Friday, July 20, 2012

LULAC, NCLR, NAACP, Asian American Justice Center And Obama's Stimulus

What do they all have in common?

They are promoting a national advertising campaign to promote free broadband internet access for "underserved communities" with the catchy theme, "Change Your Tomorrow".

And they're doing it with your tax dollars.

Under Obama's Reinvestment and Recovery Act , $7.2 billion was appropriated for the "Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the U.S., which will increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits."

The Broadband Opportunity Coalition which is comprised of the Asian American Justice Center, NAACP, National Council of La Raza, National Urban League, and League of United Latin American Citizens)

Minority Media and Telecommunications Council 
National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters 
National Black Chamber of Commerce 
More than 160 corporations and not-for-profit, housing, and community organizations

Here is an example of how our tax dollars have been shuffled around:

LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) was given $1.5 million of which $1 million of that money was then given to the non profit organization One Economy Corporation.   The global initiative for One Economy states:

Around the world today, access to information is critical. One Global Economy’s community driven approach to international development works to extend and enhance the benefits of information and technology to those who need it most – the world’s poor.

Sounds like Van Jones and Cass Sunstein's ideas on Social Justice.  Broadband and "SOCIAL JUSTICE"

The thought of civil rights often brings to mind images of historic marches and boycotts. A generation ago, such undertakings brought attention to unequal treatment, encouraging action among those who could work to promote equality.
In the age of information, inequality doesn’t look the same as it did in the 20th century. Today’s civil rights challenges include digital inequality.

Yeah?  Is it fair that everyone doesn't have a Porsche or a beach house in the Hamptons?

Overall, One Economy has received over $51 million of our tax dollars funnelled through Obama's stimulus slush fund, Broadband USA.

Applicant One Economy Corporation
Washington, DC
Application ID 56
Contact Rey Ramsey
Project title 21st Century Information and Support Ecosystem: Make It Easy Where You Are
Program BTOP
Proposed Project Area AL, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MS, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, WV
Project type Sustainable Broadband Adoption
Funding Round Round 1 - Summer 2009
Grant request $ 45,527,735
Status Awarded
Grant Award $ 28,519,482
Description One Economy, the Broadband Opportunity Coalition and a diverse team of partners propose to increase adoption rates among the unserved and underserved through a comprehensive and integrated program that includes digital literacy, online content, affordable connectivity and public education that will overcome barriers to adoption and will maximize the opportunities inherent in the technology itself.

The grant requester was Rey Ramsey.  Here is his vision for leveraging technology to produce "social dividends".

And here you can view their PR advertising campaign blitz.  Our favorites are the ones titled "Homework" and "One Economy".  Obama needs to convince the American people (using their own money) that free broadband is good for everyone because for some reason, we just aren't understanding that free internet service is supposed to be a "right" and not a "privilege".

What seems to be left out of the discussion is how these low income, "underserved" households who now have free broadband will be able to afford a computer.

Oh wait.  That's why companies like Microsoft, Best Buy, Cox Cable and 160 other corporations are sponsoring the Obama "Connect to Compete" program.

Also, if you qualify for the National School Lunch Program, you can qualify for the $9.95/month internet rate.  Obama claims that not a single taxpayer dollar will be used for this program.  Really?  Is that why those who don't qualify for the National School Lunch Program pay $60/month for the same service?  Someone has to subsidize it. 

According to the Advisor of the Broadband Task Force, Jordan Usdan,
  • An unprecedented coalition of nonprofit and grassroots organization have committed to help spread the word about Connect to Compete. These include: America’s Promise Alliance; Digital Promise; Opportunity Nation; United Way Worldwide; Boys and Girls Club; Connected Nation; Goodwill; CFY; 4H; members of the Broadband Opportunity Coalition: The Asian American Justice Center, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), National Urban League, One Economy, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); the Minority and Media Telecommunications Council (MMTC) and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

So, what DO you call $7.2 billion dollars of "stimulus money" used to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the U.S.?

Spreading the wealth around...