Thursday, March 31, 2011

LePage Looks To Turn Maine Into Dickensian Nightmare

Well, I'm sick of talking about the Mural, but luckily there is never a shortage of LePage material. Why, just last night I was driving home from work and almost drove my car into a ditch due to my sputtering rage at hearing about this:

The sponsor of a new child labor bill says employers should have the flexibility to pay workers under age 20 a “training wage.”

Opponents countered that the proposal devalues young workers and takes money out of the hands of laborers and gives it to business.

LD 1346 suggests several significant changes to Maine’s child labor law, most notably a 180-day period during which workers under age 20 would earn $5.25 an hour.

The state’s current minimum wage is $7.50 an hour.

If this isn't the most crass and obvious handout to the Chamber crowd I've ever, why exactly would anyone hire someone at full minimum wage? You're basically creating a youthful underclass that will provide cheap labor to merchants at a time of crippling unemployment. And, not only that, you are literally ROBBING money from hard working high school kids whose families may in fact partially depend on their income.

The bill would also allow children to work for 24 hours a week instead of 20, which I am sort of agnostic about (though it could be misused by employers to pressure their new cheap labor to work more hours). Really, this clown won't be happy until we are all in line for porridge, pitiably asking him for "more."

Monday, March 28, 2011

LePage Is a Coward - Removes Mural Over The Weekend

Mr. Toughguy, apparently quivering in his boots at the thought of a few protesters in the department of labor, stealthily had the labor mural removed over the weekend while the building was closed.

And so this sad episode comes to an end without the good people of Maine getting to have their say, with the autocratic fiat of our tinpot dictator of a governor whitewashing historical reality like so many, as the New York Times pointed out, Egyptian pharaohs before him.

It's possible that this sad, pathetic episode will generate the most national attention of anything LePage ever does. Even his infantile schoolboy taunts to the NAACP didn't quite catch on like this story, which has gotten a few words in almost every national news outlet, and been blogged the nation over.

The result, of course, is that Maine is becoming a laughingstock. When people think of Maine, they will think less of lobster, rocky coasts, scenic byways, and moose crossings, and more of the foolish simpletons who elected the cretinous blockhead to be governor (the fact that this fathead received barely over a third of the vote will be forgotten to history).

But, thankfully ,I also have another prediction: this is the beginning of the end for LePage. By now it is clear to everyone, even the mouthbreathers who will continue to voice support, that this moron doesn't deserve to be within 20 miles of the Governor's Mansion.

If only stupidity were his worst attribute, for far more likely to wreak havoc on Maine is his lickspittle cronyism for big business and the Chamber lobbyists. I daresay Pual LePage hasn't had an original thought pass through his brain-matter since he figured out his only hope in life was to beg Peter Snowe to get his semi-illiterate ass into Husson College.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Message For LePage on March 25, 2011

Maine Will Fight For Labor History

Will the people of Maine fight against the insanity that is the Chamber of Commerce Governor? It seems that they will:

More than 200 demonstrators crowded into the offices of the Maine Department of Labor on Friday morning to protest Gov. Paul LePage’s planned removal of a labor-themed mural from the building’s lobby.

The small lobby that houses the actual mural, however, was no match for the crowd, which instead was forced to line the hallways to listen to speakers express their thoughts — ranging from dismay to outrage — at the Republican governor’s order.

Does the Governor even care how stupid and petty he looks? He must a little, because he is proposing to move the mural to Portland City Hall. Does that even make sense? Hmm...a mural honoring MAINE'S labor history, with scenes from Lewiston, Auburn, Bath, etc., will be removed from the DEPARTMENT OF LABOR and placed in Portland City Hall. Is there a single scene on the mural that even depicts Portland? Regardless, it's obviously a work of art dedicated to the state as a whole, not to one ultra-liberal city.

I guarantee you that the fat coward will not have the guts to actually go through with this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

LePage Is Lying About Mural

The dumbass Chamber crony in the governor's mansion is LYING again. He told us, you see, that business owners have been "complaining" about the Labor history mural now hanging in the department of Labor. Asked to provide examples of these "complaints," this joke of administration could only muster up the pathetic ranting of an anonymous faxer:

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said the governor's office has received "several messages" from the public complaining about the mural. She also released an anonymous fax, dated Feb. 24, that apparently came from someone who recently visited the Labor Department's lobby.

