Legislative Update from Maine State Senator Brownie Carson

brownie at veterans event

Dear friends, neighbors and constituents,

On Monday, I was back at the State House with legislative colleagues. As you know, we voted on four important bond issues, all of which I supported. Endorsing all of these bonds would have allowed us to send a package of critical investments to voters this November: $20 million for Land for Maine’s Future (LMF); $105 million for road and bridge maintenance; $23 million for broadband, technical education and upgrading National Guard facilities; and $15 million for environmental infrastructure and energy efficiency. Unfortunately, we approved only one — the transportation bond.

In advance of the special session, I made calls to Senate colleagues who appeared to be “on the fence” about whether to vote for the LMF bond. I reminded them that voters have strongly endorsed every one of the six LMF bonds that have appeared on ballots since 1987. There is absolutely no question about both the value of, and popular support for, protecting farmland, working forests, wildlife habitat, high-value recreational land, access to working waterfronts, and more. I spoke in favor of this bond on the senate floor. To approve this bond, we needed one Republican vote to meet the two-thirds requirement; we did not get a single one. Putting it mildly, I was very disappointed at the end of the day.

We must re-start the LMF program, and funds from this bond would have done that. I also believe that we must invest in maintenance and upgrades to our state parks. There was significant controversy at the end of session in June about any borrowing (except the transportation bond). As a compromise, the governor reduced the overall size of this bond package and spit it into four separate bonds. When the legislature reconvenes in January, we will revisit the bonds that failed on Monday. Our rural residents need reliable high-speed internet; our technical schools deserve our support; all of Maine’s infrastructure, including water and sewer as well as roads and bridges, needs to be kept up.

In addition, we took up the question of whether to use ranked-choice voting for the 2020 presidential primary in Maine. This was a “hold-over” bill. Thanks to so many who wrote emails in the past week — most in support, some in opposition. I have carefully considered this issue since it first surfaced several years ago. I believe that RCV strengthens our electoral system, making every vote count when there is a particularly close election. Having voters engaged and evaluating all candidates, not just our top choice in a crowded field, is a very good thing. So, I voted “yes” on LD 1083, and it was enacted in the Senate. It’s now in the hands of Governor Mills, for her to approve, veto or hold.

One final thought: As we spend time with family and friends on Labor Day, it’s important to remember that before Labor Day was a national holiday, before the labor movement took root, workers across our country faced unbearably long hours, often in unsafe conditions. Many factories used child labor. Now, our laws protect workers, and we expanded those protections this year. More workers will have access to paid family leave and loggers now have the same right to organize that farmers and lobstermen already had. I will always support policies that value hardworking people throughout Maine.

I hope you’re enjoying these final days of summer. It has been wonderful to spend so much time outdoors in Harpswell!

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me at Brownie.Carson@legislature.maine.gov or (207) 287-1515. You can also follow me on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/BrownieForMaine/. Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Maine Senate.

Best regards,

Brownie

Moveon.org: Free Sticker!

The Trump administration has reached a shocking new low—yes, shocking even for Donald Trump. This week, our government began sending letters to immigrants with gravely ill children, informing them that the program allowing them to stay in the country to get their children lifesaving treatment had been terminated and that they and their children may be deported in the next month.1

The Trump administration’s policies are despicable. They are cruel. And we’ve got to make sure that voters end them in 2020—as we work to build the genuinely equitable, just society we really need.

The Muslim Ban. Shutting down the government for 35 days over his border wall. Locking up children in cages. Calling murderous Nazis in Charlottesville “very fine people.” Pardoning former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who shackled a pregnant woman, refused to investigate child sex crimes, and even bragged that his tent city jail was a “concentration camp.”2,3,4 The list goes on and on.

As the 2020 election gets underway, we must mobilize to defeat this disgusting ideology at the ballot box.

That’s why MoveOn just printed a big batch of “Vote Against Hate” stickers, and we’re giving them away for free while supplies last.

Just click here 

Although Trump may be the most public face of America’s racism, he is only a symptom of the larger problem of ingrained racism in our society—from the insides of our living rooms to our board rooms, schools, criminal justice system, and the halls of Congress.

