MPW’s Top 14 of 2014

Posted on December 31, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Well, it’s that time again- the annual review! MPW had 9000 page views in 2014, with almost 3000 in July alone and 2100 visitors that month. January was the quietest month with 480 visitors clicking 760 times. Easily the most popular video was this one dubbed “The Speech” of now former Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) at the Maine Democratic Convention, which has had almost 20k views:

“I’m running because of income inequality, poverty, unfairness, corporate greed and political cowardice. I’ve known these things my entire life. And I have watched them wreck communities and tear people’s lives and their families apart. And during those cold nights in that small shack along the river, I never would’ve thought that one day I’d have the opportunity to do something about it. And if I am lucky enough to pull this off, I damn sure intend to.”

And now “The List”:

1. JUNE: (UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Met “Multiple Times” with FBI Known Domestic Terrorist Group, Discussed Executing Democratic Leaders 

paul janetBefore even hitting “send” on this draft write-up, there have been new developments of note (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”), as LePage has this evening called the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News- twice– and has either claimed:

  • That this all didn’t happen/ portions of it happened.
  • There was no five page memo/ well, maybe there was/ well, okay, there WAS a five page memo regarding the legality of arresting and executing members of Democratic leadership.
  • He was going to sue both the BDN and Mike Tipping for the story.

2. (MAY) Paul LePage and Gary Alexander: A Timeline

 A bit of quick bGary Alexander and associate Erik Randolph exit Maine HHS Committee hearing, 1/14/14.ackground on this post. While Mainers knew that Tea Party Maine Governor Paul LePage, who won election in 2010 with 38% of the vote, was virulently anti-ACA and fought hard against multiple attempts to expand Medicaid in our state (to date, five bills have been vetoed and then sustained by the GOP in the Legislature), many did not know to what extent the LePage Administration worked or what steps lead to where we found ourselves last week as news of the #LePlagiarism scandal first broke. Thus it became necessary to piece together all of the to the administration (LePage in 2011 first offered him the DHHS posit various known elements and create this timeline, illustrating who Gary Alexander is and how he became knownion that eventually went to Mary Mayhew), as well as the various actions taken by the Governor and his staff.

A year ago, most in Maine had no idea never heard of Gary Alexander. That is no longer the case, as now federal authorities are now looking into the matter.

3. AUGUST: (UPDATED) Maine Sovereign Citizens, er, “Constitutional Coalition” Send “Courtesy Notice” to ALL Maine Lobbyists

Oh my- looks like Paul LePage’s buddies have “GONE ROGUE”.

Check it out all you lobbying kiddos; you have ALL. BEEN SERVED.

First the blast email (thankfully their CAPLOCK ISSUE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT FIXED) that Aroostook Watchmen radio host Jack McCarthy [or whomever posted, using the name “Jack McCarthy”] mailed out, late this afternoon- to every single registered Maine lobbyist.

Protip: Someone wanna tell Ole Jack [or whomever posted, using the name “Jack McCarthy”] what a “bcc” is? Thanks awfully!

100_0295

    Attention Kind Maine Lobbyists:

Be it known by these presents, the attached pdf file, titled “COURTESY NOTICE”, which details are self explanatory but specifically …

Government Charters Cancelled: (Refer: DECLARATION OF FACTS: UCC Doc # 2012127914 Nov 28 2012)

“…That any and all CHARTERS, inclusive of The United States Federal Government, UNITED STATES, “STATE of …”,

Inclusive of any and all abbreviations, idem sonans, or other legal, financial or managerial forms, any and all international equivalents, inclusive of any and all OFFICES, inclusive of any and all OFFICERS, PUBLIC SERVANTS, EXECUTIVE ORDERS, TREATIES, CONSTITUTIONS, MEMBERSHIP, ACTS, and any and all other contracts and agreements made thereunder and thereby, are now, void, worthless, or otherwise cancelled, unrebutted; …”

You have been served,

All Persons Foreign and Domestic

4. JULY: (UPDATED) “Arrest for Treason/ Execution” Docs Released, Proving LePage Lied to BDN, Re: Sovereign Citizens Talks

A review of last night’s two phone calls by Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage to the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”).

The first call:

lepage sots angry self

“I was never in the room where ‘execute’ was used,” the governor said in a phone call to the BDN managing editor.

“It never happened,” he said later in the call. “We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging.”

When told that the audio of the show was included on Tipping’s blog, LePage said he wanted to see the tapes.

“None of this stuff ever happened,” he said again. He said he talked with the group about the U.S. and Maine constitutions. Further, he said, he disagreed with much of what the men said.

