By Doug Porter
The 2016 election season is almost over. And even for a guy like myself who considers himself a political junkie, it’s been too much.
I wish the campaigns would be over come November 9th, but there’s increasing evidence to suggest that isn’t going to be the case.
Here are today’s rumors, planted stories and breaking news.
The Russians Are Coming
Actually they’ve already been here and left, if Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek story is to be believed. He has done some of the best reporting about The Donald, along with the Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold.
Here’s the Newsweek lede:
In phone calls, meetings and cables, America’s European allies have expressed alarm to one another about Donald Trump’s public statements denying Moscow’s role in cyberattacks designed to interfere with the U.S. election. They fear the Republican nominee for president has emboldened the Kremlin in its unprecedented cybercampaign to disrupt elections in multiple countries in hopes of weakening Western alliances, according to intelligence, law enforcement and other government officials in the United States and Europe.
While American intelligence officers have privately briefed Trump about Russia’s attempts to influence the U.S. election, he has publicly dismissed that information as unreliable, instead saying this hacking of incredible sophistication and technical complexity could have been done by some 400-pound “guy sitting on their bed” or even a child.
It’s obvious, like the stories about Clinton emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer, this reporting is based on insider information. That doesn’t make it untrue. It just pays to understand the motivations behind handing Classified Information Around to reporters.
Yes, I would say there’s evidence that Vladimir Putin’s minions are actively spreading disinformation/leaks designed to influence the US elections, and in Europe, based in the Newsweek reporting. The question about whether it’s pro-Trump, anti-Hillary or just screwing with us (likely all three, IMO) remains unanswered.
Sizing Hillary Up for an Orange Jumpsuit
Fox News anchor Bret Baier dropped a bombshell yesterday when he reported Hillary Clinton would “likely” be indicted by federal authorities.
The conservative media hyped the story big time. Locally KOGO talkmeister Carl DeMaio tweeted about it being his topic du jour.
And then… Baier walked the story back, saying his characterization of the news was simply not true.
The Trump campaign didn’t care whether the story was true or not.
From Talking Points Memo:
MSNBC’s “11th Hour” host Brian Williams asked Kellyanne Conway about a report from Fox News in which two anonymous “sources with intimate knowledge” of an FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation said an indictment of Clinton was “likely.” Trump recounted a version of the report to a crowd in Jacksonville, Florida on Thursday, crowing that “FBI agents” said his opponent would be indicted.
“This has been walked back, the indictment portion, by Fox News who originally reported it and by NBC News which has done subsequent reporting on this,” Williams said. “Will Donald Trump amend his stump speech to walk back the same thing?”
“Well, the damage is done to Hillary Clinton,” Conway replied. “No matter how it’s being termed the voters are hearing it for what it is—a culture of corruption.”
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My!
And then there’s always The Drudge Report, scooping up the poop nobody else will touch:
Can we all agree to be done with Drudge now? pic.twitter.com/U3fMnTM0Pb
— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) November 4, 2016
Just because a reporter is good doesn’t make them immune to being played. Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of Watergate fame are exhibits A & B of how this can occur. (Some of their info came from within the FBI, and both have served up some hinky reporting since then.) The question of whether this kind of inside source reporting is worthwhile comes down to whether or not it’s in the public interest. And history–which tends to favor the winners–is the usual arbitor of what is in the public interest.
Unfortunately, we don’t have time to apply the history standard to all the breaking news stories, etc. over the past few (and coming) days. So I’d advise everybody to take a deep breath.
Over at Vox, Matthew Yglesias has made the attempt to look at the Clinton State Department email scandal through the lens of history, pointing out that “network newscasts have, remarkably, dedicated more airtime to coverage of Clinton’s emails than to all policy issues combined.”
This is unfortunate because emailgate, like so many Clinton pseudo-scandals before it, is bullshit. The real scandal here is the way a story that was at best of modest significance came to dominate the US presidential election — overwhelming stories of much more importance, giving the American people a completely skewed impression of one of the two nominees, and creating space for the FBI to intervene in the election in favor of its apparently preferred candidate in a dangerous way.
