September 18, 2019

Dog and Pony Show at the NRA

Regular readers know my position on what should be a person’s unquestioned right to self-protection. They should also know that that right does NOT include giving the government more control over, not only what I see is never questioned rights (not something meted out by a corrupt government), but how and where I can protect myself and my property.

There’s a Dog and Pony Show going on at the NRA – no surprise to me knowing the make-up and character of the NRA. The executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, has been accused of recklessly spending money for self pleasures, Oliver North was fired as president of the NRA (I guess because he tried to stop LaPierre), and now the NRA’s top lobbyist, Chris Cox, has been fired, perhaps because he was in on North’s attempted coup.

In an earlier writing I posted, I wrote: “…why would anyone think that the NRA is not a part of the so-called, and laughable, SWAMP the uninformed complain about in Washington? It tickles me that ignorant people think a “Swamp” is something new, when in reality “Swamps” have existed since Adam and Eve.”

The “Swamp” at the NRA is bubbling, however, the NRA “Swamp” leadership might be making a huge mistake. They think their do-do don’t stink when it smells so bad it could gag a maggot. The membership is roiling to a point they are ready to abandon ship, but not necessarily because of how LaPierre spends their money, although it is a catalyst.

In all of this smoke and mirrors, this morning I was reading an opinion piece published at Ammoland. The content of the opinion piece was one thing but the comments left after the piece are the canary in the coal mine perhaps.

I certainly have been around the block a time or two and understand that 26 comments left on one website about the NRA is not a scientific barometer of the supposed 5-million members of the NRA. Consider this anyway.

In reading through everyone of the comments left, there is not one comment that thinks the NRA is any longer THE top Second Amendment advocacy group. As a matter of fact, most of those leaving comments stated they are seriously considering ending their memberships and most also are refusing to give the NRA any more money or support in any way.

Consider, if you will, nearly all of the comments left voiced opposition to the direction the NRA has gone; that they are compromising, through negotiations with gun control groups, our Second Amendment rights. They also state that both LaPierre and Chris Cox are together on those compromises, which include supporting “Red Flag” laws and destruction of “Due Process,” pointing out that president Trump supported the ban on “bump stocks” and was one of the first to call out “take their guns away and worry about due process later.”

If these comments are any indication as to how the majority of Second Amendment supporters really feel, the NRA might be in more serious trouble than some think. Also consider that such actions are bound to have trickle-down effects to state and local gun rights groups, sportsman’s groups, and politicians in how they stand on Second Amendment issues.

If we consider the State of Maine for an example, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), along with Gun Owners of Maine, and the Maine Chapter of the NRA, supported and helped write a bill that was passed by the Maine Legislature in recent days, that clearly robs a person of any due process of the law and protection of their rights and personal property.

I was shocked that the leadership at SAM would actually write and support such legislation, to the point I called for the executive director of SAM to be asked to step down by the membership. And, it appears that the SAM board must also go along with this “compromise” Red Flag bill, as there are nothing but crickets coming from Maine’s leading sportsman’s advocacy group.

Is SAM out of touch, just like the NRA? Are all of these quasi or fake Second Amendment groups in serious trouble because the clear majority of Second Amendment supporters are sick and tired of their right to keep and bear arms (shall never be questioned) being systematically taken away one compromise at a time.

I would expect nothing more from big, false, controlled opposition, Second Amendment groups like the NRA. It appears that the NRA’s influence has trickled down to state groups like SAM who have some righting of their own ship to take care of if they wish to survive.

While the ponies circle the ring, I will watch and see what kind of tricks the dogs will do. If one dog does a back flip, the pony might not be where it’s supposed to be and the dog will fall and maybe be hurt.

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SAM Responds to My Criticism of Website

I might right up front state that at least I got a response from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM). Yesterday I posted a criticism of the SAM website. In my search for information about proposed bear hunting legislation, I discovered the website was seriously lacking. There was but one landing page available with only a link to SAM’s FaceBook page. I might also add that at the time I visited the website, there was NOT a menu bar near the top of the landing page.