“I listened and listened and listened,” LePage said. “Some points they were making were reasonable and some were off-the-wall.”

The second call by LePage:

In a second phone call to the BDN, LePage said he didn’t know about a Freedom of Access Act request that Tipping had filed to secure details of his meetings because “no one told me about it.”

He said he didn’t stop meeting with the Sovereign Citizens after the FOAA request was filed, as Tipping contends, but stopped meeting with them “because they were not listening.”

“They got mad and called me all kinds of names,” he said.

LePage said the group called again Monday to meet with him after Tipping’s blog post, but he said “no way.”

5. (AUGUST): Governor LePage, er, “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” on “Elusive Central American Children” Goes Off On Both Dems & The Rails

OccGovernor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine's Congressional desk (10/12/13).asionally it is always nice to read some of the smaller and more locally focused publications around the state, such as the Auburn based Twin City Times, to see what folks are supposedly saying.

“Twin City Times” just happens to be edited and published by Maine Governor Paul LePage’s communications director Peter Steele. Make note of that fact, because it’s kinda important.

One can get a real feel for the sentiments locally of what is happening in Augusta by checking these papers out, especially if that region’s elected officials take to their keyboards and submit opinion pieces of note for their constituents’ consideration.

But when the governor’s own head press guy is editing, then publishing the articles himself, there is the nagging feeling that possibly Paul LePage said it himself.

This rings especially true in light of recent revelations that according to Mike Tipping’s “As Maine Went”, LePage in January 2010 created the pseudonym “ForThePeople” as to be able to post anonymously and write a series of posts to sway voters and help himself in that year’s Republican primary.

So there is a very VERY strong perception here that “Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald” is in reality a really badly hidden sockpuppet version of Maine Governor Paul LePage. While it makes sense, it is also a rather strange twist, considering in the past it was LePage who was reported to be the “puppet”.

6. JUNE: UPDATED: #MEGOV LePage Skips NE Governors’ Regional Opioid Abuse Summit; Dismisses as “Chit Chat”

Earlier this month, Governor LePage issued a statement on the then newly released 2013 drug-induced Governor Paul LePage takes a question from NBC national correspondent Kate Snow during "war on drugs" press conference.death statistics in Maine, which read in part:

“Our Administration is focusing on the fact that Maine is subject to ever-increasing numbers of out-of-state drug trafficking organizations establishing drug markets in the state. This disturbing trend tears at the very fabric of our communities and puts our children at risk.

As I have said in the past, we must be proactive in combating drug dealers and target our limited resources to better protect our communities.

I think we all agree we also need to find more effective and efficient ways to treat addicts and provide them options that lead to successful long-term outcomes. In fact, the State has increased substance abuse funding in recent years from $7 million to more than $9 million. However, until we are able to curb the amount of drugs coming into our state, we will likely see the number of drug-induced deaths continue to rise.”

So with that in mind, it was quite startling to learn that LePage intended to skip a private meeting of all New England governors held at Waltham MA’s Brandeis University today with the goal of regionally addressing opiate abuse, sharing information and developing strategies.

7. (FEBRUARY): BREAKING: Feds Find LePage, MDOL Officials Intervened in Unemployment Hearings (UPDATED X 9, W/ Timeline)

Reaction from Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry:

“The federal government has confirmed what we knew to be true, that the Governor was wrong to interfere in the unemployment insurance process by asking hearing officers to rule more often in favor of employers. This is another message from Governor LePage to struggling Maine workers that he is not on their side. When you lose your job, times are very tough. Workers need to know they have a fair process to seek the support that they deserve. Instead of kicking them when they are down, we need a Governor who will support laid-off workers getting back on their feet.”

Legislative Democrats and their allies were quick to condemn the LePage administration, with Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, a longtime LePage rival and Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat, calling for his impeachment.

Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, who chairs the Legislature’s Labor Committee, said the Department of Labor’s findings came as little surprise.

“This is a good thing because everyone in Maine knows the governor uses the bully pulpit to express his feelings about his political views and politics,” said Patrick. “After this, I wonder how you can trust the governor to move forward fairly and in an unbiased way. The citizens of Maine expect that whether it’s a Democrat, a Republican or a Green, that we are fair to our businesses and employees.”

Jackson was less guarded in his response.

“I think he should be impeached,” said Jackson of LePage. “The governor thinks he should be the next [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker, but he should be thinking about being the next [impeached and jailed Illinois Gov.] Rod Blagojevich.”

