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The Morning Grumpy – 6/12/12

12 Jun

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

Good morning, lame joke eel! Got a good one for us today?

1. Maybe you’ve heard, but there will probably be a pretty important national election this November. The result of that election might even come down to a few key swing states and perhaps even a recount. Republicans in many states have been busy planning for this election and The Brennan Center For Justice analyzes all the voting laws that are changing ballot access in those states.

State governments across the country enacted an array of new laws making it harder to register or to vote. Some states require voters to show government-issued photo identification, often of a type that as many as one in ten voters do not have. Other states have cut back on early voting, a hugely popular innovation used by millions of Americans. Two states reversed earlier reforms and once again disenfranchised millions who have past criminal convictions but who are now taxpaying members of the community. Still others made it much more difficult for citizens to register to vote, a prerequisite for voting.

  • These new laws could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.
  • The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
  • Of the 12 likely battleground states, as assessed by an August Los Angeles Times analysis of Gallup polling, five have already cut back on voting rights (and may pass additional restrictive legislation), and two more are currently considering new restrictions.

And their report was written long before Florida Governor and Medicare Fraud Enthusiast Rick Scott began purging the voter lists in every county in his state. Fucking diabolical stuff.

2. Ian Murphy at The Buffalo Beast gives you the breakdown you need from the Wisconsin recall election of Gov. Scott Walker and several State Senators.

Citizens United allowed Scott Walker to raise some $40 million to manipulate the voting public. For over a year, Walker and the PACs supporting him inundated print, radio, TV, and online media. Walker outspent Barrett more than 7 to 1. The Koch brothers alone spent twice what Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett spent in total. The sad kind of national support Democrats could muster was a tweet from Barack Obama which read: “It’s Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I’m standing by Tom Barrett. He’d make an outstanding governor. -bo” Hours earlier, the President was in Minnesota speaking at the union-busting Honeywell corporation (this is the same company that recently detained labor journalist Mike Elk because he had the temerity to practice journalism). The DNC barely showed up. And they started framing the loss as meaningless before the polls even opened.

It seems that Murphy may be losing hope that we still live in a nation with a functional democracy. If so, I think he’s right and it’s not just the Wisconsin election that informs that perspective, it’s but one data point in a steady stream of evidence.

3. Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor of The Nation, writes about how the 99% and the Occupy movement need to find their political voice.

This year will feature the most ideologically polarized election since the Reagan-Carter face-off of 1980. A radical-right Republican Party, backed by big-money interests, has made itself the tribune of privilege and will do significant damage if it takes control in Washington. Staving off that outcome depends on mobilizing the Democratic base.

Not surprisingly, the high stakes of 2012 have fueled the perennial debate over the importance of electoral politics versus movement politics. In the face of the threat posed by the right, Democrats urge activists to swallow their disappointment with the president and pull together to get out the vote. In contrast, many movement activists scorn electoral politics, arguing that both parties are so corrupted and compromised that energy should be focused on building independent movements and protests.

Frances Fox Piven terms this a false dichotomy. “Elections and movements do not proceed on separate tracks. To the contrary, electoral politics creates the environment in which movements arise.” And movements can challenge the limits of the electoral debate, forcing politicians to address issues and adopt positions they might otherwise shun.

Moving from movement to electoral politics is crucial to mobilizing the base and establishing a permanent place at the table for progressive voices. Lots of solid advice for the disenfranchised left in this piece which is better intended than the typical scolding of the #Occupy movement by the likes of Bill Maher.

4. If elected President, Mitt Romney plans to open up “virtually every part of U.S. lands and waters” to oil drilling regardless of whether the rigs are in national parks, national monuments, or protected in some other way.

The Republican presidential candidate talks about building nuclear plants, opening up virtually every part of U.S. land and waters to oil and gas drilling, exploiting coal and stripping the EPA of much of its authority, especially when it comes to regulating greenhouse gases.

Asked whether any place would be off limits for oil drilling, campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said, “Governor Romney will permit drilling wherever it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns.”

So, there is that.

5. An overly simplified video that describes how Internet communication works. It leaves out a lot of technology, but every once in a while, it’s fun to take a moment and be amazed by the incredible infrastructure of the Internet.

Fact Of The Day: Breyer’s doesn’t make actual ice cream anymore. They make “Frozen Dessert” because there is so little actual cream and milk in the recipe that it cannot legally be called “ice cream”.

Quote Of The Day: “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.” – Bertrand Russell

Video Of The Day: Ten Bets You Will Never Lose

Song Of The Day: How about a little Vanilla Soul for a sunny Tuesday? “Rich Girl” – Hall & Oates

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

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