Your comments will be reviewed, then posted if appropriate.
Thanks to you all for your tremendous support. Here are some
of the comments we've been receiving post-election. Jean
Snowe's overwhelming victory and your defeat is sobering to say the least. It seems clear now that progressives will always be shunted aside to make way for establishment candidates, be these Democrat or Republican, and that in the next presidential election I will have to choose between some DLC candidate, probably Hilary Clinton, and some "moderate" Republican. Note that you got 0 support from the Democratic Party; they don't like outsiders intruding on their turf. So where to go to get at least some leverage for progressive causes? I just don't know. Maybe Green. It seems the only thing we can do now is keep the heat on to end the Iraq war. If Vietnam is any lesson, however, that could take a long, long time. Christopher Smith
In some losses, there is Victory. Your vote and mind didn't make an real numerical impact on the U.S. Senate race, but it did make a tremble deep in the political landscape that brought voters to the polls to say 'Enough!".
Bush, who had every advantage to tackle terrorism, disaster, national concerns as currency and spent it like a fool with deep pockets and saw every negative as just the cost of doing business. That fictional "mandate" that he flashed around so proudly has been stripped away. Olympia can no longer voice Republican majority opinion as the authority on everything. Perhaps we will again see the "Centrist" as she once was. Surely she has demonstrated that she indeed wears Teflon drawers, as the heat was way up!
In his heart, Mr. Bush had better know that these next two years better show progress on American values. I hope he is grateful for at least this short time survival of his administration.
You and many others that my GOP discounted months ago have lifted the veil of secrecy and deception and allowed a clear view of some of what has been wrong with these past 6 years. As these two years pass by, I hope we find that our nation's mistakes had honest, good intentions behind them. Otherwise a decisive, but vital impeachment would be in order.
In Lewiston, my choice for U. S. Senate required a small amount of ink to connect two parts of a arrow. Even though campaign efforts did not lift you high enough to overtake the formidable opposition and catch the brass ring, that blot of ink was priceless.
Years ago a huge defensive pro football player, was in a televised arm wrestling match and after what seemed like a minute of more of bone crushing displays of muscle power, he lost. When asked by a reporter how he felt about the loss, he said, " I feel great because I gave it my best!". Little lessons of life sometimes come back to inspire and in this case thank a candidate that dared to accept the challenge.
Without all the bulging muscles, you lifted an immovable object and have changed the course of history in grateful Maine and a nation.
I am proud.
While the attempts of many would-be politicians are largely quixotic efforts and merit little notice, you consistently step up to the plate prepared and aiming to win. This sincere, genuine, informed participation is enormously impressive and meaningful. Some Democrats may have voted for Sen. Snowe, but if they did, it is only because they are not following the campaigns carefully. I don't know what to do about that, but I do know that what we saw and heard during your campaign told us you definitely could have made a fine U.S. Senator that better represented the state of Maine. You also continue to raise the bar for our Senate representation and, through your effort to decipher the complexities of national issues, make us hopeful that our problems as a nation can be solved if people are willing to slow down and figure things out. You've "figured things out" and, consequently, give us the fortification for holding our leaders accountable. A thousand thanks for your efforts. You deserve the Maine Democratic Party's Medal of Honor.
Linda McKee, Wayne
I hope to see you and Dave at the Fort Fairfield picnic during the Potato Blossom Festival next July, or at other venues on the progressive trail during the coming year. <>Congratulations on your principled race. Thank you for having the courage to fight the good fight. Keep the Faith. Jim
Dear Jean, First it was my pleasure to help you with your campaign. Jean, look on the Bright side of it , you didn't lose anything, you gain the Love and respect of all Mainers, if you ask me the whole state of Maine lost, they still have the same loser in office and are going to lose more over her next term. David you did a great job for Jean. God Bless and good luck Dave Hansell.
Thank you for being a credible opponent for a popular incumbent. Obviously,
the incumbent has the financial and staff resources, the aura of influence
and credibility by having their built-in soap-box when issues arise, and
just the feeling of an old well-worn pair of slippers that feel good when
you put them on.
Voters saw - I think - enough of her opposition to Bush's blunders that they
didn't see how much she still supported so many lousy policies. And,
sadly,the national media doesn't do enough to tune the voters in to why
these failed policies are ineffective in making this country so "in-secure",
uncompetitive with the rest of the world, woefully behind in keeping up with
our own infrastructure and educational needs, and so off on this country's
You did great! Pat Felton
I have met you, had your sign on my lawn, bumper stickers in my office and voted for you! Thank you for all your hard work!!!! <>Blessings, Cindy McGovern
Jean - Thank you for fighting for us! As another Democratic candidate who came in second (I received 44% of the vote in Maine House District
48) I was proud to place your lawn sign next to mine, put a link to your web site on my web site (www.nancyglover.com) and promote your candidacy whenever I could, e.g., "I won’t be able to affect the Iraq War but you should vote for Jean Hay Bright, she is our candidate." I am grateful for what I learned during this election cycle, both about this district and about how to run a campaign. Now that this election is over I am planning to meet with other progressives and talk about how we can organize, get our message out and get our candidates elected. It is clear that conservatives have become very skilled at getting their message out. People will continue to vote against their best interests if they have no idea what or who they are voting for. We need to change that. - Nancy Glover
Jean -- You ran an excellent race. We all admire you and David for your courage, skill and devotion. Many thanks. Tom
Hi Jean--You got some important info out there and I'm so appreciative. It must have been a grueling few months. Perhaps next time you--or someone--will be able to de-throne Olympia. Many people still choose to believe she's a moderate. Hard to change illusions--but you did a darned good job! Sincerely, Joyce White
PS. Bet you'll be glad to get back to tending to the farm and maybe hibernate for a couple months?