It appears, according to the email I received, that SAM’s website “crashed recently” and SAM has yet to get the site back up and running. I’m sorry to hear that their website has run into much of the same catastrophes as the rest of us have encountered throughout the years. Perhaps a landing page to explain the crashing would have been of better use than what I ran into, leaving me with only speculation. Being involved in website building, maintenance, and upkeep for many years now, the normal protocol would have been to place at least some kind of attention getter explaining the situation. Had that been the case, perhaps there would have been no need for any of the blog postings and email.

Before I continue with my own explanations and defense of my actions and previous history in attempting to deal with SAM from an unattached perspective (I’m not a member and never will be), let me post the email I received from SAM this morning.

January 24, 2019

Dear Mr. Remington,

I saw your recent blog in which you criticized our web site or lack of.   Our web site crashed recently and we have been working to rebuild it.  In the social media business you should understand our pain.  In a world of corrupt emails and websites as well as constant hackers, SAM has undergone several weeks of picking up the pieces from website issues.  In the last two weeks, our website has been partially rebuilt and continues to be a work in progress.   I just had our webmaster change the header of our website from a “banner of tabs” to a drop down “Menu”.  I believe you may have missed the “Menu” tab.  See the below pictures.  PLEASE NOTE: THE WEBSITE IT GOING THROUGH AN OVERHAUL NOW, WE WILL BE UPDATING INFORMATION IN THE NEXT COUPLE WEEKS.  As with the Google connections, I am having someone looking into it.  It was unfortunate you chose to criticize us without reaching out to find out what was going on.  In the future, a phone call could resolve any confusion 207-623-4589.  People, particularly in the press call David every day, he suggests calling him directly to learn about our bills, including the bear bills.  You mentioned you are not a member, our SAM News contains all the information you would need to learn what we are doing. The SAM News and other education work we do through social media is for SAM members first and the public second.  We poll our members every year and their assessment of our communications, including the web site are always very good.  We encourage you to join SAM as it would give you access to all the information you need.

Let me explain my position. Only you the reader can decide for yourself how you would respond to the following.

I did “miss” the menu tab because it was not there. Under previous leadership at SAM, I reached out and offered my expertise in building and maintaining a website for SAM (they already had one that I believed was in need of some updating, navigational changes, better updating). In that email that I sent, I explained my position, that I was willing to volunteer but was not interested in becoming a member of SAM, along with the explanations, similar to what I wrote in yesterday’s blog post, why I didn’t want SAM strings attached to my decision to write about outdoor issues including events involving SAM.

What I got in response was nothing…crickets. I got their message loud and clear. Even since David Trahan has assumed the role of executive director of SAM, responses to my email inquiries have been non existent.

As far as SAM’s explanation that I could place a telephone call, I learned my lesson many years ago about phone calls. In seeking exact information, a phone call is nothing but a tool used to claim certain information was never given. I used to use phone calls, until it became clear to me that in making quotes, those quotes were denied. So what’s the point? At least with an email, I have the written word.

If you don’t find that as a viable reason, that is your decision. I’m not asking for anything here.

Evidently SAM has not read completely and understood yesterday’s blog post as is claimed in the email because they insist on telling me that if I became a member of SAM I could get all the information I need.

Seriously? Evidently I am too dense to understand why, before SAM is willing to share their information, I must be a member. I have never thought that way about SAM.

Maybe because I am not the echo-chamber Press that SAM is used to working with, where they can manipulate what is written. I don’t know. What I do know is that the reason I don’t want to be a member of SAM is so that I can write whatever I want to write about SAM. I have repeatedly stated that I belong to no organization, nor am I a member of anything that might have influence over what I write or the honesty I am seeking.

When organizations refuse to answer my emails of inquiry and there are no public explanations for existing conditions, all that is left is speculation.

SAM can use FaceBook for 100% of their Online presence. That is their choice and I don’t care. In my attempt to write the post that I did, it was an attempt to help SAM not just to criticize. I have no real issues with SAM. I respond to SAM positions as I feel led to do and from my own independent, free will, perspective. I gladly and willingly will post press releases and other banners, etc. when I can get them. I have readers who send me that information. SAM does not. Again, I don’t understand. Is SAM’s membership so great they don’t more help?

