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Election Countdown 2012: Occupy Atlanta Members Demand Georgia Enact Prison Reform, and More

About 40 demonstrators gathered outside the state Capitol in Atlanta on Monday to express support for Georgia prison inmates who have reportedly been on a hunger strike for nearly a month. The protesters, including members of the Occupy Atlanta movement, also demanded that the state enact prison reform.

In today’s Election Countdown 2012 news: Occupy Atlanta members demand the State of Georgia enact prison reform; Andrew Cuomo says home rule should be taken into “consideration” if fracking is, in the end, allowed in New York; candidate Linda Small has called on Harrisburg to end $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil, gas and coal corporations in Pennsylvania; and more.

D – 59 and counting*

“After all, the chief business of the American people is business. We make no concealment of the fact that we want wealth, but there are many other things we want very much more. We want peace and honor and that charity which is so strong an element of all civilization.” – Calvin Coolidge

Occupy. #NatGat retrospective: “I left on a quest to the Society of Friends parking lot, a few blocks away, made available to Occupy National Gathering organizers by the Society’s consent as refuge. The lot would shortly become a very real sanctuary.”

The National Park Service is what we thought it was, but Quakers are awesome.

Montreal. Scaling: “The co-spokesperson for CLASSE, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, will be at the University of Ottawa Thursday to talk about the success of the Quebec student movement. ‘[GND:] The key principle of success in Quebec is exportable. Because it’s our mode of organization.'” …. Symbol production: “Thus was born the École de la montagne rouge: a meeting place, an office, a workshop, but also a small-scale silkscreening factory.”

AK. Extractive economy, local businessman called “Mayor”: “Initially, I was very supportive of [The Pebble Project]. I am now avowed neutral, awaiting a site specific detailed plan, so I can make an intelligent response to a concrete proposal.” … Extractive economy: “What is happening [at Pebble Mine] is so extreme and contentious that it is setting the pinnacle (and possible the standard) for debate about opening new mines in sensitive places.” …. Pebble Mine, Walker’s iron mine, mountain-top removal, uranium mining, landfills, fracking: One story. Not six.

AZ. “I was hoping to see evidence of an Obama For America Voter Registration Drive surge by now.”

CO. Romney: “Mitt Romney rolled up his sleeves and used his teeth to rip open plastic food packaging during a stop at a food bank.” … Obama: “President Barack Obama has directed federal officials to offer seasonal firefighters the option of purchasing federal health insurance coverage.” It’s great that swing state firefighters are recipients of the imperial largesse. But we are all seasonal firefighters!

FL. Epidemic planning: “Last year, Duval County sent 11 patients to [TB hospital] A.G. Holley under court order. With A.G. Holley now closed [by the State], one was sent to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami instead of the nearby Shands hospital. [Other TB patients] remaining in Jacksonville are being placed in motels to make it easier for public health nurses to keep tabs on them, Duval County officials said. “It’s scary,” [State Sen D Maria] Sachs said. “All they have to do is go on a city bus.” Yes, you read that right. TB is an airborne illness. And the state of FL is warehousing TB patients in motels. … Mice roar: “My name is Lisa Epstein. I am running for Clerk of Circuit Court in Palm Beach County’s August 14, 2012 election. Our county’s voters have spoken loud and clear; expose and rid our county of fraud.” … Voting: Media misreporting skews Federal court ruling on FL’s deceptive purge of ‘non-citizen’ voters. Defeat for Scott reported as victory.

GA. Mass incarceration: “About 40 demonstrators gathered outside the state Capitol in Atlanta on Monday to express support for Georgia prison inmates who have reportedly been on a hunger strike for nearly a month. The protesters, including members of the Occupy Atlanta movement, also demanded that the state enact prison reform. ” … Food: “A food-safety law enacted in the wake of nine deaths from tainted peanut butter at a Georgia plant isn’t being strictly enforced.” … Corporate GOTV: Sam Williams, president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, is leading the charge in this effort to squeeze employees into voting themselves a 10-year tax increase for a transportation plan.

