As Ukraine Goes, So Goes Maine
Maine's Governor Paul LePage is a bully. He began his first term (elected in a 2010 three-way race with 38% of the vote) with a bang. One of his first moves was to make headlines across the nation by refusing to meet with NAACP leaders in Maine - telling them to "Kiss my butt". From then on it's all been down hill.
Gov. Rampage was amazingly reelected in 2014 in another three-way race with 48%. He became popular with some across the state by his constant attacks on the poor, 'illegal aliens', welfare cheats, and taxes. The governor is currently embroiled in a big legislative fight at the state capital as he tries to get rid of the state income tax, replacing it with higher sales taxes which would disproportionately impact those lowest on the income scale. His goal is to destroy social progress in Maine.
In today's Bangor Daily News it is reported that Gov. Rampage threatens not to sign a bill that would allow citizens to carry a concealed handgun without a permit because it would have an age limit of 21 years. LePage wants no age limit on the gun bill. Imagine having minors carrying guns to school for playground fights.
LePage grew up in a violent dysfunctional family and uses anger to appeal to the many citizens who blame the poor for their misfortune (rather than taking on the corporate oligarchy). The governor is an expert at manipulating emotions to misdirect political dialogue. Currently he is at war inside the Republican Party as a couple state legislators from his own party oppose some of his tax proposals.
In a speech yesterday to the conservative Open Door Bible Baptist Church in Lisbon, Maine the governor repeated his latest threat to campaign against any lawmaker who votes against his efforts to eliminate the income tax, telling the crowd to call their legislators “and tell them you support the governor. Tell them you support welfare reform and reducing the income tax.” In this case he was targeting Republicans.
I recently noted that watching the unraveling of Ukraine during the past year has given me new insight to the future of the USA. Just days ago Ukrainian President Poroshenko appointed the former President of Georgia, the much discredited psychopath Mikheil Saakashvili, as the new governor of Odessa.
One commentator reports, "Unabashedly pro-Western and hawkishly anti-Russian, Saakashvili is regarded by many as one of the most unstable politicians in the entire former Soviet Union. It was he who recklessly launched the disastrous South Ossetian war in 2008 [against Russia]. Currently, he is a wanted man in his native Georgia, charged with abuse of office."
The similarities between Maine's Gov. LePage, Ukraine's President Poroshenko, and the new unelected Odessa Gov. Saakashvili are uncanny. They each have a mission. Destroy the government by hollowing it out, turn citizen against citizen, hand the state over to corporate interests, make democratic process unmanageable.
In Maine the opposition party, the Democrats, gingerly attempt to step around LePage and avoid conflict. They fear him and appear to have no formal strategy to deal with his anger and totalitarian ways. In Ukraine citizens in the eastern part of their nation, close to the Russian border, tried to hold referendums calling for more local powers (like electing their own governor and keeping the right to speak Russian) but they were militarily attacked by the US-NATO backed regime in Kiev which thus lead to the civil war as those under attack formed self-defense forces to protect themselves.
The Native Americans used to say 'put your ears to the railroad tracks and hear the train coming'. In Maine our Gov. Rampage wants to allow virtually anyone to carry a concealed gun around with them. He is pitting white against person of color, immigrant against non-immigrant, uneducated and angry citizens against those who value a fair and even-handed society. At this rate it's just a matter of time before Gov. Rampage's supporters start shooting.