I thank SAM for taking the time to respond to my blog post. I have offered tips that might be useful to them and it appears the only prompting I have ever gotten is a plea to become a member. I wonder if SAM requires members of the Media to be members in order to get the information they request? And do they require a phone call rather than an email?

I feel that I have been a help to SAM over the years (some of which I don’t think this posting would be an appropriate place to present) and it has always puzzled me why I am not communicated with, simply because I am not a member. I have no explanation for such behavior. Must one be in complete agreement and submission in order to be part of a closed fraternity?

That’s certainly not my style. I am independent and intend to remain that way. I hope SAM gets their website back up and running soon. Good luck!

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SAM Grades, Endorses Some Candidates

*Editor’s Note* – It appears to this editor that these grades and endorsements are based solely on the support of the Second Amendment and voting records on outdoor issues – a very general term. Not that this is necessarily wrong, but readers should understand this concept in making decisions on who to vote for.

In addition, a statement made by SAM I find troubling. “It is our policy to always endorse incumbents with a strong voting record and a good questionnaire even when their challengers receive perfect scores.” Why it is troubling for me is that I am a supporter of term limits. Career politicians are corrupt politicians. Lying, cheating, and stealing are employed in a manner of the ends always are justified by the means – i.e. get reelected. “Always endors[ing] incumbents” is playing into the hands of the corrupt two-party false paradigm system. SAM should endorse candidates based on the lies they are given if that’s the game they want to play.

Press Release from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine:

To Whom It May Concern:

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, ILA is happy to announce our Governor, Congressional, Senate and Legislative endorsements and grades for the important upcoming November election. In the governor’s race we are endorsing Shawn Moody and giving his opponent, Janet Mills a grade of A-. Each candidate gave a strong interview and did extremely well on the SAM ILA questionnaire.

Shawn Moody’s honesty, sincerity and genuine answers were refreshing. He was steadfast in his support of the Second Amendment and his advocacy for our natural resources and sportsmen and women was obvious and we believe he would make a great governor.

Janet Mills gave a terrific interview and the SAM Board appreciated her past support and strong voting record on outdoor issues, particularly firearm rights. She received a grade of A-.

In the Second District Congressional race, the SAM ILA endorsement went to Congressmen Bruce Poliquin. He has been a strong advocate for the Second Amendment, a tireless worker for the Second District, as well as a great congressman. We will work hard for his re-election.

His opponent, Jared Golden, after several requests and follow-ups, did not send in his SAM ILA questionnaire. We have concerns with his D grade from the NRA and his reluctance to inform our members and supporters about his positions on issues ranging from land conservation to hunting and fishing. If he had engaged in a dialogue with our ILA Board of Directors we would have explored his links to a Massachusetts PAC, (https://www.bostonglobe.com/…/QcP9SYTmWVswtPSW51…/story.html) partially funded by gun control advocate, and ex-New York Michael Bloomberg. In addition, he would have had an opportunity to explain why he hired Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign manager, Bobby Reynolds, from the recently defeated Maine referendum campaign to expand background checks to private sales and temporary firearm transfers.

Although we respect his service in the military, we are disappointed he chose not to inform our members on so many important issues effecting the outdoor community.
In the First Congressional District race our organization chose not to endorse a candidate; instead, Mark Holbrook and Marty Grohman each received a grade of A+. Both gentlemen would make great advocates for our outdoor community and hope one of them succeeds in the election. Incumbent, Rep. Chellie Pingree did not send in her ILA questionnaire.

In the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Senator Angus King and Sen. Eric Brakey, the ILA Board decided not to endorse either candidate, but gave Sen. Brakey a perfect grade of A+. Senator King, who has had a long history of supporting sportsmen and women, but recently indicated he was open to further gun control measures like magazine capacity limits, received a B grade.

Attached is a partial list of legislative endorsements as well as A and B grades for the upcoming state races. In the coming weeks we will communicate all the legislative grades and highlight several races around the state where we have two friends and supporters running from both parties.

