Saturday, December 18, 2010

Democratic Destination: January 23rd Departure

On Sunday, January 23rd the Democratic Party in Maine will elect a new chairperson and its officers. All of us have a critical stake in this election.

The past general election not only reduced our public officeholders but it placed a hold on our agenda of progress and there now exists the most determined effort to roll back advancements made on behalf of Maine workers, our environment, and health care. To combat this effort we must prevail in the next general election within this state. We need to win back the Maine House and Senate. We must force Paul LePage to take up his veto pen, which may lie dormant in these next two years, and we must be poised to override his objections. These are enormous but vital goals.

We must have strong candidates and a strong party.

The election of our chair is a significant start along the comeback path. The individual elected can represent our party externally with a resonating message, wisely deploy resources toward building a 2012 victory, attract new members, inspire current members, and focus everyone’s efforts and attention toward truly representing the interests of Maine citizens.

We cannot afford a chairperson without a clear vision or one who is easily bogged down with internal squabbling, excuse creating, factional power plays, narrow allegiances, or personal detractions. The chairperson can be paid a salary and at present, the chairperson wields enormous influence over selecting the party’s paid Executive Director. In effect, the State Committee is hiring the party’s CEO.

You can influence this selection. You must.

The chairperson is elected by the Maine Democratic Party Committee. As a start one should identify who they know or have heard of or simply ought to be called or represents their county on the State Committee. Find those members here.

Advocacy of your aspirations for our party’s future is vital. Communicating our interests and creating awareness of our scrutiny with this election can help empower a good result. And if you encounter silence and stones, think about going to your next county committee to discuss and perhaps act upon your expectations.

Candidates for chairperson are listed here. More candidates will be announced and some may be nominated from the floor on January 23rd. Be sure to seek out these individuals messages about their candidacies and find out as much as possible about what inspires them to seek this position, how they plan to fill the role, and what they will do to accomplish the many significantly challenging tasks ahead.

You can get an advance look at candidates in forums that are beginning to happen around the state. Contact your county committee and/or local committee to see if it plans to hold a forum for party chair candidates and be sure to suggest one if such an offering is not occurring in your area or at reasonable driving distance.

Kennebec and Sagadahoc Counties are jointly supporting a forum; open to all democrats, for Maine Democratic State Party Committee Chairperson candidates on January 8th at 1:00 pm with a snow date of January 15th at 1:00 pm. It will be held at the Kennebec County Government Center at 125 State Street, in Augusta, Maine.

This will present an excellent opportunity to hear candidate remarks, questions poised by the county committees to all candidates, and your questions from the floor. All serious candidates should be in attendance. All serious democrats are invited and welcomed to attend and participate.

The election of a new chairperson on January 23rd is our next important destination. It can signify a new beginning, a strategic departure toward a future destiny.

Please feel free to email, post, and pass along this article in full or part anyplace it will encourage interest and participation.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reform Number One

There is a great deal of angst among many voters who object to the administration’s tax cut for unemployment compromise with Republicans as well as voters who accept such action. Stick to your guns, shouts one side! Kick him while he’s down, bellows the other side!

Democrats find it aggravating that our legislative process is being held hostage by Republicans. Deploying a political maneuver that promised to hold up all legislation pending passage of an extension of the Bush era failed tax policy, the Republicans set up a “who will blink first” situation.

It matters little who blinked if the result is capitulation and not compromise or if the result is ineffectual compromise and not constructive consensus.

We have witnessed a legislative power shift in Washington over the last several decades that concentrated raw power into fewer and fewer hands. Congress is not representative of her citizenry as a consequence yet that seems of little concern. Power shifted from majorities building coalitions in both congressional bodies to a new ultimate seat of power, the House-Senate conference committee on any legislation. And it has shifted again to the new ultimate current power structure, denial of legislative service, by a filibustering minority in the least representative body.

The United States has a new method of negative legislating – a parliament dominated by lords of the minority.

Every issue now requires 60 votes in the Senate to even proceed for deliberation, the very reason we elect representatives. Instead every issue is now reported in terms of a crass procedure, cloture, rather that of proposal, substance, merit, reflection, debate, and action. In a party split of less than solid 60/40, all attention focuses on the personal whims of a few shifting votes that may or may not be in the center. We are drowning in tactics and not swimming in substance.

Today with the Republican signed pledge of 42 votes to hold up deliberation by the majority 58 as well as some of the 42 who might be inclined in temperament toward legislating, we have moved decidedly toward parliamentary block voting. A president elected by a solid majority and a house elected along more proportional representative lines in 2008 did not seem to matter to the Senate minority lords. Indeed, it can be contended that the damage done by block voting and the frustrating of a popular legislative majority and administration through dramatically weakening health care, successfully diluting financial reform, and stalling addressing environmental climate concerns is precisely one of the prime assisting agents that created, distorted, and capitalized on voters’ economically rooted fears to produce the conservative 2010 Republican electoral gains. It’s a case of creative destruction for further destroying creations.

In parliaments, governments can fall if ruling blocks fail on a key vote. In our system, the government will not fall on a key vote but a determined block minority can make it fail to serve its citizens time and time again until that minority can make it fall at a term’s end.

Changing the Senate rules at present may well not yet have the votes, there is an absence of a directly spoken mandate for reform, and there appears continued resignation to the current practice of obstruction. And again and again, the media focuses on scoring stances not probing circumstances. The filibuster is a toxic deficit in our democracy and is not a mere issue among others for it profoundly affects the others. Ending its potency, deployed by either party, ought to be reform number one.

Further reading:
Filibuster Abuse [PDF] by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
The Silenced Majority [The Atlantic] by Matthew Yglesias

Friday, December 3, 2010

No Love Letter

Yes, Maine's Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, have signed the letter (the link shows the signatures) below to block all legislation unless the Bush tax cuts are extended to the wealthy. That includes legislation to extend unemployment benefits as we approach the holidays and coldest months of the year. If you're rich throw some gold tinsel on the tree; if not make a pot of spruce soup for supper and burn a few branches to keep warm.

Not only did Collins and Snowe sign on to this blocking plan; they actually exposed their claims to be moderates as entirely bogus.

What greater indicator can you have than observing a professed moderate who may wield power to allow bills to come up for debate and a vote within a closely divided Senate where their single yea or nay might have actual impact moving something forward versus playing a waiting game that may lead to their yea or nay on some issues being far less effective in the next Senate year with an even larger minority with extra buffer votes less reliant on getting Collins or Snowe to play cloture ball?

Complicated? Not if you’re really not a moderate.

Dear Leader Reid,

The nation's unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said "we owe" it to the American people to "focus on those issues that affect their jobs." He went on to say that Americans "want jobs to come back faster." Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents' priorities become the Senate's priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.

Given our struggling economy, preventing the tax increase and providing economic certainty should be our top priority. Without Congressional action by December 31, all American taxpayers will be hit by an increase in their individual income-tax rates and investment income through the capital gains and dividend rates. If Congress were to adopt the President's tax proposal to prevent the tax increase for only some Americans, small businesses would be targeted with a job-killing tax increase at the worst possible time. Specifically, more than 750,000 small businesses will see a tax increase, which will affect 50 percent of small-business income and nearly 25 percent of the entire workforce. The death tax rate will also climb from zero percent to 55 percent, which makes it the top concern for America's small businesses. Republicans and Democrats agree that small businesses create most new jobs, so we ought to be able to agree that raising taxes on small businesses is the wrong remedy in this economy. Finally, Congress still needs to act on the "tax extenders" and the alternative minimum tax "patch," all of which expired on December 31, 2009.

We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation's small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hear No Labor

Governor-elect LePage is setting the tone-deafness for his future administration as reported in the December 1st Kennebec Journal:
Gov.-elect Paul LePage is asking businesses and industry groups to help him reduce the regulations they believe hinder economic development.

He launched this effort Tuesday at an unprecedented meeting at the Augusta Civic Center. LePage asked about 100 gathered business people for their ideas -- and political support -- when he presents a package of regulatory reform bills to the Legislature.

"What can we do to assist you to provide better jobs in Maine?" LePage asked the crowd.