 

8. FEBRUARY: BREAKING: Governor LePage Reneges on $100M Jobs Bonds; Bounces $59M State of Maine Check

bounced check

In an email to State Treasurer Neria Douglass, Governor Paul LePage reneged and cancelled his authorization of nearly $100 million in bond monies for projects across Maine.

Douglass shared the message with the state’s budget writing committee on Thursday afternoon during a previously scheduled briefing on the state’s debt service or interest for the bonds.

“Governor LePage has broken a $59 million contract with businesses and workers across Maine. The line has been crossed when the governor’s emotional volatility starts hurting Maine’s economy and Maine’s workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “I am concerned for the businesses and projects that have started their work and now hear that the governor has changed his mind.”

According to Douglass, per the directive from Governor LePage, she has already issued $59 million in funding from the state’s cash pool to help fund key projects in the administration’s work plan. These projects were approved and signed off on by Governor LePage and his department officials on July 31, 2013.

“The Treasurer raised serious concerns about the message the Governor is sending to credit agencies and businesses. He’s broken his word,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe from Skowhegan. “Worse, he’s playing games with critical investments in construction projects like roads and bridges that will help Maine’s economy.”

9. MARCH: ME Sen. Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487: Expansion a “Malignant Cancer of Dependency”

Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487, “An Act To Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”, gave a rather provocative floor speech yesterday, in which he compared the proposed bill sponsored by fellow GOP Senators Assistant Majority leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) and Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) to a “road of hopelessness” and a “malignant cancer of dependency”.

10. (APRIL) 2nd CD Democratic Candidates Troy Jackson, Emily Cain Answer Questions at Lewiston Forum (VIDEOS)

Androscoggin County Democrats hosted a candidate forum at the L/A USM campus for the open Second Congressional District seat, vacated by Rep. Mike Michaud who is now running for Governor.Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson answers questions of USM L/A student Jihan Omar on the needs of immigrants.

Conducted by former Rep. Elaine Makas, the two primary challengers Troy Jackson and Emily Cain were asked questions on a number of topics. While the pair were on similar pages on many of the topics, their styles in approaching their answers appeared to contrast this race most for the large audience in attendance.

“Troy reminds me a little more of myself,” said Jimmy McHugh, a retired boilermaker from Mexico. “I love to hear someone like him talk about the struggles I’ve had to go through. He’s a regular guy, like me.”

11. FEBRUARY: UPDATED: Eliot Cutler Confuses “Independent” With “Passive Aggressive” In Attacks Against Non-Supporters

And then we have this one- an Independent (a REAL one, not the old “just like Maine!” tired old chestnut from 2010 or member of the Tea Party, but a real honest-to-gosh, old-fashioned Maine Independent like we USED to know) who-

Wait for it-

Issued an endorsement of Mike (Nov 6).

And then had the sheer audacity, as a currently serving member of the 126th Maine Legislature, to have the samepublished as an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News!

Some excerpts of Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos‘ share:

evangelos“As the only independent in the Maine House of Representatives who does not caucus with either party, I am pleased to announce that I am supporting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor. I plan on campaigning for Michaud during the 2014 election season.

Mike Michaud will make a terrific governor of our state. He has the two characteristics that are sorely lacking in the current administration in Augusta: humility and common sense. He’s a good listener, thoughtful and respectful. It will be such a breath of fresh air when Michaud is elected as our next governor.

Why am I throwing my support to Michaud rather than fellow independent Eliot Cutler? Cutler’s successes have come on the wrong side of the economy at the expense of common people. His relationship as a director of a bankrupt mortgage company, Thornburg Mortgage, whose former top executives are facing allegations of fraud, and his employment and association with the Dallas-based international consultancy Akin Gump, where outsourcing jobs to China is part of the mission, disqualifies Cutler as a person who can lead Maine out of this serious recession Maine people are experiencing.

Contrast this with Michaud, a paper mill worker who understands what it means to keep and develop good paying jobs in Maine.”

Cutler 2010 campaign garbage, image courtesy of perrenial dumpster divers "As Maine Goes".

Well! As one can imagine, that last must have caused Cutler to practically fly to his desk, shove everything to the ground and fire off his own crushing rebuttal (“Eliot Cutler: Focus on real issues, not recycled 2010 garbage”), also published in the BDN.

12. JULY: (UPDATED) Paul LePage and Sovereign Citizens “Maine Constitutional Coalition”: A Timeline

13. FEBRUARY: UPDATED x2: Maine House Votes Down Controversial Religious Discrimination Bill LD 1428, 89-52

Rep. Andrew McLean (D-Gorham) addresses colleagues during LD 1428 debate.

