Fake News, Conspiracies, and No News is Good News

December 6, 2016 by Doug Porter

trumpeters
By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

How and where we get information informing our outlook on the world has become an issue in the wake of the most recent presidential election. People’s lives, reputations and even democracy itself can be endangered.

A cottage industry, some of which masks bigger players with malevolent agendas, is taking advantage of opportunities afforded by social media to mold public opinion.

An analysis in BuzzFeed published shortly after the election revealed “top fake election news stories generated more total engagement on Facebook than top election stories from 19 major news outlets combined” from August through Election Day.

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TinFoil Trump’s Twitter Temper Tantrum

November 28, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for TinFoil Trump’s Twitter Temper Tantrum

By Doug Porter

Based on the say-so of a conspiracy-mongering website that claims 9/11 was an inside job and the killing of children at Sandy Hook elementary school was staged with actors, the President-elect of the United States now says there were millions of illegal votes cast in the 2016 general election.

Donald Trump didn’t make this claim at a press conference flanked by attorneys ready to force states to throw out those votes; he made it on Twitter. And he didn’t make this claim based on any actual evidence at all.

He followed up this initial lie by naming California (along with New Hampshire and Virginia) as states with serious voter fraud. Again, the claim was made without evidence.

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A Time for Resistance – Upcoming Trump Protests in San Diego and Across America

November 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

A Calendar for Those Who Are Fired Up and Ready to Go – Includes Other Local Actions

time-to-resistBy Doug Porter

While mainstream politicians and institutions may be playing ‘wait and see,’ we at the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press believe the rest of us have but one choice: resist.

On Fridays from now on, I’ll be dedicating this space to promoting activism in the Time of Trump. My sources will be social media listings, press releases, and you.

A bit of confusion in the coming months is to be expected. Lots of people feel motivated to make their voices heard. In cases where there are competing but similar events or campaigns of the progressive persuasion, I’ll do my best to list everything.

No one event, demonstration, or political action will accomplish the task at hand, which is to resist the forces of reaction unleashed with the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Only a cacophony of protest about issues, not personalities will succeed.

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Facebook’s Complicity in Trump’s New Order

November 17, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Facebook’s Complicity in Trump’s New Order

By Doug Porter

In the 21st century world of social media as a source of news and information, the truth doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Tell a lie on Facebook and you’ll likely be rewarded with a large audience. Tell (for some) an unpleasant truth and the vigilantes of darkness will leverage their technical expertise to get an offending account expunged.

A made up story from a Macedonian site claiming Hillary Clinton had once said candidates like Donald Trump should run for office because they were honest and couldn’t be bought garnered more than twice the response (in a week) of the New York Times exclusive story (over a month period) revealing the GOP nominee declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns.

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San Diego Democrats Dominate in Local Contests

November 11, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for San Diego Democrats Dominate in Local Contests

By Doug Porter

San Diego Democrats came away with an impressive set of victories in the 2016 general elections, though you wouldn’t have known it from all the glum faces at election central on Tuesday night.

The implications of their party’s loss at the top of the ticket ruined the night for most folks. The question remaining now is how effective Democrats in San Diego and California will be in the face of a tidal wave of reaction coming out of Washington DC.

How bad is it? It’s so bad that Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr has emerged as one of those being vetted for a position in Trump administration’s Department of Defense.

I’m taking reports about San Diego having one of the highest voter turnout rates in the nation (regardless, it was good) with a large grain of salt. The two paper ballots issued to voters because of the many contests may have caused some confusion with the Registrar of Voters.

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Here’s the Hate From Donald Trump’s Followers

November 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

durham-nc-graffiti

We’re sharing a compendium of tweets seen by SDFP editors on social media since election night. Anybody who has any doubt about what’s coming and the need to organize, mobilize, and fight back should read these all the way through.

Does anybody have a plan yet? Not that we know of. Rome wasn’t built in a day. That doesn’t mean people aren’t working on it. Stay angry, my friends; build a network; give hugs where needed.