Absent from those invited to the forum were environmental groups, public health advocates and consumer advocates. LePage said those groups will have an opportunity to weigh in on his proposals as part of the legislative process.

Governor-elect LePage is starting out by choosing selective listening, to those who mirror his views and already support him, as his standard operating procedure. This narrow outlook along with clumsy actions by GOP members of the legislature to eliminate the labor committee as reported in the following Sun Journal piece signal how one-sided this administration and its legislative allies intend to be:
Established in 1887, the Joint Standing Committee on Labor is responsible for overseeing changes in wage and workplace safety laws, union negotiations and the Maine State Retirement System.

Republican leaders acknowledged Tuesday that they were seeking to shift that oversight to other committees, or to potentially dissolve the Labor Committee and create another panel on which such duties would be combined with business development tasks.

The presumptive House Speaker, Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, said the plan was to put business development and labor matters before one panel, and to potentially save money, although those savings were not disclosed Tuesday.

The greatest "savings" potentially would be the first time the minimum wage comes in front of a committee dedicated to business development.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LePage Business 101

Expansion of the working poor appears to be the heart of the LePage business plan.

The actual quality of jobs, living wages, high pay, and substantive benefits are not now and were never on his agenda. It always has been all about bootstraps fantasies, ceding (our) state power to (their) market power, and setting us up to say, "I'm just so gosh darn thankful I have a job".

But there won't be much to be thankful for as families require perhaps up to three jobs per household to survive, place more cheap calories on their tables out of desperate necessity, lay awake at night (if that isn't today's shift) worrying about their health, and play out their role of economic serfdom by buying junk from far away at Marden's so that company and others like it can go "green" and recycle a few cheap labor dollars.

Movement of individuals off welfare to expand the workforce and ripping up regulations to enable the creation of low end employment will apparently be the GOP method of job delivery. The path not taken requires good education and winds through a good environment. But we can't have that!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Find Wall - Bang Head.

Can Senator Susan Collins get anymore wishy-washy with her pretend moderate stance? Apparently not according to this piece at Talking Points Memo:

Today in outrageous new benchmarks for bipartisanship, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) says she'd be more likely to vote to ratify the START Treaty if former Presidents, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were to speak out in support of it.

To which the Huffington Post has this on-the-mark reaction:
It's almost comical at this point. The typical Beltway cant on Ms. Collins is that her long political career is due to her propensity for being a gutsy, independent thinker. What are her independent thoughts on the START treaty?

Sadly, we have a United States Senator representing Maine in Washington who masquerades as an independent voice of moderation but who always needs cover whenever risk of the right's scrutiny here or there is possible.

OK, let's stop banging our heads now, be sure to tell everyone you know about Susan Collins' falsetto independent-moderate voice.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Snowe Sues to Overturn Rights for Maine Citizens

Senator Olympia Snowe now begins her journey from the hard right wing of the GOP to the ultra new and improved hard right wing of the tea party GOP alliance. Yesterday our US Senator from Maine signed onto an amicus brief in support of a Florida lawsuit's plaintiffs that challenges the Constitutionality of health care reform.

This is a dual announcement made in Florida to be heeded here in Maine. The first announcement is that Senator Snowe will run for re-election in 2010 and is beginning to position herself to blunt any primary challenge from the right. The second announcement by Senator Snowe is that she has abandoned any concern about poor and middle class Maine citizens and their need for a sane approach to health care rights which they need and support.

In post titled Lessons from the 2010 Maine elections, I submitted the following for consideration.

Snowe is safe.
With the tea party on the move nationwide, this may seem counterintuitive. However in Maine if you are a diligent incumbent Congressperson or Senator you get returned with a comfortable margin. That is our history and true to our nature we bucked a significant national trend that flipped the house and swept away two Democratic seats next door in NH. Snowe may draw a tea party primary challenger to crush in her primary but look to the GOP establishment and Governor LePage to assist her. The Democratic challenge to her needs to focus on her abandonment of moderation now and which is certain as the tea party pushes her further right which may be where safety meets reality.

Snowe is now abandoning the diligence and moderation noted above by playing into national out-of-state political gamesmanship to secure herself within the GOP. Snowe will be safe...within the GOP. However, over 60% of voters in the recent Governor's race rejected the tea party GOTP candidate who will slip into the back door of the Blaine House with a 38% plurality. Both Representatives Pingree and Michaud were returned to Congress by solid majority margins in a bad year for Democratic incumbents who voted for health care reform. Democrats need to focus on Senator Snowe now; she can be defeated by us if we forcefully and continually expose her abandonment of poor and middle class Maine citizens as so obviously apparent in her latest political maneuver.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Plan A

State Party Maine Democrats were rejected by Maine voters on November 2nd. It might be easy to say that we were swept away in a national red tide of tea but that does not account for the solid reelection of Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree. They represent the perceptions, opinions, and political desires of Maine citizens in Washington but local Democrats do not in Augusta.

This sounds like a bitter reality pill that we are forced to swallow but silently accepting that or seeking excuses for it will lead to continued rejection. We are cast into a new role, that of minority, opposition, and most importantly of all, alternative. Redefining this moment as an opportunity seems perhaps trite but this is a time for an opening to be seized to renew our party in order to serve the people of this state with a vision for a prospective Maine that they will desire, support, and protect.

We need to adopt a plan to build an affirmation of aspiration with articulation yielding application.

These can be just a set of cliché words on a screen or paper if we dismiss November 2nd and go along with business as usual. To do so is to invite more November 2nds. With Republicans in total control of Maine state government, we must define ourselves anew. The Democratic Party needs to hold many local meetings and a state conclave tomorrow, not next year, to determine its direction.

We must do so not to merely attempt to position the party, not to craftily market ourselves to the electorate, but rather to know ourselves so we can build trust with Maine citizens and offer them effective solutions to Maine challenges, based on moral assurances that help all of us meet higher objectives. We need to search for what our vision is in governance both pragmatic and moral, agree on the broad brush stokes philosophically, and then employ effective constant communication to build alliances and obtain individual allegiances to not just win elections but mandates of ongoing actions.

Affirmation of our fundamental beliefs is vital to ensuring that we have identified the essential ingredients of both the moral positions and pragmatic governance principles we value for our state. It is essential that our core values are an expression of our deepest vision and not a whimsical reaction to polls, politicians, or perceived popularity.

Aspiration is what we need to shape from our core beliefs. We can say “no” today to Republican rule with authority if we reject their recently used tactic on the national level of saying “no” to obstruct and destroy. It may have yielded electoral success fleetingly for them but is a cynical strategy that contributes nothing to the common good. We can do better; we will say “no” because we aspire to a finer alternative that we will define completely.

Articulation of our message is critical to connect to Maine citizens and of far greater vital consequence, to earn their trust. We must not solely wallow in the mechanics of communications which are certainly also due to be reviewed. We have to express our message as the best possible, well thought out, and pragmatic but visionary alternative vision of Maine governance. And to greatly impact the electorate, we need to stick to it and avoid sugarcoating Republican-lite repackaging with a laser like focus on being absolutely and directly on message. We must express beliefs that can be believed in not puffery to perform for the present.

Application of our principles is our ultimate goal. We are not seeking a reactive moment of affiliation with us in the voting booth for a foundation to reelect individuals for the sake of triumph without reward to the voter. We need not cringe at the concept of voter reward in our politics if it is delivery of an exceptional and equitable life in Maine. We seek voter affiliation for the long term to govern well with trust to achieve worthy objectives and will invest the time and energy to earn it.

Democrats form the party that looks forward; let’s move forward.

Friday, October 29, 2010


When I crossed the threshold into my grandparents farm home in Carmel, Maine as a child I was always greeted by warmth. There was warmth in the kitchen where perpetual cooking scented the air with the aroma of home cooked stews, breads, and pies. There was the warmth of nonjudgmental affection. I felt secure in the knowledge that it was a place that focused positive energy and support on a future that mattered to me.

It is time for Maine voters to come on home.

The tea party sideshows and the politics of selfishness offered by Paul LePage are a cold level of extremism that will not serve Maine citizens well in the short or long run. Moderate Republicans know that his angry confrontational style will sideline appropriate necessary collaboration to serve Maine citizens. His energy is destructive and divisive.

