Big Lies and Endless Grievances

Big Lies and Endless Grievances  by Hugh J. Curran (OpEdNews Op Eds) 1/23/2021
The strident arguments put forward that “voter fraud” has taken place in the recent election continues to resonate with a segment of the population. What do the deniers really want? Is it a return to a status that kept blacks and indigenous in a secondary role? Is it that those who have, up to the present, been possessed of majoritarian status are convinced that an authoritarian government is necessary, or is it that the ideology of white supremacy is uppermost in their minds?


In a World Values Survey (WVS) in 1995, 25% of Americans believed in a “strong leader who does not need to bother with election results”, whereas by 2017, “38% of Americans considered this non-democratic result as acceptable”. This belief has now been adopted by one-third of the population, and Donald Trump's claim regarding the election being stolen has found an electorate willing to accept his “big lie”. Why is this sense of privilege and victim-hood so pervasive? Is it a recent phenomenon?

According to sociologist Jacqueline Battalora, white rights and white privileges are historically based. The use of the term “white” was invented following Bacon's Rebellion in 1674, as a strategic way of dividing the laboring classes from the privileged land-owners. Such property-owners decided on a “divide and conquer” policy to prevent further rebellions. In addition, an anti-miscegenation law had been passed in 1664, which was not discontinued for three hundred years. By diverting white grievances from class-based to race-based, the strategy adopted made white laboring class believe themselves possessing a higher status than African-Americans.


The anti-miscegenation law was deliberately contrived to prohibit free blacks from possessing weapons and from testifying against whites. “White”, as a designation, was built  on the idea that white people were freeborn and deserving of rights and privileges denied to non-whites. In other words, “whiteness” became a political tool whose intention was to maintain control. The result of this was that the 1st Congress in 1790 decided that in order to become a citizen of the U.S. one had to be white, a stipulation that continued for 150 years. This stipulation made sure that, not only blacks, but also Native Americans, as well as Asian immigrants were not allowed to become citizens, which also meant they were not allowed to vote nor to have political clout.


This attitude became embedded in the body politic to such an extent that a man with authoritarian pretensions such as Donald Trump could gain considerable support with his attempts to invalidate the elections in key states. His legal efforts never gained traction in the law courts, and even the Supreme Court, which Trump had convinced himself would support him, refused to do so since there was absolutely no evidence of voter fraud.


Although the causes of white privilege extend back several hundred years, our present dilemma has a more recent history. In the 1920s Lothrop Stoddard became a popularizer of the Nordic Theory of race superiority while Madison Grant was known as the author of “The Passing of the Great Race”, published in 1916. Grant's book was translated into other languages and read by a future German Fuhrer, who praised the book as “my bible”. Grant used the term “master race” to designate white supremacists and later became one of the directors of the American Eugenics Society, a society that encouraged sterilization as a means of controlling populations deemed unsuitable. This was also true of Lothrop Stoddard, whose 1920 book, The Rising Tide of Color: The Threat Against White World-Supremacy, had an introduction by Madison Grant. Lothrop Stoddard's views were decried and derided by WEB Dubois in a 1929 Chicago debate with several thousand in attendance.


Grant's and Stoddard's discredited theory is contrasted with the current science behind genetic studies, which asserts that human differences in intelligence are relatively minor and all humans share most traits in common and that differences within racial groups are far more similar than differences between racial groups. The basis of whiteness as a mark of distinction was at one time prevalent and such expressions as Aryans and Nordics were widely used. In fact, the term “Nordic” was resurrected by Donald Trump when he asserted that non-white, non-Nordic countries were “s*hole countries”.


The fear of losing status and privileges to non-white citizens continues to be pervasive among a substantial portion of the population. The repetitive use of the “big lie”, with “voter fraud” as an underlying theme, suggests that real voters are white Americans while non-white voters are not real Americans. The Republican Party now represents this white American Party, while Democrats are branded as “far left” because they are more inclusive of the concerns of blacks, whites, Asians, Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc.


Even as “voter fraud” is shown to be demonstrably false the repetition of the phrases “fake news” and “Make America Great Again” have become political ploys that will eventually lose their virulence. Such expedient phrases have a 300-year history but by looking back we are allowed to see the history of our political world with some degree of comprehension. We can realize that creating divisiveness based upon race is no longer sustainable since global communication and rapid transportation has begun breaking us out of three centuries of pathological manipulation of racial differences.