IA. Kleptocracy, Cedar Falls Council member: “Shock. That was the principal reaction [to Peregrine CEO’s Russell Wasendorf’s suicide attempt] and then a feeling of sadness really. Mr. Wasendorf was quite an influential figure in town.” What’s shocking isn’t that another FIRE firm looted customer accounts, but that the CEO attempted suicide. … Civics 201, Area Man: “It’s neat to see what the President is all about. I mean there had to be 25-to-30 vehicles.” … Tax cuts: “I continue to believe that no matter what he promises today, Obama will sign another bill extending the Bush tax cuts at all income levels (either for a year or two, or perhaps permanently). As he did in late 2010, the president endorses the Republican message that we can’t afford to let taxes go up in a weak economy.” Staunch D, BTW.

LA. Corruption: “District Judge Tim Kelley, of the 19th Judicial District, ruled that he did not have jurisdiction to provide an injunction sought by opponents of the [charter schools] program, saying his hands were tied by a state law that prohibits him from blocking the policy if that would create a deficit. Because affidavits from state school Superintendent John White and Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater said that would be the effect of an injunction, there was nothing the court could do, Kelley said.” Totally not gameable!

ME. Privatization: “[Eastern Maine Medical Center] wants to outsource its dialysis services to DaVita Inc. The Denver company is the nation’s largest for profit provider of dialysis services.” What could go wrong?

NV. Voting: “The plaintiffs argue that the voters who choose NOTA [None Of The Above, which is on NV ballots] are not being treated equally, because a vote for NOTA is a vote but the state isn’t giving that vote any legal effect.”

NY. Fracking: “[Cuomo] says his administrations’ hydro-fracking policy will be released later this summer. Cuomo says if communities want fracking, or are against fracking, then home rule should be taken into ‘consideration’, if fracking is in the end allowed.”

OH. Kleptocracy: “An AEP Ohio spokeswoman said that the company planned to ask the Ohio Public Utilities Commission to pass [millions to restore power to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans after the derecho on] to customers. Last year, AEP Ohio earned $1.9 billion in profits, $700 million more than the previous year.” See, making the system work reliably comes extra.

ONT, Canada. Extractive economy: “In just the first leg of [Enbridge’s] Line 9 pipeline, 357 ‘crack-like features’ were detected during the last inspection, which led to the rupture in Michigan.’

PA. Razor thin margin: “A poll released on June 27 by Quinnipiac suggests that both [candidates] face similar rates of defection by their party bases: Obama carries Democrats by a margin of 82 percent to 7; Romney wins Republicans 76 to 10.” … Extractive economy: “D candidate Linda Small has called on Harrisburg to end $3 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil, gas and coal corporations, saying it would help people not only in York County, but across the state.”

TN. Tinpot tyrants: “While invitees [to Gov Bill Haslam’s conference on the future of higher education] include politicians and even representatives of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, the Governor’s office left out invitations to faculty, staff, and students.”

TX. Water: “Last summer, during the height of the drought, West TX farmers kept watering their cotton crops despite knowing they wouldn’t grow. They needed to do so to qualify for federal crop insurance.” …. Neanderthals: “Harris County even went so far as to ban piñatas at nearly 3 dozen of its parks.”

VA. Uranium mining: “At a rough count, based on the number of people applauding different speakers, about two-thirds of the attendees were anti-mining and a third supported lifting the [uranium mining] moratorium” (Pittsylvania County).

VT. Privatization? “Low levels of two herbicides, clopyralid and picloram, have been detected in some samples of compost made at Chittenden Solid Waste District facilities. … Many gardeners have reported that some plants grown in some of the compost products have damage characteristic of these herbicides: cupped leaves, twisted stems, distorted growing points and reduced fruit set.” (Can’t figure out the trash flows from CSWD’s site, but I’m guessing that Casella, the Materials Recovery Facility contractor, also single-streams UVM’s food scraps into the Compost operation. And who knows what else.)

WI. Civics 201: “Wisconsin Power & Light is warning customers about a scam that claims President Barack Obama is providing credits or applying payments to utility bills.” Works for banksters!