We have learned that Eliot Cutler is not all that 'independent' when it comes to hauling in millions from China lobbying work and sitting on the Board of Directors of a company deeply at fault in the recent mortgage meltdown. His 'independent' positions either mirror those of Paul LePage in some instances or are carefully crafted to present him as "not one of the other two". His resume does not offer us the type of skills and experience that we need in Maine.

Only a few days remain in this campaign and the din of commercials, up and down polls, flyers, charges, and countercharges will make it harder to hear convincing arguments for why a particular individual is best suited to help our state navigate beyond the national economic storm that was brought on by Wall Street greed and unchecked corporate power. In truth, Maine's economy, state revenues, services, and constructive perceptions about the role of governing have all been victims of a crisis largely outside our borders.

Despite repetition distorting reality by the Maine press and her opponents, Libby Mitchell does not hail from the fringes of the Democratic Party. She has been a moderate, pragmatic leader who reflects Maine citizens' concerns about small business, the environment, energy conservation, and education.

Libby Mitchell has a long history of service as a town official, a legislator and a community volunteer. She has an established record of collaborative leadership and working thoughtfully across the aisle to seek solutions to challenging Maine issues. And Libby Mitchell has the experience of serving as a leader in positions of authority as Speaker of the House and Senate President who is considerate of broad input, willing to act on a bipartisan basis, and focused on serving all Maine citizens with the very best reasonable and positive outcomes.

Maine has been an example of fiscal restraint and bi-partisan government. The current state budget is the same as it was in 2001; there have been no major tax increases over the past nine years. The state budget has received support from Democrats and Republicans. Libby Mitchell has been a leader in this fiscal environment.

In our state, we can be proud that we value good governance beyond the influence of corporate and individual wealth through a strong clean elections law. Over 75% of candidates running for the legislature (and almost 70% of Republicans) run with clean election funding. They are joined by only one gubernatorial candidate, Libby Mitchell, in keeping the focus on issues not fund raising and special interests.

Letting last minute polling snapshots in this tumultuous election determine one's vote and not voting one's conscience can lead to terrible outcomes. In the end, this is not a game of endorsements, momentum, and polling points leading to a final score representing dollars spent. This is about Maine's future and the issues. It is about each candidate's capability in that future and how each will handle the issues most dear to us.

It is time for Maine voters to come on home to good stewardship of our natural environment for people, employment, and pleasure. It is time to come on home to make public education a real priority and not shell parts of it out to private interests. It is time to come on home to develop small entrepreneurial success that leads to good jobs with futures and not bare subsistence jobs that primarily serve out of state shareholders. It is time to cross the threshold into the voting booth and support Libby Mitchell and the issues we share caring about with her.


I wonder how Paul LePage would see the world if his childhood family had gotten the intervention services it desperately needed.

Does Paul LePage believe that the welfare that he claims he was on was justified or not? And since LePage says he got himself off welfare (* just like 96% of those in Maine) why does he denigrate its temporary use?

Or does Paul LePage believe that today a family of 18 within an immigrant community with an abusive parent does not warrant intervention and that a young child should seek his own solutions by his own means on the street and just hope that fortune might take him in?

* Kennebec Journal:

Four percent of TANF cases exceed five years, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Most of Maine's long-term cases involve disabilities, according to the state.

The average time spent on TANF is 21 months, and 85 percent of families leave the program within two years, according to the agency.

Just wondering.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

LePage Lies - One Last Time

One last time addressed by this writer before the election that is. Paul LePage is surely going to go on and on and on making up false statistics, perpetuating myths, and engaging in outright lies. In last night's gubernatorial forum sponsored by Prepare Maine, created by The Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education he told another deceptive whooper:

"50% or better of our families have one parent"

Number of families in Maine 351,646
Number of single-parent headed families in Maine 74,903
Using a calculator vs. pulling a number out of thin air yields 21.3%.
Source (PDF):
National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies

Nitpicking and carping is the countercharge by LePage supporters anytime this stuff comes up. His supporters call him refreshing and say they like it that he is off the cuff, blunt, unpolished, and will "tell it like it is". But he doesn't actually "tell it like it is"; he's perpetually caught using bogus numbers to back up his assertions and claims.

We need to confront reality. How will Paul LePage serve us as Governor if he believes only what he wants to believe? Will false assumptions and presumed numbers become the basis for budgets and laws in Maine? Can a liar be trusted with your future, your children's future, and the state's future?

The core supporters of Paul LePage have given him a pass on every lie he has uttered. His tea party backers accept lies that fit a world view that gives them the pretext to reshape social policy and slash taxes by heaping derision, based on made up facts, upon everyday workers, the poor, state employees, teachers, and public servants in the state of Maine.

Somehow I still want to believe that moderate Republicans, who seek conservative fiscal prudence, will not accept purposeful gross inaccuracy as a basis for setting priorities and making policy. Somehow I want to believe that a vast majority of independents will not accept a leader who seeks scapegoats and freely uses false assertions as Governor.

The LePage tea party core not only accepts Paul LePage's lies but promotes, perpetuates, and exaggerates these deceptions. This election is not just about defeating a liar, it is also about defeating a very far fringe right wing movement based on dishonesty. Our vote for Governor in 2010 is our moment of truth.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LePage: Lie + Lie = Truth

Today in the Kennebec Journal:

Paul LePage, in a statement released by his campaign, said Florida officials were now backing up what his family claimed in the first place.
"Tax officials in Florida have verified what we have said all along," he said. "They have closed their investigation. The homestead exemption on the Florida property that Ann bought to care for her mother during the winter remains in effect."

Yesterday (9/10/10) in the Kennebec Journal:

Ann LePage, the wife of the Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage of Waterville, received permanent resident tax exemptions in 2009 on homes in both Maine and Florida, a violation of statutes in each state.
The LePage campaign admitted the violation on Thursday, calling it a paperwork error. A spokesman said Ann LePage had been unaware of the discrepancy and would remedy it.

So essentially, they did or did not know what they did or did not qualify for but it was a "paperwork error" that did or did not occur. Glad that cleared up Paul LePage's approach to honesty and transparency.

Friday, October 8, 2010

LePage Lie Enabling

I have not been shy about saying that Paul LePage engages in deceptions, is a myth spinner, and lies. The capacity for his followers to ignore gross mistruths as some sort of badge of the kind of non-intellectual, gritty streets, common man-common sense they think is needed in Augusta is amazing. Having fanatic followers that will swallow many mistruths and forgive outright dishonesty in hopes of getting their taxes slashed seems a bit like shoplifting at Marden’s – there is a guilt free self-justifying need in one’s mind that motivates the act but you still end up with junk.

However, even more disturbing is the ongoing enablers of the lies and myths perpetuated by Paul LePage. Today’s following excerpt from LePage’s hometown newspaper, the Morning Sentinel, is a good example of lying to support the liar telling further lies:

Mary-Anne Beal, a Waterville City Council member, said per-pupil spending has increased in Waterville under LePage.

"He's increased spending per student by 30 percent since he's been mayor," said Beal, who added she was a Democrat who recently enrolled as an independent because of false attacks made on LePage. "Under Mayor LePage's leadership, we've provided strong support for academic programs and extracurricular activities. Not a single program has been cut."
How can this City Council member walk the streets of Waterville without embarrassment? She is saying that education support has increased under the leadership of a weak part-time ceremonial mayor without any budget creation or management authority whatsoever, who threatens vetoes of any increase in property taxes, who along with all Waterville residents relies on the school funding variables of state educational subsidies to determine largely the direction of the school budget and taxation, and who has been directly contradicted by individuals within the school system itself.

Masking lies with more lies is a disservice of the highest order by any public official. Conservative, moderate, or liberal, we all need a Governor who will not lie and surround himself with those who will be enablers of dishonest government.

Paul LePage is not fit to be our Governor due to his background…as a liar.