The 21st century encompasses us in a global world where the usual emotional politics, based on invented prejudices, are no longer viable. Although we may experience reversions to older forms of politics, as in the resentful, angry Republican administration that is now, fortunately, out of office, we are in a far greater need of entering a multi-cultural, multi-colored world. The legacy of a racist past and the demagogues who take advantage of past antagonisms, with the support of such groups as QAnon, the proud boys and the Boogaloo Bois, will become only irritants when their roles are no longer magnified by the media, even as they continue to cling to resentments, victim-hood and grievances.

Hugh J. Curran is on the faculty of the Peace & Reconciliation Studies Program at the University of Maine.

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Fwd: LWV Downeast Democracy Forum and More – CORRECTION

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Here's what's coming up ….

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[Correction highlighted below.]

Wow. The new year is sure off to some kind of start! We are following events at the national level with interest and concern, and we're talking about what it all could mean for democracy here in the League of Women Voters – Downeast.

Coming up this Friday, January 15, at 4:00, you can join us for the next installment of the Democracy Forum.

Searching for Common Ground across the Political Divide

We’ll talk about the political divide in the aftermath of the 2020 general election. Do we share any common ground? What happened at “America in One Room?” What lessons can we learn about American democracy and its future? How can we shape our democratic institutions to foster more deliberation? What lessons can we learn about engaging in deliberation everyday?  

Special Guests: 

  • Larry DiamondSenior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science and Sociology
  • James Fishkin, Janet M Peck Chair of International Communication, Professor of Political Science (by courtesy), and Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy.
  • Steve Wessler, Maine human rights educator, trainer, and advocate specializing in conflict resolution

This new episode will be pre-recorded; no listener calls will be taken. Comments and questions may be emailed to with Democracy Forum on the subject line.


Date Time Description
Jan 14
9:30AM Join us on Zoom every Thursday morning.
Discuss current events and League projects.
Plan next month's Democracy Forum.
Email for the Zoom link.
Jan 23
12:00PM Let's Talk
Informal, non-partisan conversation about
the future of our democracy.
Register here for the Zoom link.
Jan 27
5:00PM Book Group
Rescheduled from January 6.
Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns.
Register here for the Zoom link.
Contact Your Local League! Here's how:
Local League chapter info here!
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Fwd: Op Ed in the Republican Journal (Belfast salmon factory)

