The Starting Line

A week-day SDFP column by Doug Porter

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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org

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Thumbnail image for Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

by Doug Porter 10.24.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The more we learn about the inner workings of the Carl DeMaio campaign, the more bizarre it gets. If you believe defenders of the Republican Candidate for the 52nd Congressional District, former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich has perhaps gone back in time to fabricate emails (much of which are mundane) and/or hacked Carl DeMaio’s Sony VIAO laptop.

Yesterday we learned about a fake twitter account allegedly used by DeMaio to transmit trashy blurbs about various local politicos. Then there’s the hilarious (in a sad way) and ongoing attempt by a UT-San Diego editor to justify their coverage (or lack thereof) of the steadily leaking emails purportedly from the DeMaio campaign.

City Beat columnist Dave Maass spotted an item in a emailed worklist regarding an assignment to “finish Wikipedia”, apparently directing a staffer to make favorable edits on entries related to the campaign. This sort of thing would be a big no-no, and it’s something DeMaio and/or his staff were busted (by Maass) for in 2011.

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Thumbnail image for Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

by Doug Porter 10.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Denial is a long river. And yesterday it wound its way through Mission Valley after NBC7 News released a story about emails from the DeMaio campaign boasting about having composed an editorial that appeared in UT-San Diego back in December, 2013

The emails came from former staffer Todd Bosnich, who has been at the center of other recent controversies regarding the GOP candidate for the 52nd Congressional District. Bosnich says candidate DeMaio sexually harassed him. DeMaio says Bosnich is responsible for a break-in and vandalism at his headquarters.

The district attorney says there’s not enough evidence in either case to move forward with prosecution. Bosnich’s attorneys say a lawsuit is in the works. DeMaio’s campaign is vacillating between refusing to comment and denying the validity of the emails. Bosnich has granted access to his laptop computer to cyber experts who have informed reporters that the emails appear to be genuine.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

by Doug Porter 10.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A ruling by Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal yesterday may well mean the end of the road for the C.H.E. Cafe, a student run cooperative at UCSD.

The co-op will have five calendar days to vacate once a written order is signed by the judge and the university files a writ of possession, meaning the group could be evicted by the middle of next week.

Supporters of the C.H.E.were vague about their future plans when speaking with the news media following the court decision, saying they were considering further legal actions and promising to continue protest activity and lobbying.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 10.21.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Monday should have been a good day for 52nd District congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. But it wasn’t.

County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that an inquiry into sexual harassment allegations from an ex-aide was being closed due to lack of evidence.

She also announced the investigation into a campaign office break-in that DeMaio campaign had sought to link to the ex-aide was also being closed for the same reason. The GOP candidate’s campaign was the only source for that claim, which had already served its purpose, to deflect attention away from DeMaio’s behavior.

UT-San Diego whipped out its congratulatory editorial, patting the DA on the head for getting this lurid matter settled before election day, pronouncing “throughout this flap, DeMaio has seemed far more credible than former aide Todd Bosnich.”  Voters were urged to get back to the “issues” in the campaign, namely that incumbent Scott Peters was under the influence of the evil Barack Obama.

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Thumbnail image for Looking at November 2014 California Legislative Contests in San Diego County

Looking at November 2014 California Legislative Contests in San Diego County

by Doug Porter 10.20.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Political consultants and pollsters around the country are predicting that election eve 2014 will be a long and mostly unhappy experience for Democrats.

Not so here on the left coast, where the burning issue is whether the Dems can maintain the super-majority in both houses of the state legislature. Republican predictions that the state would end up as an economic disaster under such circumstance haven’t proven to be true,  so they’ve conjured up a few new prognostications and claims… in-between fighting with each other.

2014 will be the last time the GOP will be able to leverage low turnout to win many legislative districts in the state where party registration is competitive. Declining enthusiasm for the Republican brand and increasing numbers of non-white voters for future elections don’t bode well for a party unable to muster enough unity to support candidates that could win in this election.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

by Doug Porter 10.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There are new developments in the storyline about a ex-policy aide who claims congressional candidate Carl DeMaio sexually harassed him.