And now for a commercial break:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

LePage - Pants on Fire #3

Please consider the number "3" used in the above title merely a posting count of this latest series and no where near the expansive number of deceptions, exaggerations, tall tales, fibs, myth makings, and outright lies by Paul LePage. Taking him to task on the ongoing duplicity that he engages in is extremely important because it gives us an advance look at both the personal character and the character of an administration led by him potentially as Governor. And no matter how one cuts it, Paul LePage being “truth challenged” is a compelling and imperative reason to use in asking fellow citizens not to elect him. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth by unenrolled voters, Republicans, Democrats, or even tea party adherents.

Paul LePage is either a pathological or professional liar. Which is unimportant at this time; just protecting Maine from fraudulent leadership is a vital concern of the moment. His personal downfall can simply take its course after an election defeat if he is a deliberate liar or those who care about him can help him seek treatment at that time if he suffers from some delusional disturbance.

Most astounding is that for the many claims that Paul LePage makes from buffalo count fantasies to what actually appears as words on a page to his own taped appearances is how completely the actual evidence debunks whatever he says. The counts were not required, printed facts absolutely dispute his claims, and, most glaringly of all, his own recorded words counter his false assertions. Paul LePage has been doing this for a long time and to a degree that it casts a shadow on his alleged on-the-streets upbringing, his educational struggle claims, his time living abroad, his personal ethics, and his hazy professional resume.

While he puts himself at the center of many of his wild leaps of his imagination, he is prone to drag in others through smear to boost claims of his being victimized and standing up to his enemies. He did that this summer by asserting that Arden Manning called him unfit to serve as Governor because of his ethnic background. This was simply unfair, untrue, and strategically stupid because of its utter disrespect of the intelligence of Maine voters. All the instances documented in these posts and the numerous ones recorded elsewhere strongly indicate a pattern that says buyer beware.

Any review of his video taped remarks generally uncovers some unsubstantiated remark that his most adamant adherents take as fact. This goes back to his tea party courting roots. Like accusing a reporter of dropping the “F bomb” or Arden Manning saying that he is unfit for office because he is Franco American, in this pre-primary video Paul LePage insinuates that Governor Baldacci swore at him.

This is a smear of John Baldacci’s character by Paul LePage to further his own personal political ambitions, enlarge his mythical fight against those he opposes on behalf of the tea party, and to elevate his own sense of self-righteous victimhood. Both those who know Governor Baldacci as a decent human being who would not call Paul LePage “some very choice words” and even those who know him as an opponent certainly understand the political instincts of the Governor would be to not foolishly commit such “choice words” to the emails Paul LePage claims he can show us.

Paul LePage cannot show us those emails based on the fact that the emails never existed at all. He lied. He lied to perpetuate his myth. He lied to gain false credibility. He lied because he is an impulsive liar.

I took the trouble to make the following Freedom of Access request of the Governor:

Please consider this my formal Freedom of Access (FOA) request for any emails sent from the office of the Governor or the Governor addressed specifically to Paul LePage as Mayor of Waterville or as an individual as the email's primary recipient during Governor John Baldacci's two terms in office.

The purpose of my request is to prove or disprove a claim by Mr. LePage that he can show the public emails from the Governor in which the Governor (or his official representative) called Mr. LePage "some very choice words" because Mr. LePage [allegedly] refused to spend some state provided money and "got under his [the Governor's] skin so bad".

The Governor’s office complied, searched their records, and provided four documents. Three are constituent emails on various topics on which the Governor and Mayor LePage were both included and in no way, shape, or form can be construed as a communication between the two nor do these emails contain any choice words directed at LePage. The fourth correspondence consists of an email from Paul LePage on June 5th, 2009 at 12:24 PM urging the Governor to veto the tax reform bill and stating that he [LePage]:

“…would rather see a temporary increase in income tax on those of us who are higher wage earners rather than expand the sales and use taxes on the less unfortunate [sic] in our state.”

To this email, the Governor’s office responded on the very same day at 3:18 PM. This is the sole email from both terms of the Governor between the John Baldacci’s office sent directly to Paul LePage. Now we come to the “choice words” and I quote the Governor’s email in its entirety:

Dear Paul;

Thank you for contacting Governor Baldacci. I am certain he will appreciate hearing from you. I have printed out your message and placed it in the Governor’s in-box.

With best wishes.


Tammy Quimby
Deputy Director
Constituent Services
Office of the Governor

There you have it. The awful language of “thank you”, “appreciate”, “best wishes”, and “sincerely” were used. The emails Paul LePage refers to are completely made up. He wants to give an impression of an inflated prosecution of himself by those he opposes. The problem is that he attacks those he disagrees with lies that go infinitely further beyond stating his opposing views, he places fictional disreputable words in the mouths of his opponents to demonize them and booster his own reputation as a combative hero.

Would the dishonesty and lying abruptly discontinue if Paul LePage was elected Governor? Could we trust the state’s new chief executive to tell us the truth? Could we count on him to work honestly on our behalf rather than invent excuses for his failings by blaming others falsely? A single “no” means that a no to Paul LePage is absolutely vital to good, fair, and honest governing in the next four years. Spread the word. Buyer beware. We cannot afford a liar in the Blaine House.

Monday, October 4, 2010

LePage - Pants on Fire #2

It is time to say to Paul LePage: “Prove it!”

One feature of this campaign has been Paul LePage’s constant falsehoods that he seems to hope his closest followers will believe because the comments sound so darn good that they must be true. Furthermore LePage must also hope that these fabricated statements will attract others to his candidacy. It doesn’t seem to be working according to the latest poll that follows a couple of week of sharper focus on LePage’s problems with truth, angry rhetoric, and honesty.

From buffalo, black fly, salmon, and fee word counts that might just be over active imaginary exaggerations to “ I never had [name on Waterville home] it on”, they [tea party] sought me out, and “That’s what [Franco American slur] I’m saying” that qualify as outright lies, the examples that litter his campaign trail are really beginning to pile up. Yet even more outrageously Paul LePage even says things on tape, like his WRKO fabrication (at 7 minutes) of a reporter dropping the F-bomb and himself not swearing when actually caught on camera doing so is utterly incredulous:

Even beyond the material that can be debunked by mere follow up inquiry or any citizen’s ears and eyes, lays another concern: the unsubstantiated charge. I content that this activity is another deliberate attempt by Paul LePage to deceptively manipulate his angry message. Listen closely to LePage’s response when asked to talk about his contention about business interests and Maine government being an adversarial relationship in this interview from mebizsunday on September 11, 2010:

In one swoop, Paul LePage makes a wild claim that the host does not even pretend to follow up on by asking for the facts. Instead of laying out his contention in a manner to argue policy like a serious candidate, LePage makes a totally unsubstantiated charge of how he personally was unfairly persecuted by some unnamed shadowy members of the majority party. While it is indeed pitiful to see LePage play the self-pity card again, the real question ought to be - is this another legendary LePage lie? I contend that it is and that there are many other examples to be exposed as well.

If members of the controlling party [Democrats] actually called the Marden’s board of directors and told them to fire Paul LePage or there would be a boycott their stores; that would be a serious attempted abuse of power. A bully saying he was bullied is the oldest game on the playground. So Paul LePage, prove it. If the inevitable “no tracks were left” counter comes from LePage, then he ought to get individual board members to swear out legal affidavits backing him up. Until then, his unsubstantiated charge and smearing insinuation stands as another Paul LePage example of making things up and lying.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

LePage - Pants on Fire #1

Paul LePage’s propensity for making up things that have no basis in reality is becoming ever more astounding whenever he is interviewed, questioned, or just talks off the cuff. From his lashing out at reporters and playing hide and seek from the press to his tea party jawboning that he never expects voters to see, he seems to suffer from a bad case of candor challenge.

It is ironic that one of the emerging main difficulties facing Paul LePage’s quest for the Blaine House is his problem with telling the truth. One of supposed valued hallmarks of tea party candidacies like that of Paul LePage is the average persons’ love for blunt, no bull, tell-it-like-it-is, strait-talking facts. He is supposed to be the guy to give you the straight dope without the clever deceptions of those regular politicians who are always playing duck and cover.

But it turns out that it is Paul LePage who continually and apparently without any qualms whatsoever just makes up things to support whatever argument he happens to be making at any time. LePage has determined that anything he says, no matter how farfetched will be believed by his base and apparently the rest of us just because he sounds sincere or that it appears that he believes whatever fiction he is fabricating.