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California Goes a Different Way in 2016: Election Reactions & Results

November 10, 2016 by Doug Porter

calif-blue-stateSan Diego, Statewide Results on Propositions, Legislative & Federal Offices

By Doug Porter

Voters in the State of California opted for more progressive choices when it came to elected officials than most of the rest of the country.

Nationally, it should be noted marijuana measures did well (except Arizona), as did minimum wage increases, and paid sick leave, along with reform-oriented local prosecutors.

Keeper of the Nation’s Future

The reaction of the State Legislature’s leadership to the election of Donald Trump as President was also encouraging.

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A Fifth Column Inside the FBI

November 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

FBI Director Comey

By Doug Porter / Published 11-3-16

The Daily Beast’s Wayne Barrett has written a blockbuster of a story detailing the rebellion going on inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

It’s a tale of active and former agents, many of them with ties to former NYC Mayor Rudy Guliani, whose actions amount to a law enforcement thumb on the scale of democracy.

Guliani’s law firm has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. The group’s leader, agent Rey Tariche, resigned from the FBI New York office on Monday following Director James Comey’s release of a memo saying the agency was once again looking into Hillary Clinton.

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Measures K and L Make Sense for San Diego

October 25, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measures K and L Make Sense for San Diego

By Doug Porter

Measures K and L are changes to the City Charter submitted through the efforts of the Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund and the Independent Voter Project. Both groups have local experience in encouraging voter turnout.

These measures were championed by City Council President Sherri Lightner and placed on the November 2016 ballot by a vote of the City Council.

What they do in a nutshell is to shift the final decision making in elections to November. Measure K says the top two candidates as determined by primary voters for Mayor, City Council seats, and City Attorney advance to the general election. Measure L says citizen-sponsored initiatives and referendums belong on the November ballot.

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Measure J: The Mission Bay Park Money Shuffle

October 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

mission-bay-vue-fgBy Doug Porter

Measure J seemed like another non-controversial proposal at first.

It extended the lifetime of an earlier ballot measure dedicating a portion of revenues from leases on properties at Mission Bay Park and shuffled the formula for allocating funds to include other regional parks.

The idea was for these revenues to pay for bonds to be used in capital improvement projects for Mission Bay Park and regional parks, including Balboa Park.

Needless to say, Balboa Park groups existing amidst crumbling buildings and other infrastructure shortcomings were thrilled.

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Measure “I” Pits Balboa Park Advocates Against San Diego High’s Future

October 18, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measure “I” Pits Balboa Park Advocates Against San Diego High’s Future

By Doug Porter

Measure “I” started out as a seemingly non-controversial deal to maintain the status quo with two venerable San Diego institutions.

Now it has split the community between those who want to maintain the current location of the City’s oldest high school and those who say it should no longer occupy dedicated parkland.

The City Council placed Measure I on the ballot along with a package of reforms to the charter. It changes the language found in Section 55 of the foundational document governing the City’s use of dedicated parkland to allow a simple majority public vote to allow the existing use of that site to continue.

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Cleaning Up the San Diego City Charter: Measures E through H

October 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Cleaning Up the San Diego City Charter: Measures E through H

By Doug Porter

In the June primary election voters in the City of San Diego were presented with seven ballot measures aimed at what Council President Sherri Lightner called ‘house cleaning’ for the City Charter. All passed.

The November general election has eight more charter amendments for voters. Some of them go beyond housecleaning into the realm of political agendas.

Right now, I’ll cover four housecleaning measures in one column. In coming days the more controversial ballot items will get some individual attention.

For those of you with short attention spans– Vote Yes on Measures E thru H. There is no known opposition for any of these items. They’re not necessarily perfect, but nothing there rolls back the clock.