The following piece applies to our neighbors down the coast rather than to Hancock County proper, but if the process continues despite the facts and failures clearly laid out here, any place in Maine can fairly be considered at risk from regulatory malfeasance.
——– Forwarded Message ——– Subject: Op Ed in the Republican Journal Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2020 09:09:49 -0500 From: AMY GRANT <>
This week we submitted this op ed to the Republican Journal:
Yes, “Science, Facts and Credibility _Matter_”
Nordic Aquafarms’ recent ad included a headline that stated “Science, Facts and Credibility matter”. Why is the word “matter” lower case? Is it because the ad was filled with blatant misinformation and disparaging remarks? Nordic Aquafarms claimed that the Maine Department of Marine Resources and Department of Environmental Protection have “endorsed” them. The State of Maine does not endorse projects, nor do their departments. This is a false statement when the truth matters more than ever.
Upstream Watch has relied on expert scientific testimony including a highly-regarded Professor of Oceanography at the University of Maine who conducted four years of study in Penobscot Bay.  His data suggests that Nordic’s wastewater discharge could result in a continuous plume of effluent that would slowly flow past Bayside, circle around Islesboro, and move back into Belfast Bay.
Nordic’s own testimony states: “The information presented here is based entirely upon numerical modeling … any predictions presented here should be considered only as estimates of the proposed dilution and plume behavior…it is recommended that a field data collection program be designed and implemented … to validate the accuracy of model results.”
Where’s the site-specific data? Are we supposed to wait until 7.7 million gallons of daily effluent are circling the bay before there’s a clear understanding of where and how it would flow?
Nordic failed to meet the Clean Water Act and Maine’s DEP requirements for nitrogen levels in their sworn testimony. They changed these numbers after the record was closed, with no outside review. The new numbers are at the limit of what is permissible, and leave no room for system failures, warmer water temperatures, or human error. The DEP expects all of this to happen, as they wrote in the draft permit: Where a discharge will result in lowering the existing water quality the Department has made the finding that this action is necessary to achieve important economic or social benefits to the state.
No one on either side asked for water quality to be lowered! Why is the DEP overriding its own laws?
A number of people chose to believe Eric Heim when he said, “our water will be cleaner when it goes out then when it comes in.” Upstream waited to actually review the science and technology proposed. One of our witnesses, a past Chief of Regulatory Analysis for the U.S. EPA noted existing “red flag” concentrations of nitrogen and oxygen in samples collected near the discharge site. Nordic’s limited sampling suggests problems and is inadequate to determine annual median nutrient levels.
There are alternatives to this massive factory – alternatives that would support our local fishing communities, provide tax relief, purchase reasonable quantities of water, and help with climate change. We have the choice of gambling on unproven industrialization or working to improve the health of the Bay and restore this ecosystem.  We ask you to take a hard look at Nordic’s proposal, and to do what is right for the Bay, for our communities, and especially for the generations to come.
Other experts Upstream has consulted with include a Past Director of Licensing and Enforcement at Maine DEP, a professor who is an expert in mercury contamination and who served on the Penobscot Mercury Study, and the president of a locally-based environmental engineering firm with 30 years of experience. If disparaging these professionals is Nordic’s best strategy, is that because they don’t have the answers? (A list of our experts and their qualifications is available at: <>).
At present the Belfast Planning Board has 80 unanswered questions for Nordic. Why isn’t Nordic spending time and money answering those questions instead of trying to discredit those who have provided credible data? Last week the BEP expressed disbelief at the complete lack of due diligence shown by Nordic, especially concerning wildlife impacts. They stated again that Nordic has not given them data on the Goose River. Upstream has been calling for those studies from the beginning. Please join us in asking for answers.

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Fwd: Democracy Forum: Listen Friday, October 16

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Begin forwarded message:

From: “Pizza” (via mainevfp Mailing List) <>
Subject: [mainevfp] JOIN A MAINE VIGIL FOR RBG
Date: September 19, 2020 at 7:37:34 PM EDT
Reply-To: Pizza <>

Suit Up Maine Member Forum

* * * * * * * * * *    

Mainers will come together this weekend to grieve the loss and honor the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We’ll be adding to the list below throughout the weekend, so check back often. Know of an event we missed? Please add it in the comments below. Masks and social distancing are required at all events and participants are invited to bring candles.


?AUGUSTA: 7 pm at the Capital Judicial Center, 1 Court Street. More info:

?BANGOR: 7 pm at the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building, 202 Harlow Street. More info:

?BATH: 6:45 pm at the Bath Gazebo. Organized by Indivisible Sagadahoc.

?BAR HARBOR: 8 pm on the Village Green. Organized by Indivisible MDI. More info:

?BRUNSWICK: 7 pm on the Brunswick Mall. Organized by Brunswick Area Indivisible. More info:

?NEWCASTLE: 7 pm at Newcastle Veterans’ Park. Organized by Lincoln County Indivisible.

?PORTLAND: 7 pm in Monument Square. More info:

?WISCASSET: 7 pm at the Wiscasset Town Green.

“I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.”

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Voter registration drive for 9/22

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Voter Registration
10 a.m – 4 p.m., YWCA Mount Desert Island
36 Mt. Desert Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Join the YWCA Mount Desert Island and League of Women Voters Maine on Tuesday, September 22, 2020, at the YWCA MDI between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to register to vote.
Wear your mask!   Social distancing will be maintained!  
Be one of the first eight people to register and receive a FREE 19th Amendment mug!

Sent from my iPad

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Fwd: Duck your heads in Brunswick!