Take this three minute outtake from a very friendly interview done by MaineWebNews for example:

There’s a lot to argue with Paul LePage on with his stance on guns with his wild west implication that you and I should own a gun in order to act responsibly to protect our families and property for starters. However, this column is about making up facts and telling lies such as:

“In Switzerland, [wording pause] the head of household is required to own a gun.”
This is simply an outright falsehood; there absolutely is no such law and never has been. Some pro-gun sites have implied that the every able bodied man being in the Swiss military means that guns are more present in that society and therefore the reason for low gun violence. I’ve traveled in Switzerland on a number of occasions and young soldiers do get on trains with military weapons but the actual number of those in training (not usually heads of households) and reservists issued weapons (perhaps heads of households) may total about 400,000 at any one time which would not place a gun in every one of the 3.4 million households in the country as a way of backing in to LePage’s “fact”. Furthermore they are not required to store weapons at home if they do not wish to and a system of armories exists for that purpose. Many Swiss will tell you that their low gun violence is due to being an affluent, educated and homogeneous society with social safety nets and prohibitions against concealed handguns. Swiss society is very different than that of the United States and Paul LePage’s imaginary “head of household gun owner requirement” being the reason for its low crime rate is totally misleading.

“When 9/11 occurred, looting became a major problem.” [siren noise]
This is a second outright falsehood, looting was not in any significant way a problem on September 11th, 2001 in New York City (nor DC, nor any other US city). A total of 6 arrests for looting were made on that day and more were made later but the overriding reality is that out of control rioting or looting did not take place at all. In fact, the evacuation of lower Manhattan in an orderly fashion in one of the most terror provoking events in American history was extraordinary. The many images of those in New York of all races and creeds consoling each other in the midst of this horrible the attack and assisting each other unselfishly with civic conscientiousness has emerged as an important positive example for our country. Shopkeepers with guns simply were not necessary; grabbing someone’s hand and running were far more essential. “9/11 looting as a major problem”, is another example of Paul LePage making extremely exaggerated things up.

Should Maine citizens be happy to obtain some blunt, no bull, tell-it-like-it-is, strait-talking facts? Perhaps, but they seem to only get bull, fabrications, misleading insinuations, and unfortunately even outright lies from Paul LePage.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Paul LePage - Ditheringly Delusional or Deliberately Deceptive?

Is it possible that in the dark recesses of Paul LePage’s mind that the new Democratic Governors Association ad regarding equal rights for all and women in particular is his convoluted misinterpretation of being called a "sexual harassment person" by the DGA?

Paul LePage foreshadowed that such a charge would be forthcoming this week in an interview with Howie Carr on WRKO on September 17.

No charge has surfaced of sexual harassment against Paul LePage this week thus far. And the DGA ad is the only known participation by that organization in the Maine race this week thus far. So is this fantastical leap the sexual harassment charge LePage felt was going to be leveled against him by the DGA? Sadly, I strongly suspect that is the essence of the matter.

It now becomes more apparent that Paul LePage might very well possess a confusing reactionary mindset about both the position of women in our society and what equal rights are all about. A suspicion that advocating equal rights for women (or others) in addressing a candidate’s positions constitutes a veiled charge of sexual harassment against that candidate is a preposterous stretch and absolutely ludicrous! Yet this leap to a completely unconnected contorted conclusion is 100% in keeping Paul LePage’s ongoing bouts of imagination.

Paul LePage has jumped from the mention of his position that creationism should be taught in schools to the conclusion that a Democratic Party official was saying that he is unfit for office because he is a Franco American. Huh? He makes up imaginary buffalo, mosquito, and salmon counts along with suggesting that dumping a bottle of Poland Spring water into our rivers is illegal when environmental protections are discussed. Huh? He reads words such as ‘fee’ or ‘fees’ sixty times in a document that the rest of us only see appearing three times all in reference to one fee. Huh? He says you can’t harvest timber in places that you explicitly can. Huh? He basically launched his campaign using the tea party and shamelessly raises money from them but continues to say it is they who “sought me out”. Huh? He has recast his role of ceremonial Mayor into that of being a strong chief executive of a Maine government. Huh?

Voters need to face reality. Paul LePage is either a ditheringly delusional or deliberately deceptive person running for Governor. Deciding which is correct may be too difficult. But denying him the Blaine House is a decision that needs to be made to protect Maine citizens from LePage’s dreaming and/or scheming.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Can Paul LePage read?

The five candidates for Governor spoke about agriculture on Tuesday and Paul LePage had an opportunity to address dairy farmers in attendance on how he would make life better for them according to this WABI report:

Candidates told the crowd, that included many dairy farmers, how they would make things a little easier for them. Paul LePage, the Republican nominee for Governor, says the State is taking too much money from local farmers. "I read the report from the Department of Agriculture to the Governor and every page had at least 3 fees. License fees, registration fees every page. It's a 20 page report. No wonder they're going broke, we're feeing them and licensing, and permitting them to death," says LePage.

A detailed search for this fee laden report did not turn up any sort of overall Department of Agriculture report to the Governor and I believe it is very safe to assume that Paul LePage is referring to this 20 page report: Governor’s Task Force on the Sustainability of the Dairy Industry in Maine (PDF) based on the fact that he was speaking specifically to dairy farmers.

However, the report does not contain “…at least 3 fees. License fees, registration fees every page”, and therefore a minimum total of 60 fees in the 20 page report. The word license does not appear at all within the covers of this document. The word registration comes up once in relation to farm vehicle registration in the context of a recommendation to exempt these vehicles from municipal property and excise taxes which would be the opposite of “permitting them to death”. And the word fee comes up 3 times in reference to the “handling fee schedule” and even then it appears once in the Executive Summary, once in the Findings, and once in the Recommendations. So that is 3 appearances of the word fee in the entire 20 pages, not 3 per page and most importantly these 3 mere words are all in reference to the same fee not 3 separate ones! So instead of 60 fees in the 20 page document, we really have mention of 1. Now, just be fair the word feed appears 5 times but even that possible comprehension problem is far below any reasonable counting error!

The report may not be a perfect solution to the difficulties facing Maine dairy farming. But a simple read of it demonstrates that it is from people who care about the industry, are concerned with its survival, are seeking to support it, and grappling with getting the right solutions in place for dairy farmers in a rapidly changing market. It is precisely the kind of report that one hopes to see government undertaking in an effort to support Maine farming.

There is little doubt that this is the report Paul LePage is referencing but please do challenge him to produce the 20 page report he referenced with the 60 fees highlighted. If he cannot, we need to know before voting if Paul LePage lied to us on camera and lied to dairy farmers or simply cannot read. In either case, he is therefore not fit to be Governor and should go back to his imaginary world of counting fees and buffalo.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

LePage - Bad Signs

Paul LePage has made it very strikingly clear that one of Maine’s finest assets, our environment, is not a priority for him by telling us that on his first day in office, "day one, I come down to Kittery and take down the sign, Maine, the way life should be and put up one that says, Maine, open for business”. In fact LePage’s website does not even bother to address as an issue, environment, conservation, or any significant concern for Maine’s vital outdoors except for a rant under “Government Regulation” that includes now debunked LePage folksy fabricated studies:

…eliminate bizarre and unreasonable studies resulting in needless delays (i.e. buffalo and black fly census studies in Maine), and eliminate regulations that are incompatible with other regulations, whereby when one regulation is followed, another is violated. In that same vein, I propose that all duplicate and replicated regulations from DEP and LURC be repealed.
From way back in the primary campaign, LePage has expressed concern that the Department of Environmental Protection, charged on behalf of the people of Maine to protect the environment is…well, pro-environment:

He said "day two" of his administration, he tackles those DEP regulations, that he said often "serve no purpose except to cost businesses money. The regulatory system has been very adversarial to business and very pro-environment.