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Props 65 and 67 – Revenge of the Plastic Bag Industrial Complex

October 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Props 65 and 67 – Revenge of the Plastic Bag Industrial Complex

By Doug Porter

The bastard sons of the dirty energy industry are trying to pull a fast one on California voters with Props 65 and 67.

In a perfect world, the people who put together Proposition 65, along with forcing us to vote to uphold a legislatively passed ban (Prop 67) on the crappy plastic bags handed out by retail stores, would be tried for crimes against the planet.

If found guilty they would be sentenced to picking up cigarette butts on beaches in Libya for a term of no less than two years, wearing tee shirts emblazoned with We Love Imperialism on the back.

What Proposition 65 is all about is revenge. The plastic bag industry and the oil companies who sell them raw materials want to have it both ways. If they’re gonna lose the vote to ban plastic bags, then maybe they can fool voters with a measure falsely promising to do something good for the environment.

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Prop 64 – Just Legalize Marijuana, Already

October 13, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Prop 64 – Just Legalize Marijuana, Already

By Doug Porter

California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts will be voting on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana this fall.

Some people, including many pro-legalization advocates, think this is about easing another legal intoxicant into society. It’s not. It’s about undoing a prohibition based on ‘scientific racism.’ It’s about a ‘war on drugs’ that served as a gateway towards militarization of law enforcement and eroded the constitutional rights of all Americans.

Legalizing pot won’t undo those things. In case you haven’t noticed, government and society rarely move backward. But legalization does provide a path moving forward that makes a lot more sense than the failed policies proceeding it.

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Prop 63 – Ammopalousa, GunGhazi and Second Amendmenting

October 12, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Prop 63 – Ammopalousa, GunGhazi and Second Amendmenting

In some states, candidates fight to see who can pose with the largest gun. In California, they fight to see who can craft the toughest regulations on guns and ammo.

By Doug Porter

This measure is Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s baby. Prop 63 requires a background check to purchase ammo, bans possession of large capacity ammo clips, sets up a way to remove guns from felons, and requires reporting of stolen firearms/ammo.

This is all good stuff and there no denying it’s part of Newsom’s image building in the lead up to the 2018 gubernatorial contest.

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Props 62 and 66 – Nay or Yea on the Death Penalty

October 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

Photo by kelseywynns

An eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth would lead to a world of the blind and toothless.–Book of Exodus [21:24]

By Doug Porter

Both points of view regarding the death penalty managed to get a measure on the November ballot.

Prop 62 will eliminate the death penalty. Prop 66 will streamline the process of executing people. If both pass, the measure with the most votes will supersede the other.

In a perfect world, there could be a discussion about the advisability of government sanctioned executions involving actual facts and figures. We won’t see much of that sort of thing this fall.

The death penalty is an emotional issue. Facts matter much less than fear.

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The Second Presidential Debate: A Cornered Rat Turns Vicious

October 10, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

second debate

If you just watched the debate portion of yesterday’s political drama, you missed Donald Trump sitting at a press conference alongside four women with Clinton issues he’d flown to St. Louis.

Three of the women claimed somebody who wasn’t on the ticket sexually abused them in some manner. One of the women was raped by a man who a young lawyer named Hillary Clinton was assigned to defend in court.

The Trump campaign’s plan, according to today’s Washington Post, was to place the four women in the Clinton family seating area and have them confront the former president on live television at some point in the evening.

The plan was foiled just moments before the debate was supposed to start ….

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Prop 61 – Big Pharma Promises Revenge If It Passes

October 10, 2016 by Doug Porter

Big Pharma

By Doug Porter

Proposition 61 seems pretty straightforward. The price paid for prescription drugs in California state health care programs must be equal to or lower than what is paid by the Veterans Administration.

Sadly, it isn’t that simple. There’s $101 million (and counting) being spent on this measure, which only directly affects 12% of Californians.

When I saw the words “badly flawed” in ads against Prop 61, I reflexively assumed the bad guys of Big Pharma were desperate to confuse the public… But…

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Props 59 and 60 – Dirty Money and Filthy Sex

October 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

Props 59 & 60

Why are these measures even on the ballot?

