The Empty Protest: Radical Maine Leftists “Hunting” Their Opposition

6/7/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,

Rep. Larry Lockman calls it, “psychological warfare against Left-wing lunatics.”

But how we see it, Maine Leftists are playing checkers while Rep. Lockman and his Maine First Project team are playing chess.

The following story is — as the Beatles would say — a long and winding road. The characters in this non-fiction tale include plenty of Fake News “journalists,” a mob of “social justice warriors,” a group of patriotic activists and two courageous Maine-first public servants. The plot involves espionage, counter-intelligence, empty protests and a coverup. The setting, Rockland, Maine, along the coast of Vacationland, U.S.A.

Several weeks ago, Rep. Lockman’s conservative-populist non-profit organization, Maine First Project, began advertising what they call an Activist Training Course.

“We hold regular Activist Training Courses to make sure our supporters are mobilized, engaged and well-trained, that’s how you win political battles,” said Zach Gelpey, Executive Director of Maine First Project. “Despite what’s been reported in the Fake News recently, our trainings aren’t anti-immigrant, there was no rally. It was a conference room full of patriotic Mainers — probably about a dozen or so for this training — who gave up a Saturday morning to learn expert techniques on advancing Maine-first policies. Our team of experts explains how to win the ground game, ways to stretch your resources, effective messaging tips, and then we give examples of how Maine First Project has put those techniques into play.”

However, radical Leftists, like Andy O’Brien of The Free Press, attempted to paint a much darker picture — a picture full of hate and pointy hats. O’Brien, a former Democrat legislator, now does his Leftist activist work under the guise of “journalism.” In the days leading up to Maine First Project’s training, O’Brien shared a video of Rep. Lockman. O’Brien twisted the Republican from Amherst’s words and blatantly lied about the training.

O’Brien played fast and loose with the facts. Something that should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed his “reporting.” O’Brien’s post fomented his social justice warrior followers. Radical Leftists were outraged that a conservative-populist who prioritizes Mainers would dare hold a private training in Rockland.

O’Brien’s peers were outraged. They demanded to know where this “mystery” meeting was going to be held. Even Democrat Representative Walter Kumiega, suggested the SJWs roll out “a crowd of well-wishers,” for Rep. Lockman and his supporters. The angry mob wanted to harass attendees and expose the establishment where the training was taking place. One of the “tolerant” Leftists even suggested they hunt down Rep. Lockman and his team.

According to Gelpey, Maine First Project then received a rash of phony attempts to ascertain the location of the training.

“Every time we do one of these trainings — and this was our fourth, and we’re planning more as we speak — some radicals try to trick their way into an invite with the goal of disrupting the training,” Gelpey said. “This Rockland training, in particular, we were seeing more ‘fake supporters’ than normal. But after Andy’s (O’Brien) post, we were inundated with Lefties wanting invites.”

You see, Maine First Project’s activist training courses are private, invite-only events. So, the Leftists had to pretend to have a Maine-first frame of mind.

“It was actually pretty funny, they would contact us and use lines straight from O’Brien’s post, or try to sound like they were from the South, or just make random racist comments,” Gelpey said of fraudulent supporters. “But we know our people, and they don’t sound like that. They’re not racist. They believe in putting Mainers first, but the Left fundamentally misunderstands what that means, and that couldn’t be clearer than when they’re pretending to be on our side.”

Gelpey tells Maine First Media, once they realized someone was faking support, they would either stall or end the discussion. However, one of the Leftists inspired a different idea.

“My team and I were laughing about this one lady who tried to score an invite,” Gelpey recollected. “Her profile had posts about gender neutrality and support for violent, extremist organizations like Black Lives Matter. And she even had this picture of President (Donald) Trump with one of those Hitler mustaches standing behind a Confederate flag.”

Knowing the radicals were deadset on protesting the training, the Maine First Project team decided they would pass along some phony intel to the phony supporter.

“We knew they were going to protest,” Gelpey said. “And we knew they had the hubris to believe we were falling for their scheme. So, we played along, acted like we were screening her. We even explained, this is not an anti-immigrant rally, it’s a small activist training. We asked questions and follow-up questions. Then we told her to please keep it a secret; the training was at the public library in the afternoon. Of course, the real training was at an undisclosed hotel in the morning.”

Rep. Lockman joked that the Maine First Project team selected the library thinking the protesters could learn something about American history while they were there.