To Jean Hay Bright, thank you for the gift. No one ever worked harder to keep vital truths before us than you did. Visit us anytime.... Losing an election is no fun at all (duh!), particularly when the effort has become your life. It seems eons ago, but in 1978 I ran for the Legislature. I drove those many miles, knocked on doors in rural neighborhoods all over northern Oxford County, fended off geese and turkeys, had my flyers torn up in my face. I also met hundreds of fine people who I would have liked to have had as neighbors. My support team was as fine a bunch of campaigners as one could hope to have. It was a great adventure, and left no reason for regret.
Except a huge one: I got clobbered by the incumbent Republican, the daughter of a paper company sub-manager of some sort and the calender girl for the industry in western Maine. People patted me on the back, offered words of support, advised perspective and all that - all of which were accepted with smiles, hails to the cause and all that. But it hurt like hell and did so for a long time.
To most people, being a standard bearer for a party and its principles is a lot more than they care to bear, so they don't - pure and simple. I have been one of most people since that one and only skinny dip of sorts into the political pond. Having done so has left me with an abiding appreciation for the gift we all receive from those who choose to carry our banners and hopes each even-numbered year. On behalf of the Franklin County Democrats, thank you all, over and over. Take a long breather if you can. But don't stay away - we need you.... For now, Paul McGuire
Dear Jean, I am very proud of you and your spirited, principled campaign. It was an honor to support your effort to bring peace and social justice to the forefront. Dennis Kucinich
Hi Jean -
I was proud to cast my vote for you this week. Your showing in the debates was impressive, and you should be well positioned to go wherever you want to go next. Keep me posted. Jody Spear
Glad you ran. Happy to vote for you. George.
Thank you for an excellent campaign and for a great letter summing up your experiences.
You ask the question why all those Democrats who are against the war voted for Snowe anyway. We have been asking a similar question for a long time about many other core issues as well: why are people voting against their own interest? I was saying to all voters I had a chance to talk to that you were our only chance as Maine voters to influence national politics. People may or may not have understood this connection.
You were a visionary concerning the Iraq war, coming out publicly against it before it started. I was also against the war from the moment think tanks and neocons started hinting about it. Part of the reason in my case was that Hans Blix, an old friend who is married to my sister, had been preparing for a return to Iraq for a long time to continue the UN inspections, something I wanted to be involved in but could not because of the family relation. I simply thought it was unbelievable that any sane person would support such a stupid, dangerous mission. But they did. Difference between you and me is you went public with your concerns. You are a hero because of that.
When I started to receive the voter calling results from Hancock County for my district - Bucksport to Stonington - I realized that the first issue for a great majority was the war followed by health care and corruption. I was amazed that no candidate - except you - was picking up on this clear trend. Dems in Congress, including Allen and to a lesser degree Michaud, had been guarded on the war issue for a long time. It was only the last week before the election that the realization started to spread that voters, left and center, were actually totally fed up with the "war president" and "stay the course" talk. My small contribution to the public debate was to include "End the Iraq war" as the first line in my final newspaper ads. I have no idea if anybody observed that my ads were the only local ones that at all mentioned the war and that that was in direct response to the voter calling in HCDC. In any case I lost as well, with 200 votes out of 8 thousand.
We agree your web page was great.
I understand your frustration but your letter did not show much of that but a lot of fighting spirit and cool analysis.
Thank you so much for your effort.
From Gunilla and Par
Jean, it is indeed too bad that things turned out the way they did. You'd make a fantastic senator. Money does indeed talk and it seems like those supposedly progressive organizations engaged in more than a little bit of self-fulfilling prophesy. Next time, a professional fundraiser might do the trick. Have you thought about 2008? Adrian
Jean - Thank you for fighting for us! As another Democratic candidate who came in second (I received 44% of the vote in Maine House District 48) I was proud to place your lawn sign next to mine, put a link to your web site on my web site (www.nancyglover.com) and promote your candidacy whenever I could, e.g., "I wonąt be able to affect the Iraq War but you should vote for Jean Hay Bright, she is our candidate." I am grateful for what I learned during this election cycle, both about this district and about how to run a campaign. Now that this election is over I am planning to meet with other progressives and talk about how we can organize, get our message out and get our candidates elected. It is clear that conservatives have become very skilled at getting their message out. People will continue to vote against their best interests if they have no idea what or who they are voting for. We need to change that. - Nancy Glover
While the attempts of many would-be politicians are largely quixotic efforts and merit little notice, you consistently step up to the plate prepared and aiming to win. This sincere, genuine, informed participation is enormously impressive and meaningful. Some Democrats may have voted for Sen. Snowe, but if they did, it is only because they are not following the campaigns carefully. I don't know what to do about that, but I do know that what we saw and heard during your campaign told us you definitely could have made a fine U.S. Senator that better represented the state of Maine. You also continue to raise the bar for our Senate representation and, through your effort to decipher the complexities of national issues, make us hopeful that our problems as a nation can be solved if people are willing to slow down and figure things out. You've "figured things out" and, consequently, give us the fortification for holding our leaders accountable. A thousand thanks for your efforts. You deserve the Maine Democratic Party's Medal of Honor. Sincerely, Linda McKee
It's been a pleasure to work with you, too!