12:45pm UPDATE: House just voted 89-52 to accept the Judicial Committee “ONTP” (Ought Not to Pass) recommendation moments ago, 89-52.

This was the final vote on LD 1428; it is now dead.

Roll call vote shows 5 GOP members broke with their party to join Democrats: Reps. Beaulieu of Auburn, Campbell of Orrington, Libby of Waterboro, MacDonald of Old Orchard Beach and Maker of Calais. 2 House Democrats voted for the bill: Rep. Stan Short (D-Pittsfield) and Steve Stanley (D-Medway).

Over 2 dozen rose to speak on the measure in a lengthy floor debate. Some quotes:

Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland):“Please vote to end the war on gay people in our state.”

Rep. Justin Chenette (D-Saco): “Religious freedom is important, but this bill makes me feel like a second-class citizen… Name me an issue in Maine — I still haven’t heard one. There isn’t an issue. This is a bill searching for a problem, rather than solving one. This wastes taxpayer money… It’s fiscally responsible to oppose it.”

UPDATE #2 (1:45pm): Maine House Democrats issued a press release with more quotes from legislators:

“This is not a bill about religious freedom; it will only create religious discrimination,”said Rep. Charles Priest of Brunswick, who chairs the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Maine’s law and constitution has strong protections for religious freedom. This bill is not necessary.”

“This fight will continue across the country. Many states still do not have a human rights law that covers sexual orientation. But in Maine our voters have settled this, ” said Rep. Matt Moonen of Portland, during the floor debate.

14. ICYMI/UPDATED: Is LePage’s “Outrage” A Politicized Continuation of Ongoing General Assistance/ Immigrant Battle?

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Weekly Democratic Address by Rep. Mark Dion (Portland): LePage tries again to distract from poor economic performance

Posted on August 8, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Rep. Dion: LePage tries again to distract from poor economic performance
TANF announcement follows news that Maine’s economy 47th slowest in nation

The best anti-crime program is a job. That’s something we should all agree on. Reducing the need for welfare is also best accomplished by growing jobs. Real jobs with real wages.

The problem for Governor Paul LePage is that he’s failed to live up to his own promises!

mark dionGood morning. I’m Representative Mark Dion of Portland, former sheriff of Cumberland County. And thank you for tuning in.

The governor is reaching into the same old bag of scapegoat politics to once again distract Maine people from his poor performance on jobs and the economy.

You probably just heard the governor use his radio address to announce he’ll finally enforce a law to drug test convicted drug felons whose families rely on TANF.

He probably doesn’t want you to know that many of these felons were guilty of possessing only small amounts of drugs and not members of some massive drug trafficking cartel.

But facts like these destroy the distraction he’s trying to create.

My question to the governor is: “Where have you been?”

The TANF law has been on the books for three years. Three years with no action by the governor’s administration.

But this isn’t really about fixing a problem. It’s about finding someone to blame.

When it comes to scapegoating public assistance, the governor’s never been concerned that his decrees are only loosely connected to the facts.

So why wait until an election year to make these executive decisions?

The governor’s record on the economy makes the answer all too clear.

  • Maine has been scraping along the bottom with each new set of economic figures.
  • We’ve recovered only 63 percent of the jobs lost in the recession.
  • The nation as a whole and New England as a region have recovered all their lost jobs – and added even more on top of that.
  • Employment levels for Mainers of prime working age have not improved since the recession.
  • And earlier this week, Business Insider ranked Maine as the nation’s 47th slowest economy.

    The governor’s strategic response to this sorry financial evaluation? Drug testing.

    C’mon, Governor. We both know Maine’s economy deserves a better solution than that.

    After all, you’ve never missed an opportunity to tout your business savvy.

    You’ve told the people of Maine: “I know what it takes to grow an economy.” You have reminded us countless times that you made your mark as a “turnaround specialist.”

    But an economic turnaround requires more than running over families struggling with addiction and unemployment.

    Maine deserves better than that!

    Maine needs a leader who promotes opportunity and works for solutions – solutions like workforce training, college affordability and support for small business innovators.

    We need a leader to move our economy, boost our middle class and who knows that being poor is not a crime. We need an effective CEO, who relies on the facts – now more than ever.

    Thank you for listening. I’m Representative Mark Dion of Portland.

    ###

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  • Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: “New Welfare Rule: State to Start Drug Testing Convicted Felons”

    Posted on August 6, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    Audio link here.

      New Welfare Rule: State to Start Drug Testing Convicted Felons
      Drug testing of convicted felons who are applying or receiving welfare is nothing new.

      Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

      In 2014, at least 18 states introduced plans that would require drug screening or testing for welfare applicants or recipients.