Fighting to truly dismantle white supremacy must happen on all fronts. It’s not a partisan project—and defeating Trump and the GOP isn’t the end-point. But in 2020 we have a chance to deal a real blow to racism and its enablers by not only defeating Racist in Chief Donald Trump but also his allies in the House and Senate.

Like Steve King, the white nationalist representative from Iowa.

Like Mitch McConnell, Trump’s single biggest defender.

And like Susan Collins, Cory Gardner, and so many more who remain silent in the face of Trump’s hateful attacks in a desperate effort to protect their GOP majority.

These Republican politicians deserve a pink slip, and that is exactly what MoveOn members are planning to deliver to them next November, by building a grassroots movement that powers a blue wave to sweep Trump and his apologists out of Washington—and that presses every candidate for office to be anti-racist.

Are you ready to join the fight? Get your free “Vote Against Hate” sticker now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kelly, Chris, Liia, Emma, and the rest of the team

BBC: Two New York ex-policemen walk free after sex with handcuffed suspect

Former NYPD officers Eddie Martins (L) and Richard HallFormer NYPD officers Eddie Martins (L) and Richard Hall

Two former New York detectives have walked free after admitting to having sex with a handcuffed 18-year-old woman after arresting her.

Eddie Martins and Richard Hall arrested the woman for possession of marijuana before having sex with her in the back of a van in exchange for her release.

They will serve five years probation but escaped the prosecutor’s request for one to three years in prison.

The men were initially accused of rape but the charges were later dropped.

On Thursday the former police officers, both in their mid to late thirties, pleaded guilty to official misconduct and other charges linked to the incident.

The police officers pulled the woman over in September 2017 as she was driving with friends and found her to be in possession of marijuana.

They then took turns to have sex with her in the back of the police vehicle, the court heard. The police officers did not report the arrest.

Afterwards, the woman went to hospital, where tests identified DNA matching both detectives.

The rape charges were dropped because the victim’s credibility was “seriously, seriously questionable” and the charges could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, said Justice Danny Chun.

The woman’s attorney, Michael N. David, said it was a “complete injustice” that the ex-police officers escaped a jail sentence.

A NYPD van pictured in New YorkThis New York police van has the slogan “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect” painted on the side

As a result of the case, a loophole was closed that previously allowed New York police officers to have sex with those in custody as long as it was consensual.

Martins and Hall, who resigned from the New York police department in 2017, “engaged in a shocking abuse of power”, said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, adding that he “would have preferred to see them serve prison time”.

“We could not apply the new law retroactively, and serious credibility issues in this case precluded us from proceeding on additional charges,” said Mr Gonzalez, “yet we remained committed to holding these defendants accountable”.

Philadelphia Mayor Blasts NRA After Gunman Shoots and Injures Six Police Officers (is that what it took?)

H10 philadelphia mayor jim kenney shooting police officers nra gun control

Police in Philadelphia have arrested a gunman who sparked an almost eight-hour standoff after he opened fire on officers serving a warrant for drug crimes, injuring six officers. A 36-year-old suspect was taken into custody around midnight after a SWAT team fired tear gas into the building where he’d holed up. The man was reportedly heavily armed and had an AK-47 assault rifle. This is Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.

Mayor Jim Kenney: “It’s aggravating. It’s saddening. And it’s just something that we need to do something about. And if the state and federal government don’t want to stand up to the NRA and some other folks, then let us — let us — police ourselves. But they preempt us on all kinds of gun control legislation. Our officers deserve to be protected, and they don’t deserve to be shot at by a guy for hours with an unlimited supply of weapons and an unlimited supply of bullets.”

Was it okay as long as it was just regular citizens? Children?

Amash first Republican legislator to call for Trump’s impeachment

In a series of tweets, legislator Justin Amash says the US president has engaged in ‘impeachable conduct’.

Amash first Republican legislator to call for Trump's impeachment
Amash sent a series of tweets, faulting Trump and Attorney General William Barr over Mueller’s report 

Republican legislator Justin Amash has said he believes Donald Trump has engaged in “impeachable conduct”, becoming the first politician from his party to call for removing the US president.

