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Commentary: Having Our Own #$@%:
A Do-able Progressive Strategy
Telecommunication Strategy, Part I (con't.)

by Black Kos Editor, Sephius1

In the last piece we talk about some of the things I thought, initially, would be needed in order for democrats to sustain a coherent message. Fundamental to that is an internet presence. One that would allow us to create a one stop shop for purchasing and providing resources to those who can move around an protest, present news items, archive information, as well as live stream events. However there are some roadblocks to getting some this up and running, efficiently and determining there effectiveness due to certain disparities in broadband access.


Some Road Blocks

One on first things we talked about was some sort of an alert system to let everyone know when something is going on locally, or at the state or federal level. This can be carried via emails, or text messages our both. I intentionally left out video messaging since not everyone has a cell phone powerful to receive video, or they may not have access to high speed internet, or even if they do, their home computers may not be up for the challenge. You would be surprised how many people have just a basic computer and basic internet service just so they can stay connected to world, nothing fancy.

As mentioned above, one of the impediments is access to the internet, is it high speed, and what is the technology dispersal rate (TDR) in said entity. Yes unfortunately we going need a little math for some of this, and yes, I just made that term up, and my definition describing it is - the change in the number of people that have the baseline technology divided by time range. So if let's say one of our baseline technology for a home computer should be:

  • 2+ GHz processor
  • 512+ MB of Ram
  • 100+ GB of Hard Drive
  • a graphic card with capability to process HD-DVD or Blue-Ray

And we want to know what is the (TDR), for 2008 to 2010 for a county, city, or state the general equation is:

Let Ystarting year = 2008
Let Yending year = 2010

Let Xstarting year = # of people who met baseline requirement in the starting year
Let Xending year = # of people who met baseline requirement in the ending year

                  Xending year - Xstarting year
TDR = ------------------------------------------
              (Yending year - Ystarting year) + 1

The TDR will give us the number of people per time unit (in this case a year) that acquired the baseline technology. This information is valuable in that it can tell us what data formats (video on cell phone, video on the web, text-only, PDFs, etc)  we need to use (or not be able to use) in order to get as wide a distribution of information as possible. It can also tell how certain communities are progressing technology-wise. And sure a lot of people have cell phones, but then you fall into the same situation like the basic computer. A lot people have a basic cell phone, no text messaging, or video messaging. Count me as one. My phone has no advanced features like web service.

I think that one of the miscalculation we as progressive make is assuming everyone is web savvy because a lot of what we do is web-based. We exclude anyone who doesn't use the web in the way we do, not on purpose mind you. We think people spend hours on the web, and they do, but not for political advocacy. The main thing we need to work on is ensuring broadband infrastructures are being built all over the US. Then we need to ensure rural, and urban, areas get easy access to these infrastructures. This would be great venture where a small business can become an ISP, and help close some of the disparities in different communities.

 News by dopper0189, Black Kos Managing Editor
Put together a black president and growing immigration with a shrinking white majority, and what do you get? A backlash, it would appear. The Root: They Love to Hate, in Growing Numbers

The Southern Poverty Law Center will host a 30-minute audio chat on hate groups and other extremist organizations at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, March 2. Questions can be submitted before and during the webcast for those who register.

The tally of white-supremacist hate groups reached a record high in 2010, a spike stoked by the supremacists' anti-immigrant fervor, rage against a White House occupied by a black president and the continuing uptick in the nation's count of nonwhite residents, researchers said last week.

"There's no question that Obama's election drew people into the hate world. These groups' [online] servers were crashing on the night of the election from all the traffic," said Heidi Beirich, director of research for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Its spring 2011 Intelligence Report, released Thursday, lists 1,002 hate groups, a 7.5 percent increase since 2009 and a surge of 66 percent since 2000.

The Intelligence Report -- it launched in the early 1980s as Klanwatch but now details information on hate groups of every racial stripe -- goes to 55,000 law-enforcement agencies and individuals who police and/or study the organizations. While these organizations' verbal venom is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech, the violence that venom frequently advocates is legally forbidden.

David Yerushalmi doesn’t just hate Muslims. He hates everyone who’s not white. MotherJones: Who’s Behind the GOP’s Anti-Sharia Law Crusade? A White Supremacist.

Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make "material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony.