"Look at Land for Maine's Future. You can't harvest timber, you can't do any cutting. No one is going to have the benefit of creating wealth and prosperity from it," he said.
The preceding is also a prime example of LePage’s willingness to either stoop to outright falsehoods or just make up stuff to fit his own off-the-cuff flawed and false assumptions. That may work in his mind and as a bit of red meat for his followers but for the rest of us in the real world what Land for Maine's Future actual guidelines say will suffice:

Many LMF projects involve easements that permit continued sustainable forestry alongside recreational uses of the land. In these areas, you may encounter active logging operations.
Finally and less known is that Paul LePage’s desire to symbolically take down “Maine, the way life should be” is his personal sign off with a group called Americans for Prosperity using his tired anti-tax language to “oppose legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” It is one more example of the LePage ignore reality and forget any long-term true costs to society attitude.

But despite the pleasant sounding name, what is this group, Americans for Prosperity that Paul LePage has pledged to support and govern us by if elected with his present non-gubernatorial signature? Well it turns out to be, as well documented and exposed in the New Yorker, basically one of many pretend grassroots organizations and tea party operations heavily bankrolled by two billion brothers, Charles and David Koch who own Koch Industries that in turn owns several forest product industries such as Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, and Georgia-Pacific lumber.

The Kochs are also longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.

It is a long and twisted Maine logging road one has to travel to find where Paul LePage’s loyalties lie. And at the end of that road is a fork.

On one, the sign, Maine, the way life should be still stands. That path is protected for sustainable use and travels through many places protected for our children that include good productive timber harvesting in Land for Maine’s Future, green energy jobs, and great outdoor recreational resources along with development sensitive to Maine’s quality of life that attracts tourists and new residents. Libby Mitchell is hiking far ahead on that trail already.

The other direction will have Paul LePage’s sign, Maine, open for business, on it. That road will be clear-cut of our livelihood aspirations, eroded by long term environmental damage, foolishly unregulated - damaging outdoor regulation and traditional Maine forestland pursuits, primarily set aside for out-of-state interests who will export our children’s future for unsustainable immediate corporate income without regard to climate damage or consequences. That is what Paul LePage is symbolically signing us up for with Americans for Prosperity and for what his imaginary sign in Kittery represents.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shtick or Stick

Another example of Paul LePage's Mr. Business-friendly shtick for those gullible enough to believe him is this gem also from an excellent MPBN report by Susan Sharon:

At a recent gathering of Republicans in Yarmouth, this is how LePage described his vision of how state agencies should work: "Instead of having people going around enforcing the regulations, I would rather have customer-friendly state employees going out and helping you abide by the regulations. I don't mind tough regulations. I just dislike an adversarial attitude by our state," he said.
The full radio report follows:

Contrast that with this shameless adversarial attitude in his address to the Waterville Rotary as reported by the Morning Sentinel on who he is callously willing to stick it to:

"At the end of five years, if you still need welfare, I will personally buy a ticket to Massachusetts so they can start over."[sic]

"A lot of people in the public education system say, 'Oh, charter schools are just going to leave us the worst students.' That might be true. But at the same token, you know what you are dealing with, so fix it."
"If you are going be two-faced, at least make sure one of your faces is pretty." - Anonymous

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LePage’s Shove Off Style

Paul LePage gave us a snapshot of how he would govern and what Maine could look like under his watch at the Waterville Rotary yesterday afternoon.

According to a Morning Sentinel report LePage told his fellow Rotarians that Maine taxpayer has been "ignored and vilified" for years. Check off the “angry and divisive” box.

On welfare he touted his own experience to press for a tiered program with one happy ending being: "At the end of five years, if you still need welfare, I will personally buy a ticket to Massachusetts so they can start over." There were no shreds of understanding of the circumstances of who uses the system, what exceptions are compassionately appropriate, nor where the tier of jobs needed on the other end of his plan will come from in this extremely challenging economy. Check off the “ignore and vilify the welfare bums" box.

Regarding education LePage reiterated his support of charter schools and vouchers while recognizing that, "A lot of people in the public education system say, 'Oh, charter schools are just going to leave us the worst students.' That might be true. But at the same token, you know what you are dealing with, so fix it.” Check off the “starve and kick public schools” box.

Perhaps the most eye opening real fact to come from LePage involved his own company’s employee health care insurance participation rates:

"In 1996, 71 percent of Marden's employees took health insurance. Today, we're down to 29 percent. Why? Because the other 25 percent that the employee is responsible for is unaffordable."
This is revealing because Paul LePage became general manager of Marden's precisely in 1996. Under his leadership, company health care insurance coverage of employees fell by a whooping 42%! This smacks of a total failure to address a significant problem and at the very worst a possible purposeful plan to cut business costs on the back of employees. Marden’s obviously benefited tremendously by not needing to pay the 75% to cover the hundreds of employees that could not afford the plan according to LePage. If anything this prompts more questions about Paul LePage’s style of fiscal management. Why didn’t he create a tiered system like his welfare plan to address the problem of the 25% burden? Does Marden’s pay a living wage to begin with that allows individuals to afford health insurance? Did Paul LePage engage in the same type of shenanigans as Wal-Mart when it came to employees and health care?

Paul LePage would be the worst possible kind of governor. He believes that his own mythical story can be simply replicated by anyone regardless of circumstances and economic realities. He offers no real solutions to systemic problems or addressing long term economic concerns. He seems to view Maine as primarily a few salvage boxcars of welfare fraud and education waste that he can mark down and shove out the door to save a few bucks without consequences. For Paul LePage, it will be business as usual.

Monday, August 23, 2010

LePage Puts His Worst Foot Forward

Paul LePage spoke to the Waterville Rotary Club today continuing his press avoidance and staying on the grip and grin circuit that shuns substantive debate and exposure on issues. This appearance, on home turf (he is a member of this particular club, 1979 to present) gave him another non-threatening setting to play candidate within.

However, another LePage shoot from the hip remark should once again cause Maine citizens to be concerned about whether he is a serious Republican Party nominated candidate that can lead our state or just a tea party mascot for an anti-tax, toss-the-bums out, get rid of the welfare cheats, angry referendum that cannot control himself.

According to the Morning Sentinel, at one point Mr. LePage quipped:

"You want a governor that's not always politically correct and puts his foot in it, you've got me," he said.
Is this what Maine voters really want? Do we really want to trust someone who dismissively makes light of his own lack of sensitivity and forethought? Is this the type of leadership that will help him work with the legislature, state employees, and citizens to meet Maine's challenges? Does this attitude show a genuine appreciation and appropriate degree of respect for everyone in Maine for whom he wishes to serve as Governor?

One of the things heard from time to time is how refreshing Paul LePage's everyman, no frills, says-what's-on-his-mind, plain spoken approach is to some individuals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with direct, unadorned communication if it carries a message of substance. But now, after many blurted out remarks, it is clear that Paul LePage is just hammering away on a limited number of tea party anger points to hold on to a whipped up angry base while crossing his fingers that the three independents take enough votes away from Libby Mitchell to allow him to sneak through the back door of the Blaine House.

It is time for Republican voters with genuine concerns about Maine's future who care about civic responsibility to openly distance themselves from Paul LePage. Their party has been hijacked and it is their party that he has put his foot in.

The Sentinel piece is a PM website news update and hopefully a more substantial report will follow in tomorrow's paper.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Obama TIME Poll Muslim Query

Here is the last question in the recent TIME poll:

16. Do you personally believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim or a Christian?

Muslim: 24%
Christian: 47%
Other: 5%
No answer/Don't know: 24%

This TIME magazine poll was conducted by telephone Aug. 16-17, 2010, among a representative national random sample of 1,002 Americans, ages 18 and older, throughout America. The poll includes limited interviews with cell-phone respondents.
A rewrite of question 16 seems to be in order:

16 (and absolute last time we will ask this ridiculous question). Do you personally believe in the face of every bit of the extremely overwhelming, extensive, unassailable, irrefutable, incontrovertible, documented evidence that is thoroughly and comprehensively sound recorded, expansively written about across a wide variety of sources, exhaustively substantiated on film and subjected to legally sane thinking that indicates common sense that our country’s chief executive, subjected to intense scrutiny and exposure throughout his long public life, President Barack Obama, is a Muslim and are you a total nutcase perpetuating a lie for some sort of right-wing tea party inspired smearing falsehood of anti-patriotic propaganda for some gullible and selfish, fact denying, wacked-out delusional, craven and malicious purpose?