So, while Rep. Lockman and his team were finishing up their training session, a small group of protesters lined up in front of the Rockland Public library, hands filled with signs, hearts filled with hate and heads filled with mush.

The Maine-first Representative said the training was a smashing success. Not only did the room full of supporters learn the best techniques for moving the political needle, but Rep. Paula Sutton (R-Warren) spoke about the importance of Voting No on Question 1 and ending the Ranked-Choice Voting fiasco.

And all the while, the Maine First Project team monitored social media and kept an eye on the progress of the protests. Attendees witnessed a game of one-sided political chess in real time.

But the protesters weren’t alone at the library. Currier-Gazette “reporter” Stephen Betts attended the pitiful scene. He wrote what can only be described as a biased hit-piece for the Village Soup online publication.

Betts and O’Brien both reached out to Rep. Sutton for comment on why she would associate with an “anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant” group. To her credit, Rep. Sutton challenged the Fake News storyteller’s assessment of Maine First Project and focused her answers on defeating the dangerous Ranked-Choice Voting referendum.

Betts’ “report” was more of a character assassination, misrepresenting the principles Maine First Project is built on. Betts also attacked Rep. Lockman personally and quoted one of the protesters calling Rep. Lockman a bigot. Finally, Betts attempted to play “guilt-by-association” to imply Rep. Sutton must be a bigot as well.

The fact is, neither Rep. Lockman nor Rep. Sutton are bigots. The personal attacks by the Left are nothing more than an attempt to get conservative-populists off their winning message.

Rep. Lockman voiced his disappointment in the Village Soup article directly to the editor. As a make-good, Currier-Gazette News Director, Dan Dunkle offered to allow Maine First Project to submit a rebuttal op-ed.

The next day, Rep. Lockman sent Dunkle his piece. But just hours after thanking the Representative for his op-ed, Dunkle changed his mind and decided to silence his opposition. You can see in the following e-mail thread, Dunkle continues changing his story and moving the goal post. Rep. Lockman attempted to compromise, but Dunkle — who buys ink by the barrel — was insistent on playing what he believed to be a power card.

 

From: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 1:22 PM
Subject: Re: Op-ed
To: Larry Lockman <[email protected]>

Thank you Larry,

We will print this.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

From: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 3:32 PM
Subject: Upon further review
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>

We may hold off on publishing your letter. It contains name-calling and personal attacks that do not meet our standards.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

From: Larry Lockman <[email protected]>
Sent: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 4:05:22 PM
To: Dan Dunkle
Subject: Re: Upon further review
So please help me out.
In a previous column, O’Brien referred to me as a “white nationalist,” with no evidence whatsoever to back up that smear.
The piece I’m responding to referred to me as anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim, again, with no evidence to back up that name-calling.
Please advise how I can edit the op-ed to meet your standards. Specifically, what name-calling and personal attacks are you referring to?
On Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 4:17 PM Dan Dunkle <[email protected]> wrote:

For one thing, you call Andy a partisan hack. That’s not disagreeing with a person’s position, that’s attacking them as a person.

Also, Andy doesn’t work for me or even with me. Andy works at the Free Press which is a separate paper with a separate office. Both papers are owned by Reade Brower, but they are run separately.

I’m not in a position to publish letters attacking Andy, nor is this publication responsible for providing space to respond to him on anything he has written.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

FROM: Larry Lockman <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Jun 05, 2018
To: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Fair enough, though O’Brien’s role in this story is key. Had it not been for his solicitation on FB urging his audience to attempt to crash the meeting, or at least discover the location so protesters could assemble, Betts wouldn’t have had anything to write about. It sure looks like a tag team to me.
So if I delete any reference to O’Brien, do you have any other objections to the piece?
From: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Jun 5, 2018, 4:40 PM
Subject: Re:
To: Larry Lockman <[email protected]>

I know that there was a lot of facebook traffic about this recently.

I’ll get back to you at some point on this.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

From:
Larry Lockman <[email protected]>
Date: Tue, Jun 05, 2018
To: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Cc: Paula Sutton

(editor’s note, this is where Rep. Lockman sent Dunkle a revised draft removing Andy O’Brien’s name)

 

On Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 10:20 AM Dan Dunkle <[email protected]> wrote:

I’m not going to run this Larry.