We know everyone has campaign debt that they're working on, so we're going to keep the contribution function on our website up for another month. You can direct you donors to contribute through ActBlue and we'll keep mailing you checks. You can also have your supporters fundraise for you on ActBlue pages. Supporters could create an ActBlue page to help with your campaign debt and circulate it to their contacts...small donations can mount up and might be able to help you get that debt down.
Hope this is useful, Jean! Thanks again for all the tremendous work you did...and please keep in touch with future plans!
Best, Erin at ActBlue
I wish I had known about your candidacy when you were running for office. I would have written about you for my online magazine, www.rawfoodsnewsmagazine.com. My readers would love to have heard about what you were up to. My readers are from all over the world, but some of them live in Maine.
If you would ever like to write an essay for my magazine, you're invited. I'd be interested in hearing about what it was like running for office against an entrenched Republican, and what you were hoping to do once elected, especially as would be of interest to those of us who are passionate about eating fresh organic produce. It would also be interesting to hear about how you managed to run your organic farm while campaigning and raising money for the campaign--and of course what your plans are now.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Raw Foods News Magazine
You should be very proud of yourself. You made an amazing run for this seat that many people wouldn't even have wanted to challenge Snowe. You put up a lot of her voting record and made her answer a lot of good questions, and let the American people know the truth that she isn't INDEPENDENT as she says she is. From the blowout that people were saying, I think you drew in an amazing amount of votes and you should be very proud of that.
This shows that about 109,000+ people in Maine wanted their country back and their voice was heard. With the resources you had, you made one heck of a campaign. I hope you are in good spirits and know so many people did want change and the support you had was amazing. Thank you for running; you did make a change in a lot of people's minds. Amanda
Jane and I offer our condolances. It looks like the Democrats of Maine were not ready for the change that is inevitable.
Don and Jane
Dear Jean and David,
Congratulations on a hard fought campaign. People just don't get it. Some of us do and did and tried to convince others and did many, but not nearly enough. People think she is untouchable, as the cover girl on Newsweek purported. I hope you rest and can accept that you did a big thing to bring awareness to the process and deserve of lot of credit for having the guts to run. All the best, Amy Fischer
On behalf of the Augusta Area Jaycees, the Maine Jaycees and US Junior Chamber I'd like congratulate you all on a great race. Your hard work and dedication to the great State of Maine does not go unnoticed. It is my sincere hope that we can all work together to continue to make Maine a great place to live and work and in the spirit of cooperation share the great ideas that were discussed along the campaign trail. Many of us all have philosophical and political differences but please keep in mind that government should be of laws rather than of men. As we progress toward 2007, I'd like to share with you the Jaycee Creed which I firmly believe says it all because as Jaycees...
That Faith in GOD gives meaning and purpose to human life,
That the Brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations,
That economic justice can best be won by free men through free enterprise,
That government should be of laws rather than of man,
That earths great treasure lies in human personality,
And that Service to Humanity is the BEST WORK OF LIFE.
Please bear in mind that the Brotherhood of man should also transcend political boundaries whether city boundaries, party boundaries or local versus state boundaries. We are all in this together. Let us all work together to make Maine even better so that our young will not only want to stay here to live and work, but so that we may attract more young people to move here to live and work. Thank you all for your Service to Humanity and the Great State of Maine.
Yours in Jaycees,
Timothy E. 'Spyke' LeSiege
2006 USJC National Vice President
Jean, I'm very sorry you lost but think you gave voters your all,
and so have much to feel proud about. I wish you and your family the
best. I hope you won't mind if I keep in touch. Take care and have
a wonderful Thanksgiving. Sincerely, Mark
I am so sorry that Maine lost again. Thank you for your courage and
stamina during this struggle on our behalf. Kind regards, Michele
Sorry to see that your bid to unseat Snowe wasn’t as successful as
you hoped it would be…but you still got nearly 100,000 votes. Will
you run again in 2008 against Collins? Chuck
I'm so sorry about the outcome of the senatorial race. I liked what
you had to say on all issues and I voted for you, but it seems that
the folks in this nation are more willing to listen to the media and
their ministers than to take the time and trouble to inform themselves.
As Jonathan Swift said, "There are none so blind as those who will
not see", or think for themselves. Good luck in the future and don't
give up!! Illegitimi non carborundum!
I just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for running. It was
obviously a long-shot but *every* Republican needs to be challenged.
I hope you won't give up, Maine needs more progressives. Maybe in
two years you'll consider challenging Mike Michaud, I'd sure like
to see someone less conservative representing me in Congress. So thanks
for being out there challenging the Republican memes and pointing
out just how conservative our so-called "moderate" Republican senators
are. Best wishes for plenty of success in the future, politically
and every other way. Deb
Jean - I'm sorry more Maine voters were not willing to vote for the
world they really want. I did. Let me know when you need my help again.
Thank you so much for your tremendous effort in running as a Democrat
for the US Senate. I appreciate your courage in running against an
icon (who of course is not what she seems). I know you spent a tremendous
amount of energy on behalf of the people of Maine and the Democratic
Party. I want to personally thank you for doing this. I hope that
despite the disappointing results, you are able to celebrate the tremendous
victory which we achieved nationally. All the best. Judith
Hi Jean & David,
I'm so sorry and at the same time disgusted, at the way the voters
treated you and our party yesterday! You spent so much time, energy,
money and probably a lot more on this election! I really thought you
should have won! But, at least the whole thing wasn't a total loss.
