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Cross posted at Dirigo Blue

Paul LePage, the Governor of Maine, has a history of using false anecdotes to further his political agenda. He once claimed that a wind turbine on a University of Maine System campus that it has "an electric motor so that they can show people wind power works" when the wind is not blowing.

Gov. LePage also has a habit of sending late-night hand written notes to legislators - sometimes changing pens in the middle of them.

It appears that these two impulses have come together this past week.

This spring, a recruiter wrote to Maine's Department of Education and alleged that seven high schools had told military recruiters that they were not allowed to wear their uniforms on the campus of the schools. Outraged, the Governor submitted a bill in May (LD1503) that would "provide uniformed recruiters for the United States Armed Forces or the Maine National Guard the same access to secondary school students as other post-secondary and career recruiters."

Because the bill was a mandate, it required a two-thirds majority of each chamber of the Legislature to pass. It was passed unanimously by the Maine Senate, but fell short in the House.

The trouble is that there is no evidence that the seven schools denied access to uniformed military recruiters. In June, the Portland Press Herald reported that it could not verify the claim, and that two of the named schools flatly denied the accusation:

"We were very surprised that would be considered," Sanford Superintentdent David Theoharides said of the bill. "They're always allowed in here."


Steve Connolly, superintendent for RSU 60, which includes Noble High School in Berwick, said in an email interview that the school has no written policy on what recruiters can wear when visiting the school, and that they do visit in uniform.

The PPH reported yesterday that a third school also denied the accusation:
"I can understand when we get accused of something that we did, but when we didn't do it, and don't do it, that's pretty frustrating," [Yarmouth High School's Principal Ted Hall] said. "The accusation just isn't true."
Gov. LePage has been labeled a draft dodger by some, since he lived in Canada during the Vietnam War. In fact, his draft number was so high that there was almost no chance that he would be drafted. That said, he did not enlist, and after marrying his first wife, moved to New Brunswick to work for her father's lumber business.

After the Maine House failed to enact LD1503 on 9 July (by five votes, 96 to 42), LePage was outraged. He used his weekly address this past Saturday to blast those who voted no, saying:

I'd bet my life on the word of a recruiter over a superintendent any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
So it comes as no surprise to learn that Gov. LePage sent handwritten notes chiding Democrats on recruitment bill:
Since the Legislature rejected his proposal to ensure that military recruiters have access to high schools, Gov. Paul LePage has made it a major issue in Augusta -- even more than the lawmakers' override of his veto of the state's two-year budget. Last week, he followed up the heated rhetoric with handwritten notes apparently mailed to the homes of all the Democrats who opposed the bill.

Rep. Charles Priest, D-Brunswick, said he got his note Friday, at first thinking the small envelope from the governor's office was an invitation to some state event. But instead, inside he found a note from LePage that read:

"Wow! I have not seen or heard such disregard for our men and women in military since the Viet Nam era. I thought that mind set had long ago died off. Shameful behavior from the past showing its ugly head again," it read.

Priest, who won a Bronze Star in Vietnam, said the note left him somewhere between baffled and upset. "To say that I'm somehow not in favor of the military is absurd, given my background," Priest said.

Update:Here is an example of one of the notes sent to Democratic legislators. This one to Rep. Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor), co-chair of the Education Committee:

Why is it that those that chose to not wear our nation's uniform are the ones to speak about it so often and so loudly? Why is it that those that chose to not defend our nation's flag are the ones to speak about it so often and so loudly?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rep. Terry Morrison (D-South Portland) posts on (14+ / 0-)


    I voted against the Governor's bill and still waiting for my hand written letter to arrive in the mail.

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:54:13 AM PDT

    •  I'd like to make it clear that this bill was not (3+ / 0-)


      The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that military recruiters have the same access as recruiters from the private sector. Public schools that deny access risk losing their federal subsidies.

      This is no small matter in Maine, where many schools receive Title I funding (my wife teaches at such a school) and majority of schools have children that receive free or subsidized lunches, and in many case, breakfast.