He then goes through each layer of the story, pointing out that ultimately, it doesn’t amount to much. It’s a must read.
Duncan Hunter Coughs Up the Cash
Congressman Duncan Hunter has announced he’ll repay nearly $50,000 in campaign funds determined by an audit to have been spent on personal expenses.
This is on top of the $12,000 reimbursed back in April, following an inquiry from the Federal Elections Commission.
The Union-Tribune story on Hunter today lists some of the erroneous expenses:
- 106 fill-ups at gas stations, totaling $5,660.
- 16 trips to Jack in the Box totaling $297.
- Forty trips to Albertson’s, Trader Joe’s or another grocery store, spending $6,819 total.
- An expense for $229 at a Disneyland gift shop for “food/beverages.” A spokesman for the park told the Union-Tribune the only edible items the store sells are Pez candy and a Star Wars-themed Rice Krispy treat.
- Utilities — $1,269 for San Diego Gas & Electric and $300 to the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.
- More than $2,000 on restaurants, hotels and train travel in the Italian cities of Rome, Florence and Positano during the Thanksgiving holiday week in 2015.
- A payment for $216 to Gioielleria Manetti in Florence, listed on a disclosure report as “food/beverages.” The store makes and customizes jewelry and watches, according to its website. A store representative said it offers no food or drinks.
- $1,300 spent at the Cardiff-by-the-Sea restaurant that provides lunches to Hunter’s children’s El Cajon private school.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely this disclosure will have any effect on Hunter’s re-election effort. His district has a history of voting for Republicans and no one else.
Smears and Lies in the East County
East County Magazine reported on deceptive mailers have been sent to voters in El Cajon and Lemon Grove.
The San Diego County Democratic Party has endorsed Vickie Butcher, Stephanie Harper and Ben Kalasho in the El Cajon City Council Race. But a mailer claims El Cajon Democrats endorsed Butcher as well as Humbert Cabrera and Steve Goble. Cabrera and Goble have not been endorsed by any political party.
In Lemon Grove, a “COPS Guide” falsely states that mayoral candidate Racquel Vasquez was endorsed by police and fire. In fact, the city’s firefighters have endorsed her opponent, George Gastil. The deputy Sheriff’s association, which serves Lemon Grove, has not made any endorsement in this race.
East County Magazine published another report on deceptive mailers targeting La Mesa City Council candidate Colin Parent.
The mailer deceptively states Parent moved to La Mesa only to run for Council and mentions he’s lived in Sacramento and San Diego. It fails to mention his long and deep ties to East County. Parent went to Fuerte Elementary School near Mt. Helix, had his first job on La Mesa Blvd. with the East County Development Council, grew up going to local La Mesa hang-outs such as the Aquarius roller rink, was active in Boy Scots and graduated from Valhalla High School in the Grossmont Union High School District before attending UC San Diego and later, getting a law degree in New York…
…The mailer was sent by “Voters for Progress and Reform,” a group that Citybeat has reported in 2013 was tied to the Lincoln Club, which endorsed Kristine Alessio, Parent’s opponent. Voters for Progress and Reform has previously been in hot water with the FPPC for deceptive mailers and not disclosing its backers—mailers targeting opponents of candidates backed by the Lincoln Club…
…A warning letter sent by the Fair Political Practices Commission in December 2014 to the San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform advised that the group violated the Political Reform Act by failing to identify T.J. Zane as a principal officer. Zane was also president of the Lincoln Club at that time and from 2006 to 2014, according to his biography on the San Diego Republican Party website.
However Brian Pepin, current president of the Lincoln Club, told ECM that he is “completely unaware of the group and I have never heard of them before.”
Riight. I’m guessing there was extra cash floating around after the San Diego City council race in District One turned out to be a bust for the local reactionary set.
We can all look forward to the Fair Political Practices Commission post-election report sorting this out.
Note: The San Diego Free Press has endorsed Colin Parent’s candidacy for La Mesa City Council.