No – of course not, that’s stupid
Yes – of course, I’m with stupid

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Is it the food or the company?

As Paul LePage continues to avoid the press and mainstream Maine voters, one might ask…is it the food or the company?

Paul LePage seems most comfortable when talking with those who agree with him. Here is a little feedback on his tea party fundraising BBQ with the Refounders on Sunday, August 15th:

Comment by David JP 3 hours ago
Pete, thank you so much for hosting the "BBQ" event. It was a pleasure meeting you and the others that attended. Paul LePage was very IMPRESSIVE. That he remained at the BBQ for approx. 3 and 1/2 hours says a lot about how he values grass roots support. I thoroughly enjoyed the one-on-one talk as people created a circle of lawn chairs to have a Q&A with Paul and to discuss issues facing Maine.

Maine voters do not object to one-on-one opportunities to meet candidates. But it cannot be all one-on-one and one-on-none. Being available to Maine voters requires a healthy mixture of in person campaigning, connecting with voters through a variety of forums and debates, and being available to the press rather than hiding. Concentrating 3½ hours of time in a lawn chair circle chatting with those who echo your views while elsewhere denying a few hours to be engaged with the citizens you expect to serve as Governor is not a good example of the leadership needed and respect deserved by all Maine citizens.

Maybe at the next forum, Libby Mitchell, Shawn Moody, Eliot Cutler, and Kevin Scott who all seem quite able to make time for Maine voters should bring along a grill, some juicy ribs, a delicious salad, and a few cold beverages to entice Paul LePage to speak to the people of Maine. Unless it is the company...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

LePage's Mainizona?

A press release from the Maine Republican Victory Campaign made the rounds over the weekend, excerpts follow:


AUGUSTA - A resolution in support of Arizona's right to enforce existing federal immigration laws was passed last week at the Republican National Committee meeting in Kansas City. The resolution was introduced by Maine GOP Committeewoman Jan Staples, and received unanimous support.

"Maine Republicans stand with the people of Arizona," said Staples. "As a border state, we understand the gravity of this issue. The safety of our citizens is of paramount importance, and Arizonans have the right to protect themselves in light of lax federal enforcement."

The resolution cites specific support of S.B. 1070, a bill passed by the Arizona legislature and signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer.

A recent Rasmussen Reports poll showed a majority of Mainers support the passage
of an Arizona-like law in Maine, with only 39% supporting the Obama Administration's decision to sue the state of Arizona.

"We are proud that Maine is leading the way in support of Arizona," said Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster.

I am struck by the reference to "passage of an Arizona-like law in Maine". Is this part of what the Maine Republican Victory Campaign hopes to achieve in the future?

After all the concern and exceptions extended to businesses and families who enjoyed decades of cross border relaxed exchanges between Maine and our Canadian neighbors during the move to new passport requirements, do Republicans now want to have local law enforcement officials during stops to attempt to determine a person's immigration status given some sort of suspicion that the person is an "illegal alien"?

At the heart of the Arizona debacle is that profiling of Hispanics will necessarily take place in actual police practice despite how the law is written. What type of profiling in Maine would take place? Perhaps a French accent would prompt a demand for papers. Can we expect Paul LePage to reject this resolution and to speak out forcefully in opposition to such a law and the malpractice of it in Maine on behalf of border communities and Franco-American Maine citizens? Of course this would occur only if he is a truly common sense thinker he purports to be and not just another rigid right-wing politician.

The Republican Party resolution referenced follows:

WHEREAS, the United States has a rich tradition of extending the promise and opportunity of America to immigrants who legally enter her borders; and

WHEREAS, America recognizes the contributions of generations of immigrants legally entering the country have made to the economy and culture of the United States; and
WHEREAS immigration that is both legal and controlled allows immigrants coming to America to openly assimilate into the culture of their adoptive home and, therefore, more readily reap the benefits available to all who reside legally within the borders of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the federal government, through lax enforcement of the federal immigration laws, has failed to protect our nation's borders, our citizens and legal residents by stopping the flow of illegal border crossings; and

WHEREAS, the State of Arizona, to protect its citizens, legal residents and visitors, has therefore passed S.B. 1070 to enforce standing federal statutes concerning immigration; and

WHEREAS, the Arizona law mirrors federal immigration law and does not provide any additional burdens on any person legally present in the United States; and

WHEREAS, enforcement of the Arizona law explicitly prohibits profiling; and

WHEREAS, the rule of law has been, and should continue to be, the basis of governance in this country; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that The Republican National Committee supports the State of Arizona's right and responsibility to provide security and stability for its citizens; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee supports the State of Arizona's effort to protect its citizens, residents and visitors through the passage of S.B. 1070.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Waking Up to Reality

In today’ Press Herald, Scott Kauffman, former vice chairman of the Maine Republican Party, endorsed Libby Mitchell for governor:

I respect the long history of the Republican Party. I admire Lincoln's vision, Eisenhower's leadership and Reagan's common sense. However, the values of self-reliance and rugged individualism which guided these men would have no place in today's Republican Party. I am one Republican who will still embrace individualism and will not blindly follow the new tea party GOP.
The entire left – right extremist - we are dying for a centrist, fairy tale is very aptly punctured by Scott Kauffman’s sensible endorsement of Libby Mitchell.

Many in the Maine media and punditry are in love with the “two-sides to every story” lazy way of looking at the gubernatorial race. The formula is that if there is a right wing extreme GOTP candidate that the opposing Democratic Party candidacy must therefore be an extreme left wing offering. And this false tale also works even better when the storyline includes a moderate hero to break in between the extremists.

Kauffman gives us a dose of reality and ought to wake us up from the bedtime story above that put us to sleep.

Paul LePage is an extremist and bent on dismantling the very pillars of this state’s foundations without regard to neither present need nor future progress to satisfy the extreme anti-tax crowd overjoyed at his hijacking of the Republican Party.

Elliot Cutler is a fairly wealthy independent burning a lot of cash in pursuit of the Blaine House. While not an extremist, he really is a conservative who seems to be image fiddling primarily to fit into the storyline above in order to eek out a plurality victory by default. Yet it seems unlikely that he will be able to poll above 20% and his candidacy may really only serve to deliver the governorship to Paul LePage.

Libby Mitchell is not a leftist extremist in way. Is she generally more progressive that the rest of the field? Yes and Maine’s citizens are more progressive than the rest of the field in a very pragmatic way. Libby Mitchell is a exactly the type of leader that will give us a no-nonsense, get the job done for Maine, set egos aside approach that Maine citizens expect.

Kaufman’s accurate portrayal of Libby Mitchell is based on facts that transcend the fiction in this tale:

As Senate president, Libby Mitchell got things done. She worked with Democrats and Republicans to pass legislation that helped create jobs, improved our education system and moved the state towards energy sustainability.

She is not afraid to make the tough decisions that will be necessary to lead our state. Libby Mitchell stands solidly in the mainstream and is the type of leader Maine needs to move forward.
Libby is ready to govern.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hide & Seek LePage

There are two in a row public forums or debates that Paul LePage will not attend due to “scheduling conflicts”. But of course, candidates for Governor ultimately decide what is important in their schedules. Apparently, speaking to Maine citizens in a substantive and in an informative way on issue positions is not a priority of Paul LePage. So he will blow off (as of this writing, we rather hope to shame him into appearing) the August 13 gubernatorial forum sponsored by The Island Institute in Rockland and the August 19 candidate debate at the University of Maine at Machias.

These “schedule conflicts” are unknown and we hope to find out eventually what events are more vital than these important public forums. It does not seem as if Paul LePage will be completely away. On August 12th, he will be at the Skowhegan Fair from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, on August 14th he will attend the Pal Hop Reunion at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston at 9:00 PM, and on August 15th he will be at a BBQ with Pete the Carpenter to raise money from the right wing tea party group the Refounders.