You’re not being honest and the tone is abusive and uncivil and does not meet our standards for discourse in this newspaper.

We do not dismiss people as “Leftists” or come up with other names for people we disagree with. We will not provide a soap box for toxic propaganda.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

 

From: Larry Lockman <[email protected]>
Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 10:52:42 AM
To: Dan Dunkle
Cc: Reade Brower
Subject: Re: Revised op-ed

I don’t understand.
Less than 24 hours ago, you thanked me for submitting the original piece that included the swipe at Andy O’Brien. You said you would print it.
Now, even after I deleted any reference to Andy by name, you are refusing to publish the piece, dismissing it as “toxic propaganda.”
What happened in less than 24 hours to cause you to do a 180 on this?
I was labeled a racist by one of the demonstrators quoted in the story, but I’m out of bounds to call her a Leftist? Are you serious?
You have to admit, too, that Betts outright lied about MFP wanting to cut off funding to communities where immigrants settle. Flat-out lie.
At this point, what further editing can I do to defend myself and MFP against this sort of irresponsible journalism?
From: Dan Dunkle
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2018 11:05 AM
To: Larry Lockman
Cc: Reade Brower ; Steve Betts
Subject: Re: Revised op-ed

There is no lying from our side and there was no irresponsible journalism.

Generally I err on the side of giving people an opportunity to say what they like, which is why I originally planned to publish your letter, but after giving this serious consideration, I cannot allow a letter that provides inaccurate information. Most of what you say is incorrect in its characterization of this organization, our story and what we do. And you’re not really being honest about your own views and the aims of your organization as far as I can tell from looking at your website. And I will not allow bullying and a complete lack of civility in the discourse in this newspaper and online.

I always tell people when they make comments and send me letters to talk about the issues, not people. So if someone is opposed to ranked-choice voting, they should in their letter state why. They should not characterize people who are for it as idiots or engage in name-calling.

Steve, feel free to provide your thoughts here as well, as you know the specifics. Since Reade has been cc’d, I have attached the letter in question so he can read it.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

From:
“Rep. Lawrence E. Lockman” <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, Jun 06, 2018
To: “Dan Dunkle” <[email protected]>
Cc: “Reade Brower” <[email protected]>, “Steve Betts” <[email protected]>

Dan,
Just for openers here…
This is the second time you have accused me of not being honest, this time about my views and the aims of Maine First Project.
But yours is a non-specific, blanket accusation of dishonesty. What exactly are you talking about?
Should I come to your office to be deposed under oath? Should I take a polygraph exam?
Let’s address your accusation of dishonesty first, then we can move on to some of your other assertions.

Larry

From: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, Jun 6, 2018, 9:43 AM
Subject: Re: Pending op-ed
To: Larry Lockman <[email protected]>

We may run your revised op ed. We may not. Bullying will not get you anywhere with me. We also do not agree with your characterization of anything we write as “hit pieces” and all of your other little catch phrases.

As for saying we lied about your agenda of wanting to cut funding to places that welcome immigrants, item one on your site’s agenda is “Defund Harboring Havens (aka “Sanctuary Cities”);”

Beyond that I’m not going to get into a back and forth with you. We stand by our story and our reporter, but we also welcome opposing points of view as long as they come without disrespect, name-calling, personal attacks or racism and the like.

Daniel Dunkle

News Director

Courier Publications

207 594-4401 ext. 122

From:
Larry Lockman <[email protected]>
Date: Wed, Jun 06, 2018
To: Dan Dunkle <[email protected]>
Cc: Reade Brower <[email protected]>
Dan, 
I’m also getting a little tired of the back and forth…
But the point about harboring havens is real simple…..MFP favors cutting off funding to communities that harbor ILLEGAL immigrants. Betts’ hit piece omitted that key word. 
How dishonest of him, or is he just incompetent?
And now you’re suggesting in your last sentence that I’m pushing racism. Where did that come from?
You can see from the e-mail thread, Dunkle is ducking and dodging questions, can’t keep his story straight and gets confused by simple facts — like the difference between legal and illegal. He also displays some serious snowflake tendencies.
Fortunately, the Pine Tree State has one news source welcoming to a Maine-first point-of-view. At the bottom of this story, we’ve posted Rep. Lockman’s unrevised, original op-ed.
Far-Left protesters and their Fake News allies butted heads with Maine First Project over the past week. The Left is accustomed to opponents caving in to pressure. In fact, they’ve got their way for decades because the opposition has a history of laying down when the going gets tough. Leftists in Maine aren’t used to getting punched back. Maine First Project is fighting back.
“Maine First Project fights fire with fire,” Gelpey said. “We’re not going to play by the Left’s rules for a rigged game. The takeaway message from our victories this week; it’s time to double-down!”