*It is our policy to always endorse incumbents with a strong voting record and a good questionnaire even when their challengers receive perfect scores. There are times, in certain races, like House District, 106, between Rep. Strom and Stanley Short, where both are great supporters and deserve special recognition.

In our later communications, we will highlight several of these evenly balanced races around the state to give our members and supporters a fair understanding of each legislative race.

David Trahan
SAM ILA, Executive Director
205 Church Hill Road, Suite 3
Augusta, ME 04330
207-623-4589
David.trahan@sportsmansallianceofmaine.org

 

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Political Militancy No Way To Govern

David Trahan, executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine pens an article in the September 2018 edition of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine News, called, “Political Militancy No Way to Govern.” I applaud his words and his effort. However…

The article mostly focuses on the efforts of three Maine legislators who have chosen to target the Kittery Trading Post to force them to stop selling “assault-style” weapons and to raise the age to 21 to be able to purchase what is called a “long gun.”

Of these three legislators and others nationally, Trahan writes: “For many reasons these Legislators, and others at the national level, like Maxine Waters, have stepped over a serious ethical line. As a past State Senator and Representative, I understand elected Legislators have exceptional power to change laws that could negatively impact a business or organization they don’t agree with – like Kittery Trading Post.

“When three Maine lawmakers and their followers decided to target one company, instead of introducing a policy change through legislation (a Legislator’s job) that would have rightly affected all similar Maine companies, they become “political militants”, not policy makers.”

Let’s turn the clock back just a wee bit shall we?

Last year Maine passed LD 557, a law that inequitably targets hunters and fishermen if they are caught destroying property. No other group or individuals are included in this doling out of unjustifiable increased punishment. I believe the correct terminology that represents such unlawful targeting of one group or individual over another is “unconstitutional animus.”

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine was a major promoter of this law which makes little sense when you consider the words of David Trahan against the three Maine legislators who he feels have “crossed a serious ethical line” by targeting Kittery Trading Post.

Perhaps Trahan, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, and the Maine Legislature went further in the destruction of due process than the three Maine legislators targeting Kittery Trading Post. What the three legislators did may have crossed a perceived ethical boundary, what Maine and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine did was, in my opinion, a direct violation of individual rights and that of due process.

Simply taking the action of “policy change” have never guaranteed that passed laws are not in violation of a person’s rights. Such is the case involving LD 557.

My call is to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to seek to repeal LD 557, especially in view of the facts of the statement made in the article written by the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Passage of and the promotion of LD 557 was nothing more than just another form of political militancy, which we have read is “no way to govern.” SAM should practice what they preach.

 

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Sportsmen group developing Augusta land for kids, families

AUGUSTA — The state’s largest sportsmen group is currently developing a 40-acre parcel land in Augusta on which kids and their families will be able to learn about hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife and the outdoors.

The land, which is just north of Route 3, was donated to the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine last year. For the last few months, the group has been clearing brush, selectively removing trees, constructing an access road and digging a one-acre pond that will eventually be stocked with trout.

That’s the first phase of the project. Over the coming years, the group intends to build trails, camp sites and an archery range with 3-D models of animals, all in consultation with wildlife biologists who can help improve the habitat.

“We don’t want it to look like a national park,” said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance. “We don’t want to drive the wildlife off.”<<<Read More>>>

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Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Forms New Legislative Action Group

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) recently announced that it is forming the Institute for Legislative Action. This is not a new concept as many organizations have done this. However, it should help SAM when it comes to legislative work that needs to be done. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I would like to offer SAM some advice. Sometimes SAM becomes a bit provincial, catering to members only. An example of this is in my request for email notifications from SAM but can’t get them unless I am a member. This makes no sense at all.

To be forthcoming, I am not a member of SAM and have no intention to become a member of SAM, mostly because I am not a member of anything and am not beholding to anything or anyone except myself. I do, however, have interest in what SAM is doing and often write about it.

Which leads me to the other issue. I understand SAM having a Facebook presence. Yet, the entire world does not revolve around Facebook, although many in the world seem to think so. I do not “do” Facebook, nor do I ever intend to go back there. Facebook has it’s good points, although I am at a loss to think of any. I am not alone in this denial and refusal to be a part of another fascist, dictatorial entity controlling and spying on everything I do.