For information on the November 2016 General Election, see our San Diego 2016 Progressive Voter Guide
Weekly Progressive Calendar: Upcoming in San Diego
Get your event listed: I try to list the next 10 days or so of mostly non-commercial events I think our readers might find of interest. I source my material from social media listings and press releases. In cases where there are competing but similar events or campaigns of the progressive persuasion, I do my best to list everything.
In the forthcoming Democracy Matters Tour, Dr. Cornel West will impart a message of love, equality and justice with a focus on the American democratic experiment but with reference to a broader, global humanitarian context. Topics will range from the 2016 political climate, Socratic self-examination, social activism and civic engagement, police brutality, the African American Freedom Fighting tradition and more.
Dr. West is a Professor of Philosophy and Christian Practice at Union Theological Seminary and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Princeton.
As a writer of 20 books and editor of 13, he is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, as well as his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud.
Pie & Coffee in Support of RefugeeNet
Saturday, November 5, 1:30-3pm
3933 30th Street
As you may know, San Diego is an important destination for refugees. We have taken in more refugees for the past seven years than any other county in California. At our annual pie and coffee fundraiser on Saturday, November 5th, in addition to enjoying homemade pies and Calabria’s choice coffee, we will hear about the latest arrivals to our city from guest speaker, Laurel Dalsted of the San Diego Chapter of the International Rescue Committee.
We truly need your support this year. The resources of RefugeeNet are stretched more than ever by the new families coming from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Wanna Be Free: Concert for the People
Saturday, November 5, 5pm
Horton Plaza Park
Info & Updates
Wanna Be Free: The Concert For the People, is an event to celebrate the unity and strength of San Diego’s communities of color.
It’s undeniable that we live in a country built on oppression and white privilege. However, moments in history teach us that organized efforts to improve our lives can work.
In San Diego, together, we can fight systems of oppression, such as police brutality, gang documentation, and mass incarceration.
Join us to celebrate the value of unity as we demand freedom and justice for all San Diegans.
Don’t Gentrify Us
Barrio Artists Contra Stadiums y Gentrification
Saturday, November 5, 6pm
Galleria 1881 de Barrio Logan
2159 Logan Ave
Info & Updates
The Chargers want the voters of San Diego to give them a new stadium in the East Village just blocks away from our historic barrios. A stadium there will push out renting residents, art galleries, and small businesses from our communities. BASTA is organizing an art exhibit by artists opposed to a stadium and gentrification. Join us as we say NO to a downtown stadium.
Confirmed artists include: Mario Torero, Junco Canché, Miguel Cid, Pedro Rios
Netflix Documentary ‘13th’
Saturday, November 5, 5:30pm
1764 National Ave (The People’s Lot)
Info & Updates
Come join People over Profits-SD (POPSD) at the People’s Lot in Barrio Logan for a movie night under the stars as we uncover our current state of America in one of the most important films you’ll see this year. Netflix’s new documentary “13th” from acclaimed Selma Director Ava DuVernay is a much needed wake up call that eloquently contextualizes the injustices in America today. This film dives into mass incarceration, and specifically how it targets people of color, through the lens of the 13th Amendment, which states, “Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
This film exposes how after the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the very amendment that was supposed to abolish slavery created a loophole to send slaves through the prison system that disproportionately filled the beds of prisons and work plantations with blacks and browns. The film also dives into the war on drugs, the privatization of prisons, flaws in our current presidential candidates, corporate control of the justice system, and many more interesting topics. This film is an educational tool to help people become WOKE which will lead to more awareness and potentially positive change in our current state of America.
Chunky Sanchez: Celebration of Life
Sunday, November 6, Noon
Info & Updates
Our community will celebrate Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez the way he would want us to, en el Parque under the bridge.
Wounded Souls Red Carpet Premiere
Sunday, November 6, 7pm
3130 Moore Street
Info & Updates (Admission)
Heartfelt Productions proudly presents: The Red-Carpet Premiere for its second Film Production, “The Wounded Souls.” This is a short, dramatic film, based on the Stage Play, “Wounded Warriors,” written by Suzanne Morse. It features four women brought together by the betrayal of one man and how they try and cope and interact with each other. A dramatic, bittersweet piece.
