They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of As Maine Went: Governor Paul LePage and the Tea Party Takeover of Maine, by Mike Tipping.

At 8 a.m. on February 4, 2013, a signal crackled to life from the WXME radio tower in Aroostook County, about a mile and a half from the Canadian border. The broadcast went out locally on the AM band as well as the station’s online stream. The signal was picked up from the Internet and rebroadcast through a network of low-power FM repeaters maintained by volunteers willing to skirt the edges of FCC regulations in towns across Maine. Listeners tuning in that morning were greeted first with a medley of patriotic and religious songs and then by the voices of Jack McCarthy and Steve Martin, hosts of the Aroostook Watchmen radio show.

Read More →

Utah is one of the major hotbeds for disputes between the Bureau of Land Management and those who consider the federal agency in a permanent state of overreach.

Now the feud is spreading to another arena: contracts in which the agency pays local sheriffs for law enforcement on federal land. Alongside all the BLM-related controversy in the West, the BLM has allowed its contracts with five Utah county sheriff offices to expire over the past year or so.

The agency says that the move is wholly unrelated to any of broader disagreements over federal authority, which gained national attention since the Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada. But the Utah county sheriffs believe otherwise.

Read More →

Early last year, Wall Street traders somehow found out that the Obama administration planned to make a policy change to Medicare before the news was even announced.

The flurry of stock trades in major health care companies that followed has since caught the eye of federal law enforcement as well as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has made investigating the matter one of his pet projects on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees. In his search, Grassley has gone as far as to cast suspicion on the Obama administration as the source of the leak.

But in a twist, the Wall Street Journal reported last week that federal regulators and law enforcement officials have now focused their attention on a Republican health policy staffer in the House. A lawsuit filed on Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, first reported by the Journal, said investigators believe the staffer "may have been" the source of the leak. It also sought to force the staffer to turn over records to investigators, something he and the committee have reportedly refused to do despite being handed subpoenas.

Read More →

Of all the beliefs seemingly held by the California man who allegedly shot a Bureau of Land Management ranger this weekend -- and those include traces of 9/11 trutherism, conspiracies about fluoridated water and anti-Semitism -- perhaps one of the most puzzling is Brent Douglas Cole's apparent assertion that he is "a statutory Attorney General of the United States."

The Southern Poverty Law Center linked Cole, 60, who allegedly shot a BLM ranger and a California Highway Patrol officer on Saturday near a campground within the Tahoe National Forest, to a profile in which he described himself that way. (Cole was also wounded in the shootout, and state and federal authorities are investigating the case.)

Read More →

The man accused of shooting two law enforcement members in California, including a Bureau of Land Management ranger, has had at least one previous run-in with law enforcement and has described himself as the target of a massive government conspiracy.

Brent Douglas Cole, 60, was named by the Nevada County Sheriff's Office on Monday as the suspect in Saturday's shooting that also left him wounded.

Anna Ferguson, assistant district attorney for Nevada County, confirmed to TPM that Cole was also facing misdemeanor charges in Nevada County Superior Court for allegedly carrying a loaded firearm. He was charged on Jan. 26.

On Tuesday, the Union newspaper in Grass Valley, Calif., published an article that quoted from court documents in the case. The documents showed Cole believed he was the target of a massive conspiracy:

Officers acted without warrant or any probable cause to seize my person using a swat team style assault, and then started looking for something to charge me with. I was attacked and molested, unconstitutionally arrested, unlawfully incarcerated, repeatedly intimidated and coerced to plead guilty to having committed a crime, held in secret for five days, and my property and liberty taken from me since January 26, 2014. I am being persecuted for being a gun owner, and for exercising my inherent Right by unwitting or unknowing accomplices of a seditious conspiracy against rights instituted by foreign powers inimical to the United States of America.

That's in line with online profiles, reviewed by TPM, that appear to belong to Cole and suggest someone obsessed with multiple conspiracy theories, including 9/11 trutherism, fluoridated water and anti-semitic beliefs.

Read More →

TPMLivewire