The Michigan representative on Saturday also accused Attorney General William Barr of “deliberately” misleading the public over the actual content and tenor of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference aimed at tipping the election to Trump.

WATCH

The Mueller report: Can Trump be impeached?

In a series of tweets, Amash – a member of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus – said “few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report,” which identified “multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice”.

“Undoubtedly any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence,” he posted.

“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behaviour that met the threshold for impeachment.”

Justin Amash

@justinamash

Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

Amash’s comments went even further than those by most Democratic leaders in Congress.

Fellow Michigan legislator Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat, urged Amash to co-sponsor her impeachment resolution.

“@justinamash come find me in 1628 Longworth. I’ve got an impeachment investigation resolution you’re going to want to cosponsor,” she wrote in response to Amash’s thread.

Trump has proclaimed he was fully exonerated by Mueller’s report.

But some Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate who has called for impeachment proceedings, argue that the document lays out multiple occasions in which the president may have obstructed justice.

What is US impeachment? Six things to know

Other senior Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have cautioned against such a move, stressing it could deeply divide the nation of about 325 million people.

These Democrats warn it could backfire politically in the run-up to the 2020 election, especially with the Republican-controlled Senate likely to acquit the president in the event of impeachment by the House of Representatives.

Still no water at the Venezuelan Embassy – Jacqui Voltaire

Hi All, Today Cheri Honkala and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign will arrive and are plan [see below] to go to the Water Company to try to get the water back on. There will be a Press Conference with the Lawyer’s Guild at 12 Noon today. There is a lot of info below. The first video has a lot of information and if you can listen to it I suggest you so. I hope to get more info out today. And if any of you can get to DC please do and share this widely. The main media is not covering it at all so you know they are being told not to because this is huge!
Love
,jacqui
PS As always if you want to no longer receive these updates let me know.

DC Water Company
9am 5/13 today 
125 -O street SE
Water for Venezuelan Embassy now

News2Share

Protests continue on both sides as the standoff at the Venezuelan Embassy continues. With access to water shut o…

 

Alex Rubinstein on Twitter

“Statement from the Embassy Protection Collective after US authorities cut the power to the besieged Venezuelan …

 

We are reading the new Mother’s Day proclamation at the side of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC which is under siege by the coup supporters but we are protecting it’s

Medea Benjamin

We are reading the new Mother’s Day
Another Mothers Day call for peace is being ignored by the war profiteers who are eager for a war in Venezuela. Call your legislators and ask them to tell the Secret Service and the DC police to protect peaceful citizens who need to take food and supplies into the Venezuelan Embassy that they have been empowered to hold legally by the Venezuelan government. Love, Eliz
Image may contain: 8 people, including Medea Benjamin, people smiling, people standing


We would think the U.S. state would be embarrassed.

All three of Venezuelan neo-fascist Juan Guaido’s coup attempts have failed. Donald Trump appears to be raising questions regarding the effectiveness of National Security Advisor John Bolton’s pro-coup strategies in Venezuela.

Yet the assault on the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., continues unabated.

The electricity and water were turned off this week in an attempt to smoke the Embassy Protection Collective out of the building in the upscale Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Georgetown.

The state still appears to be hot to blame Russia for its ills. Journalist Anya Parampil tweeted a Secret Service officer said anti-interventionists are “paid by Russia or whatever.”



This is a curious statement: “… paid by Russia or whatever.”

It not only shows the U.S. state is still scapegoating Russia after the Mueller report demonstrated Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. election.

Embedded in that statement is the assumption that forms the foundation of U.S. mythology: That in order to be good, one must be aligned with the white supremacist imperialist project. Those who are not white and/or not in alignment with that project are otherized.

As African/Black internationalists, we reject that position and continue to stand with the colonized peoples of the world. (Check out BAP Coordinating Committee member Netfa Freeman breaking down the connection between Pan-Africanism and liberation movements throughout the world in an interview with Eleanor Goldfield of Act Out.) That is why our folks have consistently shown up at the Venezuelan embassy. We understand what it’s like to be under siege by militarized forces, to be deprived of our basic needs, our human rights violated, and demonized by the First World imperialists right here in the belly of the beast. We released an official statement on the matter.