Not only will there be the Premiere, but other awesome entertainment as well, including a Stage Play by Heartfelt Voices United. Here’s what you have to look forward to!!
Viewing of Heartfelt Production’s First Film: “The Clamoring Silence.”
Live Performance Poetry by Suzanne Morse, Michelle Norby, and Davey Lee.
Stage Play: “Who’s Afraid of the Giant?” written & directed by Suzanne Morse. This is a dark comedy Play; a twisted version of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” including a Jackie instead of a Jack. Jackie’s mother is on trial for murdering the Giant, but she’s insisting its self defense due to domestic violence.
SD Cool Kids Presents:
Monday, November 7, 7pm
6171 Mission Gorge Road
Info & Updates
Join us for SDCK’s first official event! We are a safe online space for anyone who includes “woman” as any part of their identity. We will be screening “Suffragettes” in honor of a woman running for the highest office in the land! It doesn’t matter if you are for HRC, holding out for Bernie, or down for the revolution; A woman running for President is a HUGE deal! There will be a discussion after led by Professor Lauren Spears (SDSU & Grossmont College) and Women’s Studies Graduate Student Erikka Thorpe (SDSU). Come out, eat delicious donuts (vegan options!), and celebrate the Badass women who fought and died for your right to vote!
Tuesday, November 8, All Day
Democrats after party at Westin Gaslamp Hotel by Horton Plaza
Republicans after party at the US Grant Hotel
Golden Hall will be open to the public to watch election results and politicians getting interviewed.
Why We Watch the School of the Americas
Wednesday, November 9, 6:30pm
3130 Moore Street
Info & Updates
A report-back from the October Convergence on the Border – lessons learned.
Join us for a lively review of the October Convergence at the Border. Experience the richness of the event through talk-backs, poems, puppets and short films from those who went. Quakers, peace & justice workers, immigrant rights activists, puppeteers and artists will share our thoughts and reflections on the Border Wall that separates the Americas. The 2016 Convergence exposes US export of torture, weapons, and unfair trade to south of our border by the US School of the Americas.
This event is a fundraiser to support La Caravana Contra La Repression, a Speaking Tour of people struggling against US-supported repression coming to San Diego November 16th.
An Event by Women Occupy San Diego, Veterans For Peace San Diego, the Puppetistas, American Friends Service Committee, San Diego War Tax Resisters, and the Peace Resource Center.
OB Green Center Presents Netflix Documentary ‘13th’
Thursday, November 10, 7pm
4843 B Voltaire St. Ocean Beach
This just released documentary by academy award winning director, Ava DuVernay puts the focus on the historical impact of institutional racism. 13TH refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out with a mixture of archival footage and interviews with activists, politicians, historians and formerly incarcerated women and men. Rolling Stone quoted ” 13TH is one for the cinema time capsule, a record of shame so powerful that it just might change things”. Free
Sierra Club Film Night “Gold Fever”
Friday, November 11, 6:30p.m.
8304 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard #101,
More info: 619-463-0721 or firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 500 years after the arrival of the conquistadors, the fever for gold still persist. As Wall Street investors push gold prices to record highs, in the highlands of Guatemala a company called Goldcorp Inc. levels ancient mountains to feed that fever, with no regard for the lives of the people who live in those mountains. The story follows the efforts of three indigenous women to defend their ancestral lands, in the face of long odds and grave consequences. We shall also discover the links between what is happening in rural Guatemala – and what almost happened to sacred Indian lands in the desert of the eastern Imperial Valley – and how the Sierra Club became involved in the struggle.
On This Day: 1961 – Bob Dylan made his Carnegie Chapter Hall debut in New York City. The show was seen by 50 people who paid two dollars each. 1979 – Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took 63 Americans hostage (90 total hostages). The militants, mostly students, demanded that the U.S. send the former shah back to Iran to stand trial. Many hostages were later released, but 52 were held for the next 14 months. 1996 – After a struggle lasting more than two years, 6,000 Steelworkers members at Bridgestone/Firestone won a settlement in which strikers displaced by scabs got their original jobs back. The fight started when management demanded that the workers accept 12-hour shifts.
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