Best to you in the future. Pam
You did such a great campaign and the Dems so completely dismissed
You looked increasingly energized and sounded very good in the closing
days of the campaign. I am so happy to have been able to vote for
In a few days I'll send you a poem I wrote for you election day. Needs
a little work first. THANK YOU. love, Sharon
I would like to thank you for taking the risk and running. It was
always an uphill battle. Let me know when you plan to run again for
public office. I'm pleased that there are Democrats like yourself.
I will be more inclined to listen to Democrats in future. John
Thanks for carrying the standard for us ecology-minded peace and health
care activists. You have given us hope for our state and our country.
It was a priviledge to tell folks about your plans and to see their
agreement with your policy ideas. Have a wonderful winter as you contemplate
your future. Craigen
Hello Jean (and Dave), I want to express my sincere thanks and regrets.
Thank you for running the good race. Thank you for taking the real
stand -- the one we needed. Thank you for the immense sacrifice of
time, money, and energy (physical and emotional), I know you made
for the issues, for all of us, for the country, and the world. As
for the regrets... I wish I could have done more. While I am pleased
that the numbers for you were better here in Knox County than the
state as a whole, I would have liked to have seen you shock the nation
with a good strong win. Best, Bentley
Hi Jean, Congratulations for your campaign, heroic and courageous.
Jean...you are great....thank you for giving so much of yourself to
this race. Leslie
October 20, 2006
Only 18 Days Left Until the Nov. 7 Election! We are up against it now, up against Snowe's $3 million campaign chest.
But we've got the right issues. And the momentum. We've got the vision for the America we all want to live in.
To make this work, to get me to Washington as Maine's next U.S. Senator, we need your financial help, NOW, to get our message out these last critical days.
RADIO -- We taped five radio ads on Monday, they are now airing on Air America in Portland (WLVP 870am) and on WBACH-Radio stations.
TELEVISION -- We have four TV ads completed and two more are in the works. With one exception, all of them are being produced by Kane/Lewis Productions in Sedgwick. The exception is the hard-hitting Iraq War ad. This ad was put together by The Peace Team, a coalition of 44 U.S. House of Representative candidates and Jean (she's the only U.S. Senate candidate committed enough to ending the war to sign on). The Peace Team members were dedicated to endind the Iraq war once they get elected. The ad was produced with technical help from The People's Email Network (P.E.N.), an offshoot of OpedNews.com.
We've posted the ads on our web page, so you can see what your contributions will buy. Snowe spent more than $40,000 on her first media buys in early September. It will likely be 10 times that this week. We've got a few thousand to work with at the moment, thanks to all of you, and to the house parties this past weekend which brought in over $7,000.
We're stretching every penny.
Please dig deeper if you can.
Time is of the essence.
Contribute what you can online Here. Or send a check made out to Jean Hay Bright U.S. Senate, to our campaign office:
Jean Hay Bright U.S. Senate, 4262 Kennebec Rd., Dixmont, ME 04932
October 19, 2006
(from The Nation, Nov. 6, 2006 edition, posted online Oct. 19, 2006)
... Antiwar candidates on the ballot in November range from likely winners such as Keith Ellison in Minnesota and John Sarbanes in Maryland, both of whom won tight Democratic primaries for open House seats by promising to kick-start their party on the war issue, to the longest of long shots, like Wisconsin Green Rae Vogeler, who's mounting an antiwar challenge to wishy-washy Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, and Maine Democrat Jean Hay Bright, who's keeping the heat on supposedly moderate GOP Senator Olympia Snowe. Other antiwar candidates include Senate challengers Ned Lamont in Connecticut and Jon Tester in Montana and House challengers such as New Jersey's Linda Stender, Pennsylvania's Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy, and Connecticut's Diane Farrell, whose antiwar messages have helped them pull even with entrenched GOP incumbents. Their strong polls suggest that ending the war resonates not just with Democrats but also with swing voters, and even some Republicans.
October 18, 2006
Military Tribunal bill signed (with Snowe's support)
This week President Bush signed the military tribunal bill that was approved by Congress on Sept. 28, the one in which Congress voted to debase the Constitution, to deny habeas corpus rights to "enemy combatants," people designated as such on the President's word alone; to allow the President to set the rules for what kinds of torture is acceptable for agents of the United States Government to inflict on our prisoners; to allow hearsay and/or coerced evidence at military tribunals, to deny defendants the right to see what evidence is being used against them, and to deny defendants the right to face their accusers.
Olympia Snowe did not vote that infamous Thursday, because she was here in Maine attending her aunt's funeral. She could have taken a pass. Instead, she issued a statement that, had she been in Washington, she would have voted in favor of all those bills.
This is the America Olympia Snowe wants us to live in. Is it the America you want to live in?
Slavick and Hay Bright differ on immigration
The issues responses that ran with my profile story in the Bangor Daily News Wednesday did not have space for my complete answer to their question about the immigration bills put forward in 2006. Here it is:
Immigration reform (2006) NO
Bill Slavick, flatly does NOT want existing labor laws to be enforced on American employers. He does NOT believe that American workers will take such "stoop labor" jobs even if they are paid a living wage. (As an organic farmer, I've done lots of what Slavick calls "stoop labor" work, and find it very rewarding and productive.) Slavick says the undocumented workers who pick the crops we eat keep our food prices low. Slavick favors amnesty and citizenship for undocumented workers, and is on board with the concept of a North American Union, which would open the borders between Canada and Mexico to the free flow of workers.
