This week in the Election Countdown: A small group of veterans and supporters are camped outside of the Department of Veteran Affairs despite heavy increase in harassment; Increased online campaign contributions are leading some Republican leaders to claim that Richard Mourdocks controversial comments helped his chances of winning; Tennessee voting board declares library cards as valid ID for election day; Obama endorsed by Bloomberg and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and More.
Mission elapsed time: T + 55 and counting*
Can you help a fellow American down on his luck? — Fred C. Dobbs, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Montreal. Corruption: “A computer program that for years spat out wildly inflated estimates on public works contracts in Montreal is still being used by the city to help determine how much infrastructure projects should cost.” Gee, I’m trying to think if there are other computer systems under elite control in criminogenic environments….
AL. Abortion: “One of the photos in this article is human. One is an eleven week old elephant fetus. Can you spot the difference? If you can’t, should you be deciding these matters for everyone in the country? Think about it. Take all the time you need. ”
CA. Police state: “People who’ve e-mailed Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan over the past year about Occupy Oakland probably didn’t get much of a response. [H]e used a spam filter to dismiss messages sent to him with “Occupy Oakland” in the subject line/ Same goes for the phrases “stop the excessive police force,” “respect the press pass” or “police brutality.” [T]hose messages went straight into his junk mail folder, which he apparently never looked at. Because of those filters, Jordan missed e-mails from other city officials and a federal court monitor.” Never forget that police state functionaries aren’t necessarily smart or competent. … Charters: “‘With an unprecedented surge of cash from charter schools and their high-tech backers, normally low-profile school board campaigns have morphed into big-bucks contests to elect charter-friendly candidates and defeat their challengers. The six-figure spending by independent committees highlights the muscle of charter proponents in Santa Clara County, where the county Board of Education is rapidly approving charter schools that compete for students and funding with established public schools.”
DC. Occupy the Department of Veteran’s Affairs: “The Small group of veterans and their supporters who have been encamped in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs at, 810 Vermont Ave, in Washington, DC, just several hundred yards from the White House, have been battling it out with the with the V.A. since the beginning of October.”
FL. System D? “‘The still, that was just a science project,’ said a sheepish Mark Davis, 38, a friend who both men agree helped assemble the still out of an empty beer keg.”
GA. Occupy Athens: “‘There were a lot of anarchists and punks that thought there was going to be a revolution,’ [Chris Dowd, 37] said. ‘Then, when they realized there wasn’t going to be a revolution they left. Then there were a lot of mainstream liberals that came in, but a lot of them had work and other things going on.’” … Public good: “Dr. Todd Groce, President of the Georgia Historical Society: ‘This is not just about people doing historical research. The State Archives exist to allow the citizens to be able to have access to the information as to what is going on within their government.‘” Which would be why it’s on the chopping block!
IN. Mourdock: “The major party candidates in IN’s U.S. Senate race are pointing to sharp upticks in online contributions as evidence that R nominee Richard Mourdock’s recent controversial remarks about rape and abortion are increasing their grassroots support.”
MD. Enthusiasm: “Harriet, a phonebanker with MOCO Democrats, called my cell yesterday asking for money. I politely, calmly, said No, please take my name off this call list. She said, Sure, then asked me why, and I politely, calmly told her an abbreviated and profanity-free version of what I motherfucking yodel here. She sighed. You’re not the first.”
ME. Democrats: “‘The scariest thing for Ds is that this will be their second nominee for a major race who will come in with under 20 percent of the vote in two years,’ said Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. ‘They have a lot to worry about.’” … Occupy Our Homes: ” Members of Occupy Maine are focusing their efforts on housing foreclosures. The newly formed Occupy Our Homes [here] is offering services that include general information, legal assistance, and fundraising. Some of the core activists involved participated in the occupation of Lincoln Park in Portland. [Another was from] Minneapolis, MN, where one of the first Occupy Our Homes groups was founded.” … Wind: “Staff at the state’s top environmental agency recommended the denial Thursday of an application to build a 14-turbine industrial wind site on Passadumkeag Mountain, saying the windmills would disrupt a “one-of-a-kind” view from Saponac Pond.”
MI. Referendum: “MI’s controversial emergency manager law appears to be in trouble with 43% of MI voters ready to scrap it and just 35% wanting to keep it, a Detroit Free Press/WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) poll shows.”
MN. Occupy Homes: “‘It wasn’t an attorney, it wasn’t a loss mitigation specialist, it wasn’t a collection agent, it wasn’t a mortgage broker, it wasn’t even an executive — it was a social-media liaison,’ says Occupy organizer Anthony Newby. ‘They’re paying very close attention to this public narrative. What they haven’t figured out is how to combat it, how to effectively neutralize what’s becoming an outcry of public opinion around the country’” (good long form).