Media critique. “Americans’ confidence in television news is at a new low by one percentage point, with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year.” … How top election journalists are framing their campaign coverage. Handy chart!

HCR. The narrative: [ObamaCare requires that] every state must have an exchange where consumers can go online and compare insurers’ offerings. This means not only that the market for health insurance is going to expand but also that much of it is likely to be sold directly to individual consumers rather than through an employer. …. That there is already a robust community of [health care specialists in] public relations, marketing, advertising, and market research professionals … is itself an interesting story. But getting inside the dynamics of how that business is now going to explode – and which big players, such as the largest ad agencies, are likely to start buying up the specialists – is a much bigger deal.” Direct marketing of health insurance to consumers by public relations professionals. What could go wrong?

The trail. Katie, bar the door! Dinesh D’Souza interviews Obama’s brother, George, in Kenya, for “documentary” film. … Stasis: “About two-thirds of Americans consider the country seriously off course, a majority have not approved of Obama’s overall job performance in more than a year, and the president remains in negative territory on dealing with the economy, health care and immigration. Also unmoved since fall are Americans’ attitudes toward spending, with as many saying they would prefer an increase in federal spending to try to spur economic growth as wanting to prioritize deficit reduction.” You’d never know the last point from our famously free press. …. Charlie Cook: “If President Obama’s campaign machine can define Mitt Romney before his own campaign even tries, my bet is Obama wins reelection. … A willingness to fire the president is only one step. Voters also have to be willing to hire Romney. [A] potentially decisive slice of the electorate could reluctantly return to the incumbent. Voters’ willingness to hire Romney is being severely damaged, at least in swing states, by the advertising efforts of the Obama campaign and Priorities USA, a pro-Obama super PAC. The ads are devastatingly tough.” Maybe. Priorities USA certainly commissioned a poll to show it. …. Independents: “The collective total of independents grew by about 443,000 in CO, FL, IA, NV, NH and NC since 2008 [via Bloomberg]. During the same time, Democrats saw a net decline of about 480,000 in those six states, while Republicans — boosted in part by a competitive primary earlier this year — added roughly 38,000 voters in them.” … Legacy party: “[The Rs are] a bunch of old, white guys, and unfortunately, a lot of them are fat like me.”

Greens. Ballot access: “This year, it’s actually easier being Green. … While candidates seeking the R or D lines in most areas must file 500 signatures for an Assembly seat and 1,000 for the state Senate, people looking for third party nominations need 5 percent of its enrollees in a district. The Greens are fielding two candidates in Bronx districts where, because they are so outnumbered, the threshold was just one nomination signature.”

Elizabeth Warren. Money: “Warren is already the nation’s leading congressional fundraiser and the latest figures are likely to widen her lead.” 2016!

Robama vs. Obomney watch. Meme watch, “extreme”: “[ROMNEY:] It’s the sort of thing only an extreme liberal could come up with.” “…[Obama IA spokeshole:] Mitt Romney and his extreme conservative allies….” “A majority of American voters said the political views of [Obama and Romney] are extreme.” [Noises off: Head pounding on desk. Screams. Breaking glass] … Money, Lynn Sweet: “What Romney and Obama have in common: the campaigns will offer up fund-raising statistics about low-dollar donors–and ignore data to show the importance of high-dollar donations.”

Obama. Oh ha ha ha: “[MICHELLE OBAMA:] That fundamental promise of no matter who you are, if you work hard, you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids. That is the American dream.” … Meme watch: “[OBAMA:] Let’s stand up for families like yours that are working hard every day, give you some certainty so you can start planning, so you have an idea of what’s coming next year.” I like this vile “uncertainty” meme as much today as I did yesterday. … Razor thin margin: “Axelrod briefed House and Senate lawmakers about the president’s nine-state campaign strategy…” Why not just airdrop palettes of cash in the swing counties of those nine states? That would create “certainty”….

* 59 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with Chinese take-out on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Satchel Paige became the oldest major league baseball player at age 59.

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