The Tennessee bill, SB 1028, didn't come out of nowhere. Though it's the first of its kind, the bill is part of a wave of related measures that would ban state courts from enforcing Sharia law. (A court might refer to Sharia law in child custody or prisoner rights cases.) Since early 2010, such legislation has been considered in at least 15 states. And while fears of an impending caliphate are myriad on the far-right, the surge of legislation across the country is largely due to the work of one man: David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based white supremacist who has previously called for a "war against Islam" and tried to criminalize adherence to the Muslim faith.

Yerushalmi, a lawyer, is the founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which has been called a "hate group" by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His draft legislation served as the foundation for the Tennessee bill, and at least half a dozen other anti-Islam measures—including two bills that were signed into law last year in Louisiana and Tennessee.

With the exception of SB 1028, much of Yerushalmi's legislation sounds pretty innocuous: State courts are prohibited from considering any foreign law that doesn't fully honor the rights enshrined in the US and state constitutions. Because a Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law is unheard of in the United States, the law's impact is non-existent at best. But critics of some of the proposed bills have argued they could have far-reaching and unintended consequences, like undoing anti-kidnapping statutes, and hindering the ability of local companies to enter into contracts overseas.

But Tennessee's SB 1028 goes much further, defining traditional Islamic law as counter to constitutional principles, and authorizing the state's attorney general to freeze the assets of organizations that have been determined to be promoting or supporting Sharia. On Monday, CAIR and the ACLU called for lawmakers to defeat the bill.

But it's not just Muslims who draw Yerushalmi's scorn. In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled On Race: A Tentative Discussion (pdf), Yerushalmi argued that whites are genetically superior to blacks. "Some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones," he wrote.

Yerushalmi has suggested that Caucasians are inherently more receptive to republican forms of government than blacks—an argument that's consistent with SANE's mission statement, which emphasizes that "America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white." And in an article published at the website Intellectual Conservative, Yerushalmi, who is Jewish, suggests that liberal Jews "destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite." Unsurprisingly, then, Yerushalmi offered the lone Jewish defense of Mel Gibson, after the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. Gibson, he wrote, was simply noting the "undeniable Jewish liberal influence on western affairs in the direction of a World State."

Despite his racist views, Yerushalmi has been warmly received by mainstream conservatives; his work has appeared in the National Review and Andrew Breitbart's Big Peace. He's been lauded in the pages of the Washington Times. And in 2008, he published a paper on the perils of Sharia-compliant finance that compelled Sen. Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.) to write a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox.

More recently, Yerushalmi co-authored a report on the threats posed by Islamic law—among other things, he worries Sharia-compliant finance could spark another financial collapse—that earned plaudits from leading Republicans like Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra. The report was released by Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy, for which Yerushalmi is general counsel.

                                                                             Photo: Creative Commons/garryknight

CBC members call the GOP’s tactics to divide communities of color on immigration as “abhorrent and repulsive.” Colorlines: Rep. Cleaver: GOP Manufactures Black-Brown Tensions.

On Tuesday members of the Congressional Black Caucus led by Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver lambasted Republicans during a House Immigration Subcommittee hearing for trying to generate tension between black and immigrant communities in an effort to pass anti-immigrant bills that would serve neither community.

The committee’s newly appointed leaders—Reps. Elton Gallegly, Steve King and Lamar Smith, are longtime anti-immigration hardliners who gathered folks for a panel called “Making Immigration Work for American Minorities,” in which House members debated the impact that immigrants had on high unemployment and depressed wages in communities of color. Gallegly, King and Smith argued that immigrants drove down wages and were primarily responsible for the unemployment crisis in black communities.

“I am concerned by the majority’s attempt to manufacture tension between African-Americans and immigrant communities. It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of ‘us versus them,’ and I reject that notion,” Cleaver said in his statement, the AP reported.

Gallegly showed he pays attention to all the statistics about the recession’s disproportionate impact on communities of color and young people. “Many of those most impacted by the current job crisis are minorities,” Gallegly said in his statement. “The unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics are 15.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively. They often compete for jobs with low-skilled immigrant workers.”

Gallegly showed he pays attention to racial disparities in education, too: “And young people have been hit especially hard by the recession. In fact, of young U.S-born blacks (ages 18-29), 55 percent have no education higher than a high school diploma. And of young U.S.-born Hispanics, 54 percent have no education higher than a high school diploma.”