By Doug Porter

The Constitution of the United States begins with “We the People.” It doesn’t say “We the Corporations” or “We the Fat Cats.”

I get it. Every person who believes in our representative democracy should be appalled by the Supreme Court (Citizen’s United) decision giving corporate entities the power to fund elections thru super-Pacs under the guise of “free speech.” This needs to change.

Proposition 59 asks California’s elected officials to work to overturn Citizens United, through supporting a constitutional amendment or other means. And if they don’t like what Prop 59 asks them to do, that’s okay, because it’s simply advisory in nature. Since it’s on the ballot and because I’m personally repulsed by the notion of living in an oligarchy, I’ll vote yes.

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Prop 58 – Righting a Wrong with Local Control of Bilingual Education

October 6, 2016 by Doug Porter

bilingual education

When Prop 227 Passed in 1998, Only Homosexuality Was Less Tolerated Than Bilingualism by Middle-Class Americans

By Doug Porter

California’s Proposition 58, being marketed as the LEARN Initiative, represents yet another step towards righting the wrongs growing out of a wave of anti-multicultural sentiment during the 1990s.

The nativist wing on the Republican Party eventually led that organization into irrelevance in California, and a generation of Latino political activists is now an ascendant force in state politics.

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Prop 57 – If Sentencing Reform Passes, Will Hospital Bombers Run Amok?

October 5, 2016 by Doug Porter

Prop 57 graph

By Doug Porter

Prop 57 is the final part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s mea culpa for the tough on crime laws passed during his first term. As a result, the state prisons were filled to overflowing. Lawsuits and investigative reporting exposed the cruel and inhumane process amounting to little more than warehousing.

The Supreme Court agreed, saying conditions were so bad they violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual treatment. In 2011, California was ordered to reduce its population by more than 30,000 inmates.

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Angst Over Police Shootings Rocks California Cities

October 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

rip-olango-via-aaron-belfer-facebook police shootings Via Facebook

By Doug Porter

Community unrest over the deaths of black people at the hands of police in California continued unabated throughout the weekend. And it wasn’t just in El Cajon/San Diego.

Alfred Olango died in El Cajon on Tuesday. A composite video taken from a security camera and a bystander’s cellphone was released on Friday. Carnell Snell Jr. died in Los Angeles on Saturday, the second police-involved death in two days. And a particularly grotesque video of the July 11th death of Joseph Mann in Sacramento surfaced showing police officers trying to run him down before chasing him down and firing 14 shots into him.

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Prop 56 – Tobacco Industry Lie Machine Runs at Top Speed Against It

October 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

cigarettes-in-bowlEXTRA EDITION: Saturday Laryngectomy Rant

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association in California and American Heart Association have placed Prop 56 on the ballot increasing taxes on tobacco products and updating state law to include e-cigarettes as a taxable product.

The tobacco industry has amassed a $56 million dollar war chest to defeat Prop 56. They know arguing in favor of tobacco use won’t work, so they’ve unleashed a blizzard of bullcrap advertising seeking to confuse and obfuscate the matter.

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Props 53 & 54: Say No to Rich Guys Gaming the System

October 3, 2016 by Doug Porter

gaming the system

By Doug Porter

Dean Cortopassi is a wealthy self-made agribusinessman from Stockton. Charles Munger is a Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and lives in Pasadena. Both have long histories in politics.

Each of them has bought a spot for a pet cause on the general election ballot. And they’d like you to believe their motives are altruistic.

They’re gaming the system, promising they have your interests in mind. Their measures are, in fact, simplistic solutions to complex problems with potential or real consequences not immediately apparent to the casual observer.

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Proposition 52 – Keep MediCal Funding Where It Belongs

September 28, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

Back in the bad old days of the great recession, the California legislature diverted hundreds of millions in funding derived from a tax hospitals pay. The federal government kicks in matching funds for these taxes flowing back to the hospitals through MediCal, so it’s a sweet deal. Hospitals pay one dollar to get two back, more or less.