When SAM makes announcements and releases letters, news, etc., and posts it on Facebook, non members of Facebook are prohibited from viewing it. In the past, I have published some information I get from SAM members who forward the information.

As an outdoor writer, I cannot visit SAM’s Facebook page to glean for news and events. I am relegated to their website page, which brings me to another issue. SAM’s website has relevant and good information on it but is lacking in the same bits of activity and announcements that can be found on Facebook.

Having once been a part of Facebook and having a website of my own, it’s a simple task to set up your website to do all the things you want to appear on Facebook. This requires establishing an area on the website (a simple blog page would work) where all of this information is entered. Settings in Facebook allow a member to automatically publish whatever appears on this website page, on the organization’s Facebook page.

This way, I and thousands more of us that choose not to be a part of Facebook or members of SAM, can visit the website and read information SAM has made available only on Facebook. This is a big win for everybody and should be done immediately. SAM should understand that by not excluding non members from obtaining relevant and live information can only lead to more membership and better public relations.

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SAM Will Host Shed Hunter Gathering….However…..

The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, along with the Maine Bowhunters Association, will host what is being called Maine Shed Hunter Get Together. The event is described as being a chance for “shed antler addicts” to bring samplings of their trophies to share with others. It is said to be an “informal” gathering.

However, I believe that it is a good idea to use such a gathering to educate shed hunters and wannabe shed hunters on the proper way to go about doing it with the least negative impact on over-wintering wildlife, in particular deer.

Some states across the nation have been forced to prohibit shed hunting because of the resulting threat from unintended and intended harassment of deer and other wild ungulates. Deer, we know, are often surviving on limited resources of food and energy. The last thing that any deer needs is being harassed by a shed hunter. The timing of when it’s best to hunt antler sheds, can coincide with the same times that deer are most vulnerable.

In visiting some of the website of businesses that offer shed hunting excursions, photos show snowmobiles and ATVs regularly being used to access areas known for finding sheds. While it doesn’t mean that sheds are only found and collected in deer yards, hunters should be made aware that any activity that causes a deer to run to escape, unnecessarily, can contribute to a deer’s death.

It is not my intention to suggest that shed hunting should be necessarily banned, but I would hope that the Fish and Wildlife Department, in conjunction with businesses that are advertising shed hunting excursions, would undertake an educational program designed to limit any and all negative impacts to the animals during the event.

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SAM’s Testimony on Right To Hunt Amendment, Makes Claims Not Entirely True

Recently I wrote about a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that is being presented as an amendment to protect the “right” to hunt, trap and fish – LD 11. I also wrote that this proposal was one that I could support and I was wrong to have made the statement using the words that I did because I failed to succinctly express the full truth in my statement. Please let me explain.

Yesterday, I was reading David Trahan’s (Executive Director of the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine) testimony before the Legislative Committee in support of the proposed amendment.

To many, his words ring true, much because most of us have been taught certain things about our federal and state constitutions and the rights we have been granted under those constitution. Men don’t grant rights to anyone. They simply claim ownership of them and hand them back to us in some kind of limited form or fully deny us of such rights.

Trahan states that when this nation was founded, wildlife was “placed in the public trust” and as such we had the right to take it for sustenance. Therefore, Americans have always possessed the right to hunt, fish and trap. I will have to save for another day any debate on this so-called public trust and our inherent right to hunt, fish and trap. I will proceed from the perspective of most that they do have either a right or a privilege.

As Mr. Trahan also pointed out, man decided that in order to sustain game and other wildlife, they must construct laws to limit that activity. What happened to our inherent “right” to hunt, trap and fish when the limitations by law became enforced? Is anything really a “right” when it is controlled by man? We evidently believe so. When men, because they couldn’t maintain viable game populations through their own disciplines, called upon man-governments to do it for them, it began the process of destroying any semblance of a right to hunt. I ask once again, what happened to a so-called “right” to hunt wildlife “placed in the public trust” when at least some of that right was ceded over to government and restricted?