None of the bills on the table were acceptable. My own immigration reform proposal calls for
- enforcement of the existing labor laws on American employers who willfully hire undocumented workers;
- making the minimum wage a living wage so Americans can afford to take these low-wage jobs;
- national single-payer health care;
- withdrawal from unfair trade agreements, such as NAFTA, CAFTA and WTO.
October 17, 2006
At the Portland Press Herald Endorsement interview on Oct. 4, Olympia Snowe insisted that, when she voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, she was voting to save America from terrorists. She insisted that all of us who were now opposed to the war were operating on 20/20 hindsight.
However, as I pointed out in that meeting, my opposition to the war was public, even before the war, and included a column I wrote for the Bangor Broadside, in which I said Colin Powell's presentation to the United Nations was based on "bogus, vague and conjectured" information. And, of course, Maine's two Congressmen at the time, Tom Allen and John Baldacci, both saw the same evidence she did and came to the opposite conclusion -- both voted against that 2002 resolution.
With polls now showing that the vast majority of Americans -- and Mainers -- want us out of Iraq, Snowe has had an epiphany. Just last week, in an election-year conversion, Snowe decided to follow Sen. John Warner's lead (Snowe is a follower, not a leader) and suggested that we may need to rethink the current course in Iraq.
Snowe said in a press release, "Staying the course is neither an option nor a plan."
I say, reelecting Snowe is neither an option nor a plan.
October 16, 2006
Snowe and Slavick fail "choice" test
After several years of approval, NARAL has refused this election year to endorse Olympia Snowe because of her votes for anti-choice federal judges in 2005, and of course, because of her vote last January to confirm Judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.
As we know, Snowe voted to confirm Judge Alito even after he refused in his confirmation hearing to disavow the action plan to dismantle Roe v. Wade that he drew up during the Reagan Administration.
Snowe's vote to confirm came at the very end of the process, after Judge Alito was already solidly confirmed by the Republican Senate.
Snowe's BDN questionnaire Friday (today) stated: "The nomination of Justice Alito presented me with a close and difficult decision. While I had several concerns with the nomination, history has consistently demonstrated that predicting how a justice will rule on a particular case is inherently unreliable."
This is a disingenuous, flippant, "it didn't matter anyway" statement. It shows that Snowe did not take seriously her Constitutional responsibility as a U.S. Senator to vet Supreme Court nominees.
As we know, her vote, coming last, did not change the outcome. But that situation presented her with an opportunity, one she chose not to take. Snowe could have highlighted those "concerns" by voting against Judge Alito's nomination. Snowe could have sent a cautionary signal to the new Justice Alito, who already knew he was on his way to the Supreme Court, that she and her women's rights groups, constitutional rights people and human rights proponents were all watching. But she didn't.
Instead, Snowe's vote and support for him clearly showed us that Judge Alito's America is the America Olympia Snowe wants women to live in.
Is this the America you want to live in?
It isn't clear how my other opponent, Bill Slavick, the independent running in this race, would vote on Senate bills to limit choice. His BDN questionnaire, published Thursday, states: "There is a societal consensus that women should not be jailed (punished) for having abortions which seems to extend to late term abortions when the woman's life is threatened." So, does he agree with the "societal consensus"? What would he do, how would he vote, if the "societal consensus" changes?
Slavick stated Thursday in Cape Elizabeth that he does not think a woman's right to choose is an issue in this U.S. Senate race.
If pro-choice is your issue, I am the only choice in this race.
Vote pro-choice, vote Jean Hay Bright.
October 2, 2006
Congress votes for America to become a totalitarian state
Column for the October Aroostook Democrat
Excerpted from a speech to Maine College Democrats Convention
Bates College, Lewiston, Sept. 30, 2006
...The reason I am in this race, the reason I am running to be one of 100 United States Senators, is that I want my country back.
The country I grew up in, the country in which our Constitution was the gold standard for the world, a nation where human rights were paramount, where the rule of law protected each and every one of us, does not exist anymore. I'm talking about the Superman model of Truth, Justice, and the American way.
The American Way of my childhood has been disappearing for some time. Five steel mills chugged away in Youngstown Ohio when I was growing up. None of those mills exist today. Maine's textile mills, our shoe factories, are gone and our paper industry is disappearing. It is no longer possible to get a good job out of high school with a local manufacturer, work hard, buy a home, send your kids to quality public schools, and retire in comfort with the knowledge of a life lived decently and well.
What happened? Lots of things, including NAFTA, CAFTA, and laws that made it beneficial for corporations to outsource good jobs.
Truth started to disappear when George Bush was appointed president in 2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court. It disappeared entirely with the start of the illegal, immoral, and horribly unjust war in Iraq that has killed thousands of our good military men and women, tens of thousands Iraqis, and made us hated around the world.
And Justice disappeared Thursday, September 28, 2006, when the United States Congress voted to debase the Constitution, to deny habeas corpus rights to "enemy combatants," people designated as such on the President's word alone; when the U.S. Congress voted to allow the President to set the rules for what kinds of torture is acceptable for agents of the United States Government to inflict on our prisoners; when the U.S. Congress voted to allow hearsay evidence at military tribunals, to deny defendants the right to see what evidence is being used against them, and to deny defendants the right to face their accusers.
And Justice disappeared when the United States Congress voted to pardon George Bush for his warrant-less wiretapping of American citizens, despite the fact that the Supreme Court had already declared such wiretapping not only illegal, a violation of a specific law, but outright unconstitutional.
Olympia Snowe did not vote last Thursday, because she was here in Maine attending her aunt's funeral. She could have taken a pass. Instead, she issued a statement that, had she been in Washington, she would have voted in favor of all those bills. As for the bill to pardon the President for warrant-less wiretapping, Olympia Snowe helped write that bill.
This is not the America I grew up in. But it is the world the Republican-controlled Congress wants us to live in. And it clearly is the world Olympia Snowe wants us to live in.
When I started running for U.S. Senate a year and a half ago, I thought the American Way could be salvaged, that we just had to invoke the values embodied in our Constitution, that we had to remember and apply the standards of equality and justice and fairness and hard work on which our country was founded. But as the weeks and months have passed, I have noticed a change in people, in how they see what is going on, in their concerns.
People are afraid, but they are not afraid of terrorists as much as they are afraid of their own government. I talk about my top three campaign goals in large groups stopping the war in Iraq, starting national health care, setting a national goal of renewable energy independence. But one on one, people talk to me about their fears for this country, about being afraid to speak out for fear of governmental retribution, of fear over losses of basic freedoms. They tell me they are making plans to move to Canada, or to Europe.
And then, last Thursday, their fears were confirmed. Justice died in America, and the American dream died along with it.
As of Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006, the Congress of the United States of America turned our great nation into a totalitarian state.
The 2006 election is just weeks away. I hope in the deepest reaches of my soul that the American people will rise up on Nov. 7 and take back our country. I pray that they, we, will throw out of office the people who have gotten us to this awful place in American history, including our own Senator from Maine, Olympia J. Snowe.
Olympia Snowe's world view is the one coming out of Washington. My world view is one coming out of a working class family, homesteading in Maine, newspaper reporting, organic farming, and feeling a deep love for this great nation and the wonders of our remarkable Constitution.
How Maine votes in this election will make a difference in what happens next in this country. Use your vote well, and vote for the America you want to live in.
Bangor Anti-War Rally Great Success!
Saturday's Bangor anti-war rally and march was a great success, drawing twice the number of concerned citizens as the Kennebunkport rally and march on Aug. 26. I am delighted that people -- of all ages -- are taking to the streets in protest of our government's policies. It gives me great hope for success this election Nov. 7, not just in my race, but in all races where peace and justice are the paramount issues.
But while we were pleased with our numbers, and while the war was the primary focus, there was another, strong undercurrent that was not at the rally in August. The ranks of the marchers in Bangor were swelled, in part, by concern, even fear, over last Thursday's votes in Congress. Some people were vocal in their beliefs that, because of their activist politics, they could well become members of the "disappeared," designated by the President or his agents as an enemy of the state, thrown into prison without charges, access to a lawyer, or appearance before a judge.
It has come to that in the United States of America.
September 25, 2006
Cuts in veteran's benefits a threat to our national security
Providing for the Common Defense is one of the basic functions of our federal government. People called to serve our country are to be respected and appreciated.
But a strong military is now at risk because of the policies of the Bush administration toward our veterans. We can't send our good military men and women into illegal and immoral wars, and then cut their pay, their schooling and survivor benefits, not adequately fund their health care, or the growing need for prosthetics for amputated limbs, or mental health services for PTSD. We can't continue to redeploy people time after time after time. We can't keep recalling discharged members to come serve again.
People who are considering a career in the military are watching this unfold and are understandably concerned. They are asking themselves if they want to sign a contract with the United States of America that is only binding on them, but not on the government of the United States. And many, understandably, are deciding that they will not sign up, because they can't trust this government to uphold its end of the bargain.
Our good military men and women are being treated badly by this current Commander-In-Chief. Our veterans are not getting the benefits, the respect, and the funding that they should expect from our government after they have completed their honorable service to our country. And potential recruits are looking at this situation and deciding that service to our country, no matter how patriotic the heart, holds too great a risk for themselves and their families.
So the Iraq War has ramifications for our national security that go far beyond Iraq, far beyond world opinion, far beyond even the fight against terrorism. George W. Bush's treatment of the members of our military and our veterans is destroying our national security from within.
Reimportation of Prescription Drugs
Olympia Snowe has been getting some attention lately for her bill that would allow the reimportation of prescription drugs from places such as Canada. It is just the latest example of Snowe getting credit for fixing or trying to fix a problem that she was instrumental in creating.
Olympia Snowe voted for Medicare Part D, which specifically forbade our government from negotiating for lower drug prices for participants in the program. Canada and other countries who have national health care plans successfully negotiate with American drug companies for lower drug prices for their citizens -- prices which are then a fraction of those paid by U.S. citizens.
Under the circumstances, I think it is a good idea to allow the reimportation of these prescription drugs. However, I want people to notice that this would not be an issue if Medicare Part D mandated -- not allowed, but mandated -- negotiations of prices for prescription drugs for participants in this program.