      Also, as was noted in the diary, there is no evidence that any uniformed recruiters were denied access to any high school in Maine. But more importantly, there is no evidence that anyone from the LePage administration reached out to ask the superintendents or principals of the schools alleged to have denied access for their side of the story.

      As it happens, this is a seemingly win-win for Republicans, where once again they can put Democrats on the spot as being anti-servicemen and women. Which makes it more bizarre that any Democrats voted against it, let alone 42 - enough to kill the bill.

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:52:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  LePage is such an over reactive idjit. (7+ / 0-)

    Can't wait to get him out of the Blaine House.

    Thanks, Spud1.

  •  The man is deranged (8+ / 0-)

    He is not right in the head.

    Anyone with a lick of common sense can see that LePage is a paranoid delusional nutjob and possibly dangerous.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:08:50 AM PDT

  •  Is this enough? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, marykk, eagleray, Empower Ink

    What will it take for Maineacs to stand up and smack this guy out of office? I know Maine is a little more personally conservative than the rest of New England (Though New Hampshire holds the title in that regard), but they've never been this kind of politically CONservative before.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:13:02 AM PDT

    •  It will have to wait until November 2014 n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Illegitimi non carborundum

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:17:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He was narrowly elected in a 3-way race. (8+ / 0-)

      Got 38% (vs. 36% for the Independent candidate, Elliot Cutler) in a gubernatorial race in which the Democrat's campaign (deservedly I think) collapsed.

      This will not happen again. Cutler would have won if there had not been a lot of early voting, much of which went reflexively for the Democrat, Libby Mitchell, despite many reservations about her campaign. Mitchell ran a pie-in-the-sky campaign that completely neglected the economic concerns of the state. When her polling went south, a lot of people broke for the Democratic-leaning Cutler--but too many votes had already been cast for Mitchell since she was felt by many early on to be the only viable alternative to LePage.

      This time around, it will likely be a race between Rep. Mike Michaud (a self-proclaimed Blue Dog Democrat who nonetheless voted for Obamacare and is a fairly reliable leftie) and Cutler again. I think people will delay their vote until a clear favorite emerges, because booting LePage is the first priority for a large majority of the electorate. I would bet rent money against LePage being reelected.

  •  Not entitled to his own facts? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seefleur, Spud1, litho, Amber6541

    When the facts are inconvenient, our whacko Governor invents stories he would prefer.  Since we now know that he intends to run for re-election, be prepared for more of it.  Let us hope that the Press Herald, and our news media generally - since that was the point of the shot across the bow of the Press Herald, has not been so intimidated that it will go along with manufactured nonsense like this.

  •  Lousy administrator. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, sidnora

    When one shoots from the hip, one is likely to blow his/her toe off.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Warren/Spitzer 2016

    by dkmich on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:31:12 AM PDT

  •  I'm curious about the letter written (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sidnora, Spud1, stunvegas, Jay C, Amber6541

    by the recruiter.

    This spring, a recruiter wrote to Maine's Department of Education and alleged that seven high schools had told military recruiters that they were not allowed to wear their uniforms on the campus of the schools.
    Has this letter been confirmed, or did he possibly make it up? I was on recruiter duty at one time. Recruiters will always try to maintain a good relationship with school administrators, and if they were allowed to do their jobs in uniform there would be no motive write the governor and claim otherwise.

    Please proceed, Governor.

    by USArmyParatrooper on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:59:11 AM PDT

  •  people who advocate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spud1, quill, Amber6541

    for more than 2 major parties should look at LePage and think. He's only the Gov. cause of 3 candidates.

    One of the stated reasons for the Revolution was "taxation without representation." Now we have "legislation without representation" or "representation without legislation."

    by regis on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:14:34 AM PDT

    •  There were five candidates in the 2010 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davehouck, Amber6541

      gubernatorial race. Scott Moody took 5% of the vote, although it's hard to say who his voters would have seen as a second choice.

      Better is to advocate for some sort of preference or instant run-off voting.