No One Trusts the News Media…and It’s Clear Why

 

Journalistic malpractice was on full display in the Village Soup this past weekend.

The author of the hit piece, Rockland citizens protest group with anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant views, was at best being lazy on a slow news day. At worst he was abusing his power-of-the-pen by spreading lies about an organization he disagrees with.

There was virtually nothing true written in Stephen Betts’ non-story.

The truth, Maine First Project held a free activist training course in Rockland the morning of June 2nd. It’s as simple as that, it’s really not even a story. However, Betts was enticed to cover our private training when he found out a group of radical Leftists planned to protest.

What Betts didn’t know was, the protesters were at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

You see, in the weeks leading up to the training, several Leftists pretended to be supporters interested in attending the meeting. However, their disguises were obvious. Their intent to harass attendees and the business that housed the training was apparent.

The pressure increased when former Democrat legislator and partisan hack Andy O’Brien, now managing editor of the Free Press posted lies on his social media pages claiming Rep. Paula Sutton would be headlining a Maine First Project “anti-immigrant event.”

The Maine First Project team decided these protesters would be best served by heading to the public library and learning a bit about American History. So, that’s where we directed them.

The fact is, Rep. Sutton attended to spread the word about the dangers of Ranked Choice Voting.

And it was not an anti-immigrant event. It was an activist training course — similar to ones held by organizations across the country, on both sides of the aisle. There was no racism, there was no rally, simply techniques to best advocate for Maine-first legislation.

But that didn’t stop Betts from running with O’Brien’s lies.

Betts writes in both the headline of his hit piece and in the first sentence that Maine First Project, and I are anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim.

We ask you to look at our 20-point agenda on MaineFirstProject.org. Only four points deal with immigration.

Maine First Project believes the refugee resettlement program is broken. Communities should have a voice in the process and local residents should vote on accepting refugees. Resettlement shouldn’t be permanent. Mainers should be employed to teach refugees the skills needed to return to their home countries and contribute to fixing the problems in their places of birth.

Maine First Project advocates for the defunding of Harboring Havens. Betts lies and says we don’t want aid going to any city that accepts immigrants. The truth is, we believe so-called sanctuary cities, that harbor illegal aliens, should lose their state funding.

Maine First Project is fighting to end welfare for illegals. Maine has thousands of elderly and disabled residents on waitlists for medical care — it is a disgrace that illegals would receive benefits before these life-long Mainers.

And Maine First Project believes E-Verify should be mandated so employers are hiring Mainers instead of finding illegals and paying indentured servitude wages.

These are not radical views. These are common-sense policies prioritizing Mainers.

Betts couldn’t even copy and paste from our publicly published agenda without committing an error that completely changed the context. Was this an honest mistake, or was his entire agenda to wrongly paint the organization as racist?

Betts says we are anti-Muslim, this is yet another of his lies. Maine First Project is not anti-Muslim. However, we don’t believe Sharia has any place in Maine. Is Betts implying all Muslims are Sharia compliant?

Stephen Betts obviously doesn’t understand what Maine First Project is about and doesn’t care to learn.

In fact, Betts didn’t even bother to contact me for information about Maine First Project or the activist training course he lied about. Not a single call or e-mail.

The sad truth is, Americans have lost faith in the mainstream news. Less than 40% of voters trust the news media.

If Betts wanted a fair piece, it was only a short, five-minute call away. So, the question is, was he too lazy to pick up his cell phone, or did he intentionally mislead Courier readers?

Maine First Project thanks Rep. Sutton for attending the training course and for spreading the message of voting No on Question 1. We thank our wonderful supporters who filled the conference room this past Saturday. And we sincerely hope the Leftist protesters enjoyed their time at the Rockland Public Library — we suggest they try reading something other than Rules for Radicals.

Lawrence Lockman, R-Amherst, is co-founder and President of Maine First Project. He is serving his third term in the Maine House of Representatives, District 137, and serves on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee. He may be reached at [email protected].


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *