Unnecessary Inflammation

There’s been a lot in the news lately about fake news, exaggerated issues, inaccuracy in the media – all sorts of stuff that points to the fact that there is a lot of misinformation floating around, and plenty of people who simply accept that misinformation at face value.

It happens on all sides, and we have to be smart about not accepting it.

Today I received the following missive from an organization called ‘Democracy for America’

Matt --

Before there was Donald Trump, there was Paul LePage.

Maine's Tea Party governor has a trail a mile long of saying and doing horrible, bigoted things -- and, so far, he's getting away with it.

And now -- with Donald Trump's election -- LePage has been emboldened.

On Election Day, Maine voters approved an increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour, a major step forward in the fight against income inequality. But LePage told his Department of Labor not to enforce the new $12 minimum wage law.

Defying the voters of his state, LePage won't punish employers who won't comply. If the government doesn't enforce the minimum wage, employers will simply not pay workers what they've earned. He's even calling the initiative a "recommendation" -- which, under the Maine constitution, it isn't. It's law that must be enforced to benefit workers.

This is outrageous. This is lawlessness. And it's grounds for impeachment. LePage was nearly impeached twice in 2016 -- but legislators let him off the hook. Until they act, LePage will continue to say and do terrible things.

»(link to petition)It's time for Democrats everywhere to stand up to right-wing extremists -- from Donald Trump to Paul LePage. Sign the petition and tell Maine legislators: Impeach Gov. LePage!(/link to petition)«

This isn't the first time LePage has nearly been impeached. In January 2016, several Maine legislators called for impeachment when LePage was found to have used state money to intimidate his political opponents. Unfortunately, the legislature voted against impeachment.

In August 2016, LePage once again made racist, bigoted statements about people of color. When a state legislator criticized him for it, LePage called the legislator and left a threatening voicemail. Democrats demanded his resignation, and LePage said he was considering it. But legislators didn't impeach him, wouldn't even censure him, and LePage stayed in office.

The lesson is clear: when someone in a position of power repeatedly abuses that power, and legislators refuse to act, that person's behavior and abuses will only grow worse.

Paul LePage should have been impeached a long time ago. His latest offense -- refusal to enforce the laws of the state and undermining a higher minimum wage -- is clear grounds for impeachment.

If legislators don't act now, LePage will feel he's above the law and can act however he wishes -- just like Donald Trump.

Sign the petition: Tell Maine legislators to impeach Gov. Paul LePage now.

Thank you for standing up for workers against Paul LePage -- and striking a blow against Donald Trump and Trumpism.

- Robert

Robert Cruickshank, Senior Campaign Manager
Democracy for America

In reality, a quick trip via Google to the maine.gov web site reveals that the “Labor Department will take temporary non-enforcement position on tip credit and minimum overtime-exempt salary pending legislative or federal action”, and not begin enforcing an increase for restaurant workers and other ‘tipped’ employees until Jan 31, rather than Jan. 7 – a delay of three weeks. It has zero affect on folks who can expect an increase to $12/hour.
Maine.gov press release »

A quick trip – also via Google – finds this Boston Globe article that states the reason – however cockamamie – and that folks affected will be eligible for retroactive reimbursement.
Boston Globe article »

So here’s the thing – this is akin to running into a crowded theater screaming ‘Fire!’ because someone lit a match in the lobby. That’s all. Shame on Democracy for America. For that matter, shame on Fox News, Daily Kos, Breitbart, CNN and the whole lot of ’em for doing the same damn thing every day.

Folks need to settle down and do some fact checking. Plain and simple. Do not take someone else’s word for something – take three minutes and do a little research before letting your knickers burst into flame. Seriously these organizations are simply fanning the flames in order to get you to send them money. Do some fact checking and let your cooler head prevail. It will ultimately save you money *and* frustration. 😉

By the way – here is my response to Robert at Democracy for America:

Hello Robert and Democracy for America,

Actually, your letter is misleading. LePage has said that the Maine DoL will not begin enforcing the the minimum wage increase for tipped folks (restaurant workers, etc) from $3.75 to $5.00 until Jam. 31, three weeks after the mandated effective date of Jan 7, and has no affect on the rest of the workforce, who will still see $12/hour starting Jan 7.

While this is indeed egregious, your exaggeration of fact has seriously tarnished your credibility, at least for me.

Please remove me from your mailing list.

Carry on

– M