It is unknown if it is the press or the professors asking questions that are the concern of Paul LePage. To his defense, Dan Billings has posted As Maine Goes:

In Paul's case, he is not taxpayer funded and is not self-funded. He has a busy schedule of fundraisers all summer. He needs to raise money to win. If he has a fundraising event on the books, I would expect that would be a priority.

Chasing cash over connecting with voters is a poor choice and with Paul LePage’s much bragged about win with little cash in the primary because of his supposed ability to connect with grassroots voters, it would seem that priorities would be just the opposite of Mr. Billings musings.

There do not seem to be any pressing events of a ceremonial nature for the ceremonial Mayor of Waterville according to the city’s website. Perhaps it is pressing private sector business interfering? LePage did announce that he would be taking a leave of absence from Marden’s and according to the Bangor Daily News on June 24 already is on leave. At any rate, he seems to be able to make a great deal of other events, again it all boils down to priorities.

Perhaps Paul LePage is getting the makeover after his gaffe, gripe, and groan start to the campaign. That may not be unusual. A number of extreme tea party candidates from Rand Paul in Kentucky and Sharron Angle in Nevada needed to get an overexposure break from their radical messages in order to emerge later with a hopefully little more Republican constraint and toned down rhetoric.

Yet Paul LePage is hiding and we are left seeking. He is ducking substantive issue forums but seems out and about doing backslapping retail politicking and tax bashing at fairs, dances, and picnics. It almost seems like LePage wants to dine, sing and dance rather than debate, speak, and discuss.

Paul! Paul LePage! Game’s over! Ally, ally, in free!

Monday, August 9, 2010

UnAmerican Amendment Adjustments

So now Republicans are jumping on the bandwagon to look at repealing the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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The ultra right are in love with Amendments 2, 9, and 10. Amendments 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, of the "Bill of Rights" are just liberal drivel overkill. In their minds, Amendments 11 and up, and now especially 14, should all be repealed as too many constitutional concessions to modernity.

Maybe the best way to go is: Ditch the 14th Amendment? Why stop there?

Best read with a nice cold glass of raw milk and a heaping plate of organic Lindsey Graham crackers.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

She's Ready to Govern

While the Grand Old Tea Party nominee tries to figure out how to make the Governor’s race an angry referendum on taxes, social issues, throwing bums out, states rights, federal overreach, or anything else that might fire up his right wing base, Libby Mitchell has been quietly and competently building consensus toward solutions to Maine’s challenges.

Libby is working hard and demonstrating the one trait that Paul LePage lacks completely, the ability to govern. Today’s Kennebec Journal reported on each of her primary opponents joining her team in a substantive role:

The three rivals who lost to Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell in the Democratic Party primary will lead policy subcommittees in support of her gubernatorial campaign.

Former Attorney General Steven Rowe, Stanford Management Chief Executive Officer Rosa Scarcelli and former Department of Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan have agreed to solicit input from people across the state on topics such as jobs, energy, and education, the Mitchell campaign announced Wednesday.

Each of these individuals brought unique perspectives and diverse backgrounds and supporters to the quest for the Democratic nomination. Each one had a positive vision and proposed solutions to Maine challenges worthy of further consideration.

Libby Mitchell’s tapping into this talent base demonstrates a commitment to bringing people together to tackle tough issues. It demonstrates a commitment to consensus building over gridlock. And it offers a glimpse into how she will lead Maine.

At the end of this campaign we are not looking for an obstructionist to obstruct nor an administrator to administrate but a Governor to govern. Libby Mitchell is not thrashing around like Paul LePage nor craftily tuning a message like Elliot Cutler; she is engaging her energies in working on jobs and business development with Rosa Scarcelli, energy and the environment with Jim McGowan, and education with Steve Rowe. And many other people with all kinds of experiences and backgrounds are working with her too.

The Governor’s office is for governing and serving the aspirations of Maine’s citizens. It requires consensus building and input from all facets of Maine’s society. Without doubt, Libby, as Governor, will include leaders from across the political spectrum beyond the Democratic Party, just as she did as Senate President. This is a no-nonsense, get the job done for Maine, set egos aside approach typical of her that Maine citizens expect. Libby is ready to govern. She gets things done.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Paul LePage Paranoia Pandering

You are invited to go over to Dirigo Blue and read this post,
Paul LePage Paranoia Pandering,
that exposes his connections with Maine's ultra-far right.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Paul LePage "In Writing"

Paul LePage wants to only answer reporters in writing either because he is a gaffe machine extraordinaire or a controlling politician who despises free press journalism. Test number one is in today's Kennebec Journal piece on education reform initiatives. Mr. LePage shows us just how responsive he is:

Republican candidate Paul LePage, the only candidate who wouldn't offer an interview for this article, said in a statement released by his campaign that education policy is best left up to local school boards.

"The Race to the Top funding is not about educating kids, it is about the federal government running the education system," the statement said. "We need to be careful about accepting federal money with strings attached."

So, no interview but he did write back with a no answer statement to sweeten up his tea party. The non-answer is pretty much reality: Paul LePage has no answer or vision for education in Maine. Here is the sum total on the issue directly from his website:

The challenge for Maine with our educational system is our return on investment. Maine is in the top third of all our states in education spending, yet we are in the bottom third in results. As Governor, it will be my priority to reform Maine's educational system so that students have the opportunity to create results that correspond with our significant investment in the system.

Many educational reforms will not cost taxpayers additional money. There is plenty of money in the system; it's how we choose to prioritize our spending that is impacting educational results. Increased competition will breed excellence; therefore, I support statewide choice by implementing a voucher system as well as the creation of new charter schools.

The current trend in education is teaching to the test scores to boost test results. We need to eliminate teaching to national assessments and allow teachers to create a learning environment that challenges all of our students to excel to their own diverse strengths rather than a standard of mediocrity.

I will not seek to have Augusta make all curriculum decisions for local school districts. I believe that locally elected school board members and parents should have input in their children's education. This includes allowing local school boards to provide guidance on classroom discussions of industry, natural resources, population, and economic development topics as they relate to the economy of the local region in which the schools reside and classrooms discussions on the origin of life with the inclusion of scientific theories.

For Special Education, we should eliminate the disparity between school districts in identifying and supporting students requiring special education services.

Finally, my goal as Governor will be to lower the average class size, not increase it. For example, school districts must work together to pool their resources. We fail to use our tax dollars wisely when some classes have as few as 4 students and others up to 25. A goal of 16 to 20 students is achievable with the resources we have committed to our educational system.
Read it and weep, you are unlikely to see anything with any real depth. LePage does not intend to lead nor govern, he intends to dismantle.

Postscript: By the way, the last phrase in the fourth paragraph, "classrooms discussions on the origin of life with the inclusion of scientific theories" was recently added to the site; so perhaps there is some evolution in Mr. LePage's policy development.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Collins quid pro quo to LePage

Susan Collins endorsing Paul LePage is her quid pro quo for his endorsement of her in 2008 in which he lauded her perfect (that's attendance folks, not effectiveness) string of votes cast to regurgitate her exaggerated appall at Tom Allen missing a few votes. Here are excerpts from his March 2008 op-ed piece in the Morning Sentinel. Note that he opens with a not-to-subtle swipe at Collins pal, John McCain to burnish his pre-tea party bona fides.

Unlike the Presidential election this fall, Mainers have a clear-cut choice for who should represent our state in the United States Senate. For the past 12 years, Sen. Susan Collins has amassed a voting record second to none, which we have not seen in our state since the glory days of the Honorable Margaret Chase Smith. Sen. Collins is emulating the work begun by Sen. Smith, and unmistakably deserves the support of all Maine voters to return her to Washington as our U.S. senator.


Her opponent on the other hand, has time and again revealed an inability to show up to work in Congress. Unfortunately for Maine citizens, Rep. Tom Allen has been absent for well over 100 congressional votes. Mainers deserve better, and we must demand that when elected, our elected officials show up for the debate.
LePage just played the political investment market in his 2008 Collins backing; he was simply a ceremonial mayor with a bully-veto and a big dream. In reality the pay back from Collins in 2010 is the real story because it once again verifies her fidelity to her party's hard right. By he way, I doubt that Margaret Chase Smith would embrace today's anti-patriotic right wingers.