      DSC_0113Today, I am announcing that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services is moving forward with its plan to conduct drug tests of convicted drug felons who are applying for or receiving welfare benefits.

      Over the last several months, the State has been focused on drug-testing measures that not only ensure privacy and fairness, but also reinforce accountability in the program.

      The tests will be required for drug felons who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF. Federal rules support drug testing as part of the federal TANF money that Maine receives.

      When people apply for welfare benefits, they must report whether they have a prior drug-related felony conviction. If the answer is yes, the State will schedule a drug test and notify the individual 24 hours prior to the actual test.

      If a person tests positive, they will have the option to be tested a second time. At any time, an individual can avoid termination of benefits by enrolling in an approved substance abuse program. Those who fail to disclose they are convicted drug felons will lose their welfare benefits immediately.

      Our welfare programs, including TANF, are designed to be a short-term benefit that assists families and children with the basics of everyday living. If someone tests positive, they are putting their drug habits or addictions ahead of their family’s needs. We must do all that we can to ensure children’s needs are being met and that TANF recipients have the best possible chance at economic independence.

      Being drug-free is a critical aspect of escaping from poverty and moving toward self-sufficiency.

      Protecting the trust of taxpayers is one of my greatest responsibilities. I will do everything in my power to ensure welfare benefits are used for the truly needy and not provided to support people’s drug habits or addictions.

      However, it’s no secret: Maine has a drug problem. When we identify people who are on drugs, we must make an effort to help them break their addiction. Our welfare system depends on it, but more importantly, our society does.

      If you have a drug problem or know someone struggling with addiction, the State has resources to help. Please call 2-1-1 and someone will help you find services in your area. Addiction does not have to control your life. Again, call 2-1-1 for help today.

      Thank you for listening.

    —–

    Democratic leaders Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves have issued their own responses in a press release, agreeing with the Governor’s statement that this is “nothing new” while accusing the chief executive of politicizing enforcement of a three year old law.

    More later on the Mike Michaud proposed “Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services” mentioned in the release- here is a clip from his June press conference, rolling out the idea to Maine media in Augusta.

      LePage Continues to Play Politics With Welfare to Distract From Lagging Jobs Record

      Governor announces he’ll finally enforce a law that’s been on the books for years to score election year political points

       

      AUGUSTA — Top legislative leaders on Wednesday said Governor LePage’s latest announcement that he’ll finally enforce a 2011 law* to drug test convicted drug felons whose families rely on temporary assistance from the state is just the latest in his campaign effort to distract from his lagging economic record. The leaders also said the Governor’s failure to enforce the law was another reason to support an independent Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services.

      Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, who helped negotiate the 2011 law to ensure substance abuse treatment was included, called the Governor’s announcement “pure politics.”

       
      eves alfond

      “This law has been on the books for years, yet LePage hasn’t enforced it,” said Eves. “We need leaders who are serious about solving problems and enforcing the law, not simply scoring political points in an election year at a time when Maine’s economy is lagging. It’s also one more reason to support an independent Inspector General at the Department.”

       

      Earlier this week, Business Insider ranked Maine 47th for economic growth in the country, so now the Governor is stepping up his welfare rhetoric.

       

      This is more election year politics. The governor is trumpeting a law that already exists and he hasn’t enforced,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “The timing is peculiar given that he made this stale announcement the day after another report ranks Maine’s economy at the bottom of the pack. The evidence is mounting that Paul LePage’s policies are failing Maine people.”

       

      According to national labor statistics, the country has recovered 106 percent of the non-farm payroll jobs lost during the recession. Regionally, New England has recovered 116 percent of jobs. Maine lags behind, recovering only 63 percent of the jobs lost in the recession.

       

      Under Paul LePage’s economic leadership, Maine has experienced, a job creation record among the worst in the U.S. since the bottom of the recession, ranking 42nd out of 50 states in the latest report (June 2014). Additionally, Maine has the 5th highest rate in the country of people who work only part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs.

       

      ###

       

      *According to Title 22, Section 20, Denial of assistance based on positive drug test:  A recipient of TANF assistance may be denied TANF assistance as described in this subsection. A. The department may administer a drug test to a recipient of TANF assistance who has been convicted of a drug-related felony, as described in Section 115 of PRWORA, within 20 years of that person’s date of conviction…If the 2nd drug test confirms that the person is using an illegal drug, the person may avoid termination of TANF assistance by enrolling in a substance abuse treatment program appropriate to the type of illegal drug being used by that person. [RR 2011, c. 1, §33 (RAL).]

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