Another example of Snowe getting credit for trying to solve a problem she created includes the Low Income Heating Assistance (LIHEAP) money that she was able to get passed in Congress IN MARCH of this year, after winter was almost over. The previous September she voted for a budget bill that did not include this money, and it took her six months to correct that defect that she helped create. The State of Maine had to step in and cover the costs of this program, to keep our low-income people from freezing last winter. Ironically and inexplicably, Snowe's ability to get that money IN MARCH from her resistant Republican cohorts was one of the things Time Magazine pointed to as an example of how effective Snowe is in the Senate.
It is amazing to me that, here in the United States of America, Congress is discussing the fine points of torture -- what is legal, how far can we go in mistreating prisoners we are holding, without our agents being prosecuted under national and international law and treaties.
How far we have fallen, that this is even an issue. I grew up being taught that torture is what other "bad" countries did to their enemies, and that here in America we were better than that, above that. We were the moral nation, the standard against which the rest of the world's laws and countries were judged. Our Constitution was the Gold Standard.
But all this was predictable back in March 2002, months before the Iraq War Resolution came before Congress, when President George W. Bush decided against signing on to the International Criminal Court. A Boston Globe story starts this way:
UNITED NATIONS -- The Bush administration will not take part in the International Criminal Court scheduled to be ratified next month and is considering removing its signature from the treaty that created it, a top war crimes envoy said yesterday.
When I read that article back in 2002, before the Iraq War Resolution, before the Iraq War started, before the 2004 Presidential election, long before I even contemplated being a candidate for U.S. Senate, I was startled by the President's move -- not only that he would do that, but the justification that he used.
"The US is not and will not be part of the ICC,'' Pierre Prosper, the State Department's ambassador at large for war crimes issues, told reporters in New York.
...Prosper said too many doubts about the treaty remain. Among administration officials' concerns is that there are inadequate safeguards to protect US soldiers based abroad from politically motivated prosecutions.
I immediately asked myself: "What is George W. Bush planning to do that he does not want U.S. soldiers based abroad to be subject to prosecutions by the International Criminal Court?"
It would appear that he has been answering that question many times over in the ensuing four years, with this torture "discussion" the most recent and flagrant example.
September 3, 2006
Last week a couple of blog items on some national sites discussing support - or lack thereof - for this campaign showed that there is some confusion as to who's on board with us.
For the record:
We are receiving solid support from within the state, from individuals and from the Democratic Party structure.
The Maine Democratic Party is fully behind this campaign. In fact, the Maine Democratic State Committee in August passed a resolution in support of the campaign, as a signal to the Washington groups that they should get on board.
The Hay Bright campaign is a full participant in Maine's Democratic Coordinated Campaign, which is being staffed and funded in large part by the Democratic National Committee. Under the leadership of Howard Dean, the DNC is providing staff help directly to all 50 state Democratic committees, including staffing in Maine.
We are also working closely with the Baldacci, Allen and Michaud campaign teams. We are working with all the county and town committees, and with all the candidates for state house and county offices.
But it's true, some national Democratic and progressive organizations that should be in our camp have not been very helpful or forthcoming.
For instance, we are getting no support from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), which is a separate operation from the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DSCC is raising money in Maine for its own purposes, but, despite the organization's stated goal of helping to elect Democrats to the U.S. Senate, and despite crowing about raising more money than its Republican counterpart, has told us outright it will do nothing to help our campaign.
The same is true of EMILY's List, which despite the fact that Jean is meets all its criteria -- that of being a Democratic pro-choice woman, and the nominee of her party -- has refused to help.
We are pleased with our endorsement by ImpeachPAC. The People's Email Network has put out action alerts on our behalf and has raised us some money via ActBlue. Maine's Bangor and Brunswick chapters of Democracy for America (DFA) endorsed Jean nearly a year ago, but we have not been officially endorsed by the National DFA. We have the Maine NOW endorsement, we met with the political director of National NOW PAC, and we expect to hear back from that organization in the next week or so. We met personally with the staff of Senator Feingold's ProgressivePatriot PAC in Washington several weeks ago, but we have not heard anything more. Many of these national progressive groups tell us they will meet in September to make endorsements. The late date is frustrating, but that's their schedule.
Progressive Democrats of America has not endorsed us because its bylaws require that all endorsements come through a state chapter and there are no state chapters in Maine. Recognizing that conundrum, two PDA national organizers last week sent us their personal endorsements, and we will be announcing that shortly.
We hope this clears up some of the confusion. And we'll keep you updated on any new developments.
Of course, the endorsements that mean the most to us are the many, many personal statements of support we have gotten from people around the state and around the country. You can see many of those people listed on our website here.
August 17, 2006
I was startled to read in yesterday's paper (Bangor Daily News, Maine, Aug. 16, 2006) that a federal judge thinks our civil liberties are extravagant and need to be reexamined.
It was not a misquote, a mistake or a misunderstanding made by some clumsy reporter. It was an op-ed piece was written by Richard A. Posner, identified in the tag line as a U.S. Appeals Court judge and author most recently of "Uncertain Shield: The U. S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform."
Judge Posner started his opinion piece with the statement that the U.S. needs better intelligence forces, akin to Britain's MI5. That sounded reasonable.
Then he said we should emulate the Brits and change the laws so we can hold suspects for 28 days, instead of having to charge them with something after 48 hours, and I got a little dubious, particularly since that 48-hour rule can be waived in extraordinary circumstances,
which the judge himself admitted.
Then the life-tenured 1981 Reagan appointee to the 7th Circuit Court wrote this:
"But to the extent that our laws do handicap us in fighting terrorism, it is one more sign that we do not take the threat of terrorism seriously enough to be willing to reexamine a commitment to a rather extravagant conception of civil liberties that was formed in a different and safer era."