“With unemployment at or over 9 percent for 21 months, jobs are scarce,” said Smith in his prepared remarks. “Virtually all credible studies show that competition from cheap foreign labor displaces American workers, including legal immigrants, or depresses their wages.”

But CBC members quickly debunked that argument.

“It seems as though they would like for our communities to think about immigration in terms of ‘us vs. them,’ and I reject that notion,” Cleaver said in a written statement, the Ventura County Star reported.

                                                   Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) Photo: Getty Images/Brendan Hoffman

This has been overlooked. Colorlines: Black Workers Central to National Union Battle

The battle over public employee unions isn’t just happening in Wisconsin. In states like Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, public employee unions are also under attack. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels even called union members “the privileged elite” during a speech in neighboring Ohio last week. GOP poster boy and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s made no qualms about his desire to attack unions, an approach Matt Bai studiously outlined in a recent New York Times Magazine profile. In response, workers in those states have protested in solidarity with those in Wisconsin. Evan McMorris-Santoro wrote at Talking Points Memo that as the battle over unions heats up in Ohio, protests in that state have reached their largest and loudest levels yet.

Last week, Kai Wright pointed to evidence that in states and localities where GOP officials are trying to use budget crunches to crack down on public employee unions, those workers are “uniquely black.” That’s especially true in states outside of Wisconsin, where black workers make up a considerable number of union members.

In an unusual meeting, several ministers apologize to gays about how they have been treated. The Root: Black Church Leaders Ask for Forgiveness From the LGBT Community.

A rather unusual event recently took place in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fort Washington, Md. Several ministers of black churches met with members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community -- and formally apologized for what the organizers described as the church's judgmental attitude toward individuals who experience same-sex attraction and their loved ones.

Although a sincere apology is often the first step to restoring a fractured relationship, our culture has made public apologies into a performance art, characterized by carefully scripted PR creations and only token acknowledgments of actually having done wrong.

It was with this skepticism that I attended the forum at Carolina Missionary Baptist Church on Feb. 19, billed as an opportunity for people to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe environment. Anthony E. Moore, pastor of Carolina, moderated the dialogue and stated up front that the forum was not intended to be one in which the church took a theological position on homosexuality. My pastor, Keith Battle, attended on behalf of Zion Church, and other sponsoring churches included Pilgrim Baptist Church in D.C. and New Vision Church in Bowie, Md.

The U.S. role in the program for the displaced reflects a shift in Plan Colombia from the Bush administration. From the plan's inception in 2000 through 2007, 80% of the $7 billion funneled to Colombia went to the military.  By 2012, the ratio of military aid to economic aid should roughly even out. LA Times: U.S. aids Colombia program restoring land titles

The new face of U.S. aid to Colombia is not a Black Hawk helicopter or a Green Beret trainer but a smiling 77-year-old peasant clutching the deed to a five-acre farm.

This month, Alfonso Mejia received title to the land he had been forced to flee in 2000 by members of a right-wing paramilitary group, just before they massacred 11 of his neighbors.

Mejia and hundreds of other residents expelled from their plots in the northern state of Bolivar were pawns in a struggle among armed groups of various political stripes vying for drug trafficking routes, local influence and land.

Mejia spent much of the decade moving from town to town, never daring to reclaim his property, which was illegally transferred to leaders of the paramilitary group by a corrupt notary. His limbo was shared by 3.2 million Colombians displaced by this country's long-running civil conflict.

Now he's finally come home, under a resettlement program kick-started by President Juan Manuel Santos, who assumed office in August. Mejia's is one of 160,000 families the government plans to resettle over the next two years on about 5 million acres it has reclaimed from illegal land grabbers. The resettlement program will be financed partly by the U.S. anti-terrorism-and-drugs aid package known as Plan Colombia.

                                                     Chris Kraul - LA Times


[] African-American Churches and LGBT: Two Recent News Stories by dirkster42

[] Rush Limbaugh's Racism Toward Obama by JohnKWilson

[] In Haiti, Land Reform as a Pillar of Reconstruction by Bev Bell

[] American racism and the breakdown of the social safety net by mooremusings

[] Immigrants Are Not the Cause of Minority Unemployment and Low Wages by ImmigrationPolicyCenterFollow

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