Merrymeeting Bay, are working to advance seven political solutions to meet the serious challenges facing Maine. We invite candidates for office and concerned citizens to join with us during the 2016 political campaign season to promote Green public policies that will create a better future for our state.

1. We support local clean and affordable solar power, as well as comprehensive and cost-effective efficiency programs, to lower energy costs and allow Maine’s small businesses, farms, and families to benefit from the transition to sustainable power for our economy. An “all of the above” energy policy that prolongs Maine’s dependence on oil and natural gas is foolish and will ultimately damage our health and destroy our economic prospects. More efficient buildings powered by clean solar energy protect our health and strengthen Maine’s economy.

2. We support universal health care, with insurance coverage for everyone living in Maine. Both the “Obamacare” and so-called “free market” health insurance schemes allow some people to avoid paying for the public health infrastructure we all need, bankrupt unlucky victims who suffer from severe health problems, and deny care to people based on their wealth. We know from experience in every other developed country that a universal system lowers costs for everyone, prevents death and disease, and delivers better results.

3. We support local farms and fisheries to provide nutritious food for our families. Supermarket foodscapes in which more than 90 percent of the food we eat is trucked in from out of state put us at enormous risk in case of any increase in the price of diesel fuel or any interruption in the interstate transportation system, while also constantly draining money out of our state economy. Local farms and fisheries nurture self reliance and healthy communities.

4. We support local businesses and worker-owned cooperatives to strengthen our middle classes and grow a healthier economy. Public corporations by law are committed to only one goal: corporate profits for their shareholders. Cooperatives give workers greater democratic say in their economic lives, rather than having the decisions that affect them made in distant boardrooms. And profits earned in the sale of goods and services by locally-owned businesses are circulated in Maine, rather than sent to distant shareholders.

5. We support “housing first” for our homeless to protect public safety, mitigate senseless suffering, and turn lives around. We know that approximately 3 percent of our population will become homeless every year, due to family circumstances, mental illness, and other chronic problems. We cannot put the burden on churches, private social service agencies, or jails to fill the gap: their resources are already stretched too thin. It’s time to face facts and put into place a more humane and cost-effective solution to the perennial challenge of homelessness.

6. We support Bath Iron Works diversifying its product mix before receiving any more tax breaks. Jobs are at risk: this industrial complex has been seduced by federal tax dollars into producing a technologically dazzling but economically wasteful ship whose costs exceed the benefits. Our Senators and Representatives in the United States Congress, as well as local elected officials, should get smarter about doling out corporate welfare. It’s time for BIW to develop a more sustainable business model.

7. We support a comprehensive plan to combat Maine’s drug epidemic, including education, treatment and effective community supports to aid in recovery and improve public safety. People who abuse drugs and alcohol should be treated for addiction, not treated like criminals. Our own nation’s experience with Prohibition, during which violence and crime escalated, contrasts with Portugal’s experience with legalization, during which violence and crime receded. Criminalizing drug abuse is the wrong approach. We will have safer communities and fewer drug problems if we treat drug abuse with common sense and compassion rather than batons and battering rams.

We are fortunate to live in a society whose constitution guarantees the freedom to express our political ideas. As the 2016 campaigns get underway in earnest, we encourage citizens who share our values to ask candidates to take a position on these issues to help us transform politics and implement Green political solutions here in Maine. Our forebears made many sacrifices to secure our political rights; let’s honor them by learning the issues, participating in politics, and voting for the common good.

———

Fred Horch is a member of the Merrymeeting Greens, a Brunswick resident and former Green Independent candidate for the Maine State Senate.

 

This article originally appeared in the Times Record at http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2016-02-12/Opinion/Merrymeeting_Greens_Support_Seven_Political_Soluti.html


It's a Crucial Time To Be A Green Party Member!

It is caucus time in Maine.  So what?

Well-- To remain a state-recognized political party, Maine law requires all political parties to hold caucuses in at least 14 of the 16 counties in the state between January 1st and March 19. 

We hope there are already caucuses planned for your communities, but as is often the case, we cannot rely on "somebody else" to get things done.  

Yes, I will convene a caucus for my municipality.

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MGIP calls for LePage impeachment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 11, 2016

Maine Green Independent Party calls for LePage impeachment


www.mainegreens.org

AUGUSTA – The Maine Green Independent Party yesterday called for the impeachment of Gov. Paul LePage. The party’s state committee voted unanimously to urge the House of Representatives to impeach him.