MT. Corruption: “The office of the Montana Commissioner on Political Practices was burglarized Wednesday night, police and office staffers said. [A spokesperson] said that the so-called ‘Colorado Documents’* that may contain sensitive information on 23 candidates in Montana, are in a secure location and are not missing” [*the “meth house” trove].
ND. Voting: “[ND] is the only [state] with no voter registration. Ds are imagining buses of ineligible voters streaming to polling places, particularly arriviste oil-field workers in the booming northwest corner of the state who could cast affidavit ballots even if not they’re not permanent North Dakota residents.”
NJ. Christie 2016! “Governor Christie has a particular loathing for NJ Transit. His [first] budget cut $300 million from NJ Transit, causing fares to skyrocket and improvements to be cut. Instead, Christie’s administration gave $300 million to the developers of a white elephant shopping mall extravaganza in the Meadowlands. Those developers lost their shirts in 2008 before they could finish the mall that nobody wanted. This is the same governor who yells at teachers and makes the rest of us feel like parasites. He belongs to the party that cut back unemployment bennies for people in this state by 26 weeks. Let’s not make a hero out of Christie.” … Voting: “‘I’d like to have the polling places powered up for next Tuesday,’ Christie told reporters. ‘I’m not yet to the point where I know whether we’re going to be able to do that or we’re not going to be able to do that.’”
NM. Police state: “A state motor transportation police officer Tased a 10-year-old student during a school career fair in May in Tularosa, causing him to black out, according to a lawsuit filed by the boy’s family. Officer Christopher Webb pointed the stun gun at the boy after the boy made a joke and said, ‘Let me show you what happens to people who do not listen to the police.’” An accident. Not systemically, though.
NY. Ursula Rozum: “Even though the [R donor] Graces’ contributions would more than triple the amount of money she has to spend in the last week of the campaign, [Green candidate Ursula] Rozum decided not to keep them. She held a press conference Thursday to announce that she would give the money to charity. ‘It’s rare that I have thousands of dollars to give to organizations that I like,‘ she said.” We will be hearing more from Rozum. … Hurricane Sandy: “The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space (MoRUS) is using one of its exhibits to provide the community with free cell phone charging. Working with environmental group Times Up, MoRUS has set up OWS bike generators on Avenue C between 9th and 10th Street. For the past two days, volunteer riders have been pedaling as crowds of people gather to charge up their cell phones.” … Hurricane Sandy: “I was told that 70 percent of people living in public housing down there, which someone estimated was 15,000–20,000 people, are without power. Keep in mind that this community is already highly marginalized–far from services, with peeling paint and poor management, where people in at least one building last year went three months without stoves and were told to cook on hot plates instead” (this is a good post about how to serve). … Hurricane Sandy: “Two days after Hurricane Sandy, the situation in the storm-stricken Rockaways and other southern Queens neighborhoods is getting worse in terms of the need for basic supplies and aid. Anger is growing that the government relief agencies have been slow to deal with the problems. ‘People are saying, there’s no National Guard, no Red Cross, no FEMA, they were elsewhere, but they weren’t here,’ [resident Dan] Mundy says. ‘This is a long term thing. They say 4 to 5 days for the power, but I think it’ll be 7 to 10, and then you have to check it’s safe, and then deal with the oil burners and the structural damage. Right now, we need a FEMA tent, food, hot showers’” (AH). … Hurricane Sandy: “As the days without power drag on for an estimated 600,000 New York City residents, hot showers and charged cell phones aren’t the only comforts missing in their lives. They’re also without heat.” … Hurricane Sandy: “‘We just saw all these people in the [Met Food] Dumpster. This isn’t a trash can. This is a heap of food,’ [NYU student Ilana Breen] said showing off a $7.49 bottle of organic vanilla chai she found. ‘We don’t have any power. I have this book bag and we are going to come back with a suitcase.’”
OH. Hurricane Sandy: “FirstEnergy reports that around 100,000 customers were still in the dark before dawn Thursday, with most of the outages concentrated in Cleveland and the western suburbs. The utility says it hopes to have most of it restored by the end of the weekend.” … Voting: “The 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Wednesday put on hold a lower court’s ruling that said provisional ballots cast not just in the wrong precinct but in the wrong polling location altogether must still be counted.”
PA. Fracking: “The PA Department of Environmental Protection has created incomplete lab reports and used them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents and other sources.” … Fracking: “Toxic fracking wastewater is often stored in open air pits close to homes. Pursuant to the Clean Water Act, these facilities are required to prepare, amend and implement spill prevention plans. But, the NRDC reports [that the EPA] visited 120 oil and gas development sites and found 105 were out of compliance with the law. ‘This is all increasingly terrifying as Sandy bore down on the Marcellus region, where there are many open pits filled with fracking and related waste. Because the oil and gas industry is also exempt from our hazardous waste laws, no one knows exactly how dangerous the waste at any particular site might be,’ says [Amy Mall of the NRDC].” … The Romney: “‘Every sign points to a head-fake,’ said Keegan Gibson, the editor of politicsPA.com. ‘If they were responding to the underlying nature of the race, they would have gone up here a few weeks ago.’”
