Insane Republican Fool of the Week - Maine Gov. LePage dramatically changes his story on labor mural removal
There's a lot of competition for most evil among the governors elected in 2010; there's no competition for biggest buffoon. That is and always has been Maine's Paul LePage, and in this video clip, Brian Williams offers him the chance to burnish that reputation. Naturally, burnish he does.
Back when LePage was making headlines for having a labor history mural removed from Maine's Department of Labor, he offered a number of explanations for the decision—it was "one-sided," it made business owners uncomfortable, and so on. But all of his explanations made clear that the mural was removed because it depicted working people and their unions in a positive light.
Now, in response to Williams' question, he's claiming it's all about the funding:
LEPAGE: I have absolutely nothing about organized labor. My objection to the mural is simply where the money came from. The money was taken out of the unemployment insurance fund, which is dedicated to provide benefits to unemployed workers. They robbed that account to build a mural, and until they pay for it, it stays hidden. [...] We are putting it under safe lock and key.
As Political Correction notes,
LePage's new line accusing the department of 'robbing' the jobless to pay for a painting is smarter politically than his clearly stated original reasoning, but state officials say that "nobody lost any benefits to which they were entitled," according to the Portland Press Herald. Furthermore, the federal Department of Labor actually demanded that Maine return the money used to buy the mural if it is not going to be displayed any longer.
LePage getting some political sense will deprive the world of much-needed hilarity, but given that his recent forays into the news have included rejoicing over kids arriving at summer camp in private jets and signing a law easing child labor restrictions, it's not like he's about to become a political whiz en route to easy reelection.
A reproduction of the labor mural is on display at the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. until Oct. 11.
Lepage is a poster child for the conservative conviction that American who labor for a living - Labor being what Abraham Lincoln called the foundation for all capital - are all thugs. The thugs meme is repeated across the internet and in right-wing conservative junk mail. Conservatives think Americans who work for living and organize are radical Marxist thugs. Labor unions and labor built America. They didn't sit behind a desk barking demands and whine about how unappreciated they are, nope, labor just did what needed doing. All they asked for is lunch breaks, fire escape doors that work, a fair wage they could live on. Lepage and his fascist-lite cohorts in the conservative movement have nothing but contempt for those people - people who do real work.
Herman Cain’s weird opinion columns published by birther website
Confronting the Malefactors
There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear, but we may, at long last, be seeing the rise of a popular movement that, unlike the Tea Party, is angry at the right people.
When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever.
It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. With unions and a growing number of Democrats now expressing at least qualified support for the protesters, Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.
What can we say about the protests? First things first: The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right.
A weary cynicism, a belief that justice will never get served, has taken over much of our political debate — and, yes, I myself have sometimes succumbed. In the process, it has been easy to forget just how outrageous the story of our economic woes really is. So, in case you’ve forgotten, it was a play in three acts.
In the first act, bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending. In the second act, the bubbles burst — but bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, with remarkably few strings attached, even as ordinary workers continued to suffer the consequences of the bankers’ sins. And, in the third act, bankers showed their gratitude by turning on the people who had saved them, throwing their support — and the wealth they still possessed thanks to the bailouts — behind politicians who promised to keep their taxes low and dismantle the mild regulations erected in the aftermath of the crisis.
Given this history, how can you not applaud the protesters for finally taking a stand?
Now, it’s true that some of the protesters are oddly dressed or have silly-sounding slogans, which is inevitable given the open character of the events. But so what? I, at least, am a lot more offended by the sight of exquisitely tailored plutocrats, who owe their continued wealth to government guarantees, whining that President Obama has said mean things about them than I am by the sight of ragtag young people denouncing consumerism.