The ultra-conservative Washington Examiner has posted a story referring to internal DeMaio campaign emails show accuser Todd Bosnich remaining in a high level position following disclosure of the plagiarism scandal for which he was supposedly fired.

UT-San Diego and 10News released the results yesterday of a SurveyUSA poll in the wake of disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations that seems to indicate voters haven’t decided what to think about the scandal. Digging down into the polling data, there are indications suggesting independent voters are reacting negatively.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving  the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

Darrell Issa’s Latest Crusade: Proving the EPA is Too Pro-Environment

by Doug Porter 10.15.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s been nearly four years since Congressman Darrell Issa assumed leadership of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and he has yet to successfully complete any of his crusades against the forces of evil in the Obama administration.

His term is coming to an end with the start of the next Congress in January, and Issa’s embarked on one final campaign to shore up his legacy: proving the Environmental Protection Agency is pro-environment.

Since 2008 Issa has been successful in garnering headlines, giving right-wing mythology enough credibility to get repeated on the evening news and ruining the lives of any federal bureaucrat foolish enough to try and stand up to his bullying.

But the sad fact is that no actual reforms have emerged out of any of his quests, mostly because he’s unable to prove the underlying premise calling for those reforms. Not that he really cares; the goals have always been to malign the current administration and to tap into the fundraising potential of those poor souls suffering from Deranged Obama Syndrome.

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Thumbnail image for Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

by Doug Porter 10.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

While there is no rule saying a ballot must be filled out completely to be valid, there are four contests you should know and care about as we approach the 2014 general election.

Exhibit A is why we should care about down-ballot races is Judge Gary Kreep, who’s now lurking around Department 7 in the central courthouse, handling a full calendar of landlord-tenant disputes.

People voted for Kreep because the only thing they’d heard (if they’d heard anything at all) were rumors, spread via a suspicious robocall campaign saying his opponent was soft on crime.

So Kreep ascended to the court after defeating 30 year veteran prosecutor Garland Peed a couple years back. His margin of victory was two-fifths of 1 percent.

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Thumbnail image for Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

Et Tu, Carl? The Politics of Personal Destruction in San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Last week sexual harassment accusations against congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went national by way of stories in Politico.com and CNN. Today we’ll follow up on developments in this story over the weekend.

A Saturday morning fundraiser featuring house speaker John Boehner in Pacific Beach for the 52nd district GOP candidate was notable for the absence of local politicos and a handful of protesters waving “Dirty DeMaio” signs.

The irony of the counter demonstration, reminiscent of reaction in some quarters to our former mayor’s boorish behavior, was the presence of Jess Durfee.  Back in the days when Durfee headed up county Democrats it was he chose to disregard warnings about Filner from a delegation of party women.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

by Doug Porter 10.09.2014 Editor's Picks

By Doug Porter

A press conference called by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went awry yesterday after Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry asked questions regarding allegations of sexual harassment made by a former campaign staffer.

DeMaio’s denial (an “absolute lie”) was the lede in a UT-San Diego story on the presser, which made it seem as though the candidate himself had raised the subject. The Republican candidate is challenging first-term Democratic representative Scott Peters in California’s 52nd district.

Politico.com has posted a story this morning that includes an interview with the accuser, who says he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to parting ways with the campaign. The DC-based publication also says it has obtained a copy of a never aired radio interview with 29 year old Todd Bosnich describing in “explicit detail how, over the course of more than six months of employment, DeMaio became increasingly aggressive in his sexual behavior toward him.”

There a lot more to this, and today we’ll tell you what we know. This story dates back to last spring, and takes several twists and turns along the way.