TN. Voting: “The TN Supreme Court Thursday ordered state and local election officials to accept Memphis’ library photo identification cards for voting purposes in Tuesday’s general election provided the voter is properly registered.”
TX. Women’s health: “Texas health commissioner Kyle Janek said Wednesday that errors in a state-crafted database intended to help women find reproductive health care providers are “a real problem.”
VA. Strategic hate management: “Wow. These are actual Romney supporters? I mean, they’re just (pick one or more adjectives): a) hateful; b) bigoted; c) nuts; d) clueless; e) brain dead; f) ignorant; g) rabid. It’s astounding, but there are tens of millions of people like this in our country. Sometimes I wonder how we ever make any progress at all. Ugh, I feel like I need a long, hot shower. More to the point, we can NOT let these people win; can you imagine what they’d do to this country? So do whatever you can possibly do in the next 4 days to elect Democrats across the board. Thanks.” Yes, I’m aware that strategic hate management is practiced by both legacy parties.
USVI. Warren Mosler: Interview here starts 16:04; Mosler is a candidate for USVI Representative.
WI. Occupy: “On Saturday, about a dozen people — most of them homeless — set up tents on the 800 block of East Washington Avenue, near the former Occupy Madison site.”] … The Obama: “Obama will wrap up his reelection campaign with a rally in Madison on Monday, November 5, the day before Election Day. It will be his second trip to town in a month. The AP reports that Bruce Springsteen will be performing at the rally.” Obama will be reprising his support for unions in the Walker recall campaign. Oh, wait….
Outside baseball. Utilities: “Energy consultant Steve Mitnick argued that more of those crews should have been on each company’s payroll in the first place, instead of called in from other states. “Those guys from MO, they don’t know the neighborhoods of NJ.’” … Where it hurts: “Intel has revealed new details about its plan to exclude organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation from its corporate giving, a move that could cost some Boy Scout troops thousands of dollars in donations. Meanwhile, [Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality] whose campaign helped pressure Intel into announcing the plan has turned his attention to UPS, another of the Scouts’ corporate backers.”
The trail. Tipping point: “OH remains the tipping-point state in the forecast, the one that [Obama] him over the top to 270 electoral votes. There, [he] leads by 2.6%, which should convert to a victory about 80% of the time.Romney is not in a position to tolerate any movement in Mr. Obama’s favor given how close we are to the finish line” (Nate Silver). The dead woman/live boy scenario (as it has been all along). … The racist card: “[T]he well-read pro-Obama blog Balloon-Juice went far beyond legitimate, aggressive critique. Based on that article, the blog publicly smeared Stoller as a racist without the slightest basis [here] (Glenn Greenwald). [Par for the course with Obama’s thought police in the blogosphere. —lambert] … Media critique: “Like, some people say that Barack Obama will win re-election, while others say that his opponent, Mitt Romney, will prevail! WHO ARE WE TO TRUST?” … Swing states: “WaPo’s Chris Cillizza said today that he considers IA only the eighth-closest state (after CO, FL, VA, WI, NH, OH, and NC)” (via). … Voting: “Thomas Rymer, a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, said the group will abide by election laws after officials in those states warned about possible criminal prosecution if the observers came within hundreds of feet of polling places. ‘The U.S., as a participating state and founding member of the OSCE, has made certain commitments to allow international observers,’ he said. ‘That said, our observers aren’t there to interfere.’” … Voting: “[T]he ability of voters to vote at all — presuming polling places are not flooded and voters are able to get to them — is imperiled by states such as VA, PN, WV, MD, NJ, NC and even OH, all of which force all, or some of their voters to vote on systems which simply do not work if they do not have power. While most of those states require a small percentage of emergency paper ballots be made available at the precincts, that number is unlikely to be enough in the event that voting machines are unavailable all day at the polls on November 6th. Moreover, battery backups on the electronic touch-screen systems are unreliable at best and, even when working, can only be counted on for a small number of hours.”
The Romney. Jeep flap: “For Ohioans targeted by Romney’s misleading rhetoric, the [Toledo Blade] confuses more than it clarifies.” … Air war: “The ads [one on Jeep] raise the possibility that the Romney campaign is employing a tactic that poses a crucial challenge to the press: attempting to win over late-deciding swing voters who have not been following the race with false and even previously debunked messages.”
The Obama. Colin Powell endorsement: Video. Because vials of anthrax! … Bloomberg endorsement: “[A]nd over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks.” While turning the country into a petro-state… … Economist endorsement: “[T]his newspaper would stick with the devil it knows.”
* Slogan of the day: The Wishes of Workers, Peasants and Soldiers in Their Hundreds of Millions Have Come True!