Below, you can see Garrett Harris and Toby Robert of Pan-African Community Action, a BAP member organization, alongside Maurice Carney of BAP member organization Friends of the Congo, and BAP Coordinating Committee member Margaret Kimberley—all willing to stand in the rain for hours yesterday, across the street from the embassy.



The Real News Network interviewed Garrett on the scene last week, when neo-fascist forces first swarmed the scene with their violence.

Now we must ask you to take action to help restore water and electricity at the Venezuelan embassy, and end the neo-fascist siege on the building. Copy and paste the letter below and send it to the following email addresses for Washington, D.C., officials and agencies:

info@dcwater.com, eom@dc.gov, customeradvocate@pepco.com, jevans@dccouncil.us, pmendelson@dccouncil.us, kmcduffie@dccouncil.us, abonds@dccouncil.us, dgrosso@dccouncil.us, esilverman@dccouncil.us, rwhite@dccouncil.us, bnadeau@dccouncil.us, mcheh@dccouncil.us, btodd@dccouncil.us, callen@dccouncil.us, vgray@dccouncil.us, twhite@dccouncil.us, peter.newsham@dc.gov


Please restore water and electricity to 1099 30th Street NW, Washington, D.C., aka the Venezuelan embassy. It is a human rights violation to cut off water and electricity. Your top officials can be sued and hauled off to jail.

An embassy is considered a sovereign country inside the United States. You are obligated per Article 25 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to provide resources so that a diplomatic building can function. You are obligated per Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to protect the building from the neo-fascist siege currently underway.

The people inside the building are lawful tenants, having met the 14-day threshold of D.C. tenancy. They are also skilled attorneys. When you are sued, the people of D.C. will blame you for being complicit with U.S. gangsterism, the same gangsterism that the United States demonstrates around the world, cutting off access to resources, bombing people of color all over.

These neo-fascists are the same type of people who last year burned an Afro-Venezuelan man alive.

It is unprecedented for the U.S. government to cut off water and electricity to an embassy and allow neo-fascist thugs to damage the outside of an embassy. This siege will have a ripple effect on international relations. Even during wartime, embassies are hands-off zones. Now, how can other embassies expect their buildings to be protected and fully functioning in D.C.? Why wouldn’t another country attack a U.S. embassy abroad after what you have allowed?

Secret Service and Metropolitan Police Department only stand by, watching the thuggery and arresting peaceful people who are being assaulted.

It is in the best interests of PEPCO, D.C. Water and the District of Columbia to stay out of the war the United States is waging on the majority Black and Brown country of Venezuela and its embassy. Immediately restore water and electricity to the lawful tenants of the Venezuelan embassy. Then end the neo-fascist siege on the embassy.

Sincerely,
[Your name]
[City, state, country]



No compromise.

No retreat.

Struggle to win,
Ajamu, Jaribu, Margaret, Netfa, Paul, Vanessa and YahNé
Coordinating Committee
Black Alliance for Peace


National Mobilization — Saturday, May 18, 12:00 p.m. Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, D.C. 1099 30th St. NW

The Embassy Protection Collective is calling on all peace and social justice organizations and people from all over the United States to join together next Saturday, May 18, for a massive mobilization in Washington D.C. at the Venezuelan Embassy.
Right-wing and fascist thugs have laid siege to the Venezuelan Embassy. The electricity has been cut off. The water has been cut off and people attempting to bring food were violently attacked and arrested. The Secret Service and the D.C. Police Department, under orders of the Trump Administration, have created a humanitarian crisis in the heart of Washington D.C. at a diplomatic compound that is protected by the Vienna Convention. 
Momentum is building all over the country in defense of the Embassy Protection Collective and in opposition to the Trump Administration’s lawless attempt to seize Venezuela’s Embassy.
Peace activists have been residing inside the Venezuelan Embassy, since mid-April to protect it from takeover by the Trump Administration as part of the U.S. orchestrated coup, they are there as the invited guests of the owner of the building, the Venezuelan government. Organized by CODEPINK, Popular Resistance and ANSWER Coalition, they formed the Embassy Protection Collective. They are demanding that the electricity and water be turned back on, and that food and medicines be allowed inside.