Meetups

The Libertarian Party of Maine has recently implemented a new computer system that will make it easier for local libertarian groups to organize local meetings and events.  Our database has over one thousand supporters and thousands of interested prospects with whom we can communicate by email, text message and via Facebook and Twitter.  We would like to use all of our systems to help organize meetings of local groups anywhere in Maine so that we can get to know each other, develop a common agenda, and become a political voice.

 

Here is the step by step process for organizing a local meeting:

 

  1. A motivated Volunteer becomes a point person for a local meetup and contacts LPME with a proposed location and time

  2. Initially the groups will not be too large and can be easily accommodated at free venues ranging from donut shops to public libraries

  3. We will use the LPME database to generate a list of potential participants for an appropriate geographic area

  4. LPME will send an email blast to local potential participants along with tweeting out the announcement and placing an announcement on LPME Facebook page.

  5. LPME.org has an events page where the meeting time, location, and agenda will be announced

  6. The attendees will be asked to RSVP on the events page so that the point person will know whom to expect

  7. We meet.

 

The agenda for early meetings organized via this process may include a report by the LPME chairman Jorge Maderal on our organizing and voter registration (he is committed to attending as many meetings as he can), discussion of our position on current issues in the state (e.g. Gov. LePage tax plan), as well as issues important to local group members.  We would like to be a place where libertarian leaning individuals can meet like-minded people even if they are not ready to join the political party just yet.


Please email us at lp_maine@lpme.org 

We am looking forward to hearing from you so that we can work together on building a thriving Libertarian community in Maine.

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Do You Owe Quahog Tax for 2014?

Mahogany Quahog (Arctica islandica) is one of the longest living animal species in the world.  Specimens of over 200 years of age are not unusual, and the oldest known specimen was 507 years old when it was collected alive.  This means that many Quahogs that are peacefully filtering water on the ocean bottom right now were alive on December 16, 1773 and probably tasted the tea in the water even if they didn’t know what it was.  New England Quahogs are probably the only living creatures that were present for the Boston Tea Party and then lived long enough for the state of Maine to tax them at $1.20 per bushel.  It is too bad that this bivalve mollusk can’t appreciate the irony of his situation.

Why did Maine single out Mahogany Quahog (pronounced ko-hog) for taxation?  This deep-water clam lives in waters of between 65 and 250 feet deep.  Most Quahogs live in waters more than 3 miles offshore where fishing is regulated by the federal government, but here in Maine a subset of the species is found in shallower waters that are regulated by the State.  Seafood wholesalers must file the Mahogany Quahog-specific Maine Revenue Service form QUA and pay the Mahogany Quahog tax.  The tax is paid by the bushel according to the legislature, but the Maine Revenue Service used its regulatory power to declare that a bushel of Quahogs must weigh 80 pounds.  Not only do they get taxed but even their weight per bushel (specific gravity) is regulated by the state.  Many other species of clams are found and harvested in Maine waters, but only the Mahogany Quahog has its own special tax.

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Surveillance Close to Home

We are working to register 5,000 Mainers as Libertarians in order to gain full party status in Maine.  We hope to see Libertarians elected to statewide office so that libertarian values can influence the political discourse in Augusta.

In recent years we have seen frequent reports of various domestic surveillance programs, usually conducted by the federal government.  It is pretty clear that all Internet and telephone data is being captured and many license plates are being scanned.  The status of cell phone GPS location data remains a mystery.  The American people do not see this as enough of a problem to demand that the programs be terminated immediately, and politicians are, as usual, "concerned" but take little action.  Unfortunately, surveillance begins closer to home and even a government as limited in resources as is the Maine state government runs secret surveillance databases.

If you go to a pharmacy to fill a prescription for any controlled substance, as defined by the federal DEA, the pharmacist, in addition to his usual responsibilities related to safe medication practices, will enter you and your prescription into the Maine Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP).  You will not be told that the entry is being made and you will not be offered a chance to opt out.  If you later contact the government in Augusta to have your supposedly private medical and personal information removed from the PMP database your request will be denied.  Many of the names in the database are those of children who take stimulants for attention deficit disorder.