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:38:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  two's company, three's a crowd (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's true - three candidates/parties are usually a disaster for liberals.v The tragic outcome of three major parties can be seen around the world. Canada, England, etc. The conservatives form a single block, while the rest of the population splits into centrists and liberals. Splitting into many tiny parties doesn't seem to always work either (see Israel's Knesset).

      OTOH 2 party politics is awful in a different way, with the steady rightward drift and disenfranchisement of voters who are not cons or centrists. Our current political system is not responsive to most citizens and that's why most of them don't vote, which is why we get what we have - it's a vicious cycle.

      History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

      by quill on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:09:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  With a decent Democratic nominee, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    litho, Spud1, onionjim, Amber6541

    I have confidence that the common-sense people of Maine (hmm, where have I heard that phrase before?) will reject this professionally incompetent, and possibly mentally incompetent man.

    18 months is a long time to wait, though, so don't wait - start organizing now!!

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:18:08 AM PDT

  •  I did not serve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in fact, I got cold feet after the recruiters told me I had gotten a ridiculously high score on the ASVAB and that I could write my own ticket doing electronics in the military.  I was taking a year off from college, living on my own in a town half a continent away from anyone I knew, and had just been fired from a job for smoking dope during lunch hour.

    Motor pool, I told them, because I always harbored this dream of becoming an auto mechanic.  No, they said, electronics is the future.  Motor pool, I replied.  Ok, motor pool it is, they finally said.

    But I didn't believe them.  I knew they were saying whatever I wanted to hear in order to get me to sign up, and I also know that my placement in the military was entirely up to the discretion of my officers.  I told them I changed my mind, that I didn't want to do it.  

    I've never seen such a hard sell in my life.  I was in a smallish windowless room in the back of the recruiters' office, it was the middle of the afternoon, I had been up since an ungodly hour in order to take the exam in the morning, and these two guys simply weren't going to take no for an answer.  In fact, it took a full two hours of patient conversation after I first told them I had changed my mind before they would let me leave.

    We weren't in any hot wars at the time, though if I had signed up I might still have been in the service during the Grenada invasion, and for most folks in that era the military was simply a way to get some training and discipline and maybe some financial assistance for college.  My life would be very different today if I had made a different decision that day.

    In my job today as a high school teacher, I often see my students go into the military.  I always commend them for the decision to serve, and go home and worry that they may not come home alive.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:18:58 AM PDT

    •  You knew wrong. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Spud1, aznavy
      "I knew they were saying whatever I wanted to hear in order to get me to sign up, and I also know that my placement in the military was entirely up to the discretion of my officers."
      At least for the US Army, when you take the ASVAB your scores are loaded into a database and a list of available jobs pop up based on your scores. Those jobs are the current needs of the Army.

      Now, it's technically correct that the Department of the Army can change your MOS but I have literally never seen that happen to anyone the entire time I was recruiting. The only time I've heard of it happening at all to Soldiers who's security clearance got denied while they were in training.

      Please proceed, Governor.

      by USArmyParatrooper on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:29:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I don't know... (0+ / 0-)

    could they be, you know, sociopaths???

  •  Why indeed are the chickenhawks the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    loudest for military action? The obvious answer is that they have something to gain and know they will have no price to pay.

    One of my brothers in law clearly avoided VN, my sister even scheduled their wedding so that I could not attend - I was in hospital in Cam Ranh Bay - and to this day bemoans that not all her family was at "her" wedding. And of course they are both Fox News addicts and Limbaugh-ites. And staunch advocates of universal US military action everywhere.

    I reckon sociopathy, selfishness and delusion are at the core of the chickenhawks' natures.

    If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell. General Phil Sheridan USA

    by shigeru on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:02:14 AM PDT

  •  This diary is a valuable addition to ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... the information that we each gather, and that we will be able to share with others in our work to defeat this governor and others like him across the country; and I thank the diarist for that.

    However, I'm moved to comment primarily in reaction to the diary's closing paragraph ...

