A brief 30,000-foot view of the "Campaign Countdown" series (latest). I started out just reading a ton of state and local sources and picking out stories that seemed interesting to me, mostly that weren't covered in "the narrative" of the national media.
These themes among others emerged:
1. Fracking, big time. There is a ton of anti-fracking (pro- what....) activism going on in OH, NY, CO, and PA. Disciplined and informed people trying to work the system, a lot of them property owners. (So the class angle is interesting and a strength and weakness. What about people desperate for work?)
Fracking is severely hyped by Big Oil, could also be a bubble (prices crashing with new sources being brought on line), has huge environmental implications, and is generally accompanied by horrible corruption at the legislative and regulatory levels.
Fracking and the resistance to it is the flashpoint in the 1%'s effort to turn this country into a second-world extractive economy with political structures to match, and it's going to leave behind a poisoned landscape if it's not stopped. So it's hard to see this as anything other than a huge story, and it's not covered at all.
And there seems to be no integration whatever at the national level by anybody including the left -- unless I'm missing it. For example, Keystone XL and other pipeline efforts aren't integrated; and fracking supply chain activism, like WI fracking sand, or water, or disposal, aren't integrated.
Hence the pointillism, the accumulation of droplets of water in to a glass, as one reader put it.
2. Tinpot tyrants. There's just a ton of school administrators and policemen and security-minded people out there making assholes of themselves by going into "Because I can" mode and doing things like arresting New Yorkers for dancing on the subway platforms. There's way too much of this going on, and these petty dictators need to be called out and shamed. Of course, this too is the sign of second-world-ism in civil society, where people no longer regard themselves as citizens but as subjects.
3. Corruption. Again, a ton, and most of it petty. $50K for steering the constract for a meeting hall to one vendor and not another. (I started noticing this up in Maine a year ago, when there was a rash of town clerks and treasurers being charged with stealing a new tens of thousands of dollars. Nothing bankster-level, of course, but very significant to a small town.)
Now, I regard all this material as incredibly positive. Corruption and tinpot tyrants we only know about because some normal person with a little courage took the trouble to call bullshit; that's the only way the story made it into the press in the first place.
And the anti-fracking effort has been incredibly positive; I know from my own small involvement with anti-landfill advocacy how the ties that make for a healthy civil society get forged in these efforts.
Moreover, if you think about it, these three ongoing story threads -- fracking, corruption, and tinpot tyrants -- tend to interweave on the ground. Fracking always brings corruption with it, and people with corporation-shaped holes in their heads are always only too willing to play the authority and service Big Oil in their area.
Right now, these three stories -- which I insist are big -- have no media impact whatever. Fracking, especially, does not form part of the discourse in the Presidential campaigns (even though CO and OH are swing states). But in a crisis, everything correlates, right?