"In this mural I observed a figure which closely resembles the former commissioner of labor," the person wrote. "In studying the mural I also observed that this mural is nothing but propaganda to further the agenda of the Union movement. I felt for a moment that I was in communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses."

The fax is signed "A Secret Admirer."

So, where exactly are those "business leaders" who complained? That's what you've got as evidence? An anonymous fax by a ranting lunatic who sounds like your average commenter at FreeRepublic.Com? Seriously? I mean, you can redact the names if you want, but show us the angry emails you've gotten from employers! Surely they're somewhere, right? Or did this whole cockamaymee scheme arise out of one Rushbot's anonymous rant?

So about those business leaders? Well, even LePage's handlers at the Chamber of Commerce admit that they haven't said a peep.

Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said he has not received any complaints about the mural from businesses.

Normally, one would give the Governor of a state the benefit of the doubt about something like this. But LePage already has a history of being a lying sack of dog shit. He lied about his experience with the NAACP. He lied about having a black son. He lied and is continuing to lie about the harmful effects of BPA. He lied about medicaid reimbursements.

Paul LePage is a big fat liar.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Chamber of Commerce Lackey Governor vs. Labor

OK, I've calmed down a bit, and I'd like to share a few things with you.

Above is a picture from 1902 of some of the leadership of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union; in the third row is my great uncle, Bernard Braff, a founding member of the union and its General Secretary-Treasurer for many years. Bernard, along with his friends like Samuel Gompers and the rest of the figures of the early labor movements, are heroes on par with the soldiers of the American Revolution. ("Some historians might consider him a minor patriot, but I think he's at least on par with a William Dawes or even Samuel Otis). Despite the shrill panic-stricken vilification of the working class that you hear every day from Conservative mouth breathers on cable news, people with any sense of justice, fairness, and history understand what the labor movement meant for America.
My grandfather would often tell stories about how his Uncle Bernard was routinely beaten up by industry thugs, how he would have to hide out for fear of his life. Remember, these were the days of the Pinkertons and honest to god Robber Barons: not a safe time to be a Socialist, yiddish-speaking Polish Jew, by any means, especially a rabble rousing one.

When you consider what he and others like him accomplished, and how they helped to transform the experience of the working class American from one of abject misery to one of relative prosperity (and, one hopes, happiness), one really can only stand in awe. I certainly can't imagine what it would be like to work for even five minutes in a pre-organized-labor 19th century factory or mill. We hear horror stories all the time about sweatshop labor in China, but do people realize that workers in our very own country slaved under similar conditions before a courageous few took a stand and changed the world?

So when you get a thick-headed lump of shit like Paul LePage ordering a mural in honor of Maine's Labor history taken down because it's "anti-business," when you see this feckless cowardly usefully idiotic pawn of the "Pro-Business" lobby and the Chamber of Commerce declare that honoring heroes like Rosie the Riveter of the Bath Iron Works or the shoe mill workers of Auburn is an affront to partisan balance, well, I really take it personally.

Friday is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire: a horrific tragedy in which unsafe conditions doomed hundreds of young immigrant textilers to a horrible death. It is emblematic of what happens when you sacrifice the good of all men for the profits of a few, or when you abdicate responsibility for protecting workers to the whims of laissez faire capitalists.
And this is the week that LePage chooses to dismantle a mural honoring the better path.

Great Fucking Timing, Paul.

p.s. This week HBO is airing an original program about the Triangle Fire. I heartily encourage watching it.

Sometimes I Get So Angry That I Have Trouble Typing

Someone should force that fat fuck to work a ten hour shift in a paper mill or an Iron Works for a month or so, perhaps breathing in toxic fumes, perhaps having his fingers mangled by machinery, for a pittance wage and no healthcare, vacation hours, or protections of any sort.

Someone should force that fucking piece of shit to work under the conditions that existed in the early 20th century.

Then ask that pig headed sack of shit if he would like to remove the labor mural.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

God Bless University of Maine-Farmington Students

Yes, we haven't always seen eye to eye, but never have I been prouder of the students of UMF than when I read this:

A student-led rally is being organized to support teachers during Gov. Paul LePage's visit Thursday to the University of Maine at Farmington.