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Thumbnail image for A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

A Very Determined Carol Kim Runs for City Council in District 6

by Doug Porter 10.09.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Doug Porter

Meet Carol Kim. She lived in District 6 before deciding to run for City Council. Her idea of campaigning is spending 40 hours a week going door-to-door, meeting potential constituents. She’s the mother of two children; a professional whose work evaluating results for agencies could easily translate into public service as a watchdog for the public interest.

The race for city council in District 6 is an important contest for Democrats. A win by Kim gives the party an effective counterweight to the Chamber of Commerce alliance seeking domination over San Diego. The district’s voters are almost evenly divided between Democrats (33.6 percent), Republicans (31.7 percent) and Decline to State voters (29.5 percent).

The people who advocate for money as free speech for corporations; who oppose communities controlling their own destinies; and who champion an economic model making middle class taxpayers subsidize lower paid workers for highly profitable companies are lined up against Carol Kim.

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Thumbnail image for Escondido’s Proposition H – Compromise or Capitulation on Developing a Bankrupt Golf Course?

Escondido’s Proposition H – Compromise or Capitulation on Developing a Bankrupt Golf Course?

by Doug Porter 10.08.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The email seemed like the basis for a slam-dunk story. It was an appeal to environmentalists for support in defeating Escondido’s Proposition H, a developer-sponsored initiative allowing conversion of what was previously a golf course into 430 single housing units.

Here’s a snippet from the appeal: “The developer, Michael Schlesinger, dumped raw chicken manure on the property a year after turning off the water. The manure burned the land and created a severe air pollution issue, forcing one homeowner suffering from lung cancer to evacuate his home for 5 days.”

I’d seen a bunch of emails in recent weeks from the pro-Proposition H folks and given that they were coming from a source generally known to work the right side of the aisle and the fact this was about Escondido, I assumed the worst– a cartoonish Papa Manchester character running roughshod over an oppressed community.

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Thumbnail image for Props 45 & 46: This Won’t Hurt. Much

Props 45 & 46: This Won’t Hurt. Much

by Doug Porter 10.07.2014 Government

By Doug Porter

The following analyses of Propositions 45 & 46 represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

There are no special interests more special than insurance companies, doctors and lawyers. Here we have two propositions involving all three groups. And there is more subterfuge going on than anybody can keep track of.

Monies from the committees supporting and opposing the different measures overlap.  There is a joint campaign committee in support of both 45 and 46. “No on 45″ funds have been transferred into the State GOP coffers and mysteriously reappeared three days later with interest.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014: California’s Top Eight Statewide Races

November 2014: California’s Top Eight Statewide Races

by Doug Porter 10.07.2014 Nov 2014 Election

By Doug Porter 

The following analyses represent my opinions. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all our articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

You’ll have to go down-ballot this year to find much excitement in the Statewide races for elective office in California. The real action is in the State Superintendent of Education and Controller contests, not exactly positions likely to stimulate passion at the polling place. 

None-the-less, I’m presenting a quick overview of the eight races, with links to the candidate websites and a few choice words of wisdom about each. If you came here looking for “unbiased” coverage, please avert your eyes: you are about to be offended.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

November 2014 Elections: When You Skip Voting It’s Not Rebellion, It’s Surrender

by Doug Porter 10.06.2014 Economy

An Introduction to SD Free Press General Election Coverage

By Doug Porter 

It’s time to get out the vote again!? For those of us who live in the City of San Diego the November general election will be our third trip to the polls this year.

As we’re learning from watching the voter-suppression efforts succeed in 22 states since 2010, your vote must mean something; otherwise they wouldn’t be trying to take it away from you. Of course, your right to vote means nothing if you don’t exercise it.

Over the next few weeks the San Diego Free Press will be presenting coverage of the candidates and issues we hope will be of interest to progressive-minded voters. While this may not be the most exciting election ever, the results of general elections have a broad impact on how we are governed and how our taxes are spent.

(The Monday thru Friday Starting Line Column will be on hiatus thru October 12th.)