The recession is over, and the hospitals want their original deal back in place.

So they raised a boatload of money to put Proposition 52 before the voters. This is a “lockbox” measure, designed to give voters the opportunity to say that funds raised for or by a certain purpose must be spent in that general area as well.

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Prop 51 – Will Schools Get Fixed and Repaired?

September 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

Proposition 51

By Doug Porter

The California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, better known as Proposition 51, proposes to refill the State of California’s money pot used for school construction and repair.

It has been ten years since the last statewide school bond, and proponents say there is a massive backlog of local school projects.

Everybody loves building and fixing schools, right?

The list of supporters includes both major political parties, the Chamber of Commerce, the California Labor Federation, education groups of all sorts, the League of Women Voters and on and on. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has endorsed Prop. 51. So has Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom.

Supporters have raised over $8.4 million.

Where the bond money would go …

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Measure D – Nice Try, But No Cigar for The Citizens’ Plan

September 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

Downtown-Hotel-San-Diego-California-United-States-300x420By Doug Porter

A good metaphor for Measure D would be the guy who tries to break up a fight and ends up getting pummelled by both combatants.

Also known as the Citizens’ Plan, Cory Briggs Evil Plot, and Chargers Stadium Lite, the proposal is all-but-dead in the water.

The money spigot ran dry in May. The thoughtful discussion Measure D should have stimulated never happened, lost in the dread of yet another rich guy scheme, and the unintended consequences of its (mostly) good intentions.

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Chargers Stadium Ballot Measure C — as In Chutzpa

September 22, 2016 by Doug Porter

This is a rendering. They have no actual plans drawn up.

By Doug Porter

There are two items on the ballot for City of San Diego voters related in some fashion to the construction of a place for the local NFL franchise to play.

Measure C, backed by the San Diego Chargers ownership, is an effort to get a stadium/convention center built. The group’s committee is a cash machine, taking in tens of thousands of dollars (nearly) daily, all from the same source.

Measure D is primarily backed by interests with investments in nearby properties, namely the Moores family. For monetary reasons, it’s just about dead in the water. D is on the ballot, but the money spigot was turned off May 3.

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Measure B – Ballot Box Planning at its Worst

September 21, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measure B – Ballot Box Planning at its Worst

Lilac Hills Ranch Developer Goes for an End Run Around Community Groups

By Doug Porter

Union-Tribune headline Tuesday morning: ‘San Diego median home price hits highest point in a decade.’

Q’s: Are you a NIMBY? Don’t you care about San Diego’s housing crisis? The signature gatherers for the measure in support of building Lilac Hills said it would provide affordable housing for low-income families and veterans, along with being eco-friendly. How can you be against that?

A. Easy. If you’re buying the arguments proponents of Measure B are peddling, I have a bridge to sell you.

Measure B is a clear cut case of a developer doing an end-run around years of community input into planning. Voters in El Cajon and Chula Vista are being asked to decide on a North County project they only know of through ads with fallacious arguments. (Ask the people in Barrio Logan how they feel about that concept.)

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Does SANDAG’s ‘Measure A’ amount to Bold Action on Climate Change?

September 20, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Does SANDAG’s ‘Measure A’ amount to Bold Action on Climate Change?

By Doug Porter

Of all the local measures on the ballot, none has split local Democrats, labor, and environmental groups more than Measure A.

It proposes to fund transportation and open space projects throughout San Diego County over the next 40 years via a half-cent sales tax increase. Questions about its environmental and social consequences have been raised.

The plan, crafted by the staff of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), will raise $18 billion over its lifetime, with $4.3 billion doled out to local communities for upgrades and repairs.

Just about everybody agrees that work on local and regional infrastructure needs to continue. It’s how we get there that’s causing disagreement.

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