I forwarded this note from Bruce Gagnon to various legislators with whom I’ve been in correspondence at one time or another. It isn’t directly related to Hancock County, but our legislators may end up being involved.
——– Forwarded Message ——– Subject: Duck your heads in Brunswick! Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2020 08:28:48 -0400 From: Global Network <>
Duck your heads in Brunswick! (Click on the link above for very short video of rocket launch accident)   Cell phone footage shot by Eric Van Dongen, who was watching the launch of Astra’s 3.1 rocket which failed shortly after lift-off and crashed to the ground.   The rocket launch was on 9-11 from the spaceport at Kodiak Island, Alaska. (Local residents call it the ‘spacepork’.) They were promised it would be a civilian launch complex but nearly all launches so far have been military Star Wars tests.   Representatives from the spaceport responded to the accident by saying:   —– The fire was put out quickly and no one got hurt, Mark Lester, president of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation told KMXT Radio.   “The launch was terminated early, which is part of our safety process,” Lester told the station. “We are prepared for these things. The key is public safety, and everything we did to keep the air, waterways and land free from the public is exactly why we do that in conditions like this.”   Since each test can provide new information and data, the launch was a success, Lester told KMXT.   In a blog post, officials at Astra, the company launching the rocket, said they were pleased with what happened with Rocket 3.1, and that they expect it to take three rocket flights in order to get a rocket into orbit.   “Early in the flight, our guidance system appears to have introduced some slight oscillation into the flight, causing the vehicle to drift from its planned trajectory leading to a commanded shutdown of the engines by the flight safety system,” they wrote regarding what occurred during the flight. —–   Maine state legislative leaders are pushing a proposal to create a ‘Spaceport Complex’ in Brunswick at the former naval air station.   http:legislature.maine.govbillsdisplay_ps.asp?PID=1456&paper=SP0743&snum=129#   Brunswick is alot different from Kodiak Island – much more populated area with all kinds of development near the former naval base.   This proposal to create the ‘Spaceport Complex’ has been done rather quietly with many legislators signing on in support. The public is just beginning to learn about the plan. It is being sold as jobs, jobs, jobs.
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Good opportunity to learn about gene edited foods: Sept 9

This morning I received the following invitation to a U.K. presentation on “Myths and Truths of Gene-edited Foods” on September 9. It will be given by the editor of GMWatch, the world’s foremost news-gatherer on GMO issues, and the genetics engineer who, in an interview many years ago, gave me the first clear understanding of exactly why GMOs present a major health risk. They co-authored the book “GMO Myths and Truths: A Citizen’s Guide to the Evidence on the Safety and Efficacy of Genetically Modified Crops and Foods”
latest condensed version: 2014 online edition (pre-CRISPR tech):
The webinar is targeted to a U.K. audience, given the government’s policy shift toward GMOs in part as a result of Brexit, manifested by the impending threat of having CRISPR-edited foods lumped in with “natural” foods. But that threat is ever-present here as well, and the powerful forces behind the “they’re all the same” propaganda are the same here as there. The scientific content you can learn from this is applicable everywhere, and I can’t think of a better place to get it.
—————————– Myths and Truths of Gene-edited Foods
Special online briefing for the public, campaigners and NGOs
A simple, user-friendly presentation will be held about the scientific evidence pointing to potential risks and dangers from gene-edited foods. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.
3pm British Summer Time, Wednesday 9 September 2020 [10 AM EDT]
Speakers: * Dr Michael Antoniou – Molecular geneticist based at one of the major London universities * Claire Robinson, MPhil – editor at GMWatch and co-author of the book GMO Myths and Truths 2018, 4th edition.
Please register here:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
The UK Government has said it is planning a public consultation in the autumn with a view to altering legislation so that gene-edited foods are treated the same way as natural foods. Despite evidence that gene editing could introduce new toxins and allergens into our foods, the legislation change would mean no safety checking and no labelling, taking away our choice about whether to eat these risky foods.
The briefing will be hosted by the Alliance for Food Purity.
More information:
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Where lies the hope? As it always has — with the people

From the current edition. I am passing this along as it may be of interest. — JR

Partisan poison from Washington has made its way north – The Ellsworth American

Jill Goldthwait

With stacks of unfinished bills still in the system, Maine’s 129th Legislature has decided to make like Congress and do nothing. Democratic leadership made a bid to reconvene in mid-July, but that requires bipartisan cooperation. That’s a quantity in short supply.

Both sides want a short session, but to Democrats that means working quickly to get a lot done, while Republicans want to take up only the bare essentials. Without satisfactory restrictions, only three Republicans even deigned to reply.

Meanwhile, legislative committees are going about the work of processing bills in their possession and reporting them out to be voted on the floor, should that floor ever be full of legislators ready to work. In these last days of August, that’s an increasingly big “if.”