A group of education majors has been scrambling to spread the word after learning a little more than a week ago about the governor's visit, according to Grady Burns, one of the 12 students behind the rally.


"It's kind of sending a chilling effect through education majors," Burns, 20, said of the governor's proposals and others like it across the country. "It's kind of a frightening time to be an education major."

Indeed it is a frightening time to be an education major or a public educator. But, more broadly, it is a frightening time to be a member of the middle class. As the right wing ascendant Tea Party gibberish caucus declares full scale war on the middle class, it will take instances both large and small of people willing to speak out and say: "actually, no, the problem with this country is NOT that the middle class have it too damn good."

It's sad to see how budgetary chicken littles have frightened people into accepting the necessity of their own debasement. I'm glad to see UMF students not buying it.

In addition, maybe Chompy the Beaver can gnaw on LePage's head.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Governor is a Big Fat Hypocrite

Now, this really surprises me. You'd think a rich asshole like Paul LePage would at least not be tone-deaf enough to realize that if he's planning to slash the pensions of public employees, he would include his own as part of the "shared sacrifice" meme. I mean, how much could LePage really need that measly $26,000 a year from the state, since he's such a good businessman and surely has a private retirement account that will see to all of his needs for life (right?). But, no, it turns out Governor Triplechin really is that dumb:

Gov. Paul LePage's proposed $6.1 billion budget calls for most public employees and teachers to contribute an additional 2 percent into their pensions. The administration has described the proposal as a "shared sacrifice" plan designed to plug the state's budget gap.

But LePage's decision not to contribute more to his own pension benefit has prompted critics to claim the governor has exempted himself from his budget mantra while missing an opportunity to lead by example.

By now it's clear what philosophy governs this fucking asshole's politics. The working class in Maine just have it TOO DAMN GOOD and need to SACRIFICE dammit for the good of...the good of...uh...wealthy business owners, I guess...and members of the Chamber of Commerce. As for LePage? Well, of course he shouldn't have his pension contribution upped. He was a powerful executive at Marden's and created quadrillions of minimum wage jobs. If anything, he should get a big fat bonus check from the state of Maine for keeping so many people off the dole.

Meanwhile, despite his spittle-flecked ranting about sacrifice and deficits, taxes for the rich (i.e. state revenue) will go down down down under LePage's plan....and that will create jobs instead of nicer yachts in Kennebunkport wizard did it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

LePage Exhaustion

I've been suffering a bit of LePage exhaustion lately. Also, it's been a few days since he said something stupid. We'll be gearing up for much more posting soon as we get down to the budget battle.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bring it on, motherfucker

Sorry for the blue language, but that's really all I could think to title this post. As I'm sure you've heard by now, LePage is fixing up to bust the unions...and all I can think is, PLEASE try it. PLEASE. Seriously...this is Maine, as we are talking about a man elected with barely a third of the vote. Taking on right to work will absolutely break him...

“Forcing a worker to join an organization as a condition of employment runs counter to the rights described in our Declaration of Independence,” LePage said in his Saturday radio address. “For many in Maine there is no freedom of choice when it comes to union membership. I think that needs to change and I look forward to a fair but honest debate on the matter.”

First of all, this guy is a freaking idiot. No one is forced to join a union. They can be required to pay dues, but federal law prohibits "forcing a worker to join an organization as a condition of employment." So ignore his pablum about the Deceleration of Independence.

Second, is this guy serious? We are talking about a state where 5.5 percent of the workforce is employed by the state government, and he is going to try to strip them of their collective bargaining rights? If this really, truly happens, then election day 2014 (hurry!) will be an even bigger bloodbath than I'm already anticipating.

How sad is it that we have a governor who has bought into the bullshit notion that the real problem with this country is that the middle class just have it too damn good? Really, this fat-faced crony of Chamber flunkies is running up and down the state trying to convince people that all we need to do to fix our problems is get rid of everything that makes life in this state suck less than it surely could: environmental protection, social assistance and public healthcare programs, good paying public sector jobs backed by strong unions...what's next? Is LePage going to sell all our lobstering waters to New Hampshire?

I'll just say this: if LePage picks a fight on collective bargaining he will get his ample ass HANDED to him. Even the Republicans in the state house aren't that dumb.