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The Truth About MaineCare Expansion

It is February of 2015 and Maine hospitals are taking stock of 2014, the first calendar year under the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.  The ACA was supposed to reduce charity care by requiring everyone to have insurance and by providing subsidies for insurance.  However, Maine hospitals are reporting that bad debt and charity care costs are actually skyrocketing, according to this report from MPBN Radio. Hospital administrators are focusing on the lack of Medicaid expansion as the cause of bad debt without even mentioning the debt caused by those who were individually mandated to buy insurance but did not do so.  It is important to note that in states that have not expanded Medicaid, persons eligible for Medicaid under federal rules have been exempt from the individual mandate.

The MPBN report mentions the unwillingness of Gov. LePage to expand the Maine Medicaid (MaineCare) program and it refers to the modest bipartisan cuts to MaineCare in 2013, but it does not mention the substantial MaineCare expansion over the last 10 years.  As a result of vigorous lobbying by the Maine Hospital Association and others, MaineCare was expanded significantly between 2003 and 2011.  During these same years, charity care at hospitals grew steadily while 25,000 childless adults were added to MaineCare rolls and bad debt at Maine hospitals grew from 40 million to 215 million dollars.

enroll_debdt

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Urgent: Petitioning help needed Saturday in Rockland area.

Urgent message from Shawn Levasseur:

 

In order to get on the ballot for the special election for the State House seat representing Rockland and Owl's Head, I have been given two weeks to get the needed petition signatures.

The weather has proven that this has been the worst possible two weeks to have to do this in. Blizzards made the first week a near washout. Fortunately I've been able to get a quarter of the signatures i need over this past weekend (along with some frozen toes from the effort)

But more storms may hit during the week, and the signatures are due this coming Monday in Augusta. This coming weekend will determine if I will be able to get on the printed ballot, or have to run as a write-in.

So with this in mind, I'm encouraging anyone who can help with petitioning on Saturday the 14th.  If you can help, please call me at 207-594-9365, or email me at Shawn_L@lpme.org. With more hands we can cover several locations at the same time, and be able to ensure that the Libertarian Party will be represented on the special election ballot this March 10th.

I'll be petitioning on Sunday the 15th as well, if need be, and would be glad for any help on that day as well, but there aren't as many prime locations open on that day. 

Thanks for your support.

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Keep Police Accountable

This news item is all over the internet and these events happened far from Maine, yet I feel compelled to blog about this because it exemplifies so much that is wrong with police conduct in our country today.  

On January 27, 2015 San Francisco Police Inspector Brian Stansbury arrested San Francisco Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson inside the Hall of Justice while she was clearly acting as an attorney representing a client.

 

So much is wrong with this brief video that I cannot resist making a bulleted list:

 

  1. Law must pass the test of common sense every time.  A cooperative person who is submitting to an arrest cannnot be arrested for resisting arrest.  As this NPR report points out, defending this practice will instantly lead to loss of trust in the police, as it is clear that the only message here is "submit or be arrested."  
  2. Look closely at Brian Stansbury's body language in the video.  This macho fellow just can't resist using his size and mannerisms to intimidate a woman.  He knows he is in the Hall of Justice and on camera but that is not going to stop him.  I don't know inspector Stansbury, but I am concerned that the San Francisco Police Department's defense of a misogynist bully will not be good for their reputation. 
  3. Inspector Stansbury is a defendant in a 2013 civil rights lawsuit.  The plaintiff in that lawsuit is one of Brian Stansbury's fellow SFPD officers who was arrested by Stansbury while off duty.  Inspector Stansbury charged his colleague, who is black, with resisting arrest, but that charge was later dismissed.  Stansbury is accused of choking the plaintiff, after profiling him by asking the plaintiff repeatedly if he was on parole or probation at the time of the arrest.
  4. Finally, I will repeat something that many have already mentioned but which is very much worth repeating.  If Brian Stansbury is comfortable conducting himself in the manner shown on the video above, knowing that he is on camera inside the Hall of Justice in front of an officer of the court, how does he behave in the dark alleys of his city? 

