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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?

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DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

it is so disheartening to witness the utter heedlessness of politicians on every level. On the other hand, as you point out, some great activism going on. I am following the election on your posts as regular campaign coverage is so dull.

Submitted by cg.eye on

But now, read on to the path to our energy-sufficient utopia -- can you hear James Howard Kunstler spinning like a dervish? I do...

Since the 1970s, pessimism about America’s energy future has been one of the cornerstones on which the decline theorists erected their castles of doom; we are now entering a time when energy abundance will be an argument for continued American dynamism.

The energy revolution isn’t a magic wand that can make all America’s wishes come true, but it is a powerful wind in the sails of both America’s domestic economy and of its international goals. The United States isn’t the only big winner of the energy revolution — Canada, Israel and China among others will also make gains — but the likely consequences of the energy revolution for America’s global agenda are so large, that the chief effect of the revolution is likely to be its role in shoring up the foundations of the American-led world order.

And if you wondered, "why DALLAS, why now, even with Larry Hagman a bit more frail than we'd like to see our J.Rs?" This is why -- if there weren't a DALLAS revival on TNT (which, if you think about, should send Ted Turner spinning, too....), the domestic oil industry would have to buy a network to air it -- oh, wait....

Submitted by cg.eye on

... if it weren't for Obama supporting fracking, there'd be pushback a-plenty on Mitt's insisting on fast-tracking Keystone XL as soon as he's sworn-in -- but that's the problem, innit?

Some of these substantive issues would make for great campaign fodder, if it wasn't for the elites deciding on these issues as being too important for a politician to derail. Even in our swing state of CO, there is no loyal opposition for the most damaging policies touted by both parties.

Someone could put themselves in line for governor by protesting (from the Right) the evil eminent domain-fu going on, or (from the Left) how the dismantling of environmental protections will cost us in healthy citizens for generations, and don't we want to keep medical costs down?

Unfortunately, our good-natured energy-industry beer-slinger Gov wants to be enemies with no one save the camping homeless, health activists preoccupied with anything else than obesity, and supporters of long-term positive social goals. It shows how tone-deaf our politicians are when they tout the first-responders fighting our wildfires, and yet not secure their insurance coverage participation, before they make a justifiable stink. Can't anybody play this game? Well, yeah, but they play to lose....

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

I had to look it up. But dammit, he does. Why then do so-called progressives support him? (Don't tell me: it would only depress me, and I still don't have a PCP.)