In June, Troy Jackson, Maine Senate president, said the Legislature was “getting close” to reconvening. It hasn’t. A June news report predicted the “Maine Legislature may soon reconvene…” It did not. Another, on July 7 reported: “The Maine Legislature is going back to work this month.” Nope. Still another said the Legislature was “likely to reconvene in August.” So far, it’s still a no-go. A second attempt to reconvene was made by leadership on Aug. 4. Republicans were still not having it.

With campaign season in full swing, the parties picked up their cudgels and entered the fray, railing about who supported and who opposed a session. Democrats claimed Republicans refused to convene because legislators cannot fundraise during a session. Republicans called for a “brief, safe meeting of the Legislature,” but the parties cannot agree on the terms.

Republicans called out the “partisan rhetoric and cheap false implications” of the Democrats. Democrats said Republicans were “playing political games,” making it “crystal clear that they’re more interested in political posturing than mitigating the hardships Maine families and small businesses are facing.”

For the rest of us, it’s a big ho-hum, a lot of blah blah blah from the political classes from whom we have grown to expect very little. On the whole, we have had more faith in state government than in the federal level. Now the scourge of inaction seems to be taking hold in Augusta, though maybe some of that is a function of the election cycle. Let’s hope we return to form when the election is over. At the federal level we hold little hope.

Maine’s U.S. Sen. Angus King made no secret of his frustration with his colleagues in Washington. In May, after three weeks in session without action on a relief package for coronavirus, he made his feelings known. Calling his feelings “a mixture of anger and sadness,” King’s final indictment was this: “For all that we’ve done, it’s like the Senate was never even here.”

And so it goes, with the best-intentioned legislators at both state and federal levels stymied by the political interests of leadership and caught in a morass of political crossfire between the major party organizations. Facing the largest modern threat to our national security in the pandemic, our leaders have abdicated their duty and turned their attention to political victory and personal gain.

Where lies hope? Where it always has — with the people. We have the capacity, even now, to force our elected officials to reckon with our opinions, but in this huge and widely diverse nation our opinions do not often reflect a consensus. Collaboration? Compromise? They are no longer respected values.

It is within the power of every one of us to reform our own political habits. There are plenty of organizations trying to promote dialogue between people who disagree on issues, but one does not need a classroom nor a facilitator to rethink the ways in which we engage with one another.

There are more bad examples than good, including the ones cited above, when it comes to how we speak to and about each other. How often do we try, really try, to understand the other person’s point of view rather than simply waiting for our turn to speak — if we even do that — before leveling a broadside at the listener?

If we disagree on one opinion, belief or position, do we assume everything else that person thinks is rubbish? How is it that we can engage with another Mainer and find him or her good-hearted, funny, caring and clever until we learn they are a Democrat? Blecch! Or a Republican? Horrors!

It is easiest to blame the current mess on Washington or Augusta, but we have a choice. We can sit at home and grouse, or we can work toward agreement among the broad middle of us. Never mind the outliers. Let’s be sure our elected officials know where that broad middle is, and that there will be repercussions for legislators who don’t help get us there.

Jill Goldthwait

Retired nurse and former independent Maine State Senator.

Jill Goldthwait

Peninsula Peace & Justice
P.O. Box 1257
Blue Hill ME 04614

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From the committee to stop the CMP Corridor — stop an end run around COVID

Here’s the note Stop The Corridor just sent. The links in the note all go to
The Thing is like a Greek/Roman/Scottish/Celtic/Chinese monster that simply cannot be permanently slain. We just have to keep cutting off the new heads it seems to continually grow.
The Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee is doing the unthinkable — trying to use COVID as an excuse to fast-track the CMP corridor!
That’s right – they’re using this pandemic to try and circumvent the people of Maine.
Click this link to contact the committee NOW and tell them to stop this backdoor effort to approve the corridor!
PS: here’s the evidence [see attached]:
This is from a report that Josh Broder of Tilson and Laurie Lachance of Thomas College, who chair this committee, presented. It’s outrageous they’d try to use this crisis as leverage over the people of Maine and our local communities.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO CONTACT THEM — tell Broder and Lachance to remove and repudiate this tasteless effort to use a crisis to further CMP’s destructive corridor project.
How dare they? Contact them NOW by clicking this link.
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