This is not that much different than the argument of sovereignty, in which most people do not understand sovereignty of an individual or a government agency. How are you a sovereign individual? Oh, you might say, “Nobody tells me what to do! I’m my own man!” But you are not. You might be a legend in your own mind, but you are not a sovereign individual. Once a man agrees to become part of a community, whether it is a small as a neighborhood or as large as a nation, they have agreed to relinquish that sovereignty and place it under the control of the government. Your act of relinquishment places decisions about your life into the hands of the controlling government agencies.

In Maine, at some point in time, the full right to hunt, trap and fish, was ceded to the State Government to control and make the decisions for us as to what, when and how we might harvest game. Trahan points this out in his testimony. In reality, the sportsmen have very little control over their perceived right to hunt. What has evolved since the creation of game and wildlife laws, is that the government agency formulated to oversee hunting, trapping and fishing, call the shots. Yup, proposals for new laws can be presented. Sometimes they get through a committee and most times not. You are heard before a committee but if you can’t get by the committee then what has become of your “right” to hunt, trap and fish. If you do get through committee you are at the mercy of the Legislature. Where then is your protected right?

Many believe that an amendment to the Constitution will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. They are wrong. I have written many times on this subject and stated that unless an amendment mandated or forced the government to do something, it is nothing more than words on a piece of paper.

The proposed LD 11 states, in reference to the right of the people of Maine to hunt, fish and trap, that this right: “may not be infringed.” (emboldening added) This is not a mandate. It does not force the Legislature, the Governor, Law Enforcement, or anybody else to stop any infringement of a person’s right to hunt, trap and fish. Go ask a lawyer – or at least an intelligent and honest one (yeah I know). Or go research it yourself. “May” is not a mandate – only a suggestion.

Further, the amendment says that this non infringement of the right to hunt, trap and fish is subject to “reasonable” laws enacted by the Legislature and “reasonable” rules adopted by the department in charge of management of game, fish and other wildlife. Is a “reasonable” law or rule an infringement? We’ve already established that the protection against infringement is non binding because the lawyers chose “may” instead of “must.”

So, who decides what “reasonable” means? I hope you are beginning to understand.

The amendment establishes that the department in reference is supposed to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “maintain natural resources in trust for public use” (emboldening added) and this evidently will “preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” Nothing here is a mandate that forces anybody to do anything. What is wildlife conservation? As it is in operation today, wildlife conservation becomes a matter of which social entity has the most dollars and the loudest mouth to force their idealistic perceptions and conceptions of wildlife conservation.

The Department, according to this amendment will “maintain” natural resources. Maintain them how and to what levels of population that will guarantee, protect or create the “right” to hunt, trap and fish? This, of course, is left up to the Department, which is what takes places now. There is no mandate. There is no protection of any right.

The amendment further states that “public hunting and fishing are the preferred means…” (emboldening added) Where is the mandate here that will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish? The Department might “prefer” to use hunting and fishing but what if they decide to import wolves to control populations of deer and moose? Where is the mandate? Where is the protection of any “right” to hunt, trap and fish? And would such a decision be “reasonable?”

The truth is, that while this is better language than previously proposed in other amendments, voters in Maine should not be misled to believe that this amendment, as written, will guarantee, protect or create for Maine citizens, the “right” to hunt, trap and fish.

And on the reverse of this, as I have already read in a few spreads of clap trap nonsense, such an amendment, as written will not destroy the process to petition the state. This should be obvious once you understand this proposal has nothing in it that is a mandate, forcing anybody to do anything.

When I said this amendment was something I could support, that statement was not accurate and I apologize for misleading people, if I did. First, I could not “support” such and amendment in the literal sense because I am not a legal resident of Maine and therefore could not vote for it if I wanted.

My thinking at the time was that while there still were no mandates in the proposal, perhaps the language was such that it might deter the onslaught of lawsuits and referendums that have been piled onto the Pine Tree State. It may, in fact, increase them. It is difficult to assess.

I will work harder to choose my words and the statements I make more carefully.

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Keeping History Alive

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SAM Celebrates Question 3 Victory With Party

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