“Since taking office in 2011,” said Party Co-chair Gilbert Harris, “Le Page’s tenure has been marked by slurs and morally questionable statements about individuals in office and about whole groups of people and he has taken actions that are unconstitutional, arguably criminal, and reflect badly on the people of Maine, the state as a whole, and the governor’s office itself.”

Most notable of Gov. LePage’s actions is a threat he made in June, 2015, to withhold state assets to Good Will-Hinckley, a school for at-risk youth in Fairfield. According to several media reports, LePage intimidated members of the school's board of directors to void the employment contract of Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D--North Berwick and South Berwick), or else the school would lose state funds.

"There has been a history of incidents and violations of public trust that reveal his lack of ability to continue as Maine’s chief executive officer," said Patricia Jackson, the party's other co-chair.

Gov. LePage has withheld authorizing $11.5 million in bonds for land conservation, which were approved by voters in referendums in 2010 and 2012, insisting that the Legislature must first pass bills unrelated to the bonds. LePage recently agreed to release $2.2 million of the voter-approved bonds, but only after House Democrats threatened to consider bills to censure or impeach the governor.

Gov. LePage has also allegedly used political pressure to achieve the resignations of the president of the World Acadian Congress in 2013 and president of the Maine Community College System in 2015. The governor has also restricted the ability of government staff to inform elected officials.

"By refusing to allow cabinet and administration members to testify before the Legislature, he withheld information needed by officials who were elected by the citizens of Maine to do the job we sent them to Augusta to do," Jackson said. "Our governor exerted pressure on members of the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation to favor employers in their decision-making process."

In March, 2015, Gov. LePage requested the Maine Human Rights Commission to postpone a decision against a particular business, and when they refused to grant this special consideration, he threatened to withhold state assets. LePage then made an executive order to create a panel to investigate the commission, in violation of a requirement that public notice of such action be made.

"If Gov. LePage is allowed to continue in office, we can expect more malfeasance to be added to this list," Harris said. "It is for this reason that the Maine Green Independent Party supports efforts in the Legislature to impeach the governor. The State of Maine has been subject to his governance-by-bullying for far too long. We deserve a governor that proudly represents the State of Maine, not one that has become the embarrassing butt of late night talk show comedy routines."

In addition to these actions, which state representatives are now questioning as abuses of power and causes for impeachment, Gov. LePage has a record of making inflammatory remarks that make national headlines. Among these statements, LePage has said of the NAACP, "Tell them to kiss my butt." The governor dismissed concerns over BPA, a common additive to plastics, saying, "So the worst case is some women may have little beards."

While running for office in 2010, Gov. LePage told a group of fishermen that if he were elected, he would tell President Barack Obama to "go to Hell." In 2013, two Republican lawmakers told media sources that LePage said at a fundraiser that Obama "hates white people."

In March, 2012, LePage called Sen. Justin Alfond (D--Portland) a "little spoiled brat," and in June, 2013, said Sen. Troy Jackson (D--Aroostook County) "give(s) it to the people without vaseline."

Most recenty, the governor said at a town hall meeting in Bridgton, that out-of-state drug dealers will come to Maine to sell drugs and "impregnate a young white girl before they leave." LePage described the drug dealers as having names that would commonly be perceived as originating in black culture: "D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty -- these kinds of guys."

"As if his racist, sexist and homophobic comments were not enough, you would think the governor's continued abuse of power and political machinations -- threatening the financial security and livelihood of his opponents -- would be enough to warrant impeachment," said Patricia Jackson. "If after all this, Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives can't muster together an impeachment order, then their complacency condones LePage's culture of hate."

The Maine Green Independent Party believes in a set of 10 Key Values, which include personal responsibility, grassroots democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, feminism and gender equality, and respect for diversity.

"These are values that most Mainers live by," said Party Advisor John Rensenbrink, a Topsham citizen who co-founded the party in both Maine and the United States. "The governor does not represent the values of our state and it's time for the people of Maine to part ways with Paul LePage."

www.mainegreens.org


MGIP opens primary election to unenrolled voters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 6, 2016
Augusta--Maine Green Independent Party Co-Chairman Gil Harris delivered a letter to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap today, formally notifying the state that under the provisions of Maine Statute 21-A §340, "Notice of parties of qualified primary voters," the party has determined that unenrolled voters (commonly called "Independents") are eligible to vote in the 2016 Green Independent Party primary, in addition to enrolled Green Independents.

Maine Green Independent Party members voted at an annual convention, Aug. 22, 2015, to allow unenrolled voters ("Independents") to vote in the party's 2016 primary election, along with Green Independents. According to the statute, notification must be made during the general election year and before Feb. 1. Harris notified the state of the party's primary eligibility requirements as early as possible, so that municipal clerks across the state may be informed and trained on who may vote on Green Independent ballots.