    Why is it that those that chose to not wear our nation's uniform are the ones to speak about it so often and so loudly? Why is it that those that chose to not defend our nation's flag are the ones to speak about it so often and so loudly?
    Even when considered within the context of the full diary, the wording of this paragraph still seemed to me to be a bit of a blanket accusation directed to all and not just some.  And perhaps the diarist did not intend for the statement to read the way that it did for me.

    I turned 18 in 1972.  By then many, perhaps most, Americans knew that we had been lied to about the war in Viet Nam.  Daniel Ellsberg's release of the Pentagon Papers occurred in 1971.  The anti-war protests, the peace movement, had been going on for years.  Nixon was the President.  Many young people like myself saw in the civil rights movement and the peace movement a new world; we did not trust the vision of the decision makers in Washington.  For us the phrase "make love not war" had a meaning rooted in our view that the continued escalation of violence between nations as a means of addressing problems was a path to destruction.

    My draft number was just high enough, and I did not volunteer to go fight that war in Viet Nam.  At that point, the Viet Nam war had been on the evening news telecasts practically every night for a very long and significant portion of my young life; and the protests, Chicago, Kent State, had been on those same newscasts for that same long period of time.

    "Why is it that those that chose to not wear our nation's uniform are the ones to speak about it so often and so loudly?"

    I chose to not wear that uniform.

    "Why is it that those that chose to not defend our nation's flag are the ones to speak about it so often and so loudly?"

    I chose to not fight under that flag.

    Many chose as I did for reasons similar to mine.  And it is not wrong that we did so.  Just as it is important that we protect our families, our communities, and our nation from those that would do us harm, so too is it important that we help evolve those communities towards a world in which we ever increasingly choose to seek solutions to problems through peaceful means rather than through saber rattling, escalation of hostilities, violence, and war.

    Again, I am glad that the diarist is bringing these latest actions of Maine's governor to us; and it is understandable that when we find that those who would put our children in harm's way chose not to volunteer for such duty themselves when they were young, that we bring attention to this, especially when it is for questionable reasons such as the Iraq war.

    But that some chose to not wear the uniform is not in and of itself a bad thing.  It is, in my view, necessary that some so choose.

    Love one another

    by davehouck on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:54:58 AM PDT

    •  Great comment! n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

      by plankbob on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:30:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just checked Gov LePageWikipedia, two things. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davehouck, Spud1

      1. No mention of military service.


      At the beginning of his term as governor, he was criticized for refusing either to attend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events in Portland or Orono or to meet with Maine representatives of the NAACP. When questioned, LePage said he would not be "held hostage" by special interest groups including the NAACP, and laughingly told a local news reporter, "Tell them they can kiss my butt."[32][33][34]

      Please proceed, Governor.

      by USArmyParatrooper on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:55:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't read the diary in the way that you have. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davehouck, Spud1

      Rather, I think, the diarist is talking about the element of the population who take the approach:  "Let's you and him fight."  I don't see a denunciation of passing up military service; I see a distaste for the "super-patriots" who wave the flag in the interest of other people going to war.

      •  Yes; I think the "problem" for me was that ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gfv6800, Spud1

        ... the wording of the paragraph, for me, jumped out of context; that the lack of a qualifier like "some" made the statement look like it was referring to "all".  The diarist has responded to my comment, and yes, your reading of the paragraph agrees with the diarist's intent.


        Love one another

        by davehouck on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 02:21:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Dave, do you consider yourself to be a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      chickenhawk, that is, one who didn't serve but beats the drum for every possible military action that our nation could enter? One who is comfortable - justified even - sending someone else's wives, husbands and children into war, while they site comfortable at home, enjoying the glory of military action?

      My guess is no. My statement is directed at chickenhawks, not people like myself who never served, nor you.

      My apologies that that was not clear.

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 12:21:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Government by carnival barker. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plankbob, Spud1

    Tell 'em anything, just get the rubes in the tent.

    'Cause your eyes are tired & your feet are too & you wish the world was as tired as you." - Lowell George

    by rasbobbo on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:12:21 AM PDT

  •  The Dem legislators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    should frame those little hand-written notes. They are souvenirs of their valiant service in opposition to the worst governor Maine has ever endured.

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