I could almost hear U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- the fellow who called the Geneva Conventions "quaint" -- in the background yelling, "YES!"
Judge Posner wants us to "reexamine" the "extravagant" civil liberties immortalized in our Constitution, the founding document of this great nation, the Constitution that Judge Posner has taken a solemn oath to uphold.
I can almost hear Founding Father Ben Franklin, one of the great thinkers of his time, or any time -- the fellow who once said, "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither" -- rolling over in his grave.
August 10, 2006
Middle East update:
It has been a month since the Israel/Lebanon conflict began, and three
weeks since I signed on to H. Con. Res. 450, the cease-fire resolution
submitted by Congressman Dennis Kucinich. And, sadly, the violence has
only intensified on all sides.
It is imperative that the immediate step we take is to stop the blaming,
the charges and countercharges, and enter into a ceasefire, so that we
may bring humanitarian aid to all the victims of violence. It is
important that all parties engage in this ceasefire with good will.
We must also engage in education and negotiation to provide all citizens
and peoples of the region security, economic growth and livelihood. We
must approach each other with respect and accept the challenge of
understanding the varied perspectives in which we are engaged.
We will not find the answers overnight, but we can start by asking the
questions and listening to all the answers.
August 9, 2006
Connecticut vote makes it likely Maine will show Snowe the door
The phone started ringing early this morning (Aug. 9, 2006) with people
enthusiastic about what yesterday's Democratic primary vote in
Connecticut portends for Maine this fall. The callers agreed with me
that as bad as Sen. Lieberman is on his support of this immoral and
unjust war, Olympia Snowe is worse - much worse.
Tuesday, a majority of Democratic voters in Connecticut agreed with me
on the importance of electing an anti-war U.S. Senator. They voted to
unseat incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a pro-war
Bush-enabler, in the hope of ending the Iraq war/occupation and bringing
our troops home. They saw in Ned Lamont a chance to refocus our energies
on making America a better place, on rebalancing our budget, on
rebuilding our infrastructure, on restoring our rightful place as a
respected member of the world community.
I am counting on Maine voters to do the same thing in November - by
electing me to replace incumbent Republican Olympia Snowe in the U.S.
"I'm running to end the war in Iraq." I wrote that on May 26, 2005, in
my campaign announcement. "It was wrong to invade a sovereign country
which had not attacked us and had no means or desire to attack us. And
it is wrong to stay there. Our presence there is escalating the violence
against our military men and women and against the Iraqi people,
violence emanating from an 'enemy' that we cannot recognize nor fight.
The war has drained our coffers here at home to the point that essential
services, including homeland security, are under-funded and are putting
our own citizens at great risk. Our status in the world community is in
That statement was made long before Hurricane Katrina hit our Gulf
Coast, and we learned that badly needed National Guard troops from
Louisiana and Mississippi were serving in Iraq. That was before the
regrettable milestone of 2,000 troops killed in Iraq was reached - a
total now nearing 2,600. In the 15 months since my U.S. Senate campaign
officially began, more and more people in Maine and nationally have come
to agree with my points of view.
Olympia Snowe is unabashedly a pro-war senator. She unequivocately
supports the Iraq war. She voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002,
and for every war funding bill since. Olympia Snowe stands with the
President in his plan to build permanent U.S. bases on Iraqi soil. She
supports the Bush-condoned pillaging of Iraqi oil by U.S. corporations.
Olympia Snowe's primary role in the U.S. Senate is as an enabler of the
Bush war agenda, an agenda that extends to the trashing of the
Constitution and our Bill of Rights here at home.
Olympia Snowe has twice voted for the Patriot Act, both initially and at
its reauthorization. She has twice voted to deny habeas corpus rights
for those whom Bush is detaining illegally at the Guantanamo Navy Base
in Cuba - human rights that date back to before the founding of this
country. Olympia Snowe not only wants to pardon President Bush for his
violation of the Fourth Amendment by warrantless domestic spying on U.S.
citizens, she has co-authored a bill that, if passed, would allow him to
continue the practice, unchecked by Congress.
Olympia Snowe in January cast a symbolic Supreme Court confirmation vote
for Judge Samuel Alito - despite heavy lobbying by women's groups and
people concerned about protecting the Constitution, despite Judge
Alito's action plan for dismantling Roe v. Wade, and despite his belief
in the "unitary executive" concept that whatever the President does is
legal by virtue of the President having done it - including the more
than 750 "signing statements" George Bush has racked up so far.
What's worse, Olympia Snowe wants to do all these things on the backs of
American working families.
Olympia Snowe supports Bush's fiscal irresponsibility and the widening
of the income gap with huge tax breaks to her ultra-rich supporters,
while denying average Americans the tax relief, health care, Veterans'
benefits, bankruptcy protection, a living wage and constitutional due
process to which they are entitled.
The American people want peace, not more discord in the world. As
demonstrated by the Connecticut vote on Tuesday, they understand our
continued bullying presence in Iraq and other places around the world is
contributing to a less - not more - secure future for our children and
Clearly the opinion polls, and this week's voting results, show the Bush
administration, and Bush-enablers like Olympia Snowe, are out of step
with the hearts and minds of the American people.
It's time to bring our troops home. This November, Maine voters can
start that process by sending Olympia Snowe home.