"We've been looking into this and to the best of our knowledge, this may be the first instance of any political party in Maine allowing more than enrolled party members to vote in a primary," Harris said. "Our hopes are that voters who have been disenfranchised or frustrated by other parties will realize they have another option."

Harris said grassroots democracy is one of the 10 Key Values of the Maine Green Independent Party, and opening the primary to additional voters could be another way to increase participation in the political process.

"We know that our values resonate with a majority of voters and we want their confidence that we are working for them," Harris said. "This should be considered an open invitation for Independents to try us out, even if just for one election, with no strings attached."

Next, Dunlap must inform all municipal clerks of the new qualifications necessary for voters to participate in the Green Independent Party primary.

"The clerks shall establish procedures to ensure that all qualified primary voters are offered ballots for each party in which primary election the voters are qualified to vote," the statute states.

Gil Harris on Penobcot Ruling WVOM

MGIP Co-Chair Gil Harris spoke on the George Hale Ric Tyler show on WVOM yesterday, about the party's position supporting Penobscot Nation's sovereignty and sustenance fishing rights.

http://www.wvomfm.com/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=7334522


MGIP supports Penobscot Nation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 3, 2016

U.S. District Court Judge George Singal


Maine Green Independent Party Supports Penobscot Nation Sovereignty

PENOBSCOT NATION/PORTLAND, MAINE--The Maine Green Independent Party supports the Penobscot Nation's effort to protect the Penobscot River waterways as their recognized territory, and condemns the ruling handed down by U.S. District Court Judge George Singal on Dec. 17. After hearing arguments in the  Penobscot Nation v. (Attorney General) Janet Mills case, Singal ruled that the Penobscot territory included only the islands and not the ancestral waterways of the Penobscot River.

In past years, complex legal battles have erupted over the Penobscot River waterway. In August 2012, the Penobscot Nation received a letter from the Maine attorney general's office, asserting a new opinion that the Penobscot Nation territory, which consists of over 200 islands in the Penobscot River, did not include any portion of the river's water. This new opinion from the attorney general is contrary to a previous opinion made by Attorney General James Tierney in 1988, which recognized that the Penobscot Nation territory included the river.

The Maine Green Independent Party bases its support for protecting both the Penobscot River and the sovereign rights of the Penobscot Nation on its ten key values, which include ecological wisdom and social justice.

Another factor in the Penobscot Nation v. Janet Mills case is that the Maine Department of Environmental Protection is in conflict with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Water Act protections over the river.

In 2014, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, claiming that Maine had jurisdiction to set water quality standards in "Indian territory." In February 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed that under the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act, the state did have the right to set quality standards, but the standards must be sufficient to safely eat fish in accordance with the Penobscots' sustenance fishing rights. Gov. Paul LePage immediately responded to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding, saying the state would not reduce pollution in the Penobscot River and threatened again to sue the federal government.

"It seems to reason that if the water standards are not regulated so as to maintain a food source that is edible in the river, then the state would be in breach of the U.S. treaty with Penobscot Nation, which guarantees sustenance fishing rights in the river," said Maine Green Independent Party Co-Chairman Gil Harris. "There are no fishing rights if the state poisons the fish."

The Penobscot River is facing industrial threats such as a proposed 74-acre expansion at Juniper Ridge Landfill, a state-owned solid waste disposal site located in Old Town between Pushaw and Birch streams, two major tributaries to the Penobscot River. The landfill is operated by New England Waste Services of Maine, LLC, a subsidiary of Casella Waste Systems. The company's expansion plans include using 54 acres for waste disposal and 20 acres for a methane industrial gas facility in a sensitive wetland ecosystem. More than two acres of wetlands would have to be filled in order to accommodate the expansion.

"The Penobscot Nation has always been a strong steward of its ancestral river, as evidenced in historical petitions and pleas, and illustrated most recently in the precedent-setting Penobscot River Restoration Project," Patricia Jackson, co-chairman of the Maine Green Independent Party. "This project is an extraordinary, collaborative effort that is restoring the ecological integrity of the Penobscot River through dam removal.

"The Maine Green Independent Party trusts the people of the Penobscot Nation to be the best guardians of their ancient river ensuring ecological balance and respectful relations for all the life-forms that call the river home," she added.

The party co-chairmen encourage people to write to Attorney General Mills, and their legislators, to oppose the state's efforts to infringe on the Penobscot Nation's sustenance fishing rights.

For more information, contact:

Gil Harris, MGIP co-chairman, limerickgil@gmail.com