If you are eligible to vote in Maine and care about Liberty and Justice, please register to vote as a Libertarian by writing-in the word Libertarian on the Maine voter application.

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REGISTER TO VOTE AS A LIBERTARIAN

Here is how to register to vote as a Libertarian:

The December first 2015 deadline will approach faster than we expect.  We need to get this done so that our candidates can run for office with the same ease as the candidates from the two major parties.  Please tell your Libertarian-leaning friends that we need their help to get to 5,000 registrations.  

Method 1

Go to your town office and fill out the card.  You will need your drivers license number for the second page (back of the card). You MUST write in the word Libertarian, because we are not an official party yet.  The Secretary of State is not allowing us to pre-print cards with the word Libertarian printed on them.

 

  

Method 2

Click this link.  It will take you to the same place as the "Register to Vote" button under the "Take Action" tab at the top of this page. This page is powered by Rock the Vote.  You will be able to select Libertarian from a drop down menu.  After you complete the process, Rock the Vote will generate the form that you will be able to print and then carry or mail to your town office.

 

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Rockland Libertarian to run for State House seat 93 in Special Election

Shawn Levasseur has announced his candidacy for the Maine State House seat 93, serving Rockland and Owl's Head.

His full press release is on his campaign website.

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Gov. LePage’s 2015 Tax Plan is Almost the Same as the 2009 Tax Law Written by Democrats and Repealed by People’s Veto in 2010. There is NO Difference Between Major Parties.

As we work to register 5,000 Mainers as Libertarians by December first, one might ask – Why do we need a strong third party?  The answer is – because we need new fresh ideas.  Case in point – the similarity between the tax proposal by Gov. LePage this year and the law passed by the Democratic Legislature and Gov. Baldacci in 2009.

 

To paraphrase Yogi Berra, in theory there is a difference between the two parties but in practice there is not.  You only have to go back to 2009 to remember LD 1495 passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Baldacci.  That law, designed by the Democrats to expand the tax base, lowered the state income tax to a flat rate of 6.5% and expanded the 5.5% sales tax to many services.  There were multiple complicated tax rates for meals and rental cars and even a special tax rate for candy.  This law was repealed by people’s veto in 2010 (Question 1 in the June 2010 election).

 

We are now in 2015 and LePage is proposing increasing the sales tax to 6.5% and expanding it to cover more services.  The top income tax rate would be lowered to 5.75%.  There are some important differences here, such as repeal of the estate tax and, most importantly, cuts to municipal revenue sharing that make property tax increases likely in some towns.  The proposal doubles the homestead exemption for senior citizens to $20,000 while eliminating it for people under 65. If property taxes were held flat, LePage’s proposal would reduce spending by $267 million (Detailed Tax Foundation Report Here). As we all know streamlining educational bureaucracy is difficult and there is no guarantee against property tax increases.

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Coverage of Libertarian Ideas is Alive and Well in the Mainstream

As we embark on the exciting endeavor of registering 5,000 Mainers as Libertarians, I am sometimes asked about the level of support for libertarian ideas in the mainstream of our society.  The libertarian party quiz shows plainly that most people value our ideals, but sometimes a specific case reveals how these ideals apply to real life scenarios.  

When the case of Eric Garner first hit the news, strong emotion and outrage prevented any discussion of the factors that contributed to his death.  The only topics that seemed appropriate in the mainstream were the issues of race and police conduct. When Senator Rand Paul talked about New York cigarette taxes as a contributing factor, he was widely ridiculed by commentators ranging from serious editorialists to Jon Stewart for insensitivity to race issues and misplaced focus. 

With this in mind I was surprised to hear NPR's Robert Siegel confronting New York City police commissioner William Bratton on the issue of cigarette tax in this interview on NPR's All Things Considered on Friday.  

 

 

 

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