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.