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Thumbnail image for One Nation Ruled by Fear: The Teabola Crisis

One Nation Ruled by Fear: The Teabola Crisis

by Doug Porter 10.03.2014 2014 June Primary

By Doug Porter

If you been keeping up with the news you’ve no doubt heard about an outbreak of a very serious disease occurring in West Africa. It’s called Ebola and is fatal in an average of about 50% of the people who are infected, according to the World Health Organization. Many news accounts say “up to” 90%, which may be a factor in the outbreaks of another disease making the rounds.

There is also an outbreak of a very serious condition in the United States. It’s called Teabola and causes irrational fear in about 90% of the people who are infected. The disease is being spread by the same media outlets and social media networks responsible for breakouts of Obama Derangement Syndrome throughout the United States.

Today we’ll take a look at both Teabola and Ebola in the media.

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Thumbnail image for Audit Says Nobody Broke Any Rules at Balboa Park Centennial Because There Weren’t Any Rules

Audit Says Nobody Broke Any Rules at Balboa Park Centennial Because There Weren’t Any Rules

by Doug Porter 10.02.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The City Auditor’s office has released its report on the failed Balboa Park Centennial Celebration. Despite spending more than $3 million dollars between 2012 and 2014 and having nothing to show for it in the way of actual results, there was no actual wrong-doing involved. Really.

There were two substantive reports in local media. UT-San Diego’s Jeff McDonald (who did some terrific reporting on this story early on) had a terse but tough account. Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Keatts went all gonzo on it, with much more detail and a dash of irreverence thrown it.

The “no-fault” determination was reached because the terms and conditions leading up the creation of Balboa Park Celebration, Inc (BPCI) were broad and ill-defined, we’re told. The 55 page review of the group’s activities did note a failure to follow city contracting rules in hiring most of its highly paid consultants and a lack of compliance with the terms of the 2011 agreement with the city. No problema.

This was all apparently okay because the City Attorney said so. At least that was the understanding BPCI was operating under following an email exchange in March 2013.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

‘Internet Safety Software’ Handed Out by San Diego County DA’s Office Might Not Be So Safe

by Doug Porter 10.01.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s County District Attorney has been distributing internet monitoring software that exposes users to the very predators, identity thieves, and bullies they claim the program protects children against, according to a story by Dave Maass posted at the Electronic Frontier Foundation Deeplinks Blog.

The free Computer Cop program featuring a photo of DA Bonnie Dumanis on the CD cover, “is actually just spyware, generally bought in bulk from a New York company that appears to do nothing but market this software to local government agencies,”according to Maass. His investigation found the program, usually branded with a department’s name,  is handed out by hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the country with the promise that using it constitutes a “first step” in protecting children online.

In addition to advocating for parents protect their children by using the software via the county website, DA Bonnie Dumanis also appears in promotional videos for the company. The EFF story also includes allegations that false endorsements from the ACLU and the Treasury Department were used in marketing materials for Computer Cop.

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Thumbnail image for Will Hot, Hot, Hot Mean Burn, Baby, Burn? Heat Wave, High Winds Forecast for Weekend

Will Hot, Hot, Hot Mean Burn, Baby, Burn? Heat Wave, High Winds Forecast for Weekend

by Doug Porter 09.30.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

It’s fall in San Diego, and while outsiders may not realize it, we can see some of the highest temperatures of the year while trees are turning colors in more temperate parts of the country.

The National Weather Service is forecasting the development of a Santa Ana pattern starting on Thursday. Temperatures will peak on Saturday, the humidity is expected to drop into the single digits and winds up 50 miles per hour are expected in the eastern part of the county.

Given that temperatures have already been above normal for the year and most of California is starved for water, conditions are favorable for wildfires throughout Southern California.  So it seems like today is as good as any to write about the changing of our climate in San Diego and the responses (or lack thereof) to these changes.

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Thumbnail image for Gov. Brown’s Bill Signing Binge Brings Changes to California

Gov. Brown’s Bill Signing Binge Brings Changes to California

by Doug Porter 09.29.2014 Business

By Doug Porter 

Governor Jerry Brown’s been busy over the last few days, signing off on a variety of measures passed by the Legislature during its last session.

Legislation concerning sexual consent, subcontractor standards, the initiative process, degrees at community colleges and legal assistance for immigrant minors were all approved.

Today we’ll take a look at some of those new laws. The Governor vetoed additional funding for California colleges, along with a group of bills aiming to promote transparency in governance and provide greater disclosure in political campaigns.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to the New Gilded Age: Ironworkers Seek Back Pay, Safe Working Conditions

Welcome to the New Gilded Age: Ironworkers Seek Back Pay, Safe Working Conditions

by Doug Porter 09.26.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Accompanied by Congressman Scott Peters, local labor leaders and clergy, a group of ironworkers held a press conference outside the offices of a Japanese-based developer yesterday at an office park north of University City, asking the company to lend an ear to their grievances.

It was an odd setting. The ironworkers weren’t union members, North American Sekisui House (NASH) wasn’t (directly) the employer they were complaining about, and the carefully manicured surroundings certainly were not a construction site.

This location was for now the end of a long road these mostly Latino workers have been following for over two years now, seeking back wages, safe working conditions and respect from California concrete reinforcing contractor Millennium Reinforcing. They followed the money up the contracting chain, ending up here appealing to the people putting up the money for development projects to consider the ethics of the companies they hire to build them.

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Thumbnail image for Legalization Here We Come: California Campaign Underway for 2016 Pot Proposition

Legalization Here We Come: California Campaign Underway for 2016 Pot Proposition

by Doug Porter 09.25.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago (1972) California’s Proposition 19, which would have decriminalized marijuana possession, was resoundingly defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.

In the years since then, hodgepodge of voter approved propositions, legislative initiatives and executive orders have sought to lessen or eliminate criminal penalties for use and possession of pot. They haven’t worked as intended. Overzealous prosecutors and law enforcers have continued to put the hammer down, even as juries have increasingly refused to play along.

The beginning of end for pot prohibition in California came yesterday, as the Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork registering a a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot.

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Thumbnail image for Welcome to Endless War, Shock and Awe Style

Welcome to Endless War, Shock and Awe Style

by Doug Porter 09.24.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

 Haven’t we learned anything?

A bunch of terrorists funded by our so-called allies and birthed by the failure of previous attempts at military solutions in the middle east–have managed to get the attention of the nation’s war mongering set.

In a matter of weeks a group that our government can’t even figure what to call has gone from “freedom fighter” status to massing at the US border, poised to attack. Senator Lindsey Graham went on Fox news to warn the country “This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home.” Aren’t you terrified yet?

The major news media have obsessed with ISIS/ISIL/IS beheadings, even as they have ignored the savagery of the Shia militias in Iraq and the Sunni death machine in Saudi Arabia. Boom! Bang! Blood! Guts! Be Afraid! …Film at 11!

Congress is outraged, of course, but couldn’t be bothered to actually hold hearings, ask questions or give their opinion on the subject. They need their rest, y’know. Everybody “knew” the only solution would be bombs, it was just a matter of timing.

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Thumbnail image for The War on Women: More Than Just a Political Slogan

The War on Women: More Than Just a Political Slogan

by Doug Porter 09.23.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

While the words and actions of various (mostly Republican) politicians give plenty of credence to the underlying misogyny on the right, a couple of items in this week’s news feeds illustrate the big picture when it comes to the baked in sexism of our society and culture.

Actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson addressed the General assembly on September 21st on the subject of gender discrimination and how it harms both society and individuals. Now she’s facing threats, simply for daring to speak up.

HBO’s John Oliver took on the Miss America beauty pageant on the same day, blowing away their claims of philanthropic benevolence towards women; specially their claims about colleges scholarships. It was an excellent example of how corporate spinmeisters can take even the most base and degrading institution and present it as something wholesome and appealing.

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